2009-06-18 / Sports

Martin Wins At Michigan On Fuel

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Mark Martin Mark Martin BROOKLYN, Mich. - Mark Martin was third with two laps to go in Sunday's Sprint Cup Life- Lock 400, behind the leader, Jimmy Johnson and the secondplace driver Greg Biffle.

Johnson, Martin's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, was the first to go. He ran out of fuel as the cars took the white flag, signifying one lap to go in the 200- lap race.

About halfway around the two-mile track, Biffle's No. 16 Ford sputtered and slowed.

Martin was there. Nobody had to point him to the checkered flag.

"I had been racing for the points, because those guys were running too hard for us to save gas," said Martin. "But when Jimmie ran out, I told my crew, 'I'm going to run hard."

"We made it, but I ran out coming out of four."

Martin's win moved him into eighth in Chase points.

"I think we saved a little too much fuel," said Jeff Gordon, the second-place finisher. "We were running a slower pace than those first couple of guys. I hate to see those guys run out, but that's just the way racing is sometimes."

Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Carl Edwards, and Greg Biffle.

"The racing got too intense and caused me to use up too much fuel," said Biffle. "The 48 came up there and was driving like we weren't on a fuel mileage run and ran us down. I messed with him there for a few seconds, but he made me use up too much throttle and gas."

Juan Montoya, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Brian Vickers, and Clint Bowyer were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never able to run with the leaders and finished 14th.

Jimmie Johnson led 146 laps and finished 22nd.

Top-12 Chase Contenders after 15 of 36: 1. Stewart-2189, 2. J. Gordon-2142, 3. Johnson-2047, 4. Kurt Busch-1961, 5. Newman- 1934, 6. Edwards-1927, 7. Biffle- 1913, 8. Martin-1868, 9. Kyle Busch-1860, 10. Hamlin-1849, 11. Kenseth-1848, 12. Burton-1810

Logano gets Nationwide win at Kentucky

Joey Logano pulled away from Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with 10 laps to go and won the Meijer 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race for the second year in a row at Kentucky Speedway. Top-10 points leaders after 14 of 35: 1. Kyle Busch-2211, 2. Edwards- 2074, 3. Keselowski-2003, 4. Leffler 1993, 5. Logano-1860, 6. Allgaier 1628, 7. Gaughan-1620, 8. Keller-1613, 9. Bliss-1599, 10. S. Wallace-1543

Braun beats Kyle Busch in truck race

Colin Braun took advantage of a mistake by Kyle Busch Saturday at Michigan to win his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and Roush Fenway Racing's 50th in the series. Top- 10 points leaders after 9 of 25: 1. Crafton-1362, 2. Hornaday-1323, 3. Skinner-1318, 4. Bodine-1265, 5. Kyle Busch-1180, 6. Starr-1179, 7. Cook- 1157, 8. Malsam-1157, 9. Crawford- 1140, 10. McCumbee-1131

Finances affecting many truck teams

Money, or the lack of it, is causing problems for some NASCAR teams. Some have shut down their entire operations, while others have laid off employees in order to stretch their budgets.

The Texas Truck race had only 33 starters instead of the customary 36-truck starting field. Based on the level of competition and the early retirement rate, it appeared that almost one-third of the trucks on the starting grid were 'start and park' entries.

None of the trucks in the last 10 positions of the race completed more than 26 laps, all of them falling out of the race with reasons like 'Vibration, Overheating, Ignition and Handling.' One truck was listed as 'Too Slow.'

Truck Series teams have been saying all year that finances were either tight or nonexistent. At the season-opening event at Daytona, everyone was trying to get through the third race of the year at Atlanta. Because the Trucks run so few races during the early part of their schedule, the hope was to find additional money to keep going past those first events.

Some have found money, most haven't.

Suddenly, NASCAR's most exciting division is finding itself with the same few teams dominating the racing action week in and week out.

Unfortunately, you can look for more of the same each weekend, because they are running out of money, and the series does not pay enough to cover travel expenses for most teams.

Red Horse Racing, which operates two Truck teams, suspended operations of its No. 1 entry driven by Johnny Benson because of a lack of sponsorship.

The decision comes just eight races into Benson's first season with the organization he joined after five seasons with Bill Davis Racing.

Red Horse, which will continue to field its No. 11 truck for driver TJ Bell, has been working to secure sponsorship for Benson since he joined the team in December.

"It hasn't been for a lack of effort," majority owner Tom De- Loach said. "We had several people working on finding a sponsor for the No. 1 and Johnny Benson. I've been working on it myself. We gave it our best shot, and we tried as long as we could but nothing materialized."

Benson has four top-10 finishes this season, including a fourth at Texas Motor Speedway, and is seventh in the standings.

"I am saddened that we were unsuccessful in accomplishing our goal," DeLoach said, "But this is a tough economic climate and the cost of fielding a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team with essentially no support other than our manufacturer is too much for Red Horse Racing to bear alone."

NOTE: Johnny Benson was injured Saturday night in a crash at Berlin Motor Speedway in Marne, Mich., during a super late model race. He is listed as in serious but stable condition with broken ribs and burns.

The accident occurred on the second lap of the race, after Benson collided with another car, slammed into the wall and erupted into flames.

Weekend racing: The Camping World Trucks and Nationwide teams will be at the Milwaukee Mile in West Allis, Mich. The Cup teams travel west to Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. for their first road course event of the year.

Fri., June 19, Camping World RV Sales 200, race 10 of 25; starting time: 8:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: Speed.

Sat., June 20, Nationwide Series Milwaukee 250, race 15 of 35; starting time: 7:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: ESPN2.

Sun. June 21, Sprint Cup Toyota/ SaveMart 350, race 16 of 36; starting time: 3:30 p.m. (EDT); TV: TNT.

Racing trivia question: Where is Joey Logano's home town?

Last week's question: Which is the longest track on the NASCAR Cup circuit? Answer. Talladega. It is 2.66-mile around it.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@earthlink.net.

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