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Spencer Gallagher officiates wedding at Michigan
Spencer Gallagher is a man of many talents. A race car driver and newly discovered wrestler/dancer/hugger (for reference, see his "fight" with John Wes Townley ), Gallagher is also an officiant in race track wedding ceremonies. Nope, not kidding. Surrounded by guests and a bridesmaid doning a Kasey Kahne T-Shirt, Gallagher performed a marriage ceremony for a couple in Victory Lane at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday afternoon. They even got to ride away in a pace car. . @23SpeedRacer performing a ceremony in @Gatorade Victory Lane @MISpeedway ✔️ Congrats to the newly weds! pic.twitter.com/BRh5rPk6GV — GMS Racing (@GMSRacingLLC) August 25, 2016 The event was documented via NASCAR Snapchat (username: nascar) and is available for viewing for 24 hours. Congrats to the happy couple!
Watkins Glen grandstands sell out for second straight year
During the driver meetings prior to Sunday's Cheez-It 355 , Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup announced a grandstand sellout for the second consecutive season. "This is a great testament to the passion and dedication our fans have for Watkins Glen International ," Printup said. "We're looking forward to a great race and delivering an incredible experience that keeps our fans coming back year after year." In addition, the track also announced plans for a new viewing deck outside the Esses (turns 2-4) in 2017. Joe Gibbs, owner of the winning No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, acknowledged the massive turnout during a post-race interview session with reporters. "First of all, it's great to be able to come to New York and Watkins Glen and race," Gibbs said. "I want to say congratulations to everybody here. What impressed me a lot was that crowd. To have a sell-out crowd here is huge for our sport. It's big for all of our sponsors. We had a number of them here with us this weekend." Team Penske driver Joey Logano had similar thoughts. "Typical Watkins Glen," he said. "I mean, it's just awesome, crazy racing, full contact. Just insane out there. So a lot of fun from the driver's seat and I'm sure the fans loved it as well in front of a sold‑out grandstand. It was pretty cool when I pulled over for the red flag in front of the grandstands and I could hear just fans screaming and yelling and loving it. I thought, '<an, this is really cool to be in the driver's seat right now.' "
Logano wins Penske-dominated race at Watkins Glen
Related: Results WATKINS GLEN, N. Y. – Joey Logano finally finished what he started. The driver of the No. 12 Ford won Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Watkins Glen International from the pole, giving Team Penske its first XFINITY victory in what has been a disappointing season so far. The win in the Zippo 200 was the second straight at the 2.45-mile road course for the 26-year-old driver, who led 67 of 82 laps and drove his car to the limit, keeping teammate Brad Keselowski behind him until a broken track bar mount forced Keselowski's No. 22 Ford out of the race after 79 laps. Keselowski's problem gave Logano some breathing room. Though Paul Menard was making up ground in the closing laps, he finished second, 1.517 seconds behind Logano, who collected the 26th victory of his career. The win was the sixth for Team Penske in the Zippo 200. In addition to Logano, Kurt Busch won the event twice, and Ryan Newman and Keselowski once each. "Brad gave me a run for my money, that's for sure," Logano said of Saturday's race. "He was just as fast as me, maybe faster. I never ran so many qualifying laps inside the car. I was running as hard as I possibly could, and I wasn't sure if my car would last, running that hard, but she held together just long enough. "I couldn’t be more proud to be here in Victory Lane. This is big for Team Penske on the XFINITY side of things. Great to get a win for them." Logano swept the XFINITY and Sprint Cup weekend at The Glen last year. Kyle Larson ran third on Saturday, followed by Daniel Suarez and Trevor Bayne . Series points leader Elliott Sadler , Justin Allgaier , Brendan Gaughan , Ryan Reed and Brennan Poole – all XFINITY regulars – completed the top 10. Keselowski finished 24th and understandably had mixed feelings about the outcome. "It looked like a bad weld broke," he said of the track bar issue. "I don't know what to say about that. You can't win races in the garage. Joey and I were both really fast, and if either one of us got in the lead it was obvious we were going to drive away. "That's something to be really proud of. We had very fast Ford Mustangs today, and congrats to Joey on the win. It's good for the program to see Team Penske get in Victory Lane today. I wish it could have been us, but I am happy for Joey and all those guys." The race featured six cautions for 18 laps. The most massive incident was a multi-car pileup in the esses on Lap 18 that eliminated Kyle Busch , who is attempting to win a race on all active XFINITY tracks at which he has competed. Currently, he lacks only Watkins Glen and Pocono to complete the feat. Saturday’s race also had a healthy dose of the bizarre. On Lap 59, Derrike Cope 's No. 70 Chevrolet slowed and came to a stop in the runoff area beside the Inner Loop. After a few seconds, an explosion rocked the car, blowing the hood off its pinions and sending a billow of black smoke skyward. Cope was unhurt in the incident, but baffled as to the cause of the explosion. Tweeting as he watched the broadcast, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . wrote: "Reminds me of when I used to put M80s in the models I built." The XFINITY Series returns to the track Aug. 13 for the series standalone race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (3:30 p.m. ET USA/MRN/Sirius XM).
NXS GarageCam with a twist, here at Watkins Glen
Host Matthew Dillner takes a different approach this week as he guides you around the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage at Watkins Glen International.
Boris Said still having a blast with fans, racing in NASCAR
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Boris Said is a bona fide hero in these parts. And the loyal band of free-spirited "Said Heads" have come out in force this weekend to welcome their road course-racing hero at the Connecticut native's adopted home track, Watkins Glen International . The fans wear big curly-haired wigs, a nod to Said's head of hair and a sign of their allegiance to one of America's most successful road racers. They are local and vocal and fiercely fond of their hero Said, who met up with several of his fans at the area's famous Seneca Lodge restaurant this week. His meal consisted of taking a bite of food, signing an autograph, taking a bite of food, posing for a photo. You get the idea. "It makes you feel good, it does," a smiling Said said. "You go to Seneca Lodge to eat dinner and it's crazy. I was in there last night, having dinner with [ Daniel Suarez ] and he has no idea, he's a young kid. He was freaked out by it. "It was just a lot of hugging and people wearing the T-Shirts coming up the whole time to talk or get an autograph. It's fun and kinda neat." Said will drive the No. 32 Genesee Beer Ford in Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at The Glen (2:30 p.m. ET, USA/MRN/Sirius XM). It's his first NASCAR start of the 2016 season, but 16th career green flag at The Glen where he has often been tabbed to lead a team's road racing effort. His best finish is third in 2005. He's led nine laps (all in his first start in 1999) and raced cars from James Finch's "Thank A Teacher Today"-sponsored Chevy in 2011 to the famed Wood Brothers' No. 21 Little Debbie Ford in 2007. He won the pole here in his first-ever XFINITY Series start in 1998 driving a car owned by former Cup driver Jimmy Spencer . Twice he finished fourth including last year for Joe Gibbs Racing . "It's crazy for me because I still love driving, but I'm almost 54," Said said. "I keep thinking I’m going to retire, but …" he said smiling and putting his hands up. "I have no hope to win, but it's still fun to drive. "It's still better than watching it on TV and this is one of my favorite places to come, the track, the people, Seneca Lodge, the whole thing." After his drive at Watkins Glen, Said is set for some sports car racing in Europe and will start the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, a historic car race driving one of his former Corvette racer. And, he said, there's a chance he may make an XFINITY Series start. Said also owns BMW and Volkswagen dealerships in his home state of California and his K1 Speed indoor go-kart track franchise recently opened its 34th facility. As Said spoke about his busy life and reflected on his winning career, there was a knock on the team's door from 23-year-old Nicolas Hammann . The young driver met Said through the GT Academy reality show, where he bested thousands of aspiring racers. He wanted to get some advice from Said before his maiden XFINITY Series start Saturday at Watkins Glen. "Best thing you can do is run all the laps," Said offered. "The risk versus reward is a touchy situation, so play it safe and be there at the end and then be aggressive. Race to the checkered." Hammann was clearly eager to discuss the day's strategy with his mentor. And Said clearly enjoyed the opportunity to help a young driver. Especially at a place that has meant so much to Said's career. "Now when I come here I just think about all the years here and the memories of rubbing fenders with Dale Earnhardt Sr., and Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards ," Said said. "It's been awesome. The competitive side of you is a little bummed out you can't be competitive, but you know the limit of your equipment. "But," Said said breaking into a grin. "It's always a blast driving the car fast here."
Edwards edges Allmendinger for pole at Sonoma
RELATED: Full race lineup " See all 40 cars SONOMA, Calif. -- Carl Edwards ran a lightning-fast lap in the first round of Saturday’s knockout qualifying at Sonoma Raceway -- and it worried him. "After that first lap -- I have to be honest -- I sat here and thought, 'Man, I’m really going to screw this up on the second one,' 'cause the first one was really good, but it held on for the pole, and so I’m really excited.” Edwards toured the 1.99-mile road course in 1 minute, 14.392 seconds (96.301 mph) in the first round and was the only driver to crack 96 mph either in Friday’s practice or Saturday’s time trials. But he need not have worried about the second round. In Sunday’s Toyota - Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET on FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), Edwards' No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will lead the field to the green flag. On the lap that counted, as tires fell off and the track got marginally warmer, Edwards secured his third Coors Light Pole Award of the season, his first at Sonoma and the 19th of his career with a run at 95.777 mph (1:14.799). AJ Allmendinger was a close second at 95.676 mph (1:14.878). The road course ace put his No. 47 JTG/Daugherty Chevrolet on the front row at Sonoma for the third straight year, having started second in 2014 and from the pole last season. "It was a struggle yesterday," Allmendinger said of Friday’s practice. "We just never could really find the direction of the car. All my guys did a great job to get to work, to get this car closer to the front. "When I saw Carl's first lap, I said, 'I don't care what kind of lap I run -- if he runs that again I'm not going to get close.' Then, after I saw it was less than a tenth (of a second), you sort of nit-pick, but it's definitely a big gain from where we were yesterday." Martin Truex Jr . (95.672 mph) qualified third, followed by Kurt Busch (95.654 mph) and Kyle Larson (95.362 mph). Seventh-place qualifier Joey Logano (95.276 mph) had the fastest Ford. "That's better than where we were last year," said Logano, the Sprint Cup Series' most recent winner (Michigan). "We were (19th) last year, so we've improved. I thought I had a shot after the first round but lost some grip the second round and tried harder at the same time, and all of that just didn’t work out. "It's unfortunate that we lost a little bit from the first round to the second round (three positions), but we're still in good shape. I still think we have a top-five car, and we proved that today in qualifying." None of the four Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets advanced to the second round. Dale Earnhardt Jr ., who led Friday's second practice, will start 13th, with Jimmie Johnson 15th, Chase Elliott 16th and Kasey Kahne 19th. Danica Patrick qualified 11th, her best starting spot since last year's Chase race at Texas. Cody Ware failed to make the 40-car field.
Johnson: Hendrick will adjust to SHR loss
Stewart-Haas Racing 's blockbuster announcement of its impending move from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 affects another NASCAR powerhouse -- Hendrick Motorsports . Six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson is confident team owner Rick Hendrick will make the adjustment in the 10 months between Tuesday's announcement and SHR’s departure from the engine and chassis deal that has been in place since Tony Stewart partnered with Gene Haas in 2009. "It was certainly a shock," Johnson said on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "We have contracts in place with Stewart-Haas Racing that Hendrick has to honor and will honor and honor with integrity the way we always do. We have a lot of employees whose jobs count on that and rely on that. "Nothing is different this year. Fortunately, we have a year to figure out if we service some other teams and provide engines and chassis or how we handle it. I know Rick's goal is to keep the staff where it is. That gets me excited, because, if we maintain the staff, I think we'll be able to develop much more cool stuff for our race cars."
John Hunter Nemechek wins wild Atlanta Truck race
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga. – In a wild race that saw some of the best trucks in the field destroyed before the finish, John Hunter Nemechek held off Cameron Hayley in a two-lap dash to the checkers to win Saturday's Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway . But it was a skull session with 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick the night before that was instrumental in guiding Nemechek to victory in his unsponsored No. 8 Chevrolet. "I've got to give a shout-out," said Nemechek, who was racing at AMS for the first time. "I can't thank Kevin Harvick enough. I went and sat with him for about 30 minutes to an hour last night, trying to learn everything I could." Obviously, the lesson paid off. After extensive cleanup from Christopher Bell 's hard crash into the Turn 4 wall, Nemechek chose the inside line for a restart on Lap 199 of 200. When John Wes Townley spun his tires in the outside lane, Nemechek pulled away to beat Hayley to the stripe by .305 seconds. The victory was Nemechek's second in 32 Truck Series starts and his second on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, the first coming last year at Chicagoland Speedway . At 18 years, 8 months and 16 days, Nemechek is the youngest NASCAR national series winner at Atlanta. Before the family-owned team with a shoestring budget could get to Victory Lane, however, attrition took care of the drivers who led the majority of laps leading up to the finish. Two corners after a restart on Lap 112 — following the race's second expiration of the 20-minute caution clock — Bell lost the nose of his No. 4 Toyota, hooked Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Daniel Suarez 's No. 51 Tundra and turned Suarez into race leader Matt Crafton , who had spent 76 circuits at the front of the field. MORE: Caution Clock expires for first time in CWTS " Bell triggers big wreck The trucks of Crafton and Suarez were damaged beyond repair, leaving Bell, who lead 42 of the 130 laps, to grab the top spot after the subsequent restart on Lap 116. Bell pulled away, but on Lap 123, a tire rub resulting from the earlier contact finally popped the right front, and Bell’s Toyota swerved straight into the outside wall in Turn 4. Behind Nemechek and Hayley, Timothy Peters came home third, followed by Daniel Hemric and Grant Enfinger, respectively. Nemechek was circumspect about the circumstances surrounding his conversation with Harvick, but the information he received was clearly valuable. "That's kind of a secret," said Nemechek, who got pit crew help from Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Sprint Cup team. "But Kevin's one of the best racers here in Atlanta, so I had to ask him. He's very good at conserving tires, very good at winning races here, so to go and talk to him was very special." Nemechek also got advice from his father and team owner Joe Nemechek , who won a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta in 2001. Eighth-place finisher Parker Kligerman took the lead in the series standings by one point over Hemric and three over Nemechek. The afternoon proved expensive for Kyle Busch , who as a driver won the first leg of the Saturday doubleheader in the XFINITY Series race, only to lose three trucks as an owner in the nightcap. In addition to the wrecked trucks of Bell and Suarez, Busch also had to write off the engine of William Byron, which blew on lap 59, with Byron running second.
Logano earns Coors Light Pole at Martinsville
RELATED: Full starting lineup MARTINSVILLE, Va. – The third time was the charm for Joey Logano . Then again, so were the first and second. The driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford dominated qualifying for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET on FS1), topping the speed chart in all three sessions of Friday's knockout qualifying at Martinsville Speedway . The Coors Light Pole Award was the third straight for Logano at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped short track, marking the first time a driver has won three consecutive poles at Martinsville since Jeff Gordon accomplished the feat in 2003-2004. Navigating the speedway in 19.513 seconds (97.043 mph), Logano claimed the top starting in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race for the 15th time in his career. Logano, who was taken out of last year's Chase race when Matt Kenseth drove him into the Turn 1 wall, also is the third driver to sweep all three rounds in time trials since the group qualifying format was instituted at the start of the 2014 season. "I couldn't be more proud of these guys," Logano said of his team. "I say all the time that Martinsville is the most important track to start up front, and that's when you've got to come here and really show what you've got. "This is a nice little fire for us to get going. We've had a good season so far, but you want to break through and get some wins, and this pole is definitely going to help with some momentum." Logano edged outside front-row starter Kasey Kahne (97.033 mph) by .002 seconds. The driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet hadn't enjoyed a top-five position on the grid since last October's Chase race at Talladega. "It feels good," Kahne said. "The car was really fast, this Great Clips Chevrolet. The guys did a nice job in practice and in qualifying. I just kept getting better with my laps. We didn't make any adjustments. The car is fine. Just let me get my laps a little better. So we did that, and it was close. "Joey just barely got us. But it is definitely a good starting spot. That was one of my goals today was to help out on pit road (by earning second pit selection). Pit road is huge here. We have the best pit crew for stops, than anyone, in my opinion. And if I can help them on pit road, myself, and get a better spot, I think all that will be beneficial on Sunday." Brian Vickers , who led Friday's opening practice at Martinsville, qualified third at 96.864 mph. Paul Menard (96.854 mph) was fourth, followed by Ryan Newman (96.736 mph) and AJ Allmendinger (96.676 mph). Vickers was the only Stewart-Haas Racing driver to advance past the first round. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch , both former winners at the track, will start 19th and 23rd, respectively. Denny Hamlin -- reigning race winner and one of the pre-race favorites -- earned the eighth starting spot, but eight-time Martinsville winner Jimmie Johnson wasn't as fortunate. The six-time Sprint Cup champion squeaked into the second round by .007 seconds over Carl Edwards but couldn't improve beyond the 24th-place starting position. The two leading drivers in the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle, however, both made the top 12. Chase Elliott will take the green flag from in 10th, with Ryan Blaney right behind him in 12th, as the Wood Brothers Racing team returns to Martinsville for the first time since 2011. Dale Earnhardt Jr . experienced brake issues and qualified 21st.
Dave Blaney released from hospital after Eldora wreck
Sprint car superstar Dave Blaney , father of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Ryan Blaney , was injured during Friday's qualifying for a World of Outlaws event at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. Blaney's car flipped multiple times, and after he was extracted from the vehicle, Blaney was transported to a local hospital where CT scans proved negative. He was released shortly after 12 midnight ET. Ryan Blaney , along with sister Emma, provided updates via Twitter. Dad is alright, got his bell rung pretty good but is up and being himself. Thanks for all the support. — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) May 7, 2016 Thank you for all the prayers. My dad is one tough guy. He is a little sore but going to be okay probably already watching dirtvision — Emma Blaney (@EmmaBlaney) May 7, 2016 Though Dave Blaney is best known for a phenomenal career in the open-wheel ranks, he also has a combined 597 NASCAR national series starts to his credit, including 473 in Sprint Cup . His lone national series win came in the fall 2006 XFINITY Series race at Charlotte.