LAS VEGAS, N.v.— When it rains, it usually pours for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR).This was the case this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Kobalt 400.
In the first two races of the season at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, SHR showed that their switch to Ford was not a hinderance as they showed the upper hand by winning the Daytona 500 and dominating the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
The organization, as a whole, seemed to struggle throughout the weekend, especially during the race.
Kevin Harvick’s day was the first to end of the SHR stable. Harvick only completed 68 circuits. Harvick cut a tire and made hard contact with the outside wall on the front stretch.
“It started vibrating about four or five laps there before it blew out, and I was just trying to ride it to the end of the stage there. Obviously, it didn’t make it. The worst part was the medical response,” said Harvick after the accident. “It took them forever to get to the car. All in all, our Mobil 1 Annual Protection Ford was running good. We were just too loose right there. It’s not like we were even tight, so it either just cut the tire, or came apart or melted the bead.”
Harvick finished in the 39th position, only scoring one point to his championship tptal and no playoff points. Harvick currently sits eighth in points 41 points away from the points leader, Brad Keselowski.
Danica Patrick has a so-so day in Las Vegas. The team was forced to change the gearbox on Saturday, resulting in the team starting from the rear of the field on Sunday. In the opening stage of the race, Patrick was having trouble on entry and exit in the corners. She finished 29th in the first stage. In the second stage, Patrick climbed into the top-20 before pit stops sat her back. She finished 28th in the second stage. In the third stage, the day went from so-so to worse for Patrick. Patrick was two laps down. She pitted under the green flag cycling her out of the top-30. She worked her way into the top-30 before she suffered mechanical woes and went to the garage.
“It was another day where my Aspen Dental Ford team worked hard to get me better throughout the race. There late in the race, we finally got the car to a place where I think we could have got a little more racy with it, especially if we would have caught some breaks, but then it just flattened out. I just rode around the top in case something happened. Unfortunately, it did and having a teammate behind me was not ideal for the timing of it. We’ll just move on to Phoenix and see if we can keep improving,” said Patrick.
Patrick finished 36th at Las Vegas, scoring only one point. She currently sits 30th in the points standing, 95 points behind Keselowski.
Kurt Busch was the third driver from the SHR stable to experience trouble. Busch started the opening stage in the 17th position, but worked his way into the top-10. However, he was battling a loose handling car that resulted in him finishing 12th in this stage. The second stage of the Kobalt 400 is where Busch began to see problems. Busch began to experience battery issues that resulted in everything except the gear fan to be turned off. The team told Busch to stay out until the second battery died. Busch would use the first battery to work his way back to pit road on lap 201. Busch lost four laps on pit road as the team changed the batteries resulting in a 30th place finish.
“We went through a lot today. Obviously it wasn’t the day we were hoping to have with our Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion,” Busch stated. “We didn’t have the long-run speed or the balance, and we had an electrical issue that forced us to change batteries on pit road. We kept battling, we didn’t give up. I hoped to have a better run here in front of the hometown fans.”
Busch currently sits seventh in the points standings only 39 points away from Keselowski.
Clint Bowyer had the best day out of the SHR stable in Las Vegas. Bowyer was running strong in the first stage until he went down pit road under the lap 19 caution period. Bowyer lost several spots on the pit lane due to a slower car. Bowyer finished 19th in the first stage. In the second stage, Bowyer battled loose conditions, but battled to finish 14th. In the third stage, Bowyer found himself running the same lap-times as drivers in the top-six. Bowyer ended up finishing the race running in the 10th position.
“It was a struggle. To be truthful, we weren’t the best all weekend, but we just kept digging. Buga (Mike Bugarewicz) didn’t give up on the box and kept adjusting on it and got me pretty good, the best we’d been right there at the end. It’s a top-10 and gives us some momentum. It’s our third race together and we got a top-10, so we’ve got to keep digging,” said Bowyer.
Bowyer currently sits 12th in the points standings, 59 points back from Keselowski.
Despite the struggles over the weekend at Las Vegas, SHR hopes to rebound and recover at Phoenix International Raceway in the Camping World 500, the second race of NASCAR’s “West Coast Swing”.
LAS VEGAS, Nv.— After many years of trying, it became official today that Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) would receive a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS), NASCAR Xfinity (NXS), and Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) date in 2018.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) approved unanimously Wednesday afternoon. The deal is for seven-years at $2.5 million a year.
The date is currently set to fall the third or fourth weekend of September, but flexibilty is available.
In attendance at the announcement included Jamie Little, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Spencer Gallagher, Brendan Gaughan, and Noah Gragson. All are natives of the Las Vegas area.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Speedway Motorsports and Las Vegas Motor Speedway to create a NASCAR spectacle worthy of the greatest racing in the world and the Entertainment Capital of the World,” said Speedway Motorsports, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Marcus Smith.“It’s taken a tremendous amount of work to make this happen, and we are very thankful to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority and NASCAR for their support in our endeavor to create a triple-header NASCAR weekend in such a world-class destination.”
“Over the years, Las Vegas has become a major sports city as a popular destination for a variety of championship and professional sports events, and today we are proud to add a second NASCAR Cup race to that roster. Las Vegas, NASCAR and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) have developed a strong and successful partnership, and we are certain this second race will prove to be another great success,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president and CEO of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Who loses a date? Speedway Motorsports Inc. will remove the September MENCS and NCWTS date from New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) and the NXS standalone date from Kentucky Speedway (KYS). These transition of dates will provide LVMS two triple-header weekends on the NASCAR circuit, the first of its kinds.
NASCAR has confirmed that tracks have the ability to request a transfer of date. The sanctioning body would not further comment on the specifics of any agreements within the sanctioning agreement, but noted they’re all currently admidst five-year agreements.
This announcement comes at the heels of the sports scene boom in the Las Vegas area as the National Hockey League (NHL) is expanding into the market and with interest from the National Football League (NFL) about expanding to the area.
HAMPTON, Ga.— Kyle Larson was close, but came up short in Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Larson assumed the lead after Kevin Harvick was busted for speeding on what would be the last pit stop of the race.
Larson lost the lead to Brad Keselowski due to the fact that he ran the high line of the racetrack instead of the lowline like Keselowsi.
Larson raced around Keselowski for majority of the race.
“Any time I was in front of him on short runs, he’s drive around me up top. And so, I knew I was going to have to take his line away on that start there for a couple of laps and try it,” said Larson.
Because tire wear is crucial at Atlanta Larson was unable to have the grip he needed.
Larson was disappointed that he was unable to get the win, but happy with his finish.
“It was disappointing not to get the win, but I’m happy about our second place run at a 1.5-mile where I struggle at. I can’t thank everybody at the shop enough for building great race cars, and Hendrick engines for supplying us with some great engines, I had a blast today. The Target Chevy was good. I ran the bottom a lot, which is not typically something I do. So, it was a lot of fun to learn how to kind of use both feet to get around the bottom and to do a good job with that.”
Larson’s second place finish comes after a 12th place finish at Daytona.
HAMPTON, Ga.— NASCAR and its inspection process has taken its toll on drivers this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. As the new season begins
The first issues with inspection came before Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying on Friday. On Friday, teams were able to go through inspection once, but were unable to pass due to template issues.
From the NASCAR Xfintiy Series race, Kyle Busch was found too low in the front on both sides.
From the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Chase Elliott was also found low.
AJ Allmendinger was pinged with having three loose lug nuts following the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series face.
All penalties will be announced later this week.
HAMPTON, Ga.—Speeding penalties were high in this year’s Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 compared to last year’s race.
This year, there were 13 pit road speeding penalties, but only one last season. 11 of the penalties were under green flag conditions. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth were the two drivers to receive multiple penalties for speeding.
NASCAR added additional timing lines last summer that came into play today. There were a total of 16 timing sections in play this weekend.
Many drivers had something to say about why there were numerous penalties on pit road today.
“Well we got caught speeding on pit road as I guess a lot of people did. So, we got to look at that and see what we have wrong. I was on my lights perfectly, but seems like a lot of guys got popped in the same segment,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr.
“I always try to be as -- Chip always tells me to do the obvious things right, and number one on that list is don't speed on pit road. I try and run to the cautious side of things where you've got a lot of guys that push the limits and get caught every now and then,” said Kyle Larson.
“I think I know why, but I really don't want to share why. There's something that I think a lot of guys are kind of aware of that goes on on pit road, and that's something we need to address kind of internally. But I have a pretty good reasoning, and I think why it was, but I really don't want everybody else to know,” said Chase Elliott.
The consensus amongst the garage is that this issue will be fixed as the season progresses.