Monday, Jan 17

After a couple late race cautions, Kyle Busch holds off Daniel Hemric and Cameron Hayley in overtime to win the American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway. This is Busch’s 46th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win; his fifth at Chicago.

 

“This has been a really good place for us at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) over the years. We’ve been really fast here. It was nice to be able to come out here and keep that speed going with this SiriusXM Tundra. I really appreciate Erik Jones being here yesterday, working it in for me a bit, all the work the guys at the shop do a great job. I can’t say enough about Toyota, TRD and JGR Engines – this engine ran really well today. Thank Camping World and of course the fans, too. It seems as though it was perfect timing as it just started spitting a little bit here. All in all good day but really important to see the 9 (William Byron) and 4 (Christopher Bell) make the Chase this year for KBM. Two opportunities there to go after a championship. Also the 13 (Cameron Hayley) right there at the end, that’s a brand new KBM truck out of our stables, so that thing was fast – it was hard to hold him off at the end, he was really quick. Good job to those guys and finding speed in our stuff,”  said Kyle Busch in a post-race victory lane interview.

 

Hemric, who finished second to Busch, was able to lock himself into the chase on points, stated post race, “You’re trying to be smart knowing the situation you’re in, but Kyle and I were able to work good together. I just couldn’t get the air enough like I needed to get the run on him, but when I got there, I stalled out. We just have to work on that aero area on our trucks, and figure out what we need to do on that next step.”

 

Hayley, who needed a win to get into the chase, was unable to point his way into the chase finished third. “We did not have a winning truck at the beginning of that race. They gave me a great Tundra there at the end. That’s why he (Busch) is a Cup driver, I’m the Truck driver. I have a lot to learn from that guy. We’re not in the chase, but you couldn’t say we didn’t try.”

 

With a full moon on hand the American Ethanol E15 225 began shortly after 8:45PM EST. On the initial start, John Wes Townley, who qualified second, did not get up to speed and quickly fell towards the back of the field. After only four laps of competition, William Byron shot into the wall bringing out the first caution. The high lane was the preferred lane on restarts and during the race. Matt Tifft made an unscheduled pit stop under green for a loose left rear wheel. The caution clock expired on lap 46 as Suarez was leading over Ky. Busch and Townley. Cameron Hayley and Timothy Peters endured penalties on the first round of pit stops. Hayley for removing equipment from the box, and Peters for an uncontrolled tire. After hitting the wall, Peters made a couple unscheduled pit stops to try to fix the issues. At the halfway point, Busch led Sauter, Reddick, Custer, and Townley.

 

In the second half of the race, Tyler Reddick was on the charge to the front in order to get a win to put him in the chase in the beginning. Just before the caution clock expired for the second time of the night, the caution flag flew for Byron who hit the wall for the second time after repairing damage.  Cole Custer, who needed a win to get in, was caught on pit road for being too fast on pit exit. On restarts, the high line continued to get the better start compared to the inside line. When the caution flew out for a spin by Josh Berry, teams were debating on making two and four tire stops for the remaining 40 laps of the race. The red flag was displayed after a wreck involving Ben Kennedy, Matt Crafton, Sauter, and Ben Rhodes to repair the SAFER barrier. The red flag was lifted after 14 minutes. Crafton went to the garage in an effort to save the truck from tonight for a race later on in the chase. Grant Enfinger brought out the caution shortly after the restart after contact with Gallagher and Custer. Late race spins by Ben Rhodes and Tommy Joe Martins shortened the chance for other drivers to get the much needed win to get into the chase. However, Busch prevailed to win over Hemric, Hayley, Christopher Bell, and Sauter, who rounded out the top-five.

 

The Chase Grid is officially set for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Byron holds the top seed going into New Hampshire with his five wins in the regular season. Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek will be seeded after Byron for scoring two wins. Sauter, Bell, and Kennedy are seeded fourth, fifth, and sixth. Hemric and Peters will fill the final two positions in the chase due to their points position. Hayley and Custer barely missed the chance to compete in the Chase, but are tied for the ninth position going into New Hampshire.

 

The American Ethanol E15 225 saw 10 lead changes among five different drivers. Busch led the most laps at 95 with Suarez leading 43, Gallagher leading eight, Kennedy leading four, and Tommy Joe Martins leading one lap. The caution flew 10 times for a total of 41 laps. The average speed of the race was 108.648 mph. The time of the race was 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 5 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.139 seconds.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to kick off the Round of Eight for the UNOH 175. The race will be on September 24th at 1:00PM EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

Spencer Gallagher broke the track record with a speed of  176.148 mph to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole for the American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway. John Wes Townley will start beside Gallagher on the front row. This is the fourth time in 2016 a new track record has been established in qualifying.

 

The first round of qualifying saw Timothy Peters top the leaderboard with a speed of 175.376 mph. Gallagher was second with a speed of 175.126 mph, Daniel Suarez was third at a speed of 175.046 mph, Townley was fourth at a speed of 174.995 mph, and Tyler Reddick was fifth at a speed of 174.967 mph. Matt Tifft filled the transfer spot with a speed of 174.223 mph, just three hundredths of a second over Matt Crafton. Some notable drivers who did not advance to the second round include Crafton who qualified P13, Cole Custer who qualified 17th, and John Hunter Nemechek who qualified 18th. No drivers will be going home for tonight’s race. There were no major incidents within the first round of qualifying.

 

The second round of qualifying saw the track begin to pick up speed. Daniel Hemric and Tifft ran the same speed during qualifying at 174.984 mph, but Hemric received the position ahead of Tifft due to his place in points. The track record was broken by the top five drivers. Townley will start second with a speed of 175.896 mph, Suarez qualified third with a speed of 175.713 mph, Reddick qualified fourth with a speed of 175.530 mph, and Peters rounded out the top five with a speed of 175.513 mph.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is the American Ethanol E15 225. The race will begin on Fox Sports 1 at 8:00PM EST. Motor Racing Network will have the radio call beginning at 8:00PM EST.

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series thunders into Chicagoland Speedway for the American Ethanol E15 225, the final race before the chase begins next weekend in Chicago. 32 drivers will strive to compete for 32 spots in the Friday evening extravaganza in Joilet, Illinois. This is race 16 of 22 of the 2016 season.

 

Matt Tifft will return to action in NASCAR this weekend. Tifft had surgery in July to remove a non-cancerous tumor from his brain. He will drive the No. 32 Red Horse Racing Brain Gear/Surface Sunscreen Toyota. Kyle Busch will be performing triple duty this weekend racing in all three national series for NASCAR.

 

Chicagoland Speedway is located southwest of the city of Chicago.The track is a 1.5-mile, D-shaped oval. All the turns are banked at 18 degrees. They have a width of 55 feet, and an apron of 27 feet.

 

This will be the eighth trip to Chicagoland for the Camping World Truck Series. There have been five different pole winners with Jeb Burton being the youngest and Todd Bodine as the oldest. There have been four different race winners with John Hunter Nemechek as the youngest and Kyle Busch as the oldest. No races have been won from the pole position. Kyle Busch holds the race record set back in 2014 with a speed of 142.882 mph. Steve Arpin set the qualifying record in 2011 with a speed of 175.507 mph.

 

William Byron will be the top seed in the chase for the Trucks with five wins. Matt Crafton and John Hunter Nemechek currently hold the second and third seeds with two wins. Johnny Sauter, Ben Kennedy, and Christopher Bell hold the next three seeds with one win in 2016. Daniel Hemric and Timothy Peters currently hold the final two positions in the chase. However, Cole Custer and Cameron Hayley are virtually locked in the chase based on points, but a new winner would bump one of them out at the end of the day.

 

According to weekly press releases, drivers are excited about heading into Chicagoland and the chase.

 

"The closer we get to New Hampshire the more excited I get for the Chase. The 33 team is in a really good place and overall GMS Racing is in a good place. At the end of the day when you look at the results you will see at least one GMS truck in the top 5 or top 10 and typically there are two running up front each race. We're strong as a whole and I think you'll see that more once we get down to those final seven races,” stated Ben Kennedy, driver of the No. 33 GMS Racing Chevy.

 

"Based on our success on the intermediate race tracks, I feel really confident that we can have a good run this weekend. I'm just really happy to get back to some normality in the schedule when it comes to the race tracks being more like the ones in the Chase.  I think this will be a really important tune up for places like Las Vegas and Texas in a few weeks. There is just something about these type of race tracks that works with Rudy and my driving style, so we are both eager to unload at Chicago,” said William Byron, driver of the No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota.

 

"I don't have a whole lot of experience at Chicagoland Speedway, since we had an issue so early in the race last year, but I do know it's a track that a lot of drivers look forward to going to. Chicagoland offers such a wide racing surface to work with, that as drivers, we can constantly be searching for grip during the race. It makes you feel like you have a little more in your control as to how your day turns out.  Everyone on our Draw-Tite Ford F-150 team is focused on running well and locking down a spot in the Chase this weekend,” said Hemric, driver of the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford.

 

The trucks had two practice session on Thursday. In the first practice session, John Wes Townley was fastest with a speed of 175.182 mph followed by Byron at a speed of 174.910 mph, Crafton was third at a speed of 173.779 mph, Peters was fourth at a speed of 173.673 mph, and Custer rounded out the top-five with a speed of 173.633 mph. In the second practice session, Hemric was fastest with a speed of 176.563 mph, Spencer Gallagher was second with a speed of 176.465 mph, Daniel Suarez was third fastest at 176.453 mph, Grant Enfinger was fourth at 176.223 mph, and Kennedy rounded out the top five with a speed of 176.171 mph.

 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will qualify Friday afternoon at 4:30PM EST on Fox Sports 1. The American Ethanol E15 225 will be on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network beginning at 8:00PM EST.

 

In just the last week, NASCAR has launched “Kids Drive NASCAR”, an initiative to bring in the younger race fan. NASCAR, in collaboration with its speedways, have announced several programs to help families come to the racetrack.

 

The first announcement was made at the NASCAR Hall of Fame with the first ever all-kids press conference. Before attending to the media, the announcement that kids aged 12 and under starting in 2017 will have the opportunity to attend NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races for free was made via Facebook Live. 

 

"There really is no other experience like attending a NASCAR race in person, and that’s especially true for kids," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "So many children have become lifelong NASCAR fans because their parents brought them to their first race, and this new ticket offering makes it even more affordable for families to create memories that will last a lifetime." 

 

This program unifies all NASCAR sanctioned tracks in their efforts to reach a younger audience. 

 

The second announcement in “Kids Drive NASCAR” week was the launch of an app called “Acceleration Nation”. Acceleration Nation will provide learning materials for use in schools across the country with lessons focusing on aerodynamics and energy. NASCAR partnered with Scholastics to develop the first motorsports based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education program. The app will provide a digital experience featuring racing-related games, activities, and interactive ways to learn about NASCAR. The app is available in the App Store and Google Play.

 

NASCAR also announced that the chase races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway will be featured on Snapchat’s Live Story. Fans will be able to use Snapchat to show the world their NASCAR raceday experience through video and photos. The Live Story has been featured in 2016 for the Daytona 500 and the May race at Talladega Superspeedway, which set records for social media engagement for NASCAR.

 

"There’s no experience in sports quite like attending a NASCAR race, especially during the Chase,” said Gregory "Snapchat’s Live Story coverage provides young audiences with a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the real Chase race experience, through the lens of our fans and drivers."

 

NASCAR announced a continuing partnership with Nickelodeon with the return of “NASCAR Hammer Down” hosted by Karysn and Kennedy Elledge, granddaughters of Dale Earnhardt Sr. There will be eight, 15-minute episodes ranging from driver interviews, goofy antics among drivers, and behind the scenes insight into the technology used in NASCAR. The show will air regularly on Fridays at 9:30pm (ET/PT) during Nicktoons’ NickSports TV block. NASCAR Productions produces the show.

 

"Kids are a huge part of our sport, and we are excited to deliver a program like NASCAR Hammer Down to a very important audience for NASCAR," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "The personalities of Karsyn, Kennedy and our drivers combined with the NickSportsaudience, creates the perfect avenue for us to connect with a new generation of potential NASCAR fans.

 

Going off of NASCAR, Speedway Motorsports Inc. continues their efforts in working for the fans by providing select children’s tickets to be priced at $10 each to Cup Series events at its speedways beginning in 2017, with the purchase of an adult ticket.

 

“Coming to the races should be about fun, not finances,” said Speedway Motorsports’ president and CEO Marcus Smith. “Now, a parent can get his or her child through the gates for an entire weekend of NASCAR events – including qualifying night, a Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series race and a Cup Series race – for just $10. This is one of the best, if not THE best, family values in all professional sports.NASCAR fans have passed down their passion for motorsports from generation to generation for decades, and through this new Fans First initiative, we’ll continue that legacy by introducing young fans to the sport and engaging them for years to come.” 

International Speedway Corporation will continue to allow the individual tracks to make their own decision on youth ticket prices at Cup events.

The “Kids Drive NASCAR” initiative is just the start of the efforts by NASCAR and its tracks to attract the younger fan.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Camping World Truck, and Xfinity series have wrapped up their respective events at Michigan International Speedway and Road America for the Pure Michigan 400, Road America 180, and the Careers for Veterans 200. Here are five takeaways from this weekend’s events:

  1. Schedule: On Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race was delayed by rain, and was ran during the Xfinity Series event at Road America. This was a nightmare for fans who wanted to watch both events. Motor Racing Network broadcasted the race from Road America, and will replay the Truck race sometime this week. Even if the events were ran at their respective times, there was a small window for fans to switch to events barring the first one get placed under a red flag. I understand that the events were held in two completely different venues, but it was a logistical nightmare for fans. TV probably played a role in the start time of the events, but hopefully it will be looked at scheduling wise to allow fans the chance to watch both races.
  2. First Time Winners: This weekend was a first in NASCAR history. All top-three national series experienced first time winners. Brett Moffitt in the Trucks, Michael McDowell in the Xfinity Series, and Kyle Larson in the Cup series. It is pretty cool, in my opinion, to be witnessing so much history happening in 2016. This makes me excited for the future of this sport, the sport I love and grew up on.
  3. 2017 Aero Package: The aero package that is expected to be used in 2017 needs some work. Kentucky and Michigan 2 provided lackluster racing, which resulted in a snoozefest, in my opinion. I wish this test was going to be used at track like Darlington because it has an abrasive surface, unlike Michigan and Kentucky. The first Michigan race where this package was used provided some fantastic racing, but it failed to produce in the next two events it was used in. I applaud the sanctioning body for trying to make the racing great again, but there needs to be some look on this package tested out.
  4. Road Course Racing: I absolutely love road course racing. Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series is finished with road course racing, fans get to see the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Mosport in Canada next weekend. Road course racing is some of the best of the season. Names in the Xfinity Series were certainly made over the past month with the three road course races and short tracks. Hopefully, we will continue to see the resurgence of road course racing. Every road course provides its own challenges, which is something that some ovals need!
  5. Youth Movement: The future of NASCAR is bright. Three of the top-five finishers in the Pure Michigan 400 are and were rookies within the past three years. We are beginning to see the changing of the guard to a new youth movement. “Kids Drive NASCAR” is a huge youth initiative started by NASCAR to attract the younger fans to the sport that many of us grew up on. I applaud NASCAR for their continued efforts in trying to reach a younger demographic. Much to the demise of the “older” NASCAR fans, you have to embrace change in order to keep the sport relevant. I applaud the efforts by the sanctioning body in trying to keep NASCAR relevant.

What are your five takeaways from the events at Michigan and Road America?

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