Rain washes out racing

Rain is the story of the week for both Elkins Raceway and Tyler County Speedway.

I’m not sure of the results from Roaring Knob Motorsports Complex because they don’t publish results. Ohio Valley was able to race Saturday night and, by looking at results, none of our local guys took the chance to tow over there.

This weekend we will try to get in the double features for the WV Pools Street Stocks plus racing in all the other divisions on Friday evening. If the weather cooperates, that is — dreaded rain is in the forecast again.

Mark your calendar! In two weeks on Saturday night, Aug. 5, we will make another attempt at getting in the Red Frederick Memorial event. Please check the track’s Facebook page for further details.

On Wednesday evening, July 19, one of the best races of the NASCAR season took place at Tony Stewart’s half-mile dirt track. The Camping World Truck series ran the Eldora Dirt Derby, sponsored by Aspen Dental.

This is an amazing race with some of the drivers having little if any dirt track experience and local racers get a chance to run in this event due to their knowledge of the tricky Eldora track.

This event is run with multiple heat races and a last chance race to set the field for the feature event, similar to most short track races. Heats were won by the following drivers: Stewart Friesen, Matt Crafton, Kaz Grala, Christopher Bell, Ty Dillon and dirt star Bobby Pierce won the last chance qualifier. Bobby was the pole sitter last year for this event.

In the main event, Matt Crafton was able to grab the first stage win. Matt stated that he realized he needed dirt track experience after struggling in the previous year’s events. He rented rides for a few dirt races, then decided he would buy some dirt cars and race on his off weeks. He and his father have been racing when they can and he said it has truly helped his driving ability overall. This showed throughout the feature event.

Canadian dirt star Stewart Friesen was able to grab the second stage victory. Drivers raced three- and four-wide on the very bottom and all the way to the outside wall throughout the event. Stewart Friesen was leading in the late stages but Crafton was on the move and he was able to rim ride around Friesen and then held off his challenges to take the victory. Friesen held on to second over another dirt star, Chase Briscoe. Grant Enfinger and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the top five.

This past weekend, the other two top series in NASCAR visited the historical Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Brickyard 400 is considered one of the top races to win, and in the early races the crowds rivaled that of the Indy 500.

This weekend the crowds for both the Xfinity and Monster Energy Cup races were terrible. On Saturday, literally the whole crowd would have fit in one small section of the front straight grandstands for the Xfinity Lily Diabetes 250.

The first stage was won by William Byron in his Jr. Motorsports Chevy. Elliott Sadler grabbed stage two to make it a sweep for JMS. William Byron grabbed the lead back and held off a hard-charging Paul Menard for the victory. Joey Logano finished third. Elliott Sadler and Cole Custer rounded out the top five.

This was the first time restrictor plates were used in the Xfinity cars at Indy. The race was pretty good overall but it was still hard to make passes.

On Sunday, the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 took place and it turned out to be a six-hour endurance test for both man and machine. There was a rain delay for more than two hours early in the event.

Kyle Busch was going for his third consecutive Brickyard 400 win and also trying to grab his first win this season. He qualified on the pole and literally drove away from the field, winning both stages and appeared to have the car to beat. Shortly after the final stage a caution brought everyone to the pits and Martin Truex Jr. was able to grab the lead on pit road.

On the restart Kyle challenged him hard for the lead and the two cars touched, sending both cars crashing into the outside wall and out of the race.

The final stage was a crash fest and many top cars were eliminated from the race. Kasey Kayne was the last man standing at the finish and won the Brickyard 400 over Brad Keselowski.

The race ended because of a caution flag on the final lap and some people believed that the caution flew too late and there should have been a final restart. NASCAR defended the late caution, stating that they were also racing against darkness and there was no time to clean up the mess on the track and try for another start.

I personally feel they made the right call and Kasey was out front by a good margin at the caution. Ryan Newman had a good finish in his RCR Chevy in third. Joey Logano and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five. NASCAR added a new duct work to disturb the front down force on the car in clean air. The race turned out to be good at the end but it didn’t appear to affect Kyle Busch in the least.

Next weekend the Xfinity series visits the Iowa Speedway on Saturday for a stand-alone race and the Camping World trucks and Monster Energy Cup cars visit the tricky triangle-shaped Pocono Raceway for the second time this season. Hopefully the rains will hold off, and at the end of the Elkins Raceway straightaway, there will be plenty of Left Turns.