From The Marbles

  • Matt Kenseth's new-look DeWalt car (Getty).
    Matt Kenseth’s new-look DeWalt car (Getty).

     

    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.

    DeWalt will sponsor Matt Kenseth for 15 races in 2017, upping its sponsorship of the 2003 champion. As you likely remember, DeWalt sponsored Kenseth as he won the championship with Roush Fenway Racing that season.

    The company will become (as of now) Kenseth’s biggest sponsor in the wake of the news that Dollar General is leaving Kenseth at the end of the season. Joe Gibbs Racing unveiled Kenseth’s car on Thursday at Daytona and … it’s really ugly.

    The black and gold is a good look – though we’re obligated to say that given the alma mater’s colors are black and gold. There’s no need for the lightning and the text in gray and red. We could handle the lettering by itself, but the lightning makes

    Read More »from Happy Hour: Paint schemes and finding a new 'throwback' race to watch
  • Gallagher and Townley grappled Saturday night (NASCAR).
    Gallagher and Townley grappled Saturday night (NASCAR).

    Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley have been fined for their wrestling match during Saturday night’s Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway Motorsports Park.

    Townley, the instigator of the fight, was fined $15,000 while Gallagher was fined $12,500. Townley went after Gallagher after the second incident between the two during the race. As you likely know by know, it was a bit of an awkward fight.


    Gallagher apologized for his role in the fight on Monday.

    Townley is 18th in the points standings while Gallagher is 11th. Gallagher has five top-10 finishes in nine races while Townley has one top 10.

    – – – – – – –

    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 Spencer Gallagher and John Wes Townley fined for fight
  • Brian France isn't planning to attend the GOP convention (AP).
    Brian France isn’t planning to attend the GOP convention (AP).

     

    Don’t expect to see NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France at the Republican National Convention.

    A spokesperson for the sanctioning body said Wednesday that France was not planning to be at the event, which begins July 18 in Cleveland.

    “Brian does not plan to speak at nor attend the convention,” NASCAR spokesperson David Higdon said.

    France, who endorsed GOP nominee Donald Trump at a rally in Georgia in February, has been mentioned as a possibility to speak at the four-day event. According to a report from Bloomberg Politics, France was among many sports figures the Trump campaign was “lining up” to appear at the convention. Other people named were former boxer Mike Tyson, ex-Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka and former Indiana basketball coach Bobby Knight while the report said “talks are in the works with a broad slate of other celebrities and top athletes.”

    Trump publicly denied Tyson’s invite through Twitter.

    Read More »from NASCAR CEO Brian France not planning to attend GOP convention
  • Matt Tifft (R) at Talladega earlier this year.
    Matt Tifft (R) at Talladega earlier this year.

     

    Matt Tifft, who has made starts in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, is sidelined indefinitely after doctors discovered a brain tumor.

    Joe Gibbs Racing, where the 20-year-old is a development driver, said the “low-grade glioma”  was found while Tifft was undergoing treatment for a back injury. The JGR release said the tumor was slow-growing and Tifft will undergo surgery. He is expected to return to the driver’s seat when he’s done with rehabilitation and cleared by doctors to race again.

    A disc issue meant Tifft was forced to sit out the Xfinity Series race at Iowa on June 19, won by Sam Hornish Jr, who was driving the No. 18 car that Tifft was scheduled to drive.

    According to the American Brain Tumor Association, a glioma is a term “used to describe any tumor that arises from the supportive (“gluey”) tissue of the brain. This tissue, called “glia,” helps to keep the neurons in place and functioning well.”

    Tifft has made

    Read More »from Matt Tifft out indefinitely after discovery of brain tumor
  • NASCAR announced Tuesday that practice speeds will no longer be used to set the starting lineup for a Sprint Cup Series race if qualifying is rained out.

    Instead, owner points will be used to set the field, meaning it's a boost to teams at the top of the standings. If qualifying was rained out and first practice was held (and NASCAR deeemed every team got an opportunity to practice), the speeds from the first practice were used to set the field.

    The sanctioning body also announced a change in the Chase that will help Ryan Blaney and the Wood Brothers' No. 21 car if Blaney makes the Chase. The Wood Brothers are one of the few teams in the sport without a charter and are classified as an "open" team. If an open team makes the Chase, NASCAR said Tuesday that it will be guaranteed a berth for all 10 Chase races and not be forced to qualify via speed.

    "These changes provide a more even competition field for both Charter and Open teams, rewarding strong performances over the course of a

    Read More »from Practice speeds no longer used for qualifying if qualifying washed out
  • 1. Kurt Busch (LW: 1): The Kurt Busch top-10 train is still on the tracks. Busch got his 14th top-10 finish in the first 16 races by finishing 10th. He qualified fourth, though quickly fell towards the back of the top 10 once the race got going. Busch said his struggles were because of a lack of rear grip; something that's imperative at Sonoma.

    2. Joey Logano (LW: 4): We don't blame you if you looked up at the end of Sunday's race and went "Wait, Joey Logano was third?" His drive to the front was overshadowed by the battle between Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart. Logano now has top-seven finishes in his last five road course races. And he's the defending champion at Watkins Glen, the only other road course race on the schedule.

    3. Kevin Harvick (LW: 3): Much like his teammate Busch, Harvick not-so-stunningly got a top 10 on Sunday. But Harvick didn't start near the front. After starting mid-pack, Harvick had to finish sixth with a combination of pit strategy and passing a bunch of cars.

    Read More »from Power Rankings: Figuring out where to slot Tony Stewart
  • 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