Two of Joe Gibbs Racing’s three Chasers and the defending Sprint Cup champion will have to ring up good results in the Contender Round opener from bad spots on the grid.
Needing to crack the Top 24 to advance to the next round of today’s qualifying session of Kansas Speedway, Denny Hamlin ran an identical lap of 27.873 seconds with Ryan Newman for the 24th position.
But because Newman was re-seeded higher than Hamlin following the conclusion of the Challenger Round – Newman got the 9th seed, Hamlin the 11th – Newman moved to Round 2 while Hamlin was forced to settle for 25th on the grid for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
“…Our cars just don’t have any speed,” Hamlin said to ESPN. “Balance is fine, just three-tenths and four-tenths off consistently. All of our cars are, so it’s just disappointing.
“We can’t have any more speed out of our cars, but we’re trying all we can, doing all we can to move up. We’re gonna have to come from the tail end of the pack but it’s a track position race. Maybe we’ll play the strategy right and try to sneak a good finish out of here.”
JGR teammate Matt Kenseth fared worse, qualifying two spots behind Hamlin in 27th.
“As a group, that’s about where we were in practice,” said Kenseth. “We just missed the first cutoff. Second run, I was pretty balanced, and that was as fast as I could go. We just got a little too loose on the last one.
“At this point, we’ll get it ready to go for the race tomorrow and hopefully have it right on Sunday.”
Then there’s Jimmie Johnson, who had not posted a time quick enough to put himself provisionally into the Top 24 before he looped his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet around in Turn 2.
Johnson was able to save the car from smashing into the wall, but with only one set of tires for use across all qualifying rounds – and with his tires having been flat-spotted – his Friday was done.
He’ll start 32nd on Sunday, causing NASCAR on NBC contributor Nate Ryan to make an interesting statistical note:
This will mark Jimmie Johnson's lowest starting position in a Chase race since qualifying 32nd at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2005. #nascar
Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”.
At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.
Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California.
Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.
“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”
805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”
Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life.
The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general.
“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said. “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”
While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself.
“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”
Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.
Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg.
“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle.
“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”
The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective.
“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.
“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”