From The Marbles

  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Kyle Busch (LW: 1): Busch had one of the fastest cars throughout the entire race and had a shot at the race win before his little off-corner excursion with Brad Keselowski in turn 1 with nine laps to go.  Busch finished behind the next four drivers behind him in this week’s rankings, but it’s hard to bump him from the top spot given how he spent the majority of the day near the front of the field.

    2. Brad Keselowski (LW: 3): Hey, we used the word bump in Busch’s paragraph. What a transition. It’s both possible to think that Keselowski screwed up bumping Martin Truex Jr. in the race’s final corner – he admitted as much – and that any visceral reaction (outside of the No. 78 camp) to the bump is overblown.

    Read More »from Power Rankings: Did Brad Keselowski bump Kyle Busch out of No. 1?
  • Clauson has competed in the last two Indianapolis 500s (Getty Images).
    Clauson has competed in the last two Indianapolis 500s (Getty Images).

    UPDATED 9 a.m. ET Monday

    Former NASCAR driver Bryan Clauson, 27, died Sunday night after sustaining injuries in a midget sprint car crash at Belleview High Banks Speedway Fairgrounds in Kansas on Saturday.

    Clauson, leading the race at the time, flipped multiple times while coming on lapped traffic. Not long after his car stopped flipping, another car ran into Clauson’s car as it was upside down.

    His family issued a statement about his passing Monday morning. Clauson, a native of Noblesville, Indiana, is survived by his parents and his fiancé.

    Last night, the 7th of August, we said goodbye to our son, my fiancé, our friend, Bryan Clauson. He was surrounded by family and friends and we were grateful that we could experience his final moments with him.

    Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane. However, we were more

    Read More »from Bryan Clauson dies following injuries suffered in sprint car wreck
  • GettyImages-587126348

    Throughout 2016 we may have way too many quick thoughts for our post-race posts. So consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below.

    • If Kyle Larson misses the Chase by less than 25 points, Watkins Glen and AJ Allmendinger’s bumper will be the reason why.

    Allmendinger bumped Larson as the two were racing for what would have been fourth in the final corner of Sunday’s race, won by Denny Hamlin.

    Allmendinger cut lower than Larson as the two approached the wrecked car of Martin Truex Jr. Allmendinger clipped Larson in the right-rear and sent the driver of the No. 42 sliding head-on into the inside wall.

    “I can’t [say] sorry enough,” Allmendinger said. “It doesn’t help the case, I spun him out.  I didn’t mean to spin him out. The

    Read More »from Quick takeaways from Watkins Glen: Larson's Chase hopes fade by 25 points
  • Denny Hamlin got his second win of the season on Sunday (Getty).
    Denny Hamlin got his second win of the season on Sunday (Getty).

    Denny Hamlin closed the deal he couldn’t at Sonoma on Sunday at Watkins Glen, holding off Martin Truex Jr. and Brad Keselowski for his first Sprint Cup Series road course win.

    Hamlin tool the lead with nine laps to go thanks to a crazy scene with leaders Kyle Busch and Keselowski. Both cars went wide off the 90-degree turn 1 and opened the door for Hamlin to sneak through. As Hamlin took the lead, two cars in the back of the pack spun around and caused a caution.

    Hamlin was the leader as the caution came out and held the lead for the rest of the race. He gingerly climbed from his car after the race because he said he’d been experiencing back spasms all day.

    Truex ended up eighth despite being second on the final corner. He went wide off turn 10 and as he tried to set up Hamlin for a pass off turn 11, he got bumped by Keselowski. Keselowski took fault for the accident and said he anticipated Truex bumping Hamlin in the low

    Read More »from Denny Hamlin wins at Watkins Glen
  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Derrike Cope’s car had a massive explosion during Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Watkins Glen.

    Cope was experiencing brake issues during the race and was coasting around the track. His car came to a stop in the shortcut part of the inner loop at the road course. It then went kablooie.

    The explosion was so odd that NASCAR said after the race that it would be taking Cope’s car back for further investigation. Sunday, the team said the brake issue had led to the right-front tire to explode.

    The explosion, presumably, was from the tire getting too hot.

    Cope, the 1990 Daytona 500 winner, runs his own low-budget team in the Xfinity Series. He’s competed in 16 of 20 races this year with a best finish of 27th at Atlanta.

    – – – – – – –

    Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles

    Read More »from Team says tire caused Derrike Cope's car's crazy explosion at Watkins Glen
  • Jones has 12 wins in the Xfinity and Truck Series (Getty).
    Jones has 12 wins in the Xfinity and Truck Series (Getty).

    Erik Jones has a Sprint Cup ride for the 2017 season.

    Furniture Row announced Sunday that Jones would drive a second car for the team next season. Jones will pilot the No. 77 car, a number below the No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. drives for the team.

    “I just can’t believe this is really happening,” Jones said in a statement. “We have been talking about Cup racing for a while, but to actually make the announcement is surreal. This is every young driver’s dream, to be with a manufacturer like Toyota, an organization like Furniture Row with its successful technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, and an incredible sponsor like 5-hour ENERGY who is so well known for promoting its racing program. They have given me a life-changing opportunity and my mission is to make each of them proud.”

    Jones is also getting an established Cup Series sponsor. The team said 5-Hour Energy, which has sponsored Clint Bowyer since entering the sport when

    Read More »from Erik Jones to drive 2nd car for Furniture Row in 2017
  • Carl Edwards has four poles in 2016 (Getty).
    Carl Edwards has four poles in 2016 (Getty).

    Carl Edwards is the road course qualifying ace of 2016.

    Edwards got the pole for Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen. Edwards beat out Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart and teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch for the top spot. And it makes it a clean sweep of road course pole positions for Edwards as he won the pole in June at Sonoma.

    Edwards, who won at Sonoma in 2014, has never won at Watkins Glen.

    Sunday’s race should be different than ones previously held at Watkins Glen. The track has been repaved since the 2015 race and the combination of the new pavement and harder tire on the cars creates a different aspect. Teams were finding out the tire could get faster with more laps in practice and qualifying, meaning tires will definitely not be at a premium during the race.

    Look for most every team to work the race backwards and pit as early as possible for their final pit stops of the race. Pitting for fresh tires will not outweigh track position.

    Edwards

    Read More »from Carl Edwards wins pole for Watkins Glen
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. came to spend time with his team at Watkins Glen on Friday (Getty).
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. came to spend time with his team at Watkins Glen on Friday (Getty).

    In his first public appearance since he was sidelined because of the effects of a concussion, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said there was no hard timeline for his return to the Sprint Cup Series because of the nature of his injury.

    Junior has missed three races after suffering a concussion from a crash at Michigan in June. Junior drove three races after the Michigan crash but started experiencing delayed-onset symptoms at Kentucky.

    “You just don’t know when the symptoms will stop,” Junior said Friday. “Every day I am doing these exercises to sort of retrain the brain to fix the issues that I have with the balance and to gain stability.  It will fix itself when it decides to. There is no common history that will tell you that ‘man, this is going to last a month’, or this is going to last … and I’ve talked to other people with this history that didn’t last this long.  That is why it is frustrating. My past

    Read More »from No timetable for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s return to Cup Series
  • Richard Childress will be inducted into the NASCAR HOF in 2017 (Getty).
    Richard Childress will be inducted into the NASCAR HOF in 2017 (Getty).

    Earnhardt Childress Racing Technologies is now a complete subsidiary of Richard Childress Racing.

    RCR announced the deal Friday. The team combined its racing engine efforts with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 2007 to form a sole engine supplier for both teams. The move isn’t entirely surprising as Teresa Earnhardt, the widow of Dale Earnhardt and the CEO of DEI, has moved away from racing. The ECR name will not change as part of the agreement.

    DEI morphed multiple times during after the engine partnership. The team merged with Ginn Racing in 2007 and eventually with Chip Ganassi in 2008 to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. Dale Earnhardt Jr. left DEI after the 2007 season and joined Hendrick Motorsports.

    EGR became Chip Ganassi Racing in 2014 when Ganassi said he had purchased Earnhardt’s stake in the team.

    RCR fields ECR engines in its cars in the Sprint Cup Series and Xfinity Series. The engine shop also produces engines

    Read More »from RCR now has complete ownership of ECR engine production
  • Truex has nine top 10s in 21 races this year (Getty).
    Truex has nine top 10s in 21 races this year (Getty).

    Martin Truex Jr. is staying at Furniture Row Racing.

    That sentence really isn’t breaking news. It was no secret that Truex wanted to come back to the team and that Furniture Row wanted Truex in the car after this season, when his contract expired. Now, their future partnership is official.

    The team announced Thursday that Truex had signed a two-year contract extension. Bass Pro Shops will also up its ante of races from 12 to 16 races in each of the next two seasons.

    “The signing of Martin Truex Jr. to a new contract and Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats adding more races to its primary sponsorship package are signs of strength and confidence for the future of Furniture Row Racing,” FRR president Joe Garone said in a statement. “Martin has proved over and over that he is one of the blue chip drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we are elated that he will continue to drive our No. 78 Toyota.”

    Truex joined the team after the 2013

    Read More »from Martin Truex Jr. signs contract extension with Furniture Row
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    It’s time for Happy Hour. As always, tweet us your thoughts or shoot us an email at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com if you want to participate.

    Watkins Glen should be a fascinating race Sunday. And not just because it’s final road course race of the season.

    The track has new pavement, and while we’re familiar with how new pavement affects the racing on high-speed ovals, it’s still an unknown how it will affect the racing at a road course.

    The track will be faster, and generally faster doesn’t mean better racing. Will that hold true at the Glen? We certainly hope not, given how awesome the racing has been at the track. And hopefully it’ll be a two-groove racetrack too. It’ll be no fun if turn 1 isn’t the passing zone it normally is.

    Oh, and a friendly reminder that Sunday’s race will be on USA because of NBC’s Olympic coverage. Please, don’t complain about the different channel. USA has a wider distribution than NBCSN and the Olympics take priority over NASCAR.

    If you haven’t seen it

    Read More »from Happy Hour: Buescher's win, attendance talk again and more
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss at least five races after his concussion (Getty Images).
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss at least five races after his concussion (Getty Images).

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss at least two more Sprint Cup Series races because of a concussion

    Hendrick Motorsports said Tuesday that Jeff Gordon would fill in at Watkins Glen on Sunday and at Bristol on Aug. 20. Junior said on his podcast Monday that his balance was “up and down” and he was still dealing with vision issues, comments that made it seem unlikely he’d be able to race in the near future.

    Junior met with doctors on Tuesday to get an update on his progress.

    “We have a break in the schedule after Watkins Glen, so the extra week of recovery time will certainly be a benefit,” team owner Rick Hendrick said in a statement. “Dale will be back when he’s ready, and we’re looking forward to that happening, but the priority continues to be his health and well-being. We’ll keep our focus on that and let the doctors guide us.”

    Read More »from Jeff Gordon will fill in at Watkins Glen and Bristol for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  • (Getty Images)
    (Getty Images)

    Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at happyhourmailbag@yahoo.com and we’ll try to have some fun.

    1. Kyle Busch (LW: 1): Pocono was a weird race so full warning, this is going to be a weird set of Power Rankings. It’s hard to make judgments on a race that would have been a straight-up fight over the last 20 or so laps had the race gone back green. And it was apparent that most everyone outside of Chris Buescher and Regan Smith thought the fog would pass. Busch finished ninth. We’re not putting much stock in that.

    2. Kevin Harvick (LW: 2): Harvick finished fourth, and would have likely been battling with the man right below him in this week’s rankings for the win had the race been restarted. Buescher and Smith would have had to pit, leaving Harvick and Brad Keselowski to restart the race on the first row.

    Read More »from Power Rankings: Trying to make order of an odd race
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. has missed three races in 2016 (Getty Images).
    Dale Earnhardt Jr. has missed three races in 2016 (Getty Images).

    Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still struggling with his balance and gaze stability at times as he continues his treatment protocol from what his team has termed concussion-like symptoms.

    Earnhardt Jr. talked about his treatment at length on his Dirty Mo podcast released Monday after the race at Pocono. It was the third race Junior has missed following concussion concerns. Jeff Gordon, who has filled in for Junior the past two races, finished 27th.

    “There are days when I feel like the balance is better, and then there’s certainly moments when it’s not,” Junior, who is meeting with five doctors Tuesday, said. “I’m sleeping a whole lot more, maybe a lot harder than I did before which is to be expected. My doctors don’t want me sleeping too much which is commonly what you hear.”

    Junior also said he felt the balance and vision issues were tied together.

    “The balance is up and down. The main issue I have is called ‘gaze stability.’ And

    Read More »from Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Balance is 'up and down,' dealing with sight issues
  • Chris Buescher is the first rookie to win in 2016 (Getty).
    Chris Buescher is the first rookie to win in 2016 (Getty).

    Throughout 2016 we may have way too many quick thoughts for our post-race posts. So consider our Takeaways feature to be the home of our random and sometimes intelligent musings. Sometimes the post may have a theme. Sometimes it may just be a mess of unrelated thoughts. Make sure you tweet us your thoughts after the race or email your post-race rants via the link in the signature line below.

    Chris Buescher’s win at Pocono on Monday is the latest in a string of first-time wins in the Sprint Cup Series under race-shortened circumstances.

    Joey Logano won at New Hampshire in 2009 when he waited the longest of anyone to pit before a torrential downpour. David Reutimann won the rain-shortened Coca-Cola 600 a few weeks earlier doing the same thing.

    And two years ago, Aric Almirola made the Chase by virtue of his win in the rain-shortened July race at Daytona. That race had also been pushed back a day because of rain.

    Buescher’s path

    Read More »from Quick takeaways from Pocono: Who Buescher is racing for the top 30
  • Chris Buescher's winning car on pit road (Getty Images).
    Chris Buescher’s winning car on pit road (Getty Images).

    Chris Buescher was the surprising victor of Monday’s rain-delayed and fog and rain-shortened Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono.

    Buescher, the 2015 Xfinity Series champion who is 31st in the Cup points standings, and his team took advantage of the race’s circumstances perfectly. As the race’s leaders and fastest cars pitted under green in anticipation of the race going the full distance, Buescher stayed out on track.

    [Related: Quick takeaways from Pocono]

    Fog slowly enveloped the track as Buescher led the race. And it got so thick that NASCAR was forced to put the race under caution and then a red flag because the backstretch wasn’t visible from the scoring booth and spotter’s stand. After a wait of nearly an hour under the red flag, NASCAR was forced to make the race official as thunderstorms approached with 138 of the 160 scheduled laps complete.

    “This is gonna change our whole year right

    Read More »from Chris Buescher steals win at Pocono thanks to fog and rain
  • Gordon is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)
    Gordon is filling in for Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Getty Images)

    Jeff Gordon’s right-side seatbelt came undone during Monday’s rain-delayed Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono.

    Gordon, driving his second race for Dale Earnhardt Jr., said the buckle came undone twice in the second half of the race. The first time happened when he was leaving pit road. The second time happened during a restart. In-car camera shots showed Gordon fiddling with the seatbelt as he was driving the car.

    “That’s the first time I’ve ever had that happen with this type of mechanism where you just plug it in and it latches,” Gordon said of the belt that came from above his shoulder and latched near his waist. “I’ve had it happen under the old system with the old kind of buckle — it was actually at Sonoma one time leading the race. Went right off the next corner when that happened but was able to get it latched. This one I thought I had it latched because it happened actually leaving pit road one time. I got it latched, lost

    Read More »from Jeff Gordon's seatbelt comes undone during Pocono race
  • It rained Sunday at Pocono, the second time in 2016 a race has been delayed at the track (Getty).
    It rained Sunday at Pocono, the second time in 2016 a race has been delayed at the track (Getty).

    Who wants some Monday NASCAR at Pocono again?

    Sunday’s race at Pocono was postponed because of rain and will be run at 11 a.m. ET on Monday. The race never got going Sunday. As NASCAR and Pocono officials were drying the track as 3 p.m. ET approached, rain hit the track again, wiping out the previous hours of drying efforts.

    Martin Truex Jr. is set to start on the pole when the race does go green. Carl Edwards will start second.

    Kurt Busch won the June race at Pocono. That race was also run on Monday because of rain.

    – – – – – – –

    Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

    Read More »from Pocono race postponed to Monday (again) because of rain
  • Keselowski is tied for the series lead in wins with four (Getty Images).
    Keselowski is tied for the series lead in wins with four (Getty Images).

    Brad Keselowski said Friday following his head-on collison at Watkins Glen on Wednesday that he believed road courses were the most dangerous types of tracks because of the angles in which a driver can hit the wall.

    Keselowski’s car had a brake failure during a testing session and slammed into a foam-covered wall head-on at approximately 80 MPH. The 2012 Sprint Cup Series champion emerged unscathed from the accident and said he felt the danger resulted from not only the angles in which a driver can hit a wall at a road course but also because of the large run-off areas at a track like the Glen, where the Cup Series races next week.

    “In general, I’m not comfortable with tracks that have run offs that lead to very harsh angles, and that’s certainly the situation that that track has, and always has had it,” Keselowski said. “Road courses remain the most dangerous tracks in motorsports for a good reason because of

    Read More »from Following testing crash, Keselowski says road courses are most dangerous tracks
  • A court ruling Friday means Stewart is responsible for fees and any damages (Getty).
    A court ruling Friday means Stewart is responsible for fees and any damages (Getty).

    A court ruling Friday said Tony Stewart’s insurance company wasn’t obligated to pay any damages or fees regarding an incident at a dirt track in upstate New York where Stewart struck and killed sprint car driver Kevin Ward.

    Stewart and Ward were racing each other at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in a sprint car race when Ward hit the wall. Ward exited his car and walked down the track to gesture to Stewart and was hit by the right-rear tire on Stewart’s car. Stewart was not charged in the incident and has said he didn’t see Ward walking on the track until it was too late.

    The Ward family has filed a civil suit against Stewart regarding Kevin’s death.

    Stewart’s insurance company had contended it wasn’t obligated to cover Stewart’s sprint car teams for what happened on August 9, 2014. It said Tony Stewart Racing’s insurance policy outlined specific events for the policy – the race at Canandaigua not being

    Read More »from Tony Stewart's insurance not liable for damages stemming from Ward incident