Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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All American Speedway continues its return to NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series racing on Saturday evening, hosting round two of the 2020 championship season in Roseville, Calif. Events will be closed to spectators but streamed live at www.AllAmericanSpeedway.TV with NASCAR Late Models, Jaws Gear & Axle Limited Modifieds, Super Stocks, F4s, Jr. Late Models, and Bandolero/Mini Cups competing.

Race fans can purchase their live viewing pass for the NASCAR events for $19.99 in high definition. Events get underway at 5:00 pm Pacific. The pass is also good for 30 days after the event to view it on demand. COVID-19 Protocols will be strictly enforced this weekend for this competitor-only event.

The JM Environmental 150 for the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour is also on the card, with that main event closing the evening of racing. A separate PPV will be required for the SRL events at www.SpearsRacing.TV

All American Speedway kicked off its long overdue start to its 66th season on August 1. Granite Bay’s Cole Moore picked up where he left off nine months ago, as the winner of the November 2019 JM 100 swept both Late Model features in the 2020 opener. The Jaws Gear & Axle Modifieds saw Jason Philpot drive ahead of Michael Mitchell for victory. 

In Super Stocks, Jill Schmidt worked her way past 2019 champion Andrew Peeler for the win. The F4 division also saw their defending champion come home in second, as Nevada’s Rich Innis won ahead of a last-lap bid from 2019 champ Ray Molina.

The youngest drivers at the speedway compete in the Jr. Late Models and the Mini Cup/Bandos. 2019 Bandolero champion Kenna Mitchell won that feature then appeared poised to take the Jr. LM win as well. Her spin from the lead handed the victory to the 2019 Jr. LM series runner-up Aidan Daniels.

The 2020 season includes additional events on August 29, September 12, September 26, and the October Classic on October 10. Touring stock car racing includes the SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour on both August 15 and September 26 along with the ARCA Menards Series West on October 10.

The NASCAR Late Model competition will see drivers racing for state and national titles. Awards up for grabs include the NASCAR championship points fund with over $15,000 in cash and prizes. The points fund includes $3,500 to the Div. 1 Late Model champion, $1,000 to the Div. II Limited Modified champion, $700 to the Div. III Super Stock champion, and $500 to the Div. IV F4 champion. The full points fund is available at the end of this release. American Racer Tire will have contingency giveaways all season as well.

NASCAR licenses will be required. Friday practice will be $100 per car and driver registration with $40 for other pit passes. Registration for Friday practice closes at 5pm on Thursday. On Saturday, pit passes will be $40 for NASCAR members and $50 for non-members.

All American Speedway wants to thank @the Grounds for their support along with partners such as Sinister Diesel, Riebes Auto Parts, Jaws Gear & Axle, and JM Environmental for making this season possible. Companies interested in supporting these events can contact All American Speedway at (916) 786-2025. Without competitor support and local community partners, these events would not take place.

Drivers will be required to fill out a COVID-19 waiver and questionnaire. All forms are available at www.AllAmericanSpeedway.com Friday night practice will see gates open at 2:00 pm with the track hot from 3:30 pm to 8:00 pm. On Saturday, pit gates open at 10:00 am with practice beginning at 12:30 pm. Opening ceremonies will be at 5:00 pm with main events to follow. Just Kickin’ It will be the concessionaire for the pits all weekend with their delicious tacos for sale on Saturday.

AAS PR

Death Wish Coffee Company, an independent coffee manufacturer and primary sponsor on John Hunter Nemechek's No. 38 Ford Mustang, has joined Front Row Motorsports' (FRM) "Thank A Trucker" campaign. The initiative, which kicked off at the beginning of the summer, aims to show appreciation for truck drivers on the front lines who are working hard to deliver goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Fans and followers will now have the opportunity to visit TeamFRM.com/ThankATrucker and nominate a special truck driver in their lives for recognition at the end of the campaign. This driver's name will be included in a special "Thank A Trucker" paint scheme to be driven by John Hunter Nemechek at Martinsville Speedway, scheduled for November 1. Participants will be able to earn extra entries after filling out the form by following or sharing on social media, filling out questionnaires and more. Each nomination will still be entered to win prizes like autographed merchandise from FRM drivers, as well as free coffee and other swag from Death Wish Coffee, who has committed to giving $10,000+ to truckers, which will be given out in daily $100 prizes.
 
"We know that it would be virtually impossible to keep our country going without frontline workers right now," said Mike Brown, CEO of Death Wish Coffee. "The Front Row Motorsports 'Thank A Trucker' campaign aligns really well with our efforts as an organization, particularly our 'Broke, Not Busted' program to provide service-industry COVID-19 relief. We thought this would be a great way to stretch that message even further."
 
The "Thank A Trucker" campaign decal on all FRM NASCR Cup Series cars and Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series trucks will be updated to include a new campaign logo, beginning this weekend. Social media messaging across Michael McDowell, John Hunter Nemechek and Todd Gilliland's channels will continue to focus on thanking truckers for their hard work.
 
FRM PR

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Go Bowling 235

The Place: Daytona International Speedway Road Course

The Date: Sunday, August 16

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 234.65 miles (65 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 65)

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: UNOH 188

The Place: Daytona International Speedway Road Course

The Date: Saturday, August 15

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.72 miles (52 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 15),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 30), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 52)

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: Sunoco 159

The Place: Daytona International Speedway Road Course

The Date: Sunday, August 16

The Time: 12 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 11 a.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 158.85 miles (44 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 12),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 25), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 44)

 

ARCA Menards Series

Next Race: General Tire 100

The Place: Daytona International Speedway Road Course

The Date: Friday, August 14

The Time: 5 p.m. ET

TV: Broadcast live on MAVTV and streamed live on NBC Gold TrackPass

Distance: 101.8 miles (28 laps)

 

 

NASCAR Cup Series

 

Daytona Road Course welcomes the NASCAR Cup Series

For the first time in NASCAR Cup Series history the series will compete on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course for the inaugural Go Bowling 235 this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The Daytona International Speedway Road Course has been measured at 3.61-miles and the competitors will have to navigate through 14 turns; including the newly added chicane on the Frontstretch between Turn 4 and Tri-Oval. This weekend’s Go Bowling 235 will be 65 laps (231.465 miles) and will be broken up into three stages. The first two stages will be 15 laps each and the final stage will be 35 laps.

Cup Road Course Tracks

Races

Riverside

48

Watkins Glen

37

Sonoma

31

Bridgehampton

4

Lancaster

2

Charlotte ROVAL

2

Augusta (RC)

1

Kitsap

1

Linden

1

Road America

1

Titusville-Cocoa

1

Total

129

 

Over the course of its 71-year history (1949-2020) the NASCAR Cup Series has held 129 road course races among 11 different tracks, the Daytona Road Course will be 12th different road course the series has competed on. Riverside International Raceway has hosted the series-most road course events at 48; followed by Watkins Glen International with 37 and Sonoma Raceway with 31. 

 

The 129 NASCAR Cup Series road course races have produced 52 different winners, led by NASCAR Hall of Famers Jeff Gordon with nine victories (Sonoma: five wins, Watkins Glen: four) and Tony Stewart with eight (Sonoma: three, Watkin Glen: five). NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds NASCAR Cup Series record for the most wins on a single road course with six victories at Riverside International Speedway (1971, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1981 sweep).

 

While this will be the NASCAR Cup Series’ first visit on the road course, the iconic layout that has been the home of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, North America’s premier sports car race, since 1962. Most of the NASCAR Cup Series field will be making their track debuts this weekend, but 10 active drivers entered this week have some experience competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events at the Daytona Road Course - the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Paul Revere 250.

 

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver and seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson has made seven Rolex 24 starts posting a career-best finish of runner-up in 2005 and 2008.

 

“It’s a fun track," said Johnson. “It might seem like a surprise to some, but in my mind, I felt like it would be a good option. It’s fun just doing different things, new things and this year has brought a lot of that. There’s silver lining moments we’re all experiencing with this pandemic. You look at the schedule and races moving around and Daytona being an example of that with the road course, it’s nice to have something a little different, especially where I sit with my career and looking for new experiences.”

 

The only other driver with that much experience on the Daytona Road Course is Front Row Motorsport’s Michael McDowell who also made seven starts in the Rolex 24 posting a best finish of third in 2012.

 

But of the 10 active NASCAR drivers with Daytona Road Course starts only one has ever won at the famed track – Brendan Gaughan finished 12th overall and won the Rolex 24 in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge class in 2011.

 

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch is the most recent to compete on the road course. He drove a GTD-class Toyota Lexus-RCF in the 2020 Rolex 24, finishing 26th overall, ninth in class.

 

The 10 active NASCAR Cup Series drivers entered this weekend with previous starts on the Daytona Road Course in other series:

  • Jimmie Johnson – Rolex 24 (2004, ‘05, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘10, ‘11); Paul Revere (2007)
  • Michael McDowell – Rolex 24 (2005, ‘06, ‘07, ‘08, ‘09, ‘11, ‘12); Paul Revere (2005, ‘06)
  • James Davison – Rolex 24 (2014, ‘15, ‘16) Qualified on GTD class pole for 2015 Rolex 24
  • Kyle Busch – Paul Revere (2009), Rolex 24 (2020)
  • Kurt Busch – Rolex 24 (2005, ‘08)
  • Kevin Harvick – Rolex 24 (2002)
  • Clint Bowyer – Rolex 24 (2013)
  • Matt Kenseth – Rolex 24 (2005)
  • Timmy Hill – Rolex 24 (2012)
  • Brendan Gaughan – Rolex 24 (2011 – won the event in the Porsche GT3 class)

 

Cup Series active road course ringers gear up

Active NCS Road Course Winners

Wins

Kyle Busch

4

Martin Truex Jr

4

Chase Elliott

3

Kevin Harvick

2

Clint Bowyer

1

Denny Hamlin

1

Jimmie Johnson

1

Joey Logano

1

Kurt Busch

1

Ryan Blaney

1

While most of the NASCAR Cup Series races on the 2020 schedule focus on turning just left, this weekend the competitors will have to overcome not only turning left and right but also while making their first laps ever on the famous 3.61-mile, 14-turn Daytona International Speedway Road Course.

 

Of the drivers entered this weekend, 10 have previous NASCAR Cup Series wins on road courses. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch (Sonoma: two wins, Watkins Glen: two) and Martin Truex Jr. (Sonoma: three wins, Watkins Glen: one) lead all active drivers in road course wins with four each.

 

Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Chase Elliott is the most recent Cup Series winner on a road course taking the checkered flags at two of the three road courses on the 2019 schedule – Watkins Glen International and the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL.  

 

Playoff Bubble: Four races left to make the postseason

With only four races remaining in the NASCAR Cup Series regular season time is running out for the competitors vying for the final six Playoff transfer spots.

 

A total of 10 drivers have clinched their spot in the postseason on wins – Kevin Harvick (six wins), Denny Hamlin (five), Brad Keselowski (three), Joey Logano (two), Ryan Blaney (one), Chase Elliott (one), Martin Truex Jr. (one), Alex Bowman (one), Austin Dillon (one), Cole Custer (one). 

 

Possible to Clinch at Next Race (sorted by points) at Daytona:

Clinch On Wins

The following nine drivers have already clinched a top 30 spot in the points and with a win this weekend, they could clinch a Playoff spot on wins:

 

Aric Almirola (0 Wins, 669 Points, +431 Points Ahead of 31st)

Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 651 Points, +413 Points Ahead of 31st)

Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 648 Points, +410 Points Ahead of 31st)

Clint Bowyer (0 Wins, 571 Points, +333 Points Ahead of 31st)

Matt DiBenedetto (0 Wins, 568 Points, +330 Points Ahead of 31st)

William Byron (0 Wins, 537 Points, +299 Points Ahead of 31st)

Erik Jones (0 Wins, 511 Points, +273 Points Ahead of 31st)

Jimmie Johnson (0 Wins, 511 Points, +273 Points Ahead of 31st)

Tyler Reddick (0 Wins, 501 Points, +263 Points Ahead of 31st)

 

Clinch Top 30 and Wins

The next five drivers still need to clinch a top 30 spot in points to be able to clinch a spot in the Playoffs on wins:

 

Christopher Bell (0 Wins, 415 Points, +177 Points Ahead of 31st) - Could clinch a top 30 spot on their own with 52 points this weekend. Can clinch a Playoff spot at Daytona with a win and clinching a top 30 spot in points.

 

Four of the five drivers attempting to clinch a spot in the top 30 in the driver standings will need help this weekend to accomplish the feat, but if they do and win the race, they will clinch a Playoff spot.

 

Darrell Wallace Jr. (0 Wins, 400 Points, +162 Points Ahead of 31st)

Michael McDowell (0 Wins, 376 Points, +138 Points Ahead of 31st)

Chris Buescher (0 Wins, 371 Points, +133 Points Ahead of 31st)

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (0 Wins, 369 Points, +131 Points Ahead of 31st)

 

Impossible to Clinch

Even with a win, John Hunter Nemechek (0 Wins, 341 Points, +103 Points Ahead of 31st) would not clinch a top 30 spot, so he cannot clinch a Playoff berth in the next race.  If he can't clinch a top 30 with a win, no other winless drivers below him in the standings could clinch either.

 

NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.:

Harvick can wrap up regular season title at Daytona RC Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick can clinch the NASCAR Cup Series Regular Season Championship in the next race with help, if he finishes the next race 181 points ahead of second in the driver standings. Currently he has 137 points lead over second place Brad Keselowski and 140 points lead over third place Denny Hamlin. Harvick has accumulated 35 Playoff points through 22 races this season. If he were to win the Regular Season title and be awarded the 15 bonus Playoff points it would bring his total to 50 Playoff points to carry throughout the postseason.

 

Daytona adds new chicane to famous road course - NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway announced a new twist to the storied, high-banked tri-oval/infield road course with the addition of a chicane at the exit of the NASCAR turn four that will provide competitors with yet another passing zone. The new chicane now creates a 14-turn, 3.61-mile layout (from the 3.56-mile/12 turn) on the storied DAYTONA Road Course, which, for the first time in history, will play host to NASCAR’s three top national series, along with the ARCA Menards Series.

 

“Daytona International Speedway is known for producing iconic moments in the history of NASCAR, and this will surely join that long list,” said track President Chip Wile.

 

Special trophy awaits Daytona Road Course winner - The winner of this Sunday’s (Aug. 16) historic first NASCAR Cup Series race on the world famous road course at Daytona International Speedway - the Go Bowling 235 At The DAYTONA Road Course - will win a special, one-of-a-kind trophy, produced by The Corning Museum of Glass.  The Corning Museum of Glass has partnered with Watkins Glen International to design a trophy for its NASCAR Cup Series races since 2012.

 

Traditional glassmaking methods were used on the 18” tall/4.5” wide prize, incorporating a blown glass cup that plays on the history of NASCAR (began in 1948), “The World Center of Racing” Daytona International Speedway (opened in 1959), and Daytona Beach, the “Birthplace of Speed,” which dates back to 1903 when automotive competition began on the sands of the beach. Photos of production, as well as the finished trophy, are located here.

 

“Thinking about the history of the track and long-held traditions, I was reminded that historically, trophies used to be cups and have evolved into sculptural forms,” said Eric Meek, Sr. Manager of Hot Glass Programs at The Corning Museum of Glass, the foremost authority on the art, history, science and design of glass. “We took this trophy back to a more traditional shape. Daytona is the most historical track, and in thinking about a trophy design for a race held in this storied location, I was transported back to the golden age of speed. I wanted to design something that felt like a bit of a throwback – like it belonged in the era of streamline racers and the quest to go faster.”

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Xfinity Series kicks off historic weekend for three national series at Daytona Road Course

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is sticking with road-course action for the second weekend in a row, but this time, they will compete for the first time in series history on the Daytona International Speedway Road Course.

 

The UNOH 188 will kick off the historic weekend for all three NASCAR national series on Saturday afternoon (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

The Xfinity Series competed at Road America last weekend, where road course ace Austin Cindric was victorious for the fourth time this season.

 

Luckily for the drivers, they are in road course mode right now having just competed on the Road America road course while the other two series competed at Michigan International Speedway last weekend. But Saturday’s race is going to be new and tricky for every driver entered. On top of the series never competing on the course, there has been a new chicane added in Turn 4.

 

The race will be 187.72 miles and 52 laps. The first stage will end on Lap 15 and the second stage will end on Lap 30. Cindric will lead the field to green from the pole.

 

Cindric and points leader Chase Briscoe both competed in GT races at the road course prior to the start of the Rolex 24 this season. Cindric has three Rolex 24 starts to his name.

 

AJ Allmendinger is a past winner in the Rolex 24 in 2012 and was the runner-up in 2006 and finished third in 2013.

 

Keeping track of the Playoff bubble

The Xfinity Series is back on a road course this weekend to make history along with the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.

 

With Austin Cindric taking home his fourth win of the season last weekend at Road America, six drivers remain locked into the Playoffs with a win. Spots seven through 12 are still up for grabs.

 

Although, Brandon Brown, who is holding onto the final Playoff spot right now extended his lead further over the weekend, road courses can shake up everything especially when no one has ever run a race on it.

 

Ross Chastain is still holding onto the seventh spot in the driver Playoff standings as the first driver without a win. Justin Allgaier is right behind Chastain in eighth and Michael Annett is in ninth. Ryan Sieg jumped up one spot to 10th while Riley Herbst, a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, is hanging on to the 11th spot.

 

Rank

Driver

Points

Race Wins

Stage Wins

Pts from Cutoff

1

Chase Briscoe

760

5

3

In On Wins

2

Austin Cindric

771

4

7

3

Noah Gragson

697

2

8

4

Harrison Burton #

608

2

0

5

Brandon Jones

523

2

2

6

Justin Haley

636

1

2

7

Ross Chastain

708

0

0

358

8

Justin Allgaier

598

0

7

248

9

Michael Annett

543

0

0

193

10

Ryan Sieg

436

0

2

86

11

Riley Herbst #

424

0

0

74

12

Brandon Brown

403

0

0

53

13

Jeremy Clements

350

0

0

-53

14

Myatt Snider #

330

0

0

-73

15

Josh Williams

317

0

0

-86

 

Jeremy Clements has been hanging onto the 13th spot right below the cutline and Myatt Snider, another rookie, is in 14th, 73 points back from the cutline. Josh Williams has made his way up to the 15th spot.

 

Noah Gragson continues to hold the most stage wins of any driver in the series with eight and his JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric are tied with seven.

 

Road course connoisseurs on deck at Daytona

Saturday’s UNOH 188 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCR Radio) will mark the third road course race of the season so far for the Xfinity Series.

 

The first road course race this season was also a historic one as the series ran on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course for the first time in history. Chase Briscoe won the race after leading 30 laps and starting in 12th. Briscoe has competed in GT races at the road course prior to the start of this year’s Rolex 24, giving him some experience on the track.

 

Austin Cindric won the second road course race last weekend at Road America for the series. He started second and led 19 laps en route to the win. Cindric has three starts in the Rolex 24 (2017-2019).

 

It is no secret that Briscoe and Cindric are two of the best road course racers that run fulltime in the Xfinity Series. Both drivers got their first career wins on a road course and also happen to be the two drivers dominating the 2020 season.

 

But, other familiar names such as AJ Allmendinger, who will return to Kaulig Racing again this weekend to run the No. 16, and his teammate Justin Haley, show strength on road courses. Allmendinger is a past overall winner in the Rolex24 in 2012 and was the runner-up in 2006 while finishing third in 2013.

 

“The Daytona road course – it’s happening. I’m ready! Road America was a great day, and we almost got the win. I’m so proud of everyone at Kaulig racing. We’re making such great progress. I can’t wait to get to Daytona. I think I’ve done 15 Rolex 24 hour races now. This will be the first time in a Xfinity car on the road course. With the added chicane off of Turn 4, it’s going to make for some good action. Overall, I’m so proud of this race team. We’re getting so close. I’m ready to go win and pull into victory lane at Daytona for the second time with Kaulig Racing there. I have to try to match Ross (Chastain) from last year there on the oval,” Allmendinger said in a team release.

 

Then there are some drivers that we do not see every week in the Xfinity Series but will hit the road course and compete on Saturday for various teams.

 

Andy Lally will be making his second Xfinity Series start this season at the Daytona Road Course for Our Motorsports. His first race of the season was at Road America and he finished fifth, rallying from a 23rd-place starting position. This will be his 13th career Xfinity start in a span of eight years. He has two best finishes of fifth at Mid-Ohio in 2017 and Road America last weekend. Lally is the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year and a four-time Rolex 24 at Daytona class champion.

 

Jade Buford is back behind the wheel of the No. 07 for SS Green Light Racing. This will be his third Xfinity start in 2020 and all on road courses. He finished in 14th at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course and finished ninth last weekend at Road America for JD Motorsports.

 

Earl Bamber, two-time Le Mans 24 race winner, will make his Xfinity Series debut this weekend for Richard Childress Racing at the Daytona Road Course. Bamber also won the GTLM championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship last year.

 

Brandon Gdovic is back behind the wheel of the No. 26 for Sam Hunt Racing for the second time this season. He made a start for the team at the Indy Road Course and finished 12th after starting last at 38th.

 

Preston Pardus will pilot the No. 36 for DGM Racing for the second week in a row and the third time this season. The Daytona Beach-area native finished 10th at the Indy Road course and eighth last weekend at Road America. This weekend will mark his fifth Xfinity Series career start.

 

CARS Super Late Model driver Harold Crooms is set to make his Xfinity Series debut on Saturday in the No. 66 for MBM Motorsports. MBM has brought a variety of drivers on board this season and Crooms is the only one with no previous NASCAR national series experience. He did participate in ARCA Menards Series testing at Daytona in January.

 

Lastly, Scott Heckert will make his 10th Xfinity Series career start at the Daytona Road Course for B.J. McLeod in the No. 78. Saturday will also be his second start of the season. Last weekend he finished 33rd at Road America.

 

Brandon Brown tightens his lead

Brandon Brown’s No. 68 did not start the race at Road America last weekend as hoped. On the very first lap of the race, Brown had to be pushed to pit road due to a mechanical issue. He fell back a lap in the process and had to fight his way to the front in a crazy and wet race on the road course.

 

His small Brandonbilt Motorsports team fixed the problem and then scored four stage points in the second stage. They fought back earned a 12th-place finish that helped him gain some ground above the Playoff cutline. The finish also marked his second-best career finish on a road course.

 

With only eight races to go in the regular season, the race to the Playoffs is becoming even more tight so a good run is what Brown and the team needed.

 

Earl Bamber making debut with Richard Childress Racing

Two-time Le Mans 24 race winner Earl Bamber will be making his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut for Richard Childress Racing this weekend at the Daytona Road Course in the No. 21 Chevrolet.

 

The team has partnered with KCMG for the event. Bamber has experience at the road course having scored four podiums in the Rolex 24 at the track.

 

“I’ve dreamed about competing in NASCAR my entire life, so I am so thankful to Richard Childress, KCMG and everyone who has played a role in creating this opportunity for me,” Bamber said in a press release.

 

Goodyear update

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will run Goodyear Eagle Road Course Radials on Saturday for the 19th race of the season.

 

Each team will have six sets of tires for the race. After doing research it was determined that the Watkins Glen tire was the best fit for the Daytona Road Course. Because speeds are expected to be close to what Cup Series cars run at Watkins Glen compared to a slower and more technical course like Sonoma Raceway.

 

Goodyear will bring its wet weather radials for use by teams in all three series this weekend. This tire was last run over the weekend at Road America for the Xfinity Series. The obvious difference is the tread pattern versus the dry weather slick tires, but another difference is the “Goodyear” and “Eagle” lettering is white, not yellow.

 

Like all road courses, the teams will not run inner lines and all four corners of the car will have the same Goodyear tire code.

 

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series  

 

Going truckin’ on the Daytona Road Course

It was an exciting weekend at Michigan International Speedway for the Gander Trucks as Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Zane Smith captured his first career win in an exciting finish.

 

Smith made a last-lap pass in overtime to earn his first career victory at Michigan .318 seconds over Christian Eckes.

 

With the win, Smith, 21, also punched his ticket to the 2020 Playoffs in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet.

 

The race saw a record 11 cautions and there were 18 lead changes among 13 drivers.

 

This weekend, the Gander Trucks are a part of an historic weekend at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course. They will kick off Sunday’s doubleheader with the Cup Series at 12 p.m. ET for the Sunoco 159 on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The Gander Trucks Sunoco 159 will be 158.85 miles and 44 laps. The first stage will end on Lap 12 and the second stage will end on Lap 25.

 

Smith will lead the field to green from the pole position.

 

Triple Truck Challenge is here!

The Triple Truck Challenge is returning his year after a successful debut last season. This year, the program will start at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course this Sunday at 12 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The second race will take place at Dover International Speedway and the third race of the challenge will be at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on August 30.

 

This year’s rules will copy last season. The drivers will compete for cash prizes:

  • $50,000 bonus for the race winner of any of the three events
  • If a driver wins two of the three events, they’re awarded an extra $50,000, totaling $150,000
  • Win all three events and take home an additional $300,000 for a total of $500,000 in prize money.

 

Greg Biffle came out of retirement in 2019 to win the first Triple Truck Challenge event at Texas Motor Speedway for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Brett Moffitt won at Iowa Speedway and Ross Chastain won at Gateway.

 

“The Trip” was originally supposed to take place beginning April 18 at Richmond Raceway and continuing into May at Dover and Charlotte Motor Speedway, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic it was rescheduled.

 

Playoff picture post Michigan

Another one bites the dust! Rookie Zane Smith captured his first career Gander Trucks win on Friday night at Michigan and punched his ticket to the playoffs.

 

Now, only five spots remain for the postseason and they are currently occupied by Ben Rhodes, Christian Eckes, Brett Moffitt, Derek Kraus, and Todd Gilliland.

 

Rhodes is the highest-ranked driver without a win in sixth place and 85 points about the cutline.

 

Rank

Driver

Points

Race Wins

Playoff Pts

Pts from Cutoff

1

Grant Enfinger

336

2

11

In On Wins

2

Austin Hill

428

1

6

3

Zane Smith

386

1

8

 

4

Matt Crafton

342

1

5

 

5

Sheldon Creed

340

1

8

 

6

Ben Rhodes

385

0

0

85

7

Christian Eckes #

379

0

3

79

8

Brett Moffitt

375

0

2

75

9

Derek Kraus #

330

0

0

30

10

Todd Gilliland

329

0

0

29

11

Tyler Ankrum

267

0

0

-29

12

Tanner Gray #

236

0

0

-59

13

Johnny Sauter

230

0

0

-72

14

Raphael Lessard

218

0

0

-82

15

Stewart Friesen

217

0

0

-103

 

With 19 races in the books, former series champion Johnny Sauter is below the Playoff cutline after a long string of bad luck. He currently sits in 13th, 72 points back from the final Playoff spot. Tyler Ankrum is sitting in 11th with hopes of making the jump above the cutline before the postseason begins. Stewart Friesen has had a tough season, like Sauter, and is currently sitting in 15th, 103 points back from the cutline.

 

200 for Jennifer Jo Cobb

Jennifer Joe Cobb will be making her 200th NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series start at the Daytona International Speedway Road Course on Sunday, August 16.

 

Cobb made her series debut in 2008 at Kansas Speedway, her home track, before she formed her own team in 2010. She has been entered in every race as a team owner since 2010 and has also fielded trucks for other drivers as a teammate.

 

Cobb has also made 31 Xfinity Series starts during her career.

 

"I feel gratitude. Through the past 10 years, we have outlasted many teams, big and small.  I’ve learned so much from both a driver and a business standpoint and I am constantly looking for ways to improve. Before I moved up to the big leagues in NASCAR, I won races. Now the teams with the budget and capabilities of winning at this level make up less than 20 percent of the entire field. When I look at the past 10 years, I feel like we have paid our dues.  Looking forward, it’s time to dig deeper and have the sponsors and performance that I know we are capable of at JJCR."

 

Fastener Supply Company will be a full-time sponsor of Cobb’s for the rest of the year.  

 

"For a woman without money or a huge sponsor backing to have survived this long as a driver and a team owner, is just unheard of today. We have defied so many odds and it has been all because of the great people who support me. I could not do this — from a financial perspective but also a mental perspective — if it weren’t for the team, my family and friends, the fans and of course the sponsors."

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, Etc.

Eckes ready to step up: Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Christian Eckes has piloted his No. 18 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to finish second in three of the past four races the series contested. This is Eckes’ first start on a road course.

 

Spencer Davis cleared to return: Spencer Davis has been medically cleared to return to competition after testing positive for COVID-19 and missing last weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway. The team was forced to withdraw due to the positive test. Davis had two mandated COVID-19 tests come back negative, meeting the guidelines put in place by NASCAR. “The process works… Gotta thank the medical team at NASCAR for the guidance along the way in taking the proper steps during my quarantine,” Davis said in a tweet.

 

Goodyear tire info for Gander Trucks: The Gander Trucks will also run Goodyear Eagle Road Course Radials on Sunday for the 12th race of the 2020 season. Each team will have five sets of tires for the race. Goodyear will bring its wet weather radials for use by teams in all three series this weekend. This tire was last run over the weekend at Road America for the Xfinity Series. Teams will not run inner liners and the tire code will be the same on all four corners of the trucks.

NASCAR PR

Richmond Raceway (Richmond) and Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) announce a partnership on the entitlement for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday, Sept. 12. The official name of the race will be the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250.

“As NASCAR racing returns to the Capital City, we are proud to expand our long-time partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250,” said Richmond President Dennis Bickmeier. “We look forward to continuing to work closely with Rita McClenny and the VTC team to support their mission to promote and develop tourism in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 Xfinity Series race will combine with the Federated Auto Parts 400 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race for a doubleheader on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 2:30 p.m. The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 will be broadcast on NBCSN. The race will also air on MRN and its network of nationwide affiliates, in addition to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

To download the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 logo, click here.

“Richmond Raceway is a major attraction for both visitors and Virginians alike, and we are proud to add our support for the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250,” said Rita McClenny, President and CEO of Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We’re excited to celebrate at such an iconic track and looking forward to fans discovering for themselves why Virginia is the destination for racing.”

To learn more about Virginia Tourism Corporation, visit virginia.org.

Richmond Raceway PR

Metallica has confirmed its return to the stage for the first time since the September 2019 S&M2 concerts that opened Chase Center in San Francisco. Metallica will be the first rock band to be featured in the Encore Drive-In Nights series, with a full set showing August 29 at hundreds of drive-in and outdoor theaters across the United States and Canada, including Big Hoss, the world's largest HDTV at Texas Motor Speedway. The show will be shot specially for the Encore Drive-In Nights Series at a location near the band's Northern California headquarters and will subsequently be edited and mixed by Metallica's award winning production team to the highest standards possible. The concert, the band's first show in nearly a year, will feature material from throughout their near four-decade career and provide Metallica fans with an intimate, unique and truly memorable concert experience.
 
Pre-sale tickets, available exclusively to Metallica's Fifth Member fan club, will go on sale on August 12 at ticketmaster.com/encore-metallica. General on-sale will begin on August 14. Every ticket purchase -- which admits one carload of up to six people -- will include four digital downloads of Metallica's S&M2, the long awaited album documenting the two historic concerts that reunited the band and San Francisco Symphony for the first time in 20 years. 
 
"In all of rock, it literally doesn't get any bigger than Metallica," said Walter Kinzie, CEO of Encore Live. "Over the course of their career these guys have completely redefined rock, touring and frankly what's possible in terms of success in this industry. We've seen with our first two Encore Nights Drive-In concerts that fans absolutely dig the drive-in experience and we know that Metallica is going to blow the top off of this thing and take it to a whole new level."
 
The Metallica show is part of the Encore Drive-In Nights Series, which is presented by leading event production company Encore Live. Since June, Encore Live has partnered with drive-in theaters across the country to provide world-class entertainment in a safe, creative way. For more information and to see if a venue near you is presenting the show, visit encorenights.com or call your local theater. The August 29 show will also feature a special guest performance by Three Days Grace.
 
Drive-in theaters hosting thestay-in-your-car-only concert will adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended guidelines as well as all state and local health mandates. Staff will wear personal protective equipment and enforce at least six feet of space between cars. The series will also use contactless payment and ticketing systems and limit capacity in restrooms. Guidelines around concessions will be enforced to abide by individual state regulations. For a full list of procedures that the Encore Drive-In Nights is employing to keep fans and staff safe, visit encorenights.com.
 
Texas Motor Speedway's Big Hoss TV features 22,704.64-square feet of HD LED display and has the distinction of holding the Guinness World Record as the World's Largest HDTV. The infield area facing Big Hoss will safely accommodate up to 650 vehicles for the Encore Drive-In Nights series.
 
Unlike traditional concert tickets that are bought for one fan's individual admission, each purchase for Encore Drive-In Nights' concerts will admit one carload of fans. That means up to six people can enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime show for one price. Additional information about Encore Drive-In Nights can be found at https://www.ticketmaster.com/encoredriveinnights.
 
TMS PR

There’s one constant about Fairbury Speedway. The racing never disappoints.

 

Brian Shirley, Brandon Sheppard and Frank Heckenast Jr. put on an instant DIRTcar Summer Nationals classic Wednesday night, battling it out with the rest of the field over 40 laps that ended with Shirley’s fifth Hell Tour win of the season by .090 seconds over Sheppard.

 

Heckenast led the opening laps before outside polesitter Ryan Unzicker cracked the whip to his outside and swiped the lead away on Lap 3, but held it only briefly as Heckenast came back at him on the bottom on Lap 5.

 

Sheppard climbed aboard his horse on a restart after the caution on Lap 8, throwing a slide job on Unzicker for second as they sailed through Turns 1-2. He was able to track Heckenast down in just two laps and made the move for the top spot on Lap 11.

 

Sheppard took command out front for the next 11 laps before facing another strong challenge from Heckenast, who took the lead again briefly on Laps 22-23. Sheppard got a better run on the top side to take the lead back, which he held all the way until the final 10 laps.

 

Shirley had silently been keeping pace all throughout the race behind the leaders and saw the chance to dig-in for the lead on Lap 31. He nearly threaded the Sheppard-Heckenast needle going into Turn 3, but instead was able to get Heckenast to his outside as he steered his Bob Cullen Racing #3s back to the inside to get a run on Sheppard.

 

Squeezing Sheppard in behind a lapped car, Shirley found some traction down low and grabbed the spot with just eight laps remaining. Sheppard tried to return the favor on the cushion, but to no avail. He got one final push on the final lap, heading way up the banking in each corner, but Shirley was just too strong down low. He crossed the line by a mere .090 seconds over Sheppard to collect his 5th Summer Nationals Feature win of 2020.

 

“I was just lucky the lapped cars kinda fell my way,” Shirley said in Victory Lane. “I knew where [Sheppard] was, and he was right there on my ass, so I just tried to do the best I could and was able to get the win.”

 

Unzicker and Weisser completed the top-five, while the former Summer Nationals champions of Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr. and Jason Feger finished 6-7-8. 

 

UP NEXT

 

The DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models next take on the “Mighty” Macon Speedway Thursday night, Aug. 13, for the 100-lap Herald & Review 100. Catch all the action on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.

 

Feature (40 Laps) 1. 3S-Brian Shirley [3][]; 2. B5-Brandon Sheppard [4][]; 3. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr [1][]; 4. 24-Ryan Unzicker [2][]; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser [9][]; 6. 28-Dennis Erb [15][]; 7. 18-Shannon Babb [5][]; 8. 25-Jason Feger [8][]; 9. 77M-Jay Morris [18][]; 10. 1W-Donny Walden [10][]; 11. 111-Steven Roberts [6][]; 12. 1M-Mike Mataragas [14][]; 13. 4G-Bob Gardner [11][]; 14. 89-Mike Spatola [7][]; 15. 33X-Gordy Gundaker [21][]; 16. 18L-Jeffrey Ledford [17][]; 17. 16-Rusty Griffaw [20][]; 18. 91P-Jason Papich [12][]; 19. B12-Kevin Weaver [19][]; 20. 75-Billy Drake [16][]; 21. 48L-Tim Lance Jr [22][]; 22. 6-Daryn Klein [13][] Hard Charger: 28-Dennis Erb[+9]

 

DIRTcar Summit Modifieds

The JHA Motorsports team opted out of coming to Fairbury Speedway for the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals’ most recent visit last month. This time around, they’re walking out as Feature winners.

 

Will Krup took the lead from Jeff Leka on Lap 17 and never looked back, scoring the $1,500 check and his third career Summit Modifieds victory at a track that's presented him challenges in the past.

 

“This track’s always been kinda rude to me, but to end up here in Victory Lane, that’s huge,” Krup said. “We’ve kinda had some bad luck here in the last couple weeks, but this feels good to finally put one together and actually end up in Victory Lane.”

 

Leka shot out to the race lead in the opening laps before receiving a big challenge down low by Krup. The lead changed hands once, then back again between the two before Krup was able to maintain his pass for the lead on Lap 17.

 

Using the very bottom of the track, Krup was able to hold the great speed and control and actually open up a bit of a gap in the closing laps on fellow Elite Chassis pilot Nick Hoffman and six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison.

 

Hoffman crossed the line in second, coming all the way from his 10th-place starting spot to keep his streak going of finishes no worse than second throughout the tour. Mike Harrison rounded out the podium while Tyler Peterson and Mike McKinney capped-off the top-five.

 

UP NEXT

 

The DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals next take on the “Mighty” Macon Speedway Thursday night, Aug. 13, as part of the Herald & Review 100 event for the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Catch all the action on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.

 

Feature (25 Laps) 1. K19-Will Krup [2][]; 2. 7-Nick Hoffman [10][]; 3. 24H-Mike Harrison [9][]; 4. 1TPO-Tyler Peterson [11][]; 5. 96M-Mike McKinney [23][]; 6. 3L-Jeff Leka [3][]; 7. 25W-Allen Weisser [4][]; 8. 34W-James Walters [8][]; 9. 77-Ray Bollinger [5][]; 10. 36-Kenny Wallace [12][]; 11. 64-Dawson Cook [6][]; 12. 14-Rick Conoyer [14][]; 13. 37L-Michael Ledford [15][]; 14. O-Travis Kohler [22][]; 15. 27C-Justin Cundiff [17][]; 16. 35-Ethan Weber [20][]; 17. 12-Richard Craven [24][]; 18. 59R-Jacob Rexing [7][]; 19. 24-Zeke McKenzie [21][]; 20. 3W-Dylan Woodling [16][]; 21. 69SR-Jim Farris [13][]; 22. 1L-Dave Lilja [19][]; 23. 35H-Jason Hastings [1][]; 24. 11S-Nick Seplak [18][]; 25. 17H-Scott Hauge [25][] Hard Charger: 96M-Mike McKinney[+18]

 

DIRTcar Series PR

Leading start to finish at Caney Valley Speedway, John Carney II held off the last lap charge of Robbie Price to win the second round of the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Week powered by Smiley's Racing Products.
 
Asked if he was as surprised to see Robbie make a run on the final lap, Carney replied, "No, actually. On the restarts, I picked up the pace quite a bit just in case I pushed or did something silly, and usually, everyone is on your tail. I think that last one, we had eight to go, and once I saw we had two to go, I knew if I just hugged the tires, I'd be in good shape, but that's exactly where I messed up. I dumped the throttle a little early and made it push. Once I did that, I tried to get the car to slip and bring the back around, and it didn't. It pushed more, and that just opened it up for Robbie to get there, but luckily, I still had a little more momentum on him, so I knew I was in good shape. I just made sure I didn't lift in the last turn."
 
Getting the run to the lead over pole-sitter, Channin Tankersley, caution lights came on after the first lap for Chase Randall. Able to keep the Skagit Speedway No. 21p at bay on the restart, Price had his own battle to deal with as Brandon Anderson used Lap 7 restart for Harli White to bolt into the runner-up spot.
 
Losing ground to the Xiphos by SawBlade.com No. J2, the No. 55 began moving around. Despite the line being around the bottom, Anderson opened his groove up a little bit and started running down the No. J2.
Making over a second on Carney, the run was brought to a fiery halt as Anderson's engine erupted into flames with eight laps to run.
 
Advancing Robbie Price back to second, the final two laps put the No. 21p on the back-bumper Carney. Diving under the No. J2 through the first and second turns, the door slammed shut as the pair hit the back straightaway with Carney taking the win by 0.391-seconds. J.J. Hickle rolled through the field from 10th to claim the final podium step with Ian Madsen crossing fourth. Jake Bubak completed the top five.
 
Channin Tankersley slipped to sixth at the finish with Sean McClelland making up five spots to seventh. Michael Faccinto eighth was chased to the line by Colton Heath with Seth Bergman crossing tenth.
 
A field of 37 cars was on hand Wednesday night. Riley Goodno was the night's Bush's Chicken Fast Qualifier, worth $100. Schure Built Suspension, Griffith Truck and Equipment, Brewer Trucking, and Old School Racin' each put up $100 for Heat Race winners with Brandon Anderson, John Carney II, Jake Bubak, and J.J. Hickle earning wins. Mid-Mo Equipment Dash winners pocketed $50 each with Channin Tankersley and John Carney II on top. Danny Sams III won the C-Feature with Casey Wills winning the B-Feature. The Tiny's Truck Repair Hard Charger, worth $100, was Dylan Postier.
 
The Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Week powered by Smiley's Racing Products continues Thursday, August 13, at 81-Speedway in Park City, Kan. Pits open at 4:00 P.M. with Grandstands opening at 5:00 P.M. Hot Laps at 7:00 P.M. with Qualifying to follow at 7:30 P.M. (CT). Admission is $20 with Kids 10 and under free.
 
For other news, notes, and information on the American Sprint Car Series, from the National Tour to any of the Regional Tours that make up ASCS Nation in 2020, log onto http://www.ascsracing.com, follow on Facebook, on Instagram, and Twitter (@LucasOilASCS).
 
ASCS PR

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Go Bowling Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) in the NASCAR Cup Series, will race in uncharted territory this weekend when he takes on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course, where the series will race for the first time. 

 

“It’s going to be insane,” Almirola said. “We have no idea what to expect. It’s fitting that the race is the Go Bowling 235.  You might see cars getting knocked around like bowling pins in turn one. For me, I’m hoping to make it through the first lap clean and build slowly, faster and more aggressive in each corner as the race goes on.” 

 

In 2018, the series raced for the first time on the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway “roval.” Almirola started 20th that day and finished 19th, which was good enough to advance him to the next round of the NASCAR playoffs after a nail-biting final stretch. Last year, he was in a similar position on the “roval” but needed to gain 12 positions at the end of that race to move on. The Go Bowling Ford driver turned on the jets in the closing laps and came up just five spots and a few seconds short of the next playoff round. In Almirola’s last nine road-course events, he’s earned two top-10 finishes – both with SHR at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway’s 1.99-mile layout.

 

“I feel like, as a driver, I’ve become better at road courses over the years,” Almirola said. “The simulator technology Ford provides us gives me an opportunity to improve my road-course skills. This will be the first road-course outing together for me and (crew chief) Mike Bugarewicz, so I’m excited to see if we can continue this momentum at a new venue.” 

 

Bugarewicz knows what it takes to build a winning road-course car. In 2016, he led the No. 14 team and SHR co-owner Tony Stewart to his final victory as a Cup Series driver at Sonoma.

 

Almirola has earned 10 top-10 finishes in the last 11 races with five of those being top-fives. His average finish is 6.5 over the last 11 races. The No. 10 Go Bowling Ford driver sits eighth in the driver standings for his career-best points position after 22 races. 

 

Almirola has career totals of two wins, two poles, 23 top-five finishes, 74 top-10s and 801 laps led in 338 starts. He has led a total of 264 laps this year at eight different venues. 

 

Go Bowling will adorn the No. 10 Ford this weekend at Daytona for the first time in 2020 and holds the entitlement sponsorship of this weekend’s race – the GoBowling 235.

 

The Go Bowling America league program focuses on bringing families, young adults and kids alike back to the lanes in a healthy and safe fashion, as centers around the country have implemented strict measures to ensure the wellness of its employees and customers who come to bowl. Go Bowling, in conjunction with its industry partners, has introduced detailed safety protocols to the thousands of U.S. bowling centers that include social distancing recommendations, use of personal protective equipment where required, and guidelines for sanitizing balls and shoes, as well as other equipment in the facility. Additionally, the Go Bowling America league program provides every bowler who joins at a participating bowling center with his or her own, brand-new bowling ball to minimize shared contact.

 

“Bowling and racing line up well together,” Almirola said. “It’s a great team-building sport that we’ve used at Stewart-Haas Racing, but it’s also something you can do with your family and friends, regardless of age or experience. Bowling has always been the crowd pleaser in the Almirola household. We’re hoping to park this Go Bowling Ford in victory lane and finally get this regular-season win that is alluding us. We’re so close.”

 

TSC PR

James Hinchcliffe was fastest in the opening practice for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Aug. 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, leading a strong day for Andretti Autosport.

2016 Indy 500 polesitter Hinchcliffe, from Toronto, led with a best lap of 40.0844 seconds, 224.526 mph in the No. 29 Genesys Honda. His best lap came with the aid of an aerodynamic tow on the 2.5-mile oval, as drivers and teams honed Race Day setups in traffic and also adjusted to the first Indy 500 practice on the IMS oval with the revolutionary new Aeroscreen safety device.

RESULTS: Indianapolis 500 Day 1 Practice

Hinchcliffe was one of three Andretti Autosport cars in the top four, while each of the top four drivers were powered by Honda engines.

“Luckily, not a ton of surprises,” Hinchcliffe said. “A couple of new elements, one being the Aeroscreen, but everybody at Andretti Autosport has worked their tails off to prepare for this race. And to have six cars prepared at the level that they do is incredibly impressive, with three of them in the top five after the first day of practice.

“It’s just practice; there’s obviously a long way to go. But whenever you can kick off the month strong and know you’ve got a decent package, you can kind of work on it from there. It makes your sleep a little better now and between the race.”

Marco Andretti was second at 224.345 in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda fielded by Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajanian. NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon broke up the Andretti monopoly on the top end of the speed chart, third at 224.047 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay kept the good times and fast speeds rolling for Andretti Autosport, fourth overall at 223.341 in the No. 28 DHL Honda.

Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso was the top Chevrolet-powered driver, rounding out the top five at 223.238 in the No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevy. Alonso is trying to become just the second driver to win the “Triple Crown” of motorsports, adding an Indy win to his victories in the Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Thirty-two of the 33 drivers assigned to cars for the race turned laps during 6 ½ hours of track time, which opened with a virtual green flag via video from 1963 Indy 500 winner Parnelli Jones, who was celebrating his 87th birthday today at his home near Los Angeles. Ben Hanley was the only driver not on track during the regular sessions.

Track activity was divided into a veteran practice, Rookie Orientation Program and veteran refresher tests, and then a final practice for all cars. Drivers combined to turn 2,444 incident-free laps, with Marcus Ericsson completing 129 laps in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, more than any driver.

All five rookies in the field – Oliver Askew, Dalton Kellett, Pato O’Ward, Alex Palou and Rinus VeeKay – completed the rookie test. Seven of the eight drivers required to take veteran refresher tests completed the mandatory laps, with Hanley attempting his refresher tomorrow.

Practice continues from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursday for all drivers, with live coverage on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. Cars will receive increased turbocharger boost – generating extra horsepower and higher speeds – on “Fast Friday” practice in preparation for Crown Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend on Saturday and Sunday, which will set the field for the race Sunday, Aug. 23.

“Friday is going to be super-interesting with the extra boost,” Hinchcliffe said. “That’s going to be new for everybody, double the boost that we normally get is going to be exciting for the engineers and the drivers alike.

“Obviously, being good over 10 miles (four-lap qualifying run) is important but being good over 500 miles is a lot more important. So, I think a lot of people put a lot of emphasis on the race setups for today and tomorrow. Most of that work will go to until Friday, when you get the extra boost, because it’s going to be such a dramatic jump in everything from aero configurations to gearing to tire pressures. That’s all going to change. So, Friday is going to be a little more frantic, I think, then we’ve seen in the last few years.”

NTT Indycar Series PR

Of the 40 drivers set to compete in the Inaugural NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 325 Sunday on the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road course, there’s only one driver in the field who has competed this season on the 3.57-mile layout – Kyle Busch.

 

While Busch, driver of the No. 18 SNICKERS Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), indeed competed on the Daytona road course in 2020, it was a completely different kind of car and race as he drove the a GTD-class Lexus RC F GT3 sportscar for AIM Vasser Sullivan in January’s Rolex 24.

 

While the defending Cup Series champion has some experience on Daytona’s road course layout, his team does not. Cup Series teams won’t even be able to get any track time ahead of Sunday’s race. So it will largely be a guessing game for all the teams in NASCAR’s top series as they will not see a lap on the course at race pace before the green flag waves. In addition to the unknowns, NASCAR has added a chicane at the exit of the superspeedway oval’s turn four to help slow speeds as cars approach the infield portion of the course, a wrinkle Busch did not get to test during his Rolex 24 stint in January.

 

Busch will add another road-course start to his resume this weekend and he could also join some elite company as a road-racing ace in NASCAR’s top series. The SNICKERS driver’s four road-course wins tie him with retired drivers David Pearson and Mark Martin on the all-time Cup Series road-course wins list. That’s some pretty good company, already. But with a fifth road-course win, Busch could tie Darrell Waltrip, Tim Richmond and Dan Gurney on the list at five. There is a bit of distance to the top two spots on the all-time road-course wins list, of course, when it comes to catching Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, who have nine and eight career road-course wins, respectively.

 

Busch scored his fourth career Cup Series road-course win in June 2015 at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, and he heads to Daytona with 11 top-five finishes and 19-top-10s at the traditional road-course stops on the schedule with 32 combined starts at Sonoma, Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International and the Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway “roval.”

 

So as Busch prepares for some road racing this weekend, he would like to accomplish a few things – including another tally in the win column for SNICKERS colors while also adding to the record books as one of NASCAR’s best road-course racers. Busch will head to the great unknown this weekend in hopes of showing his Rolex 24 experience from January may give him a leg up on the competition, who will be taking their best guesses on how to get to victory lane on Sunday.

 

TSC PR

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