Chad Finchum

Justin Allgaier wins Friday Richmond Xfinity race

Leave a comment

Justin Allgaier passed Justin Haley for the lead with 29 laps to go and went on to win Friday night’s Xfinity Series race at Richmond Raceway.

The series is back on track Saturday to complete its doubleheader weekend. Saturday’s race begins at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

MORE: Race results 

Allgaier lost the lead to Haley on Lap 174 of 250 and began to pull away. He rallied and got by Haley on Lap 222. Allgaier went on to win his second race of the season.

“We’re just hitting our stride at the right time of the season,” Allgaier said.

Haley finished second. He was followed by Kyle Busch, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain.

“I thought maybe a few more laps I could have gotten to him because he was really sideways toward the end,” Haley said of Allgaier. “Honestly, he just timed it perfectly. Lapped traffic was not ideal. The whole time I thought we were faster didn’t quite play our cards right.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Austin Cindric

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Michael Annett secured a playoff spot via points with his seventh-place finish. … Austin Cindric, who finished fourth, has finished in the top five in four of his five Richmond starts. … Brett Moffitt finished sixth. It is his seventh top-10 finish of the season. He had six last year. … Tommy Joe Martins finished 15th and will start on the pole for Saturday’s race with the top 15 finishers from Friday’s race inverted.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Myatt Snider was in a crash early and finished 36th in the 37-car field. … Harrison Burton‘s 16th-place finish is his worst in the Xfinity Series on a short track. “That’s pretty embarrassing,” Burton said on NBCSN after the race.

PENALTIES: NASCAR disqualified the car of Chad Finchum after it failed rear heights. Finchum finished 27th. He will be credited with a last-place finish. … NASCAR also ejected the car chief of the No. 13 car driven by Stephen Leicht, who finished 34th. The team was penalized for any loss or separation of an improperly installed rear axle from the vehicle.

NOTABLE: Justin Allgaier’s win is the 50th in the Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports. Fifteen drivers have accounted for those 50 victories.

NEXT: The series is back on the track Saturday to complete its Richmond doubleheader. The series races at 2 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Austin Cindric celebrates third consecutive Xfinity win

Leave a comment

Kyle Busch‘s 98th career win in the Xfinity Series lasted less than an hour before his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was disqualified following Saturday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway.

Busch was DQ’d after his car failed height regulations during post-race inspection. He and Joe Gibbs Racing have until Noon ET on Monday to file an appeal, according to Xfinity Series director Wayne Auton.

Busch finishes last in the 37-car field and Austin Cindric is declared the winner. That makes it three straight wins for Cindric, who won both ends of the Xfinity doubleheader last weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

MORE: Updated Xfinity results, standings from Texas

“It’s great to get our Mustang into victory lane, no matter how it happens,” Cindric said. “It was a great points day. … I want to win on the track and felt like we had a shot to do that today but maybe didn’t execute as well as we should have and that’s what kept us out. But fast cars and being in position, that’s what counts.”

Cindric becomes the ninth different driver to win three or more consecutive races in the Xfinity Series. All three have come this season, with his two other career wins coming last season, both on road courses.

“I have more wins now on ovals than road courses, so I’ll take it,” Cindric said with a chuckle. “It’s great to be able to capitalize on fast race cars. I said it last week and I’ll say it again today. We’ve just got to keep building on that.”

Chase Briscoe finished runner-up followed by Justin Allgaier, Harrison Burton and Michael Annett.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier (sixth stage win of season)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier (seventh stage win of season)

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Chase Briscoe’s runner-up finish marked his fifth consecutive top-five finish. He has two wins, two runner-up finishes and a fourth-place result in that time. … Although he remains winless this season, Allgaier won both stages of the race, giving him seven stage wins thus far this season.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Riley Herbst’s day ended early after he appeared to be tapped from behind by Noah Gragson on Lap 5 and slammed into the outside wall. Gragson denied over his team radio that he made contact. Herbst finished 36th in the 37-car field.

NOTABLE: Temperatures in cars were as high as 145 degrees at the end of Stage 1. “I wouldn’t say it was unbearable by any means,” Chase Briscoe said. “I’m hoping it’s even hotter than this next week at Kansas.”

WHAT’S NEXT: July 25, Kansas Lottery 250 at Kansas Speedway, 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR to move location of car numbers for All-Star Race

3 Comments

NASCAR will use the July 15 All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway to experiment with the location of numbers on race cars.

Instead of the traditional location of numbers on car doors, those numbers will be pushed back toward the rear wheel. All teams competing in the All-Star Race and All-Star Open are required to have the car number in this location. The move allocates more space on car sides for sponsors, something teams have requested.

On Wednesday’s Motor Racing Network’s Crew Call, NASCAR president Steve Phelps explained the reason for the change to show host Mike Bagley:

“I think the All-Star (Race) historically has been an opportunity for us to test things, and I think that’s exactly what we’re doing with this,” Phelps said. “Teams have asked us to take a look at this, provide some additional visibility for sponsors, so that’s what we’ll test.”

The change will be for the All-Star Race and All-Star Open only.

“We’ll evaluate it,” Phelps said. “Is it the right thing to do? Is it not the right thing to do? I  know some folks that came out and said ‘this is not for me, I don’t like it,’ so we’ll take that all under consideration and as we move past the All-Star (Race) we’ll see what it looks like moving forward.”

In addition to having another option to increase sponsor visibility on cars, the move of the car number is also seen as a combination of catering to tradition and existing fans along with attracting new fans.

“I think not in every instance, but there are instances where you actually can do both,” Phelps told Bagley. “I don’t think you have to have the two at odds with each other. Sometimes that’s going to happen, but for us, we’ve talked about hearing from the core fans and we do.

“We want to hear from the core fans and what they think, traditional fans. There are certain things we want to try out or we believe is in the best interest in the sport after collaborating with the industry and saying this is something we should test. This is one of those opportunities.

“I don’t know if it appeals to a newer fan vs. a fan for 40 years, the changes in the paint schemes. But again, it’s one race, the All-Star Race, what better time to test it?”

This would not be the first time where car numbers have been placed on areas other than the door. It was a practice for some teams in the early 1950s, according to NASCAR historian Ken Martin, per a story on NASCAR.com.

******************************

Fifteen drivers are locked into the All-Star Race by virtue of wins in 2019 and 2020 (to date): Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Chase Elliott, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley and Matt Kenseth.

There are five opportunities remaining for other drivers to get automatic berths in the All-Star Race field by virtue of winning at any of the five races still to be held prior to the All-Star Race: Talladega, the Pocono doubleheader, Indianapolis and Kentucky.

Several other drivers are eligible to be voted in as part of the NASCAR Fan Vote, currently under way through noon ET July 14. Click here to vote. Drivers are eligible for the Fan Vote by having attempted to qualify for the 2020 Daytona 500.

Those drivers are: Quin Houff, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, Ty Dillon, Clint Bowyer, Brennan Poole, Chris Buescher, Matt DiBenedetto, William Byron, Reed Sorenson, Corey LaJoie, Michael McDowell, David Ragan, Ryan Preece, John Hunter Nemechek, Cole Custer, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Chad Finchum, Joey Gase, B.J. McLeod, JJ Yeley, Brendan Gaughan, Timmy Hill, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell and Daniel Suarez.

If any of those drivers win a stage in the NASCAR Open qualifying race prior to the All-Star Race, that driver will be locked into the field and not eligible to be the Fan Vote winner.

One Fan Vote winner has gone on to win the All-Star Race in the event’s history: Kasey Kahne in 2008.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Harrison Burton takes lead with 2 laps to go for Xfinity win in Miami

1 Comment

Harrison Burton led the last two laps, but that was enough to win his second race of the season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, capturing the first of a two-race weekend doubleheader at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“So much fun, for me especially,” Burton said. “I gave him (Gragson) the lead on the outside early and I think he chose the inside because of that. I knew I couldn’t give it to him again.

“This is such a tight series and everyone is so, so competitive that you kind of have to claw and dig every chance you get. This was one of those times where he kind of got loose and got under him and it was a good race, that’s for sure.”

The 19-year-old Burton, son of NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton, has now won twice (also won at Fontana) this season and has earned seven top-5 finishes in the first nine races.

Burton overtook runner-up Austin Cindric and prior race leader Noah Gragson, who was seeking his third win of the season, but tailed off on the last lap to finish third. Anthony Alfredo finished fourth and NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished fifth in his first race since last August’s Xfinity race at Darlington.

Burton becomes the third two-time winner of the season, joining Gragson and Chase Briscoe. The series returns for its second race of the weekend Sunday at Miami.

Click here for results, standings

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Sieg

STAGE 2 WINNER: Noah Gragson

Who had a good race: Dale Earnhardt Jr., making his first start since late last August at Darlington, finished fifth.

Who had a bad race: Tommy Joe Martins had high hopes coming into the race, only to suffer a mechanical failure prior to the start of the race. Repairs were made and he finished 31st.

Notable: Chase Briscoe’s race started off disastrous: a piece of ballast fall off his car during the pace laps. After repairs, he rejoined the race six laps down, but was able to make up the laps and was up to sixth place by Lap 132, but hit the wall with 11 laps left and finished seventh. NASCAR announced late Saturday night that it has handed down four-race suspensions to Briscoe’s crew chief Richard Boswell, car chief Nick Hutchins and engineer DJ Vanderley, starting with Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Miami. The trio will also miss upcoming races at Talladega, Pocono and Indianapolis. They are eligible to return at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, July 9. The incident and resulting penalty is similar to the ballast that fell off Denny Hamlin’s car prior to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24.

Next race: The Xfinity Series returns to Homestead-Miami Speedway Sunday (12 p.m. ET on FS1) for the second half of the weekend doubleheader.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Chase Briscoe holds off Kyle Busch for thrilling Darlington Xfinity win

1 Comment

Chase Briscoe held off Kyle Busch in a thrilling last-lap drag race to the checkered flag to win Thursday’s Toyota 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway.

It capped an emotional few days for Briscoe. Earlier this week, he and his pregnant wife learned they had lost their first child.

The 23-year-old Briscoe broke into tears after climbing out of his race car, telling FS1: “That’s for my wife. This is the hardest week I’ve ever had to deal with. I was crying in the race car and emotionally I wasn’t there at all.

“This is more than a race win, it’s the biggest day of my life after the toughest day of my life. To beat the best there is just so satisfying.”

Click here for results, driver standings

Briscoe, who beat Busch to the checkered flag by .086 seconds, led 44 laps en route to his fourth career Xfinity triumph and second of the season.

Busch finished second, followed by Justin Allgaier, Austin Cindric and polesitter Noah Gragson.

If there was a comeback award, Busch would have won hands down. He won Stage 2 and was coming off pit road on the resulting caution when he was caught speeding, sending him to the back of the field for the restart for the final segment.

He quickly moved through the field and came up about one car length short.

“I hated we had the pit road penalty,” Busch said. “No excuses, just got busted for speeding unfortunately, .02 over and had to go to the back. Hopefully we put on a good show for the fans.”

It was the Xfinity Series’ first event since the season was suspended March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The race was scheduled for Tuesday night, but rain forced its postponement to today at Noon ET. Even with that, rain Thursday caused a 4 ½-hour delay until the green flag.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Noah Gragson

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kyle Busch

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Justin Allgaier had a strong car and appeared to be the only challenge for Briscoe and Busch, but couldn’t get back to the front, having to settle for third.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: It was a bad end to what had been a good day up to that point: Michael Annett was running fourth and charging toward the lead when a tire went down on him with 15 laps to go, leading to a spin that caused significant damage to the right front of his car.

NOTABLE: Brett Moffitt made his first race start since suffering two broken legs in a motocross accident in mid-March and didn’t look too worse for the wear, finishing 11th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Alsco 300, Monday March 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski