Monster Energy NASCAR Cup I Love New York 355 At The Glen at Watkins Glen International
Fuel mileage wins the day for Truex – his fourth win this year
Aug. 6, 2017: In the end, it came down to fuel economy and Martin Truex proved to be the master, winning the race after those ahead had to stop for fuel – and he even had enough left to do donuts afterwards. Matt Kenseth, in what could be his final year in this series, finished in second place less than half a second behind him while Daniel Suárez took third-place honours. This was Suárez’ best finishing result in this his rookie year in Cup – and, of course, he was the rookie-of-the-race.
It was a very different story a few laps earlier when Brad Keselowski had a three-second lead over Truex and the gap was getting bigger as Truex was slowing to save fuel. With four laps to go in the 90-lap race, Truex had fallen back to third behind Ryan Blaney who was seven seconds behind the leader. But on the next lap Keselowski conceded defeat and pitted for fuel handing the lead to Blaney. One lap later, Blaney came in and this let Truex through into the lead but Kenseth and Suárez were close behind. On the final lap Truex made a couple of bobbles but he was just able to hold off Kenseth to take the checker in a near photo finish. Keselowski had incurred a pit stop penalty on that last pit stop and he was scored in 15th place. Blaney finished in eighth place just behind Kyle Busch.
If Kyle Busch did not have such an unlikeable persona, race fans would have felt sorry for him this day because at the start of the race, everything was going his way and then it all fell apart for him over and over – and he had to settle for a seventh-place result.
This weekend it had seemed as if Busch was on a roll. He was coming off a win at Indianapolis the week before. He had started from the front row in the Xfinity race on Saturday and he won it in dominant fashion. In qualifying for the Cup race earlier on Sunday afternoon, he won the pole. He led the first 21 laps of the Cup race, winning the first Stage . Then it started to go wrong.
Busch pitted under the yellow during the turnaround at the end of the first Stage but there was a problem with a lug nut getting stuck behind one of his wheels and he had to make a second pit stop. This left him taking the green back in 32nd place. Not to worry, he was the fastest car on the track and he started to slice his way back up through the field.
Fourteen laps later he had worked his way up to ninth place and he was back in contention with lots of time to get to the front. The yellow flew for a second time to mark the end of the second Stage on lap 40. The front0runners, including Busch did not pit and he took the restart in ninth place. He was on the charge again. Half way around – at the bus stop chicane – he had caught up to Keselowski and the two came together and both spun off the track. Keselowski recovered and kept going. Busch had made contact with the barrier and he pitted. After this Keselowski was in 32nd place and Busch in 34th, the last car on the lead lap, almost a full lap down.
When the third – and final – yellow flew on lap 53 it closed up the field. Keselowski, having pitted only a few laps earlier, opted to stay out and take the lead while Busch took this restart in 12th place. Immediately he started marching up through the field and within ten laps he was up to eighth place but then he stalled out.
Meanwhile Truex who had passed Keselowski for the lead started backing off and he let Keselowski back past him. He had apparently started to go into a serious fuel-saving mode while Keselowski kept on charging forward with an ever-increasing lead. It seemed as if everyone but the race leader was seriously saving fuel and his gap grew bigger and bigger. Busch who had pitted even earlier that Keselowski was the first to blink and he pitted for a splash of fuel on lap 85, falling back to 13th and any hopes he might have had of making this weekend a double win went out the window. The best he could do was seventh after those ahead of him slowed or pitted for fuel.
Will anyone shed a tear for Kyle Busch? Perhaps not. He still is one of the fastest drivers out there today and his win at Indianapolis assures him a place in the season-end playoffs. Don’t count him out yet; he could well be the champion again this year.
Milton, Ontario-based Gary Klutt raced at the Glen this weekend. He ran in the K&N series race on Friday where he finished 19th in a 20-car field. On Sunday he started in 34th place in a 37-car field and he finished 31st, one lap down on the race winner.
The next Monster Energy Cup Series race is on Aug. 13 at Michigan International Speedway.
NASCAR Xfinity Series Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International
Kyle Busch scores another Xfinity Series win – his 90th in this series
Aug. 5, 2017: Given that Kyle Busch has won more Xfinity races than any other driver, every time he wins another race he sets a new record. His win here at Watkins Glen was his 90th – but for a while it looked like anything but a sure thing after he had two setbacks on track.
Early in the race, on lap 14 of the 82-lap race, he overcooked it in the first turn and spun off the course but he somehow only lost two positions. Then he was penalized for a pit lane infraction on lap 23 and he was sent to the back of the field.
Busch was trailing Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano when the first stage ended at the end of lap 20 and he pitted when many others stayed out – the short distance between the stage ends and of the race as a whole encouraged alternate fuel/tire strategies. After this restart he was far back in about 20th place – but he was on an alternate pit strategy to many of those ahead of him – those who were going to need to make a pit stop soon. When Stage 2 ended on lap 40, he was up into fourth place behind Paul Menard, Logano and Keselowski – and after these three drivers pitted under the yellow, Busch was back in the lead again by lap 49. He relinquished the lead to Brendan Gaughan briefly when he pitted under green but, before long, Gaughan pitted and Busch cycled back into the lead ahead of the two Penske cars.
And that’s the way the final 19 laps played out with the only exception being that Logano passed Keselowski to take second-place honours behind Busch. Justin Allgaier finished fourth ahead of Menard and Kevin Harvick, Allgaier being the top-placed Xfinity Championship-eligible driver. After the race, they brought William Byron, who had finished in tenth place, in the media centre to be interviewed as the rookie-of-the-race.
The next Xfinity Series race is on Aug. 12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
IMSA WeatherTech Championship Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America
Nissan DPi victorious at Elkhart Lake; breaks the Cadillac monopoly on race wins
Aug. 6, 2017: At the start of the Road America WeatherTech race it looked like the same old story. The No. 10 Ricky Taylor/Jordan Taylor Cadillac DP1 started from the pole and led the first 51 laps of what turned out to be a 71-lap race at the end of its 160-minute time allotment. But during the second caution, the No. 85 ORECA LMP2 of Misha Goikhberg/Stephen Simpson took the lead ahead of the No. 10 car and the No. 22 Nissan DPi of Johannes van Overbeek/Luis Felipe Derani.
When the No. 22 car pitted for fuel a few laps later it was now a battle between Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 car and Derani in the No. 22. Derani had gotten the upper hand on the Cadillac at the restart and he held on to take the win.
In GTLM, the honours went to Joey Hand/ Dirk Mueller in the No. 66 Ford GT ahead of the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet/Dirk Werner with the second Ford GT, the No. 67 of Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook recovering from a slow start to finish third.
In GTD No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 of Jens Klingmann/Jesse Krohn was the class winner while Toronto’s Daniel Morad, in the No. 28 Porsche 911 was 28th overall and 11th in class.
The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race is at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 24.
IMSA Continental Tire Road America 120
Rain-shortened race goes to the KohR Motorsports Mustang
Aug. 5, 2017: The No. 59 Mustang of Dean Martin/Jack Roush Jr. may have started behind two other cars but they had the lead by the eighth lap of the 120-minute timed race. They were declared the winners after the race was cut short by rain and lightning. With 40 minutes to go in the race, it was red-flagged due to lightning in the area – and, by the time this threat has passed, there was not enough time left in the day’s schedule to allow the race to be resumed.
The No. 28 Porsche Cayman of Dillon Machavern/Dylan Murcott was scored second ahead of the No. 69 McLaren GT4 of Kenny Wilden from Oakville, Ontario and Rod Randall.
The ST class was won by the No. 25 Mazda MX-5 (the Gen 3 version) of Chad McCumbee/Stevan McAleer ahead of another MX-5, the No 27 car driven by Britt Casey Jr/Tom Long .
The next IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race is at VIRginia International Raceway on Aug. 26.
IMSA WeatherTech: Richard Dole/LAT Image/IMSA
IMSA Continental: Jake Galstad/LAT Images/IMSA
MENCS: George Webster/IGNITION
NXS: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images/NASCAR
Box Score Results