Matt Kenseth slapped on two fresh tires, came out the leader with 49 laps left and became the de facto winner in an event where there were exactly two on-track, green-flag passes for the lead over the course of 400 miles – lap 1 and during a mid-race wreck.
When Danica Patrick rolls into Daytona next year, it likely will not be with her Greg Zipadelli-led crew, but rather that of Tony Gibson and Ryan Newman’s No. 39 team. It has been rumored that in part, the No. 39 crew doesn’t exactly feel appreciated by Newman, and the driver’s comments did little to dispel …
It wasn’t a win for Jeff Gordon, and he still has a lot of ground to make up before he can even begin to think about that elusive fifth Cup title. But this week, Gordon certainly looked a lot more like… well, like Jeff Gordon. After starting on the pole, Gordon remained in the hunt throughout the race, running inside the top 10 all day long and ending the day in fourth place.
On lap 313, Clint Bowyer managed to pass Ryan Newman and he never yielded that position the rest of the night.
Regan Smith finished a somewhat disappointing 18th on Sunday after having a shot to wind up much higher. However, about halfway through the race he restarted on the outside of the front row next to Brad Keselowski. After racing Keselowski hard through turn 1 and the South Chute, the two had contact in turn 2. There did not appear to be any malice in what happened, but both drivers never truly recovered.
Even with the big wrecks towards the end of the race Saturday night, one of the scariest incidents was on pit road during the first caution of the race. Ryan Newman pulled out of his pit stall and managed to get sideswiped by Jeff Gordon. This caused Newman to slide into Kasey Kahne. The secondary contact spun Newman into the stationary car of Keselowski.
The big double take of the weekend came after Friday night’s Nationwide Series race. The winner’s interview with rookie Austin Dillon, who dominated the event, was over and all seemed well for Richard Childress Racing and his iconic No. 3 car. That is, of course, until a NASCAR spokesperson picked up the microphone a few moments later. Usually, that speaker is just a formality – the sanctioning body assures the media that everyone has cleared postrace inspection. But Friday night, NASCAR announced a major issue: Dillon’s No. 3 was found too low in the rear. Penalties are likely. Except, perhaps, the one penalty that should come down.
After seven months peppered with near misses and a night wrought with fuel mileage drama, car owner Rick Hendrick reached a milestone that only one other team has ever reached: 200 Cup Series wins. Only Petty Enterprises has more (268).
Everyone knows by now that the next Sprint Cup win for Hendrick Motorsports will be the organization’s 200th, but another driver is looking for a career milestone as well. Ryan Newman’s next pole will be the 50th of his career. Pole number 50 will move Newman, a driver known throughout his career for his qualifying ability, into sole possession of ninth place on the all-time pole winners’ list. Newman currently ranks third among active Sprint Cup drivers for pole positions, behind Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin.
The Green-White-Checkered finish has been in place throughout the Sprint Cup Series since July 2004. Some fans and drivers have been vocal critics of the addition, lamenting it as devaluing NASCAR’s highest form of competition by instituting a gimmicky do-over procedure so that something exciting happens with hopes of making SportsCenter on ESPN, which will …