Podcast #78 — The Playoff Grid is Set

Show notes:

Recap: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard

  • Brad Keselowski wins

Xfinity race:

  • Review of the aero package?

News Items:

  • After we recorded last week it was announced Kasey Kahne would not run at Indy due to symptoms of exhaustion after Darlington.
    • He’ll be out three more races
    • Regan Smith is driving the car
  • Jamie McMurray will not be back at Ganasi next year
  • Trevor Bayne will not return to Roush next season
  • Matt D. not returning to GoFas racing

Do We Care?

  • NASCAR running driver logos and hashtags on the playoff contender cars during the playoffs

Brackets

Preview: South Point Hotel and Casino 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

  • Picks
    • James: Ryan Blaney
    • Eric: Kyle Busch

Dark Horse

    • Eric: Austin Dillon
    • 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 @TSuperspeedway on Twitter
  • Facebook @ TheSuperSpeedway

For more of the podcast:

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

Become a Patron at www.patreon.com/thesuperspeedway

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Podcast #77 — Furniture Row Racing closing up shop

Show notes:

Recap:

  • Southern 500
    • Brad gets the job done!
      • What, if anything, does this mean for his title hopes?
    • Larson appears to let another great run get away.
    • The Bowyer wreck.
    • How great is throwback weekend?
  • Xfinity
    • Let’s chat about that Harvick/Chastain crash for a minute.

News Items:

Preview: Brickyard 400

  • Picks
    • James: Kyle Busch
    • Eric: Denny Hamlin

Dark Horse

    • Eric: William Byron
    • James: Ricky Stenhouse
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

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

For more of the podcast:

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

Become a Patron at www.patreon.com/thesuperspeedway

Podcast #76 — Was Gragson’s move the right one?

Show notes:

Recap:

Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

  • Justin Haley wins after dive-bomb by Noah Gragson on Todd Gilliland
    • What do we think of the pass?
    • How was the race overall?

Johnsonville 180 at Road America

  • Justin Allgaier wins
  • How was the race overall?

News Items:

Preview: Bojangles Southern 500

  • Picks
    • Eric: Kyle Larson
    • James: Denny Hamlin

Dark Horse

    • James: Austin Dillon
    • Eric: Jamie McMurray
  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

Close show

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

For more of the podcast:

Podcast #75 — Is Bristol back?

Recap: Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway

  • Kurt Busch gets the win
  • Kyle Busch crashes on lap 1
  • Kyle Larson finishes second
  • Let’s talk about the race
    • Is this as good as the old Bristol?
    • Was not a clear-cut standout all race long
  • Is Kurt Busch now the fourth championship contender?

 

News Items:

 

Do We Care?

 

Preview: Bojangles Southern 500

  • Picks
    • Eric:
    • James:

Dark Horse

    • James:
    • Eric:

 

  • Shoutouts if any
    • Plug the fantasy league
    • Plug Patreon

 

Close show

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

 

For more of the podcast:

Harvick earns dominating win in Consumers Energy 400

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Kevin Harvick celebrates after climbing from his car at Michigan International Speedway Sunday. Harvick won the Consumers Energy 400. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

BROOKLYN, Mich. — It was a Kevin Harvick kind of day Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, as Harvick earned his seventh win of the season in the Consumers Energy 400.

Harvick led 108 of 200 laps and won both stages on his way to the victory. Martin Truex Jr. led the next highest number of laps with 25.

He said he has been enjoying the season so far and has been able to appreciate the success.

“I spent a lot of years not having the most fun and not having the most success,” Harvick said. “Over the past five years I have been able to win a lot of races and doing things on the racetrack. There has been an incredible amount of stuff and wins packed into five years now. For me, I’m just enjoying every moment because you never know when it’s going to go the other way.”

After the race, Harvick’s son, Keelan, met him at the track and got to ride in the passenger’s side of Harvick’s car on the victory lap.

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Kevin Harvick looks over at his son, Keelan, who joined him in the post race press conference Sunday. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

“We got to celebrate together,” Harvick said. “It was pretty cool to look over there on your victory lap and see your 6-year-old on the passenger seat with you there.”

Harvick said Keelan has been with him the last three weeks, and the two had some father-son moments together. It wasn’t all smooth though.

“He did crash a golf cart into a pine tree,” Harvick said. “All we could see were the golfbags sticking out of a tree. We had to go and dig him out. So that was entertaining. We had some unapproved Mom moments this weekend with the golf cart crash and the quarter midget.”

“What other sport can you take your kids to work and be able to enjoy those things with them?” he said. “Share one of your coolest moments and looking over and the only person with you is your son. That’s pretty special.”

The win was Harvick’s 44th of his career, tying him at 17th all-time with Bill Elliott.

Brad Keselowski overcame a loose wheel earlier in the race to battle back to a second-place finish in his Penske Ford on his home track. Keselowski is yet to earn a Cup Series victory at Michigan, but he said he’s getting closer.

“We’ve done everything we can do here but win, at least on the Cup level,” he said. “We have that opportunity. We’ll see if it can develop into something. It hasn’t so far. I know in my heart that if we keep running like this it will happen.”

Keselowski said he was happy with a strong performance after struggling as of late.

“It was nice to just be able to have a clean race, or mostly clean — we did have one loose wheel — and be able to get the finish we deserve,” he said.

He said the Penske Fords have not caught up to the Big Three — he said he doesn’t pay attention to the Big Three by the way — but that isn’t an excuse for not winning.

“We may not have race-winning speed, but we still need to execute,” he said. “We’re not where we need to be to just win on pure speed against those guys week in and week out.”

“I think there were positives and negatives from today,” Keselowski said. “We have to try and make the most of the positives and learn from the negatives.”

Kyle Busch led 22 laps en route to his third-place finish Sunday. He said while Harvick was able to win by a large margin, he did have a fast car during the race.

“I was in front of him for like five laps,” Busch said. “I actually drove away from him for a couple laps there until that caution came out. It definitely seemed like whoever got out front could take off.”

Busch said he frequently struggles at Michigan, and it is still a nature of the repave at MIS — it was resurfaced before the 2012 season — that gives him trouble.

“I think mainly because it’s just so one-groovish,” he said. “I won the last race here on the old asphalt before they repaved it. I had one groove all to myself.”

He was asked when he thinks the track will begin to widen out again.

“I would have hoped that it would have been a little bit wider than it is now,” he said. “I don’t know. Best guess, 10 years.”

Austin Dillon took the lead on the final green flag pit stop, but wasn’t able to hold Harvick off. He followed for second until just two laps to go when he had a problem, costing him two spots for a fourth-place finish.

“I had an awful vibration there with two to go and it was like the tire was unraveling or the lugnuts were coming loose,” he said. “I just wanted to bring back a good finish. We really needed that.”

Rounding out the top five was Ryan Blaney.

“It was a good showing for us today,” Blaney said. “Really all weekend I thought we were pretty strong. There were a couple cars better than us all day and a couple that got better at the end. Second half of the race the track kind of changed and our car lost a little bit of speed but I am happy with a fifth after the last two weeks that have been a struggle for us. It is good to get back on the right track which is where we belong. Hopefully we can keep this going here for the next few weeks and then into the playoffs.”

The strangest incident of the day came on lap 134 when Ty Dillon hit a piece of debris on the backstretch and crashed hard in turn three. He said it was a battery or a piece of lead, and he couldn’t miss it because he was in a three-wide battle at the time.

“I was just hoping it was a glove or something that wouldn’t collect it,” Dillon said. “As soon as I hit, it was like hitting a wall and I had no control of the car. I just drove it straight at 218 mph into the wall, no brakes, no nothing. So hopefully NASCAR finds whose piece that was because that shouldn’t happen in our sport. There shouldn’t be batteries laying on our tracks. Not to tear down, but I know these people have to do a lot to make these cars come to the race track, but things like that can’t happen because it’s too dangerous at a place like this.”

There were eight cautions for 37 laps. The time of race was two hours, 50 minutes and 51 seconds. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next heads to Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race.

Moffitt steals fifth win of the season in last-turn pass

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #16 Hino Toyota, takes the checkered flag before Johnny Sauter, driver of the #21 ISM Connect Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 11, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Jerry Markland/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, Mich. — For a team that wasn’t sure it’d have sponsorship to run the full season, it’s been quite the year for Ben Moffitt and his Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota. That spectacular season continued Saturday as Moffitt stole a win from Johnny Sauter with a last-lap pass coming out of turn four to earn his fifth victory of the season.

“It’s good to have one work out,” Moffitt said. “I wouldn’t say we had the most speed today, but we had a really good-handling truck and that was what was key. We’ve had good trucks all year long.”

Moffitt said it was an extra bonus to get the win over Sauter.

“I already see, unless something weird happens, he’s going to be one of the final four at Homestead,” Moffitt said. “We’re tough competitors, and we don’t like losing to each other. It’s good to come out on top.”

Moffitt has had a knack lately for late-race passes for victories. He said it’s all about being able to perform when necessary.

“I’m a better hunter than hunted,” he said. “It seems to be if the money’s on the line, I can grab that extra gear and get aggressive. You don’t need to lead all of them.”

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #16 Hino Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway on August 11, 2018 in Brooklyn, Michigan. Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Sauter inched his way forward all day long, leading to turn four before Moffitt got a run to battle him side-by-side to the line. Sauter took the blame after the race for letting one get away.

“I screwed up,” he said. “There’s no ifs ands or buts about it. I should have run the bottom.

“I still feel like if I could have run the bottom, I don’t know what he could have done,” Sauter said. “I’m pretty pissed at myself for giving up a win.”

Moffitt was asked if Sauter had stayed low, could he have still made the pass.

“I had momentum,” Moffitt said. “I don’t know. That’s a good question. It probably would have been easier for him to slide up and block. I was able to hold it wide open and get a good run down in there, and once I got to his quarter panel, it was kind of the nail in the coffin.”

A second-place finish is still an improvement for Sauter, who has struggled over the past several weeks after his fourth win of the season back at Texas in June. But he said some of that has been by design.

“A lot of people have been questioning where we’re at,” Sauter said. “You’ve got to try some stuff too along the way.”

“I feel like we’ve learned a lot over the last couple weeks,” he added. “It’s definitely been a character building experience.”

Sauter said he has also made mistakes along the way that have contributed to the struggles.
“If anybody’s got anything to clean up, it’s me,” he said. “I promise you I’ll get it cleaned up when it’s time.”

There was no dominant truck during the race, as several had stints at the front of the field as some strategies differed during the event. Noah Gragson and Matt Crafton both led the most laps at 18 apiece. Gragson finished in fourth while Crafton wound up 10th. Sauter and Grant Enfinger both led 16 apiece and Stewart Friesen led 12.

Friesen was one of the stronger trucks all day, but a penalty on the final pitstop forced him to start at the rear. He was only able to battle back to eighth.

In all, there were 16 lead changes among nine drivers.

There were five cautions for 22 laps in the race.

Nemechek captures pole for Corrigan Oil 200

Truck Practice 2-4653

John Hunter Nemechek (8) runs the low line into the trioval at Michigan International Speedway as Noah Gragson (18) and Todd Gilliland (4) run to his outside during final practice Friday. Nemechek took the pole for the Corrigan Oil 400 Saturday, while Gilliland and Gragson will start second and third. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

BROOKLYN, Mich. — It was almost a KBM front row, but final qualifier John Hunter Nemechek captured the pole for the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway Saturday by one one-thousandth of a second to earn his second career Camping World Truck Series pole.

Nemechek turned a lap of 39.121 seconds for an average speed of 184.044 mph. It is his first pole of the 2018 season, though Nemechek is not running the full truck series schedule. It’s his first pole at MIS.

Todd Gilliland looked like he was going to sit on the pole before Nemechek’s run, but he will have to settle for the outside of the front row as he qualified second. Noah Gragson will start third.

Matt Mills looked as if he could be the story earlier in qualifying as he earned the provisional pole in the J.F. Electric/Crosley Brands no. 54 Toyota. After qualifying was complete, he had been relegated to the fourth starting spot, still a significant improvement over his previous best qualifying run of 19th in his 10-race Truck Series career.

Stewart Friesen rounded out the top five Saturday.

The Corrigan Oil 200 is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. It will air live on FS1.