Hey kids, last week was…weird….between the wrestling hobby that draws a many of us to The John Report and it’s endeavors such as the awesome TJR Sports being so strange, to the race moving to Monday due to rain it was just a weird week. The notable news from Texas was that Joey Logano became the 7th straight different race winner in Sprint Cup while Chase Elliot picked up his first Nationwide win. Beyond that it was somewhat quiet in racing. So let’s get after it for this week’s racing news and recaps!
Harvick becomes first repeat winner
Kevin Harvick’s team has struggled mightily since Phoenix where they got their lone win to this point in the season. It was never a matter of running well and always mechanical issues or being involved in accidents. So the easiest way to avoid accidents is to be out front.
Kevin Harvick won the pole for the Bojangle’s Southern 500 and would lead an amazing 238 laps of the 367 scheduled and the 374 ran thanks to two Green-White-Checkereds. On the final G-W-C he would make a hard charging pass on Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Kevin has now won a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, a Coca-Cola 600 and a Southern 500 completing the big four races. Jimmie Johnson who would be in contention at the end and finish third also had an interesting night. Starting 26th and making massive adjustments through the entire race, Johnson would be leading after the final pit stop on two tires vs. Kevin’s four. He would even get out to a lead before the caution threw to bring out the first G-W-C.
Lane choice would be a huge role as he picked the top grove, leaving Dale Jr., also on two tires, on the bottom with Kevin Harvick behind him. Kevin would push Junior to the front easily until the final caution flew that would result in Kevin passing Junior for the win.
The Top 5 were: 1st Kevin Harvick, 2nd Dale Earnhardt Jr., 3rd Jimmie Johnson, 4th Matt Kenseth, and 5th Greg Biffle.
The Sprint Cup Series is off next weekend for the Easter Holiday.
2014 Race Winners all but guaranteed a spot in the 2014 Chase: With this win Kevin Harvick is now the only multiple win driver at 2. Other race winners: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselwoski, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Joey Logano.
Chase makes it two straight
So the race weekend started as any other normal race weekend for the Nationwide series where Kyle Busch is in the race. He won the pole for the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200; he led the most laps at 84 of the scheduled 147. He did everything except win…Hey wait…he didn’t win?!
The Vettel of the Nationwide seires didn’t win?! Who beat him? That’d be the same guy who did it last week, rookie driver Chase Elliot. Chase would start outside Kyle and lead the second highest amount of laps at 52. Chase would even have a challenge at the end. On the final restart, he took four tires while five cars in front of him took two. Chase made short work of all five cars and took the lead going into the final turn.
Rookies for various reason do not typically do well at Darlington. For Chase to not only win, but lead the second highest lap total is very impressive. I think it might officially be time to say Chase Elliot is for real.
The Top 5 were: 1st Chase Elliot, 2nd Elliot Sadler, 3rd Matt Kenseth, 4th Kyle Busch, and 5th Joey Logano.
Currently JR Motorsports leads the drivers’ standings with Chase Elliot ahead of teammate Regan Smith by 13 points.
The Nationwide Series is also off for Easter Weekend.
Camping World Trucks
The Camping World Trucks series was off this weekend. They will not be back until May.
Multi-car wreck opens door for Conway
Ryan Hunter-Reay and teammate James Hinchcliffe would begin the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Ryan would even lead twice for 51 laps before he would make an aggressive move to get the lead back from Josef Newgarden who was on cold tires. Newgarden would close the door and the two drivers came together. This would collect Hinchcliffe as well and cause a bottle neck situation as Tony Kanaan, Jack Hawksworth and Takuma Sato would get involved after.
After watching and re-watching the accident I honestly believe it was a racing accident where a little less take and a little more give would had prevented the entire thing. This however, allowed Scott Dixon, Justin Wilson, and Mike Conway to race for the win.
Justin Wilson would be out of that battle on the restart when he went to the outside of Dixon and was pushed up into the wall. The other drama involved in this was that Dixon was short on fuel. Conway would stalk Dixon until with 2 to go Dixon would hit pit road to fuel up. Dixon would finish 12th while Conway would win the race.
The Top 5 were: 1st Mike Conway, 2nd Will Power, 3rd Carlos Munoz, 4th Juan Pablo Montoya, and 5th Simon Pagenaud.
Will Power leads Mike Conway by 27 points in the driver standings.
The IndyCar series is off for Easter Weekend.
In Random News:
Gene Haas officially in F-1
‘Haas Formula’ will be up and in operation within the next two years claims Gene Haas. He’s aiming for 2015 but feels that’s too soon but doesn’t want to fully wait until 2016. He has until June to tell Formula One of his plans….This is gonna crash and burn I fear.
Subway entering F-1 possibly
Subway is looking at Formula One as a potential sponsor opportunity. They are looking for a sport wide type of deal….Great now I want subway!
Darlington back to Labor Day?
Darlington Raceway was the anchor of Labor Day weekend for NASCAR fans until 2003 when the date was moved. Mike Helton was asked on Saturday if he believed the date could be given back and he said he’s not ruling it out but isn’t sure it is entirely possible. I will say this; Darlington put on a helluva race Saturday Night and had an amazing turn out. I’d like for NASCAR to pull one of Texas’ dates and give it to Darlington.
Darlington plans to honor history and prep for future
Darlington Raceway will be using a campaign of past meets future for the 2015 plans for marketing their race weekend. They’ll be using NASCAR legend Bill Elliot and 2 time Nationwide winner and son Chase Elliot for the ads.
Childress testifies on Bio-fuels
The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing on bio-fuels. Richard Childress was present to endorse the use of the bio-fuels explaining it made their race cars run better. Wow…NASCAR really is pushing this go green thing.
Updates on Edwards and Biffle’s contracts
Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle gave updates on their contract. Carl’s update was that he was not giving one. Greg’s was they are getting closer to getting a new deal done. I’ve said this before and if I’m wrong I’ll admit it but I don’t feel I am. I see Greg staying with Roush Fenway Racing. However, I think if a third or fourth car opened up at the right team, Carl’s gone this year. There was too much smoke for their not to be a fire over the last contract negations. I easily could see a move to Penske for Carl.
Michael Waltrip Racing and Aaron’s to honor Florida State at Daytona
When the 55 of Brian Vickers hits the track at Daytona in July it will be flying the colors of Florida State Seminoles. This is something Aaron’s and MWR have been doing with winners of the BCS Football Championship game, though most fans only thought it was a sponsoring deal used in Talladega…that’s because Alabama usually always wins…unless they play Oklahoma apparently.
Random Sports/Non Sports thought:
Road Restriction signs come down on Thursday! Never been so happy for a Thursday to come in my life!
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