Busch passes Cindric in OT to win Xfinity race at Charlotte

CONCORD, N.C. — Kyle Busch passed Austin Cindric on the final lap in overtime to win his 97th career Xfinity Series race in dramatic fashion Monday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After a crash involving several cars sent the race into overtime, Cindric passed Busch on a restart starting at the inside lane of the front row. But Busch battled back and pushed the pedal to the floor, passing Cindric on the last lap to earn his 18th overall win at Charlotte Motor Speedway across NASCAR’s top three series — the most of any driver.

“I thought choosing the outside was the right way but obviously it wasn’t. I don’t know,” Busch said. “Those guys put up a whale of a fight tonight on restarts. I guess I’m not good at it anymore.”

Cindric thought he had Busch beat.

“To almost beat one of the best in the business on worse tires, I never lifted, I never lifted until I knew I was done,” Cindric said. “I wanted to win so bad.”

Busch has now won 210 career races across NASCAR’s top three series.

Daniel Hemric edged Cindric for second. Cindric finished third followed by Ross Chastain and Justin Allgaier.

Busch appeared in control for most of the race winning the first two stages, but was assessed a speeding penalty on pit row with 38 laps to go, dropping him to 10th place. But Busch battled back through the field with the help of a series of strong restarts on cautions in the final 30 laps.

There were just five cautions in the first 155 laps, but six yellow flags over the last 45 laps.

Busch recaptured the lead with 10 laps to go, but nearly gave it all away in overtime.

Busch drove a No. 54 Toyota sponsored by

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Postponed Indy 500 puts short-track drivers in spotlight

GAS CITY, Ind. — The roaring engines and flying dirt pellets briefly brought Gas City I-69 Speedway back to life Sunday.

It wasn’t the same.

The grandstands were empty. Track organizers only allowed a few crew members per team to comply with Indiana’s social gatherings limit. Gabe Wilkins even brought a car with the freshly painted word “covid” next to his No. 19.

And despite being on centre stage with nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway still silent, everyone sensed something was missing. Seventy-five miles away, the Indianapolis 500 was devoid of a crowd, the singing of “Back Home Again in Indiana,” even A.J. Foyt on its traditional race day.

“I went to my first Indianapolis 500 in 1969, and I love the 500,” track promoter Jerry Gappens said. “So it sure hasn’t felt like Memorial Day weekend. We’re not the Indianapolis 500 but at least we have racing and that’s a good sign.”

Dirt tracks, like this one in northeastern Indiana, have served as the lifeblood of automobile racing for decades. Some of the sports biggest stars began their careers at places like Gas City, rolling cars off haulers and working with family members in parking lots to solve problems.

Now, with the sports world revving up again, these sorts of venues could become a central component in establishing how to put fans back in the stands.

Leisure sports are leading the way with golf courses rapidly reopening, celebrity foursomes becoming all the rage and outdoors sports such as fishing, hiking and cycling surging in popularity as state’s relax stay-at-home orders.

One reason people flock to those sports today is that social distancing can be more easily achieved in non-contact outdoor sports.

But as Americans look for additional options to get out of their homes amid the global pandemic, automobile racing

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Officials concerned over business impact of delayed Indy 500

INDIANAPOLIS — The postponement of the Indianapolis 500 from Memorial Day weekend until late August because of the coronavirus pandemic has created a “void” for businesses near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway that rely on spending by race fans and tourists, local officials said.

Connie Harris, executive director of the Greater Speedway Area Chamber of Commerce, said May is usually a busy month for restaurants and businesses in the Marion County town of Speedway, which sees its population jump from about 12,000 residents to more than 200,000 during race weekend.

But Chris Gahl, Visit Indy’s senior vice-president for marketing and communications, told The Indianapolis Star that this year’s race delay until Aug. 23 will hurt businesses during what is normally their most profitable time of the year.

“Not having that is certainly a void that we will feel from an economic impact standpoint. It’s fair to say it’s hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact and that’s very conservatively estimated,” said Gahl, who added that Visit Indy doesn’t track the event’s fiscal impact.

“Their decision to postpone the Indy 500 past the Memorial Day weekend was a smart decision,” Gahl said. “We know now that just wouldn’t be healthy this weekend to take place in a meaningful way.”

The Indy 500 has taken place on the Sunday before Memorial Day every year since 1974. Tourism and government officials are hoping that the rescheduled date will draw similarly sized crowds as the May race.

Kelly Buck, spokeswoman for the town of Speedway, said the community has united to ensure that local businesses are still operating in August.

The COVID-19 outbreak nearly brought the U.S. economy to a halt, as Indiana joined other states in enacting stay-at-home directives by limiting large gatherings and closing nonessential businesses to stem the virus’s spread.

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