Tuesday, Sep 28
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Spencer Boyd will be behind the wheel of the No. 52 Chevrolet Camaro for Jimmy Means Racing for the third time this year when the NASCAR Xfinity Series races the Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course (The Roval) on Saturday, October 9.  The race is being added to Boyd’s busy schedule thanks to his new sponsor, RimTyme Custom Wheels and Tires.  RimTyme has 36 stores nationwide with more scheduled to open in the future.
 
“We brought our Credit MRI/Jack Sprague throwback truck to a RimTyme earlier this year for an MGP Caliper Covers event,” mentioned Boyd.  “It was a great event and I got to meet the Director of Operations who helped put this all together.  I raced in the inaugural Roval race back in 2018 so I’ll have to dust off that notebook, but I’m truly excited to get back out there.”
 
RimTyme Custom Wheels and Tires carries more custom rims than the traditional wheel shop. They have a large selection of name brand custom wheels available in the latest styles, finishes, colors, and sizes. In addition, to a variety of wheel brands, RimTyme carries popular tire brands for everyday driving needs at affordable prices to fit any budget.
 
Brock Roberts, Director of Operations at RimTyme, commented on the partnership with Boyd, “Spencer’s personality is so big and we love his engagement with fans.  He is a great representative for our brand in a sport where we know people love their cars.  Our staff are automotive stylists that know the latest trends and styles, so we can give NASCAR fans the custom wheels and tires they want.”
 
RimTyme will be hosting a meet and greet with Spencer Boyd across the street from Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 10 at 10am.  They will be camped out all weekend long handing out autographed hero cards, so stop by, get an autograph, and check out all RimTyme has to offer.
 
Find a RimTyme Custom Wheels and Tires location near you at www.rimtyme.com/locations

Spencer Boyd PR

Great Southern Wood Preserving, Incorporated, the Abbeville, Alabama-based producer of YellaWood® brand pressure treated pine,  announced today its Honorary Officials for Sunday’s (Oct. 3) YellaWood 500 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs race at Talladega Superspeedway.

 

Great Southern Wood Preserving (GSWP) founder, President and CEO James W. (Jimmy) Rane, his family and representatives of the company’s Board of Directors, will serve as Grand Marshals. The group will give the famous command “Drivers, Start Your Engines.” YellaWood guest Katie Britt will serve as the race’s Honorary Starter and wave the green flag to set the race in motion from high above the start-finish line.

 

Founded in 1970, GSWP has grown from a single plant to become a diverse portfolio of companies operating in both domestic and international markets in the areas of building products production, manufacturing and distribution, sawmill operations, and transportation and logistics through trucking operations.

Today, GSWP and its subsidiaries operate 37 distribution locations with a coverage area that stretches from the Florida Keys to Texas to Canada, an area that includes all or parts of 28 states and the District of Columbia, as well as much of the Caribbean and Latin America, and part of the European Union, Mediterranean region and China. These facilities service Do-It-Yourself retail home centers, pro dealers, and other retail building-related and industrial segments. Best known for its YellaWood® brand products and its famous “yella” end tag, the company employs nearly 1,600 people across its various divisions and operations.

Rane, the public face of GSWP for more than 50 years, is a 2018 inductee into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame, serves as a member of the Auburn University Board of Trustees, and is president of the Jimmy Rane Foundation, a non-profit established in 2000 to fund college scholarships for deserving students. Since its inception the Jimmy Rane Foundation has provided college scholarships to 510 deserving students who have attended or are attending the college or university of their choice.

 

A native of Enterprise, Alabama, Britt is the former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and former chief of staff to U.S. Senator Richard Shelby. An attorney by trade, Britt is a graduate of The University of Alabama and volunteers in numerous civic, educational, and leadership organizations, including the Alabama Wildlife Federation Board of Directors. She resides in Montgomery with her husband, Wesley, and their two children.

 

The YellaWood 500, the second race in the Round of 12 in the Cup Series playoffs, gets the green flag at 1 p.m. CDT Sunday. Saturday, Oct. 2, will feature a double dose of playoff action with the Chevy Silverado 250 for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (12 Noon CDT) and the Sparks 300 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series (3:30 p.m. CDT).

 

Other pre-race dignitaries and traditions for the pre-race activities for the full weekend include:

 

YellaWood 500: 1:00 p.m. CDT (NBC, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 & MRN); 188 laps

Grand Marshal – Jimmy Rane, Founder and CEO of Great Southern Wood Preserving, along with
his family and representatives of the company’s Board of Directors

Honorary Starter – Katie Britt, former president and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama

Invocation – Chaplain Barbara Embry, Citizens Baptist Medical Center

Presentation of Colors – Robertsdale High School (AL) NJROTC
Pledge of Allegiance – Scout Troops from AL

God Bless America – Hoover High School (AL) Choir (40 performers)

National Anthem – United States Army 313th Band

John Ray’s iconic Big Semi-Truck with giant American flag around track during National Anthem

Flyover-2 Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 213, FIGHTING BLACK LIONS, F/A-18F Super Hornets

 

Chevy Silverado: 250 12:00 p.m. CDT (FS1, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 & MRN); 94 laps

Invocation – Raceway Ministries

Presentation of Colors – Central High School (AL) NJROTC
Pledge of Allegiance – Scout Troops from Alabama

God Bless America – Spain Park High School (AL) Choir (25performers)

National Anthem – Vestavia Hills High School (AL) Choir (15 performers)

John Ray’s iconic Big Semi-Truck with giant American flag around track during National Anthem

 

 

Sparks 300: 3:30 p.m. CDT (NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90 & MRN); 113 laps

Grand Marshal – Wayne Sternbergh, friend of Sparks, Inc.

Invocation – Lindsay Lane Baptist Church

Presentation of Colors – Central High School (AL) NJROTC

Pledge of Allegiance – Scout Troops from Alabama

God Bless America – Marbury High School (AL) Band (40 performers)

National Anthem – Marbury High School (AL) Choir (30 performers)

John Ray’s iconic Big Semi-Truck with giant American flag around track during National Anthem

 

Admission to the traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert, headlined by platinum-selling Dustin Lunch, is FREE to all infield guests, who purchases a ticket to the YellaWood 500. To see all admission options, including the Talladega Garage Experience (includes access to Garage Viewing Walkways, Pre-Race Ceremonies on Sunday and Ruoff Mortgage Victory Lane), visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.


Fans are encouraged to keep up with all the happenings at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet by following Talladega Superspeedway on 
TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

 

TSS PR


Matt DiBenedetto’s No. 21 Suicide Prevention Lifeline Mustang was fast from start to finish of Sunday’s South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the team came home with a 12th-place finish despite a mid-race setback due to the way a pit-stop cycle played out.

DiBenedetto started 14th and drove into the top five within the first three laps. He was running fifth when the Competition Caution flag flew after 26 laps had been completed.

He continued to run in the top five and top 10 throughout the first Stage and ended that 80-lap segment in ninth place, earning two Stage points.

In the second Stage, the No. 21 team was again running in the top 10 but their pit strategy didn’t work out when the Stage ended with a 63-lap green-flag. The Suicide Prevention Lifeline team was forced to stop late in the run under the green flag, and that left them in 23rd place, one lap behind the leaders.

Taking the wave-around during the Stage break put DiBenedetto back on the lead lap but at the back of the pack to start the final Stage. That entire segment ran without a yellow flag, taking away any opportunity to use strategy to jump up in the running order.

Still, DiBenedetto was able to remain on the lead lap and drive his way to 12th place at the finish.
 
“Obviously we had a much better car than that,” he said. “We were able to drive away from the leaders at the end.
 
“We had to come from the back at the start of the final Stage, and there were no cautions to re-bunch the field and get back to where we deserved to be.
 
“We had a top-five car.”
 
Still, he said he was proud to be able to spend the weekend raising awareness about suicide and ways to try to help those contemplating taking their own lives. The team’s regular sponsors, led by Motorcraft and Quick Lane, yielded their logos on the No. 21 Mustang to the suicide prevention effort and to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number, which is 1-800-273 TALK (8255).
 
“The numbers of people either contemplating suicide or taking their own lives are staggering,” DiBenedetto said. “Being able to talk about suicide and mental health was much bigger than driving the race car.”
 
DiBenedetto and the No. 21 team remain 18th in the points standings heading into next Sunday’s YellaWood 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

WBR PR

INDYCAR SERIES Champion and winner of the 2019 Indianapolis 500 Simon Pagenaud will join Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) for the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES Championship driving the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. Pagenaud will team with four-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves in the No. 06 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda. 

Pagenaud will be joining MSR which has grown its presence in the series continuously since it’s series debut in 2017 with a one-off entry in the 2017 Indianapolis 500. In five short years, MSR won the prestigious 2021 Indianapolis 500 with Castroneves. The 2022 season will mark the first two-car full-time campaign for MSR as it will field two Indianapolis 500 winners in the team’s hunt for the 2022 INDYCAR championship. 

“Next year will be a big year for MSR and I think we have a very strong lineup of drivers between Simon and Helio,” said Mike Shank. “We have built this program every year, growing with our partners and working to have all the ingredients we need to be competitive. Our Indianapolis 500 win was a big breakthrough, and we are looking forward to having a consistently competitive program that will have the chance to fight for wins and podiums no matter where we go and I think this lineup will help us do that."

“This is such an exciting time in my career,” said Pagenaud. “MSR has proven it is a high-quality organization when they won the Indianapolis 500 and pairing Helio and me together will help our team in 2022 and beyond. I’m really looking forward to this new challenge.” 

Pagenaud claimed the 2019 Indianapolis 500 victory with a convincing run out front after starting from the pole. He was the first polesitter to win the Indianapolis 500 since Helio Castroneves in 2009. Pagenaud also scored a strong third-place podium finish in the 2021 edition of the race. 

Pagenaud also won the 2016 INDYCAR Championship and has 15 wins, 14 poles and 37 podium finishes since making his series debut in 2011. 

Beyond his success in INDYCAR, Pagenaud has also shown strength in sports car competition, collecting podium finishes in the most iconic IMSA SportsCar Championship races. Pagenaud finished second in the 2021 Rolex 24 at Daytona and collected a third place finish in the 2017 and 2020 Petit Le Mans. He also participated in some prestigious European endurance races, the most iconic being the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans where he missed victory by a very close margin. 

Before becoming a champion in America, Pagenaud competed in Europe for several years, winning the ‘Volant Elf’, a young drivers’ competition, in 2001, which marked the start of his career. Until 2006 he moved through the ranks of some of the most renowned young drivers’ formulae in Europe before deciding to pursue his career in the United States.  

Meyer Shank Racing will head into the 2022 race season equipped with two-full season INDYCAR entries with the returning support from primary sponsors AutoNation and SiriusXM as well as continued partnerships with CAP fixtures, Rocky Fork Co. and Roberts Service Group. 

MSR PR

A big weekend of motorsport rolled into Las Vegas this past weekend with the ARCA Menards West Series kicking off on Thursday at the Las Vegas Bull Ring located at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

True to form with September weather in Las Vegas it was hot! Bridget and the BMI Racing crew headed out for the combined practice/qualifying session in the late afternoon. The team spent time working with Bridget to continue to improve the setup on the HMH Construction Chevrolet SS during the session.

At the 15 minute to go mark, Bridget was sent out for a qualifying lap; she put in her best lap and at the end of the session qualified 13th out of a stacked field of 24 cars.

The green flag waived for the start of the Star Nursery 150 and Bridget got a clean start – as her spotter had said “You can’t win the race on the first lap”. It wasn’t long before the first caution came with a car spinning at turn 2; the field racked up again and the green flag waived again for the restart of the race.

Bridget continued to work her lines in the HMH Construction Chevrolet SS, being patient and not using up her equipment. Another caution flag waived, and the field lined up again for another restart. The cars accelerated past the start/finish line; Bridget became the victim of an over-aggressive driver and was turned mid corner, although Bridget did her best to stay out of trouble a back marker car hit her, ultimately damaging the front of her car ending her race early.

A replay of Thursday’s Star Nursery 150 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway will broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, Sept. 30, starting at 5 p.m. ET.

Bridget’s next race will be the NAPA Auto Care Center 150 presented by Berco Redwood at All American Speedway, Roseville, CA

Bridget Burgess PR

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Cole Custer started 28th and finished 30th.

● The No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail driver reported early in the run that his Ford Mustang started off tight but would build loose as green-flag laps continued. He told the team that he would fire off fine, but the balance of his racecar worsened after that.

● Under the lap-25 competition caution, the No. 41 team pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to attempt to fix the balance of the racecar. Custer restarted 24th.

● As the remainder of the first stage went caution free, Custer began to fall back in the field as the balance on the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang loosened. He ultimately fell to 30th and was passed by the leaders, putting Custer one lap down as the stage came to an end.

● During the stage break, Custer told the team that his Ford Mustang was still extremely loose and the front turn wasn’t good. He pitted for four tires, fuel, wedge adjustments and air pressure adjustments.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Custer started 30th and finished 26th.

● The 23-year-old driver worked his way up to 26th by the time the caution came back out on lap 92. He reported that the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang was firing off tight and becoming loose after the initial few laps. Crew chief Mike Shiplett made the call to bring Custer down pit road for four tires, fuel and another shot at an adjustment.

● Custer reported on lap 123 that he felt like he was starting to lose right front grip a little too much as the sun started to set in Las Vegas.

● As the second stage also ended with another caution, Custer was relatively quiet on the radio. He was in 26th when the stage break caution came out on lap 160.

● Under yellow, Custer told the team that the rear grip in his Ford Mustang was good but that work was needed on right-front grip. He pitted for four fresh tires, fuel and another round of adjustments to combat a still loose racecar.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Custer started 25th and finished 29th.

● The No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang started to run tight during the initial laps of the final stage. Shiplett told Custer to run his racecar up by the fence to see if that would help.

● As the stage continued, Custer reported that he started to have less rear grip as the sun went down over the track. The team brought their Ford Mustang down pit road on lap 206 for a green-flag stop to put on four fresh tires, fill up on fuel and make another air pressure adjustment.

● Custer reported that he still couldn’t turn the right front like he wanted. Ultimately, unable to overcome the racecar’s handling issue, he finished 29th, two laps down.

 

Notes:

● Denny Hamlin won the South Point 400 to score his 46th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was .442 of a second.

● There were four caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

● Only 12 of the 38 drivers in the South Point 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Another rough race for our team. We struggled with the balance of our No. 41 Dixie Vodka Greyhound Cocktail Ford Mustang and just couldn’t get it right. We’ll head to Talladega.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the YellaWood 500 on Sunday, Oct. 3, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Chase Briscoe started 19th and finished 14th.

● The driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang was 17th when the competition caution was called on lap 25. He explained to the team that the back of the car didn’t have enough grip, but he thought the car would improve as the sun went down. He pitted for tires, fuel and chassis adjustment and restarted 14th on lap 31.

● Briscoe maintained his position within the top-15 and completed the first stage in 14th. At the break he pitted for an additional chassis adjustment.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Briscoe started 11th and finished 13th.

● Briscoe started the second stage on lap 88 in 11th but was caught in the less favorable lane and dropped to 18th before the yellow flag was shown on lap 93.

● The lead-lap cars all pitted for tires under the caution, but the One Cure team made a second stop to tighten lugnuts and top off on fuel. Briscoe lined up 25th for the lap-99 restart.

● The Cup Series rookie drove his way into 13th by the end of the stage. He radioed to the One Cure team that his car was improving as the track changed and asked for no adjustments during the pit stop at the stage break.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267):

Briscoe started 14th and finished 14th.

● After restarting for the final stage on lap 167, Briscoe drove into the top-10 on lap 172.

● On lap 188, after falling back to 16th, he reported the One Cure Ford Mustang was too loose in the back.

● Briscoe made his scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 211 and received tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.

● He returned to the track in 21st, one lap down, and drove his way into the 12th position on lap 240.

● As the balance of the car began to change once again, he slipped back to the 14th position, which is where he crossed the line on the final lap.

 

Notes:

● Briscoe earned his ninth top-15 of the season and his first top-15 in two career starts at Las Vegas.

● Briscoe was the highest finishing NASCAR Cup Series rookie for the 26th time this season.

● Briscoe’s 14th-place result bettered his previous best finish at Las Vegas – 21st, earned in his first visit to the track in March.

● Denny Hamlin won the South Point 400 to score his 46th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was .442 of a second.

● There were four caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

● Only 12 of the 38 drivers in the South Point 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 One Cure Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I thought our One Cure Ford Mustang was going to be really strong when the sun went down, but we just couldn’t get the handling right. The smallest changes would take it from loose to tight, and it was really tough to get it exactly where we wanted it. Fourteenth is still a huge improvement over what we did earlier this year, and it just shows how much I’ve learned as a driver and how far this team has come.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the YellaWood 500 on Sunday, Oct. 3, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Alex Palou clinched his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship with a composed drive to fourth place Sunday in the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, a race won by Colton Herta.

Palou became the first Spaniard to win an INDYCAR SERIES championship and is Chip Ganassi Racing’s second consecutive title winner and 14th INDYCAR SERIES champion overall. This is his first season with the powerhouse team in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, joining CGR after his rookie season in 2020, when he finished 16th in the standings.

“What a race, what a year, what a season,” Palou said. “This team is amazing. I’m super proud to be a part of Chip Ganassi Racing, all our partners. I’m super proud to be a champion and for the opportunity these guys gave me.

“Dream completed. Let’s get another one now.”

Said team owner Chip Ganassi: “Ladies and gentlemen, you’re seeing a young man that’s going to set a lot of records in this business, and he’s already starting. What a great year we’ve had. I’ve got to be honest with you: It has surprised us when he came in the door and the job he’s done. My hat’s off. Congratulations.”

In the most definitive sign of the youth movement this season in the series, Palou, 24, is the first NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion younger than 25 since current teammate Scott Dixon in 2003. Palou is the seventh-youngest champion in INDYCAR SERIES history.

Herta, who led all three practice sessions this weekend, beat Josef Newgarden to the checkered flag by .5883 of a second in his No. 26 Gainbridge Honda to finish the season with two consecutive victories and three overall in 2021. Herta rebounded from starting 14th after hitting the wall in NTT P1 Award qualifying. He swept both races in his native California this season and won for the first time at his home race in Long Beach, which he attended since childhood to watch his father and current strategist, Bryan Herta, race in the INDYCAR SERIES.

“It feels amazing,” Herta said. “This has been on the bucket list for so long. Super happy.”

Scott McLaughlin clinched the Rookie of the Year award after finishing 11th in the No. 3 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, becoming the first Team Penske driver to earn this honor. New Zealand native McLaughlin joined Penske’s INDYCAR SERIES team after winning three consecutive Australian Supercars titles for the organization.

“I’m really proud of everyone with the PPG Chevy,” McLaughlin said. “The car’s been awesome, and I finally got it to my liking the last six or seven races. I’m really excited for next year. This year was a foundation year, all about building, and I feel like I’ve done that.”

Six-time series champion Scott Dixon finished third today in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda, 1.3368 seconds ahead of champion teammate Palou. 2016 series champion Simon Pagenaud rounded out the top five in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet.

Herta, who grew up in Valencia, just 60 miles north of Long Beach, took the lead for good on Lap 64 of the 85-lap race on the streets of Long Beach. He led a race-high 43 laps and was quick on both the Firestone “black” primary tires and “red” alternate tires.

That ability to find speed and traction on both tire compounds was vital for Herta. He started 14th on the alternate tires, staying on that rubber compound after his first pit stop, too. So, INDYCAR rules mandating that each driver must use both compounds during the race forced Herta to switch to the slower but more durable primary tires for his last stint on track, while Newgarden and other pursuers already had used primary tires earlier in the race and were on the faster but less durable alternate tires for their run to the checkered flag.

Herta had built an 8.8-second lead on his final stint on the alternate tires before pitting on Lap 55 for primary tires. Newgarden jumped into the pits on the same lap for alternate tires and began cutting into Herta’s lead almost immediately.

Newgarden also caught a break on Lap 62 when Oliver Askew’s No. 45 Hy-Vee Honda nosed into the tire barrier in Turn 9 after contact with Conor Daly’s No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet while dueling for position. That triggered the fourth and final caution period of the race, bunching field for a vital restart on Lap 65 with Herta in the lead and Newgarden second.

Herta, on primary tires, appeared vulnerable to losing the lead on the restart to Newgarden, on grippier alternate tires. But Herta rocketed away at the start of the restart zone and got superb traction exiting the famous hairpin corner leading to the front straight and green flag, while Newgarden’s car lost grip exiting the hairpin.

“We had a great car,” Herta said. “Reds or blacks, we seemed to have the pace. I just can’t believe it.”

But Newgarden refused to give up, showing the resiliency of a two-time series champion. He continued to shave the gap every lap, pulling to within .680 of a second with eight laps to go.

Herta and Newgarden raced in accordion fashion around the 11-turn, 1.968-mile circuit, with Herta – who was running less downforce on his rear wing than Newgarden – building his lead on straightaways and Newgarden taking advantage of more grip to cut that deficit in tight turns.

Newgarden pulled to within a car-length or two of Herta late in the tight, treacherous fountain turn complex. But the gap grew on the straights due to less drag on Herta’s rear wing, and he was able to hold on for victory.

The runner-up finish helped Newgarden jump to second in the final championship standings, 38 points behind Palou.

“Colton did a great job, so congrats to him and his entire crew,” Newgarden said. “He was on the right tire on the right point of the race. If there were no yellows, I think we would have been OK today, to cruise out front. But that’s the way it rolls sometimes.

“Strong effort by our team. I think my crew was the fastest in pit lane all year, so there’s a lot to be prideful for. We fought hard. We came up a little bit short this year, which is unfortunate, but we fought all year long.”

Pato O’Ward, who entered the race 35 points behind Palou in second, ended up 62 points back in third after a disappointing day. O’Ward’s No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevy was hit from behind by the No. 18 SealMaster Honda of Ed Jones and spun in the hairpin turn at the end of Lap 1, dropping him to the rear of the field. That contact led to a loss of drive on Lap 19 after the half-shaft in his right rear wheel snapped.

O’Ward returned to the track on Lap 53 after extensive repair time but dropped out when it became apparent second place in the championship was out of reach. He ended up in 27th place.

“It’s not the first time he has hit us and not the first time he has done something stupid all season,” O’Ward said of the early contact from Jones. “I just wish he could use his head a bit more, at least respect the guys who are fighting for the championship.

“I think we’ve had a great season. I’m proud of the team; I’m proud of myself.”

NTT IndyCar Series PR

Race Winner:    Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

Kyle Busch started 10th and finished second, earning nine bonus points.

● The M&M’S driver started 10th, but he picked off several spots right off the bat. Busch was in fourth by lap two and up to third by the time the competition yellow waved on lap 25.

● The Las Vegas native came to pit road on lap 27 to take on four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. The M&M’S over-the-wall team gained Busch two spots coming off pit road to assume his first lead of the day.

● Busch eventually settled into the second position, where he ended Stage 1.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

Busch started seventh and finished second, earning nine bonus points.

The Las Vegas native came to pit road following the stage for tires, fuel and adjustments, but an issue with the jack getting on the peg dropped him to seventh coming off pit road.

Busch radioed to the No. 18 team just five laps into the run, telling them he felt a loose wheel on the left side and may need to pit. When the caution came out just a few laps later for an accident, the M&M’S team was able to come down pit road to remedy the situation with a change of all four tires on lap 94.

The two-time Cup Series champion restarted 12th on lap 98. He slowly worked his way toward the front of the field, entering the top-five by lap 114 and reaching third on lap 117.

Busch moved up to second behind JGR teammate Denny Hamlin to finish the segment, earning more valuable stage points in the championship battle.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

Busch started fourth and finished third.

The M&M’S driver came to pit road following Stage 2, with crew chief Ben Beshore calling for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment to loosen up the No. 18’s tight-handling condition.

Busch restarted fourth for the final stage and had settled into the fifth position by lap 189.

Busch sat near the top-five until his final pit stop of the race, which came on lap 210. The M&M’S driver came to pit road in sixth place under green, but when things cycled out he found himself in fourth and chasing down JGR teammate Martin Truex Jr. for the third position as the laps wound down.

The Las Vegas native finally got by Truex on lap 243 to bring home a third-place finish and strong points position heading into the unknown of Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway next weekend.

 

Notes:

● Busch’s third-place finish is his 12th top-five finish of 2021.

● Busch now has nine top-five finishes in 21 starts at his hometown track in Las Vegas.

● Hamlin won the South Point 400 to score his 46th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was .442 of a second.

● There were four caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

● Only 12 of the 38 drivers in the South Point 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

 

Was tonight a night where you did what you needed to do?

“Certainly you want to win, but we maximized today the best we had. The 11 (Denny Hamlin) was better than us. I thought early when the sun was out we were better than him, but once the lights turned on we kind of lost a little bit and we got ran into the wall twice off of turn two. That doesn’t help things. Guys did a great job. Thanks to Ben (Beshore, crew chief) and all the guys on our M&M’S Toyota Camry, we were fast, we were frontrunners all night long. Just wasn’t able to get everything we needed today for a win. Thanks to Rowdy Energy, TRD, Interstate Batteries, Ethel M here from Las Vegas. See what happens next week.”

 

What will be your mood leaving Las Vegas tonight?

 

“We got all we could. I felt like during the daytime we were a little bit better than the 11 (Hamlin). We could race with him. I felt like I was looking forward to the lights coming on and us picking up speed and being able to rip the wall a little bit faster. When we got hit into the fence there off of (turn) two the first time, it definitely knocked speed out of our car. We helped it a little bit coming to pit road putting the last set of tires on it, and then I got into the fence again trying to get by a lapped car. Not enough room over there, I guess. Overall, great job by Ben (Beshore) and my guys on this M&M’S Camry. They gave me a good piece. We moved forward all day long, so that was good, and just appreciate TRD and Interstate Batteries, Rowdy Energy and Ethel M for being here from Las Vegas, and all of those guys were here today. Good showing.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the YellaWood 500 on Sunday, Oct. 3, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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Race Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80):

●  Kevin Harvick started fifth and finished eighth, earning three bonus points.

●  After getting up to second place on the opening lap, the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang dropped to 10th by lap seven.

●  Harvick steadily rallied, clawing his way back to sixth by lap 13.

●  “Need some rear grip, early center (of the corner) both ends (of the track),” said Harvick on lap 25 while running sixth.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel on lap 28 during competition caution. Gained one spot in the pits to restart in fifth place.

●  Some contact with Matt DiBenedetto on lap 35 caused some slight right-front fender damage to the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford.

●  Harvick maintained fifth place until lap 55 when William Byron got by, sending Harvick to sixth.

●  “Something’s not right here, Rodney,” said Harvick on lap 58 to crew chief Rodney Childers. “I think it’s the tire.”

●  Dropped to seventh on lap 59 and then to eighth on lap 67. Held on to eighth through the end of the stage.

●  Harvick said he needed his car to turn better late center exit.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel with a track bar adjustment and tire pressure changes at the end of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160):

●  Harvick started ninth and finished eighth, earning three bonus points.

●  “Feel like I need it to turn mid-center, late-center better,” said Harvick while running eighth on lap 92.

●  Harvick took advantage of caution and pitted for four tires and fuel on lap 93, with the pit crew working on that right-front fender.

●  Lined up 14th for lap-99 restart and was 11th by lap 110.

●  “Sideways all the sudden in traffic,” said Harvick on lap 122 after dropping back to 13th.

●  Rallied to eighth at the end of the stage as Harvick was able to stay out on fuel mileage while others ahead of him were forced to pit.

●  Pitted for four tires and fuel with a track bar adjustment at the end of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 161-267):

●  Harvick started sixth and finished ninth.

●  The No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang had dropped to eighth by lap 177 as both Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch got by.

●  Byron passed Harvick on lap 187, taking eighth and sending Harvick to ninth.

●  Ryan Blaney took ninth from Harvick on lap 197, sending Harvick to 10th.

●  Made scheduled, green flag pit stop on lap 214 for four tires and fuel.

●  Harvick was back up to 10th by lap 223. He took ninth on lap 224, eighth on lap 226 and then seventh on lap 229.

●  Keselowsi took seventh place back on lap 250, sending Harvick to eighth.

●  Busch nipped Harvick for eighth on the final lap and Harvick crossed the stripe in ninth.

 

Notes:

●  Harvick earned his 20th top-10 of the season and his 13th top-10 in 25 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Las Vegas.

●  Harvick’s 13 top-10s at Las Vegas are the most among active NASCAR Cup Series drivers.

●  This was Harvick’s fourth straight top-10. He finished fifth Sept. 4 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, eighth Sept. 11 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, and second in the series’ prior race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.

●  This was Harvick’s 10th straight top-15, a streak that began July 11 with an 11th-place finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

●  Denny Hamlin won the South Point 400 to score his 46th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Las Vegas. His margin over second-place Chase Elliott was .442 of a second.

●  There were four caution periods for a total of 21 laps.

●  Only 12 of the 38 drivers in the South Point 400 finished on the lead lap.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Subway Delivery Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“That was about what we had tonight. We got the right-front fender nicked up a little bit, but that didn’t really change the car, so we lucked out on that. We battle and gained ground on it. That is what we wanted to do – not give it all away today. We were able to gain ground and we’ll go from there.”

 

Playoff Standings (with two races to go before Round of 8):

1.    Denny Hamlin (3,082 points) 1 win

2.    Kyle Larson (3,096 points) +57

3.    Kyle Busch (3,074 points) +35

4.    Martin Truex Jr. (3,070 points) +31

5.    Ryan Blaney (3,063 points) +24

6.    Chase Elliott (3,061 points) +22

7.    Joey Logano (3,045 points) +6

8.    Brad Keselowski (3,043 points) +4

9.    William Byron (3,039 points) -4

10.  Kevin Harvick (3,036 points) -7

11.  Alex Bowman (3,030 points) -13

12.  Christopher Bell (3,018 points) -25

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the YellaWood 500 on Sunday, Oct. 3 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. It is the fifth race of the 10-race playoffs and the second race in the Round of 12. It starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

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