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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Honorary Starter for Brickyard 400 goes to Big Machine Label Group President/CEO Scott Borchetta; race honors Brantley Gilbert

 

 

24th Annual Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS, Saturday, July 22, 2017 – Scott Borchetta, the president and chief executive officer of Big Machine Label Group, will serve as the honorary starter of the 24th annual Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Borchetta will wave the green flag to send the field of 40 cars into Turn 1 at the start of the marquee Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race, which begins at 2:44 p.m. (ET).

“Of all of the great places to watch the start of a NASCAR race, there are none better than the starter stand!” Borchetta said. “I can’t wait to wave the green flag to start the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400!”

Music industry leader Big Machine Label Group became the new entitlement sponsor of the Brickyard 400 in late June, expanding its longtime relationship with the race and IMS.

Founded in 2005, Big Machine Label Group is an independent record label headquartered in Nashville. The label’s artist roster includes superstars such as Brantley Gilbert, Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts, Danielle Bradbery, The Cadillac Three, Justin Moore, Ronnie Dunn, Jennifer Nettles, Eli Young Band, Drake White, Brett Young, Tucker Beathard and A Thousand Horses.

Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for all 2017 IMS events, including the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400, and for more information on all events.

 

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF IMS COMMUNICATIONS

 

Justin Allgaier takes NASCAR XFINITY Series Opening Day practice lead for Lilly Diabetes 250

 

INDIANAPOLIS, Friday, July 21, 2017 – Justin Allgaier came to grips with the new equipment package for the Lilly Diabetes 250 faster than any other driver, turning the top overall lap of two practice sessions for the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Friday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Allgaier led the second practice at 166.485 mph in the No. 7 Breyers Chevrolet. Elliott Sadler was second overall at 166.420 with his session-leading lap in the first practice in the No. 1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet.

NASCAR XFINITY Series cars are using an engine restrictor plate and an aero duct for the first time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at this event, in an effort to create closer racing and more passing on the 2.5-mile oval.

“There are still a lot of unknowns, but I wasn’t as on board with it before we got here,” Allgaier said of the new technical package. “I have a fast race car, so I’m not disappointed in the package. For us, we need to put on a good race for the fans. This racetrack, this area of the country, Indianapolis is a racing town. We talking about Racing USA in Mooresville (North Carolina), but Indianapolis is built on that racing foundation.

“I feel like, if nothing else, for the fans that come and the fans that watch on TV, this race is going to be exciting, and we’re trying to put on a great race.”

Matt Tifft was third at 166.291 in the No. 19 Surface/Fanatics Toyota. Kyle Busch, who has won this race the last two years, was fourth at 166.162 in the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Toyota.

William Byron rounded out the top five at 165.874 in the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet.

Qualifying for the Lilly Diabetes 250 takes place at 12:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday. The 100-lap race starts at 3:30 p.m.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series action gets underway Saturday with practice sessions at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Qualifying for the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 starts at 6:15 p.m.

The Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 starts at 2:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday. Visit IMS.com to purchase tickets for all 2017 IMS events, including the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 and Lilly Diabetes 250 on July 21-23, and for more information on all events.

 

PRACTICE RECAP WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF IMS COMMUNICATIONS

 

Dalton Sargeant takes control with 8 laps to go and wins at Lucas Oil Raceway in Greater Indianapolis

 

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (July 21, 2017) — Dalton Sargeant drove underneath Michael Self with eight laps to go, then scooted away to win the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 Friday night at Lucas Oil Raceway. The Boca Raton, Florida racer also inched closer to Austin Theriault in ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards championship standings with nine races left.
Sargeant, in the No. 77 Cunningham Motorsports-Big Tine Ford, also caught a break when Mother Nature intervened late in the going with just enough rain to bring out the final caution on lap 174. Sargeant darted onto pit road for four fresh General Tires with 20 laps remaining and, once the brief shower let up, took off like a rocket when the green flag unfurled for the final time on lap 189 of the 200-lap race.
When Sargeant got to Self, a great two-wide battled ensued for nearly two laps before Sargeant finally cleared the former leader for good. In the end, Sargeant beat Self to the line by a full second.
“I was just begging there at the end to go back to green,” said Sargeant. “Just a smart call from Chad (Bryant/crew chief) to stay out and pit when we did. Great car…great call. I knew it was going to take everything I had. We closed the points gap a little more…just really excited for the rest of the year.”
Self, in the No. 28 MDM Motorsports-Sinclair Lubricants Chevrolet, finished a career-best second. However, just before the last caution, Self, who led 29 laps, had built and second-and-half lead and was pulling away from everyone. Self had pitted with 70 laps to go for his last set of General Tires.
“If not for that last yellow, they never would have caught us,” said Self. “Our car was so loose in the beginning…wrecking every lap. But the crew took some big swings at it and put four fresh tires on it for that last run. If not for the rain, we would have won it. It was a really hard-fought race. The 77 made a smart call…they’re a championship team. I can’t complain, but I really want to win one.”
Chad Finley, in the No. 51 Auto Value-Air Lift Company Chevrolet, led 74 laps and finished third. Like Sargeant, he pitted under the last caution, but ran out of time trying to make his way back to the front.
“I’m disappointed,” said Finley. “I’m proud of my team…proud of my sponsors Auto Value, Air Lift, XLT…but I thought we had the best car…thought we were better than everyone. Car was phenomenal in clean air. We just didn’t have enough time. We needed one more caution. We’ll get ‘em at Chicagoland.”
Championship leader Austin Theriault finished fourth in the No. 52 EJP Ford for Ken Schrader Racing. Self’s MDM teammate, Sheldon Creed, who led 25 laps, finished fifth in the No. 41 United Rentals Toyota.
The night started off great for Austin Cindric, setting a new one-lap track record in General Tire Pole Qualifying. Cindric, in the No. 99 Pirtek Ford, led the first 53 laps before he stalled on the track and brought out the first caution. Cindric’s crew got it fixed but not before he lost several laps. He was later involved in a frontstretch incident that resulted in damage to the back of his car. He eventually fell out just past the halfway point. That gave the lead to Riley Herbst who led the next 11 laps before Creed raced his way to the front. Creed then swapped the lead back and forth with Finley before Finley took control. But Finley eventually fell back on older tires while Self, on fresher tires, charged his way forward.
Gus Dean, Zane Smith, Bret Holmes, Shane Lee and Christian Eckes completed the top-10.
Sargeant, who won last time out at Iowa Speedway, unofficially trimmed Theriault’s points lead to 130, shaving 30 points off the leader. The ARCA Racing Series is off to Pocono Raceway next for the ModSpace 150 Friday, July 28.

 

RACE RESULTS WRITTEN BY Don Radebaugh; COURTESY ARCA RACING COMMUNICATIONS

Crafton ends 27-race winless drought to win NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby

ELDORA DIRT DERBY POST-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE

61,944 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner On coming back to win the race 7 19 2017

61,946 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner Feelings on winning on dirt when it is not his racing pedigree 7 19 2017

61,948 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner On buying his own dirt vehicle and learning to race on dirt 7 19 2017

61,950 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby Did ever wonder if the 27 race streak would end 7 19 2017

61,951 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby winner Did ever think about turning the season around would start at a dirt track like Eldora 7 19 2017

61,952 Matt Crafton 2017 Eldora Dirt Derby Does the new points system this year make each race important due to the stages 7 19 2017


 

Rossburg, Ohio — Most race fans feel that if you lead the most laps, you win the race. That is not always a true statement.

Most races come down to pit strategy, tire changes at key points, conserving fuel, staying away from and out of accidents plus, just plain luck!

Take for example Wednesday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway. Stewart Friesen led 93 total laps, Matt Crafton led only 24 but the later dominated down the stretch to win the 5th Annual Eldora Dirt Derby 150. Driving the #88 IdealDoor/Menards Toyota Truck, the 41-year-old Crafton held off hard-charging Stewart Friesen (second place) and Chase Briscoe (third place). The win was Crafton’s first in more than a year. For those of you keeping count, that is a streak of 27 races. His last win was May 2016 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  His 14th in 395 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races.

Matt Crafton in 2007 #88 truck By Kim Phillips - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Matt Crafton in 2011 By NSCRDVA at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

Crafton, who is from Tulare, California, is having a decent 2017 season with one win and seven, Top-10 finishes.

This is his first victory and fifth top-10 finish in five races at the Darke County dirt track.

Friesen, driving the #52 Halmar International Chevrolet,  posted his first Top-10 finish in two races at Eldora Speedway. For 2017, it is his his first Top-10 finish.

Briscoe, driving the #29 Cooper Standard Ford, posted his first Top-10 finish at Eldora.

For those race fans, dirt track racing can be tricky. There can be no real flow to a race. With 32 trucks on a half-mile track, there can be cautions sometimes every 5-10 laps. There were 10 cautions in tonight’s race so that comes out to 1 every 15 laps. But the racing is very competitive as there were four different leaders, with 7 different lead changes involving Friesen, Crafton, Christopher Bell and Joe Nemechek.

Crafton used a late-race restart 18 laps from the finish to take the lead away from Friesen, a veteran driver on dirt tracks.

Crafton came to life in the last forty laps of the race, patiently working his way from the lower-rung of the top-10 and took advantage of a Lap 127 caution to position himself to take the lead 22 laps later.

“My first dirt win – a lot of fun,” said Crafton. “In the second part of that race we down right just stunk. It was my fault. We over-tightened it a little bit in the first run. It got free and we just went back to the way we started the race.

“I knew I was getting beat down low. Finally, at the end, I said, ‘Well, we may have to tear the right side off to get the win.’ I started doing it and this truck became a rocket ship.”

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off for 10 days until July 29 where they will race at Pocono Raceway for the Pocono 150.

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – Eldora Dirt Derby

Eldora Speedway

Official Race Standings

1. (2) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 150.

2. (1) Stewart Friesen, Chevrolet, 150.

3. (12) Chase Briscoe, Ford, 150.

4. (11) Grant Enfinger #, Toyota, 150.

5. (6) John H. Nemechek, Chevrolet, 150.

6. (26) Bobby Pierce, Chevrolet, 150.

7. (10) Noah Gragson #, Toyota, 150.

8. (13) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 150.

9. (4) Christopher Bell, Toyota, 150.

10. (17) Austin Cindric #, Ford, 150.

11. (27) Cody Coughlin #, Toyota, 150.

12. (5) Ty Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 150.

13. (29) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, 150.

14. (16) Jeffrey Abbey, Chevrolet, 150.

15. (23) Harrison Burton, Toyota, 150.

16. (28) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, 149.

17. (24) Ken Schrader, Chevrolet, 149.

18. (31) Mike Harmon(i), Chevrolet, 147.

19. (20) Chris Windom, Chevrolet, 146.

20. (8) Ryan Truex, Toyota, 146.

21. (18) JJ Yeley(i), Chevrolet, 146.

22. (32) Ray Ciccarelli, Chevrolet, 146.

23. (14) Johnny Sauter, Chevrolet, 143.

24. (25) Brandon Hightower(i), Chevrolet, 138.

25. (21) Justin Shipley, Ford, Engine, 121.

26. (15) Rico Abreu, Toyota, Accident, 117.

27. (19) Sheldon Creed(i), Chevrolet, Overheating, 80.

28. (30) Korbin Forrister, Chevrolet, Accident, 44.

29. (22) Max Johnston, Chevrolet, Accident, 41.

30. (7) Ben Rhodes, Toyota, Accident, 40.

31. (3) Kaz Grala #, Chevrolet, Accident, 34.

32. (9) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, Transmission, 12.

 

RACE NOTES:

* Dateline Details: Is Eldora Speedway located in Rossburg, Ohio or New Weston, Ohio? One thing is for certain, the two communities are located in Darke County where Greenville is the county seat.

Rossburg, has traditionally been used as the dateline for the Speedway since it opened in 1954. Rossburg is located 2.5 miles south of Eldora.

The small community of New Weston, located to the north, is only 1.5 miles from Eldora Speedway, but Rossburg was first used as the dateline because the track was in the Rossburg telephone exchange. The Speedway, Rossburg and New Weston are all located on Ohio Route 118.

* The Name Eldora: How did Eldora Speedway founder Earl Baltes come up with the name Eldora when he carved out the famous dirt track out of his property back in 1954?

Fascinating story or not? Unfortunately, no!

A prominent area bandleader, Baltes had bought the Eldora Ballroom and its surrounding property in 1952. He was very successful in promoting dances and musical performances. When the race track was completed, he named it after the ballroom.

The Eldora Ballroom is still located directly in front of the speedway on Ohio 118.

Upon the sale of Eldora to Tony Stewart, Baltes retired from race promoting. Upon his retirement the state of Ohio honored Baltes by renaming Hwy. 118 “Earl Baltes Highway” from Ansonia to the south to St. Henry to the north.

Earl Baltes Eldora Speedway founder in 1985 By Ted van Pelt http www flickr.com photos bantam10 2906207228, CC BY 2.0, https commons.wikimedia.org

*

The House That Tony Stewart Built

Eldora Speedway is a half-mile dirt racing facility located in western Ohio. The facility is owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. Stewart, an Indiana native, purchased the neighboring state dirt track from Earl Baltes in 2004.

 

Eldora Speedway has hosted four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since the 2013 season.

 

In those four races, there have been four different winners.

 

Starting with the most recent, below are the four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners at Eldora Speedway:

 

Winner                       Date

Kyle Larson                 07/20/2016

Christopher Bell          07/22/2015

Darrell Wallace Jr.       07/23/2014

Austin Dillon                07/24/2013

 

Three of the four Eldora Speedway winners are currently full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers or have made starts in the series this season. Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) both have Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins this season and have qualified for the playoffs, while Darrell Wallace Jr. spent time in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford filling in for the injured Aric Almirola.

*

A Guide To Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.

At Eldora, a random draw determines the qualifying order for two-lap, single-truck qualifying that determines the starting positions for the qualifying races (five races in total). The fastest qualifier earns the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Each of the five qualifying races consist of 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. The top five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)

The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counting. The top two finishers transfer to the race, where they will start in positions 26-27.

The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.

The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if that position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.

The race will be 150 laps divided into three stages: Stage 1 ends on lap 40, Stage 2 ends on lap 90, and the Final Stage ends on lap 150. During the competition cautions at the stage breaks on Lap 40 and Lap 90, caution laps will not count and positions cannot be improved on pit road.

 

Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.

*

Eldora Speedway Quick Facts

Below are some series quick facts at the dirt track:

Races: 4

Pole Winners: 4

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (07/23/2014 – 18 years, 1 month, 23 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ken Schrader (07/24/2013 – 58 years, 1 months, 25 days)

Race Winners: 4

Youngest Winner: Christopher Bell (07/22/2015 – 20 years, 7 months, 6 days)

Oldest Winner: Kyle Larson (07/20/2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 50 days)

Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0

Race Record: Austin Dillon 67.401 mph (07/24/2013)

Qualifying Record: Ken Schrader 91.329 mph (07/24/2013)

*

First Time Diggers At Eldora

There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Eldora Speedway in Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

 

One current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver won his first career win at Eldora – Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell (07/22/2015).

 

Over the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, there have been three drivers who have won their first career pole at Eldora.

 

They include Caleb Holman (07/20/2016), Bobby Pierce (07/22/2015) and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion (2015) Erik Jones (07/23/2014).

 

NASCAR Trucks visit Eldora; XFINITY, Monster Energy Series head to Indianapolis this week

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Date: Sunday, July 23

The Time: 2:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2 p.m. ET

Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 50),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 100), Final Stage (Ends on lap 160)

NASCAR XFINITY Series

Next Race: Lilly Diabetes 250

The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 22

The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBCSN, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: IMS Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on lap 100)

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Eldora Dirt Derby

The Place: Eldora Speedway

The Date: Wednesday, July 19

The Time: 9:30 p.m. ET

TV: FOX Business, 9 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 75 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on lap 90), Final Stage (Ends on lap 150)

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Denny Delivers: Hamlin Sends Joe Gibbs Racing To Victory Lane For First Time This Season

Denny Hamlin led 54 laps in his backup car, beating second-place Kyle Larson to the start/finish line by .509 seconds to deliver Joe Gibbs Racing its first visit to Victory Lane this season in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

 

The win was the 30th of Hamlin’s career and his third at New Hampshire. He had not won a race in 28 starts since taking the checkered flag in last year’s season finale at Richmond International Raceway. The No. 11 Toyota driver becomes the 25th driver to win 30 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Of note: All non-active drivers with more than 30 Monster Energy Series wins who have been eligible for enshrinement are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

 

JGR’s struggle to get a win was perplexing considering the organization racked up a series-best 12 victories in 2016, and Martin Truex Jr. from JGR technical partner Furniture Row Racing has tallied three checkered flags and 14 stage wins this season.

 

Hamlin will attempt to continue the momentum for JGR in Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on NBC, IMS and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). In 11 starts at Indy, Hamlin has four top fives, six top 10s and a 13.4 average finish. He placed fourth at The Brickyard last year and claims three consecutive top-five finishes there.

Triple Threat: Kyle Busch Tries For Third Straight Brickyard Win

Kyle Busch will try to capture the second straight win for Joe Gibbs Racing when he goes for his third consecutive victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Sunday.

 

In addition to winning the last two races at the Brickyard, Busch has placed in the top-two there in four of the last five races. In 12 career Indy starts, Busch has two wins, five top fives, 10 top 10s and a 9.0 average finish (second-best).

 

Among active drivers at Indianapolis, Busch has the second-best average running position (10.8) and driver rating (105.5).

Busch has won at least one race every season since he began running in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series full-time in 2005.

Hometown Hoosier: South Bend’s Ryan Newman Hopes For Another Indy Win

South Bend, Indiana’s own Ryan Newman returns to his home track for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400. In 16 starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Newman has one win, two top fives and three top 10s.

 

The No. 31 Richard Childress Racing driver virtually secured a spot in the Monster Energy Series playoffs by winning at Phoenix earlier this season.

Larson Dazzles With Ability To Mow Through The Field

Starting from the back the last two races hasn’t been a problem for Kyle Larson. At Kentucky, he began the race 40th and finished runner-up. A week later, Larson placed runner-up again after starting 39th. In the two races, he completed a combined 177 green flag passes (90, Kentucky; 87, New Hampshire).

 

The No. 42 Chevrolet driver is enjoying a breakout fourth full-time season. Through 20 races, he boasts two wins, seven runner-ups, nine top fives and 12 top 10s. Larson sits second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standings, 38 markers behind leader Martin Truex Jr. He also ranks second in average running position (8.8), driver rating (106.2).

 

Larson has finished in the top 10 in all three of his starts at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, including a career track-best fifth-place showing last season.

Johnson Hopes To Pick Up Another Indy Win

Not many drivers in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series are better than Jimmie Johnson, period. Not many drivers are better than Johnson at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, either.

 

The No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet pilot leads active competitors at the 2.5-mile track with four wins. He also has six top fives, seven top 10s and a 14.6 average finish in 15 career starts at The Brickyard.

 

Johnson’s performance has trailed off lately with only two top-10 finishes (both 10th) since winning at Dover six races ago, but he still is tied for the series lead with three wins and ranks second with 16 playoff points.

 

He is one win away from tying Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for fourth on the all-time list with 84 victories.

 

7 Races Left Until Playoffs

Seven races remain for drivers to earn berths in NASCAR’s playoffs.

 

The following drivers would get in if the season ended today: Martin Truex Jr. (three wins, 28 playoff points), Jimmie Johnson (three, 16), Kyle Larson (two, 13), Brad Keselowski (two, 13), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (two, 10), Kevin Harvick (one, eight), Ryan Blaney (one, eight), Denny Hamlin (one, seven), Kurt Busch (one, five), Ryan Newman (one, five), Austin Dillon (one, five), Kyle Busch (178 points above Joey Logano on the cutoff line, five playoff points), Chase Elliott (+115, two), Jamie McMurray (+100), Clint Bowyer (+54), Matt Kenseth (+42, two).

 

The first four out would be: Logano (42 below Matt Kenseth on the cutoff line), Erik Jones (-97), Daniel Suarez (-120) and Trevor Bayne (-155).

 

Remember, a win gets a driver into the playoffs. Below is a list of winless drivers who have visited Victory Lane at upcoming tracks:

Indianapolis: Ky. Busch, McMurray, Paul Menard

Pocono: Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Chris Buescher

Watkins Glen: Ky. Busch, AJ Allmendinger

Michigan: Ky. Busch, Earnhardt Jr., Kenseth, Kahne

Bristol: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

Darlington: Ky. Busch, Kenseth

Richmond: Ky. Busch, Kenseth, Bowyer, Earnhardt Jr., Kahne

 

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Etc.

Indy Set For NASCAR Fan Fest: The annual IMS Hauler Parade returns, featuring a special “NASCAR Fan Fest” that will bring the stars of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series to Speedway’s Main Street for an afternoon of fun and engaging events this Friday. Nine drivers will participate in interactive fan activities including, but not limited to, the Hauler Parade, pit-stop contests and a relay challenge with young fans.

 

Jeff Gordon To Drive Pace Car For Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400: Four-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will serve as the honorary pace car driver for Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Gordon is third on the all-time Monster Energy Series wins list with 93 victories.

 

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series

New Competition Package Highlights The Return To Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The NASCAR XFINITY Series returns to Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the sixth annual running of the Lily Diabetes 250 this Saturday, July 22 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, IMS and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), but this time the teams and competitors will be working with a new competition package specific for this event.

Designed specifically for the 100-lap race at Indianapolis the modifications are as follows:

  • The 2016 spoiler and splitter will be reimplemented (teams must run the ear flaps on both sides)
  • New aero ducts will be supplied by NASCAR at the track, and will be attached to the front bumper
  • A 7/8-inch restrictor plate will be used.

The new package is designed to create close racing and passing opportunities for competitors. The key to the package are the aero ducts, which will move air out of the front wheel wells and create a larger wake (punch a bigger hole in the air behind the vehicle). This will increase the draft envelope by approximately 25%, which will allow the trailing car to race closer to the leading car.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Is A Record Breaking Playground For Kyle Busch

The list of accolades that follow Kyle Busch’s name in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is quite long, and this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the Las Vegas, Nevada, native looks to add a couple more records to the list.  First off, he will attempt to become the first driver in series history to win five consecutive poles (he has four: 2013-2016) at a single track. Then, if he accomplishes that feat, he will try his hand at becoming the first driver in series history to win three consecutive races from the pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch already leads the series in wins at Indianapolis with three (2013, ’15 and ’16); Brad Keselowski (2012) and Ty Dillon (2014) are the only drivers to win in the series at IMS.

Busch has been dominant at IMS in his five starts. He leads the series in poles (four), wins (three), top fives (four), average starting position (1.2), average finishing position (5.4) and laps led (268).

Keep in mind, Busch became the first driver to sweep both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at IMS from the pole last season.

Playoff Bubble: Who Is In And Who Is Out Following New Hampshire

With just nine races left until the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoffs, time is running out for drivers and teams to lock themselves into the post-season.

Three drivers are locked in on wins (William Byron, Justin Allgaier and Ryan Reed), leaving nine spots up for grabs.

Five of the nine winless championship contending drivers currently in on points have built such large point leads over the 13th-place driver in the standings it would take a major collapse for them not to make it into the post-season – Elliott Sadler (+331 points ahead of 13th), Brennan Poole (+139), Daniel Hemric (+132), Cole Custer (+107) and Matt Tifft (+98).

The next two drivers, Michael Annett (+66) and Dakoda Armstrong (+62) have also put a sizable difference between themselves and 13th place, but are not out of the woods yet.

The two drivers sitting right on top of the playoff bubble following New Hampshire are Blake Koch (+35) and Brendan Gaughan (+9) as both are currently in on points but a poor finish could change that.

Ryan Sieg is sitting in the first spot outside of the playoffs in 13th, just nine points back from Gaughan. JJ Yeley is also in the hunt for the final playoff spot as he is just 15 points behind Gaughan.

Of the nine drivers currently in the playoffs on points but without a win, three will be making their series track debut at Indianapolis this weekend – Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Matt Tifft.

Of the aforementioned drivers, who has the best chance to break through and get their first win of the season this weekend? Here are their average finishing positions at IMS – Michael Annett (7.5), Elliott Sadler (10.8), Brennan Poole (11.0), Brendan Gaughan (16.0), Ryan Sieg (18.0), Dakoda Armstrong (18.7), JJ Yeley (24.5) and Blake Koch (30.7).

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

The House That Tony Stewart Built

Eldora Speedway is a half-mile dirt racing facility located in western Ohio. The facility is owned by three-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, Tony Stewart. Stewart, an Indiana native, purchased the neighboring state dirt track from Earl Baltes in 2004.

 

Eldora Speedway has hosted four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series since the 2013 season.

 

In those four races, there have been four different winners.

 

Starting with the most recent, below are the four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winners at Eldora Speedway:

 

Winner                       Date

Kyle Larson                 07/20/2016

Christopher Bell          07/22/2015

Darrell Wallace Jr.       07/23/2014

Austin Dillon                07/24/2013

 

Three of the four Eldora Speedway winners are currently full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers or have made starts in the series this season. Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) and Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing) both have Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins this season and have qualified for the playoffs, while Darrell Wallace Jr. spent time in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford filling in for the injured Aric Almirola.

 

Christopher Bell, who won at Eldora in 2015, is a rising NASCAR star with five career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins. He has also made two NASCAR XFINITY Series starts this season.

 

One thing to watch this week at Eldora? The finish. Over the last two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora, the margin of victory has been nearly identical.

In 2016, Larson beat out Bell by 0.767 of a second.

 

In 2015, Bell edged out Bobby Pierce by 0.761 of a second in the closest margin of victory in track history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

A Guide To Eldora
Eldora’s qualifying and race formats differ from the knockout qualifying seen weekly in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Below is a guide to how it works.

At Eldora, a random draw determines the qualifying order for two-lap, single-truck qualifying that determines the starting positions for the qualifying races (five races in total). The fastest qualifier earns the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Each of the five qualifying races consist of 10 laps, with only green-flag laps counting. The top five trucks in the two-lap qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races. The lineups for the qualifying races are filled based on qualifying speeds (sixth competes in the first qualifying race, seventh in the second, eighth in the third, etc.)

The top-five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the race. Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

When the five qualifying races are completed, there will be a last-chance qualifying race. The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counting. The top two finishers transfer to the race, where they will start in positions 26-27.

The 28th-31st starting positions go to the highest-ranking eligible trucks in owner points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying.

The 32nd starting position goes to the most recent eligible past series champion; if that position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned based upon owner points.

The race will be 150 laps divided into three stages: Stage 1 ends on lap 40, Stage 2 ends on lap 90, and the Final Stage ends on lap 150. During the competition cautions at the stage breaks on Lap 40 and Lap 90, caution laps will not count and positions cannot be improved on pit road.

 

Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.

Bell Looking To Ring In Pay Dirt At Eldora

Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Christopher Bell is widely considered a dirt dynamo. He grew up in Oklahoma and got his start in racing with sprint cars in 2011. In 2013, Bell won the USAC National Midget Championship and in 2014, he won 24 Quarter Midget races and 26 total dirt races, including the Turkey Night Grand Prix.

 

In 2015, Bell appeared in seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races with Kyle Busch Motorsports and won his first career race at … Eldora Speedway.

 

Bell got a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ride with Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2016 and would prove how good he is on dirt tracks as he finished second at Eldora to Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson.

 

During the 2016 NASCAR off-season, in what’s highly regarded as the “Super Bowl of midget racing,” Bell won the 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals.

 

When asked about his career thus far after winning his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this season last Thursday at Kentucky, Bell was proud that he’s been able to race cars at all levels and be successful.

“Being successful in multiple cars is something I’ve felt like I’ve done my entire career and I want to continue that. It’s why Kyle Larson is where is he is today, because he’s won in everything he’s got in. I want to continue that for my personal goals – to continue to win in everything I drive.”

 

When asked if he has an advantage at Eldora in a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck, Bell was not shy in his answer.

 

“Eldora is different. The trucks are hard to drive. I enjoy it because I have an advantage whenever I go there over the other guys. I call it the week of Eldora now because I’ve been able to run the Kings Royal before the truck race. The week of Eldora is my second favorite week of the year besides the Chili Bowl.”

 

You can find the audio from that post-race media availability here.

 

Bell will be looking for his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway this Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) and his third-consecutive top-two finish.

Briscoe Hoping To Dig Deep At Eldora

Brad Keselowski Racing driver Chase Briscoe will be racing close to home this week at Eldora Speedway. Briscoe, a native of Mitchell, Indiana, is looking for his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win when he makes his series debut at Eldora Wednesday night (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

 

In a NASCAR teleconference with fellow NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Christopher Bell, Briscoe was eager to make his debut at a dirt track he visited frequently as a kid.

 

“This is the one track I have been looking forward to racing at more than any. I have been going there ever since I was little. Eldora is a Daytona or Indianapolis for us dirt guys, it will definitely be an honor for us come Wednesday.”

 

You can find the audio from that teleconference here.

 

Briscoe is a co-leader in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year points standings with ThorSport Racing driver Grant Enfinger. The two are tied at 125 points apiece heading into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora.

 

Briscoe has had a strong Sunoco Rookie campaign through 10 races this season. He has four top fives, five top 10s, two Keystone Light Poles and has led 105 laps. Briscoe has yet to finish outside the top-25 this season.

 

He currently sits third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points standings.

 

Reigning Champion Looking To Enjoy Eldora

Defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter is having another championship-like run through 10 races this season.

 

Sauter has one win (Dover), seven top fives, nine top 10s and 316 laps led. He has yet to finish outside the top-15 this season.

 

But there’s one thing that the champ has yet to master… dirt.

 

In his four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora Speedway, Sauter has finished 13th (2016), 22nd (2015), eighth (2014) and 29th (2013).

 

This year, Sauter is looking to have fun at the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ only stop at a dirt track. When asked about his mindset going into Eldora, he responded:

 

“Eldora is a little bit of a different situation for me. I have fun at Eldora, it’s a great atmosphere with a lot of good fans. My mindset there is to have fun. If we can stay out of trouble, we could be there in the end.”

 

But just because he’s looking to have fun at Eldora, doesn’t mean he’s not going to compete and is preparing for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the dirt track. Sauter was preparing by going to a local dirt-track near his home in Wisconsin.

 

“This week for the first time ever, I have taken it upon myself to try and gear up a dirt car, it’s a street stock. I live in Wisconsin so there’s a dirt track called Beaver Dam Raceway that’s a half-mile track. I want to go over there for four of five hours on Sunday. I can honestly say this is my way of getting prepared on my own.”

 

Sauter will be looking for his first-career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Eldora Speedway when he takes his Chevrolet Silverado to the dirt Wednesday night (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Eldora Speedway Quick Facts

As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Eldora Speedway Wednesday, July 19 (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), below are some series quick facts at the dirt track:

Races: 4

Pole Winners: 4

Youngest Pole Winner: Erik Jones (07/23/2014 – 18 years, 1 month, 23 days)

Oldest Pole Winner: Ken Schrader (07/24/2013 – 58 years, 1 months, 25 days)

Race Winners: 4

Youngest Winner: Christopher Bell (07/22/2015 – 20 years, 7 months, 6 days)

Oldest Winner: Kyle Larson (07/20/2016 – 23 years, 6 months, 50 days)

Races Won from Pole (or 1st Starting Position): 0

Race Record: Austin Dillon 67.401 mph (07/24/2013)

Qualifying Record: Ken Schrader 91.329 mph (07/24/2013)

 

First Time Diggers At Eldora

There are nine Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders making their track debut at Eldora Speedway in Wednesday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race (9:30 p.m. ET on FOX Business Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They include: Chase Briscoe, Wendell Chavous, Austin Cindric, Cody Coughlin, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen, Noah Gragson, Kaz Grala and Justin Haley.

 

One current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver won his first career win at Eldora – Kyle Busch Motorsports’ Christopher Bell (07/22/2015).

 

Over the last three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Eldora Speedway, there have been three drivers who have won their first career pole at Eldora.

 

They include Caleb Holman (07/20/2016), Bobby Pierce (07/22/2015) and current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver and former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion (2015) Erik Jones (07/23/2014).

 

Familiar Faces Running Eldora

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Ty Dillon headlines a group of non-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regulars making starts this week at Eldora Speedway.

 

Dillon will be running in the No. 99 K&L Ready Mix Chevrolet for Matthew Miller at Eldora and will be looking for his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win there. Dillon has three career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts at Eldora and has one top five and two top 10s.

 

Bobby Pierce will be making his third career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Eldora and has been successful in his last two runs there.

 

He finished a career-best second at Eldora Speedway in 2015 in his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start there.

 

Dirt ace Rico Abreu will make his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start this season at Eldora. Abreu made his track debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora last season and finished third after starting 27th.

Blast From The Past

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series racing at Eldora Speedway remains a popular and special race on the calendar each season for multiple reasons.

 

It’s the only NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race run at dirt track and its unique qualifying format makes it’s a must-watch for racing fans.

 

Both of those reasons combined for a big one in 2013 thanks to Norm Benning when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made its inaugural trip to Eldora Speedway.

 

In 2013 at Eldora Speedway, Benning had to race his way into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series main event by finishing in the top five during the qualifying races to earn a transfer spot.

 

Benning took fifth in the last chance heat race and provided fans and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competitors alike with excitement as he battled Clay Greenfield in the final laps. Both drivers raced hard, but Benning was able to use the outside wall on the final lap to get around and beat Greenfield. Click here to see a video of the moment.

 

With his truck receiving some damage due to his battle in the qualifying race, crew members from other teams assisted Benning in repairing the truck for the main NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.

 

Benning would go on to finish 26th in the race, but the thrill of an underdog racing his way into the main NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Eldora proved to be true in the first NASCAR national series event at the dirt track.

 

RACE PREVIEWS WRITTEN BY & A COURTESY OF NASCAR COMMUNICATIONS

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