The fan voted Sprint Unlimited signaled the official start of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the 18 drivers definitely put on a show. Lining up by final practice speeds, Denny Hamlin and Jamie McMurray led the field to the green flag with 2013 Champion Jimmie Johnson starting last.
A quiet first segment of 30 laps started off the Sprint Unlimited. Danica Patrick, who started 12th, was in danger of losing the draft early in the race but quickly made it as high as 3rd with the help of Hamlin and Johnson. McMurray led much of the first segment until he was forced to drop back. An early trip to pit road because of an over heated engine left him a lap down with just a handful of laps to go.
The first segment ended with a bang when the No.48 of Jimmie Johnson got loose and spun, hitting the inner wall safer barrier and ending his race. Teams hit pit road between segment one and two with some teams opting for gas only and others changing tires. Patrick served a penalty when her gasman left pit wall early.
Segment two started off quietly but just a few laps in, carnage piled up. Brad Keselowski slowed and Kenseth made a move to the lower lane and lost control, taking out seven cars including Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, Danica Patrick, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Carl Edwards. NASCAR threw the red flag to clean up debris and allowed teams to make repairs on the cars under red. When the red flag was lifted, nine drivers remained on the track with fifteen laps to go in segment two. Hamlin dominated the final laps and was P1 when the caution flag flew.
Fans voted for a mandatory two-tire pit stop to start the third segment. Hamlin won the race off of pit road followed by Keselowski, Kyle Busch, McMurray, Ambrose, Logano, Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman and Kevin Harvick. Penalties leave Keselowski and Busch on pit road for a second time and starting at the back of the nine-car pack.
A fire in the pace car delayed the start of the final segment that left Brett Bodine bailing from the blue Chevy.
Hamlin leads the tiny field to green but McMurray and Earnhardt teaming up, Hamlin quickly fades and Chevrolets take the lead. A spin by Kyle Busch caused a caution as he tried to make a move to the bottom sending him spinning through the grass. The race restarted with 12 laps to go with Earnhardt at the point but Logano quickly took the lead. Ten laps to go saw Earnhardt and Ambrose into the wall, which meant a 5-lap shootout with just a handful of cars left in racing condition when the green flag waved. Penske teammates Keselowski and Logano led the pack with No.2 jumping out front and taking the lead. Two laps to go and Busch and Hamlin challenge for the lead with Hamlin taking the white flag and pulling away.
A wreck fest of a Sprint Unlimited under a full moon saw Denny Hamlin take the checkered flag to kick off the start of the 2014 season. With just eight cars finishing the race, this may have just been the strangest race NASCAR has seen in quite a while.
P1: Denny Hamlin
P2: Brad Keselowski
P3: Kyle Busch
P4: Joey Logano
P5: Kevin Harvick
P6: Jamie McMurray
P7: Marcos Ambrose
P8: Ryan Newman
P9: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
P10: Matt Kenseth
P11: Tony Stewart
P12: Jeff Gordon
P13: Carl Edwards
P14: Kurt Busch
P15: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
P16: Danica Patrick
P17: Jimmie Johnson
P18: Terry Labonte
Before Sunday’s race at Talladega Super Speedway, fans and teams alike were battling inner nerves and sweaty palms. History shows that a team is more likely to put scrapped sheet metal on the hauler than racecar but after Sunday’s race, that wasn’t the case.
Overall, the Camping World 500 was one of the better restrictor plate races this season. Multiple lead changes, hard fought battles, and strategy were well played throughout the race and the man in Victory Lane wasn’t the one leading most of the race.
The 188-lap race was relatively calm with only 2 wrecks that took out four racecars. The first, coming on lap-79, involved Juan Pablo Montoya and Marcos Ambrose. The two collided bid-pack when Ambrose moved to the high side and lost control, sliding down into Montoya. Ambrose continued with minimal damage but Montoya’s day was over.
The second wreck came after the white flag waved. Austin Dillon, filling in for a injured Tony Stewart, jumped out of line. When he moved back up in line, he lost the end of his car and spun out of control. Going airborne, he landed upright, right in the path of Casey Mears.
Coming to the checkered flag, a few cars jumped out of line to make a move but in the end, no one wanted to risk causing the “big one.” An exciting race with a not so exciting finish left many race fans wanting more. In the end, non-chaser Jamie McMurray went to Victory Lane for the first time since 2010.
Did the drivers play it safe? Probably, but with a point’s battle so close for the championship, the risk of losing a possible top-10 finish was greater than the small chance of winning.
Katie’s Komments is going to be a little different this week. With everything that has transpired since the race in Richmond, I thought I would dedicate this edition to all of the controversy.
Michael Waltrip Racing: I honestly don’t know what MWR was thinking when they, and by they I mean those who made the decision AND those who decided to go along with it, were thinking when they decided to cheat. I mean, come on, if you are going to cheat, at least don’t make it completely obvious. Even though NASCAR dismissed the claim that Clint Bowyer spun out on purpose, they did call out Brian Vickers for making an unnecessary pit stop to give another driver more points. MRW was handed one of the biggest penalties in NASCAR history and frankly, I think NASCAR only got it half right. Martin Truex Jr was essentially kicked out of the Chase and was replaced by Ryan Newman but I don’t think that was fair. I really don’t think Truex knew what was going on with his teammates until after it was all said and done. He shouldn’t have to pay the price for them, even if he was the beneficiary. I think NASCAR needed to find a way to put both of them in the Chase. They both deserved the position in the end.
Logano and Gilliland: Something that has just come to light in the last 24 hours or so is a claim that Joey Logano’s team made a deal with David Gilliland’s team to get him that one extra point at the end of the race. The one point that got him into the top-10 in points, right ahead of Jeff Gordon. NASCAR is still reviewing the audio from both drivers’ in-car feeds and hasn’t released too much information about the investigation.
They Were Warned: NASCAR made it clear in the driver’s meeting before the race that they were to play fair and race hard. While they surely raced hard, it seems like they entirely missed the first part. Teammates help each other out all the time during the season; moving over to let a teammate pass, pitting earlier to allow a teammate to lead a lap, and various other things. MWR seemed to take that a step further at Richmond. What many are calling “team orders,” MWR stepped over that line and did something that race fans around the world talked about for days. News stories were posted, rumors starting spreading and NASCAR had to act fast and at late Monday Night press conference, MWR’s penalties were handed down, showing other drivers and teams that this kind of behavior, would not be tolerated.
Never has a season had so much controversy and speculation and this past week alone has given the NASCAR community enough drama to last the rest of the season. As the Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship officially kicks off on Sunday, 2013 is still full of surprises. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the latest edition of Katie’s Komments! There is a lot to discuss this week!
Kurt Busch to Stewart-Haas Racing: Well, its official, Kurt Busch will be the 4th driver at SHR starting in 2014. He will be joining recently injured driver Tony Stewart, Rookie Danica Patrick and new-to-SHR driver Kevin Harvick which could lead to some interesting happenings in 2014. With four big personalities and very popular drivers under one roof, Busch will definitely fit right in at SHR. The organization receives their equipment, chassis and engines to be exact, from Hendrick Motorsports, which is some of the strongest in the field. Busch has really turned his life and his attitude around this season. Driving for a single-car team has helped him to realize just how talented he is and joining the ranks at SHR will definitely build on that. Look for big things to come from the eldest Busch Brother in the coming seasons because he is just starting to heat back up.
AJ Allmendinger in at JTG Daugherty Racing: After replacing Bobby Labonte for a handful of races this season, Allmendinger has been named the full time driver No.47 car for 2014. After a rough season in 2012, Allmendinger has proven that he deserves a full-time Sprint Cup ride, although a ride like the Penske No.22 is still far away. 2013 has been a heck of a ride for Allmendinger despite his previous troubles. Roger Penske stood behind him and put him in an IndyCar in preparation for his first Indy 500. His impressive seventh place finish in the historic race started him back on the right path. Allmendinger’s continued success proves that one bad choice doesn’t have to ruin a great career.
Kyle Larson to Cup in 2014: When it was announced a few weeks ago that Juan Pablo Montoya would not be returning to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, it was all but confirmed that Nationwide Series Rookie Kyle Larson would be replacing him behind the wheel. Larson, at just 21 years old, is a phenomenon behind the wheel but moving him up to the Sprint Cup Series too soon would be a disaster to his career. Personally, I think Larson needs one more season in Nationwide to hone in his skills before jumping in with the big boys. With no Sprint Cup Series starts, there is no way to judge how Larson will do next season. I guess we will just have to wait and see!
There was a lot that went on in the Sprint Cup Series this last week! That will do it for this edition of Katie’s Komments. I hope you enjoyed and don’t forget to leave your own!
Welcome to the 16th edition of Katie’s Komment’s, a place to find the latest NASCAR news and my opinion on it! All comments are my views only but feel free to leave your own!
Road Course Racing: I was checking out the Twitterverse last weekend, like I do every race weekend, to see what people were talking about and what I found shocked me. NASCAR fans, in general, seem to hate road course racing. I follow a little over 1,300 people on Twitter and a majority of those are race fans of some sort. As I was scrolling through my timeline, I kept coming across tweets of disgust towards the right turns and winding roads that make up the road course races. Personally, I love road course races. The twists and turns leave drivers with new challenges with every passing moment and road course races give drivers like Juan Pablo Montoya and Marcos Ambrose a chance to shine. The finish last season at Watkins Glen was one of the most exciting finishes I have seen in NASCAR in years and this year, although it wasn’t quite as dramatic, was just as good. With only two road course races a year, three if you are the Nationwide Series, fans don’t get to see many right turns or the unique drivers, like Boris Said and Ron Fellows, that the road courses bring out. I am one of those people who would love to see a road course race in the Chase but having two a season is good enough for me. There is one last course on the schedule as the Nationwide Series takes to Mid-Ohio for the first time in years. Will I be tuning in? You bet!
Vickers In at MWR: It was announced this week that Brian Vickers will pilot the No.55 Aaron’s Dream Machine for Michael Waltrip Racing full time next season. The deal, which includes two full seasons with MWR, puts Vickers behind the wheel of the No.55 with full sponsorship from Aaron’s. With sponsorship hard to come by, having all 36 races sponsored by one company for two full seasons is a race team’s dream come true. Now, this announcement wasn’t a shocking one. It had been said for quite some time that Vickers would be piloting the car full time in 2014. Vickers has had quite the ride since 2011, even filling in this season for Denny Hamlin after his back injury. It will be nice to see Vickers in a full time ride next season and I wouldn’t count him out for a run at the championship in the coming years.
Juan Pablo Montoya OUT at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing: Another big announcement was involved Columbian-born racer Juan Pablo Montoya. Montoya, who has piloted the No.42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing since 2007, will be a free agent at the end of 2013. With 2 wins in 239 Sprint Cup Series starts, the last coming in 2010, Montoya hasn’t lived up to EGR standards. With only two appearances in the top-20 in points, including one Chase appearance in 2009, Montoya’s average finish in the standings is 18th. Currently, he sits 22nd in points with 3 top-5 finishes including a second place finish this season at Dover. Montoya’s future in NASCAR is uncertain and whether or not he has been in talks with another race team is still a question. Will someone else pick up Montoya or are his days in NASCAR numbered. That has yet to be determined but some Montoya fans and analysts, including myself, think that a move to the Grand-Am Series might be a possibility.
That will be it for the 16th edition of Katie’s Komments and remember, if you don’t like mine, feel free to leave your own!
Welcome to the 15th edition of Katie’s Komment’s, a place to find the latest NASCAR news and my opinion on it! All comments are my views only but feel free to leave your own!
Tony Stewart: When news broke yesterday that three-time Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart had severely broken his leg and would be out of the No.14 Chevy for the foreseeable future, my heart broke. Tony Stewart is one of those racers who has to be in the car and in a race multiple times a week. And when I say has to, I mean that literally because his livelihood feeds on that competition and adrenalin. Stewart races is multiple Sprint Car races a week at dirt tracks all over the country, bringing in fans and keeping the love of dirt track racing alive. Because Stewart, and other NASCAR drivers like Kyle Larson, continue to race on dirt despite having a NASCAR ride, it brings in casual race fans into a new, albeit the original, form of racing. Taking a guy like Stewart and telling he is no longer able to drive his Sprint Car would be like telling Taylor Swift she could no longer sing bad breakup songs. Get well soon T-Stew!
Dirt Racing Unsafe: The big debate as of late has been the level of danger that comes with racing on dirt. There seems to have been an unusual amount of injuries this season that have come from NASCAR drivers going back to their roots. This is all coming on the heels of NASCAR announcing that they were hosting their first dirt track race in more than 40 years when the Camping World Truck Series took to Eldora just a few weeks ago. The fact is, dirt track racing isn’t necessarily as safe as NASCAR’s top series may be but that is because these tracks don’t have safer barriers. They aren’t required to have safer barriers. The big debate is that they should be required but unfortunately, they often can’t afford them. The odd thing is, the wrecks this season than have been because drivers have hit the wall. They have all be on-track incidents. The latest, involving Tony Stewart, is one example. Stewart was passing a lap car when he seemed to clip the tire and went tumbling through the air. Dirt track racing is safer then ever before but because of the added coverage this season, it seems like serious injuries and unfortunately death, are at an all-time high.
Hendrick Dominance: This past weekend at Pocono, it was a Hendrick showdown. Pole sitter Jimmie Johnson, who won the June race, led a large number of laps and looked to be on his way to a Pocono sweep when he blew a tire and hit the wall. After extensive repairs to the No.48, Johnson rallied back to finish 13th. Johnson was the lowest finishing Hendrick driver on Sunday. The other three Hendrick Motorsports drivers made up three of the top five finishers on Sunday. Dale Earnhardt Jr walked away with a nice fifth place finish. Jeff Gordon, who looked like he was going to get his seventh win at the Tricky Triangle when he took the lead with five to go, finished second. Kasey Kahne, for the second time this season, took his No.5 Chevy to Victory Lane after a late race caution allowed him to retake the lead from teammate Gordon. Hendrick Motorsports is stronger than ever this season with Jimmie Johnson leading the point’s standings by 77 points, more than one full race. Can anyone stop them?
That will be it for the 15th edition of Katie’s Komments and remember, if you don’t like mine, feel free to leave your own!
Welcome to the fourteenth edition of Katie’s Komment’s, a place to find the latest NASCAR news and my opinion on it! All comments are my views only but feel free to leave your own!
Trucks on Dirt: I have one thing to say about the Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora: MORE PLEASE! It was the first time in more than 40 years that one of NASCARs major series took to the dirt and the drivers who were part of this historic race out on a great show. There were dirt track ringers, truck series regulars, past champions and more out on the track on Wednesday night battling for the first NASCAR dirt track win since the King Richard Petty. 2011 Camping World Truck Series Champion Austin Dillon tore through the field and has a gold shovel and a trophy to show for his Victory Wednesday night. There were so many notable drivers and moments throughout the race that if I were to name them all, this article would be four pages long. If you haven’t had the chance to watch this race yet, you definitely need to. It is one you don’t want to miss!
Brickyard 400: It is one of the biggest races of the season; ranking just behind the Daytona 500. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway marks the middle of the 2013 race season and after a weekend off from racing; teams and drivers are ready to get back out on the track. There are a few notable drivers to watch when the series comes to Indy. Jimmie Johnson, last year’s Brickyard 400 winner, has four wins at the track and four wins this season. He could easily make it five and five this weekend so keep an eye on the No.48 team. Jeff Gordon, who won the inaugural event in 1994, also has four wins at Indy, but hasn’t visited Victory Lane since 2004. Could he come back to win this season? Another driver to watch is someone who probably won’t see the front of the pack, but at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, they welcome her with open arms. Danica Patrick makes her first start in the Brickyard 400 at Indy this weekend, the very place that turned her from an unknown in 2005 to motorsports biggest star. The Brickyard 400 is a historical event and one you won’t want to miss.
Who Will Make the Chase?: With just a few races left until the Chase starts, there are a number of drivers on the brink of missing out. With just 47 points separating 8th through 16th in points, one bad race could drop a driver multiple positions in the standings. Drivers like reigning champion Brad Keselowski, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Gordon sitting on the brink of missing the Chase, it’s do or die time for these drivers. With few points separating the positions, it is going to take wins to secure a spot in the Chase. Currently, Biffle, Keselowski and Kahne round out your top 10 in points with Martin Truex Jr. and Stewart holding the coveted Wild Card spots but with one bad race, that could all change. So who will make it in and who will be looking in from outside? Stay tuned to find out.
That will be it for the fourteenth edition of Katie’s Komments and remember, if you don’t like mine, feel free to leave your own!
Welcome to the thirteenth edition of Katie’s Komments, a place to find the latest NASCAR news and my opinion on it! All comments are my views only but feel free to leave your own!
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson and the Lowe’s No.48 team have just accomplished something that hasn’t been done in over 30 years; they swept Daytona. Johnson kicked off the 2013 season with a victory in the Great American Race and Saturday night then he took home his fourth win this season with the Coke Zero 400. The last driver to sweep Daytona was Bobby Allison back in 1982; 31 years later, Johnson does the same. It was pretty obvious Saturday night that there are a lot of NASCAR fans who despise Johnson and him dominating and ultimately running away with both Daytona wins didn’t help his cause. This latest history-making feat only builds on the fact that Jimmie Johnson will go down in history as one of the best drivers in NASCAR history, right alongside the likes of Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and more. Can he win his sixth Championship this season? It is looking pretty good so far.
Will The Make It? With eight races left until the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship starts, there are a number of drivers outside of the top-10 who just might not make it in. The one driver who is more than likely NOT going to make the Chase is Denny Hamlin. He needs at least two wins and most importantly, needs to get into the top-20 in points with just 8 races left. Looking at how his season has gone so far, the chances of that happening are very slim: he currently sits 26th in points. Another big name that is on the verge of missing the Chase is Kasey Kahne. He sits 12th in points with one win that came early in the season. He is holding on to the second wild card spot but only by the slightest margin. Reigning Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski has dropped out of the top-10 and with no wins this season, his Chase chances are getting smaller and smaller. He sits 13th in points and needs at least one win and a few top-5 finishes in the next eight races to make it into the Chase to defend his title. Another driver who is seeing his Chase hopes slipping away is Jeff Gordon. He raced his way into the Chase in 2012 at the last possible moment and this season, he might have to do it again. He is sitting 14th in points with no wins. The Chase is closing in and the big question is, who will make it, and will be left looking in from afar?
Kurt Busch on the Rise: With his new team in the No.78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet, Kurt Busch has secured himself a spot in the Chase; for now. With his sixth-place finish in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400, the elder Busch Brother as slid in to the 9th spot in the standings. He has been running consistently this season and has missed out on a few wins but I wouldn’t count him out. Based in Denver, Colorado, Furniture Row Racing is the only full-time organization not based in NASCAR’s epicenter. With 4 top-5s and 8 top-10s, Kurt Busch could easily stay in the top-10 in points and could make a run for the Championship. Keep an eye on him these next eight races; I don’t think a win is out of the question for Kurt Busch.
That will be it for the thirteenth edition of Katie’s Komments and remember, if you don’t like mine, feel free to leave your own!
After rain postponed what would be a Saturday night race to a Sunday afternoon showdown against potential rain. All of the team’s set-ups and strategies were washed away with the rubber on the track when news hit that the Quaker State 400 would no longer be run under the lights and when the green flag flew, teams really didn’t know what they had on the track.
Dale Earnhardt Jr led the field to green on Sunday but that was about all that happened for the No.88 at the start of the race. Carl Edwards, starting beside Earnhardt Jr, nabbed the lead and took off in front of the field. Flipping through drivers’ radio feeds, one thing was abundantly clear; the cars were LOOSE and in need of adjustments.
Nothing notable really happened in the first 30 laps of the race leading up to the competition caution. Teams made many changes and adjustments on pit road and on the restart; Earnhardt Jr takes the lead followed by Johnson, Montoya, Edwards and Hamlin. Shortly after the green, Hamlin slides up the track with a flat tire and as he makes it onto pit road, the tire casing comes off and rolls onto the track, in the paths of Earnhardt and Johnson who both receive damage.
Neither team decides the damage is bad enough to hit pit road so Earnhardt leads the field to green again for a short stint before Kyle Busch gets turned, bringing out another caution. Busch keeps it off the wall and his fellow competitors keep their cars away from his.
Lap 48 saw the biggest excitement of all when Kurt Busch took to the apron and came back up behind Brad Keselowski, causing him to spin. Keselowski took Greg Biffle, Dave Blaney and others out with him, leaving Biffle and himself with the worst damage. Clean up from the wreck caused NASCAR to stop cars on the track for 18 minutes followed by multiple caution laps. When the race restarted, Johnson leads the field to green followed by Kenseth, Edwards, Gordon and Harvick.
After the wreck on lap 48, the race was pretty uneventful as far as wrecks go. With a few cautions for debris on the track, and many green flag pit stops, Johnson continued to lead the field with as much as a seven second gap over second place for a majority of the race.
Halfway through the race, Tony Stewart starts dropping after running in the top-15 to top-10 all afternoon. Radio chatter sounds like he has a tire going down but he never hits pit road and rides around the track in 25th, the last car on the lead lap. He would eventually go on to finish 20th.
About two-thirds through the race, Hamlin blows a tire yet again but this time, he slams into the wall. He is able to nurse the car back to the garage but he is taken to the infield care center where he stays for an alarmingly large amount of time, leading reporters and fans to think that he was injured. Thankfully, Denny emerges from the care center upright and alert and will be testing at Indianapolis early this week.
Back under green, Johnson loses the lead to Edwards but not for long. Johnson blazes past and that is the last you see of him, or is it? With less than 100 laps left in the race, the No2 and No16 cars are back on track after their lap 48 incident. The No2 of Brad Keselowski is missing his rear end but is lightning fast on the track, keeping lap times consistent with the leaders. The No16 of Greg Biffle caught on fire after colliding with the No2 and his team put a brand new front on the car and got him back out on the track and up to pace.
With 50 laps to go and after falling a lap down with an untimely green flag stop before a caution flag, Gordon is back up to the top-10 and gaining positions. Your top-5 are Johnson, Logano, Bowyer, Kenseth, Vickers, Kyle Busch, McMurray, Edwards, Kahne and Gordon.
There are around 30 laps left and the tenth caution of the day comes out when Brian Vickers slaps the wall after blowing a tire. With rain and weather no longer an issue, the teams have changed focus to fuel and tire strategy as the last round of pit stops start.
As the green flag flies yet again, Kenseth leads the field with Johnson beside him, but the green doesn’t last long as Johnson loses control and starts to spin, somehow keeping it off of the wall bringing out caution flag 11. Johnson restarts P22 but quickly tears through the field and with ten laps to go he has cracked into the top-10.
Checkered flag flies and Matt Kenseth becomes the first driver to reach four wins this season. One notable finish is the guy who finished in the runner-up position, Jamie McMurray. McMurray scored his first top-5 finish of the season and to him and his team, that was as good as a win.
Top-10 at the checkered was:
Welcome to the twelfth edition of Katie’s Komment’s, a place to find the latest NASCAR news and my opinion on it! All comments are my views only but feel free to leave your own!
Martin Truex Jr: How can I not Komment on this?! I have been watching this man each and every weekend, just WAITING for him to take the checkered flag. He made the Chase last season and was a decent contender throughout the Chase and came back even stronger this season. He has seven top-10 finishes and has led multiple laps throughout the first 13 races, most notably, at Texas. Truex led 134 laps at Texas and many had him pegged at halfway to break his multiple season winless streak. Truex though, finished second. The following week at Kansas, Truex led laps again, 46 to be exact, but went on to finish fourth. Some, including myself, were starting to wonder if he was ever going to catch a break after his third place finish in Michigan. Then came Sonoma. In his eight starts at the road track, he had only one top-10 finish leading into this weekend. Was Truex on my fantasy list? Not even close, but when he took the lead, it was all but over. Truex took that lead and had lead on second place that was over seconds. Truex fought hard for this win and he and his team deserve it! With the momentum from this win, Truex and the No.56 will be hotter than ever going into the summer months.
Dinger Does It: After a rough road last season and losing his seat in the No.22 Penske ride, AJ Allmendinger finally made his comeback. There weren’t too many people who thought the Dinger would get a second chance at a ride, especially with one of the best teams in racing. Almost a year after testing positive for a banned substance, Allmendinger found himself in Victory Lane in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, in a ride given to him by Roger Penske. Even after everything that happened with Allmendinger in the last year, one person was by his side the entire time; Roger Penske. Penske kept his faith in his driver and even put him in an IndyCar ride for the Indy500. Allmendinger has made a few starts in the Sprint Cup Series for other teams but Penske Racing is where his home is. He drove his heart out for his first Nationwide Victory, and his first victory since losing his ride in the No.22 Cup Car. I would love to see Allmendinger get a full time ride, either in NASCAR or IndyCar, and I would love to see him succeed.
Bobby Labonte: Well, his streak of more than 700 straight starts in the Sprint Cup Series will end this week as AJ Allmendinger will pilot the No.47 at Kentucky. The 2000 Cup Champion is a fan favorite no matter where he finishes in the race or the final standing and has been a familiar face around the track since starting his full-time Cup career in 1993. JTG-Daugherty Racing, for which Labonte has piloted their No.47 full-time since 2011, wants to see where their equipment and team is compared to others. Their solution to this is to put another driver, AJ Allmendinger, in the car. The first time this switch occurred was two weeks ago in Michigan. Allmendinger drove the No.47 and Labonte drove the No.51 for James Finch. So if Allmendinger is in the No.47 this weekend then why doesn’t Labonte drive the No.51 again? Nationwide Series driver Austin Dillon is scheduled to drive for James Finch this weekend, leaving Labonte without a ride. So, unfortunately, Labonte’s streak of 700+ straight starts in the Cup Series will indeed come to an end at Kentucky.
That will be it for the twelfth edition of Katie’s Komments and remember, if you don’t like mine, feel free to leave your own!