ELKHART LAKE, Wisc.--Christopher Bell won his sixth Xfinity Series race of the season at Road America.
Bell took the lead with eight laps remaining in the 45 lap race, but was challenged by Matt Dibenedetto and Austin Cindric in the closing laps. DiBenedetto was closing the gap between himself and the leader, but spun out on the last lap, allowing Bell to cross the finish line almost two seconds ahead of Cindric.
“Man, I’m honestly in shock,” Bell said. “I really butchered qualifying and tore the crap out of the left-front. I felt like once we got in the race there, we’d be able to drive by those guys. Instead, they dropped the green flag and they were driving by me. That wasn’t much fun.
“Then I told Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) I was really, really tight. We got those tires off and he said the left-front was hurt pretty bad. We got pretty good there when we put our new set of tires on.
“That strategy worked out well for us coming in there (with 14 to go) and then the yellow coming out. This car was really, really fast today. We’ve had a great road course season.”
Top-10 finishers: 1. Bell, 2. Cindric, 3. Tyler Reddick, 4. Noah Gragson, 5. Kaz Grala, 6. Justin Haley, 7. Chase Briscoe, 8. Jeremy Clements, 9. Justin Allgaier, 10. Cole Custer.
Top-10 leaders after 23 of 33: 1. Reddick-1009, 2. Bell-964, 3. Custer-874, 4. Allgaier-847, 5. Cindric-829, 6. Briscoe-787, 7. Gragson-771, 8. Annett-721. 9. Haley-707, 10. Nemechek-666.
Note: 12 drivers will qualify for the 2019 Xfinity Series playoffs. A win qualifies a driver for the playoffs as long as they attempt all races. After the 25th race of the season (Las Vegas, Sept. 14) the playoff field of 12 drivers will be set. Any remaining positions not filled with a race winner will be filled by the driver highest in points without a win.
MOFFITT WINS CANADIAN TRUCK RACE
Here are the results of Sunday’s NASCAR Truck Series race at Bowmanville, Ontario: 1. Brett Moffitt, 2. Alex Tagliani, 3. Ben Rhodes, 4. Sheldon Creed, 5. Austin Hill, 6. Johnny Sauter, 7. Stewart Friesen, 8. Ross Chastain, 9. Tyler Ankrum, 10. Raphael Lessard.
Top-8 Chase leaders with five race remaining: 1. Moffitt-2135, 2. Chastain-2113, 3. Friesen-2091, 4. Crafton-2090, 5. Hill-2089, 6. Enfinger-2087, 7. Sauter-2085, 8. Ankrum-2073.
The Cup Series had an off week.
JUNIOR STILL PLANS TO RACE AT DARLINGTON
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that he still plans to compete in next weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Darlington Raceway, despite having a bruised back from the plane crash he was in last week.
“Yes, I plan on driving still,,” he said. “My lower back is bruised up real bad. Lots of swelling and I just need that to go down and the pain to chill out. I’ve been treating the area every day solely to get well to race. I have a plan B but hope not to use it.”
That plan would be to put someone else in the car.
The race would be Earnhardt’s first since he competed in the Xfinity race at Richmond Raceway in the fall of 2018.
According to a federal report by the NTSB, airport surveillance video captured the initial touchdown, which occurred near the runway touchdown zone, and portions of the accident sequence. The airplane bounced twice, then continued airborne down runway 24 until it touched down a third time with about 1,000 ft of paved surface remaining. The video revealed that the right main landing gear collapsed and the outboard section of the right wing contacted the runway shortly after the third touchdown. The airplane departed the paved surface beyond the runway 24 departure end threshold, through an open area of grass, down an embankment, through a chain-link fence, and up an embankment, coming to rest on the edge of Tennessee Highway 91.
The pilots’ account of the landing was generally consistent with the video. They also reported that, following the second bounce, a go-around was attempted; however, the airplane did not respond as expected, so they landed straight-ahead on the runway and could not stop the airplane prior to the excursion. After the airplane came to a stop, the flight crew secured the engines and assisted the passengers with the evacuation.
Racing Joke: One day Joey was crossing a road when a frog called out to him and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.”
He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will stay with you for one week.”
Joey took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you and give you anything you want.”
Joey took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, “What is the matter? I’ve told you I’m a beautiful princess, that I’ll stay with you for a week and give you anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?”
“Look I’m a racing champion. I already have a wife, and a championship, but a talking frog, now that’s cool!”
Weekend Racing: The Cup and Xfinity teams are at Darlington, South Carolina. The Truck teams do not race again until Sept. 13.
Darlington Raceway is nicknamed by many NASCAR fans and drivers as “The Lady in Black”. It is of a unique, somewhat egg-shaped design, an oval with the ends of very different configurations, a condition which supposedly arose from the proximity of one end of the track to a minnow pond the owner refused to relocate. This situation makes it very challenging for the crews to set up their cars’ handling in a way that will be effective at both ends.
The track was originally a four-turn 1.25 mile oval. The track’s first two turns are banked at twenty-five degrees, while the final two turns are banked two degrees lower at twenty-three degrees. The front stretch (the location of the finish line) and the back stretch is banked at six degrees.
Harold Brasington was a retired racer in 1948, who had competed against Bill France at the Daytona Beach Road Course. He quit racing in the late 1940s to concentrate on farming and his construction business. He began planning a new speedway after he noticed the huge crowds while attending the 1948 Indy 500. He bought 70 acres from farmer Sherman Ramsey, and started making a race track from a cotton and peanut field. However, he was forced to create an egg-shaped oval with one corner tighter, narrower, and more steeply banked because he promised Ramsey that the new track wouldn’t disturb Ramsey’s minnow pond at the west side of the property. Brasington was able to make the other turn at the east side of the property wide, sweeping, and flat as he wanted. It took almost a year to build the track.
The inaugural Southern 500 was part of the 1950 NASCAR Grand National Series that took place on September 4, 1950. The Southern 500 was the biggest racing event until the 1959 Daytona 500.
The 1951 race, which was won by Herb Thomas had a starting field of 82 cars.
Weekend racing: Sat, Aug. 31; Xfinity Series race 24 of 33; Starting time: 3:30 pm ET; TV: NBC.
Sun, Sept. 1; Cup Series race 25 of 36; Starting time: 6:00 pm ET; TV: NBCSN.
Racing Trivia Question: Who won the first Southern 500 race at Darlington?
Last Week’s Question: Which Cup Series driver has the most wins this season? Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. each has four wins.
Gerald Hodges is a syndicated NASCAR writer and author. You may contact him by e-mail at: email@example.com