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Race Weekend Review – August 11-12, 2019

Race Weekend Review – August 11-12, 2019

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Consumers Energy 400 - Michigan International Speedway
• Harvick wins when others run short on fuel

Brooklyn, Michigan, Aug 11/19 (Jamie Maudsley/PRN) - Shortly after the checkered flag fell on the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway, Kevin Harvick answered the question of how much fuel he had left in his NASCAR Monster Energy Series car. Enough to give his son Keelan Harvick a ride to the start finish line to pick up a checkered flag for the second straight August event at the Detroit-area 2-mile oval.

Harvick overcame a flat right-side tire early in the event, and found himself a lap down at one point before he battled back onto the lead lap, and put himself seventh during what turned out to be the final restart on lap 153 of the 200-lap race.

After the leaders came to pit road on lap 150 to set up the dash to the checkers, Harvick got the good news from crew chief Rodney Childers, that he had enough to make it to the end. Harvick would use different grooves during his final march through the field, before passing Joey Logano on lap 183 and winning by a margin of just over 1.5 seconds.

Harvick spoke about their teams' fuel strategy, "Rodney told me we had plenty of fuel, so I went after Joey the best I could. Our Ford worked well in all three lanes today, and I was able to get the lead. After that, even though Rodney told me we were okay, I still tried to manage the gap and save what I could just in case."

It was Harvick's experience that kept him from throwing the day away early in the event when he had a flat, "I felt it coming down the backstretch and had some room so got away from everyone and just started slowing down. That was enough to keep us out of the wall. After we got the tire changed, we just put it behind us, and went back after it. Our team has been together six years now, and we've become pretty good at putting this stuff behind us quickly and rebounding the best we can."

Team Penske wasn't getting the fuel mileage that a number of the other teams were, and Logano ducked into the pits on lap 197 turning the runner-up spot to Denny Hamlin, who had run among the leaders all day.

Hamlin, spoke about the silver medal run, "Our car really took a long time to come in today, and we weren't able to keep enough speed in the car during the second half of the race."

The driver who swept 2017 in the Irish Hills, Kyle Larson, finished third, "We had a pretty good day, and our car got a lot better towards the end of the race. We got in the right line on a couple of the last restarts, and had enough fuel mileage to outlast a lot of cars.”

Martin Truex Jr. overcame a tail-end starting position, and used pit strategy to climb all the way to P1 and take the win in the first Stage of the day, as he raced his way into the top-five before taking fuel only on his stop with just a few laps to go in the Stage, and then holding off Denny Hamlin to capture Stage 1.

Truex seemed like he might have a winner, but on the last restart he was shuffled back, "We were in the wrong lines for most of those late restarts, and especially the last one, we lost so many spots, and just couldn't overcome it."

Daniel Suarez finished fifth, and raced himself back into playoff contention after both Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson experienced major issues. Kyle Busch came home sixth, and captured the win in stage two. Ryan Preece scored his best non-restrictor plate finish coming home seventh, while William Byron, Chase Elliott, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-ten.

One of the biggest stories of the weekend was the first ever application of PJ1 Traction Adhesive to the racing surface, but it didn't seem to be a factor. It was applied to lanes four and five, areas of the track that have barely seen any action since the 2013 repave of the facility, but after the drivers became vocal about the substance being useless that high up the track, officials did expand the PJ1 zone lower on the track. It did create a little more traction in the upper lanes, and for the first time since 2013 drivers could run that high on the track, but it wasn't a competitive advantage at all, and seemed to be an occasional experiment, as opposed to drivers trying to make the lanes work. The cars did seem to hit the compound entering and exiting the corners at both ends of the 'grip strip', but it wouldn't become a factor in the race.

Click HERE for the results of the MENCS race at Michigan.

The next event for the NASCAR Monster Energy Racing Series will be Saturday, August 17, at Bristol Motor Speedway, for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race, and is one of only three events left on the calendar until the NASCAR MENCS Playoff series begins.

PHOTO MOSCC NXS CindricCar 190810Austin Cindric celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. (Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)

NASCAR Xfinity Series B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio
• A second road course win for Cindric

Lexington, OH, Aug 10/19 (GRW): Just seven days after his first NASCAR win at Watkins Glen, Austin Cindric took his second here at Mid-Ohio, dominating most of the race and leading Christopher Bell home by a 3.8-second margin. Visiting driver A.J. Almendinger, driving the No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet, was third.

Cindric got started this weekend by winning the pole by a 0.3-second margin over the next fastest qualifier Jack Hawksworth, who is better known for his driving stints in an A.J. Foyt Indy car and in a GTD Lexus in IMSA, was second quickest. Christopher Bell, who has already won five times this year, started third, having qualified 0.6 seconds behind Cindric. Cole Custer, another five-time winner, started fourth.

Cindric took the lead at the start and he held onto the lead through the first caution, which came on lap 5. The first two Stages were only 20 laps each (45 miles) so the pit window would allow them to run most or all of the distance of the first two Stages combined - making for possible variations on the pattern of pit stops expected. At first Hawksworth was able to match Cindric’s pace but, as the run went on and the handling characteristics of the cars changed, it looked like this caught him out and he spun on lap 14 – but no yellow.

Both Bell and Cindric pitted just before the first Stage ended and this let Chase Briscoe up into the lead and he was scored as the winner of the first Stage. Briscoe pitted during this yellow which cycled Bell and Cindric back up to the front again. On the restart, Bell had the advantage and he continued to lead Cindric for the next 15 laps – through to the third caution which came on lap 30 when the No. 68 car of Brandon Brown spun coming out of the Carousel and was beached in a sand trap.

Bell and Cindric lined up for the restart but as they were coming up to the green flag, Chris Dyson in the mid-field ran in to the rear of Custer’s car. Dyson’s car was heavily damaged and it came to rest outside Turn 1 but Custer’s car seemed to escape unscathed. The Dyson car dropped a lot of oil – and more when it was being towed away, and this delayed the start while a ton of oil dry was put down on the oil slick.

The track went green again on lap 36, almost at the end of this second Stage – but the yellow flew again when Justin Allgaier spun at the top of the keyhole – a yellow which extended into the end of the second Stage. Hawksworth had recovered from his setback and he actually was leading over Bell and Cindric when Stage 2 ended on lap 40. Despite a bit of shuffling of the order during this Stage-end yellow, Cindric soon was back in the lead when the green was shown again.

The final caution came on lap 58 of the 75-lap race. A couple of the cars did not pit during this caution and they took over the lead momentarily when Cindric and Bell pitted,. A couple of laps after this caution ended, Cindric was back in the lead with Bell next in line. For the remaining 13 laps, he was able to gradually pull out a bigger lead over Bell and he won the race with a comfortable margin. Hawksworth, despite his strong performance earlier in the race, ended up in 15th place.

“It feels good, two in row and going for three at Bristol,” Cindric said. “I’ll probably go crazy if I win there. Should be a lot of fun. This is great momentum for our group.”

If all the remaining races were road courses like Mid-Ohio or the Glen, Cindric would have to be a favourite to win the title. As it is, there is only the Charlotte Roval, a poor imitation of an actual road course, left on the calendar – the rest being ovals of various characteristics – so, if Cindric is going have any hope of beating the other contenders, he will need to brush up his oval-track skills.

Click HERE for the results of the Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio.

The next race in the Xfinity Series will be held at Bristol next Friday, August 16. There are still five more ‘regular season’ races in this series before the playoffs begin at Richmond.

 PHOTO MIS2 NGOTS 16OnTrack 081019Austin Hill races during the Corrigan Oil 200 (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Gander Outdoors Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway
• Another win for Hill

Brooklyn, MI, Aug 10/19 (GRW): In a race in which the favourites struggled, Austin Hill, the winner at Daytona last February, emerged as the winner after a late-race melee sent the race into overtime. Sheldon Creed, who had been running with substitute crew leaders, the result of a penalty for losing ballast at the previous race, started far back but he finished in second place when it was all done. Tyler Dippel, another who started far back – in 17th place, was third.

Before the race started, Ross Chastain, who already had three wins this year and who was starting from the pole looked like the probable winner. He led all the laps in the first 20-lap Stage but when he pitted, disaster struck. Just as he was pulling out of his pit stall. Johnny Sauter was coming along and Codie Rohrbaugh was trying to pull into his pit stall a few spots past Chastain’s. Sauter pulled out and tapped Rohrbaugh’s rear sending him spinning into Chastain’s front corner. The damage did not look to be too serious but it was enough to end Chastain’s race.

After that, nine other trucks took turns at leading the race. Ben Rhodes took the lead when racing resumed at the start of Stage 2 but he lost the lead during the next caution – lap 34 of the 100-lap race – when he pitted and several others stayed out. Now Brett Moffitt, the 2018 champion, took the green in the lead but he soon was passed by Creed. He and Creed traded the lead back and forth for the next few laps until Todd Gilliland got past on lap 62 – and he stayed in front for the next 14 laps through the fifth caution - but when that caution ended, he was quickly overwhelmed by a number of trucks and he fell back to sixth place.

Now Hill emerged as a contender fighting with Tyler Ankrum and Matt Crafton until he passed them all to take over the race lead for the first time. The race was to see three more cautions in the closing laps. Christian Eckes went out with a flat tire on lap 87 and then he brought out a second yellow seven laps later when he had another flat tire.

The laps were ticking down and this second Eckes yellow only ended on lap 97. But when this restart came, the Ankrum truck, which had taken the green in first place, got a big shove from Crafton and spun out of control. Some of the trucks near the front got past unscathed but this set off a big mess of wrecking trucks which brought out the final yellow on lap 98.

One might have expected that NASCAR would red-flag this race to allow time for clean up but they stayed with the yellow flag. Hill was back in the lead ahead of Moffitt for the final overtime restart. He jumped out ahead on the restart while Moffitt lost a few positions – setting up the race’s finishing order.

“Man, I definitely did not want to do a green-white-checkered. I was cutting it kind of close on fuel,” Hill said. “I got a really good push out back by the No. 18 (Harrison Burton) that kind of propelled us and cleared us out front. I just had to start throwing blocks. Luckily, they started racing two- and three-wide out the back. They gave us a gap out front and we were able to keep that gap. I thought the No. 2 (Sheldon Creed) was going to have a shot at it going into three, he had a really big run, but I was able to protect the bottom.”

Stewart Friesen, who had finally won his first truck series race the week before at Eldora, had qualified back in 20th place this week. He was never a factor in this race. He took that final restart in ninth place and after the big wreck he was scored in eighth place.

Click HERE for the results of the NGOTS race at Michigan.

PHOTO MIS2 NGOTS PlayoffDrivers 081019Austin Hill(#16 Toyota), Stewart Friesen (#52 Chevrolet), Tyler Ankrum (#17 Toyota), Brett Moffitt(#24 Chevrolet), Matt Crafton (#88 Ford), Ross Chastain (#45 Chevrolet), Johnny Sauter(#13 Ford), Grant Enfinger (#98 ThorSport Ford), the 8 playoff drivers with trophy after the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series on August 10, 2019 in Brooklyn, MI (ISC)

This was the final race in the ‘regular season’ before the playoffs begin. The eight drivers who have qualified for the season-end playoffs are: Moffitt, Grant Enfinger, Friesen, Hill, Chastain, Crafton, Sauter and Ankrum. The next truck race – the first race of the playoffs – will be held at Bristol next week, on Thursday, August 15.

PHOTO Tagliani leads the field at GP3R IMG 6132 1Alex Tagliani led 25 of the 50 laps at the Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières and finished second. (Tagliani Autosport)

NASCAR Pinty’ s Series Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières
LP Dumoulin wins street race in Quebec

Trois-Rivières, QC, Aug 11/19 (NASCAR): In the 50th running of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, and the 50th year of Dumoulin family racing, hometown hero LP Dumoulin grabbed perhaps the biggest win of his career. To make it even sweeter, he was surrounded by his family from start to finish.

Prior to the race, family patriarch Richard Dumoulin paced the field in the car he raced during the first GP3R. JF Dumoulin finished third, joining LP on the podium for the first time in their NASCAR Pinty’s Series career.

“There’s no way to describe the feeling,” LP Dumoulin said. “I’m on the podium with my brother JF in front of all our family and friends.”

Dumoulin’s No.47 Weathertech Canada/Bellemare Dodge was locked in a fierce late race battle with Alex Tagliani with the laps winding down. The two-time champion needed help, and it came when T.J. Rinomato spun with five laps to go, causing Tagliani to run wide and allowing Dumoulin to steal the lead.

“It’s perfect. My team has worked so hard to give me a great car all season long and we proved once again that we are capable of winning on both ovals and road courses,” LP Dumoulin said. “In the end, we caught a little bit of traffic and that helped me pass Tagliani, we set some quick laps and we won.”

It was the second win for Dumoulin at his home track, and ninth of his career.

Tagliani who was in prime position to score his third straight GP3R win, finished second. He took the lead on Lap 20 after Andrew Ranger came down to pit. Tagliani would go on to lead 25 laps en route to his second podium of the season.

The elder Dumoulin, JF, mounted a hard charge late in the race to catch the leaders. JF’s No.04 Spectra Premium Dodge, shifted to a part-time schedule in 2019, but had this race circled on his calendar. In the end, the Trois-Rivières driver would ultimately tie his best career finish in third, scoring his third career podium in the process.

Kevin Lacroix came into Les 50 Tours Hotel Le Concorde trailing Ranger by 18 points. Lacroix started from the outside of the front row and would lead the first 15 laps, before being hit with a penalty after taking his fuel can out of the pit box. Lacroix’s N0. 74 would eventually fight his way all the way up to fourth. D.J. Kennington completed the top five finishers. Jason Hathaway and Raphael Lessard were sixth and seventh respectively.

After leading four laps, Ranger would end up finishing eighth. Ranger will now carry a 14-point lead over Lacroix heading into Riverside next week.

Click HERE for the results of the Trois-Rivières Pinty’s race.

The next Pinty’s race will be held at the Riverside Speedway in Antigonish, Nova Scotia next Saturday, August 17.

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