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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Signs of life at Red Bull Racing after strong run by Kahne

Red Bull Racing, a team that has had very little good news since Brian Vickers’ illness was announced last year, had its best shot at a win in a long time Saturday night at Darlington.

Kasey Kahne, on a one-year stopover before moving to Hendrick Motorsports, led a ton of laps early in the race, before a visit with the Lady in Black’s wall hurt his night, leaving him to finish in 4th.

In what should be considered a good sign for the team, Kahne – whose year has been up and down so far – was not happy with 4th.

"The guys did a good job of keeping me upfront with pit stops and kept working on the car to make it as good as we could. I'm a little disappointed with fourth, disappointed with myself, but other than that the Red Bull team was awesome. The car was great. Qualifying first helped a ton tonight -- having that first pit stall tonight."

Kahne said he hopes the team can continue to perform well.
"We started pretty decent this year and then it seemed like these last couple we've been really good again. We have Dover and Charlotte and some good tracks for us so we should be capitalizing on some points and get back to where we need to be."

Speaking of Red Bull, I must say that the incident where David Ragan literally peeled the driver-side sheet metal off Brian Vickers’ car was among the most bizarre I’ve ever seen. Not only was the metal stripped off like a can opener, all that foam being released was pretty scary, especially since it was on the driver’s side. Thankfully, Vickers was OK.

More woes for Kurt Busch
Fresh off last week’s meltdown on the radio, Kurt Busch had another not-so-great weekend at Darlington.

“It’s just been a long string of tough races. The "Lady in Black" got us,” Kurt said. “We unloaded a really fast Shell/Pennzoil Dodge on Friday - a top-three car in practice. We may have sealed our fate when we cut a tire in practice and put our primary car in the Turn 1 wall. We were super tight with the back-up car to start the race and we never could loosen the car up. We threw everything at it - track bar, wedge, shims – you name it, Steve (Addington, crew chief) tried it. This place is tough enough with a good race car, when your setup is off, it's just a nightmare.”

Baby Edwards – No. 2
Congrats to Carl Edwards, who nearly celebrated his new baby with a win. His wife Kate gave birth to son Michael, and Edwards was beaming at Darlington.

“It’s going great. It was amazing. Kate is an amazing woman. We had a healthy young boy,” he said. “His name is Michael Edwards and he’s doing great, so it’s just a great week. It was unreal. We had a lot of fun. Annie is really excited about her little brother. I don’t think she quite understands what is going on, but we’re all doing really well, so it’s good.”

NASCAR community helps tornado victims
With so many storms this year affecting the South and hundreds killed, NASCAR folks have stepped up to help out.
The Red Bull Racing and Hendrick Motorsports transporters donated about 70,000 lbs of relief items to Pell City, Ala.
Items were collected from Red Bull, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Motorsports, Michael Waltrip Racing, RCR, JRMotorsports, MRN and Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Also, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation raised more than $5,000 toward purchases for baby/children's needs.

Scott Speed going Indycar racing
Out of a NASCAR ride, Scott Speed is getting behind the wheel of another type of car this month, as he will work with Dragon Racing and attempt the Indianapolis 500. Also, he plans to run the Indycar finale at Las Vegas, which this year comes with the possibility of a $5 million bonus if a non-Indycar regular wins the Vegas race.
While he has never raced Indycar, Speed has experience at Indy in Formula 1 and NASCAR, so he is no stranger to the track.

I will be interested to see how well he can adapt to this new form of racing, and it is good to see him back behind the wheel of something as he works through his lawsuit against Red Bull Racing over his dismissal last year.
Speed will test at Chicagoland Speedway on May 9th and begin practicing at Indy on May 14.

Get well Trevor Bayne
After missing races the past two weeks due to an unknown illness, Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne has been released from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. after being admitted last week for testing and evaluation.
Bayne will continue to be monitored closely, but the hope is that he can return to racing next week at Dover.
"Trevor Bayne was seen by a team of Mayo Clinic specialists where he underwent a series of tests and consultations over the last week," said Mayo Clinic neurologist Brian Crum, M.D. "He was admitted after suffering from nausea, fatigue and vision impairment. Since his admission, the nausea and fatigue have abated, and the vision impairment continues to be treated with medication, and is showing significant improvement. This symptom appears to be the result of an inflammatory condition. Further assessments will be made over the next couple of weeks. His condition is not life threatening or career-ending. We expect he will continue to improve, though the timeframe for his return to racing is unknown at this point. He will continue to be followed closely by his Mayo Clinic team."
I wish him well in his return, as he is a fresh young face who should have a great career once he recovers. His hopes for a Nationwide Series title for this year are over, but his health takes precedence over that and he’s got many more years to race for championships.

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