Strap In Racing by Big Bigelow: Fourteen Cup Races in the Books

WMMP Late Models - Quinny Welch (78), running third here, will be looking for his third straight win June 8. That’s Scott Corey in the 22 VT, Mike Bailey (1), Oren Remick (21NH) and Chip Grenier (9NH). (Photo by Big Bigelow)

I wonder what the Vegas odds were before the season started that Kevin Harvick would have zero wins in the first 14 races of the year. Or, how would you have bet if I told you the over/under on Jimmie Johnson being 200 points behind the leader after 14 races? If you took the under you’d have lost, he’s 226 points back.

If the playoffs started this week, Johnson would have to go to the tie breaker with Kyle Larson, they’re tied for 16th. Johnson’s three teammates are all in the top 16. Chase Elliott is third, Alex Bowman is 11th and William Byron is 14th.

• Team Penske has all three of their drivers in the top 10: Joey Logano is second, Brad Keselowski is fourth and Ryan Blaney is ninth.

• Steward/Haas Racing has all four of their drivers inside the top 16: Kevin Harvick is fifth, Clint Bowyer is 10th, Aric Almirola is 12th and Daniel Suarez is 13th.

• Joe Gibbs Racing has all four of their drivers inside the top 16: Kyle Busch is the point leader, Denny Hamlin is sixth, Martin Truex Jr. is seventh, and Erik Jones is 15th.

• We’ve only seen six different winners: Elliott (1), Keselowski (3), Logano (1), Busch (4), Truex Jr. (3) and Hamlin (2). It appears, with 12 races left before the playoffs start and 10 spots up for grabs, we could see five or six guys sneak in on points.

• Joe Gibbs Racing is on a roll. These facts are comparing this season’s first 14 events to last season after 14 races. They had four wins in 2018, in 2019 they already have nine. They ended up with nine total wins last season.

In 2018 they had 17 top 5s, in 2019 they’ve had 23. Last year they had 28 top 10s and this season they have 36 top 10s.

• Chase Elliott has five straight top 5s.

• Playoff points keep the racing interesting. I hear from fans who hate the playoffs so much they seldom watch a race any more. I like the fact playoff points can be earned right up until the final race. What I don’t like is at that final race only four guys have a shot at the title and a driver could have a great season but in race 36 a hotdog wrapper on the grill could overheat the motor and his championship hopes are over.

• Five of the top six finishers at Pocono didn’t earn a single segment point. That’s because they were trying to gain track position looking for the win and the five playoff points that go with it.

The five were Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer and Denny Hamlin. Second-place finisher Keselowski picked up 15 points in the first two segments.

• A look at the past four decades: Kyle Busch from 2010 to 2019 has 39 wins and a championship. Jimmie Johnson won 47 races and four titles from 2000 to 2009. Jeff Gordon won 49 races and three championships in the decade before that and Darrell Waltrip in the ’80s won 57 times and all three of his championships.

ACT Late Model Tour

Rich Dubeau picked up his first career American-Canadian Tour win June 1 in the Claude Leclerc 150 at Vallée-Jct., QC’s Autodrome Chaudiere. Dubeau took the lead for the first time on lap 82 and dominated the second half of a rough-and-tumble event to capture the Summer Kickoff Series opener and the $5,000 top prize.

Dubeau won the Super Street title at the Canaan Fair Speedway in 2011. He won a Late Model championship at Claremont Speedway in 2014.

• RESULTS: 1. Dubeau, 2. Dany Trepanier, 3. Scott Payea, 4. Jimmy Hebert, 5. Jonathan Bouvrette, 6. Dylan Payea, 7. Michael Lavoie, 8. Ryan Kuhn, 9. Patrick Laperle, 10. Marc Begin, 11. Karl Allard, 12. Alexendre Tardif, 13. Samuel Charland, 14. Christopher Pelkey, 15. Marco Bilodeau, 16. Steve Godbout, 17. Scott Coburn, 18. Jean-Philippe Bergeron, 19. Stephen Donahue, 20. Claude Leclerc, 21. Sebastien Couture, 22. Pier-Luc Labbe, 23. Remi Perreault, 24. Dany Poulin, 25. Alex Guenette, 26. Christophe Paquet.

• Lap Leaders: Hebert, 1-18, Charland, 19-59, Laperle, 60-82, Dubeau, 83-103, Laperle, 104, Dubeau, 105-150.

• 5 lead changes among 4 drivers

• Time of Race: 1 hour, 55 minutes

• Cautions: 15 on laps 18, 26, 58, 59, 66, 68, 72, 79, 82, 95, 95, 103, 134, 134 and 137

• The ACT Late Model Tour returns to action June 15 for the Thompson 75 at Connecticut’s Thompson Speedway. The $5,000-to-win second round of the Summer Kickoff Series has a post time of 4 p.m. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East 100 scheduled for that day has been cancelled and will not be replaced on the program.

PASS

Garrett Hall won the Oxford Plains Speedway 150, June 2, after starting 12th in the 30-car field. Nick Sweet, who has been quick at OPS this year, chased down Hall after getting past Ray Christian III late in the race but came up .47-seconds short.

Hall moved to the top of the standings with the victory. DJ Shaw, who entered the race 33 points ahead of Hall, finished last with a reported parts failure.

• RESULTS: 1. Garrett Hall, 2. Nick Sweet, 3. Ray Christian III, 4. Mike Rowe, 5. Reid Lanpher, 6. Gabe Brown, 7. Curtis Gerry, 8. Eddie MacDonald, 9. Evan Hallstrom, 10. Bobby Therrien, 11. Ben Rowe, 12. Craig Weinstein, 13. Dillon Moltz, 14. Derek Griffith, 15. Alan Tardiff, 16. Ryan Robbins, 17. Brandon Barker, 18. Johnny Clark, 19. Scott McDaniel, 20. Jeremy Davis, 21. Ashton Tucker, 22. Mike Landry, 23. Travis Benjamin, 24. Dan Winter, 25. Michael Scorzelli, 26. TJ Brackett, 27. Tim Brackett, 28. Tracy Gordon, 29. Scott Robbins, 30. DJ Shaw.

• 14 cars completed all 150 laps while six guys were a lap down.

• The next event for the Pro All Stars Series Super Late Models is the Hopkins Milling & Paving 150 at Speedway 95 in Hermon, Maine, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on June 16.

WMMP

JUNE 8 – $500-to-Win Strictly Stock Mini, also in action will be the Late Models, Flying Tigers, Dwarf Cars and Kids Trucks. The first heat starts at 6:30 p.m.

Bear Ridge

JUNE 8 – The Sprint Cars of New England and Granite State Mini Sprints join the four weekly divisions. During intermission the kids get to ride in the race cars. Post time is 6 p.m.

Speedway 51

JUNE 8 – The Late Models will highlight Creative Counters and Vermont Solid Surface Night with the first event of the five-race series. Also in action will be the Tiger Sportsman, Street Stocks, Daredevils, and the all-new Bone Stock division. During intermission the kids get to ride in the race cars. Post time is 6 p.m.

Thunder Road

Summer is officially here next Thursday, June 13. Casella Waste Management Night will be the first Thursday night race of 2019. The New England Antique Racers will join the Late Models, Flying Tigers and Street Stocks. Post time is 7 p.m.

Until Next Week

Get out 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.”

Biggy can be reached at R. Bigelow, 294 Hillside Dr., St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 or bigbigelow2@gmail.com

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