Byron Scores First Career NXS Victory at Iowa
After coming up short at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, William Byron was able to score the victory in the American Ethanol E15 250 from Iowa Speedway.
“It feels awesome. Thank you Mr. H (Hendrick) for giving me this opportunity. Everything has come full circle for me. I think we had a first or second place car. Really proud of these guys,” said Byron to Fox Sports 1 in victory lane.
This is Byron’s first career victory. Byron becomes the second driver to score their first victory at Iowa Speedway. The win by Byron gives JR Motorsports five consecutive season with multiple wins. Byron scored his eighth top-10 finish of 2017.
Byron was able to grab score the victory by playing the game correctly on pit road. As the field was undergoing green flag pit stops in the final stages of the race, the caution flag flew leaving many of the top-contenders one lap down. Byron and his team had yet to make a pit stop. Because Dylan Lupton stayed out on old tires, he trapped the dominant cars one lap down. With the restart on lap 230, Byron was able to grab the lead and set course for his first career victory.
After holding off Tyler Reddick in the closing laps, Ryan Siege was able to score a second place finish at Iowa for his best career finish.
“It was crazy. I just can’t thank everybody enough. It’s amazing. It was crazy when I was driving around, I cant believe we are second. It’s really awesome. It was a lot of fun racing with tyler there, racing for the win. I just can’t thank everybody enough,” said Sieg post race to Fox Sports 1.
Although he scored his career best finish, Reddick was disappointed in a third place finish.
“Well, we had a car that could really roll the center good, but couldn’t get back to the throttle. Unfortunately, that is where I was getting ate up most of the night. It was really cool to be able to race here at Iowa under the lights. I just feel like we should’ve came away with the victory there. I just couldn’t get anything going on the bottom. Feel like we gave one away here. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow,” said Reddick post-race.
Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong,Michael Annett, Jeremy Clements, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Garrett Smithley rounded out the top-10.
There were 11 lead changes among six drivers. Christopher Bell led the most laps at 152. The race was slowed nine times for 55 laps.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the final restrictor plate event of the season, the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway. NBCSN and Motor Racing Network will have the call on Friday, June 30th at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
Whisler Weekly Recap: Michigan/Gateway
BK facing turmoil?
Will BK Racing be around when it comes to the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season? In recent weeks, the future of the organization is up in the air. Ryan Sieg was in the car at Michigan that was driven by Gray Gaulding. Alon Day, the first Israeli driver to compete in Cup, will replace Gaulding at Sonoma this weekend. Gaulding and Sieg went to social media last week before Michigan to discuss what is going on. At Dover, Sieg was in the car for Corey LaJoie
I wanted to be the one to share the news with my fans and partners but I will not be racing the 23 this weekend at @MISpeedway pic.twitter.com/sTytMTQF3c— Gray Gaulding (@graygaulding) June 13, 2017
Just an FYI for everyone.The only thing BK wanted me to bring to the table was my driving shoes. Hate it for Gray. Great kid and driver. https://t.co/bcescv3woW— Ryan Sieg Racing (@RyanSiegRacing) June 13, 2017
Over the past couple of weeks, the organization has also reorganized their crew chiefs. Randy Cox moved from the No. 83 team and take over duties as the No. 23 crew chief. Doug George has been named as crew chief for the No. 83 Toyota. Patrick Donahue was relieved from his duties as crew chief for Gaulding after Pocono.
BK Racing has been the joke of many fans and drivers alike because the organization tends to bring out a caution each week.
Ron Devine told "The Pit Stop" on the Speedway Digest Radio Network earlier in the year that they would remain consistent with two drivers throughout the season no matter what and use a third car, if needed, for a rotisserie of drivers.
BK Racing only has one charter in 2017. In 2016, they had two, but over the offseason sold the charter to Front Row Motorsports then leased out to TriStar Motorsports. Because of the charter setup, Front Row will either have to start a third team or sell the charter they acquired.
On the preliminary entry list, BK Racing only has the entry for Alon Day at Sonoma.
Truck count at Gateway
Only 30 trucks in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series made their way to Gateway Motorsports Park this past weekend. At Texas Motor Speedway, the truck count was 28.
When the Truck field is paired with the Cup Series, the field is at capacity or teams are being sent home from the event.
Many fans and media were worried about the truck count. However, it is going to be ok. Many standalone events do not have a high enough purse for many teams to even consider showing up. It would usually be cheaper for a team to sit out of an event that doesn't pay well, than to show up and wrecking the vehicle.
GMS Moves to Cup?
News broke early Saturday evening that GMS Racing could potentially field a team in the Cup Series. According to a report by Motorsport.com, that decision couple come within the next month.
This move would be welcomes as the Cup field has struggled to have 40 or more cars arrive at every single race. Although NASCAR deems a full field as 36, it is concerning that only a couple of "open" teams show up on a given weekend.
Last week, GMS Racing hired on Mike Ford to help run the Xfinity Series program. Ford was a Cup crew chief for Denny Hamlin and Bill Elliott resulting in 21 Cup wins.
With the lose of Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet and Hendrick Motorsports lost a key player in the Cup series. The addition of GMS Racing would allow more information to be shared among teams at Chevrolet.
Because sponsorship and charters are crucial in Cup today, GMS and Maurice Gallagher are looking at running one car. However, if the move to Cup happens, the organization will use Spencer Gallagher for a test run.
It is also interesting to note that just a few short years ago, GMS Racing was a team that would be sent home for failing to qualify in Truck competition. Now, they are a power house in that series as well as a strong dark horse in the Xfinity series.
It is a love hate relationship when it comes to standalone events in NASCAR’s top-three national divisions. In 2017, the Truck series will have a stand alone event at Texas, Gateway, Eldora, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The NASCAR Xfinity Series has standalone events at Kentucky, Iowa, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Road America.
In 2018, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway standalone for Trucks and the Xfinity standalone at Kentucky will be no more.
Standalone events have become more cost consuming for many teams. The Xfintiy Series has been called “Cup Lite” because of how many races they run with Cup. The viability of these series is contingent on the performance and presence of drivers in the Cup series.
The slogan for the Xfinity Series is “Names are Made Here”. That slogan is true in the fact that when an Xfinity regular is able to run alongside and compete against a Cup regular it shows that they can beat and compete against the “best of the best”.
The crowd at Gateway was one of the best that has been seen at a standalone event in quiet some time. However, not many Trucks arrived at Gateway.
NASCAR should look at potentially moving the Trucks away from contingent weekends with Cup and Xfinity, but look at ways to help promote the K&N Series at some of their own tracks. This could help NASCAR get reconnected with the grassroots of the sport, something that has been lost as NASCAR has become more corporate.
Debris cautions have been a hot topic after the FireKeepers Casino 400 from Michigan International Speedway. The third to last caution was thrown for debris within the final 20 laps of the event. After that caution, the caution flag flew a total of two more times to do incidents on the restartL Tony Stewart went to Twitter to explain his frustrations:
It's a shame that so many drivers and teams day was ruined by the results of another "debris" caution towards the end of the race today.— Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) June 18, 2017
NASCAR threw the caution for a trash bag on the racing surface, but did not throw the caution for debris due to a straw hat on the racing surface.
Scott Miller, NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Racing Competition, went on SiriusXM’s “The Morning Drive” to discuss this situation.
"We use all the resources that we have to try to identity what it is that is out there - that being camera, turn spotters and the communication that we've got around the race track to different people who may be able to see it," Miller said.
"If we are actually able to identify what it is and feel like it's something that is OK to leave out there, then we'll do so. But if we can't identify what it is exactly and it could pose something dangerous, then we'll usually, or almost always, error on the side of caution and safety and put the caution out in those circumstances. Sometimes it's untimely and a little bit unfortunate, but we do have to do our job and make sure that everybody is safe."
NASCAR needs to work with its TV partners to show why the caution was flown for debris. This will help clear the air of the black helicopters that encompass debris cautions.
Since instituting the “crash damaged vehicle” policy in 2017, the number of cautions for debris is at 12, while the number of debris cautions in 2016 were at 21.
On Lap 38, Reed blew a tire and hit Jeremy Clements, ending both of their days. Just a few laps before that the No. 16 Ford got into Sieg, sending him into the Turn 1 wall.
Sieg, who is the driver and owner of his No. 39 machine was none to pleased with Reed. When getting back to the garage area working on the car, Sieg was accused of mouthing off to the No. 16 team, which led to pushing and shoving.
"I went into Turn 1 and I should have been a little smarter than I was, you can't race around the kid," Sieg told a group of reporters. "He has a lot of money and is in a Roush car, but he can't drive it. He's an idiot, everywhere he goes it seems like he's in a wreck. Money can't buy skill. He either can't see or he can't drive.
"He kept jabbing off with his with his mouth and I figured I would shut it up for him."
With just four full-time employees, Sieg isn't sure if the team will be able to repair this car before Michigan next weekend. The No. 39 car is currently on the Chase bubble sitting 12th in the championship standings.
"It's not going to make it to Michigan," Sieg said about his car. "That's the Michigan car, so we're going to have to brash to get one ready.
The irony is that since the teams are so close in points, the team haulers are right next to each other, resulting in the scuffle. These drivers have been said to have ongoing problems racing each other on the racetrack as lately as last week in Charlotte. .
"Emotions run high, obviously, and it's racing," Reed said of the incident. "I look forward to talking about it in a calm, cool-collective manner and working it out. Obviously we race every week and it's not going to do us any good to go out there and get into a battle royal, but at the end of the day it's going to take two parties to agree. I think we need to sit down and have a mature conversation and when that happens, that happens."
The XFINITY Series heads to Michigan next week, a place where Roush Fenway Racing has been dominant in the past.
Ryan Sieg Getting the Most Out of Family-Run Organization
Ryan Sieg is making noise. The driver of the No. 39 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series was praised by drivers throughout the sport on Friday evening after finishing a career-best third at the Daytona International Speedway.
Sieg was the man which pushed Kasey Kahne to victory on Friday evening, and it didn’t go unnoticed. The 27-year-old made his first appearance in Nationwide Series competition last season when Jeremy Clements was suspended for the second and third events of the year. He then ran two races with his family organization – RSS Racing.
“Hopefully, it will bring some more sponsors,” Sieg said. “We are getting better and better each week.”
After originally being scheduled to run the full schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, RSS Racing opted to race in the Nationwide Series on a full-time basis. Sieg was a late entry for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award, and currently sits 18th in points.
“What Ryan has been doing all year long, people have been noticing him. He has been doing a heck of a job,” Regan Smith said. “
And not only are drivers noticing, but owners are noticing as well. Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JR Motorsports, was ecstatic about Sieg’s performance as of late. Sieg gained noticed in the Truck Series as he finished inside of the top-15 in nearly every race in which his truck didn’t have any issues. Now, in a case similar to Brad Keselowski, the possibility of working his way to a larger team is possible.
Over the course of this season, he has earned nine top-20 finishes. It might not seem too impressive, but for a team with blank quarter-panels, it is not bad at all.
Sieg and the RSS Racing crew are now eligible for the Nationwide Dash For Cash award – opening up the possibility of being the ultimate underdog.
JR Motorsports loves having a date on Friday evenings. The organization has now continued their streak of winning each race that has been held after the Sun has set. After Regan Smith led 47 laps, Kasey Kahne made a last second pass while entering the tri-oval during a green-white-checkered finish to capture the victory during the Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona.
Making his second start of the year, Kahne had a quiet evening as he was running outside of the top-15 for the majority of the event. However, he came on strong after the final restart where teams were worrying whether or not they had enough fuel to make it to the finish. This is Kahne’s first victory since winning at Charlotte in 2007 with Evernham Motorsports, and it is his eighth career win in 204 Nationwide Series starts. The win marks JR Motorsports’ 18th victory since 2008 as well as their sixth triumph in 2014.
Ryan Sieg, who moved over to the NASCAR Nationwide Series after racing full-time in the Camping World Truck Series since 2010, pushed Kahne to victory lane on the high side. Conversation was sparked with the way Sieg pushed the No. 5 car, yet NASCAR did not unleash a penalty to either driver. The third-place finish is the best result the 27-year-old has recorded in his 20 career starts.
Kyle Larson was contending with Smith for the lead on the final restart, but he slipped back after the white flag came up when he began to receive pressure from several drivers. Larson finished fifth – his best finish at Daytona in his fourth start at the 2.5-mile track. Kyle Busch held the lead after the halfway mark, but his teammate, Elliott Sadler, had to pit due to a loose wheel. Busch caught up to Sadler’s No. 11 Toyota, but instead of going around him – the No. 54 slid behind Sadler and helped keep him as the first car one lap down. Sadler finished 21st after being involved in an accident with Trevor Bayne and David Ragan when Chase Elliott had a fuel issue while going back to the green flag late in the race.
Smith now holds a 12-point lead over Sadler in the championship standings. Elliott is 15 markers behind his teammate, Smith, with Richard Childress Racing drivers, Ty Dillon and Brian Scott rounding out the top-five.
Here are some notables from the Subway Firecracker 250:
- Ryan Reed recorded a career-best fourth-place finish in the No. 16 car. ““That was what we needed right there. You know, we were trying to conserve all night but man it felt good to get our first top-five,” he said.
- Jeremy Clements finished eighth on Friday evening – the second best finish he has recorded in his 150 career starts. Clements’ best result came at Road America – finishing sixth. This marked his seventh career top-10 finish in Nationwide Series competition.
- Mike Wallace started his 10th race of the season for JGL Racing – recording his first top-10 this year. The 10th-place result is Wallace’s best since finishing seventh at Talladega for JD Motorsports at Talladega last year.
- Darrell Wallace Jr. earned his first top-10 this season – finishing seventh. The results ties his best career finish (Iowa 2012).
- Derrike Cope finished 13th on Friday evening. This is his best finish since finishing 17th at Road America in 2011 and 13th at Daytona in 2003.
- Johnny Sauter finished 15th in the No. 80 car for Hattori Racing Enterprises.
- There were 11 different leaders with 14 different lead changes.
- The race also averaged a record 157.012 mph with just three cautions totaling 12 laps.