Ryan Newman will be someone to watch in Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend!
By Brian Willwerth
Ryan Newman will be on the pole when the green flag waves Sunday afternoon in the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He set a blistering pace – and a track record – with a lap of 135.232 mph.
His teammate, Tony Stewart, was second. That gives Stewart-Haas Racing a front-row sweep. David Reutimann, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top five.
For all you #88 fans out there: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will roll off 27th.
Newman has a history of winning poles, but being unable to finish the deal on race day. Yet this is his first pole of 2011, so we’ll see what happens. He and Stewart are both winless this season, so they could use a win badly.
It’s shaping up to be a hot day in Loudon on Sunday. Hopefully the action on the track will be equal to the temperature. I can’t wait to see it all unfold in person.
Kyle Busch made quite an impact on Saturday at the Kentucky Speedway!
By Brian Willwerth
Kyle Busch made it look easy Saturday night in the inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway. He dominated the Quaker State 400 and drove his #18 car into victory lane for the third time this season.
Busch needed to survive a final restart in the closing laps, but was able to easily pull away from Jimmie Johnson. Make no mistake: this was Kyle’s night. He led a race-high 125 laps. He also leap-frogged over Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards to take the points lead. Last week’s leader, Harvick, dropped to third.
David Reutimann had a great night, finishing second. Johnson, Ryan Newman and Edwards rounded out the top five.
The biggest story emerging from Kentucky may not have been the actual race, but those who were just trying to get into the track. Not surprisingly, the speedway was sold out for its first-ever Cup race. But that led to a major traffic jam on I-71. Some cars were backed up several miles away from the track when the race began. The folks in Kentucky have a whole year to work out the kinks before the next Cup race comes to town.
THE WRECK WRAP:
*Jamie McMurray‘s frustrating season continues. His night ended when his engine blew up on Lap 200. He finished 36th.
*More problems for Dale Earnhardt Jr., who blew a left tire with 14 laps to go. He ended up in 30th place, much to the chagrin of his legion of fans.
*Clint Bowyer brought out the final caution of the night when he hit the wall with six laps to go.
NEXT WEEK… the big one for us New England fans, as the Cup stars come to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the first time in 2011. I’ll be in Loudon for that one. I can’t wait!
Carl Edwards is a richer man these days and yes, Brian Willwerth can tell you why!
By Brian Willwerth
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup points leader is now a lot richer.
Carl Edwards drove the #99 car into victory lane Saturday night to win the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. With the win, he pocketed a cool $1 million.
The hype leading up to this event promised aggressive racing, with drivers going all-out for the win. But that never materialized. Edwards won three of the four segments in the 100-lap race. When the final segment began, Edwards jumped back into the lead on the restart, and was never challenged the rest of the way.
The only drama came from Edwards himself, after he took the checkered flag. He wrecked his car in the infield afterward. But even that didn’t stop “Cousin Carl” from doing his trademark victory back flip.
Kyle Busch and David Reutimann finished second and third, respectively. Dale Earnhardt Jr., who earned a spot in the event via a fan vote, was never a factor. He finished 14th.
This was a non-points race. The next race is NASCAR’s longest of the season: the Coca-Cola 600, also at Charlotte Motor Speedway.