Taking the checkered flag in the 2013 Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, gave Brian Vickers his first NASCAR Sprint Cup win since August 2009 at Michigan. Driving for Michael Waltrip Racing, this was his third career win, with Kyle Busch taking second place, Jeff Burton finishing third, and Brad Keselowski and Aric Almirola in fourth and fifth places respectively. The top five in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are (in order), Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
At the age of 71, Morgan Shepherd became the oldest driver to participate in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series, and while he had started out with every intention of finishing the race, he bowed out after 92 laps. As long as a driver passes the physical at the start of the season, there is no age limit for drivers competing in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. There were no objections from other competitors to Shepherd competing, even though he was quoted as saying that when he starts hitting the wall or something, it may be time to get out. There were incidents during the race, but none caused by, or involving, this driver who has been competing in NASCAR for more than four decades with a good measure of success.
Following the restart on lap 238, Danica Patrick lost control of her car in a tightly bunched field and slid sideways into Travis Kvapil and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The incident was made even more newsworthy by the fact that Patrick and Stenhouse are a couple. Stenhouse finished in 34th place, with Patrick ending in 37th and Kvapil in 38th place. Patrick claimed responsibility for the crash, noting that they were bunched up on the restart and she was not sure if she misjudged the braking zone, or if the other competitors stopped suddenly in front of her, but in trying to avoid them she went sideways and caught the other two drivers, for which she expressed sincere regret. In a post-race interview, Stenhouse said that he had not yet seen the replay of what happened, but pointed out that crashing other drivers by accident was all “part of it”.
During an exciting race on Saturday, Carl Edwards pulled out ahead of the pack to collect his third Nationwide Series victory so far this season. In doing so he took his Planter’s Peanut sponsored car, complete with Mr. Peanut logo, passed 42 race teams and fought off the likes of other top drivers Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers until he at last came out on top.
When Carl Edwards lined up on the starting grid in pole position for Saturday’s race at the Michigan International Speedway, more than a few spectators likely guessed that he’d win the race. But appearances can be deceiving and Edwards lost his lead about mid-way through the race. But it seems a determined Edwards would not settle for second best. He pushed his little Planter’s Peanut car until he at last reclaimed first place from Tony Stewart on the 90th lap of the 125-lap event. The win also marked Edwards’ first victory in Brooklyn, Michigan. Speaking about the race and his single-race sponsored car, Edwards remarked: “The Planter’s Peanut car was awesome all day. There were a couple of cars that were real fast. Tony was real fast, and Brian Vickers was extremely fast. My pit crew just did a great job there at the end.” He went on to remark that the change made by crew chief Drew Blickensderfer made the car fast for the final run and he congratulated his crew on doing a “great job.”
The race was certainly not decided from the outset and fans had to keep an eye on the proceedings to keep up with who was at the head of the pack. Carl Edwards managed to lead for a total of 71 laps while Vickers, who came second, led for a total of 36 laps. It seems that Stewart ran into some difficulties in the final stage of the race and this enabled Edwards to pass him in the pit lane. Despite holding the lead for 36 laps, he only finished third. Mike Bliss, who finished in sixth place, also led the pack for just one lap. The Carfax 250 was exciting and kept fans on their toes and now Edwards enjoys a good point-jump in the series standings as he competes for the overall victory with driver’s like Stewart who already has five wins and eight top-ten finishes in nine races.
It seems that Kyle Busch is set to enjoy the season of a lifetime after he claimed yet another win this weekend at the Lifelock.com 400 held at the Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday Night. The race was tough and though it seemed that Busch had his sights set on the trophy from the start, there was a patch near the end when it seemed that victory had been swept out from under his feet.
The LifeLock.com 400 started out well for Busch and he managed to maintain a striking lead for 165 laps. But then it seemed that his good fortune was fading when Jimmie Johnson, the defending series champion, manage to take the lead with just seventeen laps to go. Johnson pulled into the lead and any chance of Busch reclaiming first place seemed lost, but somehow circumstances ultimately seemed to favor Busch. It all turned around when David Gilliland’s engine blew with just five laps to go. This was bad news for Gilliland, but good news for Busch who managed to use the restart to catch up to Johnson. Busch sat on Johnson’s bumper for a while until he saw his chance and zipped past on the backstretch with just two laps left for the race. From there it was plain sailing until Busch drove across the finish line with Jimmie Johnson coming in second not long after him. This is the seventh trophy he has taken for Joe Gibbs Racing in NASCAR’s top division this season and it seems that his successes are getting more and more frequent. He has also taken the NASCAR Nationwide Series trophy five times and the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series trophy twice.
Some would ruefully say that Kyle Busch has just gotten lucky – while others want his luck to rub off on them. But that is an awful lot of wins for it all to just be luck. Clearly skillful driving, dogged determination and the ability to make the most of opportunities as they present themselves also play a big role. Kevin Harvick came in third, followed by Greg Biffle, Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, Matt Kenseth, David Ragan Martin Truex Jr., and Ryan Newman respectively.