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Ford Performance - NCS Qualifying Quotes
Ford Qualifying Results:
3rd – Michael McDowell
7th – Chris Buescher
17th – Joey Logano
20th – Aric Almirola
21st – Kevin Harvick
22nd – Ryan Preece
24th – Chase Briscoe
25th – Brad Keselowski
30th – Zane Smith
31st – Ryan Blaney
32nd – Todd Gilliland
33rd – Andy Lally
34th – Austin Cindric
36th – Harrison Burton
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang – “I’m bummed. We had a really fast Love’s Travel Stops Ford Mustang, but those two extra runs there that we didn’t need on tires hurt us. Obviously, pushing hard and anything you push hard you make a few mistakes here and there. Unfortunately, both first runs of each session just had a little bit of front lock up, so that’s unfortunate. I think we had the car to beat today, so that’s what stinks about qualifying third. I feel good about our race trim. The cars I out-qualified there I felt like we were way better in race trim. The only one I felt that was better than us was maybe the 5, so we’ve got a good car for tomorrow and we’ll get after it. It’s good to be disappointed with third. I haven’t had a career pole here in the Cup Series, so I was hoping today would be it. I gave it all I had and just a little bit too much and over-stepped it.”
CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fifth Third Bank Ford Mustang – “I’m proud of our group. This Fifth Third Bank Mustang has good speed in it, but better than that I just feel like I needed to execute cleaner. Every lap I could pick out something where I just made too big of a mistake. The guys did a good job and make some good adjustments. We’re in a pretty good place here, but I really thought we should have been top five and I didn’t quite clean it up enough for that.”
HOW CLOSE DO YOU FEEL RFK IS TO WINNING? “We’re definitely competitive and we’re close. I think we’re a step away. We’re as close as we’ve been in a long time consistently. This was probably one of the first showings last year, along with Dover, where we showed some really good promise. We came here and were really, really close. I feel like there’s a lot of speed we’ve had at different types of racetracks, but we’ve been really consistent this season and had speed at a lot of races, but not quite race-winning speed. We’ve made massive progress and really proud of everybody for that, and we’re still working to find whatever that next little step is, but we’re in the hunt right now and that’s a really good feeling. I’m really proud of the effort and the results. We’ve just got to keep after it. This sport doesn’t sit still, so we’ve got to keep digging.”
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN HAVE THE SAME SPEED THIS YEAR HERE THAT YOU DID A YEAR AGO? “I’m confident we will. I think our group has done a really nice job. Road races throughout the year last year, COTA was kind of our exception to our good speed and we were much better there this go around. I don’t think we need to rehash all the turn one chaos that we had there and what happens from it, but nothing leads me to believe that we won’t be very competitive here. We’ve been very good at every road course we’ve been to. We’ve been top 10 just about every time we go somewhere and that’s including when we were on fire for three laps. I feel strongly about these things and I know we’ve made more gains on our race cars for different parts of the course as well. Really, the only unknown we have is the different downforce package coming into this one and what that does for Sonoma. It’s nice and cool out, and it was cool last year as well, so it’s similar track conditions and we’ll just have to see where it leads us.”
DO YOU PREFER THIS LAYOUT OR THE ONE WITH THE CAROUSEL? “I’m not really strong one way or the other on that side of it. I enjoyed the carousel. I did like doing that and I thought it did lead to some pretty good passing zones, but it also, in a way, took away some of the view for our fans and I understand that. This is a cool racetrack where certain places you can see vast majorities of the racetrack and that’s great if you’re sitting up in these stands. I think we lost some of that with the carousel. I enjoyed it, but this one is what we know. This is what we grew up racing on NASCAR ‘99 or whatever it was growing up. You have a pretty good sense of this layout and know where we’re heading, so I definitely enjoy it both ways.”
BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang – WE HAVE A DRIVER OUT WITH A CONCUSSION THIS WEEK. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT? “I don’t know what the story is with Noah and obviously a concussion is not what we want to see. We hope he gets well soon. I’m not sure what caused that to happen, if it was his crash or what angles or anything of those things that you can attribute to it, but certainly not what we want. We don’t want drivers missing races with concussions, so clearly there is still more work to be done. What that is I can’t say I know right now, but hopefully some of the changes that NASCAR has made that will be implemented in the next few weeks are a step in the right direction. It appears so with all the video and pictures that we’ve seen, so we’ve got work to do.”
ARE YOU COMFORTABLE WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS GOING INTO THIS WEEKEND? “I’m not terribly comfortable. We obviously had a bad week at Gateway with losing an engine really early in the race and left a bunch of points on the table at the Coke 600, where I feel we honestly had a car capable of running in the top two or three and maybe even winning the race. The last two weeks have been frustrating because I felt like we left so many points on the table, but then encouraging because we were competitive enough at Charlotte to legitimately have a shot at winning the race. I’d be a lot more comfortable with a win. Everybody would say that. We’re not in a bad spot, but we’re right on the fringe with both of our cars and we need to get some wins.”
RYAN BLANEY, No. 12 Menards/Moen Ford Mustang – DO YOU WISH THE OFF WEEKEND WAS COMING A BIT LATER SINCE YOU GUYS HAVE THE HOT HAND RIGHT NOW? “Not really. I don’t think so. You know when the off week is coming all year, so I don’t think it helps or hurts you if you’re on a good streak. It might help you a little bit more if you’re down in the dumps and things aren’t really going your way. It might be kind of nice to take a week off and re-evaluate, but I don’t think it breaks up our momentum at all. If anything, it kind of gives you confidence going into this off week. It’s like, ‘Man, we’ve done a good job the last month. Let’s go into the off week, enjoy it and then get back to work at the start of the next week.”
YOU’RE THE POINTS LEADER NOW, SO DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR STRATEGY GOING FORWARD KNOWING THERE ARE 15 BONUS POINTS THERE? “Yeah, that’s a huge thing to try to win and helps you through the playoffs. It’s funny, before Charlotte we were like 40 points out of the lead and in just two weekends it shows you how quickly you can gain points and how quickly you can lose them. The 1 has had a couple bad weeks and he’s now fifth in points, so those things can shift so quickly. Now that you’re in it and you have a shot to win the regular season points, maybe you do something different in the heat of the moment during races. Can you take some stage points at this point if the guys you’re racing aren’t gonna do that? It’s not something we sit around during the week and talk about. I think it’s kind of in-the-moment stuff when it comes down to those types of situations.”
Ford Performance PR
Toyota Racing - NCS Sonoma Quotes - Martin Truex Jr. - 06.10.23
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. was made available to media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series event at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday:
MARTIN TRUEX JR., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
What is about Sonoma that drivers appreciate over other road courses?
“The old asphalt here and the soft tire that Goodyear brings is a good combination, good speed taking off, you can really hustle the car and then five laps in you are starting to wear tires out and safe them. It is a lot different than any other road course that we go – and add in elevation changes, and things like that. It is a fun track. It is different than a lot of the newer tracks we go to.”
Do you have a layout that you prefer?
“I thought that they were both fun in their own respect. The carousel was a fun challenge, but I don’t think it caused enough drama. Turn seven is pretty crazy with the dive bombs and things on restarts, especially, so the excitement level with the drama – they wanted to get that back. Both courses are fun, challenging and tough to win at. “
What is your take on the lack of stage cautions here at Sonoma?
“I’m not sure. I think strategy comes in more when the cautions fall – it can certainly be a big factor in what happens during the race. In the past with stage racing, with the breaks, you kind of knew what you were going to do. If you wanted to try to win, except for one year, you had to pit before the cautions, before the stages, and give up stage points to have a chance at winning. Only one time it was done, where someone won stages, and won the race. I think now it’s just more straight forward, the guys that start up front will have a big advantage, qualifying will be more important than the past few years.”
Is there a reason that your road course finishes have been not as good with the Next Gen car compared to previous generations?
“No, it certainly is. Last year, I think as a group in general, we struggled on road courses and really never hit on anything much last year that worked very well, and now this year, I think we are lot closer. We ran pretty decent at COTA. I wouldn’t say COTA is a great measuring stick for us – at least for me – I don’t really feel like I have that place figured out. Tyler (Reddick) in the 45 car was dominate. We know that the opportunity is there with our cars this year, where we didn’t feel like it was last year, so hopefully we can be a lot better here than we were last year. It was a really big struggle for us, compared to years past, so we have a lot of new ideas and a lot of new things in our car this year from last year. I’m excited to get out there and see what it’s got.”
Is there a driver adjustment on a road course with the Next Gen?
“Honestly, not really. You drive the car as hard as you can. It’s still about the same things. It’s about getting in the corner as deep as you can and trying to out-brake people. Hitting your marks, hitting your shifts, all of the things it takes to get around a road course are still the same, it’s just a different car. We really haven’t honed in on how to make it fast yet.”
What are your expectations for the Chicago Street Course?
“I really don’t know. It’s going to be so dictated on how rough the streets are, how rough the track is. These cars don’t have a lot of suspension travel, they are really stiff, they bounce a lot. If it’s as bouncy as I think it’s going to be, it could be a handful, so I really don’t know. The only experience I have is iRacing, a couple of years ago, on it. I haven’t even been in the simulator yet, so that will be the first thing to tackle, and we will see where we go from there. It should be fun. It will be different than anything we’ve ever done, and I look forward to that. It is always fun to do new things.”
Are you excited for the off week, or do you wish you could keep going with the momentum that you have?
“I don’t know that it really matters. We’ve got a great team. We know what we are capable of now. We have a lot of confidence back that we lacked last year in our decision making and doing things throughout practice, whether it was strategy or whatever, it seems like things are clicking right now. I don’t know that an off week will change anything. We could probably use a few more off weeks before the playoffs if I’m being honest with you, but we don’t get those so I’m ready whenever.”
Is there one thing you can point to on why you are more successful this season?
“I think just better cars in general. Better cars, better understanding on what we need on the race tracks. Last year was a big learning curve. We were trying to figure out what direct we needed to go at races with this car and having 15-minute practices where you opt in on what you show up with, there is no real time to recover if you show up with some bad ideas, or things that didn’t work. You have to wait till you go back till that track again. Just all of that learning process and figuring things out has been a big factor for us. I think our cars are better this year as well. Toyota did some work in the off season and everybody at JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) worked hard to try to put the pieces together, so I think overall, we just have a better platform to work with and a better understanding of what we need.”
Have the differences with Next Gen car changed the passing zones?
“I think the passing zones are still the same places that they’ve always been here. Turn 12 is the biggest one, but getting in that corner, getting off that corner, there is probably the best passing zone. Turn seven is another good one. When the tires wear out here, there is a lot of places you can pass. That is where guys really start to struggle. If you can take care of your stuff, you can pass them in different areas. It just changes the speed of the car in different places around here, different corners, a little more grip, and then the shifting is a little bit easier as well. No real worries about missing shifts these days – they took that out of the equation. No worry about hurting brakes, just for here, managing tires is going to be a big deal.”
How important is the off weekend?
“I’ll be away doing stuff. I’ll probably be fishing or hanging out. It’s kind of is easy for me. I try to get away from racing a couple of days a week no matter what just to keep my sanity. I’ve been doing this a long time. I’ll talk to (crew chief) James (Small) on Monday. I’ll talk to James, usually on Wednesday or Thursday again, so I’ll have a few days in between there to kind of regroup and keep my sanity.”
Do you think the win helped get the pressure off your back?
“It is definitely easier when you’ve won a race, especially in today’s format, with getting locked into the playoffs, you don’t have to worry about that. You can kind of relax, go race and do your thing. I wouldn’t say it hurt anything, by any means, but at the same time, having better race cars and showing up ready to go on these weekends without a lot of guessing is a big deal. Pit crew has been coming around here lately. We have still had a few hiccups here and there. It’s so important to execute in the race these days with how close the field is and how hard it is to pass at certain tracks. You have to do everything right. You have to all of the little things right. We’ve been able to do that pretty well the last month or so, but really feel good about what we’ve done all year as far as the speed of our cars, and how we’ve able to race. I feel like we’ve had winning cars three or four races this year already. It was nice to get one of them, but we would like to have more, so we will keep working on it.”
What are you doing to try to earn your fourth win at Sonoma?
“As much as we struggled here last year, I’m really anxious to get out there and see what we have. I’ve been thinking about it all week. We have a lot of different things in our car this year, a lot of parts and pieces, but a whole different set-up, a whole different mindset, more geared to what we used to try to come here and do. I’m excited to get out there and see what we can do with it. Hopefully, we will find some of that old magic.”
Is Tyler Reddick’s knowledge on road courses with the Next Gen car, does that also help you at Joe Gibbs Racing?
“Yeah, for sure it is. Especially, the simulator stuff and then looking at his data. Everybody was looking at his data at COTA. I guess the benefit for us is that we get to ask him questions and hear about it – why did you do this and why did you do that. I think there is a lot of benefit to that these days. Definitely, the simulator time as well. We’ve only raced the one road course this year, so we still have a lot to go and a lot to do here, but for sure it was crazy impressive what he did at COTA.”
CHEVROLET NCS AT SONOMA: Kyle Busch Press Conference Transcript
THE LACK OF STAGE BREAKS ON ROAD COURSES.. HOW WILL THAT IMPACT WHAT WE SEE HERE AT SONOMA RACEWAY?
“Yeah, I mean to hear whether or not it’s a two-stop or a three-stop race, I think is still kind of to be determined based on pace fall-off and things like that. But that’s what the guys are initially looking at and see where that kind of falls. But yeah, you would always jump the stages and then you’d have the cautions, and then you’d have to go back green and all that sort of stuff. So I feel like making it a more traditional road course race lends itself – and we kind of saw it at COTA too – where there was actually still a lot of cautions, where maybe guys kind of knew or felt the pressure that if it gets too strung out, there’s no chance for me to keep it closed up and they’ll run into somebody and create a yellow. So that could certainly sometimes be the case as well here at Sonoma (Raceway). The leader here, until he runs into lap traffic, typically has a good advantage of just having that clean air and everything else to kind of walk away a little bit. So it makes it a lot tougher to try and come from the back without restarts.”
NASCAR ANNOUNCED SOME CHANGES TO THE CARS EFFECTIVE AT ATLANTA (MOTOR SPEEDWAY) BASED ON WHAT THEY SAW FROM THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE NO. 5/NO. 41 ACCIDENT. I’M CURIOUS WHAT YOU THINK OF THOSE AND ANY LINGERING CONCERNS AS FAR AS REAR IMPACTS WITH (NOAH) GRAGSON BEING OUT THIS WEEK?
“Yeah, bummer for him. We saw a few big impacts last weekend and his seemed to be the worse, just after the brunt of how it all transpired - not being able to just get up beside the wall and not take a huge hit. The safety advances of the car and things like that – that’s all great, right. We needed to withstand big hits and hits like that and whatnot. I feel like we keep adding material and keep adding material and keep making these things heavier. We used to run 3,400 pound cars and now we’re at 3,600 pound cars, so what’s the limit? What’s the level of how heavy is too heavy?
Just talking to some of the engineers that I’ve spoken to – there are a few areas of the car that are really, really, really stiff and don’t have any sort of crush zone like the old car used to, and that’s why those bars broke. And so we didn’t look at any of that.. we didn’t cut any stuff out to soften up the frame rail, for instance, to let the frame rail flex. All we did was add stiffeners to make it even heavier and stiffer. So again, I’m not a genius, but at some point we all have to reimagine some things.”
YOUR WIN AT WORLD WIDE TECHNOLOGY RACEWAY WAS YOUR 63RD. NEXT ON THE LIST ABOVE YOU IS DALE EARNHARDT SR. WITH 76 AND JIMMIE (JOHNSON) AND CALE YARBOROUGH WITH 83. DO YOU LOOK AT THAT AS REALISTIC GOALS THAT YOU MIGHT BE ABLE TO ACHIEVE?
“Yeah, I mean I would have said during the 2015 to 2019 timeframe, when I was winning five or six a season, that it was definitely attainable. And then we kind of slowed down the last few years and I would have probably told you I didn’t know if I’d get there. And then this year, we’ve got three and I feel like there’s plenty more. So hopefully we can continue to showcase that at RCR and with the No. 8 Chevy to go out there and win some more. I think anything is possible. I think it would be more fair to talk about it when I at least hit 70, which that could probably happen by the end of next year, so hopefully it does.”
NOW THAT YOU’VE GOT THREE WINS, PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO SAY THAT WE THOUGHT AUSTIN DILLON WOULD LEARN MORE FROM KYLE (BUSCH) OR HE WOULD WIN. IS IT HARD FOR HIM AND THEN HOW DO YOU BOOST HIM AND HELP HIM?
“Yeah, I would say Austin (Dillon) is actually – given his finishes and they’re probably not as good as he wants them to be – but where he comes from in a race, starting deep in the field, he’s been in some unfortunate circumstances on Friday’s or Saturday’s to get himself not qualified well. He flat out out-ran us at Bristol (Motorsport Speedway) Dirt, Martinsville (Speedway), North Wilkesboro (Motor Speedway).. the places with the low downforce stuff that us on the No. 8 are struggling with. Like last weekend, for instance, he ran in the teens for a while and he was slated to run probably eighth to tenth. So I don’t think that’s out of the ordinary for him and those guys. They are with a new crew chief with Keith (Rodden) coming over and getting ingrained into the system.. it’s probably a little bit more difficult on that side with those guys. But I still think there’s time and Austin is fine. He’s a competitor. He’s got a lot going on behind the scenes, as well. But I really enjoy working with him. He’s been a great teammate. We say a lot of the same things and talk a lot about how to continue to improve and make our stuff go, so that part of it has been really fun.”
I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE CURVE IS OF YOU BRINGING STUFF UP..
“No.. I mean I would say obviously he looked to me and wanted me to help elevate RCR and also help elevate himself. I feel like I’ve been able to do both of those things. I just don’t know the results are necessarily indicative to Austin’s (Dillon) standards or maybe to our other stands, and I think they’re still a work in progress on that front.”
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS FOR THE CHICAGO STREET COURSE RACE?
“(laughs).. to hit the walls minimally, where you don’t create too much damage and you can still continue, and hopefully you don’t get pile-driven into a wreck if the track gets blocked.
I don’t know.. it’s going to be tight; it’s going to be narrow. So we’ll just kind of have to see when we get there about what exactly it looks like. Looking at it on the simulator is probably entirely different than what it might feel like or be like when you get out there on the race track.”
AS THE ONLY ACTIVE DRIVE IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES WITH TWO CHAMPIONSHIPS RIGHT NOW, HOW DO YOU APPROACH THE PLAYOFFS? WITH THREE WINS, YOU’RE LOCKED-IN, BUT CAN YOU TAKE EVERYTHING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED FROM THE OTHER TWO, EVEN THOUGH YOUR WITH ANOTHER ORGANIZATION, AND HAVE YOUR STRATEGY MENTALLY GOING IN THERE TO KNOW HOW YOU WANT TO APPROACH IT THIS YEAR?
“Yeah, I mean I feel like the consensus of how we’ve done things when I had Adam was always really good. We came up with a good system, good format, that we looked at and kind of followed and it seemed to work really well. I need to talk to Randall (Burnett) about that.. haven’t really gotten that far ahead yet. But it would be a good discussion point to look at some of that stuff; some of the same things we did there.
It’s all about maximizing stage points, whether you’re winning stages and getting those points, which is awesome. Or just maximizing your stage points throughout a race to get the best finish possible all day long to get those all-important points. That’s probably one thing that we really executed well with at World Wide Technology Raceway – going one, two, one. But weeks prior to that, we’ve kind of been on the struggle bus with being able to maximize our stage points through the year. If I could have gone back and recalculated all of the stage points that we’ve probably lost, we’d be the points leader, you know what I mean. So it’s just a matter of hitting it perfect.”
WE’VE GOTTEN TO SEE SOME OF THE PARTS THAT HAVE BEEN CONFISCATED RECENTLY WITH NASCAR DISPLAYING THEM. FROM A DRIVER’S PERSPECTIVE, ARE YOU GUYS INTERESTED IN SEEING WHAT OTHER TEAMS HAVE BEEN DOING, LIKE THE PART FROM THE NO. 14?
“(Laughs).. I wish we had a ‘what an idiot’ award. I mean even if you can’t find that part, you know you can call one of the other race teams and say – hey, do you guys have this.. can we buy it from you? That blows my mind.. I don’t get it. For as little as that probably meant, that was a huge fine to the pocket book and points book.
So yeah, anyways – I think it’s kind of cool that they show all of that stuff; show exactly what’s going on and what guys are doing. What’s crazy about it, though, is all the penalties that have come out of the R&D center – I guarantee you that you could take 15 of them after every single race and there would be something wrong with 14 of them, you know? It’s all the tricks and what you’re trying to do and what you can get away with, all of the time.”
DID YOU ENJOY INDUCTING KURT (BUSCH) INTO THE WEST COAST HALL OF FAME THE OTHER NIGHT?
“Yeah, thank you for bringing that up. Congratulations to Kurt (Busch) to being inducted into the West Coast Motorsports Hall of Fame. That’s really, really cool. Something special I remember years ago was seeing some of the names that were getting enshrined and inducted in. It’s really neat to have Kurt be a part of that and hopefully one day obviously me be a part of that.
But growing up in Las Vegas as two little punk kids and making it big time with not a lot of money and just a lot of talent – it was certainly really special. He did a great job of kind of paving the way for me through other circumstances also to get to the levels that he was able to get to, and beat the doors down that he was able to beat down and become a champion and a driver with a bunch of success. It’s been fun to see that, although I’m sure he kind of wished he could have ran out the rest of his time in his Cup career like he wanted to, but I think he’s made a lot of the right decisions in all of that. It’s good to see him rewarded for his time spent here in NASCAR.”
DoorDash 250 starting lineup at Sonoma Raceway
CHEVROLET NCS AT SONOMA: Kyle Larson Press Conference Transcript
YOU WERE FASTEST IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES’ PRACTICE YESTERDAY. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEARN TODAY FOR XFINITY AND FOR CUP?
“I don’t know.. I mean obviously I get excited about qualifying here because we’ve done so well in it the last handful of years. And then excited to run the Xfinity race later on, just to try and learn as much as I can. I qualify well here, but I don’t typically race the best. So yeah, there’s still a lot of areas to improve on and get better. I’m excited for the opportunity and hoping for a good weekend.”
I KNOW YOU’RE A HUMBLE GUY, BUT AFTER XFINITY PRACTICE YESTERDAY, A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE SAYING EVERYBODY WAS PICKING KYLE LARSON TO WIN HERE. DID YOU THINK THE EFFORT WAS REALLY GOOD YESTERDAY IN XFINITY, AND ARE YOU FEELING LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO BE REALLY STRONG TODAY?
“Yeah, I know we’ll have a shot, for sure. I don’t get too overly excited because I think I was like 1.2-seconds faster in practice at Road America too, and I wasn’t even the fastest car in the race and got beat.
Yeah, I don’t know. This is the first time for a lot of the guys here (in the Xfinity Series), so I know the spread will get much tighter after they’ve had a night to sleep on it. But yeah, regardless, I know that No. 17 Chevy is fast every time it hits the track, so we’re going to have a good shot to have a good run.”
WITH NO CAUTIONS AT THE STAGE ENDS, DOES THAT MAKE THINGS A LOT SIMPLER FOR YOU, OR DO YOU NOT REALLY GET INTO TIRE STRATEGY AND JUST PIT WHEN CLIFF (DANIELS) TELLS YOU?
“Yeah, I don’t know.. I just go until they say to come in. But I think, yes – it makes it simpler. It makes qualifying even more important I think because hopefully you qualify well and the race could potentially run out.. I know that won’t happen, but yeah you just have a better shot of staying towards the front. Rather than with the stage breaks before - if you stay out, then you’re restarting like 20-something and it’s just hard and you’re in the hornet’s nest. So it should be a little bit more straight forward, hopefully. But depending on when cautions fall, it can still get kind of mixed up.”
NASCAR ANNOUNCED MORE CHANGES TO THE CARS THAT ARE EFFECTIVE FOR ATLANTA (MOTOR SPEEDWAY) BASED ON THE RECONSTRUCTION OF YOUR WRECK WITH RYAN PREECE. HAVE YOU SEEN THE CHANGES AND ANY THOUGHTS ON HOW NASCAR WENT ABOUT FIGURING THOSE OUT?
“Yeah, I mean not an engineer, so I don’t know. I can’t look at it and really give you an opinion on how well they did with the changes or what not. But I am very happy that me being in that wreck at Talladega (Superspeedway) and seeing how close it got to being really bad – seeing them go straight into action, compile data and make quick moves on improving the safety was something I was happy to see.
Yeah, I think it’s a great thing and great for them to move along quickly.”
FROM THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN, IT APPEARS THAT THE DRIVERS HAVE A LITTLE MORE EXCITEMENT ABOUT SONOMA RACEWAY BECAUSE IT DOESN’T HAVE THAT INHERENT CHAOS OF LIKE INDIANAPOLIS. IS THAT TRUE FROM YOUR PERSPECTIVE, AS WELL?
“Sure.. I mean I think there’s a little bit of that, yeah. I mean there’s no 90 degree corner directly after restarts, so yeah I think this is more of a true road course race than the newer ones on our schedule. But I think everybody looks forward to Sonoma (Raceway) because of the area – the region that we’re in and the stuff to do outside of the race track, as well. But then yeah, the the race track is flowy. It’s got pace fall-off, which is a lot of what we like as drivers. Yeah, it’s just a good track.”
AS SOMEONE WHO HAS WON HERE, DO YOU HAVE A LAYOUT THAT YOU PREFER?
“I like the layout with the carousel, personally. But I think for viewership-wise for the fans, I think this layout is a little bit better maybe. I don’t know.. I like the carousel because you can kind of reshape that corner a few different ways and set people up either for the next braking zone and stuff like that. Where with turn four and how it is now, it’s not really very easy to pass. It’s kind of a fast corner, too. And then that leads into turn seven, which is a passing zone.
I just feel like there’s a little bit more room for mistakes with the carousel with it being really bumpy getting in and you can kind of reshape that corner and setup some passes. But like I said, I think viewership-wise, it sounds like it’s maybe better this way.”
HOW HAVE YOU GROWN AS A ROAD COURSE RACER THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER? OBVIOUSLY YOU GOT THE POLE HERE (SONOMA RACEWAY) A COUPLE OF TIMES AND YOU’VE WON HERE AND AT WATKINS GLEN (INTERNATIONAL). HOW HAVE YOU ADAPTED AS A ROAD COURSE RACER – FROM WHERE YOU STARTED TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW?
“Yeah, I don’t know. I’ve always qualified well at road courses. COTA (Circuit of The Americas) is probably the only one that I don’t really qualify that good at, for whatever reason. But I don’t know.. I’ve always qualified well. And when I was at Chip Ganassi Racing, I didn’t race good at all, especially here (at Sonoma Raceway). We would qualify on the pole and then run like 20th in the race. At Watkins Glen (International), I would qualify good and we could race better there.
But since I got to Hendrick Motorsports, I still qualify well and our race car is good. I’m not sure where I’ve developed. I think our race cars are just really good and can kind of handle me being crazy, abusing my tires and stuff.
I don’t know.. I look forward to road courses just because it’s different – it’s fun and it’s something I feel like I’m good at.”
ON THURSDAY, ONE OF THE DRIVERS SAID THAT BECAUSE THIS HAS SO FEW PASSING OPPORTUNITIES, THAT YOU ALMOST HAVE TO BE AGGRESSIVE TO TRY AND CREATE SOME PASSING ZONES SOMEWHERE ON THE TRACK. HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING AGGRESSIVE ON A RACE TRACK WITH BEING CAUTIOUS ON A TRACK WHERE IT’S PRETTY NARROW AND YOU HAVE A LOT OF TIRE WEAR?
“I don’t know.. every road course is tough to pass on, so I’m not sure. Honestly, I feel like maybe there’s a little more passing zones here (at Sonoma Raceway) than some others. Like Watkins Glen (International), kind of turn one, maybe.. the bus stop is really tough to pass in (turn) two. That’s it, really. Turn one is really the only good passing zone. Where here, you kind of have a little bit in (turn) four. (Turn) seven is obviously really good. (Turn) 11 is obviously really good. Restarts and stuff, you can make some moves. Off of (turn) eight to nine.. and off of (turn) two to three. So I feel like there’s more passing zones here if your car is good. But hell, ovals are tough to pass on, too. It’s just racing.”
THEY KIND OF PATCHED AN AREA IN TURN THREE AND BY THE CURB IN TURN EIGHT. DURING XFINITY PRACTICE, DID YOU NOTICE MUCH DIFFERENCE IN THOSE AREAS?
“I thought that in (turn) three that you would feel it.. feel the new patch. But I didn’t really feel a grip change there, which was kind of nice. And then yeah, (turn) eight is where I think they added it right next to the curb, and again, you don’t really have much weight in your left-front tire right there, so you don’t feel the grip of the patch.
But yeah, I don’t know. Maybe as it rubbers in (turn) three, maybe you’ll feel some grip there, but it didn’t feel any different. So, it was fine.”
Bremotion makes EuroNASCAR debut at Brands Hatch
Bremotion is going to officially enter their first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series race at Brands Hatch. The German team had previously announced their intention to take part in the 2023 EuroNASCAR season, but had to miss the season opening NASCAR GP Spain at Valencia. The team is thus set to make their debut in the 2023 NASCAR GP UK held at the 1.938 kilometer long Indy Circuit, with Tobias Dauenhauer and Gordon Barnes chosen by the team as the drivers of the #99 Chevrolet Camaro.
"NASCAR is on everyone's lips and is also becoming increasingly popular in Europe. I am happy that we are now ready to celebrate our debut in EuroNASCAR," said Bremotion Managing Director Patrick Brenndörfer. "The past few months have been very work-intensive, as our Camaro was completed late and we had to familiarize ourselves with the car first. However, the test drives were promising and the basis is in place, as we were able to win over two experienced drivers in Tobias and Gordon."
Tobias Dauenhauer will be making his return to the series as the driver of the #99 car in EuroNASCAR PRO. The driver from Mörlenbach is no stranger to EuroNASCAR, having joined the series in the 2020 season and was crowned as the overall EuroNASCAR 2 runner-up and champion in the Rookie Trophy in his debut season. He followed it up with another EuroNASCAR 2 runner-up finish in 2021 and a podium finish on his EuroNASCAR PRO debut in 2022. The 26-year old driver is to date the first German racing driver who ever won a NASCAR race.
"I am mega happy to be back in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series”, said the German, who wants to carve his way back to Victory Lane with Bremotion. “Despite being away from the race car for over a year, my goal with my new team Bremotion is to be at the top and to be able to fight for victories. I'm really looking forward to Brands Hatch and can't wait!"
Joining Dauenhauer at Brands Hatch is Gordon Barnes, who will make his debut in the EuroNASCAR 2 division. The Brit joined the series in 2020 through the EuroNASCAR Club Challenge division, finishing third in the standings of the regularity based championship. He stepped up his game the following year and won the title in Club Challenge, making him the first British driver to win a championship title in EuroNASCAR. Another Club Challenge title in 2022 solidified Barnes’ palmares as he’s ready to make his first racing appearance in EuroNASCAR’s most unpredictable division.
“Ever since I first raced a late model on ovals, driving in a NASCAR series became a goal”, said Barnes. “I think everyone who does always thinks about doing that. It is just a bit harder in Europe. I managed to join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in the Club Challenge division and I've had success there. When I was offered this opportunity I realized it was the chance to fulfill a dream and race in NASCAR. Hopefully, I can use my previous successes and succeed in the EuroNASCAR 2 class. We've seen other drivers make the transition and be successful, now it's my chance to follow in their tracks.”
Dauenhauer, Barnes, and Bremotion are ready to make their series debut at the American SpeedFest, which will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and promises to bring in plenty of excitement to the fans. All qualifying and race sessions from the NASCAR GP UK will be broadcast live on EuroNASCAR’s YouTube channel, Motorsport.tv and several TV services from all around the world.
Miller Scores First USAC Win At Bloomington
Gavin Miller led the final 16 laps to earn his first career national midget feature victory in the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ feature at Bloomington Speedway Friday in round five of Indiana Midget Week.
The victory is the third for a Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) Toyota this week and the seventh for a Toyota-powered driver in USAC competition this season.
Miller started the event from the outside of row one with teammate Jade Avedisian on the pole. It was Avedisian who would dominate the early going as she went straight to the lead and pulled out to a 1.5-second lead in the first 10 laps with Miller running second and Ryan Timms running third in an all KKM top three through the first third of the 30-lap feature.
A caution flag would wave on lap 15 to bunch the field and Miller would take advantage by sliding Avedisian through turn two on the restart to take the lead. As Miller went low, Avedisian would jump over the cushion and drop down to eighth.
Miller would maintain the lead running the top side and stretched his lead over second-place Justin Grant to 1.273-seconds before another caution would bunch the field on lap 22. On the restart, Grant would stick right with Miller. As the top side started to go away late, the 16-year-old Miller made the choice to move to the low side and it proved to be a winning decision as he was able to hold off Grant by 0.372-seconds at the checker flag.
Miller’s win comes four days after he appeared to be headed to victory at Circle City, only to catch the cushion, causing him to flip after leading the first 13 laps. The Allentown, Pennsylvania native had earned a pair of runner-up finishes in Xtreme Outlaw Midgets earlier in the year
Joining Miller and Grant in the top 10 were fellow Toyota pilots Cannon McIntosh in fifth, Timms in sixth, Bryant Wiedeman was seventh and Avedisian placed tenth.
The 2023 Indiana Midget Week schedule will close out with races at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Saturday and Kokomo Speedway on Sunday.
Gavin Miller, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “I knew I needed to be smarter on the long runs because there are so many good drivers waiting if you make a mistake. The car was good. and the track was really good tonight. I saw the top side going away, so I decided to roll the bottom and it felt pretty good down there. This is unbelievable. We’ve been wanting to win so bad, and we finally got it done.”
Justin Grant, RMS Racing: “It was slick tonight. We may have lost a cylinder, but it really didn’t matter much. If Gavin had kept running the top, we may still have been able to win. Our car was a rocket ship tonight. Thanks for everyone on our team and all our sponsors. I’m just happy to be at Midget Week and look forward to getting to Lawrenceburg.”
Toyota Racing PR
For 29 years, drivers have rolled into Eldora Speedway in early June trying to live out a dream — DIRTcar Racing’s Dirt Late Model Dream with a $129,000 payday. Then, when the Dream ends, The Hell Tour begins.
As tradition has it, many will head off to battle in the DIRTcar Summer Nationals — a 28-race journey from June 14 through July 16 broadcast live on DIRTVision and affectionately known as The Hell Tour by those who have both conquered and succumbed to it. Peoria Speedway will be the first to welcome Late Model contenders on Wednesday.
Seven former Summer Nationals champions are chasing the massive payout this weekend at Eldora: Shannon Babb, Dennis Erb Jr., Jason Feger, Billy Moyer, Bobby Pierce, Brian Shirley, and Brandon Sheppard. Plus, five-time DIRTcar Summit Modified Nationals champion and current World of Outlaws CASE Construction Equipment Rookie of the Year contender Nick Hoffman is also chasing his biggest Dirt Late Model victory this weekend.
Each found their own path to Summer Nationals glory, but they all agreed momentum from the Dream weekend can carry over into the rest of the summer.
“This week is a huge telltale of what’s coming for you, it’s probably one of the toughest weeks of the year, but if you can run good that’s huge,” said Hoffman, who earned his first World of Outlaws CASE Late Model Series victory last month. “The Dream definitely kicks off the summer. This is our first crown jewel for Late Model racing, and I’ve been lucky enough to make this race a couple of times. At first you come here with a goal to just make the show, now I come here with a goal to run in the top 10. The biggest thing is this could set up your whole summer. If you run good here it carries you a long way.”
But three-time Summer Nationals champion Erb warned drivers to be prepared before even heading to Eldora in the first place.
“You got to look at this separate,” Erb said. “If you’re going to go out and run the whole Summer Nationals, before you come to Eldora for the Dream you better be prepared for that. I think you have to look at it totally different. If you come here and things don’t go well, you have to forget about it because you have to focus on what you need to do. If you have a good run here, or anywhere, you can get going and get on a roll.
“When I won the Dream we came back and won some Summer Nationals races, but it was just like another race again. The focus is different. This place here, you have to leave everything here. Things can go well, or things can go bad, but you can’t let that get you down when you’ve got five weeks of racing ahead of you.”
Four-time champion Brian Shirley is a believer in momentum, but he also said a bad night at Eldora doesn’t signify a bad road ahead on the Summer Nationals tour.
“Any time you have momentum, if you come here and you run really well and you’re moving on to 28 days of racing, that momentum is going to be a high that keeps the team motivated to get going and could carry on to that deal where it’s night in and night out,” said Shirley, who was riding a wave of momentum into this weekend at Eldora as the most recent World of Outlaws CASE Late Model winner. “Running good here is going to pick you up and keep you wanting to go race three days after the Dream and then continue racing for 28 days. Any time momentum is on your side things are easier, but this place here is such a different animal. We haven’t won a crown jewel race here at Eldora, but we’ve been so successful on the Summer Nationals so it shows that it doesn’t matter how you finish here.
“For me, when we were successful on the Summer Nationals, it was one day at a time, get through one night at a time and don’t overload yourself about racing for 28 nights in five weeks. It’s just not getting overwhelmed. It’s a grind. You have to take it one day, one week at a time and hope you’re more on the easy side of it. We’ve done the deal where it can wear you out in a week and we’ve done it where it seemed like the month went by really fast. When everything’s going good it’s pretty easy, but when you have those tough nights and the odds are against you it forces you to decide whether or not to keep going.”
Adding further proof to his point, Shirley noted how in 2021 Ashton Winger struggled out of the gate on the tour but kept fighting and wound up second in the championship standings.
“He got off to an awful start, that first week I think they destroyed everything they had, but he stuck it out and stuck it out and probably had two of the best weeks of his career finishing it out,” Shirley said. “There is a reward at the end of the day.”
Winger posted a top-five run Thursday night in his opening round of Dream competition, a boost heading into Friday at a track where he’s still looking for success. While Winger has his sights set on the $129,000 prize Saturday night, he knows he’s stocked and loaded to roll into Peoria Speedway on Wednesday for the 2023 Summer Nationals opener. No matter how he finishes Saturday night, he’ll put it out of his mind quick.
“For me, I leave it here,” Winger said. “There’s just so much that goes into putting yourself in position to be at the front, and having a fast race car isn’t everything here. It’s good to come here and run good but if you run bad it kind of makes you want to quit racing for a minute. If you run good it feels like you’re on top of the world. It’s one of those things you got to leave here. It’s kind of its own animal in a sense.
“The Summer Nationals has been our goal the whole time. I’m loaded down with bodies, front suspension parts, rear suspension parts and we’re going to pick up another motor on Monday. I’m really excited about this year because this is the first year I feel like I’m going to do it right. I have the stuff and I’m prepared to do it. In 2021, I just threw a bunch of stuff in the truck and went and did it.”
A new championship points setup that pays drivers each week rather than at the end of the tour is expected to benefit drivers who may struggle once or twice without costing them a chance at the overall title. Jason Feger, who won the 2010 Summer Nationals title, noted that as a positive for Winger.
“With the new points championship, I feel like it’s going to suit a guy like Ashton a lot better,” Feger said. “He’s a pretty aggressive driver and when you points race for a whole month, one bad night can win you the championship or cost you the championship. Now if you have one bad night, it still resets the next week. It’s definitely going to help some guys, but it’s still a lot of work if you’re tearing up equipment. I guess I always have the mentality you have to know when it’s your night and when it’s not your night. You have to know when it’s not your night to just take the best you can and know you’re going to fight tomorrow, but if you think it’s your night and you have a good car then go for it.”
Bobby Pierce, now a World of Outlaws regular, has won five Summer Nationals championships since 2015, including the past two. He noted that while the Dream can be demanding, there’s nothing at Eldora that can prepare a young driver for what they might encounter on — or even off — the track during Summer Nationals competition.
“You get used to racing on those types of tracks,” Pierce said. “You get used to the heat … well, not really. For a first timer, you just have to keep plugging away. Every night is a new night. There’s always going to be something unexpected. I can guarantee you that at some point during the Hell Tour something’s going to throw you for a loop.
“Two years ago, first week of Summer Nationals we hit a deer heading to the next track and it killed the front of the truck. You’ll be faced with stuff like that more than the typical maintenance on the car. You just have to be as prepared as you can but know that it’s going to be hard. If you can get off a win here or there, or even a good solid run it makes it worthwhile. That’s kind of the big reason to do the Hell Tour, to continue getting better.”
The Dream at Eldora concludes on Saturday with the $129,000-to-win main event.
The DIRTcar Summer Nationals begins next week with races Wednesday (June 14) at Peoria Speedway, Thursday at Kankakee County Speedway, Friday at Tri-City Speedway, Saturday at Fairbury Speedway, and Sunday at Sycamore Speedway. Follow the entire five-week tour by watching all the action on DIRTVision. For more info, visit DIRTcarSummerNationals.com.
DIRTcar Series PR
Jeremy Lavoie Wins Riley Generators Limited Late Model 30 at Stafford; Rufrano, Durand, Sullivan, Waterman Also Score Feature Wins
Stafford Speedway’s Limited Late Model division took center stage on Friday, June 9 with their lone extra distance feature event of the 2023 season, the Riley Generators 30. Jeremy Lavoie was the big winner of the night, taking his first win of the season in the extra distance event. Marcello Rufrano held off a determined Jimmy Blewett in a thrilling duel to win his first SK Modified® race of the 2023 season and Andrew Durand took home his first win of the 2023 season in the Late Model feature event. Both Brian Sullivan and Ryan Waterman scored their third wins of the 2023 season in only 4 races in the SK Light and Street Stock divisions respectively.
In the 30-lap Riley Generators Limited Late Model feature event, Devon Jencik led the field to the green and he took the lead but before a lap could be completed, the caution came out for Scott Clement, who backed into the turn 3 wall.
Jencik took the lead on the restart with Gary Patnode and Damian Palardy behind him. Rich Hammann took fourth on lap-3 and Adrien Paradis, III was fifth in line. Kevin Cormier was sixth with Matt Clement right on his back bumper in seventh with Jeremy Lavoie eighth. The caution came back out with 7 laps complete for Brian Norman, who came to a stop on the backstretch.
The field completed one lap back under green with Jencik leading Hammann before the caution came back out for Matt Clement, who spun coming out of turn 4.
Jencik and Cormier again led the field on the restart but only completed two more laps before the caution came back out for Kevin Crosby, who spun on the backstretch coming out of turn 2.
Cormier nearly took the lead from Jencik on the restart but he settled back into second place. Hammann was third with Damian Palardy fourth and Patnode fifth. Matt Clement was sixth with Paradis seventh, Lavoie eighth, Connor Jencik ninth and Matthew Winter, II tenth. Paradis and Matt Clement touched on lap-11 with Clement nearly spinning but he was able to save his car and fell back one position to seventh behind Paradis. Crosby spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 16 laps complete.
Jencik took the lead ahead of Hammann, Cormier, Matt Clement, and Lavoie before the caution came back out with 18 laps complete for Patnode and Palardy, whose cars became stuck together going down the backstretch.
Matt Clement spun and hit the turn 2 wall on the restart to bring the caution right back out. Jencik took the lead on the next restart but the caution came back out for spins in turn 3 by Patnode, Scott Clement, and Samantha Dell.
Jencik again took the lead on the restart with Hammann in second. Lavoie came up to third with Paradis in fourth and Palardy holding off Matt Clement for fifth. Hammann was glued to the back bumper of Jencik and on lap-28 Jencik got loose in turn 2 and went into the turn 2 wall to bring the caution out with 27 laps complete. Under the caution, Hammann developed a flat right front tire and he came to pit road done for the evening. Hammann’s misfortune, combined with Jencik, put Lavoie into the lead with Paradis to his outside for a 3-lap dash to the checkered flag.
Lavoie took the lead on the restart with Matt Clement taking second from Paradis. Palardy was fourth in line with Cormier fifth. Connor Jencik spun in turn 4 to bring the caution back out with 28 laps complete and set up a green white checkered finish.
Lavoie took the lead with Paradis taking second back from Matt Clement. Cormier worked his way up to fourth with Palardy in fifth. Lavoie led Paradis and Matt Clement to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season. Cormier finished fourth with Palardy rounding out the top-5.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® event, Steven Chapman led the field to the green flag and he took the early lead. Troy Talman was lined up behind him in second and the field only completed one lap before the caution flew for spins in turn by Wesley Prucker and Anthony Bello.
Talman powered his way into the lead on the restart with Marcello Rufrano coming up to second. Chapman was third with Michael Gervais, Jr. fourth and Michael Christopher, Jr. fifth. The caution came back out with 2 laps complete for Jon Puleo, who came to a stop at the exit of turn 2 up against the retaining wall.
Talman and Rufrano went wheel to wheel for the lead back under green with Rufrano taking the lead on lap-4. Talman settled into second with Christopher third, Jimmy Blewett fourth, and Keith Rocco fifth. Christopher made a move to the inside of Talman and he took over second place on lap-5. Blewett was now trying to take third from Talman on lap-6 and he made the pass on lap-7. Rocco followed Blewett by to move into fourth and drop Talman back to sixth as Cory DiMatteo took fifth.
With 15 laps complete it was still Rufrano in the lead followed by Blewett, Rocco, DiMatteo, Christopher, Gervais, Noah Korner, Mikey Flynn, David Arute, and Tyler Hines. The caution came back out with 21 laps complete for Prucker, who spun coming out of turn 4.
Talman spun on the restart in turn 2 to bring the caution right back out. The caution came right back out on the restart as Prucker, Talman, John Sandberg, and Tyler Leary all spun in turn 3.
Rufrano took the lead back under green with Rocco and Blewett going wheel to wheel for second. DiMatteo was fourth in line with Christopher and Gervais wheel to wheel for fifth Rocco cleared Blewett on lap-24 as Blewett got very sideways in turn 4 but managed to only fall back to third behind Rufrano and Rocco. DiMatteo was fourth behind Blewett and Mikey Flynn got around Christopher for fifth. The caution came back out with 26 laps complete as Christopher took a hard hit into the turn 4 wall.
Rufrano took the lead on the restart with Blewett almost taking the lead back from Rufrano in turn 3 before settling back into second. Rocco was third in line with DiMatteo and Hines behind him. Flynn was sixth with Stephen Kopcik and Korner wheel to wheel for seventh, Todd Owen ninth, and Gervais tenth. Blewett took the lead from Rufrano on lap-31 but Rufrano came back strong on lap-35 to take the lead by a nose at the line. Rufrano cleared Blewett on lap-36 but Blewett worked his way back to the inside of Rufrano on lap-38 and he moved back to the front of the field. The caution flew with 37 laps complete for spins in turn 4 by Talman and Teddy Hodgdon, which collected the car of Arute.
DiMatteo got a great run on the restart to work his way alongside Rufrano but he settled back into second place behind Rufrano with Blewett in third. Blewett quickly retook second and he gave Rufrano a shot to the back bumper going into turn 3 on the final lap but Rufrano was able to hold on and fend off Blewett to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season. DiMatteo finished third with Hines and Kopcik rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature event, Alexandra Fearn took the lead at the green and she set the early pace. Tom Butler worked his way around Duane Noll on lap-2 to move into second with Noll slotting into third. John Blake took fourth on lap-3 and Zack Robinson took fifth as Darrell Keane slid from fourth back to sixth.
Blake made a move to the inside of Noll on lap-7 to move into third and his pass opened the door for Robinson to take fourth, Andrew Durand fifth, Keane sixth, Michael Wray seventh, Tom Fearn eighth, Adam Gray ninth and Wayne Coury, Jr. tenth as Noll was sliding backwards in the outside lane while Alexandra Fearn continued to lead the race with Tom Butler right behind her in second. The caution came out with 9 laps complete for Tom Fearn, who spun coming out of turn 4.
Butler powered his way into the lead on the restart but the caution flew for a spin in turn 3 by John Blake, which collected the car of Paul Varricchio.
Alexandra Fearn took the lead back under green with Durand taking second behind her. Coury and Robinson were dueling door to door for third with Kevin Gambacorta in fifth. Coury took third on lap-14 and that allowed Gambacorta to follow him by Robinson and take fourth while dropping Robinson back to fifth. Tom Fearn pulled off the track on lap-16 with smoke pouring from underneath his car. Noll came to a stop on the backstretch after a spin coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution back out with 17 laps complete.
On the restart Durand powered his way into the lead with Alexandra Fearn slotting into second. Coury was still third in the order with Gambacorta fourth and Robinson fifth. Just behind Robinson in sixth was Ryan Fearn who had Keane, Chris Meyer, Adam Gray, and Jacob Perry lined up behind him. With 5 laps to go, Durand was still in command with Alexandra Fearn lined up right behind him. Coury and Gambacorta were right behind Alexandra Fearn to make a four car train for the lead with Robinson and Ryan Fearn in fifth and sixth. Durand led Alexandra Fearn to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2023 season. Coury finished third with Gambacorta and Robinson rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, the caution came out right away as Hailey Desaulniers, Paul Arcari, and Anthony Forino all got into the wall on the backstretch.
Tyler Alkas took the early lead with Bob Charland behind him in second. Zack Aszklar and Tyler Chapman were dueling wheel to wheel for third when the caution came back out with 2 laps complete for Sami Anderson, who slowly came to a stop on the frontstretch.
Charland powered his way into the lead on the restart with Tyler Chapman following in his tire tracks in the outside lane to move up to second. Chris Matthews was up to third with George Bessette, Jr. in fourth and Alkas back to fifth. Chapman spun in turn 2 on lap-6 to bring the caution back out.
Charland took the lead back under green with Matthews taking second. Zach Aszklar worked his way up to third with Nickolas Hovey taking fourth and Nick Anglace fifth. Anglace took fourth from Hovey on lap-9 and he began to immediately apply heavy pressure to Aszklar for third place. Aszklar was able to fend off Anglace’s challenges and he took second from Matthews on lap-14. Anglace was looking to follow Aszklar by Matthews when the caution came back out for a multi-car incident in turn 4 involving Matt Brewer, Jason Chapman, David Webb, Brandon Michael, and Paul Arute.
A chain reaction accident on the restart involving Wade Gagner, Daltin McCarthy, Casey Vogt, and Meghan Fuller brought the caution flag right back out. The next restart saw another multi-car accident on the backstretch that caught up the cars of Tyler Chapman, Tyler Barry, Brandon Michael, Norm Sears, and several others.
Charland took the lead back under green with Brian Sullivan going wheel to wheel with Anglace for second. Cassandra Cole moved up to fourth with Bessette in fifth. Bessette took fourth on lap-18 and he pulled alongside Anglace for third on lap-19 while Sullivan and Charland were wheel to wheel for the lead. Sullivan inched into the lead coming through turns 3+4 on the final lap with Bessette coming on strong on his outside. Sullivan beat Bessette to the checkered flag by a car length to secure his third win of the 2023 season in 4 races. Charland finished third with Anglace and Pearl rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Bill Cote took the early lead at the drop of the green flag with Travis Downey settling into second place. Jeff Asselin was third in line followed by Tyler Trott, who quickly moved from seventh to fourth and Johnny Walker in fifth. The caution came out with 2 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Jason Finkbein.
Downey powered his way by Cote on the restart to take over the race lead. Ryan Waterman moved up to second with Trott third, Cote fourth, and Walker fifth. The caution came back out with 6 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Jason Raymond.
Cote did a 360 spin in turn 1 on the restart but kept going and the race stayed green with Downey holding the lead but Waterman took the lead from Downey on lap-8. Walker was up to third with Trott back to fourth and Jason Lafayette now in fifth place. Walker went by Downey on ap-9 to take over second and he brought Trott and Lafayette by to drop Downey from second back to fifth place as Waterman continued to lead.
Lafayette made a move to get by Trott on lap-14 to move into third and he brought Downey with him up to fourth as Trott fell from third back to fifth with Waterman and Walker holding down the top two spots. Walker couldn’t get close enough to Waterman as Waterman took down his third win in four races this season. Lafayette finished third with Downey and Jeff Asselin rounding out the top-5 after Trott pulled off the track in the closing laps with a mechanical issue.
In the Kids Big Wheel race, it was Joey Davenport taking the checkered flag in a field of 20 kids.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Stafford Speedway PR