Friday, Sep 29

Alex Bowman edges Erik Jones to win the pole at Michigan by one hundredth of a second. JR Motorsports takes three of the top five. This is Bowman’s third career pole, and his first pole at Michigan. Bowman edges Jones with a speed of 191.59 mph, Jones qualified second with a speed of 191.535 mph, followed by Elliott Sadler (191.342 mph), Justin Allgaier (191.210 mph), and Kyle Busch (190.779 mph).


At Michigan, Joe Gibbs Racing was going for their 11th Xfinity Series pole. At the start of the qualifying session, the air temperature at Michigan was 80 degrees and was warming rather quickly. Two rounds of single car qualifying took place for the Menards 250. 


In the first round of qualifying, teams were battling a hot and slick racetrack. Alex Bowman was fastest in this round with a  speed of 191.821 mph. followed by Erik Jones (191.286 mph), Elliott Sadler (191.047 mph), Kyle Busch (190.668 mph), and Blake Koch (190.653). Wind played a major factor towards the end of the qualifying session. All three Joe Gibbs Racing and JR Motorsports cars advanced to the second round. Wind played a major factor towards the end of this round. Notables drivers not advancing include Darrell Wallace Jr. (17), Brendan Gaughan (14), Ty Dillon(13). All drivers will race this afternoon.


In the second round of qualifying, track temperature was at 121 degrees with the air temperature being 84 degrees. Round two was stopped for a moment by debris, a trash bag. The top 12 teams were separated by less than a half a second. 


Xfinity teams will have their cars impounded before the start of today’s race. The Menards 250 will be on Fox Sports 1 starting at 1 p.m with Raceday.

he NASCAR Xfinity Series rolls into the Irish Hills of Michigan to the 2-mile D-shaped oval, Michigan International Speedway, for the Menards 250, a 125 lap feature. 40 drivers will be competing for 40 spots for the race on Saturday. The Menards 250 will be the 13 race of 33 for the season.

Michigan International Speedway is 2-miles in length. The turns are banked at 18 degrees. The frontstetch is banked at 12 degrees, and the backstretch is banked at five degrees. The track was last repaved in 2012.

This will be the 25 time the NASCAR Xfinity Series has made a trip to the Irish Hills. 21 different drivers have won a pole, while there have been 17 different race winners. Three races have been won from the first starting position, with the last race being in 2010 by Brad Keselowski. Mark Martin holds the race record set in 1995 with a speed of 169.571 mph. Joey Logano has the qualifying record of 193.637 mph set just last yer. 

Although the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be testing out a potential aerodynamic package for 2017, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will continue with their 2016 rules package. 

After the race at Pocono, Daniel Suarez holds an 11 point lead over Elliott Sadler, followed by, Ty Dillon (-18), Brendan Gaughan (-45), and Erik Jones (-49).

Because of Detroit being a major auto manufacturing hub, teams will be competing for bragging rights by winning at Michigan.

In their weekly releases, drivers talk about what racing at Michigan brings to the table.

“Michigan is a really fun and really fast race track. There are multiple lanes that you can run which is always fun for us as drivers as well as the fans. I feel really good about where we are as a race team and look forward to getting to the track every weekend. The guys have worked extremely hard getting our ARRIS Camry ready for this weekend, so hopefully we can go out and put on a good show for the fans and come away with our first win of the season,” says Daniel Suarez, Xfinity Points Leader.

“Drivers love wide racing surfaces and Michigan is one of the widest we run on all year. It's fun to race and be able to move around and try different things to gain grip and speed. Our OneMain team has been fast all year and we're going after another win this weekend,” says Elliott Sadler.

"Michigan is a really fast race track with a lot of grip.  It's pretty easy to run wide open but at the same time you have to be good in traffic to race well,” said Dakoda Armstrong.

Teams will hit the Michigan International Speedway for the first time at 12:30 pm on Friday. for the first of two practice sessions.

Friday, June 10

12:30 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series practice, FS1

3 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice, FS1

Saturday, June 11

10 a.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1

1:30 p.m., NASCAR Xfinity Series Menard's 250 presented by Valvoline, FS1, Motor Racing Network

While the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was off the track this weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series saddled up for battle at the 2.5-mile Pocono Raceway for the Axalta We Paint Winners 400 and the Pocono Green 250. Here are five takeaways from the events at Pocono:

  • Weather:Weather was a predominant factor throughout the weekend at Pocono. Teams battled limited track time due to fog and heavy rain. Pocono has always had its struggles with weather due to the mountains surrounding the track. Fans saw the inaugural Xfinity series race end just a few laps after halfway because of rain. Sunday’s Sprint Cup race was postponed to Monday due to the rain as well.
  • Toyota:Toyota seemed to struggle at Pocono. Chevy seemed to be the dominate manufacturer over the weekend. On Sunday, Matt Kenseth was the highest finishing Toyota, finishing in the seventh position. Has the Toyota come to a halt?
  • Fuel Mileage Racing:I absolutely love when a race comes down to fuel mileage. However, I love when it is not every week, but rather a surprise. It is amazing to see what these teams go to in order to save from half a lap to three laps of fuel in the closing stages of the race. 
  • Brad Keselowski:It is time for his team to make sure they are not touching the body of the car, unless there is damage. The rule is in black and white, there is no grey area on this rule. This is the second time this season the team has been caught. The last time was at Las Vegas
  • TV:Television has a job to do. There has never been a time since I have been watching and covering this sport that I have not seen a bias of announcers on TV. We have seen a bias from hall of famers, team owners, and drivers. There are no grey area in commentary versus analysis. Analysis calls for opinions. That is what they are, whether they are right or wrong. 

What are your takeaways from this weekend at Pocono?

NASCAR wraps up “10 Days of Thunder" at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Over the 10 days, fans saw action from the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck teams in the Sprint All-Star Race, North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Hisense 4K TV 300, and the Coca-Cola 600. Here are five takeaways from the Charlotte Motor Speedway weekend:
·      Day vs. Night: Over the ten days, fans saw all but one-day race. The races that were run during the daytime hours seemed to be the most entertaining of the whole ten days. The Coca-Cola 600, which was run during the night, saw a dominating performance. Although Charlotte Motor Speedway prides itself in having night races, maybe it is time for Charlotte Motor Speedway and TV to consider making one of the races at Charlotte during the day. The aero package is great, but I believe it is lacking the factor of the heat of the day.
·      Aero Package: During the Sprint All-Star Race, the 2017 rules package was tested. Honestly, it produced some of the greatest racing so far this season. Teams have officially gained back some of the downforce that NASCAR took away during the 2016 season. NASCAR announced test changes to the 2017 rules package in an effort to take more downforce off, but it will be tested at Michigan and Kentucky before the final rules package is determined. 
·      Monkey off the Back: The monkey that was on Martin Truex Jr. has came off. He had a dominating performance in the Coca-Cola 600. Usually if Truex is dominate throughout a race, something happens that causes him to ultimately lose the race. Kenseth and Truex have released the monkey off their back. Who will be the next driver to have the monkey taken off their back?
·      Kyle Busch: Busch was determined to win this weekend at Charlotte since it is one of two tracks he has not won on. However, he will have to wait until October to take Charlotte off this list. Busch was not a factor during the weekend at Charlotte. Will he win at Pocono to bring this record down to only Charlotte? We will have to wait and see next weekend.
·      Weather: Weather plagued the 10 Days of Thunder in the Charlotte area. All-Star Weekend saw a busy racing schedule on Sunday. For the Coca-Cola 600, Tropical Storm Bonnie was planning its attack on the Charlotte area. Although it rained on the morning of the 600, it turned out to be a beautiful and windy day for racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hopefully Mother Nature will be kind to Charlotte when the series returns for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
What are your takeaways from the 10 Days of Thunder at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

The NASCAR Sprint Cup, Xfinity, and Camping World Truck Series completed a triple-header weekend at the Monster Mile, Dover International Speedway for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200, and the Jacob Companies 200. Here are five takeways from this past weekend in the first state:

  • TV: Fox Sports 1 was home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, while the NASCAR Xfinity Series was on FOX. The Verizon IndyCar Series was on for the same time slot at the NASCAR Xfinity race. Was the plan to try to compete with IndyCar and ABC? What was wrong with the 12 pm Eastern start times for the Xfinity Dash4Cash Heats? These are the questions to be answered. The XFINITY Series, however, did beat out the .8 TV ratings with IndyCar with a 1.1.
  • Matt Kenseth: Lady Luck has finally turned her ear of bad luck away from Kenseth, who scored his first win of the season. This win makes for all four Joe Gibbs Racing teams to be in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. It will be interesting to see how many more wins Kenseth and Joe Gibbs Racing can receive.
  • Dover: In general, this was probably one of the best races at Dover in awhile. When I am watching a race, I want to be surprised by who won. I want to be able to not know who will win. As always, you should not change the channel because you should expect the unexpected when it comes to live sports.
  • Young Guns: It was amazing to watch Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, and Kyle Larson all have the chance to battle for the lead. It was refreshing to see new names at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday. If they are the future of NASCAR, then the future is bright for NASCAR.
  • Restarts: The racing events at Dover in the NASCAR Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series had its fair share of restart issues. In Friday’s Camping World Truck Series race, Cole Custer was penalized for jumping the restart. On Saturday’s Xfinity Series race, Elliott Sadler was penalized because he was being “pushed” on the restart and beat the leader to the line. Restarts seem so 2015, but they still continue to be an issue in 2016 among rookies and veterans. Hopefully, drivers will be able to control the starts/restarts better.

What are your takeaways from this past weekend’s events at Dover International Speedway?


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