The Stock Car Gazette e-zine for Monday, 10/5/09
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E d i t o r ‘ s * N o t e s
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Stock Car Gazette Columnists Speak Out!
TV Times – Brian France Has A Lot Riding on the Chase to the Sprint Cup
by Lou Modestino
NASCAR’s Brian France has a lot riding on the 2009 Chase To Sprint Cup. The idea of this concept working to peak fans interest to buy tickets and watch the events on TV has a lot to do with how close the chase is right up to the finale at Homestead. More from motorsportsnews.net/archives/4124
Track Trash – It’s Kansas, Toto
by Racing Maniac
The Playoffs are taking shape, and we just might have some genuine interest in the last few races. Just as long as no one runs away with a huge points lead, we might end up biting out nails at Homestead.
Oh, goody…….. more at motorsportsnews.net/archives/4121
N A S C A R * S P R I N T * C U P * S E R I E S
Courtesy of www.FrontStretch.com
Sprint Cup Race Recap
By Phil Allaway
Two-Tire Gamble allows Stewart to Prevail at Kansas
After six straight races without a top 5 finish, regular season points champ Tony Stewart was on the verge of being a postseason casualty.
Not so fast.
After pit strategy put him out front, Stewart led the final 30 laps in scoring the victory in Sunday’s Price Chopper 400. His second win at Kansas Speedway in the last four years, it sent a message that his No. 14 team can still be a factor versus the Hendrick powerhouse duo of Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson in the Chase.
“This team doesn’t have any quit in them,” he said after closing to within 67 of Martin for the top spot. “That’s what it’s going to take to get back on top.”
The win was Stewart’s fourth victory of the season and breaks a recent dry stretch. Since taking the checkers at Watkins Glen on August 10th, he’d had only one top 10 finish (a ninth last week at Dover) and had not really been in contention at all late in the races.
That changed on Sunday. A consistent top 5 runner, Stewart’s Chevrolet was at or near the front of the pack from the drop of the green. Initially, though, it looked like his bid for a victory would come up short; after the final set of stops with 60 laps to go, he was over seven seconds out of the lead in second place and was questionable to make it to the end on fuel.
Then, the sixth caution of the race flew with 30 to go after Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s engine threw the belt off of its oil pump, resulting in fluid spilling onto the track. This brought the 16 remaining lead lap cars to pit road for the final time.
Three cars took two tires — Stewart, Kasey Kahne, and Jimmie Johnson — while everyone else took four. Winning the race off of pit road handily over former leader Greg Biffle, the No. 14 Chevy led on the restart and pulled away enough to withstand the late challenge by Gordon.
“The good thing was we got two tires at the end there… and the guys had an awesome stop,” Stewart said in the post-race press conference. “We got that track position at the end, and we had the luxury of being able to pick the inside or outside lane on the restart. I kind of struggled when I was stuck on the bottom on restarts today, so [we] took a gamble and went to the top and got enough of a lead… to run my own line, run my own pace, and let those guys have to worry about catching us.”
Gordon’s car was fastest at the end, but his chance to get up front was hampered by that track position. Restarting fifth, Gordon didn’t pass Biffle for second until 13 laps to go. 1.1 seconds back at that point, there was too little time left to challenge Stewart, out ahead in clean air — but the veteran was thrilled to compete late in the race with a car that started off as junk.
“We really struggled at the beginning. I was pretty disappointed that the car was doing the things that it did,” he said of his race after snagging his seventh runner-up finish of the season. “I’m really, really proud of this team and Steve for not giving up. We kept tuning on it, Steve made some great adjustments, we had great pit stops, and found ourselves in position there at the end to take advantage of it.”
Following Stewart and Gordon was Biffle in third, equaling his best run of the season. Holding a nearly ten-second lead at one point, the No. 16 was the class of the field until losing his track position with four tires on the final stop.
“I stuck [four] fingers out the window,” he said, trying to make light of the call that overruled his crew chief, Greg Erwin, and cost him the win. “I should have stuck out one. Not much else to say about it.”
Juan Pablo Montoya was fourth, while Denny Hamlin rounded out the Top 5. Kasey Kahne started and finished sixth, while point leader Mark Martin finished seventh. David Reutimann was eighth, followed by Jimmie Johnson in ninth while Carl Edwards rounded out the Top 10. Johnson’s team had an off day, with a bad four-tire call by Chad Knaus under caution dropping the No. 48 from first to ninth after dominating most of the race’s first half. The team never recovered.
“We had such a good car, we felt like four was really the way to go,” Johnson said of the dropoff. “We certainly lost some track position and were in dirty air. I don’t know, something happened. We were so fast the run before. I had come through traffic a couple of other times. Then the car was really tough to drive, edgy and all over the place, so I’m not sure what happened.”
A record nine Chasers finished in the Top 10, with David Reutimann in eighth the only non-Chaser to break the cycle.
Point Standings (Top 12)
Points leader Mark Martin had a consistent day after winning the pole on Friday. He never really had a car that could contend for the victory, but simply persevered through the race to finish seventh. Thanks to Jimmie Johnson’s ill-advised move to take two tires on the final pit stop instead of four, he actually posted a small gain in the standings. With an eight-point gap between Martin’s seventh and Johnson’s ninth, the lead grows to 18 with just seven races left to go. Behind them, Juan Pablo Montoya once again used his aggressive style to his advantage, sticking the nose of his Target Chevrolet where others wouldn’t dare. Despite some handling problems, Montoya brought the No. 42 home in fourth with a late charge, climbing to within 51 of Martin before heading to a track in Fontana where he’s never scored a top 10 finish.
Tony Stewart used the strength of his victory on Sunday to move up one spot in the standings to fourth, cutting his deficit to 67 as mentioned in the race recap above. Stewart swapped spots with Kurt Busch, who had to come from 39th on the grid. Kurt eventually brought his No. 2 home 11th, but the fact that he lost a spot with that showing just shows how crowded the top 10 was with Chasers on Sunday. Eight points behind Busch is Denny Hamlin, who held serve in the standings by finishing fifth — posting a nice recovery from a disappointing 22nd at Dover the week before.
Jeff Gordon is up one spot after finishing second on Sunday, while Greg Biffle is up to eighth after leading a race-high 116 laps en route to third. Those two are among eight drivers who could leave California with the point lead next week.
Behind them are four men who will need to work hard to get back into contention. Ryan Newman dropped two spots to ninth in the standings after a 22nd place finish, two laps down. Newman was caught speeding on pit road during a round of green flag stops, which dropped him off the lead lap. A longer-than-normal stop late in the race also hurt the No. 39 team, which has now fallen 164 points behind Martin as a result.
Carl Edwards was also a victim of a speeding violation during the first round of green flag pit stops. However, unlike Newman, he was able to eventually get his lap back, squeaking back up to tenth by the end of the race. This moved him up to 10th in the standings as well. Behind him is Kasey Kahne, still 190 points out of the lead after a sixth place finish Sunday. Jumping up one spot in the standings to 11th, the team is still reeling from the blown engine at Loudon and is still very dysfunctional behind the scenes. Finally, Brian Vickers dropped into the Chase cellar after his worst day in months. Falling laps down early, a blown engine added insult to injury and left him 37th.
In the “Best of the Rest” category, Matt Kenseth also blew his engine, handing a 47-point lead back to Kyle Busch as the race for 13th in the standings continues between those two.
Courtesy of Google Alerts
Danica may partner with Dale Jr., Hendick on limited NASCAR deal
So if Patrick signs with JR Motorsports or another team, look for her to run in fewer than 10 stock car events next season. In fact, five races next season …
Courtesy of Insider Racing News
Stewart Wins At Kansas
Two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart won the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday by holding off a hard charging Jeff Gordon. On the final caution and restart with 26 laps to go, Stewart had two new tires while Gordon took four. It was a great call to take two tires and it put Stewart at the front of the field, leaving Gordon restarting in 12th spot. Gordon worked his way to the front and was closing in on Stewart but ran out of tires and laps. It was Stewart’s fourth victory this year, and his second win at Kansas Speedway. It is Stewart’s 37th victory in 385 career races.
“We got two tires at the end there, and Darian made a great call getting two, and the guys had an awesome stop,” Stewart said. “That was really what it boiled down to. We got that track position at the end, and we had the luxury of being able to pick the inside or outside lane on the restart, and I kind of debated back and forth which side I needed to be on. I kind of struggled when I was stuck on the bottom on restarts today. So I took a gamble and went to the top and got enough of a lead on Kasey (Kahne) to get down to the bottom by the time we got to Turns 1 and 2 and was able to run our line, and we got enough of a gap right off the bat that it gave me the flexibility to run my own line, run my own pace and let those guys have to worry about catching us.”
Greg Biffle, who led the most laps (113 of 267) finished third and Juan Pablo Montoya battled to finish in fourth place. Denny Hamlin nailed down the fifth spot and was followed by Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, David Reutimann, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards to round out the top ten. — Mark Martin maintained his points lead over Johnson by 18 and 51 over third place Montoya. — Stewart’s victory clinched the 2009 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premier division. With seven races left on the 2009 Sprint Cup tour, Chevrolet has now collected its 33rd Manufacturers’ crown, the most ever by any automobile manufacturer in the sport. — The race featured 14 different leaders and 28 lead changes, both new track records. The race was slowed by six cautions for a total of 23 laps. The Sprint Cup Series moves to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, next Sunday, October 11th, for the Pepsi 500.
2009 Price Chopper 400 Final Results
Race Date October 4, 2009
Pos Start Car Driver Make Sponsor Points/Bonus/Laps Status
1 5 14 Tony Stewart Chevrolet Office Depot/Old Spice 190/5 267 Running
2 9 24 Jeff Gordon Chevrolet DuPont 170/0 267 Running
3 31 16 Greg Biffle ** Ford Sherwin Williams/3M 175/10 267 Running
4 14 42 Juan Montoya Chevrolet Target 165/5 267 Running
5 22 11 Denny Hamlin Toyota FedEx Freight 160/5 267 Running
6 6 9 Kasey Kahne Dodge Budweiser 150/0 267 Running
7 1 5 Mark Martin Chevrolet Carquest/Kellogg’s 151/5 267 Running
8 13 00 David Reutimann Toyota Aaron’s Dream Machine 142/0 267 Running
9 11 48 Jimmie Johnson Chevrolet Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools 143/5 267 Running
10 17 99 Carl Edwards Ford Aflac 139/5 267 Running
11 39 2 Kurt Busch Dodge Miller Lite 135/5 267 Running
12 34 18 Kyle Busch Toyota M&M’s 127/0 267 Running
13 3 25 Brad Keselowski Chevrolet GoDaddy.com 129/5 267 Running
14 27 47 Marcos Ambrose Toyota Little Debbie 121/0 267 Running
15 36 07 Casey Mears Chevrolet Jack Daniel’s 118/0 267 Running
16 21 1 Martin Truex Jr. Chevrolet Bass Pro Shops/Tracker 120/5 267 Running
17 15 44 A.J. Allmendinger Dodge Valvoline 117/0 267 Running
18 33 77 Sam Hornish Jr. Dodge Mobil 1 109/0 267 Running
19 16 21 Bill Elliott Ford Motorcraft 106/0 266 Running
20 42 19 Elliott Sadler Dodge Best Buy 108/5 266 Running
21 8 33 Clint Bowyer Chevrolet Cheerios 100/0 266 Running
22 30 39 Ryan Newman Chevrolet U.S. Army 97/0 266 Running
23 35 31 Jeff Burton Chevrolet Caterpillar 94/0 266 Running
24 38 29 Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Reese’s 91/0 266 Running
25 32 12 David Stremme Dodge Penske Racing 88/0 266 Running
26 28 43 Reed Sorenson Dodge McDonald’s Monopoly 85/0 266 Running
27 10 82 Scott Speed * Toyota Red Bull 82/0 266 Running
28 18 20 Joey Logano * Toyota The Home Depot 79/0 266 Running
29 41 96 Erik Darnell Ford Northern Tool 76/0 265 Running
30 20 98 Paul Menard Ford Zecol/Menards 73/0 265 Running
31 4 26 Jamie McMurray Ford Crown Royal 70/0 264 Running
32 43 113 Max Papis * Toyota GEICO 67/0 263 Running
33 40 34 John Andretti Chevrolet Taco Bell 69/5 263 Running
34 37 7 Robby Gordon Toyota Mapei/Menards 61/0 263 Running
35 25 6 David Ragan Ford UPS Freight 58/0 256 Running
36 2 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Chevrolet National Guard/Amp 60/5 232 Engine
37 12 83 Brian Vickers Toyota Red Bull 52/0 208 Engine
38 29 55 Michael Waltrip Toyota NAPA Auto Parts 49/0 141 Accident
39 23 17 Matt Kenseth Ford Dewalt 51/5 134 Engine
40 24 66 Dave Blaney Toyota Prism Motorsports 43/0 28 Engine
41 19 09 Mike Bliss Dodge Miccosukee Resort 40/0 26 Overheating
42 7 187 Joe Nemechek Toyota NEMCO Motorsports 37/0 25 Rear End
43 26 171 Bobby Labonte Chevrolet Mahindra Tractors 34/0 6 Accident
** Led Most Laps
All Results Unofficial
2009 Top-40 Sprint Cup Points After Price Chopper 400
Race Date October 4, 2009
POS +/- DRIVER POINTS/BEHIND STARTS POLES WINS TOP 5 TOP 10
1 — Mark Martin 5551 29 7 5 11 17
2 — Jimmie Johnson 5533 -18 29 2 4 11 18
3 — Juan Montoya 5500 -51 29 2 0 5 15
4 +1 Tony Stewart 5484 -67 29 0 4 14 20
5 -1 Kurt Busch 5460 -91 29 0 1 8 16
6 — Denny Hamlin 5452 -99 29 0 2 11 16
7 +1 Jeff Gordon 5448 -103 29 0 1 13 20
8 +1 Greg Biffle 5437 -114 29 0 0 9 14
9 -2 Ryan Newman 5387 -164 29 1 0 5 14
10 +1 Carl Edwards 5386 -165 29 0 0 7 12
11 +1 Kasey Kahne 5361 -190 29 0 2 5 12
12 -2 Brian Vickers 5301 -250 29 6 1 4 13
Top 12 Drivers In The Chase For The Championship * Points Reset After 26 Race
13 +1 Kyle Busch 3522 -2029 29 1 4 8 10
14 -1 Matt Kenseth 3475 -2076 29 1 2 5 10
15 +1 David Reutimann 3417 -2134 29 2 1 5 9
16 -1 Clint Bowyer 3411 -2140 29 0 0 4 12
17 — Marcos Ambrose 3180 -2371 29 0 0 4 7
18 — Jeff Burton 3062 -2489 29 0 0 2 6
19 — Casey Mears 2993 -2558 29 0 0 0 3
20 — Joey Logano* 2921 -2630 29 0 1 1 5
21 — Kevin Harvick 2898 -2653 29 0 0 3 5
22 — Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2849 -2702 29 0 0 2 5
23 — Jamie McMurray 2822 -2729 29 0 0 0 3
24 — A.J. Allmendinger 2806 -2745 29 0 0 1 4
25 +1 Martin Truex Jr. 2745 -2806 29 2 0 0 3
26 -1 Elliott Sadler 2739 -2812 29 0 0 1 4
27 — Sam Hornish Jr. 2680 -2871 29 0 0 2 7
28 — Reed Sorenson 2588 -2963 29 0 0 0 1
29 +2 David Stremme 2532 -3019 29 0 0 0 0
30 -1 Bobby Labonte 2529 -3022 29 0 0 1 1
31 -1 David Ragan 2527 -3024 29 0 0 0 1
32 — Paul Menard 2447 -3104 29 0 0 0 0
33 — Robby Gordon 2228 -3323 28 0 0 1 1
34 — Michael Waltrip 2204 -3347 27 0 0 0 1
35 — Scott Speed* 2104 -3447 28 0 0 1 1
36 — John Andretti 2026 -3525 27 0 0 0 0
37 — David Gilliland 1524 -4027 25 0 0 0 0
38 — Regan Smith 1181 -4370 14 0 0 0 0
39 — Joe Nemechek 1099 -4452 24 0 0 0 0
40 +1 Brad Keselowski 1056 -4495 10 0 1 1 3
Standardizing Start Times
Word is that NASCAR is eyeing two future schedule changes which would affect television viewers and would affect viewers in the grandstands. Grant Lynch, chairman of Talladega Superspeedway and International Speedway Corporation’s vice president of strategic operations, has heard about both and talked about both on Saturday. The first is standardization of the starting times of Sprint Cup races. Lynch says, good idea. “From what we’ve been hearing from fans, that move would be real positive,” Lynch said. — Currently starting times vary. This year, there have been 16 races starting at 2:00 pm, five at 3:25-3:30 pm, six from 7:20-7:30 pm, two at 8:00 pm, as well as other races starting at 1:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 5:45 pm, 6:00 pm and 8:30 pm.
The standardized starting time being talked about most for Sunday races is 1 pm / Eastern. Lynch likes that. The late starts, he said, mean “fans are having a difficult time getting back home after races. Some don’t get home until 3 in the morning” after the latest of starts. Lynch also thinks a standardized starting time would aid those who watch from their couches. “It’s become harder and harder to know when to tune in,” Lynch said.
Courtesy of Jayski
Stewart wins at Kansas: #14-Tony Stewart won the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway for his 4th win of the season and 37th of his career. #24-Gordon finished 2nd followed by #16-Biffle, #42-Montoya, #11-Hamlin, #9-Kahne, #5-Martin, #00-Reutiman, #48-Johnson and #99-Edwards. Nine Chasers finished in the top-10 for the most ever in the history of the Chase. The three other Chasers: #2-Busch finished 11th, #39-Newman was 22nd down 2 laps and #83-Vickers lost an engine and finished 37th. With the win, Chevy clinched the Manufacturers Championship over Toyota. There were a record [low] 6 cautions for a record [low] 23 caution laps and there were a record [high] 26 lead changes among a record [high] 14 drivers.
Scheduled Race Re-Airs: ESPN2: Monday, October 5 at 3:00 am/et; ESPN Classic: Monday, October 5 at 12:00pm/et; SPEED, Wednesday, Monday, October 7 at 12:00pm/et.
UNOFFICIAL Sprint Cup CHASE Standings
[after Kansas, Chase race 3 of 10; Season race 29 of 36]:
pos, car#, driver, points, behind, [wins], race finish
1) #5-Mark Martin [5 wins], 5551, finished 7th
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson [4 wins], 5533, -18, 9th
3) #42-Juan Montoya 5500, -51, 4th
4) #14-Tony Stewart [4 wins] 5484, -67, WON
5) #2-Kurt Busch [1 win], 5460, -91, 11th
6) #11-Denny Hamlin [2 wins], 5452, -99, 5th
7) #24-Jeff Gordon [1 win], 5448, -103, 2nd
8) #16-Greg Biffle 5437, -114, 3rd
9) #39-Ryan Newman 5387, -164, 22nd
10) #99-Carl Edwards 5386, -165, 10th
11) #9-Kasey Kahne [2 wins], 5361, -190, 6th
12) #83-Brian Vickers [1 wins], 5301, -250, 37th
UNOFFICIAL Sprint Cup CLASSIC – the OLD way – Driver Points Standings
[after Kansas, race 29 of 36]:
pos, car#, driver, points, behind
1) #14-Tony Stewart, 4260
2) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4065, -195
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4037, -223
4) #11-Denny Hamlin, 3923, -337
5) #5-Mark Martin, 3802, -458
6) #2-Kurt Busch, 3772, -488
7) #42-Juan Montoya, 3751, -509
8) #16-Greg Biffle, 3686, -574
9) #99-Carl Edwards, 3666, -594
10) #39-Ryan Newman, 3659, -601
11) #9-Kasey Kahne, 3621, -639
12) #18-Kyle Busch, 3522, -738
13) #83-Brian Vickers, 3494, -766
14) #17-Matt Kenseth, 3475, -785
15) #00-David Reutimann, 3417, -843
16) #33-Clint Bowyer, 3411, -849
Top-35 in Owner Points and guaranteed a starting spot at Auto Club Speedway:
No changes, but the spread between 35th and 36th now down to 111 points
34) #7-Gordon/Robby Gordon: 2319, +270
35) #34-Andretti/Earnhardt Ganassi: 2160, 111 points ahead of 36th
these teams/drivers must qualify by speed but are close to the top-35:
36) #82-Speed/Red Bull: 2049, 111 points out of 35th
(no other teams are within 400 owners points of 35th)
The teams are NOT locked in past the next race as the owners points change after each race.
Danica talking to Hendrick about NASCAR ride: Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., may soon be involved in a limited NASCAR arrangement, NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick confirmed to SI.com. The other side of the Patrick puzzle may soon fall into place as Hendrick said Sunday afternoon that Patrick’s agent at IMG has met with the team about a limited schedule of ARCA and NASCAR Nationwide Series races to go along with the IndyCar Series contract she signed to remain at Andretti Green Racing. According to Hendrick, the plan would be to put Patrick in the JR Motorsports team that is owned by Hendrick driver Earnhardt, Jr. with sponsorship from GoDaddy.com. “We have no deal but she has spoke with Kelley Earnhardt [Dale Jr's sister who handles that teams business affairs] about a limited number of NASCAR races in that car,” Hendrick told SI.com. “I have had some conversation and Kelley Earnhardt has had some conversation with that but Kelly is heading that up. GoDaddy.com would be involved because of Danica’s involvement with Danica and with JR Motorsports. Kelley talked to her in the last week. We are looking at how it matches up with her IndyCar schedule. We are interested and think it would be neat but it has to work out for both sides.” Patrick signed a three-year IndyCar Series contract with team owner Michael Andretti two weeks ago but has remained quiet on that subject because of sponsor demands who want to have a major press conference to announce the signing. According to IndyCar Series sources, one of Patrick’s sponsor contracts in IndyCar is about to expire so that announcement will not be made until the sponsor is ready to make the announcement. “She has signed the contract, they just want to make sure the sponsor is ready to make the announcement,” said an IndyCar Series official Saturday afternoon. While details of Patrick’s new contract have not been disclosed, Andretti indicated there are limits to how much racing she can do outside of IndyCar. Andretti wants his high-paid driver to focus on what he signed her to do — try to become the first female driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 and the IndyCar Series title. So if Patrick signs with JR Motorsports or another team, look for her to run in fewer than 10 stock car events next season. In fact, five races next season would probably be a nice, logical step for her before she attempts to increase that schedule in 2011, if she likes the progress she is making.(SI.com)(10-5-2009)
Four cars taken back to R&D Center…including… As per NASCAR protocol, Tony Stewart’s race winning #14 Chevy along with a random car, this week it is Kurt Busch’s #2 Dodge ride, were selected for postrace inspection and further analysis back at the Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. But as an added wrinkle, officials also requested that Mark Martin’s #5 and Jimmie Johnson’s #48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy be added to the inspection list. “When you’ve won and run well, and Jimmie and Chad are always going to know they are under the microscope – that’s (going to be) part of it,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “We actually don’t mind that. NASCAR is fair and if they want to check us every week, that’s OK. I understand. I really do.” No problems were found on the cars during the at-track inspection.(FoxSports)(10-5-2009)
Chevy Clinches Manufacturers’ Title: #14-Tony Stewart’s victory of the Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway clinched the 2009 Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premier division. With seven races left on the 2009 Sprint Cup tour, Chevrolet has now collected its 33rd Manufacturers’ crown, the most ever by any automobile manufacturer in the sport. The Manufacturers’ Cup has debuted in 1950. It is presented to the automobile manufacturer whose current models in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition earn the most points for a win (9 points), second (6 points), third (4 points), or fourth-best (3 points) finish. A manufacturer earns the points in relation to how the other manufacturers finish. Five different Impala SS drivers have contributed to the 15 victories thus far this year to bring Chevrolet this honor. Team Chevy drivers who have posted wins during the season to date include #5-Mark Martin (5), #48-Jimmie Johnson (4), #14-Tony Stewart (4), #24-Jeff Gordon (1), and #09-Brad Keselowski (1). Additionally, top finishes by #29-Kevin Harvick, #33-Clint Bowyer, #39-Ryan Newman, and #42-Juan Pablo Montoya have given Chevrolet the points required to claim this title. This marks Team Chevy’s seventh consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Manufacturers’ title for the Bowtie Brigade.(Chevy Racing).
Here’s a look at how close things have been after three races in previous Chases:
2009: Six drivers within 100 points of lead
2008: Three drivers within 100 points of lead
2007: Three drivers within 100 points of lead
2006: Five drivers within 100 points of lead
2005: Five drivers within 100 points of lead (a sixth was exactly 100 back)
2004: Four drivers within 100 points of lead/(Virginian-Pilot)(10-5-2009)
Menard’s 2010 plans not firm: John Menard said on Sunday that plans are not firm as to where his son Paul [#98 Menards Ford] and the lucrative Menards sponsorship will be next season. “We’ll just see how it works out,” Menard said. According to Menard, Paul is in the first year of a two-year contract which is non-transferable. Should Yates Racing merge with Richard Petty Motorsports [as was announced a couple weeks ago], the contract would be null and void.(FoxSports)(10-5-2009)
Roush keeping an eye on the Henrick cars in question: Car owner Jack Roush [#'s 6,16,17,26,99 Ford's] says he understands that the two cars in question [Hendrick Motorsports #5 and #48 Chevy's] were in fact slightly “out of tolerance,” in being off-set a bit to the right (which would help in aerodynamics in corner handling), although Roush said the specific ‘miss’ was probably too slight to be of any significant advantage. “I’ve been fined a lot of times for a lot of different things∧ if the cars were out of tolerance by a quarter of an inch, which is what I’ve heard&well, the rest of the garage is held to a much tighter tolerance than that,” Roush said. “So we’ll see what NASCAR ultimately does about it.”(mikemulhern.net)(10-5-2009)
Are NASCAR Drivers smarter than a 5th grader?: Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts the all-new half-hour version of “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” The fast-paced game show, where knowledge of grade-school level questions is tested, welcomes NASCAR drivers #55-Michael Waltrip, #6-David Ragan, #99-Carl Edwards, #2-Kurt Busch and #11-Denny Hamlin. On October 6, Michael Waltrip will be in the classroom to play the game to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. He’ll also be joined by Roush Racing’s David Ragan. The special back-to-back episodes will premiere on MyNetworkTV (8:00pm/et/pt) [NOTE: in Charlotte the station is WMYT-55 . On October 26, NASCAR week kicks off on the new nationally-syndicated edition of "Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?" Michael Waltrip, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin are among the contestants playing the game for their charities. Check your local listings for exact air time.(10-5-2009)
Courtesy of Racin' Today
Stewart Wins: It’s A Case Of Smoke And Tires At Kansas
By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
Kansas City, Kan. – Tony Stewart did not need to be reminded during the week leading up to Sunday’s Sprint Cup race Kansas Speedway that he and his team were in a bit of a slump. Plain and simple, he wasn’t crazy about being reminded that he’d had just one [...]
NASCAR Notes: Two-Tired Biffle Slips at Kansas – www.racintoday.com/archives/10651
Monday Morning Crew Chief: JPM Stirring Things Up Again – www.racintoday.com/archives/10659
P R E S S * R E L E A S E S
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/OLD SPICE IMPALA SS, RACE WINNER, FOURTH IN CHASE STANDINGS: TALK ABOUT THIS WIN AND THAT LAST PIT STOP, WHO MADE THAT CALL? “Darian (Grubb, crew chief) made it. We got two tires earlier in the day and were able to go really quick on them so it was pretty much in our opinion a no-brainer of what to do. The guys that took four could just never gain the track position back. We had a really good car on two tires. Darian and these guys on the pit crew, they are the ones that got us the win. They got us track position and I was able to pick which line I wanted on the restart and that won us the race.”
WHEN YOU LOOKED UP AND THE NO. 24 CAR WAS GETTING AWFULLY BIG IN YOUR REAR VIEW MIRROR WAS THERE ANY CONCERN THERE? “Obviously. Jeff is an awesome competitor. We come from the same camp here so I know what he’s got. We had a good enough lead there we could afford to loose a little bit of time. We didn’t want to burn tires off in case we had a green-white-checker but he kept us honest for sure. We couldn’t leave too much out there.”
YOU GAINED 39 POINTS ONLY 67 DOWN TO MARK MARTIN. “Yeah I’m excited about that one. It’s the perfect scenario for us right now on the stand in points. This team is going to have some momentum going in to California next week. These guys on the Office Depot/Old Spice team are doing a great job so we’ve got some momentum on our side now.”
THIS WIN GIVES YOU 37 AND TIES YOU FOR 18TH ALL TIME, THAT’S GOT TO BE PRETTY COOL TOO. “Yeah, that’s a stat that’s really cool. I’ve been fortunate with Joe Gibbs Racing and now Stewart-Haas Racing to drive some really good race cars over the last 11 years. With two good crew chiefs and a bunch of good crew members, it helps make those numbers what they are. Just proud I could do it with this group of guys.”
CONGRATULATIONS. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU GUYS? “The first thing it means is that I’m going to be late for Knoxville, Iowa tonight to run a dirt Late Model. But I’ve gotta thank the fans. That’s the best feeling in the world when you win a race and you go back there and can see them like that and see how supportive they are, and especially in this sport in general. I’m so proud of these guys at SHR and Office Depot and Old Spice and U.S. Army, Burger King, Coca-Cola, and Chevrolet. To win the Manufacturers’ title for Chevy in this race is awesome, too. It’s just an awesome day.”
ON THE TWO-TIRE CALL AT THE END? “He’s like that (crew chief, Darian Grubb). He’s a little gutsy. That’s a good thing. Darian, you don’t question him. When he makes a call you know it’s the right thing to do and you go from there.”
HOW MUCH DID YOU SEE JEFF GORDON IN THE MIRROR THERE AT THE END? “He was getting bigger (laughs). But the big thing was just not driving the tires off the thing. You had to keep the tires underneath you in case you got a caution and a green-white-checkered. So we had a little bit left, but we didn’t leave too much out there.”
ON HIS CREW JOKING AROUND THIS WEEKEND IN THE GARAGE, HOW DO THEY DO THAT AND STILL STAY FOCUSED? “They’re just an awesome group of guys. I’ve been fortunate my whole career to be surrounded by good people, but this is a group who came from a bunch of different directions and we’re all here in one place in victory lane, so I’m proud of him.”
YOU PICKED UP A LOT OF POINTS. TALK ABOUT YOUR CHASE CHANCES NOW “That’s about half of where we were, so we’ve still got a shot. We’ve got a great shot at this still.”
N A S C A R * N A T I O N W I D E * S E R I E S
Courtesy of Jayski
Logano wins at Kansas: #20-Joey Logano won the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway for his fourth win of the year and his first win at Kansas. He passed #18-Kyle Busch with 4 laps to go. Busch dominated most of the race, leading 173 laps, and became the single season lap leader for the Nationwide Series. He broke Sam Ard’s record. #88-Brad Keselowski finished third. The rest of the top 10: #33-Kevin Harvick, #16-Greg Biffle, #12-Justin Allgaier, #60-Carl Edwards, #99-Scott Speed, #29-Clint Bowyer and #10-Reed Sorenson. There were 8 cautions for 33 laps and 12 lead changes among 6 leaders.
Kansas Race Fast Facts:
Joey Logano won the Kansas Lottery 300, his fifth victory in 37 NASCAR Nationwide Series races.
This is his fourth victory and 14th top-10 finish in 2009.
This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in two races at Kansas Speedway.
Kyle Busch (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in six races at Kansas Speedway. It is his 25th top-10 finish in 2009.
Busch broke the NASCAR Nationwide Series single-season record for laps led and now has 2,226 in 2009. Sam Ard had previously held the record with 2,127 laps led in 1984.
Busch tied the single-season record for runner-up finishes with 10 (Jack Ingram, 1983).
Brad Keselowski (third) posted his second top-10 finish in four races at Kansas Speedway.
Justin Allgaier (sixth) was the highest finishing rookie.
Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 245 points over Carl Edwards.
Save-A-Lot food stores announced that it is joining the fight against breast cancer by partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer advocacy organization, for the remainder of 2009. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Save-A-Lot food stores will unveil a “pinked out” version of their #60 Save-A-Lot Ford to be driven by Carl Edwards in this Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Kansas Speedway. Through its partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Save-A-Lot has pledged $100,000 to aid in the fight against breast cancer and to raise awareness through the millions of NASCAR fans at the track and watching from home. The partnership is part of Save-A-Lot’s corporate commitment and dedication to serving the underserved through dedicating resources to customers living every day while managing a variety of disease states. Save-A-Lot looks to finish their season strong with the Komen-themed paint scheme this weekend at Kansas Speedway and at Memphis Motorsports Park on Saturday, October 24. (Save-A-Lot/Wunderman PR), see a couple images on the #60 Paint Schemes page.(10-2-2009)
Courtesy of The Hot Lap
Here at THL, we don’t do rumors, however we’ve been reporting this as a possibility for sometime now….as of today, SI.com is now reporting that Dale Jr., and Rick Hendrick may field Danica Patrick in a few races with JR Motorsports next year. We’re figuring sharing the #5 ride under the GoDaddy livery? If this is true, possibly look for Nationwide to want to do a Nationwide ad comapaign similiar to what they have going with Dale Jr.(THL) (10-04-09)
Courtesy of Racin’ Today
Logano Again Beats Busch Late – www.racintoday.com/archives/10589
Kligerman Wins Pole First Time Out – www.racintoday.com/archives/10554
Kligerman Unruffled By Big Jump to Nationwide Series – www.racintoday.com/archives/10476
C A M P I N G * W O R L D * T R U C K * S E R I E S
Courtesy of Jayski
Another F1 Driver looking to move to NASCAR: Nelson Piquet Jr., who became the source of a recent scandal known as ‘crash-gate’, will be testing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with an eye towards a future in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series with in two years. Piquet Jr., will get behind the wheel of a Toyota Tundra for Red Horse Racing on October 12th. He is expected in the team’s Mooresville North Carolina shop Monday for a seat fitting. The Renault F1 team fired the 23-year-old Brazilian earlier this season for underperformance. Shortly after details emerged that Piquet had been ordered to cause a crash in the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix that allowed his teammate Fernando Alonso to win. After an investigation and hearing, Formula One’s governing body, the FIA, held a hearing and banned Renault F1’s team boss Flavio Briatore for life and the team’s technical engineer Pat Symonds for five years. They also placed the team on a ‘suspended ban’ for two years. Piquet Jr., was given immunity from sanctions in exchange for his testimony and many in Formula One now consider the son of two time Formula One world champion Nelson Piquet to be ‘damaged goods’.(SPEEDtv)(10-4-2009)
Drivers question pit-road procedures; changes being considered: To get an idea of just how strongly some people oppose NASCAR’s rule prohibiting Camping World Truck Series drivers from taking tires and fuel on the same pit stop, consider Mike Skinner’s view on the matter. “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen in racing in 35 years,” says Skinner, the 1995 series champion. The rule was initially instituted to help teams save money because it reduced the number of men a team could have over pit wall from seven to five. But it also forced drivers to make separate stops for tires and fuel – potentially jumbling up the running order and increasing the possibility that a caution in the middle of a series of green-flag stops could impact the outcome of a race. Rick Ren, crew chief for points leader Ron Hornaday, understands why NASCAR opted to make the rule, but that doesn’t mean he supports the policy.”I don’t care for it,” Ren says. “I haven’t cared for it all year. It’s the rules that we’ve been dealt, and we have to deal within them.” Skinner and fellow veteran Rick Crawford suggest the rule might also jeopardize competitors’ safety because it makes teams willing to leave their drivers on the track on older tires to avoid a second pit stop and the risk of getting trapped a lap down. Crawford doesn’t see where forcing teams to have fewer men over the wall has done much to relieve the financial burden on teams in a sluggish economy. And he believes any savings haven’t been enough to justify drivers having to make separate stops for tires and fuel. Truck Series Director Wayne Auton says that NASCAR is aware that the rule hasn’t been popular among some drivers and teams and that the sanctioning body is considering changes for 2010. NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton says the sanctioning body is also leaning toward implementing double-file restarts for the Truck series next year, as it already has for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series. Unlike the much-maligned pit-stop rules, double-file restarts would be well-received based on early indications. “What we’re putting on a show for is the fans, and if it added any ounce of a show, we need to give it to them,” Crawford says. (read complete article on SceneDaily.com)(10-2-2009)
A R C A (Automobile Racing Club of America)
Courtesy of ARCA
ARCAracing.com to Feature Live Streaming Audio Coverage of Championship Weekend from Rockingham
ROCKINGHAM NC (10-4-09) – The ARCA RE/MAX Series championship is headed right down to the wire this weekend at Rockingham Speedway where title contenders Justin Lofton and Parker Kligerman will dual for the coveted honor.
[Read More] – www.arcaracing.com/news.cfm?contentid=8892
C O L U M N S / C O M M E N T A R I E S
The Nascar Insiders
A Saudi Prince? Why Not?
I’ve got to say NASCAR fans, I’m a little disappointed.
Insider Racing News
A New Chapter In ‘The Morning Drive’ Show
by Kim Roberson
Insider Racing News
A Changing World, The Prince Comes to NASCAR
by Brenda Benedict
The Nascar Insiders
The NASCAR Week That Was: Sept. 27- Oct. 3
It was a slow news week this week as we headed into the third race of the Chase at Kansas.
Insider Racing News
Great Pit Call Puts Stewart Back In The Fight
by Ron Felix
Insider Racing News
NASCAR is Still Feeling the Economic Crunch
by Matthew Pizzolato
The Nascar Insiders
What Do Two 19-Year-Olds, Tony Stewart, Hendrick and ‘Crash Gate’ Have In Common?
…nothing other than they’re all in my weekend notes (lame I know). Saturday was a good day to be 19. Well a good day to be 19 if you happened to drive in the Nationwide Series.
Just Sayin’… Thoughts on Kansas
By Rob Quillen | 10/05/2009
Read more… – www.racejournalonline.com/index.php?page=read&article=498
Can I Have This? Tony Stewart’s Quest for a New Chair
Observations from Kansas (Saturday)
Observations from Kansas (Friday)
Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series From Kansas On ABC
The Sunday afternoon Sprint Cup Series venue was the Kansas Speedway. Allen Bestwick led the TV team onto the air with the NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.
Sunday TV Marathon: 13 Hours Of Live Comments
T V * L I S T I N G S
Courtesy of Race Fan TV
MONDAY, OCTOBER 5
6:00P-7:00 espn2 NASCAR Now, HD, L
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 6
5:00P-5:30 espn2 NASCAR Now, HD, L
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 7
5:00P-5:30 espn2 NASCAR Now, HD, L
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8
3:00P-4:00 SPEED NASCAR Camping World Touring Series West Toyota/Copart 150,All American Speedway, Roseville, CA, Sept 26/09, HD, N
5:00P-5:30 espn2 NASCAR Now, HD, L
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9
2:30P-4:00 SPEED NASCAR Sprint Cup PRACTICE, Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L
4:30P-6:00 VS IRL IndyCar Series QUALIFYING, Firestone Indy 300, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL
5:00P-5:30 espn2 NASCAR Now, HD, L
6:00P-7:00 VS IRL Indy Lights Series, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL
6:30P-8:30 SPEED/TSN2 NASCAR Sprint Cup QUALIFYING, Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10
12:00m-2:00A SPEED NASCAR Nationwide Series PRACTICE, Copart 300, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, SDD, N
1:00P-4:00 SPEED Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL, HD, L
3:00P-4:00 espn2 NASCAR Sprint Cup FINAL PRACTICE, Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L
4:00P-7:00 VS IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 300, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL, HD, L
4:00P-4:30 espn2/TSN2 NASCAR Nationwide Series COUNTDOWN, Copart 300, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L
4:30P-7:00 espn2/TSN2 NASCAR Nationwide Series Copart 300, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L (expect green at 4:46P)
7:00P-10:00 TSN2 IRL IndyCar Series Firestone Indy 300, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL, HD
10:30P-12:30A espn2 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing QUALIFYING, Virginia Nationals, Richmond, VA, HD, SDD, N
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 11
10:00A-11:00 espn2 NASCAR Now, pre-race, HD, L
12:30P-2:30 SPEED NASCAR RaceDay, preview of today’s Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway, HD, L
2:30P-6:30 SPEED American Le Mans Series The Monterey Sports Car Championships, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, CA, Oct 10/09, HD, N
2:30P-3:15 ABC/TSN2 NASCAR Sprint Cup COUNTDOWN, Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L
3:15P-7:30 ABC/TSN2 NASCAR Sprint Cup Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, CA, HD, L (expect green at 3:31P)
7:00P-10:00 espn2 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing ELIMINATIONS, Virginia Nationals, Richmond, VA, HD, SDD, N
7:00P-8:00 SPEED The SPEED Report, HD, N
8:00P-9:00 SPEED NASCAR Victory Lane, Pepsi 500, Auto Club Speedway, HD, N
8:00P-9:00 HD Theater World Rally Championship, 2009 Rally Norway, Feb 13-15/09, HD, N
9:00P-10:00 SPEED Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain, HD, L
10:00P-12:00m SPEED ARCA RE/MAX Series American 200, Rockingham Speedway, Rockingham, NC, SDD, N
10:00P-11:00 espn2 NASCAR Now, post-race, HD, L
We do not list all the programming offered by SPEED; for complete listings go to their website, www.speedtv.com/schedule/
Always CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS!
The Stock Car Gazette
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