Morning Lap: Racing News Links

Welcome to another edition of the Morning Lap, a daily feature here at Beyond the Flag. Along with The Hub we want to bring you not only our original content but a collection of all the best racing news. News links include NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula One and more!

Is it time for NASCAR to judge intent with penalties?

NASCAR’s iron-fisted authority has been virtually unchallenged throughout its 65-year history, giving officials carte blanche to run the sport how they see fit.

But when two NASCAR-issued penalties were reduced this week under appeal, it led toquestions about whether the sanctioning body’s ability to govern the garage is being eroded.

Penske Racing got four races shaved off suspensions for seven team members on Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano’s cars on Tuesday. Joe Gibbs Racing then had the most severe portions of its penalties for Matt Kenseth’s illegal engine part stripped away on Wednesday.

NASCAR says Ryan Newman ‘pushed the edge’ with comments at Talladega

NASCAR released a statement Wednesday explaining why Ryan Newman wasn’t fined for his critical comments Sunday at Talladega, but a NASCAR spokesman also made it clear that the sanctioning body was not happy with Newman’s outburst and accusations.

Newman was livid after being involved in a multicar crash in which Kurt Busch’s rolling car landed on the hood of his car.

Kurt Busch hits 218 mph in IndyCar test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

In his first laps driving an Indy car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kurt Busch posted a top speed of 218 mph Thursday.

In a car owned by Michael Andretti and normally occupied by reigning Izod IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay, Busch ran a total of 83 laps and completed all three phrases of the rookie orientation program.

If he so chooses, Busch is now eligible to compete in this year’s Indianapolis 500.

Breaking Down Jimmie Johnson’s Dominance in the First Half of the 2013 Season

Jimmie Johnson has been one of the most dominating drivers so far this season in NASCAR. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see Johnson running well, especially after having a solid season last year.

Still, with the new technology in place this year and teams struggling to find the right groove for the season, how has Johnson been able to be so dominant during the first half of the season?

Formula 1: 2013 Spanish Grand Prix Preview

After yet another three-week break, Formula One returns to its traditional heartland in Europe for the Spanish Grand Prix. The race will take place at the Circuit de Catalunya, close to Barcelona.

It will be the 23rd time the event has been held at the track, and only Kimi Raikkonen of the current crop of drivers has more than one win. The all-time record holder here is Michael Schumacher with six victories.

You can normally rely on the Spanish Grand Prix to be one of the dullest non-street-circuit races of the year. To get an exciting weekend, we’ll probably have to rely on excessive tyre wear or some unseasonably wet weather.

Topics: Formula One, IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR

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