CONCORD, N.C— After multiple restarts in the final 20 laps, Ryan Blaney scored his first win of 2017 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Hisense 4K TV 300.
“It was really tough. We kept having tons and tons of cautions,” Blaney said. “We lost the lead on a pit stop when we kind of got blocked in and I wasn’t sure I was going to get a shot at it. It worked out where we could put ourselves in position to get the win and we capitalized on it. Everybody did a great job.”
This is Blaney’s first win since September of 2015 at Kentucky Speedway. This is his fifth victory 56 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts, and his first win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Blaney and his father, Dave, are the first father-son duo to win at Charlotte.
Blaney was able to hold of Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick on a late race restart with four laps remaining. Blaney worked his way towards the front of the field after starting in the rear due to unapproved adjustments after the car was impounded after qualifying.
Harvick finished second in the race after not being able to receive any help on the final restart by Blaney and Brad Keselowski. This is Harvick’s 18th top-10 finish in 28 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and his third top-10 of 2017.
“If I could do (the final restart) again I would probably do it differently. I felt like the 12 (Blaney) had the best car on restarts. He was the one who helped us get the lead. Just wasn’t able to get going through one and two. I needed to be clear by the time I got to three and four. I hadn’t been taking the top but I felt if the 12 and 22 got paired up on the top, I would be in double trouble,” said Harvick. I had a heck of a time today. All in all, I just got beat there by the 12. He did a good job all day there on the restarts. I’m really proud of everybody on the team. We ran well and led a bunch of laps.”
Dillon finished in the third position in the race following having to go to the rear after an initial start violation in the opening laps. Dillon dropped to the rear, but was able to work his way to the third position by race end. This was Dillon’s sixth top-10 finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“We did a really good job. Our Chevy really came to us. I hate it for our pit crew there. I messed up on the start. There at the end, I had a Penske sandwich. I couldn’t do much about it. I got hit on the restart but it wasn’t enough to carry me to the front. We had a lot of fun today,” said Dillon. “The track changed and we are trying to figure out what we need here. We’re getting closer.”
Christopher Bell, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Cole Custer, Brennan Poole, Brendan Gaughan, and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10 in Saturday afternoon’s event.
The race was slowed 12 times for 52 laps by caution. There were 12 lead changes among seven drivers with leading the most laps at . The average speed of the race was 113.720 mph. The time of the race was two hours, 38 minutes, and 17 seconds. Blaney beat Harvick by 0.244 seconds,
Elliott Sadler remains the point leader after his 35th place finish by six points over teammate Justin Allgaier, 57 points over William Byron, 79 points over Daniel Hemric, and 83 points over fifth place driver, Darrell Wallace Jr.
Next up for the Xfinity Series is the OneMain Financial 200, a Dash4Cash event, from Dover International Raceway. The race will be broadcasted on Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 on June 3rd at 1:00 p.m. EST.
CONCORD, N.C— Justin Allgaier will start from the pole in today’s Hisense 4K TV 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is his fifth career pole.
In the opening round, Cale Conley went for a spin through the grass coming off the fourth turn, but was able to drive away with minimal damage. Brad Keselowski will start in the rear of the field due to the team being unable to get through inspection five times during qualifying. Dakoda Armstrong was the other driver who did not post a time in qualifying. Cole Custer was fastest in the opening round at 182.457 mph. William Byron was second fastest at 181.330 mph. Christopher Bell was third fastest at 181.214 mph. Matt Tifft was fourth fastest at 180.439 mph. Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five at 180.421 mph. Jeff Green and Jordan Anderson were the only two drivers unable to make the show.
In the second round of qualifying, there were two ties for position on the race track. The first tie came between Justin Allagier and Daniel Hemric, both posted a speed of 181.141 mph, but Allgaier took the position over Hemric due to his points position. The second tie came between Tyler Reddick and Kevin Harvick, both posted a speed of 180.542 mph, but Reddick received the advantage. Bell was fastest in this round at 181.360 mph. Elliott Sadler jumped to second in the final moments with his speed of 181.178 mph. Blaney was third fastest at 181.147 mph. Allgaier was fourth while Hemric rounded out the top-five with their speeds of 181.141 mph.
In the final round, Allgaier posted a speed of 182.488 mph to start from the pole. Austin Dillon will start second with his speed of 181.519 mph. Blaney will start third with his speed of 181.378 mph. Hemric will start from the fourth position with his speed of 181.324 mph. Harvick rounded out the top-five with his speed of 181.245 mph. Custer, Bell, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Reed, and Reddick round out the top-10.
The Hisense 4K TV 300 will go green shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
CONCORD, N.C— Kevin Harvick will start from the pole in Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Harvick’s first pole for the 600 and his third pole of 2017. This is Stewart-Haas Racing’s 33rd pole since its inception in 2009.
“The cars in qualifying were a lot looser than they were in practice and just based on past experience here it was a handful through one and two. I just about lost it the first run, but the car was so good in three and four I didn’t want to overadjust on it and make it too tight down there because you get tighter as the lap runs, so the guys did a good job of making adjustments, but not making it so tight that I couldn’t carry the throttle like I needed to in three and four. So they just did a great job on our Mobil 1 Ford,” said Harvick.
In the opening round, Kyle Busch was fastest at 191.381 mph. Denny Hamlin was second fastest at 191.008 mph. Erik Jones was third fastest at 190.799 mph. Matt Kenseth posted the fourth fasted speed in the round at 190.752 mph. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five at 190.638 mph. No drivers were sent home as the 40 cars showed up. Corey LaJoie and Kyle LAtson
In the second round, Harvick posted the fastest time at 193.237 mph. Ky. Busch posted the second fastest speed in the round 193.223 mph. Chase Elliott posted the third fastest speed in the round at 191.734 mph. Clint Bowyer posted the fourth fastest speed at 191.673 mph. Martin Truex, Jr. rounded out the top-five in the second round at 191.605 mph.
In the final round, Harvick posted a speed of 193.424 mph to grab the pole. Ky. Busch posted a speed of 192.513 mph for the second position, Elliott posted the third fastest time at 192.260 mph, Kenseth posted the fourth fastest speed at 192.130 mph, and E. Jones posted the fifth fastest speed to round out the top-five on Sunday at 191.782 mph. Hamlin, Blaney, Truex, Bowyer, and Keselowski rounded out the top-10.
Friday will be a dark day at Charlotte Motor Speedway for teams. Teams will have two practice sessions on Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. EST and 11:30 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.
CONCORD, N.C— It is another venue with the same problems when it comes to pre-qualifying inspection. Numerous teams were unable to pass the LIS station before the green flag flew for qualifying. This issue has been going on since Atlanta.
Teams are given the chance before practice begins to roll through inspection as a courtesy. Many teams take that courtesy check of their cars. However, official tech inspection is done after practice and before qualifying. All teams are given the chance to pass inspection before those that have failed can come back through. In today’s session, all drivers were given that chance to pass on the first try.
Unlike previous weeks, Kyle Larson and Corey LaJoie were the only two drivers who did not post a time in Thursday’s qualifying session from Charlotte Motor Speedway. Larson and his team were able to pass inspection with roughly one minute remaining in the opening round of qualifying.
Larson was furious about not being ale to pass LIS and attempt to make a lap on the track. Because of the issues, Larson will start from the 39th position on Sunday.
“We’ll start last instead of from the pole. I guess I’m upset at myself for getting into the wall in practice there because it put us behind on getting to the tech line. We still failed a couple of times. The machine wouldn’t work there, late, and it cost us a minute or minute and a half, and we actually passed,” said Larson. “But we didn’t have enough time to get out there. Had the machine worked, maybe we would have made it out there for that round. I don’t know. I won’t speak too much on it because I don’t know much about how that whole tech process works. I know all the teams hate it. The teams point at NASCAR. NASCAR points at the teams. It’s confusing to me.”
NASCAR Officials were standing by Larson when he made those comments. NASCAR confirmed that the LIS machine was working properly, but his team was unable to roll the car onto the platform correctly.
It is a constant battle of teams blaming NASCAR and NASCAR blaming teams, but who is in the right? The NASCAR community will never know.
CONCORD, N.C— With the announcement of the suspended operations of Red Horse Racing, Kyle Busch was adamant on Friday that things need to change in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) for it to be viable.
According to Busch, Kyle mentioned the it takes $3.2 million per season to run a fully competitive team in NCWTS, while advocating for reducing the costs.
“Our cost is 3.2. That's how much it takes to run a full operation of a truck team, and that number should be around 2, and how to get it lower, there's some engine talks I know and some body talks I know, but we're hitting it, but we're only hitting it about a half a million by doing that,” said Busch.
What is the biggest cost for teams? It is the people.
“Your biggest expense is your people, and that's where it all comes from. But as far as our model goes, it does work right now thanks to the support of Toyota, thanks to the support of the (Noah) Gragson with Switch, and the Myatt Snider’s and the Bubba Wallace's sponsors and Erik Jones' sponsors and the people like that that we've had over the course of the years that were able to make it all work.”
As Cup guys own teams in NCWTS, it is not about the money. There are many challenges for people like Busch and Brad Keselowski, who fields two teams in NCWTS.
“To really make it work and to drive your costs down, you have to have three teams, and even four teams makes it even better, but we're not to the point yet where we're ready to grow because we still need to develop our third team and make it a strong force to be reckoned with each and every week,” said Busch. “But once we get to four teams, people are mad at us because then we're too good, people can't beat us, whatever you want to say, so people are mad that we're overtaking the sport, which all we're trying to do is continue to help and build it, but there's a double‑edged sword in anything that I do anyways, so we just keep working on it, keep trying, and make it work as best we can for us."
With the 2018 schedule being released this week, people like Kevin Harvick have advocated that the NCWTS moves more to a “grassroots” schedule, something that the series was built on in its early inception.
"I would definitely enjoy that model of going back to those race tracks. Now again, how you accomplish that and how you get that done, that's for people a hell of a lot smarter than me to figure out, but I would certainly enjoy seeing the Truck Series go back to Tucson, or even around here, go to Motor Mile, go to some of these short tracks that you can put 10, 15, 20,000 people in the stands for an exciting truck race because in all honesty, that's the crowd count that you're getting at a mile‑and‑a‑half anyways, so pack the place, make it look good, and put on a good show for the fans and go back to some of the roots of short track racing that these drivers are coming up from, that the trucks came from, and Friday night shows, Saturday night shows, whatever it might be at some of these cool short tracks, and I think you'll put on a great show, you'll have the fans come out and support that. It's just how to make the model work. There's TV money involved, there's sanctioning agreements involved, there's all kind of too much behind‑the‑scenes BS that I'm not smart enough to figure out, but hopefully somebody can be smart enough to figure it out. Maybe this guy can figure that out,” said Busch.
The question was raised about if going to these smaller tracks would be a challenge and how would it work.
"Well, you just said it right there. If we make less money you're digging our grave, so the sanctioning agreements can't be for any less money, that's for sure. We actually need them to be for more. In order to cut our costs, we need to be able to make more money or compete for more money to race for more winnings. If you cut our winnings out, you might as well just say goodbye. You know, there's a problem in that fact right there, too. You know, it's just ‑‑ it's about trying to get the butts in the seats,” said Busch. “That's what matters most. If South Boston packed the place every single time and made money and NASCAR made money, the teams made money and all of us would still be going there, so there's obviously something that was missing, and I don't know what that was. But to figure that out and to be able to pack some of these short tracks and to put the trucks back on some of those standalone events, it's all about exciting moments, exciting racing, having some rooting and gouging, and it's probably worth having fights in the pits. That's what it all comes down to, and you know, we'll see if any of that happens."
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also chimed in about the importance of the truck series and XFINITY series.
“Yeah, we moved our Truck team up to the Xfinity Series to make another team there. When I was in the series we went to South Boston and places like that and I miss watching those races. They were great races. I don’t know if the business model works to be able to go back and undo everything we’ve done, but I’d rather tune-in and watch them run the beach or the fairgrounds. Man! I’d love to go run a Xfinity race at the fairgrounds, in our cars. That would be at the top of my list if it was on the schedule,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I run Richmond and Bristol. That’s the only ones I’m running this year because that’s the only short track action you can find. But, the 1.5-miles just aren’t that fun. We run too many of them for it to be fun. We rarely run the short tracks. So, you try to get as much of that as you can. Not everybody is the same. This is just me talking. I don’t know if all the drivers like short tracks that much. But, I would certainly tune-in.”
Busch believes that the interest and sponsorship are just not there for the Trucks.
"I don't know what Brad's (Keselowski) scenario is. You'll have to ask him. I do believe that I have heard that he puts money in himself. I know that I put money in myself. You know, I wouldn't say that the model is working for us. I just think that we're content with the amount of money that we are spending,” said Busch. “That makes it worth our while. There just aren't any big sponsors. There aren't any Fortune 500 companies I think besides M&M's, Mars, with Pedigree now that's joining us with Todd Gilliland with Pedigree to be on our truck, and it's just not ‑‑ there's not enough people on TV, there's not enough people in the stands. The sponsorship just doesn't come. They just don't care, and that's the most frustrating part of it.”
After qualifying on Thursday night, Harvick expounded even more on the initial comments he made on his radio show "Happy Hours" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
“I can’t walk anywhere and not have somebody talk to me about the Truck Series schedule. I think it’s something that a lot of people want to say and haven’t said, but I think it’s definitely time to look at the grassroots sides of things and I think the Truck Series is a grassroots division. If you could just for example take it somewhere like Nashville Speedway and pair it up with the All-American 400 and put the All-American 400 in Nashville back on the map with a Truck Series race with some SAFER barriers, get the city of Nashville involved and that’s just one race. I think it would be very interesting and I feel like that regionally is a big touring race. You go up to Oxford, Maine, but getting the TV to these cars and these local racers and these people and the enthusiasm that it brings to a local market, that’s what the Truck Series does," said Harvick. "When you look at Eldora and you look at the road race in Canada, you look at these one-off events and every one of them are well attended, every one of them are exciting and well attended. We need events and I think it’s a great way to reinvest from the bottom up in different facilities and you could sit here and name a bunch of them, and what better way to show them you care than by putting soft walls up at the race track somehow and some way to get the cities involved and the race track and work on getting those sanctioning fees down and get them to places where they can knock the fenders off of each other and put on a great show, much like they do at Eldora. I mean, it’s got 20-some thousand people there every time we show up and everybody loves watching on a Wednesday night.”
When asked how it works, Harvick quickly went on how TV funds most everything in today's world.
TV money is still how everyone survives. That’s the reason a lot of these race tracks take these Truck races now because the TV money went up, so there’s a reason that they want to keep them. But there are ways to make all of this work. Everybody doesn’t need to have their hand out, they need to be thinking from the bottom up and how do we make this better?," said Harvick. "You look at some of these historic, just really great short tracks across the country. I’m not saying we need to take them from Daytona or Phoenix or some of these other places, but there are some places that they don’t need to be going and I think it would be interesting to revive the Copper Classic and start the season with the Trucks out there and see the sprint cars show back up and TV is gonna be there to cover it, so now you can film all these races and put these guys on TV. All of a sudden there’s TV there and they can get better sponsorship, so there’s a lot of things that you could do and, like you say, it has to be something that everybody buys into that is worried about making money.”
What can be done? That is something NASCAR and teams are looking to fix.