Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
Pit crew members wait in the rain to push the car of J.J. Yeley into the inspection garage at the Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday. Rain forced the cancellation of qualifying for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Regan Smith was declared the winner of a crash-filled Aaron's 312 Nationwide race at Talladega Superspeedway.
Kasey Kahne appeared to hold off Smith and Joey Logano, but a review by NASCAR of when a caution was thrown on the last lap gave Smith the victory and Logano second place.
Several cars behind the leaders were caught up in a crash, and with darkness falling, NASCAR had warned the field that would be the only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
"I was really surprised they threw that caution. So many times they wouldn't in that situation," Kahne said. "NASCAR always switches it up. But I saw the caution before I got to the end."
Smith's explanation: "Coming down the backstretch, I was thinking fifth or sixth. Then a whole bunch of cars got jammed up behind us. I made a move and it worked out for us."
A wreck by Joey Coulter with seven laps to go caused the green-white-checkered restart.
The race was shortened by 10 laps to 107, because of darkening conditions and the absence of lights at Talladega.
With about 24 laps to go and sprinkles starting to fall, there was a sense this race could be called quickly. Sam Hornish Jr. tried to thread through a bunch of cars and tapped Johanna Long. Their collision ended up collecting 12 cars in the wreck, at least nine seriously damaged along the bottom of the track.
The race had another major crash just past the midway point, involving pole winner Travis Pastrana and Reed Sorenson. The problem started with Brian Scott following Sorenson closely along the wall. Sorenson turned toward the wall, then came back down, catching up Pastrana.
Both drivers took heavy damage but walked away once their cars ended up in the mud at the bottom of the track. Pastrana, a former extreme sports athlete, won his first pole at the Nationwide level Friday.
Pastrana expressed great regret after the crash because he was confident that Roush Fenway Racing put him in this race's fastest car, and he didn't demonstrate the patience his bosses had instructed.
"No. 43 got loose, I tried to check up and then everything happened fast," said Pastrana, who ended up crashing head-on to the wall, but wasn't hurt. "I've got to swallow my pride and not be so dumb next time."
With a chance for this race to go the last 35 laps under green flag, Blake Koch turned slightly to tap the wall. He did a good job of avoiding major damage, attempting to drive on, but he left behind enough debris to bring out a yellow flag.
Rain washes out Sprint Cup qualifying Saturday
TALLADEGA, Ala. - Steady rain Saturday washed out qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway, where the field was set by practice speeds.
It put Carl Edwards on the pole for today's race, followed by Martin Truex Jr. and Marcos Ambrose.
They ran a spirited Friday first practice session because everyone had seen the weather radar and knew the laps might count if qualifying was cancelled.
"It was like a heat race out there," said Edwards. "Everybody was trying to get their fastest lap, and we got ours with like a minute to go. It was pretty exciting."
"We were all driving like idiots in that first practice knowing it was probably going to rain," he said.
Joey Logano will start fourth, followed by Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth.
Denny Hamlin will be seventh in his first race since missing four with a compression fracture in a vertebra in his lower back. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne round out the top 10 in today's starting lineup.
Hamlin is planning to start the race but get out of his car at some point and let Brian Vickers take over for him. The two practiced the driver exchange Friday, with Hamlin getting out of the car through a roof hatch and Vickers coming in through a window.
They had the exchange down to just over a minute, which they determined would keep the car on the lead lap if the exchange was made under a caution.
"It took us right at one minute every time that we rehearsed it, so we're going to be plenty fine there," Hamlin said. "Everything is pretty seamless."
Hamlin could get assistance during the race from good friend Michael Waltrip, who will be making just his second start of the season. It's likely that Hamlin will drop to the back of the field at the start of the race to try avoid an early wreck, but he could risk falling out of the draft.
So it wouldn't be a surprise to see Waltrip, a fellow Toyota driver, partner with Hamlin to help him stay in the draft until he gets out of the car.
Waltrip seemed to foreshadow that Saturday when discussing his race plan.
"Quite honestly, for the first 100 miles or so, I won't be aggressive at all because it's just a matter of getting in the flow and getting back to what you know you know how to do so well," Waltrip said.
Weather JournalRain is here; watching for snow