Roger Diez: Sample gets sweep at Ironman
For the Nevada Appeal
Last weekend’s Ironman series visit to Fernley 95A Speedway provided two nights of close, exciting racing. Randy Artz of Battle Mountain beat Winnemucca’s Cory Sample to the checker on Friday in the IMCA Modified division. On Saturday, it was basically a two-car race as Gardnerville’s Robert Miller and Sample left the rest of the field in the dust. Miller led the early laps, but Sample got by on a restart and stayed in front all the way to the Checker. Rocky Goetz of Dayton won the Hobby Stock Ironman division both nights. On Saturday, Justin Busch of Fernley took the Super Stock 4 win, Reno’s Joe Frock dueled with Fernley driver Calvin Ryle before taking the Dwarf victory, and the Street Stock win went to Rick Miller of Sun Valley.
As we get into the countdown to the Chase, it’s looking less likely that we will have 16 or more race winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season this year. Brad Keselowski won the Saturday night wreck fest at Daytona last week, where just about all the Ford competitors were strong. The win tied Keselowski with Kyle Busch atop the standings with three wins each. Tonight the Cup series races at Kentucky for only the sixth time, this year on brand-new pavement that has a surprising amount of grip. Speeds are up even though the track has been narrowed in places, which should make for an interesting race. Busch and Keselowski have each won twice at Kentucky and Matt Kenseth has one win in the series’ short history there. Tony Stewart will make his 600th Cup start tonight, making him the 23rd driver in series history to run in that many races. If Stewart wins tonight, he will tie Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson with 50 wins. Kyle Busch and Kenseth are tied with 37 wins apiece and will take sole possession of 19th on the all-time winners’ list if one of them can manage to take the checkered flag tonight.
Lewis Hamilton made a late-race pass on Nico Rosberg to win the Austrian Grand Prix, but the move nearly ended in disaster as Rosberg threw a block at his Mercedes teammate. Rosberg’s front wing was damaged in the encounter, and he dropped to fourth at the checker. Mercedes team principals are considering issuing team orders for this weekend’s British Grand Prix to avoid another ugly incident. My personal recommendation is to build a two-seater and put both drivers in it. In any case, Hamilton will attempt to become the first British driver to win his home Grand Prix three times in a row (and four overall) since the late Jimmy Clark. Clark won back-to-back from 1962-1965 and again in 1967.
The IndyCar series is also back in action this weekend, racing at the very fast 7/8-mile Iowa Speedway. The race will be televised Sunday on the NBC Sports Network at 2 p.m. Pacific time. This will be the 10th race of the 16-race season and three of the four Team Penske drivers are at the top of the point standings. Simon Pagenaud leads the points with 375, Helio Castroneves has 301, and Will Power’s win at Road America made his total 294.
On a more somber note, we said farewell last week to the Indy Car legend Carl Haas, who passed away at age 86 after a long bout with Alzheimer’s. Haas raced sports cars in the 1950s and 60s, but his main claim to fame was as a team owner. Haas partnered with movie star and race Paul Newman to found Newman-Haas Racing and the team scored eight championships and 107 victories in CART and Champ Car from 1983 through the 2008 season. Haas secured Mario Andretti as a drive after his Formula 1 championship, added Mario’s son Michael to the team, and even out-negotiated the Queen of England for the services of F1 champion Nigel Mansell. Other successful Newman-Haas drivers included Sebastian Bourdais, Christiano da Matta, and Paul Tracy. Carl Haas will be missed. Godspeed, Carl.