Clint Bowyer: Indy 500 a fun thing to watch, but not to drive in

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Clint Bowyer doesn’t back down from much. But when it comes to racing in the Indianapolis 500, Bowyer has no delusions of grandeur that he’ll ever try to drive in the so-called Greatest Spectacle in Racing.

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch on Sunday will attempt to become the first driver since Robby Gordon in 2004 to race in both the Indy 500 and Sprint Cup’s Coca-Cola 600 in the same day.

But after seeing Busch wreck in practice earlier this week somewhere in the neighborhood of 220-plus mph, Bowyer made it clear his thoughts of Busch’s doing the Double are essentially, “Better you than me, buddy.”

Back home in Emporia, Kansas, Bowyer was late in getting the news of Busch’s wreck. But his response was priceless, nonetheless.

“I’ve been cutting hay — bailing hay — all week long and haven’t really been following Twitter or anything,” Bowyer told FoxSports.com. “And I did go home, got in bed and I was watching TV and I didn’t even know Kurt had wrecked that day and I was like, ‘Holy cow.’ No, that doesn’t look one iota of fun at all.”

Indeed, Busch’s wreck was hard, but other than soreness he was uninjured.

“That was a hard hit and just from looking at it — those things (Indy racers) blow apart and you see us wreck and it kind of flat-sides the right side and you’re like, ‘You’ll be okay,'” Bowyer said. “You see them things blow apart and you’re like, ‘Man, is he even going to get out?’ No, it doesn’t look like fun, but it’s fun to watch.”

It’s kind of like going to some remote locale: It’s a nice place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there, right, Clint?

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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
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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.