Tag Archives: Tony Stewart

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.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxpdKeC5T7A&w=560&h=345]

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.

Ryan Newman Races Boss to Checkered Flag

Article first published as Ryan Newman Races Boss to Checkered Flag on Technorati.

Ryan Newman lead the one-two punch, Stewart-Haas victory dance with his employer and teammate, Tony Stewart, a little better than 0.7 seconds behind. Newman ended a 47-race winless streak with the victory.

“One hell of a day boys — one hell of a day,” Stewart radioed to his team as he watched the checkered flag drop on his teammate. Newman posted his first victory of the season, his third at new Hampshire and the 15th of his career.

Denny Hamlin snagged third, followed by Joey Logano fourth and Jimmie Johnson close behind in fifth. Kasey KahneBobby LabonteMartin Truex Jr.Marcos Ambrose and Kurt Busch round out the top ten.

Kyle Busch started the day as the points leader but saw trouble on lap 50 when he blew a right front tire and crashed in turn two.

“Blew a bead,” Busch said, “Fastest car here — getting through the field pretty good and kind of the only guy passing guys, I guess, there. We made some big changes there on that pit stop.

“We came back and got four [tires] just to make sure we got all the changes we wanted to. Working our way up through there. Just blew a bead, I guess, transferring too much brake heat through the wheel.”

The M&Ms crew repaired the #18 Toyota and Kyle Busch returned to the race on Lap 134. He finished 36th and dropped four places in the Chase standings.