Sonoma Raceway looms as Matt Kenseth’s worst track

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Sonoma Raceway is not Matt Kenseth’s best track. With an average finish of 22.1 through 15 starts, it’s his worst track on the Sprint Cup circuit.

His next worse average finish is at Talladega Superspeedway, where even though he has one win (2012), Kenseth averages a finish of 18th at the restrictor plate track.

But Sonoma’s 12-turn, 1.99-mile road course is where the Cup teams are heading this week. There, Kenseth has earned only one top-10 finish (2008) and it’s the only track Kenseth has never led a lap on (he has also led one lap at Watkins Glen International).

However, Kenseth still looks forward to the first road course on the Cup schedule.

“I enjoy racing at Sonoma, but I think the hardest thing for me there is to give my crew the feedback they need in order to make my car right,” Kenseth said in a release. “I feel that when we get it right, I can run some really fast laps there, but I’m always working to tell them exactly what I need and how to get our DG Camry there.”

In Kenseth’s ear for the third year is crew chief Jason Ratcliff. In their first two years at Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth finished 19th in 2013 and 42nd in 2014 after a crash on Lap 75 with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Kenseth was running 13th at the time.

“The last couple of times that we’ve gone to Sonoma, Matt and the No. 20 team have had some good qualifying efforts and fast cars,” Ratcliff said. Kenseth has started sixth and 14th the last two visits to Sonoma. “I thought we had a really good run going last year but we just didn’t get the finish to show for a decent day due to a crash.”

Said Kenseth: “Sonoma seems to be different every time we go there. Some races have been won there by strategy, while other ones have been won by speed. Restarts are really important at Sonoma, and of course, track position is incredibly important there.”

For Kenseth’s newest JGR teammate, Carl Edwards, strategy is what won the race in 2014, when Edwards started fourth.

In the last five seasons, the winner of the Sonoma race has started in the top five just twice. The other three races the winner has come from 11th (Kurt Busch, 2011), sixth (Clint Bowyer, 2012) and 14th (Martin Truex Jr., 2013).

“Sonoma is more like a short track kind of road course and it’s completely different from the other road course we visit in Watkins Glen,” Ratcliff said. “You’ll see guys who run well at Sonoma are not necessarily the same ones who run well at the Glen.”

Kenseth isn’t in desperate need of a win to get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup thanks to his victory at Bristol Motor Speedway. However, he can look forward to the race at Kentucky Speedway in two weeks. Through four races there, Kenseth has his best average finish of 4.5.

Ryan Luza wins NASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race at Bristol

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Ryan Luza won Tuesday night’s NASCAR Coca-Cola iRacing Series race held on a digital Bristol Motor Speedway.

Luza, who competes for Williams ESports, claimed the win in a three-lap overtime finish over Garrett Lowe and Zack Novak.

Then event was slowed by five cautions in the last 48 laps of regulation, with the last one occurring with four laps left and forcing the overtime finish.

Luza is the first repeat winner of the season after winning consecutive events.

“We just had an amazing long-run car,” Luza said. “I had a pit stop malfunction on the first pit stop after we got to third on the first run. I was pretty upset. But we got another long run and we came flying through the field after about 30 laps. … I think we pretty much had the field covered on the long run there.”

The series’ next race is scheduled for April 14 on a digital Richmond Raceway.

Results

  1. Ryan Luza (Williams eSports)
  2. Garrett Lowe (Wood Brothers Racing)
  3. Zack Novak (Richmond Raceway eSports)
  4. Michael Conti (JR Motorsports)
  5. Bobby Zalenski (Virtual Racing School)
  6. Brad Davies (JR Motorsports)
  7. Alex McCollum (G2 eSports)
  8. Michael Guest (Team Dillon eSports)
  9. Caine Cook (Renegades eSports)
  10. Justin Bolton (Stewart-Haas eSports
  11. Bob Bryant (Kyle Larson Racing eSports)
  12. Keegan Leahy (Denny Hamlin Racing)
  13. Nick Ottinger (William Byron eSports)
  14. Jake Nichols (Mode Motorsports)
  15. Ray Alfalla (Virtual Racing School)
  16. Christian Challiner (JTG Daugherty Racing)
  17. Graham Bowlin (Joe Gibbs Racing)
  18. Steve Sheehan (Kyle Larson Racing)
  19. Matt Bussa (Williams Esports
  20. Kollin Keister (Roush Fenway Racing)
  21. Logan Clampitt (Burton Kligerman eSports)
  22. Michael Guariglia (Jim Beaver eSports)
  23. Chris Shearburn (Letarte eSports)
  24. Jarl Teien (G2 eSports)
  25. Phil Diaz (Mode Motorsports)
  26. Brian Schoenburg (Clint Bowyer Racing)
  27. Casey Kirwan (Denny Hamlin Racing)
  28. John Gorlinsky (William Byron eSports)
  29. Ashton Crowder (Burton Kligerman eSports)
  30. Brandon Kettelle (Clint Bowyer Racing)
  31. Malik Ray (Joe Gibbs Racing)
  32. Jimmy Mullis (Richmond Raceway eSports)
  33. Chris Overland (Wood Brothers Racing)
  34. Santiago Tirres (Letarte eSports)
  35. Corey Vincent (Renegades)
  36. Dylan Duval (Stewart-Haas eSports)
  37. Jeremy Allen (JTG Daugherty Racing)
  38. Eric Smith (Jim Beaver eSports)
  39. Nathan Lyon (Roush Fenway Racing)
  40. Blake Reynolds (Dillon eSports)

 

Joey Logano Foundation establishes $1 million COVID-19 fund

Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images
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The Joey Logano Foundation has established a $1 million COVID-19 response and recovery fund in partnership with Elevation Church, the foundation announced Tuesday.

The funding will address a variety of needs, including educational equity and access, medical supplies, food distribution and financial shortages throughout the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area and communities across the United States. Elevation Church is based in the Charlotte suburb of Matthews, North Carolina, and has locations in Virginia, South Carolina, Florida and Canada.

“I’ve been blessed to have the ability to help others with our platform and for the past few weeks, the Joey Logano Foundation has been able to help in multiple ways on a local level,” Logano said in a statement. “However, (wife) Brittany and I knew we could do more and felt a huge calling to give on a larger capacity at a statewide and national level.

“Partnering up with Elevation Outreach couldn’t have been a better fit. At a blistering pace, Elevation Outreach and the Joey Logano Foundation have been able to create a $1,000,000 COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, which will help provide funding and necessary supplies for organizations in need during this scary time. Part of JLF’s mission is to inspire others to live a life of generosity and our hope is that this Response and Recovery fund is a catalyst for others to be inspired to give back during this pandemic.”

For more information, contact foundation@joeylogano.com or outreach@elevationchurch.org.

NASCAR Texas event tops TV record for eSports event

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Last weekend’s eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series event from a virtual Texas Motor Speedway, drew 1.3 million viewers, breaking the record for eSports TV viewership set bv the previous week’s race.

The data is according to Nielsen Sports.

Last weekend’s event from the digital Texas Motor Speedway, won by Timmy Hill, was broadcast on FOX and FS1. Not all FOX markets aired the race.

The previous record for eSports viewership on TV was 903,000 for the March 22 race from a digital Homestead-Miami Speedway that Denny Hamlin won and aired on FS1. The Texas viewership was 1,339,000.

The next event in the eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series takes place at 1 p.m. ET Sunday from a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast on FOX, FS1 and the Fox Sports App.

 

A look at iRacing rigs NASCAR drivers are using

Photo: Erik Jones
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With NASCAR racing postponed through early May at this point, drivers are spending their time on their iRacing simulators.

The eNASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series continues this weekend with drivers competing at a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday. Denny Hamlin won the opening race at a digital Homestead-Miami Speedway. Timmy Hill won last weekend’s race at a virtual Texas Motor Speedway.

Here’s a look at the various sim rigs drivers are using.