Tim Cindric called a great strategy to help Josef Newgarden pick up his third win of the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series season. The 2017 series champ extended his point lead with the win and a series of issues behind him.
The race began with pole-sitter, Takuma Sato, leading the entire first stint. The championship contender looked strong until the Rahal Letterman Lanigan driver missed his pit stall on the first sequence of pit stops. Sato struck his crew member sliding his way in. The crew man got up and helped the team bring Taku back to his pit stall and was checked and released from the infield care center with no major injuries.
Ryan Hunter-Reay was able to take over the lead after the incident, but the Andretti Autosport crew was worried about RHR’s fuel mileage.
The first caution of the night came out when Zach Veach got the outside wall exiting turn 2, drifted down to the inside wall, spun 360 degrees down the straight, and came to rest in the third turn. The Gainbridge got no damage after the initial contact, and came back into the race 40 laps later.
During this yellow, Tim Cindric called Josef Newgarden to pit, changing the strategy entirely for the Fitzgerald Penske Chevrolet.
With about thirty laps to go, Newgarden held the lead, but James Hinchliffe spun just like Zach Veach, but his Arrow Schmidt Peterson Honda spun into the inside wall. The caution helped Ryan Hunter-Reay, as the DHL Honda took the opportunity to pit during the yellow flag. On the ensuing restart, Colton Herta made a big move on Alexander Rossi for third and set his sights on five-time champion, Scott Dixon for second. Dixon, who was closing in on a struggling Josef Newgarden, backed out of the throttle too much entering turn one on a fake pass on Newgarden. Herta made his move on the back straight diving down to the white line, but Dixon forced Herta’s GESS Honda below the white line, getting the young 19-year-old out of shape in the entrance of the corner, taking out both cars.
Dixon later took blame for the incident.
Alexander Rossi narrowly escaped the carnage, nearly spinning on the track’s apron in turn four, and was set in second for the restart, while his Andretti teammate in Ryan Hunter-Reay was still carving through the field.
On the final restart, Rossi peeked high to pass Newgarden several times, but his Andretti Honda couldn’t stick on the top of turns one and two. After several aborted attempts on the top, Newgarden was able to pull away from the 2016 Indy 500 champ, and pick up his first NTT IndyCar Series superspeedway win.
Newgarden’s win the DXC Technology 600 helps him extend his point lead on Rossi to 25 points.
Santino Ferrucci’s fourth-place result saw him take over the Rookie of the Year standings in just his second oval race.
Scott Dixon and Colton Herta ended their nights outside of the infield care center finishing 17th and 18th, respectively. Graham Rahal finished a quiet night in third, with Ryan Hunter-Reay in fifth.
In the new qualifying format for the 2019 Indianapolis 500, the bottom six drivers after Saturday’s qualifying session were to duke for the final three positions on Sunday, with only one attempt.
Fernando Alonso’s final 4-lap average was 227.353mph, putting him third out of the five drivers to take time. Alonso was in. Provisionally, but in. After all, the only driver left to qualify was the unsponsored Juncos Racing No. 32, which nearly flipped two days prior with California’s Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel. Alonso is a two-time F1 Champ, defending 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, defending 24 Hours of Daytona winner, 32-time F1 winner, and current FIA WEC Point Leader. No way Juncos’ backup car could bump the McLaren-Carlin Chevrolet, right?
Kyle Kaiser set the world on fire. Not everyone knew his name Sunday morning. The world was either cursing or singing his name Sunday evening. Kaiser’s four-lap average was 227.372mph. Just .019mph quicker than Alonso’s speed. The unsponsored, white, green and orange Chevrolet was in. When the Juncos Racing team began celebrating, Alonso walked past the cameras, media, fans, straight to a golf cart. He hopped on the cart, and was driven out of sight. No talk to the media for the Spaniard. He had failed to qualify for his second Indianapolis 500.
The excitement of bump day is high every year, and unfortunately for the McLaren team, they had lived it. And even more unfortunate for Zak Brown, they had lived the wrong end.
Will McLaren buy a ride from a qualified car? Will Alonso return to the brickyard next year? Only time will tell. And that’s why we love motorsports. The unpredictable. The drama. The excitement. And ofcourse, the speed.
Thank you, IMS. Until next week.
Kyle Busch picked up his 52nd career NASCAR Truck victory Saturday evening from Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia.
Busch dominated the Ultimate Tailgating 200 after leading 92 of the 130 laps, including all three stage victories. The owner-driver had to overcome a vibration from a loose wheel early in the race, which set Busch’s Cessna Tundra back in the pack on a restart. It took Busch only 24 laps to regain the lead on lap 78. From there, Busch only gave it away once, Johnny Sauter passed Busch on the lap 88 restart and led for five laps.
The historic 52nd win for Kyle Busch makes him the all-time win leader in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS), breaking a tie with four-time NGOTS Champ and NASCAR Hall of Famer, Ron Hornaday Jr.
The David Gilliland and Bo LeMastus owned team will head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend with three trucks to race.
Early in the week, Ryan Reed confirmed a return to NASCAR in DGR-Crosley’s No. 17 Tundra at Las Vegas with sponsorship from Dexcom. The second entry will be the team’s flagship No. 54 Tundra with Natalie Decker behind the wheel. Sponsorship will be from her longtime partner, N29 Technologies, LLC. Decker will make her intermediate track debut tomorrow [Feb. 23] at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
FOX Sports’ Phil Parsons confirmed during final NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) practice on FS1 that the team’s third entry will be the No. 15 Tundra. The driver will be Anthony Alfredo who is driving the team’s No. 17 at Atlanta. His series debut is in Atlanta, but the 19-year-old from Connecticut has one NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory coming at the historic South Boston Speedway last season. His only campaign in the series resulted a 5th-place position in standings and ended inside the top 10, nine times in the fourteen-race tour,
DGR-Crosley searches for their first win at Atlanta with Alfredo and Decker.
Texas Motor Speedway’s (TMS) track president Eddie Gossage announced Wednesday that the Stadium Super Trucks would return to the Fort Worth, Texas speedway’s schedule. However, the trip’s date would change.
Robby Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks Series (SST) will join the NASCAR tripleheader in March on the 1.5-miler that includes Monster Energy Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoors Truck races. The first SST race of the O’Reilly 500 is on Saturday, March 30th after the NASCAR Xfinity Series event. On Sunday, March 31st action will be packed for fans at the Great American Speedway, with a SST race before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup O’Reilly Auto Parts 500, and a second race following the 500-miler.
The SST have visited the Speedway since 2017, but visited during the INDYCAR weekend in June, which also hosts a NASCAR Truck event. “The past two years we have been at the track with IndyCar and now to have the organizers believe that we can add real value to the NASCAR weekend I'm extremely excited about it. Most of all, I'm extremely confident that the NASCAR fans will love what we bring to motorsport.” said founder, owner and competitor, Robby Gordon about the exciting news
The course is run on the frontstretch of the 1.5-oval, and turns into the infield using the south infield road course which runs across the paddock and pit lane. The course features several jumps, some of which go over other parts of the circuit.
Brett Moffitt clinched his first NASCAR Truck Series Championship, Friday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The Iowa native had fought Noah Gragson all race long to clinch the title, but the race and the championship looked to have different contenders through Stage 1.
Pole-sitter Grant Enfinger led the entirety of a caution free Stage 1 ahead of Noah Gragson who was second for a majority of the 30-lap stint. Gragson ended up in second position with Championship 4 contender, Brett Moffitt in third. The other two Championship contenders, both from GMS Racing struggled throughout the entire race, with Haley ending Stage 1 in 6th and 2016 Champion, Johnny Sauter in 13th.
Stage 2 saw a battle between Noah Gragson, Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt battle for the lead, with Moffitt out on top. Moffitt cruised to victory in Stage 2, with Gragson in second. Once again, GMS contenders struggled in this stage, with Haley in 8th and Sauter in 10th.
In the final stage, it was Sheldon Creed mixing it up with the two Toyota contenders, but Creed's Silverado quickly fell off. The stage once again saw no yellow flags, and with green flag pit stops approaching, Gragson and Moffitt battled hard for the race lead. Unfortunately for Gragson, the Las Vegas driver noticed an issue with his Tundra. He believed he had a tire going soft, and lost second to Grant Enfinger when missing pit lane. Gragson pitted on lap 101, and with tires gaining such an advantage on the worn out Homestead-Miami Speedway, many of the top contenders pit on lap 102.
Moffitt exited pit road with no mistakes and had nearly a 5 second lead on Gragson who ran third. The race saw only two cautions, all for the stage breaks which was good news to Brett Moffitt who cruised to victory to earn his sixth victory of the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and clinch the 2018 CWTS title. Moffitt's victory makes Shigeki Hattori the first team owner from Japan to win a NASCAR National Series championship, along with their six wins. Moffitt and crew chief, Scott Zipadelli celebrated the underdog achievement in victory lane, but their future is uncertain.
Moffitt told the media during the Championship 4 press conference on Thursday "[he] has no job," despite his incredible performance all season long. The entire Hattori Racing crew didn't know their future for a majority of the season, however. Sponsorship woes through the Summer months and at the start of the NASCAR Playoffs put a question on if the team could even afford a trip to Homestead. The team, driver and crew all excelled in all 23 races this season and took the flag.
Gragson finished third in the race, and second in the championship. GMS Racing's struggles were never resolved with Haley's third place championship run ending in an 8th-place race finish, and Sauter's fourth place championship result in a 12th-place race finish.
The Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway marked the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) race at the upgraded speedway in Phoenix, Arizona, and the final race in the MENCS Playoffs Round of 8. With only 312 miles scheduled before the final event, tensions were high and Playoff drama surrounded the speedway all day.
When the initial green flag waved on pole-sitter Kevin Harvick, the driver who sat 3 points above the elimination line cruised to a 1-second lead over must-win driver, Chase Elliott. Harvick led the first 72 laps of Stage 1, and 3 laps before the green-and-white-checkered flag, Harvick's Busch Light Ford Fusion cut a right front tire. Chase Elliott assumed the race lead with Harvick limping around the 1-mile oval. With the green flag still out, Harvick had to enter a closed pit, but Harvick only lost a single lap. Elliott won the stage.
In the opening laps of Stage 2, Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch battled for the lead, and with either up front it would knock Harvick outside of the Championship 4. However, shortly after the beginning of Stage 2, Playoff driver Joey Logano blew a tire through the speedway's dog-leg on the front straightaway. The crash didn't hurt Logano's title hopes after his win at Martinsville Speedway two weeks ago. A result of the caution was that Harvick received the free pass, and gained his lap back. Once the race got back underway, Clint Bowyer blew a tire on lap 133. When pit road opened, Kurt Busch led the field onto the lane.
NASCAR held Kurt a lap because they saw the No. 41 Fusion pass the pace car entering pit lane, which promoted Martin Truex, Jr. in the lead shortly before the stage end. Kyle Busch ran Truex down, passed the No. 78 and won Stage 2.
During a green flag cycle woth about 80 laps remaining, Tanner Berryhill in Obaika Racing's No. 97 spun entering pit lane, causing a caution. Several drivers were trapped a lap down, but took the wave around before the green flag. Chase Elliott was caught with speeding, and joined the wave around cars at the rear of the field for the restart.
On Lap 262, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.'s No. 17 Fusion spun viciously into turn 1. The red flag was put out for 10 minutes. The following restart shook up the remainder of the race.
Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin drove into turn 1 on the restart, but Hamlin's No. 11 Camry couldn't stick to the center of the track's turn 2 and slammed Kurt Busch's No. 41 into the wall. Busch, who was stuck in the wall in a four-wide situation down the backstraightaway, shot into Hamlin, spinning the No. 11 around. Kurt spun, too into Chase Elliott's door, taking most of the No. 9's sheet metal of with him. Kurt Busch's car wasn't repaired during the 6-minute repair clock, eliminating Busch from a shot at the Championship 4. The crash brought out a red flag, 10 and a half minutes.
With over 35 laps to go, NASCAR confirmed that Kyle Busch was safe on points, and the Joe Gibbs driver nabbed the lead from his teammate. Kevin Harvick was running third with 30 laps to go and was comfortable in the points, but if Aric Almirola won the race, the No. 4 would be eliminated, with Almirola running down Harvick. Almirola and Kyle Busch were on four fresh tires, with Harvick and second place Larson, on two fresh.
With 27 laps remaining, Alex Bowman's No. 88 Camaro caught fire and spun in turn 2. Bowman blew an engine and the car erupted into flames. The tenth caution of the day brought out the second red flag, this one lasting nearly 6 minutes. Once the yellow came back out, Larson pitted to fix a loose wheel, which moved Harvick up to second, and Almirola in third, the favored position of the weekend.
The race restarted with 20 to go, but shortly after the caution would come out for Berryhill yet again. However, Almirola passed Harvick, essentially having the two swap positions. Just past the 3 hour make of race time, the green flag waved with 12 to go. Brad Keselowski got around the two Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, trying to chase down Kyle Busch, meanwhile Almirola tried to hold off Kyle Larson for third just in case the two leaders tangled. With 5 laps to go, Larson got around Almirola, and Keselowski trailed Busch by 0.7 seconds.
Kyle Busch was able to hold off Keselowski's quicker car and score his eighth win of the 2018 MENCS season and automatically clinch a spot in the Championship 4.
When Busch's smoke cleared from celebratory doughnuts, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex, Jr. knew they would advance to the Championship 4 next week at Homestead-Miami and seek their second MENCS title. The three are joined by Joey Logano who looks to clinch his first.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season wraps up the season and crown the champion, next Sunday, November 18 at 2:30PM EST on NBC and NBCSN.
The King of the Desert hasn't always been the King, he's earned it, just like what he's trying to do with a Championship 4 position.
Harvick has the most all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix's ISM Raceway with 9. He also has led 1,522 laps in Arizona, all from 2006 to present. Harvick’s first win in the desert came in the Spring of 2006, where he led only 10 laps of the 312. When the NASCAR Cup Series came back to town in the fall, Harvick won once again, leading 252 laps this time. Harvick led 54 in the Spring of 2007 but ended up with a 10th-place result. Harvick wouldn't lead again until he led a singular lap led in Spring 2011. Harvick finished 4th that day, his best finish since his Fall 2007 victory.
In the Spring of 2012, Harvick led 88 laps and finished second to Denny Hamlin. Harvick would head to the Playoff race that season, looking for his first desert trophy in nearly 6 years in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS). Harvick’s 2012 win was foreshadowed by Jeff Gordon’s intentional dump on Clint Bowyer shortly before the white flag, which led to a garage area brawl. Once the race got restarted in NASCAR Overtime, a spin by Danica Patrick caused oil to leak from her car, however the oil in setting sun couldn’t be seen by NASCAR, and the track remained green, with Harvick sliding across the line in first, and a gaggle of cars on fire and torn up crossed the line behind him. While Harvick only led 15 laps that day, a familiar Kevin Harvick in Phoenix was born. With his swap from Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) on the near horizon, Harvick’s penultimate race with RCR ended in victory circle. Carl Edwards’ Roush Fenway Ford ran out of fuel shy of two laps to go, which promoted a 68-lap leader of Kevin Harvick back to the top spot.
In just his second race at SHR, Harvick took Rodney Childers and the Jimmy John’s crew to victory lane after a lead total of 224 laps. Since the Spring 2014 victory, Harvick has continued his dominating traditions. Harvick swept the 2014 season at Phoenix, won the Spring 2015 event and finished second in November. Another win came in 2016 Spring race, followed by a fourth-sixth-and fifth place finishes up until his redemption victory in the Spring of this season. Harvick’s “redemption” was from the week prior, where Harvick won at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, however, NASCAR ruled the win “encumbered” after an illegal and bent in windshield. Harvick only led 38 laps in April, but when the bull gets messed with, he gives the horns.
Will Harvick keep his 3 point gap over SHR teammate, Kurt Busch, this weekend at ISM Raceway and lock himself into the Championship 4 for a bid at just his second MENCS title?
The Can-Am 500 is Sunday, November 11 at 3:30PM EST on NBC.
Derek Kraus and Bill McAnally making CWTS debut.
The 17 year old from Wisconsin will make his NASCAR Touring Series debut in the Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) event at ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend.
Kraus has 5 NASCAR K&N Pro Series victories to his credit, all coming on the West tour. Kraus ended the 2017 K&N West (KNPSW) campaign in third place for the total points standings after 1 win in the season finale at Bakersfield. The 2018 tour saw more success, 4 wins including both Bakersfield events, a Gateway combination of East and West drivers, plus a win at Douglas County. Despite the four victories to his name, a season high, Kraus ended up 4th in the championship. Kraus also won the pole a total of 5 times, the next best was Hailie Deegan's two.
All KNPSW starts for Kraus have come in Bill McAnally's Toyotas, which have won 8 West championships. Kraus has made 7 (non-combination) K&N East (KNPSE) starts in his young career, two of which, at David Gilliland Racing-CROSLEY, where he finished the KNPSE tour with a second in New Hampshire, and a third at Dover.
Kraus will likely need to qualify in on time at ISM Raceway. Qualifying in Phoenix begins Friday at 5:35PM EST on FS1, with the Lucas Oil 150, Friday at 8:30PM EST on FS1.
Cole Custer picked up his second NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) victory at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday and clinched a position in the NXS Championship 4 in two weeks’ time at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Californian won the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead a season ago but wasn't inside the Championship 4. Custer absolutely dominated the event, winning by 15.4 seconds over Sam Hornish, Jr.
To make things better for the sophomore driver, the series' "big-two" sit outside the cutline, needing a win at next weekend's ISM Raceway. Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (CWTS) Champion, Christopher Bell and this season's NXS Regular Season Champion, Justin Allgaier are considered the NXS "big-two" and need a good day in the desert.
Allgaier sits 12 points below the cutline, while Bell faces a 34 point deficit. The two can get it done in the desert, with Allgaier winning the 2017 DC Solar 200 at the speedway in April. Christopher Bell was leading last season's CWTS event at ISM Raceway before he tangled with his Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate towards the end of the 150-lapper.
Custer's current competition in the Championship 4 is Tyler Reddick, Elliott Sadler and Daniel Hemric. Custer beat Reddick on a last lap pass, Saturday in Texas. Elliott Sadler is trying to win his first NXS Championship in his final season of competition. Daniel Hemric has shown tons of speed, but falls under pressure during races, not winning a single NXS or CWTS yet in his career.
If the Playoff Grid doesn't change after next week's race in Phoenix, can Reddick hold off Custer in Miami for Texas redemption and a championship in his rookie season? Can Sadler end up on top? Will Hemric finally close the door on his biggest stage, yet? Or does Custer prove his worth to Stewart-Haas Racing at the Homestead-Miami Speedway?
But first, the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 at ISM Raceway is Saturday, November 10 at 3:30PM EST on NBC.