Articles filed under NASCAR

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  • Elliott holds off Bayne for Nationwide win Jul 19, 2014 10:51 PM
    Chase Elliott held off Trevor Bayne to win the Nationwide Series stop at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday night. Elliott had a strong car all day long for JR Motorsports, qualifying third and leading a race-high 85 laps. Bayne tried to chase him down on fresh tires in the final laps, but ran out of time. Elliott’s third victory of the year, following wins at Texas and Darlington, moved him to the top of the series standings.

     
  • High stakes at Chicagoland Speedway this weekend Jul 18, 2014 2:07 PM
    There's some serious green on the line for NASCAR Nationwide Series drivers this weekend. There's $100,000 at stake Saturday in the Nationwide Dash 4 Cash at Chicagoland Speedway's EnjoyIllinois.com 300 race (7:30 p.m. on ESPN2).

     
  • Edwards drives to victory at Sonoma Jun 22, 2014 6:31 PM
    SONOMA, Calif. — Carl Edwards made Roush Fenway Racing the unlikely organization to end Hendrick Motorsports’ five-race winning streak. Edwards stopped the Hendrick juggernaut with a win Sunday at Sonoma Raceway, the first career victory for Edwards on a road course. The win came a week after Roush was shut out at Michigan, where the organization failed to put a car in the top 10 for the first time since 2000. Edwards took the lead on a restart with 25 laps remaining and seemed to have the win wrapped up, but Jeff Gordon nearly chased him down on the final lap. Gordon, a five-time Sonoma winner, had one good look at Edwards and couldn’t pull off the pass. “That’s the best I’ve got and it almost wasn’t good enough,” Edwards said. “That last lap was ugly. I grew up watching Jeff Gordon do well here, so to have him in my mirror, that is very special.” It wasn’t a terrible day for the Hendrick organization, which had won every Sprint Cup Series race since Jeff Gordon’s victory at Kansas on May 10. Instead, HMS settled for all four of its drivers finishing in the top seven. Gordon, the Sprint Cup Series points leader, wound up second. He said he made one mistake in overdriving a turn with about five laps to go that allowed Edwards to build a healthy lead. “I just couldn’t put enough pressure on him,” Gordon said. “I think had I put some more pressure on him, I saw him really struggling with the (tire) grip level, but he did everything he needed to do. That last lap, I gave it my best effort and closed up on him and he didn’t overdrive it. I was hoping he might slide up and I’d get a run on him.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third after rallying from an earlier incident that wrecked Matt Kenseth, and was apologetic on the radio and after the race. “I tried to screw it up a couple times in the race, but I calmed down and was able to get a good finish,” Earnhardt said after his career-best finish on a road course. “I got into Matt, I jumped a curb and jumped into the air and just ran into him. Totally my fault. I hope he’s not sore with me.” Kasey Kahne bounced back from an early flat tire to finish sixth and Jimmie Johnson was seventh. In all, Chevrolet drivers took spots two through seven as pole-sitter Jamie McMurray, using a Hendrick engine, finished fourth and Paul Menard was fifth. Fords rounded out the top 10, led by Edwards, Marcos Ambrose eighth and Roush driver Greg Biffle was 10th. The highest-finishing Toyota was Clint Bowyer in 11th. Bowyer was the leader on a restart with 31 laps to go, was passed by Ambrose, and then got a flat left rear tire. The tire problem led to Jamie McMurray turning Bowyer, and as Bowyer’s car was stopped in the middle of the track, bottleneck traffic caused Kevin Harvick to run into Bowyer. “We got ourselves in position and had a flat. It was going down and I was all over the place,” he said. “Jamie just kind of finished me up and got me out of the way. Bad luck, man.” Edwards’ win is his first career victory on a road course, and he’d never been higher than third at Sonoma. More important, it was his second win of this season and locks him into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field. “This is a moment I’ll never forget, to be standing in Victory Lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon with all of the success he’s had here and in our sport,” Edwards said. “I’m living proof that whatever it is you’re doing, just keep doing it and don’t ever give up because somehow things can work out.” It was Edwards’ 23rd win of his career, the 135th Sprint Cup Series victory for car owner Jack Roush, and it made Edwards the 10th consecutive different winner at Sonoma. “My road racing progression has been a pretty long climb,” Edwards said, recalling times testing with Boris Said. “A lot of hard work has gone into this.” Crew chief Jimmy Fennig said the race played into their hands after pitting with 40 to go and then a caution came out and Fennig made the call to not bring Edwards in a second time under yellow. The strategy moved Edwards toward the front of the field and he moved his way to the front. “When you got somebody like Carl behind the wheel, and you put him out front, he’s going to get it done,” Fennig said. “To have two wins right now and to be locked in really feels good.”

     
  • Johnson ends drought at Coca-Cola 600 May 25, 2014 10:46 PM
    About the only one not worried about Jimmie Johnson’s victory drought this season was the Sprint Cup defending champion. After his dominating show this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson gave his competitors plenty to worry about. Johnson reached Victory Lane for the first time this season at the Coca-Cola 600, finishing off a dominating week at a track many have called “Jimmie’s House.” “It’s great to win, but believe me, and I promise you, all the hype and all the concern and worry, that was elsewhere. That wasn’t in my head,” Johnson said. Now, Johnson can think about his record-breaking seventh Cup win at Charlotte, about his 13th straight NASCAR season with a victory or about his fourth 600 victory to trail only Darrell Waltrip’s five in the series’ longest race. And maybe throw a scare into opponents that Johnson’s run at top isn’t over yet. “They know we are awake,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, the 48 is heading that way and we can give other people something to think about.” This time, Johnson swept past Matt Kenseth nine laps from the end and was never pressured after that. Johnson earned the pole Thursday night, was strong at practice Saturday and led 165 of 400 laps Sunday. Kevin Harvick, who led 100 laps, was second. Kenseth finished third with Carl Edwards fourth. Jamie McMurray, the All-Star race winner last weekend at the track, was fifth. Kurt Busch’s attempt at motorsports history ended with 129 laps to go when he blew an engine. Busch finished sixth in the Indianapolis 500, but could not complete the 600 and become just the second racer ever — Tony Stewart was the first — to navigate all 1,100 miles on auto racing’s biggest weekend. Harvick had won two of the past three 600s and led 100 laps this time. He fell back in the latter stages as he dealt with car problems and could not get back to the front. “We needed a 700-mile race to get back to where we needed to be,” Harvick said. Brad Keselowski held the lead and appeared to have out-pitted Johnson’s No. 48 group with a final stop 55 laps from the end. But a vibration in the Penske machine sent Keselowski back to the pits and a lap down. Much of the pre-race attention was centered on whether Busch or points leader Jeff Gordon would make to the starting line. Busch because of his 850-mile trek South from Indiana and Gordon because of back spasms that cropped up Thursday after qualifying and were still severe enough Saturday for him to leave the track early after just a few laps of practice. But both were there when the green flag dropped, although Busch’s arrival was far more dramatic with the helicopter circling the track and landing on the infield close to the start-finish line about an hour before the race began. He received loud cheers and plenty of high-fives from fans and took a seat on the bench where driver introductions were made. As colleagues and competitors made their way up the steps, most made sure to chat up Busch or shake his hand on a job well done. Busch had a bit of luck to stay on the lead lap, twice earning a lucky dog bid after going a lap down to return among the leaders. He eventually reached the top 10 and was running 16th when smoke started pouring out of his Stewart-Haas Chevrolet and sent him behind the wall and to a 40th-place finish. “Kind of a shame, kind of symbolizes how it’s been for the Haas Automation team,” Busch said. “We gave it our all with the way we were clawing our way up there.” The 42-year-old Gordon, a four-time series champion, has dealt with back problems before and his No. 24 team had driver Regan Smith on standby if Gordon couldn’t go. But if Gordon’s back bothered him during the race, he didn’t show it with his performance. He spent much of the night in the top 10 and was out front until Kenseth passed him on a restart 16 laps from the end. Gordon finished seventh, his ninth top-10 finish in 12 events this year. “It was tough. I was aching in there. There was one time when I got on the brakes into (Turn) 1 and it triggered something. I didn’t know what was going to happen after that, but it settled down,” Gordon said. Gordon maintained his points lead by 11 over second-place Kenseth. Danica Patrick had hopes of a strong showing after qualifying fourth, her best starting spot of the season. But like Busch, she too, was out early with a blown engine 119 laps from the end. She was 39th, her poorest finish in three 600s. Dale Earnhardt Jr. came into this one with seven top 10s in 11 races and the hope he could finally win a points race at his beloved home track. He led 13 laps late in the race before he had engine problems as well and faded from contention. He ended 19th.

     
  • Tony Stewart edges Keselowski for pole at Texas Apr 5, 2014 5:50 PM
    Tony Stewart knocked Brad Keselowski from the pole as qualifying ended Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway. Stewart waited right until the end of the final round to attempt his lap and circled the speedway at 195.454 mph to grab the top starting spot for Sunday’s race. It’s Stewart’s 15th career pole and first since Atlanta in 2012. “It was cool. I’m not normally a qualifier,” Stewart said.

     
  • Spellman’s Scorecard: Closing the book on ill-fated campaign Mar 14, 2014 5:30 AM
    If only Opening Day in baseball were as cool as it used to be. Want to see how a real opening day is done? Check out NASCAR.

     
  • NASCAR must address dangers in qualifying format Mar 10, 2014 8:08 PM
    NASCAR would be hard-pressed to find many fans who don’t prefer the drama and intrigue of the new, knockout qualifying format over the old system of single-car runs. But the rules have created a wrinkle that drivers up and down the grid say is far too dangerous. Finding an immediate solution to what Brian Vickers called “the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done in racing” should be NASCAR’s only item on the agenda this week.

     
  • Keselowski edges Junior on last lap in Las Vegas Mar 9, 2014 5:46 PM
    Brad Keselowski surged ahead on the final lap when Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran out of fuel, claiming a dramatic victory Sunday in the NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. When Earnhardt’s Chevy slowed in the final miles, Keselowski roared past in his Penske Ford for the first weekend sweep in his career. He followed up Saturday’s Nationwide Series victory with his first Vegas Cup win. Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup champion, also virtually assured himself of a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship after missing it entirely last season, a thought was already on his mind immediately after the finish. “Locked in the Chase early,” Keselowski said. “I don’t have to hear all that crap about not being in the Chase.” Earnhardt was just a few ounces of fuel shy of earning his second victory in three races to start the season. The Daytona 500 champion also finished second last week at Phoenix before improving the best start to a season in his NASCAR career. “We weren’t supposed to make it,” Earnhardt said. “We were trying to save as much as we can and make it work, but we knew we were short. We wouldn’t have finished second if we didn’t have that strategy.” Paul Menard finished third in front of Keselowski’s teammate, pole-sitter Joey Logano. Carl Edwards was fifth, and Jimmie Johnson came in sixth. The Las Vegas race is the first of 11 on 1.5-mile tracks, and NASCAR spent much of the offseason working on ways to improve the racing on these tracks with a new aerodynamics package and other improvements. The changes resulted in 23 drivers breaking the track speed record during qualifying, but the racing wasn’t particularly thrilling until that final lap. Keselowski and Earnhardt are the only two drivers to finish in the top five in each of the season’s first three races, and they dueled down the stretch after Earnhardt passed him for the lead on a restart with 42 laps to go. Earnhardt had gone to the pits on the 211th lap and attempted to stick it out, while Keselowski had pitted several laps later. Earnhardt praised NASCAR’s new Chase setup, which allowed him to take a fuel gamble in Vegas after winning already this season. Additional wins are worth bonus points in the Chase, while a second-place finish doesn’t help his position much — hence the motivation to go for broke on an empty tank. Keselowski was in fine form after his third-place finish in Phoenix last week without crew chief Paul Wolfe, who had returned home for his child’s birth. Keselowski also finished third at Daytona.

     
  • Spellman’s Scorecard: A way to keep stars in college Mar 7, 2014 5:30 AM
    How do you keep kids from leaving college too soon to join the NBA? Show em' the money.

     
  • Coach Q would love to go for the gold someday Feb 27, 2014 8:45 PM
    OK, so, if Hawks coach Joel Quenneville can’t be the head coach of Team Canada, at least the guy should have a spot behind the bench in some capacity, right? More than deserves it.

     
  • Mike North video: Daytona delay ends in victory for Earnhardt Feb 24, 2014 11:11 AM
    The Daytona 500 , won by Dale Earnhardt Jr., should have been called off till Monday because of the 6 hour rain delay so fans and TV viewers could have seen the end of the race.

     
  • Earnhardt’s Daytona 500 win lifts ‘heavy weight’ Feb 24, 2014 5:01 PM
    There was a moment late in the Daytona 500 when Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a moment to catch his breath. It was clearly his race to lose and the tension ran thick through Junior Nation, all the way into his car. It had been 10 years since he won his first 500, and after three runner-up finishes the last four seasons in a race that had caused his family so much heartache and joy, the moment was overwhelming. “It’s a big race and you want to win it so badly, and your team wants to win so badly,” he said afterward.

     
  • Earnhardt Jr. wins his 2nd Daytona 500 Feb 23, 2014 11:04 PM
    Through rain and wrecks, Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended the only drought that mattered. NASCAR’s most popular driver won the Daytona 500 for the second time, a decade after his first victory in the “Great American Race.” Earnhardt snapped a 55-race winless streak Sunday night that dated to 2012. It ended a streak of futility at Daytona International Speedway, where he finished second in three of the previous four 500s. He radioed to his crew “this is better than the first one,” as he circled the track on his cool-down lap in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Rain stopped the race about 45 minutes after it began for a delay of more than six hours. When it resumed, Earnhardt dominated at the track where his father was killed in an accident on the last lap of the 2001 race.

     
  • Danica Patrick continues to shake off Daytona doubters Feb 22, 2014 4:53 PM
    Jamie Dodge is a 64-year-old die-hard Danica Patrick fan who made the trek from Huntington Beach, Calif., to watch her favorite driver in the Daytona 500. Dodge says she’s battling cancer and uses Patrick as an inspiration to continue her fight. “I was in an all-male profession for 25 years, so I know what she goes through every day,” the former police officer said.

     
  • Regan Smith wins Nationwide opener at Daytona Feb 22, 2014 5:01 PM
    Regan Smith had the checkered flag in sight at Daytona a year ago and a freight train of cars in his rearview mirror. He moved high to throw a block on Brad Keselowski and it backfired badly. The desperate attempt to preserve the win triggered a 12-car accident, Kyle Larson’s car sailed into the fence and debris from the wreck injured nearly 30 fans. It was a racing accident, nobody’s fault. But Smith was racked with guilt. So it was sweet redemption Saturday when he nipped Keselowski at the finish line to win the Nationwide Series opener — finally, a year later — at Daytona International Speedway. “I think it hurt him deeply that the fans were involved in the accident,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who along sister, Kelley and Rick Hendrick owns the JR Motorsports Chevrolet that Smith drove to victory. “I think that he personally and privately (bore) some responsibility for his involvement in the crash, just being in the crash, to have someone in the grandstands get hurt had to affect him tremendously. That was definitely probably one of the toughest things he went through personally as a driver.” Smith said he went to dinner with Earnhardt after the accident and leaned on his boss. “I’m fortunate that I’ve got a boss who has been in a lot of different situations in this sport and understands a lot of different things over the years in Dale,” Smith said. “He just basically said ‘You’ve got to shake it off, it’s racing and no fault of anybody. Circumstances sometimes happen. He offered up a lot of good advice in that situation. It did bother me. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t.” Nothing bothered Smith on Saturday. He beat Keselowski by 0.013 for the second-closest finish at Daytona International Speedway and seventh closest in series history. It was the 300th victory for the Hendrick Motorsports engine shop. Keselowski said last year’s crash-marred finish never entered his mind as he plotted his strategy over the closing laps. Smith and Keselowski raced side-by-side at the front of the pack over the final two overtime laps. They were door-to-door exiting the final turn and Smith edged him at the line. “I’m not that smart and I’ve got a terrible memory,” Keselowski said of not worrying about a repeat of last year. Trevor Bayne finished third, followed by Kyle Busch, winner of Friday night’s Truck Series race, and his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Elliott Sadler. Brendan Gaughan was sixth and followed by Ty Dillon. Earnhardt Jr., who was 11th, ran into the back of Joe Nemechek after the finish. He said he was being pushed by Kyle Larson and traffic slowed too quickly. It caused heavy damage to Nemechek and Ryan Sieg’s cars that Earnhardt said he’d pay to repair. “We were slowing down. I was looking all around trying to figure out where everybody was at,” he said. “Totally my fault. Really wasn’t paying attention. I hate it for Joe and those guys ‘cause they don’t need to be tearing up race cars.” NASCAR issued its first drafting penalty of the season 86 laps into race when James Buescher was called for push-drafting Keselowski. Buescher’s car seemed to be under the rear of Keselowski’s car for several seconds, which violates NASCAR’s ban on drafting. NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said the penalty was called because Buescher appeared to be the aggressor regardless of what the television angle showed. Keselowski said the penalty “set the tone for the rest of the race as far as what guys were looking at for driving their cars.”

     
  • After Busch truck win, NASCAR might limit drivers’ double duty Feb 22, 2014 4:39 PM
    Kyle Busch’s thrilling move in the final few hundred feet of the Truck Series season opener led to his 99th win outside NASCAR’s top series. The victory infuriated many fans. NASCAR heard them loud and clear. NASCAR said Saturday it is looking at potentially limiting the number of second- and third-tier event Sprint Cup regulars can run during the season.

     
  • Naming any sport’s Mount Rushmore not easy task Feb 21, 2014 5:17 AM
    Now that everyone in the world has come up with their personal sports Mount Rushmore, maybe it's time to move on to a new topic. How about Olympic hockey?

     
  • Spellmanís Scorecard: Bears GM positively special Jan 3, 2014 5:30 AM
    Bears GM Phil Emery has done it again.

     
  • Jimmie Johnson wins 6th NASCAR championship Nov 18, 2013 5:45 AM
    Jimmie Johnson has a sixth NASCAR championship in hand and two legends within reach. Johnson staked his claim as one of the most dominant competitors Sunday by winning his sixth Sprint Cup title in eight years. "We'll see if I can get seven," Johnson said. "Let's wait until I hang up the helmet until we really start thinking about this."

     
  • Sez here that Bears should retire Peanutís number Nov 15, 2013 1:21 PM
    What if the Bears found a way to retire one more jersey number and the three guys they had to choose from to receive that honor were Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs? Whom should they select?

     
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