Wednesday, Dec 01

Indianapolis—

Let’s do this again the NASCAR Marathon continues at the Indianapolis motor Speedway.

Coming off what is likely the most exciting Xfinty race of the season.

A very emotional Justin Allgaier has won the Xfinity Series race that kicked off a NASCAR doubleheader at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

We are finally able to start the 25th running of the Brickyard 400.

Twitter action from stage 1  

Early in 400 L10: @KyleLarsonRacin says the biggest issue so far is Turn 4. "I think I hit the wall a little on the short chute between 1 and 2."

#Brickyard400 L22: "That's all I got. I'm trying. Loose off ... but overall not too bad." - Brad @keselowski

#Brickyard400 L26: @keselowski told to follow the leaders to pit road if they stop before the Lap 30 caution.

#Lap32 Elliott goes for "right side only" on tires, gains significant track position.

#Brickyard400 L30: 2nd competition caution. Larson: 5th Kez: 9th Logano: 18th Harvick: 33rd (made his way back to 19th before pitting)

Green flag back out on lap 34. #Brickyard400 #NASCAR

Martin Truex JR lost a brake rotor his day at IMS ended early

Clint Bowyer wins Stage 1 of the Brickyard 400 followed by Kurt Busch

In Stage 2 big crash between David Starr and Bubba Wallace followed by another crash between Alex Bowman and AJ Allmendinger. This huge for Bowman with a playoff spot on the line. Heavy repairs were made to the RF and RR it cost Bowman 3 laps

Next caution JJ Yeley goes for a spin. Teammates Clint Boyer and Kevin Harvick lead field on the restart.

Stage 2 Twitter action

Through 80 (halfway): - Chase Elliott at 7th - Ryan Blaney at 3rd - Austin Dillon 23rd #Brickyard400

Heavy impact between @BubbaWallace and @starr_racing. #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400 L86: @KevinHarvick reporting a vibration. Spotter continues to tell him his gap to 2nd


@WilliamByron is told he's got a penalty for an uncontrolled tire. He will restart at the tail end of the field. Was running top 10 prior. Lap 78. #NASCAR #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400 L92: @KyleLarsonRacin picks up a spot that lap and moves up to P4 with 8 to go in Stage 2.

@dariangrubb to @WilliamByron: "Really really REALLY slow blue 66 car coming up." Lap 90. #NASCAR #Brickyard400

 

Matt Kenseth WINS STAGE 2 followed by Chase Elliot.

Final Stage 3...a ton strategies are going to come into play to finish this race

Penalty for Kyle Busch and the Number 18 team hit with a commitment line Violation at the close of stage 2

1 more pit stop for most teams

To start Stage 3: @WilliamByron, @ClintBowyer, @dennyhamlin, @KevinHarvick, and @KyleLarsonRacin are the top 5. #NASCAR #Brickyard400 Lap 104.

Ryan Blayneywas running in top three but disaster on pit road will likely end his of a #BrickYard400 win.

#Brickyard400 L137: Leader @keselowski reports he just hit debris and wants crew to check splitter.

#Brickyard400 L140: @keselowski radio now speaking strategy code: "Page No. 3." He leads Johnson by 2.4 seconds

#Brickyard400 L141: @keselowski pitting this time

Debris on the Front Stretch brings out caution

@KurtBusch reports an ill-handling car. Asks how many cars are on the lead lap. When told 23 cars are on the lead lap, Kurt replies in the only way Kurt can, "expletive". #NASCAR #Brickyard400 Lap 145

1 to go at the line. Restart with 12 to go. Top 5: @dennyhamlin, @ClintBowyer, @jamiemcmurray, @KevinHarvick, and @erik_jones #NASCAR #Brickyard400

#Brickyard400: Hamlin already out to a nearly 1 second lead

Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray make contact, but Bowyer hangs on! #Brickyard400

Caution is out for @JEarnhardt1 and @landoncassill with 7 laps to go!

 

CHECKERED FLAG GOES TO BRAD KESELOWSKI AND THE FIRST BRICKYARD WIN FOR THE CAPTAIN!

Kyle Busch captured the regular-season points title. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, in the No. 18 Toyota, finished eighth.

The other drivers competing for the Cup title will be: Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Larson, Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Jones, Aric Almirola and Ryan Newman.

Saturday's qualifying was rained out, so the starting grid was determined by points. Sunday's scheduled race also was washed out, forcing the race to be moved to a rare Monday start.

 

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@thomasMarq

@TBalance

Indianapolis.. Will Power was spot on

It was an amazing day for racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the IndyCarGP.

Perfect weather for racing! All levels of Indy Car had races all leading up to incredible performance by team Penske !

Will Power wins his 2nd straight GP at Indy. His strategy with his “Red Tires” was spot on. Power pressed the push-to-pass button at precisely the right moment to give Roger Penske’s his 200th series win!

Power had a late caution period that shrunk his lead, barely won the race off pit lane on the final stop and even drove through some light rain to pull away from Dixion who had great battle in the pack to make it to second by 2.2443 seconds for his second straight IndyCar Grand Prix victory.

Also let’s not forget the other Canadian over at Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Robert Wickens, finished third, more than 8.1 seconds off the pace. I said to Robert after the race “Hell of a rookie year your having” His response was simply “The years not over yet” and it may just end with him being the Rookie of the year! Wickens. Despite fading late when he was saving fuel, he has started three races in the top six and finished in the top-five three times. He would probably have four top-five if not for a late crash at St. Petersburg.

Ok time to turn focus to the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500, we do that starting on Tuesday.

Be sure to follow me @ThomasMarq and @TBalance on Twitter

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—   In an afternoon media availability with Toyota owners, Joe Gibbs was asked about the reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) concerning the issues within NASCAR Management. Coach Gibbs mentioned that he was interviewed for the article, but his quotes were not mentioned. 

 “I was interviewed for that article, and there wasn't one comment I made that was in that article, or there was no slant to anything in there,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs, as well as other owners on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, believe that the sport is in  a great position, despite the reports. 

 “When I look at the sport, and I go back to 2006 when I ran the Super Bowl in Detroit.  We were lucky to have 70,000 seats and to think about every weekend we have better than a Super Bowl 38 times.  People need to take that into consideration, and then as you stack the media and the social media on top of that, I think the connection is amazing and with the disruption we’re gonna have now with these three different segments, certainly when we announce a sponsorship like Shell yesterday for seven years and you see Fed Ex, I think that there’s never been more competition on the race track.  I think what we have to do as a group, the people in this room, we have to take a little different look at this,” said Penske.

Gibbs and Penske both mentioned the long-term commitments that Shell and FedEx announced this week to help validate their claims.

“We announced FedEx the other day, a new extension for them, a long‑term extension. There's three other sponsors that we also did that with our race team alone. We saw Shell come in and make a huge decision with Roger,” said Gibbs “We also have two new sponsors coming in that we can't announce right now that will probably be announced within the month, okay.’

The Wall Street Journal interviewed numerous executives within the sport, but did not include any portion of their interviews.

“My personal opinion. I just kind of felt like this thing was already going in a direction, and it was like when I was asked questions, it was, we're headed one direction, I don't care what you say. Now, maybe that's not fair and I know that, but I felt it. I felt that. I felt it personally. And I take it because this is all my family, J.D., Coy, all of us, all we do is race every day,” said Gibbs

Speedway Digest has reached out to Tripp Mickle and Valerie Baurlein, writers of the article, but have declined comment. However, The Wall Street Journal has talked to other media outlets stating they stand by the fair and accurate reporting from Mickle and Baurelin. Daytona International Speedway officials have confirmed that WSJ does not have a presence at the speedway during the weekends marquee event, the Daytona 500. 

With the Hellmann’s 500 going into NASCAR Overtime, fuel becoming an issue in the closing laps, and receiving an early penalty for removing equipment, Joey Logano was victorious at Talladega Superspeedway to advance in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Logano is the lone driver from Team Penske to advance for a championship. This is Logano’s second victory of 2016.

 

“It’s never a layup here at Talladega.  It’s always close.  You never get a big lead.  A good Shell/Pennzoil Ford.  Todd made some good adjustments during the race and found some speed in the car, so that was pretty neat to see some of that.  We got that track position and just hung onto it.  I was able to stay on the bottom and try to run the bottom and keep everyone in line, and that worked out really well.  Kevin did a good job with that, which ultimately got us all a great finish.  It was fun racing there at the end.  I was really confused.  I didn’t know what lane to pick coming to the last restart, but I knew Kevin had a lot of experience in these situations and is great at speedway racing, so he did a good job of pushing me out and then had to defend the top lane with Brian Scott, so a couple of Fords out front here at Talladega is pretty cool,” said Logano in a post race interview.

 

The first half saw the level of attrition at an all time high. Second-place qualifier, Brad Keselowski, took an early lead fending off three-wide racing behind him. However, Martin Truex Jr. was able to find a hole to challenge Keselowski to the lead, but was unable to gain to the lead. Chase Elliott tried to make his move on Keselowski for numerous laps to capture the lead with help from Greg Biffle and was successful. After leading a couple laps, Keselowski was able to side-draft off Elliott to regain the lead. As the first round of green flag pit stops began, the main draft split in half to go down pit road. Logano was penalized for removing his jack from pit road as Denny Hamlin was penalized for speeding. Truex Jr. had a catastrophic engine failure to bring out the first caution of the day shortly after green-flag stops. When the race went back green, Keselowski regained the lead to block the momentum from the drivers behind him. Keselowski attempted to block Elliott, but Elliott was able to gain the lead. Elliott’s lead lasted shortly as Greg Biffle challanged and gained the lead. Keselowski lost drafting help and dropped back. The field began to settle down and went single file on the high-line. As the field went single-file, Biffle reported a piece of debris on his grill. However, the conga line on the high lane broke as Keselowski dropped out of the line to make a valiant charge to the front. Elliott made a move on the inside of Biffle to regain the lead, and to knock the debris off the grille of Biffle. As green flag pit stops cycled through, Keselowski regained the lead. At the halfway point, Keselowski was the race leader, Ryan Blaney was in second, Kurt Busch was third, Hamlin was fourth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five.

 

As the race entered the halfway point, Elliott tried to reform the bottom line from the Talladega Conga Line, but failed to have more drivers join him. The main draft began to spread out some instead of being bumper-to-bumper. As Keselowski was dealing with overheating, Hamlin and Blaney split Keselowski giving Hamlin the lead. However, the caution flew for a wreck involving Biffle, Casey Mears, and Jeffrey Earnhardt entering into the tri-oval. On the restart, Hamlin was able to get lead and block his lead. However, Keselowski was able to regain the lead. The race returned to the conga line at the top of the racetrack. After a few laps in a single file line, Elliott began to lead a group to form a bottom lane, but the lane never came into fruition. However, Keselowski had another piece of debris on his grille, but used Ryan Blaney to clean that debris off; however, it was too late as Keselowski slowed onto the apron as his engine expired. Logano gained the lead on the restart, but the caution shortly fell for debris on the backstretch. As the race restarted, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth, who were waiting in the back, began to lose the draft. Landon Cassill saved the field from wrecking in the tri-oval as he got loose. However, Logano was reporting debris on his grille, but that caused no harm. The caution flag flew for an accident in turn three for a spin by Kasey Kahne involving Trevor Bayne and Jamie McMurray. On the restart, Logano and Harvick were head-to-head, but the caution flew for a spin by Alex Bowman. Under the caution flag, many drivers were concerned about fuel, but fuel was no issue, resulting in a victory for Logano.  Brian Scott finished second, Hamlin finished third, Ku. Busch finished fourth, and Stenhouse Jr. rounded out the top-five.

 

The Chase for the Sprint Cup Series saw four drivers having to wait another year. Keselowski was knocked out after his engine blew on lap for waiting too long to get debris off his grille. Truex Jr. also saw his chances for a championship diminish after his engine went sour on lap 43 shortly after the completion of green-flag pit stops. Austin Dillon’s championship hopes were dashed as the checkered flag flew. Dillon lost in a tiebreaker with Denny Hamlin. Hamlin was able to beat Kurt Busch by .006 seconds after Harvick let off the gas to avoid wrecking Hamlin. Despite having a 12th place finish, Elliott needed a win to advance, but could not get the drafting help to make a charge to the front.

 

The drivers who advanced will have their points reset to 4000. Logano will be the top seed, followed by, Jimmie Johnson, Harvick, Kenseth, Edwards, Hamlin, Ku. Busch, and Ky. Busch. The eliminated Chase drivers show Truex Jr. in the top-position. Keselowski is 23 points back from Truex, A. Dillon is 28 points behind, Elliott is 35 points behind, Kyle Larson is 36 points behind, Tony Stewart is 50 points behind, McMurray is 81 points behind, and Chris Buescher is 82 points behind.

 

The race saw an average speed of 159.905 mph. The time of race was 3 hours, 11 minutes, and 38 seconds. The margin of victory was 0.124 mph. There were 31 lead changes among 14 drivers. The caution flew six times for 25 laps. Only three drivers were listed as out of the race. Only 14 penalties were assessed on pit road. 34 cars were able to finish on the lead lap.

 

All cars passed post-race inspection. 10 of the 12 Chase drivers were inspected as the cars of Keselowski and Truex were not fit to be inspected.  Logano, Scott, Hamlin, A. Dillon, and Stenhouse Jr. are being taken back the R&D center for further inspection.

 

Despite having engine issues, Keselowski was able to lead the most laps at 90. Logano was able to lead 45 laps, Biffle led 13 laps, Hamlin led 12 laps, Elliott led nine laps, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Michael Annett were able to lead six laps, Blaney was able to lead three laps, Ky. Busch and Truex Jr. led two laps, and A. Dillon, Kenseth, Carl Edwards, and Tony Stewart all led one lap.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at trip to Martinsville Speedway for the Goodys Fast Relief 500. Coverage from Martinsville will begin on Friday with first practice at 11:00 a.m. EST on NBCSN.

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