Strap In By Big Bigelow: Thunder Road Is Racing Tomorrow (Aug. 15)

The Nation’s “Site of Excitement” canceled Thursday’s North Country Federal Credit Union Night due to the weather. The event has been rescheduled for August 15. The pits open at 1:30 p.m., the front gates open at 3:15 p.m. Post time is 5 p.m.

Cup Playoff Standings

(After Watkins Glen, three races left before the playoffs.)

1) Kyle Larson (five wins), 917 2) Martin Truex, Jr. (three wins), 740 3) Alex Bowman (three wins), 633 4) Kyle Busch (two wins), 779 5) Chase Elliott, (two wins), 749 6) William Byron (one win), 786 7) Joey Logano (one win), 760 8) Ryan Blaney (one win), 712 9) Brad Keselowski (one win), 678 10) Kurt Busch (one win), 576 11) Christopher Bell (one win), 571 12) Michael McDowell (one win), 464 13) Aric Almirola (one win), 398

14) Denny Hamlin, 917, +302 ahead of 17th

15) Kevin Harvick, 710, +95

16) Tyler Reddick, 630, +15

Currently outside the playoffs:

17) Austin Dillon, 615, –15 behind 16th

18) Chris Buescher, 495, –135

19) Matt DiBenedetto, 483, –147

20) Ross Chastain, 482, –148

Cup Quickies

NASCAR went to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time in 1994. The race was won by Jeff Gordon.

This weekend they’ll race on the Indy road course for the first time. It’s a 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course.

• Kyle Larson has finished first or second 10 times in the season’s first 23 races.

• Larson’s win last weekend moved him into a tie with Denny Hamlin for the regular season points championship. Thirteen races ago Larson was 146 points behind Hamlin.

• Hamlin has led the points ever since the second race.

• Hamlin leads the Cup Series with an 8.5 average finish this season.

• Hendrick Motorsports has won eight of the last 11 races.

• Larson and Elliott have finished 1-2 four times this season. Larson has won two of the last three road course races. Hendrick Motorsports has won eight of the last nine road course races, including the last four.

• Qualifying for Indy is scheduled for August 25 at 9:05 a.m.

• Jimmie Johnson recently spoke to Alex Andrejev of the Charlotte Observer about his transition to IndyCar this season, as well as possibly returning to NASCAR in some capacity.

Johnson said he wants to run a total of roughly 20 races per season, no matter the racing series. But, if the right opportunity existed in the NASCAR world, he would “seriously consider” returning for a race.

• Although the 2022 Cup schedule has yet to be released, Texas Motor Speedway is promoting the return of the All-Star race next year.

RIP Bob Jenkins

Television broadcaster Bob Jenkins, who was a former “Voice of the Indy 500”, died August 9 at age 73 after a valiant fight with cancer. He was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame in 2019.

NASCAR fans knew him as one of the first on-air employees of ESPN when it launched in 1979. For more than 20 years, he was the lead voice of NASCAR races for ESPN and occasionally ABC, including the first seven Brickyard 400s at IMS. His pairing with former stock car drivers Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons became one of the popular trios in motorsports broadcasting history.

Lap Money at the Oxford 250

Taken from the PASS website proallstarsseries.com/.

Back in 1981, Oxford Plains Speedway owner Bob Bahre was looking for a way to add a twist to the pit strategy of the 250-lap race. While there had always been a couple of different strategies, Bahre wanted to make the leader think twice before ducking onto pit road around the customary mid-point of the contest for tires and fuel. What was born from that brainstorm was a plan to pay the leader of each lap $50 and thus perhaps give them a reason to extend the pit stop to the later stages of the race. In 1984, that program grew to the current $100 per lap and has been a staple of the 250 ever since.

“The Lap leader money always seems to provide an extra twist to just about every 250,” said PASS President Tom Mayberry. “Sometimes the extra money causes drivers to stay out too long and costs them a chance at winning the race. But sometimes it ends up being a very good pay day for someone who may need an infusion at that time of the year. We really like the added strategy that lap money adds to the 250.”

In years past, laps not sold were covered by the Speedway. In 2020, Oxford Plains Speedway was forced to adjust the way these laps were paid. The total amount of lap money is divided by 250 laps and paid out equally across the board. Fans, businesses, and teams rallied to sell out all but a handful of laps so that the lap leader program continued to exist at nearly full payout.

“We were overwhelmed at the amount of support we received for the lap leader program in 2020,” said Mayberry. “We hope we can replicate that again in 2021 and continue this long standing tradition.

The 250 is set for August 29.

There are still plenty of laps available for this year’s 250. If you want to sponsor a lap, contact Mary between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. at 207-693-6497.

Bear Ridge

August 14: Swenson Insurance presents the Bradford Bull Dogs Benefit plus the Granite State Mini’s are in town. Post time is 6 p.m.

White Mountain

August 14: The J.P. Sicard Triple Crown Series returns to WMMP with the Flying Tigers going 75 laps in the second leg of the three-race series. White Mountain welcomes the Wicked Good Vintage Racing Association of Maine with their Early Late Model and Outlaw action.

Also on the card are the WMMP Late Models, Strictly Stock Mini’s, and the Kids Trucks.

PASS

August 14: Oxford (note this event was originally scheduled for the 15th). The PASS drivers will run 150 laps while the PASS Mods will go 50. Pits open at 2:30. Practice and front gates open at 4:30 Racing begins at 7 p.m.

ACT Late Model Tour

Had last weekend off. Next up for them is August 28 at Oxford.

Thunder Road

August 15: Makeup for August 12. Front gate opens at 3:15 p.m. First heat rolls at five.

August 19: Vermont Tire & Service Night Fans will see the Late Models, Tigers, Street Stocks and Warriors. It’s also Kid’s Poster Contest Night

The purse will be doubled courtesy of FloRacing.

Until Next Week Get out this weekend and support a local short track. But remember: “If you’re not having fun, stay home and don’t bother those of us who are.”

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