Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota Racing Development will partner to produce engines that can be used by the Gibbs teams as well as other Toyota NASCAR teams, the organizations announced today. JGR currently produces its own engines while TRD, based in California, provides engines for Red Bull Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and MWR affiliate JTG Daugherty Racing. JGR and MWR will have the same engines starting next year. Red Bull could have those engines as well if whoever purchases the team from the energy drink company opts to race Toyotas. The move is similar to other affiliations between NASCAR teams and engine companies in the sport, but not a complete merger like the Roush and Yates engine shops (Roush-Yates Engines) and the Richard Childress Racing and Dale Earnhardt Inc. engine shops (Earnhardt Childress Racing) over the last several years.
The engines likely will be built primarily in California and then updated and fitted for a specific team’s use at the Gibbs shop in North Carolina. JGR will provide more at-track service for clients, which could include additional Nationwide and Truck teams. Mark Cronquist will continue to run the JGR engine shop. Durability issues have plagued the Gibbs teams this year. JGR could use TRD engines this year as the organization has been sending pieces to TRD to evaluate their durability and help diagnose the team’s engine issues. Gibbs said the move would not lead to the closing of JGR’s engine shop. Teams that field Toyota engines still will have other options such as Triad, Pro Motors and Arrington engines. (scenedaily.com)
NASCAR Hall of Fame Loses $1.42 million In First Year
The NASCAR Hall of Fame, which will induct its third five-member class in January, posted an overall loss of $1.42 million for its first operating fiscal year. Owned and operated by the City of Charlotte through a license from NASCAR, the hall opened in May 2010 and its fiscal year runs from July 1-June 30. The losses are covered from the Charlotte tourism board reserves, but $979,563 of the deficit are royalties owed to NASCAR, which has deferred collecting on those payments until the hall of fame become profitable. The year-end figure was slightly higher than the $1.24 million loss originally forecasted in January as the hall lost $137,895 in June. Attendance for June was 17,604, compared with 28,678 for June 2010, the month after the hall opened.
The hall is budgeted to break even over the next year thanks to $1.04 million from a hotel tax specifically designated to construct and provide upkeep for the $195 million building. Money from that 2 percent tax (which can’t be used for schools, police, etc.) was only used to pay off the loans used to build the facility during the hall’s first year. But to even meet that break-even projection, the hall of fame will need to generate $4.88 million in admissions revenue – almost 20 percent more than the $4.09 million in admissions revenue it took in during its first year. (scenedaily.com)
Jeremy Mayfield's Appeal Set For November 8th
The U.S. Court of Appeals has set a tentative date of Nov. 8 for Jeremy Mayfield’s legal challenge to NASCAR’s ruling that he tested positive for methamphetamines in May 2009. Attorneys for Mayfield and NASCAR were notified of the tentative Nov. 8 date Wednesday and have until Monday to ask for a different date. The appeal will be heard by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which is based in Richmond, Va., but will actually conduct the Nov. 8 hearing at the Campbell University School of Law in Raleigh. Typically, a decision comes a few months after the hearing. The three-judge panel will decide whether Mayfield has enough evidence for the case to continue. Among the issues is whether NASCAR had to follow federal drug-testing guidelines because its substance-abuse policy requires its lab, Aegis Sciences Crop., to be a lab certified to test federal employees. Mayfield also wants permission to include in his lawsuit allegations that NASCAR Chairman Brian France ordered him to be parked during the 2006 Brickyard 400. His then-team owner, Ray Evernham, has said in court documents that NASCAR never told him to park Mayfield’s car. (scenedaily.com)
Kurt Busch Replacing Keselowski For Nationwide Event At Glen
Brad Keselowski will skip the Nationwide Series race Saturday at Watkins Glen as he continues to recover from a chipped left ankle suffered when he wrecked Aug. 3 at Road Atlanta. Keselowski will still compete in the Sprint Cup event at The Glen, but Penske Racing teammate Kurt Busch will drive the No. 22 car in the Nationwide event. This will be the second consecutive week Keselowski will miss the Nationwide race because of the injury. Last week, he skipped the Nationwide event in Iowa and he won the Cup race the next day at Pocono. Sam Hornish Jr. replaced Keselowski for the Iowa Nationwide race. Keselowski, the defending Nationwide Series champion, is not scheduled to compete in the Nationwide Series race next week at Montreal. It was announced earlier this year that Jacques Villeneuve would drive the No. 22 car for that event. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Two Earnhardt Ganassi Employees Arrested, Fired
A tire changer for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing was fired and faces a likely suspension from NASCAR after his arrest on charges of trafficking marijuana, maintaining a dwelling to sell a controlled substance and being in possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana. Trevor Lysne, 40, was arrested at his Huntersville, N.C., apartment and booked in the Mecklenburg County (N.C.) jail on Tuesday before being released on $30,000 bond. According to a Huntersville Police Department news release, 10.5 pounds of marijuana were seized during the investigation. The marijuana was shipped out of California through a national carrier, the news release said. Lysne changes tires for EGR driver Juan Pablo Montoya. Also arrested was EGR mechanic Jerome David Frey, who was charged with one count of trafficking marijuana and one count of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana. Both Lysne and Frey appeared in North Carolina Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. They both said they would hire attorneys and their cases were set for a later date. Lysne declined comment when exiting the courtroom. Late Wednesday afternoon, EGR announced both Frey and Lysne had been fired. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Pocono Will Cut Races To 400 Miles In 2012
Pocono Raceway will dial down its NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012 by 100 miles, a change made less than a week after Joseph Mattioli resigned as track owner and turned over control to his grandchildren. The 2.5-mile track in Long Pond, Pa., will now endure 160 laps -- 400 miles -- instead of the 200 it has had scheduled in 68 prior Cup races. That means last Sunday's Good Sam RV Insurance 500 -- which was interrupted by rain for 1 hour, 40 minutes after lap 124 (roughly 310 miles) and won by Brad Keselowski -- was the last 500-miler at the tri-oval. New track CEO Brandon Igdalsky said of the changes: "The 400-mile distance will make NASCAR racing at Pocono even more exciting. Race strategies will change, fuel mileage calculations will be altered and I firmly believe that our fans will be treated to outstanding racing at the 400 mile distance." (usatoday.com)
NASCAR Approves New Sport II HANS Device
The Sport II HANS Device has been approved for use in competition by NASCAR. The Sport II is the latest safety innovation from HANS Performance Products, inventors of the head and neck restraint. The new HANS Device provides the same protection enjoyed by champions in major series around the world at a reasonable price. Featuring a lower rounded collar, the Sport II’s new design makes fitting easier for drivers. The lightest device in the Sport Series, the Sport II delivers industry-leading performance. It has also been approved for competition under the criteria established by SFI and the FIA. “We take pride in our innovative efforts to make the HANS Device not only cost-effective but user friendly for all racers without sacrificing our award-winning performance,” said Gary Milgrom, vice president of HANS Performance Products. We receive testimonials on a weekly basis about the effectiveness of the HANS Device following all kinds of crashes, including violent flips and rollovers,” continued Milgrom. “No matter what type of car, what kind of track, drag strip or off-road event, a head and neck restraint should be included in any driver’s safety equipment. It’s not necessarily how fast you go that determines the severity of some accidents, but how fast you stop.” (usatoday.com)
Ryan Truex Gets Ride With Joe Gibbs Racing
Ryan Truex will drive six Nationwide Series races for Joe Gibbs Racing this season, the team announced Tuesday. Truex will drive the No. 20 car Sept. 3 at Atlanta and then at Richmond, Chicago, Dover, Kansas and Phoenix. Sponsorship was not announced. Truex, 19, has 17 career Nationwide starts with one top-10 finish. He is the two-time defending champion of the K&N Pro Series East. Truex, the younger brother of Michael Waltrip Racing driver Martin Truex Jr., had started the year with Pastrana-Waltrip Racing. He had driven the previous two years with cars fielded out of the MWR shop but primarily owned by his father and brother. “We’re thrilled to bring Ryan into our Nationwide Series program,” JGR president J.D. Gibbs said. “His family has a great history in our sport, and he has really proven himself with the opportunities he has had thus far in his young career. When you look at what he’s already achieved in the (East) Series and with the opportunities he has already had in Nationwide, we’re looking forward to him accomplishing great things for our team.” Truex had originally hoped to run most of the season for Pastrana-Waltrip, but sponsorship didn’t pan out for him to run more than 10 races. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Stenhouse, Bayne Adjust To Life With Edwards
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Trevor Bayne both had their eyes on the No. 99 Sprint Cup car, knowing that if Carl Edwards left Roush Fenway Racing, they would have been considered for that ride in 2012. With Edwards now staying at Roush Fenway, they likely face another year of full-time Nationwide Series competition—with Bayne returning to the Wood Brothers Racing team (where he has run a limited Cup schedule this season) and Stenhouse hoping for an opportunity somewhere. Both drivers are under contract for 2012 with Roush Fenway. “You’re never disappointed to keep a good teammate that is going to help you, especially one you get along with really well,” said Bayne, 21, who won the 2011 Daytona 500. “But when you have two development drivers running strong, sometimes you want to see a seat open up. But it’s going to be good for our sponsors and partners we have at Roush Fenway; it’s going to be good to keep those guys around and the Wood Brothers car is still there. I love driving that car.”
Stenhouse, 23, has two Nationwide Series victories this year and leads the standings by 12 points over Reed Sorenson. Stenhouse could see some Cup time next year if Roush Fenway opts to run a fifth car for up to seven races (he could do that as a rookie) or if Richard Petty Motorsports opts to expand its Cup operation. “Right now we have no idea,” Stenhouse said. “Obviously if Carl was leaving, just from hearing it from everybody else, it sounded like somebody was going to have to run the 99 but they never talked to me for sure about it. We’re just focused on the (Nationwide) championship. … The ideal situation for myself is to run another full season in Nationwide and a part-time Cup deal. I don’t want to jump in too early and kind of get in over my head.” -- Bayne and Stenhouse were at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday to help promote the fall schedule at the track. The fifth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is Oct. 15 at Charlotte; a Nationwide race is the night before. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Sauter Penalized, Loses Truck Series Points Lead
Johnny Sauter is no longer the points leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Sauter’s No. 13 truck failed inspection after Sunday morning’s race at Pocono Raceway, and on Tuesday NASCAR penalized Sauter six championship points. Sauter was leading Austin Dillon by five points before the penalty was assessed. Sauter’s truck did not meet the maximum right-rear bed panel height in postrace inspection. Sauter finished fourth, one spot ahead of Dillon. Sauter’s crew chief, Joel Shear, was fined $5,000, and owner Mike Curb was penalized six owner points.
Two other penalties were assessed Tuesday. NASCAR determined the cars of Nationwide Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (No. 6) and Eric McClure (No. 14) used lug nuts that were less than the minimum specified thickness. Michael Kelley, crew chief for the No. 6, and Gary Cogswell, crew chief for the No. 14, were each fined $2,500 and placed on NASCAR probation until Sept. 21. These violations were discovered during prequalifying inspection Saturday at Iowa Speedway. Stenhouse won the race, his second victory of the season, and McClure finished 26th. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Two Cup Crewmen Suspended Indefinitely By NASCAR
NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has indefinitely suspended crew members Jerome Frey and Trevor Lysne, both of whom worked with the No. 42 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, for violating Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the substance abuse policy) of the 2011 NASCAR rule book.
Rick Hendrick's Mother, Mary Hendrick Passes
Mary Hendrick, mother of Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, passed away Monday afternoon at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Mrs. Hendrick, a native of Palmer Springs, Va., was 88. Fondly referred to as “Miss Mary,” Mrs. Hendrick was the car owner of the No. 25 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from 2005-2007. In 2008, she became the owner of the No. 5 Chevrolet. She won seven races as a car owner, with Mark artin notably recording five of those wins during the 2009 season. That year, Martin drove the No. 5 Chevrolet to a runner-up inish in the championship standings, giving Mrs. Hendrick her best season as a car owner. In June 2004, Gov. Mike Easley presented Papa Joe and Mary Hendrick with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine -- the state of North arolina’s highest honor bestowed on a citizen for dedication and extended length of service to his or her organization. The family requests privacy at this time as arrangements are being finalized. Details will be released when available.
Kurt Busch-Jimmie Johnson Feud Renewed
Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson finished third and fourth, respectively, in Sunday’s Good Sam RV 500 at Pocono Raceway, and they weren’t happy—with each other. Hard racing and considerable contact between Busch’s No. 22 Dodge and Johnson’s No. 48 Chevrolet led to an animated confrontation between the drivers on pit road after the race. On the final lap, Johnson nosed ahead of Busch in Turn 2, and Busch regained the third position at the exit from the corner. The way Busch made the pass irked Johnson. “Man, I worked him over for 10 or 15 laps and had the opportunity to screw him up and had the opportunity to run into him and never did it,” Johnson said. “Then, off of (Turn) 2, he claims I turned down on him—and I don’t have clue. He ran over me on the corner exit, and that’s where it all started. “I just don’t understand why, when I finally get position on him, he’s got to run all over the side of me down the straightaway. It was a great race. The thing is here, track position is everything. And every driver is at ten-tenths, trying to get what they can, when they can, because you can’t pass. And it took me that entire fuel run to set up that pass on him, and I finally got it done and then that problem happens. So that’s where my frustration comes in.”
Busch said the contact was simply a product of hard racing. “I was racing Jimmie hard there at the end,” Busch said. “I was racing—flat out. You want to race, let’s race. I didn’t know we were supposed to pull over when it came down to five to go. I raced him hard. I raced him smart. I raced him clean, and he wants to come over here and bitch about it. “Hey, he came off the turn and did a jab to my left; I did a jab back to the right. Why can’t we race each other like this and put on show for the fans and not have a problem with it? I don’t know. “There are a lot of times when the 22 is on the short end of the stick (with) the 48, and I raced him hard today. I’m glad I did. I have no regrets in it.” (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Despite Top 10, Menard Falls Out Of Chase-Eligible Position
Paul Menard backed up his victory in last week’s Brickyard 400 with a strong 10th-place run Sunday, but that wasn’t enough to keep him in a Chase-eligible position. The quirks of NASCAR’s new wild-card system, which rewards the two drivers in positions 11-20 with the most victories, elevated race winner Brad Keselowski (18th in the standings with two victories) over Menard (14th place with one victory) for a provisional Chase spot. It didn’t help Menard’s cause that Denny Hamlin (11th with one victory) had trouble late in the race and finished 15th, failing to crack the top 10 in the standings. Though circumstances conspired against Menard, he was pleased with his result. “It was a good follow-up to last week’s win,” he said. “We fought hard for this top-10 finish. The No. 27 pit crew gained us some spots on that stop coming off the red flag (after a rain delay) that really helped out a bunch. The race for the final Chase spots is shaping up to be really competitive, and we're fighting hard to put ourselves in position to take one of those spots.” (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Solid Top-10 Gives Earnhardt Breathing Room
Dale Earnhardt Jr. got exactly what he needed Sunday—a ninth-place finish that gave him a reasonable margin for error heading into next Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen. It was hardly a perfect performance. Glitches on pit road probably cost Earnhardt three or four spots at the finish. Nevertheless, Earnhardt solidified his 10th-place position in the Cup standings and goes to the Glen with a 23-point advantage over Hamlin. “We had a real good car, and we had some real good speed in the car,” Earnhardt said. “We had some struggles on pit road, and I know the guys on the team will get that sorted out—and sometimes we just have mistakes. “Sometimes the driver makes them, sometimes—there’s so many guys on the team it’s rare when everyone is kind of clicking. We’ll get it sorted out. We had good speed, though, we had a good car all day long, and (I’m) real happy how that worked out.” That kind of finish, Earnhardt’s first top 10 since June 12—the last time the series came to Pocono—gives him breathing room at the road course at the Glen, not one of his strongest tracks. “Well, we’re just going to try and go up there and steal a good finish—like everyone else, you know,” Earnhardt said. “You’ve got to do different strategy at the road-course races and pit once you get inside the (fuel) window and it’s all kind of craziness. It’s not really much fun, but that’s the way it is.” (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Tough Guy Keselowski Toughs It Out To Win Pocono
Brad Keselowski’s challenge to the rest of the Sprint Cup field: “I can beat you with a broken leg.” And he did. Staying out on the track on old tires under a caution with 21 laps left in Sunday’s rain-interrupted Good Sam RV 500 at Pocono Raceway, Keselowski pulled away from Kyle Busch after a restart on Lap 185 of 200 to secure his second victory of the season -- despite driving with a broken left ankle. Keselowski, who was injured in a hard crash during testing Wednesday at Road Atlanta, kept Busch at bay over the final 10 laps. With Sunday’s victory—the third of his career -- Keselowski’s fortunes took a dramatic turn with respect to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Having cracked the top 20, Keselowski is in position to claim the first wild-card spot, being the only driver in positions 11-20 with more than one victory. Keselowski leaves Pocono 18th in the standings, having gained three positions Sunday.
Kyle Busch came home second, followed by Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Ryan Newman. Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Paul Menard completed the top 10. Keselowski downplayed his gutsy effort. “I no hero,” Keselowski said. “The heroes are the guys that died in Afghanistan this weekend. I want to spend time thinking about them. They’re my inspiration for this weekend, the things that those guys do. I’m glad that we could win today, but those are the heroes. I just drive racecars for a living.” --/-- Kurt Busch, Keselowski’s teammate at Penske Racing, gave the driver of the No. 2 Dodge a little more credit than that. “It’s amazing what the body can do,” Busch said. “For him to go through that wreck this week and get back on his horse right away and find success, that’s only going to make Brad Keselowski a better racer.”
Just past the halfway point of the race, rain began to fall, lightly at first and then in torrents. After the cars crossed the stripe on pit road to complete Lap 124, NASCAR stopped the race with polesitter Joey Logano in the lead, hoping the deluge would continue. That didn’t happen. The rain abated, and the race resumed after a stoppage of 1 hour, 40 minutes, 46 seconds, dashing Logano’s hopes of claiming a second career victory the same way he got his first one (New Hampshire in June 2009)—with an assist from the elements. Keselowski and Kurt Busch got to the front of the field with a contrarian strategy that brought them to the pits for fuel and tires right before the stoppage. When the cars ahead of them came to the pits under caution after the resumption, Keselowski and Busch were elevated to positions 1 and 2, respectively, for the restart on Lap 132. That turned the race around.
“Everybody’s getting more aggressive with their calls,” said Paul Wolfe, Keselowski’s crew chief. “My engineers seemed pretty confident that we were going to go back green. We know it’s going to take calls like that to get us in the Chase. I knew it was going to take a call like today to get another win to get us closer to that opportunity.” --/-- “Just tell ’em, Paul, you’ve got balls this big,” Keselowski chimed in. Before the lengthy red-flag period, Joe Gibbs Racing cars had dominated the race. Logano had set the pace for 39 laps. Denny Hamlin, a wizard at Pocono from the day he set eyes on the track as a rookie in 2006, had led a race-high 65 laps to that point, and Kyle Busch chipped in with six laps led for a team total of 110 of the first 124.
Immediately before the rain delay, Logano had withstood the persistent efforts of Johnson to pass him for the lead. But for the vagaries of nature, that could have been a battle for the win, and both drivers raced as if it were. “We knew the rain was coming, and I was trying to hold off the 48 (Johnson),” Logano said. “I saw him coming -- and coming pretty hard. My spotter said it was raining pretty hard in (Turn) 3, so I tried to hold him off through the Tunnel (Turn) there. It was pretty exciting there coming to the end, when my crew chief, Zippy (Greg Zipadelli), told me about five laps (before) the caution came out that the 48 was catching me, and the rain was coming. I just kept on digging, and finally it just started ownpouring in (Turn 3).” -- Neither Logano nor Hamlin was a factor at the end. Logano had to make an unscheduled pit stop on Lap 189 and finished 26th. Hamlin’s No. 11 crew had trouble with lug nuts on his right rear tire on his last pit stop, and Hamlin was buried in the pack on the restart and finished 15th. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Kevin Harvick Holds Off Kyle Busch For Truck Series Win
Thanks to fuel-saving technique and opportune late cautions, Kevin Harvick had enough gas to survive a green-white-checkered-flag finish in Sunday’s rain-delayed Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125 and win the Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. The victory was Harvick’s first in three starts in the series this year and the 10th of his career. Kyle Busch finished second, followed by James Buescher, points leader Johnny Sauter and Austin Dillon. When the race went three laps beyond its scheduled distance of 50 laps, the only question was whether Harvick had enough fuel in his tank to go the extra 7.5 miles. There was no question about the quality of his ride. “I didn’t have anything for Kevin,” said Buescher, who lost second place to Busch on Lap 46. “He was in a league of his own.”
Harvick didn’t come to the pits on Sunday, having changed tires for the last time on Lap 15 under caution for rain the day before. The race was suspended two laps later. Harvick said his truck was so strong that he didn’t want to sacrifice track position for fresh rubber. “I think you saw the 18 (Busch) drive back up through there with tires,” Harvick said. “Tires still meant something. Our truck was just so fast that there was really no reason to give up the track position to come and get tires, since we were good on fuel. That’s one of the shortest races I’ve raced in a long time, and the strategy changes a little bit. You’ve got to get out there quick and try to put yourself in position quick on strategy, and you don’t have a lot of chances to make things happen if you’re off the pace. They (the team) just did a great job of hitting it right off the truck, and that makes life easy.”
NASCAR called the fourth caution of the race on Lap 32, after a smoking chunk of Nelson Piquet Jr.’s flat right front tire sheared off in the middle of the racing surface on the Long Pond straight. The caution laps provided cover for those who might have been short on fuel -- notably Harvick. Nevertheless, Harvick, wary of the possibility of a green-white-checkered-flag finish, began shutting off his engine entering Turn 1 to save fuel. But a caution on Lap 37 for a wreck involving David Starr, Brendan Gaughan and Peyton Sellers necessitated the fifth caution and gave Harvick the cushion he needed to make it to the finish of the race. On Lap 42, Sellers stalled on the access to pit road to cause the sixth caution. Harvick pulled away on the restart on Lap 46, while Busch and Buescher battled for the second position. Harvick held a comfortable advantage, when contact from Dillon’s Chevrolet sent Todd Bodine’s Toyota spinning on Lap 49 to send the race to overtime.
Note: Sauter's No. 13 Chevrolet failed the height-stick test in postrace inspection, with the right rear of the truck exceeding the maximum height allowed. NASCAR officials said a penalty likely will be announced Tuesday, one that could cost Sauter the top position in the standings. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Stenhouse Wins Wild Nationwide Race
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards insist they like each other. But for the second weekend in a row, they sure didn’t act like it. Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, Stenhouse and Edwards banged doors, fenders and feelings as they fought for the victory in the U.S. Cellular 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Their final banging occurred a couple of hundred feet from the finish line on the last lap, and it produced a smoky, screeching, metal-bending finish as Edwards rammed Stenhouse’s car from behind and actually pushed it to the victory. “Wow,” both drivers said after climbing from their cars.
Stenhouse’s car had blown an engine after exiting Turn 4 and had laid down a glaze of oil on the track. Edwards said he tried to go around Stenhouse but couldn’t as his car slid on the oil and his windshield filled with smoke. Stenhouse admitted to watching Edwards speeding up on him and then blocking his teammate. And then, Stenhouse thanked Edwards for smashing into the rear end of his RFR Ford. “If he wouldn’t have hit us, we definitely would have ended up second,” said Stenhouse, whose victory was his second of the season at the seven-eighths-mile oval. “I knew we had enough momentum to get there (the finish line). I just wasn’t sure if we were going to be first or second. It worked out that we were first.” Edwards led 109 of the race’s 250 laps. Stenhouse led 25.
Polesitter Elliott Sadler finished third, Josh Wise was fourth and Aric Almirola fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Reed Sorenson, Kenny Wallace, Steve Wallace, Michael McDowell and David Mayhew, who was making his first Nationwide start. While the race-ending rear-end job by Edwards to Stenhouse was the final run-in between the two drivers Saturday, it was far from the first. They sideswiped each other about halfway through the race. And then, after the final restart of the night with less than 25 laps to go, they went at each other several times before Stenhouse was able to break free. Their physical race at Iowa came a week after they frayed each other’s nerves and tempers at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind.
Still, both said they hold no grudges against the other. “Ricky and I are fine,” Edwards said. “Jack (Roush, the team owner) came over and said, ‘Hey, this is exactly what’s supposed to be happening. You’re supposed to have a young guy who’s fast and is frustrating everybody because he’s too aggressive.’ Ricky, he’s really, really fast. “We had a little issue last week, we talked about it and he got excited tonight. He’s just being a little bit overaggressive.” Stenhouse, the Nationwide points leader, left Iowa with a 12-point lead over Sorenson. Sadler is third, 29 behind Stenhouse. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Travis Pastrana Will Delay Nationwide Series Debut
Pastrana Waltrip Racing announced today that Travis Pastrana will not make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut until the 2012 season due to injuries suffered during the 17th annual X Games last week. The 11-time X Games gold medalist broke his right ankle and foot while attempting a Rodeo 720 with a back flip during the Best Trick competition in Los Angeles, forcing him to miss his scheduled NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis last Saturday. The injuries required surgery, which was completed by Dr. Tom Dennis at Riva Road Surgical Center in Annapolis, Md., Wednesday evening. Dr. Dennis said the operation was a success and that Pastrana should make a full recovery following a strict healing process which will require Pastrana to be immobilized in traction for at least one month and unable to apply weight on his right leg for another month. “To give my ankle and foot time to heal properly we have decided to wait until 2012 to make my NASCAR debut,” Pastrana said. “I probably could have been ready for the final couple of races in 2011, but it just makes more sense to start fresh in 2012. We are already starting to talk about testing and what I need to do to prepare for next season. My sincere apologies go out to my NASCAR team, fans and sponsors for this delay. Thanks for all of the support. This will be a fun ride … eventually.” Pastrana made his NASCAR debut on January 29 when he finished sixth in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway. Pastrana was scheduled to run a total of seven Nationwide Series races this season with his debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. on July 30. (pastranawaltrip.com)
Truck Race Postponed Until Sunday Morning
Rain forced postponement of Saturday's Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono Raceway. Seventeen laps had been completed in the Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service 125, and rookies Parker Kligerman, Joey Coulter and Cole Whitt held the top three positions. The 50-lap race will resume at 9 a.m. ET Sunday, followed by a 50-lap ARCA race that also was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. After the ARCA race, NASCAR will run the Sprint Cup Series Good Sam RV 500 at the 2.5-mile track. The Cup race is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Kligerman took the lead by staying out on the track after NASCAR threw the third caution of the race on Lap 13, when rain began to fall. The field ran four more laps under yellow before NASCAR red-flagged the event. Coulter also stayed out; Whitt was in third despite having to pit during an earlier caution because of a tire problem. Pole-sitter Kevin Harvick had led every lap before pitting under the third caution.
Juan Pablo Montoya Has Deal, Just Needs to Sign
Juan Pablo Montoya has agreed to return to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing next season, with only minor details of his contract still to be settled, the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet told Sporting News on Saturday at Pocono Raceway. “I think its’ pretty much done—it’s all agreed and everything,” Montoya said before Saturday morning’s qualifying session at the 2.5-mile track. “Just little bits and pieces. I’d say a couple weeks, max.” In his fifth season in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, Montoya currently is 20th in the Cup standings through 20 races. Montoya, 35, has two Cup victories to his credit—at Sonoma in 2007 and at Watkins Glen last year—and qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2009.
(Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)
Joey Logano On Pocono Cup Pole
A ray of sunlight was just what Joey Logano needed during Saturday morning’s qualifying session at Pocono Raceway. After posting a lap at 172.055 mph (52.309 seconds), Logano had to wait for 20 fellow Sprint Cup drivers to make their qualifying runs before he could claim the pole for Sunday’s Good Sam RV 500 at the 2.5-mile triangular track. The Coors Light pole award was Logano’s second this year. He has three Cup poles overall. A patch of sunlight, which broke through the clouds after Logano made his attempt, may have warmed the track enough to prevent those who followed him from beating Logano’s time. Kasey Kahne came closest, running his lap at 171.648 mph to earn the outside spot on the front row. Martin Truex Jr. (171.494 mph), who preceded Logano in the qualifying order, will start third, followed Carl Edwards (171.474 mph) and Kurt Busch (171.468 mph). Notes: Jeff Gordon scraped the wall on his qualifying attempt and will start 31st. … Geoffrey Bodine, TJ Bell and Mike Skinner failed to make the 43-car field. (Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)