June 14, 2009

D4D driver the first female to win LM at LaCrosse

WEST SALEM, Wisc. – Emily Sue Steck picked up her first career win Saturday night and became the first female to win in LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway’s Kwik Trip Late Model Division.

The 23-year-old Drive for Diversity participant led every lap of the caution-free feature held off pole sitter Cole Howland to win the Coca-Cola 25.

“When it got down to a couple laps to go, I just reminded myself not to look back in the mirror,” said Steck in Victory Lane, “and that certainly helped. I did better when I didn’t worry about the car behind me. Thanks for everyone for their support and encouragement!”

Steck, in her third year in the Late Model division, also overcame a cast around a healing broken thumb – an injury suffered earlier this season.

Steck started the feature second but got a run off Turn 4 of the first lap to wrestle the lead away from Howland, who wound up second. Jeff Baker finished third, followed by former NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national champion Steve Carlson in fourth and track points leader Kevin Nuttleman in fifth.

It is the 29th win for a Drive for Diversity participant. The Drive for Diversity initiative, managed by The 909 Group, develops minority and female drivers in the NASCAR Camping World Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.

Inspection complete at Michigan

Inspection is complete at Michigan for the LifeLock 400 and no issues were found, according to a tweet from @DustinLong.

Our View: The cars of Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Bill Elliott will all go to the R&D center for a further inspection, but this is standard procedure.

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Changing face of Michigan

Once upon a time winning at Michigan was reserved for drivers who started in the top-10. In the LifeLock 400, the top five finishers all started 14th or worse including the winner Mark Martin who started 32nd.

Our View: That leaves the fall race wide open for fantasy owners to pick drivers based on their records and practice times.

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Martin wins at Michigan

For the second straight week, fuel mileage played an important role in the finish of a NASCAR race. This time Mark Martin passed Greg Biffle and Jimmie Johnson on the white flag lap when both of those drivers ran out of gas.

Our View: Even though Pocono and Michigan were determined by fuel mileage, the drivers raced hard until the final lap, which kept the outcome in doubt until the checkers waved.

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To the back at Michigan

Three cars will drop to the back before the start of the LifeLock 400. The No. 87 of Joe Nemechek, No. 77 of Sam Hornish Jr. and No. 24 of Jeff Gordon all changed engines, according to a tweet from @NASCARSays, NASCAR's official feed.

Our View: Gordon says he has a car fast enough to get to the front. Penske Racing South is also stout, so Hornish should be ok as well.

N'Wide: Meijer 300 by Ritz Results

The Nationwide standalone events are known as opportunity races because only a handful of Claim Jumpers make the long commute to compete with the Regulars. And in fact, eight of the top-10 positions were claimed by these racers, led by Brad Keselowski in third.

Unfortunately for them, the race was dominated by Cup drivers Joey Logano and Kyle Busch. These two racers provided what little excitement there was. At the end, the teenager Logano blasted past Busch with only a handful of laps remaining and cruised to an easy win. He became the first driver to win two wins and both of those victories came from the pole. He was also the first to driver to win two poles at Kentucky.

Next week will be another opportunity for the Nationwide Regulars to shine. The Cup drivers will be in Sonoma, Calif. for a road race while the second series is on the flat Milwaukee Mile. It's the toughest commute in NASCAR and only Busch and Carl Edwards will attempt it.

Results, with average finish

FinishStartDriverLapsStatusAvg Fin
11Joey Logano200Running1.00
22Kyle Busch200Running11.50
39Brad Keselowski200Running3.50
46Brendan Gaughan200Running4.00
53Justin Allgaier200Running5.00
611Jason Leffler200Running16.60
74Michael Annett200Running7.00
818Burney Lamar200Running19.67
97Ricky Stenhouse Jr200Running9.00
1042Kelly Bires200Running12.00
115Erik Darnell199Running11.00
128Trevor Bayne199Running12.00
1315Scott Lagasse Jr199Running13.00
1413Steve Wallace199Running16.00
1527Kevin Conway199Running15.00
1630Scott Wimmer198Running8.00
1736Ken Butler III198Running17.00
1833Danny O'Quinn Jr198Running26.33
1922Mark Green197Running22.60
2010Carl Edwards197Running22.00
2138Tony Raines197Running11.00
2228Derrike Cope197Running26.50
2316Jason Keller196Running17.38
2425Brandon Whitt196Running24.00
2529Morgan Shepherd195Running38.80
2624Shelby Howard195Running26.50
2717Bobby Hamilton Jr192In Pit23.00
2821Mike Bliss182Accident15.80
2923Michael McDowell168Handling29.00
3037Eric McClure154Running33.25
3112Stephen Leicht137Overheating14.00
3214John Wes Townley83Accident32.00
3340Mike Harmon77Handling37.25
3432Kenny Hendrick75Accident28.25
3541Brian Keselowski38Brakes35.00
3619Kevin Hamlin35Electrical28.50
3720Kenny Wallace19Engine25.29
3826Chris Horn17Quit38.25
3931Johnny Chapman6Quit37.50
4034Brad Baker2Quit29.00
4143Justin Hobgood2Quit39.50
4239Chad Blount1Quit32.00
4335Stanton Barrett1Quit33.00
Jeff Green0Did Not Qualify31.00
J C Stout0Did Not Qualify
Benny Gordon0Did Not Qualify
Blake Bjorkland0Did Not Qualify
Kevin Lepage0Did Not Qualify18.00
Travis Kittleson0Did Not Qualify

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Michigan pit stall selections

Jayski.com has posted the pit stall selections. As expected, pole winner Brian Vickers took the final pit at the turn one end of pit road. Other drives with openings in front of them are Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger, Juan Montoya and Jimmie Johnson.

Our View: This could be one of the tie-breakers you use for drivers who are evenly matched in your estimation.

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Benson injured in fiery crash at Berlin

Recently out of his Camping World Truck Series ride, Johnny Benson Jr. too the opportunity to run in an ISMA Supermodified race on his home track Berlin Raceway, according to MichiganLive.com. What should have been a fun outing turned catastrophic when he crashed in turn three and his car burst into flames. Benson was transported to a local hospital, where he is serious, but stable condition.

Our View: According to his Web site, Benson has a broken rib, but should recover. Keep him in your prayers throughout the week.

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