Racin' with Russ
From the start of the racing weekend in New Hampshire, teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart were impressive—impressive enough for Newman to nail down his first pole position this year with Stewart right alongside him.
The two went on to finish off the weekend the way they started with Newman taking his first win (15th career) and Stewart not far behind at the stripe.
The race kicked off with Newman leading laps, then Stewart and several others, such as Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and, late in the go, Kasey Kahne.
But overall, the field couldn’t manage to overcome the strength of the Stewart-Hass cars with Hendrick engines to keep them out of victory lane.
Crossing the line behind the dynamic duo were the cars of Denny Hamlin (despite an early-race spin), Joey Logano and Johnson, despite an earlier pit lane infraction for a missing lugnut.
The latest win for Newman further insures his spot among Chasers with only seven races remaining.
Others not so lucky on the day included Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kyle Busch.
Keselowski started the day high up in the order, but a flat tire among other issues dropped him deep in the pack to 35th. Earnhardt never got with the program, expressing his displeasure on the team's radio. He netted a 15th—not much help in staying among the top 10.
Finally, Kyle Busch hit the wall lightly very early on in the race, then smacked it good, the result of a blown tire, giving what was the points leader a 36th place finish and dropping four places to fifth in the big picture.
Carl Edwards led very briefly, yet only came up with a 13th place finish. It was good enough to get back on top of the standings, if only by seven over Johnson and 11 over Kurt Busch, who wound up 10th on the day.
Note: It was commented on several times during the weekend that NASCAR president Mike Helton has told Kevin Harvick not to touch Kyle Busch during any of the weekend’s racing or he would be parked. WHAT?! Are you kidding me? There goes the idea of “boys, have at it.” I thought, as did most others, that their probation period was over and let the games begin.
This latest decision by NASCAR is total nonsense and I’m being kind in my words. So, are the new rules, “boys, have at it except Harvick and Busch?" And for how long is this idea in place? How ridiculous! What do you think? Drop me a line.
Kyle Busch wound up tying Mark Martin’s Nationwide win record with win No. 49 on Saturday afternoon at NHIS. He had a fairly easy time of it besting the cars driven by Harvick, Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr and Aric Almirola.
I truly believe had Helton not spoken to Harvick, the final results would have been very different as the two were near each other with multiple opportunities to settle previous issues available. The latest win also marked his career 100th trophy in all three top divisions, but I don’t agree with notation. More on this in another edition of RWR.
Elliott Sadler’s 12th place run elevates him into the top spot in points, yet only by seven over Reed Sorensen.
Johnny Sauter ran strong, Austin Dillon ran stronger, yet Matt Crafton came away with the checkers for the Camping World truck racing in Iowa on Saturday afternoon.
Will Tony Stewart win a Cup race over the next seven weeks?
Dillon’s pit crew let him down on the final stop and despite making up seven of the eight spots needed to win, he came away as the runner-up with an impressive dozen laps of side-by-side action with Crafton.
Not far behind at the strip were the truck of Dillon, David Mayhew, Johnny Sauter and Joey Coultar.
Sauter remains on top but by a narrow margin over Dillon.
Ex-Formula One ace Jacques Villenueve was seen at New Hampshire this weekend looking for an opportunity to compete in either Cup or Nationwide in a full-time capacity. I think he would be a welcome addition.
The big traffic jam mess at last week’s Kentucky venue is still on the lips of many of those involved. It was so bad that 15,000 fans never even reached their seats! Many of those fans were turned away at the gate with no parking spots remaining.
This is inexcusable and so far, track officials are offering a free seat for next year or a ticket to another racetrack this year. This is a bad deal all the way around and I would expect better treatment of paying customers. By the way, NO cash refunds are available.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s RWR will review the Nationwide and truck action from Nashville Super Speedway while the Cupsters take a week off. Other racing results from around the globe will be included.