Howdy, good morning and good day. Welcome Gabbers and others to my NASCAR updates and other fast stuff. Lots to talk about this week. Some sad stuff, eye rolling stuff, stuff to cheer about and race stuff mostly. Oh, before I forget...HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!!!!!
JASON LEFFLER KILLED IN SPRINT CAR
That picture above is of Jason Leffler and Tony Stewart way back when they both were in the JGR stable. Tony's kind of skinny. Jason was killed Wednesday night at the Bridgeport Speedway in New Jersey during a heat race. Fellow NASCAR driver Dave Blaney witnessed the wreck and said the way the car veered into the wall suggests that something broke.
Autopsy results said he died from a blunt force neck injury. His team said he was wearing a Simpson Hybrid Head & Neck device which is one of 6 restraint systems approved for use by NASCAR.
Seems Jason was well liked by all. He didn't have a Cup ride this year but got a Start & Park ride last week at Pocono. He was not happy about the arrangement but drove the laps and parked. He's gone back to his dirt track roots and has been driving Winged Sprint cars most of this year.
He had 4 USAC Championships, 3 consecutive USAC Midget titles from 1997-1999 and won the USAC Silver Crown Championship in 1998. Unfortunately his dirt track experience didn't translate to NASCAR. He drove in the truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series but just didn't do as well there. He did have 2 Nationwide wins. One was Toyota's first win in Nationwide.
Tony Stewart said that he enjoyed talking to Jason about up coming races or the one they were in and would miss not being able to talk to him any more. Tony will race over 100 races this year between NASCAR and his Winged Sprint Car. Tony is one of the few drivers who doesn't have to worry about the sponsors telling him no to the extra racing.
Kasey Kahne said he had flown with Jason to Pocono last week. He owns Sprint Car teams but hasn't raced this year preferring to concentrate on his Cup ride. He had a meeting with the teams to make sure the cars were safe this week.
Kasey and Tony as well as other drivers feel the tracks and cars are as safe as they can be but accidents do happen. They don't plan on making too many changes if any. Most all drivers at Michigan this week agreed. It was an accident and racing is dangerous.
Jason had LEFturn painted on his roof above the door of his race cars. He leaves behind a 5 year old son named Charlie Dean Leffler. This is just a sad day in racing. My condolences to the Leffler family. R.I.P Jason Leffler. You died doing something you loved which is more than most can say.
This would be Stewarts Winged Sprint Car.
CHASE ELLIOTT WINS POCONO ARCA 200
Bill Elliott's son Chase became the youngest driver at 17 years to win in the ARCA Series. He drove his #9 Aarons Dream Machine Hendrick Chevy to victory on June 8th. Chase said he got good advise from his dad who won here 5 times. He remembered being in victory lane with his dad so this was extra special that dad could be with him in victory lane for his win. Happy Fathers Day to Bill Elliott and congrats to his son Chase.
EDWARDS DRIVES HENRY'S FORD
Carl Edwards got to drive Sweepstakes. That's what Henry named his car. It was a 1901 Ford that Henry raced against another car on Oct 10, 1901 at a dirt horse racing track. He won the race. Carl said he got the car up to 20 -25 mph and was more scared than driving his car at 205 mph around Michigan Speedway. It was said that Henry got his car up to 73 mph.
KESELOWSKI MAKING FRIENDS
Keselowski was at it again. Seems he was talking to the media and we all know how that goes. Keselowski made accusations that Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have been stealing employees and information from other teams. Of course you know he got a response.
Gibbs response was that he was surprised and a bit upset. He said that Keselowski's comments were misguided and irresponsible and that he would do well to speak on subjects he is properly informed of. He feels he has a very good personal relationship with Roger Penske too. He said we look forward to competing with Brad in the future and hope he uses better judgment going forward.
Hendrick responded as well. He said that we hired the back up tire changer at Penske who's contract was up, a mechanic from the Penske team in the Nationwide Series and a few guys from the Penske engine shop that shut down. He said Brad forgot to mention the tire changer they got from him.
He feels that everything was done above board and that it is part of doing business in a competitive environment and that Roger would agree. He thinks that Brad should spend more time focusing on his own program and less time making accusations and insinuations about other teams. He needs to represent himself and this sport with a little more class.
And to think Hendrick was trying to hire this guy a couple years ago. Yup. Making friends is what it's all about.
TRD TO UP ENGINE POWER FOR MICHIGAN
Last week in light of the 6 motors that went poooooof this season, Toyota dialed back the motors in the JGR and MWR camps to make sure the motors would make it through the race. Well they did and the highest Toyota finish was Kyle in 6th. So this week they're amping up the motors. Hamlin will be given extra because he sits 25th in points and needs W's and to get into the top 20 in points to make the Chase. Mark Martin will get all out power. Don't put him in your line up this week. I'm seeing a great big POOOOOOOOF in his future. Mark is hard on motors any way and so is Michigan. Kyle, Kenseth, Truex and Bowyer will get variations on the tweaking up of the motors. So we'll see how the track turns for Toyota Power this week.
See that huge Lowes? Not only is it one of dads favorite places but that's your winner. The Jimmie and Chad Show was on. All Jimmie & Chad almost all race long. So how'd he get to victory lane? Lets check my notes.
At the drop of the green flag it's Jimmie on the pole and on the bottom lane. Edwards in 2nd spot takes the lead at the moment. By lap 2 Kahne has gone to the pits complaining of a possible drive train issue. By lap 5 he's in the garage getting a new trans and Jimmie's still 2nd.
Lap 17 sees Jimmie in 1st, Edwards, Dale Jr, Harvick and Kenseth
Lap 22 Khne is back on track and green flag pit stops are in progress. Jimmie leads after all are done and a reminder for all to go to QLRacing.com to enter the contest for getting your mortgage paid for a month if Ryan Newman comes in the top 5.
Lap 44 Jimmie leads, Danica is 25th and Hamlin is complaining about a delay when he shifts into 3rd.
Lap 65 is a caution. Somebody threw their blanket onto the track? That's a new one. Danica is the lucky dog. She had gone a lap down. Everybody pits except Newman and he now leads the restart but Jimmie takes it back. Everyone is told to save fuel.
Caution with 28 laps to go Montoya spins out and takes Kenseth with him. JERK!!!! That's my fantasy league he's messing with. Keselowski bumps into Stewart on the restart. They save it but Keselowski has fender damage.
With 23 laps to go another caution for Almirola getting into Blaney. And around they go.
Jimmie still out front and complaining of a vibration.
With 13 to go another caution for Allmendinger in the #51. His left front tire has gone down. He gets down onto the apron and into the pits. Gordon complaining he's way too tight. Jimmie has a vibration and he's still in the lead.
With 7 to go Blaney goes into the wall and caution. On the restart Jimmie takes the lead again and Biffle flies up to 2nd. Poor Dale Jr. Just not enough to get the 48.
Top 15 finishers - Johnson - Biffle - Dale Jr - Stewart - Newman - Kyle - Kurt - Hamlin - Harvick - Logano - Burton - Gordon - McMurray - Bowyer
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY PREVIEW
EDWARDS has the pole this week. Roger Penske once owned this track from 1996-1999. It's a 2 mile lap around a repaved track. New pavement and a new car says throw out last years notes. Last years winner was Dale Jr. This is an endurance track. It eats motors. Mark Martin has 54 starts here. Jeff Gordon has 954 laps led here. Last year the cars were so fast that Goodyear brought 6 year old tires for the left side to slow them down. Didn't do much. We'll see high speeds and blown motors. And we;ll see Superman on Dale Jr's hood.
Last years top 10 finishers - Dale Jr - Stewart - Kenseth - Biffle - Johnson - Gordon - Bowyer - Montoya - Ambrose - Harvick
I'm afraid for the Toyota's this week. They'll need the speed to win. So Toyota better not skimp too much on the tweak up. Mark Martin is good on this track but I see a poof in his future and Hamlin too if he's not careful. The other Toyota's (Kenseth, Kyle, Truex & Bowyer) will be good but not fast enough.
Johnson is on a roll.
Dale Jr has his Mr Steady Eddie title back.
The Roush crew of Biffle, Edwards and Stenhouse will be at or near the front. Look for Edwards or Biffle in the top 5 or W spot.
Stewart & Newman have shown some life. Pocono was a 4-5 finish. Looking good,
Logano starts 6th. He's coming off of a 10th at Pocono.Teammate Keselowski needs to stop running his jaw and concentrate on driving. He was 12th here last year. Not feeling a good finish this week.
McMurray had a 13th finish last week. He's getting closer. The HMS motors have really helped but bad luck has undone those awesome motors. Montoya too. They're both due for a top 10.
Kahne continues the erratic season. He's up and down as of now. A 34th place finish and 19 laps down is not good for Chase championships. I can't recommend this guy. He starts in the top 5 but.......
Gordon is another up and down driver this season. A 12th place finish does not a championship run make. He should do good here but again I can't recommend you pick him either.
C listers I'd recommend. David Ragan, Casey Mears, Ricky Stenhouse, and David Gilliland. Again expect about a 20th through 30th place finish. Stenhouse should do more. He's in power house equipment. This SHOULD be a good track for Danica. It's fast and she's supposed to be fast. She finished 29th at Pocono last week on the lead lap.
So there you have it. Again I want to wish all the dads out there in Gabville a HAPPY FATHERS DAY. Hope it's a great day for grilling and chilling. And...
I'm outta here....