RELATED: Complete race results " Updated standings ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- The decision to compete in Saturday afternoon's NASCAR XFINITY Series sixth annual Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville at Road America (Wisconsin) paid off in a huge way for Paul Menard , who scored his third career XFINITY victory at his hometown track. Menard, a native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, started eighth and saw a decision to stay out after pitting on Lap 24 work to his advantage as he edged out a relentless Ryan Blaney by 0.573 seconds at the 14-turn road course. After the contest, Menard said had the race extended a lap farther, he would not have collected his first XFINITY win since Michigan International Speedway last June. "I've been really fortunate to win at some of the coolest tracks, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Road America is right there," Menard said. "These guys called a great race. We didn't have the fastest car. We had a really good short run car. We really burned off the rear tires as we ran, but the Richmond Water Heaters/Menards Chevrolet was fast and (crew chief Danny) Stockman made a hell of a call at the end." If wondering about running out of fuel wasn't enough, Menard also had to fend off a hard-charging Blaney. "I was definitely concerned," added Menard on both circumstances. "I was saving as much as I could under caution, but then when we fired off I was just chattering the left rear tire really bad. It took a couple of laps for it to come in, then the (No.) 22 started burning his stuff up, but it just didn't fire off very good in the end, but it came to us." After inclement weather forced the cancellation of Coors Light Pole qualifying, Ben Rhodes earned the top starting spot based upon turning the fastest lap at the 4.048-mile road course in the first XFINITY Series practice session Friday afternoon. Rhodes, a NASCAR Next alum, would find himself under pressure from the drop of the green flag when JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott made the move for the lead in Turn 1. Quickly, though, the field would be under the first full-course caution of the day when Tomy Drissi found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 5. Racing resumed on Lap 4 with Elliott checking out from the field and before the first round of green-flag pit stops. The reigning champion stretched his lead to over 10 seconds, when he relinquished the top spot on Lap 11 for a routine pit stop. Championship contender Ty Dillon inherited the lead when Elliott pitted. Dillon, who finished 10th, stretched his fuel run an extra lap to earn a crucial bonus point toward the championship picture. When pit stops cycled through, Elliott reclaimed the point on Lap 16 and built a 13.7-second lead over second-place Brian Scott at the halfway mark. On Lap 22, the second caution waved for fluid on the track, erasing Elliott's substantial advantage. Despite half of the field electing to come to pit road for service behind them, Elliott and his JRM team stood firm on their plan and stayed out. On the restart, Elliott withstood a challenge for Brian Scott and Ryan Blaney , but in Turn 14 and through the frontstretch, Scott mounted the pressure and made the move on Elliott to take the lead on Lap 27. Unable to make it to the end on fuel, Scott pitted under green on Lap 29 handing the lead to defending race winner Brendan Gaughan . Three laps later, though, Gaughan pitted, handing the lead to hometown hero Paul Menard who pitted during the second caution with 13 laps remaining. Planning to stay out till the end, Menard in saving mode purposely gave up the lead to Blake Koch ,who led with 10 laps remaining when pole-sitter Rhodes found himself stuck in the gravel trap in Turn 7 issuing the third full course caution. During the extended caution, Koch lost power, putting Menard back at the point. On the Lap 41 restart, Menard withstood challenges from Darrell Wallace Jr . and Blaney to seal the win in his 197th career start. Next up for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a trip to the track dubbed "Too Tough To Tame" at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 on Sept. 5 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBC).
Drivers sporting alter egos at the Wisconsin road course Ladies and gentlemen, meet Raymond Wiggles. My cousin, Raymond Wiggles is filling in for me this weekend! pic.twitter.com/LzNmaFmz9y — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 28, 2015 So, uh, Roush Fenway Racing driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney are looking a little different this weekend at Road America, site of Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Ryan @Blaney and @BubbaWallace are looking good @roadamerica this morning. pic.twitter.com/1HhbUyZ7HU — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) August 28, 2015 Bubba had to teach his friend Ryan Blaney how to tie a tie this morning pic.twitter.com/HRSc0NDtTv — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 Looking good , @BubbaWallace ! pic.twitter.com/R4r1K67jQs — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 There's very little context for why, exactly, the two drivers are dressed the way they are, but here are a few shots in the dark. 1. Bubba and Blaney thought Darlington was this weekend and only packed their retro throwback outfits. 2. They heard "Anchorman 3" was shooting in Wisconsin, of all places. 3. They each lost bets -- to each other. 4. They got kicked out of a dairy tour for eating too much cheese, but needed disguises so they could sneak back in ... to eat more cheese. Whatever the reason, Bubba eventually removed his getup. You know, because he had to get behind the wheel of a race car. All good things must come to an end. @BubbaWallace removes the mustache, but his wig stays. pic.twitter.com/e6unEZUh1n — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015
RELATED: Practice 2 results The NASCAR XFINITY drivers were battling some weather conditions during the second practice session on Friday afternoon with light rain. Despite the rain, Paul Menard was the fastest during the second practice at Road America . Menard's No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet clocked in at 108.202 mph. Second on the leaderboard was the No. 54 Toyota of Boris Said , soaring around the 4.048-mile road course at 108.044 mph. Chase Elliott 's No. 9 Chevrolet had some speed in the second session with a quickest lap of 107.672 mph, followed by the No. 22 Ford of Ryan Blaney (107.656 mph), for fourth on the leaderboard. Rounding out the top five was the No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet of Ty Dillon (107.636 mph). NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville is set for Saturday afternoon at 12:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/ Live Extra ). The Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville will be held on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBCSN / Live Extra. , MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Practice 1 results Ben Rhodes topped the leaderboard for Friday afternoon's first NASCAR XFINITY Series practice session at Road America for the Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville. Rhodes' No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet posted a fastest lap of 108.500 mph. The No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet of Chase Elliott was next on the leaderboard, clocking in a fastest lap of 108.133 mph. Last week's winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Ryan Blaney , rounded out the top three with a fast lap of 108.039 mph in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford. The No. 42 Chevrolet of Justin Marks (107.948 mph) and the No. 2 Chevrolet of Brian Scott (107.947 mph) came in fourth and fifth, respectively. Points leader Chris Buescher just missed the top five as he had a fastest lap of 107.879 mph and was sixth on the leaderboard. The race at Road America is the final road course race of the 2015 season for the XFINITY Series.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Saturday's race at Road America marks the finale of a five-race NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for veteran road racer Boris Said this year in Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 54 Toyota. On Friday, Said hinted that the event could signify another finale on a much broader scale. Said will try to cash in on another opportunity in top-flight equipment in Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He'll be driving for the same No. 54 team that's visited Victory Lane four times this season, three times with Sprint Cup vet Kyle Busch and once with JGR prodigy Erik Jones . "Man, this is like the best Christmas present I ever got in my life," Said said after Friday's final practice at the 4.048-mile track. "I've been racing for over 30 years. I'm going to be 53 in a couple weeks. In the last three or four years, I've been racing cars that don't have a prayer to win, underfunded teams. It's still fun, but not fun not being competitive. So, to get an opportunity to drive for Monster and Joe Gibbs and Toyota in equipment like this, it was a dream come true. To finally run in the top five at Watkins Glen, it kind of shows, hey maybe it's not my age, it was just the equipment. "It's just been one of the most fun years I've ever had doing these five races with these guys. Now that it's last one, it might be the last NASCAR car race I ever run, I don't know. But it sure is a cool way to go out." If Saturday proves to be Said's swan song, his record will show one XFINITY victory, one Camping World Truck Series win and two Sprint Cup pole positions in a career that dates back to 1995 in NASCAR national series competition. This year, Said's biggest highlight was a fourth-place finish at the Glen, and leading two laps two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio and a lap at Talladega in May. Said pointed out that he dialed back his sports-car racing schedule this year to better focus on his five-race schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing . But he's otherwise kept occupied off the track in a partnership with Rick Hendrick's automotive group for BMW and Volkswagen dealerships. "That's another dream come true," Said said. In terms of the future, Said indicated that he'd likely compete in sports car events next season, but he'd jump at the chance for another competitive ride in NASCAR. "Who knows? If I could ever get another opportunity like this again, I don't care if I was 70 years old, I'd take it," Said said. "This is like a vacation every time I get to run this. I have fun every minute of the day here. Part of me is sad to see it end, but part of me is like, man, it sure was fun, though."
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- With 14 turns and high-speed sections, it's easy to find trouble at Road America . Journeyman driver Stanton Barrett did during Friday's opening day for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but from an unexpected source and without ever turning a lap. Barrett, preparing for his fourth XFINITY start of the season for car owner Rick Ware, was unable to get on the track for Friday practice ahead of Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). There were no issues with the car; instead, a faulty lift-gate motor left the No. 17 entry trapped in the team's hauler while the crew searched for a solution. "It's one of those things, man. It's a bummer," Barrett said. "We'll get it going. We won't be out on the track, so we just have to get the car through tech (inspection) now. There's a lot of work to do." Barrett said the team spent approximately four hours wrangling with circuitry, switches and wiring in an effort to override the system. When all else failed, Barrett checked the manufacturer's label to discover that the company -- Dings Dynamics Group -- was located in Milwaukee, 60 miles south of the 4.048-mile track. The 42-year-old driver dialed the manufacturer up, saying, "It's Stanton Barrett . I drive and need some help!" From there, the company helped the team sort out the problem with the assistance of a local electrician. "Thank God, it worked great," Barrett said. "An electrician came out and helped us bypass all the systems, too. It was really nice that we found all the resources we needed." Coors Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 12:15 p.m. ET (NBCSN/Live Extra).
Regan Smith needs a safety truck to push him off the track after having battery issues at Road America.
@nascarcasm imagines Menard's Facebook page after his XFINITY win RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
The NASCAR XFINITY Series will head to Road America while the Camping World Truck Series will be racing at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this week. The Sprint Cup Series is off for the week. RACES XFINITY Series: Road America 180 Fired by Johnsonville (Saturday Aug. 29, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN Radio, SiriusXM) Camping World Truck Series: Chevrolet Silverado 250 (Sunday Aug. 30, 1:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN Radio, SiriusXM) WEEKEND SCHEDULE Click here for on-track times and leaderboards. RACE DAY • NXS leaderboard • NCWTS leaderboard • NXS Lap-by-Lap • NCWTS Lap-by-Lap PRODUCTS • Scanner: In-car audio only. • Mobile Apps: Follow the leaderboards live from your device. NBC SPORTS LIVE EXTRA Web stream: NBC Sports Live Extra Mobile app: iOS/Android NBC Sports Live Extra will stream NASCAR coverage on NBC and NBCSN via "TV Everywhere", giving consumers additional value to for their subscription service , and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms. The NBC Sports Live Extra app is available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store and Apple TV. For desktops, NBC Sports Live Extra can be accessed at NBCSports.com/liveextra . FOX SPORTS GO The Camping World Truck Series race will also be available through FOX Sports GO; which is an online and mobile streaming product that allows subscribers of participating TV providers to watch live sports and shows from FOX, FOX Sports 1, FOX Sports 2 and FOX Deportes. FOX Sports GO is currently available for download on iTunes for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices or can be accessed online at FOXSportsGO.com . The app is also available via Google Play, Kindle Fire and from the Windows Store. Access to programming in FOX Sports GO requires a pay TV subscription of FOX Sports 1 with a participating TV provider. Login credentials are the same username and password used to access online accounts with your TV provider. FANTASY • NASCAR Fantasy Live: Catch up on how you have fared this season, check your progress • Streak to the Finish: Play in all the national series that are in action this week Stay tuned to NASCAR.com throughout the weekend for the latest news.
Should there be a road course race among the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's 10-race playoff portion of the schedule? I have been a proponent of this since the Chase was first instituted, written several columns and debated on radio and television over many years explaining the benefit of featuring a road course -- I believe the purest test of a driver's ability -- in the Chase. And now ... it seems others don't think the idea is far-fetched. An enthusiastic, and importantly, very large crowd -- sold out reserved seating -- witnessed a great show at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International over the weekend. And as typically follows a good road course show, the question of adding one to the Chase demands extra attention and at least serious consideration. The Century Survey of 100 NASCAR industry insiders, half from the media and half from the garage (including crew members, drivers, crew chiefs, track officials and public relation representatives) was released this week after taking a poll over the past weekend on whether a road course should be added to the Chase, and if so, which one. The most popular idea was to move the Watkins Glen race into the Chase. Adding Austin's Circuit of the Americas or shifting the June Sonoma, California, race into the Chase were the next two biggest vote getters. Interesting, the biggest disparity among the voters was an 8-1 vote with people in the garage (8) against even adding a road course at all. Only one media representative didn't want to see a road course in the Chase. Ten different tracks received votes as good venues to have in the Chase. In addition to the Glen, Sonoma and COTA, Road America (Wis.), Laguna Seca (Calif.) and Road Atlanta received the next most votes in that order. And NASCAR executives have indicated they are at least listening to the voice of the fans, media and industry insiders, even if they aren't quite ready to make a big change to the Chase yet. For many years, the drivers and teams were the tough sell. But the trophy isn't a foregone conclusion anymore going to a racer like the retiring Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart or a couple road course ringers. RELATED: Let's debate adding a road course to the Chase In the 1980s and 1990s, road course races were tolerated by a large portion of the starting grid, considered a couple complicated weekends to just check off and collect as many points as possible -- two and through. It was common for drivers to show up with their helmet at a Bob Bondurant School for a quick refresher course in the days leading up to the Sonoma race and maybe hit a Skip Barber Racing School on the East Coast just before Watkins Glen. But today's NASCAR drivers embrace the skill set it takes to do well on road courses and have even come to like them and the unique challenge. There was a time for the argument that a road course race in the Chase essentially worked to the benefit of an elite group making it an unfair situation during the most important 10-week run of the season to crown a sport's champion. But that's not the case today and it's time for the Chase to turn right. "To me, always when I think of drivers that were really good , they did well on the road courses," said NASCAR's all-time road race winner Jeff Gordon . "But then you had this big drop off where drivers and teams just didn't really go after them and really struggled on them. To me, about the late 90s is when I saw everyone really putting a lot more focus and attention on them. And it started bringing the whole level of competition up higher. "By early 2000, 2001 it seemed like most of the field was good on a road course." The statistics back up Gordon. Until Kyle Busch 's win at Sonoma earlier this summer 10 of the last 11 races have been won by different drivers ranging from Clint Bowyer to Kasey Kahne , to Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr . At Watkins Glen, there have been only three repeat winners ( Tony Stewart , Kyle Busch and Marcos Ambrose ) in the last decade. On a FOX Sports 1 broadcast called "Fans Speak Out" this June, a poll revealed that adding a road course to the Chase was the No. 1 topic among those NASCAR fans. NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell acknowledged the increasing calls for a Chase shake-up. "As you can tell, the fans voting it number one, there's certainly a lot of passion around it," O'Donnell said at the time. "It is a topic we look at each and every year. Although I don't see something in the immediate future when you look at '16, it is something that we're aware of from a fan standpoint, to look at and see if we can introduce that in the future." This week O'Donnell addressed the subject again. "We never say never to that question, but we really like where Watkins Glen fits on the schedule, the build-up, where it stands in the schedule, and drivers really going after wins," O'Donnell said Tuesday. "Some of the drivers feeling like that's their one shot to propel them into the Chase so that's a really neat storyline. It is something we'd look at down the road and would have to figure out weather considerations and that sort of thing. "But for the time being, we're really happy with where both our road courses stand in terms of how they play out throughout the regular-season schedule."