After a 50 minute practice session, Joey Logano and his No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford Mustang topped the speed charts with a time of 32.906 seconds and an average speed of 136.753 mph. “The memories are coming back from 2008,” Logano said about his practice time and his lone Xfinity Series start at the track. “It is smoother than it was back then. Moving around, trying new things, shifting. It's fun to get off the gas, hit the break, and use both pedals in the car again.” The Ford Mustangs had four of the top seven spots in the lone practice session for the NASCAR Cup Series, and look to be a contender in qualifying tomorrow and on the race Sunday.
Ryan Blaney scored the second fastest with a time of 33.025 seconds. Based on his prior experience at World Wide Technology, Ryan said, “It took me a minute to kind of remember the place since it was 8 years ago since I've been here. I think racing here before helped me a little bit. Harrison Burton was fast right out of the gate and he has been here recently in the Trucks Series a couple of years ago. I think the guys who have run here helped them be fast in practice.” On the other hand, he doesn’t think it will be a factor though on who wins here Sunday afternoon. “Everyone learns so quickly and gets up to speed so fast. Even if you haven’t ever been here, you will pick it up fairly quickly. It might help them get up to speed fast but everyone gets used to it after 50 minutes of practice.”
Although some found the session helpful, the track did come out and grab some people. Ben Rhodes, who is filling in for AJ Almendinger who is in Portland for the Xfinity Series, got into the wall in turns three and four in his No. 16 Chevy Camaro for Kaulig Racing and went to the garage early. Parker Kligerman, who is piloting the No. 15 Ford Mustang for Rick Ware Racing, had to pull in the pits after his car caught on fire and will have to go to a back up car. On Saturday, the NASCAR Cup Series cars will qualify to see who is on the pole for the Inaugural Enjoy Illinois 300 at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Ill. That will take place at 11 a.m. Eastern on FS1, MRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Since its inception in 1985, NASCAR has held its annual All Star Race at some point during the NASCAR schedule. From 1985 to 2019, with the exception of the 1986 All Star Race held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, its home has been the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway, until in 2020 when it was held at Bristol Motor Speedway, and then in 2021 to present at Texas Motor Speedway.
The famed race has also been known to try new things as it has no effect in the regular season standings. In 1987, NASCAR changed its format to include 'stages’ during the race, which was later brought into the regular season 30 years later in 2017. In 1992, CMS installed lights to have the race in prime time, also known as ‘One Hot Night’. In 2009, NASCAR introduced double file restarts, and three weeks later, was implemented at Pocono Raceway in the second week in June. Great things have come out of the All Star event, and great racing as well.
In recent years though, it has seemed that the All Star Race itself has been a lackluster event. In fact, even some fans have wanted the event scrapped from the schedule, which is a shame in which the event was built for the fans. Especially after last Sunday’s showing of the event with it being the worst race so far in the 2022 season, things need to be changed and changed fast. Luckily, it can be saved, and can once again be one of the top events on the NASCAR schedule, but it will need to be revamped before it can be done.
1: Enough of the silly formats
The one thing that can not happen again is for the format to feel gimmicky and confusing. You know there is trouble when even some people who have been involved with NASCAR have no idea how the race will be run this year. Enough of that, and the people who love the sport don’t care for it. Make it a simple format, that doesn’t take the credibility and the integrity of the sport into places it doesn’t need to be. The race should be run with a simple format, so that even the casual fan who doesn’t know the difference between a stock car and a sprint car can easily tell what is happening.
2: The race needs a home
I know that the NFL’s Pro Bowl, and both the MLB’s and the NBA’s All Star games are held in different venues every year, but we are not stick and ball sports, and we shouldn’t try to be. While the sport is glad that it has changed from Charlotte to Bristol after a 30 year stint, it should have a home and it isn’t at Texas Motor Speedway. But here is the kicker, let’s move to a track that no one is currently racing at. That way, no team who is involved with the All Star Race has no data or past knowledge on how to win from a previous event less that a year earlier. It would certainly shake things up, and maybe provide the race to be held at a unique venue.
3: Extend to lower series
Dave Moody from MRN and the host of SiriusXM Speedway on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio has brought up this idea, and it has some weight to it. NASCAR should open the All Star Race up to the top 10 in points in the Cup, Xfinity, Trucks, and even the ARCA national series. That way the top 10 ‘All Stars’ from the top four series in the NASCAR’s banner will compete in a race meant for the best of the best. How neat would it be to have an ARCA driver like Nick Sanchez who won last week at Kansas, race against Ben Rhodes from the Truck Series, Noah Gragson from the Xfinity Series, and Kevin Harvick from the Cup Series? NASCAR has a unique opportunity that could pay off in the long haul. You could make the race a 250-300 mile event, and run the race almost like the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship with four classes and an overall winner. Not only will it be different, it will be historic for sure.
4: My opinion on how the All Star Race should be
Imagine this. Let’s hold the event mid week like the 2020 All Star Race was held on a Wednesday night before the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte, with the top 10 in points from the previous race of ARCA, Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup allowed to compete. The race will be 250 laps with two stages, one on lap 100 and the next on lap 200, with a 50 lap shootout to determine who the All Stars really are. And where will this Wednesday night shootout be held? None other than the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway in North Wilkesboro, N.C.
The track has recently announced plans to hold events in August and October, with a new repave to take place before the 2023 racing season begins. With all of the positive momentum the historic ⅝’s of a mile is getting these days, why not reward them with a race date of their own? Plus, the crowd that was at Texas Motor Speedway this past Sunday could easily fit in the grandstands at North Wilkesboro. Not only would the first running of the event at the track be historic, but it might get people to love the All Star Race again.
Things need to be fixed in NASCAR, and it’s that hard to do. Luckily, NASCAR has a chance to save some things from diminishing away like some of the other great things that have made the sport what it is today. I personally believe if NASCAR can make these changes to the All Star race, it could be saved and cherished forever.
Tyler Reddick, who has been so close, so many times in 2022 to winning in the Cup Series, fought off the JR Motorsports dominance to win his first Xfinity Series for Big Machine Racing. This was also Reddick's first win in NASCAR”s second tier series since 2019 at Homestead Miami Speedway where he won the championship in the same race.
The race started off with Noah Gragson for JR Motorsports starting on pole when they came around to take the green flag for the SRS Distribution 250 at Texas Motor Speedway. He was then passed by his teammate Justin Allgaier on lap 21, but the caution would come out a lap later due to fluid on the racetrack. The race restarted on lap 31, when Gragson regained control of the race until the yellow was out again on lap 33 due to a spin by C.J. McLaughlin. Gragson continued to look strong in the lead until he was passed by Josh Berry, another JRM driver, who led to win stage one. The stage ended early due to another spin by McLaughlin in turn two.
Berry continued to lead even when the caution came out for the fourth time in the race due to a spin by Austin Hill on lap 58. The races restarted on lap 62, and stayed green until Berry won the second stage of the race on lap 82. Allgaier then retook the lead on the restart on lap 88, but then a multi car crash on the backstretch happened on lap 89. The wreck involved Matt Mills. Berry, Gragson, Brandon Jones, Ty Gibbs, and Josh Williams. The green flag was back out on lap 94, but five laps later Gragson took another spin in turn one bringing out the seventh caution, and he wouldn’t be a factor the rest of the day.
The race went back to green conditions on lap 103, with JRM driver Justin Allgaier still in control of the race. That was until lap 112, when he was passed by Cup Series regular William Byron, who was also making his first return in the Xfinity Series since 2017 where he won the championship. Then the caution was back out once again after Allgiaer was slow on the track, ending his hopes to win in Fort Worth, Texas.
Austin Hill, who spun earlier in the race, led on lap 119, until the ninth caution was back out on lap 124. Joe Gaf Jr, David Starr, Alex Labbe, and Sieg had an accident in turn three on lap 124. On lap 124, the green flag for the final 40 laps of the SRS Distribution 250 at Texas Motor Speedway resumed until Sieg once again crashed in turn one and was done for the day.
Brandon Jones led two laps from 135 to 136 until Reddick took the lead away on lap 137. Two laps later, the final caution of the day was for a seven car pile up on the front stretch from lap 139-145. Reddick would lead from then til the finish and would win at Texas.
The race had in total 11 cautions for 62 laps, making the 167 lap race being 37.1% ran under the yellow flag for a total of two hours, 28 minutes, and five seconds. The average speed was 101.497 mph throughout the 250 mile event. Next week, the Xfinity Series takes on the Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. That race will start at 1 p.m. Eastern on FS1, PRN, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
They say an old dog can’t learn new tricks, but they never say an established NASCAR champion can’t win on a track they’ve never won at before. That is exactly what happened with Kurt Busch, and his No. 45 Toyota Camry for 23XI racing on Sunday afternoon, after leading 119 of 267 laps.
“It’s all about teamwork,” said Kurt Busch. “I mean, I don’t do this alone, and the way that Toyota has helped us, JGR. My little brother has been so important just on the family side of, hey, you’ve got to get through these steps.” It all started with Christopher Bell, who is a Toyota teammate to Kurt, starting on pole with the young and hungry Tyler Reddick, who had finished second in the last four starts prior, starting second right beside him when they took the green flag a little after 3 p.m. Eastern.
Chase Briscoe was the cause of the first caution of the AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway on lap 7, after he took a ride sideways through the infield grass after spinning in turn four. Reddick then led from lap 10 and didn’t let go.Then the left rear tires became most of the drivers Achilles Heel during the race. The first tire related issue was on lap 32, which took BJ McLeod as its first victim, bringing out the second caution.
Bell then regained control of the lead from lap 37, then Daniel Suarez had a tire go down in turns three and four, which caused him to spin and bring out the third caution of the race. Bell continued to lead until 64, when Ricky Stenhouse Jr led for two laps while green flag pit stops happened. Kyle Busch then went on to take the lead and won stage one in the process, until getting knocked down by a bad pit stop which put him deep in the field.
William Byron, who was the first Chevrolet driver to lead under green conditions, led from lap 88 til 112, until Kurt Busch would be up front for the first time of the day. The fourth caution was brought out by Kevin Harvick after he spun in turn two reentering the race after a green flag pit stop routine. After the restart, the lead changed 3 times in three laps with Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, and Ryan Blaney all battled in contention to win at Kansas. Kurt BUsch would lead from lap 138 til the end of stage two, which he won and score 10 extra points in the process.
A driver who was all the way deep in the field finally made his way up front, which was Kyle Larson, who won at Kansas back in October during the playoffs. He then took control of the AdventHealth 400 after stealing it from Kurt Busch on lap 202 to 203, after the caution was back out when Elliott spun in turn three which caused him to be stuck in the wet grass. Kyle then lost the lead after getting into the wall. He had an incredible save on the backstretch, but then gave veteran Kurt Busch the lead until lap 231.
Then the final caution of the race happened with Harvick leaking fluids from his Ford Mustang on the front straightaway. From then, Larson looked like he had the win in the bag for his second win of 2022, until lap traffic became a factor on lap 258. He was then passed by Kurt Busch, who led the final nine laps towards his 34th career win in the NASCAR Cup Series and his first win at the Kansas Speedway.
Larson after the race walking back to his hauler on whether he could have done anything different, said, “I'm sure there's things I could have maybe done, but I just need to go back and look. When he wanted to get by me, maybe I could have done a little bit better job, but it was gonna be tough.” Larson led a total of 29 laps to finish in second place by 1.413 seconds
At the end, the 2022 AdventHealth 400 at Kansas Speedway had a total of 8 cautions for 47 out of 267 laps. The race had 18 lead changes, and lasted 3 hours, 13 minutes, and three seconds for an average speed of 124.476 mph. Next week, the NASCAR Cup Series has its 38th annual All Star Race at the Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday May 22nd. The race will have an open race starting at 6 p.m. Eastern, followed by the All Star Race itself starting at 8 p.m. on FS1, MRN, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Yes the headline may be hurtful, but it’s the honest truth. In their best interest, NASCAR needs to find another broadcasting company to fill in the deep whole that FOX Sports have made for them, especially the ways these recent broadcasts have been going. The only good thing FOX Sports have for them right now is their pit reporters, Larry McReynolds, and Bob Pockrass. Everything else, we can live without.
To be honest, I used to love the FOX portion of the season, especially from the beginning all the way up to 2015. In fact, until I saw NBC’s coverage in the same year, I wished FOX would have done all the races in the calendar. But ever since they hired Jeff Gordon to replace McReynolds in the booth, things haven’t felt the same as they have been in “the good ol’ days.”
In recent years though, you can tell FOX quit caring about Motorsports in general, let alone NASCAR. They used to have all of the big series either on FOX or their sister network Speed until they killed the channel off in 2013, like the 24 hours of Daytona, 24 hours of LeMans, Formula One, and many other forms of racing series all across the world. Now, all of them have found different partners to carry their series. Let's also not forget the fall Martinsville Truck series race that cut off the final two laps or an interview with the winner after running late into a college football game. It will only be a matter of time before NASCAR and its top three national touring series will become one of those victims.
One big issue I have with FOX as of 2022 is the pre race coverage. First and foremost, how cringe can they be from time to time? Remember when Ross Chastain scored his first win in the Cup Series at Circuit of the Americas and he ate part of the watermelon he smashed as a part of his victory? FOX had the bright idea for the Toyota Owners 400 pre race show to make an entire skit out of that with an actor playing the watermelon seed that was in his mouth during the interview. I’m not sure how many new fans actually watch NASCAR Raceday right before watching their first NASCAR, but I am pretty sure most fans saw that and thought, “What on earth are we watching right now?”
Let's actually talk about the broadcast of the race. In my honest opinion as a fan at home watching the broadcast, I really don’t think they are being very professional in the booth. Let's face it, it almost sounds like an MLB game, which happens 128 times out of 365 days a year. Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer joke around way too much for my liking. It isn’t that I don’t like to have fun, in fact people who know me know I have a pretty wide sense of humor. It’s the fact that they are crossing the line of the correct amount of joking around you are supposed to have during a race.
Remember that part again. This is a race for a very prestigious championship that only certain types of drivers can win. It isn’t some sports that people take lightly and don’t have 100% focus on all the time. These are the 40 best drivers in the world going across the country on various types of racetracks to prove that they are the best at what could kill them every time they are strapped in and ready to go. So yes I do appreciate a light hearted broadcast at some points, but we need to have that type of broadcast where it doesn’t feel like the same thing every Sunday afternoon. We need to have the type of showing that will tell the fans that they are witnessing history in the making, and that this is an important event to watch.
So what is my fix on this situation? It is simple. Look for a new way to show the sport. Why not give the whole season to NBC? They do a very good job on the broadcast, and know exactly when to be light hearted and when the time is to be serious. Maybe the booth is too crowded at points, but why not shuffle some analysts into different places and take turns like FOX does, which is one of the only things I have liked out of their portion of the season so far. Put Steve Letarte in the Peacock Pit Box one week, next week put Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Jeff Burton.
What about maybe even branching out to another partner like CBS or ESPN? Yes Sports Center may mix up drivers' names now and then and look like they are not interested in the sports, but ESPN is one of the main cable channels that are in every American household in 2022. Also to point out, Formula One has done very well with the majority of their races being on ESPN or ESPN 2, so why not ride off of their momentum? Another former broadcast partner of CBS has also shown signs that they may be interested back in Motorsport coverage again with the new Superstar Racing Experience (SRX), along with a couple other smaller series of racing. They have a long history of broadcasting the Daytona 500 along with a couple other big races, and maybe they would want their turn in the 21st century.
Or maybe it is time to go where no racing series has gone before? Is it crazy to think of at least some NASCAR races to be broadcasted on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime? Or maybe NASCAR goes a step further and creates their own streaming service for all three series with practice, qualifying, and the race for a monthly fee? If you would have told me that 10 years ago, I would have thought you were crazy. But now as of 2022 and beyond? Anything is possible, just look at this year's running of the Clash held inside a football stadium.
My point of this article is for people who are fans of NASCAR racing to not settle for the mediocre broadcasting calls of the past year or two by FOX Sports when we have had other great networks give us the best view and calls that we could get from our TV in our living rooms in the past. We want NASCAR to grow like it did back in the 90’s and 2000’s, and want broadcasting partners that are willing to give their best on giving us coverage on the sport we love to death. Unfortunate enough as it is, I think we need to give up on FOX Sports on doing that for us.
After sweeping both stages one and two, defending Truck Series champion Ben Rhodes wins the 2022 Pinty's Dirt Race at Bristol Motor Speedway after a tough battle with Carson Hocevar “I thought we gave it away for a moment,” said Rhodes who drives the #99 Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing talking to Fox Sports. “Michael Waltrip said on the radio, ‘Did you mean to stay out under the caution of Stage One?’ The real answer was no. So driving through the back of the pack was tough and not something we wanted to do, but my crew gave me such an amazing Toyota Tundra this weekend. I wasn’t going to let them down, so I had to go back up there and earn this spot back. Really really proud of all of their efforts, and it looks like I had really fast teammates today too. Thanks to everyone for coming out and happy Easter!”
Hocevar, driver of the #45 Chevy Silverado for NIECE Motorsports, when asked what he could have done differently to win tonight responded, “I mean either rip the top or crash him. I hate saying that, but it’s a part of this racing right? I mean I really couldn’t compete with him. He had better tires and had the fastest truck all day, so I just kept trying really hard and tried to pull it off. I kept looking up in the mirror hopin ‘Man he's in fifth, he can’t go anywhere,’ but once I knew he was fourth I was like, ‘Awe I’m in trouble here.’ He slide jobbed me and I prepared for it and crossed him over and raced him very hard. Second place just sucks, and I mean it’s terrible, especially when it’s that close. We had Bryan Clauson’s logo on the truck, and I am even wearing his shirt still. I was hoping to give him a tribute, but he was definitely with me tonight with us running as hard as we were.”
In the middle of the race though, one of the most bizzare moments in the Truck Series happened. Matt DiBeneditto who drives the #25 Chevy Silverado for Rackley WAR Racing cut off Austin Wayne Self in the #22 Chevy Silverado for AM Racing in turn four. Self’s front bumper was stuck against DiBenedetto’s rear bumper and stayed connected from the front stretch all the way to the back straightaway, until both trucks stopped and track officials separated them 10 minutes later. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series won't compete next week at Talladega Superspeedway nor Dover Motor Speedway the week after, but will take the next two weeks off in preparation of the track known as Too Tough Too Tame, Darlington Raceway. That race will begin May 2nd, under the lights at the Lady In Black at 6:30 p.m. Friday night on FS1, MRN Radio, and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio.
Ross Chastain is Keeping It Weird in Austin, Texas, as he is now the third first time winner in just six races in the NASCAR Cup Series after this past Sunday's trip to the Circuit of the Americas. Chastain is known as the “Watermelon Man”, as he grew up in Florida on a watermelon farm with his parents, and dreamed one day to be a winner in NASCAR.
From driving to lower teams in the NASCAR Truck and Xfinity Series just a few years ago, Chastain told the NASCAR media just how much his first career win meant to him. “I’m a good couch racer,” said Chastain. “I believed for a long time, but Justin (Trackhouse Racing team owner) asked me on the front stretch ‘Do you believe yet?’ I would say that I still struggle with that. I don’t view myself as a Cup Series winning race car driver. I just feel like I have to work to get there, and I’m not there yet. There’s so many mistakes I make.It's mental, but physical. There’s the shifting, the braking, just the feedback in practice. There’s so many ways to mess this stuff up, and I haven’t done it perfectly yet. I’ve learned to think neutral and just, okay, don’t get too worked up if I do something wrong. Just right back to it. It hasn’t happened yet.”
Car owner Justin Marks also talks about how he believed Chastain could turn Trackhouse Racing into a winning and competitive organization. “This was an ambitious thing to sort of dream up,” quoted Marks. “I asked a lot of people that had a lot of experience in this sport and saw a lot of teams come and go to trust me and to commit to Trackhouse. So to be here not even a year and a half really into our existence, I’m just proud of everybody that committed. Every single one of these people, they own a piece of this victory. So it was always Ross. That’s what I told him when he got out of the car: It was always you. When the Ganassi buy-out happened, he texted me as I got off of the press conference stage of the Hall of Fame, and he just wrote, ‘I want this.’ He had to be patient with me while I let the dust settle, but we all were huge, huge believers in Ross’ talent. We knew what he was capable of doing, and he proved it last month at Trackhouse. And I think we’ve really just opened a door for him and Phil and the 1 team moving forward. I’m proud of everybody. Chevrolet, Onyx Homes and Moose and AdventHealth. It’s a really, really great day for us.”
The win didn’t come easy for Chastain, as he was bumped and passed on the final lap by AJ Allmendinger and Alex Bowman just a few turns before the start finish line. Then Chastain gave back the favor to Allmendinger and ended up collecting Bowman in the carnegie as well. Allmendinger told Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports about the incident saying, “At the end of the day, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror. If you are okay with it, you’re okay with it. Each person is different.”
Top five of the 2022 EchoPark Texas Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas were Ross Chastain in first, Alex Bowman in second, Christopher Bell in third, Chase Elliott in fourth, and Tyler Reddick in fifth. Next week the NASCAR Cup Series takes on the 0.75 mile Richmond Raceway for 400 laps next Sunday afternoon. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on FOX and on MRN Radio.
If you would have told me that by four races in the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, that we would have already had two first time winners, I would have thought you were crazy. But that's exactly what we have, with Cindric scoring the Daytona 500 win in his first full time season in Cup for the Captain Roger Penkse, and now Chase Briscoe, Driver of the No. 14 Mahindra Tractor Ford Mustang for Stewart Haas Racing winning in the Desert at Phoenix Raceway.
Briscoe led 101 of the 312 laps in today's Ruoff Mortgage 500k, and had to hold off a very win hungry Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick in order to get his first win in his Cup career. I thought on the last two restarts, I feel like that was probably the worst-case scenario for me,” quoted Briscoe. “Ross and Tyler are two of the most aggressive guys on restarts. Fourth you had Kevin, who obviously has been a year, year and a half since he won, so you know he’s hungry, too. I knew that as long as I drove in there deeper than everybody else, I probably was going to be okay. Those two other guys, they were giving everything they had, too.”
As this was Briscoes first win in the Cup Series, this was also Johnny Klausmeier’s third win in Cup. His previous two other victories came with Kurt Busch in 2016 when Klausmeier was subbing for regular full-time Crew Chief Tony Gibson at the time in the first Pocono race, and also in 2018 with Aric Almirola at the fall Talladega race. Klasumeier had this to say about Briscoes driving on the final three laps en route to his first win. “That's what I expect out of Chase, 100% all the time. He’s going to put it on the line, find the limit. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad. Today it all worked out.”
Chase was also asked about what it was like to put the No. 14 car back in victory lane, after being driven previously by his three time Cup Series champion car owner Tony Stewart.
“First off, he said congratulations,” Briscoe explained. “They actually won the Gator Nationals today in the drag racing deals, so he was pretty excited. You could hear dragsters going off in the background. I just told him thank you for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to drive that car. That car is obviously his, and he has a lot of passion and drive for that car and to take a chance on another guy, kind of like himself, a dirt sprint car. We grew up 45 minutes apart. My dad raced against Tony Stewart in sprint cars. I was literally a diehard Tony Stewart fan growing up and a diehard 14 fan, so for me to add my name to the list of guys that have got the 14 car to Victory Lane is definitely special for me. Looking back, when I was six, seven years old and wearing the Tony Stewart helmet and uniform, I never in a million years thought I would get the 14 car in Victory Lane in the Cup Series, and it was cool for him to call and hear how excited he was.”
Top 10 finishers of Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway were Chase Briscoe finishing first, then Ross Chastain scoring a second place finish, following up with Tyler Reddick who finished third. Fourth was the pole sitter of today's race, Ryan Blaney, then it was Kurt Busch with a top five finish. Following the first Busch brother was nine time winner of this race Kevin Harvick in six place, with the other Busch brother, Kyle, with a seventh place finish. Joey Logano scored a top 10 with an eighth place finish, with following behind was the other Team Trackouse teammate, Daniel Suarez, and wrapping up the top 10 was Chris Buescher.
Next weekend, the Cup Series takes on the newly repaved and reconfigurated Atlanta Motor Speedway. The 1.5 mile track is expected to race like a miniature Daytona and Talladega race, with its added banking from 24 degrees to 28 degrees, as well as the double yellow line rule being inplace. Coverage for the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 will begin at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on FOX for TV, and PRN for radio coverage.
The NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series teams make their final trip out west this weekend, in preparations for this weekend's activities at Phoenix Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz, after just finishing up two trips in two weeks with both Series racing at Auto Club Speedway (Fontana, Calif.) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Las Vegas Nev.). But one thing for sure, it isn’t cheap. With gas prices soaring up to about $5 a gallon on the West Coast, it is putting a lot of pressure on smaller teams on making the trip just to try to make the race.
Joey Gase, driver/owner of the #35 Toyota Supra for Emerling Gase Motorsports in the Xfinity Series was quoted saying, “The West Coast Swing is probably the hardest part of the year. You have to have so many cars ready to go to make this long trip even before the season starts. The competition this year has been the strongest it has been in years I’ve been in the sport.” The NASCAR Xfinity Series only allows 38 cars to compete, and that means when 39 or more cars show up, somebody is going to be sent home. “There have been three cars going home every week, and this weekend there will be four cars going home with 42 cars being entered, so there is a chance we might not even make the field.”
Due to the new rule change NASCAR made, teams will have to bring cars with them for all three tracks, to prevent race teams from traveling back and forth from the West Coast all the way to Charlotte, N.C. “The back up car for Fontana and Vegas as the primary car for Phoenix,” said Gase. “We have to be ready for this and for the next week at the newly repaved Atlanta Motor Speedway as well as Circuit of the Americas as well. It is no easy task to say the least.”
When you travel from Charlotte, to Fontana, to Vegas, to Phoenix, and then back to Charlotte, that is almost 5,000 miles in three weeks. Gase even said gas was nearly $5.30 a gallon for diesel for the big rigs that carry the NASCAR Xfinity cars. I asked Gase if it was even worth heading out west just to spend all of this money. “It’s going to hurt a lot in the pocketbook, but this is the plan no matter what, especially if you are a full time race team like us. You have to be out here to keep the points for the point standings, sponsorship, provisionals, and all of that stuff.”
This won’t be the last trip to the West Coast for the Xfinity Series by far. They will make a special trip in June for the inaugural Grand Prix of Portland at the Portland International Raceway in Portland, Ore., then it is back to Vegas in September, and then the Championship Race back in Phoenix in November. On what the teams would have to prepare for for the races out there later on in the year, Gase said, “That is way too far out for me to even think about as of right now. We do make some stops before those races that are still a drive away like Texas Motor Speedway (Fort Worth, Texas), and even Atlanta Motor Speedway (Atlanta, Ga.) that we have to prepare for before those races out west again.”
The West Coast Swing really wasn’t a thing in NASCAR until 2015, when they decided to shake up the schedule. Before then you would have a track like Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, Tenn.) or Atlanta in the middle of those trips out west in the early spring time. I asked Gase about what he thought about getting the first three West Coast races out of the way early, or if he thought we should add an east coast race to the beginning of the schedule. “It has its perks and its downfalls the way it is now,” said Gase. “It’s great to not have to travel back and forth all the time, but at the same time it is a lot of work on every team to get everything ready in time for the races no matter which way you look at it with expenses. We sent most of our guys back to Charlotte after Fontana to get other cars ready for the next couple of races that are coming up. Flights are expensive as well as hotels and gas. It is probably for the best to get them out of the way as early as we can like we have been doing.”
I also questioned if his perspective changed when we put on the fire suit on Saturdays as a driver? Gase replied back with “Maybe just a little bit, but not as big as you would think. Most of my career I have been on smaller race teams like Emerling Gase Motorsports, and if I destroyed the race car it is kinda the same deal as it is now as in we might not be able to race the next week if we completely destroy our car. It definitely changes my perspective a little bit, but my mentality driving these cars have been the same.”
Joey Gase won’t be racing in Saturdays United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway, as Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of the late Dale Earnhardt, will be wheeling the #35 Toyota Supra for Emerling Gase Motorsports. I asked Gase about what he mentioned earlier, which was the possibility of not making the big show. Would he consider it a waste of time and money to travel out to the West Coast? Or was it still worth it to try and make the race? “That is kind of a silly question,” quoted Gase. “We have no choice but to come to these races. We are in a great spot, and way better than most small owner driver race teams. We are sitting good in points and I believe we have a pretty great hot rod for Jeffrey (Earnhardt) at Phoenix, but no matter what we have to try and come to these races. We don’t want to miss a race because obviously it can affect our whole season.”
The United Rentals 200 at Phoenix Raceway will be on FS1 for T.V. and radio coverage is on MRN. Coverage will start at 4:30 p.m. Eastern and 3:30 p.m. Central. After Saturday the Cup Series will race on the mile oval in the desert at 3:30 p.m. Eastern and 2:30 Central. Next week will be the race everyone is anticipating, as the newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway will be races on next Saturday for the Xfinity Series, and next Sunday for the Cup Series will take its turn mid afternoon.
Ty Gibbs shocks the world (can you sense the sarcasm reading this?) and wins his fifth career Xfinity Series win at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday night. But at least one driver also in the Xfinity Series isn’t glad he won yesterday, and that most likely is the driver of Ryan Sieg. Gibbs and Sieg were racing through turn four on the fourth lap, when Gibbs got underneath Sieg, got him loose, and into the wall causing the first of 11 cautions of the day.
To make matters worse (or better if you are a fan), Sieg then tried to retaliate against Gibbs on lap 30 in turn four, but didn’t prevent Gibbs from winning the race. Instead of Gibbs wrecking out like Sieg would have wanted, he took out innocent bystanders who were racing in that area at the time, being the drivers of Sheldon Creed and Brett Moffitt. Creed and Moffitt’s days didn’t end there though, as both would end up finishing in the top 10. The race not only had that wild card in it, as there was also a snow/rain delay on lap 19 that red flagged the race for 41 minutes and 53 seconds. Rain out in the desert area in Las Vegas, NV is crazy enough to think about, let alone sleet and snow like some reported in the garage.
Noah Gragson swept both stages in the race, and led for 52 laps of the 200 laps of the race, second highest and only behind Xfinity Series Veteran Justin Allgiaer who led the race high 62 laps. But with six laps to go, Gibbs passed Gragson for the lead and eventually won his fifth race of his young career, with only leading six laps of the race.
“I want to apologize to the 39 car (Ryan Sieg),” said Gibbs as he was talking to Vince Welch of Fox Sports. “It wasn’t my best decision and they work so hard on that team.” When asked how much this win meant to him after all of the adversity they battled through the day, Gibbs replied, “It feels awesome. Hopefully we can keep this going throughout the year and get some more wins with this 54 crew.”
Top ten finishers of the 2022 Alsco Uniforms 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway were Ty Gibbs, Noah Gragson, Daniel Hemric, Josh Berry, Justin Allgiaer, Landon Cassil, Sheldon Creed, Brett Moffitt, A.J. Allmendinger, and Brandon Jones. The race had 11 cautions for 65 of the 200 laps that were run and had 17 lead changes. Time of the race was 2 hours, 56 minutes, and 15 seconds with the average speed being 102.128 mph. Next race for the Xfinity Series will be the LS Tractor 200 at the Phoenix Raceway next Saturday, The race will start at 3:30 p.m. eastern on FS1 and radio broadcast will be on the Motor Racing Network.