Saturday, June 10, 2017

Brad Keselowski Makes Last Lap Pass On Kyle Larson For Win At Pocono

Brad Keselowski won the Pocono Green 250 after making a last lap pass on Kyle Larson down the backstretch. It is Keselowski's 35th career win in the Xfinity Series and it snapped a race win-less streak dating back to Texas Motor Speedway in 2015.

Rookie Kyle Benajmin was on the pole, alongside was another rookie Daniel Hemric. 25 laps made up stages 1 and 2, while 50 laps made up the final stage.

When stage 1 began, Benajmin set the world on fire before handing the lead to Brad Keselowski on lap 22, as Benjamin encountered lap traffic. Keselowski went on to win stage 1.

Stage 2 took place on lap 31 with Cole Custer, who pitted toward the end of stage 1 and Benjamin who won the race off pit road on the front row. Custer immediately jumped out front leading for ten laps, until Benjamin re-took the lead on lap 57. Keselowski was able to run down the leaders and take the lead on lap 39. Keselowski once again had a strong performance and went on to win stage 2.

The final stage was set on lap 56 with Benjamin out front. Keselowski resumed the lead on lap 62. He would remain the leader until pit stops started with 36 laps to go. This would begin a series of pit stops and varying strategies. Justin Allgaier and Brendan Gaughan stayed out hoping the race would remain green all the way. However, a caution came out on lap 78 for Brandon Jones, who blew a tire on the frontstretch.

With 16 laps to go for the restart, Custer and Keselowski regained the lead after their pit strategy played out. After the restart, Elliott Sadler pushed Keselowski up the track, causing the 22 (Keselowski) to loose the lead and drop several spots. Thus allowing Kyle Larson to take the lead after that.

Keselowski rebounded and drove all the way up to third. With four laps to go, there was a three way battle for the win. Keselowski was able to get by Allgaier. However, Keselowski had to keep chipping away Larson for the win lap by lap.

Keselowski made a last lap pass on Larson down the back straight. Keselowski held on and won the Pocono Green 250 at Pocono Raceway.

There were six leaders among 13 lead changes, with three cautions for 15 laps.

Keselowski led five times for 29 laps.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series head to Michigan International Speedway Saturday June 17.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Matt Tifft Rebounds To A Top Ten Finish At Dover

After starting in the sixth position in qualifying, Matt Tifft driver of the no.19 Tunity Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing was looking for a solid finish at the "Monster Mile." However, it would come with challenges in the early parts of the race.

In the late going of stage 1, Tifft experienced tire troubles forcing him to come down pit road and go one lap down. This meant Tifft missed out on playoff points in the first stage.

It would take several laps for Tifft to get back on the lead lap. His big break would come on a lap 91 caution, as he would receive the free pass to get back on the lead lap. Another break came on lap 111, where a caution allowed Tifft to pit.

As Stage 3 began, the top six cars stayed out including Tifft. Tifft was in the top five before falling back again. He eventually rebounded and finished in the ninth positing, giving him his third top 10 of the year.

"It was a solid day for us. We had to play a strategy card before the start of the third stage just because Daniel (Suarez) and I both had the right fronts go consecutive laps, so it was great to fight back from two laps down to get to that point, but I think those guys just had a little bit fresher tires there at the end which helped them a little bit, but we just got a little bit too tight on the longer run."

"Overall, it was a good day for Tunity Camry. We needed these days each and every weekend and hopefully we can just build from this and try to do the same thing every week, but it's good to have a day where we're running up front and competing up front and, yeah, things kind of played out to where we had to fight back, but it could have been a whole lot worse, so glad to have a good solid day."

Kyle Larson Wins OneMain Financial 200 At Dover

Kyle Larson won the OneMain Financial 200 at Dover International Speedway. It was his third Xfinity Series win of the 2017 season and seventh career win.

It was the eleventh race of the 2017 season for the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The race had three stages. 60 laps made up stages 1 and 2, while 80 laps made up the final stage. Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney made up the front row in qualifying.

When stage 1 began, Larson set sail and checked out early. However, the first caution slowed the paced on lap 5 where Ryan Seig and Brendan Gaughan got together. After the early caution, Larson started to check out again, but another caution took place on lap 26 for Brandon Jones, who spun off of turn 4. Two more cautions would take place on lap 33 and 41, but Larson was able to hang on and win stage 1. Right before the stage ended, however, both Matt Tifft and Daniel Suarez had a flat tire and pitted. William Byron and Brennan Poole transferred for Dash 4 Cash.

Stage 2 took place on lap 67. Austin Dillon stayed out due to not having enough set of tires, therefore assuming the lead, along with Larson on the front row. With crash damage from the lap 41 caution, Dillon could not hang on and this saw Larson take the lead. Just eight laps later, a caution came out for Spencer Gallagher who stalled in turn 2, Daniel Suarez caught a break and received the free pass.

After the restart, Ryan Blaney took the lead on lap 88. Two laps later, Harrison Rhodes brought out another caution, this time Matt Tifft was back on the lead lap after having problems in stage 1.

Blaney remained in the lead until a caution came out on lap 111 for debris from Erik Jones car, which blew up a few laps earlier. After a restart, Darrell Wallace Jr took the lead on lap 116 and would hang on to win stage 2. He and Elliott Sadler would round out the Dash 4 Cash transfer spots.

When the race restarted with 73 laps to go for stage 3, the top six stayed out, including Suarez and he would end up being the race leader. Suarez would lead for 19 laps until Larson took the lead down the backstretch with 54 laps to go. As Suarez began slipping back, Blaney came back in to picture with 47 laps to go by taking second place.

However, Larson would remain the race leader all the way to the checkered flag, with Blaney finishing in second.

William Byron won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash.

There were ten cautions for 45 laps with six leaders among nine lead changes. Larson led three times for 137 laps.

The next scheduled NASCAR Xfinity Series is Saturday June 10 at Pocono Raceway.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Christopher Bell Finishes Top Five In NASCAR Xfinity Series Debut

Christopher Bell was making his first NASCAR Xfinity Series start today at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Needless to say, it was an impressive debut, but it didn't come without adversity.

On the second lap, Bell was turned by Ryan Reed, therefore causing him to spin out on the front stretch. The no.18 Sirius XM Toyota went sliding through the grass. With some concern, the team thought there would be damage to the splitter. However, there was no damage done to the splitter, but Bell had to rebound from the back.

Bell would fight tight conditions all day long after being in the back. With multiple cautions late, Bell was able to catch up toward the front end of the pack. Late in the going, Bell was in the top 10, before eventually getting in the top five.

Nonetheless, after being the first caution early, Bell rebounded and finished fourth in his Xfinity Series debut at Charlotte.

Christopher Bell Quote
"JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) brought a really fast SiriusXm Camry today, just really thankful to be in this No.18 car. We had to fight through a lot of adversity there, we had a lot of issues there. We would start passing guys and we'd have to go back and start at the tail. I'm glad it was 200 laps because we used every single bit of it. We didn't have a lot of luck on the restarts at the beginning of the race starting on the bottom, but we got the luck when we needed it at the end."

Bell's next race is slated for Iowa in June.  

Austin Dillon Rebounds After A Start Violation

After starting on the front row, Austin Dillon came across some controversy on the start. It was ruled a violation by NASCAR. This meant Dillon had to be sent to the back, however, a caution that came out on lap two saved him. He still had to be sent to the rear before the restart.

With a strong car, Dillon worked his way up to 13th midway during the first stage. Although, another break for Dillon came on lap 20 where a caution came out once again. Dillon came back from the rear to finish seventh in stage one.

Dillon stayed up front for majority of stage two. He would end up finishing third. When the caution came out with 42 laps to go, most of the field came down pit road for tires and fuel, including Dillon. Dillon was able to win the race off pit road.

Dillon and Kevin Harvick would be on the front row for the restart with 37 laps to go. He held on to the lead before the restart with 14 laps to go, where the car began to slip a bit. However, Dillon rebounded after a start violation to finish in the third position.

Austin Dillon Quote

"We did a really good job adjusting the car over the course of the race. The Rheem Chevrolet really came to us at the end when the clouds came in. I hate that we weren't able to visit Victory Lane today for our pit crew, especially. They did such a good job today. So did my crew chief, Randall Burnett. We had a few restarts there but we were in a Penske sandwich and couldn't do much about it. I got hit on the restart and it just wasn't enough to carry me in Turn 1. I had a lot of fun today. I'm proud of this RCR XFINITY Series program."

Dillon led once for 20 laps in today's race.

Kevin Harvick Finishes Runner Up In Hisense 4K Tv 300 At Charlotte

Before entering Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick was 0 for 27 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Harvick was looking to pick up his first win at the track. After starting in the fifth position there was some hope that he may finally get his first checkered flag at Charlotte.

After early cautions in stage one, Harvick dominated the stage by leading the majority of the laps. In fact, after surviving wild excitement, Harvick went on to win stage one. Harvick continued to dominate early in the race by winning the race off pit road.

When stage two began, Harvick was not the leader as Denny Hamlin and eventual race winner Ryan Blaney stayed out. By not making much noise in stage two, Harvick did finish in the top five in the stage.

It wasn't until 71 laps to go where Harvick was on the front row with Blaney for the restart. Blaney was able to jump out front, while Harvick slipped back just a bit, but kept close behind the leader in case anything should happen. With 55 laps to go, Harvick began reeling in the race leader Blaney. It wasn't until 42 laps to go, where a caution came out and gave Harvick a chance to come down pit road for adjustments.

Harvick would restart on the front row alongside Austin Dillon with 37 laps to go. Like there was early in the race, cautions once again became an issue late in the race with 25 laps or less remaining. With 14 laps to go for a restart, Harvick jumped to the lead and started to check out just a tad. However, with seven laps to go, a caution came out once again to bunch the field up.

The race went back green with three laps to go and Harvick needed to fend off a strong car of Ryan Blaney. He did so for a lap, until Blaney took the lead from Harvick in turn two. After leading the race three times for 58 laps, Harvick had to settle for a runner up spot.

Kevin Harvick Quote
"If I could do the (final restart) again I would probably do it differently. I felt like the 12 (Blaney) had the best car on the restarts. He was the one who helped us get the lead. Just wasn't able to get going through one and two. I needed to be clear by the time I got to three and four. I hadn't been taking the top but I felt if the 12 and 22 got paired on the top, I would be in double trouble. I had a heck of time today. All in all, I just got beat there by the 12. He did a good job all day there on the restarts. I'm really proud of everybody on the team. We ran well and lead a bunch of laps."

Harvick now has 181 top five's.

His next race is currently scheduled for Kentucky Motor Speedway in July.

Ryan Blaney Wins Hisense 4K TV 300 After Starting In The Back

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returned to action at Charlotte Motor Speedway after two weeks off. 45 laps made up stage one and two, while 110 laps made up the final stage.

Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon were on the front row after qualifying earlier this morning. Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski was sent to the rear after unapproved adjustments.

After three early cautions in stage one, the race finally got a long green flag run after lap 25 restart. Harvick, with a strong car, held on to the lead and won the first stage. Blaney was fourth, Austin Dillon after a start violation was seventh and Keselowski was ninth. Harvick won the race off pit road after pit stops.

Stage two began on lap 52 with Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney on the front row. After the restart, Blaney was able to get the lead from Hamlin. On lap 68, however, Blaney started to report there was a "loose wheel." Although, with those tire reports, Blaney held on and went on to win stage two.

Lap 97 began stage three with Hamlin and Blaney again out front. After the restart, Darrell Wallace Jr jumped to second. With just a few laps of green, a caution came out on lap 107 for Spencer Gallagher, who spun around in turn two. Another restart came with 93 laps to go, this time Wallace Jr took the lead away from Blaney. Howver, Blaney retook the lead on lap 112.

Another caution prompted the field to slow once again on lap 123. This made the drivers come down pit road for adjustments. With a fast pit stop, Blaney was able to win the race off pit road.

With 71 laps to go, Blaney and Harvick were leading the field. Blaney checked out early, but Harvick began reeling him in with 55 laps to go. Denny Hamlin who was up toward the front earlier in the race, had started to report that his car was "blowing up."

A big break came for most of the field, as a caution came out with 42 laps to go for Brennan Poole that hit the wall off turn four. This time Austin Dillon won the race off pit road.

Like it was at the start of the race, there were plenty of cautions toward the end of the race. Though, the race winning restart came with three laps to go. Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick, the two that were up front all race long were one-two. The field was side-by-side all the way until turn three one lap later. This saw Blaney take the lead in turn two and held off Kevin Harvick to win his fourth career NASCAR Xfinity Series win.

Ryan Blaney Quote
"It's pretty neat to win here... We had a really awesome car all day. We had to start in the back and I thought that was pretty impressive thing to do get up front. After we got the lead, we were able to control the race. I lost the lead there on the last pit stop. We had a good pit stop, I just kind of got boxed in. We didn't get the angle there and that was on me. Luckily, we were able to get back up front and give ourselves a shot. Starting third, we only had a couple of laps to get back up front and try and make it happen. We were really good on restarts all day. So, my hat's off to the Penske group."

There were 13 lead changes among seven leaders.

There were 12 cautions for 52 laps.

Blaney led four times for 107 laps.

This was his fourth career NASCAR Xfinity Series win and his first of the season.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series continues next week by going to Dover International Speedway for the running of the OneMain Financial 200.