Wednesday, December 28, 2011

SEC Bowling

I haven't gotten interested in the college football bowl season yet.  How could I?  The SEC hasn't started playing yet.

The Southeastern Conference sends nine of the twelve teams to bowls this year, beginning with Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest in Friday's Music City Bowl and concluding on January 9 with LSU and Alabama playing for the national championship. (Roll Tide!)  Ole Miss, Kentucky and Tennessee are staying home this bowl season.

This is one of those odd years when there are no games on New Year's Day; it falls on a Sunday.  The traditional New Year's Day games are on Monday and stretching out through the week.

The SEC bowl schedule:

Friday, December 30
Music City Bowl -- Mississippi State vs. Wake Forest, 6:40 p.m. ET

Saturday, December 31
Liberty Bowl -- Vanderbilt vs. Cincinnati, 3:40 p.m.
Chick-fil-A Bowl -- Auburn vs. Virginia, 7:30 p.m.

Monday, January 2
Gator Bowl -- Florida vs. Ohio State, 1 p.m.
Outback Bowl -- Georgia vs. Michigan State, 1 p.m.
Capital One Bowl -- South Carolina vs. Nebraska, 1 p.m.

Friday, January 6
Cotton Bowl -- Arkansas vs. Kansas, 8 p.m.

Monday, January 9
BCS National Championship -- LSU vs. Alabama, 8:30 p.m.

Two teams will join the SEC next season, Missouri and Texas A&M.  Missouri scored on their first five possessions of Monday's Independence Bowl and cruised past North Carolina 41-24.  The Aggies play Northwestern this Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.

Notice that three SEC teams all play at the same time on January 2, leading to a lot of channel changing early, followed by a couple of games that I don't care a lot about.  Those three games at 1 p.m. should be among the best of the bowl season, featuring teams that appear to be pretty evenly matched.
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Sunday, October 9, 2011


Shot by The Daredevil at Daytona during Speedw...Image via Wikipedia

Six races left, and the Chase for the Sprint Cup is shaping up nicely.

Jimmie Johnson dominated at Kansas, running up front most of the day and holding off Kasey Kahne on a green-white-checkered restart for the win.  Brad Keselowski was third and Matt Kenseth fourth.  Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick came on strong at the end to finish fifth and sixth respectively.

It all fell apart at the end for Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon.  Stewart gave up track position for four tires on a late stop, then had trouble getting into his stall on the final stop.  Gordon's engine blew to set up the GWC finish.  (Race results)

Six races left, and Edwards leads Harvick by one point in the standings.  Jimmie Johnson sits just four points back and we're heading to one of his best tracks, Charlotte Motor Speedway, next.

Six races left.  Eight drivers within 20 points of the lead.  (Points standings)

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SEC Football

It's all shaping up nicely in the SEC West.  The November 5 LSU/Alabama game at Tuscaloosa should decide the division.  The top two teams in the country both looked impressive Saturday; LSU beat up on the Florida team Alabama destroyed last week and Alabama shut out Vandy.

The East is a little more complicated.  South Carolina and Georgia are tied at 3-1 in conference action.  South Carolina has the edge after winning the head-to-head matchup last month.  But Florida is lurking at 2-2 with games still upcoming against the leaders.  South Carolina dismantled dismal Kentucky and Georgia handled Tennessee to give Coach Richt his 100th career victory.

If you're a praying person, put in a few words for the Ole Miss Rebels.  They're 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the conference.  They were off this week, but play Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn the next three weeks and then LSU a couple of weeks later.  Their November 5 game against Kentucky will probably determine the worst team in the league, depending on how the rest of the year goes for Vandy.

Week Six Scores:

#1 LSU 41, #17 Florida 11
#2 Alabama 34, Vanderbilt 0
#10 Arkansas 38, #15 Auburn 14
#18 South Carolina 54, Kentucky 3
Georgia 20, Tennessee 12
Mississippi State 21, Alabama-Birmingham 3
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cup - Kyle Busch Wins Inaugural Kentucky Race

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch in August 2007 at Bri...Image via Wikipedia

Kyle Busch held off Jimmie Johnson on a late restart to win Saturday night's Quaker State 400, the inaugural Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch dominated the event, leading a race-high 125 (of  267) laps, but had to hold off Johnson on a restart with two laps to go to take home the trophy.  The pair entered Turn One side-by-side on the restart, but Busch had the momentum in the outside lane and pulled ahead coming out of Turn Two.  Johnson then had to contend with a hard-charging David Reutimann.  Reutimann passed Johnson for second place as they came to the stripe.

It was Busch's third win of the season, tying him with Kevin Harvick for the most in the Sprint Cup Series.  It was his 22nd career Cup victory, and his 99th victory in the three national series combined.

Ryan Newman finished fourth, followed by Carl Edwards.  Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, David Ragan, Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon rounded out the Top 10.  (Race results)

It's never a good sign when the big story after a race is the traffic, but the race was a snoozefest until the end and the traffic jam was the mother of all traffic jams.  

It seems that Kentucky Speedway is just another 1.5-mile cookie cutter oval where aerodynamics are king.  The bumps in the track that were supposed to add drama didn't, and the only good racing came on the restarts.  There were long stretches of green-flag runs where the field got strung out and the leader, racing in clean air, checked out.

But the traffic jam was what will be remembered for years to come.  The line of cars stretched some 20 miles down Interstate 71 and track officials ran out of places to park cars.  After many spent hours trying to get to the track, they were turned away when officials began reversing the traffic patterns to get everyone out after the race was over.  Track owner Bruton Smith estimated that 15,000-20,000 ticket holders never made it in.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continued his free fall in the points standings for the fourth straight week.  He pitted under green late in the race and took fuel only, then blew his left front tire as he re-entered the track.  The tire shredded and destroyed his fender, bringing out a caution on Lap 254.  Clint Bowyer spun and hit the wall just a couple of laps after the restart setting up the final two-lap sprint to the checkers.

With the win, Busch jumped two spots to take the lead in the series points standings, four points ahead of Edwards.  Harvick (-10) dropped two spots to third, followed by Kurt Busch (-18), Johnson (-19), Kenseth (-22), Gordon (-72), Earnhardt (-76), Newman (-86) and Denny Hamlin (-94).  Tony Stewart is just three points behind Hamlin for the tenth spot.  Bowyer dropped out of the Top 10 and is now 16 points behind Hamlin.  Ragan holds one wildcard spot for the Chase.  Keselowski is just three points behind Joey Logano for 20th place in the standings and the other wildcard spot.

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Nationwide - Keselowski Stretches His Fuel Mileage to Win at Kentucky

Brad Keselowski the driver for the No. 88 Navy...Image via Wikipedia

Brad Keselowski dominated Friday night's Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway, leading 132 of the 200 laps, but it came down to fuel mileage at the end.  Keselowski conserved enough to take the checkered flag.

Keselowski's only real challenge came from Kevin Harvick, who was also in fuel conservation mode.  But Harvick's crew made a crucial mistake in the closing laps, calling Harvick to the pits for fuel, then changing their minds at the last minute and telling him to stay out.  A car had spun out and they were looking for a caution that never came.  Harvick couldn't make up the lost time, allowing Keselowski to cruise to a 1.180-second victory.

It was Keselowski's first win of the season and the 13th of his career.  It was his first win at Kentucky Speedway in his fourth start.

On Lap 134, Robert Richardson spun and backed into the wall to bring out the fifth and final caution of the race.  Keselowski took fuel only and was the first off of pit road.  Keselowski pulled away on the restart and led the rest of the way.

Kyle Busch started in the rear of the field after wrecking in practice and switching to his backup car.  He quickly worked his way toward the front, but never challenged Keselowski and Harvick.  He finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler.  (Race results)

Sadler took over the lead in the series points standings from Reed Sorenson, who finished 17th.  Sorenson had pit troubles earlier in the race, leaving the pits with the track bar wrench still in the back of the car.  Sadler now leads Sorenson by four points.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-27) is third, followed by Justin Allgaier (-43) and Jason Leffler (-73).

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Trucks - Busch Finds a Way to Win at Kentucky

MARTINSVILLE, VA - APRIL 02:  Kyle Busch, driv...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It didn't seem like Kyle Busch had the truck to win, but, after some great late restarts and some misfortune for most of the other contenders, he cruised to victory in Thursday night's University of Northwestern Ohio 225 at Kentucky Speedway.

Busch started in the rear of the field after missing the drivers' meeting, but quickly charged toward the front, finally taking the lead for the first time on Lap 61.  He led twice for 61 laps, including the last 18.  Toward the end, his was not the fastest truck, but most of the other contenders fell by the wayside.

Polesitter Johnny Sauter passed Busch for the lead on Lap 103, but broke a rear axle while trying to leave his pit on a green-flag stop on Lap 124.  About eight laps later, Austin Dillon challenged Busch for the lead, but his hood came loose and folded back over his windshield.  He had to pit to have it cut loose.

With ten laps to go, Charlie Vest spun.  He didn't hit anything, but NASCAR finally had to throw the caution because he was blocking the entrance to pit road and couldn't get the engine restarted.  About the time the caution waved, Steve Arpin spun straight toward Vest, but he finally had it running again and moved out of the way in time to avoid the collision.

That set up a restart with five laps to go.  Busch got a great restart, but Joey Coulter did not.  He dropped back and bunched the rest of the field up.  Nelson Piquet Jr., another contender, got pushed back in the middle of a three-wide pack.  He got into the rear of the other Brazilian in the race, Miguel Paludo, and they both went hard into the wall.

That set up the green-white-checkered finish.  Again, Busch got a great jump, but Jason White did not.  Busch cruised to victory.  Parker Klingerman, Brendan Gaughan and Todd Bodine got around White to finish second, third and fourth respectively.  White came home fifth.  (Race results)

It was Busch's first win at Kentucky Speedway, his fifth Camping World Truck Series win of the season and the 29th of his career.  It was his 98th national series win, third most all-time.  The race went 152 laps, two past the scheduled distance.

Ron Hornaday made the bonehead move of the race.  After a restart on Lap 76, he was challenging Cole Whitt for fourth place.  Hornaday got loose and came up into Whitt and they both went into the wall.  That would have been the end of it if Hornaday had stayed on the brakes, but he tried to straighten out his heavily damaged truck and keep moving.  He slammed Jack Smith into the wall, then slid down the track and took out John King and Josh Richards.

The series points standings were shuffled a bit.  Sauter stayed in first, and even gained three more points on Whitt (-23).  Dillon (-25) moved up a spot to third.  James Buescher (-32) and Klingerman (-35) each moved up three spots to fourth and fifth respectively as Hornaday (-37) dropped three spots to sixth.

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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cup - Ragan Gets First Career Win at Daytona

David Ragan, Driver of the #6 UPS FordImage by jerbec via Flickr

David Ragan cruised to his first career Cup Series win in Saturday night's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Racing in the two-car drafts that have become commonplace at the superspeedways, the top four finished in single file. Ragan was pushed to victory by his Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth.  The tandem of Joey Logano and Kasey Kahne didn't try to challenge the finish and finished third and fourth respectively.

A sedate race by Daytona standards turned treacherous at the end.  It took two green-white-checkered finishes and ten extra laps to settle this one.  With two separate wrecks occurring simultaneously on the final lap, NASCAR let it play out to the finish and didn't throw the caution until the leaders had crossed the line.

After three cautions in the first 50 laps, the race settled down into a long green flag run from Lap 53 to Lap 157.  Then with just three laps left to go, Kahne got together with his Red Bull teammate Brian Vickers, pushing Jeff Gordon up into Kyle Busch and Logano.  It was slight contact, but was enough to send Gordon sideways in traffic.  Gordon made a tremendous save to get the car straightened out again, but that brought out the caution and set up the first GWC attempt.

The first attempt didn't make it through Turn Two.  Racing three wide through the turn, Mark Martin drifted down on Logano, triggering the Big One.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen cars were involved in various degrees.

They lined up again for a second GWC.  Ragan got a great push from Kenseth to stay out front, but Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin challenged.  Logano and Kahne went outside to make it three wide, and Newman and Hamlin were stranded in the middle and fell back.  On the final lap, Landon Cassill got together with Marcos Ambrose, triggering a multi-car crash.  As that one was playing out, Jamie McMurray got together with Dale Earnhardt Jr., triggering another melee closer to the front of the field.

Kyle Busch finished fifth, followed by Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard, Juan Montoya, and A. J. Allmendinger.  (Race results)

Ragan atoned for a big mistake at the Daytona 500 in February.  Leading the field to green on a late restart, Ragan was penalized for changing lanes before he crossed the start/finish line, ending his chances for a win.

Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne's hopes for a repeat at the track ended early on Lap 5.  A push from Brad Keselowski hooked him into the wall and ended his day.

Carl Edwards's day also ended early.  On Lap 23, he was hooked by his Roush Fenway teammate Greg Biffle.  Biffle slapped the outside wall; Edwards slid through the infield and smacked the inside wall hard.  Edwards came into the race with a 25-point lead in the series points standings, but finished 37th and relinquished the lead to Harvick.

Harvick now leads Edwards by five points.  Kyle Busch jumped two spots to third, ten points behind Harvick.  Kurt Busch (-16) is fourth.  Kenseth (-22) is fifth.  Jimmie Johnson (-22) got caught up in the last-lap melees and finished 20th, dropping him three spots to sixth in the standings.  Earnhardt (-52) is seventh, followed by Gordon (-67), Clint Bowyer (-81) and Newman (-88).  With just nine races left before the Chase, Hamlin has closed to within three points of tenth.  Tony Stewart is just four points behind Newman now.  (Points standings)

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Saturday, July 2, 2011

From the Twitter Machine

One of the big stories before Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway was Kevin Harvick Inc.'s four-car mega-team that was entered in the race.  KHI had cars for Harvick, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer and Elliott Sadler.

Harvick won the pole, followed by Stewart, Sadler and Bowyer to give KHI a sweep of the first two rows.  It was the first time in series history that a team had started a race 1-2-3-4.  Things didn't go so well after that.  Harvick turned Bowyer into the wall on Lap 80.  All the other cars were wrecked on the final lap.

This was Harvick's wife DeLana's reaction on Twitter after the race...

Well that was expensive.....Sat Jul 02 01:43:14 via Seesmic

Nationwide - Busch Pushes Logano to Daytona Win

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JULY 01:  Joey Logano, dri...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Joey Logano got a big push from his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to win Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway.  Logano held off a late charge by Jason Leffler to win by 0.040 seconds.

Logano started at the rear of the field after his crew made unapproved modifications to his car before the race.  He was turned early in the race by teammate Brian Scott as they tried to go below the yellow line to pass the slower car of Kevin LaPage, but somehow saved it.  Logano didn't lead in the race until the final half-mile.

It was Logano's ninth career Nationwide Series win, his first of the season and his first at Daytona.

As Logano crossed the stripe, the Big One unfolded behind him.  Mike Wallace ran Danica Patrick up into the wall.  She bounced back down into the pack, triggering an eight-car crash.

Reed Sorenson finished third and collected the first of four $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonuses Nationwide is giving away this season.  Busch was fourth, followed by Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett.  Kenny Wallace took seventh place going through the infield grass.  The wrecked cars of Elliott Sadler, Aric Almirola and Patrick made it across the line to round out the Top Ten.  (Race results)

On Lap 44, Eric McClure was turned hard into the wall by Mike Bliss.  McClure walked away from the wreck, but was taken to the infield care center, then to a local hospital for further evaluation.

The top eleven spots in the series points standings stayed the same, but Sorenson extended his lead to nine points over Sadler.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-31) is third, followed by Allgaier (-37) and Leffler (-73).

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Crown Royal has announced that they are significantly scaling back their involvement with NASCAR.  They will end their sponsorship with Roush Fenway Racing and Matt Kenseth's No. 17 Ford at the end of the year.  Also, parent company Diageo will not renew their deal as an official NASCAR partner.

RFR has thus far only renewed their sponsorship deal with 3M.  It appears that their other major sponsors, Aflac and UPS, are waiting to see if Carl Edwards re-signs with RFR and how the rest of the silly season shakes out.

Crown Royal will concentrate its NASCAR involvement on their annual "Your Name Here" race, which has been held at Richmond International Speedway in September.

Geico has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the fall Sprint Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.  It's Geico's first naming-rights agreement in any sport.

Jeremy Fuller, a contract employee and tire changer for Red Bull Racing and Turner Motorsports, has been fired from both jobs for homophobic tweets he posted after the race at Infineon Speedway Sunday.

UPS will honor Ned Jarrett's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with a throwback paint scheme on David Ragan's No. 6 Ford at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The throwback design, which resembles Jarrett's 1965 Ford Galaxie, was unveiled Sunday at Infineon Raceway.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Cup - Kurt Busch Dominates at Sonoma

SONOMA, CA - JUNE 26:  Kurt Busch, driver of t...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Kurt Busch notched his first career road course victory Sunday, winning the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.  He made it look easy, leading 76 of the 110 laps (including the final 23) and crossing the finish line 2.685 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.

It was Busch's first Cup win of the season and the 23rd of his career, tying him with Ricky Rudd for 26th on the all-time wins list.

The real battle was for second place between Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards.  Both struggled early in the race, then seemed to appear out of nowhere at the end by staying out on old tires.  Gordon passed Edwards for second on the final lap.  Clint Bowyer finished fourth, followed by Marcos Ambrose.  (Race results)

The real story of the race was all the "boys, have at it" action going on behind Busch.  Juan Montoya played the part that Jeff Gordon played so well last year, tangling with everyone he got near.  Two incidents stand out:  On Lap 37, he tangled with Kyle Busch, shoving him off the track in Turn 11 and starting a multi-car pileup.  On Lap 104, he tried to force Brad Keselowski into the grass.  Keselowski returned the favor by spinning him out.

The first incident ended Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s day and started a feud between Tony Stewart and Brian Vickers.  Stewart pushed Vickers into the cars that were slowing in front of him, then spun him around.  Vickers got his revenge on Lap 87.  Stewart was challenging Busch for the lead when they came up on Vickers.  After Stewart went by, Vickers turned him when he slowed for Turn 11.  Stewart came to rest with his rear end up on the tire barrier.

Montoya also tangled with Kasey Kahne, trying to force his way through when there really wasn't anywhere to go.  The move spun Kahne, but also cost Montoya a few spots.  Joey Logano got together with Robby Gordon early in the race, leaving Gordon to ponder doing "a Richard Childress" on the younger driver.

Edwards increased his lead in the series points standings by five; he now leads Kevin Harvick by 25 points.  Harvick rebounded from a tough day to finish ninth.  Jimmie Johnson finished seventh, but climbed two spots in the standings to third, 33 points behind Edwards.  Kurt Busch climbed three spots to fourth, 34 points out.  Kyle Busch (-37) is now fifth, followed by Matt Kenseth (-52) and Earnhardt (-65), who dropped four spots in the standings.  Clint Bowyer (-77), Gordon (-93) and Ryan Newman (-98) round out the Top 10.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nationwide - Sorenson Wins Wild One at Road America

Reed Sorenson, driver or the #41 Target Dodge ...Image by jerbec via Flickr

It took three green-white-checkered finishes, then it took NASCAR several minutes to review the mayhem, but they made the right call and awarded Saturday's Bucyrus 200 to Reed Sorenson.  Sorenson inherited the lead on the final lap under caution when Justin Allgaier ran out of gas on the way to the finish line.

It was Sorenson's fourth career Nationwide Series win, the first in 58 races dating back to July 2007 at Gateway International Raceway.

It was a pretty sedate road course race for most of the way.  The biggest excitement early on was the battle for the lead between Michael McDowell and Jacques Villeneuve.  But Villeneuve was penalized on a restart on Lap 25 (of 50) when he changed lanes before crossing the start/finish line. 

McDowell seemingly took the lead for good on Lap 43, passing Brian Scott and quickly pulling away from the field.  But Doug Harrington spun with four laps to go, bringing out the fourth caution of the day and setting up the first green-white-checkered finish.

Villeneuve made the bonehead move of the race on the restart, diving outside to try to get back into contention.  He got his right-side tires in the grass, then got into Scott and Max Papis, spinning them out into the gravel pits.

McDowell got a good jump on the second green-white-checkered restart, but slid off the track on Turn Five, giving the lead to Allgaier.  Moments later, he slid off again, ending any chance of winning, but starting a chain reaction wreck that brought out the caution again.

Allgaier got a good jump on the last green-white-checkered restart and took the white flag, but more bumping and banging left Aric Almirola in the gravel pit and brought out the final caution.  All Allgaier had to do was make it back around to the finish line to win, but he was out of gas and the win belonged to Sorenson.

Then there was confusion.  Apparently, Ron Fellows did not see the caution waving.  He blew past Sorenson and was still at race speed until the pace car pulled out in front of him.  Sorenson and Fellows crossed the finish line side-by-side behind the pace car.  Fellows was initially declared the winner, but NASCAR reviewed the tape and determined that Fellows had passed Sorenson after the caution came out.

Villeneuve finished third, followed by Elliott Sadler and Mike Wallace.  The race went seven laps beyond the regulation distance on the four-mile course.  (Race results)

The victory puts Sorenson back in the lead in the series points standings.  He's five points ahead of Sadler.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (-7) drops two spots to third after finishing eighth.  Allgaier (-34) is fourth; Jason Leffler (-73) is fifth.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cup - Logano Takes the Pole at Sonoma

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 27:  Joey Logano, driver ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Joey Logano grabbed the pole for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway.  Logano, who doesn't have much of a reputation as a road racer, turned a lap of 76.821 seconds (93.256 mph) on the 1.99-mile course.  Logano was as surprised as everyone else, "This is the last place that I figured we'd get a pole."

It was Logano's second career pole.  The other came at Bristol in March 2010.  Logano is the youngest driver (21 years, 1 month) to win a road course poll, besting Parnelli Jones (24 years, 9 months, 18 days) at Riverside in 1958.

Jamie McMurray (76.848 seconds, 93.223 mph) will start on the outside of the front row.  Paul Menard starts third, followed by Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman. 

Tony Ave, a road race specialist substituting for Travis Kvapil in the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, was the only driver to fail to qualify for the race.  (Race lineup)

Kurt Busch was trying to earn his fourth straight pole.  He led the first practice session, giving him the final run in qualifying, but he was a half-second off of Logano's time.  He starts eleventh.  McMurray was fastest in the second practice.  Brad Keselowski was fastest in Happy Hour.

Series points leader Carl Edwards canceled his plans to run the Nationwide Series race at Road America.  After a poor first practice and qualifying run, Edwards decided he needed the extra practice time at Infineon.  He starts 23rd Sunday.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011


This weekend's NASCAR Cup race is at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.  The Toyota/Save Mart 350 is one of just two road course races on the schedule.

The entry list for the race has 44 names.  Only one car is going home after qualifying Friday.

There's not much NASCAR news until the teams get to the track Thursday. 

There's a small adjustment to the 2012 schedule.  The spring race at Dover will move back to early June right after Memorial Day.  Attendance sagged when they moved the race to May, so they're moving it back.

Michigan International Speedway and ESPN have combined forces to put a race title sponsorship and media sponsorship package together for Michigan's tourism bureau.  This story is really only interesting in that it answers the question of how much money is thrown around to put one of these NASCAR races together.

But the money is nothing compared to what it takes to put on an F1 race.  The Austin city council is voting Thursday, basically signing on the dotted line to officially put on the American Grand Prix. 

It seems that a yes vote by the seven-member council would finally allow race promoters to take advantage of the money in the Texas Major Events Trust Fund.  The promoters would pay $4 million a year for ten years and get back $25 million a year for ten years to give to Bernie Ecclestone and F1 management for the privilege of holding the race.

A host of other problems are rearing their ugly heads, including the fact that Austin, Texas, a town with virtually no extra hotel rooms, has never held an event of this size before.  The latest wrinkle in the saga is that two educators and an accountant have filed a lawsuit to block payment of the subsidy to the race promoters.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Joe Gibbs Racing:  It turned out just as expected -- no points penalties, but hefty monetary fines for bringing the unapproved oil pans to Michigan.  The three crew chiefs -- Mike Ford, Dave Rogers and Greg Zipadelli -- were fined $50,000 each.  The crew chief, the car chiefs and competition director Jimmy Makar were all put on probation until the end of the year.

Red Bull Racing:  The news that Red Bull was pulling out of NASCAR seems to have leaked a lot quicker than the company might have liked.  Anyway, they're searching for a buyer to keep the team going and will even throw in some sponsorship.  Whatever it takes.

Silly Season:  Carl Edwards is still the top free agent.  His decision -- to stay at Roush Fenway or move on -- will affect everyone else, but the situation at Red Bull throws a big monkey wrench into the works.  It's currently a two-car team, but Kasey Kahne is going to Hendricks next season and Brian Vickers's contract is up at the end of the season.  And what about Mark Martin...and Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick and Juan Montoya and all the others?

It's a strange weekend coming up for the new official sport of North Carolina.  No Truck race, but the Cup and Nationwide Series are both at road courses -- just not the same one.  The Cup race is at Sonoma, California, at Infineon Raceway.  The Nationwide race is in Wisconsin at Road America.

Road courses?  Yea or nay?  I think they're fun and take a lot of driver skill.  I'd like to see maybe one more road course track on the Cup schedule, maybe even during the Chase.