Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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It seems as if Jeff Strunk rises to the top in big money paying events. Saturday night in the 50th Annual Freedom 76, a 76-lap Modified race started by the late promoter Bruce Rogers in 1971, the 10 time T.P.Trailers NASCAR track Modified point champion held true to form performing in front of a huge crowd. A fierce battle with guaranteed starter Brett Kressley, winner of the Forrest Rogers Memorial, started on the 37th lap after Strunk reeled him in and it wasn’t until the 64th lap that Strunk actually succeeded in becoming the fourth different leader.

Positions were constantly changing until the wave of the checkered when Strunk prevailed as the winner for the eighth time earning a $35,550 payday. He also garnered extra lap money in addition to a Bob Hilbert jacket. Chasing him across the line were N.Y. invader Matt Sheppard and defending race winner and former point champion Mike Gular.

Polesitter Briggs Danner set the pace for one lap before Bobby Varin overtook him.

Within a few laps Varin opened daylight over his fellow competitors. The battle for second brewed between Danner, Brandon Grosso and Sheppard while Lauden Reimert, Richie Hitzler, 2020 Modified point champion Craig Von Dohren and Cory Merkel diced for the remaining positions.

Merkel’s night ended when he hit the third turn wall for the first caution on the 13th lap. Varin maintained the lead on the restart with Grosso now second.

Strunk advanced to the runner-up spot on the 18th lap restart needed when Mike Maresca spun in the first turn allowing him challenge Varin.

Von Dohren’s night was over early when he jumped the cushion in turn three and hit the wall finally coming to a stop in the second turn for the 22nd lap caution. Varin was still the leader when action resumed, but it was Kressley in pursuit of the leader.

Kressley passed Varin on the 26th lap and second through fifth was now comprised of Varin, Strunk, Sheppard and Gular.

It wasn’t until the 31st lap that Strunk motored into second again and set his sights on Kressley, who was on the move from 20th.

The yellow was flying again for Ryan Lilick on the 38th lap when he stopped along the backstretch. At this time a fuel stop was called for the four cars of Danner, Justin Grim, Keith Hoffman and Dave Dissinger that were running alcohol and could not last the distance. The majority of competitors had switched to gas. On the restart Strunk took the lead, but it was short-lived since Kressley was back on top the following lap around the 1/3-mile oval.

Kressley ran the outside lane while Strunk stuck to the low groove as the battle progressed with each driver determined to be first.

It wasn’t until the 64th lap that Strunk, who started 12th, put the Glenn Hyneman-owned Bicknell chassis No. 126 in the number one position.

Sheppard and Gular passed Kressley for second and third respectively with five laps to go when Kressley fell to fourth.

Strunk continued his pace to chalk up his second win of the season at Grandview with the last one coming August 15, 2020. Second through fifth were Sheppard, Gular, Kressley and Varin. Rounding out the top ten were Duane Howard, who had to get into the race through the Schaeffer Racing Minuteman 20; Ryan Godown, Stewart Friesen coming from last in the 32-car grid following a quick pit stop prior to the start; Reimert and Frank Cozze.

Andy Bachetti, Merkel, Godown, Frank Yankowski, Anthony Perrego and Lilick won the six 12-lap heats for the close to 70 cars that attempted to qualify. Ray Swinehart and Billy Pauch Jr. won the consies to enter the Minuteman 20.

The non-stop Minuteman 20, the last chance to get into the Freedom that qualified five cars was won by Maresca followed by Howard, Max McLaughlin, Keith Hoffman and Ryan Krachun.

The $1,000 to win Kirsten Snyder Web Design and Photography 10-lap Cash Dash went to Godown.

Howard was the recipient of the $500 Hard Charger award from Bobby Gunther and sponsors. Howard went from 29th to sixth for 23 positions.

Next event coming up, now that the very successful Freedom 76 weekend is complete, is the Mods at the Mad House on Saturday, October 17th. Included will be three 20-lap features for Small Block/Big Block Modified racers each paying $2000 to win. A driver winning all three earns a Pioneer Pole Building Triple Sweep Bonus of $2500. And if someone falls short of the three wins and claims two wins there is a PPB Double Sweep Bonus of $500. And for the Sportsman racers there is $1,300 to win their feature. Details can be found at www.grandviewspeedway.com.

Grandview Speedway PR

After one of the wildest turn of events seen all year on the DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals circuit, Utica, KY’s own Josh Harris pulled off his fourth career victory with the tour in Saturday night’s Hope for Harlie finale at Cedar Ridge Speedway.


Harris had marched his way up from ninth to fourth and was riding with a sizable gap to Tyler Nicely as they rounded Turn 4 to complete Lap 26. By the time he reached the exit of Turn 2 on Lap 27, Harris was the race leader.


Friday night’s Hope for Harlie preliminary Feature winner Will Krup had led since the drop of the green and was in the thick of a big battle for the lead with 2020 tour champion Nick Hoffman, deep in lapped traffic. The two frontrunners approached a pack of several slower cars, spread out across all three grooves, with Hoffman on the top and Krup on the bottom.


Coming out of Turn 4 on Lap 26, Hoffman made a dive to the inside to try and get around the pack but hadn’t quite cleared Krup’s nose and made contact with it going down the frontstretch. Hoffman was able to gather it back in before entering Turn 1, but ended up sliding up the track right in front of Krup, who had switched to the high side.


The contact that ensued sent both drivers around in the middle of Turns 1-2, leaving Nicely barreling through with no place to go, as he and another lapped car piled in and made substantial contact.


“Nick went to the bottom there and I crossed lanes to go to the top, he slid from the top and I just had nowhere to go,” Krup said of the incident. “I tried to get on the brakes. Looking at the video, Tyler didn’t have anywhere to go, so he got into me, and it was just all a bang-bang deal, all three of us were out.”


And just like that, all three leaders were taken out of the race. Nicely left the racing surface on the hook, Krup drove back to the pit area and Hoffman soon followed suit.


“I’d seen Tyler [Nicely] right in front of me,” Harris said from his point-of-view. “I wasn’t really gaining on him and he wasn’t getting away from me. I was hoping we had a caution so we could race it out and see where we were with him, but I wasn’t expecting the caution to be for all three of them.


“We got through that wreck; there were cars going everywhere, it was kinda like a Daytona crash.”


With Harris now in the lead, it was his race to lose. The field went back to green as Danny Schwartz, Jimmy Payne and Gabriel Kirtley now moved into the picture. Try as they may, though, Harris’ Mark Bush Racing Chassis #22H was not to be beaten. He led the field the rest of the way home in the 40-lap contest to pick up his first Summit Modified victory of the season and the $3,000 top prize.


“I have lost plenty the way that I won it tonight. Obviously [this is] not the way you want to win it, but you take them any way you can get them,” Harris said.


Meanwhile, the Elite Chassis trio sat parked in the pit area, loading up after a sour conclusion to the weekend that ended with finishes of 13th (Hoffman), 14th (Krup) and 15th (Nicely). Through it all, Krup did come away with the one victory on Friday night, although he felt he could have completed the sweep on Saturday.


“We were just kinda cruising there, trying not to burn up the tires,” Krup said. “Just trying to take our time, pick off the lapped traffic when we could. It got super racey there, and I think our car pretty good and definitely had a shot to win this deal.”


Despite his gain from their expense on Saturday, Harris did tip his cap to the dominance of the Elite Chassis gang throughout the year. Hoffman, Krup, Nicely and Plainfield, IL-pilot Mike McKinney have combined for a significant number of Feature wins this year, and Harris will be gunning for them next season.


“Our car was really good. We’ve been really working hard on chasing those guys. It’s no secret that those three and McKinney are the four fastest cars in the country right now. I believe we’re fifth right behind them,” Harris said.




The 2020 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals field jumps back into action one final time this year for the Modified portion of the Hooiser Dirt Shootout makeup race at Kokomo Speedway. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.


Feature (40 Laps) 1. 22H-Josh Harris [9]; 2. 21D-Danny Schwartz [11]; 3. 68-Jimmy Payne [4]; 4. K7-Gabriel Kirtley [13]; 5. 16C-John Clippinger [14]; 6. 59R-Jacob Rexing [5]; 7. 24-Zeke McKenzie [8]; 8. 37-Ty Shearon [21]; 9. 121-Caleb Slaughter [16]; 10. 62E-Kim Edington [23]; 11. 03-Zach Dennis [10]; 12. 1S-Brian Shaw [7]; 13. 7-Nick Hoffman [3]; 14. K19-Will Krup [2]; 15. 25-Tyler Nicely [6]; 16. 29S-Bill Sollers [20]; 17. 11-Dennis Vincent [19]; 18. 22-Wade Wenthe [1]; 19. R4-Ricky Arms [12]; 20. 55-Blaze Melton [15]; 21. 13-Charlie Mefford [18]; 22. 99-Teagan Embrey [17] 23. 8-TJ Armour [22]; 24. 46-Johnny Madden [24]


DIRTcar Series PR

Falling back to third for most of the SawBlade.com A-Feature Saturday night, a caution with eight laps to go saw Sam Hafertepe, Jr. mount the late-race charge to secure the $10,000 prize in the General Tire Hockett/McMillin Memorial at Lucas Oil Speedway with the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network.
“That was really exciting. If these fans didn’t enjoy that, I don’t know, because there just isn’t better racing than that,” stated Hafertepe.
“These guys, they drove their hearts out and I feel like all three of us should have won this deal. It was just a badass race. Everybody drove each other clean, we were throwing sliders, and that cushion was tough. It was treacherous and really, our car wasn’t that good. Them two had us covered, but I just didn’t give up and kept pushing, and pushing, and pushing. I’ve won this race two other times, and I was determined to make it three.”
Chasing Mark Smith and Derek Hagar on the Lap 32 restart, Hafertepe rolled by Smith for second on Lap 36.
Trailing Hagar by 1.301-seconds, Sam leaned hard on the nearly foot tall cushion that circled the three-eights mile oval. Closing it down to 0.874-seconds the following lap, Sam was within mere car lengths as the pair raced into the third and fourth turns.
Hooking the cushion through the fourth turn, Hagar’s No. 9jr suddenly shot right, launching into the fluff just long enough to give Hafertepe room to sail into the lead on Lap 38.
Racing to the white flag with Hagar in hot pursuit, Hafertepe kept it smooth through the final circuit for his sixth National Tour score of the season. Also counting as a win with the Racinboys.com ASCS Warrior Region presented by Impact Signs, Awnings, and Wraps, Sam Hafertepe, Jr. tied Jesse Hockett’s nine regional triumphs.
Hagar crossed second with Mark Smith, who dominated the opening 27 laps, ending his weekend third. Making up five positions in the Dissolvalloy No. 88, Oklahoma’s Shane Stewart crossed fourth with Justin Sanders completing the top five. Going red for Scott Bogucki, who was running fourth coming to the checkered flag, the finish reverted to the white flag lap after the No. 15h.
Racing around Hafertepe through the opening half of the A-Feature, Dylan Westbrook slipped to sixth with Jordon Mallett seventh. Ayrton Gennetten was eighth with Tim Crawley making up four spots to ninth while Roger Crockett completed the top ten.
Starting the night with SCE Gaskets Qualifiers, wins went to Shane Stewart, Seth Bergman, Jonathan Cornell, and Harli White. BMRS B-Features went to Sean McClelland, Garet Williamson, and Brandon Anderson. The Brodix LCQ went to Sean McClelland.
Provisionals were used by Blake Hahn (Points), Matt Covington (Points), and Miles Paulus (Regional).
The next event for the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series presented by the MAVTV Motorsports Network is the $10,041 to win COMP Cams Short Track Nationals presented by Hoosier Tire on Friday, October 2 and Saturday, October 3. Tickets and event info can be found at http://www.i-30speedway.com.

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

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


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

● Aric Almirola started 10th and finished 18th.  

● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford driver pitted on lap 35 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to correct loose-handling conditions. 

● He came off pit road in 10th and drove to sixth on the restart. 

● Halfway through the stage, Almirola radioed that he was losing turn in the middle of the corners, ultimately causing him to drop outside of the top-15 before the stage ended.

● At the conclusion of the stage, Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments to help him turn better. 


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

● Almirola started 17th and finished seventh and earned four bonus points.

● The No. 10 Ford driver raced his way back to ninth before the caution was thrown on lap 236. 

● Almirola pitted under caution for four tires and fuel. He came off pit road eighth. 

● Another caution was called on lap 250, ultimately ending the stage. 

● He opted not to pit at the end of the stage.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

● Almirola started seventh and finished fifth. 

● Almirola advanced to the top-five by lap 407.  

● He pitted for four tires, fuel, and air pressure and chassis adjustments after a lap-408 caution. He restarted sixth.

● Almirola re-entered the top-five on lap 450 and said his balance was improving.

● He held his position to earn his sixth top-five of the season.



● Almirola earned his sixth top-five and 17th top-10 of the season, and his second top-five and fourth top-10 in 23 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Bristol.

● Almirola tied his career-high for top-10s in a single season. He scored 17 top-10s in 2018. His six top-fives this year are also the most he has had in a single season. His previous top-five high was four, also in 2018.

● This was Almirola’s third straight top-10. He finished ninth Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and eighth in the series’ prior race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

● Almirola led one lap to increase his laps-led total at Bristol to three.

● Kevin Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .310 of a second.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.

● Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.


Playoff Standings to Begin Round of 12:

1.     Kevin Harvick (3,067 points) 

2.     Denny Hamlin (3,048 points) -19

3.     Brad Keselowski (3,035 points) -32

4.     Joey Logano (3,022 points) -45

5.     Chase Elliott (3,021 points) -46

6.     Martin Truex Jr. (3,016 points) -51

7.     Alex Bowman (3,009 points) -58

8.     Austin Dillon (3,005 points) -62

9.     Aric Almirola (3,005 points) -62 

10.   Kyle Busch (3,004 points) -63

11.   Clint Bowyer (3,004 points) -63

12.   Kurt Busch (3,001 points) -66


Failed to Advance to Round of 12:

13.   Cole Custer (2,067 points) 

14.   William Byron (2,062 points) 

15.   Ryan Blaney (2,058 points) 

16.   Matt DiBenedetto (2,054 points) 


Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had a solid top-five tonight at Bristol and we’re moving on to the round of 12 again. It was a great run. We missed it a bit to start. This Smithfield Ford team worked so hard to make the right adjustments all night. I was scrapping in the car to get everything I could get. Really proud of everybody on the race team. Ready to see if we can’t make it happen again in this next round.”


Next Up: 

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the fourth race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 12. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/ TRACKER Off Road/E-Z-GO Chevrolet Team Advance to Round of 12 in NASCAR Playoffs with Solid Showing at Bristol Motor Speedway

"We did what we had to do tonight in our Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Off Road/ E-Z-GO Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We advanced to the Round of 12 in the NASCAR Playoffs. We started off really strong, but our Chevy ended up getting extremely tight in Stage 2. We recovered from that and were running in the top 10 when Harvick slowed on the track to make a green-flag pit stop. I got on my brakes as hard as I could to avoid hitting him, but a lapped car was in the middle of the track and I had nowhere to go. My RCR team did a great job making repairs, but we were never able to catch the break we needed to get back into the top five. Our car was fast overall tonight, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish during the remainder of the season. We'll go to Las Vegas next week and try to get a win."
-Austin Dillon

Tyler Reddick and the No. 8 Childress Vineyards Team Show Speed En Route to Fourth-Place Finish at Bristol Motor Speedway

"Our No. 8 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet Camaro was a fast one tonight, and we had a great finish to show for it at Bristol Motor Speedway. It took a couple adjustments to get our car to where I needed it to be, but our communication as a team on what adjustments to make has been a big focus for us over the past few weeks and that paid off during tonight's race. I fired off a little loose on the bottom and tight on the top, so our team had a decision to make on what to focus on. I felt that the top was the better groove for our car, so we chose to work on loosening up our Chevrolet a little bit throughout the night and got it in a really good spot for the final stage. Those adjustments made it so I was able to cut through traffic during that last stage and race our way into the top five for the last 100 laps or so. I think I may have pushed my front tires a little bit too much on that final run, but this was a really good night for our team. We're chasing wins in these remaining races while also working on building a strong notebook for next year, and this is a solid step in the right direction for both of those goals."
-Tyler Reddick


Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

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


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Kyle Busch started ninth and finished second, earning nine bonus points.

● The Skittles driver officially started ninth, but a pre-race technical inspection issue caused Busch to start at the rear of the field, as he took the green flag in the 37th position.

● Busch moved up into the top-25 by lap 18 and into the top-20 when the caution waved on lap 34. Busch came to pit road for four tires and fuel and restarted in the 24th spot.

● The Skittles driver went on a mission following the restart, flying through the field and he found himself in the top-15 by lap 70, top-10 by lap 83 and all the way to the second spot at the end of Stage 1.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Busch started first and finished first, 10 bonus points and 1 playoff point.

The defending Cup Series champion came to pit road on lap 130 to take on four tires, fuel, and adjustments, as the Skittles crew vaulted him into the lead coming off pit road to start Stage 2.

Busch held the lead for the next 125 laps until the caution waved on lap 235. Two laps later Busch came to pit road to take on four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment as he held the lead coming off pit road.

The Skittles driver led the final six circuits of Stage 2 and he took home his second stage win of the season.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

Busch started first and finished second.

Busch stayed out between stages and restarted the final stage as the leader.

Skittles driver led the first 30 laps of the Final Stage, but relinquished the lead to Kevin Harvick on lap 281, as he settled into the runner-up spot for the next portion of the race.

The caution waved the next time over 150 laps later, as Busch came to pit road on lap 412 for tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment, as he restarted and settled into the runner-up spot yet again.

Busch caught Harvick on lap on lap 459 and took the lead briefly before Harvick took the lead back several laps later.

The Skittles driver made several attempts to get by Harvick as the laps wound down, but came up just a bit short of the win.



● Busch’s runner-up finish was his 14th top-five finish in 31 starts at Bristol.

● Busch now has 12 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes thus far in 2020.  


Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 Skittles Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:


Why was the 18 just not able to pass the 4 car in the closing laps?


“Just didn’t have enough at the end with our Skittles Camry. The guys did a great job and gave me a really great piece tonight to contend and at least be up there and be close. Unfortunately, just didn’t have enough. Lapped cars were definitely a problem. It’s part of racing. You have to try to get around them where you can and there was just no room for me to do what I needed to do with a couple of those opportunities to get past them.”


Were you concerned that you could get around Harvick?


“That was earlier in the race when he drove away by like six seconds. He (Kevin Harvick) obviously had the better car, the faster car than us tonight. Adam (Stevens, crew chief) made some good adjustments on that last run in order to keep us in the ballgame and keep us close, but I think the 20 (Erik Jones) kind of stayed consistent with us too, gap-wise. I don’t know, just came up short. What do you say?”


Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is the fourth race of the 10-race playoffs and the first race in the Round of 12. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



Chris Buescher and the No. 17 Fastenal team rode a fast Ford Mustang to an eight-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway with a late-race charge and smart pit strategy. The strong finish netted Buescher’s seventh top-10 result of the season. 


Buescher rolled off the grid 23rd and was up to 21st when the first yellow of the race came at lap 27. The team made quick work on pit road, picking up four spots while changing four tires and adding fuel to the Fastenal Mustang. Back on track in 17th, the driver was able to stay steady for a while but got shuffled back a few positions with reports of a tight handling Ford. Later in the stage, Buescher was the fastest car on track and showing promise to drive to the front of the field. Slowed by traffic, he ultimately took the green-white checkered flag 21st for stage one.  


The team visited pit road at the stage break for tape, fuel, a track bar adjustment and fresh tires. After a quick stop, Buescher got back on track to restart 20th. Buescher held his track position until the caution flag waved again at lap 232. Still battling a tight handling Mustang, the team took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel and more adjustments, with another quick stop allowing Buescher to restart 13th. The race went back to green for a nine-lap shootout. The stage ultimately ended under caution and the team finished stage two in 14th. 


Feeding off of their momentum from the stage two finish, the team elected to stay out during the stage break and restarted 11th. Buescher was shuffled back to 14th on the restart, but held his track position for most of the stage. The Prosper, Texas native entered the top ten around lap 375 when green flag pit stops began to cycle through.  


Pit strategy worked to the No. 17 team’s advantage as they waited to pit when the caution flag waved at lap 406. A quick stop for four tires and fuel enabled the driver to restart eighth, but one lap down. As the remainder of the race went caution free, Buescher was able to maintain track position and keep up lap times to take the checkered flag for the 500-lap event in eighth. The finish marks Buescher’s seventh top-10 of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.  


Buescher and the No. 17 team return to track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 27 at 7 p.m. EST on NBC Sports Network, PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.   



Over 50 DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series drivers unloaded at Land of Legends Raceway for the final DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region event of 2020. For many drivers, this was the final look at the Canandaigua, NY half-mile speedway before the Series returns on Saturday, October 10 for DIRTcar OktoberFAST presented by DIRTVision. 

With a mere 20 points separating the top five in points, it was anyone’s guess as to who would come out on top. To decide it, 30 cars stomped on their Chevy Performance crate engine accelerators at the green flag and never stopped until the checkered flag fell after 30 laps of hardscrabble, high-intensity DIRTcar Racing. 

At the end of 30 laps, the top three were Matt Janczuk, Brett Senek, and Zach Sobotka. Before this year these drivers did not have ten starts at Land of Legends Raceway between the three of them. 

Janczuk took the green flag, held on to the lead, and never looked back to become 2020’s DIRTcar Sportsman Modified: Central Region champion. 

“We had a good car. This thing has been awesome all year. It’s a bucket list thing winning the Series. I wish it hadn’t been a shortened season but when we ran we ran well,” said Janczuk. 

“We’ll take this first-ever Series championship!”

Victory Lane seemed just out of reach in Canandaigua but the No. 33X driver looks like he has it figured out now. 

“We have a bunch of seconds here and I just couldn’t figure this place out. We won last time but we don’t have many starts here,” noted Janczuk. Maybe six in my whole career. To get these wins is awesome.”

Although the race was green from flag to flag, it was not an easy win for the champ. He spent his time on the front stretch trying to make out where Kevin Root in his No. 34 was running in the field as he was second in points all while defending against Brett Senek and managing traffic. Root was also the defending Series and track champion so Janczuk knew he could come out of nowhere to the front. 

“I could see the 111 and the 38 were on the leader board between me and Kevin Root who got up to fourth at the end,” Janczuk said. “I knew we had a good car. We struggled in lapped traffic a little bit and I didn’t know if we had gapped those guys are not.”

Runner-up Brett Senek normally races at Ransomville Speedway but with limited opportunities to race anywhere in 2020, Senek found himself making starts at Land of Legends Raceway. Senek chased Janczuk all night but just couldn’t get the break he needed to make a serious run. 

“He was fast. I thought once we got into traffic that I would have something for him. I couldn’t get through the traffic like him,” noted Senek. “Once we caught some cars I thought I had a chance but he’s just really good.”

Zach Sobotka came in strong, leading the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship, and ready to go for a Series win. Unfortunately, the No. 38 team missed the Feature setup a little bit.

“We had a good car but it was a bit free. All around it was a pretty good night for us. I thought that once Janczuk hit traffic that the 111 and myself would catch him but we didn’t,” Sobotka said similarly to Senek. The stars seemed to be aligned for Matt Janczuk. 

AJ Miller is the recipient of one free tire courtesy of Hoosier Racing tire. 

Don’t forget to get all your DIRTcar OktoberFAST information here. Competitors must register prior to September 30. To watch, get your DIRTVision Fast Pass today!

DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series: Central Region 30-lap Feature Results 

1. MATT JANCZUK 2. Brett Senek 3. Zach Sobotka 4. Kevin Root 5. Alan Fink 6. Paul Guererri 7. Kevin Ridley 8. Matt Guererri 9. Nick Guererri 10. Will Shields 11. AJ Lloyd 12. Zach Payne 13. Dalton Rombough 14. Payton Talbot 15. Andrew Buff 16. AJ Miller 17. Brian Fish 18. Garrison Krentz 19. Mike Fowler 20. Andrew Smith 21. Kane Bristol 22. Cody Wolfe 23. Kyle Inman 24. Joe Shields 25. Chris Mackey 26. Derek Webb 27. Dan Grignon 28. Zach George 29. Rocco Leone 30. Daryl Nutting 

DIRTcar Series PR

Two-time Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield earned his fourth win of the season, eclipsing 300 laps led for the year in the process, taking round #7 at Madera Speedway. The MAVTV-televised action also saw Bradley Erickson win his fourth 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series feature as well.

Blaine Rocha led the opening circuit of the 80-lap race from the outside pole before the first caution flew on lap three. Wyoming’s Lance Elliott spun in turn one and suffered race-ending front end damage.

2019 Madera Late Model champion Jason Aguirre spun in turn four for the next caution. Shepherd looked inside Rocha for the lead on several occasions after that restart, while Dylan Zampa of Napa battled with 2019 Nut Up Pro Late Model champion Austin Herzog of Clovis for fourth.

Herzog broke a radiator hose, covering turn one in fluid that collected 2019 Jr. Late Model champion Joey Iest, Seth Wise, and Ross Strmiska in a grinding crash. All three cars collected were eliminated, while Herzog attempted to continue after adding fluid.

Rocha picked the outside on the restart and ran side-by-side with Shepherd for numerous laps. Shepherd then tucked in on the outside behind Rocha for a pair of laps, before diving inside one more. Shepherd’s resilience paid off when he cleared Rocha on lap 25 for the lead.

Herzog slowed on lap 42 and exited the event with mechanical issues. Shepherd led Rocha, Zampa, Glen Cook and Shelden Cooper into the Mission Racing Style Tortilla Chips break on lap 50.

Emerging from the break for adjustments and MAVTV interviews, Shepherd charged ahead while Rocha fought off a challenge from Zampa. Zampa then battled with Cook for third throughout the closing stages of the race. Shepherd won his 13th televised Late Model race at Madera and extended his points lead, leading Rocha across the finish by 2.812 seconds. Cook, Zampa, and Ryan Philpott of Livermore rounded out the top-five.

Bradley Erickson of Phoenix moved closer to the championship in the 51FIFTY Jr. Late Model Series with his fourth win of the year. Ukiah’s Cole Brown paced time trials with a new track record at 14.937 seconds, lining up alongside Erickson on the third row for the 70-lap affair.

Jake Bollman led the way while outside pole sitter Holly Clark of Colorado fell back to fifth. The first caution on lap three saw both Hailey Liles and Washington’s Kasey Kleyn suffer damage in turn four. On the restart, Clark battled fellow Colorado driver Cassidy Hinds. The battle ended with a significant crash on the backstretch that sent Clark into the wall. She was uninjured but done for the night.

Brown beat Bollman to the line on the ensuing restart, with Brown penalized to the infield for a stop and go penalty. Erickson navigated through the action up to the second position, diamonding the corner as the looked for a way around Bollman. Erickson used a maneuver in turns three and four to take the lead on lap 39, leading the field into the lap 40 break.

Erickson led the rest of the race while battling continued behind him. Kale McClenny of Bakersfield went around the outside of Bollman for second with Bollman backpedaling to fourth. Brown got back on the lead lap and charged past Bollman and Kercie Jung in succession to take over fourth by lap 58. 

Kabe McClenny fought a loose handling race car, opening the bottom for Brown to take third. McClenny and Hinds then collided for position to bring out the caution on lap 67.

Erickson drove ahead of Kale McClenny on the final three-lap shootout for the win, with Brown finishing third. Bollman finished fourth after a late battle with Jung, followed by Kleyn.

Jeffrey Erickson continued a perfect seven-for-seven season in the Bandolero portion of the Mini Cups vs. Bandoleros, taking the 25-lap event ahead of Bakersfield’s Caden Cordova and Joey Kennealy. Rebecca Dubie of Tracy won her sixth Mini Cup event in seven tries in 2020 as well.

For information about Madera Speedway, visit www.RaceMadera.com The 2020 season would not be possible without the support of Nut Up Industries, 51FIFTY LTM, Mission Foods, Race 2B Drug Free, Competition Carburetion, Hoosier Tires, and Sunoco Race Fuel.

Madera Racing on MAVTV airs Monday nights at 4pm Pacific with new 2020 episodes now airing. Round #3 of the Nut Up Pro Late Model Series airs on September 28th.

Madera Speedway PR

Race Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

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


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-125):

Started 29th, finished 29th.

● Suárez and his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry was up to 24th by the end of the first lap but then settled back into his original grid position of 29th when the first caution flag of the race waved for a single-car incident on lap 28. He reported being good on corner entry, a little tight in the center and loose on late-corner exit. He pitted for four tires, fuel, right-side and left-front air pressure adjustments, and a track-bar adjustment. He restarted 29th when the race went back to green on lap 40.

● The stage went green from there to the end with Suárez crossing the line 29th after flirting with the top-25 early in the run. He asked for more grip but to not free up the rear of his Toyota any more than it already was. He pitted during the break for four tires, fuel, and air pressure adjustments.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126-250):

Started 30th, finished 26th.

Suárez was running 27th and two laps down when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident on lap 232. He reported his It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Camry was extremely tight in the center of the corners, but he stayed on track during the caution to take the wave-around to within one lap down. He restarted 26th when the race went back to green on lap 241.

The caution flag flew again for a single-car incident on lap 249, one lap short of the scheduled Stage 2 distance, with Suárez running 26th. He pitted during the break for tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. He pitted a second time to repair slight damage to the right front of his Toyota without losing any positions.


Final Stage Recap (Laps 251-500):

Started 27th, finished 26th.

The race stayed green until the caution flag flew for a multicar incident on lap 406 with Suárez running 25th and three laps down. It was a 146-lap green-flag run and the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota was turning among the best laps on the racetrack toward the end of that run on old tires. Suárez pitted for four tires and fuel enough to get to the scheduled finish, and no other changes as he reported the handling of his racecar was good. The race went back to green on lap 418 with Suárez 25th and three laps down.

Suárez appeared headed to the team’s ninth top-25 of the season when, on lap 480, he made right-front contact with the No. 95 Toyota of Christopher Bell. The It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service driver did his best to nurse his wounded racecar to the finish, dropping from 24th to 26th by the time the checkered flag flew.


Daniel Suárez, driver of the No. 96 It’s Good To Be Genuine Toyota Parts & Service Camry for Gaunt Brothers Racing:

“We deserved better than that. I don’t know what happened at the end there, but it should not have happened. We had a few things to work on at the start of the race. Then, in the middle part of the race, we were super tight for a long time until the Toyota Genuine Parts & Service car really started coming to me on old tires. We didn’t make any changes on the last stop and it was feeling pretty good until what happened there at the end. That’s Bristol, I guess. Let’s go to Las Vegas.”


Race Notes:

● Kevin Harvick won tonight’s Bass Pro Shops Night Race for his 58th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his ninth of the season and third at Bristol. Harvick’s margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .310 of a second.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 50 laps.

● Only six of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● Harvick remains the championship leader after Bristol with a 19-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.


Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Suárez and Gaunt Brothers Racing is the South Point 400 on Sunday, Sept. 27 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It starts at 7 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



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