Steven B. Wilson

Steven B. Wilson

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

Clint Bowyer started 10th and finished sixth.

● Reported his car was loose in the initial laps.

● Turned in some impressive lap times as he climbed into the top-five by lap 32.

● Continued to fight a loose-handling car, but the No. 14 looked to be one of the fastest cars on the track.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

Bowyer started sixth and finished eighth.

● Dropped from sixth to 13th after slipping in grease in turns three and four immediately after the start of the stage.

● Climbed back up to eighth before the end of the stage.

● Told the crew his car was loose in and off and needed more drive off the corners.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261 -500):

Bowyer started third and finished seventh.

● A quick pit stop during the stage break moved Bowyer from eighth to third for the start of the final stage.

● Raced in third with 200 laps remaining, again turning fast lap times.

● Caution with 186 to go saw Bowyer visit pit lane, but a speeding penalty dropped him to 23rd.

● Bowyer drove back to 13th when another caution brought him to pit lane with 124 laps remaining. However, a second speeding penalty sent him to the back once again.

● Bowyer had driven up to 13th when the next caution came with 54 laps remaining.

● He pitted without incident and restarted the 500-lap race in 10th with 50 laps remaining.

● Bowyer made it back to seventh before the checkered flag fell.

 

Notes:

●  Bowyer earned his second top-10 of the season and his 16th top-10 in 27 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.

●  Bowyer finished sixth in Stage 1 to earn five bonus points and eighth in Stage 2 to earn an additional three bonus points.

●  Brad Keselowski won the Martinsville 500 to score his 29th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .594 of a second.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 56 laps.

●  Twenty of the 36 drivers in the Martinsville 500 finished on the lead lap.

●  Kyle Busch leaves Martinsville as the championship leader with a 21-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Mustang:

“I don’t think anybody obviously had anything for (Keselowski) or (Elliott). I think we were a top three car for sure, but we kept beating ourselves. I guess we need to get our stuff together on being on the same page with that pit road speed. It’s such an important thing and such a big part of this style of racing, where track position is everything. We push it to the limit, but it’s so hard to practice pit road speed. You’ve got trucks on pit road when you’re trying to practice that. I’m not making any excuses, it’s just when you’re trying to pinch every little thing out of it, it was hard this week to practice pit road speed because of all the stuff on pit road.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, March 31 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

TSC PR

Race Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

Harvick started fourth and finished 11th.

● Settled into sixth place after 15 laps, but soon grabbed fifth when he passed polesitter Joey Logano on lap 19.

● “Way too loose,” said Harvick on lap 32 after teammate Clint Bowyer got by to take fifth.

● Caution on lap 68 allowed Harvick to bring his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang to the attention of his pit crew, where he got four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment.

● Harvick restarted in eighth, but by lap 100 had dropped to ninth.

“As soon as I let off the brake, it goes sideways,” said Harvick on lap 104.

Pitted for four tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

Started 11th and finished seventh, collecting four bonus points.

● Climbed back up to ninth following a caution on lap 147.

Harvick radioed on lap 200 that he was “loose off (the corner), but getting better.”

Held steady in seventh place through the end of the stage.

● Pitted for four tires and fuel at the end of the stage. Only adjustment was to tire pressures.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261-500):

Started 11th and finished sixth.

● Despite emerging from the pits in 11th place, Harvick drove his No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang up to sixth by lap 291.

Caution on lap 313 sent Harvick to the pits for four tires, fuel and a right-rear wedge adjustment to tighten up his racecar. Remained in sixth place for the lap-319 restart.

● Stayed in sixth through caution on lap 374, whereupon Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and another right-rear wedge adjustment.

● The Mobil 1 pit crew picked up one spot on pit road, sending Harvick back out in fifth for the lap-379 restart.

● Battled door-to-door with the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin, with Hamlin getting past on lap 458, dropping Harvick to sixth.

● Maintained sixth place through the end of the race.

 

Notes:

● Harvick earned his fifth top-10 of the season and his 18th top-10 in 36 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville.

● Brad Keselowski won the Martinsville 500 to score his 29th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .594 of a second.

● There were seven caution periods for a total of 56 laps.

● Twenty of the 36 drivers in the Martinsville 500 finished on the lead lap.

● Kyle Busch leaves Martinsville as the championship leader with a 21-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Mobil 1 Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

It was an OK day for us. I think as you look at our Martinsville stuff, it’s been hit or miss. I feel like I was a little better than the 11 (Hamlin) and the 12 (Ryan Blaney), but you’ve got to be able to get by them on the restarts. We just never could get the car right all day and be able to let off the brake and roll to the center of the corner. I couldn’t quite get to the throttle like I needed to and kind of just, I don’t know, we could kind of hold our ground on the restarts, but not really gain anything, and track position was a big deal. It was definitely not what we wanted, but not a bad day for us at Martinsville.”

 

Next Up:

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, March 31 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

TSC PR

Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

● Aric Almirola started second and finished third, collecting eight bonus points.

● No. 10 Shazam/Smithfield Ford Mustang ran in fourth for the majority of the opening stage.

● Almirola pitted during a caution on lap 68 for four fresh tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments.

He said the No. 10 Ford was loose at the beginning of the stage, but the car drove better as the laps wore on.

● After he pitted he noted that the tires were spinning on the exit of the turns, but the car was turning better.

● Almirola passed the No. 11 car on lap 112 to finish third in Stage 1.

● He pitted for four more tires, fuel and air pressure and chassis adjustments at the conclusion of the stage.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 131-260):

● Started fourth and finished sixth, collecting five bonus points.

● Almirola piloted the Shazam/Smithfield Ford Mustang inside the top-five until lap 251.

● At the end of the stage, he radioed crew chief Johnny Klausmeier that he needed more drive off of the turns and better turn in the middle.

● Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments at the end of Stage 2.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261-500):

● Started fifth and finished ninth.

● On the opening laps, Almirola and the No. 18 car made contact, forcing the No. 10 Shazam/Smithfield Ford outside of the top-10.

● Almirola pitted on lap 312 under caution for four tires, fuel and air pressure adjustments to counter tight-handling conditions. He landed seventh off pit road.

● During the next caution period on lap 371, Almirola pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments, but an issue with the right-rear tire during the pit stop demoted the No. 10 Ford to 13th place.

● Almirola raced back to eighth place and battled for seventh until the lap-445 caution was called.

● He pitted for four tires and fuel and said the balance of his Ford Mustang was improving, but an issue on pit road resulted in Almirola restarting in 12th place.

● He piloted the No. 10 Shazam/Smithfield Ford back to ninth place before the checkered flag waved.

 

Notes:

● Almirola earned his fifth top-10 of the season and his fourth top-10 in 21 career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series starts at Martinsville. 

● Almirola has finished among the top-10 in every race this year with the exception of the season-opening Daytona 500. 

● Almirola finished third in Stage 1 to earn eight bonus points, and sixth in Stage 2 to earn an additional five bonus points.

●  Brad Keselowski won the Martinsville 500 to score his 29th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his second at Martinsville. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .594 of a second.

●  There were seven caution periods for a total of 56 laps.

●  Twenty of the 36 drivers in the Martinsville 500 finished on the lead lap.

●  Kyle Busch leaves Martinsville as the championship leader with a 21-point advantage over second-place Denny Hamlin.

 

Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Shazam/Smithfield Ford Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 “We had a great weekend overall. Our Shazam/Smithfield Mustang was fast today, but we got hit by the 18 car in Stage 2 that knocked us back to 12th, and we had to fight hard to get back to where we were all day. We’ve earned five straight top-10 finishes, so I guess it’s okay to be upset with a ninth-place finish.”

 

Next Up: 

The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, March 31 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

TSC PR

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-130):

Started 13th and finished ninth.

● The M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota driver exercised a patient pace during the opening laps of the STP 500. He made the top-10 by lap 15 and started logging laps after reporting that the car was handling on the loose side.

● Caution was displayed on lap 64. The M&M’S Chocolate Bar team made an air pressure adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. Busch restarted the race in 10th place.

● The adjustments helped improve the car’s handling but not to the extent Busch needed to be able to make passes in green-flag race conditions. As such, Busch leveraged restarts to make up track position.

● Busch finished the first stage in ninth place. During the caution, the team made an air pressure and wedge adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. Quick pit work placed Busch in seventh place for the start of Stage 2.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 130-260):

Started seventh and finished 12th.

After an early caution on lap 146, the second stage continued with a long, green-flag run that would continue to the conclusion of the stage. That proved a little problematic for the No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar team as the handling deteriorated the longer the run continued.

Busch reported on lap 215 that the right rear was an issue and that he needed the team to go back on some of the changes they had made at the conclusion of Stage 1.

The 2015 NASCAR champion managed the car without issue and finished Stage 2 in 12th place.

The team made a series of adjustments, and quick pit work placed Busch in seventh place to start the third and final stage.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 261-500):

Started seventh and finished third.

Busch leveraged the restart to pick up a couple of positions, running in fifth place by lap 274 and in fourth by lap 289. He quickly reported that the changes were effective and he would like the team to go in the same direction on his next stop.

Caution was displayed on lap 312, and the team continued to make adjustments to the No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota. Quick pit work placed Busch in third place for the restart.

Busch continued to report on the car’s handling as the run continued, noting that the No. 18 started off handling on the loose side but would start to get tight at different points on the track. Another caution on lap 371 allowed the team to make another round of minor adjustments. Once again Busch came off pit road in third place for the restart.

While the handling was not perfect, it reached a point that allowed Busch to be more aggressive on the track. He raced as high as second place before eventually settling in at the third position, which he maintained to the conclusion of the race.

 

Notes:

● Busch’s third-place finish is his fourth straight top-three result.

● Busch now has two wins, five top-fives and six top-10s in the 2019 NASCAR season.

● This marks his 16th top-five and 17th top-10 in 28 career starts at Martinsville.

 

Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Chocolate Bar Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“That is probably a little better finish than what we deserved today when you look at where we were in 12th place during the midway point of the race to where we ended up with our M&M’S Chocolate Bar Camry. It was a really good turnaround. I’m just thankful for Adam Stevens and all the guys that work so hard to give me what we need to stay up front and be there at the end.”

 

Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 on Sunday, March 31 at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. The race starts at 3 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.

TSC PR

History was made in more than one way at Circuit of The Americas this weekend. Not only was the INDYCAR Classic the first NTT IndyCar Series race conducted at the track, but Colton Herta became the youngest driver to win an Indy car event when he took the checkered flag on Sunday.

The beneficiary of an opportune full-course caution period, Herta led the final 15 laps and won by 2.7182 seconds over Josef Newgarden. At 18 years, 11 months, 25 days old, the second-generation driver became the youngest to ever win an Indy car race, breaking the mark previously held by Graham Rahal, who was 19 years, 3 months, 2 days when he won at St. Petersburg in 2008.

INDYCAR CLASSIC: Official results

Sunday's race was just the third in the NTT IndyCar Series for Herta, who finished second in the 2018 Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship before moving up to Harding Steinbrenner Racing this year. Herta was humbled to join the list of Indy car race winners that includes his father, Bryan, who won four times in a 12-year Indy car career and is now co-owner and race strategist for the car driven by Marco Andretti.

"Just to be up with the names of people that have won (a) race, I'm going to live and die an Indy car winner, which is spectacular in itself," Herta said. "Yeah, it's a great record at a young age. To be standing up here kind of feels surreal.

"We were not expecting (to win). I think we were going to get a podium (top-three finish) - I think we had the pace for that - but holy crap, man! ... It's spectacular!"

Driving the No. 88 Harding Steinbrenner Racing Honda, Colton Herta started the 60-lap race on the 20-turn, 3.41-mile permanent road course in fourth position. Pole sitter Will Power dominated the first three-quarters of the race, leading every lap under green-flag conditions until the only full-course yellow waved on Lap 44 after James Hinchcliffe and Felix Rosenqvist made contact, sending the latter's car careening into the barrier on the inside of Turn 19 at the entrance to pit lane.

Fortunately for Herta, he'd made his final scheduled pit stop a lap earlier under green. Race leader Power, second-place Alexander Rossi and third-place Scott Dixon were forced to make their final stops under yellow after the field packed up behind the pace car. Once that trio headed to the pits, Herta assumed the lead for the first time in his brief NTT IndyCar Series career.

Holding off Newgarden on the Lap 50 restart, Herta pulled away to the history-making victory.

"On the restart, we were quick," Herta said. "We kind of sprinted off. I know we got the quickest lap on that first lap, which was pretty crazy to have the tires up to temp and everything ready."

The win was also the first for the team co-owned by Mike Harding and George Michael Steinbrenner IV. After fielding a car for Herta in Indy Lights in 2017 and '18, Steinbrenner partnered this year with Harding to bring the driving phenom to the NTT IndyCar Series.

"He did a phenomenal job," the 22-year-old Steinbrenner said of Herta. "Colton hit all his marks, he did everything right, the crew did everything they needed to do to keep us out in front of (Newgarden's) car the whole time. Everything went pretty much perfectly. 

"I really can't believe we're sitting here. I'm shaking and it's a dream come true."

Newgarden was satisfied with a second-place finish coming on the heels of his win in the March 10 season opener, the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The driver of the No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet holds an 18-point lead over Herta after two of 17 races.

"We had a little luck (with the late caution), and I thought that could play into our favor to race for another win," Newgarden said. "The PPG car looked good and felt good, it just wasn't enough there at the end.

"A second place is big for us. We talked about the fact that you need to have podium finishes if you aren't winning races, and this goes a long way to our championship run."

Power's misfortune of seeing the late caution period ruin his chance for a win was compounded during his pit stop. The drive shaft broke on his No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet as he attempted to leave the pit stall, relegating the reigning Indianapolis 500 winner to finish last in the 24-car field.

"I just released the clutch snap and I could kind of hear it grinding together," Power said. "I'm massively disappointed, man. You lead so many laps and work so hard all weekend to put yourself in position (to win). If the yellow didn't get us, the drive shaft did."

Ryan Hunter-Reay finished third in the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport. Graham Rahal wound up fourth in the No. 15 TOTAL Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, giving American drivers a sweep of the top four spots. 

Other notable finishes came from: Sebastien Bourdais, who moved up 12 spots from his starting position in the No. 18 SealMaster Honda for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan to place fifth; Marco Andretti, who advanced 14 positions to finish seventh in the No. 98 U.S. Concrete/Curb Honda for Andretti Herta Autosport with Marco & Curb-Agajanian; and rookie Patricio O'Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion whose 2019 NTT IndyCar Series debut in the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet ended in eighth place.

Rossi, last year's NTT IndyCar Series runner-up, recovered from the pit stop under caution to finish 10th in the No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda for Andretti Autosport. Dixon, the reigning and five-time series champion, worked his way back to 13th place in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda.

The next NTT IndyCar Series race is the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, April 7. Live coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.

Askew completes sweep of Indy Lights COTA weekend

Oliver Askew completed the perfect Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires weekend Sunday at Circuit of The Americas, winning his second race from the pole position in as many days. The Andretti Autosport driver beat teammate Robert Megennis by 2.2256 seconds in the 20-lap race to collect the maximum weekend points available and take over the championship lead by four points over Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing).

IndyCar PR

Kyle Busch continued his dominating march with NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series win number 54 and NASCAR national series win number 201 at Martinsville Speedway. The 33-year-old led a total of 174 of 250 laps after starting the race in the second position in the No. 51 Cessna Toyota Tundra. In three NGOTS starts in 2019, Busch has earned three victories.
 
Stage One Recap:
  • In three rounds of group qualifying at the .526-mile oval, Busch posted the second-fastest lap and started the race on the front row.
  • Within 8 laps, Busch had made his way into the lead and he maintained that position at the front through the end of the first stage.
  • Busch earned the stage win, and crew chief Rudy Fugle brought him to pit road following the stage for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
 Stage Two Recap:
  • Busch began the second stage in the second position, but soon took the lead.
  • He reported that his Toyota Tundra needed to stay in the race track more, and under caution on lap 117, Fugle called him to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.
  • The stop cost him track position and the owner-driver spent the remainder of the second stage in the third position.
 Stage Three Recap:
  • The driver of the No. 51 Cessna Tundra started the third stage in the third position.
  • Busch and Fugle opted to conserve tires and ride in the third position until about 70 laps to go when Busch began to move toward the front. After a short battle with the No. 45, Busch retook the point position, which he maintained through multiple late race cautions and a last lap yellow flag that ended the race.
  • In his 148th series start, Busch earned his 54th career victory and third of the season in three starts.

KBM PR

Kyle Busch is no stranger to success at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series, and the winningest driver in series history added to that record on Saturday with a win in the TruNorth Global 250.

Busch said that, after claiming the first 75-lap stage victory, it was a matter of staying patient during the middle portion of the race and allowing his team’s tire strategy to play out.

“It was a case of being patient. Obviously with trying to go 150 laps to the end of the race on one set of tires is a long way to go, so we just kind of wanted to bide our time and take it easy, make sure we didn’t push too hard,” Busch said. “We didn’t need to go up there and get any stage points or anything like that so the opportunity for us to just kind of ride was given to us.”

Once Busch re-took the lead in the final stage, it was just a matter of surviving a loose condition and some late-race restarts on the way to his second Truck Series victory at Martinsville Speedway.

“We just kept trying to make it turn the center better. That’s where it’s at, at Martinsville. You’ve got to be able to turn the center without getting too lose in and too loose off,” Busch said. “There during the race, a couple of times when I was underneath some guys I’d get loose. I saw other guys getting loose in the same kind of aspect. We were able to get by them and get through them and have enough tire there at the end to hold them off.”

Busch led four times for 174 laps en route to the victory.

Ben Rhodes, Brett Moffitt, Ross Chastain and Stewart Friesen followed Busch home to round out the top-five finishers in the TruNorth Global 250.

As for the famous grandfather clock trophy, Busch said it was crew chief Rudy Fugle’s to keep.

“Yes, he can have the clock,” Busch said of Fugle. “This is his (Fugle’s) first win here at Martinsville. I’ve won here with two other crew chiefs I think so it’s pretty cool to get Rudy his first win at Martinsville.”

Following Busch’s TruNorth Global 250 win, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers hit the track for Virginia Lottery Pole Qualifying ahead of Sunday’s STP 500.

Logano posted a 97.830 mph lap in the final round of knockout qualifying to claim the top spot, edging fellow Ford driver Aric Almirola.

“It was a great lap,” Logano said. “I think we were able to get through the first couple rounds without putting many laps on our tires and that really paid a reward as we got to the third round. The car was pretty good.”

Logano’s fifth pole award at Martinsville Speedway comes in his 21st career Cup Series race weekend at the historic half-mile.

“We definitely work at it a lot and talk about it a lot and it’s just been a track for most of my career I’ve qualified pretty well at, but once I’ve been able to team up with Todd and Team Penske here I’ve really been able to turn those pretty close qualifying efforts to poles,” Logano said. “It’s something that it’s a challenging place to do it because there’s just so much that goes into each round and each lap.”

Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and William Byron round out the top-six starting spots, and will lead the field to the green flag from the first three rows.

Chase Elliott, the fastest car in STP 500 final practice, will start eighth in Sunday’s race.

The STP 500  will be run Sunday at 2 p.m. and tickets are still available.

Adult tickets start at $47 and can be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

Youth tickets for the STP 500 are $25 at any location in the grandstands.

Making his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) debut at Martinsville Speedway, 17-year-old Canadian driver Raphael Lessard had a realistic goal of completing all the laps and finishing the event with his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra in one piece.
 
Lessard, a graduate of the Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) Super Late Model program, caught everyone's attention on Friday when he finished both full-field practices ranked ninth among the 38 cars entered. The results came despite the fact that he had never made laps in a truck, was working with crew chief Michael Shelton for the first time and had never turned a lap at a the challenging .526-mile track in any type of vehicle. The talented teenager upped his game in Saturday morning's qualifying session when he earned the seventh starting position for the 250-lap event.
 
Lessard got shuffled back a few spots on the initial start of the race and would end Stage 1 in the 10th position. After making the first pit stop of his Truck Series career, he was scored in the 11th position when the field took the green to start Stage Two.
 
During the final two stages, Lessard and the No. 46 team found it challenging to find the grip necessary to return to the top 10, but were able to register an average running position of 14.0 as Lessard kept the nose of his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra clean, gained valuable seat time that will help him for his final two starts of his three-race schedule with KBM this season and at the end of the day posted a very respectable 14th-place finish in the race that was televised nationally on FOX.
 
Stage One Recap: 
  • Lessard started the 131.5-mile event from the seventh position on the inside lane, but fell back two positions on the initial start of the race. He would settle into the ninth spot for the first 20 laps and then fell back one more spot to 10th, where he would remain when a one-truck accident on lap 64 brought the field to the end of Stage One. 
Stage Two Recap: 
  • Lessard communicated to Shelton that his Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra was "tight center and free off" before hitting pit road. The over-the-wall crew executed a four-tire and fuel stop along with a trackbar adjustment in an attempt to improve the handling for their young driver.
  • The No. 46 Toyota was scored in the 11th position when the field took the green flag to start Stage Two on lap 79. He was scored in the 13th position when one-truck accident slowed the field for the third time on lap 119.
  • After Lessard reported that he was "super loose on entry," Shelton summoned his driver to pit road for another four-tire and fuel stop, this time using a wedge adjustment in an effort to improve the handling.
  • With a handful of trucks electing not to pit, the Canadian driver took the lap-122 restart from the 15th position. He lost one more spot over the final 18 laps and crossed the stripe 16th to end Stage Two. 
Final Stage Recap: 
  • Between stages Lessard reported that he still wasn't happy with the handling of his Tundra, so when pit road opened, he returned to pit road. Shelton elected to save his final set of sticker tires for later in the race and just called for his over-the-wall crew to make a chassis adjustment and fill the truck with fuel.
  • The No. 46 Toyota restarted in the 13th position when the Final Stage went green on lap 152. Shortly into the stage, Lessard got put in a three-wide situation by Cup Series regular Austin Dillon and would end up falling back to the 17th spot.
  • Lessard was running in the 16th spot when the field was slowed for the fifth time with 60 laps remaining. Shelton put on the final set of tires and made one more attempt at improving the handling of the Spectra Premium/FRL Express Tundra.
  • The field would go back green with 53 laps remaining with the first-time driver scored in the 17th position. He remained in the 17th position when the field was slowed again with 38 laps remaining and was still scored 17th when the sixth caution of the day occurred with seven laps remaining.
  • The final restart of the race came with three laps remaining. The young Canadian would battle hard to gain three positions before a caution on the final lap ended the race. At the end of the day Lessard had completed all 250 laps with his Tundra in one piece and earned a very respectable 14th-place finish. 

KBM PR

Racing Engineering, one of the most successful European racing teams in recent history, will enter the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series with two cars, further raising the already ultra-competitive level of the European NASCAR Series. The Spanish team choose numbers #48 and #88 for its two Ford Mustang. 

Founded in 1999 by Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón and based in Andalusia at Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Racing Engineering rapidly surged to the highest level of motorsports both at national and international level. The team conquered 11 titles in eight years, spanning from the Spanish Formula 3 and GT championships to the World Series title in 2002 and the GP2 drivers title in 2008 and 2013. Racing Engineering was GP2 vice-champion team twice – in 2015 and 2016 – and fielded cars for some of the most talented drivers in the world. 

In 2018, the team finished second in the European Le Mans Series and the ambition for the upcoming season can’t but be to compete with the best NASCAR teams in Europe.

“I am very happy to announce that we are joining the NASCAR family in 2019. It is a category I have always enjoyed watching and wishing to join at some point in our career. This is now a reality. Obviously we are looking forward to some great racing and doing the best we can. It will not be easy as there are some great drivers and teams, but first of all, let’s enjoy the racing and take it from there.”,  said Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón, President of Racing Engineering.

For the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Racing Engineering’s debut is a testament to the ever growing interest surrounding the European NASCAR series and the incredible level reached by the championship in just 10 years of activity.

“It is great to have a world class team such as Racing Engineering starting a Euro NASCAR program! Our championship is now one of the most competitive in Europe and this will be a terrific addition to the field! It is also a true statement of the continual development of the series which gets bigger and better every year. Bienvenidos a NASCAR, Racing Engineering!” said NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin.

Racing Engineering’s Euro NASCAR lineup will be announced at a later date. Meanwhile the team is hard at work to prepare for the April 13-14 NWES season opener on home soil, at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo of Valencia, Spain.

NASCAR Whelen Euro Series PR

Cookies make it easier for us to provide you with our services. With the usage of our services you permit us to use cookies.
Ok Decline