By Bob Priddy, Contributing Editor
(NASCAR)–He finished seventh and a flat tire late in the race took away a shot at victory, but Columbia driver Carl Edwards said after 500 laps at Bristol Saturday night, “Man, I was having fun”
Edwards started third behind Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. The trio combined to lead 320 of the first 353 laps on the .533-mile oval before a flat tire sent Edwards to the pits while leading on lap 353. He came back to the track two laps down, 18th, but climbed back to seventh, on the lead lap, at the end. “Up until that flat tire I was literally out there smiling and having a good time. That’s what racing’s about.”
Hamlin finished third. Busch was eighth. Gibbs’ fourth driver, Matt Kenseth, lost an engine and finished 42nd. Edwards told FOX sports in the pits after the race, “We’re just having an awesome run. The cars are fast. It’s fun. I think we’re going to be really tough in the Chase.”
Penske Racing’s Joey Logano grabbed the lead from teammate Brad Keselowski on the last restart and stayed out front for his third win of the season. Overall points leader Kevin Harvick was second.
Joplin driver Jamie McMurray was solid all night and worked his way from a 21st starting position to an 11th place finish that leaves him tenth in overall points, the highest-ranking driver without a win this year.
Clint Bowyer, the Kansan who has a home at the Lake of the Ozarks, shook off a tumultuous week to finish fifth and strengthen his Chase-eligibility. He’s sixteenth in the tentative sixteen-driver Chase field with two laps left in the regular racing season. Earlier in the week, Michael Waltrip Racing, for whom Bowyer drives, announced it was pulling out of NASCAR’s top-tier series at the end of the year. MWR co-owner Rob Kaufman has become an investor in rival Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, leading to speculation Bowyer would drive a third car for Ganassi. But CGR says it will continue to field only two cars next year. Ganassi’s current drivers, McMurray and Kyle Larson, are expected back next year.
(IndyCar)-The victory lane celebration for Ryan Hunter-Reay at Pocono was muted by the serious injury to Reay’s close friend, Justin Wilson, who suffered a severe head injury when a large piece of debris from the crash of then-leader Sage Karam. Wilson was reported in a coma at a hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania. IndyCar said he is undergoing evaluation.
Hunter-Reay took the lead with four laps to go and finished under the caution flag ahead of Josef Newgarden. Points leader Juan Pablo Montoya was third and extended his lead over Graham Rahal to thirty points with only next week’s race next Sunday on the Sonoma road course. Point values will be doubled for the race, putting six drivers in contention for the championship.
IndyCar, which already has announced it will not be returning to one of its major oval venues next year, Auto Club Speedway in California, might also lose Pocono for 2016. Pocono Raceway’s CEO, Brandon Igdalsky says he’s puzzled by low attendance for IndyCar, which returned to the track in 2013 after being absent since 1989.
(Formula1)—Things looked awfully familiar on the podium after the Belgian Grand Prix at SPA Francorchamps. Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg finished 1-2. Rosberg seemed to be the only driver who could keep Hamilton in sight. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean finished third, thirty-eight seconds behind. Hamilton started on pole for the sixth straight time, the first driver in fourteen years to do that. Michael Schumacher started from pole in six straight races in 2001.
(Photo credit: Hunter-Reay at Indianapolis: Bob Priddy)