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GOOD & BAD: 2019 NASCAR K&N Pro Series Season

Another year of NASCAR K&N Pro Series competition is in the books, as the transition now begins towards the new era of combining the NASCAR Home Tracks program with ARCA. Along the way, though, there were some highlights and low lights to consider from the action on-track all year.

Although I was unable to watch all of the races, let’s take a look back at the good and the bad.

GOOD: A little bump and banging, drivers making their way up and down the field, and a bump and run for the win – it sounds like the perfect short track event. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East was able to check each of those boxes when they visited Bristol Motor Speedway. 

BAD: The field size could certainly use some improvement, as highlighted with just 16 entries at Bristol. Hopefully the new format will allow for that to happen. 

GOOD: Thoughout the season, Sam Mayer was a step above the rest en route to winning the championship – and that was certainly on display at Bristol in August. 

After having to go back to the field at the beginning of the race, he methodically made his way forward, making passes as he went to continue gaining ground. He was then able to catch Davis in the closing laps, perfecting the bump and run to get the lead and cruise to the win.

Not only as he proven to be a master at one of NASCAR’s toughest short tracks, his ability behind the wheel has shined at other speedways. He won at Iowa Speedway, and ran strong in a couple NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series starts. As he makes his move up the ladder with GMS Racing and their Driver’s Edge Development program, the potential for him to be quite successful for years to come is there. 

BAD: It was not all sunshine for the driver of the No. 21 Chevrolet as his day was not clean at Bristol. He got put to the back on the first lap due to spinning fellow competitor Chase Cabre right off the drop of the green flag. 

While these two haven’t had the smoothest season racing each other in 2019 with contact throughout, it’s not a good appearance to be causing trouble right away. It also looks worse when you show no remorse about the contact. Mayer would admit he “didn’t mean it at all,” but went on to add that Cabre “kind of deserves it.” 

GOOD: Bristol wasn’t the only track that the young series shined, as South Boston Speedway’s event was arguably even better. A late caution set-up a green-white-checkered finish to the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100 Race 1, and it impressed every fan watching the free stream on FansChoice.tv.

After giving up the lead to Mayer over the course of the long run, Tanner Gray took full advantage of the restart, with a well-timed bump to the back of the No. 21 Chevrolet, followed by some rubbing well alongside on the tight track to take over the lead. He then held on through the final lap for the victory.

It’s always been stated that “racecars have bumpers for a reason,” as well as the classic stories of the “chrome horn.” Gray perfected the move in that moment as he got the position on Mayer, however he didn’t go over the limit by wrecking his competitor. 

BAD: Hailie Deegan may be applauded for her aggressive ability, but she showed the need to learn patience in driving over Colin Garrett in the first 18 laps of the second event at South Boston before it was postponed to Sunday due to weather. Garrett showcased his frustration to his fellow competitor, resulting in shock from the fans in not being able to see a replay of the incident despite FansChoice.tv using that feature for other previous incidents. 

GOOD: Derek Kraus rarely makes mistakes and appeared to be ready to cruise to another victory at Irwindale Speedway, but he would get outside of the groove in turn three – opening the door for one of the most exciting battles in series history.

Both Trevor Huddleston and Tanner Gray would be able to clear Kraus in the process, with Huddleston beginning to stretch out an advantage. However, as the laps begin to count down, Gray was able to close the gap. Gray would get to Huddleton’s bumper with two to go, diving underneath in both ends as he tried to clear him. The battle would go all the way to the checkered flag. 

https://twitter.com/FansChoiceTV/status/1112191647675117568

BAD: Sometimes it’s best to double check that your microphone is off before you make a candid comment.

Hannah Newhouse was pegged to speak with Riley Herbst following his crash for the at-track public address system at Bristol, and FansChoice.tv’s broadcast. She made the comment in which she wasn’t sure what took Herbst out of the race, to which he replied, “The car is killed. Look at the right side of this thing.”

Although improper etiquette to not fully know what happened entering the interview with a comment like that, the discussion point did not come from there. Rather, she left her microphone open following the interview, calling Herbst a “douchebag.”

Although honesty is appreciated from the on-air talent, that certainly is not the best look to have. 

GOOD: Hailie Deegan is currently regarded as one of the best young talents coming up in motorsports. She proved why on Thursday night at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway dirt track, and the fans were entertained in the process.

She would close the gap between herself and Jagger Jones, despite being just over five seconds behind with 26 laps to go.  Jones would find himself in lap traffic, and those cars would not move out of the way as the driver of the No. 6 would’ve hoped, as the bottom was the preferred line all night and where they tell lap cars to stay other places. Perhaps it was a bit of impatience, or maybe not having the knowledge of how to pinch himself underneath them, a he would get hung up on two occasions. The first would allow Deegan to close to within a couple car lengths, the second cost him the victory.

As Jones got hung up with Kenny Bumbera, a small space opened up between the tractor tire and them. Deegan would stick her nose in the hole, pushing Jones out a little (rubbing is racing, right?), and taking the lead. Although Jones tried to retaliate with the chrome horn going into turn three, it was not enough as Deegan kept it straight to the checkered flag.

GOOD: Anybody remember how the NASCAR K&N season started at New Smyrna? Despite starting 16th on the grid, Kraus conserved his tires while slowly making his way to the front, choosing to ride just inside the top-five. 

When the opportunity presented itself with the youthfulness of Garrett and Dollar getting together on a restart with 44 laps to go, Kraus did what he had to do, splitting the middle between the pair to drive by and cruise away en route to victory. Arguably, it was probably one of the best textbook restart passes that you will probably see all season. As he said post-race, “I might’ve gotten in the grass, but I got it done.”

GOOD: Can we also applaud NASCAR for their cost-saving measure in only allowing one single set of General Tires for the event? On top of the money not being spent, it also teaches the drivers about conserving equipment – something we know can come in handy when they move up the ranks. 

GOOD: The choice to stream the events live for free via FansChoice.tv was probably the best decision made. It allotted fans who may only know of the big three series a chance to get a glimpse at the grassroots action, perhaps resulting in them becoming more interested and wanting to attend an event closer to home.

Furthermore, it gave those short track attendees a chance to check out the middle ground of NASCAR. While they may not be too thrilled by the intermediate tracks, this may be the series level that attracts their interest in being closer to what they’re used to.

They always say the hardest part of advertising a product is getting it in front of fans, and doing that this way probably certainly improved the awareness.

BAD: It’s too bad, though, that the option won’t be there in 2020 with NBC Sports Gold taking over broadcasting the series, and now charging so much a month. Certainly those work to put the coverage together deserve something in return for their hard work respectfully, and the amount being charged is not too far out there.

However, making it only available to those in the United States, whereas FansChoice you could view anywhere around the globe, is ignoring a lot of potential race fans. An example would be the Canadian fan base, which makes up 40% of attendees to both Watkins Glen and Michigan. Now you’re taking away something for them view race fan wise, combined with the truck series just being able on one television provider, how does that make them feel included?

In a time where NASCAR recognizes that their numbers were going down with sponsors harder to find, you would think that we’d be wanting to reach as many markets around the world as possible. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Ford Performance Claims Hailie Deegan in 2020 DGR-Crosley Deal

On December 11, DGR-Crosley announced it would be making the jump from fielding Toyotas to Fords in 2020 and that in just six days, they would be introducing a new development driver. This manufacturer swap spelled early speculations for Hailie Deegan, who was a free agent following the 2019 season and who already had ties to the newly branded Ford team in the past.

Fast forward six days and DGR-Crosley revealed that the 18-year old driver will indeed be racing for their organization full-time in the newly modeled ARCA Menards Series as Ford Performance’s development driver. This is a massive win for both Deegan and DGR-Crosley as the female racing prodigy has cemented herself as arguably the sport’s most enticing up-and-coming talent.

This new deal comes just one month following Deegan’s breakout season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West in which she captured 11 top-10s, eight top-five’s and her first multi-win season (2) – all while finishing third in the series’ standings.

MVPindex also revealed that last year, the female development driver ranked third amongst all NASCAR drivers in social media engagements and impressions, only bested by 2019 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson. In an all important digital age where social media is prevalent in growing the sport’s popularity, it’s highly encouraging that Deegan is the only driver inside of the top-10 who doesn’t compete in the Cup Series.

Being a highly touted talent skyrocketing through NASCAR’s lower divisions and someone who is essential for the sport’s growth, the Ford Performance development driver deal makes sense for both sides. By getting Ford’s support, Deegan is getting assurance from the manufacturer that she will receive all the tools and backing to ensure a long-standing career in NASCAR.

The deal with DGR-Crosley also opens new potential avenues for the 18-year old driver and her racing career. The David Gilliland run race team fields drivers in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. It would not be out of the ordinary to see Deegan potentially run some truck races in the later stages of 2020, given on-track success in the ARCA Series.

The California-product will race the No. 4 Monster Energy Ford Fusion in all 20 races run in the ARCA Menards Series, but she won’t be going in blindly to the developmental driver series. In 2019, Deegan amassed four top-10’s and one top-five finish in the mere six races she ran for Venturini Motorsports.

It should also be noted that the latest success story of Ford Performance’s developmental driver program was Cole Custer. Custer masterfully raced his way to a ride in the newly named NASCAR Cup Series in 2020 after a stellar NASCAR Xfinity Series season. The California-native will take over driving duties for the No. 41 at Stewart-Haas Racing and with stars like Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Aric Almirola nearing the back-end of their careers, Deegan could make a potential great fit down the road.

The deal between the Ford Motor Company, DGR-Crosley and Deegan should spell a future of longevity and success for all parties involved. This is a much-needed statement from both Ford and NASCAR that Deegan will be one of the core-center pieces in shaping the growth of sport’s future. One thing is certain, all eyes will remain to be on the 18-year old talent as she continues her meteoric rise through NASCAR’s lower ranks.

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Cole_Cusumano_

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

 

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NASCAR Announces 2020 Pinty’s Series Schedule

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the past 13 years, the NASCAR Pinty’s Series has competed on some of the most diverse tracks in NASCAR with races on the best short tracks, road courses and street courses across Canada.

In 2020, you can add a dirt track to the list. 

NASCAR today announced next year’s Pinty’s Series schedule, which is highlighted by an Aug. 18 trip to Ohsweken Speedway – the first dirt race to be held in series history.

In addition, the series will visit two familiar tracks as Sunset Speedway and Circuit ICAR return to the schedule after four and three years, respectively. 

“We believe the 2020 season will be one of the best we’ve seen for our fans and competitors,” said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief International Officer. “The NASCAR Pinty’s Series continues to grow as Canada’s national motorsport series; we’ve seen an increase in competition level over the years and NASCAR fans in Canada have truly embraced the series as their own.”

The Tuesday, Aug. 18 race at Ohsweken instantly becomes one of the most anticipated events in series history. D.J. Kennington and reigning champion Andrew Ranger tested at the 0.6-km track for NASCAR on Oct. 29 to ensure the series could put on an exciting race.

Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario will host the fourth race of the season (July 4). Alex Tagliani won both previous Pinty’s Series races at the 0.53-km oval. 

The series will return to Circuit ICAR for the season’s penultimate race on Sept. 12. The 3.4-km road course at Montréal-Mirabel International Airport has previously hosted seven Pinty’s Series races, five of which were won by Ranger.

Other schedule highlights include:

  • For the ninth consecutive season, the season will open at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario as part of the track’s Victoria Day weekend celebration (May 16). The season will again conclude with the Pinty’s Fall Brawl at Jukasa Motor Speedway (Sept. 26). 
  • The annual Western swing including three races at two tracks. The series will visit Edmonton International Raceway on July 25 followed by a visit to Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan for two 125-lap features as part of a doubleheader on Wednesday, July 29.
  • Two fan-favorite races on the streets of Toronto and Trois-Rivières. The Pinty’s Series will again headline Friday (July 10) of the Honda Toronto weekend at Exhibition Place. As previously announced, the annual Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières (GP3R) will extend from 50 to 60 laps in 2020 (Aug. 9) which will introduce more in-race strategy for teams including live pit stops.

The complete broadcast and streaming schedule will be released at a later date.

2020 NASCAR Pinty’s Series Schedule

Sunday, May 17: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park- Bowmanville, Ont.
Saturday, June 6: Jukasa Motor Speedway- Hagersville, Ont.
Saturday, June 27: Autodrome Chaudière- Vallee- Jonction, Que.
Saturday, July 4: Sunset Speedway- Innisfil, Ont.
Friday, July 10: Exhibition Place- Toronto, Ont.
Saturday, July 25: Edmonton International Raceway- Wetaskiwin, Alb.
Wednesday, July 29: Wyant Group Raceway*- Saskatoon, Sask.
Wednesday, July 29: Wyant Group Raceway*- Saskatoon, Sask.
Sunday, Aug. 9: Circuit Trois-Rivières- Trois-Rivières, Que.
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Ohsweken Speedway- Ohsweken, Ont.
Sunday, Sept. 6: Canadian Tire Motorsport Park- Bowmanville, Ont.
Saturday, Sept. 12: Circuit ICAR- Mirabel, Que.
Saturday, Sept. 26: Jukasa Motor Speedway- Hagersville, Ont.

*125-lap twin features

SCHEDULE SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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“They Said What?” NASCAR Home Tracks Edition

Sometimes when you stick a microphone in front of a driver’s face, you have no clue what they may say and a couple of times you’ll hear something that surprises you or gives you a bit of a perspective.

Throughout the 2019 season, I had the opportunity to speak to a bunch of different competitors. During those interviews, there were some quotes that stood out. So it seems only fitting we take a glance back through the year at what was said.

RUSTY JARRETT | NKP

I think the biggest thing is – I don’t want to sound negative, but just be prepared that it might not work out. I think it’s easy for all of us, whether you’re a dad, you’re a friend of a racer or a competitor of a racer and look at people and say, “Oh, they’ll make it. They have plenty of talent. They’ll be in Cup one day, or they remind me of Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon.”

But there’s no model there anymore. So I think young guys that growing up in racing, whether quarter midgets, bandalero, late model, or even the K&N division, is just take advantage of every single opportunity that you can. Don’t waste it, because it cost way too much money to be out there and there’s jobs on the line for a lot of crew guys that are working on those cars. But don’t waste your opportunity, and be prepared that you can go out there and do everything right – you can win races, and you can win championships, and there’s still a really big chance that due to the business, you’re not going to make it on Sundays and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I work with Noah Gragson and I tell him this all the time – just don’t waste your opportunity because if you go out there and win five races over the year and do everything you can, and you’re prepared, and you’re preparing your body to battle, and you’re communicating with your team – if you come up short and you can’t make it to the Cup Series, then you can still lay your head down at night and say you gave it your all. But don’t be the kid that wastes the opportunity and doesn’t take advantage of it, because then you’re going to be feeling a lot of regrets.

So I think it’s about being mentally prepared of the challenge to work your way up through the sport in today’s atmosphere to where it’s not just about talent, but the funding you have in place and what you do with that and whether you take advantage of it.

Brandon McReynolds

BILL MCANALLY RACING

It’s a really cool position I’m being putting in this year. I’ve raced for the past 15 years and I’ve always kind of been one of the very few girls in the midwest for the up-and-coming drivers to admire and to learn off of. Now that you’re getting into the higher NASCAR series, your platform gets bigger and bigger.

 

My role for that is to go out there and do what I love; go out there and win and show that it really doesn’t matter, boy or girl, you can go out there and do whatever sport you want. So if they’re looking for inspiration to gout there and race against all the guys, that’s great; but if they can use what I am doing on the race track to help them pursue their dreams, whether racing or another sport, that’s a really cool spot for me to be  in and I hope to do that for them.

Brittney Zamora

JAGGER JONES RACING

It definitely helps being involved and having a racing family. I mean, my dad is always there and my grandpa – I can always go to them and ask. But it’s also what they know, their experience, in putting me in the right position and just being involved with a lot of other people in the NASCAR world has really been a help for us. It’s good to know that I can go to my dad and ask for advice, really, for anything about the cars, or anything really around racing.

Jagger Jones

RUSTY JARRETT | NKP

The K&N and ARCA car are really similar, so going back and forth between those two isn’t too drastic; it’s really just horsepower. But when we go super late model racing and TransAm Racing, that’s completely different and that’s just more or less for experience. So I don’t really take those for competitive, but rather just for learning, like road courses and stuff like that in the bigger cars. The Super Late Model is more so for the competitiveness of the series.

Sam Mayer

JOHN HARRELSON | NKP

Really, just how to race these cars. These cars have 650 horsepower, but they’re so heavy and really tall; it’s kind of like racing a school bus with a jet engine. It’s just a really big bulky car so you have to learn how to drive it, especially on these short tracks. It’s all about who has the most speed through the center; it’s a big long drag race down the straightaway with whoever can get the power down.

We ran several short track races and we qualified third at Thompson, but we ended up having a really loose car. I think just from everything I learned from that will help for New Smyrna. For the big tracks, I’ve been to the big tracks now so I can be able to use that knowledge with how the air works, how not to use much brake, and that stuff, and going to these tracks for the second time is going to help a lot.

First time I went to New Hampshire, we qualified 13th or something like that. But the next time we went, I qualified sixth, a tenth off the pole. So it definitely helps going to these tracks for a second time.

Colin Garrett

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Jagger Jones Returns Home for First Race at ISM Raceway

AVONDALE, Arizona — The Arizona Lottery 100 at ISM Raceway was the final stop on the circuit for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, but was also the first race in a NASCAR sanctioned series at his hometown facility for Jagger Jones.

“This is my first time racing here at ISM Raceway and it’s obviously so different from watching in the stands,” Jones told POPULAR SPEED.  “Growing up watching the races here and now being able to race here is super cool. I’m looking forward to it, it’s cool to be the local kid for once because usually I’m traveling all around the west coast – all around the country really for races, so it’s cool to race here in my hometown.”

The Scottsdale, Arizona-Native entered the series finale ranked second in the standings – and this was as high as he could soar, being that all points leader Derek Kraus had to do at the 1.5-mile speedway was start the race to lock up the 2019 Championship.

Jones would go on to put down a sixth-best qualifying lap, putting him on the outside of Drew Dollar to start the 100 Lap event.

“We have a really competitive field here this weekend,” the 17-year old admitted. “We’ve struggled a little bit on the bigger tracks for our series, so I think if we can get up inside the top-five it’ll be a good say for us.”

When the green flag waved atop the unique LED-cactus flag stand, Sam Mayer raced from the lead and did not surrender that position until 12 laps remaining – when race-winner Ty Gibbs passed him after the 16-year old made contact with Ty Majeski on a three-wide restart.

A good majority of the race was a product of single-file long-run racing in which Jones saw himself mainly battling with fan-favorite, Hailie Deegan for the eighth-spot.  After a healthy-dose of cautions in the final 30 laps of the race, Jones didn’t quite salvage that top-five he’d hoped to attain in pre-race, finishing sixth.

The driver of the No. 6 was able to hold on to the second-ranked position in the standings. He finished the year with eight top-fives, 11 top-10s, one pole award, 248 laps led and his first win – which came at All American Speedway in Roseville, California.

It’s safe to say that after what can be deemed an incredibly impressive season that Jones will be one of the young talents who will be in NASCAR for years to come.

“We’re setting up things for next season,” said the Arizona-native. “They’re changing the whole series in 2020, so we’re just trying to put everything together for that. Next year I want to run a lot of races and win as many as I can – those are my main goals for he offseason.”

EMAIL COLE AT: colecusumano88@gmail.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Cole_Cusumano_

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management to other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered and endorsement.

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Andrew Ranger Steals Dramatic Victory in New Hampshire

LOUDON, NH — In a season that has seen one of the series’ most intense championship battles to-date, Andrew Ranger entered New Hampshire in a must win situation.

Though he trailed Kevin Lacroix by only two points, New Hampshire was a track where Lacroix has been nothing short of dominant.

In both qualifying and practice, Lacroix picked up right where he had left off last year in terms of speed. In a league of his own all weekend, the 30-year old won the pole and appeared almost untouchable. Leading the first 92 laps, everything changed when Ranger and Alex Labbe began to close the gap.

Following a dramatic final 10 laps, Andrew Ranger was able to steal the victory in the Visit New Hampshire 100 claiming his fourth win of the season and series leading 28th of his career.

“Yesterday we had some problems with the car and I wasn’t too comfortable with the car,” said Ranger. “We came into the pits to get fuel and make an adjustment, after that my car was a rocket.”

Despite starting in the back after pitting for fuel on the first caution, Ranger battled his way through the field. Charging past everyone he came across, he caught the back bumper of Lacroix with about 15 to go. Lap after lap, the Roxton Pond, Quebec driver tried everything he could to get around Lacroix.

With eight laps to go, Ranger’s N0.27 MOPAR Dodge made the pass and checked out holding on for the win.

When claiming the checkered in Loudon, Andrew Ranger has won at every active track in the Pinty’s Series.

“Lap after lap we were catching Kevin Lacroix,” Ranger added. “We made the pass and got the win, so I’m very happy for my MOPAR team and now we are the points leader.”

After losing the lead, Lacroix was locked in a tight battle for second with Labbe. The two fought side by side before making contact coming to the checkered. Lacroix spun into the inside wall, coming to rest a mere 100 feet from the finish. Following the accident, Lacroix was checked and release from in the infield care centre, declining to comment.

Following a dominant performance last race at Saint-Eustache, Alex Labbe rode the momentum into New Hampshire. Having driven twice before in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, he held on for a runner up finish. Labbe would also notch his sixth top-five of 2019 and best his finish of the season.

“We needed this cause we’ve struggled all year,” said Labbe. “We had really good speed today but [Andrew] Ranger was the class of the field today on the long runs. We finished and we’re very happy.”

D.J Kennington has had a very consistent 2019 season. Qualifying on the outside of the front row, he would score a third place finish. Kennington’s Castrol Edge Dodge heads into Jukasa next week as the defending winner.

Last year’s runner up finisher Peter Shepherd III and Marc-Antoine Camirand would complete the top five.

Cole Powell and Alex Guenette finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Mathieu Kingsbury, LP Dumoulin and Anthony Simone rounded out the top ten.

Following the Visit New Hampshire 100, Andrew Ranger will carry an 11-point advantage over Lacroix heading into the Pinty’s Fall Brawl at Jukasa September 28.

Fans can watch the Visit New Hampshire 100 on TSN on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m and on RDS2  Sunday, Oct. 13 at 1 p.m.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will close out their season next week at the Jukasa Motor Speedway, where a champion will be crowned. Will Ranger pull ahead to claim his third championship or will Kevin Lacroix rally back to steal his first?

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Ty Gibbs Scores Clean Sweep with Dominant Victory in ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway

Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) scored a dominant victory in Saturday night’s ARCA Menards Series Kentuckiana Ford Dealers Fall Classic 200 at Salem Speedway. Gibbs thoroughly dominated the entire day as he led the day’s practice session, set the fast time in General Tire Pole Qualifying, and led every green flag lap to score his second career series victory.

“That’s all due to my right foot, the guys who build these great racecars and the man upstairs,” Gibbs said in victory lane. “It’s great to come out here and get our second win of the season. We aren’t racing for the championship so it’s all about wins for us.”

Gibbs finished two seconds ahead of Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), who moved to within five points of championship leader Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota), who suffered a mechanical problem and finished 14th.

“It’s great to have Salem behind us,” Eckes said. “This isn’t my favorite track and to come out of here with that big of a gain on Michael is huge for us. It sucks we couldn’t get up there and race Ty for the win but we’ll take second and head to Indianapolis and go race for the win there.”

Self was dejected after giving up 65 of his 70-point lead over Eckes.

“We’ve had too many mechanical problems this season,” Self said. “All we want to go is come out here and race for wins. We’re going to put tonight behind us and go to Indy and Kansas to go win some races.”

Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) finished third, Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Toyota) was fourth and Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) finished fifth.

Just as Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) did in a dominant performance to win last fall at Salem, Gibbs led every green flag lap. He led from the initial start through lap 172 when he was beat off pit road by Eckes. Gibbs retook the lead on the restart at lap 176 and we never headed.

The race was slowed five times by cautions. The first, at lap 23, was for debris, while the second, at lap 75, was for Gavin Harlein (No. 55 Autism Awareness #4Presley Toyota), who experienced mechanical issues and stopped at the entrance to pit road. The third caution of the night was for engine issues for Tim Richmond (No. 06 GreatRailing.com Dodge), and Ed Pompa (No. 11 Milwaukee Crusher/Double H Ranch Toyota) – whose Darrell Waltrip-themed throwback scheme earned him the first Jack Harrison Trophy in a fan vote during pre-race festivities – spun on lap 170 to set up the final round of pit stops that allowed Eckes to assume the lead. The fifth and final caution, again for debris, was displayed on lap 186 and set up a nine-lap dash to the checkered for Gibbs.

There were two lead changes among Gibbs and Eckes, and the race was completed in one hour, 26 minutes, and 54 seconds at an average speed of 76.640 miles per hour.

The ARCA Menards Series will take two weekends off before returning to action on Saturday October 5 with the Herr’s Potato Chips 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway. Practice starts the day’s activities at 2 pm ET, with General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET. The 200-lap main event, scheduled for live broadcast MAVTV, will go green shortly after 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live chat, and live track updates at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Discounted adult general admission tickets are available through October 4 at Indianapolis-area Menards locations for just $20. For more information, please visit TrackEnterprises.com.

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Jason Hathaway Scores Emotional Victory in Final Trip to Saint-Eustache

It was a perfect weekend for Jason Hathaway.

After welcoming his son Maxson, early Friday morning, Hathaway promised he would bring a trophy home for his newborn son. Hathaway delivered on that promise in dominant fashion, winning the Lucas Oil 250 at Autodrome Saint-Eustache.

Similar to Hathaway’s first win of the season, it came down to a duel between himself and Kevin Lacroix. Taking the lead on Lap 166, Hathaway’s No.3 Kubota Canada Chevrolet held off all who challenged him and claimed his second win of 2019 and 11thof his career.

“It was a crazy weekend how it all turned out,” Hathaway said. “Had a baby boy early Friday morning, drove here on two hours sleep. Practiced Saturday and raced Sunday and we took home the trophy.”

Prior to today, Hathaway had a career best finish of fourth at Saint-Eustache, back in the 2010 season. With all that has happened in the Stouffville, Ontario driver’s life during the past 72 hours, this win is  one of Hathaway’s most special victories.

“This is one of those stories you could never line up even if you had to,” added Hathaway. “I promised my little guy that I had a trophy coming back to the crib when I get home, the boys delivered, it’s awesome.”

Hometown favourite, Kevin Lacroix will leave Saint-Eustache a happy man. Lacroix started on the provisional pole and led 42 laps en-route to a runner-up finish. The No.74 Bumper to Bumper team fought tooth and nail to get around Hathaway but in the end Lacroix would finish with a two point lead heading into Loudon.

“The goal today was to finish ahead of the No.27 [Ranger],” Lacroix said. “I was hoping to get closer to Jason to give him his Riverside bump, but he was too fast today.”

Lacroix, whose race shop is located five minute down the street from Saint-Eustache, scored his best career finish in the final kick of the can at his home track.

“Definitely happy for him [Hathaway], it was an awesome job,” Lacroix added. “But we are really happy with our second place today.”

Despite running around mid-pack all race long, Andrew Ranger turned on the jets in the in closing laps. Making a bold move to get around a dominant Alex Labbe, the Roxton Pond, Quebec driver would settle for his seventh podium finish of the season.

For Labbe’s No. 36 team, it had been a while since he had a truly dominant run. Leading 123 laps, Labbe would bring his Hotel Le Concorde Ford home in the fourth position for his fifth top five of the season. Donald Theetge would complete the top five.

D.J Kennington and LP Dumoulin would come home sixth and seventh, respectively.

Kerry Micks, Marc-Antoine Camirand and rookie Mathieu Kingsbury would round out the top ten.

Scott Steckly, who make his first start in four years, would come home 11th after subbing-in for an ill Alex Tagliani.

Fans can catch the Lucas Oil 250 on TSN – Saturday, Sept. 14, 3:30 p.m, and RDS2 – Sunday, Sept. 29, 1:30 p.m.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will be back in action on Saturday September 22nd for the only stop south of the border, the Visit New Hampshire 100 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

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Justin Bonsignore Makes It Four Straight at Riverhead

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Another track, another streak for Justin Bonsignore.

The defending NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion earned his fourth straight victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night in the Miller Lite 200, adding his eighth career win at his home track. He took the lead from Timmy Solomito on a restart with 11 laps to go, and held off Solomito in overtime to score the win.

It was the fifth victory of the season for Bonsignore, and his 25th career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He’s the only driver in the 64-race history at the track to win four straight, breaking a previous tie with Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece, who both had three. The win also helped Bonsignore close the gap in the championship standings with just three races remaining.

“Anytime we come here, we want to win. We love coming home,” Bonsignore said. “I’ve just been really fortunate with good cars here with Ryan (Stone, crew chief), to be able to win four in a row.”

Bonsignore’s path to Victory Lane saw him fend-off another local favorite. He started second, but dropped to the bottom of the top five early, and had to spend much of the middle of the race charging back through. Former track champion Tom Rogers Jr. led from laps 32 to 124, driving away from the field before a caution flew just after the halfway point.

Rogers would struggle to keep his podium running spot, while Solomito took control of the race out front on lap 146, and Bonsignore followed by Rogers shortly after. Bonsignore would chase down Solomito as the two cut through lapped traffic, but didn’t quite seem to have the run to try and get around.

But a caution with 16 laps to go changed that.

Bonsignore worked the outside of Solomito on the restart, and was able to clear him for the top spot. He would have to hold his ground as the leader during two final restarts, but was able to accomplish the task.

Solomito would finish second, his best effort of the season, while Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole winner Craig Lutz was third. Kyle Soper, Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified points leader, was fourth, followed by Patrick Emerling.

Chuck Hossfeld was sixth, followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender J.B. Fortin, J.R. Bertuccio, Rogers and John Beatty Jr.

After starting inside the top five, contact between Bonsignore and Doug Coby sent Coby spinning early. The points leader would charge back into the middle of the top 10, but after contact in the final corner, he spun again, and finished 15th.

Coby leads Bonsignore by 19 points in the standings, while Ron Silk is third, 45 back. The Miller Lite 200 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, September 11, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track for the Musket 250 presented by Whelen at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of the second Full Throttle Weekend on Saturday, September 21.

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Rain Washes Out Lucas Oil 250 to Sunday

SAINT-EUSTACHE, Que — Following on and off rain showers in the area, qualifying for the Lucas Oil 250 at Autodrome Saint-Eustache has been washed out.

The 17-car field was able to get a full practice session in before the rain fell, the field will be set as per the NASCAR rulebook.

Saint-Eustache, Quebec native Kevin Lacroix will start from the top spot as he was quickest in practice. Alex Labbe will start second with LP Dumoulin third. Jason Hathaway and Kerry Micks will round out the top five.

With the track set to close at the end of 2019, all 17 drivers will be looking for the coveted final win.

Rain also caused the race to be delayed a day. Per the updated schedule, the green flag will drop Sunday at 12:55 p.m.