Matt Kenseth

AP

IndyCar drivers sound off on Kenseth vs. Logano, Gordon’s win in dramatic NASCAR race

2 Comments

The beauty, perhaps, of the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule ending when it does is that it frees up the field of drivers to watch – and comment – on NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action.

So naturally, when Matt Kenseth appeared to intentionally retaliate versus Joey Logano – and if we’re honest, the use of “appeared” is to just be journalistically sound and polite – some IndyCar folks weighed in with some opinions.

Here’s some of the thoughts.

Naturally, Team Penske drivers felt fairly aggrieved that their NASCAR teammate, Logano, got wrecked out.

Will Power expressed his thoughts without the infamous “double bird:”

Juan Pablo Montoya’s wife Connie offered this nugget:

NBCSN IndyCar analyst and IMSA GT Daytona class champion Townsend Bell noted how frustrating it gets when your right front tire goes down… allegedly… as Kenseth said during his post-race interview.

Marco Andretti opened it up to the fans in asking their opinions of the contretemps.

Meanwhile, James Hinchcliffe and Josef Newgarden made some astute observations about race winner Jeff Gordon adding another grandfather clock to his collection.

Like father, like son: Ross Kenseth, Matt’s son, wins at Michigan in 3rd career ARCA start

Leave a comment

Ross Kenseth gave father Matt — as in former Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth — an early Father’s Day present on Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Piloting a Chevrolet owned by veteran racer Ken Schrader, the younger Kenseth earned his first career win in only his third start in the ARCA series, capturing the Corrigan Oil 200.

“Hats off to these guys,” Kenseth said on Fox Sports 2. “It was a lot of fun today. I felt we were alright (on fuel). I’m just real happy to be here.

“This is about a year and a half since my last win in anything. … I’m happy to do my job for them.”

The 22-year-old Kenseth drove the final 62 laps on the same tank of fuel, while others in the 27-driver field such as Grant Enfinger had to pit late in the race to reach the finish line.

As it turned out, Kenseth was able to conserve enough fuel to not only cross the start-finish line, but to also do a celebratory burnout and make it all the way to victory lane.

“It was pretty cool, I’m glad he won it,” proud father Matt said of his son. “He did a great job. Ross has been working particularly hard to get some opportunities.”

In Ross Kenseth’s other two career ARCA starts, he finished third (2014, Kansas) and sixth (2013, Madison).

Coming on the heels of his first ARCA win, Ross Kenseth will make his first Xfinity Series career start next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway during an off-weekend for the Sprint Cup Series.

“This is a great weekend for me here and I look forward to spending next weekend with him in Chicago,” Matt Kenseth said.

Ross and Matt are now the fifth father-son pairing to ever win a race at MIS. Others are Dale and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty and Steven Wallace, Bobby and Davey Allison and Bob and Brad Keselowski.

Series veteran Frank Kimmel finished second (2.123 seconds behind Kenseth), followed by Austin Wayne Self, Tom Hessert and Matt Kurzejewski.

Sixth through 10th were Josh Williams, David Levine, Grant Enfinger, Sarah Cornett-Ching and Bo LeMastus.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

 

NASCAR: Entry list set for Sprint Unlimited; David Gilliland out, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in

20 Comments

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the fourth driver to be added to Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited to fill the 25-car field.

Stenhouse is in the race after David Gilliland’s team withdrew. A spokesperson for Front Row Motorsports said the team did not have sponsorship for the event and elected to skip it.

Others who were eligible to compete in the 75-lap exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway but won’t are Brian Scott, Brian Vickers and AJ Allmendinger.

Replacing them are Clint Bowyer, Paul Menard, Casey Mears and Stenhouse.

NASCAR announced in December it was expanding the Sprint Unlimited field to 25 teams. The event is open to all 16 Chase teams from the previous season along with pole winners from last year, former Unlimited winners and former Daytona 500 winners. Any remaining spots go to the highest remaining drivers in points.

—-

2015 SPRINT UNLIMITED AT DAYTONA
Entry List

1-Jamie McMurray (Chip Ganassi Racing/McDonalds)
2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske/Miller Lite)
3-Austin Dillon (Richard Childress Racing/Dow Chemical)
4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing/Jimmy John’s + Budweiser)
5-Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports/Great Clips)
10-Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing/GoDaddy)
11-Denny Hamlin (Joe Gibbs Racing/FedEx Express)
13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing/GEICO)
14-Tony Stewart (Stewart-Haas Racing/Mobil 1 + Bass Pro Shops)
15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing/5-Hour Energy)
16-Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing/Ortho)
17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing/Fastenal)
18-Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing/M&Ms)
19-Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing/Arris)
20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing/Dollar General)
22-Joey Logano (Team Penske/Shell-Pennzoil)
24-Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports/AARP Drive to End Hunger)
27-Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing/Peak-Menards)
31-Ryan Newman (Richard Childress Racing/Caterpillar)
41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing/Haas Automation)
42-Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing/Target)
43-Aric Almirola (Richard Petty Motorsports/Smithfield)
48-Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports/Lowe’s)
78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing/Furniture Row)
88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports/Nationwide Insurance)

NASCAR: Matt Kenseth’s five-race Xfinity Series schedule is set

Leave a comment

Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Matt Kenseth said late last year that he’d reduce his Xfinity Series program to five races. Now, we know which races they’ll be.

The 2003 Cup champ will run the Xfinity events at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Feb. 28), Phoenix International Raceway (March 14), Dover International Speedway (May 30), Chicagoland Speedway (Sept. 19), and Kansas Speedway (Oct. 17).

For those events, he’ll run the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry with backing from Reser’s Fine Foods and with Mike Wheeler as crew chief. Wheeler has transitioned to crew chief following several seasons as race engineer for Denny Hamlin on JGR’s No. 11 Cup team.

Last season, Kenseth made 19 Xfinity starts in the No. 20 Toyota and won in the series’ season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also collected 10 top-5 and 15 top-10 finishes. During his overall career in NASCAR’s No. 2 national series, he’s won 29 times in 283 starts.

Greg Biffle on bigger leadership role at Roush: “My input has to be the best it can be”

8 Comments

With Carl Edwards’ departure to Joe Gibbs Racing, Greg Biffle finds himself as the elder statesman at Roush Fenway Racing.

Biffle, who has competed for Roush in Cup full-time since 2003, will be paired with third-year Sprint Cup driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne, who has run part-time at NASCAR’s top level for four seasons.

That means things will be different for Biffle. Back when he was teammates with both Edwards and Matt Kenseth (who left Roush to join Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013), the veteran trio would often come to a consensus on solutions to their problems.

But with Stenhouse and Bayne, Biffle recognizes the importance of having his own ideas be sound ones.

“I’m not necessary going to be heard louder or have more input,” he said about the situation. “It’s that my input has to be the best it can be. Because there isn’t any more that have lateral experience like Matt and Carl, sitting on both sides of me.

“We had an equal voice on how our car drove and what we felt like the problems were. Now, a little more of that comes on my shoulders.”

From Biffle’s perspective, the biggest difference between having veteran teammates and younger teammates is how they’ll react when the car isn’t doing so well.

Biffle used Kenseth as an example of what veterans can do.

“He knows if that thing is gonna be fast on Lap 20 or has a good idea,” Biffle said. “That’s the experience you lose with newer guys that don’t have that big textbook of experience: ‘I’ve been here and done this before, I know what this feels like. Probably not gonna be good later on.’ That comes with time. It’s the only thing that comes with.”

On the other hand, Biffle says that younger drivers are open to new ideas and not settled in “old habits.”

“They’re not, ‘Oh, I’ve tried this, it didn’t work, and I tried that and it didn’t work.’ When you have new guys, they’re willing to try anything – springs, different lines on the race track,” he said. “Those things may work today with the car we have and the aero package and the tires.”

Biffle feels optimistic that he, Stenhouse, and Bayne can do well together. He insists that Roush has made strides in solving the issues that have plagued their cars, in part because the lack of preseason testing has allowed the team to focus on finding said issues.

With that in mind, Biffle looks forward to starting the year on better footing performance-wise.

“We had major issues that we’ve ironed out, and feel like in 2015, we’re gonna come out fairly strong,” he said. “Are we all the way there yet? No. But we feel really strongly that we’re going down the correct path now. It’s only up from here.”

Biffle’s Backslide
As Roush Fenway’s fortunes have declined in recent years, so have those of its veteran driver, Greg Biffle. He’ll look to stop both trends in 2015.

2012 – Two wins, 12 Top-5s, 21 Top-10s, 3 Poles, Avg. Start of 9.9, Avg. Finish of 10.2, 5th in Points
2013 – One win, 4 Top-5s, 13 Top-10s, 0 Poles, Avg. Start of 16.1, Avg. Finish of 14.4, 9th in Points
2014 – No wins, 3 Top-5s, 11 Top-10s, 0e Poles, Avg. Start of 18.7, Avg. Finish of 16.4, 14th in Points