By John Gardner
It was a busy weekend on the motorsports front. NASCAR’s Nextel Cup went road-course racing at
Gentlemen (and ladies), start your reading glasses…
NASCAR: Stewart Smokes ‘Em at Infineon
Tony Stewart further enhanced his reputation as one of NASCAR’s most versatile drivers by winning the Nextel Cup race at
Pre-race paddock chatter had singled out Stewart’s car as the best of bunch following strong showings in practice, and that proved to be the case. Following the last round of pit stops he was able to run down and pass veterans Rusty Wallace and Ricky Rudd, despite being hampered by fautly gearbox that forced him to hold it in gear in third and fourth gears and drive with one hand on the fastest parts of the track.
Rudd, who gambled on fuel, hung on to finish second on fumes (he stopped on course on the cool-off lap), ahead of defending series champ Kurt Busch, Wallace and Dale Jarrett (the latter two likewise gambling on fuel). Elliott Sadler, Jeremy Mayfield, Ron Fellows (who started last as a stand-in for Bobby Hamilton Jr.), Ryan Newman and Brian Simo completed the top 10.
Speaking of gearbox troubles, Stewart’s was only one (and the least costly) of many. Hendrick Motorsports was using a new-type box in this race, and it was a costly change. Polesitter Jeff Gordon, points leader and second-fast qualifier Jimmie Johnson and their teammate Kyle Busch all had shifting problems and were forced to pit for repairs. Johnson’s 36th-place finish cost him the championship lead to Greg Biffle (who started 41st and finished 14th). Also suffering with gearbox trouble was Robby Gordon, who ran in the top three early and finished 16th.
Perhaps the worst luck of the day befell Dale Earnhardt Jr., who could hardly afford it. Also suffering with gearbox woes, he had a run-in with Mike Bliss in the opening laps, cut down a tire and smacked the wall. He returned after repairs but finished 42nd.
The series is at the halfway point, and heads to
NASCAR Nextel Cup Top Five:
1) Tony Stewart, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200 laps
2) Ricky Rudd, No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford Taurus, 110 laps
3) Kurt Busch, No. 97 Roush Racing Ford Taurus, 110 laps
4) Rusty Wallace, No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge Charger, 110 laps
5) Dale Jarrett, No. 88 Robert Yates Racing Ford Taurus, 110 laps
Driver’s Championship: 1) Greg Biffle, 2250; 2) Jimmie Johnson, 2228; 3) Elliott Sadler, 2073; 4) Tony Stewart, 2052; 5) Mark Martin, 2022.
Busch Series: Homeboy Sauter Bulletproof at
As soon as he got out of his racecar at The Milwaukee Mile, NASCAR Busch Series race winner Johnny Sauter should have gotten on a plane and headed straight to
The race was shortened from 250 to 200 laps due to rain, but that only stopped the bleeding for Sauter’s competitors. The
When the rain began to fall, Sauter was running in front of defending series champ Martin Truex Jr., who leapfrogged Reed Sorenson in the point standings to take the championship lead. Another
The series will rejoin the Nextel Cup Series next weekend in Daytona.
NASCAR Busch Series Top Five:
1) Johnny Sauter, No. 1 Phoenix Racing Dodge Charger, 200 laps
2) Martin Truex Jr., No. 8 Chance 2 Motorsports Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200 laps
3) Paul Menard, No. 11 Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet
4) J.J. Yeley, No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 200 laps
5) David Stremme, No. 14 FitzBradshaw Racing Dodge Charger, 200 laps
Driver’s Championship: 1) Martin Truex Jr., 2320; 2) Reed Sorenson, 2313; 3) Clint Bowyer, 2279; 4) Carl Edwards, 2241; 5) Kenny Wallace, 2133.
Craftsman Truck Series: Setzer Stinks Up Show at
Dennis Setzer won his second Craftsman Truck Series race in a row at The Milwaukee Mile on Friday night, and for a guy who’s supposed to be a short-track specialist, he sure seemed to have everyone fooled.
Setzer was just about untouchable on
Jack Sprague was the only driver who was even in the same zip code as Setzer, and he finished almost four seconds back. Ted Musgrave was third, ahead of Ron Hornaday and Brendon Gaughan. Defending series champ Bobby Hamilton, Gaughan’s teammate Steve Park, Rick Crawford, rookie Todd Kluever and Terry Cook rounded out the top 10.
With the victory, consistent Setzer vaulted himself into the championship lead, demoting
The series heads to Kansas Speedway next weekend, where it will support the headlining IRL Indycar Series race.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Top Five:
1) Dennis Setzer, No. 46 Morgan-Dollar Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, 200 laps
2) Jack Sprague, No. 16 Xpress Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, 200 laps
3) Ted Musgrave, No. 1 Ultra Motorsports Dodge Ram, 200 laps
4) Ron Hornaday, No. 6 Kevin Harvick Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado, 200 laps