Tuesday, Aug 09

Rossi Takes the Checkered Flag in Indy

It’s great to be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the Gallagher Grand Prix, the first of 3 races this weekend. We also have the Pennzoil 150 on the road course at IMS. The beginning of the Grand Prix was not without drama. Conor Daly had issues in the pits after running P6. There was an incident between Will Power and Pato O’Ward and Grosjean had some issues in the pits as well. The back end of the cars were slipping and sliding around but straightened up as the race went on. Marcus Ericksson started at the back of the grid but found himself in P2 for a time. And  early on, Jimmy Johnson was taking faster laps than Will Power and found himself in P1 in lap 24.

By lap 49, Herta was out of the race. He said via radio, “I think this is something we can’t fix.”

During the press conference, Will Power was talking about IMS and stated, “It’s always hard starting on the outside of this track…you get freighttrained.” 

Will Power ended up P3 which put him 7th all time leader for podium finishes and 92 career podium finishes. With this 3rd place finish, he took the points lead with 4 races to go. When asked how the season would end up, he stated, “It feels like it always goes down to the last race; [and it is] Impossible to predict in this series.” 46 points separate the top 5, so it truly will come down to the final 4 races this season.

Christian Lundgaard came in P2 for his first podium finish of his career. He stated, “It feels amazing, but the best thing is the team really deserves it….I’m just a guy doing my job, really…This is the right path. We are going in the right direction.” Lungaard turned 21last Saturday and showed a tremendous amount of poise for a 21 year old. One of his presents was a trip to Las Vegas immediately after Laguna Seca. Power suggested that the rest of the group be invited. Lungaard refused to let us know where he would be staying. 

Alexander Rossi led 44 of 85 laps. This was Rossi's 1st win in approximately 1000 days. This was his 8th career win. Rossi said, “We had a solid test here a month or so ago…As challenging as it is for me, it is for them too [speaking of the rest of the team].” Rossi was asked if a weight had been lifted and stated, “Yes. There’s no other way to explain it. You’re as good as your last race. It doesn’t matter how good you are…It’s a very special thing today.” 

It was announced in June that Rossi will be headed to McLaren. Rossi said today during the press conference, “Good thing we don’t have to have the conversation about breaking the losing streak.”

Be sure and catch The Balance every Saturday from 9-11am. You can catch the replays where ever you find your podcasts. 

Chase Briscoe won Saturday’s inaugural NASCAR Xfinity Series price on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course. Briscoe survived a four-car battle for the win in the closing laps of Saturday’s race.

Driver No. 98 celebrated his victory on Saturday with his team by climbing the fence next to the yard of bricks, just as his team owner Tony Stewart used to do when he won.

“Everybody knows that I grew up and my hero in racing was Tony Stewart,” Briscoe said post-race. “To get to drive for him and watch him win the brickyard was always his signature thing and I just wanted to do it. Obviously, it is not the same prestige as winning on the oval but you still won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

Briscoe won by outbreaking road course veteran Allmendinger into Turn 1 to take the lead with two laps to go. The top four cars would run two by two through Turns 1 and 2. Briscoe would keep his lead and pull away from Allmendinger and Cindric.

For Briscoe, this marks his fifth win this season in 13 races becoming only the second driver in Xfinity history to win as many races in the same time frame. Sam Are currently holds that record with six wins in the first 13 races of the season.

Rounding out the top five were Justin Haley in second, Noah Gragson in third, AJ Allmendinger in fourth and Austin Cindric in fifth.

Justin Haley’s runner-up finish is his best finish in six road course starts.

Rounding out the top ten were Ross Chastain in sixth, Justin Allgaier in seventh, Alex Labbe in eighth, Michael Annett in ninth and Preston Pardus in tenth.

Justin Allgaier, who finished seventh on Saturday will also be running in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after 7-time Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson texted positive for Covid-19.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head into Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 9th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on FS1 in the running of the Shady Rays 200.

 

Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric

Stage 2 Winner: Chase Briscoe

Race Winner: Chase Briscoe

First to First

Monday, Sep 09

 

Hanging out in Turn 4 you get to meet all sorts of individuals. I met a couple of folks that I will not readily forget. Reggie was at IMS for the inaugural Brickyard in August of 1994. Chase’s daughter was here today for HER inaugural Brickyard. Today was a day of firsts to firsts!

Reggie came from Nashville, TN and while he was here for the inaugural Brickyard 400, today he was here for Bubba Wallace, who had his best finish at Indianapolis. As we got to the last 10 laps of the race, you could FEEL Reggie pulling for Bubba to finish well. He kept say, “If he finishes top 5, that will be good”, but you could feel that he wanted better for Bubba. And Bubba pulled it out! Bubba Wallace ended up with a 3rd place finish. I know that Reggie’s trip to Nashville will go fast!!

 

 

I also met Chase and his daughter. Chase is a NASCAR fan, but his daughte, has never been to a NASCAR race, until today. She is a die-hard Chase Elliot fan and it was great to see the next generation of NASCAR fans in the crowd today.

 

I think the thing that struck me today was that I met someone who had been here for the inaugural Brickyard in 1994 and I also met someone who had not even been alive for that inaugural Brickyard. NASCAR and IMS brings folks of all ages together.

Busch Wins at Indy

Saturday, Sep 07

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Saturday's Indiana 250. 

Busch managed to hold off the defending Indianapolis race winner, Justin Allgaier, in the final four laps to take the checkered flag for the fourth time this season.

After starting from the pole, Busch maintained top three for the first two stages, finishing third in Stage 1 and second in Stage 2. 

With only a handful of laps left, Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell got into one another as they were battling for the lead bringing out a late race caution. The wreck eliminated two of the front-runners, giving Kyle Busch the top spot with only seven laps to go. 

The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota took the lead on the final restart. Justin Allgaier trailed Busch by only .132 seconds as the laps were winding down. Busch held on to win for the 96th time in his career, adding to his series record. 

"I'm really proud of this team. This Toyota Supra was awesome today, and glad we got to take it to Victory Lane."

Allgaier, the defending Indianapolis winner, finished second, followed by Noah Gragson, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley rounding out the top-five. 

The Xfinity Series will be back in action for the regular season finale on Saturday, SeptEmber 14 at 7:30 PM on NBCSN. 

Dirt to Pavement

Friday, Sep 06

Speedway, IN  9/6/19

USAC comes to IMS! The Driven2savelives BC39 was held over the past 2 days at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and USAC put on a great show! Wednesday night's finish was one for the record books. What a great memorial for Bryan Clauson!

Thursday night's weather was perfect to watch dirt track racing! As I was wandering around Turn 3 at IMS, I noticed all the drivers that were represented on t-shirts. Each race brings with it it's unique race fans, but I noticed how much overlap there was between USAC drivers and NASCAR drivers. There were just as many cheers for USAC drivers as there were for drivers like Kyle Larsen. How great to see everyone mingling and having a great time!!

I started chatting with a woman in the grandstands and Thursday was her first experience with dirt track racing. She was no novice to IMS, having attended quite a few Indy 500s and Brickyard 400s, but this was a completely different experience for her. She talked about the ambiance and how great the atmosphere was. She remarked about the smells of the fuel and the sounds of the engines. It is completely different from Indycar and NASCAR. She said quite a few times that she kept expecting the drivers to crash as they were coming out of their drifts and she thought the control they showed was amazing! When one of the drivers in one of the heats ended up on their side and the fact that they were able to be righted, and take off with a push start, she was in awe! I think she will be back for a repeat visit!

Today, the Xfinity young guns got behind the wheel and had their first practice in an attempt to take on the veteran NASCAR drivers for the Indiana 250.  Tomorrow the action continues with Cup practice and Xfinity qualifying, capped off by the Xfinity race Indiana 250 at 3pm.

Be sure to follow me @Tbalance

 

 

 

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