Roger Penske: No deal with Front Row at Richmond

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Roger Penske defended his team this morning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, denying that Penske Racing made a deal with Front Row Motorsports during the Chase-deciding event on Sept. 7 at Richmond International Raceway.

Both squads were placed on probation through the end of 2013 after the emergence of radio conversations from Richmond that had Front Row’s Frank Kerr (crew chief for driver David Gilliland) indicate his team would gain some sort of reward in exchange for Gilliland allowing Penske’s Joey Logano to gain a position in the closing laps.

No radio transmission from Penske Racing to Front Row has come to light, but that didn’t stop NASCAR from making its decision against the two teams last weekend at Chicagoland Speedway. That bit of news was overshadowed considerably by the addition of Jeff Gordon as a 13th Chase driver following the events of Richmond.

“We didn’t do anything, quite obviously,” Penske said today according to Dan Gelston of The Associated Press. “When I heard the crew chief on whatever car it was made all this big noise, we didn’t have any deal at all. That’s how people role play stuff in NASCAR.

“I think at the end of the day, it worked out for everybody and we’re moving on.”

NASCAR has since altered rules regarding the spotter’s stand after Richmond, banning the use of digital radios and keeping each team to just one spotter on duty. The AP’s Jenna Fryer reported yesterday that spotters will now have three analog radios at their disposal, up from the original number of two; however, only two of the three analog radios can transmit.

MRTI: pre-season testing Day 3 notebook

Photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway, LLC Photography
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Day 3 of pre-season testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway saw the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda continue testing for the second day in a row, with each series completing three sessions on what was their final day of running.

Quick reports on both series are below.

Pro Mazda: Cunha Surges to the Front

While Saturday saw Pro Mazda newcomers like Oliver Askew, Parker Thompson, and Rinus VeeKey lead the way, Sunday saw a pair of second-year Pro Mazda drivers take their turns at the top of the speed charts. In the combined results, Juncos Racing’s Carlos Cunha turned the fastest lap of the final session, also good enough to be the outright fastest lap of the weekend, taking advantage of a fresh set of Cooper Tires to do so.

“I’m really happy, Juncos Racing is an amazing team,” Cunha said of the team’s performance. “On track, we are always improving, never going backwards and that’s very good. We have tested a lot but we still need to learn a lot about the car, though we are almost to a perfect setup. The team has given me everything I need to be comfortable inside the car, to know what the car needs, and to know what I need to be a better driver. We have time to improve and we are moving forward quickly.”

Fellow sophomore driver Sting Ray Robb, now with Team Pelfrey, was right behind Cunha in second.

Combined results across both Saturday and Sunday can be found here.

USF2000: Kirkwood, Cape Motorsports Stay On Top of Deep USF2000 Field

New Cape Motorsports driver Kyle Kirkwood, who topped Session 2 on Saturday, stayed on top of the combined speed charts across the weekend on the strength of his best lap from Session 3 of the weekend on Saturday.

Pabst Racing’s Rasmus Lindh was right behind Kirkwood, on the strength of his quick lap from Session 1.

However, Sunday’s running saw a different driver assert his authority, with Kaylen Frederick, Lindh’s teammate at Pabst, turning the fastest lap during the final session.

Frederick ended up fourth in the combined results, which can be viewed here.

The Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires will take to the Homestead-Miami road course on Monday for the final day of testing for the Mazda Road to Indy.

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