After a weekend chock full of racing fun, things slow down a bit this weekend as we coast through the month of July.
NEWGARDEN ROCKS IOWA
The Verizon IndyCar Series hit Iowa Speedway last weekend for the Iowa Corn 300, a race that was completely dominated by Josef Newgarden. Newgarden led 282 of 300 laps en route to his third career victory and first win on an oval. He did it four weeks after suffering a terrible crash at Texas Motor Speedway in which he broke his right clavicle and some bones in his right hand.
Newgarden drives for Ed Carpenter Racing, one of the smaller teams in the series, but he performed a beat down on the heavyweight teams of Penske, Ganassi and Andretti. It was beyond impressive, but not unexpected as Newgarden probably has more passion than just about anybody in the paddock. That kid from Tennessee is going to be a champion someday, there's no doubt in my mind.
Will Power continued his march toward a second title by finishing second at Iowa, his third top-two finish in the last three races and Scott Dixon came home third. Dixon is now fourth in points, 13 behind Power, who now sits two points behind Newgarden. Then there's a bit of a stretch to points leader Simon Pagenaud, who is 73 points ahead of Newgarden. With six races remaining in the season, things are really getting interesting.
This weekend, the series heads to Canada for the Honda Indy Toronto, a race on the streets of downtown Toronto that is always exciting. IndyCar has raced there in one form or another since 1986. Bobby Rahal won the inaugural event and Michael Andretti won seven times between 1989 and 2001. Newgarden picked up his second career win here last year while other former winners in the field include Power, Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Scott Dixon.
The Toronto race was also the scene of tragedy in 1996 when driver Jeff Krosnoff was killed, along with a track marshal, near the end of the race. It was the first fatality to occur during a race since Swede Savage died following a crash in the 1973 Indianapolis 500.
Coverage of the Honda Indy Toronto starts at 1:30 p.m. Sunday on CNBC.
NASCAR GOES EAST
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday's New Hampshire 301 following last weekend's race at Kentucky Speedway. Brad Keselowski collected his fourth win of the season by coasting home on fumes, having correctly played the fuel strategy game.
Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman rounded out the podium while Kevin Harvick led the most laps and came home ninth to hold a slim four-point margin over Keselowski. You have to imagine team owner Roger Penske is satisfied with the job Keselowski has been doing, as “The Captain” doesn't like to settle for anything besides winning.
With eight races to go before the ten-race Chase for the Sprint Cup begins, there are five drivers in the top-16 in points who need wins to secure a spot in the chase. Those drivers are Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon and Jamie McMurray.
In what is traditionally a pretty boring race, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch all have two wins here. Other former winners in the field include Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin.
Coverage of New Hampshire 301 starts at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on NBC Sports Network.
There is action at Madison International Speedway both Thursday and Friday this week with the Thursday Night Street Drags starting at 7:30 p.m. while the Late Model, Sportsman, Bandit, 6Shooter and Super Cup divisions all race Friday, also at 7:30 p.m.