Sportsguy "Hutch" (David Hutcheson) loves the intense stuff like sports, flying and motorcycle riding (he's had three bikes so far and sold the last one so he could get back to aviation). He's found NASCAR drivers to be the nicest of the professional athletes he's covered for the media. As you can see (above, at VIR) Hutch loves a nice ride.
Martinsville: the field is truly a who’s who of NASCAR Late Model racing.
Two-time defending NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Lee Pulliam is entered, as is four-time national champion Philip Morris. Morris is the defending Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 winner; Pulliam won the event two years ago. Morris is the only driver with three Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 wins to his credit.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series regular Timothy Peters is entered for the first time in a few years, thanks to an open date on the truck series schedule. He tested in the big open test session here Wednesday, then flew out for this weekend’s truck race and will return back home to work on his Late Model Monday.
Likewise 16-year-old Michael McGuire of Roanoke tested Wednesday and immediately took off for Dover for this weekend’s NASCAR K&N East Series race and will be back in his shop working on his Late Model on Monday.
At 50-something, Dennis Setzer is one of the oldest drivers entered. He also has the most overall Martinsville Speedway victories with two Late Model Stock wins and three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series wins. Setzer’s first Martinsville Late Model win came way back in 1992 while his most recent was in 2007.
Peters has a Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 and a truck series win to his credit at Martinsville, while Jamey Caudill, Jason York, Alex Yontz and Bugs Hairfield are other drivers entered who have Martinsville Late Model wins.
Peyton Sellers will be running in the number 99 Danville Toyota car, and three other cars from Sellers racing will be attempting to qualify.
The Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 weekend begins on Friday when teams start entering the infield at noon. Saturday morning will be for inspection with practice beginning at 1 p.m.
The field will be set from four 20-lap qualifying races on Sunday, October 6, followed by a 20-lap last chance race. Eight drivers will advance from each qualifying race and 10 will come from the last-chance race to fill out the 42-car field for the 200-lap feature. Those heat races begin at noon on Sunday.
Timothy Peters finally tames a mile and a half track As he passed Ron Hornaday for the win. Timothy's team had been owrking on their mile-and-a -half program for a while and finally "checked that box" with the win. With three weekends off, he's racing at Martinsville this weekend in the Late Model Race.
Timothy Peters Gets Second Iowa Speedway Win
-Timothy Peters knows the way to victory lane at Iowa Speedway.
He followed that path Saturday night to his best finish of the season.
It was the Red Horse Racing driver’s first win of the season and sixth in his career. He jumped to sixth in points. The track provided a similar boost last year, propelling Peters to a second-place points finish.
"We started off the season a little rocky," Peters said. "We’re turning that around. And we’re going to shine through the summer months. We’re going to shine through Homestead and we’re going to get that championship that was so close last year."
Peters grabbed the lead with 27 laps to go, taking the outside lane on Ty Dillon and then pulled away from the field. Crew chief Butch Hylton made the crucial call to replace two tires late, saving time on a pit stop. The move paid dividends, giving Peters the handling he needed to take the corner after the green flag dropped.
"Butch made a great decision there at the end, taking two tires," Peters said. "It gave me the stability and confidence I needed in the corner and get the lead."
Hylton said it wasn’t hard decision to make. He praised the pit crew for their efforts.
"I could see Ty. They were three or four stalls before us," Hylton said. "I had a pretty good idea what they were going to do. Our pit crews are awesome.
The first time Peters grabbed the lead from Dillon came off a restart as well, following Johnny Sauter’s collision with the wall on Lap 113. After surrendering the lead to James Buescher, Peters made his way back to the front for the final dash to the finish.
"The pit crew did a good job of getting me track position," Peters said. "Track position was very critical."
Dillon thrived on longer runs and seemed dialed in during those stretches. The restarts cost him in the final quarter of the contest.
Jones and Dillon battled for position with Jones gaining an advantage and Dillon fell out of contention. His Chevrolet bounced off the wall after the last restart, dropping Dillon to 16th. Jones challenged Peters, but settled for his third top-10 finish of the season and first at Iowa Speedway. Ron Hornaday Jr. finished fourth, just ahead of Chase Elliott. Darrell Wallace Jr. was the highest finishing official rookie of the year contender, coming in eighth.
Despite a flurry of cautions in the second half of the race, the first 54 laps were under green and all led by Timothy Peters' team mateate and fast qualifier German Quiroga, who lost the lead to Dillon after lap 56.
Quiroga was certainly happier before the race started. He made history with his qualifying performance.
Quiroga was the fastest of a tremendously quick field, becoming the first Mexican-born NCWTS pole sitter. The driver of Red Horse Racing’s No. 77 Toyota Tundra raced to a track record 138.620 mph in qualifying.
"I’m very, very happy," Quiroga said about the feat. "We’ve been running fast." He ultimately finished 14th.
Even though Quiroga dropped in the field, he kick started a successful showing for RHR here. It was the third straight pole for the team at Iowa Speedway.
"It was a fantastic day for Red Horse Racing," Team owner Tom DeLoach said. "It’s a total effort of the team."
Pit strategy propels Matt Kenseth to Sprint Cup Series-best fourth win
About the only thing that could cast a cloud over Matt Kenseth's fourth victory of the season was the hard hit Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin suffered in Sunday's Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, a race postponed from Saturday because of rain.
But Hamlin recovered quickly, and Kenseth had cause to celebrate after the driver of the No. 20 Toyota took advantage of a spin by the race's dominant car — Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet — on a restart on Lap 247 of 267.
Kenseth, who got the lead by taking no tires during a pit stop on Lap 242, collected the 28th victory of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career.
On Sunday, intermittent clouds and sunshine replaced the persistent rain that had forced postponement of the 17th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season from Saturday night to noon the next day — and radically changed the handling characteristics of cars that had been set up for a night race and impounded since qualifying on Friday.
But it didn't prevent crew chief Jason Ratcliff's call to forego tires on the last pit stop from succeeding. Kenseth conceded afterward that it was the percentage play.
"I thought in my head we had about a five percent chance of winning, if something didn't happen to the 48," Kenseth said. "But, if we would have got two tires and came out behind the 48, unless he broke, I thought we had almost a zero percent chance of winning.
"When you look at it like that, it was a great call. Circumstances helped a little bit to have the quick restarts, everybody's got their rights (right-side tires), and then we had another caution (for Johnson's spin), and that gave us some time to cool our tires back down and definitely got rolling faster in that second restart.
"So I mean, obviously you look back right now, it's a great call. It was the only one that gave us a chance to win the race."
Runner-up Jamie McMurray was closing on Kenseth in the final laps but ran out of time. Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. Johnson, the series leader, rallied to finish ninth and extended his standings lead to 38 points over Carl Edwards.
It was Johnson who appeared to have the race under control until Brian Vickers blew a tire and slammed the outside wall on Lap 241. Johnson took two fresh tires under the ninth yellow of the race but lost the lead to Kenseth who didn't change tires on pit road.
Johnson felt that, on the subsequent restart, Kenseth slowed and failed to maintain pace car speed approaching the restart zone. After the cars crossed the start/finish line, Johnson was fighting for the second spot in a four-wide battle with Joey Logano to his inside and lost control when the proximity of other cars took the air off his spoiler and sucked him around.
"We were kind of in an awkward situation in that restart there," Johnson told reporters after the race. "And then we were like three- and four-wide going in the corner, then something happened with the air and just kind of turned me around.
"Unfortunate, but at least we rallied back for a good finish. The No. 20 (Kenseth) broke the pace car speed, which you aren't supposed to, but they aren't calling guys on that, so I need to start trying that in the future."
Kenseth said he first heard of Johnson's assertion in Victory Lane.
"I had no idea what had happened to him or what I possibly could have done to upset him," Kenseth said. "When we got ready for the restart, we were on the top (outside lane), and we were the leader, so anywhere in that (restart) box we can start the race.
"When the pace car peeled off, I felt like I went the same pace. I didn't check my tach when the pace car went off, to see if we were going the same pace, but I think you can look at the data to see I didn't slow down . . . When I got to the box, I went. I certainly didn't feel like I did anything wrong from where I was. But if you're dominating all day, and then you have a problem at the end, I imagine it's frustrating. I've been there, too."
Not as frustrated, perhaps, as Hamlin, who blew a right front tire for the second time in the race on Lap 147 and rocketed into the outside wall near the exit of Turn 4. The impact recalled the wreck in late March that had caused a compression fracture of Hamlin's first lumbar vertebra and forced him to the sidelines for four Cup races.
Hamlin was banged up inside the car - a similar impact to the one he sustained during a crash in practice last year at Kansas — but he indicated his back was unaffected by the crash.
"My back feels good — really good, I'd say," Hamlin asserted after leaving the care center. "It feels the same as it did this morning. Really, that was the least of the concerns after this hit."
Chase contenders, however, had plenty of concerns, almost from the outset.
One circuit after a restart on Lap 47, Kurt Busch knocked the No. 2 Ford of reigning Cup champion and defending race winner Brad Keselowski across the track and into harm's way. Busch turned his No. 78 Chevrolet down to the apron near the start/finish line, hit a large bump in the asphalt and shot back up the track into Keselowski's car.
As the Blue Deuce slid across the track, Greg Biffle slammed into the Penske Ford and came to a stop as flames erupted under the hood. Others involved in the seven-car pileup included Paul Menard, Dave Blaney, Travis Kvapil and Landon Cassill.
"The track just threw me right back into him," Busch radioed after the wreck. "It was all my fault."
Keselowski agreed the contact was unintentional but questioned Busch's judgment in running on the apron in the first place.
"I know he didn't intentionally wreck me, but it's just one of those things," Keselowski said after exiting the infield care center. A chain of events with the way the cars drive, and the track has that really bad bump down there, and we all know it. There's no reason to go down there, but he still did. ...
"We were trying to get patient, because it looks like we'll get the whole race in before rain, and there's no reason to drive like an animal. Apparently, I'm the only one that got that memo."
We're very proud of Boston Celtics'Doc Rivers for making it
through his introduction as the new coach of the lowly, bottom feeding mulch pile called the L.A.Clippers (are they still in the NBA?). In a very unusual move, the Clippers would only let go of their first round draft pick if the Celtics would agree to trade their COACH to them--not a player. When the Clippers (isn't that the Mastercuts softball team?) passed around the champaign, I'm sure Rivers was thinking "There's no champaign in the world strong enough to make me feel good about this".
This weekend's Sprint Cup Race at Kentucky is “go-time_
for drivers hoping to land a berth in this year’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™. Just 10 races remain in the regular season beginning with Kentucky’s night race. Three multiple winners – Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick – have established themselves as champion” co-favorites but the jostling among additional contenders continues.
Just 14 points is the difference between 10th – and a Chase lock in – and 14th, which is currently a Chase lock out.
Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart is among the “out” this week although he currently holds one of two Wild Card hands along with Kasey Kahne.
Brad Keselowski is the defending Quaker State 400 winner but without a victory in 2013 – and only nine points to the good as far as the Chase is concerned. Only one previous champion, Tony Stewart in 2006, has failed to qualify for the following year’s postseason during the Chase era. Keselowski and Kyle Busch – the only two NASCAR Sprint Cup winners at Kentucky – will run all three NASCAR national series races this weekend.
All three of NASCAR’s national series will be in action at Kentucky Speedway.
Biffle claims fourth career victory at MIS
Greg Biffle feels right at home at Michigan International Speedway.
He took the lead for good on a late restart and ran away from the field in the closing laps to win Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. The No. 16 Ford driver won his second straight race here and the 19th of his career. Four of those victories have come at MIS.
"It's definitely a special day," Biffle said after delivering Ford Motor Co. its 1,000th victory in NASCAR's three national touring series. "Just super-excited for Ford and sure excited to be No. 1,000."
The win secured Biffle a berth in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and moved him up a spot to eighth in the standings.
Second a week ago at Pocono, Biffle led the pack to the restart on lap 173 and outran Martin Truex Jr. to stay out front. He led a race-best 48 laps.
Owner Jack Roush's operations center is in suburban Detroit and he considers MIS his home track. He was beaming almost as broadly as his driver.
"We expect to be at our best when we come to MIS and I am glad we could pull it off," Roush said. "I was a little nervous for a minute there, but I am glad it worked out and glad we could give Ford its 1,000th win."
Sprint Cup Series points leader Jimmie Johnson was gaining on Biffle in the final laps but a cut right front tire took him off the track with two laps to go.
Kevin Harvick finished second and Truex, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five.
Johnson took second a few laps before his misfortune and Harvick backed out of the throttle to hold on to at least a third-place finish.
"It was the third set of tires we had and they felt a little wobbly," he said. "We just wanted to hold our track position."
Biffle still was impressed with Johnson, whom he finished second to a week ago at Pocono.
"The guy was 10 (on the restart) and was catching me with 10 to go," Biffle said. "That's a fast race car.
"We beat the 48 today and that says a lot. He was really, really fast."
Johnson ended the day 28th to wrap up a tough day for Hendrick Motorsports. None of the racing giant's four entries cracked the top 25.
Pole winner Carl Edwards, who trailed Johnson by 51 points at the start of the race, cut 20 points off the deficit by finishing eighth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead near the halfway point and appeared strong, but a blown engine ended his race on lap 131.
"It made a lot of damage there when it broke," he said after leading 34 laps at the track where he ended his 143-race dry spell a year ago. "I'm not sure they're going to be able to figure out what happened."
Jamie McMurray led 21 laps but fell out of contention when he blew a right front tire on lap 167.
The day's worst-looking wreck came shortly after the midway point when Kasey Kahne struck the wall near turn 2. The car caught fire as Kahne was getting out, but he stuck his arm back inside to trigger the fire-suppression system. He was not hurt.
Kurt Busch started on the outside of the front row and led the first 21 laps but spun and smacked the turn 2 wall two laps later.
Stewart ran his streak of top-seven finishes to four straight races and jumped from 13th to 10th in the standings.
Johnson dominates Pocono for third 2013 victory
--It’s not a good idea to rile up Jimmie Johnson.
A week after a penalty for jumping the final restart at Dover knocked Johnson out of a near-certain victory, Johnson absolutely scorched the field in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Party in the Poconos 400, beating Greg Biffle to the finish line by 1.208 seconds.
The win was Johnson’s third of the season, his third at the Tricky Triangle and the 63rd of his career. Johnson increased his series lead over second-place Carl Edwards (18th Sunday) to a staggering 51 points after 14 races.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran third, followed by Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano completed the top 10.
"What a race car!" Johnson said after climbing from the No. 48 Chevrolet in Victory Lane. "Not only a great race car but an engine. We had fuel mileage and plenty of power. It was awesome on the straightaways today to be able to do what I wanted around other cars.
"So hats off to chassis, aero and the engine shop for this awesome race car."
You might think winning at Pocono for the first time since he swept both races here in 2004 might assuage the sting of last week’s penalty. You’d be wrong.
"No, but it’s OK," Johnson said. "It doesn’t make up for much, but we know we’re a great race team. Things won’t keep us down. We had a great race car today and had a lot of fun. That was a lot of fun out there."
NSCS Recap: Tony Stewart takes advantage of
penalty to Jimmie Johnson in Dover win
A penalty to Jimmie Johnson was all Tony Stewart needed to break out of a four-month slump.
After Johnson was assessed a drive-through penalty for jumping the final restart -- a sanction Johnson protested vehemently -- Stewart passed Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 398 of 400 to win Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway.
The victory was the first of the season and third at Dover for Stewart, who has notched 42 of his 48 career wins after May 31. Stewart finished .788 seconds ahead of Montoya, who matched his career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series finish on an oval track.
Jeff Gordon came home third, followed by Kyle Busch and reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski. Johnson finished 17th, the first car one lap down, smarting from a penalty he felt was unjustified.
But Keselowski's Ford failed the height-stick test in post-race inspection (too low in the front), with penalties expected after NASCAR's completion meeting during the coming week.
Stewart, whose struggles this year have been well-documented, was happy to take the win, no matter how it came his way. Coming on the heels of a seventh-place run last week at Charlotte, a 1.5-mile downforce track, Stewart was happy to point out the progress his team is making.
"It's definitely momentum," Stewart said. "We got two weeks of momentum under our belt now at two totally different race tracks. That is big. Momentum is huge in this sport. We've still got a lot of work to do. We won't sit… I guarantee you none of these guys behind you (his crew) will tell you we are exactly where we want to be right now. It's a good reward for how hard they have been working to get that first win of the year.
"Now it's trying to be more consistent and stay in the top 10 more and make our program better. It's proof that no matter how bad it's been this year, none of these guys have quit and given up. Just really proud of the effort this weekend; I think we probably made more gains from Friday to right now than any team in the garage did. I'm really proud of that fact."
If Stewart was elated after the race, Johnson was still fuming.
"I totally disagree with the call, but it is what it is, and we'll just come back and try to win in the fall," he said.
Johnson knew he had beaten Montoya to the start/finish line, not knowing whether something was wrong with Montoya's car, and said he tried to give the position back to the Colombian driver.
"I ran half-throttle for the first half a lap, waiting for him, and then at some point you've got to go, and you've got to race, and that's when I got back in the gas and took off," he explained. "I was hoping they would see that I was trying to give him the spot back."
Harvick Makes Special Visit to Fort Bragg
America’s most iconic beer paid tribute to America’s heroes on Thursday, as Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, made a special visit with military men and women stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Folds of Honor Foundation founder Major Dan Rooney and Rocky Sickmann, director of military sales for Anheuser-Busch and retired U.S. Marines Sergeant, joined Harvick at Fort Bragg while he visited the Warrior Transition Battalion’s (WTB) Soldier and Family Assistance Center. The Fort Bragg Warrior Transition Battalion provides command and control, primary care and case management for warriors who have suffered injury or illness while serving as a member of the U.S. Army.
“I’m always at a loss for words for how to express my utmost gratitude to the men and women who serve our country,” Harvick said. “I know the entire NASCAR community is behind me when I say I can’t thank these individuals enough for their dedication and service. Freedom isn’t free. It’s because of them that we can enjoy even the simplest things in life.”
While at Fort Bragg Harvick presented the installation with the firesuit he wore while driving the No. 29 Budweiser Armed Forces Chevrolet to victory in the 2011 Coca-Cola 600. The firesuit was accepted by Major Jason Todd of the WTB on behalf of the Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) group.