Alfalla retakes points lead on last-lap pass at Michigan
Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) captured his second victory of the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series by passing Brad Davies off Turn 4 on the final lap at Michigan International Speedway on Tuesday evening. The finish marked the second-straight race that has been decided by a last-lap pass for the lead, although unlike one race earlier at Watkins Glen, there was no contact or controversy after the Michigan thriller. Davies played a good strategy to take the lead during the last round of pit stops and held the top spot for 20 laps due to repeated crashes and yellow flags. Alfalla had the better car and was on fresher tires, but never got a long enough run to challenge for the lead. His chance finally came on the final restart with two laps to the flag. When the green flew, Davies got a good jump on Alfalla, but the two-time series champion had closed up to the leader's bumper as the pair took the white flag. Alfalla was not close enough entering Turn One so instead of charging in over his head he was patient, backed up the corner, and got a great run on exit. Alfalla closed quickly down the backstretch and dove to the bottom entering Turn 3 as Davies protected the top. His fresh tires were too much for Davies as Alfalla passed uncontested off Turn 4 and took the checkered flag .05 of a second in the clear. Logan Clampitt ( High Performance Motorsports ) came home third, combining a solid pit strategy with a fast car and steady driving. Justin Bolton ( The TEAM ) was fourth, ahead of Andrew Fayash in his first top-five result. Alfalla started on pole and had the fastest car for much of the race but only led 46 of 125 laps, largely due to pit strategy. Instead of changing two tires and losing position on a subsequent long run, Alfalla opted for four fresh tires each time down pit road. This decision meant he had to fight through traffic on several occasions, but Alfalla used his experience to cleanly and effectively move through the field. During the middle segment of the race the field strung out and allowed some differing strategies to develop. Some sim racers chose a three-stop strategy in hopes fresh tires would make up for the extra trip down pit road, while others opted for a two-stop strategy. Alfalla chose the two-stop strategy and was helped out by a timely yellow flag on Lap 81 just before he was going to make his final pit stop. All but one car on the three-stop strategy also chose to pit, allowing Alfalla to keep nearly all of his track position, which put himself in prime position to win the race. From there, the race turned into a series of short sprints broken up by frequent caution flags. Seven of the nine cautions flew in the last 45 laps, making track position more important than a typical Michigan race. The win vaulted Alfalla back into the championship lead with three races remaining in the season. He now enjoys a 15-point advantage over PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing Team ) after Stergios struggled to a 14th-place finish at MIS. PJ's brother, Jake, is still hanging onto third, but his margin over Chris Overland shrunk to just four points after a Tuesday's disappointing 31st-place result. Dylan Duval is fifth, but is only seven points clear of Kenny Humpe after finishing 35th at Michigan. Only three weeks remain in the 2016 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze season, and Darlington Raceway looms large as the next race on the schedule. Widely considered to be the toughest oval on the circuit, Darlington requires impeccable car control and patience to succeed. For Alfalla and Stergios, the goal is simple: get out front and stay there, away from potential carnage that can be common farther back in the field. Can Stergios close the gap on Alfalla, or is Alfalla primed to edge closer to his third world championship? Tune-in to iRacing Live in three weeks to catch the sim racing action from The Track Too Tough to Tame!
Austin Dillon gets new No. 3 crew chief at RCR
Gil Martin moves to R&D role, 'Slugger' Labbe takes over team Austin Dillon is getting a new crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Richard Childress Racing announced Monday. Richard "Slugger" Labbe will guide the No. 3 team, starting at Sonoma in the June 28 Toyota-Save Mart 350 . Labbe is a veteran crew chief with 433 Cup starts under his belt, including wins at the 2003 Daytona 500 and 2011 Brickyard. He guided Kenny Irwin Jr. to a rookie of the year title in 1998. He also has worked with drivers Michael Waltrip , Dale Jarrett, Sterling Marlin and Terry Labonte . He was Paul Menard 's full-time chief from 2010 to 2014. Dillon, a former NASCAR XFINITY Series champion and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, is 23rd in the Cup Series drivers points standings after Michigan. His best finish this season is 10th at Bristol. Martin will move into a leadership role within the RCR R&D Department, taking over Labbe's responsibilities. Martin has 16 wins in 472 NSCS starts, including a 2003 Brickyard 400 victory, and has finished in the top 10 in year-end championship points seven times. Martin also has eight wins to his credit in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Kenny Humpe shows the way at Charlotte
Kenny Humpe (The TEAM) once again showed everyone why he is the defending NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion, leading 168 of 200 laps en route to a dominant victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Humpe started on pole and was only challenged by Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsports) before a late caution created a five-lap dash to the finish. Humpe and Alfalla, along with nine others, chose to stay on the track for the shootout and hoped their track position would overcome worn tires. Corey Vincent (Overclock Motorsports) had been fast throughout the race and was the first car on four tires, restarting 12th. When the green flew, Humpe shot out to the lead as Vincent began to quickly pass cars using the top groove in Turns 1 and 2. However, Vincent's run was cut short when Nicholas Johnston (HPM) and Dylan Jones (Nexxus) sparked a massive crash exiting Turn 2, causing the race to end under yellow. Humpe took the win over teammate Justin Bolton, who came on strong in the second half of the race, with Alfalla coming home third ahead of PJ Stergios (ineX Racing). Dylan Duval's fifth place result made it three cars from The TEAM in the top five. Vincent could only manage eighth on the abbreviated last run, but almost surely would have won if the race stayed green to Lap 200. The race started with an 82-lap green flag run, complete with two rounds of green flag pit stops. Humpe and Alfalla were in another zip code early on with Alfalla the only sim racer within seven seconds of the lead by Lap 60. After a yellow on Lap 83 for Adam Gilliland's (Aftermath Motorsports) spin, Alfalla found new life in his car and challenged Humpe for the lead as the race approached the halfway point. Humpe was too strong though and held Alfalla at bay using the momentum from the outside lane. The middle segment of the race had its share of carnage as cautions broke-up the runs and led to some differing strategies when everyone pitted on Lap 120. On this round of stops Trey Eidson opted for just right side tires and inherited the lead while Humpe had a bad pit stop and found himself fourth on the restart behind Bolton and Alfalla. Humpe grabbed third from Alfalla on the restart before a huge crash in the back of the field brought the pace car out yet again. On the following restart Humpe was on the move again, this time picking off Bolton after just one lap and setting his sights on Eidson for the lead. Eidson and his old tires did not stand a chance as Humpe reeled him in after only four laps, but the pass for the lead nearly ended in disaster for both drivers when they went for the same piece of track off Turn 2 and made contact. The impact sent Eidson into the wall, damaging his car, while Humpe continued unscathed and leading once again. The last 65 laps were paced comfortably by Humpe, save for Alfalla having one more go for the lead with 11 laps remaining. As was the case earlier in the race, Humpe held-off the two time champion on the top as passing on the bottom proved difficult on old tires. Despite missing-out on the victory Alfalla built on his championship lead and now sits 14 points ahead of PJ Stergios as the 2016 season reaches the halfway point. Humpe continues his rise up the standings and is now 58 points back in third. After a 14th place finish last night, Jake Stergios is fourth while Vincent rounds out the top five. With the first half of the season in the books the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series has a five-week break before starting the second half of the season at Chicagoland Speedway on June 28. The break, along with a new iRacing build due for release before the race, could shake-up who has speed when cars return to the track. Can Alfalla continue on his way to a third championship? Or, can Humpe continue his hot streak and complete an unprecedented comeback to win his second title in as many years? Be sure to catch the sim racing action when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series reopens for business the evening of June 28 in iRacingLive!
PJ Stergios wins last-lap thriller at Watkins Glen
PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing ) came out on top at Watkins Glen in one of the most exciting NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series races in recent memory, passing both Michael Conti ( Team Conti ) and Nick Ottinger ( Gale Force Racing ) on the final lap to take his fourth win of the season. Stergios took the white flag in third behind Conti and Ottinger but had fresher tires due to his pit strategy. He quickly closed on Ottinger heading up through the Esses and made his move exiting Turn 4 when Ottinger got loose and lost momentum, allowing Stergios to pass without a fight. With Ottinger out of the way, Stergios set his sights on Conti as the two made their way around Turn 5. Like Ottinger, Conti got loose on exit, but was able to take a defensive line, giving him the preferred line into Turn 6. Conti held the lead through Turn 6 and again took a defensive line entering the final corner, Turn 7. This time, Stergios got into the back of Conti under braking, moving the No. 5 car up the track and into the outside wall, allowing Stergios to move past for the victory. Ottinger was second. Conti had to settle for third after leading 23 laps and coming ever-so close to his first victory of 2016. Jake Stergios came home fourth ahead of Logan Clampitt ( High Performance Motorsports ) and erstwhile championship leader Ray Alfalla (Slip Angle Motorsport s). The thrilling finish was made possible in part by differing pit strategies among the leaders. The Stergios brothers chose to stop twice for tires while Conti, Ottinger, and much of the rest of the field opted for only a single pit stop. Ottinger started on pole but was passed in Turn 1 by PJ Stergios, who then quickly moved away from the field during the opening laps. His gap was short-lived though as Conti had moved up from fourth on the grid to challenge for the race lead. The 2014 series champion looked to have the faster car but Stergios drove mistake-free before relinquishing his lead on Lap 16 to make his first pit stop. Conti was not due to pit until Lap 22, and used the clean track in front of him to maintain his gap to Ottinger, who visited pit road on Lap 24 -- effectively splitting the race in half. After completing their service, the two were once again chasing PJ Stergios, now joined by his brother Jake, who was on the same strategy. Conti quickly closed the gap thanks to his fresh tires -- and some nifty moves in traffic -- to draw alongside PJ Stergios into Turn 6 on Lap 33. Stergios did not put up a fight as he was due to pit. The pass put Conti in the lead with 17 laps remaining; seven seconds clear of Ottinger and nearly 30 ahead of the Stergios duo. With their fresh tires, it was a foregone conclusion that PJ and Jake Stergios would start closing the gap, but time was not on their side. However, the Stergios brothers caught a break with six laps to go when Allen Boes and Clampitt made contact trying to pass in Turn 5. Their battle continued into Turn 6 and when the dust cleared, the brothers were clear of both Boes and Clampitt with nothing but clean air between themselves and Ottinger once The TEAM's Kenny Humpe dropped out with connection issues. With the win, Stergios passed Alfalla in the series points standings and now leads by three points with four races to go. Jake Stergios is third, 67 points back, while Dylan Duval and Chris Overland, are tied for fourth, 24 points behind Jake Stergios. Week 13 sees the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series return to ovals with Michigan International Speedway the next stop on the schedule. The wide, two-mile oval offers room to pass and brings some interesting pit strategy into play should the race go green. With only three points separating the front two in the championship, look for Stergios and Alfalla to be strong once again. Can last year's Michigan winner Humpe spoil the party, or will Stergios and Alfalla be battling for the win once more? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive when the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series visits MIS.
Race Rewind: Irwin Tools Night Race
Tempers flare at Bristol Motor Speedway, but Matt Kenseth keeps his cool to win the Irwin Tools Night Race.
Kenny Wallace gets emotional surprise for final race
Daughter Brittany reveals a special helmet for Iowa race RELATED: Grand marshal added to Wallace's Iowa duties " Racing with nephew Matt NEWTON, Iowa -- Until Friday, Kenny Wallace 's plans to hang up his NASCAR driving helmet this weekend at Iowa Speedway were only missing one small detail -- the helmet itself. His former team kept deflecting his phone calls, telling him not to worry and that his helmet would be there for the 905th start of his long, storied NASCAR career. The smokescreen was effective -- it bought his daughter Brittany enough time to have it professionally painted with a commemorative collage of snapshots and memories from his 26 years in the sport. While Wallace's time behind the wheel in NASCAR will end with Saturday's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), the sport won't be saying goodbye to one of its most charismatic characters, who will remain a presence both in TV broadcasting and at local dirt tracks. Though there will be some finality after he steps away Saturday night, Wallace said he'll do his best to keep his emotions in check along the way. "I think there's going to be moments and I hope that it happens after the race, but I've done a pretty good job at my career to really focus in on what I have to do," said Wallace, who will carry backing from the race's title sponsor on his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. "I remember when Ernie Irvan got hurt (in 1994) and I was in that Texaco/Havoline car in the Cup Series, I was shifting the gears getting on the high banks there at Bristol and I could hear the roar of the crowd, and I was like, 'No. Focus.' "I've learned a lot along the way. I've watched Jeff Gordon this year; I don't even know how he can go. I've learned a lot. I'm ready to race, and then we'll deal with everything after the race and when I get out of the car." That theory held true for about 30 minutes after his arrival at the .875-mile track, when Brittany Wallace handed over the special surprise to her father in front of a group of friends and family. Short of choking up, the 51-year-old Wallace said he had sworn he would not be emotional, but was genuinely moved by the gift. Wallace joked that he hopes to amend the helmet's graphics Saturday night, changing his nine career XFINITY wins to an even 10. But the joke belied his ever-sharper focus with top-shelf JGR equipment underneath him for this weekend's swan song. "If he's saying he's blocking it out, he's way better at doing something like that than I am," said older brother Mike Wallace , like his sibling a nine-time winner in NASCAR national competition. "He said he's happy with it, content. All I can say is more power to him. It's outstanding. I just ran into him over there and he's got his family and friends, he's the grand marshal for a (K&N Series) race tonight, he's got a suite here. He seems to be having fun right now. He said, 'I've got to go sign some hats,' and I was like, 'Go be famous. That's what you're good at.'" The nature of the family-affair weekend has even more ties. Kenny Wallace will share the track with his nephew, Matt, who is scheduled to make his second career XFINITY Series start Saturday night. His farewell race will also take place on a short track designed by oldest brother Rusty Wallace, a NASCAR Hall of Famer. The eldest Wallace ended his driving career in 2005, but like his brother, he remained active in the sport with broadcasting stints in television and radio. It's why both Wallaces have shied away from calling the occasion "retirement" with a capital R. "I wish him all the luck in the world," said Rusty Wallace, speaking Thursday at a charity event in Pennsylvania for The NASCAR Foundation and the Jeff Gordon 's Children's Foundation. "I told him the other day, do not use that word retirement. You don't need to do that. They'll label you with that. I said notice Jeff Gordon said he's quitting, but he's not retiring, but he's never going to race again. So he's kind of retiring but he's not going to use that word. He learned that from me and Mark Martin . I told Kenny , you didn't need to do that. He'll be fine." So if anyone was hoping to get rid of Kenny Wallace after this weekend, tough luck. The driver known for his boundless energy, his grace with racing fans, his social media presence, his extracurricular dirt-racing travels and his broadcasting moxie isn't going anywhere. After 900-plus starts dating back to a 1988 debut at Martinsville Speedway, driving the No. 8 ride owned by Dale Earnhardt in what is now the XFINITY Series, Wallace said simply that "there needs to be a line in the sand" for his driving career. Staying power in NASCAR can often be fleeting and rare, a fact that has made Wallace even prouder of his long run in the sport's highest levels. Wallace's helmet is anchored by the words "Life is a journey," a well-worn adage he said he always tells his three daughters. Wallace's own journey will enter its next phase after Saturday night. "My mom, Judy, she said to me, 'Kenny, hon. You keep reinventing yourself,' " Wallace said. "I'm like 'really, Mom?' It's not a plan, it's just that I want to stay in the sport. I think longevity and persistence is what I'm so proud of, because let's face it, I was never an 'A' driver. To me, I feel proud saying I was a 'B-plus' driver. I won nine XFINITY races, 177 top-10s -- I mean, that counts for something. When I should've been down and out, I stayed digging." Contributing: RJ Kraft from Pocono Raceway FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Defending iRacing champ Humpe claims Kentucky triumph
Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) kept his hot streak going at Kentucky Speedway by winning his third NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series race of the 2016 season. The defending series champion led 50 of 167 laps, the most of any driver, in what turned out to be one of the most competitive events of the season thus far. Humpe closed the deal on a three-lap shootout that was punctuated by a caution on the penultimate lap with Humpe well in the clear. Michael Conti ( Team Conti ) finished second for his first top-five finish of the season. Conti was strong from the drop of the green and led 10 laps, flashing some of the speed that made him NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series champion in 2014. Dylan Duval followed Conti across the line in third, just in front of point leaders Ray Alfalla ( Slip Angle Motorsports ) and PJ Stergios ( ineX Racing ). Duval looked to have a car capable of winning the race the last 50 laps, but cautions held him back from challenging for the win; he started 34th. Alfalla looked poised to battle Humpe for the win but contact with Conti under caution with a handful of laps to go damaged the rear of Alfalla's car and dashed any chance he had of keeping up with Humpe on the last restart. The race was one of the more unpredictable of the season, as several drivers looked like they had a legitimate shot to win. Alfalla started on pole and led until pitting under green on Lap 35, where he lost the lead to Conti after the cycle of stops due to Conti pitting a lap earlier for tires. Alfalla methodically reeled him in, using his superior speed on the long run to take the lead back on Lap 55. Alfalla pitted for the second time on Lap 68 and again lost the lead on the exchange -- this time to Justin Bolton and Humpe, along with Conti for a second time. Humpe went to the point on Lap 81 with Alfalla looking to keep pace, but Conti held Alfalla at bay, using the outside lane to keep his momentum off the corners. Alfalla was persistent though, and after four laps of working the bottom lane he cleared Conti, but could not run down Humpe before the leaders hit pit road for a third time. Humpe maintained his lead after stops but a caution shortly after the round of stops changed the outlook of the race. While most of the leaders pitted for fresh tires, nine drivers decided to stay out with their slightly worn tires in hopes that track position would make a difference. Tyler Hudson ( One Up Motorsports ) inherited the race lead as the field took the green flag on Lap 109. Hudson held the lead for the next eight laps before another caution bunched the field and drew everyone to pit road for fresh rubber. Humpe went from 12th to seventh on the run, but now did not have a tire advantage. After a crash on the restart, the race restarted on Lap 126 and Humpe started to make his move back to the front. In 10 laps, Humpe was in third and had his sights set on Hudson in the lead. On Lap 140, Humpe drew alongside Hudson and completed the pass on the outside off Turn 4. Another caution with 17 laps to go could have derailed Humpe's chances, but a solid final pit stop and two stellar restarts let him hold the lead uncontested to the checkered flag. Alfalla's fourth-place result combined with Stergios' fifth-place effort saw Alfalla build his championship lead slightly. His margin over Stergios is 13 points, with Humpe a distant third, 78 points back. Teammates Jake Stergios and Chris Overland hold fourth and fifth, 91 and 96 points adrift, respectively. After four-straight races on 1.5 mile tracks, the NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series shifts gears for Week 11 as the SIM racing series visits the Indianapolis Motor Speedway . Overtaking at the one-groove IMS is notoriously difficult; thus, qualifying is more important than usual. Alfalla's average start of seventh makes him the clear favorite, but a dark horse could be Cody Byus, whose eighth-place average starting position is second-best in the series. Can Humpe or Stergios topple Alfalla, or will the two-time champ cross the yard of bricks for his second victory of 2016? Find out in two weeks on iRacingLive !
Staff picks for Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
RELATED: See all the cars lined up for Sunday's race Jimmie Johnson : "The focus is rightly on Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart this weekend. Away from the spotlight, though, Johnson and his No. 48 team finally get back on track with a dominant showing -- and "Six-Time" ties Gordon with his fifth career win at the Brickyard." -- Brad Norman Tony Stewart : 'Smoke' has been on a roll and no place means as much to him as the Brickyard. -- Kenny Bruce Kyle Larson : " Fueled by a landmark victory at Eldora Speedway and increased team performance, expect Kyle Larson to ride a wave of momentum into the Brickyard, backing up his two Indy top-10s by landing in Victory Lane for the first time in his Sprint Cup Series career." -- Pat DeCola Martin Truex Jr. : Furniture Row Racing puts all the pieces together, shedding any bad luck for another crown jewel win to pair with its Coca-Cola 600 triumph. -- Zack Albert Jimmie Johnson : " He's won here four times before and it's time for his frustrating summer to end." -- Holly Cain Tony Stewart : "Equipped with a third-place starting position for his final Brickyard 400 run, look for Indiana native Tony Stewart to continue his hot streak up front -- and eventually in Victory Lane." -- Jessica Ruffin Ryan Newman : "The Rocket Man has been close the past two weeks (seventh at Loudon, third at Kentucky) and qualified sixth at the Brickyard, so let's go with Indiana's forgotten son to pull off the upset on Sunday. After all, his last Sprint Cup Series win came at Indy (2013)." -- George Winkler Kyle Busch: " The Sprint Cup Series champ is starting on the pole and I think he's going to stay there to bring home his second consecutive Brickyard win. Also, with Saturday's XFINITY Series win under his belt, Busch is eyeing a sweep again, a feat that's only been done by him." -- Taylor Nunnally Carl Edwards : " The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has the speed this weekend and his quiet summer is about to come to an end with his first Brickyard win." -- RJ Kraft Jimmie Johnson : Four-time Indy winner is due for a Brickyard win and this weekend could be the year "Six-Time" ties Jeff Gordon for the most wins at the 2.5-mile track. -- Maggie MacKenzie Make your picks in Streak to the Finish !
Can RCR stay on top at the Tricky Triangle?
NASCAR.com's Costner Merrifield and Kenny Bruce talk about Richard Childress Racing's success at Pocono Raceway and how Jeff Gordon will do with the No.88 team the second time around.
Key takeaways from Pocono
Kenny Bruce breaks down the key takeaways from the NASCAR action at Pocono