Watkins Glen winners and losers

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WINNERS

Chase Elliott He won both stages and the race, leading 80 of 90 laps. He led the final 28 laps with Martin Truex Jr. pressuring him most of that time. Elliott had the fastest car all weekend and took advantage of it to score his second victory of the season.

Drama — Where to begin? There was Kyle Busch vs. William Byron and then Busch vs. Bubba Wallace, who was blunt on what he thought of his former Truck Series owner’s actions on the track. You had Jimmie Johnson upset at Ryan Blaney and getting personal afterward, saying: “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad.” In the Xfinity Series, Justin Allgaier dumped Ross Chastain after Chastain had wrecked him. There are a lot of angry drivers out there.

Matt DiBenedettoHis sixth-place finish was his fourth top-10 in the last seven races for Leavine Family Racing. DiBenedetto is unsure where he’ll be racing next season and admits that “I’m just fighting for my life, my career.”

Parity — Chase Elliott became the ninth different winner in the last nine races. The other winners in the stretch have been Kyle Busch (Pocono I), Joey Logano (Michigan), Martin Truex Jr. (Sonoma), Alex Bowman (Chicagoland), Justin Haley (Daytona), Kurt Busch (Kentucky), Kevin Harvick (New Hampshire), Denny Hamlin (Pocono II) and Elliott.

Austin Cindric and Brian Wilson — Wilson made the gusty call to pit Cindric from the lead with 10 laps to go and then Cindric charged through the field to challenge and pass AJ Allmendinger to score his first series win. Asked about possibly making his move too soon, Cindric said: “If you have that opportunity right in front of you to pass that guy for the win, you take it every single time.”

LOSERS

Chad Knaus — All but commanding William Byron on the radio to retaliate against Kyle Busch  – “If I see that 18 come back around here without you knocking the (expletive) out of him, we’re going to have a problem” – led to Byron’s downfall. Byron’s car slammed into the back of Busch’s car and suffered nose damage. Instead of having a car to contend for the top 10 — the Hendrick cars were fast all weekend — Byron finished 21st.

Kyle Busch — Had the best car by far in Saturday’s Xfinity race until a mechanical issue ended his day. Then in the Cup race he got into it with Millennials William Byron and Bubba Wallace. The result is that instead of contending for a win, Busch’s battered car finished 11th and was never a factor. Asked to explain what happened, Busch said only “you saw what happened” before the golf cart he was on left.

Austin DillonHis 31st-place finish marked the fourth time in the last five races he’s placed 30th or worse. He has finished 30th or worse in more than a quarter of the races this season (six of 22).

Sonoma Xfinity starting lineup: Kyle Larson wins pole

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SONOMA, Calif. — Kyle Larson will start on the pole for Saturday’s inaugural Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

Larson won the pole with an average speed of 91.393 mph around the 1.99-mile road course. Justin Allgaier joins Larson on the front row after a lap of 90.562 mph. Sheldon Creed (90.429 mph) qualified third. Aric Almirola (90.375) will start fourth. AJ Allmendinger (90.274) will start fifth.

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Larson is one of seven Cup drivers entered. The others are Almirola (starting fourth), Allmendinger (fifth), Ty Gibbs (seventh), Ross Chastain (15th), Daniel Suarez (17th) and Ty Dillon (32nd).

The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:20 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1.

Could Daytona International Speedway host NFL games?

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The president of Daytona International Speedway says track officials plan to speak with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars about hosting the team’s games if Jacksonville’s stadium is renovated.

The Jaguars will need a temporary home site if plans go forward to renovate the team’s stadium. Daytona International Speedway has been mentioned as a possible candidate. The Jaguars released details Wednesday of what the stadium will look like after the renovation project.

Provided the project is approved by the city of Jacksonville, it is believed the Jaguars would need to find another home site for a couple of seasons while work is being done to its stadium. Daytona International Speedway is among possible sites for the Jaguars to play. More than 100,000 people saw Ricky Stenhouse Jr. win this year’s Daytona 500.

“Daytona International Speedway is a world-renowned sports and entertainment venue and hosts a full schedule of events each year,” said Frank Kelleher, president of Daytona International Speedway, in a statement. “As good neighbors in the Florida sports community, DIS will be speaking with the Jacksonville Jaguars to see if we can assist them with their potential upcoming facility needs around our scheduled events.”

Daytona International Speedway hosted Soccer Fest in July 2022. An announced crowd of 7,573 fans saw the Orlando Pride and Racing Louisville play in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Daytona.

NASCAR displays counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe car

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SONOMA, Calif. — NASCAR displayed the counterfeit part from Chase Briscoe‘s car on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway, showing how the part did not correspond to what should have been in the car.

NASCAR found the issue at its R&D Center after last month’s Coca-Cola 600. The sanctioning body fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him for six races. NASCAR also docked Briscoe and the team 120 points and 25 playoff points for the L3 infraction.

“We want to be transparent on the penalties,” said Brad Moran, managing director of the Cup Series as he displayed the counterfeit part to media.

Moran displayed a a portion of the engine panel from Briscoe’s car. He noted the engine duct was counterfeit. He said the proper pieces are 3D printed at the R&D Center and Fiberworks Composites sells them and installs them for teams. Moran said the duct is “in the bottom of the car under the engine panel. It’s to help cool the driver. It was added prior to the first race. During testing … we realized we wanted to get heat out of the engine compartment, and that’s what this piece does.”

Moran noted that with the counterfeit part, “we can clearly see the textures are different (from the proper part).”

He displayed what officials call a gauge that determines if the duct fits the proper parameters. He showed it fitting a proper duct and not properly fitting in the counterfeit part.

“It was a part that was made, and it was made for whatever reason,” Moran said. “It was, I guess, put on by error, but it was on the vehicle. It is a piece that should not have been made in the first place, and it was spotted at our teardown at the R&D Center.”

Moran said the issue was found in a visual inspection of the part. NASCAR inspected it further and Moran said “there are certain little characteristics that are in (a proper piece)” that officials did not see in the one on Briscoe’s car. “The more we examined it, the more we realized that’s not a part they bought.”

Moran noted that while the penalties were severe, they could have been worse based on the rulebook.

“It was the low end of the L3,” Moran said. “It’s a real big hit for any team. If it continues, and we feel we are not where we need to be, unfortunately, it’s going to ramp up. We’re not going to stop.

“The deal with this car is it needs to be run without modifying. It costs teams a lot of money in development. All the owners agreed. We all agreed where we need to be to make this a successful program, and we’re not going to give up.”

 

 

Sunday Cup race at Sonoma Raceway: Start time, TV info, weather

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The Cup Series heads to wine country to compete on the 1.99-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway. This race leads into the final off weekend of the season. After the break, the series races 20 consecutive weekends. NBC and USA will broadcast those races.

Details for Sunday’s Cup race at Sonoma Raceway

(All times Eastern)

START: Adam Devine will give the command to start engines at 3:38 p.m. … The green flag is scheduled to wave at 3:50 p.m.

PRERACE: Cup garage opens at 12:30 p.m. … Drivers meeting is at 2:45 p.m. … Driver intros are at 3 p.m. … Earl Smith, pastor for the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers, will give the invocation at 3:30 p.m. … Tiffany Woys will perform the national anthem at 3:31 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 110 laps (218.9 miles) on the 1.99-mile road course.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends at Lap 25. Stage 2 ends at Lap 55.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6 p.m. Saturday

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race at 3:30 p.m. … Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on FS1 and switches to Fox at 3 p.m. … Performance Racing Network coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. and also will stream at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the PRN broadcast.

STREAMING: Fox Sports

FORECAST: Weather Underground — Partly cloudy with a high of 69 degrees and a 1% chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Daniel Suarez won his first career Cup race last year at Sonoma. Chris Buescher finished second. Michael McDowell placed third.

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Drivers to watch at Sonoma Raceway 

NASCAR Power Rankings: William Byron, Kyle Busch rank 1-2