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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Week 12: NASCAR races at the “Monster Mile”, Dover International Speedway

compiled from staff, wire and NASCAR reports

This week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar turns to week 12 and May 16 for the Autism Speaks 400 on Fox-TV  at 1 p.m. at the Dover International Speedway. Known as the “Monster Mile”, Dover dates back to July 6, 1969, when Richard Petty won the first race at the high-banked oval. The race length is 400 laps or 400 miles and the speedway seats 135,000.

Dover International Speedway (nascar)

The Capital city of our nation’s first state, Dover, Delaware was founded by William Penn and is located on the St. Jones River and has a population of 35,811.

Famous residents of Dover include: actress Teri Polo; tennis player Madison Buengle; Seattle Mariners pitcher Ian Snell and activist Robert Crumb.

The “Monster Mile is a high-banked concrete oval which is known for producing long runs and fierce action. It’s a challenge for drivers, pit crews and the cars.

With his sweep of both races in 2009, Jimmie Johnson is tied with David Pearson for third on the all-time wins list at the “Monster Mile” with five. Richard Petty and Bobby Allison hold the record with seven each.

Recapping 2009, The Autism Speaks 400: No driver had an answer for Jimmie Johnson who led 298 of the 400 laps.

Denny Hamlin wins Southern 500 and sweeps Darlington

compiled from staff and wire reports

Denny Hamlin (nascar)

Denny Hamlin has continued his drive to prove his skeptics wrong by becoming the first driver in 17 years to sweep Darlington Raceway. His win Saturday night was his third in the last six races, second since his March 31st knee surgery, tying him with four-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson for most wins in the Sprint Cup Series.

Hamlin, who has moved from 15th to sixth in the standings during that span, is now the hottest driver in the series.

Not to long ago, about 6 weeks, that Denny Hamlin’s championship chances seemed to be very remote.

His 2010 season started off slowly, he was headed for surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left knee and the preseason pick to beat out Jimmy Johnson for the Cup had become a longshot at best.

Hamlin led 104 of the 367 laps and sailed to his third win of the this season to tie four-time defending NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson for the most wins this season in the Cup series.

Denny Hamlin wins NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington

compiled from staff and wire reports

Denny Hamlin pulled away from teammate Kyle Busch during the last five laps Friday night to take the Royal Purple 200, his third straight Nationwide series win at Darlington Raceway.

Denny Hamlin (nascar)

Hamlin and his first-year crew chief Kevin Kidd have been on a nice roll in 2010. The win was Hamlin’s third victory in his last three Nationwide starts at Darlington after taking the checkered flag in 2006 and 2007. Hamlin wrecked in qualifying to miss the 2008 event, then sat out last season.

It was side-by-side drag racing with Kyle Busch on the last restart. Busch was outgunned by Hamlin’s Toyota to finish second and Jamie McMurray finished 3rd.

Darlington Raceway qualifying record set by Jamie McMurray

compiled from staff and wire reports

Jamie McMurray set a Darlington Raceway record pace to lead qualifying Friday for NASCAR’s Southern 500 race, ahead of seven-time winner Jeff Gordon, who’ll start second and Brian Vickers third.

The Southern 500 is the 11th NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the season. It is tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox-TV.

McMurray’s best speed of 290.277 kph (180.370), plus the times of Gordon and Vickers all bested the old mark that Matt Kenseth set a year ago.

Jamie McMurray (Nascar)

This is the fifth career pole and second this season for the Daytona 500 champion.

Mark Martin, who won the race a year ago at 50 years old, had the fifth fastest time and will start next to Ryan Newman.

Graham Rahal will drive in the Indy 500 for famous Dad

compiled from staff and wire reports

Graham Rahal (file)

It’s still early in the Indy Racing League season and it’s hard to believe that Graham Rahal still doesn’t have a regular ride. But he will have on for “The Greatest Spectacle In Racing” the Indianapolis 500. And most of all, he’ll be driving for his famous dad.

Rahal will drive for Rahal Letterman Racing, teamming up with his dad who has won at the Brickyard as a driver and an owner.

The younger Rahal 21, will drive in the May 30 race in the Rahal/Letterman’s number 30 Dallara/Honda for a yet-to-be-determined sponsor.

Considered to be one of the best driver’s on the IndyCar Series’ circuit since he became it’s youngest at 19 in 2008, Graham went into 2010 without a full ride after two years with Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing.

Rahal had a chance to drive in the first three of the first four races with  Sarah Fisher Racing, his best finish a ninth at St. Petersburg. Fisher took over behind the wheel at Kansas Speedway last weekend, leaving the talented and popular Rahal with an uncertain future.

His dad, Bobby Rahal was a three-time CART champion, who won the Indy in 1986 as a driver and as owner with Buddy Rice in 2004. Despite his son’s talents as a driver, Bobby had been very reluctant to hire him as a driver at Rahal-Letterman Racing, because he wanted Graham to be his own man, live on his own accomplishments and no one can say he made it because his dad is Bobby Rahal.

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