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|What’s with the disappointment about Saturday’s All-Star Race? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 20, 2013, 6:52 am]
In the last Warped Wednesday feature, I asked the (not-so serious) question of what the point of the All-Star Race was. After all, it's not like NASCAR drivers race against each other 38 times a year or anything. After watching the reaction after Jimmie Johnson's runaway victory in the final segment of Saturday night's race, allow me to be serious for a moment: Why was the race such a letdown for so many? I'll be blunt. If you're one of those people, you've allowed yourself to be manipulated by the hype and promotion surrounding the All-Star Race. Last night's race wasn't certainly one of the ones that will be shown on the glossy teaser package to be played 10,000 times before next year's race. But let's not undersell it either. This is NASCAR. In 2013. On an intermediate track. If you watched â and were disappointed â on Saturday night, you've likely seen one or three or fifty intermediate track races over the last few years. If this was a points race, would anything that happened Saturday night have merited such a disappointing reaction? Hell, after restarts, the racing was pretty damn good, especially by our intermediate track standards. The racing that Johnson and Kahne carried on for two laps before Johnson checked out was compelling, Clint Bowyer's three-wide move for the lead was daring and Ryan Newman's charge on the high side of 1 and 2 seemed inexplicable. Yes, ultimately, clean air was the order of the evening. But that's no different than what we'll see Sunday night in the 600. Just because it was "no-holds barred" and not for points, did you expect clean air not to be a factor? There have been 29 All-Star Races. And there have been, what, five or six truly memorable moments? After the Pass in the Grass, the first race under the lights (and Davey Allison and Kyle Petty's crash), Jeff Gordon's T-Rex car, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip crashing and Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning, are there any other races that really stand out? Yet we're conditioned to
Craziest Moment: Ryan Newman’s incredible high-side run and his contact with Kyle Busch [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 18, 2013, 11:02 pm]
Where the heck did Ryan Newman come from?On a restart in the middle of the fourth segment of Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race, Newman dashed to the outside in turns one and two like his car suddenly got a boost of nitrous oxide and made a pair of three-wide passes before he had even gotten to the backstretch.He wasn't done there. His crazy momentum off the high side of turn two had him on the back bumper of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a flash and after giving Junior a bump, Newman moved to the inside to pass him.However, Kyle Busch was there, because unlike Newman, he hadn't gotten through turns one and two very well and lost positions. As Newman came down, Busch drifted up and the two made contact with Busch suffering some right front fender damage and Newman acquiring a tire rub.And with that tire rub, the headway that Newman made that lap stalled out. He ended up 13th while Busch maintained his position near the front of the field and finished third.
Jimmie Johnson becomes first driver to win four All-Star Races [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 18, 2013, 10:34 pm]
The five-time Sprint Cup Series champ is now a four-time All-Star Race winner.Jimmie Johnson bolted away from Kasey Kahne after a spirited battle for the lead at the beginning of the final 10 lap segment of Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race to win by more than a second over Joey Logano.It was Johnson's second straight All-Star Race win, and this time, he did it â with the help of redesigned rules â considerably differently than last year. In last year's race, Johnson won the first segment, which guaranteed his position at the front of the field before the race's final mandatory pit stop. Since his spot was assured so early, he and Chad Knaus used the middle segments as a glorified test session to make adjustments on the car for the final sprint.This year, perhaps in response to Johnson's winning strategy in 2012, the race was divided into four 20 lap segments and a final 10 lap sprint, with the average finish of each driver in the first four segments determining the order in which the field entered pit road before those final 10 laps. After starting 18th, Johnson wasn't in a position to win the first segment, but meticulously worked his way through the field and finished third in the final two 20 lap segments.Those third place finishes helped Johnson enter pit road fourth after Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne, and thanks to some quick pit work by his team, Johnson exited pit road second to Kahne.After Kahne restarted on the outside for the sprint to the finish, Johnson stayed glued to Kahne's inside and prevented his teammate from clearing him on the high side. As the two sailed through turn four approaching eight laps to go, Johnson moved in front of Kahne and it was over from there.Of course, this being NASCAR and this being Jimmie Johnson, the result wasn't without an obligatory post-race spell of tinfoil-hat wearing amongst the conspiracy theorist set. Those new Johnson-inspired rules meant that math was involved in determining who was lined up wh
The best NASCAR track billboard ever? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 18, 2013, 4:44 pm]
NASCAR is a sport full of double-entendres and this one in Charmin's is one of the better ones we've ever seen. This is the billboard that's on the grandstands at Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend. According to AutoWeek, it's a two race deal between the track and the company, which also has a "Stop Skidmarks" banner on the pit wall. Will it prevent drivers from peeling out of their pit stalls and laying rubber on the track? Charmin is also handing out free samples. No word if CMS took the giveaways as an opportunity to save some money and not stock the track bathrooms.
Carl Edwards to start first in Sprint All-Star Race [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 17, 2013, 5:23 pm]
Carl Edwards will start first in Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.All-Star qualifying is always different than a standard best of two laps run for a points race with each driver's run including three laps and a four tire pit stop. This year, NASCAR added a new wrinkle (that was previously an old one) and eliminated the pit road speed limit. That meant that many drivers were flying off the turns 3 and 4 banking onto pit road at over 150 MPH. That included Edwards, who had the second best lap one time and the best time entering the pits on his second lap.Edwards won the race in 2011.Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts second and Kurt Busch will start third. 19 drivers are already qualified for the All-Star Race and three will move on from the Sprint Showdown on Saturday night.In the Showdown, Martin Truex Jr. is on the pole and Jamie McMurray will start second.
Happy Hour: Stewart-Haas, Gordon and has NASCAR gone soft? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 16, 2013, 8:08 pm]
Throughout the week you can send us your best questions, jokes, rants and just plain miscellaneous thoughts to email@example.com or @NickBromberg. We'll post them here, have a good time and everyone's happy. Right? Oh who are we kidding, this is NASCAR. No one is ever happy. We open this week's mailbag with a heavy heart after Thursday afternoon's news of Dick Trickle's death. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, and if you're unfamiliar with the legend of the man who was never seen without a cigarette and a cup of coffee, read this. The news of Trickle's passing is certainly a sad and sudden departure from the craziness that's been the Jennifer Jo Cobb and Mike Harmon kerfluffle. Cobb said she didn't want the publicity that came with the incident, but it's important to note that she issued the statement that put the coverage of the incident in motion. Let's get to the questions, shall we? Do you think the added stress of taking on a third car team has suffocated the performance of SHR? I've noticed they seem to "recycle their chassis" and "clip" their cars much more often than PRM, RCR, and even FRR? Personal stretched to thin? Lose of Grubb and the HMS connection catching up to them? Did Smoke find some "dead weight" again? From Tim Flock campgrounds at CMS. - Ricky Bobby Allow me to channel my inner baseball nerd for a second: At what point do we determine we have a large enough sample size for an accurate representation and is it causation or correlation. I'm not sure we're there just yet. But we're getting close. During Danica Patrick's starts last season, TonyStewart had finishes of 16th, 3rd, 25th, 27th, 22nd, 6th, 20th, 5th, 5th and 19th. That's an average finish of 15.8. In the other 26 non-Danica races, his average finish was 12.75. This year, his average finish is 21.1. That's 21 races. Is that enough to start drawing conclusions? And does the fact that essentially half of those races have been with one car body and half with anothe
Dick Trickle, former NASCAR driver, dead of self-inflicted gunshot wound [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 16, 2013, 2:28 pm]
Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Lincoln County (N.C.) police. At about noon on Thursday, the Lincoln County Communications Center received a call indicating that there would be a dead body at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, and it would be the speaker's. Return calls to the number went unanswered. Crews arriving at the scene found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck. Look, we all know where the conversation about Mr. Trickle is headed. The guy's name was a punchline his entire career. But he was a hard-nosed racer in his day, and this is how we prefer to remember him best:
Dick Trickle dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 16, 2013, 2:28 pm]
Former NASCAR driver Dick Trickle is dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Lincoln County (N.C.) police.At about noon on Thursday, the Lincoln County Communications Center received a call indicating that there would be a dead body at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Boger City, and it would be the speaker's. Return calls to the number went unanswered. Crews arriving at the scene found Trickle's body lying near his pickup truck.Trickle ran in 303 races in the Sprint Cup series over the course of 24 years, finally retiring in 2002. His best year was 1989, where he notched six top-5s, including three third-place finishes, driving the #84 Miller High Life Buick. He ended that year ranked 15th, ahead of Michael Waltrip, Brett Bodine and Richard Petty, among others.Look, we all know where the conversation about Mr. Trickle is headed. The guy's name was a punchline his entire career. But he was a hard-nosed racer in his day, and this is how we prefer to remember him best:The racing world took to Twitter almost immediately to mourn Trickle's passing. Here are a few of the reactions:I just read about Dick Trickle, met him during my season doing IROC series. He was a true Racer and will be missed. #RIPâ JJ Yeley (@jjyeley1) May 16, 2013RIP Dick Trickle. Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.â Brian Scott (@bscottracing) May 16, 2013Just want to say its a sad day. Dick trickle is a legend. RIP.â David Stremme (@DavidStremme) May 16, 2013Thoughts and prayers to the Dick Trickle family.â Max Gresham (@MaxGresham) May 16, 2013So sad to hear.RT @bobpockrass: Dick Trickle, 71, has died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.â Kelley Earnhardt (@EarnhardtKelley) May 16, 2013wow...I am , I don't know what, I just heard Dick Trickle died today...He was a good friend and mentorâ ray evernham (@RayEvernham) May 16, 2013I remember when Dick Trickle finally won a #NASCAR Busch race, Hickory '97. In Victory Lane he says "I get free beer, right?
Jennifer Jo Cobb accuses Mike Harmon of stealing her race hauler [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 15, 2013, 8:17 pm]
NASCAR driver Mike Harmon is out on bond after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with stealing Jennifer Jo Cobb's race hauler on May 11. Yes, this is a tale involving two NASCAR drivers, and one is accusing the other of stealing her hauler. Cobb, who is competing in the Camping World Truck Series this year for her own Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing team, said that her hauler was stolen on May 11. The Rowan County, (N.C.) Sheriff's Office issued warrants for the arrest of Harmon and his sister Sheila Rae Rice on Wednesday for felony larceny of the trailer and breaking and entering of a motor vehicle. Harmon was Cobb's team manager when she ran in the Nationwide Series. Harmon, who also has his own team, has made five Nationwide Series starts and two Truck Series starts this year. Harmon was arrested Wednesday afternoon and posted bond. He took to Twitter Wednesday evening to profess his innocence, saying in two tweets that "I want it known that I have never stolen so much as a piece of bubble gum in my life. I did not take JJC hauler, there is no video of me any where near her shop. Today she was the windshield & I was the bug, but when we get in FEDERAL court in a couple wks there's a boulder coming." Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that control of assets is a central part of the impending court date that Harmon mentions. Video posted on the WBTV.com YouTube account shows Cobb's trailer slowly driving away from the camera, but there's no way to tell who is behind the wheel of the truck or how they entered. Cobb said the contents of the hauler were valued at over $250,000. âIt is my sole concern to get the transporter back so that we can make Friday nightâs NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway,â Cobb said in a statemet. âWe are working with other teams right now to borrow the necessary items in the event our hauler and its contents are not returned. We are pleased with the diligent work that the Rowan County Sher
UPDATE: Mike Harmon out on bond after arrest for theft of Jennifer Jo Cobb’s hauler [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 15, 2013, 8:17 pm]
NASCAR driver Mike Harmon is out on bond after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with stealing Jennifer Jo Cobb's race hauler on May 11. Yes, this is a tale involving two NASCAR drivers, and one is accused of stealing the other's hauler. Cobb, who is competing in the Camping World Truck Series this year for her own Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing team, said that her hauler was stolen on May 11. The Rowan County, (N.C.) Sheriff's Office issued warrants for the arrest of Harmon and his sister Sheila Rae Rice on Wednesday for felony larceny of the trailer and breaking and entering of a motor vehicle. Harmon was Cobb's team manager when she previously ran in the Nationwide Series. Harmon, who also has his own team, has made five Nationwide Series starts and two Truck Series starts this year. Harmon was arrested Wednesday afternoon and posted bond. He took to Twitter Wednesday evening to profess his innocence, saying in two tweets that "I want it known that I have never stolen so much as a piece of bubble gum in my life. I did not take JJC hauler, there is no video of me any where near her shop. Today she was the windshield & I was the bug, but when we get in FEDERAL court in a couple wks there's a boulder coming." Cobb posted to Facebook Thursday morning that, contradictory to Wednesday reports, she did not accuse Harmon of stealing her hauler, but that the warrant was issued because of "evidence and eye witness accounts." Just a hunch, but I'm guessing that control of assets is a central part of the impending court date that Harmon mentions. (In an interview with Charlotte TV station WBTV Wednesday evening, Harmon again said he didn't take Cobb's hauler and that he was in Darlington on May 11.) Video posted on the WBTV.com YouTube account shows Cobb's trailer slowly driving away from the camera, but there's no way to tell who is behind the wheel of the truck or how they entered. Cobb said the contents of the hauler were valued at over $250,000. âIt is my sol
The Chrome Horn Episode 12: Darlington [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 15, 2013, 7:24 pm]
New Chrome Horn, new intro! Join yours truly and Geoffrey Miller as we were slated to talk Darlington but ended up talking a lot about the All-Star Race. Got any questions for us to use in the mailbag or the podcast? Hit us at HappyHourMailbag@Yahoo.com. Click here to download the podcast or here to listen to in your browser. And we're now on iTunes! Find us in the Podcast section right here and subscribe. Listen!
Warped Wednesday: What’s the point of the All-Star Race? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 15, 2013, 6:41 am]
Welcome to Warped Wednesday. On this, we'll put out the rush to judgment mat, go a little too far and have a little fun. Will it be funny? Sometimes. Will it be crazy and largely unbelievable? Probably. Will not everyone get it? Definitely. One of the selling points of NASCAR has been that it's the only sport that has its major stars face each other every week. Yet, despite that, it has an All-Star Race. Isn't every race an all-star race? Yes, the All-Star Race provides a nice, low-pressure break for the drivers and teams that traverse the country for 34 races a year. Having a third race in their backyards is a nice reward. But would an off-week be a better idea? The prospect of $2 million to the winning team is nice too, but this is a multi-billion dollar industry. And sorry David Ragan, but it would be an absolute miracle if you and Front Row Motorsports won the race. It'll likely go to a team that has more resources. Do we really need these contrived formats too? The running order leading into the mandatory pit stop before the final 10 lap sequence will be determined by average finishing position in the first three segments. Math can be hard for some folks; it will be fun to see people try to determine on their own who is going to line up where. Why is it like that? Well, because Jimmie Johnson and company played last year's rules perfectly, winning the first segment and then laying back, carefully prepping the car for the final sprint to the finish. It was incredibly played, and well within the rules -- rules that were changed for this year. But before I reminded you that Johnson won last year's race, could you have recalled his name immediately if I had asked you who won? Because of the glut of intermediate track races and night races (and intermediate track races at night!), the bright lights of the All-Star Race don't stand out as much. Well, maybe the driver introductions do, but that's because they're interminably long and not because they're enjoyable. Ma
Power Rankings: It’s Matt Kenseth’s turn at the top [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 14, 2013, 6:16 am]
It's time for Power Rankings! After every race, we'll opine about who we think is at the top of the Sprint Cup heap and how and why they got there. Remember, this isn't scientific, as our formula is the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. So let's get on with it, shall we? 1. Matt Kenseth (LW: 3): As the esteemed Geoffrey Miller noted in Hot/Not on Monday, Kenseth has been in the same stratosphere as Jimmie Johnson this season, it's just that he's been crashed at Bristol and blown up at Daytona. And he's now the first driver in the Cup Series to have three wins. That deserves the top spot, if at least for a week, right? 2. Jimmie Johnson (LW: 1): Does it seem downright evil that we're demoting the points leader from the top spot of Power Rankings after finishing fourth and extending that lead? Oh well, we are. Jimmie, you'll get over it, won't you? Or will you show us up by going out and dominating the show at this year's All-Star race much like you did in 2012? 3. Carl Edwards (LW: 2): Last year, a seventh place finish for Edwards is a cause for celebration. This year, it's hardly noteworthy. Carl already has five top 10 finishes -- two more than he had all of last season -- and is on pace to have more top 10s in 2013 in just 22 races. Is there a Chase spot with your name on it already, Cuz? 4. Kyle Busch (LW: 11): Not many drivers finish the race in sixth like Busch did after having a cut right rear tire over the race's final 10 laps. Sure, it's a race that Busch will rue for his horrible luck costing him the win, but think if he would have ended up on pit road under green or with the car stuffed in the fence? Simply 20 points less on Saturday night and he's in 14th in the standings. 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (LW: 8): Are we overrating Junior's standing in Power Rankings? His ninth place finish Saturday night was his first single digit finish since he reeled off five of them to start the season. Those five races are the reason he's still
Ferrari wreck in Japan totals car, leaves driver and bystander in hospital [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 13, 2013, 10:35 am]
Scary moment at the Suzuka Circuit in Japan recently, as a Ferrari careened out of control and took out a good chunk of the wall and safety barrier. This wreck happened during the second Challenge race of the Ferrari Racing Days at Suzuka. Driver Shigeru Terajima lost control of the Ferrari 458 Challenge for still-unknown reasons. At last report, Terajima was in serious condition at a local hospital. A volunteer, presumably the one you can see running in the video above, was also hospitalized. The wreck halted the racing for the day. Here's another angle on the wreck: Ferraris. Man, they are trouble.
Jeff Gordon’s Central Park condo is now on the market for a cool $30 million [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 13, 2013, 9:17 am]
Want to live like a NASCAR driver? You don't need to get grease under your fingernails or sip sweet tea while listenin' to country music. No, all you need is a mere $30 million, and you can live just like Jeff Gordon. Easy, right?Gordon is selling his three-bedroom, 3,454-square-foot condo in New York City's ultra-exclusive 15 Central Park West address. Here, per the New York Times, are the specs:The floors are Brazilian cherry; flamed black granite, a matte surface with intriguing variations, makes repeat appearances on portions of the floor, walls and countertops. Except for the glass doors that separate the dining area from the eat-in kitchen, the doors throughout are rift-cut oak; a hulking built-in that Mr. Gordon refers to as âthe sushi bar,â an oak bar with a blackened-steel countertop and a hidden refrigerator, is the showpiece of the living room...The bedroom wing faces west onto the courtyard, and all three bedrooms have en-suite baths and ample closets; the opulent master bath combines limestone and crema marfil marble, and has a Boffi tub and a two-person glass shower...Just inside the 3,454-square-foot residence, the floor in the foyer is inlaid with bronze, and off the cloakroom is a powder room with a limestone vanity. A custom-built floor-to-ceiling room divider with movable fins made of American walnut with brass inserts separates the foyer from the living and entertainment area. The ceiling in the media section is covered in the same hand-stretched ecru leather that appears on the closet doors and walls in the 743-square-foot master suite.The kitchen has Italian ceramic floors, a Wolf double oven, a Sub-Zero refrigerator, a wine cooler, and an off-white backsplash of neo-Paris stone, a substance impermeable to stains. The counters and center unit are of matte black granite. The park can be seen through the glass doors to the dining area.So, yes, there you go ... everything a four-time champion could need to scrape by in the big city. Who's goin
Watch Fernando Alonso win Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 13, 2013, 5:56 am]
Did you enjoy a relaxing Mother's Day? NASCAR made it easy to spend time with your family, but Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix was Sunday and Spaniard Fernando Alonso took home the win. If you didn't get up early and watch the race, here's what you missed. Storied NASCAR driver Kimi Raikkonen finished second.
Craziest Moment: Kasey Kahne slaps wall while battling for lead with Kyle Busch [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 11, 2013, 10:26 pm]
With 33 laps to go in Saturday night's Southern 500, Kasey Kahne was racing for the lead with Kyle Busch when he hit the wall in turns one and two after Busch entered the corner to his inside. To that point, Busch had driven away from everyone who dare crept close to his bumper, but Kahne took the lead off a restart just two laps earlier. As Busch dove to the inside entering turn one, he was unable to accrue enough momentum to drive alongside of Kahne and his car washed up the track. Immediately after that, Kahne's car snapped loose on him and he was in the fence. Did Busch make contact with Kahne? As incredulous as it may seem, the replay angles may be inconclusive. It sure looks like there could be slight contact between the two cars as they went through turn one, but a zoom angle from Kahne's pit showed nary a scuff on the left rear-quarterpanel of Kahne's car. "I cleared him getting into three so I had the outside and then I saw he entered so early I knew he was going to not be able to turn when we got to the corner. And I was going along and next thing I knew I was spinning. I felt really good and the car was getting better and better as the race went." Sunday at Talladega, Busch bumped into Kahne and set off the race's first big accident. That crash was reminiscent of Daytona, when Busch got into Kahne's back bumper, sending Kahne around and causing the 500's "Big One." "I don't know. Three times this year me and Kyle have had contact and I've had capable of winning cars so it's disappointing on the points side and not winning some of these races," Kahne said. "But that was close racing. He entered so early and he was just going straight for the corner. So, whether he hit me or just blew the air off, whatever it was, he blew his entry and I'm not real sure what he was thinking on that." Busch finished 6th, while Kahne was 17th.
Denny Hamlin finishes second in first full race in return from back injury [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 11, 2013, 9:52 pm]
Before climbing out of the car, Denny Hamlin took a moment to close his eyes and exhale. He had just completed his first full race in six weeks and on top of that, it was at Darlington, a tough track that hosts one of the Sprint Cup Series' longest races of the season. And, oh yeah, he had just finished second. "I'm tired. Just worn out," Hamlin said. "This is a tough, grueling race so there's nothing to hang our heads about coming up second again two years in a row." In the previous race at Talladega, Hamlin started the race but during the first caution, handed the car over to Brian Vickers. On Saturday night, there was no relief driver in sight. Hamlin was going to attack what ended up as a 3 hour and 40 minute race on his own. Had you not known about the crash at California that sidelined him since March 24 with a compression fracture of his L1 vertebra, you wouldn't have guessed watching Hamlin's race that he had spent significant time out of the car. He started sixth and stayed in that vicinity for the entire evening before capitalizing on teammate Kyle Busch's late misfortune to pass him for second with nine laps to go. Now, after missing four races, Hamlin's quest to get into the top 20 and win enough races to snag one of the Chase's Wild Card berths begins in earnest. He's still 27th in the points standings, 226 behind Jimmie Johnson, but he's 61 points back of 20th place Jeff Burton. Plus, Hamlin says he's ready to go 600 miles in two weeks at Charlotte. "Charlotte, believe it or not, the 600 miler is not as grueling as this race track," Hamlin said. "You have to stay so mentally tough for so long. And on top of the physical stuff you've got going on it's tough to overcome and luckily it was a good day for us."
A dream win: Matt Kenseth wins at Darlington for third win of 2013 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 11, 2013, 9:31 pm]
The significance of winning at Darlington is no more evident than when a two-time Daytona 500 champion emerges from his car and says it's the biggest of his career.That two-time 500 champion is Matt Kenseth, and he passed teammate Kyle Busch with 14 laps to go to take the lead of Saturday night's Bojangles Southern 500 to get his first win at Darlington and third win of the season. And it's a win that comes just three days after Kenseth's team saw the penalties that NASCAR levied against it after his win at Kansas severely lessened."Honestly, I've only dreamed about winning the Southern 500," Kenseth said. "This to me feels to me probably bigger than any win of my career. So I really feel bad that (crew chief Jason Ratcliff)'s not here, this is obviously his team and his effort but (interim crew chief Wally Brown) did a great job filling in and all these guys behind me. We had a fifth or sixth place car, fighting loose and those last two adjustments were just awesome."[Related: Denny Hamlin returns from broken back to finish second at Darlington]On Tuesday, it wasn't too farfetched to think that Kenseth could miss the Chase this year. Now, there's no doubt that he'll be in the 12 driver field after Richmond in September.After Kansas, when NASCAR found that Kenseth's car had a connecting rod in the engine that was less than three grams too light, Kenseth was penalized 50 points, saw the win removed from counting towards the Chase and his crew chief, Jason Ratcliff, was suspended for six races and fined $250,000 (among other penalties). On Wednesday, an appeals panel gave Kenseth 38 of those points back, the three points in the Chase for the win back, and reduced Ratcliff's suspension to just for Saturday night's race.(And before you ask, yes, Kenseth's car and engine will be taken back for further inspection again, as is customary for every race winner.)Now Kenseth is third in the points standings and all three of his wins will count towards his bid for the Chase. Ju
Kurt Busch wins pole at Darlington [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: May 10, 2013, 4:44 pm]
Less than a week after flipping through a Talladega early evening and turning laps in an IndyCar at Indianapolis Motor Speedway the day before, Kurt Busch won the pole for Saturday night's Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington.Busch's speed of 181.918 MPH knocked Jimmie Johnson off the top spot when Busch made his qualifying run late in the session. Johnson starts second while Kyle Busch is third.Late in Sunday's race at Talladega, Busch's car was hit in the right rear quarterpanel and went airborne, turning over before landing on Ryan Newman's car. On Thursday, Busch drove an IndyCar for Andretti Autosport and registered a lap over 218 MPH. While Busch's session was essentially a version of IndyCar's Rookie Orientation Program and he was cleared by the sanctioning body, after running at Indy, Busch said that he didn't have the stamina to try to complete both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day this year.It's Busch's first pole at Darlington since he started first in the fall race at the track in 2001, his rookie year. It's also the 10th anniversary of his incredible finish with Ricky Craven at the egg-shaped oval, when Craven and Busch banged fenders as they headed towards the finish line in a race that Craven won by inches. Busch hasn't won at Darlington, but Furniture Row Racing, Busch's team, won the 2011 Southern 500 when Regan Smith took home the checkered flag.43 cars took a qualifying time after Brian Keselowski withdrew, so all who made a qualifying attempt made the race.