From The Marbles

  • Joey Logano wins Clash as Hamlin and Keselowski make contact on final lap

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 hr ago

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    Joey Logano benefited from contact between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski on the final lap to go from third to first and win the Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race at Daytona.

    Logano and Keselowski carved their way through the field over the last five laps of the race and were nose-to-tail heading into turn 1 on the final lap. As Keselowski closed in on Hamlin, the race leader, the No. 2 dove to the inside of Hamlin via a push from Logano in turns 1 and 2 in an attempt to take the lead. Hamlin, likely being aggressive because the race doesn’t pay any points, blocked Keselowski and the two made contact.

    That left the high side wide open for Logano, who sailed past the two damaged cars and had no one close enough to challenge for the win. Kyle Busch finished second while Alex Bowman was third and Danica Patrick was fourth. While Keselowski’s car made it to the finish, Hamlin’s car went spinning and he stopped on the backstretch.

    The race was delayed from Saturday night because of rain and the rain delay perhaps gave us a better idea of what we’ll see in next Sunday’s Daytona 500 because of the similar daytime conditions.

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  • Preseason exhibition Clash race postponed to Sunday

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 17 hrs ago

    The unofficial first race of the 2017 Cup Series season has been delayed.

    Rain forced the postponement of Saturday night’s Advance Auto Parts Clash to Sunday. The race will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and be televised on Fox Sports 1.

    The 75-lap race serves as a teaser for the Daytona 500, the biggest event in NASCAR. The 2017 edition of the race features 17 drivers; those who qualified for the 2016 Chase, those who won a pole in 2016 and previous Daytona 500 pole winners. The starting lineup for the field was set by random draw and Brad Keselowski will start on the pole.

    The postponement of the Clash means that it’ll be run just prior to pole qualifying for the Daytona 500. Qualifying for the front row of the Feb. 26 race will be run Sunday afternoon.

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    Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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  • 2017 Preview: Jimmie Johnson leads our projected final four of drivers

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 19 hrs ago

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    You could probably figure out from the rest of our countdown as to who the top four drivers would be in our 2017 projections. Now it’s time to list those drivers in a projected order. And there’s a gr-eight chance the defending champion is No. 1.

    4. Denny Hamlin: Perhaps the new playoff format will be Hamlin’s catalyst for a championship.

    Hamlin has frequently lamented his bad luck in previous Chases, and has even gone so far as to use the term “Denny Hamlin luck.” And while the three-race rounds in the NASCAR playoffs are ripe for randomness, the carryover of bonus points should serve Hamlin well.

    As bonus points are added to the first three rounds, Hamlin (and everyone else) has a cushion for a blown engine or an untimely crash.

    3. Kevin Harvick: There will inevitably be hiccups in Stewart-Haas Racing’s transition to Ford, but it’s hard to imagine that they’ll affect Harvick and his team enough to prevent them from being excellent once again.

    And if they do, there’s 26 races before the playoffs to figure any issues out.

    Johnson is going to break his tie with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. It’s just a matter of when.

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  • All drivers who crash out of NASCAR races must take immediate concussion exam

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 1 day ago

    NASCAR will administer on-site concussion tests for all drivers who are no longer able to compete in a race because of crash damage.

    The sanctioning body announced Friday afternoon that it would mandate the assessment of a SCAT-3(Sports Concussion Assessment Tool) examination to any driver whose car has gone behind the wall because of a crash.

    Starting in 2017, teams cannot work on crashed cars in the garage and return them to a race. Once a car is taken off the the track because of a crash it cannot return and the driver must head to the infield care center for an examination.

    The combination of mandatory concussion tests and requirement of all drivers with crashed out cars to go to the infield care center is a big departure from previous protocol. Dale Earnhardt Jr. missed the second half of the 2016 season after he suffered a concussion from a hard hit at Michigan.

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  • Kurt Busch's former agent sues for over $1 million in alleged nonpayments

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    A former agent for Kurt Busch believes the driver owes $1.4 million in payments.

    A suit was filed this month, per USA Todayand MLive.com, by Sports Management Network. In it, the agency alleges that Busch terminated his relationship with the company and stopped making payments in March and owes over $900,000 for 2016 and $540,000 for 2017.

    Busch, who had been represented by the agency since 2005, had a contract with the company through 2018 according to the lawsuit. As part of the terms of the agreement — which was amended in 2012 as Busch parted ways with Team Penske — Busch was obligated to pay the agency 10 percent of his personal services income from 2013 onwards.

    “We believe the lawsuit is without merit, and we plan to vigorously defend the lawsuit,” Busch’s attorney Alan Miller told MLive.com.

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  • Nature's Bakery says it won't be bullied by Stewart-Haas, plans to file counterclaims to suit

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

    Nature’s Bakery said Stewart-Haas Racing’s lawsuit against the snack company is a threat of “scorched earth litigation” and that it plans to defend itself from the race team in counterclaims.

    SHR fileda suit against Nature’s Bakery earlier this month after the company wasn’t on any of Danica Patrick’s team apparel during her media day appearances in January. Nature’s Bakery signed a three-year agreement to replace GoDaddy as Patrick’s primary sponsor starting in 2016.

    The team said in its breach of contract suit that Nature’s Bakery owed over $30 million on the remainder of its agreement with the team and that the company tried to rework its payment plan with the team. It also said Nature’s Bakery had accused Patrick of not fulfilling her role as a brand ambassador to the company.

    In a statement Thursday, Nature’s Bakery said it would provide more details to its side of the story soon and its court filing would “shed light on SHR’s conduct both during the race season and after.”

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  • 2017 preview: Drivers Nos. 5-8 in our projected standings

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 2 days ago

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    Welcome to part three of our preview series. After checking out these four drivers, it’s pretty obvious who our final four is going to be, right? We’ll reveal our projected champion Friday.

    8. Matt Kenseth: This is the part of the preview sections where we should use the ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and simply say that any of the eight remaining drivers has a chance of winning the title. While the overall depth of the Cup field gets thinner, the depth at the top gets better.

    That’s probably not a coincidence, given the costs of operating a competitive Cup operation. But that’s another point for another day.

    Kenseth has been a title contender in each of the elimination Chase’s three seasons. He just hasn’t had the luck to show for it at Kansas in 2015 when Joey Logano made contact with him while racing for the lead or at Phoenix in November when Kenseth got crashed out of … you guessed it, the lead.

    Book Kenseth for an 8th-straight season with an average finish inside the top 15. And maybe the new playoff format with accumulated and carried over bonus points will help him get to the final round for the first time.

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  • Here are the stage lengths for every Cup Series race in 2017

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    We now know the length of the three stages for all of NASCAR’s races in 2017.

    As part of new rules implemented for the season, every race is broken up into three pieces. Points are awarded to drivers in the top 10 of each of the first two segments while race points are awarded for every driver at the end of the race.

    Because of varying race and track lengths, there’s no hard divisions for the length of each race’s segments. Some tracks may have first and second segments longer than others.

    “Every track is unique for its characteristics in length, surface and overall racing conditions,” NASCAR vice president Scott Miller said in a statement. “We worked closely with race teams on expected fuel and tire runs over the entirety of an event when considering stage lengths. And in the end, stage lengths were decided based upon what would provide the best race for fans.”

    Here’s how the races will be broken up for the Cup Series.

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  • 2017 Preview: Drivers Nos. 9-12 in our projected standings

    Nick Bromberg at From The Marbles 3 days ago

    Welcome to part three of our NASCAR preview series. After guessing who we think misses the playoffs, we looked at who we think will finish in the bottom four of the playoffs Tuesday. Now it’s time for drivers Nos. 9-12.

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    12. Kurt Busch: We’re being a bit conservative on Stewart-Haas’ chances because of the switch to Ford and we won’t be surprised in the slightest if Busch finishes solidly in the top 10.

    But there was something lacking from the No. 41 car over the last half of 2016. Granted, Busch’s torrent of top-10 finishes to start the season was unsustainable. But man, the team had more than just a step back at the end of the season.

    After 15 top 10s in the first 18 races, Busch had six over the final half of the season. Four of those came in the Chase, though it wasn’t enough to get him past the third round as poor runs at Martinsville and Texas scuttled any hopes of a championship.

    If Busch and crew chief Tony Gibson can carry over the secrets that had them at the top of the Cup heap at the beginning of 2016, then the No. 41 is in good shape. If not, Busch is going to make the playoffs but may not do much more than that.

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  • Book excerpt: Dale Earnhardt's final win at Talladega was his most thrilling

    Jay Busbee at From The Marbles 4 days ago

    EARNHARDT NATION, the complete biography of the Earnhardt family, written by Yahoo Sports’ Jay Busbee, is now out in paperback. In this exclusive excerpt, relive The Intimidator’s last great moment: his astounding come-from-behind white-knuckle victory at Talladega in 2000.

    The fall Talladega race in 2000 marked a transitional moment for the sport. A settlement with the federal government severely restricted tobacco companies’ ability to market their products. The 2000 Winston 500 would mark the last time that a regular-season Cup race would carry title sponsorship from Winston.

    October 15, 2000, was one of those classic Alabama fall Sundays, the sky wide, bright, and blue enough to touch, the flags in the infield rippling in a faint breeze. There was hope in the Alabama air; a hundred or so miles to the west, a generally woeful Bama football team had just thumped rival Ole Miss 45–7. Outside Alabama, Troy Aikman, Brett Favre, and Peyton Manning were suiting up for NFL games.