Newman: Blocking a “chicken way of driving”


Heading into this weekend’s STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway, defending race winner Ryan Newman has spoken out against blocking.

The Stewart Haas Racing driver’s teammate and team boss, Tony Stewart, called Joey Logano out for it after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ most recent race at Auto Club Speedway two weeks ago.

“If you’ve got a run on me, take it,” Newman said Tuesday in a conference call. “If I can get through the corner better than you, then we’ll race, but blocking is an IndyCar form or F1 form or an open wheel type move it seems like. It’s not to say they don’t do it in NASCAR; obviously they do, but to me it’s just a chicken way of driving and not very respectful for the guys around you.”

Newman was involved in one of the worst accidents in NASCAR in recent memory, Talladega in April 2009, when a block happened in front of him. While racing for the win, Brad Keselowski moved down on Carl Edwards, which catapulted Edwards airborne, into the catch fencing and also contacting Newman’s car in the hood.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., by contrast, said blocking is more a matter of timing, and he’d expect it at certain points in a race.

“I would expect and accept to be blocked in certain situations,” he said. “But you’ve got to give me some race track.”


NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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