Tag Archives: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Rowdy Rocks Richmond

[box] Article first published as Rowdy Rocks Richmond on Technorati.[/box]

RICHMOND, Va. — Kyle “Rowdy” Busch stormed to his fourth consecutive victory in the spring race at the three-quarter mile Richmond International Raceway by driving away from Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the closing laps of the Capital City 400.

The victory marked Busch’s first of the season and the 24th of his career. Tony Stewart was leading before the final caution fell for debris in Turn 2.

On the restart Stewart fell off the pace and finished third. Denny Hamlin took fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne rounding out the top five.

A Jeff Burton crash on Lap 311 brought out a caution and scrambled the field for the restart.

Jimmie Johnson was penalized for a tire violation on his pit stop and had to restart at the tail end of the field.

Carl Edwards who led a race-high 210 laps also lost significant ground during the caution sequence when he was black-flagged for jumping the restart.

After a pass-through penalty, Edwards dropped to 15th, 17 seconds behind leader Tony Stewart. On lap 372, Stewart was able to lap Edwards and pull away from second place Kyle Busch to a nearly two second lead.

After the last caution Edwards got the “Lucky-Dog” putting him back on the lead lap to finish tenth.

….

NASCAR moves the show to Talladega for next Sunday’s running of the Aaron’s 499, 12:00 pm EST on FOX.

Newman Aces Martinsville

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Article first published as Newman Nixes Hendrick Victory on Technorati.[/box]


MARTINSVILLE, VA — Ryan Newman played the spoiler role and snatched victory away from Hendrick’s champions in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.

Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson reigned most of the days action for 497 laps. A caution flag flew when David Reutimann stalled on the frontstretch with three laps remaining setting up extra laps.

Gordon and Johnson stayed out while the remaining lead-lap cars behind them came in for tires and fuel. On the lap 504 restart, Clint Bowyer, Johnson and Gordon, tried running three-wide into the first corner resulting in a tri-car spin, ending the Hendrick’s shot at their 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup victory.

On the second lap of a green-white-checkered-flag restart Ryan Newman cleared runner-up AJ Allmendinger and held on to win by .342 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. took third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex Jr.

It was Newman’s first win this season and his first at Martinsville. It was the third win of the year in six events for a dominating Stewart-Haas Racing.

Gordon led 322 laps before Johnson passed hto take the lead on Lap 356. That brought Johnson all the way back from a pit road speeding penalty incurred on Lap 100 under the first caution of the race. Johnson was flagged for speeding on exit and restarted at the tail end of the field.

But with 80 percent of the race ahead of him, the five-time champion had plenty of time to work his way back to the front of the field.

Denny Hamlin beat both Johnson and Gordon off pit road on Lap 363, during pit stops under caution for Travis Kvapil’s spin in Turn 2, but Johnson regained the lead on Lap 393, passing Hamlin to the inside through Turns 1 and 2 after dogging the No. 11 Toyota for more than 10 circuits.

Gordon regained the lead on Lap 497 moments before caution slowed the race. The eighth caution for the Bowyer/Gordon/Johnson wreck extended the race to 515 laps, 15 past the scheduled distance.

After a week off Sprint Cup heads to Texas.

7:00 pm EST
Fox TV

 

Source: NASCAR Wire Service

Tony Stewart Wins Vegas

[box] Article first published as Stewart Scores Big Win at Vegas on Technorati.[/box]

 

LAS VEGAS — Tony Stewart wins for the first time in his career at the mile and a half Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Powering away from Jimmie Johnson after a restart with four laps left in Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the reigning Sprint Cup champion took the checkered flag .461 seconds ahead of Johnson.

The victory was Stewart’s first at the 1.5-mile track, leaving only Darlington and Kentucky as active Cup tracks at which he hasn’t won. The win was Stewart’s 45th, 15th all time, in 467 Cup starts.

Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman and Carl Edwards came home third through fifth, respectively. Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne and Dale Earnhardt Jr. completed the top 10.

Stewart took two tires during a pit stop under caution on Lap 204 and pulled out to a comfortable lead over McMurray. A caution for debris slowed the field for the fifth time on Lap 228, and Stewart came to the pits for fuel only.

Brad Keselowski and Bowyer remained on the track and led the field to green on Lap 234, but Stewart regained the top spot with a three-wide dive to the inside moments after Keselowski crossed the stripe.

Stewart pulled out to a 1-second lead over Keselowski before Landon Cassill‘s blown engine caused the sixth caution. As Stewart sped away after the restart on Lap 250, Keselowski’s fuel pickup failed, and the driver of the No. 2 Dodge took his car to the garage.

Next Sundays race is from Bristol Motor Speedway. Start time is posted for 12:30 ET on Fox TV.

Source: NASCAR Wire Service

Matt Kenseth Wins an Explosive Daytona 500

[box] Article first published as Matt Kenseth Wins Explosive Daytona 500 on Technorati.[/box]

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – Matt Kenseth survived rain, fire, engine overheating and a fast charging Dale Earnhardt Jr., to win the 54th running of the Daytona 500, his second victory in the Great American Race.

At the finish line it was Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle. Denny Hamlin took 4th and Jeff Burton rounded out the top five. Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Joey Legano and Mark Martin filled in the top-ten.

Sunday rain pushed the race to Monday and then to late Monday. Drivers nerves were tweaked tighter than a Carolina wino when the race finely went off at 7:00 pm. One lap into the event five-time champ Jimmie Johnson ended up in the outside wall bringing out the first caution. It was a short race for Johnson.

The crash set the tone for the rest of the race as drivers threw caution to the wind and drove hard from flag to flag. The second caution came out on lap 13 when Ryan Newman looped his racecar in the middle of the pack. He was able to restart the car and get going.

Caution number 5 came out on lap 64 for debris on the track and the next on lap 81 when former champion Jeff Gordon exploded an engine going into turn three shattering his hopes for another Daytona win.

Caution 7 flew on lap 89 when Terry Labonte clipped Marcos Ambrose coming off turn 4.

Martin Truex Jr., was the leader at the halfway mark and took home the $200,000 bonus.

Clint Bowyer brought out the next caution on lap 129 when his car stalled in the second turn. On lap 157 David Stremme blew an engine and spun in front of a small pack of cars and was lucky to come through as the only victim.

On lap 157, with the race still under caution, Juan Pablo Montoya had mechanical issues on the backstretch and lost control of his race car. Montoya collided with a jet dryer working on cleaning debris up by the outer wall. The violent crash ruptured the jet-fuel cell which exploded in heavy flame.

The event brought the race to a complete stop as firefighters and safety crews quickly went to work to extinguish the fire and protect the racing surface. All in all the cleanup took nearly two hours to complete.

When the race resumed on lap 166 Matt Kenseth was the leader and for the next 34 laps nobody presented a serious challenge.

There were two more cautions in the closing laps including a multi-car mishap on lap 196 involving Tony Stewart, Dave Blaney, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Landon Cassill, Kyle Busch, and Ryan Newman.

The race ended on a green-white-checker finish on lap 202 with Kenseth, Earnhardt Jr., and Greg Biffle, the top 3 cars.

Chase Spots Shuffle as Kenseth Takes Charlotte

Article first published as Chase Spots Shuffle as Kenseth Takes Charlotte on Technorati.

Matt Kenseth flexed his muscles at Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive around leader Kyle Busch at lap 310 and put the Crown Royal car in victory lane.

Kenseth was slowly pulling away from Busch until lap 315 when Jimmie Johnson lost control of the Lowe's Chevrolet and slammed into the turn two wall, destroying the front end and bringing his night to an early end. The mishap relegated Johnson to a 34th spot finish and dropped him five positions in the standings, the biggest fall of all Chasers

Kenseth lead the field to the green flag restart on lap 323 and never looked back. It was his third win of the season and moved him up two notches to third in the Chase.

At the finish line it was Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch in second, Carl Edwards third, Kasey Kahne fourth, and the Australian, Marcos Ambrose, a solid fifth. Kevin Harvick, A.J. Allmendinger, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman round out the top ten.

Johnson's 34th was the worst finish of all Chase contenders. Jeff Gordon finished 21st, Dale Jr. 19th, Brad Keselowski 16th, and Kurt Busch 13th. 

Sprint Cup Standings

 

Good Sam ClubNASCAR moves the show to the high banks of Talladega for the Good Sam Club 500 next Sunday afternoon at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.

Kurt K.O.’s the Monster Mile

Article first published as Kurt K.O.’s the Monster Mile on Technorati.

Kurt Busch Wins Dover

The Monster Mile at Dover can be a mean mistreater. It can chew up a race car, driver and all, and spew out parts for the clean up crew.

Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway was a typical day on one of NASCAR’s few concrete tracks. Fast cars, crumpled fenders, temper’s flaring and a come-back win.

Kurt Busch gave a nod of appreciation to Jimmie Johnson for a late race pit stop mistake that handed the lead to Busch who took it and stayed there for the last 42 laps.

“It was just perfect execution today, with pit stops and with making the car better during the race,” Busch said. “I couldn’t be happier right now. To win a Sprint Cup race in the Chase, this is what it’s all about. This is the playoffs.

“We had everything go wrong for us last week. We had everything go right for us this week. We just need nice smooth races from here.”

After a disappointing 22nd place finish last week at Loudon, this win could swing Chase momentum his way.

And while KB was fist-pounding and high-fiving in Victory Lane, 2nd and 3rd place finishers, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards  were bemoaning their mistakes and wondering what could have been.

“I did a really good job, up until those last two [restarts],” Johnson said. “I have to say, when you’re the leader, you have a small advantage, because you go when you want. I blew it by spinning the tires. Kurt got a good launch, and we were door to door going into [Turn] 1, and he was able to get by on the outside.

“And then the next one, I was going to try to do that same thing back to him, and I was just trying to time it when he was going to accelerate. And I didn’t time it right. And I had too big of a gap, and fell in behind him going into Turn 1. I put it on me, because the starts I had earlier in the day, regardless of the lane, leading or not — I cleared them typically going into 1 so, it’s on me.”

Carl Edwards speeding penalty on pit road was a serious source of frustration for the Aflac team.

“It was a great day, other than that feeling I had when I ruined it there on pit road,” Edwards said. “That’s about as small as you can feel in a race car. We talked about it before the race. We looked at the pit-road speeding lines and that last line. Bob and I actually discussed the last section. It’s 25 feet, 8 inches long, and we talked about that run and how I was not going to speed through it, and I just blasted right through it.”

Kasey Kahne had a good day coming in 4th followed by Matt Kenseth in Fifth. Kyle BuschA.J. AllmendingerClint BowyerMarcos Ambrose, and Kevin Harvick round out the top ten.

Points leader Tony Stewart struggled on the Dover concrete and went down two laps to finish 25th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had a rough outing just ahead of Stewart’s 14 car, also finishing two laps down.

Sprint Cup Chase Standings

Hollywood Casino 400Kansas Speedway is the next stop on the Chase for the Hollywood Casino 400 next Sunday on ESPN. (2:00 pm Eastern)

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Gordon Spoils Million Dollar Day

Article first published as Gordon Spoils Million Dollar Day on Technorati.


HAMPTON, GA – On a rare Tuesday NASCAR race, Jeff Gordon took home the 85th victory of his Sprint Cup career moving him out of a tie with Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip to third all time behind Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105).

Gordon’s win stole the thunder from one of four lucky NASCAR fans sitting on the sidelines with a chance at a Million Dollar payday. With a throwback to the old  “Winston Million” days, the series sponsor Sprint put their money where their cell phone is. Four drivers were qualified (Kyle Busch, Marcos Ambrose, Paul Menard and Brad Keselowski), four fans were selected, each  a shot at a million dollar check from Sprint if their driver won today.

Jeff Gordon was not one of the four and as the winner was accepting his trophy in victory lane an armored car was seen leaving the raceway turning the money bags to the vault.

Jeff Gordon celebrates victory with a finish line burnout.

In a tough day at a slick Atlanta Motor Speedway that saw race cars sliding sideways through the turns, Gordon started the day strong and after a mid-race red flag for rain, came back strong. In the final laps Jimmie Johnson tried every wrench in his drivers toolbox to get past the #24 Chevrolet, but with little to no grip remaining on his Goodyear race tires, the five-time champion had to settle for second.

Tony Stewart passed several cars on the last lap to bring home third, Kurt Busch took 4th and championship contender Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

The hottest  driver over the last four races, Brad Keselowski, came in sixth, followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and A.J. Allmendinger slipped in with a tenth place finish.

With one race left to lock in a position for the ten race Chase, driver’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart, sitting in ninth and tenth, could potentially be bumped out of the Chase with a bad performance next week at Richmond.

To qualify for one of the two wild card spots drivers must be between positions 11 and 20 with one or more victories. Keselowski is assured at least one of the wild-cards sitting in 11th with three victories. Mathematically, Earnhardt and Stewart only need to finish 20th and 18th respectively to secure their spot in the Chase.

So the season comes down to the little track in Richmond. Clint Bowyer and David Ragan fall into the “Must Win” category to even have a shot. It’s a common mindset among other drivers. Paul Menard, Marcos Ambrose and Denny Hamlin could slip into the Chase with a Richmond victor, bringing their season victories to two.

 

September 10 @ 7:30 pm EST

TV:  ABC

Richmond International
Raceway

NASCAR Steals Patrick Away from IRL

Article first published as NASCAR Steals Patrick Away from Indy Racing League on Technorati.

Danica Patrick announces full-time NASCAR Nationwide campaign for 2012.

The worst kept secret in motorsports became official today. Danica Patrick announced (to the few dozen people who didn’t already know) she would be leaving the Indy Car League for racing pursuits in NASCAR.

Patrick will run a full-time campaign in the Nationwide series in 2012 driving the GoDaddy sponsored JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

In a press conference today with GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons at her side, an exuberant Patrick revealed the obvious with a sly smile, “In breaking news that will shock the world…”

After her first stock car experience in the ARCA series at Daytona 2010, Patrick climbed from her race car and said, “…the most fun I had ever had in a race car.” It’s likely her decision to move to NASCAR was inevitable.

“The experience was something I’ve really, really enjoyed,” Patrick said. “The time is now. The opportunity is now. Bob and GoDaddy have made that possible. I want to do it.

“I don’t want to wait years. I want to do it now. And I’m lucky enough to have a sponsor that will stand behind me and allow me to go.”

In addition to her full-time duties with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race team, she has agreed to run 8-10 races with Stewart-Haas racing. (Tony Stewart) Patrick dismissed questions about the 2012 Daytona 500 saying, “We’re definitely considering that, but the schedule right now for the Sprint Cup races next year is not set. The actual races themselves have not been chosen yet.”

Patrick’s decision is a win-win for NASCAR and a lose-lose for the IRL. She has literally been the face of Indy car racing since 2005. It’s likely she will run the Indy 500 next year but beyond that her open wheel days, for now, are behind her. A press release on the Andretti Autosports web site today states, “Andretti Autosport and Danica Patrick announced today that they have a mutual agreement to part ways at the conclusion of the 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series.”

Patrick’s next race for JR Motorsports will be at Richmond on September 9th. She is also scheduled to race at Kansas, Texas, Phoenix and the season finale at Homestead.

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France had this to say following the announcement. “We are pleased Danica Patrick has chosen to race full time in NASCAR in 2012. She has demonstrated a strong desire to compete and NASCAR provides the best opportunity to race against the top drivers in the world with the largest and most loyal fan base in motorsports on a week-to-week basis. Danica has shown solid improvement in NASCAR and we believe her decision to run full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, with additional races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be exciting for our fans and a great challenge for her.”

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Kyle Busch Victory Secures Chase Spot

Article first published as Kyle Busch Victory Secures Chase Spot on Technorati.

Kyle Busch hammers out his first Michigan victory and becomes the only driver so far to secure spot in the Sprint Championship Chase. Busch held off defending champion Jimmie Johnson on a Green-White-Checkered restart for his first Michigan win.

“It’s awesome,” Busch said. “That’s what we wanted. We wanted to make sure that we could come out here and win races and have the opportunity to go for broke.” The victory was Busch’s fourth of the season and in the process denied Johnson the opportunity to go somewhere he’s never been — victory lane at Michigan.

Johnson settled for 2nd, a half second behind Busch. Brad Keselowski finished third, Mark Martin fourth and Ryan Newman took the five spot. Fifth through tenth – Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth.

With the win Busch guarantees, at worst, a wild-card berth in the Chase regardless of how he finishes the next three races, Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond. Coming into Michigan he shared the lead with co-front runner Carl Edwards who suffered early electrical problems and finished 36th. That misfortune relegated the Roush-Fenway driver to fourth in the standings.

Kyle Busch’s Joe Gibbs teammate, Denny Hamlin, had a slight altercation with the wall on lap 122 bringing out a caution, killing his hopes of improving his status in the Chase. Hamlin currently sits on the bubble for one of the wilid card spots. He has one win and sits in 14th.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. holds on to the ninth spot with his lackluster 14th place finish.

NASCAR moves the show to Bristol, TN, for the Irwin Tools Night Race, next Saturday night on ABC.

Brad Keselowski Rides Broken Ankle to Victory Lane

Article first published as Brad Keselowski Rides Broken Ankle to Victory Lane on Technorati.

Over the race season victories begin to run together. Another driver – another checkered flag.

But every now and then a driver steps up and beyond a normal day at the track. Brad Keselowki won Sunday’s “Good Sam RV Insurance” 500 at Pocono with a broken ankle and a dogged determination.

After a lengthy rain delay, which kept cars off the track for an hour and forty minutes, Keselowski led the field on the lap 132 restart with Kurt Busch close by in second but faded to fourth. For the next several laps the Busch brothers ran one and two with Kurt out front.

On Lap 180, Kasey Kahne and Juan Montoya got together bringing out the last caution of the day.

In what turned out to be the gutsy call of the day, Keselowski stayed out on old tires and raced Kyle Busch on the restart with fifteen laps remaining. Even on old rubber the Keselowski machine seemed to easily maintain a comfortable lead and Busch never seriously challenged the young driver for the position.

At the finish it was Brad Keselowki for the win, Kyle Busch in second, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson traded paint on the last lap to settle third and fourth place respectively, without respect for each other. Ryan Newman rounded out the top five. Jeff GordonCarl EdwardsGreg BiffleDale Earnhardt Jr. and Paul Menard completed the top 10.

In the victory lane celebration, Keselowski kept it low-key minimizing his effort by saying, “I’m no hero. The heroes are the guys who died in Afghanistan this weekend. I want to spend time thinking about them. They’re my inspiration for this weekend, the things that those guys do.

“I’m glad that we could win today, but those are the heroes. I just drive race cars for a living.” Keselowski drove the US Navy sponsored car when he drove the Nationwide series.

With the victory, Keselowski helps his chances for one of the Wild Card positions for the ten race Chase for the Sprint cup. The 11th and 12th spots in the Chase this year can be grabbed by a driver in the 11th through 20th positions who has the most victories. The win today was his second of the season. Keselowski sits in the 18th slot.

The 9th for Dale junior was his first top ten in seven races. He still sits on the bubble in 10th, one point below 9th place Tony Stewart.With six more races to determine the Chase, look for drivers outside the top ten without a win to start taking chances. It’s crunch time and nobody knows that better than Brad Keselowski.

The NASCAR show moves to Watkins Glen next Sunday for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen, next Sunday.