Eddie MacDonald

Bubba Wallace celebrates ‘unforgettable day at Indy’

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INDIANAPOLIS — In a season where Bubba Wallace has been tearful, despondent and frustrated, Sunday saw the engaging 25-year-old beaming, joking and excited after a season-best third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“What a helluva day, helluva day for my team,” Wallace said after finishing behind winner Kevin Harvick and runner-up Joey Logano. “We needed this. We needed this weekend. We unloaded with speed and I was bragging to everybody.

“An unforgettable day at Indy.”

Wallace’s run was his second career top-five finish. He placed second in last year’s Daytona 500.

It didn’t seem as if Wallace — whose best finish this season was 14th at Bristol last month — would have a chance for a strong finish for Richard Petty Motorsports early in the race.

Wallace was involved in a pit road accident that included Chase Elliott and impacted Jimmie Johnson’s stop.

“I had no idea,” Wallace said of what happened. “I knew I was supposed to come around (Chris Buescher) and go long. I saw (Buescher) pull in, and I lifted and went to turn in and next thing you know I’m heading for Jimmie Johnson’s guys and I couldn’t stop. What I should have done, going back on it, is get off the brakes and turn and get away from them.

“Thank God we missed their pit crew and didn’t crush them because I couldn’t stop.”

Wallace said he asked his crew what happened and was told that Elliott “just ran you over.” Wallace admitted he was upset with Elliott for a while “and then I see (Elliott’s) car had damage and I’m like, ‘Nah, that had to be an accordion effect. I thought our day was over with. I thought that was how our luck was summed up all year, having really fast cars and some dumb luck takes us out. And it didn’t.”

Wallace had said earlier this weekend how excited he was and how fast his car was.

He showed how good it was Sunday working his way toward the front. He never was worse than 11th in the final 50 laps.

“It’s incredible to think about where the season started and where we were at the first 10 races in,” Wallace said on pit road after the race. “Ever since Charlotte, we’ve still been bringing some heat. It’s just the passion and the drive my team has and it’s a frickin’ blast coming to the race track and being away from the race track with my guys.”

Wallace knows the challenge a single-car team faces in Cup but left Indy encouraged.

“If we can just have moments like this and weekends like that, we can start to put together runs and generate more funding and resources and get our cars better,” he said. 

When Wallace was third on the final restart, he admits he flashed back to a race nearly a decade ago.

“Nine years ago we won at Lee (New Hampshire) Speedway when I restarted third and Ryan Truex and Eddie MacDonald were on the front row. I said on the pace laps these guys are going to overdrive Turn 1 and I’m going to take the lead and that happened.

“I started game-planning (Sunday when he was third). Now this is different plan because it was Joey and Kevin, but I started game-planning. They lined up perfectly and they went into (Turn) 3 and I’m like ‘Yes,’ and they all made it and I’m like, ‘Damn.’ ‘’

Even though he didn’t get the chance to win, it was still a good day for Wallace.

“All we do is just continue to climb up that Mt. Everest hill and we just keep kind of knocking another block off, knocking another step off,” he said.

But had he won, Wallace knew what he would have said in victory lane.

“My mom told me (Saturday), she’s like ‘When you win, tell them haters to kiss those bricks.’ ”

Harrison Burton claims K&N Pro Series East championship with Dover win

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DOVER, Delaware — Harrison Burton pulled away from Riley Herbst on an overtime restart to win Friday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race and the series championship. 

Burton led the final 17 laps at Dover, taking the lead from Ruben Garcia Jr. in a spirited side-by-side duel that went more than two laps. Burton then held the field off in overtime, which extended the race three laps to 128 laps.

The victory marked Burton’s fifth of the season. Eddie MacDonald finished second. Tyler Dippel was third.

Burton, the 16-year-old son of NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton, is the youngest champion in series history. Joey Logano had been the youngest series champion at 17 when he won the 2007 title.

In victory lane, Burton embraced his mother, Kim, lifting her off the ground, and then hugged his father.

“We’re a racing family,” Harrison Burton said. “To share a championship with the people that love you the most is pretty cool.”

Burton entered the season finale eight points behind Todd Gilliland but Gilliland’s title hopes went away when he blew a right front tire and hit the wall on Lap 56 of the 128-lap race. He finished 13th in the 15-car field.

“It was kind of tight, but I just went in there and the right front just blew,” Gilliland said. “It just popped. I could hear it. It’s basically been our season story. Been running up front and had tires go down. It took us out of the first half of the season. In the last seven races, we finished first or second in all of them and really got us back in this thing. For it to end like this is heartbreaking. We’ll have to move on and I learned a lot this year.”

The 17-year-old son of former Cup driver David Gilliland sought the K&N Pro Series East title after winning the K&N Pro Series West championship last year. Todd Gilliland finishes the season with four wins.

Todd Gilliland’s focus turns to the Camping World Truck Series. He’s run four races this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports, finishing a season-best third at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Former K&N Pro Series East champions include William Byron (2015), Kyle Larson (2012) and Logano.

Now add Harrison Burton.

“It’s a good list to be on,” he said. “To be a champion is huge for me.”

This race will air on NBCSN at 10:30 p.m. ET on Oct. 6.

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Dylan Lupton ending Sprint Cup season with Go Fas Racing

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Dylan Lupton will make his fourth Sprint Cup start this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway and he’ll do so a different team from his first three starts.

After making starts with BK Racing, Lupton will drive the No. 32 Ford for Go Fas Racing.

The No. 32 has been driven by Jeffrey Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Joey GasePatrick Carpentier, Eddie MacDonald, Boris Said and Jeb Burton.

“This is a great opportunity for me with Go Fas Racing to get some more experience on bigger tracks and strengthen my Sprint Cup resume,” Lupton said in a press release. “I’ve never been to Homestead before, but I heard it’s an awfully fun place to race.”

Lupton, a former member of the NASCAR Next program, competed at Sonoma, Richmond and Martinsville. His best result was 25th at Richmond.

 

Preliminary entry list for Sprint Cup’s New Hampshire 301

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There are 40 cars entered into the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Eddie MacDonald will be making his third Sprint Cup start – all of them have been at NHMS – in the No. 32 for Go Fas Racing.

Cole Whitt, who drives the No. 98 for Premium Motorsports, will be replaced by Ryan Ellis, who will make his third Sprint Cup start. Whitt will return to the car at Indianapolis.

Joe Gibbs Racing swept the race two races at NHMS last year, winning with Kyle Busch in the summer race and Matt Kenseth in the fall.

Entry list

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Eddie MacDonald to drive for Go Fas Racing at New Hampshire

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Eddie MacDonald is set for his third Sprint Cup Series start next weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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Go Fas Racing will have MacDonald behind the wheel of the No. 32 Bentley’s Saloon Ford Fusion in the New Hampshire 301. Both of MacDonald’s previous Cup starts have come at New Hampshire with Go Fas Racing, with his best finish being a 35th in 2014. He finished 37th there last year.

With starts in all three NASCAR national series on his resume, MacDonald has been competing in the ACT Late Model Tour this season. Through seven events he has won twice and sits second in points. MacDonald has also made two NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts.

With his July 17 start, MacDonald will be the sixth driver to have piloted the No. 32 car this season. The others include Jeffrey Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Jeb Burton, Patrick Carpentier, and Joey Gase.

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