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Car FYI's Revved Up Weekend Review: September 10-September 12, 2021

Photo Credit: Chris Owens/IndyCar


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NASCAR Cup Series: A Truly Successful Night for Truex in Richmond

 

The second round of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs has gone on show resurgence from the Toyota-backed Joe Gibbs Racing team. After Denny Hamlin took victory at last Sunday night’s Cook Out Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Martin Truex Jr. secured his place in the round championship round by winning at the 0.75-mile Richmond Raceway.


The #19 Bass Pro Shops Red White Blue Toyota Camry of Truex started the Federated Auto Parts 400 in third but shot to the lead on the first lap. However, Truex’s start was ruled to have been premature by NASCAR resulting in the top spot to be surrendered to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin. Hamlin had a dominant run at the Richmond short track leading 197 of the race’s 400 laps and winning the opening two stages of the event. Carving his way back to the front after the opening start of the race, Martin Truex Jr. would retake the lead for the final time in lap 350 and remained in the position for the checkered flag. The victory at Richmond for the driver of the #19 car was his first since the May race at Darlington.


Denny Hamlin settled for second place at Richmond Raceway. The driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry narrowed a lengthy gap between him and Truex late in the final run but the margin between the two drivers was 1.417 seconds at the line. Joe Gibbs Racing cars took the top three spots of the Federated Auto Parts 400 with Christopher Bell bringing the #20 DEWALT Salute First Responders Toyota entry across the line in third. A top four finish by all of the Joe Gibbs Racing teams was foiled when Kyle Busch #18 M&M’s car was assessed a drive-through penalty after exceeding pit road speed in the race’s last stop.


Chase Elliott finished fourth recovering from a troublesome early pit stop where his #9 Chevrolet lurched back during service. Joey Logano’s Shell Pennzoil Ford crossed the line in fifth place ahead of Kyle Larson’s #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Starting 17th but enjoying a strong Saturday night appearance at Richmond, Ross Chastain finished seventh. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top 10 at the end of the Richmond event.



NTT IndyCar Series: Palou Takes Portland and Retakes IndyCar Points Lead           


Spending much of the summer as the leading driver in the NTT IndyCar Series championship points, Alex Palou entered the Grand Prix of Portland trailing Pato O’Ward by 10 points. Palou flew to his pole IndyCar Series pole around the 1.964-mile road course with a 58.7701-second lap in his #10 Chip Ganassi Racing entry.


Portland International Raceway’s reputation for chaotic opening laps was cemented again in the 2021 race. Light contact between Felix Rosenqvist #7 car and Scott Dixon’s #9 triggered a messy entrance into turn one for many of the racers. While casualties of the incident were light (James Hinchcliffe’s #29 Andretti Autosport car was the only entry not to continue due to damage), a number of drivers cutting the first corner were demoted to the rear of the field for the lap 11 restart. Alex Palou, Scott Dixon and Felix Rosenqvist were among those penalized for missing a timing loop. The #5 Arrow McLaren SP driver Pato O’Ward inherited the lead and held the position through lap 28. A second full-course yellow flew on lap 52 with Graham Rahal and Ed Jones at the front. Alex Palou’s #10 car had climbed to fourth place by the point of this caution in the middle of the event’s 110-lap distance. Palou eventually retook the top spot of the Grand Prix of Portland on lap 86 crossing the line with a comfortable 1.29-second advantage over Alexander Rossi’s #27 Andretti Autosport car.

 

Not only is Alex Palou’s third win of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series season a much-needed reversal of fortunes after two race retirements, the Spanish driver recaptured the lead in the drivers’ points. Palou now has a 25-point lead over Pato O’Ward with just two races remaining in the season. Scott Dixon, Jack Harvey and Josef Newgarden rounded out the top five of the Grand Prix of Portland.



NASCAR Xfinity Series: Noah Gragson Rolls to Richmond Victory

 


The first event of an NASCAR doubleheader at Richmond Raceway on Saturday, the Xfinity Series’ Go Bowling 250 is the penultimate round in the tour’s regular season.


Austin Cindric’s #22 Carshop Ford Mustang started on the pole and led the first 45 laps. The first lead change occurred on lap 46 as Kaulig Racing’s A.J. Allmendinger swept to the front. In a tight race to the finish line by A.J. Allmendinger and Tommy Joe Martins #44 machine, the first stage was settled by a side-by-side battle with Allmendinger’s #16 Chevrolet edging his way to the green checkered flag. Ty Gibbs took the second stage win finishing ahead of Allmendinger and Harrison Burton ahead of the field bracing for a final 100-lap stage. On the restart from the second-to-last caution of the Go Bowling 250, Noah Gragson surged to the front making what translated into the winning move of the event. After missing out on a trip to victory lane for much of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series, Gragson and his #9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet has been triumphant in the last two races.


Behind winning the #9 Bass Pro Shops-sponsored machine, Justin Haley, John-Hunter Nemechek (making a rare appearance in the #26 Toyota for Sam Hunt Racing), Justin Allgaier and Riley Herbst left Richmond with top five finishes.



NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented By Pennzoil


The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series' version of a championship playoff has officially launched with this weekend's event being the first for what the league calls the Countdown. However, the goal for all drag racers arriving for the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals Presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway remains to be the first launching from the Christmas tree at the start of each elimination round and the first to the finish line.


While the Top Fuel season has been dominated with the name Torrence in 2021, it was mostly the nitro action of Steve showing up in the final round of eliminations. However, it was Steve's father Billy who would claim glory at Maple Grove. Matched up against Justin Ashley, who had eliminated Steve Torrence in the semi-finals, Billy Torrence took his Capco Racing dragster to victory by overcoming a poorer reaction time with a 3.720 ET.


The Funny Car category competition ended with a close battle between John Force and Tommy Johnson Jr in the finals. While Force launched quickly with a 0.26-second reaction time, Johnson's car gained an advantage by the 60-foot mark on the track and would maintain the advantage to the finish line.


Greg Anderson pulled off a final round win against Erica Enders in Pro Stock cars while Steve Johnson beat out US Nationals winner Eddie Krawiec for the trophy in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

 


IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship


Returning to action for the first time since early August as sports car racing’s focus had turned to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship invited four of their classes to converge at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for a two-hour, 40-minute event. The Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship featured DPi, LMP2, GTLM as well as GTD categories taking on the unique twists and elevation changes of the 2.238-mile (3.602-kilometer) California race course.

 

With 25 minutes remaining in the sports car event, the DPi class lead was turned over to the eventual winner. The Konica Minolta-sponsored #10 Acura ARX-05 fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing took the top spot after passing the #60 Acura machine. Felipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor were paired with the #10 car with the former driver battling the additional challenge of debris blocking a brake duct causing the right rear tire to excessively heat up. In the race’s closing minutes of the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship the runner-up spot of the DPi was combatively fought for by the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing under attack from the #01 Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing. With a little more than two minutes left in the race, Renger van der Zande driving the #01 car found a way pass the #31 that was being wheeled by Felipe Nasr for second place.


In GTLM, Corvette Racing recovered from a disappointing Le Mans outing last month by achieving a strong 1-2 finish at the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship. The silver #4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R shared by Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy holding off the yellow #3 car featuring the driving talents of Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor.


Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen captured victory in the LMP2 class for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports while the plaid #9 Porsche 911 GT3R fielded by Pfaff Motorsports took the GTD category with drivers Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon sharing the win.



NASCAR Pinty’s Series: Ranger, Rick Ware Racing Rejoices With Flamboro Win


After four road course events for the NASCAR Pinty’s Series’ 2021 season, Canada’s premier stock car tour returns to oval track racing at the 1/3-mile Flamboro Speedway. Intended to be a doubleheader, weather on Sunday resulted in only one race, the Motomaster 125, reaching completion with Rick Ware Racing netting their first-ever NASCAR victory.


Treyten Lapcevich took pole position for the 125-lap event in the #20 RGC Sports/Qwick Wick Chevrolet and led the opening 15 laps battling directly with front row starter Andrew Ranger’s #51 Dodge. A chance at a first career victory for the 17-year-old Lapcevich was derailed early when his race car stopped on track. While the #20 car continued to race, Treyten Lapcevich settled for a ninth place finish being one lap down from the leader.


Leading all the remaining 110 laps of the Motomaster 125, Andrew Ranger piloted the purple Miles for Migraine/Canadian Super Sellers Dodge Challenger to his first victory of the season 0.564 seconds ahead of D.J. Kennington. Brett Taylor, Alex Tagliani and Pete Shepherd III finished in the top five. For Shepherd, the top five was a true team effort as mechanical problems with the primary #7 car forced the Dave Jacombs-backed organization to retrieve a second car from their race shop to be ready for the event.

 

No plans have been announced as of yet on how the NASCAR Pinty’s Series will run the postponed QwickWick 125.


 


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