Female wins Late Model race for just 3rd time ever at Hickory


Because of continuing restrictions on having fans at race tracks in North Carolina, fans missed out on seeing a significant finish this past Saturday at Hickory Motor Speedway.

Veteran driver Annabeth Barnes Crum, of Taylorsville, N.C., became only the third woman to ever win a Late Model event at the .363-mile North Carolina short track. The other two women were Chrissy Wallace in 2007 and Kate Dallenbach in 2016.

“It was really awesome,” Crum told NBC Sports. “My whole team, we’re all really excited. We’ve been racing at Hickory a long time and have a couple of wins in Limited Late Model.

“Late Model is obviously the higher division. It’s really hard to get a win in Late Model anywhere in this day and time, it’s so competitive. It’s been taken over by the big teams like JR Motorsports. There’s a ton of big teams in Late Model racing now. We’re just a small team, my dad works on the car. We’re a two-car team. To get a win, we’ve really been working hard, so it really means a lot to us.”

After finishing third in the first of two 40-lap races Saturday night, the starting order for the second race was inverted, leaving Crum to start eighth.

The whole (second) race actually, it was kind of a hot mess, there was a lot of beating and banging and took a long time to get it all sorted out.

“The whole (second) race actually, it was kind of a hot mess, there was a lot of beating and banging and took a long time to get it all sorted out,” Crum said. “I think at one point, we had fallen back to 12th (in a 15-car field).

“There were a lot of cautions, just a pretty heavy race with lots of hard racing. But we had a lot of luck on our side, we missed a lot of the bad (wrecks) and stayed patient and we were there at the end.”

The 25-year-old Crum took the lead off a restart on Lap 28 and pulled away in the final 12 laps for the win.

“She is a fierce competitor here at the track, came up through the ranks and won in Limited and has worked real hard to get to the Late Model venue and we’re happy to see her get her first win,” Hickory Motor Speedway general manager Kevin Piercy told NBC Sports.

Known as “the world’s most famous short track,” Hickory is one of the oldest tracks in NASCAR, having opened in 1951. It previously hosted both the Cup and Xfinity series, but for the last two decades has been primarily used by the Whelen All-American Series, the Pro All Stars Series South Super Late Models and the CARS Touring series for late models and super late models.

The venue, about 65 miles northwest of Charlotte, has been a key part of racing careers for numerous luminaries, including NASCAR Hall of Famers Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett and Jack Ingram, as well as Harry Gant and Ralph Earnhardt.

Crum has one regret about her win: husband Jake, also a racer, wasn’t able to attend because he was babysitting their children at home.

Annabeth has been racing since she was 7 years old, having worked her way up through the ranks of go-karts, Legends, Bandoleros, Limited Late Models and for the last seven years, in Late Models.

With the CARS Series slated to race at Hickory this Saturday, her next race there will be June 20.

Due to ongoing state restrictions on crowds and social distancing, this past Saturday’s twin races were not run under the usual NASCAR Whelen All-American Series sanction.

Still, Annabeth is ready to go for two wins in a row on June 20.

“I’m excited to get back to the track,” she said. “It’s exciting and awesome to get the win and we’re getting a lot of recognition now and it feels great.

“But now I immediately feel the need to back it up.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

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


Kyle Busch moved closer to the top spot after his win Sunday at WWT Raceway, but William Byron keeps hold of No. 1 after another top-10 run.

The series heads to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, the second race of the season on a road course.


(Previous ranking in parenthesis)

1. William Byron (1) — He goes into Sonoma with six consecutive top-10 finishes after his eighth-place result at WWT Raceway. Byron has led a series-high 717 laps this season.

2. Kyle Busch (4) — Recorded his third win of the season Sunday. He is tied with Byron for most wins this year. Busch scored 59 of a maximum 60 points and won his first stage of the year Sunday. He has 16 playoff points. Only Byron has more with 17 this season.

3. Kyle Larson (3) — His fourth-place finish continued his up-and-down season. In the last nine races, Larson has two wins, four top fives, a 20th-place result and four finishes of 30th or worse. He has led 588 laps this season, which ranks second this year to Byron.

4. Martin Truex Jr. (2) — His fifth-place finish is his sixth top 10 in the last eight races. He ranks third in laps led this year with 383.

5. Denny Hamlin (7) — Runner-up result at WWT Raceway is his fourth top 10 in the last seven races.

6. Ryan Blaney (10) — Followed Coca-Cola 600 win with a sixth-place run at WWT Raceway. He had an average running position of 2.6 on Sunday, second only to winner Kyle Busch’s average running position of 1.9.

7. Joey Logano (9) — Third-place finish is his second top 10 in the last four races.

8. Kevin Harvick (NR) — His 10th-place finish is his fourth consecutive finish of 11th or better.

9. Ross Chastain (6) — Lost the points lead after placing 22nd, his third consecutive finish outside the top 20.

10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (NR) — Headed for his eighth top 15 in a row until he was collected in a crash after the contact between Austin Cindric and Austin Dillon late in Sunday’s race.

Dropped out: Chase Elliott (5th), Tyler Reddick (8th)

NASCAR will not penalize Austin Cindric for incident with Austin Dillon


Despite Richard Childress and Austin Dillon saying that Austin Cindric intentionally wrecked Dillon late in Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway, NASCAR will not penalize Cindric.

Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, said Tuesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that there would be no penalty to Cindric after reviewing the contact.

Dillon and Childress were upset about the incident, which brought out the caution on Lap 220 of the 243-lap race. Dillon said NASCAR should suspend Cindric for the contact, just as NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for hooking Denny Hamlin in the Coca-Cola 600.

Contact between the left front of Cindric’s car and the right rear of Dillon’s car sent Dillon up the track into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Dillon finished 31st. Cindric continued and placed 13th.

Dillon told Frontstretch.com: “I was wrecked intentionally by (Cindric), hooked right just like Chase and Denny and Bubba’s deal (in wrecking Kyle Larson at Las Vegas in 2022). He better be suspended next week.”

Childress said: “(Dillon) had drove up to about 10th until (Cindric) wrecked him in there on purpose, sort of a payback.”

Sawyer said a review of the incident included viewing video and data.

“We didn’t see anything — and haven’t seen anything — that really would rise to a level that would be a suspension or a penalty,” Sawyer said. “It looked like hard racing. One car coming up a little bit and another car going down.

“As we said last week, we take these incidents very serious when we see cars that are turned head-on into another car or head-on into the wall. I spent a lot of time (Monday) looking at that, looking at all the data, looking at TV footage and just deemed this one really hard racing.”

Sawyer said NASCAR plans to talk to both Cindric and Dillon “to make sure we’re all in a good place as we move forward to Sonoma.”



Seven Cup drivers entered in Xfinity race at Sonoma


Kyle Larson is among seven Cup drivers entered in Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

The race marks the first time the Xfinity Series has competed at the California road course. Teams will get 50 minutes of practice Friday because this is a new event on the schedule. That additional time will give those Cup drivers more laps on the 1.99-mile road course.

MORE: Sonoma Xfinity entry list

Here is a look at what Xfinity rides the Cup drivers will pilot this weekend:

The race is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET Saturday.

The ARCA Menards Series West also is competing this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. Cup driver Ryan Preece is entered in that event. Xfinity drivers Cole Custer, Riley Herbst, Sammy Smith and Parker Retzlaff also are entered in that race, which will be held at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday.


Winners and losers at WWT Raceway


Winners and losers from Sunday’s Cup race at WWT Raceway:


Kyle BuschWins the pole, leads the most laps and holds the field off over the last five restarts to win the race. He scored six playoff points, giving him 16 on the season, second only to William Byron’s 17. Busch left Joe Gibbs Racing after last season for Richard Childress Racing. Busch’s three wins this year equals what JGR has done so far.

Ryan BlaneyHis sixth-place finish moved him into the points lead. He last led the points after the spring 2022 Richmond race. Blaney also won a stage Sunday to collect another playoff point. He has seven this season.

Kyle LarsonFourth-place finish was a big turnaround after struggles earlier in the race. It has not been easy for this team the last few weeks. He has three top-five finishes and four finishes of 20th or worse in the last seven races.

Daniel SuarezHis seventh-place finish moved him up two spots to 16th in the standings, the final playoff transfer spot at this time.


Ross ChastainHe finished 22nd for his third consecutive result outside the top 20. He entered the weekend leading the points and fell to fifth afterward. He is 29 points behind new series leader Ryan Blaney with 11 races left in the regular season.

Tyler ReddickRebounded from an early spin to lead but had his race end after a brake rotor failed. He was one of four drivers eliminated by brake rotor failures. The others were Carson Hocevar, Bubba Wallace and Noah Gragson.