Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Chandler Smith crossed the finish line at Texas Motor Speedway Saturday with what appeared to be his second consecutive sixth-place finish, but after the third-place finisher was disqualified in post-race technical inspection, the Safelite AutoGlass Tundra was officially credited with a fifth-place result.
 
Smith’s second top-five finish of the season helped him moved up two spots in the points standings and also catapulted him into the coveted 10th and final playoff spot with four races remaining in the regular season.  
 
 
Stage One Recap
 
  • Smith lined up eighth for the 147-lap event based on NASCAR’s performance-matrix formula. By the time the first caution occurred on lap 7, he had maneuvered his way into the sixth position.
  • The Georgia native elected to restart from the inside of the fourth row when the field went back green on lap 12. He remained sixth when the field was slowed for the second time on lap 21.
  • The Safelite Tundra lined up on the inside of the third row for the ensuing restart and one lap later fell in line in the fourth position. A caution with two laps remaining brought the opening stanza to a close under caution with the No. 18 team earning six points for being in fourth. 
 
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
  • Between stages, Stockman ordered up a four-tire and fuel stop with an adjustment to keep the front tires of the Safelite Tundra from chattering in the corners. Smith lined up on the top of the sixth row when Stage Two went green on lap 40.
  • When the fourth caution of the event occurred on lap 53, the Toyota Racing driver was scored in the 10th spot. He communicated to Stockman that he was “free on throttle.” On the ensuing restart he elected to restart from the top of the fifth row.
  • During the fifth caution of the event, Stockman summoned his young driver down pit road for four tires, fuel, and another adjustment. With several teams electing not to pit, the No. 18 Toyota lined up on the bottom of the sixth row when the field went back green with five laps remaining in Stage Two.
  • The second stanza also came to a close under caution with Smith in the seventh position, earning another three points.
 
 
Final Stage Recap:
 
  • With a limited number of laps on the tires, Stockman kept his young driver on the track between stages. Smith lined up on the outside of the second row when the Final Stage went green on lap 77.
  • As the field settled in line, the Safelite Tundra was in the fourth position. With the final stage proceeding caution free from stage to finish, Stockman called his driver to pit road for the final time from the fifth position on lap 110.
  • When pit stops cycled through with 20 laps remaining, the talented teenager was scored in the ninth position. He was able to gain three spots in the closing laps and crossed the stripe sixth.
  • After the third-place finisher was disqualified in post-race technical inspection, Smith was officially credited with a fifth-place result.
 
 
 
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Safelite AutoGlass Tundra for KBM:
 
How did your race go?
“Overall a really solid day and a good point’s day for our No. 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra. The truck was pretty well balanced, and we came home P6. The biggest thing we needed was a little better short-run speed. I was getting too tight from the half mark all the way to the wall in (Turns) 3 and 4. Other than that, it was a really good day and I’m looking forward to Nashville.
 
 
SpeedyCash.com 220 Recap
 
·        KBM driver John Hunter Nemechek picked up his fourth win of 2021 and the ninth of his NASCAR Camping World Trucks career. It was KBM’s seventh victory of 2021. Chase Elliott finished 3.361 seconds behind Nemechek in the runner-up position.  Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill, and Smith rounded out the top-five finishers.
·        There were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers. There were six cautions for 38 laps.
 
 
How Chandler Smith's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
·        John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished first.
·        Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 33rd.
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
Smith and the No. 18 team moved up two positions to 11th in the Camping World Truck Series championship standings. With Grant Enfinger in the seventh spot not being playoff eligible, Smith now sits eight points ahead of Johnny Sauter for the 10th and final playoff spot.
 
 
Next Race

KBM PR

John Hunter Nemechek captured his fourth victory of the 2021 season in the SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway. Nemechek was running second to 2020 NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott as teams began making their final scheduled pit stops. Crew chief Eric Phillips played the strategy card and kept the ROMCO Equipment Co. Tundra out longer than Elliott under green flag conditions in the final stage and when stops cycled through the move paid off and Nemechek was at the front of the field. Nemechek led a race-high 64 laps en route to his 10th career Truck Series victory.
 
Stage One Recap
 
  • Nemechek started from the pole based on NASCAR’s performance-matrix formula.
  • In the opening stint, Nemechek radioed to his crew that his ROMCO Equipment Co. Tundra was a touch free to start. At the first caution on lap 7, Nemechek continued to lead, but he restarted from the second position after NASCAR deemed that he did not maintain caution car speed.
  • Despite restarting second, Nemechek was able to quickly regain the lead. While leading, a piece of debris attached itself to the nose of Nemechek’s ROMCO Equipment Co. Tundra. By the second caution on lap 21, the debris was no longer an issue.
  • During the second caution, Nemechek radioed that his ROMCO Tundra was free overall. Phillips elected to keep his driver on the racetrack to restart from the race lead.
  • With a caution flying on lap 33, Nemechek was able to secure his eighth stage win of the 2021 season.
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
  • At the stage break, Nemechek radioed that his Tundra was better but that the back was stepping out. Phillips summoned his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Nemechek would restart from the 10th position behind those that stayed out.
  • At the fourth cation on lap 52, Nemechek worked his way to the second position.
  • At the fifth caution on lap 62, Nemechek worked his way up to the fourth position and radioed to his crew that he was trying to navigate the dirty air. Phillips summoned Nemechek onto pit road for four tires and fuel. Nemechek restarted from the 10th position.
  • With the second stage ending under caution, Nemechek would be credited with a ninth-place finish but would receive points for an eighth-place finish due to a disqualification of another competitor in post-race technical inspection.
 
Final Stage Recap:
 
  • With the strategy call by Phillips, Nemechek stayed out under the stage caution to restart in the fourth position.
  • Prior to pitting under green-flag conditions, Nemechek radioed that the balance of the ROMCO Equipment Co. Tundra was good but snug exiting turn 2. With the race leaders making pit stops and Nemechek running second, Phillips kept Nemechek on the racetrack until lap 119 when the over-the-wall crew added fuel and changed four tires. Nemechek cycled back to the lead on lap 126.
  • Nemechek would maintain the lead to score his fourth victory of 2021.
 
 
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 ROMCO Equipment Co. Tundra for KBM:
 
Are you starting to make a statement with this team right now?
“Yeah, I definitely think so. I feel like we’ve been making a statement all year. I feel like we’re one of the favorites every time that we show up to the racetrack. I can’t say enough about Eric Phillips (crew chief) and all these guys. Everyone, the pit crew, everyone at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports), the fab shop, machine shop, chassis shop. Everyone does so good with building our trucks and I’m just lucky enough to be behind the wheel. It’s amazing to get win number four here. I haven’t won with ROMCO Equipment on board yet in my career so finally we were able to get them a win. There’s 250 of their employees here today so huge shoutout to them as well as the fans.”
 
How would you describe your race today?
“I feel like we had the dominant truck kind of like we do every single week. I’m just proud to be able to be behind the wheel and blessed to be behind the wheel. Huge shoutout to Kyle (Busch, team owner) and Jack (Irving, TRD) and Tyler (Gibbs, TRD) and David Wilson (president, TRD) and everyone at Toyota for giving me this opportunity. Without them, none of this would be possible. ROMCO Equipment on board, their first win with me so it will be cool to be able to go to victory lane with them. These fans are awesome. We have 250 ROMCO employees here as well today. We just want to keep racking them up. We’re #Here4Wins.”
 
Are you Playoff ready or what does this team need to work on prior to the Playoffs starting?
“I hope this is only the beginning. I hope that we have a lot more to come. I feel like we have a lot more work to do. These guys work their tails off. I know Eric (Phillips, crew chief) is one of the first guys there and last ones to leave every night. It’s awesome. Win number 41 for him. Win number 10 for me. Just have to keep it going. We’re #Here4Wins.”
 
SpeedyCash.com 220 Recap
 
  • Nemechek captured his fourth victory of 2021 and 10th of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career beating Chase Elliott to the stripe by 3.361 seconds. Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill, and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.
  • There were six cautions for 38 laps. There were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers with Nemechek leading a race-high 64 laps.
 
How John Hunter Nemechek's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
  • Drew Dollar, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished 33rd.
  • Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished fifth.
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
After 11 races, Nemechek and the No. 4 team continue to lead Ben Rhodes in the point standings by 78 points.
 
Next Race
 
The No. 4 team returns to the track when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action on Friday, June 18 at Nashville Superspeedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 8 p.m. ET.

TSC PR

The pairings have been made between the drivers competing in the June 13 NASCAR All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway and the “All-Stars of the Fort Worth Police & Fire Departments.
 
A total of 22 of the city’s finest, 11 each from the Fort Worth Police Department and Fort Worth Fire Department, will be honored during pre-race ceremonies and throughout the NASCAR All-Star Race (live coverage begins at 7 p.m. on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, Sirius/XM NASCAR Ch. 90, 95.9 The Ranch.
 
The honorees will be assigned to a specific driver and in the race, have their names affixed to the race car, be introduced with the drivers and teams during pre-race ceremonies and shown on Big Hoss TV and the race broadcast on FS1. Fort Worth police and fire department vehicles will also be included in pre-race ceremonies.
 
Click HERE to read more about the All-Stars of the Fort Worth Police & Fire Departments.
 
The pairings are:
 
Pace Car/Joe Boggs/Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing - Kurt Busch; Lisa Bunch – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 2 Team Penske – Brad Keselowski; Elisa Guerrero – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 3 Richard Childress Racing – Austin Dillon; J.R. Barron – Fort Worth Police
 
No 4 Stewart-Haas Racing – Kevin Harvick; Ray Russell – Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports – Kyle Larson; Benjamin Wright – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing – Ryan Newman; Sherri Hauch – Fort Worth Fire/EMS
 
No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports – Chase Elliott; Derrick S. Simpson – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing – Denny Hamlin; Macario Hemosillo – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 12 Team Penske – Ryan Blaney; Joey Johnson; Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing – Kyle Busch; Brian McClenny- Fort Worth Police
 
No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing – Martin Truex Jr.; Matthew Grant – Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing – Christopher Bell; James McAmis – Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 22 Team Penske – Joey Logano; Tracy Darty – Fort Worth Police
 
No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports – William Byron; Joel Clifton III – Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 34 Front Row Motorsports – Michael McDowell; Domingo Martinez – FW PD
 
No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing – Cole Custer; Curtis Caldwell – Fort Worth Fire
 
No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports – Alex Bowman; Chelsea Gossett – Fort Worth Police
 
NASCAR All-Star Open Round 1 Winner; R.M. McClellen – Fort Worth Police
 
NASCAR All-Star Open Round 2 Winner; Rogdena Williams – Fort Worth Fire
 
NASCAR All-Star Open Winner; Billy Ward – Fort Worth Police
 
NASCAR Fan Vote Winner; Harold Rogers – Fort Worth Fire
 
The Fort Worth Police Department has shown support for the exclusive event with its personnel wearing NASCAR All-Star Race lapel pins while Fort Worth Fire Department personnel have been wearing NASCAR All-Star Race T-shirts in the weeks leading up to the race.
 
Sunday’s activities begin with the NASCAR Open (5 p.m. CT on FS1, MRN and 95.9 The Ranch) followed by the $1 million NASCAR All-Star Race (7 p.m. CT on FS1, MRN and 95.9 The Ranch).
 
TICKETS:
 
MORE INFO:
Keep track of all of Texas Motor Speedway’s events by following on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Keep up with all the latest news and information on the speedway website and TMS mobile app.
 
TMS PR
Drew Dollar was relegated to a 33rd-place finish in the SpeedyCash.com 220 at Texas Motor Speedway due to getting loose below another competitor in turns one and two and hitting the outside wall with his Sunbelt Rentals Tundra.
 
Dollar returns to the No. 51 on Friday, June 18 at Nashville Superspeedway.
 
Stage One Recap
 
  • Dollar started from the 10th position based on NASCAR’s performance-matrix formula.
  • By the first caution on lap 7, Dollar fell back to the 21st position. He radioed to the Sunbelt Rentals crew that he was still learning the track and that his Tundra was free on corner entry. Dollar would restart from the 20th position.
  • At the second caution on lap 21, Dollar fell back to the 22nd position and radioed that he was still loose on entry. Crew chief Mardy Lindley summoned the Sunbelt Rentals drive onto pit road for a trackbar adjustment. Dollar would restart from the 27th position.
  • At the third caution on lap 34, Dollar radioed that his Sunbelt Rentals Tundra was much better. With the stage ending under caution, Dollar was credited in the 24th position.
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
  • At the break, Lindley summoned Dollar onto pit road for four tires and fuel. Dollar would restart from the 25th position.
  • By the fourth caution on lap 53, Dollar worked his way up to the 21st position. Dollar radioed that his confidence was building and that his Tundra was loose but heading in the right direction. Lindley elected to keep the Sunbelt Rentals Tundra on the racetrack to restart from the 19th position.
  • By the fifth caution on lap 61, Dollar worked his way up to the 18th position and radioed that he was unable to get into a rhythm in that stint. Lindley summoned Dollar to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Dollar would restart in the 22nd position.
  • While trying to pass a fellow competitor on the inside lane in turns one and two on lap 69, the Sunbelt Rentals Tundra snapped loose and sent Dollar for a spin into the outside SAFER barrier. Dollar was relegated to a 34th-place finish, but with the disqualification of a fellow competitor, Dollar is credited with a 33rd-place finish.
 
 
SpeedyCash.com 220 Recap
 
  • John Hunter Nemechek captured his fourth victory of 2021 and 10th of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career beating Chase Elliott to the stripe by 3.361 seconds. Grant Enfinger, Austin Hill and Chandler Smith rounded out the top five.
  • There were six cautions for 38 laps. There were 14 lead changes among seven different drivers.
 
How Dollar's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
  • John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished first.
  • Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished fifth.
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
After 11 races, the No. 51 team sits fourth in the owner’s championship standings, 112 points behind the No. 4 team.
 
Next Race
 
The No. 51 returns to the track with Dollar when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series resumes action on Friday, June 18 at Nashville Superspeedway. Live coverage will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM at 8 p.m. ET.

KBM PR

Race Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Overview:

Riley Herbst came up just two spots short of his fourth top-10 finish of the season in Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 250 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The No. 98 Monster Energy Ford driver earned his best career Texas finish of 12th on the 1.5-mile oval in the heart of the Lone Star State. After struggling with a tight Ford Mustang in Stage 1, the No. 98 team took a major swing in adjustments on its pit stop during the lap-40 stage break, and the Monster Energy pit crew gained Herbst two spots in the process. After restarting the second stage 11th, Herbst was able to battle his way up to seventh. He ended up ninth in Stage 2 – gaining a valuable two bonus points. After he struggled to pass cars during the final stage, the No. 98 Monster Energy team brought Herbst down pit road during a lap-109 caution for what turned out to be his final stop of the race. The pit crew once again earned its 22-year-old driver another two spots and he restarted ninth on lap 116. Herbst was running 11th when the final caution flag of the day flew on lap 164, sending the race to a green-white-checkered finish. The Las Vegas native restarted 10th but ultimately struggled with the balance of his Ford Mustang as the field headed for the checkered flag.

 

Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Monster Energy Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:    

 

“Man, it was hot, for sure. We finally got track position there at the end, running fifth, and just got loose and fell back to 11th. It was kind of a struggle all day for us, to be honest. But there isn’t a scratch on the car, so that’s good. We’ll walk away from here and learn and get better for when we come back here in the fall.”

 

Notes:                   

● Herbst finished ninth in Stage 2 to earn two bonus points.

● Kyle Busch won the Alsco Uniforms 250 Powered by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to earn his 99th career victory, his second of the season, and his 10th at Texas. His margin over second-place Justin Allgaier was .433 of a second.

● There were 10 caution periods for a total of 52 laps.

● Twenty-six of the 40 drivers in the Alsco Uniforms 250 Powered by Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen finished on the lead lap.

● Austin Cindric remains the championship leader after Texas with a 108-point advantage over second-place A.J. Allmendinger.

 

Next Up:               

The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Tennessee Lottery 250 on Saturday, June 19 at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Kyle Busch boosted his NASCAR record Xfinity Series win total with a 99th career victory in Saturday afternoon’s Alsco Uniform 250 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The two-time NASCAR Cup Series champion held off veteran series regular Justin Allgaier by a mere .433-seconds in overtime to earn his second series win in as many races this year.

Busch led the last 32 laps but had to negotiate three late restarts including the last in overtime. It technically marked his second victory of the day as John Hunter Nemechek won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in a truck owned by Busch.

“Just being with a great group of guys and Joe Gibbs Racing is pretty awesome to drive to drive these Toyota Supras here in the Xfinity Series,’’ Busch said after an extended victory burnout the crowd enjoyed from the series all-time winningest driver.

“All in all, such a good car,’’ Busch added, noting he thought Allgaier’s No. 7 JR Motorsport Chevrolet was just as good as his Toyota on Saturday.

“I was just able to think through a few things there on a couple restarts that may or may not work but there at the end they did.’’

Busch, who led a race best 94 of the 171 laps, noted the good pushes from behind he got on the restarts from the current Xfinity Series championship leader Austin Cindric, who finished third. The two driver each won a stage.

At the end of the day, Busch is hopeful the lessons he learned Saturday and the good outcome he enjoyed will be beneficial in Sunday night’s NASCAR Cup Series All Star Race at the track.

It’s Busch’s 10th overall Xfinity Series win on the 1.5-mile Texas high banks, where he also has four NASCAR Cup Series and five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories. The trophy on Saturday marks the 300th win for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity and Cup ranks.

Just behind Allgaier and Cindric at the checkered flag were Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones rounding out the Top-5. A.J. Allmendinger, Noah Gragson, Brett Moffitt, Justin Haley and Michael Annett completed the Top-10.

The Top-10 was especially significant for Gragson, driver of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. His work at Texas from a 30th place start to seventh place finish was a solid rebound from a series of rough outings. He was running as high as fourth when he spun his tires on the next to last race restart. His seventh-place work halts a streak of three consecutive DNFs.

The series next race is the Tennessee Lottery 250 at Nashville (Tenn.) Speedway (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Cindric’s third place effort is his 10thTop-5 effort in 14 races gives him a commanding 108-point advantage over Allmendinger in the championship standings.

Myatt Snider and the TaxSlayer Chevrolet Team's Strong Run Ends Early After Late-Race Wreck
 
 
 
33rd
 
 
17th
 
13th
 
“It was definitely a long, hot afternoon at Texas Motor Speedway in the No. 2 TaxSlayer Chevrolet. We started 17th and struggled with a loose-handling condition during the early stages of the race. It was a chore today to find the exact right line around the track but my spotter, Derek Kneeland, did a great job of evaluating where other cars were running compared to the PJ1 and giving me feedback. By Stage 3, we really figured something out and were running solidly in the top-10 before we were wrecked on the backstretch. It was a pretty hard hit, and I wish we could have finished the race. I want to thank everyone at RCR and ECR for all of their hard work. We’re headed to Nashville Superspeedway next week and I’ll look for some redemption there.”
 
-Myatt Snider

RCR PR

In one of the most unpredictable NTT INDYCAR SERIES seasons ever, Marcus Ericsson pulled off one of the more improbable victories in recent memory in Race 1 of the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit to earn his first career series victory.

Ericsson held off Rinus VeeKay and Pato O’Ward in a three-lap dash to the checkered flag after the second red flag of the event. Ericsson was in second place in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda when cars entered pit road for the red-flag period caused when Romain Grosjean crashed in the No. 51 NURTEC ODT Honda with six laps to go.

But Ericsson took the lead on pit lane when the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet of leader Will Power would not restart after the red flag period on a humid, sunny day with an air temperature of 80 degrees. That apparent electrical control unit malfunction completed Ericsson’s charge from a disappointing 15th starting position, as the last five laps of the race – including two under caution – were the only circuits Ericsson led all day.

Swedish driver Ericsson pulled away from VeeKay’s No. 21 Sonax/Autogeek Chevrolet over the closing three laps under green of the 70-lap race, winning by 1.7290 seconds at an average speed of 93.509 mph. NTT P1 Award winner O’Ward was third in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, 1.9105 seconds behind Ericsson.

“For once, things fell my way,” Ericsson said. “It feels really good. For Will, I feel really bad for him with the way it ended for him. He did a tremendous job today. But it was my day today, and it was about time.”

Live coverage of Race 2 of this doubleheader weekend, another 70-lap event, starts at noon (ET) Sunday on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network. NTT P1 Award qualifying for Race 2 is set for 9 a.m. and will be broadcast on NBCSN, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

Ericsson’s first career win came in his 37th career start over three seasons. His previous best finish was second at this same 14-turn, 2.35-mile temporary street circuit in 2019.

Formula One veteran Ericsson also became the seventh different winner in the first seven races this season, a feat last achieved in 2017 and a milestone reached only in five prior seasons in the series’ century-long history. He is the fourth first-time career winner in 2021, joining Alex Palou, O’Ward and VeeKay.

Takuma Sato finished fourth in the No. 30 Panasonic/Mi-Jack Honda, while Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing teammate Graham Rahal rounded out the top five in the No. 15 Fifth Third Bank Honda.

Power and Ericsson were the dominant drivers in the closing stages of the race. Less than a second separated them once Power took the top spot on Lap 54 when leaders Rahal and RLL teammate Santino Ferrucci – on a different pit stop cycle – pitted on Lap 53.

A hotly anticipated closing duel between 2014 series champion and 39-time INDYCAR SERIES race winner Power and Ericsson vanished when Grosjean hit the wall in Turn 9 on Lap 64. Series officials decided to halt the race under red-flag conditions, with all cars entering the pits. After a break of seven minutes, 29 seconds, the race resumed – without Power at the front of the field.

His ECU apparently malfunctioned, and his Team Penske crew could not start the car. The crew quickly installed a new ECU, and a dejected Power returned to the track and finished 20th, three laps down.

Before the late-race drama, the event quickly unfolded into a strategic duel with two clear paths.

One group of drivers pitted within the first five laps to shed the grippy Firestone alternate “red” tires for the increased durability of the Firestone primary “black” tires, choosing a three-stop strategy. O’Ward and VeeKay were among the drivers to choose this option.

The other group of drivers elected to start and stay on the Firestone reds for as long as possible before switching to their primary tires. Ericsson, Power and Sato were among the drivers who chose this option.

Then there was reigning and six-time series champion Scott Dixon and James Hinchcliffe. They were among just four of the 25 drivers who elected to start on primary tires, and they stayed out as long as possible to stretch fuel and tire wear into a two-stop race.

But that strategy – and those of the drivers who pitted early to make this a three-stop race -- sailed into the Detroit River when Felix Rosenqvist crashed heavily in Turn 6 on Lap 25. The throttle on Rosenqvist’s No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet appeared to stick open, and he made heavy contact with the tire barrier and concrete barrier.

Rosenqvist's No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet speared nose-first into the tire wall and concrete barrier in Turn 6, with an apparent stuck throttle. Rosenqvist was removed from the car by the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team, and he was transported to the infield care center for preliminary evaluation and then transported to a local hospital for more detailed evaluation, according to INDYCAR Medical Director Dr. Geoffrey Billows. Rosenqvist was conscious, alert and talking throughout, Billows said.

The heavy impact forced the race to be stopped with a red flag while Rosenqvist was removed from his car and the concrete barrier and tire wall were rebuilt.

Racing resumed after a red-flag delay of one hour, 18 minutes. Dixon and Hinchcliffe had to make their first pit stops for fuel immediately, and many drivers who pitted early to switch to primary tires also dove into the pits under yellow for fuel and tires.

That reshuffling placed Power, Ericsson and Sato into the top three on the restart on Lap 30 after the red flag. VeeKay quickly passed Sato for third and joined Power and Ericsson in a three-way joust for the lead by Lap 36.

It was a tough day for the top two drivers in the standings entering this race, Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Palou and Dixon. Palou finished 15th after starting last in the 25-car field in the No. 10 The American Legion Honda, while Dixon ended up eighth in the No. 9 PNC Bank Grow Up Great Honda.

Palou led Dixon by 36 points entering this event, but that lead was sliced to just 15 over O’Ward, who leaped over Dixon into second. Palou has 263 points, O’Ward 248 and Dixon 237. VeeKay is fourth with 231.

NTT Indycar Series PR

A good points day for Derek Kraus in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday, boosted him two spots into the top 15 in the championship standings.

 

The driver of the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 Hunter Nation Toyota Tundra scored important stage points – with a top-three in the second segment of the race and a top-10 in the first segment – to go with a 13th-place finish overall in the SpeedyCash.com 220.

 

After starting ninth on the grid, Kraus finished Stage 1 in eighth place. He capitalized on varying pit strategy by his competition in the second segment, to finish third. He battled handling issues in the final segment of the race, which went caution-free, to come away in 13th.

 

In advance of the race, Kraus participated in a special appearance with Hunter Nation at the Texas Gun Experience in Grapevine. He met with fans and signed autographs, with the No. 19 Hunter Nation Toyota Tundra and MHR hauler on display.

 

Kraus also had the honor of meeting decorated military veteran John Wayne Walding, who was a VIP guest on the MHR pit box at the track on Saturday. An Army veteran of nearly 12 years who served seven years in Special Forces, Walding received the Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was the first amputee to become a Green Beret sniper.

 

In addition to Hunter Nation serving as the primary sponsor, NAPA AUTO PARTS had strong associate branding on the MHR Tundra at Texas.

 

As activities in the NASCAR garage took another step this week in returning to normal, MHR welcomed more guests for the VIP garage experience. Featured among them was a special group of NAPA guests.

 

Derek Kraus – Thoughts about the race

Tell us about your day in Texas.

“Our Hunter Nation Tundra was just really tight. We lost track positions during one of the pit stops and just could never fight back to the front.”

 

BMR PR

Hailie Deegan, No. 1 Toter Ford F-150

Start: 12th

Finish: 25th

  • Deegan started the event from 12th in the Toter Ford F-150. Hot and humid weather conditions made for a very slick racing surface which Deegan battled in the opening laps before the first caution on lap 8 when she was 16th.
  • On lap 21 under cation, she reported her F-150 was a little loose on entry while in the 18th spot.
  • During the lap-31 caution, the California native reported she could use a small adjustment but was feeling more comfortable with the track and was in the 14th spot.
  • On lap 52 under caution, she reported her Ford felt better after the most recent adjustments and was in the 23rd spot.
  • At the end of Stage 2, Deegan was really happy with her truck's handling and completed it in the 15th spot.
  • Deegan started the final stage from 10th. She remained in the top-10 until she made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 110.
  • Shortly after returning to the track from the scheduled stop, Deegan felt tire chatter and returned to pit road for service. The crew discovered a punctured tire and Deegan returned to the field to complete the remainder of the race. The unscheduled pit stop took her off of the lead lap and she ultimately finished 25th in her first race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
 

Tanner Gray, No. 15 Ford Performance F-150

Start: 20th

Finish: 10th

  • Gray started his third event at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth from the 20th spot.
  • Gray was in the 13th spot when the first caution was displayed on lap 8. He reported his Ford F-150 was snug and didn't pit. The next caution was displayed on lap 21 while Gray was 12th and he pitted for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with his snug condition. He restarted 19th on lap 29.
  • Stage 1 ended under caution with Gray scored in the 14th position.
  • The New Mexico native started Stage 2 from the fourth position after not pitting during the stage break. A great restart moved him up to second-place in the opening stage lap.
  • Another caution was displayed on lap 52 and Gray reported his Ford Performance F-150 was little tight in turns 1 and 2. On lap 59, Gray took the lead and remained there until the closing laps on Stage 2 when he was passed for second.
  • Gray started the final stage from the 16th spot after pitting. He reported his truck was a little tight while in the 13th position on lap 90.
  • With 20 laps to go in the 147-lap event, Gray had completed his final pit stop of the race and was in the 11th position.
  • In the closing laps, Gray worked his way up to the 10th spot where he ultimately finished.
  • Gray led a total of seven laps today and scored his first top-10 of the season.
 

Next event: Rackley Roofing 200 at Nashville Superspeedway in Nashville, Tennessee on June 18 at 8 p.m. ET.

DGR PR

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