Articles filed under NASCAR

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  • Gordon covets elusive 5th title as Chase begins Sep 13, 2014 7:22 PM
    At 43 years old, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon's passion for racing and winning has been revived. He wants nothing more than to win his fifth series title — the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway — and he has the full support of his family in chasing his goal.

     
  • Kyle Busch wins Trucks Series race at Joliet Sep 13, 2014 9:49 PM
    Kyle Busch bounced back from a disappointing finish in the Nationwide Series to get the win in the Trucks Series race in a Saturday doubleheader at Chicagoland Speedway. Busch came from the rear of the field twice to win in his own Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. It was Busch’s sixth win this season and 41st of his career.

     
  • Harvick wins again for JR Motorsports in Joliet Sep 13, 2014 7:09 PM
    Kevin Harvick gained valuable track position with an aggressive pit road call that pushed him to yet another win for JR Motorsports. Harvick earned his fourth Nationwide Series win of the season — giving JR Motorsports nine on the year — with his victory Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway.

     
  • Mercifully, NFL preseason comes to an end Aug 29, 2014 9:09 AM
    Even though it was a meaningless preseason game, we still have to talk about it - right? I guess, but we'll keep it short and sweet.

     
  • Mourners gather for driver hit by Stewart’s car Aug 14, 2014 10:48 AM
    Mourners are streaming into the upstate New York high school where funeral services are being held for Kevin Ward Jr., the dirt-track racer killed by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart during a race last weekend. Ward’s casket, decorated with orange and white flowers, was carried into South Lewis Senior High School about an hour before services were to begin. Ward, a 2012 graduate, lived in nearby Port Leyden.

     
  • Ward crafted reputation as wheelman Aug 11, 2014 9:52 PM
    Kevin Ward Jr. was crafting a reputation as a wheelman, the kind of driver who could race vehicles on any track without fear. He'd sit up on his seat, floor it, and zip his way through a maze of cars straight toward the front of the pack. Ward was killed Saturday night about 140 miles away at a clay track in Canandaigua when he was struck by NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

     
  • Latest auto racing tragedy impossible to comprehend Aug 11, 2014 5:55 PM
    Of all the ways auto racing places people in jeopardy -- crashes for drivers, flying auto parts into the crowd for fans, sideswipes for pit crews -- the weekend's fatality was the least expected. Kevin Ward Jr. essentially jaywalked across a dirt track to confront fellow driver Tony Stewart and died when Stewart's car struck him.

     
  • Allmendinger wins Watkins Glen Sprint Cup race Aug 10, 2014 5:00 PM
    AJ Allmendinger beat Marcos Ambrose on a two-lap dash to the finish to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen International on a somber Sunday. The victory made his one-car team for JTG Daugherty Racing eligible for the Chase for the Sprint Cup title. Allmendinger held off Ambrose through the first two turns and opened a lead after both cars bumped and won going away. Three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart pulled out of the race 12 hours after he struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car during a race in nearby Canandaigua, New York. Allmendinger offered his condolences to the Ward family after he won, saying “we’re a community here, we’re thinking about you.” In a statement released during the race by a spokesman, Stewart said: “There aren’t words to describe the sadness I feel about the accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. It’s a very emotional time for all involved, and it is the reason I’ve decided not to participate in today’s race at Watkins Glen. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and everyone affected by this tragedy.” Regan Smith drove Stewart’s car instead and finished 35th after having to start from the back of the 43-car field and getting caught in a late accident. It was the second straight time Stewart missed the race at The Glen, where he has a NASCAR-record five victories. He suffered a broken leg in a sprint car accident in Iowa days before the Cup race and missed the rest of the season. There were three restarts in the decisive closing laps. Allmendinger got the jump on Ambrose in the first one with nine laps to go, but Jimmie Johnson was bumped in the first turn and his No. 48 spun around, collecting two other cars and precipitating a caution. The race restarted again with five laps left and both Ambrose and Allmendinger were side-by-side through the esses, banging against each other before Ambrose took the lead in the chicane as he’s done so many times in the past, dirt flying as both cars hit the grass. Allmendinger wasn’t done, regaining the lead on the next lap as he outbraked the Australian into turn 1 before a crash involving Denny Hamlin caused another red flag with four laps left. The 90-lap race on the 2.45-mile layout was red-flagged for 1 hour, 21 minutes just past the midpoint after a violent crash involving Ryan Newman and Michael McDowell that involved three other cars. Newman’s Chevrolet spun hard into the Armco barrier lining the track, ripping a big hole in the barrier’s metal. The car then spun around twice and went back across the racing surface, collecting McDowell in his No. 95, which incurred heavy damage in the rear. Newman, McDowell and Alex Bowman were treated in the infield care center and released. Allmendinger gained the lead on lap 64 after pit stops, with Kurt Busch and Ambrose close behind. Ambrose outbraked Busch into Turn 1 for second two laps later and set his sights on Allmendinger, who had a 2-second lead that was wiped out by the late stoppages. Jeff Gordon started from the pole and led the first 29 laps, holding Ambrose at bay. But Gordon’s engine died on lap 50 as he lost all power and couldn’t get it refired, spoiling a promising day. Gordon was second to Ambrose after the first round of pit stops and slightly faster when his car stalled. Defending race winner Kyle Busch had to do a pass-through penalty after a fuel can stuck in his No. 18 Toyota. Back on the track, he shredded his left front tire after contact with Martin Truex Jr. and had to pit again and was out of contention. Brad Keselowski, who was second the previous three races at The Glen, had contact early and brake problems and finished five laps back.

     
  • NASCAR’s Stewart hits, kills driver on NY track Aug 10, 2014 8:42 AM
    NASCAR driver Tony Stewart struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York on Saturday night. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said his department’s investigation is not criminal and that Stewart was “fully cooperative” and appeared “very upset” over what had happened.

     
  • Ambrose wins Nationwide race at Watkins Glen Aug 9, 2014 6:21 PM
    With The King atop the pit box at Watkins Glen International, Marcos Ambrose wasn’t about to disappoint. The aggressive Australian dueled early with Kyle Busch to fall off the pace in the NASCAR Nationwide race, then was flawless the rest of the way Saturday, holding off a hard-charging Busch at the end to win the race for the fourth time in his last four starts. “It’s just something special. I’m just so thrilled for the guys,” Ambrose said. “I had my tongue hanging out the whole day. There was nothing left. I tried to hold him back. Another lap and I would have been in trouble.”

     
  • Larson wins 1st career pole at Pocono Raceway Aug 1, 2014 6:38 PM
    Kyle Larson had one more celebration left during his birthday week, setting a track record of 183.438 mph to win his first career Sprint Cup pole Friday at Pocono Raceway. He broke the mark of 181.415 that Denny Hamlin set in June. Larson, one of the top rookies in NASCAR, turned 22 on Thursday and wants to keep the party going with his first win Sunday.

     
  • Among trade deadline days, MLB is king Jul 31, 2014 11:51 PM
    What a week it’s been for baseball, huh? The weekend in Cooperstown, the heartwarming response to the announcement in L.A. that the incomparable Vin Scully would return for another year, and then gets capped off with a great day of deadline deals. Better soak it in though, because football is right around the corner.

     
  • 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.

     
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