Michael Self Wins General Tire Pole Award for ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway18 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Two-time 2019 winner Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) stormed to the pole for Sunday’s ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief PowerPEX200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway. Self, who won earlier in the season at Five Flags Speedway and Salem Speedway turned a quick lap of 15.777 seconds/114.090 miles per hour to earn his second career General Tire Pole Award and his first on a short track.
“This is my third career pole in something like one hundred career races,” Self joked afterwards. “We definitely can credit the driver, I am not the greatest qualifier by any means. All the credit goes to my Venturini Motorsports guys. They bust their butts to get these cars right. I wasn’t comfortable here when we tested and they got to work and made the changes we needed and got us the pole.”
Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) qualified second after being fastest in practice earlier in the afternoon. Last year’s General Tire Pole Award winner at Toledo will start alongside Self on the front row after turning a lap at 15.781 seconds/114.061 miles per hour. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) gave Venturini Motorsports a top-three sweep with a lap of 15.826 seconds/113.737 miles per hour.
Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) qualified fourth at 15.864 seconds/113.536 miles per hour. The grandson of NFL Hall of Fame coach and legendary NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs has started his ARCA career with two runner-up finishes at Five Flags and Nashville and a sixth-place run at Salem, Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Toledo Mud Hens Chevrolet) rounded out the top five at 15.873 seconds/113.400 miles per hour.
Fifteen-year-old Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford), Carson Hocevar (No. 28 Scott’s/KBR Development Chevrolet), Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) and Tanner Gray (No. 54 Durst/Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Toyota) rounded out the top ten.
The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200, round four of the Sioux Chief Short Track Challenge for ARCA Menards Series races held on tracks one mile in length and under, will go green tomorrow at 2 pm ET. The race will be shown live on MAVTV. Tickets are available at the gate or by calling (419) 727-1100. ARCA for Me members can access free live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login.
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Longtime Carolina Panther Jonathan Stewart Sets the Pace for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race18 May 2019 Written by Steven B. Wilson
Jonathan Stewart spent the better part of a decade following his lead blocker as a Pro Bowl running back for the Carolina Panthers. On Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Stewart will lead the charge for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race aboard the Toyota Camry pace car.
Stewart’s first foray into honorary pace car driving comes on the heels of the popular runner signing a one-day contract to retire with the Panthers in April. After rushing for more than 7,000 yards and scoring 51 touchdowns with Carolina, the art of pace car driving offered a new challenge for Stewart.
“I’m so excited to be back home in Charlotte and to be here today,” Stewart said. “To be part of the Charlotte community and the speedway is very nice. I had to get certified (to drive the pace car) and I was like, ‘This is gonna be a long process. I’m gonna have to answer a lot of questions. This is gonna be like driver’s ed,’ but it was pretty easy. You have to pay attention to the lines on the track and follow the speed limit.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be nervous when I have a rear-view mirror of cars growling at me, ready to go fast. Once I got comfortable, I was ready to take it to another level. I definitely felt like I could get it up to 130 miles per hour pretty quick. That Toyota is loaded up with some horsepower.”
Clint Bowyer starts Saturday night’s showdown of superstars from the pole with Kyle Busch on the outside front row.
As for Stewart’s pick? He couldn’t decide between Denny Hamlin and Austin Dillon.
“It’d be cool just to see them there battling it out at the end,” he added.
Team Penske drivers have won four of the first 12 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races this season, but Ryan Blaney has yet to share in the spoils of victory.
Brad Keselowski won for the third time last Saturday at Kansas Speedway, and Joey Logano got his lone victory of the season so far at Las Vegas in early March.
Blaney’s season, on the other hand, has been one of feast or famine. He scored three of his four top fives in consecutive races—a third at Phoenix, a fifth at Fontana and a fourth at Martinsville—but his best finish in the last four events has been 15th.
In his last start, at Kansas, Blaney came home a disappointing 32nd at one of his favorite tracks. Nevertheless, Blaney holds the 10th position in the series standings, well inside the cut line for the Playoffs, and his level of confidence remains high despite the inconsistencies of the first third of the season.
“Kansas was just a bad weekend for us,” Blaney told reporters on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We were just off, so that part stinks, but I feel like, obviously, our whole organization is good enough to win races. Brad put on a great show last weekend and was able to win that race, so the speed is still there. It’s just about kind of cleaning things up.
“Our group is great. Our group is fine, and they do such a great job. Whether it’s the road crew or the over-the-wall guys, they have it all together, and it’s just a matter of everything coming together for you, whether it’s throughout 400 miles, 500 miles or 600 miles. That part I’m not worried about. It’s just a matter of me doing my job and just piecing things together.”
THE MIND AND BODY TELL YOU CHARLOTTE IS A 600-MILE RACE
Ever since its debut in 1960, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway has been NASCAR’s longest race—and one of its most grueling, taking a heavy toll on drivers and their equipment.
For drivers whose minds and bodies typically are geared to race at a maximum length of 500 miles, the Coke 600 confronts them with an extraordinary challenge.
“You’re mentally programmed to go 500 miles, so your body kind of knows, when you’ve done this for a long time, it kind of knows that, and it’s like, ‘Hey, what are we doing here?’” said Kevin Harvick, winner of NASCAR’s marathon event in 2011 and 2013.
“And you mentally have to tell yourself that, really, when you look at the scoreboard and they tell you you’re halfway done, it’s really not that great of a sign, because you know that you have a long ways to go, and you already feel like you’ve gone a long ways.
“So, for us, it’s a little bit different mental preparation in order to keep yourself from being wore out 400 or 500 miles in and make sure that you’re ready for the last 100 miles that are extra.”
Harvick will try for his third victory in the 600 on Sunday, May 26 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
FOR ROSS CHASTAIN, VICTORY WAS A “WRENCHING” EXPERIENCE
In the continuation of a remarkable season with under-funded Niece Motorsports, Ross Chastain scored his eighth top-10 finish in eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series races on Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
That 10th-place run, however, paled in comparison with last week’s emotional victory at Kansas Speedway, the first in the series for both Chastain and his team.
All that was left for Chastain was to find a way to commemorate the win.
“In the post-race interview with our crew chief (Phil Gould), he mentioned that he didn’t have a 1/16 wrench when he started the team,” Chastain said. “I thought it would be good to get him and the general manager (Cody Efaw) two-sets of 1/16 wrenches, put them in a shadow box and put a plaque with the first win.
“How are we supposed to expect it until you win and know if you can do it? You have to prove it. We all thought we could, but until you do it, you don’t know.”
Chandler Smith (No. 29 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota), one of four Venturini Motorsports entries, led the way in practice for tomorrow’s ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway. Smith turned a lap at 15.811 seconds/113.845 miles per hour to lead the way in the incident-free 90-minute session.
Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota), grandson of legendary NFL coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, was second quick, just nine one-thousandths of a second behind Smith’s pace. Gibbs turned a fast lap at 15.820 seconds/113.780 miles per hour. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), the winner last time out at Nashville, was third quick at 15.929 seconds/113.001 miles per hour.
Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Toledo Mud Hens Chevrolet) was fourth at 15.988 seconds/112.584 miles per hour. Holmes threw out the first pitch at last night’s Mud Hens game and is carrying their logo on his car this weekend. Fifteen-year-old Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) rounded out the top five at 16.010 seconds/112.430 miles per hour.
Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), a two-time winner so far in 2019, was sixth, Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) was seventh, Carson Hocevar (No. 28 GM Parts Now/KBR Performance Chevrolet) was ninth, and current championship leader Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford) was tenth.
Next up for the ARCA Menards Series at Toledo Speedway is General Tire Pole Qualifying coming up at 4 pm ET. The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care is set for tomorrow at 2 pm ET and will be televised live on MAVTV. Tickets are available by calling (419) 727-1100 or at the gate. ARCA for Me members can follow free live timing & scoring, live track updated and live chat at ARCARacing.com throughout all on-track activity. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login.
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- Burton started the 134-lap event from the fourth spot, but quickly found himself caught three-wide in the middle and had fallen back to the eight position by the completion of lap one.
- The young driver communicated that his Safelite AutoGlass Tundra was "too loose," as he ran in the eighth spot for the majority of Stage One.
- A one-truck accident slowed the field with seven laps remaining in the stage. Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. summoned his driver to pit road for four fresh tires, a full load of fuel and a trackbar adjustment in an effort to improve the handling.
- The second-generation driver took the lap-28 restart from the eighth spot, but lost one position over the final two laps.
- With two drivers in the top five hitting pit road between stages, the Safelite Tundra lined up seventh when Stage Two went green on lap 37. Burton once again lost a couple of spots on the restart and settled into the ninth position.
- With 10 laps remaining in the stage he regained the eighth spot, but communicated to Hillman Jr. that his Toyota had "swung to the tight side."
- Burton remained in the eighth spot when Stage Two came to a close on lap 60.
- Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with another adjustment towards improving the handling of the Safelite Tundra. Burton returned to the track scored in the sixth position when the Final Stage went green on lap 68.
- Burton once again found himself three-wide and had fallen back to the 11th position when the fourth caution of the night occurred on lap 73.
- The Safelite Tundra had a strong restart and had advanced up to the seventh position when the fifth caution occurred on lap 79. Hillman Jr. ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop.
- Six trucks elected not to pit and one truck took fuel only, leaving Burton scored in the 13th position for the restart with 45 laps remaining.
- With 40 laps remaining the Safelite Tundra had settled into the 12th position. As a long green-flag run ensued, Burton began posting lap times as fast as the top-five trucks. After a multi-lap battle with Ross Chastain, he was able to move back into the top 10 with 20 laps remaining.
- Burton was able to pick up one more spot with 12 laps remaining and then gained another position when Brett Moffitt had a tire issue right in front of him and brought out the seventh and final caution of the event.
- The No. 18 team was scored in the seventh position for the restart with three laps remaining, but over the closing laps lost several spots to teams that had put a set of scuffed tires on during the preceding caution and crossed the stripe in the 11th position.
It's dubbed "Fast Friday" and the final full day of practice before qualifying for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge was just that.
A dozen drivers turned laps in excess of 230 mph as teams dialed in their NTT IndyCar Series cars for the emotional next two days when the 33 grid positions for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" will be determined. Conor Daly set the pace in the No. 25 United States Air Force Honda for Andretti Autosport with a lap of 231.704 mph, followed by teammate Marco Andretti with a lap of 230.851 mph in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta with Marco & Curb-Agajanian.
It was the first time in four practice days that anyone exceeded the 230-mph mark.
"I'm just super thankful to be here, honestly," said Daly, a veteran of 39 career NTT IndyCar Series starts, whose only scheduled race this season currently is the Indianapolis 500. "It's incredible to be a part of this team.
"I've been super happy with my group and our engine and our car. We're just (taking it) step by step, one change at a time - trying to make this thing go as fast as possible - and we'll see what happens tomorrow."
All 36 entered cars benefited from an extra 1,000 millibars of turbocharger boost that increased engine output by some 50 horsepower Friday and through qualifying weekend. While most of the fastest laps were also aided by an aerodynamic tow from a leading car, Ed Jones did eclipse the 230 mark with a no-tow lap of 230.106 mph in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet.
Other drivers to surpass 230 mph with tow-aided laps on Friday were Takuma Sato, Spencer Pigot, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, Simon Pagenaud, Charlie Kimball, Josef Newgarden, Will Power and Tony Kanaan.
While they were jockeying at the top of the speed chart, two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso spent the day regaining his footing with his first time on track since crashing in Wednesday practice. Alonso totaled 77 laps on the day - the most of any driver - in the backup No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet, with his final circuit of 229.328 mph on the 2.5-mile oval standing as his best and 24th among all drivers.
"It was a positive day for us," Alonso said. "We were able to put the car on track and try different directions on the setup and learn a little bit about the track and the day. Obviously, the boost was up today, so the speeds were higher and it was more a (qualifying) preparation than race setups.
"But we had a lot of new tires (unused) from the last couple of days, so we were able to do a lot of runs. Hopefully, that information will give us tomorrow a little bit of confidence into qualifying."
Daly's day got even better when his team drew the first spot in the qualifying order for his entry. It means the 27-year-old Indiana native and son of former Indy car and F1 driver Derek Daly can make his initial four-lap qualifying attempt in potentially the coolest, best conditions of the day.
"All right, I'll take it," Daly said. "That's good. We'll take that. I hope it's nice and cool - 65 degrees, no wind and full power. We'll see."
Pigot drew the second qualifying position, with 2016 Indianapolis 500 winner Alexander Rossi third. Zach Veach, Rossi and Daly's teammate at Andretti Autosport, drew the last qualifying position of the 36 primary cars.
Kyle Kaiser was involved in the only incident of the day when his No. 32 Juncos Racing Chevrolet made hard contact with the SAFER Barrier in Turn 3. The 2017 Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion was uninjured. The car sustained heavy damage and the Juncos crew expected to work into the night to repair it in a bid to qualify on Saturday.
A final pre-qualifying practice begins at 8 a.m. ET Saturday (livestream on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold) and is split into three parts - 30 minutes for half the qualifying order, 30 minutes for the other half and 30 minutes open to all cars.
First-day qualifying runs from 11 a.m.-5:50 p.m. Saturday, with the fastest 30 drivers at the end of the day securing a spot in the race. Drivers may make as many qualifying attempts as they wish, weather and time permitting. Grid positions 10 through 30 are locked in then, while the fastest nine drivers on Saturday advance to the Fast Nine Shootout.
Sunday's qualifying conclusion features the Last Row Shootout at 12:15 p.m., where each driver who failed to qualify on Saturday makes one attempt, with the fastest three earning the final spots in the 33-car field. Following that comes the Fast Nine Shootout at 1:15 p.m. to determine the pole sitter and grid order of the first three rows.
Saturday's qualifying streams on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with coverage switching to NBCSN from 5-6 p.m. Sunday's qualifying airs from noon-3 p.m. on NBC, with a practice for the 33 qualifiers airing on NBCSN from 3-6 p.m.
The Indianapolis 500 airs for the first time this year on NBC, with race coverage starting at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26.
Kingsley Claims First Career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Victory in Race 1 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park18 May 2019 Written by Adam Sinclair
- In one round of single-truck qualifying, Gilliland put his No. 4 Tundra in the third starting position.
- In the opening laps, the teenager jumped out to the lead, but quickly surrendered it to the No. 51.
- When the caution flag flew for the conclusion of the stage Richmond made the call to bring the No. 4 to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments.
- Gilliland finished the first stage in the second position.
- Gilliland restarted the second stage in the 20th position after several competitors took only two tires or did not pit.
- By lap 50 the No. 4 was scored within the top 10 and Gilliland finished the second stage in 10th.
- Richmond called the No. 4 to pit road for four tires and fuel following the second stage.
- Gilliland began the final stage in the ninth position, and reported that his truck was much better but on the tight side.
- After a caution on lap 79, the No. 4 Tundra had some right front fender damage and Richmond brought the teenager to pit road for repairs and four fresh tires.
- Several laps later, the caution flag flew again and Richmond opted for a fuel-only stop securing track position in the top-20.
- On the final caution on lap 128, Richmond made the call to bring Gilliland to pit road to put gently used scuffed tires on and Gilliland was able to use these to his advantage to pick up multiple positions and work his way into the top-10.
- The second-generation driver took the checkered flag in the seventh position in just his second start at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
- Qualifying for the event consisted of one round of single truck qualifying, and Busch earned the eighth starting position.
- Under caution on lap 25, crew chief Rudy Fugle opted to bring Busch down pit road for four tires and fuel. The 51 Cessna Tundra would restart in seventh.
- At the stage conclusion, Fugle kept Busch on the track.
- Busch began the second stage in fifth and retook the lead on lap 41.
- During the second stage, Busch reported that the handling of his Tundra was trending loose, and then would swing toward the tight side.
- Fugle called him to pit road following the end of the stage for four more Goodyear tires and Sunoco fuel.
- The 34-year-old owner-driver began the final stage at the front of the field.
- Under caution on lap 87, Fugle called the 51 to pit road for another four tires and fuel.
- On the restart, Busch was in ninth, but marched relentlessly through the pack, retaking the lead in just six laps.
- After the final caution flag flew on lap 128, Busch held off a hard charging Ben Rhodes to pick up his eighth Gander Trucks win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his 56th career Gander Trucks win, bringing his National Series win total to 205.