Speedway Digest Staff
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Watsonville’s Rickey Sanders continued his hunt for the 2022 Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo championship, scoring his first-career series win in the penultimate weekend of action for the 360 Sprint Car Series on Friday night. Sanders held off Bud Kaeding through lapped traffic on several occasions en route to the 30-lap triumph.
“Bud’s been racing for a ton of years. He’s won a million a races. He’s really good in lapped traffic. I’ve watched him and my brother (Justin) battle for years so this means a lot,” Sanders said. “My brother – we’ve been texting each other all week, trying to get better. I think we figured it out!”
Sanders earned the pole after winning the Gizdich Ranch Dash and lined up alongside fast-time qualifier Kaeding. The leaders rapidly encountered slower traffic by the fourth lap of the event. Cole Danell of Visalia slowed to the pits as the first car out and was awarded $100 by Geoffrey Strole’s team for his misfortune. Fresno’s Craig Stidham continued a challenging night by slowing into the infield with damage which earned him the Beer Optics Hard Luck award.
Wayne Katen spun in turn three while being lapped to bring out the first caution on lap seven. The leaders were quickly back into thick traffic on lap 12. Morgan Hill’s J.J. Ringo had a run outside of Joey Ancona of Concord for fifth but the duo collided on the backstretch, bringing out the yellow flag on lap 14 and ending both driver’s evenings.
Fifteenth starting Dylan Bloomfield of Discovery Bay outfoxed Livermore’s Travis Labat for fourth while Sanders and Kaeding again drove into traffic on lap 20. Sanders continued to impress as he paced the field. Brandon Stidham spun on lap 21 in turn four for a yellow flag. Bloomfield took advantage of the caution to charge past Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson to take third on lap 25.
Sanders slid in front of a lapped car on lap 28 to clinch a car length win over Kaeding, followed by Bloomfield, Nelson, and Oakdale’s Bradley Dillard. Bloomfield’s drive through the field earned him the Price Rite Hard Charger as well.
Blake Bower of Brentwood won his third consecutive Ocean Speedway Western Midget Racing feature in one of the most hotly contested in series history at the speedway. Fresno’s TJ Smith made his series debut in the No. 11 Triple-X chassis, winning his heat race and leading the feature from the pole.
Bower and his teammate Bryant Bell of Oakley battled side-by-side for third for several laps. Logan Mitchell of Santa Cruz stopped on the front stretch with a mechanical issue on the right rear for a caution on lap 11. On the restart, Nate Wait of Lodi and Peoria, Ariz.’s Cory Brown tangled in turn one.
Bower seized the lead on lap 15 but Smith was undeterred. Smith tried multiple times to cross over Bower in turns one and two, but Bower held on to win in the close battle. Bell finished third followed by multi-time Delta Speedway Micro Sprint champion Caden Sarale of Stockton, and heat race two winner Adam Teves of Concord.
Hobby Stock points leader Joe Gallaher won his ninth feature of the season by claiming the $333-to-win Terry Traub Tribute. Norm Ayers of Corralitos led the opening lap from the outside before Sam Kennedy drove up the inside to lead lap two. A caution flew on that lap. On the restart, fourth starting Gallaher drove into the lead around the outside.
Skyler Chairez of Atascadero slowed up in smoke for a caution on lap six. Kennedy drove back into the lead briefly on lap seven on the outside but Gallaher took it back on lap eight. Gallaher led the rest of the way to top Kennedy, Adriane Frost, Mark Cooper of Scotts Valley, and Wally Kennedy of Freedom.
Fred Lind of Prunedale used a lap 18 maneuver to win the 20-lap IMCA Modified feature. Trevor Fitz of Camarillo dominated the early laps. Lind won a long side-by-side battle with points leader Jim Pettit to take second on lap ten.
Andy Obertello of Hollister flipped in turn two to require a red flag on lap 13. He was uninjured. Lind dove inside Fitz on several occasions including nearly taking the lead on lap 15 in turn three. Lind finally completed the pass on lap 18 exiting turn four.
Bobby Hogge IV nabbed second over Fitz at the stripe with Pettit and Cody Burke of Salinas rounding out the top-five finishers.
IMCA Sport Modifieds points leader Jonathan Hagio of Prunedale won his fourth race of the season. Prunedale’s Max Baggett led the first two laps until Watsonville’s Billy Robertson executed a crossover pass in turn one to lead lap three.
Jacob Mallet, Jr. – a five-time winner this year – spun on the backstretch but kept going and the race remained green. Hagio advanced from seventh to third by lap ten, then the field moved into traffic by lap 12. Robertson, Merced’s Richard Ragsdale, and Hagio ran nose-to-tail until a caution on lap 15.
Mallet had charged all the way back to fifth under green flag conditions, then collided with Baggett to send Baggett spinning in turn two for the caution. Hagio drove around the outside of Ragsdale for second on the restart, then took the lead on the inside when Robertson drove wide in turn four on lap 14. Hagio topped Mallet, Robertson, Ragsdale, and Adriane Frost at the finish.
Ocean Speedway races again this Friday and Saturday nights with the Johnny Key Classic weekend. Saturday’s finale serves as the championship race for the Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo, battling with the stars of the Sprint Car Challenge Tour.
Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo – August 12, 2022 (30 Laps)
A Feature 1 (30 Laps): 1. 17-Rickey Sanders; 2. 69-Bud Kaeding; 3. 83V-Dylan Bloomfield; 4. 72W-Kurt Nelson; 5. 72S-Bradley Dillard; 6. 61-Travis Labat; 7. 72JR-Chris Nelson; 8. 4-Burt Foland Jr; 9. 88-Koen Shaw; 10. 3M-Adam Kaeding; 11. 25Z-Jason Chisum; 12. 3-Brandon Stidham; 13. 63D-Jon De Wees; 14. 46J-Geoffrey Grimm; 15. 99-Wayne Katen; 16. 56Z-Don Hart; 17. 88A-Joey Ancona; 18. 3T-JJ Ringo; 19. 36-Craig Stidham; 20. 5-Cole Danell; 21. (DNS) 28K-Kameron Suoja; 22. (DNS) 5D-Connor Danell
Ocean Sprints PR
On a track that was as demanding and technical as any the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series has competed on in 2022, Eddie Tafoya Jr. finished eighth in the main event last Saturday night at the Santa Maria Raceway. The finish allowed him to get closer to the drivers ranked second and third in the championship point standings.
Built in 1964, Saturday’s race was the first at the track in over a year. Race starved locals welcomed the return of the motorized action and the event was a complete sellout.
Tafoya, who lives in Chino Hills, California, kicked off his night with a fast lap of 14.288 in qualifying. That was the fifth quickest time in the 31-car field. The time placed him on the inside of the third row for the first 10-lap heat race. Early in the heat, the friendly driver slipped back to sixth. That was two spots out of the final transfer position. On a track that was proving hard to pass on, it took Tafoya until late in the race to get past the fifth-place driver. Once by, he dramatically closed in on the 4th place car. However, before he could get by and into the final transfer spot, the 10-lap race ended. Tafoya was one car length out of the final transfer.
The fifth-place finish in the heat race meant that Tafoya had to start the B Main. The top six cars in the 12-lap affair would advance to the night’s 30-lap A Main. Being that he was the fastest qualifying car in the B, the 25-year-old and his #51T started on the pole. That was especially important as the track was quickly deteriorating in turns one and two and passing was going to be at a premium. As soon as the green flag started the race, Tafoya removed any doubt that he would not be in the A main by running away from the remainder of the field. When he flew by the checkered flag at the end of the 12-lapper, “Mr. Smooth” was a full straightaway ahead of the second-place car.
For the main, Tafoya started on the inside of row four. He was seventh in the early going and stayed around that spot most of the race. In the end, he crossed the line in eighth, giving him seven top 10 finishes in the last seven USAC/CRA races.
Amid his best season in a sprint car to date, Tafoya shaved valuable points off the advantages of the drivers just ahead of him in the championship standings. Going into Santa Maria, he was 67-points out of second. He left the track only 47-points out of the runner up spot. In addition, he was 39-points out of third going into the show and came out of the event only 21 shy of the driver in third.
Tafoya returns to his home digs, Perris Auto Speedway, for the annual California Racer’s Hall of Fame Night on August 20. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m. with racing at 7:00.
Be sure to check out Tafoya’s brand new YouTube channel at the following link https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxgMCW64p0uyBmOcKN7_bDQ.
Fans can follow Tafoya on Instagram @eddietafoya51. The same contact point can be used to purchase his great-looking shirts via mail.
Eddie Tafoya PR
Stafford Speedway returned to racing action with a Weekly Series program on Friday, August 12th. Keith Rocco took down his second win of the 2022 season in the SK Modified® feature, Tom Fearn scored his second consecutive and third overall win of the season in the Late Model feature, George Bessette, Jr. notched his third win of 2022 in the SK Light feature, Kevin Cormier became a first time Stafford winner in the Limited Late Model feature, and Bobby Stirk, III racked up his fourth win of 2022 in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature event, Troy Talman took the lead at the green flag while Ronnie Williams had to be pushed to pit road before the race started and Bryan Narducci took one lap at slow speed before pulling behind the wall. Michael Gervais, Jr. was second behind Talman with Tyler Hines, Keith Rocco, and David Arute lined up behind him. Just behind Arute, Cory DiMatteo and Mikey Flynn were wheel to wheel for sixth place.
Hines took second on lap-5 and his move brought Rocco up to third and dropped Gervais from second back to fourth with Talman still out front. DiMatteo got around Arute to move into fifth on lap-7 and Flynn followed him by as did Todd Owen to drop Arute back to eighth place. Up front, Rocco took second from Hines and he took the lead with a pass coming out of turn 2 on lap-11.
Hines took second from Talman on lap-14 and that move brought DiMatteo into third as Talman slid back to fourth while Rocco was staring to very slowly stretch out his advantage in the lead. DiMatteo’s great run came to an end as he took his car to pit road with an overheating issue just as the field hit the halfway point of the race. This moved Talman back into third with Gervais fourth and Owen in fifth with Rocco and Hines still occupying the top two spots.
With 10 laps to go, Rocco was in the lead followed by Hines, Talman, Gervais, Owen, Flynn, Arute, Anthony Flannery, Noah Korner, and Jon Puleo. Rocco led Hines to the checkered flag to pick up his second win of the 2022 season. Talman finished third with Owen and Gervais rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Paul Varricchio, Jr. took the lead at the green with Paul Arute and Andrew Durand going door to door for second. Arute cleared Durand and took second on lap-3 with Tom Fearn getting by Durand to move into third and drop Durand back to fifth as Michael Bennett took fourth.
Arute took the lead from Varricchio on lap-5 but he only lasted one lap out front as Fearn moved to the front of the field on lap-6. Bennett came up to second with Varricchio third, Darrell Keane fourth, Kevin Gambacorta fifth, and Andrew Molleur sixth as Arute slid back to seventh place in three laps.
At the halfway point of the race, Fearn and Bennett were starting to pull away from Varricchio in third. Keane was still fourth with Gambacorta fifth. Molleur was sixth with Adam Gray seventh, Arute eighth, Wayne Coury, Jr. ninth and Michael Wray tenth. Keane made a move the inside of Varricchio on lap-22 to move into third and that move opened the door for Gambacorta, Gray, and Molleur to all get by Varricchio and drop him from third back to seventh. Varricchio continued to slide backwards as Arute and Coury got around him on lap-24 to move into seventh and eighth and drop Varricchio back to ninth as Fearn was still leading Bennett out front.
Bennett couldn’t catch Fearn as Fearn took down his second consecutive win. Keane finished third with Gambacorta and Gray rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature event, Cassandra Cole and Nick Anglace ran the first lap side by side for the lead with Anglace taking the lead by a nose at the line. The caution came out with 1 lap on the board for Norm Sears, who got into the turn 3 wall.
Anglace took the lead on the restart with Cole and Meghan Fuller side by side for second place. Bob Charland was fourth with Chris Matthews in fifth. Cole cleared Fuller for second on lap-5 whiel Charland followed her around Fuller to take over third place. Lap-6 saw Matthews get around Fuller to move into fourth. The shuffling of positions continued as George Bessette, Jr. moved from fourth to second on lap-8 to drop Cole back to third, just in front of Charland, Fuller, and Matthews as Anglace continued to hold the lead.
Bessette got to the inside of Anglace in turn 1 on lap-13 and he took over the lead. Derek Debbis and Matthews touched with Matthews spinning through the frontstretch infield on lap-14 but everyone was able to continue and the race stayed green but the caution came out on e lap later as Tyler Chapman spun in turn 2 and Barry had a flat right front tire.
Bessette took the lead back under green with Anglace in hot pursuit from second. Charland was third with Amanda West coming up to fourth and Alexander Pearl taking fifth with Fuller in sixth. The caution came back out with 18 laps complete for Joey Ferrigno and Hailey Desaulniers, who came together and ended up in the turn 1 wall.
Anglace and Bessette went wheel to wheel for the lead on the restart with Anglace holding ht lead by a nose as they took the white flag. Anglace tried a bottom shot move going into turn 3 on the final lap but Bessette got a good run in the high groove and he took the checkered flag for his third victory of 2022. West finished third with Fuller and Charland rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature event, Kevin Cormier came out of a 3-wide duel with Jay Clement and Devon Jencik to take the lead on the first lap of the race. Matt Scappini took second behind Cormier with Devon Jencik third, Gar Patnode fourth and Jay Clement fifth. Patnode was looking to the inside of Devon Jencik for third on lap-7 but Patnode was able to hold him off and maintain third place. Patnode again got to the inside of Jencik on lap-9 but he couldn’t make the pass and almost lost fourth to Jay Clement in the process.
With 5 laps to go, Cormier was still in command with Scappini in second. Devon Jencik was still third with Patnode fourth and Jay Clement fifth. Alexandra Fearn was sixth followed by Jeremy Lavoie in seventh, Matt Clement in eighth, Rich Hammann in ninth, and Damian Palardy in tenth. Cormier led Scappini to the checkered flag to pick up his first career win at Stafford Motor Speedway. Devon Jencik finished third with Patnode and Jay Clement rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature event, Chris Danielczuk and Bill Cote made contact coming to green flag and ended up in the wall just in front of the start/finish line to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed.
Marvin Minkler took the lead on the restart with Nickolas Hovey moving from fourth up to second behind Minkler. Jason Finkbein quickly moved into third with Tyler Trott fourth and Bobby Stirk, III fifth. Finkbein made a move to the inside of Hovey and took over second place on lap-4. Finkbein’s move opened the door for Trott to move into third, Stirk to take fourth and Adrien Paradis, III fifth to drop Hovey back to sixth in line. Hovey’s car then dropped off the pace on lap-7 and he crawled his way back to pit road, done for the evening. The caution flag came back out with 10 laps complete for a spin in turn 2 by Finkbein after contact from Trott. Trott was sent to the rear of the field by Stafford officials for the contact with Finkbein.
Stirk took the lead from Minkler on the restart wit Paradis moving into third behind Minkler. Travis Hydar and Bert Ouellette were locked in a side by side duel for fourth place with Hydar taking fourth and then taking third from Ouellette on lap-12. The caution came back out with 12 laps complete Ouellette and Jason Lafayette made contact and spun on the backstretch.
Stirk took the lead back under green with Hydar taking second. Minkler was third in line followed by Paradis in fourth and Travis Downey in fifth. Downey made a move to the inside of Minkler on lap-16 to take over fourth place as Stirk was slowly pulling away from Hydar in the fight for the lead.
Stirk led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2022 season. Hydar finished second with Paradis, Downey, and Minkler rounding out the top-5.
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
On Friday night Matt Westfall was victorious in the most competitive 25-lap sprint car feature so far this year at Gas City I-69 Speedway. After a race-long war with three other front runners, the veteran from Pleasant Hill, Ohio became the seventh different sprint car feature winner this season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt track.
Michael Magic of Winder, Ga., didn’t use any hocus pocus to win the 20-lap main event for the USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget series, which is sponsored by Performance Electronics.
Zach Wigal flipped in Turn 4 while running third with two laps down in the midget feature, but the high school student from Belpre, Ohio returned to win the 15-lap micro-sprint feature.
Andy King of Convoy, Ohio took the lead with three laps to go in the 15-lap Dirt Track Truck Series feature and led the early leader, Dan Ramey of Payne, Ohio, to the checkered flag.
Jeremy Jones of Gas City tried his hardest but he couldn’t stop Landon Arcaro of Bookville, Ind., from winning his sixth 15-lap hornet feature of the season at Gas City.
Non-Wing Sprint Cars
The stars of the non-wing sprint car feature were Westfall; defending track champion Scotty Weir of Marion, Ind.; Tye Mihocko of Peoria, Ariz., and Anton Hernandez of West Lafayette, Ind. They finished in that order, but not without a good old fashioned slugfest.
Polesitter Evan Mosley of Lapel, Ind., led the first lap and finished fifth.
Westfall started second and passed Mosley with a move to the outside in Turn 2 before Levi Wignet of Wabash, Ind., spun in Turn 2 to cause a compete restart. Mosley led the first lap before Westfall got him again, this time on the backstretch, to lead laps two and three, although there was a pause between those laps when Colin Grissom of Anderson, Ind., spun off Turn 2. Lap three was also when Mihocko charged under Mosley for second in Turn 2 and set his sights on Westfall.
It only took Mihocko a quarter of a mile, as he passed Westfall low in Turn 4 to lead laps four through seven, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap five in the process. Weir, meanwhile, had made it to third by lap five after starting eighth, while Hernandez was fourth after starting third.
Westfall tried the outside repeatedly to pass Mihocko. He made a pass stick at the start-finish line on lap eight, but four laps later Mihocko was still just 0.381 seconds behind Westfall’s Ray Marshall Motorsports DRC/Gressman Chevy, which is sponsored by Buckeye Machine, Ray Marshall Motorsports, Hempy Water and Allstar Performance.
Weir was close too, and on lap 13 Weir passed Mihocko for second. On the next lap the top four of Westfall, Weir, Mihocko and Hernandez were running under the proverbial blanket, and they kept it up until Matt Goodnight of Muncie, Ind., had a problem in Turn 4 with 16 laps down to bring out another yellow.
The pressure ramped up even higher when they got another lap in the books and then Grissom brought out another yellow when he stopped on the frontstretch with 17 laps down.
Hernandez, who had just gotten a call from Scott Benic to drive the No. 2B, flew under Mihocko in Turn 4 for third on lap 18, but Mihocko got him back on the very next lap. Mihocko also passed Weir for second on lap 23, but Weir regained the spot on the white-flag lap. Driving the Scott and Donna Pedersen’s familiar DRC/Pedersen No. 4P sponsored by Red’s Racing Engines, Indy Race Parts and AFCO, Weir was 0.624 of a second behind Westfall’s No. 33M at the checkered.
Mihocko drove Jamie and Michelle Paul’s DRC Foxco sponsored by High Asspirations Farms, Rumpke and Olde Schoolhouse Winery, while Hernandez’s Maxim is sponsored by Benic Enterprises, Honest Abe Roofing of Terre Haute, Velocita-USA and Zamp Racing. Mosley’s No. 27, which is a DRC/Gressman just like Westfall’s, is sponsored by CB Fabricating, H4 Capital and Quack Daddy Donuts.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Thunder Midgets
Magic got busy immediately in the USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder midget feature after starting 11th in the 16-car field. Polesitter Gunnar Lucius of Delphos, Ohio, led the first lap before giving way to Jakeb Boxell of Zanesville, Ohio, who led laps two through 13. That included the red for Wigal, who flipped after contact with Lucius with two laps down while he was running third.
But Magic was already on the move behind the front runners. He was eighth on lap one, sixth on lap two, fourth on lap three, and second on lap five after passing Lucius on the outside.
Boxell had a 1.5-second lead at that time, and he had stretched his advantage to nearly 2 seconds by lap eight. But Magic got the opportunity he was hoping for with 10 laps down when Tyler Watkins of Marion, Ind., spun off course in Turn 4 to bring out a yellow and close up the field.
Boxell led three laps after the restart until Magic passed him at the start-finish line on lap 14. Magic led the rest of the race and he had a 0.474 second margin of victory over Boxell.
The other big mover in the race was Bryce Massingill of Troy, Ohio, who won here on July 29. He started 13th, cracked the top 10 on lap five, and moved into the top five on lap 12. He passed Alex Watson of Columbus, Ohio for fourth on lap 13 and Lucius for third with five laps remaining to nail down the show position.
Lucius placed fourth and Chris Dickey of Westfield, Ind., rounded out the top five.
Magic’s winning car is a Stealth chassis with a Honda powerplant and Kahne shocks. He’s sponsored by Full Circle Fabrication, Atlantic Powder Coating and PBH Indy Honda.
Magic was also a player in the micro-sprint feature, as he led the first two laps from the pole before giving way to Craig Ronk of Warsaw, Ind., who had started fifth.
There were two yellows with five laps down. On the first restart with five laps down Magic’s car didn’t fire, which caused the second yellow. Ronk was penalized two positions for brake checking before that restart, which gave the lead to Wigal, who had worked his way up to second after starting sixth.
Ronk passed Todd Kirkman of Kokomo, Ind., for second with nine laps down but had to give the spot back after Deon Coburn of Logansport, Ind., stopped on the frontstretch to bring out another yellow. Ronk passed Kirkman again on the backstretch after that restart and then zeroed in on Wigal. The 15-year-old driver persevered, but won by only 0.203 seconds over Ronk.
Kirkman held on for third followed by Blane Culp of Columbia City, Ind., and Jeremy Warren of Noblesville, Ind.
WIgal’s winning micro is owned by Chad Boat Industries and is sponsored by Prime Lending, K&C Drywall and Adams Performance.
Dirt Track Truck Series
The Dirt Track Truck Series feature went nonstop. Ramey led the first 11 laps from the pole. King, who started eighth and last, dipped under him in Turn 2 after some contact and led the final four laps. King, the owner and founder of the series, had a 1.189-second lead over Ramey at the checkered flag.
Kevin Knittle of Middle Point, Ohio started third and finished third. Phil Hicks of Lima, Ohio, who started second, finished fourth. Jamie Heiser of Salamonia, Ind., started fifth, was as high as third in the early going, and finished fifth.
The winning truck is sponsored by Hicks Lawn Services and Coffey Plantations.
Arcaro and Jones battled furiously for most of the hornet feature after they started fifth and sixth, respectively.
Arcaro led the first five laps; Jones led lap six; Arcaro held the point again on laps seven and eight; Jones led again on laps nine and 10, and Arcaro got the lead for good on the backstretch on lap 11 by using lapped traffic to his advantage.
Alexes Spaulding of Roanoke, Ind., finished third followed by polesitter Emily Johnson of Upland, Ind., and Hunter Rasmussen of Lagro, Ind.
Arcaro’s No. 72 is sponsored in part by Gillman Home Center, Smith Landscaping and Lawncare, and Wholesale Carpet.
The track will be dark on Friday, Aug. 19 to prepare for the “Night of Destruction” on Saturday, Aug. 20. It features monster trucks, a minivan demo derby, trailer races, a rollover contest and more.
The next Friday night show is the Labor Day Classic on Sept. 2, with a big five-division card.
The James Dean Classic featuring the USAC AMSOIL national sprint cars and the USAC NOS Energy Drink national midgets is Thursday, Sept. 22, and then the 2022 season closes Oct. 21-22 with the fourth annual Gas City Fall Festival of Speed.
For more information see the track’s social media outlets, as the track’s website is undergoing some changes. It is on Facebook (GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas) and Twitter (@GasCitySpeedway).
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of exit 259 of Interstate 69, about halfway between Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, Ind.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 1 Qualifying: 1. Jack Hoyer, 12.197; 2. Anton Hernandez, 12.308; 3. Travis Hery, 12.343; 4. Brayden Clark, 12.473; 5. Ryan Barr, 12.575; 6. Brady Click, 13.314; 7. Andrew Cockman, 13.453; 8. Levi Wignet, 13.836.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 2 Qualifying: 1. Matt Westfall, 11.895; 2. Scotty Weir, 12.079; 3. Colten Cottle, 12.229; 4. Tye Mihocko, 12.263; 5. Colin Grissom, 12.371; 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 12.679; 7. Jack James, 12.812.
Non-Wing Sprint Group 3 Qualifying: 1. Matt Goodnight, 12.219; 2. Ricky Lewis, 12.441; 3. Evan Mosley, 12.459; 4. Corey Smith, 12.573; 5. Kevin Newton, 12.900; 6. Cooper Welch, 13.315; 7. Tom Eller, 13.469.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Jack Hoyer, 2. Anton Hernandez, 3. Travis Hery, 4. Brayden Clark, 5. Ryan Barr, 6. Brady Click, 7. Levi Wignet, 8. Andrew Cockman.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Tye Mihocko, 2. Matt Westfall, 3. Scotty Weir, 4. Colten Cottle, 5. Colin Grissom, 6. Korbyn Hayslett, 7. Jack James.
Non-Wing Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Evan Mosley, 2. Corey Smith, 3. Kevin Newton, 4. Tom Eller, 5. Cooper Welch, 6. Matt Goodnight, 7. Ricky Lewis.
Non-Wing Sprint Feature (25 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Matt Westfall (2); 2. Scotty Weir (8); 3. Tye Mihocko (4); 4. Anton Hernandez (3); 5. Evan Mosley (1); 6. Jack Hoyer (5); 7. Colten Cottle (11); 8. Brayden Clark (10); 9. Ryan Barr (13); 10. Corey Smith (6); 11. Travis Hery (7); 12. Kevin Newton (9); 13. Jack James (20); 14. Korbyn Hayslett (17); 15. Ricky Lewis (21); 16. Matt Goodnight (18); 17. Cooper Welch (15); 18. Brady Click (16); 19. Colin Grissom (14); 20. Levi Wignet (19); 21. Tom Eller (12); 22. Andrew Cockman (22).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Mosley; laps 2-3, Westfall; laps 4-7, Mihocko; laps 8-25, Westfall.
Margin of Victory: 0.624 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Mihocko, 13.067, lap 5.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 1: 1. Zach Wigal, 13.218; 2. Chris Dickey, 13.347; 3. Tommy Kouns, 13.532; 4. Connor Wolf, 13.648; 5. Tyler Watkins, 13.985.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 2: 1.Gunnar Lucius, 13.080; 2. Ryan Moran, 13.283; 3. Cody Beard, 13.294; 4. Tom Fedorcyzk, 13.739; 5.Wes Pinkerton, 13.818; 6. Jim Jones, 14.178; 7. Aaron Sanders, 14.953.
USAC SpeeD2 Midget Qualifying Session 3: 1. Jakeb Boxell, 12.865; 2. Michael Magic, 13.066; 3. Alex Watson, 13.134; 4. Ian Creager, 13.170; 5. Bryce Massingill, 13.235; 6. Cory Guingrich, 13.481.
Performance Electronics USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Zach Wigal, 2. Connor Wolf, 3. Chris Dickey, 4. Tommy Kouns, 5. Ryan Moran, 6. Tyler Watkins.
Brewhouse Drive-Thru USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Gunnar Lucius, 2. Wes Pinkerton, 3. Tom Fedorczyk, 4. Jim Jones, 5. Aaron Sanders, 6. Cody Beard.
K & M Tool & Die USAC SpeeD2 Midget Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Jakeb Boxell, 2. Alex Watson, 3. Ian Creager, 4. Michael Magic, 5. Bryce Massingill, 6. Cory Guingrich.
USAC SpeeD2 Midwest Thunder Midget Feature (20 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Michael Magic (11); 2. Jakeb Boxell (6); 3. Bryce Massingill (13); 4. Gunnar Lucius (1); 5. Chris Dickey (7); 6. Alex Watson (3); 7. Tommy Kouns (9); 8. Ian Creager (8); 9. Cory Guingrich (16); 10. Ryan Moran (12); 11. Jim Jones (10); 12. Tyler Watkins (14); 13. Wes Pinkerton (5); 14. Cory Beard (15); 15. Connor Wolf (4); 16. Zach Wigal (2); 17. Tom Fedorczyk (DNS); 18. Aaron Sanders (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1, Lucius; laps 2-13, Boxell; laps 14-20, Magic.
Margin of Victory: 0.474 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Magic, 12.920 seconds, lap 12.
PPC Performance Powder Coating Hard Charger: Magic and Massingill (+ 10).
Winged Micro-Sprint Qualifying Group 1: 1. Zach Wigal, 11.947; 2. Todd Kirkman, 12.642; 3. Brett Carruth, 12.843; 4. Doug Nichols, 13.176; 5. Mike Landis, 13.177; 6. Dylan Shroyer, 13.783; 7. Shannon Waggoner, no time.
Winged Micro-Sprint Qualifying Group 2: 1. Craig Ronk, 12.073; 2. Kole Kirkman, 12.147; 3. Jeremy Warren, 12.327; 4. Blane Culp, 12.681; 5. Noah Whitehouse, 12.958; 5. Halen Shafer, 12.991; 6. Duane Noe, 13.383.
Winged Micro-Sprint Qualifying Group 3: 1. Jaylon Mills, 12.352; 3. Mike Magic, 12.767; 3. Jacob Kincaid, 12.900 4. Kayden Boles, 13.075; 5. Beau Brandon, 13.210; 6. Deon Coburn, 13.713.
Winged Micro-Sprints Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. Zach Wigal, 2. Todd Kirkman, 2. Brett Carruth, 4. Mike Landis, 5. Dylan Shroyer, 6. Doug Nichols, 7. Shannon Waggoner.
Winged Micro-Sprint Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Craig Ronk, 2. Kole Kirkman, 3. Jeremy Warren, 4. Blane Culp, 5. Halen Shafer, 6. Noah Whitehouse, 7. Duane Noe.
Winged Micro-Sprint Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Jaylon Mills, 2. Mike Magic, 3. Jacob Kincaid, 4. Beau Brandon, 5. Deon Coburn, 6. Kayden Boles.
Winged Micro-Sprint Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Zach Wigal (6); 2. Craig Ronk (5); 3. Todd Kirkman (3); 4. Blane Culp (11); 5. Jeremy Warren (8); 6. Jaylon Mills (4); 7. Kayden Boles (18); 8. Brett Carroth (7); 9. Mike Landis (10); 10. Jacob Kincaid (9); 11. Beau Brandon (12); 12. Noah Whitehouse (17); 13. Doug Nichols (16); 14. Shannon Waggoner (19); 15. Deon Coburn (15); 16. Michael Magic (1); 17. Duane Noe (20); 18. Kole Kirkman (2); 19. Dylan Shroyer (13); 20. Halen Shaffer (14).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-2, Magic; laps 3-5, Ronk; laps 6-15, Wigal.
Margin of Victory: 0.203 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: Wigal, 11.854, lap 11.
Dirt Track Truck Series Qualifying Session 1: 1. Rolly Heyder Jr., 15.434; 2. Phil Hicks, 16.509; 3. Jamie Heiser, 16.696; 4. Vincent Wagoner, 17.462; 5. Landon Arcaro, 17.603.
Dirt Track Truck Series Qualifying Session 2: 1. Kevin Knittle, 15.687; 2. Dan Ramey, 16.436; 3. John Sandford, 16.453; 4. Joe Bell, 16.526.
Dirt Track Truck Series Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Jamie Heiser, 2. Rolly Heyder Jr., 3. Phil Hicks, 4. Vincent Wagoner, 5. Landon Arcaro, 6. Trevor Winship (DNS).
Dirt Track Truck Series Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. John Sandford, 2. Kevin Knittle, 3. Dan Ramey, 4. Joe Bell, 5. Andy King, 6. Eddie Tucker Jr. (DNS).
Dirt Track Truck Series Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Andy King (8); 2. Dan Ramey (1); 3. Kevin Knittle (3); 4. Phil Hicks (2); 5. Jamie Heiser (5); 6. Joe Bell (6); 7. John Sanford (4); 8. Landon Arcaro (7); 9. Rolly Heyder Jr. (DNS); 10. Trevor Winship (DNS); 11. Eddie Tucker Jr. (DNS).
Lap Leaders: Lap 1-11, Ramey; laps 12-15, King.
Margin of Victory: 1.189 seconds.
Fastest Race Lap: King, 15.486, lap 8.
Hornet Group Qualifying: 1. Landon Arcaro, 15.238; 2. Jeremy Jones, 15.490; 3. Alexes Spaulding, 16.129; 4. Emily Johnson, 16.431; 5. Hunter Rasmussen, 17.548; 6. Jonathon Moeller, 18.614.
Hornet Heat (8 laps): 1. Jeremy Jones, 2. Landon Arcaro, 3. Alexes Spaulding, 4. Hunter Rasmussen, 5. Jonathon Moeller, 6. Emily Johnson.
Hornet Feature (15 laps, with starting position in parenthesis): 1. Landon Arcaro (5); 2. Jeremy Jones (6); 3. Alexes Spaulding (4); 4. Emily Johnson (1); 5. Hunter Rasmussen (3); 6. Jonathon Moeller (2).
Lap Leaders: Laps 1-5, Arcaro; lap 6, Jones; laps 7-8, Arcaro; laps 9-10, Jones; laps 11-15, Arcaro.
Margin of Victory: Half-straightaway.
Fastest Race Lap: Unknown.
Gas City PR
NASCAR announced today a new multi-year partnership with leading full-service logistics partner Worldwide Express, naming the company the “Official Logistics Partner of NASCAR”. The news comes on the morning of Worldwide Express’ entitlement race, the Worldwide Express 250 for Carrier Appreciation at Richmond Raceway.
Since becoming a primary team sponsor earlier this year, Worldwide Express has expanded its presence in NASCAR, signing on as the entitlement sponsor for this weekend’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, announced earlier this summer. In addition to the NASCAR Official Partnership, Worldwide Express has also been designated the “Official Logistics Partner of Richmond Raceway.”
“As a full-service logistics provider, Worldwide Express knows the amount of hard work and dedication our teams, tracks and employees put into each race weekend,” said Daryl Wolfe, Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer at NASCAR. “Our sport is always on the go, so we’re thrilled to welcome a company like Worldwide Express who knows what it takes to deliver a winning race weekend to our fans.”
Worldwide Express and its sister brands, GlobalTranz and Unishippers, began partnerships earlier this year with NASCAR teams Trackhouse Racing and Niece Motorsports, with the company serving as a primary sponsor for both teams.
“We are incredibly excited to build on our successful involvement in NASCAR at the team and race level to now serve as the Official Logistics Partner for NASCAR as well as for Richmond Raceway,” said Worldwide Express President Rob Rose. “We are uniquely suited to help manage the logistical complexity that NASCAR and its teams deal with each week to host and compete in world-class races. We look forward to partnering with NASCAR to deliver exhilarating race weekends over the coming years.”
Founded in 1992, the Worldwide Express family of brands has become a top-ranked, full-service logistics provider and the second-largest privately held freight brokerage in North America, with customers spanning from SMBs to the Fortune 100. More than 115,000 shippers benefit from enhanced visibility and efficiency for their supply chains thanks to the company’s market-leading solutions for parcel, less-than-truckload (LTL) and truckload shipping and managed transportation services, which are driven by proprietary technology, unique data assets and business intelligence capabilities. To learn more about Worldwide Express, visit wwex.com and for more information on Worldwide Express Racing, visit www.wwexracing.com.
HOW HARD IS IT TO TRANSITION FROM THE PRACTICE SESSION TO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO IN QUALIFYING?
“In practice you are more in a rhythm and you are mostly looking to get your car in a rhythm and have a good read in your race car to be able to make it better. In qualifying you have to be as present as possible because you have got what you got and you just have to maximize every single ounce of the car. And it is very very important to be present on the car, you know, to understand the car. Even before you take the green flag you have to know, 'okay, is the car going to be tight, going to be loose, going to do this, going to do that', right? You have to read the car as quick as possible. That is going to be the key and hopefully we can do a good job on that and fight for the pole.”
CAN YOU TAKE US THROUGH THE TESTING SESSION WITH KIMI (RAIKKONEN)?
“Yeah, it was good, it was short. But it was good and I felt like Kimi....I have been trying to learn as much as I can from him because he is an amazing race car driver. But I believe a race car driver is great not just because of driving, I think it is just everything else around him. How he thinks and how open or closed minded he or she is. And in this case he is having a great time, and he is not just here to have fun, but he is here to be a competitor and wants to do well. So, its been a lot of fun to work with him the last few days and I am really looking forward to see what he can do next week.”
HOW DOES HE COMPARE TO MAX (VERSTAPPEN)?
I have never had the opportunity to work with Max. I have had the opportunity to hang out with him, but never to work with him. And that is different. With Kimi the last few days I have been able to do both. I can tell you that both are very relaxed and very fun in their own ways. Now that I got to know them, I am not surprised in how successful they are in what they do. It has been a lot of fun to hang out with these kinds of drivers because I feel like I always learn and I am always open minded to learn from these kind of people and I always feel like I am learning from them."
DO YOU THINK THERE WAS ANYTHING THAT HE REALLY WANTED TO KNOW, OR NEEDED TO KNOW IN THAT TEST?
"You know, there were a lot of things. He asked a lot of questions, he was very open minded, and I really thought he was going to be more quiet. A lot of people know him as being very quiet and a leave me alone kind of guy, but he is not like that at all. I was actually very, very impressed with that. So, he has been learning very quickly and I knew that he knows how to drive and he is very natural at that. But I was very curious to get to know him in more of a mindset level. You know, how he approaches this. So he has been learning quite a bit and has been thinking outside the box and getting a lot of information from myself and it is a lot of fun to see how he is adapting in the simulator but also in the real race car. Even though it was only a couple of hours, but it was good to see that."
HOW DO YOU THINK HE CAN DO NEXT WEEKEND?
"I think he is going to be fast. The speed is there and the racing part is going to be a process because it doesn't matter how much you practice in the simulator, doesn't matter how many tests you do - the racing part is the racing part. Its different and he doesn't know all these drivers. He doesn't know how they race, he doesn't know how aggressive they are, so that part is going to take a little bit. You can bring the best driver in the world and it is going to take some time in the racing part. I think (as far as) the speed, I think he is going to be good."
DO YOU THINK PIT STOPS WILL BE AN ISSUE?
"That is part of the racing part I am talking about. Racing, restarts, taking care of your tires, taking care of your brakes, pit stops....like that part of the racing is what it takes to win races. That is the part I feel like is going to be a process for him. Just because he has never done it before. With that being said, he did pit stop practice a couple of days ago and he did well. There was a couple of things he was doing and I told him, 'hey, you need to do this this way, you need to do this different, because the transmission works this way and you have to use your blower'. I tried to guide him as much as I can and I really feel he is trying to prepare himself as good as he can. If I was going to do a race in Europe one day, I wish I could prepare myself the way he is doing it."
WERE YOU GUYS FAST ENOUGH TO WIN MICHIGAN, BUT IT JUST DIDN'T WORK OUT WHEN THE CAUTION FLAG CAME OUT?
"I don't think we were fast enough to beat the Toyotas straight out, but we were in position to control the race there. So, yeah, I feel that if that caution doesn't come out that we were going to be able to control the race together. I feel like it was either going to be the No. 1 or myself winning. I think we were sitting in a very good position right there with an opportunity when unfortunately that wreck happened and after that is was just history."
JUSTIN MARKS WAS SAYING THIS WEEK THAT EXECUTION ISSUES HAVE KIND OF KEPT THE TEAM FROM GETTING GOOD RESULTS WITH FAST CARS THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. IS THAT JUST AN EXAMPLE OF THAT?
"Well, I can only speak for myself and at Indianapolis we should have finished somewhere in the top three. We had a flat tire on the last restart and somebody pushed me from behind and I pushed (Ryan) Blaney wide and I had a flat tire because of that. But if it wasn't for that, we would have finished in the top three. So, I don't feel like that was execution, I feel like that was bad circumstances for the race. When it comes to Michigan, I feel like we should have finished in the top five, top three, maybe even win the race. But the last thing you want when you are expecting a cycle of pit stops is the caution. And that is exactly what we had."
HAVE YOU RE-SIGNED WITH THE TEAM?
"We are very close. I am going to be honest, I haven't paid a lot of attention to that because I am so focused on the playoffs and making my team stronger. But I know that my manager and people from Trackhouse are very, very close. We never have doubts about where we are on things like that. We are working out a couple of details. It is not final yet, but we are very close."
HOW NICE IS IT TO GO THROUGH THIS FINAL STRETCH AND KNOW YOU ARE LOCKED IN RIGHT NOW?
"It is nice, but I am going to be honest, in my mind I am already in the playoffs. I have had that mindset over the last six weeks. I believe it is not possible to go into the playoffs and flip the switch and say, 'okay, we are in the playoffs, now we have to push hard'. I don't think it works like that and you kind of have to start building that up. And I feel like that is what we have been doing, especially with the 99 team. That shows on the track because the last two months we have had race cars capable of finishing in the top five every single week. The last two weeks we haven't finished there for different circumstances. Besides that, we have finished in the top five and top eight every single week. That's good, I like that and this weekend in Richmond I feel like this is a real, real test for us. Especially because we struggled a lot last time here. I am really looking forward to this weekend to see where we stand."
Boo Boo Dalton gave the loyal fans at Ace Speedway a show in the track’s Limited Late Model feature on Friday evening.
The final 20 laps saw Dalton race side-by-side with fellow regular Dillon Harville for the lead, with neither driver giving the other an inch. A strong run by Dalton off Turn 4 on the final lap was enough for him to edge Harville and celebrate a victory in front of the exuberant crowd.
Dalton has always appreciated how cleanly Harville races him regardless of the track, but he said that the conclusion to Friday’s 40-lap Limited Late Model feature is a prime example of how a battle for the win should be determined at short tracks.
“To win back at the track I cut my teeth is always special,” Dalton said. “Dillon and I have become pretty good friends, so to battle it out with the amount of respect we had for one another is always a good time.”
With his win at Ace on Friday, Dalton now has seven wins at seven different venues across the southeast this year.
Dalton admitted that finding Victory Lane at Ace proved to be the most challenging of his season to date. He said that Harville has set the standard for efficiency in Limited Late Models at Ace over the past several years and knew his car would have to be perfect to have an opportunity at taking home the checkered flag.
Although Harville had the initial edge during the long green flag run, several late cautions turned fortunes in Dalton’s favor. Harville utilized the top side on the final restart and attempted to pin Dalton down on the bottom, but Dalton’s speed on the short run was enough to narrowly edge Harville at the finish line.
For Dalton, being able to fend off one of Ace’s best in Harville highlights all the strides he has made with his operation in 2022 alone. He expects to keep adding wins before the year concludes but said staying up front will require him and his crew to stay vigilant with their adjustments and setups.
“I’m so happy with where we are in our program,” Dalton said. “All my guys are doing such a great job. The help I’m getting from them, and my parents really has me satisfied about where things are going and hopefully, we can carry the momentum into [North] Wilkesboro [Speedway].”
Dalton will be a part of a stacked Limited Late Model field that will descend onto North Wilkesboro on Aug. 31 as he looks to add his name to the track’s storied record books as a winner.
Dalton would like to thank his parents, his crew, MPM Marketing and his loyal partners in Hudson Autoworks, Rough Signs and Clark’s Automotive Machine Shop.
Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin was made available to media prior to the Richmond Raceway race this Saturday:
DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing
Has everything that can be learned about this race car been learned before we get into the Playoffs?
“I think we've learned quite a bit in the first you know, two thirds of the season or whatever the number might be, but I think certainly we know a lot more and certainly after we've gone through all these different track types. You know, we've seen trends from certain types of tracks. We've got a good understanding of it. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we can always kind of fix what we want to fix because of, you know, the rules and the tolerances being so tight.”
How concerned are you about Kurt Busch?
“I mean, it's concerning for sure. You know, mostly concerned for his health. And not really for the race team. Just, you know, we want to give him all the time he needs and, you know, this is proof that he's doing his doing right by his body and making sure he's back to 100%. I think that other drivers maybe in the past probably maybe would have just kind of been able to get some tests passed and gone out there and race but he wants to be 100% Because it's just, you know, no one race or season or whatever it might be as important as your overall health and long term.”
How does having Kimi Raikkonen in the Watkins Glen race change your approach to next week’s road course race?
“It doesn't change the dynamic of the race. I don't think you no unless it does. I mean, I think that you know, it's a a great opportunity for him and track house and whatnot. But as far as like, being a contender to like brace for the winner, I don't think that's a possibility. Just simply because it does take time just you know, you know, it's just do look at the people that have been successful in stock cars coming from an open wheel background. It takes a long time other than you got these anomalies like Tony Stewart and a few others want. Montoya took a little bit of time but it's just it's just really difficult because everyone has gotten so much better. And especially with the information, the data they've gotten nowadays, all those all the drivers that are in the field now have really stepped up dramatically. So I think it's a good thing for our sport to get some good publicity. But other than that, I'm not really sure that it changes dynamic of the race too much.”
Is there any concern that Kurt Busch may not come back and are you thinking ahead to 2023 contingency plans?
“I mean, we're always thinking about it. We're as forward thinking as you can possibly be as a race team. But you know, ultimately we are not and we can't rush current self but we always are. Trying to come up with contingency plans based off of any other scenario that might get thrown our way.”
Can you evaluate Ty Gibbs’ performance in the No. 45 Camry as a fill-in driver for Kurt Busch?
“I think he's done a good job for sure. I think that I think he certainly realizes this you know the difference between explaining and cup is a big old tall one. You know, these guys over here, don't mess around too much. And so it's, it's tough. And so, you know, Ty (Gibbs), I think he's done really good considering of what we've asked him to do and that's keep his nose clean, keep that 45 car in a good position. In the owner’s playoffs, you know, that's really important for us financially. So it's, it's important and he's really done a good job for us to do that. And then he took a fast car last week obviously made a mistake late in that race, but he took it and he maximized his day. So I think he did a really good job and certainly, we're happy with the job he's been doing for us thus far.”
Can you use a similar strategy for this race that you did from the spring with relation to number of pit stops and tire wear?
“Just depends whether the fall off is the same. You know, ultimately, computer programs are going to say, tell the true story and whether it's the right thing to do or not, but you've it's if the fall off is less this time, then two stops won't work because there'll be farther out. They won't drop off as far in the long run. It just kind of depends on what the how the race is playing out. With the strategy is who's up front when that's happening? All that is part of a program that makes it so hard for us to do with pen and paper nowadays, like we used to do. There's so many factors that play into it. Certainly there was a time where in that last stage if a caution comes at any point, either they would have been in big trouble or we would have been in big trouble. So it's kind of a double edged sword there. What's the right strategy? It just worked out the way it did didn't necessarily mean that the one stop strategy was the wrong one.”
Why does Richmond seem to favor veteran drivers over first-time winners?
“Just knowing what you need to feel here in practice versus what you race is something that knowledge certainly plays a factor in an experience plays a factor in I know specifically when I go out there today, I'm going to look for a certain type of field my car needs to work a certain way in the certain part of the corner for me to know that whether it's a race winning car or not. Those are things that you know younger guys would not next experience don't necessarily have but sometimes you have a young driver with an experienced team that gives them the foresight to look for those things. And that's where you see some of the young guys like Byron, even though he's not a rookie, by any means, you know, latches right on and is a contender for to win like he was in the spring.”
Would you want Kurt Busch to be in the race car for Daytona if he was cleared for that race?
“I mean, I'm not really sure what the protocols will be on that once he's cleared. Whether he continues to get waivers. Even if he is clear, I'm really not sure to be honest with you.”
What did you think about Bubba’s Block Party that was held in Richmond?
“We’re going to debrief as a team on it next Wednesday, but you know, being part of the NASCAR Diversity Council, I'm on that board as well. You know, that's something that they've been planning for quite a quite a long time and certainly, certainly something that we've had our hands in and I it sounds like that went really, really well. I know that it had to cap the amount of people that were coming at a certain amount, which is a very good thing that there was an increased interest there. It's all about just trying to broaden our audience in at this race track on television, everything and open up our sport to some that may not know anything about it. So anytime you can kind of mix you know, NASCAR racing, and pop culture. It's all really a good thing for us. And I think that we've see it week in week out in our stands nowadays, that our fans and our audiences more diverse than it's ever been.”
Is there emotion from you about racing at your home track in Richmond?
“It's a good question. I mean, I think that certainly I feel it from within when I run back here, I feel it a little bit harder than I do on any other type of racetrack because, like I've talked about it, I know what I really need to feel this track and it's very frustrating when I can't get my car to do those things. And so it's just part of it. So certainly, I would say I always feel more pressure coming to this race track in general. Martinsville is probably a very, very close number two, but it doesn't always mean you're going to have success even though you know what you need. Sometimes it depends on where your race teams at the time. There's a lot of factors that goes into it, but certainly the emotion is very high at a race track like this versus others.”
Is there anything you’re seeing with Bubba Wallace as to how or why he’s really progressed on the race track in recent weeks?
“Certainly we live and breathe it every day at 23X1, we see where he's progressed even though results. You know, typically, you guys have to hyper focus on 36 different drivers, right we focused on our two, so we know where they are getting better and whether or not and so we try to put those numbers and analytics in front of our drivers to see how they can improve in certain positions. And I think that certainly Bubba (Wallace) has taken a giant step and even though at the beginning of the year results, you know we honestly it's well documented that I said that we I felt we were holding Bubba back at the beginning of the year. With kind of mistakes on pit road. I think that we've gotten that better target. Joe Gibbs Racing has helped us get that better. And then on top of that he's continued to work on his game. Because ultimately, you know, it is sometimes convenient when you always have an out that you know, it's the pit crew or a certain part of the team is what's holding me back from performing. Well, you always have to be as professionally prepared for the moment that nothing else is holding you back and are you ready to step up to the plate when everything is going your way and your cars are fast pit crews great. You have to be ready for those moments. And I think that he continued to work even though publicly he didn't handle things the way I loved it, but he continued to put his nose down and continue to work on his craft. And that's what's showing up now.”
Is there truth to learning how to race up front?
“That's kind of why it's tough, you know, with kind of the emotions he showed last week and that, you know, he felt like he let the team down he should have won. It's hard to beat these guys each and every week and he is racing against a crop of drivers that he hasn't raced with the first handful of years in his career. So it is more difficult to execute and beat them and so nothing's a given you have to have all the pieces of the puzzle put together to win these races. The 14 (Kevin Harvick) proved that great. They've just been chipping away over the last month or so their performance has been getting better. And then bam, they had one good break with that caution and then they capitalize and so that's all of it that you had to put together. And, to their credit, they put themselves in position to do that they're running up front when that happens. So that's the things that you know, it's not always a given just because we have a fast car that you're going to win races. You still have to have it all and so that's why it's, you know, we view last week is certainly a success because it was, you know, like Loudon, one of the more, you know, put together weekends that the 23 cars had from top to bottom from practice, qualifying and race and so that's what we're hoping to see we've seen it twice now at least in the last couple of months. So those are all good trends that are heading our direction. And I believe that this is probably the Bubba Wallace that is here to stay for sure.”
Did the timing matter to announce Bubba Wallace re-signing with him coming off four consecutive top-10 finishes?
“Of course it matters for me. I want to win. I don't you know I'm heavily invested in the sport because I want to win and be competitive and build a top tier elite racing team. So if I didn't think Bubba (Wallace) had the capability of winning I doesn't matter about any other factors. I wouldn't be part of this team but he is part of this team because I believe he can win. I think that he's showing that he's racing our cars to full potential right now. And so that's all I can ask. You know, hopefully we just continue on this trend because it's certainly what I want to see and what I what I expected last year, but you know, it's probably was a little much to ask in year one, not only from him, but from our race team. These things take time you can't just you it doesn't matter how much money you can throw at this. You cannot just you know buy wins. You have to put the right people together. That's Joe's (Gibbs) slogan is dealing with people and that takes time to get all those things put together. And it's now starting to come together and I believe that of his contract and extension with us was definitely well warranted from what I've seen this season. Not just including the last four weeks.”