The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wraps up a weekend at Sonoma Raceway and Gateway Motorsports Park for the Toyota Save Mart 350 and the Drivin’ For Lineman 200. Here are my five weekend takeaways:
o Conspiracy Theories: Can we please stop with the conspiracy theories of Denny Hamlin allowing Tony Stewart to pass him on the final corner? If Hamlin were to truly let Stewart win, he would not have passed him on the last lap. We all want drama and excitement, but the “black-helicopters” have to stop.
o Extra-Curricular Activity: I am fine with driver’s participating in extra-curricular activities like fighting, but I am glad that it does not happen often. However, the issue comes when this activity is taken on a “hot” track. I understand that the red flag was displayed Saturday, but what if it wern't displayed? I understand that drivers are heated in the moment, but judgment should not be deferred.
o Road Course Racing: I am thoroughly enjoying the resurgence of racing on a road course. Just a few years ago, we dreaded going to a road course, but now they are one of the most looked forward to events on the schedule. Should a road course race be added to the Chase? I wouldn’t mind seeing one, but only time will tell.
o Townley/Gallagher: Your “fight” was an embarrassment on the sport. Instead of other media outlets talking about a great race, they were talking more about your tango. Is any publicity good publicity? In my opinion, no, especially with the “fighting” moves demonstrated.
o Gateway Motorsports Park: I am glad to see that Gateway was brought on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule. Despite the past two years being delayed by weather, the racing action was one of the best. I hope to see more events take place at Gateway in the future of NASCAR.
What are your takeaways from this past weekend at Sonoma and Gateway?
On Friday, NASCAR announced a joint effort with Microsoft that will revolutionize the way races are officiated.
The Race Management App will be used to help officiate events starting this weekend in Sonoma. The app incorporates everything from inspection to racing. Everything will now be available on one screen for race control, helping to simplify race officiating. Teams will be able to see this information. Eventually, this program will be viewed by fans.
“We’re really excited about working with NASCAR because they really have complicated problems to solve in really three areas: operations and logistics, in competition and performance and in fan engagement,” said Microsoft’s Mike Downey, “As we looked at, over the last year working with NASCAR, all the things we could do, our major focus was how can we use technologies to create efficiencies in how NASCAR runs its races?”
With the fast pace environment of race-day officiating, NASCAR’s Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O’Donnell, was impressed by the ability to consolidate information onto one screen.
“It allows us to be quick, see the replays, make calls and be confident in what we’re seeing,” stated O’Donnell.
The Race Management App allows for race “recreation, which allows for critiquing of the racing product, how teams were policed, and for training purposes.
“This is not only about being more efficient and transparent at the race track but improving each week when we go back and building our team off of this platform and kind of learning together,” O’Donnell added.
Although NASCAR offers more realtime stats to its fans compared to other sports, they must remain vigilant in being sensitive to private information that teams use. However, the telemetry and analytics from the app will be used to create and increase fan engagement.
“We’ve talked often about our fans being in the 41st car and experiencing everything,” O’Donnell added. “Ultimately, we still have work to do in terms of getting data out from the race track to the fans. But the great news for us is no other sport has more data to be able to compile and get out and especially with the younger generation and racing technology. For us, it’s about getting as much data out to the fans knowing that there are some things that the teams need to be proprietary. Those are the discussions we’re having right now with Microsoft and the race teams. What can we get out to the fans and what should we keep proprietary that would effect competition?”
After tempers flared and sparks flew in Iowa, William Byron holds off Cole Custer to win his third race of 2016, his second in a row. Cameron Hayley, Ben Rhodes, and Tyler Roddick round out the top 5. This is William Byron’s ninth start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“We’ve had a couple setbacks, but we kept after it until that last restart,” said William Byron in victory lane.
Cole Custer, who finished second, talks about his race in a post race interview, “I thought I had him, but didn’t get a good restart there.”
The Speediatrics 200 saw four lead changes among four drivers. William Byron led a race high of 107 , followed by John Hunter Namecheck (53), Tyler Reddick (37), and Cole Custer (3).
The caution flag flew five times for a total of 39 laps. Four of the cautions were for accidents. The caution clock did expire once during the race to bring out a caution. The red flag plagued the race for less than six minutes for cleanup after an accident involving Tommy Joe Martins and Derek Scott Jr.
Although William Byron has the top seed for the Chase, Matt Crafton holds an 18 point lead over Timothy Peters, followed by William Byron (-23), Daniel Hemric (-26), and John Hunter Namecheck (-41).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to Gateway Motorsports Park next weekend for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200, a Saturday evening schedule.
John Hunter Nemecheck clinches the pole for tonight’s Speediatrics 200 at Iowa Speedway with a speed of 136.087 mph, followed by Cameron Hayley, Ben Kennedy, Kaz Grala, and William Byron
After a full day of sitting out in the sun, the NASCAR Camping World Truck series hit the track at Iowa Speedway for qualifying.
In the first round of qualifying, William Byron, last week’s race winner at Texas Motor Speedway, was the fastest with a speed of 137.399 mph, followed by, Tyler Roddick (136.151 mph), Matt Crafton (135.940), Cole Custer (135.747 mph), and Christopher Bell (135.601 mph). All drivers took time during the first round. However, Donnie Levister was unable to make the field of 32 for tonight’s Speediatrics 200. A notable driver that missed the second round of qualifying was German Quiroga, who qualified 25.
In the second round of qualifying, Ben Kennedy went to the top of the leaderboard with a speed of 136.665 mph, followed by, Ben Rhodes (136.383 mph), Cameron Hayley (136.099 mph). William Byron (135.975 mph). and Nick Drake (135.823 mph). Notable drivers missing the final round of qualifying are Christopher Bell (P13). Rico Abreu (P14), and Tyler Reddick (p15).
The tentative TV plan for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is to take the green flag shortly after 8:30 pm Easter on Fox Business Network before moving to Fox Sports 1 at 9 pm Eastern, but will vary based on coverage of the US Open.
While the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has the weekend off, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be joining the NASCAR Xfinity Series for a Father’s Day special at the 7/8th-mile Iowa Speedway. 34 drivers will be competing for 32 spots for Saturday night’s Speediatrics 200.
Iowa Speedway has hosted nine Camping World Truck Series events. Each race at Iowa Speedway has seen different pole winners. Erik Jones is the youngest pole winner at Iowa, while Mike Skinner is the oldest. There have been four races where the driver, who started in the pole position, has went on and won the race. Erik Jones was the last driver to win from the pole. Jones also holds the race record at a speed of 110.429 mph. German Quiroga Jr. holds the qualifying record set in 2013 at 138.62 mph. Norm Benning, Matt Crafton, Timothy Peters, and Johnny Sauter, have competed in all Camping World Truck Series events at Iowa.
Iowa Speedway is located in Newton, Iowa. The length around the speedway is .88 miles. The turns at Iowa Speedway feature variable banking ranging from 12 to 14 degrees. The frontstretch is banked at 10 degrees, while the backstretch is at four degrees.
William Byron, winner of last week’s race at Texas Motor Speedway, explains his outlook going into Iowa. “I think our strong suit this year has been going to different tracks and being able to adapt quickly, so going to a track I’ve been to before is going to help us get up to speed a lot faster and be able to work on the truck even more. I think it’s going to help us overall and help us be a little better for the beginning of the race. In the races we’ve won, I feel like our truck was the best at the end of the race, so hopefully this weekend we can start the race as well as we finish.”
Matt Crafton, the points leader, explains why he enjoys racing at Iowa. “I did the very first Goodyear tire test there and literally the first run I made on the track I said, ‘This place races just like a mile and a half.’ I used to say it was very similar to Kentucky – we’ll say the old Kentucky race track – or the old Kansas race track. They didn’t have a bunch of banking and they raced very, very similar. I love going there, it’s a great race, I’ve won there and we’ve been very good there in the past. I always look forward to it.”
Ben Kennedy states, "It feels great to be headed to Iowa straight off a top-five finish at Texas. This will be a busy weekend but the No. 33 team is incredibly prepared and I know we'll be running up front again. I'm excited to have Wheelwell on board and to get a good finish for them in their NASCAR debut."
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will hit the track for the first of two practice sessions on Friday at 3 pm Eastern.
Friday, June 17
3 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice, FS2
6 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1
Saturday, June 18
4:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS2
8 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FS1
8:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Speediatrics 200, FS1