Ryan Blaney

Bump & Run: Biggest upsets in NASCAR

1 Comment

In light of UMBC’s upset of Virginia in the NCAA basketball tournament, what’s an upset in NASCAR that stands out to you?

Nate Ryan: David Gilliland in the Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway in 2006. That’s the closest approximation in modern-day NASCAR of what the Retrievers pulled off last Friday.

Dustin Long: David Gilliland’s Xfinity win at Kentucky in 2006 with a part-time and independent team. Remarkable upset that eventually led to a Cup ride.

Daniel McFadin: Front Row Motorsports’ two Cup wins, at Talladega in 2013 and Pocono in 2016. The first because David Ragan‘s surge to the lead on the final lap is the definition of “Where did he come from?” The second, because Chris Buescher earned his first Cup win via pit strategy and … fog.

Jerry Bonkowski: Actually, a two-part answer. First, when Trevor Bayne came out of nowhere and was pushed to the win in the 2011 Daytona 500 by Carl Edwards. And then there was the 1990 Daytona 500, when underdog Derrike Cope won.

What was something that stood out to you from the West Coast swing?

Nate Ryan: That the storylines from the end of last season (Toyotas, particularly Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, are fast; Kevin Harvick is a championship contender; Hendrick Motorsports still is searching) generally have remained intact.

Dustin Long: Overlooked was that Erik Jones was one of only three drivers (Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were the others) to score a top-10 finish in all three races.

Daniel McFadin: Joey Logano going from 16th to first in four laps in the Xfinity race on Saturday thanks to fresh tires. It’s the closest thing to a video game I’ve ever seen in real life.

Jerry Bonkowski: I thought for sure that we’d see more success from some of the young drivers. But when it came down to it, veterans won all three races. Sooner or later, the young drivers have to start making more of a name for themselves, guys like Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, William Byron and others. And by making a name for themselves, I mean winning.

What’s a special Martinsville memory you have?

Nate Ryan: John Andretti rallying from a lap down to win the first race I covered (and attended) there in April 1999. I was crossing the track in Turn 1 when Andretti drove the No. 43 right by into victory lane … with “The King” sitting on the driver’s window opening (to an enormous cheer from the crowd).

Dustin Long: John Andretti’s April 1999 win, which completed a weekend sweep for Petty Enterprises. Jimmy Hensley won the Truck race for the organization the day before Andretti’s victory. “It looked like the good old times,’’ Petty said in victory lane after riding in on the driver’s window opening of the No. 43 car.

Daniel McFadin: When I covered my first race there in the fall of 2014 as an intern for Sporting News. It turned out to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s first and only win at the track and the only time I attended a race he won. He’s retired now so I can say he’s my favorite driver. I still have confetti from the celebration in a plastic bag. 

Jerry Bonkowski: This is more of a sad rather than special memory. I was at the fall race in 2004 when the Hendrick Motorsports plane crashed into nearby Bull Mountain, killing all onboard. We got word about halfway through the race that there had been an incident, and as we got closer to the end of the race, things became confirmed. I recall it as if it was yesterday, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

Martin Truex Jr. takes Cup points lead after Auto Club 400 win

Leave a comment

With his race win and two stage victories in Sunday’s Auto Club 400, Martin Truex Jr. assumed the Cup points lead for the first time in 2018.

The defending series champion took the lead from Kevin Harvick, who finished nine laps down after a Stage 1 accident.

Truex has a nine-point lead over Kyle Busch.

Completing the top five is Joey Logano (-19), Brad Keselowski (-33) and Ryan Blaney (-35).

Harvick fell to eighth in the standings.

Click here for the point standings.

Kevin Harvick leads Saturday’s first Cup practice at Auto Club Speedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Kevin Harvick was fastest in the second practice session for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver, who also topped Friday’s lone practice session, posted a speed of 186.075 mph around the 2-mile Auto Club Speedway.

He was followed by teammate Kurt Busch (184.431).

The top five was completed by Chase Elliott (184.021), Kyle Larson (183.908) and Ryan Blaney (183.861).

Harvick and Jimmie Johnson each recorded the most laps in the session with 31.

Harvick had the best 10-lap average at 181.009 mph.

Click here for the speed chart.

NASCAR penalizes Chase Elliott’s team for Phoenix violation

Getty Images

NASCAR penalized Chase Elliott‘s Hendrick Motorsports team for an L1 violation found after Sunday’s race at Phoenix.

NASCAR fined crew chief Alan Gustafson $50,000, suspended car chief Josh Kirk two races and docked Elliott 25 points and the team 25 owner points. Elliott’s third-place finish will not count toward any tiebreakers. By losing 25 points, Elliott drops from 16th to 23rd in the points.

NASCAR stated that the team’s truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim mounting surfaces must be planar and in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.

The team is appealing the penalty, and NASCAR confirmed Thursday that Kirk’s suspension will be deferred until the case is heard, allowing him to be in the garage at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. The appeal hearing date hasn’t been set yet.

NASCAR also announced that the cars of Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. were all cited for having one lug nut unsecured at the end of the Phoenix race. That resulted in a $10,000 fine each to crew chiefs Todd Gordon (Logano), Cole Pearn (Truex), Mike Wheeler (Hamlin), Jeremy Bullins (Blaney) and Brian Pattie (Stenhouse).

In the Xfinity Series, the teams of Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch were each found to have one lug nut unsecured. That resulted in a $5,000 fine for crew chief Brian Wilson (Keselowski) and Eric Phillips (Busch).

NASCAR also announced that Brandon Lee and Wayne Kanter had been indefinitely suspended for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy.

 and on Facebook



Star of NBC show ‘Taken’ to serve as pace car driver at Bristol

Photo by: Jeff Riedel/NBC
1 Comment

Clive Standen, who plays covert operative Bryan Mills on the show “Taken” on NBC, will drive the pace car for the start of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway next month.

Standen, who also has appeared in the films “Everest” and “Hammer of the Gods,” will have the chance to reunite with Ryan Blaney at Bristol. Blaney will appear as an FBI agent in an episode of “Taken” at 9 p.m. EST on April 20.

“It is such an honor to be asked to drive the pace car at a NASCAR race that I am beyond excited,” Standen said in a statement. “I’m also pretty hyped up to see Ryan Blaney race, especially after witnessing his great performance on our upcoming episode of ‘Taken.’ It’s such a fun opportunity to get to be part of the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway and lead my co-star to the green flag!”

 and on Facebook