Top-5 runs help Kurt Busch, Newman keep pace in race to Chase

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Chase hopefuls Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman had to walk out of Pocono Raceway with solid results, and both of them came through as Busch finished third and Newman finished fourth after his Brickyard 400 triumph last weekend at Indianapolis.

Busch’s third-place run was his fifth Top-5 and ninth Top-10 of the campaign, which both mark single-season records for the single-car Furniture Row Racing team. It could serve as a springboard for something bigger next weekend on the road course at Watkins Glen, where Busch tested last Monday.

“We ran up front and put ourselves in position to win,” Busch said about his day. “It’s exciting for us because we are in this mix of trying to race our way into the Chase. There’s a number of teams within striking distance of making the Chase. It’s very competitive out there and you have to do it with top-five finishes like this.

“No one is going to back into the Chase, you’re going to have to earn it.”

Busch, who has yet to win this year, sits 13th in the standings at just 11 points out of 10th-place Greg Biffle. As for Newman, he now has the second Wild Card holder, Martin Truex Jr., directly in front of him after Pocono.

Truex finished 15th on Sunday, but dropped two spots to 14th in the championship and is now just nine points ahead of Newman. Both of them have one regular season win, but Newman seemed to feel he could’ve been in contention for a second one today if not for pit road issues.

“It’s a good run – not as good as it could have been,” said Newman. “We struggled in the pits today but overall, a good effort. Racing a lot of the guys around us [in the standings], it’s where it’s important to get the victory.

“…We have a win and we are fighting for a Top 10 or Wild Card spot, but nonetheless, it was a good effort. Just a horrible day in the pits for us. We have to get that figured out.”

Supercross: Talon Hawkins to debut in Houston in relief of Jalek Swoll

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Talon Hawkins, 19, will make his Monster Energy Supercross debut on a 250 this week in Houston, Texas as a fill-in rider for Jalek Swoll.

During the Anaheim 2 weekend, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team announced Swoll underwent successful surgery to repair a broken arm suffered in a practice crash.

That same weekend, Hawkins made some noise. He took the lead from teammate Casey Cohran on Lap 2 of the 250 SX Futures Main and led for three laps before he was overtaken by eventual winner Daxton Bennick. Cochran also got around him to push Hawkins to third.

This will not be Hawkins SuperMotocross professional debut, however; he made three Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starts last year with results of 19th at Spring Creek in Millville, Minnesota, 27th at Ironman in Crawfordsville, Indiana and a best finish of 17th in the season finale at Fox Raceway in Pala, California.

Hawkins also has a top-10 finish in the 125 All-Star division at Pala in 2019 riding a Husqvarna.

Speaking with RacerXOnline.com before the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals, Hawkins predicted his future with Husqvarna would come down to how he performed in that race.

“It all just comes down to how I perform at Loretta’s,” Hawkins said. “Say I do really well, I get a top three in both classes and do a pretty solid job, I would like to go pro and just kind of finish out the rest of the series. But there’s also the option of waiting a little bit longer, going back out to [Aldon] Baker’s [Factory] or going anywhere and training, and just being prepared. I’m also open to that too. Honestly, it’s whatever the team wants. Whatever we think is the best option is what we’re going to go with. So, I don’t really have a plan right now, just looking into the future.”

Hawkins finished third overall in the 125 B/C and Schoolboy divisions at the Loretta Lynn Amateur Nationals.