To the irritation of nature lovers, the Detroit Grand Prix is returning to Belle Isle in 2021
The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear will return June 11-13, which will include the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the NTT Indycar Series, and the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship was originally planned to be scheduled a week earlier to coincide with the global 24 Hours of Le Mans event in France, but with the Le Mans race postponed to August, organizers decided to loop all three events together for one weekend.
The event also marks the 11th time that Indycar and sports car racing will compete on the same weekend on Belle Isle, and the first time since 2016 that Corvette will compete in Detroit.
It's also the first time in 13 years that a Corvette GT sports car will race in Detroit.
"We are excited to bring the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear back to Belle Isle in 2021 and return to a traditional one-weekend format June 11 through the 13th, featuring five great races with three incredible racing series," Michael Montri, President of the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear, said in a statement. "With the established stars of Indycar and the rising stars of Indy Lights both racing on Saturday and Sunday and Corvette Racing joining the intense IMSA sports car action on both Friday and Saturday, it’s going to be an incredible weekend in the Motor City."
Well, that's what racing fans think. But people who aren't so keen on cars have long complained about the event coming to Belle Isle state park, charging that it restricts access to Detroit's island treasure during our too-short warm season and its construction and tear-down period takes months.
Arlington, Texas, (March 13, 2021) The Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship returned to Texas and Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb kicked off the Arlington triple-header inside AT&T Stadium with a dominant 450SX Class victory that pushed him from second to the lead in championship points. Opening round winner Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing's Justin Barcia earned second at the tenth Round of the season with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Jason Anderson battling aggressively through the pack to grab a podium finish in third. In the third Round of Western Regional 250SX Class racing, a third different winner was crowned. This time it was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's rookie Seth Hammaker who led wire to wire to the screams of the limited-attendance, pod-seated Texas crowd.
Cooper Webb returned to the top of the podium in a performance that has to worry his competitors. He'll wear the red plate of the series points leader at the next Round on Tuesday night inside AT&T Stadium. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Cooper Webb left Texas with a win at Round Three and returned to the state to win at Round 10 without any bona fide challenges from the other racers. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Dean Wilson grabbed the holeshot but Webb pushed his way past immediately and was never challenged. Justin Barcia started outside the top three but within five minutes of the 20-minute plus one lap Main Event had worked into second place. Barcia shaved a bit of time off the three second deficit to Webb over the next five minutes, but as the race clock ticked to 10 minutes Webb began to stretch his lead back out.
On a track that proved difficult to gain time or make a pass, Jason Anderson was the rider on the move. After one lap he sat eighth, but on the sixteenth of what turned out to be a 28-lap Main Event, Anderson pushed past Team Honda HRC's Chase Sexton and held the final podium spot to the checkers. Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen, the points leader going into the race, was the victim of a bad starting gate pick after a heat race crash. A bad launch put Roczen in eleventh after one lap; he managed his way slowly through the pack to earn a sixth-place finish, which dropped him to second in the points. The 2020 defending champion and the winner of the previous round, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac, had a night that paralleled Roczen's but a few positions back. The No. 1 plate rider sat sixteenth on lap one and passed eight riders to finish eighth at the first of three Arlington events.
Three Rounds in, the Western Regional 250SX Class has produced three different winners. Kawasaki's Seth Hammaker is the second first time winner in the class in 2021. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
The Western Regional 250SX Class served another surprising race as rookie Seth Hammaker launched off the line, grabbed the holeshot, and lead every moment of his career-first victory ride. It wasn't easy, as Hammaker's Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate Jordon Smith applied the pressure from the start until a bobble that sent him temporarily off the track dropped him back to third. Meanwhile, series leader Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Cameron McAdoo and Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha's Justin Cooper were back in the pack in eighth and ninth place respectively.
McAdoo and Cooper clawed their way forward, but progress through the pack was slow. As Hammaker was composed in the lead, Team Honda HRC's Hunter Lawrence was just out of reach in second. Just over four minutes into the 15-minute plus one lap race McAdoo had reached the rear wheel of teammate Smith when Smith lost traction on a small jump and landed hard, putting him out of the battle. Things stabilized until the final lap and a half when Cooper reached and then charged past McAdoo. McAdoo countered a corner later and darted back into third. On the second to last corner Cooper made a final pass attempt, slid out, and low-sided trying to cut under McAdoo.
The series races twice more inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, with Round 11 dropping the gate on Tuesday night and Round 12 returning next Saturday. For the full schedule, live streaming times on Peacock and airtimes on NBCSN, and tickets sales please visit SupercrossLIVE.com.
NASCAR's 'unique' winners already altering playoff landscape
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR’s postseason landscape has been altered after just two Cup Series races.
With Michael McDowell and Christopher Bell winning at Daytona International Speedway, the first in the Daytona 500 and the second on the road course, two playoff spots were locked up by guys who weren’t generally considered locks.
The fallout? Other teams are feeling the pinch in late February – six months before the 16-driver playoff field is set – and with 24 races remaining.
“Probably not for the teams that we all expect to win, but for some of those fringe cars it will,” said Bell’s crew chief, Adam Stevens. “The number of unique winners is really going to change how many cars get in on points, right? It’s pretty obvious.”
The simplest way to look at it: If the series heavyweights perform as expected the rest of the way, there won’t be many playoff spots left for anyone else. It’s a somewhat bleak outlook for several teams already and could force them to adjust their approach beginning Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“Some of that next batch of cars is really needing to be thinking about if they’re swinging for the fence or if they’re racing for points,” Stevens said. “Maybe one more winner that somebody didn’t expect pretty early in the season could really change the complexion.”
Every year since NASCAR’s current playoff system began in 2014, at least three postseason berths have been awarded to drivers based on points. The past three years, as Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott have won a bigger share of races, more drivers have made the playoffs on points.
But Bell and McDowell already grabbed two of the spots, something many would have considered an unlikely possibility entering the year.
“The dynamic has changed dramatically right now,” 2012 Cup champion Brad Keselowski said. “We’re very early in the season, and it’s now turned into a points race for those last few spots. Hopefully it doesn’t matter for us.
“But if you don’t win, you’re in a lot of trouble right now because it’s not looking like you’re going to be able to get in the playoffs right now without a win.”
The Daytona 500 has a tendency to be a crapshoot, often delivering an odd top-10 and occasionally ending up with a long-shot winner like McDowell. He had been winless in 357 Cup starts before his breakthrough.
Although Bell drives for powerhouse Joe Gibbs Racing, he was a rookie for that top team and in his second full season in the Cup series.
“Two of the tracks we’ve went to are definitely tracks that create opportunities for guys that you wouldn’t necessarily just give them a spot or think that they’re going to point themselves in,” said Richard Childress Racing driver Austin Dillon, who has made the playoffs four times in the last five years. “But I think as the season goes on, there will be some opportunities for points.
“It always comes down to one or two positions, I feel like, when it comes to points.”
No one in the field has been better at Homestead than Hamlin. The Joe Gibbs Racing star has three wins (2009, ’13, ’20) at the track and 11 top-10 finishes in 16 starts. He led 137 of 267 laps last June en route to his latest victory.
He’s tied with Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle for the most Cup wins at the 1 1/2-mile venue. Those intermediate tracks are the ones Hamlin and Harvick mostly dominated last year.
“We are about to get into a chunk of the season where you are going to start to see some of your normal winners in the bracket,” Hamlin said.
NASCAR’s much-hyped season, one that included significant schedule changes, is being showcased in its first three weeks. The Cup Series opened on a superspeedway, then raced on a road course, and now heads to an intermediate track.
“It’s about time,” Harvick said. “As I’ve said for many years, I think mixing up the schedule is something that’s very important to capture people’s attention and to really try something different. Whether that’s different markets, different racetracks, it has to be different from year to year.
“As we go to these new markets and new styles of racetracks and try new things, we have to constantly evolve and mix it up. You’re going to have your staple markets and events, but you have those five or six events a year, like we’re having this year, that are new, exciting and different than you had last year.”
Former NASCAR crew chief and current NBC Sports analyst Steve Letarte will return to his previous role for the first time since 2014. Letarte will be atop the pit box for the No. 7 Chevrolet owned by Spire Motorsports and driven by Corey LaJoie.
LaJoie’s crew chief, Ryan Sparks, is sidelined because of COVID-19 protocols and unable to travel for the race. Letarte serves as a consultant for Spire Motorsports and was available to step in.
ODDS AND ENDS
Hamlin is the 5-1 favorite to win the Dixie Vodka 400, no surprise given his history at the track. Elliott (11-2) is the second choice, followed by Harvick (7-1), Truex (15-2), Kyle Larson (8-1), Logano (10-1) and Kyle Busch (10-1). … Current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and former Miami Hurricanes/NFL linebacker Jonathan Vilma will serve as honorary race officials. Tagovailoa will give the command for drivers to start their engines, and Vilma will wave the green flag to start the race
Cooper Webb wins in Orlando
Orlando, Fla., (February 20, 2021) Round eight of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship thrilled with the second of two rounds inside Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida with Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb taking the 450SX Class win to the cheers of the in-person pod-style-seated fans. His Red Bull KTM teammate Marvin Musquin kept Webb close, and round one winner Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing's Justin Barcia held off heavy pressure to finish in third. The event kicked off the nine round Western Regional 250SX Class with a wild and action-filled Main Event that saw Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha's Justin Cooper stay out of the chaos to lead wire to wire without any serious challenges.
Cooper Webb's speed and determination nabbed him another win and closed him to within six points of the championship lead. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
Webb's charge from eighth at the holeshot stripe to leading the race in less than nine minutes demonstrated the speed and aggression of which he's capable. The last time Webb strung together two wins in a row was 2019, the year he won the title. He now sits only six points out of the points lead. Musquin benefitted from a crash in the whoops by early-leader Monster Energy Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo to take over second; from there the KTM rider did not let Webb get away but could not close to within striking distance.
Points leader Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen got pinched at the start and found himself in seventeenth position. He made a brilliant early charge and got up to the rear tire of defending champion Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac just four minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race. After several attacks and counters, Roczen made it past. By then the riders were battling for fourth, and Roczen got right on Barcia's rear fender but could never get a wheel ahead of him. Tomac lost a spot two laps from the end from a hard charge by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's Jason Anderson, who recovered from outside the top ten to earn a top five finish.
In Eastern Regional 250SX Class racing it was Jett Lawrence's night from the drop of the Main Event gate. After scoring the holeshot it was his race to lose with points leader Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha's Colt Nichols right behind him. As the two pulled away from third place rider Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha's Christian Craig, the gap between the top two riders stretched and closed. Lawrence handily got through lappers, never allowing them to slow him enough for Nichols to get within striking distance.
The big drama of the 250SX class had come earlier in the night. Christian Craig crashed hard in 250SX Class Heat 2 while leading; Craig was pitched and slow to get up, evaluating his right hand. He returned for the Last Chance Qualifier with the injury taped up. He rode conservatively for the LCQ win and a spot on the Main Event gate. Craig gutted it out through the pain in the Main Event for third, losing only two points on his teammate as the regional series goes into a 10-week break before the final two rounds to determine the champion.
The racers line up again inside the same stadium on a completely re-designed track next Saturday for the second of the Orlando double-header; the February 20th Florida race will kick off the 2021 Western Regional 250SX Class series with a new group of hungry racers eager to start their title campaigns with a win. Event tickets are available in a restricted-attendance, pod-style seating structure for the second Orlando race as well as for upcoming rounds through the Atlanta triple-header
in a restricted-attendance, pod-style seating structure for the second Orlando race as well as for upcoming rounds through the Atlanta triple-header
The Eastern Regional 250SX Class delivered its own excitement as Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha's Christian Craig took the early lead and looked poised to repeat his round one win, but his teammate Colt Nichols kept close and made his first pass into the lead with just under three minutes left on the race clock. Craig fought back, but within two laps Nichols charged past again and made it stick to put himself into a title points tie with Craig. Last weekend's first-time winner, Team Honda HRC's Jett Lawrence, got a bad jump at the start and had to play catch up. An aggressive pass on Troy Lee Designs / Red Bull / GASGAS Factory Racing's Michael Mosiman for third earned the Honda rider a podium on the night. Title favorites Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Austin Forkner and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing's RJ Hampshire both sat out with injuries incurred in qualifying and free practice.
Feld Entertainment engaged racing fans in its 2021 ‘We Won't Stop’ campaign to raise awareness and funding for the incredible St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Race fans are encouraged to get involved by texting "SUPER" to 785-833 to donate to the organization's mission to eliminate childhood cancer, make treatment free to families, as well as share medical breakthroughs freely. To date, the partnership between Supercross and St. Jude has raised $600,000.
The series shifts to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana where another Saturday-SuperTuesday-Saturday triple-header drops the gate on January 30th. Feld has managed a limited-seating program that allows fan attendance. Tickets for several events in Indianapolis, Orlando, Daytona Beach, and Arlington are available for sale now, with tickets for the final rounds becoming available in the coming weeks.
450SX Class podium (riders left to right) Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Adam Cianciarulo. Photo Credit: Feld Entertainment, Inc.
450SX Class Results
1. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM
2. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
3. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
7. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
8. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna
9. Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
10. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda
450SX Class Championship Standings
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (60)
2. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (59)
3. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (59)
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (54)
5. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (51)
6. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (51)
7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (51)
8. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (50)
9. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (48)
10. Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (40)
Updated Motocross Schedule
Several Adjustments to 2021 Schedule
MILAN, Italy/ ELLENTON, Fla., – Milestone, one of the leading racing game developers in the world, and Feld Entertainment, Inc., the worldwide leader in producing and presenting live touring family entertainment and motorsports events, are pleased to announce Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4.
The most beloved and realistic Supercross videogame, globally available on March 11th on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Windows PC®/STEAM and Google Stadia, will feature a faithful representation of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross season, with all 11 stadiums and 17 tracks, including the 7 Salt Lake City variants.
A brand-new Career Mode structure will allow players, for the first time, to start their journey in Supercross Futures and advance towards the 250SX and 450SX Classes, where they will need to then challenge the largest number of Pro riders ever in the franchise history. In the new Career Mode, performance of each rider is affected by their skills, that can be upgraded and managed thanks to a new skill tree system. Skill points are gained by racing, joining special events, completing trainings and fulfilling the Journal: a series of special objectives to show who’s the best.
Inspired by the beautiful landscapes of Maine Islands, the new Compound is a place to roam free in Solo and Co-Op game modes or race against friends on the many tracks available. On this gorgeous island, there will be a lot of challenges and collectibles to discover!
A beloved community feature, the Track Editor, is back with more customization modules, directly created from 2020 Official Tracks. New cosmetic customization options to express creativity and boost realism include Tuff Blox, Starting Gate structures, Finish Line structures and Leader Pillars.
As always in the franchise, players will be able to customize their riders with tons of content, thanks to more than 110 official brands for cosmetic and performance customizations for both rider and bike. Also, the Online Mode guarantees a lag-free and engaging Multiplayer experience thanks to Dedicated Servers and Race Director Mode.
Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4 will be available worldwide starting March 11th on PlayStation®5, PlayStation®4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Windows PC®/STEAM and Google Stadia.
NASCAR Erik Jones meets the media on his switch to Petty
WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Elusive Ironman Title On The Line At I-55
By Nick Graziano | August 4, 2020 at 2:34 pmThe stamina and strength of the greatest Sprint Car drivers in the world will be put to the test this weekend at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 for the prestigious Ironman 55.
Drivers will compete in a doubleheader event at the fast 1/3-mile track, running 35 laps on Fri., Aug. 7 and then 55 laps on Sat., Aug. 8 – the longest World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series event of the year.
With $28,000 on the line to win between the two nights and a special dumbbell trophy presented to the winner Saturday night, drivers will be pushing their cars and their bodies to the edge to claim the Ironman title.
If you can’t make it to the track, you can still watch all of the action live on DIRTVision.
Here are the top storylines to follow this weekend:
Sheldon Haudenschild / Trent Gower photoHISTORIC HAUD: Sheldon Haudenschild, of Wooster, OH, enters the Ironman 55 weekend looking to hold on to the title he claimed with a historic win last year. He won his first Ironman by more than 10 seconds over 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz, lapped up to the top-five and led 45 of the 55 laps in the caution free event.
He was on track to pull off a similar feat at the 1/3-mile track in May by taking the lead early and running away with it, but a mistake in Turn 1 resulted in him flipping over the cushion. He and his Stenhouse Jr.-Marshall Racing team are poised to put their NOS Energy Drink #17 back in Victory Lane with their recent run of 18 top-10 finishes in a row in the last 19 events – including their win at Lincoln Speedway.
TOP CAT: Reigning champion Brad Sweet, of Grass Valley, CA, is the winningest driver on 1/3-mile tracks, so far, this year. He won at I-55 in May and swept the weekend at Beaver Dam Raceway. His brother-in-law Kyle Larson has the second most, having won at I-55 in May and his last race with the Series at Attica Raceway Park.
Both drivers were the only two to finish on the podium during the spring doubleheader event at I-55, as well.
Brad Sweet (left), Donny Schatz (center) and Kyle Larson (right) battle for the lead / Trent Gower photoSweet reclaimed the points after the last race at Williams Grove Speedway, after a wild two weeks of rare issues for both he and Donny Schatz. He’s currently 18 points ahead of Schuchart and 26 points ahead of Schatz. So, while he and his NAPA Auto Parts Kasey Kahne Racing team hunt for their first Ironman title together, they’ll also be looking for two good points nights.
DETERMINED SCHATZ: After claiming the points lead for a week, 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz fell back to third in points when a mechanical issue took him out of the race during the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove. He and his Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing team will be digging to rebound during the Ironman weekend.
Prior to the issue, they hadn’t finished worse than second in five of their last seven races – including getting their third win of the year at Lernerville Speedway.
Of all the accolades Schatz was acquired, the Ironman is one he’s still chasing after. He has two wins at the 1/3-mile track, though – the most recent coming in 2015. He finished seventh and eighth, respectively, at the speedway in May.
Ford Motor's Mark Rushbrook on the Ford motor showcase weekend
IndyCar drivers ranking
Using INDYCAR’s advanced statistics and data, we’ve developed a weighted formula to rate the NTT IndyCar Series drivers after each race this season. Welcome to the Power Rankings – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Will Power is always included.
How does it work? We look beyond the results of the event, also factoring in qualifying results, on-track passes, on-track position passes and average running position throughout the race to come up with each driver’s unique rating.
The rankings are based on the four most recent races. The most recent race (Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio) is weighted the most in the rating and the oldest race (REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR) the least.
So, following Mid-Ohio and heading to Pocono on Aug. 18, here’s a look at the top NTT IndyCar Series drivers:
Who’s No. 1:
Simon Pagenaud – Sometimes consistency is key and consistent is what Simon Pagenaud has been over the last month. The Team Penske driver won a pair of poles, the Toronto race and finished just off the podium at Mid-Ohio. That moves him to No. 1 this week.
On the Rise
Chip Ganassi Racing – Scott Dixon has finished in the top five in the past four races and other than an Iowa he’d like to forget, series rookie Felix Rosenqvist has been on his tail during that stretch. At Mid-Ohio, the Ganassi duo scored the team’s first 1-2 finish in nearly four seasons. Rosenqvist was the highest-rated driver at Mid-Ohio and returns to the poll in fifth.
Looking to Bounce Back
James Hinchcliffe – The Mayor’s race at Mid-Ohio lasted less than a lap. Contact from teammate Marcus Ericsson (who had been hit by Takuma Sato) damaged Hinchcliffe’s car, and he never had a chance to show the pace he had all weekend.
The Top 10
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Juan Pablo Montoya has a home in a new racing series
World of Outlaws
James McFadden? Brad Sweet? Kyle Larson? Your mind spun with the question of who will win, unable to find a clear answer as the three drivers dueled with the intensity of gladiators fighting to be the last man standing.
Then the dust settled. A moment of quiet ease spread around the quarter-mile Fairbury Speedway arena. Climbing atop the wing of his No. 57 machine to thunderous applause and an explosion of confetti was Larson – claiming his eighth World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series win Tuesday night.
The win gives him back-to-back World of Outlaws victories, after winning his last Series race at Lawrenceburg Speedway on Memorial Day.
“Cool to get a win back-to-back with the Outlaws, I’ve never done that before,” Larson said.
The last time he won more than one World of Outlaws race in a season was back in 2013 – a year before he went full-time NASCAR Cup Series racing.
Larson had to duel with fellow NASCAR competitor Christopher Bell and 10-time Series champion Donny Schatz to claim the win at Lawrenceburg. This time around, he had to face the dominate Kasey Kahne Racing duo of McFadden and Sweet.
The KKR teammates started the FVP Platinum Battery Showdown event going first and second in practice with Sweet pacing the field. The NAPA Auto Parts No. 49 car then backed up its speed in Qualifying by setting Quick Time. McFadden was third. Larson seventh.
Sweet then won his Drydene Heat race with ease. Larson and McFadden dueled for the win in the third Drydene Heat race of the night with Larson dominating the field.
McFadden came back with force, charging to the win in the DIRTVision Fast Pass Dash. Sweet finished third, and Larson sixth – setting their starting position for the 40-lap Feature.
McFadden wrestled with his 900hp machine, taming it like a wild stallion at the start of the Feature to take the early lead. His run was cut short by a red flag on the first lap for Dylan Tuxhorn rolling over in turn one.
When the Feature went back green, heart rates amplified. Breaths were held. McFadden led, but Sweet was charging for a fight.
The two teammates traded lanes lap after lap, corner after corner. Sweet could power his way to either the inside or outside of the Wicked Energy Gum No. 9 car into the turn, but McFadden could launch off the exit with the power of the gods.
While they dueled, Larson slayed the competition between him and the leaders with ease. By Lap 13, he gave the KKR duo something else to fear. Going into turn three he forced his car under Sweet, making it a three-wide battle through the corner – a common theme throughout the next several laps.
Sweet built up a strong enough run to steal the lead from McFadden on Lap 17. He couldn’t shake him, though. McFadden and Larson stayed on his bumper and the next time around they both snuck by him. McFadden threw his car low in turn three, while Larson squeezed his car between the outside of Sweet and the wall.
McFadden reclaimed the lead and now had a fierce Larson to contend with. The next lap, back in turns three and four, McFadden, again, went low and Larson high. The god-like launches McFadden could get exiting a corner were no match for the resilient throttle hungry Larson.
The two traded the lead for the next couple of laps with Larson eventually prevailing. McFadden still had fight left in him, though. And not far behind was Sweet, lurking. Waiting for another opportunity to strike.
In the closing laps, with the leaders having to navigate lap traffic, Larson couldn’t lose McFadden. The Australian was building momentum lap after lap, inching closer and closer to Larson. But then, with eight laps to go, McFadden’s battle came to an end.
While stuck behind a lap car through turns one and two, McFadden hit the corner tire and spun to a stop.
“Really fun race track,” said McFadden, still with a smile, after the Feature. “It was awesome racing with Brad and Kyle. They’re obviously a couple of the best guys in the country. I don’t know if I just misjudged the lap car. He got the tractor tire I think and slowed him a bunch. I just got into the back of him and when I did that, the tractor tire came out, after he hit it, and I got it and that was that. At the end of the day, it was a positive step for the team.”
In the remaining eight laps, Larson now had to contest with a hard charging Sweet.
Larson stuck to the bottom of the track – the least likely place for him to make a mistake, he said. Sweet took advantage of that, soaring around the outside of the speedway to find as much grip as he could to catch the Chevrolet Accessories No. 57 Silva Motorsports car.
Coming to the checkered flag, Larson faltered. He slid off turn four, scrubbing speed and allowing Sweet the opportunity to strike one final time.
The distance between the leaders was still too much for Sweet, though. Like a warrior on a steed signifying his victory, Larson sprinted to the checkered flag with his front two wheels off the ground.
“That was just an exciting race from start to finish for me,” Larson said. “Shoot, 40 laps around this place was crazy. It felt like we swapped the lead a lot. Just an awesome race track. Short tracks are always a blast.”
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