Penske, Stenhouse Jr. Prep 2013 Fusion for Daytona
NASCAR Sprint Cup The 2013 NASCAR Ford Fusion test was an important day for many reasons, not the least of which was the first chance for Penske Racing to rev up their new Fusions, along side back-to-back NASCAR Nationwide champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who also got his first extended seat time in the car. The Superspeedway test served as a key session in determining how NASCAR would approach the 2013 Daytona 500.
by Pete McCole Barely a week after the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series concluded the 2012 season at the awards banquet in Las Vegas, it was back to work as more than a dozen teams descended onto the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway for a two-day pre-season test as the teams prepare for the upcoming 2013 season-opening Daytona 500 just 75 days away. Teams got their chance to shake down the new “sixth generation”, or “G6”, Sprint Cups cars that will be fielded in 2013.
by Brian Carroccio “Kick him out,” were the words Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief steward Harry McQuinn told one of his underlings on May 13, 1954. McQuinn, of course, had become alerted to the fact Bill France, the legendary founder and president of NASCAR was spotted snooping around Gasoline Alley. Within minutes France was informed that his presence was no longer welcome at the Mecca of open-wheel racing, and as Indy 500 historian Donald Davidson, once said, “he was given the old heave-ho."
A Get Well Card for Short Track Legend Don Satterfield
by Stephen Cox It was Saturday morning, September 8, 2001. I’d never driven at Chemung Speedrome before, but I would compete on it that night in the Hooters ProCup Naturally Fresh Dressings 250. I was driving for Don Satterfield, a big bear of a man with decades of experience in the sport. He had a big smile, a pleasant demeanor and a huge heart. He was definitely old school. The fire suit he wore when he drove in competition was older than I was.
2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski was all smiles Friday as he gathered with his Penske Racing family – tuxedo-clad – for the traditional NASCAR Sprint Cup championship photos. After a whirlwind of post-Homestead-Miami Speedway appearances stretching south to north, east to west and culminating with Champion’s Week in Las Vegas, the magnitude of what Keselowski, owner Roger Penske, crew chief Paul Wolfe and the entire Penske organization had accomplished.
by Pete McCole Brad Keselowski was crowned the 2012 Sprint Cup champion on Sunday and finally brought home the Sprint Cup championship that had eluded team owner Roger Penske for so long, winning the title with a 15th-place finish in the final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Keselowski benefited from Jimmie Johnson’s misfortune as the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion dropped out with mechanical problems.
by Pete McCole Jeff Gordon found a little redemption for a season he'd like to forget on Sunday, stretching his fuel to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup series finale in the Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Gordon and his crew played their fuel strategy to perfection and were in the right place at the right time to take over the top spot when Kyle Busch pitted for fuel with 14 laps to go to beat Clint Bowyer.
Winner Jeff Gordon and Rick Hendrick Our race winner is here with us. That's Jeff Gordon. He drove the No. 24 DUPONT 20 year celebratory Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. He's joined by his crew chief Alan Gustafson and team owner Rick Hendrick. What a way to win here, your 20th anniversary with DUPONT and Hendrick Motorsports, your 87th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory, your first win here at Homestead Miami Speedway. You have now won at least one race at every active Sprint Cup Series track except Kentucky Speedway, and the only reason you haven't won there is because you've only raced there twice.
Smith wins Nationwide finale as Stenhouse is crowned
by Pete McCole Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. became the sixth driver to repeat as champion in the history of the NASCAR Nationwide Series on Saturday as he clinched his second straight championship in his final race as a full-time Nationwide driver in the Ford EcoBoost 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Regan Smith took the checkered flag in the 200-lap race to win his first-career Nationwide Series event, leading the final 22 laps and easily taking the checkered flag ahead of Kyle Busch.
by Pete McCole James Buescher came within one position of seeing his championship hopes fade away, only to see the his closest competition for the title go up in a shower of sparks to clinch him his first NASCAR championship, while Cale Gale made some sparks of his own in a side-by-side duel with Kyle Busch to claim his first-career NASCAR victory in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR Sprint Cup at Homestead Joey Logano won the pole Friday for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with championship contenders Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson in third and tenth respectively. Keselowski will start third Sunday in the 400-mile race. He takes a 20-point lead into the finale over five-time champion Johnson. Keselowski only needs to finish 15th or better – or 16th or better if he leads at least one lap, and 17th or better if he leads the most laps – to win a first Cup championship for himself and team owner Roger Penske.
by Brian Carroccio What some consider boys being boys, I consider sickening. I speak of course, about the actions of NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. Gordon, of course, intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer during yesterday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in apparent retaliation after the two had come together laps earlier.
by Pete McCole When NASCAR created the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2004, their hope was to bring new drama to what had become a series of mundane end-of-season title battles. But it's doubtful they could have possibly envisioned the drama that unfolded in Sunday's AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Kevin Harvick snapped a 44-race winless drought with a victory in a drama-filled race at Phoenix International Raceway that saw the points battle get turned upside down and a wild melee break out in the garage as the Chase for the Sprint Cup comes down to the wire.
Logano gets ninth win as Sadler's title hopes crash
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Phoenix Joey Logano smoked the field, while Elliott Sadler's title dreams went up in smoke. Logano dominated Saturday's Great Clips 200, beating new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Brian Vickers to the finish line to win for the ninth time in 21 starts this season, the first time at Phoenix International Raceway and the 18th time in his career. Sadler's wreck forced the race to a green-white-checkered-flag finish and extended the length of the race from the scheduled 200 laps to 204.
Busch sets track record in winning pole at Phoenix
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kyle Busch sped around Phoenix International Raceway at record pace Friday afternoon. In the same qualifying session, Jimmie Johnson gave Brad Keselowski a ray of hope on a day that grew increasingly cloudy as time trials progressed. Busch toured the 1-mile track in 25.943 seconds (138.766 mph), edging Martin Truex Jr. (138.217 mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's AdvoCare 500. The Coors Light Pole Award was Busch's second of the season, his second at PIR and the 10th of his career.
by Dave Grayson Lucas Oil would cordially like to invite all racing fans to their NASCAR tail gate party to be held Friday, November 9th, at the Phoenix International Raceway. The Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is guaranteed to provide all of the tail gate excitement expected from NASCAR's truck brigade.
by Dave Grayson In the waning moments of last Sunday's AAA Texas 500 we learned that our two championship contenders were very capable of getting aggressive without losing their sense of class. We saw further evidence that the #48 team is in traditional championship mode. We saw two cars hit each other after the Nationwide Series race and then watched a parachute strike a car before the Sprint Cup race. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin with.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy ace Jimmie Johnson used a late caution to his advantage, passing Brad Keselowski's Dodge for his fifth win of the season and padding his lead in the Chase. Keselowski held on for 2nd in the AAA 500 followed by the Toyota of Kyle Busch, the Ford of Matt Kenseth, and the Chevy Tony Stewart rounding out the top-5. After the two had bumped and banged for the lead with eight laps remaining, Johnson, on fresher tires, pulled away from Keselowski with three laps remaining for his second straight win in the Chase.
NASCAR Sprint cup at Texas Jimmie Johnson delivered a deflating blow to Brad Keselowski by winning pole position for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. But it was how he did it that hit him where it hurts. Ranked just 27th in Friday afternoon's practice session, Johnson gave his competitors a false sense of security. Then, he put down a of 191.076 mph around the 1.5-mile oval to earn the No. 1 starting spot for the AAA Texas 500. Keselowski, his nearest competitor, will chase him from the eighth starting spot.
Race number eight, of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, will be held at the Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday. This speedway is well known for exciting racing and fast speed. The winner of this Texas sized race also gets to observe the tradition of wearing a genuine cowboy hat while firing a pair of six shooters into the air. The main story line behind Sunday's AAA Texas 500 is, of course, the Chase. Simple math states there are four drivers still in the running for the championship. However, reality states that the two drivers at the top of the standings and the two championship points that separates them is the real story here.
by Dave Grayson How could there not be some form of mayhem at the Martinsville Speedway last Sunday? The fact that the green flag fell on 43 cars lined up on a half mile track, shaped like a paper clip, alone said strap in and hang on tight. When the checkers fell on lap 500, it was fairly evident why a five time champion was looking like a six pack. His season long rival for the championship scored an impressive comeback run to at least keep the standings close.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Polesitter Jimmie Johnson led the most laps in his Lowe's Chevy and had to hold off Kyle Busch (Toyota) on a restart with five laps to go to win the Tums Fast Relief 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race on the 1/2-mile paperclip short track in Martinsville, VA. Busch was 2nd followed by Kasey Kahne's Chevy. With the win, his first in the Chase and seventh at Martinsville, Johnson took over the point lead (by 2) from Brad Keselowski who finished sixth.
NASCAR Sprint Cup For the 28th time in his career, and the second time at Martinsville (VA) Speedway, Jimmie Johnson will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) field to the green flag. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet won his third pole of the season with a lap of 19.402 seconds/97.598 m.p.h. around the 0.526-mile Virginia race track. Johnson will start 31 positions ahead of Chase leader Brad Keselowski, who qualified 32nd at 96.015 mph.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will roll out onto the half mile oval at the Martinsville Speedway for Sunday's running of the Tums Fast Relief 500. This historic racing facility is referred to as the paper clip due to its unusual shape. It's also a challenge to the drivers with its short, 800 feet, and completely flat straightaways, that leads to concrete clad turns banked at 12 degrees. Adding to the challenge is the six inch high curbing at the bottom of the race track which can easily snag a left front tire.
by Brian Carroccio Once upon a time, I worked as an assistant basketball coach for a junior varsity high school team. While we were not much to brag about on the court, I remember the team quite well, particularly the head coach. He was your prototypical gruff, sarcastic, grump of a coach, who could always find the cloud in any silver lining. As you can probably imagine, he possessed a rather vast array of rather cutting and often quotable, criticisms of his players.
by Dave Grayson If you were tired of watching races where drivers had to slow down to save fuel, if you were tired of long green flag runs that contained very little racing action then you had to love NASCAR's weekend in the wild wild west. The Kansas Speedway weekend was loaded with on track drama that forced racing teams to rise to their highest level of performance. The speedway's new track surface created speed that set new records in qualifying and a new track record for yellow caution flags: 14 that consumed 66 laps of the race.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Matt Kenseth dominated the later moments of Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway to give Roush Fenway the weekend sweep at the newly-paved 1.5-mile track; RFR’s Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won the Nationwide race at Kansas on Saturday. Kenseth was fast on the day, leading a race-high 77 laps and driving his No. 17 Zest Ford away from the field during the final 20 laps of the race. Kenseth beat Martin Truex Jr. for the win. Paul Menard came home third followed by Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart. Brad Keselowski maintained his points lead with an 8th place finish as his closest rivals had a tough day on the 1.5-mile oval.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kasey Kahne broke the Kansas Speedway qualifying record in winning the pole for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400, the sixth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Then again, everyone else who turned a lap in Friday's time trials also topped the old record on the smooth, fresh asphalt at the 1.5-mile intermediate track. Kahne toured the speedway in 28.219 seconds (191.360 mph) to edge second-place qualifier Mark Martin (191.238 mph) by .018 seconds. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kahne's fourth of the season, the 26th of his career and his third at Kansas, tying him for most all time with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson.
by Dave Grayson The elite teams of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be making their second trip of the season to the Kansas Speedway for Sunday's running of the Hollywood Casino 400. The NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup championship is now 50% complete and we're seeing a clearer picture regarding who's in and who's out in the title run. We'll also be watching the drivers compete on the "new Kansas Speedway."
by Dave Grayson The fall race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway has always been regarded as somewhat of a home coming event. That's because the vast majority of NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series race teams are headquartered in the Charlotte-North Carolina area. This race allows all members of the teams to attend and cheer for their driver. Team members who work long hours in these race shops never get the chance to travel to a race. Last Saturday night they proudly packed the speedway's pit road to beyond capacity prior to the start of the Bank of America 500.
by Stephen Cox Racecar drivers are eternally besieged by well-intentioned busybodies enforcing a tidal wave of petty rules, policies and regulations, many of which are designed to enrich sponsors and gear manufacturers rather than protect the drivers. Everyone from series directors to the guy at the McDonald's drive-through window is now a “safety expert.” Trouble is, none of them drive racecars. If we want to know what must be done to ensure the safety of race drivers, we should ask a race driver.
by Pete McCole Clint Bowyer was once again was the master of fuel mileage as he managed to stretch his gas just enough to claim his third victory of the season with a win in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, while points leader Brad Keselowski stumbled late in the race, tightening up the points battle Chase for the Sprint Cup with five races remaining. Bowyer held off Denny Hamlin by four car-lengths at the line for his first career Charlotte victory. Jimmie Johnson was third, followed by Greg Biffle and Kyle Busch.
by Pete McCole Joey Logano took advantage of a pit stop miscue by Brad Keselowski to win Friday night’s Dollar General 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Logano took the lead from Keselowski following a round of splash-and-go pit stops after Keselowski’s crew failed to get the no. 22 Dodge fueled up enough to finish the race, forcing Keselowski to give up the lead and eventually ran out of gas with four laps to go. Logano then easily outdistanced Kevin Harvick by nearly half-a-straightaway at the finish for the win.
by Pete McCole Greg Biffle turned in a record-setting lap on Thursday to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Coors Light Pole for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cool evening temperatures led to ideal track conditions for the late-evening qualifying session resulting in record speeds, as the top three qualifiers all topped the track record. The “pucker factor” was in full effect Thursday night as Biffle skated his no. 16 Ford Fusion through turns three and four topping 200 mph, going on to post a lap of 193.708 mph to shatter the track record of 193.216 set by Elliott Sadler seven years ago.
by Pete McCole Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will miss the next two races due to lingering concussion symptoms stemming from a vicious last-lap crash in last Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Earnhardt, Jr., currently 11th in the Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, will sit out this weekend’s race at Charlotte as well as next Sunday’s race at Kansas at the advice of his doctors in order to recover from his second concussion of the year. Regan Smith, recently released from his ride with Furniture Row Racing, will drive the no. 88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt’s place.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Matt Kenseth was leading at Talladega in his Ford on the final lap in a green-white-checkered finish when a multi-car wreck sent Tony Stewart flying and collected several other Chasers, as well. Jeff Gordon was 2nd in his Hendrick Chevy and Kyle Busch overcame an early penalty for speeding on pit road to bring his Toyota home third.
Kahne earns third pole of '12 for 'Dega Chase race
NASCAR Sprint Cup A move to Hendrick Motorsports equipment has made all the difference in the world where Kasey Kahne and Talladega are concerned. In his second trip to Talladega Superspeedway in the No. 5 Chevrolet, Kahne scored his first pole at the 2.66-mile restrictor-plate track. That followed a previous best starting position of fifth for Talladega's event this past spring. In Saturday's time trials, Kahne toured Talladega in 50.017 seconds (191.455 mph) to edge Ryan Newman (191.145 mph) for the top starting spot in Sunday's Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500.
by Brian Carroccio The France family can put an end to this. They can put an end to the silly rumors, constant questions, cursory denials, and endless speculation. They can once and for all, put the final touches on something that has been inevitable for almost two decades. Yes, the Frances, the founding and still governing family of NASCAR, can move one step closer to what has long been one of their goals: making NASCAR the undisputed premier racing organization in America. And while it pains me to say, the France family should just get it over with already, and buy the freaking Izod IndyCar Series.
NASCAR Sprint Cup The Penske team has the best engine on fuel mileage right now and that helped Brad Keselowski get his first win at the Monster Mile after Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and others had trouble with their fuel windows at the end. Keselowski inherited the race lead when Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin pitted for fuel from the top two positions late in the race. Keselowski beat hard-charging Jeff Gordon to the finish line by 1.078 seconds.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Denny Hamlin turned a lap of 159.299 mph to win pole position for Sunday's AAA 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway. Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. will start second and third. Points leader Jimmie Johnson starts 11th but do not count him out as he has been dominant at the Monster Mile. Sam Hornish Jr. and Kyle Busch round out the top-5.
by Pete McCole Friday marked the passing a true legend in the motorsports community and a great ambassador to the sport of auto racing with the death of longtime journalist Chris Economaki, known around the racing community as the “Dean of Motorsports”. Economaki, whose voice was familiar to motorsports fans around the world through his insightful and diligent commentary during television coverage of the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500, passed away at the age of 91.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Denny Hamlin made it plain earlier in the week that he was going to win the Sylvania 300 in Loudon. He did just that in the end, dominating the field in a big way for a Cup-high fifth win. Denny Hamlin called his shot -- and he gave the rest of the field a handicap. After running out of fuel in the first Chase for the Sprint Cup race last Sunday at Chicagoland, Hamlin promised via his Twitter feed that he would win in NH.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Jeff Gordon took a giant step forward on Friday afternoon, while Denny Hamlin found unexpected trouble during qualifying for Sunday's Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Touring the Magic Mile in 28.232 seconds (134.911 mph), Gordon won the pole for the second Chase for the Sprint Cup race, edging Kyle Busch (134.793 mph) for the top starting spot. The Coors Light Pole Award was Gordon's second of the season and the 72nd of his career, third-most all time.
AJ: Did Penske know or did he force NASCAR's hand?
by Brian Carroccio Here I was, racking my brain; reading quotes forwards, backwards, and probably sideways; consulting racing people I knew and respected; ignoring tasks around the house; not making time to return phone calls and tend to other business at hand, all trying to make sense of it. Still, my efforts were seemingly in vain, the answers I sought, elusive, unclear. That was of course, until about a half hour ago. As I was battling the notoriously awful Washington, D.C. afternoon rush hour traffic, trying to get home on a miserable rainy day, a report came across the local sports talk radio airwaves.
NASCAR Sprint Cup at Chicagoland With a pass for the lead certain to stir controversy in the Hendrick Motorsports camp, Brad Keselowski won Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Keselowski took the lead over pole-sitter and five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson after an exchange of green-flag pit stops, with Keselowski reentering the track one lap later than Johnson, on Lap 231, and pulling up in front of Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet off Turn 2.
NASCAR Sprint Cup For Jimmie Johnson, it was an excellent first step. Johnson will start the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from the pole in Sunday's GEICO 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The 23rd of 47 drivers to make a qualifying run in Saturday's time trials, Johnson covered the 1.5-mile distance in 29.530 seconds (182.865 mph) and waited for the rest of the field to try to knock him off the provisional pole. Johnson starts his quest for a sixth title from the top starting spot, with the rest of the Chase drivers spread through the field behind him. He edged Aric Almirola for the top spot by 0.037 seconds to claim his second Coors Light pole award of the season. Matt Kenseth (182.334 mph) will start behind Johnson from the third position.
NASCAR at Richmond Clint Bowyer had a gulp of gas just big enough to win the race. Rick Hendrick had Kasey Kahne and Jeff Gordon join the Chase field. In a rain-interrupted race of accumulating tension, Bowyer made it to the finish line 1.198 seconds ahead of Gordon in the closing laps of Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Gordon knocked Kyle Busch out of the final wild-card spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
by Pete McCole No water bottles were going to deny Kevin Harvick this time. Just one week after a controversial late caution cost him a sure victory, Harvick snapped a 30-race winless streak in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with a win in Friday night’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Harvick led 141 laps including the final 24 after taking the lead from Kurt Busch following a caution on lap 227 and then easily pulled away on the final restart to record his 38th Nationwide Series win.
by Stephen Cox Last weekend's ARCA Truck Series JEGS.com 100 in Xenia, Ohio turned out to be one of the most utterly bizarre experiences I've had in two decades of motorsports. The owner of ED CO Racing, Ed Yoak, offered me a single-race deal to drive his truck at Kil-Kare Speedway. I'd never met Ed before, but he is a cool guy who's forgotten more about auto racing than I'll ever know. So I called up Tom Cumbow, the equally cool president of the ARCA Truck Series, to ask his advice.
by Pete McCole Denny Hamlin locked himself into the Chase for the Sprint Cup field with his second straight victory on Sunday night, winning a three-lap shootout over Jeff Gordon to take the checkered flag in the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hamlin took the lead after winning the race off pit road following a late caution flag with four laps to go that set up a green-white-checkered finish and then jumped in front after Martin Truex, Jr. spun his tires on the restart.
by Pete McCole Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. needed luck, some fresh tires and a little push from Brad Keselowski to win his fourth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season on Saturday night. Oh, and he might have gotten a little help from a water bottle, too. Stenhouse, Jr. took advantage of a late caution to score a come from behind victory with a last-lap pass over Kevin Harvick in the NRA American Warrior 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
by Pete McCole For Ty Dillon to win his first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, he had to do what no one else could do on Friday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway – catch Kyle Busch. Proving that nothing was going to keep the third-generation rookie driver from his first NASCAR victory, Dillon rallied from nearly one second down to catch Busch and make the pass for the lead with six laps to go to collect his first NASCAR checkered flag in his 17th truck series start.
by Pete McCole Last week, Tony Stewart made all the highlight reels with a two-handed helmet toss aimed right at the front grill of Matt Kenseth’s Ford Fusion. On Friday, Stewart was all smiles as he captured his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season in qualifying for Sunday’s Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Stewart used some timely advice from teammate Ryan Newman to go out and post a fast lap of 186.121mph and knock series points leader Greg Biffle from the top spot.
Scenes from 2012 Motorsports Hall of Fame Induction
by Mark Scheuern A strong and energetic contingent of friends, family, fellow legends and motorsports and automotive industry insiders converged in downtown Detroit Wednesday night to usher an illustrious group of seven motorsports icons representing the Class of 2012 into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at the organization’s 24th Annual Induction Ceremony at the historic Fillmore Theater.
by Dave Grayson We all saw it. Then we all saw it again and again and again. That, of course, would be Tony Stewart's helmet toss at Matt Kenseth's race car during the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Bristol Motor Speedway. The two drivers were racing for the lead when, on lap 333, they made contact strong enough to send both cars flying into the inside wall of the frontstretch. Stewart wound up 27th on the final score sheet while Kenseth finished 25th.
by Pete McCole Let there be no doubt – the “old” Bristol Motor Speedway is back. Denny Hamlin came out on top of the wild night of racing in Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Night Race to record his first career victory at the half-mile bullring and give himself a much needed boost to his chances of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup field. Hamlin pulled a Bristol “bump-and-run” on race leader Carl Edwards with 40 laps to go and easily beat out Jimmie Johnson by half-a-straightaway for the victory.
by Pete McCole Joey Logano notched his sixth NASCAR Nationwide Series victory of the season on Friday night with a win in the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Logano passed race leader Kevin Harvick in traffic with 35 laps to go and held on through two cautions to win in a final three-lap shootout for the victory, beating out Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Elliott Sadler.
Martinsville test provides first look at 2013 Ford
Ford Fusion Sprint Cup Car Now that the 2013 NASCAR Fusion has been approved for competition next year, it's time for the drivers and teams to see how good it can be on the track. That means testing, testing and more testing. During a recent on-track session at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, VA, a mixed crew made up of members from Roush Fenway and Wood Brothers Racing put Ford's latest model through its paces and while the focus was on making the car go fast, much of the talk centered around how it looked.
by Stephen Cox I'd like you to conduct an experiment. Go to your local racetrack this weekend. Makes no difference if it's a drag strip, oval or road course, big or small. Just go. Look around, estimate the average age of the fans and let me know what you find. Did you see a lot of kids there? Not likely. Racing fans are aging and there aren't enough new, young fans to take their place. Which begs an interesting question...At the Mecum Monterey auction last weekend, someone coughed up 5.5 million dollars to purchase the L&M Porsche 917/10 that won the Can Am championship more than forty years ago.
by Brian Carroccio Saturday, looked as though a long, painful Odyssey for Jacques Villeneuve was going to end. Leading the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal, when the white flag waved, the 1997 Formula One (F1) world looked poised to capture the win. However, with about a half lap remaining, Justin Allgaier made contact with Villeneuve and drove off to the victory. Villeneuve finished third. Villeneuve, who had such a promising start to his career, has at 41, become a dislikable, arrogant, petulant shadow of his former self.
Johnson's engine woes help break seven-race MIS skid for Roush Greg Biffle, Roush Fenway Racing and Ford all celebrated the end of a drought Sunday with Biffle's victory in the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. With his third victory at the 2-mile track, his second of the season and the 18th of his career, Biffle broke a seven-race dry spell for both Ford and owner Jack Roush. Biffle also grabbed the points lead from Jimmie Johnson, who finished 27th after his engine failed in the closing laps.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Mark Martin knows that there are hundreds of variables in auto racing but he proved once again that age isn’t one of them Saturday at Michigan International Speedway. Martin, at 53 the oldest current competitor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, won the pole position for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 with a speed of 199.706 MPH. He nudged former teammate Carl Edwards off the top of the qualifying list. Edwards posted a speed of 198.626 and will start second.
by Stephen Cox One way or another, everyone buys their ride. It is a universal truth. The exceptions are so few and far between as to be irrelevant. This applies to IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula 1. It applies to your local quarter-mile dirt track. It applies to the 24 Hours of LeMans and ALMS and everything in between.
by Adriano Manocchia Watkins Glen International's frontstretch grandstands erupted with approval as fans watched favorite villain Kyle Busch spin from the lead on the white-flag lap of Sunday's Finger Lakes 355. Marcos Ambrose and Brad Keselowski did their part to make sure they stayed on their feet. Ambrose emerged victorious in a riveting duel to the checkered flag.
NASCAR Sprint Cup at The Glen In a wild final two laps that rivaled any race in recent memory for unrelenting action, Marcos Ambrose outdueled Brad Keselowski to win Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 at Watkins Glen International. Kyle Busch had the lead at the white flag, but slid in a patch of oil exiting Turn 1 on the final lap. Keselowski likewise slid in the oil, hit Busch's No. 18 Toyota and spun it. For the rest of the final lap, Ambrose and Keselowski raced side-by-side for the lead, with Ambrose finally clearing the No. 2 Dodge in the last corner.
by Adriano Manocchia Carl Edwards, making his first Nationwide start of the season, beat Keselowski on a two-lap dash to the checkered flag on Saturday and won the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. In Grand-Am Ryan Dalziel outdueled Sebastien Bourdais to give Starworks a 1-2 finish.
NASCAR Sprint Cup pole qualifying at The Glen Juan Pablo Montoya will lead the field to the green in Sunday’s Finger Lakes 355 at the Glen NASCAR Sprint Cup race held at Watkins Glen International. Behind the wheel of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet, Montoya posted a new track record of 127.020 mph, collected his second consecutive pole position of the season, and earned his ninth Cup career pole. Montoya’s time beat the second place qualifier, Kyle Busch (Toyota) by five one-hundredths of a second.
by Adriano Manocchia Rain early in the day Friday canceled a scheduled Sprint Cup practice at Watkins Glen International, forcing NASCAR officials to add a final practice for Saturday morning. NASCAR has afforded teams an additional 85-minute session to prepare their cars. The Grand-Am cars were also in action Friday. Our Adriano Manocchia was there to capture all the action.
Brian Carroccio on NASCAR's monopoly According to TMZ, "the son of NASCAR legend Roger Penske,", was arrested Wednesday evening. "The son," TMZ references is of course, Jay Penske, owner of the Dragon Racing IndyCar team. Jay, 33 and his brother Mark, 35, allegedly broke into an apartment to avoid authorities after Jay allegedly urinated on a woman outside the Nantucket Yacht Club. Both Penske brothers were held overnight, released Thursday morning, and are scheduled to be arraigned next Friday August 20th
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to New York state to take on the annual challenge that comes with road course racing at the massive Watkins Glen International Raceway. Sunday's Finger Lakes 355 is expected to be a daunting challenge as most road course racing often is. It won't take very long to determine which drivers has road course experience and which drivers needs some.
by Pete McCole After a 12-year run in their second return to NASCAR competition, Dodge announced on Tuesday that they are pulling out of NASCAR for the second time - withdrawing their brand from competition in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series at the conclusion of the current 2012 season. The announcement capped a season of uncertainly for the future of the brand in NASCAR after the lone Dodge-backed team, Penske Racing, announced in March they were switching back to Ford for the 2013 season, leaving no Dodge teams left on the roster.
on Dodge departure from NASCAR Dodge announced Tuesday that they will not be in NASCAR in 2013, at least as a factory backed team. The death blow for Dodge came when Penske Racing, the last Dodge staple, announced in March that they would switch to Ford in 2013. The move left Dodge with very few options and those that remained seemed to never come together. Tuesday Dodge President and CEO, Street and Racing Technology Brand and Motorsports Ralph Gilles talked with the media about the departure, and left open the door that they might return to NASCAR again someday.
by Stephen Cox I do not support drug use. But I do support fairness and justice for people who have had their careers destroyed on questionable grounds even though they’ve done nothing to harm anyone. A. J. Allmendinger, recently fired from his job at Penske Racing for failing a drug test, is saying all the right things about “respecting” NASCAR’s drug testing policy. That’s because telling the truth is a terrible PR move when you’re the one being investigated. But if Allmendinger could speak openly and honestly, he might say something like this…
by Dave Grayson NASCAR's 2012 silly season is in full swing. It's that time of the racing season where we all try to sort out garage rumors regarding what driver is moving to what team backed by what sponsor. We have some very good candidates for this year's silly season. Names like Matt Kenseth, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman are in the rumor mill forefront. So is that unclaimed seat located inside of that #22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge belonging to Penske Racing.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Jeff Gordon, one of NASCAR racing's biggest rainmakers, got a shower just when he needed it in Sunday's Pennsylvania 400. Gordon didn't lead a lap under the green flag, but he notched a critically important victory at Pocono Raceway, thanks to an opportunistic move to the front after a restart on Lap 91 of a scheduled 160. Coincidentally, it was a mistake by Jimmie Johnson, Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports teammate, that enabled Gordon to celebrate in Victory Lane.
by Brian Carroccio 2012 could not have started any better for A.J. Allmendinger. After five seasons in NASCAR with very mediocre results, Allmendinger had finally secured an opportunity with a top line team, signing on to drive the No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge for Penske Racing. Then, in January, Allmendinger teamed with ex-Champ Car buddy Justin Wilson, John Pew and Oswaldo Negri at Michael Shank Racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona. Putting in a breathtaking drive during the final stint, Allmendinger led the Shank boys to victory in the famous enduro.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Benefitting from an early draw and aided by cloud cover that burned off as Saturday's qualifying session progressed, Juan Montoya was the surprise winner of the pole for Sunday's Pennsylvania 400 Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Montoya turned a lap at the 2.5-mile triangular track in 51.124 seconds (176.043 mph) and waited as the fastest cars from Friday's first practice session failed to unseat him from the top spot.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be making their second visit of the season to the Pocono Raceway for Sunday's running for the Pennsylvania 400. The track is known as the tricky triangle because of its unique, three turn, shape. It's also known for its high speeds that often makes entering one of its three tricky turns rather treacherous.
by Dave Grayson During the NASCAR weekend at the sacred grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we witnessed a five time Sprint Cup champion serve notice that he is going after a six pack. After the Sprint Cup race, we watched the winning team kneel before the speedway's historical brick stripe for the ceremonial kissing of the bricks. That one yard wide stripe of bricks, located at the speedway's start-finish line, was literally covered with Goodyear rubber, motor oil and perhaps even an essence of Sunoco Racing Fuel.
Gary Shook Jimmie Johnson stamped another exclamation point on his racing resume, winning his fourth Brickyard 400 with a dominant drive at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. With the victory, Johnson joined Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon as the only NASCAR drivers to win four times at the 2.5-mile track and was happy to prostrate himself, kiss bricks and kneel and pay homage in the house of IndyCar. Our Gary Shook filed these photos.
by Stephen Cox A car was more than transportation when I was a kid. Your car represented who you were. Everyone knew what a car meant... freedom! The liberty to go where you want, to be with your friends and to get into mischief. An automobile was true, genuine freedom and every one of us wanted it. Not so anymore. The average high school kid is far more concerned with grabbing the latest iPad or the coolest cell phone than driving the right automobile.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Make room for Jimmie Johnson among the legends of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 29, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS. He joins Gordon and Indianapolis 500 legends A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of an oval race at IMS. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix five times on the IMS road course.
Gary Shook The France Family brought their three top series to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this weekend - the Nationwide Series and Grand-Am for the very first time. Our Gary Shook filed these photos of the Nationwide Series cars and their paint schemes for this weekend.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Brad Keselowski delivered a long-awaited stock car victory at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to legendary team owner Roger Penske, winning the inaugural Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race Saturday, July 28. Penske Racing has earned a record 15 Indianapolis 500 victories, but this was the first NASCAR victory for the team on the 2.5-mile oval.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota has never won a Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but Denny Hamlin took a first step toward a breakthrough victory for the manufacturer with a decisive pole run on Saturday afternoon. The 27th driver to make a qualifying run, Hamlin put down a lap no one could touch, touring the vaunted Brickyard in 49.244 seconds (182.763 mph) to collect his first Coors Light pole award at Indy, his second of the season and the 11th of his career.
by Dave Grayson NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series teams are busy preparing for one of the most prestigious events on their schedule-Sunday's running of the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. There's not a race driver in the entire world that hasn't thought about winning any race at this venue. An Indy win is something that forever becomes permanently attached to a driver's name.
NASCAR Nationwide Series NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch was the fastest driver Thursday, July 26 in practice for the Indiana 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Busch led both sessions on the 2.5-mile oval, posting a top overall speed of 175.836 mph in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota during the final 90-minute practice.
by Dave Grayson The final test results are now in, earlier than expected, and sadly those results are more bad news for driver A J Allmendinger who was officially placed on indefinite suspension by NASCAR for violating their substance abuse policy. The news came via a prepared press release, issued on the evening of July 24th at approximately 845 pm eastern time, from David Higdon, from NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications, which said: "A J Allmendinger, driver of the #22 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been suspended indefinitely from NASCAR for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy.
NASCAR Chicagoland Nationwide and Truck postscript
by Dave Grayson With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series taking their final weekend off of the season, there was a major opportunity for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series to rise, shine and take over the sport's center stage at the Chicagoland Speedway last weekend. Both series did exactly that. It just took them until the end of the race to show it to the rest of us. Despite a debilitating illness, Elliott Sadler certainly rose to the occasion in the Nationwide Series and, in the truck series, James Buescher practically rose from the dead to enjoy his shining moment in victory lane.
Sadler shakes off sickness for Chicagoland victory
NASCAR Nationwide Elliott Sadler went from sick to stupendous, rallying late to capture Sunday's STP 300 Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Sadler, who also won a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus for the victory, had battled a flu bug for the previous three days, at one point spending 36 hours in bed. But when he arrived at the track Saturday, he felt the worst was behind him and was ready to race. Give third-place finisher Justin Allgaier a big assist to Sadler's win, as he blocked runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr. several times in the green-white-checkered restart that turned the scheduled 200-lap event into a 201-lap finish.
by Dave Grayson During the NASCAR weekend, at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, we learned that races are still won and lost in the pits. On one extreme of the theory eventual Sprint Cup winner Kasey Kahne showed us how well it can work. On the opposite extreme Denny Hamlin, who should have won the race, showed us the importance of good communication skills prior to entering pit road. Then Kyle Busch showed us what happens when pit road gets turned into a disaster area.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kasey Kahne spoiled Denny Hamlin's heroic drive through the field and held on to win Sunday's LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, all but securing a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup with his second victory of the season. Kahne led the final 66 laps, as fast-closing Hamlin ran out of time after starting deep in the field on a restart on Lap 240. Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Brad Keselowski. Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Greg Biffle and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.
by Dave Grayson While NASCAR Sprint Cup driver A J Allmendinger nervously awaits the results of a second urine test to determine the state of his racing career with Roger Penske Racing, his situation has remained to be one of the major stories in NASCAR racing. There has been a lot of comments and opinions delivered by a lot of NASCAR participants and observers regarding drivers who find themselves in trouble with the sanctioning body's very strict substance abuse policy.
NASCAR Nationwide Series Pole-sitter Brad Keselowski took advantage of an opportune moment late in Saturday's F.W. Webb 200 Nationwide Series race and held off Kevin Harvick in the closing laps to claim his first victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, his second of the season and the 19th of his career. Race runner-up Kevin Harvick, who finished 0.717 seconds back, expressed his displeasure with Amber Cope by tapping her car on the cool-down lap.....
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kyle Busch qualified the way he practiced on Friday -- at the top of the chart. Edging Kasey Kahne by 0.003 seconds and Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin by 0.004, Busch won the pole for Sunday's Lenox Industrial Tools 301 Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a lap at 133.417 mph. The last of 44 drivers to make a qualifying attempt -- because he was fastest in opening practice -- Busch prevailed in an intensely competitive Friday qualifying session to win his first Coors Light pole award of the season.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make their presence known in the eastern seaboard with the first of two visits to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Sunday's running of the Lenox Industrial Tools 301. This will be race number 19 on the series' 2012 schedule and it's one step closer to the September 8th cut off when the official line up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship will be named.
Brickyard 400 Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson couldn't wait to renew acquaintances with the famous Yard of Bricks Thursday, July 12 during a promotional visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "There's something so special about this racetrack," Johnson said. "It doesn't matter how many times you've raced here, if you've won here or not, when you come back and you see the bricks"
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be bringing their high energy tail gate party to the beautiful Iowa Speedway for Saturday night's running of the American Ethanol 200. This is race number nine on their schedule and promises to be one of their better events of the season on the Iowa Speedway's very challenging 7/8ths of a mile oval.
by Dave Grayson For you fans who were getting restless because NASCAR races were turning into long green flag runs with very little yellow flag action, you got your money's worth at Daytona didn't you? Granted, you had to wait until lap 82 to see the first yellow light moment but they came pretty frequently after that. Also during the Daytona weekend we watched the "Smoke" rise to the top for the third time in the Sprint Cup Series. In the Nationwide Series we watched "The Little Engine That Could" prove he can.
by Dave Grayson Last Saturday's announcement that said NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver A J Allmendinger has been "temporarily suspended" by officials for a violation of their substance abuse policy was, in a word, stunning. This announcement was one of those rare times when NASCAR officials, competitors, the media and the fans were all rendered speechless at the same time.
Chevy drivers outduel Ford drivers for win Chevy drivers Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne teamed up on the outside lane while Ford drivers Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle were on the inside when the green flag dropped with two laps to go in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona. They were side-by-side until the last lap when Kahne gave Stewart a hard shove off of Turn 2 to move him to the front of the two Fords going down the backstraight. From there Stewart kept everyone behind him while the cars behind got stacked up resulting in a big wreck and enabling Stewart to motor to victory.
The Great Pumpkin arrived early The Great Pumpkin arrived early, and Kurt Busch left Daytona International Speedway with something more than peanuts after winning Friday night's Subway Jalapeno 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race in a battered No. 1 Chevrolet that looked like a refuge from Halloween. With a strong push from defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Busch took the checkered flag in a wild race that ended with Austin Dillon wrecking in the tri-oval as Busch crossed the finish line.
NASCAR Sprint Cup at Daytona Roush Fenway Racing continued its recent dominance at Daytona International Speedway, with Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. winning the poles for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup events. Roush Fenway has now swept both Sprint Cup poles at Daytona in 2012. Kenseth will look to become the first driver in 30 years to win both Sprint Cup events at DIS in the same season, while Stenhouse Jr. looks to become the first RFR driver to win a NNS race at Daytona.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to restrictor plate racing this Saturday night at the Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coke Zero 400. It's expected to be the typical intense event we've seen at this track since 1959. With this race comes a lot of pre event story lines that will be the focus of the NASCAR themed media coverage. You will certainly hear a lot about the impact this race will have on the Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship.
by Dave Grayson During the NASCAR weekend at the Kentucky Speedway there were plenty of brews and blues. For example Brad Keselowski and his Miller Lite/Roger Penske Racing crew slammed down some of their sponsor's products in victory lane despite the major case of the blues they experienced to get there. Young Austin Dillon earned the right to slam down brews in victory lane only to get the blues following a post race inspection on his car. Oh yeah, there were enough Kentucky THUMBS-UPS and WHAT'S-UPS to fill up a NASCAR hauler.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Building a big lead during the final green-flag run and saving enough fuel to get to the end of the race, Brad Keselowski won Saturday night's Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup race in a backup car. Keselowski, who wrecked his primary car after tangling with Juan Montoya in Friday's first practice session, picked up his series-best third victory of the season and the seventh of his career, all but assuring himself of a position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
NASCAR Sprint Cup At a track that used to eat up his race cars, Jimmie Johnson was fastest of the fast in Friday's Sprint Cup qualifying session at Kentucky Speedway. The 43rd of 44 drivers to make a timed run, Johnson toured the 1.5-mile speedway in 29.700 seconds (181.818 mph) to win the pole for Sunday's Quaker State 400, the second Cup race at Kentucky. Johnson claimed his first Coors Light pole award since Sept. 26, 2010 at Dover and the 26th of his career.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be racing at the Kentucky Speedway, under the lights, this Saturday night. The Quaker State 400 marks only the second time NASCAR's elite series has raced on the speedway's 1.5 mile oval. There are, of course, some rather interesting story lines going into Saturday night's race. Chief among them is Tuesday morning's stunning news that said driver Matt Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of this season.
by Dave Grayson All three of NASCAR's national touring series will be racing a Thursday through Saturday schedule at the Kentucky Speedway this week. When it's time to analyze the stats from this weekend, don't be too surprised if Thursday night's UNOH 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is deemed the class act of the trio of races. It certainly wouldn't be the first time that happened.
by Dave Grayson During the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Sonoma we witnessed a former dirt track driver from Kansas prove that he can turn left and right on asphalt with the best of them. We marveled at the performance of a first time winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, we all agreed that Danica looked good in this race and Kurt Busch received a lot of attention, for all the right reasons.
by Bob Heathcote On a beautiful day in Sonoma, California, Clint Bowyer drove his Toyota to victory in the Toyota/SaveMart 350. It was Bowyer's first road course win and he had to hold off Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch to secure the win. A good crowd was on hand to see NASCAR's best exhibit some real driving talent at the front. NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. was 23rd.
NASCAR Sprint Cup at Sonoma Clint Bowyer held off charging Tony Stewart to win Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race in a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the event two laps past its scheduled distance of 110 laps. The victory was Bowyer's first of the year and the sixth of his career. Stewart passed Kurt Busch for the second position after the final restart and finished 0.829 seconds behind Bowyer.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Marcos Ambrose has been a much-talked about subject in the days leading up to Sonoma, and he backed the hype by winning the pole on the road course. Jeff Gordon will start second and his Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson third. Dale Earnhardt Jr, in the sister car to Gordon and Johnson, could only manage 18th on a track that requires driver skill over everything else. Touring the 1.99-mile road course in 75.203 seconds (95.262 mph), Ambrose won the pole for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350, his second Coors Light Pole Award in as many weekends and the second of his career.
NASCAR Michigan postscript (F words means Finally)
by Dave Grayson So, the long draught is over. All is well in the world of the Junior Nation tonight. NASCAR's most popular driver has found victory lane again. THUMBS-UP to Dale Earnhardt Jr for winning the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Raceway and finally getting rid of the way too often discussed win less streak that dates back to 2008 and 143 races ago. Ironically, his last win came at Michigan.
NASCAR Sprint Cup At the same venue that produced his last Sprint Cup victory, four years and two days removed from his most recent visit to Victory Lane, Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke the most talked-about, most frustrating streak in motorsports. Pulling away from defending series champion Tony Stewart at the end of the final 60-lap green-flag run, Earnhardt won Sunday's Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway by a dominating 5.393 seconds to end a drought of 143 races.
Only driver to eclipse 203 mph He won't be on the same tires come race day, but Marcos Ambrose used his last run on Goodyear's initial set to clinch the pole in his Ford for Sunday's Quicken Loans 400. Ambrose turned a lap at over 203 mph to win the pole, a new track record for stock cars at the 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills of Michigan. Kevin Harvick will start second in a Chevy and Greg Biffle third. Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman rounded out the top-5
NASCAR Sprint Cup On a speedway with a fresh coat of asphalt, Joey Logano may just have gotten a fresh start. After reclaiming the lead from veteran Mark Martin on Lap 157 of 160, Logano pulled away to win the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway, his first Sprint Cup Series victory since a rain-shortened win at New Hampshire in 2009. More important, the second triumph of Logano's career couldn't have come at a better time -- during a contract year in which doubters have considered the 22-year-old a prime candidate to lose his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing to a more established star.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Joey Logano turned a lap of 179.598 mph on Saturday to set the track record during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway. Logano wasn't alone in topping the mark. There were 36 drivers who posted a speed faster than the 172.533 mph set by Kasey Kahne on June 11, 2004. Carl Edwards joins Logano on the front row for Sunday's 400-mile race. Paul Menard, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin round out the top five.
NASCAR Sprint Cup NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick took part in a teleconference in advance of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 in Sonoma, June 22-24. One of the things we've noticed a lot the last couple of years is that it just seems like road course racing, particularly here in Sonoma, has just become that much more physical every year. Yeah, it's a good thing that they have the road-course races spread out because, yeah, it's become definitely a lot rougher than it used to be. I think the double-file restarts have made that part exciting, but road racing in general has just become more exciting because everybody's so competitive at it.
NASCAR Sprint Cup The Hendrick Motorsports juggernaut is back. Driving away from Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth after a restart with 31 laps left in Sunday's FedEx 400 at Dover International Speedway, Jimmie Johnson made short work of his Sprint Cup rivals. Johnson, who led 289 laps, picked up his second victory of the season, in addition to a win in the Sprint All-Star Race on May 19, and his second victory in the past three points races. Hendrick drivers now have won four consecutive races, including the All-Star event.
NASCAR Sprint Cup The old man did it again. Mark Martin, 53, the last driver to make a qualifying attempt Saturday at Dover International Speedway, ran 0.005 seconds faster than Jimmie Johnson to secure the top starting spot for Sunday's FedEx 400. The Coors Light pole award was Martin's third of the season, his fifth at Dover and the 54th of his career, eighth most all-time.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves on to race number 13 of the 2012 schedule this Sunday at the Dover International Raceway for the running of the Fed Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. This is one of the more grueling races on the Sprint Cup schedule. It's four hundred miles around the raceway's famed concrete oval and it will provide an extreme physical challenge to the drivers. There is also the matter regarding the legend of Dover's famed mascot: Miles The Monster.
Truck Series and Lucas Oil and excellent partnership
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, one of the best tailgate parties in the land, returns to action this Friday night, June 1st, at the Dover International Raceway's one mile concrete covered oval for the running of the Lucas Oil 200. The pairing of NASCAR's truck racing series and Lucas Oil is a perfect partnership. Since its inception in 1995, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has provided years of very aggressive racing that often had fans not using the grandstand seats they paid good money for.
by Dave Grayson During the Fox Sports broadcast of the Coca Cola 600 we frequently heard the term "the Kahne train." It was very appropriate because we all watched driver Kasey Kahne unload approximately four months of NASCAR frustration at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet did indeed resemble a locomotive train engine speeding down the tracks with a full head of steam.
by Rhonda McCole Kasey Kahne pulled away to victory in the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday night, winning NASCAR's longest race for the third time and gaining his stripes for Hendrick Motorsports the only way that matters -- taking the checkered flag. Our Rhonda McCole was there and captured these nearly 150 captioned photos.
by Rhonda McCole Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, leading the final 67 laps to give Penske Racing a winning start on auto racing's biggest weekend. Keselowski raced to his first Nationwide victory of the year. Our Rhonda McCole was there and captured these nearly 125 captioned photos.
by Pete McCole Just two weeks after scoring their 200th Sprint Cup victory, Hendrick Motorsports newest driver Kasey Kahne secured win number 201 for the team with a victory in Sunday’s 53rd annual Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kahne blasted his way through the field following a restart on lap 325 then passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with 68 laps to go and held on for his third victory in NASCAR’s longest race.
by Pete McCole Brad Keselowski earned another Memorial Day weekend victory for team owner Roger Penske, turning in a dominating performance to win Saturday’s History 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Keselowski held the lead after getting past Kasey Kahne for the lead on lap 134, stretching his fuel to beat Denny Hamlin.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will roll out onto the Charlotte Motor Speedway this Sunday for the second time in eight days. Last weekend, the event was the Sprint All Star race that featured five sprint like segments, for a total of 90 laps, with a winner take all format. On the opposite extreme, the second Charlotte race this Sunday, the Coca Cola 600, will feature one of the longest races in all of motorsports.
by Pete McCole On one of the most prestigious weekends in all of motorsports, it seems fitting that an icon of the sport will see the car he made famous lead the field to the start of NASCAR’s longest Sprint Cup race. Aric Almirola took Richard Petty’s famed no. 43 Ford Fusion to the top of the field in Thursday’s qualifying for Sunday’s 53rd annual Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway to score his first career pole, while teammate Marcos Ambrose took the outside pole to give Richard Petty Motorsports a sweep of the front row.
by Rhonda McCole Jimmie Johnson did it for roughly 60 laps Saturday night, and it earned him a cool $1 million payday. Johnson used a calculated strategy — he drove hard for the first and last segments, and coasted for the three in between — to join Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon as the only three-time winners of NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race. Our Rhonda McCole was there to capture all the action in these photos.
by Dave Grayson Over the previous weekend we watched the #48 Lowes team again rise to the occasion during the NASCAR Sprint Cup's All Star weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. We watched team owner Rick Hendrick enjoy the best week ever and get the ride of his life. Meanwhile in Iowa, we watched the continued rise of a future NASCAR super star and, in the tail gate division, we enjoyed a first time win for a driver and his team owner.
by Rhonda McCole For the third time in five races, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series produced a first-time winner, as Justin Lofton drove the No. 6 Eddie Sharp Racing Chevrolet to victory lane Friday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway following the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Our Rhonda McCole was there and captured these photos.
by Pete McCole Just one week after Jimmie Johnson scored the 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson took Rick Hendrick to victory again – literally – leading the final 10 laps to win the 28th Annual NASCAR Sprint All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and score a $1 million dollar payday. Johnson and his team played their strategy to perfection, wining the first segment and running at the back of the pack for the rest of the race, saving their tires for the final ten-lap sprint that Johnson led from the start, easily outdistancing Brad Keselowski by 0.841 seconds for his third All Star victory.
by Pete McCole The big gamble that team owner Eddie Sharp undertook in the offseason paid off in spades on Friday night, as his team celebrated their first victory in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with driver Justin Lofton taking home his first checkered flag in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lofton led the final 10 laps after getting past Brad Keselowski on a restart and held on through the final caution period to record his first victory in his 55th series start.
by Pete McCole For the second year in a row, Kyle Busch will lead the field to the green flag for the NASCAR Sprint All Star Race with a $1million dollar prize on the line, winning the pole in Friday’s qualifying session at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Busch was the fastest driver in Friday’s practice session in the no. 18 Toyota, putting him last among the 20 drivers to take to the track in qualifying, which featured a unique format of three laps and a four-tire pit stop.
by Dave Grayson Prior to the annual Sprint All Star Race, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, we were treated to several video highlights of this famous race from the NASCAR themed television shows. Although we've seen these highlights many times over the years, we're still in awe struck wonder over this no holds barred, winner take all, unleashed display of motorsports fury. Needless to say, the one video highlight we see the most is the famed "Pass In The Grass."
by Pete McCole Jimmie Johnson finally broke into the winners circle to secure Hendrick Motorsports their coveted 200th Sprint Cup victory, holding off Denny Hamlin in a final three-lap shootout in Saturday night’s Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Johnson managed to stretch his fuel through the last 68 laps and survived four late-race restarts including a green-white-checkered finish to tally his first win of the season.
How Hendrick Motorsports Reached Historic 200 Wins
How they got to the magical number Every big stage, every big moment, every crown jewel – Hendrick Motorsports owns them all. The Daytona 500? The team boasts six trophies from The Great American Race. The Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway? Seven wins. The Coca-Cola 600? Nine. Add another storybook accolade to the list: 200 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.
by Pete McCole Sprint Cup Series points leader Greg Biffle saved the best for last and spoiled a Hendrick Motorsports-sweep of the front row with a late-session pole winning run in Friday’s qualifying to capture the top starting spot for Saturday night’s Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway Biffle took to the track as the second-to-last qualifier and clicked off a lap to knock Jimmie Johnson off the pole and knock Kasey Kahne to third to break up what would have been an all-Hendrick Motorsports front row, tallying his second pole of the season and 11th of his career. Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five qualifiers.
by Pete McCole Joey Logano survived a wild night to record his second NASCAR Nationwide Series victory in a row with an overtime victory in Friday nights VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway. Logano outgunned Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin at the start of the final green-white-checkered shootout and held on his third Nationwide Series win in the five races and the 12th series win of his career.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to one of the racing venues that helped make the sport famous: the Darlington Raceway. With the annual race at the track too tough to tame, comes a lot of personal memories. After a life time of service in the United States Air Force, my dad moved our family to Darlington. He soon became a member of the Darlington Rescue Squad and that meant working in the large Red Cross tents during NASCAR weekends. My job during those weekends was to pass out aspirin and Dixie Cups filled with water to race fans who had too much fun while staying in the Darlington infield. Needless to say, it kept me busy.
No matter what your opinion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' race at Talladega was, at least it had an exciting finish. The move made by race winner Brad Keselowski on runner up Kyle Busch caught us all a little off guard but, make no mistake about it, it was effective. During the final lap of a NASCAR restrictor plate race, at Talladega and Daytona, it's preferable to actually be running in second place in order to set up a sling shot run to the checkers coming out of the speedway's tri oval.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kyle Busch pushed Brad Keselowski around the outside of the Fords of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle with one lap to go and the tandem pulled away with Keselowski's Dodge crossing the line ahead of Busch's Toyota. Busch's Toyota could not stay with Keselowski over the final 1/4 lap as the Penske Dodge just walked away from the Toyota despite the draft. It was Keselowski's 6th Sprint Cup win and 2nd in the last ten races.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Jeff Gordon captured the pole position in his No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet for Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway, the 71st of his career. The pole marked the 20th consecutive season in which Gordon has won at least one pole; and he is now tied with David Pearson for the longest streak of all-time. The milestone also ranks him third in the all-time list of pole-winners. Gordon turned a lap of 49.973 seconds, 191.623 mph.
by Dave Grayson We all knew that the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at the Richmond International Raceway had the potential of becoming very lively and entertaining. After all, the basic premise of this race featured the concept of 43 cars stacked up on a three quarter mile oval and, as we all know, NASCAR style short track racing can present genuine surprises within a fraction of a second.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Pulling away from Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a restart with eight laps left in Saturday night's Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway, Kyle Busch streaked to his fourth consecutive victory in the spring race at the 0.75-mile track. The win was Busch's first of the season and the 24th of his career. Tony Stewart, the race leader before the fifth and final caution for debris in Turn 2, lost ground on the restart and finished third. Denny Hamlin ran fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Mark Martin proved he still had what it takes to win a pole for a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. The veteran Martin won the pole position for Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway, knocking off Carl Edwards as the final car to take a qualifying lap. Edwards was second, followed by Kevin Harvick, AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Busch, who has won the last three Richmond spring races.
From The Start Forty years ago this month, one of the great pairings in the history of NASCAR hit the track for the first time. It was at Darlington Raceway, on April 16, 1972, that David Pearson first drove a car for the Wood Brothers race team. Pearson, who hadn’t won a race in NASCAR’s premier division in more than a year and hadn’t won on a superspeedway in two years, was hired to take over the No. 21 Mercury for A.J. Foyt, who was moving on to concentrate on his Indy Car racing.
by Dave Grayson By the time the NASCAR weekend at the Kansas Speedway was complete, Denny Hamlin surprised the competition with a special FED EX delivery. Rick Hendrick had to load up his custom hats and wait for another day to make his special delivery. James Buescher and Turner Motorsports did some serious trucking and delivered in a very big way and, following the Kansas weekend, a contractor delivered a truck load of brand new asphalt.
Chevy NASCAR driver Today's NASCAR teleconference features BBC America's Top Gear host Richard Hammond who joins us today from the UK, and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson, one of the drivers showcased in the upcoming Top Gear episode featuring NASCAR along with Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Denny Hamlin overcame a dominant day by Martin Truex Jr. to notch his second win of the season, grabbing the checkered at Kansas Speedway and gave Toyota 1-2 finish. Taking advantage of changing conditions Sunday at Kansas Speedway, Hamlin held off Martin Truex Jr. the final 30 laps to win the STP 400, his second victory of the season.
NASCAR Sprint Cup AJ Allmendinger will start the No. 22 AAA Dodge from the pole position in Sunday’s STP 400 after clocking a fast lap time of 175.993 mph at Kansas Speedway on Saturday. The pole position is Allmendinger’s second NASCAR Sprint Cup Pole (Phoenix, 2010), and his first since joining the Penske Racing organization ahead of the 2012 season.
by Cathy Elliott The fact that the STP 400 is being run on a 1.5 mile intermediate sized track, also known as "cookie cutter tracks", opens up the possibility for a wide variety of teams to find victory lane on Sunday based on their past successes on this type of speedway. To get a better idea regarding which driver could be the lucky one at Kansas, we once again turn to the number crunching professionals from the Las Vegas based World Sports Exchange, (WSE). Topping the WSE's Kansas list is Jimmie Johnson rated at 6 to 1 odds.
by Dave Grayson NASCAR's Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series spent made their semiannual trip to the Texas Motor Speedway to run races that were, frankly, a little light on the action side and that's putting it in very polite terms. When the strong wind gusts becomes the major story you know it's going to be a long weekend. Meanwhile in North Carolina, NASCAR returned to "the Rock" in what turned out to be the feel good story of the weekend. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin with:
by Pete McCole Kasey Kahne capped a successful weekend Sunday afternoon, winning the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 truck race to mark NASCAR's return to Rockingham Speedway for the first time since 2004. Kahne surged to the front in the 155th lap of 200 to win his fourth Camping World Truck Series race in five starts. Our Pete McCole was there and captured these photos.
by Pete McCole In his rookie season in 2004, Kasey Kahne lost out on his bid for his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory after Matt Kenseth edged him at the finish line in what turned out to be the last NASCAR event at Rockingham Speedway. On Sunday, after an eight year absence, NASCAR returned to the Rock and Kasey Kahne finally made it to victory lane.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Saving his equipment for the final green-flag run, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Greg Biffle finally put a win on the board, cruising to a 3.235-second victory over Jimmie Johnson in Saturday night's Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle took the lead on Lap 304 of 334 and pulled away to win his first race since Oct. 3, 2010 (at Kansas), his second at Texas and the 17th of his career. Johnson, who led a race-high 156 laps, scraped the wall trying to run down Biffle in the late going.
NASCAR Sprint Cup In blustery conditions at Texas Motor Speedway, Martin Truex Jr. topped the speed chart in Friday's Sprint Cup qualifying session, winning the pole for Saturday's Samsung Mobile 500 at the 1.5-mile track. The Coors Light pole award was Truex's first of the season, his second at Texas and the seventh of his career. The driver of the No. 56 Toyota posted a lap at 190.369 mph (28.366 seconds) to edge defending race winner Matt Kenseth (190.148 mph) for the top starting spot.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be racing under the lights this Saturday night at the Texas Motor Speedway during the running of the Samsung Mobile 500. At the end of the evening the winning driver gets to stand in the speedway's victory lane wearing a genuine cowboy hat while firing the traditional six shooters in the air.
Wood Brothers Throughout the decades in which he served as crew chief for the Wood Brothers race team, Leonard Wood was known for being able to take his machine tools and solve most any problem and create some innovative components as well. It was that same approach to problem solving that led Wood to build one of the most tricked-out lawn mowers ever to snip a blade of grass.
by Pete McCole Ryan Newman took advantage of a three-wide crash on a Green-White-Checkered restart involving two Hendrick drivers to win at Martinsville and keep Hendrick at 199 career wins. Clint Bowyer dive bombed the two leaders Gordon and Johnson and three cars side-by-side into turn 1 was not going to work and all three cars went spinning, ruining a great for Gordon and Johnson. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was second in the third Hendrick car Followed by A.J. Allmendinger, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr. rounding out the top-5.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kasey Kahne rewarded new sponsor HendrickCars.com the pole position for Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at the 1/2-mile Martinsville, VA paperclip oval. Kevin Harvick will start 2nd giving Chevy the front row sweep. The Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer make up row 2 and Ryan Newman's Chevy rounds out the top-5.
by Dave Grayson In 1972 a British pop singer named Albert Hammond had a smash hit with his song "It Never Rains In Southern California." Of course it rains in So Cal. It just wasn't supposed to rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. That's how the Auto Club 400 became the Auto Club 258.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Tony Stewart made all the right moves Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, and the last one proved decisive in taking the three-time champion to Victory Lane in the rain-shortened Auto Club 400. After raindrops slowed the race on Lap 124, Stewart, the race leader, faked a move toward pit road but stayed on the track and matched the pace car's speed of 65 mph, a far cry from the lightning-fast laps he ran under the green flag.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Joe Gibbs Racing swept the front row for the Auto Club 400 as Denny Hamlin won the pole and teammate Kyle Busch will start second Sunday at Auto Club (California) Speedway. Hamlin posted a lap of 186.403 mph around the 2-mile oval in qualifying Friday. He was the only driver to eclipse 186 mph as Busch turned a lap of 185.534 mph. Michael Waltrip Racing's Mark Martin will start third, with series points leader Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing) and Kasey Kahne (Hendrick Motorsports) rounding out the top five.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will roll onto the massive Auto Club Speedway for Sunday's running of the Auto Club 400. This massive, two mile, oval has always been conducive to five wide, full throttle, racing. On the opposite extreme is the fact that fuel mileage has often been a major factor in the conclusion of a race at this speedway. Next Sunday's Auto Club 400 could turn out to be a true test regarding how to save fuel with the new electronic fuel injected engines.
by Dave Grayson The original title of this article was scheduled to be: CALIFORNIA HERE I COME (NOT !!!!!!) That's because it was truly believed by every NASCAR observer on the planet that the proposed penalties against Hendrick Motorsports' #48 team were going to be upheld following a failed technical inspection prior to the Daytona 500. That meant that crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec were indeed going to be under suspension for six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and would not be on duty
by Dave Grayson As a general rule, anytime you place 43 full sized stock cars on a half mile oval race track you have to be thinking about yellow caution flags and how many times you're going to see them. When that half mile oval happens to be the Bristol Motor Speedway, then we're really expecting to see some yellow flags. The potential circumstances being what they were, the NASCAR weekend at Bristol, featuring the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races, was actually very polite, but very good, racing.
by Pete McCole Brad Keselowski scored his first win of the season with a dominating performance on Sunday, holding off Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth for the victory in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Keselowski led a race-high 232 laps in the no. 2 Miller Light Dodge Charger including the last 111, spending all of them with a mirror full of Kenseth’s Ford Taurus trying to run him down.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Roush Fenway’s Greg Biffle covered the 0.533 oval of Bristol Motor Speedway in 15.324 seconds (125.215 mph) to win the Sprint Cup pole. Biffle posted a lap at 125.215 mph (15.324 seconds) in Friday's time trials and watched as the 10 drivers who succeeded him in the qualifying order tried to knock him out of the top spot. AJ Allmendinger came closest but fell .001 seconds short, as Biffle claimed the 10th pole award of his career and his first at the 0.533-mile short track.
by Dave Grayson The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be rolling into Thunder Valley this weekend: the Tennessee based home of the Bristol Motor Speedway. This half mile concrete oval is the home of some of the finest short track racing you'll ever want to see. The track is a true test of a race driver's skill and it's also the ultimate test of a driver's patience. When you put 43 cars on a half mile track, Thunder Valley can turn into Blunder Valley real quick.
by Dave Grayson Kurt Busch was not a happy man last Sunday, following the conclusion of the Kobalt Tools 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Las Vegas native was hoping for a win, or at least a strong finish, in front of the home town fans. Instead he wound up with a disappointing 35th place finish due to a late race accident. In an unusual in car radio comment, during this race, he said he "had a black cloud hanging over his head."
by Dave Grayson There was "Smoke" in victory lane at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway following the conclusion of the Kobalt Tools 400. A five time champion overcame adversity again and helped raise a lot of money for charity. There were early race heart palpitations from the "Junior Nation" and it also seems that NASCAR's most popular driver has an unusual hobby. With those thoughts in mind, let's begin with:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Tony Stewart held off a charging Jimmie Johnson in a five-lap shootout to win his first Cup race at Las Vegas. The victory gives Stewart 14 wins in Sprint Cup. Stewart survived four late restarts to win the Kobalt Tools 400 Sunday. Johnson, who started at the rear of the field after wrecking in practice, finished second followed by Greg Biffle, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer.
Stenhouse Jr. runs away with Nationwide race in Vegas
Beats Mark Martin Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated the last 50 laps of Saturday's Sam's Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, pulling away from Mark Martin during a 39-lap green flag run the finish. Points leader Elliott Sadler came home third, followed by Trevor Bayne and Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan. Cole Whitt, Austin Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr. and Kasey Kahne completed the top 10.
Kahne sets track record in winning pole at Las Vegas
NASCAR Sprint Cup Kasey Kahne was one of 15 drivers to break the track qualifying record Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He also was the fastest. The Hendrick Motorsports drive's’ lap of 190.456 mph broke Matt Kenseth’s year-old mark of 188.884 and put him on the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt Tools 400. Joe Gibbs Racing's Kyle Busch (190.040 mph), the first driver to break the track record on a warm, sunny day at the 1.5-mile speedway, will start second. Kevin Harvick (Richard Childress Racing), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick) and Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing) will start third through fifth, respectively, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event.
All eyes with be on the bright lights of Las Vegas when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series makes its annual visit, to the city that never sleeps, for Sunday's running of the Kobalt Tools 400. NASCAR racing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway offers features a blend of hard racing to the checkers combined with the element of fuel mileage and who saved enough of the finish.
by Dave Grayson Following a racing marathon at Daytona last Monday, the elite of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to what many termed "real racing" at the Phoenix International Raceway. The fact that this race started and ended on a Sunday afternoon under clear skies, and the track didn't catch on fire, made the Subway Fresh Fit 500 (k) a delightful change from the previous event. PIR's one mile oval displayed all the characteristics of a short track and that made the racing both intense and fun.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Denny Hamlin found redemption in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. In his second race with 2011 Sprint Cup championship crew chief Darian Grubb on his pit box, Hamlin held off Kevin Harvick in a 53-lap green-flag run to finish the 312-lap race at the one-mile track and took over the series points lead for the first time since surrendering it in the final race of 2010 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
NASCAR Nationwide Series at Phoenix Elliott Sadler got some well-deserved payback at Phoenix International Raceway. At the one-mile venue where a wreck in Turn 3 effectively knocked him out of the Nationwide Series championship hunt last November, Sadler took the lead with 26 laps left in the Bashas' Supermarkets 200 and held off hard-charging Brad Keselowski for the win. The victory was Sadler's first at PIR, the sixth of his career and his first in the Nationwide Series since 1998 at Rockingham, N.C.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Mark Martin’s new job at Michael Waltrip Racing produced results in just his second week on the job. The 53-year-old Martin, who joined the team this year to run a 25-race schedule, won the pole Saturday for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. His speed of 136.815 mph edged that of Tony Stewart’s 136.126 on the 1-mile oval. Regan Smith, Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo Montoya rounded out the top five.
Daytona Postscript 2: Some things are worth repeating
by Dave Grayson During that gap of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and team members trying to leave Daytona to get home just long enough to repack suitcases to leave for Phoenix there were several comments that deserved to be repeated. It was a time when one needed a sense of humor to get through a schedule that had been hopelessly complicated by rain delays in Florida and intense fog in North Carolina.
by Dave Grayson After a long, and even bizarre, weekend at Daytona, the elite of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be criss crossing the country to the valley of the sun for three hundred plus laps on the Phoenix International Raceway. The Subway Fresh Fit 500 (k), on PIR's one mile oval, will be a drastic change from last weekend's Daytona elements such as restrictor plates and bump drafting. It's already being regarded by many of the teams as the return to "real racing."
In NASCAR Sprint Cup Penske Racing and Ford Racing announced today that they will be joining forces for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and beyond. Roger Penske and Jamie Allison, director, Ford Racing, conducted a teleconference this afternoon to talk about the partnership with members of the media. The transcript from the teleconference follows below.
by Dave Grayson The 54th running of the Daytona 500 was supposed to start on a Sunday afternoon and conclude sometime later that same evening. What we saw instead was a race that began on a Monday evening and concluded in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. It wasn't an easy process for anyone involved. NASCAR officials, drivers, the teams and, God bless them all, the fans just had to stand there and wade through the process and the rain water. Not even darkness of night, rain, impending patches of fog nor the flames of hell could deter NASCAR from completing their appointed rounds.
by Pete McCole Just when you thought you'd seen it all in the Daytona 500, the 54th running of the "Great American Race" will go down as the most bizarre of them yet. In a race that saw a media sensation in the third female driver to ever start a Daytona 500, a day-long rain delay, an opening lap crash, a two-hour red flag for a jet fuel fire, and an overtime checkered flag that didn’t fly until Tuesday morning, Matt Kenseth emerged as a two-time winner in the season-opening race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
Buescher wins in crash-filled finish Nationwide race
by Pete McCole James Buescher survived a wild last lap as the race leaders crashed in the final turn to emerge as the surprise winner and collect his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series victory Saturday’s season-opening Drive4COPD 300 at Daytona International Speedway. Buescher came through as the last man standing following an 11-car wreck in the final turn.
by Pete McCole 23-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie John King scored his first career victory in a wild finish to the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, capping one of the most crash-filled races of all of Speedweeks. King, in only his eighth-career NCWTS start, held off teammate Timothy Peters on the third and final attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.
by Dave Grayson NASCAR officially kicks off its 2012 racing season this Sunday with the 54th annual running of its great American race: the Daytona 500. From what we've observed from Daytona preliminary events, such as the Budweiser Shootout and both Gatorade Duels, there's plenty of reason to believe that Sunday's 500 is going to be filled with massive excitement and quickly become a true test of man and machine.
NASCAR's biggest star wins pole for Nationwide race
Danica Patrick on pole in Daytona NASCAR's biggest star, Danica Patrick won the pole Friday for the season-opening Nationwide Series race at Daytona. Patrick became the first woman to secure the top qualifying spot in NASCAR's second-tier series since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta on March 12, 1994, and with it gave NASCAR the big publicity they were looking for. She is a star and perhaps NASCAR's best driver now. Ticket sales and merchandise sales will skyrocket.
Field is set for Daytona 500 Escaping an attempted block from Roush Fenway Racing teammate Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth took the lead on the final lap of the second of two Gatorade Duel 150-mile qualifying races Thursday at Daytona International Speedway and held off Regan Smith for the win. Tony Stewart won the first Duel under caution, a half-lap after Danica Patrick took a vicious hit against the inside wall on the backstretch.
by Dave Grayson When the 34th annual Budweiser Shootout received the green flag, it was immediately apparent that the overall scope of restrictor plate racing had changed dramatically. Virtually gone were the two car tandems from the recent past. That was replaced by a return of the more traditional pack racing from years gone by. The final result of the 75 lap Budweiser Shootout was a very exciting finish peppered with the presence of three separate "big ones."
by Pete McCole Carl Edwards scored his first career Daytona 500 pole while Greg Biffle secured the second position to give Roush-Fenway Racing a sweep of the front row in Sunday’s qualifying session for next Sunday’s 54th running of the Daytona 500. Edwards turned a lap of 194.738 mph to beat his Ford teammate Biffle who was also over 194 MPH. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was third and the last driver to break the 194 MPH mark at 194.028 MPH.
'Wild Thing' Busch gives Tony Stewart a driving lesson
by Mark J. Cipolloni Kyle Busch put on a show at Daytona, pulling off a slingshot pass of Tony Stewart coming to the start/finish line and winning the Budweiser Shootout. Busch, proving once again he is the best driver in NASCAR by a long shot, was turned sideways twice in the race, first by Jimmie Johnson and then by Jeff Gordon, but both times he saved the car while sparks flew from his car as it straddled the apron and the banking at a 45-degree angle.
Lucas Oil Slick Mist at Daytona Bobby Gerhart's day at Daytona International Speedway started early with the installation of an engine fit to ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards standards, and ended with the Pennsylvania driver setting the standard himself. Gerhart led just one lap, but it was the 83rd and final one in a green-white-checkered finish, giving him his third consecutive Daytona win and his eighth overall in 25 starts since 1988.
by Dave Grayson Despite all of the clues from a long string of rampant rumors, the recent announcement that said the Irwindale Speedway will be dark in 2012 was still stunning. On Monday, February 13th, a very simple, not to mention vague, statement was issued by Irwindale Speedway LLC CEO Jim Williams and track General Manage Bob DeFazio that said "the management of Irwindale Speedway today announced that the 2012 racing season has been cancelled."
Media Conference Call Three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion crew chief Ray Evernham is returning to ESPN as a NASCAR analyst for the 2012 season. Evernham will join ESPN’s team at Daytona Speedweeks and will be part of NASCAR Countdown before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race that airs on ESPN on Saturday, Feb. 25, at noon ET. He also will appear on NASCAR Now and SportsCenter from Daytona as ESPN’s multimedia platforms surround the opening of the NASCAR season.
by Dave Grayson As we move closer to green flag time for the February 26th Daytona 500, and the start of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, there are still deals being made during the final days. To no surprise, a lot of corporations wants to see their logo on the hood of a car during Daytona Speedweeks. The really bright spot here lies in the fact that some of these eleventh hour deals are for the entire season.
by Dave Grayson Last February 5th, the National Football League concluded its season with one of the all time great spectacles in sports: Super Bowl 46. On February 26th NASCAR will officially begin its new season with another great spectacle in sports: the Daytona 500, aka "The Great American Race." That contrast has always been in effect for decades. However, this year there was a rather interesting connection between the Super Bowl and NASCAR. Surprisingly, it involved the game plan of the defensive team from the Super Bowl champions; the New York Giants.
by Dave Grayson As I wait for the green flag to signify the official start of Speed Weeks 2012 at Daytona, I seem to be spending the off season time collecting NASCAR news items while pondering my opinions on their content. It occurred to me that I should share some of them with my racing buddies. For approximately seven years now NASCAR has observed the policy of the top 35 in their owner's points. This policy states that any team within the top 35 is automatically guaranteed a start in the next race on the schedule.
by Pete McCole The NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway wrapped up it’s 30th edition on Thursday to bring a close to the annual four-day media event as NASCAR’s top teams make preparations for the season opening Daytona 500 barely four weeks away. First up on the final day was an event hosted by Wal-Mart, who announced they will make their first foray into NASCAR Sprint Cup, serving a primary sponsors for 1988 Sprint Cup Champion Bill Elliott in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona Speedway in July.
At NASCAR Hall of Fame Good afternoon, and welcome to the NASCAR Hall of Fame for the annual NASCAR preseason press conference as part of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour. My name is Kerry Tharp. I'm senior director of communications for NASCAR competition. We are excited about the 2012 NASCAR racing season. Our thanks to the fine folks here at the NASCAR Hall of Fame for their outstanding hospitality and hosting us here today.
NASCAR State of the Sport Report In his State of NASCAR remarks delivered during the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said, “The sport is in a very good place and we’re going to work even harder to achieve the very best things for the sport of NASCAR well into the future.”
by Pete McCole The 30th Annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway continued on Wednesday with day three of the four-day session as NASCAR teams continue their preparations for the upcoming 2012 NASCAR racing season. Starting off was an early-morning media event with JTG-Daugherty Racing and driver Bobby Labonte.
by Pete McCole The 30th Annual NASCAR Sprint Media Tour hosted by Charlotte Motor Speedway moved onto day two on Tuesday, continuing the four-day media event covering the upcoming 2012 NASCAR racing season. Kicking off the second day of the tour was an event hosted by Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, including drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.
by Pete McCole Looking to rebuild their brand identity in the sport of stock car racing, Ford Motor Company introduced their new 2013 Ford Fusion entry into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the media at a press event at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday. The new 2013 production model, featuring a prominent front grill and new Eco-Boost technology, is slated to make it’s debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at the 2013 Daytona 500.
by Pete McCole Charlotte Motor Speedway played host to the 30th edition of the NASCAR Sprint Media Tour on Monday, kicking off the annual event that brings together journalists from around the world featuring a four days of interviews and press events with some of NASCAR’s top teams as the prepare for the upcoming 2012 racing season. Leading of the tour for 2012 was a visit from the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and the Stewart-Haas Racing team.
by Pete McCole Thousands of fans showed up Saturday for the inaugural NASCAR Preview 2012 Presented by Sprint at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Charlotte Convention Center. The fan-friendly event, part of NASCAR’s Acceleration Weekend, followed an overflow crowd for Friday evening’s NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony of Richie Evans, Dale Inman, Darrell Waltrip, Glen Wood and Cale Yarborough. Photos by Pete McCole and Getty Images for NASCAR.
Waltrip, Evans, Yarborough, Inman and Wood Inducted
by Pete McCole Three-time NASCAR Champion and current FOX broadcaster Darrell Waltrip lead a stellar field of five NASCAR legends inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame at a ceremony held Friday in Charlotte, NC honoring the Class of 2012. Joining Waltrip were fellow three-time champion Cale Yarborough, NASCAR Modified champion Richie Evans, legendary crew chief Dale Inman and NASCAR team owner Glen Wood as the Hall of Fame Class of 2012 inductees.
New York Star Won Nine NASCAR Modified Series Titles Richard Ernest “Richie” Evans certainly was the face of NASCAR – and modified racing – in the northeast, winning an estimated 475 times in approximately 1,300 starts. It equates to a win in every three starts (a 36.5% clip), something unheard of in modern racing at any level. Evans will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, one of five members of the Hall’s third class comprised of the New York native, legendary crew chief Dale Inman, team owner Glen Wood and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Darrell Waltrip and Cale Yarborough. He is the first of 15 inductees without a connection to NASCAR’s premier series.
NASCAR folklore In his long career as a NASCAR driver and team owner, Glen Wood, who is being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this month, has been a part of many of the sport’s historic moments. Many of them are associated with his team’s 98 victories in the Sprint Cup division, but one in particular was a rare occurrence for both Wood and NASCAR. Neither came away winners that day.
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