Tony Stewart fastest in second Sprint Cup practice at Kansas; Clint Bowyer second fastest, Jimmie Johnson third

1 Comment

Tony Stewart waited until the last lap and literally the last second, but when he crossed the finish line as time expired in Friday’s second Sprint Cup practice at Kansas Speedway, Stewart had jumped to the top of the speed charts.

On the last of 21 laps around the 1.5-mile layout, Stewart covered the distance at 192.809 mph and at 28.007 seconds.

“In that hour break we had (between the first and second practices), I sat in the garage the whole time and I know the car didn’t change, but it sure felt like it was a totally different race car,” Stewart said.

Stewart’s field-best speed was significantly faster than the top speed in the first practice session earlier in the afternoon: Kyle Larson at 189.076 mph.

Clint Bowyer, who hails from nearby Emporia, Kansas, is still seeking his first career Cup win at his home track. Bowyer was third-fastest (188.528 mph) in the first session and second-fastest right behind Stewart in the second session at 192.321 mph.

Six-time and defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, a two-time past winner at Kansas, was third-fastest in the second session at 193.239 mph.

Larson was fourth-fastest (192.178), followed by Stewart’s teammate, Kevin Harvick, at fifth-fastest (192.109).

Sixth through 10th in the second session were Jeff Gordon (191.850 mph), Brian Vickers (191.693), Ryan Newman (191.184), Justin Allgaier (191.157) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (191.110).

Just like the first practice, 44 drivers took to the track for the second session. Joe Nemecheck (184.660 mph), Landon Cassill (184.420) and Reed Sorenson (183.387) were the slowest drivers in the second session.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

IMSA: CJ Wilson Racing to enter WeatherTech Championship

Photo courtesy of IMSA
Leave a comment

CJ Wilson Racing, a championship winning team in IMSA’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to join the ranks of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The team will make its IMSA debut during testing this week at Sebring International Raceway and will campaign an Acura NSX GT3 in the GT Daytona class.

Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer are scheduled to handle the driving duties during the Sebring test, and a third driver, to be named at a later date, will join them for their debut race at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on March 17.

“As a young kid watching IMSA races, it was always my dream to race in the premier sports car series,” said team owner and former MLB all-star pitcher Wilson. “It looks like I still have some time before I race in (the) WeatherTech (Championship, as a driver) but I’m happy for Marc and Till to take on the toughest track in the country in the NSX.”

Wilson continued, “We have been aiming to get into this paddock for years but now the real fight begins to see what we can do against the much more experienced teams. So, we felt like, hey, if we’re going to go in and spend X-amount of dollars, maybe we’re better off spending that in GTD, getting our feet wet, and taking a real run at this and being where we want to be, which is having a chance to compete with the best teams in the Western Hemisphere.”
In addition to Sebring, the team will contest the other two rounds of the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup – the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the Motul Petit Le Mans – with plans to add additional events, as team manager Andris Laivins explained.
“Right now, the plan is to run the remainder of the Patrón NAEC, and hopefully add on a couple other rounds as we go,” Laivins detailed. “Last fall, as we approached Thanksgiving, it became clear that putting a proper effort on track for the Roar and Daytona was going to be tough, and the last thing you want to do is show up to the biggest race of the year unprepared, so we made the tough choice to sit it out and keep working.”
CJ Wilson Racing’s IMSA efforts date back to 2010, when the team debuted in the Mazda MX-5 Cup as well as what is now called the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. The team went on to win a championship in 2015, in the Street Tuner class of the Continental Tire Challenge.
The team currently fields Porsches in the Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class. Wilson himself has also been an IMSA competitor as a driver, most recently competing in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series last year.