Kyle Busch wins Nationwide race at Dover, goes for weekend sweep Sunday

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In the spirit of the casino that abuts the backstretch of Dover International Speedway, Kyle Busch rolled the dice and doubled up with a win in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Buckle Up 200 Presented by Click It Or Ticket.

Busch’s win Saturday made him 2-for-2 for the weekend, having dominated in his victory Friday night in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

It was Busch’s 134th career win across all three NASCAR pro series, and his 66th in the Nationwide circuit (Friday’s win was his 39th in the Truck series).

It was also Busch’s third win of the season in the NNS.

“The last 30, 40 laps there, I was just holding on, trying to hold those guys at bay,” Busch told ESPN after the race. “This car was pretty awesome. I didn’t think it was (in practice), but it was.”

Busch will go for a weekend sweep and his 30th Sprint Cup win in Sunday’s FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks. Busch is the only driver to have ever accomplished a weekend sweep in NASCAR history, having done so at Bristol in August 2010.

“We’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but we unloaded fast and I think we’ll be alright (Sunday),” Busch said.

Busch’s victory prevented former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano from earning a record-tying fifth consecutive NNS race win at the all-concrete Monster Mile – in his Monster Energy-sponsored Toyota Camry, coincidentally.

“I felt if we had clean air, we would have won the race today,” Logano said. “We just weren’t able to get up there, so we got beat. It’s kinda frustrating. It’s going to take me another couple years to get back in this position again, so we’ll have to start again in the fall (race at Dover). … Unfortunately, we didn’t get into victory lane this time, but we’ll try again next time.”

Trevor Bayne finished a season-best second, followed by Logano, Matt Kenseth and Chase Elliott in fifth.

“This Nationwide Series is so tough this season that you have to be on your game every single lap, and I felt we did that this weekend, but it stinks to be that close,” Bayne said. “You want to get greedy and just ask for that much more.”

Sixth through 10th were Kyle Larson, Brian Scott, Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler and Regan Smith, who is still atop the Nationwide Series season points standings.

Elliott Sadler is second in the standings, four points behind Smith, followed by former points leader Chase Elliott (-22), Bayne (-27) and Dillon (-27).

 

Here’s the unofficial result of Saturday’s Buckle Up 200 Presented By Click It Or Ticket:

1 Kyle Busch

2 Trevor Bayne

3 Joey Logano

4 Matt Kenseth

5 Chase Elliott

6 Kyle Larson

7 Brian Scott

8 Ty Dillon

9 Elliott Sadler

10 Regan Smith

 

11 Chris Buescher

12 Brendan Gaughan

13 Ryan Sieg

14 Landon Cassill

15 James Buescher

16 Dakoda Armstrong

17 Joe Nemechek

18 Jeff Green

19 Paulie Harraka

20 Jeremy Clements

 

21 Timmy Hill

22 Mike Bliss

23 Joey Gase

24 Derrike Cope

25 Josh Reaume

26 Dylan Kwasniewski

27 Ryan Reed

28 J.J. Yeley

29 Tanner Berryhill

30 Jeffrey Earnhardt

 

31 Cale Conley

32 Mike Harmon

33 Josh Wise

34 Matt Carter

35 Tommy Joe Martins

36 Todd Bodine

37 Morgan Shepherd

38 Ryan Ellis

39 Matt Dibenedetto

40 Blake Koch

 

We’ll be back with more updates shortly.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IMSA: Heavy news week leading into Thanksgiving holiday

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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After the weekend and before the Thanksgiving holiday this week, IMSA has rolled out a number of announcements itself, while IMSA could be set for further announcements in the weeks to come starting next week.

Here’s a roundup:

QUALIFYING AT ROAR SET FOR PIT POSITIONS, GARAGES AT ROLEX 24

Here are key notes from IMSA’s Monday release about how Sunday at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 will take on a greater significance:

  • The pit boxes and garages each team will use during the Rolex 24 will now be allocated based on fastest qualifying times set during Sunday’s third and final day of the Roar. Each of the three WeatherTech Championship classes – Prototype (P), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) – will have a 15-minute qualifying session on Sunday, Jan. 7.
  • The fastest-qualifying Prototype will receive the first pit box on pit lane starting at pit-in and also will be assigned to the first garage in the Prototype section of the WeatherTech Championship garage. The fastest GTD car will receive the second pit box on pit lane and the first garage in the GTD section, with the fastest GTLM car receiving the third pit box and the first garage in the GTLM section.
  • New for 2018 – P and GTLM will pit together under a full course yellow. Therefore, to give class separation in the pits, P and GTLM teams are assigned pit boxes to ensure they are separated by a GTD Team.

This, coupled with the addition of the first IMSA Prototype Challenge Presented by Mazda one-hour, 45-minute race with two drivers, will make this a more shaken up Roar.

REGS, REGS, GET YOUR REGS

IMSA has released the Sporting and Technical Regulations for 2018 this week. The aforementioned note about P and GTLM teams pitting together is a change from P and Prototype Challenge (PC) class cars pitting together, with GTLM and GTD together as it was this year.

Restart procedures changed will see P cars moved to the lead ahead of GT cars; this created confusion at times throughout 2017 as sometimes another class leader in PC, GTLM or GTD had been the first car behind a pace car.

Each team will be limited to one car change in-season only, subject to “force majeure.”

On the off chance a driver is racing in two cars, his or her maximum drive time will be counted cumulatively between the two cars.

There are other tweaks, of course, but most are largely procedural or within the fine print.

RATINGS REVEALED

The good news with IMSA going down from four classes to three for 2018 is that only one designated pro-am class remains in the form of GT Daytona, which requires at least one Silver (or Bronze) full-season driver alongside the designated pro. Those sneaky “Super Silvers” remain an invaluable asset for using his or her results to their benefit.

The FIA released the initial driver ratings for 2018 this week with a few changes, some young pros going up from Silver to Gold and others getting their request to get downgraded from Gold to Silver approved. Drivers have a couple weeks to appeal if they so desire.

Here’s your friendly reminder of what drivers can be in what GTD cars for the first two races at Daytona and Sebring:

  • Daytona (5 drivers max): GTD: In any nominated two (2) or three (3) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum or Gold rated Driver is permitted. In any nominated four (4) or five (5) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum and (1) Gold rated Driver are permitted or a maximum of (2) Gold Drivers.
  • Sebring (4 drivers max): GTD: In any nominated two (2) or three (3) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum or Gold rated Driver is permitted. In any nominated four (4) Driver combination, a maximum of one (1) Platinum and (1) Gold rated Driver are permitted or a maximum of (2) Gold Drivers.

MAZDA KEEPS ON TESTING, CLOSES ON ANNOUNCEMENTS

The Los Angeles Auto Show, held after Thanksgiving, is a likely landing spot for Mazda Team Joest to reveal, officially, its revised “Evo” version of the Mazda RT24-P and its driver lineup for the 2018 season. While most of the Prototype class lineups (DPi and LMP2-spec cars) have been revealed, Mazda’s has been an exception. In the interim, not long after its Daytona test late last month, they’ve also been testing at Sebring.

FROM SPACE CENTER TO DOWN UNDER

Jordan Taylor undertook testing of a different kind not long ago at, of all places, the Kennedy Space Center. One of this year’s Prototype class champions was undertaking a straight line test in his No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Taylor being Taylor, the moment couldn’t pass without him winning at social media (see third tweet).

Taylor goes from down a long runway to down under, visiting his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship race this weekend at its season finale in Newcastle.

‘MAKING OF A CHAMPION’ PIECES ROLL OUT

The fourth installment of IMSA’s “making of a champion” series highlights Jordan Taylor, who co-drove with brother Ricky to the Prototype class championship this year. These two are part of four done by IMSA so far, along with Pato O’Ward (PC) and Christina Nielsen (GTD). More should follow in the coming weeks.

SPEAKING OF CHAMPS, HINDMAN, AGOSTINI, PRESTIGE WIN LAMBORGHINI WORLD FINAL

The Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final was held last weekend at the Imola circuit in Italy and the American Prestige Performance team won the World Final overall, with co-drivers Trent Hindman and Riccardo Agostini.

The World Final brings together teams from North America, Europe and Asia that campaign the spec Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 in Super Trofeo regional competition. Hindman and Agostini got the weekend off on the right foot by winning the North American championship first, then followed it up at the World Final itself to topple all other domestic and international entries.

You might remember we profiled Hindman last month, as the 22-year-old’s star in the sports car world is clearly on the rise.

Somehow, someway, at the end of the day today we received the title 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Champions. Race 2 was not perfect and much more nerve racking than we would have hoped but fortunately in the end the job was done. I am honored to be sharing this with @rickyagostini as well as the entire @prestigeperfctr @waynetaylorracing team and I thank them for their incredible effort all year. With this result, we are the first ever American team to win the Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Championship overall. 3/4 overall wins along with the Super Trofeo North America and World titles marks the end of a successful 2017 campaign. Back to reality tomorrow. Thank you all for following us along on this incredible journey.

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