Matt Kenseth had reason for a double celebration on Sunday as he took the checkered flag on his 41st birthday. Driving for Joe Gibbs racing, Kenseth managed to hold off Kasey Kahne to clinch his third win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – his previous Las Vegas victories being in 2003 and 2004 – bringing his career victories to a total of twenty-five. Following Kasey Kahne’s second place, the top ten for the 2013 Kobalt Tools 400, in order, was Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr., Kevin Harvick and Paul Menard.
The 400-mile race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a defining event for the new Gen-6 car, as it was the first competitive race on an intermediate track. Most drivers appeared to be keen to see how the Gen-6 would perform on the 1.5-mile track. If any of the drivers had reservations about the new car’s performance, they kept it to themselves, with the notable exception of Denny Hamlin who was fined $25,000 by NASCAR for overstepping the boundaries in voicing his doubt in the Gen-6 after the race at Phoenix International Raceway, in which he came third after starting at the rear of the field. Hamlin is reportedly considering appealing the penalty.
Finishing if 4th place, Kyle Busch proved that it is definitely possible to pass in the Gen-6 as he twice moved his way up through the field, taking the lead after a restart with 102 laps to go. Kahne noted in a post-race interview that his car performed well throughout the race, saying that he drove hard on every single lap and commenting that it was a lot of fun.
Several drivers did report problems with their cars early on in the race, with Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart both being effected in opening laps. Bowyer finished 27th with Stewart managing an 11th place finish. Having earned the privilege of pole position at Daytona two weeks ago, Danica Patrick appeared to have problems with her car from the beginning of the race and finished 33rd.
The AdvoCare 500: NASCAR Sprint Cup race will take place at Phoenix International Raceway on 11 November 2012. The tri-oval track at Phoenix International Raceway covers a distance of one mile. The Sprint Cup Race Record of 118.132 was set by Tony Stewart in November 1999, and the Sprint Cup Qualifying Record of 137.279 was set by Carl Edwards in 2011.
Date: 11 November 2012
Venue: Phoenix International Raceway
Country: United States
Tony Stewart continued his winning streak by taking the checkered flag at the 14th annual Rumble in Fort Wayne 50-lap midget car event on New Year’s Eve. Driving the twenty-year old VW-powered Munchkin, Stewart completed the race at 11:04 pm, later noting that the car in which he had claimed seven victories was easy to work with and fun to drive. Stewart ended the year on a high note and added to his list of achievements which include being the fast qualifier in his past ten races, and winning nine times in fourteen career starts.
Although it had an unpromising start, 2011 turned out to be an exciting year for both Stewart and his fans as he claimed his third NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, with his previous two title wins being in 2002 and 2005. The final race of the NASCAR season turned into a nail-biting duel between Edwards and Stewart, with Stewart crossing the finish line in first place and claiming the championship title.
In a post-race interview, 40-year old Stewart was reported as saying that it was the first time he had raced on New Year’s Eve, and that it was a great way to have finished the year. He also noted that it would be hard to keep up his winning streak, but he anticipates that it will be a lot of fun trying.
Not one to rest on his laurels, Tony Stewart has revealed that he will be part of a four-car “Team of Champions”, along with Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bryan Clauson and Jake Blackhurst, to participate in the 26th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals set to start on 10 January. Driving the Chevrolet Performance Parts Sponsored No. 14 Chevrolet/Spike, which he has dubbed “Back in Black”, Stewart intends to challenge the Esslinger/Ford dominated event. Clauson will be driving a No. 39c Essingler/Spike Indycar/Indy 500 race car, while Stenhouse Jr. will be competing in a No. 39a Esslinger/Spike, and Blackhurst will be driving a No. 39b Esslinger/Spike Kitchen Cooked entry.
As the final race of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday offered excitement from start to finish, ending with Tony Stewart taking the checkered flag and the championship title. Having won the NASCAR season championships in 2002 and 2005, this was Stewart’s third championship victory – a victory for which he had to battle against very strong competition. The last 40 laps of the 267-lap event proved to be a duel between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards that kept fans in suspense right to the finish line. Although Stewart and Edwards ended the season tied in points, the championship title went to Stewart because of his five victories during the season, compared with one victory for Edwards.
What made Stewart’s victory even sweeter was the fact that it was not without obstacles. Eearly on in the race he discovered a hole in his car’s front grille forcing him to stop for repairs. His team put a new grille over the damaged one, securing it in place with electrical tape, and sending him on his way again. At one stage Stewart was 40th in the field, but climbed to 5th place before a 74-minute rain delay broke his stride once more. But nothing was going to stand in Stewart’s way as he fought his way to the front of the field, and the battlefor first place became a duel between himself and Edwards.
In a post-race interview, Stewart acknowledged that the first 109 laps of the race had been very challenging and commended his crew for their hard work. Commenting on his daring driving style which saw him passing a trio of cars on the inside of the track, Stewart said:”That shows you how bad I wanted to win this thing.” He also noted that a driver can’t hold anything back when going for a championship.
Martin Truex Jr. finished in third place, with Matt Kenseth taking the fourth spot and Jeff Gordon coming in fifth. Having scored two wins in the season, Jimmie Johnson had a disappointing finish to the season, finishing 32nd due to engine trouble and an incident in lap 143 where he spun out and hit the wall. Nevertheless, Johnson ended in sixth place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings with 2304 points. Both Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards clocked up 2403 points, with Kevin Harvick taking third place with 2345 points, Matt Kenseth at fourth place with 2330 points, and Brad Keselowski in fifth place with 2319 points.
Saturday the 20th of August 2011 was a big day for Marcos Ambrose as he took on the NAPA Auto Parts 200, which forms part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and was held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. In Ambrose’s case it is fifth time lucky, as he put the failures of his past tries behind him to race to victory, which did not come easy at all. But it was none-the-less a moment Ambrose will never forget, as seeing the checkered flag was the moment he had been waiting for, for a very long time at this course.
Getting to the race was a rush for Ambrose, as he left Michigan International Speedway, where the NASCAR Sprint Cup was hosted, hopped on a jet, took a helicopter ride to St Hubert, and then jumped into a speedboat to cross the Olympic Basin to make the race on time. Not only was it rush to get to the racecourse, but Ambrose also had to survive a collision with Jacques Villeneuve, before he could focus on his winning performance and secure the victory.
Because Ambrose and drivers Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne were needed to participate in Cup practice, they had to use reserve drivers to do their qualifiers for them, placing all three drivers at the back of the field. The course was filled with a field of forty-three cars. Twice Ambrose had to fight his way through the field, even though he was able to pass a staggering sixteen cars on the first lap and managed to get into the top twenty before the sixth lap, when he pitted for the first time. It was an accident filled race, with no less than six caution flags (yellow flags) making their appearance. The race had everyone, pit crews and spectators, on the edges of their seats as the action packed race unfolded before them.
But it was Marcos Ambrose who managed to take the victory, followed across the finish line by Alex Tagliani in second place, and Michael McDowell in third place. Ambrose commented after the race that he was never able to close the deal before, but he remained patient and calm throughout the race, which enabled him and his team to convert his efforts into a winning performance and that it felt really good to finally win the race that had eluded him for so long.