RICHMOND, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Joe Gibbs Racing’s (JGR) Martin Truex Jr is sitting atop the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points standing after winning the Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday night at Richmond Raceway.
The victory was the 2nd straight in the NASCAR Playoffs for Truex, who won last week at Las Vegas. Truex also led a 1-2-3 sweep of the top spots for JGR, leading Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin to the checkered flag.
“What a job the team did,” said Truex. “I mean, it’s just unbelievable. To win this way is pretty incredible. I’ve never done anything like that in my life. We had to keep working on it all night. We had good speed, but it was just a matter of staying up with it and adjusting. It’s hard when you’re racing your teammates and they’re looking at what you’re doing and you’re looking at what they’re doing and those are the guys you’re racing. Just an awesome night for JGR.”
“We led a lot of laps,” said Busch, who led the most laps (202). “We were up front a lot. But when I was out front, he (Truex) could keep the closest distance to me. That kind of worried me for a finish like that in the long run. I don’t think we were as good as him all night long. Martin, the car, the combination thereof, us, the combination of, just lacked a little bit. You know, like the 11 lacked a little bit more than us.”
“Just seemed like the long run speed they (Truex & 19 Team) really had quite a bit more and a little bit more turn, a little bit more forward drive, just everything — every little bit,” said Hamlin. “It just seemed like it was about a half a tenth a lap there on average, and the 19 just had a really good long run car. We were kind of third best there, that’s kind of where we ended up.”
The finish would have been a 1-2-3-4 for JGR but the No. 20 of Erik Jones, who crossed the finish line in fourth place, failed post race inspection and as a result was penalized with a 40th and last place finish.
“There’s fairly critical measurements on the rear wheel alignment that have to be followed, so there’s any number of things that the team could do or not do to make it fail,” said Jay Fabian, Managing Director of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. “Standard process as a race, we give a pretty strong allowance on what they can run pre-race to post-race, and it’s crept out of that range. Rear wheel steer and alignment is important as a critical factor in downforce. It’s an aero benefit to get more skew in the rear, so we keep those parameters pretty tight so that everybody is racing with the same thing, and that’s the key to running all 16 cars through there.”
The post-race failure of the 20-car moved everyone else up a spot in the final standings meaning Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski finished fourth followed by Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman in fifth.
“We just weren’t quite as fast as the Gibbs cars,” said Keselowski, who started on the pole. “We could get a little short-run speed but then we’d be a little bit slower on the long-run. We tried to trade a little bit of short-run for long-long and we got a little bit of long-run but we gave up all of our short-run advantage.”
“I’m proud of our finish, I’m proud of the teamwork,” said Newman. “We did get some stage points tonight, which has been our biggest weakness the entire season. Just fighting hard. We’re making strides, albeit late in the season, but we’re making gains and we’ll just keep working on it.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson finished sixth followed by a trio of Stewart-Haas Racing Fords; Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Daniel Suarez. Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson rounded out the Top-10.
The NASCAR Playoffs move onto “The Roval” at Charlotte Motor Speedway next Sunday, September 29th, where four drivers will be eliminated and only the Top 12 will advance to Round 2.
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