Aric Almirola shocks playoff landscape with New Hampshire win

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NASCAR on NBC Sports 18 July, 2021 - 07:22pm 10 views

What channel is the Nascar race on Sunday?

The channel for Sunday's Cup Series race, the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, is NBCSN. The NBC family of networks is airing the remaining Cup Series races in 2021, and NBCSN is showing Sunday's race. Sporting NewsWhat channel is NASCAR on today? TV schedule, start time for New Hampshire race

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver held off Christopher Bell to win Sunday’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which ended eight laps short of its scheduled 301-lap distance due to oncoming darkness.

With his first Cup win outside of a superspeedway, Almirola snapped a 98-race winless streak.

He also shocked the playoff landscape as NASCAR enters a two-week hiatus for the Tokyo Olympics.

His victory knocked Tyler Reddick to the 16th and final playoff position. Reddick holds that position by just five points over Richard Childress Racing teammate Austin Dillon.

But most important of all, Almirola changed the course of what had been one of his worst Cup seasons to date.

“… We’ve been through so much, and I’ve just stood the test and kept the faith,” Almirola told NBC Sports. “The team, everybody’s been working so hard. … My pit crew did a phenomenal job on pit road. All the guys that work on this car, they just keep fighting, they just keep digging, bringing the best race car they can bring every week.

“And there is no doubt that we have struggled, but guess what? We’re going playoff racing.”

A compelling race Sunday at the “Magic Mile” began in chaotic fashion. Six laps into the race, rain hit the track and led to a multi-car incident for Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin.

Busch and Truex, running first and second at the time, both spun into the Turn 1 wall. Hamlin, racing for fifth, also spun but avoided the wall and continued on.

Busch was eliminated in the crash. Hamlin finished 10th. Truex Jr. salvaged 12th with a damaged car.

With the extended stoppage bringing darkness into play, NASCAR announced after the end of Stage 2 that the race would continue “until conditions dictate otherwise” and if the race had to be shortened, officials would announce 10 laps to go to the checkered flag with no overtime.

That announcement was ultimately made at Lap 283 with Almirola leading Bell. During the final 10-lap run, Almirola had to maneuver through lapped traffic – even driving Dillon up the race track with six laps to go – in order to stay ahead.

Team Penske’s trio of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney finished third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ryan Blaney

STAGE 2 WINNER: Brad Keselowski

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Logano’s fourth-place finish came after drawing a two-lap penalty. Logano was penalized after a Team Penske crew member removed debris from the linkage of Logano’s No. 2 Ford during the red flag. No. 2 team crew chief Paul Wolfe told NBC Sports that the debris had kept Logano from going full throttle during the opening laps and that the fix had to be made.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Kyle Busch ended up finishing last in the 37-car field after his misfortune with Mother Nature. The setback ends a four-race streak of top-three finishes that included a win in the second race at Pocono.

NOTABLE: Kyle Larson led the Hendrick Motorsports stable with a seventh-place finish. Sunday marked the first race with no Hendrick drivers among the top five finishers since the Bristol Dirt race in March.

NEXT: Sunday, Aug. 8 – Watkins Glen International (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

Read full article at NASCAR on NBC Sports

NASCAR at New Hampshire race results: Aric Almirola win places pressure on playoff bubble drivers

Sporting News 18 July, 2021 - 10:00pm

With a win in the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, Almirola earned his third caerer victory in the NASCAR Cup Series — and became the 13th winner of the 2021 season, which qualified him for the playoffs. Winless drivers Kevin Harvick and Tyler Reddick, who are currently projected to fill the last two playoff spots, will need to win one of the four remaining races in the regular season, or hope there are no other first-time winners. (Points leader Denny Hamlin, also winless, would make the playoffs as the regular-season champion.)

There was more to Sunday's race than playoff implications. It was wild nearly from start to finish, with pole-sitter Kyle Busch spinning out on a wet track at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Lap 3, ending his day. (He was none too pleased). That caused a significant delay in the race, which later prompted NASCAR to impose a 10-lap shootout to the checkered flag because of darkness.

Almirola certainly earned his way to the winner's circle, outracing Harvick, Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski in the late stages of the race to take control before the race was reduced to just 10 laps. He entered Sunday's race 27th in the regular-season points standings.

Sporting News tracked live updates and lap-by-lap highlights from NASCAR's race at New Hampshire on Sunday. Check out the complete results from Foxwoods Resort Casino 301:

8:13 p.m.: Almirola wins! Excellent racing by him, and you can hear the excitement in his voice on the radio: "Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! ... We're going playoff racing. How about that?"

How about that? 🏁 @Aric_Almirola | #NASCARPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/GutDEQgCjk

8:12 p.m.: Almirola leads on the final lap but has lap cars in front.

8:10 p.m.: Interesting. Almirola was stuck behind Austin Dillon for a lap and couldn't get out from behind him before passing; Dillon, who doesn't have a win this season, is on the fringe of the playoffs. A win by Almirola would place greater pressure on him in the last four races.

8:07 p.m.: NASCAR just called it: Only 10 laps remaining due to darkness. There will be no overtime attempts.

8:02 p.m.: And now DiBenedetto pits, leaving Almirola in the lead with 26 laps remaining.

7:59 p.m.: Interesting note on the NBC Sports telecast: The picture on your TV score is considerably brighter than what it actually looks like at NHMS. Scheduled time of sunset in Loudon is 8:23 p.m., meaning this race could finish earlier than that.

7:56 p.m.: Almirola is back in third place after pitting with the lead. Only DiBenedetto and William Byron lead him, and it's likely they pit as well.

How impressive has @Aric_Almirola been today at @NHMS ? 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Fv2Nc8J8KD

7:52 p.m.: LaJoie has some smoke and is forced to go high on the turn but the green remains out.

7:47 p.m.: Almirola overtakes Blaney for the lead on Lap 246, heading into Lap 247 with just 55 remaining in this rain-delayed race.

7:43 p.m.: Now Almirola has moved up to No. 2 in front of Keselowski and Harvick.

7:35 p.m.: Almirola and Harvick, Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, are having a nice little battle for the third position as well.

More teammate battles in the Top 5. ⚔️ @Aric_Almirola | @KevinHarvick pic.twitter.com/FBfYoJrtG9

7:28 p.m.: Blaney and Keselowski, Team Penske teammates, both are jockeying for the lead. Harvick's right behind them.

😱 @Team_Penske teammates come together! @Blaney | @keselowski pic.twitter.com/h6ZG4dC5sq

7:23 p.m.: Blaney takes the lead out of the restart on Lap 199.

7:17 p.m.: Something to consider with an estimated 8:21 p.m. ET sunset in Loudon, N.H. (there are no lights at NHMS):

7:05 p.m.: Caution 6 (Lap 185). And there's Stage 2. Your top 10:

6:54 p.m.: More beef, this time between Almirola and Elliott.

Tempers are very high today at @NHMS . 😅 @Aric_Almirola 😡 @chaseelliott pic.twitter.com/MaTBwXhrdy

6:52 p.m.: We're back on Lap 156. Keselowski, Harvick, Hamlin, Aric Almirola and Blaney make up your top five out of the restart. Thirty-nine laps remain in the stage.

6:45 p.m.: Caution 5 (Lap 139). And there's our fifth caution. Bubba Wallace gets loose off the corner and turns sideways heading out of the turn. Chris Buescher had nowhere to go, hitting him and sliding a good ways. Wallace drove off without too much damage but Buescher has significant damage to his front right tire.

. @BubbaWallace spins and collects @Chris_Buescher in this Stage 2 spin at @NHMS . pic.twitter.com/ZKDEU2g3fA

6:30 p.m.: No love lost between Houff and Newman.

We're serving beef on the menu for @P1_Houff and @RyanJNewman . 🥩 🍽️ https://t.co/zJpAG1KFrd pic.twitter.com/a6qMZxIsVB

6:34 p.m.: Caution 4 (Lap 128). Quin Houff spins out into the wall off the turn. Might have had a little help from Ryan Newman.

Caution: @P1_Houff goes around after contact from @RyanJNewman . pic.twitter.com/pku4uAQps5

6:30 p.m.: Hamlin has moved all the way up to the No. 3 position, roughly 3.5 seconds off Harvick's lead.

6:11 p.m.: Harvick is your leader coming out of the restart on Lap 83.

6 p.m.: Caution 3 (Lap 75). And that's Stage 1. Your top 10:

5:57 p.m.: A pretty good race between Blaney and Elliott:

5:44 p.m.: And they're back on Lap 39. Cody Ware spins at the rear of the group but the green flag stays active.

5:36 p.m.: Caution 2 (Lap 32). Anthony Alfredo seems to have suffered some damage heading into the turn; he got a little loose and spun himself out on Turn 1, but didn't hit any drivers. He was running 25th at the time. Bubba Wallace also heading to pit row.

A little spun pasta as @anthonyalfredo goes around on lap 32. 🌀 #Foxwoods301 | @NHMS pic.twitter.com/j6GUbDMI99

5:32 p.m.: And we're back on Lap 24! Kurt Busch takes the lead from Chase Elliott, followed by Christopher Bell, Bowman and Ryan Blaney in the top five, respectively.

5:14 p.m.: NASCAR is making Logano sit in his pit and serve his two-lap penalty now. Looks like there was some debris or rubber stuck under the hood of his car. It's related to some work they attempted to do on the car under red flag conditions.

5:13 p.m.: Looks like Truex will actually attempt to race out there again. The cars are back on the track under caution on Lap 10. Joey Logano is also hit with a two-lap penalty for heading onto pit row while it's closed. There must be something pressing enough for him to be willing to take that penalty.

4:56 p.m.: NASCAR drivers will report to their cars at 5 p.m.

As track drying continues, drivers will report to their cars at @NHMS at 5:00 PM ET!

4:49 p.m.: Things you love to see: Football.

A football was found at @NHMS . 🏈 @CoreyLaJoie | @Gunnerolszewsk1 https://t.co/qdtWtQWhP8 pic.twitter.com/rkGGiUDXXk

4:23 p.m.: Good news:

3:37 p.m.: Kyle Busch on the telecast said his day is done. "There's no fixing that (car)." Truex's day is finished as well.

3:32 p.m.: Red flag's out.

The red flag has been displayed after multiple cars, including the leader @KyleBusch , are involved in a wreck due to a wet racing surface at @NHMS . pic.twitter.com/Tvom4PMvV0

3:29 p.m.: NASCAR is trying to keep the cars on the track but it looks like they might have to delay this.

3:28 p.m.: Kyle Busch is clearly frustrated; he was nudging the pace car from behind as he headed to pit.

3:26 p.m.: Caution 1 (Lap 6). And we have our first caution. Looks like Kyle Busch got some significant damage and Martin Truex Jr both got significant damage heading into Turn 1 due to slick conditions on the track (it's raining out there). Hamlin and Ross Chastain were also involved in the crash but seemed to avoid significant damage.

3:23 p.m.: And there's the green flag!

3:15 p.m.: Reminder: Stage 1 is 75 laps, Stage 2 is 110 laps (ending at Lap 185) and the final stage is 116 laps, ending on Lap 301.

3:11 p.m.: The cutest "Start your engines" ever?

The engines are fired and we're ready for action at @NHMS ! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/naQQHYi1jD

2:26 p.m: For anyone curious about the lobster trophy at NHMS:

2:24 p.m.: Uh-oh. Michael McDowell, Quin Houff, Corey LaJoie, Ryan Preece and BJ McLeod are all sent to the rear of the starting lineup for failing pre-race inspections.

The green flag for Sunday's NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway is scheduled to drop at 3:18 p.m. ET.

NBCSN's programming will begin at 2:30 p.m. with the "Countdown to Green" prerace show, followed by race coverage beginning at 3 p.m. ET. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte will call the race and provide analysis. Marty Snider and Dillon Welch will be the pit reporters.

Here is the complete starting lineup for Sunday's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the Foxwoods Casino Resort 301.

Under darkness, Almirola pulls off shocker at New Hampshire

Yahoo Sports 18 July, 2021 - 07:27pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

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Stay in the know at a glance with the Top 10 daily stories

His confidence sagged. The pressure tightened on the No. 10 team.

With darkness falling at New Hampshire, Almirola saw his season suddenly come into focus. Almirola sprung to life late Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and pulled off the surprise victory, a vital boost for SHR, Ford and another shakeup of the NASCAR playoff picture.

“Coming into this race, we never gave anybody a reason to pick us,” Almirola said. “It feels good to be the underdog and come out of nowhere and have the race car we did.”

Almirola snapped a 98-race winless streak and added New Hampshire to a rain-shortened win at Daytona in 2014 and Talladega in 2018 for his third victory in 374 races.

Almirola was the latest surprise winner and played havoc with the playoff picture with only four races left before the 16-driver field is set. Austin Dillon and Tyler Reddick are among the drivers who could use a win and clinch a berth.

The race was delayed nearly two hours by rain and NASCAR called it early due to darkness, leaving it eight laps shy of its scheduled conclusion.

New Hampshire was scheduled for 301 laps and 318.46 miles. Almirola took the checkered in 293 laps. He broke up the Team Penske party — Brad Keselowksi and Ryan Blaney had a fun back-and-forth for the lead at one point — and Christopher Bell could not catch him.

Bell won the Xfinty Series race Saturday and was second. Keselowski, Joey Logano and Blaney made it a 3-4-5 finish for Team Penske.

“I felt like I probably had a little bit better pace than him, able to get to him,” Bell said. “Lapped cars were giving him a bad time. If I was able to get to him, it was going to be a heck of a race.

Almirola rested his head on the car in almost stunned disbelief that he clinched his playoff spot.

“There is no doubt we have struggled,” Almirola said. “But guess what? We’re going playoff racing.”

Almirola, who entered 27th in the points standings, was the first driver out of the SHR pack that includes Kevin Harvick, Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe to take the checkered flag. Almirola had only two top 10s this season. Harvick was sixth and led a race-high 66 laps.

Ford drivers took five of the top six spots.

Almirola said there was “enough light” to keep racing to the scheduled finish.

NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller defended the decision to shorten the race.

“We just felt like it was getting too dark and needed to call it. It’s just as simple as that,” he said. “Completely based on raceability. “

NASCAR started the race under wet conditions and that decision turned into a disaster when Kyle Busch, the polesitter, spun on the slick track and wrecked only six laps into the race. Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin also spun and the red flag was waved to stop the race. Truex and Hamlin returned to race. Busch’s race in the No. 18 Toyota was over and he bit his tongue on NASCAR’s call to start the race.

“It never should have gone green to begin with, but then it kept getting worse and worse lap over lap,” Busch said. “We’ve been talking about it for two laps that it was raining. There’s no sense in saying what I want to say, it doesn’t do you any good.”

Hamlin said, “this is just a bad look.”

NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell said on NBC Sports races have started in the mist but the track “got slick in a hurry.”

New England Patriots return specialist Gunner Olszewski, the honorary pace car driver, and drivers Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie tossed the football around with fans during the delay.

Busch pulled down the window net in his Toyota and appeared to bump the pace car in frustration on his way to pit road. Miller said NASCAR would address Busch's actions this week.

Summer vacation! With NBC busy with Olympics coverage, NASCAR takes a rare two-week break and does not return until Aug. 8 at Watkins Glen. Watkins Glen was bumped from the schedule last season because of the pandemic. Elliott won the last race on the road course in 2019.

More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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