Wednesday, Jul 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Stafford Speedway welcomed the Superstar Racing Experience back for another visit to the Connecticut half-mile facility that was shown live on CBS.  Ryan Newman took the lead from Marco Andretti with 5 laps to go in the 75-lap feature event and went on to take down the checkered flag.

Marco Andretti and Paul Tracy led the field to the green flag with Andretti taking the early lead.  Greg Biffle quickly overtook Tracy for second place with Tony Stewart in fourth and Michael Waltrip in fifth place.  Stewart took over third place from Tracy on lap-9 as Andretti continued to show the way out front but Biffle was closing in on his back bumper after Andretti had stretched out his lead in the early laps.

Andretti, Stewart, and Biffle nearly went 3-wide for the lead on lap-12 with Andretti maintaining the lead.  Stewart made his move to the inside of Andretti to take over the lead o nlap-17 but Andretti came right back to the outside of Stewart and they raced door to door for the lead.  Andretti got clear of Stewart on lap-22 after 4 laps of side by side action with Biffle, Tracy, and Waltrip making up the top-5.  Biffle went back by Stewart on lap-23 to move back into second place while Andretti continued to lead the race.  The caution flew with 33 laps complete with Andretti still leading Stewart, Biffle, Waltrip, and Tracy.

Stewart and Andretti went wheel to wheel for the lead back under green on lap-40 with Biffle third, Tracy fourth, and Hunter-Reay fifth.  Biffle nearly went 3-wide with Andretti and Stewart on lap-43 but backed out of the move as Andretti and Stewart were still door to door for the lead.  The caution came back out on lap-44 for damage to Michael Waltrip’s car.

Stewart took the lead on the lap-51 restart while Biffle took a trip through the backstretch grass but saved the car and the race stayed green with Biffle sliding to the rear of the field.  Andretti was second behind Stewart with Ryan Newman up to third, Tracy fourth, and Bobby Labonte fifth.  Andretti was applying all kinds of pressure to Stewart for the lead but was unable to make a pass.  Andretti was finally abel to take the lead from Stewart by a nose at the line on lap-63.

Andretti took the lead on the lap-66 restart with Newman moving up to second as Stewart slid back to third.  Tracy was fourth and Bobby Labonte was fifth, just in front of Hailie Deegan.  Stewart fell back to fourth on lap-68 as Tracy moved up to third place.  Newman dove to the inside of Andretti on lap-70 to move into the lead with 5 laps to go. Newman led the final 5 laps to take the victory.  Andretti finished second with Tracy, Stewart and Labonte rounding out the top-5.

For more information contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at (860) 684-2783, or visit us on the web at

Stafford Speedway PR

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing today announced Charles Denike as the new chief for Derek Kraus and the No. 19 NAPA AutoCare Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Denike, who has two series wins on his resume, joins the team after serving for three seasons as a crew chief with GMS Racing, which developed an alliance with MHR at the beginning of this year.

“We’re excited to have Charles join our team,” said MHR co-owner Bill McAnally. “We’re confident that he will strengthen our overall team as we move ahead and help us take full advantage of the opportunities we have available through our alliance with GMS Racing.”

Denike worked with Grant Enfinger this season, Tyler Ankrum in 2021 and multiple drivers in 2020. He went to Victory Lane with Chase Elliott driving for GMS Racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2020 and with Sam Mayer behind the wheel of a GMS Racing Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway that same year.

Denike served as an engineer for nearly 10 years in the U.S. Army, before pursuing his career in racing. Prior to his time with GMS Racing, he served as a crew chief with a variety of drivers in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East between 2012 and 2016. He also was the crew chief for two events on Maury Gallagher’s NASCAR Xfinity Series team in 2017.

“I am excited to join MHR and to work with Derek Kraus on the 19 team,” Denike said. “Derek is highly talented and we are looking forward to our first race together at Mid-Ohio. Over the next two races we will push hard to make the playoffs. MHR has built a great team with a strong foundation and I am thankful for the opportunity to help continue to advance their program.”

Kraus is currently 11th in the championship standings, just 29 points below the cutoff line for the playoffs. He and his MHR team are working hard to close that gap in the final two regular season events – at Mid-Ohio on July 9 and Pocono Raceway on July 23.

Bill McAnally partnered with Bill and Mona Hilgemann in forming McAnally-Hilgemann Racing at the beginning of 2020. The team formed an alliance at the beginning of this season with GMS Racing and operates out of a 57,000-square-foot shop that is part of the GMS Racing operation in Statesville, North Carolina.


Race Winner: Ty Gibbs of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Larson of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

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



Riley Herbst and his No. 98 Henry Repeating Arms Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) overcame a midrace pit road penalty to finish seventh in Saturday’s Henry 180 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Herbst started third for the scheduled 45-lap race after a strong qualifying run Friday. He ran solidly in the top-five for all 10 laps of the first stage to finish fourth and earn seven valuable bonus points. Alternate pit strategy brought Herbst to the pits during the break and he restarted 18th for the second stage, but he made quick work of his race up through the field from there. Herbst was seventh by the end of Stage 2. On the No. 98 team’s second-to-last pit stop of the day, it was handed a penalty for a safety violation and Herbst was forced to restart at the rear of the field on lap 29. Herbst patiently and methodically worked his way up through the field once again and was sitting in the top-10 for NASCAR overtime. He rallied to bring home his 10th top-10 finish of the 2022 season.


Riley Herbst, driver of the No. 98 Henry Repeating Arms Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:   

“I mean, that wasn’t the day we wanted. We had a great weekend by qualifying third and ran well for most of the race. The racecar was a little loose, but I was able to score stage points and finish seventh. We made mistakes, but we’ll learn from them and get better. On to Atlanta.”



● Herbst earned his 10th top-10 of the season and his second top-10 in three career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Road America.

● This was Herbst’s second consecutive top-10. He finished third last Saturday at Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway.

● Herbst’s seventh-place finish equaled his best finish at Road America – seventh, earned last July.

● Herbst finished fourth in Stage 1 to collect seven bonus points, and seventh in Stage 2 to earn an additional four bonus points.

● Ty Gibbs won the Henry 180 to score his eighth career Xfinity Series victory, his fourth of the season and his first at Road America. His margin over second-place Kyle Larson was .858 of a second.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 12 laps.

● Twenty-two of the 38 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

● AJ Allmendinger remains the championship leader after Road America with a nine-point advantage over second-place Gibbs.


Next Up:          

The next event on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule is the Alsco Uniforms 250 on July 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The race starts at 5 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by USA and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.  



Sheldon Creed and the No. 2 Whelen Chevrolet

Team Zapped by Mechanical Issues After Strong Run at Road America





“Our Whelen Chevrolet showed a lot of speed this weekend at Road America. We qualified well and finished second in Stage 2. Crew Chief Jeff(Stankiewicz made great calls in the pits to keep us up front and we made good adjustments throughout the race. Unfortunately, I got boxed in when we were leaving the pits in the final stage and we lost track position. I think we were going to end up with a top-10 but we had a problem with just a few laps left. There was a lot of smoke coming from our Chevy - not sure of the exact diagnosis but we will evaluate it this week in the shop. Certainly not the finish we wanted but we’ll rebound strong next weekend in Atlanta.” 


-Sheldon Creed

Austin Hill and the No. 21 Bennett Transportation

& Logistics Chevrolet Team Earn Strong Top-Five Finish at Road America





“I’m proud of our Bennett Transportation & Logistics Chevrolet team today at Road America. This is one of those places where it’s important to settle in and be there at the end because half the time you’re just racing the track. We battled some major handling issues and really struggled with our rear lateral. Our Chevy just didn’t like the curbs at all. The best laps we made where when we tried to stay completely off the curbs and didn’t touch them. We made some major adjustments and thought we could run in the top 10. We found ourselves inside the top five and it almost feels like a win with how the day started. It was a great rebound and I’m proud of the entire team.”


-Austin Hill


Ty Gibbs earned his series-leading fourth win of the season with an impressive and clean last lap pass on the reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Larson in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America on Saturday evening. Gibbs was joined in the top-five by his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones (fifth).


Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Road America

Race 16 of 33 – 182.16 miles, 45 laps





2nd, Kyle Larson*

3rd, Josh Berry*

4th, Austin Hill*





*non-Toyota driver



TY GIBBS, No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota GR Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 1st

Can you walk me through the battle and the pass?

“First off all, all glory to God. My team is awesome. We have the best people. Thank you to my team. My pit crew did awesome – fantastic job today. Thank you to Monster Energy for being on our Supra, Interstate Batteries too. I had a fun times racing there, but I’m glad to take home a win. This is a cool place to win.”


What was going through your mind on the last lap?

“It’s part of it. We have to put on a good show for the fans – that’s what we are doing here. It was a great race with Kyle (Larson), so happy to be here with the win.”


How did you beat a Cup Series champion in a head-to-head battle?

“I don’t know. I just want to say all glory to Jesus Christ. Thank you to my team, Monster Energy. I had a fun time racing with Kyle (Larson). I thought it was going to get a little rough there, but he’s such a great competitor and a great person. We played golf the other day – I want to tell him thanks for the golf lessons. I still suck. This is awesome. I can’t believe it. It’s wonderful.”


How did you make that pass?

“I felt like we were a little bit faster in the first half of the track. The last two sectors, I felt like we were not as fast. I feel like right now I need to earn respect back and that’s what I’m doing. I feel like I’ve got my lessons – just got to learn and not make mistakes. I made plenty off them today, I could have lost the race on that one restart, so thankful to get this one back, but I still have to work on the restarts – the first initial and the next-to-last.”


Your crew chief put you in the right mindset going into that last restart. What did that mean?

“It’s awesome. I just stayed the same the whole time. Hopefully a lot of people were watching. It’s cool to be here, cool to race the Cup Series guys. Hopefully that says something. Thankful for where I’m at.”


For the ninth different time in nine races to start the 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season, a different driver will lead the field to green on Sunday.

This time, it will be Pato O’Ward, who won the NTT P1 Award for pole Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His best lap of 1 minute, 6.7054 seconds in the No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet capped an eventful qualifying session on the picturesque permanent road course.

CLICK IT: Official Qualifying Results

O’Ward’s fast lap on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course marked his fifth career NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole. What’s more, by becoming the ninth different pole winner to start the season, he matched a number from 1961, when there were also nine different pole winners to start the year. The record for most different pole winners to start a season is 10 set in 1952.

O’Ward will see the green flag first for Sunday’s The Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio Presented by the All-New 2023 Civic Type R (12:30 p.m. ET, live on NBC, Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network).

“It was a good session for us,” O’Ward said. “I couldn’t get the lap together in the first two sections, but I got it done the third time. The car’s been great. We didn’t roll off the truck the best, but we made some changes overnight, and we got her in the window.”

Lining up alongside O’Ward will be Scott McLaughlin, who qualified second in the No. 3 Odyssey Battery Team Penske Chevrolet at 1:06.8382 for his best starting spot of the season since starting second in the second race of the year at Texas Motor Speedway.

Colton Herta will start third at 1:07.0262 in the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda, with Felix Rosenqvist fourth at 1:07.2163 in the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet, Scott Dixon fifth at 1:07.4047 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda and Simon Pagenaud rounding out the Firestone Fast Six at 1:07.4199 in the No. 60 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda.

David Malukas held serve as the fastest rookie of the day and nearly qualified for his second Firestone Fast Six, posting a best lap of 1:06.8201 in Round 2, good enough for eighth in the No. 18 HMD Honda.

Malukas led a trio of rookies qualifying in the top 10. Kyle Kirkwood qualified ninth at 1:06.9506 in the No. 14 ROKiT/AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet for his career-best qualifying effort, and Callum Ilott qualified 10th at 1:06.9534 in the No. 77 Juncos Hollinger Racing Chevrolet.

It was a challenging day for the three drivers leading the NTT INDYCAR SERIES championship.

Points leader Marcus Ericsson, who won the double-point Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge, was the best of the rest in Group 1 of Round 1 of qualifying. Ericsson put down a best lap of 1:07.1475 and will start 13th Sunday in the No. 8 Ridgeline Lubricants Honda.

Will Power is second in the standings, 27 points back of Ericsson, and he’ll be worse off on the starting grid. In Group 1 of Round 1 of qualifying, Power was swerving side-to-side to warm up his tires before a quick run. In doing so, he impeded the lap of Helio Castroneves in the No. 06 AutoNation/SiriusXM Honda. Power, who had the fastest lap of the group, was penalized for the incident and lost his two fastest qualifying laps from the session. Falling back on a best lap of 1:07.5559, Power will start 21st in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet. It marks his third consecutive start outside the top 15 and his worst-ever start at Mid-Ohio.

Meanwhile, Josef Newgarden, who is 32 points behind Ericsson in third place and has a season-high three wins this season, qualified a frustrating 14th in the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet with a best lap time of 1:07.3338.

Two-time series champion Newgarden struggled to find open track that would allow him to put down a quick lap without the impediment of slower cars, and he tied his worst qualifying effort of 2022. He also started 14th in the Indy 500.

O’Ward hopes to capitalize on a familiar trend for Mid-Ohio INDYCAR SERIES pole sitters: winning the race. Fifteen times, the INDYCAR SERIES pole winner at Mid-Ohio has gone on to win the race, including the last three Mid-Ohio pole sitters (Power, Herta and Newgarden).

O’Ward, who has one win this season at Barber Motorsports Park, feels confident he can continue that trend.

“It’s huge, man,” he said. “It’s a track position race. The best position that we’ve had here starting is like 15th, so first is definitely a lot better than that.”

NTT Indycar Series PR

Hunter McElrea’s dominant Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course continued Saturday as he scored the pole for Sunday’s Indy Lights at Mid-Ohio event.

With a best lap of 1 minute, 12.1926 seconds in the No. 27 Andretti Autosport car, the rookie scored his second pole of the season. It rounds out what has been a strong weekend for McElrea, who was fastest in both practice sessions of the weekend.

McElrea put an exclamation point on his strong qualifying session by besting his own time, which was already good enough for first place as time expired in the 20-minute qualifying session around the 13-turn, 2.258-mile road course.

CLICK IT: Official Qualifying Results

“It was good,” he said. “We were P1 almost the entire session. I started getting a little sloppy at the end. Even on my last lap, I completely blew through Turn 2, but I didn’t think that was going to be a (1:12) lap.

“I can’t tell you how fun it is when you drive a car this good around Mid-Ohio. I love this place. We’re back where we belong.”

Joining McElrea on the front row will be Indy Lights points leader Linus Lundqvist, who put down a best lap of 1:12.4218 late in the session to secure his seventh front-row start in eight races this season in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing machine.

“I’m very happy and super proud of the team,” said Lundqvist, who holds an 82-point lead over Sting Ray Robb in the championship. "We knew that this place is probably one of our weakest places, so good job. Thanks to my guys for giving me a car that could fight for the front row.”

Lundqvist’s teammate Benjamin Pedersen will start third at 1:12.4459 in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports car. St. Petersburg winner Matthew Brabham qualified fourth at 1:12.4911 in the No. 83 Andretti Autosport car, and the series’ most recent winner Christian Rasmussen starts fifth with a best lap of 1:12.5129 in the No. 28 Road to Indy/Stellrecht car for Andretti Autosport.

This weekend’s performance at Mid-Ohio for McElrea is mirroring the drive he had at the start of the season on the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. McElrea, 22, paced practice, started on the pole and led the first 11 laps of the race before a mistake put him in the wall and ended his chances for victory.

Since then, McElrea, a New Zealand driver who was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Australia, has worked on being less aggressive on track. He is currently seventh in the championship, 117 points back of leader Lundqvist.

In his young racing career, Mid-Ohio has proven to be strong for McElrea, who has five poles and two wins at this track prior to this weekend. Therefore, McElrea is confident about finally scoring that elusive first career win in Sunday’s Indy Lights at Mid-Ohio (10:35 a.m. ET, live on Peacock Premium and INDYCAR Radio Network).

“It’s pretty obvious what I’m going to plan on,” McElrea said. “We’re pretty dominant all weekend, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t keep that pace in the race.”

Expect a tight 35-lap race as the top nine drivers in qualifying were separated by just over half a second.

Indy Lights PR

Chase Elliott and the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1 team picked up right where they left off from their 2021 win at Road America. Edging out Chase Briscoe by .038 seconds, Elliott clocked-in a best-lap of 134.427 seconds, at 108.407 mph, to capture his second NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) pole win of 2022 and his 11th in 239 races in NASCAR’s premier series.


“Just appreciate everybody at Hendrick Motorsports, from the engine shop to every department that has a hand in what we do to make our NAPA Chevy what it was today,” said Elliott. “We’ll try to go to work and see if we can get it driving like it needs to for tomorrow.”


Elliott’s pole win marked the fourth for Chevrolet in 2022; and a manufacturer-leading 727th all-time in NASCAR Cup Series history. Chevrolet returns to the 4.048-mile, 14-turn Wisconsin road course circuit not only as the defending winners, but the bowtie brand heads into tomorrow’s race with an eight-race road course win streak. That feat started with today’s pole winner, Chase Elliott, and his win at Circuit of The Americas in May 2021.


The 26-year-old Georgia native led Chevrolet to three of the top-five in the starting lineup for tomorrow’s 62-lap, 250-mile race. Kyle Larson followed up a NASCAR Xfinity Series pole win with a strong run for the No. 5 Camaro ZL1, securing a third-place starting spot to mark his 12th top-10 start of 2022. Tyler Reddick rounded out the Team Chevy top-five of the starting lineup in the fourth-position in his No. 8 3CHI Camaro ZL1.


USA Network will telecast the NASCAR Cup Series Kwik Trip 250 presented by JOCKEY Made in America live at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 3. Live coverage can also be found on the NBCSports Gold App, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.


CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1 – Press Conference Transcript:





“It was the exact opposite for us last year. I think we started last, so hopefully the results are good tomorrow like they were last season. Definitely a different vibe to the weekend. I think our car is going to need some different things to be successful tomorrow. I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be to be successful as we sit, so want to make sure we do our homework. Looking forward to getting out of here, getting across the street and start dissecting the direction we think we want to go to be solid all race long tomorrow.


Appreciate our team and everybody for sticking with it. NAPA, getting them the pole is always important. Getting that first pit box is always good. It’s not as important at a road course, but certainly nice to have nonetheless. I wasn’t expecting the pole.. we barely made the second round. I felt like it was just good to get through that second round. I thought that was going to be kind of a tall order there with the cars that went back out to re-run. It’s nice to get through.


We’ll go to work tomorrow and see what we have.”



“I knew I had missed a couple here and there. But at least for me and how slow my brain works; I have to kind of take it one at a time. As I got back around there, I thought I had a pretty good exit from the carousel and a pretty decent quick right through the kink there. But I didn’t think my lap was good enough for the pole. I didn’t think it was a whole lot different than the lap I had run in the prior session. I felt like if we could just repeat that lap, that would be a solid starting spot considering we had a chance of not making the second round. Just wanted to put a solid lap together – try to minimize my mistakes, push in a couple different areas that I felt like I didn’t do a good job in the first session and try to maintain. Fortunately, it went a little better so I was surprised by that.”



“There’s not.. not really at all. These races are very long. Typically the cars that are superior find their way to the front regardless of where they start. It’s nice to get a pole. You want them as much as you can, but I would much rather be good on Sunday than Saturday.”



“I feel like we’ve had a good package on the road course stuff, more so on the old car than this car. I still feel like we’re learning. Like I said, I don’t think we’re as good as we need to be for tomorrow in a race situation as we sit. So we want to make sure we make the right decisions overnight to try and go in that direction.”



“A lot of the places that we’ve gone this year with narrow braking zones and narrow corner entries have just made it that way. Like Martinsville was that way and Gateway was that way – just kind of those narrow, flatter corner entry places where it’s kind of hard to get fresh air. It seems like the inboard side of the car, we’re used to where you could get a headlight out on someone, say through whatever turn. If you could just get that inboard headlight, you had a little sniff of fresh air and it would benefit you. Now, it’s like the inboard side of the car isn’t as effective in clean air as it used to be. You used to have to be further out to get some cleaner air on the nose. There’s just no further out to go.. you’re not going to get that big of a gap. So we’re going to have to really be smart tomorrow about how we play our strategy and how I drive the car to make sure we’re good throughout an entire stint. It’s all good.. it’s not necessarily a problem. I’m just saying that’s what it feels like to me. Somebody else might give you a different answer.”



“I told a lot of people this, but I was super nervous leaving Daytona for our July 4th race. For NASCAR, that’s been a tradition that’s been in place for many years. That was a race that I grew up going to as a kid, so I had a little bit of an emotional tie to that one. I just always thought it was a lot of fun. It was a great environment and it was fun to be at the beach.


Man, we came up last year and I was blown away, I really was. The people are nice and it’s a beautiful area. The people are outside and enjoying the race track. I feel like it couldn’t have received us better for trying to start a new tradition somewhere. I don’t know how long NASCAR is planning on coming here on this weekend, but I feel like it’s been a really nice fit for us. The people around here have accepted us really with open arms and have brought a lot of energy. Like I always say - anytime you bring energy to a race track, it’s more fun for everybody involved; and the fans are a direct piece to that.”



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