Carl Edwards, Sam Hornish Jr. share testing experiences at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

1 Comment

Sam Hornish Jr. said a Wednesday spent at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for Sprint Cup Series testing played out much like the first nine races of the 2015 season.

“We found the same trends as we’ve generally had with our cars this year, when the track conditions are cool and there’s grip,” Hornish said.

His No. 9 Ford was fast, running a lap of 47.65 seconds.

Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 Chevrolet was little bit better at 47.60.

“We thought we were pretty good,” said the Richard Petty Motorsports driver.

Then Kevin Harvick took to the track.

“The 4 unloads and runs a 47.30,” Hornish said of the Stewart-Haas Team that’s won two races in 2015 and finished in the top two in seven races. “As the day goes on and the track temperatures comes up, we start losing turn with our cars, so there’s a lot of work we need to do at RPM as far as getting the cars where they need to be.”

The test, which was preceded by two-day tire test for Goodyear, is the first opportunity for teams to try the rules package at the 2.5-mile track before the Brickyard 400 race weekend on July 24-26. The teams drove under an overcast sky in cool temperatures, which Joe Gibbs Racing’s Carl Edwards says proved beneficial.

“This track is unlike any other track we go to, but it is so smooth and so fast it gives you an opportunity to really test pretty well,” Edwards told reporters. “The temperatures today, the slight overcast, they’re kind of keeping things constant throughout our test.”

The common theme from Edwards and Hornish is that the new rules package, with provides less horsepower and downforce, means drivers will be in the gas more going through corners.

“There’s a lot of on-throttle time, we’re very fast through the middle of the corner,” Edwards said, describing coming off the corners early in the day at 190 mph before temperatures heated up.

“I think in Turns 2 and 4, we were only down to 60 percent throttle with no break,” said Hornish, who won the 2006 Indianapolis 500. “It’s not quite an IndyCar yet, but for a 3,5000 pound stock car, it’s pretty much on the edge as far what it feels like and how much the cars move around and the ability you’re going to have to be able to catch the car if it does step out underneath you.”

Edwards explained there’s not much difference between a car’s high and low speeds with the rules package, which will impact passing.

“Because of the speeds here and the way the way the track is laid out, it’s been a tough place to pass,” Edwards said. “You have to come here and deal with it.”

Navigating the short chutes between Turns 1-2 and 3-4 correctly will be the key to passing in race conditions.

“You set up your car into Turn 1 and into Turn 3 so that you can run into that short chute and set up your exit onto the long straightaways,” Edwards said. “Once you’re on the straightaway, you’re wide open. It becomes a dyno race.”

Hornish said the speeds caused by the rules package has drivers eager for a set up that keeps the less downforce but introduces more horsepower.

“You’re going to continue to hear about it until it goes that direction or the drivers quit talking about it,” Hornish said. “It puts us in a position when you have this no-throttle time, Goodyear is forced to bring us a harder tire. That harder tire usually wants more camber so that people run it up on edge more.”


NASCAR suspends Chase Elliott one race for incident with Denny Hamlin


NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one Cup race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600, the sanctioning body announced Tuesday.

“We take this very seriously,” Elton Sawyer, senior vice president of competition, said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “The incident that happened off Turn 4, again after looking at all the available resources — in-car camera, data, SMT, which basically gives us (a car’s) steering, throttle, gives us braking — it was an intentional act by Chase in our opinion.”

Hendrick Motorsports stated that it would not appeal the penalty. Corey LaJoie will drive the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports this weekend at World Wide Technology Raceway. Carson Hocevar will drive LaJoie’s car this weekend.

Hendrick Motorsports also stated that it would submit a waiver request for Elliott to remain eligible for the playoffs. Sawyer said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “I don’t see any reason at this point in time why wouldn’t (grant the waiver) when that request comes across our desk.”

This weekend will mark the seventh race in the first 15 that Elliott will have missed. He missed six races after breaking his leg in a snowboarding accident in early March. Elliott, who is winless this season, is 29th in points.

Elliott and Hamlin got together shortly before the halfway mark in Monday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they ran together, Hamlin forced Elliott toward the wall. Elliott’s car slapped the wall. Elliott then made contact with the right rear of Hamlin’s car, sending Hamlin into the wall.

“I got right-rear hooked in the middle of the straightway,” Hamlin said after the incident. “Yes, it was a tantrum. He shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

Said Sawyer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio: “In the heat of the battle, things happen, but they have to learn to react in a different way. … Our drivers need to understand that you have to handle that in a completely different way than hooking someone in the right rear and putting them in harm’s way, not only with just a major head-on collision like Denny had, but also other competitors.”

Sawyer also said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that “nothing gave us the indication that on that particular contact with the fourth-turn wall … that anything was broke” on Elliott’s car and could have caused him to come down and hit Hamlin’s car in the right rear.

NASCAR also announced that Scott Brzozowski and Adam Lewis, crew members on Michael McDowell‘s team, had each been suspended two races after McDowell’s car lost a tire in Monday’s race.

Winners and losers at Charlotte Motor Speedway


A look at winners and losers from Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway:


Ryan Blaney — Blaney stopped his winless streak at 59 races and gave team owner Roger Penske his second major race victory in two days. Blaney had the best car but had to fight through restarts late in the race to win.

William Byron — Byron, the winningest driver this season, barely missed getting victory No. 4. He finished second and scored his fifth straight top 10.

Martin Truex Jr. — Truex logged his third top five of the season.

23XI RacingBubba Wallace was fourth and Tyler Reddick fifth, giving 23XI Racing a pair of top-five finishes for the first time in a points race.


Jimmie Johnson — The seven-time champion admitted having problems adjusting to the Next Gen car on a 1.5-mile track. He crashed early and finished last.

Legacy Motor Club — It was a bad night for Jimmie Johnson and his team’s drivers. Johnson finished last in the 37-car field. Noah Gragson was 36th. Erik Jones placed 32nd.

Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin — Two drivers who had strong cars didn’t make it to the finish after crashing near the halfway point. Hamlin said Elliott “shouldn’t be racing next week. Right-rear hooks are absolutely unacceptable. He shouldn’t be racing.”

NASCAR Xfinity Series results: Justin Allgaier wins at Charlotte


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier finally broke through for his first win of the NASCAR Xfinity Series season Monday night.

Allgaier stretched his last fuel load over the final laps to finish in front of John Hunter Nemechek. Cole Custer was third, Austin Hill fourth and Ty Gibbs fifth. Gibbs ran both races Monday, completing 900 miles.

The win also was the first of the season for JR Motorsports.

Charlotte Xfinity results

Xfinity points after Charlotte

Justin Allgaier wins NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway


CONCORD, N.C. — Justin Allgaier won a fuel-mileage gamble to win Monday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allgaier stretched his fuel to outlast second-place John Hunter Nemechek. Following in the top five were Cole Custer, Austin Hill and Ty Gibbs.

The victory was Allgaier’s first of the year and the first of the season for JR Motorsports. He has 20 career wins.

MORE: Charlotte Xfinity results

After a long day at CMS, the race ended at 11:25 p.m. The race started Monday morning but was stopped twice because of weather before it was halted with 48 of 200 laps completed so that the Coca-Cola 600 Cup Series race could be run.

When the race was stopped, Gibbs, Nemechek and Allgaier were in the top three positions.

Gibbs won the first two stages.

Stage 1 winner: Ty Gibbs

Stage 2 winner: Ty Gibbs

Who had a good race: Justin Allgaier has had good cars in previous races but finally cashed in with a win Monday. He led 83 laps. … John Hunter Nemechek, in second, scored his fifth top-two run of the season. … Cole Custer scored his sixth straight top-10 finish. … Ty Gibbs lasted 900 miles for the day and led 52 laps in the Xfinity race.

Who had a bad race: Sam Mayer was running 10th when he spun off Turn 2. He finished 35th. … Sheldon Creed finished three laps down in 28th.

Next: The series moves on to Portland International Raceway in Oregon for a 4:30 p.m. ET race June 3.