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.
Ben Rhodes takes NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Win in Charlotte
CONCORD, NC (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Ben Rhodes picked up the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series victory Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, grabbing the lead on a late restart and beating Corey Heim to the checkered flag by 2.398-seconds.
“I didn’t qualify the best, and here it came to life at night,” said Rhodes. “This is so much fun. Charlotte is a track that we come to—ThorSport Racing, we’re based in Sandusky, Ohio—we come to the North Carolina guys’ house, and we like to win.”
The victory was the first of the year for Rhodes and seventh of his career and first at Charlotte. The victory also locks Rhodes into the Playoffs.
“A championship being locked in, I’ll take that,” said Rhodes. “The last three races have been so unbelievably hard on my team. We’ve been wrecked in the last three and haven’t had very good showings because of it so I’ll take the points—thank you.”
Heim, who won the the race’s first stage, couldn’t get to Rhodes because he was busy battling Carson Hocevar and Dean Thompson.
“Me and the 42 (Hocevar) and the 5 (Thompson) were probably the best trucks,” said Heim, who led a race-high 49 laps. “But the 99 (Rhodes) just came along really strong, and once we got to second on the restart where the 42 got put in the middle there, I really thought we had a shot at it. But it just proves that clean air is king here.”
Thompson finished a career-best third with Hocevar, who won the races second stage, finishing fourth. Grant Enfinger rounded out the Top 5.
Wexford native Kris Wright finished 32nd in the No. 02 FNB Corporation Chevy after suffering contact with Tyler Antrum on the backstretch on lap 105.
Racing Notebook: Rosenqvist earns INDYCAR Pole; Dixon starts 2nd; Hocevar, Smith earn NASCAR victories
FORT WORTH, TX – (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The NTT INDYCAR SERIES gets back on track Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway with Arrow McLaren and Chip Ganassi Racing leading the field to green. In NASCAR, Carson Hocevar and Chandler Smith each earned victories on Saturday and Alex Bowman will lead the Cup field to green on Sunday.
Felix Rosenqvist wins INDYCAR Texas Pole:
- Arrow McLaren Racing’s Felix Rosenqvist is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375. Rosenqvist’s 2-lap average of 220.264 mph was slower than the 221.110 mph he posted in 2021. The pole is the second consecutive for Rosenqvist at the 1.5-mile oval. “I think we just built on last year,” said Rosenqvist. “Maybe it was a good thing to start early. The track kind of warmed up. We’ll take it. We’ve always been good here, but this is a whole different confidence level compared to last year. Let’s try to wrap it up tomorrow.” The 250-lap race starts at Noon (ET) Sunday with live coverage on NBC, Peacock and the INDYCAR Radio Network.
Dixon Puts PNC Bank Honda on front row:
- PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon will start on the outside of the front row for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES PPG 375 at Texas Motor Speedway. Dixon’s 2-lap average around the 1.5-mile oval of 219.972-mph was 0.292-mph behind pole-sitter Felix Rosenqvist. Dixon, a 6-time NTT INDYCAR SERIES Champion has five career victories at Texas, including wins in four of the last nine races. Dixon’s CGR teammates Takuma Sato and Alex Palou will start 6th and 7th respectively. CGR’s Marcus Ericsson will roll off 16th in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda.
Carson Hocevar Wins NASCAR Truck Race at Texas:
- Carson Hocevar avoided a crash on the white flag lap to power to the win in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. Hocevar made contact with the back of the truck of Nick Sanchez, as Sanchez was recovering from door-to-door contact with Zane Smith. Sanchez spun and collected Smith as Hocevar avoided the mayhem to take the double-overtime victory. The win was Hocevar’s first career win. “I didn’t mean to get into him, I just meant to give him a push and he got sideways the second I hit him, I apologize to them, I’ll take the fall for it.”
Chandler Smith takes NASCAR Xfinity win at Richmond:
- Rookie Chandler Smith earned his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory Saturday afternoon at Richmond (Va.) Raceway holding off John Hunter Nemechek on a final race restart to win the ToyotaCare 250. Smith’s margin of victory was .298-seconds. Smith’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet led a race best 83 of the 250 laps.
Alex Bowman on NASCAR Cup Series Pole at Richmond:
- Current NASCAR Cup Series championship leader Alex Bowman will start Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) from pole position in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with Kyle Busch completing the front row in the No. 8 Richard Childress Chevy after NASCAR’s Cup Series practice and qualifying sessions were cancelled Saturday morning at Richmond (Va.) Raceway because of poor weather.
Kyle Busch takes NASCAR Cup Series win in California
FONTANA, CA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The pairing of Kyle Busch and Richard Childress Racing is paying dividends as two races into their partnership, they were celebrating victory at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Busch beat Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott by ?.?-seconds to pick up his ??-career Cup Series victory and the ?? of his NASCAR career.
“I felt like there was going to be a little bit of a learning experience, a little bit of a growth pattern, but also on the flipside of that, I always just kind of looked back and watched some of their results and success that they had last year with Austin,” explained Busch. “He ran second here last year, and Reddick was super, super fast. They were fast at the Clash before they broke, the 8 car was.”
Busch said the transition to a new team has been good.
“It’s just been really, really cool, and it’s been a great piece of — we’re making history, right, but a great piece of opportunity to go out there and continue to win races at a new team with RCR, so I can’t say enough about Austin giving me a call, first and foremost, but then Richard and Judy giving me this opportunity to go out here and race for wins.”
Elliott was happy for his manufacturer teammate and former Champ and to get a finish after getting crashed out of the Daytona 500.
“Congratulations to Kyle,” said Elliott. “For him to leave and then to go get the job done like that is pretty cool. He’s always been really good to me, so happy for them. Obviously I think we still have some work to do, but it was really nice to just see a lot of that hard work pay off and have the car driving like we were wanting it to do. So that’s always a good thing. Appreciate everybody on our NAPA team, Hendrick Motorsports and Chevrolet for just sticking with it and sticking with each other. Looking forward to getting to Vegas and hopefully competing for some more wins.”
Ross Chastain, who led a race high 92-laps, finished third in the No. 1 Kubota Chevrolet for Trackhouse Racing.
“Our balance was building loose most of the day, so I thought we did everything right,” said Chatain. “We kept up with it. It would just feel pretty loose late in the runs, and at times it was enough, and at times they got way better.”
The NASCAR Cup Series moves on to Las Vegas for the Pennzoil 400 March 5th.