By the numbers: The 2013 Chasers at Homestead

Leave a comment

In February, it all began at Daytona. This weekend, it all ends four hours south in Homestead.

Championship Weekend is fast-approaching, with the Chase for the Sprint Cup set to conclude this Sunday in the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Jimmie Johnson opened the 2013 season with a win in the Daytona 500, which caused me to wonder if a sixth Cup title was coming to him this year. At that point in time, he was confident that he’d have a strong year. Now, he’s on the cusp of writing his name into the record books once again.

Matt Kenseth (-28 points) and Kevin Harvick (-34 points), his remaining rivals in the championship, have no control over their fates; they can dominate and win on Sunday, but they also need Johnson to collapse.

A lot of things have to happen in order for someone other than Johnson to raise the Cup after 400 miles on Sunday. But it’s not over yet. We’ve been surprised a few times in this Chase. Perhaps, the racing gods have one more in store.

As provided by NASCAR, here are the Homestead-Miami statistics for each of the 13 Chase competitors.

JIMMIE JOHNSON (Leader – 2,384 Points)
· Four Top-5s, seven Top-10s
· Average Finish: 15.3 in 12 races
· Average Running Position: 13.8, ninth-best

MATT KENSETH (Second, -28 points)
· One win, three Top-5s, five Top-10s
· Average Finish: 17.6 in 13 races
· Average Running Position: 9.3, third-best

KEVIN HARVICK (Third, -34 points)
· Five Top-5s, 10 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 7.9 in 12 races
· Average Running Position: 10.6, fourth-best

KYLE BUSCH (Fourth, -57 points)
· One Top-5, two Top-10s
· Average Finish: 23.1 in eight races
· Average Running Position: 15.8, 15th-best

DALE EARNHARDT JR. (Fifth, -63 points)
· One Top-10
· Average Finish: 22.1 in 13 races
· Average Running Position: 20.8, 22nd-best

JEFF GORDON (Sixth, -80 points)
· One win, seven Top-5s, 11 Top-10s
· Average Finish: 10.6 in 14 races
· Average Running Position: 13.0, seventh-best

GREG BIFFLE (Seventh, -83 points)
· Three wins, four Top-5s, five Top-10s
· Average Finish: 14.4 in 11 races
· Average Running Position: 15.2, 13th-best

CLINT BOWYER (Eighth, -87 points)
· Two Top-5s, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 12.1 in seven races
· Average Running Position: 12.0, fifth-best

JOEY LOGANO (Ninth, -97 points)
· Average Finish: 24.0 in four races
· Average Running Position: 22.2, 24th-best

KURT BUSCH (10th, -99 points)
· One win, four Top-5s, five Top-10s
· Average Finish: 19.8 in 12 races
· Average Running Position: 23.8, 29th-best

RYAN NEWMAN (11th, -125 points)
· One Top-5, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 17.0 in 11 races
· Average Running Position: 13.6, eighth-best

KASEY KAHNE (12th, -132 points)
· One Top-5s, four Top-10s
· Average Finish: 15.4 in nine races
· Average Running Position: 12.5, sixth-best

CARL EDWARDS (13th, -134 points)
· Two wins, five Top-5s, seven Top-10s
· Average Finish: 6.0 in nine races
· Series-best Average Running Position of 7.1
*Series-best Driver Rating of 119.0
*Series-high 264 Fastest Laps Run
*Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 162.674 mph
*Series-high 1,881 Laps in the Top 15 (88.0%)

Honda teams to test at Sonoma Raceway on April 4

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

Honda’s Verizon IndyCar Series teams are set visit Sonoma Raceway on April 4 for an all-day test session for the manufacturer.

Andretti Autosport (Marco Andretti, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, and Takuma Sato), Chip Ganassi Racing (Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, and Max Chilton), Dale Coyne Racing (Sebastian Bourdais and Ed Jones Jr.), Schmidt Peterson Motorsports (James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin), and Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing (Graham Rahal) are all scheduled to run. Of that group, Kanaan, Andretti, and Dixon are former winners at Sonoma Raceway.

The Sonoma test follows Honda’s March 24 test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. However, Team Penske also scheduled a team test at the 2.5-mile oval on the same day, forcing Honda to share the track with their rival manufacturer.

However, no such conflict appears to be in play for Sonoma. The test will be open to the public as well with free admission into the facility. Testing will run from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. local time.

Justin Timberlake to play this year’s U.S. Grand Prix at COTA

Getty Images
1 Comment

Taylor Swift playing last year’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin was always going to be a hard act to match, or perhaps top.

Yet COTA has pulled it off with confirmation Wednesday that Justin Timberlake will be playing on the Saturday before this year’s race, on October 21.

Timberlake will play at the conclusion of track activity on Saturday for a full show. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. CT, with more info via COTA’s website. Here’s the pertinent details:

  • The concert will take place at COTA’s Super Stage Festival Lawn, not Austin360 Amphitheater
  • Seating is general admission, first come first served
  • All holders of a Saturday ticket for USGP weekend, including the 3-day GA wristband, will have access to the show

Circuit of The Americas announced a crowd of more than 80,000 last year for T-Swift, for her first and only planned concert of the year.

Timberlake is on par from a stratospheric level as Swift is. And half the draw of the COTA weekend, it seems, is ensuring you can get concertgoers to the track as well.

This should make for a fun end-of-day on Saturday.

IMS Museum to reveal A.J. Foyt exhibit in April

Photo: IMS Archives
1 Comment

It’s been 40 years since A.J. Foyt won his fourth and final Indianapolis 500 as a driver in 1977. Perfect timing, then, for a special Foyt exhibit to grace the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which will premiere next month.

The release from the museum is below:

In celebration of the 40th anniversary of his record-setting fourth Indianapolis 500 win, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is proud to present a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit honoring auto racing icon A.J. Foyt, opening April 14.

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition, presented by ABC Supply is a limited-run celebration that traces the superstar’s rise from the dirt tracks of Texas to the pinnacle of auto racing history.

Nearly three dozen cars that Foyt drove in competition will be on display, including all four of his Indianapolis 500 winning machines, the 1961 Bowes Seal Fast Special, 1964 & 1967 Sheraton-Thompson Specials, and the 1977 Gilmore Coyote.

Photo: IMS Archives

“Everyone knows that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is my favorite track and that people wouldn’t know me if it weren’t for the Indy 500, but to have the Museum put on this exhibit there, well I feel truly honored,” said the legendary Foyt. “This exhibit will give people a chance to see my winning Indy cars but also some of the other race cars I drove and won in over the years.”

In addition to several of Foyt’s IndyCars, many incredible machines representing Foyt’s career in NASCAR, USAC and road racing will be on display, many for the first time, and visitors will also have the chance to see rare memorabilia from Foyt’s personal collection.

“Based on the stuff we shipped to Indy, I think the Museum has a lot of personal memorabilia and photos that their visitors will like seeing” Foyt said. “I haven’t seen some of the cars in many, many years so to be truthful, I’m looking forward to the exhibit too!”

“A.J. Foyt is perhaps the most iconic driver in the 108-year history of the Brickyard” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum Director & Curator Ellen Bireley. “We are proud to honor this incredible champion with an exhibit of memories and memorabilia that pays tribute to one of the most diverse and successful careers in auto racing history.”

A.J. Foyt: A Legendary Exhibition is presented by ABC Supply, with additional support from Chevrolet and Al-Fe Heat Treating. The exhibit runs until October 31.

Social roundup: Media day at Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is still more than a week away, but Media Day was in full swing on Tuesday with a number of attractions for fans and media in attendance.

That being said, it’s easier to get all the pre-advance work done before cars from six different series hit the track starting on Friday, April 7. The Long Beach IndyCar race airs on April 9 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

The day began with Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden fielding interviews with the local L.A. affiliates for NBC, Fox, and ABC before being a attending a midday luncheon. He also did various interviews with other outlets.

There were also a number of opportunities for rides around the 1.968-mile street circuit. IndyCar drivers Zach Veach and Gabby Chaves were in charge of the Verizon IndyCar Series two-seater while Scott Pruett manned driving duties in a two-seat version of his Lexus RC F GT3. Rocky Moran Sr. and Jr. also held demo rides of their own around the circuit in a Camry; James Sofronas took folks for rides in a GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Formula Drift was on hand as well, though their days were spent preparing for the event. Several cars made practice runs along Seaside Way and through turns 9, 10, and 11 of the circuit.

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is slated for April 7-9, with first practice for the Verizon IndyCar Series rolling off at 1:00 p.m. local time on Friday April 7.