Day: April 28, 2013

Toyota Owners 400 - Practice

NASCAR president to Carl Edwards: “LOL”

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One of the more humorous anecdotes from this weekend’s Sprint Cup event at Richmond International Raceway involved Roush Fenway Racing driver Carl Edwards and NASCAR president Mike Helton.

When Matt Kenseth’s pole from Kansas Speedway was rendered ineligible for his entry into next year’s Sprint Unlimited as part of his team’s engine penalties, Edwards — who lost the Kansas pole to Kenseth by less than two one-hundredths of a second — wondered if the Unlimited spot would go to him as a result.

“When I saw the news, I texted Mike Helton right away, and I said, ‘All right, cool, we’re in the [Unlimited] next year, right? We got the pole.’ And he sent back, ‘LOL!’,” said Edwards. “I didn’t think it was that funny, but he thought it was funny.

“I think [Roush Fenway Racing general manager] Robbie Reiser proceeded to ask him, and then [crew chief] Jimmy Fennig, and he got a good laugh out of it.”

Can’t blame a guy for trying, right? In any case, Kenseth would eventually regain his Unlimited spot with a pole run at RIR, which he converted into a seventh place result last night.

As for Edwards, he’ll still have to win a pole himself to break into the pre-season exhibition at Daytona, but he did finish one spot ahead of Kenseth in sixth place — which allowed him to climb to second in the Cup standings as the series heads for Talladega next weekend.

Andretti drivers take part in offbeat Q&A session

Ryan Hunter-Reay
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After two victories to start the IZOD IndyCar Series season, the Andretti Autosport gang suffered their first down weekend of the year at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Marco Andretti was the only one of the lot to come away with a Top 10 finish, while James Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hunter-Reay and E.J. Viso all found various degrees of trouble that stuck them with poor results.

But it appears they’ve nonetheless managed to keep their sense of humor intact. The drivers took part in a Q&A session that’s probably a bit different from the ones they’re more used to, answering queries that ranged from the standard (‘What one item would you take if you knew you’d be stranded on a desert island?) to the philosophical (“If not now, then when?”).

Yeah, it’s not exactly serious questioning, but there will be time for things of that nature as we get closer to next Sunday’s Sao Paulo Indy 300 (11 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Network/NBC Sports Live Extra). In the meantime, have a laugh or two with the Andretti camp by checking out the video above.

Harvick: No Richmond win if race had stayed green

Toyota Owners 400
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Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick and crew chief Gil Martin are both convinced that they wouldn’t have won last night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway without the caution that came out with five laps remaining.

Harvick had moved into second place in the final laps but it looked like he’d be unable to reel in and pass Juan Pablo Montoya for the victory. However, a crash by Brian Vickers scuttled what appeared to be a sure win for Montoya, and after Harvick pitted for fresh tires with four laps to go, he raced from seventh on the green-white-checkered restart to his first win of 2013.

Still, both Harvick and Martin believed that if the race hadn’t gone into overtime, they would’ve been forced to settle for runner-up.

“I think I had a better shot to win starting seventh [on the final restart],” said Harvick. “I don’t think I was going to catch Montoya because he had a little bit better drive up off the corner at that point.”

Martin himself noted a tendency of cars on the move being unable to keep the momentum going once they got closer to the cars in front of them. For that reason, he indicated that it was Montoya’s race to lose — until Vickers’ accident changed everything.

“Within five car lengths of anybody, seems like the advantage you had went away or diminished as soon as you got close to them, then you would have to stay on them for several laps,” Martin said. “The laps were winding down so fast; Montoya was going to have to make a mistake for us to get by him at that point.”