2011-07-21 / Sports

Ryan Newman Takes Lenox Tools 301 Cup Race

By Gerald Hodges
The Racing Reporter

Ryan Newman Ryan Newman LOUDON, N.H.—Polesittter Ryan Newman and his teammate, Tony Stewart, managed to stretch their fuel in the closing laps to finish 1-2 in Sunday’s Lenox Tools 301 Cup race.

“We did what we had to do,” said Newman. “It was a total team effort. We’ve been close to winning several times, and to have Tony finish second is really sweet.”

It was the first win for either Newman or Stewart this year. Newman had not won since April 2010.

“This was a perfect weekend,” said Stewart. “For Ryan to be on the pole and for us to finish like this is great.”

Denny Hamlin came from a lap down to finish third.

“This goes to show our team never gives up,” said Hamlin. “We were kind of out of it, but we made an adjustment late in the race and it allowed us to move to the front.”

Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Bobby Labonte, Martin Truex, Marcos Ambrose, and Kurt Busch were the remaining top-10 finishers.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was never able to stay with the leaders and finished 15th.

Kyle Busch, winner of Saturday’s Nationwide race hit the wall after the right front tire blew out on his No. 18 Toyota. He finished 36th.

Carl Edwards finished 13th, but regained the points lead.

Top-10 Chase contenders after 19 of 36: 1. Edwards- 652, 2. Johnson-645, 3. Kurt Busch-645, 4. Harvick-637, 5. Kyle Busch-632, 6. Kenseth- 626, 7. J. Gordon-587, 8. Newman 586, 9. Earnhardt-577, 10. Hamlin-570, 11. Stewart- 570, 12. Bowyer-542.

Kyle Busch ties Martin’s record

Kyle Busch tied Mark Martin’s record for career victories in the Nationwide Series after Saturday’s win in the New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The victory was Busch’s sixth of the season in 15 starts and the 49th of his career, tying Martin. At the same time, the win was his 100th victory in NASCAR’s three national stock-car series.

“That’s awesome,” said Busch. “For myself to be mentioned in the same category as a Mark Martin or a Sam Ard – (Rob) Moroso was really good, from what I understand. Never really got to see him race, but there were also a few other guys – (Tommy) Houston, I can’t remember them all off the top of my head right now – that made the Nationwide Series and made it exciting in its heyday through the 80s and early 90s, and Mark (Martin) was going at it for a long time through the 90s and 2000s. It’s fun to look back on those and see that my name is atop the list with the rest of those guys. There’s many more to go, hopefully. We can certainly make it a large number one day and we’ll see how that all tallies up in the end.”

Top-10 leaders after 19 of 34: 1. Sadler-673, 2. Sorenson 666, 3. Stenhouse-655, 4. Allgaier-632, 5. Almirola-592, 6. Leffler-582, 7. K. Wallace- 571, 8. S. Wallace-525, 9. Annett 520, 10. Scott-510

Crafton wins Iowa truck race

NEWTON, Iowa – Matt Crafton won Saturday night’s Coca- Cola 200 at Iowa Speedway, holding off a determined Austin Dillon in the closing laps for his second career win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

Top-10 leaders after 10 of 24; 1. Sauter-388, 2. Dillon- 366, 3. Whitt-362, 4. Buescher 352, 5. Crafton-352, 6. Peters 341, 7. Hornaday-335, 8. Kligerman-334, 9. Coulter- 331, 10. Gaughan-315

Don’t blame us, Bruton Smith

An unapologetic Bruton Smith let it be known he was not going to shoulder the blame for the traffic and parking debacle at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, July 9.

“Whatever part we played in this, we played, but it was not all us – we don’t control the highways,” said Smith.

“The people that came early had no problem,” Smith said. “But those that waited a little bit late, those were the ones that had a problem. … I am sincerely sorry that all the fans did not get in there.”

Smith even blasted the governor of Kentucky for traffic woes although he never mentioned that there were not enough parking spaces for cars, causing Interstate 71 to back up for miles in both directions.

Smith said he will not refund any tickets, but will honor them at his other tracks.

According to estimates, there was a sellout crowd of 107,000. Speedway officials said about 15,000 ticketholders were unable to attend. Some ticket-holders were turned away by the police because the track’s parking lots were full.

This brings up another question. Did the track oversell some general admission and standing-room- only seats?

At some point, track workers stopped scanning tickets, so track officials don’t know how many ticket holders missed the race.

During a press conference prior to the New Hampshire race, NASCAR President Mike Helton said he didn’t know why the track’s plans went awry.

“I’ll remind everybody that NASCAR had been racing at Kentucky Speedway for several years with Nationwide and Truck, so it’s not like a brand-new construction or a brand-new location in general, but it was the inaugural Sprint Cup race, which in some regards takes it to a different level. There were a lot of planning meetings, a lot of sessions that took place,” said Helton.

“What was happening was a lot of construction, a lot of new work, some of which took place after the ownership change before we went back for Nationwide and Truck races last year. But a lot happened between last races and this inaugural race for the Sprint Cup. We tracked those along the way.”

“There was a lot of planning that was exhibited to us and to fans. I know on one trip up there myself, in the lobby of the office complex, there was material there that showed very well thought out, very nice, presentable piece, full- color page of the traffic ingress, and then there was another page of traffic egress that was, according to the track folks, being mailed to the ticket buyers and was available to everybody to pick up.”

“I think part of what we want to know now is, was that plan followed correctly or what might have interfered with the preparation that went into the event that caused what happened.”

“Those are the kind of questions we’ll have to get to the bottom of to figure out the solution. NASCAR will find the right answers so this doesn’t happen again.”

Weekend Racing: The Cup teams have an off weekend. The Nationwide cars and Camping World trucks are at the 1.33-mile Nashville Superspeedway.

Fri., July 22, Camping World Trucks Lucas 200, race 12 of 25, starting time: 8 p.m.; TV: SPEED.

Sat., July 23, Nationwide Series Federated Auto Parts 300, race 20 of 34, starting time: 7:30 p.m.; TV: ESPN.

All times are Eastern.

Racing trivia question: Mark Martin has said he will continue to race in the Cup Series until at least the end of the 2012 season. Where is his hometown?

Last week’s question: What was the nickname of early racer Edward G. Roberts? Answer. It was “Fireball” Roberts.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at hodges@race500.com.

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