Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Trevor Bayne, driver of the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion, earned a seventh in the first stage of Sunday afternoon’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) event at Sonoma Raceway before a persistent overheating condition ultimately led to a 27th-place finish.

“We showed we had speed with our AdvoCare Ford today,” said Bayne after the race. “Every time we could really get going the temps would unfortunately keep getting hotter and hotter which is why we had to come down pit road during that final stage. I hate that we didn’t get the result we deserved but we will rebound form this next week at Daytona where anything can happen and I hope to be out front when it’s all said and done.”

Bayne took the green flag for the 110-Lap event from the 25th position and maintained his track position until an overheating condition due to grass and dirt on the grill of the AdvoCare Ford forced an unscheduled pit stop halfway through Stage 1. An opportune caution just one lap after the stop on Lap 13 proved beneficial, as Bayne was able to stay out on the track while several of the leaders chose to come to pit road. As a result, Bayne took the ensuing restart from the 10th position and methodically worked his way forward in the final laps of the stage to end Stage 1 in seventh, earning valuable stage points in the process.

In between stages crew chief Matt Puccia decided to keep the driver of the AdvoCare Ford on pit road for an extended pit stop in order to further clean the grill of debris. Following the stop Bayne returned to the track for the beginning of Stage 2 in 38th and maintained his track position throughout much of the stage. This was done by design as Puccia devised a plan to have Bayne come to pit road just before the end of the stage so that they could stay out to begin the final stage.

The call paid off as Bayne improved 16 positions by virtue of staying out, moving up to the 19th position. The Knoxville, Tenn. native steadily moved forward during the final stage, driving up to the 16th position despite reporting that the AdvoCare Ford needed help with forward drive on the exits of the right and left-handed corners. Although not handling to his liking Bayne continued to battle for position in the top 20 until another round of green flag pit stops commenced on Lap 70.

Just eight laps after pitting for four tires and a chassis adjustment the Roush Fenway Racing driver was forced to return to pit road as the AdvoCare Ford once again began to overheat. This unscheduled pit stop ultimately cost Bayne a lap to the race leaders.

Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Bayne improved six positions in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in 27th.


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-25):

Clint Bowyerstarted 13th, finished 10th to earn one race point.

Crew made air adjustments to all four tires during a pit stop to make the car turn better.

Climbed as high as seventh and overcame a quick spin after contact with Brad Keselowski.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 26-50):

Started 25th, finished 31st.

● Suffered significant left-front damage on lap 36 after contact with AJ Allmendinger, who spun in the middle of the hairpin.

● Suffered a speeding penalty on lap 47.

● Made several stops for repairs in the final laps of the stage.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 51-110):

Started 32nd, finished second.

Started at the back of the field but moved to 22nd in the first 10 laps of the stage.

Made his final stop of the race on lap 69.

Climbed to 10th on lap 82 by turning some of the fastest laps in the field.

Closed within a few seconds of winner Kevin Harvick but never threatened.



● This was the 38th points-paying Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), its second of 2017 and its second at Sonoma.

●  This was SHR’s second straight win at Sonoma. Last year, SHR co-owner Tony Stewart won the Save Mart 350k to take his 49th and final NASCAR Cup Series victory.

●  This was Harvick’s first NASCAR Cup Series win with Ford. He became the 83rd different driver to win a Cup Series race in a Ford.

●  Bowyer finished second to secure the third 1-2 finish in SHR history. SHR’s last 1-2 finish came on April 26, 2015 at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway when Kurt Busch beat Harvick by .754 of a second.

●  This was Bowyer’s third top-three, seventh top-five and ninth top-10 in 12 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Sonoma.

●  Bowyer earned his third top-five and sixth top-10 of 2017 with his second-place finish at Sonoma.

●  Bowyer finished 10th in Stage 1 to earn one bonus point.

●  There were six caution periods for a total of 12 laps.

●  Twenty-three of the 38 drivers in the Save Mart 350k finished on the lead lap.

●  Kyle Larson leads the championship standings with 659 points and has a 13-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Martin Truex Jr.


Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Ford Fusion featuring Cars 3for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“I wish we could do this day over again. We were in the wrong place at the wrong time a couple of times. The car was really fast, but she got beat up. The guys fixed it up and we were pretty sporty there at the end. To get second place considering where we came from is pretty cool. We were hoping Lightning McQueen would strike twice, but we still gave him a pretty good run.”



Following a rain delay on Sunday at Evergreen Raceway, Matt Hirschman of Northampton, PA started from the ninth spot in the 50-lap American Equipment Rental Modified Series event. The seasoned veteran remained smooth and consistent throughout the show and then with 14 laps remaining, took the lead from Bobby Jones. It was his second $2,000 Evergreen payday in as many starts at the track this season. TJ Gursky of Lehighton, PA worked by Rich Paciotti just past the halfway point of the Barbush Automotive Street Stock feature to score his first win of the season and Ron Heeter overtook Scott Adams with ten laps remaining to take the Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinder Feature win. In his first career start, Carter Smith was the Wheels Bar & Grill Junior Four Cylinder victor.

Following heat races and then a redraw, Brian Sones led the Modified field to the drop of the green flag in the 50-lap main event. He was overtaken by Brian DeFebo and Bobby Jones before a lap was scored and then settled into the third spot.

DeFebo continued to lead following a handful of quick caution periods early on and Jones remained in tow. With three laps complete, Matt Hirschman, who had started ninth, cracked the top five. Meanwhile, Roger Coss had climbed into the second spot.

With seven laps complete, Jones retook second and while fighting a very loose car, tried to reel in the leader. With 16 laps complete, DeFebo continued to show the way over Jones, Hirschman, Coss and Blake Barney.

Following a quick lap 16 yellow flag, Jones jumped into the race lead and Coss followed through for second shortly after. The top two remained the same until lap 30 when Hirschman bided his time and worked by Coss. Six laps later he overtook Jones before going the distance for his second Evergreen win of the season.

Coss crossed the strip in second, followed by Barney, Jones and John Fortin, Jr. However, Jones and Fortin were credited with third and fourth respectively after Barney was penalized two positions for need heeding the race director over the radio in that latter part of the show.

Paul Frantz, Barney and Fortin were heat race winners.

From the pole, Rich Paciotti led the Street Stock field to the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap feature. However, he was overtaken by Randy Schlenker, who went on to lead the first lap. Josh Mooney held second, followed by TJ Gursky, Paciotti and Todd Ahner.

With a flat right front tire, Schlenker slowed on the speedway on lap 14. He headed into the pits shortly after and Paciotti, who was in second at the time, moved to the race lead.

Gursky lined up in the second spot for a lap 16 restart. After battling side by side with Paciotti, he grabbed the top spot. The crafty veteran went on to take his first win of the season over Paciotti and Ahner. Schlenker rebounded to finish fourth, followed by Mooney.

Paciotti and Schlenker were heat race winners.

Scott Adams started on the pole position in the 20-lap Four Cylinder feature. He led the opening lap over Austin Beers, Cody Geist, Ron Heeter and Kyle Krempasky.

Following a pair of lap eight yellow flags, Heeter, who had been riding in second, made a move on Adams stick and he took the lead. Meanwhile, Spencer moved into third and got past Adams for second on lap 13.

Heeter held the lead to the finish and was able to pull of the victory over Spencer, Adams, Krempasky and Cody Geist.

Adams, Beers and Geist were heat race winners.

It’s been since the 2005 season when Evergreen last raced on Friday nights. That has changed for this season and beginning this Friday, June 30, the speedway is hosting the majority of their summer events under the lights on Friday nights.

A cone race format will set the stage for the Himmer Graphics Late Model, Barbush Automotive Street Stocks, Evan’s Roadhouse Four Cylinder and Wheel’s Bar & Grill Junior Four Cylinder on Friday, June 30.

Grandstand admission for the event is just $8. Children 12 years of age and younger are admitted for free with a paying adult.

The pit gate will swing open at 5:30 PM and the pit entrance fee is $35. Practice will kick off at 6:30 PM and heat races will begin at 8 PM. The grandstand gates will open at 6 PM.

Evergreen Raceway is located minutes from Hazleton, PA, in between routes 93 and 309. For more information regarding Evergreen Raceway, including the entire season schedule, directions and divisional payouts, please visit and don’t forget to like their Facebook page as well.

Evergreen Raceway is proud to be associated with Fairway Motors, Harry’s U Pull It, Penn’s Peak Radio, Sponenberg’s Exhaust, Wheel’s Bar & Grill, CK Auto Service & Race Fab, Himmer Graphics, Evan’s Roadhouse, Bob’s Subs, American Rental Equipment, Barbush Automotive, Valve Tech Sales, Penn’s Peak, Printers Edge &

Evergreen Raceway PR

Ryan Blaney piloted the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion to ninth place in the Save Mart 350 this afternoon on the undulating twists and turns of the Sonoma Raceway road course.

Blaney qualified the iconic Wood Brothers No. 21 seventh on Saturday and he raced with the leaders all day. Even when he was working from the middle of the pack after pit stops, he was able to navigate his way back into the top 10. He ran as high as second place early in Stage 2.

It was Blaney’s sixth top-10 finish of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

“It was pretty physical out there,” Blaney said after the race. “We had a long green-flag run there at the end. There were some different strategies and we kind of played to the side of if there was a caution at the end we would be in a good spot. That is why we had some of the oldest tires out there.

“We were still able to make moves and pass some cars,” Blaney continued. “That is a good day for us. It is good to end up about where we should have. Where we deserved. A big improvement from last year so that is nice. It is a good run for us and hopefully bodes well for Watkins Glen as well.”

Blaney qualified 26th and finished 23rd a year ago at Sonoma.

A different year and a different story for the second-year Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing team driver. He finished Stage 1 of this year’s race in fourth place and seventh in Stage 2, collecting a total of 11 additional stage points.

Blaney was one of five Fords in the top 10 – including the top three – today at Sonoma.

The next stop on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit is Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola on Saturday, July 1, at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.

Ford Performance PR

Austin Dillon Collects Stage Points But Late-Race Spin Wipes Out Top-10 Finish
"The team gave me a great Dow Coatings Material Chevy all weekend and I feel bad for what happened there in the closing laps. We qualified 19th, which was my career-best start at Sonoma Raceway. We raced our way into the top 10 and collected stage points in the first two stages.  After the spin in Turn 11, I had no rear grip the rest of the way. I'm bummed that it happened but I can't say enough about this entire No. 3 team. It was a lot of fun out there." 
- Austin Dillon

Paul Menard Brings Home 11th-Place Finish at Sonoma Raceway in Tarkett/Menards Chevrolet 
"The guys on this Tarkett/Menards Chevrolet did a solid job working on our car all weekend. It handled well all day and we battled inside the top 10 for much of the race. We knew pit strategy would come into play today and Matt Borland called a great race from the drop of the green flag. We gambled by coming to pit road late and hoping on a caution, but never got one. If we had about three more laps with those fresh tires, we probably could have fought our way into the top 10."
- Paul Menard

Ryan Newman and the Chevrolet Accessories Team Gamble On a 50-Lap Green-Flag Run Before Finishing 15th at Sonoma Raceway
"It was good to see us run up in the top 10 and earn valuable stage points today in our Chevrolet Accessories car. We started off really loose in Turn 10 and lost some ground but once we had a chance to fine-tune it, we were pretty decent. We thought there might be a chance to gain spots at the end by just staying out because we were good on fuel, but it didn't work out in our favor. With about 20 to go, our tires were pretty much cooked so we just stayed the course and hoped for the best. I had a lot of fun road course racing. I just wish we could have had a better finish. This 31 team did a good job for me and I appreciate Chevrolet coming along for the ride."

- Ryan Newman


Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch finished 25th at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night after getting caught a lap down when an an untimely caution was displayed on Lap 218, just as the team had completed their final green-flag pit stop of the race. Koch was running in the top 10 before the series of pit stops, but was not able to gain ground once the race returned to green with 21 laps to go.

“We made great adjustments all weekend and had a really good car by the last stage of the race, but just had bad luck with the caution coming out after we pitted," said Koch. "I can't thank my No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team enough for all of their hard work this weekend. Our finish definitely is not a reflection of how good the car was or the work we put in." 
Koch qualified 13th on Saturday afternoon for Saturday night's race under the lights at Iowa Speedway. After fighting the handling of the car during Friday's two practice sessions, the team changed the setup overnight prior to qualifying. Koch reported the changes were good as he made it through to the second round of qualifying. 
After firing off from the 13th position, Koch had raced his way up to 11th by the time the first caution was displayed on Lap 24. At that time, he reported to the team that he needed help getting into the corners. The team did not pit under the caution, leaving Koch 11th for the restart on Lap 30. 
When the stage ended on Lap 60, Koch took the yellow/checkered flag from the 12th position. Crew chief Chris Rice brought Koch down pit road under the caution on Lap 64 for fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The team gained a spot on pit road, putting Koch 11th for the restart on Lap 69.
The third caution of the race was displayed on Lap 78. Koch reported that he may have run over some debris, but he continued to soldier on, restarting 15th on Lap 86. As the run went on, Koch reported that the car was really loose. A caution with eight laps remaining in Stage 2 gave the team a chance to make adjustments. Koch pitted from the 19th position on Lap 114 for fresh tires, fuel, track bar, wedge and spring rubber adjustments. He restarted 25th with two laps remaining in stage two before eventually ending the stage 20th. 
Koch restarted 14th on Lap 129 and had raced his way up to 11th by the next caution on Lap 144. After the restart, the caution flew again on Lap 161. He restarted 12th on Lap 169 but continued to gain ground, breaking into the top 10 on Lap 189. With 50 laps to go, Koch made the pass for eighth and ran there until it was time for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 116. After a clean four-tire stop, Koch returned to the track just as the caution was displayed. Because of where Koch was in the pit cycle, he was trapped a lap down and in the 26th position for the restart with 21 laps to go.
The caution was again displayed with 17 laps remaining as Koch fought his way back through the field. Unfortunately, not enough time was left to gain much ground. Koch crossed the finish line 25th at the end of the 250-lap American Ethanol 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway. 

Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team leave Iowa Speedway 12th in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing action Friday, June 30th at Daytona International Speedway. 
Kaulig Racing PR
Dakoda's Armstrong's family grows corn on their farm in New Castle, Indiana and as a result the cornfields of Iowa must feel like home for the 25-year-old racer.  For the second consecutive race at Iowa Speedway, Armstrong posted his career best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish with a fifth place finish in the running of the American Ethanol E15 250 at the Newton, Iowa track.
"We had a really fast No. 28 WinField United Toyota all night," said Armstrong.  "We qualified seventh but had a flat left rear sitting on the starting grid and had to start at the rear, so we were playing the strategy game right from the beginning. The car was a top-10 car all night but we just couldn't get the track position. We got it there at the end but we didn't have new tires. We had like 20-lap scuffs, but if we'd have had new tires I thought we had a good enough car to finish second there.  Still a great job for the guys to recover from all that and get a good top-five - a good points day for us."
Dakoda would have a strong qualifying effort and be in the seventh position on the starting grid.  However, disaster struck in pre-race ceremonies as a flat left rear tire was discovered as the result of running over a transponder pin. 
The bad luck would force the changing of the tire and the loss of starting position - relegating the No. 28 WinField United Toyota to start from the rear of the field.  Armstrong would show the speed in his car right from the drop of the green flag and worked his way inside the top-20 by the end of the first stage.
A trip down pit road in between the first two stages, would once again present a challenge as a fueling issue resulted in no fuel getting into the No. 28 WinField United Toyota.  A caution early in the second stage allowed Dakoda to make a return trip down pit road and put him on a different pit strategy than the rest of the field.  Once again back to the rear of the field, the No. 28 WinField United Toyota would flex its muscle and charge through the field. With varying pit strategies at the end of the second stage, Armstrong would charge up to 10th as the second stage concluded.
The second half of the 250-lap event would find the pit strategy come into play again which had the No. 28 WinField United at the back of the field for the third time of the evening.  But as twice before, Dakoda would show how strong of a car he had and work his way through the field.   With a timely caution late in the race shuffling the field, Dakoda would find himself sitting in the fourth position with only 20 laps remaining.  Armstrong would hang tough on the old scuff tires that he had left and come home with his second straight top-five finish at Iowa Speedway.
"Thanks to everyone at JGL Racing for bringing us a fast race car," added Dakoda.  "Everyone did an awesome job overcoming the many challenges we had tonight starting with the flat tire on the starting grid.  It was a good points day and a good momentum boost that we really needed."
The fifth-place finish moved Armstrong up to the 11th spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings - 28 points behind 10th place.
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250.  The 15th race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Friday June 30th and can be seen LIVE on NBCSN at 7:30 pm ET.  It can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.


Using both of Friday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) practice sessions to try prepare for Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway, Spencer Gallagher and the No. 23 Allegiant team felt comfortable with the progress they showed throughout the day. He would go on to qualify 19th for the American Ethanol E15 250, still confident with his long run race setup.


With the sun just beginning to set as the 250-lap began, Gallagher settled into the 18th position. He reported early on that he was battling “loose in, tight middle, loose off” as the run ensued in his Allegiant Camaro. However, as stage one was coming to a close, Gallagher had a right front tire go flat. Unable to hold on until the stage break, Gallagher was forced to pit under green for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He returned to the track in the 36th position, two laps down.


Before going green on stage two, Gallagher took the wave around to get one of his laps back. Remaining patient, Gallagher worked his way into the free pass position, and was the beneficiary when the caution came out on lap 114. Crew chief Joey Cohen called the No. 23 down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a track bar and air pressure adjustment. Gallagher restarted 29th, back on the lead lap, and gained three spots before stage two ended just two laps later.


As pit strategy ensued, Gallagher was able to restart 18th for the start of the final stage. Methodically working his way through the field, the NXS rookie found himself closing in on the top-10 when he was collected in an accident by the No. 16 on lap 163. Sustaining major rear-end damage, the Allegiant team went to work trying to repair the No. 23 Chevy Camaro. Still able to continue, but not up to pace with the field, Gallagher toughed it out for the remaining laps to finish the race on track in the 30th position, five laps down.  



“We had a great Allegiant Chevrolet tonight and had made our way back to be in contention for our best short track finish of the season. Obviously that’s not how our night ended. I really hate it for all the guys at GMS Racing though. They put together a fast Chevy and the finish they deserved got taken away from them. Hopefully Daytona will fare better, it has in the past.”


GMS Racing PR

Every race at Bowman Gray Stadium brings new challenges to the drivers. And with Saturday’s early rain storms pelting the Stadium, the slick and humid track conditions tested the mettle and quick reflexes of the Modified teams at the Madhouse.

Brandon Ward of Winston-Salem started on the pole for the initial 50-lapper for the Brad’s Golf Cars Modified Series. To claim the lead, Ward would have his work cut out for him: starting on the outside front row was points leader Burt Myers of Walnut Cove. As the two battled during the initial start, colliding fenders left the front right tire of Ward damaged. He limped off to the pits, while Myers took over the lead. Brother Jason Myers of Walnut Cove tried his hand three times at challenging for the lead from the outside row but was unsuccessful.

James Civali of Davidson was able to slip by Jason Myers to take over second. Just 11 laps into the 50-lapper, the fourth caution of the night came out, allowing Civali to choose the outside lane and take on Burt Myers side-by-side. Civali pinched Myers down to the inside lane, where the track conditions were the slickest. Then the 79 of Civali powered into the lead.

Myers attempted to reclaim the lead once with no success. But the multiple cautions gave Myers another chance. On the second try, he made the pass from the outside stick. He then held on to bring home the victory.

“Our car has been really good on the longer runs. It was the same in the beginning as it was in the end,” said Myers, who added that recent adjustments for his new motor package made all the difference on Saturday. “It suited the track conditions tonight. This motor needs a little bit more gear - and with the track being the way it was, it needed some more gear to help you get slowed down and to work into traffic and to work in the double-file restarts. The car was flawless.”

“I got the grip I needed when I needed it,” said Myers. “We were fortunate. We could’ve just as easily been one that hit the water and got into the fence.”

Jason Myers finished in second, with Civali coming in third.

The “Madhouse Scramble” sent Darin Redmon of Walnut Cove to the pole for the start of the second race. Redmon shot out into an early lead, beating out William Smith of Mount Airy on the initial start. But soon, Brody Jones of Statesville was hammering on Redmon’s bumper.

During a restart on lap 8, Jones shoved Redmon as they raced, sending Redmon spinning. “I didn’t want to wreck him, but I had to get by him,” said Jones about spinning Redmon. “They were beating on me - and with everybody behind me, I had to go. And I kinda got into him and turned him.”

Jones then had to hold off Bobby Measmer, Jr. of Concord. Measmer gave a few shots to Jones’s bumper but began to fade as the race continued on. Jones ended up taking the checkered – his first ever win at the Madhouse. He joins the historic list of winners that includes such legends as Junior Johnson, Glen Wood, and Richard Petty.

“I want my name in that record book beside my dad,” said Jones, whose father, Steve Jones, also has won at the Madhouse. “I’ve been over here since I was a little kid. To be able to win with my family and everything - it just means the world to me.”

Measmer finished on his bumper in second with Chris Fleming of Mount Airy taking third.

Michael Adams of Yadkinville won the exhausting 60-lapper for the Texas Steak & Tap House Sportsman Series. Brian Wall of Winston-Salem got the monkey off his back by winning in the Q104.1 New Country Street Stock Series. And in the Law Offices of John Barrow Stadium Stock Series, Shane Southard of Yadkinville and Zack Staley of Lexington each won a 15-lapper.