Matt Kenseth pulled a rabbit out of his hat to score the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway this weekend.
Kenseth, the last driver to qualify in the No. 20 Home Depot/Husky Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, set a new track record of 191.86 mph to bump former Roush Fenway Racing teammate Carl Edwards off pole.
Edwards, and Kenseth’s new teammate Kyle Busch, watched and stared in utter disbelief (right).
Kenseth’s not known as a qualifying ace – the pole is only his ninth in a Sprint Cup career dating back to 1998 – but the run was one of his most impressive thanks to a new strategy on the 1.5-mile oval.
“You know, I struggled through (Turns) 1 and 2 all day, and I tried something really different there in qualifying,” Kenseth told NASCAR.com. “I watched Ricky and a couple of other guys get through there, and I kind of changed my approach to the corner.
“I knew I got through there pretty good, but I didn’t know it was that good, but, man, I didn’t think I could do any better in 3 and 4. It felt pretty good.”
Edwards, reluctantly, tipped his cap.
“I didn’t think Matt would be a factor, but he pulled that out somehow,” he said.
Behind the bemused front row, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. qualified third in another Roush Fenway Ford, ahead of Sam Hornish Jr. in a third Penske Racing Ford and Kyle Busch in the second of three JGR Toyotas.
Aric Almirola, Michael Waltrip Racing teammates Martin Truex Jr. and Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top 10.
Penske’s pair of Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano – reeling from penalties issued by NASCAR earlier this week – qualified 33rd and 22nd respectively.
They’re back for more: ‘Dinner with Racers’ 2 kicks off today
The second season of “Dinner with Racers,” presented by Continental Tire, drops its first batch of episodes today.
The 28-episode season follows the first 28 episodes released last year. This year, podcast hosts and sports car veterans Sean Heckman and Ryan Eversley saddled up in a Honda Odyssey minivan for the cross-country tour, while riding on Continental Tires.
There’s some great guests and details. Here’s the full breakdown, plus a video, below:
One year after the successful debut of the motorsport podcast series “Dinner with Racers,” the antics of Ryan Eversley and Sean Heckman have returned for the binge release of “Season Two,” launching today. Following their 2015 debut that featured a month-long road trip recording 26 conversations “over dinner” with some of the most interesting characters in motorsports, the duo will launch another 28 recordings for their 2016 adventure. The second season will be released in two waves, with “Release One” launching the first 14 recordings immediately, and “Release Two” featuring an additional 14 recordings slated to release on December 16. All episodes can be found at www.dinnerwithracers.com or via iTunes.
Traveling for 40 days across 29 states, and covering 12,000 miles in 2016, the trip was made possible in part by the Honda Odyssey that was lent to the team by American Honda Motor Co., Inc, and most importantly thanks to a continuing title partnership with Continental Tire, who not only provided Cross Contact LX20 tires for the trip but covered the team’s expenses, as well as every meal.
Continuing the same theme from the debut season, #DWR2 follows a nearly identical format. A factory racing driver for Acura in the World Challenge series, Ryan Eversley makes up half of the hosting lineup, with motorsport marketing / creative content veteran Sean Heckman completing the duo. Using their unique blend of humor, insight, experience, as well as genuine love of the sport, Eversley and Heckman pick up right where they left off in Season One, exposing some of the most unique and entertaining stories from their variety of guests.
Meeting up with 28 different characters “over dinner,” listeners will exposed to a variety of personalities, everything from NASCAR and IndyCar star drivers, to some of the most respected engineers and mechanics, journalists, and broadcasters in the business. Stories cover everything from what it was like to be the first woman to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 and then Daytona 500, to giving up a contract worth over $2mil just to be a “good guy,” to turning a satiric twitter account in to a full-time job, as well as enjoying life after nearly three decades in prison. Topics include everything from a transgender pig, to being given dead cat whiskers as a good luck charm, to having guns pulled in the middle of a race shop, and even buying a race track in the hopes of laundering money through it.
For Ryan Eversley, a chance to continue the series was a welcome one.
“I know it’s a cliché, but It truly is such an honor and a privilege to be able to do this,” stated Eversley. “Both Sean and I were truly blown away by the fan support from Season One, it’s honestly something we weren’t expecting. It really meant a lot to get so many nice comments, and that kept us very motivated for Season Two. I think our genuine love of the sport translates when people listen, because we really enjoy hearing the real back stories in what makes everyone so unique. This season did not disappoint us at all. This show lives and dies by its guests, and we couldn’t have been luckier to have such a great group who were not only engaging and interesting, but also incredibly gracious with their time. It’s an absolute blast doing this, and we really appreciate Continental for continuing their support, as well as Honda for giving us an incredibly comfortable car for such a long trip.”
For Sean Heckman, a similar sentiment is shared.
“What he said,” stated Heckman.
Additionally, the series will continue to support less exposed musical acts, with each episode promoting a variety of musicians and bands at the close of every episode.
THE FULL GUEST LIST
RELEASE ONE (available now):
Kevin “Rocket” Blanch
RELEASE TWO (coming soon):
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. (with Kyle Larson and Ryan Blaney)
Wolff: Mercedes was wrong to issue Hamilton orders in F1 title decider
Ahead of the event in Las Vegas, each of the 10 of the sim racers that have qualified have been paired up with a Formula E team.
“I’d like to officially welcome the sim racers who qualified through the Road to Vegas Challenge to participate in the inaugural Visa Vegas eRace,” Formula E CEO Alejandro Agag said.
“I’ve been following the progress of the sim racers throughout the qualification process, and I can’t wait to see them on the same track as the rest of the Formula E grid.
“Accessibility and fan engagement are two of the key cornerstones of Formula E, and what better way to promote this than getting the sim racers to compete in the same colours as their Formula E counterparts – it will be fascinating to see who comes out on top.”
The sim racers in the event are:
Gregor Huttu (FIN) – Panasonic Jaguar Racing
Aleksi Uusi-Jaakkola (FIN) – Andretti
Olli Pahkala (FIN) – Mahindra
Enzo Bonito (ITA) – Techeetah
David Greco (ITA) – Renault e.dams
Graham Carroll (GBR) – DS Virgin Racing
Aleksi Elomaa (FIN) – Venturi
Bono Huis (NED) – Faraday Future Dragon Racing
Petar Brljak (CRO) – NextEV NIO
Patrick Holzmann (DEU) – ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport
Verizon IndyCar Series stars Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal will complete the eight-driver lineup for the 2017 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the pair of Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3s.
These two drivers join the previously announced six-pack of Andy Lally, Ozz Negri, Jeff Segal, Katherine Legge, Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer. The first four are the full-season drivers while Wilkins and Dyer are the third drivers for the full Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup slate of races. Daytona, as a 24-hour race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule, makes up the longest round where four drivers are expected for most entries.
Exact lineups are yet to be determined. Both Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) and Rahal (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) run Hondas in IndyCar, and switch from their previous teams in IMSA. Hunter-Reay was third driver in the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Corvette DP last year, Rahal the fourth driver in one of the BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLMs.
Both Hunter-Reay and Rahal will test the car at Daytona next week.
“We’re thrilled to have Graham and Ryan join the Michael Shank Racing effort at Daytona,” said Art St. Cyr, president of Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm for Acura in North America. “The debut of the NSX GT3 at the prestigious Rolex 24 will mark the return of the Acura brand to IMSA sports car competition. The addition of Graham and Ryan to an already excellent driver lineup, coupled with the experience provided by Michael Shank and his team, will make the NSX GT3 a serious contender for the GTD class victory at Daytona.”