Casey Mears, Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards fastest in Sprint Cup Happy Hour at Bristol

Leave a comment

Casey Mears was the fastest in Saturday’s final practice for Sunday’s Food City 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Mears drove his Geico Chevrolet 40 laps around Bristol’s .533-mile high-banked layout, with a best speed of 125.906 mph.

Matt Kenseth was second-fastest in the Happy Hour episode at 125.815 mph, followed by Carl Edwards (125.683), Las Vegas winner and Sunday’s outside pole-sitter Brad Keselowski (125.486) and five-time Bristol winner Kurt Busch (125.469).

Thirteen drivers eclipsed the 125 mph mark.

Current Sprint Cup points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr. was eighth-fastest (125.387), while Sunday’s pole sitter, Denny Hamlin, was 16th-astest (124.930).

Late in the session, Landon Cassill hit the wall hard, sustaining heavy damage to his No. 40 Chevrolet. If his team is unable to repair the damage before Sunday’s race, Cassill would likely be forced to start from the rear of the field in a back-up car.

Here’s Saturday’s Happy Hour speeds:

1 Casey Mears 125.906 mph

2 Matt Kenseth 125.815

3 Carl Edwards 125.683

4 Brad Keselowski 125.486

5 Kurt Busch 125.469

6 Martin Truex Jr. 125.412

7 Paul Menard 125.404

8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 125.387

9 Kevin Harvick 125.363

10 Jimmie Johnson 125.199

11 Marcos Ambrose 125.117

12 Justin Allgaier 125.093

13 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 125.068

14 Ryan Newman 124.995

15 Jeff Gordon 124.995

16 Denny Hamlin 124.930

17 Tony Stewart 124.906

18 Joey Logano 124.784

19 Kasey Kahne 124.695

20 Kyle Busch 124.622

21 Aric Almirola 124.565

22 Greg Biffle 124.517

23 Austin Dillon 124.508

24 Jamie McMurray 124.291

25 David Gilliland 124.178

26 Kyle Larson 124.178

27 David Ragan 124.114

28 Brian Vickers 124.066

29 AJ Allmendinger 124.018

30 Clint Bowyer 123.970

31 Landon Cassill 123.937

32 Travis Kvapil 123.435

33 Alex Bowman 123.269

34 Danica Patrick 123.190

35 Parker Kligerman 123.126

36 Josh Wise 123.079

37 Cole Whitt 123.024

38 Timmy Hill 122.537

39 Michael McDowell 122.505

40 Michael Annett

41 Ryan Truex 122.333

42 Reed Sorenson 122.185

43 Joe Nemechek 121.167

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

Supercross points leader Eli Tomac finds silver linings in interruption

Leave a comment

Though his Monster Energy AMA Supercross championship charge was put on hold, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic had a silver lining for Eli Tomac.

Off the road while the season was postponed for nearly three months, the points leader was able to be present as his girlfriend, Jessica, gave birth to their daughter, Lev, on April 26

“A huge blessing for us there,” Tomac told host Mike Tirico during a “Lunch Talk Live” interview (click on the video above) in which he also joked about becoming a pro at busting off diaper changes. “That was one good blessing for us as we had our daughter on a Sunday, that would have been on a travel day coming back from the race in Las Vegas.

NBCSN

“That was probably the only positive out of all this mess was being able to be there for the birth.”

But there also could be more good fortune for Tomac as the series resumes Sunday at Salt Lake City, Utah (3-4 p.m. ET on NBCSN, 4-6 p.m. on NBC).

The final seven events will be held over 22 days in Rice-Eccles Stadium, which sits at just over 4,000 feet.

The elevation could favor Tomac, who was born and lives in Colorado and is accustomed to riding and training at altitude, which is a departure for many Supercross riders (many of whom hail from California and Florida).

COVID-19 TESTING REQUIRED: Supercross outlines protocols for last seven races

“That’s going to be the test for us,” said the Kawasaki rider, who five of the first 10 races this season. “We’re at elevation in Salt Lake, so when you’re on a motorcycle, you have a little bit of a loss of power. That’s just what happens when you come up in elevation. And a lot of guys train at sea level, and we’re at 4,000 to 5,000 feet, so cardio-wise, we’ll be pushed to the limit.

“Most of our races are Saturday nights and back to back weeks, but this go around it’s Sunday and Wednesday, so recovery is going to be key.”

Supercross will race Sunday and Wednesday for the next three weeks, capping the season with the June 21 finale, which also will be shown on NBCSN from 3-4:30 p.m. ET and NBC from 4:30-6 p.m. ET.

Tomac, who holds a three-point lead over Ken Roczen (who also recently visited “Lunch Talk Live”), told Tirico he had been riding for 90 minutes Thursday morning on a track outside Salt Lake City.

“Most of us we can rely on our past riding pretty well,” Tomac said. “The question is if you can go the distance. That’s what a lot of guys have to train on is going the distance. We go 20 minutes plus a lap. That’s what you’ve got to keep sharp is your general muscles. Within two to three days, your brain starts warming up more if you take a few weeks off the motorcycle.”

Here is the schedule and TV information for the rest of the season:

  • Sunday, May 31 (3-4 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC);
  • Wednesday, June 3 ( 10:00 pm – 1:00 am ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 7 (5-8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 10 (7–10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 14 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Wednesday, June 17 (7-10 p.m. ET, NBCSN);
  • Sunday, June 21 (3-4:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN; 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. ET, NBC).
Eli Tomac rides his No. 3 Kawasaki in the Feb. 29 race at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia (Charles Mitchell/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).