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Car FYI's Revved Up Weekend Review: July 16-18, 2021

Photo Credit: Aston Martin The Americas



NASCAR Cup Series: Darkened New Hampshire Track Source Of Light For Almirola


Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series’ Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 was intended to be a relatively quick summer event on the 1.058-mile New Hampshire Motor Speedway but a rain shower pushed the duration between the green flag and the checkered flag to almost five hours. Due to daylight being lost on a track with no lighting system, only 293 laps would run (eight laps fewer than the advertised distance).


Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. led the field to green but would also become the victims when rain began to soak the race track. Entering turn one on lap seven, Busch’s #18 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry slid and backed into the retaining wall ending the race for the two-time 2021 season race winner. Truex’s #19 Resers car sustained less damage and would complete the event in 12th place. Denny Hamlin’s #11 Toyota as well as the #48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro of Alex Bowman was also involved in the accident due to rain but recovered to have top-10 finishes when the Cup Series race concluded at New Hampshire. NASCAR called a red flag to due weather that would shut off stock cars for more than 1 hour and 41-minutes.


When racing resumed on lap 25, Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott both spent time at the front but a trend of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 emerged on lap 62 when Ryan Blaney’s Penske Racing #12 car took the lead. Ford Mustangs dominated through the remainder of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway event with Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski taking stage wins. Kevin Harvick and late in the race Matt DiBenedetto also carried the blue oval badge while leading. However, the winning Ford Mustang in what turned into a shortened event on the Loudon track was Aric Almirola behind the wheel of the #10 Smithfield car for Stewart-Haas Racing.


The much-needed victory for the 37-year-old Almirola after a difficult 2021 season up to this race, the third NASCAR Cup Series win is his first not on a superspeedway. The achievement for the #10 Ford is also a boost for the entire Stewart-Haas Racing organization surprisingly being the first win of the season for the typical powerhouse squad.


The only non-Ford to squeeze into the top-six of the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 was the #20 Toyota of Christopher Bell who records his second runner-up finish in three races. Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top six finishers.


The NASCAR Cup Series (in addition to the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series) will be on an extended break during the Tokyo Summer Olympics. The next race at Watkins Glen is scheduled for August 8th.



NASCAR Xfinity Series: Bell Rings Out The Field At Loudon


The #54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra has become a certified winning weapon of choice during the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series. Starting with the surprise victory of Ty Gibbs on the Daytona road course’s Super Start Batteries 188, the car has won seven races this season leading up to the Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. With Kyle Busch concluding his 2021 campaign (likely his Xfinity Series career as a whole) in victory lane for the last two events, 26-year-old Christopher Bell marked his first race back in the series by winning his third event on the 1.058-mile oval in Loudon, New Hampshire.


Starting the race in 14th place, the driver who regularly drives the #20 Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Cup Series for Joe Gibbs Racing took the lead from A.J. Allmendinger to lead lap 44. Following a few brief stints where Allmendinger, pole winner Jeb Burton or Brandon Brown would hold the top position, Bell’s Dewalt-sponsored car paced the field for 151 of the race’s 200 laps. In fact, Bell in the #54 Toyota last took the lead on lap 55 and proceeded to the checkered flag for what is his third career Xfinity Series win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Christopher Bell crossed the finish line 6.241 seconds ahead of Justin Allgaier’s #7 Chevrolet. Daniel Hemric, Austin Cindric and Harrison Burton rounded out the top five for the Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200.



IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship: Corvette Racing Wins Big In Weather-Shortened Lime Rock Round


Weather played a role for the second consecutive event in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. The Northeast Grand Prix at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park road course was exclusively an affair for the production car-themed GT classes (GTLM and GTD) competing in a main feature race on Saturday that was slated to run for 2 hours and 40 minutes. For the fans, the sports car race was sadly cut short with just under an hour and a half of on-track action due to lightning in the area of the track.


Winning the shortened Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park was the #3 Corvette Racing team consisting of co-drivers Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor. The afternoon ended particularly strong for the GTLM squad’s Chevrolet Corvette C8.R race cars with the #4 companion machine taking second place. The #79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR shared by Mathieu Jaminet and Cooper MacNeil joined the Corvette Racing team drivers on the podium.


In the GTD category, British driver Ross Gunn and Canadian Roman De Angelis driving the #23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 held off the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 car piloted by Madison Snow and Bryan Sellers. Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz driving a Lexus RC F GT3 for VasserSullivan was third in class at the end of the Lime Rock Park round.

   


W Series: Powell Packed the Winning Punch at Silverstone


The first W Series event held in the United Kingdom in almost two years, the open wheel championship contested by top female drivers joined Formula 1's British Grand Prix weekend at the Silverstone Circuit.


The third round of the 2021 W Series championship started with pole sitter Alice Powell’s #27 Racing X car and Fabienne Wohlwend’s #5 machine for Bunker Racing battling intensely through the first corners. Jamie Chadwick would also hang close to the two leaders in her green #55 car for Veloce Racing. Wohlwend claimed the advantage early in the race while Powell stayed within a second behind.


With roughly five minutes and fifteen seconds remaining in the 30-minute timed event, British driver Alice Powell flew by the #5 car going on to win in front of a large Silverstone crowd. The victory for Powell places her in a 6-point lead in the season-long championship standings. Fabienne Wohlwend, Jamie Chadwick, Emma Kimilainen and Nerea Marti finished in the top five in that order at the Silverstone Circuit.



NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: Dodge/SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals


The eighth event on the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ 2021 schedule, the Dodge/SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals brought some the greatest high horsepower competition machines to Bandimere Speedway located on the west side of Denver, Colorado. The high altitude and unique slope of the drag strip set the scenery for some unique matched in Funny Car, Top Fuel and Pro Stock Motorcycle.


Matt Hagan pulled off his first final round victory of the season piloting the Mopar/Pennzoil/Sandvik-sponsored Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat for Don Schumacher Racing. Hagan beat out a fast ROKIT/ABK Beer Toyota Camry driven by Alexis Dejoria with a time of 4.105 seconds and a speed of 305.7 miles per hour. The victory is important for Hagan who rests in third place in the tight NHRA Funny Car standings this season.


In the Top Fuel category, Joey Haas enjoyed an outstanding run on Sunday. With less than a year since making his NHRA Top Fuel class debut at the 2020 US Nationals, Haas rose through the opening three elimination rounds where he met three-time and reigning class champion Steve Torrence in the final round. The defending Top Fuel champion took the final round with a stunning 3.860-second E.T. but had tremendous praise for his rival following the match.


Reigning NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Matt Smith took his Buell to victory in the Dodge/SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals in a narrow but decisive final round win over Eddie Krawiec.

 

 

Camping World SRX Series: Elliott Family Affair Finishes Inaugural SRX Series Season

 

The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway hosted the sixth and final race of the first-ever Camping World SRX Series. In a special guest appearance for the finale, reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Chase Elliott competed alongside motorsport all-stars and up-and-coming superstars on the 0.596-mile short track oval. 


In front of a full Tennessee grandstand, the 12-car field competed in two 12-minute heat qualifying races as well as a 77-lap feature event. The first heat race had Chase Elliott competing against 2021 SRX Series season regular and father Bill Elliott. Chase was able to take the lead for two laps but the more veteran Elliott snuck around his son for the victory. In heat #2, Michael Waltrip started at the front but 2021 Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves took victory climbing from fourth place starting spot.


Bill Elliott started from the pole position for the final SRX Series main feature and held the lead for a majority of the event. However, the younger Elliott would take the top spot concretely on lap 55 and rode to victory in his one-off showing on the tour. SRX Series co-founder and two-time main feature winner Tony Stewart slotted in between the Elliotts to take second. Stewart was also crowned the first SRX Series champion with the closing event of the 2021 season.

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