With all that’s happened this weekend, it’s time for another edition of news from the world of motorsports.
We begin in New England with Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag in the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was his 36th career victory, fifth of the season and second at Loudon. He won after the dominant car of the race Kevin Harvick – who led 216 of the 300 laps – ran out of gas with three laps to go. He would finish a disappointing 21st.
Denny Hamlin finished runner-up to teammate Kenseth. Joey Logano rounded out the podium in third. Greg Biffle scored his third top-five finish of the season in fourth and Carl Edwards rounded out the top-five.
Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-ten.
The issue regarding restarts reared its ugly head again Sunday when Brad Keselowski was black-flagged for jumping the restart. His jump was as borderline as it gets. This comes after his car owner Roger Penske criticized NASCAR for not enforcing the rules on restarts two weeks before at Richmond. I’m not someone who believe in karma, I subscribe to irrefutable fact and science, but that would be a textbook example of getting what you wished for.
While the restart was nowhere near as blatant as Kenseth’s at Richmond or Jeff Gordon’s the week before at Chicagoland, it sent the message that NASCAR will now enforce the rule down to the letter of the law. Because fans and drivers bitched to NASCAR about enforcing the rule with no “umpire’s discretion,” we’ve gotten exactly what we wanted.
This Sunday, it’ll be “Over in Dover” for four drivers. Kyle Busch, Paul Menard, Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer enter the Concrete Canyon in the bottom four spots. If it should remain the same when all is said and done at the Monster Mile, those four would be thrown to the curb and their hopes of winning the championship would be done.
In other news, Tony Stewart has scheduled a press conference for tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. According to multiple news outlets, Smoke will announce that the 2016 season will be his last as a driver. Those same sources also say his replacement after 2016 will be Clint Bowyer. I won’t be writing a story on this until it’s officially been announced. I’m certain beyond a reasonable doubt, however, it’s not going to be an announcement by Smoke that he’ll be apart of the driver lineup for Haas F1 next season.
That forced segue leads us to Formula 1 news. At some point in the next hour or so, Gene Haas – co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing – is expected to announce the driver lineup for the new Haas F1 Team competing in the 2016 season. I’ve heard multiple names linked to this announcement, but I can’t say for certain who’ll be driving for the American team. One name I’ve heard is Romain Grosjean coming off a seventh-place finish at Suzuka.
That forced segue takes us to the Japanese Grand Prix. I didn’t get to see much of the race because I had the time completely wrong and missed the first 15 laps. I heard that Daniel Ricciardo and Felipe Massa made contact on the start and both never recovered for a decent finish. Fernando Alonso could no longer hold his tongue with the lack of progress from McLaren’s new engine partner Honda, especially at a Honda-owned race track like Suzuka.
In the end, Lewis Hamilton bounced back from an “off-night” at Singapore and matched his childhood hero Ayrton Senna with 41 wins. Teammate Nico Rosberg finished runner-up and Sebastian Vettel rounded out the podium.
Formula 1 returns in two weeks when it heads to Mother Russia to race around the Olympic village for the Grand Prix of Sochi.
That’s all from the world of motorsports. See y’all another time.