Sunday, Jul 03
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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ADVANCE NOTES

Weekend Format

  • The weekend schedule in Wisconsin features practice returning to its normal slot mid-morning on Saturday, immediately followed by qualifying.

Buescher at Road America

  • Buescher finished 18th a year ago at Road America after starting 12th.
  • Overall on road courses, Buescher has a 16.4 finish in Cup with three top-10s, all of which came in the last three seasons, and all of which were inside the top five.
  • This season in road racing, Buescher finished 21st at COTA, but rebounded in Sonoma with a P2 finish after leading four laps and running inside the top five most all day.
  • Buescher also made two Xfinity starts at Road America with a P9 finish in 2015.

Scott Graves at Road America

  • Graves finished 32nd a year ago with Ryan Newman at Road America.
  • His road course record to date in Cup features six top-10 finishes, including most recently the runner-up result with Buescher in Sonoma.
  • Graves also called three Xfinity events at Road America in recent years, leading Daniel Suarez to a P4 finish in 2016, with two additional starts with Buescher in 2014-15.

QUOTE WORTHY
Buescher on racing at Road America:
“I like road racing in general, it breaks up our schedule nicely. I got an ARCA win at Road America several years back and it’s been a really neat race track. It has good rhythm and is somewhat of a cross of Sonoma and some of these others that have higher-speed areas, but slower tempo areas, as well. It’s a really fun track and I can’t wait to get there and see if we can replicate some of our recent road racing experience in the Fastenal Ford.”

Last Time Out
Buescher lost a wheel late in Sunday’s race from Nashville, ultimately finishing 30th in a race that featured three-plus hours in weather delays.

On the Car

Fastenal, in its 12th season with RFK in 2022, makes its 11th appearance with the No. 17 this weekend. In its early days with RFK, Fastenal originally was a partner with the No. 99 team before moving over to the No. 17 team since. They were also the primary partner on the No. 60 Xfinity Series entry that captured the owner’s championship in 2011.

Fastenal will feature top suppliers Brady Worldwide, Streamlight, Louisville Ladder, Ergodyne and Walter USA on Buescher’s Mustang as he competes this weekend. For more information on these suppliers, visit Fastenal.com, and stay up-do-date on social @FastenalCompany.

RFK PR

NASCAR Cup Series – Race No. 18 – 62 laps / 250.98 miles

Road America (4.048-mile road course) – Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Fast Facts for July 2-3, 2022

Tire: Goodyear Eagle 18-inch Road Course Radials

Set limits: Cup: 1 set for practice, 1 set for qualifying and 6 sets for the race

     (5 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying)

Tire Codes: Left-Front/Right-Rear: D5112; Right-Front/Left-Rear: D-5113

Tire Circumference: 2,276 mm (89.61 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front -- 22 psi; Right Front -- 20 psi;

     Left Rear -- 17 psi; Right Rear -- 17 psi

Storyline – Cup teams to run COTA/ATOC tire set-up at Road America: For the race at Road America this weekend, NASCAR Cup teams will run the same tire they ran at Circuit of the Americas in March . . . with a twist.  The tire code run at COTA was D-5112, and that same code will be run on the left-front and right-rear tires at Road America.  The wrinkle comes in on the right-front and left-rear corners of the car where teams will run the same tire, just with a different code (D-5113).  This will allow Goodyear to build each distinct code and decorate the outboard sidewall while having the tread run directionally to handle the different stresses asked of it, whether it is a front, rear, left-side or right-side.  Since it is the same tire all the way around, the two different codes will help teams know on which corner to mount a tire – left-front/right-rear or left-front/right-rear.

     “The reason why we have the two codes for the same tire on these road courses is that the directional mounting helps protect the beveled splice of the tread component,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s director of racing.  “This insures that the tread splice is closed under the force of braking on both front tires and closed under the force of acceleration on both rear tires.  Since all the tires are the same size, the two codes make sure teams know which corner of the car the tire is designed for as they make up their race sets.”

Notes – One tire with two tire codes for Cup teams at Road America: Unlike last year, when NASCAR Cup teams ran the same tire code on all four corners of the car at Road America, they will run two different codes – one for the left-front/right-rear and one for the right-front/left-rear . . . the two tire codes have identical constructions and compounds, but they carry different codes because of the way they are mounted . . . Cup teams ran the D-5112 tire code on all four corners of the car at COTA in March . . . with this 18-inch tire, and its lower profile sidewall, NASCAR Cup cars will not run inner liners in any of their tires in 2022.

Wet Weather Tires – New size and new tread pattern for Cup in ‘22: Goodyear will bring its completely redesigned wet weather radial tire to Road America for the NASCAR Cup cars . . . Cup teams will be allowed 1 set of wets for practice, 1 set for qualifying and up to 6 sets for the race (5 race sets plus 1 set transferred from qualifying) . . . in addition to moving from a 15-inch to an 18-inch bead diameter tire, this wet weather tire has a new tread pattern, based on Goodyear’s Eagle Supercar 3 consumer tire . . . this tire was tested at Goodyear’s facility in San Angelo, Texas in 2021 . . . NASCAR Cup teams last ran a wet weather tire in competition at COTA in May 2021 (15-inch version) . . . in addition to the obvious difference of a tread pattern versus Goodyear’s dry weather “slick” tires, the “Goodyear” and “Eagle” lettering on the sidewalls of the wet weather tires is white, not the standard yellow.

Follow us on Twitter: @GoodyearRacing.

 

 

GOODYEAR TIRE NOTES

NASCAR Xfinity Series – Race No. 16 – 45 laps / 182.16 miles

Road America (4.048-mile road course) – Elkhart Lake, Wis.

Fast Facts for July 1-2, 2022

Tire: Goodyear Eagle 15-inch Road Course Radials

Set limits: Xfinity: 5 sets for the event

Tire Code: D-6122 (same on all four tire positions)

Tire Circumference: 2,240 mm (88.19 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front -- 22 psi; Right Front -- 20 psi;

     Left Rear -- 17 psi; Right Rear -- 17 psi

Notes – Xfinity teams on COTA/Portland tire at Road America: Being on 15-inch bead diameter tires, NASCAR Xfinity Series teams will run a different tire set-up than those in the Cup Series at Road America this week . . . Xfinity will run the same tire on all four positions at Road America . . . this tire debuted at COTA earlier in March and was run again at Portland in June. . . Xfinity teams will also run this tire at the Indianapolis road course in July . . . as on all NASCAR road courses, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Road America.

Wet Weather Tires – White-lettered tires on hand: Goodyear will bring its 15-inch wet weather radials to Road America for use by Xfinity Series teams, should NASCAR decide that conditions warrant . . . teams will have 5 sets of wets available for the event, with a maximum of 4 sets for the race . . . this wet weather tire is the same one these teams had at all road courses last season . . . Xfinity teams last ran in wet conditions at Portland in June . . . in addition to the obvious difference of a tread pattern versus Goodyear’s dry weather “slick” tires, the “Goodyear” and “Eagle” lettering on the sidewalls of the wet weather tires is white, not the standard yellow.

Follow us on Twitter: @GoodyearRacing.

NXS ROAD AMERICA STATS
 
 
JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
Starts: 1
Wins: 0
Top-5's: 0
Top-10's: 0
Best Start: 14th (2019)
Best Finish: 26th (2019)
 
SAM HUNT RACING
Starts: 1
Wins: 0
Top-5's: 0
Top-10's: 0
Best Start: 25th (Wright - '21)
Best Finish: 25th (Wright - '21)
 
EVENT NOTES
 
  • John Hunter Nemechek will pilot the No. 26 Stillhouse® Toyota GR Supra at Road America on Saturday for the fourth of multiple races with Sam Hunt Racing in 2022, marking his second career NXS start at the 4.048-mile road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
 
  • Saturday's race will be Nemechek's first road-course event with Sam Hunt Racing.
 
  • The team is coming off of its fifth top-10 finish in the team's short history. Jeffrey Earnhardt finished seventh at Nashville Superspeedway over the weekend in the ForeverLawn Toyota GR Supra.
 
  • Sam Hunt Racing will make its second appearance at Road America.
 
  • Stillhouse® returns to the No. 26 car for the third time this year -- promoting its Black Bourbon and Apple Crisp Whiskey flavors.
  • About Stillhouse®: Stillhouse® is an award-winning American-made spirits portfolio encased in one-of-a-kind, unbreakable 100% stainless steel cans that go where glass can't. Forging a path that goes against the grain, Stillhouse® Spirits Co. was founded in 2016. From its inception, Stillhouse® has created a unique and differentiated platform in the spirits industry – from liquid to package – by defying industry norms, breaking through the monotony and all in a metal can that stands for the unbreakable spirit of America’s finest. Stillhouse® Whiskey is distilled in traditional copper stills then charcoal filtered for superior quality and taste, allowing the natural sweetness of the corn to shine throughout the mellow flavor and smooth finish that make this a truly versatile spirit. Stillhouse® whiskey is also available in Apple Crisp, Peach Tea and Spiced Cherry. All flavors are natural and gluten free. In 2018, Stillhouse® introduced Stillhouse® Black Bourbon and in 2019, the brand took the biggest spirits category head on with the debut of Stillhouse® Classic Vodka. Join the Unbreakable Nation by visiting www.Stillhouse.com.
 
  • Nemechek will be making his sixth NXS start of the 2022 season.
 
  • Nemechek scored Sam Hunt Racing's highest finish (third place) as a team at Richmond Raceway in the Spring of 2021. In 2022, he has picked up two top-five finishes for the team.
  • 5th place - Phoenix Raceway
  • 4th place - Darlington Raceway
 
QUOTES
 
 
 
"I'm looking forward to going to Road America with the Sam Hunt Racing team. It's my first road course with them, but I know they are building a strong Stillhouse® GR Supra. We had a very strong run at Darlington, so we're looking to execute on that forward momentum. It's going to be a stacked field, and I'm excited to see how it all shakes out."
 
-- John Hunter Nemechek, Driver of the No. 26 Stillhouse® Toyota GR Supra
 
 
“Last year was my first trip ever to Road America. It’s a beautiful, scenic venue that promotes great road racing. The fans are incredible out there. Anytime John Hunter gets in the car, its exciting for the entire building. I think he’s able to really enjoy racing (in our car), because we don’t put any pressure on him. We just ask him to do his thing and enjoy it. He knows the capabilities of the program and we know the caliber of driver he is. Having the Stillhouse family back this weekend is exciting too. They have been a part of some incredible outings for us since we started and to still be growing the relationship each race is really special. Grateful for Ludlow and the entire Stillhouse team for continuing to have our back as we grow.”
 
-- Sam Hunt, Owner of Sam Hunt Racing
 
SHR PR

It is another new weekend and another new track for rising star Todd Gilliland. The NASCAR Cup Series rookie driver will compete this weekend at Road America- the beautiful road course located in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Although another new experience for Gilliland behind the wheel, he comes into the weekend with a partner based in Wisconsin.

Ruedebusch Development and Construction has been a familiar supporter of the sport. The Wisconsin-based company is a full-service commercial construction and real estate land development business. They specialize in commercial real estate development, design, real estate brokerage, consulting and more.

They have supported several teams and drivers and Gilliland is proud to carry their colors this weekend.

“It has been awesome to have the support from Ruedebusch Development and Construction this year,” said Gilliland. “They love the sport, and they are great people. I will have to ask them for advice this weekend because they have been to Road America more than I have. But seriously, it has been fun to see all the partners give me support this season. It has been up and down, but we are grinding away and love all the partners backing us.”

Ruedebusch Development and Construction will be the primary partner of Gilliland and the No. 38 team two more times in the 2022 season with races on the road course at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

First, Gilliland is ready to concentrate on the task at hand.

“I look forward to racing road course races,” said Gilliland. “Which is good, because in the NASCAR Cup Series there are a lot on the schedule. Road America is a new track for me, but I am confident that we can take some notes from the previous road races at Circuit of the Americas and Sonoma and get up to speed quickly.”

Gilliland and the Ruedebusch Development and Construction Ford Mustang will race Road America on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

FRM PR

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: ROAD AMERICA ADVANCE

This marks the second straight year Road America will host a Fourth of July weekend doubleheader featuring the NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series.  Last year marked the first Cup race at the road course since 1956.  Here’s a look at Ford’s road course history, which includes three NXS victories.

 

This Week’s Schedule:

Saturday, July 2 – NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2:30 p.m. ET (USA)

Sunday, July 3 – NASCAR Cup Series, 3 p.m. ET (USA)

 

FLOCK WINS ROAD AMERICA CUP DEBUT

The first time the NASCAR Cup Series raced at Road America was on Aug. 12, 1956 when NASCAR Hall of Famer Tim Flock, driving a ’56 Mercury, won the inaugural event.  Flock, who led the final 10 laps, beat Billy Myers (2nd in a Mercury) and Fireball Roberts (3rd in a Ford) as Ford Motor Company swept the top three positions and had five of the top seven finishers.

 

FORD’S ALL-TIME ROAD COURSE WINNER IS…

NASCAR has competed on 16 different road courses during its history and Ford has had 21 drivers win 33 times overall.  Dan Gurney leads the way with five, which included four straight wins at Riverside International Raceway from 1963-66 while driving for the Wood Brothers.  Mark Martin, on the strength of three straight triumphs at Watkins Glen International from 1993-95, is second.

 

FORD’S ALL-TIME ROAD COURSE WINNERS

5 – Dan Gurney

4 – Mark Martin

2 – Fireball Roberts, Marvin Panch, Parnelli Jones, Ricky Rudd, Marcos Ambrose

1 – Chuck Stevenson, Eddie Gray, Richard Petty, A.J. Foyt, Bobby Allison, Bill Elliott, Davey Allison, Geoffrey Bodine, Ernie Irvan, Rusty Wallace, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney.

 

FORD’S ACTIVE WINNERS

There are three current drivers who have won a NASCAR Cup Series race on a road course with Ford.  The most recent winner was Ryan Blaney, who captured the inaugural event at the Charlotte Roval in 2018.  Kevin Harvick, who goes into this weekend with 23 career Ford victories in just over five years, got his first with the Blue Oval in 2017 when he won at Sonoma.  Joey Logano scored his Cup victory at Watkins Glen International in 2015, which completed a weekend sweep after he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series race one day earlier. 

 

OTHER FORD WINNERS

Besides the drivers mentioned above, Ford has five other competitors who have won on a road course in either the NASCAR Cup or NASCAR XFINITY Series.  Brad Keselowski (Watkins Glen NXS with Ford, 2013); Chris Buescher (Mid-Ohio NXS with Ford, 2014); Michael McDowell (Road America NXS, 2016); Chase Briscoe (Charlotte Roval, 2018 and Indianapolis, 2020); and Austin Cindric (Road America NXS, 2020).

Ford Performance PR

The largest entry list in years, a new format, a dazzling post-race Fourth of July fireworks display and a free Friday night Fan Fest are all part of South Boston Speedway’s premier showcase NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division event, the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort, set for 7 p.m. Saturday night, July 2.

A total of 48 cars are entered in Saturday’s 200-lap NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock Car Division race that pays $10,000 to win. That race is the opening race of the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown series which includes events at Langley Speedway and Martinsville Speedway.
The entry list includes last year’s winner, Bobby McCarty, two-time NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series national champion and six-time South Boston Speedway champion Peyton Sellers of Danville, Virginia, and South Boston Speedway points leader Layne Riggs of Bahama, North Carolina, who has won seven of 10 races at the .4-mile oval this season, and multi-time South Boston Speedway race winner Mike Looney of Catawba, Virginia.

Also on the entry list is Corey Heim who will compete in a Lee Pulliam Motorsports entry. Heim competes part-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He also competes part-time in the ARCA Menards Series, driving the No. 20 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports.

Heim has two Truck Series wins this season. His first win came in at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and he scored his second win in June at World Wide Technology Raceway. He won six races last year in the ARCA Menards Series.

Tate Fogleman, who drives the No. 30 Toyota Tundra in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for On Point Motorsports, is also among the entries. Fogleman scored his first career win in the series last season at Talladega.

West coast Super Late Model standout Derek Thorn who competes on the SRL Southwest Tour, will be competing in his first Late Model race on the east coast in the event. Thorn won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in 2015 and in 2018 and is an accomplished Late Model driver.

Five of the top 11 drivers in the CARS Tour point standings are among the entries for the event. That group includes series points leader Carson Kvapil who drives an entry out of the JR Motorsports stable and has two wins on the tour this season, and Connor Hall, a one-time winner this season who sits fourth in the CARS Tour standings. Brandon Pierce of Kernersville, North Carolina who stands fifth in the standings with a trio of Top-10 finishes, and Mason Diaz, who stands eighth in that series, have also filed an entry for the race. McCarty, currently sits 11th in the series standings.

Saturday night’s 200-lap Late Model Stock Car Division race will have an exciting new format that will have the race being run in four stages. Stage One will end at lap 50 with a caution and Stage 2 will conclude at lap 100 with caution to be followed by a halfway break. The third stage will end at lap 150 with a caution and the final stage ends at lap 200 with the end of the race.

Along with the 200-lap Late Model Stock Car race, fans will see a 50-lap race for the Budweiser Limited Sportsman Division, a 25-lap race for the Southside Disposal Pure Stock Division and a 20-lap race for the Virginia State Police HEAT Hornets Division.

South Boston Speedway will host a free Fan Fest on Friday night, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. featuring a concert by popular country music performer Matt Boswell and the Hillbilly Blues Band. The free Fan Fest will follow a day of practice for drivers and teams that will be competing in Saturday night’s event.

A Fan Appreciation event will be held on Saturday from 5:15 p.m. until 6:15 p.m. during which fans will be able to go onto the track to meet the drivers, get autographs and get an up-close look at the cars.

“The largest entry list in years featuring an all-star lineup of top drivers and the new race format will make this year’s 200-lap race one of the most exciting Late Model races ever to be held here,” remarked South Boston Speedway General Manager Chase Brashears. “Fans will truly enjoy this event because not only will they get to see great racing, they can attend the free Fan Fest on Friday night and enjoy an hour-long Fan Appreciation autograph session prior to the race on Saturday.”

Advance tickets for the Thunder Road Harley-Davidson 200 presented by Grand Atlantic Ocean Resort on Saturday night, July 2 are available for $15 each plus a $1.50 processing fee. The advance tickets may be purchased online on the South Boston Speedway website or by calling the speedway office. Tickets at the gate on race day will be $20 each.

Practice will start at 1:30 p.m., qualifying starts at 4:30 p.m., the autograph session will be held at 5:15 p.m. and the first race of the night will get the green flag at 7 p.m.

The latest updates and news for both fans and competitors can be found on the speedway’s website, southbostonspeedway.com, and the track’s social media channels. Information may also be obtained by phoning the speedway at 434-572-4947 or toll free at 1-877-440-1540 during regular business hours.

SBS PR

With Independence Day coming up on Monday, many Americans will be celebrating by hitting the road to spend outdoor time with family and friends over the holiday weekend.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will also be hitting the road, but one of a different sort this Fourth of July weekend, The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion heads to Wisconsin as the series returns to the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake for Sunday’s Kwik Trip 250.

 

Not long ago, road-course racing in NASCAR’s top series consisted of just two stops of the 36-race schedule with its yearly visits to Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. An annual trip to the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway Roval was added to the schedule in 2018. Now, road-course racing has taken on even more importance in the Cup Series with the recent additions of Road America, Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course joining the traditional stops at Sonoma, Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval. With those additions, it’s more important than ever to have a strong driver and team that can turn left and right.

 

As the Cup Series heads to Wisconsin for just the second time in the modern era, many of the younger Cup Series competitors have raced several times at Road America with NASCAR’s Xfinity Series, which has competed there each year since 2010. While the 2021 Cup Series race at Road America was the first time Busch had raced there, he took to the historic road course very quickly, bringing home the win in last year’s Xfinity Series race before notching a solid third-place finish in Sunday’s Cup Series race.

 

Busch has long shown a propensity for road-course racing during his Cup Series career, well before road course occupied a larger chunk of the schedule. The Skittles America Mix driver’s four road-course wins tie him with NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson and Mark Martin on the all-time Cup Series road-course wins list. That’s some pretty elite company, already. A fifth road-course win would tie Busch with Darrell Waltrip, Tim Richmond and Dan Gurney on the list. There is a bit of distance from there to the top three spots on the all-time road-course wins list, however, as Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, who have seven, eight and nine career road-course wins, respectively.  

 

To help mark America’s Independence Day celebration this weekend, Busch’s No. 18 Toyota will feature the Skittles America Mix scheme. Each bag of Skittles America Mix contains a fun, fruit-flavored and patriotic mix of red, white and blue candies. The patriotic-themed Skittles are a must-have for celebrating this weekend – and of course, a great snack while watching a Cup Series race. They’re available at retailers nationwide through the summer. 

 

So as Busch heads to Road America this holiday weekend, he’ll get right to work in hopes of adding to his impressive road-course statistics by taking a special road trip, so to speak, straight to victory lane.  

 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 Skittles America Mix Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

 

What are you expecting at Road America as the Cup Series races there for only the second time?

 

“I’ve never raced there before last year, but we had a really good weekend. We were able to win the Xfinity race with our M&M’S Ice Cream Supra, and then we had a really solid race with our Skittles America Mix Camry. We had to come from the back last year, but we had a really good racecar, just not good enough to keep up with Chase (Elliott). We struggled at Sonoma (earlier this month), so hoping we learned some things not to do from Sonoma and we can have a better run there. Looking forward to getting to Road America this weekend and learning as much as we can and have a good run with our Skittles America Mix Camry and get us a win on Fourth of July weekend. That would be pretty cool.”

 

Is road-course racing something that comes naturally to you, or is it something you had to work on?

 

“It’s definitely something you have to work on. With rule changes and tire changes, it’s something you work on every year. There’s always change that you have to work on to be competitive. When I was a kid back in Las Vegas in Legends cars, that’s where I was able to learn about shifting and turning left and turning right. I had the natural instincts for it and won a couple of championships in the winter series we had out there. We actually went out to Sonoma back then and ran the national championship races two years in a row and finished third both times, so I had a little bit of experience on road courses as I came up through the ranks.”

 

How hard is it to recover at Road America if you miss a corner?

 

“With those big straightaway, the corners are important, like missing turn three, I think it’s called, and then going down along back there. That’s important. That’s a big deal. Obviously, the last corner, I think it’s 13 or 14, coming up along from straightaway. So those can be detrimental to lap time, for sure, because you’re just losing time by the distance in which it takes to get up to speed, so you really want to be strong on those turns.”

 

How has your view on road-course racing changed with the addition of more of those races the last couple of years?

 

“I’ve always enjoyed the road racing. Back years ago, when we had two on the schedule – Sonoma and Watkins Glen – it was kind of fun because it was like an off-week. You would go and enjoy the experience and try to learn and get better at it each time that you would do it, but now that there are five of them on the schedule, it’s definitely more loaded towards needing to be good at it – not wanting to but needing to with the amount of road course races we have. I feel like I’m a decent road racer and would love to have a chance to showcase that on Sunday.”

 

Why do you say Joe Gibbs Racing struggled at Sonoma after being decent at COTA?

 

“Yeah, I mean, we struggled at COTA as well, to be honest, with raw speed and being able to be good there. You know, in the early stage of the race, I think we were running eighth, we were fading, I got spun out by Chase Elliott running 12th, you know what I mean? So we weren’t great at COTA, either, but we were able to get through some of the restarts and get positions on guys to get ourselves up front. Christopher (Bell), I think was third or fourth. I was right with him on the last lap there. And so you know, felt like with everything that kind of ensued on the last lap, we would have had a shot to run in the top two or three, for sure. But I would say both road-course events so far this year were not our strong suit. Why we missed it? I don’t know. If I could answer that, we wouldn’t struggle, we wouldn’t have been bad.”

 

TSC PR

Michael McDowell and the Love's Travel Stops team have proved they are a winning threat at road course events. McDowell finished 13th at the event at the Circuit of the Americas and came back to qualify fourth and finish third at the most recent road course race at the Sonoma Raceway.

They have now raised the bar to getting to Victory Lane this weekend in Road America.

“At the beginning of the season, we didn’t know what to expect with this new car,” said McDowell. “At COTA, when we went into practice and qualifying, I was disappointed. We had missed it. But we can back in the race and learned a ton and finished OK. It gave us that base that really propelled us at Sonoma where we had an awesome weekend. We know the next two months are important and an opportunity to capitalize on these road courses. We do have an expectation to compete for wins, especially at a place like Road America.”

McDowell, coming off a thirteenth place finish in Nashville, is ready to return to a track where he has won before in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. With only six races left in the regular season, the team knows the time to capitalize is now.

"I don’t think we can pinpoint any specific race where we can for sure say that it is our race to win or lose, but we all know the time to make it happen is now,” commented McDowell. “We expect to run well and be in contention at all the remaining races. But based on history and performance, and my personal history, this weekend is our weekend to show off again.”

McDowell and his Love's Travel Stops Ford Mustang will race at Road America this Sunday, July 3 at 3:00 p.m. ET on the USA Network.

FRM PR

Marc-Antoine Camirand offered team Paillé Course//Racing its second straight victory, on Sunday, as the NASCAR Pinty’s series was at Eastbound International Speedway for its inaugural race in Newfoundland. Camirand dominated most of the Pro-Line 225, while his teammate Andrew Ranger showed great speed early in the race but suffered engine failure.

Both Paillé Course//Racing cars were very fast this weekend on the banked oval track in Avondale, NL. Although it was a new track for everybody, both cars were very fast from the beginning of the weekend. Due to inclement weather forecast, qualifying was canceled, and practice times were used to set the starting line-up for the Pro-Line 225. Andrew Ranger was third on the grid as Marc-Antoine Camirand scored the fifth place. The race was postponed to Sunday morning because of the rain.

Early in the race, both Paillé Course//Racing cars showed great speed, with both GM Paillé/Chevrolet Canada n°96 and n°27 Camaros running in the top three. Marc-Antoine Camirand took the lead at lap 87 and never looked back afterwards.

“We have shown that we can run up front since the beginning of the season, we came close a couple of times, but this time was our turn. I’m so happy for my team at Camirand Performance that has been working so hard. I couldn’t be prouder of them. I also couldn’t be thankful enough of GM Paillé who made that all possible,” said the driver of the GM Paillé/Chevrolet Canada n° 96 Camaro.

Camirand led 138 laps in the race, held off pressure from behind and finally won his first victory in 2022, his third in the NASCAR Pinty’s series. “I was careful at the beginning of the race, and I was saving my mechanic. I knew that my car was very fast on the long run, and it paid off,” explained Camirand, who sits at the top of the NASCAR Pinty’s point standings after four races.

His Paillé Course//Racing teammate Andrew Ranger was also very fast early in the race, battling for the lead after taking the start from third place. Unfortunately, he suffered an engine failure after 42 laps.

“I’m disappointed that we traveled from so far and that we were not able to show what the car was capable of, but it’s also part of racing. I’m primed to return strong to the Toronto Indy. I’m sure that we can come back really strong with my GM Paillé/Chevrolet Canada n° 27 Camaro.

Paillé Course//Racing, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Andrew Ranger will be back in action on July 15th, as the NASCAR Pinty’s series returns to the streets of Toronto as part of the Honda Indy event, after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID-19.

Marc-Antoine Camirand PR

Through a hot afternoon and a cool night, sunshine and starry skies, as well as intense action and long idle periods, one element remained constant on Sunday at Nashville Superspeedway: Chase Elliott is NASCAR's concrete-track master in 2022.

 

NASCAR's most popular driver survived a late restart to win the Ally 400 NASCAR Cup Series race, bringing a close to a thrilling weekend at Middle Tennessee's home for racing and entertainment.

 

Elliott, driving the No. 9 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, led 42 of the race's 300 laps, stayed on the track with nine other drivers during the final caution period with less than 10 laps left, and remained on top during the final four green-flag laps.

 

"So proud of our team," Elliott said. "It was a long, fun day. It's nice to get going in the right direction. I'm looking forward to that guitar [trophy]."

 

It is Elliott's second victory of the season, with the first coming at Dover Motor Speedway, another concrete track, in May.

 

Elliott, 26, who has 15 career Cup Series victories, topped Kurt Busch to the checkered flag by 0.551 seconds. Ryan Blaney placed third, defending race champion Kyle Larson was fourth and Ross Chastain was fifth.

 

Busch, Blaney and Larson were three of the nine drivers aside from Elliott to stay on the track after a late caution flag on Lap 293 led to a decision for every team on whether to maintain track position or come in for fresh tires and adjustments.

 

"We were going to stay out no matter what, and I needed to start throwing fenders to move people around," Busch said. "I didn’t get after it, and I made too many mistakes."

 

Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, credited the buffer those nine cars built between his driver and those with new tires as a key for Elliott's win.

 

Elliott was eighth after the first stage and fourth after the second but didn't come close to the lead until the latter laps of the final segment.

 

Martin Truex Jr. nabbed the two early stage wins and his five stage victories top the Cup Series but he was one of several drivers to visit pit road in the final caution period and ended up 22nd after leading 82 laps.

 

Kyle Busch, who was running second to Elliott when the final caution waved also came in but finished 21st after leading 54 laps.

 

Both early segments included lengthy red-flag conditions for lightning (Stage 1 and 2) and heavy rain (Stage 2) which totaled more than three hours of delays. The first red flag came after 41 laps were registered and the second came after 139 circuits were in the books.

 

Denny Hamlin, the pole winner, was second in both stages, led a race-high 114 laps and finished sixth.

 

"We didn't want to see that late caution come out," Elliott said. "We were able to hold them off. This is big to win here at Nashville. It's pretty special. I always try to enjoy these moments because you never know when you're going to get another one."

 

In other notable finishes, Cup Series rookie Austin Cindric was seventh, Joey Logano led four laps and finished ninth and Cole Custer was the final driver on the lead lap in 26th.

 

Elliott, who leads the series standings by 30 points over Chastain, averaged 111.22 mph in completing the 400-mile event in 3 hours, 35 minutes and 15 seconds (not counting red-flag time). Seven leaders exchanged the lead 18 times and 10 caution periods took up 57 laps.

 

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