Kyle Busch, Joey Logano mix it up on pit road after wild Las Vegas finish
RELATED: Alternate view of the Busch-Logano conflict MORE: Photos of the incident LAS VEGAS -- Leaving his wrecked No. 18 Toyota on pit road following Sunday's Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch walked briskly with a purpose to Joey Logano and the No. 22 Ford. Without word, he immediately threw a punch at Logano, triggering a fight between the two on the ground and chaos on pit road involving crew men and NASCAR officials. A Team Penske public relations employee pulled Logano forcefully away from the incident, while Busch remained on the ground, tussling with several members of the No. 22 crew in a sea of yellow fire suits. A NASCAR official pulled Busch from the brawl and he and another official restrained Busch, shouting, "Kyle!" as Busch flailed his elbows and struggled to break free. They led him away from the scene, as the surrounding crowd reacted loudly. "I got dumped," Busch said, a trickle of blood rolling down his forehead and onto his nose as he strode away from the track. "Flat-out just drove straight into the corner and wrecked us. That's how Joey races, so he's gonna get it." Busch and Logano were running in the top five and racing hard for position on the last lap when Logano appeared to become loose and made contact with Busch's No. 18 Toyota before the final turn, sending it spinning across the track. Logano crossed the start/finish line fourth, while Busch was 22nd. "We were just racing hard there at the end," Logano said, red-faced after the incident. "I was underneath him on the backstretch and he tried to crash me into the corner getting underneath Brad (Keselowski) there and at that point I was just trying get through the corner. I was sideways all the way through and get into him. Nothing intentional. "I understand his frustration, he crashed. The same thing could have happened into (Turn) 3 what he did to me." Logano said he saw Busch walking toward him angrily at the end of the race, but there weren't any words exchanged prior to the brawl. "He wasn’t in a talking mood," Logano said. "He was in a fighting mood, I guess. I don't know. Typically, you can handle this stuff like men and talk about it. You don't have to fight, but whatever. "I've never had an issue with Kyle," he continued. "Kyle and I have always raced really well together. We've never had an issue, but I guess that's over." RELATED: Drivers react to Busch-Logano fight Busch made a trip to the infield care center after the pit- road spat, but was not called to the NASCAR hauler. No. 22 crew chief Todd Gordon, along with a handful of Team Penske crew members did visit the NASCAR hauler after the race, but on their own consensus, according to a NASCAR official. No one was called to the hauler. Joe Gibbs Racing team owner Joe Gibbs sped away from the garage quickly on a golf cart. NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton and NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell also stepped into the NASCAR hauler, but did not comment on the incident. A NASCAR official said the sanctioning body likely would not make any statements Sunday because officials need to review footage before any decisions are made. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Fight breaks out on pit road
Things get heated between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano on pit road following the Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Chase Elliott: 'Fifth is good , but not as well as we ran'
RELATED: Race recap " Results " Standings HAMPTON, Ga. -- A peach of a day was within the grasp of home-state favorite Chase Elliott at Atlanta Motor Speedway. A fast car, combined with a crucial late-race error by race dominator Kevin Harvick, had left the door open. Elliott rallied for a fifth-place finish in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, overcoming a mid-race, pit- road speeding penalty to work his way back into contention. But some unfortunate wheelspin on the final restart left him just shy of a breakthrough Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory in his Georgia backyard. Harvick won both of the opening stages and led 292 of the 325 laps, but when he was pinched for speeding on pit road during the final caution period, the waiting room for contenders suddenly became much more crowded. Elliott, who ran second to him for a sizable portion of the 500-mile distance, was first in the queue, but Brad Keselowski cut in line to grab his first win of the season. "It's nice to have a top five I guess, but man, we had an opportunity with Kevin having a problem," Elliott said after exiting the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet. "We weren't as good as him. I thought at times we were a little better than Brad, and ran second to Kevin the majority of the race. When a guy has trouble like that, it'd be nice to be able to capitalize on it. "You'd rather beat them outright if you have the opportunity, obviously, but you've got to capitalize on days like that. Fifth is good , but not as well as we ran." Before Harvick served his penalty, Elliott was poised to restart fifth. With Harvick sent to the back of the line and the running order adjusted, Elliott lined up fourth in the disadvantageous outside lane, which bogged him down to start the closing green-flag run. "Just a product of restarting fourth. … It was tough," Elliott said. "The outside lane, just coming to the restart boxes, is really slick. We saw it all weekend and I don't really have a good answer as to why that is. It just is. Made it tough on the guys up top." Elliott's week, packed with extracurricular activities and a bonus Camping World Truck Series start in his stomping grounds, had the markings of a special homecoming, but ended in disappointment for the second-straight weekend. The 21-year-old driver started from the pole position in the season-opening Daytona 500 and led the majority of the green-flag dash to the finish before running out of fuel with less than three laps remaining. MORE: Despite falling short, Elliott runs masterful race at Daytona Circumstances worked against Elliott again at Atlanta, but No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson said his team was able to take some solace in both strong showings to kick off the 2017 campaign. "It was an opportunity, so we made a couple of mistakes, and that's all it takes -- mistakes at inopportune times," Gustafson said. "The 2 (Keselowski) made mistakes, too, but they just made them early enough that they could overcome them. We were close to getting back on track with them, but didn't quite execute there at the end. Good day, solid day. I mean, there were a lot of positives out of the first two races. Just need to execute when the time is right there." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Luza strikes it rich at Las Vegas
RELATED: See the complete iRacing schedule At the onset of the 2017 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series, many of the series’ tenured drivers looked to NASCAR Pro Series Champion, Ryan Luza, as the biggest threat to dethrone 3-time and reigning champion, Ray Alfalla. After a lackluster start at Daytona, some cast doubt on the abilities of the young gun; however, after his dominant win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Round Two of the season, series rookies and veterans alike should take notice. Matt Bussa, driver of the #34 WinView Games Toyota Camry, started the race at the helm. A regular in the NASCAR iRacing Series, Bussa looked to capitalize on his superb starting position. However, he would have to wait for a few laps to show his hand as the 167-lap event was slowed before the completion of its opening lap, as Mitchell Hunt spun at the exit of Turn 2, collecting Byron Daley, Michael Johnson, and Nicholas Johnston. Hunt and Daley immediately retired after sustaining irreparable damage, while Johnson and Johnston mustered on for the remainder of the evening. Bussa led the field back to green on lap six, with Alfalla, Luza, and Marcus Richardson in tow. The #34 machine led the opening twenty-eight laps, before succumbing to an insurmountable challenge by Luza’s eventual race winning #1 Racerboost Ford Fusion. Luza held station at the top spot for the remainder of the race, only losing the lead during several green flag pit stop cycles. With the race slowed by just one additional caution period, efficiency whilst entering/exit pit road was key. Over the course of the event, cars began searching for new grooves, as grip was at a premium. Competitors ran from the top of the racing surface to the track’s white line. Front runners mimicked each other’s lines, thus trading fast laps back and forth. As one competitor found a faster groove, the rest followed and vice versa. Amid the constant search for the fastest way around LVMS, former series champion Kenny Humpe found trouble off of Turn 2, slapping the outside retaining wall. He suffered damage that would ultimately take him out of contention for a top dozen finishing position. Facing issues at the opposite end of the track, Taylor Hurst made contact with series rookie Christian Challiner, which resulted in Hurst’s #78 Chevy side-swiping the SAFER barrier. The sim racers completed their final pit stop sequence with about 35 laps remaining. Luza cycled around with a two second lead, and built on that until the race’s completion. Michael Conti, who started 30th on the evening, made a charge to second-place following the last round of pit stops only to fall victim to a pit miscue that shorted him three laps of fuel. The 2014 series champion made a stop with three to go, which resulted in a 34th place finish by the #5 Chevrolet. On a happier note, Cody Byus, 2016 championship runner-up, PJ Stergios, Alfalla, and Logan Clampitt rounded out the top five behind Luza at night’s end. With two races in the books, it remains to be seen whether Luza showed his true form with his win in Vegas . . . or his tenth place finish at Daytona. Meanwhile, although he has so far been shut-out of victory lane, with two top five finishes to his credit Alfalla is itching to notch his first W of the season. So too are former champions Humpe and Conti and a host more. Who will rise to the top in Round Three? We’ll find out in two weeks’ time when the series rolls into its second stop of its version of the West Coast Swing -Auto Club Speedway. Tune into www.iracing.com/live at 8:45 p.m. eastern time on April 4 to catch the action live!
Daniel Suarez stars in first national television ad for Subway
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Daniel Suarez is debuting in his first national TV ad as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with sponsor Subway this weekend as the series wraps up its NASCAR Goes West swing at Auto Club Speedway. Suarez will drive the No. 19 Subway Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.) The accompanying television ad focuses on Suarez's drive and desire to reach the pinnacle of the sport, his path to get here and his competitive fire. "I came here to race," the Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender says. "I came here to be better. Now, I stand here a challenger …" Get a sneak peek of the ad here: When Subway came on as a sponsor for Suarez earlier this year, the young star said, "I'm extremely grateful to Subway for their continuing sponsorship of our Joe Gibbs Racing team this year. I enjoy eating healthy, and Subway has always been my go-to choice to refuel my body when I'm on the road or at home. I'm looking forward to a great 2017 season in the Subway Toyota Camry." Subway is primary sponsor on Suarez's No. 19 ride for four Monster Energy Series races this season, including the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte; the July 1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona; and the Oct. 15 Alabama 500 at Talladega.
Furniture Row No. 77 hauler damaged in accident
Two Furniture Row Racing hauler drivers were uninjured after the No. 77 team's transporter was involved in a hit-and-run highway crash early Thursday morning. The No. 77 hauler was damaged on Interstate 15 on the way to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, site of this weekend's NASCAR races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series. Driver Travis Watts and co-driver David Shano escaped injury. According to the Denver, Colorado-based team, a car pulled off to the road's shoulder then back onto the interstate directly in the hauler's path. There was no damage reported to the trailer, race cars and equipment, but the team has rented a replacement truck to complete the trip to the 2-mile California track. "We're all very relieved no one was injured in the incident," team president Joe Garone said in a release provided by the team. "There was substantial damage to the tractor but everything in the trailer was checked out thoroughly and is OK. We've rented a tractor and the No. 77 hauler is on schedule to arrive at Auto Club Speedway later today." The car and its two occupants left the scene of the accident, approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both were later located and arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones is in his first year driving the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row. He sits 18th in the series standings ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race of the season.
Lambert relishes first Monster Energy Series win
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: Race results " Post-Phoenix standings Richard Childress Racing crew chief Luke Lambert led Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet team to one of the gutsiest and most popular wins in recent NASCAR history last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. While most of the race field made a final pit stop with a handful of laps remaining, Lambert told Newman to stay out on track. And the veteran driver made the decision look brilliant leading the final six laps to win his first race since 2013 -- a dramatic win from the pole position at Indianapolis. It was Lambert's first ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory as crew chief and came in his 157th Monster Energy Cup Series race atop the box and fourth season working with Newman. Looking at the next few races, Newman has five top-10 finishes in his last seven races at this weekend's venue, the two-mile Auto Club Speedway. He scored wins at Martinsville Speedway in 2012 and Texas Motor Speedway in 2003. Lambert, 34, was understandably optimistic when NASCAR.com caught up with him on Tuesday and feels that this team certainly has the potential to win again … and again before season's end. MORE: Childress, Newman win together " Crew call with the No. 31 team HOLLY CAIN: What a memorable way to get a first win as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew chief? LUKE LAMBERT: It was spectacular for sure. We are thankful for being able to put it all together. It was a good day. CAIN: Now that you've had some time to digest this great win, what has the reaction been like from others? LAMBERT: There's certainly been a lot of very gracious congratulations from a lot of people. A lot of people are giving me a lot of the credit, which I think is not completely all due. Ultimately I'm just one cog in the wheel. Everybody at the company has worked so hard to get us there. I think everyone deserves a lot of pride and exuberance for us to be able to get the victory because it certainly took every one of us." CAIN: The win meant so much to the organization as a whole. How did it feel to do something so important for not only the team but for team owner Richard Childress, whose teams haven't won since 2013 either? LAMBERT: It was almost surreal in a lot of ways. We'd been working tirelessly for so long and felt like we had been making gains and getting closer to that mark. But it's almost as if chasing a moving target because of how competitive the sport is. You hope and plan to reach your goals but you can’t be sure it will happen. It was surreal we were actually able to follow through and really enjoy that moment. I felt like the first few races of the year, we've had great cars. I felt like we've had cars that, in the right circumstances, could win the race. Our car at Atlanta was really strong. The Vegas car was strong. We just fought unforeseen circumstances at both of those races -- electrical at Atlanta and tire at Vegas. I really felt like we've had a lot of momentum with the team but the results on paper weren't really reflecting the direction we were going until Sunday. CAIN: With the change in the points structure, how different does it make your approach for the rest of the season having already secured a win only four races into the schedule? LAMBERT: Ultimately it's still a huge step towards being closer to making it into the championship. Getting our win puts us in a scenario we have not been in for the last few years. It does move our season along a lot faster than in years past. The last couple of years we've been holding onto that points position as our transfer spot into the playoffs so we really had to preserve solid finishes and couldn't take gambles for bonus points. Now, we are really racing for those bonus points, for wins and stage wins. So we can take chances that might sacrifice a solid finish in order to go after stage wins. So that's the scenario we’re in and as a team that will be really fun to race like that. As a team we will try equally as hard as we ever have, it just changes the risk-reward balance and affects some of the decisions we get to make. RELATED: Newman pumped to be back in Victory Lane CAIN: Have you spoken to Ryan post-Victory Lane and how are you two still savoring the win? LAMBERT: We hung out for a while yesterday (Monday) and neither of us had really gotten much sleep. He got like an hour and I actually never laid down Monday night (laughter). We got lunch together today and we were both kinda starting to hit that wall. He was physically exhausted and he was burnt up pretty bad from the heat in the car -- his feet and the backs of his legs actually have some pretty severe burns on them. He was kinda hurting. I was tired. More than anything else, we were elated but exhausted at the same time. We talked about how glad we were to be able to accomplish that, but we also talked about Fontana (Auto Club) and started working on our plans to have a car that could win at Fontana this weekend. CAIN: How does this early success change things going forward for your team and the whole organization? LAMBERT: It absolutely can (change things). The thing about racing, they don't give the checkered flag to the fastest race car. They give the checkered flag to the one that crosses the finish line first. You have to have a really good car to do that. Sometimes the fastest car doesn't. It takes certain circumstances to fall your way and you have to do everything right and get a little fortune along with it for most races. For everything to all come together Sunday, proved and reiterated to our group that we have what it takes. And it changes our position in the playoffs as far as having that win and gives us a little more pep in our step to be able to operate a little more aggressively. Having that early is just a big boost of excitement that I think will propel our season in a really strong direction. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Nos. 2, 4 teams penalized after violations at Phoenix
RELATED: Details on NASCAR's deterrence system NASCAR levied L1-level penalties against the No. 2 car of Team Penske and the No. 4 car of Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Wednesday following Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway. The violation for the No. 2 car is detailed in sections 22.214.171.124.2 of the NASCAR Rule Book (post-race general inspection measurements), and driver Brad Keselowski's fifth-place finish in the Camping World 500 is encumbered, per section 12.10 of the NASCAR Rule Book. Meanwhile, the violation for the No. 4 car is detailed in sections 126.96.36.199 I-4 of the NASCAR Rule Book (track bar mount and supports) and driver Kevin Harvick's sixth-place finish at Phoenix is encumbered. As a result of the violation, No. 2 crew chief Paul Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended from the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races. The team was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and 35 owner points. Brian Wilson will serve as the No. 2 team's crew chief this weekend at Auto Club Speedway while the team "evaluates our approach relative to today's penalties," Team Penske said in a statement. Appearing on a Wednesday night edition of FS1's "NASCAR Race Hub," Keselowski discussed the impact of not having Wolfe atop the pit box and his history with Wilson. "Well, first off, my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is an elite crew chief, and I feel really lucky to have him, " Keselowski told the program. "...To lose a guy like that, it definitely hurts. He's a great asset to our team, but this is one of those setbacks that I think every team faces and we're just going to have to get through it. It looks like it’s going to be a handful of races and we’ll do the best we can during that time. "The good thing about Brian Wilson is he comes from the XFINITY side as a crew chief who just won with Joey Logano at Las Vegas. But even before that, he was on the 2 team as the lead engineer, so a lot of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working together with him." The No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $25,000 and suspended from the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points race. The team was assessed with the loss of 10 driver and 10 team owner points. On Thursday morning, Stewart-Haas Racing officials said that the organization "has officially requested an appeal hearing regarding the penalties ... and have also requested a deferral of the penalties until the appeal process is complete." The appeal request means that Childers will be allowed to participate in this weekend's race activities at Auto Club. Team Penske also has the option to file an appeal to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. As of Thursday morning, the team was still evaluating its options. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;g
Pete Hamilton passes away at age 74
RELATED: Every Daytona 500 winner in history NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton, who won the 1970 Daytona 500 driving for Petty Enterprises, passed away Wednesday. He was 74. Hamilton won four times during a career that spanned six seasons and included 64 starts in what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He won the series' Rookie of the Year title in 1968. NASCAR issued a statement on Hamilton's passing Wednesday afternoon that read: NASCAR extends its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Pete Hamilton. Hamilton’s career may seem relatively brief at first glance, but a careful study of the gentleman racer makes it abundantly clear that Hamilton achieved excellence during his extraordinary tenure in NASCAR. Hamilton captured the NASCAR National Sportsman championship in 1967, the premier series Rookie of the Year Award in 1968 and an abundance of victories throughout a variety of NASCAR-sanctioned series. But, of course, he will be remembered most fondly for his stirring victory in the 1970 Daytona 500 while driving for the iconic Petty Enterprises race team. And for that, his legend will live forever. A native of Massachusetts, Hamilton earned three of his four wins while driving for the Randleman, North Carolina-based Petty organization. Both seven-time champion Richard Petty and Maurice Petty issued statements on Hamilton's passing. Richard Petty said: "We ran two cars in 1970, and Plymouth helped introduce us to Pete. They wanted us to run a second car with him on the bigger tracks. 'Chief' (Maurice Petty) led that car and started in the Daytona 500. Pete and 'Chief' won the race, and it was a big deal. Pete won both Talladega races that year. It was great to have Pete as part of the team. He was a great teammate. We send our prayers to his family." Maurice Petty, who ran the team, said: "Pete was as fast as anyone on the superspeedways in 1970. We had support from Plymouth to run two Superbirds, and they connected us with Pete Hamilton. He was a good match for us, and we won three races together. I enjoyed being around him and will miss him." While Hamilton was competitive on tracks of all sizes, he excelled on the series' largest speedways with his wins coming at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. His Daytona 500 win came in his 21st career start and featured a late-race battle with David Pearson. In addition to driving for Petty Enterprises, NASCAR Hall of Fame car owner Cotton Owens as well as Banjo Matthews fielded cars for Hamilton during his brief career.
Teams get unique chance to practice pit-road speeds
BUY TICKETS: See the races in Las Vegas Last Sunday at Atlanta, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers collectively were flagged for 13 pit road speeding penalties, with a late ticket to Kevin Harvick changing the entire tenor of the race. Drivers had to deal with the addition of timing lines on pit road at Atlanta, creating scoring segments that were much smaller than those in play when the series visited the 1.54-mile track last year. Similarly, for races this weekend at Las Vegas, drivers and crew chiefs are confronted with double the number of timing lines in place for last year’s events. To allow teams to get familiar with the smaller segments, NASCAR opened the timing loops for XFINITY Series practice on Friday and both Monster Energy Series practices on Saturday. During Saturday’'s first session, teams seemingly spent as much time huddled around computers showing the speeds in pit road sectors as they did congregating around the cars. Ryan Blaney, who qualified third on Friday in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford, was more concerned with getting in and out of his pit box cleanly than he was with speeding on pit road . That's why crew chief Jeremy Bullins chose pit stall No. 40, closest to the entrance to pit road . "You always want to be able to get in and out of your box clean and not have to worry about going around cars or cars coming around you," said Blaney, who was sixth fastest in Saturday's first practice. "You can speed anywhere on pit road . Nowadays, your box really has a small role in playing with timing lines ever since they added a bunch of them. "You just have to watch your speed, but it maybe helps a little bit coming in just so you can get in your box and reset, but then you have to focus on getting down all of pit road (without speeding)." Blaney is not one to take chances by pushing the pit road speed limit (45 mph at Las Vegas with a tolerance up to 50 mph). "I've got other things to worry about," Blaney said. "I know there's been a lot of talk about all the speeding penalties last week, but I've always been on the conservative side when it comes to that. I think giving up a little bit there is a lot more beneficial than having to come back down pit road , so I've always been on the conservative side of the pit road speed stuff. "Now that I say that, I'll probably get a penalty (on Sunday), but it’s not something I really worry about."
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