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Monday Racing Roundup: Bourdais Wins at Milwaukee

Sebastien Bourdais is "The Big Cheese" of Greater Milwaukee. At least that's what is written on the winner's trophy he lifted in Victory Circle following the 113th Indy car race at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday.

Bourdais, who donned a cheese head during the post-race celebration, collected his fifth Indy car victory on an oval – his first since winning at The Mile in 2006 – and 34th overall by dominating the second half of the ABC Supply Wisconsin 250 at Milwaukee IndyFest presented by the Metro Milwaukee Honda Dealers.

Bourdais, who led a field-high 118 laps, had built a large enough cushion on his Verizon IndyCar Series competitors that he retained the lead after pitting on Lap 213 of 250 on the 1.015-mile historic oval. He then held off Helio Castroneves in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet on a Lap 232 restart and sped away to a 2.2366-second victory. 

“It’s just awesome, especially here at Milwaukee because it’s such a historic place. It was one of my favorite tracks when I was racing here,” team co-owner and Bourdais' race strategist Jimmy Vasser said. “In the fashion he did it … we put ourselves on a different strategy to be able to let him go when he could and then in the box saving fuel. He lapped the field. It was awesome.”  

Bourdais led 117 laps from the pole in winning the race at The Mile in June 2006 for his fourth consecutive victory to start the season.

“On these ovals, you can go from hero to zero and back to hero again. I guess that’s my story,” said Bourdais, who qualified 11th. “It’s so much about momentum when you can feel one with the car and today the guys gave me an awesome car. It felt pretty good off the truck and I thought, ‘This could be a pretty good weekend.’ And then we messed up qualifying. Never did I think we could come up through the field and pass everybody. It’s just unbelievable. It’s what these places do to you. When the car is right, it’s so, so special.”

Graham Rahal, who won the MAVTV 500 on June 27, finished third in the No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda and Juan Pablo Montoya finished fourth in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

Pole sitter Josef Newgarden led three times for 109 laps -- the last from Laps 171-184 -- and finished fifth in the No. 67 CFH Racing Chevrolet.

“Our car was fast. It’s been fast all weekend. It’s just that I needed clean air, probably more so than other guys. To get that was difficult. When we had it in the beginning, I think we were the fastest car in the field for sure. It was all about track position today, we lost out on that a little bit but it was still a great effort and a great weekend for CFH Racing."

For the second consecutive race, a DNF by Will Power provided Montoya an opportunity to increase his championship points lead. Power’s No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet was collected in a Lap 131 incident off a restart when the No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda driven by Ryan Briscoe spun in Turn 4.

“No question it makes it tough. We just have to focus and move on to the next one,” said Power, the reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion who won from the pole at Milwaukee in 2014.

NASCAR Sprint Cup: Kyle Busch inches closer to Chase with win

Adapting adroitly to a new competition package for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, Kyle Busch sped to victory in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway, taking a giant step toward the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with his second victory since returning from an 11-race injury absence.

Busch won for the 31st time in his career and the second time at the 1.5-mile track. Race runner-up Joey Logano was the only interloper in a top five that also included all four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers – Busch, Denny Hamlin in third, Carl Edwards in fourth and Matt Kenseth in fifth.

Busch grabbed the lead from Logano after several laps of intense racing, taking the point at the stripe on Lap 248 and clearing Logano’s Ford through Turn 2 on Lap 249 of 267. From that point, Busch pulled away to win by 1.594 seconds.

The new aero package, in Busch’s view was a benefit as he closed on Logano in a race that saw a track-record 22 green-flag passes for the lead.

"All the drivers were kind of striving for this," Busch said. "I felt like it was a positive thing when I was chasing Joey down. Right when I got to him, he moved up and tried to block my lane. With the old package, you’d get stalled out, and get stuck behind the guy. I just moved down and went a little bit lower and got my Camry to stick and was able to power through and get back by him.

"We swapped the lead back and forth a couple times. I thought it was pretty good racing. You don’t want to spend too much time racing around and putting on too good of a show for the fans to take yourself out of a win. I thought that was a really good race, at least it wasn’t a guy who checked out on the last run and you didn’t see a pass for the lead coming down the final stretch."

Long a proponent of lower downforce, Edwards was even more effusive in his praise of the new package.

"This package, we need to keep going in this direction," Edwards said. "We could race closer together – I was steering right. We were using the whole car. We just need to keep taking downforce away. It was an awesome show. Just an awesome, fun day and I’m glad Kyle got the win."

Busch led a race-high 163 laps, scoring a maximum 48 points and moving to 35th in the standings, 87 points behind Cole Whitt in 30th. Busch must finish the first 26 races in the top 30 in order to be eligible for the Chase.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will race on July 26 at IMS in the Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard. 

NASCAR XFINITY Series: Keselowski holds on at Kentucky

Brad Keselowski held of Erik Jones and a charging Kyle Busch after a restart with 31 laps left and collected his first NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of the season in Friday night’s Kentucky 300 at Kentucky Speedway.

A late two-tire call put Keselowski in front for a restart on Lap 170, and though the No. 22 Team Penske Ford ceded the lead to Jones for 22 circuits, Keselowski regained the top spot with a daring move to the inside through traffic entering the tri-oval on Lap 92 and held on to win by less than a quarter-second.

The victory was Keselowski’s third at Kentucky and the 33rd of his career. Behind Keselowski, Jones and Busch, Daniel Suarez ran fourth, followed by Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard.

Over the final run, Jones injected himself into what had been a two-way battle between Keselowski and Busch for the majority of the race.

Keselowski made the winning move after Jones’ progress was impeded by a lapped car in Turns 3 and 4 on Lap 92.

"I just caught a little break, to be honest," Keselowski said. "One of the lapped cars locked in Erik. He had done a heck of job and still was doing a heck of a job, and sometimes things don’t go your way.

"I kind of thought it might happen and went into the corner high, just ready for something to happen, and it did, and I was able to make the most of it coming off Turn 4 and make the pass for the lead.

"This team, the 22 team since it started in 2010, has been really a dream ride and an honor for me to be a part of it."

MotoGP: Marquez wins from pole at Sachsenring

Marc Marquez won for the sixth time on Sunday in Germany, topping a Repsol Honda 1-2 with his second win of the season. 

When Marquez came here a year ago, he was chasing his ninth consecutive win of the season. At this point in 2015 Marquez’s title hopes are weak, but the Spaniard’s desire to win is anything but. Now that Marquez appears to be back on form, he’s showing no signs of making things easy for the Movistar Yamaha duo in the second half of the season.

"From the beginning I felt good and when I had the gap I just tried to manage it. I'm happy because this weekend we’ve been always first and it has been a long time since I had that,” Marquez said. “It’s a good result to go on holidays with, but I want to keep getting better."

Dani Pedrosa has a very good record here in Germany, having won six times across MotoGP and 25cc classes. Before the race he said that if he could get a good start and stay at the front for the first few laps, it would make all the difference. This proved to be true as the Spaniard joined teammate Marquez on the podium.

Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) finished in third place, which was enough to increase his championship lead.

"I think that Dani had something in his pocket – I was at the limit with a constant rhythm, but at one point he was able to pull out two very fast laps, I tried to battle but he was too quick,” Rossi said. “Anyway it's another podium, I gained three points on Jorge [Lorenzo] which is important for the championship. We know that we always suffer here against the Hondas, so we'll wait for a better track for the M1!"

With Rossi's teammate Jorge Lorenzo coming in fourth place, the Movistar Yamaha duo did enough to maintain their positions at the top of the championship standings, with Rossi enjoying a 13-point lead over Lorenzo.

Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) claimed fifth position, followed by British riders Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Cal Crutchlow (CWM-LCR Honda) in sixth and seventh.

Pol Espargaró (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) and Aleix Espargaró (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top 10.

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

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