BROOKLYN, MI (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kevin Harvick’s two-year winless streak is over after ‘The Closer’ won Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
Harvick beat 23XI Racing’s Bubba Wallace by 2.9-seconds to become playoff eligible and said the key was getting out front on the final restart.
“The last restart I had the 5 (Kyle Larson) behind me, and I knew I didn’t need to let the 23 (Wallace) up,” explained Harvick. “I knew I needed to drive it in the corner far enough, but the 5 had given me such a good push. I had a car length, and I think Bubba got about up to my door. I knew that if we could just get off of turn 2, we would have a chance.”
As the pair raced off turn 2 Harvick started to get ahead and carried that momentum as Wallace and Kyle Larson battled for position.
“That’s what you want, right?” asked Harvick rhetorically. “To try to get away so they don’t have a draft and can make up that time quicker. 5 launched good. 5 gave us a good push, and the key was just clearing the 23 off of two and being able to go down the back straight-away by myself and not door to door and in a firestorm.”
Wallace was disappointed to not get into victory lane with one of the fastest cars on track all weekend.
“I failed everybody,” said Wallace. “Took the top there on the restart. Thought I could hang with the 4, and just got to racing the 5 and the 22. Hate it for our team. It sucks.”
Wallace’s team owner Denny Hamlin raced home to third with Team Penske teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney rounding out the top 5.
Chase Elliott continues to sit atop the point standing and playoff standings. Martin Truex sits on the outside of the 16-car playoff eligibility by 19-points. Blaney sits in the final playoff spot.
Racing Notebook: Pocono NASCAR Weekend approaching; INDYCAR in Toronto; PVGP hits the track and more
PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – The Pittsburgh Racing Now Racing Notebook is jam-packed with NASCAR, INDYCAR, and Vintage racing news:
Limited Tickets Remain for Pocono NASCAR Weekend:
- Pocono Raceway’s NASCAR weekend is a little over a week away and if you want to go, get your tickets now! Pocono announced on Thursday that a limited number of grandstand seats are the only options remaining for the marquee M&M’S® Fan Appreciation 400 NASCAR Cup Series race next Sunday, July 24. The remaining grandstand seats for the Cup Series race are at three price points ($45, $80 and $95) and scattered throughout the various sections of the main grandstand. The only RV camping option currently available is general admission for $250, which includes two guest passes and free admission for up to 4 children 12 and under. To purchase tickets or learn more, please visit poconoraceway.com or call 800-722-3929.
INDYCAR Returns To Toronto:
- The NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns to the Streets of Toronto for this weekend’s Honda Indy Toronto. All eyes will be on Defending Series Champion Alex Palou, driver of the No. 10 NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Honda. CGR announced on Tuesday afternoon they were exercising their option on Palou for 2023, only to have Palou announce on Social Media later that evening that he was not returning. Moments after Palou’s announcement, McLaren Racing announced they signed Palou for 2023. CGR has won seven times at Toronto, the most recent being Scott Dixon in 2018. Andretti Autosports Alexander Rossi was fastest in the first practice on Friday. A second practice session takes place Saturday morning with three rounds of knockout-style qualifying taking place Saturday afternoon. The race is Sunday at 3 p.m.
Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix at Pitt Race:
- The Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix hits the Pittsburgh International Race Complex in Wampum this weekend in a tune-up for next weekend’s race on the streets of Schenley Park. Since 2004, racers from all over the country have come to the 2.8-mile purpose-built track 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh for fierce competition. The ‘Black Tie and Tailpipes Gala’ took place last night at The Grand Concourse at Station Square. For more information visit pvgp.org.
Chase Elliott wins at Atlanta
HAMPTON, GA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chase Elliott held off a hard-charging Corey LaJoie to win Sunday’s NASCAR CUP SERIES Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Elliott was leading taking the white flag when LaJoie got a run heading into Turn 1 forcing Elliott to move to the high side of the track and block LaJoie, who ended up hitting the wall and brining out the final caution flag, securing the win for Elliott.
“When you’re a kid and you’re racing on the quarter mile over there you look at this big track and it’s just out of reach, like not even real, just that your heroes are out there competing once or twice a year on this big track, and that’s just not real,” said Elliott of winning at his home track. “To be here and to have a day like we had is really incredible, and certainly one I’m going to embrace and enjoy a lot.”
LaJoie, who had a strong car all day said he took his shot at the win.
“I made my move and it didn’t work out, and the siren is ringing in Dawsonville unfortunately,’’ said LaJoie, referencing the Dawsonville Pool Room where a siren blares after any Elliott win.
Elliott won the races first two stages along with his third victory of the season, joining his Hall of Fame father Bill as the only Cup Drivers to win at the Atlanta oval.
“To see that many people up there and cheering and wearing the 9 hats and seeing the NAPA gear, you want to make those people proud,” said Elliott. “For me, I’m just grateful that the fans of this state have included me in part of the family of Georgia sports and kind of accepted our team as that, and I’m proud of that and glad we could do them good today.”
Ross Chastain finished second followed by Team Penske’s Austin Cindric in third, Petty GMS Racing’s Erik Jones in fourth and Penske’s Ryan Blaney in fifth.
The NASCAR Cup Series next race is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, NH.
Racing Notebook: O’Ward on Mid-Ohio INDYCAR pole; Blomqvist on CTMP IMSA pole and more
Sunday’s Racing Notebook has the lineups for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex, IMSA’s race at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park plus NASCAR at Road America and SRX at Stafford.
O’Ward Wins INDYCAR Mid-Ohio Pole:
- Arrow McLaren SP’s Patricio O’Ward is on the pole position for Sunday’s NTT INDYCAR SERIES race at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex. O’Ward’s fast lap of of 1 minute, 6.7054 seconds in the No. 5 Chevrolet edged Team Penske’s Scott McLaughlin, who will start second after a fast lap of 1:06.8382 in the No. 3 Chevrolet. Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta will start third (1:07.0262) with O’Ward’s teammate Felix Rosenqvist alongside in fourth (1:07.2163). Scott Dixon led Chip Ganassi Racing with a fast lap of 1:07.4047 in the No. 9 PNC Bank Honda. Dixon’s CGR teammates Alex Palou starts seventh, Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson starts 13th and Jimmie Johnson starts 27th. IndyCar Mid Ohio Lineup
Blomqvist Puts Acura on CTMP IMSA Pole:
- Tom Blomqvist set an IMSA record in the No. 60 Acura around the iconic 2.459-mile, 10-corner Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course in 1 minute, 4.394 seconds for an average speed of 137.472 mph. The fastest previous lap, ironically, was set by Blomqvist’s current teammate Oliver Jarvis in 2019 at Daytona International Speedway (136.792 mph). Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque will start second in the No. 10 Acura. The JDC Miller Cadillac lines up third followed by the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. The No. 01 CGR Caddy will start sixth. IMSA CTMP Lineup
Elliott On NASCAR Cup Series Road America Pole:
- Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott is on the NASCAR Cup Series pole position for Sunday’s road course race at Road America. Elliott’s fast lap of 134.427-seconds (108.407 mph) was a tick faster than Stewart Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe, who will start second (108.376 mph). Elliott’s HMS teammate Kyle Larson starts third (108.21mph) with Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick fourth (108.155mph), and Team Penske’s Austin Cindric fifth (108.123mph). Cup Series Road America Lineup
Gibbs Takes Xfinity Win At Road America:
- Joe Gibbs Racing’s Ty Gibbs passed Hendrick Motorsports Kyle Larson on the final lap of NASCAR Overtime to win Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America. Larson was leading as he passed under white flag, but Gibbs drafted Larson down the frontstretch, took advantage of an opening to the inside in Turn 3 and powered his No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota past Larson for the lead and the win.
Newman Bumps Andretti For First SRX Win:
- Ryan Newman used the bump-and-run to pass Marco Andretti for the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) victory at Stafford Motor Speedway. Andretti held off Paul Tracy for second. Tony Stewart finished fourth and Bobby Labonte rounded out the Top 5. Ryan Hunter-Reay won Heat 1 and Labonte won Heat 2. Next up for the Camping World SRX Series is the Nashville Fairgrounds on Saturday, July 9.