(NASCAR)—Kyle Busch had the field covered at Pocono in picking up his 55th Cup victory in NASCAR’s top series, tying retired St. Louis driver Rusty Wallace for ninth on the all-time wins list. Busch led almost half of the 160 laps in the 400-mile race, finishing ahead of Brad Keselowski, Erik Jones, Chase Elliott, and Clint Bowyer.
Busch has become the first four-time winner this year, breaking a tie with Keselowski and Martin Truex, Jr., who won last weekend’s 600-mile race at Charlotte. Truex lost his engine on the 91st lap and finished 35th in the 37-car field.
Bowyer’s eighth top ten of the year keeps him in tenth place in the points standings, second among non-winners this year.
NASCAR’s Cup series runs at Michigan next weekend.
(INDYCAR)—IndyCar’s double-header on the Belle Isle course at Detroit saw the last become the first and the first become almost the last.
Saturday’s race run partly in the rain, saw Josef Newgarden beat Alexander Rossi to the finish by eight-tenths of a second. Scott Dixon crashed at the start and finished last, his first single-car crash in competition in five years.
Sunday’s race saw Dixon control the race’s latter laps to finish almost two seconds ahead of Marcus Ericsson, a former Formula 1 driver who has moved to IndyCar after an undistinguished five year career with minor teams on the international circuit. The finish was Ericsson’s first podium finish in his eight-race IndyCar career
Will Power, whose car’s engine stopped running during a caution period, rallied from dead last, 22nd, to finish third behind Ericsson. Newgarden was caught up in a crash early in the race but got back on the track to finish 22nd.
After all of that, IndyCar heads to the high banks of the Texas Speedway next weekend with Newgarden still in the points lead with Rossi fifteen points back and last week’s Indianapolis 500 winner Simon Pagenaud third (although he finished sixth and 17th in the Detroit races). Dixon is fourth, ahead of Takuma Sato and Will Power.
—-Special honor for Dixon
Dixon’s victory came hours after he learned he had been named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, entitling him to put CNZM after his name. Dixon, who has one Indianapolis 500 win (2008), five national IndyCar championships (the most recent one last year), and 45 race wins, was born in Australia and raised in New Zealand.
The honors are bestowed by the New Zealand government and are announced each year on June 2nd, the anniversary of the inauguration of Queen Elizabeth II. It is not known if the honors will be bestowed in ceremonies in Aukland, New Zealand or at Buckingham Palace, London.
Dixon says, “It is a very prestigious award…You never know it is coming and it is more of a who you are as a person opposed to what you do in your career. It honors what you have done in your local community, whether it is in New Zealand or North America…This is something outside of your sport.”
Dixon and his London-born wife, Emma, have a home near Indianapolis. They are active in several charitable organizations’ work.
(Formula 1)—Defending champion Lewis Hamilton has told American talk show host David Letterman he “definitely” can race for another five years as he seeks at least his sixth F1 title. Letterman interviewed Hamilton on his Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. Letterman is a racing enthusiast and is part-owner of the Rahal-Letterman-Lanagan IndyCar racing team.
Autosport report Hamilton told Letterman that seven-time champion Michael Schumacher retired at 38. Hamilton is 33. He has won four of this year’s six Grand Prix races. His contract with Mercedes goes through next year and he says he’d like to stay. He told Letterman, “I am ridiculously determined to win. What really drives me, and I feel that somewhat the people I race against may lack, is that fire. I’ve got this opportunity. I could easily let go of it right now but I feel like I would be squandering it if I didn’t continue to improve, grow, and push.”
Hamilton’s next change to win is the Grand Prix of Canada next weekend on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve at Montreal. Villeneuve drove for Ferrari for six years in F1 and finished second in the points standings to Jody Scheckter in 1979. He was killed in a practice crash three years later. His son, Jacques, won the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and in 1997 became the only Canadian to win the Formula 1 championship.
(Photo credits: Bob Priddy, Dixon at Indianapolis)