NASCAR MONSTER ENERGY CUP
NASCAR MONSTER ENERGY CUP
Truex wins pole at Kentucky Speedway
Defending champion Martin Truex Jr. has won the pole for the NASCAR Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway.
Truex clocked 188.890 mph to earn his first Kentucky pole and 19th of his career on Friday. He led 152 of 274 laps on his way to winning this race last July.
Truex’s No. 78 Toyota led a front-row sweep of Camrys for the 400-mile race Saturday night.
Erik Jones, who earned his first career Cup win last week at Daytona, will start second after turning a lap of 188.739 mph in the No. 20 Toyota. Kevin Harvick (188.547) and three-time Kentucky winner Brad Keselowski (188.390) were next in Ford Fusions.
Points leader Kyle Busch, a two-time Kentucky champion, rounded out the top five by clocking 188.206 mph in the No. 18 Toyota.
Bell goes from last to first in victory
Christopher Bell passed Justin Allgaier with 17 laps remaining and held off Daniel Hemric to win the 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night.
Bell, who started from the back of the field after spinning his No. 20 Toyota during qualifying, earned his second victory this season and third of his career. Cup Series regular Kyle Busch (Toyota) led a race-high 111 laps and won the first stage but finished third. Allgaier was fourth in a Chevrolet and pole winner Cole Custer (Ford) fifth. John Hunter Nemechek won the second stage but finished seventh in a Chevrolet.
Allgaier led Bell by eight car lengths late and seemed in control before Bell and Hemric both got past him. Hemric closed the gap some but couldn’t catch Bell, the 2017 Truck Series champion. The Xfinity rookie weaved through lapped traffic and went on to earn his first Kentucky victory by .848 seconds.
Hemric and Elliott Sadler hold a three-point series lead on Custer.
Rhodes wins in front of home state fans
Ben Rhodes raced to his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win in front of his home state fans at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday night.
Rhodes, a native of Louisville, opted not to change his tires on the final pit and the gamble paid off as he took the lead out of pit road and then steadily pulled away from Stewart Friesen over the final 10 laps.
Friesen finished just under a second behind Rhodes. Matt Crafton, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek rounded out the Top 5.
Rhodes surged ahead of pole-sitter Noah Gragson to win Stage 1.
Gragson retook the lead and won Stage 2. He led 62 of the first 73 laps but after his Stage 2 win he came out of pit road in 13th place and finished eighth. Series points leader Johnny Sauter finished 15th. He has a 42-point lead over Gragson.
Fan support of race has dwindled in Toronto
It has been nearly 10 years since Paul Godfrey brokered a deal to secure $2 million in provincial and municipal subsidies to help bring Toronto’s IndyCar race back from the dead.
Fans, however, have been lukewarm about the race since it returned to the city in 2009 after a one-year hiatus.
The race routinely attracted more than 70,000 people and about 170,000 over the course of three days during the 1990s and early 2000s, but the turnout figures to be far lower this weekend for the Honda Indy.
Godfrey, president and CEO of the Postmedia Network, feels the race has “somewhat lost its charm” in the years since he and seven-time Toronto Indy champion Michael Andretti helped secure funding to revive it after it was given the ax because of scheduling issues when the two rival open-wheel racing series reunited in 2008.
“The buzz that was there a few years ago has not gotten back to the same levels it’s been at in the past,” Godfrey told the Canadian Press.
“I know Honda is trying their best to get that to happen and hopefully it will. Because it’s a great sport and it’s a great event, and I’d love to see it get back to the excitement of yesteryear.”