Watkins Glen International

Brad Keselowski gives the vivid inside story of 2012 Watkins Glen finish

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Brad Keselowski didn’t win the 2012 NASCAR Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

He came in second to Marcos Ambrose.

But the way he finished second, in a dramatic last-lap battle with Ambrose, resulted in it being voted the No. 1 race finish of the decade by NBC Sports’ NASCAR writers. 

Late Thursday night, the Team Penske driver took to Twitter and for roughly two hours shared his perspective on the last lap around the road course, which he is “proud” to be part of, even if it did add fuel to his rivalry with Kyle Busch for “years to come.”

Here’s his tweet thread.

 

Corey LaJoie wins fourth quarter NMPA Pocono Spirit Award

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Corey LaJoie‘s efforts to raise money for a shoe charity has resulted in him being named the fourth quarter winner of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.

In August, the Cup Series driver gave up a month’s salary from Go Fas Racing so the charity Samaritan’s Feet could be placed on his No. 32 Ford for the Aug. 4 race at Watkins Glen International.

LaJoie raised more than $100,000 for the organization, which was founded in 2003 to provide shoes to children and individuals in need.

Signatures on the car of Corey LaJoie of people who donated to Samaritan’s Feet. (Photo: Dustin Long)

The money was raised through LaJoie’s Hope Givers page, with the names of each donor being written on LaJoie’s car.

The NMPA Pocono Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. The NMPA membership selects quarterly recipients as well as an overall winner each year. The award is sponsored by Pocono Raceway and has been presented annually since 1992.

Ryan Blaney was the first quarter winner, Austin and Ty Dillon were the second quarter winners, and Kurt Busch was the third quarter winner.

The overall winner of the NMPA Pocono Spirit Award will be presented Feb. 1, 2020 at the NMPA Awards Ceremony.

Goodyear tire info for Roval weekend at Charlotte

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The final road course race of the season for both the Cup and Xfinity Series takes place this weekend on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval.

When it comes to Goodyear tires, both Cup and Xfinity teams will race on the same traditional road course rubber, but air pressure recommendations will be different than in tires used at Watkins Glen International and Sonoma Raceway.

According to a Goodyear media release, the reason is: “Those two courses are run primarily in a clockwise direction, with a majority of right-hand turns. The Roval is run counter-clockwise – including utilizing the majority of the speedway’s oval – making it primarily a left-hand course. The air pressures reflect that difference, with the right-front tire having a recommendation of two psi greater than the left-front (28 psi vs. 26 psi), because that is the corner of the car that sees the most load most of the time around the 2.28-mile course.”

Added Goodyear director of racing Greg Stucker, While the course has gone through several changes since it was first laid out in late 2017, the fact remains that we treat the Roval as a road course from a tire perspective. The Roval is definitely unique in the NASCAR world, and requires us to be aware of many factors.

Similar to other road courses, we have to bring a tire and recommend air pressures that reflect the hard braking and acceleration on and off the corners. The main difference is the use of the oval as part of the course, where loads on the right-front will be higher than any other corner of the car.”

Teams will also have wet weather tires at their disposal should conditions warrant. Cup teams are allowed two sets of “wets” for practice and qualifying and up to four sets for the race, while Xfinity teams are allowed two sets of “wets” for practice and qualifying and up to two sets for the race.

The ‘Goodyear’ and Eagle lettering on the sidewalls of the wet weather tires is white, not the standard Goodyear yellow.

Here is the information for this weekend’s tires at Charlotte’s Roval:

Tire: Goodyear Eagle Speedway Radials

Set limits: Cup: Three sets for practice, one set for qualifying and eight sets for the race (seven race sets plus one set transferred from qualifying or practice); Xfinity: Six sets for the event

Tire Codes (same on all four tire positions): D-4940

Tire Circumference: 2,240 mm (88.19 in.)

Minimum Recommended Inflation: Left Front — 26 psi; Right Front — 28 psi; Left Rear — 20 psi; Right Rear — 20 psi

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Report: Ryan Blaney, Jimmie Johnson meet over beers

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Ryan Blaney and Jimmie Johnson talked Friday night about their issues last weekend at Watkins Glen International, according to a report by RacinBoys.com.

The report states that Blaney took some beer over to Johnson’s motorhome, which was parked next to Blaney’s, and they talked.

“We talked for half an hour,” Blaney told RacinBoys.com. “I thought it ended really well. It was just a discussion, two guys talking, explaining our sides. We didn’t agree on some things, but it was agree to disagree on a few things.”

Johnson was upset with Blaney at Watkins Glen after contact spun Johnson into the tire barrier and cost him several spots and points. Johnson enters Sunday’s Cup race at Michigan (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN) holding the final playoff spot by a tiebreaker on Ryan Newman.

Johnson went to Blaney on pit road to discuss the incident after the race last weekend. Johnson later told NBCSN: “I couldn’t hear what (Blaney) was saying, his lips were quivering so bad that he can’t even speak. I guess he was nervous or scared or both, I don’t know what the hell the problem is.”

Those comments angered Blaney and he did not reach out to Johnson during the week. Johnson was upset about that Friday at Michigan. Blaney countered how he had lost respect for Johnson’s TV interview about him.

“Some things, we’re not going to agree upon but it was just nice to talk it out,” Blaney told RacinBoys.com. “I kind of just wanted to say we talked and we’re fine.”

 

 

Kyle Busch discusses Watkins Glen incidents with Bubba Wallace, William Byron

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BROOKLYN, Mich. — Kyle Busch admits it was “surprising” that the two drivers he had issues with last week at Watkins Glen International were those who raced for his Truck Series team early in their careers.

Busch had confrontations on the track with Bubba Wallace and William Byron at the Glen. Wallace drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2013-14, Byron drove for Busch’s Truck team in 2016.

“I would say it’s kind of surprising, I guess, that you get into with two former drivers because, I guess, you would kind of expect a little bit more or different from them than you would say some other competitors out there,” Busch said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. “I guess I just didn’t quite get that. Overall, as far as conversations went … was better understanding between the both of them. Move forward.”

MORE: Ryan Blaney upset by Jimmie Johnson’s comments in TV interview 

MORE: Anger building in NASCAR’s season of rage

Said Wallace of his meeting with Busch: “We both agreed to disagree on what led up to those events and what happened and obviously frustrations were high.”

“We had a good conversation. We were kind of pissed off with each other. I’d say something and piss him off and vice versa but at the end of the day we shook hands and it was over with. He finished 11th (at Watkins Glen), I’m not a threat to him. But at the same time I’ve still got to get my respect.”

Busch said that issues with Wallace began before Watkins Glen.

“There were two other races prior to that one that had kind of built up to the backstretch,”  Busch said. “I set up my pass on him for the inner loop back in Turn 2, got a run on him through 2, got a run on him through 3. He messed up Turn 3 pretty bad and I was on him and actually to his outside through Turn 4 and he didn’t know I was there and he ran me off in the dirt off Turn 4. I had to get off the gas.

“And so I figured the next time I get to him, If I get him and I’m alongside him or not and he comes over and chops my nose, it is what it is. That’s what happened in the carousel. Did I mean to crash him? No. I didn’t mean to crash him. Did I mean to move him? Sure. It escalated from there.”

Busch was upset with Byron after spinning on Lap 2 as he tried to pass Byron.

“He came down and chopped and hit me in my left front, which just spun me out,” Busch said. “Yes, I think it was avoidable.”

“If you look at lap 3, (Martin Truex Jr.) was passing (Kyle Larson) getting into Turn 1 and (Larson) gave a car width and half of room and everything was fine. And if you fast forward again to Lap 13 and (Truex) was passing (Byron) the exact same way I was getting into Turn 1 and (Byron) broke hard enough to where he got behind (Truex) before they got to the corner and made the corner single file. There’s different things at different times. Now, if it was the last lap, I would have expected him to do exactly what he did. Lap 2, you expect different I guess.”

Said Byron about the incident: “We got a chance to talk, and obviously I have a lot of respect for Kyle, having driven for him and winning the races that we did. That year in 2016 was a big deal for my career. But as far as racing goes, I felt like I gave enough room. He feels like I didn’t give enough room. Obviously, it’s just racing. Stuff like that happens and you learn from it. I learned a little bit about Turn 1 and what maybe I could have done differently. Hopefully he learns a little bit too.”

Byron retaliated by running into the back of Busch’s car under caution after crew chief Chad Knaus told him to do so on the radio. Busch saw Byron coming and hit the brakes, causing Byron to ram into the back of Busch’s car harder and damaging Byron’s car.

“I mean ultimately I’m driving the race car and have got to make good decisions,” Byron said of what Knaus told him to do. “If he tells me something to do, I ultimately make the decision. It’s up to me, obviously it’s my space and everything. I felt like I was done a little wrong and that’s kind of how I handled it. Unfortunately, it cost me a lot more so I learned from that for sure.”

For Byron, this is his second high-profile incident this summer with a veteran driver. Brad Keselowski wrecked Byron in practice at Daytona when Byron came down to block. So does Byron feel as if he’s being picked on veteran drivers?

“I feel like there is a way it could be handled and not, I guess, be taken out quite so much on me with the brake check and the (Daytona) practice crash,” Byron said. “I don’t know. They’re racing me how they feel I need to be raced. I race them as well.”