Racing Results: June 24-26, 2005

June 27, 2005

By John Gardner

It was a busy weekend on the motorsports front. NASCAR’s Nextel Cup went road-course racing atSearsPoint (Infineon), while the Busch and Truck series were at historic Milwaukee. IRL was at the Richmond bullring, while the Champ Cars were strafing the runways at Cleveland’s BukeLakefrontAirport, along with the Trans-Am, World Challenge and Toyota Atlantic series. The NHRA was smokin’ some hides at Gateway, the World Rally Championship was in Greece and, for good measure, the 83rd annual Pikes Peak Hill Climb took place in Colorado.

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 California’s Infineon (nee Sears Point Raceway) on Sunday, his first win in the past 30 races and his second at Infineon.

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 Daytona Beach next weekend to kick off the second half.

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.

Complete Race Results

Busch Series: Homeboy Sauter Bulletproof at Milwaukee

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 Las Vegas. It was just that kind of night.

The race was shortened from 250 to 200 laps due to rain, but that only stopped the bleeding for Sauter’s competitors. The Wisconsin native absolutely dominated on his home track to win the race and claim his third career Busch Series victory on Saturday night, even overcoming a black flag for rough driving. He took the pole earlier in the day with a track-record time, and went on to lead 162 laps in the race. He was black-flagged on Lap 113 for bumping into Tony Raines as Raines was slowing to enter the pit road, and lost a lap. However, he had been the only car on the lead lap and fell to second behind Randy LaJoie, who pitted just two laps later. From that point on, it was a done deal.

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 Wisconsin native, Paul Menard, finished third ahead of J.J. Yeley and David Stremme. Denny Hamlin, LaJoie, Kenny Wallace, Raines and Clint Bowyer filled out the top 10.

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 Monte Carlo, 200 laps

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.

Complete Race Results

Craftsman Truck Series: Setzer Stinks Up Show at Milwaukee

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 Beer City’s historic flat oval, his dominance over the rest of the field assisted by the fact that there was only one caution flag during the 200-lap race.

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 Hamilton to second, 35 points back.

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

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