The recently repaved surface at Kansas Speedway received some sharp criticism following the wreck-filled Hollywood Casino 400, which was won from pole position by Kevin Harvick driving the #29 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing. Kurt Busch took 2nd spot in Furniture Row Racing’s #78 Chevrolet; with Jeff Gordon in Hendrick Motorsports’ #24 Chevrolet; Joey Logano in Penske Racing’s #22 Ford; and Carl Edwards in Roush Fenway Racing’s #99 Ford, following in 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively. Points leader Matt Kenseth finished the race in 11th place, which have Harvick the opportunity to gain ground on the top two drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kenseth remains in the points lead, just three points ahead of Jimmie Johnson, with Harvick in 3rd place, followed by Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch.
Driving for Stewart-Haas Racing, Danica Patrick wrecked the #10 GoDaddy Chevrolet on the first lap of the race, saying in a post-race press release that if she did something wrong resulting in the wreck she apologizes to everybody on her team and to GoDaddy. Having crashed in practice, Kyle Busch started the race at the rear of the field, and narrowly missed a crash on Lap 1. But later in the race, after using pit strategy to make his way to the front, on lap 187 Busch made contact with Juan Pablo Montoya, resulting in Busch spinning out and Mark Martin crashing. Just thirteen laps later, Busch made contact with Carl Edwards and Brian Vickers, causing him to slam into the wall and sending him to the garage. Busch finished 34th in the race, after having started third in points. Busch was later quoted as saying that both the racetrack and the new tire are the worst he had ever driven on. Matt Kenseth referred to the track as being treacherous, noting that it had been a struggle all day and he felt as though he was about to crash ‘pretty much at all times in the race’.
The next race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In other NASCAR news, it has been announced that NASCAR will be keeping ESPN and TNT as its television partners through the 2014 season.
Matt Kenseth appears to be on a roll as he took the checkered flag on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway – his 500th career start – notching up his seventh win of the season, and his second in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, having held the lead in 106 of the 300-lap race. Teammate Kyle Busch crossed the finish line soon after, giving Joe Gibbs Racing the top two positions in the Sylvania 300. Greg Biffle, Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray took third, fourth and fifth positions respectively.
The Chase for the Sprint Cup, generally referred to simply as The Chase, has had a field of 12 drivers since first established in 2007. This year is an exception to the rule as the field has been expanded to include Jeff Gordon, who had his opportunity to compete in The Chase snatched away in the controversial finish at the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on September 7. With only seven laps of the race to go, Clint Bowyer allegedly forced a caution by going into a spin in an effort to help his Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr earn the second of the two Wild Card spots in the chase.
After an intensive investigation it was determined that members of the Michael Waltrip Racing team had conspired to manipulate the results of the race and some of the most severe penalties in the history of the Sprint Cup were issued to the team, including probation for the rest of the 2013 season. Citing ‘actions detrimental to stock car racing’, NASCAR docked 50 driver/owner points from all three MWR teams. This knocked Truex out of the Wildcard spot, opening the position up for Ryan Newman.
As the 13th driver in The Chase, Jeff Gordon’s performance is likely to be scrutinized, so his pit road misjudgment at New Hampshire on Sunday was quite widely publicized. In what should have been a routine pit stop, Gordon came to a standstill with the nose of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet touching the white line of the pit box. To avoid incurring a penalty, the pit crew had to push the car back before servicing it, costing valuable time that put Gordon into 22nd place. He finished the race in 15th place, noting that he was highly disappointed in himself.
The next event in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is the AAA400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday September 29. The top five spots in the standings are currently held by (in order) Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
While Marcos Ambrose started in pole position at the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen – having earned the position by shattering the Sprint Cup qualifier track record in his Ford Fusion on Saturday – it was Kyle Busch who took the checkered flag for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen on Sunday. Ambrose took the lead in 51 of the race’s first 62 laps, but following the caution flag on lap 60 resulting from teammate Aric Almirola’s crash, Ambrose dropped to 14th place with Busch taking the lead. Ambrose worked his way to twelfth position, but with six laps to go was bumped from behind by Max Papi and careened into a wall, demolishing any hope of claiming a third consecutive win at Watkins Glen.
Busch was in a good position for a win after the lap 60 caution, but still had to fight his way through a series of restarts in the race’s final fifteen laps to eventually take first place, followed closely by Brad Keselowski, with (in order) Martin Truex Jr, Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and AJ Allmendinger taking the top ten spots.
The Watkins Glen International race course, located near Watkins Glen, New York, has been hosting nearly every class of auto racing since 1948. Initially incorporating public roads, a dedicated circuit was built in 1956, with the track hosting the United States Grand Prix from 1961 to 1980. Although the track was the venue for a variety of events, it couldn’t survive financially without the Grand Prix and closed in 1981. In 1983, the track was bought by International Speedway Corporation, partnered with Corning, and renovated. In 1986, NASCAR Sprint Cup returned to Watkins Glen. Changes have been made to the track over the years, primarily for safety reasons, and Watkins Glen International remains one of the premier venues for a number of different types of auto racing.
With 500 laps, covering a distance of 428.89 km, the Irwin Tools Night Race is one of two NASCAR Sprint Cup races held at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Food City 500 is the other race. Winners in 2010, 2011 and 2012 were Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin. Don’t miss the chance to see who will take the checkered flag this year. For more information visit nascar.com
Date: 24 August 2013
Venue: Bristol Motor Speedway
Country: United States
Held annually as part of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Pure Michigan 400 will take place on 18 August 2013. The winners of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 events were Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle respectively. Friday and Saturday feature practice and qualifying sessions, with the main race taking place on Sunday at 1:00 PM ET. For more information visit nascar.com
Date: 18 August 2013
Venue: Michigan International Speedway
Country: United States