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Racing News (10723)

Racing News from around the World

Last weekend the NASCAR Whelen Euro series travelled to Raceway Venray, the half mile oval in the Netherlands for round 9 of the championship. Hezemans crossed the finish line after 100 laps as the winner of the event after an action packed race, which saw the lead being swapped 3 times around between three different drivers. Round 9 on Raceway Venray proved to be the last event of the regular season, before dropping into the playoffs for the next round at Hockenheimring on September 21st & 22nd.

Loris Hezemans showed from the start a fast pace after he finished 2nd in free practice, with former F1 and Indycar Champion Jacques Villeneuve just in front. Although the position was strong Hezemans was not completely happy with the car, he explains “Our car would be ok for 4 laps and after it would start to understeer quite badly, we made some big changes to the set up and are hoping it works out for qualifying”.

Qualifying saw three main contenders which battled it out for pole position between the #50 Hendriks Motorsport car of Hezemans, the #11 PK Carsport of Stienes Longin and the #32 GoFas Racing of Jacques Villeneuve, who in his final run edged out Hezemans by 0.044 of a second from grabbing pole position. Next up came the race where the #32 of Villeneuve shared the front row with the #50 of Hezemans who had a good start and attempted a few attacks on Villeneuve, meanwhile the pair were building a gap of 4 seconds over 3rd place until the 1st caution of the race came out on lap 35. Following was a safety car restart which saw the battle get joined by the #11 of Longin who took 2nd place from Hezemans after he fought with low tyre pressures.

The race was briefly red flagged after an accident to the #7 car of Martin Doubek and followed what would be the 3rd and final safety car restart of the race. At the restart there was a brief contact between Villeneuve and Longin, which saw the ex F1 World Champion dropping places and Longin taking the lead with a charging Hezemans just behind. Hezemans knew that with 36 laps to go this was the moment to try and fight back towards victory in front of his home crowd.

Hezemans continued applying pressure from lap 74 onwards to try and capitalize from any small mistake Longin would make, this small error came in lap 85 after the PK Carsport driver ran slightly too wide into turn one and Hezemans was able to grab the inside line and run side by side with the #11 on the backstretch, a slide job move by the #50 of Hezemans into turn 3 and allowed him to grab the lead. From there on out the Hendriks Motorsport driver pulled away and crossed the line as the winner of round 9 at Raceway Venray and back to back winner after his win in round 8 in Most, just behind him the #24 of Nicolo Rocca in 2nd and the #32 of Jacques Villeneuve in 3rd after Stienes Longin received a penalty for a collision with the #32 and dropped back to P14.

Loris Hezemans comments in his post race interview “ I could not have asked for a better way to win, the sensation of winning in front of a home crowd at the only oval on the calendar is a truly amazing experience. It was a very intense and fun race, I had to keep the pressure all race long on either Jacques Villeneuve or Stienes Longin but at the same time to try and conserve my tyres for the last 30 laps where I knew it would be go time. Thankfully my tactic worked and I was able to take the lead with 15 laps to go and cross the finish line as winner of my home race. Lastly I would like to give a huge thank you to my team Hendriks Motorsport who have yet again performed beyond expectations, along with this for me to bring them the victory at their home track is a great feeling.”

The current championship standings have been shuffled around Loris Hezemans jumps to 2nd place in the championship just 7 points behind championship leader Stienes Longin. One point behind Hezemans in 3rd place stands the #24 PK Carsport car of Nicolo Rocca with Alon Day in 4th. The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series goes into its summer break before heading into the double points playoffs at the Hockenheimring for round 10 & 11 on September 21st and 22nd.

LHR PR

Josh Berry made the most of his second career trip to Carteret County Speedway by winning Saturday night's Solid Rock Carriers Crystal Coast 125. The victory was his third of the season and gave him a double-digit margin in the CARS Tour championship standings with three races remaining.

Mother Nature did not play nice most of the day on Saturday at Carteret County. Persistent, pop-up rain showers kept the track wet most of the afternoon until a single 15-minute practice for the CARS Tour could hit the track at 4pm, followed by time trials where Chad McCumbee claimed the Hedgecock Pole Award.

McCumbee was the rabbit everyone chased for the first part of the race, leading a bumper to bumper train of competitors around the .410-mile layout for laps on end. A handful of relatively minor caution flags peppered the opening portion of the race before the aggression level picked up.

Once the race crossed its halfway point on lap 63, eight addditional caution periods came over the speedway. Following one of the many restarts on lap 70, Josh Berry took advantage of a slip by Chad McCumbee to steal the race lead off of turn two on lap 73 and slowly began to pull away until the next caution on lap 82 for a Stacy Puryear spin.

A caution for Ronald Hill's accident on lap 108 led to the most consequential accident of the night. With 16 laps to go, Deac McCaskill appeared to slip off of turn two and moved to the inside to attempt to block the oncoming advances of Bobby McCarty. The pair made contact, sending McCarty sliding sideways into the outside wall and triggered a seven-car pileup. Among those involved were contenders Layne Riggs, McCarty, Justin T. Carroll, Brandon Pierce, Josh Yeoman, and Circle Track Warehouse Hometown Hero Brandon Clements.

With most of his competition eliminated, Berry jumped to the lead on the ensuing restart and pulled away to his third victory of the season over Deac McCaskill by nearly a full second at the checkered flag. Sammy Smith came from 24th starting spot to finish third and claim the MPI Hard Charger Award, while Layne Riggs and Justin S. Carroll completed out the top five.

"It was tough, we just tried to manage it early on. The outside is tough on these restarts and we wanted to try and keep ourselves on the bottom," Berry said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. "We got to second and was hoping to pressure for the lead and then the caution came out so we got stuck on the outside for a bit. We had a great car at the end, and I know Deac was pretty good, he made a good run there before we caught all that traffic. Just an awesome night, I'm so thankful to be doing this still, I've been doing this for a long time. Dale Jr., Kelley, L.W, everyone's stuck behind me, and Mark Thomas at All Things Automotive.

"I try not to look at the points, but you've got to be smart at the same time," Berry continued when asked about being in position for his second tour championship in three years. "We had a good lead go away very quickly a few weeks ago. We just have to keep pushing. If we keep bringing good cars and can stay up front - you obviously hate to see an accident like that, I don't know what happened, but you hate to see that. You know, I work on these things and I know how hard they are to fix and how hard they are to put together. You never want to see people wreck like that. At the end of the night, I feel like we had the best car and we got the job done."

The CARS Late Model Stock Tour is rejoined by the Super Late Model Tour on August 2-3 at Hickory Motor Speedway for the 3rd annual Throwback 276. A number of NASCAR and short track legends will be appearing to sign autographs and dozens of throwback paint schemes will be racing around the .363-mile layout steeped with history and known as "The Birthplace of NASCAR Stars."

For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a publicly available Amazon FireTV app.

CARS Tour PR

Nolan Pope wrapped up a strong weekend with a victory in late model stock car competition on Saturday night at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Pope, aboard the No. 1 entry for Lee Faulk Racing and Development, started the weekend on Friday with a runner-up performance in the first of two twin late model features at South Carolina’s Anderson Motor Speedway.
 
With that strong performance fresh on his mind, Pope was determined to do one spot better on Saturday evening at Hickory. He qualified fourth for the first race of two twin 40-lap features at Hickory and was running inside the top-three when a mechanical issue forced him to the pits and out of the first race.
 
Pope’s Lee Faulk Racing and Development team scrambled to fix the problem, which was caused by a right-front shock. The car was ready to go for the second 40-lap feature, where Pope was set to start from the pole.
 
When the green flag waved Pope pulled into the lead and never looked back, leading the entire 40-lap distance to earn his first victory at historic Hickory Motor Speedway.
 
“What a great way to end a great weekend,” Pope said. “We had a strong car at Anderson and that made me feel very confident coming into the races at Hickory. We had some bad luck with the car in the first race, but the guys at Lee Faulk Racing got the car fixed and we went back out there and showed them just how good we are.
 
“I have to thank Lee and Michael Faulk and all of the guys LFR, my family, the folks at McCallister Precision Marketing and everyone who has helped me get to this point,” Pope added. “It’s so cool to win at a place like Hickory, a track that has so much history. I’m glad I was able to make a little history of my own here tonight.”
 
Lee Faulk Racing and Development Director of Operations Michael Faulk said the victory by Pope at Hickory was a long time coming.
 
“Nolan has been making a lot of gains lately and the last two days have really shown just how good this young man is when everything works out,” Faulk said. “A second-place and a win in four races at two very difficult tracks is a really good weekend and I couldn’t be prouder of this young man.”
 
Pope will be back in action next Saturday, July 20 at Hickory Motor Speedway when the track hosts another set of twin 40-lap features for the late model stock division.
MPM PR

After letting a win slip through his fingers at Cornwall Motor Speedway last year, Mat Williamson had some extra motivation to park the No. 6 DIRTcar 358 Modified in Victory Lane this year. Williamson had to fend off major challenges from runner-up Mike Mahaney from King Ferry, NY who nearly passed Williamson on the final lap before a caution flag came out. Tim Fuller finished third and was reeling in the leaders at the end of the race.

Williamson has had a banner weekend picking up three Feature wins including Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship events at Ransomville Speedway and Merrittville Speedway, but tonight it was all about the DIRTcar 358 Modified Series. Williamson came into Cornwall with the Series points lead and has now stretched that lead out further by winning another 100-lapper.

“We’re on a roll. That final caution (on lap 99) might have saved my race. I don’t know if Mike [Mahaney] would have gotten by us as I was fighting with lapped traffic. Mike raced me as clean as you can ask for and I thank him for that. We’re rolling right now and we’ve got one more to go,” a grinning Williamson told Series announcer Tim Baltz in Victory Lane.

The family-owned No. 6 started fourth and quickly entered the top three in the opening stages. Williamson dueled with Steve Bernard for the lead and got around him on lap 18. As only two caution periods interrupted the 100-lap race, he was forced to contend with some fast lapped cars on the slick bullring.

Williamson said, “It was very tough in traffic. We had a great car early but used our stuff up racing the around the No. 96 car. I was just happy to hang on. The last lap we were coming to the white flag and I just got visions of the No. 3RS going around me last year. I made the car wide as possible and luckily we’re here.”

Count Mat Williamson as a fan of Cornwall, “I love this place. The fans are awesome. The atmosphere is like going to a rock concert every time we come here so I’m happy to be here and happy to finally get it done.”

Meanwhile, Mike Mahaney was pleased with this best-ever effort at on the quarter-mile Long Sault oval. On several occasions, Mahaney looked like he was going to pass eventual winner Williamson. When the field took the white flag on lap 99, Mahaney drove in with a huge run on the No. 6 but suddenly the caution flag was displayed for a spinning Danny Johnson. On the restart, Williamson was too strong for Mahaney.

He noted, “This is definitely our best run here ever. I’ve always struggled with this place, especially in turns one and two. I want to thank Stephane LaFrance. He gave me some tips before the Feature and it really helped my driving.”

The DIRTcar 358 Modified Series is quickly gathering momentum and drivers and fans are taking notice. Last year’s incredible finish at NAPA Super DIRT Week was not a fluke.

“It’s awesome to be able to follow this tour and be able to do it for real. I haven’t had a chance to do this for a long time. It’s pretty cool running well and it was a great race with Mat Williamson. He raced me really clean and we caught him there a couple of times in lapped traffic but as soon as I showed him a nose, he would take off. I don’t know if he was saving his stuff or what. It was good racing. It’s a great track and a lot of fun.”

Wily veteran Tim Fuller crossed the finish line ahead of Erick Rudolph by a bumper. No. 19 was catching the two leaders and had a strong car on the long runs.

“I think I was really good towards the end until a caution would come out. It seemed like on warmer tires Mat [Williamson] was coming back. The No. 35 car was really fast. I thought he was gonna get him there at the end. That was great racing. I mean you can’t beat that right there, slippin’ and slidin’ around. No one knew until the very end who was going to win this.”

The Series is back in action Monday, July 15 at Mohawk Int’l Raceway for another $4,000-to-win DIRTcar 358 Modified. Williamson will be looking to extend his points lead, but about forty other drivers are hoping to take a bite out of it.

Drummondville, QUE native Yan Bussiere set the Billy Whittaker Cars Fast-Time Award, breaking Erick Rudolph’s two-race quick-time streak.

Jordan McCreadie is the lucky driver to pick up a certificate from Hoosier Racing Tire for one free tire. A random finishing position is pulled prior to the race and McCreadie, while not happy with a twenty-second-place finish, will get a free tire.

Long-time racer Danny Johnson lost a rear end during Time Trials and needed a provisional to start the race. After starting twenty-seventh, Johnson moved up to the sixteenth position.

DIRTcar 358 Modified Series (Feature Results)

1. Mat Williamson 2. Mike Mahaney 3. Tim Fuller 4. Erick Rudolph 5. Yan Bussiere 6. Steve Bernier 7. Luke Whitteker 8. Corey Wheeler 9. Carey Terrance 10. David Herbert 11. Todd Root 12. Dave Marcuccilli 13. J.F. Corriveau 14. Kyle Dingwall 15. Mario Clair 16. Danny Johnson 17. Louie Jackson Jr. 18. Tim Sears Jr. 19. Michael Parent 20. Joey Ladouceur 21. Lance Willix 22. Jordan McCreadie 23. Ryan Arbuthnot 24. Chad Brachmann 25. Jeff Sykes 26. Brian McDonald 27. Tristan Draper 28. Dany Gagne 29. Steve Bernard 30. Chris Raabe 31. Ronnie David III

DIRTcar Racing PR

Toyota driver Tanner Carrick led the final three laps to win a wild USAC NOS Energy Drink Midget National Championship “Mid-America” Midget Week finale at Sweet Springs Motorsports Complex, Sunday.

The win is the first in USAC competition for the 17-year-old Lincoln, Calif., native. He also has two POWRi national midget feature wins. After sweeping both the USAC and POWRi events on Sunday, Toyota-powered drivers have registered 24 national midget feature victories in 2019.

Carrick’s Keith Kunz Motorsports (KKM) teammate Logan Seavey started from the pole position and was involved in a first-lap incident with Andrew Layser, which ended up collecting fellow KKM driver Tanner Thorson. Seavey would be able to continue, but Thorson’s night was over.

On the restart, Layser would take the lead, followed by Seavey, Tyler Courtney, Jason McDougal, Chris Windom and Carrick. Seavey would quickly move past Layser on lap two, only to see another caution fly, reverting the field back to the lap one standings.

Layser maintained the lead on the following restart as Courtney would pass Seavey and then take the lead on the following lap as McDougal overtook Seavey for third.  McDougal, who won his first USAC feature on Friday night for the Toyota-powered Frank Manafort Racing team, would then go past Layser for second with Seavey in tow.

Caution flags continued to fly with five in the first 20 laps as Courtney continued to pace the field, while Seavey retook the second position on lap 10. Things began to heat up just past the midway point as Seavey closed on lap 27, but he was unable to execute the pass. As the leaders began to encounter heavy lapped traffic, Seavey had another run on Courtney on lap 31, only to get the door slammed by a lapped car.

With just five laps remaining in the 40-lap event, Seavey was all over Courtney, making a run into turn three and taking the lead on a slider, only to have Courtney cross back over, but Seavey remained close on his tail.

Things would then change drastically on lap 38 when Courtney got high and slammed into the cushion, then turned right into Seavey, who was left with no place to go. Seavey would suffer right front damage and be forced into the pits, eventually finishing 16th.

That set up a three-lap dash for the victory between Carrick and Windom. Windom would immediately try to use a slider to force his way past Carrick, but Carrick countered to maintain the lead, while Windom would fall back to third behind Zeb Wise. Carrick would then drive off to the victory, followed by Wise, Windom, McDougal and Chad Boat rounding out the top five.

“We’ve been close lately,” said Carrick afterward. “It means a lot to get a win for everyone on this KKM team. We just needed to be there at the end. I’ve been really close lately. I’ve had a number of races I should have won, but they didn’t go my way. This one did.”

Kevin Thomas Jr. (sixth), Jerry Coons Jr. (seventh) and Tucker Klaasmeyer (ninth) joined Carrick, McDougal and Boat as Toyota drivers finishing in the top 10.

After three races in three nights, the USAC National Midget Series will take a two-week hiatus before returning to the track on July 30 at Grandview Speedway for the beginning of the five-race Pennsylvania Midget Week.

TRD PR

Toyota driver Jesse Colwell drove from eighth to first to earn his first career national midget feature victory in the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s event at Humboldt Speedway, Sunday. Colwell’s teammate, 14-year-old Daison Pursley, finished a career-best second to make it a Toyota one-two finish on the night.

Colwell, who joined the Keith Kunz Motorsports team after winning the KKM Giveback Challenge at Millbridge Speedway in November, becomes the 11th different Toyota-powered driver to win a national feature event in 2019. With the victory, the Red Bluff, Calif., native has taken over the series point lead in his rookie season. 

While Colwell took home the victory, it was fellow Toyota driver Zach Daum who would dominate much of the night. Starting from the pole, Daum immediately went to the lead with Pursley falling in behind him. The two would hold down those positions for much of the race.

Daum would pull out to a three-second lead in the first 10 laps, with Pursley comfortably in second, while Andrew Felker and Jake Neuman battled for the third position. Behind them, Colwell had moved from eighth to fourth by lap 11.

As the laps began to wind down, Daum continued to lead, stretching his advantage out to almost five seconds. Behind him, Colwell had moved up to third and began to challenge Pursley for the second spot. The two KKM drivers began trading sliders for second before Colwell would claim the position on lap 25.

Daum’s dominating night came to a sudden end on the following lap as something appeared to break on his car coming down the front stretch. He would hit the wall and go tumbling end-over-end before catching on fire. He quickly climbed out of the car under his own power, but what appeared to be an easy victory on the way to taking over the series point lead was gone.  

Colwell would bring the cars back to green on lap 26 and would never trail over the final five circuits to earn his first feature win ahead of Pursley, with Neuman finishing third, followed by Jonathon Beason and KKM driver Holley Hollan in fifth after being involved in an early incident that dropped her to the back of the field.

Daum would eventually be scored in 11th, while Hank Davis finished 15th and Cannon McIntosh placed 20th after a first-lap incident.

The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League will resume action with a two-night trip to Federated Auto Parts I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., August 2-3.

TRD PR

French driver Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske showed the NTT IndyCar Series how to celebrate Bastille Day.

Pagenaud capped a near-perfect weekend in Canada by dominating the Honda Indy Toronto, scoring his third victory of the season - the 14th of his career - on France's national day.

The pole sitter led 80 of the 85 laps at Exhibition Place and held back five-time series champion Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing in the late going to score his first victory on the 11-turn, 1.786-mile temporary street circuit.

"I'm very proud to fly the French flag here in a cousin country, which is Canada," said Pagenaud, the winner of this year's Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. "I guess (countryman Julian Alaphilippe) is leading the Tour de France today on the bike. I felt like I had to do the same."

Official results: Honda Indy Toronto

Pagenaud was only threatened a couple of times, the first being in the opening-lap dash to Turn 1. Dixon challenged him but couldn't execute the pass. From there, Pagenaud began building a lead, which became eight seconds before he incurred traffic in the final laps.

"We took off and the car handled really well," Pagenaud said, driver of the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet. "We definitely had an advantage on the tire wear. I knew we had a really good race car. We were able to match the Honda power (of Dixon) pretty well; (it) helped us to perform even better, so thanks to Chevy."

Said Dixon: "(Pagenaud's) straight-line speed was ridiculous today, to be honest."

Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Honda was hampered by wall contact early in the race. He drove the rest of the way with the steering wheel misaligned.

"I made a mistake, a pretty big mistake, probably around Lap 12 or 15 where I hit the inside wall on (Turn) 9," he said. "Bent the suspension pretty bad. I thought I had a (tire) puncture."

Alexander Rossi of Andretti Autosport finished third, one position ahead of series points leader Josef Newgarden of Team Penske. The first four finishers are the top four drivers in the standings heading to Saturday night's Iowa 300, a short-oval race at Iowa Speedway.

With Rossi, Dixon and Rossi finishing ahead of Newgarden, the championship race tightened. Rossi drew to four points with six races remaining. Pagenaud, who scored the maximum number of points in this race, is 39 points of the lead with Dixon 86 back.

Ontario native James Hinchcliffe of Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports finished sixth in his home race. He was the driver who advanced the highest number of positions (eight) among the entire field.

Another Toronto-area native - driver Robert Wickens, who finished third here last year - gave the race an inspirational start by driving a specially prepared Acura NSX. Wickens, who is rehabilitating use of his legs following a racing accident 11 months ago, used hand controls developed by Arow to drive around the track and gave the command to start the race.

Wickens' fiancé, Karli Woods, rode with him during the two laps around the track.

To watch today's race highlights in less than seven minutes, visit https://youtu.be/Q-KQ8xnK_fw

NTT IndyCar Series PR

The winner of an exciting 100-lap ELITE 1 Round 9 oval race at Raceway Venray is Loris Hezemans. The Dutchman moved into the lead on lap 86 and fended off all attacks until the checkered flag. Driving the #50 Hendriks Motorsport Ford Mustang, the 22-year old son of motorsport icon Toine Hezemans grabbed his third NWES career win, the second of the season and the first on oval.

ELITE 1 ROUND 9 RESULTS

After starting second, Hezemans spent the first half of the race in a fierce battle for the lead with polesitter Jacques Villeneuve. The Canadian defended the lead and it was Hezemans who ended up losing a spot on lap 54 in favour of Stienes Longin.

Hezemans moved back to second in restart on lap 73 when Villeneuve and Longin collided ahead of him and the Canadian slipped down the order. The Dutchman then hunted down Longin for the lead and made a brilliant move to overtake the 27-year-old Leuven native. The Hendriks Motorsport driver also topped the Junior Trophy classification.

“It couldn’t have gone any better for us here at Raceway Venray, but I’m still a little bit frustrated about missing the pole position,” said the race winner. “I really wanted to give my fans here at my home race a great spectacle. It was 100 laps of action and I had some great duels with Stienes and especially Jacques. I’m very happy and I thank my team for the great job they did all season long.”

The contact between Longin and Villeneuve resulted in penalty for the Belgian, who crossed the finish line second but was demoted to 13th place. Nicolo Rocca ended up second and secured his third podium finish of the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season. Despite the worst result of his season, Longin retained the ELITE 1 championship lead with seven points on Hezemans, who took over the second place from Rocca.

“It was a nice and clean race,” said Rocca, who will enter the playoffs eight points behind the leader. “I was focused since this morning to get into the rhythm and to score a solid result here at Venray. The restarts were really good and I never lost a position. The contact between Stienes and Jacques helped me a lot. I was told about Stienes’s penalty so I relaxed in the very last laps and came home a good second.”

Jacques Villeneuve led the race until lap 72 but fell back to fourth after the contact with the #11 PK Carsport Chevrolet Camaro. Despite some damage to his #32 Go Fas Racing Camaro, the former Indy 500 winner grabbed his second NWES podium finish after being on the podium at Franciacorta in May.

“The car was really hard to drive in the end, but it was good overall,” said Villeneuve, who led the most laps. “It was very loose and it took always three or four laps to get up to full speed. Stienes was a little bit too aggressive and I had to back out. I ended up in the marbles and the choice was to hit him or the wall. It doesn’t matter, as I had a great battle with Loris. That’s what we love, clean racing and intense duels.”

Three-time champion Ander Vilarino was fourth on his #48 Racing Engineering Ford Mustang and scored important points in the last ELITE 1 race of the regular season. Frederic Gabillon wasn’t able to contend for the win but closed the top-5 driving the #3 RDV Competition Chevrolet Camaro.

Vilarino’s teammate Romain Iannetta was sixth ahead of Ulysse Delsaux. The Frenchman was second in the Junior Trophy classification and was rewarded with four bonus points for gaining the most positions during the 100-lap long race at Raceway Venray.

Reigning champion Alon Day brought home a solid eighth place edging Salvador Tineo and Henri Tuomaala, who topped the Challenger Trophy classification for the sixth time.

The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be back in action on September 21-22 at the iconic Hockenheimring, Germany with four double-points races. The 3,6 kilometer road course will host the Euro NASCAR Semi Finals for the second consecutive time.

NWRS PR

In front of nearly a capacity crowd Chandler Smith (No.20 Craftsman / 828 Logistics Toyota) dominated Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series Menards 250 at Elko Speedway.

Smith, 17, now a five time ARCA winner in just 16 career series starts, also handed Venturini Motorsports’ (VMS) its eighth win of 2019 and the team’s 60th all-time ARCA series victory.

Although he had the dominant car, Smith did have to work for it. He slid in oil laid down in turn one by another competitor and spun on lap 146 and dropped to the tail of the lead lap. By virtue of a fast car and numerous mid-race cautions that continued to jumble the running order, Smith was able to knife his way back to the lead by lap 209. From there, he was able to drive away to nearly a full straightaway lead crossing the stripe 4.147 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Ty Gibbs.

“I was so mad when I spun down there in one,” Smith said post-race. “I was the only one riding the top groove at that point and there was oil all over the place. It just went around so slow, like it was in slow motion. I thought we might have had a tire go down or maybe even got hit. I was just mad. You definitely didn’t want to hear our radio traffic after that happened.”

Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota), 18, started first after securing his second General Tire Pole Award of 2019, led 76 laps on the night and was racing in the second position coming to the final set of turns before contact from teammate Michael Self sent him spinning resulting in a heartbreaking 11th place finish.

Self (No.25 Sinclair Oil Toyota), 28, who crossed the line fourth after running a strong night himself, picked up his ninth top-5 of the season and increased his series point lead over Bret Holmes who finished ninth.

“Right now I can’t think of anything else from this race but the last lap,” Self said afterwards. “I absolutely hate that we got into Christian on the last lap. He’s not only my teammate but he’s one of my best friends. It puts a real damper on the night.”

Fan favorite, Hailie Deegan (No.55 TRD 40th Anniversary Toyota), 17, finished eighth in her fourth career ARCA start. Deegan, who scored her second top-10, will make two more starts this season with VMS - Lucas Oil Raceway (October 5) and Kansas Speedway (October 18).

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the Fans with Benefits 150 at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 19. Practice is set for 12:45 pm ET/11:45 am CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying follows at 4:45 pm ET/3:45 pm CT, and the Fans with Benefits 150 will go green at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV.

VMS PR

Late-Race Incident Relegates Holmes to Ninth-Place Finish
 
Bret Holmes and the No. 23 Holmes ll Excavation Chevrolet team finished ninth at Elko Speedway after sustaining suspension damage from contact with another competitor in the late stages of the event. Holmes started the 250-lap short track shootout from the 10th position. Battling handling issues in the opening laps, Holmes visited pit road under yellow-flag conditions on lap 122 for right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. The Munford, Ala., native restarted fifth and made his way into the top-three of the running order just a few laps later. As Holmes was battling for position, another competitor forced the 22-year-old driver into the outside wall on lap 202. Crew chief Shane Huffman called Holmes to pit road to repair the damage. The No. 23 pit crew assessed the damage and found that the front suspension was also impaired during the impact. Holmes was able to return to racing conditions, despite the damage and earned a ninth-place result.
 
Start – 10th      Finish – 9th      Points Position – 2nd  
                                                   
BRET HOLMES QUOTE:
“We were on track for another top-three finish until the No. 27 car got into us and forced us into the wall. The impact with him and the wall caused front end body and suspension damage. The No. 23 team did a great job repairing our Chevrolet, but the bent suspension hurt the handling of the car for the rest of the race. I hate that we couldn’t show how fast we really were with a better finish. Our guys work hard every week, and they deserve a better finish than that. All we can do is persevere and head to Iowa Speedway.”
BHR PR

After a dominant practice session, Jacques Villeneuve and Go Fas Racing took the pole position for ELITE 1 Round 9 of the 2019 NWES season at Raceway Venray. In what was his very last attempt with less than two minutes to go in Qualifying, the Canadian posted a 19.369 seconds around the half-mile banked short track of the Netherlands to beat Loris Hezemans’ time by just 0.044 seconds.

ELITE 1 QUALIFYING RESULTS

It was the first pole position in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and the first on oval for the former Indy 500 winner and the second of his NASCAR career after the road course one he grabbed at Montreal in 2011.

“It’s fun and exciting, I was really waiting to race on this oval,” said Villeneuve. “It’s a proper oval track with high banked corners and a length of half a mile. It was fun, the car was actually meant to be better in race trim. It was a little bit loose in qualifying trim, but it was enough for one very good lap. The tires seemed not to heat up too much, so I’m really looking forward to this race.”

Villeneuve and Hezemans will start side by side two months after their intense battle in the NASCAR GP Italy at Franciacorta. Racing for Hendriks Motorsport, Hezemans will rely on the experience he gained at New Smyrna in February, when he was third in the overall standings of the World Series of Asphalt.

ELITE 1 points leader Stienes Longin will be third on the grid after missing the pole position by just 0.066 seconds. The PK Carsport driver edged his teammate Nicolo Rocca, who comes from his first win of the season at Autodrom Most. Hendriks Motorsport’s Martin Doubek closed the top-5 with a 19.571 lap ahead of local hero Sebastiaan Bleekemolen.

Six-time NWES oval winner Frederic Gabillon ended up seventh ahead of three-time NWES champion Ander Vilarino. The RDV Competition driver was 0.051 seconds faster than the Spaniard and his #48 Racing Engineering Ford Mustang.

Reigning champion Alon Day secured the ninth spot on the grid. The CAAL Racing driver was 0.357 seconds slower than the pole sitter and will have a steep mountain to climb if he wants to win the NASCAR GP Netherlands at Raceway Venray. His teammate Thomas Ferrando will start alongside him in 10th place.

Henri Tuomaala grabbed the best spot in the Challenger Trophy classification by finishing 16th. The Finn edged Mauro Trione and Kenko Miura. 19 drivers were separated by less than nine tenths of a second, making the race at the only oval track in the 2019 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series season definitely unpredictable.

The race will be streamed live at 3:05 pm CEST on Fanschoice.tv, the Euro NASCAR YouTube channel and Facebook page, Motorsport.tv and a vast network of websites and social media pages from around the world.

NWES PR

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