Sunday, Dec 04
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Tony Kanaan earned $2,353,355 from an overall purse of $12,020,065 for his victory Sunday, May 26 in the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

Brazil native Kanaan, who started 12th, set a record winning speed of 187.433 mph, breaking the previous mark of 185.981 set by Arie Luyendyk in 1990. Kanaan won "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" for the first time in 12 career starts, tying an event record for earning a victory latest in a driver's Indy 500 career. The other driver to win the race for the first time in his 12th career start was Sam Hanks in 1957.

Kanaan, who led the race 15 times for a total of 34 laps in his No. 11 Hydroxycut KV Racing Technology-SH Chevrolet, won the race when he and Carlos Munoz overtook race leader Ryan Hunter-Reay entering Turn 1 on a Lap 198 after a restart. During that restart, three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti's No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda made contact with the wall between Turns 1 and 2, allowing Kanaan to cruise to the checkered flag under caution.

In the first IZOD IndyCar Series race of his career, Munoz, of Colombia, qualified second and finished second in his No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport. Munoz was voted the winner of the prestigious Chase Rookie of the Year Award.
Munoz, who owns two Firestone Indy Lights wins this season and finished fourth in the Firestone Freedom 100 on Friday, May 24, earned $964,205, which included a $25,000 bonus from Chase.

Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Hunter-Reay earned $583,005 for driving his No. 1 DHL Chevrolet for Andretti Autosport to a third-place finish in a performance that saw him lead the race 13 times for 26 laps.

In driving his No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet Chevrolet to a fourth-place finish, Andretti Autosport's Marco Andretti joined Kanaan in leading the race 15 times, the most ever by an Indianapolis 500 driver who did not win the race. Andretti, who led for 31 laps and took the IZOD IndyCar Series points lead, was awarded $469,755.

Justin Wilson drove his No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda to an Indianapolis 500 career-best fifth place after starting 14th. Wilson earned $337,805.

Three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves earned $313,755 by driving his No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish. Castroneves led one lap in the race and has led in eight of his 12 career Indianapolis 500 starts for a total of 232 laps.

Pole sitter Ed Carpenter, who led the race six times for a race-high 37 laps in his No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet, finished the 10th Indianapolis 500 of his career in 10th position. He received $405,955, which included $100,000 for earning the Verizon P1 Award as pole winner.

The Indianapolis 500 Mile Race purse consists of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IZOD IndyCar Series awards, plus other designated and special awards. Purse awards were announced and presented at the Victory Awards Celebration presented by Ice Miller LLP on Monday, May 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The 98th Indianapolis 500 is scheduled for Sunday, May 25, 2014. First run in 1911, "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" is the world's largest single-day sporting event and most prestigious auto race.

IndyCar PR

Some of the greatest racers in Georgia Racing History gathered at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in Dawsonville, GA Saturday morning as the five newest inductees into the Hall of Fame were formally announced.

They include a former NASCAR and short track ace, a pioneer Peach State open wheel racer, a trailblazing stock car team owner, one of the most successful short track racers in the southeast, and a drag racing legend and pioneer.

The 2013 inductees are Charles Barrett of Cleveland, GA, Hank Blalock of Decatur, GA, Frank Christian of Dahlonega, GA, Freddy Fryar of Chattanooga, TN, and Huston Platt of Buford, GA.

The five new GRHOF inductees were chosen from a list of 15 semi-finalists, all of whom were honored during Saturday’s event. The inductees were chosen by an 18 member panel of voters.

The 2013 Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Induction banquet will be held on Dec. 13, 2013 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, located inside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex in Dawsonville, Georgia.

A limited number of seats for the banquet will be available. For more information, call the Hall of Fame at (706) 216-RACE (7223) or go online to www.georgiaracinghof.com.

Here’s a closer look at the five inductees to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for 2013:

Charles Barrett – Cleveland, GA – Winner of approximately 250 feature events – Won 27 Late Model sportsman features in 1972 – Won the 10th anniversary 150 lap Sportsman championship race at Anderson in 1972 – 1968, 69, 70 Anderson track champion- Won several championship events at Anderson between 1967-1972 – Competed in several NASCAR Sprint Cup events for car owner George Elliott, including a 10th at Talladega in 1973, 18th at Atlanta in 1973.

Hank Blalock – Decatur, GA – Deceased – Competed in Midget Cars across the East Coast – Served in the US Coast Guard during World War II – Began racing in 1946 in Midgets – Scored wins at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, GA, Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC, Augusta Speedway in Augusta, GA, -Was injured in a flip at Plant Field in Tampa, FL late in 1947 while leading, suffered brain concussion, burns, and a shoulder fracture – Served as President of the SRDC (Southern Racing Drivers Club) in 1948 – Was points champion in 1949 – Competed at Lakewood Speedway in Atlanta, GA, Lake Winneepesaukah in Chattanooga, TN, Macon Speedway in Macon, GA, Looper’s Speedway in Gainesville, GA, Skyway Speedway in Calhoun, GA, Columbia Speedway in Columbia, SC, Lithonia Speedway in Lithonia, GA, Augusta Speedway in Augusta, GA, Garden City Speedway in Augusta, GA, Savannah Speedway in Savannah, GA, Birmingham International Raceway in Birmingham, AL, Bowman Grey Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC, Broadway Speedway in Knoxville, TN, Pensacola Motor Speedway in Pensacola, FL, Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, PA, Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, SC, Boyd’s Speedway in Ringgold, GA, New Orleans Motor Speedway in New Orleans, LA, and Idle Hour Speedway in Phenix City, AL – Was considered a strong competitor, always finishing in the points and in the money – Was a member of the Southern Racing Enterprises, AAA, and NASCAR – Suffered a massive head injury in a crash while leading at Toccoa Speedway in Toccoa, GA on Aug. 14, 1955. After spending 6 months in a coma, Blalock passed away in early 1956.

Frank Christian – Dahlonega, GA – Deceased – Was a pioneer in multi-car ownership, winning 22 races in his career. Drivers included his wife, Hall of Famer Sara Christian, Bob Flock, Speedy Thompson, Buddy Shuman, Banjo Matthews, Fonty Flock, Buck Baker, and Curtis Turner. Christian himself competed in several events as an owner/driver. His cars had an average starting place of sixth and an average finishing place of 12th. Christian’s cars scored 35 poles in a six year span. Christian is credited with bringing the moonshine runners out of the mountains and into the first organized modern stock car race, held at Atlanta’s Lakewood Speedway in November of 1938. Was the car owner for the first Chevrolet to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race, with Fonty Flock as a driver, in 1955 at Columbia, SC.

Freddy Fryar – Chattanooga, TN – Won 826 feature events. Began racing in the early 1950s, following his brother Harold’s footsteps, at the age of 14. First raced at Fort Oglethorpe Speedway in Fort Oglethorpe, GA. Competed in Modifieds on the beach at Daytona in 1956, 57. Finished second to Bobby Allison in the NASCAR Modified Championship in 1964. Competed in NASCAR Modifieds, Grand Nationals, and Late Model Sportsman and USAC Stock Cars in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Won seven NASCAR Series track championships. Won state championships in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. All Pro Series champion in 1983. Won All Pro Truck championship in 1984. Ran NASCAR’s Winston Cup series in several events from 1956-1971. Won the Snowball Derby twice, 1979 and 1981. Won at Mobile International Speedway, Jackson International Speedway, Montgomery Motor Speedway, Caraway Speedway, Gresham Motorsports Park (then Georgia International Speedway), Corpus Christi Speedway, Five Flags Speedway and more. Retired form racing in 1987. Worked for various NASCAR teams for 15 years, and served as a driving instructor at the Richard Petty Driving School.

Huston Platt – Buford, GA – Deceased – Began drag racing in 1959 – Established his reputation piloting the famed “Dixie Twister”, beating out several big names, including Richard Petty during Petty’s stint into drag racing in 1965. – Platt’s 66 Chevy II became the fastest and quickest unblown injected Chevy in the country, turning runs in the upper 8 seconds at 160 mph and setting several records – Competed in match races against Ronnie Sox, Junior Johnson, Phil Bonner, Arnie Beswick, Tommy Grove, among others – Was an independent, without factory backing. – Was a pioneer in the development of the famed “Funny Cars”, which remains one of the most popular forms of drag racer today – Platt traveled around the country and into Canada to compete in his 1968 Chevy Camaro Funny Car known as the “Dixie Twister”, which could turn times in the high 7 seconds and 185 plus mph – Served as his own engine builder – Worked with the Logghe brothers in developing special wheelie bars to keep cars like this on the ground off the starting line – Went on to race and defeat several major racers from around the country, including Don Nicholson, Connie Kalitta, Larry Reyes, Gene Snow and others – After a tragic accident at the Yellow River Drag Strip in 1970, Platt worked to improve safety aspects in drag racing – Platt would win the Funny Car Division II Championship in 1971 – Would retire a couple of years later – Would later take his restored Dixie Twister around the country on display and in exhibition runs. Was inducted in 2009 to the East Coast Drag Times Hall of Fame. Passed away Nov. 30, 2011.

Photo cutline: The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame announced its Class of 2013 inductees on Saturday. They include Charles Barrett, Frank Christian, Huston Platt, Hank Blalock, and Freddy Fryar. Image courtesy GRHOF

About the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame – The Georgia Racing Hall of Fame is owned by Dawsonville History Museum, INC. The Hall of Fame inducted its first class in 2002, and became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2010. The museum, recognized by the state legislature as the official home of the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, recognizes prominent members of Georgia’s racing heritage. The Hall of Fame also plays host to other events saluting the state’s racing history, including the annual Lakewood Speedway reunion. The Hall of Fame and Museum are housed in the Dawsonville City Municipal Complex just outside of downtown Dawsonville, Georgia on Hwy. 53. The museum is open Monday – Saturday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Holiday and Summer hours vary. For more information, call (706)216-RACE (7223) or go online to www.georgiaracinghof.com.

GRHOF PR

On the eve of Memorial Day, more than 10,000 active duty military and family members were honored by Charlotte Motor Speedway and business leaders from around the country prior to the Coca-Cola 600, as part of a Memorial Day weekend saluting the U.S. Armed Forces. The day of tribute featured a special celebration luncheon hosted by John Schnatter, founder, chairman and CEO of Papa John's International, where more than 3,000 pizzas were served to the military guests.

The star-studded affair was emceed by HLN's Robin Meade, and included special appearances by Lt. Col. Oliver North (ret), a political commentator, television host, military historian and New York Times best-selling author; Willie Robertson, star of "Duck Dynasty;" Kurt Busch, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet; Clint Bowyer, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota; Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway; Congressman Robert Pittinger; NASCAR driver and television personality, Michael Waltrip; and Papa John himself. The event was held at zMAX Dragway and also featured live music and a drag racing exhibition with Smith, Papa John and Busch.

"We have been involved with the military for many, many years and we were excited to partner with Charlotte Motor Speedway to honor the heroes of the U.S. military and their families," said Schnatter. "This is just one small way of saying 'thank you' for the sacrifice they and their families are making every day to defend our freedom."

North shared his perspective on Memorial Day with the troops.

"This Memorial Day race is held here for these American heroes and that's what they are – heroes," said North. "Normally people think of heroes as being someone wearing spandex and a cape. My heroes wear flak jackets and helmets and flight suits in difficult and dangerous places."

Hundreds of the troops were loaded onto buses courtesy of the speedway's Patriot Partners program, where companies such as Toyota, Papa John's, Goodyear, Coca-Cola, Bojangles' and more sponsored more than 30 Patriot Partner buses to transport them from area military bases. Fans were able to salute the troops as 600 soldiers marched through the grandstands as part of the pre-race ceremonies. The show also included an air parade featuring 10 vintage warbirds, the flight of an American bald eagle during the national anthem performed by Robin Meade and a 21-gun salute by the Fort Bragg firing squad.

"I'm humbled. I'm honored. I'm a retired soldier. We didn't do a lot of this when I was in the military," said John Falkenbury, president, USO of North Carolina, which helped organize the event. "I think America has got it right and it is just a phenomenal event. We are so appreciative of Papa John's and Charlotte Motor Speedway who bent over backwards, not just for this event, but for all races."

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates finished first (Kevin Harvick), 12th (Jeff Burton) and 13th (Paul Menard).
  • According to NASCAR's post-race loop data statistics, Harvick averaged a 180.822 mph lap time ranking him second in the Speed in Traffic category and spent 396 Laps in the Top 15, positioning him fourth in the loop data category.
  • Harvick earned the third-best Driver Rating (112.8), was third in Quality Passes (50), was the third-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (179.721 mph), fourth-Fastest Driver Early in a Run (184.211) and fifth-Fastest on Restarts (170.488 mph).
  • Burton made 87 Green Flag Passes during the 600-mile event.
  • Menard made 105 Green Flag Passes during the 400-lap event ranking him sixth overall.
  • Menard ranked 11th in Quality Passes during the 600-mile race with 38.
  • Harvick earned his second victory of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
  • The next Sprint Cup Series race is the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, June 2.  The 13th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

 

 

2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards  

Menard Earns Hard Fought 13th-Place Finish in Prestigious Coca-Cola 600

 

Starting from the 22nd position, Paul Menard and the No. 27 Serta/Menards team
faced handling issues and late-race damage in Sunday night's 600-mile event, earning a 13th-place finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In the early laps of the event, Menard gained several positions and was running 16th by lap 75. Communicating to crew chief "Slugger" Labbe that the No. 27 machine was loose on entry and tight through the center of the corners, Menard came into the pits at lap 115 for four fresh tires, fuel and a variety of chassis adjustments. Shortly after pitting, a cable supporting the overhead television camera on the frontstretch fell and landed on the track surface damaging several cars and bringing out the red flag on lap 127. The downed wire cut the right-rear tire on the No. 27 machine and the crew went to work changing four tires and adding fuel during a 15-minute red-flag period given to the teams by NASCAR officials to make repairs. Restarting 20th, Menard quickly made his way to 15th by lap 153. Continuing to fight a loose condition though the center of the corners, Labbe called for an array of chassis adjustments on the ensuing pit stops in an attempt to remedy the cars handling condition. The series of adjustments provided some relief to the Eau Claire, Wis., native and he was running in eighth when a multi-car incident on lap 335 caused right-front fender damage to the Serta/Menards Chevrolet. The pit crew made repairs during two separate visits to pit road and Menard restarted 15th with 63 laps to go. During a round of green-flag pit stops, Labbe elected to leave his driver on track to lead lap 381 before pitting for right-side tires and fuel. Pitting under green, Menard fell a lap down to the leader. As luck would have it, the caution-flag was displayed just two laps later allowing the 31-year-old driver to be credited with the "Lucky Dog", placing him back on the lead lap in 13th for the ensuing restart. With 11 laps remaining in the 400-lap event, Menard was able to maintain his position and finish 13th in the longest race of the season. Menard's 13th-place effort in the Coca-Cola 600 moves him up two positions, placing him eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

 

 

Start - 22          Finish - 13          Laps Led - 1          Points - 8th

 

 

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:

"It was a tough day for the No. 27 Serta/Menards crew. We had a pretty good car early on and began to struggle with the handling as the night went on and the track conditions changed. The late race damage to the right front put us behind a little, but I have to give my team credit because they never gave up and made the repairs we needed to get back out and be competitive. We just ran out of laps at the end, but we'll take a top 13 and a good points night."

 

 

 

   

Harvick Wins Second-Career Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

 

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team picked up their second win of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, driving to Victory Lane following the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The California native started the 400-lap event from the 15th position and battled a tight-handling red, white and blue Chevrolet during the early stages of the event. In an effort to combat the handling issues Harvick was facing, the Budweiser pit crew made adjustments through the course of multiple four-tire pit stops. Harvick broke into the top 10 during the lap-131 restart, following a 27-minute break in the action for track workers to clean up debris on the racing surface from a fallen overhead camera cable. As the race progressed, Harvick continued to methodically work his way through the field settling into the top five prior to the caution flag being displayed on lap 259. The Richard Childress Racing driver remained near the front of the field during the final laps taking the lead on two occasions before the yellow flag waved on lap 386. Crew chief Gil Martin called Harvick to pit road for right-side tires and fuel under caution, positioning the Budweiser Chevrolet in second for the lap-389 restart. As green-flag racing resumed, Harvick moved back out front and led the field to the checkered flag. Following Harvick's second win of the season, he gained three positions in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, moving up to seventh.

 

Start - 15          Finish - 1          Laps Led - 28            Points - 7th

                         

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

"First off, I want to say I hope everybody is okay from that cable. That was quite a weird incident there.  Second, I want to just say thank you to all the guys at Richard Childress Racing. To win at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) is something that we had to overcome for a long time. We kind of won it on gas mileage last time, and we just went and won it this time. I have to thank everybody from Budweiser, Sprint, all the fans, Jimmy John's, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Rheem. We've got this great promotion with Folds of Honor on the car this weekend and the paint scheme resembles Budweiser's special beer cans. Plus, five cents from every can goes to Folds of Honor."

 

 

     

Jeff Burton Survives Coca-Cola 600, Finishing 12th

 

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet team finished 12th in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Burton qualified 27th for the longest race on the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule and, while battling a tight-handling race car, climbed into the top 25 for the first portion of the 400-lap marathon. With an early long green-flag run, crew chief Luke Lambert and the No. 31 pit crew were unable to make planned chassis adjustments on the car until the first caution on lap 70 which was followed by a 27-minute red flag that stopped the race. The 21-time Sprint Cup Series race winner continued to run in the top 25 and as day turned into night, the car became loose on entry and exit of the 24-degree banked corners of the 1.5-mile facility. As the night progressed, many competitors fell victim to mechanical problems and multi-car accidents, including seven and five-car pileups on lap 327 and 335 which led to another red-flag delay. The South Boston, Va. native managed to avoid the trouble and climbed into the top 15. For the remainder of the event, Burton's "never-give-up" attitude paid off as he gained valuable track position and posted top-10 lap times throughout the final portion of the 600-mile race, bringing the No. 31 Cheerios Chevrolet home in 12th-place. Burton now sits 21st in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

 

Start - 27          Finish -12         Laps Led - 0          Points - 21st

 

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:

"We pretty much fought a tight-handling condition for the entire race, especially in the middle of the corners. These No. 31 guys never gave up and we managed to stay out of trouble while bringing home a clean race car and a top-15 finish. I also want to say congratulations to our RCR teammate Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 team on their victory."

 

RCR PR

Trevor Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team overcame a back-row start because of a blown engine and a flat tire in happy hour practice, an unscheduled pit stop to remove trash from the grille in the early laps of the Coca-Cola 600, a loose-handling condition mid-race and a lack of wave-around opportunities to post a 16th-place finish in Sunday’s marathon race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The final result in the Wood Brothers’ 1,400th Sprint Cup start wasn’t exactly what Bayne and the team were hoping for, but the performances of driver and crew exceeded expectations.

In a race that saw many of the front-runners eliminated in crashes, Bayne dodged disaster on at least two occasions to bring his No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion home unscathed. He was running just behind Aric Almirola and Mark Martin when the two touched on the frontstretch and triggered a multi-car melee with 74 laps to go. Bayne drove onto the apron and out of harm’s way.

With 66 laps remaining, he had to make another evasive maneuver to avoid being swept up in the crash that knocked Jimmie Johnson out of contention for the win.

On pit road, crew chief Donnie Wingo and his race strategists figured out adjustments to correct a loose-handling condition that contributed to Bayne being two laps down by the halfway point. But once they got the car back up to speed, the strategies employed by the teams on the lead lap closed the door on any wave-around opportunities for drivers like Bayne. If any leaders stay on the track during caution periods, there is no wave-around opportunity for drivers a lap or more behind to regain the lost ground.

“Trevor did a really good job missing those wrecks,” team co-owner Eddie Wood said. “And Donnie and the crew were able to make a couple of small adjustments and fix a car that was so loose that we thought there was something broken with the suspension."

“We were really happy to get that fixed, because if you have speed, all the rest will work out sooner or later.”

Wood pointed out that overcoming obstacles is what the annual 600-mile grind at Charlotte is all about.

“We started out in a bad spot because of the engine problems on Saturday, which meant that we basically had no happy hour practice,” he said. “Then we had to stop to get trash off the grille and got a lap down early. But everybody on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team hung in there, and we were fast at the end."

“For us, it was a good thing that the race was 600 miles.”

Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew return to the Sprint Cup Series in three weeks for the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Wood Brothers Racing PR

When the 2013 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season resumes with the NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 on Saturday, June 1, Brett Moffitt will have a score to settle with the legendary Bowman Gray Stadium.

The fifth-year driver from Grimes, Iowa has found success nearly everywhere the series has gone during his career. Moffitt’s nine wins have come at eight different tracks. But in the two previous events at “The Stadium” in Winston-Salem, N.C., it’s been nothing but heartache.

Two-thirds of the way through the inaugural Bowman Gray event in 2011, Moffitt was running third before a mechanical issue on a restart resulted in a wreck. The damage and lost track position was more than he could overcome as he finished 16th.

The Bowman Gray misfortune continued for Moffitt last year when he was running second at the white flag with a chance to challenge Corey LaJoie for the win, but was spun out by Darrell Wallace Jr. coming off Turn 2 and wound up relegated to a ninth-place finish.

In his remarkable - yet still relatively brief - career, Gresham Motorsports Park is only one track that Moffitt has raced at three or more times without earning a victory. This week’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 150 will be Moffitt’s third appearance at Bowman Gray, a place where he hopes to add to his wins list.

A Bowman Gray win would also end another drought for Moffitt, who for the first time in his career, has yet to reach Victory Lane through the first four races of a season. His overall winless streak is currently at a career-long 10 races with the last triumph a wire-to-wire win in Clearfield, Pa., last July.

Despite the lack of a win through the first quarter of the season, Moffitt has posted an average finish of fourth and brings a seven-point lead into the season standings to Bowman Gray.

NASCAR PR

Ryan Newman and the Quicken Loans team were able to overcome an ill-handling racecar in the first half of the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and turn what looked like a long night into a sixth-place finish.

After Newman’s disappointing finish last week in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) team made drastic changes to the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS at the shop in the week leading up to the race as well as throughout Sunday night to allow Newman to score his sixth top-10 finish of the season and his ninth top-10 in 25 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte. Newman was quick to praise the outstanding work of the team.

Newman started the race from the 10th position, but he struggled early with a tight-handling racecar that saw him drop to as low as 31st and off the lead lap in the first 100 miles of the Sprint Cup Series’ longest race. A timely caution at lap 115 saw Newman in the “lucky dog” position – where the first car one lap down gets its lap back during a caution.

Not long after, a rope, which was part of a camera system suspended over the speedway, snapped and fell on the racing surface. The race was suspended for approximately 30 minutes before NASCAR gave the teams a 15-minute break to make repairs if their cars were damaged from the incident. Fortunately, Newman’s Quicken Loans Chevrolet was not damaged, but the Matt Borland-led team was able to take advantage of the break to make significant adjustments to their racecar that would pay dividends for the team when the race restarted.

As green-flag conditions dominated much of the second half of the event, Newman slowly worked his way toward the front. A late-race series of caution periods gave the crew a handful of opportunities to make additional, minor adjustments to their Quicken Loans machine, and Newman took advantage by working his way to the third position. In the closing laps, debris on the frontstretch forced NASCAR to display the caution flag. Crew chief Borland and Newman agreed to come to pit road to take on right-side tires to give themselves the best chance at scoring a top-five finish. While the move proved to be the one to make, Newman could not maintain the third position and fell back to sixth when the checkered flag waved.

“We had a really good Quicken Loans Chevrolet at the end of the race,” said Newman. “If that yellow hadn't come out, we would have probably ended up third. We took two tires under caution and couldn't quite get back to where we were. That is a great comeback after going a lap down early, and considering where we were one week ago here for the All-Star Race. The Quicken Loans guys did a great job. Tony (Stewart) had a great run, too. It was a solid night for Stewart-Haas Racing."

Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for SHR, finished seventh after leading once for six laps. It was his 13th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval and his second top-10 this season.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 29th. It was Patrick’s 22nd career Sprint Cup start and her second at Charlotte.

Kevin Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 21st career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Charlotte.

Kasey Kahne finished 1.49 seconds behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Newman, Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 61 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race. The race was delayed three times for separate incidents which forced NASCAR to display the red flag. The first two of the three red-flag periods were for a camera cable that fell on the track and caused damage to a handful of cars. The first red flag was displayed for 10 minutes and 40 seconds with the second following quickly after the first and lasting 16 minutes and 22 seconds. The third red flag was displayed for an accident on lap 327, delaying the racing action for nine minutes and 13 seconds.

With round 12 of 36 complete, Newman continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He rose one spot to 16th and has 315 points, 130 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 20 points behind 10th-place Brad Keselowski. Stewart also gained one spot to crack the top-20. He is 20th with 291 points, 154 out of first and 44 behind Keselowski. Patrick lost two positions and is now 30th with 211 points, 234 behind Johnson and 124 away from Keselowski.

Fourteen races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 15 spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 14th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks on Sunday, June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m. 

TSC PR

Danica Patrick just wants a little luck to go her way for a change.

Despite qualifying 24th, Patrick, the driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), was forced to start in the rear of the field for the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway due to an engine change the team made following first practice on Saturday. Patrick fought her way through the field despite being mired deep in traffic.

Thanks to a strong racecar, her efforts on the racetrack and a solid performance by her crew on pit road, Patrick appeared to be headed to a solid top-20 finish.

However, her efforts were foiled just past the three-quarter mark of the 400-lap race when she was caught up in a wreck at lap 319. Patrick was in the middle of a three-wide battle when she made contact with reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, who later took blame for the incident. Keselowski apparently came down on Patrick, which sent her nose first into the turn three outside retaining wall and led to extensive damage to her racecar.

Patrick’s GoDaddy Chevy sustained heavy right front and right fender damage, but she was able to drive her No. 10 Chevy to pit road for a series of lengthy repairs over the course of multiple pit stops. Patrick was able to continue but finished the race in a disappointing 29th-place, 15 laps down to the leaders.

“We obviously started from the back, and track position was really important here at Charlotte,” said Patrick, who made her 22nd career Sprint Cup start and her second at Charlotte. “We fought our way back to trying to be in a position to be on the lead lap. I felt like we were making real progress and starting to get the car to a place that was really good and had an accident, which is unfortunate because we were moving up. But there’s nothing we can do about it now. We just need some luck.”

Crew chief Tony Gibson was pleased with the GoDaddy team’s performance despite the wreck late in the race.

“We had a really good car,” Gibson said. “Our car was really strong all day – probably one of the best cars we had had since Kansas (Speedway in Kansas City). It’s tough. Keselowski said he didn’t know that they were three-wide. He came down and caught us, and we got tore up. At that point, our goal became to finish the race. Pit stops were good. Danica did an awesome job. All we could do was get the car fixed and try to finish the race and go on. That’s what we did. We will build on the high stuff from tonight. We had a good car. We’re showing some strength. We’re making our stuff better during the race, and that’s what we’ve got to do.

“I told Danica that one day we’ll be the windshield and not the bug. We’re making progress. We’re making gains. We just have to be ready for when it’s our turn, and we will be.

Patrick’s SHR teammate, Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, led a lap en route to scoring his sixth top-10 finish of the season and his ninth top-10 in 25 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte.

Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet for SHR, finished seventh after leading once for six laps. It was his 13th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval and his second top-10 this season.

Kevin Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 21st career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Charlotte.

Kasey Kahne finished 1.49 seconds behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Newman, Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 61 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race. The race was delayed three times for separate incidents which forced NASCAR to display the red flag. The first two of the three red-flag periods were for a camera cable that fell on the track and caused damage to a handful of cars. The first red flag was displayed for 10 minutes and 40 seconds with the second following quickly after the first and lasting 16 minutes and 22 seconds. The third red flag was displayed for an accident on lap 327, delaying the racing action for nine minutes and 13 seconds.

With round 12 of 36 complete, Newman continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He rose one spot to 16th and has 315 points, 130 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 20 points behind 10th-place Brad Keselowski. Stewart also gained one spot to crack the top-20. He is 20th with 291 points, 154 out of first and 44 behind Keselowski. Patrick lost two positions and is now 30th with 211 points, 234 behind Johnson and 124 away from Keselowski.

Fourteen races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 15 spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 14th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks on Sunday, June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.

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In the longest race of the year, Tony Stewart scored his best finish of the year.

Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), finished seventh in the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Sunday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Stewart started 25th in the 43-car field and led once for six laps en route to his 13th top-10 in 29 career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.5-mile oval. It was his second top-10 this season, and it bettered his previous season-best finish of eighth earned 10 races ago in March at Phoenix International Raceway.

How did it happen? “We finally got some stability in the car. One change there at the end of the race just made a huge, huge difference,” said Stewart, who took advantage of a late-race pit stop where he was the last car on the lead lap, allowing crew chief Steve Addington enough time to realign the car’s front-end geometry.

The small tweak produced big results, as Stewart rallied from 12th after a lap-339 restart to crack the top-10 for the first time on lap 341. Stewart stayed among the top-10 for the remainder of the race, using a 10-lap dash to the finish following the race’s final restart on lap 390 to climb from 10th to seventh before the checkered flag dropped. Stewart finished right behind his SHR teammate Ryan Newman, who came home sixth in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS.

For SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli, it was the proverbial light at the end of tunnel after many trying weeks.

“All three of our cars made big improvements this week in terms of performance, and we ended up with a couple of good finishes,” Zipadelli said. “Danica (Patrick) had a bad day, but overall it was certainly an improvement.”

Newman’s sixth-place result was his sixth top-10 of the season and his ninth top-10 in 25 career Sprint Cup starts at Charlotte.

Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 15 laps down in 29th after being collected in an accident on lap 320 that drastically affected her car’s handling.

Kevin Harvick won the Coca-Cola 600 to score his 21st career Sprint Cup victory, his second of the season and his second at Charlotte.

Kasey Kahne finished 1.49 seconds behind Harvick in the runner-up spot, while Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano rounded out the top-five. Newman, Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose comprised the remainder of the top-10.

There were 11 caution periods for 61 laps, with 12 drivers failing to finish the 400-lap race. The race was delayed three times for separate incidents which forced NASCAR to display the red flag. The first two of the three red-flag periods were for a camera cable that fell on the track and caused damage to a handful of cars. The first red flag was displayed for 10 minutes and 40 seconds with the second following quickly after the first and lasting 16 minutes and 22 seconds. The third red flag was displayed for an accident on lap 327, delaying the racing action for nine minutes and 13 seconds.

With round 12 of 36 complete, Newman continues to lead the SHR contingent in the championship point standings. He rose one spot to 16th and has 315 points, 130 back of series leader Jimmie Johnson and 20 points behind 10th-place Brad Keselowski. Stewart also gained one spot to crack the top-20. He is 20th with 291 points, 154 out of first and 44 behind Keselowski. Patrick lost two positions and is now 30th with 211 points, 234 behind Johnson and 124 away from Keselowski.

Fourteen races remain before the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins Sept. 15 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. Only the top-10 in points are locked into the Chase. Positions 11 and 12 in the Chase are wild cards, awarded to the two drivers between 11th and 20th in points with the most wins. If multiple drivers have the same number of wins, a driver’s point standing serves as the tiebreaker.

Patrick, who is competing for Rookie of the Year honors against Ricky Stenhouse Jr., finished 15 spots behind Stenhouse, who placed 14th.

The next event on the Sprint Cup schedule is the FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks on Sunday, June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning with its pre-race show at 12:30 p.m.

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Kurt Busch's high point in Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600 quickly turned to a low point, but the tenacious and talented Furniture Row Racing driver charged back from adversity to post a third-place finish in NASCAR's longest race.  
 
It was the third top-five of the season for Busch and it was also his best finish since joining the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team with six races remaining in 2012.
 
Busch, who started the 600 miler on the outside pole, ran the majority of the race in the top-five. He moved into first place on Lap 319 of 400, but shortly after taking the lead the race was red flagged by NASCAR due to major debris on the track as a result of a frontstretch multicar accident.
 
When Busch attempted to restart his No. 78 Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet, he had no power due to a dead battery. Busch’s car was pushed by a safety vehicle to the team’s pit stall where the crew replaced the battery. The incident dropped Busch from first to 15th.
 
“We had the lead, we had clean air and we had a fast race car, but when the battery went dead that pretty much doomed our chances of winning this race,” said Busch, who had mixed emotions about his third-place finish. “But give credit to this Furniture Row Racing team for fighting back. The battery was replaced quickly and the pit stops tonight were solid. It’s disappointing that we couldn’t take advantage of our opportunity, but finishing third is a good points night.”
 
Busch, who remained 18th in the Sprint Cup driver point standings, added, “It was one of those days where you hoped it goes smoothly but it didn’t.  When you are back there battling back passing guys it’s tough to catch those leaders because they are out front. We really did well with our Furniture Row guys. Thanks to them, Furniture Row, Sealy, Monster Energy, it was a good night to showcase what this team is made of.”
 
The race winner was Kevin Harvick. Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Kasey Kahne, Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
 
The race had 11 cautions, including two red flags for 61 laps. The first red flag was for an overhead broken television cable and the second was for debris.
 
The race also had 24 lead changes among 12 drivers.  
 
The next race is Sunday, June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
 
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