Speedway Digest Staff
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Ty Gibbs earned his series-leading fourth win of the season with an impressive and clean last lap pass on the reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America on Saturday evening. Gibbs was joined in the top-five by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones (fifth).
Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Race 16 of 33 – 182.16 miles, 45 laps
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, TY GIBBS
2nd, Kyle Larson*
3rd, Josh Berry*
4th, Austin Hill*
5th, BRANDON JONES
18th, JOHN HUNTER NEMECHEK
24th, SAMMY SMITH
38th, WILL RODGERS
TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 1st
Can you walk me through the battle and the pass?
“First off all, all glory to God. My team is awesome. We have the best people. Thank you to my team. My pit crew did awesome – fantastic job today. Thank you to Monster Energy for being on our Supra, Interstate Batteries too. I had a fun times racing there, but I’m glad to take home a win. This is a cool place to win.”
What was going through your mind on the last lap?
“It’s part of it. We have to put on a good show for the fans – that’s what we are doing here. It was a great race with Kyle (Larson), so happy to be here with the win.”
How did you beat a Cup Series champion in a head-to-head battle?
“I don’t know. I just want to say all glory to Jesus Christ. Thank you to my team, Monster Energy. I had a fun time racing with Kyle (Larson). I thought it was going to get a little rough there, but he’s such a great competitor and a great person. We played golf the other day – I want to tell him thanks for the golf lessons. I still suck. This is awesome. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful.”
How did you make that pass?
“I felt like we were a little bit faster in the first half of the track. The last two sectors, I felt like we were not as fast. I feel like right now I need to earn respect back and that’s what I’m doing. I feel like I’ve got my lessons – just got to learn and not make mistakes. I made plenty off them today, I could have lost the race on that one restart, so thankful to get this one back, but I still have to work on the restarts – the first initial and the next-to-last.”
Your crew chief put you in the right mindset going into that last restart. What did that mean?
“It’s awesome. I just stayed the same the whole time. Hopefully a lot of people were watching. It’s cool to be here, cool to race the Cup Series guys. Hopefully that says something. Thankful for where I’m at.”
For the ninth different time in nine races to start the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, a different driver will lead the field to green on Sunday.
This time, it will be Pato O’Ward, who won the NTT P1 Award for pole Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His best lap of 1 minute, 6.7054 seconds in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet capped an eventful qualifying session on the picturesque permanent road course.
CLICK IT: Official Qualifying Results
O’Ward’s fast lap on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course marked his fifth career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole. What’s more, by becoming the ninth different pole winner to start the season, he matched a number from 1961, when there were also nine different pole winners to start the year. The record for most different pole winners to start a season is 10 set in 1952.
O’Ward will see the green flag first for Sunday’s The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R (12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBC, Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network).
“It was a good session for us,” O’Ward said. “I couldn’t get the lap together in the first two sections, but I got it done the third time. The car’s been great. We didn’t roll off the truck the best, but we made some changes overnight, and we got her in the window.”
Lining up alongside O’Ward will be Scott McLaughlin, who qualified second in the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:06.8382 for his best starting spot of the season since starting second in the second race of the year at Texas Motor Speedway.
Colton Herta will start third at 1:07.0262 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, with Felix Rosenqvist fourth at 1:07.2163 in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Scott Dixon fifth at 1:07.4047 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and Simon Pagenaud rounding out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:07.4199 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.
David Malukas held serve as the fastest rookie of the day and nearly qualified for his second Firestone Fast Six, posting a best lap of 1:06.8201 in Round 2, good enough for eighth in the No. 18 HMD Honda.
Malukas led a trio of rookies qualifying in the top 10. Kyle Kirkwood qualified ninth at 1:06.9506 in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet for his career-best qualifying effort, and Callum Ilott qualified 10th at 1:06.9534 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.
It was a challenging day for the three drivers leading the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship.
Points leader Marcus Ericsson, who won the double-point Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, was the best of the rest in Group 1 of Round 1 of qualifying. Ericsson put down a best lap of 1:07.1475 and will start 13th Sunday in the No. 8 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda.
Will Power is second in the standings, 27 points back of Ericsson, and he’ll be worse off on the starting grid. In Group 1 of Round 1 of qualifying, Power was swerving side-to-side to warm up his tires before a quick run. In doing so, he impeded the lap of Helio Castroneves in the No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. Power, who had the fastest lap of the group, was penalized for the incident and lost his two fastest qualifying laps from the session. Falling back on a best lap of 1:07.5559, Power will start 21st in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. It marks his third consecutive start outside the top 15 and his worst-ever start at Mid-Ohio.
Meanwhile, Josef Newgarden, who is 32 points behind Ericsson in third place and has a season-high three wins this season, qualified a frustrating 14th in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet with a best lap time of 1:07.3338.
Two-time series champion Newgarden struggled to find open track that would allow him to put down a quick lap without the impediment of slower cars, and he tied his worst qualifying effort of 2022. He also started 14th in the Indy 500.
O’Ward hopes to capitalize on a familiar trend for Mid-Ohio INDYCAR SERIES pole sitters: winning the race. Fifteen times, the INDYCAR SERIES pole winner at Mid-Ohio has gone on to win the race, including the last three Mid-Ohio pole sitters (Power, Herta and Newgarden).
O’Ward, who has one win this season at Barber Motorsports Park, feels confident he can continue that trend.
“It’s huge, man,” he said. “It’s a track position race. The best position that we’ve had here starting is like 15th, so first is definitely a lot better than that.”
NTT Indycar Series PR
Hunter McElrea’s dominant Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course continued Saturday as he scored the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights at Mid-Ohio event.
With a best lap of 1 minute, 12.1926 seconds in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car, the rookie scored his second pole of the season. It rounds out what has been a strong weekend for McElrea, who was fastest in both practice sessions of the weekend.
McElrea put an exclamation point on his strong qualifying session by besting his own time, which was already good enough for first place as time expired in the 20-minute qualifying session around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.
CLICK IT: Official Qualifying Results
“It was good,” he said. “We were P1 almost the entire session. I started getting a little sloppy at the end. Even on my last lap, I completely blew through Turn 2, but I didn’t think that was going to be a (1:12) lap.
“I can’t tell you how fun it is when you drive a car this good around Mid-Ohio. I love this place. We’re back where we belong.”
Joining McElrea on the front row will be Indy Lights points leader Linus Lundqvist, who put down a best lap of 1:12.4218 late in the session to secure his seventh front-row start in eight races this season in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing machine.
“I’m very happy and super proud of the team,” said Lundqvist, who holds an 82-point lead over Sting Ray Robb in the championship. "We knew that this place is probably one of our weakest places, so good job. Thanks to my guys for giving me a car that could fight for the front row.”
Lundqvist’s teammate Benjamin Pedersen will start third at 1:12.4459 in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports car. St. Petersburg winner Matthew Brabham qualified fourth at 1:12.4911 in the No. 83 Andretti Autosport car, and the series’ most recent winner Christian Rasmussen starts fifth with a best lap of 1:12.5129 in the No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht car for Andretti Autosport.
This weekend’s performance at Mid-Ohio for McElrea is mirroring the drive he had at the start of the season on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. McElrea, 22, paced practice, started on the pole and led the first 11 laps of the race before a mistake put him in the wall and ended his chances for victory.
Since then, McElrea, a New Zealand driver who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Australia, has worked on being less aggressive on track. He is currently seventh in the championship, 117 points back of leader Lundqvist.
In his young racing career, Mid-Ohio has proven to be strong for McElrea, who has five poles and two wins at this track prior to this weekend. Therefore, McElrea is confident about finally scoring that elusive first career win in Sunday’s Indy Lights at Mid-Ohio (10:35 a.m. ET, live on Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network).
“It’s pretty obvious what I’m going to plan on,” McElrea said. “We’re pretty dominant all weekend, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep that pace in the race.”
Expect a tight 35-lap race as the top nine drivers in qualifying were separated by just over half a second.
Indy Lights PR
Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team picked up right where they left off from their 2021 win at Road America. Edging out Chase Briscoe by .038 seconds, Elliott clocked-in a best-lap of 134.427 seconds, at 108.407 mph, to capture his second NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) pole win of 2022 and his 11th in 239 races in NASCAR’s premier series.
“Just appreciate everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, from the engine shop to every department that has a hand in what we do to make our NAPA Chevy what it was today,” said Elliott. “We’ll try to go to work and see if we can get it driving like it needs to for tomorrow.”
Elliott’s pole win marked the fourth for Chevrolet in 2022; and a manufacturer-leading 727th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series history. Chevrolet returns to the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Wisconsin road course circuit not only as the defending winners, but the bowtie brand heads into tomorrow’s race with an eight-race road course win streak. That feat started with today’s pole winner, Chase Elliott, and his win at Circuit of The Americas in May 2021.
The 26-year-old Georgia native led Chevrolet to three of the top-five in the starting lineup for tomorrow’s 62-lap, 250-mile race. Kyle Larson followed up a NASCAR Xfinity Series pole win with a strong run for the No. 5 HendrickCars.com Camaro ZL1, securing a third-place starting spot to mark his 12th top-10 start of 2022. Tyler Reddick rounded out the Team Chevy top-five of the starting lineup in the fourth-position in his No. 8 3CHI Camaro ZL1.
USA Network will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY Made in America live at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 3. Live coverage can also be found on the NBCSports Gold App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Press Conference Transcript:
TAKE US THROUGH YOUR QUALIFYING RUN AND WHAT IT MEANS TO START FROM THE POLE AFTER WINNING THIS RACE LAST YEAR.
“It was the exact opposite for us last year. I think we started last, so hopefully the results are good tomorrow like they were last season. Definitely a different vibe to the weekend. I think our car is going to need some different things to be successful tomorrow. I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be to be successful as we sit, so want to make sure we do our homework. Looking forward to getting out of here, getting across the street and start dissecting the direction we think we want to go to be solid all race long tomorrow.
Appreciate our team and everybody for sticking with it. NAPA, getting them the pole is always important. Getting that first pit box is always good. It’s not as important at a road course, but certainly nice to have nonetheless. I wasn’t expecting the pole.. we barely made the second round. I felt like it was just good to get through that second round. I thought that was going to be kind of a tall order there with the cars that went back out to re-run. It’s nice to get through.
We’ll go to work tomorrow and see what we have.”
“I knew I had missed a couple here and there. But at least for me and how slow my brain works; I have to kind of take it one at a time. As I got back around there, I thought I had a pretty good exit from the carousel and a pretty decent quick right through the kink there. But I didn’t think my lap was good enough for the pole. I didn’t think it was a whole lot different than the lap I had run in the prior session. I felt like if we could just repeat that lap, that would be a solid starting spot considering we had a chance of not making the second round. Just wanted to put a solid lap together – try to minimize my mistakes, push in a couple different areas that I felt like I didn’t do a good job in the first session and try to maintain. Fortunately, it went a little better so I was surprised by that.”
HOW MUCH MORE OF A COMFORT LEVEL IS THERE GOING INTO SUNDAY FROM THE POLE RATHER THAN THE BACK OF THE PACK?
“There’s not.. not really at all. These races are very long. Typically the cars that are superior find their way to the front regardless of where they start. It’s nice to get a pole. You want them as much as you can, but I would much rather be good on Sunday than Saturday.”
“I feel like we’ve had a good package on the road course stuff, more so on the old car than this car. I still feel like we’re learning. Like I said, I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be for tomorrow in a race situation as we sit. So we want to make sure we make the right decisions overnight to try and go in that direction.”
YOU SAID YOU EXPECT IT TO BE HARD TO PASS. WHY IS THAT?
“A lot of the places that we’ve gone this year with narrow braking zones and narrow corner entries have just made it that way. Like Martinsville was that way and Gateway was that way – just kind of those narrow, flatter corner entry places where it’s kind of hard to get fresh air. It seems like the inboard side of the car, we’re used to where you could get a headlight out on someone, say through whatever turn. If you could just get that inboard headlight, you had a little sniff of fresh air and it would benefit you. Now, it’s like the inboard side of the car isn’t as effective in clean air as it used to be. You used to have to be further out to get some cleaner air on the nose. There’s just no further out to go.. you’re not going to get that big of a gap. So we’re going to have to really be smart tomorrow about how we play our strategy and how I drive the car to make sure we’re good throughout an entire stint. It’s all good.. it’s not necessarily a problem. I’m just saying that’s what it feels like to me. Somebody else might give you a different answer.”
THIS EVENT AND HAVING IT ON A HOLIDAY WEEKEND, JUST TALK ABOUT HOW UNIQUE IT IS.
“I told a lot of people this, but I was super nervous leaving Daytona for our July 4th race. For NASCAR, that’s been a tradition that’s been in place for many years. That was a race that I grew up going to as a kid, so I had a little bit of an emotional tie to that one. I just always thought it was a lot of fun. It was a great environment and it was fun to be at the beach.
Man, we came up last year and I was blown away, I really was. The people are nice and it’s a beautiful area. The people are outside and enjoying the race track. I feel like it couldn’t have received us better for trying to start a new tradition somewhere. I don’t know how long NASCAR is planning on coming here on this weekend, but I feel like it’s been a really nice fit for us. The people around here have accepted us really with open arms and have brought a lot of energy. Like I always say - anytime you bring energy to a race track, it’s more fun for everybody involved; and the fans are a direct piece to that.”
Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway announced today their largest facility improvement project in over twenty-five years with the addition of brand new MUSCO LED lighting system for the historic NASCAR short track. Construction began this past week with the new lights making their debut on August 27th during the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour CheckeredFlag.com 150.
“This is a great day for Langley Speedway and our whole racing family,” Langley Speedway owner Bill Mullis said. “With these new lights, we’ll be able to show Langley in a whole new light. We’re always looking to make improvements to the property with lighting always being at the top of our list.”
The new MUSCO LED lighting system will feature twelve poles and just fifty-four lighting fixtures to illuminate brighter than ever before with a few special features that won’t be revealed until August 27th. Once completed, the current track lighting, including the old poles and wires, will be removed improving sightlines for fans watching from the grandstands.
“With this new addition, we will have the most advanced lighting of any racetrack in the United States,” said Langley Speedway Promoter Vaughan Crittenden. “Not only will this improve the at-track experience for our drivers and fans, it will also greatly improve the viewing experience for those watching at home through our online broadcast on FloRacing.”
The lighting project would not have been possible without the help of the City of Hampton Economic Development Authority, who granted Langley Speedway a grant to help offset the cost of the project. With these lights, the track will officially enter a new era, offering new and exciting events for the City of Hampton and the region to enjoy.
Langley Speedway Pr
With the potential for strong late afternoon and evening thunderstorms during race time, the NASCAR Advance Auto Part Weekly Series racing program for Saturday night, July 2 has been cancelled at Grandview Speedway.
Taking into consideration current travel costs for race teams and fans alike, management decided to make the decision early, allowing everyone to gear up for a better week next Saturday to begin the second half of the 2022 season.
Saturday’s program was to have included the 52nd annual Firecracker 40-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman Championship race along with a complete program for the T. P. Trailer Modifieds. This program in its entirety will be held over to next Saturday, July 9.
The program next Saturday, July 9 will feature the T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman competing in the Firecracker 40 championship race along with the T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds plus qualifying events for both classes leading to the 40-lap T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman championship paying $2000 to win and the 30-lap T.P. Trailer Modified feature.
Pit gates will open at 4 pm. with grandstand gates opening at 5:30 pm. and warm-ups starting at 6:30 pm. Adult grandstand admission is $22, while children ages 6-11 are $10, and children under age 12 are admitted free of charge.
This will be another program this season that will be produced by ATVN-TV. The races will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis on the following Tuesday night, with further replays to follow. ATVN airs on channel 4/1004 HD (Lehigh Valley) and channel 8/608 (Delaware County). The air dates and times can be found at astound.com/ATVN.
The weekend will begin with a program on Friday, July 8, as the Outlaw Racing Series Enduro and Outlaw Racing Series Vintage Racers will be holding a double-header starting at 7 pm. Grandstand admission is just $10.
The following Saturday, July 16 will be Do It In the Dirt Night with Bob Hilbert Sportswear featuring a triple-division program including the T.P. Trailer Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment Sportsman, and the only appearance of the season for the United Racing Club 360 Sprint Cars starting at 7:30 pm.
There will be fan giveaways that night along with a 50th anniversary edition of the Do It In the Dirt Night tee shirt that will be on sale celebrating Bob Hilbert Sportswear’s 50th year of business with the shirt that got it all started for Bob Hilbert, at the track where it all began, Grandview Speedway.
Since the 1960’s, Grandview Speedway has been presenting exciting wheel to wheel NASCAR stock car racing every Saturday Night starting in April and running through September, plus special events. Grandview Speedway is located at 43 Passmore Road, Bechtelsville, Pa. 19505, just off Route 100, ten miles north of Pottstown, Pa.
Information is always available at www.grandviewspeedway.com or on Facebook, or by telephone at 610.754.7688.
UPCOMING EVENTS –
Friday, July 8 – Outlaw Racing Series Enduro and Outlaw Racing Series Vintage – 7 pm
Saturday, July 9 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, 52nd annual FIRECRACKER 40 for T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman $2000 to win – 7:30 pm.
Saturday, July 16 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman plus URC 360 Sprint Cars – 7:30 pm.
Saturday, July 23 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman plus Outlaw Racing Series Vintage – 7:30 pm.
Saturday, July 30 – T.P. Trailer NASCAR Modifieds, T.P. Truck Equipment NASCAR Sportsman – 7:30 pm.
Grandview Speedway PR
Harrison Burton and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang are set to start 23rd in Sunday’s Kwik Trip 250 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Burton toured the high-speed, 4.048-mile, 14-turn track at an average speed of 107.562 miles per hour to earn that spot.
It represented a significant increase in speed from his best lap in practice, where he averaged 106.422 mph on the second of eight laps run.
Sunday’s 62-lap, 250.98-mile Kwik Trip 250 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 2 p.m. (3 p.m. Eastern), with Stage breaks at Laps 15 and 30.
USA Network will carry the TV broadcast.
With the safety of fans, drivers and officials in mind, DIRTcar and Fayette County Speedway officials have canceled Wednesday’s event due to forecasted extreme temperatures.
The event for the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Models and DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds will not be made up.
Illinois-Indiana Week will now begin Thursday, July 7, with the 42nd annual Herald & Review 100 at Macon Speedway in Macon, IL.
DIRTcar Series PR