Saturday’s Xfinity Series season-opening Powershares QQQ 300 has been red-flagged twice in less than the first 30 laps.
The first red flag was the result of a major wreck that involved 18 cars. The pack was on Lap 23 of the scheduled 120-lap event when several drivers made contact, setting off a chain reaction crash.
Among those involved in the wreck were Cole Custer, Garrett Smithley, Austin Dillon, Michael Annett, Ray Black Jr., Jeff Green, William Byron, Blake Koch, J.J. Yeley, Ryan Reed, Brad Keselowski, Spencer Gallagher, Ryan Sieg, Tyler Reddick, Anthony Kumpen, Benny Gordon, Scott Lagasse Jr., Jeremy Clements, Clint King and Aric Almirola.
The first red flag lasted 18 minutes, 20 seconds.
The race went back to green flag racing on Lap 28 when yet another multi-car wreck – this time 12 cars – took place one lap later on the back straightaway, bringing out the red flag once again.
The second wreck occurred one lap before the scheduled end of the first of two stages in the race.
Drivers involved in the second wreck included Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez, Brandon Jones, Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, Erik Jones, Chris Cockrum, Harrison Rhodes, Brandon Hightower, Matt Tifft, Blake Koch and Ryan Reed.
The second red flag lasted 27 minutes, 51 seconds.
When the racing resumed following the second wreck, of the 40 cars that began the race, only Elliott Sadler, Ty Dillon, Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong, Brennan Poole, Joey Gase, Brendan Gaughan, Kasey Kahne, Mario Gosselin and David Starr had not been involved in wrecks.
When a grand marshal is usually announced for a NASCAR race, it’s normally an actor promoting a movie or an executive for a race sponsor no one remembers once the green flag drops.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will have a grand marshal to remember for its season finale in the Elite 1 series.
Jeff Gordon, four-time Sprint Cup champion and 93-time winner, will give the command to start engines for the race at Zolder Circuit in Zolder, Belgium on Oct. 9.
“I’ve been to Zolder before, and I am really looking forward to seeing the NASCAR Euro Series race there,” said Gordon in a press release. “I’ve become friends with (series points leader) Anthony Kumpen and I’ve heard great things about the series popularity. I’m looking forward to seeing it first hand.”
Belgium is also the home country of Gordon’s wife of 10 years, Ingrid Vandebosch.
The Elite 1 series is the one that NASCAR Next member Alon Day competes in and has three wins.
“This is a great honor for everybody involved in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series,” said Jerome Galpin, NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President / CEO in the release. “We are extremely proud to be part of the NASCAR family. We have developed a really amazing relationship in few years. Our drivers receive a great welcome every time they race in the USA and we are pleased to welcome more and more drivers and personalities visiting us from the USA. This Atlantic ocean becomes definitely smaller day after day.”
Gordon’s trip to Zolder comes a week after earning a top-10 finish at Dover International Speedway in a substitute effort in the No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Gordon is scheduled for one more start in the Sprint Cup Series this year at Martinsville Speedway, where he won last year before retiring from full-time racing.
After conquering the world of Lamborghinis, Brandon Gdovic is focused on returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Gdovic, the reigning Lamborghini North American Amateur Champion and Lamborghini Super Trofeo Series Gallardo World Champion, will drive the No. 46 Chevrolet Camaro April 16 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Pitt Ohio will sponsor the Precision Performance Motorsports ride.
“I am looking forward to going back to my favorite circle track, this time in the Xfinity Series,” Gdovic said in a media release. “I am hoping we pick up right where we left off in my last Xfinity race at Watkins Glen and have another good run.”
The 24-year-old Yorktown, Virginia, native seeks to make his fourth career Xfinity Series start. His previous three starts came in 2015 with finishes of 26th (Texas), 30th (Richmond) and a career-best 13th (Watkins Glen).
He has 49 starts in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, earning one win, nine top-five and 21 top 10 finishes.
The Bristol Xfinity race will only add to Gdovic’s busy dance card for 2016. He competed in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in January, coached NASCAR Whelen Euro Series drivers Anthony Kumpen and Ulysse Delsaux, and finished 16th in the inaugural NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Mobile (Alabama) Speedway.
Mark Setzer will continue in his role as Gdovic’s crew chief.
“We had such a successful run in our last Xfinity race together (Watkins Glen) and I am looking to continue building on our experience and have another strong showing,” Setzer said.