DARLINGTON, SC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones held off Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson to win Sunday’s 70th annual Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
Jones led the last 40-laps en route to his second-career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The margin of victory was 4.058-seconds. The victory locks Jones into the NASCAR Playoffs with one race left in the regular season. The victory also gets the monkey off Jones’ back as he was the only Gibbs driver not to win this season.
“It was fun,” said Jones. “I felt really calm, honestly, the majority of the race, and especially the last 80 laps. I felt like I was really in control and really knew what I was doing, and there was a couple points down the backstretch it was like, Well, why can’t we win it? There’s no reason we can’t, so just close it out and do it.”
Larson’s second place finish was his fifth Top 10 finish in six races at Darlington. It was also Larson’s 12th Top 10 finish of 2019 and it locked him into the 2019 NASCAR Playoffs.
“Just was really hard to pass,” said Larson. “I think this package has been good for a lot of places, but here being a high-grip track, already narrow, it was just tough to pass.”
Larson did lead twice for 44-laps and was leading when the race restarted with 86-laps to go but Jones got by him.
“Just didn’t have the greatest restart there to allow Erik to get by me,” lamented Larson.
Larson was able to close gap however and followed Jones onto pit road, along with Kyle Busch, for the last green-flag stop of the race. Jones and Busch beat the No. 42 Clover Chevrolet off of pit road.
“That last green-flag stop was not as fast as the 18 (Busch) and the 20 (Jones), so disappointed about that,” said Larson. “We had some good stops and bad ones, but all in all a good day.”
Busch hung on for a third-place finish after smacking the wall coming out of turn four in the waning laps, which allowed Larson to get by him.
Three other drivers joined Larson by clinching their spots in the playoffs via points: Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney, Hendrick Motorsports William Byron and Stewart Haas Racing’s Aric Almirola.
The final two NASCAR Playoff spots are between four drivers heading into the regular-season finale at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer currently sits in 15th place, 8-points ahead of his teammate Daniel Suarez and Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman, who are tied for the 16th and final spot. Seven-time Champion Jimmie Johnson is on the outside looking in, 18-points behind Newman and Suarez.
Racing Notebook: Logano on Darlington pole; Allgaier wins Xfinity race and more
DARLINGTON, SC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – It’s NASCAR ‘throwback’ weekend in Darlington, South Carolina where all three series are on the track this weekend.
Logano Take Cup Series Pole:
- Team Penske’s Joey Logano is on the pole position for Sunday’s 3rd Annual Goodyear 400. Logano’s fast lap of 28.805-seconds (170.720 mph) was .082-seconds quicker than Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson’s 28.887. Hendrick’s Chase Elliott, Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick and B.J. McCloud did not make qualifying attempts after separate issues in practice. The green flag drops at 3:30 p.m. on FS1. Darlington Cup Lineup
Allgaier Wins Xfinity Race:
- Justin Allgaier beat JR Motorsports Noah Gragson by .259-seconds to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Mahindra ROXOR 200 at Darlington Raceway. In a 2-lap shootout following a caution flag, Allgaier quickly dispatched A.J. Allmendinger – who was on 16-lap older tires and drove away with Gragson in tow. JRM drivers now have won three straight races in the series. Darlington Xfinity Results
Nemechek Wins Truck Series Race:
- John Hunter Nemechek beat Carson Hocevar by .552-seconds in overtime to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Dead On Tools 200 at Darlington Raceway. Wexford native Kris Wright finished 32nd after starting 21st in the No. 44 VFW Chevrolet thanks to an accident. Darlington Truck Series Results
McGriff, Shelmerdine and Kenseth elected to NASCAR Hall of Fame
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Herschel McGriff, Kirk Shelmerdine and Matt Kenseth have been elected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Mike Helton was also named the recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR.
McGriff’s first race was the 1950 Southern 500, in the NASCAR Cup Series’ sophomore season, at the age of 22. His final NASCAR race was at Tucson Speedway in the NASCAR Pro Series West – in 2018 at the age of 90. McGriff started 85 races in parts of 28 NASCAR Cup Series seasons, capturing four wins – all in 1954, when he finished sixth in championship points.
Shelmerdine won four total Cup Series championships with Earnhardt (1986, ’87, ’90, ’91). Over his 16-year crew chief career with Earnhardt, Rudd, James Hylton and Richard Childress, he won 46 races and posted top-10 finishes in more than half his starts.
Kenseth, the 2003 Cup Series Champion, scored 39 Cup wins, which tie for 21st on the all-time list and include two Daytona 500s, the Southern 500, Coca-Cola 600 and the All-Star Race.
The Class of 2023 Induction Ceremony is set for Friday, Jan. 20, 2023 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Racing Notebook: Rinus VeeKay on INDYCAR Pole; Chris Buescher on NASCAR Cup Pole and more!
The Pittsburgh Racing Now Racing Notebook gets you up-to-speed with Saturday’s Qualifying results for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES Honda GP of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park and the NASCAR Cup Series DuraMAX Drydene 400 plus IndyLights qualifying, IndyPro2000, USF 2000 and NASCAR Xfinity.
Rinus VeeKay wins INDYCAR Barber Pole:
- Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay is on the pole position for Sunday’s Honda GP of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. VeeKay’s fast lap of 1 minute, 6.2507 seconds in the No. 21 SONAX Chevrolet in knockout-style qualifying edged Arrow McLaren SP’s Pato O’Ward for the top spot. O’Ward will join him on the front row after a best lap of 1:06.4003 in the No. 5 Chevrolet. Defending NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion Alex Palou will start third in the No. 10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. INDYCAR Barber Qualifying
Chris Buescher wins NASCAR Cup Series Dover Pole:
- Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s Chris Buescher is on the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series DuraMAX Drydene 400 at Dover Motor Speedway. Buescher’s fast lap of 159.207 mph around the concrete Monster Mile was 057-second faster than Denny Hamlin in the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott make up row two. NASCAR Dover Lineup
Lundqvist wins Indy Lights Barber Pole:
- Linus Lundqvist is on the pole position for Sunday’s Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama. Lundqvist’s fast lap of 1 minute, 12.5713 seconds in the No. 26 HMD Motorsports with Dale Coyne Racing car. Lundqvist’s teammate Benjamin Pedersen starts alongside in the No. 24 Global Racing Group with HMD entry at 1:12.5929, just .0216 of a second off Lundqvist’s time. Indy Lights Barber Lineup
Josh Berry takes Xfinity Series Win at Dover:
- JR Motorsports (JRM) Josh Berry held off teammate Justin Allgaier to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series A-Game 200 at Dover Motor Speedway. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs was third followed by JRM drivers Noah Gragson and Sam Mayer. NASCAR Xfinity Dover Results
Reece Gold wins Indy Pro 2000 at Barber:
- Reece Gold of Juncos Hollinger Racing became the third winner in as many rounds of the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with a dominant victory Saturday afternoon at Barber Motorsports Park. It was the second career win for the 17-year-old from Miami, Fla. University of Pittsburgh graduate Colin Kaminsky finished second in the No. #27 Slick Locks Tatuus IP-22. “I’m happy to be back up here, it’s been a while. I needed it, the team needed it,” said Kaminsky. Indy Pro 2000 Barber
Myles Rowe snags USF 2000 win at Barber:
- Myles Rowe started on the pole position and brought home his second consecutive USF 2000 victory, taking the checkered flag Saturday at Barber Motorsports Park. Billy Frazer finished second and Michael d’Orlando rounded out the podium. USF 2000 Barber