QUALIFYING: Rodgers Scores First Career K&N Pole

QUALIFYING: Rodgers Scores First Career K&N Pole

Posts Fastest Time In Star-Studded Field

SONOMA, Calif — Will Rodgers will lead the field to the green flag on Saturday afternoon in his home state, in front of some of stock car racing’s best.

The 22-year-old Murrieta, Ca. native posted a time of 1:17.949 seconds (91.906 mph) around the 12-turn road course, good enough to score his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series West pole award. The lap came in his second of two circuits in his No. 7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford, and was less than one mph off the track record set by Kyle Larson in 2014.

Rodgers’ best start in this season was third (Bakersfield and Orange Show). His best finish this season also came at Bakersfield, where he crossed the finish line in third.

Michael Self will start second in his No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs Lucas Oil/Braille Batteries Ford after putting down a lap of 1:17.961 seconds (91.892 mph), only 0.012 seconds off Rodgers’ pole-winning lap. Ryan Blaney will roll off third in the No. 88 Discount Tire Ford with Derek Thorn and David Mayhew rounding out the top five starters.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars Kevin Harvick and Daniel Suarez will roll off in sixth and seventh, respectively, with points leader Todd Gilliland starting in eighth. Gilliland’s Bill McAnally Racing teammate and winner of the previous event at Colorado, Chris Eggleston, will start ninth with Julia Landauer rounding out the top 10.

The Carneros 200 is scheduled to go green at 1:30 p.m. PT from Sonoma Raceway.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

Alon Day Shines In Practice At Sonoma

Alon Day Shines In Practice At Sonoma

Shows Great Potential In First Ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Outing

Fresh off a spectacular NASCAR Whelen Euro Series win at Brands Hatch, Alon Day was impressive in his first ever practice day in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at the wheel of the #23 EarthWater BK Racing Toyota Camry. 

In his very first time at the wheel of a Cup car and his very first laps on the Sonoma Raceway road course among the best NASCAR drivers in the world, Day closed the final practice session of the Toyota / Save Mart 350 just 1.035 seconds off the best lap posted by Kyle Larson, right in the middle of the pack in 23rd position with an outstanding performance. 

“It was a fantastic first day at the office,” said Day, who quickly found his rhythm despite a fuel leak limiting his track time in the first practice session. “It is unbelievable to be so close to the top, especially knowing where we can gain some more time to possibly put the EarthWater Toyota even higher in the standings. The team has done an outstanding job and I am so excited to have this opportunity with EarthWater supporting me.”

The Israeli clocked his best lap time in 1:16.934 around the 10-turns, 3.2 km Californian road course, half a second from a place in the top-10.

“The NASCAR experience on road courses i gained in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series is definitely paying off. I was able to adapt pretty quickly to the Cup car and I found it so funny to drive. I’m having a blast,” said Day. “We will have just a couple of laps to do our best in qualifying and I hope to complete a clean run.”

The Tel-Aviv resident is not setting any specific goal for qualifying, but he’s confident there’s the potential for a very good race on Sunday in the Toyota / Save Mart 350.  Competing at the highest level in NASCAR is a unique accomplishment for Day, who took the wheel of a Cup car just 2 ½ years after his first NWES test, but once the green flag drops there will be no reverential fear.

“Being here is a dream come true. I grew up playing NASCAR video games and just being here is incredible. It his historic for me, for Israel, for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, for everybody. It is an incredible experience and I can’t describe how exciting is to compete drive with so many great drivers. But in the end they are competitors and I can’t wait for the race to try to beat them!” concluded Day.

Saturday’s qualifying session for the 29th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 will go green at 20:45 CET.

PRACTICE: Self Tops Sonoma Speed Charts

PRACTICE: Self Tops Sonoma Speed Charts

Leads Sole K&N Pro West Session At Road Course Over Suarez

SONOMA, Calif. — Michael Self was quickest in the only NASCAR K&N Pro Series West practice session Friday afteroon for the Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway. Self’s No. 9 Sunrise Ford/Eibach Springs Lucas Oil/Braille Batteries Ford turned a lap of 1:18.524 seconds (91.233 mph) around the 12-turn road course.

The Park City, Utah, native’s fastest lap came on his 15th and final run of the session and he was one of three drivers to clock laps north of the 90-mph bracket.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Daniel Suarez, was second fastest with a lap of 1:18.970 seconds (90.718 mph) in his No. 12 ARRIS Toyota. Will Rogers was third fastest in the session, followed by David Mayhew and 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick rounding out the top five.

Todd Souza ended the session sixth fastest, with second-year MENCS driver Ryan Blaney, Jim Inglebright, Chris Eggleston and Johnny Borneman III completing the top 10.

Todd Gilliland, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points leader and Bill McAnally Racing driver, finished the session 14th with a fast lap of 1:21.400 seconds (88.010 mph). Gilliland’s teammate and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Derek Kraus ended the session 16th on the speed charts, turning a fast lap of 1:21.843 seconds (87.533 mph).

Self’s Sunrise Ford Racing teammate, Julia Landauer, was 12th on the board with a time of 1:21.224 seconds (88.201 mph) and turned 21 laps in the 80-minute session, the second-most out of any driver.

Qualifying for the Carneros 200 from Sonoma Raceway will take place on Saturday, June 24 at 10:15 a.m. PT with the green flag slated for 1:30 p.m. PT.

PRACTICE RESULTS

K&N Pro West News & Notes: Sonoma

K&N Pro West News & Notes: Sonoma

Monster Energy Series Stars Return to Their Roots This Weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — All roads eventually wind their way back home.

For three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers this weekend, it’s a road course that turns back towards where it all began: the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. NASCAR’s top developmental series heads to Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California, for the Carneros 200 on Saturday.

The 1998 K&N Pro Series West champion, Kevin Harvick, will join recent first-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner Ryan Blaney and current Monster Energy Series rookie Daniel Suarez in the field for the Carneros 200. All three drivers began their respective NASCAR careers at the K&N Pro Series level.

Harvick, the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, won at Sonoma during his K&N Pro Series West title-winning season. Suarez, a NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Mexico Series champion, has three career K&N Pro Series East wins to his credit, while Blaney — who recently won at Pocono — won his only career K&N Pro Series West start at Arizona’s  Phoenix International Raceway in 2011.

“I’m going to be the old guy that shows up,” Harvick said recently. “I have fun when I go do those events… It’s a series that gave me several breaks and several opportunities to showcase what I did as a kid.”

Others to showcase their abilities on Saturday, includes current series points leader Todd Gilliland and his Bill McAnally Racing teammate Chris Eggleston, who sits second in the standings. Gilliland and Eggleston have combined to win all seven of the series’ races this season and both will be looking to redeem themselves after a rough 2016 Carneros 200 showing. Heading into Sonoma, Eggleston has won two straight races to close his deficit in the championship standings to just seven points at the midway point of the season.

RACE CENTRAL LIVE: EVENT SCHEDULE & ENTRY LIST

FAST FACTS:
The Race: The Carneros 200 will be the eighth of 14 races on the 2017 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West schedule. 

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 40 cars. The first 36 starting positions will be set by NASCAR Road Race-style group qualifying and the final four positions will be determined by the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 64 laps (204.966 kilometers/127.36 miles) and will have a five-minute midway break at or near the conclusion of Lap 40.

The Track: A 1.99-mile, 12-turn road course, Sonoma Raceway opened in 1968 as Sears Point International Raceway on 720 acres that was a dairy farm in the early 1900s. Since then then the facility has grown to 1,600 acres and hosts 340 days of racing activity each year.

The Records: The series’ qualifying record was established on June 21, 2014 by Kyle Larson at 92.794 mph (77.203 seconds).  The 64-lap race record was set on June 19, 2010 by Andrew Ranger at 69.155 mph (1 hour, 50 minutes, 30 seconds).

Race Winners: There have been 18 different winners in the 38 races held all-time at Sonoma. Hershel McGriff (1983, 1985, 1987), Jim Insolo (1978, 1979, 1980) and Bill Schmitt (1981, 1988, 1989) lead the category with three wins each. Insolo is the only driver in series history to have won three straight races at Sonoma.

Pole Winners: A total of 20 drivers have qualified on the pole at Sonoma. McGriff leads with three poles at Sonoma, while Butch Gilliland, Jim Bown, Roy Smith and Tim Williamson each have two poles at the road course.

CARNEROS 200 NOTES: 

Cup Runneth Over: Non-series regulars have enjoyed success at Sonoma in recent history. Four of the last six winners at Sonoma have been scored by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers, including Chase Elliott in last year’s event. Kyle Larson won the race in 2014, and Joey Logano and David Gilliland went back-to-back in 2011 and 2012.

In 2010, Andrew Ranger won for the first time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West competition at Sonoma. A multi-time NASCAR Pinty’s Series champion, Ranger also won a series road course race at Utah in 2013.

Familiar Turf: Will Rodgers could be primed for a breakthrough performance at Sonoma this weekend.

The driver who comes from a road racing background sits fifth in the current K&N Pro Series West standings with four top fives in seven races this season. He made his series debut at Sonoma in this race last year, and his best finishes in 2016 came in consecutive races at Utah Motorsports Campus where he finished seventh, twice.

Rodgers is a four-time Pirelli World Challenge Series winner and has several wins in Mazda spec automobiles. 

One And Done: Of the 14 races on the 2017 schedule, Sonoma marks the only road course race of the season for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West. No current full-time driver in the series has won at Sonoma. The last to do so was David Mayhew in 2015.

First NWES Driver To Make Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Debut At Sonoma

First NWES Driver To Make Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Debut At Sonoma

Alon Day will drive the #23 BK Racing Toyota Camry

History will be made on Sunday, June 25th, when Alon Day will become the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota / Save Mart 350. After being crowned King Of Brands Hatch last weekend in the UK, the Israeli will cross the Atlantic to drive the #23 BK Racing Toyota Camry with support form EarthWater Limited. 

“I’m very excited to make my debut in the Cup Series next week in Sonoma,” said Day. “There’s no better way for me to make my debut than on a road course and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the No. 23 Toyota,” said Day, who sits second in points in NWES and won his first race of the season last weekend. “I am very thankful to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series for the many opportunities and the exposure the series keeps generating for me and I’ll be proud to be the first NWES driver to race in Cup and represent the championship at Sonoma. I hope we can take advantage of all our road course experience to bring home a good result”

Day is among the many NWES drivers who had the chance to compete in NASCAR in the US thanks to the opportunities the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series has created through season prizes and development programs such as the Road To Daytona. 

“We are very proud of Alon being the first driver of the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series to reach the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level ! This is a great achievement for the development programs we built with NASCAR and shows to every driver outside of North America that the American NASCAR career dream can become real. We have very talented drivers coming from all over the world to compete in Euro NASCAR to make this championship one of the best in Europe. Alon is a great driver and very nice guy who really deserve this opportunity. We wish him the best for this event and expect lots of our drivers to follow his footsteps,” said Jerome Galpin, NWES President / CEO

Day joined the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series in 2015 coming from GT racing and immediately emerged as one of the brightest talents of the European NASCAR Series at the wheel of his iconic yellow #54 CAAL Racing Chevrolet. The Ashdod native won two times the Junior Trophy in 2015 and 2016, when he finished second and third in points, and scored a total of 7 race wins and four pole positions. 

Day was also the first driver coming from outside North America to be selected for the NASCAR Next program – a program that since its inception featured drivers like Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez, Darrell Wallace Jr. and many others – highlighting once again how the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series represents the ideal stepping stone for a NASCAR career. Day will be the 14th NASCAR Next driver to race at Cup level.

The Toyota / Save Mart 350 weekend from Sonoma Raceway will begin on Friday, June 23 with two practice sessions on the 1.99-mile (3.2 km) road course. Qualifying will take place on Saturday at 8:45 pm CET and the race will begin at 9 pm CET on Sunday, June 25. 

Pinty’s Series Race At Chaudiere Postponed

Pinty’s Series Race At Chaudiere Postponed

CRS Express 300 Moved To June 23

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.– With inclement weather expected this weekend, NASCAR and Autodrome Chaudiere have postponed Saturday’s NASCAR Pinty’s Series race.

The CRS Express 300, the third race of the 2017 championship season, will be run on Friday, June 23.

Preece Rockets To Thompson Victory

Preece Rockets To Thompson Victory

Rolls To Second Whelen Modified Win After Late Pit Stop

THOMPSON, Conn. — Ryan Preece’s pit stop strategy pushed him back in the field. But the Berlin, Connecticut, driver wasted no time in driving to the front en route to Wednesday night’s NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory in the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park.

The win was the second of the season for Preece and 17th of his career.

Preece pitted with many of his lead challengers on lap 70. The No. 6 TS Haulers Chevrolet was forced to restart outside the top 10 behind a number of cars including Rowan Pennink and Bobby Santos, who pitted earlier. A late charge through the field by Preece culminated with a move to the inside of Pennink for the lead with just 18 laps to go.

From there, Preece pulled away from the field and clicked off some of the fastest laps he ran all night while out in front of the pack. He finished 2.106 seconds ahead of second-place Pennink.

“All of my guys work really hard,” Preece said. “Our guys live in Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, so it can be hard for them. As long as the car is good and I can drive forward, it’s my job to get myself back there. I shouldn’t have to depend on them.”

Preece, who won the NAPA Spring Sizzler at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway on April 30, missed the last tour race on May 13 to get married.

Back on the race track, he had an early hiccup when he missed the final minutes of the only practice session of the day because of a broken driveshaft. Once they got to the race, though, there was no issue.

Pennink followed up his Thompson win in April’s Icebreaker 150 with another strong run on the .625-mile oval. He pitted under caution at Lap 50 and inherited the lead 20 laps later when the lead pack came down pit road.

Santos, who pitted for tires on lap 33 and stayed out for the remainder of the race, held on for third. Santos was the defending race winner.

“Our strategy definitely worked in his favor,” Santos said. “We weren’t spectacular to start the race but we made a good adjustment and put tires on and we had a good car overall tonight.”

Four-time tour champion Doug Coby qualified second and finished in fourth spot, with Eric Goodale rounding out the top five.

Jon McKennedy, Ted Christopher, Timmy Solomito, Andrew Krause and Max Zachem completed the top 10. Donny Lia won the Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day but got caught up in an early wreck and finished 23rd.

Pennink cut Solomito’s lead to two points after five of 16 championship events, while Goodale is 17 points back of Pennink in third. Despite missing a race, Preece is 10th in points — seven behind ninth-place Coby and 47 out of first.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on Saturday, June 24. 

RESULTS | RACE CENTRAL LIVE REPLAY

nwmt_thompson_ryan-preece_race-action_061417

Ryan Preece won Wednesday’s Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. Matthew Thomas/NASCAR

QUALIFYING: Lia Scores Thompson Pole

QUALIFYING: Lia Scores Thompson Pole

Veteran Grabs Top Spot For Thompson 125

THOMPSON, Conn. — Behind the wheel of the Bardahl No. 7 Chevrolet for car owner Tommy Baldwin, Donny Lia captured his 22nd career Coors Light Pole Award at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on Wednesday night. Lia posted a fast time of 18.643 seconds during the group qualifying session, enough to hand him his fifth career pole on the 0.625-mile high-banks.

Lia bested four-time series champion Doug Coby, who came up just short of capturing another Thompson pole. Coby’s fast lap of 18.697 seconds  was enough to put him on the outside of the front row for the green flag later this evening. Rowan Pennink, who scored the victory in the Icebreaker at Thompson back in April, will roll off in third spot behind the wheel of the Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet. Pennink’s fast lap was 18.772 seconds in the qualifying round.

Timmy Solomito, the pole winner last time out at Thompson and the most recent series winner, will start fourth after his lap of 18.820 seconds. Rounding out the top five will be former series champion Ryan Preece. Six through 10 for the green flag will be Shawn Solomito, Chase Dowling, Eric Goodale, Max Zachem and Brendon Bock. 

The Thompson 125 is scheduled to take the green flag at approximately 8:30 p.m. this evening. Follow Race Central Live for updates throughout the race. 

RESULTS

PRACTICE: McKennedy Paces Thompson Field

PRACTICE: McKennedy Paces Thompson Field

Fastest In Only Whelen Mod Practice For Thompson 125

THOMPSON, Conn. — Making his first NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour start of the season on Wednesday night, Jon McKennedy was fastest in the only practice session for the Thompson 125 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park. McKennedy posted a fast time of 18.653 seconds around the 0.625-mile oval behind the wheel of the Brady Bunch Racing No. 00 Chevrolet. 

Behind McKennedy, Donny Lia posted the second fastest time of 18.763 seconds, while Todd Szegedy was third with a fast time of 18.794 seconds. Four-time series champion and five-time Thompson winner Doug Coby was fourth with a time of 18.798 seconds. Rounding out the top five was Eric Goodale, who posted a quick time of 18.824 seconds.

Completing the top 10 fastest in final practice were Brendon Bock, Rowan Pennink, Bobby Santos, Shawn Solomito and Woody Pitkat. 

Qualifying for tonight’s Thompson 125 is slated for just after 7 p.m., with the third annual Thompson 125 to follow at 8:30 p.m.

RESULTS

 

Pinty’s News & Notes: Chaudiere

Pinty’s News & Notes: Chaudiere

Labbé Looks to Make it Two In A Row At Home Track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Pinty’s Series returns to Autodrome Chaudière for the fourth consecutive year and no one is probably looking forward to the CRS Express 300 more than Alex Labbé.

Labbé is coming off of his second career NASCAR Pinty’s Series victory two weeks ago at Delaware Speedway and he’s also the defending winner of this event last season in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec. 

crs_express_300He staged an epic battle with eventual series champion Cayden Lapcevich en route to scoring his first career series win in last year’s memorable finish.

Labbé led a race-high 150 laps in last year’s race after he and Lapcevich raced side-by-side for the final 21 laps of the race exchanging the lead nine times before he made his final pass on Lap 298 and held on for his first career series win.

The St. Albert, Quebec, native won there in his 19th career start in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series and said it’s a race he’ll never forget.

“That a special night for sure at Chaudiere and one I won’t soon forget,” said Labbé. “It’s a track where you can race in both grooves and Cayden and I raced each other hard and clean and put on a show for the fans. I respect Cayden and he respected me and we raced side-by-side hard and to get a win against him meant a lot.”

Although he didn’t score the win against Labbé, the race was also important for Lapcevich. Last season, his family owned team was only planning on competing part-time, but after his strong showing at Autodrome Chaudière and leaving the track with the points lead his family decided to keep racing in what would become a championship season.

Quebec native Kevin Lacroix, who won the season-opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last month, remains atop the points standings by a three-point margin over Labbé after leading the most laps at Delaware Speedway and finishing fifth.

Fast Facts:

The Race: The CRS Express 300 will be the third of 13 events on the NASCAR Pinty’s schedule, and the first of two consecutive races in the province of Quebec. The province will host a total of four series events this season.

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 24 cars, including provisionals. The first 21 cars will have secured starting positions through two-lap time trials while the remaining three spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race is scheduled for 300 laps (75 miles) and will have a five-minute midway break at or near the conclusion of Lap 150. 

The Track: Autodrome Chaudière held its inaugural Pinty’s Series event in 2014. The quarter-mile, high-banked oval opened in 1992 with a dirt racing surface and was paved for the first time in 2005.

CRS Express 300 Notes:

Homecoming for Labbé: Alex Labbé has won the pole for this event the past two seasons and has led a total of 259 laps over the past two seasons. He’s from Victoriaville, Quebec, which is about 1.5 hours away making Autodrome Chaudière his home track.

Quebec drivers making immediate impact in standings: Entering the CRS Express 300, Quebec drivers are showing their strength in the early-season points standings. All the drivers in the top five entering this Saturday’s race hail from the province of Quebec. Alex Labbé leads Kevin Lacroix with Andrew Ranger third and brothers L.P. Dumoulin and J.F. Dumoulin rounding out the top five.

Solid debut for Williams at Delaware: Former NASCAR Drive for Diversity combine participant Armani Williams had a respectable NASCAR Pinty’s Series debut two weeks ago at Delaware Speedway. He finished 11th and will participate in his second race of the season with veteran Joey McColm as his crew chief and two-time series champion D.J. Kennington as his driving coach.

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