Nick Bromberg

  • Power Rankings: Kyle Busch ascends to No. 1 after Indy win

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 hr ago

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Kyle Busch (LW: 5): When you lead 149 of 170 laps and no one can come close to passing you for the lead on the track, then there’s no argument against being atop Power Rankings. It was a performance as dominant as Martin Truex Jr.’s at Charlotte; there’s clearly something the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas have hit on when it comes to the combination of deft handling and outright speed. Busch also became the first driver to win Xfinity and Cup Series races from the pole in the same weekend.

    2. Kevin Harvick (LW: 2): While Busch’s ass-kicking made the race boring for many, here’s a fun hypothetical. Who had the second-best car throughout the course of Sunday’s race? The argument can be made for many, including Harvick, who finished sixth. Harvick had to make his way through the field after he was forced to pit under green for what he thought was a flat tire. He ended up finishing sixth.

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  • Danny Stockman becomes Paul Menard's crew chief

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 21 hrs ago

    Paul Menard will have a new crew chief for the final 16 races of 2016.

    Richard Childress Racing said Monday, a day after Menard finished 10th at Indianapolis, that Danny Stockman would serve as Menard’s crew chief for the rest of the season. Justin Alexander, Menard’s crew chief for the first 20 races of the year, will have a new role that’s announced in the near future, according to Fox.

    Menard is currently 23rd in the points standings, nine spots off where he finished in 2015 after making the Chase for the first time. Sunday’s top-10 at Indy was just his second of the season. His only other top-10 finish came at Martinsville when he finished eighth. He’s finished between 11th and 20th 11 times in 2016.

    Stockman has been serving as the crew chief for the No. 2 car in the Xfinity Series. The No. 2 car, driven by Austin Dillon, Ben Kennedy and Menard has finished in the top 10 in all but two of 18 races this season and Dillon won at Auto Club Speedway in March.

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  • Earnhardt Jr. heading to docs 'soon' for update to help determine Watkins Glen status

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 22 hrs ago

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will soon find out about his potential status for the Aug. 7 Sprint Cup race at Watkins Glen.

    Earnhardt Jr. has missed the last two Cup races because of what Hendrick Motorsports has termed concussion-like symptoms and will miss Sunday’s race at Pocono while Jeff Gordon fills in.

    “I’m going for another evaluation here soon to see what kind of gains we’ve made, get in front of my doctors and let them get a good look at me and let them tell me where they think I’m at and that will help us make the decision on what we’re going to do for Watkins Glen. ” Junior said on his weekly podcast.

    He said he’d update his status on the podcast again after the Pocono race. Junior, who said he’d been experiencing balance issues and nausea, noted that the daily exercises he’s been doing for his symptoms range from 2-2.5 hours and some are ‘tough’ while others are ‘tedious.’

    “The balance deal is a critical part of being able to drive a race car,” Junior said.

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  • Stewart-Haas Racing announces formation of Xfinity Series team for 2017

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    Stewart Haas Racing’s move to Ford will include an expansion.

    The team said Monday it’d be fielding an Xfinity Series team in 2017. While the team has expanded from two to four cars since its inception in 2009, it hasn’t fielded an Xfinity team.

    “In order to maintain the competitiveness that has earned SHR two championships since our debut in 2009, we needed an outlet to develop drivers and team personnel for the Sprint Cup Series,” SHR vice president of competition Greg Zipadelli said in a statement. “People make the difference between winning and losing. An Xfinity Series team gives us added depth that will allow us to promote from within whenever necessary.”

    Tony Stewart was asked about a feeder system for the team on Friday within the context of Jeff Gordon’s return to the Sprint Cup Series. Gordon is driving in place of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Hendrick Motorsports for two races. Here’s what Stewart, who is retiring at the end of the season, said when he was asked if he’d return to the cockpit if his team needed a substitute driver in the future. Stewart’s comments were a nice job of disguising an announcement to come 72 hours later.

    Here’s what he said in Monday’s statement.

  • Quick takeaways from Indianapolis: What's got to be done to increase attendance?

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    Throughout 2016 we may have way too many quick thoughts for our post-race posts. So consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below .

    • It was impossible to not notice the empty grandstands all over Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Brickyard 400.

    It’s also impossible to really know how many people were in attendance too, given that NASCAR no longer releases official attendance figures (that were perhaps enhanced anyway). The capacity of IMS is 235,000 people, and according to a guess by the Indianapolis Star, estimations pegged Sunday’s crowd at 50,000.

    [Related: Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon share celebratory post-race lap]

    • Look how nasty this hit Carl Edwards took was late in Sunday’s race. Good thing he was OK afterwards.

  • Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon share celebratory lap together after Brickyard 400

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    INDIANAPOLIS — Entering Sunday’s Brickyard 400, Tony Stewart said he was glad Jeff Gordon was returning to the Cup Series as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s substitute driver because Gordon would take some of the spotlight away. And following Sunday’s race, Stewart showed just how much he wanted Gordon in that spotlight.

    After Stewart finished 11th and Gordon finished 13th, the two drivers took a slow victory lap around the track side-by-side in what’s likely the final appearance at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for either driver.

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    “I can say that just ranks in the top three coolest moments of my 18 years in this series,” Stewart said. “To share that moment with Jeff here at Indianapolis I don’t know. I don’t even have the words for it.  That is a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life.”

    Stewart said he got the idea to get Gordon to take a lap with him before the race ended.

    “It most likely is the last time we both get a chance to do that, so I couldn’t think of a better guy to share that final lap with.”

    Gordon run around 15th for most of the day and said he struggled with something very familiar for Gordon observers. Restarts.

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  • Kyle Busch wins second-straight Brickyard 400

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – There was no passing Kyle Busch on Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And that’s not a hyperbolic statement either.

    Busch started first and was never passed for the lead of the Brickyard 400 on the race track. Sure, he surrendered the lead at times, but that was because of pit stops and, at least early in the race, a pit strategy play by Team Penske. Straight up, no one had anything for Busch.

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    Though the end of the race certainly provided some challenges. Busch had to survive three restarts over the final 17 laps to ensure that he would win his second-straight Brickyard 400 and get his fourth-straight at Indianapolis. He’s won the last two Xfinity Series races at the track and won Saturday’s Xfinity race from the pole.

    [Related: Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon share celebratory post-race lap]

    “ This Toyota was awesome today, it was just so fast and able to get out front and stay out front,” Busch said. “Not even some of my teammates could challenge. This was hooked up and on rails.”

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  • Danica Patrick: It's 'miserable' running in 20th place

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    Danica Patrick wants to be running better in the Sprint Cup Series. And she knows that progress will come in steps rather than all at once.

    Patrick is currently 24th in the standings through the first 19 races of 2016. It’s the same position in the points she occupied in 2015 after finishing 27th in 2013 and 28th in 2014.

    She’s working with a new crew chief in Billy Scott this season and hasn’t finished in the top 10 yet this season after six top-10 finishes in her first three full seasons. Saturday, Patrick was asked about improving on her performance throughout the final 16 races of the year as just four of the races are at tracks where the Cup Series hasn’t visited earlier in the year.

    “We don’t really get that many shots at making the car that much better when we get there,” Patrick said. “It’s more about optimizing what you have. So, hopefully that will be a good second-half of the season for us to have that foundation established between rules, crew chief, me; and I know that none of us are happy running 20 th . I’m not. It’s miserable. So, we want to do better.”

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  • Kyle Busch wins Brickyard pole; Stewart starts 3rd and Gordon 21st

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS ‐ Kyle Busch has a prime opportunity to defend his 2015 Brickyard 400 win.

    Busch took the pole away from Carl Edwards just seconds after his teammate had crossed the finish line in the final round of qualifying for Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    Busch’s lap of 184.634 MPH was just faster than Edwards’ lap of 184.547 MPH. Edwards had narrowly edged out Tony Stewart for the top spot as Busch was exiting turn 4 on his qualifying lap.

    Stewart, an Indiana native who is retiring at the end of the season, is making his final start at Indianapolis. He started fourth in last year’s race but the race itself went awry and he finished outside the top 20. But that fourth-place starting position last year felt a bit like a fluke. With the speed Stewart has shown over the last few weeks, a top-three spot on Sunday wouldn’t be too surprising either.

    The top five was rounded out by Denny Hamlin, a Joe Gibbs Racing teammate to Busch and Edwards, and Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski. Penske has never won the Brickyard 400.

    Here’s how the field will line up on Sunday:

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  • Tony Stewart 'relaxed and focused' heading into final Indianapolis start

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    INDIANAPOLIS – Tony Stewart doesn’t know how many family and friends will be in attendance for Sunday’s Brickyard 400. And he doesn’t want to know.

    Stewart, an Indiana native and two-time winner of the Brickyard 400, is retiring at the end of the 2016 season. Since Indianapolis Motor Speedway is so special to Stewart – he’s competed in the Indianapolis 500 five times as well – it’s natural to think Stewart will be sentimental this weekend.

    He’s not. Or if he is, he didn’t want to show it on Friday.

    “You guys are going to make a lot more out of this than what I’m going to make out of it this weekend,” Stewart said. “I am literally just coming here in my mind like it is just another race, and it’s another weekend here at Indy. I’m not doing all the sentimental crying stuff that you guys think I’m going to be doing. I’m going to race this weekend.  I’m more focused – I’m probably more prepared for a Brickyard than I have been any other year.”

    Stewart said he was confident in his car after an earlier tire test at Indianapolis.

    — Wood Brothers Racing (@woodbrothers21) July 22, 2016

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