For the fifth time in his allotted five NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series starts in 2019, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag, this time under the lights in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“I wish I could do more,” Busch said following his 56th Gander Trucks career win.
The rest of the field undoubtedly is quite happy the owner/driver of Kyle Busch Motorsports won’t be back until 2020. After all, Busch posted a perfect driver rating (150.0) and led five times for 102 laps in Friday night's 134-lap event. He notched his eighth victory in 13 starts at Charlotte, where he has finished either first or second in nine straight events in the series.
The win was Busch’s 56th overall, extending his own series record and bringing his combined NASCAR national series wins total to 205.
“This Tundra was awesome tonight,” Busch said of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. “It was flying and it was fast. We worked on it a lot in practice. We were a little off when we unloaded, and we tried to make it better and better and better.
“We made improvements. That's what's good about me driving and Rudy (Fugle) crew-chiefing. “These guys do a great job working on it, and we just keep getting better. Happy birthday to Brexton (Busch’s son). He'll be four tomorrow. It's awesome to have him here tonight, and we'll celebrate.”
On a three-lap run to the finish after the seventh and final caution, Busch pulled away to beat Brennan Poole to the stripe by 1.115 seconds. Despite dealing with a broken sway bar for most of the race, Poole grabbed second after staying out under caution before the final restart on Lap 132.
“My truck was all over the place, man,” Poole said. “I just gave it everything I had. I found something running the top lane there on the restarts, and it worked out really good.
“We just ran second to Kyle Busch tonight with a broken sway bar. I’m pretty proud of the effort. I know we’ve got a lot more chances like this coming up in our future to get this Toyota Tundra to Victory Lane. But I’m excited tonight, and I think I may even go get myself a beer when I get home.”
Stewart Friesen ran third, followed by Ben Rhodes and pole winner Matt Crafton. Austin Hill, Todd Gilliland, rookie Anthony Alfredo, Grant Enfinger and Ross Chastain completed the top 10. For Chastain, last week's winner at Kansas, it was the eighth straight top 10 in eight races this season.
But Friday’s story was all about Busch.
It took just a few seconds to observe just how dominant his Toyota Tundra was going to be. Starting the race from the eighth spot, Busch had powered his way into third by the time the field came off Turn 2 on the opening lap.
On Lap 5, he took the lead for the first time, cruising to the inside of KBM teammate Todd Gilliland. By the time NASCAR called the first caution for Natalie Decker’s hard contact with the Turn 2 wall on Lap 23, Busch held a 5.652-second lead over Gilliland.
Busch pitted for tires and fuel under the yellow, handing the Stage 1 victory to Crafton, who passed Gilliland on Lap 30 and took the green/checkered flag moments later. But four laps after the green waved in Stage 2 on Lap 37, Busch was back in the lead, heading for a stage victory with a margin of more than four seconds.
Divergent strategies scrambled the field during pit stops under rapid-fire cautions on Laps 78 and 85, but Busch regained the top spot on Lap 96, passing Rhodes to the outside off Turn 2.
Busch stretched his advantage to 6.125 seconds before Brett Moffitt cut a tire on Lap 126 and caused the seventh caution when the tire carcass rolled free onto the track in Turn 3. The yellow simply delayed but couldn’t thwart Busch’s seemingly inexorable march to Victory Lane.
A talented field of Midwest Big Ten Super Late Model drivers gathered at Lincoln Speedway, in Lincoln, IL this past Friday, May 17 for their opening race of the 2019 season. For Lincoln Speedway, it was the fourth race of the season and the first of two this year which will feature the high powered racecars.
2018 Summer Nationals champion, Brian Shirley, of Chatham, IL, was the favorite coming into the night. He didn’t disappoint in qualifying, setting quick time over local favorite Myles Moos, former Big Ten champion Brian Diveley, Ryan Unzicker, and Mike Chasteen, Jr. Heat race action saw Shirley and Unzicker claim the wins.
When it came time for the feature, Shirley and Unzicker led the field to green. Shirley raced out, while Unzicker tried to make a go of it in the outside lane. The car to watch, though, was one that pulled in on an open trailer earlier in the night. It was also one running pump gas for his steel headed engine. It was the #2 car of Mike Chasteen, Jr. The Peoria, IL driver was hooked up on the bottom lane of the dry-slick track and raced past Unzicker before putting Shirley behind him as well. The race went green until lap 19 before the first yellow waved, bunching the field. Back to racing for the final six laps, Chasteen again made easy work of the field to claim the impressive victory. Unzicker, Shirley, Jose Parga, and Diveley completed the top five.
In the DIRTcar Modified class, Mike Brooks and Steven Brooks brought the field to green. As always, the field was full of talented drivers and a win would be tough to come by. Steven Brooks took the early lead, while track regular, Austin Lynn, was working hard behind him. Lynn pulled alongside and took the top spot as drivers raced side-by-side on the low lanes of the track, looking for grip. The major challenge for Austin Lynn came from Donovan Lodge. The Andover, IL driver pulled into second from his fourth starting spot and gave it a valiant effort. In fact, Lodge made a pass relatively late in the race. Lynn would not be denied, however, as he pulled back alongside in the next turn and took the top spot back. From that point on it was Lynn holding the advantage. Coming to the checkered, Lodge got a great run off of turn four and pulled almost even with Lynn at the line. For Lynn, the key word was almost, as he hung on for the strong victory. Following the Mason City, IL driver were Lodge, Tommy Sheppard, Jr. who picked up six spots to take third, Steven Brooks, and Kenny Wallace
The DIRTcar Street Stocks were the first feature of the night and they didn’t disappoint with some really good racing. Rudy Zaragoza led for a good while at the front of the pack as Terry Reed and Robert Cottom were right behind. Unfortunately for Reed, on one of his pass attempts, some very slight contact ensued, which cut down his right front tire. Reed was forced to pit for a tire change and restart from the tail. Meanwhile, Cottom was able to take the lead in the middle portion of the race, making a run to the inside of Zaragoza. As the laps wound down, Cottom stayed out front but everyone watched as the #5 of Reed worked from the back to take second. Following Cottom and Reed were Zaragoza, Braden Bilger, and Nolan Kaufman.
Lincoln, IL driver Bret Tripplett led the early laps of the Nutech Seed DII Midget feature before Mason City, IL’s Andy Baugh drove to the inside. Baugh got traction on the exit of turn two and rocketed past going down the backstretch. For Baugh, it was pretty easy sailing from that point on, for his third feature win in four tries this year. Tripplett, Tyler Roth, Jeff Sparks, and Karter Sarff rounded out the top five. No one took the Nutech Seed Front Row Challenge so the bonus goes to $400 at the next race.
The final race of the night was the DIRTcar Hornet feature and it was another good one. The division has been very competitive this year with a number of driver threatening for a victory. This time it was Pekin, IL’s Danny Oates laying claim to the feature trophy. Oates held off a charging David Lauritson, Brady Reed, Dallas Strauch, and Eric Vanapeldoorn. The Hornets will be racing for $1,000 to win in the Ed Cain Trucking Hornet Challenge at the June 7 event. It’s part of a weekend doubleheader which will also see $1,000 on the line Saturday, June 8 at Macon Speedway.
Also on track Friday night were the Abe Lincoln Quarter Midget Association kids. Nearly 20 different youngsters brought their quarter midgets out to the track to show off their rides and take some laps at intermission.
For Lincoln Speedway, it will be a few weeks before the next race on Friday, June 7. In addition to the $1,000 to win Hornet race, the Pro Late Models will be back with Modifieds, Nutech Seed DII Midgets, and KidModz. It will be a busy month of June for the track as the POWRi Midgets invade for Speedweek on Sunday, June 16 followed by the Graue Chevrolet Showdown for the Summer Nationals on Sunday, June 30.
For more information and a full schedule, visit www.lincolnspeedwayil.com.
Lincoln Speedway PR
Clint Bowyer will have the best view when Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race goes green at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Bowyer’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford edged Kyle Busch’s Toyota by completing three laps and a pit stop in one minute, 58.794 seconds, averaging 136.371 miles per hour in securing his first All-Star Race pole on Friday. Bowyer, making his 10th attempt at claiming the $1 million winner’s prize on Saturday, said the pole was a credit to his team.
"Tonight was all about going fast and getting the most out of three laps," Bowyer said. "I do love the aspect of adding that pit crew (to the equation). It gives them a time to shine. My pit crew does a jam-up job all season long, and they were a big part of that (pole win).
"That is a victory. That's not just a qualifying lap, that's a total team effort. Everybody's got to do their job. You've got to have a fast car, and we checked that box off. You've got to do a great job coming on pit road and getting into the box, and we checked that box. Those guys laid down a good pit stop, and we checked that box. We rolled over here and checked another one off with a trophy. There's only one more, and that's to take a million bucks and go to the house and have a good time with it."
Defending race winner Kevin Harvick qualified third with Austin Dillon fourth, Martin Truex Jr. fifth and Ryan Newman sixth.
Kyle Busch won Friday nights North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch would survive a late race restart to win his fifth NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series win of the season.
For Busch, this is his 56th NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series victory. Friday was driver No. 51's final Truck race of the season due to series limitations for Monster Energy Cup Series drivers. Busch had to overcome a late race caution when Brett Moffitt lost his tire with under 10 laps to go. That would lead to a late race restart with three laps to go. Driver No. 51 would hold off the field and pull away to victory.
Rounding out the top five were Breenan Poole in second, Stewart Friesen in third, Ben Rhodes in fourth and Matt Crafton in fifth.
Rounding out the top ten were Austin Hill in sixth, Todd Gilliland in seventh, Anthony Alfredo in eighth, Grant Enfinger in ninth and Ross Chastain in tenth.
The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series will head into Texas Motor Speedway on Friday, June 7th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1 and MRN.
Stage 1 Winner: Matt Crafton
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Menards/Knauf Insulation Ford Mustang are set to start Saturday’s Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway from fifth place.
Menard earned that spot on Friday with a lap at 180.662 miles per hour in the second of two qualifying rounds. He was fourth fastest in the first with a lap at 180.361 mph.
Both of Menard’s qualifying laps were significantly faster than his best laps in practice. He was fifth fastest in the opening practice, for both Open and All-Star drivers, with a best lap of 178.
Menard and the Menards/Knauf team have four chances Saturday night to join the field for the 35th annual Monster Energy All-Star race. They can make the main event by winning one of the three Stages of the Open, or by a vote of fans, which closed at noon on Friday.
Eddie Wood said there will be a lot more at play than just pure speed in Saturday’s Open. Strategy will be at a premium, he said.
“Everybody is going to be gambling, trying to do something different than the driver in front of him,” he said. “With the stages being as short as they are (the first two at 20 laps and the finale at 10) it’s going to be all about track position.
“You’re going to need to get to the front as quickly as you can.
At least we’re starting fifth, which is pretty close.”
The Monster Energy Open is set to get the green flag just after 6 p.m. Saturday with TV coverage on FOX Sports 1.
Though he didn’t get into his pit stall as quickly as he would have liked in the unique Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race qualifying format, Clint Bowyer had enough speed in his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to earn the pole position for Saturday night’s marquee event at Charlotte Motor Speedway (at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Though he hasn’t won a pole for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race since he won from the top spot at New Hampshire in 2007, Bowyer had enough muscle under the hood of his Ford Mustang on Friday to beat Kyle Busch by a decisive .177 seconds.
“Hell has frozen over,” Bowyer quipped. “It’s so easy to make mistakes in that (format), because it’s so out of the ordinary of what we usually do. I actually didn’t get on pit road near as good as I wanted to.
“I had my dead-set line that I was going to get to and would lift (off the gas) at, and when I didn't get on pit road like I needed to, I drove past that and I was like, 'Oh no, I'm going to get stuck.' and my eyes were getting bigger.”
Nevertheless, Bowyer negotiated the three laps plus a mandatory four-tire pit stop (with no pit road speed limit) in 118.794 seconds for a speed of 136.371 mph. The only other driver to break 119 seconds, Busch logged a speed of 136.168 mph.
“Our Fords have been extremely fast, but we haven't gotten them in Victory Lane like we'd like to yet, but we're knocking on the door,” Bowyer said. “Who knows? I just saw (Charlotte Motor Speedway president) Marcus Smith. I said, 'You know how bad I want to win your million dollars?’ I'm going to take his million dollars tomorrow night!”
Busch was pleased with his own performance and that of his team.
“I thought everything about the lap actually was pretty good,” said the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. “I’m not sure how fast the lap itself was – how fast our car was on the lap.
“I felt like my progressiveness onto pit road and pit road speed was relatively good, and then the braking point and being able to just chatter the tires all the way into the box was really close. Really on the money there. I thought we got all we could get out of it.”
Kevin Harvick, Bowyer’s teammate at SHR, qualified third at 136.068 mph. Austin Dillon, who paced the field in Friday’s final practice, claimed the fourth starting spot for the race that pays $1 million to the winner.
“It feels really good to back it up,” Dillon said. “We had a really fast lap by ourselves right there. I’m proud of my pit crew for having a solid pit stop, and, man, the adrenaline is just flowing right now after hitting pit road with all that speed.
“It’s an intense situation, and you just want to give those guys that pit, and not slide it so it doesn’t focus on you. But, yeah, that was a good overall run for us.”
All told, 15 cars—those already locked into the All-Star Race—made qualifying runs. Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano will start from positions five through 10, respectively.
Three segment winners from the Monster Energy Open, which precedes the All-Star on Saturday, will earn spots in the main event, as will one driver selected by fan vote.
In an earlier qualifying session on Friday, Daniel Hemric, Dillon’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing, won the pole for the Open. Ford driver Michael McDowell claimed the second starting spot.
“I said on the radio this is the first box checked for the weekend,” Hemric said. “You’ve got to bring the fastest race car you can, and we’ve done that. Hopefully, we can do our jobs tomorrow and do what we need to do to get in the All-Star race and really have some fun.”
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.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
Editors note: Stage Winners and Fan Vote Winner will be updated in real time once the All-Star Open goes green
Stage One Winner Transfer: William Byron
Stage Two Winner Transfer: Bubba Wallace
All-Star Open Winner Transfer: Kyle Larson
NASCAR All-Star Fan Vote Winner Transfer: Alex Bowman
Clint Bowyer will start from the pole in tomorrow's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Bowyer posted a top speed of 136.371 mph to clinch the pole.
This marked Bowyer's first pole in 10 appearances in the NASCAR Monster Energy All-Star Race.
Kyle Busch will start second tomorrow night. Driver No. 18 posted a speed of 136.168 mph.
Rounding out the top five was Kevin Harvick in third who posted a speed of 136.068 mph, Austin Dillion in fourth with a speed of 135.776 mph and Martin Truex Jr. in fifth who posted a speed of 134.625 mph.
Kyle Busch who has started on the pole three times in the All-Star Race will start alongside Clint Bowyer in the second position.
Prior to All-Star Race qualifying, Monster Energy Open qualifying was held and Daniel Hemric posted the fastest time in his No. 8 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. Michael McDowell will start alongisde Hemric in the second position.
Three drivers from tomorrow's Monster Energy Open can earn their spot into the All-Star Race by winning a stage and or race..The stages are broken down into 20, 20 and 10 laps.
Coverage of the Monster Energy Cup Series Open begins at 6:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Coverage of tomorrow's NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series All-Star race begins at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.