Speedway Digest Staff
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In an already historic weekend of racing, Kyle Busch added another layer to Nashville Superspeedway's lore and to his growing legend within motorsports.
Busch won his 100th career NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday, taking the "Tennessee Lottery 250" at the 1.33-mile concrete track.
It is Busch's second career Xfinity Series victory at Nashville and fifth overall at the track, along with two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins and one ARCA Menards Series triumph.
Busch, driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, survived a series of restarts in the race's final stretch and finally powered past Justin Allgaier in a green-white-checkered overtime finish.
Busch is 51 wins ahead of second-place Mark Martin (49 victories) on the Xfinity Series' all-time victory list.
"I remember growing up as a kid and watching Mark Martin win every week," said Busch, who led 122 of the race’s 189 laps. "It's just been phenomenal years to have be associated with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota."
Allgaier, who led 11 laps in the race’s final stage, held on for second, 1.110 seconds behind Busch at the finish line. Harrison Burton finished third, Hendersonville, Tenn., native Josh Berry was fourth and A.J. Allmendinger placed fifth.
Allgaier looked to play spoiler to Busch’s party several times in the race’s final stretch, as multiple restarts had Busch and Allgaier battling at the front of the field and even exchanging a bump or two.
“I felt like we put ourselves in a good position,” Allgaier said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the push I needed to [at the end].”
Busch completed the slightly extra distance of 251.37 miles in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 48 seconds, averaging 107.118 mph. Eight caution flags took up 46 of the race’s 189 laps.
“It was way racier than I remember Nashville being,” Busch said. “At the end, I knew if we could clear those guys and I could hit my marks I could pull away.”
Xfinity Series points leader Austin Cindric won the first stage and led 53 laps overall but ended up 32nd after a multi-car crash along the frontstretch.
“I thought I was clear and got checked into the grass and a pretty hard hit,” Cindric said. “Winning the first stage was great. Just not our day.”
Among other notables, Noah Gragson placed eighth, NASCAR Cup Series regular Tyler Reddick finished 15th, and Natalie Decker finished 26th.
Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR tripleheader weekend concludes on Sunday with the inaugural, sold out “Ally 400” NASCAR Cup Series race (2:30 p.m., NBCSN).
Dover Motorsports PR
In yet another nerve-fraying finish, Alex Palou passed Josef Newgarden with two laps remaining Sunday to win the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America and regained the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship lead.
Palou drove his No. 10 NTT DATA Honda to a 1.9106-second victory over the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Colton Herta. 2014 series champion Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet. Palou, who led five of the 55 laps after starting fifth, averaged 119.424 mph in a race slowed by four full-course caution periods.
“It always feels awesome even if it's your lucky day or just because you have really good pace,” Palou said. “We've been close. Indy road course, Detroit, Indy 500, and today I was like, ‘Oh, no, we need to get that win.’ A win is a win. It's always the best thing.”
Palou took a 28-point lead over Pato O’Ward in the series standings with his second victory of the season, as he also won the season opener on April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park. O’Ward, who led Palou by one point as the series leader entering this race, finished ninth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
Spanish driver Palou became the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver other than six-time series champion Scott Dixon to earn at least two victories in a season since Dario Franchitti in 2011. Palou also kept Chip Ganassi Racing spotless at Road America over the last two seasons, as Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist swept the doubleheader here last summer for the team.
While Power returned to the podium for the first time since finishing second in the season opener at Barber, this was the second straight heartbreaking result for his Team Penske teammate Newgarden.
NTT P1 Award winner Newgarden led a race-high 32 laps in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet and looked to be poised for his and Team Penske’s first victory of the season on a restart at the end of Lap 53. But Newgarden’s car suffered a mechanical problem when the green flag flew, and Palou blew past him on the outside before Turn 1 on Lap 54 for a lead he wouldn’t surrender.
Meanwhile, Newgarden limped the final two trips around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit with his compromised car and ended up a disappointing 21st as the last car on the lead lap.
It was the second straight Sunday of despair for Newgarden, who was passed by O’Ward for the lead with three laps remaining in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit and ended up finishing second at Belle Isle after leading 67 of 70 laps.
“Down the front straightaway, as soon as I got to fifth gear, I tried to shift to sixth, and it didn’t take the selection, so I was stuck in fifth,” Newgarden said. “I was trying to get it up to sixth gear, and it wouldn’t go. Then I got stuck in fifth in Turn 1. I finally got it to go down, and I just could not get it to upshift after that. I got it to first, essentially, and tried to stay out of the way.
“I’m not sure what happened. Disappointing for all of us. I knew we had a great car all day.”
Team Penske also lost a possible victory in Race 1 last Saturday at Detroit when Power’s leading car wouldn’t refire on pit road after a red flag period late in the race.
“I don’t know what the luck (is) with our team right now, but with Josef to have a gearbox issue on the last bloody lap, almost the race won, like we were in Detroit, it’s just heartbreaking,” Power said. “I couldn’t believe it when he was pulling off to the side.”
Tire wear was a hot topic through practice and qualifying Friday and Saturday, so pole sitter Newgarden and the other top seven drivers on the starting grid elected to begin the race with grippier but less durable Firestone alternate “red” tires and switch to the more durable Firestone primary “black” tires during their final two stops.
Newgarden was hurt by his tire choice at the end of Race 2 last Sunday, as he was on worn-out alternate tires at the end of the race and was a sitting duck for O’Ward and his primary tires in the last three laps. That mistake wasn’t repeated today, and it was the right call.
Two-time series champion Newgarden, Palou, Herta and Power all were on the strategy of starting with alternate tires and switching to primaries after their first pit stop, biding their time for a final race for the checkered at the end after other drivers on different strategies cycled through their final stops.
Newgarden was running second, about seventh-tenths of a second ahead of third-place Palou, when leader Oliver Askew – on a different fuel strategy – pitted from the lead in the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet on Lap 51.
But Newgarden’s gap to Palou was erased on the same lap when Ed Jones spun in Canada Corner after the left rear tire on his No. 18 SealMaster Honda appeared to deflate. That triggered the last full-course caution, setting up the final restart duel between Newgarden and Palou that never materialized due to Newgarden’s technical problem.
There were seven different leaders and 11 lead changes, mainly due to daring fuel strategies from teams lacking the pace of the frontrunners. But the dramatic finish was the culmination of a no-holds-barred race that featured ferocious battles for position throughout the field, with cars hip-checking each other and kicking up plumes of dirt off course during the duels.
The next event is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Columbus, Ohio. Live coverage starts at noon (ET) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
Week 3 of the Bowman Gray Stadium schedule was Father's Day weekend, and Jason Myers paid tribute to his father after winning the Kevin Powell Motorsports 100 in the Brad's Golf Cars Modified Series.
Myers didn't have the lead until the final five laps, but he was able to overtake Lee Jeffreys, who led most of the 100-lap race. It was Myers' 34th win, tying him for 10th all-time with Billy Hensley - and his first victory since Aug. 4, 2018. Following the race, he praised his father, Gary, who won 38 races as a Modified driver at Bowman Gray.
"You ask me again when I get that big 38 that my old man has," Jason Myers said. "I told you what, if I could win one race it be on Father's Day weekend because this man (Gary Myers) right here is what makes it happen."
Myers started fifth and Lee Jeffreys started first to the inside of Daniel Beeson. Jeffreys had the stronger car for much of the night, but Jason Myers slipped past Jeffreys on the outside with five laps left.
"The whole race was tough," Jason Myers said. "Every one of these restart, that's where you win or lose these, races. If it hadn't have been for double-file restarts I never would've been able to get around Lee.
"We both had good race cars, and we were pretty even. And you just keep going around the outside hoping the man makes a mistake or spins his tires."
Jeffreys was in a similar situation as Jason Myers. Jeffreys hadn't won since July 27, 2019.
"I got beat on the restart," Jeffreys said. "Jason had a good car, and I knew he was good on the outside - but I wasn't about to go to the outside and let him have the inside. Hey, I got beat, but the old car is pretty good, though."
Each Modified driver qualified for the race, but there was a full-field draw, which occurs on 100-lap races. Also, the top four qualifiers -- Tim Brown, John Holleman IV, Jonathan Brown, and Burt Myers, Jason's brother, had the option of taking the Fans' Challenge, which meant they could go to the back of the field in hopes of climbing into the top four for all or part of $3,000. Holleman was the only driver of the four who chose to accept the Challenge and start in the rear. It paid off, and he came from 16th to finish third to win all of the $3,000.
Danny Bohn finished fourth.
"Our thinking was, we had the draw anyway, so if there was a chance we were going to start at the rear you might as well get paid to do it," Holleman said. "Man, we took the right place on the restarts every time. We kept going to the outside. I think I started on the inside once the whole race. We just kept fighting."
But it was a night for Jason Myers and the Myers family.
"(Jeffreys) had the preferred line," Myers said. "So the only way to pass the man in the preferred line is to get the edge on him. And I kept trying. I tried to get around him one time, but they threw the (caution) flag. You know, you do all you can to beat a guy clean. We ran three laps for the lead and never touched each other. There's only about three people over here I can race like that with."
Jeffreys agreed with what Jason Myers said.
"Everybody knows me," Jeffreys said. "I race everybody clean. I'm probably one of the cleanest over here... Me and Jason's raced over here for years, and we always run clean."
Just getting a win after nearly three years felt good for Jason Myers.
"I've spent a couple years without winning a race, but I've been real close several times," he said. "And I had a good enough car to win, but at Bowman Gray Stadium you've got to be more than fast. You've got to be lucky. You've got to put yourself in the situation to win."
In the first 20-lap McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman Series race, Jacob Creed won after starting on the pole. Creed fended off Michael Adams, who finished runner-up.
"I told my wife this morning, 'I haven’t ever won at Bowman Gray on Father's Day weekend,'" Creed said. "A win for my old man (David Creed) is pretty cool tonight."
Tommy Neal won the second 20-lap McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman race, which was his 50th career win. It's also Neal's second this season after winning on June 5, which was opening weekend.
"It was a big win," Neal said. He defeated Justin Taylor for second, Amber Lynn for third and Kyle Southern for fourth.
In the 20-lap Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series race, Brian Wall sat on the pole and dominated en route to a win.
There was a caution on lap 14 after Chris Allison spun out on turn 2, but Wall jumped out after the restart and held off Gerald Robinson, Jr. for the win. Taylor Robbins was third and Christian Joyce was fourth.
"Eleven years to the date we won our very first race over here," Wall said.
Justin Owens won his first career race after winning the first 15-lap Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series. Owens held off Shawn Hayes for second, Blaine Curry for third, and Brandon Crotts for fourth. "It's huge," Owens said. "It's the closest we've come to winning and got it done. Thanks to Shawn for driving me clean."
Brandon Brendle keeps on with his winning ways this season at Bowman Gray. Brendle won the second 15-lap Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series race after holding off runner-up Chuck Wall. It's Brendle's second win of the season and 17th of his career. "We've got a fast race car," Brendle said. "I spend more time on this thing than I do my own job."
Saturday's fourth week of the season is highlighted by the Great Clips Sportsman 100, which is presented by REAL ROCK 105.7. There will also be twin 25-lap races in the Brad's Golf Cars Modfied Series, a 20-lap Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series race, and twin 15-lap races in the Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series. It's the final week before the annual week off for Fourth of July weekend, and all races will have double points. There will also be a Midway Mobile Storage Skid Race, as well as a Fire in the Sky Nightime Pyrotechnic Parachute jump.
BGS Racing PR
Overnight storms in the area and more wet weather forecasted for Sunday afternoon into the evening have forced DIRTcar and Plymouth Speedway officials to cancel Sunday’s DIRTcar Summer Nationals and Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals events.
The tours next head to LaSalle Speedway in LaSalle, IL, on Wednesday night, June 23, to kick off the second week of the 2021 Hell Tour campaign. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
DIRTcar Series PR
Former NASCAR National Champion Robert Powell made an emotional return to victory lane taking the Charger division win Saturday night at Florence Motor Speedway. It was Powell’s first win since losing his father and longtime speedway owner, Charlie Powell, who passed away in 2020 due to complications from COVID-19.
“I’ve won at Martinsville, Myrtle Beach, a lot of big races, but this might be the biggest of my career,” said Powell in victory lane. “I could feel him riding with me tonight, that’s for sure.”
After qualifying on the pole, Powell got the advantage over three-time race winner, Averitt Lucas. The first caution of the night waved on lap five when contact from Joe Armakovitch sent Connor Lee spinning in turn one. After the restart, the battle was on for third between Michael Grooms, Brian Owens, and Talon Gallimore. Gallimore would make the move inside of Owens and Grooms on lap eight, but contact with Grooms on the frontstretch put Grooms on a wild ride into the wall and off the track.
Over the remaining laps, Lucas would make several runs at Powell concentrating on attempting a move around the outside. The effort proved futile as Powell led flag-to-flag for the win over Lucas, Cory Weatherford, Michael Strickland, and Davey Hatchell. Rounding out the top 10 were Owens, Archie Adams, Jr., Chris Grainger, Gallimore, and Glenn Mappus.
Zack Miracle battled through a couple of late-race restarts to take his third NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stock win of the season. The first caution of the race did not wave until lap 43 when Sam Scarpelli went for a spin in turn three. On the restart, Ryan Glenski got the advantage over Miracle to take the lead. But, just two laps later, Miracle would again go back to the top spot. The final caution of the race waved on lap 47 when contact from Janson Marchbanks resulted in David Roberts’ car spinning into the inside wall. At the finish, Miracle took the win over Matt Cox, Casey Kelley, Glenski, and RA Brown.
Strom Altman made a quick move from his fourth starting position to pass Jody Measamer for the lead on lap five, leading the rest of the way for his second Supertruck win of the season. The only caution of the race waved on the opening lap when Lucas Williams spun in turn four with a broken shock. Following Altman at the finish were Measamer, Cody Kelley, Remington Prince, and Adam Fulford.
Simultaneous engine problems for AJ Sanders and Mike Stafford cleared the way for Kevin Jackson to score his second Mini Stock win of the year. Both Sanders and Stafford appeared to have engine problems on lap 14, allowing Jackson to take the win over Bobby Taylor, Jr., Matt Briggs, Truett Miranda, and Adam Fulford, Jr.
Drake Williamson battled back after a stumble at the start to remain undefeated in the Allison Legacy Series winning over Jacob O’Neal, Shane Briggs, Parker Davis, and Andrew Davis.
The next race at Florence Motor Speedway will be Independence Day weekend on Saturday night, July 3rd, featuring the Firecracker 125 for the NASCAR Advance Auto Parts Weekly Series Late Model Stocks, plus Chargers, SuperTrucks, Mini Stocks, Thunder & Lightning, and the Allison Legacy Series. Also, July 24th has been added to the schedule as a replacement for the June 5th rainout. Be sure to “Like” Florence Motor Speedway on Facebook, follow @FlorenceMSpdwy on Twitter to keep up on all that’s going on in 2021, visit fmspeedway.com. or watch all the action live each week on fmspeedway.tv.
The quest for 100 DIRTcar Summer Nationals wins just got one race closer for Shannon Babb.
Babb, of Moweaqua, IL, found a sudden burst of speed late in the race around the bottom lane of Fairbury Speedway Saturday night and blew by his opponents for a $10,000 grand prize and his 99th career DIRTcar Summer Nationals Feature win.
“It’s special right here at Fairbury. $10,000-to-win Summer Nationals always meant a lot to us. Growing up, it was everything. These are big races,” Babb said.
While it was a big win at a big race, it was also special to Babb on a personal note. Six years ago, he came into Fairbury after the birth of his daughter Finnlee and captured his 90th career Hell Tour victory. His 99th victory Friday night came six years to that date, at the very same track.
Babb’s second appearance of the season with the tour put him in a similar situation to the previous night at Tri-City Speedway – starting the 50-lap Feature from the third row. But it didn’t all play out in exactly the same way.
Babb quickly made his way up to third from sixth but decided to switch lanes en route to catch the leaders, which ended up sending him all the way back to eighth. He rode there several laps, just before the halfway mark, when his car came to life.
“I was the first one to hit the bottom, and when I hit the bottom, I ran back about eighth or ninth… But it came in for us,” Babb said.
Indeed, his Team Zero Race Cars chassis #18 did come in. It only took 11 laps for the four-time Summer Nationals champion to pass every car ahead of him.
Like his nicknamesake, The Moweaqua Missile launched off the bottom lane of the quarter-mile and made the move underneath Tanner English for the lead on Lap 35. Within 10 laps, Babb had opened up a gap of over two seconds and pushed it to over three seconds by the time he took the checkered.
English held off Devin Moran for second while Frank Heckenast Jr. and Bobby Pierce completed the top-five. Defending Summer Nationals champion Brian Shirley started on the pole but slipped back to seventh by the race’s end. Local favorite Mike Spatola arrived late to the track and was forced to start at the tail of a Heat Race, but made good on the night by transferring in through the Last Chance Showdown to finish ninth.
Now with $10,000 in his pocket, Babb’s already looking forward to Fairbury’s biggest event of the season – the Prairie Dirt Classic.
“This is the highlight of our season coming here. We can’t wait to get here at the end of July, they’re really coughing up some money for that race,” Babb said.
Round #6 of the 2021 DIRTcar Summer Nationals campaign hits Indiana’s Plymouth Speedway Sunday night, June 20. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (50 Laps) 1. 18B-Shannon Babb; 2. 81E-Tanner English; 3. 9M-Devin Moran; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr; 5. 32-Bobby Pierce; 6. 42-Mckay Wenger; 7. 3S-Brian Shirley; 8. 6M-Dona Marcoullier; 9. 89-Mike Spatola; 10. 12W- Ashton Winger; 11. 32S-Chris Simpson; 12. 48-Tim Lance; 13. 9-Eric Smith; 14. B12-Kevin Weaver; 15. 25-Jason Feger; 16. 21JR-Billy Moyer Jr; 17. 14G-Joe Godsey; 18. 4G-Bob Gardner; 19. 84-Myles Moos; 20. 2-Mike Chasteen Jr; 21. 18-Jeffrey Ledford; 22. 24-Ryan Unzicker
HIGH FIVE: Hoffman Wins at Fairbury for Fifth Consecutive Feature Win
Six-time champion Harrison challenges Hoffman early, retires after contact with wall
Five nights, five races, five wins. Nick Hoffman is on one of the most dominant winning streaks in DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals history.
Through those five races, there’s been 130 total Feature laps contested. Hoffman has led every single one. Even with the tough competition on the roster for Saturday night’s race at Fairbury Speedway, nothing could shake his concentration.
“I had a memory pop up on my Facebook today of two years ago [during] Summer Nationals, and it was a quote that I was off to a rough start to Summer Nationals, and man, this is the total opposite,” Hoffman said in Victory Lane.
The one and only six-time Summit Modified champion Mike Harrison, of Highland, IL, made the trip to Fairbury and initially looked to be a serious threat to Hoffman’s win streak, winning his Heat Race and lining up fourth for the start of the Feature.
Harrison jumped right into second on Lap 3 of the 30-lap event, pounding the cushion very aggressively, engine wound-up as he went in hot pursuit of leader Hoffman. But it didn’t last him the whole race.
With 11 laps remaining, having already scraped the outside wall several times, Harrison’s right-front tire gave out and sent him into the Turn 1 wall, ending his night early.
“He gets away with it a lot of times running up there, and sometimes it’ll bite ya,” Hoffman said of the incident. “Right before that happened, I found a ton of grip about a lane off the cushion. I felt like it would’ve been a pretty good race there because I picked up a bunch of pace.”
Curt Spalding inherited the runner-up spot for the restart but did not have anything for the three-time and defending champ Hoffman, who drove away with the $2,000 winner’s check. Nick Allen, Tommy Sheppard Jr. and Allen Weisser completed the top-five.
Round #6 of the 2021 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals campaign hits Indiana’s Plymouth Speedway on Sunday night, June 20. Catch all the action live on DIRTVision.
ABBREVIATED RESULTS (view full results)
Feature (30 Laps) 1. 2-Nick Hoffman; 2. 5CS-Curt Spalding; 3. 21A-Nick Allen; 4. T6-Tommy Sheppard Jr; 5. 25W-Allen Weisser; 6. 1W-Bob Pohlman; 7. 9H-John Demoss; 8. 0-Travis Kohler; 9. 24Z-Zeke McKenzie; 10. 45-Kyle Hammer; 11. 64-Dawson Cook; 12. 35-Ethan Weber; 13. 36-Eric Vaughan; 14. 11S-Nick Seplak; 15. 22C-Nick Clubb; 16. 5-Steven Brooks; 17. 24H-Mike Harrison; 18. 8K-Levi Kissinger; 19. 37-Michael Ledford; 20. 22- Wade Wenthe; 21. 88S-Alan Stipp; 22. 17-Mike Mosier
DIRTcar Series PR
Buddy Kofoid passed Cannon McIntosh on a lap 24 restart then held off McIntosh over the final six laps to win night four of the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s Illinois SpeedWeek at Macon Speedway.
Kofoid’s victory is his tenth national midget feature win of the year, marking the second consecutive season he’s earned double-digit national wins. It also marked Toyota’s 30th national feature triumph of the 2021 season.
The race was marred by an opening lap incident involving Daison Pursley, who flipped between turns three and four. He was transported to a local hospital for observation.
When the race resumed, Thomas Meseraull would take the early lead, holding down the top spot for five laps before McIntosh would overtake him going to the top side off of turn two, with Meseraull dropping to second, followed by Kaylee Bryson and Kofoid.
McIntosh would proceed to pull away from the field, opening up a 1.7-second lead on lap 15 when a caution came out. Behind him, Kofoid had moved up to second with Meseraull sitting third. After the restart, McIntosh had a stretched out a 1.1-second advantage by lap 18, but would soon encounter lapped traffic, allowing Kofoid to close with less than 10 laps remaining.
In heavy traffic on lap 24, McIntosh would bobble between one and two, with Kofoid moving past, only to see a yellow come out for an incident involving Cade Lewis with Meseraull getting caught up in it, as well. Both would be forced to retire.
The lead reverted back to McIntosh for the restart, but it wouldn’t last long as Kofoid timed it perfectly, sliding him through turn one to take the lead. He would never relinquish the top spot, driving to the victory with McIntosh second – his third podium finish of the week. Bryson made a late pass for third, giving Toyota a sweep of the podium.
Thirteen-year-old Gavan Boschele placed fourth, with Bryant Wiedeman taking home fifth, propelling him into the POWRi point lead by 20 points over seventh-place Emerson Axsom. Taylor Reimer earned her third top-10 finish of the week with an eighth, while Ryan Timms finished tenth.
The POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League closes out its five-race Illinois SpeedWeek on Sunday at Fayette County Speedway. McIntosh will take the SpeedWeek point lead into the finale.
Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “That was a tough one. For a while I didn’t think I was going to be able to get past him. My car definitely got better at the end. I owe this one to the Keith Kunz Motorsports team, along with Mobil 1 and Toyota.”