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This week in Nascar

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This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:30 pm

NASCAR punishes Penske drivers

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR came down heavy Wednesday with penalties from inspections last weekend at Texas, suspending four members of defending Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski's Penske Racing team and three from teammate Joey Logano's team.

Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 points each, as were their car owners. Their crew chiefs -- Paul Wolfe for Keselowski and Todd Gordon for Logano -- were suspended for six point races and the All-Star Race and fined $100,000 each. The team engineers for each team, as well as team manager Travis Geisler, also were suspended for six point races and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

Penske Racing immediately announced plans to appeal the first major infraction with the new "Gen 6" car, which means all those suspended will remain with their teams for this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway and future races until that process is complete.

The organization said it would not comment. Keselowski fell from second in the Cup standings and nine points behind five-time champion Jimmie Johnson to fourth and 34 back. Logano fell from ninth and 62 out of first to 14th and out of a top-10-guaranteed spot in the Chase.

NASCAR made it clear going back to last season that it would not tolerate infractions in that area. A memo was sent to teams addressing that matter prior to the September Richmond race.

"All it does is reconfirm the parameters that were originally set," Series director John Darby told ESPN.com last year. "It's not a new rule. The only changes from the rule are the parts and pieces they're using. The one component that was added was simply the fact we would look at the setups and alignments postrace as well as pre-race."

Darby said at the time NASCAR would step in only if teams took adjustments to the rear end too far.

"I won't say that they have, but they're all getting really close,'' he said. "It is indeed a fact where we've just drawn a line in the sand."

NASCAR chairman Brian France told the Fox Business Network on Monday that Keselowski would not be fined for his comments.

"That's the beauty of NASCAR," France said. "We do allow the drivers to express themselves in that way, even if they say things that we would disagree with. And I obviously disagree with everything he said."

According to NASCAR's statement, the infraction by the Penske teams violated the rule which states suspension systems and components must be approved by the governing body.

"Prior to being used in competition, all suspension systems and components must be submitted, in a completed form/assembly, to the office of the NASCAR Competition Administrator for consideration of approval and approved by NASCAR," the rule says.

"Each such part may thereafter be used until NASCAR determines that such part is no longer eligible. All suspension fasteners and mounting hardware must be made of solid magnetic steel. All front end and rear end suspension mounts with mounting hardware assembled must have single round mounting holes that are the correct size for the fastener being used. All front end and rear end suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension component beyond normal rotation or suspension travel."

The parts used by the Penske teams were not submitted for approval. ESPN.com was told the major issue was the movement of the suspension component beyond its normal rotation or travel.

NASCAR made it clear going back to last season that it would not tolerate infractions in that area.

Also Wednesday, Martin Truex Jr. was given a six-point penalty because his second-place car at Texas was found in a postrace inspection to be too low. Michael Waltrip Racing said the infraction was the result of a malfunction caused by race conditions and will not appeal the penalty.

Truex fell from a tie in 16th place to 19th.

In the Truck Series, four-time champion Ron Hornaday Jr. was docked 25 points and fined $25,000 for wrecking Darrell Wallace Jr. under caution Friday night. Hornaday is on probation until June 5 and told ESPN.com he does not plan to appeal. The penalty knocked Hornaday from fourth to 13th in the standings.


VICKERS SETTLES IN AS HAMLIN WATCHES, ADVISES


Injured driver Denny Hamlin couldn’t ask for better caretakers of his No. 11 Toyota Camry.
Brian Vickers contributed a second straight top-10 to the effort Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, answering a 10th-place run by another of Hamlin’s substitute drivers, Mark Martin, in the car last week at Martinsville (Va.).

In two starts filling in for Hamlin -- who is recovering from a compression fracture in his lower back suffered in a crash at Fontana three weeks ago -- Vickers (eighth place) and Martin (10th place) have scored the first consecutive top-10 showings of the year for the No. 11.

“It feels great,’’ Vickers said Saturday night. “Honestly, I guess I’m pleased, but not satisfied. We ran top-five a lot of the night for the first time with a new team. Like I said, we’re pleased but I wanted to win. That’s what we’re here for.’’
Vickers, who competes full-time in the Nationwide Series for the same Joe Gibbs Racing team, will be behind the wheel for Hamlin again next week at Kansas. And he couldn’t be more optimistic considering the outcome of his debut this week.

“I’m looking forward to it,’’ Vickers said. “I think we learned a lot tonight. Texas is the first time that I’ve driven a Cup car, a Gen-6 car, on a big track. It was a big learning curve for me.

“I think obviously working with a new team, being in the Gen-6 car at a mile-and-a-half for the first time for me was a lot to learn. I think we’ll take away from it tonight and go to Kansas and hopefully go after that win.’’

As was the case last week at Martinsville, Hamlin was trackside at Texas, listening to the radio and ready to assist the team from the sidelines. He still doesn’t have a firm timetable on his return, but is obviously eager to return as soon as doctors give him clearance.

"He goes weekly (for a scan), so every week he gets a report," J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, said. "Hopefully, we’ll see some of that healing going on this week."

Hamlin said he is hopeful to return to competition April 27 at Richmond -- his hometown track. However, doctors initially told him it may be as long as six weeks before he can get back into the drivers seat, which would be the May 11 race at Darlington.

In the meantime, JGR is giving the 2003 Nationwide Series champ Vickers double duty for four races. Vickers is also driving seven additional Cup races in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, and between the two part-time opportunities is hoping may land him a full-time Cup ride somewhere next season.

Perhaps no one is as empathetic to the situation as Vickers, who was sidelined much of 2010 with a potentially life-threatening blood clot.

“I know what Denny is going through,’’ Vickers said this weekend. “I’ve been in the position where I’ve been out, I’ve been sick and had someone had to drive for me. My thoughts continue to be with him and I hope to do a good job with him this weekend.’’

“These guys have been great,’’ Vickers said of the No. 11 team. “Everyone has really welcomed me into the team. I think at the end of the day, we still have to learn what I want out of the race car and I’ve got to learn their cars and I have to communicate that to them. Some of that is just me learning what I need in this car and some of it is just understanding what that is.

“We’ll get there.’’
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by sangria on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:08 am

Thanks for a new blog Cocoa, just not THIS one!!!!

Major WOWZA.......I was shocked at the stiff penalties, handed out to the two Penske teams.....I haven't followed Nascar long (we all know that); but, the penalties seem extremely steep....

Keselowski and Logano were docked 25 points each, as were their car owners. Their crew chiefs -- Paul Wolfe for Keselowski and Todd Gordon for Logano -- were suspended for six point races and the All-Star Race and fined $100,000 each. The team engineers for each team, as well as team manager Travis Geisler, also were suspended for six point races and placed on probation until Dec. 31.

The points the drivers were docked, and the fines to the crew chiefs were bad enough, but the suspensions are going to make a HUGE difference, I'm afraid.

I can only imagine how pissed off BB is, and how he would really like to be expressing himself, right now.....it is probably taking everything he has, to keep himself, from "letting loose."

On the Vickers note..... Cudos for him!! He is doing a great job, filling in for Hamlin. Hopefully, he will be able to prove himself, so that he has a shot at a full Cup ride, with a team, next year......

Oh, and in case anyone has not looked........



** take a minute, to note which teams do NOT have any chase points yet......
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:24 am

NASCAR FANTASY PREVIEW: KANSAS


This two-week span on the schedule is particularly beneficial because Texas and Kansas are adjacent to one another, just as they were in 2012. Last year, eight drivers scored top-10s in both races with a difference between their Texas and Kansas results being less than five positions. Jimmie Johnson was the most successful of these drivers with a second at Texas and a third at Kansas. Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle also swept the top five in both races.

That pattern repeated itself throughout the grid and two drivers had perfectly matched results at Texas and Kansas. Jamie McMurray finished 14th in both races while Paul Menard scored a pair of 18ths. If a fantasy player was successful last week, this is a good time to stand pat.

The favorites

Greg Biffle gave fantasy owners a scare last week when he pushed badly during qualification and rolled off the grid 35th. In the past three seasons, only seven drivers overcame poor qualification attempts of 25th or worse to finish inside the top 10, and that made Texas the third-worst place for drivers to come from the back of the pack. It took a while for Biffle to challenge the leaders, but he ultimately finished fourth and earned the third-most points in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game. He has been great at Kansas as well with two wins and a seven-race top-10 streak entering last fall’s Hollywood Casino 400. He suffered his first speeding penalty of the 2012 season in that race and finished well down the order, but he will bounce back this week.

Joey Logano still has a lot to prove after a dramatic few weeks. His feud with Denny Hamlin and close scrutiny by NASCAR inspectors at Texas has put him in the limelight in a way that is not desirable, but he has risen to the challenge. He had one of the cars to beat at Auto Club Speedway and clawed his way into the top five at Texas, which gives him momentum entering Kansas. There is no doubt about the strength of the Penske Racing cars -- teammate Brad Keselowski enters the weekend with a 10-race streak of "cookie-cutter" finishes 11th or better, and that makes both of them solid choices this week.

Kyle Busch can be uneven on the similarly configured 1.5-mile tracks, but he is also a streaky driver. For the moment, he holds the hottest hand in NASCAR with a five-race top-five streak that includes a fourth-place finish at Vegas and victories at Auto Club and Texas. His Kansas record is spotty and he has never cracked the top five there, but the odds are great that he will score a career-best finish of better than seventh in the STP 400.

Dark horses

Only time will tell if the strong run or poor finish Saturday night has a lasting effect on Jeff Gordon. He had just caught Kyle Busch and was about to make a pass for second when the right front hub broke on his Chevrolet. Until that moment, he had spent as much time in the top five as eventual first- and second-place finishers Busch and Martin Truex Jr. and they were making this a three-man race. The broken suspension raises as many questions as it answers, however; it appears the No. 24 team has found a way to go fast on the unrestricted intermediate speedways, but will that speed come at the cost of reliability?

Brian Vickers simply finds a way to get to the front of the pack when it counts. He has not been dominant in most of his recent events, but ultimately he challenges the leaders in the closing laps and he enters the weekend with a worst finish of 11th in his last six attempts. Most of these efforts came on short tracks of one-mile or less in length and that keeps him from being a favorite outright, but it does not keep him from being a good value. In the NASCAR Fantasy Live game this week, players have an opportunity to acquire a $26.50 team for Vickers’ cap of only $20.75 and that will allow them to upgrade one of their other mid-cap drivers.

Two new drivers in the field this week bear close scrutiny as well. Note that Sam Hornish Jr. and Elliott Sadler are entered in the STP 400, and as part-timers their salary caps are going to be affordable. Hornish was great in his relief role for Penske Racing last year, and there is no reason to believe he cannot repeat. Sadler has Joe Gibbs Racing power under the hood and fantasy players saw the effect of that last week in Busch’s No. 18.

Underdogs

Fantasy owners were willing to give Dale Earnhardt Jr. the benefit of the doubt last week at Texas. Martinsville Speedway is often considered a wild-card race, and finishing poorly there does not automatically mean a driver will lose momentum. Last week’s dead battery and speeding penalty that sent the No. 88 home 29th may well have robbed this team of the good will created by five consecutive top-10s to start the season. Last year, Junior was very consistent on the “cookie-cutter” courses with a sweep of the top 10, and he added another one at Vegas this spring. Only one of those was a top-five, however, which makes him a questionable value with the third-highest salary cap of $27.50 in the NASCAR Fantasy Live game.

Stewart-Haas Racing continues to struggle on the unrestricted intermediate speedways. At Vegas, Auto Club and Texas, Tony Stewart, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick have a combined average finish of 22nd and have scored only two top-10s. Both of those belong to Newman, and both of them barely count with a 10th in the Auto Club 400 and again last week. Moreover, Newman failed to dominate in any of those events and climbed into the top 10 with late-race surges that make him a risky proposition in a 400-mile race.
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:27 am

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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by StAugustineFL on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:03 am

Thanks beaner.

voodoo
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Fri Apr 19, 2013 9:48 am

Elliott named as Bloom Sports Marshall



The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival has announced that legendary NASCAR driver Bill Elliott will be the Sports Marshal for this year's Festival.

Elliott will be the featured speaker at the Wells Fargo Sports Breakfast held on May 4 at the Winchester Moose Lodge.

The driver known as "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" and "Million Dollar Bill" will also take part in the Grand Feature Parade on May 4. Elliott has won 44 NASCAR Sprint Cup victories.

Elliott was one of the most popular drivers on the circuit when he was racing full-time. In 1985, he won 11 races and 11 poles on his way to winning the first Winston Million in NASCAR history. Victories in the Daytona 500, the Winston 500 at Talladega and the Southern 500 at Darlington earned him the "Million Dollar Bill" nickname.

He was also the first NASCAR driver to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated. In 1988, he won his only NASCAR Winston Cup Series championship, with six wins, six poles, 11 top-five finishes and 22 top-10 finishes in 29 races.

Elliott retired full-time from the sport in 2003, and now devotes most of his time to helping his son begin his racing career.
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Fri Apr 19, 2013 12:20 pm



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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by Swiss Miss on Fri Apr 19, 2013 1:46 pm

Congratulations to Donnie Allison and author Jimmy Creed on the re-release of their book, "Donnie Allison...As I Recall."

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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by StAugustineFL on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:47 am

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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by sangria on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:16 am

voodoo voodoo voodoo voodoo voodoo voodoo voodoo voodoo
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by StAugustineFL on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:32 am

kiss
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by sangria on Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:47 am

trop
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by scouter534 on Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:51 am

Thanks for the blog Cocoa.

San, Beer Boy's not cheating is he? voodoo
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Re: This week in Nascar

Post by sangria on Sun Apr 21, 2013 4:42 pm

Congrats, Rooster.......was a good race, today.....




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