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NNS: Kevin Harvick wins a Kentucky thriller

In racing, you don’t always need the best car to win. You just have to be consistent and be there when it counts.

Kevin Harvick stole the lead from Kyle Busch on the final restart to steal the win from the favorites and take the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 presented by Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. It is his 2nd win of the year and his 42nd career win in the series.

He only led 14 laps on his way to holding off pole sitter Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch during the 5 lap sprint to the finish.

“I kind of got into them pretty good,” said Harvick, who also won Kentucky Speedway’s first Nationwide race in 2001. “We made a lot of mistakes, and this is just a frustrating place to race and frustrating weekend.”

Brad Keselowski dominated the opening portion of the night by leading all but 12 of the first 150 laps. However, on his green flag stop, he was caught speeding on the stop. It sent him back to 16th on the lap 157 restart following a debris caution.

He spent the remainder of the race trying to climb back up. But traffic prevented him from ever catching back up in time to get Harvick.

“The speeding put us a bit behind, but you’ve got to give credit to Kevin and his team,” Keselowski said after the race. “They were really fast at the end. We weren’t gaining on them.”

Paul Menard continues his strong momentum with a fourth place finish and he was followed by young gun Ryan Blaney. Richard Childress Racing claimed sixth through eight with last week’s winner Brendan Gaughan, Ty Dillon and Brian Scott. Sprint Cup rookie Kyle Larson was ninth and he was followed by veteran Elliott Sadler.

For JR Motorsports, the incredible season continues. This is their fifth win of the season which is their best in a single season. For Regan Smith, the struggles continue. On lap 169, Smith got up into Ryan Reed, causing a collision that left him multiple laps down. He would finish 28th.

Smith also lost the points lead to Sadler with the finish. Smith’s teammate Chase Elliott now trails Sadler by 4 and Smith trails by 8.

“All in all, it was a very strange night.”

Photo Credit: kevinharvick.com

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NCWTS: Kyle Busch stays perfect at Kentucky

For some, the Trucks series is a start to a career. To Kyle Busch, it’s just another day in the office.

Kyle Busch took Kentucky by storm Thursday to win a KB Motorsports dominated UNOH 225. Busch has now won all 5 of the races that he has entered in this year in the Camping World Trucks Series. It is also his sixth consecutive race that he has entered and won.

Busch, in his 120th start, won his 40th race in the series after leading 91 of the 150 laps run. He defeated teammate and runner up Darrell Wallace Jr. by just under 2 seconds to win his second truck race at the track.

Busch and Wallace started the race 1-2, and immediately, the young gun showed his boss that he made the right choice by signing him. He jumped out to the lead and led his boss for the opening 35 laps before Busch caught him and took the lead.

“I’m really proud that my name is on the door,” Busch said. “I’m most proud of Eric Phillips and all the guys, everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports for all their hard work and dedication and everything they’ve done to build really good trucks. They’ve done a great job for me.”

Behind the duo, Ryan Blaney was third followed by points leader Timothy Peters and 2012 Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski. Keselowski was on his way up to the front until a wedge wrench was left in his car under caution. He spent the rest of the race using timing and strategy to fight back through the field.

Even a late race caution couldn’t stop the momentum of Kyle Busch. However, a failed post-race inspection could dampen the win by a good sum.

Matt Crafton, Austin Dillon, Ron Hornaday Jr., Johnny Sauter, and Ben Kennedy rounded out the race’s top 10.

Kyle Busch Motorsports drivers have won nine of the series’ last 12 races, with Wallace winning twice and Erik Jones once. The momentum for the team continues with all the wins and a rise in the standings.

Johnny Sauter keeps his eight-point lead over ThorSport Racing teammate Matt Crafton, the defending series champion and a two-time winner this season. Crafton is the only driver this year to beat KBM.

“He knew what he was doing,” Wallace said. “He’s so cool to work with. He’s so good.”

Photo Credit: mrn.com

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NSCS: Carl Edwards steals the show in Sonoma

Hendrick Motorsports has five wins in a row and Roush Fenway Racing hasn’t really been up to par. Who would’ve thought that they would end the streak? Not even the winner did.

Carl Edwards became the 10th different winner in the last 10 Sonoma races on Sunday by winning the Toyota/Save Mart 350. It is his second win of the season and secures him a spot as a member of the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. It is his 23rd career win and it comes on the week where rumors are coming out that he will leave Roush in 2015.

He was able to hold off Jeff Gordon on the last turn to secure the win. They were followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jamie McMurray, and Paul Menard.

Edwards took the lead on the restart with 25 laps to go in the event and seemed to have had the race in his grasp. However, after getting around McMurray, Gordon and Earnhardt spent the rest of the race closing in on Edwards. However, a .591 second gap is all he needed to hold on to his Chase spot.

“This is a moment I’ll never forget, to be standing in Victory Lane and to have held off Jeff Gordon with all of the success he’s had here and in our sport,” Edwards said. “I’m living proof that whatever it is you’re doing, just keep doing it and don’t ever give up because somehow things can work out.”

Jamie McMurray started off on pole and let the opening portion of the race until A.J. Allmendinger took the lead and dominated the first half of the race. Allmendinger would lead the most laps, 35, and be in contention until contact with Earnhardt and Kasey Kahne took him out of contention and gave him a 37th place finish.

Allmendinger wasn’t the only person who had contact with the No. 88 car. Earnhardt and Kenseth were racing on lap 75 when Earnhardt jumped the curb and sent the Dollar General Toyota into the tire barrier ending the No. 20 car’s day with a 42nd place finish.

Kevin Harvick dominated the mid portion of the race after Allmendinger pitted for fuel until he had a bad stop on pit road that stuck him back in traffic. Clint Bowyer was racing for the lead until his teammate  Brian Vickers got into him and he started falling back.

This set up a meeting of Harvick and Bowyer after the lap 80 restart. McMurray got into Bowyer and he went around. With nowhere to go, Harvick slammed into Bowyer and received damage that would help his chance. He went on to finish 20th.

The rest of the top 10 was Hendrick teammates Kahne and Jimmie Johnson, favorite Marcos Ambrose, Edward’s teammate Greg Biffle, and Bowyer, who came back from his accident.

For Edwards, his crew chief Jimmy Fennig gave him a position to get a big win at a very different type of track. For Roush, it is the first return to Sonoma victory lane since 1997 when Jimmy Fennig took Mark Martin to victory lane.

With his 2nd place finish, Gordon remains the series points leader with his teammates Johnson and Earnhardt within a race of him. 5 drivers have secured a spot in the Chase with 2 or more wins and 5 others have a single win. The series now heads to the night race at Kentucky on Saturday where anything can happen like Sonoma.

“I grew up watching Jeff Gordon do well here, so to have him in my mirror is very special,” Edwards said in victory lane.

Photo Credit: NASCAR.com

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NNS: Brendan Gaughan is the Big Cheese in Wisconsin

There was rain. There was wrecks. There was drama. All are normal at Road America but what Saturday brought was big. There was an upset.

Brendan Gaughan, in his 98th Nationwide start, gets his first series win at Road America on Saturday. He was able to hold off a hard-charging Alex Tagliani and Kevin O’Connell. Chase Elliott and J.J. Yeley rounded out the top 5.

Saturday’s race at the 4 mile track became the third time in NASCAR history that they raced in the rain. The other two were the Nationwide races at Montreal in 2008 and 2010.

Gaughan fought with Elliott on the final two lap restart. Elliott took the lead on the restart but just a few turns later Gaughan went to the lead and never went back. Gaughan held them all off after two early spins and a lack of a windshield wiper during the rain.

“I love racing in the rain,” Gaughan said. “It’s fun. And when you’re good at it, it makes it even more fun. I haven’t smelled blood in a long time. That’s been something I’ve been lacking lately is that killer attitude. When it started to rain, even without the wiper blade, I started to smell blood and said, ‘I’m coming.’

The race was put under caution on Lap 25 and NASCAR mandated all cars switch to wet weather tires two laps later. They remained on rain tires until the final four laps, when teams had the option to switch back to slicks.

With four laps to go, Justin Marks ran out of gas and brought out the full course caution. Just before he ran out, pole-sitter Tagliani came to pit road as the leader when he ran out. This set up the restart with Tagliani, who dominated the whole race, in 23rd. In two laps, he charged his way from 23rd all the way back to finish 2nd.

“It was pretty intense,” Tagliani said. “The wet was tricky, but obviously we were good. So I don’t know. Maybe I threw a bad spell on myself because I was saying, ‘It’s impossible that I’m going to win this race. Something’s going to happen.’ On the white flag, something happened.”

The series now heads to Kentucky on Friday under the lights. Regan Smith remains the points leader with Elliott Sadler 10 points back and Chase Elliott 11 back.

“It was ridiculous,” Elliott said. “It really was. It was a handful.”

Photo Credit: ESPN.go.com

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Rosberg Wins at Austria

Rosberg takes his third win of the season today at the Austrian Grand Prix, thus further continuing the dominance of team Mercedes this year in formula 1. Rosberg, who started today’s race in 3rd, beat out his teammate, Lewis Hamilton to win the race. The distance between the two when they came to the end of the race was close due to a late mistake by Rosberg, but Rosberg still pulled it out.

Under Rosberg and Hamilton are Valterri Bottas, who takes his first podium, Felipe Massa, who won poll for today’s race, and Fernando Alonso complete the top 5. Another story to come from Austria is that it was not a good day for Team Red Bull. Sebastian Vettel retired from the race due to problems with his vehicle and Ricciardo was struggling all race to be in contention for points. As far as wrecks go, there were no crashes, but there were some problems nonetheless. There was Vettel who had to retire, Daniil Kyval had to retire, and on lap 61, Jean-Eric Verne’s brakes went, causing him to leave the race.

Another story is the fact that the woes continue for Romain Grosjean. If you can recall, last year, Grosjean’s reputation was positively changed with his 6 podium appearances, which included a 2nd place finish in Austin. This year, however, Grosjean, who finished 14th today, has a total of 8 points this year, which must be hugely upsetting for Grosjean and team Lotus.

The team standings after the race gives Team Mercedes a total of 301 points on the season, which extends Mercedes’, and Rosberg’s, monster lead in the standings. Rosberg, as of his win today, now has 165 points. 

stats from formula1.com
picture credit: telegraph.co.uk

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