Saturday, June 30, 2018

Trackin’ Trucks: Brett Moffitt Wins at Chicagoland

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Brett Moffitt earned his third victory of the season Friday night during the Overton’s 225 at Chicagoland Speedway.

Moffitt was running second on the last lap when the No. 8 of John Hunter Nemechek unexpectedly began to slow down in Turn 1.

Moffitt flew by Nemechek to take the lead for the fifth and final time of the night.

“This is great,” Moffitt said “We didn’t know if we were coming. To be here in Victory Lane, it’s an honor and a blessing.”

“These guys work hard. I feel like we threw away a couple of wins this season. I hate it for the No. 8 (Nemechek), whatever happened to him. But we’ll take it however we can get it right now.”

What was first reported as a blown engine for the Nemco Motorsports driver turned into a fueling issue for the young star. Nemechek ran out of gas and 17.355 seconds later, he finished seventh.

“We just don’t have luck on our side right now,” Nemechek said. “Overall, it’s a good showing. They knew we were here. We don’t know at what point we’ll be back with the trucks. It’s frustrating and disappointing, but we’ll move on from it.

Ben Rhodes finished second for his first top five since finishing fifth at Charlotte, while Johnny Sauter, Noah Gragson, and Brandon Jones came in third through fifth.

Myatt Snider rebounded to finish in the 10th position after being penalized for a restart violation late in the race.

A Look Ahead

The Camping World Truck Series has the next week and a half off before heading to Kentucky Speedway for the first of two straight mid-week events.

Johnny Sauter has held the top spot all season. He leads by 65 points over Gragson and 85 over Moffitt.

Stewart Friesen gained one position in the points standings despite being involved in two wrecks at Chicagoland. He finished 19th after making contact with Dalton Sargeant on Lap 60 and Jordan Anderson on Lap 121.

Rhodes sits right on the cutoff spot with five races to go before the Playoffs begin. Can he carry the momentum he gained into Kentucky?

Rookie Sargeant sits 11th in the points and has some work to do in order to make the playoffs in just five races. He is 79 points behind Rhodes.

How will Friesen and Sargeant fair at Kentucky? Friesen’s only CTWS start at Kentucky resulted in a 12th place finish in 2017. Sargeant has two ARCA starts at the 1.5-mile track with a best finish of second in 2016.

Don’t miss the action on Thursday, July 12th at 7:30 p.m ET on FS1.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Overton's 400 at Chicagoland


By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race & Track
Both with 5- Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenneth
All with 4 -  Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano

Driver Rating 
Since 2005 - Factors in Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps and Lead-Lap Finish. SOURCE: MRN.com



Rank
Driver
High Rating
Avg. Rating
1
Chase Elliott
129.1
125.6
2
Jimmie Johnson
144.0
113.0
3
Kyle Busch
146.3
107.3
4
Matt Kenseth
144.6
101.8
5
Brad Keselowski
133.3
100.4
6
Kevin Harvick
127.5
98.9
7
Kyle Larson
110.1
97.1
8
Martin Truex Jr.
129.9
94.5
9
Joey Logano
111.1
91.0
10
Denny Hamlin
112.8
89.7



Recent Pole Winners:
2017 Kyle Busch
2014-2016  Rained Out
2013 Joey Logano

Last Year's Race Winner: Martin Truex Jr.

The Likely Suspects: There have been a consistent group of drivers who perform well at Chicagoland. I am keeping an eye on Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.  

My 2 Cents: The visit to Chicagoland is a little early this year, so it should be interesting to see if the steamy summer weather plays into the racing. My no-brainer pick is Martin Truex Jr. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez and Chase Elliott.  I will complete my team with Landon Cassill and David Ragan.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Landon Cassill.

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Clint Bowyer. Clint has one top five and seven top 10s at Chicagoland. More importantly, he was super disappointed about not being in Victory Lane last week, so he has momentum on his side. Last week's second-look driver A.J. Allmendinger had a bad day at Sonoma after starting the race in fifth and earning his first stage win of the season. At Lap 33 after the restart, Allmendinger missed a shift, which created terminal damage, ending his day.

Points to Ponder:
  • Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. lead all active drivers in wins at Chicago with two each. 
  • Eleven different drivers have finished as runner-up in the Monster Energy Series at Chicago, led by Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon with three each, followed by Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards with two each.
  • A total of 32 different drivers have finished in the top five at Chicago in the MENCS, led by Kevin Harvick with nine top fives, followed by Tony Stewart with eight, and Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon with seven each.   
  • A total of 46 different drivers have finished in the top 10 at Chicago in the Cup Series, led by Jimmie Johnson with 11 top 10s, followed by Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart with 10 each.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 30th and your final picks by 2:30 p.m. EDT on race day Sunday, July 1st.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.
------------------------------------

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Fast Facts: Matt DiBenedetto

credit: Getty Images/Chris Graythen

Go Fas Racing driver Matt DiBenedetto earned his fourth top 20 finish of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season Sunday, finishing 17th at Sonoma Raceway in California. Learn more about this California native in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Matthew DiBenedetto was born July 27, 1991 and grew up in Grass Valley, CA. He began racing go karts at a young age, wrapping up five championships before his 12th birthday.
  • The DiBenedetto family moved to Hickory, NC to improve Matt’s opportunities in racing, and at age 16 he began racing Limited Late Models at famed Hickory Motor Speedway and continued winning. He raced for his family-owned team in the UARA Stars Late Model Touring Series, and his performance earned him an invite to a driver combine in 2008, where Joe Gibbs Racing took notice and signed him to a development contract.
  • After competing for a short time in the Camping World East Series (now K&N Pro Series East), DiBenedetto made his Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series debut for JGR at Memphis in 2009, finishing 14th. After making a handful of Nationwide Series starts for JGR in 2010, the relationship ended, and DiBenedetto returned to the K&N Pro Series East for 2011, and drove for some small Nationwide Series teams for the next few years.
  • In 2015, DiBenedetto made his Cup Series debut with BK Racing at Phoenix, and led his first lap at Daytona in July. In 2016, he earned a career-best finish of sixth in the spring race at Bristol, and added top 10 finishes in the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in 2017 to his resume.
  • DiBenedetto has two sisters – Katie and Kelley – and a brother, Austin, and resides with his wife Taylor in Hickory, NC.
  • Follow Matt at his website, www.mattdracing.com.


Monday, June 25, 2018

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Winning Crew Chief, Cole Pearn

by Stacey Owens

Sometimes you need a little kick in the head to make good decisions. Just ask crew chief, Cole Pearn.

Pearn called Martin Truex Jr. to pit from the second position and then called it off, but not before Kevin Harvick was also called to pit and was committed to making his stop. It was a move that many may have questioned until it paid off with a win at Sonoma Raceway.

The move was one that Pearn considered earlier in the race.

"Yeah, I think kind of as the first run went and they started to make gains on us, it was clearly they were a little bit better. We continued to work on the car, too. I think really before we pitted the last time we were getting way more equal with them. We were starting where I thought we were actually gaining on them a little bit. But earlier in the race, we were like, hey, if this goes long, this might be an opportunity to do something different, and fortunately it worked out," Pearn explained.

Back to that kick in the head. It was really more a gash in his face. Pearn talked about what happened.

"I wish I was fighting a bear or a cougar or something cool, but my wife has been on me about building this treehouse for our kids. Anyways, I wanted nothing to do with it, but we were fortunate with the West Coast race we were able to fly out Friday morning, so I actually like had somewhat of a day off on Thursday and I decided to get involved.

"They kind of had it screwed up a bit from what they had done before, and we kind of took it all down and reset, and we were resetting like a four-by-four corner post, and I thought my wife had it and she didn't, and I walked away to get a clamp and she yelled my name and I turned right into it and basically got KO'd by it. But yeah, it went right down to my skull, bled a lot, and had to get stitched on the inside, then on the outside. Was back in about an hour, and I worked until about 9:00 Thursday night and I finished the stupid thing, so I'm glad it's done," Pearn said.

Furniture Row Racing president, Joe Garone, jokingly commented that had Pearn not been kicked in the head, he likely wouldn't have made the right call.

Pearn talked about being able to fend off and beat the No. 4 team, especially after having lost to the same team last year.

"You know, we were fortunate -- last year we had a really great car, by far better than they were, and they were the second-best car, and we blew up and they won. You know, so fortunate enough for us to work out and win. But you never know what's going to happen in the future, but at the end of the day, we really wanted to win today, and proud it worked out," Pearn explained.
Kathryn Gaskill for Skirts and Scuffs


Despite their fierce on-track competition, the two teams are friendly off-track. Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick, went to Victory Lane to congratulate Pearn.

"Yeah, we have a great relationship I feel like. I respect him a lot, and I feel like he does the same.  Him and Martin worked together back at MWR, so they're good friends. At the end of the day, we're playing a game, so it's like at the end of the day, he's a good guy, and I think it's kind of cool for him to do that, and I think -- I always try and congratulate them when they win, and he always does it when we win. Like I said, we've raced against each other now for -- as long as I've been a crew chief, we've battled them a lot of weeks, and they're a great race team, make us better. I think that was cool.

"There's plenty of days where they're going to be up. Kevin Harvick is an awesome race car driver, and I've got a lot of respect for him. I was race engineer for him when I first started. I think it's pretty cool to be able to race them like we do... that's the cool thing about racing. I think you go from this level down to short track level, at the end of the day, you're competing against each other, but you're all there to help each other out when you're down. At the end of the day, we're playing a game. I mean, it's kind of cool to have that camaraderie, and you spend so many weeks together beside each other in the garage area working next to them, and obviously competing with them on race day and stuff. So I think that's one of the cool things about motorsports from go-karts to even the Cup level is it's kind of a family at the end of the day," Pearn commented.

Pearn would also be the first to say that his team feels like family, especially since the reigning Cup championship team is a single-car team far removed from the hub of race teams.

"We've got a lot of great people, and obviously Barney's [team owner, Barney Visser] commitment to our team. He enables us to kind of do it at a high level for a single-car team, and on top of that we've got great partners in Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing that we couldn't do without, period. They're awesome to work with, and we have a great relationship with them, so it's kind of a unique situation where we've got a lot of good people, and being out in Colorado is definitely a challenge at times, but we look to the opportunities that we can embrace it. It really just comes down to people. We've got a great team of people, even though it is a one-car team, and we rely on them heavily," Pearn said.

That interdependence on JGR isn't without its difficulties, though.

"You know, we work back and forth a lot. Some weeks it's difficult, especially on East Coast races.  We have to load a lot earlier just logistically to get there, and then these West Coast races it's an advantage for us over most teams. We're able to have the car in the shop a few days more than everybody else to get them out here. We like the West Coast races a lot. It plays into our favor. But I think the biggest thing is it just comes down to relationships with people, and we've got a lot of really good ones and a lot of trust and a lot of ones that have just been built over time. It's not something you just go draw up. We struggled for a lot of years and we just kind of adjusted and massaged and found a place that we know works for us, but it's a constant struggle. It's something we have to work at every week, and it's just fortunate enough, again, that we have a really good team of people and we've got a really good group of people that we work with," Pearn explained. 

That really good team of people just won again, setting themselves up for another run at a championship. Tune in this weekend to see how teams fare in an early trip to Chicagoland Speedway.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 
Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
   The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far. 
   This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession... as long as she allows him to obsess over college football every fall.



Travel Tips: Chicagoland Speedway – June 28-July 1, 2018

credit: NASCAR Media

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is joined by the ARCA Racing Series, the Camping World Truck Series and the Xfinity Series this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, IL. On-track action for “Stars and Stripes Weekend” kicks off on Thursday, June 28, culminating with the Overton’s 400 on Sunday, July 1.

On Wednesday night, June 27, downtown Joliet will host its annual Race Fan Rally from 5-10 p.m. CT. This free event will feature live music, vendors, food and beverages, driver appearances and more. Get more information on the Race Fan Rally here.

On Saturday night, June 30, Chicagoland’s sister track, the Dirt Oval at Route 66, will host the “Summer Slash” featuring Tony Stewart’s All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series and the IRA Outlaw Sprint Series – find out more here.

Key on-track times:

Thursday, June 28 –
  • ARCA Racing Series practice – 2 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series practice – 4:30 and 6:35 p.m. CT
  • ARCA Racing Series qualifying – 5:35 p.m. CT
  • ARCA Racing Series Scott 150 – 8 p.m. CT
Friday, June 29 –
  • Xfinity Series practice –3:35 and 6:35 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 4:40 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series Overton’s 225 – 8 p.m. CT
Saturday, June 30 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice –10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. CT
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 11:40 a.m. CT
  • Xfinity Series Overton’s 300 – 2:30 p.m. CT
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying – 6:05 p.m. CT
Sunday, July 1 –
  • Randy Hauser pre-race concert – 11:30 a.m. CT
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400 – 1:30 p.m. CT
For a complete schedule of events at the track, including driver appearances, live music and more, click here.

For more race information and to purchase tickets for the “Stars and Stripes Weekend” at Chicagoland Speedway, visit www.chicagolandspeedway.com.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Trackin’ Trucks: Justin Haley Wins at Gateway


Justin Haley celebrates with first career win with his team.
Credit: Jeff Curry

by Courtney Horn

Justin Haley earned his first career Camping World Truck Series victory on Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park, holding off Todd Gilliland and Johnny Sauter in a green-white-checkered finish.

Haley took the lead with seven laps to go before a caution flew for the No. 41 of Ben Rhodes.

“I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little kid,” Haley said in Victory Lane. “Every time you start doubting yourself you get in a situation like this. I’m about to cry man, that was amazing.

“I raced my heart out and that’s all I’ve worked for my whole life. Thank you to Fraternal Order of Eagles, Todd Braun, everyone, my mom, my family, it’s been an incredible experience and you never know when you get to race again.”

Haley’s win is the fifth of the season for GMS Racing. It also secures him a spot in the post-season playoffs.

Christian Eckes finished in the 28th position, despite having a strong night. Eckes was battling for position when contact with Stewart Friesen sent his No. 46 Toyota spinning.

He led 34 laps and earned the Stage 2 win in his second start for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Last year’s winner John Hunter Nemechek was running second and looked to be in the perfect position to secure back-to-back-victories before a punctured oil tank sent the No. 8 Chevrolet to the garage.

Nemechek’s troubles also collected Justin Fontaine and Tate Fogelman, who were innocent victims of the oil that spilled onto the 1.25-mile racetrack. The drivers sustained significant damage to their Chevrolets and were unable to continue. They finished 26th and 27th, respectively.

Zane Smith and Riley Herbst both made their CWTS debut on Saturday, both earning top-10 finishes as Smith finished fifth, while Herbst wound up eighth.

A Look Ahead 

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Chicago, Illinois for the Overton’s 225 on Friday, June 29, 2018.

Dalton Sargeant is looking to recover from two bad weeks. He sits 11th in the points standings, 63 points from the eighth-place cutoff for the Playoffs.

Johnny Sauter earned his second win of the season at Chicagoland Speedway one year ago. Can he earn his fifth of 2018?

Find out on June 29th at 9 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Five Questions before Gateway and Sonoma

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
by Lisa Janine Cloud

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winds its way around the road course in the wine country of Sonoma, California, while the Camping World Truck Series returns to the Gateway Motorsports Park in St. Louis, Missouri. Okay, so the racetrack is really in Madison, Illinois, but that’s just a technicality. The 1.25-mile oval sits just about five miles east of the famous Gateway Arch, which rises 630 feet above the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, only a short distance from the home of Anheuser-Busch, aka the King of Beers.

Credit: Jeff Curry/NASCAR via Getty Images

West Coast vs. Midwest. Wine vs. beer. Road course vs. oval track. Race trucks vs. race cars. Saturday night under the lights vs. Sunday afternoon in the sunshine. NASCAR fans are set for what is truly a weekend of contrasts.  

Will age and treachery ... er, skill ... prevail over youth and vitality in the Truck race?
Last week at Iowa, only three drivers in the top 10 were over 30: Johnny Sauter (40), David Gilliland (42), and Stuart Friesen (34). Winner Brett Moffitt is 25 and defending race winner John Hunter Nemechek just turned 21 a couple of weeks ago. Yet the veteran, Sauter, holds the series lead in points, while Friesen and 33-year-old Grant Enfinger sit in fourth and fifth respectively. Sauter does have the most top-five finishes at Gateway, and Matt Crafton (42) has the most top 10s, but not since Kevin Harvick took the checkers in 2010 has a driver over 30 scored a win there. 

Who will the crowd at the "Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 presented by CK Power" race at Gateway cheer for louder? 
Local driver Kevin Donahue of Chesterfield, Missouri, piloting the No. 63 Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool/Extreme Oil Chevy for local team Mittler Brothers Racing, or Jordan Anderson of Forest Acres, South Carolina, whose No. 3 Chevy carries local sponsorship from the Bommarito Auto Group alongside Lucas Oil? The Mittler Brothers have been in the Truck Series since 1995, while the Bommarito Auto Group put beaucoup sponsorship dollars into Anderson’s team and racing at Gateway in general. Regardless, the real winners are the fans who get to see some great racing at a track that is working hard to establish itself as a top-tier facility.

Will there be a new winner at Sonoma in the Toyota/Save-Mart 350?
Only six drivers have visited Victory Lane in 2018. Oddly enough, four of them are among the seven active drivers who have won at the track formerly known as Sears Point (Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Clint Bowyer). Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Kasey Kahne have all taken home the wine-bottle trophy, too.
The only repeat winner among active drivers, Kyle Busch, will have his hands full with defending race winner Harvick, defending series champion Truex Jr., and most recent race winner, Bowyer. Who out of the rest of the field can keep up? We’ll see on Sunday.

Can Jimmie Johnson find his golden horseshoe? 
Or his mojo? Or even lead another lap? For a driver who has led between 9000-10,000 laps a season since his rookie year, it’s painful to look at the stats and see Seven-Time with the number “2” under laps led for the season. Matt DiBenedetto has led three times as many laps as Johnson so far in 2018! 
We’re 15 races in, and not only has Johnson not won, he’s only gotten within sniffing distance twice with top-five finishes at Bristol and Charlotte. However, the No. 48 team is heading in the right direction point-wise. Having started the year in 36th, Johnson and his guys sit 12th, so maybe being in his home state will bring him some luck.

At the risk of repeating myself, can youth win over experience on the twists and turns of the season’s first road course?
Young drivers such as Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones have gotten a lot of publicity this season, but so far, the race winners have all been over 25. Joey Logano and Austin Dillon are both 28; Logano is the younger of the two by about a month, but he’s a 10-year veteran. Dillon is in his fifth full season like Larson is, but he’s three years older.

By comparison, Harvick has five wins in 2018 and appears to be in his prime at 42. Bowyer’s 39 and Truex is 38, each with 13 full seasons and two wins this year. A four-time winner so far in 2018, Kyle Busch is only 33 but has 14 full Cup seasons under his belt. 

What difference does all that make? 

To me, it seems like the hype around the hot young drivers has provided ample motivation for the more seasoned competitors to show everyone that to be the man, you have to beat the man.

Tune in at 8:30 p.m. ET Saturday on FS1, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio for the Camping World Truck Series and at 3 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: At Sonoma

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race and Track
All with 4 - Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson - 3  

Top 5 Driver Ratings (Based on Last 13 races at Sonoma Raceway) SOURCE: NASCAR Media
Kurt Busch
17
1
1
7
9
0
14.1
107.5
Jimmie Johnson
16
0
1
4
9
1
12.5
99.6
Kevin Harvick
17
0
1
5
8
0
13.8
91.3
Kyle Busch
13
0
2
3
5
0
17.1
90.7
Clint Bowyer
12
0
1
7
9
1
10.7
90.1
Recent Pole Winners:
2017 Kyle Larson
2016 Carl Edwards

2016 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

The Likely Suspects: In some ways road-racing fantasy picks are easy. Go with Cup drivers with open wheel experience and don't over-think it. These are my focus drivers: Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: Remember Carol's big road-racing no-no: don't put road-racing ringers on your fantasy team. Sorry Tomy Drissi. Just because you have experience making lefts and rights doesn't mean you can beat a Cup driver. My no-brainer pick this week is Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray. I'm rounding out my team with Alex Bowman and Michael McDowell.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell.

Second-Look Driver: Okay, so if you are itching to pick a road-racing ringer this week despite my warnings take a second-look at A.J. Allmendinger. He has extensive experience in IndyCar and sports car racing prior to his full-time move to stock cars. The Dinger has a win at Watkins Glen, but hasn't won yet at Sonoma. Maybe this week? Our last second-look driver two weeks ago at Michigan was Aric Almirola. Aric had a so-so race, finishing in 11th place after starting in sixth.

Points to Ponder:
  • The Busch Pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more wins (five) than any other starting position at Sonoma Raceway.   
  • Jamie McMurray leads all active drivers in Busch poles at Sonoma with three.
  • Seven active Monster Energy Series drivers have wins at Sonoma; led by Kyle Busch with two victories (2008 and 2015).
  • Busch is the only active driver with multiple wins; Kasey Kahne (2009), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kurt Busch (2011) Clint Bowyer (2012), Martin Truex Jr. (2013) and Kevin Harvick (2017) each have one win.    
  • Five active drivers are tied for the most runner-up finishes at Sonoma: Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman each have one MENCS runner-up finish on the famous road course.
  • Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer lead all active drivers in top-five finishes at Sonoma with seven each.  
  • Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers in top 10s at Sonoma with nine each.
    Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 23rd and your final picks by 3 p.m. EDT on race day Sunday, June 24th.

    Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

    Monday, June 18, 2018

    Travel Tips: Sonoma Raceway – June 22-24, 2018

    credit: NASCAR Media

    The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and K&N Pro Series West visit Sonoma, California, for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend at Sonoma Raceway this Friday through Sunday, June 22-24. Sonoma is the first of two road course races on the Cup Series schedule for 2018.

    On Thursday, June 21, the annual NASCAR Hauler Parade races through Sacramento, making its way from the State Capital to the track beginning at noon PT. Find the parade route and more information about the event here.

    Key on-track event times:

    Friday, June 22 –
    • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 11:40 a.m. and 2:40 p.m. PT
    • K&N Pro Series West practice –1:05 p.m. PT
    Saturday, June 23
    • K&N Pro Series West qualifying – 10:15 a.m. PT
    • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying – 11:45 a.m. PT
    • K&N Pro Series West Carneros 200 – 1:30 p.m. PT
    Sunday, June 24 –
    • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 – noon PT
    Find a complete weekend schedule, including driver appearances and entertainment, here.

    Get tickets and more information about the race weekend at www.sonomaraceway.com.

    Travel Tips: Gateway Motorsports Park – June 22-23, 2018

    credit: NASCAR Media

    Race fans in the St. Louis area can head to Gateway Motorsports Park for the ARCA Racing Series and Camping World Truck Series events on Friday and Saturday, June 22-23.

    Key on-track event times:

    Friday, June 22
    • ARCA Racing Series practice – noon and 1:30 p.m. CT
    • Camping World Truck Series practice – 2:35, 4:35 and 6:35 p.m. CT
    • ARCA Racing Series qualifying – 5:30 p.m. CT
    • ARCA Racing Series Papa Nicholas 150 – 8 p.m. CT
    Saturday, June 23
    • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 4:45 p.m. CT
    • Camping World Truck Series Villa Lighting delivers the Eaton 200 presented by CK Power – 7:30 p.m. CT
    Find track guidelines here, and find out about Gateway Kartplex here.

    Find out more about the race and the track, and purchase tickets for the events, at www.gatewaymsp.com.

    Trackin’ Trucks: Brett Moffitt Wins at Iowa


    Brett Moffitt celebrates his win at Iowa with a burnout.
    Credit: Robert Labege

    by Courtney Horn

    Iowa native Brett Moffitt earned his second Camping World Truck Series victory of the season on Saturday night during the M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway.

    Moffitt led 76 laps before holding off a charging Noah Gragson on the last lap. Gragson attempted to pass Moffitt with a slide pass, but the Kyle Busch Motorsports star smacked the wall as a result.

    “This is everything,” Moffitt said. “Being in my home state on Father’s Day weekend — my dad has done everything for me in my career and been my rock my whole life.”

    Gragson held on to his No. 18 Toyota to finish second for his fourth top five of the 2018 season.

    Polesitter Harrison Burton overcame adversity shortly after the conclusion of Stage 1 to finish third. Burton had to start in the back after pitting for a throttle issue.

    Cody Coughlin earned his fifth top-10 finish of the season after being involved in an early crash on Lap 31. Coughlin was in the middle of a three-wide battle with Myatt Snider and Jesse Little as the No. 46 of Christian Eckes spun.

    A second multi-truck accident occurred with about 65 laps to go when Matt Crafton suffered a blown tire in Turn 2. Crafton collected Stage 1 winner John Hunter Nemechek and Stage 2 winner Stewart Friesen, as well as contenders Ben Rhodes and Dalton Sargeant.

    Moffitt soared to his third career CWTS victory from there, despite Gragson and Burton closing the gap before running out of time.

    A Look Ahead

    The Camping World Truck Series is scheduled for the Gateway Motorsports Park on Saturday, June 23, 2018.

    John Hunter Nemechek held off Chase Briscoe one year ago for the victory, while Crafton finished fourth.

    Can Crafton rebound to earn his first win of the season? Or will another young gun win?

    Find out on Saturday, June 23rd at 8:30 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.