From The Marbles

  • Spencer Gallagher has publicly apologized for his role in a fight with John Wes Townley during Saturday night's Truck Series race.

    Townley and Gallagher fought after the two collided for the second time in the race. Townley was unhappy with Gallagher and went after him. Gallagher, as to be expected, defended himself, though he got DDT'd in the process.

    Here's what Gallagher's statement says:

    I would like to take time to address my actions at Gateway Motorsports Park this past weekend. First, I would like to apologize to John Wes Townley. Additionally, to his team and fans, I am sorry. The incident earlier in the race was not intentional and certainly was not meant to cause bigger problems later in the event.

    My crew, who have worked so hard to get me to where I am this season, did not deserve to have their night ended in that way. My teammates and all of the guys back at the shop deserve more respect than was shown Saturday night. I would also

    Read More »from Gallagher issues statement apologizing for fight with Townley
  • This is the Tony Stewart fans have been waiting for over the past three years. The Tony Stewart that says what's on his mind, has a swagger and, oh, drives like hell backing up his words and attitude.

    Not much has gone right for Stewart over the past three years. He entered Sunday's race at 84 races since his last win. That's a long timeframe for anyone. It's even longer when you've suffered a broken leg, a broken vertebra and been involved in an accident and subsequent legal investigation that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

    [Related: Tony Stewart wins at Sonoma]

    So when he said Friday that he wasn't having fun driving a Sprint Cup car in his last year on the circuit, it wasn't hard to see the truth in the statement even if it was spurred by a little frustration. And it was easy to envision how things would go wrong for him after he inherited the lead by a stroke of luck with 20 laps to go on Sunday.

    "But I still didn't even feel like we

    Read More »from Tony Stewart is back, even if it's for just a summer day in Sonoma
  • 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

    • NASCAR's year of great finishes had another added to the ledger on Sunday as Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin traded contact twice in the final half lap on Sunday at Sonoma.

    Hamlin first got into Stewart in turn 7 and Stewart paid Hamlin back in turn 11. Hamlin said he was mirror-driving Stewart and went high into the corner. His car appeared to shake under braking, but Hamlin said he didn't wheel hop it.

    [Related: Tony Stewart wins at Sonoma]

    The Daytona 500 winner took a higher line into the corner – drivers usually enter turn 11 really low to play it defensively – and gave Stewart the inside line

    Read More »from Quick takeaways from Sonoma: A final lap to remember
  • Tony Stewart's 84-race winless streak is over. And it was snapped with a doorslam.

    Stewart knocked Denny Hamlin out of the way on the final corner of the final lap of Sunday's race at Sonoma when Hamlin's car slid up high on entrance into the hairpin corner.

    [Related: Quick takeaways from Sonoma]

    Hamlin had knocked Stewart out of the way in turn 7 a few corners earlier and Stewart didn't look like he had a chance to get back to Hamlin's bumper. But Hamlin's car looked like it wheel hopped – he said it didn't – into turn 11, and Stewart drove inside of him on the final corner.

    Once Stewart was inside of Hamlin, there was no denying him the win. He moved Hamlin out of the way and into the wall and drove towards the checkered flag with smoke billowing from the sheetmetal rubbing his left front tire.

    "It's special, trust me," Stewart said.

    Stewart missed the first eight races of the season after suffering a broken vertebra in January while driving a

    Read More »from Tony Stewart slams Denny Hamlin out of the way to break winless streak
  • Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley had themselves a new kind of NASCAR fight on Saturday night.

    The two Camping World Truck Series drivers ended up in an on-track wrestling match after they crashed in the late stages of the race at Gateway Motorsports Park. Townley came after Gallagher and then the two slow-danced for a bit before Townley attempted what appears to be a WWE-style DDT on Gallagher.

    It also looks like Gallagher could have been saying something funny to Townley after Townley landed the DDT. Why? It appears Townley is smiling for a brief moment.

    The crash with six laps to go was the second crash between the two drivers on the evening. In the first, Townley went spinning off Gallagher's bumper as the two appeared to attempt to occupy the same piece of track at the same time.

    Hence Townley's frustration. And the need to wrestle on the track. It's certainly a fight that's going to be replayed over and over again the rest of the

    Read More »from Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley wrestle after truck crash
  • Carl Edwards looks like he's a heavy favorite at Sonoma.

    Edwards was fast in both practice sessions Friday and put up the fastest lap of Saturday's qualifying session in both the first and second rounds, beating AJ Allmendinger for the pole.

    Allmendinger, the pole winner last season, provisionally posted the fastest lap of the final round. But then Edwards knocked him off the top spot and no one else was even close. Edwards got the top spot with a great turn 11, the final turn (a hairpin) on the 2-mile road course.

    Allmendinger, who won at Watkins Glen in 2014 to make the Chase, was considered the favorite last year after he started first. But he had mechanical issues and ended up 37th, 12 laps down.

    Edwards got his first road course win the same season. He won at Sonoma. His pole Saturday is his third of the season; the most of anyone in the Cup Series.

    Here's how the field will line up on Sunday. Cody Ware, attempting to make the race in the No. 55 car, missed the race.

    1. Carl

    Read More »from Carl Edwards beats AJ Allmendinger for pole at Sonoma
  • Circle Sport Leavine Family Racing had a run-in with hackers this spring.

    The team said its data got hacked in April and it was forced to pay the hackers a ransom to get it back. The team said it houses everything on Dropbox and first noticed odd activity when a flurry of files was being uploaded to the file hosting and sharing service.

    When the team went to open the files after noticing the activity, they all were encrypted and had a ransom note on them, demanding the ransom be paid or the files would be destroyed.

    “First you don’t want to believe it, but every file I tried to open had the same thing,” Dave Winston, the team's crew chief told Fox Sports. “You know in this sport, the computers have so much information on them, whether it’s track data or wind-tunnel data, engine data, personnel issues, parts issues — all sorts of information.”

    The team fields the No. 95 for Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon. It has an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and the team told Fox the data,

    Read More »from No. 95 team's data got hacked this spring and paid ransom to get it back
  • Jeff Gordon certainly isn't ruling out the possibility he could become a talk show host.

    Gordon has been mentioned as a candidate to succeed Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa's co-host on "Live!" Gordon was asked about the possibility on Saturday at Sonoma and said he was flattered about the interest.

    “Well, I’m flattered that my name has been associated with that," Gordon said. "I’ve always maintained a great friendship with the show and some of the producers and folks within the show. I had a great time co-hosting on that show, and I certainly would welcome it. My priority is Fox and Fox Sports and NASCAR, so I will definitely be back in the booth next year. If there was something that would fit into and around that, great. I don’t know if that’s a reality. It’s been really interesting seeing that unfold, but I really don’t have anything that I can say about it.”

    Gordon has served as a substitute co-host for the show multiple times throughout his career. While "Live!" tapes in New York

    Read More »from Jeff Gordon 'flattered' by possible talk show interest
  • Tony Stewart's frustration from the first practice session was evident when he spoke of his retirement plans. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion is retiring at the end of the season.

    “Because I’m ready to go run stuff that makes me happy and driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now," Stewart, who has two (official) top-10 finishes in seven starts this season. " ... I’ve dedicated 18 years of my life to this series and it’s done great by me. I’ve made a great living doing it, but at the same time there are other things in life I want to do other than be at a NASCAR track three days a week for 38 weekends out of 52 weeks a year. There are just other things I want to do now. I never dreamed there was going to be a time that I was going to think about something like this.

    "It wasn’t overnight. There were weeks that you would think about ‘man I really want to go to Monaco and see the Monaco Grand Prix or I really want to go to Knoxville, Iowa and be out there for

    Read More »from Tony Stewart: driving in Cup 'does not make me happy right now'
  • Jimmie Johnson revealed Friday what drivers would like to see change at restrictor plate races.

    The style of racing that happens at Daytona and Talladega was a dominant topic following the Talladega race in May when three cars got airborne. Many ideas (including here) were bandied about as possible ways to tweak or outright change the style of plate racing currently in place.

    The season's second race at Daytona is next weekend and Johnson, a member of the Driver's Council, was asked about what drivers would like to see change.

    “I know following Talladega there were a lot of suggestions made," Johnson said. "I certainly had some opinions of why passing was as difficult as it was and the energy that it created in the pack and the need to kind of bump-draft and slam-draft and then crash, like that whole process that took place. I know that they don’t want to over-react and we’re going to a different track in Daytona that works a little bit differently than Talladega does.

    "So, I feel

    Read More »from Jimmie Johnson details what outlines could be made to plate racing
  • The No. 32 GoFas Racing car will look familiar at Darlington in September.

    The team unveiled its throwback paint scheme for the event and it's a tribute to Dale Earnhardt's Wrangler-sponsored car. Earnhardt had Wrangler sponsorship before his iconic No. 3 was black and sponsored by Goodyear. Jeffrey Earnhardt, Dale's grandson and the son of Kerry Earnhardt (Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s half-brother), will drive the car.

    We still love that a Ford is sponsored by a Corvette parts site.

    "I'm pretty excited to have the famous yellow and blue paint scheme in honor of my Grandfather for this year's Southern 500," Jeffrey said in the team's release. "My grandfather ran this paint scheme in 1981, when he started the season as the No.2 car driving for Rod Osterlund. When Richard Childress purchased the team halfway through the season it became the famous

    Read More »from Dale Earnhardt's grandson to run tribute scheme at Darlington
  • 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.

    Sonoma is one of our favorite races of the year; will the pattern that Kyle Busch broke last season continue or will we see another repeat Sonoma winner on Sunday?

    Busch became the first driver since 2006 to win at Sonoma for a second time. Here's the list of winners dating back to 2007:

    2015: Kyle Busch
    2014: Carl Edwards
    2013: Martin Truex Jr.
    2012: Clint Bowyer
    2011: Kurt Busch
    2010: Jimmie Johnson
    2009: Kasey Kahne
    2008: Kyle Busch
    2007: Juan Pablo Montoya

    Add Tony Stewart to that list (he won at Sonoma in 2001 and 2005) and there are eight drivers in the field on Sunday who will be going for a second or third win. If we're going to bet on a first time Sonoma winner, it's hard to look away from Kevin Harvick. Not only is Harvick the best driver of the past three years in the Cup Series, he hasn't been too bad at Sonoma.

    Let's get to your questions:

    Is

    Read More »from Happy Hour: Winners, punches, and road racing in your neighborhood
  • Former NASCAR driver Mike Wallace says he and his daughter and her husband were assaulted by three men after Wallace asked one of the men how a concert went.

    The alleged assault happened after Friday's Rascal Flatts concert in Charlotte. Wallace said one of the men became angry after Wallace's question and the altercation started when Wallace asked what his problem was. Court records detail the allegations against the three men charged with misdemeanor assault against Wallace and his family.

    From NBC Sports:

    A Magistrate’s Order state that 29-year-old Paul Lucas, who was charged with a misdemeanor assault on a female, kicked Wallace’s daughter, Lindsey, in the ribs, left arm and leg. She shielded her father after he was knocked to the ground.

    Court records state that 22-year-old Nathan Lucas, charged with misdemeanor assault, struck Wallace in the face with a closed fist.

    Court records state that 24-year-old Randolph Taylor Magnum, charged with misdemeanor assault, struck Mike

    Read More »from Court records give glimpse of details in alleged assault on Mike Wallace
  • Welcome to Power Rankings, where this week we take a look at the top 12 drivers in the Xfinity Series.

    1. Daniel Suarez: Things are coming together for Suarez in his sophomore season. he's got 12 top 10s, tied for most in the series, the best average finish (6.6), has finished on the lead lap of all but one of the 14 races this season and has a points lead of 21 points. Not too shabby.

    Suarez's marketability and sponsorship was a big reason why he landed a ride with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2014 season. But he's proving to be a pretty quick study too. He's got a chance to win another race or two before the end of the season.

    2. Erik Jones: We're not sure Suarez is the favorite for the Xfinity Series Chase, however. We'd still take Jones at the moment. He's led 204 laps (Suarez is second among regulars with 74 laps led), is the only Xfinity Series driver with more than one win and his average starting position is second. Yes. Second.

    He's just seventh in the points standings thanks to

    Read More »from Power Rankings: The Xfinity Series gets a turn this week
  • Former NASCAR driver Mike Wallace was allegedly assaulted at a Rascal Flatts concert in Charlotte on Friday.

    Three men have been arrested in connection with the alleged assault, which happened while Wallace was leaving the concert with his daughter. From ESPN:

    A CMPD spokesman confirmed that three men were arrested in the Wallace assault: Paul Lucas, 29 (no hometown listed); Nathan Lucas, 22, of Indian Trail, North Carolina; and Randolph Mangum, 24, of Monroe, North Carolina.

    According to their arrest records, Nathan Lucas and Mangum were charged with misdemeanor simple assault, while Paul Lucas was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female. All were released after posting bond ($1,500 for Paul Lucas, $1,000 apiece for Nathan Lucas and Mangum).

    Wallace's daughter Lindsay laid on top of him while Mike

    Read More »from Mike Wallace allegedly assaulted at Rascal Flatts concert
  • Chip Ganassi Racing's win in the GTE-Pro class at Le Mans stands despite two penalties handed down after the race.

    The No. 68 car, driven by Dirk Mueller, Joey Hand and IndyCar driver Sebastian Bourdais won the GTE class by approximately a minute at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday morning. But officials penalized the team 70 seconds; 50 seconds for speeding in a local yellow zone and 20 seconds for a violation regarding its wheel speed sensors.

    70 seconds is greater than 60 seconds, of course. So how did the team keep the win? Well, the second-place No. 82 Ferrari team was penalized. From SportsCar 365:

    The Stewards upheld its ruling to force Risi to repair its car’s broken leader lights, following a protest lodged by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing in the final hour of the race.

    The team has been given a 20-second post-race penalty and 5,000 Euro fine as a result of not adhering to the black-and-orange flag.

    A Risi team representative told Sportscar365 they will not appeal the ruling.

    Read More »from No. 68 Ganassi GTE penalized, still keeps Le Mans win
  • Could Jeff Gordon become a talk show host in addition to his duties with NASCAR on Fox?

    According to a report from TV Line, the four-time Sprint Cup champion has "zoomed to the top of ABC’s short list" to replace Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa's co-host on the Live! talk show (we're thinking zoom is being used as a racing pun there). Strahan succeeded Regis Philbin in 2012 after Philbin left the show in 2011 and is moving to Good Morning America full time.

    Gordon has served as a fill-in host on the show many times before, so his selection wouldn't be too crazy. And given Gordon's reputation and recognition among those who don't or haven't watched NASCAR, he's not an outside-the-box selection either. Strahan became more recognizable for his TV career after his stellar NFL career.

    Hey, Strahan even endorses Metamucil now. Jeff Gordon would be a great fiber supplement pitchman, don't you think?

    A talk-show hosting gig would make Gordon's life busy from February-June. Since Fox has the

    Read More »from Is Jeff Gordon a candidate to co-host talk show with Kelly Ripa?
  • F1's chief, Ecclestone, (R) likes his new race site. (Getty Images)
    F1’s chief, Ecclestone, (R) likes his new race site. (Getty Images)

     

    Bernie Ecclestone sure loves the site of Formula 1’s newest grand prix.

    Formula 1 is making its first trip to Azerbaijan for the European Grand Prix this weekend. The new track goes through the streets of the country’s capital, Baku. It’s a race a week and halfway around the world from the last F1 race, the Canadian Grand Prix held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

    Why is that important? Well, Ecclestone, the chief executive of the Formula 1 Group, thinks the Baku track makes North America look like “a bit of a s***hole.” Really. Here’s his full quote from F1i.com:

    “I didn’t walk it but went around it – when I laid it out in the first place I was told I was mad,” Ecclestone said. “Trying to get the old city and the new city together, but it looks like it has worked out alright.

    “We just left the greatest place in the world North America – and compared to here, it is a bit of a s***hole isn’t it?”

    Read More »from F1 chief: Azerbaijan circuit makes North America look bad
  • Brad Keselowski drove an IndyCar on Wednesday (Getty Images)
    Brad Keselowski drove an IndyCar on Wednesday (Getty Images)

     

    Even though he drove an IndyCar on Wednesday, Brad Keselowski has no plans on competing in one any time soon.

    Keselowski drove Simon Pagenaud’s No. 22 Team Penske IndyCar for a bit Wednesday afternoon at Road America. The IndyCar Series was testing at the 4-mile road course in preparation for its return to the circuit next weekend. Keselowski had raced at Road America in the Xfinity Series previously.

    “I’ve always wanted to drive an Indy car, I think (Penske Racing President) Tim Cindric knew that,” Keselowski said in a release on IndyCar.com. “The opportunity came up to dip my toes in the water and kind of expand my knowledge base and put it in the back of my mind for wherever it goes, I don’t know. But it was a heck of an opportunity and I’m glad to have a chance.”

    “First thing I told Simon is he

    Read More »from Brad Keselowski tests IndyCar at Road America
  • Make it two penalties in two weeks for Kyle Larson's No. 42 team.

    NASCAR said Wednesday that Larson and team had been docked 15 points and interim crew chief Philip Surgen had been fined $25,000 for a post-race inspection failure.

    Larson finished third Sunday and NASCAR said the car failed the laser inspection station. What part of the laser inspection the team violated was not identified.

    Crew chief Chad Johnston missed the Michigan race because of a lug nut penalty from Pocono. NASCAR said the lug nuts weren't tight on the No. 42 car following the race and Johnston was given a one-race suspension.

    Larson is currently 19th in the points standings and gained two spots at Michigan. With the loss of 15 points (assuming the team doesn't appeal or its appeal is denied by NASCAR's appeals panel), he drops back down to 21st in the standings behind AJ Allmendinger and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

    NASCAR also said it gave written warnings to 17 teams for pre-race inspection violations (remember, the

    Read More »from Kyle Larson loses 15 points for post-race inspection infraction