Josh Wise

BitPay coming to NASCAR, on Justin Boston’s KBM Truck at Daytona

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Last year was the year of the doge. This year might be the year of the bitcoin.

While Josh Wise’s Reddit community-fueled Dogecoin livery last year was both a rallying point for the online community and something that upset the establishment in terms of normal NASCAR team sponsorship, the introduction of BitPay to Justin Boston’s truck at Kyle Busch Motorsports may be for more than just a one-off appearance generated for PR and marketing purposes.

BitPay – the world’s leading bitcoin payment processor which enables businesses to accept bitcoin payments – will serve as primary sponsor for Boston’s No. 54 Toyota Tundra at the season-opening round of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season at Daytona in a couple weeks. With BitPay joining one of the top truck teams, it marks a big arrival in NASCAR for the digital currency.

“I couldn’t be more excited about having this opportunity to represent the BitPay brand on and off the track,” Boston said, via a team release. “BitPay is a global leader in bitcoin payment processing and they are at the forefront of shaping how we all spend money in everyday life.”

Added Stephanie Wargo, Vice President of Marketing for BitPay, “NASCAR is watched by millions of people all over the world. Through this exposure and working with Justin and KBM, we hope to help raise awareness about the bitcoin technology and our company’s platform.”

Boston was announced in November to run a full Truck season with KBM for his rookie year. He has one prior Truck start, and also made two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing a year ago.

Carl Edwards: Tony Stewart is the worst athlete in NASCAR (but he says it with a smile)

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Carl Edwards takes pride in being among the fittest athletes in NASCAR. He does it for himself, even though he admits you don’t necessarily have to be an athlete to do well in stock car driving.

“Everybody talks about it, are drivers athletes?” Edwards said during an interview taping this week for 120Sports.com. “You don’t have to be an athlete. You don’t have to be in any sort of physical shape.

“But there are days where it really pays off and it really helps.”

When asked who are the best athletes in NASCAR, Edwards included himself, Kasey Kahne and Jimmie Johnson.

“We all work really hard,” Edwards said. “But (fellow NASCAR driver) Josh Wise actually either has done or is doing an Iron Man triathlon and he’s very competitive. This guy is a world-class athlete.”

Host Mike Kim then had to ask Edwards who the worst athlete in NASCAR is.

Cousin Carl didn’t even hesitate with his answer as his face broke into a big smile.

“That’s obviously Tony Stewart, he’s the worst,” Edwards laughed. “We give Tony a lot of trouble.

“He must be the toughest guy in the world because he does nothing for his fitness and he’s able to just go out there and do a great job. He’s a tough guy.”

You know, Carl, if a diet of Burger King, Oreos (let’s not forget the immortal “soda cookies”) and Schlitz beer work for Tony and he’s still able to be tough, he may be on to something there.

After all, that diet has “powered” Tony to three Sprint Cup championships in his career.

Check out the videos below that — uh, hem — deal with Tony’s “diet.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Jimmie Johnson takes a wrong turn, loses track position in first half-triathlon

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Jimmie Johnson knows how to get around racetracks. But when it comes to a half-triathlon, he could use a map or GPS to keep him pointed in the right direction.

The six-time Sprint Cup champion took part in a half-triathlon on Saturday in Naples, Florida. Also competing were fellow NASCAR drivers Josh Wise and Landon Cassill.

While Wise and Cassill kept it on the straight and narrow, such was not the case for Johnson.

He made a wrong turn and got lost for a short while.

Oh boy, did he ever get lost.

Things went well in the swimming (1.2 miles) and the 13.1-mile running competition for Johnson.

But when it came to the 56-mile bike ride, Johnson went off-course – missing the first turn, no less, and then pedaled over a mile in the wrong direction (and then had to retrace his steps for yet another mile-plus) – to the tune of an extra 2.3 miles.

All told, Johnson covered the entire 70 miles – well, in his case, 72.3 miles – in four hours, 42 minutes.

“I was hoping to do 4 (hours), 30 (minutes),” Johnson told the Naples (Fla.) News. “Without those extra couple of miles, I think I would have been there.”

To his credit, even with the extra mileage he tacked on, Johnson still finished 15th among all the male competitors. It was the first half-triathlon that Johnson has ever completed.

How’s Johnson feeling today, one day later?

As for Wise, he won his age group at 4:26.34, also good for sixth overall. Cassill was first in his age group at 4:30.13, and ninth overall.

Johnson, who hopes to eventually run a full triathlon in the future, was asked what the overall experience was like.

“It was a long and lonely 70 miles,” Johnson told the Naples News.

Well, 72.3 miles, to be precise.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Jeff Gordon wins 200th pole for Hendrick; Harvick qualifies 5th, leads Champ. 4

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A fifth Sprint Cup championship may not be in the cards for Jeff Gordon this year, but he’s secured one more bit of history for his team.

Gordon captured the 200th Sprint Cup pole position in Hendrick Motorsports history tonight at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a final round lap of 180.747 mph. He and Kurt Busch will lead the field to the green flag on Sunday in the Ford Ecoboost 400.

Last week at Phoenix, Gordon was eliminated from the Chase following Ryan Newman’s last-lap shove of Kyle Larson for 11th place.

That move gave Newman the last spot in the Championship 4 by one point over Gordon, but the former Rainbow Warrior is now zeroing in on finishing the season strong.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been on the pole here, number one, and to get the 200th for Hendrick Motorsports is very cool,” Gordon told ESPN. “I think the way we’re looking at this weekend is we want to finish the season off the absolute best that we can. It’s been a tremendous season for us. This 24 team has been incredible this year.

“We’re disappointed we’re not in this thing for the championship, but that’s not gonna stop us from trying to go out and win the race.”

Meanwhile, the Championship 4 had mixed fortunes in qualifying. Kevin Harvick led the quartet by qualifying fifth, while former teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano will start eighth and ninth respectively. But the winless Newman will have to rally from 21st.

Harvick said that driveability was now the main focus for him leading into Sunday’s title decider.

“This is going to be a race where you go through some changing conditions,” he said. “Today was really just about trying to get a solid starting spot and we were able to do that with our Budweiser team.”

As for Hamlin, he said that his long-run speed helped him be able to make it to the final round.

“To have an extra cycle on our tires and still be that close is very encouraging,” he said. “It’s been a great day so far…The car’s feeling really good, so we’ll see what we got.”

Logano was able to make a big improvement from his mid-pack showing in today’s afternoon practice, something that he was grateful for.

“It’s a good recovery from where we were in practice,” he said. “We’ve just got to try and keep speed in the car a little longer in qualifying but we have all off-season to figure that part out. We’ll try to figure out the race now.”

Newman said that a tight condition going into the corner hampered him, but that he wasn’t worried about his qualifying result.

“A buddy of mine once said, ‘It’s not where you start, it’s where you stop,'” he said. “We’ve got half of ’em beat to start. We’ll keep digging with the Caterpillar Chevrolet.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Homestead-Miami – Ford Ecoboost 400
Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship Race
Qualifying Results

1. 24-Jeff Gordon
2. 41-Kurt Busch
3. 20-Matt Kenseth
4. 2-Brad Keselowski
5. 4-Kevin Harvick
6. 15-Clint Bowyer
7. 18-Kyle Busch
8. 11-Denny Hamlin
9. 22-Joey Logano
10. 78-Martin Truex Jr.
11. 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. 48-Jimmie Johnson
13. 55-Brian Vickers
14. 51-Justin Allgaier
15. 99-Carl Edwards
16. 27-Paul Menard
17. 9-Marcos Ambrose
18. 43-Aric Almirola
19. 1-Jamie McMurray
20. 16-Greg Biffle
21. 31-Ryan Newman
22. 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
23. 5-Kasey Kahne
24. 3-Austin Dillon
25. 47-A.J. Allmendinger
26. 21-Trevor Bayne
27. 42-Kyle Larson
28. 14-Tony Stewart
29. 13-Casey Mears
30. 33-Brian Scott
31. 34-David Ragan
32. 10-Danica Patrick
33. 40-Landon Cassill
34. 83-J.J. Yeley
35. 38-David Gilliland
36. 36-Reed Sorenson
37. 98-Josh Wise
38. 95-Michael McDowell
39. 7-Michael Annett
40. 32-Blake Koch
41. 23-Alex Bowman
42. 26-Cole Whitt
43. 66-Brett Moffitt

Kevin Harvick wins at Phoenix; Hamlin, Logano, Newman join him in Sprint Cup Championship Race

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When he needed to do it the most, Kevin Harvick once again shined the brightest under the Arizona sun.

Long a master of the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, Harvick delivered a dominant performance (led 264 of 312 laps) in today’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Eliminator Round finale to win for the sixth time at PIR and capture an automatic berth into next week’s Sprint Cup Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

“I could tell that we were probably gonna have to win, because everybody was running up in the front of the pack, [everybody] that we were racing against,” Harvick told ESPN. “That was our goal coming in here, and really, that’s the goal every time we come here to Phoenix. This place has just been phenomenal for me personally and for the team this year.

“…I think this says a lot about our team. I think we’ve been through a lot this year. They put our backs against the wall, but we put it in Victory Lane. And we get to go on.”

From the moment Harvick took the lead at Lap 44, it was evident that nobody was going to beat him and that the three remaining spots in the Championship Race were going to be left to points.

Eventually, those three spots went to Denny Hamlin (finished fifth), Joey Logano (finished sixth), and Ryan Newman (finished 11th). And all of them had to go through their share of obstacles in order to survive.

Both Hamlin and Logano suffered setbacks on pit road (Hamlin an early flat tire, Logano a penalty for removing the gas can from the pits) that caused them to fall one lap down. But mid-race cautions enabled them both to get the free pass to return to the lead lap, and they were able to claw their way back into positions to advance.

As for Newman, he entered the Championship in even more dramatic fashion. After falling back to 12th with just a handful of laps to go, Newman was set to lose out on the final spot via tiebreaker to Jeff Gordon.

But on the final lap, Newman was able to get side-by-side with Kyle Larson in Turn 4. Contact between the two sent Larson into the wall and Newman earned the 11th-place position that allowed him to make the cut by just one point over Gordon.

“In the end, we fought back hard,” Newman said. “Did what we had to, as clean as I possibly could – I wasn’t proud of [the contact with Larson], but I’ll do what I’ve got to do to make it to the next round…I think if [Larson] was in my position, he would’ve done the same thing.”

Meanwhile, Gordon’s drive for a fifth Cup championship – his first since 2001 – came to a close in agonizing fashion.

“We’ve got a lot to hold our heads up high about,” he said. “The way that we raced this race and the whole Chase and the whole season. We raced hard, we raced together as a team.”

While praising his team for its efforts, Gordon couldn’t resist taking an apparent shot at Brad Keselowski, who was involved with Gordon in last weekend’s post-race fight at Texas Motor Speedway and also failed to make the final battle at Homestead.

“I hope we taught somebody that you can race clean and still go out there and give it your best, and that you don’t have to wreck people to make it in the Chase or win the championship,” he added.

Gordon finished second to Harvick in the race, with Matt Kenseth and Keselowski following him in third and fourth. And yet all three of them, plus 15th-place finisher Carl Edwards, will only be racing for pride next weekend in South Florida.

But for Harvick, Hamlin, Logano, and Newman, they’ll all have the chance to race for their first Sprint Cup title.

NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES AT PHOENIX
Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (Eliminator Round Finale)
Unofficial Results

1. 4-Kevin Harvick, led 264 laps
2. 24-Jeff Gordon
3. 20-Matt Kenseth
4. 2-Brad Keselowski
5. 11-Denny Hamlin, led 24 laps
6. 22-Joey Logano, led 17 laps
7. 41-Kurt Busch
8. 88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., led 4 laps
9. 16-Greg Biffle
10. 9-Marcos Ambrose
11. 31-Ryan Newman
12. 78-Martin Truex Jr.
13. 42-Kyle Larson
14. 1-Jamie McMurray
15. 99-Carl Edwards
16. 47-A.J. Allmendinger
17. 17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
18. 43-Aric Almirola
19. 55-Brian Vickers
20. 14-Tony Stewart
21. 5-Kasey Kahne
22. 10-Danica Patrick
23. 27-Paul Menard
24. 38-David Gilliland
25. 34-David Ragan, led 2 laps
26. 7-Michael Annett, led 1 lap
27. 33-Ty Dillon
28. 36-Reed Sorenson
29. 40-Landon Cassill
30. 83-J.J. Yeley
31. 95-Michael McDowell
32. 23-Alex Bowman
33. 32-Joey Gase
34. 18-Kyle Busch
35. 13-Casey Mears
36. 66-Mike Wallace
37. 51-Justin Allgaier
38. 3-Austin Dillon
39. 48-Jimmie Johnson, Lap 235, Accident
40. 15-Clint Bowyer, Lap 211, Accident
41. 98-Josh Wise, Lap 204, Accident
42. 26-Cole Whitt, Lap 147, Accident
43. 37-Mike Bliss, Lap 16, Brakes

NASCAR CHASE FOR THE SPRINT CUP
Eliminator Round – Final Standings
Top 4 Drivers Advance to Sprint Cup Championship Race
1. Kevin Harvick – ADV
2. Denny Hamlin, +10 points
3. Joey Logano, +9 points
4. Ryan Newman, +1 point

5. Jeff Gordon, -1 point
6. Matt Kenseth, -3 points
7. Brad Keselowski, -8 points
8. Carl Edwards, -15 points