Tuesday, September 20, 2016

CUP: Open Team Roundup - Chicagoland


#21 Wood Brothers Racing
Driver: Ryan Blaney
Started 22nd, Finished 4th

The gamble almost paid off.  A late caution for Michael McDowell’s flat tire drew a surprise caution with four laps to go, forcing a green-white-checkered finish.  Having not contended all day, but still on the lead lap, Blaney and the Wood Brothers took a page from their 1991 Michigan win and didn’t change tires (in fact, this time they stayed out), giving their young driver the lead.  Blaney got a great restart, but by Turn 3, Martin Truex, Jr. had caught him, and he would soon zip by on the high lane.  Still, Blaney held on for 4th, matching his season-best run at Michigan last month.

Next week, Blaney returns to New Hampshire, where he finished a solid 11th in July.

#98 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Cole Whitt
Started 36th, Finished 36th

The remaining three Open teams once again found themselves buried in the Bottom Five, and with all 40 starters finishing under power for the third time in 2016, none were able to rise any higher.  Unlike his contemporaries, however, Whitt never once fell to 40th, and ended up second in class with his new-look Moen-sponsored #98 Chevrolet.

Whitt didn’t race at Loudon this past July.  Instead, Ryan Ellis drove #98 to a 37th-place finish.

#30 The Motorsports Group
Driver: Josh Wise
Started 40th, Finished 38th

For the third time in four races, the final car on the grid belonged to Josh Wise.  Though like Whitt, Wise had something to smile about on the sponsorship front.  IncredibleBank was back, fulfilling their contract signed just before Darlington, and the #30 was bright orange once more.  Another sponsor would be a tremendous help: Wise finished last at Loudon in July.

#55 Premium Motorsports
Driver: Reed Sorenson
Started 39th, Finished 39th

Last among the group was Reed Sorenson, whose white Vydox Plus Chevrolet battled with Joey Gase for 40th until the middle stages, when Gase took it for good.  Sorenson ran the same paint scheme at Loudon this past summer, where he finished 35th.




#26 BK Racing
#35 Front Row Motorsports
#40 Hillman Racing
#59 Leavine Family / Circle Sport Racing
#93 BK Racing

None of the other part-time Open teams attempted the race in Chicagoland.

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