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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. throws perfect strike for Red Sox

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With the Boston Red Sox nearly 10 games behind their No. 1 rivals, the American League East-leading New York Yankees, they could use some additional pitching help.

A good southpaw would be a big help.

They got some help on Wednesday – for one pitch at least, that is – as Cup Series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. threw out the first pitch prior to the game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway Park.

Scouts likely had a few raised eyebrows when Stenhouse threw a perfect strike.

 

I’ve thrown out first pitches at some minor league games, but Fenway Park puts it at a whole ‘nother level,” Stenhouse told NESN.com.

But Stenhouse, wearing a No. 17 jersey, delivered when it was his turn atop the mound. In a sense, it was a home game for Stenhouse, as Red Sox owner John Henry is a part-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.

Stenhouse and teammate Ryan Newman, who was also in uniform for the game, were in Boston on their way to this weekend’s Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Stenhouse is currently 19th in the standings and with seven races left to make the playoffs, he knows how significant this weekend will be for him.

It’s very important,” Stenhouse told NESN. “New Hampshire could be one of those turning points. We’re 19th in points and need to get to 16th. Or we could win and just lock ourselves in that way, too.

Hopefully, we’ll have a fast enough car and play the right strategy to put ourselves in a position to win. These next few races are definitely critical to us to make sure we do our part. We’ll need somebody else to falter a little bit, but we’re going to go out and do our job and see how things play out.”

And if Stenhouse doesn’t make the playoffs, he might want to keep that pitching arm warm and loose, just in case the Red Sox really need him.

 

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GoFas Racing, Roush Fenway win fourth round of eNASCAR Heat Pro League

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The eNASCAR Heat Pro League saw its first repeat winners Wednesday night for its event held on the digital Watkins Glen International road course.

The PlayStation 4 race was won by Hunter Mullins (@Fedex_rcn_11_) for GoFas Racing.

Nicholas Walker (@wowTHATSgarbage) won the XBox One race for Roush Fenway Racing.

Both Mullins and Walker were the victors in the Round 2 races on the digital Auto Club Speedway.

The fifth round of the Pro League will be held July 10th on the digital Chicagoland Speedway. There are four rounds left in the regular season.

Here are the points standings through four rounds.

You can watch both races in the video below.

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, David Ragan honoring Darrell Waltrip with Sonoma schemes

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Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and David Ragan will pay tribute to Darrell Waltrip this weekend by driving two of the NASCAR Hall of Famers’ old paint schemes in the Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway.

The tributes comes in the last race Waltrip will serve as an analyst for Fox Sports’ NASCAR coverage. He is retiring after 18 years in the broadcast booth.

Stenhouse’s No. 17 Ford has been made to look like the No. 17 Western Auto/Parts America cars Waltrip drove from 1992-1997.

“Darrell Waltrip has meant a great deal to our sport as both a competitor and a member of the broadcast media,” team owner Jack Roush said in a press release. “The thing that stands out to me about Darrell is that after I just announced I was starting the team with Mark Martin, I was invited into a driver’s meeting that season. Darrell Waltrip was one of the first to welcome me into the fold and say ‘Come on in Jack, we are going to have a lot of fun with you’ and we sure have over the years.”

This is not the first time Stenhouse has driven one of Waltrip’s old paint schemes.

Darrell Walltrip at Sonoma Raceway in 1997. (David Taylor /Allsport)

In the 2016 Southern 500, Stenhouse used the scheme Waltrip had for his first Cup win in 1975.

This is the second time Stenhouse has driven the Western Auto/Parts America scheme, but the first time with the right color scheme.

Stenhouse’s 2017 Southern 500 car used the scheme but with the colors of his sponsor, Fifth Third bank.

“With as much as he’s done in the sport on and off the track, Darrell will definitely be missed,” Stenhouse said a press release. “I have enjoyed all the sit-downs and seeing his passion that he has for the sport. I’ve gotten to pay homage to him with two Darlington throwback schemes so it will be extra special to drive his iconic paint scheme for his last appearance in the booth.”

Ragan’s No. 38 Ford also is inspired by one of Waltrip’s Parts America schemes.

Ragan’s car is based on the chrome scheme Waltrip drove in 1997 that commemorated his 25th anniversary of competing in NASCAR.

 

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to run this scheme during Darrell Waltrip’s last race as a broadcaster with FOX,” Ragan said in a press release. “We’ve developed a great relationship over the years and he’s truly been an asset to our sport. It still gives me chills listening to replays of him calling my Talladega win in 2013. His enthusiasm for racing is unmatched and I know we will all miss seeing him up in the booth each week. All I can say is, ‘Thanks, DW.'”

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Iowa winners and losers

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WINNERS

Christopher BellScore another win for the Big 3 in the Xfinity Series. Bell collected his fourth victory of the season Sunday. His 12 wins in 55 Xfinity starts is tied with Dale Earnhardt for second most in the first 55 Xfinity races for any driver. Darrell Waltrip owns the record with 13 wins in his first 55 Xfinity starts. Both Earnhardt and Waltrip had Cup wins before making their first Xfinity start. Bell  has not made a Cup start.

Joe Gibbs Racing — Christopher Bell’s victory was JGR’s 325th career NASCAR win across Cup, Xfinity and Trucks. That ties Joe Gibbs Racing with Roush Fenway Racing for most career NASCAR wins across the three national series.

Brett Moffitt He admits he was upset with finishing second in Sunday’s Truck race and was on his way to the airport when his team called him and told him to get back to the track. With Ross Chastain’s truck failing inspection, Chastain’s win was taken away and Moffitt was declared the victor.

Harrison Burton He did double duty Sunday. Burton placed third in the Truck race and finished fourth in the Xfinity race. Not a bad day’s worth of work.

Zane Smith The 20-year-old finished a career-high fifth for JR Motorsports. It was his fifth series start. All four JR Motorsports cars finished in the top 10 for the second race in a row.

LOSERS

Ross Chastain — Won both stages and led 141 of 200 laps to win the Truck race … only to see his truck fail inspection afterward and have the win taken away. Team is appealing NASCAR’s decision and an appeal likely will take place this week.

Johnny Sauter In a feud that apparently goes back to Texas, Sauter wrecked Austin Hill under caution in retaliation for being wrecked by Hill on Sunday. NASCAR parked Sauter. Now Sauter awaits to see if there will be further penalties and if that impacts his playoff eligibility. Even the executive of series sponsor Gander Outdoors weighed in on Sauter’s action:

JGR on verge of tying Roush for most national NASCAR wins

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Kyle Busch‘s Cup win Sunday at Pocono Raceway moved Joe Gibbs Racing within one victory of tying Roush Fenway Racing for the most national NASCAR wins all-time.

According to Racing Insights, Busch’s win gives Joe Gibbs Racing 324 victories across the Cup (166 wins), Xfinity (158) and Truck Series (none) compared to Roush’s 325 overall.

The totals from Racing Insights differ from the total provided on the website Racing Reference, which has Roush’s Xfinity win total at 137.

Racing Insights added one to Roush’s Xfinity total after it confirmed with Mark Martin that his 1992 Xfinity win at Rockingham came in a car owned by Roush, not himself.

JGR, which entered NASCAR competition in 1992, is in position to tie Roush thanks to nine Cup wins through 14 races this season and six Xfinity wins through 12 races.

Roush has not won in Cup since the July 2017 race at Daytona. It has not won in Xfinity since the February 2017 Daytona race and is not competing in the series this year for the first time since 1992. Roush has not competed in the Truck Series since 2009.

Here are the six all-time winningest NASCAR teams, according to Racing Insights:

Team  Owner Cup Wins NXS Wins Truck Wins Wins
Roush Fenway Racing 137 138 50 325
Joe Gibbs Racing 166 158 0 324
Hendrick Motorsports 253 26 26 305
Petty Enterprises 268 0 2 270
Richard Childress Racing 108 81 31 220
Team Penske 118 68 0 186

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