Category Archives: Xfinity Series

Dreams do Come True – Preece Earns First NASCAR Xfinity Series Win at Iowa

(Courtesy: NASCARMedia.com)

NEWTON, IA – JULY 29: Ryan Preece, driver of the #20 MoHawk Northeast Inc. Toyota, leads the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR XFINITY Series US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol at Iowa Speedway on July 29, 2017 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

NEWTON, Iowa — Ryan Preece’s short-lived, but ambitious 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule began three weeks ago at his de facto home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway. 

It ended Saturday in the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway — as confetti swirled and soared to highlight his first career series triumph in Victory Lane. 

Preece, held off a hard-charging Kyle Benjamin in a green-white checkered finish that came after the third restart in the race’s final 17 pulse-quickening laps. 

“I thought this race would never end, that’s for sure,” an emotional Preece told the NBCSN after finally slowing his fast Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 car to a stop. “But man, nothing’s going to beat today.” 

No one could beat Preece, who ran full-time in 2016, but chose to funnel his 2017 XFINITY Series resources into this two-race stint with JGR. 

NEWTON, IA – JULY 29: Ryan Preece, driver of the #20 MoHawk Northeast Inc. Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol at Iowa Speedway on July 29, 2017 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

That high-stakes gamble clearly paid off — as Preece beamed and raised his arms, his season over, but his future visibly brighter. 

“I don’t even know what to say,” said Preece, who owns 17 career NASCAR Whelan Modified Tour wins, including two this season. “I’ve got to thank everybody.” 

So he did. 

Benjamin settled for second, which also is his best career finish. Veteran Brian Scott took third in his first start of the season. 

“I was very nervous,” said Benjamin, who also runs part-time for JGR. “I wanted to make it happen right there.” 

Preece did just that, from start to finish, with a slight hiccup in between. 

He earned his first career Coors Light Pole Award earlier Saturday, powering to a lap of 24.072 seconds at a top speed of 130.857 mph. That dominance carried over into the first stage, which Preece led in its entirety. 

He dropped to sixth off pit road, however, which allowed Justin Allgaier to surge to the front. Allgaier would narrowly hold off Preece to win the second stage and gain a coveted playoff point, but a later gamble would reap misfortune instead of reward. 

Drivers faced a dilemma when Spencer Gallagher hit the wall, drawing the caution flag with 80 laps to go. Every top contender eventually dove onto pit road. Everyone except Allgaier, that is, whose team hoped another caution would help the decision pay off. 

That didn’t happen, as Allgaier swiftly dropped from first to seventh, then to 15th — and finally,  to a green flag pit stop that came with 25 laps to go. That longed-for caution finally flew shortly after Allgaier returned to the track when Sam Hornish Jr.’s No. 22 Ford hit the wall. 

Allgaier’s second bad break in as many weeks preceded that nerve-fraying — and caution-filled — finish.

 Points leader Elliott Sadler raced near the front most of the day, but ended up 12th. He maintains a 54-point lead over William Byron, who finished ninth. 

Preece clearly wasn’t racing for points. Only a win. 

NEWTON, IA – JULY 29: Ryan Preece, driver of the #20 MoHawk Northeast Inc. Toyota, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series US Cellular 250 Presented by American Ethanol at Iowa Speedway on July 29, 2017 in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

And he edged Benjamin by a mere .054 seconds — a fitting margin to conclude a sprint-sized season that ended in happy incredulity. 

“I’m so at a loss of words right now,” Preece said. “I don’t know what to say. This is what emotion is, I can tell you that.”

XFINITY Series Rookie William Byron Holds Off Paul Menard in Brickyard Debut

Story courtesy of NASCARMedia

SPEEDWAY, Ind. – With a new competition package that produced a race-record 16 lead changes and the closest NASCAR XFINITY Series finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, William Byron threw more blocks than an NFL fullback in holding off charging Paul Menard to win Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250. 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JULY 22: William Byron, driver of the #9 Liberty University Chevrolet, kisses the yard of bricks after winning the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on July 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Byron made the decisive pass for the lead on Lap 85, surging past JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler into the top spot. Menard gained two spots, from fourth to second over a six-circuit stretch from Laps 90 to 96 but couldn’t overtake Byron, who blocked each of Menard’s attempts to make a winning pass.

“It’s so cool—this is awesome,” said Byron, who was won in his first visit to the vaunted Brickyard. “I’d never been to a Brickyard 400 or an Indy 500, but I watched it as a kid. It takes a lot to win these races, and to win here is so special.” 

Joey Logano followed Byron past Sadler on Lap 85 and finished third, after losing the second position to Menard on Lap 96. 

The leader in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings, Byron won for the third time this season. Fighting a vibration he thought might have been the result of a tire issue, he finished .108 seconds ahead of Menard. 

“He’s done an awesome job,” team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “I’m excited for his future and the rest of the season.” 

Menard thought he might have been able to get to Byron’s bumper in the closing laps but thought better of trying to move him. 

“He was better than me through Turn 1,” Menard said. “I just had to lift too much and play catch-up through Turns 2, 3 and 4 back to the start/finish line. I made a pretty aggressive dive into (Turn) 1 that last lap, just to see if I could get him loose, but he made it stick… 

“I maybe could have gotten to his bumper, but that would have definitely killed my momentum, too. All it probably would have done is chase both of us up the hill, and Joey might have won. I didn’t think that was in either of our best interest.” 

Second in the standings, Byron now trails Sadler, the series leader, by 40 points. A disastrous pit stop cost JRM teammate Justin Allgaier dearly, dropping him to 35th at the finish and 133 points behind Sadler in the standings. 

Allgaier pitted from the lead on Lap 57 of 100 and overshot his stall, starting a comedy of errors. The No. 7 crew began working on the car before pushing it back into the pit box. Allgaier took off early, snapping the air hose, which danced around the stall like a snake before coming to rest. The coup de grace was a right front tire that hadn’t been secured.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JULY 22: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motorspeedway on July 22, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

The tire came off the hub and lodged at an angle inside the wheel well. With his car towed to the garage for repairs, Allgaier lost 13 laps. 

That was the comic relief, however, in a race where the new rules package drew overwhelmingly positive reviews. 

“Overall, we’re certainly pleased with what we saw on the race track,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “From an eye test, it definitely passed when you look at the metrics, right? Most leaders we’ve had (eight). Most lead changes. Closest finish. Certainly, on the quick recap, some really great metrics. 

“But as we said before, there’s a lot for us to digest, go back, talk to the teams, drivers, crew chiefs, see where we’re at and go from there.”

Joey Logano Dominates Stage Three to Win Boyd Gaming 300

March 11 2017: Joey Logano celebrates in victory lane after winning the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

Thomas Wolf wrote a famous novel “You Can’t Go Home Again” but jumping to the lead at the green home town driver Kyle Busch was out to prove that it is not true. Unfortunately after looking strong in the first segment never he led again finishing in 7th place in the final run down.

40 Xfinity drivers were brought to green for the Boyd Gaming 300 by the #18 NOS Energy Drink Rowdy Toyota of Kyle Busch and  the #22 Discount Tire Ford of Brad Keselowski at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Kyle Busch jumped out to to an early lead over the field, looking strong early. Only 5 laps in brought out the first caution as the # 97 VRom Brands Chevrolet slowed on the track after

March 11 2017: Kyle Busch (18) leads the field through turn 2 during stage 1 of the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

scraping the wall.

On returning to green on lap 9 Kyle jumped back out to the lead and continued to lead the field. As the laps wore on it became the Kyle and Kyle show. Kyle Larsen caught up to Kyle Busch and in traffic and at one point passed the # 18 NON Energy drink but did not hold it as they weaved their way through traffic.

At 45 laps and at the completion of stage one Kyle Busch leads all of the laps and the stage win. Top 10 #1  Kyle Busch, #42 Kyle Larson, #12 Joey Logano, #22Brad Keselowski #7 Justin Allgaier, #20 Daniel Suarez, #19 Matt Tiff, #6 Darrell Wallace Jr., #3 Ty Dillon and #16 Ryan Reed. Matt Tiff was the highest finishing Xfinity series regular.

Pit stops changed the top 3 as #42 Kyle Larson and the # 12 of Joey Logano came out ahead of Kyle Busch.

March 11 2017: Kyle Larson (42) and Joey Logano (12) lead to field on a restart late in stage 2 of the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)
March 11 2017: Ryan Reed (16) makes it 3-wide at the start-finish line during during the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, NV. (Photo by Stephen Furst/Myracenews.com)

Stage 2 started pretty much like stage one but now with the #42 Kyle Larson jumping out to the early lead. Kyle Busch was not as strong in stage 2 being passed by Joey Logano in the#12  REV Ford for the second spot.

#22 Brad Keselowski took stage 2 followed by Kyle Busch.  While up front there was mostly single file racing there was 2 and 3 wide racing through the middle of the pack.

The 3rd and final stage started with the #12 REV Ford of Joey Logano and the #20 Interstate Batteries Ford and last years Xfinity Champion bringing them to green. Joey Logano built a big lead until a scheduled pit stop took him out of the top spot for 2 laps.

Once the pit stops cycled out Joey resumed his spot at the head of the pack. Lots of green flag racing dominated the first 2/3 of stage 3 until a debris caution, the 6th of the day  with 39 laps to go helped #22 Brad Keselowski  who had an unscheduled for an issue with a loose wheel.  Brad was off sequence and it moved him closer to the lead group.

#07 Ray Black spun to bring out the 7th caution followed by a 8th caution with 19 laps to go caused by a spinning #14 Superior Essex Toyota of JJ Yeley who was having a good day but now will be at the back of the lead lap car. As always seems to happens cautions breed cautions and a 9th and final caution for spinning rookie Matt Tiff in the #19 Surface Sunscreen Toyota bunched up the field to create a restart with 4 to go.

No matter how many restarts late Joey Logano would still pull away on the restarts and took the win in the Boyd Gaming 300. Second  place finisher #42 Kyle Larson said that Joey had a big advantage on the restarts and could not keep up with him. He was not sure if it was gearing or power but he did not have the power to pass him.

Race Notes:

Joey Logano said he did think it would be a small help for Sundays race by being in today’s Xfinity race.  Joey also believes that the relationship with his spotter helped him today, they have worked together for about 4 years.  The win by Joey was his 28th victory in 160 Xfinity  starts.

Xfinity regular Justin Allgaier Chevrolet in the #7 Brandt Professional Agriculture ran strong all day after starting in the 13th starting position. Justin came home with a great 4th place finish.

6th place finisher Darrell Wallace Jr. was under the weather all day but still battled to a good finish.

Elliot Sadler in the #1 OneMain Financial Chevrolet with his 8th place finish maintains his Xfinity Series point lead.

The #22 Discount Tire Ford of  Brad Keselowski had to make an unscheduled pit stop for  a lose wheel in the 3rd stage which cost him a lap and a shot at the win Brad came back to finish 10th.

Cole Custer in the #00  was the highest finishing rookie with a 11th place finish. Cole started in the 20th position.

Las Vegas native #62 Brendon Gaughan in the South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet had a tough day, first pulling behind the wall for a new carburetor then spinning to bring out the 4th caution. In the last stage he slipped high and then brushed the wall.

A full post race tear down will take place for the top 2 cars plus one random car.

There were 10 pit road infraction penalties today, only 3 were for speeding.

The Xfinity Series moves onto Phoenix for the DC Solar 200 March 18th

Top 10 finisher of the Boyd Gaming 300

  1. #12 Joey Logano
  2. 42 Kyle Larson
  3. #20 Daniel Suarez
  4. #7 Justin Allgaier
  5. #2 Austin Dillon
  6. #6 Bubba Wallace Jr.
  7. #18 Kyle Busch
  8. #1 Elliot Sadler
  9. #16 Ryan Reed
  10. #22 Brad Keselowski