Kentuckiana Motorsports Presented by Lucas Oil
The 2022 NASCAR season is complete. Champions have been crowned. After a little time off, teams will start planning for 2023. Of course, crew members and drivers will take the next two months to reflect on 2022 and mentally and physically refresh themselves for the season ahead. It was a long and tiring season for many reasons. More on that ahead. But before we talk for championship racing, a reminder.
The Camping World NHRA season winds down after this weekend. If you like speed and tension, get ready! It is the season ending NHRA Nationals at the Auto Club Raceway in California. Lucas Oil is a longtime NHRA sponsor. Some points battles will be decided! At the last event in Nevada, Erica Enders won her fifth title in the Pro Stock Division. She became first NHRA pro driver to secure a season title by advancing to the final round and then winning her 10th event of 2022. The side-by-side battles were action packed. Once again, part-time racer Hector Arana Jr. stood on the podium to celebrate his Pro Stock Motorcycle win! The Lucas Oil backed racer won earlier this season at Dallas. Tune in to Fox Sports for all the action this weekend!
Leading up to the NASCAR Championship race at Phoenix, 2021 NASCAR Truck Series Champion Ben Rhodes told us he would give 100% and more! At Phoenix in the Lucas Oil 150, The Louisville native fought an ill handling car with less speed than the other title contenders, and with less than 60 laps to go, Ben came close to dropping out of the top 10. His pit crew stepped up and soon Ben was back in the top 5 with a fighting chance to go for back-to-back titles. With laps running out and overtime, Ben muscled his car into second place. He tried to get to the leader who was fast all day, Zane Smith. With so many lead changes late, somehow, Smith was able to hold off Rhodes and Chandler Smith to take the victory and claim the 2023 Camping World Truck Series Championship. Too bad NASCAR ran the event so late Friday night (10:00 p.m. start). It was the best race of the weekend!
The Xfinity title race had its fair share of excitement too. Certainly, it wasn't dull. Four drivers battled: Ty Gibbs, Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Josh Berry. Gibbs was not a crowd favorite. Just the week before at Martinsville, on the final restart, Ty Gibbs rammed leader Brandon Jones and sent Jones into the wall (His teammate and it ended Jones playoff hopes). With under 50 laps to go at Phoenix in the championship race, Berry fell way behind after rubbing a wall, and wasn't a factor. The lead swapped many, many times between Gibbs, Allgaier, and Gragson. Late rate pitstops kept them together when they returned to the track. As the laps wound down, Gibbs hit clean air and stayed out front to hold off Gragson and Allgaier to win the 2022 Xfinity Title. A humble Gibbs in Victory Lane again apologized for his actions the week before, this after the Phoenix crowd constantly booed at him. An excited Gibbs heard the fans, but simply celebrated after a hard-fought race. His father Coy (A former racer and son of team owner Joe Gibbs) was able to observe his son win the Xfinity championship. Sadly, less than 24 hours later, Coy Gibbs passed away after fighting a long illness. Ty Gibbs moves to the Cup Series in 2023.
The Sunday NASCAR Cup Series race had drama, but certainly not the action as the truck or Xfinity events.
Joey Logano, the driver of the #22 Ford was the first driver to advance to the championship bout after winning October 16 at Vegas. That gave his team time to prepare. They did just that! Logano struggled a little when he fell back in the pack and was surrounded by dirty air. But he had a consistent car with speed and handling throughout. And when Joey got out front, no one could catch him. Late in the event after Chase Elliott fell out of contention following a mishap with another car, and Christopher Bell had an extremely slow pitstop that ended his chances, it came down to Logano and Ross Chastin. Logano simply was too much. He is now a two-time champion (He also won the Cup Championship in 2018). Not every driver likes Joey. But he is a true champion. More in the weeks ahead about our time spent with him over the years.
The bulk of racing may be over, but this winter farmers, ranchers, fisherman, and those who enjoy the outdoors will stay busy. Lucas Oil has long supported them. Learn more at www.protecttheharvest.com
The fall colors are slowly fading. That means winter and snow will be next! If you've enjoyed Kentuckiana Motorsports over the past 20 years, you know Lucas Oil has been a huge backer of all we do. You'll need some of its products in your car or truck this winter! We thank Lucas Oil as a longtime sponsor. We're able to talk racing locally and in other ways, thanks to Forrest, Charlotte, and Morgan Lucas and the entire Lucas Oil Family. Other backers: PNC Bank (Sponsor of Scott Dixon's Indy Car Series Car), Sportsdrome Speedway (Celebrating more than 75 years of Racing!) locally owned Bright Pest Control and Bright Retail in Louisville, (Offering Do-It-Yourself Professional Pest Products with a retail store), and Knox Ford in Radcliff (KY). KMS supporters also include: VoiceTel Kentucky (Offering telephone service for $25.00 a line, and that includes all taxes and fees), Temco Roofing, Andriots Paint, Flooring, & Blinds, ICA Dumpsters, Kentucky Raceway Ministries, St. Matthews Cycling, Nimlok Kentucky, Dynamic Healthcare, and Lyndon Mower Repair. We also thank our media connections in all series, especially NASCAR and with NASCAR Media for helping us bring the sport to the fans!
Stay tuned for more on the 2022 local racing season.
Enjoy the racing!