Chris Buescher wins Dover Xfinity race by nearly 12 seconds; Regan Smith takes $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize

6 Comments

With virtually every driver in fuel conservation mood, Chris Buescher had just enough gas in his tank to not only win — but also by nearly 12 seconds — in Saturday’s Buckle Up 200 Presented By Click It Or Ticket at Dover International Speedway.

Buescher won by running an unheard of 98 laps on the final tank of fuel to earn his second Xfinity Series race of the season (also won at Iowa three weeks ago) and third of his career. Matt Kenseth finished second.

Buescher had actually held more than a 16-second lead with two laps to go, but backed off to save the last few remaining drops of fuel he had in his tank, assuring that he’d make it to the finish line.

“I can’t believe how slow we were having to run to do it,” Buescher told Fox TV. “It was just such a slow pace there at the end. We’re clutching it before the start-finish line and just letting it role. They’re just telling me to stay off the gas, stay off the gas, but we made it to the end and had enough for a burnout.”

Regan Smith was third and earned the first of four $100,000 Xfinity Dash For Cash prizes. Austin Dillon finished fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Brendan Gaughan, Ty Dillon, Erik Jones and Jeremy Clements.

MORE: Results of Buckle Up 200 Xfinity Series race at Dover

MORE: With Dover win, Buscher increases Xfinity Series points lead

How Buescher won: Buescher did a magnificent job of saving fuel, going the final 98 laps on one tank of fuel. He did his job in textbook fashion, by saving fuel along the way and then moving to the point for the first time with 10 laps to go, passing teammate Bubba Wallace Jr., while his fellow competitors had to slow down and save fuel themselves. It was Buescher’s second win in three races and allowed him to open up a 15-point edge in the points standings, the largest the spread has been this season.

Who else had a good day: Even though he finished third, Regan Smith had a very rewarding day – to the tune of $100,000 – by having the highest finish in the first of four Xfinity Dash 4 Cash events this season. “That certainly takes the sting away from that third. I don’t know how the 60 car (Buescher) made it all the way (to the finish). I don’t know how they did that. … We’ll take some of Xfinity’s money as a consolation prize, that’s okay, we’re always happy about that. We’re going to keep fighting hard. I want to win so freakin’ bad right now, it’s about to kill me, so we’ll keep battling.” Smith also moved up one spot, from fifth to fourth, in the Xfinity points standings with his third-place finish.

Who had a bad day: Brian Scott was hoping to repeat his win at Dover from six years ago (in the Truck Series). But on Lap 64, Scott and Ryan Blaney tangled, sending both drivers into the wall. As Scott’s crumpled car rolled down the track, Jamie Dick was unable to avoid it and slammed hard into Scott. While Blaney was able to continue on, Scott’s and Dick’s day were both over. “The 22 was kinda out of control,” Scott said of Blaney to Fox TV. “He got real loose out of (Turn) 4, so I got a run on his inside going into Turn 1. I just felt he didn’t give me any room, I feel like he was stuck to my door and it caused me to spin around.”

Notable: Erik Jones led a race-high 70 laps, and was hoping to celebrate his 19th birthday with a win. But a costly mistake coming onto pit road on the final pit stop cost him what had been a 20-second lead and ultimately relegated him to a ninth-place finish. “I just missed it, I screwed up, just trying a little too hard,” Jones told Fox TV. “I wanted to make sure we could get out ahead of everybody. Clean air was so big today. I thought that’s what we needed. It’s just tough to get on pit road here. I should have practiced it. I didn’t think about it during the day. We fought hard all day and put ourselves in position to have a shot and led a lot of laps, but it didn’t work out at the end.” … In post-race inspection, the 33 car of fourth-place finisher Austin Dillon was found to be too low. Any penalties will likely be issued this Tuesday or Wednesday.

Quote of the day, Part 1: “It’s my teammate so I can’t really say much. … He ran over me and winds up winning. It should be interesting Monday morning (in team meetings). We just got run over. It sucks that it was my teammate. … I would say I’m happy Roush won, but I’m not.” – Darrell Wallace Jr. on how he and teammate James Buescher got into each other late in the race, allowing Buescher to go on and win.

Quote of the day, Part 2: “Bubba and I were on the same (pit) strategy and we were able to run a quicker pace, still. I couldn’t do anything with him at the end of the straightaway. It is what it is. We got a win. It’s hard when somebody runs you down that close. I don’t know. It was a fun day, Ford did a great job. … It was quite the day for us.” – James Buescher responding to Bubba Wallace’s comments.

What’s next: The Xfinity Series enjoys an off-weekend next week. It returns to action on June 13 at Michigan International Speedway in the Great Clips 250 Benefitting Paralyzed Veterans.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Ryan Blaney fastest in final Cup practice at New Hampshire

Leave a comment

Ryan Blaney was fastest in the Cup Series’ final practice session at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Blaney posted a top speed of 133.572 mph.

He was followed by Denny Hamlin (133.226 mph), Kyle Busch (132.739), Kevin Harvick (132.688) and Martin Truex Jr. (132.646).

Brad Keselowski (sixth) and Kurt Busch (14th) each recorded the most laps in the session with 61.

Blaney also had the best 10-lap average.

Click here for the speed chart.

Alex Bowman wrecked in Turns 1 and 2 in the middle of the session.

Bowman, who was already in a backup car after he had a driveshaft failure in qualifying Friday, will now go to a second backup car. The No. 88 team will use Jimmie Johnson‘s backup car.

Matt DiBenedetto‘s left-rear tire shredded twice during the session.

“Not a lot of warning, I’ll tell you that,” DiBenedetto told NBCSN after the first tire problem. “I went down into (Turn) 1 and I was passing (Landon Cassill), as soon as we got down into the corner I don’t know if we ran over something or what but the left rear went down in a hurry.”

DiBenedetto, who qualified seventh for Sunday’s race, was able return to the track to make a lap right before the session ended.

 

Practice mayhem at New Hampshire as Alex Bowman crashes backup

Leave a comment

LOUDON, N.H. — Alex Bowman will be moving to his third Cup car of the weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and this Camaro isn’t even his.

After suffering a driveshaft failure in qualifying Friday that ruined his primary car, Bowman crashed his backup No. 88 Chevrolet in final practice Saturday on the 1.058-mile oval.

Hendrick team members immediately began scrambling to prepare the backup No. 48 Chevrolet of teammate Jimmie Johnson for Bowman (Hendrick’s fourth driver, William Byron, already was in a backup after crashing Saturday morning).

Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Jeff Andrews told NBCSN’s Dave Burns that the team elected to use Johnson’s car instead of Chase Elliott‘s No. 9 because Johnson’s car had a traditional paint scheme that made the switchover more favorable to wrapping the car in the No. 88’s sponsor colors and logos.

“To rewrap the 48 vs. the 9, that’s a better option for us in terms of body tolerances and things like that,” Andrews said. “There’ll be only decals to rip off (Johnson’s car) due to the fact that the base coat is a paint and then we’ll apply the 88 wrap to that 48 chassis and body.

“Obviously we’ve got a great group of guys. Unfortunately, we’ve been put through a lot the last couple of days, but we’ll get through it, and we’ll line up and go racing tomorrow. It’s been a tough day, but we’ll get through it.”

Crew chief Greg Ives gathered all of Bowman’s team in the No. 88 hauler after the wreck.

“I think for Alex and the team, you just have to keep track of the big picture here, and we have to stay focused and not panic and go out tomorrow and do the best we can in the race,” Andrews said. “Certainly yesterday was not Alex’s fault. We had a mechanical failure there, and today we’re not really sure what happened there, but obviously at this point in time, we just need to get the best car underneath Alex and the race team.”

There are five drivers who will start from the rear in backup cars for Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire: Bowman, Kyle Larson, Byron, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin.

Newman and Hamlin crashed in practice Friday, and Byron and Larson had trouble in the first session Saturday morning.

Matt DiBenedetto also suffered two tire problems on his No. 95 Toyota (without sustaining major damage) during the final practice, which was paced by Ryan Blaney.

Tyler Reddick, girlfriend Alexa De Leon expecting first child

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Defending Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick has a new title: Father-to-be.

Reddick, 23, announced on Instagram Saturday that he and girlfriend Alexa De Leon are expecting their first child.

The Richard Childress Racing driver made the announcement while the Xfinity Series is competing in New Hampshire.

The birth of the child will make Reddick one of only two drivers in the top 10 in Xfinity points who have children. Justin Allgaier, who is 33, is the other.

 

Today’s Xfinity race at New Hampshire: Start time, lineup and more

Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Cole Custer, Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick have combined to win 10 of the last 11 Xfinity Series races heading into today’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Bell won this race a year ago. Will the dominance of the Xfinity Series’ Big 3 continue or will a new winner emerge?

Here is all the info you need for today’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START:  The command to start engines will be given at 4:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:16 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage opens at 7:30 a.m. Qualifying is at 11:05 a.m. Driver/crew chief meeting is at 1:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 3:30 p.m. The invocation will be given at 4 p.m. by Pastor Mark Warren. Ellen Kane will perform the National Anthem at 4:01 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 200 laps (211.6 miles) around the 1.058-mile track.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

TV/RADIO: NBCSN will televise the race. Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. with Countdown to Green on NBCSN. The Performance Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 3:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: wunderground.com calls for mostly sunny skies and a temperature of 94 degrees and a 2% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Christopher Bell beat Brad Keselowski and Ryan Preece to win his second of three consecutive Xfinity races. 

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for the starting lineup.