Wednesday, Aug 17
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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California’s Toni Breidinger comes into the ARCA Menards Series Atlas 100 at the Illinois State Fair seeking to become the first woman to win a major national championship auto race on the Springfield Mile, August 21.  Breidinger is currently 5th in the ARCA Menard’s title chase with 4 top 10 finished and is also looking to break a victory drought in the ARCA series.

The 23-year old has a diverse racing background starting in open wheel cars and winning over 15 USAC midget races before transitioning to the bigger USAC Silver crown cars and to stock cars.  Breidinger finished 9th in the 2021 Allen Crowe 100 completing all 100 miles and had a creditable run two weeks later at DuQuoin.  Of the top 6 in ARCA points she is the only one with any mile dirt track experience.

During the early part of the 20th century women competed on the same race tracks as the men, even before the passage of the Suffrage Act.  Ladies such as Elfreda Mais and Ora Holbein competed on the dusty dirt tracks of America including the Illinois State Fairgrounds.  Most of the races they competed in were not true contests, but were “hipped” meaning the outcome was predetermined.  Women drivers disappeared from the Springfield landscape for nearly 80 years, before a resurgence from the ladies in 2000.  Two women competed in the ARCA Atlas-Allen Crowe 100 that year, with Shawna Robinson and Karla Lampe participating and Robinson finishing 12th on the lead lap.  In 2020 Hailie Deegan posted the best finish in a major race at Springfield by any female driver, leading one lap and finishing second to eventual winner Ryan Unzicker.

Breidinger has a couple of other aces up her uniform sleeves come August 21.  The Venturini team she drives for has won 5 of the last 9 ARCA events at the Illinois State Fairgrounds and crew chief Kevin Reed went to victory lane with Brennan Poole in 2013 and Christian Eckes in 2018.
 
The event is all part of a huge weekend of racing that begins Friday night, August 19 at Lincoln Speedway featuring MOWA Sprint Cars, Saturday afternoon, August 20 with USAC Silver Crown and Sportsman at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Saturday night at Macon Speedway with POWRi National Midgets, and Sunday afternoon, August 21 with ARCA and Sportsman at the Illinois State Fair.

Advance tickets for the Illinois State Fair races are available by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200, by calling the Illinois State Fair box office at 217-782-1979, or by stopping by the Illinois State Fair box office. Advance sale discounted tickets for the ARCA Menards Series event on Sunday, August 21 can be purchased in Central Illinois area Menards stores for a price of just $20.
 
Springfield Speedway PR

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-20 RACE RESULTS:

POS.   DRIVER

5th      CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA CAMARO ZL1

11th    WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1

14th    KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1

16th    AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 HUK PERFORMANCE FISHING CAMARO ZL1

17th    TY DILLON, NO. 42 ALLEGIANT CAMARO ZL1

18th    ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 MOOSE FRATERNITY CAMARO ZL1

19th    DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1

20th    ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

 

 

 

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:

POS.  DRIVER

1st      Kevin Harvick (Ford)

2nd     Christopher Bell (Toyota)

3rd      Chris Buescher (Ford)

4th      Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

5th      Chase Elliott (Chevy)

 

 

The NASCAR Cup Series season continues next Sunday, August 21, at Watkins Glen International with the Go Bowling at the Glen at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on USA Network, the NBCSports Gold App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

                                                                                                                                           

TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 5th

"The track was very similar there early and late, if anything, I feel like it got a little faster. It wasn't a huge deal, just needed to be a little more forward there to have a shot. It was really odd, I didn't think it was driving any better, but in comparison to people around us, we were going forward. So, just normal Richmond. Just more confusing I feel like. I have been here and had cars like that where you are not driving good, but you are moving forward. Then you will have days where you feel like your car is driving good and you are not going anywhere or vice versa.  This place is really strange and the track had gained a lot of grip there at the end too. There were obviously a lot of different strategies going on, and it was nice to get a top five out of a tough day yesterday."

 

WHERE DO YOU FEEL THIS TEAM IS AS WE RUMBLE TOWARD THE PLAYOFFS?

"Yeah, obviously we want to be better and Michigan was a big time struggle for us. This weekend was too all the way up until the last few runs. We will go to work and try to finish these last two weeks strong and get ready for Darlington."

 

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 HUK PERFORMANCE FISHING CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 16th

"I had fun at Richmond Raceway today and everyone on the No. 3 Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet team did a great job. We started off the race loose. We came to pit road during the stage break and my crew chief, Justin Alexander, made a good call to get my car tightened up during the second stage. On lap 243 we caught a lucky break by catching a caution, saving us a lap. We struggled most of the day with the handling of our Chevrolet, but towards the end of the race we hit on a setup that really worked well with the track. We were posting solid lap times in Stage 3, even on old tires. I wish we could’ve had that at the beginning of the race. We would’ve been jamming. All-in-all, we’ll take this 16th-place finish and head to Watkins Glen International."

 

JUSTIN HALEY, NO. 31 LEAFFILTER GUTTER PROTECTION CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 21st 

“Our No.31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro had speed all weekend and was a top-10 car in practice. Our qualifying effort didn’t show it, but we knew we had a solid car for the race. The speed carried over to the race, and we had good pit stops throughout the race, which got us some decent track position. Overall, I’m proud of our guys for a solid P21 finish. We are looking forward to Watkins Glen, a road course I really enjoy!”

 

NOAH GRAGSON, NO. 16 CHEVY ACCESSORIES CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 24th

"We battled all day with our Chevy Accessories Camaro. We could never just get it fine-tuned. The guys worked really hard, and we had great pit stops. We just kind of missed it overall, but I'm still proud of the effort. We will keep working hard and try to be better next time."

 

ERIK JONES, NO. 43 FOCUSFACTOR CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 35th

"We were just in the wrong spot and got caught in someone else’s mess. We made contact and killed the right front. We struggled all day with our FOCUSfactor Chevy, just couldn’t find the balance we needed to run up front. Not our day. We’ll load up and get ready for Watkins Glen next weekend."

 

 

TEAM CHEVY RACE QUICK NOTES

 

Stage One:

  • After starting in second place, Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1, took the lead and never looked back to lead all 70 laps en route to winning the Stage. 

 

Team Chevy Stage One: Top-10

  • 1st   Ross Chastain, No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1
  • 3rd  Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1
  • 5th  William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1
  • 8th  Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

 

Stage Two:

  • Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro, finished second in Stage Two while Chastain, Stage One winner, faded on the long green run and finished 12th.

 

Team Chevy Stage Two: Top-10

  • 2nd   Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1
  • 8th   Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Camaro ZL1

 

 

 

Final Stage / Post-Race Notes:

  • Chase Elliott (5th) led Chevrolet to the only top-10 finish of the day at Richmond Raceway.
  • With 24 NASCAR Cup Series races in the books, Chevrolet continues to lead in lead the series in wins (13), top-fives (55), top-10s (103), and stage wins (21).

 GM PR

  • Kevin Harvick won his second race in as many weeks with his win today at Richmond

  • The win is Harvick’s second of the season and 60th win of his Cup career

  • Harvick now has 25 Ford Cup wins, which puts him 10th on the all-time Ford list.  

  • This marks the 33rd win for Stewart-Haas Racing since joining Ford (Harvick has won 25).

  • Today’s win is Ford’s 717th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.

 

FORD FINISHING RESULTS

1st - Kevin Harvick

3rd - Chris Buescher

6th - Joey Logano

8th - Aric Almirola

10th - Ryan Blaney

12th - Austin Cindric

15th - Brad Keselowski

23rd - Chase Briscoe

25th - Harrison Burton

26th - Cole Custer

27th - Todd Gilliland

29th - Michael McDowell

32nd - JJ Yeley

33rd - BJ McLeod

34th - Cody Ware

 

KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang -- Finished 1st 

IN ALL HONESTY, DID YOU SEE BACK-TO-BACK WINS COMING FROM THIS 4 TEAM? I KNOW YOU SAID LAST WEEK IF YOU DOUBT US YOU DON'T KNOW US, BUT DID YOU SEE BACK-TO-BACK WINS BEFORE THE REGULAR SEASON ENDED? “You know, I didn't know. It's like I said last week, the cars have been running good week in and week out, and you see that we have a lot better understanding of what's going on with how we adjusted on the car after the first run and were able to get our car handling a lot better.I think as it got dark, the racetrack really came to our Mobil 1 Ford Mustang. Just got to thank Mobil, Busch Light, GearWrench, Hunt Brothers, Rheem, Ford, Xfinity, Morton Buildings, E-Z-Go, everybody who helps Stewart Haas on this 4 car.”

 

DID YOU SEE CHRISTOPHER BELL COMING, AND WERE YOU GETTING A LITTLE BIT WORRIED THERE? “Well, I knew he was coming, but I forgot to shift down the front straightaway the last time. I was not paying attention and he got closer than he should have. I made a mistake there a couple laps doing the same thing. I wasn't shifting on the back and I was shifting in the front. There was a lot going on, and made a couple mistakes, let him get too close.”

 

WITH THIS LEVEL OF MOMENTUM FOR YOU AND THE 4 TEAM, HOW DANGEROUS CAN THIS TEAM BE IN THE PLAYOFFS? “We're just going to keep doing the things that we're doing. I think we just have to keep an open mind about things and keep progressing and keep understanding the car, understanding what we could have done better today, understanding what we could have done better in qualifying yesterday and do the same thing over and over. I want to say hi to Piper and Keelan, Delana and everybody at home.”

 

CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Fastenal Ford Mustang -- Finished 3rd

HOW CLOSE WERE YOU? “Really close. Everyone on our Fastenal Mustang did such a tremendous job overnight because we didn't know we were in this position yesterday. I didn't qualify real well, and everyone worked hard and had a fantastic race car today. I think it's a little easy with this format to feel like third place doesn't matter, but it's nice to be close and to keep progressing and getting better as we've gotten through the summer. Really neat to finish here. Really proud of everybody. Just burned the rear tires up. Ultimately that's on me. Lap traffic didn't do us any favors, either, but ultimately just got to keep the rears under us a little bit better so we can have a little bit better shot there to get after him for the win.”

 

WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SEEING LATELY IN TERMS OF THE ORGANIZATION?  “You know, it's not really fair to just look at results because at the beginning of the year we didn't fire off as good as we thought. We didn't have the improvement. It took us a few months, but we've had three or maybe four months now of really solid runs, really good speed, ever since Dover really, that we've been really close. We've had some bad luck, had some mistakes that I've got to clean up. We've made progress through all of it. The results don't always show it. We were running really well at the 600 and we ended up upside down. There's no doubt in my mind we could have competed for a win at the Indy Road Course and we were on fire. We're making highlight reels for all the wrong reasons. We've been fast in those processes, though. We just have to put it all together to show those results like we did here today.

 

ROAD COURSE AT WATKINS GLEN AND THEN DAYTONA COMING UP. WHAT DO YOU THINK?  “I'm excited. I'm ready for the win.”

 

JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang -- Finished 6th

YOU LED 222 LAPS TODAY AND THEN IS STARTED TO GO AWAY IN THAT LAST RUN. WHAT HAPPENED? “Yeah, I think just as the sun went down and the track cooled off and lost some turn on our car. Kevin (Harvick) and some others got a lot better the last couple of runs in the race. When it was hot and slick that was probably our strength with the Shell Pennzoil Mustang. We had good turn and then once it cooled off we lost the turn but still weren’t real good on the exits. Then you start playing defenst and running too hard. It was a downhill slope from there. I was hoping for a late race caution, that was our only prayer at the end there. Overall we got a stage win and playoff points and that is something to be proud of. It stinks when you say we led 222 laps but not the right one.”

 

YOU GUYS HAVE GOTTEN GREAT RESULTS LATELY WITHOUT THE SPEED. TODAY YOU HAD SPEED. HOW MUCH ENCOURAGEMENT DOES THAT GIVE YOU AS WE HEAD TOWARDS THE PLAYOFFS? “It means we are executing really well throughout the race and able to get something out of a race when we don't have a fast enough car. When you have days like today when you have a fast enough car you want to capitalize. We did as far as playoff points and a stage win but not enough at the end of the race. We need these ones to be race wins instead of just stage wins but I feel like we are starting to come into our own here and getting a little more solid and situated more in the top five than we have been. I am proud of that. We just have to keep that going.”

 

ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang -- Finished 8th 

“When the clouds came and the track cooled we kind of lost it. The first couple runs of the race we were so fast. We drove from 32nd up to the top-five. Our Smithfield Ford Mustang was really good on the long run. We took care of the tires really well and it did everything I needed it to do. As the pace picked up and the track cooled off I just couldn’t get the car to rotate like I needed it to and just couldn’t quite carry the speed those other cars could. It was a good day. We have had a rough month, so to come here and rebound and have a good run -- we need a win, but to have a good run is a confidence booster.” 

Ford Performance PR

THE MODERATOR: We'll roll right into our post-race media availability. We are joined by our winning team, driver Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford, and crew chief Rodney Childers. Kevin, this is your 60th victory in your career, 10th driver all-time in series history to pull that off. How does it feel?

KEVIN HARVICK: It feels pretty neat. I think for me, it's -- I have a hard time putting things into perspective because I've just done this for so long: I think when you have Dale Jarrett and Kyle Petty talking about, Do you remember that first time when you won in Atlanta, does that seem like a long time ago, because it does to me, and I'm like, Yep, I agree, it's been a long time.

I think when you look back at just everything that's happened, that seems like just ages ago. I guess it was. I think as you look at the last 10 years, nine years at Stewart-Haas Racing and then you go back to RCR and just been very fortunate to work with a lot of great people and be able to drive some fast cars and go to Victory Lane a whole bunch of times.

It's been a lot of fun. I think as you look at today, this is a place that I think we both wanted to win at, I think, since the first time we ever came here, and for one reason or another, we've just never been able to get to Victory Lane while we've been at Stewart-Haas Racing.

It's nice to be able to get to Victory Lane, and to do that two weeks in a row, I think today was just a total team effort. They were great on pit road, they made huge adjustments and made the car better from where we started the race. Everybody is just communicating well, and I think that's really the key to evolving and progressing and doing the things that we've done.

THE MODERATOR: Rodney, back-to-back wins. Sounds like strategy has been a big part. How does it feel?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, it's been great the last couple weeks. Like he said, to get one here at Richmond is really special to me. It's my first one here at this racetrack. I don't even know how many times I've finished second or third here. It's been a lot.

To finally get to Victory Lane is really special to me personally, and I was thinking about this when he was talking about 60, I remember the day in Victory Lane when he looked at me and said this was 40, and today is 40 for me.

I remember that day, and wondering if I would ever get there.

It's just a cool win for all of us, and just to have everything go right again -- we had incredible pit stops, and every adjustment we made just happened to go the right way. Just everything worked out.

Q. Kevin, you mentioned forgetting to shift a couple times on those last laps. Does that suggest maybe some kind of nonchalance on your part that you were just kind of coasting? Because you did have a big lead.

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I missed a couple early in the race, too. There's just a lot going on with the rhythm of -- when I started shifting, I was only shifting on the front straightaway and not on the back straightaway. When you just start running lap after lap after lap, sometimes you just get a little goofed up. But no, there's never nonchalance with us. We're going to run every lap fast.

I almost take offense to that. (Laughter.)

I screwed up, but it's not from coasting around, that's for sure.

Q. You talked about those big adjustments. When you go back on the track after a pit stop, obviously you have new tires, how long does it take you to figure out after the tires kind of wear off a little bit, hey, this change really worked?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, you know, I think the adjustments were really good, and I could hear some guys that were shifting and started trying that, and I knew the car was better from a forward drive standpoint when they made that first adjustment, and I was like, well, I don't think I'm going to hurt the tires because I think the drive with our car was pretty good. It just kept taking the downshift and up off the corner.

I stuck with it for the whole run, and it didn't kill the falloff by any means, but it helped the car turn, it gave it drive, and just with the rhythm that I was in, I just kind of stuck with it.

I think we got a good restart there and were able to start making our way back forward. They cleaned up half the mess on pit road with a great pit stop and an adjustment, and then from that point on, we were going forward.

Q. With 215 to go did you think Buescher was going to be the threat? Were you surprised that Bell came up late?

KEVIN HARVICK: You know, I thought we had fended off the 17 pretty well, and then they told me that the 20 was coming, and I'm like, oh, man, usually when you're coming on new tires there's no defense for that. That's why I was a little bit frustrated with myself with the not shifting part on the front straightaway because I gave up the big chunk. It should have never been that close, just a lapse in my attention span, I guess, would be the best way to put it.

Q. With 60 wins, you're behind Dale Sr. now on the all-time wins list. What's that mean to you given the lengthy history you and Dale Sr. and his team have?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I think, look, when you start mentioning the names that are on the top of that list, it's pretty special to be a part of those names. I don't take that for granted.

I think as you look back at it, I don't think as you start your career, you don't say, well, I want to -- it's easy to say, I guess, I want to win 70-some races and be close or win 60, and then you start doing this on a week-to-week basis, and I think that's the hardest thing, especially I see it a lot in today's world. You come out of the Xfinity Series and you see these guys winning a lot of races and you come -- I tell Keelan, you're a go-kart racer. When you want to go big-boy racing, you go Cup racing.

It's just a lot harder because everyone in this garage is just a killer, from the crew chief to the drivers to the guys changing the tires. It's the best of the best, and it's not easy to keep your team and everybody within your organization competitive, keep yourself competitive. It's hard.

I feel like we work as hard as anybody. We've put in a lot of time to try to be good at it, and we have a good system that works with a group of people that loves to be around each other. I think that's what makes it fun is when you have a group of people that you enjoy being around because this is hard to be able to do this.

I think that's 37 wins or so -- I think it's 37 at Stewart-Haas Racing, and they've all obviously been with him. I think as you look at a lot of the team, there's a lot of those guys that have been there.

I get a lot of satisfaction in seeing success from a group, and I think that that is what keeps the dips higher, and you're able to rebound and do the things that you do with good people. When you have people that are good people and you like being around them, it makes it easier. But still hard.

Q. Kevin, you touched on it a little bit in your intro to the press conference, but what worked for you today at Richmond since you hadn't won here at all since 2014 and in Cup since 2013?

KEVIN HARVICK: I don't even think we won here in 2014.

Q. In Xfinity.

KEVIN HARVICK: Oh, in Xfinity. Oh, man, we used to smoke them in the Xfinity car. We should have won every race here.

You know, I think it was always -- it's always just been a good track for us. It's just kind of like losing 65 times in a row. It wasn't because we weren't fast enough. It just didn't work out.

We never put a lot of pressure on ourselves or had a lot of conversations about losing. Winning here today is exactly the same thing. It's not that we haven't run good enough here, it's just that it hasn't worked out.

I think the quicker that you can understand that in this sport and still have a high level of preparation and let things go pretty quickly, the better off you're going to be, because it's not always going to go your way. But hard work and keeping yourself in a position to have a chance to win lets you capitalize on situations like we did last week, and today we just beat them.

Even though you think you have one of the best cars, it still has to go your way. We had so many races last year that we could have won in the last 10, but it just didn't work out, and Richmond is the same way. It's not that we did anything wrong. We had plenty of cars that were plenty capable of winning just like they did today. But it takes a lot for it all to go your way and get to Victory Lane.

Q. After the first caution, things kind of got a little bit chippy throughout the rest of the race for the middle part of it. What did you feel you had to do to stay away from the fray? You see people coming out of the turns --

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, I don't know what you're referring to as far as the chippiness other than -- I don't know. For us up front, we had good track position and were able to do the things that we needed to do and raced around a lot of the cars that we had raced around all day.

I think we did have a couple cautions -- were they running over each other? Yeah, well, I'm glad we weren't involved in that.

Q. There was some downforce adjustments that you had to make towards the yellow line. Could you describe a little bit of the adjustments you had to make?

RODNEY CHILDERS: During the race. We just started the race way too tight and we were just trying to free our car up as much as we could. We were able to make some round adjustments in the back to take some wedge out and made some air pressure adjustments throughout the race, a little bit each time.

We just kept after it, honestly. A lot of times when you have a good car, you kind of get scared and you quit making adjustments. It seemed like today we just kind of continued to stay after it a little bit at a time and trying to make it a little bit better because you know your competitors are going to do that too. It cooled off a ton there at the end with the cloud cover and a lot of different things. There was a lot to take into consideration, and just tried to keep it going best we could.

Q. Big-picture question for you. You've raced here when the stands were full on Saturday nights, through the leaner years and now as they've redone the infield and done some more fan friendly things. Can you reflect on how it's evolved and the crowds have evolved and your experience here over the years?

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, well, I remember I guess it would have been -- I don't know if it was the first or second one, but I got into the back of Ricky Rudd coming down the back straightaway, and all I saw were flashbulbs and people waving their arms, and then he moved me out of the race, and I think the whole place stood up and cheered.

It's hard for me to give you that perception because I've seen it with 100,000-some people here and full. I think obviously sports today are different than they were then as far as live audiences and things like that. It's just a different landscape that we live in.

But I'm glad that we got to experience racing and being competitive in the front of those fields and being able to live in 105,000, whether they were rooting for you or rooting against you. It was still pretty neat because they're close here. It's like Bristol. The boos are louder, the cheers are louder, and at that point nobody had phones, so they all had their cameras that would flash. That was always one of my favorite things coming to the green flag were the lightbulbs and all the things that would flash off on the cameras and things back in the day.

It's just different. I sound like my dad or my parents, right? You guys all know it and sound old and talk about how it used to be. It's just different. It's not the same.

Q. The first four races of the playoffs open at four of your best tracks, Darlington, Kansas, Bristol and then Texas. With that and the speed and the performance you guys have had really through the summer stretch, are you kind of looking ahead to the playoffs, that you guys can make some noise, and excited about that?

KEVIN HARVICK: Look, we're boring. We don't ever look ahead. They plan ahead, but it really winds up being -- I know that they're looking a little bit ahead if I show up at the simulator and they're like, hey, we're going to work on this particular race that's two weeks out. Then I'm like, oh, okay, we're working on a project here. I don't ever say anything but I can tell.

You know, we went to Texas and ran last this year. I think that all those things are out the window, and Darlington was good, Kansas was good. We'll go back and run better at Texas, but those are definitely good tracks for us.

RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, I mean, you have to look at those tracks a little bit ahead of time. Darlington, we were fortunate enough to do the tire test there and we were able to race there, and we honestly had a good car. But it's also one of the places that we did everything completely backwards than everything that has made us better in the last two months.

Monday I brought it up, and then Tuesday that's all I worked on all day was Darlington, and then at the end of the day I'm like, I've got to quit worrying about Darlington at this point and put it away. We went to the simulator Wednesday morning and I never brought it up again.

Yeah, you have to think about those things and what car you're going to take and all that stuff. You just got to continue to plan and do the right things, and like he said, our system is what is working right now. It's not that we've done a ton different. It's our system is working, and the people are communicating the right way and talking about the right things, and that's kind of what we've got to keep going.

Q. The genesis of this team, it seems like when you guys are in a corner and people doubt you guys and say you can't do something, you guys come out swinging and like to prove people wrong. Is that a wrong assessment of you guys?

KEVIN HARVICK: It's kind of like when they put those small boxes in the newspaper where they have to correct their story and you can't hardly read them. I feel like a lot of you should put those at the bottom of your story. I get great gratification out of that.

Q. Kevin, last week you talked about adhering to the routine, that you guys don't really change anything. But is there something about you at this point of your career, all the success you've had over the past decade, that you've been more malleable, more willing to adjust your ways or not get too set in your ways, especially in this new era and this new car. Is that something that goes into your success?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think for me I never have a problem speaking up if I don't agree with them. They may not ultimately agree with me, but I will just voice my concern of maybe we're taking this too far, not far enough. I have no problem when they show me data that says you're not doing a good job, whether it's steering, throttle, brake, gas, they just -- nobody is going to get offended and nobody is walking on eggshells to show you that stuff. If it's something to where another competitor is doing this and we're getting beat badly because I'm driving the car bad, I didn't know what was good and what was bad.

But I have no problem just going out and trying something or trying to develop something. I think with our road course stuff, I think that's really been the biggest key with Joey Hand and just developing new braking strategies and the way that you use the throttle and the things that make this car tick.

He can probably speak to maybe there's something that sticks out more to him, but it's just -- nobody gets offended if you don't agree with them or they tell me I'm doing a bad job and you need to do something better. We all want to achieve the same things, and that's the great part about our group is nobody cares about you disagreeing or you saying something that it isn't going to offend them. Whether that's right or wrong, that's just the way that we do it. I think that just comes from years of trust, years of communication, years of talk. I think that's the biggest key to progressing in a positive way.

Q. Was that purely Kevin Harvick SHR driver or have you always been that way even dating back to RCR?

KEVIN HARVICK: You know, it's just such a different era. We talked about it Wednesday on the Little Motor Mouth show. It used to be a Sawzall and a hammer and trial and error. Now it's simulation and simulators, and it's just different, in order to try things and do things, you have to try them differently. Could you imagine if somebody said, okay, we're going to cut the bottom of the car off today and everybody would be -- we can't do that. Back in the day, it was just cut stuff off and, all right, go out and run it. It might make it around the racetrack, it might not, but we need to try it.

I think the way that you progress is just different. The trial and error is no different, and he always likes to tell me there's no guessing, it's all calculation. I don't know. I'm still kind of on the fence as to some of it's a guess, but I know that that pushes his button. He hates the word guess because those guys put a lot of time into it.

Q. Do you enjoy this kind of old-school strategy, long green flag run race that feels kind of like something out of the early 2000s, tons of tire falloff? Is that something you embrace because it doesn't come down to just best pure speed?

RODNEY CHILDERS: I know for me I do. I've always loved tracks like that. We don't have a lot left to be able to do that kind of thing. But to be able to split a stage into thirds is not something that the average fan would sit in the stands and realize that is going to happen. If they just look at the laps and how far each person can go on fuel, you're like, well, why would they do that. It's always interesting to see that play out, just like in the spring race, we pitted early and then the 11 realized what we were doing and pitted the next lap, and then we sit there and finish first and second.

I think you just see people like him excel, too. You've got a guy that knows every seam, every crack, every cranny of these places that he's raced at a long time, and you've hung around, you find different things, you do different things, and you just have a lot more options at places like this.

I mean, like we talked about in Victory Lane, this was a better race than any of us thought it was going to be today. To have cars running up against the fence and guys on the bottom, guys in the middle, when we walked in this garage yesterday morning, none of us would have said that. There was a lot of passing out there, a lot of different things that went right today.

You look back at last week, same thing. We all thought Michigan was going to be a bad race, and it's the best Michigan race we've seen in forever. You never know what you're going to see, but for us, I enjoy it, and I'm pretty sure he does, just saving tires and doing the right things.

KEVIN HARVICK: It's the grease on the shoe.

Q. Rodney, can you describe either the emotion or just the outlook of going from potentially not making the playoffs to now knowing you're in the playoffs and having 10 playoff points?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Within the group and within those meetings every Tuesday morning with the 4 team and that small group, you could see it two months ago. Two months ago it was like, we ran better here and this is better and this was better and this was better. Then the two months before that we would have those meetings and it was like, well, this was worse, this was worse, this was worse, this was worse.

It started two months ago, and you could just see everybody -- the communication and the confidence and the cars we were building and all that stuff just got better. It doesn't take a lot of confidence with our group to make a huge difference.

That group, like he said, has been a tight-knit group the entire time, and we push each other. When I have a bad day, Cheddar pushes me. When he has a bad day, I push him, and it's the same for our engineers, it's the same for our shop guys. I mean, every team in this garage goes through so many negatives that nobody in here ever hears about, whether it's somebody in your family that's sick or somebody has got this or got that. It's so hard to keep the positives going, even when things are going right.

Like the year we won 10 races, a guy on our team had cancer. Like those types of things, that's what you talk about in the meetings more than you talk about making your cars better because you know that that guy makes it, right? That's the kind of group that we are. We talk about anything and everything. We talk about somebody's birthday, we talk about somebody's anniversary, we talk about somebody's kid being born last week. Those are the types of things we talk about. But it's really just about keeping the system the same and not being over here one week and over here the next week and just treating people the same, treating people right and doing the right things.

Q. What are your thoughts, your mentality when you were trailing in this race, and what ultimately prepared you to actually win this race?

KEVIN HARVICK: How we got faster. You know, I think that the key was just nobody -- we didn't make any mistakes and were able to survive those green flag pit stops and maintain with the 20. I think when -- or the 22. When we were able to get on the outside of Joey and kind of wore him down - took a while to wear him down that last run there when we got by him. That was really the key was getting control of the race and being able to run the lap times and be the leader and kind of -- they had a good strategy and just needed -- they needed it one lap shorter it seemed.

But I think getting around the 22 car was the key, and coming out in front of that last green flag pit stop, we didn't have to waste any time, and ultimately we needed every lap to make as much pace as we could to stay in front of the 20.

Q. Are you wishing this race was still in the playoffs right about now, because you'd be well on your way to next round.

KEVIN HARVICK: Wishes don't do much around here.

I've learned a long time ago that things are going to change, and I have very little control of that stuff.

We'll enjoy today and the things that come with that and worry about the coulda-shoulda-wouldas we do not worry about.

Q. This run feels like that Harry Gant kind of run -- you're not that old yet, but does that make you feel like -- days like today, does that make you feel --

KEVIN HARVICK: I don't even know what month it is. August? I guess we could go with August. I guess when we get done with Daytona we'll see where it's at, but we can't have another Mr. September, right?

Q. Does today make you feel like you could do it for five more years, be that Mark Martin, Harry Gant guy that's doing it in their 50s, winning?

KEVIN HARVICK: My wife is going to kill you if you talk about racing into the 50s. I don't know about that.

We're going to enjoy what we're doing and do the things that -- we'd like to stay present. We'll worry about wherever we're going, Watkins Glen, this week.

Q. I have another old guy question but let's call it a perspective question. Since you've turned 40, this is your 29th Cup Series victory, which ranks third all time and also means almost half of your career Cup wins have come since turning 40. As someone who tweeted "Old guys rule," do you take pride in that?

KEVIN HARVICK: I do take pride in that. I love it. For me, a lot of the guys that I grew up racing with are -- Dale is up in the booth and Kyle and Dale Jarrett are down here and you've got Bowyer in the booth. Jeff is on pit road. After the race I saw Jeff, and driving to Victory Lane.

So a lot of the guys that I grew up racing with, they're all retired and doing other things, but I get to still see them. It's those quiet high fives that are a lot of fun and kind of keep it in perspective for me because of the fact that you're older and supposed to be done and kind of headed down a path that is toward the end.

I've always prided myself in trying to be competitive and do what it takes to be competitive and make the sacrifices that it takes to be competitive. But I do enjoy it. There's nothing better than winning. That's what we do. I don't know how to really put it all into perspective because it's just not something that I just stop and really ever look at. I never really stop and say, where are all those 60 wins? The first one is easy. Today is easy to remember. Last week is easy to remember. But if you guys wouldn't have told me that the last race that we won was at Bristol, I would have argued with you. I would have told you it was Darlington.

I don't really look at the numbers. It's always about -- maybe this is a fault of mine, but I think it's also one of the reasons that we progress forward. But it's never about what you have done, what the numbers look like. It's what do we got to do next week, what could we have done better last week, how do we keep this all in perspective.

You can look at all that stuff when it's over, and if you gave it all you had, hopefully you can be successful, and if you outwork them and you have a better group of people and a better relationship with those people, how do you -- that's one thing that KHI really opened my eyes is all the people, every person in that shop you had to treat different, whether they were doing good or bad, and how you approached that, you had to treat them different.

We have a group of people that have a lot in common on our team, very similar in age, a lot of them have kids, and for whatever reason, that has all meshed.

It's just this constant communication and we don't ever talk about how cool it was two wins ago. We'll talk about how great it was to win this week and then it'll be, all right, see you Wednesday.

Maybe sometimes I need to just stop and kind of take it all in, but I don't know, it's that -- I always feel like it's bragging when you stop and talk about yourself. I think for me, I just want to be -- I like most of the kids in the garage. I like being around the competitors. I've got a much better relationship with most everybody in the field, the crew chiefs, the owners. I like that part. You want them to respect you when you're done.

It's hard to -- I don't know, the perspective of what has happened is really not something that I stop and say, that was pretty cool. I thought it was cool that I could put my little girl in the car last week and we could do stuff like that. Those are the things that I think are neat right now.

Q. Rodney, about the race, you mentioned in April it was just you and the 11 that were on that strategy and it seemed like everybody was on that strategy this time. Was this a more straightforward easier type of race to call?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, it was, and all these teams are good at that stuff, right, so we look at the practice falloff, and man, we weren't 20 laps into practice and my engineering back at the shop is telling me on the intercom, yep, it's going to be that, you're going to have to pit twice, do all those kinds of things. It's about five or six faster doing it that way, but it ends up being more than that. From a math standpoint it's about five or six seconds, but on the racetrack when you have those old tires, you just end up handicapped. You can't do anything. You can't get out of the way, you can't do this, you can't do that, and the five seconds turns into 15 seconds.

It all comes down to that math and practice and looking at the falloff. It was pretty easy to see yesterday.

Q. Rodney, Joey said the difference for him was the weather came in and you guys were getting better. Were you surprised how much the weather changed? Particularly in that third stage it got really cloudy and started to cool off. That seemed to be to your benefit.

RODNEY CHILDERS: I wasn't sure if the weather was helping our car or if the adjustments were helping our car. We had made one adjustment under green, and right after we pitted we went back out, and I looked up at my monitor, and we were 11.9 seconds behind Joey, and he was the leader at the time. Then we ran all the way to the end of Stage 2 and we were like 1.6 seconds, I think. Like we had caught him 10 seconds over 50 laps, which is unheard of at a place like this.

I felt like the adjustments were making it better, and looking back on it, maybe the weather was helping our car and doing half of the stuff for us.

You don't really know that, right, so you just kind of keep going with your gut and what you think is right and what you think you need.

Q. For Kevin, something Rodney told me last month was he and the team were putting it on themselves to try to make you more comfortable in this race car because you had made comments that sometimes the car was faster than you and you were just still adjusting. Where do you feel like you're at with this car because you've spoken about what an adjustment and how it's been different this year learning a new car. Where do you feel like you are now?

KEVIN HARVICK: I think it depends on the racetrack. I think we've obviously figured out ways to make it more comfortable, and I think once it's more comfortable week after week, you just become more confident. You've got to remember, the first lap of the first downforce race, backed it in the wall, so that was really where the confidence started from that standpoint, and then you just work different weeks and different tracks and different things, and you have good tracks, bad tracks, and now we're kind of getting into a rhythm.

I feel pretty good about where everything is right now and being able to lean on things and do the things that you need to do in the car.

Q. Rodney, you probably couldn't hide anyway, but now that you guys are so strong the past couple weeks, sneaking up in the playoffs is not going to be a thing. Is this going to make it harder in a way for you now that you'll be more of a target when the playoffs start because you are running so well?

RODNEY CHILDERS: Man, like I told Claire, you go week by week and you're only as good as the last race. Man, you look at the 8 today, Tyler come by on pit road and said, good job, and I was like, man, what was wrong with y'all. You've got somebody that has been so dominant here lately and they were just completely out to lunch. Honestly, that could happen to us. It could happen next week, it could happen the next week, and there's just so much of a learning curve still.

(Inaudible) run and this and that and that's part of giving him confidence driving the car. At the beginning of the year, that stuff was changing every week, like that's too fast, that's too slow, like these brakes do this, these brakes do that. That's really where it all boils down to is all that stuff has to be perfect to win races.

Yeah, I mean, we've got confidence, but like we said earlier, you've just got to keep doing the same things we've been doing and your same system and concentrating on the right things and doing the right things and keep the guys at the shop motivated and just where it goes is where it goes.

You've got to just keep doing your thing.

Q. Kevin, she said that you have a good relationship with the younger drivers in the garage; is that what you said? I'm thinking back to last September and October where it didn't seem like you had any relationship with the young drivers.

KEVIN HARVICK: Well, I mean, you're just speaking of Chase, though.

Q. But it seemed at that time that there was more -- I could be wrong --

KEVIN HARVICK: Yeah, and I think I still feel good about talking to most of them. I think it's kind of fun actually because I look at Noah right now and I'm like, oh, man, he's going to be entertaining. And in the same sense I'm like oh, man, he has no idea what's coming as far as the week-to-week grind of trying to be competitive because I've seen it with Cole, I've seen it with Chase. You look at Blaney, took him, what, two or three years to kind of get going. Elliott was the same way.

I think it's kind of fun to see guys that are young enough to be your kids starting to drive the cars. They're young. Like Ty Gibbs is what, 19? So it's funny to -- I rode around in the truck today with him, and it's just -- just some of the things that you talk about are very entertaining, and also just opens your eyes to the different perspectives of how people see things and just what's happening.

It's like we talked about the crowd, right? We had a good crowd today and good crowd at Michigan last week, and next week we're going to go to Watkins Glen and there's going to be people everywhere. But it's still never going to be what it was, right? Like it's still never going to be 105,000 people here, it's still never going to be 250,000 people at the Daytona 500, it's never going to be 200,000 people at Charlotte and nobody has got cameras with flashbulbs anymore that you're going to have 200,000 people snapping a picture at the start of the rate. It's just different, and perspective has changed and different and expectations and all those things that go with that.

Yeah, I think I've tried to be more open with a lot of those guys and just trying to -- you hear so many people, well, that guy wouldn't talk to me or that guy wouldn't talk to me. I just try to talk to all of them, right, because why not. You want to be kind of engaged with your competitors and peers and people that you're around. Imagine if Nate didn't like you. You guys would be battling, right?

Q. What you were talking about is a good segue; having weathered this drought, as it were, was it easier to do that given that you have a driver-owner, a seasoned crew chief in yourself knowing what you are capable of because you really seem to be kind of Mr. Cool throughout this thing, at least in the public view.

KEVIN HARVICK: It didn't bother me one bit. Obviously we'd all rather win, but I've been through longer losing streaks. That stuff is -- you can fall right into that trap and let it suck you in. It's just too hard to take time to do that because there's just way too much to do. There's way too many conversations to have. I've got a million things going on, and I'm glad I have a million things -- maybe I'd think about it different if I wasn't as busy as I am and you have time to just sit there and go through the same thing day after day. I don't know, but it didn't -- it was really nothing that ever affected us just because of the fact that you're always worried about next week.

It's no different than what we've done the last two weeks. We haven't done anything different, but the cars have run good for a couple months, and now a few things went right and now we've won twice. That's just the way this deals goes. You can take the fastest car and not win with it 10 weeks in a row. If you keep pounding away and putting yourself in position and doing a good job and communicating and talking and trying to progress things on a week-to-week basis and don't quit, things will come back around. Maybe that's wrong. I don't know. Works for us. It's working for us.

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, thank you for coming in, and good luck next week.

NASCAR PR

Corey Heim came into Richmond (Va.) Raceway on the heels of back-to-back top-five finishes at Pocono Raceway and Lucas Oil Raceway. The 20-year-old driver extended his streak to a career-best three straight top-five finishes, wheeling his JBL Tundra to a fifth-place finish Saturday night at Richmond.
 
Heim started Saturday’s 250-lap event in 16th and chipped away at the field throughout the night. The JBL driver earned an additional six stage points for the No. 51 as they now sit 31 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8 in the owner’s portion of the Truck Series playoffs. 
 
 
Stage One Recap
 
·        Heim lined up for Saturday’s Worldwide Express 250 at Richmond Raceway in 16th after putting down a lap time of 22.925 seconds at 117.775 mph in the qualifying session on Saturday afternoon.
·        On the initial start of the race, Heim fell back to 17th before getting into a groove as he started to chip away at the field.
·        With just under 10 laps to go in the opening stage, Heim worked his way into the top-10 for the first time of the night and took the green-and-white checkered flag in 10th to end Stage One.
·        At the stage break, Heim communicated that his No. 51 Tundra TRD Pro was “just aero tight. Wouldn’t over adjust too much”.
 
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
·        The 20-year-old driver brought his JBL Tundra down pit road at the break where the No. 51 team executed a lightning fast four-tire and fuel stop, earning three spots on pit road, sending Heim back out on track to restart in seventh.
·        Heim continued to run in the top-10 throughout the middle stanza before passing the No. 52 of Stewart Friesen for fifth with 15 to go in the stage.
·        As the field came back to the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two, Heim was scored in sixth, earning an additional five stage points for the No. 51 team.
·        Heim radioed that his JBL Tundra was “a little tight in the center of the turn but free on entry”.
 
 
Final Stage Recap:
 
·        The battle cost Heim two spots as he settled into eighth with 90 laps to go in the race.
·        Heim worked his way back up to sixth before the third and final caution of the night came out with 34 laps to go.
·        The JBL driver was able to gain one spot on the ensuing restart into the top-five where he would take the checkered flag, earning his career best third straight top-five finish. 
 
 
 
Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 JBL Tundra TRD PRo
 
How did your race go?
“Top-five tonight at Richmond. Didn’t have much for the leaders but we fought all night and brought home a decent finish with my JBL Tundra TRD Pro. Onto one of my favorites next at Kansas Speedway.”
 
 
Worldwide Express 250 Recap
 
  • Chandler Smith earned his fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win and will advance to the Round of 8. John Hunter Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Grant Enfinger, and Heim rounded out the top-five finishers.
  • There were three cautions for 25 laps and three leads changes among three drivers.
 
 
How Corey Heim's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
·        Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished first.
·        John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second.
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
With one race remaining in the Round of 10, the No. 51 team finds themselves sixth on the grid, 31 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8 in the Camping World Truck Series owner’s playoffs. 
 
 
Next Race
 
 
Corey Heim and the No. 51 JBL team will return to action on Sept. 9 when the Camping World Truck Series heads to Kansas Speedway for the final race of the Round of 10. Live coverage of the Kansas Lottery 200 will be on FS1, Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET.

KBM PR

John Hunter Nemechek came into Richmond (Va.) Raceway looking to defend his 2021 victory at the 0.75-mile facility and punch his ticket to the Round of 8. After 250 laps, the second-generation driver came up one spot short and took the checkered flag in second, earning an additional 18 stage points along the way.
 
Coming into Richmond, Nemechek was 24 points above the cutoff line to advance to the Round of 8 but was able to extend that gap to 43 points with one race remaining in the Round of 10. 
 
 
Stage One Recap
 
·        Nemechek lined up in seventh for Saturday’s 250-lap event at Richmond Raceway after laying down a lap time of 22.799 seconds at 118.426 mph in the qualifying session earlier in the day.
·        Just 10 laps into the race, Nemechek broke into the top-five where he would stay for the rest of the night.
·        As the laps were winding down in the opening stanza, Nemechek was running in third and was able to track down his KBM teammate Chandler Smith as they were navigating lapped traffic.
·        Nemechek completed the pass on Smith with seven laps to go in the stage and would take the green-and-white checkered flag in second, earning nine stage points.
 
 
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
·        At the stage break, the second-generation driver communicated that his Safeway Tundra was “a little snug, but overall, not too bad”.
·        The No. 4 team executed a four-tire and fuel stop at the break and sent Nemechek back out on track to restart Stage Two in second.
·        As the field went back green, Nemechek was on the inside of Chandler Smith as the two battled into Turn 1. Nemechek was unable to complete the pass for the lead and settled into second as the stage continued.
·        Nemechek remained three seconds back of Smith for the entirety of the middle stanza before taking the green-and-white checkered flag in second, adding nine more stage points to his total. 
 
 
 
Final Stage Recap:
 
·        Another four-tire and fuel stop by the No. 4 over-the-wall crew at the stage break put Nemechek on the front row to restart the final stage.
·        Much like the Stage Two restart, Nemechek and Smith battled for the lead as the field headed down into Turn 1. As they came out of Turn 2 and down the backstretch, the second-generation driver settled back into the second position.
·        With 45 laps to go, the leaders were navigating lapped traffic as Chandler Smith got hung up with the No. 62 of Layne Riggs, opening the door for Nemechek to make a move for the lead.
·        Nemechek made a three-wide move to the outside heading into Turn 1 but was unable to complete the pass for the lead as they ran into more lapped traffic.
·        The third and final caution of the night came out with just 34 laps to go in the race and Nemechek scored in second.
·        The No. 4 team executed their final stop of the stop night and set Nemechek up on the front row for the ensuing restart.
·        Unable to make the pass for the lead on the restart, Nemechek drove the final 28 laps in second where he would take the checkered flag, earning his eighth top-five finish of the season.
After the race, Nemechek came over the radio and said “I’m sorry. Thank you for a good truck, really appreciate it”.
 
 
John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Safewy Tundra TRD PRo:
 
What did you need to make a run at Chandler Smith for the win tonight?
“We didn’t adjust quite like we needed to from day to night. Partly on me, so I’ll take that one. Overall, solid day for our Safeway Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. Thank you to all of our great partners that are on this Tundra TRD and everyone that helps out and keeps us going here. Just big picture racing I would say. Really good points day. Second, second and second for all three stages. Can’t complain about that, just one spot short. It’s good to be disappointed when you have a run like that with second, second and second. Really good points day, let’s go advance to the next round. Only thing that matters is getting to the final four in Phoenix to compete for a championship.”
 
What are you going to do in the two weeks before the Kansas race?
“I’m going to run two races for Sam Hunt Racing in the Toyota GR Supra. Excited to go stay in the seat and keep everything that I can sharp and go have some fun racing.”
 
 
Worldwide Express 250 Recap
 
  • Chandler Smith earned his fifth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win and will advance to the Round of 8. Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Grant Enfinger, and Corey Heim rounded out the top-five finishers.
  • There were three cautions for 25 laps and three leads changes among three drivers, including Nemechek who led one lap. 
 
 
How John Hunter Nemechek's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
·        Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Toyota, finished first.
·        Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fifth.  
 
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
After two races in the Round of 10 of the Camping World Truck Series playoffs, Nemechek increased his gap and now sits in fourth 43 points above the cutoff line for advancing to the Round of 8. 
 
 
Next Race
 
Nemechek and the No. 4 Mobil 1 team will be off for three weeks before heading to Kansas Speedway for the cutoff race in the Round of 10 on Sept. 9. Live coverage of the Kansas Lottery 200 will be on Fs1, Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM at 7:30 p.m. ET. 
 

KBM PR

2021 Western Midget Racing presented by Masters Design and Construction champion Blake Bower won his 19th career feature on Saturday night at Marysville, equaling David Prickett for the all-time wins mark in the stock production powered Midgets. The win also wrapped up Bower’s third consecutive WMR weekend sweep and boosted him to 11 wins in the 2022 series.

“It feels great. A lot of work goes into these cars. We just had to hit our marks right all night. (All the restarts) started getting on my nerves. But that’s just a part of it and that’s what makes you better,” Bower said.

Oakley’s Bryant Bell and Santa Cruz’ Logan Mitchell split the eight-lap heat races. Three incidents slowed the attempts at getting the feature underway. Peoria, Ariz.’s Cory Brown flipped in turn one, ending a challenging weekend for the long tow driver of the No. 32 Blud Lubricants machine. On the following try, Bower slid sideways which collected Mitchell. Both were able to continue after the caution fell. Bell slid to a stop in turn one on the third restart, sparking a multi-car melee. Paradise Valley, Ariz.’s Greg Jewett flipped while Lodi’s Nate Wait, Las Vegas’ Kyle Hawse, and Yuba City’s Nick Van Atta suffered race ending crashes as well. 360 Sprint Car winner Casey Schmitz of Chico retired under the red flag with a fuel pump issue.

Concord’s Adam Teves led the first three laps before Bower found the long way around the top of turn one, charging past Teves to lead lap four. Bell spun in turn one for an additional caution which set up a green-white-checkered finish. Bower held off Teves, Bell, and Rancho Cordova’s Craig Holsted for the win. Mitchell was scored fifth.

Western Midget Racing resumes with round 21 of the season on August 27 at Ventura Raceway. The action can be seen live on FloRacing!

For more information on Western Midget Racing, visit them at www.WesternMidgetRacing.com or follow them on Facebook!

Western Midget Racing is presented by: Masters Design and Construction, Rockwell Security, Rams Racing, Hoosier Racing Tire, Extreme Mufflers, FTK, Blud Lubricants, and West Evans Motorsports.

 

August 13, 2022 – Marysville Raceway (Marysville, Calif.) Results

HEAT 1 (8 laps) – 1. 09 Bryant Bell HEAT 2 (8 laps) – 96x Logan Mitchell

FEATURE (16 laps) – 1. 9 Blake Bower, 2. 35s Adam Teves, 3. 09 Bryant Bell, 4. 42 Craig Holsted, 5. 96x Logan Mitchell, 6. 35 Ron Singh, 7. 20w Nate Wait, 8. 12 Greg Jewett, 9. 20 Kyle Hawse, 10. X Nick Van Atta, 11. 11 Casey Schmitz, 12. 32 Cory Brown

WMR PR

After finishing third in the opening stage of Saturday night’s Worldwide Express 250, the No. 18 over-the-wall crew executed a lightning fast four-tire and fuel stop that put Chandler Smith at the front of the field for the Stage 2 and the Charge Me driver never looked back. Smith, who was racing for the first time as a father, would lead 176 of the final 177 and cross the finish line 2.790 seconds ahead of his Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate John Hunter Nemechek.
 
The win was Smith’s fifth across 56 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts and his third in 2022. With the victory, Smith automatically advances to the Round of 8 of the Truck Series playoffs.
 
 
Stage One Recap
 
·        Smith started the 250-lap race from the second position after posting a lap of 22.598 seconds at 119.480 mph in Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session.
·        The 20-year-old driver fell back to third in the opening laps as he communicated to veteran crew chief Danny Stockman that his Charge Me Tundra was “laterally too free and tight rolling the center.”
·        On lap 12 he would work his way around his KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek but 50 laps later Nemechek took back the spot as Smith had trouble navigating lap traffic.
·        The opening stanza would go start to finish under green flag conditions with the No. 18 Toyota crossing the stripe in the third position.
 
 
Stage Two Recap:
 
·        Before hitting pit road, Smith communicated to Stockman that his Tundra TRD Pro “lacks front grip rolling.”
·        A speedy stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed Smith to exit pit road with the lead. With his teammate Nemechek second in the running order, Smith chose the outside lane when Stage Two went green on lap 80.
·        Smith cleared Nemechek before they entered Turn 1 and began to set sail on the field. By lap 110 he had opened up a lead of nearly two seconds and when Stage Two came to a close on lap 140 he had distanced Nemechek by over four seconds.
·        With his third stage win of the season, Smith earned a playoff point that will carryover to the Round of 8.
 
 
Final Stage Recap:
 
·        Before hitting pit road, Smith communicated to Stockman “we weren’t bad, clean air is king.”
·        Another fast stop by the over-the-wall crew allowed the No. 18 team to maintain the lead for the start of the final stage. Once the green flag waved, Smith picked up right where he left off and began to distance himself from the field.
·        On lap 180 he held a two-second lead but had lost the majority of it when he was trying to lap Layne Riggs and Riggs got sideways in front of him. To avoid a major incident, Smith had to slam on the brakes, which allowed Nemechek to close to his back bumper.
·        After getting settled back in, Smith started to pull away from his teammate again and stretched his lead to nearly a second again before he approached more lap traffic. He narrowly avoided the third caution of the night. As he was making his way to the inside of Carson Hocevar and Nick Leitz, Hocevar made contact with Leitz and sent him into the outside wall bringing out the yellow.
·        Under caution, Smith communicated, “my balance went back to how it was the first run, give me what I had in Stage 2.”
·        The over-the-wall crew continued their stellar night, allowing Smith to maintain the lead again after the four-tire and fuel stop with an air pressure adjustment.
·        Nemechek maintained the runner-up position again off pit road and the two KBM drivers executed another teammate restart when the field went back green with 28 laps remaining.
·        Stockman’s adjustment brought the Charge Me Tundra back to life and allowed Smith to distance himself from the field once again. With 15 laps remaining the lead was nearly two seconds.
With the large margin, spotter Chris Lambert communicated to Smith “only what you need, same something for us in case there is a caution.” Fortunately for the No. 18 team the race would continue caution free to the end, with Smith crossing the stripe 2.790 seconds ahead of the No. 4 Tundra of Nemechek.
 
Chandler Smith, driver of the No. 18 Chrage Me Tundra TRD Pro for KBM:
 
After becoming a first-time Dad earlier this week, how special is this race win?
“God is so good. I’m a Daddy now. My wife had such an amazing labor and delivery. We have an amazing and beautiful baby boy at home. Honey, this is for you and Jr. this is for you as well. I can’t wait to get home to you two tonight. The blessings just keep stacking up. I have an incredible group behind me at KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) and an incredible group of partners with Charge Me, Safelite and everybody. I’m taking this in. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve it, but I’m going to keep taking it in and giving all glory to the Lord.”
 
Does this race win serve notice that the championship will go through this team?
“I’ll leave that to you guys. Just like I said at media day, if the Good Lord wants it to be our championship, then it will and if it’s not, it’s not. I like how everything is going right now for sure.”
 
 
 
Worldwide Express 250 Recap
 
  • Smith earned his third NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win of 2022 and will advance to the Round of 8. It was his fifth career victory. Nemechek, Ty Majeski, Grant Enfinger and Corey Heim rounded out the top-five finishers.
  • There were three cautions for 25 laps and three lead changes among three drivers, including Smith who led twice for a race-high 176 laps.
 
 
How Chandler Smith's KBM Teammates Fared:
 
·        John Hunter Nemechek, driver of the No. 4 Toyota, finished second
·        Corey Heim, driver of the No. 51 Toyota, finished fifth.
 
 
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship Standings
 
With the victory, Smith advances to the Round of 8 of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs with one race remaining in the round. Smith also leads the point standings by two points over regular season champion Zane Smith. With the stage victory and race win, Smith’s playoff point total now sits at 28, which ranks him second to Zane Smith.
 
 
Next Race:

KBM PR

TOP TEAM CHEVY UNOFFICIAL TOP-20 RACE RESULTS:

POS.   DRIVER

 

5th      CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA CAMARO ZL1

12th    WILLIAM BYRON, NO. 24 LIBERTY UNIVERSITY CAMARO ZL1

14th    KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1

16th    AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 HUK PERFORMANCE FISHING CAMARO ZL1

17th    TY DILLON, NO. 42 ALLEGIANT CAMARO ZL1

18th    ROSS CHASTAIN, NO. 1 MOOSE FRATERNITY CAMARO ZL1

19th    DANIEL SUAREZ, NO. 99 COMMSCOPE CAMARO ZL1

20th    ALEX BOWMAN, NO. 48 ALLY CAMARO ZL1

 

 

 

TOP FIVE UNOFFICIAL RACE RESULTS:

POS.  DRIVER

1st      Kevin Harvick (Ford)

2nd     Christopher Bell (Toyota)

3rd      Chris Buescher (Ford)

4th      Denny Hamlin (Toyota)

5th      Chase Elliott (Chevy)

 

 

The NASCAR Cup Series season continues next Sunday, August 21, at Watkins Glen International with the Go Bowling at the Glen at 3 p.m. ET. Live coverage can be found on USA Network, the NBCSports Gold App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.

                                                                                                                                           

TEAM CHEVY POST-RACE NOTES AND QUOTES:

 

 

ERIK JONES, NO. 43 FOCUSFACTOR CAMARO ZL1 – Finished 35th

 

 

"We were just in the wrong spot and got caught in someone else’s mess. We made contact and killed the right front. We struggled all day with our FOCUSfactor Chevy, just couldn’t find the balance we needed to run up front. Not our day. We’ll load up and get ready for Watkins Glen next weekend."

 

CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 5th

"The track was very similar there early and late, if anything, I feel like it got a little faster.  It wasn't a huge deal, just needed to be a little more forward there to have a shot.  It was really odd, I didn't think it was driving any better, but in comparison to people around us, we were going forward.  So, just normal Richmond.  Just more confusing I feel like.  I have been here and had cars like that where you are not driving good, but you are moving forward.  Then you will have days where you feel like your car is driving good and you are not going anywhere or vice versa.   This place is really strange and the track had gained a lot of grip there at the end too.  There were obviously a lot of different strategies going on, and it was nice to get a top five out of a tough day yesterday."

 

WHERE DO YOU FEEL THIS TEAM IS AS WE RUMBLE TOWARD THE PLAYOFFS?

"Yeah, obviously we want to be better and Michigan was a big time struggle for us.  This weekend was too all the way up until the last few runs.  We will go to work and try to finish these last two weeks strong and get ready for Darlington."

 

AUSTIN DILLON, NO. 3 HUK PERFORMANCE FISHING CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 16th

"I had fun at Richmond Raceway today and everyone on the No. 3 Huk Performance Fishing Chevrolet team did a great job. We started off the race loose. We came to pit road during the stage break and my crew chief, Justin Alexander, made a good call to get my car tightened up during the second stage. On lap 243 we caught a lucky break by catching a caution, saving us a lap. We struggled most of the day with the handling of our Chevrolet, but towards the end of the race we hit on a setup that really worked well with the track. We were posting solid lap times in Stage 3, even on old tires. I wish we could’ve had that at the beginning of the race. We would’ve been jamming. All-in-all, we’ll take this 16th-place finish and head to Watkins Glen International."

 

NOAH GRAGSON, NO. 16 CHEVY ACCESSORIES CAMARO ZL1 - Finished 24th

"We battled all day with our Chevy Accessories Camaro.  We could never just get it fine-tuned.  The guys worked really hard, and we had great pit stops.  We just kind of missed it overall, but I'm still proud of the effort. We will keep working hard and try to be better next time."

 

 

TEAM CHEVY RACE QUICK NOTES

 

 

Stage One:

  • After starting in second place, Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1, took the lead and never looked back to lead all 70 laps en route to winning the Stage. 

 

Team Chevy Stage One: Top-10

  • 1st      Ross Chastain, No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1
  • 3rd      Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1
  • 5th      William Byron, No. 24 Liberty University Camaro ZL1
  • 8th      Alex Bowman, No. 48 Ally Camaro ZL1

 

Stage Two:

  • Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro, finished second in Stage Two while Chastain, Stage One winner, faded on the long green run and finished 12th.

 

Team Chevy Stage Two:  Top-10

  • 2nd     Kyle Larson, No. 5 Hendrickcars.com Camaro ZL1
  • 8th      Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Camaro ZL1

 

 

 

Final Stage / Post-Race Notes:

  • Chase Elliott (5th) led Chevrolet to the only top-10 finish of the day at Richmond Raceway.
  • With 24 NASCAR Cup Series races in the books, Chevrolet continues to lead in lead the series in wins (13), top-fives (55), top-10s (103), and stage wins (21).

GM PR

Christopher Bell (second) was the highest finishing Toyota in Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond Raceway. Bell was followed to the checkered flag by Denny Hamlin (fourth), Martin Truex Jr. (seventh) and Kyle Busch (ninth) also in the top-10.

 

Toyota Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Cup Series (NCS)

Richmond Raceway

Race 24 of 36 – 300 miles, 400 laps

 

TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS


1st, Kevin Harvick*

2nd, CHRISTOPHER BELL

3rd, Chris Buescher*

4th, DENNY HAMLIN

5th, Chase Elliott*

7th, MARTIN TRUEX JR.

9th, KYLE BUSCH

13th, BUBBA WALLACE

36th, TY GIBBS

*non-Toyota driver 


  

TOYOTA QUOTES

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

Finishing Position: 2nd

What else did you need to catch Kevin Harvick in the final laps?

“I got held up pretty bad at the beginning of the run by a couple slower cars and that was ultimately the difference when you get beat by a couple car lengths. Just really fun and really fun race when you have different strategies and you have guys coming and going. I love whenever the races stay green and you’re able to play your cards a little bit different. Really proud of everyone on this 20 crew to be able to come back from how we started. Very tough weekend for us. We didn’t practice very well and we didn’t qualify very well. And the guys did a really good job getting this Rheem Camry up front and where we needed to be at the end.”

 

DENNY HAMLIN, No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 4th

How did you feel about the strategy your team put forth today?

“We had the winning strategy. I think we played it great. The fall-off was nearly as great those last couple runs, really for the last 100 when the track was shaded over. So I thought that going long was actually the right play and the team did a great job with that call for sure and just had a slow stop on that last one. We ended up three-and-a-half second behind.”

 

Did the timing of your last stop make sense with the strategy?

“It was the perfect time. I knew that when we pitted there, the gap that we had to the cars that were on fresh tires, I knew that we were going to come out on the same straightaway with them on much fresher tires. It was the race call and the winning call, just didn’t execute on stuff and just a little hiccup.”

 

KYLE BUSCH, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota Camry TRD, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 9th

How was your race car today?

“We were looking okay, and in a good spot just coming up through there working our way methodically through the field with our M&M’s Toyota Camry, and we got ‘Chastained’ this week. We were his victim this week. And then that didn't hurt us too bad. We restarted back in a decent spot. But then the next spin I think, was Christopher (Bell). That allowed the guys that were around us that we were kind of racing some of our team guys to come get tires and then they had 10 fresher laps on tires the whole rest of the day. So that kind of hurt us if we would have been on that strategy we would have run out of tires, but we also probably would have been in the top five. So just wrong side of the strategy there. At the end, nothing, nothing to do really to flip that but good fight all day long. You know, the top 10 is about what we had anyway, I figured the best we were it was about a seventh you know, but barring a strategy call, we could have probably been top-five. So that's all we had anyway.

TRD PR

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