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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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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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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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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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Brett Taylor Hopeful for Strong Performances with Team Change

TORONTO, Ontario — Looking to improve his performances, Brett Taylor made the move this past week to Ed Hakonson Racing as a teammate to Jason Hathaway.

“We wanted to go down a different path,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “Jason Hathaway (and Ed Hakonson Racing) are an awesome team. They have a great group of guys. Hathaway is a championship driver. With his experience, I was hoping that he would help mentor me and he’s willing to take me under his wing, I look forward to learning from him.”

The new addition to EHR brings uncharted waters for Jason Hathaway, as he has ran most of his career without a teammate.

“Don Thomson was my teammate once back in 2011; he’s the only teammate that I’ve really had,” Hathaway said. “Brett is a good guy. He’ll listen, take your advice –he even listens to the guys. A few times this weekend he even said to me, ‘I’ve never had anybody tell me that before.’ He’s eager to learn, and I think he respects our team and the way we ran for a lot of years, so it’s a good partnership.”

In just a season and a half of competition, Taylor has left his mark on the NASCAR Pinty’s Series. He won the 2018 Jostens Rookie of the Year Award following four top-10’s in the 12 races, with a best finish of eighth. Thus far this season entering Toronto, he had only scored one top-10 in the first three events.

Now joined up with EHR, the goal is simple – to step up performance moving forward.

“We are going to get on the podium this year – we have to,” Taylor stated. “That’s what my eyes are set for.”

His first race with EHR did not go as well as hoped, with brake issues in the early laps taking him out of contention. However, it hasn’t dampered any spirits in knowing the box they were painted in entering the weekend.

“We came not too prepared because the transition to this team was last minute,” Taylor admitted. “The boys had never saw the car before.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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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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Alex Tagliani Out-Battles Ranger for Victory in Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario — Last season, Alex Tagliani led all the regulation laps in the Pinty’s Grand Prix, but lost out on the victory to Andrew Ranger in overtime.

This time around, though, it was Alex Tagliani coming out on top at the end of the 35-lap event.

“It’s amazing,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I just love this place. I mean, this track has been good to us and I’m very thankful for the team, the hard work they are doing. Having a win here is very important. When you can score good points in a championship like this that’s so tight, it’s very important.

“Hopefully we are able to continue on this particular run and continue our climb towards a championship.”

Starting on pole, Tagliani grabbed the early advantage and appeared ready to cruise away from the field. However, Ranger used a restart on Lap 15 to get by for the top spot. Tagliani wasn’t about to denied, putting the No. 18 RONA/EpiPen/St-Hubert/Spectra Premium Chevrolet back out front two laps later.

Tagliani then led the rest of the way, despite significant contact to the rear of his Chevrolet from Ranger on a restart with three laps to go.

“I think the contact was pretty much as far as he was going to bring it,” Tagliani commented. “I think Andrew was driving like a driver with a championship to protect and a championship lead to take this weekend. I think that’s how he was driving and when you have a lot to lose and want to score points, you drive in a way to where his driving was as aggressive as he could do it. It also brought in a good finish, scored good points. So I think overall, he was fair with me.”

The victory continues Tagliani’s solid start of the season. After finishing outside of the top-10 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Tagliani has now scored three consecutive top-fives to sit fourth in the standings. He will hope to gain some ground in the double header event at Wyant Group Raceway, a track that he has yet to win at in the series despite three top-five’s and six top-10’s in seven races.  

“I think it’s an interesting format because you can’t get in trouble in the first race as second race is worth a lot of points, and there’s no time,” he said. “If you break your car, you’re done. So during the race, it’s walking on eggs the first race to make sure you come out with the most points over the two races as that’s very important. Getting our car right is going to very important to make sure our short oval program is better.”

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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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L.P. Dumoulin Overcomes Engine Issues in Toronto

TORONTO, Ontario — Despite picking up on an engine issue in the early stages of the Pinty’s Grand Prix, L.P. Dumoulin was still able to leave Exhibition Place with a podium finish.

“Super happy with my WeatherTech and Bellemare team,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I think we had a tough race. We had engine problems at the beginning of the race. The team didn’t have any control on it, but they diagnosed it pretty quick and they told me it wouldn’t get better or worse, but we’d have to deal with it.

“We fought with it the whole race, but the car was so fast in the technical parts, which was awesome for us. A third for us is like a win this weekend. It’s really positive for the future, because we know we improved a lot, and that means the rest of this season will be more interesting.”

Although the third-place finish was nice for Dumoulin, he feels if they hadn’t ran into the mechanical issues, they had a good enough car to beat Alex Tagliani for the win.

“It’s happened a couple times since the beginning of the season,” he added. “But again, I’m really feeling positive about the rest of the season.”

The third-place finish allows Dumoulin to rank fourth in the standings, 22 points behind Andrew Ranger for the top spot as the series heads west to Wyant Group Raceway and Edmonton International Raceway.

The next stretch has Dumoulin excited, as he loves both of the short tracks out there, including a win in Edmonton last season. Then to follow it up with his home town event with the Three Rivers, Quebec road course, and you could have the perfect storm brewing.

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Jason Hathaway Comes Through Field for Top-10 Finish

TORONTO, Ontario — Steadily making progress throughout the Pinty’s Grand Prix, Jason Hathaway was able to leave the streets of Toronto with a solid top-10 finish.

“It was a good run for us,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “A little bit of a momentum builder heading out west; we’ve had a couple rough weeks. A little rough out there on some of those restarts. It’s real hard in some of those passing zones, but I was getting everything I could on every restart and it just worked out for us that it was our day today to get a good finish.”

The weekend did not start off strongly, as Hathaway would only qualify the No. 3 Kubota/Choko/Premium Bulk Systems/Kugel Chevrolet in the 14th position for the 35 lap event.

“I thought we’d be a little bit better when we showed up here, but it took me a little truthfully to get back into the rhythm,” he admitted. “I haven’t been here in three years. I think the car was better than the driver for the little while. But we made some adjustments this morning and thought we had a good car going into the race.

“It was good. Got to race with a lot of good guys as at the end, we were with (Gary) Klutt and Jason White was real fast this weekend, as well as D.J. Kennington. We had a real good battle with Donald Theetge most of the day. I think everybody is still friends after it, so I think we’ll pack up and head out west and get on some ovals.”

Although normally known for his oval performances, the previous two events this year have ended early for Hathaway as a result of incidents on-track. Now with momentum on his side, it’d be no surprise to the No. 3 up front in Saskatoon.

“We have a real good oval program and it’s two races – double points you could say – at Saskatoon,” he said. “So hopefully we can have two good runs out there, and come back with the finishes that we expect to have. We’re gearing up. We have a strong team this year. We’ve just had a couple bad weeks that have put us behind.”

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Jason White Claws Back From Incident for Top-10

TORONTO, Ontario — Jason White found himself within the front runners of the series, a feeling that hasn’t usually come naturally. That feeling of being a hero, though, went away when he made contact with the wall.

Following a solid qualifying effort landing the No. 21 World Financial Group Dodge in 11th on the grid, White put together a solid first half of Pinty’s Grand Prix to keep himself in the conversation.

Though as the laps began to count down, he began to make some moves to improve his running position.

“This week, we had World Financial Group on, and I just really wanted to present really well for them,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “I was passing up in the top-10 around some pretty stout cars that have been out of my league for the last eight, 10, 12 years. So racing around some of the guys that I respect a lot, I got a little overzealous.

“I passed the 3 (Jason Hathaway), passed the 17 (DJ Kennington) into three. Then got a little wheel-hop going into five, and lost the back end of it; went from hero to zero in five seconds.”

The contact with the concrete barrier ripped the truck lid and rear bumper cover off of his car. With NASCAR rules requiring teams run a trunk lid and White’s nowhere to be found shredded, crew chief Larry Jackson asked Gary Klutt if they could use his as Klutt was parked on pit road due to rear-end issues.

With the help of his fellow competitor and some hard work on pit road by the team, they were able to fix the damage enough for White to continue. He was then able to drive his way back up to 10th by the checkered flag.

“The CBRT Team did a great job getting me back out there, keeping me on the lead lap, fixing the car,” he continued. “Like I said, we’ve stepped up our game and that’s a different level of competition. So you go in with a different mindset and just as a racecar driver, you want to be around those cars.”

The feeling of running up front and being successful right now is the perfect cherry on top for White, as he reaches a milestone in his career. He will be making his 100th career series start when they pull into Wyatt Group Raceway in Saskatoon.

“That’s our third top-10 in four races, so that’s pretty good to start the season off,” he said. “Too bad we had another bone head maneuver that I made in Chaudiere. But we’ll look forward here, and do our best in Saskatoon; hopefully we can get up and stay close and maybe win that one, or podium at least.

“Then pack up, re-load and do some Gander Outdoor Truck Series racing.”

White is no stranger to racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series, having competed a pair of races last season. He will once again return to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, with the possibility for two or three more events.

There is a chance that one of those races added to White’s schedule could be on a restrictor plate track, following a 16th-place finish in the ARCA Menards Series Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway this past February.

“I think that helped starting the season off there and having some seat time at Phoenix in the Gander Outdoor Truck Series,” he commented. “I think that’s really helped my driving and I really think it’s broaden my own horizons a little bit to show what is in the tank that we hadn’t brought out before. Definitely makes you a better driver. Just being in a racecar more and more is good as it helps everything.”

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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.