Playoffs heating up

This week’s column begins with special prayers and thoughts to those affected by the evil attack that was carried out last weekend in Las Vegas.

Everyone I’ve talked to this week has the same question — why? The only answer I have is that it was just pure evil at work in the heart of an individual who decided to just lash out at innocent people, and there was very little that anyone could have done to stop this mad man once his plan was put into motion.

It’s amazing to me that even more people were not murdered as the hundreds of bullets rained down on that helpless crowd. My concern is for literally the thousands of people who will suffer from survivors guilt and PTSD linked to this world-changing event.

NASCAR and the racing world in general are mourning the death of former Cup car owner and world-class engine builder Robert Yates. Robert lost the battle with cancer that he has so valiantly fought over the last months. Robert will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in this year’s class in January. He is best known for the tremendous horse power he was able to develop from Ford race engines, and the winning cars built for Davey Allison, Dale Jarrett, and Ernie Irvan among many others.

His engine legacy will carry on under the watchful eye of his son, Doug Yates. Roush Yates race engines will continue to be the engine of choice for Ford race teams across the country. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Yates family, friends and fans.

Our racing news this week comes from the concrete 1-mile oval in Dover, Delaware, and the mile and half Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada.

First up, the Xfinity teams took on “Miles the Monster” for the “use your melon, Drive Sober 200” on Saturday afternoon. In stage one, William Byron drove to victory. In stage two, Ryan Blaney took his Penske Mustang to the front and won both the stage and held on for a strong win in the race. He gained a lot of fans and respect when he gave his checkered flag to a young man in the grandstand!

Justin Allgaier brought the regular Xfinity drivers hopes home five seconds behind in second. William Byron finished third. Daniel Hemric and Brennan Poole rounded out the top five.

This coming weekend, the first elimination race of their Playoffs will be run at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Drive for the Cure 300 runs on Saturday. Michael Annett, Blake Koch and Jeremy Clements really need great runs or a win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

On Saturday night, the Camping World Truck series rolled into the fast Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Las Vegas 350. Stage one saw Chase Briscoe grab the victory. However, in stage two Ben Rhodes drove to victory and then carried that momentum to the race win also. First-time winners are always fun to watch and Ben didn’t disappoint.

Christopher Bell finished second with Chase Briscoe in third. Austin Cindric and Kaz Grala rounded out the top five. The trucks have an off week and will be back in action as the Fred’s Pharmacy 250 runs at Talladega Super Speedway in two weeks. This will be the first elimination race and Kaz Grala and John Hunter Nemechek need to pick up the win to keep their playoff hopes alive.

On Sunday the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series was also in action at Dover Downs Speedway. The Apache Warrior 400 saw Brad Keselowski grab the first stage win. Kyle Larson picked up the valuable stage points winning stage two.

Chase Elliott showed everyone he’s ready to grab that first victory and looked very strong, leading most of the final stage. With two laps remaining, Kyle Busch caught and passed him for the second playoff win in a row. Chase finished second.

Jimmie Johnson finished a strong third. Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five in this elimination race.

Twelve drivers move forward in the Playoffs. Stage points made all the difference in who transferred to the top 12. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. kept his hopes alive by two points.

Four drivers were eliminated from the playoffs. They were Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon, Kasey Kayne and Kurt Busch.

Action moves this weekend to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Bank of America 500 and the first race of the round of 12. These Playoff races and the stage points battles are shaping up to really make for some exciting races and finishes in all these final events.

I plan to watch every lap, and remember, at the end of the straightaway there’s Another Left Turn.


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