That duty will fall to Jeff Gordon, who is ready to interrupt his retirement, if need be. The four-time champion was on vacation in the south of France when team owner Rick Hendrick called. Continue reading “Jeff Gordon Ready To Step Into Earnhardt’s No. 88 at Indianapolis if needed”
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
INDIANAPOLIS—With a relentless charge that forced Ryan Blaney into a mistake on the final lap, Kyle Busch grabbed the lead with a half-lap left at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and took the checkered flag in Saturday’s Lilly Diabetes 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
Blaney missed his mark in Turn 2 as Busch closed in, and with his momentum broken, the driver of the No. 22 Ford couldn’t stave off Busch’s winning pass on the backstretch. The No. 54 pulled away to win by .421 seconds, as Busch continued his white-hot run with his second XFINITY victory of the season, his second at The Brickyard and the record 72nd of his career.
Since returning to competition in May after an injury absence, Busch has won three times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and twice on the XFINITY circuit.
Blaney led by more than .6 seconds when he crossed the stripe to complete Lap 97 of 100. But the lapped car of Derrike Cope slowed his progress on the following circuit, and Busch cut the advantage in half.
Busch had closed the gap to .279 seconds when he took the white flag, and constant pressure from the No. 54 Toyota finally forced Blaney into a mistake.
“I just got close enough to make him mess up and made him get tight off (Turn) 2, and then I was able to capitalize underneath him with him losing his momentum off of 2 and being able to get under him,” Busch said. “It was the class of the field. We should have won this thing going away, but I guess we had to make it exciting.
With the XFINITY Series running a higher-drag package this weekend, Busch tried in vain—until the final circuit-to get around Blaney in the closing laps.
“I was trying to back up so I could get some clean air and keep my tires as fresh as possible, but I got too far back and got out of the draft and then I couldn’t make up any ground anymore, so I was kind of stuck back there about eight or 10 car lengths and not really going anywhere,” he explained.
“Fortunately, a couple of lapped cars messed up his momentum and didn’t mess up mine as much, and I was able to get through there. Once I got back close enough to him, I pushed him into a mistake and that was all that it took.”
A despondent Blaney took the blame for the loss.
“It’s my fault, obviously,” Blaney said. “You saw it. I screwed up. This team doesn’t deserve that. I dropped the ball for them today, and I take full responsibility. It’s all my fault… I got tight and I got too deep and didn’t get off the long corner.
“It’s a pretty bad feeling to throw one away here at the Brickyard. There was no pressure for 24 laps, and the last one I just made a mistake.”
Blaney had taken the lead from Busch on a restart on Lap 76, after Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Erik Jones, hit the wall on lap 70, and NASCAR called a caution because of fluid on the track.
Rookie Daniel Suarez ran third in his first visit to The Brickyard, collecting his third straight top-five of the season. Paul Menard finished fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson.
Regan Smith came home eighth and claimed his second straight $100,000 bonus in the XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash program, keeping his hopes alive for a $1-million payday. If Smith is the highest-finishing eligible driver at Bristol (Aug. 21) and Darlington (Sept. 5), he’ll earn a total of $1 million.
Blaney, Suarez, Sadler and Smith are the eligible Dash 4 Cash drivers at Bristol, having secured their spots as the top four finishing series regulars at Indianapolis.
NASCAR XFINITY Series Race – Lilly Diabetes 250
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Saturday, July 25, 2015
1. (1) Kyle Busch(i), Toyota, 100, $77539.
2. (11) Ryan Blaney, Ford, 100, $61023.
3. (2) Daniel Suarez #, Toyota, 100, $52131.
4. (5) Paul Menard(i), Chevrolet, 100, $39052.
5. (6) Elliott Sadler, Ford, 100, $42331.
6. (16) Kevin Harvick(i), Chevrolet, 100, $31957.
7. (10) Kyle Larson(i), Chevrolet, 100, $30321.
8. (14) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 100, $35440.
9. (9) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 100, $34935.
10. (13) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, 100, $35626.
11. (7) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 100, $33247.
12. (20) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 100, $32996.
13. (4) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 100, $32718.
14. (8) Aric Almirola(i), Ford, 100, $26365.
15. (26) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 100, $32564.
16. (12) Chris Buescher, Ford, 100, $32212.
17. (15) Alex Bowman(i), Chevrolet, 100, $25836.
18. (17) JJ Yeley, Toyota, 100, $31685.
19. (18) Dakoda Armstrong, Ford, 99, $31484.
20. (22) Ryan Reed, Ford, 99, $31857.
21. (25) Cale Conley #, Toyota, 98, $31207.
22. (30) Ross Chastain #, Chevrolet, 98, $31075.
23. (23) Darrell Wallace Jr. #, Ford, 98, $30924.
24. (36) Martin Roy, Chevrolet, 97, $30798.
25. (29) Harrison Rhodes #, Chevrolet, 97, $30898.
26. (37) Joey Gase, Chevrolet, 97, $30673.
27. (24) Timmy Hill(i), Toyota, 97, $24521.
28. (31) Stanton Barrett, Ford, 97, $30445.
29. (32) Eric McClure, Toyota, 96, $30344.
30. (38) Derrike Cope, Chevrolet, 95, $30569.
31. (19) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 92, $30168.
32. (28) BJ McLeod(i), Dodge, 90, $30042.
33. (40) Mike Harmon, Dodge, 87, $29982.
34. (3) Erik Jones(i), Toyota, 80, $29946.
35. (34) Peyton Sellers #, Chevrolet, Oil Leak, 77, $29875.
36. (27) David Starr, Toyota, Accident, 22, $27598.
37. (21) Blake Koch, Toyota, Accident, 22, $26598.
38. (33) Morgan Shepherd, Chevrolet, Handling, 18, $19598.
39. (39) Josh Reaume #, Dodge, Electrical, 8, $18598.
40. (35) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 2, $17598.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 136.529 mph.
Time of Race: 01 Hrs, 49 Mins, 52 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.421 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 3 for 16 laps.
Lead Changes: 8 among 6 drivers.
Lap Leaders: K. Busch(i) 1-10; D. Suarez # 11-13; K. Busch(i) 14-17; P. Menard(i) 18-26; T. Dillon 27-34; K. Larson(i) 35-37; K. Busch(i) 38-75; R. Blaney 76-99; K. Busch(i) 100;.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): K. Busch(i) 4 times for 53 laps; R. Blaney 1 time for 24 laps; P. Menard(i) 1 time for 9 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 8 laps; K. Larson(i) 1 time for 3 laps; D. Suarez # 1 time for 3 laps.
Top 10 in Points: C. Buescher – 651; C. Elliott – 626; T. Dillon – 621; R. Smith – 600; E. Sadler – 594; D. Wallace Jr. # – 568; D. Suarez # – 558; B. Gaughan – 537; B. Scott – 527; R. Reed – 526.
1. (19) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 183.464 mph.
2. (22) Joey Logano, Ford, 183.139 mph.
3. (55) David Ragan, Toyota, 182.886 mph.
4. (14) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 182.823 mph.
5. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 182.634 mph.
6. (4) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 182.448 mph.
7. (15) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 182.382 mph.
8. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 182.308 mph.
THE FINAL LAP WEEKLY NASCAR PODCAST #368 BRIAN SCOTT / INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY BRICKYARD PREVIEW
9. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 182.278 mph.
10. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 182.238 mph.
11. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 182.028 mph.
12. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 181.987 mph.
13. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Chevrolet, 183.240 mph.
14. (41) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 183.072 mph.
15. (10) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 183.001 mph.
16. (13) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 182.667 mph.
17. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 182.637 mph.
18. (9) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, 182.482 mph.
19. (24) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 182.389 mph.
20. (16) Greg Biffle, Ford, 182.360 mph.
21. (51) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 182.238 mph.
22. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford, 182.113 mph.
23. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 182.079 mph.
24. (40) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, 181.939 mph.
25. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 181.928 mph.
26. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 181.910 mph.
27. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 181.386 mph.
28. (25) Chase Elliott(i), Chevrolet, 181.036 mph.
29. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 180.963 mph.
30. (21) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 180.919 mph.
31. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 180.854 mph.
32. (95) Michael McDowell, Ford, 180.777 mph.
33. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 180.469 mph.
34. (46) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 180.426 mph.
35. (7) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 180.325 mph.
36. (33) Brian Scott(i), Chevrolet, 180.022 mph.
37. (38) David Gilliland, Ford, Owner Points
38. (23) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, Owner Points
39. (34) Brett Moffitt #, Ford, Owner Points
40. (83) Matt DiBenedetto #, Toyota, Owner Points
41. (35) Cole Whitt, Ford, Owner Points
42. (98) Timmy Hill(i), Ford, Owner Points
43. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, Owner Points
3 drivers failed to qualify.
44. (32) Josh Wise, Ford, 178.941 mph.
45. (26) Jeb Burton #, Toyota, 176.170 mph.
46. (62) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 174.540 mph.
July 25, 2015
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
INDIANAPOLIS—If Toyota and Ford are to break the Chevrolet stranglehold on Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the two manufacturers took a positive step in that direction during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series time trials on Saturday.
Underscoring the recent resurgence of Joe Gibbs Racing, Carl Edwards toured the 2.5-mile track in 49.056 seconds (183.464 mph) to put his No. 19 Toyota on the pole for Sunday’s Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at The Brickyard (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN), edging Joey Logano’s Team Penske Ford (183.139 mph) by .087 seconds.
David Ragan (182.886 mph) qualified third in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. Fourth-place qualifier Tony Stewart (182.823 mph) had the fastest Chevrolet in the final round. Chevrolets have won the last 12 Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis.
Stewart, though, had the fastest lap of the afternoon (185.547 mph) in the first round of time trials, which trimmed the number of drivers eligible for the pole from 46 to 12.
The Coors Light Pole Award was Edwards’ first at The Brickyard, his second of the season, his second in a row and the 15th of his career.
“After yesterday, this is amazing,” Edwards said. “We started so slow yesterday and we struggled. I think at one point (crew chief) Darian (Grubb) and I were looking at each other going, ‘What are we going to do here?’
“It was a struggle, and everybody buckled down, worked hard—I’m so proud of my guys. TRD and Toyota have been putting so much effort into this whole program. Stanley has been behind us 100 percent—not just me, but Matt Kenseth and our whole team. This is big. It will be neat to start up front.”
Kyle Busch, Edwards’ JGR teammate, will start ninth on Sunday in search of his third consecutive victory in the Sprint Cup Series. Sidelined for the first 11 events of the season by injuries sustained in an accident at Daytona in February, Busch has won three of the last four races and has seven races left in which to regain eligibility for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by finishing the regular season in the top 30 in the series standings.
Entering Sunday’s race, Busch is 33rd in points, 58 behind David Gilliland in 30th place.
Behind Stewart, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will line up fifth through eighth on the grid.
After qualifying, Logano and Ragan were quick to point out an unusual coincidence. Edwards, Logano and Ragan started 1-2-3, in that order, a week before at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, a one-mile flat track.
The Sprint Cup cars are running a completely different high-drag aerodynamic package this week, with a nine-inch-tall rear spoiler and a one-inch wicker. Last week at Loudon, the cars featured the normal 2015 rules package with a six-inch spoiler.
“David and I were just laughing up here that these are the same three race cars that started up front at Loudon,” Logano said. “A completely different race track, different package and the same cars are fast. It’s good for us. We’re close. Second always hurts, but it’s nice to be up toward the front, especially here.”
Jeff Gordon’s final run at Indianapolis as a full-time driver didn’t start the way the driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet would have hoped.
“I really think our 3M Chevrolet is really good,” said Gordon, who qualified 19th. “It’s been good all weekend. I feel like I underestimated the grip. I had a little wiggle out of three coming to the green and that concerned me slightly. The grip was there in Turn 4, and I was aggressive into Turn 1, but not aggressive enough.
“That’s what’s disappointing; it wasn’t a balance issue or a speed issue. I didn’t get enough speed through (Turn) 1. It adds up with this new package. Yeah, I’m pretty disappointed to start back there.”
Notes: Josh Wise, Jeb Burton and Reed Sorenson failed to make the 43-car field… Ryan Newman’s time was disallowed because he ran his lap without the mandatory right-side window in his car. Newman will start 43rd on Sunday on a provisional.
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Even with a car that was clearly the class of the field, Kyle Busch had some anxious moments in the closing laps of Saturday’s Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
That Busch beat runner-up Brian Scott to the finish line by 2.141 seconds belies the difficulty Busch experienced on the final restart on Lap 95 of 100, when Joey Logano squeezed Busch into Turn 1 and allowed Scott to take the lead.
After harrying Scott for nearly three laps, Busch finally made the winning pass, putting an exclamation point on a dominant performance that saw him lead 92 laps.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 27, 2013) – In winning the Coors Light Pole Award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ryan Newman, a native of South Bend, Ind., became the ninth driver with at least 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series poles.
With a speed of 187.531 mph (47.992 seconds), Newman won his first Indianapolis pole, and joined an exclusive list that features some of the sport’s all-time greats. Here is the exclusive “50 Poles Club”:
Newman won 11 poles in 2003, the largest single-season number of a NASCAR Sprint Cup career that began in 2000 thus earning him the nickname “Rocket Man.” This is the 12th season in which Newman has won at least one pole. Newman has won five or more poles in five different seasons.
1 39 Ryan Newman Quicken Loans / The Smurfs Chevrolet 47.992 187.531
2 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe’s / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet 48.016 187.438
3 99 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford 48.088 187.157
4 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 48.097 187.122
5 14 Tony Stewart Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet 48.173 186.827
6 78 Kurt Busch Furniture Row / Beautyrest Chevrolet 48.200 186.722
7 5 Kasey Kahne Great Clips Chevrolet 48.223 186.633
8 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 48.248 186.536
9 24 Jeff Gordon Pepsi Max Chevrolet 48.264 186.474
10 9 Marcos Ambrose DeWalt Ford 48.314 186.281
11 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford 48.399 185.954
12 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 48.408 185.920
You could say Chevrolet has run the table at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in recent years – 10 years to be exact. The last non-Chevrolet to win at the Brickyard was Ray Evernham’s Dodge, driven by Bill Elliott, in 2001. A General Motors product has won 15 of the 19 races held at the Brickyard. Ford’s third and most recent victory was recorded by 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett in 1999. Toyota, which joined NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in 2007, notched its best finish at Indy last year with Kyle Busch’s runner-up performance.