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The battle for the ARCA Menards Series championship moves from the quick half-mile of Toledo Speedway to the sweeping, ultra-fast high banks of Charlotte Motor Speedway in Thursday night’s General Tire 150. The race, the seventh race of the season, will be the second race in five days for the ARCA Menards Series teams and the second race of a seven-races-in-six-weeks stretch that carries the tour into the summer.

No one has been able to hold on to the series championship lead for more than one race throughout the series’ first six races of the year. Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) led after winning the season opener at Daytona, but he is racing full time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series and not competing for the ARCA title. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) took over the top spot after finishing third at Five Flags Speedway in March, but fell ill the night before the third race of the season and did not compete, losing the lead to Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford). Braden lost the lead to Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) after the fourth race of the year at Talladega but regained the lead after the fifth race of the year at Nashville when Self was caught up in an accident and finished 15th.

Braden held the lead going into the race at Toledo, but now faces a 25-point deficit to Self after a crash at Toledo left him 13th at the finish. Heading into Thursday night’s 100-lap clash on the 1.5-mile quad-oval at Charlotte third-place Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation/Southern States Bank Chevrolet) is just 35 points out of the lead. Eckes jumped to fourth with a third-place finish at Toledo, now just 65 points out of the lead, and Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) dropped to fifth but is just 100 points out of the lead. The tightness at the top of the standings means anyone could come out on top after the race.

"This points battle has already been very intense," Braden said. "No one's even been racing head-to-head for it yet on track. We've also just passed the one quarter mark of the season. Now, the intensity of the schedule is about to ramp up, and things will get even trickier. Mistakes will be made, and I feel that some frustrations will start to set in. A championship battle like this is as much a mental fight as it is physical."

Although he missed the race at Salem due to illness, Eckes is fourth in the standings. Missing the race at Salem certainly hurt his chances, but a 26th-place finish at Talladega the following week almost ruined them. Eckes stayed focused and went on to win at Nashville, reigniting his championship hopes.

“The month of April wasn’t very kind to us,” Eckes said. “But we can’t look back. We’re going to go out and do what we need to do and that’s go try to win as many races as we can. We’re going to look ahead and whatever happens will happen.”

If he’s going to get back into the title fight, Eckes will have to deal not only with Braden, but his Venturini Motorsports teammate Self as well. Self, who is also running the full ARCA Menards Series season for the first time in his career, was a pre-season favorite to win the championship. He was swept into a crash early at Daytona and finished 31st, leaving him in a deep points hole heading into the second race of the season. He won the next time out at Five Flags and went back-to-back with a win at Salem. Self has been one of the strongest cars on the track every week but has been involved in two accidents not of his doing. He avoided the trouble that shortened Braden’s day at Toledo and retook the points lead for the third time this season.

“If you look at my stats it’s crazy,” Self said. “It’s up and down. When I finish, I am in the top five. We need to get over the bad luck and find consistency. We’ve had great cars all season long and we’ve been fast. If we can keep out of those situations like Daytona and Nashville and still keep our performance where it’s been we’ll have a shot at it.”

While he might have flown under the radar the first quarter of the season, Holmes is not one that should be overlooked. After a difficult 2018 season that saw he and his father Stacy decide to park their racecar several races short of the full season to restructure the team, Holmes has been quietly strong to start 2019. Crew chief Shane Huffman, himself a former driver, has rebuilt the racecars and given Holmes confidence he can go compete for his elusive first career ARCA win.

“We decided we needed to regroup and figure out what we needed to be successful for this season,” said Holmes. “We worked hard over the off season to put together a strong team. We knew where we wanted to be and the resources we needed to get there. Racing is a family sport. You travel a lot with your team and get to know everyone really well. It’s important to have a strong leader and hardworking crew members. I’m proud of the team that we’ve put together. We take steps forward after each race and build on what we learned to make the next race stronger. We have the cars and guys to be a competitive team this season. One of our main goals for the rest of this season is to be consistent and finish within the top five every week. I feel like we’re achieving that goal right now. We just have to continue to work through the little kinks that come with each race. We’re still a fairly new team, so there’s always things we can work on to be better. If we can continue to be consistent, I know we will have a chance at the championship.”

Graf made a splash in his rookie season last year when he finished second in the closest finish in series history at Talladega, a statistical dead heat that was only broken by reviewing the photo finish camera. He followed with his first career win in a fender-banging duel with Zane Smith – the driver he lost to at Talladega – to win at Berlin. In cars owned by crew chief-turned-car owner Chad Bryant who still prepares and calls the shots for Graf on race weekends, the New Jersey native expected to be a title contender in 2019. He’s in the mix but has fought bad luck to start the season. Graf has stayed positive and looks to make a move to the front through the next six weeks.

“We didn’t have the start to the season that we were hoping, but luckily we’ve been able to build some consistency as the season marches on and our finishes are showing that,” offered Graf. “We’re not exactly where were wanted to be at the moment, but we’re improving and heading in the right direction with a lot of effort by everyone.  We’ll get there. This team is too good. We know that consistency during this upcoming summer stretch will lead us back to victory lane and hopefully keep us within reach of the championship fight.”

Two hours of practice for the General Tire 150 is scheduled for 11:30 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET, and the race is set to go green shortly after 9 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1; 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. For ticket information, log on to CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com or call the track ticket office at (800) 455-3267.

ARCA Menards Series PR

Speedway Indiana- 5/20/2019

Sad news to report from Indy!

Two-time Indy 500 Champion Al Unser Jr was arrested in the suburb of Indianapolis of Avon, Indiana!

According to Fox 59 in Indianapolis.. 

Avon police arrested two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser, Jr. on an OWI charge.

Unser was booked into the Hendricks County Jail at 3:21 a.m. on Monday.

Unser faced similar legal problems in the past. He made headlines in 2002 when he was arrested after an alcohol-fueled fight with his girlfriend. He also has previous drunk driving arrests in 2007 and 2011.

Unser has been very vocal about his struggles with alcohol. In fact, just a few weeks ago he spoke with Hope Academy students to share his story of addiction as a recovering alcoholic. He said drinking was a demon he faced, and he hopes others will learn from his mistakes.

That years-long challenge has gotten him into trouble with the law before. In 2002, he was arrested for domestic battery against his girlfriend at the time. She blamed his drinking for the incident when she reported it to police. He first denied knowing her, but later said she hit him first. The charges were later dropped the woman stopped cooperating with investigators, but Unser still decided he needed help.

"Nearly every poor choice I've made in my life occurred under the influence of alcohol," he read in a statement at the time

Bobby Unser after the arrest that he'd talked to his nephew about his drinking problem. "It’s been addressed, for sure. He knows about it, but not doing anything is the problem. In other words, knowing is one thing, doing something about it is another thing and he really needs to do something about it."

He found sobriety for a time, but was arrested in 2007 in Las Vegas for driving under the influence. He was arrested again in 2011 in New Mexico, accused of drag racing while drunk.

Al Jr., now 57 years old, won 34 races including two Indianapolis 500s during his time as a driver, and continues working in the racing industry.

The Heritage Truck Centers 250 was the first time the CARS Tour visited Motor Mile Speedway since 2015, and Saturday night's action made up for the long hiatus when Bubba Pollard and Bobby McCarty muscled their way to Edelbrock Victory Lane. For Pollard, it was his third tour win this season and the first for McCarty in nearly a year.

SUPER LATE MODEL RECAP

Matt Craig claimed the Mahle Pistons Pole Award and led the field to the green flag in the opening race of the night. Second place starter Bubba Pollard nosed ahead of Craig to lead lap one before the Kannapolis, N.C, retook the top spot on lap two and held it for over a third of the race.

Pollard began to show his speed on lap 47 when he bypassed Craig for the top spot, but Craig found a way back around on lap 59. The pair continued to trade blows, moving each other out of the way multiple times before Pollard ultimately took the lead for the final time on lap 78 after a caution for Mike Speeney's problems in turn three.

Despite Pollard's late-race dominance, Craig threw everything at the No. 26 Ford when he attempted to outduel Pollard on a lap 114 restart. Having none of it, race control thwarted his work when the restart was called back as a jumped restart and reattempted with Pollard on the inside lane where he motored away after the green flag.

Pollard extended his lead to a .686-second advantage at the checkered flag, beating Craig, Stephen Nasse, Tate Fogleman and Kodie Conner to the line.

"When you drive good stuff, got good people behind you, they make it easy on you," said Pollard in Edelbrock Victory Lane when asked about how he has pulled off three wins so far this season.

"When you drive me dirty, I'm going to drive you back dirty, and that's all there is to it," he continued when prompted about the battle with Matt Craig. "When you run me up the racetrack, I'm going to let you know it. It could have been a lot cleaner than what it was, and it wasn't. It's part of racing if he wants to drive like that. You're looking at a new Bubba Pollard. I've kinda been easy on people, kind of just rolled with the flow, but I ain't taking no [expletive] off nobody no more. If you touch that 26 car, you're gonna be ready for it."


LATE MODEL STOCK RECAP

Four years ago, Josh Berry picked up his first CARS Tour win at Motor Mile Speedway, and picked up where he left off by rocketing to the Hedgecock Racing Pole Position during qualifying. As expected, he shot to the lead early over second place starter Deac McCaskill.

The opening two thirds of the race was exceptionally clean, with two caution flags on laps 40 and 80 thrown by rule according to the series' competition caution policy. After lap 80, however, things got crazy when Taylor Gray lost control exiting turn four which started a massive chain reaction melee that collected at least ten cars in one fashion or another. Multiple drivers were eliminated from the race afterwards.

Bobby McCarty, who had moved to second during the opening two stints, challenged Josh Berry on the restart, but was unable to steal to the top spot despite a quick outside lane at Motor Mile. A slew of late-race accidents including four cautions in the final scheduled 25 laps, gave McCarty multiple opportunities to bypass Berry but none of them yielded any results.

Josh Berry took the white flag after 124 laps and appeared to be en route to his 16th career when when Brandon Pierce sent Ryan Repko for a spin in turn two, forcing officials to throw the yellow before the leader had taken the checkered flag, prompting a green-white-checkered restart.

On the initial attempt, Berry bypassed McCarty in turn three, but washed up the track allowing McCarty to drive to his inside in turn one. The two made contact, and Berry went spinning up the track, handing McCarty the race lead and relegating Berry to the tail.

The second attempt at a finish saw McCarty choose the high line for his restart lane, while Justin Carroll started underneath. The pair leaned on each other while others pushed and shoved behind them. They took the white flag in a near dead heat, and made the final circuit door-to-door before racing off turn four to the checkered flag where Bobby McCarty edged out Carroll in a photo finish of .029 seconds. Sammy Smith, Brandon Pierce and Tommy Lemons, Jr., rounded out the top five.

"I really hate that with the 88, I really do, he knows I don't race that way," McCarty said after thanking his crew in Edelbrock Victory Lane. "He was trying to pinch me, and I was trying to run him up a little bit, and we hit wheels. It yanked the wheel right out of my hand. I've never wrecked nobody for a win, I never have and I never will, that was just a racing incident. Hopefully he and I can talk about it and come to an agreement. But, like I said, a big thank you to everyone at Nelson Motorsports. My wife and son are here, and it's he first time they've come in a long time, so this is a really cool moment for me.

"When that [lap 124] caution came out, I was worried, because they can cause a lot of problems," he continued when asked about the setup for the finish. "You never know how these restarts are going to play out. Josh didn't get to the throttle really good coming out of four, and I was able to pull the crossover and we got position on him and that was unfortunate and I really hate that happened. I didn't know whether to take the inside or the outside on the last restart because I was losing forward drive and that's where the 88 was killing us. I felt like if someone was on our outside, I wasn't going to be able to get the throttle down. We took the outside, Justin's a really hard racer, he races hard but he races clean, and I hope the fans enjoyed that show."

The next event for the CARS Racing Tour will take place June 8 at Langley Speedway, the Who's Your Driver 125, a standalone event for the late model stock cars with support from three local divisions at a highly-competitive .395-mile layout on the east coast of Virginia.

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 new publicly available Amazon FireTV app released this week.

CARS Racing PR

704Games, the Race Team Alliance and NASCAR announced today that the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League™ season will make its highly anticipated debut Memorial Day Weekend live from Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The historic first races precede Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with the green flag dropping at 3:30 p.m. ET at the NASCAR Trackside Live stage as well as on NASCAR’s Facebook and 704Games’ Twitch via livestream. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Bubba Wallace will be on-hand for the pre-race festivities.

“The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is a result of incredible industry collaboration and a shared commitment to growing NASCAR through innovation,” said Tim Clark, senior vice president and chief digital officer, NASCAR. “The esports community is massive, highly engaged and passionate, and our league presents an unparalleled opportunity to reach new and existing fans.”

The newly formed esports league will have a season that begins this Sunday and culminates during the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs. Fourteen notable NASCAR teams and 28 drivers will compete across a variety of virtual tracks on the NASCAR circuit. The full team rosters can be seen below.

"Players from across the country competed to be part of the eNASCAR Heat Pro League with the best of the best being chosen by teams to compete in the inaugural season back in March,” said Ed Martin, Managing Director of Esports, 704Games. “The 28 drafted drivers have spent weeks practicing for what is sure to be a thrilling and dynamic season. When we started the NASCAR Heat franchise, we set out to capture the drama and excitement that unfolds in NASCAR every week and deliver that experience to gamers around the world. The eNASCAR Heat Pro League is the next evolution of that mission and we’re thrilled to bring competitive online console racing to a global esports platform in collaboration with NASCAR.”

Fans can tune-in Sunday, May 26 starting at 3 p.m. ET for pre-race coverage. The Xbox race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET with the PlayStation 4 race following at 4 p.m. ET. The second race of the season will follow on Wednesday, May 29.

For more information about the eNASCAR Heat Pro League, please visit eNASCAR.com.

 

Xbox One Drivers/Teams:

Greg Matarazzo / Chip Ganassi Gaming

Nicholas Vroman / Leavine Family Gaming

Tyler Dohar / JR Motorsports

Brian Tedeschi / Team Penske Esports

Nick Walker / Roush Fenway Gaming

Diego Alvarado / Petty Esports

Josh Shoemaker / Stewart-Haas Gaming

Sam Morris / Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club

Daniel Buttafuoco / Gibbs Gaming

Justin Brooks/ JTG Daugherty Throttlers

Matt Heale / GoFas Gaming

Jordan McGraw / RCR Esports

Jacob Kerr / Germain Gaming

Casey Gomme / Wood Brothers Gaming

 

PlayStation 4 Drivers/Teams:

Slade Gravitt / Wood Brothers Gaming

William Arnold / Germain Gaming

Joey Stone / RCR Esports

Hunter Mullins / GoFas Gaming

Zach Onson / JTG Daugherty Throttlers

TJ McGowan / Gibbs Gaming

Nick Jobes / Hendrick Motorsports Gaming Club

Brandyn Gritton / Stewart-Haas Gaming

Mike Braas / Petty Esports

Cody Giles / Roush Fenway Gaming

Corey Rothgeb / Team Penske Esports

Jason Keffer / JR Motorsports

Josh Harbin / Leavine Family Gaming

Josh Parker / Chip Ganassi Gaming

704 Games PR

Driver Ed Jones and the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet qualified fourth after competing in the Fast Nine Shootout for pole position in the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
 
Jones will start the Indianapolis 500 from the inside of Row Two in the fourth position with a posted time of 229.646. Fourth is Scuderia Corsa's best qualifying effort in only its second 500-mile race appearance. In his third year of NTT IndyCar racing, this is Jones best qualifying run for the Indianapolis 500 as well.
 
For Jones, his highest qualifying effort gives him a chance to compete for the win.
 
"It was a good day, and I qualified fourth for the Indianapolis 500," Jones said. "Great for Scuderia Corsa and great for myself. Thank you to Ed Carpenter Racing, to see all three cars up there is really positive. You always want to be on pole, but regardless it's great to be up there and give us a chance to fight for the win next Sunday, and that's what it's all about."
 
For Team Owner Giacomo Mattioli today's results showcase the strength of Ed Jones and the entire Scuderia Corsa and Ed Carpenter Racing team.
 
"I am very proud of Ed Jones" Mattioli said. "His efforts were fantastic in qualifying and he has been remarkable for the entire week. I am very impressed by Ed Carpenter Racing, putting all three cars in top four is a testament of amazing teamwork. We are looking forward to a strong performance next Sunday at the 103rd Indianapolis 500!"
                                                                                                                                       
The remainder of practice takes place Monday, May 20 and Friday, May 24. Sunday, May 26 is race day for the NTT IndyCar series with the green flag set to drop at 12:29 p.m. ET for the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. The race is broadcast on NBC, check your local listings for details. Follow all the action on Scuderia Corsa social media channels: Twitter @Scuderia_Corsa, Facebook at Scuderia Corsa, Instagram at @Scuderia.Corsa.
Ed Jones PR

Simon Pagenaud continued on his roll this May, winning the pole position for the upcoming 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge. Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, however, will be a spectator for the May 26 race after failing to successfully qualify.

In a drama-filled Sunday afternoon that featured separate qualifying sessions to fill opposite ends of the 33-car starting grid, Pagenaud completed a four-lap Fast Nine Shootout qualification run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway superspeedway at 229.992 mph to earn the NTT P1 Award, the 11th pole position of his 11-year Indy car career and first at the Indy 500.

Meanwhile, Sage Karam, James Hinchcliffe and Kyle Kaiser drove their way into the field with the best qualifying efforts in the Last Row Shootout, with Alonso among those whose runs came up short on speed.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: Starting lineup

Pagenaud delivered the 18th Indianapolis 500 pole position for Team Penske, extending the benchmark NTT IndyCar Series program's record that stands at 13 more than any other team. In addition, Pagenaud became the first Frenchman in a century to capture the Indy 500 pole, since Rene Thomas in 1919.

"Team Menards and Team Penske have been phenomenal about giving me the best equipment," said Pagenaud, who turned 35 on Saturday. "I can't thank them enough and my teammates for always pushing me to the limit. This is incredible. This is the biggest race in the world, so obviously I'm on Cloud Nine."

Pagenaud is the hottest driver in the NTT IndyCar Series, fresh off a May 11 win in the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the IMS road course. Driving the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet on the oval on Sunday, he outperformed a trio of Ed Carpenter Racing drivers who qualified second through fourth.

Pagenaud edged out Ed Carpenter, who qualified the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet at 229.889 mph and narrowly missed winning the Indy 500 pole for a fourth time. Spencer Pigot, fastest in first-day qualifying on Saturday, ranked a career-best third Sunday in the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet at 229.826 mph. Ed Jones was fourth in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet at 229.646 mph.

"I was hoping one of the three of us was going to get the pole, but finishing 2-3-4 is the next best thing," team owner/driver Carpenter said. "I'm really proud of the whole team to give us the cars we had, which put us in the position to go out and qualify the way that we did." 

Rookie Colton Herta repeated his stellar effort from Saturday, qualifying fifth on Sunday at 229.086 mph in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda for Harding Steinbrenner Racing. Will Power, the 2018 Indy 500 winner, rounded out the second row by qualifying sixth in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet (228.645 mph).

Sebastien Bourdais posted the seventh-best run in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda (228.621 mph), ahead of NTT IndyCar Series points leader Josef Newgarden in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Team Penske Chevrolet (228.396 mph) and 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda (228.247 mph).

Pagenaud will lead the closest field in Indianapolis 500 history to the green flag. The time separating Pagenaud's four-lap qualifying attempt and that of slowest qualifier Pippa Mann was 1.8932 seconds, breaking the previous mark of 2.1509 seconds in 2014. The 228.240 mph speed average of the 33 qualifiers is fourth fastest in Indianapolis 500 history.

Rain delayed the start of Sunday's two qualifying sessions more than four hours. The Last Row Shootout to decide the final three drivers in the field preceded the Fast Nine Shootout, and it ended with Alonso and McLaren Racing on the outside looking in. Returning to the Indy 500 for a second time in a bid to win the last leg of racing's Triple Crown, Alonso was knocked from the field when Kaiser posted a four-lap qualifying run 0.019 of a mph faster.

Six drivers vied for the last three positions in the field. Alonso, the third to try, completed his run at 227.353 mph in the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet. It placed the Spaniard second to Hinchcliffe at the time.

Karam qualified at 227.740 mph in the No. 24 DRR WIX Filters Chevrolet, dropping Alonso onto the bubble as the 33rd qualifier. In a backup car cobbled together by his Juncos Racing crew after Kaiser crashed the primary No. 32 Chevrolet in Friday practice, Kaiser ran four laps at 227.372 mph to take the last spot away from Alonso.

"Obviously, it would be nice to be in the race next Sunday," Alonso said. "We came here to race and to challenge ourselves, and we were not quick enough. I congratulate all the other guys that did a better job, and hopefully we'll see a nice show next Sunday.

"We are all disappointed, and we will try to do better next time. But it's that kind of things that you learn. I said before, I prefer to be here - even 34th - than being at home like last year."

Kaiser called the days since his crash "the most emotional 48 hours of my life." The 2017 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires champion qualified for his second Indianapolis 500 with the small-budget Juncos team.

"I don't think I can wrap my mind around what we just did," Kaiser said. "Like I keep saying, all the credit to the team. They've been working nonstop trying to get this car ready for us and they did everything we needed to get us in this field. I'm so proud of them, so proud of everybody that helped make this happen."

The field of 33 has a two-hour practice scheduled for noon ET Monday that streams live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold. The final practice, held traditionally on Miller Lite Carb Day, has been expanded to 90 minutes starting at 11 a.m. Friday and will be televised on NBCSN.

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 airs live at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 26 on NBC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

IMS PR

Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) won the rain shortened ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Toledo Speedway, leading 140 of the race’s 152 laps.

Rain threatened throughout the day, but the race started on time. Smith started second, alongside Venturini Motorsports teammate Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who earned the General Tire Pole Award in qualifying on Saturday.

Self would lead the first ten laps but faced pressure from Smith the entire time. Eventually, Smith would dip to the inside and work his way by and drove off to a full straightaway advantage over the battle for second.

Smith could see the rain was coming as the race ran to its ultimate conclusion, and even hoped it would come sooner than later.

“Whenever you’re the leader and you can see rain coming and the race is past halfway you want it to hurry up and get there,” Smith said. “I knew as soon as it started raining it wasn’t going to stop so we needed to get out front and stay out front. That’s what we did. These Venturini Motorsports guys do a great job giving me racecars that can dominate these races. I drive them the same way I drive my late model cars and that’s where we were able to beat them all today. We had more drive off the corners and that’s what it took.”

Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) finished second, his third runner-up finish in four career ARCA Menards Series races.

“I don’t know what the record is for most second-place finishes before someone gets their first win,” Gibbs asked, “but I think we’re in the hunt for it. We’re getting a little tired of finishing second at this point. We just ran out of time before the rain came. I think we needed another ten laps and we could have had something for them at the end.”

Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) finished third, Self was fourth, and Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) was fifth.

The race was slowed a total of four times by caution flags, two for incidents and two for rain, one of which ultimately ended the race. The first incident happened on lap 30 involving Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford) and Hailie Deegan (No. 55 Toyota Racing Development 40th Anniversary Toyota), both of whom made heavy contact with the foam blocks lining the outside wall in turn three. Graf would finish 17th and Deegan with finish 18th, and last, in her series debut.

The second incident of the day involved the championship leader going into the race Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford), who hit the blocks in turn one on lap 79. Braden would finish 13th, falling back to second in the standings 25 points behind Self.

There were two leaders on the day, Self from the pole and Smith, who led from lap 13 through the checkered at lap 152. The race was slowed four times for 23 laps and was ultimately shortened by 48 laps due to rain. Along with the race at Salem Speedway, it’s the second time in six races in 2019 that a race has been shortened by rain. The race took 59 minutes and 22 seconds and was completed at an average speed of 76.811 miles per hour.

The next event on the ARCA Menards Series schedule is the General Tire 150 at Charlotte Motor Speedway coming up on Thursday, May 23. Practice is set for 11:30 am ET, General Tire Pole Qualifying will follow at 5 pm ET, and the race will go green at 9 pm ET live on FS1. 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 at ARCARacing.com/login. For ticket information call (800) 455-FANS or log on to CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com.

ARCA Menards Series PR

Clay Millican locked-in his first Top Fuel No. 1 qualifier of the 2019 season Saturday afternoon following setting the track E.T. record during the first round of qualifying at the second annual Virginia NHRA National at Virginia Motorsports Park. 
 
John Force (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the eighth of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. 
 
Millican claimed his 21st career No. 1 qualifier after his pass of 3.749 at 325.30 set the track E.T. record Friday evening in his Parts Plus / Strutmasters.com dragster. He will be chasing his first win of the season and fourth of his career when he lines up against Dan Mercier Sunday morning for the first round of eliminations. 
 
“From the guy that qualified 12 times last year and only won twice, qualifying No. 1 doesn’t mean you’re going to win,” Millican stated. “Mike (Kloebler, crew chief) said we need to turn on win lights and that’s our game plan. This car has made a lot of No. 1 qualifiers, but our goal is to go consistently down the racetrack and turn on win lights. I’m not going to lie; qualifying No. 1 is pretty cool.” 
 
J. Force’s pass from Friday evening of 3.899 at 321.88 in his PEAK Coolant and Motor Oil / Heculiner Chevrolet Camaro set the track E.T. record and remained strong through Saturday’s qualifying efforts. He secured his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 157th of his career. 
 
“I’ve got to give credit to Daniel Hood (crew chief), Brian Corradi (crew chief) and the entire team that make it happen,” Force said. “They gave me a good car. It was a little warm but that gives us our race day tune up and we’re ready. I still say to the (Franklin) family that bought this track that this is the best surface and that .89 broke the track record. I want to thank them and that is very important.”
 
Pro Stock three-time world champion Line’s pass from Friday evening of 6.563 at 210.11 in his Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro stood strong through qualifying on Saturday. This is his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season, first since Las Vegas 1 2017 and 54th of his career. 
 
“I’ve got a really good race car right now,” Line stated. “I feel good about it. It’s really nice to get a green hat and I didn’t even know they still gave them out. We did test during the break so we’re not any worse off but it really was good for us. We didn’t make any mistakes, learned a lot and I feel like tomorrow we will have a great race day.”
 
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, the Harley-Davidson team leads the category securing the first two positions. Hines clinched his second No. 1 qualifying position of the 2019 season and 44th of his career with his run of 6.812 at 196.42 on his Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod. Eddie Krawiec sits in the No. 2 position following his pass of 6.822 at 197.51.
 
“Our team does a great job in the heat,” Hines said. “We are learning our setup in this hot weather. Typically, I don’t look forward to the middle of the season because that is typically when our struggles start to happen for our team. It seems like we are hitting our stride right now in this 90-degree weather. We will take it as it comes.” 
 
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, Khalid AlBalooshi claimed his first No. 1 qualifier of the season, racing to a pass of 5.774 at 257.28 in his Chevrolet Camaro that made its second appearance.
 
Eliminations at the Virginia NHRA Nationals begin at 12 PM E.T at Virginia Motorsports Park. 

Drama, excitement, surprises, tears. First-day qualifying for the 103rd Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge had it all. But then, that's become the norm for qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Following's Saturday's intense action on the hallowed 2.5-mile superspeedway oval, the fastest 30 qualifiers are locked into the field for the race on Sunday, May 26. The top nine advance Sunday to a shootout for the pole position. Second-day qualifying also features the Last Row Shootout that will include a pair of high-profile drivers who couldn't find the speed to make the top 30.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRESENTED BY GAINBRIDGE: First-day qualifying results

Spencer Pigot, the second qualifier of the day in cooler conditions, had the fastest four-lap qualification attempt at an average speed of 230.083 mph. The driver of the No. 21 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet was joined in the top nine by teammates Ed Jones (sixth in the No. 63 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet) and team owner Ed Carpenter (seventh in the No. 20 Preferred Freezer Services Chevrolet).

"I feel great," said Pigot, whose best Indy 500 start was sixth in 2018. "Obviously, it's great to be on top of the speed charts and also to have all three of our Ed Carpenter Racing cars in the Fast Nine (Shootout) for the second year in a row. Just a testament to all the work everyone does in the shop throughout the offseason and leading into this race."

Team Penske also advanced three drivers to the Fast Nine Shootout. Defending Indy 500 winner Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet) was second fastest overall (230.081 mph), finishing his 10-mile qualifying run a scant 0.0011 of a second slower than Pigot. Simon Pagenaud qualified provisionally third in the No. 22 Menards Chevrolet and Josef Newgarden fourth in the No. 2 Shell V-Power Nitro Plus Chevrolet.

Also qualifying in the top nine were NTT IndyCar Series rookie Colton Herta (fifth in the No. 88 GESS Capstone Honda), 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi (eighth in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and four-time Indy car season champion Sebastien Bourdais (ninth in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda). The Fast Nine Shootout to determine the NTT P1 Award winner and starting order of the Indy 500's first three rows starts at 1:15 p.m. ET Sunday, following the Last Row Shootout at 12:15 p.m. NBC has live coverage of Indy 500 pole/bump day from noon-3 p.m.

At the opposite end of the grid, Pippa Mann clung to the 30th and final locked-in position Saturday with a four-lap run of 227.244 mph in the No. 39 Driven2SaveLives Chevrolet for Clauson-Marshall Racing. It provided vindication for the only female driver entered in this year's Indy 500, a year after she was one of two drivers who failed to qualify for "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

"We kind of miscalculated how much better the track conditions were going to get at the end of the day," said Mann, who secured a seventh Indianapolis 500 start. "By the time we realized how much better they were and how much quicker we'd have been able to run, there were too many cars in the (qualifying) line to pull our time to go. So I literally had to sit there sweating it out, and all that was going through my head was, 'Not again, please not again, please, please not again!"

The other Indy 500 driver who failed to qualify in 2018, James Hinchcliffe, is in danger of missing the show again after crashing his primary No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda in a qualifying attempt at 1:24 p.m. Hinchcliffe's crew scrambled to prepare a backup car and had it on track within 2.5 hours. The 2016 Indy 500 pole sitter made three late qualifying attempts in the No. 5T entry, but none were fast enough to get the Canadian into the top 30.

"Obviously, it wasn't quite enough today," Hinchcliffe said. "Luckily, we've got a chance tomorrow. I've got a lot of faith in the crew, everybody at Arrow, everybody at Honda. They've done great today to rebound from a pretty bad situation. We just have to put our heads together, find a little speed on it tomorrow and come out and put this thing in the show."

Also unable to muster a qualifying effort good enough was two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso, who made five attempts in the No. 66 McLaren Racing Chevrolet. The last try averaged 227.224 mph but was the final speed bumped from the top 30 by a faster qualifier.

"It has been a difficult day, and it follows a difficult week," said Alonso, who crashed Wednesday in practice, forcing him into a backup chassis. "We were running quite well this morning (for the first attempt) when the conditions were not too bad, but unfortunately we picked up a rear (tire) puncture and then we decided to wait until this afternoon to get back out on track. 

"At the end of the day, we didn't have the pace. ... I hope we can find enough to make the top three positions of the six (bidding for the last row). ... If it's not enough and we are fourth of six, it's what we deserve."

The drivers who qualified in the 10th through 30th positions are locked into those grid positions for the race. 

Six drivers - Alonso, Hinchcliffe, Max Chilton, Kyle Kaiser, Sage Karam and Patricio O'Ward - will compete in the Last Row Shootout. Each driver will make one qualifying attempt, with the fastest three earning the final spots in the 33-car field.

The Fast Nine Shootout will follow, with those drivers each making a four-lap run in reverse order of their speeds from Saturday to decide the pole sitter.

A full-field practice follows the Fast Nine Shootout, from 3:15-6 p.m. Sunday, and airs live on NBCSN. 

Coverage of the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26 begins at 11 a.m. on NBC. This is the first time that the network will broadcast the race as the exclusive domestic media rights partner with INDYCAR.

Jack Harvey qualified his No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda IndyCar 25th for the 2019 Indianapolis 500 during the first day of official NTT IndyCar qualifying on Saturday. The qualifying result marks Meyer Shank Racing’s third successful qualifying effort for the team in the 500-mile event.

The two-day qualifying format saw positions 10-33 locked in on Saturday, with Sunday set to feature two sessions to determine the Fast 9 as well as the final row.  

As one of the hottest days at the speedway so far this month setups changed as temperatures rose for the six hour and 50-minute qualifying window.

Rolling off 12th in the qualifying order, Harvey went out for his four lap qualifying attempt. The Brit’s first lap brought the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM machine to its fastest speed of the session with a 228.566 mph.

The next two laps fell slightly with a 227.929 mph on Lap 2 and a 227.618 mph on Lap 3. The final lap saw Harvey make a quick save after the car made a swift slide at the exit of Turn 2, saving the car from making contact with the outside wall and maintaining throttle to finish off the lap. After getting through cleanly he finished the session with a four lap average of 227.695 mph.

Clear skies and blazing sunshine scorched the track for the afternoon hours, bringing the track temperature to 125+ degrees. The Meyer Shank Racing team was on standby for a second qualifying attempt as Harvey was positioned in the 23rd place range at the 3 o’clock hour.

The final 45-minutes saw Harvey sit first in qualifying line 2 – set for drivers looking to make an additional qualifying attempt but not risk losing their previous time – but was overridden by several drivers cycling through qualifying line 1.

Harvey was unfortunately unable to make a second attempt at qualifying and improve his time, but his initial effort was strong enough to lock him into 25th position for the 103rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday May 26th.

"The wind changed from what we were expecting, and I had too many moments coming out of turn two,” Harvey said of his qualifying run. “I haven't been that loose throughout practice so coming into qualifications and having oversteer on the turn exit is not a great feeling. It wasn't the run that I thought we were going to have. The first lap was good, but I couldn't stay flat on the second which caused us to lose too much. We had more pace that we were not able to show. We picked up a lot of front grip out of nowhere and I had a very close save. So it's good to be in the race after a less than perfect day. We made it. We are in and we can still race from where we are starting from." 

The Indianapolis 500 will be broadcast live on NBC starting at 11:00am ET on Sunday May 26th. SiriusXM will also have live race coverage on SiriusXM channel 82.

MSR PR

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