Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kahne Fastest in Both Wednesday Test Sessions at Charlotte

Kahne fastest in both Weds. test sessions (Getty)
Sporting News

CONCORD, N.C. — Drivers left Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday with as many questions as answers from the two-day Sprint Cup test at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

What they know is that the new 2013 car, in its current configuration, is fast.

The 2013 Sprint Cup car features new body styles, less weight, more rear camber, a bigger rear spoiler and new rear suspension rules that include the elimination of the rear sway bar.

The result is a car that had incredible grip and increased downforce at the 1.5-mile track.

Kasey Kahne posted a top speed of 193.771 mph, and he figures he could have run faster than 200 mph. The track qualifying record was set by Greg Biffle at 193.708 mph in October.

“I was happy with it,” Kahne said. “The track has a lot of grip because of the temperatures and the time of the year. So that has made for pretty fast laps.

“The car drives good, so it’s pretty easy to go fast right now and it’s like you’re qualifying each lap. … The back of the car is way more comfortable than it has ever been.

“I wish it was warmer out so we would have a direct comparison to the conditions we would race in.”

But whether the cars will run that fast when teams return to Charlotte in January for another test session remains to be seen. Goodyear still hasn’t selected the tire for the 2013 races at the track, and NASCAR has toyed with the idea of decreasing horsepower by 200 although no changes are expected for the start of 2013.

The test Tuesday and Wednesday attracted 16 teams, and about 10 of them participated in a 15-lap session Tuesday at normal horsepower and then a 15-lap session at reduced horsepower. The teams tested for about four hours Wednesday before the session ended two hours early because of rain.

“My initial thought when I jumped in the car with the horsepower was it was like a Nationwide car on steroids,” Penske Racing driver Joey Logano said. “And then when they took the horsepower away I said, ‘Oh, it’s like a Nationwide car.’

“It was kind of what I expected. Personally, I’m more for the horsepower. I think most drivers would probably say that.”

Kahne said he passed four or five cars in each session and it was much easier with more horsepower.

“More horsepower, in the corner, you’re able to maneuver your car a little more (and with) the throttle, you can put yourself in a better position to get a run on the car in front of you,” Kahne said.

“With less power, that car in front of you could defend more like some of our other series.”

READ MORE HERE...........

Charlotte Day 2 early test speeds:
1) Kasey Kahne 193.771 mph
2) Matt Kenseth 193.050
3) Kevin Harvick 192.458
4) Juan Pablo Montoya 192.020
5) Regan Smith 191.435 (driving No. 24)

Charlotte Day 2 afternoon test speeds (shortened due to rain):
1) Kasey Kahne 193.112
2) Matt Kenseth 191.993
3) Regan Smith 191.510
4) Austin Dillon 191.442
5) Kevin Harvick 190.981

Matt Kenseth was second fastest in his new No. 20 JGR Toyota; kind of weird seeing him in new colors (Getty)

Charlotte Testing Notes from Tuesday

Dale Earnhardt Jr. testing new car at Charlotte Tuesday (Getty)
Sporting News 

CONCORD, N.C.—NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and teams continued the learning process of the 2013 Cup car Tuesday during an open test session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

As they spent nearly six hours on the 1.5-mile track, with another six hours scheduled for Wednesday, teams ran through a variety of setups to learn how the new car reacts to different shocks, springs and other aerodynamic configurations.

About 10 of the 16 drivers did 15-lap runs together, where they tried to pass and see how the car handled in traffic.

What did they learn? That there’s still a lot to learn.

“I thought it was similar to the other car (in traffic),” said Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth. “When I pulled out there and I got around them other guys, if you had told me it was last year’s car, I don’t know if I would have known a difference.

“That is probably a good thing because in the early stages of developing anything, usually everybody thinks it’s worse. I didn’t see anything that was any worse than what we had.”

The new cars have distinct bodies for each manufacturer that give them more distinctive characteristics that resemble the passenger cars. While the previous car had virtually the same body for every car, now just the decklids are the same for the three manufacturers. That means each will handle differently under certain circumstances.

Read More Here

Thursday Afternoon Session - Regan Smith Fastest in No. 24

Brad Keselowski's No. 2 during Tuesday's Test Session at Charlotte - This car looks pretty sweet! (Getty)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 10-to-1 Favorite to Win 2013 Daytona 500

Junior has been installed as 10-to-1 favorite to win Daytona 500 (Getty)
By Micah Roberts
The Linemakers on Sporting News

LAS VEGAS -- It didn't take long for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season to end before Aliante sports book manager Fred Crespi had his mind churning for 2013 and the Daytona 500. After gathering information on driver and crew chief changes, and speculating on the effect of the new sixth-generation car debuting next season, Crespi had all he needed to offer the first Daytona 500 odds posted in Las Vegas.

The car itself presents the most questions for both bettor and bookmaker, especially in restrictor-plate races, where we have seen a drastically different style of racing in each of the last four seasons. Crespi thinks we'll see racing similar to last season.

"Looking at the Daytona 500 with the changes to the 2013 car, I still see the same type of racing that we have been used to. More pack racing during the bulk of the race with cars 'hooking up' late in the race to make their push to the front."

Restrictor-plate races are always crap shoots, which makes it easier to offer relatively high odds on top drivers, while also closing the odds gap on drivers who typically don't have a chance in the 32 non-plate races.

Even though Dale Earnhardt Jr. hasn't won a plate race since 2004, when he took the checkers at both the Daytona 500 and at Talladega, he's still listed as the 10-to-1 favorite by Crespi.

Read More Here....Daytona 500 Odds

Monday, December 3, 2012

Penske Says He'll Give Stewart Indy 500 Car if He Wants One

Stewart in Indy 500 would boost event
If Tony Stewart wants to run the Indianapolis 500 next season, Roger Penske will give him a car.

Penske twice Friday night offered Stewart the chance to enter next year's race and insisted he's serious about the opportunity.

"Where's Stewart?" Penske asked during his speech accepting the Sprint Cup trophy during NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony. "How about doing the double at Indy this year? You available?"

The banquet room at Wynn Las Vegas Resort broke out into laughter, but Penske later insisted he was serious.

"If he wants to do the double, I'd put him in it," Penske said. "We've talked about it before. I guess I made it official tonight."

Stewart was not immediately available for comment.

Penske-owned cars have won the Indianapolis 500 15 different times, but not since Helio Castroneves' 2009 victory.

The Indy 500 is Stewart's favorite race, but he has not entered it since 2001.

NASCAR's three-time champion twice attempted to run both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day: In 1999, he was ninth at Indy and fourth at Charlotte, and in 2001, he was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.

He hasn't tried Indianapolis since, and has seemingly let go of his childhood dream of winning the 500. He has twice won the Brickyard 400, NASCAR's race at storied Indy.

Read More Here..

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2012 NASCAR Champions Week in Las Vegas: Friday Awards Banquet Photos

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on November 30, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty)
Tenth Place driver Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on November 30, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty)
Host/Comedian Howie Mandel (R) speaks to Champion Brad Keselowski (C), driver of the #2 Miller Lite Dodge, and team owner Roger Penske (L) during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on November 30, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty)

Second Place Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, speaks during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Awards Ceremony at the Wynn Las Vegas on November 30, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Getty)