Tim McDonnell was expected to steal the show in the second coming of Lime Rock Park in Extravaganza. Starting way in the back, it would be a complete miracle to pull the feat off. The other road ringers have the skills and the track position to pull through for the victory.
The first segment of the race was dominated by John Battista and Zach Michael. They pulled away from the field until the first caution, when Zach Michael came in for a fuel stop. Then, it was Battista, David Baldinger, and Craig Lee at the helm.
The first big crash involved teammates Rick Jackson and Ken Pettit. Ken flew over the chicane ramp and tumbled violently through the trees. Thankfully, he and no spectators were injured during the incident. Ken would finish 42nd and drop to 7th in the standings.
David Baldinger made a failed attempt for the lead on lap 44, leaving Battista at the helm until his pit stop. During the mid-race point, Zach Michael, Jimmie Stevens and William Perry all took turns leading the field. Points contenders Ryan Heuser and Tony Pizzaro were also on the prowl.
Battling for 3rd, Perry, Stevens and Jonathan Skrabacz were 3-wide entering the chicane, sending Skrabacz, Alex Crapser and Aaron Cummings for a spin. Rick Jackson was turned coming to the caution, slamming into the turn-1 tire barrier and ending his day. He would drop to 15th in the standings after finishing 41st. On lap 76, Bill Werkheiser blew his engine entering turn-1, hitting the inside wall and tumbling across the turn-1 grass. Tony Pizzaro, William Perry, John Tharp and Brandon Raines were also involved.
Ryan Heuser took his first lead of the day on lap 73. John Battista took the helm just two laps later, adding to his eventual 66 laps led on the day. On lap 87, Tim McDonnell took the lead, crawling from the 39th starting position to grab the top spot.
During the green flag run, McDonnell and Battista made their final pit stops of the race. A Dave Miller spin on lap 109 mired them outside of the top-15, as the field in front looked to stretch their gas for 65+ laps to the finish.
Dave Miller, Michael Henson and Kevin Corbat were involved in crashes on the no-name straightaway during the waning laps. The cautions helped leaders Mike Carroll, Scott Jackson and Ben Geer save fuel as the rest of the field patiently awaited their chance to pass through the field.
Carroll lost the lead to Zach Michael with 16 laps to go. He earned it back four laps later, only to lose it again and fall back to third. Michael and Scott Jackson battled defiantly with 6 laps to go, with Jackson coming out on top. He would remain the leader before running out of fuel with three laps to go, giving at back to Michael. Mike Carroll's cinderella story came to an end for the same reason, leaving it to Michael and a hard-charging Tim McDonnell to battle it out for the victory.
McDonnell charged from outside the top-15 to first in only 28 laps. He took the lead coming to two laps to go and kept a car-length distance with the fresher tires. Coming off of turn four on the final lap, McDonnell made a rare mistake and drove wide, giving Michael the room underneath to battle for the victory.
Michael won the battle into the chicane, exiting the final two corners perfectly to grab his first victory of the 2020 Extravaganza Series season. Congrats to Zach, crew chief Justin Knapp, and the entire NSRA Racing crew for an excellent victory!
Next week is the one year anniversary of Forrest Grove's unfortunate and untimely death at Lime Rock Park. In his honor we will hold a silent lap 14 to commemorate the accomplishments of the young ARCA driver. His third place finish at Mansfield in July of 2019 looked to be the start of great things to come, finishing 13th in the ARCA Bonzai Series standings with car owner Boss Meyers and Blue Ridge Racing. His uncle Jason Grove started 783 career Extravaganza Series events without a victory, ending his career in 2015. Forrest was looking to be come the first Grove in victory lane. Next Sunday, he will have his day.
Dan Johnston is slated to return at Darlington to run the 2020 Southern 500. It's been four months since his horrifying accident during the Geico 500 in April, but has expressed over the last few weeks his eagerness to return in 2020. After intensive rehabilitation and a strict diet clear of sweeteners, cheese and beer, doctors have cleared him to come back to the race track. "I'm looking forward to my trip to Connecticut" says Dan "The grassy fields and fresh New England air will heal the remaining spasms". We asked Dan if he will get the urge to get out on the track next weekend: "I can turn right on my wheelchair better than I can in a stock car. I'm better off on the sidelines digesting the local paper, and I can barely read". David Baldinger will get the start in the #121 at Lime Rock, a car that has not finished inside the top-20 since since David finished 7th at Sonoma well over a month ago.
2020 Average Finish For #121 With Dan Johnston:23.90 Without Dan Johnston:25.58
Dan is looking to come back strong at the track he nearly won at earlier this year, before a tire issue forces him to retire from the event while leading. It will be interesting to see who will be in the car until then.
In the blistering hot New England summertime lies the 1-mile magic mile oval in Loudon New Hampshire. The favorite coming in is last week's winner at North Wilkesboro, and current points leader Tony Pizzaro at his home racetrack. We'll look to see if anybody can triumph over the Fenway mobile.
Johnny Reed Foley won the pole and led early on, with heavy pressure from John Tharp and the #14 machine.After several pass attempts, he finally passed Foley for the lead and stayed atop through the entire green flag run.
Several crashes occurred early in the going. A lap 88 spin involving Jim Fitzmaurice brought out the first caution during green flag pit stops. Most of the field was trapped 1 lap down, though most got back on track after contact between Dale Rosendaul and Scott Jackson entering turn 3 brought out the second caution. All three would limp to finishes outside the top-25. On lap 128, PHR teammates John Tharp and William Perry made contact in the same corner, wrecking themselves and Dalton Lucas in the process. This would severely hinder Tharp's progress of racing back to the front.
Zakk Miller became the new leader by pitting just before the caution came out on lap 88 and stayed on the lead lap. He kept the spot for the next 88 laps, where Dave Miller and Bill Werkhesier batt;ed ferociously for second place. By the end of the run, it was Tim McDonnell and Ryan Heuser flying through the field, as Heuser took the lead exiting turn 2 on lap 179.
More problems in turn 3 occurred on lap 184. Donald Stewart and Jimmie Stevens spun out battling for 12th position, collecting the lapped car of Michael Henson. Both drivers would still finish inside the top-20. Much prior to this, Dave Miller was in fourth racing above two lapped cars who made contact exiting turn 4. Dave spun out to last on the lead lap in 28th, never recovering from the incident.
Engine failures and bad luck were the big story during the mid-point fo the race. While Ryan Heuser was sitting pretty out front, David Courtney, Cristian Torres, William Perry, Rob Scarberry and Ben Geer all suffered engine failures. Alex Crapser's engine was also damaged during a mid-race crash, sending him further out of the points picture after a 36th-place finish.
From lap 133 thought lap 228, the top-3 included Ryan Heuser, Zakk Miller and Tim McDonnell for the entire stint. Ryan and Tim were in shape to practically lock their chase status, as Craig Lee, Bill Werkheiser, Zach Michael, John Battista and Tony Pizzaro all were left searching for the speed they needed to catch up to the big-3.
They didn't need speed to catch two of the big-3. While passing the lapped car of David Butterworth, he and Tim made contact entering turn-3. Tims car turn towards the outside wall, clipping Zakk Miller and sending the second and third place cars into the outside wall. Tim would climb from 20th place to finish 6th during the final 69 laps. Zakk would fight a tight race car during the stint, failing to finish inside the top-20 after an excellent day.
John Tharp had struggled to get back to the front after his earlier incident. Battling for 13th with Ken Pettit and Matt Raboin, the three spun each other out on the frontsretch. Matt and John managed to slide through without losing several positions. Ken spun around several times, while Matthew Dominique awkwardly clipped the rear end of Dale's machine and went for a tumble. He went for two sideways flips before getting hit in the roof by Dave Miller. After sliding to a stop against the outside wall, his chase hopes went from 6 points in, to 90 points out after his 37th place finish.
Craig Lee took the 2nd position after the incident between Zakk and Tim. Bill Werkheiser lost spots from Zach Michael and John Battista and dropped outside of the top-10 before the day was over. Zach and Battista swapped the 3rd position several times through the waning laps, while Rick Jackson caught up and passed Zach on the outside lane to take 4th with 17 laps to go. A few laps later, Battista passed Craig for second, but was no match for Ryan Heuser who had pulled away from the field.
John Battista has done the impossible! After his 3rd place finish at the famed North Wilkesboro Speedway, he has finished in 12 of 13 top-13 positions! Only 21 races into the season, there are 15 more chances for Battista to grab a prestigious 10th place finish and complete the first cycle in N.O.R.L. Extravaganza Series history!
3rd: North Wilkesboro
9th: North Carolina
10th: Not Yet
13th: Sears Point
Battista would surely like to win out the season in favor of this historic feat, though a 10th at Loudon would surely put himself deeper inside the safe-zone with only five races remaining in the regular season:
Points Standings After 21 of 36 Events
6. Johnny Reed Foley: +127 7. John Battista: +87 8. John Tharp: +77 9. Dave Miller: +57 10. Matthew Dominique: +6 ------------------------------------- 11. Zach Michael: -6 12. Alex Crapser: -19 13. Craig Lee: -105 14. Matt Raboin: -121 15. Rick Jackson: -134
Some of the greatest drivers in the world of stock car racing avenge the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After a full-day thunderstorm delayed the 2020 Brickyard 400, they were ready to go on Monday where Dave Miller looked to win his second Indianapolis event in-a-row, and Scott Jackson looked to win his first event in two full seasons.
The first few laps saw pole-sitter Rick Jackson leading the charge before a lap-4 accident in the back of the field brought out the first yellow flag. Contact between Jimmie Stevens and Aaron Cummings sent the #2 up the racetrack, clipping Scott Drake and slamming into the outside wall. Zach Michael hit Stevens on the nose, coming down and clipping Jonathan Skrabacz, who slid up the track and nudged Glenn Kaufmann, who spun into the outside wall rear-first. Mike Carroll was also involved in the accident. Other than Mike, all drivers involved would finish outside the top-24.
Alan Nesfeder and Scott Deutsch stayed out during the yellow. Scott drifted back, while Alan led the first two laps of the restart before Rick re-took the lead. He held the position for 18 more laps while champion and points leader Tim McDonnell was on his tail. Tim took the lead entering turn 1 on lap 29 and stayed there for 28 laps.
A horrible incident for Ben Geer occurred on lap 47 after contact between he and Dave Butterworth in turn-4. Ben's car spun hard into the outside wall, ricocheting into the path of Donald Stewart, who nailed the passenger side of the #29 with severe brutality at 130 mph. The car flew in the air immediately, with Jimmie Stevens nailing the hood of Ben's car at 136 mph just a quarter-second after the first impact. Ben flipped five times in three seconds, was at least three-stories high in flight during his impact with the catch fence, then landed directly in front of Kevin Corbat.
Kevin's impact at 138 mph barely missed the roof of the #29 machine, but sent Ben flipping four more times in two seconds while slapping the roof of Scott Drake's machine. Ben preceded to get nailed in the rear by Glenn Kaufmann, who could not see from all the smoke and debris. He was thrust forward, slamming into the stopped #9 machine before an inside wall impact and a Jimmie Stevens roof impact stopped the Ben Geer #29 machine for good. Somehow, in the most miraculous of ways, Ben would leave the hospital just one day later to race again. He suffered many bruises and several cracked ribs, and a 41st place finish to add literal insult to injury.
On lap 55, contact between Dale Rosendaul and Dalton Lucas sent Dalton's car flying through the infield access road, clipping Kevin Corbat and sending the two into the outside turn-4 wall. 8 laps later, Dalton and Cristian Torres made contact in the same corner, sending Torres into the same wall and barrel-rolling down the frontstretch four time before ending up on his roof. He would finish 35th on the day, while Dalton blew his engine with 55 laps to go.
Jonathan Skrabacz had inherited the lead on lap 60 after staying out on old tires. 17 other drivers did the same, leaving many to wonder whether the cars that didn't pit could make it on only two more stops. Tim McDonnell was still the leader on new tires, but Craig Lee became the new leader on lap 64 after passing Skrabacz on the inside of turn 1. Matt Raboin took the lead the same way just 5 laps later, keeping the position before pit stops forced him to come in early. Tim and Tony Pizzaro led laps through the cycle, and when all was said and through Craig Lee was up front. He led the entire green flag run.
By lap 130, stops cycled around again and saw Matt Raboin in the top spot once more. The top-4 of Matt, Craig Lee, John Tharp and Dave Miller battled ferociously through the waning laps, losing speed to the rest of the field but also saving gas in the process. With 28 laps to go, it was John's turn to shine, then Dave just 2 laps later. Throughout it all, Tim McDonnell and Ryan Heuser were coming.
With 20 laps to go, it was John Tharp took the top-spot one more time and held it for 8 laps. They were pulling away from the Craig and Matt, and when though safe Dave took the lead entering turn 1 with only 12 circuits left. Tim and Ryan were already past Craig and Matt by this p
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Ben Geer has exited his hospital bedroom just one full day after a cataclysmic wreck that nearly forced him out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway facility. After severe hits from Jimmie Stevens, Donald Stewart, Kevin Corbat, Scott Drake and Glenn Kaufmann, the driver of the #29 Budweiser machine was cut away from his car and lifted into a gurney that sent him to the local speedway hospital. After many bruises and several cracked ribs, doctors cleared him to rest at his Florida home for the oncoming couple of days. There is no speculation that Ben will need a replacement driver for North Wilkesboro, but he may not be back in the car until then. It's a complete miracle that he suffered no head trauma in the incident.
Per Randy Orb "A horrible incident for Ben Geer occurred on lap 47 after contact between he and Dave Butterworth in turn-4. Ben's car spun hard into the outside wall, ricocheting into the path of Donald Stewart, who nailed the passenger side of the #29 with severe brutality at 130 mph. The car flew in the air immediately, with Jimmie Stevens nailing the hood of Ben's car at 136 mph just a quarter-second after the first impact. Ben flipped five times in three seconds, was at least three-stories high in flight during his impact with the catch fence, then landed directly in front of Kevin Corbat. Kevin's impact at 138 mph barely missed the roof of the #29 machine, but sent Ben flipping four more times in two seconds while slapping the roof of Scott Drake's machine. Ben preceded to get nailed in the rear by Glenn Kaufmann, who could not see from all the smoke and debris. He was thrust forward, slamming into the stopped #9 machine before an inside wall impact and a Jimmie Stevens roof impact stopped the Ben Geer #29 machine for good. Somehow, in the most miraculous of ways, Ben would leave the hospital just one day later to race again. He suffered many bruises and several cracked ribs, and a 41st place finish to add literal insult to injury."
Points leader Tim McDonnell drove from 143 points behind leader Ryan Heuser before the Pocono duels last weekend. He finished the Pocono duels 8 points ahead atop the standings after his sweep. Tony Pizzaro jumped to second, with Scott Jackson only 60 points back in 4th. These four drivers havve it made barring any impending doom during the final seven weeks of the regular season. These are the drivers that are on the bubble:
5. Ken Pettit: +151 6. Johnny Reed Foley: +150 7. Zach Michael: +137 8. Dave Miller: +51 9. John Battista: +29 10. John Tharp: +24 -------------------------------
11. Matthew Dominique: -24 12. Alex Crapser: -43 13. Craig Lee: -70 14. Rick Jackson: -119 15. Donald Stewart: -157 16. Ben Geer: -160 17. Matt Raboin: -170 18. Bill Werkheiser: -177 19. Cristian Torres: -192 20. Alan Nesfeder: -212