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Article by Grant Sorrell NASCAR Correspondent / Photos by NASCAR ….
This NASCAR season is half over and in just a few weeks the “Chase” for the Championship will begin.
The first road course of the year is in the books with Sonoma. Martin Truex Jr won his first road race and Joe Gibbs Toyota team mate Kyle Busch finished 2nd. Ryan Blaney in his Penske Ford came in third.
The biggest news for the week was Kentucky native, Darrell Waltrip, who retired from the Fox NASCAR commentary booth. Five decades of ‘OL DW ended at the Toyota/Save Mary 250 road race. Many teams did things to honor an icon with NASCAR with paint scemes and speeches.
In Media news, Fox ended their 1/2 year agreement and NBC will take over the rest of the season bring Dale Earnhardt Jr to do play by play racing action.
Chicagoland was the first race NBC completed coverage for. Alex Bowman in the Hendrick Chevrolet #88 won his first Cup race at the Camping World 400. Last time the #88 car went to victory lane was with Dale Earnhardt Jr at the wheel. Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Chip Gannasi Chevy, who has finished 2nd at this race a couple of times last after some good door to door racing in the final laps. Penske Joey Logano #22 Ford finished 3rd.
Before the Chicagoland race, Penske and Gibbs teams won ever except one when Chase Elliott won for Hendrick. Now Hendrick has 2 cars going into the playoff. Kyle Busch is 1st of the leaderboard in the points race and teammate Martin Truex Jr. Is second then followed by Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and 4th spot belongs to Joey Logano. Denny Hamlin is 5th in points standing and then Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman. Rest of the top 16 is by points with no wins to guarantee them a spot.