Christopher Bell drove himself to his fifth win of the season at New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon.
Bell led 186 of the 200 laps in the Roxor 200, holding off Cole Custer to take the checkered flag. He and Custer are tied with five wins a piece this season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Finishing second in Stage 1 after a three-wide finish, Christopher Bell elected to pit for fuel and fresh tires before the next stage. Bell dominated the stage with over a six second lead over Justin Allgaier.
With the laps winding down, the action on the track began to heat up. On lap 140, Noah Gragson tagged the wall to bring out a caution, allowing for the final round of pit stops under yellow.
The No. 20 Joe Gibbs Toyota led the way followed by Allgaier, Reddick, Custer and Cindric. Custer made his way up to second and set his sights on Bell.
Menard got into Burton with less than 50 laps to go, bringing out another caution. Bell and Custer were side by side on the restart, but Bell had the advantage.
Custer closed the gap to a 1.5 second lead, but ran out of time and laps.
Bell drove the No.20 Joe Gibbs Toyota to victory lane for the 13th time in his Xfinity Series career.
“I’m very thankful to be driving these Supras for Joe Gibbs Racing. All of our partners, man, they just provide really fast race cars and I’m the lucky guy who gets to drive them.”
Cole Custer, Justin Allgaier, Tyler Reddick and Paul Menard rounded out the top five.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway for the U.S. Cellular 250 on July 27 at 5:00 PM on NBCSN.
Cole Custer took the checkered flag for the Camping World 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Custer started on the outside of pole-sitter, Joey Logano when the green flag waved. It did not take long for the No. 00 to take the lead and claim the Stage 1 victory.
With less than 15 laps to go in Stage 2, Ryan Sieg took a spin to bring out the caution flag. The caution gave Joey Logano the advantage when they went back to green. The field went 5 wide into the turn and all managed to keep it together. Logano retook the lead to claim Stage 2.
Stage 3 was action-packed and caution filled with many drivers fighting for position and others running into late race issues. Cole Custer was able to take advantage of late race cautions and retake the lead with 50 laps to go. After passing Michael Annett on the restart with 22 laps to go, the SHR driver never looked back.
The No. 00 Ford led 151 of 200 laps, earning Custer his fourth win of the season and sixth Xfinity Series victory of his career.
“I can’t do anything but thank everyone at Haas Automation and Stewart-Haas Racing because we’re going to take it to them in the summer time,” Custer said while celebrating in victory lane with his Haas Automation crew.
Logano, Annett, Jones and Cindric rounded out the top five at Chicagoland. Christopher Bell originally finished in the third position, but was demoted to a last-place finish after his car failed post-race inspection and was disqualified.
Tyler Reddick remains the leader in Xfinity Series points, followed by Christopher Bell, Cole Custer, Justin Allagaier and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.
The Xfinity Series is back in action for the Circle K Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6 at 7:30 PM ET.
For the third year in a row, Joey Logano will start from the pole in today’s Zippo 200 from Watkins Glen International.
In the first round of qualifying, Kyle Busch was fastest at 123.141 mph. Kyle Larson was second fastest at 123.038 mph. Logano was third fastest at 122.978 mph. Paul Menard was fourth fastest at 122.590 mph. Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-five at 122.548 mph. PJ Jones in the sole driver who will not be able to run in the race this afternoon. In the final moments of the opening round, Brandon Jones lost his quickest lap due to impeding the run of Brennan Poole entering in the bus stop.
In the second round of qualifying, Logano posted the pole winning speed of 124.185 mph. Ky. Busch will start second at 124.019 mph Larson will start third at 123.979 mph. Menard will start fourth at 123.327 mph. Keselowski rounded out the top-five at 122.973 mph. Erik Jones, Justin Allgaier. Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer, and Kevin Harvick has rounded out the top-five.
The Zippo 200 from Watkins Glen will be broadcasted on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET .
After an impressive showing at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in his first race of 2017, Ryan Preece will score the victory in his second start of 2017 at Iowa Speedway.
“I don’t even know what to say. I got to thank everybody, just everybody involved. I am so lost for words. I don’t know what to say. I am at a lost for words. This is what emotion is. I thought this race would never end, but nothing will beat today,” said Preece
This is Preece’s first NASCAR national series win of his career. He has an average finish in 2017 of 1.5.
Kyle Benjamin finished second.
In his first start of 2017 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Brian Scott finished third.
Brennan Poole, Cole Custer, JJ Yeley, Daniel Hemric, Blake Koch, William Byron, and Brandon Jones rounded out the top-five.
The time of race was two hours, 17 minutes, and 37 seconds. The average speed was 96.900 mph. There were seven cautions for 40 laps. There were four lead changes among four different drivers.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Watkins Glen International for the Zippo 200 at the Glen on August 5th at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN and Motor Racing Network.
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Xfinity Series ran a new competition package at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, NASCAR was pleased with what they saw in the eye ball test.
After the Lilly Diabetes 250, Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, was made available to the media after the event to discuss the package.
“Overall, certainly pleased with what we saw on the racetrack. From an eye test, definitely passed. When you look at the metrics, right, it’s the most leaders we’ve had, most lead changes, closest finish. So certainly on the quick recap, some really great metrics,” said O’Donnell.
There were 16 lead changes among eight different drivers The previous record was nine lead changes. The previous record of different drivers was six. The margin of victory was just 0.108 seconds.
Drivers like Joey Logano, referenced the fact that the cars were slow. O’Donnell, on the other hand, had a different opinion about it.
“So speeds, you know, some race, you know, you’re going 200, some you’re, you know, down in the 100s on a road course. What at the end of the day that matters is how many lead changes did we have and was it competitive throughout. And we thought it was today,” said O’Donnell.
Before coming to Indianapolis, NASCAR knew that this would not produce racing seen at Talladega and Daytona. The first objective was to make sure that the gap could be closed from first to second, something NASCAR saw today. NASCAR will evaluate how two to there cars could pull away, and if they can close that gap, they will.
O’Donnell did not mention that this was just an Indy specific package. NASCAR will evaluate what happened at Indy to look at potentially using this package at other tracks.
At the Research and Development Center, there was advocation for restricting the engine, especially at Indianapolis. NASCAR and O’Donnell thought that the restrictor plate played somewhat how they thought it would.
While drivers complained that it was hard to pass, O’Donnell was adamant that these are the worlds greatest drivers and that passing should be difficult.
As talks and evaluation of the data from the package and its success unfold in the coming weeks, NASCAR will continue researching to see where this package would end up in the future.
INDIANAPOLIS— Battling a bad vibration towards the end of the event and a late race charge by Paul Menard that required blocking, William Byron was victorious in the Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“This is so cool. This is awesome,” Byron stated post-race. “I’ve never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500 but I watched it as kid. It takes a lot to win these races and to win here is so special.”
This is Byron’s third win of 2017. He is the youngest winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Indianapolis. Byron also won the first stage scoring six playoff points on the weekend.
After a late race charge, Menard came up short to finish in the second position.
“We had long run speed. We didn’t fire off that fast. After five to 10 laps, we started getting tight. I thought we had a shot at William. He made it stick. He won. Congratulations to him. I think he is going to be ok,” said Menard.
Being up front all day, Joey Logano finished in the third position.
“Had to race really smart. We may not have had the fastest Ford, but we had a good restart at the beginning for track position. Our put crew did a great job maintaining that position. If you start losing momentum, you lose five to six spots. I was being smart inside the car,” said Logano.
Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer, Ryan Reed, Brennan Poole, Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, and Ty Dillon rounded out the top-10.
The race saw a record of 16 lead changes among eight different drivers. Kyle Busch led 44 laps, the most of any driver on the day. The average speed of the race was 124.030 mph. The margin of victory was.108 seconds, the closest finish at Indianapolis for the Xfinity Series. 19 cars finished on the lead lap.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is a trip to Iowa Speedway on July 29th at 3:30 p.m. ET for the US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol. The race will be on NBC and Motor Racing Network.
INDIANAPOLIS— Elliott Sadler will start from the pole from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the running of the Lilly Diabetes 250. Sadler was able to beat Erik Jones at the line by .004 seconds to score his first pole of 2017.
Sadler posted the second fastest speed in the first round of qualifying at 164.760 mph. E. Jones was the fastest in the opening round at 165.089 mph. William Byron was third fastest in the opening round at 164.045 mph. Michael Annett was fourth fastest at 164.045 mph. Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five in the opening round at 163.931 mph.
For Ky. Busch, he was attempting to go for his fourth straight pole at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. However, that streak is came to an end in the second round of qualifying. Busch posted the 11th fastest speed in the round at 163.610 mph.
Sadler will start from the pole. E. Jones will start second. Byron will start third with his speed of 164.573 mph. Justin Allgaier will start fourth with his speed of 164.402 mph. Annett will round out the top-five with his speed of 164.258 mph.
Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Ryan Sieg, Ben Kennedy, and Ryan Reed round out the top-10.
The Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis will be broadcasted on NBCSN and IMS Radio Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finished the Fifth Annual Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, there were many claims that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series should look at special events like the Trucks have at Eldora.
For Denny Hamlin, the question pops out of whether or not the infrastructure is there to compete at tracks like Eldora. When it comes to infrastructure, Hamlin is talking about the garage area, amenities at the track for sponsors, and the amount of equipment the traveling circus brings to each event.
Hamlin would love to see the Cup series return to places like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham, but sees it as not feasible for today’s NASCAR.
“I think the truck series carries one certain amount of circus to it. With the Cup series, it is times 10. It would be tough as much as the Cup series has grown to bring that traveling circus to short track somewhere to be able to put on a show that makes sense, organized,” said Hamlin. “Does Eldora have timing and scoring loops or not? Probably not. When it gets down the nitty gritty of the Cup races and we are arguing who is leading at the line at this point or that point. How does that work with a track that doesn’t have scoring loops. I know Wilkesboro doesnt’t. That’s what I mean by infrastructure.”
When it comes to amenities, Hamlin looks at what each track can bring to a sponsor and ultimately the fans.
“Its tough to get these sponsors to come to these race tracks unless the amenities are about here (Indianapolis) or Daytona. You wanna have really nice everything. It seems like some of those old tracks got phased out because they were antiquated,” said Hamlin.
Hamlin commends tracks like Phoenix Raceway and Richmond Raceway for upgrading their facilities to be the best for fans and sponsors.
“I like to see the new updates to tracks like Richmond. That’s state of the art. It’s going to bring a lot of new eyes and hopefully sponsors to those type race tracks,” said Hamlin.
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Xfinity Series runs a new package this weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Lilly Diabetes 250, many drivers saw a great unknown coming into the event. However, those unknowns have been minimized after two practice sessions on the infamous 2.5-mile speedway.
“I kinda had a head start on it. Testing in October, I kinda knew the direction they were going to go in. I wasn’t sure if they were going to pull the trigger. When they decided to make the change, I already knew what it was going to feel like,” said Blake Koch about his initial reaction to the package. “The track temperature here at Indy changes more than anywhere we go. When it was 65 degrees back in October, it was a totally different car.
For Justin Allgaier, the race will still provide some unknown for teams.
“I think there was a lot of unknowns. I think there still are some unknowns. I probably wasn’t as on board with it before we got here. Granted I have a fast race car. Of course, I am not disappointed in the package,” said Allgaier
The drivers and NASCAR have the same outlook on this package that it is for the fans that the sport puts on the best show the can.
My outlook on it is that for us we need to put on a great race for the fans. This racetrack, this area of the country, Indianapolis is a racing town. Indianapolis is built on that racing foundation. We need to put on the best race can. It doesn’t matter if we all drive pink race cars, we gotta put on the best race we can,” said Allgaier. “I applaud NASCAR for at least trying. At the end of the day, they spent a lot of money to make this happen. They put a lot of time, effort, and research into this. Will it fix it? I can’t tell you that will be the case. I tell you that the fans that come here, watch it on TV, if nothing else, it will be exciting,” said Allgaier.
Fans can watch qualifying for the Lilly Diabetes 250 at 12:30 p.m. EDT on NBCSN. The race will be broadcasted on NBCSN and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network beginning at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
INDIANAPOLIS— For the Lilly Diabetes 200 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the cars in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a different look when they hit the track for practice. Teams in the Xfinity garage will be running the 2016 splitter and spoiler, air ducts, and a restrictor plate in effort to create more passing and a better race.
Wayne Auton, Managing Director of the NASCAR Xfinity Series, emphasized on Friday morning that the changes were just for the Xfinity Series only.
“We did some extensive testing with sim work, we did a track test back in October before we went to the next race. This is all about the NASCAR Xfinity Series here at Indianapolis. I want to make that crystal clear,” said Auton.
In October, three teams came to Indianapolis to test the package. The drivers who participated in the test were Ryan Reed, Blake Koch, and Brandon Jones.
During the test, single car speeds were running around 56 seconds, but decreased to around 54 seconds when the cars were in a small pack.
“The one thing we did see was three cars running together once they got there cars dialed in is that halfway down the front stretch we had two cars lock up and run the single car down and pass them. We feel very confident that it will create some excitement to the race,” said Auton.
NASCAR added aero ducts in the same place where brake ducts went. The aero ducts are the most notable change according to Auton. Teams cannot make any changes to the aero ducts. NASCAR went to each shop over the past two months to make sure that the aero ducts would fit.
When it comes to returning to the 2016 splitter and spoiler, Wayne Auton said the teams still had those pieces still in the shop from last season. The spoiler and splitter were added to create some balance and wake to create some passing.
“The bigger spoiler it gets the balance back in the car, but we had to add the splitter to the front end to keep the balance there. The bigger spoiler will also make the wake. it’s a combination of the four ingredients on the car that make this package work.”
As teams look for ways to cut costs, NASCAR fully funded the effort this weekend at Indianapolis. Teams only had to build the cars to where NASCAR could place the appropriate parts.
“We supplied the ducts, the foam sealant, and all the bolts. The teams had absolutely no costs in the parts and pieces on the car. They had the spoilers and splitters from last year. We had the ducts in our possession at all times. Nobody could get their hands on them. We personally put them in every car here today.”
Auton emphasized that this was a collaborative effort amongst all partners. Auton stressed that everyone wants this package to work. NASCAR will constantly be in the garage talking to teams and sharing information across manufacturer lines in an effort to make this package work. “The teams were very instrumental in this package. They were all in,” said Auton.
After the event, NASCAR will talk to teams after the event to determine if the package was successful or not. However, Auton emphasized it will be what the fans thought about the event.
“It’s going to be hard to say if this will be a successful race or not. We will talk to fans and see what they say about it. We are very excited about it. It has been awhile since I have been excited about getting to a racetrack to try something new,”
When asked if this package could potentially be used in future races this season or in 2018, Auton stated, “Let’s concentrate on Indianapolis right now. This is a big test for us to. The results of that test in October showed it was the right way to go. We will be out in the garage listening to the drivers to see if we need to make any adjustments before tomorrow,” said Auton.
Ultimately, Auton hopes that it “is going to better than what we saw with three drivers at the test.”