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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.

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?

BAJA Sports: What is happening in the auto racing world

December 18, 2011 Comments off

A.J. Allmendinger was released from his duties for the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports. Will Kurt Busch take over for the Best Buy sponsored Ford? Credit: Getty Images

NASCAR:

Richard Petty Motorsports has released A.J. Allmendinger from his duties in the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion. Allmendinger, 30, was the top driver for RPM in 2011, where he finished 15th in points after being on the cusp of the Chase drivers.

Allmendinger will find one of the hardest times to secure a ride for the upcoming season. After being released in 2009 by Red Bull Racing, he quickly was signed by RPM. In this case, it will be much tougher to find a ride for the driver who never was outside the top-18 in points for his second year with RPM.

RPM now is in the hunt, and, most likely, is the top-dog for former Penske Racing driver Kurt Busch. Keeping Best Buy as a sponsor at RPM is the most important factor for their company and Kurt Busch will be the driver who can fulfill Best Buy’s needs by getting much exposure and wins.

Tony Stewart, 2011 Sprint Cup Series champion, was voted the Driver of the Year award for the second time in his career, receiving 15 votes. Last won in 2005, Stewart, 40, beat runner-up in Cup points Carl Edwards, IndyCar’s Dario Franchitti, NHRA’s Del Worsham and World of Outlaw’s Jason Meyers who all received one vote.

The biggest surprise is why Sebastian Vettel, 2011 Formula 1 champion, didn’t receive one vote? Vettel, 24, was the top driver in his series without doubt with 11 victories in 19 events. His closest competitor was Jenson Button finishing 122 points behind eventual winner Vettel.

The IZOD IndyCar Series released the initial findings to Dan Wheldon's fatal accident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. IndyCar will not return to Las Vegas in 2012 but with a possibly in 2013. Credit: Zimbio.com

IZOD IndyCar Series:

Dan Wheldon’s fatal accident investigation is over, and IndyCar has released its initial findings behind the lap 12 wreck that involved 15 cars in the season finale race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Wheldon who died at the age of 33 was survived by his wife and two sons.

IndyCar has announced their plan not to return to Las Vegas in 2012 and had to pay their way out of the contract with a possible return in 2013. A third party independent firm was brought in to investigate the findings of the accident.

The 49-page report released by IndyCar says Wheldon was airborne for 325 feet before making contact with the SAFER barrier then the catchfence. He struck a pole on the outside of the fencing where the pole intruded the cockpit and hit the driver in the head. According to the findings, Wheldon his head twice, and the first blow was not enough to injure a driver normally. The second hit produced non-survivable injuries.

Formula 1 will race in Austin in 2012. The race weekend is set for Nov. 16-18. Credit: Mechanikong.com

Formula 1:

The United States will host a grand prix race for F1 in 2012. The Austin race has been announced it will be on the schedule in the upcoming season and has been granted a webpage on formula1.com. Its page shows a diagram of the 3.4-mile circuit. The date is set for Nov. 16-18; however, some information has yet to be released such as practice, qualifying and many other times.

The guess for number of laps is likely to be around 56, which is about 190 miles around the Circuit of the Americas.

Capitalizing on nothing to lose

November 20, 2011 Comments off

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship battle comes down to three points in the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Credit: The Associated Press

Three points, two drivers and one race.

The 2011 season finale in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race with a championship battle on the edge of crowning a repeat champion or a new face to celebrate.

Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the final 400 miles on the 1.5-mile race track where points leader Carl Edwards will lead the field of 43 cars to the start-finish line to start the race. Tony Stewart, who trails Edwards by three points, starts the race in the 11th position.

The final race will come down to one champion at the end of the day. We cannot crown who will raise the Sprint Cup trophy above their head at the end of the night.

But I do believe we can guess. The favorite is obviously Edwards, especially since the reconfiguration in 2003 when Stewart’s performance dropped after winning twice in 1999 and 2000. Stewart has finished all but three laps in 12 races while Edwards has won twice, completed all laps in seven races.

Stewart’s best finish at Homestead since becoming an owner-driver is eighth. However, NASCAR fans should expect more from him this weekend. With a championship on the line and within reach, it is set in his mind to win his third championship.

He will be the only driver to ever win a Winston Cup, Nextel Cup and Sprint Cup championship if he celebrates with his team after winning it all.

With a win, Edwards (back) or Stewart (front) could clinch the championship. Credit: Getty Images

So where do Edwards or Stewart need to finish to clinch a championship? Either need to win. If one wins, it is over. If Stewart finishes second, Edwards must finish at least fourth to win.

A tie is possible. If a tie occurs it will be good news for the No. 14 team. With Stewart’s four wins in 2011, he will clinch the title due to the tie-breaker.

Any of these two drivers will be a good champion for NASCAR. Whether it is the scruffy, two-time champion Stewart or the clean, new face champion in Edwards. Both are ambassadors to the sport and will finish their careers in NASCAR.

But the storyline is there for Edwards to win his first at NASCAR’s top-level series. After Austin Dillon won his first championship in the Camping World Truck Series and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his first in the Nationwide Series this weekend, it is fitting for a first time champion in the Cup Series.

In January, on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s blog, I predicted the end to Johnson’s reign of five consecutive championships and Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart or Denny Hamlin would be the ones to mark the new path in 2011.

So at the end of the night we will know who will be NASCAR’s 2011 champion. It’s going to be one for the record books.

Stay tuned.

From the Marbles: Final stretch features two front-runners

November 7, 2011 Comments off

Carl Edwards leads Tony Stewart by three points with two races remaining in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Credit: RacinToday.com

Tony Stewart captured his fourth win in the past eight races Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway, and gained five points on the points leader Carl Edwards.

Stewart finds himself three points behind heading into the final two races of the 2011 season.  Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Speedway where the unknown is still creeping on fans as to what we will see.

A repavement and new track configuration for Phoenix will make it interesting to see what the differences are from the second race of the season. A place where Stewart and Edwards normally run well at, it is going to make for a weekend where anything is possible.

After the domination at Texas by Stewart and Edwards, it basically takes out Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski from championship contention. Even though Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman are the only drivers mathematically eliminated.

So be excited the last two races are coming down to drivers who haven’t won a championship since 2005 or haven’t won at all.

Sure, it might not be as exciting as last year with three drivers in contention and two trying to take down the dynasty of Jimmie Johnson; however, we have one of the sports’ greats chasing down a driver who hasn’t won a championship at NASCAR’s top series.

Tony Stewart continues his message to Carl Edwards through the media. Letting him know he is coming to win. Credit: FoxSports.com

Edwards is still confident heading into Phoenix, where he finished 28th in March, after starting on the pole and wrecking early in the race.

“I feel more comfortable right now in this points battle than in any other points battle I can remember,” Edwards said. “I’ve raced Tony long enough. I feel comfortable with him. He’s not going to surprise me with anything, and I’m grateful for all that experience. I hope I can turn that into a championship.”

From a fan’s perspective, I love everything about this championship. I do wish Johnson were in contention for the extra news. Honestly though, both these drivers deserve the championship and Edwards winning is a perfect substitute for Johnson not winning.

Stewart is coming at Edwards with a head of steam though, so even though Edwards average finish position is two positions better than Stewart in the Chase. If Stewart can continue his winning ways these final two weeks he will lock the championship by at least seven points.

No matter who wins the championship this season, NASCAR can be happy with their new face to crown champion.

BAJA Sports: What’s happening in the auto racing world

March 2, 2011 Comments off

Over the past few weeks, rumors, breaking news and history have been made. So what is happening in the auto racing world today? BAJA Sports blogger Thomas Hitch talks NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One, NHRA and AMA.

Jeff Gordon won the race at Phoenix International Raceway Sunday. He snapped his 66-race winless streak by leading 138 laps. Credit: AmpedUpMag.com

NASCAR:

The season is finally underway after two weeks have been completed and NASCAR has seen great results from the drivers and an improvement in television ratings.

At the Daytona 500 there could not have been a more unpredictable finish with the Wood Brothers taking their Motorcraft Ford to victory lane at Daytona for the first time in 35 years with a kid of 20 years in Trevor Bayne. Eddie Wood made a bold statement in victory lane that Bayne will be one of the greats of NASCAR’s future.

This past weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Jeff Gordon ended his 66-race winless drought as he passed Kyle Busch in the final remaining laps to capture his first win in nearly two seasons. Gordon held of Busch and kept him from sweeping the weekend in the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series for the second time.

The IndyCar Series will race the season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Homestead will no longer be a part of the series. Credit: NYtimes.com

IndyCar Series:

The first race of the season is now less than a month away and a lot has happened over the past few weeks leaving new drivers in new seats and veteran drivers left out.

Graham Rahal will be driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the No. 38 sponsored by Service Central. Mike Conway will replace Tony Kanaan at Andretti Autosport where he will be considered the ‘second-punch’ to Ryan Hunter-Reay.

Tony Kanaan will continue to look for a ride in the 2011 IndyCar season, after his latest deal fell through and was told to look for other opportunities. He has been rumored to take his veteran talent to NASCAR’s Truck Series to drive for owner Kyle Busch.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway has been announced as the series’ season finale. Not only is it a major announcement for the series, but another announcement was made for drivers who are not full-time drivers in the IndyCar series. To attract other drivers to race the finale, there is a $5 million prize for any driver to come from another series and win the race. This could attract the likes of former IndyCar champions Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony Stewart, along with other former drivers such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Robby Gordon and Scott Pruett.

Red Bull Racing will add sponsorship from Infiniti in 2011. Credit: thedetroitbureau.com

Formula One:

Formula One has announced they have canceled their season opener in Bahrain due to a recent political turmoil within the Kingdom of Bahrain. Formula One is hoping to reschedule the Grand Prix for a later date during the season.

Former World Champion Lewis Hamilton will be driving a NASCAR stock car provided by Stewart-Haas Racing in New York at the Watkins Glen road course sometime this summer as owner Tony Stewart will drive the F1 car.

Red Bull Racing announced its sponsorship with Infiniti and it has been announced a relationship through a ‘marketing and technical agreement.’ The official announcement will be provided at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday.

Larry Dixon broke the qualifying record set by Tony Schumacher with a run of 2.770. Dixon would be knocked out in the first round at Pomona (California). Credit: Tomkingaerial.wordpress.com

NHRA:

This past weekend the NHRA began their season Saturday at Pomona where Robert Hight (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel) brought their team the victory.

Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon set a new qualifying record at the season-opening Kragen O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals.  He ran a 3.770 at 324.98 mph where he took the top spot in qualifying beating Tony Schumacher’s previous record in time of 3.771.

Chad Reed and James Stewart collide in one of the final corners in Atlanta. Ryan Villopoto went on to win at Atlanta Motocross. Credit: Grindtv.com

 

American Motocross Association:

Last weekend the AMA began their season in Atlanta where James Stewart and Chad Reed collided on the final lap in a controversial way allowing Ryan Villopoto to steal a victory after only being 7th fastest in practice on Friday.

Stewart talked to Dave Despain from The Wind Tunnel on Speedtv.com about how he feels the AMA should take this incident into consideration in looking out for the safety of riders. He expressed his concerns on how the AMA should view this incident and distribute penalties because it was not his first run in with Reed, and Stewart has been ‘on probation for things not close to being as bad.’

BAJA Sports: To ‘The Birthplace of Speed’ for 53rd running of the Daytona 500

February 18, 2011 Comments off

The Daytona 500 will be ran at 1 p.m. on FOX. Credit: visitwestvolusa.com

BAJA Sports bloggers Thomas Hitch, Jeremy Lukaszka and C.J. Bowe will discuss topics of “The Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway coming this weekend. NASCAR’s top-three series will visit the Florida track, where drivers will attempt to win the 53rd running of the Daytona 500.

1. The 53rd Daytona 500 being run Sunday will mark the 10th anniversary of the race since Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001. How much do you think NASCAR has changed over the past decade? Overall, has NASCAR succeeded since his tragic death?

Thomas Hitch: Since Earnhardt’s death in 2001 a lot has changed for NASCAR over the past 10 years. The biggest improvement would be to the safety features around the track such as the SAFER Barrier, HANS device and the tighter drivers’ seats. I might be one of the believers of if Earnhardt was still here today, I do believe NASCAR would have made the same changes to the points system and we would have seen the same champions.

Jeremy Lukaszka: As a person that didn’t truly become a NASCAR fan until 2004, I never experienced the impact of Earnhardt’s death and the effect he and his death really had on the sport. If the events on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 never happened, I honestly believe the sport would be just as safe as it is now but with the consequences of somebody else’s life. The only way I know NASCAR racing is the way the sport is today, in which case I believe every change the organization has made since then has been a successful one.

C.J. Bowe: NASCAR has changed quite a bit since the passing of  Dale Earnhardt.  The best thing that came out of everything was the obvious dangers in the sport and what could be done to fix it.  At this day in age its hard to even imagine NASCAR drivers without the HANS device or SAFER barriers.  There was a streak of tragedies in NASCAR back in the early 2000’s with Kenny Irwin, Adam Petty and Dale Earnhardt and if it was not for Earnhardt’s passing who knows when or if these safety precautions would have ever been put into effect.

Thomas Hitch: Now drivers and teams are driving the Car of Tomorrow, which has been attributed as being a major safety change from NASCAR. When you guys look at the COT, do you see it as NASCAR’s way of adding to the safety improvements or trying to improve the overall racing?

C.J. Bowe: I think of the COT as another safety precaution.  The racing was just fine with the old car, but the safety of the old car could be improved. I think looking at the changes they’ve been making to the COT to make it more like the old car is a sign that COT was meant to make racing more safe.

Jeremy Lukaszka: The Car of Tomorrow is safer without a doubt. However, I don’t believe NASCAR intended on making it safer as much as they did to build a better car for racing and to look different from what we’re accustomed to seeing. Think about it, if they were really worried about safety at the time, then the Nationwide Series would have switched to the COT as well since the cars used to be completely identical.

2. Fans have already witnessed the change in racing after Daytona’s new pavement. Will it change the outcome of who has a chance to win the 500-mile race?

Jeremy Lukaszka: Before I saw more than one car hit the track at a single time, I was predicting the 2011 Daytona 500 to be the best ever and see three-wide racing throughout the entire race. After seeing the Budweiser Shootout, I am almost positive this will be the worst Daytona 500 in history. The “two-car tango” is not what any fan expects at Daytona and the fact that we are not going to see pack racing will definitely hurt some drivers’ shot at victory.

C.J. Bowe: I think it definitely changes the outcome.  It was hard to predict before who would win the 500, but now it is down right impossible.  With the two car draft I would say anybody within the top 15 on the last two laps has a shot, it all depends on if one car gets hooked up with another car at the right time.

Thomas Hitch: After watching the Budweiser Shootout, fans had to be in complete disarray in the stands of what they were seeing. The fact is: Daytona is a different race track now, and if it provides different racing we, as fans, will learn to like what we see until NASCAR bunches the cars back together.

3. What drivers will visit victory lane in NASCAR’s top-three series Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series and the Sprint Cup Series this weekend?

C.J. Bowe: For Friday nights truck race I’m going to have to go with Kyle Busch although I will be pulling for Austin Dillon. I have high hopes for a good race on Saturday and would love to see Jr. get a win, but when Tony Stewart comes to Daytona in a Kevin Harvick Inc. Nationwide car my money has to be on him.  Then we get to the main event, thee Daytona 500.  I am really hoping it is exciting and we get to see some pack racing with three-wide racing, but at the end of the day the guy sitting in victory lane will be Dale Earnhardt Jr. Nobody in sports needs a win as bad as this guy, he NEEDS this one.

Thomas Hitch: When I look at the entry lists for these three races there are a lot of names who could be racing in all three series this weekend. I will be pushing for Aric Almirola driving the No. 51 Toyota in the Truck Series. In the Nationwide side of the garage, it is obviously February at Daytona and Tony Stewart is piloting a KHI vehicle, which puts him to the top of the leaderboard as my favorite. Not only because of his past record at the 300-mile race, but he is driving a racecar sponsored by Oreo. In the Cup garage it will be a tough choice to pick one driver. I believe it will come out of the Hendrick or Childress stable, and I will be pushing for the green and white AMP Energy Chevrolet piloted by, no other than, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Jeremy Lukaszka: The Truck Series race is going to be the best race of Speedweeks 2011, and the man in victory lane will be Todd Bodine just like it usually is at the superspeedways. The Nationwide Series race is so unpredictable with the new track surface and the new car which many drivers have never driven. However, with the driving similarities it has compared to the Cup car I can only expect a Cup Series driver to win the Drive4COPD 300. The Daytona 500, NASCAR’s most prestigious race, will undoubtedly be the most difficult to predict. I cannot guarantee a winner, but I am almost positive I can guarantee the car leading the race out of turn four will be spinning backwards across the start-finish line coming to take the checkered flag.

Thomas Hitch: Obviously the Truck Series will provide the most action-packed racing throughout the race Friday, and I agree it could be the most exciting to watch as fan of superspeedway racing. I am not too sure about a Todd Bodine selection though, unless his shiney forehead blinds the other drivers toward the end.

C.J. Bowe: I’m not going to be a flip flop on my pick, but looking at the Duels today it proves the only thing we as race fans already knew, this race is impossible to pick a winner for. I personally dislike the two car draft and think it has ruined plate racing.  Still hoping to see some kind of pack racing finish, but if I had to guess how the 500 will end, it will be two guys breaking away on a green-white-checker, putting the gap between second and third to about 1.5 seconds.  I am sure it will be a photo finish, but where is the excitement in two cars completely breaking away from the pack?

Jeremy Lukaszka: After watching the Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Thursday I am neither for or against the two car draft. I certainly miss the pack racing we used to get, but I believe with 43 cars on the track Sunday afternoon the race will be beyond exciting. As long as the Daytona 500 does not go flag-t0-flag (which I highly doubt it will) I think the field will finish in one pack, assuming there are cars left to have a pack toward the end of the race.

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