Roger Diez: NASCAR Cup, Xfinity move on to Monster Mile

Roger Diez

Roger Diez

Last Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega gave us spills, thrills, and another close finish as Ross Chastain became the second multiple winner of the season.
Only 26 of the 38 starters were still running at finish, and Kyle Larson had his best superspeedway finish in fourth after throwing a block that sent 23XI Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace into the wall. They slid across the line in 16th and 17th respectively. Chastain celebrated with his signature watermelon smash, the most unique victory move since Carl Edwards’ backflips.
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This week both NASCAR Cup and Xfinity series are at Dover’s Monster Mile, which has not seen a repeat winner in the last half-dozen outings there. In the last 12 Dover races Kevin Harvick has won three and Martin Truex two, with Alex Bowman, Denny Hamlin, Larson, Chase Elliott, and Kyle Busch scoring one apiece.
Larson is the favorite at 9-2 odds with Elliott and William Byron at 8-1 and Truex 10-1. Joey Logano, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Alex Bowman, and Ryan Blaney are tied at 12-1, with Harvick and Chastain at 14-1. A good dark horse bet might be Cole Custer at 125-1.
All the weekend action will air on FS1 with Cup qualifying at 8:15 a.m. Saturday followed by the Xfinity race at 10:30. Sunday’s Duramax Drydene 400 Cup race airs at noon.
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Max Verstappen and Red Bull had their best weekend so far this season last week at Imola. Verstappen won Saturday’s sprint qualifier, and on Sunday the Red Bulls finished 1-2 with Verstappen taking the checker ahead of teammate Sergio Perez.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was third while teammate Carlos Sainz ended up beached in a gravel trap for the second race in a row. After the race Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff apologized to Lewis Hamilton for the “undriveable” car, and teammate George Russell complained of neck and back pain from the car’s “porpoising” after finishing sixth.
The 1-2 finish moved Red Bull into second in the constructor’s championship, 113 to Ferrari’s 124. Mercedes is a distant third at 77. The driver’s point standings are now Leclerc at 86, Verstappen 59, Perez 54, Russell 49, and Sainz 38.
Next weekend the Formula 1 cars will be at a new venue on the streets of Miami for the first U.S. race of the season.
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The NTT IndyCar series is back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. So far, the 2022 season has been a Team Penske benefit, with Scott McLaughlin winning the St. Pete season opener and Josef Newgarden taking both Texas and Long Beach.
Newgarden is the most prolific winner at Barber with three victories, while Penske teammate Will Power has two. Last year’s winner was 2021 IndyCar champion Alex Palou, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing. Peacock will broadcast qualifying at 9 a.m. Saturday with the race on NBC Sunday at 9:15.
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Last week my deadline was too late to give the final results of the two-day test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Newgarden was fastest with a lap of 229.519 mph with Takuma Sato only 0.2 mph slower. All five Chip Ganassi Racing cars were in the top 10 with Jimmie Johnson the fastest rookie in eighth at 227.900.
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In local racing, Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon opened its 2022 season last weekend with a Friday-Saturday event. The Fallon track has monthly two-day shows through October.
Fernley 95A has not posted a schedule for this year, but a recent Facebook post indicated it will run a limited season.

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