Speedway Digest Staff
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GMS Racing PR
Hailie Deegan, No. 1 Craftsman Ford F-150
Tanner Gray, No. 15 Ford Performance F-150
Next event: Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on October 2 at 1 p.m. ET.
Derek Kraus drove the McAnally-Hilgemann Racing No. 19 NAPA AutoCare/South Point Toyota Tundra to a solid 12th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Friday night in the Victoria’s Voice Foundation 200 Presented by Westgate Resorts.
Driving a new truck without any practice, the 20-year-old and his team worked throughout the race to tune on their Tundra and get it dialed in.
After starting 12th, Kraus finished Stage 1 in 18th and was 24th at the end of Stage 2. The crew took advantage of opportunities midway through the race to make adjustments as they pitted for fresh tires. Their work paid off, as Kraus was able to mount a charge to the front.
He was up to 18th on a Lap 84 restart and charged into the top 10 on Lap 108. He had worked his way up to eighth when a caution came out on Lap 127, setting up four-lap dash to the finish. He got shuffled back in a fierce battle those final few laps, to finish 12th.
Kraus remains 13th in the championship standings, with three races remaining on the schedule.
MHR welcomed special guests from NAPA Los Angeles and the Las Vegas district stores to the track on Friday. Sponsor activation also included a NAPA VIP Guest Crew Member.
Derek Kraus – Thoughts about the race
What was the challenge like to race a new truck without any practice?
“We struggled all night with it and finally got it better at the end. Now, we’re looking forward to Talladega.”
News and Notes:
– Starting Position; Ty Dillon will start the Alsco Uniforms 302 from the 28th position on Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS). Due to no practice or qualifying the starting lineup was calculated by the competition-based performance metrics system; fastest lap in the previous race 15 percent, driver finish from previous race 25 percent, owner points 25 percent, and driver points 35 percent.
– Las Vegas Motor Speedway Stats; In seven starts at LVMS in NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) competition, Dillon holds an average finish of 24.9 with a best of 10th coming in 2020, while holding an average finish of 15.3 with a best of seventh in six starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). Dillon also has competed in two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) races at LVMS claiming a best of fourth in 2013. Saturday afternoon’s Alsco Uniforms 302 will mark Dillon’s tenth NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) start of the 2021 season, and first for Jordan Anderson Racing (JAR). In nine other starts Dillon holds an average finish of 18.7 with a best of fifth coming at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Logan Seavey was second and Chris Windom finished third as Toyota drivers earned two of the three podium positions on the first night of the USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Four-Crown Nationals at Eldora Speedway.
Windom led the first 12 laps of the 25-lap feature before eventual winner Tyler Courtney was able to get by him for the lead on lap 13. Windom then held down the second spot until lap 24 when Seavey was able to push past to capture the position with Windom in third. They were followed by Buddy Kofoid in fourth and Spencer Bayston in fifth as Toyotas captured four of the top five finishing positions.
Three more Toyota drivers registered top-10 showings on the night as Daison Pursley came home in seventh, followed by Emerson Axsom in eighth and Bryant Wiedeman was tenth.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series closes out the Four-Crown Nationals on Saturday night.
Logan Seavey, Tom Malloy/Trench Shoring: “This is the first time these guys have ever come here and we ran second. We were close all day. Now we just need to keep getting a little better when we come back tomorrow.”
Chris Windom, CB Industries: “I felt like I was really good the first half of the race, but our tire went away later in the race. I think we’ll be better tomorrow.”
Toyota-Powered Drivers USAC Eldora Speedway Friday Results
Logan Seavey – 2nd
Chris Windom – 3rd
Buddy Kofoid – 4th
Spencer Bayston – 5th
Daison Pursley – 7th
Emerson Axsom – 8th
Bryant Wiedeman – 10th
Justin Grant – 11th
Brenham Crouch – 12th
Chance Crum – 13th
Thomas Meseraull – 14th
Cannon McIntosh – 16th
Kaylee Bryson – 17th
Austin Barnhill – 19th
Kevin Thomas Jr. – 20th
Kopcik, Saunders, Sullivan, Fearn, & Ouellette Score September 24 Weekly Racing Feature Wins at Stafford Motor Speedway
Stafford Speedway hosted Weekly Racing action on Friday, September 24 with all 5 of its divisions in feature action. The SK Modified® feature saw an absolutely thrilling finish with Stephen Kopcik making a last lap, last corner pass of both Todd Owen and Keith Rocco to take down his fourth consecutive victory. Al Saunders was a first time 2021 winner in the Late Model feature, Brian Sullivan took down his fourth win of 2021 in the SK Light feature, Alexandra Fearn came home a winner for the 7th time in the Limited Late Model feature, and Bert Ouellette was a career first time winner in the Street Stock feature.
In the 40-lap SK Modified® feature, Noah Korner took the lead at the drop of the green flag with Jon Puleo right behind him in second. Marcello Rufrano was third in line followed by Keith Rocco and a side by side duel between David Arute and Matt Vassar for fifth. Puleo powered his way by Korner on lap-7 to move into the lead with Rocco getting around Rufrano for third. Arute took fifth from Vassar, but Todd Owen was now in fifth with Arute in sixth as the field completed lap-9.
Rocco took second from Korner on lap-10 and he went by Puleo on lap-11 to take over the lead. Behind Rocco, Puleo, and Korner, Owen took fourth from Rufrano on lap-12. Lap-16 saw Owen take third from Korner while Arute took fifth from Rufrano. At the halfway point of the race, Rocco held the lead with Puleo, Owen, Korner, and Arute making up the top-5. Sixth through tenth was Michael Christopher, Jr., Stephen Kopcik, Cory DiMatteo, Rufrano, and Dan Wesson. Kopick made a move to get by Christopher on lap-23 to move into sixth while Arute nearly took fourth from Korner on lap-24 but Korner was able to fend off the challenge.
Arute came back and was able to make the pass on Korner on lap-27 to move into fourth and Kopcik followed him by to take fifth and drop Korner back to sixth as Rocco continued to lead Puleo and Owen at the front. Anthony Flannery brought the caution out with 37 laps complete with a spin on the backstretch to set up a 3 lap sprint to the finish.
Rocco took the lead back under green with Owen moving into second and Kopcik third. Owen charged his way into the lead on lap-38 and Kopcik nearly took second, but the caution flew with 39 laps complete for a spin in turn 1 by Vassar to set up a green white checkered finish.
A multicar incident at the rear of the field brought the caution right back out on the restart. On the next restart, Owen and Rocco went wheel to wheel for the lead. They took the white flag still side by side but Owen got clear in turns 1+2. Going into turn 3, Rocco made a move to the inside of Owen and briefly took the lead but he drifted up the track, allowing Kopcik enough room to pass both Owen and Rocco in the final corner and take down his fourth consecutive victory in thrilling fashion. Owen finished second with Puleo, Rocco, and Arute rounding out the top-5.
In the 30-lap Late Model feature, Paul Arute backed his car into the turn 1 wall after contact from Tyler Leary to bring the caution out before a lap could be completed. Leary was sent to the rear of the field by Stafford officials for the contact with Arute.
Al Saunders took the early lead on the restart with Zack Robinson in second. Tom Fearn went by Robinson on lap-2 to move into second with Andrew Molleur in fourth and Michael Bennett already up to fifth. Bennett quickly went by Robinson and Molleur to move into third while Wayne Coury, Jr. was on the move, taking fourth and dropping Molleur back to fifth as Robinson slid all the way back to eighth place.
With 10 laps complete, Al Saunders was still in command of the race with Fearn, Bennett, Coury, and Molleur behind him. Adam Gray was sixth with Michael Wray, Robinson, Paul Varricchio, Jr., and Kevin Gambacorta rounding out the top-10. The order remained the same until lap-20 when Gray went by Molleur to take fifth and Wray followed him by to take sixth. Molleur then came to pit road where his crew went under the hood of his car.
Bennett was all over Fearn for second place, but Fearn was able to hold him off and maintain the position. Saunders led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first win of the 2021 season. Fearn held off Bennett for second with Coury and Gambacorta rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap SK Light feature, Meghan Fuller took the lead at the green flag and she led the first 3 laps before Peter Bennett powered his way into the lead. Mark Bakaj followed Bennett by Fuller to move into second. Amanda West spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution out with 4 laps complete and just after the caution was displayed for West, the car of Glenn Bartkowski ended up on its roof on the backstretch, which brought the red flag out immediately.
Bennett and Bakaj went side by side for the lead on the restart with Bakaj taking the lead at the line by a nose. Bakaj got clear into the lead on lap-6 with Norm Sears taking third behind Bennett. Alexander Pearl went by Bob Charland on lap-8 to move into fourth place. Pearl took to the outside lane and he took third from Sears on lap-10. Brian Sullivan and George Bessette, Jr. both followed Sullivan around Sears to move into fourth and fifth and drop Sears back to sixth as Bakaj continued to lead Bennett.
Sullivan was starting to apply heavy pressure to Bennett for second and he was able to make a pass on lap-16. Bennett was able to get into line in third with Pearl and Bessette behind him. Sullivan took a look to the inside of Bakaj on lap-18 in turn 4 but Bakaj was able to maintain the lead. Sullivan made the pass for the lead on lap-19 as the leaders raced into turn 1 and he led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his fourth win of the 2021 season. Bakaj came home in second with Bennett, Bessette, and Pearl rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Limited Late Model feature, R.J. Surdell took the lead with Ari Jencik and Matt Clement racing side by side for second. Clement took second and he and Surdell touched with Surdell spinning through the backstretch grass to bring the caution flag out with 4 laps complete.
On the restart, Gary Patnode got sideways in the middle of turns 3+4 after contact from Matt Scappini and collected the car of Mike Hopkins to bring the caution back out before a lap could be completed. Scappini was sent to the rear of the field for the contact with Patnode by Stafford officials.
The restart saw Alexandra Fearn go 3-wide with Clement and Jeremy Lavoie for the lead with Fearn and Lavoie emerging side by side for the lead with Devon Jencik taking third as Clement slid back to fourth. Dave Shinder got out of shape on the backstretch but was able to get his car moving and the race stayed green. Fearn was now in the lead with 7 laps complete with Devon Jencik taking second from Lavoie. Ari Jencik was fourth in line followed by Rich Hammann in fifth as Matt Clement fell back to sixth place. Clement spun coming out of turn 2 to bring the caution flag back out with 11 laps complete.
Devon Jencik took the lead on the restart with Fearn slotting into second. Lavoie was third in line followed by Hammann and Ari Jencik. Fearn was applying heavy pressure to Jencik for the lead but Jencik was able to hold him off. Fearn was able to make a move on lap-17 to get alongside Jencik and she took the lead from Jencik on lap-18. Lavoie was still third with Hammann in fourth and Ari Jencik in fifth.
Fearn took the checkered flag to pick up her seventh overall and second consecutive feature win of the 2021 season. Devon Jencik finished second with Lavoie, Hammann, and Ari Jencik rounding out the top-5.
In the 20-lap Street Stock feature, Bert Ouellette streaked into the lead on the first lap, taking to the outside lane to get by polesitter Daltin McCarthy. Travis Downey came up to second with McCarthy third and Tyler Trott in fourth before the caution flew with 1 lap complete for Rob Sears, whose car came to a stop in the middle of turns 1+2.
Ouellette took the lead on the restart with Downey right on his rear bumper in second. Trott moved up to third with Adrien Paradis, III moving up to fourth and Travis Hydar taking fifth. Just behind Hydar was the Street Stock championship duo of Frank L’Etoile, Jr. and Chris Meyer with Nickolas Hovey in eighth, McCarthy slid back to ninth and Bobby Stirk, III rounded out the top-10.
Paradis took third from Trott on lap-9 while L’Etoile took fifth from Hydar. Meyer followed in L’Etoile’s tire tracks and he went by Hydar on lap-10 to move into sixth place and drop Hydar back to seventh while Ouellette continued to hold the lead with Downey and Paradis still giving chase. L’Etoile continued his march to the front by taking fourth from Trott on lap-12 and he brought Meyer and Hydar with him to drop Trott from fourth back to seventh place.
Ouellette led the field to the checkered flag to pick up his first career Street Stock win at Stafford. Paradis finished second with Downey, L’Etoile, and Hydar rounding out the top-5.
For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at www.staffordspeedway.com.
Stafford Speedway PR
Earlier this evening at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Toyota unveiled its new race truck for the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. For the first time, Toyota will campaign the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro beginning at Daytona International Speedway in February.
Toyota’s commitment to race vehicles that closely resemble production vehicles continues with this all-new Tundra TRD Pro. With the new body for 2022, Toyota is celebrating the launch of all new next generation Tundra models on showroom floors.
Toyota continues as the only OEM that campaigns three different body styles across NASCAR’s top three series. With the Toyota Camry TRD Next Gen Cup Series car that was debuted in May, Toyota will campaign with two new bodies for the 2022 season. The Toyota Supra will continue to compete in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
“The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has always been extremely important to Toyota not only in our history, but our focus at our dealerships,” said Paul Doleshal, group manager of motorsports for Toyota Motor North America. “The launch of the new Tundra is a really exciting time for our entire organization so to be able to reflect that new styling in our NASCAR Tundra with the TRD Pro design is a reflection of the importance of the series to all of us and allows us to continue ensuring our on-track production resembles its production counterparts that can be found in our Toyota showrooms.”
Toyota’s commitment to the Camping World Truck Series is approaching nearing two decades. Since debuting in 2004, Toyota has claimed eight drivers and 11 manufacturer’s championships. Earlier this season at Daytona International Speedway, Ben Rhodes drove the Tundra to victory lane for the 200th time. Toyota is on pace this season to earn a 12th manufacturer’s championship on the strength of 13 victories to date. Six of the 10 drivers that qualified for this season’s Truck Series Playoffs compete full-time in Tundras.
“All of us at Kyle Busch Motorsports are proud to have carried the Toyota Tundra badging since we started this race team,” said Kyle Busch, team owner of Kyle Busch Motorsports. “Toyota and TRD are always working with us to ensure we’re as competitive as possible on the race track, but also ensuring that the body styling of our Tundras matches what fans can buy in their dealerships. The new Tundra is really aggressive looking and it’s great to see that reflected in our NASCAR Tundras with the TRD Pro badging for the 2022 season.”
The 2022 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was unveiled to the public on September 19 and is scheduled to make its way to Toyota showrooms later this year. The 2022 NASCAR Toyota Tundra TRD Pro will debut at the Daytona International Speedway on Friday, February 18.
The good – and quick – times keep rolling for Colton Herta.
California native Herta led the opening practice for the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Friday, turning a top lap of 1 minute, 9.2680 seconds in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda on the 11-turn, 1.968-mile street circuit. That speed came after Herta won the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey from the NTT P1 Award position last Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Simon Pagenaud was second quickest at 1:09.4334 in the No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet despite entering the runoff area in Turn 9 with about 10 minutes remaining in the 45-minute session.
NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship leader Alex Palou started with authority what could be a title-clinching weekend at the season finale, ending up third at 1:09.4554 in the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Second-year series driver Palou never has raced at Long Beach, as last year’s race was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a good session,” Palou said. “I like the track. It was all about getting to know the track and see how that No. 10 NTT DATA car was handling. I’m comfortable and ready to push tomorrow.”
Saturday’s action includes another 45-minute practice at noon (ET), followed by NTT P1 Award qualifying at 3:05 p.m. (ET).
The 85-lap race is Sunday, with live coverage starting at 3 p.m. (ET) on NBCSN and the INDYCAR Radio Network. Palou must finish 11th or better to clinch his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship.
Felix Rosenqvist will look this weekend to rebound from a tough season after posting the fourth-quickest time in practice, 1:09.4870 in the No. 7 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Ryan Hunter-Reay joined teammate Herta in the top five, ending up fifth at 1:09.5154 in the No. 28 DHL Honda to start his final event with Andretti Autosport after 12 seasons with the team. Rookie of the Year contender Romain Grosjean was named as the driver of the No. 28 car for the 2022 season earlier Friday.
While Rosenqvist found speed, his championship-contending teammate Pato O’Ward struggled in practice. O’Ward is second in the championship standings, 35 points behind Palou. But he ended up 16th in the 28-car field at 1:10.2451 in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.
“We need to work,” an agitated O’Ward said after the session. “We just need to sort something out, find time.”
The third title contender, two-time series champion Josef Newgarden, was 10th at 1:09.8557 in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Newgarden spun early in the session after losing traction while running over a bump entering Turn 9, but he continued without damage to his car.
Newgarden is 48 points behind Palou in third and must win the NTT P1 Award, race and lead the most laps while Palou finishes 25th or worse to have a chance to pull off an improbable title charge.
NTT IndyCar Series PR