Monday, June 28, 2010

Jimmie Johnson Bump and Run Pays off to Win New Hampshire Cup Race

Photo Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

LOUDON, N. H. – One of these days, people will stop doubting Jimmie Johnson.
The four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion can lose a race, or two, and folks automatically write him off as a contender.
Sunday, at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Johnson played second fiddle, as he sometimes does, for most of the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 before putting a payback bump-and-run on Kurt Busch.
Busch had nudged Johnson aside with seven laps remaining with a bumper-tag finesse usually associated with ballet, but this high-speed dance was sheer poetry in motion. Johnson repaid the favor with just a few laps to go, providing high-end drama to a race that had only four caution flags.
Tony Stewart slipped past Busch for second place on the last lap. Busch was third. Jeff Gordon was fourth and NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Kevin Harvick finished fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joey Logano and A. J. Allmendinger. Kyle Busch, one of the leaders and a contender all day, wound up 11th after colliding with Jeff Burton and spinning during one of the late restarts. Burton, who led 89 laps, was a definite factor before the spin. Kyle Busch led 46 laps.
Sunday’s victory was the 52nd of Johnson's career and his fifth of this season.
Pole winner Juan Pablo Montoya and fellow front-row starter Kasey Kahne led laps before problems sidelined both drivers late in the race. Kahne, who led a race-high 110 laps, lost an engine. Montoya, who led 36 laps, was wrecked by Reed Sorensen.
Montoya jumped off to a good start when the green flag fell, pulling ahead of second-place Kurt Busch by a little more than a second. The top 10 at Lap 25 were Montoya, Busch, Kahne, Newman, Bowyer, Johnson, Newman, Mark Martin, David Reutimann and Gordon.
Debris in Turn 3 brought out the first caution at Lap 35. Kahne beat everyone out of the pits, followed by Martin. Montoya quickly advanced from fifth place to second. Kahne pretty much controlled things during this part of the race. Kyle Busch had moved to second, dropping Montoya to third with Burton on his bumper and Gordon running fifth.
Kyle passed Kahne for the lead shortly before the halfway mark.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Kyle Busch Wins New England 200 Nationwide Race

Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/ Getty Images for NASCAR

LOUDON, N. H. -- Kyle Busch added a few more records to his impressive resume
He became the NASCAR Nationwide Series' all-time lap leader in winning the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and he also broke veteran Mark Martin's laps-led mark in 45 fewer races than it took Martin to set the record of 8,083 laps.
Busch has now led 8,117 laps. Afterward, he heaped praise on his Joe Gibbs Racing team, under the leadership of crew chief Jason Ratliff.
Points leader Brad Keselowski finished second with Carl Edwards, third, Joey Logano fourth and Trevor Bayne fifth.
Justin Allgaier was sixth followed by Kevin Harvick, Reed Sorensen, Paul Menard and Brenden Gaughan, respectively, to round out the top 10.
The victory was Busch's sixth of the season. He’s running a part-time series schedule as the defending champion. Saturday’s victory also marked the first time a driver has won two NASCAR Nationwide Series events at New Hampshire. Saturday’s was the series’ 24th race there; Busch also won the track’s June event a year ago.
Indy Racing League star Danica Patrick had another luckless day, finishing 30th, five laps behind, after an early-race shunt with Morgan Shepherd damaged her car.
Skies were overcast when the race began, and a threat of rain put a little more urgency in the start. Pole winner Keselowski pulled out front and Allgaier moved into second.
Patrick's day took a miserable turn on Lap 7 when the veteran Shepherd ducked beneath her in Turn 1, lost control and spun, collecting Patrick in the process.
When the green fell again, Kyle Busch took the lead but Keselowski went back to the front a couple laps later. Patrick, the center of attention in pre-race publicity and promotions, was relegated to 38th, a lap down, as a result of her spin.
At 30 laps, it appeared Keselowski was in for a good afternoon, but Harvick, Busch, Edwards, Logano and Allgaier were hanging within striking distance. Sorensen, Steve Wallace, Lofton and Dillon rounded out the top 10.
Patrick, meanwhile, had dropped another lap by Lap 40, putting her two laps down.
Harvick took the top spot on Lap 45 and Busch went with him, putting Keselowski in third. A lap later, Busch went back out front.
On Lap 94, Taylor Malsam and Ricky Stenhouse got together to bring out the second caution of the day. The leaders pitted again, some for two tires and some for four. Busch and Harvick took four while Logano and Allgaier took two. Keselowski didn't pit this time around.
On the restart, just past the halfway point of 100 laps, Keselowski led with Busch a little over a second behind. Logano was third, Edwards fourth and Harvick fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Sadler, Menard, Allgaier, Bayne and Sorensen.
Busch, however, chased Keselowski down and passed him for the lead on Lap 120.

Vettel Jets to European GP Pole; Ferrari Strong, Mercedes GP Falters

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Landing back in Europe after a one-race trip, the 2010 Formula 1 tour leaves North America after running the Canadian Grand Prix where the Red Bull Racing team lost some of their recent magic For some of the Formula 1 teams, the Valencia track is a form of homecoming to their efforts in 2010. Renault F1, Ferrari, Williams and Mercedes GP logged shake-down laps around the Spanish race track at the beginning of the year as they ironed out bugs from their 2010 packages. As more than half the 2010 grand prix season is now a memory, teams only need to look at the last race to establish their standing on the world open-wheel tour.

Proceeding with the 9th qualifying session of the 2010 Formula 1 season, Red Bull Racing stands unseated from a streak where team drivers captured 7 straight grand prix poles as Lewis Hamilton broke through in Canada with his McLaren-Mercedes. Arriving on the 3.367 mile track of Valencia saw a stronger Red Bull Racing team show up evident in final practice on Saturday. In qualifying for the European Grand Prix, the Red Bull-Renaults prevailed supreme again as Sebastian Vettel took pole through the session thanks to a 1 minute, 37.587 second lap time. Another Red Bull Racing 1-2, Mark Webber was 0.075 seconds slower than his teammate in the latest inner-team rivalry between Webber and Vettel.

After being a bit nervous about their speed in the season opening round of Bahrain, McLaren F1 has revealed themselves to be better than pre-season expectation. Lewis Hamilton backed up his victory in the Canadian Grand Prix with a close 3rd place qualifying effort in the European Grand Prix. Also showing a strong effort at Bahrain Grand Prix, Ferrari rested with a question mark on their 2010 season following several inconsistent runs. At Valencia, native Spaniard Fernando Alonso pleased his country's fan placing 4th tomorrow just ahead of fellow Ferrari runner Felipe Massa.

For another race, the factory Mercedes GP team continues to struggle for qualifying speed. Rosberg summed up the lackluster effort of the Formula 1 team saying "There was just no more performance to get out of the car. We had a few issues this morning so we had to make a compromise on our upgrade package and that made the difference of being in the top ten." Starting the season as a podium-contending team within the framework of the former Brawn GP organization, the Mercedes GP team have been losing ground as the season has progressed. Resurgent efforts from Renault, Ferrari and Red Bull Racing could be contributing to the fallback of the revived 'Silver Arrows' team. For the European Grand Prix, both Mercedes GP cars broke into the Q3 session as Nico Rosberg starts 12th while Michael Schumacher is found in 15th place.

The start of the 2010 European Grand Prix will commence at 8:00 A.M. Eastern Time on TSN or Speed channel.

2010 Formula 1

European Grand Prix

Starting Grid

1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Felipe Massa Ferrari
6. Robert Kubica Renault F1
7. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
8. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
9. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
10. Vitaly Petrov Renault
11. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
12. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
13. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
15. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
16. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
17. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
18. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
20. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
21. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
23. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
24. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth

Race Weekend Weather Forecast (June 25-27)

Loudon, New Hampshire
NASCAR Sprint Cup/ NASCAR Nationwide Series

Lenox Industrial Tools 301/ New England 200

Chance of isolated thunderstorms, 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit), 30% Chance of Precipitation
Sunday: Sunny with cloudy breaks, 26 degrees Celsius (78 degrees Fahrenheit), 10% Chance of Precipitation

Valencia, Spain
Formula 1
European Grand Prix

Sunny, 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), No Chance of Precipitation
Sunday: Sunny with cloudy breaks, 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), No Chance of Precipitation

Juan Montoya Takes Sprint Cup Race Pole for New Hampshire

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR

Providing the scene for the shortest oval race on the NASCAR Sprint
Cup calendar, the New Hampshire International Speedway plays host to the Lenox
Industrial Tools 301.

Drawing a late qualifying attempt proved most valuable on the
Friday qualifying session as Juan Pablo Montoya's #42 Target
Chevy outmatched the #2 Miller Lite Dodge of Kurt Busch to take
pole for Sunday's race at the 'Magic Mile'. Clocking a lap of
28.781 seconds, Montoya drew 29th and eventual front row companion
Kasey Kahne in his Budweiser Ford beat the Busch's Dodge with
an even later qualifying run. Proving a benefit for drivers who
had to wait within the time trial session, drivers like Tony
Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch seemingly
lost out due to being first on track. Not one driver from the
first 15 qualifying attempts are found within the top-10 of
the Lenox Industrial Tools 301.

As of this week, Reed Sorenson takes over the #83 Red Bull Toyota.
In a press statement issued mid last week, Team Red Bull Jay Frye
provided news of the second driver change for the #83 since Brian
Vickers has been sidelined. “Our unique situation has afforded us
the opportunity to try some different things, and we’re continuing
to do that with Reed,” Frye said while voicing his gratitude for
Casey Mears' efforts starting May at Dover Speedway. Ending up 29th
through their first qualifying effort together, the young Sorenson
will be eager to make up ground on Sunday.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup New Hampshire's Lenox Industrial Tools 301
will receive its scheduled green flag on Sunday at 1:30 P.M.

2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup

Lenox Industrial Tools 301

Qualifying Results

Pos | Car # | Driver | Sponsor/Car Make

1) 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet
2) 9 Kasey Kahne Budweiser Ford
3) 2 Kurt Busch Miller Lite Dodge
4) 5 Mark Martin CARQUEST / Chevrolet
5) 39 Ryan Newman Haas Automation Chevrolet
6) 00 David Reutimann Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota
7) 87 Joe Nemechek NEMCO Motorsports Toyota
8) 77 Sam Hornish Jr. AAA / Go Penske Dodge
9) 33 Clint Bowyer Zaxby's / Cheerios Chevrolet
10) 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet
11) 20 Joey Logano Home Depot Toyota
12) 47 Marcos Ambrose Lance / Tom's Mega Twisters Toyota
13) 98 Paul Menard Energizer / Menards Ford
14) 12 Brad Keselowski AAA Insurance / Go Penske Dodge
15) 82 Scott Speed Red Bull Toyota
16) 24 Jeff Gordon DuPont Chevrolet
17) 31 Jeff Burton LENOX Industrial Tools Chevrolet
18) 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet
19) 6 David Ragan UPS Ford
20) 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Freight Toyota
21) 99 Carl Edwards Aflac Ford
22) 18 Kyle Busch Interstate Batteries Toyota
23) 36 Casey Mears MOHAWK Northeast, Inc. Chevrolet
24) 29 Kevin Harvick Shell / Pennzoil Chevrolet
25) 14 Tony Stewart Old Spice / Office Depot Chevrolet
26) 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Auto Parts Toyota
27) 1 Jamie McMurray Suave Chevrolet
28) 43 A J Allmendinger Berlin City Auto Group Ford
29) 83 Reed Sorenson Red Bull ToyToyota
30) 19 Elliott Sadler Stanley Ford
31) 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard / AMP Energy Chevrolet
32) 13 Max Papis GEICO Toyota
33) 17 Matt Kenseth Diageo / Crown Royal Black Ford
34) 16 Greg Biffle American Red Cross / 3M Ford
35) 46 J J Yeley Whitney Motorsports Dodge
36) 66 Dave Blaney PRISM Motorsports Toyota
37) 55 Michael McDowell PRISM Motorsports Toyota
38) 26 David Stremme Air Guard / Ford
39) 37 David Gilliland Taco Bell Ford
40) 71 Andy Lally TRG Motorsports Chevrolet
41) 34 Kevin Conway Extenze Ford
42) 7 Bobby Labonte SpeedFactory.TV Toyota
43) 64 Todd Bodine Little Joe's Autos Toyota

Monday, June 21, 2010

Kanaan Curbs Winless Streak with Iowa Corn 250 IndyCar Win

Photo Credit: Sean Gritzmacher

Though only a 7/8 mile oval (the smallest circuit on the 2010 IRL schedule), the IZOD IndyCar Series at the Iowa Speedway has provided enough room for some entertaining events. Receiving warm accolades for being built to the specs for modern racing, including a wide pit road and a outside retaining wall built specifically with SAFER barriers in mind, the Iowa oval is a fantastic track for multi-groove racing.

Without completing a single lap, the Iowa Corn 250 fell under its first caution when the #22 car driven by Justin Wilson swept backwards up the track. Regrettably, the backward collision of Wilson caught the #32 KV Racing Technology car of Mario Moraes taking the Brazilian out of the event. Though two drivers were alright, they were also out of the event early. Disappointed for the sudden loss of control of the Dallara-Honda, Justin Wilson ended the day saying "It's obviously not how I wanted today to be and I feel sorry for everyone on the Charter car and the Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and also for Mario and his guys. He was an unfortunate bystander". Starting with some strong road course runs to the 2010 season, Justin Wilson and his Dreyer & Reinbold Racing team has found the ovals to be problematic. In the past 4 oval races on the IZOD IndyCar schedule Wilson had only one top 10 finish resulting in the Indy 500. Justin Wilson is definitely looking forward to the road course of Waltkins Glen not only for the before mentioned reason but because this was the race the Brit won last year.

Though Penske Racing's Will Power started on the pole position, the #12 Verizon car would be spending a short time amongst the front. Leading the first 32 laps for the day, the Penske Racing car of Power will be unseated at the front by the #26 of Marco Andretti. the first lead change of the race, the front position would be swapped 16 times during the Iowa Corn 250 event. Leading the most of the 250 laps was the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing #10 of Dario Franchitti. Taking the lead on lap 45, Franchitti led until a lap 52 debris caution, the second time the yellow flew on the day so far. Most cars took the opportunity to pit with exception to the #24 Dad's Root Beer car being driven for the weekend by Graham Rahal. Initially thought by observers as a bold attempt to gain track position, Rahal would confess in post-race that his presence in the lead was a result of radio troubles.

After 5 laps under green, Dario Franchitti would take the lead from Graham Rahal and the #24 Dreyer & Reinbold Racing car was required to pit lane for refueling as well as tires. Without letting Franchitti capturing on the glory for the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing team at Iowa, the #9 team car of Scott Dixon would make a competitive move on his Scottish teammate as the two Target cars swapped the lead 4 times between lap 68 to lap 116. The race was slowed again for a Sarah Fisher accident in turn 4 allowing an opportune caution where teams could pit.

Restarted on lap 112 for the Iowa Corn 250, the Target/Chip Ganassi Racing cars would soon meet a very hungry and very fast Andretti Autosport #11 car hovering in their mirrors. Tony Kanaan bolted from a 15th place starting spot in just under half the race distance with credit going to teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay for aiding the Brazilian on a race setup. Making full use of his teammate's setup, Kanaan took the lead on lap 120.

Having a terrific performance, the KV Racing Technology team had two cars within the top-10 of the running order led by the #5 Lotus Engineering car driven by Takuma Sato. Running incident-free for more than 75% of the Iowa Corn 250, the Japanese rookie's race ended on lap 17 8 when his #5 car swept into the turn 4 wall.

Through the final pit stops for the leaders under this caution for Sato, an anxious moment developed within the Andretti Autosport team. As Kanaan was being serviced by the #11 crew members, the #37 of Ryan Hunter-Reay darted into his pit and almost made contact with the #11 team's front tire changer. The incident was a near miss as crew member was not seriously hurt and both Andretti Autosport cars were initially sent back into competition. However, IRL later summoned Ryan Hunter-Reay to pit road for a drive-through penalty for making contact with pit equipment.

After the pit stop, Dario Franchitti was positioned convincingly for his 3rd win at Iowa Speedway. However, a challenge from Penske Racing's Helio Castroneves kept pressure on the Scot's #10 car. Franchitti's desire for Iowa victory ended after late in the event when his Dallara-Honda experienced gear-shifting issues regulating the 2010 Indy 500 winner into pit road and several laps down. Finishing 18th in the race, Dario Franchitti lost the overall IZOD IndyCar Series points lead falling to third as well as the AJ Foyt Oval championship points lead.

With Castroneves now in the lead in his #3 car, the #11 of Tony Kanaan begin a triumphant charge back to the front. With only 10 laps remaining, the duo of the Brazilian IndyCar drivers was resolved with Kanaan streaking by Castroneves winning the Iowa Corn 250. The first win for Kanaan since Richmond of 2008, Tony Kanaan was understandably ecstatic about being in victory lane. This victory for the #11 team was also the second win of the season for Andretti Autosport signalizing that the IZOD IndyCar series could be showing signs of having three strong superteams.

With Tony Kanaan's first win in about two years proving as a significant storyline, some special credit should be paid to the finish of KV Racing Technology's EJ Viso pulling out a brilliant 3rd place run. The last of the KV Racing Technology cars left in the Iowa Speedway event, the Venezuelan moved from 19th to score this personal-first podium position.

As Dario Franchitti falls from the top of the 2010 IZOD IndyCar series overall points lead, Will Power retakes the lead enduring the four-race oval stretch which saw the Australian nonetheless with only an 11 point lead over Scott Dixon.

2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Iowa Corn 250 Race Results

1. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
2. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
3. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
4. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
5. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
6. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
7. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises
37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
9. 24 Graham Rahal/South Africa/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
10. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
12. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
13. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
14. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports
15. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
16. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
17. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
18. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
19. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
20. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
21. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
22. 67 Sarah Fisher/United States/ Sarah Fisher Racing
23. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
25. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Edwards King of Road America Nationwide Race

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

A perfect day greeted the NASCAR Nationwide Series in Elkhart Like, Wisconsin as the stock car racing tour visits a new track added on the 2010 schedule. Consisting of 4.048 miles, the fast 14-turn road course of Road America greets the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the first time. The Bucyrus 200 at Road America is a gain after losing a historically significant race at the Milwaukee Mile oval due to financial issues.

Starting what would be one of three road course stops for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide season, the unique stock car racing action brought some rare appearances for some drivers. Classically referred to as road ringers, the Bucyrus 200 introduced drivers Ron Fellows and Jacques Villeneuve back to the series. Having little to no experience in the NASCAR feeder series, Owen Kelly, Tony Ave and Patrick Long adds themselves as road race professionals eager to compete against Nationwide series regulars on their turf.

Taking pole in the late morning qualifying session, Carl Edwards lead from the start of the event through the first 12 circuits. Former formula 1 driver Jacques Villeneuve making the most of a front row start. Fastest in Friday practice, Villeneuve and his Braun Racing #32 Toyota would be a dominant figurehead for the road racers through the Road America Nationwide race. Racing Road America, the track is one Jacques Villeneuve enjoyed a positive past winning his very first IndyCar race on the 4-mile circuit in 1994 and repeated in 1995.

Right off the bat, some of the Nationwide series regular encountered difficulty including the 3rd place runner for the drivers points. The #12 Dodge of Justin Allgaier came to a stop on track during the initial laps for what turned out to be a broken track bar. Accepting a 35nd place result after rejoining the field losing 20 laps, the Penske Racing driver stays in 3rd in points but lost significant points to 1st and 2nd position sending Allgaier well-back in the 2010 championship.

Though Braun Racing's #38 Toyota of Jason Leffler took the lead for three laps after gaining the position through pit stop strategy, Edwards stormed past to retake the top position on lap 15 for another 13 laps (translating to more than 52 miles). As caution flew on lap 28 condensing the cars concluding after a long green period the stock car pack was repositioned to take advantage of gaining track places. As the race restarted on lap 30 the predator instincts of competitors reigned setting up the largest incident of the day occurring between 6 cars on lap 31. Involving Jason Leffler, the #34 of Tony Raines, the #31 of Stanton Barrett and the #16 Ford of Colin Braun were among were involved in the turn 6 pile-up which also resulted in over 30 minute red flag period falling on the Road America road course.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Once race was sent in motion following the clean-up in turn 6, the #18 Toyota Camry of Brad Coleman assumed the lead once Carl Edwards pitted with several other drivers including Paul Menard and Jacques Villeneuve. Back to green on lap 34, Coleman held off the Brendan Gaughan's #62 Toyota and Ron Fellows driving the #88 AER Engineering Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

As the field were engaged with each other for position under 12 laps left in the Bucyrus 200, three cautions would insure at least three golden opportunities to vie for a top finishing position. On lap 38, the #33 Chevrolet of Ron Hornaday and the #21 Richard Childress-Owned Chevrolet being driven by Tim George Jr collided in turn 3. With Coleman still leading through this fifth caution period, the restart would see the Joe Gibbs Racing #18 car under heavy attack as Brendan Gaughan placed a hard charge on Coleman on the restart. Jacques Villeneuve, who had received fender damage through minor contact within the last caution, displayed some of the aggressiveness which made him the most exciting driver to watch in Formula 1. Passing several cars on newer tires Villeneuve diced up to the top 3 entering perfect striking position to the #18 and #62. Into lap 39, Coleman and Gaughan entered turn 3 as Villeneuve made a daring move making the situation 3-wide as he late-braked his #32 Toyota on the inside. Smoking his left ftonr tire in what at that time appeared as tire lockup, Villeneuve's out-braking maneuver paid off passing both Coleman and Gaughan. Within the Canada corner of turn 12, caution flew again as the #23 of Alex Kennedy and the #40 Mike Bliss car get together. It was under this caution it was revealed Villeneuve's tire smoke was a result of the damage in the earlier caution incident.

As Jacques Villeneuve rallied back to the front, so did the strong Roush-Fenway Racing Ford of Carl Edwards. Edward's #60 moved all the way up to 2nd place when the lap 42 restart presented him the perfect chance to reclaim the position is launched from at the start of the Bucyrus 200. Coming down the frontstretch in taking the green, Carl Edwards broke out of the double-file formation immediately merging behind Villeneuve for a quick draft down the remaining straight. Edwards would duck out and swing around Villeneuve's #32 Toyota to take a firm lead. Falling to second, Villeneuve and his Braun Racing team were still content to be running considering some rather heavy tire rubbing.

In a final caution for the #35 car of Stanton Barrett being trapped in the turn 6 sand trap, Villeneuve had one chance to perform regain the lead for a possible NASCAR victory when with the left front tire threatening. However, it would be a mechanical failure which would drop the Braun Racing car out of the running. Edwards blitzed to victory at Road America for his second straight road race win in the NASCAR Nationwide series after winning Montreal in 2009. With Villeneuve's retirement promoting JR Motorsport's Ron Fellows to 2nd, it still proved a terrific day for Canadian NASCAR fans. Brendan Gaughan, Brad Keselowski and rookie Owen Kelly rounded out the top-five for what proved to be an exciting change for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide series.

2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series
Bucyrus 200 at Road America
Top 10 Race Results

Pos| Car # | Driver | Sponsor/Car Make
1 60 Carl Edwards Fastenal Ford
2 88 Ron Fellows AER Manufacturing Chevrolet
3 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Hotel & Casino Toyota
4 22 Brad Keselowski Discount Tire Dodge
5 27 Owen Kelly K1 Speed Ford
6 18 Brad Coleman SafeWay Driving Centers Toyota
7 7 J R Fitzpatrick Schick Hydro Chevrolet
8 38 Jason Leffler Great Clips Toyota
9 66 Steve Wallace 5-hour Energy Toyota
10 99 Trevor Bayne Toyota

Weather Forecast for Weekend Race Calender (June 18-20)

Sonoma, California
Infineon Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup
Toyota/Save Mart 300

Friday: Sunny with cloudy breaks, 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit), 0% Chance of Precipitation
Sunny with cloudy breaks, 23 degrees Celsius (74 degrees Fahrenheit), 10% Chance of Precipitation
Sunday: Sunny with cloudy breaks, 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), 10% Chance of Precipitation

Newton, Iowa
Iowa Speedway
IZOD IndyCar/ Firestone Indy Lights
Iowa Corn Indy 250/ 100

Friday: Cloudy with Thunderstorms, 29 degrees Celsius (84 degrees Fahrenheit), 100% Chance of Precipitation
Saturday Daytime: Sunny, 31 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit), 20% Chance of Precipitation
Saturday Night: Cloudy with Scattered Thunderstorms, 19 degrees Celsius (67 degrees Fahrenheit), 60% Chance of Precipitation
Sunday: Cloudy with Thunderstorms, 30 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit), 80% Chance of Precipitation

Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin
Road America
NASCAR Nationwide Series
Bucyrus 200 Presented by Menards

Friday: Sunny, 30 degrees Celsius (87 degrees Fahrenheit), 0% Chance of Precipitation
Saturday: Sunny, 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), 0% Chance of Precipitation

Lexington, Ohio
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Grand-Am Rolex Series
Emco Gears Classic presented by KeyBank

Clouds and Afternoon Thunderstorms, 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit), 50% Chance of Precipitation

Friday, June 18, 2010

JR Motorsports Unleash All-Canadian Driver Duo for Road America Nationwide Race

Photo Credit: James H. Heine/Editorial Solutions

While the Canadian Olympic hockey team gold metal performance demonstrated in Vancouver this past winter what we can do together as a country, the motorsport world has shown similar instances where a united front of Canada's best athletes. For this weekend's inaugural NASCAR Nationwide series round on the 4-mile Road America road course, the high-profile race team of JR Motorsports has entered two well-versed Canadian stock car drivers into their multi-car team. Taking part in the Bucyrus 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday is Cambridge's J.R. Fitzpatrick and Mississauga's Ron Fellows.

Though sharing their Canadian nationality, Ron Fellows and J.R. Fitzpatrick share little else other than JR Motorsports-prepped Chevrolets. At age 50, Ron Fellows comes from strong footing in sports car racing to effectively spoil the show against NASCAR regulars. Successfully scoring victory in 6 total races in major NASCAR competition (4 Nationwide Series and 2 Camping World Truck races) Fellows is a designated road ringer at almost every NASCAR road race held for more than a decade. Joining JR Motorsports for the 3rd consecutive season, Fellows will be driving the #88 Chevrolet Impala sponsored by AER Manufacturing, a long-time affiliate of Fellow's racing career. Confident on the recent working relationship Fellows has with JR Motorsports, the more veteran Canadian said "I’m very optimistic on our chances for a solid run at Road America. With the powerful Hendrick horsepower we have under the hood and solid preparation the No. 88 AER team offers, we have as good a shot as anyone in the field to go to victory lane."

NASCAR Public Relations

J.R. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, is a 22 year-old aspiring stock car great looking to break into the full-time ranks of one of NASCAR's top touring series. Thanks the Canada's wide variety of road courses on the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series schedule, Fitzpatrick has more than average experience turning left and right in stock car competition. Remarking first that he spent a week in a simulator and a long Thursday practice getting accustomed to the 4-mile Road America Circuit, Fitzpatrick continued “This is a great opportunity for me, and I’m excited to drive the No. 7 Schick Hydro Chevrolet. As a driver, surrounding yourself with good people and good equipment is all you can really ask for, and we’ve got that with JRM. Schick Hydro has been a wonderful sponsor of mine for some time, and I’m thankful to them for making this possible." Fitzpatrick will be taking the #7 Schick Hydro Chevrolet around Road America Saturday in hopes to once again add some luster to his NASCAR career south of the 49th parallel. His best finish so far is a 4th place finish in 2009 at the Camping World Truck Series in Daytona.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Perhaps the first time a major NASCAR series multi-car team has enlisted two Canadian drivers to run a race weekend, other avenues of auto racing have seen great triumphs result through the partnering of Canadian drivers. Among the most high-profile occurred during the days of the Players-sponsored Forsythe Racing days. First showing future Canadian talent Jacques Villeneuve accompanied by fellow French-Canadian Claude Bourbonnais. In 1998, when Forsythe Racing's CART World Series effort expanded to a second team, Patrick Carpentier was added alongside Greg Moore. With Carpentier remaining with Forsythe Racing for 7 seasons, he would also be paired with current IZOD IndyCar driver Alex Tagliani and 2003 Champ Car crown holder Paul Tracy. 22 CART/Champ Car victories were gained through the 7 seasons of Forsythe's year of two Canadian drivers. In one major triumph, the 2000 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP675 class victory was obtained by the Canadian-owned Multimatic Motorsport team contending with country-bred drivers John Graham, Scott Maxwell and Greg Wilkins.

Apart from Road America, JR Motorsports has also involved themselves with another young Canadian stock car driver Steve Arpin who has driven a handful of oval events so far in 2010. The ARCA regular Arpin will be present at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin track this weekend. Their will also be an additional Canadian in the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide event as former F1 drivers champion Jacques Villeneuve suits up for the #32 Dollar General Toyota of Braun Racing (the same team Villeneuve logged a 4th place finish at Montreal last season.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fitzpatrick Flies to Mosport Win for NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

Photo Credit: Matthew Manor/NASCAR

Since NASCAR installed themselves within the Canadian stock car racing landscape when they acquired CASCAR in 2007, differences remain apparent when racing amongst the True North Strong and Free. The most obvious eccentricity within the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is the compilation of road courses. Out of 13 NASCAR Canadian Tires series races in the 2010 schedule, 5 occur on road or street course. Following the opening round at Deleware Speedway where DJ Kennington drew first blood on the 2010 season, the stock car series find themselves racing on the Mosport road course for the second race on the schedule, the Vortex Brake Pads 200.

Providing a large 26-car field, the starting grid was topped by 2-time and reigning NASCAR Canadian Tire Series champion Andrew Ranger making one of what will be a few visits back to Canada (Ranger is now racing within the NASCAR K&N East Series). Taking pole with a red #27 Dodge, Ranger showed little rust taking an early lead before a quick caution brought the field together again. Having started alongside Andrew Ranger for the Vortex Brake Pads 200 was the #84 Schick Hydro Chevrolet of JR Fitzpatrick. Following a 2nd place finish at Deleware where Fitzpatrick overcame an early spin-out, the young Cambridge native plans a stronger set of race laps early will allow him a one position improvement on the race results. Thanks to the early caution which wrapping up on lap 5, JR Fitzpatrick would motor around Ranger on the restart to take the race lead.

Photo Credit: Matthew Manor/NASCAR

A tamer race than the yellow-flag laden season opening event, the Mosport road course saw only two cautions. The second fell on lap 18 when Jarrad Whissell's #44 Ford met a wall. After several cars made pit stops including JR Fitzpatrick, the Mosport race was reset with American driver Jason Bowles leading Pierre Bourque. Driving the #11 Triad Racing Technologies Dodge driven by John Gaunt, the Ontario, California driver Bowles put on an incredible show rising from an 11th place starting spot to be a race front-runner. While JR Fitzpatrick's Chevrolet would find a way around Bowles' Dodge on lap 28, the #11 would remain near the front settling for a stunning 3rd place finish.

Leading the final 22 laps, JR Fitzpatrick crossed the line first in front of Andrew Ranger for the Vortex Brake Pads 200 victory. A hard battle for 6th place became the biggest spectacle coming to the start/finish line as #17 Castro Edge Dodge of DJ Kennington held off a valiant charge from Jeff Lapcevich's Tim Hortons Chevrolet. Rounding out the top-5 for the second NASCAR Canadian Tire Series race of 2010 was Scott Steckly and Kerry Micks.

After two races, JR Fitzpatrick has been able to combine a win and 2nd place finish to take the series points lead ahead of DJ Kennington. Next for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series is a return to ovals as the circuit visits Quebec's Autodrome St Eustache on July 3.

Hamilton's The Man in Montreal; Wins 2nd Canadian Grand Prix

Photo Credit: Lotus Racing

Saying bonjour to the Formula 1 drivers and teams for the 8th race of the 2010 season, the Canadian Grand Prix returns to the F1 circuit and Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve after a one-year hiatus.

Gaining the pole through a fastest lap time Saturday around the 4.361 mile road course, Lewis Hamilton and McLaren Formula 1 team starts in a handsome position on the race grid. Even before the race began however, Red Bull Racing's Mark Webber lost his front row starting spot when the team addressed a gearbox problem on his Red Bull-Renault.

Once the race got underway, the start was shaken by contact between the Ferrari of Felipe Massa and the Force India-Mercedes belonging to Vitantonio Liuzzi. Though requiring pit service to fix car damage, the incident was not enough for the FIA to call out the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG pace car. In fact, uncharacteristic for a the past F1 outings by Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the 2010 edition of the race went on without a safety car period at any point in the event.

Head to head, the McLaren and Ferrari fought to get their driver out first. Unleashed, both Alonso and Hamilton stormed down the pit road side-by-side with Fernando Alonso just edging out the McLaren. However, shortly afterwards, Hamilton thrusted past the Ferrari F2010 for what would be a defining pass in settling the race's victor.

Remembered as a demanding track on the mechanicals of a Formula 1 car, an engine failure on Pedro de la Rosa's BMW Sauber-Ferrari and a brake issue on the Lotus-Cosworth of Jarno Trulli were the only major technical-related retirements in the race along with Bruno Senna. The only real physical attributes drivers and teams were contending with in the Canadian Grand Prix were the Bridgestone tires. While the primary compound was the hardest compound selected for the teams to run in the race weekend, several drivers faced trouble preserving their rubber. In the standout case in the Canadian Grand Prix, Mark Webber attempted to run longer on a set of primary tires only to see his nearly 11 second lead reduced to a few car lengths over Lewis Hamilton. As Webber's Red Bull-Renault fell into the grasp of Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes, the tires on the Red Bull Racing tire were showing severe signs of shredding. Losing the large interval lead, Webber also lost any hope of a podium finish. When Webber pitted, the top-3 were led by the two McLarens of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso in third spot.

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

As the race was going well for younger drivers like Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, 7-time Canadian Grand Prix winner Michael Schumacher pressed through one of the toughest days the 41 year-old German had experienced since his F1 return. Starting 13th, Schumacher was able to lift himself into a top-10 spot inside the Canadian Grand Prix running order past halfway but would fall quickly into the gunsights of mid-mark F1 teams.

On lap 61, Sabastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso-Ferrari was able to vault himself past Schumacher started with a determined charge down the front stretch into the Senna curves. Falling to Buemi, when Felipe Massa charged on Schumacher's Mercedes GP car on the final laps, the German was intent not to away anymore championship points. As Massa attempted a move on the outside of Schumacher through the Casino stretch, the Mercedes gave no room to the Ferrari causing Massa to clip Schumacher's rear tire. Massa's Ferrari suffered a damaged front wing and would require a late race pit stop for a replacement nose piece costing him also a point-scoring finish. The incident questions whether Felipe Massa made a misjudgement or if Schumacher made a second blocking move into the corner; a move which is a no-no.

Completing the bad day for Michael Schumacher ended with a dream moment for both Force India Formula 1 team cars. Into the final lap, Vitantonio Liuzzi was working on a way past with his teammate Adrian Sutil in tow. Through a well-timed last lap move, Luizzi found an opening around Schumacher's Mercedes which provided a path for his Force India teammate to follow capturing the 10th and final point-scoring position for the Canadian Grand Prix.

For his second win in a row for 2010, Lewis Hamilton brought his McLaren-Mercedes to victory excitedly celebrating in the site of his very first Formula 1 pole and victory in 2007. A 1-2 for McLaren, the team effort allowed the group to launch over Red Bull Racing in the Formula 1 Constructors Championship. Joining the McLaren pair, Fernando Alonso brought Ferrari a podium effort while his teammate Massa suffered hard-luck throughout the Canadian Grand Prix event. Happy with his 3rd place finish, Alonso will be looking to the next Formula 1, the European Grand Prix in his home country of Spain. The race on the Valencia Street Circuit is on June 27th.

Performed in front of a crowd of 300,000 race fans through the 3 days of race action, the weekend of the Canadian Grand Prix has once again proven that Canadian and even American Formula 1 audiences are substantial.

2010 Canadian Grand Prix Formula 1 Unofficial Race Results

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
4. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
5. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
6. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
7. Robert Kubica Renault F1
8. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
10. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
11. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
12. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
13. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
14. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
15. Felipe Massa Ferrari
16. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
17. Vitaly Petrov Renault
18. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth
19. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
21. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
22. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
23. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth
24. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari

Nationwide Race Proclaims Logano Kentucky King

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By Lee Montgomery
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

(June 12, 2010)

SPARTA, Ky.—Joey Logano remained perfect in the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Kentucky Speedway, winning the Meijer 300 from the pole on Saturday night.

Logano had lost the lead on two restarts late in the race but was able to power back to the top spot each time.

The first was with 44 laps to go when Mike Bliss took the lead, but after an extended caution period, Logano got back out front on Lap 169 of 200.

The second came when Brendan Gaughan charged around the outside after a restart on Lap 175, but Gaughan slipped off Turn 4 a lap later, and Logano again regained the lead.

Logano then held off a late charge from Carl Edwards to win for the third time at Kentucky.

Logano, 20, has won the pole and the race every time he has raced at the 1.5-mile track. The victory in 2008 was his first in one of NASCAR’s national series.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series double-duty drivers swept the top three positions, as Edwards finished second and NASCAR Nationwide Series points leader Brad Keselowski was third. Edwards moved up one spot in the standings to second, and is 272 points behind Keselowski.

Gaughan finished fourth, with Reed Sorenson fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Steve Wallace, Scott Wimmer, Justin Allgaier, Scott Riggs and Raybestos Rookie Colin Braun.

Armirola Wins in Michigan; his 2nd NASCAR Truck Series Race

Photo Credit: Credit: Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR

By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
(June 12, 2010)
BROOKLYN, Mich.—Aric Almirola passed Todd Bodine and Kyle Busch three-wide through the middle with seven laps left in Saturday’s VFW 200 and held on to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
Bodine finished second and retained his series lead by 55 points over Almirola, who won for the second time this season in Billy Ballew’s No. 51 Toyota. Busch ran third, followed by Ron Hornaday Jr. and polesitter Austin Dillon, who overcame a late pit-road penalty to post his second straight top five.
“I didn’t think it was the greatest place to be,” Almirola said of his middle position after a restart on Lap 93 of 100. “But I knew we were going to run wide open through the corner. We were either going to crash, or we were going to make it out the other side—because I knew how important clean air was.
“I knew that was my only shot to get out in the lead, and if I didn’t get out in the lead, there was no chance of us winning the race. So I went down in Turn 1, and I knew I was going to run a shorter distance than Todd (who was on the outside), so I just tried to hang tight on Kyle’s door and get him loose, which I did.
“By the time we got off Turn 2, I was almost clear of Todd, and then when we went through (Turns) 3 and 4, I cleared him. So I think that was the move of the race, as far as I’m concerned.”
In a race that featured a track-record 20 lead changes, Almirola didn’t go to the front until his pass on Lap 93. Bodine had held the lead for a restart on Lap 89 and had begun to pull away when Nelson Piquet Jr. spun through the frontstretch grass to bring out the fifth and final caution of the afternoon.
“Maybe it caught me a little off guard,” Bodine said of Almirola’s pass for the lead. “Aric’s a hell of a racer, and they had a good truck when it counted. On a short run like that—especially as many laps as we rode around under caution, with the tires cooling down—everybody’s handling pretty good for three or four laps, five laps.
“I really believe that, if this race was 10 laps longer, I probably would have beat him—but, guess what, there weren’t another 10 laps.”
Notes: The race was red-flagged for 40 minutes, 12 seconds because of a rain shower that caused the third caution on Lap 34. … Timothy Peters finished sixth and remained third in the standings, 165 points behind Almirola. … Matt Crafton retired after 83 laps with an engine failure and fell three spots to 10th in points.

Photo Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hamilton and McLaren Takes Canadian GP Pole; Red Bull Qualifying Streak Ended

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

After sweeping the pole position spot for the first 7 races of the 2010 Formula 1 season, the Canadian Grand Prix rates as significant for Red Bull Racing as the event where their consecutive 1st place start streak ends. However, it did not occur without a stubborn fight from Red Bull Racing teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber. Entering the final Q3 session, Sebastian Vettel stood only 3/100ths of a second slower than Lewis Hamilton's McLaren-Mercedes. However, as lap times continued to fall at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Hamilton lowered his own Q2 time by 4/10ths of a second. Enough to fend off the charge of the Red Bull-Renaults, his 1 minute, 15.105 second lap time in Montreal gave the Brit his first Formula 1 pole his the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year.

Making the Formula 1 pole in Montreal even more memorable for Lewis Hamilton was the fact his McLaren-Mercedes ran out of fuel coming back to the pits at the end of the Q3 session. Providing for an amusing picture as Hamilton was pushing his McLaren down the stretch along the Casino de Montreal. While an entertaining sight for fans, the F1 officials were not the least bit amused by the scene. The McLaren team was fined $10,000 for what is called exceeding the maximum allotted time for returning to pit road.

Settling with 3rd fastest, Sebestian Vettel was able to close on Hamilton with a time just 3/10ths slower than the McLaren-Mercedes, his teammate was able to sandwich his way between the two cars through Q3. 5th fastest after Q2 Mark Webber leap-frogged Vettel to led the Red Bull Racing's grand prix charge mustering a 2nd place front row position thanks to a strong Q3 showing.

In 4th and 5th Ferrari's Fernando Alonso as well as the second McLaren of Jenson Button are in excellent striking position to take advantage of any first turn collisions which might occur between the front row vehicles. With Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's first lap leading into a tight, slow Senna turn hairpin section, often breeds chao.

Deserving a chance to be mentioned, Vitantonio Liuzzi for Force India stormed to 6th on the starting grid. The defending race winner (the 20o8 race winner since there wasn't a 2009 event) Robert Kubica posted a 8th fastest effort. Winning the race with BMW-Sauber in 2008, Kubica's former team starts deeper in the grid with team cars in 17th and 18th place.

Photo Credit: Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic

In 2008, the team now known as the Mercedes GP team was the Honda F1 factory team. Since then, Brawn brought that shell of that team taking it to a championship in 2009 before selling majority control to Mercedes-Benz. Essentially the first race for the Mercedes factory team, the team had some encouraging runs in Friday practice and even a 4th fastest speed for Michael Schumacher in Saturday morning, the silver arrows were off target in Canadian Grand Prix qualifying. 10th fastest and about a second slower than the pole sitter, Nico Rosberg leads the team with Michael Schumacher shut-out of the Q3 time trial session in 13th place. Ross Brawn offered some perspective to the tough qualifying outing for Mercedes GP. "A very disappointing qualifying session for us today, particularly as I was quite encouraged by our performance yesterday and this morning. However when it came to qualifying, we just weren't able to put our laps together."

Photo Credit: Mercedes GP

Almost mid-way through the season, race teams of HRT, Lotus Racing and Virgin Racing are still presiding at the rear of grand prix events as they continue to search for competitive speed. However, in qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, the speed differential between the teams have been closing. Within the top times of the top-23 Formula 1 times, 4.8 seconds separate much of the 2010 Formula 1 field.

Canadian Grand Prix Qualifying Results 2010 Formula 1

1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
2. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
4. Fernando Alonso Ferrari
5. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
6. Vitantonio Liuzzi Force India-Mercedes
7. Felipe Massa Ferrari
8. Robert Kubica Renault F1
9. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes
10. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
11. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth
12. Nico Hulkenberg Williams-Cosworth
13. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP
14. Vitaly Petrov Renault
15. Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari
16. Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari
17. Pedro de la Rosa BMW Sauber-Ferrari
18. Kamui Kobayashi BMW Sauber-Ferrari
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Cosworth
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Cosworth
21. Bruno Senna HRT-Cosworth
22. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth
23. Lucas di Grassi Virgin-Cosworth
24. Karun Chandhok HRT-Cosworth

Friday, June 11, 2010

24-Hour of Le Mans Weather Forecast

Photo Credit: Aston Martin Racing

Without stop for one full day, the most storied endurance sports car race will run the 13.65 kilometer Circuit de la Sarthe for its 78th time. With 56 cars expected to take green, those teams will find race preparations (which some like Audi were dedicated purely to Le Mans) will come down to chance. Mechanical and individual error could upset the entire work of one team, but weather could become a gauntlet for the entire sports car field.

Through past runnings of the 24-hour of Le Mans were made unforgettable by a solid rain shower sometime within the event. Inducing conditions which contributed to results class and even overall victories, the upcoming weather through the Saturday-Sunday within the French region is guaranteed to be a defining factor in 2010.

Weather Forecast for 2010 24-Hour of Le Mans (According to

Race Start (Approx. 2:22 P.M. Local Time): 23 degrees Celsius, 60% Chance of Rain
6-Hour Mark: 21 degrees Celsius, 40% Chance of Rain
12-Hour Mark: 12 degrees Celsius, mostly clear skies, only 10% Chance of Rain
18-Hour Mark: 12 degrees Celsius, sun with periods of cloud cover, 10% Chance of Rain
Race End: 21 degrees Celsius, cloud cover

For this year, expect another unsettled 24-hour run. Creating a challenge for drivers and crews, the rain in France will demonstrate the loyalty of the embedded Le Mans spectators. For fans at least, umbrella's and rain ponchos will be common wear for the first half but could be discarded as the race nears completion.

Peugeot on Pole for 24 Hours of Le Mans

Photo Credit: Audi USA

On a June, Saturday afternoon in France, more than 200 kilometers outside of the country's epicenter of Paris, the city of Le Mans becomes the center of motorsports for the 24-hour of Le Mans. Started in 1923, the race is now an treasured prized by drivers but also auto manufacturers. Last year's win by Peugeot over the Audi Sport Team Joest juggernaut was one example where the auto companies crave the honour of being the first car across the line after 24 hours.

In qualifying for the great endurance race, last year's overall winning manufacturer again bettered Audi. To the concern delight of the French crowd, the Peugeot prototypes swept the top four spots to lead the 2010 endurance event led by the driver pairing of S├ębastien BOURDAIS, Pedro LAMY and Simon PAGENAUD in the #3 Peugeot 908.

Returning this to Circuit de la Sarthe year with a revised they call the Audi R15 Plus, Audi Sport Team Joest are stationed directly behind the French auto maker's efforts with their three-car effort in the 2010 Le Mans event. Looking to position their Audi R15 within the same winning circle where the R8 and R10 inhabited for eight 24-Hour of Le Mans races last decade, Audi has little concern about being outpaced during the qualifying runs. Predicting to find the edge within the 24 hour race, Team Joest is banking on the fuel mileage of their TDI engine and tire durability as sending their vehicles further between fuel stops.

Adding themselves as a darkhorse again for Le Mans success is Aston Martin Racing delivering two Lola chassis cars to 8th and 9th. Little more than 3 seconds slower than the third Audi R15 Plus, the gasoline-fueled Aston Martin engines are no less a legitimate third factory effort in prototype.

As a remaining protoype notable, the #12 Rebellion Racing car driven by Marco Andretti, Neel Jani and Nico Prost will start16th overall for the event.

The wildly diverse production-based GT2 class saw a qualifying at Le Mans resulted in action during and after the session. 2008 and 2009 Le Mans class winning team Risi Competizione flew to pole ahead of the Corvette racing pair. The #82 Ferrari F430GT in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni posted the fast lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe only to have it taken away in post race scrutineering. The class leading time was disallowed when an issue with the #82 vehicle's rear wing was found. With the #82 Ferrari dropped to 12th in GT2, Corvette Racing's #64 leads the #63 team in the class.

Leaving 2011, the current GT1 category will run their final 24 Hour of Le Mans race. With the Chevrolet Corvette C6R running GT2, the slighter faster GT1 cars were led by the Young Drivers Aston Martin Racing contending with a DBR9.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

DJ Kennington takes NASCAR Canadian Tire Series Opener at Delaware Speedway

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Winter disappeared early in Ontario but the wait for NASCAR stock car action in this province waited until this weekend. Set-up for their 2010 season opener, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series were set loose on the 1/2 mile short oval of Delaware Speedway. As shiny, brand new NASCAR Canadian Tire Series machines assembled to for their first race, the field of drivers sported some of Canada's best established stock car drivers as well as a few future stars. Three driver, D.J Kennington, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Peter Shepherd III, return to 2010 race action in the Canadian Tire Series after venturing into the United States through the past few years. For most of the drivers, the Keystone Light 200 at Delaware Speedway represents the first time of 2010 to shake off the cobwebs through eight months of stock car racing hibernation.

D.J. Kennington scored the first NASCAR Canadian Tire Series pole position for 2010 leading a strong 23-car grid for the Saturday night 200 lap affair at the Delaware Speedway. It only took two laps for the season's first caution to fly as 3rd place #02 Kerry Micks got into the 2nd place #84 Chevrolet of J.R. Fitzpatrick. While the #84 sustained no major damage and was able to continue, NASCAR officials wisely enacted a rough driving penalty on Micks requiring the #02 BDI/Dickies Ford to make a stop and go pit stop after the lap 7 restart. This first caution of the night would be far from the only incident on the night for the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series competitors. In all, 13 cautions consumed half the race distance of the Keystone Light 200.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Through the first 1/3 distance, DJ Kennington's #17 Castrol Edge Dodge had the edge on the stock car field. He led from lap 8 through to lap 75 until NASCAR Canadian Tire Series 2010 rookie Steven Mattews took the lap lead for a brief one circuit. As the #17 Dodge of Kennington required service on pit road, J.R. Fitzpatrick and Peter Shepherd exchanged the lead from lap 91 to 114. Longtime NASCAR Canadian Tire Series mainstay Jim Lapcevich in the Tim Hortons #23 Chevrolet also claimed a few laps as the leader.

As the lead was beign tossed between drivers, Mark Diley and the #9 Partsource/ Exide Batteries Dodge would pass Shepherd on lap 131. Through a 24 lap stint, another 2010 rookie Ron Sheridan followed Diley in his outing at Delaware. Mark Diley's run out front was ended shortly later a lap 144 accident involving four vehicles (Brennan Didero, Steve Matthews, Scott Steckly and Donald Chisholm). Sheridan would get his chance to lead for 3 laps before Mark Diley returned for the top spot. That too was short-lived as a Dodge Vs. Dodge battle mounted with D.J. Kennington retaking the lead just one lap later.

Photo Credit: Matthew Murnaghan/NASCAR

Into the final laps of the Keystone Light 200, a late-race caution where the #95 Chevrolet of Anthony Simone collided with the backstretch wall allowed a duel between Kennington and J.R. Fitzpatrick. The #17 Castrol Edge Dodge of Kennington maintained his 1st place proceeding to win at Delaware Speedway. Having been a 1996 CASCAR Sportsman Series at Delaware, D.J. Kennington has won his 17th race in the CASCAR/NASCAR Canadian Tire Series in his 17th year of competition. Rounding out the top five was J.R. Fitpatrick, Jeff Lapcevich, John Gaunt and Peter Shepherd.

Starting on an oval, next week the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series resumes on the 2.46 mile road course of Mosport International Raceway for the Vortex Brake Pads 200.

NASCAR Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville: Practice Makes Perfect For Keselowski

John Sommers II/Getty Images for NASCAR

By Lee Montgomery
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

LEBANON, Tenn.—Brad Keselowski was one of four drivers pulling double-duty in NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races this weekend. But Keselowski was the only Cup driver to fly from Pocono Raceway to Nashville Superspeedway for Friday practice.

Was it any coincidence that Keselowski won Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race? Keselowski didn't think so.

"It's quite simple: If I didn't come here (Friday), I don't think I would've won the race," Keselowski said after scoring his third Nationwide victory of the season and second of his career at Nashville.

Keselowski came into Nashville with a one-point lead on Kyle Busch, but Busch and third-place Kevin Harvick skipped Nashville and will not run the full season. Keselowski's points lead is now 196 over Busch, with Carl Edwards 277 back in third.

Edwards finished second Saturday, with Paul Menard third, polesitter Justin Allgaier fourth and Mike Bliss fifth.

Edwards, Menard and Michael McDowell are also running both Cup and Nationwide races this weekend, but none were in Nashville on Friday.

Keselowski figures he owes it to his Penske Racing team to show up and practice.

"This team works in the shop on days when I'm sleeping in," Keselowski said. "They work, and they work. They work, and I get all the glory. It's my responsibility to know when it's time for me to get to work.

"Sometimes, it's not always the funnest thing to do or the easiest thing to do. There was a lot of travel (Friday), but it makes it worth it to be sitting here right now."

How was Keselowski's appearance Friday the difference? Crew chief Paul Wolfe said competition is so close that any edge a team can gain makes a big difference.

"One thing we did have going for us was this was the same car we ran here in (April), and we were very fast with it (finishing fifth)," Wolfe said. "That helped, but it's down to fine-tuning to win these races, and you've got to be close to perfect. That's where having Brad here to tune into what he thought he was going to need tonight was part of it.

"That's the kind of effort it's going to take, going back and forth. Obviously, that shows Brad's dedication to the series and winning this championship."

Keselowski qualified 24th and slowly worked his way to the front of the field. He didn't get the lead until after the halfway point but led 97 of the final 100 laps. He was one of several drivers to stay on the track under the race's final caution period, and after a brief tussle with Edwards, Keselowski pulled away for his third win of the season.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Briscoe Two-Steps Past Patrick to Win Texas IndyCar Event

Photo Credit: Ron McQueeney

Following the Indy 500, Scot Dario Franchitti is walking on cloud 9 capturing his second Borg-Warner Trophy impression in dominant fashion. On the other side of the fence, the favoured three-car team of Penske Racing faced a surprising meltdown. Suffering a pit road mistakes and a crash to Ryan Briscoe, it was the worst overall Penske performance since the 1995 race where Penske's two-car team of Emerson Fittipaldi and defending race winner Al Unser Jr failed to qualify. With the next 500 mile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway a year less a week away, Penske Racing will use the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule as a measure to reassert their dominance.

The early laps of the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway was the latest edition in the Penske Racing vs. Target Chip Ganassi Racing bout. With Ryan Briscoe leading the first 7 laps from pole, 2010 Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti took the lead wanting an encore performance of last Sunday. Leading 86 laps total through the night, Franchitti would have a strong follow-up to this Indy win at Texas. The first caution came out on lap 57 for KV Racing Technology's #5 of Takuma Sato who collided with the wall within turn 2.

Just 6 days later the Indy 500 wreck which featured Mike Conway suffering a nasty impact with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway catch fence, another frightening impact occurred when 2010 Indy 500 Rookie of Year Simona de Silvestro slid into the wall on the backstretch on lap 98. While the impact was not severe, her #78 HVM Racing/Team Stargate Worlds car erupted into flames. With fire rapidly rushing to the cockpit, de Silvestro was in a rush to get out of her car. With the aid of some safety crew workers, Simona de Silvestro was hurriedly extracted from her vehicle. Sustaining a burn to her right hand, de Silvestro was expressing more disappointment in the fact she was unable to fight her loose race car through the laps leading to her crash.

The most significant crash in the Firestone 550k occurred on lap 129. Coming out of turn 4, Helio Castroneves had been setting up the KV Racing Technology #32 car of Mario Moraes to pass on the outside. As the #3 Verizon car began to blaze past Moraes on the outside, the #32 edged up and tangled with the Castroneves. As the two race cars of Castroneves and Moraes would slid down the front tri-oval stretch, the Conquest Racing #36 of Bertrand Baguette would become a casualty to the incident as he attempted to duck between the wrecked cars. As the vehicles of Castroneves and Moraes were still in motion, Baguette clipped both cars suffering race-ending suspension damage. Immediately after getting out of his #3 Penske Racing machine, Helio Castroneves quickly approached Moraes expressing some passionate words of displeasure. After the accident, it was reported that the #32 car did not receive radio communication of Castroneves passing him. In the final results for the Firestone 550k, Helio Castroneves would place 20th for what might amount as a costly night for the overall IZOD IndyCar Series points.

Photo Credit: Ron McQueeney

Through a final round of pit stops proceeding under green, pressure was placed on the crew members and drivers in the late stages of the Firestone 550k at Texas Motor Speedway. Appearing as if they could expect another respectable oval finish in 2010 leading a midway portion of the event, the FAZZT Race Team #77 car driven by Alex Tagliani would see their day go sour on pit road. Through the completion of their pit stop, the #77 car left before the refueling hose was disconnected. FAZZT Race Team fueler Phil McRoberts was struck by the fuel hose but was fortunately unhurt thanks to wearing his helmet (a requirement of all over-the-wall crew member in IRL sanctioned events). However, the FAZZT Race Team would be required to bring Tagliani back into pit lane for a drive-through penalty on the miscue.

As the field cycles through under pit stops, Ryan Briscoe relinquished his lead position for fuel and tires coming down to his Penske Racing pit crew. However, as Briscoe is released back into competition around the 1.5 mile oval, the #7 Andretti Autosport team preformed a stunning pit work for their driver Danica Patrick which allowed her to come out of pit road ahead of Briscoe. As Dan Wheldon and Hideki Mutoh had pit stops upcoming, this fight for third would end up becoming the battle for the race lead and victory. With Patrick briefly able to use her crew's gain on pit road to keep the #7 car ahead of the Penske Racing machine of Briscoe, the #6 car would be relentless charging back on Danica Patrick's car. After several laps of dicing, Ryan Briscoe was able to emerge with the upper hand.

Holding the lead through the final 35 laps, Ryan Briscoe captured a much-needed first win for 2010 after experience a difficult year so far in the IZOD IndyCar Series. The fourth win for Penske Racing on the 2010 tour, all three team drivers have collected at least one victory for the Verizon-sponsored team.

While Team Penske recovered nicely at Texas, the efforts of Andretti Autosport is worth special consideration. Perhaps running her best race since her 2008 win at the Twin-Ring Motegi race in Japan, Danica Patrick gave a consistently strong run for the #7 car finishing a little more than 1.4 seconds behind Briscoe. Following up his podium run finish at Indy, Marco Andretti secured another 3rd place finish at Texas. the final two Andretti Autosport drivers also made massive gains from their starting spots with Tony Kanaan going from 13th to 6th and Ryan Hunter-Reay improving 17 positions to finish 7th.

Thanks to three races of oval success, Dario Franchitti has overcome the early season lead that Penske Racing's Will Power gained through the road courses. Standing a slight 3 points ahead of Power, 1st through 6th in the 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series overall championship is separated by only 45 points.

The next race is in two weeks at Iowa Speedway on June 20th.

Firestone 550k 2010 IZOD IndyCar Series Final Results
1. 6 Ryan Briscoe/Australia/ Penske Racing
2. 7 Danica Patrick/United States/ Andretti Autosport
3. 26 Marco Andretti/United States/ Andretti Autosport
4. 9 Scott Dixon/New Zealand/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
5. 10 Dario Franchitti/Scotland/ Target/Chip Ganassi Racing
6. 11 Tony Kanaan/Brazil/ Andretti Autosport
7. 37 Ryan Hunter-Reay/United States/ Andretti Autosport
8. 19 Alex Lloyd/England/ Dale Coyne Racing
9. 4 Dan Wheldon/England/ Panther Racing
10. 14 Vitor Meira/Brazil/ AJ Foyt Racing Enterprises
11. 8 EJ Viso/Venezuela/ KV Racing Technology
12. 06 Hideki Mutoh/ Japan/ Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing
13. 24 Tomas Scheckter/South Africa/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
14. 12 Will Power/Australia/ Penske Racing
15. 67 Sarah Fisher/United States/ Sarah Fisher Racing
16. 2 Raphael Matos/Brazil/ Luczo Dragon/de Ferran Motorsports
17. 34 Mario Romancini/Brazil/ Conquest Racing
18. 77 Alex Tagliani/Canada/ FAZZT Race Team
19. 22 Justin Wilson/England/ Dreyer & Reinbold Racing
20. 3 Helio Castroneves/Brazil/ Penske Racing
21. 32 Mario Moraes/Brazil/ KV Racing Technology
22. 36 Bertrand Baguette/Belgium/ Conquest Racing
23. 18 Milka Duno/Venezuela/ Dale Coyne Racing
24. 78 Simona De Silvestro/Switzerland HVM Racing
25. 5 Takuma Sato/Japan/ KV Racing Technology
26. 66 Jay Howard/England/ Sarah Fisher Racing