Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kasey Hoping To Be A Dandy Kahne At Pocono

Kasey Hoping To Be A Dandy Kahne At Pocono
Kasey Kahne’s aggravation spilled with every word uttered in his post-race interview on ESPN following Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In regards to needing a win to enter the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kahne said: “Yeah, no kidding. I know that. We have five more good tracks for us and six more races, so hopefully we can get one.”
The look on Kahne’s face was one of missed opportunity, after leading the most laps (70) at the Brickyard. But he immediately looked on the bright side – “five more good tracks.” And one of those, unquestionably, is Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kahne is the defending winner of this one, and with two wins overall and a runner-up finish in the August race two years ago, the driver of the No. 5 has headline writers frothing at the mouth to use the old “Kahne Is Able” headline sometime around 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A victory would catapult Kahne squarely onto the 16-driver Chase Grid. He’d be the 12th different winner this season, with only five regular season races remaining. “Comfortable” would be a good word to describe the position a win would give Kahne.
His solid runs have put him in position to “back” into the Chase Grid, though he’s currently on the outside looking in. With 555 points this season, Kahne is only four points behind Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon, who currently resides in the 16th spot on the Chase Grid Outlook.
Statistically speaking, Kahne is among the hottest drivers in the series. In the last six races, since race No. 15 at Michigan, Kahne has scored four top-10 finishes. His average finish of 10.5 over the stretch ranks fourth in the series. And his driver rating of 101.4 ranks second only to teammate Jeff Gordon (105.0).

No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team slapped with heavy penalties

No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team slapped with heavy penalties

July 29, 2014

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

NASCAR hit the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing team with a points penalty of unprecedented magnitude for infractions discovered during Sunday’s post-race inspection at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the sanctioning body announced late Tuesday afternoon.

NASCAR inspectors found violations with the rear firewall block-off plates of the No. 11 Toyota driven to a third-place finish by Denny Hamlin. NASCAR rules mandate that the firewalls be sealed to prevent airflow from the inside to the outside of the car.

Venting or failing to seal the block-off plates can provide an aerodynamic advantage by adding downforce to the car, especially useful at a flat track such as IMS, where maintaining momentum through the corners is of paramount importance.

NASCAR docked Hamlin 75 driver championship points and team owner Joe Gibbs 75 owner points. Crew chief Darian Grubb was fined $125,000 and suspended for six weeks, meaning he will be lost to the team until the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s opening weekend at Chicagoland Speedway in September.

Car chief Wesley Sherrill also drew a six-week suspension. Both Grubb and Sherrill were placed on probation for the next six months.

The points penalty is the largest since NASCAR instituted its new one-point-per-position scoring system in 2011. And since 75 points are the functional equivalent of 312 under the previously-used Latford scoring system, the points penalty is the largest ever imposed.

Joe Gibbs Racing issued a statement after the penalties were announced indicating the organization’s intent to appeal the penalties. Grubb and Sherrill, however, will begin serving their suspensions this week and will miss this weekend’s NASCAR activities at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa.

The infractions rose to the level of P5 under the new deterrence system introduced by NASCAR before the 2014 season. P6 is the designation for the most egregious violations.

NASCAR indicated on Sunday at the Brickyard that there were “possible issues” with the rear firewall block-off plates of the No. 11. The sanctioning body confiscated the parts in question, took them to the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., for further inspection and evaluation and announced the findings and penalties on Tuesday.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized

No. 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized
For Rules Infraction At Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla. (July 29, 2014) — The No. 11 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered in post-race inspection July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This infraction is a P5 level penalty which is outlined in Section 12-4.5 A (9) of the 2014 NASCAR rule book:

Approved parts that fail or are improperly installed to fail in their intended use of great importance (e.g.; rear wheel well panels that fail and allow air evacuation in the trunk area; oil box cover that fails and allows air evacuation in the driver compartment; shifter boot cover that fails and allows air evacuation through the floor pan).

This infraction violates Sections:

12-1 - Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
20-2.1 – Car body must be acceptable to NASCAR officials and meet the following requirements:
·         K – Any device or ductwork that permits air to pass from one area of the interior of the car to another, or to the outside of the car, will not be permitted. This includes, but is not limited to, the inside of the car to the trunk area, or the floors, firewalls, crush panels and wheel wells passing air into or out of the car;
·         L – All seams of the interior sheet metal and all interior sheet metal to exterior sheet metal contact point must be sealed and caulked. This includes, but is not limited to, floors, firewalls, wheel wells, package trays, crush panels and any removable covers;
20-3.4 - All references to the inspection surface in sub-section 20-3.4 have been determined with the front lower edge of both main frame rails set at six inches and the rear lower edge of both main frame rails set at eight inches. For driver protection, all firewalls, floors, tunnels, and access panels must be installed and completely secured in place when the car is in competition;
20-3.4.5 - A rear firewall, including any removable panels or access doors, constructed using magnetic sheet steel a minimum of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick), must be located between the trunk area and the driver’s compartment and must be welded in place. Block-off plates/covers used in rear firewalls in place of blowers, oil coolers, etc., must be constructed of 22 gage (0.031 inch thick) magnetic sheet steel. Block-off plates/covers must be installed with positive fasteners and sealed to prevent air leakage. Carbon fiber or aluminum block-off plates/covers will not be permitted.

Per Section 12-4.5 B, the minimum P5 penalty includes:
·         Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a championship race or not;
·         $75,000 to $125,000 fine;
·         Suspension for the next six series championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR;
·         Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons.
Since this infraction is a P5 level penalty and was discovered in post-race inspection, Section 12-4.5 C (1,2) also applies:
·         If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added:
o    Loss of an additional 25 championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a championship race or not;
o    Loss of an additional $50,000.
As a result of these violations, crew chief Darian Grubb has been fined $75,000 plus an additional $50,000 post-race fine for a total of $125,000. Grubb has also been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period. Grubb will also be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.

Car chief Wesley Sherrill has been suspended from NASCAR for the next six series championship events, plus any non-championship races or special events that might occur during that time period and will be on NASCAR probation for the next six months.

This infraction has also cost the No. 11 team the loss of 50 championship driver and owner (Denny Hamlin and J.D. Gibbs) points plus an additional 25 post-race points for a total loss of 75 championship driver and 75 championship owner points.

The First Reid: Mega milestones in reach for Gordon

The First Reid:  Mega milestones in reach for Gordon

By Reid Spencer

In Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard, Jeff Gordon won the 90th race of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.

That’s third on the all-time list, 15 races behind second place David Pearson. No one, not even Gordon, thinks reaching Pearson’s 105-victory mark is realistic. Since his six-win season in 2007, Gordon has been to Victory Lane nine times.

Fifteen more is a lot to ask.

But Gordon does have milestones that are within reach. Starting with his Cup debut in the final race of the 1992 season, Gordon hasn’t missed a race in 22 years. At Indianapolis on Sunday, he started his 745th straight event.

Assuming Gordon stays in the seat of the No. 24 Chevrolet in every race through the 2015 season, he will break Ricky Rudd’s series-record 788 consecutive starts in the 28th race next year.

Gordon led 40 laps on Sunday, bringing his career total to 23,949, sixth most all-time. If he drives for two more seasons beyond the current one, he has a realistic shot at leading 25,000 laps, perhaps catching the next driver on the list, Pearson, who racked up 25,159 laps led.
Gordon and teammate Jimmie Johnson are currently 1-2 in career prize money earned. Gordon has won $141,808,966 (exclusive of contingency awards) to Johnson’s $139,274,851. The way Gordon is running now, he may well win the race to $150 million.

Even if he doesn’t get to 105 victories, that’s a nice consolation prize.
2,561: The number of laps completed by Tony Stewart in 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Stewart is the only driver to have finished on the lead lap in every Brickyard 400 in which he has raced. That streak was in jeopardy on Sunday, when Stewart fell one lap down, but an opportune caution helped him to a 17th-place, lead-lap finish.
3: The number of drivers who have won races on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in three different decades. On Sunday at the Brickyard, Jeff Gordon joined the exclusive club whose membership previously was confined to Indy 500 winners Bobby Unser and Rick Mears.
70: The number of laps led by Kasey Kahne in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That’s six more laps than Kahne had led in 19 previous races this season.
12: The number of consecutive victories for Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis, an amazing streak for a single manufacturer. The last non-Chevy winner of a Cup race at the Brickyard was Bill Elliott in a Ray Evernham Dodge.
8: The number of years since a driver has swept both events in a single season at Pocono Raceway. Denny Hamlin last did the honors during his 2006 rookie season, winning both races from the pole. Dale Earnhardt Jr., the June winner at the Tricky Triangle, could make the No. 88 Chevy a three-time winner this year by completing a sweep next Sunday.

Jeff Gordon captured a record-setting fifth win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, a day full of incredible numbers. It was also his 90th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, good for third on the all-time series wins list. His fifth Brickyard win ties Formula 1 great Michael Schumacher atop Indy’s all-time wins list. … Dale Earnhardt Jr., who this upcoming weekend returns to Pocono Raceway looking for only the second season sweep of his career. If Earnhardt repeats his June Pocono triumph, it would be his first track sweep since 2002 at Talladega. … Eleven different drivers have won at least one race this season. There are six races remaining. With a 16-driver Chase Grid, the math becomes troubling for some deeper down the points standings. In other words, for some, a win has become imperative. Kasey Kahne, still winless in 2014, is the defending winner of this race. After a strong effort at Indy, he’s a prime candidate to add his name to the winners list. So too is Tony Stewart, a two-time winner at Pocono. … With multiple wins this season, and having enough points to guarantee a top 30 points position, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano clinched a spot in the 2014 Chase.