Ryan Newman takes Sprint Cup pole at New Hampshire

Leave a comment

The “Rocketman” returned today at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, as Ryan Newman secured his second pole of the season for Sunday’s Sylvania 300 – the second race of the 2013 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Newman, who sits eighth in the championship after finishing 10th last weekend in the post-season opener at Chicagoland Speedway, whipped around NHMS in track-record lap of 136.497 miles per hour.

“I’ve sat in here several times and probably on at least six other occasions, and said this was the birth place of track position,” Newman said on Friday afternoon. “And I strongly feel that it is in qualifying well and having that number one pit stall at the start of the race up front in clean air and all the things that go along with it.

“More important is the confidence to know that you have the fastest race car or at least can make it the fastest race car.”

Newman’s lap was enough to top the best from fellow Chaser and Chevy pilot Kasey Kahne, who turned in a time of 136.082 mph that was good enough for the outside of the front row.

Chase contenders will take up eight of the Top 10 starting positions for Sunday’s event. In addition to Newman and Kahne on Row 1, Jeff Gordon and Kurt Busch will line up on Row 2. Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick start on the outside of Row 3 and 4 respectively, and Row 5 features last week’s winner and Chase leader Matt Kenseth as well as Greg Biffle.

The two lone non-Chase drivers in the first five rows are Martin Truex Jr. in P5 and Paul Menard in P7.

As for the other Chasers, Jimmie Johnson qualified 11th; Kyle Busch in 12th; Clint Bowyer in 16th; Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 17th; and Carl Edwards in 26th.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
3 Comments

LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.