Newman Edges Biffle to Make It Two in a Row
Ryan Newman raced to his second consecutive NASCAR Busch Series victory Saturday, passing Greg Biffle with six laps remaining and holding him off by 0.766 seconds in the Domino’s Pizza 250 at Brooklyn, Mich.
Newman, the winner last week on the road course in Watkins Glen, has finished in the top five in all four of his Busch starts.
Newman, driving a Dodge on the two-mile Michigan International Speedway, started 38th in the 43-car field and quickly moved near the front of the pack. He passed Biffle as the race restarted after the last caution period.
“It was fortunate to have that restart,” Newman said. “My car was probably the best it had been, and his car was probably not as good as it had been.”
Carl Edwards finished third, and season points leader Martin Truex Jr. was fourth.
The Michigan race featured 11 full-time Nextel Cup drivers and veteran Bill Elliott, who runs a part-time Cup schedule.
Truex leads Clint Bowyer by 204 points in the points standings. Bowyer finished 30th after leading 62 laps.
Joe Nemechek withstood a rain delay to win his first pole of the NASCAR Nextel Cup season at Michigan International Speedway.
He enters today’s GFS Marketplace 400 in 17th place in the point standings, meaning he most likely won’t be in the Chase for the Cup. Four races remain before the competition.
“I hope this is a turn for our luck for the season,” said Nemechek, who drove his Chevrolet at 191.581 mph. “We’re looking forward to good things.”
Jeff Gordon, fighting to make the Chase for the Cup, will start second. Kasey Kahne will go third and Kyle Busch fourth.
Season points leader Tony Stewart qualified 36th at 187.583 mph. Stewart has won only one pole, but he has won five of his last seven starts. He holds a 105-point lead over Jimmie Johnson, who qualified 10th.
Helio Castroneves earned his first pole in nearly two years, edging Sam Hornish by 0.0023 seconds for today’s Honda Indy 225 at Fountain, Colo.
The two-time Indianapolis 500 winner finished the mile tri-oval in 20.5218 seconds (175.423 mph) and earned his first pole since October 2003 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Hornish had the second-fastest speed during practice. But a cold front that moved through before qualifying turned car setups into a bit of a guessing game and Hornish ended up getting the worst of the wind, running at the end of the qualifying session.
Rookie Danica Patrick had the day’s fastest practice time, finishing in 20.546 seconds during the second session. But when the temperatures cooled and the wind switched during qualifying, her team had trouble getting the setup right and she ended up fifth at 20.6435 seconds.
Bryan Herta qualified third at 20.543 seconds and defending champion Dario Franchitti was fourth.
Kimi Raikkonen won the pole for the Turkish Grand Prix, with Michael Schumacher among the six drivers to slide off the twisting, dusty track at Formula One’s newest venue in Istanbul, Turkey.
Raikkonen will be joined in the front row for the inaugural race today by Renault’s Giancarlo Fisichella.
“It might be tricky tomorrow, but we’ll see how it goes,” Raikkonen said.
Fernando Alonso, the standings leader who is 26 points ahead of Raikkonen, is in the second row with Juan Pablo Montoya. Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld will start from the third row.
Raikkonen, who won the last race three weeks ago in Hungary, won his fifth pole of the season and eighth of his career. He was the last to qualify and was timed in 1 minute 26.797 seconds in his McLaren-Mercedes.
The 3.3-mile Istanbul Park track presents problems. With construction barely finished, sand and dust blow on the track from a yet-to-be-landscaped area. The course is hilly and runs counterclockwise -- one of only three in Formula One emphasizing left-hand turns. The wide circuit features 14 turns and it’s unclear if passing will be easy.
Drivers struggled to stay on the track during practice Friday and Saturday, and it was the same in qualifying.
Schumacher, the seven-time champion, failed to complete his lap after his Ferrari spun. Jacques Villeneuve, the 1997 series champion, also spun off the track on his lap and failed to finish.
Tony Schumacher led top fuel qualifying in the O’Reilly Mid-South Nationals at Motorsports Park in Memphis, Tenn. Robert Hight, Kurt Johnson and Andrew Hines also topped their divisions.
Schumacher set the top qualifying mark of 4.610 seconds at 309.56 mph on Friday and it held up through the final two rounds Saturday.
Hight led the funny car field at 4.883 seconds at 295.72 mph, Johnson topped the pro stock field at 6.787 and 202.85, and Hines led the Pro Stock Motorcycles at 7.127 and 181.57.