Matt Crafton wins fuel mileage battle to take Kansas Truck race

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In a battle of fuel-mileage gamblers, Matt Crafton won while several others were forced to fold early in Friday night’s Toyota Tundra 250 Camping World Truck Series race at Kansas Speedway.

Crafton earned his seventh career Truck Series race and became the first Truck driver to win twice at Kansas.

Erik Jones led 151 laps – a series record on a 1.5-mile track – but was forced to pit with five laps to go when he ran out of fuel. Jones finished 11th.

Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez then challenged for the lead, but both also ran out of fuel in the final two laps, allowing Crafton to take the lead and hold on for the win, having led a total of just six laps in the 167-lap event.

Sprint Cup regular Ryan Newman finished second, followed by Johnny Sauter, Timothy Peters and Cameron Hayley.

Suarez finished sixth, followed by Justin Boston, Scott Lagasse Jr., Mason Mingus and Daniel Hemric.

How Crafton won: Fuel mileage management. While pole-sitter Erik Jones dominated, building more than a 10-second lead at one point, Crafton was his usual calm and collected self. He saved fuel when he needed to and watched Jones, Tyler Reddick and Daniel Suarez all fall short of their bid to win when they all ran out of fuel in the closing laps. “They told me we weren’t going to make it, but we had great horsepower,” Crafton said. “It was not the winning truck. We were definitely second-place truck.”

Who else had a good day: The entire ThorSport Racing team. Teammates Johnny Sauter finished third and Cameron Hayley finished fifth. … Also having a good day was Sprint Cup regular Ryan Newman, who made a rare Truck Series start and finished second. … In a deal that was put together earlier this week, Scott Lagasse Jr. came up with an eighth-place finish.

Who had a bad day: Even though he dominated, Erik Jones ultimately had a bad day, finishing 11th. Part of the reason could be how Jones stretched out such lengthy leads over his competitors several times in the race. Had he been able to save fuel, he may not have had to pit with five laps to go, costing him any chance at the win. … Ben Kennedy managed to complete only 57 laps and finished a disappointing 26th.

Notables: Tyler Reddick overcame going to a backup truck after a qualifying crash with teammate Austin Theriault. Reddick was looking for a win and likely would have had it if he hadn’t of run out of fuel with two laps to go. He finished 13th.

Quote of the day: “Man, it just sucks. We had by far the best truck. We were up to an 11-second lead at one point. It’s just so terrible for these guys when we bring that fast of a truck and we can’t bring the win home. … Being eight laps short, I don’t know how the 88 (Crafton) made it. It’s just too bad.” – Erik Jones

What’s next: May 16, 8:30 pm, North Carolina Education Lottery 200, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Fox Sports 1/Performance Racing Network

Standings: 1 Matt Crafton. 2 Tyler Reddick (-17 points). 3 Erik Jones (-18). 4 Johnny Sauter (-22). 5 Cameron Hayley (-52). 6 John Wes Townley (-53). 7 Timothy Peters (-54). 8 Justin Boston (-61). 9 Ray Black Jr. (-63). 10 Spencer Gallagher (-64).

FINAL RESULTS:

1 Matt Crafton … 167 laps (led 6 laps)

2 Ryan Newman … 167 laps (led 2 laps)

3 Johnny Sauter … 167 laps

4 Timothy Peters … 167 laps

5 Cameron Hayley … 167 laps

6 Daniel Suarez … 167 laps (led 1 lap)

7 Justin Boston … 166 laps

8 Scott Lagasse Jr. … 166 laps

9 Mason Mingus … 166 laps

10 Daniel Hemric … 166 laps

11 Erik Jones … 166 laps (led 151 laps)

12 John Wes Townley … 166 laps

13 Tyler Reddick … 165 laps (led 7 laps)

14 Austin Theriault … 165 laps

15 Tyler Tanner … 165 laps

16 Wendell Chavous … 164 laps

17 Spencer Gallagher … 163 laps

18 Jordan Anderson … 159 laps

19 Jennifer Jo Cobb … 154 laps

20 Ryan Ellis … 154 laps

21 Ray Black Jr. … 109 laps

22 Korbin Forrister … 90 laps

23 Tyler Young … 74 laps

24 Norm Benning … 69 laps

25 Travis Kvapil … 60 laps

26 Ben Kennedy … 57 laps

27 Justin Jennings … 24 laps

28 BJ McLeod … 18 laps

29 Matt Tifft … 18 laps

30 Brandon Jones … 11 laps

31 Michael Affarano … 6 laps

32 Caleb Roark … 5 laps

Average Speed: 139.857 MPH

Time of Race: 1 Hour, 47 Minutes, 28 Seconds

Margin of Victory: 8.339 seconds

Lead Changes: 11 among 5 drivers

Cautions: 4 for 19 laps

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eNASCAR Pro Invitational Qualifier to be streamed online

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The qualifying race for Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway will be streamed on enascar.com/live, NASCAR announced.

The qualifier features Xfinity, Truck and regional series drivers looking to advance to the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race that will be at 1 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox, FS1 and the Fox Sports App. At this time, four drivers from the qualifier will advance. That number could change depending on any late additions or drops to the race featuring Cup drivers.

MORE: Roush, Greg Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

MORE: North Wilkesboro to make its comeback on iRacing 

MORE: eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series reminds Clint Bowyer of being a rookie

The qualifier is scheduled to take place at 11:02 a.m. ET and have 34 drivers battling for those four transfer spots.

The qualifier will be 30 laps at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway. The race will have no cautions.

Practice begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. Qualifying begins at 10:55 a.m., lasting five minutes, followed by the race.

Last week, six drivers advanced from the qualifier to the main event. They were: Anthony Alfredo, Justin Allgaier, Chase Briscoe, Austin Cindric, Ty Majeski and Ryan Truex.

Drivers scheduled to compete in Sunday’s qualifier at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway are (with car number):

02 – Spencer Boyd

7 – Justin Allgaier

08 – Jeb Burton

15 – Brennan Poole

16 – Justin Haley

22 – Austin Cindric

23 – Sam Mayer

26 – Tyler Ankrum

27 – Ruben Garcia

29  – Kaz Grala

29a – Trevor Bayne

33 – Anthony Alfredo

35 – Todd Gilliland

36 – Jesse Iwuji

40 – Ryan Truex

45 – Ty Majeski

46 – Chandler Smith

50 – Jeffrey Earnhardt

52 – Stewart Friesen

53 – Joey Gase

54 – Kyle Weatherman

63 – Scott Stenzel

68 – Brandon Brown

74 – Sheldon Creed

78 – Ryan Ellis

80 – Joe Graf Jr.

81 – Christian Eckes

90 – Alex Labbe

93 – Myatt Snider

98 – Chase Briscoe

99 – Harrison Burton

TBD – Derek Kraus

TBD – Drew Dollar

TBD – JJ Yeley

March 28 in NASCAR history: Texas Terry Labonte gets a home win

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Terry Labonte’s last two Cup Series wins were anything but forgettable.

The last one, in 2003, came in the Southern 500. That was the same race he earned his first Cup win in way back in 1980.

But four years earlier, the two-time champion got a home win.

A native of Corpus Christi, Texas, the driver nicknamed “Texas Terry” claimed a victory in the 1999 race at Texas Motor Speedway. It was just the third Cup race held at the facility after it opened in 1997.

Labonte started fourth and would lead 124 of 334 laps around the 1.5-mile track, including the final 12 after he passed Dale Jarrett on the outside going into Turn 1 for the lead.

Jarrett wouldn’t get a chance to fight for the lead again. With four laps to go, Jimmy Spencer crashed on the frontstretch to bring out the caution. Labonte took the checkered and yellow flags together for his 21st Cup win.

“We picked places to go test this year and I said ‘I want to go here cause this is a race I want to win,” Labonte told CBS. “Besides Daytona, coming here to Texas is awesome.”

Making the day even better for the Labonte family was Terry’s younger brother, Bobby, placing third.

Also on this day:

1954: The premier series held two races on different sides of the country. Dick Rathmann won a 125-mile race at Oakland Speedway in California after starting last. In Georgia, Al Keller won his first career race at Savannah’s Oglethorpe Speedway.

1982: Sam Ard claimed his first career Xfinity Series win in a race at Martinsville Speedway. Ard would go on to win 22 Xfinity races and the championships in 1983 and 1984.

1992: Robert Pressley passed Harry Gant on the last lap to win the Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

1993: Dale Earnhardt came back from a lap down to win at Darlington Raceway. It was his first win since the Coca-Cola 600 10 months earlier. Alan Kulwicki finished sixth in what would be his last race before his death in a plane crash on April 1.

2004: Kurt Busch won at Bristol for his third consecutive victory on the half-mile track.

Roush, Biffle reunite for eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series race

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After four years, Roush Fenway Racing and Greg Biffle are getting the band back together … digitally.

Roush Fenway Racing announced its former driver will compete in Sunday’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event on a digital Texas Motor Speedway.

Like he did in the Cup Series from 2003-2016, Biffle will pilot a No. 16 Ford in the race (1 p.m. ET on Fox and FS1).

“How exciting is it to get back behind the wheel of the No. 16,” Biffle said in a press release. “I watched the iRace last week on TV and I was really impressed with the overall quality of the broadcast and the racing. It was just a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the show this weekend.

“We are running a really cool Castrol scheme on the car. I think it’s going to show up really well. My plan is to log a ton of practice time leading up to the race, so hopefully we can have a strong showing and you’ll see a lot of the Castrol green and red on the broadcast.”

This will be Biffle’s iRacing event debut.

After parting ways with Roush Fenway Racing after the 2016 season, Biffle returned to NASCAR last year for a one-off Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway with Kyle Busch Motorsports, which he won.

NASCAR teams impacted by North Carolina stay at home order

Robert Willett/The News & Observer via AP
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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced a stay at home order for the entire state of North Carolina, beginning at 5 p.m. ET Monday because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The order is for 30 days.

The move impacts all NASCAR teams based in North Carolina.

“These are tough directives, but I need you to take them seriously,” Gov. Cooper said in afternoon news briefing.

MORE: N.C. Governor enlists Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson for COVID-19 PSA

MORE: North Carolina stay at home order

The order bans gatherings of more than 10 people and directs everyone to stay at least six feet away from each other. The order requires all residents to stay at home except for essential activities. The order states: “non-essential business and operations must cease.”

The order also states that among the definitions for an essential business and operation is “Businesses that meet Social Distancing Requirements. Businesses, not-for-profit organizations or educational institutions that conduct operations while maintaining Social Distancing Requirements:

a. Between and among its employees; and

b. Between and among employees and customers except at the point of sale or purchase.”

Mecklenburg County and Cabarrus County, which are home to such race teams as Joe Gibbs Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Chip Ganassi Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing, were already under a stay at home order through April 16.

By the end of the week, more than 20 states will have issued stay at home orders, including California, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Ohio.