Category Archives: Auto Racing

Junior’s Last Ride

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There’s only one more race left in the 2017 NASCAR season as a champion will be crowned this Sunday in Homestead, Florida. Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski are the four drivers who still have an opportunity to win the Monster Energy Series Championship, but there will be another story to pay attention to when the drivers rev up their engines this Sunday afternoon.

For nearly 20 years Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been a NASCAR driver and this Sunday will mark his final race on the circuit. Earnhardt will leave the NASCAR circuit without a championship, but he will forever be remembered as this generation’s “people’s champion”.

Earnhardt comes from a famous racing family which was headlined by his father Dale Sr. who was a seven-time Winston Cup Champion. The elder Earnhardt died on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 as he was attempting secure a one-two finish for two drivers who were racing for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in Michael Waltrip and Dale Jr.

Fans immediately embraced the younger Earnhardt and he would do something that was powerful enough to make grown men cry when he won the Pepsi 400 in 2001 which was the first NASCAR race at the Daytona International Speedway following his father’s death. There was not a dry eye in the stands as well as on pit row. And when Earnhardt climbed out of Chevrolet Monte Carlo on the infield at Daytona, he was greeted by his crew, as well as that of Waltrip, and Kevin Harvick who was the driver that replaced his father in the Chevy Goodwrench.

In all Eardhardt has won 26 career races which included winning the coveted Daytona 500 twice as Daytona along with Talladega Superspeedway have always been kind to the Earnhardts. Earnhardt has had to duel with the likes of Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson who have each claimed multiple NASCAR Championships during this era of NASCAR, but he has continued to be the circuit’s most popular driver which is voted on by fans. Earnhardt’s popularity has led to him securing cameo roles in Jay-Z’s music video for “Show Me What Ya Got” and in Will Ferrell’s film “Talladega Nights”.

Earnhardt is 43-years of age, but you can make the case that his decision to walk away was influenced from his time spent as a spectator last year when he suffered a concussion that forced him to miss the final 18 races of the season. And after Dale Jr. had to see his father killed on the race track, it would make sense for him to walk away after dealing with such a serious head injury.

So as Dale Jr. is set to climb into his no. 88 Nationwide card one last time, he will share the day with Matt Kenseth who has also decided to call it a career as it is now time for him to begin the next chapter of his life. Eardhardt recently got married and he and his wife Amy are expecting their first child next year. But as Earnhardt is set to bid farewell to the sport that brought him immense fame, he does it on his terms and obviously without any regrets. NASCAR is set to crown a champion for 2017 which won’t be Earnhardt. However there is always the possibility that Junior could surprise everyone and win his first race of the year which would be a fitting way for him to ride off into the sunset. And just like it was for Dale Sr., Junior is the people’s champion of this era.

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Lewis Hamilton And Everyone Else

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Lewis Hamilton

This past Sunday saw Lewis Hamilton take ninth place at the Mexican Grand Prix for his worst performance of the 2017 Formula One Season. But for Hamilton he may have gone down in the history books as the happiest ninth place finisher in Formula One history. In spite of Hamilton taking ninth place in Mexico City, he was able to clinch his fourth overall Formula One Championship and his third in the last four years. Hamilton’s four World Championships now tie him with Alain Prost and Sebastian Vettel for third most titles in the history of the circuit. And now Hamilton is just three championships away from tying Michael Schumacher for the all-time lead as he has now become the modern gold standard for the circuit.

The 2016 Formula One Season was not as kind to Hamilton that it had been in year’s past. After winning consecutive titles, Hamilton didn’t have the same hunger that he had in past years, while the same could not be said about his Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg. Rosberg grew tired of taking a backseat to Hamilton and proceeded to take advantage of an uninspired Hamilton by winning the first four races of the campaign. Hamilton would charge back into contention as the two teammates became bitter rivals which was highlighted by them wrecking one another at the Spanish Grand Prix. But when it was all said and done, Rosberg was able to hold off Hamilton for his first Formula One Championship.

However Rosberg would surprise us all by deciding to retire at the age of 31. Rosberg would be replaced at Mercedes by Valterri Bottas who has gone on to have a better relationship with Hamilton. Here in 2017, Bottas has competed admirably as he won the Grand Prix of Russia as well as Austria, but he could not prevent Hamilton from once again claiming his spot as the king of the mountain in Formula One.

Hamilton alternated wins with Vettel in the season’s first three races as he took home the checkered flag in the Chinese Grand Prix. Vettel was able to win the Australian Grand Prix as well as the Grand Prix of Bahrain and in the process he was able to hold off Hamilton in the standings for the first half of the season. But the British Grand Prix would see the momentum shift as Hamilton was able to secure victories in six of the next eight races, while Vettel would fail to secure points in two of those competitions. And by the start of the Mexican Grand Prix, it was only a formality that Hamilton would once again be the champion of the Formula One circuit.

Hamilton’s success has helped to improve the global popularity of Formula One as he is by far the circuit’s biggest star. Hamilton is a rock star on track as he possesses the “crossover appeal”. Celebrities such as Gabrielle Union and Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard Dwyane Wade have come out to support Hamilton, while he has also been known the party in popular places such as New York City. But when the engines are revved up, there isn’t any driver that works harder than Hamilton.

It’s the perfect marriage between Hamilton and Mercedes AMG Petronas as they are the two giants in the Formula One. Mercedes has now won four consecutive Constructors’ Championships with Toto Wolff leading the way. Wolff is the executive director for Mercedes AMG Petronas as he has helped to make the team the envy of Formula One with Hamilton never getting tired of securing checkered flags and championships.

So now that Hamilton has taken home another championship, the only story line heading into the final two races of the season will be whether or not that Vettel will be able to hold off Bottas in order to prevent Mercedes from having  a clean sweep of the top two spots in the standings for the fourth consecutive year. But regardless of how the final two races play out, 2017 will be remembered as another chapter in the book that Hamilton is writing on dominance as he should now be considered as one of the best to have ever done it.

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Mercedes Versus Red Bull

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As the start of a new Formula One season is right around the corner, it’s time for another chapter in the battle between Mercedes AMG Petronas and Red Bull Racing. Mercedes has won the last three Constructors Championships with Red Bull’s last title coming in 2013. The last three years have also seen a Mercedes driver win the Formula One Championship as Lewis Hamilton took home the title in 2014 and 2015, while Nico Rosberg literally took the title home in 2016 as he surprisingly announced his retirement from the sport last year at the age of 25. Albeit that Hamilton and Rosberg were teammates, they engaged in a fierce battle on the track as Rosberg was tired of playing second fiddle to Hamilton who is a three-time champion. But even as good as Hamilton and Rosberg have been for Mercedes, it didn’t prevent Red Bull from surging towards the end of the 2016 Formula One season.

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo has been driving for Red Bull since 2014 and he has four victories to his credit. In 2014 and 2016, Ricciardo finished third in the driver standings to Hamilton and Rosberg, while he had eight trips to the podium last year. Ricciardo’s Red Bull teammate is Max Verstappen who made his debut with the team last year at the Spanish Grand Prix. Verstappen was only 18-years old at the time and he would go on to win the race as he was totally unfazed by racing on the big stage. Verstappen would not win anymore races last season, but he would podium seven times in all to finish fifth in the standings as the future looks bright for he and Ricciardo at Red Bull.

Like the entire racing world, Mercedes would be thrown for a loop with Rosberg’s shocking retirement. However Mercedes would scramble to find Rosberg’s replacement as they signed Finland’s Valtteri Bottas who raced for Williams Martini Racing last year. But aside from Rosberg’s departure, technical director Paddy Lowe also left Mercedes to join the Williams Martini team. And could the departure’s of Rosberg and Lowe be just the opening that Red Bull need to overtake Mercedes here in 2017?

Toto Wolff, Lewis Hamilton

But in spite of the upheaval at Mercedes, they still have Toto Wolff who is the minority owner and executive director, along with Hamilton who is arguably the best driver on the circuit. Over the last three years Hamilton has taken home the checkered flag 31 times with his stiffest competition typically being Rosberg. The rivalry between Rosberg and Hamilton reached a boiling a point last year which at times left mangled cars on the track. And as something had to give, Rosberg walked away from the sport after winning his title.

To me I expect Hamilton to drive with a much clearer head this season as he won’t have to answer as many questions about Rosberg and I don’t anticipate any animosity between he and Bottas. Bottas will be out to prove that he deserves to drive for Mercedes, while also providing protection for Hamilton. And it will be important for Bottas to have a good showing in order to hold off the charges of Ricciardo and Verstappen who like Hamilton will be the favorites to claim the Formula One Title. But even if Ricciardo and Verstappen are unable to overtake Hamilton, a strong season on their part could see Red Bull top Mercedes for the Constructors Championship which in itself would be an accomplishment.

The action is set begin tomorrow at the Australian Grand Prix where there will be plenty of pomp and pageantry to commence a new season. But after Hamilton barely missed a third consecutive title by just five points last year, he could be extra motivated this time around which would be good for him and Mercedes, while being devastating for everyone else on the circuit.

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Health Comes First

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For the past 15 years Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been one of NASCAR’s top drivers. Earnhardt has never won a Sprint Cup Championship, but he is always in the mix. However the last few weeks of the 2016 NASCAR season have seen Earnhardt reduced to the role of a spectator after he suffered a concussion. Earnhardt was involved in wrecks on June 12 and July 2. And after Earnhardt initially thought that he had a sinus infection, he was diagnosed with a concussion. Earnhardt has missed the last three races with concussion-like symptoms. Earnhardt has been replaced in the No. 88 car by four-time NASCAR Champion Jeff Gordon who was also his former teammate with Hendrick Motorsports. However there isn’t a timetable for Earnhardt’s return to the track as he is still dealing with concussion-like symptoms and quite frankly, you can’t blame him.

15 years ago Earnhardt watched his father die on the race track. Dale Earnhardt Sr. was known as “The Intimidator” while he was also a seven-time Winston Cup Champion. Earnhardt Sr. died during the 2001 Daytona 500 when he was attempting to hold off the rest of the field on the final lap as two drivers that raced for Dale Earnhardt Incorporated in Michael Waltrip and Dale Jr. were looking at a one-two finish for the race. Earnhardt Sr. was clipped by Ken Schrader which sent him crashing into the wall at 200 miles per hour and the impact of the collision would take his life. Dale Jr. would climb back into the car that year to keep the family’s legacy going, but things like that are difficult to get over, and in dealing with his own injury now, he must proceed with caution.

The young Earnhardt has still been dealing with issues as far as his balance, and the last thing that he or the other drivers need is for him to get behind the wheel of a car where he could do some more damage to himself and his fellow competitors. But what Earnhardt’s injury has done is shed more light on a subject that NASCAR has begun to take more seriously.

A few years ago NASCAR implemented a concussion protocol which drivers must pass to get back on the track as they are committed to the health and well-being of their drivers. As more information continues to come out about the long-term effects of concussions, sports leagues around the world are getting on board as far as protecting their athletes. And auto racing has been like other sports where athletes tend to try to gut it out while dealing with injuries, but this is a new day.

Earnhardt was smart enough to put his career on hold while more than likely missing out on a chance to participate in the Sprint Chase this year in order to make sure that he is healthy and he should be commended for that as it takes a bigger person to both realize and admit that they are incapable of doing something; no matter much that they love it.

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Red Bull’s Resurgence

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Red Bull Racing has been on the Formula One scene since 2005. And in that time Red Bull has won four constructor championships while also having a driver in Sebastian Vettel win four Formula One Championships as well. But Red Bull began to slip when Vettel decided to leave in favor of Ferrari in 2014 with the last two years have been dominated by Mercedes and their marquis driver Lewis Hamilton. And even though that Mercedes will more than likely win both the driver and constructor championships here in 2016, Red Bull is closing the gap.

Daniel Ricciardo

When Vettel left Red Bull, it opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to become the team’s marquis driver. In 2014, Ricciardo won three races as he finished third in the driver standings. But the gap between Ricciardo and the two Mercedes drivers in Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who finished ahead of him in the driver’s standings was huge. That large gap would get larger in 2015 as Ricciardo finished eighth in the driver’s standings, while Red Bull took fourth in the constructor’s standings as Mercedes was leaving them in the dust. And although that Hamilton and Rosberg are first and second here in 2016, that gap between Mercedes and Red Bull is shrinking.

Red Bull decided to make the change from Daniil Kvyat to the 18-year old Max Verstappen to team with Ricciardo for the fifth race of the year in the Spanish Grand Prix. The race in Barcelona was highlighted by Hamilton and Rosberg crashing at the beginning of the race which left things up for grabs as far as who the winner would be. And it was Verstappen who turned heads on the track that day as he made his Formula One debut in a very loud fashion by winning the race. Since the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercdes has won each race, but Red Bull has been there with them on the podium which was highlighted by Ricciardo and Verstappen taking second and third respectively yesterday at the German Grand Prix. Ricciardo is currently 65 points behind Rosberg for second place in the driver’s standings. But with the current struggles of Rosberg who took fourth yesterday on his home soil of Germany, there is the possibility that Ricciardo could catch him for second place by season’s end. Mercedes will more than likely win the constructor’s championship once again, but Red Bull is currently in second place with their chief competition being Ferrari. This is the same Ferrari team that Vettel left Red Bull for as he felt that they were on their way down.

But the future of Red Bull is bright with the racing ability of Ricciardo and Verstappen who are guided by the team’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey and they could be ready to make a surge in the second half of the season.

After yesterday’s race, the action on the track will cool down for the summer break as the next race won’t take place until August 28 in Belgium. But Red Bull has plenty of momentum for themselves as they will look to continue battling Mercedes for podium spots and prestige on the Formula One circuit.

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Hamilton Versus Rosberg

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As the old saying goes, the wolf that is climbing the mountain is always going to be hungrier than the wolf that is already at the top. But what if the wold that is at the top isn’t ready to relinquish his spot? Midway through the 2016 Formula One Season, there is a fierce battle going on between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton on the race track. Rosberg and Hamilton are two of the top drivers on the Formula One circuit with Hamilton being a three-time series champion. Hamilton has won the last two Formula One Championships with Rosberg being the runner up. Rosberg and Hamilton were childhood friends while they also are racing under the Mercedes banner. But don’t expect Hamilton and Rosberg to be exchanging recipes for beef wellington or bratwurst anytime soon as there is a war taking place each time that these “teammates” take the track.

Lewis Hamilton

When Hamilton clinched the 2015 Formula One Championship last year at the United States Grand Prix, Rosberg wasn’t overwhelmingly thrilled to see his teammate win as he wants what Hamilton has.

And when the 2016 Formula One Season began, it appeared that the wolf that was climbing the mountain was going to get what he wanted as Rosberg won the first four races on the season which dovetailed his strong finish in 2015 where he won the final three races. Rosberg’s strong start saw him putting some distance between himself and Hamilton in the driver standings for 2016 and it appeared that he was well on his way to first Formula One Title. But Rosberg’s advantage began to dissipate at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was the pole sitter for the race with Rosberg second and things appeared ready for another one-two finish for Mercedes. However on the opening lap of the race, Hamilton and Rosberg collided and both cars were forced to retire which frustrated the race stewards and the powers that be at Mercedes. It appeared that Rosberg and Hamilton had kissed and made up, but the overall competitive fire in each driver would make that peace treaty appear to simply be window dressing.

Since the incident in Spain, Rosberg only has a single victory to his credit while Hamilton has three including the Austrian Grand Prix which took place this past Sunday.

With two laps remaining, Rosberg had victory within his grasp and Hamilton was the frustrated driver as he felt that Rosberg was running on better tires for the rainy conditions. But as Rosberg was attempting to hold off Hamilton, the two drivers collided which led to Hamilton’s car going off of the course. However there was more damage that was done to Rosberg’s car which paved the way for Hamilton to win the race, while Rosberg was completely left off of the podium due to his fourth-place finish.

Toto Wolff

The crash between Hamilton and Rosberg led Mercedes team operator Toto Wolff to become frustrated in the pit area, and afterward he acknowledged that this behavior between the two drivers must stop. Hamilton’s controversial victory brought out the boo birds in Austria as race fans were not excited to see him get the win. Both Rosberg and Hamilton went as far to point fingers at each other, while Mercedes went into full cover up mode and cited a brake issue with Rosberg’s car.

But at this point Mercedes is simply trying to put lipstick onto a pig if they believe that there is not an issue between each driver. The main problem is that there can only be one championship handed out at the end of the Formula One Season, and Rosberg is tired of living in the large shadow that Hamilton has cast. Make no mistake about it that Hamilton is the face of Formula One as he is the most popular driver on the circuit. Hamilton loves to party on both sides of the pond as he has been known to frequent big cities in the United States such as New York City. Hamilton’s popularity and buzz has been known to bring out the celebrities to the race course which was seen this past May when he won the Grand Prix of Monaco where Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh and shooting guard Dwyane Wade, along with actress Gabrielle Union, and musician Justin Bieber were there to greet him at the finish line. And whereas Rosberg wants what Hamilton has, the defending champ isn’t willing to give it up which has resulted in the issues have spilling over to the track.

Luckily that neither driver have been seriously injured due to their follies on the track, but Hamilton and Rosberg could eventually due bodily harm to other drivers on the track as their aggression is going get someone hurt if it is not soon curbed.

Rosberg’s current contract with Mercedes expires at the end of the 2016 Formula One Season, and although it is likely that he re-signs, Ferrari is interested in his services as they are looking to close the gap on Mercedes.

 

Nico Rosberg

After Hamilton won the Austrian Grand Prix, Rosberg’s lead in the driver standings was cut to just 11 points over Hamilton with 12 races remaining which should make for an exciting second half of the circuit. But Wolff and Mercedes must provide some serious intervention between now and the next race which is the British Grand Prix that will take place this Sunday at Silverstone. And whereas Hamilton got an icy reception this past Sunday, it won’t be the same if he were to win in front of thousands of fans that will be waving the Union Jack of his native Great Britain.

 

Just when people thought that there wasn’t any excitement on the Formula One circuit, they have a ringside seat to the battle of the titans between Hamilton and Rosberg where neither is ready to concede to the other.

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A Man On A Mission

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Nico Rosberg has paid his dues as a Formula One driver. Rosberg made his Formula One debut in 2006 and it took him until 2012 to win his first career race when he won the Chinese Grand Prix. Steadily Rosberg continued to chip away, and by 2009 he finished ninth in the driver standings. In 2012, Rosberg joined the famed Mercedes AMG Petronas Team. But a year later, the same Mercedes team would sign Lewis Hamilton who had already one Formula One Championship to his credit and he would immediately become the face of Mercedes in Formula One. The last two years would see Hamilton win the Formula One Title with Rosberg in second place. And although that Rosberg and Hamilton are teammates, there was an outward frustration from him as he was tired of taking a backseat to a driver that was the new face of Formula One.

When Hamilton won the Formula One Title last year, he did so with three races remaining in the season which took away from the romanticism of the circuit. But just because Hamilton had already begun pouring the champagne, it didn’t mean that Rosberg should have stopped working.

Rosberg would be the pole sitter for the final six races in 2015, but he had to watch Hamilton take home the checkered flag in the first three races over that stretch. However Rosberg would get to the winner’s circle in the final three races of the season which allowed him to take some momentum into the off-season.

The momentum that Rosberg had at the end of 2015 has carried over to 2016 as he is the one that has won the first two races of the season in dominating fashion with Hamilton taking a backseat in second. It’s also been a role reversal as Hamilton has now been the pole sitter to start the races, but it is Rosberg who has been getting to the winner’s circle. Overall, Rosberg has won the last five Formula One races as he is looking to emerge from the large shadow the Hamilton has created at Mercedes in order to establish his own legacy on the circuit.

Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg

Rosberg might not show the same outward exuberance towards Hamilton when he wins due to the fact that he is hungry for what the defending champ has as the wolf that is climbing the mountain is already hungrier that the one that is already at the top. Last year Rosberg finished second in a race on seven occasions, and although that there’s much joy for a driver to reach the podium, you still want to have your country’s national anthem played last.

Rosberg shares the same Mercedes garage with Hamilton along with being under the banner that has won the last two constructors championships on the circuit, but he is not there to just be recognized globally as Hamilton’s teammate as a championship in 2016 would go a long way in getting him the much needed respect that he deserves.

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Start Your Engines

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We’re beginning to see the signs of spring which has included longer periods of daylight and spring training in Major League Baseball also in full swing. And although that NASCAR got their season going last month, it is time for the men on IndyCar to show what they can do behind the wheel. Last year’s IndyCar season came down to final race of the year at Sonoma where the title was won by Scott Dixon as he edged by Juan Pablo Montoya. Dixon and Montoya finished tied for the points lead, but Dixon won more races (three), than Montoya’s two. And aside from the battles on the race tracks and street courses of large metropolises around the United States and Canada during the spring and summer, there will be some fierce competition between the team owners who are seeking to undue the dominance of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Chip Ganassi

Since 2008, Chip Ganassi Racing has taken home six IndyCar Titles as they’ve become the envy of the circuit. And with Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Charlie Kimball, along with rookie Max Chilton racing under Ganassi’s banner for 2016, this team will once again be a force to be reckoned with. But it won’t be all about Ganassi as Roger Penske has once again fielded a quartet of sharp drivers. Of the four drivers that will be driving for Penskie in 2016, Montoya, Will Power, and Helio Castroneves all finished in the top five of the driver standings last season and they should all once again be reckoned with this year.

For Montoya it is simple as he will need to finish this time around. Montoya was in the catbird’s seat for the entire season in 2015 until a pair of bad finishes at Iowa and Mid-Ohio late in the year opened the door for Dixon to take the top spot as he would finish in the top ten in each of the final three races of the season which included winning the final race at Sonoma. And this should help to add even more intrigue to the circuit over the coming months.

Power took home the IndyCar Title in 2014 and after a mid-season struggle in 2016 which included taking 22nd at the Milwaukee Mile that sidetracked him, he rallied to finish strong and he is looking to carry that momentum over to 2016 while Castroneves is at the other end of the spectrum as he started 2015 strong, but faltered down the stretch.

Tony Kanaan

For Kanaan, he finished 2015 eighth in the driver standings, but he played an integral part in Dixon winning the title. In the final race of the season, it was Kanaan that held off Montoya from finishing in the top five which then sealed the title for his teammate Dixon. But make no mistake about it that Kanaan wants to win his second IndyCar Title in 2016; especially since he never got to the winner’s circle last year.

But 2016 won’t simply be defined by the drivers for Penske or Chip Ganassi Racing. Andretti Autosport has a pair of strong drivers in Ryan Hunter-Reay and Marco Andretti with Hunter-Reay having already won the IndyCar Championship in 2012. In each of Josef Newgarden’s four years on the IndyCar circuit, he has improved in the driver standings which was highlighted by him winning in Alabama and Toronto last spring with 2016 possibly being the season that he cracks the top five of the standings for Ed Carpenter Racing.

Graham Rahal continues to add to family legacy on the track. Rahal runs for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing where his father and former driver Bobby is a part-owner. Rahal took the next step in his racing career least season when he finished fourth in the driver standings and he won a pair off races which included winning at Mid-Ohio which is right in his backyard being that he is a native of Columbus, Ohio.

And then there is the case for a pair of Colombian drivers in Carlos Munoz and Gabby Chaves. Munoz and Chaves have been the last two respective IndyCar Rookie of the Year winners and now each is not only looking to push Montoya as far as being the top Colombian driver on the circuit while also attempting to at least finish in the top ten of the driver standings to show that they are for real.

So when the Indy drivers hit the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida this Sunday afternoon for the first race of the year, there should be an electric atmosphere along with the drivers now operating in safer vehicles following the unfortunate death of Justin Wilson last summer. Last year came down to the final race of the year and 2016 should be another fun filled time on the Indy circuit.

 

 

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The Success Of Joe Gibbs

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At 75-years of age, Joe Gibbs has lived a tremendous life. For 17 years Gibbs learned the ins and outs of football under legendary coaches such as Frank Broyles, John McKay, and Don Coryell. Gibbs would finally get his crack at being a head coach in 1981 with the Washington Redskins. And as a head coach in the National Football League, Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to their only three Super Bowl Championships in franchise history. Gibbs shocked the football world when he retired after 12 successful seasons with the Redskins as he wanted to spend more time with his family. In 1991, Gibbs would embark on a career in NASCAR as a team owner which would give him that opportunity. It didn’t take Gibbs that long to have similar success in NASCAR like he enjoyed in the NFL as his first full-time driver in Dale Jarrett won the Daytona 500 in 1993. By 2000, Joe Gibbs Racing was no fluke as he won his first Winston Cup Title with driver Bobby Labonte. Overall Gibbs has won six Winston/Sprint Cup Championships with the reigning champ in Kyle Busch driving under his banner. And as the NASCAR season is set to begin, Busch, along with Gibbs’ other drivers in Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, and Carl Edwards will all be in the running to win the Sprint Cup Title as it all can be attributed to the leadership of Gibbs.

The art of coaching begins with leadership and the ability to motivate a group of people while implementing a successful system which is something that Gibbs has done every step of the way. From 1973-1977, Gibbs was the running backs coach for the St. Louis Cardinals and there he worked under Coryell who had an offense that revolutionized professional football. Gibbs would be Coryell’s offensive coordinator from 1979-1980 with the San Diego Chargers which would be the foundation for what he did with the Redskins.

From 1981-1992, Gibbs only had one losing season and he won his three Super Bowl Titles during his tenure with three different starting quarterbacks which gives you an idea of how strong that his system is. And even when Gibbs returned to the Redskins in 2004, he led them to a pair of postseason berths in four years. In NASCAR, drivers such as Jarrett and Tony Stewart have moved on from Joe Gibbs Racing, but his team remains strong.

Gibbs is a man of God and he stands firmly with his faith. And although that the Redskins had their problems like any team, Gibbs always knew how to get the most out of his team as the Redskins won four road playoff games during his tenure which is no easy task in the National Football League. Now in NASCAR, after every victorious race by one of Gibbs’ drivers, there is always a team prayer on pit row with the pit crew which he leads.

Gibbs is more than just a Hall of Fame head coach or a team owner as it is truly about family with him which is a big reason why he is able to get the most out the people that work for him. Gibbs has also been known to go to prisons throughout the United States to spread the word of God while he has written a trio of motivational books. And once you add all of that up, it is no wonder as to why Gibbs has had the success that he still enjoys. As the Daytona 500 is almost upon us, one of Gibbs’ drivers in Kenseth will be on the first row to start the race and once qualifying is finished for the Great American Race, something tells me that JGR will have a big hand in the outcome of who will be victorious.

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A Test Of Perseverance

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http://wanewsnow.com/images/february-2015/busch_crash_7777.jpg2015 didn’t get started in the fashion that NASCAR driver Kyle Busch desired. On February 21, Busch suffered a compound fracture in his right leg along with a fracture in his left foot during an Xfinity Series race at the Daytona International Speedway which cast some doubt for his chances to compete in the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. But Busch attacked his rehab with the same kind of relentlessness and aggression that he has on the race track on a weekly basis. And on May 16, Busch would make his season debut at the Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte, North Carolina. Busch would go on to finish in sixth place that evening as he was in the process of getting his sea legs, but not too many people expected him to find his timing behind the wheel as quickly as he has.

http://www2.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Kyle+Busch+8ZoRDpB0PvIm.jpgOn June 28 at Sonoma, a late trip to pit row for Busch in which he received four fresh tires and fuel allowed him to overtake Jimmie Johnson on a restart following a caution. And when Busch had the checkered flag in his sights, he only had to hold off his older brother Kyle in order to win the Toyota/Save Mart 350. For Busch it was a testament to his determination as he still wasn’t 100 percent when he got back into his No. 18 M&M’s Toyota.

As a result of Busch missing the first 11 races of the season, he had to be granted a special waiver by NASCAR in order to qualify for this year’s Chase for the Cup. Instead of having to finish in the top 16 of the driver standings in order to qualify for the Chase, Busch only needs to finish in the top 30, but he isn’t leaving anything to chance.

http://www.trbimg.com/img-55a1e272/turbine/afp-getty-480442510-20150711/650/650x366Busch would start last night’s Quaker State 400 at the Kentucky Motor Speedway in ninth place. But Busch would go on to lead 163 of the 267 laps with none more important than the final lap to secure his second win of the season. And whereas when Busch first returned to action that his quest to become Chase eligible seemed unrealistic, it is now becoming a reality. Busch has the next eight races to make up an 87-point deficit to Cole Whitt which would put him in the top 30 of the driver standings and give him a shot at the Sprint Cup Title this year.

Busch has the privilege of working for Joe Gibbs who is one of the classiest men in professional sports. As a head coach in the National Football League, Gibbs led the Washington Redskins to their only three Super Bowl Championships in franchise history. Gibbs’ golden touch has transferred to the race track where he is a three-time owner of a Sprint Cup Champion and his patience and positive attitude never allowed him to lose faith in Busch’s ability.

In Busch’s limited action this season he has four, top 10 finishes to his credit as he has let the other drivers on the circuit know that he is back as a force. The injury and the missed time has allowed Busch to come back more focused on racing due to the fact that he doesn’t have the much wiggle room in order for him to get where he wants to go. Busch was the NASCAR Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year in 2005 and he has 31 wins under his belt, but if he is able to pull off what once seemed impossible a few weeks ago and secure a slot in the Chase, it will be another notch to his stellar and growing NASCAR resume.

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