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Car FYI's Revved Up Weekend Review: July 9-11, 2021

Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images



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NASCAR Cup Series: Kurt Busch Wins Brotherly Battle At Atlanta


NASCAR’s July visit to Atlanta Motor Speedway ended with a Busch sweep. However, the honour would be divided between brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch.


The Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart was the last event on a surface dating back to late 1997. During the intermission between the second and third stages of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series event, track repairs were required necessitating a red flag period lasting just more than 19 minutes. When racing resumed, fans were treated to an enticing duo between the #18 Skittles Gummies Toyota from Joe Gibbs Racing driven by Kyle and the #1 Gearwrench Chevrolet from the Chip Ganassi Racing stables piloted by Kurt. First place at the end of the second stage, Kurt Busch had the advantage early into the third stage of the Quaker State 400 but an excellent pit stop by the #18 team propelled Kyle Busch ahead of the field when the stops cycled. Winner of Saturday’s Xfinity Series event at the track, the driver of the #18 Toyota maintained a tight yet stable interval with the #1 car until the group met lapped traffic. One of the vehicle that was falling into the clutches of leader was the #42 Chevrolet of Ross Chastain who happens to be a teammate of Kurt Busch. Into turn 3 with 25 laps remaining, Kyle Busch moved into a higher line to pass Chastain but the #42 Clover-sponsored machine travelled up the track and blocked attempt drawing the #1 car to be side-by-side with the #18 by the exit of turn four. On the following lap leaving turn three Kurt Busch pulled forward to take the lead. Kyle Busch remained close to the lead and mounted a fierce challenge in the late laps but the older brother Kurt would have the momentum to take his first win of the season. Kyle Busch finished 1.237 seconds behind in second place and was followed across the line by Martin Truex Jr., Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney.


Chase Elliott, native of Dawsonville, Georgia, started on pole for what was effectively a home track race and led the opening 13 laps. Elliott would be classified in seventh place in the final results for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Of the 37 starters of the Quaker State 400, 36 drivers were still running at the end with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. being the only one needing to park his car due to a suspension issue.

 


NASCAR Xfinity Series: Saturday’s Atlanta Xfinity Series Event Sees Kyle Busch Leaving Competition On Winning Note


Prior to scoring his 100th victory in the NASCAR’s Xfinity Series at Nashville Superspeedway, Kyle Busch declared that if he would reach the triple-digit milestone he would quit running in the lower-tier stock car division. Starting the season with 98 wins, the five events he was scheduled to run during the 2021 Xfinity Series pushed him to 102 race wins by the end of the Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.


Starting from pole position, Kyle Busch in his #54 Extra Gum Toyota captured the opening two stages of the event. Through the third and final stage, three cautions in the closing laps set up a series of restarts. When a yellow flag was thrown for Carson Ware on lap 148, several competitors with a set of tires remaining came to the attention of their pit crews but Kyle Weatherman’s #47 Chevrolet remained on track and would restart on the front row with 11 laps to go. When the green flag flew, Weatherman’s car would stick in gear and would drop quickly down the running order with Brandon Brown’s #68 Baby Doge Coin car and the #20 Toyota of Harrison Burton able to avoid contact. The final incident drawing a caution occurred at the front as Kyle Busch pushed leader and teammate Daniel Hemric’s #18 Poppy Bank Toyota on the restart. The impact unsettled the lead car causing it to slide and hit the turn 1 wall. Hemric, who was at the front for 45 laps throughout the race (second to Kyle Busch’s 97 total laps leading), crossed the finish line at the least car on the lead lap in 30th spot.


Busch completed a five-race stint with five wins by taking the Credit Karma Money 250 with a margin of victory of 0.550 seconds over second place Jeb Burton. Noah Gragson, Justin Haley and Ty Dillion finished third through fifth in the Atlanta Xfinity Series event. Sam Mayer, a 18-year-old driver running in his third race in the series in JR Motorsports’ #8 Chevrolet pulled off an impressive result finishing ninth after starting in 22nd place. Canadian Alex Labbe crossed the line in 15th place but finished seventh in the opening stage at Atlanta.



NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Austin Hill Survived To Win Knock-Up At Knoxville


The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ first visit to Knoxville Raceway, a 0.5-mile dirt track that is a storied home for sprint car racing, was a messy affair for many runners of the Corn Belt 150 Presented by Premier Chevy Dealers. A total of 14 cautions slowed what was scheduled to be a 150-lap event several. Due to multiple late race cautions that included a massive melee collecting 17 trucks the duration of the event went to 179 laps around the dirt oval. It took three attempts at a green-white-checkered finish for the #16 Toyota Tundra of Austin Hill to lead the field across the line at Knoxville. The Hattori Racing Enterprises driver’s first win of the season, Hill beat Chandler Smith on the last restart to motor to take the win. Derek Kraus in his #19 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota swept to victory in the first two stages but suffered a cut tire with 45 laps remaining after contact with the #99 Ford of Ben Rhodes. Kraus would finish fifth in the final results behind third place Grant Enfinger and fourth place Todd Gilliland.


Canada’s Stewart Friesen started in 19th place in the Corn Belt 150 strong and finished fourth in the event’s opening stage in his #52 Halmar International Toyota. However, while Friesen was running in the top-10 late, he was caught up a four-vehicle wreck that would be race’s final caution. Stewart Friesen finished in 27th place one spot behind his wife Jessica who competed in her first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.



SRX Series: Andretti Name Returns To Victory Lane In Swinging Fight At Slinger


The last name of Andretti has been intertwined with motorsports since the 1960s attached to some greatest moments on race tracks. During the fifth and second-to-last Camping World SRX event third generation Andretti racer Marco assembled a thrilling last moment effort to win on a tiny quarter-mile track in Wisconsin.


The Saturday night event at Slinger Speedway (a track billed as the World’s Fastest Quarter Mile Oval), the 12-car field of elite racing personalities did battle with each other as well as tight 33-degree banked turns. Despite being a small track, the racing venue has long attracted superstars and played a part in the establishment of greats in auto racing. A partial account of racers who competed at Slinger Speedway includes former NASCAR Cup Series drivers Alan Kulwicki, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and Matt Kenseth.


In addition to series regulars Paul Tracy, Michael Waltrip, Helio Castroneves and Tony Stewart, 2021 Slinger Nationals winner 17-year-old Luke Fenhaus represented his home area. Such as the case through much of the SRX Series, the home track driver made their presence felt against household auto racing names. Finishing third in the opening heat and fourth in the second heat, Fenhaus earned a front row starting position for the main 150-lap feature. Marco Andretti and Luke Fenhaus fought side-by-side through the opening laps of the main event but the Slinger Nationals champion would take the lead by lap 18. The home track driver would stay at the front as several cautions near the end of the feature race would bunch the field. A final caution with two laps remaining was caused when Hailie Deegan turned Paul Tracy’s car in turn 3 concluding what was a rough night for Canadian. Willy T. Ribbs, Michael Waltrip and Helio Castroneves would also sustain damage being unable to avoid Tracy’s spun car.


Given one final double-file restart, Marco Andretti rocketed from his outside front row starting spot and took the lead from Luke Fenhaus and the win for the Camping World SRX Series at Slinger Speedway. The victory for Andretti comes just over 10 years after his last IndyCar Series win at Iowa Speedway. Behind Fenhaus, Tony Stewart, Hailie Deegan and Bobby Labonte crossed the line to round out the top five.

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