Category Archives: Xfinity Series

Kyle Larson holds off dirt rival Christopher Bell for Las Vegas win

March 3, 2018

 By Reid Spencer

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Kyle Larson pulled away from pole winner Christopher Bell after a restart with seven laps left and took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300, winning for the first time at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

LAS VEGAS, NV MARCH 3 2018: Kyle Larson jumps into the lead on the green flag of the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

 Larson beat Bell to the finish line by .881 seconds. The driver of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet led 142 of the 200 laps and overcame a pit road snafu that dropped him to eighth for a restart on Lap 139 after a caution for Austin Cindric’s crash in Turn 2.

 The victory was Larson’s first of the season and the ninth of his career.

 “It was an awesome day,” Larson said in Victory Lane. “This car was so fast. It was really fast last year, but you really never know, and this was my first time racing with this new (flange-fit) body, and it performed well.”

 Nor did it take him long to recover after the slow pit stop on Lap 135 that set him back.

 “Normally my guys are some of the best on pit road,” Larson said. “They said the left-rear (tire) just wouldn’t come out (of the wheel well). I had been fighting a tight issue all day and then finally we got our car to turn better.

 “It allowed me to get to the lead fairly easily, and then I was saving fuel in case the race stayed green.”

Larson and Bell are frequent rivals in dirt-track racing, and Bell had the upper hand in last November’s Turkey Night Classic and January’s Chili Bowl, the marquee midget race of the season. Bell was happy to see the friendly rivalry extend to pavement.

 “That was really cool, and there will be a lot more of that,” promised Bell, who outdueled Larson at the end of Stage 1 but fell short after the final restart. “We were close, running second to Kyle – if I’m going to run second to anyone, I guess I would rather it be him. 

LAS VEGAS, NV MARCH 3 2018: Ryan Blaney rolls into turn 1 during the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

“Special day, we were able to win a stage and get a Playoff point. We need to keep racking those up and get some race wins here.”

 Justin Allgaier ran third in the No. 7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. Ryan Blaney was fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler.

 But the show at the beginning and at the end was Larson vs. Bell.

 “It’s always fun to get to race Bell,” Larson said. “He seems to beat me all the time in the dirt stuff, and he edged me out there in qualifying. We were pretty equal there… It was cool to race, though.

 “That first stage kind of felt like we were dirt-track racing there, swapping lanes and stuff. I was trying to take the air off him, and he got by, and yeah, it was fun… Anytime I get to race in the Xfinity Series, I’m sure we’ll be up front, battling each other.”

LAS VEGAS, NV MARCH 3 2018: Kyle Busch drives down pit road after serving a penalty late in the race during the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

 Trying for a weekend sweep after winning Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event, Kyle Busch fought an ill-handling Toyota throughout the race and finished 14th after his fueler drew a penalty for handling a tire during a green-flag stop on Lap 166.

 Daniel Hemric, Brandon Jones, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Las Vegas native Spencer Gallagher completed the top 10. Reddick and Sadler leave Las Vegas tied for the series lead, 23-points ahead of Bell in third.

 NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – Boyd Gaming 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas, Nevada

Saturday, March 3, 2018

 

               1. (2) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 200.

               2. (1) Christopher Bell #, Toyota, 200.

               3. (12) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.

               4. (8) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200.

               5. (6) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet, 200.

               6. (3) Daniel Hemric, Chevrolet, 200.

               7. (16) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 200.

               8. (7) Tyler Reddick #, Chevrolet, 200.

               9. (4) Cole Custer, Ford, 200.

               10. (11) Spencer Gallagher, Chevrolet, 200.

               11. (9) Matt Tifft, Chevrolet, 200.

               12. (10) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 200.

               13. (19) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200.

               14. (5) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 200.

               15. (17) Ryan Truex, Chevrolet, 200.

               16. (18) Kaz Grala #, Ford, 200.

               17. (24) Alex Labbe, Chevrolet, 200.

               18. (14) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 199.

               19. (13) Ryan Reed, Ford, 199.

               20. (23) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 197.

               21. (29) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, 197.

               22. (20) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 196.

               23. (26) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 196.

               24. (37) Vinnie Miller #, Chevrolet, 196.

               25. (33) Tommy Joe Martins, Chevrolet, 195.

               26. (34) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 195.

               27. (27) Matt Mills #, Chevrolet, 194.

               28. (39) Josh Bilicki #, Toyota, 189.

               29. (21) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, Engine, 185.

               30. (40) Stephen Leicht, Toyota, 185.

               31. (38) Mike Harmon, Chevrolet, 183.

               32. (30) Chad Finchum #, Toyota, Suspension, 140.

               33. (25) Timmy Hill, Dodge, Power Steering, 134.

               34. (15) Austin Cindric #, Ford, Accident, 132.

              35. (35) David Starr, Chevrolet, Engine, 78.

               36. (31) Spencer Boyd #, Chevrolet, Suspension, 70.

               37. (36) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Oil Leak, 24.

               38. (28) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, Vibration, 18.

               39. (32) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 15.

               40. (22) Dylan Lupton, Ford, Accident, 5.

 

Average Speed of Race Winner:  131.884 mph.

Time of Race:  2 Hrs, 16 Mins, 29 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.881 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  6 for 29 laps.

Lead Changes:  10 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Bell # 0; K. Larson(i) 1-42; C. Bell # 43-48; K. Larson(i) 49-94; R. Blaney(i) 95-127; K. Larson(i) 128-135; C. Custer 136-139; J. Allgaier 140-151; K. Larson(i) 152-186; T. Reddick # 187-189; K. Larson(i) 190-200.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  K. Larson(i) 5 times for 142 laps; R. Blaney(i) 1 time for 33 laps; J. Allgaier 1 time for 12 laps; C. Bell # 1 time for 6 laps; C. Custer 1 time for 4 laps; T. Reddick # 1 time for 3 laps.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 20,42,9,18,22,19,21,00,1,7

Stage #2 Top Ten: 42,22,7,00,9,1,19,21,20,18

 

Harvick Dominates For Atlanta Xfinity Series Win

(Courtesy: NASCAR Media)

HAMPTON, GA – FEBRUARY 24: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #98 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 24, 2018 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

HAMPTON, Ga. – Kevin Harvick put on a driving clinic in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

The driver of the No. 98 Ford dominated the action on the track, leading 141-of-163 laps and winning both stages before taking the checkered flag 4.183 seconds ahead of runner-up Joey Logano. 

Harvick collected his fifth NASCAR XFINITY Series victory at Atlanta and the 47th of his career. He has won four of the last six events at the 1.54-mile track, where he also has won for four different car owners, tying Tony Stewart for the distinction of winning for four different owners at a single track. 

Atlanta continues to be a special track for Harvick, who earned his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory here in 2001, after succeeding the late Dale Earnhardt in the Intimidator’s vaunted Richard Childress racing ride. 

“It’s just been a really good place for me, obviously getting my first Cup win here,” Harvick said. “We’ve run good cars throughout the years, and the race track has stayed very similar to what it’s been for a number of years. 

“And I think, as you look at the techniques and the things that I do in the car – and they give me what I want in the car, as far as the feel – it just applies here.” 

Harvick’s pit crew got into the act, too, pulling off a stop in 14.4 seconds under NASCAR’s new rules that have reduced the size of the over-the-wall crew to five members. That same crew pits Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Cup car on Sundays. 

“The good thing is they’ve had a lot of reps,” Harvick said. “We’ve had Clash reps, reps in the qualifying race, the Daytona 500, and they pitted on Saturday last week. They pitted on Saturday this week, and they’re just doing a really good job. 

“Those guys are pretty athletic, and they practice hard and have done a great job over the last couple years of getting this car off pit road. As long as I don’t screw it up going too fast, they do really well making the pit stops.” 

Behind Harvick and Logano, pole winner Christopher Bell ran third, followed by John Hunter Nemechek, who scored a fourth-place finish in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut. Elliott Sadler (fifth), Justin Allgaier (sixth) and Austin Cindric (seventh) were the only other drivers on the lead lap when Harvick crossed the stripe for the last time. 

“I don’t think we were even close,” Logano said. “Kevin played with us all day long.” 

Nemechek ran into early trouble on the bottom of the track and early trouble on the top. On Lap 7, Harvick bulled his way past Nemechek, who had just taken over third place. Nemechek’s No. 42 Chevrolet turned sideways after the contact, but he managed to save the car off Turn 4. 

Three laps later, Cole Custer cut to the inside of Nemechek in a battle for fifth as the cars entered the tri-oval. Nemechek slid to the top of the track, right into the path of Elliott Sadler, who had exited Turn 4 with enormous momentum. 

A tap from Sadler turned Nemechek’s car into the No. 00 Ford of Custer, who nosed into the outside wall and damaged his machine beyond repair. 

“It looks like the 42 got out of shape, and then the 1 (Sadler) had a run, and he didn’t hit the brakes hard enough and he hit the 42, and the 42 hit me,” Custer said after viewing the replay.  

“We just got collected in something, and there’s not much we could do. We had a pretty good car and was just kind of riding at that point, but, I don’t know. We’ll go on to the next one.” 

“I’ve got to apologize to Cole Custer,” Nemechek said after climbing from his car. “I never meant to get into him off (Turn) 4 there. I got tagged from behind.”

William Byron Wins 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship

Byron Also Takes Sunoco Rookie of the Year;

No. 22 Team Penske Ford Captures Owners Title;

Chevrolet Wins Bill France Performance Cup as Top Manufacturer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2017) – William Byron’s meteoric NASCAR rise continued Saturday, as the 19-year-old added two more superlatives to an already lengthy list – 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion and 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Byron is only the second driver to win the XFINITY Series championship in his rookie season (Chase Elliott, 2014).

Following an extraordinary rookie campaign, the NASCAR Next graduate, who finished third, outlasted his Championship 4 competitors Elliott Sadler (eighth), Justin Allgaier (12th) and Daniel Hemric (34th) in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway to capture his second NASCAR title. He also won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship in 2015. With the 2017 championship, Byron – at 19 years, 11 months and 20 days – is the second-youngest champion in series history (Elliott was 18 years, 11 months, 18 days).

This season, Byron drove the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet to four wins, 12 top fives and 22 top 10s. His victories came at Iowa, Daytona, Indianapolis and Phoenix, which helped propel him to a lofty position in the standings – from race No. 2-33, he never dropped lower than fifth in the standings.

Byron’s ascent to the top level of the sport will continue in 2018, as Hendrick Motorsports announced that he will drive the iconic No. 24 Chevrolet in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Byron is the fourth member of the NASCAR Next program to win a NASCAR national series championship (Chase Elliott, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2014; Erik Jones, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, 2015; Daniel Suarez, NASCAR XFINITY Series, 2016).

With its second-place finish, the No. 22 Ford won the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Championship for Team Penske, the organization’s fourth XFINITY Series owner title. This season, the No. 22 was piloted by Ryan Blaney (11 races), Brad Keselowski (nine), Joey Logano (seven), Sam Hornish Jr. (five) and Austin Cindric (one race).

Chevrolet, on the strength of 12 victories, clinched the Bill France Performance Cup – the manufacturers’ championship – in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Because Chevrolet owned a more than 40-point lead in the standings following Phoenix, the automaker clinched the title one race early. It is Chevrolet’s 18th Bill France Performance Cup win.

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)