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'Gnarly' wind could play role in Kobalt 400
RELATED: Live weather updates " Saturday's practice reports " Starting lineup LAS VEGAS -- The expectation of high winds for the NASCAR race weekend in Las Vegas has been, at the very least, a talking point if not a concern for drivers. Local weather forecasters are predicting winds as high as 20-30 mph in the area Sunday with gusts even higher. There is actually a High Wind Advisory in the Las Vegas area lasting through the duration of the scheduled race time. "We have talked about it some," Team Penske driver Joey Logano said after winning the outside pole position Friday evening for Sunday's Kobalt 400 . "What we do hope is that it is a constant wind," Logano said. "The gusts of wind are what crashes cars. ... If it is constant it is OK. If you get big gusts, the car jumps out of the race track and leads you into the wall or spins you right out. It is going to be dangerous, treacherous for sure." Logano's teammate Brad Keselowski said he hadn't been too worried about the winds, but offered an explanation for the effect that form of weather could have. "I try not to worry about the things that affect everyone equally," said Keselowski, who will roll off fourth on the starting grid. "Wind is one of those things. I haven't thought about it." Pressed to explain his take on the forecast, however, Keselowski said: "The wind moves the car around dramatically, much like every aero force and the cars rely on three key aero forces: drag, downforce or side force. "All three of those are three dimensional. ... The wind, depending on where it strikes, where it blows you in what direction, can affect all three of those. Of course a headwind down the straightaway can add a lot of drag and make the motor feel a lot weaker. "A crosswind in a corner can add or take away from the side force on the car, and a headwind into the corner can give you a lot of added downforce or vice versa, a tailwind can take it away." Pole-winner Kurt Busch , a Las Vegas native, conceded he was fully anticipating the wind being an extra factor in the race. It hadn't picked up to the level anticipated for the weekend and showed no ill effects on speed Friday with four cars bettering the previous track record. Busch set the new track record of 196.378 mph in the first round of qualifying. "I'm looking at the forecast," Busch said. "It looks pretty gnarly for the wind. That's a West Coast term, gnarly, but the speed of the wind will push us big time, from what I'm gathering, from a southwest direction into Turn 3. When you have a tailwind multiplied by 30 mph that is a headwind of 30 mph down the front straightaway. That is a swing of 60 mph. "That is a significant difference that these cars are going to feel. We have tested Nashville a few times way back in the day where there was a crosswind of 40 mph. The downforce increase and decrease is staggering. We are all going to be out there struggling, fighting and trying to gain that grip with the tailwind." The wind had already picked up some during final Saturday morning Cup practices with drivers left to anticipate the situation come race day. "It is going to be just crazy to think about what that wind is going to do," Logano said. "It is not like we know what direction it is going to be blowing on the race track. I don't know at least. Maybe some weather guy can tell me. "I just think it is definitely going to be moving cars around and I am sure cars will crash for that reason if it is that windy and you get a gust at the wrong time when you are under somebody. It could be big."
Kahne, Edwards clash in Kobalt 400
Drivers' cars come together late in Las Vegas race Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Related: Full Kobalt 400 results LAS VEGAS -- Carl Edwards apologized publicly and then again in a more intimate setting to Kasey Kahne , but the Hendrick Motorsports driver was still smarting after a shot into the wall ruined both his fast car and his good day at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . Kahne's No. 5 Chevrolet was a constant force in the top five Sunday in the Kobalt 400 , and that's where it was on Lap 195 attempting to make a pass on the outside when Edwards drove him into the wall. As Kahne bounced off the barrier, he maintained his line, caught back up to Edwards and sent the No. 19 spinning -- and eventually into the garage -- with a subtle, meticulous shot. "It's completely my fault," Edwards said from inside his car, in the garage, while his crew repaired damage. "Kasey did a good job. I just got sucked up into him there. That's definitely my fault and I feel bad for Kasey." Edwards followed those remarks with a post-race discussion on pit road, strolling over to the No. 5 car as Kahne and crew chief Keith Rodden debriefed. The conversation was short and direct, with Edwards again apologizing to a curt Kahne, who was fast all weekend but settled for 17th on Sunday. "Carl just came down and apologized," Kahne said after Edwards went on his way. "He said he hadn't done that before to anyone. We basically needed just about a full car length more there in order to make it, and he just never lifted and put us right into the wall. It ruined his day as well." Edwards was all too aware of the implications to his own car -- and finish -- as well. That much was clear when his No. 19 Toyota Camry, which had run in the top 10 all day prior to the wreck, was scored 42nd when the checkered flag dropped. "It's not just frustrating -- it's pretty stupid," Edwards said. "I just should have been a little calmer, but it's kind of fun racing up front like that and it got me going. … I was being too aggressive on that restart. I started to slide up and I should have backed out of it way earlier." For Kahne, it was a missed opportunity. His cars have been swift in all three races this year, but his third-place starting spot Sunday gave him the ability to chase leaders Kevin Harvick , Joey Logano and Jimmie Johnson all day prior to the damage. "We had a second-place car the first 30 laps of a run and a winning car the last 15-20 laps of a run," Kahne said. "The way it went down, I feel like we would have been able to race (winner Kevin) Harvick. He was unreal throughout the entire race, but I think our car was unreal, too." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Fantasy Fastlane: Pure Michigan 400
Click here for analysis of top drivers, sleepers for Michigan
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Hornish Jr. to fill in for McDowell at Michigan
CONCORD, N.C. (August 23, 2016) – Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) has announced that Sam Hornish Jr . will fill in for Michael McDowell on Friday and Saturday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Michigan International Speedway . McDowell is scheduled to race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Road America for Richard Childress Racing on Friday and Saturday. He will then travel to Michigan International Speedway and drive the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet on Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400 for Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing .
Dale Jr. sidelined for next two Sprint Cup races
RELATED: Latest updates, timeline on Dale Jr.'s recovery Dale Earnhardt Jr . will not be behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, including this weekend's event at Michigan International Speedway , according to a Wednesday news release from Hendrick Motorsports . Earnhardt did not receive medical clearance to return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, according to the team. He will be replaced this weekend in the No. 88 driver's seat by Alex Bowman , who drives part time for the Earnhardt-owned JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and next weekend at Darlington Raceway by four-time series champ Jeff Gordon . "We know how hard Dale is working to get back," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a press release. "He's following what the doctors are saying, to the letter, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Everyone wants to see him in a race car, but his health is first and foremost. We're behind him." Earnhardt has been sidelined by concussion-related symptoms for the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. The two-time Daytona 500 winner has been keeping fans updated on his progress in recent weeks via social media and "The Dale Jr. Download" on Dirty Mo Radio. The Sprint Cup Series makes its second visit of the season to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, which culminates with Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Earnhardt said that the effects of a crash June 12 in the most recent Michigan race played a factor in his current concussion-related ailment. Gordon, interim driver of the No. 88 for the last four races, indicated last weekend that should an Earnhardt replacement be needed this weekend, a previous engagement would keep him out of the driver's seat. Bowman, 23, subbed in at New Hampshire Motor Speedway last month for the first race of Earnhardt's absence, finishing 26th after a late-race crash knocked him from the fringes of the top 10. Gordon is a seven-time winner at Darlington and will pilot the retro No. 88 Chevrolet, which honors the "Gray Ghost" paint scheme of Buddy Baker. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Jeff Gordon won't drive No. 88 car at Michigan
RELATED: Dale Jr. offers rehab update on social media BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s return to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition remains undetermined. But if the series' most popular driver remains sidelined when the series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the Aug. 28 Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), it will be Alex Bowman and not Jeff Gordon handling the driving duties of the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet. Gordon, who made his fourth start for the team at Bristol Motor Speedway , will not be available due to a prior commitment, according to Hendrick officials. However, the four-time series champion will travel to Michigan to support the team on Sunday. Earnhardt is recovering from concussion-like symptoms that have kept him sidelined since July. The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol was the fifth race he's missed. Bowman drove for the team at Loudon, New Hampshire, following Earnhardt's initial diagnosis. Gordon took over the following week, and has competed at Indianapolis, Pocono and Watkins Glen prior to Bristol. Bowman, 23, finished 26th in his fill-in role for Earnhardt at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Gordon, meanwhile, has finishes of 13th, 27th, 14th and 11th, respectively, in his four starts with the team. . @JeffGordonWeb has prior commitment that won't allow him to be in Mich. for entire race wknd. @AlexBRacing to sub if @DaleJr isn't cleared. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 19, 2016 Happy to be on standby for @DaleJr and @TeamHendrick at @MISpeedway . Hopefully Dale is cleared but if not I'm ready to go! — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) August 20, 2016 UPDATE: The 88 team does not expect to make an announcement for Michigan until Wednesday afternoon. We don’t expect to make an announcement regarding @MISpeedway before Wednesday afternoon. — Hendrick 88 Team (@Hendrick88Team) August 22, 2016 &amp;amp;amp;amp;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;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Teams beat the weather to test at Chicagoland
Weather concerns forced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams to cram two days of testing into a single day Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway as they prepare for the upcoming Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's opening race next month. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The organizational test, which permits one team per organization to participate, was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick , the 2014 series champion, recorded the top lap time during Tuesday's day-long test with the No. 4 Chevrolet circling the 1.5-mile track in 29.147 seconds (185 mph). Defending series champion Kyle Busch had the second best lap in No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 29.24 seconds (184.6 mph) while Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford) and Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) had the third and fourth quickest times, respectively. Fourteen teams took part in the test. Harvick completed 222 laps, most among those taking part in the test, while Busch logged 214 according to NASCAR timing and scoring data. "We haven't won here in a few years but I think the performance has been fine over the past two or three years," Harvick, winner of the first two Sprint Cup races hosted by the track," said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to coming back; it's a fun race track just for the fact that you can move around and run all around the race track. That's really the hardest part about today, it's hard to gather a lot of … confirmed information (because) you have to get enough rubber from the bottom to the top of the track to see where everything actually is." Joey Logano finished sixth in last year's Chase opener at Chicago. It's a race that sets the tone for the 10-race playoff, the driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Ford said. "A lot on the line here and you always want to start off the Chase on a good note and have a lot of momentum leaving Chicago," Logano said. "So far so good. … "This is a great track; to me it almost acts like a small Fontana for us. You can run anywhere you want on the race track, its got a lot of speed and it's bumpy. Its got a ton of character." One more organizational test remains for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, scheduled for Oct. 18-19 at Homestead Miami Speedway. While Sprint Cup teams were testing at Chicagoland, several Camping World Truck Series teams were busy at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday. Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates William Byron, Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin , along with Kaz Grala (GMS Racing) and Stewart Friesen (Halmar Racing) were on hand to test in preparation for the Truck Series' opening Chase race, the UNOH 175 (Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "This is one of my favorite race tracks," Byron, the series' points leader and winner of five races this season, said. "I won here in the K&N Series last year so think I have a lot of confidence here. "It's good to come back with a truck; it handles totally different but it's the same race track. I'm trying to use some of the things I learned last year and hopefully make that apply for when we come back in the Chase." The inaugural Chase in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins at New Hampshire and will feature a field of eight drivers competing for the 2016 championship.