Race Weekend Central

Pace Laps: Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano Tangle, Jeremy Clements’ Strong Run and Nico Rosberg Wins Again

Sprint Cup: Kenseth and Logano Not Done Yet – For the second straight time, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano have experienced an issue at Talladega Superspeedway involving contact on the track.

The only difference, obviously, is what has transpired between now and last October following a nasty payback from Kenseth to then-race leader Logano the following week at Martinsville Speedway.

Running in the hectic pack with less than 10 laps remaining at Talladega, Kenseth made an aggressive move off Turn 2 to the inside of Logano, who closed the door on the maneuver, forcing Kenseth off track.

(Photo: John Harrelson / NKP)
Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano have had bad blood since late last year. While some thought that was over and done with, that was not the case at Talladega. (Photo: John Harrelson / NKP)

“The first thing that happened is the [No.] 22 ran me off the race track and then got us way behind,” Kenseth said. “I thought we were done with that but maybe we aren’t.”

Brad Keselowski Takes Wacky Victory in Talladega

Both drivers had two of the quickest cars of the afternoon as they combined to lead 45 laps in the GEICO 500. As lane changes and bumper banging were more usual than on the interstate at 5 p.m., Kenseth, however, did not see it as a typical Talladega thing.

Two laps after the Logano contact, the 2012 Talladega victor was sent airborne following a spin by Danica Patrick.

“He ran me off the track,” Kenseth said. “And honestly I’m running straight here and just got ran in to. Then, you’re just hanging on.”

After the two exited the infield care center, they had a quick conversation where Kenseth was seen pointing at Logano in a watch-out type of way. When asked about Kenseth’s words, Logano said it was “not much.”

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Kansas Speedway, a track the two have gotten along just fine at in the past, right? – Zach Catanzareti

XFINITY Series: Clements is the feel-good story at Talladega – Whenever the XFINITY Series goes restrictor plate racing, there are often a few underdogs who manage to secure strong finishes. On Saturday, that was Jeremy Clements, who scored the first top five of his XFINITY Series career at Talladega.

Clements, a former ARCA Series winner, has run 209 XFINITY Series races. He has piloted his own No. 51 Chevrolet on most weekends since 2011, quietly taking on the larger organizations in the sport year-after-year. His resiliency throughout his career is pretty impressive, and he remains something of a throwback with his family-operated team.

An entirely new concept for the XFINITY Series, however, may be the key to Clements having his best season ever. By finishing fourth at Talladega, he climbed three spots in the points standings to 13th. He is only 11 points behind fellow underdog Ryan Sieg, who holds the final qualifying spot for the Chase.  If Clements finds himself among the 12 Chasers in September, Talladega will be a big reason why. – Bryan Gable

Formula 1: Rosberg Rules in RussiaNico Rosberg continued his winning ways by earning his seventh win in a row and fourth of the season at the Russian Grand Prix in Sochi.  Starting from the pole position, Rosberg started fast and cleared the field by the end of Turn 1.  That proved to be the race-winning move, as from there he faced little in the way of competition.

Rosberg’s teammate and defending champion Lewis Hamilton started from the 10th spot after enduring issues in qualifying.  Hamilton maneuvered his way through the opening scrum to take the second spot on the podium.  Kimi Raikkonen led the way for Ferrari and took the last spot on the podium.  

Sebastian Vettel’s day ending on the first lap after Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat punted Vettel and sent him out of the race, making the second DNF for Vettel this year.  Kvyat, racing at his home grand prix, took a 10-second penalty for the incident and finished out of the points.

The Williams Racing duo of Valterri Bottas and Felipe Massa finished fourth and fifth, respectively, making for a solid result for a team that has seemingly struggled thus far in 2016.  In a similar fashion, Ferando Alonso, driving for the much-maligned Honda-McLaren organization crossed the line in sixth, while his teammate, Jenson Button, also earned championship points in finishing 10th.  For McLaren this result was their best of the year.

Romain Grosjean, driving for the American Haas-F1 team, again earned points by taking home an eighth-place finish, continuing his surprising results.  Red Bull, which looked to continue its upswing, made a strategic error by putting its drivers on the medium tires after the safety car closed the field after the Lap 1 accident between Vettel and Kvyat.  The hope was to have the tires last, yet offer enough pace to avoid pitting and cruise through the field, something that never developed with the mild track temperatures.

For Rosberg, his win puts him 43 points up on Hamilton, and continues his remarkably fortunate year.  Raikkonen sits third, 57 points back.  Huston Ladner

NHRA: Sibling Rivalry – Certainly, Courtney Force was thrilled to see her sister Brittany win not once but twice this season already, but don’t think for a minute she didn’t want to put a notch in the win column for herself as well. She managed to do just that at the NHRA Springnationals from Royal Purple Raceway in Houston, Texas, scoring her eighth career NHRA Funny Car win.

Force found herself up against Tim Wilkerson, the only two-time Funny Car winner so far this season, and took the Wally with a 3.913 second, 327.90 mph win to Wilk’s 3.943 seconds, 323.81 mph. Force also beat Bob Bode, Ron Capps, and Tommy Johnson, Jr. en route to the finals.

“I was nervous going into the final against Wilkerson,” said Force. “I knew what kind of numbers he could put on the board and I knew I just has to be right there with him. We’ve been working really hard and I feel like this one felt even better than my first ever career win. We wanted it more than anything.”

It also marks a great turnaround for Force. After winning four times, scoring the 100th female win, and passing sister Ashley as the winningest female driver in Funny Car in 2014, she went winless and missed the championship Countdown in 2015. – Toni Montgomery

Doug Kalitta took home the victory for Kalitta Motorsports in Top Fuel, defeating Steve Torrence in the final on a holeshot after cutting a .036 light and following it with a run of 3.813 seconds, 280.60 mph to Torrence’s 3.810 seconds, 306.81 mph. Kalitta raced his way by Terry Haddock, Kebin Kinsley, and Leah Pritchett in earlier rounds.

“It was a close race out there,” said Kalitta. “I had struggled with the lights today and to deliver that in the final was huge.”

Pro Stock remains all KB Racing all the time, with Greg Anderson earning the win over teammate Jason Line this week. Anderson scored the victory on a holeshot, using his faster reaction time of .029 to Line’s .072 to gain an advantage and parlay his 6.630 second, 209.43 mph run into the Wally over Line’s quicker but losing 6.597 seconds, 209.95 mph.

Anderson had a bye on the first round due to a short field in Pro Stock, but raced his way by Vincent Nobile and Allen Johnson before taking on his teammate in the final. Toni Montgomery

Sports Cars: Rum Bum Racing Parks Their GS Program – Last week, longtime IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge team Rum Bum Racing announced that they are suspending their campaign, effective immediately.  They did not give an official reason for the move, other than to say: “Enough is enough.”

The team was in the middle of its seventh season of competition in the series.  During that time, the team won 21 races and two championships.  Matt Plumb drove the No. 13 car full-time for the entire time in the series, joined by a number of co-drivers, including his brother Hugh this season.  The team started out racing a BMW M3, but later switched out the BMW for a Porsche 911 Carerra.  The reason for that switch at the time was really quite simple.

“We made the switch because Mr. Bacardi (Luis Bacardi, team owner) wanted a Porsche,” Matt Plumb explained in a press conference at Lime Rock Park back in 2013.  Matt continued on to say that the M3 was at a point in development where it would have needed to be completely overhauled.  In other words, it was a good time for a new car.

The loss of Rum Bum Racing removes another team from an increasingly thin Grand Sport class.  Only seven cars were entered in the top class for Saturday’s 150-minute race.  Losing them makes the Grand Sport class that much less competitive.  As it stands, it is going to be a battle between Multimatic Motorsports and Bodymotion Racing for much of the season, with CJ Wilson Racing figuring in at times.

In their press release, Rum Bum Racing did indicate that they are not done for good.  They plan to evaluate future competition and partnership opportunities. – Phil Allaway


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Matt Kenseth is embarrassing himself. And he doesn’t know it or care. Either way pretty pathetic.

Steven Pittman

Right. When Kenseth blocks it’s hard racing. When Logano blocks it’s, “He ran me off the road.”

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