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Car FYI's Revved Up Weekend Review: September 3-September 5, 2021

Photo Credit: Jared East/Getty Images


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NASCAR Cup Series: Hamlin Holds Off Charging Larson for Win at The Lady in Black


A gruelling 500-mile race on one of the most historic tracks on the NASCAR circuit, the Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway had the extra provenance of being the first race of the 2021 Cup Series playoffs. The 1.366-mile oval played havoc with the championship ambitions for most of the 16 drivers vying this year’s season-ending crown. The track known as the Lady in Black claimed Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, William Byron and Michael McDowell in accidents over the 367-lap race.


Though Hamlin was able to keep Kyle Larson behind him through the final 36-lap run as the last lap approached, the driver of the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet aggressively entered turn 3 to make one last charge on the #11 Offerpad Toyota field by Joe Gibbs Racing. Rubbing the rear of Hamlin’s car hard through turn 4, Larson’s late effort was not enough to deny Denny Hamlin of his first NASCAR Cup Series win of the season. Leading 146 laps during the Cook Out Southern 500, Hamlin`s effort secured himself a spot in the next round of the series`playoffs. Behind the battered #5 car of Kyle Larson that finished second, Ross Chastain brought his #42 McDonald`s Chevrolet Camaro across the line in a strong third place. Playoff contenders Martin Truex Jr and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top five of the race at Darlington.



NASCAR Xfinity Series: First Win of the Season for Gragson at Darlington


Three races remaining until the start of the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ playoffs as a 40-car field competed at Darlington Raceway for a 200-mile affair. The Sport Clips VFW Help a Hero 200 was led to the green by the #18 Poppy Bank Toyota Supra piloted by Daniel Hemric who would be one of eight leaders during the event. The race also contained a total of eight yellow flags (three being a competition caution and two stage ends) including one incident that ruined the race for Hemric and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brandon Jones. Hemric’s #18 car would continue and finish on the lead lap but Jones’ car suffered more critical damage.


As the race into its final run, the Joe Gibbs Racing-fielded #54 Toyota Supra sponsored by SportClips Haircuts and driven by Cup series star Denny Hamlin recovered from a spin on the final lap of the race’s first stage to place himself up in a position to visit victory lane. However, a pit miscue during on lap 139 of the Sport Clips VFW Help a Hero 200 proved costly for Hamlin. Due to pit equipment being in the stall too soon, the #54 car was sent to the back of the pack and was only able to climb to 12th place at the end of the race. A.J. Allmendinger’s #16 Chevrolet led 24 laps throughout the event and was in second place on the closing laps but a loose wheel caused the driver to drop down the running order.


Holding off Harrison Burton through an overtime restart, the JR Motorsports #9 Chevrolet Camaro piloted by Noah Gragson sailed to victory. For what has been a difficult season in the NASCAR Xfinity for the championship favourite, Gragson’s first win serves as a massive morale boost heading into the playoffs. Behind Burton’s #20 DEX Imaging Toyota, Austin Cindric, Justin Haley and Jeb Burton filled out the top five after 152 laps at Darlington. Other notable finishers in the top ten include Jeremy Clements in eighth place and Canada’s Alex Labbe taking tenth.



NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Make it Two Playoff Wins for Creed with Darlington Triumph


Taking place prior to the Cook Out Southern 500 Cup Series race, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series had their second event in their playoffs at Darlington Raceway.


The In It To Win It 200 had winner of the truck series’ last round at World Wide Technology Raceway Sheldon Creed starting on the pole and would go on to lead the majority of the 147-lap race out at front for 104 circuits around the 1.366-mile oval. John Hunter Nemechek in the #4 Mobil 1 Toyota Tundra took the first stage while Creed’s #2 Liftkits4less.com Chevrolet Silverado grabbed the second stage win. Both drivers would be at the front for the finish of the In It To Win It 200 with Creed crossing the line 0.531 seconds ahead of Nemechek. Sheldon Creed’s second victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoffs cements last year’s champion as the bonafide favourite for the 2021 crown. However, the final results at Darlington suggests there remains a possibility of a tight, wide-open title battle as nine of the ten contenders for the series’ top year-end honour finished in the top 11. Behind second place John Hunter Nemechek, Stewart Friesen, Todd Gilliland and the top placed non-championship contender Parker Kligerman rounded out the top five.



NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals


Among drag racers in the United States, the U.S. Nationals is one of the most coveted single events on the NHRA schedule. This is particularly the case with the NHRA’s Camping World Drag Racing Series as all four major touring divisions were locked into competition.


The Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana showcased some incredible matches. In Top Fuel, Steve Torrance and Brittany Force battled up the ladder in eliminations to meet in the finals. The match was decided off the line as Torrance’s dragster flew away with a superior reaction time. With Force struggling to find grip on her stretch of track, the Capco Racing-sponsored car of Steve Torrance cruised to a comfortable final round victory claiming his second career Top Fuel win at the U.S. Nationals.


The Funny Car category featured two long-time drivers vying for their first Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals trophy. Ron Capps’ NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat went up against Tim Wilkerson and his Levi, Ray & Shoup Ford Shelby Mustang. In a close final round match, Wilkerson overcame a weaker reaction time with a 3.912-second ET to take the Funny Car class win at Lucas Oil Raceway.


Kyle Koretsky and Erica Enders decided the Pro Stock for the 2021 Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals. Koretsky advanced after a tight semi-final round elimination against Dallas Green while Enders beat Greg Anderson prior to the finals. With a respectable 0.024 reaction time, Erica Enders was able fend off a stronger ET time of Kyle Koretsky to win.


Pro Stock Motorcycle featured a duel between two Vince & Hines supported entries with Eddie Krawiec matched against Angelie Sampey. Despite Sampey getting a reaction time advantage, it was Krawiec who won the two-wheeled battle down the drag strip with a 6.844-second ET. The win for Eddie Krawiec is his third career U.S. Nationals trophy.



NASCAR Pinty’s Series: L.P. Dumoulin, Marc-Antione Camirand Capture First Wins of Season at CTMP


For the second year in a row, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park has missed out seeing the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race as part of the Labour Day long weekend. However, race fans were most importantly welcomed back to the historic Canadian road course for a race weekend highlighted by seeing many of the nation’s best stock car racing stars in the NASCAR Pinty’s Series for a doubleheader event.


On Saturday, the 30-lap Olymel Grand Prix of Ontario was led to green by Gary Klutt’s Trailcon Leasing Dodge Challenger. Leading comfortably for 20 laps, Klutt’s #59 car developed an issue that caused him to relinquish the top spot of the race to L.P. Dumoulin. Staying at the front for the final 10 laps, Dumoulin’s #47 WeatherTech/Bellemare Dodge took the win of the Saturday event crossing the line ahead of Marc-Antoine Camirand, Treyten Lapcevich and Alex Tagliani. Gary Klutt finished fifth after suffering a mechanical problem late in the race.


The next day, the Clarington 200 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park welcomed back the NASCAR Pinty’s Series for another 51 laps of racing. Kevin Lacroix’s #74 Bumper to Bumper /Lacroix Tuning Dodge led the 24-car grid to the green flag. Lacroix led the opening 16 laps until a pit stop. Alex Tagliani’s #18 Chevrolet Camaro with ROMA and Viagra sponsorship inherited the lead on lap 20 due to not taking tires. Tagliani remained in the lead until five laps remaining where his older tires came as a detriment to the leader as the #22 GM Paille Chevrolet of Marc-Antione Camirand found a way by the #18 car. Despite being a consistent front-runner since joining the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, Camirand crossed the line at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to win only his second victory in the series. Alex Tagliani held on to finish second in the Clarington 200 ahead of a superb performance from young road racer Kyle Marcelli driving the #7 Ford.



W Series: Powell Zooms to Victory at Zandvoort


Joining the 2021 Formula 1 championship in their trip to the Netherlands, the W Series were ready to wage a war on the 4.259-kilometer Circuit Zandvoort. Competing on a new track where passing opportunities were at a premium, this year’s Dutch round of the W Series would be an important race with only three events remaining in the leaque’s 2021 championship.


After qualifying, Finland’s Emma Kimilainen secured the pole position joined by British driver Alice Powell on the front row. Before the 8-minute mark of the 30-minute-plus one lap event, Alice Powell made a decisive move of the race. After setting a fastest lap, Powell tailed the lead #7 car of Emma Kimilainen before making a brave move to pass the Finnish driver into turn 10. Alice Powell maintained the top position while Jamie Chadwick’s #55 race machine would also find a way around Kimilainen to grab the runner-up position. Emma Kimilainen would cross the line in third place holding on to a podium spot on the Circuit Zandvoort.


With Powell’s win, the W Series drivers’ points standings have her and Jamie Chadwick each with 109 points for the season with only two races remaining with the next stop being in the United States at the Circuit of the Americas.

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