June 19, 2009

Red Bull buys Speed a ride

As expected, Red Bull Racing has struck a deal with Joe Nemechek to get Scott Speed into the show, according to a tweet from @DustinLong.

Our View: Normally, we approach these agreements with skepticism, but at least Speed will try to run the full event and not "start and park" as Nemechek has done in recent weeks. Before failing to qualify, Speed was on a top 10 pace, so he could be a decent value.

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Vickers wins fourth pole of the season

Brian Vickers has become a qualifying master. He earned his fourth pole of the season, and these have come on speedways, a short track and now a road course.

Our View: Starting position is critical to success on a road course, so Vickers odds of a good finish have skyrocketed with this effort.

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Yahoo! Qualification Story – Infineon

Qualification on a road course is critical to winning, but someone forgot to tell that to Juan Montoya and Kyle Busch during the last two years. They started in the 30s en route to the checkers at Infineon. Who'll win this week? check out our predictions in this weeks Yahoo! qualification story (.pdf).

F1: FOTA votes to breakaway

The Formula One Teams Association has voted to form their own series in 2010, citing irreconcilable differences with Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone, and most importantly Max Mosely, according to AutoRacingDaily.com.

Our View: From the sidelines, it seems that Mosely's stubborn refusal to allow any type of compromise is going to ensure that war is declared between the two parties. It really doesn't matter what either side says is at the heart of the matter—this boils down to personalities.

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Ambrose tops Infineon practice 1

In the final minutes of practice, it was a game of King Me. Jeff Gordon laid down a lap of 76.73 seconds (93.368 mph) and on that same lap, Marcos Ambrose bettered him. The No. 47 clocked in at 76.70 seconds (93.404 mph).

Our View: The pole is going to be a nail-biter, but since these guys are at the opposite ends of the spectrum in most fantasy games, there is no reason to not have both on your team.

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IRL: IndycCar.com Iowa Preview

"(This week) starts that stretch of Iowa and Richmond, two tracks that I really enjoy," Dario Franchitti said at IndyCar.com.

Our View: And he should—he won the last two short track races in that series.

See Also: Short Trackin' Indy Style

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Trucks: Lineup set by points

Qualification for the Camping World Truck Series in Milwaukee has been canceled and the lineup will be set by owner points.

Our View: This puts Brian Ickler on the pole in the No. 51 Billy Ballew truck. Kyle Busch has this truck running strong and Ickler could earn his first win in it.

The leader in the driver's points standings is Matt Crafton; he'll roll off the grid second.

Complete Lineup

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CW West: Long tops Infineon Happy Hour

Patrick Long posted the fastest time in the final practice session for the Camping World West race, according to @NASCARHomeTracks.com.

Our View: Long was only 13th quick in the first session, however. Joey Logano was fastest in that session and second in Happy Hour, so we will give the edge to the Joe Gibbs racer. David Gilliland was fifth best in this session after posting the eighth quickest time in the morning.

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F1: In midst of turmoil, Villeneuve eyes return

According to Auto123.com, Jacques Villeneuve has confirmed that he's been in contact with some Formula 1 teams about a possible return to the series. If a split occurs, however, he would prefer to stay with the one run by Bernie Ecclestone.

Our View: A potential schism would certainly create more rides, but the lack of competition already prevalent in Formula 1 would be even worse. If the split does not occur, Villeneuve believes there still may be some fresh teams entering the sport.

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Ambrose loses tire in V8 Supercars

Fantasy owners need to remember that Marcos Ambrose is one of the most experienced road racers in the field - in cars as heavy as NASCAR stockers - but his record isn't perfect. In this video, he looses a wheel.

CW West: Gilliland, Said also in top 10 in practice

Boris Said and David Gilliland also posted top-10 times in practice for the Camping World West race. Gilliland was eighth fastest; Said was ninth.

Our View: On Sunday, Gilliland will be in a car strong enough to run in the top 15. Said certainly has the skill to run well in the Toyota / SaveMart 350k, but he may not have the car.

Practice Times

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CW West: Logano tops practice

Joey Logano posted the fastest time in practice for Bennett Lane Winery 200 Camping World West race.

Our View: While the cars are considerably different, this race can still be used as a warm-up for Sunday's Toyota / SaveMart 350k. Logano will be a better value in the Cup level because of this seat time.

Practice Speeds

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Fuel mileage an issue at Infineon

Expect fuel mileage to continue to be an issue at Infineon, according to Mark Martin and Denny Hamlin in an article by the Sporting News Wire Service. "I think it's almost a given that fuel will be an issue to some degree at Infineon Raceway based on the nature of road-course racing," said Martin.

"We know fuel mileage be a huge factor here," Hamlin said. "We ran at Virginia International Raceway last week and had a good test. We spent a lot of time on handling, but we spent some time on fuel mileage also, and we hope that translates to this weekend as well as it did last weekend at Michigan."

Our View: The strategy will be a little different, however. On road courses drivers plan the race backward. They will plan their final pit stop and come in for service whether the conditions are green or yellow. It's possible that someone will catch a lucky caution.

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IRL: Andretti to Patrick: "don't give up your life to NASCAR"

In the continuing saga of whether Danica Patrick will make a move to NASCAR, her current team owner Michael Andretti cautions her not to give up her life to NASCAR racing, which runs 36 points' paying races per year, according to USAToday.com.

Our View: For her part, Patrick has said in the past that she is not attracted to NASCAR because of the schedule. She's young enough to have the stamina, but the heart also needs to be committed to run well in this series.

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F1: Vettel, Weber tops both practices

Sebastian Vettel and Mark Weber were the fastest and second fastest drivers respectively in the two practice sessions for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

In the first practice, the two Brawn Racing teammates Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello were not far behind, placing third and fourth on the grid.

Our View: These two teams have been the class of the field all season and those four drivers are likely to dominate in the top-five again.

Practice 1 Times
Practice 2 Times

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Montoya best at Infineon

In his short career, Infineon Raceway has been the most kind to Juan Montoya. His average finish of 3.5 there in two starts makes that his best record.

Our View: Better still, Montoya won his inaugural attempt on this track and he should be favored for at least a top-five this week.

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