DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Christopher Bell picked up his first NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s road course race at Daytona International Speedway.
Bell passed leader Joey Logano with two laps to go to give Joe Gibbs Racing their second win of the weekend. JGR’S Ty Gibbs won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
“I knew I was faster than him,” said Bell. “I ran him down from a while back. All I had to do was get a couple good corners and get away. The last thing I wanted was coming down to the checkered flag with him on my bumper.”
“I was trying to keep him (Bell) behind me,” said Logano. “We gambled by staying out and I’d say it paid off overall, but you just hate being so close. He started catching me a second a lap and it wasn’t like I blew any corners or anything. We just got beat, plain and simple.”
JGR’s Denny Hamlin started fourth and finished third in the No. 11 Toyota and said he just didn’t have the speed of the frontrunners.
“For me, I’m stuck at par right now,” said Hamlin, an avid golfer off the track. “I can’t break par. I’m just right there third to fourth fastest, and that’s where I’m at. I think the more times I run, the tighter that gap is going to get.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch rallied from an off-track excursion while leading the race to finish fourth.
“I just crossed over that fine line of grip,” said Busch. “The tires, at this track with the worn out asphalt of the infield section, it’s really easy to step over that line. Matt McCall (crew chief) and all my guys, they had an awesome day on pit road, strategy wise and with their (pit) stops to get us that track position and to get us back up front.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 5.
“It was a front, back, front, back kind of race, but the Discount Tire team, we just didn’t give up and kept working on it,” said Keselowski. “Eventually, the race came to us. We caught some breaks for sure and made the most of it. It was just one of those never-give-up kind of races.”
The race featured 12-lead changes among 7 drivers and 8-caution flags for 12-laps.
The Series concludes the early season Florida swing next Sunday, February 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Kevin Harvick and William Byron On NASCAR Cup Series Front Row At Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Stewart Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick will start first and Hendrick Motorsports will start along side in second for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The starting lineup was set by NASCAR’s ‘performance matrix’.
Kyle Larson has another Hendrick Chevy up front as he’ll start in the third position with the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr in fourth.
A pair of Daytona 500 winners will make up the third row with Michael McDowell and Denny Hamlin fifth and sixth respectively.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch will start seventh with defending Cup Series Champion Chase Elliott alongside in the eighth starting spot.
Busch’s CGR teammate Ross Chastain will start 21st in the No. 42 Clover Chevrolet and Latrobe PA favorite-son Garrett Smithley will start 31st.
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— Pittsburgh Racing Now (@PghRacingNow) March 7, 2021
AJ Allmendinger Beats Daniel Hemric To Win NASCAR Xfinity Alsco Uniforms 300
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – AJ Allmendinger held off Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Hemric to win Saturday’s Alsco Uniforms 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Hemric was the leader on the final restart with 13-laps remaining. Hemric chose the outside with Allmendinger on the inside. Brandon Jones lined up in third behind his JGR teammate. JR Motorsports Noah Gragson was on the inside on row two.
Allmendinger cleared Hemric coming off of turn two and led the field into turn three and four. Allmendinger ran low in turn one on the next lap coming off on the high side as he pulled out to a .37-second lead and slowly pulled away from the field.
“The victory is very important but I take more pride with how we’ve run as an organization,” said Allmendinger of his Kauling Racing team. “I’d rather run like this and get win than kind of run mediocre and maybe steal one somehow, that does us no good in the long run.”
The victory was the sixth career Xfinity Series victory for Allmendinger and locks him into the NASCAR Playoffs later in the year. Allmendinger led three times for 44-laps including the final 12-circuits to win the race. Allmendinger traded in a partial schedule to run full-time for Kaulig Racing and was fired up after the race to pick up with win.
“When I launched I actually got too far out,” lamented Hemric, who chose the top lane on the final restart. “The bottom lane got linked up and had so much momentum when I turned down to side-draft I was on the splitter.”
Brandon Jones finished third followed by Austin Cindric in fourth and Noah Gragson in fifth.
John Hunter Nemechek Wins NASCAR Truck Series Bucked Up 400 At Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS, NV (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – John Hunter Nemechek held off a hard-charging Kyle Busch to win Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Bucked Up 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The victory was the first truck series win in four seasons for Nemechek, who returned to the series to compete full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
“It’s great to be back in victory lane,” said Nemechek. “Everyone at KBM, they gave us one heck of truck tonight. Kyle’s truck was really fast as well. Luckily we were able to execute on that restart at the end and put ourselves in position to be leading and win this thing.”
“It’s perfect, it’s all you can ask for, it’s everything,” said Busch of his team after the race. “It’s cool to see the four-truck in Victory Lane and see John Hunter have a shot and get back in Victory Lane.”
Austin Hill finished third followed by Stewart Friesen in fourth and Matt Crafton in fifth.
Zane Smith, Grant Enfinger, Parker Kligerman, Christian Eckes and Ben Rhodes – a two-time winner already this season – rounded out the top 10.
The series next race is the Fr8Auctions 200 on March 20 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.