By: Ashley McCubbin
With the NASCAR primary divisions off this weekend as part of their Olympics break, it opened up the perfect opportunity for the grass roots drivers to shine, and that’s exactly what happened.
The NASCAR Whelen Modiifed Tour has been known for having stout competition all year long with several faces in the thick for the win (six winners in seven events entering Lancaster), and close finishes. That trend also continued on Saturday night. Finish of the season? Quite perhaps.
Through the early portion of the event, you would not have pinned Patrick Emerling probably as your eventual race winner, just running inside the top-five through the first half. However, these races are 150 laps and having tires at the end of a long run is critical to making ground. As the leaders began slipping, the No. 07 only got faster – which allowed him to get the lead with just under 30 laps to go as Justin Bonsignore fought through traffic.
It was not smooth sailing for there, as a couple late cautions set-out a three-lap shootout to the checkered flag. Emerling’s strategy to protect the bottom worked out in his favor, but Bonsignore almost made the long way around work coming to the checkered. Even more standing out was seeing the respect, as bumps were traded, but not enough to wreck or cause damage to either car.
Unfortunately, not everybody was able to come away as lucky. The trend of late-race carnage continued, which makes you wonder if people need a reminder as the pay window opens to be a little smarter. If they could just clean that up, these races would be golden.
Doug Coby was believed to be someone who could have ran with the pair, but shifter issues put him behind the eight ball early. There is still questions to be asked to race control, as to whether he was a single lap or two down initially, and that makes you wonder what if should the No. 10 not fight back from two laps down.
The ARCA Menards Series had a different type of fighting going on, with a lot of people sharing some displeasure after the events that transpired. It also has everybody that much more excited for the weeks and rivalry ahead.
Corey Heim had set him up for a victory, until he got tied down in traffic which allowed Ty Gibbs to close the gap right back in. As they tried to put a lap on Thad Moffitt, Heim broke a little loose, and a bump from behind sent the No. 20 around.
If this was the first incident between the pair, that’s just racing would properly be the phrase uttered. Instead, Heim gave Gibbs a bump under the yellow flag and expressed his displeasure in his comments post-race. Knowing the past couple of races have seen some bumps and they are the pair battling for the title, this may be the beginning to a rough and tumble summer. As Heim said, “We haven’t spun the 18 out a single time or anything, but we just took it up a notch, so I’m really excited for Watkins Glen.”
Let’s also not forget about Daniel Dye not being happy with Taylor Gray, as being turned on a straightaway is never acceptable. Though lost in the hype and craziness was another solid run by Greg Van Alst, scoring the runner-up finish with his family team.
The ARCA Menards Series West is lucky to have gotten their show in, as constant rain all day was their nemesis in seeing both practice and qualifying cancelled.
Joey Iest also did not look appear to be the man to watch for the checkered, considering Jesse Love found himself stretching out a lead with each restart early. However. Iest saved enough stuff and made the charge at the right time to get by and score a win.
The series lacks in excitement compared to the others, but it’s certainly proving to be a good starting block for young talent on the west coast. Clean racing is sometimes overlooked, but should be applauded as the respect will take each of these drivers far as they move up the racing ladder. So applause to Iest, Love, Cole Moore, and others for a solid outing.