Friday night’s Nationwide race at Daytona seemed to have the best of both worlds for restrictor plate fans. Yes, the outcome was ultimately decided by tandem drafting. But in the process, there was more than enough pack racing to whet fans’ appetites, turning the event into a wild competition of record-setting proportions.
_In a span of under two years, Timmy Hill went from an ARCA rookie to a Cup Series driver. But now as NASCAR 2012 hits the summer stretch, Hill is back in Nationwide racing, having seen firsthand just how challenging life at the top of stock car racing is. Back with the team and organization that he won the NNS Rookie of the Year title with a season ago, Hill spoke to Frontstretch at Kentucky about his whirlwind season, and career, looking ahead to the rest of the season._
Bryan Davis Keith, Frontstretch.com: *You’ve certainly had an interesting season. You started the year as a Cup driver, but now here you are back with the team you won Nationwide Rookie of the Year with last year. Take us through 2012 for Timmy Hill.*
When one thinks of stability with regard to Sprint Cup racing, it’s likely that one thinks of Matt Kenseth and his iconic No. 17 Ford. The 2003 Cup champion has, for more than a decade, been a continual race winner and Chase contender, a rock of composure and consistency complimented by a “Killer Bees” pit crew that never falters.
It’s hardly surprising that a driver that’s proven unflappable (sans when an unstable teammate appears ready to go 15 rounds on Martinsville’s pit road) wants stability as much he’s been associated with it. With Penske Racing coming back to the blue oval for 2013 and the sponsorship well at Roush Fenway Racing proving so dry that both the Nationwide and Cup programs have had to contract in the past 12 months, one can hardly blame Kenseth for taking a deal in hand for the next season and beyond. This move, drastic as it may be, is not surprising.
As the onslaught of summer approaches in advance of Independence Day, and as the kids require much more time and energy (of which they have a lot. As for me? Not so much….), I thought it would be a good time to clean off what used to be my desk and make sense of NASCAR as we reach the halfway point of the season.
And what an odd trip it’s been thus far. From monsoons and jet dryer explosions to driver suspensions and the return of the Prodigal Son to victory lane, the 2012 Sprint Cup season has offered its share of thrills and chills –-or has it been more green than yellow, or more parading than passing?. It depends on your frame of mind, I guess.
Marcos Ambrose recorded his third top 10 (eighth) in the last four races at Sonoma. Ordinarily, that would grant him a spot in the Hot or Warm section of Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, but anyone who watched the race and knows how talented Ambrose is at the road courses, saw Sunday as a missed opportunity for the Richard Petty Motorsports driver.
Ambrose currently sits in 16th in the standings and needs at least one win, along with some consistency the rest of the way to have a shot at the Chase. Unfortunately for Ambrose, he watched one of his two best chances to go to Victory Lane slip through his grasp on Sunday. After starting from the pole, he led laps early before fading and never reinserting himself as a factor. Ambrose wasn’t alone.
State Park Speedway put on a special race for a special friend on Thursday night. Flip Merwin was a snowmobile racer who passed away from injuries suffered during a race accident in 2003 at the Eagle River World Championship Snowmobile Derby. Since the Wimmer family purchased State Park Speedway they’ve held the Merwin Memorial race …
*NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: The Runner-Up Blues* Is there a runner-up jinx in NASCAR? For several drivers in recent years, it probably seems like there’s a hex on the second-place points finisher the next year. In fact, since the Chase began in 2004, the runner-up has finished in the top 5 in points the following year, and none has ever finished better than fourth. In recent years, it’s been even bleaker; since 2008, the previous year’s second-place finisher has finished no better than ninth. So, should Carl Edwards worry?
This race was pretty much over before it started…though that start came a lot later than anticipated. Two delays during Sprint Cup qualifying for a dirty race track and a crash during the pace laps delayed the start of the Pocono 200 repeatedly, but once it was green it was all Brennan Poole. Fresh off a dominating win at the Elko Speedway a week prior and having won the pole on Friday, Poole took off early and was never challenged, scoring his third career ARCA win and second of 2012. Chad Hackenbracht, Alex Bowman, Matt Lofton and Chris Buescher rounded out the top 5.
The second day of testing at the newly paved Pocono Raceway resulted in even faster speeds Thursday on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. Kasey Kahne turned the fastest lap at 179.490 mph, following closely by Jamie McMurray with a speed of 179.401 mph. Kahne and McMurray were joined by Mark Martin(179.390 mph), Jeff Gordon (179.272 mph) and …
When the Camping World Truck Series takes the track Friday night for the WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway, Miguel Paludo’s No. 32 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet will have a completely different look. In an effort to raise more awareness for diabetes, the Brazilian, who has been named as the most recent–a first South American–Blue Circle Champion for the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), will run a “Unite for Diabetes” paint scheme this weekend.
IDF is an umbrella organization that encompasses over 200 diabetes associations covering more than 160 countries all over the world. Their mission is to “promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide.” Founded in 1950, IDF has united organizations worldwide that are all united for one purpose: finding a cure.
As NASCAR’s traveling circus rolls into Northeastern Pennsylvania this week, the cars and stars of the Sprint Cup Series are facing an entirely new Pocono Raceway experience. First of all, the challenging 2.5-mile triangle is sporting a new coat of pavement – the first to be laid down in almost twenty years. Secondly, this weekend’s running of the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR 400 (a name inspired by NASCAR’s newly-minted relationship with Twitter) will be 100 miles (or 40 laps) shorter than previous events. The same will be true when the Sprint Cup cars race there again in August. One hundred fewer miles – according to public opinion – means 100 fewer headaches for teams and fans alike, but it also shows the lengths to which the folks at Pocono Raceway are willing to go to better meet the demands of their audience.
NASCAR and Twitter are rolling out the groundbreaking #NASCAR hashtag partnership during the Pocono 400 Presented By #NASCAR in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. It’s an exciting new venture, one the powers that be hope turns into a way for hundreds of thousands of new fans to be introduced to the sport. But I am here to tell you that the best laid plans, while groundbreaking in nature are already far too late.
Twitter, you see has been ruining NASCAR for quite some time.