Wednesday, Nov 30
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Christopher Bell (10th) finished third in the final point standings after coming home behind fellow Championship 4 drivers Joey Logano (race winner) and Ross Chastain (third). In his final race for Toyota, Kyle Busch led all Camry drivers with a seventh-place finish.

Toyota Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

Phoenix Raceway

Race 36 of 36 – 312 miles, 312 laps

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS

1st, Joey Logano*

2nd, Ryan Blaney *

3rd, Ross Chastain*

4th, Chase Briscoe*

5th, Kevin Harvick*

7th, KYLE BUSCH

9th, DENNY HAMLIN

10th, CHRISTOPHER BELL

15th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

17th, DANIEL HEMRIC

22nd, BUBBA WALLACE

*non-Toyota driver 

TOYOTA QUOTES

CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 10th

What are your emotions today after everything you went through?

“Wow, wow, wow. Just from being out and then the wins at Charlotte and Martinsville and all of a sudden you wake up this morning and you are racing for a championship, and you are happy, you are elated and then your world comes crashing down. Whenever you get news like that, it puts it in perspective that there is more to this than racing. The whole Gibbs family is in all of our prayers. I’m thinking of them. Ultimately today, the best car won the championship. He was really strong. Proud of our 20 group though. We fought hard, and at the end of the race – the last pit stop, or what we thought was going to be the last pit stop, we were right there battling for it. I’m just proud to be in this position, proud to be at Joe Gibbs Racing and race this no. 20 car. The DeWalt Camry was – we were there, and hopefully, we can come back here next year.”

What positives can you take from this year and apply them to next season?

“I feel good about where we are at for sure. I’m hopeful that my group stays the exact same, from mechanics, engineers and obviously Adam Stevens on top of the pit box because I feel like we have a good thing going. We feel like we are right there on the brink of being there every week and being a title contender, year-in and year-out. Just really thankful to be here and very, very incredibly saddened by the news today and I’m think of the Gibbs family.”

TRD PR

Q. He told the kids before he left he was going to come home with his second championship. Joey Logano, congratulations. You have done it.

JOEY LOGANO: We did it! We're champions again, yes! Oh, my God, I'm so excited. Thank you to everybody, my team. You guys are amazing. Gave me a good race car, good pit stop there at the end, got us up in front. Boy, that was just intense there at the end.

It's all about championships. That's what it's all about, and we worked so hard the last couple weeks trying to put ourselves in position. And everything that happened in 2020, I knew we just wanted to have a solid run and do this today.

I can't thank Ford and Shell-Pennzoil enough for supporting me over the last 10 years, getting us a couple championships today. All our partners at Team Penske, everybody that works on these cars. It's such a big deal to win these championships. It impacts so many people's lives.

Obviously the news this morning with Coy, too, I don't know what to think. But obviously my condolences go to the Gibbs family. But just an incredible day for us, and kind of mixed emotions at the moment.

Q. The family is here; you guys got the pole. It was a perfect race all day. Did you ever have any doubts of being able to get back here and get that second championship?

JOEY LOGANO: I don't know what you said, Rut. I don't really care, either. What did you say?

Q. A perfect day for you, the team top to bottom. Was there ever any doubt for you?

JOEY LOGANO: No, no, I knew going into this thing that we're going to win the championship. I told the guys we were the favorite from Daytona, and we truly believed it, and that's the difference.

Man, it's like I said, I had a good team with a bunch of confidence, and we had all the reason in the world to be confident. I've never been truly this ready for a championship race, and yeah, we did it, man. I can't believe it.

Q. Family has defined your career from the summers you spent with your dad in a camper, your family here. What does it mean to have them here with you?

JOEY LOGANO: Oh, man, it's so special. JayMo and Emilia are at home. Hi, guys. Daddy will be home soon, but we're going to party a little bit first. We might be in a little rough shape when we get home. But man, this is what it's all about, though. When you're a kid his age, my dream was to win Cup championships, and here we are with two of them. Man, it means so much. It's so special. I just want to celebrate, Rut!

NASCAR PR

Racing is a family and the relationships within the entire garage go so much deeper than on-track competition. Today, we lost a dear part of our family. The loss of Coy Gibbs is devastating to everyone at Toyota and TRD. Our deepest condolences and prayers are with Joe, Pat, Heather, Ty, Case, Jett and Elle and the entire Gibbs family and Joe Gibbs Racing family. 

~ David Wilson, President, TRD U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development)

 

“We are heartbroken by the tragic loss of Coy Gibbs. On behalf of the France Family and all of NASCAR, I extend my deepest condolences to Joe, Pat, Heather, the Gibbs family and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing on the loss of Coy, a true friend and racer.”

-- Jim France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO

“It is with great sorrow that Joe Gibbs Racing confirms that Coy Gibbs (co-owner) went to be with the Lord in his sleep last night. The family appreciates all the thoughts and prayers and asks for privacy at this time.”

It’s a surefire bet that NASCAR fans will savor each lap of the final NASCAR Cup Series race on Auto Club Speedway’s 2-mile oval. Pala Casino Spa Resort will make it even more memorable for race fans everywhere.

Auto Club Speedway announced today that the final race on its 2-mile track will be named the Pala Casino 400. The event, scheduled for Feb. 26, 2023, is the second race of the NASCAR Cup Series regular season and the highly anticipated follow-up to the DAYTONA 500.

Moreover, it is part of a partnership which makes Pala Casino Spa Resort the Official Casino of Auto Club Speedway. It also adds an additional boost of excitement to an already historic weekend in the Inland Empire.

In addition, Chris Buescher’s No. 17 RFK Ford, will carry Pala Casino colors, when the field takes the green flag for the historic event. “Our fans will notice right away the enthusiasm Pala Casino brings to the table,” said Auto Club Speedway President Dave Allen. “They are determined to create an unforgettable experience for our fans, and we look forward to working with them to make this final race on the 2-mile oval an event for the ages.”

Pala Casino Spa Resort is certainly synonymous with excitement. It proudly bills itself as SoCal’s Entertainment Capital, which is not a stretch given that its Las Vegas-style casino includes an expansive gaming floor with over 2,000 slot and video machines, 78 table games, 9 restaurants and two lounges. The resort also includes the 2,000-seat Pala Events Center, outdoor Starlight Theater and luxury hotel.

Yet it’s Pala Casino’s passion for racing and race fans that make its partnership with Auto Club Speedway an unbeatable pair of aces for 2023 and beyond.

“As a casino that greatly appreciated competitive racing, Pala is thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pala Casino 400 race in Fontana, and this historic final race at the Auto Club Speedway,” said Pala Casino spokesperson Coley McAvoy.  “We value our new partnership with Chris Buescher and RFK Racing, as well as our continued partnership with NASCAR as we look forward to a very exciting event in February.”

Tickets for the Pala Casino 400 are on sale now at www.autoclubspeedway.com. Fans are encouraged to purchase them now, as demand is high for this historic final race on the 2-mile surface known for its five-wide racing and legendary winners. The NASCAR Xfinity Series will also compete one final time on the 2-mile layout on Saturday, Feb. 25.

Planning also continues for a new short track located on the current site, but details will be announced at a later date.

RFK Racing PR

Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet Team Fight Hard for a Sixth-place Finish in the Season Finale at Phoenix Raceway.

 

6th

8th

14th

“We had a fast Whelen Chevrolet all day. Our RCR Chevy was better than the spring race. I thought we were too free for most of the race, and at the end I couldn’t get the corner entry I needed to get drive. It was so free into Turn 3, making it hard to run the bottom. That’s what I struggled with at the end of the race. I could not hit the bottom without over-slowing the car and getting ran over. Overall, we had a pretty good day. I wish we could have finished in the top-five. We were close. I'll take a sixth-place finish. My team has made a lot of gains this year and I’m looking forward to next year with this No. 2 team." 

 

 

-Sheldon Creed

Austin Hill, United Rentals/Bennett Transportation and Logistics Team Overcome Speeding Penalty for Ninth-Place Finish at Phoenix 

 

9th

14th

6th

“We had an up-and-down day but our United Rentals/Bennett Transportation Chevrolet had speed there at the end of the race. We were really good today and I had a lot of fun and I felt like we had a top-five car. I kind of got us behind on that first stop. I sped on pit road. We were just trying to get all we could get and I got a little too much. We had to restart in the back but drove back up through the field before the end of Stage 2. We fought tight there for a while at the start of Stage 3 and had that one caution where there was like 70 laps to go and we pitted. We took four tires and fuel and hoped the rest of the race would stay green. We were short on fuel by one lap but felt confident that we could save enough to make it to the end. I had just moved up to 12th and the caution came out again and then we were on the same strategy as everyone else. Unfortunately, things just didn’t play out our way.” 

 

-Austin Hill

RCR PR

Jared Fryar’s consistency was on display during the CARS LMSC Tour finale at Caraway Speedway on Saturday.
 

After starting in the seventh position, Fryar patiently carved his way through the field before ultimately holding off Connor Hall and the CARS LMSC Tour champion Carson Kvapil on several restarts for his third career victory in the series and second with car owner Jimmy Mooring.
 

Fryar had not won a CARS LMSC Tour event since holding off Mike Looney in an intense battle at Franklin County Speedway in 2020 and admitted that Saturday’s triumph provided him and his team a much-needed jolt of confidence heading into the offseason. 
 

“I’m feeling on top of the world right now,” Fryar said. “To win one of these races is super big, especially a $10,000-to-win race. We had such a good run in the middle of the year and then we got worried about running good, but our car was awesome [on Saturday]. I can’t thank everyone behind me that helps with this deal.”
 

The path to the front for Fryar was not without its obstacles.
 

By the time Fryar reached the second position, the only car standing in his way was Trevor Ward, who was searching for his first career CARS LMSC Tour victory after leading most of the North-South Shootout from the pole.
 

Fryar had pulled alongside Ward for the race lead when the two collided with 27 laps remaining. The contact sent Ward around in front of the field while Fryar was able to continue with minimal damage to his car. 
 

Known for being a clean racer, Fryar was disappointed that his battle with Ward resulted in the latter getting turned around. Despite this, Fryar said that Ward trying to chop off his momentum is what ultimately contributed to the accident. 
 

"I took advantage of the mistake [Ward] made in Turn 4,” Fryar said. “I was able to get under him and then he hung a left on me in Turn 1. It really sucked and I thought it was going to take me out too. That’s definitely not how I want to race, but when the cards are dealt like that, there’s nothing else you can really do.”
 

Fryar’s season-ending victory comes during a year in which he elected to scale back his involvement in Late Model Stock competition to focus on other interests.
 

In seven CARS LMSC Tour starts this year, Fryar recorded three Top 5 finishes and was running at the finish in each of those events except for Dominion Raceway on June 18, where an engine failure sidelined him after 108 laps. Away from the CARS LMSC Tour, Fryar shined in the Virginia Late Model Triple Crown, earning a victory in the Hampton Heat at Langley Speedway.
 

Fryar still possesses a strong passion for Late Model Stock competition and hopes to run a more expanded schedule in 2023. For now, Fryar intends to cherish his victory at a track that has meant so much to him throughout his career.  
 

“Caraway is a really special place to me,” Fryar said. “I grew up there and it’s my home track, so this one feels really good to me. It’s definitely in the plans to do more Late Model [Stock] races next year since we’ve had a lot of good seasons with Jimmy Mooring. These cars have been great and I’m looking forward to doing more races with Jimmy.”
 

Although the 2022 CARS LMSC Tour season has concluded, Fryar is not yet done with his Late Model Stock schedule. He intends to compete in the $50,000-to-win Thanksgiving Classic at Southern National Motorsport Park on Nov. 27. 
 

Jared Fryar would like to thank his parents, his wife Katy, Candice, Chris, Everett, Derick Jennings, Nick Baity, Daryl Smithback and spotter Tony White, along with JM Racing, Sterling Building Group, R&S Race Cars, Solid Rock Carriers, John West Race Engines, Eatmon Mobile Home Movers. Bill’s Golf Carts, Racing Electronics, Swift Springs and MPM Marketing.

 

MPM PR

For Brady Bacon, winning four of the six Oval Nationals preliminary night features that have been held at California’s Perris Auto Speedway since 2019 was a nice feather to have in his cap.
 
However, the biggest prize of them all had eluded the 32-year-old driver for, quite literally, half his life.
 
Thirteen starts and sixteen years since his “Ovals” debut in 2006, Bacon had waited patiently for his time to finally arrive on championship night of the Heimark Anheuser Busch Budweiser Oval Nationals.
 
There was no more time spent in the waiting room for the Broken Arrow, Okla. native on Saturday night’s 26th running of the marquee event as Bacon had no room to wait any longer.
 
Starting fourth, Bacon tore around the outside of Friday night prelim winner Robert Ballou to take over third on lap four. When pole sitter Justin Grant drifted off the bottom in turn four on lap eight, again, Bacon was there to capitalize.
 
On the 11th circuit, Bacon took his ride to the front of the field, launching down the back straight and blowing past Axsom for the race lead, then carrying onward to score one of his largest paydays with a $20,000 score aboard his Dynamics, Inc./Fatheadz Eyewear – Cressman Sanitation – DriveWFX – Tel-Star/Triple X/Rider Chevy.
 
For the four-time USAC AMSOIL Sprint Car National champion, it was a long time to wait for a coveted “Ovals” win, and it was a long time coming. But, when all was said and done, this one was finally his, ending years and years of oh-so-closes and almosts.
 
“It feels good to finally get this one,” Bacon exhaled. “It seems like we always miss it a little bit for the Saturday night feature here.”
 
There was no such consternation this time around for Bacon, who had previously logged five top-five finishes on the final night of the “Ovals” throughout his career, bested with a third in 2017. Bacon led the final 30 laps to record his second feature victory in a three-night span.
 
Bacon’s latest triumph was the 46th of his USAC National Sprint Car career, moving him past three-time champion Larry Dickson and into a tie for fourth on the all-time list alongside USAC and National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Jack Hewitt.
 
The evening was a lucrative one for Bacon as he not only pocketed $20,000 for his Oval Nationals main event win, but also added a $10,000 bonus as the champion of the 10-race Bubby Jones Master of Going Faster series Presented by Spire Sports + Entertainment.
 
“This race is pretty important for our season financially,” Bacon explained. “If things faltered, or if I had a problem, it could’ve been a $20,000 loss. I was kind of nervous about that all day. Obviously, the goal was to win this race and now I’ve got a $40,000 swing the other way.”
 
Bacon didn’t exactly get away scot-free once he initially established himself as the race leader. Nearing the middle stages of the 40-lap feature, Axsom didn’t go away quietly as he kept pace with Bacon and, at times, was able to pull even in the fight for the lead.
 
On lap 17, calamity ensued in turn three when car of newly crowned 10-time AMSOIL USAC CRA Sprint Car champion Damion Gardner (10th) slowed suddenly. In a desperate attempt to avert the scene of the wreckage, Max Adams (13th), Tommy Malcolm (14th) and Daniel Whitley (17th) all tangled and stopped.
 
Meanwhile, Gardner made an excursion to the Indy Metal Finishing Work Area, wounded with a flat right rear tire, which was promptly swapped out for new rubber that returned him to the race. Gardner eventually dropped out soon after and finished 22nd. Oval Nationals Rookie Daniel Whitley was pushed away as well until his right front wheel decided to go solo and rolled aimlessly on the track through turns three and four.
 
Thereafter, the biggest mover and shaker instantly became Jake Swanson. The seventh starting driver grazed the bottom, and when Ballou drifted up a full lane at the exit of turn four on lap 20, that left the door open for Swanson to scoot under Ballou for third at the halfway mark. Swanson then took on Axsom and shot underneath in turn three with three laps remaining to slot into second.
 
At that point, Bacon had race officials with Sharpies in hand preparing to endorse his name on the mega-sized victory lane check. His lead stood at four-plus seconds with little obstruction along the way, sans a singular pack of lapped cars that caused little to no hiccups on Bacon’s warpath of dominance on both ends of the half-mile dirt oval.
 
“We kind of had a little mixture,” Bacon noted on the team’s car setup. “We had turns three and four from Thursday night and one and two from Friday night, so we did a combination on the car. It was something that worked pretty well, and even though I was making mistakes on top, I didn’t think anyone else could do it a whole lot better than me.”
 
He was right. Nobody did it better than Bacon in any facet down the stretch as he went on to collect a monumental win for his team and himself after a trying week that took its emotional toll. Brady’s grandfather, Ted, passed away on Tuesday morning and the team has been competing with heavy hearts ever since. Brady soldiered on to win not once, but twice in three nights at the Oval Nationals.
 
“It was a sweet win we had, especially after the hard week we’ve had,” Bacon acknowledged. “We definitely had a smoother week than we normally have here so, hopefully, he was helping us out and we’ll take it. It sure is a good way to top off the season.”
 
Jake Swanson (Anaheim, Calif.) and his late-race effort earned him his best career Oval Nationals result. He swept by Axsom with three laps to go on his way to scoring a second place finish, besting his previous top Oval Nationals Saturday night performance of sixth one year earlier in 2021. Swanson finished the 2022 USAC National Sprint Car season on a high note with four podium finishes in his last five starts, including a 2nd, 1st, 3rd and 2nd in his Team AZ Racing/Beaver Stripes – RSS Industries – USW Cat Construction/DRC/1-Way Chevy.
 
“I’m glad we started seventh even though I wish we would’ve been in the Super Six and be able to start up there with those guys,” Swanson stated. “But starting seventh was the best case scenario for us tonight and we were able to methodically work the bottom and work our way up through those guys. By the time I got to second, Brady was already checked out. I didn’t even know how hard he was running it or where he was running it. I felt like I was all by myself out there.  At some point, I’m going to win one of these eagle (trophies). I love this place too much and I plan on doing it. Hopefully, it will be in the near future.”
 
It was a highly impressive debut for Emerson Axsom (Franklin, Ind.) who led the first 10 laps of his first career Oval Nationals start en route to a third place result in his Clauson Marshall Newman Racing/Driven2SaveLives – ZMax Race Products/Spike/Kistler Chevy. Axsom ended the season as the top-Rookie finisher in the USAC National Sprint Car standings, which was part of the learning curve, among other things, that played a role in his result which rounded out the podium.
 
“I think a lot of it was experience and we also had a tire delaminate,” Axsom revealed. “It was a tough deal, but obviously, Brady and Jake are really good here. My guys gave me a really great car. That’s probably about the best I’ve felt all year, but it’s a little disappointing with the tire.  This is the biggest race for us, and I wanted to win.”
 
C.J. Leary came home fourth while Robert Ballou took home fifth. Landing just outside the top-five was sixth place finisher Justin Grant (Ione, Calif.). By firing off for wheel pack/engine heat at the beginning of the evening, Grant clinched his first career USAC National Sprint Car driving championship after more than a decade-plus of close calls and heartbreaks. Grant earned a $50,000 reward as the series' newest king. It’s his second overall USAC National title after capturing the Silver Crown championship in 2020. Meanwhile, he drove Rochester, Ind.-based TOPP Motorsports to its first series entrant crown.
 
Jadon Rogers (Worthington, Ind.) was the man of the move throughout his debut weekend at Perris. He advanced more positions across the past three nights of feature racing than any other driver with 21 cars passed. On Saturday, he traveled 21st to 8th, which clinched him a $1,000 bonus as the All Coast Construction Tony Jones Oval Nationals Hard Charger.
 
No driver passed more cars throughout the entirety of Oval Nationals than Tommy Malcolm (Corona, Calif.) who advanced 26 positions during the weekend, which encompassed heat races, C-Mains, the Super Six Dash, semi-feature and feature events. The effort worked in his favor as he came out on top of the ProSource Oval Nationals Passing Master award.
 
During Fatheadz Eyewear Qualifying, Mitchel Moles (Raisin City, Calif.) became the most successful Rookie qualifier in USAC National Sprint Car history. Moles’ eighth quick time in his first year of series competition surpassed Tanner Thorson's former record of seven from 2021. Wildly enough, both drivers achieved the feat while driving for the same team – the Reinbold-Underwood Motorsports #19AZ.
 
USAC PR
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