Test and Tune event is Friday
The regular season schedule at Elkins Raceway is set to kick off Friday evening with the first Test and Tune event. This is an opportunity for new drivers and cars to check out setups and not have the pressure of a race event. This may be the only chance you get to see them in pristine condition before the race action puts scrapes and dents on them.
The rain date is set for Saturday evening if needed. Admission on the hillside is free. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Come on out and get your first fix of speed and noise! Hope to see you there. The first regular season points event is set for May 4. Make plans to be at the track for each Friday Night Thunder and support your local speedway.
NASCAR action was at the three-quarter-mile Richmond International Raceway this past weekend and the weather cooperated this week for a change.
The Xfinity teams raced on Friday evening in the ToyotaCare 250. This was another Dash for Cash event so another $100,000 bonus was up for grabs. This also meant that the Cup series drivers couldn’t participate. This makes it a night for the regular Xfinity guys to put on some great short track racing.
Daniel Hemric set sail and grabbed the first stage victory. Elliott Sadler moved to the front and won stage two. Both drivers were candidates for the Dash for Cash bonus. Christopher Bell was not to be denied the victory and made his way to the front and took the race win. He was not a DFC driver and neither was second-place finisher Noah Gragson. Elliott Sadler fought his way into third place and made himself $100,000 richer. This was especially sweet because Richmond is his home track.
Matt Tifft and Austin Cindric rounded out the top five. It was refreshing to see these top Xfinity drivers shine without the cup guys overshadowing them. Over all this was a very competitive event.
Saturday evening brought out the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup cars out to race into the night under the lights for the ToyotaOwners 400. Joey Logano set the early pace and captured both stage victories and appeared to have a very strong Penske Ford Fusion. Kyle Busch has been on a tear the last few weeks. He was trying to win three races in a row. He pulled it off and won the race. Kyle took a few moments and actually entered the grandstand after the race and high-fived a few fans.
Chase Elliott had one of his strongest runs of the season and finished a solid second in his number 9 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1. Denny Hamlin fought an ill-handling car but brought it home third. Joey Logano finished up fourth. And Kevin Harvick finished fifth.
This was also a very competitive race and for a short track it was relatively caution free. The caution did fly a few times in the late laps and actually there was a green, white checker finish. Kyle drove away for the victory, though. He is setting out for four in a row this weekend but he has his work cut out for him.
This week the action moves to the two-and-a-half mile Talladega Super Speedway! Literally anyone who starts this race has a shot at victory. You can bet Kyle will be in the hunt for the victory but this track is not one of his favorite places for sure. The Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup cars will be in action Saturday and Sunday respectively. With 200 mph laps and the threat of a “the Big One” crash make this truly a wild-card race.
Breaking news this week is that Matt Kenseth will be returning at least parttime and will be sharing the number 6 Roush Racing Ford Fusion with Trevor Bayne. Matt began his Cup career at Roush and he is excited to get to drive in the Cup series once again. A press conference is set for Wednesday afternoon, which is after my deadline for the column, so details are pending. Local racing is getting started and the NASCAR guys are at Talladega so it should be a great weekend. Remember, at the end of the straightaway there’s another left turn!