Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Buddy Kofoid took the lead from Brent Crews on lap six and went on to pace the final 25 laps to win the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League’s Illinois SpeedWeek finale at Fayette County Speedway Sunday.

While Kofoid got the win, it was Cannon McIntosh who earned the Illinois SpeedWeek title after finishing third on Sunday as he registered a top-four finish in each of the week’s five events, including a victory on night two at Lincoln Speedway.

The 13-year-old Crews would take the lead from the pole position and pace the first five laps before Kofoid would use a slider to take over the top spot. Crews made a couple of runs in an attempt to regain the lead, but in the end, Kofoid would pull away from the field to take the win. Crews never ran below second on the way to matching his career-best POWRi finish. 

McIntosh, needing just to finish with 10 positions of Kofoid to wrap up the championship for the week, would finish third with a comfortable advantage over Crews’ CB Industries teammate Ryan Timms.

Also earning top-10 finishes for Toyota were Gavan Boschele in sixth, POWRi points leader Bryant Wiedeman in seventh and Kaylee Bryson in eighth, giving Keith Kunz Motorsports four of the top 10.

After completing five races in five nights, the POWRi National Midget League will be off until July 16 when the series returns to the track for the “Thunder in the Valley” double-header at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Quotes:

Buddy Kofoid, Keith Kunz Motorsports: “I was able to get the lead and felt really comfortable on the restarts. I knew it would be tough for him to slide me. This track is a lot of fun. My guys did a really good job with this car. It just felt comfortable. It wouldn’t be possible without Keith Kunz Motorsports, Mobil 1 and Toyota giving me this opportunity.”

Cannon McIntosh, Dave Mac Motorsports: “It was a good week. We found lots of speed and we were really consistent. We were able to regroup and figure out what we needed. We weren’t as good as the top two tonight, but we did what we needed to do. Everybody with Dave Mac Motorsports did a great job this week.”

Notes: 

- Five different Toyota drivers won the five events during Illinois SpeedWeek, with Kofoid leading the way with two wins, while McIntosh, Daison Pursley and Emerson Axsom each winning one.

- Buddy Kofoid’s victory is his 11th national midget feature win of the year. It also marked Toyota’s 30th national feature triumph of the 2021 season.

TRD PR

Race Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

● Aric Almirola started first and finished 16th.

● Almirola was scored third by lap eight. He noted loose-handling conditions into the turn and being tight to the middle.

● On lap 45, Almirola was called to the pits. Crew chief Mike Bugarewicz radioed Almirola to roll through pit road to stay on the lead lap due to an ill-timed caution.

● The No. 10 Smithfield team pitted during the caution period for four tires, fuel and air pressure and wedge adjustments.

● Almirola restarted sixth, but another caution was called on lap 55.

● He restarted seventh and drove to the top-five until another caution on lap 79.

● The team pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments and restarted 12th.

● Almirola said his tires chattered during the restarted, resulting in the No. 10 dropping to 16th before the end of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-185):

● Almirola started 10th and finished ninth, earning two bonus points.

● The No. 10 Smithfield team opted not to pit at the end of the stage.

● Almirola rejoined the top-10 by lap 108 when he passed teammate Cole Custer and was scored eighth just 11 laps later.

● He pitted during a caution period on lap 132 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help the No. 10 Ford turn better.

● The Smithfield Ford pit crew gained Almirola one spot on pit road to restart eighth.

● Almirola drove back to sixth place by lap 147 and passed teammate Kevin Harvick for fifth on lap 155.

● The caution was called on lap 174. Almirola restarted 10th and held his Smithfield Ford inside the top-10.

● He pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 186-300):

● Almirola started eighth and finished fourth.

● He pitted under caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments on lap 228, telling his team he needed more grip.

● He restarted sixth and said grip improved after the adjustments.

● The No. 10 Smithfield Ford driver raced his way to fourth place by lap 251.

● Almirola was told to save fuel with 40 laps to go.

● He fell to fifth while saving fuel and passed teammate Kevin Harvick right at the finish line to finish fourth.

 

Notes:

● Almirola earned his first top-five and second top-10 of the season.

● This was Almirola’s best finish so far this season. His previous best result was a sixth-place drive April 18 at Richmond (Va.) Raceway.

● Kyle Larson won the inaugural Ally 400 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his third straight. His margin over second-place Ross Chastain was 4.335 seconds.

● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 60 laps.

● Twenty of the 39 drivers in the Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Nashville with a nine-point advantage over second-place Larson.

 

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We had a good car and finally ended some of the bad luck that has been dealt our way this year. Our race team is doing a great job scrounging and scrapping to build better racecars, and it’s nice to come here and run up front, run in the top-five and at least be in the mix, so it feels good. We’ll just keep building on it. The All-Star Race was a good race for us. Today, again, was a good race for us, so we’ll just keep grinding. We had some really fast cars on Pocono last year, and we’re racing there twice this weekend, so we’ve got a chance to keep building on this momentum.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a doubleheader June 26-27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The first race starts at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, and the second race begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Austin Dillon and the No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Team Survive Long, Hot Day at Nashville Superspeedway with Stage Points and Top-15 Finish
 
 
 
12th
 
 
28th
 
11th
 
“What a race! We knew we would have our work cut out for us today in the No. 3 Get Bioethanol Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE after qualifying didn’t go as well as we planned. This Richard Childress Racing team never gave up though, and I am so proud of them for that. Early in Stage 1 we earned some track position but fell back a bit with an ill-timed caution after a green-flag stop. We then rallied to race our way to sixth position at the end of Stage 1. We finished Stage 2 second to earn additional points, which is really good for our NASCAR Playoffs battle. Overall, I’m really proud of this team and we will take this 12th-place finish and move on to Pocono Raceway for a double-header next weekend.” 
 
 
-Austin Dillon
 
Tyler Reddick and the No. 8 Joe Nichols / Quartz Hill Records Team Power Through Chaotic Race at Nashville Superspeedway
 
 
 
 
19th
 
 
26th
 
13th
 
“Today was all about survival at Nashville Superspeedway. Our No. 8 Joe Nichols / Quartz Hill Records Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE had a lot of speed in it, but we had to overcome a lot of obstacles today. After our first pit stop of the day, there was no grip on the pit access road while exiting, and I clipped the grass and spun around. Luckily, I didn’t hit anything and other than some dirt on the windshield, we were able to keep going after pitting for fresh tires. Shortly after that, someone on the track dropped some debris that went through the nose of my car but didn’t hit anything bad enough to end our day. From then on, we just raced really smart to get our laps back, which we were able to do after a couple of quick cautions. Our car was a bit on the tight side today and needed to be looser, but our adjustments really didn’t seem to help on the short runs like we needed them too. Our long run balance wasn’t bad, but I had a really bad vibration in the final 12 laps and had to slow my pace to make sure a tire or brake rotor didn’t blow. We were able to pick up a few extra spots since other guys ran out of fuel at the end, but we’ll definitely have to study this race and figure out how to be better next time.”
 
-Tyler Reddick

RCR PR

Race Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Cole Custer started seventh and finished 18th.

● The No. 41 Dixie Vodka Tony’s Tea Ford quickly moved forward at the start of the race and was running fifth when the caution flag waved on the first lap of the race.

● From the lap-five restart, Custer held steady in fifth until his lap-44, green-flag pit stop for four tires, fuel and a slight adjustment.

● The caution flag flew while the team was on pit road and Custer was set to restart in the top-10. However, the No. 41 was hit with a pit road speeding penalty sending Custer to the tail end of the longest line on the lap-52 restart.

● The No. 41 driver came to pit road under the lap-78 caution while he was running 25th to get four tires, fuel and an adjustment. This put the team in a position to stay out and gain track position when the stage came to an end 12 laps later.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-185):

Custer started 11th and finished 33rd.

● The No. 41 Dixie Vodka Tony’s Tea driver notched a spot in the top-10 on the lap-96 restart and stayed there for the opening part of the stage.

● On lap 117, Custer reported concerns over his brakes after several cars had been involved in incidents on track. The No. 41 Ford Mustang kept growing tighter on the run and fell back to 14th by lap 159.

● The No. 41 Ford Mustang began to slow with a flat right rear tire on lap 172, bringing out the caution flag. Unfortunately, the team was unable to fix the issue on pit road as the brake rotor was damaged. They took the racecar to the garage for repairs on lap 173 and continued to work until the end of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 186-300):

The 23-year-old driver started 33rd and finished 31st.

● The Ladera Ranch, California, native brought his Ford Mustang back out on the track on lap 218 to re-enter the race in 33rd, 45 laps down.

● The No. 41 Dixie Vodka Tony’s Tea Ford Mustang came down pit road for an unscheduled pit stop on lap 281 after Custer reported vibrations. He rejoined the field and finished the race in 31st.

 

Notes:

● Kyle Larson won the inaugural Ally 400 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his third straight. His margin over second-place Ross Chastain was 4.335 seconds.

● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 60 laps.

● Twenty of the 39 drivers in the Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Nashville with a nine-point advantage over second-place Larson.

 

Cole Custer, driver of the No. 41 Dixie Vodka Tony’s Tea Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Just wasn’t the day we were hoping for at Nashville. Our car was strong and qualified in the top-10, but we had that right-rear flat in the second stage and after going to the garage, we just couldn’t recover. We’ll head to Pocono and try to turn things around.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a doubleheader June 26-27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The first race starts at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, and the second race begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Kevin Harvick started eighth and finished 14th.

● The No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang gained five positions on the opening lap, which ended with the caution flag flying for a single-car incident. Harvick stayed on track and restarted eighth on lap five and maintained his position in the top-10 until pitting from ninth under green on lap 44. He took four tires and adjustments to tighten up the racecar’s loose condition.

● The caution flag flew for a spinning car in turn four during Harvick’s out lap, and he was shown in 17th.

● Less than two laps after the lap-52 restart, Harvick was 20th when the caution flag flew once again for a single-car incident in turn two. He pitted for four tires and chassis adjustments, and restarted 23rd on lap 61.

● Harvick held his relative position and emerged 21st after a two-car incident in turn two brought out the caution flag on lap 78. He said his Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford was tight in the front, but the rear end needed more attention. He pitted for four tires, fuel and chassis adjustments and restarted 17th on lap 85. He picked up three positions in the final five laps of the stage. He stayed on track during the break after saying his racecar took off better for that short run.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-185):

Harvick started ninth and finished 10th, earning one bonus point.

● The No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang picked up a pair of positions in the early laps of the stage and held position in seventh until the caution flag flew on lap 132 for a spinning car in turn two. Harvick said his racecar felt better, just needed “a little bit of grip” in the center of the corner.” He pitted for four tires, fuel and restarted sixth on lap 138.

● Harvick held position over the next 30 laps, saying his racecar would go loose as the run progressed. He cracked the top-five on lap 170 with a pass of Denny Hamlin, just before the caution flag flew on lap 172 for debris. Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments to tighten up the car’s handling and restarted 11th on lap 180, then picked up one more position over the final five laps of the stage. He stayed on track during the break.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 186-300):

Harvick started eighth and finished fifth.

● No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang picked up a position in the opening laps of the stage before the caution flag flew on lap 197 for a single-car incident in turn two. Harvick stayed on track after reporting, “That’s the best I’ve been able to let off the brake and let it roll through the corner.” He restarted seventh on lap 202.

● Harvick was running sixth on lap 216 when he reported his racecar struggled to turn down in the center of the corner and was losing the back end. Moments later, the caution flag flew for a spinning car on the frontstretch. Harvick pitted for tires, fuel and chassis adjustments. He restarted third on lap 222.

● Harvick and the car of William Byron made side-by-side contact in turn two during the restart, after which Harvick reported the Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford was “super tight.” He was fourth when the caution flag flew for a single-car incident in turn four. He stayed on track and restarted third on lap 232.

● From that point, the Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford maintained its position in the top-three until eight laps remained while employing fuel-saving mode a majority of the way, and took the checkered flag fifth.

 

Notes:

● Harvick earned his fifth top-five and 12th top-10 of the season.

● Harvick won two NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Nashville (April 2006 and 2010). In his four Xfinity Series starts at the track he finished in the top-three all but once, and that was a seventh-place drive in April 2001. Harvick also made one NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start at Nashville in April 2010 and finished second.

● Kyle Larson won the inaugural Ally 400 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his third in a row. His margin over second-place Ross Chastain was 4.335 seconds.

● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 60 laps.

● Twenty of the 39 drivers in the Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Nashville with a nine-point advantage over second-place Larson.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Our Monster Jam/Grave Digger Ford Mustang was a lot loose at the beginning and really pretty good the second half of the race. We got some damage there when we made a little contact with the 24 (William Byron) and that made it a little bit tighter. I thought we were better than the 24. The 42 (Ross Chastain) had fresh tires, and the 10 (SHR teammate Aric Almirola), I thought we were better than those cars. The 5 (Kyle Larson) was kind of in a league of his own, but once again the guys did a great job and ground away at it and came away with a top-five as we ran out of gas. I think before our damage we probably had the second-best car at the end and got a little bit of damage on the right side. I got a little bit tight and then ran out of gas off of turn four and lost a couple of spots but, all in all, it was a solid day.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a doubleheader June 26-27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The first race starts at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday and the second race begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

Race Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner:  Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-90):

Chase Briscoe started 16th and finished 19th.

● Briscoe entered the top-10 on lap six but slipped back to 12th on lap nine. The HighPoint.com/Thorlabs driver held that position until lap 34 when cars further back in the field began to move forward.

● On lap 39, Briscoe reported he was free on entry to the corner. Crew chief Johnny Klausmeier called him to pit road five laps later for a scheduled green-flag stop. He received four tires, fuel and adjustments and returned to the track in 23rd, one lap down, just as the yellow caution flag was shown for the first time.

● Briscoe waved around and restarted 18th on lap 53. Just three laps later, caution was called again, and Briscoe restarted 16th on lap 62.

● The HighPoint.com/Thorlabs Mustang was running 20th when the field was slowed for an incident in turn two. Briscoe relayed his handling was good but he needed his right-rear tire to have more grip on entry. He pitted under the caution for four tires, fuel and additional adjustments, and restarted 20th on lap 86.

● Briscoe battled for position over the remaining five laps in the stage to finish 19th.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 91-185)

Briscoe started 15th and finished third, earning eight bonus points.

● The sixth caution of the race was called on lap 133 with Briscoe running 15th. He told the team his rear grip was much better but he still needed help with turn, as the HighPoint.com/Thorlabs Ford was tight center-off. The No. 14 team pitted for tires, fuel and several adjustments to help with front turn.

● Briscoe restarted 12th and worked to find the best line until caution came out on lap 174. Under yellow, he pitted for right-side tires and fuel, and then lined up first for the lap-181 restart.

● The HighPoint.com/Thorlabs driver held off Kyle Larson for a lap and a half before moving back to second. On the final lap of the stage, he battled with the No. 3 car to the finish line and was scored third at the line.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 186-300)

Briscoe started 13th and finished 32nd.

● After pitting for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help front turn, Briscoe started the final stage in the 13th position on lap 191.

● He fought his way up to eighth before the yellow flag was shown on lap 197. He radioed to the team that the HighPoint.com/Thorlabs Ford fired off the best it had all day. The team elected to stay on track and restarted seventh on lap 203.

● Briscoe maintained his position inside the top-10 and was running eighth until the next caution on lap 219. He asked the team for just a slight air pressure adjustment to help his front turn but noted the previous adjustments did help his handling. He was seventh off pit road and lined up eighth for the lap-223 restart.

● The HighPoint.com/Thorlabs Ford Mustang was running seventh on lap 228 when Briscoe drifted up the track and made contact with the outside wall in turn four. He reported that he had no brakes. After pitting for the team to assess damage, it was determined the No. 14 could not continue due to a loss of brakes.

 

Notes:

● Briscoe finished third in Stage 2 to earn eight bonus points.

● Briscoe led once for five laps.

● Kyle Larson won the inaugural Ally 400 to score his 10th career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his fourth of the season and his third straight. His margin over second-place Ross Chastain was 4.335 seconds.

● There were 11 caution periods for a total of 60 laps.

● Twenty of the 39 drivers in the Ally 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Denny Hamlin remains the championship leader after Nashville with a nine-point advantage over second-place Larson.

 

Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 HighPoint.com/Thorlabs Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“We just lost the brakes getting into turn three. It’s super unfortunate for our HighPoint.com/Thorlabs team. We had a really, really good car, and I feel like we were going to be right there for a top-five at the end. We just needed a long run, but even on the short run we made our car so much better, so I really hate it, because that was going to be our best run of the year for sure and something like that happens. It’s really wild to see all the brake issues we’ve had today. We were able to do the Goodyear test a few months ago and knew that brakes were going to be way worse than everybody else thought. So we beefed them up and it still wasn’t good enough, so it’s unfortunate. We’ll go on to Pocono and try to have a good run for HighPoint.com at their home track.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a doubleheader June 26-27 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The first race starts at 3 p.m. EDT on Saturday, and the second race begins at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Both races will be broadcast live on NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

 

TSC PR

In an already historic weekend of racing, Kyle Busch added another layer to Nashville Superspeedway's lore and to his growing legend within motorsports.

Busch won his 100th career NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday, taking the "Tennessee Lottery 250" at the 1.33-mile concrete track.

It is Busch's second career Xfinity Series victory at Nashville and fifth overall at the track, along with two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins and one ARCA Menards Series triumph.

Busch, driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, survived a series of restarts in the race's final stretch and finally powered past Justin Allgaier in a green-white-checkered overtime finish.

Busch is 51 wins ahead of second-place Mark Martin (49 victories) on the Xfinity Series' all-time victory list.

"I remember growing up as a kid and watching Mark Martin win every week," said Busch, who led 122 of the race’s 189 laps. "It's just been phenomenal years to have be associated with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota."

Allgaier, who led 11 laps in the race’s final stage, held on for second, 1.110 seconds behind Busch at the finish line. Harrison Burton finished third, Hendersonville, Tenn., native Josh Berry was fourth and A.J. Allmendinger placed fifth.

Allgaier looked to play spoiler to Busch’s party several times in the race’s final stretch, as multiple restarts had Busch and Allgaier battling at the front of the field and even exchanging a bump or two.

“I felt like we put ourselves in a good position,” Allgaier said. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the push I needed to [at the end].”

Busch completed the slightly extra distance of 251.37 miles in 2 hours, 20 minutes, 48 seconds, averaging 107.118 mph. Eight caution flags took up 46 of the race’s 189 laps.

“It was way racier than I remember Nashville being,” Busch said. “At the end, I knew if we could clear those guys and I could hit my marks I could pull away.”  

Xfinity Series points leader Austin Cindric won the first stage and led 53 laps overall but ended up 32nd after a multi-car crash along the frontstretch.

“I thought I was clear and got checked into the grass and a pretty hard hit,” Cindric said. “Winning the first stage was great. Just not our day.”

Among other notables, Noah Gragson placed eighth, NASCAR Cup Series regular Tyler Reddick finished 15th, and Natalie Decker finished 26th.

Nashville Superspeedway’s NASCAR tripleheader weekend concludes on Sunday with the inaugural, sold out “Ally 400” NASCAR Cup Series race (2:30 p.m., NBCSN).

Dover Motorsports PR

In yet another nerve-fraying finish, Alex Palou passed Josef Newgarden with two laps remaining Sunday to win the REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR at Road America and regained the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship lead.

Palou drove his No. 10 NTT DATA Honda to a 1.9106-second victory over the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda of Colton Herta. 2014 series champion Will Power finished third in the No. 12 Verizon 5G Team Penske Chevrolet. Palou, who led five of the 55 laps after starting fifth, averaged 119.424 mph in a race slowed by four full-course caution periods.

“It always feels awesome even if it's your lucky day or just because you have really good pace,” Palou said. “We've been close. Indy road course, Detroit, Indy 500, and today I was like, ‘Oh, no, we need to get that win.’ A win is a win. It's always the best thing.”

Palou took a 28-point lead over Pato O’Ward in the series standings with his second victory of the season, as he also won the season opener on April 18 at Barber Motorsports Park. O’Ward, who led Palou by one point as the series leader entering this race, finished ninth in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

Spanish driver Palou became the first Chip Ganassi Racing driver other than six-time series champion Scott Dixon to earn at least two victories in a season since Dario Franchitti in 2011. Palou also kept Chip Ganassi Racing spotless at Road America over the last two seasons, as Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist swept the doubleheader here last summer for the team.

While Power returned to the podium for the first time since finishing second in the season opener at Barber, this was the second straight heartbreaking result for his Team Penske teammate Newgarden.

NTT P1 Award winner Newgarden led a race-high 32 laps in the No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet and looked to be poised for his and Team Penske’s first victory of the season on a restart at the end of Lap 53. But Newgarden’s car suffered a mechanical problem when the green flag flew, and Palou blew past him on the outside before Turn 1 on Lap 54 for a lead he wouldn’t surrender.

Meanwhile, Newgarden limped the final two trips around the 14-turn, 4.014-mile circuit with his compromised car and ended up a disappointing 21st as the last car on the lead lap.

It was the second straight Sunday of despair for Newgarden, who was passed by O’Ward for the lead with three laps remaining in Race 2 of the Chevrolet Dual at Detroit and ended up finishing second at Belle Isle after leading 67 of 70 laps.

“Down the front straightaway, as soon as I got to fifth gear, I tried to shift to sixth, and it didn’t take the selection, so I was stuck in fifth,” Newgarden said. “I was trying to get it up to sixth gear, and it wouldn’t go. Then I got stuck in fifth in Turn 1. I finally got it to go down, and I just could not get it to upshift after that. I got it to first, essentially, and tried to stay out of the way.

“I’m not sure what happened. Disappointing for all of us. I knew we had a great car all day.”

Team Penske also lost a possible victory in Race 1 last Saturday at Detroit when Power’s leading car wouldn’t refire on pit road after a red flag period late in the race.

“I don’t know what the luck (is) with our team right now, but with Josef to have a gearbox issue on the last bloody lap, almost the race won, like we were in Detroit, it’s just heartbreaking,” Power said. “I couldn’t believe it when he was pulling off to the side.”

Tire wear was a hot topic through practice and qualifying Friday and Saturday, so pole sitter Newgarden and the other top seven drivers on the starting grid elected to begin the race with grippier but less durable Firestone alternate “red” tires and switch to the more durable Firestone primary “black” tires during their final two stops.

Newgarden was hurt by his tire choice at the end of Race 2 last Sunday, as he was on worn-out alternate tires at the end of the race and was a sitting duck for O’Ward and his primary tires in the last three laps. That mistake wasn’t repeated today, and it was the right call.

Two-time series champion Newgarden, Palou, Herta and Power all were on the strategy of starting with alternate tires and switching to primaries after their first pit stop, biding their time for a final race for the checkered at the end after other drivers on different strategies cycled through their final stops.

Newgarden was running second, about seventh-tenths of a second ahead of third-place Palou, when leader Oliver Askew – on a different fuel strategy – pitted from the lead in the No. 21 Direct Supply Chevrolet on Lap 51.

But Newgarden’s gap to Palou was erased on the same lap when Ed Jones spun in Canada Corner after the left rear tire on his No. 18 SealMaster Honda appeared to deflate. That triggered the last full-course caution, setting up the final restart duel between Newgarden and Palou that never materialized due to Newgarden’s technical problem.

There were seven different leaders and 11 lead changes, mainly due to daring fuel strategies from teams lacking the pace of the frontrunners. But the dramatic finish was the culmination of a no-holds-barred race that featured ferocious battles for position throughout the field, with cars hip-checking each other and kicking up plumes of dirt off course during the duels.

The next event is the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, July 4 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course near Columbus, Ohio. Live coverage starts at noon (ET) on NBC and the INDYCAR Radio Network.

NTT IndyCar Series PR

Week 3 of the Bowman Gray Stadium schedule was Father's Day weekend, and Jason Myers paid tribute to his father after winning the Kevin Powell Motorsports 100 in the Brad's Golf Cars Modified Series.

Myers didn't have the lead until the final five laps, but he was able to overtake Lee Jeffreys, who led most of the 100-lap race. It was Myers' 34th win, tying him for 10th all-time with Billy Hensley - and his first victory since Aug. 4, 2018. Following the race, he praised his father, Gary, who won 38 races as a Modified driver at Bowman Gray.

"You ask me again when I get that big 38 that my old man has," Jason Myers said. "I told you what, if I could win one race it be on Father's Day weekend because this man (Gary Myers) right here is what makes it happen."

Myers started fifth and Lee Jeffreys started first to the inside of Daniel Beeson. Jeffreys had the stronger car for much of the night, but Jason Myers slipped past Jeffreys on the outside with five laps left.

"The whole race was tough," Jason Myers said. "Every one of these restart, that's where you win or lose these, races. If it hadn't have been for double-file restarts I never would've been able to get around Lee.

"We both had good race cars, and we were pretty even. And you just keep going around the outside hoping the man makes a mistake or spins his tires."

Jeffreys was in a similar situation as Jason Myers. Jeffreys hadn't won since July 27, 2019.

"I got beat on the restart," Jeffreys said. "Jason had a good car, and I knew he was good on the outside - but I wasn't about to go to the outside and let him have the inside. Hey, I got beat, but the old car is pretty good, though."

Each Modified driver qualified for the race, but there was a full-field draw, which occurs on 100-lap races. Also, the top four qualifiers -- Tim Brown, John Holleman IV, Jonathan Brown, and Burt Myers, Jason's brother, had the option of taking the Fans' Challenge, which meant they could go to the back of the field in hopes of climbing into the top four for all or part of $3,000. Holleman was the only driver of the four who chose to accept the Challenge and start in the rear. It paid off, and he came from 16th to finish third to win all of the $3,000.

Danny Bohn finished fourth.

"Our thinking was, we had the draw anyway, so if there was a chance we were going to start at the rear you might as well get paid to do it," Holleman said. "Man, we took the right place on the restarts every time. We kept going to the outside. I think I started on the inside once the whole race. We just kept fighting."

But it was a night for Jason Myers and the Myers family.

"(Jeffreys) had the preferred line," Myers said. "So the only way to pass the man in the preferred line is to get the edge on him. And I kept trying. I tried to get around him one time, but they threw the (caution) flag. You know, you do all you can to beat a guy clean. We ran three laps for the lead and never touched each other. There's only about three people over here I can race like that with."

Jeffreys agreed with what Jason Myers said.

"Everybody knows me," Jeffreys said. "I race everybody clean. I'm probably one of the cleanest over here... Me and Jason's raced over here for years, and we always run clean."

Just getting a win after nearly three years felt good for Jason Myers.

"I've spent a couple years without winning a race, but I've been real close several times," he said. "And I had a good enough car to win, but at Bowman Gray Stadium you've got to be more than fast. You've got to be lucky. You've got to put yourself in the situation to win."

In the first 20-lap McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman Series race, Jacob Creed won after starting on the pole. Creed fended off Michael Adams, who finished runner-up.

"I told my wife this morning, 'I haven’t ever won at Bowman Gray on Father's Day weekend,'" Creed said. "A win for my old man (David Creed) is pretty cool tonight."

Tommy Neal won the second 20-lap McDowell Heating & Air Sportsman race, which was his 50th career win. It's also Neal's second this season after winning on June 5, which was opening weekend.

"It was a big win," Neal said. He defeated Justin Taylor for second, Amber Lynn for third and Kyle Southern for fourth.

In the 20-lap Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series race, Brian Wall sat on the pole and dominated en route to a win.

There was a caution on lap 14 after Chris Allison spun out on turn 2, but Wall jumped out after the restart and held off Gerald Robinson, Jr. for the win. Taylor Robbins was third and Christian Joyce was fourth.

"Eleven years to the date we won our very first race over here," Wall said.

Justin Owens won his first career race after winning the first 15-lap Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series. Owens held off Shawn Hayes for second, Blaine Curry for third, and Brandon Crotts for fourth. "It's huge," Owens said. "It's the closest we've come to winning and got it done. Thanks to Shawn for driving me clean."

Brandon Brendle keeps on with his winning ways this season at Bowman Gray. Brendle won the second 15-lap Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series race after holding off runner-up Chuck Wall. It's Brendle's second win of the season and 17th of his career. "We've got a fast race car," Brendle said. "I spend more time on this thing than I do my own job."

Saturday's fourth week of the season is highlighted by the Great Clips Sportsman 100, which is presented by REAL ROCK 105.7. There will also be twin 25-lap races in the Brad's Golf Cars Modfied Series, a 20-lap Law Offices of John Barrow Street Stock Series race, and twin 15-lap races in the Q104.1 Stadium Stock Series. It's the final week before the annual week off for Fourth of July weekend, and all races will have double points. There will also be a Midway Mobile Storage Skid Race, as well as a Fire in the Sky Nightime Pyrotechnic Parachute jump.

BGS Racing PR

Page 1 of 4431