May 21, 2009

Yahoo! Qualification Story

Check out this five-page summary (.pdf) of who's hot at Lowe's after qualification for the Coca-Cola 600.

Newman wins 44th pole

Ryan Newman paced Lowe's with a speed of 188.475 mph to earn his 44th pole for the Coca-Cola 600.

Our View: Despite the length of this race, qualification is important and Newman is in great shape to earn his first top-10 at this track since 2005.

IRL: The Granddaddy of Them all

Event Day Games Preview: When NASCAR was just a gleam in Big Bill France's eye, America already had one of the biggest sports events in the World—the Indy 500.

Memorial Day is one of the best days in auto racing. Get up early to watch the Monaco Grand Prix, grab a second cup of coffee, and then fire up your cell phones to play Event Day Games' first-ever IRL contest. We just couldn't help becoming part of the 93rd running of this great American race.

The Indy 500 is so big that the Indy Racing League takes the entire month of May to prepare for it and the drama has already started. Helio Castroneves drew first blood by winning the pole over his Penske teammate Ryan Briscoe. The front row is crowded with Chip Ganassi's Dario Franchitti lined up to the outside of this amazing three-abreast configuration and watching them barrel down into turn one is hair raising.

Further back in the field, equal rights are alive and well as Danica Patrick, Sarah Fisher and Milka Duno locked up more than 25 percent of the field for women drivers. Fisher starts 21st and has the most experience of the group as she competes in her eighth Indy 500, but Patrick has better odds since she rolls off the grid 10th.

Join us at this week to play along with our unique fantasy game.

Qualification order has posted the qualification order for the Coca-Cola 600.

Our View: Track position is important at Lowe's and the track should get fastest as the temperatures cool. Jimmie Johnson rolls off the grid 19th and most of the fastest cars in practice are earlier than that, which should create an interesting session.

N'Wide: Townley crashes

John Wes Townley became the latest casualty of Nationwide practice. He crashed near the end of practice two.

Our View: Have you noticed how much more exciting Nationwide practice is? That's why these guys need track time.

Martin wins practice

Mark Martin continues to be the hottest driver on the NASCAR circuit and he topped the first practice session with a speed of 185.217 mph. This is a session in which drivers typically work on qualification setups.

Our View: That makes him the favorite to win Thursday night's pole and the way he's run in the last month, he has to be considered a front runner for the Coca-Cola 600 as well.

F1: Ferrari loses round one in budget spat

According to Ferrari has lost the first round of the budget gap spat after a French court ruled against their injunction, saying there is no "imminent danger" preceding the May 29th deadline to declare intentions to run 2010.

Our View: Max Mosley needs to become familiar with the term, "win the battle; lose the war," however.

F1: Alonso doesn’t want to race "small teams"

In an article at, Fernando Alonso said "If the big teams and the big manufacturers leave Formula One then I don’t want to race with small teams, because it is not any more F1 and there are many other categories.”

Our View: This tempest in the teapot is threatening to become a hurricane due to the heavy handed handling by Max Mosley.

Gordon has Texas car

The No. 24 team has brought their Texas car to Lowe's for Jeff Gordon to drive this weekend.

Our View: That's the car in which Gordon snapped his long winless streak, so he's got to be watched closely in Coca-Cola 600 prelims.

Wallace 9th, Schrader 12th in USMTS

On Wednesday night, Kenny Wallace and Ken Schrader traveled to Marshalltown, Iowa to challenge the USMTS dirt track racers. Wallace finished ninth after starting 20th. Schrader finished 12th after starting ninth.

Our View: There's nothing like a little dirt in the teeth to help identify the real racers.

N'Wide: Bliss changes engine

Mike Bliss missed a shift in the first practice session for the Carquest Auto Parts 300 and will be forced to change an engine. He will join Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski at the back of the pack to start on Saturday.

Our View: Bliss was expected to be one of the top Nationwide Regulars, and this certainly doesn't improve his odds. Look for a solid but unspectacular run now.

N'Wide: Keselowski crashes again

Déjà vu. Brad Keselowski destroyed a second car in the first practice after apparently cutting a right front tire for a second time on Thursday.

Our View: Luckily, the shop is just around the corner, so they can get a third car to the track before Saturday, but that Chevy will start the race with no practice time at all.

N'Wide: Knupp crashes hard

Brandon Knupp has crashed Bob Schacht's unsponsored No. 75 in Nationwide practice. Hopefully, they have a backup car, because that one isn't going anywhere.

Our View: A graduate of the ARCA Truck series, Knupp has made nine Camping World Truck Series starts, but he hopes this will be his first Nationwide race.

Truck: Fitzpatrick joins Harvick

Canadian driver J R Fitzpatrick will join Kevin Harvick, Inc. for eight Camping World Truck Series races beginning at Dover, according to Ironically, the announcement came the same week as one sending American Cale Gale to Canada in a joint KHI effort.

Our View: Fitzpatrick started the season with a ride in The Racers Group truck until funding dried up. Harvick will be able to provide greater resources.

F1: Rosberg tops P2

On Thursday, Nico Rosberg posted the fastest time in the second practice session for the Monaco Grand Prix, according to

Our View: Rosberg led Lewis Hamilton, Rubens Barichello, Jenson Button and Felipe Massa as the top five drivers. This is a good indication of who will finish up front in the race.

Practice Two Speeds

RankDriverBest TimeLaps
1Nico Rosberg1:15.24345
2Lewis Hamilton1:15.44535
3Rubens Barrichello1:15.59041
4Jenson Button1:15.77436
5Felipe Massa1:15.83242
6Sebastian Vettel1:15.84733
7Heikki Kovalainen 1:15.98445
8Kimi Räikkönen 1:15.98543
9Kazuki Nakajima 1:16.26043
10Nelson Piquet Jr.1:16.28643
11Fernando Alonso 1:16.55239
12Mark Webber 1:16.57927
13Adrian Sutil 1:16.67538
14Jarno Trulli 1:16.91543
15Sebastian Buemi 1:16.98348
16Sebastian Bourdais 1:17.05248
17Nick Heidfeld 1:17.10940
18Timo Glock 1:17.20745
19Giancarlo Fisichella 1:17.50445
20Robert Kubica No time2

Practice One Speeds

N'Wide: Ky Busch has milky oil

Kyle Busch is reporting that his oil is turning "milky," which is an indication that water is getting into it. The team will probably change engines (pending NASCAR's approval) and start at the back of the pack in the Carquest Auto Parts 300.

Our View: It doesn't matter where this kid starts; he'll contend for victory before the night is over.

N'Wide: Keselowski crashes in first practice

Brad Keselowski cut a tire and destroyed his Nationwide Series car only five minutes into Thursday's 90 minute session. A bolt on the suspension was the culprit.

Our View: This happened early enough that the team should be able to recover, but don't commit to the No. 88 until they get on track with their backup car and so you can see how fast it is.

F1: Kovalainen downplays speed

Heikki Kovalainen is downplaying his and teammate Lewis Hamilton's speed in the first practice session that placed them third and fourth on that grid, according to

Our View: He says that while this is a step in the right direction, their speed was nearly a half second slower than leader Rubens Barrichello.

Practice One Speeds

F1: Barrichello draws first blood

Rubens Barrichello drew first blood in practice for the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix according to, posting a time of one minute, 17.189 seconds and narrowly beating Felipe Massa.

Our View: Third-best Lewis Hamilton is still hoping to turn his season around, while Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen rounded out the top five.

Practice One Speeds

RankDriverBest TimeLaps
1Rubens Barrichello1:17.18925
2Felipe Massa1:17.49930
3Lewis Hamilton1:17.57825
4Heikki Kovalainen 1:17.68629
5Kimi Räikkönen 1:17.83929
6Kazuki Nakajima 1:18.00029
7Nico Rosberg1:18.02427
8Jenson Button1:18.08027
9Fernando Alonso 1:18.28330
10Mark Webber 1:18.34822
11Sebastian Buemi 1:18.69536
12Nelson Piquet Jr.1:19.20436
13Sebastian Vettel1:19.23316
14Sebastian Bourdais 1:19.25531
15Giancarlo Fisichella 1:19.53428
16Robert Kubica 1:19.55531
17Nick Heidfeld 1:19.57923
18Adrian Sutil 1:19.60024
19Timo Glock 1:19.69824
20Jarno Trulli 1:19.83128

F1: BMW undecided about 2010

With a May 29th deadline looming to secure a place on next year's Formula 1 grid, BMW has yet to decide whether they will participate in Max Mosley's proposed two-tier salary cap scheme, according to team principal Mario Thiessen.

Our View: Mosley has threatened that unless people honor the May 29th deadline, there may not be a spot open later. His bigger concern should be whether he is able to fill that grid at all with Ferrari and Sauber threatening to pull out and several other teams in BMW's shoes.

N'Wide: Davis gets sponsor

Marc Davis has signed a sponsor for the Nationwide Carquest Auto Parts 300, according to That sponsor is The Word Network.

Our View: Davis is attempting to become the first fulltime Black driver in a major NASCAR division since Wendell Scott and he's doing it the same way—as an owner/driver. Fans of dark horses have to think of him as a sentimental favorite.

Schrader 13th at Oskaloosa

On Tuesday night, Ken Schrader did not fare very well in his first of three nights competing against the USMTS dirt track stars at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. After starting 15th in the 30-lap A main, he was able to climb to only 13th at the end of the race.

Our View: For Schrader, this is as much about having fun doing what he loves. He would certainly have wanted a better result, but the track time was important nonetheless.

Jason Hughes won the feature.

Kahne gets new engine

Kasey Kahne will run the new Dodge engine in the Coca-Cola 600 according to

Our View: This adds another unknown to the equation. If the engine holds together, Kahne could be a favorite to win this weekend, but fantasy owners have to be willing to roll the dice in case he blows up.