IndyCar: Penske/Ganassi hearken back to prior days with 1-4 sweep

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It’s not often anymore that entries from Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing sweep the top four positions combined, such is the level of competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series and especially since the current formula was introduced ahead of the 2012 season.

It only happened once in 2013 (Pocono) and once in 2012 (Barber), and has now happened for the first time in 2014 in Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans, Round 7 of the 2014 season.

The 2013 Pocono race saw a Ganassi podium sweep, with Scott Dixon, Charlie Kimball and Dario Franchitti, with Penske’s Will Power fourth. At Barber in 2012, Power led Dixon, Helio Castroneves and Graham Rahal, who was then in the Service Central Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

It happened rather frequently between 2006 and 2011, with the previous generation Dallara-Honda IndyCar. But it’s become an abnormal occurrence since.

Castroneves took the win on Sunday in Detroit in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet with teammate Power second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, despite an early race drive-through penalty for contact on Lap 1. Those two have been top-four fixtures in the past.

In third was Charlie Kimball, in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, for his first career third place. Kimball has had only three prior podium finishes, two runners-up (2012 Toronto, 2013 Pocono) and his first win at Mid-Ohio last August.

Fourth, hanging on late after starting 22nd, was Scott Dixon in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

This also was a top-four sweep by Chevrolet, the first time either manufacturer has swept the top four positions this year. Thus far, the parity between Honda and Chevrolet has been as close as ever.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski