Nemechek captures pole for Corrigan Oil 200

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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.

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Denny Hamlin grabs the pole for Consumers Energy 400

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Denny Hamlin enters turn one during a practice lap Friday at Michigan International Speedway. Hamlin qualifed on the pole for Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 at the 2-mile oval. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

BROOKLYN, Mich. — It was a perfect day for Denny Hamlin Friday at Michigan International Speedway, as Hamlin swept practice and all three rounds of qualifying to win the pole for the Consumers Energy 400.

Hamlin turned his fastest lap of qualifying in the final session with a time of 35.504 seconds for an average speed of 202.794 mph. It is Hamlin’s first pole at MIS, a track that he has had success at in the past, and his 28th career pole. It’s also his second-consecutive pole after winning it at Watkins Glen last weekend.

He said the way his car handled Friday he hopes translates to a good car all weekend.

“I’ve never qualified on the pole here before,” Hamlin said. “We have a car that’s been driving good all day. If we can duplicate that and have it drive the same in race trim, it should be a great race for us.”

He said while he doesn’t have a win yet this year, he feels things are starting to turn around.

“We’re starting to see results,” Hamlin said. “You can definitely see that we’re gaining speed, gaining momentum, even though the finish doesn’t necessarily show it. I’m very optimistic about this week. This is a racetrack that we’ve had success at.”

Hamlin has won at least one race a season since his rookie year, and was asked whether it is important to him to keep that streak alive.

“It is, it is a very important streak,” he said. “I think about it. I thought it was all over in ‘13, the year I broke my back, and we won in the final race of the season to keep the streak alive. You look back at the really great drivers of NASCAR and they had long streaks, 10 years and above, of winning in a row and you just want to keep that going for sure. It’s important.”

It will be an all-Joe Gibbs front row Sunday as Hamlin’s teammate came close, but not close enough, with Kyle Busch qualifying second with a lap of 35.515 seconds for an average speed of 202.731 mph.

“This has always been a tricky place for me, trying to be able to find the right setup and get it to where we need it,” Busch said. “We did the same thing again there in qualifying as we typically do here, we’re always a step behind it seems when we go out there for the first run, but then we make adjustments to it each and every run and we get better and have a shot or get closer to the front at least.”

“Just missed it a little bit today for being able to get the number one spot where we want to be to get that number one pit spot, because that’s really important here at Michigan,” Busch continued. “We’ll see how Sunday goes, but typically I wouldn’t say Michigan is one of our best places.”

Kevin Harvick earned a third-place starting spot after suffering on his first-round run when Daniel Suarez got out of the groove ahead of him and hit the wall.

“The first round, we kind of got scared there,” Harvick said. “We thought there was a car in the fence and wound up giving up a little time during the first round, but that didn’t hurt us. It was too tight in all three rounds and in practice and we never got ahead of it.”

Hometown boy Erik Jones qualified in fourth place, while Austin Dillon rounded out the top five.

“We felt like we had a good car throughout practice that was capable of turning a lap,” Dillon said. “We had one extra lap on our tires right there, so that was a really good lap for four runs on tires. We just had to keep tweaking on it. We didn’t ever have the balance quite perfect until that last run. I think the driver gave up a little bit in three of speed.”

Ryan Newman brought the other Richard Childress car to a sixth-place starting spot.

“We didn’t really change a whole lot all day and they relied on me to pick up the speed and I needed to,” Newman said. Just kept building confidence in what I had to work with. Obviously the track kept getting a little faster there at the end, but a good run for our Grainger Chevrolet. An improvement over where we were in the first race here. We need the biggest improvement on race day, so we have some more work to do tomorrow.”

Clint Bowyer: ‘More wins’ needed to become part of the championship discussion

Cup Practice 1-3727

Clint Bowyer talks to the Media at Michigan International Speedway Friday. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

BROOKLYN, Mich. — Of the first 22 races of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, only four drivers have multiple wins. Those same four drivers have combined to win 18 of those 22 races.

Sixteen of those races have been won by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr., who have been coined the “Big Three” throughout the industry this season. Sitting on the outside of the Big Three, but looking in, is two-time 2018 winner Clint Bowyer.

Bowyer returns to the site of his second win this season Sunday when he takes the green flag in the Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He won the rain-shortened FireKeepers Casino 400 at MIS in June.

So what does he need to do to become a part of that championship conversation?

“Same thing everybody does — more wins,” Bowyer said during his media availability Friday at MIS. “You have to elevate your game and rise to their capabilities and expectations. Those guys, not only do they have the wins, they are the dominant cars that have led a lot of laps when they get those wins and all the stage points and all that stuff. You have to be able to do that more consistently.”

Cup Practice 1-4398

Clint Bowyer completes a lap during the first practice Friday at Michigan International Speedway for the Consumers Energy 400. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

That’s something that Bowyer’s team has struggled with this year. Despite the wins at Martinsville and Michigan this year, the no. 14 Stewart-Haas Ford has struggled to maintain consistency. While he has two wins and six top fives, he has finished outside the top 10 in 12 of the 22 races this year. His average finish for the season is 11.5.

In Chicagoland last month, Bowyer and his teammate Aric Almirola had two of the strongest cars early in the race. But after speeding on pit road, a comedy of errors trying to serve the penalty put Bowyer three laps down. He managed to claw back to a fifth-place finish, but might have had a chance at victory lane without the mistakes.

There have been moments of brilliance this year. The decision by Crew Chief Mike Bugarewicz to take two tires in June at Michigan, putting Bowyer ahead of teammate Kevin Harvick and allowing him to hold off Harvick until the rain came was one of those, leading to the victory. But it needs to be more consistent if the team wants to be considered a championship contender, Bowyer said.

“On our team, that is what we have to do,” he said. “We have touched on that and made some mistakes and know we have to get those mistakes behind us to capitalize on every possible situation. Every stage. Every lap. That is what we have to do better. We have to smooth out the highs and lows.”

The short answer?

“You have to stay on top of the mountain,” Bowyer said. “You can’t fall off the damn mountain. That’s what it boils down to.”

Bowyer was seventh-fastest in the first and only Cup Series practice Friday at MIS. Denny Hamlin had the fastest time, followed by Kurt Busch, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano all ahead of Bowyer. The Cup cars are set to qualify at 5:05 p.m. Friday.

Podcast #72 — Chase Elliott gets his first Cup win

Show notes:

Recap: Go Bowling at the Glen

  • Chase Elliott gets his first win
    • Outduels the defending champ in MTJ
    • 250th win for Hendrick
    • Wins in his 99th attempt (same as Kyle Larson)
    • Wins after eight second-place finishes (same as his dad)
  • Kyle Busch falters with strongest car
    • Battles back to finish THIRD without the help of a caution
  • Dinger Disappoints
  • Logano finishes last
  • Xfinity cars race in the rain
    • Logano wins Saturday
    • Dinger messes up again
  • NBC does it’s radio-style (around the horn) broadcast again this year.
    • NBC New camera Angles
    • Problems — didn’t do a good job of showing comebacks by Dinger Saturday, KB Sunday.

News Items:

  • Brian France
    • Two hours after its most popular driver wins his first Cup race, NASCAR’s CEO and Chairman Brian France is arrested in the Hamptons and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance according to a Sag Harbor Village Police Department news release
    • NASCAR announces Tuesday that Brian France has decided to take an indefinite leave of absence from his role as chairman and CEO of NASCAR.
    • Jim France, son of Bill France Sr., has stepped into the role of CEO and Chairman.
      • France has served as vice chairman of the board of directors and executive vice president of NASCAR and previously as the CEO of ISC
      • Brian France Statement: “I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night,” said France in a prepared statement released by NASCAR. “Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs.”
      • https://www.motorsport.com/nascar-cup/news/brian-france-i-will-be-taking-a-leave-of-absence/3155072/

Do We Care?

  • Xfinity Series raced in the rain Saturday. Do we care about rain racing?

Preview: Consumers Energy 400 at Michigan International Speedway

  • Eric will be there
    • Upcoming stuff for the podcast
      • James is taking next week off. Hoping to have Aaron Bearden on to co-host after the race
      • Planning to interview @TheOrangeCone during the weekend for a future podcast.
  • Picks
    • Eric: Chase Elliott
    • James: Clint Bowyer

Dark Horse

    • James: William Byron
    • Eric: Ryan Newman
  • Shoutouts if any

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 #71 — This is the best era in NASCAR

Show notes:

Recap: Gander Outdoors 400 from Pocono Raceway

  • Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick continue trading shots at the top.
  • Bubba’s hard hit

Do We Care?

  • 13 cars failed post-qualifying inspection at Pocono, including the two fastest cars.

News Items:

Preview: Go Bowling at the Glen from Watkins Glen International Raceway

  • Picks
    • James: Joey Logano
    • Eric: Brad Keselowski
    • Dark Horse
    • Eric: Kasey Kahne
    • James: Aric Almirola
  • 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: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

 

Click the link to view and download the following NASCAR National Series News & Notes on NASCARMedia.com

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Next Race: GoBowling at The Glen

The Place: Watkins Glen International

The Date: Sunday, August 5

The Time: 2 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 3 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 220.5 miles (90 Laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 90)

NASCAR Xfinity Series

Next Race: Zippo 200

The Place: Watkins Glen International

The Date: Saturday, August 4

The Time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200.9 miles (82 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 20),

Stage 2 (Ends on Lap 40), Final Stage (Ends on Lap 82)

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Next Race: Corrigan Oil 200

The Place: Michigan International Speedway

The Date: Saturday, August 11

The Time: 1 p.m. ET

TV: FS1, 12:30 p.m. ET

Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

Distance: 200 miles (100 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on Lap 30),

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

Podcast #70 — Harvick gives Busch the old Bump and Run

Recap: Foxwoods Casino Resort 301 from New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • Kevin Harvick gets the victory
  • Bump and Run on Kyle Busch
    • Did he do it too soon? Was it the right move?
  • Third good race out of four weeks.
  • Almost had the Big 3 finish 1,2,3.
    • Aric Almirola spoils it with a third-place finish

Recap: Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway

  • Chase Briscoe tops Grant Enfinger for the win at the line.
  • Another excellent race at Eldora.
  • Tony Stewart wants and Xfinity or Cup race.
    • What do we think?

News Items:

Do We Care?

  • 1. It has now been a year since a Hendrick team won a Cup race.
  • 2. NBC’s booth got to wear casual clothes for Sunday’s broadcast after fans overwhelmingly voted for them to wear jeans and NASCAR T-shirts
  • 3. Win stickers

Preview: Gander Outdoors 400 from Pocono Raceway

  • Picks
    • Eric: Ryan Blaney
    • James: Chase Elliott

Dark Horse

    • James: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
    • Eric: Daniel Suarez
  • 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: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud

Briscoe takes narrow victory over Enfinger as both bang doors to the line

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Chase Briscoe celebrates in victory lane after winning the 2018 Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

ROSSBURG, Ohio — In the end it looked like it would Logan Seavey’s race to win, but a couple late cautions took the race to overtime with Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger lined up side-by-side for the final restart. The two battled back and forth for the final two laps, banging doors off turn four and Briscoe was able to get the edge over Enfinger by just 0.038 seconds.

It was Briscoe’s second career Camping World Truck Series victory and his first at Eldora in a one-off race.

“I think Grant was probably the guy we were racing all night long,” Briscoe said. “I knew Grant would be the one guy who made sure he didn’t spin his tires. … I knew he was going to be really hard.”

Briscoe said he kept it clean and didn’t make contact until the frontstretch.

“We were inches apart without touching for a lap and 7/8ths,” he said. “I knew if I didn’t go all the way to the top, I probably wasn’t going to win.”

He said he had to go for it at the end.

“It wouldn’t have been right for me or Grant if I had lifted and raced him differently. I hate that we tore up two trucks. Especially since before that I don’t think the 27 had a scratch on it.”

“It was the most determined I’ve ever been behind the wheel those last eight laps or so,” he said.

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Chase Briscoe and Grant Enfinger race side-by-side through turn three on the final lap of the 2018 Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

Enfinger said despite the loss, he respects Briscoe and he wasn’t upset with the way he raced.

“He used me up on exit,” Briscoe said. I would have done the exact same thing. It’s good hard racing. I love racing with Chase.”

Enfinger said he wasn’t sure he could have done anything differently.

“I feel like I nailed the restart,” Enfinger said. “I don’t know what I could have done different. It was just a heck of a race.”

He said the fact that his ThorSport truck was strong made the night easier.

“I had a really good truck,” he said. “All I had to do was drive.”

Stewart Friesen was one of the favorites heading into the weekend, but a spin early in the race put him in the back of the field. He was able to battle back and stayed out at the end of stage two, but was only able to muster a third-place finish. He said his team struggled throughout the race weekend.

“The ThorSport guys … were super good both days here,” he said. “We were just kind of playing catch up. I think we had worse than a third-place truck so we probably got away with something there.”

He said his team’s alliance with GMS Racing this year has left him more chances to get a victory and a spot in the playoffs.

“I’m really excited to get to Pocono,” he said. “I did some Chevy sim stuff the other day. I’m really excited for Michigan. Bristol I could take or leave.”

Seavey was only able to hang on for an eighth-place finish.

“This is a really cool experience for me,” he said. “It was really, really fun. The trucks are so hard to drive. I figured they’d work on it before the race and they didn’t. I figured that would play in my favor.”

There were nine cautions for 41 laps. There were seven lead changes among five drivers. Briscoe led the most laps with 54, with Seavey leading the second-most with 53. Ben Rhodes had a strong run early leading 44 laps before having to pit for an issue, putting him down a few laps. Friesen and Enfinger both led one lap each. The time of the race was one hour, 39 minutes and 30 seconds.

Rhodes won the first stage and Briscoe won the second.

The Camping World Truck Series next heads to Pocono Raceway July 28.

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Rhodes captures pole, will lead heat one to the green at Eldora

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Ben Rhodes turns a lap during practice Tuesday at Eldora Speedway. Rhodes captured the pole Wednesday for Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby. Eric Young/The SuperSpeedway

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Ben Rhodes turned the fastest lap in qualifying Wednesday afternoon to capture the pole for Wednesday night’s Eldora Dirt Derby Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway.

Rhodes turned a lap of 20.737 to capture the pole. However, winning the pole at Eldora does not mean that Rhodes will start on the pole for tonight’s Dirt Derby. He will lead the first heat race to the green, and his finishing position in that race will determine his starting position.

Logan Seavey, Tyler Dippel, Grant Enfinger and Stewart Friesen will all lead their respective heats to the green flag.

Lineups for the heat races are below. Races start at 7 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. A last-chance is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. to determine the final starting spots for the field. The 150-lap main event will begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Heat 1:

41 – Ben Rhodes

99 – Sheldon Creed

22 – Austin Self

8 – John Hunter Nemechek

80 – Justin Shipley

02 – Austin Hill

33 – Braden Mitchell

0 – Ray Ciccarelli

 

Heat 2:

51 – Logan Seavey

4 – Todd Gilliland

16 – Brett Moffitt

25 – Dalton Sargeant

38 – Max McLaughlin

12 – Ty Dillon

97 – Ray Otto Jr.

20 – Tanner Thorson

 

Heat 3:

17 – Tyler Dippel

54 – Chris Windom

18 – Noah Gragson

27 – Chase Briscoe

63 – Kyle Strickler

6 – Norm Benning

49 – Wendell Chavous

10 – Jennifer Jo Cobb

 

Heat 4:

98 – Grant Enfinger

88 – Matt Crafton

74 – Trevor Collins

83 – Nick Hoffman

2 – Cody Coughlin

24 – Justin Haley

21 – Johnny Sauter

50 – Mike Harmon

 

Heat 5:

52 – Stewart Friesen

3 – Ryan Newman

13 – Myatt Snider

45 – Justin Fontaine

15 – JR Heffner

34 – Jeffrey Abbey

03 – John Provenzano

Friesen leads final Truck Series practice at Eldora

2018_eldora_july_newcopy_052618

ROSSBURG, Ohio — Stewart Friesen is certainly one of the favorites to win the sixth-annual Eldora Dirt Derby Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway Wednesday night, and he solidified himself as a contender by turning the fastest lap in final practice Tuesday night at the half-mile Ohio dirt track.

Friesen turned a lap of 20.893 for an average speed of 86.153 mph to lead the field in final practice. He was second-fastest in the first practice Tuesday, running a lap of 19.693 for an average speed of 91.403 mph. Myatt Snider led the first practice session with a time of 19.661.

The Camping World Truck Series will next be on the track Wednesday for qualifying, with single-truck qualifying kicking off at 4:35 p.m. ET. Each truck will get two timed laps.

The only dirt race in the top three NASCAR series has a unique format, as qualifying only determines the lineup for the five heat races Wednesday night. The heats will begin at 7 p.m. A last chance race to determine the final qualifiers is scheduled for 8:40 p.m., with the 150-lap main event Eldora Dirt Derby beginning at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night. The race will consist of three stages, 40 laps, 50 laps and 60 laps, for a total of 75 miles. There will be breaks between each stage where trucks will be allowed to pit and retain their positions. Unlike the rest of the season, caution laps during the stage breaks do not count.

Below are the top 10 fastest trucks in final practice, with a full rundown of final practice speeds below.

 

  1. Stewart Friesen #52 — 20.983
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9218

 

  1. Sheldon Creed #99 — 20.961
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9162

 

  1. Chase Briscoe #27 — 20.983
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9279

 

  1. Myatt Snider #13 — 20.989
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9108

 

  1. Todd Gilliland #4 — 20.997
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9184

 

  1. Logan Seavey #51 — 21.005
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8979

 

  1. Johnny Sauter #21 — 21.026
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9052

 

  1. Matt Crafton #88 — 21.073
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8884

 

  1. Tyler Dippel #17 — 21.143
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-9046

 

  1. Justin Shipley #80 — 21.157
    Eldora Trucks Practice 2-8758

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Podcast #69: Truex Wins Kentucky in Dominating Fashion

Recap: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

    • Truex dominates at Kentucky

 

  • AUDIO (1:44): Truex still humble about winning
  • AUDIO (0:33): Cole Pearn says there’s no issue having the top three guys dominating.

 

  • How was the race overall?
  • Notable stories from the race?
    • Denny Hamlin doesn’t get to qualify due to tech issues
    • Kyle Larson has to go to the back because of missing driver intros
    • Larson has fastest car but issues with trackbar

Breaking News: Teams are using different colors to trick the laser scanners for pre-race tech

Do We Care?

Xfinity: Alsco 300

  • Christopher Bell spins in qualifying and comes back to win the race.
    • Kyle Busch was there but mostly a nonfactor all night
    • Xfinity regular won.

CWTS: Buckle Up in Your Truck 225

    • Best race of the weekend
    • Ben Rhodes wins on his home track
      • It was his second-career victory

 

  • AUDIO (0:51): Eric asks if it was sweeter to win on his home track.

 

News Items:

Preview: Foxwoods 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

  • Picks
    • James: Kurt Busch
    • Eric: Martin Truex Jr.
    • Dark Horse
    • Eric: Matt Kenseth
    • James: William Byron
  • 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: www.thesuperspeedway.com
  • Podcasts will be found on there as well.
  • Find us on iTunes, Google Play and Soundcloud