Friday, October 22, 2010
CONCORD, NC – Kyle Busch dominated Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 for most of the race, except where it counted the most – at the finish. Jamie McMurray surprised everyone by roaring away from Busch in the final laps of the night giving him his third win of the season. During a restart with 21 laps remaining in the race, McMurray sprinted past Busch and pulled away finishing 1.86 sec ahead of Kyle. Some have attributed McMurray’s surprise win to the new rear-spoiler rules allowing the crew chiefs some ability to control the aerodynamics of the COT. Jaime attributed his win elsewhere. “We had a really good car there. As those laps were winding down I was thinking about Daytona and why I cry and the power of prayer,” said McMurray. “Thanks to God and everything he’s blessed my family and I with.”
Denny Hamlin finished the race in 3rd place barely dodging a lap 2 wreck. The avoidance maneuver forced him into the pits to replace a set of flat-spotted tires. Hamlin was followed by Jimmie Johnson in 4th and Greg Biffle in 5th place. Chase contender Kevin Harvick finshed in 8th place. Hamlin, Johnson and Harvick stand the best chance to win the Chase. Martinsville will be an exciting race next week.
Another surprise of the evening was pole-sitter Jeff Gordon who ran strong for the first half of the race. On lap 191, Jeff’s primary battery failed and lost a lap while switching to a second battery. Though he got a free pass to the lead lap following a spin by Ambrose, Gordon struggled the rest of the night finishing 23rd and putting him 156 points behind in the Chase – nearly a race worth. Kurt Busch also experienced some bad luck spinning on lap 23 grazing the wall at turn 4 in the No 2 Dodge. Too bad for Kurt as he was hoping to sweep the Charlotte triple after winning both the All-Star Race and the Charlotte 600. There’s always next year.
In another bit of news, NASCAR has announced that beginning in 2011, Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Trucks will run E15 fuel, a blend of 15% ethanol and gasoline. The change is part of the “NASCAR Green” environmental initiative and is targeted at reducing emissions, though NASCAR has declined to say by how much. An added benefit of the fuel is a small increase in horsepower accompanied by a small loss of fuel economy. When you think about it, what is more American than burning a fuel grown in the American heartland in the All-American Sport of NASCAR.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
ROAD ATLANTA, GA – Leading 299 of 394 laps, the diesel-powered Peugeot 908s placed 1 and 2 at the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. With a 61-second lead, the 908 of Magny/Sarrazin/Lamy placed 1st with the Davidson/Gene/Wurz entry in second place. Suffering a late-race tire puncture, the once mighty Audi T15 TDI finished in third place, 2-laps down. After the race, Magny commented, “Last year we proved we were fastest, we didn't get to go to the end of the race but we really think and knew that we were fastest last year. The results we got last year we didn't get to prove it. But this year, we had the same team, same car, and knew we could pull it out again.”
Patron Highcroft Racing clinched the LMP2 championship with the Brabham/Pagenaud/Franchitti HPD finishing first in class. “To win Petit Le Mans… it’s a classic, one of the biggest in the world,” said Pagenaud, who won his first career Series title. “The PHR team was fantastic all weekend. The car was perfect, but it was like driving a video game all day. It’s great to be champion and thanks to my teammates for their brilliant work. Without them I wouldn't be here today. This was a chance to work with them and I have enjoyed it so much.” Should also note that co-driver Marino Franchitti’s brother, Dario, finished 8th in the IRL race in Homestead on Sunday and claimed the driver’s championship in that series.
The most exciting race in the series this year has been the GT2-class with the Ferrari’s, Corvettes and BMW fighting for wins at each race. This time, the once unstoppable Corvettes claimed their first win in 12 races, and first this season. On the final lap, the Risi Ferrari F430GT of Vilander ran out of fuel at turn 10 allowing the Gavin/Magnussen/Collard C6.R on to victory. The Extreme Peed Ferrari driven by Scott Speed and Johannes van Overbeek placed second with 3rd attributed to the Risi F430GT. The GT Team championship was clinched by BMW Rahal Letterman Racing with 4th place finish. The Flying Lizards Porsche ended up in fifth place. Claiming his 5th driver’s championship Bergmeister stated, “It was definitely an unbelievable season. I would have never expected at the beginning of the year to win this championship. Its’ a shame we didn’t win the team championship because we wouldn’t be here without them. They did a fantastic job giving us a great car all season. It was a pleasure to drive for the Lizards.”
This was the last race for the Porsche RS Spyder. After 35 class victories over 6 years of racing, Porsche has decided to pull the plug on the RS Spyder customer support program. Greg Pickett, owner of the Muscle Milk Team that has campaigned to RS Spyder stated "As I'm sure most people in this industry know, Porsche has come to the point where they need to close the chapter on the Porsche RS Spyder and I understand that.” Ironically, drivers Maasen and Luhrs drove the first RS Spyder at Laguna Seca and were the last drivers for this remarkable car.