Hot racing in cold weather
It’s Bristol, baby! Finally the NASCAR teams made it to the half-mile, high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway in the beautiful East Tennessee Mountains.
On Saturday, the Xfinity series took to the track for the Fitzgerald Glider 300. There were rain showers in the area but they were able to get the race run on time and for the full distance.
Christopher Bell got out to an early lead and captured the stage one victory. Young Ryan Preece was making another start in the JGR Toyota Camry number 18. This young man has been extremely impressive each time he has driven this strong car. Ryan was able to grab the second stage win and continue on and win the race also. He took the lead for the final time with 10 laps remaining and never looked back.
Justin Allgaier finished second in his Jr. Motorsports Camaro. This was a DASH for CASH event and Ryan took home a cool extra $100,000 bonus for the victory. Daniel Hemric finished third in his RCR Camaro. Veteran Elliott Sadler finished fourth. Newcomer Spencer Gallager grabbed a top five, finishing fifth.
The cold temperatures and the use of traction compound in the corners made for some exciting spins and saves throughout the day.
There is a troubling situation concerning this week’s Xfinity race in Richmond. This also will be a DASH for CASH race and Ryan Preece will be eligible to win another $100K bonus However, he is not entered to run this race. Ryan has been doing everything he can to put together sponsorship deals to continue to run the JGR car. This race was his second Xfinity win in only five starts for this team and he also has two second-place finishes but he doesn’t have a full-time ride in this car. It’s not about the talent, it’s about how much money can you bring to the table, and that’s what is so troubling.
Sunday’s Food City 500 was moved up an hour because of serious rain and storms in the forecast, and the weather people turned out to be right. The race was red-flagged and postponed until 11 a.m. on Monday.
Brad Keselowski took home the first stage win and was very strong all day. Ryan Blaney had moved out to the early lead but got swept up in a crash with lapped traffic after dominating for 99 laps. This put Brad in the lead and the second stage win went to him also.
Kyle Larson led a bunch of laps but when it counted the other Kyle, Kyle Busch, took the lead with a bump and run move and pulled away to grab the victory. Larson held on to finish second. Old “seven-time” Jimmie Johnson looked like he might just sneak in and grab another Bristol win but had to settle for third. Ricky Stenhouse Jr drove his heart out all day in the beautiful Sunny D-sponsored Ford, fighting back from spins and accidents to finish fourth. Alex Bowman had his best race this year in the Hendrick Motorsports number 88 Camaro, finishing a solid fifth.
I thought this was one of the best races of the season. They were slipping, sliding and rubbing with plenty of passing. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace even raced his way into the lead in his Richard Petty Motorsports STP-sponsored 43 Camaro and the crowd loved it.
This weekend the Monster Energy Cup and the Xfinity Teams move to the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway for some great short track racing. I can’t wait to see all the action and bring you the results.
Racing action is beginning to pick up on the dirt tracks in our region and I’ll try to give you any and all the results I can in the coming weeks.
Our local track, Elkins Raceway, is gearing up for another season of Friday Night Thunder!
Test and tune will be the last Friday in April and the rain date will be April 28, with our first point’s race on May 4.
Make plans to attend each and every event. Bring your in-laws and outlaws and friends and neighbors and come on out and support our local track and racers.
One late-breaking story: It was announced this week that Ford will use the 2019 Mustang as the type of car to replace the Fusion in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series.
Could this help open the door for Dodge to bring out the Challenger in NASCAR Cup racing? Time will tell, I guess. Let’s go, racin’ boys and girls, as DW would say. And remember, at the end of the straightaway there is another left turn