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.

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
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A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

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