With so many unknown’s coming into this past weekend of action at Indianapolis, the general post race consensus is that the début of the new high drag aero package was a disappointment. Although, the finishes for both the XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series races came down to the last few laps, fans and drivers were not happy with the new package as it created some flaws throughout the weekend. Continue reading
Kyle Busch, continued his streak of excellence in the sport of NASCAR by winning the Lilly Diabetes 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon. With a last lap pass on Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney, the win gave Busch his second win at Indianapolis in three years.
This victory came after overcoming multiple problems throughout the day. First issue was a communication problem resulting in not pitting at the beginning of the race. Busch was noticeably upset over the radio, forcing his team to use a different strategy which actually ended up playing in his favor.
“The caution flew about Lap 23, and pit road wasn’t open till about Lap 26,” noted crew chief Chris Gayle. “That then put us on a one stop strategy to where we could make it to the end even with the misunderstanding communication wise.”
Busch went on to lead 53 laps the rest of the day, collecting his second win and fourth top-ten of 2015.
Busch also battled the heat all day, noting that he…
‘melted inside the car, the whole race.’
Busch also mentioned that the car had no openings for air, which obviously did not help the heat situation. When asked, Busch talked about having NASCAR make a change that would make the air openings fair for everybody.
One of the ideas Busch suggested was for NASCAR to mandate an eight inch opening on the right side window that every team could use.
Battling through the obstacles, Busch was still able to overcome the odds of a pit road misunderstanding and excessive heat all day by ensuing a last lap pass for the lead.
“I just got close enough to make him (Blaney) mess up and he got tight off (turn) two and then I was able to capitalize underneath him losing his momentum off of two and being able to get under him,” said Busch. “Can’t say enough about Chris Gayle and all these guys on this Monster Energy Camry. It was the class of the field, we should have won this thing going away, but I guess we had to make it exciting.”
That pass came at the expense of 21-year-old Ryan Blaney.
“It’s my fault, obviously. You saw it. I screwed up,” Blaney said. “This team doesn’t deserve that. I dropped the ball for them today and I take full responsibility. It’s my fault.”
Blaney was able to beat Busch on the final restart of the race on lap 76 and maintain a lead through the next 24 laps with limited pressure from Busch.
“There was no pressure for 24 laps and the last one I just made a mistake,” said Blaney post race.
Being the competitor that he is, Blaney was tremendously hard on himself after race as he kept highlighting on his mistake time and time again. Many fans and drivers offered their support to Blaney after the race.
Although there were problems for Busch and his team, they overcame their issues to continue their amazing streak of excellence.
In the XFINITY Series, Lilly Diabetes 250 on Saturday afternoon, Daniel Suárez continued to impress spectators with his amazing talent. Having never competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Suárez was able to bring home a third-place finish for his Joe Gibbs Racing team.
Suárez now carries a streak of three, top-five finishes over the past three races and continues to showcase his ability to compete for wins in a premier series of NASCAR. Many people did not predict the degree of success by Suárez or his contribution to organization at Joe Gibbs Racing this season along with his XFINITY Series teammate, Kyle Busch.
“I think the biggest part is it came from Joe Gibbs Racing because they keep me doing the right things,” says Suárez “It’s a lot of work out of the race track as well and I feel like that has been helping us a lot.
”This first part of the season, it’s been race tracks where it’s been my first time ever and all we can do is prepare as much as we can away from the race track, at the shop with information from my teammates. Kyle (Busch) has been super helpful. He’s been helping me a lot and I think that’s pretty much it. That’s how we’ve been getting better and better. I’m really looking forward to the second part of the season because I feel like we have been learning a lot and the second half, we will have a lot of information to use for the second half.”
Suárez’s third-place finish also comes with perks as he is now eligible for the XFINITY Series Dash4Cash program which will next be showcased at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The Dash4Cash program, which has been around for a few years and rewards one of four regular XFINITY Series drivers running for points in the series, to compete against each other for a chance at $100,000. Suárez finished second earlier in this season at Bristol, the next Dash4Cash event.
”It’s great, it’s good,” said Suárez about the Dash4Cash program. “We’re very grateful to be a part of this
experience with NASCAR. Very happy because the next race for the Dash4Cash is in Bristol and I really like that place a lot. My first time (at Bristol) in the series, we came just a
little bit short of second-place . I’m really looking forward to that race to go back to Bristol. I’m very happy with
XFINITY for providing this program for the drivers who
race all season long in the series.”
Suárez now sets his sights on Iowa Speedway for next weekend’s XFINITY Series race. He is looking to continue his streak of top-five finishes at a track where he has previously finished 18th. Regardless of his previous finish, Suárez is optimistic about his chances of continuing his string of success next weekend at Iowa and feels that his finish in May is not a measure of his overall performance.
“Actually we ran pretty good at Iowa last time, we led a bunch of laps and were strong,” said Suárez ” I just feel like we weren’t that good on the second half of the race, but we led a lot of laps and gathered a lot of information for our race shop. I’m excited to come back. I feel like we can finally get our first win.”
Catch the next XFINITY Series race, the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on August 1st at 8 pm ET on NBC Sports Network.
Travis Braden used a four tire strategy on Friday night to record his first ever ARCA Racing Series career victory in his first career start in the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Braden who at one time was a lap down during the race, was able to get around second place finisher William Byron to become the eighth driver ever to win in his first career ARCA Racing Series start.
A West Virginia native, Braden has enjoyed multiple successes before debuting in his in the ARCA racing series. He was the ARCA/CRA champing in 2014 and has competed in many prestigious events across the country including the All American 400, Winchester 400 as well as Denny Hamlin’s short track showdown.
Braden started the event in eighth before slipping back and ending up a lap down at one point. Even Braden himself was unsure of his race winning chances.
“I knew we would have a chance, but the way it played out I could never have imagined that,” Braden said. “I was confident we would get back on the lead lap, but I didn’t know how I was going to get the lead.”
Braden battled back into the top-ten and then moved into the top-five passing some of the most dominant cars of the race, including the likes of pole sitter, Kyle Weatherman, series points leader Grant Enfinger and K&N drivers William Byron and J.J Haley.
Although Braden was unknown to some fans coming into the ARCA Racing Series’ Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200, his victory is rooted in the minds of fans and his competitors. Travis Braden is now definitively etched in the legacy that is the ARCA Racing Series.
With the current youth movement taking place in NASCAR, taking a look at history to see what drivers of previous youth movements are doing today is a flashback experience. On this Flashback Friday, looking at 1993, there’s a very special rookie class that is still relevant today.
Three drivers headed the famed 1993 rookie class and together they have provided many memories for decades. Those three are none other than, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Kenny Wallace. Continue reading