Christopher Bell wins at Gateway; 50th Truck triumph for Kyle Busch Motorsports

Leave a comment

Christopher Bell held off a last-lap surge by Ben Rhodes to win Saturday’s wild Drivin’ for Linemen 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

Bell earned his second career series win, having also won last year at Eldora. He also scored Kyle Busch Motorsports’ 50th Truck Series win, which ties Roush-Fenway Racing for the record for most all-time in the series by a team owner.

MORE: Townley, Gallagher wreck, wrestle and then slug it out after Gateway wreck

MORE: Results of Saturday’s Drivin’ for Linemen 200 Truck race at Gateway

MORE: Byron takes over lead in Truck Series standings after Gateway

“This one is for my guys,” said Bell, who led 38 of 160 laps, in victory lane to Fox Sports 1. “They deserve this one. We’ve been so fast all year long and I kept making a lot of mistakes. Track position was everything.”

So was Bell’s determination on the final restart with two laps left. Rhodes challenged Bell but the latter’s Toyota was just a bit stronger than Rhodes’ Toyota. One of the biggest keys to the win was how he ran his line in the last two laps following the final restart, Bell said.

“I figured the safest thing was to run the bottom because I knew my truck was turning pretty good,” he said.

Rhodes, who started on the pole, finished second, followed by Daniel Hemric, Johnny Sauter and Erik Jones.

“(Bell) did an awesome job all night,” Rhodes said to FS1. “He raced everybody clean and with respect and we could use a little more of that in this series after this crazy Drivin’ for Linemen 200.”

Rhodes’ calling the race “crazy” was fitting — there were six wrecks, including one with six laps left that saw John Wes Townley exit his truck and then go after Spencer Gallagher (who was also in the wreck), putting him in a headlock, wrestling him to the ground and punching Gallagher.

William Byron, who won the last two Truck races, finished 17th.

HOW BELL WON: Bell took the lead on Lap 153, waited out the red flag and caution periods for the John Wes Townley/Spencer Gallagher wreck, fight and clean-up, and refused to give up the lead to Ben Rhodes when the race resumed with two laps left.

WHO ELSE HAD A GOOD RACE: Rhodes earned a Truck Series career-best second-place finish. … Defending Truck Series champ Erik Jones, making his first start of the season in a truck (he now races full-time in the Xfinity Series) rallied from an early wreck with Cameron Hayley to finish fifth. … Jordan Anderson bounced back from a late wreck to finish 11th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: After wrecking his primary truck in practice earlier in the day, Rico Abreu suffered clutch problems prior to the start of the race. His team fixed the problem, but Abreu was unable to finish higher than 14th. … Engine issues forced Brandon Brown to fail to start the race and was scored last in the 32-truck field. … It’s likely John Wes Townley will face penalties for wrestling and punching Spencer Gallagher on the racing surface after their late-race crash.

NOTABLE: The race was red flagged for six minutes, 30 seconds on Lap 120 when Jordan Anderson, Austin Wayne Self and Jennifer Jo Cobb were involved in a wreck. After Anderson and Self got together, Self’s truck was hit broadside by Cobb, with both trucks sustaining heavy damage. … Teammates Tyler Reddick and Daniel Hemric were battling for fifth place when they made slight contact on Lap 72 and Hemric went spinning, sustaining just minor damage. Hemric rebounded to finish third, while Reddick finished 25th. … The start of the race was delayed nearly 90 minutes to dry the track after rain.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I had a blast tonight. Career-best finish of second is great, but after tasting (a chance at victory) for four times now and haven’t been able to go home and get it, that’s been tough, but hopefully here soon. We’re just going to keep pushing forward.” – Ben Rhodes, who finished second.

WHAT’S NEXT: The series has next weekend off before resuming Thursday, July 7, at Kentucky Speedway (green flag is 8:30 p.m. ET).

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Hailie Deegan: Road courses are ‘one of my stronger suites’

Leave a comment

Many drivers will be navigating the Daytona road course for the first time this weekend.

Hailie Deegan is not one of them.

Deegan, who competes in the ARCA Menards Series, will be in the field when the series takes to the 14-turn, 3.61-mile circuit for practice and a race Friday evening (5 p.m. ET on Trackpass).

“I’m pretty excited because this was not one of the races we had planned on our schedule,” Deegan told NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast earlier this week. “At the beginning of the year I saw all the races, obviously to see which ones you’re looking forward to, like your favorites and stuff and obviously this on wasn’t on there.  … I like road courses. I raced at Sonoma about twice (in ARCA Menards West). I was decent there, I qualified on the pole one of the times (2019) there against a lot of good drivers. It was a confirmation that, ‘Ok, we’re decent at road courses.'”

Deegan, who enters the race fourth in the point standings behind Michael Self, first got a shot at the road course at the beginning of the year. As a Ford development driver, she took part in multiple days of testing before competing in a Michelin Pilot Challenge race in a GT4 Mustang.

“I would not say I’m perfect at road courses,” Deegan said. “But I feel that’s one of my stronger suites. I’m trying to learn this whole stock car world. Circle track, everything like that, that’s all been a foreign concept. So everything I’m learning I’m learning for the first time. But when we go back to road courses, I grew up in go karting, I grew up racing off-road trucks on courses where you turn right and left. So that’s not a foreign concept to me. So I feel more comfortable on road courses, especially with us only getting an hour of practice and all the time I have on that track.

“I have so many days of practice from the beginning of the year on that track. Obviously, it’s a different car, a GT4 Mustang.  … It’s easy to drive, but hard to be fast in an IMSA car. (While) the stock cars are harder to drive, but you have that experience, I feel like you can have a little bit of an advantage over people.”

With eight races left in the season, Deegan will try to take that advantage to victory lane for his first career ARCA win. The last time she visited Daytona in February, she finished second in the season opener to Self.

NASCAR’s weekend schedule for Daytona road course

Daytona road course
Getty Images
Leave a comment

For the first time this weekend, NASCAR will compete on the Daytona road course.

All three of NASCAR’s national series and the ARCA Menards Series will take to the 14-turn, 3.61-mile circuit, culminating in Sunday’s Cup Series race.

This weekend takes the place of the race at Watkins Glen International for Cup and Xfinity.

Kevin Harvick will start on the pole for Sunday’s Cup race. Austin Cindric will lead the Xfinity field to green on Saturday.

Here is the weekend schedule for the Daytona road course.

(All times Eastern)

Thursday, Aug. 13

10:30 a.m. – ARCA driver-spotter-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

11 – 11:30 a.m. – ARCA rookie meeting (teleconference)

11:30 a.m. – Noon – ARCA crew chief meeting (teleconference)

3 – 4 p.m. – ARCA haulers enter (screening in progress)

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Driver motorhome parking (screening in progress)

 

Friday, Aug. 14

9 a.m. – ARCA garage opens

9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – ARCA garage access screening in progress

2 – 3 p.m. – ARCA practice

3:30 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

4 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

4:50 p.m. – ARCA drivers report to their cars

5 p.m. – ARCA race; 28 laps/101.08 miles miles (MAVTV, Motor Racing Network)

6 p.m. – Truck Series driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

7:30 p.m. – ARCA haulers exit

 

Saturday, Aug. 15

6 – 8:30 a.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening and equipment upload)

8:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Garage screening in progress

2 – 4 p.m. – Truck Series haulers enter (screening in progress and equipment unload)

2:50 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

3 p.m. – Xfinity race; 52 laps/187.72 miles (NBCSN, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

4 – 7 p.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

4 – 8 p.m. – Truck Series garage open

4:30 – 5 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (teleconference)

4:30 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Cup driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Xfinity haulers exit

 

Sunday, Aug. 16

6 – 8 a.m. – Cup haulers enter (screening in progress and equipment unload)

8 a.m. – Cup garage opens

8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  – Cup garage access screening in progress

9 a.m. – Truck Series garage opens

9 – 11 a.m. – Truck Series garage access screening in progress

11:40 a.m. – Truck Series drivers report to vehicles

Noon – Truck Series race; 44 laps/158.85 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

2:30 p.m. – Truck Series haulers exit

2:50 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

3 p.m. – Cup race; 65 laps/234.65 miles (NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

NASCAR updates its COVID-19 guidelines

1 Comment

NASCAR issued an update to teams to the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 guidelines this week.

If after 10 days, a NASCAR member is unable to produce two negative PCR tests, their return status may be medically reviewed by a NASCAR Consulting physician. Previously, a NASCAR member needed to have two negative tests more than 24 hours apart and a note from their physician to be cleared to compete.

MORE: Spencer Davis cleared to race after COVID-19 recovery

Truck Series driver Spencer Davis is the third driver to be cleared to resume racing after a positive test. He missed last week’s race at Michigan. Jimmie Johnson missed the Indianapolis race in July after a positive test. Brendan Gaughan is racing this weekend for the first time since he tested positive for COVID-19 in July.

NASCAR cites new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with updating the sport’s COVID-19 guidelines.

“As we’ve said since our return, NASCAR’s health and safety plans will continue to evolve, with the goal remaining the same – a safe event for both our competitors and the communities in which we race,” said John Bobo, NASCAR vice president, racing operations, in a statement. “NASCAR will continue to implement and execute a comprehensive plan to ensure the health and safety of our competitors and the surrounding communities.”

Here are NASCAR’s updated COVID-19 guidelines:

Confirmed Positive Cases – Symptomatic and Asymptomatic Cases. Confirmed positive cases may return to racing activities after they have received two negative test results taken at least 24 hours apart.

A. If after 10 days, a NASCAR Member is unable to produce two negative PCR tests, their return status may be medically reviewed by a NASCAR Consulting physician.

  • New CDC guidance of July 22, 2020, recommends discontinuing PCR testing after the conclusion of the 10-day isolation period for the onset symptoms for the initial COVID-19 infection, if a person is fever-free for a minimum of 24 hours without the use of medication.
  • Please note: Based on advice from consulting physicians, NASCAR counts the 10 days from the date of the first positive PCR test for COVID-19.
  • In its guidance, CDC research indicates that in no instances yet discovered has there been a case where the virus is able to self-replicate beyond the 10th day following a positive test among individuals who are not immunosuppressed and did not have severe disease (e.g. requiring ICU stay or ventilation), so an individual in this situation poses no harm to others.  In the event that the individual continues to be tested, it is very likely that the individual will continue to return positive results.
  • Based on this new CDC guidance, NASCAR consulting physicians would review the individual’s situation and determine if they appropriately fit the CDC requirements before being allowed to return to racing without two negative PCR tests.

B. They must also have written clearance from their personal physician to resume all racing activity.

Confirmed exposure to a positive COVID-19 person. Those exposed individuals are required to stand-down from competition and self-isolate. They may return to racing activities after they have received one negative test. NASCAR in its discretion may request a second test for clearance based on the nature of the exposure. Please note: a confirmed exposure is based on a totality of the circumstances as determined by NASCAR in consultation with their consulting physicians. Analysis will include: identifying people exposed over the last 10 days, accumulated time greater than 10 minutes, direct skin contact (shaking hands, etc.), lack of social distancing and the level of PPE use among the individuals involved in the contact.

 

Spencer Davis cleared to race after COVID-19 recovery

Leave a comment

After testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Truck Series driver Spencer Davis has been cleared to return to racing after missing just once race, Davis confirmed on social media Wednesday.

Davis had to have two negative COVID-19 tests more than 24 hours apart in order to be cleared to race.

Davis, 21, was the third NASCAR driver to test positive for the virus, joining Jimmie Johnson (who missed one race) and part-time driver Brendan Gaughan. 

Davis, who owns his Truck Series team, missed last weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway and will return to the track for Sunday’s race on the Daytona International Speedway road course (Noon ET on FS1). He will start 31st.