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Jake Hughes: “We just didn’t have the performance”

Jake Hughes put on a solid performance at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix, with the Briton having claimed eighth place at the sixth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

The rookie was once again stellar in qualifying, with Hughes having been the only Nissan-powered driver to make it into the duels. The NEOM McLaren Formula E Team driver ultimately started the race from sixth and did lose a couple of places in the race, after struggling for performance. He was nevertheless pleased to have claimed another points finish, although, he did slip from ninth to tenth in the Drivers’ Championship.

Hughes praised his team after the race for a well executed E-Prix but admitted that the new side do still have some areas to work on.

“It’s nice to have finished with some points in São Paulo this weekend. I’ve scored points in five out of six races so far, so it’s been a good start to the year – and  it’s continued today. I think we had a strong race, however the start was difficult. From that point onwards we managed to deliver a good race. We were really good with our energy management, something that has improved throughout the season.

“We just didn’t have the performance, balance or rear tyres to really do much more. We still have some areas to improve in, but for what we have right now, I think myself and the team managed a good race. We’re executing our races very well at the moment and hopefully we can bring some more points at our next race in Berlin in a few weeks.”

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DS Penske Targeting Further ‘Momentum’ After São Paulo ‘Double-Points Result’

DS Penske Team Principal Jay Penske praised his drivers for a solid performance at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix on Saturday, after Jean-Éric Vergne and Stoffel Vandoorne claimed fifth and sixth respectively.

The Americans enjoyed a good weekend in Brazil, with the reigning World Champion having claimed the team’s first pole position of the season after an exceptional qualifying performance. Vandoorne’s race strategy ultimately let him down unfortunately, with the Belgian having led too much of the race, whilst those behind were preserving their energy thanks to the slipstream.

It meant Vandoorne was forced to manage his energy more than his rivals, something which saw him slip to sixth by the end of the race. It was nevertheless his best result of the season so far, giving him something to be pleased about. Vergne recovered well in the race to finish fifth after making up two places from where he started. The Frenchman was unable to make further progress, though, after labelling his car as “undriveable”. Vergne suffered from oversteer throughout the race and is wanting an investigation to take place into the issue, given that it prevented him from pushing for a podium.

It was nevertheless a double-points finish for the team, which saw them rise from fifth to fourth in the Constructors’ Championship. The team boss was pleased with the result and is keen for the team to continue building their “momentum”, with DS Penske having claimed three consecutive double-points finishes now.

“Bringing home a double-points result after our two podiums is brilliant for the team, and a momentum we aim to build on as we move forward in the season. The lap Stoffel put in to secure pole position was very impressive. We’re on the right track, well done and a big thank you to the team for all their hard work.

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From beaches to outback: Ricciardo’s Australian road trip ahead of F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne

Australian Formula One driver and Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo made a thrilling return to the Oracle Red Bull Racing cockpit ahead of the upcoming Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. To get a feel for the unique conditions of his home country, Ricciardo took the championship-winning RB7 F1 car on a road trip across some of Australia’s most challenging terrains. The trip was aimed at mastering the harsh conditions and gaining an edge over their competitors. Here’s all you need to know:

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Oracle Red Bull Racing sent Ricciardo on an off-track road trip across Australia to master the uniquely Australian conditions, from the beaches to the outback. The RB7 Road Trip navigated through iconic Australian locations, from Broken Hill to Sea Cliff Bridge, to the home of Australian Supercars in Bathurst.

The team invited local racing experts, Supercars champion Shane Van Gisbergen, enduro motorsports legends Toby Price and Daniel Sanders, and aerobatic pilot Matt Hall to help Ricciardo test the car under Australia’s toughest conditions.

There’s nothing that compares to the Aussie conditions; we had a lot of fun ripping through the outback and tearing across the Sea Cliff Bridge.

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F1: Domenicali reiterates desire to curb practice sessions

F1 boss, Stefano Domenicali has reiterated his desire to see less practice sessions over Grand Prix race weekends.

F1: Rival sought to steal Red Bull sponsors

Christian Horner claims that an unnamed rival sought to take advantage of the negativity surrounding Red Bull by courting its sponsors.

Trey Hernquist making SST debut at Long Beach

Trey Hernquist might be known for his yellow Baja Bug that he races in deserts, but will trade them in for a significantly different machine and surface in April when he drives a Stadium Super Truck on the streets of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He will drive the #50 with sponsorship from Gravel Kings and Continental Tire.

Hernquist wrote on social media, “I’m super excited to share that I will be driving the @continental_tire / @gravel_kings @stadiumsupertrucks kicking off at the Long Beach Grand Prix, April 15th-16th! Such an incredible opportunity for me and everyone involved so THANK YOU! Stoked to see a bunch of friends and family out there so let’s go have some fun in a truck around the streets of @gplongbeach!”

Hernquist races in Class 5, a category present in various desert series like SCORE International for Volkswagen Beetles modified for off-road competition nicknamed “Baja Bugs”. He won SCORE’s Class 5 championship in 2020 with a victory at the Baja 500, and has mainly focused on the premier Baja 1000 since; his latest 1000 excursion in November ended with a transmission failure after ninety miles. His SCORE début came in the SCORE Lites class in 2018.

In March, he finished twenty-fifth overall in the Mint 400‘s Limited Race to win the Class 5 Unlimited division despite late contact leaving him without power steering.

His father Bill Hernquist is also a driver, and the two have raced together in Best In The Desert, among other series.

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PREVIEW: 2023 SCORE World Desert Championship – San Felipe 250

SCORE International is set to kick off its golden anniversary with the thirty-sixth running of the San Felipe 250. Reigning champion Luke McMillin enters as the defending overall Four-Wheeler winner after battling with Bryce Menzies, while Juan Carlos Salvatierra is gunning for his second in a row on two wheels.

Qualifying will take place for Trophy Truck, Trophy Truck Legends, and Trophy Truck Spec on Wednesday, 29 March. Racing is on Saturday, 1 April.

The Course

The 262.8-mile course is a counter-clockwise loop that starts and ends in San Felipe. Much of the course is a break from recent editions by adding features that have not been used in years; perhaps the most notable and daunting feature is the Mini Summit, last used for the 250 in the 1990s but has seen action since with domestic desert championships. Located between Route Miles 220 and 225, the Summit contains a vast field of rocks that racers must navigate through akin to rockcrawling seen at King of the Hammers, which is a stark contrast to the sea of sand that it is sandwiched between. A boulder had caused the Summit to be blocked during pre-running before it was removed shortly after.

Two sections of the route are split off for Bikes and Quads to ensure rider safety: they deviate at RM 52.67 and rejoin shortly before RM 110 for the Four-Wheelers, followed by another break at the southernmost section of the track. The second alternate route is the longest as it ensures riders would not encounter cars for much of the remainder before meeting up again for the final twelve miles. Class 7SX, Class 11, and the Sportsman classes also have their own bypass between RMs 211.80 and 242.01.

Teams will have roughly fourteen hours to complete the race.

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Yuki Tsunoda: “I’m disappointed we didn’t reach the points in the end”

Yuki Tsunoda admitted it was frustrating to miss out on the top ten with only a handful of laps to go in last Sunday’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the Japanese driver fighting a losing battle against MoneyGram Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen.

A good first stint saw the Scuderia AlphaTauri driver rise into the top eight, but he was passed by both BWT Alpine F1 Team drivers before fighting against Magnussen in the last ten laps, the two battling almost wheel to wheel lap after lap.

Tsunoda has now finished eleventh in both of the opening races, with AlphaTauri falling behind Haas in the Constructors’ Championship, but the Japanese driver believes more pace is to come from the team in the upcoming races.

“I ended the race in P11, it’s frustrating to lose the position with only four laps to go,” said Tsunoda. “The team did a really great job, everything went perfectly.

“The pace on the medium tyre was very strong and it improved compared to qualifying. I’m happy with what the team and I achieved together, but at the same time, I’m disappointed we didn’t reach the points in the end.

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Franz Tost Critical of AlphaTauri Engineers after Pointless Opening to 2023 Season

Franz Tost has heavily criticised his engineers after an under par start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season for Scuderia AlphaTauri, despite promises the AT04 would be stronger than last years AT03.

The team has not scored any points in either the Bahrain or Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, although Yuki Tsunoda has ended both races in eleventh.  Nyck de Vries, in his rookie season, has finished both races in fourteenth as the team sit ninth in the Constructors’ Championship, the same position they ended the 2022 season.

Tost, the Team Principal of AlphaTauri, says he has lost the trust of his engineers due to the car not performing as strongly as they had promised it would, and he will only accept responses on the track until he is able to trust them again.

“Unfortunately, I think it’s currently the performance level of the car, because we expected a much better car,” Tost is quoted as saying by in between the Bahrain and Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

“We struggled in Bahrain. It looks a little bit different here. I hope that at least, we are with one car in Q3 of qualifying, but we have to do a lot of things to make the car faster. Especially on the aerodynamic side, there are different programmes going on.

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Creed contact, Byron battle ends in another A.J. Allmendinger Austin achievement

Sheldon Creed hoped to finally turn around his abysmal luck in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Saturday’s Pit Boss 250 at Circuit of the Americas, and looked to be on the right track when he won a stage for the first time and led sixteen laps.

Unfortunately for him, the misfortune continued for another race as contact with A.J. Allmendinger sent him into a spin with fourteen laps remaining. As Creed was left trying to salvage position, Allmendinger faced off against fellow Cup Series driver William Byron and scored his eleventh series win on a road course and second in a row at COTA.

“Hate that I had contact with Sheldon, he got under me, I was trying to stay off him,” Allmendinger explained.

Creed, who eventually recovered to finish ninth, told FOX Sports shortly after, “I’d seen him and I thought I gave him enough room, but I don’t know. I feel like if I’m leading and I give him a little room that he can’t overdrive a corner, I need to watch it. I really don’t know. I could have came down on him.”

With Creed out of contention, Byron became Allmendinger’s biggest opponent but was too far back to close the gap. Allmendinger’s eleven road course victories are the most in Xfinity Series history and complements his two at the Cup level for a baker’s dozen total. Zane Smith‘s win in the Truck event earlier in the day meant both NASCAR support divisions saw their 2022 COTA winners repeat.

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Haas’ Günther Steiner “cautiously optimistic” after successful campaign in Saudi Arabia

Haas F1 Team Principal Günther Steiner was pleased with the outcome of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, with the team earning their first point of the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season just two races in. 

Having contended with a mid-race safety car, Steiner said that the team had to truly battle to remain in contention for the points, with others benefitting from the neutralized period.

“First point this season. We had the speed but didn’t luck into it as some people were in a better position after the safety car, but the drivers fought hard, and we got a point.”

In the end, it was Kevin Magnussen who secured the point for the team after battling Yuki Tsunoda for tenth place into the closing laps, while Nico Hülkenberg crossed the line in twelfth. 

Steiner praised the efforts of the entire team to claim this strong result, and is excited to see them continue this momentum going into the Australian Grand Prix.

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Kevin Magnussen: Achieving first point of the season in Jeddah “means a lot”

Haas F1 Team’s Kevin Magnussen saw his fortunes turn around on race day of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, claiming a strong finish in the points after facing technical challenges in sessions prior. 

The Dane crossed the line in tenth place, earning the team’s first point of the season after coming out on top after a tight battle with Yuki Tsunoda. He overtook Tsunoda for the key position on lap forty-eight, closing out a successful campaign for Haas at Jeddah Corniche Circuit. 

Magnussen was pleased with the outcome of the race overall, saying that he had a solid start from thirteenth place and was able to minimise tyre degradation well– an element of his race that likely helped him in his pursuit of the final points position. 

“A point means a lot. We didn’t start the weekend on the right foot but it seemed like we really turned things around and found a groove for qualifying. Unfortunately, we had this issue with the gearbox that we didn’t have today, which was really nice.”

“We were able to have a good race, get a good start, manage the tires well – especially on the hard compound when I was on older tires than Tsunoda and actually had less degradation. I was then able to get past him at the end, and we managed to get a point.”

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Stoffel Vandoorne had ‘no way to fight’ for victory after leading ‘too many laps’

Leading the vast majority of the first half of Saturday’s inaugural São Paulo E-Prix was seemingly Stoffel Vandoorne‘s biggest mistake during the sixth round of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, after the reigning World Champion struggled for energy in the latter stages of the race.

Vandoorne had shown strong pace throughout the weekend in Brazil and even managed to claim his first pole position of the season, something that put him in with a shout of the win. The DS Penske driver made an excellent start to the race and led the opening stages; however, this turned out to be the wrong strategy. The Belgian driver burned up too much energy whilst leading the race, with those behind having been able to preserve their energy thanks to the slipstream Vandoorne was giving off.

As a result, he ultimately tumbled down the order to sixth, in what soon became a race of damage limitation. It was a really disappointing way for the race to go for Vandoorne, given how badly he needs some huge points in a bid to put up any sort of a title defence. To summarise his challenging season so far, his sixth place finish in Brazil was his best result this season. The three points for pole position and the points awarded for finishing sixth did see Vandoorne rise to eleventh in the standings; alas sixty-four points behind Pascal Wehrlein.

Vandoorne was “a bit disappointed” after the race given how strong his pace was; however, he openly admits that he “spent too many laps leading the race”.

“I‘m obviously a bit disappointed with the end result of P6 having started from pole. We knew before coming here that leading the race is not actually a good thing around this circuit, because it’s so energy sensitive and the drivers following behind benefit so massively from the slipstream. That’s kind of what happened.  We spent too many laps leading the race, and at some point our energy deficit compared to the others was just too much, and we had no way to fight with them anymore.

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Porsche’s Florian Modlinger reflects on ‘hard-fought but well-deserved points’

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team will have likely left the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix believing that they missed-out on a huge chance to extend their lead in the Constructors’ Championship, following a driver error from both António Félix da Costa and Pascal Wehrlein.

Da Costa actually enjoyed a sensational start to the weekend and made it all the way to the final of the duels, where he went on to qualify second. Somewhat concerningly, he was the only Porsche-powered driver in the top thirteen, with Wehrlein having qualified fifteenth. Whilst he qualified fifteenth, the German started the race in eighteenth following a three-place grid penalty for the collision he caused in Cape Town.

To no surprise, Wehrlein made excellent progress during the race to claim seventh, with the German having also extended his lead in the championship to twenty-four points. His race was extremely difficult, though, following contact with title rival Jake Dennis, resulting in the Porsche driver completing the bulk of the race with significant damage.

Da Costa on the other hand showed stunning pace all race and even led momentarily, with the Portuguese driver having looked set for a third consecutive podium at the very least. A huge error late on, though, saw his chances of a podium vanish, after having to momentarily stop as a result of cutting the opening chicane, due to locking-up at Turn One. This demoted him from third to seventh; however, he did recover to claim fourth.

Overall, it was another big haul of points for Porsche who certainly had the pace for the rostrum, only to be outdone by driver errors. As a result, their lead in the Constructors’ Championship has been cut by just one-point, meaning they lead Envision Racing by forty-one points.

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António Félix da Costa admits late mistake ‘cost us a podium finish’

António Félix da Costa‘s excellent run of form continued on Saturday at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix; however, a costly error late on in the race saw the Portuguese driver’s hopes of a third consecutive podium go up in smoke.

The TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver has been showing strong pace since Hyderabad, with the Season Six Champion having narrowly missed out on pole during the duels. Da Costa was narrowly beaten by reigning World Champion Stoffel Vandoorne, in what was a close final. Staggeringly, Da Costa was the only Porsche-powered driver to make it into the duels altogether, with Jake Dennis having been the next in fourteenth.

This fact further highlighted the exceptional job Da Costa did in qualifying, with it making him an early race favourite. He certainly showed exceptional pace and was always amongst the leading group, whilst he even led the race for brief moments. A third consecutive podium was looking all but certain for the Porsche driver, before a huge error saw his hopes of a rostrum disappear.

After locking-up at Turn One, Da Costa was forced to cut the opening chicane, resulting in him having to come to a complete stop before rejoining the circuit, as per the regulations. This resulted in him slipping from third from seventh, ending any chances of a podium or victory. He did recover to fourth in the final few laps, to at least salvage a third consecutive top five finish.

Reflecting on the race, Da Costa hails it as a “very positive” E-Prix but that his error “cost us a podium”, something which would’ve seen him make further ground on his team-mate in the championship.

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Triple Delight for Nick Cassidy after Third Consecutive Podium Finish

Nick Cassidy is without a doubt the most in-form driver currently in the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, as the New Zealander claimed a sensational third consecutive podium finish at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix.

After claiming second in Hyderabad, third in Cape Town and second on Saturday in São Paulo, the Envision Racing driver has thrown himself right into title contention, with Cassidy having moved from fifth to third in the Drivers’ Championship. After his excellent performance in Brazil, the New Zealander is now just twenty-five points behind leader Pascal Wehrlein, with ten races remaining.

Cassidy made an excellent start to the race thanks to having qualified in fifth, before settling into the E-Prix in the leading pack. He did well to manage his energy by attempting to avoid being in front, with early race leader Stoffel Vandoorne having tumbled down the order due to having used more energy whilst leading. Cassidy used the slipstream to full-effect in order to preserve energy, a strategy which allowed himself and Mitch Evans to escape towards the end of the race.

Cassidy did eventually move into the lead on Lap Twenty-Five, after Evans had led for a few laps. Cassidy led for several laps before being overtaken by Evans late on, with the Envision driver having admitted after the race that “something pretty special” would’ve been needed to beat his compatriot. Cassidy did give it his all but ultimately had to settle for second.

The New Zealander absolutely loved the race and was “super happy” with yet another podium, something he’s starting to become very familiar with.

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Church Of MO: 2006 KTM 950 Supermoto Quick Ride

Because supermoto stories are always a lot of fun, this week we bring you our pal Gabe’s story on taking his 2006 KTM 950 Supermoto out for a spin in the California Bay Area. If you know Gabe, then you’re familiar with his excellent storytelling. If you don’t, well let this piece introduce you to the wonderful mind of one of MO’s alumni. Of course, a great story deserves a great subject, and the 950 Supermoto was all about hooliganism before that was really even a thing. We’ll let Gabe take it from here.

2006 KTM 950 Supermoto Quick Ride

This is a competition motor that is just civilized enough to be ridable

By Gabe Ets-Hokin Jul. 23, 2006
Photos by Robert Stokstad

Do you feel guilty when you run a red light in the middle of nowhere at four in the morning? Have you put a quarter in a parking meter after six PM?

Did you go down to the Federal Building after accidentally ripping the tag off a mattress to turn yourself in to the Federal Marshals?

If that is the case, you are probably not in the market for a 100 HP supermotard. However, if you like to remove your license plate and run toll booths, cheat on your taxes by deducting lap dances as “Business Meeting Expenses”, and leave dead fish in pre-paid safety deposit boxes at banks you don’t like, I might have a motorcycle for you.

950 Supermoto with its natural predators.

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‘What an incredible day!’: Jaguar’s James Barclay celebrates São Paulo dominance

Sunday 25 March 2023 is a day that Jaguar TCS Racing Team Principal James Barclay will never forget, as Jaguar powertrains claimed a first ever 1-2-3 at the inaugural São Paulo E Prix, with Mitch Evans claiming the honours.

It was a sensational day for Jaguar, with the factory team duo of Evans and Sam Bird having claimed first and third, whilst their customer side Envision Racing finished second thanks to Nick Cassidy. All three drove a brilliant race, with Bird in particular having worked his way through the field after starting tenth. The Briton was ultimately unable to fight for the victory due to having opted to play it safe and claim third, with the Hyderabad incident having been on the back of his mind.

Evans on the other hand was in the leading group throughout the race after starting third, with the New Zealander having saved his energy by remaining behind another driver. He ultimately made his move for the lead on Cassidy in the closing laps, with Cassidy having had no response due to the pair having boasted similar energy levels.

As a result of the team’s 1-3 finish, they’ve risen from sixth to third in the Constructors’ Championship, marking an “incredible day” for Barclay and the team.

“What an incredible day! A historic first with three Jaguars dominating the podium. Today’s result and the team’s performance after a few challenging weekends was all the more sweet. With a strong car and a proven team, we knew it was about executing a clean weekend with a great strategy and that’s what we did today. Mitch and Sam drove exceptionally, showing patience in a strategic race and raw speed when it was needed.

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Mitch Evans: “This win has come at the perfect time”

After enduring considerable bad luck in the opening five rounds of the 2022/23 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, Mitch Evans finally tasted glory at the inaugural São Paulo E-Prix, to kickstart his campaign after what has been a challenging start to the year.

Whilst he’s by no means in title contention just yet, Evans will have felt his confidence go through the roof following a remarkable drive in Brazil, where he timed his attack to perfection. After starting third, Evans very quickly settled into the race amongst the top five, with it having become clear very quickly that leading the race wasn’t the right strategy. Efficiency played a huge part in the sixth round of the season, which meant whoever was leading the race had less energy at the end of the hectic E-Prix.

Evans conserved his energy and remained in the draft of the likes of Nick Cassidy, who he overtook for the lead with just a couple of laps remaining. With both Evans and Cassidy having boasted almost identical energy levels, there was nothing the Envision Racing driver could do to snatch the victory from his fellow New Zealander.

The win comes as a huge relief to Evans who has been below par so far this year; however, he’ll be hoping to carry the momentum from winning in Brazil into the remainder of the season. His win has seen him move up to ninth in the Drivers’ Championship, with Evans admitting himself that the win “has come at the perfect time”.

“This win has come at the perfect time, because we’ve had a tough start and the Jaguar has been quick. To finally get a victory is incredible – Nick pushed me all the way. This is all down to the hard work of the team, there’s a lot of graft that goes in, so much work into the strategy, to try and put it together is not easy so I’m super happy to get some big points on the board.”

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Zane Smith burns it down in second straight COTA win

Circuit of the Americas has become a playground for Front Row Motorsports, who remains the only team to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race there since the inaugural event in 2021. Despite the best efforts of Cup Series drivers Kyle Busch and Ross Chastain, Zane Smith won the road race for the second year in a row.

Chastain and Busch had qualified on the front row while Smith was further back in seventh. While a rather clean race due to a lack of stage cautions (a new caveat for road courses in 2023) and just two yellow flags, the second was a prime opportunity for Smith to seize the lead for himself after watching the Cup drivers trade it among themselves.

The second caution came for Parker Kligerman‘s truck suffering an electrical failure on lap 28, coincidentally when Stage #2 would have ended had stage breaks remained. Smith took the lead for the ensuing restart whereas Busch and Chastain were shuffled to the back. Thanks to their experience, with Busch having won the Xfinity Series race at COTA in 2021 while Chastain claimed the Cup event last year, the two eventually rejoined the top five. By that point, however, Smith was already cruising to victory and beat Busch by 5.4 seconds.

After winning, Smith did a burnout against the COTA pit wall, during which his truck caught fire before it was put out. It is his second victory of 2023 after the season opener at Daytona.

“It was definitely nerve-racking there, but I knew once [Kyle] was in that traffic, I needed to somewhat charge there but have enough at the end of the run,” Smith explained. “While he was trying to get through traffic, I was just trying to put down lap times and get a gap going. Fortunately, we worked up to about six-and-a-half seconds. I knew I was going to have to make a big mistake for him to get into striking distance. He is so strong under braking, and COTA is just all massive braking zones. That was my biggest worry, but I always enjoy racing him and it was fun this weekend racing with Ross. I’ve learned so much racing those guys, so hopefully in the near future, I can race with them every weekend.”

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