Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Budweiser Duels Post Race Quotes
posted by Matt Stallknecht
Friday February 21, 2014
BUDWEISER DUELS POST-RACE QUOTES
They’re saying the wheel bearing burned up in it. I don’t know what caused it, they’re taking it all apart to figure out what the heck happened. Something abnormal that’s for sure I don’t think I’ve ever had that happen at all. Hopefully, we made the race and hopefully we can fix the problem before Sunday.
WHAT WAS THAT LOUD BOOM ONCE YOU TURNED INTO THE GARAGE?
Loud pop was a tire… thankfully, it popped, hopefully it didn’t hurt anybody. All the heat created in the left front that popped was pretty weird.
REALLY GOOD RUN. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?
Yeah, it was good. We have a car we can work with for the 500. Got a good starting spot, so we’re going to rest easy, fluff and buff our car for a couple of days and get ready for Sunday.
ANY DIFFERENCE ON WHETHER THE TOP OR BOTTOM LANE WORKED?
Yeah, I was just moving around, trying to stay with the flow. For me, this car works on all parts of the racetrack. So I’m pretty happy with it.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR.
GOT SHUFFLED BACK, AFTER PIT STOPS AND THEN COULDN’T GET BACK UP TO THE FRONT. WHY?
Nah, we were just sitting there waiting until the last few laps to make a move. You didn’t want to pull down and get sent to the back. Seen a couple of guys get sent to the back really quick so we were just kind of waiting for the end. I felt like we had a good situation there with Ambrose behind us — we had a good run off Turn 2 and I went. It was the last lap, time to go do something, nobody went with us but hopefully Sunday is a different story.
We got a great car. We don’t have to work hard. We learned, we got a good race car. Got a car in one piece, ready to go so we’ll try and get through the next couple of practices, deliver it to the starting group this Sunday and we’ll be real happy.
YOU’RE IN THE DAYTONA 500!
Yeah, it’s pretty awesome. This Whitetail Chevrolet was so fast that I knew all I had to do was stick it behind smart, intelligent drafters and we could have a good finish. That’s what we did in the Duels and I’m excited. I’m excited to go do some stuff with the Nationwide car and have some more practice with this. But to know that we’re locked in the Daytona 500’s pretty cool.
YOU WERE OBVIOUSLY IN FRONT OF THAT MELEE AT THE END. WHEN YOU WERE UP FRONT THERE IN THE BEGINNING, WERE YOU HOPING TO JUST STAY IN LINE AND LET YOU FINISH TOP 5?
I was pretty content to ride and luckily I knew a lot of people around us were. It was nice to have a little calm and not really have to be racing hard the whole time. I knew that the pit stop was going to shake everything up and that’s exactly what happened. Fell back a little bit there but made the right moves at the end to get a good finish.
HOW STRONG ARE THESE RCR CARS?
They’re very strong! They definitely have the capabilities to be winning one of these races.
YOU’RE IN THE TOP 5 FOR YOUR HEAT IN THE DAYTONA 500. YOUR PRIMARY CAR IS SITTING RIGHT IN THE GARAGE, KIND OF WADDED UP. DID YOU THINK THIS ONE HAD IT IN IT?
Yeah, it’s a brand new car also. It’s just not quite as good as the primary but still a damned good car. I’m just proud of everybody at RCR for building such fast race cars. All of our cars have been fast, ECR motor’s been strong, even our affiliate teams have been qualifying really good and racing good. So… excited about 2014! It’s going to be a good year.
WELL MAN, YOU STARTED IN THE BACK BUT WORKED YOUR WAY TO THE FRONT WHEN IT COUNTED MOST. WERE YOU JUST BIDING YOUR TIME THROUGHOUT THE RACE?
Eh, you never know if you’re going to get back up there or not. We had to start at the back, we had to make a run early and see what we could do. We drove right to 10th, or something like that and then it got stagnant. We tried to make something happen, and went to the back again. Drove back up to the front. Again, just really proud of my guys. Matt Kruder did a hell of a job on that pit stop getting just enough gas in to gain some spots there.
RCR CARS SEEM PRETTY DARNED STRONG. DO YOU THINK THE RCR CARS HAVE SOMETHING FOR THEM ON SUNDAY — ESPECIALLY THE THREE JOE GIBBS RACING CARS THAT SEEM TO BE THE CLASS OF THE FIELD RIGHT NOW?
Oh yeah. The 20 car was extremely fast. The 11 didn’t qualify that good, but he’s a good drafter. I think he won. We definitely have something for him.
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Monday August 13, 2012
So far this season at Bethel Motor Speedway, the storyline in the Sportsman division has been the seesaw point battle between veteran drivers Rich Coons and Jerry Curry. Coons, a dirt racer who made the switch to asphalt in 2010, has gone toe-to-toe with Bethel standout Jerry Curry, who has competed and won in numerous other divisions over the years. Both have had their shining moments, and both have had their share of disappointments. For Coons, this past Saturday night held a little of both, as he won the holdover event from August 4th and then blew a motor, keeping him from even taking the green flag in the night’s regular event.
The night’s first feature took to the track with Curry on the pole and Coons directly behind him in third. At the drop of the green, Coons followed Curry to get past outside pole sitter Dion Naples. The race quickly turned into a clinic up front, as the two veterans tested one another turn after turn, lap after lap. Behind the pair, an intense battle also raged between rookie Bob Morris and Eric Moon for the third spot. Morris – who got behind the wheel of a Sportsman car this year after only competing in go-karts in the past – held off the advances of Moon until lap 14, but he continued to fight for the spot as the laps clicked off. With just three laps to go, Coons took the top spot from Curry. When the checkered flag waved, Coons crossed the line ahead of Curry and Moon. It was Coons’ ninth feature event win of the year, and effectively put the driver nine markers ahead of Curry in the points chase.
From there, however, Coons’ night went rapidly downhill. In the heat race, Coons’ motor blew, sidelining him for the night, and giving Curry a wide-open door to walk through to recapture the points lead that he lost just last month.
Morris and Dion Naples started the night’s regular event from the front row, while Curry sat third for the start behind Morris. As soon as the green flag was in the air, Curry took command of the race, and he put his car out front on the initial lap. As Curry paced the field, Morris was engaged in a fight for second with John Aumick. Curry was a man on a mission, leading every lap of the event on his way to the win, while Morris was able to keep Aumick behind him and collect second place honors. For Curry, it was his second win of the 2012 season and catapulted him into the points lead by 36 points over Coons, who was forced to watch the event from the sidelines. Morris’ runner-up finish was his best so far, and Aumick – who splits his time between dirt and the asphalt at Bethel – crossed the line third.
In the Alliance Shippers Legends division, 2010 track champion Mike Alcaro took down his second win of the year in the combined-division race that awarded INEX national points only. Alcaro started last in his heat race and powered his way to the win, but the invert resulted in a fifth-place starting spot for the driver. Semi Pro competitors Eugene Drew and Joe DeGracia started on the front row, and Drew was able to hold the top spot for two laps before current Pro/Masters point leader Joe Graf took the spot. Graf’s time out front was short-lived, as Alcaro powered his way past just one lap later. Just prior to the halfway point, the caution flew and Alcaro was put back three spots for an earlier infraction, and Young Lions/Semi Pro point leader Matt Evans inherited the lead. Evans led DeGracia and Graf for several laps as Alcaro marched back to the front. Alcaro took second from DeGracia with five laps to go, and then began to reel in Evans. On the final lap, Alcaro made his move, and he crossed the line ahead of Evans and DeGracia.
The Quality Bus Service Bandoleros took to the track and excited fans with several lead changes that ended with Rudy Roth IV in Victory Lane for the fourth time in 2012. Like Alcaro, Roth won his heat race but started the feature from the fifth starting spot following the invert. David French, who started on the outside pole, took the lead from pole sitter Nick Morich on the initial lap and was running strong at the front of the field until an incident on lap five involving himself, Joseph Graf Jr., Christian Eckes, and Matt Forsythe resulted in Roth inheriting the top spot. On the restart, Roth had to contend with defending division champion Max Evans, who grabbed the lead one lap later. The two dueled it out at the front of the field, swapping the lead two more times. On the final lap, however, Roth sensed that time was running out and he made the final pass for the lead. Roth beat Evans and 2010 division champion Mikey Policastro to the line. By grabbing the win, Roth made a step towards closing the points gap between himself and point leader Evans, but Evans will still head into the next event with a 36-point lead over Roth. Graf Jr. heads into the next event third in points, 26 points behind Roth.
What could have been a rough night for Sam’s Towing Pro Stock driver Kenny Atkins turned to gold, as the driver came from the last place starting spot to take down his second consecutive win and third for the season. Atkins – the division’s 2010 Rookie of the Year – is now tied with 2011 Rookie of the Year Larry O’Donnell for the greatest number of wins in the class so far this year. Joel Murns Jr. and Jim Helt started on the front row, and Helt quickly put his car out front, as O’Donnell worked his way into second by lap three. O’Donnell was able to briefly wrestle the lead from Helt prior to the halfway point of the event, but Helt grabbed it back one lap later and O’Donnell was shuffled back to third as Atkins took over second. Atkins wasted little time sitting in the runner-up spot, and he passed Helt for the lead just after the race had hit halfway. With three laps to go, Charlie Howe Jr. made his way to second, but time ran out before he could make a pass, and Atkins notched the win over Howe Jr. and Helt. Following a week off, the Pro Stocks will return to action on August 25th, with Mark Sylvester taking the points lead into the race. O’Donnell closed the gap by four points with his run this past weekend, and will head into the race 14 points behind Sylvester. Helt sits third, 16 points behind O’Donnell.
In the Shakelton’s Auto & Truck Centers Street Stock division, defending champion Bobby VanBlarcom’s win streak was halted at seven when Kevin Skelly captured the win. It was a long road to the win for Skelly, who recorded a DNF in the heat race after he and VanBlarcom got hooked in the infield. Skelly started the feature event from last, but led just under half of the race on his way to victory. Jonathan McGibbon and Kyle Welsch made up the front row for the start, and McGibbon put his car out front. Welsch held the second spot, keeping 2010 Rookie of the Year Gary VanOrden Jr. at bay lap after lap. Just after the race hit halfway, Skelly worked his way past VanOrden Jr. for third, and he catapulted himself out front just one lap later by passing both Welsch and McGibbon. VanOrden Jr. then powered his way past the pair to take second, and VanBlarcom wasn’t far behind, as he grabbed third. With three laps to go, VanBlarcom wrestled the runner-up spot fro VanOrden Jr., but he ran out of time to make a pass for the lead. Skelly notched his first Bethel win of 2012, followed by VanBlarcom and VanOrden Jr. Heading into the next event, VanBlarcom continues to hold the points lead, with a 41-point margin over VanOrden Jr. Amber VanOrden, who was the 2011 Rookie of the Year, sits third in points, just ten points out of second.
In a field where any driver seems to be capable of a win on any given night, Wayne Kirkpatrick scored his third Active Towing & Recovery BMS Modified victory of the year this past Saturday, after it appeared that mechanical issues might derail his night. Kirkpatrick experienced issues during practice, and opted to start scratch on the field for the feature in case the problem persisted. Wilton Nickerson and John Cote – who each have three feature wins this year – started on the front row, and Cote nosed out front at the drop of the green. Nickerson, however, took command of the top spot just one lap in and the pair then began to battle for the position. With five laps to go in the race, Kirkpatrick grabbed second from Cote, but then the caution was displayed when Nickerson hit the frontstretch wall. This put Kirkpatrick in the lead, with the previous week’s winner Steve Galgano in tow. In the closing laps, Kirkpatrick was unstoppable, and he beat Galgano to the line. Cote – who had pitted under the earlier caution – was only able to make his way back to third before the end of the race. Cote holds a commanding lead in the points chase heading into the next event, while the point battle appears to be for the second spot, with Nickerson a mere six points ahead of Kirkpatrick.
The 4 Cylinder Advanced features had one of the more unexpected finishes of the night, as it appeared that Ray Fennell had his third feature win of the season wrapped up until the final laps of the event. Fennell started on the pole, alongside 2010 4 Cylinder Senior champion Eddy Lindstadt. Fennell got out to the lead at the drop of the green, and Tim Curry came to second. By lap five, however, 2011 4 Cylinder Junior champion Kody Welsh had come from his sixth place starting spot to third. Welsh – who suffered a blown motor the last time he was in competition – then began to work on Curry for second, and Welsh took the spot just past the halfway point of the race. Fennell was able to hold off the challenges of Welsh until there were just two laps to go, and Welsh edged past Fennell for the lead. Welsh drove on to the win – his fifth of the year – ahead of Fennell. Defending division champion Ivan Guerra was credited with third in the final rundown. Heading into the next event, Guerra trails Walt Henry in the point standings by 13 points. Welsh sits third, 13 points behind Guerra.
The finish of the 4 Cylinder Novice race caused a shakeup in the point standings, just as it had done the last time the division raced. Last month, Josh Mendez grabbed the point lead away from Vincent Lovric, but the tables were turned this past weekend as Lovric won the race and reclaimed the lead. Brittany Curry started on the pole, and got out to the early lead before being passed by Tasha Curry four laps into the event. Just three laps later, however, Lovric made his way to the top spot from his eighth place starting position. At the halfway point, Heather Fennell took over the second spot and looked to mount a challenge to Lovric. With four laps to go, Brian Bauernfeind took second from Fenell, but time ran out as Lovric beat Bauernfeind and Fennell to the line. Lovric takes the point lead into the next event, with a 15-point cushion over Mendez. Just seven points behind Mendez, Fennell holds third in the standings.
The ATQMRA Midgets made their second and final scheduled appearance of the season, and Ryan Tidman stretched his record at Bethel to two-for-two when he captured the win. AJ Fuge and John Gambuti made up the front rown for the start, and Gambuti shot out to the lead when the green flag flew. Matt Roselli came to second briefly, but was passed by Tidman three laps in. Tidman immediately set his sights on Gambuti. Gambuti was able to hold Tidman off until lap eight, when Tidman slid past and took the lead. Over the second half of the race, the biggest battle was for the third spot, between Roselli and Alison Cumens. Cumens took the spot with five laps to go. When the checkered flag waved, Tidman had notched the win over Gambuti and Cumens.
This coming Saturday, August 18, Bethel Motor Speedway will once again host a jam-packed night of exciting short track racing and affordable family fun. On the schedule are the Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero, Street Stock, BMS Modified, and 4 Cylinder classes. The Pro Stock division will return to action in time for Nostalgia Night, August 25th. Grandstand gates open at 1 pm for spectators and early pit registration, and pit gates open at 2:30 pm. Hot laps take to the track at 5 pm, and the one-of-a-kind racing action Bethel is known for goes green at 7 pm. Grandstand admission is just $6. More information – including a complete 2012 schedule – can be obtained at www.bethelmotorspeedway.com, or by calling (845) 319-7908.
SPORTSMAN 8/4 HOLDOVER FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Rich Coons, 2. Jerry Curry, 3. Eric Moon, 4. Bob Morris, 5. Dion Naples, 6. Roy Crespo.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Jerry Curry, 2. Bob Morris, 3. John Aumick, 4. Ed Butler, 5. Eric Moon, 6. Roy Crespo, 7. Dion Naples. DNS – Rich Coons.
LEGENDS FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Mike Alcaro (P), 2. Matt Evans (YL), 3. Joe DeGracia (SP), 4. Joe Graf (M), 5. Matt Gaughan (YL), 6. Joe Fresco (SP), 7. Nick Robinson (P), 8. Eugene Drew (SP), 9. Rich Wheeler (P), 10. Jim Donelli (M), 11. Fred Graf (M), 12. Jeffrey Lefcourt (M).
BANDOLERO FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Rudy Roth IV (O), 2. Max Evans (B), 3. Mikey Policastro (O), 4. Joseph Graf Jr. (O), 5. Christian Eckes (B), 6. Taylor Hurban (O), 7. Christina Policastro (O), 8. Kaci Stackhouse (O), 9. David French (O), 10. Nick Morich (O), 11. Matt Forsythe (B), 12. Neil Rutt III (O), 13. Courtney Lefcourt (O).
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kenny Atkins, 2. Charlie Howe Jr., 3. Jim Helt, 4. Larry O’Donnell, 5. Mark Sylvester, 6. Glenn Aumick, 7. Gene Morton, 8. Wayne Kmieczak, 9. Joel Murns Jr., 10. Arthur McArthur, 11. David Demorest. DNS – Jerry Tunney Jr.
STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kevin Skelly, 2. Bobby VanBlarcom, 3. Gary VanOrden Jr., 4. Steven Steffens, 5. Jonathan McGibbon, 6. Kyle Welsch, 7. Amber McGibbon, 8. Trevor Horne.
BMS MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (15 laps): 1. Wayne Kirkpatrick, 2. Steve Galgano, 3. John Cote, 4. Wilton Nickerson.
4 CYLINDER ADVANCED FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Kody Welsh, 2. Ray Fennell, 3. Ivan Guerra, 4. Tim Curry, 5. Walt Henry, 6. Shawn Barschow, 7. Eddy Lindstadt, 8. Patty Falkena, 9. George Zeininger, 10. Don Kuhn, 11. George VanAken.
4 CYLINDER NOVICE FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Vincent Lovric, 2. Brian Bauernfeind, 3. Heather Fennell, 4. Tanner Fennell, 5. Brittany Curry, 6. Mike Bryant, 7. Matt McKerrell, 8. Dustin Cosgrove, 9. Josh Mendez, 10. Tisha Curry, 11. Daniel VanAken, 12. Kayla Curry, 13. Tasha Curry, 14. Jordan Papacharalambous, 15. Jeremiah Madison, 16. Scott Quick, 17. Devon Grimm.
ATQMRA MIDGET FEATURE FINISH (20 laps): 1. Ryan Tidman, 2. John Gambuti, 3. Alison Cumens, 4. Matt Roselli, 5. AJ Fuge. DNS – Buddy Sload.
This report was provided by an outside PR source and posted by Mike Neff.
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