Gragson captures pole for Kentucky truck race

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Noah Gragson crosses the finish line during final practice at Kentucky Speedway Thursday. Gragson won the pole for Thursday’s Buckle Up in Your Truck 225. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

SPARTA, Ky. — Kyle Busch Motorsports will lead the field to the green flag Thursday night for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Buckle Up in Your Truck 225.

Noah Gragson captured the pole Thursday, setting a new track record with a time of 29.355, an average speed of 183.955 mph. Gragson was the last qualifier. He knocked teammate Todd Gilliland off the top spot. Gilliland will start second after a lap of 183.212 mph.

Ben Rhodes, Chris Eggleston, Grant Enfinger, Brandon Jones, Johnny Sauter, Parker Kilgerman, Dalton Sargeant, Justin Haley, Cody Coughlin and Austin Hill round out the top 12 starters in the race.

The two rounds of single-truck qualifying were not without incident. During his first round run, Matt Crafton bobbled in turn three, running up the track. He was able to save the truck, but turned in the second-slowest time in qualifying with an average speed of just 169.136.

Shortly after Crafton’s near-accident, Myatt Snider got loose in turn three as well. He nearly saved the truck as well, but after a long slide got into the wall, forcing the team to unload a backup truck.

Missing the field Thursday night were Joe Nemechek and Timmy Hill.

The Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday evening. It will air on Fox Sports 1. The green flag is scheduled for 7:48 p.m. ET.

Green flag to wave on Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at 7:48 ET

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Cody Coughlin leads Matt Crafton during Camping World Truck Series final practice Thursday for the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

SPARTA, Ky. — The Camping World Truck Series will kick off a triple-header race weekend at Kentucky Speedway Thursday night.

The trucks already completed their two practice sessions Thursday morning. Justin Haley led the first practice session while Ben Rhodes led the final practice.

The truck series will qualify at 5:10 p.m. ET Thursday for the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway, where 34 trucks will attempt to qualify for the 32-truck field. The drivers meeting for the truck race will be held at 5:45 p.m., with driver intros beginning at 7 p.m. sharp. The national anthem is scheduled for 7:34 p.m. The command to start engines will come at 7:40 p.m. and the green flag will wave at 7:48 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will also see action Thursday as drivers prepare for Friday night’s Alsco 300. Xfinity cars will hit the track at 5:10 p.m. for their first practice of the day, with final practice scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

Podcast #68 — Ricky Stenhouse Demolition Derby

Show Notes:

Recap: Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway

  • Erik Jones survives to earn his first career win.
  • Lots of crashes
    • Why?
  • Yellow Line Rule

News Items:

Do We Care?

Preview: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

  • Eric will be there!
    • What are you looking forward to?
  • Picks
    • Eric: Joey Logano
    • James: Kurt Busch
    • Dark Horse
    • James: Ryan Newman
    • Eric: Bubba Wallace
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @Eric8199 on Twitter
  • The SuperSpeedway @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address:
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Eric’s Take: I’m a convert — All Star package may not be the answer

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota, celebrates after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois. Photo by Jared C. Tilton

It might seem odd to some who follow the podcast to read this next sentence — I think we need to consider not using the All Star package in the Cup Series.

Look, I was all in favor of it in the All Star race. It definitely made a race that has been poor the last few years much better. I was excited when the Xfinity cars ran the package at Michigan. And I even looked forward to NASCAR trying the package at Michigan in the Cup Series in August.

But last weekend’s Cup race at Chicagoland may have changed my mind. Continue reading

An explanation of


Eric Young, prior to the start of the 2017 Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

I wanted to take a few minutes and create a post to clear what I believe is some confusion regarding my recent coverage of NASCAR events, my podcast and my website,

In talking to some people and in hearing comments from others, I think there is some misunderstanding as to what I am actually doing, and whether what I am doing has anything to do with my position at Sunrise Printing and Publishing and the Ogemaw County Herald. I strive to be an ethical journalist, so I felt it necessary to disclose how this all works.  Continue reading

Podcast #67 — Larson and Busch battle for the win SLIDE JOB!

Show notes:

-Audio: (0:41) End of the race snippets from NBC and MRN Radio

Recap: Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway

    • Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson battle to the finish.
    • Was what happened racing? Or was it over the line?
    • A lot of people were complaining that Busch wrecked Larson on purpose after Larson accidentally got into Busch. But that’s not what happened.


  • Audio: (0:50) Kyle Larson talks about the last lap.
  • Audio: (1:04) Kyle Busch talks about the last lap.


  • A lot of people fired up about Kyle’s motions and comments on the front stretch
    • Eric was there at the fence and the boos were LOUD
  • Race was FULL of storylines
    • Stewart Haas had the cars to beat, yet none of the four were a part of the final battle
      • Clint Bowyer’s implosion
      • Aric Almirola has two loose wheels
      • Kurt Busch was PO’d after Harvick passed him at the end of Stage 2
  • Other winners and losers?
  • What did we think of NBC/Dale Jr. in the booth?

Overton’s 250 Camping World Truck Series race

    • Also a spectacular race
    • Brett Moffitt didn’t know Tuesday whether he was even going to race and ends up winning the race
      • John Hunter Nemechek runs out of gas on the final lap
      • Gas man only put in one can of gas on final pit stop
    • Eric asked Moffitt whether, sponsorship aside, his team has what it takes to win a championship.


  • Audio: (0:43) Moffitt says “hell yeah”


Chicagoland in general

  • Track put on spectacular racing all weekend long
  • Eric’s comments on the All Star package – nothing Sunday was manufactured. Just pure racing. Key to good racing is make the track hotter than the surface of the sun.

News Items:


Preview: Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway

  • Picks
    • James: Brad Keselowski
    • Eric: Aric Almirola

Dark Horse

    • Eric: Bubba Wallace Jr.
    • James: Alex Bowman
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

  • Where can we be found on social media?
  • James @jameskuch on Twitter
  • Eric @Eric8199 on Twitter
  • The SuperSpeedway @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

  • Website address:
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: Coke Zero Sugar 400

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, July 7

The Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: NBC, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 400 miles (160 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 40),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 80), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 160)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Coca-Cola Firecracker 250

The Place: Daytona International Speedway

The Date: Friday, July 6

The Time: 7:30 p.m.

TV: NBCSN, 7 p.m.

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 250 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 60), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 100)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Buckle Up In Your Truck 225

The Place: Kentucky Speedway

The Date: Thursday, July 12

The Time: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 7 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 225 miles (150 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 35),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 70), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 150)

Kyle Busch outduels Kyle Larson in last lap battle to win Overtons 400

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton's 400

Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Red White & Blue Toyota, takes the checkered flag to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Overton’s 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on July 1, 2018 in Joliet, Illinois. Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

JOLIET, Ill. — At the beginning of the race the talk was all about the weather — how hot it was and whether all the laps would be completed before storms rolled in. But by the checkered flag, everyone had forgotten all about the weather.

After chasing down Kyle Busch in the closing laps, Kyle Larson was able to get underneath Busch heading into turn one on the last lap. Busch battled back on the outside and Larson slid high, getting into the left rear of Busch. Busch rubbed the wall and Larson took the lead down the backstretch. However, going into three, Busch drove it in hard, getting into the back of Larson, causing him to spin. Busch got back around and took the checkered flag.

“Larson tried to pull a slider but didn’t quite complete it,” Busch said in victory lane. “He slid up into me and use me, and then I kind of used him a little bit in turn three to come back for the victory.”

Busch said after the race that once Larson got into him, all gloves were off.

“At that point, i was like, ‘OK, all games are off. All bets are off,’” Busch said. “Going into turn three it was all about following him in there. I drove in there as far as I could.”

When Larson spun, Busch’s car pushed up the track and got into the wall.

“After that I was just trying to get back to the start-finish line,” he said.

Larson said after the race he knew going into the first turn that he wasn’t going to get by Busch.

“I would have had to slow down so much to not hit the wall,” Larson said. “I didn’t initially go in there planning to run into the side of him.”

But once he started the move, he realized there was only one way to complete it.

“I kind of made the plan to try to squeeze into him to bog him down, and it worked,” Larson said. “He was able to get back to my back bumper into three.”

Larson said he had no issue with Busch spinning him after the pass.

“I hit him first,” Larson said. “I roughed him up. He roughed me up. That’s racing.”

He said he went to victory lane to congratulate Busch after the race.

“I just went down and talked to him and said, ‘That was a lot of fun,’” Larson said. “I have a lot of respect for Kyle Busch and he has a lot of respect for me.”

Crew Chief Adam Stevens said the team struggled with the car all weekend, not unloading well and never being able to get back ahead of it. Busch echoed that, saying he struggled throughout the day.

“It was a handful, that’s for sure,” Busch said. “I don’t know what we had going on early in the race. Clean air was certainly helpful, but we watched the 78 drive up through there a few times today.”

Busch said while the win was exciting, he’d rather win a race without rubbing fenders.

“I enjoy winning races more cleanly than having to rough people up,” he said. “But when you’re the guy who gets roughed up, it’s fair game. It was a good day and a great finish. An exciting one at that, at a mile and a half. People don’t usually see those anymore. You have to be pumped about that. It’s really cool.”

Larson still ended up with a second-place finish, while Kevin Harvick came home in third.

“Our car was just off all weekend,” said Harvick, who led six times for 39 laps during the event. “We had a tough time making the front end turn and then we would wind up way too tight all the way through the corner or way too loose all the way through the corner. The guys did a good job and kept us in the game all day. We had a chance. We just wound up on the wrong side of it in the end.”

In a season that has seen most battles come down to what has been coined “the Big Three,” Harvick, Busch and Martin Truex Jr., there were plenty of other players at the front at Chicagoland as well. The dominant car on the day was Aric Almirola, who led four times for 70 laps. However, Almirola had to pit twice during the race for loose wheels.

“Our car was super fast, especially out in clean air,” Almirola said. “It was incredibly fast. We just have to execute. We have to put a whole race together. That is the difference between being good and being great.”

“We are capable of winning,” Almirola siad. “We showed it today. We have speed. We are bringing incredible race cars to the race track and we just have to put a whole day together.”

Early in the race it looked like it was going to be a Stewart Haas Racing kind of day, as Clint Bowyer battled his way to the front as well. However, during green flag stops, Bowyer sped on pit road, and then sped again while serving his drive-through penalty. Per NASCAR’s rules, if you speed while serving your penalty, you must make a stop-and-go. Bowyer served the second penalty without stopping, forcing him to have to come down pit road another time, putting him three laps down.

He was able to battle back to a fifth-place finish.

“You have to push everything,” Bowyer said. “Certainly pit road is a big part of that. You are splitting hairs out there on the race track down to the tenths of a second and you can gain seconds on pit road. Obviously our pit road speed was just a little too fast. We practiced it yesterday and the guys even made some adjustments, but that tight section down there was just too fast. The first time you second guess yourself. You come down the second time and you are cautious and you speed again so now you know you’ve got a problem. Then it was just confusion on my part. I wasn’t listening and made a mistake and cost us a third time down. We got good at pitting today, unfortunately.”

The win was Busch’s 48th career victory and his fifth of the season. It is his second win at Chicagoland Speedway. He led 59 laps, the second most of the day.

Busch’s win makes 2018 only the fourth season in Cup Series history to have two drivers with five or more wins in the first 17 races. Busch and Harvick have each won five this year. In 2010, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson both hit that mark, and Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough did it in 1977 and 1974.

There were 24 lead changes among 10 drivers, and five cautions for 23 laps.

According to NASCAR, the top five cars cleared the post-race at-track inspection, and NASCAR will take the 18 and 42 cars to the R&D center. Brad Keselowski’s car had one right rear lug nut not safely secured after the race, and Denny Hamlin’s car had one left rear lug nut not safely secured.

Truex, Hamlin, Johnson among drivers to have times disallowed in Cup qualifying at Chicago


JOLIET, Ill. — Four drivers will start at the back of the field for Sunday’s Overtons 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race after having times disallowed due to failing post-qualifying inspection.

Because of the weekend’s “enhanced schedule,” NASCAR did not require drivers to go through pre-qualifying inspection at Chicagoland Speedway Saturday. Teams could voluntarily go through, however.

NASCAR announced that drivers who failed post-qualifying inspection would have their times disallowed and further penalties depending on how many times they failed inspection.

Four cars failed post-qualifying tech Saturday evening. Those include Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Chris Buescher. All four will start from 36th through 39th in the field of 39 cars.

The cars of Paul Menard and Ryan Blaney, who qualified on the front row, did pass inspection, so they will retain their starting positions. It was Menard’s first pole in almost 10 years. Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer will round out the top five when they come to the green flag Sunday at Chicagoland.

NASCAR also announced that the team of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made unapproved adjustments after qualifying, so he will go to the rear as well. However, Stenhouse will retain his starting position, he will just have to fall to the back before the green flag.

NASCAR has also elected to move up the start of the race approximately 14 minutes due to the threat of possible rain in the afternoon at Chicagoland. Sunday’s forecast for Joliet calls for a high of 90 degrees and a 60 percent chance of rain and thunderstorms. The hourly forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of rain at 3 p.m. ET, increasing to 55 percent around 7 p.m. ET.

Sunday’s green flag is now scheduled to be at 1:32 p.m. CT, 2:32 p.m. ET, with driver intros starting at 1:45 p.m. ET.

Scannable Document on Jul 1, 2018 at 9_24_05 AM