Long: Giddy Tony Stewart ready for more after Richmond run

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RICHMOND, Va. — Any other day, Tony Stewart’s hand gesture is different.

This was Joey Logano after all, a driver Stewart has feuded with before. Their contact on a restart Sunday at Richmond International Raceway caused Stewart’s left rear tire to go down a few laps later as he tried to get back on the lead lap.

After pitting, Stewart was at the back of the field for the restart. Logano was beside him. Stewart saw Logano, stuck his hand out the window … and gave a thumbs up sign.

“That was fun and cool, and I wanted him to know to not worry about it,’’ Stewart said.

That contact, a 19th-place finish and “magic cautions,’’ as Stewart called the debris cautions when he was one spot away from getting the free pass, couldn’t ruin his first start of the season.

Stewart was grateful and giddy to return to the car after missing the season’s first eight races because of a back injury he suffered in a Jan. 31 sand dunes accident. He knows he has only 27 more Sprint Cup races left before he closes this chapter of his life.

Stewart was so excited after his 400-lap drive, he was ready to do it again immediately.

“I can promise you I can outlast these guys,’’ Stewart said. “There’s a bunch of these guys who couldn’t run another 400 laps. I guarantee you at 44 I can still out race a lot of these guys. If there is anybody that thinks we’ve lost it, we haven’t lost shit. So kiss my ass.’’

That’s the spunky Stewart the sport has missed, whose sharp wit and tongue have few equals. It was only fitting that the day he announced he would race at Richmond this weekend, NASCAR fined him for comments questioning the sport’s stance on teams not tightening all five lug nuts on each wheel.

Stewart said he’s not sure what he was fined but didn’t seem to care.

“If I believe strongly in something, I’m going to speak up for it,’’ he said.

NASCAR stated Friday that it would re-evaluate the issue.

“We’ll be patient and wait and see what they come up with,’’ Stewart said. “At least they’re going to fix it.’’

Nothing changed Sunday with several teams gluing four lug nuts on a wheel instead of five.

Stewart was having too much fun to mind. His radio chatter was reminiscent of the days he ran at the front. About the only thing missing was his “here kitty, kitty, kitty’’ call.

His quips had his team smiling.

“Man, a cold Busch beer or an ice cream sandwich would look really good right now,’’ Stewart radioed his crew about 80 laps from the end of the 400-lap race.

“Tell you what,’’ crew chief Mike Bugarewicz said, “you get on the lead lap, we’ll get you one.

“Not that you need to dangle a carrot before me,’’ Stewart responded.

After told of changes the team made on a pit stop, Stewart responded before the Lap 275 restart by saying: “I don’t need to know what you did, I just got to drive it with what you did.’’

Earlier in the race as he ran outside the top 20, he told his team: “They can run all these races during the day. It is so much fun during the day.’’

“That’s what is making it fun. You get in traffic and got five guys and they’re all doing one thing different then the rest of them. It is a good time.’’

Stewart beamed after exiting the car even with the mid-pack finish. He relished his battle with eventual winner Carl Edwards when Edwards attempted to put Stewart a lap down. It took a few laps but Edwards did pass Stewart on Lap 146.

“We kept him honest,’’ Stewart said. “He got by us and cleared us and I almost got back by him. I bet you go up and down this pit road and ask those guys if I’m back, I’ll bet a bunch of them will be shaking their heads and say, ‘I don’t think he was ever gone.’ ‘’

Count Edwards among that group.

“I was real happy he was back till about five laps into that battle,’’ Edwards said with a smile.

When the day was through, spotter Bob Jeffrey told Stewart: “Good job today. First day of school.’’

Bugarewicz told Stewart he’ll do a better job working with Stewart after their first race together.

“I think this is pretty good first day,’’ Stewart said.

A thumbs up kind of day.

Bristol Truck race results, driver points

Bristol Truck race results
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Sam Mayer scored his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night. The 17-year-old finished ahead of GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt.

Mayer is the youngest driver to win a Truck race at Bristol.

Tanner Gray placed third and was followed by Parker Kligerman and Chandler Smith.

Gray’s finished tied a career high. Kligerman’s finish was his best this season.

Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line fifth but his truck was disqualified for failing post-race heights in inspection.

The next race in the playoffs is Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Click here for race results


Brett Moffitt leads the points after the opening race in the first round of the playoffs. He leads Sheldon Creed by nine points. Zane Smith trails Moffitt by 12 points.

Click here for points report

17-year-old Sam Mayer wins first NASCAR Truck race

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
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Sam Mayer passed GMS Racing teammate Brett Moffitt with 30 laps to go and went on to score his first career NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series win Thursday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The victory came in the seventh career Truck start for the 17-year-old Mayer. The win also came a few days after JR Motorsports announced that Mayer would drive for the team in the second half of the 2021 Xfinity Series, once he turns 18.

“I love this place,” Mayer told FS1 after the 200-lap race. “I don’t know what to say.”

Mayer was helped by having tires that were 52 laps fresher than Moffitt’s tires.

MORE: Race results 

Mayer is not competing in the playoffs and does not advance to the second round. He said he has two more Truck races left to run this season.

Mayer followed his Truck win by taking the checkered flag in the ARCA Menards Series race that followed Thursday night.

Moffitt, who is competing in the playoffs, finished second. He was followed by Tanner Gray and Parker Kligerman.

Trevor Bayne finished fifth but his Truck was disqualified after the race for failing inspection. His truck failed post-race heights. Chandler Smith finished fifth after Bayne’s disqualification.

Moffitt was one of only four playoff drivers to finish in the top 10. Grant Enfinger was sixth. Tyler Ankrum placed seventh. Matt Crafton was 10th.

Mayer is the second youngest winner in series history. Cole Custer is the youngest winner in series history. Custer was 16 years, 7 months, 28 days when he won in Sept. 2014 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Mayer becomes the youngest Truck winner at Bristol at 17 years, 2 months, 22 days. Ryan Blaney had held that record, winning a 2015 race there at age 21 years, 4 months, 19 days.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Brett Moffitt

STAGE 2 WINNER: Tyler Ankrum

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tanner Gray’s third-place finish tied his career best. He finished third at Michigan earlier this season. … Parker Kligerman’s fourth-place finish is his best of the season while running a limited schedule.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Austin Hill finished 26th, worst among the playoff drivers. He had contact on Lap 2 with Stewart Friesen.

NOTABLE: Trevor Bayne said that four weeks ago he didn’t know if he would be racing again at Bristol. He crossed the finish line fifth but his truck failed inspection after the race and was disqualified.

NEXT: The second race of the opening round of the playoffs is at 9 p.m. ET Sept. 25 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway to host polling site for election

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Residents and race fans in parts of North Texas will be able to cast their vote in the upcoming election at their local NASCAR track.

Texas Motor Speedway will be a polling site for the Nov. 3 election.

The track, owned by Speedway Motorsports, will serve as a polling site for the residents of Precinct 4048. That precinct includes a large portion of Denton County and Forth Worth, Texas.

The polling site will be in the Lone Star Tower Condominium Clubhouse just outside Turn 2. It will be open from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET on election day.

More: Upcoming Cup playoffs races can fans attend

“In anticipation of a very high voter turnout for the presidential election, we have been working for months to acquire polling sites throughout the county,” Frank Phillips, Denton County Elections Administrator, said in a press release. “We are excited that Texas Motor Speedway has offered the use of the Lone Star Tower Clubhouse as a polling site.”

Local, state and CDC guidelines will be followed to ensure a sanitized, safe and socially distanced voter experience.

TMS is the first track that hosts NASCAR Cup races to announce its plans for use as a polling site. It joins sporting venues for other major sports in doing so.

A number of NBA arenas and practice facilities will be voting locations, as well as select NFL stadiums and NHL arenas.

Travis Pastrana, Conor Daly set for Las Vegas Truck Series race

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Action sports star Travis Pastrana and IndyCar driver Conor Daly are teaming up with Niece Motorsports to compete in the upcoming Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

With the backing of iRacing, who made the announcement Thursday, the duo will drive the No. 42 and No. 45 Chevrolets in the Sept. 25 race.

Pastrana and Daly’s involvement is a continuation of their rivalry in the LCQ League, a private iRacing league featuring motorsports and action sports legends having fun in cars from all disciplines.

For Pastrana, a former Roush Fenway Racing driver, it will be his fifth career Truck start and his second of the year after he competed in the July 25 race at Kansas Speedway. He finished 22nd.

“I’m really looking forward to bringing our rivalry from the LCQ League to the real world,” Pastrana said in a press release. “We’ve been getting lots of advice and iRacing on-track coaching from fellow LCQ member Parker Kligerman. I’m looking forward to seeing how the hours in iRacing pay off on the track, especially for Conor who has never driven a NASCAR truck in real life. He might be the first person in history to jump into a professional racing series and take the green flag without so much as a single practice lap in real life! Conor is a phenomenal IndyCar driver and a quick learner so I think he will surprise a lot of people.”

It will be the first Truck Series start for Daly, who has 61 IndyCar starts since 2013. Daly made his NASCAR debut in 2018 at Road America driving for Roush in the Xfinity Series.

“I could not be more excited to jump in a Gander Outdoor Series truck for the first time ever in Las Vegas!” Daly said in a press release “This will be one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever faced in my career as it will be the first event I’ve ever done where I’ve never driven a single lap in the Chevy Silverado before taking the green flag for the race. Travis and I have been going head to head on iRacing getting as much practice as possible since that’s the best possible form of preparation we have!