Brett has been following the sport of NASCAR since the beginning of the 2006 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Since Brett was 13, he has had a passion of chasing a job in sports that not many get the opportunity of doing. He has been in the NASCAR media since the middle of the 2010 season. Since then, he has been a part of many racing podcast shows to improve his talents. You can find him on twitter @NASCAR_Brett.
Chase Elliott scored his first career NASCAR Cup Series All-Star win under the lights on Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Elliott, piloting the No. 9 UniFirst Chevrolet with amber under glow lights, led 60 of the 140 circuits en route to the victory.
“There’s nothing like Bristol. There’s nothing like the lights here. There’s nothing like racing here,” Elliott told FS1 after the race. “I’ve never won here – what a race to do it. Just really proud of our team tonight and rebounding. We’ve had a really tough couple of weeks and just felt like we had kind of gotten off base and I felt like I was struggling. Just tried to hit the reset button this week, and came out and put on a great performance – great car. Just can’t thank all our partners enough, everybody that makes this happen.”
Kyle Busch finished 0.418 seconds behind Chase Elliott to claim the runner-up spot. Busch, a previous NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race winner, started 10th on the leaderboard in his No. 18 Toyota with red under glow lights.
“It just wasn’t quite wide enough. If it had been a little bit wider and you could carry a little more speed with it, I might have had a chance,” said Busch after the race. “I tried to run up there early in the last stage to make it go a little earlier than I probably should have. I went back down because I knew I wasn’t going to catch him (Chase Elliott) or pass him there and I had to do something different. I just tried and I think we inched up a little closer on him, but that was about it.”
The Las Vegas native leaves the 0.533-mile concrete oval with his sixth top five All-Star race finish in 14 starts.
Elliott, from the state of Georgia, entered the exhibition All-Star race with one top five and three top 10 finishes through four starts.
“There’s no feeling like it (cheering from the crowd). There’s nothing like it – this speaks for itself,” Elliott continued. “And like I said, Bristol is an electric atmosphere that is unlike any other that we go to. Couldn’t be more excited. We’re going to celebrate this one for sure. And we’ll take that million dollars back to Georgia, why don’t we!”
Kevin Harvick, leading six laps of the event, rounded out the top three finishers on Wednesday.
Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five.
Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola and Martin Truex Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Ryan Blaney appeared to have a strong car until the team elected to stay out while everyone else came to pit road at the end of stage two. Blaney was able to hold the lead until eventual race winner Chase Elliott took the top spot away with 31 laps remaining. They later stayed out at the end of stage three and fell all the way to finish seventh in the final 15-lap segment.
Three drivers raced their way into the NASCAR Cup Series All-Star race via finishes in the open. Aric Almirola got into the main show by winning stage one while William Byron claimed stage two of that race. Matt DiBenedetto, piloting the No. 21 Wood Brother’s Racing Ford, won the final segment of the open to advance into the All-Star race. Clint Bowyer, piloting the No. 14 Ford, earned his way in via the fan vote.
Michael McDowell started on the pole for the open and was caught up in an incident that involved Bubba Wallace and William Byron early. McDowell and Byron continued while Wallace was done for the night.
McDowell went on to finish seventh in the open while Wallace finished 21st because of the crash.
Top 10 in NASCAR Cup Series open: Matt DiBendetto, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Chris Buescher, Ty Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Michael McDowell, John Hunter Nemechek, Corey LaJoie and Tyler Reddick.
The series will move onto the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 will air live on NBCSN and PRN Radio.
Ty Gibbs scored his fourth career victory on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway piloting the No. 18 Toyota. Gibbs, following a third-place start via 2020 owner points, led the field for 59 of the 100 laps.
The win did not come easy for the North Carolina native as Gibbs and Michael Self made contact while racing for the top spot. Gibbs fell back to fourth while Self fell all the way to ninth.
“I’m not really mad at him (Self). It’s hard … this track is so line sensitive,” Gibbs told FS1 after the race. “When we went down in there we were both racing our guts out. He drove it in hard and just kinda clipped me in the right rear. Fair game. Luckily I didn’t get in the fence there. Stuff like that happens. It’s racing.”
Self started on the pole and rebounded to a third-place finish. The driver of the No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota for Venturini Motorsports led 23 circuits at the 1.5-mile oval on Saturday.
Bret Holmes had a career day with his first career second-place finish. The Alabama native earned his third-top five finish of the year in his No. 23 Chevrolet while leading the field for 17 laps.
“Second sucks. Even though it’s our best finish I feel like we’ve should’ve finished that a few times,” said Holmes. “You hate to see it when you know it’s right there in your grasp. But that is the positive we take away from this and I think this is the best race from start to finish we’ve drove.”
Ty Gibbs leaves Kentucky with three top five and top 10 finishes along with two victories in four ARCA Menards Series starts.
“My life goal is to always keep going. I never try to give up,” Gibbs continued. “There’s a time right there I could’ve gave up and I didn’t. And I kept pushing forward, as my team did, and I came home as a winner. I can’t thank my team enough.”
Sam Mayer and Drew Dollar rounded out the top five.
Ryan Repko, Derek Griffith, Ryan Huff, Tanner Gray and Jason Kitzmiller rounded out the top 10.
Couple of big names found themselves involved in on-track incidents throughout the General Tire 150. Of those involved were Hailie Deegan and Thad Moffitt in separate incidents. Moffitt, related to Richard Petty, brought out the caution on lap 70 as his No. 46 Ford went around. The driver finished 15th as a result.
The final yellow of the day came out for Hailie Deegan one lap following the restart on lap 77. Deegan received right rear contact from the No. 15 Ford of Drew Dollar that sent her No. 4 Ford into the outside wall. The California native finished 14th.
The series will head to Iowa Speedway for the Shore Lunch 150 on July 18.
Chandler Smith dominated the Calypso Lemonade 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway on Friday piloting the No. 20 JBL Toyota for Venturini Motorsports. Smith, last year’s winner at the 0.686-mile short track, started on the pole via qualifying ahead of the 200-lap event.
“Man, I was running for all I was worth to be honest with you there,” Smith told MAVTV. “It was a hot night! Was my second or third ARCA race of the year and second one back. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m in the shape I need to be in.”
Despite dominating, Smith had to hold off eventual second-place finisher Sam Mayer in the closing laps. Mayer, piloting the No. 21 Chevrolet, battled Chandler Smith side-by-side for the lead with around 15 to go. Despite that, with around five to go, Smith re-extended the gap.
As a result, the Wisconsin native sat 0.899 seconds behind Smith.
Smith will leave the track earning his second victory of 2020 and his ninth career ARCA Menards Series victory.
“Just running laps. Just like practice laps,” Smith continued when asked about his battle with Ty Gibbs early on.
Hailie Deegan started fourth on the leaderboard and ended the night sitting third. The driver of the No. 4 Ford has two top five and five top 10 finishes going into the next race at Kentucky Speedway.
Taylor Gray made his series debut with a fourth-place finish while Thad Moffitt took home fifth. Gray, piloting the No. 17 Ford, rebounded from a spin early on following contact with Michael Self.
Rest of the top 10 included Max McLaughlin, Bret Holmes, Michael Self, Howie DiSavino III and Kyle Sieg.
Two heavy contenders faced mechanical problems in the mid to late portion of the Calypso Lemonade 200. Ty Gibbs had an alternator belt come apart and forced the No. 18 Toyota to go several laps down as a result. Gibbs went on to finish 15th and 110 laps down.
Michael Self was another victim of an issue that ended their chances of seeing victory lane. The No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota was forced onto pit road for a flat left rear tire. He later finished two laps down in eighth.
The ARCA Menards Series will head off to Kentucky Speedway for the General Tire 150 on July 11th. Coverage of the event will take place live on FS1 and MRN Radio.
The ARCA Menards Series heads to Indianapolis for the Calypso Lemonade 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. The event marks the fourth race of the season and the 13th time they have visited the 0.686-mile oval since 1983.
20 drivers make up the entry list including Hailie Deegan, Drew Dollar, Tanner Gray, Ty Gibbs, Chandler Smith, Sam Mayer, Michael Self and Thad Moffitt. Smith, piloting the No. 20 Toyota on Friday, is the only previous winner at Lucas Oil Raceway entered.
Sam Mayer seeks his first victory of the season on Friday. Mayer, piloting the No. 21 Chevrolet for GMS Racing, enters the track coming off a third-place finish last week at Pocono Raceway.
"We had probably the second fastest car last year," said Mayer. "We just missed it on the last pit stop. We went a little too far on the adjustment. If we hit our marks this time — and I give the correct information — (crew chief) Mardy (Lindley) is obviously going to make a really good call, no matter what, we’ll definitely have the car to beat if everything goes to plan."
Mayer left the track in Indianapolis with a third-place finish. The 17-year old racer wasn’t satisfied with the result though.
"That was a tough pill to swallow; that would have been my first ARCA Menards win," Mayer continued. "Hopefully, it comes soon. Hopefully, we can show up this weekend and go out and win."
Mayer holds one top five finish through two starts.
Last year’s winner Chandler Smith, who is already a race winner in 2020, enters the track with two top five and top 10 finishes in only two starts. Smith started third and led seven laps en route to his fifth win of 2019.
One of the other drivers to watch on Friday will be Ty Gibbs in the No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota. The Charlotte native led 65 of the 80 circuits to win last weekend at Pocono Raceway -- scoring his third career ARCA Menards Series victory.
The Calypso Lemonade 200 will air live on MAVTV and NBC Sports Gold TrackPass at 8:00 p.m. ET.
Ty Gibbs visited victory lane on Friday at Pocono Raceway piloting the No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota. The driver from North Carolina led 65 of the 80 circuits en route to his third career ARCA Menards Series victory.
“It feels good getting back into victory lane here at Pocono,” said Gibbs after the race. “Especially, it sucked to see Riley (Herbst) get wrecked last week by whoever that was, and we come back to win. It was good revenge.”
Chandler Smith, starting fourth on the grid because of 2020 owner points, sat runner-up in the General Tire #ANYWHEREISPOSSIBLE 200 behind Gibbs. Smith, piloting the No. 20 JBL Audio Toyota and leading four circuits, leaves the “Tricky Triangle” with his second top five and top 10 finish of 2020.
Gibbs, finishing ahead of Smith by 2.314 seconds, earned his ninth career top five and 11th top 10 finish in the ARCA Menards series. He goes into Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis looking to capture his fourth career win.
The win Friday afternoon was a dream come true for Gibbs.
“Can’t thank everyone enough. This was a dream come true as I’ve come to this track since I was a little kid,” Gibbs told FS1. “Feels good!”
Sam Mayer rounded out the top three finishers on Friday at Pocono. The driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet scored his first top five of the season in his second start of 2020.
Bret Holmes and pole sitter Michael Self, leader of 11 laps, rounded out the top five.
Drew Dollar, Hailie Deegan, Derek Griffith, Ryan Huff and Scott Melton rounded out the top 10.
The series will now move on to Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis on July 3rd. The event will air live on MAVTV and NBC Sports Gold at 8:00 p.m. ET.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed the media via teleconference on Thursday to discuss its findings and offer more of a timeline in the investigation of a noose found in the Richard Petty Motorsports garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway. All quotes below are statements made by Phelps.
"When I spoke on late Tuesday, the federal investigation had just been completed. Before then we were not allowed to comment beyond what was disclosed and we wanted to make sure we had a complete investigation before commenting in detail and fielding the questions".
"Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We're living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage, that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, we should have, I should have used the word "alleged" in our statement. Many of you have seen the photo. As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family, our NASCAR family, because they are part of the NASCAR family too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what's right."
On Sunday, after initial inspection and prior to the race, a member of the 43 team noticed the noose in the garage stall. At roughly 4:30 NASCAR was alerted to the presence of the noose. At that point we did a full sweep of the garage by our security team, and only the rope of the 43 team saw was a noose, all the others were regular ropes.
"At about 6:00 NASCAR senior leadership met and immediately determined this needed to be investigated and began those initial steps of the investigation. At approximately 7:30 I notified Bubba Wallace of what was found in the garage. After that we continued to gather facts and conduct our investigation, we thought it was important to put out a statement as quickly as we could, which we did at roughly 10:40 on Sunday evening.
Early Monday morning the FBI Birmingham office reached out to us. By roughly 10:00 the FBI arrived with 15 field agents to begin their investigation. We provided the FBI with a list of personnel with access to the garage, as well as video and images taken from the weekend and the 2019 fall weekend as well.
During the course of the day the FBI interviewed race team personnel from multiple teams, NASCAR officials, track fire and safety personnel and track custodial staff. Talladega Superspeedway also provided the FBI with a list of events that had taken place since October of 2019, which is when the new garages opened.
The FBI reports back at the end of the day that their interviews are complete for the day and the evidence so far or thus far at that point was inconclusive, with plans to continue their investigation the following morning.
On Tuesday morning NASCAR received additional video from the team and provided it to the FBI. The video corroborated the testimony from one of the interviews that the FBI had conducted that the noose was present in that stall during the fall Cup event. The U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI informed NASCAR that their investigation had conclusively found this was not a hate crime.
We were asked to keep this confidential until the release. Their release went out at roughly 4:10. About 4:15 we released our own statement and then we had our NASCAR teleconference on Tuesday evening. So those are the events of the day.
NASCAR conducted a thorough sweep of all the garage areas across the tracks that we race. So across those 29 tracks and 1,684 garage stalls, we found only 11 total that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot. And only one noose: The one discovered on Sunday in Bubba Wallace's garage."
"We further determined that the noose was not in place when the October 2019 race weekend began but was created at some point during that weekend. Given that timing and the garage access policies and procedures at the time, we were unfortunately unable to determine with any certainty who tied this rope in this manner or why it was done."
We know it brings up another question: How could it have gone unnoticed by so many people in October 2019 and for the morning on June 21, 2020? Our ultimate conclusion for this investigation is to ensure that this never happens again, that no one walks by a noose without recognizing the potential damage it can do.
"Moving forward we'll be conducting thorough sweeps of the garage area to ensure nothing like this happens again, and we are installing additional cameras in all of our garages. We'll make any changes necessary to our sanctions and our code of conduct and we will mandate that all members of our industry complete sensitivity and unconscious bias training with specifics and timing forthcoming.
Going forward, our efforts are best spent on making sure every competitor feels safe and every guest feels welcome. I would also like to reinforce that we did see at Talladega in pre-race on Monday our drivers, crews and officials proudly demonstrated that we are united in the belief that there is no place for racism in our sport."
"Before I turn this over to questions, let me reiterate two things. Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this. Bubba Wallace has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity. It is offensive seeing anyone suggest otherwise, and frankly it's further evidence as to how far we still need to go as a society. Secondly there's been discussion and criticism on how this was handled and characterized. Some feel that the phrasing or words used were not right. That comes with the territory, and I will take full responsibility for that and for the emotion that was attached to it. Based on the evidence we had, we thought our drivers -- that one of our drivers had been threatened, a driver who had been extremely courageous in recent words and actions. It's our responsibility to react and investigate, and that's exactly what we did."
"I think it goes to the industry broadly and not just the fan base, which is there was something -- a member of our community, in this case Bubba Wallace, we believed was under attack, right? That the events that we found or that the crew member of the 43 found and the subsequent things that happened after that, that it was, we needed to protect -- kind of protect our ranks and protect our family member. So I don't want anyone to feel -- I don't think anyone should feel embarrassed, right. I don't think anyone, those people who are not part of our sport and are making comments about what we should or shouldn't have done or it was a hoax and this is all fake, I just, I can't speak to that, but I would say, again, NASCAR showed its true colors on Monday, our drivers, our crews, anyone at the racetrack, but more importantly, all the fans that watched it on TV. I watched it on television, and I'm not embarrassed to say, I cried. It was an emotional, moving moment for our sport and I think an important one that suggests that NASCAR is welcome to all."
Q. I'm curious about the photo release you guys put out of the formulated noose in Bubba's garage. What was the origin of the photo, when and how was it taken and who captured that photo, for anybody that doesn't believe it's authentic?
STEVE PHELPS: "Yeah, that was captured by NASCAR security as part of our investigation. I think it speaks volumes for why we reacted the way we did. I know that you and others had supported where we were on Sunday night and on Monday and the twists and turns that this has taken, and we appreciate the support that all people have given to Bubba and our sport overall. I'll go back to it; I don't think that anyone should hang their head at all. I think that everyone should hold their head tall on this and stand tall with Bubba on this and stand tall as an industry, and that's what we're going to do."
Q. Just a question, you went into the timeline of everything that took place that led to the conclusions that everybody seemed to reach as a general consensus. I was wondering how much you felt the circumstances surrounding the weekend, such as the Confederate flag parade, the plane flying over the speedway the day before sort of added to a confluence of various circumstances, in addition to what already was going on in the weeks and month prior to the race weekend?
STEVE PHELPS: "I would say it absolutely it was a factor in it. I think that being at the racetrack and someone's ability to protest peacefully outside of our facility, we were all for, right? A guy flying overhead in a crop duster with a Confederate flag, saying "defund NASCAR," you know, and frankly all the points to your points, things that have led up to that, including the banning of the Confederate flag, something that we were enforcing for the first time that weekend and fortunately we didn't see any incidents of the Confederate flag on the property and our fans respected that. And it was a great first step on that front. But were there heightened emotions and what has gone on over the past two and a half weeks in our country and then in our sport? I think it absolutely was emotionally charged for a lot of people, and I'll include myself in that."
Q. And one quick follow-up question, in regards to Bubba, as you pointed out, he really in terms of the discovery of this had nothing to do with it, yet of course on social media and on across TV and so forth he's bearing a lot of undeserved negative connotations. I was just wondering if you had a chance to speak with him again since then and wondered how you thought he was holding up.
STEVE PHELPS: "I have. I've spoken to Bubba a couple of times. You know, I think it's hard. The kind of twists and turns that happened on Tuesday, it was surprising for me. I know it was surprising for Bubba. It was surprising for our entire industry that we're trying to point towards solving for what we believe was -- it was an alleged hate crime, right? So that's what we were solving for. And then to have it be, hey, this is something that actually was coincidental, that's a very difficult thing to try to get to. But, listen, Bubba is a warrior, he is strong, he's resolute in what he thinks is right. I find it, I just find it incredibly disturbing and that there are those that are out there that just feel the need to spread the hate or to spread false things, I just, I don't understand it, I really don't."
Q. Do you know, is it a functioning noose? Does the knot actually slip?
STEVE PHELPS: "I don't know. I think that -- I saw the picture and it looked like -- obviously it looks like a noose, and I'm no expert on nooses. I'm sure there are experts out there that would suggest that it function or it can't function, I just don't know."
Q. You also said that you would have added "allegedly" to your statement Sunday and Monday. You also said in those statements Sunday and Monday that a heinous act had been committed, presumably you mean last weekend, before it was confirmed by the FBI that no hate crime was committed this past weekend. Do you have any regrets about saying that a heinous act had been committed before it could be fully vetted that that didn't occur last weekend?
STEVE PHELPS: "Well, I think to your point, if we had said "alleged", yes, you know, I think -- I'll go back to the emotion of the moment and I'll take responsibility for that. And should we have toned that message down slightly? Maybe we should have. And I'll take responsibility for that. I think it's a -- I stand by the actions that we took and I think they were the right ones. And as I said before, given the evidence that we had, we would do, we would do the same thing, we would investigate it the same way. If it comes to where we need to craft a statement differently, and I need to take a little less emotion out of it, that's something I'll do, I'll take responsibility for that.
Can I make one closing statement? So I'm asking myself that question. I do want to say a quick close, because I think it's important, I want to reiterate something. I want to thank Bubba Wallace and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports. Specifically thank Bubba for his leadership over this past three weeks. Bubba has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity and he stood tall for what he believes in. And we all need to stand with him, I know I'm going to. As we pivot now and look forward to racing this weekend at Pocono, I think it's important to make sure that we are getting back to something that helps take, people take incredible comfort and enjoy so much, which is our racing and that's what we need to try to get back and doing. We had a phenomenal race at Talladega with a ton of emotion and we're looking forward to getting to this quadruple weekend of racing in Pocono and I just want to thank everyone for their support and for their time today."
Drew Dollar and Riley Herbst battled for the win all afternoon long at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday. Dollar, piloting the No. 15 Lynx Toyota and leading 42 circuits, started the afternoon runner-up beside teammate Ryan Repko.
Herbst, also leading 34 of the 76 laps with Dollar, finished the General Tire 200 in fourth. The Las Vegas native scored his first top five and second top 10 finish of the season at the 2.66-mile oval.
“It’s really important and definitely needed this one,” said winner Drew Dollar. “Had the best team and the best spotter today. Lost a family member over the break so this is definitely an emotional one. I know he was watching from above”.
Ryan Repko started on the pole via 2019 owner points and finished the event in second. Repko, finishing 22nd at Daytona because of a crash in the ARCA Menards Series season opener, sat 0.115 seconds behind the race winner to earn his first career ARCA top five.
Sixth-place starter Bret Holmes rounded out the top three finishers. The driver from Alabama entered the day with only one top five this season.
“We stayed out front all day. It’s a tough race gaining track position,” said Holmes after the race. “I wish it could’ve played out better than that but I’m never gonna complain about the opportunity to race at Talladega. I wish the racing was better, but I’ll take any chance I get. We’re knocking on the door.”
Michael Self rounded out the top five.
Dollar, taking the lead from Herbst with two laps remaining, leaves the track with his first career ARCA Menards Series win and second career top five finish. The Atlanta, GA., native has two top five and four top 10 finishes in five career starts.
“Just hoping that caution didn’t come out there at the end,” continued Dollar. “They let me go all the way to the checker and I think it was the right move and put on a good show”
Thad Moffitt, Hailie Deegan, Jason Kitzmiller, Sean Corr and Ed Pompa rounded out the top 10.
The ARCA Menards Series will make their way to Pocono Raceway on June 26th. The General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 will take place at 6:00 p.m. ET. live on FOX Sports 1.
The ARCA Menards Series will return to action on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway following a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series, last racing at Phoenix Raceway in March, will host their third race of the year in 2020.
The entry list features 21 entries for Saturday’s General Tire 200 at the 2.66-mile oval in Alabama. Of those drivers some of the entries include Hailie Deegan, Tanner Gray, Riley Herbst, Bret Holmes, Michael Self and Gus Dean.
According to the crew chief handout posted on ARCARacing.com, there will be some differences to this weekend’s event. Most notably, there will be no qualifying. ARCA will set the lineup by 2019 owner points for the first 20 spots. ARCA will then conduct a random draw for positions 21-30 and 31st – 36th will be determined by the provisional process.
The 76-lap, 200-mile event will have two segments with a halfway break at or near lap 38. Lead lap vehicles that pit will be lined up in the order they were running at the beginning of the break behind the cars that elected to stay out.
A total of four crew members may service the vehicle while no tires or fuel may be added outside of the break.
Deegan, piloting the No. 4 DGR Crosley Ford at Talladega, spoke to the media on Wednesday discussing what she needed to work on the most going into the General Tire 200 – her second start on a superspeedway track.
“I still feel like I need to work on backing up to the guy behind me. Me and my spotter were just talking about that … watching the past races from Daytona and Talladega,” said Deegan. “The thing I need to work on the most is just being able to get out of the gas to back up to the guys behind me and get that draft off. And little bit of restarting, too”
In the season opener at Daytona in February, Deegan qualified seventh and finished runner-up in her superspeedway debut. She enters the weekend at Talladega with two top fives and six top 10 finishes while still chasing her first career ARCA victory.
Bret Holmes is another contender chasing his first career victory in the ARCA Menards Series. Holmes, from Munford, Alabama, has eight combined starts (four each) at Talladega and Daytona.
"There is a lot of pressure that comes from racing here," said Holmes on Wednesday’s meeting with the media. "Not only that, but just from being here and racing across the road at the dirt track. The success of the Alabama Gang at Talladega. I want to be a part of that. I want to win here more than any place we race at."
Since the COVID-19 hiatus started, Holmes had spent time finishing school and working for a construction company. SpeedwayDigest.com asked him how working in the construction industry keeps him focused and disciplined when at the track working with the team.
“I’ve really learned a lot through all those all those things. Communication is very important,” said Holmes. “Mainly, as far as the track goes, communication with your crew chief and spotter … telling them what you need … what they want you to do and how you get that point across and knowing what the goal you’re trying to get to is. It’s definitely helped. And not just a communication aspect but a maturity aspect also. I’m glad I’ve kinda had facets of everything and I think it’s helped me as a person.”
Gus Dean, winner at Talladega Superspeedway in 2016, will pilot the No. 32 MASHONIT Apparel Chevrolet with owner Kevin Cywinski. In three career starts at the superspeedway track, Dean holds one top five and three top 10 finishes and led four laps there in 2019.
"When you get to the closing laps and you know you’re in a position to win you start counting down the laps, and you’re counting every corner," said Dean on Wednesday. "Honestly you’re just trying to forget that it’s the end of the race. You want to drive a little harder at the end of the race but you don’t want to get yourself psyched out and let your nerves ruin your chances. It definitely got a little crazy at the end.”
Dean has 14 top five and 30 top 10s along with two victories in 52 starts.
The ARCA Menards Series race will air live on FOX Sports 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET. The Motor Racing Network will offer a live radio broadcast of the General Tire 200 on their website along with SiriusXM on Ch. 385 and online Ch. 985.
On Tuesday Spire Motorsports announced that Australian driver James Davison, a five-time Indianapolis 500 starter, would make his NASCAR Cup Series debut this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. On Thursday, however, Spire Motorsports sent out a release that BJ McLeod will instead pilot the No. 77 entry at the 2.66-mile oval.
According to Davison in the release, issued by Spire Motorsports on Thursday, NASCAR reconsidered their approval given that Talladega is a Superspeedway and that there would be no practice ahead of Sunday’s 500-mile event. NASCAR had originally scheduled a practice session prior to the event but rescinded.
“I have been contacted by NASCAR and informed that although I was previously approved to race, they had to reconsider their position on Superspeedways, given there won’t be practice or qualifying prior to Sunday’s race at Talladega,” explained Davison.
Davison will make his NASCAR Cup Series debut for the team one week later at Pocono Raceway.
“I was pumped about the opportunity to take the green flag, but I fully understand and appreciate NASCAR’s position,” Davison later said in the release. “I’m approved to race next weekend at Pocono and equally thrilled to make my series debut there.”
Davison has some previous experience in NASCAR at road courses. He made his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut in 2016 piloting the No. 90 entry owned by Mario Gosselin at Road America. He made three more XFINITY Series starts over the course of 2017 and 2018 with Joe Gibbs Racing also at Road America and Mid-Ohio.
Kyle Busch ended the night victorious at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday piloting the No. 51 Toyota Tundra for his own team. The series veteran led the field for 82 of the 134 completed circuits after starting the event at the rear of the field and serving a pass-through penalty at the start of the race. It marked Busch’s 58th career win in the series.
“You’re always concerned about tires being better and having the opportunity to out-show you,” said Busch. “Felt like six laps was just the right amount and anymore than that, it probably would have been a different outcome. Can’t say enough about this Cessna Beechcraft Toyota Tundra, it was awesome tonight.”
Tyler Ankrum started 11th and ended the night 2.847 seconds behind race winner Kyle Busch. The driver of the No. 26 Liuna! Chevrolet finished 12th in stage one and sat 20th at the conclusion of stage two. Ankrum leaves Homestead sitting 10th in points while earning his first top 10 of the 2020 season.
Kyle Busch had an L1 penalty discovered during pre-race inspection involving the rear sub-frame assembly and will lose 10 Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series owner points because of the infraction. The penalty forced the No. 51 Toyota to the rear of the field for the start and a pass-through penalty following the initial green flag.
18.104.22.168 Rear Sub-Frame Assembly I-4 Track Bar Supports a. A maximum of one track bar mount frame support and a maximum of one track bar mount lateral support must be used.
“I guess some rules were changed over the off-season and the truck we ran tonight I think ran here at Homestead last year and they just put it off to the side knowing that I would be in it in March,” explained Busch regarding the penalty. “It’s now June, but still it never made it’s way to the fab shop for some updates or for some bars that needed to be cut out due to NASCAR changing the rules. We missed it and came down here with that bar in there and I guess they wanted to prove a point. We had a big penalty, probably bigger than it would have been if there had been another driver in the truck. We’ll take it and move on.”
The Las Vegas native, winner of stage two, finished stage one sitting 33rd.
Florida native Ross Chastain, winner of stage one, rounded out the top three finishers on Saturday. Chastain started 15th on the leaderboard and went on to finish runner-up in stage two. The driver of the No. 44 Chevrolet leaves the 1.5-mile oval with his first top five of the year.
Chase Elliott and Johnny Sauter rounded out the top five.
Todd Gilliland, Austin Hill, Christian Eckes, Matt Crafton and Ty Majeski rounded out the top 10.
Chase Elliott overcame an issue early on as he and three other trucks tangled in turn four on lap 21. The four-truck incident also included drivers Brett Moffitt, Zane Smith and Brennan Poole. Moffitt and Smith did not continue while Poole went on to finish 19th. The fourth-place finish will mark Elliott’s second top 10 of the year in the series.
The race had a 15-minute red flag period after Sheldon Creed made contact with the sand barrels at the entrance of pit road. The incident did not end the night for the team as Creed captured a 20th-place finish.
Brennan Poole was involved in a single-truck incident on lap 71. The No. 7 of Korbin Forrister and the No. 3 of Jordan Anderson were also involved in single-truck incidents throughout the remainder of the race.
The next race for the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will take place at Pocono Raceway on June 27th. The event will air live on FS1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.