(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)

Hendrick Motorsports wins and loses in Pure Michigan 400

2 Comments

When Chase Elliott spun his tires on the final restart of the Pure Michigan 400, it set up yet another finish without Hendrick Motorsports in victory lane.

Hendrick has gone 19 races since its last victory, which matches a stretch from 1992 – 1993 for the team that has 11 Sprint Cup titles.

It led to Elliott’s second runner-up finish at Michigan this season after spinning tires on a final restart.

“My guys did such a good job today of making the most of pit road,” Elliott said. “That was the only place you could make a large sum of ground in a short period of time. They did exactly what I asked them to do. I said ‘you guys are going to have to bail me out here I messed up.’ They did they got us the lead just like I asked and I gave it away again. It’s one of those things where you do or you don’t and I didn’t.

Hendrick hasn’t won since Jimmie Johnson‘s victory at Auto Club Speedway in March. Johnson actually led 37 laps Saturday, his first since leading a lap from the pole at New Hampshire five races ago. He hadn’t led more than five laps since he led 44 at Richmond on April 24.

After Johnson qualified second, a slow pit stop due to a fueling error dropped him in the pack from the lead.

He worked his way to finish sixth after an unscheduled stop when Johnson thought he had a right-rear tire going down. It’s Johnson’s first consecutive top-10 finish since April.

“Yeah, just a very good day for all of Hendrick Motorsports,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, one of our cars didn’t win today … … To rally back and end up sixth is good. We are working hard and it’s nice to see the speed showing. There has been a lot of hard work for months and months and months going into this. We didn’t see the consistency in speed that we wanted, but this weekend we’ve had it from day one until now.”

Behind Johnson was Kasey Kahne, who finished 14th, his second consecutive top 15 and his third in four races.

The real odd-man out was Alex Bowman, who was substituting for Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the second time in six races. Driving a No. 88 car sponsored by the University of Michigan, Bowman started sixth and ran as high as fourth. But around Lap 40, Bowman began losing power and dropped to 30th as the team attempted to figure out the problem.

After a visit to the garage, which led to the repair of an ignition issue, Bowman returned to the track where he finished 35th, five laps down.

Even though Hendrick didn’t send one of its drivers to victory lane, it was represented there by one of its engines. Kyle Larson‘s No. 42 Chevrolet, though owned by Chip Ganassi Racing, is powered by a Hendrick engine.

That gave Hendrick engines a 1-2 finish at the track located in the backyard of the three major American car manufacturers.

Jeff Andrews, the head engine builder for Hendrick, tweeted his excitement over the afternoon.

Hendrick has 14 wins at Darlington Raceway, the next stop on the Sprint Cup Series.

After Bowman’s stint in the No. 88, seven-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon will return to make his fifth substitute start for Earnhardt.

Scan All: “It’s crazy what you guys will do for a million bucks”

Leave a comment

“It’s crazy what you guys’ll do for a million bucks,” crew chief Todd Gordon told his driver after Joey Logano narrowly missed a multicar accident In the All-Star Race.

“You just wait. You’ll see a lot more of that,” Logano replied.

Here are some other highlights:

  • “Beside the 4, I think we’ve got the best car; it’s driving pretty good.” – Kyle Busch
  • “We’re tore up. Lost the hood.” – Brad Keselowski
  • “I just want to thank my teammate Clint Bowyer for putting us in that position.” – Kurt Busch
  • “He’s the last one to do that because he mirror drives everybody.” – Kyle Larson, after contact from Logano sent him spinning.
  • “That 22’s probably going to be our next cation. I think he’s gonna cut a tire, personally.” – Chase Elliott
  • “A million dollars baby. Hell yeah!” – Kevin Harvick

For more, watch the above video.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: All-Star Scan All, look ahead to Coca-Cola 600

NBCSN
Leave a comment

Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Carolyn Manno hosts from our Stamford, Connecticut studio and is joined by driver Landon Cassill. Jeff Burton joins from Burton’s Garage.

  • This weekend, NASCAR’s best will be put to the longest test of the season in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 600-mile distance isn’t the only thing that’s unique about this challenging event. Landon and Jeff will explain what drivers have to look out for, both on and off the track!

 

  • The Charlotte region is also home base for Team Penske and its 2017 IndyCar Series champion, Josef Newgarden. As he heads into this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, Newgarden joins the show LIVE to discuss the Greatest Spectacle in Racing, his relationship with his Penske teammates, and what it’s like working for “The Captain.”

 

  • And it’s our favorite feature of the week – Scan All! Crank up those scanners and listen in on drivers, crew chiefs and spotters as they battle for a million bucks in last Saturday’s All-Star Race.

 

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Matt Kenseth discusses early progress for Roush cars on Dale Jr. Download

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Matt Kenseth shares parenting tips for Dale Earnhardt Jr., discusses their early days racing together and talks about his return to the car for Roush Fenway Racing in this week’s Dale Jr. Download.

Kenseth returned to the Cup Series earlier this month, driving the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing at Kansas. He finished 36th after he was eliminated by a crash. He won the pole for last weekend’s All-Star Race and finished 14th in the 21-car field.

Kenseth will be back in the car for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 and the next two races (Pocono and Michigan) before Trevor Bayne drives the No. 6 at Sonoma.

Kenseth and Bayne will split time in the car the rest of the season.

Kenseth, without a ride after Joe Gibbs Racing did not renew his contract last year, was brought to Roush Fenway Racing to help that organization improve its cars.

“It’s been really different for me because it’s a different role than I’ve ever felt like I’ve had through my racing career,’’ Kenseth said on the podcast.

After two races, Kenseth is learning what needs to be done to help the team. 

“I kind of now know where I feel like that they’re at and how much we need to do to get back to an extremely competitive environment,’’ Kenseth said, “so it’s just a lot different role and different feeling than I’ve ever had before, it’s more of a project.’’

In terms of that project, where do things stand after two races?

“Obviously, there’s a lot of room for improvement,’’ Kenseth said. “I think, the potential is there but certainly it’s going to take some work and probably a little more patience and a little more time than maybe I originally thought.’’

Listen to the show here and all that Kenseth had to say.

Cup team’s debut stirs debate on value of smaller part-time teams

Photo: NY Racing
5 Comments

The entry of NY Racing for this weekend’s Coca-Cola 600 has stirred talk about the value of smaller teams unable to compete a full season in Cup after a comment from the chairman of the Race Team Alliance.

NY Racing is entered in its first Cup race of the year. JJ Yeley is the driver. The team announced Tuesday a multi-year deal with Steakhouse Elite as sponsor. The team is owned by John Cohen, whose previous Cup teams ran 16 races between 2012-15. His team’s best finish was 32nd in the 2015 Daytona 500 with Reed Sorenson. His teams also failed to qualify for seven races and withdrew five times.

The entry of NY Racing means one car will fail to qualify for the Coca-Cola 600. The five teams going for the four spots available for non-charter teams are those of BJ McLeod (No. 52, Rick Ware Racing), Sorenson (No. 55 Premium Motorsports), Timmy Hill (No. 66, Motorsports Business Management), Parker Kligerman (No. 96 Gaunt Brothers Racing) and Yeley.

NY Racing’s entry drew the ire of Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing and chairman of the Race Team Alliance. Kauffman tweeted about NY Racing’s entry and then responded to a few who questioned him.

Kauffman’s tweet drew a response from Xfinity driver Tommy Joe Martins, who has been vocal about the importance of smaller teams in NASCAR’s national series and the need to raise the profiles of such teams. Martins responded to Kauffman’s comments with a series of tweets.

 and on Facebook