Christopher Bell Wins A-Maize-ing Race at Iowa
Christopher Bell wins the CircuitCity.com 250 at Iowa Speedway after dominating all three stages.
His quest for the win began after taking four fresh Goodyear tires with 10 laps to go in the first stage. He passed Stewart Haas Racing's, Cole Custer with two to go and won his seventh stage of the season.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota led majority of the laps and maintained almost a two second lead over Cole Custer throughout Stage 2.
When the green flag waved for stage three, Bell went into defense mode. Cole Custer, who had been battling tough handling all race long, slammed into the outside wall and brought out the sixth caution of the day. The leaders took the opportunity to get four fresh tires and Sunoco fuel before the green waved for what they thought would be the final time.
Custer had a fast stop and was able to beat Bell off of pit road, giving him the preferred lane on the restart. The outside line ran good all race long and gave anyone running it the advantage over those on the bottom. Battle ensued for the top spot between Custer and Bell, as they raced side by side around the racetrack. After making contact with the No.00, Bell took the lead and had his sights set on the checkered flag.
Unfortunately, Chad Finchum made contact with the outside wall bringing out the seventh caution of the day. With 10 to go, Bell took the lead over Cole Custer and held him off as the laps were winding down.
Christopher Bell took the checkered flag for the fourth time this season and for the 12th time in his Xfinity Series career.
“I got to win at Dover on Mother’s Day weekend, with my mom there and now on Father’s Day weekend with my dad here. That’s pretty special.”
Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton and Zane Smith rounded out the top-five.
The Xfinity Series will be back in action on June 29 at 3:30 PM ET from Chicagoland Speedway for the Camping World 300 on NBCSN.
Whisler Weekly Recap: Sonoma/Iowa
Road Course Ringers
Everytime NASCAR heads to the road course there are a few familiar faces and new names that arrive at the track. This past weekend. Road course ringers at Sonoma included Billy Johnson, Alon Day, Josh Bilicki, Boris Said, and Kevin O’Connell.
The age of more than 10 road course ringers arriving at the track are gone. Road course racing was something that the normal drivers were not privy too. Many teams would commission these “ringers” to race at Sonoma and Watkins Glen.
These drivers are considered the best of the best on road courses. However, when they arrive at road course on the NASCAR circuit, that knowledge seems to disappear. The highest driver to finish of the “ringers” was Johnson, who finished 22nd on Sunday.
The days of the road course ringer is finished.
Discussions about silly season in the NASCAR world have arose over the past week. After a fairly calm silly season in 2016, 2017 is going to be considered “crazy”.
The biggest domino to fall will be who will replace Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 car for 2018. Earnhardt Jr. will retire at the end of the season. Once the domino falls, the rest of silly season will ramp up.
Another discussion is what will happen to Danica Patrick and Kasey Kahne at the end of this season. Both drivers have not had the performance in recent years, which is taking its toll on both drivers. The future of Kahne and Patrick will be crucial in how silly season unfolds.
Eldora Channel move
On the Iowa NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcast, FOX Sports announced that the Eldora event for the Truck series will be broadcasted on FOX Business Network.
FOX Sports is slated to air soccer on Fox Sports 1, instead of NASCAR. The soccer event is the CONCACAF Gold Cup Quarterfinal that is expected to feature the U.S. Men’s National team.
This is not the first time that a race has been started on FOX Business Network.
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, was not to thrilled about the switch to FOX Business and expressed his concerns on social media.
Every time the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series goes to Iowa Speedway the calls for a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event to be run at the Newton, Iowa facility is amplified.
There are numerous problems with that statement. Fans complain that the Xfinity Series and Truck series mimics the Cup series. Because they are the only series to race at Iowa, this allows for them to keep what little identity they have left.
Another problem with Iowa Speedway is the infrastructure. Iowa Speedway does not have the infrastructure around its facility to potentially host the Cup series with the other two series.
Another issue to highlight is that NASCAR, International Speedway Corporation, and Speedway Motorsports Inc. are locked into five year sanctioning agreements that expire in 2020. What many fans tend to forget is that NASCAR owns Iowa Speedway. ISC and SMI have had numerous Sherman Anti-Trust lawsuits filed against them because of their stronghold on the NASCAR schedule.
Stage Racing at road courses
Whenever stage racing was announced back in January, drivers, fans, and media were curious how this new competition enhancement would play out at road courses.
Stage racing at Sonoma played a crucial role in the first two stages as many drivers strived to pit before the pit lane was closed two laps before the end of the stage. Many positions were lost and gained in the first two stages based on the pit strategy of teams. The final stage at Sonoma went caution free as Kevin Harvick took to victory lane.
Stage racing seemed to be accepted by all parties involved.
Byron Scores First Career NXS Victory at Iowa
After coming up short at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, William Byron was able to score the victory in the American Ethanol E15 250 from Iowa Speedway.
“It feels awesome. Thank you Mr. H (Hendrick) for giving me this opportunity. Everything has come full circle for me. I think we had a first or second place car. Really proud of these guys,” said Byron to Fox Sports 1 in victory lane.
This is Byron’s first career victory. Byron becomes the second driver to score their first victory at Iowa Speedway. The win by Byron gives JR Motorsports five consecutive season with multiple wins. Byron scored his eighth top-10 finish of 2017.
Byron was able to grab score the victory by playing the game correctly on pit road. As the field was undergoing green flag pit stops in the final stages of the race, the caution flag flew leaving many of the top-contenders one lap down. Byron and his team had yet to make a pit stop. Because Dylan Lupton stayed out on old tires, he trapped the dominant cars one lap down. With the restart on lap 230, Byron was able to grab the lead and set course for his first career victory.
After holding off Tyler Reddick in the closing laps, Ryan Siege was able to score a second place finish at Iowa for his best career finish.
“It was crazy. I just can’t thank everybody enough. It’s amazing. It was crazy when I was driving around, I cant believe we are second. It’s really awesome. It was a lot of fun racing with tyler there, racing for the win. I just can’t thank everybody enough,” said Sieg post race to Fox Sports 1.
Although he scored his career best finish, Reddick was disappointed in a third place finish.
“Well, we had a car that could really roll the center good, but couldn’t get back to the throttle. Unfortunately, that is where I was getting ate up most of the night. It was really cool to be able to race here at Iowa under the lights. I just feel like we should’ve came away with the victory there. I just couldn’t get anything going on the bottom. Feel like we gave one away here. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow,” said Reddick post-race.
Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong,Michael Annett, Jeremy Clements, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Garrett Smithley rounded out the top-10.
There were 11 lead changes among six drivers. Christopher Bell led the most laps at 152. The race was slowed nine times for 55 laps.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the final restrictor plate event of the season, the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway. NBCSN and Motor Racing Network will have the call on Friday, June 30th at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
NXS: American Ethanol E15 250 Preview
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the first time of 2017 for the American Ethanol E15 250. The race will consist of three stages with two stages of 60 laps and a final stage of 130 laps.
40 drivers have made their way to Iowa. There are no full time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in the field.
Teams will have only six sets of Goodyear race tires for the entire event.
Elliott Sadler will be making his 800th career NASCAR start this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Sadler will become the 25th driver in NASCAR national history to make 800 or more starts.
“Iowa Speedway has been a great track for me. It’s just a fun race track with great character over the tunnel. As a driver, you have multiple grooves that you can run—which can make the racing fun and challenging. My Chevrolet Accessories Camaro team has come so close to getting our first win of the season a few different times and think we have a good shot at going to Victory Lane this weekend,” said Sadler.
Ty Majesty will be making his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series start this weekend at Iowa. Majeski is a member of the 2017-18 NASCAR Next Class.
“I’m really looking forward to getting on track this weekend in Iowa,” said Majeski. “I feel like it has been such a long time since we made the announcement, and I’m just eager to get going. Roush Fenway obviously has a lot of success at Iowa Speedway, so I feel confident that we will have a car capable of running up front. I’ve been logging a lot of time on Ford’s simulator and definitely been working on getting familiar with Iowa Speedway using iRacing. I’m hoping all of the preparation pays off with a solid run this Saturday,” said Majeski.
Drivers will have two opportunities on Friday, June 23rd at 2:00 p.m. EDT and 5:00 p.m. EDT to dial in their vehicles for qualifying and the race. Fox Sports 1 will have qualifying on tape delay beginning at 7:00 p.m. EDT, while the race will be at 8:30 p.m. EDT. Motor Racing Network will also have race coverage from Iowa.
Byron Sparks in Iowa
After tempers flared and sparks flew in Iowa, William Byron holds off Cole Custer to win his third race of 2016, his second in a row. Cameron Hayley, Ben Rhodes, and Tyler Roddick round out the top 5. This is William Byron’s ninth start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
“We’ve had a couple setbacks, but we kept after it until that last restart,” said William Byron in victory lane.
Cole Custer, who finished second, talks about his race in a post race interview, “I thought I had him, but didn’t get a good restart there.”
The Speediatrics 200 saw four lead changes among four drivers. William Byron led a race high of 107 , followed by John Hunter Namecheck (53), Tyler Reddick (37), and Cole Custer (3).
The caution flag flew five times for a total of 39 laps. Four of the cautions were for accidents. The caution clock did expire once during the race to bring out a caution. The red flag plagued the race for less than six minutes for cleanup after an accident involving Tommy Joe Martins and Derek Scott Jr.
Although William Byron has the top seed for the Chase, Matt Crafton holds an 18 point lead over Timothy Peters, followed by William Byron (-23), Daniel Hemric (-26), and John Hunter Namecheck (-41).
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will head to Gateway Motorsports Park next weekend for the Drivin’ For Linemen 200, a Saturday evening schedule.