Monday, Jun 05
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Christian Eckes scored his second-straight runner up result at World Wide Technology Raceway on Saturday afternoon. The driver of the No. 19 BlueDEF Platinum / NAPA Nightvision Chevrolet Silverado RST earned the second-most points of all drivers in the field (46) and tallied his second consecutive top-10 finish. After 12 races, Eckes maintains the sixth position in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship standings and moved within 36 markers of the points lead. 
Eckes laid down the third-fastest lap in qualifying on Friday evening and started from the inside of the second row. The two-time winner this season challenged for the race lead and held serve among the top three throughout the majority of Stage 1. A caution on lap 29 jumbled the running order as Eckes and many of the front runners pitted for four tires and fuel before the end of the stage at lap 35. Eckes restarted 12th for a one-lap run to close out Stage 1 and picked off five positions to earn four points in seventh position at the completion of lap 35.
Eckes restarted the second stage in third on lap 43 and reported the balance of his Chevrolet had improved, thanks to ample chassis adjustments called by crew chief Charles Denike. Eckes ran inside the top three until a restart on lap 61. He made a quick bid for the lead, but contact from tight racing relegated him back to fourth. He held that position until the Stage 2 caution on lap 70 and collected seven points.
The No. 19 team’s second pit stop of the day came under the stage caution but restarted 18th on lap 77 as many other competitors stayed out to flip flop track position. The raw speed and aggressiveness Eckes displayed helped him knife through the field and rejoin the top 10 by lap 97. The New Yorker made his final stop under a caution on lap 125 and restarted 14th as the field split once more with various strategies. Eckes continued to flex his muscle by slicing back through the field up to sixth by lap 142. He restarted sixth on a restart with six laps remaining and took the second spot as the two leaders crashed in front of him. He held the runner-up position on an overtime restart to secure a second-place finish, and his fourth top-five finish of the season.
Christian Eckes Quote:
“There were a lot of times we shouldn’t have finished second. Obviously wish we could have won there, but I’m proud of the fight today. I thought we’d be a little better. We struggled with a couple things today, but we stayed with it throughout the race and had enough speed in our BlueDEF Platinum / NAPA Nightvision Chevy that we were able to get back towards the front. We would have liked to be one spot better, but we’ll take the points, another top-five, and move on.”

Sheldon Creed Earns First Xfinity Series Pole and Stage Win; Finishes Seventh in the No. 2 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet after Late-Race Contact at Portland International Raceway





“We had a great Whelen Engineering Chevrolet today at Portland International Raceway. There were three corners that I feel made the difference of how our race ended. I could have led every lap if our No. 2 Camaro was a little better in Turns 6, 7 and 12. I just struggled in those turns and others could really make ground there. I got spun coming to the stage two end. Obviously, going for a stage win, everyone is going to be aggressive. The No. 20 came up and apologized after the race. I got even on the racetrack, so I was fine. We were just racing hard there. At the end of the race on the overtime restart, I wanted to race the No. 7 car straight up for the win. I wasn't going to wreck him. That's just not how I want to get my first win. I want to earn it. The No. 48 car ruined our chances of that and he didn't give us a chance to race for the win. As I was running for third, the No. 1 car ran me off the racetrack coming to the white flag. It's disappointing to finish seventh after leading a ton of laps, but it was a great day overall. I was happy with the speed of our Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and I'm happy to get my first Xfinity Series pole. I just need the last few laps to go my way one of these days.”


-Sheldon Creed

Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet Team Fight through Handling Issues to Finish in the Fifth Position at Portland International Raceway





"I'm proud of our No. 21 Richard Childress Racing team for working hard throughout the entire race at Portland International Raceway. Our Bennett Transportation and Logistics Chevrolet wasn't the greatest and we struggled with the handling for most of the day. Every chance we had to work on it, we did. At the beginning of the race, I had zero drive off Turn 7 and lost lateral grip through Turn 12. The handling was all over the place and it was hard to describe what the worst problem was. At the end of these races, you just have to be ready for anything and I was able to capitalize when mistakes were made. You have to keep your head down and fight to the finish. To leave the track with a fifth-place finish after how our race actually went shows the strength of our team. I love road course racing and look forward to having another shot at it next weekend at Sonoma Raceway."


-Austin Hill


After qualifying 21st, a strategy move by crew chief Brian Pattie helped Jack Wood to finish 11th in Stage One. After pitting between stages, the Logitech Silverado lined up on the inside of the 12th row when Stage Two went green. Wood was running 24th with 15 laps remaining in the Stage when he went to maneuver around a lap truck and got clipped in his left-rear quarter panel by the truck behind him. After caroming into the outside wall, he went sliding down the track and hit the inside wall with the back end of his Chevrolet.
After several trips down pit road to repair the damage and a brief stint in the garage to fix the steering, Wood would end the day four laps down in the 29th position.
Jack Wood, Driver of the No. 51 Logitech Chevrolet:
Talk about your race.
“We hurt our weekend in qualifying -- I didn’t have the best lap and we had to start in the middle of the pack. It’s so tough to pass here – we were faster than most of the guys we were racing, it was just hard to get by them. I was trying to go around a lap truck and got turned and then from there we were just battling as hard as we could with the damage that we had and trying to salvage what we could being on a lap of our own. It’s been a frustrating couple of weeks, luckily the guys are going to get some time 0ff -- they’ve been working their tails off these last five weeks. We’ll get refocused for Nashville and go out and get this team the finish that they deserve.”
Craftsman Truck Series 200 Recap:
  • Grant Enfinger won Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series 200. It was his second Truck Series victory of 2023 and the ninth of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Christian Eckes finished second, while Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Chase Purdy rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 61 laps and 11 lead changes among four drivers.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner Point Standings:
The No. 51 team fell two spots to fourth in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings. After 12 races they trail the No. 11 team by 42 points with four races remaining in the regular season.


Chase Purdy was running 11th in Saturday’s NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at World Wide Technology Raceway when a caution came out with 35 laps remaining. When pit road opened, crew chief Jimmy Villeneuve called up a two-tire stop which allowed the No. 4 Silverado team to be the third truck off pit road.
After battling inside the top 10 in the closing laps, Purdy lined up on the top of the sixth row for a restart with six laps remaining. Chaos ensued on the restart, and the top two trucks ended up wrecking each other. The Bama Buggies Chevrolet would line up on the top of the third row for the final restart of the event and would go on to cross the finish line in the fifth position.
It was the second top-five finish of Purdy’s career, both which have been earned in his first season driving for KBM.  
Chase Purdy, Driver of the No. 4 Bama Buggies Chevrolet:
Talk about your race.
“It was nice to have a solid run today. I felt like we could have run a little bit better, but the driver made some errors. Jimmy (Villeneuve, crew chief) and everybody at KBM brought me a really fast Bama Buggies Silverado, I just didn’t execute really well on some of the restarts early in the race and struggled setting up some of my passes. The last two restarts, we really came to life and got after it. I’m just proud of everyone on this No. 4 team for the battle we put up today and getting a solid finish after a tough few weeks.” 
Craftsman Truck Series 200 Recap:
  • Grant Enfinger won Saturday’s Craftsman Truck Series 200. It was his second Truck Series victory of 2023 and the ninth of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Christian Eckes finished second, while Stewart Friesen, Carson Hocevar and Purdy rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 61 laps and 11 lead changes among four drivers.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Point Standings:
Purdy remained 13th in the Craftsman Truck Series point standings. After 12 races he sits 31 points below the cutoff line for making the post season with four races remaining in the regular season.


Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang are set to start 14th in Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway. 

Burton turned a lap at 135.927 miles per hour to secure his third-straight top-15 start, continuing a string that includes races at Darlington and Charlotte.

His qualifying speed represented a significant gain from practice earlier on Saturday where he was 31st on the speed chart with a best lap at 134.188 mph, which he turned on the fifth of the 21 laps he ran in the session.

He was 23rd fastest among drivers who ran 10 or more consecutive laps, posting an average speed of 133.242 mph from the ninth to the 18th lap he ran.

Sunday’s 300-mile, 240-lap race is scheduled to get the green flag just after 2:30 p.m. Central Time (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time) with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1. 

Stage breaks are planned for Laps 40 and 140.


For the third straight week rain has affected racing at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Right after qualifying was completed for the Brad's Golf Cars Modified Series, cars were brought out for the Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series' first 15-lap race. But the rain began to fall before the green flag was flown. Race officials then decided to postpone the racing at Bowman Gray Stadium.

Saturday's originally-scheduled Elite Underground 100 in the Modified Series will be moved to next week. The Thunder Road Grill Street Stock 50, which has now been postponed three times because of rain, will be moved to another date to be announced later.

In addition to next week's Elite Underground 100 Modified race, there will be racing in the Thunder Road Grill Stadium Stock 50. Also, there will be twin 20-lap races in the McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman Series, a 20-lap race in the Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series, and a Midway Mobile Storage Chain Race.

The Sportsman 100 scheduled for next week is canceled, with the next 100-lap Sportsman race scheduled for June 24. Also on June 24, double points will be awarded in each division.

The Modifieds were able to qualify on Saturday, so the results will stand for next week's 100-lapper. But there will be qualifying for the Thunder Road Stadium Stock 50, with a redraw for the top six qualifiers.

The top five qualifiers in Saturday's Modified race were Chris Fleming at 13.194, Burt Myers at 13.242, Brandon Ward at 13.278, Jason Myers at 13.290, and Daniel Beeson at 13.295.

The fop four had the opportunity to take the Fans' Challenge. They could elect to start in the rear - and if they battled back to a top-four finish, they would win all or part of $3,000.

Fleming was asked and he declined.

"There's no outside," he said. "I'm not going to do it tonight."

Burt Myers, who is in first place in the points championship, also declined.

"Not tonight," he said. "The track's got to come in just a little bit more. Once this outside starts coming in here a little bit better, you'll see some guys start going to the back. But tonight, we'll see if we can't draw it on the poll and win this thing.

Burt Myers actually drew second behind Danny Propst. Daniel Beeson drew third and Randy Butner was fourth.

Brandon Ward also declined the opportunity to take the Fans' Challenge.

"I let the guys decide tonight," he said. "They wanted to take the chance and draw. So, we're not going to volunteer to go to the rear."

Ward drew 11th for next week's race. The only other driver who had the opportunity to take the Fans' Challenge was Jason Myers. Jason Myers took the Challenge and will start in the rear next week at No. 22.

"I'm going to take my chances," Jason Myers said. "I mean, these fans came to see a show. We're going to try and put one on for them and try to make a little money at the same time. It's a toss-up. So we're going to go for it."

BGS Racing PR

Race Winner:    Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Sheldon Creed of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)


SHR Race Finish:         

●  Cole Custer (Started 2nd / Finished 1st, Running completed 77 of 77 laps)

●  Riley Herbst (Started 12th / Finished 32nd, Accident, completed 65 of 77 laps)


SHR Points:

●  Cole Custer (4th with 457 points, 65 out of first)

●  Riley Herbst (10th with 346 points, 176 out of first)


Victory Notes:

●  Cole Custer’s victory at Portland marked SHR’s 19th Xfinity Series victory, its first of the season, and its first at Portland.

●  This was Ford’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory at Portland.

●  This was Custer’s 11th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory and his 10th with SHR.

●  This was Jonathan Toney’s first win as a crew chief in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.


SHR Notes:      

●  Custer earned his first victory of the season and his first victory in one career NASCAR Xfinity Series start at Portland.

●  This was Custer’s seventh straight top-10. He finished fifth April 1 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, third April 15 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, fourth April 22 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, seventh April 29 at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway, third May 13 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway, and third last week at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

● Custer finished seventh in Stage 1 to earn four bonus points and won Stage 2 to earn 10 more bonus points and one playoff point.

● Custer led two times for five laps – his first laps led at Portland.

●  Herbst’s 32nd-place finish bettered his previous best finish at Portland– 35th, earned in the inaugural race at the track last year.

●  Herbst finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point and eighth in Stage 2 to earn three more bonus points.


Race Notes:      

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 10 laps.

●  Twenty-seven of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  John Hunter Nemechek leaves Portland as the championship leader with a 14-point advantage over second-place Austin Hill.


Sound Bites:

“I mean, I was just trying to not make mistakes. I did the same exact thing as the leaders earlier in the race. I saw them drive in there so deep, and I did the same thing two restarts before. Man, I'm just so happy. I’ve never won a road course race before in the Xfinity Series. I've been so close so many times, and it's just awesome to win this. I can't thank Haas Automation and everybody at Stewart-Haas Racing in the Xfinity program and the Cup program. It's just a great day. This is JT’s (Jonathan Toney, crew chief) first win as a crew chief. It's awesome to get this trophy and get that out of the way. I'm so pumped for the rest of the year. We’ve got fast cars, and we’re putting it all together.” – Cole Custer, driver of the No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang


“Man, that’s a tough one. We had a fast No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang all day and ran in the top-10 for most of the race. The race just didn’t go our way with the issues near the end. We’ll keep our heads up and head to Sonoma next weekend. Hopefully, the bad luck will truly be behind us now." – Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang


Next Up:          

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the DoorDash 250 on Saturday, June 10 at Sonoma (Cali.) Raceway. The race begins at 8 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



Cole Custer was victorious Saturday in the NASCAR Xfinity Series featured event at Portland International Raceway. Custer won his first series race of 2023, and notably, it was his first trip to victory lane at the Northwestern road course. He led when it mattered – not only making a surge from fourth in the final three laps to win the second stage, but also completing the race-deciding maneuver to lead the final two laps of the race to victory. Custer was triumphant in his 123rd career series start – 11 total wins – and it was his first victory since February 26, 2022 (Auto Club Speedway).


COLE CUSTER, No. 00 Haas Automation Ford Mustang – WHAT GAVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE TO MAKE THE MOVE FOR THE LEAD ON THE RESTART? “Just trying not to make mistakes. I mean, I did the same exact thing. I saw them drive in there so deep, and I did the same thing like two restarts ago. Man, I’m just so happy. I’ve never won a road course race before. I’ve been so close, so many times. It’s just awesome to win this. I can’t thank Haas Automation, everybody at Stewart-Haas and the Xfinity program… and the Cup program. This is just a great day. J.T. (Jonathan Toney) just for coming in to crew chief… it’s awesome to get this trophy and get that out of the way. I’m pumped for the rest of the year. We got fast cars, and starting to put it all together.”


Ford Performance PR

Myatt Snider (sixth), Connor Mosack (eighth) and John Hunter Nemechek (10th) scored top-10 finishes to lead Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Portland International Raceway. It is Snider’s second top-10 in as many starts this season, while Mosack earned his first career top-10 finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.


Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Portland International Raceway

Race 13 of 33 – 147.52 miles, 75 laps




1st, Cole Custer*

2nd, Justin Allgaier*

3rd, Sam Mayer*

4th, Josh Berry*

5th, Austin Hill*








*non-Toyota driver



MYATT SNIDER, No. 19 Tree Top Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 6th

How was your race?

“It was very hectic. A lot of calamity; a lot of chaos. I saw someone barreling by me on lap one clobbering into someone. It was a crazy, hectic race, but the boys from JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) brought me a fast Tree Top Toyota GR Supra. I’m really proud of the boys from the 19 team for putting in such a great effort. We were working on drive off all day, but to end up sixth with all of the craziness that happens is pretty awesome. I have to thank my guys from Tree Top, Superior Essex, Right Fire Protection enough for getting this race car as good as it was today.”


CONNOR MOSACK, No. 24 Open Eyes Toyota GR Supra, Sam Hunt Racing

Finishing Position: 8th

How was your race?

“Well overall, pretty good day. I’m really happy with a top-10 finish. I’m a little disappointed in myself for the lap one incident – just misjudged it on cold brakes and overshot the corner and we definitely hurt our car. I’m a little disappointed with that – feel like we would have had a shot a top-five finish if we had a car in one piece. We were pretty tight the rest of the day after that. It hurt our speed, but overall, really proud of the Sam Hunt 24 guys. I feel like we had a really good Open Eyes Toyota off the truck. I feel like we finished about where we should have, so overall good day. We will take this to Sonoma, and I think we will even be better there.”


Grant Enfinger, No. 23 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: Grant, you get the win and you get an extra $50,000; that’s gotta be awesome!

“I forgot about that Regan! It’s just so hard to win these races, and if it’s about money, we would have quit a long time ago. But thank you to CRAFTSMAN for that, thank you so much to Champion Power Equipment, Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam, Ron Booth, Jeff Hensley, those guys behind that pit wall right there. Big Jim has been with me forever. Thank you to everybody for keepin’ on believing in us. It’s been a rocky year, but these last five races I feel like we’ve come to our own. We’ve had speed; I was a little disappointed yesterday - I felt like I nailed my lap and we were 10th. I looked at the lap tracker and I felt like we were 10th and that we weren’t a contending truck. But Jeff Hensley made the right calls.

I mean overall, it was just a great day and the stars aligned. I don’t know if we were just on the limit right there on the end, but I think Ty just did what I did last year to Zane. I think Tic Tac (Chris Lawson, Crew Chief No. 38) made the winning call there, and I just got loose underneath of them. It’s just so hard to make those moves here but I’m just so proud of these guys. I’m proud of Champion Power Equipment. It’s just as good a time as any to announce that we are expecting another baby, so Michelle, I’ll be home tonight to see her. Life is good!”


Rajah Caruth, No. 24 Born Driven Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: “We had a pretty eventful day with our Born Driven Chevrolet. Definitely not there is only one man. My GMS Racing teammates all running really well today. Getting damage from lap one, to somebody missing a shift in front of me, self inflicting damage later on in the race. Just kind of being a parachute with the nose damage. We never gave up, and I am really proud of my Wendell Scott Foundation group. They did such a great job and we had to go through a lot this weekend and last night and starting dead last. Really proud of my team and hopefully we will get some rest with these two weeks off and get back going and head into the summer with some good results for Maury Gallagher, Mike Beam, Ron Booth, and the men and women on my No. 24 team, everybody at GMS Fabrication, Chevrolet, General Motors, Butler Built, Alpinestars, Bell Racing, Competition Cleaning and ShadyRays.” 


Daniel Dye, No. 43 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline / Chevrolet Silverado RST





Post-Race Quote: "Yeah, we had a really fast GMS Racing Silverado today at Gateway, and was super cool to run up front and be a contender. Unfortunately, a mistake on pit road kinda cost us a shot at a better finish. I can't thank enough for coming onboard along with all our other partners. I also have to say congratulations to Grant Enfinger and the No. 23 team, that's awesome for the organization to get its second win this year!"

GMS Racing PR

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