Now that former champion Matt Kenseth has officially kicked over the first domino, NASCAR’s annual “silly season” can begin in earnest.On Friday, at Kentucky Speedway, the 2003 NASCAR champion said he wouldn’t return for a sixth season in the No. 20 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s unclear whether the 45-year-old Wisconsin native was told to make the announcement, or whether he did it without asking permission. In either case, he’s leaving JGR after five seasons that produced 11 poles, 14 victories, and three top-10 points seasons, including being the championship runner-up in his seven-victory season of 2013.Kenseth’s resume will help him find another ride. He was successful (19 poles, 38 victories and the 2003 title) in 13 full seasons with Roush Fenway Racing, then proved himself again at JGR. Except for his rare meltdown at Martinsville in the fall of 2015 –remember how he intentionally wrecked Joey Logano as … [Read more...] about NASCAR silly season: Dale Earnhardt’s car might be a 2018 target for Matt Kenseth
For Kyle Busch, the second time was the charm on Friday at Kentucky Speedway -- because there was no third time.With the threat of a lightning storm imminent at the 1.5-mile track, NASCAR shortened knockout qualifying from three rounds to two, putting Busch on the pole for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN).By the time NASCAR opted to cancel the final round, Busch had already run a track-record lap, touring the repaved speedway in 28.379 seconds (190.282 mph). That put him .013 seconds ahead of Martin Truex Jr, who will start second for the fifth time in 18 races this season and second to Busch for the third time.The Coors Light Pole Award was Busch’s third of the season, his second in seven tries at Kentucky and the 22nd of his career. A two-time race winner at the track, Busch collected one of his victories from the pole in the inaugural Monster Energy race at Kentucky in 2011.And with stronger … [Read more...] about Starting lineup: Kyle Busch, Toyota on NASCAR Cup pole at Kentucky
He’s a 45-year-old former champion with absolutely nothing to prove to anyone. He’s struggling in the final year of a multiyear contract, running so poorly at times that he knows he’ll need to find a new ride for 2018 even as he tries to salvage the 2017 season.So, Matt Kenseth, how are things looking for another season at Joe Gibbs Racing?“I’m not really worried about it,” the 2003 champion said in that dry, humorless tone that often hides his delightful sense of humor. “Ás of today (Friday at Kentucky Speedway) I do not have a job for next year. I certainly hope to still be racing. I think I’ve some wins left in me, and hopefully I can race for championships. Right now, my focus is on finishing this year. As we’ve talked about, it’s been kind of a slow start (for Joe Gibbs Racing, a combined 0-for-68 among four teams)."It hasn’t been a good year at all; not nearly up to my standards or my … [Read more...] about Matt Kenseth: No deal yet for 2018 NASCAR Cup Series ride
Free Price Quote From a Local Dealer View Special Offers There are many firsts in life, and the lucky are able to make them count. I had never ventured into the English countryside to Lord March’s estate to experience the Goodwood Festival of Speed where vehicles of every age, size, and description see who can get up the Lord’s driveway the fastest or with the most panache.This year I not only witnessed the famous Hill Climb, but I also got to drive it behind the wheel of a 2016 Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Despite being a bit bleary-eyed coming right from Heathrow airport after a long flight, it was an adventure to remember.Like everything at Goodwood, there are scheduled times for batches of vehicles to make the climb. They are often changed or delayed, but they bring about some semblance of order at an event that celebrates the automobile in all its forms by inviting them to a giant car show where they can be admired in motion.Our chance to make the climb is part … [Read more...] about On the famous driveway in a powerful, all-wheel-drive Subaru
Christopher Bell survived an accident and an early spin to win Thursday night’s Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway.Bell picked up his third victory of the season, his first at Kentucky and the fifth of his career, holding off runner-up Brandon Jones by .187 seconds at the end of a closing 32-lap green-flag run.“This is pretty special,” Bell said in Victory Lane. “We had our ups and downs. Practice (on Wednesday) didn’t go very well, but we had a really fast Tundra, and (crew chief) Rudy Fugle made great calls from the pit box after I made a mistake and spun out.”That mistake came on Lap 27, with Bell sliding out of control in his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota. But by the time divergent pit strategies sorted out for a restart on Lap 83, Bell was back at the front of the field.Jones had his own issues, going a lap down after NASCAR penalized him for failure to line up in … [Read more...] about Christopher Bell wins Kentucky NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
It’s a generally accepted axiom that all records are made to be broken. It’s also true that there are exceptions to every rule. Richard Petty, who turned 80 on July 2, is one of the exceptions. Among the Petty records set in a 34-year driving career are two that almost certainly will stand the test of time—and both were recorded 50 years ago, in the 1967 NASCAR season. Petty won an astonishing 27 races (of 48 total run) and, more remarkably, won 10 in a row. Let that sink in for a moment. Yes, 10 in a row. Across the 68-year history of NASCAR’s top series, no one else has come close to 10 straight. The next best number is five straight and, perhaps not surprisingly, Petty is one of the drivers who hit that figure. He won five in a row in 1971, as did Bobby Allison. The idea of scoring 10 straight wins in the current NASCAR landscape is almost comical. In 2017, only one driver … [Read more...] about Dream season: Richard Petty set NASCAR records in 1967 that will never be broken
The Verizon IndyCar Series is back in action this week for the Iowa Corn 300 -- the 11th race in the 17-race season.It will also mark the fourth of six oval races on the 2017 schedule. The previous three races were won by Simon Pagenaud (Phoenix Raceway), Takuma Sato (Indianapolis 500) and Will Power (Texas Motor Speedway). The remaining two oval races will take place at Pocono Raceway (Aug. 20) and Gateway Motorsports Park (Aug. 26).The Iowa race is Sunday at 5 p.m. (ET) and will be broadcast by NBCSN. There have been eight different winners in the 10 previous Verizon IndyCar Series races in 2017: Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe, Josef Newgarden, Pagenaud, Power, Sato, Graham Rahal and Scott Dixon. Bourdais' win at St. Petersburg on March 12 gave him sole possession of sixth on the all-time IndyCar victory list. Power's win at Texas on June 10 tied him with Dario Franchitti and Paul Tracy for ninth on the … [Read more...] about Fast facts: Verizon IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 300
Few NASCAR watchers would have taken these bets back in February at Speed Week in Daytona: On July 1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will have more Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories than the four drivers at Joe Gibbs Racing combined. Or as many as the four drivers at Stewart-Haas Racing combined. Or as many combined official victories as Team Penske’s two drivers. My, how the NASCAR landscape is changing. Stenhouse, who opened his Cup career 0-for-157 dating to 2011 at Roush Fenway Racing, has won this year’s restrictor-plate races at Talladega in May and in Daytona Beach last Saturday night. Ryan Blaney gave Wood Brothers Racing its 99th all-time victory -- and his first in 68 career starts -- last month at Pocono. Austin Dillon gave his grandfather, Richard Childress, an emotional victory in the No. 3 car in May at Charlotte. And rookies Erik Jones, Ty Dillon and Daniel Suarez are performing admirably. But maybe the biggest surprise of the lot … [Read more...] about NASCAR’s biggest surprise of wacky 2017 season: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
It took less than a minute after the green flag Sunday for Ricky and Jordan Taylor to see their hopes for a sixth consecutive WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race win evaporate.What turned out to be a suspension issue with the Cadillac Dpi saw Ricky Taylor hit the guardrail in turn 3 on the first lap at the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. Starting from fourth place, Taylor had charged past third-place qualifier Christian Fittipaldi and was in the process of taking second from Jose Gutierrez when disaster struck. Shortly after the pass, in which Taylor and Gutierrez made contact, the suspension broke and Taylor slid into the right-side barrier.Taylor was able to take the wounded Cadillac to the pits where the team was able to effect repairs. He rejoined the race six laps down.“It was really frustrating,” Taylor said. “I was just trying to get around the 5 (Fittipaldi) -- he had a bit of a bad start -- and made my way up alongside the 52 … [Read more...] about Wayne Taylor Racing’s winning streak ends quickly after start of IMSA Six Hours of the Glen
David Ragan already lost the race that mattered most at Daytona International Speedway, so what's another defeat at the World Center of Racing?Chances at victories like this don't come around often, especially for Front Row Motorsports, but the 31-year-old was just happy to be in the mix again.Ragan led the field to green on the final restart in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Saturday night but lost the spot when he was forced to choose between blocking Ty Dillon or eventual winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.Stenhouse got a final push from Michael McDowell and never looked back. Ragan finished sixth and was jovial given the circumstances."So, I made one bad move. I made a couple bad moves tonight, but everybody was watching when I made the bad move at the end," Ragan said on pit road after the race. "So if it was Thursday and you said, ‘We’ll give a sixth-place finish,’ I … [Read more...] about David Ragan can smile despite Monster Energy NASCAR Cup loss at Daytona
Clearly, Roush Fenway Racing has seen better days. There were times in the '90s and into this century when the Ford-based team was capable of winning NASCAR races virtually any weekend. That came from having (among many others) Mark Martin, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Greg Biffle and championship drivers Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch on the payroll at various times. Between 1988 and 2014, RFR won 135 races with eight drivers and back-to-back Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships with Kenseth and Busch.Compare that to the second half of 2014, all of 2015 and 2016, and the early months of this season. During that stretch of 298 team starts with five drivers, RFR didn’t win even once and none of its drivers ever approached championship form.But Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and crew chief Brian Pattie is doing his best to bring RFR back to life. His 0.213-second victory in the crash-filled, dripping-with-emotion Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach Saturday was his second … [Read more...] about Roush Fenway Racing finally showing signs of life in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. became the fifth driver to win at least two races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with his victory on Saturday night at Daytona.Below is a look at how the field lines up after 17 of 26 races in the regular season.Note that all race winners and non-winning drivers with the most points needed to fill the 16-driver playoff field make up the playoff field. Playoff points are the bonus points that carry over into the postseason. Five playoff points are awarded for a win and one for a stage win.Joey Logano, who won at Richmond, is not considered to be a race winner for playoff purposes; he forfeited his five playoff points after his car failed post-race inspection following his win. So, instead of being locked into the 16-driver playoffs, Logano would be the first driver out of the playoff field if the season ended today. Pos.DriverWinsPointsPlayoff Points1Kyle Larson2667132Martin Truex Jr.2649213Kyle Busch055944Kevin … [Read more...] about Updated NASCAR standings after Coke Zero 400 at Daytona
What now for Dale Earnhardt Jr.?This was supposed to be it, the moment he triumphantly returned to Victory Lane, gave his fans one last Daytona memory and cruised into the playoffs during his final full-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.Instead, the Coke Zero 400 was the embodiment of everything that has gone awry during his ‘Appreciation Tour.’He qualified on pole, led a single lap and was struck by Murphy’s Law, again and again, before finally crashing out for good on Lap 107.He slapped the wall early in the second stage due to contact with Paul Menard, lost two laps on pit road as a result, but still rallied to return to the lead lap by Lap 91. That proved to be the ultimate tease to ‘Junior Nation’ as the popular superstar returned to the top-15 only to get crashed out when Kevin Harvick spun in front of him on Lap 107.And just like that, the chances of Earnhardt joining Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart with a final season … [Read more...] about What’s next for Dale Jr. after disappointing Daytona NASCAR result?
And just like that, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on the cusp of contending for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.Hear me out for a second.At the very least, the 29-year-old is poised to make a surprise charge toward the Championship 4 in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Again, at first glance, this seems silly because even with his second victory on Saturday at Daytona, the Roush ace is just 16th in the championship standings.But a closer look reveals that he’s technically sixth in a far more important category -- playoff points.In two months, the playoffs will begin and the championship points will be reset, with playoff points getting added to that total. More importantly, those playoff points will be added throughout each round that leads up to the championship race.So how does that picture look with just nine races until the annual autumn reset?Martin Truex 31Kyle Larson: 28Jimmie Johnson: 20Brad Keselowski: 19Kevin Harvick: 12Ricky … [Read more...] about Analysis: Second NASCAR win sneaks Ricky Stenhouse into championship picture
The major story of Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s final run at his beloved Daytona International Speedway in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet -- turned out to be a footnote to Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s masterful victory in a war of attrition that produced a race-record 14 cautions.The driver of the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, who got his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in his 158th career start two months ago at Talladega, established himself as a restrictor-plate wizard with his second straight superspeedway win, this one after three laps of overtime.Stenhouse lined up behind race leader David Ragan for a restart on lap 162, after a caution for a backstretch collision involving Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Erik Jones slowed the action for the 14th time and sent the race to overtime.Ragan pulled out to a two-car-length lead after the restart, but Stenhouse surged past … [Read more...] about Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scores second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, winning wild Coke Zero 400
In a wild race that ended more than 21 hours after it started, William Byron won his second NASCAR Xfinity Series event in seven days, taking the checkered flag in overtime in Saturday’s weather-delayed Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway.Byron took the lead from Joey Logano on lap 98 of a scheduled 100, when off-center contact from Byron’s front bumper sent Logano’s No. 22 Ford plowing through the infield grass below the backstretch.“I was just trying to push him to make it a two-man race,” Byron said after following up his victory last week at Iowa Speedway. “There was some room, and I got him a little squirrely.”Byron picked up his first win at the 2.5-mile superspeedway and the second of his career, two weeks after finishing second to Denny Hamlin by .012 second at Michigan.The race, which started on Friday night but was postponed after 11 laps, ended under caution when NASCAR threw the yellow … [Read more...] about William Byron wins long, action-packed NASCAR Xfinity race at Daytona
Maybe you chalk it up to a "legend has it" moment, but there’s word that one of NASCAR’s legends nearly had a starring role in the iconic stock-car movie "Days of Thunder."The movie, released in 1990, features Tom Cruise in the starring role as a young up-and-coming stock-car driver from California. According to the movie’s writers, the Cruise character was based on driver Tim Richmond. Many of the other characters were based on NASCAR personalities. Robert Duvall played the grizzled crew chief, a character based on Harry Hyde. The character of Rowdy Burns, antagonist to Cruise’s Cole Trickle, played by Michael Rooker, has always been believed to have been based on Dale Earnhardt Sr., at the time one of the biggest names in NASCAR and in the midst of writing his own legend.As it turns out, the role may have been written for Earnhardt, instead of simply being based on it.His son Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 16 years old when the movie … [Read more...] about Did NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr. nearly have a starring role in ‘Days of Thunder’?
There are certain cars you expect to see at the Goodwood Festival of Speed: the latest supercars, a host of Formula 1 cars, and the most significant road and racing cars in history. And Goodwood never disappoints. Yet, for me, the delight of the Festival is stumbling across some unexpected gems – cars you rarely get to see, and bizarre machines you didn’t even know existed. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017: the best pictures I found a host of them in the Goodwood paddock, preparing to be run up the hill this year. There were three cars that are life-size models of Tamiya remote control cars – effectively scale models in reverse. They looked amazing too: my favourite was the Volkswagen Beetle-based Tamiya Sand Scorcher (below), although the Tamiya Wild Willy ran it a close second. As a long-time fan of American motorsport, I was inevitably drawn to the growing contingent of NASCAR stock cars. And after ogling Dale Earnhardt’s Talladega 500-winning Chevrolet Monte … [Read more...] about Opinion: admiring the Festival of Speed’s unexpected gems
Potentially a NASCAR free agent by the end of the season, Brad Keselowski is in the process of negotiating for more than just himself, but also his Camping World Truck Series team and the dozens of workers under its employ. Keselowski himself hasn’t provided much about his plans beyond offering public gratitude towards Roger Penske for taking a chance on him back in 2010. With high profile rides possibly opening up at Hendrick Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, it only stands to reason that Keselowski will keep an open mind.But this isn’t just about Keselowski but also the long-term future for BKR. The 2012 Cup Series champion once claimed to lose a million dollars per season in the Truck Series so securing additional resources for the team is definitely part of the negotiating process."First off, my truck team is very important to me," Keselowski said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. "It’s an opportunity to … [Read more...] about Brad Keselowski using free agency to lobby support for his Truck Series team
The Goodwood Festival of Speed is huge, with all manner of incredible machinery on display – both on the manufacturer stands and going up the hill. Our team of writers and photographers are scouring every corner of Lord March’s estate to bring you all the action from the Festival. We also asked them to pick out their own personal highlights. You can read them here, and keep checking back - we’ll be adding more as the event progresses. Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017 - updates, photos and live video Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017 - day one picture gallery Our highlights Steve Cropley - Bernie Ecclestone sculpture My big show moment happened straight away: clapping eyes on Gerry Judah's huge installation outside Goodwood House, celebrating the life of Bernie Ecclestone. I had expected a monument showing a silver-haired bloke with glasses, perhaps not as tall as in other years. Cars are from Bernie's own collection, and hardly … [Read more...] about Goodwood Festival of Speed 2017: our highlights