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Five NASCAR races at Dover: Hamlin and Harvick in Cup, Allgaier and Briscoe in Xfinity and Zane Smith in Trucks

PHOTO Cup Dover Hamlin VL 082220Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the Drydene 311 (1). (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) 

 NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 311 (1) at Dover International Speedway• Hamlin wins another double-header race

Dover, DE, Aug 22/20 (GRW - with notes from NASCAR Wire Service): Denny Hamlin had led most of this race’s 311 laps but, in the final Stage, Martin Truex took the upper hand. Then Hamlin caught and passed Truex to lead the final nine laps of the race and take home the trophy. Truex was second, just 1.2-seconds behind. Kyle Busch finished in third place ahead of Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

Hamlin first took the lead on lap 59 and continued to lead until the end of the first Stage at Lap 70. He continued to lead most of the way right the end of the second Stage at lap 185, by then having led the most laps. But, on the restart coming off the end of the second Stage, Truex beat him into the lead and he held on to it through this final Stage until he was held up by the lapped car of Aric Almirola late in the race, and Hamlin nipped past him into the lead. After that, Hamlin led the final nine laps to the checker.

“This Camry was really fast today,” Hamlin said. “It was unbelievable how good it was. The pit crew did an amazing job. … We just have unbelievable cars right now. It just seems like we’re coming to the race track prepared. I’m putting the work in, and we’re getting results because of it. … I can’t complain about anything right now. It just seems like we’ve got things going. You know, I’ve got faith. When it comes down to it on that last run, when (crew chief Chris Gabehart) says, ‘Go get it,’ I just go get it.”

“I think if the 10 car (Almirola) just wasn’t pinning it on the bottom in front of me, I’d have been fine,” said Truex, “Every time I tried to move up and get some air on my car, he’d just slide up in front of me like an idiot. He’s the reason we lost the lead, but in the end, we weren’t good enough.

“I thought the 11 (Hamlin) was better than us all day long. We got the lead there in the pits and were able to use clean air to our advantage. I was never happy with the car all day long. The balance was all over the place. It was firing off tight and getting really loose on long runs. At the end, there was nothing I could do. I was just out of control sideways.”

• Click HERE for the results of the Saturday Drydene 311 (1) at Dover.

PHOTO NCS Dover Harvick Celebrates 082320Kevin Harvick celebrates with a burnout after winning the Drydene 311 (2) at Dover International Speedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR Cup Series Drydene 311 (2) at Dover International Speedway
• Harvick dominant on Sunday at Dover

Dover, DE, Aug 23/20 (GRW - with notes from NASCAR Wire Service): In this exceptional season of racing during the pandemic, there have been three Cup Series double-header weekends in which every race was won by either Denny Hamlin or Kevin Harvick. Here are Dover, we had another Saturday-Sunday Cup double-header and, once again we saw these two taking home the honours. Hamlin win handily on Saturday and Harvick dominated Sunday’s race to take the win.

Harvick did not take the race lead until lap 69 of the 311-lap race, but after that he was fully in control, leading a total of 223 laps on his way to the race win. Strangely, Hamlin, who had won here the day before, never led a single lap, ending up in 20th place.

Once he took the lead, it was Harvick’s race the rest of the way. He won both preliminary Stages on his way to the final checker. The only other driver who even looked like a contender for the win was Joey Logano who took the lead on lap 103 and he had a run of 12 laps in the lead before it cycled back around to Harvick. In the end, Logano finished in sixth place.

The top five finishers were Harvick, Martin Truex, Jimmie Johnson, William Byron, and Alex Bowman.

NASCAR’s playoff system was invented to create extra hype and suspense right up to the final race of the season, based on the idea that a dominant performance during the entire season might fail to attract fans/viewers late in the season if the championship hd already been cliched. Blame Matt Kenseth for this; the whole playoff thing was invented after he had a remarkably strong season and clinched the title long before the season had run its course. I suppose that, if we were still using the old season-long points rules, Harvick might well have clinched the 2020 title already. If not, he and Hamlin would be dueling it out over the next few races to settle which one of them would be the champion.

I don’t know how anyone who has been watching the season unfold (or this last weekend’s races even) can expect anyone other that one of the Hamlin-Harvick duo to be this year’s champion.

Despite that, the media drone on and on about the fate of the drivers who are close to the cut-off point for the playoffs. It happens that Jimmie Johnson is in a tight fight with his young teammate William Byron for last of the 16 playoff spots. To hear the television commentators tell it, this is the most important battle of the whole show and these guys have some credible chance of winning the championship. Yes, whichever of these two gets into the playoffs will have a mathematical chance of becoming this year’s champion. But I too have a mathematical chance of winning millions with my LotoMax ticket. Neither is going to happen. It’s just so much empty hype. At least the people who are dreaming of an eighth NASCAR championship for Johnson have not had to put down any hard cash on their dreams of another Johnson title.

• Click Here for the results of Sunday’s Drydene 311 (2) at Dover

• The next NASCAR Cup Series race will be the rescheduled Coke Zero Sugar 400 on the Daytona speedway oval next Saturday evening, August 29th.

PHOTO NXS Dover Allgaier 082220Justin Allgaier during the Drydene 200 (1) at Dover International Speedway. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Drydene 200 (1) at Dover International Speedway
• Allgaier dominant on his way to his first win this year

Dover, DE, Aug 22/20 (GRW - with notes from NASCAR Wire Service): Going into the 2020 season, one might have expected the experienced Justin Allgaier to be one of the front-runners contending for wins every week. But, up to now, the JR Motorsports driver had failed to win any races at all, leaving the spotlight on the Ford drivers Austin Cindric and Chase Briscoe. Allgaier made good here in the first race of the weekend’s double-header of Xfinity races, leading the most laps including the race’s final 50 laps to take a convincing win over Cindric and to clinch his spot among the Xfinity playoff contenders.

Cindric started the race from the pole based on NASCAR’s new convoluted system for making up the starting lineup based on previous performance criteria in the season to date – while the calculations are complicated it does recognize the top performers better than a random draw. He continued to lead until the end of the first Stage which came on lap 45 of the 200-lap race.

Noah Gragson beat him out of the pits to line up first for the restart and take over the lead going into the second Stage – where he led 27 laps until Allgaier took over on lap 76. After that, save for a bit of a shuffle at the end of the second Stage where Brandon Brown took over in front for four laps on the strength of not pitting and when Cindric was scored ahead of him for a single lap during the fifth caution and the subsequent pit stops, it was Allgaier’s race. Coming off that fifth caution, Allgaier beat Cindric out of the pits and he took control, leading the remaining laps to the checker.

“These last 18 to 24 months have been crazy,” Allgaier said. “I’m just proud of these guys and the no-give-up attitude they’ve got. This team is incredible. What a day. What a race car. We were off a little bit in the beginning, and (crew chief) Jason (Burdett) did a great job of getting us where we needed to be at.

“The slicker this place got and the more rubbered-in it got, the better we were. So the Cup race today, I’m going to be watching that intently and see what happens. Then, obviously, tomorrow we come back, and we’ve got to see what adjustments we can make. I still think we can be better.”

Cindric said, “I had a great battle with Justin. Obviously, he wanted it really bad, and it wasn’t going to be an easy pass. Hopefully, we can take it to him tomorrow. He drove the wheels off that thing. I don’t know if you guys were watching my on-board camera much, but he was sideways from the beginning of the run to the end of the run. It was pretty amazing, so props to him and those guys, and we’ll try to do better tomorrow.”

Ross Chastain came home third, followed by Noah Gragson and Sunoco rookie Harrison Burton. Riley Herbst, Jeb Burton, Justin Haley, Michael Annett and Chase Briscoe followed, as all four JR Motorsports cars finished in the top 10.

While running fourth and trying to pass Cindric from the bottom lane, Briscoe spun into the inside wall on Lap 77, damaging the front suspension of his No. 98 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. Though Briscoe recovered to run 10th and hold second place in the series standings, he dropped 72 points behind Cindric in the race for the regular-season championship.

• Click HERE for the results of Saturday’s Drydene 200 (1) at Dover International Speedway

PHOTO NXS Dover Briscoe Finish 082320Chase Briscoe crosses the finish line to win the Drydene 200 (2) at Dover International Speedway. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR Xfinity Series Drydene 200 (2) at Dover International Speedway
• Briscoe makes up for Saturday with a win on Sunday

Dover, DE, Aug 23/20 (GRW - with notes from NASCAR Wire Service): Chase Briscoe may have had a disappointing day on Saturday but he made up for it on Sunday with a dominant race win. Starting from the back of the field because he was using a back-up car to stand in for the one he wrecked the day before, Briscoe, took the race lead on lap 71 of the 200-lap race and he never looked back, taking the checker by a 2.5-second margin over Ross Chastain. This time Austin Cindric had to settle for a third place finish, his first time outside the top two in eight races.

This result gave Briscoe six wins for the season to date compared to Cindric’s five.

Despite NASCAR having created a new algorithm for setting up the starting lineup, for this race, the second half of a double-header here, they inverted the top 15 finishers from Saturday’s race, leaving yesterday’s race winner Allgaier starting in 15th place alongside Cindric, while Briscoe, who had a bad day on Saturday, got to start in the third row in sixth place.

Initially it was Ross Chastain in the lead until the end of the first Stage, and then, coming off that cycle of pit stops, it was Allgaier setting the pace until the race’s fourth caution flew on lap 65 when Riley Herbst tangled with Jeffrey Earnhardt. Briscoe took the lead for the first time after this caution and he was in command the rest of the way, winning the second Stage and the final checker.

Ross Chastain held on to come in second ahead of Cindric, Brandon Jones and Daniel Hemric. Noah Gragson finished in sixth place with Allgaier in seventh – these seven the only drivers to finish on the lead lap on this one-mile oval.

“I told [my wife] today I was so mad after yesterday, I had to go win,” Briscoe said after the race. “It’s just a testament to these Stewart-Haas guys to pull a backup out—honestly, it was better than our primary, I thought. It’s pretty cool to win from the back here in a backup.”

• Click HERE for the results of Sunday’s Drydene 200 (2) at Dover International Speedway

• The next Xfinity Series race will be run at the Daytona speedway oval next Friday, August 28.

 PHOTO NGROTS Dover SmithZ Moffitt 082120Zane Smith (No. 21) and Brett Moffitt (No. 23) race during the KDI Office Technology 200. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

NASCAR (NGROTS) Truck Series KDI Office Technology 200 at Dover International Speedway
• A second Truck Series win for Zane Smith

Dover, DE, Aug 21/20 (GRW - with notes from NASCAR Wire Service): The rookie Zane Smith held off the veteran driver – and current series champion – Matt Crafton to win Friday’s Truck Series race here – by a margin of a second. Smith had previously won at Michigan earlier this month.

Brett Moffitt, the 2018 champion who is trying to make a comeback after suffering a motorcycle accident during the layoff, finished in third place ahead of Todd Gilliand and Ben Rhodes.

Both Smith and Moffitt led 50 laps of the race’s 200-lap distance but Smith led those final 21 laps when they counted. Steward Friesen had spun on lap 193 bringing out the race’s fifth and final caution. Smith had been leading over Moffitt and they lined up side-by-side in the front row for the restart. When the green flew, Smith jumped out ahead to hold onto the race lead and he led those final three laps to take the race win.

On the previous restart, after the end-of-Stage turnaround on lap 90, Smith had been on the front row but he spun his tires and dropped back to fourth place giving Christian Eckes a chance to lead for 32 laps – followed by Moffitt for another 25 laps. It was not until lap 154 that Smith regained the lead. But, much as Moffitt might have hoped for a similar result on the final restart, Smith got away flawlessly, while Moffitt lost second place to Crafton.

“What an awesome truck,” Smith said. “I think we all know that I suck at restarts, but I picked a good time to have a good one. Man, two wins. This is by far the most fun I’ve ever had racing in my career. I’m just so blessed to be here.”

This race was the second race of three in the Triple Truck Challenge which paid Smith a $50K bonus.

Canadian driver Raphael Lessard finished 19th in his second career start at Dover International Speedway. The rookie driver was running in the top-15 prior to a green-flag pit stop in the final stage before he was assessed a pass-through penalty for a commitment line violation. He had scored two Stage points after completing the first Stage in the ninth position. Friesen, despite his mid-race spin, finished in ninth place.

• Click HERE for the results of Friday’s Truck Series KDI Office Technology 200 at Dover

• The next NGROTS race will be run at the Gateway Raceway near St. Louis on Sunday, August 30.

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