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NASCAR Championship Weekend At Homestead-Miami Speedway

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HOMESTEAD, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR Championship weekend hits South Florida as all three NASCAR Touring Series will crown Champions.

This Sunday, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. along with Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will be fighting for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Title.  Busch, Truex and Harvick will be going for their second titles while Hamlin is still seeking his first.

“I think one race, winner take all, anything can happen,” said Hamlin.  “I mean, if you have a mechanical failure on lap 25, does that mean you’re not good enough? You made the final four.  Making the final four is the culmination of your whole year. That is what deems your year a success. You made it to Homestead.”

Truex is the most recent Champion fighting for his second title.  Truex won his first Championship, holding off Kyle Busch by .681-seconds, to win in 2017 when he drove for the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing.

“It’s amazing to be here having another opportunity at a championship,” said Truex.  “I still have a hard time believing I’ve already got one, let alone here we are with a really, really good chance I feel like at a second.  I can’t imagine the names of the list I would be on with those others.  Still blows my mind.  I’m pretty jacked up about it.  Hopefully we can get it done.”

Kyle Busch captured his first Championship in 2015 after missing the first 11-races due to a broken right leg and a fractured left foot.

“Obviously with 2015 and being able to come out as a champion that was the greatest achievement,” said Busch.  “You set your goal out for the beginning of the year and everybody’s goal there is to always just get to Homestead, and if we’re eligible for Homestead, then we can go after that championship. So I always look at it though as we want to be able to go out and win the championship. So for us to be eligible five years in a row I think is a pretty cool thing, but to come out with one of four is not so cool.”

Harvick is five years removed from his first Championship in 2014 and, like Busch, has qualified five times.

“It’s hard to get here,” said Harvick.  “I know that we have been able to do that five times now, but the Playoffs are difficult now.  It’s difficult to go through all those eliminations and different racetracks and have everything work out.  So you just, this will be the fifth time here and we have only won once and so it’s definitely something that we would love to do again.  This is what we race for.”

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Joe Gibbs has a 75% chance of tasting the champagne in victory lane and his former driver, Tony Stewart, has a 25% of being the winning car owner.

“The thing that I love about our sport which is totally different than any other sport really, you’ve got four teams that have to work together in order to get here,” said Gibbs.  “But once you’re here, this is each one of those guys, this is their chance to win a championship for their sponsor and everybody that’s following them.  And so each one of our guys are geared up. They want to win this, each one of them for a different reason. Denny has never won one, and so it’s a big deal for us.”

“It’s what the goal of every organization is at the beginning of the year is to go out and win races, win big races and contend for a championship and try to win a championship at the end of the season,” said Stewart.  “To get one in, I mean, that’s definitely our goal.  Our goal is obviously to be in the scenario Joe is in and have multiple cars in, but it is, it’s tough.”

The green flag for the Ford EcoBoost 400 drops on Sunday at 3 p.m.  The race will be televised by NBC starting at 2 p.m. and can be heard on the radio on Motor Racing Network affiliates and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series crowns their Champion on Saturday.  JR Motorsports Justin Allgaier, Gibbs Christopher Bell, Stewart Haas Cole Custer and Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick are in the Championship 4.

Reddick is the defending series champion and is looking to become just the seventh driver all-time to win back-to-back titles. Allgaier, Custer and Bell are attempting to win their first Xfinity Series titles.

The Ford EcoBoost 300 takes place Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by NBCSN and can be heard on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR radio.

The NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series is racing Friday night.  Niece Motorsports Ross Chastain, ThorSport Racing’s Matt Crafton, Halmar Friesen Racing’s Stewart Friesen and GMS Racing’s Brett Moffitt are battling for the title.

Crafton is a two-time series Champion (2013 & 2014) and Moffitt is the defending series Champion.  Chastain and Friesen are going for their first titles.

The green flag for the Ford EcoBoost 200 drops Friday night at 8 p.m.  The race will be televised by FS1 and can be heard on MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

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NASCAR

Keselowski Wins At New Hampshire

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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

LOUDON, NH (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski passed Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin on lap 221 and led the final 81-laps to win the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday.

The victory was Keselowski’s third of the year and 33rd of his Cup Series career.  Keselowski’s margin of victory was 1.647-seconds.

“I’m really proud of my Western Star/Alliance Parts Ford Mustang team and the effort that they gave today,” said Keselowski. I think this is my fifth straight year with three wins, but I don’t want to stop there. I want us to keep going and I know this team can do it.”

Hamlin finished second, his 12th Top 10 finish in 2020.

“We were just barely a little slower than he was for most of the day,” said Hamlin. “We could make some really good moves on the restarts and whatnot. Overall I just thought that we were a second-place car. That’s kind of how we ended up.”

Martin Truex Jr brought the No. 19 Sport Clips Toyota home in third place, his 13th top-10 finish in 27 races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

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“We had a bit of an issue on pit road with a tire getting away, had to come from the rear,” said Truex. “That was pretty difficult. Sports Clips Camry was decent. I think we were probably a third-place car and we finished third.
Solid day. Just lacked a little bit of speed and drivability.”

The win leaves Keselowski in second place in the points standings, 81-points behind leader Kevin Harvick.

Hamlin’s second place finish helped him gain a spot in the points standings to third, moving Ryan Blaney back to fourth.

There were 22-lead changes among 7-drivers with Keselowski leading the most laps.  The race was slowed by 11-caution flags for 52-laps.

The next NASCAR Cup Series race is August 8 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

NASCAR New Hampshire Results

NASCAR New Hampshire Results

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IndyCar

The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast – Episode 15 – Aaron Reutzel, Matthew Dillner, Chip Ganassi and more!

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PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The latest edition of The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast features the 2-time and defending Champion of the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet All Star Circuit of Champions presented by Mobil 1 Aaron Reutzel.  We also talk to Matthew Dillner of Dirty Mo Media about the new show he co-hosts with Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Chip Ganassi takes his own trip down memory lane and we hear from Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials about safety protocols in place at this year’s Indy 500.

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Local Racing

Dirty Mo Media’s ‘Lost Speedways’ About More Than Just Racing

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Dirty Mo Media/Peacock

MOORESVILLE, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Dale Earnhardt Jr and Dirty Mo Media’s new show “Lost Speedways” is taking a trip down memory lane and visiting some of the race tracks that formed the foundation for what we see at our local tracks and on television every weekend.

Earnhardt Jr and co-host Matthew Dillner are preserving the history of one of the America’s great sports, auto racing, but also the stories hidden behind those fences, walls and guardrails.

“The whole point of this show is to document history before it’s gone,” Dillner told The Pittsburgh Racing Now Podcast. “To tell the stories about these racetracks that are shuddered and covered in weeds and being recaptured by nature.”

How the show came to fruition is a story in itself.  Earnhardt Jr and Dillner discovered they had something in common beside the sport of auto racing.

“We both realized we had the same hobby,” said Dillner, who is an executive producer of ‘Lost Speedways’ along with Earnhardt Jr and Mike Davis. “We had the same passion and nerdy obsession with mapping lost speedways. With him it was mapping lost speedways and with me it was mapping and exploring these lost speedways.”

Exploring these lost speedways is exactly what Earnhardt, Dillner and the Dirty Mo Media crew do.  Literally climbing through weeds and brush to uncover the stories of days gone by.

“They’re covered in weeds, but they have these mysterious stories and you’re bringing people back to that location and the people that were there and talking to them and it’s very romantic in a weird kind of a tribute,” said Dillner.

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The allure of the show is that it appeals to not only race fans but fans of history and Americana.

“It’s a lot about American culture and places that meant something to you, whether it’s a ballpark you grew up at or some memory from your childhood, all of that comes racing back when you’re exploring these places,” said Dillner. “For any history buff part of our show is about uncovering that history, the other part is kind of like ‘American Pickers’. We’re literally exploring, with boots on the ground, these locations and unearthing history. It’s definitely a magical combination.”

The magical combination responsible for ‘Lost Speedways’ put together the eight episodes with a small crew who had to overcome a huge obstacle.

“We’ve got a group of six or seven super-talented guys that fought through a Pandemic to meet our deadline for this show,” said Dillner. “A deadline that some studio shows didn’t make and we did it from our houses on laptops, overnights, working. Just really talented people with a passion to tell these stories and it’s something that I’m super, super proud of.”

Each episode takes the viewer to a different track and back in time with those who helped create the story being immortalized forever.

“They’ve got these great memories and incredible stories that haven’t been told and some of them think they’ve been forgotten, these places have been forgotten, these people have been forgotten,” said Dillner. “We’re bringing that to life in a really colorful way.”

All eight episodes of ‘Lost Speedways’ are available on Peacock TV, NBC’s new streaming service.

“I’m so, so happy that Dale convinced NBC to do this show on the Peacock and the fact that they said, ‘yes’ is incredible and we worked our butts off to make it happen and now we’re sitting back and enjoying the reaction,” said Dillner. “History matters to everybody, whether it’s your family history or something you grew up with, like you’re a big Pittsburgh Pirates fan, things matter from the past.”

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