Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for March

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

The month of March brought the fifth annual West Coast Swing for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, which consists of three consecutive races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, ISM Raceway, and Auto Club Speedway.

The new competition package debuted with shining light in Sin City, with teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski battling in the final laps to give Team Penske a one-two finish at the 1.5-mile track.

JGR and Team Penske continued to dominate a week later at ISM Raceway, with Kyle Busch taking the victory. Busch and Ryan Blaney combined for a total of 271 of 312 laps led.

Blaney, who has yet to secure a win under the Team Penske stable, led five times and earned the Stage 1 victory. Blaney relinquished the lead on Lap 296, after Busch creeped along in his rear view mirror for 37 laps.

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Busch earned his 200th career victory across the three national series (53 Cup, 94 Xfinity, 53 GOTS) at Auto Club Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver recovered from an early pit road speeding penalty for his second MENCS victory this season.

Keselowski earned his second win of the season, and 29th of his career, at Martinsville Speedway. The Team Penske driver dominated at the half-mile track, leading all but 54 laps of the STP 500.

Chase Elliott finished second after leading 49 laps. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was closing in on Keselowski with about three laps to go, but couldn’t get close enough to the No. 2 Ford to make a pass.

Busch finished third, followed by Blaney and Hamlin, who was penalized halfway through the event with an uncontrolled tire violation.

Credit: LJ Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs

Clint Bowyer finished seventh after battling back from two pit road speeding penalties. Bowyer was caught speeding entering pit road in Section 10 on Laps 314 and 373, respectively.

Busch leads the points standings by 21 points over Hamlin and 25 points ahead of 2014 Champion, Kevin Harvick.

The Xfinity Series:


Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

Kyle Busch overcame an unscheduled pit stop during the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas to earn his 93rd series victory. Busch earned the victory in double overtime after contact between Cole Custer and Brandon Jones on Lap 19 brought out the sixth caution of the day.

The second overtime collected Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, and Zane Smith after the No. 2 Chevrolet of defending series champion Tyler Reddick got loose and spun, causing a multi-car pileup.

John Hunter Nemechek finished second, after running side-by-side in the final laps. Noah Gragson, who is a Las Vegas native, finished third, followed by Austin Dillon and Michael Annett.

Busch earned his 94th Xfinity Series victory by three seconds over Ryan Truex and Reddick at ISM Raceway.

Busch’s closest competition of the IK9 Service Dog 200 was teammate Christopher Bell, before he fell victim to an engine explosion on Lap 130 by Stephen Leicht.

Bell backed into the outside wall and crushed the rear of his No. 20 Toyota, resulting in a 30th place finish.

Justin Allgaier, who spun in the fluid from the No. 01 Chevrolet, finished in the 14th position.

Cole Custer earned the third victory of his career at Auto Club Speedway, during the Production Alliance Group 300. Custer held off Busch, who battled back from several mistakes by his crew on pit road to finish second.

Custer led four times for a total of 29 laps, passing Bell on Lap 132 to earn his first victory at his hometown track.

Bell finished third, followed by Reddick and Chase Briscoe.

Reddick extended his points lead to seven points over Custer and 14 points ahead of Bell.

The Xfinity Series returns after a week off on March 30th at Texas Motor Speedway. 

Gander Outdoors Truck Series:

Kyle Busch dominated the NGOTS in March, earning victories on March 1st at Las Vegas and March 23rd at Martinsville Speedway.

Brett Moffitt battled back to finish second at Las Vegas after a bad pit stop forced him to the back of the field at the beginning of Stage 2.

Matt Crafton finished third after being involved in a multi-car accident on Lap 7, while Stewart Friesen and Harrison Burton rounded out the top 5.

Ben Rhodes finished second at Martinsville. The Thorsport Racing driver wasn’t completely satisfied with the result, but acknowledged that it was his best run in his career at the track.

“It was a good day at Martinsville.” Rhodes said, “This was the best finish I’ve had here yet. I was surprised, qualifying 16th, the truck came to life in the race. We had a fast Carolina F-150, but just needed a little something more.”

Moffitt finished third, followed by Ross Chastain, and Friesen.

Myatt Snider finished sixth, Grant Enfinger seventh, Crafton eighth, Johnny Sauter ninth, and Bubba Wallace rounded out the top 10.

Frisen is the point leader after four races, ahead of Enfinger and Moffitt.

Sauter and Burton are tied for fourth, nine points behind the leader.

Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for March Cool Down Laps: NASCAR News for March Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Monday, March 25, 2019 Rating: 5

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