Ky. Busch Wins From Pole At Kentucky
SPARTA, Ky-- From starting from the pole, Kyle Busch was victorious in the Alsco 300 from Kentucky Speedway.
“It’s nice to get to victory lane anytime you can. It’s been a heck of the year on the bad end for us. It’s nice to have this as a turn around. The Camry’s have been fast all year long. It’s fun to have the opportunity to run in this series, I enjoy it,” said Kyle Busch in victory lane.
This is the second win in a row at Kentucky Speedway in the July race. This is his 88th career win and 35th win from the pole.
After an outside tire violation on the final pit stop, Ryan Blaney was able to pass Erik Jones in the closing laps to finish in the second position,
“I didn’t really have a lot of fun but it was nice to have a good race car that we could pick our way through the field. We got it really good at the end. We were good all day. I thought we were the best car all day, personally. Before that last caution. I thought we were going to get by the 20 and set sail. The caution came out and we were debating on whether to pit or not, said Blaney. "It is easy to look back on it now and say that we should have stayed out and seen what happened. I thought the right call was to pit and we just had a violation. That stings. It almost stings worse running all the way up there and finishing second than if we would have finished 10th or something. Not where we wanted to be but hopefully we learned some stuff for tonight. It is fun to have this double-header. It is disappointing. I think you have to look at the positives and know we had a really fast car and that is something to build off of.”
After being passed by Blaney in the closing laps and running up front for majority of the race, E. Jones finished in the third position.
Kevin Harvick, Ty Dillon, Joey Logano, William Byron, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-10.
There were seven lead changes among four drivers. The caution flew eight times for 44 laps. The time of the race was two hours, 30 minutes, and 56 seconds. The average speedway 119.258 mph.
Next up for the Xfinity Series is a trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Overton's 200 on July 15th. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network at 4:00 p.m EDT
Busch, Others Slated To Run Double-Duty Saturday
SPARTA, Ky-- For Kyle Busch, 700 miles of racing will ensue on Saturday from Kentucky Speedway.
With the postponement of the NASCAR Xfintiy Series Also 300, Busch, Erik Jones, Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, and Ty Dillon are also slated to run in the Alsco 300.
“It’s going to be challenging and especially during the day. We weren’t anticipating a day race so that’s going to make for a crazy event, that’s for sure,” said Busch.
Because teams were unable to get practice sessions in on Thursday, teams practiced at 8:30 p.m. EDT this morning.
“We practiced early this morning and I felt like it was a really good practice session for what we needed to do at night because the track was cool and it wasn’t hot and heated up like it was later on this afternoon,” said Busch. “Qualifying was a handful, it was way different than what we had all this morning in practice so that’s going to make it a handful tomorrow. Who’s going to be the best guy to adjust all that for having a fast car and making sure their car sticks well is going to win.”
For drivers pulling double-duty, preparation for afternoon and evening conditions begin tonight.
“It’s going to be tough for sure. I’m not exactly sure how to handle it yet, but it’s certainly not the circumstances I would have liked to have been in, but we got what we got and I’ll try to prepare as best as I can tonight and get as many fluids as I can tonight and then make sure you keep drinking and keep the fluids going for tomorrow,” said Ky. Busch. “It’s just a matter of making sure you don’t get yourself too dehydrated and start to cramp up and things like that. It’s going to make for a long day for sure if it’s going to be 95 degrees and hot and sunny during the first one and it will make the second one at night a little better. Still going to be a long, long day.”
Temperatures for the Also 300 are slated to be in the mid-70s, while the Quaker State 400 temperature is slated to be in the mid-to-upper 70s.
Green flag for the Alsco 300 is schedule to fly shortly after 12:00 p.m. EDT and the green flag for the Quaker State 400 is slated for 7:45 p.m. EDT.
Kenseth Confirms 2018 Suspicions
SPARTA, Ky.— As silly season has ramped up in NASCAR, Matt Kenseth’s name has been brought up as a driver who could leave his current organization, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR).
"As of today, I do not have a job for next year," Kenseth stated Friday morning in his media availability. "I don't think I'll have the option to race at JGR next year.”
The statement from Kenseth confirmed rumors around the garage that Kenseth would be leaving JGR and racing for a different organization come 2018.
Who replaces Kenseth in the No. 20 Toyota Camry? That person could potentially be Erik Jones. When Jones was signed on at Furniture Row Racing for 2017, Joe Gibbs was adamant that the deal with Jones and Barney Visser was for one year only.
Just yesterday, Jones was unable to comment on what his plans for 2018 are:
“I’m just driving. For the most part, for me, whether – I don’t know where I’m going to be yet. They haven’t let me know. For me, I’ve been really happy at Furniture Row (Racing) and it’s been a steady group of guys over there that I think work really well together,” said Jones. “I don’t yet. Hopefully I know soon. You know it’s kind of getting down to that point. I guess it’s July now, so I’m sure we’ll have an answer here soon.”
Where will Kenseth land? How many years does Kenseth have left? The speculation is that Kenseth would be replacing Dale Earnhardt, Jr in the No. 88 at Hendrick Motorsports as a placeholder for William Byron in 2019. If Jones is leaving Furniture Row for JGR, Kenseth could potentially move to the No. 77 Toyota Camry.
When asked if it was a possibility, Kenseth stated, “I probably already said too much about what I’m not doing next year, so I don’t really have anything to talk about what I am doing at this point. At this point, I don’t have anything going on next year and am trying to get focused on running better and winning races.”
Despite the rumors and looking for a ride, Kenseth is focused on his performance in 2017.
“It’s been a slow start,” Kenseth said. “It has not been a good year at all. I just want to try to get back to victory lane and qualify for the playoffs and have a shot at the championship.
The landscape of JGR has changed over the past two years. With the vanishing of Carl Edwards, Daniel Suarez was brought up from the Xfinity Series, although most people suspected it would be Jones before Suarez at JGR.
With the comments from Kenseth, the domino about silly season is about to fall.
Drivers Have Strong Words For Tire Dragon
SPARTA, Ky.— With nearly two inches of asphalt relaid at Kentucky Speedway, the Kentucky Tire Dragon was called into action to help rubber in the track.
Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Kentucky Speedway officials ran the tire dragon in the middle and lower grooves of the 1.5-mile facility.
However, when NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams arrived on the property on Wednesday morning for practice, the complaints rolled in that speedway officials should have ran the tire dragon in the upper groove of the facility.
Hey @KySpeedway , why do all this work on running in the bottom groove? I would be running-in the wall on down...Will get 2 bottom naturally pic.twitter.com/guY9aCqvNs— Parker Kligerman (@pkligerman) July 5, 2017
?that helps nothing need it from the wall down! https://t.co/vcEsOgeO7p— Ty Dillon (@tydillon) July 5, 2017
Here are what drivers had to say about where the tire dragon ran:
“The thing is I thought they did a really good job at Texas. You saw multi-groove racing at Texas on a repave which is pretty unheard of. They can only do so much man. If we tire drag the whole track, everybody is naturally going to go back to the bottom because it’s a repave and it’s going to be – it’s just gonna be faster down there. It’s just how it’s going to work. I think even if they drag the top in, I don’t think it’s going to be faster up by the wall than it would be right on the white line,” said Erik Jones, who is pulling double duty this weekend. “It’s just a repave and it’s going to be like this for ten years. We’re going to be on the bottom and then we’ll start to work up to the middle. Kentucky really, even on the old surface, was just starting to get up to the wall, so it just takes time.”
Yeah, that’s been kind of an ongoing thing at race tracks is running the tire dragon in the bottom groove or putting grip in the bottom groove and it’s – to me I honestly think and from especially what I saw yesterday is the tire dragon, the rubber, the groove is going to be on the bottom especially in Turns 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 because that’s the shortest way around the track here and that’s where it’s going to make the most grip. It’s going to be the fastest. I feel like maybe we should’ve put like a small amount of rubber on the bottom just to help us get going, but a majority of the rubber concentrated in the middle groove and then up a little bit higher,” said NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Rhodes. “Wherever you’re going to put the rubber is where the cars are going to be the fastest at. But with the tires that Goodyear is bringing here, if they drug it in the middle groove, then our left-side tires would be adding to that rubber cause we’re – as drivers, the lower you get the happier you are, so we’re going to add that rubber ourselves to the bottom. I think if they allowed us to work it in that might have maybe widened the groove out a little bit more – if they focused maybe in the middle. Either way, they’ve done a good job with getting rid of the bumps we had last year. Putting that two inches of asphalt all the way around and the tighter compact asphalt that’s here I think is gonna be a little bit better for getting rubber down as well.”
The most adamant about running the tire dragon was Brendan Gaughan.
“It’s stupid. They need to drag the lanes we don’t race. The lane we don’t practice in. Now, Kentucky has a lot of rain so that will wash lots of it away anyways. You could’ve done the upper two lanes and worked your way down. Lots of places could do that,” said Gaughan. “For some reason, someone doesn’t think thats a good idea. I don’t know why. I’d love to hear an answer for it. Nobody has ever given me one.”
Track officials stated that they did it because it worked during the Cup race last season. However, Gaughan was still not pleased with that answer noting that Cup races were shorter.
“There are 25 more teams that run harder than in this (Xfinity) series,’’ Gaughan said. “You have more people battling, more race cars, more laps to do it. It works great,” said Gaughan. “I think we’ve all seen in the media and the drivers, the tire dragon works great. … Then why not put it in the places that you want the track to grow to, not where you know that everybody wants to go?’’
Racing action from Kentucky Speedway kicks off with tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Fox Sports 1.
Blaney Scores First MENCS Victory at Pocono
After having radio issues for majority of the day, Ryan Blaney scored his first career victory at Pocono Raceway in the Axalta Presents The Poconos 400.
“I think it exceeds the dream a little bit. I grew up watching my dad race on this race track and it’s so cool to get the Wood Brothers in victory lane, number one, and to do it here at a race track that is really close to Ohio – a home to me – is pretty awesome,” said Blaney.
This is the Wood Brothers first victory since the 2011 Daytona 500. Blaney becomes the seventh different driver to score his first career victory with the Wood Brothers. This weekend marks the 99th victory for the team.
With 10 laps remaining, Blaney had a charge on then race-winner, Kyle Busch, with fresher tires. Busch tried to block Blaney on the front stretch and on the short-stretch, but Blaney was able to pass Busch. While Blaney and Busch were battling for the lead, Kevin Harvick was able to work his way to Blaney, but was unable to pass him in the remaining laps. Harvick was better than Blaney in the second turn, but was no match for Blaney on the rest of the track.
After having brake and engine issues early on in the race, Harvick was able to finish the race in the second position.
“I missed a shift from third-to-second and I have to thank the Roush Yates Engine shop for building a pretty sturdy engine because it should have blown up and it never blowed up,” said Harvick after rallying for a second place finish to winner Ryan Blaney,” said Harvick. “I had a tough time driving in the corner all day. We never could stop like we needed to all weekend, so you just had to be really careful with the brakes. If I'd over-drive it for a lap or two, the pedal would start going down, and then I was really at a deficit. So, I had to be very aware of where I let off every lap.”
After running up front for majority of the race, Erik Jones was able to finish in the third position for his best career Cup finish.
“Just happy, happy that we finally get a finish that we deserve. We ran top-five most of the day and had good strategy and it worked out. The last restart played out right into our hands and got it during the third (stage) and knew we had to hold those guys off and we’d be just fine,” said E. Jones. “It’s exciting, happy we had a fast race car. Wish we had a little bit faster one and then we could have gone up there and raced for it, but definitely a good day for us.”
Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Ky. Busch, and Matt Kenseth rounded-out the top-10.
Truex Jr maintains the points lead by one point over Larson. Harvick is 144 points behind Truex in third, Ky. Busch is 121 points behind the leader. and Keselowski rounds out the top-five in points only 130 points behind Truex.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Michigan International Raceway for the FireKeepers Casino 400. The race will run on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network with green flag flying shortly after 3:00 p.m. EDT.