Posts Tagged ‘race’

Twins snap White Sox’s win streak at 9 (AP)

July 17th, 2010
Having tripped and fallen behind in the race, the Minnesota Twins started the second half with an important series against the division leading Chicago White Sox -- with the packed new ballpark adding to the excitement. Francisco Liriano is trying to avoid that amped-up feeling, but this time he figured out how to keep from overthrowing.

Will Dale Earnhardt Jr. Allow Danica Patrick To Double Date In 2011?

July 17th, 2010

Half way through her rookie campaign, Danica Patrick is still drawing a huge fan base.

Next year will not only be her second year in the Nationwide series, it will also be, according to her contractual obligation, her final year in the IRL.

Patrick’s camp has made it clear her ultimate goal is to drive full time in the Sprint Cup series by 2012.

Beyond this season, except for her IRL schedule, there has been nothing listed for next year in the Nationwide series, or beyond to the Sprint Cup series for Patrick.

If next year's Nationwide schedule parallels this years schedule, there will be several opportunities for Patrick to run more than one race in a two or three day span.

Recently Brian France stated there would be some changes in how the Nationwide series was run next year.

Speculation is there will be limitations on how many races, if any, a full time Sprint Cup driver can enter. While this speculation, on the surface, has nothing to do with Danica Patrick, it does bring up a very important question.

If full time Sprint Cup drivers are not allowed to race in the Nationwide series, will Nationwide regulars be allowed to race in the Sprint Cup series?

Patrick has spent this year getting her feet wet at a host of tracks. Next year could be more of the same.

It’s rare for a driver not to be entered in at least one, two, or several Sprint Cup races before their first full time year.

Patrick’s continuing full time IRL schedule makes it even more difficult for her to be entered into a Sprint Cup event.

There are however, if she follows the same schedule, multiple opportunities for her to race in multiple events in one weekend.

It is actually possible for her to race in a Nationwide event on Friday or Saturday and an IRL event on Sunday, as well as multiple opportunities for her to race in a Nationwide even on Saturday and a Sprint Cup event on Sunday.

There have been several drivers who have raced in an IRL event and a NASCAR event on the same weekend. It has however never proven to be successful.

Patrick’s handlers have no doubt considered these possibilities.

The obvious choices for double duty would be Daytona, where she did a double this year, Charlotte, home of just about every race team, Michigan, where she also runs in the IRL, or one of the two road courses on the NASCAR circuit.

Hot bed tracks like Bristol, Darlington, Richmond, and Martinsville shouldn’t be a consideration for double duty.

There will be a time, however, when Patrick will have to race on these mini miles of mayhem. Maybe her schedule next year is when she takes her first dip into the raging waters of short track stress. 

All of this would be much easier if Patrick were not a full time IRL driver. It will also be easier to figure out once NASCAR makes their intentions for the Nationwide series public.
There will be a time when Patrick will have to climb into a Sprint Cup car. It is very doubtful that first time will be mid February, 2012.

Photo Credit: David Yeazell

IndyCar Race Preview: Honda Indy Toronto

July 17th, 2010

The IZOD IndyCar Series makes it first foray into the Great White North of the season with this weekend's Honda Indy Toronto, an event won by Dario Franchitti last year.

Each of the past eight races held on the 1.755-mile Exhibition Place street circuit have been won by different drivers; the last driver to successfully defend his victory was Michael Andretti in 2001. Andretti is the all-time wins leader at the circuit with seven victories, a factor in his decision to purchase the race's assets in mid-2008 and rescue it after that year's running was cancelled due to the demise of Champ Car.

This weekend's event, as well as the Edmonton airport race two weeks from now, are widely celebrated by the Canadian fans, and are especially welcomed by the Canadian members of the circuit. Alex Tagliani and Paul Tracy, the two active Canadian IndyCar drivers, will each be running special paint schemes in the race—Tagliani a new Hot Wheels-backed livery, Tracy an equally impressive car backed by the Canadian arm of the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Toronto Blue Jays.

But the drivers aren't the only ones returning to their home country this weekend. In fact, two of the engineers on the de Ferran Dragon Racing team, lead engineer Eric Zeto and performance engineer Scott Raymond, call the province of Ontario home. The team hopes to build on their momentum from Watkins Glen, where driver Rafa Matos finished an impressive 4th despite losing his in-car telemetry in the middle of the race. Matos finished 10th at Toronto last year.

Matos has certainly shown the speed this weekend, with his best lap in the second practice, a 62.3984-second run, good for fifth in that session. But 13 cars—half of the field—were within a second of that session's leader, Ryan Hunter-Reay, who turned a 62.1433-second lap.

Within those 13 cars, seven different teams are represented—Andretti Autosport, Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, Team Penske, de Ferran Dragon Racing, FAZZT Race Team, KV Racing Technology, and Chip Ganassi Racing. This suggests not only a close battle for pole position, but also a mammoth struggle just to make the Firestone Fast Six.

In the race itself, don't be surprised if Will Power and Justin Wilson challenge for victory. They are two of only four former Toronto winners in the field (the others being Tracy, who won it in 1993 and 2003, and Franchitti, who won in 1999 as well as last year). Power and Wilson were right on Franchitti's tail last year, finishing third and fifth, respectively, after starting second and fourth.

Television coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto begins on Sunday at 12:30 PM EST. The race will be shown on ABC.

Daytona Asphalt Removal on the Fast Track

July 17th, 2010

Week 2 Daytona Repave Update: More Than 17 Million Pounds Of Asphalt & Lime Rock Removed

After wrapping up its second week, the historic Daytona International Speedway repaving project is running at full speed.

The sounds of race cars have been replaced by construction equipment as Daytona International
Speedway’s entire 2.5-mile tri-oval, skid pads, apron and pit road is being repaved.

Here’s a look at what has been accomplished in the first two weeks of the massive project:

· 57 light poles have been removed from the upper rim road overlooking Turns 1, 2, 3 and 4.

· More than 5,000 linear feet of SAFER Barrier has been removed

· Both the Superstretch racing surface and the Turn 4 short chute has been milled, graded and been given a coat of asphalt primer and is now ready to be paved

·The milling of the tri-oval is completed and now is being graded.

·Trial batches of asphalt are being produced at the asphalt plant located just outside the Superstretch

·The additional skid pad area on the Superstretch has been excavated and is now being graded. The dirt from the skid pad excavation is being used the fill behind the walls on the upper rim road.

·Overall, approximately 17 million pounds of asphalt and lime rock have been removed.

Lane Construction, which repaved other ISC race tracks including Talladega Superspeedway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway, will use an estimated 50,000 tons of asphalt to repave more than 1.4 million square feet of Daytona International Speedway and has a target completion date of Jan. 1, 2011.

Speedweeks 2011 will kick off with the 49th annual Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race on Jan. 29-30 and conclude with the 53rd annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 20, the prestigious season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Race fans will be able to view the progression of the historic repaving project from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands, which will open free to the public. Track tours will also be available through attraction admission to Daytona 500 Experience.

Daytona International Speedway also is posting updates on the project at

Press release courtesy of Daytona International Speedway. 

Photo credit: Dwight Drum @

MLB Trade Rumors: Can New York Mets Get Anything for Jeff Francoeur?

July 17th, 2010

It goes without saying that Jeff Francoeur has pretty much worn out his welcome in New York. He is hitting a paltry .253, can't run all that well, or play other positions. Also, with the return of Carlos Beltran to the Mets lineup, New York is rather deep in outfield talent.

The Mets have Carlos Beltran in center and Jason Bay in left. Right now, Angel Pagan and Francoeur are platooning in right, though the two have comparable OPS stats when facing lefties (.695 for Pagan vs. .737 for Francoeur). As a result, the platoon looks like it will be Pagan mostly playing, rather than anything split.

This leads to one question: What do the Mets do with Jeff Francoeur?

Releasing him is an option that is starting to gain steam. Matt Meyers of ESPN wrote, "Francoeur is still running on the fumes of his former potential, but it's time to realize that he is what he is: A 26-year-old plodding outfielder with a great arm who is capable of hitting some singles when a lefty is on the mound. Does that sound like a player who can help a team in the midst of a nip-and-tuck playoff race?"

Harsh words, but when you look at his stats, they are not what you expect to get from a right fielder. Since June 1, he has hit .265 with three home runs and 15 RBI. They're not terrible numbers, but where did the 100 RBI player from Atlanta go?

It goes without saying, at least to me, that Pagan is the outfielder to hold on to as the playoff race thickens, not Francoeur. However, I don't think his stats are so horrendous that an outright release is necessary.

If he was put on the trading block, then there might be a suitor or two. The Red Sox have enough injuries to their outfield that having Francoeur just as insurance could help then keep pace in the AL East. The Giants may take a flier on him, as they could use an outfielder. They signed Dontrelle Willis, so I wouldn't put it past them.

Beyond that, I can't think of all that many teams who would want him. He's only 26, so there is always the chance that he returns to his old form. The Mets also have Jesus Feliciano, who's playing quite well and is proving to be a much better option due to his versatility.

The only thing the Mets can be glad about, perhaps, is that the person they traded to get him last year, Ryan Church, is hitting .186 and playing even worse.

I do not see Francoeur being in a Mets uniform in 2011 though, in any case. What's your take? Should the Mets give up and release him? Should they trade him to salvage any value they can? If there are teams looking at Kerry Wood and Dontrelle Willis, there will be some looking at Francoeur, so it's worth a shot to me.

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