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What We Learn From Bristol

August 28, 2013 Comments off

kenseth

The NASCAR racing we saw at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday turned out to be very entertaining throughout the top-three series. Usual for the high-banks of Bristol, but did we see the type of racing we expect?

Kyle Busch made it clear the high lane by the wall was the quickest, yet treacherous, way around the .533-mile short track. It was obvious this turned to be true throughout all races during the weekend. Busch would attempt another chance at the “triple crown” and neared closure after winning the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series races on Wednesday and Friday night.

Though wrecking in qualifying for the Sprint Cup race, Busch would start 43rd and finished 11th after never leading a lap.

And honestly, it is better for the sport to have Busch continue to be short in sweeping the weekend at Bristol. It is news and good vibes leading up to the events and growth for the sport when he is racing in all three series.

Matt Kenseth would come out on top Saturday evening after leading a race high 149 laps and now leads the garage with the most wins with five. After a late charge with fresh tires, Kasey Kahne would come up short as he and Kenseth raced side-by-side over the final 7-10 laps.

Kahne made it a point during his post-race interviews that he would not wreck Kenseth or a driver to win a race. Though, the drama the media and Kahne has instilled since their Watkins Glen incident, it was believed Kahne would do anything to make sure Kenseth did not win at Bristol. Besides a straightaway of beating and banging against each other, Kahne was clean as could be when attempting to pass Kenseth in the closing laps.

“I just wanted to pass him,” Kahne said post-race. “And after I took the checkered flag, I wanted to wreck him. At the end of the day, I don’t wreck people.”

kahnekensethAs my roommate can concur, my actions toward Kahne in the final 10 laps consisted many “Rattle his cage!” “Wreck him!” “Do something!” Then followed the rest of the broadcast frustrated, disappointed, but gratified at the action we were able to witness at Bristol. In the final 10 laps, I wasn’t thinking about how often ESPN talks about Danica, how many commercials took place, whether I was seeing enough action from the camera views or if the stands were full.

I was fully engaged in the competition on the track, something we rarely see in this series outside of Martinsville, Richmond, Bristol, Daytona and Talladega. The race itself was entertaining, as I expected. We had wrecks, tempers, passing and a fight for the win at the end of the race. All things mentioned before, was not on my mind in the final 25-30 laps.

This type of racing is something we all are begging for on a weekly basis, and it is not realistic to expect. As fans, we picture what it would be like to have the racing and tempers we saw Saturday night every week on the NASCAR circuit.

As one of those fans expecting those types of results, I can say I am looking forward to Richmond in a few weeks as the opportunity to be in the 2013 Chase closes.

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Broken Leg Sidelines Tony Stewart

August 6, 2013 1 comment

Tony Stewart crashes at Southern Iowa Speedway and sustains a broken right leg. He will miss this weekend's Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. (Credit: OskyNews)

Tony Stewart crashes at Southern Iowa Speedway and sustains a broken right leg. He will miss this weekend’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. (Credit: OskyNews)

Three-time champion Tony Stewart will miss NASCAR’s upcoming weekend at Watkins Glen International after wrecking a Sprint Car Monday night suffering a broken right leg.

Stewart was transported to a local hospital from Southern Iowa Speedway by ambulance after a four-car wreck in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Sustaining a broken right tibia and fibula forced him to undergo surgery following the accident.

Timing is everything in motorsports, and NASCAR hasn’t seen a detrimental injury toward a championship-caliber driver this late in the season in multiple years. Stewart is 11th in the Sprint Cup standings and has one win this season at Dover in June with five races remaining until the Chase.

Stewart-Hass Racing has not yet announced a driver to replace Stewart for this upcoming weekend in the No. 14, but they did cancel a test scheduled today to take place at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Here is the statement left by SHR regarding Stewart’s sprint car wreck and injuries:

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a broken right tibia and fibula in a Sprint Car crash Monday night at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Stewart was transported to a local hospital immediately following the accident and underwent surgery. An injury update will be provided later this afternoon.

A scheduled test for today at Atlanta Motor Speedway has been canceled. A replacement driver for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International has not been determined. Information regarding the No. 14 team’s driver status at Watkins Glen will be provided once it is known.

Stewart is a five-time winner at Watkins Glen, but will miss his first Sprint Cup race since before 1999. Two weeks ago, Stewart flipped multiple times in a Sprint Car race prior to his fourth-place finish at the Brickyard 400.

tstewartHe has been adamant about sprint car racing after the death of Jason Leffler in June.

“I’d be grateful if you guys would understand that what happened this week wasn’t because somebody didn’t do something right with the race track,” Stewart said days after Leffler’s death. “It was an accident. Just like if you go out and there’s a car crash. It’s an accident.”

“Nobody as a track owner wants to go through what happened, but it’s not due to a lack of effort on their part to try to make their facilities as safe as possible under the conditions they have.”

Friday after Sprint Cup practice at Pocono, he echoed those comments after his accident in Ontario calling it “just another accident.”

“You mortals have got to learn, you guys need to watch more sprint car videos and stuff,” he said. “It was not a big deal. It’s starting to get annoying this week about that. That was just an average sprint car wreck. When they wreck, they get upside down like that.”

Today, and outpour of comments, opinions and get-well wishes have been circulating on Twitter and Facebook pages from drivers, team members, journalists and fans. The hashtag #GetWellSmoke is a popular use to join the conversation with other NASCAR individuals and fans.

Fellow competitors who also race extracurricular events such as Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson have expressed their thoughts for Stewart via Twitter. Larson finished second in the Sprint Car race Monday night.

Allmendinger’s Next Opportunity

June 1, 2013 Comments off

A.J. Allmendinger finished seventh in Sunday's Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. His next opportunity will be racing for Penske in NASCAR. (Credit:  USA Today)

A.J. Allmendinger finished seventh in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. His next opportunity will be racing for Penske in NASCAR. (Credit: USA Today)

A.J. Allmendinger steps out of a Roger Penske machine after finishing seventh Sunday in the 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 wondering what will be his next opportunity in racing.

The 31-year-old Allmendinger has dipped his helmet in different series throughout his 2013 racing season including the IZOD IndyCar Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. An offering he was not positive he would ever receive after his NASCAR suspension due to the use of banned substances, Adderall, in 2012 while driving for Penske.

Opportunities materialized for Allmendinger this season in open-wheel and stockcar racing. In NASCAR’s premier series, he has made the most of his chances in James Finch’s No. 51 Chevrolet with an average finish of 13.5 and worst finish of 16th.

His IndyCar performance is highly anticipated after his successful finishes of five wins in 2006 in Champ Car, but his best finish was at Indianapolis after leading 23 laps.

The rookie’s first race at Indianapolis was impressive on many accounts. He was forced to pit twice off-sequence mid-race due to a possible flat tire, and later in the race due to his racing-belts coming loose. Rallying to a seventh place finish was a success.

“With seven or eight laps to go, I thought we still had a shot to win it,” Allmendinger said. “We had just passed three or four cars the lap before and I thought we were right there. But we just didn’t have enough at the end. It was a great experience, but I really thought our car was good enough all day.”

It was not until earlier this morning that it was announced of Allmendinger’s future plans for Penske. Prior to the Indianapolis 500, he noted this could be his “last chance” and needing to make the most of it. But Penske released today Allmendinger will drive the No.22 Nationwide Series car at the road course events at Road America and Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course.

”There’s nothing I could do to come even close to repaying him,” Allmendinger said. ”So, I just try to give everything I’ve got and hopefully it’s enough.”

Allmendinger is not in a car this weekend at Dover in NASCAR, but is racing in Detroit’s grand prix in IndyCar, but look for him to only accept a competitive ride in IndyCar or NASCAR. His best option is to have a chance to win, but he has a different opinion.

“I’ve always really enjoyed the road course racing in NASCAR, so to get the opportunity to compete in two events in the Nationwide Series with Penske Racing is amazing,” Allmendinger said. ”I’m just happy to have the opportunity to drive something.”

Preview: 55th Running Of The Daytona 500

February 24, 2013 1 comment

Daytona 500

In American sports, there are three single-day sporting events that take precedent over all other forms of entertainment including the Super Bowl, Indianapolis 500 and, the biggest of all today, Daytona 500.

NASCAR’s most respected venue and largest valued race in any season will take place on FOX at 1:29 p.m. as the green flag will be dropped by two-time NFL champion, and recently retired, Ray Lewis.

Headlines have been countless over the last week since Sprint Cup Series rookie Danica Patrick took pole and became the first woman to record the fastest qualifying lap in NASCAR’s premier series. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon will start outside Patrick to start The Great American Race.

The debut of the Generation 6 has been talked about in Speedweeks and has been the most important focus of all teams and media throughout the last week. With the style of the bodies looking like the cars you would see on the showroom floor, teams and manufacturers are happy to see a racy, brand identity machine that brings the stock, back in stockcar racing.

Throughout the races and practices held so far with these new cars, we still don’t know the type of racing we will see. Besides the two-car tandem now being inexistent, we know the pack racing will be back in full-force, but there seems to be new complications with the draft drivers are still trying to figure out.

kyle larsonHaving a pack of 43 cars will be something we all should look forward to in finding out what the racing environment will be like.

After a stunning race, in multiple ways, Saturday in the Nationwide Series, it left double-digits of cars wrecked crossing the finish line and 28 fans injured, some critically. All fans that were taken to the hospitals in the area of Daytona International Speedway were listed as stable this morning and some were released.

Fan safety is an area that is not talked about much when it comes to racing. The unfortunate reality that is motorsports is cars running near 200 miles per hour can become airborne leaving the possibility of flying into the catchfence where debris can become part of the grandstands.

Here is to a successful day where storylines are plentiful during the timeframe of 500 miles on a 2.5-mile high-banked oval. Speeds will be close to 200 mph and competitors will fight inches apart, sometimes three-wide, for the coveted Harley J. Earl Trophy.

danica gordonWill it be a former Daytona 500 champion, with nine of those drivers in the field, to win again? Will it be Tony Stewart to win his first 500 in his 15th try? Drivers to win their first Daytona 500 in their 15th try were Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Michael Waltrip. Will it be Danica Patrick? She will be the only female in the field, and will become the fourth woman driver to compete in the Daytona 500. Or will it be a first time winner?

The unknowns are great for the 55th running of the Daytona 500, and I know I will be glued to my TV for the entirety. Are you ready?

iRacing’s Daytona 500 With Jeremy Lukaszka

February 22, 2013 Comments off

Jeremy Lukaszka will race the BAJA Sports Chevrolet Impala on Saturday at 2 p.m. on GlacierTV.com for the iRacing Daytona 500.

Jeremy Lukaszka will race the BAJA Sports Chevrolet Impala on Saturday at 2 p.m. on GlacierTV.com for the iRacing Daytona 500.

Sim racers across the globe will take part in iRacing’s World Tour premier event Friday and Saturday in their version of the Daytona 500.

18-year-old Jeremy Lukaszka, driver of the BAJA Sports Chevrolet Impala, will race at 2 p.m. ET Saturday in the top split of 43 cars broadcasted on GlacierTV.com.

Daytona International Speedway is a 2.5-mile oval, and the iRacing Daytona 500 will consist of 200 laps with iRacing’s Chevrolet Impala (Not the Generation 6 car, will be released Feb. 25.).

This is Lukaszka’s first attempt at iRacing’s Daytona 500, but without prior experience, his expectations are set high.

“I think realistically, we mainly just want to survive until the end to have a shot at winning,” Lukaszka said. “The expectations are to win.”

Lukaszka is from Palo, IA, where he aspires to be a fabricator, member of a pit crew, or a crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. His plans are to eventually attend the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, NC.

Winning is in Lukaszka’s history, with is career stats being exceptional since joining iRacing in March 2012. He has recorded 102 wins in 377 starts and is 51st overall on the overall Oval rating on iRacing. He has three championships, all in Season 4 2012, in NASCAR iRacing National Series (Fixed) for season and time trial and IndyCar Oval (Fixed) time trial championship.

With his expectations being to win, there is nobody he is looking to beat, specifically.

“Really, no one judges you in this race,” Lukaszka said,”you’re top split, and you’ve obviously earned your right to be there, so you’re not aiming to beat one person.”

“If you go for the win, you’ll beat everyone.”

JL A FixedSo with 43 virtual cars racing around the oval for three plus hours, what is the strategy to win, and what will the atmosphere of the race be like?

“As with any race, the beginning will be aggressive because everyone will be hyped up for it,” Lukaszka said. “I’ll want to stay up front for as long as I can, but if I get shuffled to the back, I’ll usually like to stay there.

“Hopefully, there aren’t wrecks, but if there is I hope there is enough time to check up and drive by.”

Fans, or viewers watching the GlacierTV.com broadcast, can interact with others via Twitter by following the hashtags #iRacingWT and #iRacingDaytona500 or by following @iRacing. You can also follow Lukaszka’s on Twitter at @JeremyLukaszka.

The iRacing Daytona 500 is the third World Tour event of the year, and has plans to run seven entirely. This race, specifically, is the most important to oval racers and Lukaszka.

“This race comes once a year, but, as far as iRacing, this is the biggest World Tour event on the schedule,” he said. “Everyone wants to win it, and it isn’t an easy race to win. It’s the race everyone puts a lot of work into it to try to build the fastest piece they can, and it is a race everyone looks forward to.”

Winning this race on the real surface is one of the biggest pinnacles in motorsports, but what does winning it mean for someone on virtual surface?

“It would solidify who I am as a sim racer with potential,” Lukaszka said. “I think it would, definitely, show other drivers that I can do this. This is the biggest deal, broadcasted and lots of work is put into it.”

“This is the Super Bowl of sim racing. This is Daytona.”

After Rest Day…Team SPEED With Consistency

January 14, 2013 Comments off

After rest day, Team SPEED ready to move on with the 2013 Dakar Rally on Monday. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

After rest day, Team SPEED ready to move on with the 2013 Dakar Rally on Monday. (Photo Credit: PlanetRobby.com)

With two more stages completed and the rest day in the rearview mirror, Team SPEED finds themselves ready for stage nine and the remaining six specials.

Two more podium-finishes later, Robby Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, finds himself 23rd in the overall, five hours, 51 minutes and 23 seconds behind Dakar Rally leader Stephane Peterhansel.

In stage seven and eight, Gordon finished third for the fourth stage in-a-row.

Moving on from a difficult, confusing stage eight will be difficult for a few competitors after a cancellation of the stage due to a flooded river, but the rally moves on. Only nine cars finished the stage and the rest, including second overall driver Nasser Al-Attiyah, will not be penalized for not finishing.

Here is the statement issued by SPEED Energy from the ASO:

“ASO cancelled the special stage at CP2, kilometer 86, and some cars had made it to the finish line. Those cars keep the time, and the ASO decided the cars that already had made it to the finish at the point in time of the cancellation should keep their times. All others, who finished after cancellation or not at all, were ranked with the time of the last driver who finished prior to cancellation.”

Al-Attiyah did not reach the flooded river and was stuck on a boulder with a broken transmission and no support vehicle on the way.

Moving on to stage eight, Team SPEED will start third overall for the 852-kilometer stage and the longest timed special of the rally so far of 593 kilometers. Gordon will drive his HUMMER through a stage full of soil-stones terrain with a tarmac, non-timed section and opportunity to refuel.

Gordon will start his stage approximately at 8:07 a.m. EST. Drivers will race from Tucumán to Córdoba, Argentina.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

Team SPEED With Consecutive Top-Threes

January 11, 2013 Comments off

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage six to make back-to-back finishes in that position. (Photo Credit: SPEED Energy Facebook)

Robby Gordon finishes third in stage six to make back-to-back finishes in that position. (Photo Credit: SPEED Energy Facebook)

Robby Gordon consecutively finished in the third position, and after stage six’s third place, Team SPEED still finds themselves long behind but gaining positions.

Gordon, driver of the No. 315 SPEED Energy / Toyo Tires HUMMER, and Team SPEED finished 13 minutes and 42 seconds behind stage winner Nasser Al-Attiyah. Gordon is 24th in the overall and nearly six hours behind 2013 Dakar Rally leader Peterhansel.

“It was another good special for us, another podium result for us as a team,” Gordon said. “Unfortunately, we gave up five minutes in the transfer section, and missed a couple of roads near the beginning. Getting beat 13 minutes does not really concern me because it really does not matter, we are just in a mode to get the best results we can and finish the Rally. We have the ability to break into the top-15, top-10 with a lot of cars are dropping out daily.”

Stage seven will take place from Calama to Salta, Chile. The 754-kilometer stage will allow the competition to go through soil and stones throughout the entire 220-kilometer timed special.

Gordon was slated to start stage seven at 10:56 a.m. EST behind Al-Attiyah and Peterhansel.

By using Twitter, fans can use these hashtags to follow Team SPEED and the 2013 Dakar Rally: #TeamSPEED, #USvsTHEM, #TeamToyo and #Dakar2013.

Follow Team SPEED on Facebook by searching SPEED Energy, or on Twitter (@SPEED_Energy). Also on Twitter, live updates will be given by @PLANETROBBY, or you can sign up for free on PlanetRobby.com for live updates and chat for each stage. Daily updates will be given at BAJA Sports for Team SPEED.

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