Thomas Latzkowski

Thomas Latzkowski

Originally from central New York, I was first introduced to NASCAR through my uncle. I quickly developed an interest in the sport that has only grown over the last 20 years. I have a bachelors degree in agriculture business from SUNY Cobleskill, and currently manage the marketing efforts for a produce importer. In 2017 I thru-hiked the Appalachian trail, and since have been focused on pursuing my passions in life such as motorsports.

 

Another rainy day caused the Circle K Firecracker 250 to start later than planned, but NASCAR was still able to get the race started. A season that has been dominated by an Xfinity “Big 3” has brought us to a track presenting opportunity to all the NXS regulars who have yet to see victory lane along with veteran driver A.J. Allmendinger making his season debut.

Tyler Reddick started on the pole and was able to maintain his lead for a few laps before some shuffling up front left Ross Chastain out front.

It was only nine laps or so before the first wreck of the night occurred as Caesar Bacarella got loose and collected several other cars.

Another caution would fly with seven to go in stage one as the leaders blocked and killed momentum in the high line causing cars in the middle of the pack to spin off of turn four sending multiple cars into the wet infield grass.

Under caution several cars would play strategy and pit, but it was Chastain who would lead the field back to green with two laps to go in stage one and hang on to take the green and white checkered flag.

Allmendinger led the pack back to the green flag for the start of stage two, but they only made half way through the stage before Reddick cut a left rear tire and collected Chase Briscoe in another wreck.

Allmendinger would continue to hold on through the rest of stage two after holding off aggressive charges from a multitude of competitors.

With 27 laps to go a large multiple car wreck occurred mid-pack off of turn two as cars flew sideways down the back stretch.

Chastain led the field back to green as Riley Herbst spun down the back stretch, but gathered it back up without a caution flag.

Tensions rose as the field scrambled to charge for the lead, but it continued to be chastain out front. Surprisingly Reddick would find his way back to the lead before the biggest wreck of the night occurred with 13 to go taking out numerous cars including some of those contending for the win.

With limited laps remaining and various cars stuck in the grass, not to mention the debris on the track, NASCAR threw the red flag halting the field short of the carnage on the back stretch.

Justin Haley restarted in the lead with ten laps to go. The lead pack became more agitated as the laps wound down and Reddick found himself back in the lead. Justin Allgaier was spun out of the pack down the back stretch but avoided damage and a caution flag.

The pack continued to race aggressively before Shane Lee was spun out with five to go, and the leaders were able to make distance on the rest of the competitors, all while Chastain continued to lead.

With one lap to go the front nine cars were nose to tail, all with an opportunity to win. At the end it was a Kauling Racing with a 1-2-3 finish and Ross Chastain crossing the finish line first.

Top Five: Ross Chastain, Justin Haley, A.J. Allmendinger, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric

Unfortunately for Allmendinger his car failed post race inspection and was disqualified, taking away his third place finish, and religating Kauling Racing to a 1-2 finish.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will return to action on July 12th for the ALSCO 300 at Kentucky speedway at 7:30PM ET

Today's race at chicagoland speedway almost didn’t happen. NASCAR’s concern over weather prompted them to start the race earlier than scheduled. Austin Dillon started on the pole, but was quickly passed as Jimmie Johnson found himself in the lead until lap 12 when severe weather forced a red flag.

Heavy rain soaked the track and strong winds cause problems for anything that wasn’t tied down. Luckily the storm passed, and NASCAR successfully dried the track to provide the entertaining event as promised.

Kevin Harvick, the first driver with new tires, quickly drove to the lead where he stayed for most of the first stage. Late stage pit stops began to cycle when multiple drivers began to have tire issues, including Harvick who had to make his way to pit road with his right rear down. It was ultimately Clint Bowyer who spun with a flat tire that brought out a caution and the end of stage one.

Kyle Busch also struggled in the first stage as he got into the wall on lap 26, and was attempting to conserve his car through the end of the stage, but a blown tire brought him to pit road as well.

When the smoke cleared it was Denny Hamlin out front for the stage one win.

The restarts as they have been with this package were very exciting and would continue to provide plenty of action. It was William Byron who started at the rear of the field was able to drive into the lead on lap 99.

Quin Houff brought out a caution on lap 104 as his car had leaked fluid onto the track. Byron struggled on the restart and quickly lost the lead to Harvick before dropping back to 10th.

Harvick would hold on to the lead for the remainder of stage two despite the top five drivers being within a second, and a hard charging Chase Elliot on his bumper.

The restart for stage three was the most chaotic yet as numerous drivers made significant contact with one another battling for every position. Kyle Busch found himself the loser on the restart as contact with Joey Logano led to an unexpected pit stop. Shortly thereafter Harvick found himself in the wall bringing out another caution.

The excitement continued as Alex Bowman led the field followed by fellow HMS driver Johnson. Kyle Larson would make his way to second place, but Bowman continued to out pace his fellow competitors.

Green flag pit stops began with about 50 laps to go, Bowman was able to maintain the lead, but Larson significantly reduced the gap.

Kyle Bush’s bad day got worse as a fire caused the cockpit to fill with smoke and a pit stop offered limited relief for his misfortunes.

Bowman created a large lead over the next thirty laps, but Lason began to creep closer and closer as the laps wound down. It was like watching a replay of last year's race as Larson closed in on Bowman’s bumper and had to beat him through lapped traffic to take the lead. Bowman gathered it back up and powered back by Larson, but not without contact down the backstretch. Bowman held on for the remaining laps to claim his first career MENCS win.

Top five: Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski

The MENCS is back on Track next week at Daytona on July 6th at 7:30PM ET. for the Coke-Zero Sugar 400.

Today’s at Talladega Superspeedway saw Michael Annett on pole starting where he left off after Daytona. For the another week four drivers are eligible to win the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash; Tyle Rddick, Austin Cindric, Cole Custer, and Justin Allgaier.

On the start both lines were able to organize and maintain two wide racing, Reddick quickly found himself in the lead as Annett faded to the back.

Brandon Jones spun off of turn 4 to bring out the first caution on lap eight. On the restart the outside line struggled to get together, but the cars were still able to stay in a pack.

The entire field battled for position in the closing laps of stage one. Reddick was able to hold off a hard charging Ross Chastain for the first green and white checkered flag.

Reddick and Chastain both received speeding penalties on the ensuing pit stops leaving Allgaier in the lead on the restart. Again the cars were able to maintain multiple lanes, however half way through stage two the cars found themselves single file as we have seen in recent superspeedway races.

The final lap of stage two was exciting as multiple drivers made moves to contend for the lead, but it was Noah Gragson holding them off to win his first career NXS stage win.

The early laps of stage three saw the recovery of Annett, Jones, and Chastain as the entire field of cars raced three wide in a single pack before caution for debris came out and the field had to restart with 42 laps to go leaving teams with questionable fuel mileage.

With 28 laps to go Gragson spun through the tri-oval making some contact with the inside wall and bringing out a caution.

Cars raced side by side when they got a little too aggressive with 18 to go as Cindric turned Annett into his teammate Allgaier, and collected several other drivers as the caution flag flew once again.

Christopher Bell held the lead blocking both lanes until Reddick who has had trouble all day found himself back in the lead when caution came out for debris with 11 to go.

The restart was as wild as predicted with Reddick blocking with everything he had when Jeffery Earnhardt got shuffled back and went four wide before wrecking with half a dozen other cars causing the race to stop with a red flag.

The final laps were wild as the everyone took their shot at the lead, but Reddick continue to throw daring blocks to hold on and win the race along with the Dash 4 Cash.

Top five: Tyler Reddick, Gray Gaulding, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric.

The Nascar Xfinity Series is back on Track next week at Dover on May 4th at 1:30PM ET. for the One Main Financial 200.

The starting line up for todays Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway was jumbled before the race even started. Eight cars failed their initial pre-race inspection and had to start from the rear, including four that qualified in the top ten.

Kevin Harvick maintained the lead from the pole as the front of the field filed into position quickly, however the traffic in the back was hectic. Kyle Busch would take the lead on lap 31 as the two traversed lapped traffic.

A competition caution was called on lap 40 due to the rain earlier in the day. Busch would maintain the lead off of pit road and bring the field back to green. He was able to pull away from the field and lead the remaining laps for his fifth stage victory of the year.

A chaotic start to stage two left Kyle Larson with a left rear tire rub forcing him to make an unscheduled pit stop falling off the lead lap. Shortly thereafter Larson would find himself in the turn one wall after losing the left rear again, exiting the race on lap 128.

Tires were a priority, and all cars would pit out of necessity after only 16 laps. Unfortunately for Busch he was caught speeding on pit road dropping him to 24th on the restart as Martin Truex Jr. found himself outfront.

Joey Logano took the lead with six laps left in stage two for the stage victory. The top four cars were within two seconds of the leader. Logano would keep the lead off pit road and lead the field back to the green flag.

Michael McDowell cut a right rear tire going into turn 1 on lap 243 to cause the third caution of the night bringing everyone back down pit road. Truex’s crew got him off of pit road first.

Brad Keselowski who had a strong car all night finally made his way to the lead on lap 266, but Truex would take the lead back on lap 294.

As the race progressed the top five cars were all within two seconds before green flag pit stops started with around 80 laps to go. On the other side of the pit cycle Truex had a two second lead over Clint Bowyer.

With 25 laps to go Bowyer was on Truex’s bumper as Joey Logano closed in on the leaders battling. Less than ten laps to go and all three drivers were within half a second, and Harvick joined the battle a little too late.

Logano put his team Penske Ford in second with five to go, but could not get any closer than the bumper of Truex who took the checkered flag for his first short track victory.

Top five: Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back on track in two weeks on April 28th at Talladega Superspeedway at 2:00PM for the GEICO 500.

Todays ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway started with Riley Herbst making his first Xfinity start from the pole in the #18 Joe Gibbs because of a rained out qualifying effort and Kyle Busch. It rained throughout the day and  the weather continued to be a concern all night.

The Dash 4 Cash was again in play this week as Christopher Bell chased another $100,000 check. Competing with Bell this week was Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, and Chase Briscoe.

It didn’t take long for Custer to find himself in the lead where he would stay for 18 laps before Justin Allgaier put his Jr. Motorsports Chevrolet out front. Soon the leaders would be navigating lapped traffic as Bell joined the battle. Bell would become the fourth different leader of the race on lap 38.

The first caution of the night would fly on lap 66 as Mason Diaz would find himself in trouble in turn 2. While most teams took this opportunity to service their cars Michael Annett stayed out front for the final laps of stage one, but dropped like a rock.

Allgaier took the green and white checkered for stage one, and lead the field back to the green for the start of stage two. He was able to maintain the lead until Jeremy Clements blew an engine bringing out the second caution of the night. Rain drops were felt amongst the crowd, but the race went back to green.

Allgaier stayed out with five other cars holding off a pack of competitors with fresh tires as the cars ran around the track three and four wide. Custer was the first with fresh tires to make it out front. In all of the chaos Bell got a nudge by Noah gragson getting into turn 3 and spun bringing out another caution shortly before the end of stage two.

NASCAR would manage to get the restart in with four to go, everyone knew this could be the end of the race. Custer pulled away to win stage two, and continued to lead the majority of stage three. David Starr spun on the front stretch to bring out a caution with 38 laps to go.

The restart was short lived as Allgaier spun his tires backing up the field and causing Gragson to get spun in turn 1. The next attempt was better as Austin Cindric took the lead before giving back to Custer with 18 laps to go.

Cole Custer hung on to win the race and $100,000.

Top five: Cole Custer, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Seig.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back on track April 27th at 1:00PM ET. at Talladega Superspeedway for the Sparks Energy 300.

Only a few things were guaranteed before today’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kyle Busch would not be winning this race, in fact no MENCS competitors would be winning today. Of the entire field of series regulars, four would be racing to win $100,000 in a Dash for Cash! Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell, Chase Briscoe, and Michael Annett all earned the opportunity last week to compete for the money. Also, Harrison Burton would be making his first start in the series.

Custer’s speed put him on pole, and kept him out front for the first 26 laps before Reddick, and his Dolly Parton Chevrolet, took advantage of lapped traffic to make a pass for the lead. The first caution would come out for a Ross Chastain spin on lap 42 with only thirteen cars on the lead lap.

Reddick would continue to lead after the restart, to eventually battle Justin Allgaier through lap traffic before Allgaier made a last lap pass to win the stage. Unfortunately, Reddick would lift off of the gas prior to the end of the 85 lap stage due to a miscommunication from his spotter.

The stage two restart was hectic, but Allgaier would run out front the entire 85 laps and capture the stage victory under yellow after a caution flew in the closing laps.

Christopher Bell’s crew put his Toyota Supra in second place for the start of stage three where he would pressure Allgaier for the lead until Allgaier’s JR Motorsports Chevrolet had a mechanical failure causing him to exit the race with less than 70 laps to go.

With 40 laps to go the caution came out after Harrison Burton found his No. 18 Joe Gibbs Toyota in the wall. He would still manage to restart 11th, the last car on the lead lap.

Brandon Jones stayed out under the caution to lead the field back to the green flag. Even on older tires Jones was able to maintain the lead. As the laps wound down the top four drivers battled within a second of each other as they wound their way around lap traffic in the closing laps.

Bell took the lead from Jones with 17 to go. Jones found himself in the wall shortly thereafter with a flat right front tire, forcing him to pit under green flag conditions.

Reddick and Custer continued to battled for second as tempers ran hot towards the end, but they would be no match for Christopher Bell who captures his first victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, his second victory of the year, and the $100,000 Dash for Cash prize.

Top five: Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemecheck

The NASCAR Xfinity Series finds themselves back on track next week at Richmond Raceway on April 12th at 7:00PM ET.

The Nascar Gander Outdoor Truck Series returned to action today with a short track brawl at the iconic Martinsviller Speedway.

Stewart Freisen started on the pole, but it was Kyle Busch who would soon take the lead and drive away from the field.

The first stage of 70 laps would end eight laps early with a caution. Oil and debris on track would not allow NASCAR to open pit road or have a late stage restart. Busch would win the stage with only 15 cars on the lead lap.

Busch would find himself leading for the majority of the 70 lap stage two when another cation flew with 23 to go. Friesen found himself in the lead on the restart, but with ten to go he was overtaken by Ross Chastain who would go on to win the stage.

The racing was exciting throughout the field with cars side by side through the corners and the outside lane even had a chance as rubber was laid down by the trucks. The bumpers were used as impatient driver pushed their way to the front and the laps wound down.

With exciting racing throughout the field the lead for the race was not exciting and I say that with an odd sort of content. There was however an exciting battle for the race in the earlier laps of stage three when Busch was able to take the lead form Chastain.

After a few corners back and forth it was Busch out front and then he pulled away never to be seen again. Even with two cautions in the last 40 laps there was not a challenge to be seen.

Kyle Busch went on to win his 54th NASCAR truck race.

The trucks will be back at it next Saturday night, March 29th, at 9PM ET for the Longhorn 350 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Nascar Gander Outdoor Truck Series started with a familiar sight this weekend as Kyle Busch lead the field of 32 trucks to the green flag. The premier series regular went into this race with 52 truck wins already to his name, and he is obviously not done competing in the lower divisions of NASCAR. Whether this is “fair” or not is up for debate, but with or without Kyle Busch, Friday nights are for the Trucks!

The drivers came out of the gate running hard for the first seven laps before a spinning Sheldon Creed Chevrolet would bring out the first caution of the night. Several trucks collected damage as well including veteran driver Matt Crafton. The drivers would go back at it for the remaining laps of the 30 lap stage one, but now one had anything for Kyle Busch as he took the first green and white checkered flag.

Under the caution Busch would take four tires and find himself in eighth for the start of stage two. Stewart Friesen would lead the field to green with Ben Rhodes quickly challenging for the lead. The two would battle as the whole field behind them fought for every inch of track space.

Friesen would hold the lead for the majority of stage two, but eventually we saw the inevitable as Busch passed and drove away for the stage two win.

The start of stage three was the most exciting of the night as trucks went four wide throughout the field again battling for every inch of the track. Busch would eventually pull away from the pack unchallenged.

With 25 laps to go green flag pit stops began as drivers pulled off the track, most taking two tires and fuel. Busch would wait for the other leaders to make their stops before taking two tires and fuel from his crew. As the field cycled through the stops Brett Moffitt was within a second of Busch and gaining.

For several laps Moffitt was closing in and even found himself on the bumper of Bush’s Toyota before a small slip found him a few tenths back before navigating through lapped traffic put him too far back to battle Busch.

Busch would go on to win his 53rd NGOTS race.

The Trucks are back on track for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville on March 23rd at 2:00PM ET.

Last year NASCAR announced an updated rules package for the MENCS cars with a wide range of early opinions throughout the garage. After an off-season of speculation and an exciting Daytona 500 the much anticipated day has arrived. While not the same package that will be run throughout the year Atlanta gave us a look into what could be the most unique NASCAR season yet.

The race had an exciting start as pole winner Aric Almirola battled fellow Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the early laps before the field began to sort itself out. Almirola would hold the lead until the race off of a crowded pit road during the lap 35 competition caution.

The restart would again be exciting as the cars would run five to ten laps before spreading out and drivers would begin to battle for individual positions. The restarts may have been the most obvious difference for spectators. The cars also looked slower on track, but it was not as obvious, nor did it affect the competition on track.

Kyle Larson who had beat Almirola off of pit road would lead the next 50 laps to take the green and white checkered for stage one. Larson would then loose his lead on pit road as Kevin Harvick would put his Stewart-Haas machine out front to start stage two. However a bump in the middle of turns three and four would allow for Larson to pass and hold the lead through most of stage two including green flag stops before Harvick found his way back to the lead for the stage two win.

Larson would find his way back to the lead early in stage three. During green flag pit stops on lap 223 Kyle Busch, in his 500th career start, cut a right rear tire bringing out a caution. On the restart Ryan Blaney would jump to the lead with an impressive pass on Harvick.

With 52 laps to go during another round of green flag stops the caution would fly again. This time for a collision on pit road between rookie driver Ryan preece, who was currently in the top 10, and BJ McLeod. This time the field was scrambled with only a few cars on the lead lap and the majority of the field having to take a wave around. On the restart it would be Joey Logano and Kurt Busch, in his 650th career start, out front.

Brad Keselowski who received the lucky dog on the previous caution would battle with Penske teammate Logano before taking the lead on lap 32. In the closing laps of the race several drivers including Logano, and their third Penske teammate Blaney would have right front tire issues.

As the final laps of the race wound down Keselowski began to conserve his tires as a hard charging Martin Truex Jr. closed a two second gap all the way to the number two cars back bumper, but didn’t have anything for him on the last lap.

Keselowski who had been battling an illness with flu like symptoms since Friday had a back up driver ready to go, but pushed through to not only complete the race, but win and punch his ticket to the 2019 playoffs.

The Monster Energey Nascar Cup Series next race is scheduled for March 3rd, at 3:30 ET in Las Vegas for the Penzoil 400.

The first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series race of 2019 was a strange affair for an unofficial start to the season. Paul Menard led over 50 laps of a race that ended 20 laps short of the scheduled 75. There were multiple rain delays, and a lot of single file cars. Even when it seemed as though this would be the cleanest clash in histroy almost every car ended up wrecked.

Menard Started on the pole, thanks to his crew chief drawing the number one spot the night before. While he wouldn't maintain the lead on lap one, courtesy of Kyle Busch, Menard would find himself back into the lead where he would remain for the vast majority of the race.

Within a few laps the cars were already single file as drivers were not eager to challenge one another. It also appeared difficult for drivers to make moves without side drafting or taking advantage of the air passing over the cars. With everyone lined up on the outside it was not advantageous for anyone to be moivng in and out of line.

The first caution flag flew on lap eight when a light rain began to fall. After a short red flag the cars were back on track. As with the first start of the day the cars quickly assembled into a single file line and ran accordingly around the outside of the track. This continued until lap 25 when all but a few cars darted to pit road before a scheduled competition caution.

Following the competition caution the drivers again filed into line on the outside with Menard out front as the Ford drivers proceeded to dominate the day of damp and less than exciting competition for another dozen laps before rain began to fall again.

NASCAR was successful in their attempt to dry the track for racing as the rain subsided once more. The cars returned to the track runing another dozen laps before rain again threatened the racing action. With 20 laps to go Jimmie Johnson made a move to the inside of Menard on the back stretch. As he narrowly side drafted Menard the two collided sending Menard sliding sideways in front of the entire field.

Only three drivers made it thourhg unscaved as the caution car brought only six running cars around the track and back down pit road as the rain came back harder than before.This would be it for the event as the track would be lost to the downpour. A controversial finish that would be debated for several reasons as some would contest that Johnson's number 48 Chevrolet went below the yellow line to complete the pass for the lead.

NASCAR would declare Johnson the winnner as the track was lost. They would also go on to state that Johnson's pass was legal because he was forced below the yellow line by the out of control Wood Brothers Ford. While not the start ot the season most people wanted it seemed most dissapointing for Menard. Kurt Busch would finish second with Logano third, Blaney fourth, and Bowman fifth.

 

The cars will return to the track to compete this Thursday, February 14th, in the Can-Am duels at 7 and 9PM ET to set the full line-up for the Daytona 500.

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