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Monday Racing Roundup: Newgarden Leads 1-2 CFH Finish at Toronto

Maybe a 1-2 CFH Racing finish in the Honda Indy Toronto will pave over recent disappointing Verizon IndyCar Series results.

Josef Newgarden, who started 11th in the No. 67 Hartman Oil Chevrolet, led teammate Luca Filippi across the start-finish line by 1.4485 seconds in the exciting 85-lap race on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn Exhibition Place street circuit.

It was the second victory this season and the second of Newgarden’s four-year Verizon IndyCar Series career.

"I'm so happy we were able to get a win, but a 1-2 it just amazing because Luca is such a star,” said Newgarden, who also won at Barber Motorsports Park in April. “Just an amazing team effort. I'm definitely excited because this is Toronto and this is an INDYCAR town."

Team Penske teammates Helio Castroneves and Will Power, the polesitter, finished third and fourth, respectively, and 2014 Toronto race winner Sebastien Bourdais placed fifth in the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH Racing Chevrolet.

Team Penske’s Juan Pablo Montoya finished seventh for his best result in five starts in Toronto and has a 27-point championship lead over Power through 10 races. Three oval races, starting with the MAVTV 500 on June 27 at Auto Club Speedway, are ahead on the schedule.

CFH Racing experienced a frustrating double DNF eight days earlier in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway with mechanical issues biting Newgarden’s car and the No. 20 Fuzzy’s Vodka Chevrolet of Ed Carpenter, who won on the 1.5-mile oval in 2014.

Carpenter, a team co-owner/driver who competes on ovals, also had a DNF by contact in the Indianapolis 500 in his only other start.

Newgarden’s victory in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was his only top-five finish, and Filippi had not scored a top five in his seven road/street course races this season.

"I’ve been pretty down since the performances at Indy and at Texas. It was so disappointing," Carpenter said. "But we knew we had strong street course cars all year long. The best part of it is that both drivers and both crews executed on the same day and we all get to celebrate together. That is the most fun. Just a huge day."

There were seven lead changes among six drivers in the race that began on wet tires and was slowed by two short cautions. 

Newgarden pitted for tires and Sunoco E85 fuel on Lap 28 just before the first yellow flag flew for contact by the No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda of James Jakes into the tire barrier in Turn 5. He remained in the top five through his final stop on Lap 58, and reclaimed the lead on Lap 72 when Rodolfo Gonzalez in the No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda pitted.

“It was close racing but for sure, and I got a little lucky on that yellow,” said Newgarden, who joined Ryan Hunter-Reay, A.J. Allmendinger, Al Unser Jr., Bobby Rahal and seven-time winner Michael Andretti as American winners in Toronto. “It was a great call though and it was an amazing effort by this team and the crew who gave me amazing pit stops.”

Filippi recorded his best finish 16 Verizon IndyCar Series races dating to 2013.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Kurt Busch prevails in rainy day at Michigan

Starting 24th in a backup car, Kurt Busch fought his way to the front of the field through intermittent rain showers and won Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway when a deluge halted the race after 138 of a scheduled 200 laps. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second when NASCAR red-flagged the event for the fourth time. Martin Truex Jr. was credited with third, followed by Matt Kenseth and Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski.

The victory was Busch’s second of the season. He won for the third time at Michigan and for the 27th time in his career.

"It’s an unbelievable feeling to know what we went through, paced ourselves, and found the lead toward the latter part of the race when the rain came in," Busch said in Victory Lane.

"You know what’s more special about this? Winning in Chevrolet’s backyard. That’s what’s most important about winning in Michigan, so thanks to Chevrolet."

That his team had put in extra hours to ready a backup car after Busch hit the wall in Friday’s opening practice was not lost on the winning driver.

"Yeah, you have to get down and dirty," Busch said. "You have to really roll-up your sleeves, get your elbows dirty, and put the work into it. And (crew chief) Tony Gibson makes these guys work a little extra hard.

"I always say thanks. I’m always there early with them. And it’s a great team chemistry feel."

Busch grabbed the lead for the first time on Lap 133 when Kyle Larson’s gas-mileage gamble came up short and the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was forced to pit road for fuel just as a storm cell was advancing toward the speedway.

Busch had pushed Larson to the lead after a restart on Lap 130, but Larson hadn’t gotten fuel since Lap 88, and crew chief Chris Heroy was gambling that the rain would arrive before Larson ran out of gas. As it turned out, the rain came three laps too late for Heroy’s strategy to bear fruit.

The heavy thunderstorm arrived on Lap 136, forcing NASCAR to throw a caution and then to red-flag the race for the fourth time two laps later, with Busch out.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race on July 26 at IMS in the Crown Royal presents “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard. 

NASCAR XFINITY Series: Kyle Busch enjoys winning return

In his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race back from a broken right leg and left foot, Kyle Busch proved conclusively that he hasn’t lost a step.

Taking advantage of contact between the Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick and the Ford of polesitter Joey Logano -- as those two drivers were battling for the lead -- Busch passed Chase Elliott for the lead on lap 122 of 125 and held on to win Saturday’s Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway.

Busch’s series-best 71st victory, his second at the two-mile track, came nearly two months after the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sidelined by a brutal Feb. 21 crash into a concrete wall in Turn 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch returned to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action in the Sprint All-Star Race in May, but deferred his XFINITY Series comeback to Saturday’s race at Michigan.

"It feels good," Busch said after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "This is only a preliminary for what we’ve got to do on Sundays (in the Sprint Cup Series), but it’s a start. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

"I can’t say enough about this team. (Crew chief) Chris Gayle did an awesome job today with this race car. We messed up a little bit today on a pit call, but we made up for it. Hard racing today, man. It was crazy, the side-by-side action we got here. The track’s kind of widening out, lending itself to some cool action."

After a restart on Lap 116, the race unraveled for Logano and Harvick. As the two drivers fought for the lead in Turn 3, with Logano to the outside, Harvick’s Chevrolet got loose and washed up the track into Logano’s Ford.

The right rear of Logano’s Ford brushed the outside wall, but both drivers were able to continue, albeit after losing several positions. Harvick finished sixth, and Logano, who led a race-high 54 laps came home seventh.

The XFINITY Series comes to IMS on July 25 for the Lilly Diabetes 250.

MotoGP: Lorenzo wins fourth straight

At Catalunya, Jorge Lorenzo lead home his teammate Valentino Rossi to claim his fourth consecutive victory as Marc Marquez crashed out.

Movistar Yamaha’s Lorenzo led from start to finish for the fourth race in succession to close the gap on his teammate Rossi in the standings to just one point.

The Spaniard controlled the race from the front to claim the second 1-2 of the season for his Factory Yamaha team.

Repsol Honda’s Marquez was battling with Lorenzo for the lead in the opening stages of the 25-lap race but he crashed out at turn 10 on the third lap.

That error put another big dent in the Repsol Honda rider’s bid for a third straight premier class title, with Marquez now 69 points adrift of Rossi following his third crash in seven races.

Track temperatures this afternoon reached almost 122 degrees and were the hottest recorded over the weekend, as the MotoGP race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya got underway in front of a packed crowd of over 97,000 fans. Lorenzo led into the first corner as Team Suzuki Ecstar’s pole-man Aleix Espargaro dropped down to ninth after he struggled to propel his GSX-RR off the line.

Lorenzo immediately set about establishing a fast rhythm, and by the time Rossi had moved into second on lap 4, the Spaniard had already opened up a 1.5-second lead.

Rossi put in a tremendous effort in the second half of the race to try and deny Lorenzo a fourth straight win for the first time in his career, but could not get within a second in the crucial final stages.

The nine-time World Champion had to settle for second, 0.885 of a second behind Lorenzo, who took his 37th premier class win to equal the tally set by British legend Mike Hailwood.

Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa rode a lonely race in third. He finished over 19 seconds behind Lorenzo but it was his first rostrum finish since he underwent major right arm pump surgery after the opening round in Qatar. Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone claimed fourth after a great fight with Bradley Smith on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1. The British rider crossed the line in fifth as the leading Satellite rider.

MotoGP will compete at Indianapolis on Aug. 9 in the Red Bull Indianapolis GP.

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