Thursday, Jul 07
Brett Winningham

Brett Winningham

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.

NASCAR announced Saturday morning on the East Coast that the No. 38 team failed post-race inspection because the lug nuts used by the team did not conform to specifications. 

As a result, Zane Smith, who originally finished second in the Las Vegas event, will finish 36th while the rest of the field moves up one spot.

Along with Chandler Smith getting the victory, Kyle Busch, Stewart Friesen, Ryan Preece, Tanner Gray, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Crafton, Bret Holmes, Austin Wayne Self and Ty Majeski rounded out the top 10.

It was a wild night for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – an event that had 11 cautions and 21 leaders upfront. Through it all, Chandler Smith scored his third career victory.

“All up there. When you guys tuned into me halfway through the race and asked how you got up there, the Good Lord. He performs miracles all day and he’s given me this talent and this opportunity to drive this truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports and for Safelite,” said Smith.

Daytona Camping World Truck Series winner Zane Smith took home the runner-up position. Smith, leading with three circuits to go, scored his 13th top-five and picked up his 30th career top 10 finish. 

Chandler Smith leaves the 1.5-mile Nevada track leading the series points by six over Zane Smith. The race winner applied something he learned from boss man Kyle Busch on the penultimate restart for the final restart with three circuits remaining.

“Boss man did to me the restart before so I was like, ‘Alright Kyle, I see how it’s going to be, we’re not going to help each other.’ So I kept that in the back of my head,” Chandler added.  We were in contention there at the very end and I stuck it three-wide and was able to clear Kyle (Busch) and get around Zane (Smith). It was all being in the right places at the right times.”

Las Vegas native and Cup Series veteran Kyle Busch came across the stripe in third. Busch came into the race on Friday as the driver to watch as he sought his 62nd career truck series victory.

Stewart Friesen and Ryan Preece rounded out the top five.

NASCAR deemed Preece as the leader as the field circled under the caution flag with six laps to go. However, because Preece did not maintain caution car speed and was passed by several trucks, Preece was then scored to restart fifth with Kyle Busch as the leader. 

Tanner Gray, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt Crafton, Bret Holmes, and Austin Wayne Self scored top 10s.

Veteran driver Todd Bodine traded the broadcast booth for the driver seat in Las Vegas. Bodine, with 795 career combined starts across all three national series, signed a deal to make starts across the 2022 season with Halmar Friesen Racing and Camping World hoping to make that number 800.

Bodine, finishing the night 22nd, started his NASCAR racing career at 22-years-old in the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 1986.

The series moves onto Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Fr8 Auctions 200. Coverage of the event will take place on FS1 and MRN Radio at 2:30 p.m. ET.

Corey Heim started on the pole for the ARCA Menards Series opener at Daytona and finished the afternoon in victory lane on Saturday. Heim, posting a quick time of 49.150s and 183.113 mph in group qualifying on Friday, led 74 of the 80 laps en route to his eighth career ARCA win. 

Parker Chase, a teammate to race winner Heim, sat runner-up at the time of the checkered flag. The driver from Texas took home his second career top five and sixth top 10 finish in his sixth start. 

“I think we just needed a little bit of help behind us,” Chase told FS1 after the race. “Main objective here today was to have a Venturini car win and we succeeded at that. Five in a row for Venturini is incredible.”

The win by Heim Saturday marked five in a row for Venturini Motorsports at Daytona and attributed the team effort all throughout after the race.

“I had great teammates help me all throughout the way,” said Heim after earning the victory. “Venturini Motorsports was an organized team out here and just everybody all put together for this race and it worked out.”

Heim sat third fastest in the one and only practice session on Thursday.

Daniel Dye finishes third in his seventh career ARCA start on Saturday. Dye entered the 2022 season opener with a victory and four top 10 finishes in 2021.

Sean Corr, finishing the event fourth twice at Daytona – his best career ARCA finish and leader of six circuits, and Gus Dean, who started runner-up in the event, rounded out the top five. 

Andy Jankowiak, Mason Diaz, Dave Mader III, Toni Breidinger and Ryan Houff rounded out the top 10.

Five cautions slowed the Lucas Oil 200 and featured two lap leaders.

The series moves to Phoenix Raceway in a combination event with the ARCA Menards Series West on March 11th. Coverage of the event will air live on MAVTV and FloRacing.

Both drivers of Noah Gragson and Jacques Villeneuve locked themselves into the 2022 Daytona 500 on Wednesday by being the fastest two open cars in qualifying. Gragson, 33rd fastest, will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the 500 this Sunday with Beard Motorsports while Villeneuve, 36th fastest, will make his fifth career cup start.

Villeneuve has an extensive background in racing all over the world holding an F1 title and an Indianapolis 500 win in 1995. The driver has also made starts in NASCAR’s Pinty’s, Truck, XFINITY, and Euro tours in addition. Villeneuve spoke in the media center after qualifying on where making the Daytona 500 ranked in his career:

“Super high. Obviously, it’s not a win. It’s not like winning the Indy 500 or the F1 championship, but at this point in my career the last time I tried to qualify here was 14 years ago, just to make the show is incredible because it’s a small team. We didn’t link up with a big team to get the car ready and it’s highly unexpected to be able to make it on time, so it ranks right after these big wins.”

It also wasn’t the first time that Villeneuve attempted the Daytona 500.

In 2008, Villeneuve joined Bill Davis Racing for the season opener at Daytona to pilot the No. 27 Toyota. Unfortunately for the driver from Canada, he did not make the race after being involved in a crash with three other cars in turn three in the second Duel 150. Since then, there have been a lot of changes around NASCAR and how they race—especially with introducing the NextGen this season.

“Fourteen years ago the old track was bumpy, crazily bumpy.  When you were following cars you could see them get 20 degrees sideways just because of the bumps and the tires bending.  You didn’t understand how the cars were staying on the track. It was tough and it was the older car,” said Villeneuve. “Now we have a lot more downforce.  The track is a lot smoother, so it’s moved a little bit towards more what Talladega is, I guess.  It’s different to set the car up as well because of the aero platform with the diffuser and the flat bottom, which brings it closer to GT cars or even what I was used to in Formula 1 with the aero platform anyway.  I think that’s caught a few guys out.”

While locked into the show Sunday, Villeneuve will start 18th in the second Duel 150 on Thursday. 

Noah Gragson joins Beard Motorsports piloting the No. 62 Beard Oil / South Point Hotel and Casino Chevrolet on Sunday. Gragson, who failed to make the 500 last season with Beard Motorsports, will make his cup series debut this Sunday with the team.

The young driver has 102 XFINITY and 47 Truck Series starts since 2016.

“It’s really emotional to be able to make the race after last year coming so close. Went through adversity during qualifying last year and not able to take time,” said Gragson in the media center after time trials. “Last year, not being able to make the race, it makes it that much sweeter and you appreciate it that much more.”

Gragson, along with owner Linda Beard, will carry a legacy on Sunday after team founder and Linda’s husband Mark Beard Sr. passed last year two weeks before the 500.

“It’s such a bigger stage when comes Sunday for the 500,” said Gragson. “I’m just grateful, thankful, and it’s a privilege to drive this car and race for the Beard family. It’s such a big moment.”

Gragson starts 17th in the first scheduled Duel.

Like Gragson a year ago, four open drivers will have to race for two remaining spots in Thursday’s Duel 150 races. Pole winner Kyle Larson and second-place starter Alex Bowman have already locked up the front row in single-car qualifying on Wednesday. The two Duel races will set the rest of the field, from third through 40th.

Kaz Grala and JJ Yeley are the two open cars in the first Duel not locked in while Greg Biffle and Timmy Hill are the two open entries in Duel No. 2 not locked in. The highest finisher in their respective Duel race will advance into the 500 while the other will not make the race.

The first of two 150 races will air live on FS1 and MRN radio at 7:00 p.m. ET. The second Duel event will start at approximately 8:45 p.m. ET. also on FS1 and MRN Radio.

Matt Hirschman started on the pole and finished in the No. 1 spot in Saturday’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour season opener at New Smyrna. Making his 107th career start in the series, Hirschman scored his fifth career Whelen Modified Tour victory.

Eric Goodale finished runner-up in his No. 58 GAF Roofing machine on Saturday. Earning one victory in 2021 and four career trips to victory lane, Goodale captured his 32nd top five and 90th career Whelen Modified Tour top 10.

Hirschman leaves with 30 career top fives and 61 career top 10s.

Mike Christopher, Jr. sat third at the time of the checkered flag. The driver of the No. 7 machine made his second career start in the series on Saturday. His debut in the Whelen Modified Tour came one season ago at Riverhead, where he finished 14th.

Jon McKennedy and Tyler Rypkema rounded out the top five.

About four yellow flags slowed the field, including a red flag period resulting in Ryan Preece and Andrew Krause making contact. Preece got into the side of Krause, sending the 24 machine around and into the inside wall on the frontstretch. Krause, finishing 29th, climbed out of the car while Preece continued. 

Craig Lutz, Ron Silk, Tommy Catalano, Patrick Emerling and Ryan Preece rounded out the top 10.

Streaming live on FloRacing, the series will head off to Richmond Raceway on April 1.

Joey Logano ended the day victorious in the inaugural Busch Clash at LA Coliseum on Sunday. Logano started fourth after winning his respective heat race earlier in the day and led 35 of the 150 circuits.

“I can’t believe it.  We’re here.  The L.A. Coliseum,” Logano exclaimed in victory lane. “We got the victory with the old Shell/Pennzoil Mustang. This is an amazing event.”

The historic event marked the unofficial start of the NASCAR Cup Series season and drew much interest from around the country. It also marked the first time that NASCAR’s new NextGen cars were used in a competitive event. Logano later praised NASCAR on the historic event.

"Congratulations, NASCAR.  Such a huge step in our industry to be able to do this, put on an amazing race for everybody,” said the winner. “ I’m out of breath.  I was so excited about this.  This is a big win.”

Kyle Busch was fastest in single-car qualifying on Saturday and won the first of four heat races on Sunday to earn the pole. In the 150-lap main event on Sunday, the Las Vegas native led 64 circuits en route to his runner-up finish.

“I was being perfect doing everything I needed to do – keep the tires underneath me,” Busch described his day. “When I got close, I was like, okay I’ve got to try more and pounce at an opportunity and just overheated the tires and smoked them in three laps and that was it. Disappointing, obviously, come out here and win the pole, and lead laps, run up front. The finish goes green and it’s not chaotic and we can’t win, so it sucks.”

Austin Dillon finished third on the leaderboard after starting 10th.

Erik Jones and fan-favorite Kyle Larson rounded out the top five.

William Byron, Cole Custer, Christopher Bell, AJ Allmendinger and Kevin Harvick took home top 10 finishes.

Three drivers upfront suffered mechanical issues after 52 - 53 laps that ended their day. Among the three included Denny Hamlin, Chase Briscoe and Tyler Reddick. 

Five caution flags slowed the event and had an elapsed time of 57 minutes and 39 seconds.

One of those yellow flags involved Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones and resulted in Blaney angrily throwing his HANS device at Jone’s No. 43 Chevrolet. Piloting the No. 12 Team Penske Ford, Blaney went on to finish 17th and three laps down.

The Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 20th on FOX and MRN Radio will serve as the official start of the 2022 season.

Kyle Busch led qualifying to set Sunday’s Clash Heat races on Saturday, posting a fast time of 13.745, 65.478 mph around the L.A. Coliseum. Saturday’s practice session followed by a qualifying session was the first time NASCAR’s brand-new NextGen car had been used in official competition.

Tyler Reddick finished second fastest, followed by Justin Haley, Joey Logano, and Daniel Suarez. 

Earlier on Saturday, running 103 total laps, Chase Elliott led the speed charts in the one and only practice session. Kevin Harvick, Chase Briscoe, Justin Haley, and Kyle Busch followed suit. 

Cole Custer, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Harrison Burton rounded out the top 10 in single-car qualifying.

Heat races are scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m. ET. on FOX and MRN Radio. Approximately at 4:10 p.m. ET, also on FOX, two last chance qualifier races will take place to finish setting the lineup. The main event will conclude the unofficial start of the season at 6:00 p.m. ET. on FOX and MRN Radio. 

 

Heat race lineups:

 

Heat race No. 1:

Kyle Busch

Daniel Suarez

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Ryan Blaney

Denny Hamlin

Aric Almirola

BJ McLeod

Todd Gilliland

Ross Chastain

 

Heat race No. 2:

Tyler Reddick

Cole Custer

Harrison Burton

Alex Bowman

Bubba Wallace

Austin Dillon

Chase Briscoe

Brad Keselowski

Martin Truex Jr.

 

Heat race No. 3:

Justin Haley

Chase Elliott

William Byron

Christopher Bell

AJ Allmendinger

Kevin Harvick

Chris Buescher

Corey LaJoie

Cody Ware

 

Heat race No. 4:

Joey Logano

Kyle Larson

Michael McDowell

Landon Cassill

Austin Cindric

Erik Jones

Ryan Preece

Kurt Busch

Ty Dillon

The top four finishers in each heat race will advance into the feature event. The drivers that don’t qualify based on their finish in their respective heat race will have one more shot in one of two last chance races. The top three finishers in their respective last chance heat will advance into the feature – making up 22 of the 23 entries. The 23rd starting spot will be available to the highest driver not in the field based on where they finished in the 2021 driver standings. In total, 13 drivers will not make the field.

The ARCA Menards Series West season finale at Phoenix Raceway on Saturday didn’t disappoint in the slightest. With a stacked field of 34 entries coming into the event, it provided fans an amazing close battle for the championship all race long.

Ty Gibbs scored the victory from the pole on Saturday and dominated the event upfront leading all 100 circuits of the Arizona Lottery 100. Gibbs throughout 2021 scored 15 victories across the ARCA, ARCA East, and ARCA West divisions and scored his first victory in the West tour.

Taylor Gray and Sammy Smith rounded out the top three finishers.

Jesse Love claimed the 2021 ARCA Menards Series championship via tiebreaker with Jake Drew. Love won the title after confusion on the last lap when Drew Dollar and Trevor Huddleston slowed after taking the white flag while race winner Ty Gibbs was receiving the checkered flag right behind, thus allowing Love to pass Huddleston for 14th. 

Love finishes the championship season with two victories along with four top five and five top 10 finishes.

Jake Drew finishes the year with five top five and eight top 10 finishes.

Kansas Speedway ARCA Menards Series winner Nick Sanchez took home fourth while J.P. Bergeron finished fifth.

Jake Garcia, Drew Dollar, Rajah Caruth, Gracie Trotter and Cole Moore took home top 10 finishes.

The race had six cautions for 32 laps under yellow. 

ARCA will announce the 2022 ARCA Menards Series West schedule at a later date. Stay tuned to SpeedwayDigest.com all offseason long for more details.

Tony Stewart is one of three drivers that took part in a Goodyear tire test at Bowman Gray Stadium on Tuesday. The purpose of the test is to find the right tire combination for the season opening exhibition race at LA Coliseum in February 2022. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Clint Bowyer were also participants.

Bowman Gray Stadium is one of the oldest facilities in the country to host NASCAR sanctioned events. The track known as ‘Mad House’ does not currently host any national series races, however, is a stable on the local NASCAR tours.

“It was fun today to get a chance to come up here, to be invited by NASCAR to come up and do the tire test for the Coliseum race,” said Stewart. “This is a track I’ve only been to one time and got to watch the races. So it was pretty cool to be on track here. It was fun and to get a chance to drive the Next Gen car was cool too.

Stewart says Goodyear had a good plan going into the day and seemed happy with the results of the test. 

“I think what they brought with the control set is probably a little harder than what they need. They brought a softer tire and they were pretty happy with it and I think that’s probably a combination of what they’ll bring out West.”

Today marked the first time in five years that Tony Stewart has driven a NASCAR Cup Series stock car. The three-time Cup Series champion added that it was fun to do something different and something he hasn’t done for a long time now.

Is this a precursor to something more?

Reports show that NASCAR isn’t done moving around the schedule. Bowman Gray played host to 29 NASCAR Cup Series races from 1958 to 1971. The track hosted five ARCA Menards Series East (formerly NASCAR K&N Pro Series East) events between 2011 - 2015.

Considering that it’s just a Goodyear tire test, probably not. If the exhibition race at the LA Coliseum proves to be a success, only time will tell whether the historic track will once again see a national series race.

Kyle Larson parked his No. 5 Chevrolet into victory lane Sunday at Kansas Speedway for the ninth time of the season. Larson dominated the Hollywood Casino 400 from the pole by leading 130 of the 267 laps. The driver heads into the penultimate race of 2021 locked into the Round of 4 at Phoenix Raceway.

Chase Elliott leaves Kansas second in the standings after taking home runner-up on Sunday. The driver from Georgia started fifth and led 42 of the laps to capture his 14th top five and 20th top 10 finish in 2021.

Denny Hamlin was the next highest Playoff finisher in fifth. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota sits third in points leaving Kansas and will go into Martinsville Speedway looking to score his sixth victory there. 

Martin Truex Jr. sat seventh at the checkered flag, earning his 18th top 10 finish of the year. The driver of the No. 19 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing leaves Kansas sitting sixth in points. 

Joey Logano will leave Kansas with a ninth place finish in his No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Toyota. Logano goes into Martinsville next week sitting eighth in points and desperately needing a win to advance. In 25 starts at the ‘Paper Clip’, Logano has one victory and eight top fives along with 13 top 10s.

Brad Keselowski finished 17th on the board Sunday in the Hollywood Casino 400 and will go into next week sitting seventh in the standings. Keselowski, like teammate Joey Logano, is in a must win situation to race for a championship at Phoenix.

Kyle Busch was one of two Playoff drivers to have frustrating days at Kansas Speedway. Busch, sitting fourth in points, was involved in an incident in turn one on lap 24. The Las Vegas native finished six laps down in 28th.

Ryan Blaney will leave Kansas with a 37th-place finish. Blaney started the day second and will go into Martinsville fifth in points. In 11 starts at Martinsville, Blaney has five top five and six top 10 finishes.

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