June 5, 2009

IRL: Texas lineup with avg. start/finish

Dario Franchitti won the pole for Saturday night's Bombardier Learjet 550k—his fifth top-10 start on this track in six attempts. His results have been irregular after starting that close to the front, but the other time he started from the pole in 2004, he finished second.

Ryan Briscoe rolls off the grid second, and if his personal history at Texas is an indication that is precisely where he will finish. In 2005, he started and finished 12th in this race. Last year, he finished third after starting on the inside of the second row.

Like Briscoe, Scott Dixon does a good job of finishing what he starts at Texas. His first attempt there came in spring 2003 when he started second and finished sixth. In fall 2003, he started and finished second. In fall 2004, he started fifth and finished sixth. He went from fourth to second in 2006 and last year he won from the pole. He starts third on Saturday.

The king of Texas qualifying, however, may just be Helio Castroneves. In 10 previous attempts, he's never started outside the top 10 and he converted two of those strong starts into victories and another pair of races into runner-up results. He kept that streak alive with a fourth-place start.

Danica Patrick rounds out the top five in fifth, which is her fourth top-10 start in five Texas attempts. In those races, she's never finished worse than 13th and has back-to-back top-10s in 2007/2008.

Lineup with avg. start/finish

StartDriverAvg. FinAvg. StartAttempts
1Dario Franchitti8.407.405
2Ryan Briscoe7.507.502
3Scott Dixon6.756.508
4Helio Castroneves6.305.7010
5Danica Patrick9.507.004
6Mario Moraes18.0022.001
7Dan Wheldon9.1111.899
8Marco Andretti17.3311.673
9Robert Doornbos

10Ed Carpenter17.0015.437
11Hideki Mutoh6.004.001
12Graham Rahal11.0018.001
13Alex Tagliani

14Sarah Fisher14.2517.888
15Raphael Matos

16Tony Kanaan4.507.508
17Justin Wilson27.0023.001
18Tomas Scheckter15.336.009
19Mike Conway

20Milka Duno14.0023.002
21E J Viso14.0028.001
22Anthony Foyt IV17.4316.437
23Ryan Hunter-Reay20.0010.001
24Jacques Lazier

More Indy Racing League Newsbreakers

Trucks: Texas results, with avg. finish

Todd Bodine made history at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night. He became the first driver to win five races on the same track in the Camping World Truck Series. This was his 10th victory on the 1.5-mile tracks and it came at a good time. Bodine has struggled through four consecutive results of 18th or worse. Two of these disappointments were caused by crash damage, however, and it was only a matter of time before he got back in the swing. Prior to his four poor results, he was riding a nine-race streak of top-fives.

Matt Crafton was not happy with his second-place finish and compared it to "kissing his sister." He might feel different about that on Saturday morning when he realizes that he took the point lead after Ron Hornaday Jr. 19th with an oil pressure problem.

Results, with average finish

FinishStartDriverLapsStatusAvg Fin
19Todd Bodine167Running7.40
23Matt Crafton167Running11.76
314Colin Braun167Running10.00
415Johnny Benson Jr167Running11.90
56Rick Crawford167Running11.35
61Johnny Sauter167Running8.50
713David Starr167Running13.05
818Jason White167Running23.33
924Tayler Malsam167Running9.00
1011Mike Skinner166Running5.91
118Ricky Carmichael166Running11.00
1210Timothy Peters166Running21.33
137Chad McCumbee166Running12.83
1416T J Bell166Running24.00
1517Brian Scott165Running14.50
1612Aric Almirola165Running23.80
175Dennis Setzer164Running11.14
1820James Buescher164Running18.00
192Ron Hornaday Jr163Running11.31
2022Terry Cook162Running15.57
2119Stacy Compton161Out of Gas14.71
224Brian Ickler161Running22.00
2323J J Yeley111Vibration23.00
2432Wayne Edwards26Ignition29.83
2525Ryan Matthews22Vibration26.33
2627Butch Miller22Overheating24.00
2728Ryan Hackett18Transmission27.00
2829John Jackson14Ignition28.00
2921Mario Gosselin13Rear End29.00
3033Nick Tucker12Too Slow31.50
3126Marc Mitchell11Quit21.50
3231Brandon Knupp9Quit33.00
3330Norm Benning3Quit30.50

More Camping World Truck Series Newsbreakers

Trucks: Crafton takes point lead

It has been a brutal couple of races for Ron Hornaday Jr. He crashed last week and lost oil pressure late at Texas this week, which caused him to slip out of the points lead. Matt Crafton finished second Friday night, and that allowed him to take the lead in the series.

Our View: Notably, Tony Stewart used a second-place finish last week to take the NASCAR Cup series lead. Winning a championship is as much about consistency as strength, which is something fantasy owners want to keep in mind.

More Camping World Truck Series Newsbreakers

Busch says no rivalry with Earnhardt

Where Kyle Busch is concerned, the media is making a big deal out of nothing in terms of a budding rivalry between himself and Dale Earnhardt Jr., according to SceneDaily.com.

Our View: "Some of the media trying to build up stuff like that," said Busch. "To me, I've got no issues with Dale Jr. whatsoever. It wasn't him that kicked me out of Hendrick Motorsports, to be honest with you. It was Casey Mears."

Hey… maybe there's a budding rivalry between Busch and Mears.

Trucks: Bodine's gets fifth Texas win

Matt Crafton was chasing Todd Bodine down at Texas, but he couldn't quite close the distance. Running low on fuel, Bodine made it all the way to the checkers and won his fifth race on this track and his 10th on a 1.5-mile course.

Our View: This snapped a four-race streak of results 18th or worse this season and it may be time to start thinking about the No. 30 for your roster once more.

More Camping World Truck Series Newsbreakers

N'Wide: Edwards fastest in Nashville practice 2

With rain cancelling Friday activities at Pocono, Carl Edwards made his way to Nashville Superspeedway and posted the fastest time in Happy Hour for the Federated Auto Parts 300.

Our View: Brad Coleman in a Gibbs' car, Steve Wallace, Mike Bliss and Sean Caisse in a Childress car rounded out the top five. Kyle Busch also made the long commute from Pocono, but he was only 12th fastest. Jason Leffler—who won the first session—clocked in eighth best on this chart.

Complete Practice Times

More Nationwide Newsbreakers

Stewart on double-file restarts


“The good thing is with the way they changed the rule everybody kind of has to stay in line so it kind of brings some sanity back to it. I think there are many more pros than there are cons in this equation. There are so many times you get back to eighth or tenth and now you’re starting 16th to 20th on the track but you’re not that far in track position. You’re racing guys that are absolutely racing their guts out trying to get a lap back and you can’t blame them for that but at the same time its right in the middle of what you’re trying to do racing with guys that you’ve earned the right to race with. I think it works out great for the lead-lap guys to race with the lead-lap guys. The lap-down guys have the opportunity to directly race against those guys head-to-head that they’re racing with for a lap back. I think it’s an equation that works good. I don’t think that the trick part is any different than what you do on any other Saturday night short track and the same things that we did to get us here. I don’t know that it’s got that far yet. I think it’s going to be pretty sane from that side.”

From a GM Press Release

Pocono staring lineup, with avg. start / finish

"Obviously everybody is disappointed we didn’t get on the race track today but it worked out good for myself and Jeff (Gordon)," Tony Stewart said after qualification for the Pocono 500 was rained out and set by owner points. "It’s nice to be able to get a front-row starting spot because of rain but it’s not what the fans came to see."

Stewart and Gordon weren't the only benefactors. Several drivers, such as Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle bettered their average staring position by approximately 10 spots to roll off the grid inside the top 10.

Starting grid, with average start/finish

StartDriverAvg. FinAvg. StartAttempts
1Tony Stewart13.0012.3020
2Jeff Gordon10.2811.3832
3Jimmie Johnson9.797.3614
4Kurt Busch15.6913.9416
5Ryan Newman13.9310.1414
6Kyle Busch22.0015.888
7Denny Hamlin6.176.676
8Matt Kenseth14.1719.6118
9Greg Biffle18.3319.1712
10Jeff Burton16.5318.5330
11Carl Edwards14.2526.008
12Mark Martin10.668.6444
13David Reutimann32.0029.504
14Kasey Kahne16.607.8010
15Juan Montoya28.5020.254
16Clint Bowyer20.8323.506
17Brian Vickers14.508.7010
18Dale Earnhardt Jr16.2815.0018
19Martin Truex Jr15.1715.006
20Marcos Ambrose

21Casey Mears20.9221.0812
22Jamie McMurray21.3317.6712
23Joey Logano

24Kevin Harvick15.3119.3116
25Reed Sorenson30.3325.506
26Sam Hornish Jr34.0033.502
27Elliott Sadler20.7024.1520
28Bobby Labonte17.6916.2232
29David Stremme25.7534.254
30A J Allmendinger23.3322.333
31David Ragan22.0029.504
32Michael Waltrip21.5821.3845
33Paul Menard30.2523.754
34Robby Gordon27.7330.5315
35John Andretti28.2019.5020
36Sterling Marlin17.3917.5744
37Scott Speed

38David Gilliland30.7523.504
39Joe Nemechek24.6414.7128
40Patrick Carpentier32.0024.001
41Dave Blaney22.6124.7218
42Regan Smith26.5020.002
43Dexter Bean

N'Wide: Leffler tops Nashville practice 1

Jason Leffler posted the fastest lap of the first practice session. He posted a speed of 159.811 mph.

Our View: Leffler was followed by Michael McDowell, Stephen Leicht (practicing Clint Bowyer's car), Sean Caisse and Scot Lagasse Jr. With less than a handful of Claim Jumpers in the field this week, the Nationwide Regulars have a chance to shine.

Complete Practice Times

More Nationwide Newsbreakers

Martin pleased Friday was washed out

Mark Martin was pleased that qualification and practice was washed out on Friday, according to NASCAR.com. He said, "I view it as the less time on the track, the better. I feel like for our team, for us, we usually hit the track running -- and the longer we run, the more the competition has a chance to catch up," Martin said. "So I'm really comfortable with getting rained out completely."

Our View: This has been a consistent statement from Martin and it shows he is extremely happy with the preparation at the shop. That seems to be the key to his success so far in 2009.

Kahne on double-file restarts


"Truthfully, I really haven’t thought it through. The biggest thing that I’ve thought about is the benefits (of the new rule) and how it’s going to make (the racing) better. Certain things can happen throughout the race and no matter if you have double-file (restarts) or single-file or lapped down cars, whatever can throw your race off. Last week we ended up a lap down because we pitted when some of the other cars pitted and the debris caution came out and we were a lap down. The way that I look at it is, now we’re racing with the cars that we are racing. Whether you’re a lap down and you’re racing with the lap down cars or you’re on the lead lap and racing with the lead lap cars, it’s so competitive right now…cars are all so equal…that it takes your tires to fall off…it takes your car to slow down and things like that before you can pass a car. If you sit there and race…if you restart 10th and you’re racing with lap downed cars… or the guys inside of you…or the two in front of him for 20-25 laps, you may never even see the car in ninth (position) or eighth to try and pass them. To me, I just think that it’s going to be more competitive for us in a good way because you’re racing the cars that you’re racing. You’re not having to pass guys that are just as fast and ended up a lap down because they had one bad run."

From a Dodge Press Release.

NASCAR countersues Mayfield

At Pocono, NASCAR announced they had filed a countersuit against Jeremy Mayfield, allegedly "willfully violating NASCAR's substance-abuse policy, breach of contract, and defrauding NASCAR and its competitors of earnings," according to Ramswy Poston NASCAR's managing director of corporate communications.

Our View: The best defense is a good offense. At the center of the controversy seems to be an assertion that Mayfield purposefully combined drugs to achieve the effect of an illegal substance.

IRL: Franchitti on Texas pole

Dario Franchitti will start Saturday night's race Bombardier Learjet 550k from the pole with a speed of 214.513 mph.

Franchitti's career at Texas has been hit-and-miss. He missed last year, but in his four previous starts he has one top-five, two top-10s and two results outside the top 10.

Pocono Plans

by Andrew Marren

For Race 14 on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule, NASCAR heads to the Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, PA for the Pocono 500, the first of two stops at the track. Nestled in the Pocono Mountains, this track has played host the at least one NASCAR event a year since 1974. The second date on the tour was added in 1982. Pocono boasts NASCAR’s most unique track design; a 2.5-mile flat triangle with three straightaways with different lengths, three turns with varying degrees of banking. Pocono also boasts the circuit’s most treacherous corner, Turn two, or the “tunnel turn.” This corner has seen many grinding crashes, none worse than the lap one crash in the 1988 Miller High Life 500 that ended the career—and nearly took the life of—legend Bobby Allison; a scene I personally saw play out while attending my first race.

Due to the nature of the track’s layout, teams and drivers have a difficult time figuring out the car’s setup for optimal performance. Turn three is probably the most important turn to handle well enough that drivers can apply maximum horsepower for the frontstretch, the longest straightaway in NASCAR. This makes Pocono the place where man and machine must act in harmony more than any other track.

In 2008, Kasey Kahne rode the momentum he picked up during the two weeks NASCAR spent in Charlotte. There, he won both the All Star race and the 600 before riding his Budweiser Dodge to victory. That was his first at Pocono.

If you’re looking for a favorite in this race look no further then Denny Hamlin, driver of the FedEx Toyota out of the Joe Gibbs Racing stable. Hamlin has six career starts at Pocono Raceway and in that span, he has five top-10s. Among those top-10s are two wins and four top-fives. He’s also scored two pole positions.

Of course you will have to look at the Hendrick Motorsports stable as well. Jeff Gordon (four) and Jimmie Johnson (two) have combined for six total wins at Pocono. Mark Martin has not won there, but his average finish of 10.7 is highest among active non-winners. And keep an eye Dale Earnhardt Jr., if for nothing else just to see how the adjustment to his new crew chief Lance McGrew is playing out.

Join us at http://www.eventdaygames.com/ this week to play along with our unique fantasy game.

Yahoo! Qualification Story - Pocono

Rain canceled qualification at Pocono, but starting position is still important. Instead of revealing who rolled off the hauler fast, the drivers at the front of the pack as the toughest in the series at the moment since the grid was aligned by points. Check out this summary (.pdf) of who's going to be hot at in the Pocono 500.

F1: Kovalainen tops Turkey's second practice

The second practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix featured an entirely different cast of characters at the front of the field. With a lap of one minute, 28.841 seconds, Heikki Kovalainen narrowly edged Fernando Alonso who was six/thousandths of a second slower.

Our View: Meanwhile, Rosberg was only seventh quick and Hamilton was 13th. Fantasy Players will need to watch for Saturday's practice to see if a consensus is reached.

Complete Practice Results

Pocono quals canceled

Persistent rain has canceled qualification for the Pocono 500 and the field will be lined up by owner points, according to a Tweet from NASCAR PR.

The rich get richer. Some fast cars will have to come from the back, but we won't know which they are until Saturday's practice session.

F1: Rosberg fastest in Turkey's first practice

Nico Rosberg posted the fastest single lap in the first practice session for the Turkish Grand Prix, with a lap of one minute, 28.952 seconds.

Our View: That's great, but better news might be found a little further back. Lewis Hamilton has had a terrible start to the season, but he was second quick in this session.

Complete Practice Results

Rain postpones Pocono practice

Rain in Pocono has postponed—and will probably cancel—practice at Pocono. NASCAR will try their best to get qualification in the books.

Our View: Don't count on that happening, however; the rain appears to be here to stay through Friday. If the drivers line up by points, some fast guys are going to need to come from the back, which is always difficult on a flat track.

F1: Turkey's last four races

To date, there have been only four Turkish Grand Prixs, as Formula 1 continues to expand into the Middle and Near East and so far, this has been Felipe Massa's personal playground. He's won the last three editions of this race, and if not for a failure to finish in the inaugural race of 2005—he might have been absolutely perfect.

Kimi Raikkonen is the only other winner this track has seen, and of course he took that first event. He hasn't been bad lately either with a second in 2007 and an eighth last year.

Average finish, last four races

DriverAvg Finish200820072006Inaugural 2005
Juan Montoya 3.00

Fernando Alonso3.256322
Lewis Hamilton3.5025

Pedro de la Rosa5.00

Felipe Massa5.5011119
Kimi Raikkonen6.7532211
Robert Kubica8.004812
Jenson Button8.25111345
Heikki Kovalainen9.00126

Christian Klien9.50

Giancarlo Fisichella9.7520964
Michael Schumacher10.00

Jarno Trulli10.25101696
Nick Heidfeld10.25541418
David Coulthard10.25910157
Ralf Schumacher10.33
Alexander Wurz11.00

Jacques Villeneuve Jr11.00

Nico Rosberg11.008718
Rubens Barrichello12.251417810
Timo Glock13.0013

Robert Doornbos13.00

Scott Speed13.00

Anthony Davidson14.00

Narain Karthikeyan14.00

Takuma Sato14.67
Mark Webber14.757221020
Nelson Piquet Jr15.0015

Christijan Albers16.00

Vitantonio Liuzzi17.50
Sebastian Bourdais18.0018

Sebastian Vettel18.001719

Tiago Monteiro18.50

Adrian Sutil18.501621

Kazuki Nakajima19.0019

Sakon Yamamoto19.50

IRL: Texas' last five races

After posting three consecutive top-fives from St. Petersburg through Kansas Speedway, Tony Kanaan has had two horrible weekends in the Indy Racing League with finishes in the 20s in the Indy 500 and at the Milwaukee Mile. Last week, he entered the flat one-mile oval with a near perfect record on that track during the last five years before crashing barely 12 races into the event. Now, he has another chance to rebound. At Texas Motor Speedway, he's finished seventh or better in his last five tries.

Helio Castroneves has actually been stronger in recent seasons. Except for a crash in 2007, he would have swept the top five since the fall 2004 race, having won twice and posting a second-place finish.

Dan Wheldon posted the fastest time in Friday's session and he too has to be considered a serious contender this week. Like Castroneves, he had a bad 2007 race, but has finished sixth or better four of his last five attempts.

Average finish, last five races
DriverAvg. Fin20082007200620052004.2
Tony Kanaan3.852732
Helio Castroneves 5.0216151
Adrian Fernandez5.0

Hideki Mutoh6.06

Sam Hornish Jr6.0
Scott Sharp 6.0
Dan Wheldon6.2415363
Vitor Meira6.275694
Scott Dixon6.41122116
Mark Taylor7.0

Ryan Briscoe7.53

Townsend Bell9.0

Danica Patrick9.51031213
Dario Franchitti10.0
Sarah Fisher10.0

Jeff Simmons10.5

Kosuke Matsuura10.8
Graham Rahal11.011

Tora Takagi12.0

Bryan Herta12.3

Will Power13.013

Felipe Giaffone 13.5

Tomas Scheckter 13.6251410118
E J Viso14.014

Milka Duno14.01711

Alex Barron14.0

Anthony Foyt IV14.31217
Buddy Rice15.088182120
Bruno Junqueira15.015

Roger Yasukawa15.0

Ed Carpenter15.491892021
John Andretti16.016

Patrick Carpentier16.0

Tomas Enge16.0

Eddie Cheever Jr17.0


Marco Andretti17.3191914

Mario Moraes18.018

Buddy Lazier 19.0


Darren Manning19.32813
Ryan Hunter-Reay20.020

Jon Herb20.0

Mario Dominguez21.021

Marty Roth22.022

Jimmy Kite22.0

Enrique Bernoldi23.023

Jaime Camara24.024

Oriol Servia26.026

Justin Wilson27.027

Fans help Carl Long

In the aftermath of the NASCAR appeal committee's refusal to reduce Carl Long's overly harsh penalty, fans have begun donating to a relief fund at CarlLong.com.

Our View: Long is not going to be a good fantasy value as an independent driver, but fans of dark horses should give whatever they can. Not that they are listening—but this sends a message of sort to NASCAR.

Trucks: Texas' last five races

Last week, Ron Hornaday Jr.'s race ended early with crash damage, but he managed to retain the points' lead in the topsy-turvy Camping World Truck Series season. He should be able to put that disappointment behind him immediately, because he enters the weekend as the defending winner of this race. In fact, he swept both events on this track last year.

The second-place finisher in both of those events won't repeat, however; Kyle Busch is not making the long commute from Pocono Raceway this week and that opens the door for the driver who was third in both races. Yes—the first-, second- and third-place drivers had perfect symmetry as Johnny Benson stepped on the final step of the podium in the spring and again in the fall.

The perfection ends there—but not by much. Todd Bodine was fifth in this race last year and fourth in the fall.

Average finish, last five races

DriverAvg Finish2008.22008.12007.22007.12006.2
Clint Bowyer1.00

Mike Skinner 5.0089323
Ron Hornaday Jr5.80111845
David Ragan6.00

David Reutimann7.00

Todd Bodine 8.004516114
Ken Schrader8.00

Kyle Busch8.752229
Jason Leffler9.00


Marcos Ambrose10.00

Terry Cook 10.8061612128
Jack Sprague 11.001546264
Matt Crafton 11.001977715
Aaron Fike11.00

Marc Mitchell12.00

Tim Sauter 12.00

Bobby Hamilton Jr12.00

Ted Musgrave Sr12.25
Travis Kvapil 13.007
Josh Wise13.00

Colin Braun13.50522

Chad McCumbee13.7523613
Brian Scott14.3391321

Rick Crawford 14.6011215333
Brendan Gaughan14.80161522417
Bobby East15.00

Kraig Kinser15.00

Mike Bliss15.50

David Starr 15.80122719516
Jon Wood 16.3331108

Donny Lia16.501419

Dennis Setzer 17.401311151632
Scott Speed18.001026

Damon Lusk18.00

Shelby Howard18.501720

Justin Marks18.50

Aric Almirola18.50

Johnny Benson Jr18.6033272931
Blake Bjorkland19.00

Erik Darnell19.40182414329
Bill Lester19.50

Willie Allen19.50

Paul Tracy20.0020

Ryan Lawler20.002218

Stacy Compton20.00
J R Norris20.00


Eric Norris 20.00

Jack Smith (ASA)21.0021

Andy Lally22.00


Chad Chaffin 22.67
P J Jones23.00

Justin Labonte 23.00

Jeff Green24.0024

Michel Jourdain Jr24.00

Joey Clanton24.50

Jacques Villeneuve25.00


John Mickel25.00

T J Bell25.7532311723
Shane Huffman26.00

Ryan Matthews27.0033

Joe Ruttman 27.00

Jason White27.5025293422
Norm Benning28.0028

Scott Lynch28.00


Robert Richardson28.00

Max Papis29.0029

Clay Rogers 29.00

Kerry Earnhardt29.00

Butch Miller 29.502732

J C Stout30.002634

Cale Gale30.0030

Chase Miller30.00

Regan Smith 30.00


Peyton Sellers31.00


Derrike Cope31.00

Chris Wimmer32.00

Nick Tucker33.00

Kelly Sutton33.00

Mike Harmon34.0034

Brandon Knupp34.00

Larry Gunselman35.00

Johnny Chapman35.00

Kevin Lepage35.00


Blake Mallory 35.00

Erin Crocker36.00

Travis Kittleson36.00


Wayne Edwards 37.00


More Camping World Truck Series Newsbreakers

F1: No KERS for BMW / Sauber

BMW / Sauber will not utilize the KERS system this week in the Turkish Grand Prix, according to Formula1.com. Team principal Mario Theissen said, "there are only two free practice sessions to check out the new aero package and we think that the risk of getting off track by trying out a new KERS configuration at the same time is higher than the potential gained."

Our View: Nick Heidfeld needs some help. He finished second on the Sepang Circuit and was seventh at the Circuit de Catalunya, but the remainder of his 2009 results has been outside the points.