Long: Phoenix race proves tantalizing for title event

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AVONDALE, Ariz. — Shortly after he held off Kevin Harvick for an overtime win, was showered in drinks by his team in victory lane and cheered by fans standing a few feet away, Joey Logano still remained as fast as his final restart.

So when asked if he could have rebounded from a pit road penalty and a broken jack that slowed another stop without the lower downforce package used Sunday at Phoenix Raceway, Logano’s answer came before the question could be fully asked.

“No way,” he told NBC Sports. “No way. Not in a million years. I could have never passed that many cars.”

Logano passed 82 cars on the way to his second Cup win of the season. Thirteen drivers — more than a third of the field — passed more cars than Logano on Sunday.

The numbers were not inflated by the field pitting under green. This was passing on the track, what the sport sought after many of last year’s races on shorter tracks failed to excite fans. Last year, no driver passed more than 76 cars in either Phoenix race with a higher downforce package. Sunday, 16 cars topped that number.

The lower downforce setup used Sunday, which included a spoiler 5.25 inches shorter than last year’s, combined with a tire that wore and the use of the traction compound builds anticipation for the championship race in November at this track.

“I feel like it was a different Phoenix race than what we’ve seen the past couple of years,” winning crew chief Paul Wolfe told NBC Sports. “The tire Goodyear brought had a lot of grip but new tires meant a lot, so it kind of changed the whole race strategy.”

Logano, fourth-place finisher Kyle Larson and seventh-place finisher Chase Elliott all came back from issues on pit road or ill-handling cars to score top-10 results.

“It seemed like the cars that had some issues … and would go to the back could drive back to the front a lot easier,”  Larson told NBC Sports. “The package was a lot better than last year’s short track stuff.”

Kyle Busch, not afraid to criticize a race package, was complimentary of the racing after his third-place finish.

“You could follow a helluva lot closer than you could before,” Busch told NBC Sports. “You could actually get into the corner behind a guy and roll up to his left rear and try to make him a little bit loose and try to make some moves on a guy.

“I didn’t get hindered by following people into the corners as near as bad as the other (package).”

There were a number of times when cars at the front ran close together and even had contact, something that was not as frequent last year at Phoenix. That led to more passing.

Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Clint Bowyer, who finished fifth, and Aric Almirola, who placed eight, each passed a race-high 103 cars Sunday.

“I hope the downforce package sold well to the fans,” Bowyer told NBC Sports. “It certainly was a lot more of a handful and a lot harder to drive than it was last year.”

Drives like that because it allows talent to play a bigger role.

Even with the movement throughout the race, Logano admitted he wasn’t thinking about a victory when the jack broke during his final pit stop and Logano went from first to 18th on Lap 268 of the 316-lap race.

“Honestly, did I think a win was in the books? No,” he said. “I’m 18th, if I can get a top five that’s going to be pretty good. I got a lot of cars to pass in a short amount of time. Good restarts. Cautions at the right time and more cars pitted.”

After an overtime restart, Logano was celebrating and looking ahead to November.

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

POINTS

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!