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JUNE 28TH

JUNE 28TH
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

SPRINT CUP SERIES POCONO

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES 7/29/15

WINdianapolis: Kyle Busch Notches Third Straight Victory At The Brickyard
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at Indianapolis on Sunday for his third straight victory as well as his fourth in the last five races.

In the Chase Era, Jimmie Johnson is the only other driver to log three or more consecutive wins. Johnson strung together four straight victories in the 2007 Chase on his way to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and won three consecutive races in the 2004 Chase. Busch is the first driver in the Chase Era to win three consecutive races during the regular season.

Jeff Gordon is the only other active driver to win three consecutive races. He has achieved the feat on three occasions. Gordon captured four straight victories in 1998, in addition to three straight in 1996 and from 1998-99.

Busch has 33 NSCS wins since his career began in 2004, the second most in the Chase Era behind Johnson’s 68.

Johnson and Busch lead the NSCS with four victories the season, but Busch has only competed in nine races, while Johnson has competed in all 20.

Busch heads into Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) just 23 points behind Justin Allgaier for 30th in the standings – the position that would make him eligible for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driver has six races left before the Chase starts to get into the top 30. Busch will need to average 19.6 points in the final six events of the regular season to make the Chase - he can achieve that by finishing 24th or better in the remaining regular season events.

Pull Out The Brooms? Truex Tries For First Sweep Of Season At Pocono
When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Pocono Raceway on Sunday – its second repeat track on the schedule – June Pocono winner Martin Truex Jr. will attempt to become the eighth driver to sweep the “Tricky Triangle.”

Last season, Dale Earnhardt Jr. notched one of two track sweeps with his two wins at Pocono. Kevin Harvick recorded the second sweep at Phoenix.

The other six drivers to win both Pocono races were Denny Hamlin (2006), Jimmie Johnson (2004), Bobby Labonte (1999), Tim Richmond (1986), Bill Elliott (1985) and Bobby Allison (1982).

Bobby Allison (1982 sweep and spring 1983) and Tim Richmond (1986 sweep and spring 1987) are the only drivers to win three consecutive Pocono races.

Chevrolet On The Verge Of Its 750th Win
With one more visit to Victory Lane, Chevrolet would notch its 750th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win.

Here are some numbers detailing Chevrolet’s NSCS history:

  • 76 different drivers have piloted a Chevrolet to Victory Lane
  • 30 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships
  • 38 Manufacturers’ championships – including the last 12
  • 70 different tracks where Chevrolet drivers have won a race
  • 23 Daytona 500 wins

Jeff Gordon boasts the most wins in a Chevrolet (92), followed by Jimmie Johnson (74), Dale Earnhardt (73), Darrell Waltrip (60) and Cale Yarborough (48).

Chevrolet winners have logged more than 260,918 miles, enough to circle the Earth at the equator 10 times.

Last week, Chevrolet’s 12-race win streak at Indianapolis – the longest active streak by a manufacturer at any track - was snapped. Chevrolet has won the last six races at Pocono, the new longest active streak at any track.

Logano Continues To Finish Strong
Joey Logano has not won a race since the Daytona 500.

Despite his frustration about not getting to Victory Lane, the 25-year-old Team Penske driver has still racked up strong finishes lately. He finished runner-up at Indianapolis for his third consecutive top-five finish and has six top-five results in his last seven races.

Logano ranks second in the points standings behind Kevin Harvick.

Following the Jeff Kyle 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Logano provided one of the more colorful quotes of the season summing up his performance:

“You know, you come to Indy, it's all about the win, either win or finish last. It doesn't really matter anywhere in between. At least that's the way I race when we come to a racetrack like this, Daytona and Indy. It's all about getting trophies and rings and making out with the bricks. Unfortunately we came up a little bit short.”

Edwards Eyes Third Straight Pole
Carl Edwards followed up his first Coors Light Pole Award since 2013 at New Hampshire with another one at Indianapolis last weekend. He will go for his third straight Coors Light Pole Award this weekend for Sunday’s Windows 10 400 at Pocono Raceway.

Edwards was followed in Indianapolis qualifying by Joey Logano and David Ragan. The trio also finished 1-2-3 at New Hampshire. The occurrence marked the first time the same drivers started 1-2-3 in consecutive weeks since 2009 (Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson at New Hampshire and Daytona). Both starting orders were based off points due to rain, not competitive qualifying. Before then, the last time the same drivers started 1-2-3 in consecutive weeks was 1972 (David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker at Martinsville and Dover).

Streak Snapped: Hendrick Motorsports Aims To Get Back To Winning Pocono Ways
Martin Truex Jr.’s June victory at Pocono snapped a five-race win streak by Hendrick Motorsports at the 2.5-mile track. All four HMS drivers contributed to the run – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2014 sweep), Kasey Kahne (August, 2013), Jimmie Johnson (June 2013) and Jeff Gordon (August, 2012). It was the first time since the fall race at Talladega last season that not one of the Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top-10.

Hendrick Motorsports boasts a record of 17 wins at Pocono, almost twice as many as the next-best team (Joe Gibbs Racing, nine).

Gordon – Pocono’s all-time wins leader with six – will compete in his final race at the “Tricky Triangle” on Sunday. Johnson has three Pocono victories and owns the second-best driver rating there (106.9). Earnhardt and Kahne each have two wins at the Pennsylvania track.

History Lesson: Billy Wade First To Win Four Straight Races
With three consecutive victories, Kyle Busch has already placed his name among the NASCAR elite. Of the 19 drivers to accomplish the feat before him, 13 are enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, and three (Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Mark Martin) are locks to join them.  A win this Sunday at Pocono will elevate Busch’s accomplishments even higher.

Larger than life names won three straight races in the 1950s – Herb Thomas, Junior Johnson, Fireball Roberts and Buck Baker. But it was a name you may not know that was first to reach four in a row.

Billy Wade was a 33-year-old modified and late model champion in Texas looking to move up to NASCAR when he was noticed by Hall of Famer Cotton Owens. He impressed as a rookie in 1963, earning 14 top-10 finishes in 31 races and winning Rookie of the Year honors.

He carried his success into the 1964 season, this time driving for another NASCAR Hall of Famer – Bud Moore. After finishing in the top 10 in 15 of his first 20 races of the season, Wade put together one of the best 10-day stretches in the history of NASCAR.

It started on July 10 with the Fireball Roberts 200 at Old Bridge (New Jersey) Speedway. Wade earned his first career win, holding off the biggest names of the era – Ned Jarrett, Richard Petty and David Pearson.

Two days later Wade struck again, this time at Bridgehampton (New York) Raceway. After starting third, Wade led four different times, including the final 12 laps, for his first road course win.

Next up was a July 15 race at Islip Speedway, just down the road on Long Island. Wade started on the pole besides Ned Jarrett, a driver with whom he had developed a bit of a rivalry. The two drivers combined to lead all 300 laps at the tight 0.2-mile track. Wade led the first 97 and Jarrett led the next 95 before Wade took the lead for good, winning number three.

Wade’s fourth win came on July 19 at Watkins Glen International. Again it was Ned Jarrett standing between Wade and Victory Lane. The Texan made the race-winning pass of Jarrett on Lap 36, and led the final 30 laps of the race.

“Winning races changes your outlook,” Wade said. “My spirits are up right now. I'm looking for ways to win now, rather than expecting something to happen that will make you lose. I’ve got a new attitude.”

Wade never returned to Victory Lane. His life was cut short during a tire test at Daytona International Speedway in January 1965. There was a silver lining to the tragedy – his death spurred team owner Moore to reevaluate his drivers’ restraint system, which eventually led to the development of the “submarine belt” between a driver’s legs.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday Indianapolis Notebook

Sunday Indianapolis Notebook

Notebook Items:
·        Jeff Gordon leaves Indy with bad finish, great memories
·        Brickyard win is the pinnacle for crew chief Adam Stevens

July 26, 2015

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

Jeff Gordon leaves Indy with bad finish, great memories

INDIANAPOLIS—A Lap 50 crash, after Clint Bowyer spun in front of him, knocked Jeff Gordon for a loop in Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard, his last race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver.

After colliding with the Turn 3 wall, Gordon spent nearly half the race in the garage as his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team repaired his Chevrolet. Gordon returned to the track but was credited with a 42nd-place finish, a far cry from the record fifth Brickyard victory he posted last year.

“It’s disappointing,” Gordon said afterwards. “You’re out there pushing hard to get the best finish that you can, (but) I can’t say that I’m too disappointed overall. I’ve had an amazing career at Indy. The fans have been spectacular. I’ve had a few not go well here, but I’ve certainly had plenty that have gone well.

“Today was not the way we would have liked it to end, but that’s the reality, and we just deal with it and move on. My memories are always going to be spectacular. I’m very upbeat about Indianapolis. Some of the greatest memories of my life are here at Indianapolis, starting with that inaugural Brickyard 400 (Gordon’s first victory at the 2.5-mile track).”

Gordon’s Brickyard week started with a visit to Pittsboro, Indiana, where he grew up after moving east from his native Vallejo, California.

“The whole week and weekend has been incredible,” Gordon said. “The parade the Speedway put on, and Pittsboro, Indiana, put on—that’s a highlight for me that I’ll never forget, and to follow up with the support I got when I got here to the track and today…

“It was amazing, and I know that makes it even that much more difficult to handle when you have a poor finish like that, but I can’t thank the fans enough for the last 22 years.”

Gordon is the last active driver who has competed in every Sprint Cup race at the Brickyard, dating to the first race in 1994.

BRICKYARD WIN IS THE PINNACLE FOR CREW CHIEF ADAM STEVENS

Adam Stevens has played a part in victories at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but not until Sunday had he won a race at The Brickyard as a crew chief in NASCAR’s premier series.

Stevens called the shots from the pit box in Kyle Busch’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series triumph at the legendary 2.5-mile track. Clearly, the win was the most meaningful of Stevens’ career.

“As a boy growing up, I can tell you that there's not another racetrack that’s more important to me to get a victory at,” Stevens said. “I felt that way when we won on the XFINITY side (with Busch in 2013). I felt that way when I was able to be a race engineer on Zippy (crew chief Greg Zipadelli) and Tony (Stewart’s) teams and win a couple races. 

“The history of racing at this track is unmatched anywhere on this planet. To lead a team that put together a car that put together a weekend and a setup and did all the right things to bring home the trophy is something that I can hang my hat on for the rest of my life.”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Kyle Busch extends phenomenal streak with Brickyard win

Kyle Busch extends phenomenal streak with Brickyard win

July 26, 2015

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

INDIANAPOLIS—“This is awesome!” Kyle Busch screamed as he crossed the finish line at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and continued a run that has grown from extraordinary to downright other-worldly.

Holding off Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano during three late-race restarts, Busch beat Logano to the finish line by .332 seconds to win Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard.

The victory was Busch’s fourth in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, all coming after an 11-event absence to start the season, the result of a broken right leg and left foot suffered in a crash during the Feb. 21 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

“I guess Kyle’s back,” a disappointed Logano said after he race, uttering perhaps the biggest understatement in the modern era of stock car racing.

Harvick finished third, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Clint Bowyer, Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski completed the top 10.

To the suggestion that the accident may have provided additional impetus to his comeback, Kyle Busch replied, “I just think that maybe I’ve found my happy place.

“Happy Gilmore (a movie character) – he found his happy place and he just dominated at the end, so maybe I’ve found that, too. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane. Nothing better than being in Victory Lane for one of the biggest wins of my career.

“I just want to celebrate with my team, my wife and my family.”

A quick inventory of Busch’s accomplishments shows that the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota:

·        is the first to sweep both the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at Indianapolis. Busch won the Lilly Diabetes 250 XFINITY race on Saturday with a last-lap pass of Ryan Blaney.

·        gave Toyota its first victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, breaking a string of 12 straight wins by Chevrolet at the 2.5-mile track.

·        won the 33rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of his career.

·        continued his relentless advance toward the top 30 in the standings and consequent eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. In what now seems a foregone conclusion, Busch has six races to overcome a 23-point deficit to 30th-place Justin Allgaier.

“We’re a championship contending team,” Busch asserted. “We just have to be championship eligible. Thank the good Lord for bringing me back when he did. Obviously, thanking him for all the success I’ve had in my life, where I’m at and all my blessings.

“To get me back as quick as he did, to persevere through that and that deficit. We’re still continuing on. We can’t have bad days. I don’t know that any of that matters—we’re going to bask in this moment here.”

Perhaps most astounding is Busch’s ability to win three straight races at three different race tracks using three different competition packages: low-downforce at Kentucky with a 3.5-inch spoiler; standard 2015 rules at New Hampshire with a six-inch spoiler; and high-drag at Indianapolis with a nine-inch spoiler and one-inch wicker. 

Logano fell just short of giving team owner Roger Penske, a 16-time Indianapolis 500 winner, his first Sprint Cup victory at The Brickyard.

“You come to Indy, and it’s all about the win,” said Logano, who took the checkered flag in the season-opening Daytona 500 this year. “You either win or finish last. It doesn’t really matter anywhere in-between. At least that’s the way I race when I come to a track like this. I feel like, at Daytona and Indy, it’s all about getting trophies and rings and making out with bricks.

“Overall, it was a good day, but second hurts. It always does.”

Jeff Gordon’s last race at The Brickyard as a full-time Cup driver—and his hopes for an unprecedented sixth victory at the 2.5-mile track—suffered an irreparable blow on Lap 50. Racing to the inside of Harvick, Bowyer’s Toyota got loose and spun.

Gordon checked up, trying to avoid Bowyer’s car, but the No. 24 Chevrolet swerved out of control into the outside wall in Turn 3. The resulting damage ended any hope of another Brickyard trophy for the four-time Sprint Cup champion.

“I was underneath Kasey Kahne and we were just racing for position,” Gordon said as his crew worked feverishly in the garage to repair the car. “I saw Bowyer get sideways. I don’t know what caused it. Me and Kasey were trying to check up to avoid it. I don’t know if he got loose or we just both got loose together. Then I just lost control and got in the wall.”

Gordon finished 42nd and lost one spot to 11th in the series standings. Without a win this season, Gordon is in jeopardy of missing the Chase and can ill-afford another day like Sunday.