NASCAR takes a break from racing
This past weekend was an unusual one in that no race events were scheduled aside from Formula 1.
This was Easter Sunday and the NASCAR teams had a much-deserved break from a season that rolls along almost every weekend from February until November. I thought I’d take just a moment to reflect back on the first few races and the top stories.
Austin Dillon caused quite a stir when he moved the car of Aric Almorola to win the Daytona 500. Aric was driving the No. 10 car for Stewart-Haas racing, which had been vacated by Danica Patrick. Aric has shown that this car is capable of being a contender for wins this year. He has run and finished in the top 10 almost every race. In Danica’s defense I have to say that this year these SHR Fords have been tough everywhere they have run!
Kevin Harvick won three straight races after Daytona and was a serious contender for the fourth one also driving the Jimmy John’s Sandwich SHR Ford. Clint Bowyer surprised everyone with a much-needed win in his Five Hour Energy SHR Ford at the tricky short track in Martinsville, Virginia. Kurt Busch has also led races and run very well in his Monster Energy sponsored SHR Ford. So the breakout power house team is SHR with their fast Fords, which are powered by those famous Roush-Yates Ford engines.
Rick Hendrick and his Hendrick Motorsports teams have been just as much of a surprise as SHR but in a more negative way. Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired and was replaced by Alex Bowman, and he has had a hard time staying on the lead lap most weeks. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Kanaus have yet to put together a really strong performance.
Chase Elliott is driving the No. 9 HMS Chevy and he’s shown some strong runs but really hasn’t had anything for those SHR Fords. The No. 24 car is being driven by William Byron and he appeared to be a rising star winning a truck and an Xfinity Championship but he too has struggled to be a threat to win. Joe Gibbs Racing has run OK with Kyle Busch in his M and M’s-sponsored Camry.
Last year’s Champ Martin Truex Jr. has been consistent but has yet to dominate like he did several times last year. Overall it’s been a SHR year so far but it’s still early, and the Chevy guys are working with a new body in place of the old SS car they now are running the Camaro ZL1. Back windows were flopping in and out at the mile and a half Speedways and NASCAR put a stop to that with fines and suspensions. There is a new computerized light system that checks thousands of points on the car at once and shows within thousands of an inch areas that are out of spec as far as the bodies go.
It’s been a good year so far and there’s plenty of great racing to go. This coming weekend the Xfinity teams’ race Saturday and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup teams run Sunday at the fast Texas Motor Speedway. Look for 200 mph speeds and hard superspeedway racing.
The Camping World Truck series doesn’t race until the first Friday in May at the Dover International Speedway.
The truck series has truly had some of the very best racing, and a young driver named Brett Moffitt has wowed fans with some action-packed hard racing to win for his Japanese-owned Toyota team. I can’t wait to see them try to tame “Miles the Monster” at Dover.
Local teams are getting ready for the 2018 Season at Elkins Raceway. The new schedule is out and it looks like another great year of racing at our local dirt track.
Once again we will run Super Late Models, FasTrack Crate Late Models, AMRA Open Wheeled Modifieds, Street Stocks and the always exciting Mini Mods for the younger drivers. A practice session is scheduled for 5 p.m. April 27, and the rain date will be April 28. The first actual points race is set for May 4.
Racing is scheduled for each Friday night until the weekend of July 20 and 21, when the Red Frederick Memorial race will run Friday and the Richard Skidmore Memorial on Saturday — mark down these dates. In the event of a rainout these two races will run the following weekend.
A typical HUGE Elkins Raceway fireworks show is scheduled for June 29. This also will be the mid-season point’s championship night and extra-large purses are planned for each division! There should be fireworks in the air and on the track that night.
Check out the Elkins Raceway site on Facebook for the full schedule of events and the latest in updates and information. Get ready because you know at the end of those dirt straightaways there’s always Another Left Turn!