Martin Truex Jr. finally got the monkey off his back at Pocono last Sunday, scoring a win for his Furniture Row team in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup race at the tricky triangle. Truex has run as well as anyone this season, leading the most laps in the previous three races, but just coming up short of victory. He’s the 10th driver to chalk up a win, and with the points he has racked up he’s a lock to make the Chase for the Championship. It was a popular win, as evidenced by the congratulations he and crew chief Cole Pearn received from drivers, crews, car owners, and press.
This weekend it’s on to Michigan, the fastest non-restrictor plate track on the schedule. With the new horsepower reduction rule in place, the 206.558 qualifying record Jeff Gordon set last August will probably stand for a long time. Gordon has three wins at Michigan along with six poles and eight runner-up finishes. He and teammate Jimmie Johnson split the two races there in 2014, but Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four victories and his Roush-Fenway team tops the win list at Michigan with 13. Half a dozen drivers have scored two Michigan wins — Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, and Ryan Newman. Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, and Johnson have each been to victory circle once. Interestingly, all have won this year or are in the top 16 in points except Biffle, who sits 18th in the standings.
In open-wheel news, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan had an epic battle for the IndyCar win at Texas Motor Speedway last Saturday night, with Ganassi Racing driver Dixon eventually taking the victory. The race was remarkably wreck-free at the fastest oval on the IndyCar schedule. Helio Castroneves was third, first of the Penske contingent, and Marco Andretti led his Andretti Autosport teammates with a fifth-place result. Ryan Briscoe sat in for the injured James Hinchcliffe and picked up 11 spots to finish eighth. Hinchcliffe appeared on the jumbo video screen at the track to give the command to start engines, and appeared to be in good spirits. Although he told a Canadian sports network his recovery is proceeding ahead of schedule, it will be unlikely he will be back in the car this season. He will, however, be Grand Marshal for Sunday’s race, and will be cheering for Conner Daly who will handle driving duties in the No. 5 car.
This weekend the IndyCar series moves from a Texas oval to a Canadian street course for the Honda Indy Toronto round of the championship. The race will take place Sunday and will air beginning at noon on the NBC Sports Network.
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton notched another pole and a race win on his steering wheel in Montreal last Sunday, holding off teammate Nico Rosberg and extending his championship points lead by seven. Both cars dodged the brake problems that dogged them at the circuit last season. Williams driver Valtteri Bottas finished 40 seconds behind the dominant Silver Arrows cars, denying Ferrari Driver Kimi Raikkonen the honor of the final podium spot. It was the fourth Montreal victory for Hamilton and the seventh consecutive 1-2 finish for the Mercedes team, a feat not equaled since Ferrari accomplished it over the 1952-53 seasons. The series is dark this weekend, returning to competition with the Austrian Grand Prix next weekend.
Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon is hosting a two-day racing show this weekend in conjunction with Octane Fest. Outlaw Kart action starts at 9 a.m. with stock car races beginning at 1 p.m. both days.