Andretti Autoport Fields Three Cars For The Indy Lights Test

Andretti Autosport Sheild
ANDRETTI AUTOSPORT TO FIELD THREE AT SEVENTH ANNUAL CHRIS GRIFFIS MEMORIAL OPEN TEST
Honoring Chris Griffis, Andretti Autosport Takes to the Road Course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for This Weekend’s Mazda Road to Indy Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test
INDIANAPOLIS (October 20, 2017) – Three drivers in the Mazda Road to Indy ladder series will have the opportunity to get behind the wheel of Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires Dallara IL-15 cars this weekend for the Chris Griffis Memorial Open Test.
With over 40 drivers representing 12 countries in 2016’s test, Australian Anthony Martin, 2017 Pro Mazda Championship runner-up and 2016 USF2000 Championship winner, will join Colton Herta and Ryan Norman at the test, piloting Andretti Autosport’s Indy Lights machines around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.Debuting in 2011, the test honors Chris Griffis, a longtime member of the motorsports community who led the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports w/ Curb-Agajanian Indy Lights organization before passing unexpectedly in September 2011.

The two-day event will feature all three tiers of the Mazda Road to Indy on track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course Circuit Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22. This year’s test will have live timing available through IndyCar.com, IndyLights.com and the RoadtoIndyTV app.

Colton Herta 
“I think the test is going to be interesting. Hopefully, the weather plays out nicely. You can switch up pretty quickly from cold to hot this time of year, and we hope to have weather on our side. Indy was a place where, I think, we struggled for race pace, so I’m looking forward to getting back and seeing what we can do. I’m super excited to get the testing going. I think we just need to get the balance right – that’s the main thing. Hopefully, we can get the balance sorted out and more to my liking. We had great qualifying pace at Indy, we qualified P2 there for the second race of the weekend, but want to work on long run pace.”

Anthony Martin
“The time has finally come to jump into an Indy Lights car. I am so excited to be testing at Indianapolis with Andretti Autosport, and I am looking forward to working in a professional environment with everyone, eager and ready to learn more. The Mazda Road to Indy program has given me the opportunity to move forward and advance my motorsport career, having goals when I first came to America in 2015 to do the best I could in USF2000. I turned that into a championship win in 2016, earning a scholarship from Mazda to move up the ladder to Pro Mazda. I can’t wait for what my future holds in this new challenge!”

Ryan Norman 
“I can’t wait to get back into the car at the Chris Griffis Memorial this weekend. I absolutely love Indianapolis Motor Speedway and we showed good speed in the races this past year. I’m looking forward to building off that experience, and working with Andretti Autosport toward a successful test.”

Editor’s Note: Andretti Autosport planned to complete a four-car test, however due to illness, Dalton Kellett will not participate in the Chris Griffiths Memorial Test this weekend.
About Andretti Autosport
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success. Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series and Indy Lights, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross. The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007, 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008, 2009), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has captured victory five times at the famed Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017). Additionally, the team holds two X Games Gold Medals and three Global Rallycross championship (2015, 2016, 2017).

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Truex Laments Losing Tire Changers To Suspension

Martin Teuex,Jr.
The ramifications of Martin Truex Jr.’s collision with Kyle Busch as the two drivers battled for the lead last Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, produced ramifications that extended well beyond the race.

After the wreck, which Truex triggered when his No. 78 Toyota got loose beneath Busch’s no. 18 Camry, Truex’s tire changers Chris Taylor (front) and Lee Cunningham (rear) were involved in a heated confrontation with Busch’s crew chief, Adam Stevens, who strode into the No. 78 pit area after receiving taunts from the rival crewmen.

Just one very key problem! The No. 78 crew is actually assembled by Joe Gibbs Racing (Busch’s team) and is outsourced to Furniture Row Racing (Truex’s team) as part of the alliance between the two Toyota organizations.

Team owner Joe Gibbs opted to suspend the two tires changers for three races each because they had initiated the controversy. The complication is that Truex is competing against Busch for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship, and the suspensions could have a profound effect, Truex believes.

“It’s a tough situation for us to be in – there’s no doubt about that,” Truex told reporters after a FanFest appearance at Pocono Raceway on Friday night. “I’m obviously not happy about how it all went down. I’m disappointed that I made a mistake, and it got us kind of in this position. I guess it is what it is, and we’ll deal with it the best we can, and we’ll go forward.”

Making the suspensions all the more costly is the excellence of his crew.

“It’s a big impact when they’re two of the best out there,” Truex said. “Our pit crew has been amazing this year, putting us in position to win multiple races, not making mistakes – they’ve got everything. Those two guys are unbelievable, what they do. We’re obviously at a disadvantage without them.”

Truex hopes, however, that the altercation won’t have a negative effect on the strong working relationship between the two organizations.

“I hope not,” Truex said. “I don’t think so. Again, it’s unfortunate that the mistake I made on the race track caused all this stuff to blow up. I’m proud of our pit crew guys and what they’ve done this year and what they continue to do for us. And like I said, we’ll just get through the next couple weeks as best we can.”

As Arte Johnson’s character would boast on the comedy TV show, Laugh In, ‘veerry interesting”!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Matt DiBenedetto Grabs An 8th Place Finish In The Brickyard 400

IMG_9553

Matt DiBenedetto endured a racing marathon Sunday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400 had a rain delay of about one hour and forty five minutes, 14 yellow flags, racing in near darkness, and large amounts of crumpled sheet metal by the time the checkered flag waved strewn on the race track!

As the green flag flew, DiBenedetto launched from the inside line of the 14th row, which equates to 27th position.  For most of the first stage the Corvette Parts / Anest Iwata Ford Fusion battled with A.J. Allmendinger, Ty Dillon, J. J. Yeley, David Ragan as well as Landon Cassill.  When stage number one came to a conclusion DeBenedetto  came across the line in 29th place.

When the racing resumes, after coming to pit road for much needed tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, the Corvette Parts Ford Fusion dug in and continued the battle for positions in the heart of the  “war zone”.  DiBenedetto continued to carve out progress, all the while avoiding some of the mishaps and wrecks that began to take place.  At the end of the second stage, and all the hard racing with Landon Cassill, Chris Buescher, Cole Whitt, and Danica Patrick,  DeBenedetto gained one position to finish in 28th spot.

When the green flag dropped for the final stage of the race the racing ratcheted up a few notches, and the beating and banging really cranked up as well!  Likewise, that beating and banging started taking its toll on the race cars and the wreckage remains were strewn about the facility.  As the darkness set over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the final segment came to an end with just a few cars still able to roll around the track.  During this final stage Dibenedetto was battling with David Suarez, Kevin Harvick, Chris Buescher, as well as The Dinger.   Matt was successful in bringing the Corvette Parts /Anest Iwata Ford Fusion home in 8th place after the six hour marathon concluded.

TILL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Team Penske Had A Very Good Day In The Brickyard 400

Brad Keselowski

Track:                  Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Race:                   Brickyard 400

Date:                   July 23, 2017

 

No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion – Brad Keselowski

Start: 11th

Finish: 2nd

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 167/167

Laps Led: 23

Point Standings (behind leader): 6th (-179)

 

Recap: With just two laps remaining in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) it appeared Brad Keselowski would give Team Penske their first win after triumphs in a record 16 Indianapolis 500s, but Kasey Kahne was able to maneuver around the No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion to take the win in a race that spanned over six hours due to inclement weather. Keselowski began the race from the 11th position and when the green flag fell it was clear that the No. 2 Ford was not handling like a car that would contend for the win in one of NASCAR’s biggest races. Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe that he was wickedly loose in and off the flat IMS corners, but super tight in the center. After completion of only 17 laps NASCAR red-flagged the race and IMS cleared the grandstands as lightening, followed by heavy rain, was detected in the area. Nearly two hours later the race resumed and Wolfe began working on the handling of the Miller Lite machine. Unfortunately, Keselowski was only able to finish 20th in the first stage but the car was improving with each pit stop. An early caution at the start of the second stage allowed Wolfe to bring Keselowski down pit road for a fuel-only pit stop in hopes that the stage would stay green the rest of the way as they now had enough fuel to make it to the end. A lap 71 caution, nine laps before the end of the second stage, thwarted those plans, but Keselowski was able to score a ninth-place finish in the stage to pick up two bonus points. After starting the final stage from the ninth position, Wolfe made another fuel gamble and kept his driver on track longer than any other crew chief, in hopes of scoring a timely, late-race caution that would force other teams to follow Keselowski down pit road late in the race to preserve their track position. At lap 150 their perseverance paid off when Keselowski was scored as the race leader when a caution was displayed. Only two cars stayed out and a great pit stop by the Miller Lite crew set the No. 2 Ford team up to challenge for the win. Restarting third, but on much fresher tires, Keselowski worked his way through two more caution periods to grab the lead as the race went into an overtime scenario. After choosing to restart in the outside lane at lap 166, Keselowski was not able to hold off Kahne just as dusk was starting to set over IMS and crossed the finish line second to give Team Penske five runner-up finishes in the race.

 

Quote: “You know, we just have to take our result and move on. We weren’t necessarily the fastest car today, but the Miller Lite Ford team did a hell of a job executing. I wish I could have executed a little bit better to bring home the win. I’m not sure what that would have took. But all in all, good to have a top finish at this track. I think our best finish coming to this race here was ninth. Kind of checked this one off as at least getting a top finish. Maybe not a win, but, you know, a top‑three, top‑two finish. So it’s nice to check that off and hopefully we can come back here next year and improve one more spot.

 

 

No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion – Joey Logano

Start: 7th

Finish: 4th

Status: Running

Laps Completed: 167/167

Laps Led:  0

Point Standings (behind leader):  13th (-265)

 

Recap:  Joey Logano started seventh and finished fourth in the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Logano dropped several spots on the initial start after he had to lift for the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin entering the first turn. Logano was able to work his way back to the top-five before the end of the first stage, after waiting out a nearly two-hour rain delay. Much of the team’s track position gain in the early stages of the race came from fast pit work by the Shell-Pennzoil crew, who in the first stop, gained the team four positions. The crew continued the work gaining positions on the next two stops, all while making adjustments to the Ford Fusion to improve the handling in each of the speedway’s four turns. Varying pit strategy relegated the team to the back half of the top-10, but Logano was able to rebound and climb to the seventh position before the end of the second stage. The team moved as high as third, but then pit strategy once again would put them on the offensive as other teams pitted off sequence and then cycled to the front of the field. In the closing stages of the race, Logano was able to survive numerous accident, escaping with no damage to the Shell-Pennzoil Ford. On the final restart, the team would line up fifth and once again had their momentum stalled as the field entered turn 1. However, Logano would make the move to the inside of the backstretch and miss the final accident of the afternoon, which marked the end of the event. The fourth place finish was the team’s first top-five since Michigan in June, and was also a step in the right direction in terms of on-track speed. The team will move on to Pocono where Logano is a former winner as they look to secure a victory and lock themselves into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.

 

Quote“We’re getting better. I thought we had a fast Shell-Pennzoil Ford today. We didn’t execute as well as we needed to and that kind of got us back a little bit, and then we were able to gain some spots back at the end and get a top-5 out of it. I felt like the two cars that were better than us wrecked, so I feel like that was our chance to win and we just didn’t capitalize. The positive side is our car got faster. The bummer is we didn’t win.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kurt Busch Was Collected Up In A Late Race Wreck At Indy

Kurt Busch

Date:  July 23, 2017

Event:  Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)

Series:  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location:  Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Format:  160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)

Note:  Race ended under caution in overtime, going seven laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance

Start/Finish:  12th/29th (Accident, completed 149 of 167 laps)

Point Standing:  14th (463 points, 317 out of first)

 

Race Winner:  Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner:  Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

● Kurt Busch started 12th, finished 13th.

● Busch brought the Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion to pit road on lap 32 for four tires, fuel and chassis and tire pressure adjustments. He indicated that the car lacked grip and its handling was tight.

● The car was serviced again on lap 52 for four tires, fuel and chassis and tire pressure adjustments to get it back to its original setup.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

● Started 12th, finished 13th.

● Busch pitted on lap 72 for four tires and a tire pressure adjustment, telling the crew the car was just a bit loose. Eight cars stayed out, so he restarted 19th.

● The No. 41 Ford made slight contact with the No. 42 car driven by Kyle Larson, but was able to continue.

● Busch pitted on lap 102 for four tires, fuel and chassis and tire pressure adjustments.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

● Started 11th, finished 29th.

● Busch pitted on lap 132 for four tires and fuel.

● The No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion was involved a multicar accident with Clint Bowyer and Erik Jones on lap 149 that ended Busch’s race.

 

Notes:

● This was Busch’s 17th Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Indianapolis and his 596th career NASCAR Cup Series start.

● There were 14 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.

● Sixteen of the 40 drivers in the Brickyard 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Kasey Kahne won the Brickyard 400 to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis. Brad Keselowski was second as the race ended under caution.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 780 points, holding a 48-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Larson.

 

Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“Cars were spinning in front of me. (Clint) Bowyer went left, the 77 (Erik Jones) was going right – I tried to shoot the middle and Bowyer ricocheted back up onto the track. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Danica Patrick Perseveres To Finish 11th At Indy

Danica Patrick
Date: July 23, 2017

Event: Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)

Note: Race ended under caution in overtime, going seven laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance

Start/Finish: 23rd/11th (Running, completed 167 of 167 laps)

Point Standing: 28th (280 points, 500 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

● Danica Patrick started 23rd and finished 25th.

● The No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion team dropped to the 28th position before the caution flag waved at lap nine as Patrick battled a loose-handling racecar. When the team pitted for the first time at lap 32, crew chief Billy Scott called for wholesale changes, including wedge, packer and air pressure adjustments.

● Patrick restarted in the 30th position at lap 34 and raced her way up to 25th before the end of the stage.

● The team pitted between stages for wedge, packer and air pressure adjustments and added tape to the grille of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford. NASCAR officials deemed that the team’s jackman was over the wall too soon, so Patrick had to drop to the tail of the field before the start of Stage 2.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

● Started 31st and finished 25th.

● The No. 10 team continued to adjust the car during pit stops during the second stage as Patrick battled a car that was loose on corner entry and tight on corner exit.

● Despite the handling issues, Patrick was able to work her way up to 25th by the end of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

● Started 23rd and finished 11th.

● Patrick started the final stage from the 23rd position. When the caution flag waved at lap 110, the team pitted for tires and fuel, and Patrick brought her racecar back in before the field went back to green to top off with fuel.

● When the race restarted at lap 119, Patrick was scored 22nd and worked to conserve fuel in an effort to make it to the end without pitting.

● She made it all the way up to 12th before the caution flag waved again at lap 149. The Aspen Dental Ford team pitted for tires and fuel. When the caution flag waved yet again at lap 154, Patrick radioed to the team that it felt like something was broken on the car. Scott called her to pit road for tires and fuel, and the team found that a valve stem had been knocked off the left-rear tire.

● Patrick restarted 22nd at lap 158 and persisted through the final restarts to score an 11th-place finish.

 

Notes:              

● This was Patrick’s fifth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and her 174th career start.

● Patrick’s 11th-place finish in the Brickyard 400 was her first top-15 at the track and her fourth top-15 this season.

● Patrick earned 26 points in Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which puts her at 280 total points for the season thus far. She is ranked 28th in the driver point standings.

● There were 14 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.

● Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the Brickyard 400 finished on the lead lap.

● Kasey Kahne won the Brickyard 400 to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Brad Keselowski finished second.

Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 780 points and has a 48-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 Aspen Dental Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“The weekend was a bit of a challenge, but everyone on the Aspen Dental team gave it their all and never gave up. We definitely dodged a lot of bullets today, from handling issues to cars wrecking in front of us and more. It wasn’t pretty, but I really don’t care. We’ve had plenty of races where our luck went the other way, so I’ll take it today.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Truex and Jones Both Wreck At Indy

Martin Truex, Jr and Erik Jones
Furniture Row Racing driver Martin Truex Jr. and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Kyle Busch had the dominant cars in Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

But after a restart with 50 laps remaining in the scheduled 160-lap race Truex and Busch were running 1-2 respectively. But by the time their Camrys got to Turn 1 and fighting for the lead the Toyota drivers got tangled which triggered a race-ending accident for both Truex and Busch. Truex finished 33rd and Busch 34th in a NASCAR Cup Series race that was red flagged three times, once for rain (nearly two hours) and two other times for accidents.

Truex’s No. 78 Auto-Owners Insurance Camry hit the wall sideways and then erupted into a gulf of flames. Truex managed to exit the car and was later evaluated and released at the track’s infield medical center.

Truex’s Furniture Row Racing teammate Erik Jones also saw his race end early when he was involved in a lap 148 multicar accident.

Truex didn’t offer any excuses or sidestep the issue of who was at fault during his live interview on NBC.

“I just got loose and wrecked him – totally my fault,” said Truex. “Didn’t really know what to expect in that position and didn’t really realize that he was going to drive in that deep and suck me around. I will take the blame for that and obviously it was my fault. I hate it for Kyle (Busch), he had a great car and we did as well, but that’s racing. Glad I was able to get out, fire was bad. I had no brakes and I had to run into the wall a second time just to get it to stop so I could get out. Fortunately, I’m okay and we’ll live to race another day.”

When asked if he felt he had no other choice than to race Busch on that restart Truex said, “We worked well together and that’s the hard part about this stuff is when it’s time to go. I feel awful and just made a mistake. Definitely should have picked the outside and it would have been fine I guess. Just the way it goes. Hate it for Auto Owners and everyone involved at Furniture Row. We had an awesome car today and we got out front, I don’t think they were going to be able to beat us. A mistake on my part took us out of it, but we’ll get them next week.”

Though he took an early exit, Truex actually increased his driver points lead over second-place Kyle Larson. Truex came into the race with a 38-point lead and leaves with a 48-point lead, thanks to a pair of second-place finishes in each of the first two stages that gave him an additional 18 championship points.

Jones, driving the No. 77 Sport Clips Toyota, saw his day end when he was involved in Lap 148 multicar wreck while running 17th.  He was credited with a 31st-place finish.

Jones finished 12th in Stage 1 and picked up seven championship points by finishing fourth in Stage 2.

“Well, I got under the 14 (Clint Bowyer) off of (Turn) 4 and there were some lapped cars in front of us,” said Jones. “I was almost at his door and wrecked me and him. It looks like the 41 (Kurt Busch) got into it somehow, so it’s just unfortunate. There’s just been a lot of stuff like that to us this year. It seemed like our Sport Clips Camry was fast, got better all day and we had a top-five car. Just didn’t get to see it all play out. It’s been the story of our season. We’ve run well, run up front, just haven’t been able to close the races out whether it’s our own fault, bad luck or other circumstances. We know we can take a lot away from it.”

The 21-year-old rookie is 17th in the point standings, three points behind the 16th-place driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The race winner was Kasey Kahne.  Rounding out the top 10 in order were:  Brad Keselowski, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Matt Dibenedetto, Chris Buescher and AJ Allmendinger.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kevin Harvick Scores 13th Top Ten Finish At Indy For 2017

Kevin Harvick
Date: July 23, 2017

Event: Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)

Start/Finish: 2nd/6th (Running, completed 167 of 167 laps)

Point Standing: 3rd (683 points, 97 points out of first)

 

Race Winner: Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

●  Kevin Harvick started second, finished fourth. Earned seven bonus points.

●  Endured a one-hour and 47-minute red-flag condition for rain after only 12 laps.

●  Restarted third on lap 18 but dropped to fifth after a lap.

●  On competition caution at lap 30, Harvick came to pit road for four tires, fuel and tire pressure adjustments.

●  Restarted seventh on lap 35 but climbed back to fifth by the next lap.

●  Came to pit road for four tires and fuel following the conclusion of Stage 1. Gained one spot on pit road.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

●  Started third, finished fifth. Earned six bonus points.

●  Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion was much looser than in previous stage due to increased track temperatures.

●  Caution on lap 70 sent many to pit road, but not all. Harvick pitted for four tires, fuel and a left-rear wedge adjustment.

●  Restarted 13th on lap 76 after eight cars stayed out in an effort to gain track position.

●  Climbed all the way to fifth by the end of Stage 2.

●  Came to pit road for four tires, fuel and another, more significant, left-rear wedge adjustment at the end of the stage.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-160):

●  Started fifth, finished sixth.

●  Claimed fourth place on the restart and held that spot through the caution on lap 106.

●  Accident between leaders Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. during the lap-111 restart allowed Harvick to rise to second.

●  Held the second position from lap 120 until coming to pit road under green-flag conditions on lap 132 for four tires and fuel.

●  Several cars were opting for a fuel mileage strategy in hopes of making it to the end, causing Harvick to drop out of the top-15.

●  A multicar wreck on lap 149 brought out a red flag and allowed Harvick to advance from 13th to eighth for the lap-153 restart.

●  Avoided a flurry of late-race accidents and emerged with a sixth-place finish in overtime.

 

Notes:

●  Harvick scored his 13th  top-10 finish of 2017 and his 10th top-10 finish in 17 career Cup Series starts at Indianapolis.

●  Harvick finished fourth in Stage 1 to earn seven bonus points and fifth in Stage 2 to earn an additional six bonus points.

●  There were 14 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.

●  The race featured 10 lead changes among seven drivers.

●  Only 16 of the 40 drivers in the Brickyard 400 finished on the lead lap.

●  Kasey Kahne won the Brickyard 400 to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis. Brad Keselowski finished second as the race ended under caution.

●  Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship point standings with 780 points and has a 48-point margin over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was different, for sure. We knew before the day started that, with the stage racing, everything that was gonna go on, if it didn’t go green and you had a caution come out in the middle of that cycle at the end you were gonna have a situation like that where you had guys staying out and guys doing different things. There at the end we were in the lead cycle, and then you had all those guys that stayed out, and the next thing you knew we were seventh or eighth and we were in the middle of a hornet’s nest back there. There’s nothing you can do about that. They did a great job with our Jimmy John’s Ford all weekend. We just wound up on the wrong cycle there by no doing of our own. We had a decent car, but it didn’t matter in the end.”

 

What was it like at the end?  “We were on the lead strategy, and unfortunately the strategy that wound up taking over was the strategy that was halfway through the middle of the pack.  And then when the caution comes out, you know it’s gonna happen when everything gets mixed up, and then we were just stuck in a hornet’s nest and wound up getting beat up a little bit.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Late Race Wreck Collects Bowyer And Ruins His Day

Clint Bowyer
Date: July 23, 2017

Event: Brickyard 400 (Round 20 of 36)

Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2.5-mile oval)

Format: 167 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/67 laps)

Note: Race ended in overtime, going seven laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance

Start/Finish: 18th/30th (Accident, completed 148 of 167 laps)

Point Standing: 11th (533 points, 247 out of first)

 

Race Winner: Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet) in overtime

Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing(Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing(Toyota)

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):

 Clint Bowyer started 18th, finished 11th.

● Bowyer started well, moving to 12th by the end of lap two.

● Heavy rain stopped the race on lap 11. The race restarted after an hour and 47 minutes.

● Bowyer climbed to 11th before the stage’s conclusion.

 

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):

● Started 10th and finished 17th.

● Bowyer climbed as high as eighth as he turned similar lap times as the leaders.

● Crew made air pressure adjustments to help the car handle better in traffic.

 

Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-167):

● Started 14th and finished 30th.

● Climbed to 10th with 54 laps to go.

● Moved to seventh with 49 laps remaining after he narrowly dodged a wreck involving the two leaders.

● Raced in sixth when he pitted under green for fuel and tires with 30 to go.

● With 12 laps to go, Bowyer made contact with the spinning car of Paul Menard, then slammed into the inside wall before he was struck by Kurt Busch.

● Bowyer was uninjured, but the No. 14 sustained severe damage and could not continue.

 

Notes:

● There were 14 caution periods for a total of 55 laps.

●  Kasey Kahne won the Brickyard 400 to score his 18th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Indianapolis.

● Martin Truex Jr. leads the championship standings with 780 points with a 48-point advantage over his nearest pursuer, Kyle Larson.

 

Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Mobil 1/Rush Truck Centers Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:

“It was a pretty hard hit, and then somebody hit me again. I don’t know when. It felt like they did. Definitely wasn’t needed for sure. We’ll regroup. This is a strong team. I’m proud of the 14 bunch. I’m proud of their effort. We were a little bit off in practices and things like that, qualifying. We found a way to make it better for the race. I think we were going to have a single-digit finish. It just wasn’t our day.”

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Kasey Kahne Snatches An Improbable Victory At Indy

Kasey Kahne
In semi-darkness, as the sun set behind the frontstretch grandstand at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne did all he could to dispel the shadow overhanging his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season and his racing career.

With a phenomenal restart in the second overtime of Sunday’s Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400, Kahne cleared race leader Brad Keselowski through the first two corners and crossed the overtime line on the backstretch before NASCAR called the record 14th caution of the race.

That ended the event with Kahne in the lead, and when he took the checkered flag under yellow a lap and a half later, the driver of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet had his first victory since an eleventh-hour win at Atlanta in August of 2014 that propelled him into NASCAR’s postseason.

Kahne was breathless with exhaustion in Victory Lane, the result of withering heat inside the cars in a prolonged race that featured three red flags, one for rain and lightning and two for incidents. But the implications of the triumph weren’t lost on him.

“The career is big, for sure—but the win and the history here,” Kahne said. “To win at this track is unreal. We used to always be really close. We lost to Jeff (Gordon) and we lost to Tony (Stewart); just some fast cars back then.

“Today, strategy got us here. This Farmers Insurance Chevrolet was great once I got out front. I just had to get there. I’m exhausted. But, an unbelievable win. The team just kept working. We had great pit stops.”

The pit stop that mattered most occurred on Lap 150, when Kahne came to pit road moments before a vicious wreck on the frontstretch eliminated the cars of Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch and Erik Jones, all of whom had been running in or near the top 10 throughout the afternoon.

Kahne had fresh rubber and stayed on the track when the cars ahead of him came to pit road for tires on Lap 151. Suddenly at the front of the field, Kahne battled Keselowski on three successive restarts before the decisive second overtime.

Kahne status in the No. 5 car has been ripe for the rumor mill this season. Asked Sunday morning about plans for the ride next year, team owner Rick Hendrick would say only “That’s another day,” during a press conference heralding Alex Bowman as the successor to Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.

Asked post-race what the victory does for Kahne’s future, Hendrick replied, “It puts him in the (playoff).”

But the uncertainty that surrounds Kahne’s status in the No. 5 did nothing to diminish his accomplishment at the historic Brickyard.

Keselowski had taken the lead during the first overtime restart, but a huge wreck on the frontstretch—triggered when Trevor Bayne turned sideways after a push from Michael McDowell as the cars approached the start/finish line—aborted the attempt.

For the second overtime, Keselowski chose the outside lane, leaving Kahne on the bottom in a racing groove covered with Speedy Dry fluid absorption material. But Kahne pulled off a magnificent restart and powered into Turn 1 at full steam.

“Well, the one before just didn’t work,” said Kahne, who picked the outside lane and lost the lead on the short-lived restart for the first overtime. “Everything went wrong. On the final one, everything went right. And once I got to Turn 1, I had good power and was able to clear him off (Turn) 1. I’m exhausted. And, it’s pretty crazy.”

Keselowski, who was trying to give team owner Roger Penske a first Brickyard 400 victory, gave credit where credit was due.

“Kasey did a heck of a job today and drove a hell of a race,” Keselowski said. “I’m happy for him. I thought we were in the right spot. You had seen the same thing all day when you’d get somebody on the outside, and in the corner you got real loose.

“He drove in there and it just stuck. I don’t know. I may have had the wrong lane there or made the wrong call. I’m not sure. The car was on edge and then some.”

By the time Kahne took the checkered flag, the two fastest cars in the race had long since been eliminated—in the same wreck. Polesitter Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 87 laps, was racing side-by-side with Martin Truex Jr. after a restart on Lap 111 when Martin Truex’s No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota got loose underneath Busch’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, causing a collision that crippled both cars.

Ultimately, it was Kahne who seized the opportunity their exit presented.

Check out the unofficial results of the Brickyard 400.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!