POSTPONED: K&N Pro East to Race Monday

POSTPONED: K&N Pro East to Race Monday

Visit Hampton VA 150 at Langley Rescheduled Due to Weather

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Expected persistent rain has prompted NASCAR and track officials to move Saturday’s Visit Hampton Virginia 150 at Virginia’s Langley Speedway.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race will now be held Monday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. ET with NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions set to begin at 4 p.m.

NASCAR Next drivers Harrison Burton and Todd Gilliland will enter the race separated by only four points in the championship standings.

The Visit Hampton Virginia 150 is the 12th of 14 races on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East schedule and will air on NBCSN Thursday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.

Race day schedule to be announced.

Whelen Modified Stat Advance: Oswego

Whelen Modified Stat Advance: Oswego

Analyzing The Toyota Mod Classic 150 at Oswego Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will continue the 2017 points championship schedule at Oswego Speedway in Oswego, New York, on Saturday night. The Toyota Mod Classic 150 presented by McDonald’s is the 12th of 16 races for the 2017 season. Below is a statistical look at the race, including selected driver notes:

Toyota Mod Classic 150 Race Setup:

With just five races remaining on the 2017 schedule, the top five in the point standings are seperated by just 14 points. Ryan Preece holds a two point lead over Doug Coby, while Rowan Pennink sits third, just three points back. Preece has four wins and sits in the lead even though he missed a race at Langley, while Coby finally was able to breakthrough and take his first win of the season last time out at Seekonk. The Toyota Mod Classic 150 is just the second Tour stop at the oval in the last decade and is the only stop at the track this year.  

At Oswego Speedway:

History:
• A .625-mile asphalt oval, Oswego Speedway has operated continuously since its opening in 1951, when a .375-mile dirt oval was built out of an existing track for horses. It was paved a year later, and in 1961 it was expanded to its current size. 
• Considered by many to be the “Indy of the East,” the track’s Supermodifieds have seen Indianapolis 500 winners Gordon Johncock and Mario Andretti compete. The speedway played host to nine NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races, four each in 1988 and 1989, as well as the 2016 race. 
• Sitting along Lake Ontario, the track holds the annual International Classic 200 for Supermodifieds each Labor Day weekend annually.

Notebook:
• Brian Ross won the first two NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour races held at Oswego in 1988.
• Mike McLaughlin (1988), Mike Stefanik (1989) and Doug Coby (2016) all won a race at Oswego during their respective championship seasons.
• Tony Hirschman holds the record for career victories at Oswego with three.

Oswego Data:
Race: #12 of 16 overall
Race Date: Saturday, September 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .625-mile banked asphalt oval
Race Length: 150 laps (93.8 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data:
2016 Winner: Doug Coby
2016 Pole Sitter: Bobby Santos
1-lap Qualifying Record: 126.029 mph (Doug Coby, Sept. 2016)

Category Leaders at Oswego:

Wins
1. Tony Hirschman … 3
2. Brian Ross … 2
3. Four drivers tied with… 1

Laps Led
1. Tony Hirschman … 385
2. Mike McLaughlin .. 134
3. Brian Ross … 125

Selected Driver Notes:

Justin Bonsignore (No. 51 Phoenix Communications Inc. Chevrolet)
• Has 12 wins, 52 top fives and 73 top 10s in 116 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. 
• This season, Bonsignore has eight top 10s in 11 races, but has yet to visit Victory Lane. 
• Last season, Bonsignore started sixth and finished third in the Oswego 150. 

Doug Coby (No. 2 Mayhew Tools/Dunleavy’s/AJ Romano Construction Chevrolet)
• Four-time champion has one win this season (Seekonk) with seven top fives in 11 races. 
• Coby has four straight top-two finishes in Whelen Modified Tour competition and is the defending winner of the Oswego 150. 
• Has 23 wins, 72 top fives and 111 top 10s in 199 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. 

Eric Goodale (No. 58 GAF Roofing Chevrolet)
• Sits sixth in the point standings with six top 10s in 11 races this season. 
• Started 15th and finished 17th in the Oswego 150 last season. 
• Has two wins, 18 top fives and 60 top 10s in 129 career Whelen Modified Tour starts. 

Matt Hirschman (No. 60 Pee Dee Motorsports Chevrolet)
• Has two career Whelen Modified Tour wins, both in 2011, at Spencer and Chemung.
• Returns to the Tour this weekend after winning the pole last weekend at Seekonk.
• Has three career 250-lap Modified wins at Oswego.
• Served as crew chief for his father, Tony Hirschman, in Tony’s championship years of 2004 and 2005.

Timmy Solomito (No. 16 Starrett Tools Ford)
• Has three wins, six top fives and seven top 10s in the first 11 races this season.
• Sits fourth in the championship standings, just 11 points from the lead with five races left to go. 
• Has two straight finishes outside the top 10 because of a crash. 

Rowan Pennink (No. 3 Cape Cod Copper Chevrolet)
• Has one win, two top fives and nine top 10s in 11 races so far this season.
• Sits third in the championship standings, just three points from the lead entering Oswego. 
• Last season, Pennink started fourth and finished seventh in the Oswego 150. 

Jeff Rocco (No. 85 J&R Precast/Stuart’s Autmotive Chevrolet)
• Will make his fourth start of the season at Oswego on Saturday night.
• In his first three races this season, Rocco has a best finish of 15th.

Ryan Preece (No. 6 TS HaulerChevrolet)
• Has four wins, nine top fives and nine top 10s in 10 starts this season.
• Won the 2013 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour championship. 
• Did not run the race at Oswego Speedway last season. 

Ted Christopher (No. 82 Horton Avenue Materials Chevrolet)
• Has 42 wins, 133 top fives and 203 top 10s in 371 career Whelen Modified Tour starts.
• Has eight starts this season with two top fives. 
• Has a best finish of third this season at Thompson in August.

Matt Swanson (No. 89 Starrett Tools Ford)
• Has three top fives and 13 top 10s in 33 career Whelen Modified Tour starts.
• Finished fourth in the Seekonk 150 last Saturday.
• Last season, he started 12th and finished 21st in the Oswego Speedway. 

Up To Speed:
• This is the 33rd season of NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour racing. The first event was held in 1985 at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park, won by Richie Evans. 
• The 2017 schedule includes 16 points races at nine different tracks, across seven different states. It also includes two non-points events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
• Following the Toyota Mod Classic 150, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to Riverhead Raceway on Sept. 16.

K&N Pro East Stat Advance: Langley

K&N Pro East Stat Advance: Langley

Analyzing the Visit Hampton Virginia 150 at Langley Speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East heads to Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, for the Visit Hampton Virginia 150 on Saturday, September 2. Below is a look at the race itself and some of the selected participants.

Visit Hampton Virginia 150 Race Setup: 
• Harrison Burton leads the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East in several statistical categories this season, including wins (4), top fives (10) and top 10s (11).
• He holds a four-point lead over Todd Gilliland atop the standings heading into the final three races on the schedule.
• Gilliland has been no slouch, winning three races of his own — all within the last five events. Neither NASCAR Next driver has competed with the series at Langley, however, unfamiliarity has not slowed either in 2017. Gilliland won at Michigan’s Berlin Raceway in his first K&N Pro Series East visit to the track, while Burton won seven days later at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park in his first series race there.  

At Langley Speedway:
History:
• Originally a .800-mile horse track, the grounds became an auto racing facility in 1950 and cut the distance of the dirt racing surface to .396 miles. It was converted to asphalt in 1968.
• A charter member of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, Langley’s weekly Saturday night racing program is headlined by the Late Model division.
• The track held nine Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (formerly Grand National) races from 1964-70 and 14 NASCAR XFINITY Series events from 1982-88.
• David Pearson won three Monster Energy Series races at Langley (1968-69), while Richard Petty and Ned Jarrett each won a pair of races at the track during their careers.
• The track played host to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour this season for the first time.

Notebook:
• The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East debuted at the facility in 2011 with Virginia native Sergio Peña taking home the inaugural win.
• The five previous events have each produced different winners.
• There have been five different pole winners at Langley, including current Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott in 2012. Scott Heckert set the track record in 2014.

Langley Data:
Race: #12 of 14 overall
Race Date: Saturday, September 2, 9 p.m. ET
Track Layout: .396-mile slightly-banked paved oval
Race Length: 150 laps (59.4 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data:
2016 Winner: N/A
2016 Pole Sitter: N/A
1-lap Qualifying Record: Scott Heckert, 89.836 mph (15.869 seconds, June 2014)
100-mile Race Record: N/A

Category Leaders At Langley
Wins
William Byron … 1
Dylan Kwasniewski … 1
Corey LaJoie … 1
Sergio Pena … 1
Ben Rhodes … 1

Poles
Rico Abreu … 1
Chase Elliott … 1
Scott Heckert … 1
Brett Moffitt … 1
Coleman Pressley … 1

Top Fives
Chase Elliott … 2
Brett Moffitt … 2
Sergio Pena … 2

Laps Completed
Eddie MacDonald … 702
Ryan Gifford … 613
Sergio Pena … 524
Brett Moffitt … 519
Gray Gaulding … 518

Laps Led
William Byron … 174
Ben Rhodes … 162
Brett Moffitt … 160
Dylan Kwasniewski … 132
Sergio Pena … 99
Corey LaJoie … 40
Scott Heckert … 14

Selected Driver Highlights:
Ronnie Bassett Jr. (No. 04 Bassett Gutters and More Chevrolet)
• Sits fourth in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East standings with one win, six top fives and eight top 10s through 11 races this season.
• Won the season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway for his first career win.
• Heads into the weekend on the strength of five top-10 finishes in his last six starts, including a sixth-place finish in the most recent event at Watkins Glen.
• Posted a best finish of 11th in 2015 in his second of two career starts at Langley.

Jay Beasley (No. 42 Honda Generators Toyota)
• Sits seventh in the championship standings with three top fives and six top 10s in 11 races this season, his third full season in the series.
• Finished a season-high fourth at Berlin in July, and he also finished in the top five at Memphis (Tenn.) International Raceway and in the most recent race at New York’s Watkins Glen International.
• Finished fifth last time out at Langley in 2015, where he has two career starts.

Harrison Burton (No. 12 DEX Imaging Toyota)
• Holds the K&N Pro Series East points lead with four wins, 10 top fives and 11 top 10s in 11 races this season.
• Won at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in April for his first career K&N Pro Series win.
• Has wins at Virginia’s South Boston Speedway, Memphis and Thompson this season.
• Leads the series with 10 top-five finishes this season and is one of only two drivers to finish in the top 10 in every start. Has not finished worse than sixth this year.
• Has never competed with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Langley.

Chase Cabre (No. 4 Lincoln Electric Toyota)
• Sits sixth in the series standings with four top fives and seven top 10s in 11 races this season.
• Finished a career-best second at Memphis in June.
• All seven of his top-10 finishes this season have come in the span of the last eight races
• Won two poles this season, both at South Boston.
• Has never competed with the series at Langley.

Ruben Garcia Jr. (No. 6 Max Siegel, Inc. Toyota)
• Sits fifth in the K&N Pro Series East standings with three top fives and eight top 10s in 11 races this season overall, having already set new career highs for top fives and top 10s.
• Finished a career-best second at Bristol and has four top-10 finishes over the last five races entering Langley.
• Was the 2015 NASCAR Peak Mexico Series champion with four wins, 15 top fives and 41 top 10s in 64 career starts in that series.
• This will be his first K&N Pro Series East start at Langley.

Todd Gilliland (No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota)
• Trails Burton in the championship standings by four points with three wins, eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes.
• Won three of the last five K&N Pro Series East races and four of the first five K&N Pro Series West races this season, with K&N Pro Series East wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Iowa Speedway, and owns 17 career K&N Pro Series wins.
• One of only two drivers to finish in the top 10 in all 11 East races this season, he sits second in the current series standings with three wins, eight top fives and 11 top 10s through 11 races.
• This will be his first series start at the Virginia track.

Chase Purdy (No. 17 Bama Buggies/Textron Off Road Toyota)
• Sits third in the series standings with four top fives and six top 10s in 11 races this season, and he is the only rookie ranked in the top five in the standings.
• Won four straight poles, beginning in Memphis and finishing at New Hampshire.
• He has four runner-up finishes in 2017, with Iowa being his most recent.
• Leads the Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings in the K&N Pro Series East.
• Has never competed at Langley with the K&N Pro Series East.

Pinty’s Series News & Notes: CTMP

Pinty’s Series News & Notes: CTMP

Labbe Looks To Pad Lead, Score First Road-Course Win

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — With only three races remaining in the 2017 season, Alex Labbe is closing in on his first NASCAR Pinty’s Series championship.

But first, the Victoriaville, Quebec, driver must navigator Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Labbe heads into Sunday’s Total Quartz 200 with a 36-point cushion on Kevin Lacroix.

total-quartz-200-race-logo-reversedWhile he’s built a sizable lead late in the season, the on-track action between Labbe and Lacroix reached new heights at Riverside International Speedway two weeks ago.

Labbe and Lacroix got together on the final lap with Labbe getting Lacroix loose in Turn 4 to get him loose, make the pass and score his fourth win of the season. Lacroix took exception to the contact and hit Labbe’s car on the cool-down lap. Lacroix’s championship hopes took a hit as he was later penalized 10 driver points by NASCAR for the post-race incident.

If there’s one place that Lacroix could get the win it’s at CTMP. 

The St. Eustache native has won the two most recent races at the historic road course and has won three of the four road-course events this season. While Lacroix has an uphill road to challenge Labbe for the title, he can make a big dent in the points this weekend with his third straight win at CTMP. If he does, he’ll also tie Andrew Ranger’s record of three consecutive wins at one track. 

Labbe has a pole (2016) and a pair of fifth-place finishes at CTMP, including in the season opener. But he also has three finishes outside the top 20 in his other starts.

Defending champion Cayden Lapcevich enters the race third 44 points out of the lead. Lapcevich, like Labbe, is still looking for his first road-course series win. While he also needs a win or two over the final three races and for Labbe to have some bad luck, the NASCAR Next driver still have a chance to become the first back-to-back champion in the 11-year history of the series.

RACE CENTRAL LIVE: EVENT SCHEDULE & ENTRY LIST

FAST FACTS:
The Race: The Total Quartz 200 will be 11 of 13 races on the 2017 NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule. It is the second of two stops at CTMP, and the final of five road-course events on this season’s schedule. 

The Procedure: The maximum starting field is 34 cars, including provisionals. The first 27 cars will secure starting positions based on the road-course qualifying process. The remaining five spots will be awarded through the provisional process. The race will be 51 laps (125.4 miles / 200 kilometers).

The Track: The 2.459-mile road course originally opened in 1961 as Mosport Park. The venue originally also included an oval track. Andrew Ranger won the inaugural NASCAR Pinty’s Series event in June of 2007, and the track’s road course has held two series events annually since 2013. The track was renamed from Mosport International Raceway to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in February 2012. It held the inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event on Sept. 1, 2013.

Race Winners: There have been seven different winners in the 15 previous NASCAR Pinty’s Series races at CTMP. The last five events have featured four different winners. J.R. Fitzpatrick has five wins and Andrew Ranger three. All three of Ranger’s wins have come in the Victoria Day Weekend race. Kevin Lacroix has won the past two events at CTMP and will go after his third this weekend.

Pole Winners: Seven different drivers have won the pole. Ranger with six and Steckly with two are the only two drivers with multiple pole awards. Alex Tagliani set the track record at 106.952 mph in qualifying for this race last September’s race.

Total Quartz 200 Notes:
ANDRETTI RETURNS TO ACTION:
After driving from the rear of the field twice to score his first podium finish in July during the Pinty’s Grand Prix in Toronto, Adam Andretti returns to compete in the series for the first time since his third-place show. Andretti, who’ll drive an entry for four-time series champion Scott Steckly, fought his way through the field during the final third of the race to finish third and has made numerous starts at CTMP in other racing divisions throughout his career.

STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN: Andrew Ranger, who holds the Pinty’s Series record with 22 career wins, has yet to score a win in 2017. If he fails to score a win this year, it would be the first time since NASCAR began sanctioning the series in 2007 that the two-time series champion would finish a season winless. Ranger leads all active drivers in wins at CTMP with three victories including the inaugural NPS event at CTMP in 2007. 

SEVERAL DRIVERS PULLING DOUBLE DUTY: Two-time series champion D.J. Kennington leads a trio of drivers pulling double duty this Sunday at CTMP. Kennington will join Gary Klutt and Jason Hathaway as NASCAR Pinty’s Series drivers who have announced plans to also compete in the Chevrolet Silverado 250 later Sunday afternoon. All three drivers have scored Pinty’s Series wins at CTMP (Kennington -2011; Klutt – 2015 and Hathaway – 2015) and will compete in their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of the season after the Total Quartz 200.

LOOKING TO END WINLESS STREAKS: D.J. Kennington, Andrew Ranger, Gary Klutt and L.P. Dumoulin are four drivers entered in the Total Quartz looking to end long winless streaks. Kennington, the only driver to start all 131 races in the history of the Pinty’s Series, last won 48 races ago in 2013, while Dumoulin last visited Victory Lane 37 events ago during his championship season in 2014. It’s been 27 starts for Klutt who won at CTMP in 2015 for his only win to date while Ranger last won in 2016 18 starts ago. 

F1 OPINION: In Defense of Fernando Alonso and the Future

Two time World Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso

Two time World Formula One Champion Fernando Alonso Image: Sky Sports

It seems to be the cold shoulder du jour when Alonso’s name comes up these days. How quickly we forget. But for 5 incidents, not of Alonso’s making, Alonso could, arguably, be a four time champion. Would have, could have, should have.

Cases in point: (1) Ferrari blundered the team strategy in 2012 at Canada allowing Hamilton to overtake on new tires keeping Alonso out on old rubber. (2) Romain Grosjean set in motion a crash at Belgium that could have beheaded the Spaniard. (3) Kimi Raikonnen took out Alonso at Japan on the first lap. (4) and probably most important in the end, Red Bull’s Adrian Newey had simply created the best car. (5) Fernando Alonso took a heavy hit during the McLaren ‘Spygate’ nightmare, but did he really deserve it?

Of the 5 instances cited, the last is the most insidious reason. Ron Dennis. Can anyone tell me that Ron Dennis didn’t deserve to have his feet held to the fire for giving Lewis Hamilton special treatment over Alonso? Can anyone tell me that if you were in the same position as Alonso that you wouldn’t threaten Dennis over the 780 Coughlin papers as they regarded Ferrari secrets? If you’re playing in an arena this large and you don’t, you are the jailhouse bitch. That’s not Alonso.

Alonso didn’t seek out this information, it was passed to him by De La Rosa. He never went public with it, but when presented with threats from the FIA he did what anyone would do, he cooperated. To not do so would have stopped his career in it’s tracks.

It seemed like a remediated love-fest, but was anything but.

It seemed like a remediated love-fest, but was anything but. Image: Sky Sports

In an interview with AutoSport he said as much: “I did not leave McLaren in 2007 because of Hamilton.” He added: “It was a surprise for the sport, because he was very strong. Unfortunately for the team it was not easy to handle the pressure that was created in these circumstances [of two fast drivers]. Political aspects emerged similar to Verstappen today – he was the symbol of the moment. The result was that we lost both the constructors’ and drivers’ title, due to a situation which was mismanaged.”

“The car was a winner immediately. Starting from scratch was the way to go because 2007 was the year of change as the Bridgestone tyres had different characteristics and the car was very different car to drive, with a lot of over-steer. We had to change the way we drive. All this helped Hamilton and he was competitive immediately. With the best car we lost both championships. And that was a good reason for me to change teams,” explained Alonso.

The real fall came when, during a qualifying round, McLaren’s upstart star Lewis Hamilton refused to let the team’s world-champion driver Fernando Alonso pass him. Alonso retaliated by blocking Hamilton in the pit lane to hurt the rookie’s time. Alonso was immediately penalized — instead of beginning the grand prix in pole position, he would have to start from sixth place. At a press conference that afternoon, Alonso and Hamilton launched into a public argument over what had happened.-Wired Magazine

We can all say that sharing information between teammates is normal, but it isn’t. Not even in NASCAR.

What about Ferrari? What about it. He outperformed every teammate that they presented. They did not, however, present him with a winning car or probably more accurately a winning strategy.

Make no mistake, Ferrari has, as with all top teams, had it’s dark period. But with Alonso it was wearing thin. He has always been driven by the credo “Never give up”, but towards the fifth season with the Prancing Horse, that became more of a tagline than a rule to live by.

Alonso clams that 70 HP would have McLaren back in the winners circle.

Alonso clams that 70 HP would have McLaren back in the winners circle. Image: Sky Sports

Alonso had lost faith in the Red car from Maranello and it’s culture. He had to look elsewhere. The irony was that it become McLaren who courted him. Many think it was the other way around, but it wasn’t. Many, many promises were made by Dennis and, more importantly, Honda.

Alonso made it plain that it had to be a factory effort he was seeking and not a customer car. He had assurances and a fat contract to go with it. But was McLaren up to it? No. When you look at a racing package it’s not only the chassis but the power-plant. They have to work in tandem, if not, they are worlds apart and to date that has been the case. There’s no need to try and disseminate the reasons that Honda has left everyone in the lurch, the reasons are many: Culture, late to the hybrid party and an unwillingness to relocate the power plant R&D from Japan to England where Formula One is a cottage industry- all good reasons.

However, I’ve had first hand experience in seeing Honda come back to life. I was standing in the Rahal IndyCar compound at Mid-Ohio when Bobby Rahal informed Honda he would not return with them for the following season. The next season they dominated. Honda can pull off a miracle. Being a three time IndyCar Champion, I would not purport to question his wisdom. Racing is a bitch.

With McLaren’s options running thin, as in only one choice to stick with Honda the real question becomes: Will Alonso stick with them? He has choices, which are all valid when you are arguably the best racing driver in the world.

IndyCar would love to have him as well as the WEC, but will that satisfy him? Doubtful. Can Honda give a great chassis the horsepower it needs to be competitive? I suppose we’ll all know soon enough.

 

 

 

 

 

Joey Logano Must Gamble for NASCAR Playoffs

Joey Logano is down to his final two races to make NASCAR's playoffs

Joey Logano is down to his final two races to make NASCAR’s playoffs

Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Penske Racing Ford, is down to his final two racetrack spins of the regular season.  And the odds may be more stacked against him making the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup playoffs than your winning the latest Powerball drawing.

Logano’s struggle to qualify for the playoffs is arguably the greatest shock of the NASCAR season, given that Logano made it all the way to the final round of Championship 4 drivers at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2014 and 2016.

Even though Logano won at Richmond Raceway in April, that victory doesn’t count toward playoff eligibility because his car failed inspection after the race.

Mathematically eliminated in terms of points, Logano is in a must-win situation to qualify for the playoffs with only a return to Richmond and Darlington Raceway left in the regular season.

Two weeks ago, Logano confessed at Michigan International Speedway to being desperate, but felt the final stretch of regular-season tracks was a good fit for his driving style.

Yet, at Bristol where he has won twice previously, Logano wrestled his way to a 13th place finish in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, lacking corner entry stability and having to rebound from being a lap-down by utilizing the free-pass.

Since the Richmond penalty was announced, which included a loss of team points and crew chief suspension for two races, the momentum has been sucked out of the #22 team.  In his last 14 NASCAR Cup races, Logano has led only 7 laps.

Logano was all smiles after winning Richmond in April, but was later penalized for car template violations

Logano was all smiles after winning Richmond in April, but was later penalized for car template violations

Back in February, Logano was on top of the world, as he, crew chief Todd Gordon, and sponsor Shell signed contract extensions running through 2023, delivering the team stability that Roger Penske craves.

Logano, saying it was a day he would never forget, proclaimed, “When a seven-year deal is thrown in front of you, obviously you jump on that opportunity to go out there and win championships together.”

So, will Logano be able to cash in on victory lane in either of the two remaining regular season races?

Richmond is the better bet of the two tracks, given Logano has won there twice (including the “encumbered” April win).  His average finish of 8.9 over last 10 races is 2nd among active drivers.

Darlington, with its odd egg-shaped design and legend as the “track too tough to tame”, is a definite shortcoming in Logano’s repertoire.  His average finish of 18.4 is 17th best among active drivers, including just two top-5’s in eight starts.

Logano maintains optimism, asserting “Every moment becomes more and more important on the racetrack, and that’s ok.  That’s where you find out what you’re made of, so I’m all right with that.”

Logano is spot-on.  The #22 team has had its back against the wall before and Team JL has delivered.

Crew Chief Gordon will need to tap his playbook to make crafty pit calls

Crew Chief Gordon will need to tap his playbook to make crafty pit calls

However, right now, the Penske Fords just haven’t been fast enough and appear off.

Penske’s two teams of Logano and Keselowski can crank a fast lap time in practice and qualifying, but they’re just not drivable in race conditions, either due to a shortfall of aero downforce or mechanical grip in race conditions.

Luck, of course, plays a big factor, and a shrewd pit call by master crew chief Todd Gordon could rescue the day at either track.  But, time is now the enemy, and this perplexing season may leave Team JL with mixed emotions given its early season success, followed by its recent struggles.

By Ron Bottano

Give your take: Will Logano make the Playoffs? Take our Twitter poll at @rbottano

 

Gilliland Edges Eggleston For Roseburg Win

Gilliland Edges Eggleston For Roseburg Win

Scores K&N Pro West Victory With Late Pass On BMR Teammate

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Whatever he lacks in experience, Todd Gilliland makes up for in moxie.

The 17-year-old from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, won a fiercely contested Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts Saturday night at Douglas County Speedway.

Gilliland fought off runner-up Chris Eggleston in a side-by-side battle for the lead, in which sparks literally flew off the fenders and bumpers of both cars as they nipped each other’s heels on the .375-mile semi-banked oval. It was the NASCAR Next driver’s sixth NASCAR K&N Pro Series West victory of the season, with a final margin of victory of .155 seconds.

In just his 26th K&N Pro Series West career race, Gilliland picked up his 13th victory.

His Bill McAnally Racing teammate, 28-year-old Chris Eggleston from Erie, Colorado, won the Coors Light Pole earlier in the day. It was his fourth pole of the season and unlike tonight, he went on to pick up the win in three of those races after starting in the top spot.

The teammates swapped the lead nine times, including four times in the closing 25 laps.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Derek Kraus completed a BMR sweep of the podium with his third-place run, while fellow rookie Will Rodgers finished fourth.

Julia Landauer rounded out the top five. 

Buddy Shepherd, Michael Self, Todd Souza, Trevor Cristiani and Matt Levin completed the top 10. 

With the win, Gilliland pushed his points lead to five over Eggleston. Kraus is third in the standings, two ahead of Rodgers, while Self completes the top five.

The Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA Auto Parts will air on NBCSN, Saturday, Sept. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will be back in action in the NAPA Auto Parts Idaho 208 at Meridian Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 30.

nknps-west_winner_todd-gilliland_finish_082617

Coby Gets Back To Victory Lane

Coby Gets Back To Victory Lane

First Whelen Modified Win Of 2017 Comes at Seekonk

SEEKONK, Mass. — Doug Coby finally found himself back in Victory Lane on Saturday night.

The Milford, Connecticut driver dominated the second half of the Seekonk 150 at Seekonk Speedway and captured his first win of the 2017 season. He took the lead from Matt Hirschman on lap 63 and led all but one lap in the final stages en route to the win. 

“We just had an awesome car,” Coby said. “My guys made awesome adjustments for the feature. When you can’t pit for tires, you have to be stout off the truck. You have to know what to do for race. The car was just awesome. I’m really happy to get Mayhew Tools their first win with us.”

The win was the 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour action for Coby and his first at the third-mile of Seekonk. The only blunder for Coby, who started fourth, came at lap 63 when Coby and Hirschman got together battling for the lead. While Hirschman spun, Coby was able to continue without damage and stayed at the front of the race until the checkered flag flew. He held off challenges from Ryan Preece and Anthony Nocella in the final dash to the finish on Saturday. 

Coby crossed the line 0.251 seconds ahead of Nocella. Prior to Saturday, Coby had three consecutive second-place finishes in Whelen Modified Tour competition.

With his third-place finish, Preece took the points lead by two points over Coby. Rowan Pennink is third, three points back, while Timmy Solomito is fourth, 11 points back. Solomito crashed out while running inside the top five and finished 22nd. 

Justin Bonsignore was sixth, followed by Hirschman, Max Zachem, Gary McDonald and Wade Cole. Earlier in the day, Hirschman won his fourth career Coors Light Pole Award.

The Seekonk 150 will air on NBCSN Saturday Sept. 2 at 9:30 p.m. 

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track next Saturday night, Sept. 2, at Oswego Speedway in New York.

RACE RESULTS | RACE CENTRAL LIVE REPLAY

Doug Coby captured his first Whelen Modified Tour victory of the season on Saturday night at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. Adam Glanzman/NASCAR

QUALIFYING: Eggleston Wins Fourth Pole

QUALIFYING: Eggleston Wins Fourth Pole

Leads BMR Sweep Of Top 3 Spots In K&N Pro West At Douglas

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Chris Eggleston was the fastest in final practice Saturday, and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship contender did even better in the qualifying for Saturday night’s Clint Newell Toyota 150 presented by NAPA.

Eggleston won his fourth Coors Light Pole Award of 2017 with a lap of 15.069 seconds (89.588 mph) around the .375-mile semi-banked oval track at Douglas County Speedway.

The 38-year-old from Erie, Colorado, won the previous three races this season in which he started on the pole.

Bill McAnally Racing swept the top three spots as Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Derek Kraus (15.101/89.398) was second and series championship leader Todd Gilliland (15.109/89.351) was third.

Ron Norman and Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Will Rodgers were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Julia Landauer, Michael Self, Nicole Behar, Buddy Shepherd and Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Trevor Cristiani rounded out the top 10. 

PRACTICE: Preece Fastest At Seekonk

PRACTICE: Preece Fastest At Seekonk

Paces Only Practice Session For Seekonk 150

SEEKONK, Mass. — Ryan Preece unloaded as the fastest NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour car on Saturday at Seekonk (Mass.) Speedway. Behind the wheel of his No. 6 TS Hauler/Hoosier Tire of Calverton Chevrolet, Preece paced the only practice round for the Seekonk 150 with a fast lap of 11.979 seconds (99.174 mph). Preece will look for his fifth win of the season later on Saturday. 

Jon McKennedy was second in the session behind the wheel of his No. 00 with a time of 12.023 seconds. David Sapienza, who has two top five finishes this season, was third with a lap of 12.041 seconds. Matt Hirschman and Rowan Pennink rounded out the top five. 

Six through 10 in the session went to Doug Coby, Craig Lutz, Timmy Solomito, Andrew Krause and Ted Christopher. 

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour teams return to the track for Coors Light Pole Qualifying at 5:30 p.m. tonight. The Seekonk 150 is slated to take the green flag at approximately 8 p.m.

PRACTICE RESULTS

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