Harvick clinches win in All-Star race
Nothing can stop Kevin Harvick these days, and the hottest driver in NASCAR picked up a $1 million payday with yet another victory.
Harvick won the All-Star race on Saturday night exactly 11 years to the day of his only other win in Charlotte Motor Speedway’s exhibition event. This time it is part of a raging hot streak that sent him into the All-Star race with five points race victories, including the last two.
It’s technically three in a row now, although the All-Star race is for cash only.
Because it doesn’t count, NASCAR could play with the rules and it experimented with a package that included a horsepower-sapping restrictor plate and was designed to improve a race that has become beyond boring over the last 10 years. The package Saturday night did make for better racing, but the same result: Harvick celebrating again.
Hinchliffe, Mann have ‘options’ for Indy 500
IndyCar will likely internally consider options on how to get popular drivers James Hinchcliffe and Pippa Mann into the field for the Indianapolis 500.
The two series stalwarts were “bumped” from the 33-car field in Saturday’s qualifying at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Hinchcliffe is a popular Canadian ranked fifth in the IndyCar standings. The British Mann was to join Danica Patrick as the only females in the field. Mann is an Indy mainstay and was trying to make the race for the sixth time.
Patrick is retiring after next Sunday’s race and the pioneering driver is the only woman to lead laps in the Indy 500 and Daytona 500. Only nine women have competed in the Indy 500, the first was Janet Guthrie in 1977. The others: Lyn St. James, Sarah Fisher, Patrick, Milka Duno, Ana Beatriz, Simona de Silvestro, Mann and Katherine Legge.
Mann likely doesn’t have the funds to buy a seat from another driver. That is an option for Hinchcliffe, who drives for anchor team Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and is funded. The team could try to move its sponsorship to another car to get Hinchcliffe in the race.
But, IndyCar could also consider widening the field to accommodate all 35 cars.
According to Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 40 cars started in the inaugural race in 1911. The Contest Board of the American Automobile Association, the sanctioning body at the time, mandated a formula for limiting the size of a starting field according to the size of the track and settled on 33 cars.
From 1912 to 1914, track president Carl Fisher mandated only 30 cars, so the 33 maximum was not adopted until 1915.
The field was not a full 33 cars numerous times between 1912 and 1928, and the allowed number was increased during the Depression years to 40 cars between 1930 and 1932, and 42 in 1933.
Millican top qualifer in Heartland Nationals
Clay Millican took the No. 1 qualifying position Saturday in the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park.
Millican had a 3.739-second run at 331.12 mph during the third Top Fuel qualifying session of the weekend and first of the day. He secured his fourth No. 1 qualifier this season and the 14th of his career.
Courtney Force topped the Funny Car field, and Deric Kramer was the fastest in Pro Stock.
Force remained atop the Funny Car class with her Friday run of 3.911 at 321.73. The points leader earned her third straight No. 1 qualifier and fifth of the season. Kramer ran a 6.613 at 208.42 pass to close Pro Stock qualifying.