Racing roundup: DiBenedetto finishes 11th at Watkins Glen
Rossi races through downtown Nashville; Sweet lands on podium twice
After a three-week hiatus Grass Valley native Matt DiBenedetto, and the rest of the NASCAR Cup Series drivers, got back on track Sunday with the Go Bowling at The Glen race.
Competing at the historic Watkins Glen International road course in New York on Sunday, DiBenedetto started 14th and worked his way up to 11th by the time the 90-lap race concluded. It was DiBenedetto’s fourth straight top-11 finish.
“Another solid day for our Menards Racing/Moen Ford team at Watkins Glen International – P11,” DiBenedetto said in a Facebook post. “Caught a group of cars at the end, but just ran out of time to put the Wood Brothers Racing 21 into the top 10.”
Elk Grove native Kyle Larson won the race, his fifth of the season.
For the year, DiBenedetto has five top-10 finishes and two top-fives. His best showing of 2021 was a fourth place finish May 2 at Kansas Speedway.
There are just three races left before NASCAR’s playoffs get started and DiBenedetto is currently on the outside looking in. After making the postseason in 2020, DiBenedetto is currently ranked 17th in the overall points standings. The top-16 drivers advance to the playoffs, which start Sept. 5 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.
Next up on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard in Indianapolis. The race will be broadcast at 10 a.m. Sunday on NBC.
ROSSI, INDYCAR HIT STREETS OF NASHVILLE
The IndyCar Series returned to action after more than a month off with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, held on the streets of downtown Nashville.
Nevada City native Alexander Rossi, who drives the No. 27 Honda for Andretti Autosport, had a strong showing in qualifying and started Sunday’s race in P3.
The 80-lap race through downtown Nashville was chaotic at times and featured several crashes and cautions, including an incident with Rossi and Pato O’Ward, which cost Rossi several track positions after being forced off his line and having to reverse to get back on course. Rossi finished 17th among the 27 drivers. Marcus Ericsson won the race, his second of the season.
For Rossi, now in his sixth season as a full-time IndyCar driver, the 17th place finish marks the fifth time in 11 races he’s finished outside the top 10 this year. He currently sits in 12th place in the 2021 overall points standings with just five races left.
Next up is the Big Machine Spiked Coolers Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will be broadcast at 12:30 p.m. Saturday on NBCSN.
SWEET EARNS PAIR OF PODIUM FINISHES
Grass Valley’s Brad Sweet put together another strong weekend of World of Outlaws sprint car racing, placing second at the Night Before the Ironman race on Friday, and taking third at the Ironman 55 on Saturday.
Sweet was in the hunt for the checkered flag Friday night, but ended up finishing 1.431 seconds behind winner Sheldon Haudenschild. In Saturday’s race, Sweet was again a contender, but it was Haudenschild taking the top spot for a second straight night while Sweet finished third.
Both races were held at Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 in Peverly, Missouri. Coming into the weekend, Sweet had won five straight races in the state of Missouri.
The two-time and reigning World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series champion now has 26 podium finishes, 35 top-fives and 14 wins in 53 starts this season.
Sweet, who drives the No. 49 NAPA Auto Parts sprint car for Kasey Kahne Racing, remains atop the 2021 overall season standings with 7,360 points. The next closest driver is Carson Macedo with 7,220 points.
Next up for Sweet and the World of Outlaws is one of the Series’ crown jewel events, the Knoxville Nationals in Iowa. The Knoxville Nationals host four feature races, with one running each night, Wednesday through Saturday. The finale on Saturday features a winner’s prize of $200,000.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email email@example.com
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