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Thunder in the Mountains dodges rain

The rainy weather left town long enough for Elkins Raceway to get in another installment of Thunder in the Mountains last week.

The wet conditions caused some issues with the track and there were several holes and ruts opened up and it made for some interesting choices of lines through the turns.

The Mini-Mods started off the evening and track conditions for them were much better. In A Group action, Luke Hyre defeated Chandi Currence. Haley Mahoney had a strong run, finishing third. Dalton Goode and Ryan Hare rounded out the top five.

The B Group followed Noah Whited as he drove to victory. George Casto III finished second, just ahead of Presley Wilt. Elliott Smith completed the four-car starting field.

Bike races were offered for the younger fans. Then an awesome Jenkins Ford Super Late Models race saw Ryan Montgomery win over Shane Hitt. Billy Holbert finished third. Tim Senic and Steve Wilmoth rounded out the five-car finishing field.

Bob Gordon finished sixth; however, his car was hanging in a tree off the fourth turn after flipping into the trees with eight laps remaining in the feature. Bob was shaken up and sore from taking this wild ride but he stated he was hurt in his pocket book more than anything. Scott Bittinger also had problems and parked early.

The Budweiser FasTrack Crate Late Models saw Tyler Bare grab his first victory of the year at Elkins. Billy Beachler finished second over Tyler Stutler. Troy Frazier and Andy Spooner rounded out the top five.

Next up, the competitive Performance Motors AMRA Modifieds took to the track. Last week I mentioned the consistent improvement of Jamie McCloud and the solid finishes he has had all season. I stated it wouldn’t be long until he got to victory lane. He not only grabbed the win this week, he drove to a straightaway lead in the process. Dave Defibaugh finished second. Dusty Swecker, who made the move over from Crate cars to the Mods, finished third. Veteran drivers Paul Wilmoth Jr. and Phil Jefferies rounded out the top five.

The WV Pools Street Stocks finished out the night. Anthony Arbogast won over Ronnie Tincher. Jamie Keene finished third. Brian Youtzy and Teresa Vaughan rounded out the top five.

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On Saturday the NASCAR Xfinity series ran the Pure Michigan 250 as a companion event to the Monster Energy Cup series race on Sunday.

Cup drivers stole the show. Brad Keselowski won stage one. Xfinity regular Elliott Sadler won stage two. Denny Hamlin picked up the win.

William Byron finished second. Elliott Sadler and Brad Keselowski finished third and fourth, respectively. Kyle Busch finished fifth. Yawn. I’m sorry, you can break it down to stages and do all kinds of things to artificially build excitement, but Xfinity racing on a two-mile superspeedway is just boring.

One of the best races of the evening was the NASCAR Camping World truck series. These teams visited the Gateway Motorsports Park in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Youngsters John Hunter Nemechek and Chase Briscoe both picked up valuable bonus points for winning stages one and two, respectively. They also finished this way at the start finish line for the race win.

John Hunter and Briscoe fought a good battle. Veteran drivers Johnny Sauter and Matt Crafton battled it out, finishing up in third and fourth. Grant Enfinger finished fifth.

Christopher Bell had a strong truck and was sent to the rear of the lead lap cars.

He restarted 23rd and drove all the way to sixth place in the closing laps.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series ran the Firestarter Casino 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway. Martin Truex Jr. won both early stages and had a very strong car.

Kyle Larson was sporting a “Lightning McQueen” paint scheme for the new “Cars III” movie premiere and, as the race wound down, he took the lead and drove away to the win.

Chase Elliott finished second and will surely get that first Cup win soon. Joey Logano finished third. Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top five.

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Friday night will be the final chance for drivers to tune up for the coming Red Frederick Memorial Races and the mid-season double points events to take place on June 30.

All five divisions will be in action for the sixth race of the year at Elkins Raceway. Don’t miss a lap of Thunder in the Mountains! Come early and enjoy some of the fine concession stand food.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series will be turning left and right in the beautiful Wine country of California. The Sonoma Raceway is the host track and look for several teams to use the service of road course specialist drivers to try and pick up a win on Sunday.

The Xfinity and Camping World truck series both invade the Iowa Speedway for a pair of night races. The trucks take to the tricky §-mile track at 8:30 p.m. Friday and the Xfinity cars race on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.

This is a track where handling comes into play but the speeds are slow enough that aerodynamics don’t play as big a part. This should make for three interesting events and don’t be surprised to see some first-time winners.

Well, this week there could be hills, with left and right turns at the end of the straightaway, so be careful!