Speedway Digest Staff
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Defending track champion Thomas Meseraull of Waveland, Ind. became the first repeat winner of the year in the non-wing sprint car division at Gas City I-69 Speedway Friday night, although his wire-to-wire victory in the 25-lap feature came in a different car than the one he used to win here on July 10.
Derek Losh of Renssalaer, Ind. recorded his fifth 20-lap modified feature victory of the season at the Grant County quarter-mile dirt oval during the “Mid-Summer Showdown.”
Bill Bradley of Van Buren, Ind. surprised Andy Bishop of Gas City by passing him to the outside in Turn 2 on the last lap to win the 15-lap street stock feature. It was Bradley’s second street stock feature win of the year here, while Bishop has three feature victories at Gas City this season.
It was a familiar smiling face in victory lane following the 15-lap hornet feature, as James Headley of Marion, Ind. posted his fifth victory in the six hornet features that have been run at Gas City so far in 2020.
Brock Meyer, lead pastor of Fairmount (Ind.) Friends Church, led all four laps of the “Faster Pastor” school bus race during intermission. Jared Webb, assistant pastor of Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion, Ind. finished second. Kevin Greenlee, senior minister of Unity Christian Church in Marion, placed third, while James McKinnie, the men’s program minister for the Grand County Rescue Mission in Marion, was fourth.
Meyer won a $500 donation to his church and a trophy for his victory. Another $500 donation went to McKinnie for having the loudest and most enthusiastic fans.
Meseraull started third in the 20-car sprint car feature in the Don Whitney Racing No. 00 sponsored by Ultracell, Physical Medicine Consultants and Pro Strip. He took the lead by dipping under polesitter Tye Mihocko of Phoenix, Ariz. in Turn 4 coming down to complete the first lap.
By lap three Kevin Thomas Jr. of Cullman, Ala., who started beside Meseraull, was second and Brady Bacon, a native of Broken Arrow, Okla., who currently lives in Winchester, Ind., had advanced from seventh to third. They chased Meseraull the rest of the way to no avail and finished in those positions.
The top trio kept to basically the same line through Turns 1 and 2 during the race. Thomas, in the No. 9K DRC/Speedway Chevy sponsored by Dr. Pepper, McDonalds and Senter Farms, and Bacon, in the Longworth Equipment Co. No. 410, experimented with the low side in Turns 3 and 4 several times, but neither could find anything to give them an advantage.
Mihocko finished fourth while Matt Westfall of Pleasant Hill, Ohio, who won here on July 17, came from 13th to finish fifth followed by Carson Short of Marion, Ill.
Chase Jones of Indianapolis was the hard charger, as he bettered his starting position by 13 spots. He started 20th and finished seventh. Brayden Fox of Avon, Ind.; Dallas Hewitt of Fletcher, Ohio and Cody White of Fremont, Ohio rounded out the top 10.
Jones, a student at the Kelley School of Business at IUPUI, earned an extra $100 from A.J. and Matt Brookmyer for being the race’s hard charger. His No. 11ag is a Spike chassis with a Foxco engine that is sponsored by Gray Auto, Leary Shock Technology and Bell Helmets.
The Brookmyers also awarded a Hoosier right-rear tire to the first sprint car non-qualifier. Since there were two B-mains on Friday there were two of them, and the tires went to Billy Cribbs of Muncie, Ind. and Evan Mosley of Lapel, Ind.
Meseraull was never seriously threatened despite six restarts that allowed his rivals to draw near. Three of them occurred with three laps down. The first was for a spin in Turn 3 by Jones. The second flew when nine-time Interstate Racing Association (IRA) champion Bill Balog of Hartland, Wis.; J.J. Hughes of Indianapolis and Tyler Kendall of Greenfield, Ind. got together between Turns 3 and 4. The third was when Adam Byrkett of Burnettsville, Ind. and Dustin Ingle of Lima, Ohio spun in Turn 2.
Hughes got airborne but didn’t flip in Turn 3 with seven laps down, and his car left the track on the back of a wrecker. Max Adams of Loomis, Calif. stopped on the frontstretch near Turn 4 with 12 laps down while he was running sixth. Ricky Lewis of Ventura, Calif., who qualified through winning the first B-main, was running sixth when he spun high in Turn 4 with 16 laps down.
Losh started third in the modified feature, took the lead from polesitter Tony Anderson of Lima, Ohio on the second lap, and marched on to victory. He had a half-straightaway lead by lap eight and was lapping the rear of the field by lap 13. Anderson was about a straightaway behind Losh at the checkered flag. Defending track modified champion Scott Orr of Columbia City, Ind. was third. Dylan Woodling of Warsaw, Ind. started tenth but finished fourth. Cole Sink of Fort Wayne, Ind. rounded out the top five.
Superior Sales and Service, Aggressive, R & R Transmission, Rensselaer Iron and Metal and Talbert Manufacturing sponsor Losh’s No. 21.
Bradley’s last-lap charge by Bishop in the street stock feature was the closest finish among the main events. Bradley’s family-owned No. 22 is sponsored by Ryan’s Auto Service, Erv’s Card Shack, Frank Bennett and Shrout’s Towing and Recovery.
Jordan Conover of Forest, Ohio ran in second place behind Bishop only to spin between Turns 3 and 4 working lap five. Although he had to go to the back for the restart, he rebounded to finish third. Jeffery Jessup of Union City, Ind. and Larry Persinger of Marion, Ind. rounded out the top five.
Headley followed the rear of his son’s No. 00 for the first five laps of the hornet feature but took the lead when Headley Jr. got off track on the backstretch and dropped to fifth, right before Brandon Lines of Marion, Ind. brought out a yellow after stopping on the frontstretch.
That gave second to Cordell Moore of Versailles, Ind. and third to Kolton Sollars of LaFontaine, Ind.
On the restart Headley Jr. spun into the infield and then called it a night. Headley had a half-straightaway lead over Moore at the checkered. Sollars finished third followed by Brady Hines of Denver, Ind. and Charlie Teegarden of Upland, Ind.
Despite a program featuring 84 race cars, including 34 sprints, there were no flips, although a few competitors did get airborne. The well-run show concluded a little before 11 p.m.
The track’s “Night of Destruction” originally slated for today, Saturday, Aug. 15, has been postponed until next year.
Teams trying to find that extra bit of speed will have the opportunity to participate in a “test and tune” session on Wednesday, Aug. 19 before the Dale Korporal’s Candy Man Classic next Friday night, Aug. 21. Non-wing sprint car drivers will compete in twin 20-lap features for a total purse of $20,000 that night. Modifieds, street stocks and hornets will share the billing.
The complete schedule for 2020 is on the track’s website at GasCityI69Speedway.com. Fans and competitors can also follow it on Twitter: @GasCitySpeedway; Instagram: @GasCitySpeedway and Facebook: GasCitySpeedwayOnTheGas.
Gas City I-69 Speedway is located on State Road 22, approximately a half-mile west of I-69, exit 259.
Gas City Speedway PR
Racing only 90 minutes from home, with his car owners at the track, against the biggest field of 41 DIRTcar Late Models so far this year. Whatever you throw at him, the pressure just never seems to get to Brian Shirley.
The Chatham, IL-racer fended off challenges from Brandon Sheppard, Frank Heckenast Jr. and Shannon Babb throughout the second half of the 50-lap contest Friday night at Fayette County Speedway to pick up his sixth DIRTcar Summer Nationals Late Model Feature win of the year, further padding his points lead on the quest for his fourth Hell Tour championship.
“It’s one of those things where we were lucky; better to be lucky than good,” Shirley said in Victory Lane. “In the Heat Race, [Shannon] Babb got in the wall, let us get by, and then we drew the pole and had a good enough car to hang on.”
While drawing the inside front row for the Feature gave him a great start on his path to the $10,000 victory, Shirley had work to do over the next 50 laps.
Shirley jumped out to a commanding lead in the opening stages and held it through the first 30 laps, maneuvering lapped traffic with ease before the first caution flag flew on Lap 31. The ensuing restart brought on his first defense of the lead as Heckenast Jr. had a big run on the bottom.
Heckenast’s challenge didn’t last long, however, as Sheppard went around him on the top side for the spot one lap later. Another caution for a smoking Jason Feger on Lap 38 restacked the field one last time before a big turning point in the battle for second going on behind Shirley.
Shirley gassed it up on the high side off of Turn 2 on the restart and made contact with Sheppard, who was looking for the lead to his inside down the backstretch. This turned him down into Heckenast, who was to his inside, and both went spinning into the infield in Turn 3.
Sheppard retired to the infield with a broken right-front tie-rod while Heckenast rejoined the field at the tail, ahead of the lapped cars. Before the race was done, Heckenast made it back up to fourth after losing a great deal of track position.
Back out front, it was Shirley’s race to lose. Shannon Babb pulled a great move to the low side of Dennis Erb Jr. for second on the final restart and gunned it for Shirley’s rear bumper. After a valiant effort to catch him, it just wasn’t enough for Babb to make the pass, and Shirley crossed the line victorious for the second time in Arizona Sport Shirts Week #4.
The DIRTcar Late Models are back in action Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in another 50-lap, $10,000-to-win main event in Round #20 of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Catch every lap live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Feature (50 Laps) 1. 3S-Brian Shirley ; 2. 18-Shannon Babb ; 3. 28-Dennis Erb ; 4. 99JR-Frank Heckenast Jr ; 5. 33R-Rodney Melvin ; 6. 6K-Michael Kloos ; 7. 4G-Bob Gardner ; 8. 10J-Jordan Bauer ; 9. 48-Tim Lance ; 10. 16-Rusty Griffaw ; 11. 15-Kolby Vandenbergh ; 12. 21-Billy Moyer ; 13. B5-Brandon Sheppard ; 14. 25-Jason Feger ; 15. 91-Rusty Schlenk ; 16. C9-Steve Casebolt ; 17. 26M-Brent McKinnon ; 18. 48L-Tim Lance Jr ; 19. 10-Daryn Klein ; 20. 14K-Paul Kuper ; 21. 30-Mark Voigt ; 22. 78-Chad Zobrist  Hard Charger: 33R-Rodney Melvin[+12]
DIRTcar Summit Modifieds
He won a record 13 DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals Features last year, and he’s well on his way to doing it again. Or, even better.
With Nick Hoffman’s seventh win of the 2020 season in Summit Modified action Friday night at Fayette County Speedway, he’s now one win away from maxing-out his win total for tour points at eight. And there’s still nine races left.
Simply put, the two-time and defending Summit Modifieds champion dominated on Friday night. He started on the pole and led all 25 laps unchallenged en route to the $1,500 payday.
No big wrecks to avoid, no problems with lapped traffic. Just a cleanly ran race and another W in the books for the #7 crew.
“I was glad to see [the race] string-out and stay green,” Hoffman said. “I felt like I had a really good line and was able to clear lapped cars pretty fast. Once I did that, felt like it was smooth sailing.”
Only the eight-best finishes for each driver are taken into consideration in the overall points standings at the end of the season. Potentially, Hoffman could end the season with a total of 16 victories, if he were to win out. Hoffman’s a true competitor and has plans to compete in every remaining race, so the possibility is there.
Hunt Gossum, the 15-year-old sensation from Mayfield, KY, had a terrific first night back as a part of the Summit Modified roster, starting third in the main event and holding off six-time tour champion Mike Harrison’s challenges to come home second.
The DIRTcar Summit Racing Equipment Modifieds are back in action Saturday night at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in another $1,500-to-win main event as part of Round #20 of the DIRTcar Summer Nationals. Catch every lap live on DIRTVision presented by Drydene.
Feature (25 Laps) 1. 7-Nick Hoffman ; 2. 99-Hunt Gossum ; 3. 24H-Mike Harrison ; 4. 1A-Steve Meyer ; 5. 28-Michael Bolyard ; 6. 1TPO-Tyler Peterson ; 7. 36-Kenny Wallace ; 8. P27-Brody Pompe ; 9. 128-Zach Schantz ; 10. 59R-Jacob Rexing ; 11. 24-Zeke McKenzie ; 12. 327-Chuck Goodman ; 13. K19-Will Krup ; 14. 21M-Willy Myers ; 15. 14-Rick Conoyer ; 16. 66-Tyler Blankenship ; 17. 22W-Wade Wenthe ; 18. T6-Tommy Sheppard ; 19. 28B-Lucas Pace ; 20. 27-Keith Harre ; 21. 88-Rob Lee ; 22. 87Z-Zeb Moake  Hard Charger: 24-Zeke McKenzie[+8]
DIRTcar Series PR
2015 Ocean Sprints champion Justin Sanders of Aromas, Calif. became the first repeat winner through seven rounds of the series presented by Taco Bravo, winning on Friday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. Sanders’ win gives him momentum as he looks to defend his Johnny Key Classic title in next Saturday’s 60th running of the event.
“Two in a row is good. It helps having Tim Green here giving us pointers. Really helps us having somebody to bounce ideas off of,” Sanders said. “Tonight was definitely bottom dominant. I got my left front up on the berm and was able to rotate off of it. It would be good to get the 60th (Johnny Key Classic). I got to qualify a little better. Qualifying is huge and you got to get into the dash. Just get the comfort level up a little higher and we should be good.”
2019 USAC West Coast 360 champion Tristan Guardino of Fremont won the dash to lead the 22-car field to green. Guardino surrendered the lead, however, when he was relegated to third by officials after a jumped start. Last Friday’s polesitter Joey Ancona of Concord assumed the top spot for the next attempt, before a red flag for Adam Kaeding flipping on the backstretch.
The third try was a charm with Ancona lifting the front wheels coming to green, allowing Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick to assume the lead. Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto then grabbed second from Ancona before a caution for points leader Bud Kaeding stopped in turn two. Kaeding rejoined the field before the restart, which Sanders used to go around the outside of Ancona for third.
Ancona pulled into the infield on lap six before a caution on lap eight for 2019 series champion JJ Ringo of Morgan Hill stopped on the frontstretch. Gilroy’s Kurt Nelson had advanced to fourth by that stage of the feature as well. The decisive move occurred one lap after the restart. Sanders looked underneath Faccinto for second entering turn three, before race leader Carrick opened up the bottom. Sanders promptly passed them both before the exit of turn four, charging to lead lap nine at the stripe.
Cautions flew on lap 13 for Kaleb Montgomery stopped in turn four and again on lap 22 when Guardino spun from fifth in turn four. Both cautions came as the leaders began to approach lapped traffic. Sanders capitalized on clear racetrack over the final eight laps, leading Carrick by five car lengths across the finish line. Faccinto, Nelson, and twelfth starting Ryan Bernal of Hollister rounded out the top-five. Kaeding advanced to sixth at the finish to preserve the points lead in the series. The Ocean Sprints presented by Taco Bravo continue on Saturday August 22nd with the 60th running of the Johnny Key Classic.
Joe Gallaher led all 20-laps to win the Hobby Stock main event. Nearly half the field was involved in separate spins on each end of the racetrack that brought out the caution on lap three. Steve Remde and Ken Winland were knocked from their battle for second in the spins. Season opener winner Terry Campion also spun in the melee.
Campion battled with Bobby Huckaby for fourth before moving forward. Campion took over third from Wally Kennedy on lap 12 and second from Jerry Skelton on lap 16. Gallaher topped Campion, Skelton, Kennedy, and Huckaby as the top-five finishers.
San Jose’s Randy Miller avenged a narrow loss in last Friday’s IMCA Sport Mod competition by winning the 15-lap main event this weekend. The opening lap of the race saw a red flag fly. Max Baggett spun across the field and was hit by Alex Wilson, who barrel rolled on the frontstretch before landing on his wheels. Wilson was uninjured.
Mike Kofnovec, Jr. of Gilroy assumed the lead on the restart before he spun on lap three to give up the top spot. The spin gave seventh starting Miller possession of the lead which he never relinquished, outlasting a late challenge from KC Keller of Tracy. Adriane Frost won a race long battle with Kelly Campanile for third with points leader Gavin Espino finishing fifth.
2020 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee Jim Pettit II grabbed the IMCA Modified 20-lap feature. The leaders went three-wide on the start before Todd Hermosillo slowed in turn two. He was able to get going and the race stayed green. Stephen Hopf of Gilroy took the opening lap before Pettit drove past him on the outside to lead lap two. Kyle Bryan spun in turn four for a caution with three laps remaining. Anthony Copeland of Hollister used the caution to advance up to second position on the restart. Pettit led Copeland, Robert Marsh, JC Elrod, and Hopf at the finish.
Four Banger points leader Ryan McClelland of Scotts Valley led all 20-laps for his third feature win of the season. Watsonville’s Richard Mitchell ran second until lap eight when he fell out of the competition. 2019 champion Kate Beardsley won a race long battle for the second position ahead of Tony Gullo, 2019 Police-N-Pursuit champion Roy Iller, and Nicole Beardsley.
For more information, visit www.OceanSpeedway.com
Ocean Speedway PR
When Eddie Tafoya Jr. announced he was heading to Indiana to race with the USAC National Sprint Cars during “Indiana Sprint Week,” it marked a giant step in his racing career. Competing against the best in the nation on their home tracks in the grueling series would be a tough experience for the young driver, correct? Absolutely not! The newly turned 23-year-old proved to be anything but intimidated and gave a very favorable account of himself before heading back home to Southern California.
Seven races at seven different tracks crammed into just nine nights is a whole different ballgame than the 2019 USAC/CRA and USAC Southwest Series Rookie of the Year is used to. Afterall, drivers are lucky if they get to race three times a month on the west coast. The Midwest series would prove to be as demanding on cars, drivers, and crews as it is a delight for the fans. While it was challenging, it was also extremely rewarding for the Chino Hills, California based driver, and his team.
“The tracks were pretty fun,” Tafoya said of his first racing experience in the Hoosier state. “Every single one had their own special qualities in how they changed and progressed. I definitely like Lawrenceburg and Terre Haute the best, the two biggest tracks. Tri-State is a super nice facility.”
The series started out at Gas City I69 Speedway. Tafoya garnered attention late in the C Main when his outside run saw him charge from the middle of the pack to less than a car length out of the fourth-place final transfer spot. The following night at “Indiana’s Baddest Bull Ring,” the Kokomo Speedway, he again ended up in the C Main and for the second night in a row, he finished one spot out of the transfer to the B.
A trip to Southern Indiana’s high-banked Lawrenceburg Speedway brought the first portion of Sprint Week to a close for the teams on July 26th. That was the night Tafoya raised everyone’s eyebrows. He improved his qualifying effort of the prior two nights by stopping the clocks at 14.722. That was good enough for the ninth fastest in his group. The impressive performance continued when he beat two of USAC’s top stars to the line to finish fourth in his heat and transfer straight into the main event where he started and finished 19th.
“Lawrenceburg was definitely the highlight of the trip,” Tafoya said. “We went straight into the A-Main from the heat race. I definitely like that fast track, and the roughness. Just had to be up on the wheel and ready to go. I was hoping to make the main events straight through the heats, but I didn’t know if I could get it done (being the first time at the tracks).”
After a couple nights off, the #51T team trekked to the biggest venue in the series, the Terre Haute Action Track. Tafoya, who was the 2018 Perris Auto Speedway Young Guns champion, refused to be daunted by the big half-mile clay oval. He turned in his best qualifying effort of the series when he toured the track at 20.582. That was good enough for sixth fastest in his group. He finished sixth in his heat race and that allowed him to skip the C Main and go straight into the B where he placed.
“I like the big tracks,” Tafoya answered when asked about the Terre Haute qualifying effort. “I feel like I have a lot more time to feel the car, feel the track and make decisions even at higher speeds. I feel comfortable doing that.”
The night after Terre Haute, the series switched to Lincoln Park Speedway. The winner there was a rival that none of the drivers could beat. Rain! Not only did heavy rain knock out that race, but it also forced the cancelation of the next night’s race at the Bloomington Speedway.
The rained-out Lincoln Park race was switched to Saturday, July 31st. This time Tafoya found himself back in the C Main where he finished a disappointing 10th before rain intervened again and postponed the remainder of the show.
Tafoya wound up his sojourn to the Midwest at “The Class Track,” the Tri-State Speedway in Haubstadt, Indiana. After qualifying 15th, he was in a stacked heat race that featured five of the top 10 drivers in USAC National points. An impressive showing saw him finish fifth to again get a ticket into the B main event. In the B, the talented young driver came charging and did slip into the final transfer spot. His first night on the track, he see-sawed back in fourth with the more experienced drivers, including the all-time leader in USAC Sprint victories in the waning laps. He got as far up as the sixth and final transfer spot before settling for eighth.
After the promising trip and the fact that there is no racing happening on the west coast due to the COVID Crisis, Tafoya and his team have decided to head back to Indiana for the annual Smackdown race at the Kokomo Speedway August 27th, 28th, and 29th.
“At Kokomo, we started out a little bit tight, but by the end of the night our car was really good,” Tafoya said when asked what the team will change when they get back there. “We were behind the eight-ball starting with qualifying. We will look at our notes and go back to what we ended the night with when we were there last month.”
The team will leave for the Midwest on Sunday, August 23rd. Once there, fans can meet Tafoya at the Indiana races to get autographs and purchase one of his 2020 team shirts.
Fans who cannot get away to watch Tafoya live at Kokomo can see the Smackdown races on the Flo Racing website. For details, please click on the following link. https://www.floracing.com/
For more information on Kokomo Speedway, please refer to the following. Kokomo Speedway, 2455 N. Davis Road, Kokomo, IN 46901 – (765) 459-3877 - http://www.kokomospeedway.net/.
Tafoya and his team would like to thank the following sponsors for being a part of the 2020 racing effort. Specialty Fasteners, Circle Track Performance, Sprint Car Driving Experience, DRC Chassis, Ryder Racing Engines, and Benic Enterprises.
Eddie Tafoya Jr. Racing PR
After a spirited battle of trading paint and lead swapping, Michael Self muscled his way past Ty Gibbs with six laps to go to win the General Tire 100 ARCA Menards Series race at the DAYTONA Road Course Friday night. The victory kicked off a historical weekend at storied as road course racing for stock cars returned to Daytona Beach.
The General Tire 100 marked the first time in history that the ARCA Menards Series, a staple at Daytona since 1962, had ever competed on the storied tri-oval/road course, made famous by the Rolex 24 AT DAYTONA, North America’s premier event that also started in 1962.
For Self, a noted road course ace, the victory was extra special as he was able to win on layout with many twists and turns (14) but also he made it DAYTONA sweep after winning the season-opener on the high banks of the tri-oval in February. This marks the first time in history two ARCA races have competed at Daytona in a single season and Self won them both.
“It’s a little extra special for me. I wanted to win a road course race so bad this year,” said Self, the championship points leader who notched his second triumph of the season. “This is so special to me. Anytime you win at Daytona it is really special. To do it twice in one year is really cool. Road course racing has a special place in my heart. Just really cool.”
As a result of the win, Self stretched his lead in the title chase to 15 over Bret Holmes, who wound up eighth. As for his hard racing with Gibbs, the grandson of NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs, Self said, “every point is incredibly important right now. I wanted to lead laps…wanted to get out front. The side-by-side racing that Ty and I had was exciting.”
Self was able to stretch his lead to 6.993 seconds at the checkered flag. Behind Gibbs in third was former IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar champ Colin Braun, who, at the midway point of the event, came in as a relief driver for Sam Mayer, who entered the race with an injured right arm. Rounding out the top six were Taylor Gray, Will Rodgers and Hailie Deegan.
The start of the race was delayed by nearly three hours for heavy showers, but once the inclement weather moved out of the area, most teams chose to use treaded rain tires on the track, which remained wet in places throughout the race.
NASCAR’s three top-tier series will now get a chance to challenge the DAYTONA Road Course, each for the inaugural time, beginning Saturday with the UNOH 188 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, which is set for a 3 p.m. ET start. Sunday will feature a doubleheader for the Sunoco 159 for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series at 12:00 p.m. ET while the NASCAR Cup Series’ Go Bowling 250 will take the green flag at 3:00 p.m. ET.
The full schedule is below:
- Saturday, August 15 - NASCAR Xfinity Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBCSN)
- Sunday, August 16 - NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors at 12 Noon ET (FS1)
- Sunday, August 16 - NASCAR Cup Series at 3:00 p.m. ET (NBC)
A limited number of fans will get the opportunity to see the Go Bowling 235 and Sunoco 159. Fans can get tickets, which start at $49 (both races included) for adults and $10 for kids 12 years old and younger, by visiting www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or calling 1-800-PIT-SHOP.
Speeds and Andretti Autosport’s expectations for the pole position for the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge climbed arguably in equal measure Aug. 14, as Marco Andretti posted the fastest lap on “Fast Friday” since 1996.
Andretti led the final practice before Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying this weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with a top lap of 38.5454 seconds, 233.491 mph in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda. He was one of 23 drivers who posted top speeds of 230 mph or higher, as added turbocharger boost today through Sunday added approximately 50 to 75 more horsepower to the Honda and Chevrolet engines.
RESULTS: Indianapolis 500 Practice 3 | Combined Results
That was the top “Fast Friday” speed since Arie Luyendyk ripped off the fastest practice lap in Indy 500 history, 239.260, on May 10, 1996.
“Fast Friday was good, especially with the top speed of the day,” Andretti said. “We seem to be looking good on no-tow speeds, as well. Although I wanted to end the day with runs better than we did, and we have a few things to work out. But we just need to nail tomorrow, and the No. 98 car has enough speed for the Fast Nine.”
Conor Daly was second fastest today at 232.337 in the No. 47 United States Air Force Chevrolet. NTT INDYCAR SERIES points leader and 2008 Indy 500 winner Scott Dixon, fastest Thursday, was third at 232.290 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.
2014 Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was fourth at 232.124 in the No. 28 DHL Honda, the best lap of the day without an aerodynamic tow under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s on the 2.5-mile oval. Spencer Pigot rounded out the top five at 232.116 in the No. 45 Hy-Vee/Embrace Pittsburgh Honda.
Two-time Formula One World Champion Fernando Alonso returned to the track today after hitting the SAFER Barrier in Turn 4 on Thursday in his No. 66 Ruoff Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. He was 25th fastest at 229.788.
The first day of qualifying takes place from 11 a.m.-4:50 p.m. (ET) Saturday. The nine fastest cars will earn a berth in the Fast Nine Shootout from 1:15-2:15 p.m. Sunday, which will determine the pole winner and the starting grid for the first three rows of the race Sunday, Aug. 23.
NBC will air qualifying from 3-5 p.m. Saturday. NBC’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES streaming platform, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, will cover qualifying from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
All six Andretti Autosport drivers ended up in the top 15 today, with Andretti first, Hunter-Reay fourth, James Hinchcliffe seventh, 2016 “500” winner Alexander Rossi ninth, Colton Herta 13th and Zach Veach 15th.
2006 Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Andretti has been one of the three fastest drivers each of the three days of practice as he aims for his first Indy 500 pole and victory. But he will be the 28th of 33 cars to make their first qualifying attempt Saturday, when an earlier spot in the qualifying line should be more advantageous due to cooler air and track temperatures.
The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing trio of Graham Rahal, Takuma Sato and Pigot benefited most from the qualifying draw Friday evening. Rahal will be first in the qualifying line, followed by teammate Sato in second. Pigot will make the seventh qualifying attempt in his RLL with Citrone/Buhl Autosport entry.
Track activity starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a one-hour pre-qualifying practice split into two 30-minute groups (live, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold).
NTT IndyCar Series PR
Fans of the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge will have multiple options to watch and listen to Crown Royal Armed Forces Qualifying this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Each of the 33 car-and-driver combinations will attempt at least one four-lap qualifying run to post a time for the “500” on Sunday, Aug. 23. The fastest nine cars from qualifying Saturday, which starts at 11 a.m. (ET), will transfer to Sunday’s Fast Nine Shootout to determine the first nine starting positions for the race. The Fast Nine Shootout starts at 1 p.m. Sunday.
NBC will air qualifying from 3-5 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. NBC’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES streaming platform, INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold, will cover qualifying from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and from 1-3 p.m. Sunday.
The NBC Sports Network and INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold will have Sunday’s post-qualifying practice from 3:30-6 p.m. INDYCAR Pass on NBC Sports Gold will cover Saturday’s first practice from 8:30-9:30 a.m. and Fast Nine Shootout practice from 11-11:30 a.m. Sunday.
The Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network will air broadcasts of all track activity this weekend.
Qualifying coverage starts from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3:30-5 p.m. Saturday on national affiliates, XM 205, indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT DATA. Fast Nine Shootout coverage will air from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday.
More Saturday qualifying coverage from the Pennzoil INDYCAR Radio Network will be available from 1-3:30 p.m. on indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App. Practice coverage on indycar.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App will be available from 8:30-9:30 a.m. Saturday, 11-11:30 a.m. Sunday and 3:30-6 p.m. Sunday.
Fans also can find the complete TV and radio broadcast schedule for the entire event by clicking here.
NTT IndyCar Series PR