Clint Bowyer beaten by Kyle Busch on final restart

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Clint Bowyer emerged from the final pit stop of Sunday’s Toyota / Save Mart 350 with four fresh tires and five cars to pick off for his first Sprint Cup victory of the season.

Unfortunately, the Michael Waltrip Racing driver had to settle for third when he couldn’t fend off a challenge by Kyle Busch on the final restart.

“I tried, just came up a little short,” said Bowyer, who earned MWR’s first top five of the season. “Kyle had a really good short-run car ,and after a handful of laps, I was able to get by him on the run before that. I knew that wasn’t going to be the case (on the final restart). I was just going to have to go. I tried to get up through him and get rough with him and beat him to it, but he beat me to that situation and won.

Bowyer was in sixth on the last restart with seven laps remaining, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson and four other drivers who also hadn’t pitted during the final caution. But Busch, who restarted on the inside line in seventh, had the advantage.

“It was wild, I mean, we were on (fresh) tires there, and you knew there was going to be some of them that stayed out,” Bowyer said. “Unfortunately, I was on that outside line, and my only chance was to just try to hammer my way up through them.”

“Kyle was able to sneak up on the inside of them and kind of beat me to the punch line.”

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, also didn’t make it easy on Bowyer’s No. 15 Toyota.

“You’ve got to get rough, you’ve got to get aggressive,” Bowyer said.  “Matt and I got hooked up and about gave away our whole day there.  It just turned me right and damn near wrecked (me).”

Bowyer, who started sixth and led four laps, eventually passed Johnson and the four cars that didn’t pit, but he also lost second to Kyle Busch’s older brother, Kurt, on the penultimate lap.

It still was a step forward for Bowyer, who made a clever move in earning his first top five since last October at Talladega Superspeedway.

Had Bowyer won, it would have been the first for MWR since Brian Vickers won the fall race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2013. That race was seven races before the infamous Richmond race that saw Clint Bowyer spin out in the closing laps in an apparent effort to help MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. get into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

When the yellow waved the last time Sunday for Casey Mears’ broken axel on Lap 100, Bowyer, running second behind Johnson, dived into the pits and brought most of the lead-lap cars with him while Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy, which led a race-high 45 laps, stayed on the track.

“You’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t there, you know what I mean,” said Bowyer, who entered the race with an average finish of 9.2 at Sonoma, his best on the circuit. “(Johnson), he was waiting to see what everybody was going to do, and I was going to wait until it was too late for him and then jolt in there, and I saw (Kyle Busch) go, and I was like, ‘Wait, wait, wait, don’t go yet.’ I was afraid (Johnson) would try to jerk it in there.”

But the six-time series champion didn’t, setting up a battle for the win between Bowyer and Kyle Busch that effectively was decided in a battle for sixth on the final restart.

“(Kyle Busch) had the right line, and unfortunately I didn’t,” said Bowyer, whose winless drought is approaching three years (Charlotte Motor Speedway, October 2012). “He beat me to the punch line, beat me to the lead and the rest was history.”

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.