Month: July 2012

F1 – Halfsies

The Sauber F1 Team has cut an entire F1 car in half – the detail is amazing..

Be sure to click on the image with your mouse to scroll around the full sized image.

Hat tip to Jalopnnik – sourced from F1talks.pl

 

Kasey Kahne Survives Denny Hamlin’s Epic Charge, Wins at Loudon

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Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kasey Kahne spoiled Denny Hamlin’s heroic drive through the field and held on to win Sunday’s Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, all but securing a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with his second victory of the season.

Kahne led the final 66 laps, as fast-closing Hamlin ran out of time after starting deep in the field on a restart on Lap 240. Hamlin had dominated the race, but a miscommunication on pit strategy cost him track position in the late going, and Hamlin ran out of time after securing the runner-up spot.

Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.

The victory was Kahne’s first at the Magic Mile and the 14th of his career. Kahne is 12th in the standings — and the only driver in positions 11-20 with two victories — with seven races left before the Chase field is set at Richmond.

The two drivers in positions 11-20 with the most victories qualify for the Chase as wild cards, with the tiebreaker being position in the standings.

With a Chase spot likely in his future, Kahne already is looking ahead to the next race at the 1.058-mile track, which hosts the second race in the Cup series’ 10-race playoff.

“We feel good about where we were when we got here,” Kahne said. “We know what we need to work on, as far as taking notes from today, what the track did and how it changed. The track will be a touch different when we come back, but a lot of the characteristics will be the same.

“We’ll be able to look at this track and really have a good game plan going into the Chase race here. We know some of the other cars that are going to run well, too, when we come back, so we need to be a little better, and I’ve got the right guy to work on that (crew chief Kenny Francis).”

After a cycle of green-flag pit stops just past the halfway point, Hamlin stretched his lead over Kahne to 5.5 seconds, as small rain cells moved toward the speedway. Hamlin then began picking off competitive cars, lapping Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray and Paul Menard in quick succession.

As Hamlin worked traffic, however, Kahne made inroads into his advantage, cutting the margin between the top two cars to 2.601 seconds on Lap 187. Hamlin’s entire lead disappeared two laps later when NASCAR called a debris caution.

Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

With a light drizzle misting the race track, pole-sitter Kyle Busch stayed out while the rest of the contenders came to pit road to refuel. Busch led the field to a restart on Lap 197 but quickly gave way to Hamlin, who opened a lead of 2.304 seconds over his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate by Lap 211.

Racing on tires that were 32 laps older than those of his rivals, Busch kept the rest of the field at bay, but he overshot his pit stall slightly during a green-flag stop on Lap 231 and lost second to Johnson, who short-pitted on the same lap.

A caution on Lap 232 for David Reutimann’s blown engine scrambled the field. Hamlin, who took four tires on Lap 235, lost 12 spots on pit road and restarted 13th as Kahne and Earnhardt led the field to green with 62 laps left.

By Lap 253, Hamlin had climbed to sixth. On Lap 257, he got by Biffle in Turn 1 for fifth. Harvick succumbed to Hamlin’s superior speed on Lap 263, and the No. 11 Toyota was fourth. Earnhardt was the next victim, surrendering third place on Lap 272. Five laps later, Hamlin ducked to the inside of Bowyer through Turns 1 and 2, took over the second position and took off after Kahne before he ran out of time.

Kahne was acutely aware of where Hamlin was but was confident in his ability to hold the lead as the laps ran down.

“I was definitely focused on the lapped cars I was going by and how I could clear them quick,” Kahne said. “But I lost a ton of forward drive, amd I was getting pretty loose, and Denny was coming on four (tires).

“So I was paying attention to where he was, but I felt pretty good about the lead we had.”

The miscommunication between Hamlin and Grubb centered around whether to take two tires or four on the final stop. Grubb wanted to go with two tires, which would have kept them on par with the rest of the field, but he thought Hamlin wanted fresh rubber on both sides — hence, the four-tire call.

“Darian asked me how much of the tires I felt like I used up,” Hamlin said. “I said I felt like I used them up a substantial amount. I’d been on the lefts for quite a few laps, and so my information to him was that, yeah, we’d used up the tires. He said, ‘I think two’s the call.’

“I said ‘OK, just give me tires and no adjustments.’ He took that as I meant four tires. Just that small communication messed us up a little bit, but nothing’s a given. Even though it was pretty obvious that we had a win in the bag if we took two tires, you never know what could have happened.

“Either way, we had a great day, and we’re going to build on it.”

Notes: Matt Kenseth, who finished 13th Sunday, held the series lead by 16 points over second-place Earnhardt, with Biffle in third, 40 points back . . .  Carl Edwards ran 18th and remained 11th in the standings, 46 points behind 10th-place Keselowski. Edwards, however, is winless this season and needs a victory to enter the wild-card conversation.

 

Podcast – Out of the Tunnel – Show 20

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This week Hannah, Adam and I discuss, The Coke-Zero 400 from Daytona, AJ Allmendinger’s failed drug test, the new member of the Harvick household, a shirtless Kasey Kahne, and penalties for Smoke and Austin Dillon.  We recap the points and make some picks for Louden plus Hannah gives us a NHRA update.

Click play to listen:

 

Gaynalysis – 400 miles in Daytona

The Gaynalysis is just one gay NASCAR fan’s take on the race weekend.  You can read the “straight” recap of the Coke-Zero 400 from Daytona by clicking here.

gaynascar

“Gay NASCAR” by Keith J. Varadi – 2009

Only a few short hours before the green flag dropped NASCAR’s Steve O’Donnell dropped a bombshell and Twitter almost imploded.  O’Donnell announced that AJ Allmendinger had been suspended for failing a drug test that was given last week in Kentucky.

The announcement started a 72 hour clock in which Allmendinger can request that his “B” sample be tested.   Meanwhile , the Penske Team scrambling to get their jet up in the air for a quick round trip to Charlotte to scoop up Penske Nationwide driver Sam Hornish Jr.

TNT showed footage of the Penske jet landing near the speedway as the pre-race ceremonies continued.  The only thing keeping it from becoming a full-on OJ Chase were helicopter shots of Hornish’s SUV as it raced through the tunnel.

For now, I am going to withhold comment about AJ.  There certainly isn’t anything fun or funny in this situation – and frankly, we don’t know enough.  Allmendinger has made no statement and NASCAR has in no way indicated what substance showed up in AJ’s “a” sample.

When this season started I was among the many who thought AJ would win his first big Sprint Cup race now that he was in a great seat.  I just knew this would be the story that put AJ on the front page – I never thought something so seemly would be the thing that got “AJ Allmendinger” trending.

Sam Hornish was strapped in at the last minute and the race began.  The first half of the race was slow – almost boring – as it ran caution-less with drivers spread out like slot cars.

I like the race but the reaction to the race on Twitter was mixed.  The bottom line for me is that the 2-dogs-f’ing style of tandem racing is gone.  NASCAR made some huge aero and cooling changes – but they made the cars so prone to overheat that even running in a big pack for long was dangerous.

Those who were watching on TV may not have seen a lot of passing…. but the stats don’t agree!  Tony Stewart started in the rear of the field and took the #14 to victory lane.  Biffle and Kenseth got separated in a late pit road mistake – but quickly regrouped and drove it back to the front.

It seemed as if Kenseth was going to take the best car of the day to victory lane except Tony Stewart made an amazing move to grab the lead out of turn 4 on the last lap.  Biffle and Kenseth’s draft was split up and Biffle was trying to follow the #14… but he had Joey on his outside and Harvick on the inside… they tried to put three race cars in a compact-only parking spot.

The resulting crash bottled up most of the field – Kenseth, Stewart and Burton made it through cleanly and Smoke was up front when they crossed the line.

I will admit to making some “boring” jokes during the first half of the race – but the last half gave me everything I want from a Super Speedway.  Clusters of cars and big wrecks where no one is hurt!

The scariest moment of the night was actually at slow speeds in the pits.  Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman got tangled up leaving their pit stalls.  This sent the #39 spinning wildly towards the pit box of Brad Keselowski.  Members of the #2 crew and NASCAR officials sprinted out of the way of Newman’s out of control car.  Luckily, no one was injured but Keselowski’s car suffered some significant damage to the rear bumper and quarter panel.

That brings me to this week’s Q4G Shout-Out – awarded to the entire Blue Deuce Team.  HEYYYYYYYYYYYY FELLAS!  Nice work.  I am sure everyone was a little shook-up after nearly getting smashed and having to repair their race car – the team and  Brad brought it home P12 – a solid finish with the hand they were dealt.

Tony pulled out a great win – snatching the victory from Kenseth’s hands….. but the Media will be focusing on the AJ story this week and Smoke’s win may be lost in the shuffle.

ALSO – Congratulations to Kevin and DeLana Harvick – who welcomed their son Keelan Paul Harvick into the world on Sunday, July 8th.

 

Tony Stewart Foils Kenseth, Biffle, Wins Daytona Thriller

[ via NASCAR Wire Service – by Reid Spencer ]

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Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tony Stewart had an answer for the dominant pair of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.

In winning Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Stewart side-drafted and separated Kenseth and Biffle, who had surged into the lead during a two-lap run to the finish, then pulled away for his fourth win in the last eight July races at the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

As Stewart approached the checkered flag for his third win of the season and the 47th of his career, a massive wreck in Turn 4 skewed the finishing order behind him. Stewart’s 47th victory broke a tie with Hall of Famer Buck Baker for 14th all-time.

All told, Stewart has won 18 races at Daytona, but, much as it did with Dale Earnhardt Sr., the big prize continues to elude him.

“I don’t know, but I’ll trade ‘em all in for just one Daytona 500,” Stewart said of his four July victories. “This is 18 wins at Daytona — we just haven’t got the right one yet. But all of ‘em are special, and it’s cool to do this.”

Jeff Burton came home second and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series leader Kenseth third (after leading a race-high 89 laps), with Joey Logano and Ryan Newman completing the top five.

Biffle, involved in the last-lap crash after he and Kenseth separated, finished 21st despite having led 37 laps.

Denny Hamlin, suffering from a sore back that kept him out of practice for the event, made an ill-fated move exiting the tri-oval on Lap 153 of 160, triggering a multicar wreck that thinned the field for the final restart. All three Joe Gibbs Racing cars — those of Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Joey Logano — were involved, as were the Michael Waltrip Racing entries of Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr.

Kenseth led the field to the restart with Stewart to his outside and Biffle behind him. But Stewart got a push from Kasey Kahne and surged into the lead, only to have the Biffle-Kenseth pairing roar back past him.

But with an artful side-draft, Stewart unhooked the teammates, and pulled ahead while Kenseth waited for Biffle.

“I don’t know — it seems like we made the wrong moves at Talladega (in May) by not keeping Greg with me and getting separated,” said Kenseth, the 2012 Daytona 500 winner. “Today, I think I shouldn’t have worried about it, once we got separated off of (Turn) 2, and I was under Tony.

“I think I should have just stayed with him and drag-raced him to the finish.”

A caution on Lap 124 for a seven-car wreck that destroyed the Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson interrupted the dominance of Roush Fenway Racing teammates Kenseth and Biffle, who both had committed to pit road before the caution flag flew.

Pit road closed with the yellow, however, and Kenseth continued without stopping. Biffle, on the other hand, drew a penalty for stopping while pit road was closed and was sent to the rear of the field for a restart on Lap 131.

One of the last drivers to pit after pit road opened, Kenseth also restarted deep in the field, but before long, he and Biffle hooked up and began rolling to the front in the outside lane. When Brad Keselowski’s spin in Turn 2 caused the fourth caution on Lap 144, Kenseth and Biffle were running seventh and eighth, respectively.

The first caution didn’t come until Lap 81 — one lap past halfway — when Sam Hornish Jr., driving the No. 22 Dodge in place of suspended AJ Allmendinger, blew a tire and wrecked on the backstretch. Hornish was a last-minute substitute for Allmendinger, whose failed drug test from last weekend at Kentucky was announced Saturday afternoon, along with his suspension from NASCAR competition.

The caution was a huge break for Stewart and Keselowski, who had fallen a half-lap down during the first cycle of green-flag pit stops. Stewart made excellent use of the reprieve and soon worked his way to the front of the field.

Keselowski’s good fortune was short-lived. During pit stops under caution for Hornish’s crash, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon went three-wide and tangled on the way to the exit from pit road. Newman’s Chevrolet turned across the nose of Kahne’s Chevy, and slid into the back of Keselowski’s Dodge, which was parked in its pit stall.

Alert and nimble, Keselowski’s crew and a NASCAR official scattered and escaped injury. And with full credit to the pit crews, all four cars effected repairs and remained on the lead lap. Ultimately, all four survived to finish in the top 12.

Note: Kenseth’s lead in the standings grew to 25 points over Dale Earnhardt Jr., who was collected in the last-lap crash and finished 15. Biffle is third, 44 points behind Kenseth.

Brad Keselowski Blitzes Kentucky for Third Cup Win in 2012

Three’s the charm — particularly if you’re Bad Brad Keselowski.

Building a big lead during the final green-flag run and saving enough fuel to get to the end of the race, Keselowski won Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race in a backup car.

Keselowski, who wrecked his primary car after tangling with Juan Pablo Montoya on the first lap of Friday’s first practice session, picked up his series-best third victory of the season and the seventh of his career, all but assuring himself of a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

“Now we can look forward,” Keselowski said, assessing his chances of making NASCAR’s playoffs. “We don’t have to look back at all, and that’s so big.”

Runner-up Kasey Kahne rallied from an unscheduled pit stop for a loose wheel on Lap 52 to finish 4.399 seconds behind Keselowski, followed by Denny Hamlin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jeff Gordon came home fifth, one spot in front of pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson, as Hendrick Motorsports drivers claimed four of the top six positions.

“This just shows the importance of teamwork, and the group of guys I have on this Miller Lite team that are just bad-asses,” Keselowski said after the race. “I’ll tell you what, they put together a backup car from last year in 100-degree heat in an hour’s time — not even an hour. It was like 40 minutes.

“Got it on the racetrack and got to run our laps for practice to make the adjustments we needed to be fast today. That’s what bad-asses do, and that’s what got us to Victory Lane today, and I’m proud of these guys for it — damn proud of them. I think that sums it up.”

Crew chief Paul Wolfe had a different slant.

“All I heard was that Bad Brad was back this weekend, and I don’t know whether that’s good or bad,” said Wolfe, whose driver had a chip on his shoulder after, in his view, Montoya pulled up in front of him at half speed on the first lap of practice and caused the wreck.

In Wolfe’s view, Keselowski can find extra speed when his blood is up.

“Maybe it’s human nature that, when you’re ticked off or whatever, you’re able to find another level,” Wolfe said. “There are definitely a lot of instances where I’ve seen Brad be able to find speed in the race car when he is ticked off. Whether or not he’s doing it, it seems like it happens.”

Hamlin was saving fuel at the end of the race and had to surrender second place to the charging Kahne.

Earnhardt was pleased with his fourth-place run, but his drought-breaking victory June 17 at Michigan, which snapped a 143-race winless streak, has whetted Earnhardt’s appetite for more.

“We’re just ready to win,” said Earnhardt, who gained one position to second in the series standings, 11 points behind seventh-place finisher Matt Kenseth. “I really had fun winning the other week, so I’m ready to get back to Victory Lane. . . . I ain’t going to be as patient this time.”

Ignition troubles ruined defending series champion Tony Stewart’s night almost before it started. Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet fell off the pace on Lap 26. By the time his team diagnosed and fixed the problem in the garage, Stewart was 35 laps down.
He finished 32nd and dropped from fifth to ninth in the series standings.

A bad night got worse for Stewart-Haas Racing on Lap 210, when Ryan Newman, Stewart’s teammate, blew his engine, spun in his own oil and slammed into the outside wall in Turn 2, with Regan Smith hitting the wall behind him.

Newman retired from the race in 34th and dropped two spots to 15th in points, leaving both Kyle Busch (10th Saturday) and Kahne ahead of him in the race for the two wild-card positions in the Chase.

Chase spots are available to the two drivers in positions 11-20 in the standings who have the most victories in the first 26 races. Busch (12th), Kahne (14th), Joey Logano and Newman (tied for 15th) have one win each and are the only drivers in positions 11-20 to have won a race.

Clint Bowyer, last week’s winner at Sonoma, was the innocent victim of contact that jeopardized his seventh-place position in the standings. Shortly after a restart on Lap 155, Bowyer was racing in close quarters with Newman, on new tires, and Joey Logano, who took fuel only during a pit stop under caution on Lap 150.

With a huge run off Turn 4, Newman clipped the back of Logano’s Toyota in the tri-oval, turning him into Bowyer’s Camry. On Lap 166, Bowyer brought his car to pit road, fearing he had a tire losing air. Bowyer lost two laps in the process and fell to 32nd in the running order.

But a cycle of green-flag stops and a free pass as the highest-scored lapped car returned Bowyer to the lead lap under the caution for Newman’s wreck, and the driver of the No. 15 Toyota salvaged a 16th-place finish and held seventh in the standings.