August 20, 2012 |
Dario Franchitti this year joined Johnny Rutherford and Bobby Unser, among others, as a three-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and the 39-year-old Scot may ultimately stand with Rick Mears and A.J. Foyt in open-wheel racing's pantheon. Franchitti came to Fontana this week in advance of the 500-mile finale of the Izod IndyCar Series on Sept. 15 at Auto Club Speedway, where he'll try in a high-speed event to close a season that turned disappointing. Franchitti has finished 14th or worse in five of seven races since Indianapolis.
April 3, 2012 |
The weekend celebration at the Charlotte Motor Speedway was intended to honor Vietnam veterans, some of whom arrived on motorcycles. By the time it ended late Saturday, two veterans -- ages 71 and 66 -- were dead. Their motorcycles collided on the racetrack after the Vietnam Veterans Homecoming Celebration had ended. Witnesses told local newspapers that motorcycles were being driven wildly around the track, some in opposite directions, just before the collision. Two motorcycles collided at one of the steepest banks on the track, killing Thomas Franklin Hollingsworth, 71, of Piedmont, S.C., and Alan Richard Mockus, 66, of Alto, Ga. Mockus' wife, Deborah Lynn Mockus, who was riding on the back of his motorcycle, was badly injured.
March 24, 2012 |
Here's another sparkling entry in the storied career of Hall of Fame NFL coach Joe Gibbs: His NASCAR team's performance in Fontana. Gibbs driver Joey Logano won the Royal Purple 300 at Auto Club Speedway on Saturday, giving Gibbs a record eight consecutive wins at the two-mile oval in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series. The streak "means a lot," said Gibbs, who also has a team in NASCAR's elite Sprint Cup Series that includes Logano. "These things are so hard to win. Southern California, we love coming here.
March 22, 2012 |
The buzz surrounding Danica Patrick still is running on all cylinders even though the popular driver, essentially a rookie in her first full season in NASCAR's minor leagues, is off to a so-so start on the racetrack this year. So as she pushes further into the long NASCAR season, Patrick is trying to focus more on what she's learning each week than where she's finishing — at least for now. She has yet to post a top-10 finish after four races in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series this year.
March 11, 2012 |
One year ago, Tony Stewart had a dominant car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway only to see victory slip away on pit-stop strategy that backfired. "We had the fastest thing on the planet," a crestfallen Stewart said then, "and we just gave it away. " Not so Sunday, when Stewart was just as fast and the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion vindicated last year's setback by winning the Kobalt Tools 400, his first win at Las Vegas. "Just an awesome day," Stewart said. "Our car was so, so strong today on the restarts.
March 10, 2012 |
Reporting from Las Vegas -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. pulled away from Mark Martin on the final restart and captured the NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Stenhouse, the reigning Nationwide champion, won by nearly six seconds over the second-place Martin in the Sam's Town 300. Elliott Sadler finished third and Trevor Bayne fourth. The final restart came with 39 laps left in the 200-lap race, and Stenhouse — driving a Roush Fenway Racing Ford — steadily put Martin in the distance for his third career Nationwide win and his first victory on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas oval.
February 13, 2012 |
It opened 13 years ago with great fanfare, was called perhaps the best short track in minor league NASCAR racing and, on occasion, drew such star drivers as Tony Stewart and Joey Logano. But Irwindale Speedway, which struggled in recent years with dwindling crowds and race entries, said Monday it has canceled its 2012 racing season. The track's one-sentence announcement did not elaborate on the reasons for the cancellation, nor did it address growing speculation that the half-mile oval track next to the 605 freeway would be shuttered or sold.
October 17, 2011 |
Auto racing was stuck in low gear Monday. The day after Dan Wheldon crashed, his sport was crumpled. This was not ordinary, as if any death in any sport can be called ordinary. This one had the people who race and the people who watch the people who race walking around with a deer-in-the-headlight look. Shock and disbelief come in degrees, and this one was off the charts, especially in the categories of who and how. For the younger race fan, of which there are millions, this was akin to the loss of A.J. Foyt or Mario Andretti.
October 17, 2011 |
Seldom has winning a championship carried such heartache. Dario Franchitti had just won a remarkable third consecutive Izod IndyCar Series title, yet he sat in his race car sobbing after a massive wreck claimed the life of his friend and rival Dan Wheldon. Adding to the agony was that some drivers had voiced concern that despite safety advances in motor racing, a danger lurked at Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that rose above the sport's inherent risk. There were 34 cars traveling 220 mph or faster in a close pack on the banked, 1.5-mile oval in IndyCar's last race of the season.
October 16, 2011 |
Based on nothing more than one lunch and 90 minutes of interviewing, it is clear that the world of IndyCar racing will be hurting for quite some time. It has lost a tremendous young talent, as well as a tremendous young person. Yes, Dan Wheldon died doing what he loved to do. Yes, racing cars at speeds in excess of 200 mph is dangerous, and those who do it know it. And yes, his death in a fiery 15-car crash Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was so horrific that the word "carnage" kept coming up in news reports.