After Chase Elliott performed well in the STP 500 and won a day earlier in the Camping World Truck Series race, the crew from NASCAR America on Monday discussed how Elliott’s off-track preparation and focus helped him learn how to race — and do well — at Martinsville.
Christopher Bell will start from the pole in tonight’s American Ethanol e15 250 at Iowa Speedway. It marks Bell’s first NASCAR Xfinity Series pole in only his second career start in the series.
Bell, who is currently ranked second in the Camping World Truck Series, covered the .875-mile oval with a best lap of 133.305 mph. Kyle Benjamin was a close second (133.294), followed by defending winner Sam Hornish Jr. (133.260), Elliott Sadler (132.990) and Justin Allgaier (132.89).
A total of 40 cars made qualifying runs.
Cancel the APB, take his face off the milk cartons.
Carl Edwards has been found. The former NASCAR Cup star surfaced Saturday at Sonoma Raceway – representing a former sponsor at an event that had been previously scheduled.
Edwards is happy, hale and hearty.
Yet if you think that returning to a racetrack means Edwards will be getting behind the wheel of a race car once again, forget about it.
But he hasn’t lost his wicked sense of humor, either.
“I’ve been talking to a bunch of people and weighing my options — no, just kidding,” he said with a laugh, according to JeffGluck.com.
Then Edwards got serious.
“I haven’t talked to anyone and I haven’t even considered coming back,” Edwards said. “Not right now.
“I think it’s pretty clear if I really want to do something, then I would do it. But like I said in January, I would talk to Coach (Joe Gibbs) first — and I haven’t had any conversations about that.”
Gluck noted that Edwards did write a thank-you note to Gibbs recently that reiterated the opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and that the organization supported him when he decided to leave racing after last season.
Given that racing has been part of his life for more than half his life, it was interesting to hear Edwards, who turns 38 in August, say he hasn’t kept up much with NASCAR nor watched many races since he walked away from the sport.
But he is doing some good. He’s continuing to fly medical patients to treatment in his private plane.
Saturday was the first time Edwards has been at a racetrack since Atlanta Motor Speedway in early March.
He then added, per ESPN.com, “I’m probably happier and more content [than in March],” Edwards said. “You know how change is. You make a change, and there always is good and bad and there’s uneasiness. But, man, I’m enjoying life and it’s good.”
Kyle Larson continues to lead the way in NASCAR — both literally and figuratively.
The current NASCAR Cup points leader will also start Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 race at Sonoma Raceway from the pole for the second straight race, having done so in last week’s eventual win at Michigan International Speedway.
“This is cool to get a pole on a road course in my home state,” Larson told Fox Sports 1. “This is the closest track to Sacramento and Elk Grove, where I grew up, so lots of friends and family here.”
And to make things even sweeter, Larson (qualified with a field-best speed of 95.295 mph) will start Sunday’s race alongside Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray, who qualified on the outside of the front row with his own effort of 95.204 mph.
“I thought I did a really good job,” McMurray told FS1. “I don’t feel like I gave up, or that there was a corner that stuck out. Overall, it was a really good lap, but Kyle just got a little bit more.”
It was also Larson’s third pole of 2017; he also started from the front at Fontana (where he also won) in March.
Here’s the rest of the top 10 qualifiers:
It was Patrick’s best Cup qualifying effort since starting fourth at Charlotte in May 2014, and her third-best Cup qualifying effort ever. It also marked the sixth time since she joined SHR that she out-ran all of her teammates, per RacingInsights.com.
“I feel like I can drive this place in my sleep just because I’ve driven so many laps here over the years,”Patrick told FS1. “Man, I hope Sunday’s good and everything falls right. It’s great, it’s nice, it’s been a tough go of it this year. It feels good to have a good starting spot and let’s hope we start clean and have a smooth day.”
Only 38 cars are qualified for Sunday’s race. Matt Kenseth didn’t get an attempt in Saturday, so he’ll start from the back of the pack.
Yes, Trevor Bayne wants to win, but he can’t wait to get back home after Sunday’s race and see his family and newborn son.
“This was probably the hardest it’s ever been to leave home to come to the race track,’’ Bayne told reporters Saturday before qualifying at Sonoma Raceway.
His son, Levi Jensen Bayne, was born June 20 after a challenging birth.
Bayne and wife Ashton went to the hospital at 6 a.m. on June 19 to induce so their son would be born before Bayne left for this weeknd’s Cup race in Northern California.
Hours later, the baby still hadn’t arrived.
“We induced Monday at 6 a.m. and at midnight still hadn’t had a baby,’’ Bayne said. “She labored all day, and he kind of stopped progressing. I guess … at about 8 o’clock that night, the nurse was checking to see how dilated she was and he grabbed her hand. His hand was above his head and grabbed the nurse and she freaked out. She moved his hand and thought that would helped him progress. At midnight that hadn’t happened. So they decided to do a C-section.
“It’s so hard when you love somebody and you want the best for them, but you’re not in control. Not being in control in the operating room was wearing me out. I just had to keep going back and praying and saying, ‘Lord, I trust you, you’ve brought us this far and whatever good you have for us, I’m going to leave him in your hands.’
“They got (Levi) out and gave him to me, and Ashton was like falling asleep in the middle of it. I couldn’t watch them do the incision, but I watched them sew her back up and that was probably a bad idea. She’s tough, I’ll tell you that much. They found (Levi’s) umbilical cord was around his neck and that’s why he didn’t progress, so it’s a really good thing they did the C-section.
“The next day .. we brought our little girl (18-month-old Elizabeth Kate Bayne) in and she was loving on him and smiling like crazy. Ashton obviously was recovering. This was probably the hardest it’s ever been to leave home to come to the race track. Thursday morning, we left the hospital at 7:30, got home and spent two hours getting them sorted, and I had to leave to fly here. I wanted to stay home. Offseason babies are awesome because you can stay home for a couple of months.
“Everybody is good. Can’t wait to get home to them.’’
Before he does, he has Sunday’s race. Bayne enters this weekend 18th in the points. His best finish is 23rd in two previous races at Sonoma.