Tony Stewart slams NASCAR for final debris yellow that ‘ruined’ race for many

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After keeping a mostly low profile during his first season as a retired Cup driver, Tony Stewart took a shot at NASCAR officiating Sunday.

The three-time series champion was unhappy with a debris yellow on Lap 181 of 200 that changed the complexion of the 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway. The race’s second debris caution helped spawn two more yellow flags that involved three Stewart-Haas Racing drivers in crashes shortly after restarts.

Clint Bowyer, who took over the No. 14 Ford from Stewart this season, slapped the wall on a Lap 187 restart, setting up a Lap 191 restart. Ryan Blaney made contact with SHR’s Kevin Harvick on the backstretch when the race went green, triggering a multi-car pileup that sent Danica Patrick’s No. 10 Ford hard into the inside wall.

Stewart, who was watching the race atop Bowyer’s pit box, expressed his displeasure with a tweet about an hour after the checkered flag.

Debris cautions have been on the decline this season with the advent of stage racing.

Sunday’s final debris yellow at Michigan also was curious because it mysteriously took so long to remove the debris — the five-lap caution was longer than the four laps needed to clear the track during the final yellow for the five-car crash.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. also was displeased by the debris yellow.

“I just wish, with the stages, I don’t know why they’ve got to throw so many damn debris yellows,” Earnhardt said on his postrace Periscope session. “The purpose of having stages was really because the networks want more cautions, more restarts because people tune in when we have a caution. They tune in a for a restart. That’s the whole reason why we have the stages to try to create a little more drama, so I don’t know why we keep throwing the damn debris yellows and stuff.’’

Stewart later added a few more thoughts on the matter and his opinionated style.

Dustin Long contributed to this report

 

Race results, truck series points standings after Bristol

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Johnny Sauter passed a faltering John Hunter Nemechek with five laps remaining in Thursday night’s Camping World Truck Series race to claim his fifth win of the season and first at Bristol.

Stewart Friesen was also able to get around Nemechek to earn his third second-place finish of 2018.

Nemechek held on to finish third after winning both stages of the race.

NBC analyst Parker Kligerman finished fourth with Todd Gilliland rounding out the top five.

Click here for complete results

Sauter padded his points lead with his victory in the regular season finale.

Noah Gragson, Grant Enfinger, Stewart Friesen and Brett Moffitt round out the top five at the end of the regular season.

With the points reset for the playoffs, Sauter will have 2,042 points.

Moffitt will be seeded second with 2,027 points and Gragson (2,022) will be seeded third.

The other drivers in the playoffs are Ben Rhodes (2,014), Friesen (2,012), Enfinger (2,011), Justin Haley (2,009) and Matt Crafton (2,003).

Click here for the complete points standings

Johnny Sauter wins Truck race at Bristol

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Johnny Sauter passed John Hunter Nemechek with five laps remaining in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway to win his fifth Truck race of the year in the regular season finale. This is Sauter’s first Truck win at Bristol.

Stewart Friesen raced Sauter in the closing laps for what was an apparent bid for second until Nemechek faltered in the closing laps when his engine lost power to an undisclosed mechanical failure.

Friesen followed Sauter around the faltering Nemechek to second. This is the third time this season that Friesen has finished second. He is is still looking for his first Truck win.

Nemechek held on to finish third, but seemed to have the truck to beat until he lost power. Nemechek took the lead from pole sitter Christopher Bell on lap 31 and went on to win Stage 1 and 2 of the race.

Parker Kligerman and Todd Gilliland rounded out the top five.

STAGE 1 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek

STAGE 2 WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek

ADVANCING TO THE PLAYOFFS: Johnny Sauter, Brett Moffitt, Noah Gragson, Ben Rhodes, Stewart Friesen, Grant Enfinger, Justin Haley and Matt Crafton.

HOW JOHNNY SAUTER WON: He took the lead for the first time at the beginning of the final stage when Nemechek pitted, lost it briefly to Gragson on the restart, and regained the top spot on lap 131. Nemechek ran Sauter down in traffic, retaking the lead on lap 177. Battling Friesen hard in the closing lap kept Sauter from losing the second spot and when Nemechek faltered, he was in position to take advantage. 

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Making his Truck debut, Stefan Parsons stayed on the lead lap until lap 95. He lost another lap late in the race and finished 17th to earn a top 20. … Also making his debut, Codie Rohrbaugh finished 16th. … Ross Chastain got his weekend off to a good start with a 12th-place finish in the Truck race. He will also race in the Xfinity Series Friday night and Cup on Sunday.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: After finishing fifth at Daytona in the season opener, Scott Lagasse Jr. spun and crashed on lap 16 in just his second Truck start of the season. … Myatt Snider was fighting to stay on the lead lap and battling for a position with Gragson when the two made contact coming to the end of Stage 2. Snider spun into the inside wall and did major damage.

NOTABLE: Christopher Bell acclimated quickly to the No. 51 truck. He won the pole after taking over for an ailing Harrison Burton and then jumped out to an early lead and paced the field for 31 laps. He faded at the end when his power steering failed.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Uncle Johnny (Sauter) races me hard and that was a couple of bad ass Silverados going at it. … The lap traffic was to our advantage. We could roll when they moved up. … That was probably the most fun I’ve had all year, bumping and grinding. There are no better guys to race with than John Hunter and Johnny.” – Stewart Friesen on Fox.

WHAT’S NEXT: Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Aug. 26 at 2:30 PM on FS1.

Christopher Bell wins pole for Truck race at Bristol

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Christopher Bell climbed into the No. 51 to sub for an ailing Harrison Burton and qualified on the pole for tonight’s Truck race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 125.839 mph.

He beat Ben Rhodes (125.765 mph) by .020 seconds.

John Hunter Nemechek (125.518), Johnny Sauter (125.273) and Grant Enfinger (124.533) rounded out the top five.

In round one of qualification, Matt Crafton and Norm Benning made contact, doing damage to the right front fender of the Crafton’s No. 88. He posted the 17th best time in that session. Crafton failed to advance to the final round and will line up 18th.

Gray Gaulding, Timothy Peters, BJ McLeod, Benning, and Jennifer Jo Cobb failed to qualify.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Scott Dixon joins the show live

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN with special guest Scott Dixon.

On today’s show:

  • Four time IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon is live in the studio to discuss chasing another championship, his take on the recent Fernando Alonso and Tony Stewart news, as well as the difference between the real and virtual Pocono raceways.
  • Kasey Kahne announced this would be his final full season in Cup. Nate Ryan will give us the latest on the reigning Brickyard 400 winner’s decision, what it means for the future of the #95 car, and if XFinity points leader Christopher Bell will move into his seat.
  • SiriusXM’s Pete Pistone calls in as we look forward to this weekend’s race at Bristol. Can Kyle Busch win his 3rd straight at Thunder Valley?
  • Go Karts or motorcycles? Ricky Stenhouse Jr talks about his love for riding two wheels on dirt and how one childhood decision changed the outlook of his racing future.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.