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LP Dumoulin and Andrew Ranger Win Big in Saskatoon

SASKATOON, Sask. — The NASCAR Pinty’s Series began it’s annual Western Swing with a trip to Wyant Group Raceway in Saskatoon. With heavy rains in the forecast, the fans knew they would be in for show.

LP Dumoulin and Andrew Ranger came to Saskatoon with one goal in mind: win. Doing so in completely different fashions, both drivers tasted victory in the Velocity Prairie Thunder Twins 125s.

One breaking an eight race winless streak, while the other took command of the Pinty’s Series points standings.

The first 125 lap feature saw the drivers not just racing each other, but the wrath of Mother Nature. With the the looming threat of rain on the horizon, every position mattered. Kevin Lacroix came out of the gate surging, leading the first 83 laps the No.74 car was on rails, that is until LP Dumoulin got to his back bumper.

Dumoulin’s No.47 WeatherTech Canada/ Bellemare Dodge used the bumper to get past Lacroix, pulling out to a a few car lengths leads before the rains hit. On Lap 166 a massive storm swept through Saskatoon, bring thunder and lightning with it. In the end, NASCAR officially declared Dumoulin the victor of Race No.1. This marked Dumoulin’s eighth career win and second at Saskatoon.

“It’s really really a great moment for the WeatherTech/Bellemare car, we were leading there with I think 9 laps remaining” Dumoulin said. “The car was fast, we had to get through a couple cars in traffic but still every time we were just by ourselves the digging some laps, we felt like were in a very good position to win it.

Kevin Lacroix finished second, with Andrew Ranger completing the podium. Alex Labbe and Jason Hathaway rounded out the top five.

Brett Taylor and Donald Theetge were sixth and seventh. Jamie Krzysik, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Mark Dilley were the rest of the top ten.

Following the torrential downpour, race No.2 got underway under the lights. With the Saskatoon race fans packing the grand stands, NASCAR was committed to giving them a show. By virtue of the quickest lap time in race No.1, Andrew Ranger was on pole for race No.2.

Ranger’s speed showed early dominating the early stages of the race, but it would end up being a two horse battle for the win. Ranger’s teammate D.J Kennington stayed locked to the back bumper of Ranger for most of the night.

In the end, nobody could catch Ranger who would go on to score his 26th series win.

“Oh it was an awesome race, with my teammate DJ Kennington, to have a nice battle together” Ranger said. “I want to thank all of my crew, the Mopar guys did a great job, they’ve been working very hard. We finished third in the first race and first on the second race. So it’s fantastic, I’m very happy about my team and we’re going to Edmonton on Saturday.”

Kennington would settle for second despite leading 20 laps. With a standout performance, Brett Taylor can now call himself a NASCAR podium finisher. Taylor brought his EHR Team Orange No.46 home third, his best career finish.

LP Dumoulin and Kevin Lacroix rounded out the top five. 22 Racing teammates Alex Tagliani and Donald Theetge were sixth and seventh. Jamie Krzysik, Marc-Antoine Camirand and Alex Labbe were the rest of the top ten.

The race also marked the 100th career start of CBRT driver Jason White, White was honoured with a signed flag following the race.

The next race will be Saturday July 28, where the Series will take on Edmonton International Raceway.

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Kevin Harvick breaks drought with successful New Hampshire defense

LOUDON, N.H. – The drought is over.

Blanked for 21 straight races, Kevin Harvick was winless in 2019 until he held off Denny Hamlin on older tires to win Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The victory was Harvick’s fourth at the Magic Mile, most among active drivers and tied with Jeff Burton for most all-time. The driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Mustang won his second-straight race at the one-mile flat track and his third in the last five events.

Crew chief Rodney Childers made the winning call to keep Harvick on track on older tires, when Hamlin pitted for right-side rubber on Lap 266, under caution for Kyle Larson’s spin in Turn 2. Hamlin restarted fourth, quickly moved to second and chased Harvick for the final 29 laps.

On the final circuit, Hamlin got to Harvick’s bumper in Turn 1 and gave the No. 4 Ford Mustang a tap, but Hamlin’s Toyota Camry couldn’t clear Harvick, who pulled ahead on the backstretch. Harvick hugged the bottom through Turns 3 and 4 as Hamlin moved to the outside, trying to take advantage of the traction compound in the higher lane.

But when Hamlin pulled alongside, Harvick drove to the right, hitting Hamlin and slowing his momentum. Harvick crossed the finish line .210 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who had led 113 laps before making his final pit stop.

Even as he lined up for the final restart on Lap 273, Harvick wasn’t sure Childers had made the right call, but the uncertainty disappeared when Harvick was first to the stripe.

“I didn’t think we had the best chance to win today but Rodney made a great call,” said Harvick, who led the last 41 laps. “We had a good car today. We just never could get track position. We stayed out there and ran a lot of good laps.

Lapped traffic on the final two circuits enabled Hamlin to make up ground and made Harvick’s victory more difficult.

“I really didn’t want to see that traffic there at the end,” Harvick said. “It made my car tight when (Hamlin) got to me. He tried to move me out of the way down there and I knew that was coming, as close as he was. So I just stood on the brakes—half-throttle down the back straightaway.

“I was like, ‘You’re not getting under me again,’ and he drove to the outside of me and I waited until he got to the outside of me and put a wheel on him.”

As he watched a replay of the final lap, Hamlin was already second-guessing himself.

“Well, I kind of shoved him up a little higher and tried to get him out of the groove,” said Hamlin, who was in a backup No. 11 Toyota Camry after crashing his primary car in practice. “I’m kind of watching it back right now. I mean, yeah, I wanted to just tap him there, but I didn’t want to completely screw him. I at least wanted to give him a fair shot there. Down the backstretch, I kind of let off, and I’m like, ‘All right, well, I’ll just pass him on the outside and kind of do this thing the right way,’ and once I had that big run, he just turned right. But I would do the same thing. It was a fun race, and congratulations to him and his team. They made a great call there at the end.”

Erik Jones finished third, overcoming contact with Alex Bowman’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on pit road and a subsequent speeding penalty. Ryan Blaney ran fourth, followed by Matt DiBenedetto, who posted his second top-five result of the season.

Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and polesitter Brad Keselowski completed the top 10. Busch led a race-high 118 of 301 laps but lost track position when he had to return to pit road under caution on Lap 153 to fix a tire rub. He later hit the wall on lap 214 to cause the seventh of nine cautions but rallied to score a top 10.

Busch won the first stage of the event, and eventual 11th-place finisher Aric Almirola took the second stage.

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Chase Cabre Conquers New Hampshire For Second Straight Win

LOUDON, N.H. — Chase Cabre is getting hot at the right time.

After going two full seasons and 32 races without a win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the Rev Racing driver suddenly can’t lose. After winning at Memphis International Raceway last time out, Cabre made it two in a row Saturday evening as he won the United Site Services 70 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday evening.

Despite leading over half the race, Cabre radioed into his No. 4 team a problem in the rear end with two laps to go. But after some coaching from his spotter on the NHMS roof, he was able to nurse it home and claim the checkered flag.

“When I lifted, it’d start huck-a-bucking getting down into the corner,” he said. “The rear end, I guess, was going out. We had no power going down the straightaway on the last lap. I was super super nervous on the bottom, half-throttle just trying to hold onto it, but we were able to make it to the finish. I don’t know if it had another lap in it.”

Cabre was quickest in practice and earned the pole on Friday evening, but admitted he didn’t have a ton of confidence in his car leading into the race.

Post-race was a different story, trophy in hand and smile ear to ear. He credited crew chief Doug Howe, who won for the fifth time in his career in the series, and the rest of his Rev Racing team for giving him a hot rod capable of dominating.

“The ones behind the scenes, they make it happen,” he said. “They’re nothing but the best. Arguably the best in the garage area, I believe it with everything in me. They gave me a great car to go out there and dominate today. Makes a statement to let everybody we know we’re not here to play, we’re here to win. We gotta take advantage of opportunities when we get them. Today was a good day for us.”

Sam Mayer edged championship points leader Derek Kraus, who led 10 laps after starting ninth, coming off Turn 4 on the final lap for the runner-up spot. The move kept Mayer within two points of Kraus, while the bonus points for the victory allowed Cabre to close within six of the leader.

Hattori Racing Enterprises’ Max McLaughlin and DGR-Crosley’s Taner Gray rounded out the top five.

Riley Herbst, Spencer Davis, Drew Dollar, Colin Garrett and Lawless Alan completed the top 10.

The United Site Services 70 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Monday, July 29 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series East event will take place next weekend on Friday, July 26 at Iowa Speedway, the first of two combination events with the K&N Pro Series West.

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Christopher Bell thumps the field in NASCAR Xfinity win at Magic Mile

LOUDON, N.H. – Christopher Bell got just what he needed on an uncharacteristically hot day at New Hampshire Motor Speedway—a breeze.

That’s an apt description of Bell’s victory in the ROXOR 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday. In winning for the fifth time this season and the second time in as many starts at the Magic Mile, Bell led 186 of 200 laps and crossed the finish line 4.068 seconds ahead of runner-up Cole Custer.

The race followed a familiar pattern. After each restart, Bell would pull away steadily as the drivers behind him contested second, third and fourth place. The only time the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota fell out of the lead was a pit stop on Lap 33, when seven other cars stayed on the track

Bell restarted eighth on Lap 38 and drove up to second place before the first stage ended on Lap 45. Aside from that, the 24-year-old from Norman, Oklahoma, was in full control. When Stage 2 ended, Bell had an advantage of more than six seconds over eventual third-place finisher Justin Allgaier.

“I just had a really good race car,” said Bell, who has a propensity for understatement. “I’m very thankful to be driving these Supras for Joe Gibbs Racing. All of our partners, man, they just provide really fast race cars, and I’m the lucky guy who gets to drive them.”

Custer’s recent victories on the 1.5-mile speedways at Chicagoland and Kentucky had engendered talk that Custer might be the favorite for the series championship this year. But Bell was reluctant to call his win at New Hampshire a statement victory, no matter how decisive

“We knew we’d be good here,” said Bell, who earned his 13th win in 59 Xfinity starts. “Whoever the (championship) favorite is will be decided at Homestead.”

Custer’s car was fast enough to win the pole in qualifying but not strong enough to keep up with Bell on restarts.

“I wasn’t driving the car right at the start of the race, so I kind of got behind on adjustments,” said Custer, who lost the lead to Bell on a hotly contested first lap. “I wish we’d had another caution so we could catch up to him.”

Series leader Tyler Reddick ran fourth, followed by Paul Menard and Chase Briscoe. Ryan Truex, Ryan Sieg, Brandon Jones and Noah Gragson completed the top 10.

If Bell’s drive to the checkered flag was a breeze, that was hardly the case for his JGR teammate, Harrison Burton, who got the short end of an on-track spat with Menard, the only full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver in the field.

On Lap 153, Menard hit Burton’s Toyota in Turn 1 and sent it spinning. With his car damaged, Burton finished 29th. After the race, Burton approached Menard to get an explanation.

“He hit me twice, and I hit him once,” Menard said. “He was mad at me for hitting him that one time.”

Burton, however, didn’t think Menard’s retaliation was justified.

“We had a restart there (on Lap 148), the first thing he said he was mad about was I hit him on the restart,” said the 18-year-old Burton. “But I was on the apron, and he turned down across my nose. He got mad about that, and then I barely touched his door, and I got out of the gas because I didn’t want to hit him any harder than I did.

“Then I passed him clean, and he wrecked me… He didn’t really seem to care, and that’s fine for him. I’m just going to go out and beat him on the race track. That’s all I can do to show these guys that I’m here to play. I’m not going to get pushed around anymore.”

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Ron Silk Earns New Hampshire Win in Overtime

LOUDON, N.H. — Eight years later, not much has changed for Ron Silk.

The Norwalk, Connecticut, driver picked up his third career victory at the ‘Magic Mile’ in the Eastern Propane & Oil 100 on Saturday, outlasting a field of 38 drivers on the biggest stage of modified racing. It was the third career victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Silk, and his first at the 1.058-mile since 2011.

He beat Doug Coby on what turned out to be the final restart, when contact from a crash shortened the race due to damage to the outside wall in turn one.  It was the second win of the season for the former series champion and his 12th career.

“Kenny and Kevin Stuart (car owners) have really done a great job getting me everything that I have asked for,” Silk said. “It’s nice to see the effort pay off. The guys are really working hard.”

Silk didn’t lead a lap until the final stages. Following a caution with just 20 laps remaining, Silk chased the back bumper of Eric Goodale, before taking the lead from him on lap 85. From there, he never relinquished the top spot, while drivers jostled for position in the draft behind him.

The field lined up for a green-white-checkered finish on lap 101, but a quick crash in turn one slowed the field again. While safety crews went to work on the wall, the race was deemed complete in overtime. Silk took the checkered flag until caution, seven laps after the scheduled distance.

“We raced really hard the whole day,” Silk said. “There was certainly no guarantee that I would have won. But we were leading at the right time today. Bummer circumstances that we didn’t get to finish (under green).”

Coby crossed the line second, while Chase Dowling finished third. Jon McKennedy, who earned his first Mayhew Tools Dominator Pole Award in qualifying, led 19 laps and finished fourth. Matt Swanson was fifth. Eric Goodale was sixth, followed by Justin Bonsignore, Rob Summers, Tommy Catalano and Craig Lutz.

Coby leads Silk by 28 in the championship point standings with seven races remaining, while Bonsignore is third, 38 out.

The Eastern Propane & Oil 100 will air on NBCSN on Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Friday, August 2 at Stafford Motor Speedway in Connecticut.

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Dominant Chandler Smith Takes Fourth Straight Short Track Win in Fans with Benefits 150

After leading the afternoon’s practice session and winning the General Tire Pole Award, Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) put a period on a clean sweep of the ARCA Menards Series Fans with Benefits 150 with a dominant victory Friday night at Iowa Speedway. Smith led the first 106 laps before losing the lead on pit road during the penultimate caution flag of the night. Once back under green, it took him just 10 laps to knife his way through the field to retake the lead from Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota) to lead the final 35 laps.

The win is Smith’s fourth of the season, and his fourth consecutive ARCA Menards Series short track victory.

Smith wasn’t hampered at all by traffic or the dreaded aero push as he sliced his way through the field.

“The only time I ever felt the car respond to aero all night was when I passed a lap car on the outside,” Smith said. “Other than that it was perfect. I can’t thank Billy and the rest of the Venturini Motorsports team for giving me such a great car here. To have five wins on the season is a dream come true.”

It’s the second time this season the 17-year-old from Talking Rock, Georgia has raced at the 0.875-mile D-shaped oval. He led the first 55 laps of the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race here earlier in the season in his debut driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

“I learned a lot that carried over here to the ARCA car,” Smith said. “They have the same engine and the same power so a lot of the way they drive is similar. Any time you get extra laps is a benefit.”

Smith’s late-race charge to the front was necessitated by a miscue on the final pit stop.

“We had some sort of jack malfuction,” he said. “It’s all just part of it. I really wanted to lead them all tonight but we’re still leaving here with the trophy and that’s what matters.”

Smith led a Venturini Motorsports sweep of the top three finishers. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) was second in front of Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) in third.

“I thought I got a better restart than Chandler did on the final restart,” Eckes said. “We went down into one and just got way too loose. When the track is as hot and slick as it was tonight I don’t know if that’s what it was or if we were just too loose. But this is as hot as I’ve ever been in the racecar.”

As if the 90-degree temperatures weren’t enough of a challenge, Self fought a gearbox issue that left his car stuck in fourth gear for most of the night. On each restart he would drop back through the field and be forced to pass the same cars repeatedly as he charged back to the front.

“The only time we had all the gears was on the initial start of the race,” Self said. “Every other restart we would drop back through the field and have to pass our way back towards the front. It really felt like it was one of the most physical races I’ve ever driven because I was always racing someone for position all night long. The final restart we didn’t lose as many positions as the others because it was just a couple of laps to go and I held it wide open through turns one and two and whatever happened happened.”

The race was slowed four times by cautions, twice for debris and twice for incidents on track. Scott Melton (No. 69 Melton McFadden Agency Toyota) spun to bring out the first caution of the night on lap ten, and the final caution of the night was necessitated for a spin by Tim Richmond, who nosed into the inside wall going into turn one, with just eight laps to go.

Smith took one hour, 20 minutes, and 40 seconds to claim the win at an average speed of 97.624 miles per hour. His margin of victory over Eckes was 1.515 seconds.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the FORTS USA 150 at Pocono Raceway on Friday, July 26. Practice starts at 9 am ET with General Tire Pole Qualifying set for 1:35 pm ET and the green flag on the FORTS USA 150 set to fly at 4 pm ET. The race will be televised live flag to flag on FS1. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live user chat, and live track updates for registered users at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For ticket information please visit PoconoRaceway.com.

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Brad Keselowski breaks pole drought with strong run at Magic Mile

LOUDON, N.H. – Starved for a pole position for nearly two years, Brad Keselowski put a decisive end to the qualifying drought on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, edging Kyle Busch for the top starting spot in Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

Fastest on the first of his two laps in time trials, Keselowski beat Busch by .015 seconds, covering the one-mile distance in 27.927 seconds (136.384 mph). Busch clocked in at 136.311 mph.

The Busch Pole Award was Keselowski’s fourth at the Magic Mile and his first here since the driver of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford set the track qualifying record in 2014 (20.090 seconds at 140.598 mph). After 11 of his 14 previous career pole runs, Keselowski has finished in the top 10, including two victories. His only victory at Loudon, however, came from the seventh starting position (2014).

“This definitely surprised me,” said Keselowski, who last won a pole in the August race at Michigan in 2017. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a pole. We’ve had really good cars but haven’t been able to make the most of it with the driver in qualifying, so it’s nice to get one here in Loudon.”

Track position aside, the primary benefit of winning the pole at New Hampshire may well be the selection of pit stall No. 1, closest to the exit from pit road.

“The first pit stall will be huge for sure,” Keselowski concurred. “This track on pit road has a lot of chaos. I’m not saying you can’t wreck in pit stall No. 1, but it’s a little harder there and it certainly makes life a lot easier for your pit crew. It’s like you’re in the HOV lane (on pit exit).”

Kurt Busch, last Sunday’s winner at Kentucky Speedway, qualified third at 136.238 mph. Erik Jones will start fourth, followed by Ryan Blaney, Martin Truex Jr., Matt DiBenedetto and two-time Loudon winner Joey Logano.

Jones matched his best effort in time trials this season, having also qualified fourth at both Bristol and Pocono. His No. 20 Toyota showed significant improvement over practice earlier in the day.

“It was kind of a struggle this morning, but actually there (in qualifying) it felt pretty good,” Jones said. “Definitely a lot better than what we had in practice. I missed it a little bit on the lap. It had some more in it. Just didn’t hit it right.

“The Stanley Camry felt good there, so I think that was the first time all day I’ve had a good feel in the car, and if we can kind of transfer that into (Saturday’s practice), that’d be a positive.”

Alex Bowman, who locked himself into the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs with a victory at Chicagoland Speedway, will start last after failing to complete a lap in time trials because of a broken drive shaft.

“There was a big boom and something broke,” said Bowman, who had begun his first lap before the part failure. “I don’t know. I haven’t looked at the car. Obviously, the drive shaft broke. I don’t know if the gears or the drive shaft went first. It took out a lot of stuff on the way out. There’s oil everywhere. Just part of it.

“I don’t like New Hampshire. I’ve always struggled here. I’m a selfish, biased race car driver, so places I struggle, I don’t like. It’s going to be hot, and certainly we have our work cut out for us starting from the back. But we’ll make it a good day.”

Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman qualified 23rd and 26th, respectively, in backup cars after wrecking in practice.

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Patrick Emerling Wins Three-Wide Battle in All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire

LOUDON, N.H. — Three-wide racing to the finish on the biggest stage of modified racing.

Patrick Emerling edged two other NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour veterans in a three-wide finish to win the sixth annual All-Star Shootout on Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Emerling became the sixth different winner of the non-points event in its six-year history, and scored his first win at the ‘Magic Mile’.

The 26-year-old had come close to winning in the Granite State before, but nothing compares to holding the checkered flag at NHMS. His margin of victory was a mere .022 seconds.

“We have been working on just getting faster here. We’ve always raced well, but we just wanted to come back with a car that was just a little bit better,” Emerling said. “I’m proud of our team. It was definitely a good day for us.”

Into turn three on the final lap, Emerling shot to the bottom of Bobby Santos III with his No. 07 Sahlen’s Chevrolet and pulled ahead, but Santos wasn’t about to give up. He crossed under Emerling, and drag-raced him down the front stretch, while defending series champion Justin Bonsignore cut to the bottom of both of them and made it three-wide coming down the frontstretch.

Emerling led just four of the 35 laps, but, he led the most important one.

“We unloaded today with a new car and a whole new setup, and we weren’t sure what to do for pre-race adjustments,” Emerling said. “There was one point in the race where I was hanging on for dear life. We were lucky to get some clean air.”

Santos, who was competing in his first race filling-in for Dave Sapienza, was nearly hoisting the trophy at NHMS once again. The Franklin, Massachusetts, driver has won three of the last four Whelen Modified Tour points races at the 1.058-mile oval.

“I’ve been in that situation multiple times and been lucky enough to be the winner, but this time I wasn’t, which is a bummer,” the 2010 Whelen Modified Tour champion said. “Patrick made the right move going to the bottom, and I had a couple of different options, but I guess I made the wrong decision.”

Bonsignore was third, just .067 seconds back, while Jon McKennedy and Ron Silk rounded out the top five.

Craig Lutz, who started from the pole and led 15 laps, finished sixth. Ryan Newman, Timmy Solomito, Jimmy Blewett and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.

The All-Star Shootout will air on NBCSN Thursday, July 25, at 6 p.m.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track on Saturday, July 20, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Eastern Propane & Oil 100.

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Chandler Smith Scores Third ARCA Menards Series Win of 2019 with Dominant Performance at Elko

Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman/828 Logistics Toyota) recovered from a mid-race spin to win the ARCA Menards Series Menards 250 at Elko Speedway on Saturday night. Smith, who started seventh, was dominant throughout the race, able to drive way to a full straightaway lead on several occasions on his way to his third series victory of the season.

Although he had the dominant car, Smith did have to work for it. He slid in oil laid down in turn one by another competitor and spun on lap 146 and dropped to the tail of the lead lap. By virtue of a fast car and numerous mid-race cautions that continued to jumble the running order, Smith was able to knife his way back to the lead by lap 209. From there, he was able to drive away to nearly a full straightaway lead crossing the stripe 4.147 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy/ORCA Coolers/Terrible Herbst/Advance Auto Parts Toyota).

“I was so mad when I spun down there in one,” Smith said post-race. “I was the only one riding the top groove at that point and there was oil all over the place. It just went around so slow, like it was in slow motion. I though we might have had a tire go down or maybe even got hit. I was just mad. You definitely didn’t want to hear our radio traffic after that happened.”

For his part, Gibbs thought he could have challenged Smith for the win but lost track position on the final restart and couldn’t ever close the gap.

“Everyone jumbled up on the final restart,” Gibbs said. “We lost a ton of track position and just couldn’t make it up.”

Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet) finished third.

“It was a crazy night out there but we don’t have any scratches on the car,” he said. “We’ll take it. We have some K&N Pro Series races coming up over the next month so we won’t be back until Salem and Indy in the fall, but we think we’ll be able to come back and get us a win in one of those two races.”

Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) finished fourth by inches over Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford). Self was racing for position with General Tire Pole Award winner Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota) on the final lap when the two made contact, sending Eckes for a smoky spin off turn four coming to the checkered. Eckes would finish eleventh, the final driver on the lead lap.

“Right now I can’t think of anything else from this race but the last lap,” Self said afterwards. “I absolutely hate that we got into Christian on the last lap. He’s not only my teammate but he’s one of my best friends. It puts a real damper on the night.”

The race was action-packed, with a slew of cautions for incidents throughout the middle stages of the race. One of those cautions involved championship contenders Bret Holmes (No. 23 Holmes II Excavation Chevrolet) and Travis Braden (No. 27 MatrixCare/Consonus Health Care/Liberty Village Ford). The two made contact on the frontstretch on lap 198, with Holmes catching a piece of the wall and Braden receiving body damage to the rear end of his car. Four laps later the two came together again with Braden spinning. Holmes finished ninth while Braden finished 12th.

Next up for the ARCA Menards Series is the Fans with Benefits 150 at Iowa Speedway on Friday, July 19. Practice is set for 12:45 pm ET/11:45 am CT, General Tire Pole Qualifying follows at 4:45 pm ET/3:45 pm CT, and the Fans with Benefits 150 will go green at 9 pm ET/8 pm CT. The race will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live user chat, and live track updates for free at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. Fans can purchase tickets at a 15% discount at Des Moines area Menards locations.

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Kurt Busch beats out younger brother in overtime at Kentucky

Denied victory at Daytona by an inopportune pit call last Sunday, Kurt Busch drove like lightning in a two-lap overtime dash to the finish to win Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

Swapping sheet metal with brother Kyle Busch as the siblings battled for the victory throughout the overtime, Busch collected his first victory of the season in the No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. The 2004 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion won for the first time at Kentucky and the 31st time in his career.

Kurt Busch beat his brother to the finish line by .076 seconds, the closest margin of victory at a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway this season. It was also the first Cup triumph for a Chevrolet at Kentucky, which began hosting races in NASCAR’s premier series in 2011. It was also the first victory for Busch’s crew chief, Matt McCall.

“Hell yeah! Hell yeah!” Busch exulted after climbing from his car on the frontstretch. “I’m proud he (Kyle) gave me a little room on the outside. He could have clobbered us against the wall, and he probably would have got it.”

Busch was running fourth, nine seconds behind then-leader Joey Logano, when Bubba Wallace spun in Turn 2 with six laps left in regulation. Logano, third-place Erik Jones, the Busch brothers and Denny Hamlin stayed out on older tires for the overtime, with Kurt Busch having fresher rubber on his left side, thanks to a four-tire pit stop under green on Lap 213 of a scheduled 267.

That caution helped balance the scales of fortune. Last Sunday at Daytona, Busch pitted from the lead when NASCAR gave the one-lap-to-go signal, only to have a lightning bolt within the eight-mile range return the race to caution. After rain hit the track, Justin Haley, who stayed out, got the victory.

The misfortune at Daytona, made Busch relish his Kentucky win all the more.

“What an awesome run,” Busch said. “Whatever last week was, we got the ‘W’ now! That was epic. I was hopeful that we would get a shot, just one more restart. We got that yellow … with my little brother — it’s the best guy in the world to go race against.”

For the first time, Kurt beat his younger brother in a 1-2 finish.

“I’m glad it was a thriller,” Kyle Busch said. “Just unfortunately we were on the wrong end of the deal for everybody at M&M’s and Toyota, Interstate Batteries, all the folks that get us to where we’re at.

“But congratulations to Kurt and Chip and (sponsor) Monster and all the guys over there. It’s obviously cool to put on great races and great finishes, and (I’ve) been a part of a lot of them and not very many — in fact none with my brother like that, so that was a first. No hard feelings, and we move on.”

In a one-year deal with Ganassi, Kurt Busch has been weighing his future in the sport. Saturday’s win may influence his decision.

“I thought this year might be my last, but we’re having so much fun, we’ll have to see how things go,” he said.

Jones finished third, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson, who pitted for tires before the overtime. Hamlin held fifth, putting three Joe Gibbs Racing drivers in the top five.

Clint Bowyer, Logano, polesitter Daniel Suarez, Ryan Newman and Chris Buescher completed the top 10.