Tag Archives: Paul Menard

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.

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

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.

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.

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