Tag Archives: Tony Stewart

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.

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.

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)

Sprint Cup Champion – Tony Stewart

Article first published as Sprint Cup Champion – Tony Stewart on Technorati.

MIAMI — There are race car drivers. And then there is Tony Stewart. Through the ten-race Sprint Cup Chase to the championship, Stewart carved in the exclamation point by seizing a hard fought win in South Florida. Despite an early mechanical issue that dropped Stewart to the rear of the field, driver and team rose to the occasion, cruised through the field and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. Carl Edwards finished a disappointing second.

The last Sunday of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season started out like almost any other with a couple of exceptions. Every eye was focused on Edwards and challenger Stewart, just three points behind in the Chase. And there is no next week. It all came down to this.

Carl Edwards was fast in practice and fastest in qualifying. The race started with Edwards on the pole driving with the confidence of the next champion. Stewart started from the 15th spot.

Edwards wasted no time making a statement and led the first few laps until an early caution for rain came out on lap 13. Stewart by then had moved his way up to 9th.

On lap 18 Stewart brought the Office Depot Chevy to the pit with damage to the front air intake. Crew members worked diligently for a couple of laps bringing their driver in and out of the pit to maintain his position on the lead lap. After repairs Stewart was almost dead-last on the field in the 40th position.

Over the next several laps, as front-runner Carl Edwards continued his domination, Tony Stewart continued to claw his way back toward the front.

On lap 110 a hard rain moved across the speedway bringing out a red flag. The race cars pulled into the pits and drivers exited their race cars to wait out the rain. Stewart had worked his way back to 5th.

A little more than an hour later, with nightfall imminent and track lighting ignited, NASCAR lifted the red flag and sent the competitors back onto the raceway. They ran seven laps under yellow before taking the green on lap 110.

Tony Stewart took the lead on lap 123 and stayed there until a caution for a Trevor Bayne brush with the wall. A slight bobble on Stewart’s pit stop relegated the Office Depot Chevy back to 8th. Carl Edwards restarted in 3rd.

It only took Stewart a half dozen laps to come back and retake the lead but the driver continued to have problems on pit road. On a lap 153 caution for a backstretch altercation between Landon Cassill, Cole Whitt, and Trevor Bayne, Stewart again lost several positions for a mechanical problem in his pit. On the lap 161 restart it was Carl Edwards in 4th and Tony Stewart in 10th.

On lap 201 with Stewart and Edwards running nose-to-tail, Edwards pitted and Stewart stayed out. It was a major gamble for the Office Depot driver as his crew chief, Darrian Grubb, rolled the dice on a fuel mileage strategy, hoping to stretch the fuel to a point where they could finish the race with no more pit stops.

On fumes Stewart took to the pits on lap 212. Just a lap later NASCAR waved the caution flag for rain on the track. This allowed the leaders, including Carl Edwards to come in to pit. With each yellow flag lap the fuels savings were multiplying for both Edwards and Stewart.

At the restart on lap 231 (of 267) Stewart was in 3rd and Edwards in 6th. With the fresher tires, Stewart quickly got around leader Kyle Busch and 2nd place Brad Keselowski.

On lap 236 Edwards charged past the 2nd and 3rd places cars to take second behind leader Tony Stewart.

It’s fitting that the last laps came down to a head-to-head of the race between the two championship contenders. Tony Stewart did exactly what he had to do. He had to win to win. At the end of the race the competitors were tied in points. The tie-breaker went to Stewart on the number of victories over the season.

Martin Truex Jr. followed Edwards to take 3rd, Matt Kenseth 4th, and Jeff Gordon rounded out the top 5. Clint Bowyer took 6th, Kasey Kahne 7th, followed by Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, and Jeff Burton.

For winning the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship, Tony Stewart took home a check from the series sponsor for over $5.6 million dollars. Stewart also becomes the first driver-owner to win the championship since 1992 when Alan Kulwicki brought home the title. Through the course of Sunday night’s race, Tony Stewart passed 118 cars. It is the first time since 1975 that a driver has come from behind in points to win the championship by winning the final race of the season. NASCAR implemented the points system in 1975.

The NASCAR season is done. Racing returns in February for the Shootout in Daytona on February 18, 2012.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ME_hWTYwHk]

Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega

Article first published as Clint Bowyer Wins ‘Dega on Technorati.


In a day that saw championship hopes crumple faster than a fender in the turn three wall, Clint Bowyer and teammate Jeff Burton ran up front all day long. In sight of the checkered flag, Bowyer put the old shake-n-bake slingshot move around Burton and they drag raced through the tri-oval. Bowyer edged Burton at the line. With four more races left with Richard Childress Racing, Clint Bowyer isn’t burning any bridges. He’s polishing that sucker on the way out.

Chase contenders Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick took their lumps earlier in the race. On lap 104,  A.J. Almendinger spun in the middle of the pack causing a big wreck and brought out the fourth caution. With nowhere to go, Harvick took a big hit to his race-car and championship hopes at the same time. He finished in 32nd, 13 laps down.

On lap 174 Kurt Busch played the “wrong-place-at-the-wrong-time” game and collided into the back of Bobbie Labonte’s racecar as it was spinning on the backstretch. The damage relegated the Pennzoil team to the garage and ended their day nine laps down to finish 36th.

A late race caution came out when Mark Martin got loose and sent Regan Smith hard into the outside wall. The stage was set for a showdown between the front runners. On the restart with three laps left, it was Jeff Burton in the lead followed closely by Clint Bowyer and a host of win-hungry drivers looking to get past the Childress cars. But it wasn’t to be.

Burton and Bowyer pulled away on the white flag lap and never looked back. At the finish line it was Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Dave Blaney taking 3rd for his career best finish. Brad Keselowski 4th, and Brian Vickers rounding out the top five. Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip, and Martin Truex Jr. make up the balance of the top ten.

Points leader Carl Edwards played a safe strategy in Sunday’s race and drove near the rear of the pack until late race when he made a charge with teammate Greg Biffle pushing him towards the front. Edwards finished 11th.

In the post-race press conference, Richard Childress, the winningest owner at Talladega, took a bit of a verbal jab at Edwards when he said, “We don’t get paid to ride in the back.”

Sprint Cup Standings 

The show moves to the southern hills of Virginia to the little track at Martinsville for next weeks running of the TUMS Fast Relief 500.

Racing from Martinsville begins Sunday the 30th at 2:00 pm EST on ESPN.

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.

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.

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)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utZXvCW2GE4&w=560&h=315]

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