LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. is locked into Round 2 of the NASCAR Playoffs after picking up the win in Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Truex passed Stewart Haas Racings Kevin Harvick on Lap 248 and led the final 19-laps to pick up his 24th career Cup series victory.
“We took a gamble, qualified 24th,” said Truex, whose team elected to bring a car with more downforce versus less drag. “For a while it wasn’t looking too smart with the 4 (Harvick) out front. Got the right adjustments in the end. Had a great car all day long.”
“I knew the Gibbs cars would be tough,” said Harvick. “Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run. He made up that ground there, was able to stay close enough to us. My car started to get loose and push the front. It was just in kind of a four-wheel drift. So we did some things this weekend that we probably will have to undo going forward.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski finished third followed by Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott in fourth and Penske’s Ryan Blaney in fifth.
Hendrick Motorsports teammates Alex Bowman and William Byron were sixth and seventh respectively, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson in eighth, reigning series champion Joey Logano in ninth and Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in 10th.
Larson’s teammate Kurt Busch ran in the Top-10 for the first two stages, finishing sixth in Stage 1 and ninth in Stage 2, however on the green flag start for the third and final Stage, Busch’s No. 1 Gearwrench Chevrolet was sandwiched between two cars and suffered damage to the front fender, causing a flat tire that sent the 2004 Cup Series Champion into the outside wall.
“We were trying to go for the same spot in the middle and ended up four-wide,” said Busch who was credited with a 39th place finish. “Got a fender rub and the day’s done, it happens that fast. Everybody wants to get to the middle, that’s where you make up the most spots and Truex and I were going for the same piece of real estate.”
The finish leaves Busch in 14th place in the points standing, eight points behind 13th place Newman. The Top 12 in points will advance to Round 2 following next week’s race at Richmond Raceway and the third race of Round 1 on “The Roval” in Charlotte.
Suarez captures first NASCAR Cup Series win at Sonoma
SONOMA, CA — Daniel Suarez is a NASCAR Cup Series winner after capturing the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday by beating Chris Buescher by 3.849-seconds.
Suarez, the 2016 NASCAR Xfinity series championship, has been on four different Cup teams since winning that title six years ago and started 195 Cup Series races but since joining Trackhouse Racing in 2021 things started turning around the Mexican, who has been significantly more competitive than he’d been in his four previous seasons.
Suarez celebrated his victory by emphatically punching through a taco-shaped piñata — perhaps signifying a new celebration to rival his watermelon-smashing teammate Ross Chastain.
“I have so many thoughts in my head right now,” Suarez said. “It’s been a rough journey in the Cup Series, these guys believed in me, Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Ty Norris. Everyone that helped me get to this point, a lot of people in Mexico… My family you know, they never gave up on me. A lot of people did but they didn’t. Very happy that we were able to make it work.”
Suarez got off to a hot start, making his way up to fifth by the second lap of the race. Still, his climb to the lead was slow, hindered by quick Hendrick drivers Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. As the race wore on, both frontrunners experienced problems, with Larson losing a wheel on the track and Elliott being punished with a crucial penalty on pit road.
In the closing stages of the race, Suarez and Buescher had proven themselves to be clear frontrunners, and were few seconds clear of the pack with less than 30 laps to go. Buescher would get close to Suarez multiple times, but was unable to ever make a move in the final hairpin corner. Eventually, Suarez’s long run speed prevailed, allowing him to lead 47 of 110 laps and win by almost four seconds.
Despite losing out to Suarez, Buescher’s second place finish was an impressive one — considering it was his first race since flipping at Charlotte then missing Gateway due to Covid-19. Michael McDowell put together one of his strongest starts of the year, finishing in third. Kevin Harvick and Austin Cindric rounded out the top five.
Fords and Chevy’s dominated the road course Sunday, with Kurt Busch being the highest finishing Toyota in eighteenth. The NASCAR Cup Series won’t race next week, and will resume racing at Nashville Superspeedway on Sunday, June 26 at 5 p.m. eastern. NBC will take over coverage for that race and the rest of the season.
Racing Notebook: Rossi on INDYCAR pole; Larson on Cup pole; Busch wins Truck Race
Sunday’s Racing Notebook has details on the starting lineups for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at Road America and the NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma as well as Kyle Busch winning another truck series race>
Rossi on INDYCAR Series Pole:
- Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi earned his first NTT INDYCAR SERIES pole position in three years by beating Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden in knockout-style qualifying for Sunday’s race at Road America. Rossi’s fast lap of 1 minute, 44.8656 seconds edged Newgarden’s 1:44.9371 in the No. 2 PPG Chevrolet. Defending series champion Alex Palou, who led the final warmup session on Saturday afternoon, qualified third at 1:45.3822 in the No. 10 American Legion Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Teammate and 2022 Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson joins Palou in the second row after his best lap of 1:45.4240 in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. Road America INDYCAR Lineup
Larson Leads Hendrick Cup Series Front Row:
- Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson is on the pole position for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Sonoma. Larson’s fast lap of 92.111 mph (1m70.776s) edged teammate Chase Elliott’s 92.083 mph in the No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet. Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing’s Chris Buescher qualified third at 91.919 mph after missing last week’s race due to Covid-19. Michael McDowell starts fourth after posting a fast lap of 91.916. Sonoma Cup Lineup
Kyle Busch Wins Truck Series Race:
- Kyle Busch held off Zane Smith to earn his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory of the year Saturday at Sonoma. The win extended his record career total to 62 series victories and a streak of 10 consecutive years with at least one series win. Busch led 45 of the 75 laps in the victory. Wexford’s Kris Wright finished 26th in the No. 44 FNB Chevrolet after starting 30th in his first race at Sonoma. Sonoma Truck Results
NASCAR Saturday Roundup – Briscoe scores Cup Series pole; Allmendinger wins Xfinity race; Heim wins Truck Series race
Briscoe scores first NASCAR Cup Series pole at Gateway
Chase Briscoe’s impressive sophomore season in the NASCAR Cup Series only got better Saturday evening, as he put his No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford on pole for Sunday’s Enjoy Illinois 300 at Gateway. Following qualifying, Briscoe was focused, choosing not to dwell on his achievement and directing his focus towards Sunday’s race.
“I think it’ll hit me a lot more tomorrow when we roll off and there’s not a single seat available,” Briscoe said. “It doesn’t really matter if you don’t run good on Sunday, that’s what pays the points, that’s what you came her to do… We have a good car that’s capable of trying to win tomorrow we just got to put it all together and try to minimize our mistakes.”
Fords look to be the strongest manufacturer heading into Sunday’s race, with six of them taking up the first ten spots in qualifying. All three Penske drivers will start in the top-ten, with Austin Cindric starting second, Ryan Blaney Starting Fifth, and Joey Logano starting seventh. Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick will round out the top-five.
Sunday’s Cup Series race will start on 3:30 p.m. eastern and will air on FS1.
Allmendinger survives the wet, wins wild Xfinity race in Portland
A.J. Allmendinger wasn’t subtle looking back on his own performance following his Saturday afternoon win in Portland.
“I was awful… I crashed before we went green, I was off the racetrack I think four times, made all kinds of mistakes, was all over the place,” Allmendinger recalled, visibly relieved yet flustered.
Prior to taking the green flag, Allmendinger was forced to start at the back due to a number of pre-race changes made to his No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet. According to Allmendinger, the team changed “everything but the motor”.
The race itself featured incident after incident, all the drivers struggling to find traction on the rain-soaked surface in Portland. Of all the accidents, possibly the most bizarre took place under caution when Jesse Iwuji, then three laps down, ran straight into the back of leader T.Y. Gibbs seemingly out of nowhere. Iwuji was given a two-lap penalty for the incident.
After all the chaos, which also included Sheldon Creed giving fellow driver Jade Buford the middle finger following a massive pileup, the end of the race was surprisingly straightforward, with Allmendinger coasting to a two second victory over Myatt Snyder. Austin Hill rounded out the top three.
The Xfinity series will take a three week break following Saturday’s race and will race again on June 25 at Nashville Superspeedway.
Corey Heim holds off teammate, wins from pole in Truck Series race at Gateway
Cory Heim’s No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota was fast Saturday afternoon at Gateway, as he held off his teammate Chandler Smith in NASCAR Overtime to capture his second win of the season. Heim, whose mom is a Western PA native and went to Pitt, started from pole and stayed near the front for the entire race before eventually capturing the checkered flag.
ThorSport driver Christian Eckes was just three laps away from winning and over a second ahead of Derek Kraus when Tanner Gray put his truck into the wall, forcing a green-white-checker restart — the last thing Eckes wanted to see.
After pitting, Heim started on the inside of the front row with Eckes on his outside. Smith gave Heim a huge push once the green flag dropped and attempted to pass him on the inside going into turn one. Heim threw a block all the way down to the pit lane wall, stifling Eckes chance at the lead. Heim pulled out to a substantial lead before a huge crash involving Carson Hocevar brought out the caution with one lap to go, meaning Heim would be the race winner. Hocevar appeared to be injured following the massive hit but gave the crowd a thumbs up while being wheeled off on a stretcher.
Wexford native Kris Wright had some tough luck at Gateway, destroying the back end of his No. 44 truck at lap 92, ending his race. The Truck Series will make its way out west to race at Sonoma next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. eastern. The race will be aired on FS1.