Categories
Home Tracks

Marc-Antoine Camirand: “It’s totally my fault.”

TORONTO, Ontario — Marc-Antoine Camirand was headed towards his first victory of the 2019 campaign – and then the crash happened.

Throughout the Pinty’s Grand Prix on the streets of Exhibition Place, Camirand ran inside the top-three, battling with fellow Quebec natives Alex Tagliani and Andrew Ranger.

A late race caution set-up a restart with three to go, which worked out in Camirand’s favor. He was able to get a good run into the first corner, putting the No. 22 GM Paille Chevrolet ahead of the field.

The same lap, though, as he headed into the back half of the course, things would not go as smoothly. He would make a mistake entering the turn eight corner, slamming the tire barriers, ripping the side off of his car as he went around.

Instead of visiting victory lane on Saturday evening, he was credited with a 16th-place finish.

“The car was really good,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “22 Racing gave me an awesome car. I feel bad because it’s solely my fault. I had a good restart on Alex and took the lead. Then after that, I just missed my braking point by a little bit and I lost it. It’s totally my fault, but I’ll take the blame on it and try to go out west and win them both.”

Unfortunately, Camirand has not started the 2019 NASCAR Pinty’s Series season as he wished, currently ranked 11th in the season-long standings following just a single top-10 in the first four races.

“We have had a tough start,” he stated. “I think we can bounce back. We have character in the team and pretty sure we can bounce back, and bring a couple victories back.”

His next chance to visit victory lane with come as part of the double header in Saskatoon at Wyatt Group Raceway.

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.

Categories
Home Tracks

Female Diversity on the Rise in NASCAR

It’s been two years since Danica Patrick completed her final full season in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and you’ll have to look back to the 2018 Daytona 500 to find the last time a female driver competed in the premiere series. In an effort to diversify the sport, we’ve seen drivers such as Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace come through NASCAR Home Tracks, bringing along a new legion of race fans.

This is a welcoming feeling as over the last three years, NASCAR has seen many of its superstars depart from racing (namely Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and has struggled with viewership numbers.

Though as new drivers continue to impress and find their identities, the argument can be made that NASCAR could be taking a turn in the right direction. According to ESPN, the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway saw a 16% increase in viewership and ratings from last season. Concluding Fox Sports coverage of the Cup Series, ESPN also reported a 2% increase from last year.

While the progression has been minimal, these should be great signs of NASCAR’s future to come. Increasing help is on the way as two of the sport’s most promising female athletes are speeding their way through the lower series in hopes of bringing a fresh look and new talent to the Cup Series – Hailie Deegan and Brittney Zamora.

Most racing fans in general have heard of Hailie Deegan. Deegan broke on to the NASCAR racing scene in 2018, running races in both the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. She has made quite the name for herself with an outgoing and bubbly personality that radiates through the garage area– but don’t let this fool you. The second generation racer is the furthest thing from a push over.

In what could be considered Deegan’s current career defining moment, she turned heads this season when she spun her Bill McAnally Racing teammate, Derek Kraus, for the win on the final lap at Colorado National Speedway (see the video below). This created tons of exposure for the 17-year old driver and now the sky seems the limit for Deegan’s career in NASCAR.

In addition to having a likable and gritty attitude that racing fans gravitate to, Deegan’s stats speak for themselves. In just 31 races run between the K&N Pro Series West and East, Deegan has three wins, 10 top-fives, 19 top-10s and four poles. This may be just a small sample of what’s to come from Deegan, but one thing is for certain – she has a bright career ahead of her in NASCAR.

To find the next female athlete making her way through NASCAR’s ranks you don’t need to go far; keep your eyes on Bill McAnally Racing with Brittney Zamora.

Zamora has not quite made the waves and headlines like her BMR counterpart, but she is silently having herself quite the rookie season in both K&N Pro Series divisions. Zamora has driven her way to four top-fives, six top-10s and one pole in just 10 races in her young NASCAR career.

The 20-year old driver from Kennewick, Washington has seen immense success racing super late models in her home state as well as Oregon. Zamora was the first female athlete to ever win a race in the Northwest Super Late Model Series and won back-to-back championships in the series from 2017-2018. She was even awarded Washington State Rookie of the Year in NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series in 2018.

Most recently, Zamora found victory lane at South Sound Speedway this past weekend, racing Super Late Models in the Twin Mains 50’s.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series has yet to see a female winner grace victory lane in the sport’s 71 years of competition. There’s no telling when or who will be the first female athlete to accomplish this monumental feat, but Deegan and Zamora should be seen as favorites to capture this historical achievement in NASCAR’s near future.

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.

Categories
News

Alex Tagliani Wins in Dramatic Fashion at Toronto

TORONTO, Ont — One year ago Alex Tagliani was in position to win.

After leading all 35 regulation laps, Tagliani was passed in a heartbreaking NASCAR Overtime finish by eventual winner Andrew Ranger. Flash forward to 2019, and Tagliani came to Toronto with one goal in mind – redemption.

Tagliani, who won the E3 Spark Plugs Pole Award, was challenged by stiff competition all race by Ranger and teammate Marc-Antoine Camirand. With two late race restarts and a NASCAR Overtime finish, Tagliani redeemed himself by scoring the victory in this year’s Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto.

Tagliani’s No.18 RONA/EpiPen Chevrolet lost the lead to Camirand in a late restart, however Camirand gave the lead back after a late crash set up NASCAR Overtime. Tagliani was able to sneak by the wreck and hold off a bloodthirsty Ranger, Kevin Lacroix and LP Dumoulin.

In the end, the 45-year-old driver from Lachanaie, Quebec was able to hold off all who opposed leading 34 of 37 laps to claim his ninth career NASCAR Pinty’s Series victory and second on the streets of Toronto.

“After last year, we felt like we had some unfinished business,” Tagliani said. “It was a great race, a great qualifying, maximum points for the weekend which is good for the team. It seems like this race track brings a bit of luck and its a turn around for our championship, it was last year. Hopefully it’s going to be this year and hoping for more good things to come this year”

Ranger, who came into the weekend one point behind Kevin Lacroix in the standings, managed to steal the lead from Tagliani near the halfway point. On the final restart Ranger did all he could to get around the No.18, Ranger would ultimately settle for second grabbing the points lead from Lacroix.

“On the start, my car was very fast and we got to lead some laps.” Ranger said. “Last restart, I stayed with Alex. Green, white, checkered, same thing. I tried to make a move on the inside but it didn’t work. I was not trying to push too hard and destroy the car.”

L.P Dumoulin used the overtime restart to his advantage, surging to his first podium finish of the season, and second at Toronto.

Lacroix brought his battered and bruised Bumper to Bumper Dodge home in fourth. He was followed by J.F Dumoulin, who completed the top five finishers.

Anthony Simone was sixth and Peter Klutt following behind in seventh. Jason Hathaway, D.J Kennington and Jason White rounded out the top ten.

Following the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto, Ranger opens a two point gap over Lacroix. With the win, Tagliani remains in third place, moving within 14 points of Ranger for the lead.

The Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto will air on TSN July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and on RDS2 July 30 at 10 p.m.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series next embarks on their annual Western Swing. The Velocity Prairie Thunder Twin 125s at Wyant Group Raceway will be July 24, followed by the LUXXUR 300 at Edmonton International Raceway July 27.

Categories
Home Tracks

Alex Tagliani Thrilling Fans, Ready to Lead Field to Green

TORONTO, Ontario — Alex Tagliani has been successful in the streets of Toronto previously, so it marks no surprise that he will lead the field to green for Saturday’s Pinty’s Grand Prix.

The driver of the No. 18 Chevrolet laid down a lap of one minute and 15.918 seconds to take the pole for the event ahead of his 22 Racing teammate Marc-Antoine Camirand. Gary Klutt will start third, followed by L.P. Dumoulin and Anthony Simone.

While he’s performing well on-track, though, he’s also keeping the fans entertained off the track.

“It’s a big event with the sponsors that we have; they like to be here,” he said on Friday. “The fans, with some research, seem to love a lot of activations and when we come here, it’s a big deal. So we have a giveaway from Craftsman Tools over the weekend with challenges that they will be able to take part of. So, it’s a big weekend and it’s important for us to be here.”

As fans fill out ballots to enter the draw to win a NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series race experience, they will get the chance to try their hand at being a tire changer, or shooting a ball with a leaf blower. The idea came about courtesy of Tagliani himself. 

“I have a leaf blower at home and I mess around with because I have a four-year-old, and I try to be a cool dad,” he commented. “I came up with something that shoots. Now we’ve brought it here in the paddock so hopefully we don’t kill nobody.

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bz3GwJRnGVk/

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.

Categories
News

Justin Bonsignore Spins To Win Third Straight at Riverhead Raceway

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. — Saturday night short-track racing at the highest level of modified racing.

There was contact, and even spinning, but it was enough for Justin Bonsignore to score his third straight NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour victory at Riverhead Raceway on Saturday night.

Bonsignore restarted to the inside of track regular John Beatty Jr. in overtime, and coming to the checkered flag, contact between the two drivers sent Beatty up the track, and Bonsignore spinning nose-first towards the frontstretch wall. In the midst of his spin, he crossed the line first in the Buzz Chew Chevrolet Cadillac 200.

The victory was Bonsignore’s third of the season and his 23rd career in Whelen Modified Tour competition. He becomes just the third driver in series history to win three straight at Riverhead, joining Mike Ewanitsko and Ryan Preece as the only drivers to accomplish the feat.

“The restart before I was able to hang with him a few laps, but John had a better car, and I was really shocked he took the outside on the last restart,” Bonsignore said. “He gave me a good shot getting into three, but you are coming to the checkered. I hate racing like that. But these races are so hard to win, and we need to win all of the races we can to get back in this points race.”

Beatty looked to have the car to beat in the final stages. He passed Timmy Solomito for the lead on lap 150 and was at the point for a near run to the finish, until a caution for a wreck down the backstretch with three laps to go closed the field up. Beatty selected the top lane, and when the field went down into turn one at the green, the contact started between the two leaders.

They leaned on each other the final two laps, until the contact in turn four, coming to the checkered, sent Bonsignore spinning. Beatty, a regular in Riverhead’s NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I Modified class, was disappointed in the result, but happy with his effort. He nearly became the first track regular in more than two decades to win a Whelen Modified Tour race at the oval.

“I was just keeping up with the pace and my car just kept getting better and better (before the last yellow),” Beatty said. “Everyone races their own way. I’m not the kind of guy to drive someone up a lane or two, but Justin did his job. He won the race.”

Timmy Solomito, who led 37 laps, crossed the line third. Solomito took the lead for the first time on lap 76, after contact between Coby and Solomito sent Coby spinning in turn one, while racing for the lead. Ron Silk and Craig Lutz rounded out the top-five.

Coby rebounded to sixth, while Patrick Emerling, Eric Goodale, Tom Rogers Jr. and Tommy Catalano completed the top 10.

Coby leads the championship point standings by 31 over Silk, while Bonsignore is third, 32 points back.

The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour returns to the track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway as part of their annual Monster Energy Cup Series weekend on Saturday, July 20. Select drivers will also compete in the All-Star Shootout at New Hampshire on Friday, July 19.

Categories
News

Derek Kraus Dominates Again At Douglas County

ROSEBURG, Ore. — Douglas County, Derek Kraus and dominance. For the second year in a row, the three converged.

After leading 133 laps an route to the win last season, Kraus led flag-to-flag this go around to claim his third K&N West victory of the season and fifth overall in 2019.

“It helps a lot when BMR brings me a great car like they did,” Kraus said. “They prepared me a great car here. We had to push Sonoma behind us from what happened there. Overall, we came to Roseburg knowing that we won last year, kept up the momentum and won this year. They brought me a really great car and I can’t thank them enough.”

The win continues Bill McAnally Racing’s dominance at the 0.375-mile Oregon oval. A BMR car has entered Victory Lane in eight of the last nine trips to Roseburg. Clearly, Kraus, BMR and DCS have a good thing going.

“They know what they’re doing when we come here to Roseburg,” he said. “I’m just fortunate enough to be able to be driving the race car.”

Jagger Jones came home second, 3.158 seconds behind Kraus, tying his career best finish. Hailie Deegan, Kraus’ BMR teammate, finished third. Trevor Huddleston and Brittney Zamora rounded out the top five finishers, putting all three BMR cars inside the top five.

Travis Milburn and Todd Souza finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Kody Vanderwal, John Wood and Takuma Koga completed the top 10.

Vanderwal, who ran as high as second but sustained hood damage when James Cooley slammed on the brakes in Turn 2 as the the caution was out, took the checkered flag in seventh but was rather disappointed in his run.

With the win, Kraus’ championship points lead grew by seven points and now leads Deegan by eight markers at the halfway point of the season.

The Clint Newell Auto Group Toyota 150 presented by ENEOS is scheduled to air on Thursday, July 4 at 6 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

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

Categories
News

Raphael Lessard Grabs Checkered Flag in Series Debut

VALLEE-JONCTION, Que — If anyone had any doubts about Raphael Lessard being the real deal, they were quickly crushed.

Lessard, who grew up minutes from Autodrome Chaudiere in St. Joseph de Beauce, Quebec, made his presence known, winning the Budweiser 300 in dominating fashion in his series debut. The 17-year-old Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota Racing Development driver became the first to claim the checkered flag in their series debut since Don Thomson Jr won the inaugural NASCAR Pinty’s Series race in 2007.

Lessard’s No.07 Societies Louis Jacques/ FRL Express Dodge used its speed on the restarts to take the lead from teammate LP Dumoulin on Lap 137 and never looked back. Lessard was able to hold off all who challenged him, until the race was called on Lap 286 when rain came pouring down.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” Lessard said. “At first, I thought our car was okay, and on new tires it wasn’t great but as the race went on it just seemed to get better and better. Everyone seemed to fall off and we just didn’t.”

“I’m super pumped and can’t thank everyone enough,” Lessard added. “It’s just awesome to do a deal like this for one race and dominate. I’ve never worked with those guys before, it just feels great.”

Following a strong first two events, Kevin Lacroix added another podium to make it three in a row in 2019. Lacroix started fifth and slowly fought his way up the field before settling for his second straight runner-up finish.

“We always have a hard time here and we were targeting top 5 maybe top 6 and we would’ve been really happy,” Lacroix said. “And now second place, top contender. Everything is very nice for us, we’re really happy, gaining a lot of points, taking the points lead.”

Pole sitter and 2016 Chaudiere winner Alex Labbe led the early going before being passed by Dumoulin and Lessard. Labbe would fight his way to a third-place finish, his first podium since his one-off race at GP3R last season.

Jukasa winner Andrew Ranger and Alex Tagliani rounded out the top five.

Mark Dilley scored his second top ten of the season in sixth, followed by CBRT’s Brett Taylor in seventh, notching his best career NASCAR finish.

Despite being laps down at certain points in the race, Brandon White was able to defy the odds and score his best career finish in eighth. Simon Dion-Viens also recovered after numerous spins for a ninth-place finish, with Donald Theetge completing the top ten.

Lap 271 saw a turning points in the race after LP Dumoulin and Jason Hathaway crashed in turn three to draw the red flag.

The Budweiser 300 will air on TSN on Saturday, July 6 at 2 p.m. and RDS2 on Monday, July 15 at 7 p.m.

The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will take a few weeks off before arriving in the heart of Canada’s largest metropolis for the Pinty’s Grand Prix of Toronto live from the Streets of Exhibition Place.

Categories
News

Noah Gragson Wins At Sonoma In Chaotic Overtime Finish

SONOMA, Calif. — The black flag taketh away; the black flag giveth.

In a race where Noah Gragson thought his chance for a win disappeared with a penalty for jumping a restart, the 20-year-old from Las Vegas wound up in Victory Lane after Ryan Preece’s apparent win disappeared under similar circumstances.

In the end, it was Gragson celebrating the win in Sunday’s Procore 200 at Sonoma Raceway.

“Helluva race,” Gragson said. “Kind of had a little bit of … adversity there in the middle of the race. Got called for jumping the start as the leader. Never really heard that one before, but we battled back through adversity and ended up the winner.”

Preece was extremely frustrated with how his afternoon concluded after leading over 20 laps to the finish.

“What are you gonna do?” Preece said. “It’s their sandbox, they’re gonna do what they want. They manipulated the race at the end of the day and we won that race. Jumping a restart is going two car lengths early; it’s part of it. You might as well hold my hands behind my back and tie them up if you’re going to make me go at the same line every single time.”

Gragson started second and took the lead from pole-sitter Hailie Deegan on the initial start. He didn’t relinquish the top spot until he encountered the aforementioned adversity: a restart violation of his own.

Gragson was slicing and dicing his way through the field from that point on, putting his No. 7 Switch Chevrolet in places it appeared wouldn’t warrant a pass.

But Gragson kept clawing back. After a few cautions bunched the field back up, he found himself in position to pounce. And although he was behind Preece when the final caution flew on the white flag lap, he was scored the winner. The NASCAR Xfinity Series regular collected his fifth K&N Pro Series West career win and and seventh overall in K&N.

Daniel Hemric, Austin Dillon, Cole Custer and David Mayhew rounded out the top five finishers with defending race winner Will Rodgers, Jim Inglebright, Deegan, Dave Smith and Paul Pedroncelli Jr. completing the top 10. With the penalty, Preece was scored 20th, the last car on the lead lap.

erek Kraus, the championship points leader coming into Sonoma, encountered engine issues around the halfway point and was on pit road for multiple laps as his team repaired the issue on the No. 16. After getting the free pass twice and making up three laps, he was in position for a top 19 finish, but crossed the finish line in 19th after being spun out on the final lap.

Kraus saw his championship lead cut to one over teammate Deegan, while Trevor Huddleston is 11 back and Huddleston’s rookie teammate Jagger Jones is now only 13 behind Kraus.

The Procore 200 will be broadcast Thursday, June 27 at 6 p.m. on NBCSN.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place on Saturday, June 29 at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon.

Categories
Trucks

Where does NASCAR draw the line with hard racing?

Over the last two weeks, there has been no shortage in drama between the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. In both the NAPA Auto Parts 150 and the M&M’s 200, viewers were treated to a wide range of hard racing and it’s end results, which begs the question– where does NASCAR draw the line? 

Hard racing is by no stretch a bad thing for the sport. It provides viewers with excitement and has the ability to boost ratings for NASCAR . Some of the sport’s brightest stars have even made a name for themselves with aggressive racing styles. While this type of competition, is generally a positive thing for the sport, drivers will understandable get upset, and those reactions can lead to boundaries being crossed. 

During the closing laps at Colorado National Speedway on June 9, Bill McAnally Racing teammates Hailie Deegan and Derek Kraus made headlines after Deegan spun Kraus entering Turn 4, coming to the white flag.

Was the move Deegan made on Kraus warranted? It depends how you look at what happened prior to the final contact made.

Kraus, who had been battling adversity since Lap 50 with a broken sway-bar, managed to keep himself in contention for the win in the NAPA Auto Parts 150, restarting third and directly behind Deegan. When the green flag waved on the final restart, the past series champion opted to make the most of his opportunity and took Deegan and Jagger Jones three-wide entering Turn 1, ultimately getting into the left rear of Deegan’s No. 19 Toyota Camry. Deegan, justifiably upset with the move made by her teammate, spun Kraus and his No. 16 Toyota Camry entering Turn 4 to lock down her second win of the 2019 season.

“I think it’s just short track racing,” Kraus told POPULAR SPEED. “She (Deegan) drove it pretty deep on the last restart and drifted up the hill. I saw a hole and I took it of course — like any driver would. I got into her a little bit and coming to the white flag I got loose, then she got into me and everyone saw the end results.” 

Kraus was able to salvage an eighth-place finish and maintain his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West points lead after the move made by Deegan. Following the madness at Colorado, Deegan and Kraus were treated to a team meeting the smooth things over and clear the air.

“Everything went alright in the meeting and we’re back on good terms,” Kraus said. “I don’t have any hard feelings, we’ve both moved on and we’re both ready for a clean race at Sonoma.”

The events which took place in Colorado are an example of hard racing done right. Although unfortunate and controversial as this occurred between teammates, this brought tons of exposure to not only NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West, but the young up and coming drivers of Deegan and Kraus. In a time where it can argued that NASCAR’s upper divisions are lacking personality, the pair offered fans a possible glimpse into the future.

Exactly one week following the incident between Deegan and Kraus, the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series had it’s own share of conflict and drama in the M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway.

Early in the final stage, Johnny Sauter moved the No. 16 Toyota Tundra of Austin Hill out of the way to advance his position. Hill would go on to retaliate on Lap 136, sending Sauter’s No. 13 Ford F-150 into the outside wall. Sauter then took things one step further running down Hill under caution and sending both trucks hard into the wall through Turns 3 and 4.

Sauter would go on to be parked for the remainder of the race. NASCAR then suspended the past series champion for this weekend’s upcoming event at WWT Speedway.

“We were racing hard going into Turn 1,” Hill said. “He (Sauter) got into me a bit and I returned the favor. I don’t race like that, so if you’re going to race me like that, I’m not going to put up with it and I think you saw that.”

If Sauter and Hill ended their back and forth feuds in the closing laps following the caution on Lap 136, this incident would have been perfectly fine. The problem resided in Sauter’s retaliation to Hill under caution. When NASCAR officials throw out the yellow flag, drivers are expected to comply with the sanctioning body’s rules of speed and safety.

It’s not uncommon for drivers to give one another a bump during caution periods to voice their displeasure after the way they’ve been raced on the track. But what Sauter did was unforgivable and punishable, plain and simple. Sauter essentially used his truck as a weapon by intentionally wrecking Hill under caution at high speeds and put not only himself and Hill in danger, but his fellow competitors and safety officials as well.

The argument can be made that Hill was just as much at fault for sparking the initial dust up between the two drivers; after all, his product of hard racing and retaliation is what triggered Sauter. However, this was all done under the green flag and within reason.

NASCAR’s Senior Vice President of Competition, Scott Miller said that officials considered handing down penalties to Hill, but they ultimately just opted to punish Sauter for his actions.

“Him (Sauter) driving half a track with a smoking truck, winding through traffic to get to the No. 16 and running over him, then bouncing off the wall and running to into his door was pretty aggressive,” Miller said. “It was definitely not anything that could in any way, shape or form be defended as a racing incident.”

While suspended for this weekend, this will not effect Sauter’s opportunity to compete for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship with a  playoff waiver issued.

“In this case, we felt like his actions certainly warranted being sat down for an event, but it felt a little too harsh to take him straight out of the championship, so we think we landed on what we feel is fair and a deterrent,” Miller concluded.

While Sauter was the only driver suspended for the incident on Lap 137, Miller stated that NASCAR officials would be keeping Hill “under a microscope” throughout the remainder of the season.

Two of NASCAR’s lower series divisions rose to the occasion when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series had a scheduled off-week and all in all brought more exposure when the sport needed it most. There is a broad spectrum for what can be deemed acceptable and what is punishable when it comes to hard racing and fans got just that with the races at Colorado and Iowa.

While hard racing will almost always provide viewers with piqued interest and excitement, it should be done within reason and this should be recognized– not only by the fans– but from the sport’s athletes as well.

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.

Categories
News

Hailie Deegan Wins At Colorado In Dramatic Overtime Finish

DACONO, Colo. — Hailie Deegan wasn’t leaving Colorado without a trophy.

And she showed she meant it on Saturday night at Colorado National Speedway, bumping her Bill McAnally Racing teammate Derek Kraus out of the way in overtime to grab her second K&N Pro Series West victory of the season and third of her career.

“That was probably the scrappiest race I’ve ever ran,” she said. “In the end, we went out there, ran our hardest race. Everything I’ve been practicing, all the hard racing I’ve been running. Derek (Kraus) ran me hard right there (Turn 2), so I was going to run him hard back (Turn 4). And that’s racing. We were all going for the kill. I got the win and that’s all that matters.”

It was an accomplishment in and of itself that Kraus was even in contention for the win, as a broken sway-bar saw No. 16 fade at around Lap 50 from the lead to hanging on for dear life inside the top five.

But when given the opportunity, Kraus pounced.

The two-time K&N West winner in 2019 dove into Turn 1 on the restart and made contact with Deegan’s left-side, clearing her for the top spot, only to be left in a cloud of smoke one lap later.

Post-race, he took to social media to vent his frustrations.

Under the caution that set up the green/white/checkered finish, the No. 19 team debated whether to select the top or bottom lane for the final restart. After taking the top all evening long, they opted for the bottom to thwart any dive bomb attempt from Jagger Jones.

As it turned out, Kraus wound up being the one who dove inside the two and made it three-wide for the lead, and Jones wasn’t too pleased.

Team owner Bill McAnally experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in a 30-second span, and attempted to encapsulate his feelings as he celebrated in Victory Lane.

“To have our cars up there slicing and dicing for the win is pretty special,” he said. “You knew the No. 6 (Jones) and No. 19 (Deegan) were going to get together, so I was worried about that already. And then when the No. 16 (Kraus) goes and gets three-wide, my heart hit the ground for a minute for sure. It’s bittersweet. Hailie wins the race, Derek gets spun around, they all drove hard. That’s what they’re here to do: win and develop. They’re doing a pretty good job of that.”

Starting from the pole for the first time in his K&N Pro Series career, LaSalle, Colorado native Kody Vanderwal escaped the last-lap carnage to finish second, his best result of the season. Todd Souza earned his second top five of the season and first top three finish since May of 2017, coming home third.

Brittney Zamora, who rebounded from spinning late, finished fourth with Matt Levin rounding out the top five. John Wood, Jones (spun while running third in overtime), Kraus, Trevor Huddleston and Takuma Koga completed the top 10.

Kraus maintains the championship points lead by 12 markers over Deegan leaving Dacono, while Jones, Huddleston and Zamora complete the top five in the standings.

The Colorado NAPA 150 is scheduled to be broadcast on NBCSN on Thursday, June 13 at 6 p.m.

The next K&N Pro Series West event will take place on Saturday, June 22 at Sonoma Raceway.