Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.
The NWMT held their season opener at Martinsville Speedway on Thursday, marking the first event at the half-mile track known as the “Paper Clip” in 11-years. Ryan Preece won the pole for the event with Ryan Newman starting second.
With eight laps complete, rain fell on the track resulting in a one-hour and 13-minute red flag period. Once track crews dried the track, Ryan Preece led the field over Tony Catalano, Ryan Newman, Kyle Ebersole, and Eric Goodale in the top five.
When the field saw the checkered flag, Eric Goodale scored his fourth career Whelen Modified Tour victory. Goodale, piloting the No. 58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet, started the event in third.
Pole sitter Ryan Preece, leading 110 of 200 laps, finished 12th in his No. 6 Riverhead Raceway Chevrolet.
Tyler Rypkema took home the second spot in just his 16th career Whelen Modified Tour start. Rypkema started the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 200 in 10th.
Justin Bonsignore led 52 of the 200 circuits in the No. 51 Chevrolet after starting the event at the rear of the field for unapproved adjustments. The No. 51 machine had a water leak following qualifying.
Max McLaughlin and Kyle Bonsignore rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10s were Doug Coby, Tommy Catalano, Patrick Emerling, Woody Pitkat, and Jamie Tomaino.
Second-place starter Ryan Newman suffered problems with his No. 53 Curb Records Chevrolet and had to go to the garage on lap 48. The NASCAR Cup Series veteran wasn’t able to return and finished the race 29th.
The event from Martinsville Speedway will air on NBCSN at 4:30 p.m. ET. on April 15th.
The next race for the series will be at Stafford Springs on April 25th. You can catch the event live on NBC Sports Gold TrackPass.
NCS: NASCAR Announces Adjusted Stage Lengths, Tire Allotment; Adds Two Competition Cautions for Bristol Dirt Race
NASCAR announced changes to Sunday’s event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. The changes, stemming from tire issues discovered during the pair of Cup Series practices on Friday, include added competition cautions and adjusted stage lengths.
The stages (previously 75 / 150 / 250) will now be 100 / 200 / 250, along with a pair of scheduled competition cautions at laps 50 and 150.
In addition, NASCAR and Goodyear will give race teams an additional set of tires for the event on dirt.
NASCAR announced penalties stemming from Phoenix Raceway on Tuesday. Five of the penalties impacted NASCAR Cup Series teams while another impacted a crew member in the Camping World Truck Series garage.
Crew Chief Jeremy Bullins, of the No. 2 team of Brad Keselowski, and Travis Mack, crew chief of the No. 99 team of Daniel Suarez, have been both fined $20,000 and suspended for the next Cup Series race for having two lug nuts not safe and secure.
Matt McCall, Ben Beshore, and Ryan Fugle, crew chiefs of the No. 1, 18 & 24 Cup Series teams, have all been fined $10,000 for having an unsecured lug nut.
Jonathan Stewart, an engineer on the No. 21 GMS Racing NCWTS entry, has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning bodies substance abuse policy.
The ARCA Menards Series joined the ARCA Menards Series West for a combination event at Phoenix Raceway. The General Tire 150, an entry list of 30 drivers, included a little bit of everything from a red flag to rain to chaos all Friday afternoon and evening.
Ty Gibbs scored the victory at Phoenix Raceway on Friday by holding off eventual second-place finisher Corey Heim in a one-lap shootout. Gibbs, winning the pole after rain washed out qualifying at the one-mile paved oval, led the field for 124 of the 150 circuits.
“In those moments I just … God blessed me a lot with my driving ability and I’ve got clean tires and somehow I drove through it,” said Gibbs on navigating the sprinkles and one-lap shootout. “It was raining pretty hard there for a little bit but once it cleared off, we went back to green. It was a fun time and I had a blast!”
Gibbs leaves the track with his ninth career ARCA Menards Series victory.
The winner of the event gave credit to God after climbing from his No. 18 Toyota.
“First of all, thank the man above,” said Gibbs. “He’s put me here, and he’s put me in this situation and I’m serving for God and I’m chained to his faith forever. I’d do anything for him and I can’t thank him enough and give him enough glory. He blessed me so much and I’m so thankful to be in this situation and where I am. Not a lot of kids really get to do what I get to do and I’m very thankful for that and I really love driving race cars.”
Heim, leader of only one circuit, placed second in the General Tire 150. The Georgia native leaves the track in the desert with his 12th top-five and 17th top 10 finish.
Thad Moffitt rounded out the top three on Friday. The driver of the No. 46 Clean Pacs Ford led the field for five circuits after starting ninth on the leaderboard.
Kyle Sieg and Derek Kraus took home top-five finishes.
The rest of the top 10 included Jesse Love, Drew Dollar, Todd Souza, Taylor Gray, and Trevor Huddleston.
Taylor Gray led the field for 15 laps before being hit with a two-lap penalty on pit road at the middle portion of the race. The No. 15 crew added fuel while taking tires … which is a no-no under ARCA rules. They do not allow teams to engage the fuel can while taking tires at the same time.
Eight caution flags slowed the event in addition to an 11-minute and 9-second red flag period. 87 of the 150-laps were under green while the remaining 63-laps were under yellow.
The first yellow took out four notable contenders as the race went green. The incident involved Gracie Trotter, Jack Wood, Zane Smith, and Toni Breidinger and forced all four to the garage.
They could not continue.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series will be at Talladega Superspeedway on April 24th. Coverage of the General Tire 150 will air live on FS1.
The ARCA Menards Series West will return at Sonoma Raceway on June 5th.
John Hunter Nemechek took home the victory Friday night at Las Vegas Motor Speedway piloting the No. 4 Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Nemechek led 94 of the 134 circuits to score his seventh career truck series victory.
“It’s an awesome day. The goal here for us was to come here and win. We’ve been close the last two weeks and we have fast race trucks. I can’t thank everyone enough.” said Nemechek on scoring his first win with the team. “The opportunity to come here and race in the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports is an amazing opportunity and we’re capitalizing on that. We want to be the dominant one this year and we want to win as many races as we can. It’s awesome to get it kicked off here in Vegas and beat the boss.”
Placing runner-up was Nemechek’s teammate and bossman Kyle Busch. The Las Vegas Cup Series veteran and truck series team owner led 16 laps of the event before cutting a tire and drawing out the yellow on lap 90. Busch came to pit road to change tires and repair damage sustained to the rear-quarter … putting him a lap down. Busch, the winner of stage two, received the free pass three laps later, placing the No. 51 Toyota back on the lead lap.
“We just didn’t have enough in our Cessna Tundra. They (Nemechek’s No. 4 team) were a little bit better than us so not sure what differences they had,” said Busch. “I was just really tight and really rough over the bumps, trying to get through the bumps. Looking at the splitter wear, it was really rough on the splitter and wearing through it. We were battling some little things, but overall our truck was still fast. It was cool to come home one-two.”
Nemechek, winner of stage one and on baby watch, will go into the next event at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th with two top-five and three top 10s through three events in 2021.
“He was faster than me in stage two, so I really didn’t know, said Nemechek on teammate Kyle Busch. “It was all about using our truck to the best we could possibly do, wrapping the bottom and taking the dirty air away. He had to run up and it created more lap time for him. Overall, it was an awesome victory. I wish my wife Taylor was here. She had to stay home because we are about to be on baby watch. It’s awesome.”
Scoring his 20th top five with a third-place finish was Austin Hill. Hill started the event 31st.
Stewart Friesen and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five finishers.
Taking home top 10s were Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Parker Kligerman, Christian Eckes, and Ben Rhodes.
Nine cautions slowed the field in Friday’s Bucked Up 200 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
One of the stoppages involved seven trucks in turn two on lap 98 that included most notably Hailie Deegan and Sheldon Creed. Austin Wayne Self, Raphael Lessard, Bret Holmes, and Ryan Truex were also involved.
The final yellow came out on lap 124 in turn two involving the four trucks of Chase Purdy, Jordan Anderson, Tyler Ankrum, and Parker Kligerman. That wreck ended the evening for Ankrum while everyone else continued.
The next race for the truck series will be at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 20th. The Fr8 Auctions 200 will take place at 2:30 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and MRN Radio.
NASCAR announced penalties following the events at Daytona Int’l Speedway on Monday. The penalties, impacting two teams and an owner, impacted only the NASCAR Cup Series garage.
The No. 2 and 20 Cup Series teams, driven by Brad Keselowski and race winner Christopher Bell, were hit with lug nut penalties. Jeremy Bullins, crew chief of the No. 2 Ford and Adam Stevens, crew chief of the No. 20 Toyota, were each fined $10,000.
Chip Ganassi, owner of the No. 1 and 42 NASCAR Cup Series teams, has been fined $30,000 and suspended for the next race. Ganassi violated 12.8.1.b (failure to comply with NASCAR’s COVID-19 event protocol guidelines and/or instructions from NASCAR including screenings, social distancing, compartmentalization, and use of required personal protective equipment, etc.)
Ganassi has yet indicated whether he’ll appeal.
Ben Rhodes survived the rain and three attempts in NASCAR Overtime to score the victory at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night. Rhodes, starting on the pole for the road course event, led 13 circuits en route to his fifth truck series victory. Creed, leading 17 of the 51 laps, finished runner-up in his No. 2 unsponsored truck.
“It’s unbelievable. I don’t have words for it. I don’t even know what to say,” said Rhodes after scoring the win. “This is so cool. I just have to thank my team. The Bombardier Tundra was fast all day. It’s good to be paired up with him and all of the guys on my team. I’m just thrilled. I don’t know what to say. I’ve been on cloud nine all week, so it’s above that. I’m just so happy.”
Rhodes, scoring the 200th win for Toyota, won the season opener for the truck series last Friday on the oval at Daytona. The Kentucky native talked about completing the truck series sweep at the facility.
“We did the sweep. I didn’t know that there was a sweep possible at Daytona, but we did it,” Rhodes continued. “I don’t know what to say. This Bombardier Tundra was fast from the get-go. Starting on the pole, I knew that if we just played it safe, if I gave up the lead – I didn’t care about the laps led, none of that stuff.”
Playing it smart was the strategy going into the event for the No. 99 team.
“We didn’t need an ego, we needed to win the race. We played it smart all day. The rain was so fun. I prayed for the rain before the race and we got it. I just wish it had stayed the whole time because we were making so much hay once I got the handling down on it. I honestly didn’t want it to go dry, but I guess I’m glad that it did because it worked out okay.”
Rhodes will go into the weekend off before returning on March 5th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with 35 top-five and 62 top 10s.
Creed will leave with his 15th top-five and 28th top-10 finish.
“Never fun to be the first loser. Guys brought a fast truck,” said Creed after the race on FS1. “I felt like we were on top of the strategy there going to slicks early. I got hit by the lapper there leading and I don’t think that did us any favors.”
The driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet stalled the truck while saving fuel under a caution period and lost five positions. NASCAR rule states that drivers must maintain pace while under yellow or line back up where they re-establish caution car speed.
“Got to the lead, stalled it saving fuel, and then working my way back to the lead got pushed out of the way on a restart,” Creed later said. “Wished we could’ve stayed green.”
John Hunter Nemechek took home the third spot in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra. The team did not have a calm night as the No. 4 Toyota ran out of fuel that put them a lap down.
“Very frustrating day. Had a really fast Tundra and led most of the race,” said Nemechek. “Second stage, we thought we were good on mileage with the wet conditions and how slow we were. Ended up running out of gas. Just a mistake. Honest mistake.”
Nemechek, the winner of stage one, eventually got their lap back and rushed towards the front of the field.
“We win and lose as a team. Fought hard, got our lap back and got back to the front, made some moves and we did some things there on strategy that hurt us, but put us in a good position for that last restart. I just messed up. Go back and study and be better next time.”
Todd Gilliland and Riley Herbst rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10 finishes were Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus, Kaz Grala, Timmy Hill, and Christian Eckes.
Raphael Lessard won stage two and finished 26th on the leaderboard.
Rhodes survived three NASCAR Overtime attempts as the leader before claiming the victory on the road course at Daytona. The first caution that sent the event into overtime involved Austin Wayne Self and Todd Gilliland in turn 10.
Second yellow in overtime came out just before Rhodes took the white flag involving Jennifer Jo Cobb stalled at the entrance of pit road. That yellow flag took only one lap for track officials to clear.
The Kentucky native finally took the white flag before a caution came out on the final lap involving the No. 44 of Jett Noland on the front stretch. This froze the field, giving Rhodes the victory.
Race ran green for 33 laps while 18 laps were under yellow.
The Camping World Truck Series will return to action in two weeks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5th. Coverage of the event will take place at 9:00 p.m. ET. live on FS1 and MRN Radio.
The Daytona 500 had a 5-hour and 20-minute rain delay on Sunday with just 15-laps complete.
Just before a lightning delay, followed by a rain delay, a sixteen-car crash occurred in turn three that involved several most likely contenders. The incident, unrelated to the approaching storms, claimed Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Jamie McMurray, pole-sitter Alex Bowman, Matt DiBenedetto, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Chris Buescher, Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Ryan Newman, Christopher Bell, Kurt Busch, David Ragan, and Daniel Suarez.
Just six of the 10 drivers involved continued.
When things came to a close Monday morning it ended with Michael McDowell scoring the victory. McDowell, 36, from Arizona, scored his first career Cup Series victory by dodging a last-lap melee involving several contenders; most notably at the time race leader Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Kyle Busch.
“I just can’t believe it. I’ve just got to thank God. So many years just grinding it out and hoping for an opportunity like this,” said an excited and emotional Michael McDowell. “I’ve got to thank (owner) Bob Jenkins for giving me this opportunity. I’m so thankful. Such a great way to get a first victory -- a Daytona 500. Are you kidding me?”
While celebrating, McDowell acknowledged his love for his wife and kids watching back home. With NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols, they do not allow families in the infield with their respective teams.
“I just want to say hi to my wife back home. Happy Valentine’s Day. I know it’s been a tough week. My kids, I love you guys. I wish they could be here with me to celebrate. Maybe NASCAR will send a plane to bring them down here, but we’re the Daytona 500 champions.”
With the finishing order frozen at the time of caution, Chase Elliott scored the runner-up finish.
“I don’t think it was very close. I kind of got next to him and I saw the lights come on, so I knew it was over right then,” said Elliott the finish. “I felt like we had a fast car. We weren’t as good as I thought we were on Thursday. I felt like we did a really good job executing today. Staying out of trouble – that’s not something I’ve done a very good job of here in this race, so I’m glad we could at least finish this one and have something to build on for when we come back and try to do better.”
Elliott, driving the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, led the field for three laps en route to his 60th Cup Series top-five finish and 97th top 10.
“The top was just so fast. It didn’t seem to matter who got down low; you couldn’t really make anything go,” Elliott continued. “We all kind of tried at certain points in time; it just didn’t work out. Close – we finished one, so I’m pretty pleased with that.”
McDowell entered NASCAR’s biggest race with 357 Cup Series starts and three top-five and 12 top 10 finishes. His previous best was a fourth-place effort in July 2017 at Daytona.
“It does, but whether I win this race or not it’s not what defines you,” said McDowell. It’s unbelievable and I’m so thankful, but I’m thankful to have a happy, healthy family and a beautiful wife and a great family. Not everybody makes it to victory lane and for 14 years I didn’t, so just to be here now is just so amazing.”
2018 Daytona 500 winner Austin Dillon took home the third-place finish. Dillon started the event fourth on the leaderboard and led the pack for seven circuits.
“You know you’ve just got to be thankful to be around at those moments at the end. I pulled out to see if the bottom would work and just didn’t get enough of a run. It was close,” said Dillon. We were here all weekend scoring points and that’s all I can ask for.
Kevin Harvick and winner of the 2019 and 2020 Daytona 500 Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five finishers.
Hamlin dominated the race up front, leading 98 of 200 circuits. The Virginia native attributed the last pit stop and gaining too much of a lead after exiting his pit box.
“We were too far out front. We got on-and-off pit road too good. I was just too far ahead of the pack,” Hamlin said. “I figured the Chevys would make a move from two or three to go, because they are not going to win on the last lap from fifth or sixth. I was able to gain some positions. I think I was 12th and everybody was running single file, so it handcuffed me. I couldn’t really do anything.”
Hamlin hoped he could make something happen around the eighth position with two laps remaining in his No. 11 Toyota.
“I hoped once I got to eighth as long as they make a move with two to go, I’m in the energy – in the area where I can make something happen. Dominant car, just a dominant car. Just one of those things that execute too good.”
Ryan Preece, Ross Chastain, Jamie McMurray, Corey LaJoie, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top 10.
The yellow waved seven times for a total of 40 caution laps. 40 drivers started the 63rd annual event while 22 finished the event. 18 drivers ended up not taking the checkered flag.
All drivers involved in accidents throughout the 200-lap event were evaluated and released from the infield care center.
The next race for the NASCAR Cup Series will be on the Daytona Road Course. The event will take place on February 21st at 3:00 p.m. ET. live on FOX and MRN Radio.
The ARCA Menards Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway provided a thrilling ARCA Overtime finish on Saturday. The Lucas Oil 200, won by Corey Heim, was extended when Scott Reeves looped it around off turn four with four circuits remaining.
“I gotta give it all to (crew chief) Shannon Rursch … he made the perfect call … executed this race perfect … and hands down dialed in this JBL Toyota Camry.” said Heim after the race.
On Superspeedways in ARCA, overtime consists of a one-lap dash to the checkered unlike two-laps (green-white-checker) in NASCAR. The rule was implemented around two years back.
Lucas Oil 200 pole winner Drew Dollar, also driving a Venturini Motorsports Toyota, finished second.
“I gotta give a lot of props to Drew Dollar (teammate) as he really held me there at the end,” Heim later stated. “I know he’s got a little bit of experience … he just raced the truck race … really trusted him and it payed off.”
Heim, racing for Venturini Motorsports, led 38 laps enroute to his second career ARCA victory. The 18-year-old from Georgia leaves the 2.5-mile oval with 11 top five and 16 top 10 finishes.
Reigning series champion Bret Holmes took home the third position. The driver from Alabama started 15th on the leaderboard and will leave with his 64th top 10.
Ty Gibbs and Kyle Sieg rounded out the top five.
Taking home top 10s were Derrick Lancaster, Tanner Gray, Andrew Jankowiak, Jack Wood and Sean Corr.
The next race for the ARCA Menards Series will be at Phoenix Raceway on March 12th.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona Int’l Speedway didn’t disappoint on Friday night. The NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the 2.5-mile track went into NASCAR Overtime and won by Ben Rhodes in a last-lap pass around Corey Roper.
“I don’t even know. I’ve got to give such a big thank you to my team,” said a happy Ben Rhodes while celebrating. “This is so special. Biggest win of my career. I can’t even believe this. As a driver, you are always asked about what your biggest accomplishment is. This is it. This is hands down it. This is the place to be. I can’t even believe it. This is special.”
Jordan Anderson scored his second top-five finish by placing second in Friday’s event. Anderson, piloting the No. 3 Swann Security Chevrolet, placed second in last year’s NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona.
“Never give up. I need to go back to Chevrolet and see if we can make these Silverado’s a little bit longer. Two years in a row to finish second here. It’s a dream come true,” Anderson joked in his FOX Sports 1 interview after the race. “This is so much energy. So much emotion. To see what God has done in my life and my career … I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be racing in a national series.”
Cory Roper finished third after being passed by eventual race winner Ben Rhodes coming to the checkered. Roper, 43, captured his first top-five and second career Truck Series top 10 finish.
As for Rhodes, leader of seven circuits in the season-opening event, scored his fourth career trip to victory lane. After the race, the Kentucky native attributed teammate Matt Crafton for the assist on the last lap
“That actually started out at the end of the second stage. I got setup with the same move, and I logged it in my memory bank,” said Rhodes regarding the last lap. “I came up short at that checkered flag, but I was going to make sure I didn’t come up short on this one. We just tried to time it right. Thank goodness I had my Menards teammate Matt Crafton behind me, because he’s a stud. He’s been around for a long time. He knows what he’s doing and you’ve seen the help he gives me there. This wouldn’t have been possible without Matt Crafton. I owe him a huge thank you.”
Ryan Truex and Carson Hocevar rounded out the top five.
Placing inside the top 10 were Sheldon Creed, John Hunter Nemechek, Codie Rohrbaugh, Chandler Smith, and Drew Dollar.
Several key drivers found themselves involved in accidents throughout the night. That list included drivers like Derek Kraus, Ryan Truex, Stewart Friesen, Jordan Anderson, Sheldon Creed, Todd Gilliland, Matt Crafton, Brett Moffitt, Tyler Ankrum, John Hunter Nemechek, Drew Dollar, Johnny Sauter, and Carson Hocevar.
25 of the 36 trucks finished the race while 20 of those finished on the lead lap. The chaos-filled event at Daytona had 10 cautions for 43 laps under yellow.
The next race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will take place on the Daytona Road Course on February 19th at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can catch the event live on FS1 and MRN Radio.