Jo Cobb in Hot Water

Jennifer Jo Cobb said she was “mad as hell” at Tyler Reddick and forgot a NASCAR rule that prohibits drivers from walking on the track, which she did during Friday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Dover International Speedway.

“The fact that I forget is such a shame because the reason (the rule) is in place likely stems from a tragedy that none of us should forget,’’ Cobb said after meeting with NASCAR officials.

NASCAR instituted the rule last August after Tony Stewart struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. in a sprint car race in New York. Ward walked down the track toward Stewart’s car after an incident and was struck.

This the first time a driver in any of NASCAR’s three national series has violated the rule.

“A huge error in judgment on my part,’’ Cobb said. “The fact that we had a very stern meeting will keep it top of my mind for sure.’’

Elton Sawyer, director of the Camping World Truck Series, said of Cobb’s actions: “It’s a serious infraction. She understands what she did and there will be consequences.’’

NASCAR likely will announce its action Tuesday.

Hamlin takes Pole at Dover

Denny Hamlin rolled to the Coors Light Pole Award in Friday afternoon's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at Dover International Speedway.

Hamlin drove the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 11 Toyota to a fast lap of 160.121 mph on the 1-mile concrete oval. He'll start first in Sunday's FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks

The pole position was Hamlin's first of the season, third at the Monster Mile and 21st of his Sprint Cup career. The pole-winning lap was significantly slower than the track qualifying record of 164.444 mph set by Brad Keselowski in May.

"It's great," said Hamlin, who also won the Dover pole in September 2012 and May 2013. "Obviously our car's shown speed all day long, which is something that we haven't had lately, so we're kind of building and getting a little bit better and starting to figure out our setups and whatnot. So we're getting better and obviously this kind of shows it."

Martin Truex Jr., second in the Sprint Cup standings, will share Sunday's front row in the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Chevrolet after notching the second-fastest lap at 159.723 mph. Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano completed the top five.

Defending Sprint Cup champion and current points leader Kevin Harvick qualified sixth-fastest in the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 4 Chevrolet. Kyle Busch, making just his second start of the season in points-paying races since returning from serious leg injuries in a February crash at Daytona, earned the 10th starting spot in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota.

Some big names were left out of later qualifying rounds at the two elimination stages in the three-round format. Jimmie Johnson, a nine-time Dover winner in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet, was among them. After leading opening Sprint Cup practice earlier in the day, he posted just the 14th-fastest lap in Round 2, failing to make the final cut to determine the top 12 starters.

"I think, in a sense, we maybe didn't make the changes we need to or thought we needed to change, because the car had so much speed in that first practice session, but it's a totally different race track," Johnson said. "And we tried to plan ahead and made some small changes, but it wasn't enough."

Kurt Busch was also in that unfortunate group, making just the 13th-best lap to miss the cut for the final, five-minute round.

Keselowski was the final driver to make the cut after Round 1, edging Kasey Kahne by .005 seconds for the 24th spot. The Team Penske driver ended up qualifying 19th. Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart also just missed the cut, posting the 26th-fastest lap.

Jeff Green and Travis Kvapil failed to qualify for the 43-car field.

Iannone delights Italian fans as Marquez provides the drama

Andrea Iannone claimed Ducati’s first pole at Mugello since 2007, while Marc Marquez experienced his worst ever MotoGP™ Qualifying.

It was a day of contrasts at the Gran Premio D’Italia as Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone sent the Italian fans at the Autodromo del Mugello into rapture as he claimed his first career MotoGP™ pole position in near perfect conditions.

Countering that was the dramatic action involving the reigning MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez, as he failed to make it through to Q2 for the first time in his career and will start Sunday’s race from the head of the fifth row in thirteenth.

Iannone, riding with a fractured humerus sustained during a testing crash at the Tuscany Circuit, took advantage of the softer option tyre available to Ducati to set a 1’46.489, which was almost seven-tenths quicker than Dani Pedrosa’s pole record from 2013: “I am very pleased with how things went today! For sure in my condition this result was in no way expected, but in the end me and my team did a great job and we managed to improve. The only problem I have at the moment is my shoulder condition, because it needs more time to get back to 100%: tomorrow will be a tough race but I will not give in”

Marquez struggled throughout the day, getting caught out in FP3 and finishing down in eleventh on the combined timesheets. It was only the second time the Spaniard has failed to automatically qualify for Q2, the first being at Mugello in 2013.

A crash in FP4 only compounded matters and as Marquez attempted to make it through from Q1 he set a time good enough for second on the timesheets with 2 minutes to go in the session. Thinking that the job was done, it was then that disaster struck for him and his team. Yonny Hernandez on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati displaced him in the final seconds, securing the Columbians progress through to Q2 at Marquez’ expense. This means that Marquez will have to start Sunday’s race from the front of the fourth row in 13th, his worst ever MotoGP™ Qualifying performance: “We can't be happy about today, because this was the worst qualifying result that we have had in MotoGP. Starting in the morning, we didn't use the new tyre and that took us into Q1 – in which we had a problem that prevented us from progressing to Q2. Nevertheless, I think we have a good pace for tomorrow, although it is clear that starting from so far back we will suffer a lot.”

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo will be a force to be reckoned with come Sunday’s race, as he demonstrated an incredibly consistent race pace throughout Free Practice. The double MotoGP™ World Champion was only 0.095s behind Dovizioso in Q2 and will start from second on the grid, a feat made all the more impressive as Lorenzo does not have the softer option tyre available to him: “We must be proud of our performance, because we improved the bike, which has been our goal for today. We had to improve our pace by half a second and maybe we didn‘t do that but we did shave off three-tenths. Today has been a great day. We couldn‘t get the pole position, but second place is great.”

Andrea Dovizioso followed up Iannone’s amazing pole lap by securing third on the grid, making it two Ducati GP15’s on the front row, and the team will be pushing hard for their first win since Stoner’s victory in Australia in 2010: “It was a great qualifying session for our team, because there are two Ducati GP15 bikes on the front row. I had a good feeling with the bike when I did my lap, and this is very important in view of the race because it means that we have the speed to be able to fight for the leading positions.”

CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow won the battle of the Satellite riders, as he once again impressed during Q2 to finish fourth as the fastest Honda on the grid: “Overall I was happy, because I tried a hard front tyre and I was happy with that, so much so I even qualified with it. I just missed out on the front row again, but I made a small mistake which was my own fault.”

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro was another rider who had to grit his teeth as he was suffering from the injury to his right thumb sustained during his Free Practice crash at Le Mans. The Spaniard was impressive after making through as the second fastest rider from Q1, and will start the race from the middle of the second row in fifth, although he has concerns about the affect his injury might have on his pace over race distance.

To top off an almost perfect day for Ducati, their test rider Michele Pirro managed to set a time good enough for sixth in Q2 and will complete the second row for Sunday’s race, an effort which was the best qualifying performance from a wild card rider since Ben Spies claimed fifth in 2008 at Indianapolis.

Dani Pedrosa on the second Factory Repsol Honda RC213V showed he is recovering from his arm pump surgery by setting the seventh fastest time. The Spaniard will start from the head of the third row, ahead of nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi.

Rossi, once again, could not perform as he wanted during qualifying, although he wont be too disappointed to start the race from eighth on the grid as his last three victories have been achieved after he qualified in that position: “I improved a lot and my lap time was not so bad, but it wasn‘t enough. All the top riders were able to improve their pace a lot, so apart from my starting position on the third row, which is not fantastic, I‘m quite happy about today.”

Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick Viñales will start the race from ninth on the grid, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammates Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith in tenth and eleventh respectively.

Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera was the leading Open class rider in fifteenth, with the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Factory spec Honda of Scott Redding down in 17th.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Teams Penalized

Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have been penalized following last week’s event at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The No. 1 team has been penalized for an infraction occurring during pre-qualifying inspection May 21. The right rear quarter panel wheel opening was modified after qualifying inspection.

The infraction is a P2 level penalty and violates the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing.

20.4.b: Body; All approved OEM-manufactured body components must be used as supplied except as required to stiffen, or to attach to other vehicle components. Tolerances from CAD surfaces and template tolerances are provided to allow for manufacturing, fabrication, and installation variability. Approved Parts: GM R: NSCS 0786. Part Name: Quarter Panel RS, Effective date Aug. 1, 2012.

20.4.2: Surface Conformance (a). Coordinate measuring machines, scanning equipment, and templates, among other tools, will be used to inspect body surfaces for conformance to the approved OEM and NASCAR CAD files.
           
As a result of this violation, crew chief Matt McCall has been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.

Additionally, two teams – the No. 48 and No. 51 – have been assessed P1 level penalties for receiving written warnings in two consecutive events, both at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The No. 48 team received a warning from the May 16 event and also received one from pre-qualifying inspection from last week’s event. In addition to receiving a warning from the May 16 event, the No. 51 team also received one from pre-race inspection from last week’s event.

Per Section 12.5.3.1 of the NASCAR rule book:

Warnings and P1 penalty options: b. Multiple warnings issued to the same member or team will result in one or more P1 penalties; c. If the same team receives two warnings during the same event or two warnings during two consecutive events, whether the events are championship or non-championship, then this may result in one or more … P1 penalties at NASCAR’s discretion.

As a result of these infractions the No. 48 and No. 51 teams will receive the last two choices in the pit selection process, respective to qualifying results, for this weekend’s event at Dover International Speedway.

Late pass gives Reddick victory at Dover

Tyler Reddick had a score to settle with Dover International Speedway, and on Friday he did just that, winning the Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his second start at the Monster Mile.

Reddick passed Erik Jones on Lap 193 of 200 and finished 1.255 seconds ahead of Daniel Suarez, who drove past third-place finisher Jones in the closing laps to take the runner-up spot.

The victory was Reddick’s second of the season in the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, and in the driver’s view, it atoned for last year’s eighth-place finish, in which Reddick underestimated the physical toll high-speed racing at Dover can exact.

Specifically, his leg fell asleep as the race progressed.

"After what happened to myself last year, not knowing a lot about the g-forces in the corners here—I was kind of green when it came to asphalt racing," Reddick said. "We had a top-five truck last year, and to have something like that impede our progress in what would have been our first top five… to have something like that mess up what could have been potentially a breakout day for us are the things you can’t have happen in racing.

"I really wanted to come back here and run really strong, just like I want to run strong every given race. But (last year) gave me a little bit of extra fuel for the fire, and I knew I had to run good here—and we did."

Daniel Henrick posted a career-best fourth-place NCWTS finish in his first race at Dover. Series leader Matt Crafton ran fifth but saw his margin narrowed to 11 points by Reddick, who is second after six races.

Ben Kennedy came home sixth, followed by Keystone Light Polesitter Ryan Blaney, Brandon Jones, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Young. Suarez, Jones, Kennedy and Blaney, who finished among the top seven, are all NASCAR Next alums.

Though Jones, lost one position to Reddick in the series standings, he moved closer to Crafton, now trailing the two-time defending champion by 14 points. Sauter is fourth, 40 points behind Crafton, and could be considered the only other driver within realistic striking distance of the leader at this point in the season.

Like Jones, Suarez used a two-tire call to gain track position in the late stages of the race but felt race traffic hindered him in the closing laps.

"To be honest, I feel like we had a faster truck," said Suarez, a member of the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class, who posted his best finish to date in the series. "Traffic was everything. I was talking with my crew chief Jerry Baxter through the radio during the middle of the race. I told him, ‘I don’t care about tires, I need the track position.’

"For sure the track position was very important. Erik Jones he changed just two tires in the last pit stop and he was able to almost get the win and he was driving away, but traffic was a big problem for him and for me and I feel like for everyone. Traffic was something that was a gamble, but overall I feel like we learned some good stuff for tomorrow (in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race)."

A collision between winner Reddick and Jennifer Jo Cobb turned nasty as Cobb stormed onto a hot track to show her displeasure.  Something she will undoubtedly look back on and say that was very a very stupid thing to do.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race - Lucas Oil 200
Dover International Speedway
Dover, Delaware
Friday, May 29, 2015

1. (4) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 200, $55620.
2. (5) Daniel Suarez(i), Toyota, 200, $33106.
3. (2) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 200, $32003.
4. (19) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 200, $23957.
5. (3) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 200, $23604.
6. (18) Ben Kennedy, Toyota, 200, $21965.
7. (1) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200, $20663.
8. (12) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 200, $20060.
9. (16) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 200, $19612.
10. (25) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 199, $20313.
11. (20) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, 199, $19115.
12. (13) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 199, $18810.
13. (10) Cole Custer, Chevrolet, 198, $16450.
14. (15) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 196, $16339.
15. (22) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 195, $18878.
16. (21) Austin Hill, Ford, 192, $16317.
17. (27) Korbin Forrister #, Chevrolet, 190, $18258.
18. (17) John Wes Townley, Chevrolet, 178, $18147.
19. (24) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 178, $15786.
20. (14) Timothy Peters, Toyota, Accident, 136, $18426.
21. (7) Cameron Hayley #, Toyota, 136, $17815.
22. (6) John H. Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 136, $17704.
23. (31) Tim Viens, Chevrolet, Rear End, 127, $17594.
24. (28) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Accident, 90, $17484.
25. (8) Justin Boston #, Toyota, Accident, 65, $16273.
26. (32) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Suspension, 61, $16012.
27. (23) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, Ignition, 56, $14902.
28. (26) Justin Jennings, Chevrolet, Accident, 33, $14570.
29. (11) Mason Mingus, Chevrolet, Accident, 32, $14432.
30. (9) Jesse Little, Toyota, Accident, 32, $13932.
31. (29) Tyler Tanner, Chevrolet, Vibration, 15, $12432.
32. (30) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Accident, 12, $11432.

Juan Pablo Montoya Wins 99th Indianapolis

Juan Pablo Montoya often has said that his three Team Penske teammates pose the most formidable competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series.

In the closing laps of the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race, that proved to be the case.

Montoya, who won the race 15 years earlier in his first start, held off reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion and teammate Will Power by .1046 of a second -- the fourth-closest finish in race history -- in a thrilling battle over the final 15 laps that also included pole sitter and 2008 race winner Scott Dixon. Five of the 37 lead changes occurred in those 15 laps following a restart, with Montoya overtaking Dixon in Turn 1 for second place and Power in Turn 4 to lead Lap 197 by .0420 of a second.

"It was awesome," said Montoya, 39, of Colombia, after placing the winner's wreath around his neck and letting the milk dribble down his chin. "This is what racing in Indy car is all about, racing down to the wire. These guys, Team Penske, did an amazing job. I had the feeling that I had a really good car, but that fight at the end was really, really hard. All the way down to the wire. This is pretty awesome.”

The victory extended Roger Penske's record of Indy 500 victories to 16, and Montoya is the 11th different winner for Team Penske.

"You give that guy the bit and put it in his mouth and he doesn’t give up," said Penske, the race strategist for three-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves. "It’s a great day for Team Penske. I knew we had two up there, but the worry was Dixon and the 83 (Charlie Kimball). At the end of the day, they played fair. Good passing and we won the race.”

Montoya finished fifth last May in his return to the Indy 500 after a 13-year absence in which he won races in Formula One and NASCAR competition, and he is the first multiple winner in six races this season. He won the opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and extended his points lead over Power to 25 heading into the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans doubleheader May 30-31.

Montoya, who started 15th in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fell to 30th early in the race after being hit from behind while under caution, which necessitated a pit stop to change out the rear wing assembly. He then overshot his pit box on Lap 95, which cost precious seconds. Montoya worked his way up to third by Lap 102 and remained in the top five to challenge for the win.

Power was two-tenths of a second behind Montoya entering the white flag lap, but couldn't make a dramatic last-turn pass.

"I just had too much push when he got by," Power said. "I had to lift on that last lap.He was definitely better when he got behind me. That's why he got the run. Anywhere else I'd be happy with second. But here ...

"It was a great month overall -- first, first and second, second."

Power won the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9 from the pole and started second on the oval in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Kimball was .7950 of a second back in third -- a career best in five Indy 500 starts -- after starting 14th in the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Dixon, who led a field-high 84 laps, was 1.0292 seconds arrears in fourth place in the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet. Graham Rahal, who started 17th in the No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, finished fifth.

“I think we generally had a pretty good restart there," Dixon said. "I was just trying to pace it. When I really needed to go, I just couldn’t turn the car. We were fighting a little bit with the car overheating, so we were trying to go over different ignition maps. There was definitely a lot going on. As the laps were counting down I was trying to make something happen.

"I’m real proud of the Team Target guys. They did a good job all month but unfortunately we came away with fourth.”

Marco Andretti, Castroneves, JR Hildebrand, Josef Newgarden and front-row starter Simon Pagenaud completed the top 10 that includes five Americans on this Memorial Day weekend.