NASCAR drivers are known to spout off from time to time. It's in the nature of their job to be mad when they just got put in the wall. Many, many things have been said in these high-emotion moments over the years, and no one expects drivers to be happy they got wrecked.
But there is a line you must not cross if you want to have the respect of your competitors on track every week. And Ryan Newman went way over that line Saturday night at Richmond.
After tangling with Stewart late in the race, the two wrecked (along with a half-dozen other drivers), and Newman's Chase hopes were dashed. The two had battled hard on track all race, getting into each other multiple times. In the end, they pushed it too far and Richmond's version of "The Big One" ensued.
BROOKLYN, Mich. -- It's easily lost when you look at the overall record books (i.e. Jimmie Johnson's six championships), but the overall trend in NASCAR lately is youth.
The top three finishers Sunday at MIS -- Joey Logano (age 26), Chase Elliott (age 20) and Kyle Larson (age 23) -- are part of an exceptional crop of young drivers who will be dominating headlines in the years to come.
Correct that, they're already doing it ... This was the youngest top 3 ever ... an average age of 23 (Note: 24.7 was previous average age of top 3; and those numbers go back to NASCAR's early days -- happening three times in 1951, 1950 and 1950).
Larson took note of this in his post-race press conference, saying: "It's exciting to see. I'm happy I got here in the first small wave of seats opening up. ... The youngest top three the Cup series has ever had. It's pretty special."
BROOKLYN, MIch. -- As is the case every time he heads to Brooklyn, Brad Keselowski of Rochester Hills hopes to be in Victory Lane at MIS on Sunday. The Michigan native, who has never won at his home track in the Cup series, attempts to become the eighth active driver to do so.
The seven active drivers with wins in their home states are: Jimmie Johnson (7 victories), Denny Hamlin (7), Tony Stewart (2), Aric Almirola (1), Kyle Busch (1), Kevin Harvick (1) and Ryan Newman (1).
Keselowski's best finish at the two-mile track was a runner-up showing in August of 2012. Overall, he has three top fives, six top 10s and a 16.5 average finish in 13 Michigan starts. He does have two NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at Michigan, in 2009 and 2010.
"I get really mad when we don’t win this race and we haven’t won it yet," he said Friday at MIS. "Maybe that means the day I win it, if we win it, I will be ecstatic. It is really a key race for me personally and for the sport. I am glad we get to come here twice a year.”
Also on Friday, Keselowski touched on the recent controversy over his comments about NASCAR announcer and former driver Jeff Gordon.
"My big thing is that I don’t want somebody that is invested in another team talking about my race car in a derogatory form or a perceived derogatory form. I don’t think that is right and I am going to defend my team in those situations no matter who it is," Keselowski said Friday.
… Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth were the winners of last year’s NASCAR Sprint Cup races at MIS. Busch won the Quicken Loans 400 in June, while Kenseth recorded his third Sprint Cup Series victory at MIS in August.
… Jeff Gordon had a track qualifying record of 206.558 mph for the 2014 Pure Michigan 400, the seventh-fastest pole winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history and the fastest in NASCAR history on a non-restrictor plate track.
… The FireKeepers Casino 400 features seven drivers who have won multiple times at MIS. Greg Biffle has four wins, Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch each have three wins, and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Ryan Newman each have two victories.
“Keloorah” is a post-race concert festival unlike anything in sports. “Keloorah” is the phonetic pronunciation of Ceiliúradh, the Celtic word for “celebration.” Keloorah is open with activities from 5-11 p.m. Friday and 4-11 p.m. Saturday, June 10-11. The party gets started with Third Eye Blind, The Neighbourhood as well as Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers on Friday. The action continues on Saturday night with GROUPLOVE, Fitz and The Tantrums, Andy Grammer and Elle King. It’s a music, party and entertainment festival inside the bigger NASCAR weekend festival. Keloorah will have live concerts, DJ’s, paint ball, cornhole tournaments, a go-kart experience, a mobile video game arcade, an outdoor sports bar, tailgate games, foam parties and paint parties – all within the NASCAR event weekends and on MIS property.
NASCAR and the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) today announced a new campaign to promote diversity, inclusion and equality within and outside of sports. A public service announcement (PSA) featuring several NASCAR drivers will encourage fans to take the pledge to end racism at RISEtoWin.org. The PSA features six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, 2014 Coke Zero 400 winner Aric Almirola and NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduates Kyle Larson and Darrell Wallace Jr.
The PSA will air during NASCAR national series races this weekend on FS1, culminating with Sunday’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway (1 p.m. ET on FS1).
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France is a founding member of the RISE Board of Directors and has helped steer the growing initiative, which was founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
Kurt Busch, winner at Pocono this past Monday, met with media to start his race weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Here's the full Transcript:
Q: YOU HAVE FIVE TOP 5’S AND10 TOP 10’S AT MIS. THIS IS A GREAT TRACK FOR YOU. YOU ARE THE DEFENDING WINNER OF THIS RACE LAST YEAR. GIVE US A LITTLE BIT OF A SENSE OF WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN HERE. OBVIOUSLY YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOUR WIN LAST WEEKEND AT POCONO. TALK ABOUT HOW YOU PIVOT FROM THAT MOMENT TO GETTING READY FOR MICHIGAN AND THE IMPORTANCE OF THAT
“The biggest thing at Michigan is respecting the speed. This is a very fast race track. And the way this weekend’s rules are shaping up with lesser downforce, it’s definitely a weekend where there’s a question mark, heading into it. And so, we’re going to make sure on the No. 41 car that we stay focused on our plan and not try to let the excitement of winning here last year and winning last week’s race jade the effort because every week is a new challenge. This week is a little bit different because it is the 2017 rules package and we want to make sure we stay on top of it and get the best effort that we possibly can. And so, it’s great to have (crew chief) Tony Gibson back and Johnny Klausmeier in his role as the lead engineer. But, I want to make a comment on last week’s win and not having our main crew chief. It just shows the depth. It shows the amount of quality effort that Stewart-Haas Racing is putting forth in building cars, but also in building people. And that’s what I was very proud of last week to be able to win with an interim crew chief.”