Newman Secretly Fined?


(workingonmyredneck file photo)

NASCAR officials wouldn’t say Monday whether #39-Ryan Newman secretly was fined $50,000 for allegedly punching #42-Juan Pablo Montoya during a meeting last month at Darlington. The two drivers were summoned to NASCAR’s at-track office on May 6 to discuss their ongoing feud, and NASCAR said afterward that the meeting “did not go as well as we had hoped it would.”

Commenting on a meeting inside the hauler was unprecedented for NASCAR, which promised a further review of the incident. No fines were ever announced, and NASCAR said the issue was closed.

But rumors of the penalty began to leak on Monday in response to NASCAR fining owner Richard Childress $150,000 for attacking Kyle Busch after Saturday’s trucks race at Kansas Speedway. Newman, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment. NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp also refused to comment on whether Newman was fined.

If true, it’s the second time NASCAR secretly has fined Newman. He was fined in April 2010 for comments he made about the style of racing at Talladega. It was not made public until the AP learned last July that Denny Hamlin had been secretly fined $50,000 for criticizing NASCAR on Twitter. Newman then admitted he, too, had been fined.

What is up with NASCAR secretly fining drivers?  If the sanctioning body levies a fine, it should be transparent for all to see.  What is the benefit of secretly fining a driver for apparently conduct unbecoming of NASCAR?

What is you views?


NASCAR Has Spoken: Childress Fined And Probation

(photo courtesy Alan Marler)
NASCAR has spoken regarding the Richard Childress/Kyle Busch wrestling and punching fest last week at Kansas Speedway.  It was announced today that NASCAR has levied a $150,000.00 fine and probation for Childress until December 31, 2011.

A statement from NASCAR read:

“The penalty we have announced today for Richard Childress reflects NASCAR’s response to the incident at Kansas Speedway on Saturday. We feel this action is appropriate and are confident all parties involved understand our position on this matter and will move forward appropriately.”

Childress issued the following release Monday after learning of the penalty:

“First of all, I’m responsible for my actions, plain and simple. As you know, I am a very principled person and have a passion for what we do at Richard Childress Racing. I believe passionately in defending my race teams and my sponsor partners. In this instance, I let that passion and my emotions get the best of me. I accept the penalty NASCAR announced today and, as a company, we will now focus on this week’s races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.”

So another chapter has unfolded in the year of “have at ’em boys”.

What are your thoughts on this issue?


“Blazingly Bad” Brad Has Gas!


(workingonmyredneck file photo)

For the second week in a row the Sprint Cup race was a matter of economy and great fuel mileage, versus a very fast, great handling race car.  In the end, on Sunday, “Blazingly Bad” Brad Keselowski had plenty of both.  Keselowski logged his second Sprint Cup victory in just sixty six races by winning The STP 400 Sprint Cup race at the Kansas Speedway.

Additionally, for the second week in a row Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was in the hunt for his first victory in 105 races.  However, just like last week in Charlotte, it was not to be.  Nevertheless, Dale Jr. was able to secure a second place finish this week, moving himself up one place in the overall standings for the 2011 Chase to third place.

See the unofficial results of the STP 400 Sprint Cup race at the Kansas Speedway.


Richard Childress and Joey Coulter Throw Punches At Kyle!

(photo courtesy Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The Kansas Speedway garage is all abuzz with the report that Kyle Busch and  Richard Childress got into a physical altercation following the end of the Camping World Truck race at the Kansas Speedway.  The twitter universe indicates that after the race Kyle and Childress’ driver, Joey Coulter, got into a fight.

An unidentified crew member from another truck team said that rookie driver Joey Coulter and Busch got into the fight, and that Coulter had Busch in a “headlock and was pounding him pretty good.”

NASCAR public relations staffer Kerry Tharp said that NASCAR is looking into the reports.

Busch and Coulter, who drives a Richard Childress Racing truck, got into an on-track altercation during the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250.

Busch apparently did not like the move which Coulter used to get past him late in the race. The pass that Coulter made on ol Kylie was close, but clean!  After the checkered flag flew, Busch gave Coulter’s car a bump on the cool-down lap.  Apparently, neither driver liked what transpired at the end of the race, that is, Coulter’s pass, or Kyle’s banging of Coulter’s truck.

The anger then carried over into the infield after the race, according to the Twitter and other reports.

“Have at ’em boys!”

What are your thoughts on Childress and ol Kylie throwing blows?

See the unofficial results of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 from the Kansas Speedway.


Is Hendrick And Penske Considering an Indy Car Alliance?

(photo courtesy

This Hendrick Motorsports decal was spotted Sunday at The Centennial Indy 500 on the wings of two of the Team Penske Racing cars on the grid before the start of the race.  The decals were on the inside rear wingplate on Will Power’s #6 Dallara Honda and Ryan Briscoe’s #12 Dallara Honda.

This could only lead to speculation that, quite possibly,there could be a alliance between Penske and Hendrick in Indy Car.  This comes at a time when Chevrolet has announced that it will be coming back into the open wheel racing world, in particular, the IndyCar Series in 2012.

One rumor running throughout the garage area is that, Penske officials are keen to add Simona de Silvestro to their team but are having financial issues with three cars.  On the Hendrick Motorsports question, Penske officials would not comment on why HMS decals were on the two cars.

An alliance with Hendrick, a big Chevrolet dealer, could help. And remember, Ganassi now has two-two car teams with Dixon and Franchitti, Rahal and Kimball. A Penske Hendrick Alliance could work like Ganassi’s two teams.

Additionally, Honda just announced that they would be making Target Chip Ganassi their lead team in developing their new engines for the IndyCar Series in 2012.

Could this be the start of a move away from Honda and towards Chevrolet and a possible Hendrick Motorsports alliance for Team Penske in the IndyCar Series?


“Mr. Where Did He Come From” Steals The Coca Cola 600

(photo courtesy Gregg Ellman)

This season Kevin Harvick has truly earned his nickname, “Mr. Where Did He Come From?”!  In securing three victories in first twelve races, Harvick has only led a total of nine laps.   Actually he has not led all nine of those laps, just the portion that counts, that is , the portion of the lap that is at the start/finish.

For one victory he overtook five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson coming out of turn #4, as the checkered flag was waving. The other two came at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s expense! The first was at Martinsville Speedway in April when Harvick passed the third generation driver with four laps remaining. The second occurred Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coca-Cola 600 when Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet ran out of fuel on the final lap and Harvick passed him for the victory. In a few hundred feet, Earnhardt Jr.’s winless streak was extended to 105 races and Harvick jumped three positions in the standings to second, just 36 points behind  the leader Carl Edwards.

Ironically, it was the second time on Sunday the race leader had faltered in the final turn on the final lap. Just hours earlier in the Indianapolis 500, the National Guard-sponsored car driven by rookie J R Hildebrand had slammed into the fourth-turn wall, allowing second-place Dan Wheldon to take the victory. At Charlotte, it was a lack of fuel that cost Earnhardt Jr.’s National Guard-sponsored car the win.

“We weren’t supposed to make it,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “We were gonna run out of gas and we knew it. I tried to save a ton of gas. I didn’t save enough, but I tried to save as much as I could. I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but if we would have won, it would have been a gift.”

It was no secret in the Coca-Cola 600’s closing stages that fuel conservation on the 1.5-mile track was critical. Even Harvick’s crew had figured after his final stop that he would be one and a half  laps short. With the laps winding down and a green-white-checker finish eminent due to Johnson’s Chevrolet blowing an engine with five laps remaining, it was a Richard Childress Racing train that made the difference. At one point during the 14th and final caution period, Harvick cut off the engine in his RCR Chevrolet and was pushed by teammate Jeff Burton, who in turn was pushed by teammate Paul Menard. While Burton and Menard assisted Harvick, leader Greg Biffle pitted for fuel.

When the race restarted for its green-white-checker finish, Kasey Kahne led, Earnhardt Jr. was second, Denny Hamlin third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Harvick fifth. Kahne elected to restart on the outside and as they charged into turn one, Keselowski hit Kahne in the rear, the cars stacked up and Burton slid sideways as Earnhardt Jr. shot into the lead. It appeared to the delight of the crowd that Earnhardt Jr. would return to victory lane for the first time since June 2008 at Michigan.

With only 1 lap remaining, Dale Jr. possessed a healthy lead. Harvick, who was third, powered around Hamlin as his Toyota sputtered on the backstretch. Then, in turn 3, the engine in Earnhardt Jr.’s Chevrolet suffered from fuel starvation, shut off, and the victory was handed to Kevin “Mr. Where Did He Come From” Harvick.

In retrospect, Harvick most likely won the Coca Cola 600 because of his fuel conservation on the last yellow flag laps.  However, it was not solely his doing.  He had both teammates, Jeff Burton and Paul Menard pushing him with his engine off to save fuel.  That three car freight train, Menard basically pushing both cars, should be questioned by NASCAR as to the legality of that act!

Therefore, the question begs to be asked, “Is is legal for teammate(s) to push one another around the track, during yellow flag laps, in order to save fuel and possibly win the race”?

What are your thoughts on that issue?

Here is the unofficial results from the Coca Cola 600.


Wheldon Capitalizes On A Rookie Mistake

(photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)

Dan Wheldon inherited the lead when rookie J.R. Hildebrand hit the wall coming out of the final turn on the final lap and went on to win the 100th anniversary Indianapolis 500.

Sunday’s victory was the second for Wheldon at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where he won in 2005 with Andretti Green Racing. Wheldon, driving here for Bryan Herta Autosport, does not have a full-time ride in the IZOD IndyCar Series this season.

Wheldon said he felt “a lot of relief” as he saw Hildebrand’s car scrubbing against the outside wall. “I knew it was the last lap and knew a lot of those guys were struggling on fuel,” said Wheldon, driver of the  #98 William Rast-Curb/Big Machine Dallara/Honda. “I just kept pushing. Bryan Herta Autosport have given me such a dream ride. I love Indianapolis. I love the people. I love everything about it, the tradition, the history. It’s an incredible feeling.”

Hildebrand skidded across the finish line to secure a second place in his very first Indy 500.

“Just a bummer to come home second again,” said Hildebrand, referring to the fact that Panther cars have now finished as runners-up at IMS three straight years. “I really felt like we had an incredible opportunity to get on the big stage.”

Hildebrand had the perfect opportunity to win the 2011 Indy 500 as a rookie, however, it wasn’t in the cards for him.  Hildebrand made one slight error in judgement that cost him an Indy 500 victory.  As he went up high in turn four to pass a slower race car, he got up into “the marbles”, lost front end steering, and slammed into the turn #4 retaining wall.

Meanwhile, Dan Wheldon was busy celebrating his second Indy 500 with co-owners, Brian Herta and Steve Newey.

“I think my contract expires at midnight tonight,” said Wheldon, joking with team co-owners Bryan Herta and Steve Newey during their post-race news conference at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “I just knew when I started this race that I wanted to do everything in my power to deliver a win for not just myself – I didn’t feel I had anything to prove – but for such a great group of people.”

Working under terms of a one-off/Indy-only schedule, Wheldon and the fledgling Bryan Herta Autosport IZOD IndyCar Series team scored an upset for the ages during the 100th anniversary edition of the Indianapolis 500. Wheldon inherited the lead on the 200th and final lap when rookie J.R. Hildebrand hit the wall exiting Turn 4, a straightaway removed from what would have been an even bigger upset.

In the corner of my eye, I saw him hit the fence,” said Wheldon, a 32-year-old native of Emberton, England, now residing in St. Petersburg, Fla. “I just carried on by. As Bryan says, you have to make it to the Bricks (start/finish line) with a car that can go forward with all four wheels. At that point I knew it was mine.”

Sunday’s victory in the #98 William Rast–CURB/Big Machine Dallara/Honda was the second for Wheldon at IMS, where he won in 2005 with Andretti Green Racing en route to the driver’s championship.

“This is obviously a very, very special racetrack to me,” said Wheldon, the 18th multiple winner of the Indy 500. “I love this racetrack. I love how the fans energize the Speedway. To think that I’m a two-time winner, I mean, Bryan, who has been a teammate and a good friend for a long time, gave me a fantastic opportunity to win the race.”

It appeared, however, that Wheldon was destined for his third consecutive second-place finish here to rookie Hildebrand, the driver who replaced him at Panther Racing after a sometimes tumultuous two-year stint. Hildebrand had inherited the lead on Lap 198, when Bertrand Baguette of Rahal Letterman Lanigan LLC was forced to pit for fuel under green. At that point, Hildebrand’s lead over Scott Dixon, the 2008 Indy 500 champion from Target Chip Ganassi Racing, stood at a healthy 3.5925-seconds. On Lap 199, Hildebrand’s advantage over Dixon grew to 3.8403-seconds.

With the crowd standing and applauding John Barnes’ Indianapolis-based team, Hildebrand exited Turn 4 high and slid into the SAFER Barrier while attempting to lap fellow-rookie Charlie Kimball. Hildebrand’s car hugged the wall, leaving a black streak on the white concrete as the yellow and checkered flags flew. Wheldon, who had passed Dixon for second, crossed the Yard of Bricks with tears in his eyes.

Wheldon believes he has found a home with Bryan Herta Autosport, which is preparing to run the full IndyCar schedule in 2012, when a new chassis/engine package will be introduced. Herta added he currently has no plans to compete in Round 6 of the series, the Firestone Twin 275s night races at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth on June 11.

“It was not the plan,” said Herta, who forged a technical association with Sam Schmidt Motorsports at IMS. “Our plan has always been to race here, and we’ve got a project that we’re going to be working on a little later this year that we’re committed to. We never had a plan to do more races this year. Our plan was always to try to come back and compete fulltime next year. Right now, that’s still the plan.”

“Does this (win) change anything? I don’t know. I think it’s going to create some opportunities for us for sure and I think we’re going to have to decide if we stay the course or if we take advantage of any of the opportunities that may come up. But for me, there’s nothing else we can do this year that’s going to be any better than this. All we can do is come down the mountain now. If I were to look ahead right now, what I really want is to sign a sponsor and sign Dan Wheldon and go racing next year fulltime and try and win the championship.”

What an exciting finish this was for the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500.


Franchitti Could Join Some Elite Company

(photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)

Every year early in the month of May Dario Franchitti makes a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.  Franchittti loves spending time touring the museum viewing the old historic race cars that depict the history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing”.

Mostly, Franchitti loves to see the old cars and bask in the history of the Brickyard. But, every now and then, he will take a peek at the Borg Warner Trophy and look for the image of his face, which appears twice on the Indy 500 winners’ trophy.

“This place has an incredible history,’’ Franchitti said. “This is the Centennial year and just about anybody who is anybody in racing has been here, one way or another.”

“It’s a real honor to be part of that history.’’

The dashing Scot, and husband to Ashley Judd, could make more Indy history on Sunday by becoming a three-time winner and becoming only the sixth driver to win here in back-to-back years.

It’s all pretty humbling for the quiet, unassuming Scot.

Although he came to American racing in the 1990s with the “big potential’’ label firmly attached to his name, the 38-year-old Franchitti didn’t achieve the kind of success that was forecast for him until the latter part of his career.

His three IZOD IndyCar Series titles and two Indy victories have all come in his 30s.

Franchitti exudes cool in his appearance and in the way he approaches racing, but Dixon and team owner Ganassi both say appearances can be deceiving.

“Dario is a great teammate because he is willing to share just about everything,’’ Dixon said. “But, if you’re racing him head-to-head, look out. He has a burning desire to win.’’

“He is much more competitive than you would think by looking at him,’’ Ganassi noted. “The guy still has a fire in his belly.’’

Sunday, Dario will take that competitive fire onto the biggest stage of the IndyCar season, the Indianapolis 500. And, starting a disappointing ninth in the 33-car field, Franchitti will have to do some hard work to become the 10th driver to win “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’’ three times or more.

The leadup to the race has not gone as well as Franchitti would have liked.  Despite all the rain during May, Franchitti was one of the leaders on the speed chart prior to Pole Day, and was widely expected to have a great shot at winning the pole. Instead, the Ganassi team made an uncharacteristic mistake and Franchitti ran out of fuel on the last lap of his four-lap qualifying run, relegating him to the third row of the race grid!

It was truly an agonizing day for Franchitti, who walked from the pits with his helmet on, avoiding all media interviews.

“I didn’t want to talk to anybody or speak to anybody or listen to anybody,” he said later. “I just wanted to go away for a minute. I didn’t have anything positive to say and I was very angry.”

Not to excuse that mistake made by the Target Chip Ganassi team, winners of the Indy 500 have come from much deeper in the field than ninth starting position.  However, the Indy 500 is a very difficult race to win under any circumstances.

“Any race is difficult,’’ Franchitti said. “Any race you’re required to do everything right. This place is exactly the same.”

“You’ve got to do all the pit stops right, you’ve got to make all the right moves on the track in traffic on your own, you’ve got to have a fast car and a little bit of luck. Millions of things have got to go right to finish this race.’’

He added, thanks to the nearly constant rains this month, no one has had a lot of time to figure out the best race setup for their car.

“The start of the race is more of a gamble maybe because you haven’t had those multiple days to just tweak on the setup,’’ Franchitti added. “In some ways you’re going into an unknown, plus it looks like the temperature is going to be warmer. It looks like it’s going to be above 85 degrees for the first time all month.”

“Those are all going to be factors, but somebody is going to hit on that perfect setup and they’ll be very fast – and I hope it’s us.’’

If Franchitti can pull off a victory today in the 100th running of the Indy 500, his next visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum will be oh so much sweeter!


Can Tagliani Pull One More Out Of His Hat?

(photo courtesy IZOD IndyCar Series)

In many, if not most, of the past Indy 500’s, the polesitter was considered the favorite to win the race.  However, this year it is not necessarily the case.

While fellow front-row starter, Scott Dixon driving his #9 Target Chip Ganassi race car, and his teammate Dario Franchitti driving his #10 Target Chip Ganassi Dallara, and starting from the ninth starting position are actually co-favorites to win the 2011 Indianapolis 500, with Las Vegas odds at 4-1.  The polesitter, Alex Tagliani, is slated in the odds at 13-2.

Tagliani, a 38-year-old French Canadian, has been the surprise of the month at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Tags, as he is known, has been among the fastest drivers on the 2.5-mile oval since practice began and wound up easily winning the pole for Sunday’s Centennial Indy 500 with a four-lap average of 227.474 mph.

He backed that up Friday in the “Carb Day’’ practice by trailing only Dixon on the speed chart for the one-hour final session.

“I feel my car’s very racy,’’ Tagliani said. “I love it in traffic. We got some consistency out of the car on older tires.’’

Pausing for a moment to digest what he had just said, Tagliani smiled and added, “It seems to be just unreal, too good to be true, sometimes.

“I want to think we deserve it. It’s not because we’re not (Team) Penske or Ganassi. We did maybe everything better than anybody else.’’

Tagliani has accomplished all of this driving for the unheralded team of Sam Schmidt, a former IndyCar driver who became a quadriplegic in a testing crash in 2000 and who has overcome tremendous odds himself to become a successful car owner in the second-tier Firestone Indy Lights Series.

Tagliani started his own team several years ago, but it was taken over this year by Sam Schmidt Motorsports.

The move to the IZOD IndyCar Series is a big leap, but Schmidt and Tagliani have certainly given big teams like Team Penske and Ganassi something to think about. Not only that, but a second Schmidt driver, Townsend Bell, will start fourth in Sunday’s race.

Notwithstanding all Tags good fortunes in the month of May, it will take a huge effort from the entire Sam Schmidt Mortorsports organization to be able to out race the Big Two of Team Penske and Target Chip Ganassi for the Indy 500 victory.

Could this be the year that David slays Goliath at the historic 100th running of the Indianapolis 500?

What are your thoughts?


Kenseth Fills In For Bayne With A Win At Charlotte

(photo courtesy

Matt Kenseth passed his Roush-Fenway Racing teammate with three laps remaining to secure a win in the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the RFR #16 Fastenal Ford Mustang.

The victory was the first of the year for Kenseth in the Nationwide Series, who was named to replace Trevor Bayne in the #16 car earlier in the week. It was the 26th NNS victory of Kenseth’s career.

“When you can beat him, you know you had a good day,” Kenseth said of being able to edge past Edwards, who has won three NNS races this season.

Roush-Fenway Racing had a great afternoon at Charlotte finishing first,second, and fourth.

Here is the unofficial results of the Top Gear 300 at Charlotte.

Never forget what this Memorial Day weekend is really all about… our military men and women.