Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell to race sprint cars again this week

Leave a comment

JOLIET, Ill. — Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell both will strap into sprint cars just days after a driver was killed in a similar series.

“I think the normal person out there would probably think like ‘Wow why does Christopher and Kyle still go do that when things like that happen?’ Larson said. “And honestly, I don’t think about the bad stuff that could happen when I’m strapping into a race car. I just love sprint car racing so much.’’ 

Jason Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals — the pinnacle of sprint car racing — died from injuries suffered in a crash at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway on June 23.

Bell and Kahne both plan to join Pennsylvania Sprint Car Speedweek. Bell will race Sunday at Path Valley Speedway and be joined by Larson on Monday at Lincoln Speedway and Tuesday at Grandview Speedway. They’ll leave to head to Daytona for next weekend’s Xfinity and Cup races.

“We’re race car drivers,” Bell said of why he’ll continue to race sprint cars even as his NASCAR career blossoms in the Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Racing’s not a safe sport unfortunately. NASCAR has done a great job making it a lot safer and so have sprint cars. … I think bottom line is just we love it.”

Kasey Kahne, who also has run some sprint car races season, also plans to be back in a sprint car soon.

“It’s what we do for years and years,’’ Kahne said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio earlier this week. “I don’t know. It’s tough to think about it that way for sure. Definitely when these things happen it makes you think about those things, you think about your family and loved ones, people close to you. But it is what I’ve always done. It’s what so many racers have ever done and for whatever reason we just keep doing it because of the passion and thrill and love we have for racing.”

But when these drivers go to dirt track races there isn’t the level of safety seen at a NASCAR track.

“A lot of the race tracks we go to are pretty nice facilities, but there are definitely some that need some work and there are areas that you see would need work,” Larson said. “I think that comes down to the series whether it’s World of Outlaws or All Stars or USAC or whatever could do a better job of not necessarily demanding that the track become safer, but I feel like sprint cars a lot of times people look at them as being unsafe race cars. But, NASCAR … they have made the tracks a lot safer, which has made the race cars seem a lot safer, which the race cars are a lot safer than they were a decade and a half ago. I think they have made just as many improvements to the race tracks as they have the race cars. 

“Where I think sprint cars, we have continued to somewhat make the race cars safer with tethers and straps and safety bars and stuff like that, but I don’t really feel like we have done a whole lot to make the track safer. The tracks that have become safer I feel like are tracks where they have had issues at.  … I just wish the tracks would be a little more proactive or the series to be more proactive in making sure that the facilities they are going to are safer.”

 and on Facebook

Results, Xfinity point standings after Iowa

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Justin Allgaier had a career day, leading 182 laps and sweeping all three stages in his win at Iowa Speedway.

The JR Motorsports driver claimed his seventh career Xfinity win.

Allgaier was followed by Christopher Bell, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Brandon Jones.

Click here for results.

Points

After his second straight finish of 28th or worse, Elliott Sadler‘s point lead after 14 races is down to a four-point advantage over Custer.

The top five is completed by Hemric (-7 points), Tyler Reddick (-31) and Bell (-3).

After his win Sunday, Allgaier is sixth in the standings, 51 points back from his JR Motorsports teammate.

Click here for the full standings.

Justin Allgaier dominates in Xfinity win at Iowa Speedway

Leave a comment

Justin Allgaier fended off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell to win Sunday’s Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Allgaier held Bell and the rest of the field at bay in a 12-lap shootout to capture his second win of the year.

The top five was completed by Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and Brandon Jones.

Allgaier led a career-high 182 laps and swept every stage.

“We had a great car today, these guys did a fantastic job,” Allgaier told Fox Sports 1.

The JR Motorsports driver took the lead for the first time with two laps to go in Stage 1 when he passed pole-sitter Austin Cindric.

The win qualifies Allgaier for the playoffs. His first win at Dover was disqualified toward playoff contention after his car failed post-race inspection.

Bell placed second after starting from the rear. His car failed to get through qualifying inspection, resulting in him not making a qualifying attempt.

“Man, I just needed to be in front of (Allgaier)” Bell told FS1. “It was really good on the bottom in both corners. I just didn’t have enough to clear him.”

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

STAGE 2 WINNER: Justin Allgaier

MORE: Race results, point standings

WHO HAD A GOOD DAY: Christopher Bell earned his fourth top-two finish of the season … Daniel Hemric claimed his fourth top-three finish in the last five races … Riley Herbst placed sixth in his series debut … Justin Haley placed 12th in his debut … Kaz Grala placed 10th for his second top 10 in four starts for Fury Race Cars … Ty Majeski finished seventh, giving Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 60 team its first top 10 of the season.

WHO HAD A BAD DAY: Elliott Sadler cut a tire and got into the wall late in Stage 1. He finished 28th for his second straight finish outside the top 25. He had finished in the top 10 in the first 12 races … Brandon Hightower wrecked with 17 laps to go to set up the final restart. He finished 30th.

WHAT’S NEXT: Overton’s 300 at Chicagoland Speedway at 3:30 p.m. ET on June 30 on NBCSN

Xfinity practice report at Iowa Speedway

Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Final Practice

In his last start of a four-race schedule with Fury Race Cars, Kaz Grala topped the speed chart in final practice for the Iowa 250 Presented by Enogen with a speed of 130.052 mph.

Grala bettered Tyler Reddick (129.449 mph) by .113 seconds.

Daniel Hemric (129.263), Justin Allgaier (129.225) and Austin Cindric (129.178) rounded out the top five.

The two teenagers making their debut landed in the mid-teens. Riley Herbst (128.200) was 15th on the chart; Justin Hayley (127.997) was 18th.

Cole Custer had the quickest 10-lap average with a speed of 127.576 mph.

Click here for full results from final practice.

First practice

Christopher Bell paced the first practice session for the Iowa 250 with a speed of 129.790 mph.

Daniel Hemric was second on the speed chart at 129.656 mph.

With time running off the clock, Shane Lee (129.603) fired off pit road and landed third.

Elliott Sadler (129.178) and Cole Custer (128.628) rounded out the top five.

Making his Xfinity debut, Truck series regular Justin Haley posted the sixth-fastest lap of 128.508 mph.

Riley Herbst posted a lap of 127.503 mph in his debut and landed 16th on the fastest lap chart.

Austin Cindric had the quickest 10-lap average of 126.074 among six drivers who posted at least 10 consecutive laps.

Click here for full practice 1 results.

NASCAR America: Cassill, Kligerman have eyes on Iowa

Leave a comment

With the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series taking Father’s Day off, all eyes are focused on Iowa Speedway this weekend.

Parker Kligerman and Landon Cassill took time in the opening segment of Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America to handicap the Xfinity race at Iowa and here is some of what they had to say:

  • On Daniel Hemric: “The chances (of winning) are really high. We’ve watched Daniel Hemric come so close in the last year and a half or so – and he’s run very competitively in that 21 car. … His chances going to Iowa are great, but it’s really going to come down to whether Richard Childress Racing has improved their program; have they made (the cars) better on short track.” – Kligerman
  • On Ryan Truex: “He feels like it’s really just the team finding his feel for the car. I think he didn’t anticipate the transition from the down force of the trucks have and how much you can lean into driving a truck to the Xfinity cars – and the down force coming off those cars and sliding around a little bit more.” – Cassill
  • On Ross Chastain: “Week in and week out, we see this team just over-perform. They find themselves running in the top 10, beating cars that have massively larger budgets.” – Kligerman
  • On Christopher Bell: “I have my eye on Christopher Bell this weekend as someone who is probably going to be favorite off the truck on Friday to win this race. He won at Richmond – a very similar track; similar setup.” – Cassill
  • On Elliott Sadler: “Just keep doing what he’s doing. Because they’re just very competitive. Think about how close they were t beating his teammate to the line at Dover earlier this year when they came banging doors across the line.” – Kligerman

Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier were also profiled.

For more, watch the video above.