Talladega wrecks result in just minimal changes in Sprint Cup points; Gordon, Kenseth still 1-2

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Okay, take the ‘Dega mulligan and move on.

That’s pretty much the scenario for most of the drivers in the Sprint Cup standings after Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Because so many of the top drivers in the rankings coming into the race were involved in wrecks, the overall standings didn’t really change all that much.

Jeff Gordon remained in first place in the Cup standings, three points ahead of Matt Kenseth, who stayed in second place.

Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each gained one spot in the rankings, moving up to third (four points behind Gordon) and fourth (-19), respectively.

Carl Edwards dropped one place, into a tie for fourth with Earnhardt.

Rounding out the top 10 after ‘Dega, Joey Logano remained in sixth place (-42), Jimmie Johnson improved from eighth to seventh (-43), Greg Biffle gained three places to jump to eighth (-47), Ryan Newman remained in ninth (-48) and Brian Vickers remained in 10th (-50).

The biggest improvement in the standings by any driver Sunday was three positions, by both Biffle and by Clint Bowyer, who climbed into the top 20 and left Talladega in 18th position (-86).

Suffering the biggest drop in the standings was Tony Stewart, who fell six places, from 15th to 21st (-103).

Other changes of note:

* Brad Keselowski dropped four places in the standings, from seventh to 11th (-53).

* Jamie McMurray dropped five places, from 19th to 24th (-106).

* Kurt Busch fell out of the top 25 to 27th (-151).

* Last year’s spring Talladega race winner David Ragan dropped four spots to 35th after Sunday’s race (-216).

* In what he has previously said would be the final race of his three-plus decade Cup career, Terry Labonte finished

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UNOFFICIAL Provided by NASCAR Statistics- Sunday, 5/4/2014 @ 4:42 PM Central UNOFFICIAL

Points Report

Talladega Superspeedway

45th Annual Aaron’s 499

Pos Driver BonusPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10s DNFs Money Won PPos G/L

1 Jeff Gordon 7 347 0 0 10 0 0 4 7 0 $2,382,113 1 0
2 Matt Kenseth 8 344 -3 -3 10 1 0 3 7 0 $2,028,762 2 0
3 Kyle Busch 10 343 -4 -1 10 1 1 3 5 0 $2,114,368 4 1
4 Dale Earnhardt Jr 10 328 -19 -15 10 0 1 5 6 1 $2,799,753 5 1
5 Carl Edwards 8 328 -19 0 10 0 1 2 5 1 $1,601,948 3 -2
6 Joey Logano 16 305 -42 -23 10 1 2 5 5 2 $2,293,318 6 0
7 Jimmie Johnson 9 304 -43 -1 10 0 0 3 5 0 $2,107,568 8 1
8 Greg Biffle 5 300 -47 -4 10 0 0 2 4 0 $1,814,683 11 3
9 Ryan Newman 3 299 -48 -1 10 0 0 0 4 0 $1,370,198 9 0
10 Brian Vickers 3 297 -50 -2 10 0 0 2 4 0 $1,659,513 10 0
11 Brad Keselowski 13 294 -53 -3 10 1 1 4 4 0 $2,577,893 7 -4
12 Denny Hamlin 9 292 -55 -2 9 1 1 2 3 0 $2,401,200 14 2
13 Kyle Larson # 0 286 -61 -6 10 0 0 2 5 1 $1,613,533 13 0
14 Austin Dillon # 1 281 -66 -5 10 0 0 0 1 0 $1,711,908 12 -2
15 AJ Allmendinger 2 279 -68 -2 10 0 0 1 3 0 $1,406,400 17 2
16 Marcos Ambrose 2 268 -79 -11 10 0 0 2 2 0 $1,527,933 16 0
17 Paul Menard 3 265 -82 -3 10 0 0 1 5 0 $1,800,698 18 1
18 Clint Bowyer 5 261 -86 -4 10 0 0 1 3 2 $1,575,053 21 3
19 Kevin Harvick 16 258 -89 -3 10 1 2 2 4 2 $1,901,923 20 1
20 Kasey Kahne 3 252 -95 -6 10 0 0 0 3 1 $1,372,383 22 2
21 Tony Stewart 1 244 -103 -8 10 1 0 2 4 1 $1,603,348 15 -6
22 Casey Mears 1 244 -103 0 10 0 0 0 1 0 $1,429,267 23 1
23 Aric Almirola 1 242 -105 -2 10 0 0 1 2 2 $1,517,363 24 1
24 Jamie McMurray 1 241 -106 -1 10 0 0 0 2 1 $1,578,368 19 -5
25 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 0 218 -129 -23 10 0 0 1 3 0 $1,648,363 26 1
26 Martin Truex Jr 0 209 -138 -9 10 0 0 0 1 1 $1,402,793 27 1
27 Kurt Busch 7 196 -151 -13 10 0 1 2 2 4 $1,283,708 25 -2
28 Justin Allgaier # 1 190 -157 -6 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,328,504 28 0
29 Danica Patrick 2 176 -171 -14 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,219,363 29 0
30 David Gilliland 3 152 -195 -24 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,285,819 30 0
31 Michael Annett # 0 144 -203 -8 10 0 0 0 0 2 $1,168,724 33 2
32 Alex Bowman # 0 132 -215 -12 10 0 0 0 0 2 $1,135,470 34 2
33 Reed Sorenson 3 131 -216 -1 10 0 0 0 0 3 $1,108,794 32 -1
34 Cole Whitt # 0 131 -216 0 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,062,083 35 1
35 David Ragan 3 131 -216 0 10 0 0 0 0 1 $1,210,228 31 -4
36 Josh Wise 0 119 -228 -12 9 0 0 0 0 0 $995,392 36 0
37 Ryan Truex # 0 77 -270 -42 8 0 0 0 0 2 $671,703 38 1
38 Travis Kvapil 2 72 -275 -5 8 0 0 0 0 0 $656,049 37 -1
39 Parker Kligerman 0 54 -293 -18 8 0 0 0 0 4 $829,833 39 0
40 Michael McDowell 1 49 -298 -5 6 0 0 0 0 3 $524,164 40 0
41 Terry Labonte 0 44 -303 -5 2 0 0 0 0 0 $479,744 44 3
42 David Reutimann 1 37 -310 -7 3 0 0 0 0 0 $255,665 41 -1
43 Bobby Labonte 0 29 -318 -8 1 0 0 0 0 0 $325,213 42 -1
44 Jeff Burton 0 27 -320 -2 1 0 0 0 0 0 $115,960 43 -1
45 Michael Waltrip 1 23 -324 -4 2 0 0 0 0 1 $384,038 48 3
46 David Stremme 0 22 -325 -1 3 0 0 0 0 1 $227,870 45 -1
47 Timmy Hill 0 7 -340 -15 2 0 0 0 0 1 $150,770 46 -1
Pos Driver BPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10
s
DNFs Money Won PPos G/L
BPts – Bonus Points, -Ldr/-Nxt = Points behind Leader/Next higher, PPos = Previous Position, G/L = Points standing gain/loss, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series48 Dave Blaney 0 4 -343 -3 2 0 0 0 0 2 $131,650 47 -1
49 Landon Cassill(i) 0 0 -347 -4 8 0 0 0 0 0 $958,783 49 0
50 Sam Hornish Jr.(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 0 $107,410 50 0
51 Trevor Bayne(i) 0 0 -347 -4 4 0 0 0 0 2 $607,428 51 0
52 Brian Scott(i) 0 0 -347 -4 4 1 0 0 0 1 $573,865 52 0
53 Joe Nemechek(i) 0 0 -347 -4 6 0 0 0 0 2 $506,009 53 0
54 Blake Koch(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 0 $72,946 54 0
55 J J Yeley(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 1 $62,180 55 0
56 Morgan Shepherd(i) 0 0 -347 -4 1 0 0 0 0 1 $73,693 56 0
57 Eric McClure(i) 0 0 -347 -4 0 0 0 0 0 0 $24,763 57 0
Pos Driver BPts Points Ldr Nxt Starts Poles Wins T5s T10
s
DNFs Money Won PPos G/L
BPts – Bonus Points, -Ldr/-Nxt = Points behind Leader/Next higher, PPos = Previous Position, G/L = Points standing gain/loss, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series

Helio Castroneves: ‘I have nothing to lose’ Sunday in bid for 4th Indy 500 win

All photos: IndyCar
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You might say Helio Castroneves comes into Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 with a “less is more” philosophy than he’s had in years past:

* No pressure

* No worrying about points

* No worrying about winning a championship

Take away all those things and the very popular Brazilian driver could be in the best position he’s ever been to achieve the biggest goal of his career:

Winning a fourth Indy 500, making him a member of motor racing’s most exclusive club, joining legendary drivers A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as the only drivers to conquer the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway four times each.

Like his car number, Castroneves has won the Indy 500 three times. He wants to change that number to four times in Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing. Photo: IndyCar.

“For sure, I definitely don’t have much to lose in terms of points, championships, and things like that,” Castroneves told MotorSportsTalk earlier this week. “I don’t have to think that I don’t have a car to win, I’m not going to risk that much because there are still championship points (to earn if he was still racing full-time in the series).

“Not that I did that before, but if the situation occurs, people just need to know I have nothing to lose this time.”

Castroneves three prior triumphs in the 500 came in his first two years in the field – 2001 and 2002 – and again in 2009. In addition, he has finished twice in the last four editions of the Greatest Spectacle In Racing in 2014 and 2017.

Coming so close last year, losing to Takuma Sato by .201 of a second, is something Castroneves hasn’t forgotten about. To come so close to No. 4 has only made him more hungry to get it done on Sunday.

“Yeah, but if it were easy, we would likely have had more than four wins by now,” he said. “We’ve had opportunities in the past, the last four years we were really competitive, we were right there, especially in ’14 and ’17, we were right on it.

“Last year, I thought it was going to be the hardest 500 for me and look what happened: we were battling to the end for a victory,” Castroneves said. “It’s not just about trying hard, it’s about being there at the right place at the right time.

“And this place, Indianapolis, I’ve always said the track winds up choosing who is going to be the winner. Hopefully, with safety and luck, we’ll be part of it and be on the right side.”

Team owner Roger Penske decided after last season to put Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya as the chief drivers of Team Penske’s new two-car effort in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship sports car series.

When the announcement was first made, many feared that Castroneves had run out of chances to get that elusive No. 4 at Indy.

But Penske sweetened the deal for Helio to go sports car racing by promising he’d field a car for him at Indy. And Penske has proven to be a man of his word, giving Castroneves everything he needs to finally win No. 4.

“I feel we’ve prepared as much as a team, we’re doing everything possible in relation to preparation,” Castroneves said. “The preparation we had in the previous year helps us tremendously to give us an opportunity fighting there for a win, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

Castroneves has taken to the new style Indy car with aplomb. During the first week of practice leading up to last weekend’s qualifying, he was consistently one of the fastest drivers in the field.

The 43-year-old even topped the speed charts in the Fast Nine last Saturday before ending up eighth in the following day’s pole qualifying.

As a result, he’ll start Sunday’s race from the middle of Row 3, anchoring Team Penske’s four-man Top 8 starting lineup effort in the 500. When the green flag drops, to his left will be Danica Patrick and to his right will be four-time IndyCar champ and former 500 winner Scott Dixon.

And millions of others right behind him, so to speak.

“I feel the sense that everyone wants it to happen,” he said of winning No. 4. “We’re talking about being part of history here. The last guy to do it was Rick Mears in the ‘90s (1991).

“I mean, how cool would that be if I would be in the position and to see No. 4 in my era. I hear a lot of the fans, even those supporting different drivers, all saying ‘Man, I want to see you win No. 4.’ That just shows how special this place is.

“(The Indy 500) is part of a lot of people’s lives. I just would be very fortunate to hopefully to have this generation see someone do No. 4.”

While he’d rather not think about missing out on a fourth win at Indy for a ninth straight year, Castroneves is using reverse psychology somewhat.

He’s going into Sunday’s biggest race in the world fully believing he will finally win No. 4.

And if he does, forget the idea that he would never come back to race at Indy again.

“Not at all. Why? You’re so close to getting four, and then when you get four, you stop it? It doesn’t make sense.

“I think I still have at least four or five more years, there’s no question about it. As long as Roger (Penske) gives me the opportunity, I’m going to be going for it, for sure.”

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