Tag Archives: Jeff Gordon

Newman Aces Martinsville

[box]
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

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.

Kyle Busch Wins Shootout

[box] Article first published as Kyle Busch is Daytona Shootout Top Gun on Technorati.[/box]

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. — In the NASCAR season opener, Kyle Busch survived some almost crashes to eclipse defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart at the finish line. It was the closest finish in Bud Shootout history.

The M&M’s Toyota started the race at the back of the pack in a backup car. Busch got tangled up in the practice crash on Friday started when Stewart bumped Kurt Busch a half hour into the practice session.

Marcos Ambrose followed the front-runners to a solid third, followed by Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards and Juan Montoya rounded out the top 10.

Stewart took the lead on lap 74 with one lap remaining when a melee developed in Turn Four that sent Jeff Gordon‘s No. 24 Chevrolet barrel-rolling through the turn sliding on its roof toward pit road.

Gordon had been following Kyle Busch on the backstretch when contact between the cars turned Busch onto the apron. For the second time tonight Busch made a spectacular save. Gordon ricocheted up the track and collected the Chevrolets of Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray.

As all three cars intersected the outside wall, Jimmie Johnson edgeded beneath the right rear bumper of Gordon’s car and flipped it over. The wreck sent the race to overtime.

“With Gordon behind me, I don’t know what the deal was there — I’d like to talk to him about it,” Busch said. “When we came off [Turn] 2, he had me sideways, and then all the way down the backstretch, I was still sideways — left, right, left, right, everywhere — then we were off into 3 and he turned me sideways again. He was on the left side of my bumper instead of the right.”

Sprint Cup qualifying for the Daytona 500 will be tomorrow, (Sunday 1:00 pm EST of Fox TV)

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.

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

Keselowski Beats Bristol

Article first published as Keselowski Beats Bristol on Technorati.


Brad Keselowski may very well be the hottest driver in NASCAR right now. Just four races ago the young driver had only managed to average a 23rd place finish through 20 races and at 21st in points not on anyone’s radar.

And then he broke his ankle in a practice crash at Road Atlanta. Since then Keselowski has finished first at Pocono, second at Watkins Glen, third at Michigan and then the big win last night at Bristol.

Now he sits in the 11th position a serious threat for the Championship. His three victories all but ensures him a spot in the Chase, but with two races remaining and the mother of all hot streaks going, Keselowski is positioned to knock someone out of a guaranteed top ten spot. Without a win Tony Stewart or Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not be qualifed for one of the wild-card spots.

With 80 laps remaining in last night’s Irwin Tools 500, Keselowski took the lead and never looked back. “Wow — the night race at Bristol!” Keselowski gushed in the victory lane interview. “I used to watch Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt win this race. This is a race of champions. I can’t believe it. There’s races that pay more. There’s races that might have a little more prestige, but this is the coolest damn one of them all.”

Martin Truex Jr. ran second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray. Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, pole-sitter Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose filled out the top 10.

Kyle Busch hit the wall on the wall on lap 418 and fell out of contention for his Bristol sweep. Fan favorite Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 16th but holds on to his 9th spot in the standings.

Compared to many of Bristol’s past crash fests this race went fast with only six cautions for 42 laps. The average speed was 96.753 mph and it took two hours-45 minutes to run the race.

For a full rundown of the point standings go to NASCAR Standings.

NASCAR heads to Atlanta for next week’s AdvoCare 500.

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.

Weirdo Wednesday – July 20, 2011

It’s a bit unusual that my NASCAR blog over at Technorati and my Weirdo Wednesday entry here would align in a collage of weirdness, yet here we are. This article first published as Weird Trophies of NASCAR on Technorati.

NASCAR Sprint Cup takes a rare week off as teams prepare for one of their biggest races of the season, the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 31st.

With drivers off doing their thing, crew chiefs working on the cars and race fans readying for the run up to the Chase, finding something worthwhile to write about this week was a bit of a struggle. Then I came across the picture to the right.

Tony Stewart is no little guy but he more resembles one of Tolkien’s Hobbits standing beside this monstrosity. For winning the Bass Pro Shops 500 in 2006, this was his prize. Stewart was overheard telling his crew chief later, “I’m going to need a bigger mantle.”

NASCAR trophies through the years have run the gamut from the tiniest little brass gizmos with no character and little room for the drivers name, to some of the wildest, weirdest trophies in professional sports. Here is a quick look.

For winning a race at Martinsville the driver takes home one of the most sought after trophies in the sport – a Grandfather Clock.  Valued at over $11,000 the clock is the most coveted trophy in all of NASCAR. Everybody wants a clock and the checkered flag that comes with it.

After body-slamming their race-cars around the mile and a half track just a few miles north of the Las Vegas strip, it seems fitting the winner’s trophy looks more like a wrestling belt from the WWE.

Dover International Raceway is a treacherous one-mile concrete raceway located on Dover Downs Hotel & Casino property just north of Dover, DE. Somewhere along the way this speedway picked up the nickname, The Monster Mile for the beating it hands out over 500 laps of racing. It was only a matter of time before a trophy came along to reflect its personality. Rumor has it, Thing, of Fantastic Four fame, was the model for this monstrosity.

If there’s a rock and roll heaven, they should be lucky enough to have a mondo-trophy like the winner of the Chevy Rock & Roll 400 at Richmond receives. Now if only Alice Cooper would give up golf and take up racing.

Keeping with the guitar theme, winners of the Nationwide race at Nashville Superspeedway gets to take home this Sam Bass custom painted Gibson Guitar. (Nashville is Gibson’s headquarters.)


Carl Edwards looks like a playa!

It’s been said that everything is bigger in Texas, even their boots. The winners trophy from the Samsung 500 at Texas Motor Speedway is this homage to Cowboy life. Handguns not included.

Win a race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA, and a bottle of Napa Valley’s finest blush awaits the driver in victory lane. Now that’s the way to chug a glass of wine.

David Ragan Wins Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

David Ragan atones for late race mistake that handed the Daytona 500 to rookie Trevor Bayne.

Article first published as David Ragan Wins Coke Zero 400 at Daytona on Technorati.


David Ragan was out front on the last restart, exactly where he was in February for the Daytona 500. He screwed that one up with a penalty and finished seventh. Not to be denied, the young driver was rock steady and two laps later absolved himself of the spring snafu.


Ah, the sweet taste of redemption for the driver of the Jack Roush owned, UPS Ford. It was Ragan’s first win in his fifth season of Sprint Cup.

“It’s a good feeling to come back here — we got one back at Daytona,” said Ragan, 25, in post race interviews. “It would have been tough to lose another one. I thought about that, actually, under that last caution [before the final restart]. I said, ‘Man, if we don’t win this thing, I’m not going to talk to anyone afterward.’

“We were able to win, and that does ease the pain from February. … This is a great race. It does ease the pain, and so we’ll think about this one a lot more than we’ll think about the Daytona 500.”

The race itself seemed to have two distinctly different personalities. The first 157 laps had a couple of minor skirmishes resulting in early cautions. Daytona 500 Winner, Trevor Bayne, was knocked out on lap five ending his shot at the Daytona sweep. Points leader Carl Edwards got the short end of an bump from Greg Biffleon lap 23. With heavy damage to the 99 car, Edwards fought to stay in the race. At one point he got very sick in the race car overcome by exhaust fumes. He would finish in 37th, 26 laps off the pace.

And then the second part that was more demolition derby than “Gentlemen, start your engines.” Just three laps from the end on lap 157, Jeff Gordon was spun around by slight contact from Kasey Kahne. Gordon made a spectacular save and kept the #24 Chevy off the Daytona wall.

On lap 162 the first green-white-checkered finish took off with Ryan Newman out front. Denny HamlinDavid RaganMatt KensethBrian Vickers and Kasey Kahne second through sixth.

Barely up in turn two the “Big One” unfolded as the field bunched up and race cars turned into pinballs.  Joey Logano got into Mark Martin and took a dozen cars with them.

On lap 168, Ragan lead the field on the second G-W-C restart with Ryan NewmanMatt KensethDenny HamlinKevin HarvickPaul MenardJoey LoganoKasey KahneJamie McMurray and Juan Montoya in positions two through ten.

Ragan stayed out front and would not be denied as the field was crashing behind him. Teammate Matt Kenseth finishes second and Joey Logano took third.

Carl Edwards dropped to second in points behind new leader Kevin Harvick.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=HjmPvYZl25k]