TV Times: Ryan Newman Threaded the Needle
Slipping in for second was A.J. Almendinger, then Dale Earnhardt, Jr., for third. Matt Kenseth and Martin Truex, Jr., rounded out the top five. The end of the race was very suspenseful and tense when David Ruitterman stopped dead on the track as the rest of the hopefuls came down for the checkers.
In the meantime, Jimmie Johnson and his boss Jeff Gordon were jockeying for the lead when Clint Boyer whipped both of them around. “It was a bad situation, and I ran out of ‘real estate,’ ” Boyer explained. Ruitterman frantically quipped, “My car just stopped on the track,” which started a massive chain of events eliminating the leaders. “We just had a bad day,” he sadly said once outside his race hauler.
No doubt about the fact that it was a tense race setting up a GWC at the end of the long grind which ended up dooming both Johnson and Gordon. Johnson, who ended up 12th, resigned to his fate, by saying, “That’s the way it goes sometimes.” While his boss and teammate Jeff Gordon summed it up, “It’s unfortunate because we were pretty good all day, and it was an interesting race.” In the final stats, Gordon led for 328 laps which was fantastic, but not the most important one – the last lap. Gordon ended up 14th.
Martinsville packed in a good crowd with not many empty seats. The turnout was much better than that of Bristol. Could it be that Martinsville will replace Bristol as the action track on the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour? Let’s not widen the turns like they did at Bristol! We agree with DW who said from the anchor booth, “The fans got their money’s worth today.” It was very hard to pass at Martinsville and that set the tone for the entire race.
Kasey Kahne won the pole position for the Cup race but wasn’t in contention at the end. The winner of the Martinsville grandfather clock trophy, Ryan Newman was jubilant while at the same time obviously tired when he pulled himself out of his car in Victory Lane. In spite of that, he still managed the usual pleasantries of a winner. “I want to thank (Rick) Hendrick for the engine. At the end I just knew that I had a shot at a win. Although I kept getting the feeling that my left front (tire) was really getting ready to retire”.
After all the dust and hoopla had settled, Greg Biffle still leads the Sprint Cup point standings. And surprise! – Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is second. It was a miracle that JR was able to plow his way through the end of the race carnage. The cameras in the garage area focused in on JR giving his entire crew handshakes and pats on the backs. He made it a point to speak to every crew member thanking them for their sterling effort. JR has been in one of the longest slumps we can recall, and the buzz around the Sprint Cup circuit is when is he going to win?
On the undercard, Kevin Harvick won the NASCAR Truck race a day earlier leading some 248 laps. Ty Dillon and James Buescher got the leftovers and came in second and third.
Elsewhere, Helio Castroneves won the pole at the Indy Car race held at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, while Antonio Garcia won the Grand Am race on Saturday at that same venue. But Will Power recorded his 16th Indy Car win at Barber, while Scott Dixon was next followed by Helio and then Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud for the top five. No surprise that Helio leads the Indy Car points coming out of Barber. On a negative note, Dario Franchitti is having some problems with his new Indy Car and finished way back. Robin Miller, on the Speed Channel, said the Barber Indy Car race was the best road race he’s seen in ten years!
On the dirt bike circuit, Ryan Vollopoto clinched the Monster AMA SuperX championship with a decisive win at Houston. In the NHRA action, Spencer Massey took the Top Fuel race at Los Vegas.
Opposite heavy competition from the NCAA Tournament on CBS and PGA Golf on NBC, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX averaged a 3.4/7 Sunday for the Auto Club 400 from Auto Club Speedway which was cut short by rain. That’s down -17% from last year’s 4.1/9 for the same race which ran in its entirety. Season-to-date, NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing on FOX is averaging a 4.9/10 in the meters, off -9% from last year’s average of a 5.4/12.
ESPN’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., on Saturday, March 24, earned a 1.7 household coverage rating, averaging 2,278,265 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up six percent from the 1.6 for last year’s race. The pre-race NASCAR Countdown program earned a 1.0 rating, up 25 percent from a 0.8 rating for the program prior to last year’s event. Across ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC, NASCAR Nationwide Series ratings are up five percent so far this season.
The IZOD Indy Car Series and Skip Barber Racing School are teaming up to complete the MAZDA Road to Indy driver development ladder by making Skip Barber Racing School the official racing school of the IZOD Indy Car Series and by announcing the creation of the Skip Barber Indy Car Academy. Skip Barber Racing School has a 37-year history of training, developing and elevating the best young drivers in the world and the new Skip Barber Indy Car Academy continues that tradition which has advanced four generations of drivers to the pinnacle of motorsports. Now more than ever the MAZDA Road to Indy starts at Skip Barber Racing School.
NASCAR announced the 2012 race season programming for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on SPEED, including three races that will air live.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond International Raceway on April 26 and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West finale at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, Nov. 10 will be live broadcasts, as will the fourth annual combination race between the NASCAR Whelen Modified and NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tours at Bristol will air live on Aug. 22.
The Richmond race night will also include live broadcast of the Denny Hamlin Foundation Short-Track Showdown, a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division race.
The broadcast calendar also includes 23 taped-delayed events for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – NASCAR’s top developmental series – which consists of championships in the East and West. The races will air on Thursdays at 3 p.m. ET, beginning April 12 with the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season-opener from Phoenix International Raceway, which was run on March 3. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener on March 17 from Bristol Motor Speedway will air on April 19.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series broadcast schedule includes both East-West combination events at Iowa Speedway. Other highlights include inaugural K&N Pro Series West events at Havasu (Ariz.) 95 Speedway and NAPA Speedway in Sandia, N.M. as well as the K&N Pro Series East’s season finale and first trip to historic Rockingham (N.C.) Speedway.
“The NASCAR K&N Pro Series features the next generation of top-level NASCAR stars competing alongside accomplished veterans and SPEED’s coverage of the series provides a great platform to showcase these drivers,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “We are also very fortunate to be able to bring live coverage to the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and its passionate fan base.”
SPEED, in conjunction with NASCAR Media Group, will air each NASCAR K&N Pro Series tape-delayed race as a one-hour show. SPEED, with its popular and wide-ranging coverage of NASCAR, is the nation’s first and only cable television network dedicated to automotive and motorcycle racing, performance and lifestyle.
2012 NASCAR TOURING SERIES SCHEDULE ON SPEED
Series Event Date Air Date Track
K&N Pro Series West Sat., March 3 Thu., April 12 Phoenix International Raceway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., March 17 Thu., April 19 Bristol Motor Speedway
K&N Pro Series East Thu., April 26 Thu., April 26 (live) Richmond International Raceway
Whelen All-American Series Thu., April 26 Thu., April 26 (live) Richmond International Raceway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., March 31 Thu., May 3 Greenville Pickens Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., April 14 Thu., May 10 Havasu 95 Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., May 5 Thu., May 17 Stockton 99 Speedway
K&N Pro Series Combo Sat., May 19 Thu., May 31 Iowa Speedway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., June 2 Thu., June 7 Bowman Gray Stadium
K&N Pro Series West Sat., June 2 Thu., June 14 The Bullring at Las Vegas
K&N Pro Series East Sat., June 9 Thu., June 21 Gresham Motorsports Park
K&N Pro Series East Sat., June 23 Thu., June 28 Langley Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., June 23 Thu., July 12 Infineon Raceway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., July 14 Thu., July 19 CNB Bank Raceway Park
K&N Pro Series West Sat., July 14 Thu., July 26 Evergreen Speedway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., July 21 Thu., Aug. 2 Columbus Motor Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., July 28 Thu., Aug. 9 Colorado National Speedway
K&N Pro Series Combo Fri., Aug. 3 Thu., Aug. 16 Iowa Speedway
Whelen Modified Tour Combo Wed., Aug. 22 Wed. Aug. 22 (live) Bristol Motor Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sun., Aug. 26 Thu., Sept. 6 Portland International Raceway
K&N Pro Series East Mon., Sept. 3 Thu., Sept. 13 Greenville Pickens Speedway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., Sept. 22 Thu., Sept. 27 New Hampshire Motor Spdwy.
K&N Pro Series East Fri., Sept. 28 Thu. Oct. 4 Dover International Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., Sept. 29 Thu., Oct. 11 NAPA Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., Oct. 13 Thu., Oct. 18 All American Speedway
K&N Pro Series East Sat., Nov. 3 Thu., Nov. 8 Rockingham Speedway
K&N Pro Series West Sat., Nov. 10 Sat., Nov. 10 (live) Phoenix International Raceway
All broadcast times are 3 p.m. ET unless noted
Tentative – subject to change.
Check to see what’s on TV this sparse Easter weekend on Jayski.com for motorhead action.
Note: Items for this column came from various sources, press releases and personal notes.
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