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David McGrath looks to make mark at New Hampshire
RELATED: Buy tickets for New Hampshire If you happen to be a track promoter or a race fan, there is a pretty good chance you believe there is no such thing as too much racing. At least that's the case for New Hampshire Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager David McGrath and the fan base that fills the grandstands two weekends a year at the 1-mile track located in Loudon, New Hampshire. "The crowds tell you no," McGrath told NASCAR.com. "Those stands don't empty. "They get it twice a year (at our facility) and they live for it. Like any other part of the country, the Northeast race fan is a rabid fan of our sport. They love it; they can't wait to get up to New Hampshire. They plan their summers and early fall around those races." McGrath, a native New Englander, understands the region's race fans, the bulk of whom arrive from in-state, with nearby Massachusetts and those making the trek from across the Canadian border making up a sizable chunk as well. Named to oversee the Speedway Motorsports Inc. track in October of '15, McGrath has quickly become acquainted with the intricacies and aspects of running such a facility. "Yeah, jack of all trades, master of none," he said. "You have to work at state level, local level, know your governor, senators, representatives and local selectmen. ... We care a great deal about our municipalities and our towns we work with, because we are all in the same boat together. We are the largest driver of economic revenue (in the state), but we don't do that with a swagger. "You are always trying to be understanding, tolerable and work together to figure out solutions. But make no mistake, the vision of the speedway is to be able to utilize that 1,100 acres with the team we've got and find new, cool events, create things for fans to come and experience." The typical race weekend at New Hampshire will see anywhere from three to four series competing during the course of three days. A Sprint Cup/XFINITY Series doubleheader in the summer and a Sprint Cup/Camping World Truck Series doubleheader in the fall headline programs that also include events from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, Whelen Modified Tour and American Canadian Tour. It's rare to wander into the facility during a race weekend and not hear cars of one sort or another on the track, either practicing, qualifying or racing. Competing at New Hampshire is a big, big deal, especially for the grassroots circuits. "Certainly in the case of the Modifieds it is, no question," McGrath said. "They are a touring series that travels all over the Northeast and they look at New Hampshire as their big, big event. Their Daytona, if you will." The track has played host to the Whelen Modified Series since 1990, three years before Sprint Cup came calling, and the list of previous winners includes such standouts as Mike McLaughlin, Steve Park, Reggie Ruggiero, Mike Stefanik, Tony Hirschman and Ted Christopher . "Saturday on either race weekend at our track, whether it's July or September, I think is one of the best deals in all of motorsports as far as for the race fans," McGrath said. "Absolutely. You get three great races. In July you've got the K&N race to end the day, you've got XFINITY and then you've got Modifieds. And then in September, you've got Modifieds, Trucks, and the ACT. That's just a great day." In addition to hosting two Sprint Cup Series races, including one that falls in the Round of 16 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the fall Truck Series race will serve as that series' opener for its inaugural seven-race Chase. Off the track, McGrath said his vision is to continue to develop those things that track ownership -- the facility is one of eight operated by Speedway Motorsports Inc. -- has already undertaken. "We work for the fans," he said. "One of my visions is to continually improve the facility to make it more fan friendly than it already is. Our company has invested a lot of money since we purchased the track back in 2007 going into 2008. We're going to continue to do those things as it makes sense. "We will continue to evaluate areas where we can improve the fan experience. We've built bath/shower houses, increased and improved site drainage ... and have new paving areas all over the campgrounds and the facility. "But the vision would really be to evolve and improve the track and think about new ways to increase the fan experience."
Byron checks off boxes one milestone at a time
Editor's note: This story originally ran July 12, prior to Byron's fifth series win of 2016 at Pocono Raceway. William Byron had one request for his father when he attended his first-ever NASCAR race at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2006. To see the ever-popular burnout. "My first race I went to, actually, Tony Stewart won and he climbed the fence at Martinsville," Byron told NASCAR.com at the Kyle Busch Motorsports shop in Mooresville, North Carolina earlier this month. "I told my dad when I went to my first race that we had to stay for the burnout, and now I get to do the burnouts, I get to do the cool celebrations, so that's a neat part for me." Now with four 2016 wins in just 11 career starts and an official lock in the Chase, the Camping World Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender has left his own marks on the start/finish lines of Kansas Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway , Iowa Speedway and, most recently, Kentucky Speedway on July 7. For Byron -- who confessed he didn't even know how to do a burnout after his first win in Victory Lane -- the initial wave of success has taken the 18-year-old on a strong current that has left the NASCAR community wondering: where did this kid come from? Most recently, the hallways of Charlotte Country Day School in Charlotte, North Carolina. • • • It wasn't long ago that young Byron was living the life of an ordinary high school student in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Balancing classes, homework and the everyday tasks of high schoolers, he earned his first Camping World Truck Series win at Kansas Speedway just three weeks before donning a cap and gown for high school graduation. Diploma now in hand and atop the Camping World Truck Series point standings, he hasn't let off the gas since. "The first win was nerve-wracking and kind of got that out of the way so we could focus on the Chase," Byron said. "But then we kind of realized we had to get a second win to make sure we were locked into the Chase. When we got that second one at Texas, everything just started to roll after that." His success in a short period of time has surprised and impressed many. His mother, who was also at the race shop on Monday afternoon following a team win luncheon, showed off a picture of one of her son's early wins in racing, much like any proud mother would of her star high school football player, talented musician or stellar student. Several years ago, she wouldn't have anticipated William would be racing like he is today. Neither did William. "When I was a fan, I was a big fan of Jimmie Johnson ," Byron recalled. "… I just watched the races just like any young kid out there and aspired to be in racing. Not necessarily a driver, but now I've been able to drive and it's a dream come true." Byron kick-started his career later than most budding racers, purchasing his first Legends car at the age of 14, just four years ago. "When I was 12 or 13 … I started to understand racing and how I could drive a race car," Byron said. "I started to do iRacing and I was pretty good at it, so then I said, well if I can do that, maybe I can get into a Legend car or a real car and succeed in that. "Every step was kind of a new check off the list to see if I could do it." • • • As the 2016 season rolls on, Byron continues to check boxes off his list. His win at Kentucky marked the 51st win for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the most for any Camping World Truck Series team in series history. He matched Kurt Busch 's 2000 record in the Truck Series for the most wins in one season by a rookie with four trips to Victory Lane. Only difference between a young Busch and Byron? Busch recorded his final 2000 Truck Series win at the end of the season, while Byron has 13 more races to surpass that record and pencil his own name into the history books. "That's another incentive going down the road to try and get another win to break that record," Byron said of the potential milestone. "That's a personal incentive, but I like the team incentive that we set, just like getting the 51st win was really important to my guys and just really good for our team." With a humble and friendly demeanor, Byron gives credit to his team, both his own No. 9 crew as well as teammate and Gateway winner Christopher Bell , who he'll lean on for dirt experience in the upcoming race at Eldora Speedway . Bell won the race at the dirt track last year. And of course, there's team owner Kyle Busch , who has served as a mentor for several young drivers, including reigning Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones . Busch often refers to his young pupils jokingly as students in the " Kyle Busch School of Charm" -- but that charm dissipates slightly on the race track, as "Rowdy" transitions into often his students' fiercest competitor. "Kyle's competitive, obviously; he wants to win every week," Byron said of the boss man. "But at the same time, he doesn’t compromise the race team and helping us grow as young drivers to make sure we know what we need to do on the race track. So, he's a coach, a mentor and also a competitor. But when we get out there on the race track, he’s definitely trying to win and that's the cool part about it." Byron may be passing the School of Charm with flying colors but he'll become a student in a different facet in the fall, when he attends Liberty University as a business major. He's begun taking a couple courses now, but will start attending classes on campus when the new semester commences. Tack on the start of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase in September, and the 18-year-old is looking at quite a hectic autumn. "The number one focus is the race team and that's what we’re making sure to do, is that we stay focused on what I need to do around the shop or how I need to manage that," Byron said. "But Liberty does a great job of managing my school around my racing. They know my schedule is busy, they see the races on T.V. and and they make sure that they’re following me, so they're going to know in the fall that there’s a lot going on but I think they really support it and they'll be able to work around it." As for the Chase? Byron & Co. have already started their homework. "The Chase races are races that we're, as a race team, are really good at," Byron said. "The mile-and-a-half races, we've won three of those of the four this year, and a couple short tracks we've done well on too. I think we're going to be really strong in Martinsville in the Chase and I've got a win at New Hampshire in the K&N car, so hopefully we can get a win there and solidify our spot in the next round and get to Martinsville to get to Homestead. "It's a tough challenge, but I'm just hoping that we have solid finishes and get a couple wins." Win by win, the column of checked boxes on Byron’s list seems to get longer and longer. While he focuses his target on the Camping World Truck Series championship for now, he aims higher later down the road. "Hopefully I can get to the (Sprint) Cup Series in the next four, five years," Byron said. "That's ultimately the goal to race at the top level of NASCAR. "I'm just trying to build those opportunities as they come and hopefully that's what lies ahead." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
'Any way I can:' Bell laughs at free-pass record
RELATED: Race results William Byron continued his record-setting ways Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway, but teammate Christopher Bell made his own bit of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history with an unconventional comeback. A deluge of caution periods helped the 21-year-old Bell storm from five laps down after early misfortune to post an unlikely 10th-place finish in Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150. Bell was the beneficiary in each of the final five yellow flags to snag a lead-lap finish and set a series record for free passes. "I'll take a record any way I can get 'em," said Bell, who rallied for his fifth consecutive top-10 finish. Bell was scheduled to start fifth but faced an early deficit before the drop of the green flag, pitting his Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota during the pace laps with what a team spokesperson called a low-voltage issue. He was forced to start at the rear of the 32-truck field after the unapproved pre-race adjustment. He lost more ground with his involvement in the race's third caution, crashing in Turn 2 with John Wes Townley on the 16th of 60 laps, setting off an unfortunate chain of events and repairs before his mammoth comeback. "I had no idea. I was just kind of going through the motions and doing what I was told on the radio and just kind of along for the ride," Bell said of his methodical rally. "The next thing you know, we get the truck back out there and the fenders aren't clearanced right, then we cut a right-rear tire. That was under the green flag so then we just sat there on pit road and (crew chief) Jerry (Baxter) made the call to just sit there and make it right. By the time we got going, we were five laps down, just out there trying to log laps." The seemingly insurmountable gap was closed with the help of five caution periods in the final 31 laps. With each unfurling of the yellow flag, Bell was directed by race control to pass the field under caution to make up a lap. "The next thing you know, there's a yellow: 'Hey we're the lucky dog, come on around,' " Bell said. "Then hey, there's another yellow, come on around. By the end of the day, the last yellow put us on the lead lap and we were able to capitalize on it. To come out of here with a top 10 was remarkable for us."
Chase-clinching scenarios at Pocono and Iowa
The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup doesn't begin until September, but several drivers could officially clinch a spot in the postseason field this weekend at Pocono Raceway. So far, the five drivers who have clinched Chase berths are Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth. Below are Chase-clinching scenarios for this weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono: Possible to Clinch: Kevin Harvick (1 win, 671 points, +434 points ahead of 31st): Can clinch with a win. Kurt Busch (1 wins, 627 points, +390 points ahead of 31st): Can clinch with a win. Joey Logano (1 Win, 606 points, +369 points ahead of 31st): Can clinch with a win. Martin Truex Jr (1 win, 573 points, +336 points ahead of 31st): Can clinch with a win. Denny Hamlin (1 win, 542 points, +305 points ahead of 31st): Can clinch with a win. All of the above drivers have already clinched a position in the top 30 in the drivers points standings, but need to clear the multiple wins hurdle. It's possible that no drivers will clinch a Chase berth this weekend if a driver wins his first race of the season or an already-clinched driver wins. XFINITY Series The XFINITY Series Chase doesn't begin until September as well, but several drivers are looking to close their playoff position up with a win. At present, Erik Jones, Daniel Suarez and Elliott Sadler are locked into the postseason. Below are the Chase-clinching scenarios for XFINITY drivers at Iowa this weekend. Possible to clinch: Ty Dillon (0 Wins, 558 Points, +460 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Justin Allgaier (0 Wins, 542 Points, +444 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Brendan Gaughan (0 Wins, 535 Points, +437 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Brandon Jones (0 Wins, 520 Points, +422 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Brennan Poole (0 Wins, 519 Points, +421 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Darrell Wallace Jr. (0 Wins, 486 Points, +388 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Ryan Reed (0 Wins, 433 Points, +335 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Ryan Sieg (0 Wins, 420 Points, +322 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Blake Koch (0 Wins, 403 Points, +305 Points Ahead of 31st) – Can clinch with a win. Camping World Truck Series The Camping World Truck Series Chase doesn't begin until September, but several drivers are looking to firm up their playoff position up with a win. At present, only William Byron and Matt Crafton are locked into the postseason. Below are the Chase-clinching scenarios for Camping World Truck Series drivers at Pocono this weekend. UPDATE : With Byron's fifth win of the season, no driver clinched a spot at Pocono. Possible to clinch: Johnny Sauter (1 Win, 253 Points, +207 Points Ahead of 31st) – He has clinched a Top 30, but needs to join the multiple winners club in order to clinch a Chase berth, so he only clinches with a win. Christopher Bell (1 Win, 245 Points, +199 Points Ahead of 31st) – He has clinched a Top 30, but needs to join the multiple winners club in order to clinch a Chase berth, so he only clinches with a win. John Hunter Nemechek (1 Win, 232 Points, +186 Points Ahead of 31st) – He has clinched a Top 30, but needs to join the multiple winners club in order to clinch a Chase berth, so he only clinches with a win.
Byron wins at Pocono for fifth victory of 2016
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings MORE: New name in Chase Grid LONG POND, Pa. – Saturday's Pocono Mountains 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Pocono Raceway featured no Sprint Cup drivers in the field. Then again, the race didn't need any representation from NASCAR’s top division, as dominant as William Byron was. The 18-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, led 44 of 60 laps in the No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota in a caution-filled event and pulled away to beat runner-up Cameron Hayley to the finish line by a comfortable 1.407 seconds. The victory was the fifth in 12th starts this year for the first-year driver, who broke Kurt Busch's rookie record of four wins in 2000. "That 9 is so fast," commented Hayley. "We need to really go back and look at things, because he's definitely a step above us. But we worked hard all day, and we were able to come out at least for a second-place finish. "We would have liked to win, but that 9 is pretty fast, so we'll keep trying." Byron had his sights set on the rookie record from the outset. "It means a lot," said Byron, who pitted for fuel for the last time on Lap 25 and spent the rest of the race saving gas. "It was definitely a goal—I can't lie about that. I knew that was something to beat, and we just show up with so much focus. "We never get off track, I feel like. It's just a credit to where we are as a race team, the work we're doing, the work they're doing in the shop on the trucks, and we're putting it all together when we get to the race track." Byron's wasn’t the only mark set on Saturday. The race produced a record nine cautions for 27 laps, and the spate of yellow flags allowed both Byron and Hayley to get 35 laps out of their last tanks of fuel. Christopher Bell, the victim of an early wreck when John Wes Townley knocked his No. 4 Tundra into the outside wall, lost five laps under repairs, but Bell received a series-record five free passes under caution as the highest-scored lapped truck and returned to the lead lap in time for the final restart on Lap 57. Bell rescued an unexpected 10th-place finish. "I was just out there trying to log laps," Bell said. "And the next thing you know, there was a yellow. Then there was another yellow, and they said, 'You're the lucky dog, come on around.' The last yellow put us on the lead lap, and we were able to capitalize on it. "To come out of here with a top 10 was remarkable for us." Brett Moffitt ran third in a substitute role for Matt Tifft, who is undergoing treatment after surgery to remove a brain tumor. Timothy Peters came home fourth, followed by Cole Custer. Byron increased his lead in the series standings to 25 points over second-place Matt Crafton, who finished 12th on Saturday. Daniel Hemric, who spun and collected Brad Keselowski Racing teammate Tyler Reddick to cause the fifth caution, is tied with Peters for third in the standings, 37 points behind Byron. </p>
Townley, Bell wreck at Pocono
John Wes Townley and Christopher Bell wreck at Pocono Raceway.
Bell: 'I'll take a record any way I can get 'em'
Christopher Bell and Cameron Hayley joke about how Bell was able to get back on the lead lap by using a record five free passes.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway: 25 Years, 25 Moments
Buy Tickets - SYLVANIA 300 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 's September event weekend will mark the facility's 25th Anniversary. Relive some of the top moments over the past 25 years. From Rusty Wallace capturing the inagural NASCAR Sprint Cup race win to Cole Custer becoming the youngest driver to visit Victory Lane in a National Series event - check out the top 25 moments below. 1. August 13, 1989: Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway (formerly Bryar Motorsports Park). 2. June 5, 1990: Track owner Bob Bahre and N.H. Governor Judd Gregg cut the ribbon to officially open “New Hampshire International Speedway.” 3. July 15, 1990: In NASCAR's debut at NHMS, Tommy Ellis wins the Grand National Series ( XFINITY ) race. 4. August 23, 1992: Joe Nemechek and Dale Earnhardt (Sr.) bump each other on the way to the finish line with Nemechek taking home the win. 5. July 11, 1993: Rusty Wallace wins the inaugural NASCAR Cup Series race at NHMS. 6. July 9, 1995: Jeff Gordon earns his first win at NHMS en route to his first Cup Series championship. 7. July 14, 1996: Ernie Irvan captures the win in one of the more emotional victories in NASCAR history. The win came less than two years after Irvan suffered a near-fatal crash at Michigan, where he was given less than a 10 percent chance of survival. 8. June 28, 1998: In his final season as an IndyCar driver, Tony Stewart wins the IRL New England 200, his final career win in the series. 9. Sept. 17, 2000: Jeff Burton leads all 300 laps of the Dura Lube 300 to earn his record-setting fourth Cup Series win at NHMS. The race is infamously remembered for its use of restrictor plates. 10. Nov. 23, 2001: The New Hampshire 300 runs as the last race of the season on Friday after Thanksgiving. Robby Gordon wins the race and Jeff Gordon holds the Sprint Cup Series trophy for the fourth time. 11. Sept. 19, 2004: The Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship debuts with its opening race, the SYLVANIA 300. Kurt Busch wins the race and goes on to become crowned Champion. 12. Sept. 18, 2005: Robby Gordon chucks his helmet at Michael Waltrip after a wreck on the backstretch. 13. June 28, 2008: Chuck Hossfeld edges Ted Christopher by 0.001 seconds in the Whelen Modified Tour’s New England 100, the closest margin of victory in speedway history. 14. June 28, 2009: Joey Logano becomes the youngest winner in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history at 19 years, 35 days. 15. Sept. 20, 2009: Fifty-year-old Mark Martin takes the lead in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with the 40th and final win of his illustrious career. It was his first and only win at NHMS. 16. June 26, 2010: Kyle Busch ends a streak of 23 straight different winners at NHMS in the XFINITY Series by becoming the first two-time series winner in the track's history. He also won the '09 race and followed up with wins in '11 and '13. 17. July 16, 2011: Kyle Busch earns his 100th NASCAR National Series win and ties Mark Martin ’s record for most XFINITY Series wins with 49. 18. Sept. 25, 2011: Tony Stewart assumes his only lead in the SYLVANIA 300 with two to go when Clint Bowyer runs out of gas. The win was Stewart’s second in as many Chase races and propelled him to the championship. 19. July 14, 2012: NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Mike Stefanik beats Ron Silk in the Whelen Modified Tour Town Fair Tire 100 by 0.003 seconds. 20. Sept. 23, 2012: Denny Hamlin follows through on his guarantee to win, and celebrates with military personnel in victory lane. 21. July 11, 2013: Toomas Topi Heikkinen wins the SYVLANIA SilverStar zXe Global RallyCross race when leader Tanner Foust crashes on the final hairpin turn. 22. July 14, 2013: Part-time driver Brian Vickers wins the Camping World RV Sales 301, his first win since battling back from blood clots in his legs and lungs that threatened his life. 23. July 11, 2014: Ryan Newman wins the inaugural Modified All-Star Shootout event, a combination race between the best of the Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen Southern Modified Tour. 24. July 13, 2014: Brad Keselowski ties a NASCAR record by becoming the 13th different non-repeat winner at the same track in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. 25. Sept. 20, 2014: At 16 years, seven months and 28 days, Cole Custer wins the NASCAR Camping World Truck s Series UNOH 175 to become the youngest winner of a NASCAR National Series race.
Pocono truck trivia stumps drivers on GarageCam
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage at Pocono Raceway, where he test drivers knowledge with some tricky Pocono trivia.
Larson cooks up Eldora confidence, targets Indy
RELATED: Eldora's big night in photos ROSSBURG, Ohio -- While the differences between Eldora Speedway, a dirt-based short track/slice of heaven, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a relatively flat, wide and paved 2.5 miles of paradise, couldn't be more stark in contrast, there could be something that Wednesday night's Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby winner Kyle Larson will take with him two hours due west to "The Brickyard" -- c onfidence. "Any time you can win, it helps your confidence, for sure," Larson said after picking up his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory since 2013 in his third attempt at capturing one of the series' crown-jewel races. "Obviously it's way different; a half-mile dirt track to a 2(.5)-mile paved track, but confidence is key for any athlete." Larson has shown flashes of on-track brilliance in the Sprint Cup Series at times this season -- when given a car capable of working with him, rather than against him -- but his third full-time campaign has largely been a disappointment for a phenom still in search of his first premier series victory. Wednesday's landmark win, coupled with a successful recent test at one of auto racing's handful of race track meccas have the young driver seemingly destined for a successful weekend at IMS, riding a wave of momentum and increased faith in himself and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet team. His two top-10 finishes in two Brickyard starts don't hurt, either. "I tested Indy last week; really good test, I thought," said Larson, who is 19th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings. "Really excited about this weekend. I know our team and Hendrick engines, they have some good stuff coming in and we'll see how it goes. … "We've gotten a lot better on the Cup side since the beginning of the year. We struggled really bad; we were one of the worst cars on the race track the beginning of the year. The last few months, now, we've come close a couple times. Kansas we ran up front. About Kansas time we really turned it up and ran top five most of that race, (before we) got in a wreck. Shortly after Kansas, Larson came within an intentional move of race-winner Matt Kenseth for the victory at Dover. He chose not to -- which sparked plenty of hot takes on Twitter but was almost undeniably the right decision -- and it appeared the No. 42 squad was on the right path, but it has stumbled a bit of late. Wednesday's second-place finisher Christopher Bell called Larson "the most talented guy I've ever seen, hands down," so it's only a matter of time that his talent pushes him to Victory Lane, as long as his No. 42 Chevy has the kind of drive in it that he's looking for. According to the driver, it certainly sounds like it does. "We have speed now in our cars, our Chip Ganassi Racing cars, the past few weeks, just haven't had the luck, I guess," Larson said. "We've just gotta keep working hard. We have some good tracks coming up for us." And it all starts at Indy.