Drive for Diversity member Ryan Gifford shows the world that he is one of NASCAR's Next stars.
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine sits down to catch up with NASCAR Next and 2014 Drive for Diversity driver Ryan Gifford .
Gifford will be running two Nationwide Series races this season
Ryan Gifford previews his first NNS race at Iowa Speedway.
Ryan Gifford talks about his first win in the K&N Series.
After 43 K&N Series starts Ryan Gifford wins his first race at Richmond International Raceway
NASCAR Next driver to run at Iowa and Kentucky
NASCAR Next driver had been suspended for pit road altercation at Loudon
Busch leads the most laps, wins from pole at Indianapolis RELATED: Complete race results INDIANAPOLIS -- With a relentless charge that forced Ryan Blaney into a mistake on the final lap, Kyle Busch grabbed the lead with a half-lap left at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Blaney missed his mark in Turn 2 as Busch closed in, and with his momentum broken, the driver of the No. 22 Ford couldn’t stave off Busch’s winning pass on the backstretch. The No. 54 pulled away to win by .421 seconds, as Busch continued his white-hot run with his second XFINITY victory of the season, his second at The Brickyard and the record 72nd of his career. Since returning to competition in May after an injury absence, Busch has won three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and twice on the XFINITY circuit. Blaney led by more than .6 seconds when he crossed the stripe to complete Lap 97 of 100. But the lapped car of Derrike Cope slowed his progress on the following circuit, and Busch cut the advantage in half. Busch had closed the gap to .279 seconds when he took the white flag, and constant pressure from the No. 54 Toyota finally forced Blaney into a mistake. "I just got close enough to make him mess up and made him get tight off (Turn) 2, and then I was able to capitalize underneath him with him losing his momentum off of 2 and being able to get under him," Busch said. "It was the class of the field. We should have won this thing going away, but I guess we had to make it exciting." With the XFINITY Series running a higher-drag package this weekend, Busch tried in vain -- until the final circuit-to get around Blaney in the closing laps. "I was trying to back up so I could get some clean air and keep my tires as fresh as possible, but I got too far back and got out of the draft and then I couldn’t make up any ground anymore, so I was kind of stuck back there about eight or 10 car lengths and not really going anywhere," he explained. "Fortunately, a couple of lapped cars messed up his momentum and didn’t mess up mine as much, and I was able to get through there. Once I got back close enough to him, I pushed him into a mistake and that was all that it took." A despondent Blaney took the blame for the loss. "It’s my fault, obviously," Blaney said. "You saw it. I screwed up. This team doesn’t deserve that. I dropped the ball for them today, and I take full responsibility. It’s all my fault…I got tight and I got too deep and didn’t get off the long corner. "It’s a pretty bad feeling to throw one away here at the Brickyard. There was no pressure for 24 laps, and the last one I just made a mistake." Blaney had taken the lead from Busch on a restart on Lap 76, after Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones , hit the wall on lap 70, and NASCAR called a caution because of fluid on the track. Rookie Daniel Suarez ran third in his first visit to The Brickyard, collecting his third straight top-five of the season. Paul Menard finished fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler , Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson . Regan Smith came home eighth and claimed his second straight $100,000 bonus in the XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash program, keeping his hopes alive for a $1-million payday. If Smith is the highest-finishing eligible driver at Bristol (Aug. 21) and Darlington (Sept. 5), he’ll earn a total of $1 million. Blaney, Suarez, Sadler and Smith are the eligible Dash 4 Cash drivers at Bristol, having secured their spots as the top four finishing series regulars at Indianapolis. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Roush Fenway Racing driver visited Boys & Girls Club on Thursday LOUDON, N.H. -- When Ryan Reed was but a little tyke tagging along while his father, Mark, competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West off and on throughout the early 2000s, the XFINITY Series driver had the privilege of meeting his hero -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . "I was able to meet a few of the drivers (growing up) and I was at the race track a lot and he was racing … so I was at (Auto Club) Speedway and I was a huge Dale Jr. fan and I got his autograph and I was pretty starstruck," Reed said Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before finishing 13th in the Lakes Region 200 . "That’s probably my biggest 'Oh my God I can’t believe I met him' story. "That was back when he was in the No. 8 Budweiser Chevy so there were tons of red jackets at the race track and I was a proud Dale Jr. fan." Knowing how cool it was to meet and greet a race car driver at such a young age, Reed visited the Boys & Girls Club of Concord, New Hampshire with Comcast XFINITY representatives on Thursday to meet with children interested in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and tour the facilities. Reed, still just 21-years-old, may have let his inner child show a little. "It’s my first time ever going to a Boys & Girls Club and I had an amazing time," said the second-year XFINITY driver. "I didn’t realize how amazing the facilities are and the kids were having a blast and I got to go play some games with them and play dodgeball and capture the flag and got to hang out on the monkey bars and all that. It was just a really cool experience and they’re amazing kids and had awesome questions. A lot of them had some really cool racing questions, it surprised me how much they knew about the sport. It was a lot of fun and definitely a cool experience." While they surprised him with racing questions, Reed surprised the kids with a set of race tickets to Saturday's Lakes Region 200 XFINITY Series event, inviting the group to the "Magic Mile" as his special guests. Prior to the race, the Roush Fenway Racing driver answered some more of their questions and showed them the ins and outs of his No. 16 Ford Mustang in the garage. Thursday, he visited their playground. Saturday they got to see his. "We kind of switched roles today and I thought it was really neat they could come out and I could show them around the race track a little bit; show them around the car," Reed said. "It was cool, they seemed to be pretty interested and the look on their faces was pretty fun." Reed also introduced the kids to his lead race engineer in Gilford, New Hampshire native Katelyn Bernasconi. Where STEM was such an integral part of why these particular children were interested in meeting Reed in the first place -- apart from him being a NASCAR driver, of course -- it made sense to meet with Bernasconi, but Reed, too, knows the impact the program has on our nation’s young minds. "I think (STEM) is great. It’s a great program and it’s definitely really important," Reed said. "Racing is a great example of a sport that’s kind of being taken over by technology and is really just a technology-based sport. There’s nothing we do that doesn’t involve a computer anymore. "I think that this is a prime example of how important that program is and getting kids involved and ultimately, hopefully, end up in NASCAR." In 2014, Comcast NBCUniversal entered into a five-year partnership with BGCA to support the launch of My.Future, a new technology initiative designed to teach Club members about our digital world and ignite their passion for technology. The five-year, national partnership is valued at tens of millions of dollars in cash and in-kind support. My.Future is a next-generation technology initiative that personalizes the program for each member through engaging project-based, digital activities. My.Future will provide Club members with the ability to safely build, explore and communicate in their own digital worlds and ignite their passion for technology. It will also give Club members the skills they need to pursue promising careers. Comcast NBCUniversal has supported local Boys & Girls Clubs for more than 15 years. In 2010, Comcast took their support to the national level as a sponsor of BGCA’s digital literacy initiative dedicated to providing youth with computer skills needed for success in the 21st century. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule