Time for Ryan Newman to get a Sprint Cup win

Last season Ryan Newman came within one lap of winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in his first season driving the No.

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31 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet.

That was after a season with no wins but with enough consistent finishes that he made and stayed in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, battling eventual champion Kevin Harvick right to the finish.

This season there is no sneaking up on competitors.

Newman very likely will have to break into the win column if he is to repeat his feat of 2014 this season.

After a 38th-place finish at Daytona, Newman bounced back with a 10th-place result last week at Atlanta.

He hopes the escape from a cold winter in the east to the warmer climes of the west will provide the boost he needs to win the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday.

“Just looking forward to the weather,” Newman said on Friday. “It’s a fast race track; it’s got a lot of character.”

Like many of his NASCAR Sprint Cup brethren, Newman is anxious to see if the LVMS racing surface has matured enough after its 2010 repave to allow two and three wide racing.

“I’m kind of curious to see … just looking at the asphalt it has definitely lightened up so hopefully that lends itself to better racing,” he said. “I don’t think we have ever really got a chance to fully use this race track to its full capability and I hope that another year on it will give us that opportunity.”

SWR BACKS BUSCH

Stewart Haas Racing says it is working with NASCAR officials on when Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 SHR Chevrolet, will be allowed back behind the wheel.

Busch was suspended indefinitely after a Delaware Family Court issued a protection order concerning what it believed was a domestic assault on Busch’s ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last September at Dover International Speedway.

On Thursday the Delaware Attorney General declined to press criminal charges in the case.

NASCAR said Busch’s suspension will remain in place until he completes a “reinstatement” program.

“We appreciate the thoroughness of the Dover Police Department’s investigation into the allegations made against Kurt Busch and respect the time the attorney general put into his decision,” SHR executive vice-president Joe Custer said in a statement. “They are the experts in these matters and the decision not to pursue charges is an important one.

“We’re currently working with NASCAR to understand how this impacts Kurt’s reinstatement process.”

THE ODDS HAVE IT

If you are looking to place a bet on Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400, the odds of winning are greatly improved if you pick a Chevrolet driver — at least according to local book makers.

The Las Vegas SuperBook has four Chevrolet drivers - Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the top of their board to win on Sunday.

Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart Haas Racing team is listed as 9-2 to win, with Johnson and the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team posted at 6-1, Gordon and the No. 24 Hendrick squad at 7-1with Earnhardt and the No. 88 Hendrick team at 8-1.

Also listed at 8-1 are Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano in the No. 2 and No. 22 Fords respectively.

SAUBER SUIT

The Formula 1 season hasn’t even started yet there is already a court case alleging a team reneged on a driver contract.

Giedo van der Garde, who was Sauber’s reserve driver in 2014, says the team has not lived up to a contract option that would have led to the Dutch driver being one of its two pilots this season.

Van der Garde claims Sauber instead signed Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson.

A Swiss tribunal has already agreed with van der Garde’s position, according to AUTOSPORT magazine.

Sauber, meanwhile, plans to fight the claim and hopefully get a ruling before next week’s season opener in Australia.

“We will take all necessary steps to protect our company, this team and its interests,” Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn said.

CANADIAN CONTENT

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet team is turning heads this season in Sprint Cup.

And driver Martin Truex Jr. is giving most of the credit to his new crew chief Cole Pearn, of Mt. Brydges, Ont.

After two races and two top 10 finishes — eighth at Daytona and sixth at Atlanta — the No. 78 team is headed to Las Vegas full of confidence.

“We have a good group of guys working really hard,” Truex said. “We had a good plan going into the off-season of knowing what we had to do to turn the program around. “Hats off to Cole Pearn and everybody that has been pushing all the buttons and making the right decisions over the winter.

“It’s fun to drive race cars that are fast and running good again.

“Hopefully we can continue to build on the momentum, build on this team and keep getting better.”

BIANCHI UPDATE

The German newspaper Bild reported on Friday that in spite of months of treatment F-1 driver Jules Bianchi remains in a coma as a result of his crash last season in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Bild reported there “was no good news” on Bianchi’s condition since he was moved from Japan to Nice, France, to be near his home.

“Bild has learned that his condition has not improved,” the report said.



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