Wednesday, April 18, 2012 00:47
Valvoline NextGen Fords Sweep Texas Greg Biffle and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won their respective races at Texas Motor Speedway over the weekend. The Valvoline-supported Roush Fenway Fords were favored, and The Biff’s win broke a 49-race drought for the No. 16. Many fans said the race was flat-out boring, largely due to the lack of wrecks and cautions (only 2). This bumped the race-average speed to more than 160 mph and gave the Texas race the largest number of Superspeedway green-flag laps in this century. Unfortunately, Rick Hendrick will have to lug the “200th Win” box of hats top yet another race. Jimmie Johnson led 160 laps but was no match for Biffle. The No. 48 scraped the wall in pursuit of the 3M Ford, finishing more than 3 seconds behind at the checkers.
Will Power: A Dang Houdini Nobody would have given a Chevrolet-powered IndyCar a ghost of a chance to win the Long Beach Grand Prix after the series-imposed 10-spot penalty for an engine change—unless, of course, if your name is Power, Will Power. Penske’s Aussie just put his head down and drove a methodically brilliant race from his 12th place start to win. It’s still a mystery how he was able to fend off a charging Simon Pagenaud as the race wound down and not run out of ethanol. Penske team boss and Power’s race strategist said, “I don’t know how he (Power) does it. We just give him a fuel number and he does it.” Could it be some kind of Aussie magic? The win leaves the Honda teams completely flummoxed.
Racing’s Back at the Rock Hats off to Andy Hillenberg for bringing NASCAR back to Rockingham Speedway after an 8-year hiatus. Hillenberg got the bug to buy the track after working on the movie “Talladega Nights.”It was such a shame to see weeds growing on a track with this much history,” Hillenberg said. “It grabbed my heart.” Several years and $4.4 million dollars later, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolled onto the iconic “cheese grater” asphalt surface. The near sellout crowd watched Turner Motorsports put on a driving clinic as pole sitter Nelson Piquet Jr. led 107 laps, only to get busted for pit-lane speeding. It knocked him out of contention. Meanwhile, dog-tired teammate Kasey Kahne was working his way from the back of the field a couple cars at a time—this after a 500-mile race in Texas Saturday night. James Buescher, Turner’s other regular driver could not hold back the adrenaline pumped Kahne at race end.
Rosberg Breaks His Duck in China Nico Rosberg, son of Formula 1 champion Keke, “broke his duck” by winning the Chinese Grand Prix. It is his first Formula 1 win. The term is shortened British slang for goose egg, or the number zero. It could have been a 1-2 finish for the Mercedes Silver Arrows were it not for a pit stop gaffe that sent Michael Schumacher on the track with a loose wheel. The last time a Mercedes driver took the top step of a Formula 1 podium was in 1955. The driver: none other than the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio.
Imagine 32,000 Horsepower You know the feeling if you’ve ever been within a hundred feet of an NHRA Top Fuel start. It’s like someone is literally punching you in the chest…but instead of two cars @ 8,000 hp each, try four. That’s what happens every spring at the zMax dragway in Concord, N.C. “The Four Wide Nationals” is a spectacle to behold. The Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars are loud enough to be clearly heard more than seven miles away in a posh residential subdivision. Spencer Massey obliterated the Top Fuel dragster 1000-foot speed record, with a 332.18 pass in the finals to smoke “The Sarge,” Tony Schumacher. John Force’s Robert Hight is picking up right where the boss left off with four-straight 2012 event wins. Hight is only the fourth driver in NHRA history to accomplish this feat. Hometown hero and 2010 Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson took home a Wally in his Summit Racing hot rod.