Bucks County Herald

Motorsports News:

Thrills come to Daytona

BILL HAHN

The readers have spoken. Some, evidently, feel I haven’t used enough ink on the NASCAR Cup Series.

Frankly, the series has become a little predictable, with all the cookie-cutter, mile-and-a-half tracks, but that was not the case on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway.

In the rough and tumble Coke Zero Sugar 400 that went to two overtimes, specifically eight laps beyond its scheduled 160, Erik Jones edged runner-up Martin Truex Jr. to pick up his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory. Jones passed reigning series champion Truex on the final lap to win by .125 of a second. Now, that’s exciting. That was old-time racing, door handle to door handle at 200 mph, and when the smoke cleared, only 20 of the 40 cars that had started the race were running at the end. The big names that were expected to challenge for the top spot were surprisingly absent, while new names, like Allmendinger, DiBenedetto and Bowman, took their places and finished in the top 10. That’s what I like to see.

Friday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona, the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250, also had its share of drama. Justin Haley made an ill-advised pass for the lead on the final lap, dipping below the double yellow line on the apron, which was a violation of NASCAR rules. Haley was penalized and had to settle for 18th place. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson was declared the winner. Old pal Elliott Sadler took second.

Both races were just what NASCAR needed. Excitement.

Pennsylvania Speedweek brought together racers from all over the world. Trey Starks, Danny Dietrich and Cole Duncan were among the big winners.

Nineteen-year-old Matt Stangle led flag-to-flag to capture the Modified feature at New Egypt Speedway. I was even more impressed, however, with Danny Bouc, who wrapped up another second-place finish. The Pipersville standout has been racing up front all season.

Another racer who is on a roll is Brett Kressley, who claimed his third Modified feature at Grandview Speedway.

And Stewart Friesen is winning wherever he goes.

At the NHRA New England Nationals in Epping, N.H., Brittany Force ran 3.77 seconds at 316 mph in qualifying, while her dad, John Force, cranked a 3.98-second, 324-mph pass.

In my glory days of racing journalism at Flemington Speedway, I became friends with the best engine builder of the time, Tony Feil. If you had a Feil motor, you ran up front. Not to mention, he was a cool guy. Well, Feil passed away on June 27 at 78. His memory will live on.

I am going to South Carolina for a bit. See you when I return.

Remember to thank a veteran.




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