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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

IndyCar News: Quotes from Saturday’s Race 1, Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio

‘What They’re Saying’
from Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1

Top 10 Finishers

1st – WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): “We’ve had a pretty trying year. Everyone really has, with COVID and all the social distancing that we’ve had this year. The fact we are out here racing and that fact that we have some fans here (in Mid-Ohio) is great. This is what we love to do – we love to drive and we love to entertain. But it’s great to have the Verizon Chevrolet in victory lane. This is probably the first race in 10 years that I’ve just gone hard the whole time. So many other races, we try and save fuel and play the strategy game, and a lot of times it just doesn’t work out. Today, we said, ‘Let’s just go hard.’ We said let’s just go hard and use my race pace and see what happens – and we won the race. This was just a race to put down good laps after good laps. It was just a flawless day and a flawless race. The whole Verizon team did a great job. It’s great to see Verizon in Victory Lane again, because it’s been awhile. It’s also great to finally win at Mid-Ohio – I’m over the moon about that.”

2nd – JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet): “It was a pretty straightforward day. Where we started is where we finished with the PPG Chevrolet. It was good to get by Ryan (Hunter-Reay) right there at the beginning of the race, and that helped us, for sure. But congrats to Will (Power) – he is still Will Power. He’s been knocked down a little bit this year, but he drove really well, and that was a clinic he put on out there today. I’m really happy for him, but we were just a couple of tenths slower than him all day long today. I could kind of tell we were fighting for second today. Team Chevy – one-two for us – so that’s good for them, and I’m proud of that. We just need to be a little better. We picked up some good points today, which is good.”

3rd – ALEXANDER ROSSI (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda): “Yeah, it’s good. We just haven’t had a lot of things go our way. I don’t think we’ve had luck, but we haven’t had pace, either. We’re just really trying to go out and make the most of each opportunity we have for the rest of this year. The 27 NAPA/AutoNation guys did a great job. The car was good. Had we been able to clear Ryan (Hunter-Reay) a bit sooner and get Josef (Newgarden), we could have had a shot at it. The car’s pace was really good. Regardless, it wasn’t meant to be. Starting P6 was always going to be a bit of a challenge, but nonetheless it was a good day for us, and we get to do it all again tomorrow.”

4th – GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 United Rentals Honda): “It was super-hot. It’s a good thing it wasn’t a 90-degree July day. I’m awfully proud of the United Rentals guys. I thought our strategy was great, and the car was very good in race trim. I think we were a little quicker than (Josef) Newgarden and (Alexander) Rossi, but I got held up by (Simon) Pagenaud there coming out of the pits on that last stop or otherwise I think we had him (Rossi). I thought we had a good opportunity there to get Alex, but all in all, it was a great run for us. It feels good to get a good result after St. Louis, which was kind of a bruiser. Our guys did a wonderful job in the pits. The last few races, they’ve been lightning fast. We’ve just got to keep at it. It was a tough day. Tomorrow is going to be tougher. Guys are going to fall out of the saddle tomorrow. That is physical. It is hot, there’s not a lot of air, and it was dirty. Tomorrow will be a bruiser. We switch over to the Fifth Third Bank car, so we’re excited about that switch-over. And we raised a lot of money for Turns for Troops today, so all in all, a good day.”

5th – RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): “We were just missing a little bit of grip today, which was unfortunate. We were sliding around all day, especially that last stint. But it was close, we just missed it on the pit cycle there with the 27. We came out just behind [Alexander Rossi] and then I was fighting it out with Rosenqvist from there. I have no idea how Rahal got up there so it must have been through the pit cycle. We need to do some things to the car for tomorrow’s race because I was speeding around out there for sure. Hopefully we get this 28 DHL Honda further up front tomorrow.”

6th – FELIX ROSENQVIST (No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It was a good race, for sure, starting P7 with a P6 finish for the NTT DATA team. It was good points, as well, but I’m a little disappointed because we had good speed on the reds in the beginning. I could have gotten around a few more guys, I think, and could have been a bit better on the pits than I did. I made a little slip there, but we have more potential in the car, and we’re looking to show that tomorrow.”

7th – JACK HARVEY (No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda): “Really solid day for the Meyer Shank Racing guys. We started fifth and went on a bit of a bold strategy by starting on reds, which was quite a bit of a workout. After that, I thought we were pretty fast, to be honest. After today, we’re feeling pretty good about tomorrow’s race, but hopefully we can finish even better than today.”

8th – RINUS VEEKAY (No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet): “Good race. I struggled a little bit at the beginning to get around slower traffic. Once I figured it out, it was really enjoyable. It definitely wasn’t a perfect race, but I’m happy with what we made of it and the speed we had. I think we can do even better in qualifying tomorrow, which will make the race easier.”

9th – COLTON HERTA (No. 88 Captstone Turbine #ShiftToGreen Honda): “It was a solid recovery drive. I think we were on for a better race, but some stuff didn’t fall our way, and it was enough to push us into the back and we got behind some guys that we had to pass in our middle stint. Unfortunately, that’s how it goes. I wish we could’ve had clean track and we had the pace, but the good thing is that we have another race tomorrow.”

10th – SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It’s was just OK for us today in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. It just didn’t play out the way we thought it would. We went with a cautious move and made sure we ran the red tires first based on what we saw in qualifying. I guess looking back maybe we should have gone the other way, but who knows? Then we got caught up with (Colton) Herta on the pit exit, and I’m not sure what happened there or why he slowed up or whatever, but I thought we might have broken the front end after that. I hit him pretty hard, but I guess at the end of the day we made up seven or so spots, and that’s a small win.”

Remainder of Drivers (alphabetical – with finishing position):

MARCO ANDRETTI (Finished 23rd – No. 98 Surgere / Curb Honda): “I think the 98 car really had potential today. Our qualifying didn’t quite show our speed. Another lap, and we could have broken the top six. But I think we could have done something from 11th. The race was kind of wasted from the start. We had a mistake with the rear tires, and with the impound rule, the penalty would have been too great if we had fixed it. So, we took the green and hoped to make the best out of it. We were able to gain a couple spots. I held on as long as I could. But we had to pit too far off strategy. It put us into a fuel saving race after already dropping back.”

OLIVER ASKEW (Finished 19th – No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “It was a tough day for the entire team. You’re always going into the race on your back foot when you don’t qualify toward the front. The No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet felt strong during the race, but it’s always tough to pass at Mid-Ohio and we just couldn’t make up ground. The entire team will put in the work tonight to figure out how we can be better and faster tomorrow. Looking forward to getting another shot at it.”

MAX CHILTON (Finished 16th – No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet): “It was a tough race for us, honestly. We had a fairly decent run at qualifying earlier today, finishing sixth in our group and just barely missing out on a top-10 start for the Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet in Race 1. We lost a few spots at the start of the race, and then after that it was just tough to get around anyone and get those positions back. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t go forward like we would’ve liked, and we definitely have some things to look at tonight. But thankfully we get another chance tomorrow to do it all again, and we’ve already shown in qualifying that we have the speed to be battling with the guys in the top 10.”

CONOR DALY (Finished 13th – No. 20 U.S. Air Force Chevrolet): “We had a really good start, got up to third, which was nice. We struggled with the balance a little bit, but once we settled into fourth, we held our position. It was tough to nail the times we needed on the out laps. Running out of fuel, these things happen sometimes. It was a shame because we would have been in the top 10. Hopefully we can work on some race pace for tomorrow, and thankfully we have another day.”

MARCUS ERICSSON (Finished 15th – No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): “It hasn’t been a great day, to be honest. We struggled a lot in qualifying, and we’re not really sure why. The car felt decent, but our lap time just wasn’t there and on the reds, especially. We need to dig into that tonight and see if we find something for tomorrow. There might be some rain, as well, tomorrow, which will turn everything upside down. We definitely have some things to improve on for qualifying. For the race, starting from the back is always difficult. I think we had a decent race and we moved forward, but P15 is not what we’re here for. We will keep pushing, and tomorrow is a new day and a new chance for qualifying and the race. We look forward to fighting back and have a good day tomorrow.”

SANTINO FERRUCCI (Finished 14th – No. 18 SealMaster Honda): “It was a very physical race. We had a really good start, and the SealMaster crew did a good job in the pits. We tried some things with the setup in practice this morning, but it’s hard with minimal track time. We just have to focus on tomorrow and get the car in the top 10.”

DALTON KELLETT (Finished 22nd – No. 14 K-Line USA / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “Not the overall finishing position we’d like, but I think we found some easy time to gain in qualifying for tomorrow. So, hopefully we should be able to qualify a little further up the grid, and that will definitely make it a little easier because when you’re starting at the back there, by the end of the first lap you’re already a significant chunk behind the leaders and it’s a short lap. So, then with the pit cycles, you end up kind of risking going a lap down and getting caught in a pack that’s at a different speed than you, so that can be a bit difficult. So, really the goal for tomorrow is qualifying further up. That will make our lives easier and keep working on the car. I think we’ve made the car better from practice to qualifying to the race and definitely learned some good lessons today that we can take into tomorrow.”

CHARLIE KIMBALL (Finished 21st – No. 4 Tresiba / AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet): “It was a really tough day, honestly. We missed it a little bit in qualifying, and I feel like we missed it a lot in the race. The 14 car looked a little more competitive in the race, so we’ll look at what they did and come up with some ideas. The nice thing is that we get to do it all again tomorrow, so I have a lot of faith in the No. 4 AJ Foyt Racing crew. We just have to sit down, put all our heads together and come up with something to start tomorrow.”

PATO O’WARD (Finished 11th – No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet): “Yeah, we had a really messy day today. Not starting toward the front doesn’t make your life any easier. We had some clutch issues in the pits, which caused us to stall. That made it really difficult for us to get out of the box. We made up as much time as we could on track. We were very fast, and I think the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet was one of the best cars out there. We just didn’t quite perfect the little things that get you to the front today. We will work on that for tomorrow, and we should have a good race.”

SIMON PAGENAUD (Finished 18th – No. 22 DXC Technology Team Penske Chevrolet): “Frustrating day for the No. 22 DXC Technology Chevrolet. We had some good pace, but with no cautions and the mistake at the beginning of the race, it was hard to make up the track position. Just spun out and stalled the car and couldn’t get it refired. We tried to short pit and gain some track position, but without any cautions, there wasn’t much else we could do. Hopefully, we can go out there tomorrow and do better.”

ALEX PALOU (Finished 12th – No. 55 Guaranteed Rate Dale Coyne Racing with Team Goh Honda): “It was a tough day. Things went really well in practice this morning. I was very confident and comfortable with the No. 55 Guaranteed Rate car. Then in qualifying, the first two laps with the blacks were really good. I was P1 at the time, but I went off track and broke the underwing, so that ruined our run on the alternate Firestone tire. Starting 20th , there wasn’t a lot we could do. It was a difficult race just because we were quick but couldn’t overtake much. On the positive side, we gained the most positions of all drivers. At the end of the day, I don’t think there was much more we could do. It was tough, but we have another chance tomorrow to do better.”

TAKUMA SATO (Finished 17th – No. 30 Panasonic / Mi-Jack Honda): “It was a tough race and a lot of hard work but didn’t really reflect on the result, which is a shame. There was actually no drama; it was a caution-free race. Strategy-wise, we tried to gain back the positions but were just not quite there. We need to work on it for tomorrow. It was hot, we sweat and lost a lot of pounds and weight. We will have a good recovery tonight and hopefully be OK for tomorrow.”

ZACH VEACH (Finished 20th – No. 26 Gainbridge Honda): “The race started off really well for us. The first stint we were moving forward and had really good pace. Once we threw the Firestone blacks on, we really just suffered with a loose car. I think our setup favored the reds. As the track progressed, the front kept gripping up more and more, making the rear more and more of a problem. It was just too loose throughout the day, just really hard to keep going forward after that. It was an extremely physical race, too. Not too many tracks make me feel like I’m 5’4”, but this is one place that is really, really tough when you’re small in one of these things.”

 

 

QUOTES WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

 

IndyCar News Saturday Race 1: Will Power cruises to win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; surprisingly first win of 2020

 

 

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020) – The most physically challenging track on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule and the threat of rain looming over the last 10 laps of the race were no match for Will Power, who cruised to his first win of 2020 in Race 1 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio doubleheader Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Power drove the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet to a dominating win in a caution-free race, beating Team Penske teammate Josef Newgarden to the finish line by 7.4523 seconds for his 38th career INDYCAR win. 2014 NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion Power led 66 of 75 laps from the pole after winning the NTT P1 Award in qualifying. It was Power’s 60th INDYCAR pole, inching him closer to Mario Andretti’s record of 67 career INDYCAR poles.

RESULTS: Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1

“I’m so happy to have the Verizon 12 car in Victory Lane,” Power said. “This is probably the first race, I reckon, in about 10 years that I’ve just gone hard. Like every other race we’ve tried to save fuel and play a strategy game. Today I said: ‘Let’s just go hard, man. Screw this. We don’t want to get caught by a yellow. Let’s just run hard and use my raw pace and see what happens.’ And we won the race.

“It was a great strategy. It’s just putting down good laps, lap after lap after lap. Just a flawless day. It’s what you have to do to win races in this series. The whole team did a fantastic job. To see Verizon in Victory Lane again is fantastic because it’s been awhile.”

Rounding out the top five were Newgarden in second in the No. 1 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet, Alexander Rossi third in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda, Graham Rahal fourth in the No. 15 United Rentals Honda and Ryan Hunter-Reay fifth in the No. 28 DHL Honda.

It was the fourth podium finish for Power this season, who last visited victory lane Sept. 1, 2019 at Portland International Raceway, 377 days ago. His previous podiums this season came at Road America-1, Iowa 2 and Gateway 2.

The Australian’s victory was his first at Mid-Ohio and Team Penske’s 11th win at the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course, tying Chip Ganassi Racing with the most wins at the circuit. The win also extended Power’s streak of consecutive seasons with at least one win to 14, dating back to 2007.

“It’s just great to tick the Mid-Ohio box,” Power said. “I’ve been on the podium here five times.”

Power’s biggest challenge came from 2016 Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge winner Rossi, who used alternate pit strategies at every chance to try to get in front of 2018 Indy 500 winner Power.

On the first round of green flag pit stops between Laps 19-29, Rossi stayed out to try to overcut the leaders. Rossi led five laps during the cycle and jumped one position when green flag pit stops cycled through, from fifth to fourth.

Then, on Lap 46, Rossi was the first driver to pit as he flipped the script and attempted to undercut the leaders. Rossi gained another position, jumping from fourth to third once green flag pit stops cycled through on Lap 53.

Rossi held off a late-charging Rahal to score his second podium of the season. He also finished third at Road America-2.

“Yeah, it’s good,” Rossi said. “We just haven’t had a lot of things go our way. I don’t think we’ve had luck, but we haven’t had pace, either. We’re just really trying to go out and make the most of each opportunity we have for the rest of this year. The 27 NAPA/AutoNation guys did a great job. The car was good.

“Had we been able to clear Ryan a bit sooner and get Josef, we could have had a shot at it. The car’s pace was really good. Regardless, it wasn’t meant to be. Starting P6 was always going to be a bit of a challenge, but nonetheless it was a good day for us, and we get to do it all again tomorrow.”

The biggest surprise might have come from points leader Scott Dixon, the winningest INDYCAR driver at Mid-Ohio with six victories. Dixon, whose most recent Mid-Ohio win came in 2019, quietly finished 10th, his second-worst finish of the season.

Dixon struggled in qualifying and started 17th. He looked strong early in the race, improving six spots in the first eight laps, placing him 11th. Unfortunately for Dixon, he remained around that spot for the remainder of the race.

Dixon’s point lead over second place Newgarden shrunk by 20 points, and the five-time series champion leads the defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES champion by 76 points. Third-place Pato O’Ward, who finished 11th, is 120 points back of Dixon with four races left in the season.

Power will look to sweep the weekend at Mid-Ohio on Sunday with Race 2 of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio doubleheader at 1 p.m. (ET, NBC). Qualifying for Sunday’s race will take place at 10:15 a.m., live on INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

RACE RECAP WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar News: Saturday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1 Results

 

Will Power 2015 photo by Sarah Stierch - Own work via wikipedia commons

 

Click HERE to view and download the official race results of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Results Saturday of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with order of finish, starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (1) Will Power, Chevrolet, 75, Running
2. (3) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 75, Running
3. (6) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 75, Running
4. (8) Graham Rahal, Honda, 75, Running
5. (2) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 75, Running
6. (7) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 75, Running
7. (5) Jack Harvey, Honda, 75, Running
8. (9) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 75, Running
9. (13) Colton Herta, Honda, 75, Running
10. (17) Scott Dixon, Honda, 75, Running
11. (15) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 75, Running
12. (20) Alex Palou, Honda, 75, Running
13. (4) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 75, Running
14. (14) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 75, Running
15. (21) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 75, Running
16. (12) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 75, Running
17. (18) Takuma Sato, Honda, 75, Running
18. (10) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 75, Running
19. (16) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 75, Running
20. (19) Zach Veach, Honda, 74, Running
21. (22) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 74, Running
22. (23) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 74, Running
23. (11) Marco Andretti, Honda, 74, Running

Race Statistics
Winner’s average speed: 113.978 mph
Time of Race: 1:29:08.9095
Margin of victory: 7.4523 seconds
Cautions: None
Lead changes: 4 among 3 drivers

Lap Leaders:
Power 1 – 21
Rossi 22 – 26
Power 27 – 47
Herta 48 – 51
Power 52 – 75

NTT INDYCAR SERIES point standings: Dixon 436, Newgarden 360, O’Ward 316, Sato 287, Power 280, Herta 273, Rahal 268, Pagenaud 249, Rosenqvist 236, Ferrucci 232.

 

RACE RESULTS WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

IndyCar News: Saturday’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1 Qualifying

Will Power on 2020 Pole of IndyCar GMR Grand Prix (IndyCar Communications)

Click HERE to view the official qualifying results of the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Race 1

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Qualifying Saturday for the Honda Indy 200 Race 1 at Mid-Ohio NTT INDYCAR SERIES event on the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, engine, time and speed in parentheses:

1. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 01:06.3343 (122.543 mph)
2. (28) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Honda, 01:06.7287 (121.819)
3. (1) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 01:06.5508 (122.144)
4. (20) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 01:06.8761 (121.550)
5. (60) Jack Harvey, Honda, 01:06.7690 (121.745)
6. (27) Alexander Rossi, Honda, 01:07.1856 (120.990)
7. (10) Felix Rosenqvist, Honda, 01:06.7841 (121.718)
8. (15) Graham Rahal, Honda, 01:07.2205 (120.927)
9. (21) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 01:07.0110 (121.305)
10. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Chevrolet, 01:07.2489 (120.876)
11. (98) Marco Andretti, Honda, 01:07.0162 (121.296)
12. (59) Max Chilton, Chevrolet, 01:07.4491 (120.518)
13. (88) Colton Herta, Honda, 01:07.0212 (121.287)
14. (18) Santino Ferrucci, Honda, 01:07.5011 (120.425)
15. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 01:07.0354 (121.261)
16. (7) Oliver Askew, Chevrolet, 01:07.6211 (120.211)
17. (9) Scott Dixon, Honda, 01:07.1406 (121.071)
18. (30) Takuma Sato, Honda, 01:07.8192 (119.860)
19. (26) Zach Veach, Honda, 01:07.2101 (120.946)
20. (55) Alex Palou, Honda, 01:08.1548 (119.270)
21. (8) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 01:07.3890 (120.625)
22. (4) Charlie Kimball, Chevrolet, 01:08.3783 (118.880)
23. (14) Dalton Kellett, Chevrolet, 01:08.5442 (118.592)

 

RACE RESULTS WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF INDYCAR COMMUNICATIONS

NASCAR visits Richmond Raceway this weekend

Richmond Raceway at night 2018 photo By Dough4872 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Federated Auto Parts 400

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Saturday, September 12

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 300 miles (400 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 80),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 235), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 400)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Go Bowling 250

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Friday, September 11

The Time: 7 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 6:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Saturday, September 12

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 1:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 75),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

Next Race: ToyotaCare 250

The Place: Richmond Raceway

The Date: Thursday, September 10

The Time: 8 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 187.5 miles (250 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 70),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 140), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 250)

NASCAR Cup Series

Wild Playoff opener raises the stakes at Richmond Raceway

In the NASCAR Cup Series 2020 Playoff opener, the fans enjoyed some wild racing that saw Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott wreck while battling for the lead, and as a result the race win fell to Kevin Harvick, giving him his series leading eighth victory of the season. All that action has paved the way for Saturday night’s Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Raceway at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The 2020 season marks the third time the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff’s second race has been held at Richmond Raceway (2018-2020). The 0.75-mile track located in Richmond, Virginia is the third track in series history to host the second race of the Playoffs; joining Dover International Speedway (2004-2010) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (2011–2017). Prior to 2018, Richmond Raceway was the regular season finale for the NASCAR Cup Series from 2004-2017.

 

A total of 12 different drivers have won the second race of the Playoffs (2004-2019), led by Hendrick Motorsport’s driver Jimmie Johnson with three wins (2005, 2009, 2010); followed by Kyle Busch (2017, 2018) and Matt Kenseth (2013, 2015) with two victories each.  No non-Playoff driver has ever won the second Playoff race in the NASCAR Cup Series.

 

Second Race of The Playoffs – Race Winners
Track Playoff Race Winners Date
Richmond Martin Truex Jr Saturday, September 21, 2019
Richmond Kyle Busch Saturday, September 22, 2018
Loudon Kyle Busch Sunday, September 24, 2017
Loudon Kevin Harvick Sunday, September 25, 2016
Loudon Matt Kenseth Sunday, September 27, 2015
Loudon Joey Logano Sunday, September 21, 2014
Loudon Matt Kenseth Sunday, September 22, 2013
Loudon Denny Hamlin Sunday, September 23, 2012
Loudon Tony Stewart Sunday, September 25, 2011
Dover Jimmie Johnson Sunday, September 26, 2010
Dover Jimmie Johnson Sunday, September 27, 2009
Dover Greg Biffle Sunday, September 21, 2008
Dover Carl Edwards Sunday, September 23, 2007
Dover Jeff Burton Sunday, September 24, 2006
Dover Jimmie Johnson Sunday, September 25, 2005
Dover Ryan Newman Sunday, September 26, 2004

 

When Dover International Speedway hosted the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs, twice the winning driver went on to win the series title – Jimmie Johnson (2009 and 2010).

 

When New Hampshire Motor Speedway moved to the second race in the Playoffs (2011 – 2017), only one driver won the event and went on to win the title – Tony Stewart in 2011. Stewart won five races in the 2011 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs (a series-record) including the first two (Chicago and New Hampshire).

 

The worst finish by a driver in the second Playoff race that went on to win the title was:

  • At Dover – The 2005 series champion, Tony Stewart, finished 18th.
  • At New Hampshire – The 2015 series champion, Kyle Busch, finished 37th.
  • At Richmond – The 2018 series champion, Joey Logano, finished 14th.

 

Last season’s champion, Kyle Busch, finished second in the Richmond Playoff race and went on to win the title – the second championship of his career (2015, 2019). Joe Gibbs Racing has held serve since the second race in the Playoffs has moved to Richmond with Kyle Busch winning in 2018 event and Martin Truex Jr. winning last season’s race.

 

Since the first NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway on April 19, 1953 the 0.75-mile track has hosted 127 series races producing 55 different pole winners and 52 different race winners. NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Richard Petty lead the series in poles at Richmond with eight each. Petty also leads the series in wins at Richmond with 13 victories (spring 1961, 1967 sweep, fall 1968, fall 1970, 1971 sweep, 1972 sweep, 1973 sweep, fall 1974 and spring 1975). Petty’s 13 wins are the third-most wins by a single driver at a single track in series history behind his 15 wins at Martinsville and North Wilkesboro. Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick lead all active drivers in poles at Richmond with three each. Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in wins at Richmond with six victories (spring 2009, spring 2010, spring 2011, spring 2012 and spring 2018, Playoff race 2018).

 

A total of 11 former Richmond Raceway winners are entered this weekend, eight of which are 2020 Playoff contenders – Kyle Busch (six wins), Denny Hamlin (three), Kevin Harvick (three), Martin Truex Jr. (two), Clint Bowyer (two), Joey Logano (two), Kurt Busch (two) and Brad Keselowski (one).

 

Clinched: Who needs what to move on in the postseason

The Round of 16 is underway and Kevin Harvick has clinched his spot in the Round of 12 with his victory last weekend at Darlington Raceway to kickoff the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. That leaves 11 spots still up for grabs heading into this weekend’s action at Richmond Raceway (August 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

Already Clinched:

The following driver has clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: Kevin Harvick.

 

Can Clinch Via Points:

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 10th winless driver in the standings.

  • Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 45 points.
  • Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, William Byron and Kyle Busch: Could only clinch with help.

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being 56 points above the 11th winless driver in the standings. They could also clinch if there was a new winner among Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, William Byron, Kyle Busch or Kurt Busch and being 56 points above the 10th winless in the standings.

Denny Hamlin: Would clinch with 40 points

  • Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, William Byron, Kyle Busch and Kurt Busch: Could only clinch with help.

Can Clinch Via Win:

All 15 remaining Playoff drivers without a win in the Round of 16 can clinch on their win alone this weekend: Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano,  Brad Keselowski, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Austin Dillon, William Byron, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Ryan Blaney.

 

Top 16 Playoff drivers’ updates and performances at Richmond

The NASCAR Cup Series Playoff field did some shuffling following Darlington Raceway, some for the positive and some for the negative.

 

The three biggest movers in the right direction in Playoff point positions following Darlington were the Busch brothers and Alex Bowman. Kyle and Kurt Busch both moved up four spots in the Playoff standings from the previous week to 10th and 11th, respectively, and Bowman jumped three spots from eighth to fifth.

 

But the Playoff driver who took the biggest hit in the points at Darlington was Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, who’s No. 12 Ford failed pre-race inspection for an unapproved ballast that incurred a points penalty. Then he finished the 24th (last amongst the Playoff contenders) in the race and as a result fell nine spots in the Playoff point standings from seventh to 16th.

 

Moving to Next Round:

 

Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 2,106 points. Harvick clinched his spot in the Round of 12 with his victory last weekend at Darlington. Harvick turns his attention to Richmond this week, a track he has made 39 starts posting three wins, 15 top fives and 25 top 10s (series-most).

 

Above the Round of 12 Cutoff:

 

Denny Hamlin sits second in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 2,087 points. Following Darlington, Hamlin is a comfortable 54 points on the Round of 12 cutoff. Hamlin heads to his home track, Richmond Raceway, this weekend looking to get his first Playoff win of 2020. Hamlin has made 28 starts at Richmond putting up three wins, 13 top fives and 17 top 10s.

 

Joey Logano leap frogged his Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in the standings at Darlington and now sits third in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with 2,060 points. Logano is 27 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. Looking to Richmond, Logano has made 23 starts collecting two wins, nine top fives and 12 top 10s.

 

Brad Keselowski dropped one spot from last week in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings to fourth with 2,055 points. Keselowski is 22 points above the Round of 12 cutoff. Heading to Richmond, Keselowski has made 22 starts at the 0.75-mile track posting one win, five top fives and 11 top 10s.

 

Alex Bowman flew into the top five of the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings (up three spots, now fifth) with 2,052 points. The driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet is just 19 points up on the Round of 12 cutoff. Bowman will have his work cut out for him this weekend at Richmond, a track he has made nine starts posting a best finish of 12th in the Playoff race of 2018.

 

Martin Truex Jr. collided with Chase Elliott while battling for the lead late in the Playoff opener at Darlington Raceway, as a result he finished 22nd in the race but maintained his sixth position in the Playoff standings with 2,049 points. Truex is a mere 16 points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff. But if Truex was looking for a track to rebound, Richmond Raceway just might be it. The New Jersey native swept both Richmond races last season and is the defending winner of the Playoff event this weekend. In total, Truex has made 29 starts posting two wins, five top fives and 11 top 10s.

 

Chase Elliott dropped two spots in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings after tangling with Martin Truex Jr. as the two raced for the lead at Darlington. Elliott ultimately finished 20th in the postseason opener and is now seventh in the Playoff standings with 2,045 points. Turning to Richmond, Elliott has made 10 starts amassing two top fives and three top 10s.

 

Austin Dillon put on an impressive performance at Darlington Raceway finishing runner-up to Kevin Harvick in the Playoff’s opener. The strong run jumped Dillon up two spots in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings from 10th to eighth with 2,043 points. With two races left in the Round of 16, Dillon is 10 points up on the Round of 12 cutoff. The North Carolina native heads to Richmond this weekend having made 13 series starts posting two top 10s.

 

William Byron pulled out a top five finish last weekend at Darlington and because of it maintained his ninth position in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with 2,042 points. Byron is nine points ahead of the Round of 12 cutoff heading to Richmond this weekend. Byron has made five series starts at Richmond posting a best finish of 12th in the 2018 spring race.

 

Kyle Busch, the defending NASCAR Cup Series champion, is ranked 10th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings after moving up four spots following a top-10 finish at Darlington. Now the two-time series champ is seven points to the good on the Round of 12 cutline and roles into Richmond Raceway the series-leader in wins at the 0.75-mile track (six victories). Busch has yet to win this season, the longest into a season he has gone without tasting the spoils of Victory Lane. In total, Busch has made 30 series starts at Richmond putting up six wins, 18 top fives and 22 top 10s.

 

Kurt Busch also grabbed a top-10 finish at Darlington and as a result jumped four spots in the NASCAR Playoff standings to 11th with 2,037 points. Busch needs to continue to gather points as he is only four points up on the Round of 12 cutoff. Richmond is one of Busch’s better tracks, in 39 starts he has posted two wins, seven top fives and 15 top 10s.

 

Aric Almirola is on the Round of 16 hotseat, currently in the 12th and final position to transfer to the Round of 12. Almirola is also tied in points with Clint Bowyer in 13th (the first spot outside the cutoff) with 2,033 points – he also holds the tie breaker of best finishes in the current Playoff round with a ninth-place finish to Bowyer’s 10th at Darlington. The driver from Tampa, Florida has made 17 starts at Richmond Raceway posting two top fives and five top 10s.

 

Below the Round of 12 Cutoff

 

Clint Bowyer is literally tied with Aric Almirola in points, but the tie breaker of best finishes goes to Almirola. So, Bowyer sits outside the Round of 12 cutoff in 13th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 2,033 points. Bowyer looks to Richmond to rebound having made 29 starts at the 0.75-mile track posting two wins, five top fives and 16 top10s.

 

Cole Custer finished 12th last weekend at Darlington and now finds himself 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings with 2,030 points. Custer the lone Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate to make the Playoffs this season is three points back from the Round of 12 cutoff. Custer has made two series starts at Richmond posting a best finish of 26th in this race last season. But the Californian does have a victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the 0.75-mile track (2019).

 

Matt DiBenedetto finished 21st at Darlington but managed to move up a spot in the points due to having the tiebreaker of better finish in this round with Ryan Blaney, who is 16th. DiBenedetto lands in Richmond with 2,016 points and 17 markers behind the Round of 12 cutoff. DiBenedetto has made 11 starts at posting a best finish of 14th in this race last season.

 

Ryan Blaney unfortunately failed pre-race inspection and incurred a points penalty as well as finishing 24th at Darlington and now finds himself 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff standings with 2,016 points. Blaney has made nine series starts at Richmond posting a best finish of 17th in this Playoff race last season.

NASCAR Xfinity Series

 

Time is ticking away for Xfinity Series Playoffs

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will embark on another doubleheader weekend at Richmond Raceway beginning Friday evening for the Go Bowling 250 at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Following Friday evening, the Xfinity Series will kick off Saturday’s action with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 250 at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

This will mark the fourth doubleheader weekend for the Xfinity Series since the COVID-19 pandemic return to racing. This is also the last stretch for Xfinity Series drivers to make their way into the Playoffs with a doubleheader this weekend and the regular season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway next week. The Playoffs kick off for the series the following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

 

Ross Chastain in the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet will lead the field to green on Friday evening with last week’s race winner, Brandon Jones, in the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota joining him on the front row.

The race will be 187.5 miles and 250 laps with Stage 1 ending on Lap 75 and Stage 2 ending on Lap 150.

 

In 2019, Cole Custer won the first Xfinity Series race run at Richmond and Christopher Bell won the second. Austin Cindric finished both of those races in second.

 

Denny Hamlin currently holds the race record at Richmond for the series at 108.415 mph in 2011. Kyle Busch holds the qualifying record at 129.348 mph in 2004.

 

Fifteen of 72 Xfinity races run at the track were won from the pole and Kevin Harvick holds the track records for the most wins (seven), most top fives (18) and most top 10s (21).

 

Joe Gibbs has the most wins of any car owner with 10 at Richmond.

 

Richmond Raceway Clinch Scenarios: Three Races Remain

With three races left in the NASCAR Xfinity Series regular season, two of them being this weekend at Richmond Raceway, time is running short for the drivers not locked into the Playoffs to secure their spot going into the postseason.

 

Eight drivers have already clinched a spot in the 12-driver postseason field: Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Noah Gragson, Justin Haley, Harrison Burton, Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones, and Ross Chastain.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a new winner, the following driver could clinch by being 111 points above the 3rd winless driver in the standings.

  • Michael Annett: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following driver could clinch by being 111 points about the 4th winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Ross Chastain or Riley Herbst and being 111 points about the 3rd winless driver in the standings.

  • Michael Annett: Would clinch with 35 points

 

Can Clinch Via Win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Michael Annett
  • Riley Herbst
  • Ryan Sieg
  • Brandon Brown
  • Jeremy Clements

 

The following drivers could clinch with a win and clinching a Top 20 position:

  • Myatt Snider: Would clinch with 41 points
  • Josh Williams: Could only clinch with help
  • Jesse Little: Could only clinch with help
  • Alex Labbe: Could only clinch with help

 

 

NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff Outlook following Darlington-2:

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts from Cutoff
1 Chase Briscoe 951 6 5 35 In On Wins
2 Austin Cindric 1,005 5 9 34
3 Brandon Jones 706 3 2 17
4 Noah Gragson 878 2 8 18
5 Harrison Burton # 789 2 0 10
6 Justin Haley 781 2 3 13
7 Justin Allgaier 757 1 8 13
8 Ross Chastain 911 0 1 1 464
9 Michael Annett 698 0 0 0 251
10 Riley Herbst # 606 0 0 0 159
11 Ryan Sieg 567 0 2 2 120
12 Brandon Brown 492 0 0 0 45
13 Jeremy Clements 447 0 0 0 -45
14 Myatt Snider # 441 0 0 0 -51
15 Josh Williams 408 0 0 0 -84
16 Jesse Little 403 0 0 0 -89

 

Expect the battle for the final spots left in Playoffs to stay close this weekend at Darlington because the drivers on the Playoff bubble share very similar average finishes: Ryan Sieg (19.9), Jeremy Clements (22.4), Josh Williams (23.0) Brandon Brown (25.7). Myatt Snider and Jesse Little will make their first starts at Rchmond.

 

Reminiscing on Richmond

Chase Briscoe and Austin Cindric have dominated the Xfinity Series this season with a combined 11 wins between the two of them out of 23 races run.

 

Briscoe will make his fourth start at Richmond while Cindric will make his fifth. Cindric has three top fives, three top 10s and one pole award to his name. Briscoe has one top fives and two top 10s.

 

But, it’s Justin Allgaier who has the most experience of all the Playoff-contending drivers at Richmond with 18 starts. He has five top fives and eight top 10s in those starts.

 

Noah Gragson, Allgaier’s JR Motorsports teammate, will be making his fourth Xfinity Series start at Richmond on Friday. Their teammate Michael Annett, who has clinched a Playoff spot on points will be making his 16th start at Richmond and has one top fives and four top 10s to his name.

 

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Harrison Burton will be making his second start at the track. His first was last season and he started sixth and finished sixth for Joe Gibbs Racing. His teammate, Brandon Jones, will make his ninth start at the Virginia track.

 

Justin Haley, a two-time winner this season, will make his third career Richmond start and his teammate, Ross Chastain, who has not yet won a race this season but clinched his spot in the Playoffs last weekend at Darlington, will be making his eighth start.

 

And while all of those drivers are locked into the Playoffs by virtue of wins and points so far this season, several drivers around the bubble will be fighting for the Playoff lives on Friday and Saturday, with hopes of clinching their spot.

 

Brandon Brown, who currently occupies the 12th and final slot in the Playoff grid, has made six starts at the track, but only has a best finish of 19th in 2018 with an average finish of 25.7.

 

Ryan Sieg, currently 11th on the grid, has 12 starts at the track with an average finish of 19.9 and his best finish of fifth – his only top 10 at the track – came at the first Richmond race last season. Riley Herbst, who is in 10th place on the grid, made his track debut last season starting from the pole an finishing ninth.

 

Meanwhile, Jeremy Clements, who sits in 13th – one spot outside the Playoff grid – has 19 starts at Richmond with a best finish of eighth coming in 2018. He has an average finish of 22.5.

 

Myatt Snider (14th on the grid) will make his track debut on Friday evening.

 

Burton dominating rookie standings; Herbst fighting for Playoffs spot

Harrison Burton is still holding onto the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, with a 183-point lead over Riley Herbst.

 

Burton is the only rookie who is locked into the Playoffs by virtue of a win – he has two on the season (Auto Club, Miami). Herbst is in 10th place on the Playoff outlook, a solid 159 points ahead of the cutoff.

 

Of note, when the Playoffs begin, the drivers’ points in the Playoffs will be reset to 2000 points, with their Playoff points then added on. Which will bring the Sunoco Rookie standings much closer together.

 

Jesse Little is in third in the Sunoco Rookie standings and is looking for his first top five of the season. His season-best finish came at Pocono in 10th. At Dover, he finished 23rd in both races.

 

Little, Myatt Snider and Kody Vanderwal will all be making their debuts at Richmond while Burton, Herbst and Graf have one previous start to their name.

 

Rookies Points Awards
Harrison Burton 789 14
Riley Herbst 606 6
Jesse Little 403 1
Joe Graf Jr. 300 0
Myatt Snider 289 1
Kody Vanderwal 156 0

 

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series

 

The finale!

The NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series heads to Richmond Raceway for some Thursday night truckin’ under the lights for the regular-season finale. The ToyotaCare 250 will be at 8 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

The Gander Trucks haven’t visited Richmond Raceway since 2005, when Mike Skinner took home the victory. This will mark the 12th Gander Trucks race at the track and the first one in 15 years.

 

There are only two drivers entered this weekend with experience at Richmond and they are reigning series champion Matt Crafton and his ThorSport Racing veteran teammate Johnny Sauter. Crafton has five starts at the track with one top 10 and Sauter has three starts with one top 10.

 

Austin Hill will start on the pole on Thursday night and Ben Rhodes will join him on the front row.

 

There have been eight different races winners in 11 races, but it seems that Thursday’s race will be a wild card for the series as most drivers have no experience at the track.

 

However, the regular-season champion crown is not as much of a wild card as Hill only needs 23 points to clinch the title.

 

Ben Rhodes was victorious for the first time since 2018 last weekend at Darlington, punching his ticket to the NASCAR Playoffs. Brett Moffitt clinched his spot in the Playoffs on points, as he only needed seven upon entering the race.

 

Richmond Raceway: Last chance to clinch

Eight drivers have already clinched a spot in the 10-driver NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series postseason field: Austin Hill, Zane Smith, Sheldon Creed, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger, Christian Eckes, Brett Moffitt and Ben Rhodes.

 

Can Clinch Via Points

If there is a new winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 4th winless driver in the standings.

  • Tyler Ankrum: Would clinch with 52 points
  • Todd Gilliland: Could only clinch with help
  • Derek Kraus: Could only clinch with help

 

If there is a repeat winner, the following drivers could clinch by being ahead of the 5th winless driver in the standings. They would also clinch if there was a new winner among Brett Moffitt, Christian Eckes, Tyler Ankrum or Todd Gilliland and being ahead of the 4th winless in the standings.

  • Tyler Ankrum: Would clinch with 42 points
  • Todd Gilliland: Could only clinch with 46 points
  • Derek Kraus: Could only clinch with help

 

Can clinch via win

The following drivers would clinch on their win alone:

  • Tyler Ankrum
  • Todd Gilliland
  • Derek Kraus
  • Raphael Lessard
  • Tanner Gray
  • Stewart Friesen
  • Johnny Sauter
  • Ty Majeski
  • Austin Wayne Self
  • Tate Fogleman

 

The following drivers could clinch with a win and clinching a top 20 position:

  • Jordan Anderson: Would clinch with 47 points
  • Spencer Boyd: Would clinch with 48 points

 

Additionally, Austin Hill could clinch the Regular Season Championship on his own with 23 points.

 

NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Playoff Outlook following Darlington:

Rank Driver Points Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Pts From Cutoff
1 Sheldon Creed 512 3 5 20 In On Wins
2 Zane Smith # 544 2 4 14
3 Grant Enfinger 455 2 1 11
4 Austin Hill 600 1 2 7
5 Ben Rhodes 537 1 0 5
6 Matt Crafton 480 1 0 5
7 Brett Moffitt 562 0 5 5 129
8 Christian Eckes # 505 0 0 0 72
9 Tyler Ankrum 447 0 0 0 14
10 Todd Gilliland 443 0 2 2 10
11 Derek Kraus # 433 0 0 0 -10
12 Raphael Lessard # 377 0 0 0 -66
13 Tanner Gray # 350 0 0 0 -93
14 Stewart Friesen 343 0 0 0 -100
15 Johnny Sauter 318 0 1 1 -125

 

 

Taking a look at the rookie picture

A pair of rookies – Zane Smith, who is locked in with a pair of wins, and Christian Eckes, who locked himself into the Playoffs following last week’s performance at Darlington based on points, are fighting for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award.

 

Smith continues to hold the top spot in the Gander Trucks Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with a 39-point lead over Eckes.

 

But the outside of the Playoff bubble holds several Sunoco Rookies looking to vault into the Playoffs in their debut year in the Gander Trucks.

 

Derek Kraus (third in the Sunoco rookie standings) is sitting right below the Playoffs cutline and had a career best finish last weekend at Darlington of third. There are a few ways for Kraus to make it into the Playoffs. One would be with a win but he could also clinch with help if there’s a repeat or new winner.

 

Raphael Lessard made a jump in points and is now right behind Kraus in fourth in the rookie standings. He is also sitting in 12th in the Playoffs standings, below fellow rookie, Kraus.

 

Rookies Points
Zane Smith 544
Christian Eckes 505
Derek Kraus 433
Raphael Lessard 377
Tanner Gray 350
Ty Majeski 299
Tate Fogleman 219
Spencer Davis 188

 

RACE PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF NASCAR INTEGRATED MARKETING

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