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Bump and Run: A $100K bounty to beat Kyle Busch in the Truck Series?

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What do you think of the bounty Kevin Harvick and Marcus Lemonis said on Twitter that they would put up for any full-time Cup driver who can beat Kyle Busch in a truck race?

Nate Ryan: It’s another sign of Harvick’s underrated savvy for NASCAR exposure and promotion (he’s the same star who advocated rotating the championship race long before it was in vogue).

Dustin Long: I like it in the sense of creating some buzz around the series, but I think it should be open to anyone, not just a Cup interloper. And why not do the same thing when Kyle Busch runs in the Xfinity Series?

Daniel McFadin: My initial gut reaction is that it’s awesome. NASCAR needs more promotions like this, especially building off the Triple Truck Challenge that started last year. My secondary reaction: why just full-time Cup drivers? That $100,000 could do a lot for a mid-tier or lower-tier team in the Truck Series. I can’t imagine the investment is worth it for a major sponsor or a top-tier team to have to put together a quality one-off ride for a Cup driver in hopes of winning the bounty. But, I still think it’s cool and I’m crossing my fingers something comes of it.

Jerry Bonkowski: It’s a novel idea but isn’t it kind of going backwards in terms of putting more full-time Cup drivers into a Truck, when the general idea of the series was to be a developmental entity for other drivers, primarily younger ones, rather than a place where full-time Cup drivers can go to race a few times a year for extra cash? If anything, the “bounty” should also be available to regular full or part-time Truck drivers, as well, to beat Busch, drivers from Matt Crafton to Jennifer Jo Cobb to Norm Benning.

 

Chase Briscoe has said that he thinks he needs to win “eight to 10 races” this season as he looks to make the championship race in the Xfinity Series. He won his first race of the season Sunday at Las Vegas. What kind of possibility do you give any driver of winning at least eight Xfinity races this season?

Nate Ryan: In the absence of the Big Three and a less experienced field, Briscoe’s Las Vegas victory was a promising start, and it’s encouraging that he has set such a high bar. It’s a big jump to go from one victory in each of the past two seasons to eight, but it could happen.

Dustin Long: I think the chances are slim. Even with a limited number of drivers with wins in the series, I don’t foresee someone dominating as Christopher Bell did last year in winning a series-high eight races.

Daniel McFadin: Eight wins is a lot. We don’t yet know who will be Briscoe’s most stout competition this year and likely won’t have a real grasp of that until the end of March. At this point I don’t anticipate anyone reaching the eight-win mark.

Jerry Bonkowski: I feel the domination of the “Big 3” – Tyler Reddick, Christopher Bell and Cole Custer — was somewhat of an anomaly the last few years in the Xfinity Series. Now that they’re in Cup, that opens up the door for more parity in the series. And as a result, an opportunity for more wins across the board for many more drivers. I don’t think Briscoe, or any other driver for that matter, needs to have eight to 10 wins to make the championship race. I can see a few drivers maybe winning four or five races, but don’t feel anyone will dominate the way Bell, Reddick and Custer did the last couple of seasons.

 

What do you make of Jimmie Johnson’s fifth-place finish at Las Vegas?

Nate Ryan: It was impressive, particularly how he fought to pick up spots with the dive onto the apron during the final restart. There’s been no shortage of talk about the team’s determination to return as contenders, but Sunday backed it up for the first time in a long while.

Dustin Long: Good run and this team needs good performances early to not be buried by its winless streak. Let’s see if this team can keep it going.

Daniel McFadin: I wasn’t surprised by the result. Johnson and his three Hendrick Motorsports teammates ran in the top 10 consistently all day, with Johnson placing ninth in Stage 1 and seventh in Stage 2. He clearly had top-10 speed and the chaos around the final restart obviously helped him improve his position a few spots. It was a much needed result for a team that only had one top 10 in the final six races last year.

Jerry Bonkowski: I picked Johnson to win at Las Vegas, so a fifth-place finish isn’t all that bad. I think he has a great opportunity to finally break his 2 ½-year winless streak at his home track of Fontana on Sunday. Even if not there, I’m convinced JJ will definitely break the winless streak soon. I expect to see him at least make the playoffs. In his final Cup season, he has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

 

What will you be keeping a close eye on this weekend at Auto Club Speedway?

Nate Ryan: Whether the Toyotas can prove that Las Vegas was just a blip.

Dustin Long: I want to see if Team Penske, after its strong showing at Las Vegas, will continue to be as strong this weekend. Last year at Auto Club, Team Penske went second (Joey Logano), third (Brad Keselowski) and fifth (Ryan Blaney).

Daniel McFadin: I’ll be watching to see if the improvement of the Chevys and the downturn of the Toyotas shown in Las Vegas was a one-off or the start of an extended narrative for the opening portion of the season. Not seeing any Toyota driver finish better than 15th was kind of a shocker.

Jerry Bonkowski: Jimmie Johnson, obviously. But I’m also keeping my eyes on guys who usually aren’t in the conversation all that much, but are off to decent starts to the season points-wise, including Chris Buescher, Bubba Wallace, Corey LaJoie and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It will be interesting to see how they fare over the next few races, to see if they can maintain their spots in the standings and keep their performance level up.

Christopher Bell wins pole for Truck race at Bristol

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Christopher Bell climbed into the No. 51 to sub for an ailing Harrison Burton and qualified on the pole for tonight’s Truck race at Bristol Motor Speedway with a speed of 125.839 mph.

He beat Ben Rhodes (125.765 mph) by .020 seconds.

John Hunter Nemechek (125.518), Johnny Sauter (125.273) and Grant Enfinger (124.533) rounded out the top five.

In round one of qualification, Matt Crafton and Norm Benning made contact, doing damage to the right front fender of the Crafton’s No. 88. He posted the 17th best time in that session. Crafton failed to advance to the final round and will line up 18th.

Gray Gaulding, Timothy Peters, BJ McLeod, Benning, and Jennifer Jo Cobb failed to qualify.

Chase Briscoe wins Truck Series race at Eldora

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Chase Briscoe and ThorSport teammate Grant Enfinger banged doors as they crossed the finish line of the Eldora Dirt Derby at Eldora Speedway with Briscoe winning by a bumper. It was Briscoe’s second career Truck win. His first victory came in the season finale last year at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He has not raced in the Camping World Truck Series since, so this gives him consecutive victories.

Briscoe lobbied Ford for the ride, but the deal came together at the last minute, Briscoe said from victory lane.

The race had an extended green flag segment during the final stage, during which USAC National Midget racer Logan Seavey pulled away from the field. Two multi-car accidents in the closing laps involving Todd Gilliland, Myatt Snider, Dalton Sargeant and several others allowed Briscoe to climb through the field and set up the green-white-checkered finish.

Stewart Friesen finished third with Matt Crafton and Brett Moffitt rounding out the top five.

Briscoe is the sixth different winner in six editions of this race. Last year’s winner Crafton was the only previous winner in the field.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ben Rhodes

STAGE 2 WINNER: Chase Briscoe

HEAT RACE 1 WINNER: Ben Rhodes  (Complete Results)

HEAT RACE 2 WINNER: Todd Gilliland (Complete Results)

HEAT RACE 3 WINNER: Chase Briscoe (Complete Results)

HEAT RACE 4 WINNER: Matt Crafton (Complete Results)

HEAT RACE 5 WINNER: Stewart Friesen (Complete Results)

LAST CHANCE QUALIFIER WINNER: John Hunter Nemechek (Complete Results)

HOW CHASE BRISCOE WON: Briscoe took the lead from Seavey on the next-to-last restart before holding off Enfinger in a two-lap shootout.

WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: Simply making the A Main was an accomplishment for Norm Benning, who finished fourth in his heat race. He was involved in a late-race accident and finished last (32nd) … Stewart Friesen won his heat race and finished third after coming home one position short to Crafton last year. … Noah Gragson was forced to race his way into the Eldora Dirt Derby through the Last Chace Qualifier and climbed to sixth. … In his fourth career Truck race, Nick Hoffman scored his first top 10 with a 10th.

WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Attempting to make his first Truck race, RJ Otto walled his truck in the Last Chance Qualifier and spun with two laps remaining. …  Rhodes slapped the wall early in stage two and was forced to pit, losing two laps in the process. Rhodes spun again with 53 laps remaining. … Points leader Johnny Sauter qualified 34th, failed to race his way directly into the A Main via his heat race and spun early. He finished 16th. … Ryan Newman was collected in an accident involving Matt Crafton and Tyler Dippel. He lost four laps making repairs and finished 30th.

NOTABLE: Seavey dominated the final stage of the Eldora Dirt Derby, but a poor lane selection on the next-to-last restart cost him the lead. Restarting fourth on the final run, he was shuffled further back through the field to finish eighth, but came within four laps of winning in his Truck debut. Seavey was coming off a win at Sweet Springs (Missouri) Motor Complex, which gave him the overall victory in the USAC Mid-Atlantic Midget Week points standings.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I wasn’t going to wear him out; I wasn’t just gonna wreck him for the win. We rubbed. I definitely let it float all the way to the wall and I’m sorry about that; it’s not how I race. But this means so much to win at Eldora. … This is our Daytona for dirt guys.” Chase Briscoe on FoxSports1.

WHAT’S NEXT: Gander Outdoors 150 at Pocono Raceway at 1 p.m. ET on July 28 on FS1.

NASCAR says there will be ‘consequences’ to Jennifer Jo Cobb for her actions

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DOVER, Del. – Jennifer Jo Cobb said she was “mad as hell” at Tyler Reddick and forgot a NASCAR rule that prohibits drivers from walking on the track, which she did during Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway.

“The fact that I forget is such a shame because the reason (the rule) is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget,’’ Cobb said after meeting with NASCAR officials.

NASCAR instituted the rule last August after Tony Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race in New York. Ward walked down the track toward Stewart’s car after an incident and was struck.

This the first time a driver in any of NASCAR’s three national series has violated the rule.

“A huge error in judgment on my part,’’ Cobb said. “The fact that we had a very stern meeting will keep it top of my mind for sure.’’

Elton Sawyer, director of the Camping World Truck Series, said of Cobb’s actions: “It’s a serious infraction. She understands what she did and there will be consequences.’’

NASCAR likely will announce its action Tuesday.

The video NASCAR plays before each driver/crew chief meeting reminds drivers that if they are involved in an accident, they must “stay in your vehicle until attended to by a track safety worker.’’

Cobb wrecked on Lap 13 as Reddick, the leader and eventual winner, closed on her.

After the incident, Cobb climbed from her vehicle before safety officials arrived and took 12 steps up the track before raising her arms as Reddick drove by under caution.  On the next lap, Cobb again tried to walk up the track to gesture toward Reddick but was stopped by a NASCAR official.

“I was still mad as hell,’’ Cobb said. “The reason for such anger is it’s so early in the race.

“You can ask any spotter on the spotter stand how much courtesy I give these guys. I didn’t pull out to pass (Norm Benning), which we were coming to lap, because I knew (Reddick) was out there and I gave him the high side and that is what makes me so made.

“There are 32 trucks. I don’t care what anybody says, all 32 trucks matter. We run on a budget of about $300,000 a year. They run on a budget of $3 million a year. My truck is 10 times harder to drive than his truck. Despite all of that, our ultimate goal is to earn the respect of these guys. There are 99 percent of them that will tell you that we’ve done it.’’

Cobb displayed a picture of the rear of the vehicle that showed left side damage. Reddick said he did not hit her.

“We were in lapped traffic early on in the race,’’ Reddick said after his second win of the season for Brad Keselowski Racing. “She was trying to pass another vehicle. She looked like she was going to give me three wide and then she closed the door. I (slowed) up to try to avoid getting into the back of her. She just got loose when I was right behind and she ended up spinning and tearing her vehicle up. It’s just a real shame.’’

Erik Jones fastest in final Truck Series practice at Charlotte Motor Speedway

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Erik Jones was fastest in the final practice session for the Camping World Truck Series’ North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Jones and his No. 4 Toyota finished the two-hour session with a speed of 180.693 mph (29.885 seconds).

He was followed by Scott Lagasse Jr. (180.668), Matt Tifft (180.608), Kasey Kahne (180.493) and Tyler Reddick (180.228).

Qualifying for Friday night’s race begins at 5:45 p.m. ET and the race starts at 8:30 p.m. ET.

Speeds for the final CWTS practice at Charlotte:

1. Erik Jones … 180.693 mph … 57 laps

2. Scott Lagasse Jr. … 180.668 … 36 laps

3. Matt Tifft … 180.608 … 47 laps

4. Kasey Kahne … 180.493 … 51 laps

5. Tyler Reddick … 180.228 … 45 laps

6. Matt Crafton … 180.216 … 60 laps

7. David Gilliland … 180.126 … 13 laps

8. Spencer Gallagher … 179.700 … 56 laps

9. Cameron Hayley … 179.611 …43 laps

10. Brad Keselowski … 179.462 … 73 laps

11. Joe Nemechek … 179.444 … 43 laps

12. Ray Black Jr. … 179.247 … 32 laps

13. Daniel Hemric … 178.843 … 45 laps

14. Mason Mingus … 178.749 … 24 laps

15. Justin Boston … 178.713 … 52 laps

16. Ben Kennedy … 178.389 … 55 laps

17. Timothy Peters … 178.000 … 37 laps

18. Johnny Sauter … 177.789 … 33 laps

19. Brandon Jones … 177.678 … 50 laps

20. John Wes Townley … 177.585 … 43 laps

21. Tyler Young … 177.474 … 38 laps

22. Caleb Holman … 176.655 … 31 laps

23. Tyler Tanner … 175.959 … 27 laps

24. Brandon Brown … 174.357 … 23 laps

25. Jennifer Jo Cobb … 174.182 … 27 laps

26. BJ McLeod … 174.149 … 2 laps

27. Korbin Forrister … 174.042 … 27 laps

28. Justin Jennings … 174.025 … 16 laps

29. Todd Peck … 173.544 … 29 laps

30. Kyle Fowler … 171.554 … 5 laps

31. Jordan Anderson … 171.401 … 16 laps

32. Travis Kvapil … 171.189 …16 laps

33. Ryan Ellis … 171.108 … 20 laps

34. Norm Benning … 152.698 … 2 laps

 

Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average

1. Erik Jones … 179.405

2. Matt Crafton … 178.388

3. Matt Tifft … 178.387

4. Spencer Gallagher … 177.917

5. Justin Boston … 177.779

6. Brad Keselowski … 177.653

7. Tyler Reddick … 177.574

8. Ben Kennedy … 177.546

9. Joe Nemechek … 177.121

10. Daniel Hemric … 176.841

11. Cameron Hayley … 176.479

12. Timothy Peters … 176.006

13. Brandon Brown … 172.970

14. Jennifer Jo Cobb … 170.375