Michael Self

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Todd Gilliland scores Talladega ARCA victory

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TALLADEGA, Ala. — Todd Gilliland held off the pack to win Friday’s ARCA race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gilliland, who is competing full-time in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, earned his second career ARCA victory. His previous ARCA win was in 2015 at Toledo Speedway.

“Coming up is a really busy stretch for us in Trucks,” Gilliland said. “This is really big for us. My confidence has been down a little bit.”

Kyle Busch was outspoken in February about Gilliland’s performance, saying “his career is on the line,” referring to Gilliland not yet winning in a KBM truck.

“When I come to the ARCA Series or the K&N Series I have so much confidence,” Gilliland said. “I need to be able to take that to the truck and have confidence in myself.”

Riley Herbst, who is scheduled to run eight NASCAR Xfinity races for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, finished second. Gilliland and Herbst were followed by Brandon Lynn, Ty Majeski and Michael Self.

 

 

Harvick, Blaney, Suarez entered in Sonoma K&N West race next weekend

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Several NASCAR Cup drivers will take part in next weekend’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma Raceway, track officials announced Thursday.

Cup drivers competing in the June 24 Carneros 200 K&N race include Kevin Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Daniel Suarez.

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Harvick will drive the No. 4 for Jefferson Pitts Racing. It will be Harvick’s first K&N start since 2007 at Iowa, where he earned his seventh win in the series in 22 career starts.

“(I’m) going to be the old guy that shows up,” Harvick said in a media release. “I have fun when I go do those events. You’d love to win and you want to go out and do that obviously to be competitive; it’s just a series that gave me several breaks and several opportunities to showcase what I did as a kid.”

Harvick isn’t the only Cup driver who will be making his first K&N start in a long while. Blaney has just one prior West series start, but he made the most of it, winning at Phoenix in 2011.

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Blaney, who earned his first Cup win Sunday at Pocono, will race with GCR Racing, while Suarez will race for MDM Motorsports in the team’s first K&N West start of the season. It will be Suarez’s first race in the K&N West since 2012 and his first overall K&N race (in the East Series) since 2014.

Among other notable names that will compete in the 64-lap Carneros 200 include up-and-coming drivers Todd Gilliland, Derek Kraus, Julia Landauer, Will Rodgers and Michael Self.

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Blaney, with help from Smith, wins at Kentucky

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Ryan Blaney got a great push from Regan Smith on the final restart with two laps to go to win Saturday night’s VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

It was a green-white-checker finish as the race went one lap longer than its scheduled 200 laps.

It was Blaney’s second career win on a 1.5-mile racetrack, with both victories coming at the Sparta, Ky., facility. He has four Xfinity wins overall in his career.

Ty Dillon finished second, followed by Smith, Chase Elliott and Brandon Jones.

Fighting a loose race car much of the race, Chris Buescher finished seventh and was able to hold on to his lead in the Xfinity Series standings.

However, Buescher saw his lead shrink somewhat. He leads Dillon by 19 points and Elliott by 25 points. Smith closed a little bit of ground to 47 points behind Buescher.

After the race, Brian Scott (finished 13th) and Darrell Wallace Jr. (ninth) had words, but were separated by NASCAR officials.

How Blaney won: Ty Dillon’s attempt to crowd Blaney on the final restart with two laps to go backfired. Blaney was pushed from behind by Regan Smith and Blaney sailed on to the checkered flag. He becomes the eighth repeat winner of the 2015 season.

Who else had a good race: Runner-up Ty Dillon almost made it a Dillon brothers daily double, as older brother Austin won the Camping World Truck Series race at New Hampshire earlier in the afternoon. … Erik Jones started 40th (he didn’t qualify the car because he was flying to Kentucky from New Hampshire), but finished eighth. Jones looked strong for much of the race before he fell back. … Brendan Gaughan, who won at Kentucky last season, just barely missed a top five finish. … Brandon Jones, who earlier this week signed to drive full-time for Richard Childress Racing in 2016, paid some dividends on that investment by finishing fifth.

Who had a bad race: Ryan Reed and Blake Koch (Lap 2) and Michael Self (Lap 28) were involved in early wrecks. Koch finished 40th, while Self finished 36th. … Brennan Poole (32nd) and Harrison Rhodes (34th) saw their race come to an end on Lap 99 when Poole spun and Rhodes could not avoid him, t-boning the driver’s side of Poole’s car. Both drivers were uninjured, but the race was red-flagged for 18 minutes, 26 seconds to clean up debris and fluids on-track. … Daniel Suarez looked as if he had the car to win, but suffered damage to his front end after hitting debris just after the halfway mark, and then suffered an issue to the transmission in his Toyota with 30 laps to go, leaving him with a 23rd place finish. … Ross Chastain (18th) and Ryan Truex (28th) were both having a good race battling in the top 10 until they got together on Lap 188.

Notable: Ryan Reed was hoping for a double, having won the ARCA race earlier in the day at Kentucky. But alas, after his Lap 2 wreck, the sweep was not to be, as Reed finished 25th. … The forecast called for a two percent chance of rain tonight. Guess what, that two percent showed up at Lap 123 of the scheduled 200 laps. The light drizzle briefly put the race under caution, but racing resumed just a few laps later. … Saturday’s race was the final standalone Xfinity race of the season. … The 10 cautions in the race tied a Xfinity track record at Kentucky.

Quote of the day: “The 6, I mean, he just drove down into me. I never felt like he even gave me a chance to get into the corner. He loosened my right rear wheel and ruined our day.” – Brian Scott on the reason for his post-race conflict with Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.

What’s next: Hisense 200 on Oct. 3 at Dover International Speedway (3:30 pm ET on NBCSN).

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