Sonoma Raceway weekend turns focus to AJ Allmendinger

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It’s quite simple. This weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Sonoma Raceway is one of AJ Allmendinger’s best chances of winning and returning to the Chase.

As the most recent Cup winner of a road course event – he won last year at Watkins Glen – his road-racing background and how well he’s run on such tracks before, it’s not a stretch to think he could win.

“We all know it’s going to be one of our best opportunities to win,’’ Allmendinger said in a team release. “Last year, it was heartbreaking, but in the end I don’t think we had a car good enough to win the race with the way the race played out. So, we’ve got some good ideas this time around that will help us.”

Allmendinger has not finished better than 13th since March. Sonoma offers hope for a driver 22nd in the points. He has two top-10 finishes at Sonoma and led 35 laps last year. Contact late in last year’s race with Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended any hope for Allmendinger to win, while Earnhardt went on to finish third, his first career top-10 at Sonoma.

“It is more like a short track there, but in the end, track position is so critical and making sure you put tires on at the right point,’’ Allmendinger said of succeeding at Sonoma. “I would say strategy is almost more important at Sonoma than Watkins Glen because at Watkins Glen the race kind of just plays out and you know if you are going to do two or three stops. Your strategy in a certain way, everybody is kind of close to each other.

“At Sonoma, tires means so much. Look at a guy like Dale Jr. last year, I think he said he pitted five times. He said forget it we are not staying out we are pitting every time and it worked out for him. Strategy is important and track position is really important there.”

Crew chief Brian Burns also has another strategy in mind this year.

“Last year, I would say we had a very strong car on short runs,’’ he said in a team release. “Our focus is to put a little more into the car for long runs without sacrificing front speed. At Sonoma, you don’t want to fall off as much and struggle with rear grip.

 “We will treat this weekend like any another race, but everybody in our race shop knows this is a place we can go to and win. We want to stay calm, focus on a solid weekend and doing the easy stuff right.”

 

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.