Tag Archives: Xfinity Series

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.”

Kyle Busch Takes Home First Xfinity Series Win at Watkins Glen

(Courtesy: NASCARMedia.com)

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 05: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 NOS Rowdy Toyota, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2017 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – With a victory in Saturday’s Zippo 200, Kyle Busch continued to tick items off his bucket list. 

Recovering from a wheel-hop and spin in Turn 1 on Lap 17 of 82 along with a penalty for driving through too many pit boxes, Busch claimed his first NASCAR XFINITY Series win at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen International road course, beating polesitter Joey Logano to the finish line by 1.049 seconds. 

“The cars have really been working for me here and it just feels so good to finally win an XFINITY race here,” said Busch, who won last week at Pocono for the first time in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series car. 

“We’ve been so close so many times. One of my favorite runs here was in a Zippo car (in 2008) and being in the Zippo race today that’s kind of ironic – I guess they sponsor it every year — but being with (owner) Eddie D’Hondt and the Zippo car, I remember we were really, really fast and wish we would’ve got that one.” 

In winning for the fourth time this season and the 90th time in his career, Busch grabbed the lead when Brad Keselowski and Logano came to pit road together on Lap 49. 

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 05: Paul Menard, driver of the #2 Richmond/Menards Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2017 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Busch gained time by staying on the track for five more laps, and by the time he exited pit road on lap 55, he was 1.2 seconds ahead of Keselowski and more than 10 seconds ahead of Logano, who had a lengthy pit stop because of a stuck lug nut.

 “Pit road was pretty good for us,” Busch said. “We stayed out long on that one run, and we were able to cycle back up to the lead. It worked two weeks in a row that way. I don’t know how much longer we can do that before they figure it out, but it’s been working for us, so we’ll take it.” 

Busch held the top spot the rest of the way, surviving a restart with three laps left after Casey Mears ran out of fuel and stalled on the track to bring out the fifth and final caution of the afternoon. Busch chose the inside lane for the restart to control the preferred line into Turn 1. 

The restart brought Logano back near the front of the field, and on the next-to-last lap, he passed Keselowski, his Team Penske teammate, for the runner-up spot. 

WATKINS GLEN, NY – AUGUST 05: Brad Keselowski, driver of the #22 REV/Fleetwood Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2017 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

“Dang, I wish it was for the win and not for second,” Logano said of the battle with Keselowski. “I had such a good short run car, just in the wrong position to start that last run. I feel like, if I was second, I could have won the race. I just had a really good short-run car. 

“Our long-run speed was off a bit, and that’s when the 18 (Busch) and 22 (Keselowski) would drive by us, and we were a third-place car on the long run, but probably a winning car on the short run. By the time I cleared the 22, the 18 was gone. If we had another four or five laps, (he would have drove off again). I needed a caution.” 

Keselowski ran third, followed by Just Allgaier, Paul Menard and Kevin Harvick. Ty Dillon, Erik Jones, Brendan Gaughan and William Byron completed the top 10. 

Note: Busch has indicated he plans to “retire” from NASCAR XFINITY Series racing when he reaches 100 victories. That will take at least until 2019. According to rules being implemented for the 2018 season, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veterans can compete in only seven XFINITY races during the year. … The victory was the 139th in the series for Joe Gibbs Racing, breaking a tie with Roush Fenway Racing for most in XFINITY history.

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.”