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NASCAR and MotorSports – From a Queer Perspective

Queers4Gears.com - NASCAR and MotorSports – From a Queer Perspective

Joey Logano cements Chase spot with hard-fought win at Richmond

[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]

Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Joey Logano was penciled into a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Now you can write his name in indelible ink.

Capitalizing on beating and banging among competitors in front of him during the final nine-lap run, Logano surged from the fifth starting spot on the final restart to his second victory of the season in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

Logano’s victory was his first at Richmond and the fifth of his career. Jeff Gordon came home second and retained the series lead by five points over Matt Kenseth, who ran fifth after tangling with fourth-place finisher Brad Keselowski while battling for the win in the closing laps .

On fresh tires after a late pit stop, Kyle Busch drove from 16th to third in the final run.

It was a race that had everything, from a spin by polesitter Kyle Larson in the first corner of the first lap (after contact from Clint Bowyer’s Toyota), to right-side tires that corded under stress and turned the wheels into flame throwers, to fiery tempers that continued after the checkered flag.

Keselowski and Kenseth swapped sheet metal and exchanged pleasantries on the cool-down lap. Casey nineteenth-place finisher Casey Mears shoved 18th-place Marcos Ambrose after the race—a carryover from a late racing incident—and in return took a right hook that wobbled him.

Logano, on the other hand, could barely contain his elation as he climbed from his car in Victory Lane.

“I had a terrible restart the one before the last one (on Lap 382), and then we had a good one (on the final restart on lap 392), but the 88 (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) in front of me didn’t have the best, and once we started racing there were three cars in front of me and I thought I had a shot still,” Logano said. “The 20 (Kenseth) started blocking the top because the 2 car (Keselowski) was so fast up top for the first 10 laps of a run, and eventually I had enough room to turn up underneath him and get enough clean air on the car to take off.

“This isn’t a very good race track for me in the past, but we had a really good Shell Pennzoil Ford today, and we were able to put it in Victory Lane. This is so cool to win two races already this season, and it’s just going to be one heck of a season, and I can’t wait to get to the race track next week.”

Earnhardt, who finished seventh after experiencing late brake problems, won a race off pit road under caution for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s fiery right front tire and led the field to green on Lap 305. One lap later, however, Logano passed Earnhardt for the top spot and pulled out to a lead of more than a half-second, with Penske teammate Keselowski in tow.

But Gordon won a drag race against Keselowski through Turns 3 and 4 to grab the second spot on Lap 332. Six laps later, Gordon passed Logano for the lead as the No. 22 Ford began to fade.

During that green-flag run, however, Kenseth began to assert himself, driving from sixth on the Lap 305 restart to the lead on Lap 362. Five laps after Kenseth wrested the top spot from Gordon, Jimmie Johnson’s tire issue in Turn 2 caused seventh caution and brought the field to pit road for fresh rubber.

Kenseth was first out of the pits for a restart on Lap 367, but on the restart lap, Denny Hamlin spun in Turn 3 to bring out caution No. 8. After two more cautions, Logano came from fifth to first after the final restart to win the race.

After the checkered flag, Keselowski was quick to express his displeasure with Kenseth.

“The 20 car ran me off the race track, so I made sure to give him a bump, and that was what Joey needed to win the race,” Keselowski said. “I’m happy for his team and everybody at Team Penske. I wish it could have been us, but that was the way it goes.”

For his part, Kenseth made no apologies for trying to win the race.

“He was mad because I ran into him a little bit getting into (Turn) 3, but we’re going for the win,” Kenseth said. “I ran him up to the third groove or so, but I’ve witnessed him racing that way a lot, like I think he did to Jimmie (Johnson) at Texas a few years ago.

“I thought once we got to the straightaway I left him enough room, unless I wasn’t clear—I need to re-watch it. I guess he’s upset about that, and we were all going for the win. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing.”

Notes: AJ Allmendinger posted a season-best sixth-place finish… Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said the sanctioning body would review the Mears/Ambrose incident during the week but indicated he didn’t think it was anything “too severe.”

 

Out of the Tunnel 78

We’re back!   After a week off, Adam and I have returned.

I talked about my trip to Hawaii and Adam caught us up on what happened in the Texas race I missed.

We recap one heck of race weekend in Darlington and if Clint Bowyer has some payback coming his way.

Plus:  Gene Hass makes his F1 bid official and Adam gets a new theme song!

And of course – what’s up our butts!

You can listen to the show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes – click here to listen on iTunes (be sure to rate us and leave a comment)

2) right here on Q4G:   just click play

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3) or you can download the show directly to your device by clicking here

Kevin Harvick wins Sprint Cup race at Darlington in overtime

[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]

Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images

The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season has been one of feast or famine for Kevin Harvick—and on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway, Harvick enjoyed the delectable taste of victory.

Passing Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the next-to-last lap of the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish, Harvick won Sunday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 and all but locked himself into the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup as the first two-time winner in the series this year (he still needs to finish in the top 30 in points after race No. 26 and attempt to qualify for every race).

In the second race of the season, Harvick dominated in winning at Phoenix, before a spate of mechanical issues waylaid him in four of five subsequent events.

On Saturday at Darlington, he was the class of the field again, leading 238 of 374 laps in a race that went seven circuits past its scheduled distance. Nevertheless, it took a four-tire call in the pits and a late caution to give Harvick a final chance to beat Earnhardt, who had streaked to a 15-car-length lead on two fresh tires in the first attempt at a green-white-checker.

But Kurt Busch’s wreck on the backstretch brought out the 11th caution on Lap 369 and snatched the victory from Earnhardt’s grasp. Restarting on the outside of the front row after powering past Jimmie Johnson on the first attempt at overtime, Harvick prevailed with a superior car on superior tires.

The victory was Harvick’s first at Darlington and the 25th of his career. It was the series-best third win of the season for Stewart-Haas Racing.

After the race, Harvick, the pole winner, revealed he had been keeping a tactic in reserve for just the sort of moment that arose Saturday night at the 1.366-mile speedway.

“We were able to hang on there at the end, and I knew I had that high line I hadn’t showed it to them all night on the restarts, and I wanted to save it until the very end,” Harvick said. “I kind of learned that last night as we were in the Nationwide race. It was a good tool in your tool bag to have there at the end.”

In fact, Harvick passed Earnhardt to the outside through Turns 3 and 4 on the penultimate lap.

Earnhardt finished second, .559 seconds back. Johnson ran third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, rookie Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.

“Everybody was telling me that I had a 15 car length lead, and I don’t want to hear about that,” Earnhardt said. “I’m going to hear about it all day tomorrow; ‘Man; you almost won it.’ They said we had it won with a 15 car length lead coming into that last white flag when the caution come out on the back straightaway (for Kurt Busch’s wreck off the nose of Clint Bowyer’s Toyota).

But (Kevin) was pretty fast. I think he was going to run the (heck) out of it and try to get there. I was trying not to look in the mirror, just try to run as hard as I could. I didn’t know how much speed the car had. We were on two tires … But feels good to be close.”

Nothing could thwart Harvick’s domination of the first two-thirds of the race. A dropped lug nut on a pit stop on Lap 222 relegated him to ninth for a restart on Lap 227. But by the time NASCAR threw the seventh caution on Lap 247, Harvick was running fourth.

Four laps after a restart on Lap 252, Harvick was back in the lead, passing Brian Vickers for the top spot.

After Paul Menard hit the outside wall for the second time on Lap 271, Harvick ran over a piece of Menard’s brake rotor—twice—but his No. 4 Chevrolet was unaffected. Biffle took the lead on pit road with a two-tire stop, but Harvick regained the point on the restart lap (279) and quickly pulled away to a two-second advantage over Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt in second and third.

On longer runs, Gordon’s Chevy was the equal of Harvick’s, but Gordon had a miserable time on restarts and repeatedly dropped back so far on the initial green-flag laps that he couldn’t make up the ground during the course of a fuel run.

But it was Johnson who chased Harvick lap after lap after a cycle of green-flag pit stops ended on Lap 323. Johnson got as close as .601 seconds back before Harvick began to pull away. But caution for fluid from Joey Logano’s Ford scrambled the field on divergent pit strategies and set up the wild finish.

Harvick restarted fifth on Lap 363 as the first driver on four new tires and gained the third position before NASCAR called a debris caution on Lap 364 to necessitate the first attempt at overtime.

Notes: Gordon retained the series lead by one point over Kenseth, but neither has a victory this season. … Rookie Kyle Larson scored his fourth top 10 in eight races this season. … Harvick is the first polesitter to win at Darlington since Dale Jarrett accomplished the feat in 1997.

Out of the Tunnel 77

This week Adam isn’t on the podcast – something, yada, yada about baseball and opening day.

Joining me is Q4G’s resident Indy Car Guru – Ross Bynum.

Ross and I talked about the fantastic Cup race from Martinsville and Kurt Busch’s return to victory lane.  Ross also gave us a full recap of the Indy Car opener from St. Pete and he ate some chicken.

All that, plus….. what’s up our butt!

You can listen to the podcast one of three ways

1) on iTunes – click here to listen on iTunes

2) right here on Q4G:  just click play –

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3)  or you can download the show directly to your device by clicking here

Kurt Busch strong-arms Jimmie Johnson for Martinsville win

[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]

Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

On Sunday at historic Martinsville Speedway, the driver known as “The Outlaw” committed highway robbery.

Bullying his way past six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson with 10 laps left in Sunday’s STP 500 at the .526-mile short track, Busch held on to edge Johnson by 0.263 seconds, denying Johnson a ninth Martinsville victory.

A Martinsville winner in 2002, Busch added a second victory at Sprint Cup’s oldest current venue to his resume. Busch’s 25th career victory was his first triumph in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and the first victory as a Sprint Cup crew chief for Daniel Knost.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in a race that produce a record 33 lead changes and a sixth consecutive different winner to open the 2014 season. Joey Logano ran fourth, followed by Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth.

Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard completed the top 10.

Busch stole the victory from Johnson, despite an earlier collision with Brad Keselowski’s Ford that cost Keselowski 31 laps.

“We’re done,” Busch said tersely after running into the back of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, a car Busch drove for much of his career, to date.

That was far from the truth. Busch worked his way back into contention and restarted third on Lap 466 after caution for Carl Edwards spin in Turn 2. On Lap 473, he got the nose of his car under Johnson’s No. 48 Chevy and grabbed the lead.

Ten laps later, Johnson — who led 296 of the 500 laps — regained the top spot with a slight nudge to Busch’s bumper, but Johnson fought a loose handling condition the rest of the way and couldn’t keep the Stewart-Haas Chevy behind him.

Busch, like Johnson, was driving a Hendrick Motorsports chassis powered by a Hendrick engine.

“I didn’t know if we’d be able to do it,” Busch said. “The 48 car is king here, him and the 24 (Jeff Gordon, who also has eight Martinsville wins). This is the old theory ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’ I had a Hendrick chassis prepared by Stewart-Haas Racing, a Hendrick motor. So thanks to those guys and Chevrolet.

“I’ve been on this journey for a while, and every time you come to Martinsville, you kind of draw a line, like ‘There’s no way I’ll be able to challenge those Hendrick guys or be up in the top 10.’ These Stewart-Haas guys gave me a car to do it.”

Johnson, who has been having uncharacteristic difficulty closing out races of late, did everything possible to keep Busch at bay.

“That’s all I had,” Johnson said. “I ran the rear tires off the car. I flipped every switch and knob I could to get front brake and turn fans off to try to help bring the balance back. But it was still too loose to get the win.”

Out of the Tunnel 76

This week Adam and I were joined by Matt Weaver from PopularSpeed.com

We talked about 2 incredible races in Fontana, tire “issues” vs. team set-up decisions, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin being back out of the #11 car.

Plus, Michael Waltrip interviewing Donna Summer and my interview with Eric Stonestreet (Cam) from Modern Family.

All that – plus Matt filled us in on his “Going the Distance” stories and his post on the Rahal/Earnhardt ride swap.

All that plus a lot more.

You can listen to show one of three ways:

1) on iTunes:  click here to listen on iTunes

2) right here on Q4G – just click play: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

3) or you can download the show directly to your device by clicking here

Kyle Busch escapes tire issues, wins Auto Club 400 in overtime

[ via NASCAR Wire Service - by Reid Spencer ]

Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images

In a race that saw tire problems turn the contest upside-down, Kyle Busch won Sunday’s Auto Club 400 in a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event of the year six laps past its scheduled distance.

The first driver on four fresh tires for a restart on Lap 205 at Auto Club Speedway, Busch passed Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart on the next-to-last lap, bringing rookie Kyle Larson with him.

Able to keep Larson behind him on the final lap, Busch crossed the finish line .214 seconds ahead of the 21-year-old, who had won the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the two-mile track one day earlier.

The victory was Busch’s second straight and third overall at Fontana, his first of the season and the 29th of his career. Kurt Busch, who like Stewart took right-side tires only on the final pit stop on Lap 200, ran third, followed by polesitter Matt Kenseth and Stewart.

Jamie McMurray, Brian Vickers, AJ Allmendinger, Paul Menard and Carl Edwards completed the top 10.

“I knew four tires was going to win the race, so I’m glad (crew chief) Dave (Rogers) called that,” Busch said in Victory Lane. “There was some great racing up front between Tony and Kurt there. It was really interesting to watch that.

“I went into Turn 1 thinking I’m going to run the middle and then Tony started sliding off the bottom and I’m like, ‘Nope, not having it.’ I had to get some brake and cut my car to the left and drove underneath him and got him cleared off Turn 2, and I was able to keep Kyle Larson behind me.”

Though he ran second, Larson nevertheless earned Busch’s admiration in the process.

“Man, what a shoe that boy is,” Busch said. “If he would have gotten alongside of me, it would have been a whale of a race. I drove off into Turn 3, but I heard ‘Car inside’ on my left.

“If he drove it in further than I did, Jesus must have told him to stop… What an awesome race this track produced!”

Larson was surprised he was able to reach second place after restarting ninth in the bottom lane for the green-white-checker.

“I was thinking I was going to line up eighth,” Larson said, “but then the 40 (Landon Cassill) stayed out, and I had to line up on the bottom, and I was disappointed because the bottom had been getting jammed up once we got to Turn 1. I was surprised–I just watched it on TV and it was pretty wild–we were four wide there into (Turn) 1.

“Came out in fourth there, I think, and then got to second off Turn 2 the next lap and thought I might have a shot at Kyle, depending on where he’d go into Turn 3. But he was good enough to keep it on the bottom and stay ahead of me. But we’ll take second. Long race and definitely didn’t expect to run second, so I’ll take it and head back to North Carolina with a smile on my face.”

Until the final five laps, the race had all the makings of a routine victory by Jimmie Johnson, who had a commanding lead over Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the event approached the regulation distance of 400 miles.

But Johnson, who led 104 laps, blew a left front tire and drove his car to pit road, handing Gordon the lead. No caution.

Brad Keselowski suffered his third left rear tire failure a lap later but stayed out of harm’s way. No caution. The same fate befell Marcos Ambrose on the same lap. No caution.

Finally, when Clint Bowyer’s Toyota spun on lap 198, thanks to a flat left rear tire, NASCAR called the caution that set up the two-lap dash to the finish.

The tire issues that surfaced during Saturday’s practice sessions—particularly in the left rear position—plagued drivers throughout the race, not just at the finish. Kevin Harvick caused the first caution on Lap 18 when his left rear tire blew.

Harvick charged through the field and was running third on Lap 138 when another blown left rear forced him to pit road. With tire debris strewn across the backstretch, NASCAR called a caution on Lap 141, with Johnson in the lead.

Keselowski, who suffered two flat left rears during Saturday’s practice, had two more during the race but both yellow flags rescued him in both cases. Twice Keselowski brought the No. 2 Ford to pit road under caution with the tire soft, escaping a failure at speed that could have damaged the car.

But the third failure, in the closing laps, dropped the 2012 series champion to 26th at the finish.

The race winner, though, had no tire problems and suggested that other teams might have been overly aggressive in lowering tire pressures.