Gaunt Brothers Racing

Gaunt Brothers Racing raises $12,000 in auction for Humboldt Broncos hood

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Gaunt Brothers Racing announced Wednesday it raised $12,000 in an auction for the hood off DJ Kennington’s No. 96 Toyota in last weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway

Kennington’s hood featured the logo for the Humboldt Broncos.

The hood honors the 16 people who lost their lives and the 13 who were injured on April 6 when a bus carrying members of the junior-A Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was struck by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, Canada.

The money will be donated to the Humboldt Broncos charity. The winning bid was placed by Kennington’s sponsor, Castrol.

Kennington, who finished 27th in Food City 500, is a native of St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.

The hood was signed by every member of the No. 96 team.

NASCAR America: PJ1 ‘created a lot of options’ at Bristol

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Only one NASCAR America analyst competed in the Food City 500, which saw a return of the often cited “old” Bristol Motor Speedway.

Landon Cassill, fresh off a 20th-place finish in the race, joined Parker Kligerman on Tuesday’s show to discuss the impact of the application of PJ1 to the bottom groove in each turn.

“The one thing that was different I think in (what) I saw in the race was that it created a lot of options,” Cassill said. “The grip kind of went away, then you’d move up and run the high side, then you could move back down. For a car like mine where I didn’t think I had the fastest car, I was able to take advantage of that and work my way up through the field. I saw a lot of drivers using those option to work up through the field and make aggressive moves.”

Kligerman, who competed at Bristol on the PJ1 last year in the Truck Series, said the traction agent makes races “unpredictable.”

“It looked like at times it would lay the rubber down and suddenly you’d see a driver go off in there and he’d just not have the same grip he had before,” Kligerman said.

Kligerman also observed that the PJ1 allowed young drivers like Darrell Wallace Jr. to drive to the front.

Watch the above video for more.

 

NASCAR America: Return of the bump-and-run at Bristol

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Is “old” Bristol Motor Speedway back?

Many drivers made it look that way last weekend as the trademark bump-and-run maneuver was executed all over the half-mile track, thanks in part to the PJ1 substance applied to the bottom lane in both turns.

The most memorable example came when Kyle Busch applied it to Kyle Larson to take the lead with six laps to go and went on to win.

On NASCAR America, Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton discussed their takeaways from the Food City 500, including the  return of the bump-and-run.

“What I like about what I saw all weekend was that the bottom (lane) was better,” Burton said. “But you could still use the middle. I like the bottom being the best because I think it produces the best racing to watch. I know as a driver when the top became the best, it got easier for me. You weren’t loaded as much from the G-force stand point, the feeling of speed wasn’t there. I like the fact that it’s back on the bottom.”

Letarte said from talking with crew chiefs that there is now a “comfort” with the traction compound.

“Everybody seemed pretty calm, ‘Look, it’s going to stay down, we know what the track’s going to do,'” Letarte said. “I think they finally got a little bit of comfort of how to treat the track and the competitors have some comfort in how it’s going to affect it.”

Watch the above video for more on the Food City 500.

Hendrick Motorsports places two drivers in top five at Bristol

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The question of whether Hendrick Motorsports is finally turning their season around may have been answered in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway when the organization placed two drivers in the top five for the first time in 2018.

Jimmie Johnson finished third to score his first top five of the season and his first in 14 races.

Alex Bowman finished fifth and earned the first top five of his career.

Bowman’s previous best was a sixth in the 2016 Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, the same weekend he scored his first career pole. Driving in relief for an injured Dale Earnhardt Jr, it was just that type of race run that encouraged Hendrick to offer Bowman the ride for 2018.

HMS has seemingly struggled with the new Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. With the exception of Chase Elliott, none of the other drives have managed to record multiple top 10s and these are the first top fives of the year for anyone other than the driver of the No. 9 team.

It took until the fifth race of the season for Johnson to score his first top 10 – a ninth at Auto Club Speedway.

Bowman scored his first top 10 one week later at Martinsville Speedway with a seventh.

William Byron finished 10th last week at Texas Motor Speedway for his first career top 10.

“Yeah, it really is a great boost,” Johnson said. “I’ve said for weeks now that we’re getting better and it’s great to finally have a result to back that up.”

Bowman was happy with his top five as well, but believed a better result was in the offing.

“I think by ourself we had maybe even a faster race car than that,” Bowman said. “I just couldn’t be consistent with it. We were really loose in and my car was really sensitive to traffic. If anybody got within a half a car length of me behind me, it just turned sideways getting in the corner every time. If I could break that gap and get away from them I would drive away, but with them right there I couldn’t do anything. It was interesting trying to fight through that, but glad we finished top five.”

Darrell Wallace Jr. leads first laps of Cup career, ‘devastated’ with Bristol result

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Darrell Wallace Jr. gave fans his “raw” response to the Food City 500 that saw the rookie driver lead the first laps of his Cup career, but finish 16th after falling off in the closing laps at Bristol Motor Speedway.

In a video recorded in his RV after the race, an emotional Wallace was “devastated, absolutely devastated” with the outcome.

After starting 20th on Sunday, Wallace managed to finish 10th in Stage 2 for his second top-10 stage finish of the season. His first came in the Daytona 500.

The driver of Richard Petty Motorsports’ No. 43 Chevrolet passed Brad Keselowski to take the lead on Lap 375. Six laps later, Wallace lost the lead to eventual race winner Kyle Busch. Wallace then slowly fell through the field before he eventually was lapped.

“That last caution came out (with 30 laps to go) and we were struggling with left front problems there late in runs, locking up easily, but still was able to make decent ground,” Wallace said immediately after the race. “Then all of a sudden it went away there and man, just blindsided there by that.”

The blindsided feel hadn’t left Wallace in his motorhome.

“I don’t know what happened, I have no idea,” Wallace said. “My guys gave me an absolute great car. We went up there and led our first laps in a Cup race and holy (expletive) I don’t know what went wrong. My mind is about 1,000 mph right now just trying to figure out what in the hell went wrong.”

Wallace’s finish came a week after his earned his second top 10 of the year at Texas Motor Speedway. Wallace said he expected a “solid” top 10 or even a top five at Bristol.

“I was pumped, I was excited,” Wallace said of leading his first Cup laps in his 12th career start. “I’m just as shook as all of you guys. … We went from leading the race to probably the absolute worst car out there. My mind is blown right now.”

Wallace’s six laps led were the first for RPM since Aric Almirola led two in the 2017 Daytona 500. They were the first laps led at Bristol since Brian Scott led five laps in 2016.

Wallace’s No. 43 car was sponsored by STP and had a paint scheme he helped design.

“(Gave them) a run they deserved, not a finish they deserved,” Wallace said. “We still got momentum on our side.”