Friday, Mar 31
Kaleb Vestal

Kaleb Vestal

Ben Rhodes wins the 2021 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series title after a battle with Zane Smith in the final laps. Chandler Smith who drives the 18 Safelite Toyota Tundra won the race despite not being in the playoffs. Zane Smith finished 2nd in the playoffs and was moved out of the way by Rhodes coming out of turn 4 with just a handful of laps to go. John Hunter Nemecheck and his number 4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety  Toyota got damaged on the first lap causing him to be down several laps. But on Lap 102, the caution came out and Nemecheck was able to get back on the lead lap and wound up finishing 7th in the race and finsihed 3rd in the standings. Matt Crafton didn’t have the night he needed. Not necessarily a contender for the lead the whole race although he finished his number 88 Ideal Doors / Menards Toyota in the 12th place finish and 4th out of 4 in the final standings. The race had 4 cautions for 25 laps. It had 12 lead changes with 3 different leaders. The race lasted 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 34 second and had an average speed of 136.576 mph.  


Here are the top 12 finishers of the 2021 Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway


1: Chandler Smith #18 Safelite Auto Glass Toyota Tundra

2: Stewart Freisen #52 Halmar International Toyota Tundra

3: Ben Rhodes #99 Bombardier Lear Jet 75 Toyota Tundra (Playoff)

4: Sheldon Creed #2 Chevrolet Silverado 

5: Zane Smith #21 MRC Construction Chevrolet Silverado ( Playoff) 

6: Christian Eckes #98 Curb Records Toyota Tundra

7: John Hunter Nemecheck #4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Tundra (Playoff) 

8: Todd Gilliland #38 Frontline Enterprises Ford F-150

9: Carson Hocevar #42 Premier Security / GM Parts Now Chevrolet Silverado

10: Austin Hill #16 United Rentals Toyota Tundra

11: Johnny Sauter #13 Tenda Toyota Tundra

12: Matt Crafton #88 Ideal Doors/ Menards Toyota Tundra (Playoff) 


Here are the championship 4 final standings for 2021

1: Ben Rhodes #99 Bombardier Lear Jet 75 Toyota Tundra

2: Zane Smith #21 MRC Construction Chevrolet Silverado

3: John Hunter Nemecheck #4 Pye-Barker Fire & Safety Toyota Tundra

4: Matt Crafton #88 Ideal Doors/ Menards Toyota Tundra

Here is the interview with Chad Finchuum after being sent back to the garage due to handling issues as well as not making minimum speed. 


Me: Kaleb Vestal with Speedway Digest i’m with Chad Finchum, driver of the 66 Toyota Camry.  Out of the race early today Chad what happened out there?


Chad: Well you know we had a good early start there and we were driving good and all of a sudden man we just started picking up an issue. We came down pit road a couple of times to address the problem but couldn’t really find out what it was. We unfortunately were not making minimum speed according to NASCAR so we came back in the garage and looked at the car. It's unfortunate but it's been a roller coaster of a year for me as I've only been part time this year. I was excited to come back to Kansas Speedway, a place where I initially set my best finish in the Xfinity series a couple of years ago. I love this place and love the atmosphere around here and it's an honor to drive a cup car but the mechanical gremlins got the best of us. 


Me: Will we see you at Martinsville next week? 


Chad: No plans as of yet even though I really want to be but nothing as of yet. 


Me Thank you Chad appreciate the time. 

Kyle Larson, driver of the number 5 Chevrolet scored his 9th victory of 2021 at Kansas Speedway. Larson led 130 out of 267 laps, but it didn’t look like his normal dominance from the past. Non playoff drivers like Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kurt Busch, Tyler Reddick, and Matt DiBenedetto all combined to lead 71 of the 267 laps. Byron, the strongest non playoff driver, looked like he was in contention for his 2nd win of the year but unfortunately lost out to his 2 playoff contention teammates Larson and Elliott.  A total of 7 cautions for 33 laps happened today at Kansas and the race was 3 hours 3 minutes and 49 seconds long. Average speed was 130.728 mph and margin of victory was 3.619 seconds. Only 4 cars failed to finish the race. Chad Finchum finished 40th due to handling issues, Justin Haley finished 39th due to engine troubles, and both Anthony Alfredo and Ryan Blaney (37th and 36th respectively) both out due to a crash. 


Here are the top 10 of today's race at the Kansas Speedway


1st: Kyle Larson #5 Chevy Camaro

2nd: Chase Elliott #9 Chevy Camaro

3rd: Kevin Harvick #4 Ford Mustang

4th: Kurt Busch #1 Chevy Camaro

5th: Denny Hamlin #11 Toyota Camry

6th: William Byron #24 Chevy Camaro 

7th: Martin Truex Jr #19 Toyota Camry

8th: Christopher Bell #20 Toyota Camry

9th: Joey Logano #22 Ford Mustang

10th: Austin Dillon #3 Chevy Camaro


Next week will be at Martinsville and will be the final race in the Round of 8. Coverage will be on NBC and MRN Radio.

Kyle Larson, driver of the number 5 Chevy Camaro, won the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Larson led a total of 256 out of 334 laps and was one of 8 different leaders. The race had 11 cautions and took about 3 hours, 42 minutes, and 54 seconds to complete. Here are your top 10 finishers from Texas. 


#1: Kyle Larson


#2: William Byron


#3: Christopher Bell


#4: Brad Keselowski


#5: Kevin Harvick


#6: Ryan Blaney


#7: Chase Elliott


#8: Kyle Busch


#9: Tyler Reddick


#10: Daniel Suarez


Only 3 out of the 8 playoff drivers did not finish in the top 10: Denny Hamlin finished 11th ( had 2 spins in the race), Martin Truex Jr finished 25th

( hit the outside wall in turn 4 after contact with Daniel Suarez on lap 321), and Joey Logano finished 30th ( blown engine on lap 298). Here are the playoff standings headed into Kansas Speedway. 


#1: Kyle Larson  ( Advanced into Round of 4) 


#2: Ryan Blaney + 17


#3: Denny Hamlin + 9


#4: Kyle Busch + 8 


#5: Chase Elliott - 8


#6: Brad Keselowki - 22


#7: Martin Truex Jr - 22


#8: Joey Logano - 43


Next week the NASCAR Cup Series takes on Kansas Speedway on Sunday October 24th on NBCSN and MRN Radio. 


After last weekend's trip to Talladega, 2 out of its 3 races were affected by both darkness and rain on the racetrack. That made all of us race fans ponder the question, “ Why don’t they put lights around the track?”. Well let's dive in on this topic and see what we can figure out.


Excluding road courses, there are only 5 race tracks on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule that do not have lights: Talladega, Pocono, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Dover. Dover can not install lights due to an Air Force base located near the racetrack and New Hampshire isn’t allowed due to local government rules. The only one that is currently in the Playoffs is Talladega Superspeedway. With the report that NASCAR is wanting to shuffle the Playoffs in future seasons, I think we can all say that Talladega won't be leaving the playoffs anytime soon. And why should it? It is definitely a ticket seller with its chaotic style of racing. But 2 races out of 3 years have been pushed to Monday afternoon due to inclement weather. So is it time to add in lights? 


To me, yes, I think it's time we have lights put up at the 2.667 mile racetrack in Central Alabama. 

It's a crying shame that Talladega has to suffer if weather is in the area or if darkness is looming in. Now let's clear this up, I do not want Talladega to schedule a night race. If you've been following NASCAR since the mid 2000’s, you know that back then nearly one third of the schedule was run on a Saturday night. I wouldn’t want to take a good Sunday afternoon race from Talladega, however I would much rather run it late into Sunday night rather than half of the fans in NASCAR missing out due to work, school, and other commitments. 


I’ve heard contrasting opinions about the nightlife in Talladega and how it would be lost. Well let's say you were in the infield with a camper or RV. Would you rather lose one night of partying or have to leave on race day Monday morning because you can not take off work? Racetracks need to think about the fans' visit and prioritize on not letting the casual race fan walk out the gates. If they have spent all of their hard earned money on your sporting event and you have to tell them that they have to come back the next day, they may never come back. So yes, Talladega needs to do this. And I hope all other race tracks that can install a lighting system, will. 

Josh Berry, driver of the number 1 Pilot Chevrolet, won the ALSCO Uniforms 302 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Berry was filling in for Michael Annett who suffered a fractured leg in July. Berry and teammates Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson finished 1-2-3 making it the first time JR Motorsports finished all in the top 3. Here are the results of the top 10 from last night. 


1: Josh Berry

2: Justin Allgaier

3: Noah Gragson

4: Austin Cindric

5: Daniel Hemric

6: Brandon Jones

7: A.J. Allmendinger

8: Ty Dillon 

9: Justin Haley

10: Harrison Burton


The race had a total of 6 caution flags with 2 being the end of the stage. Justin Allgaier led the most laps with 90 and it took 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 28 seconds to complete the race. 


Sparks flew and tempers heated Saturday night as the Bass Pro Shops NRA 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kurt Busch, Michael McDowell, Tyler Reddick, and Aric Almirola were the four drivers that were eliminated from the 2021 Playoffs.

While McDowell was a non-factor all night, Busch, Almirola, and Reddick looked to spoil the playoff grid by potentially knocking out Byron, Bowman, and Kurts younger brother Kyle Busch. But the better cars will prevail and especially at a track like Bristol Motor Speedway, the slower cars will be left in the dust. 


We did have some heated drivers. Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick both had some vulgar words to say to each other after an incident where Harvick got into Elliott, cutting his right front tire down. Elliott, not happy with Harvick, held him up and allowed Hendrick teammate Kyle Larson to pass Harvick and ultimately score his 6th win of the season. Both drivers pulled on pit road and had a conversion that involved finger pointing and pushing. But at the end the drivers both agreed to have a conversation in Elliotts hauler where the media wouldn’t be able to see. 

Larson goes into the round of 12 as the playoff leader as they head to Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week on September 26th. 


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