|Harvick's crew buzzing away during a pit stop on Sunday.|
Motocross champion-turned potential stock car champion Ricky Carmichael must have been hoping his boss, Kevin Harvick, wouldn’t win Sunday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta because if he did, Carmichael was going to lose his hair.
Harvick had won the Nationwide Series race on Friday night and if he won the Sprint Cup race Sunday, Carmichael would have to get his head shaved.
(Don't ask. Car racers do all sorts of silly things. This is just another.)
It turned out to be a close shave for Ricky: Harvick finished second Sunday night to winner Kasey Kahne, with Juan Montoya third.
Carmichael has raced for Harvick in the Camping World Truck Series this season as well as selected ARCA races. The plan is to try to turn the world’s most successful motocross star into a take-no-prisoners auto racer.
In the Sprint Cup race, all eyes were on the drivers trying either to solidify their holds on a place in the 12-driver Chase for the Championship or get themselves in a position to drive their way in next Saturday night during the last race of the "regular season," the Chevy Rock ‘n Roll 400 at Richmond, Va.
Matt Kenseth, who finished 12th at Atlanta, looks vulnerable. He’s only 20 points up on the 13th-place (and hard-charging) Brian Vickers.
Maybe Kenseth’s heart isn’t in it while Vickers’ very much is. Kenseth’s long-time sponsor, DeWalt Tools, is leaving at the end of the season, which has got to be a bit of a downer. Vickers, on the other hand, just signed a new, long-term contract to drive for Team Red Bull.
So there’s one guy maybe a little down in the mouth and another guy who smells blood and has the bit in his teeth. Look for Vickers to seal the deal at Richmond, and leave Kenseth on the outside looking in for the first time since NASCAR invented the playoff system.
Kyle Busch didn’t do his cause to make the chase any good with a 13th-place finish at Atlanta. But Busch the younger is a tiger and he could yet squeak in.
Here’s a rundown of other racing results and news from the holiday weekend:
– Tony Schumacher won the Top Fuel class at the Mac Tools NHRA U.S. Nationals at Indianapolis. In so doing, he tied the record of Don (Big Daddy) Garlits of eight U.S. Nationals titles. Schumacher beat Larry Dixon in the final showdown, 3.861 seconds (314.17 miles an hour) to 4.20 seconds (228.5 mph). Other winners: Ashley Force Hood in Funny Car, Jeg Coughlin in Pro Stock and Hector Arana in Pro Stock Motorcycle.
– De Ferran Motorsports announced that Indy car star Scott Dixon will share the driving of an Acura ARX-02A with Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud in the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 25.
– Ryan Hunsinger of Brantford won the Southern Ontario Sprints Labour Day Classic at Brighton Speedway. Justin Martin of Shedden clinched the SOS championship with an eighth-place finish. Tyler Rand of Consecon is rookie of the year. Glenn Styres of Ohsweken won the first SOS race of the weekend, which was a warmup for the Classic. Although the SOS season is officially over, club members will be participants in the Canadian Sprint Car Nationals at Ohsweken Speedway Sept. 17-18-19.
– Jeff Roth of Baden held off Bruce Boland of Hamilton to win his first PMRA Pro Modified drag race at the Grand Bend Motorplex. Don Aitken Jr. of Belle River won the NAPA Quick 32 Sportsman Series race.
– Although Brantford motorcycle road racer Jordan Szoke lost the battle, he won the war. Szoke claimed his record fourth straight Parts Canada Superbike Championship and his sixth in total by finishing second to Saskatoon’s Brett McCormick in the season finale at Shannonville Motorsport Park. McCormick, 18, finished second to the 30-year-old Szoke in the title chase.
– It’s in the genes. Scott and Leslie Goodyear’s son Michael started karting last year. Last weekend, he won the Manufacturer’s Cup in the 100 cc Yamaha Class at the World Karting Association Race at the Newcastle Motorsport Park just outside Indianapolis.