Tag Archives: Jimmie Johnson

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.

Denny Hamlin Wins Kansas

Changing track conditions at Kansas pushed Denny Hamlin to the lead for his first victory at Kansas Speedway.

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Article first published as Hamlin Enjoys the Sunshine at Kansas on Technorati.[/box]

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Denny Hamlin drove to victory in Sunday’s STP 400 holding off Martin Truex Jr. the final 30 laps. The win is Hamlin’s second of the season, his first at the 1.5-mile Kansas track, and the 19th of his career.

Denny Hamlin

Jimmie Johnson took third, followed closely by Roush Fenway Racing drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Truex moved into second place in the Sprint Cup Series standings behind Biffle, who leads by 15 points.

A late cycle of green-flag pit stops put all the contenders on the same sequence. Then, for the first time all day, the sun broke through, changing the track dynamics and the whole complexion of the race.

Before the sun came out, Truex had dominated the race, leading 173 laps. The shifting track conditions altered the handling on Truex’s Toyota to “wrecking loose.” Hamlin got past Truex for the lead on Lap 237 and began to drive away with Jimmie Johnson pursuing from the third position.

To Hamlin, the sunlight was a welcome game-changer.

“We just needed some kind of change — weather or adjustments or something to get where he was at — and we kind of got both of them. In overcast conditions, the cars run a little bit tighter, the grip level’s higher in the race car, and it’s more of a track-position type race. When the sun’s out, the drivers, in my opinion, are more prominent,” Hamlin said.

“You move around, find the grip, do things in the car to make up for what you don’t have. The slicker the conditions are, the better it tends to be for our race team. Luckily, we had that run in sunshine.”

When clouds returned to cover the track again, Truex found handling and began to close on Hamlin. Truex tried racing beneath Hamlin in Turn 3 twice in the final three laps but couldn’t get the job done.

“Desperation,” Truex exclaimed. “I was a little bit faster than Denny at the end, but he was running against the wall right where I needed to be, and I was just trying to gain a little bit of ground.

“It was desperation — last-ditch effort — just trying something. There was no chance to make it work.”

In spite of the varying track conditions, Truex pointed to a bad set of tires for the final run as root cause.

“I’m just not really sure what to think of that last set of tires,” Truex said. “The car had been really good all day, we put the last set on, and I was just wrecking loose for the first 20 laps of that last run.

“Denny was able to get by me, and once he did, the race was over. The car got better longer in the run, and I was able to get back to him, but I’d get three or four car-lengths from him and pick up the aero push …

“I guess if we can be this disappointed with second, it kind of shows how far we’ve come as a race team.”

denny hamlinNext race:
Richmond 3/4 Mile Speedway

Saturday, April 28
7:00 p.m. 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.

NASCAR Math: 8 Drivers, 20 Points, 1 Trophy = High Drama

Article first published as NASCAR Math: 8 Drivers, 20 Points, 1 Trophy = High Drama on Technorati.

I hate math. These days you almost need a degree in quantum physics to calculate probabilites, statistics, point differentials and scenarios inNASCAR. For instance do you remember ratios? To compare this season, using a brand new points system to seasons past, you have to look at rations.

The top-eight drivers are separated by only 20 points. With NASCAR’s simpler point-per-position format, what does that mean, exactly? Here’s one way look at it: What used to be a 25 point penalty is now six tiny little points.

So, put on your algebra hat and work the ratio:
If 6 is to 25, then 20 (points from first to eighth ) is to X?
I think you will find that X = 83.3.

That little calculation told us that this years 20 point separation from first to eighth would be 83 points in years past. Looking back, the fewest points separating first and eighth after the first four Chase races was 116 points in 2005. That makes this race season the tightest ever this deep into the season.

The drivers involved in this high octane affair and all the dynamics of competition makes this seasons chase one of the most drama filled title fights in NASCAR history. In one corner you’ve got Jimmie Johnson running for his sixth straight Sprint Cup. At Kansas Speedway last week, Johnson won his 20th career Chase race. He is the only driver to have won at least one race in all eight editions of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Don’t count on him slowing down. After a runner-up finish at Dover two weeks ago and the win at Kansas, a similar outcome seems likely at Charlotte on Saturday night. Johnson boasts six wins there which ties him for most all-time with NASCAR Hall of FamerBobby Allison and Hall of Fame inducteeDarrell Waltrip.

Then around the other corners you have title contender Carl Edwards, who nabbed the points lead with an unlikely fifth-place finish at Kansas. He now holds a slim one-point lead over Kevin Harvick who is looking for the Charlotte sweep. Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

There are also three past champions within striking distance. Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth have all hoisted the Sprint Cup.

You can’t count out Chase rookie Brad Keselowski in the fourth spot trailing Edwards by only 11 points. And then there’s Kyle Busch, a threat to win anytime he rolls out on a speedway. You can bet with six Chase races remaining, Kyle Busch, sitting in the eight spot, is not going to just lie down. He’s going to cinch up the gloves and get at it.

This is like a David and Goliath whodunit where all the players are the big guy.

Jimmie Johnson Gets it Done at Kansas

Article first published as Jimmie Johnson Gets it done at Kansas on Technorati.


Jimmie Johnson continues to elevate his by winning Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway. It was a dominating performance as Johnson led for 197 of the 272 laps.

Teammate Jeff Gordon struggled in the late stages of the race and was responsible for a caution with three laps remaining to bring out the last caution of the day and setting up a Green-White-Checkered finish.

Red Bull driver, Kasey Kahne, not in the Chase and getting ready to be Jimmie Johnson’s teammate next season was closing in on Johnson when the caution came out.

On the restart, Kahne spun his tires giving Johnson an advantage at the line. Kahne never seriously challenged the #48 car for the lead. Kahne took 2nd place behind winner Jimmie Johnson.

Brad Keselowski brought it home third, Matt Kenseth in fourth and Championship contender Carl Edwards cracks the top five. Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Marcos Ambrose and Mark Martin round out the top ten.

Championship Standings after Kansas

Chase Standings

Bank of America 500NASCAR takes the show back to Charlotte next week for the running of the Bank of America 500 and the 5th stop on the road to the Championship.

Race is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. on ABC. (October 15)

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

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.