Crew Members Suspended After Altercation on Pit Road at Indianapolis
Following an altercation on pit road, Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) has suspended Lee Cunningham and Chris Taylor, pit crew members on Martin Truex Jr.'s car.
The altercation took place after Truex and Kyle Busch wrecked each other coming off the second turn at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Lap 112.
NASCAR on FOX was the first to report the incident:
#NASCAR #RaceHub takes another look at the @IMS altercation between the No. 18 and No. 78 teams. https://t.co/U8ODcfuQhE— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) July 26, 2017
Barney Visser, Furntiture Row Racing (FRR) owner, released a statement following the announcement:
"Our No. 78 pit crew is hired, trained and managed by Joe Gibbs Racing. They are one of the best pit crews on the circuit and have kept us up front all season. We admire the talent and dedication of our pit crew and support all of the decisions and actions taken by Joe Gibbs Racing."
Kip Wolfmeier and John Royer will take their respective positions during the suspensions of Cunningham and Taylor.
FRR and JGR have a technical alliance. Both teams share technical information, pit crews, and car chassis.
Toyota Teammates Wreck To Change Complexion of Brickyard 400
INDIANAPOLIS— In a race that looked like it was going to be won by the Toyota Racing teammates of Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr, the day ended in fire and smoke at the beginning of the final stage.
Throughout the restarts, Busch and Truex were playing the teammate game on restarts letting the other get ahead momentarily. When the field was exiting the second turn, Truex washed up the track collecting Busch, who was leading the race. Busch dominated the first two stage by winning both stages and leading 87 laps.
Both cars suffered heavy damage after hitting the wall.
Busch expressed his frustration with another weekend being lost by dumb mistakes.
“I guess we could have continued to play the teammate game and try to settle it on a green flag pit stop, but he could be that much faster than me and yard me by three seconds on a run with the clean air then I would never be able to get the opportunity to pass him back even if we had to settle it on a pit stop,” said Busch. “That’s the way it goes, just chalk it up to another one that we figure out how to lose these things by. It’s very frustrating and I hate it for my guys, they build such fast Toyota Camrys and the Skittles Camry was really good again today. Had wanted to go out there and put ourselves in the record books for three in a row, but not happening.”
“I just got loose and wrecked him (Kyle Busch) I guess, totally my fault. Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault,” said Truex. “I hate it for Kyle (Busch), he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”
Busch could have went for history this weekend at Indianapolis by becoming the first driver to win three in a row at famous speedway in NASCAR. Busch’s level of disappointment is a 10 out of a 10.
Busch was accredited with a 34th place finish while Truex is accredited with a 33rd place finish.
Busch Scores Pole in Indianapolis
INDIANAPOLIS— For the second year in a row, Kyle Busch will start from the pole in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 from Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“I would certainly like to think (I have a shot at three in a row) but anything can happen in these races,” said Busch. “My team came gave me a fast race car and it’s been a lot of fun for us here the last couple of years. We just have to put it all together. In practice today I didn’t feel like we were the best- we didn’t even make any mock (qualifying) runs since the day was so short. That shows you how good these guys are and how dedicated we are to win this thing.”
In the first round of qualifying, Jamie McMurray was fastest at 187.395 mph. Ky. Busch posted the second fast time in the opening round at 186.753 mph. Jimmie Johnson was third fastest in the opening round at 186.606 mph. Dale Earnhardt Jr posted the fourth fastest speed at 186.594 mph. Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five with his speed of 186.587 mph. All cars who qualified will participate on Sunday.
In the middle round of qualifying, Ky. Busch was fastest at 186.660 mph. Denny Hamlin was second fastest at 186.324 mph. Harvick was third fastest at 186.116 mph. Martin Truex Jr was fourth fastest at 186.058 mph. Joey Logano rounded out the top-five at 185.904 mph.
At the end of the day, Ky. Busch posted the pole winning speed at 187.301 mph. Harvick will start second with his speed of 186.332 mph. McMurray will start third with his speed of 186.274 mph. Johnson will start fourth with his speed of 185.851 mph. Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five with his speed of 185.820 mph.
Truex, Logano, Ryan Newman, Erik Jones, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-10.
The Brickyard 400 will be broadcasted on NBC and Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network at 2:30 p.m. EDT on Sunday.
Sadler Scores First 2017 Pole At IMS
INDIANAPOLIS— Elliott Sadler will start from the pole from Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the running of the Lilly Diabetes 250. Sadler was able to beat Erik Jones at the line by .004 seconds to score his first pole of 2017.
Sadler posted the second fastest speed in the first round of qualifying at 164.760 mph. E. Jones was the fastest in the opening round at 165.089 mph. William Byron was third fastest in the opening round at 164.045 mph. Michael Annett was fourth fastest at 164.045 mph. Kyle Busch rounded out the top-five in the opening round at 163.931 mph.
For Ky. Busch, he was attempting to go for his fourth straight pole at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. However, that streak is came to an end in the second round of qualifying. Busch posted the 11th fastest speed in the round at 163.610 mph.
Sadler will start from the pole. E. Jones will start second. Byron will start third with his speed of 164.573 mph. Justin Allgaier will start fourth with his speed of 164.402 mph. Annett will round out the top-five with his speed of 164.258 mph.
Cole Custer, Matt Tifft, Ryan Sieg, Ben Kennedy, and Ryan Reed round out the top-10.
The Lilly Diabetes 250 from Indianapolis will be broadcasted on NBCSN and IMS Radio Network at 3:30 p.m. ET.
Hamlin Explains Eldora Infrastructure Comments From Wednesday
INDIANAPOLIS— As the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finished the Fifth Annual Eldora Dirt Derby from Eldora Speedway on Wednesday, there were many claims that the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series should look at special events like the Trucks have at Eldora.
For Denny Hamlin, the question pops out of whether or not the infrastructure is there to compete at tracks like Eldora. When it comes to infrastructure, Hamlin is talking about the garage area, amenities at the track for sponsors, and the amount of equipment the traveling circus brings to each event.
Hamlin would love to see the Cup series return to places like North Wilkesboro and Rockingham, but sees it as not feasible for today’s NASCAR.
“I think the truck series carries one certain amount of circus to it. With the Cup series, it is times 10. It would be tough as much as the Cup series has grown to bring that traveling circus to short track somewhere to be able to put on a show that makes sense, organized,” said Hamlin. “Does Eldora have timing and scoring loops or not? Probably not. When it gets down the nitty gritty of the Cup races and we are arguing who is leading at the line at this point or that point. How does that work with a track that doesn’t have scoring loops. I know Wilkesboro doesnt’t. That’s what I mean by infrastructure.”
When it comes to amenities, Hamlin looks at what each track can bring to a sponsor and ultimately the fans.
“Its tough to get these sponsors to come to these race tracks unless the amenities are about here (Indianapolis) or Daytona. You wanna have really nice everything. It seems like some of those old tracks got phased out because they were antiquated,” said Hamlin.
Hamlin commends tracks like Phoenix Raceway and Richmond Raceway for upgrading their facilities to be the best for fans and sponsors.
“I like to see the new updates to tracks like Richmond. That’s state of the art. It’s going to bring a lot of new eyes and hopefully sponsors to those type race tracks,” said Hamlin.