Coverage of Qualifying for the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is scheduled for Saturday, April 30, 2016 at 12:00pm/et.
Television (TV): FOX, 12:30pm/et
Radio: Live online at Motor Racing Network (MRN)
Scheduled Qualifying Re-Air: Sunday, May 1 at 8:30am/et on FS1
Qualifying Order for the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is posted. 41 cars/drivers are listed.
The order is based on the fastest single lap speed posted in the combined practice sessions Friday.
Qualifying at Talladega will consist of two rounds of single car qualifying.
#7-Smith will go out first. The final driver out will be #1-McMurray.
See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com's Talladega Qualifying Order Page (pdf).(4-29-2016)
Final practice for the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is over after 55 scheduled minutes. The top five, slowest and notes:
slowest: #15-Bowyer 187.978 & #30-Wise 186.209. 35 drivers have been on track.
most laps run: #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 30, #41-Busch 24
notes: Qualifying is scheduled for 12:30pm/et tomorrow and will be televised on FS1 and covered via radio by MRN/SiriusXM.
There is rain in tomorrow's forecast. If qualifying is rained out, today's practices determine who makes the race. There are 41 cars entered so 1 team will not qualify. The open (non-charter) teams that make the race are determined by fastest single lap speeds posted from the combined practices today by the open teams - #21-Blaney, #30-Wise, #35-Gilliland, #55-Waltrip, #98-Whitt. Because Josh Wise had the slowest speed in both practice sessions, he will not make the race if qualifying is canceled.
Charter teams would start the race based on owner points standings, not by practice speeds.
See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 consecutive lap average on the Talladega Final Practice Speeds page (pdf).(4-29-2016)
First practice for the GEICO 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is over after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
slowest: #47-Allmendinger 191.708 & #7-Smith 187.820
most laps run: #88-Earnhardt, Jr. 37, #17-Stenhouse, Jr. 36
See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 consecutive lap average on the Talladega Practice 1 Speeds page (pdf).(4-29-2016)
Brian France attends Drivers Council meeting: NASCAR chairman Brian France was busy meeting with drivers Friday, first privately with Tony Stewart and then he attended his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Drivers Council meeting Friday night at Talladega Superspeedway. France was criticized by Stewart in January for not going to the meetings, which typically are attended by other NASCAR top executives. Stewart also was fined $35,000 last week for the tone of comments critical of NASCAR's commitment to safety in reference to its not policing whether lug nuts are tight on wheels. "It was very productive and at least from Brian's perspective, it was well done and he was happy he did it," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said late Friday night. The meeting with the nine-member drivers council was held in the NASCAR Sprint Cup garage and went past the time the garage was closed for the night. As he waited for a gate to be unlocked so he could leave the garage, France was asked if he delivered a message to the drivers. "No, we just had a good discussion," France said about the drivers council meeting. The meeting went on for nearly two more hours after France left for another commitment. NASCAR spokesman David Higdon would not go into specific topics but said the meeting covered items for 2016 and 2017 and there were not discussions about Stewart's fine.(ESPN.com)(4-30-2016)
Golden Corral returns to the #7: Golden Corral returns for their second race of the 2016 season with Tommy Baldwin Racing, driver Regan Smith, and a brand new car design. The car design features a new bold color scheme and the logos of two charitable organizations - Camp Corral and DAV (Disabled American Veterans). Golden Corral supports both of these organizations as a way to honor our nation's men and women in uniform. Founded by Golden Corral, Camp Corral is a free, one-of-a-kind summer camp for children of wounded, disabled or fallen military service members. Over 10,000 children have been served at Camp Corral and the program has expanded to 21 camps in 19 states.(Tommy Baldwin Racing), see an image of the car on the #7 team paint schemes page.(4-30-2016)
Richmond TV Ratings UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Richmond earned a 2.9 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down a tick from 2014, when it aired on a Saturday night (3.0). Overnights also dropped 6% from last year, when the race was postponed from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon (3.1). The 2.9 overnight is the lowest ever for a Sunday Sprint Cup race on FOX, falling below the previous mark of 3.2 for Bristol one week prior. Regardless of day, it is tied as the second-lowest for a Sprint Cup race on FOX - matching Texas last year and ahead of Texas this year (2.5). Head-to-head, the race edged ABC's competing Spurs/Grizzlies NBA playoff game (2.7) but was no match for Warriors/Rockets later in the day (5.4).(Sports Media Watch)(4-25-2016)
UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Richmond earned a 3.1 final rating and 4.7 million viewers on FOX last Sunday afternoon, down 6% in ratings and 16% in viewership from 2014, the last time it was run as scheduled on a Saturday night (3.3, 5.6M). Last year's race, which was postponed from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, had a 3.3 and 5.2 million. The 3.1 rating is the lowest ever for a Sunday Sprint Cup race on FOX, falling below the previous mark of 3.4 for Bristol one week earlier, and the third-lowest regardless of day. The past three races on FOX rank among the network's five lowest rated ever, with Texas dead last, Richmond third, and Bristol fifth at 3.4.(Sports Media Watch) see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(4-30-2016)
Ty Dillon still working on Sprint Cup plans: Ty Dillon talked to the media Friday at Talladega Superspeedway;
HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK GETTING CHOSEN FOR THIS HIGH PROFILE JOB REPLACING TONY HAS HELPED YOUR PROSPECTS OF GETTING A FULL-TIME CUP RIDE? WHERE DOES IT STAND WITH WHAT YOU HAVE LINED UP FOR NEXT SEASON?
"I think it's helped a lot. I was hoping to maybe be full-time this year in the Sprint Cup series about this time last year. That is where I kind of had my goals set, my eyes set, but the opportunity didn't come along. I can't thank Stewart-Haas and their organization enough for giving me the opportunity to fill in this year with Tony being out. Not only has it helped me with my career and getting better as a race car driver, but it's helped me show people that I can get the job done in other equipment too."
ANY UPDATE ON NEXT SEASON?
"I can't tell you that (laughs). No, there are a lot of good things going on. That is about as far as I'll take it."
MANAGEMENT TOLD ME LAST WEEK THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU IN A CUP CAR FULL-TIME, BUT THEY WOULD ALSO LIKE TO FIND SPONSORSHIP THAT WAS SIMILAR TO WHAT CHASE ELLIOTT HAD. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT AS FAR AS SPONSORSHIP GOES?
"Right now anything suits my brand. If we can get that kind of sponsorship I'm fine with supporting anything and exposing anything. That is definitely our goal is for RCR is to find a sponsor that we can grow with over the next couple of years similar to what Chase has done. There are other opportunities that could come along to provide me to be able to run full-time in the Sprint Cup Series. I feel like I'm ready to be in the series full-time as a driver mentally and physically. This year I'm focusing on winning the Xfinity Series championship. Hopefully, make my prospect a little bit better and hopefully that opportunity comes along."(Chevy Racing PR)(4-30-2015)
Bobby Labonte Foundation's "Tour de Reason" on the #32 at Talladega: Bobby Labonte and Go Fas Racing announced that the Bobby Labonte Foundation's Archdale Drug Tour de Reason will be featured on the roof, side quarter panels and decklid of the Go Fas Racing #32 Ford Fusion this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Rimrock Devlin, a Jacksonville, Fla., based company, returns as the primary sponsor this weekend and will support the Tour de Reason in August. Registration is now open for the sixth annual cycling event scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 27 in Thomasville, N.C., and for the first time, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion has added an evening cocktail reception and silent auction to the weekend's activities on Friday, Aug. 26, at The Gallery in downtown Thomasville. Last year, more than 225 riders weaved their way through one of the either 63, 35 or 12-mile-fun-ride courses that toured scenic Davidson and Randolph counties. The start and finish lines are bookended by the quaint Thomasville Main Street shops and businesses and participants will experience a sponsor festival featuring music, food and various vendors after crossing the finish line. Registration for the Tour de Reason is $25 for a single entry or $160 for a team of eight. The 2016 edition of the Bobby Labonte Tour de Reason racing jerseys are also available for an additional $65. To register for the Tour de Reason bicycle ride, visit the Bobby Labonte Foundation website or call 336-434-1800. All proceeds from the event will benefit High Point Young Life, Victory Junction and Bicycling in Greensboro. Labonte is also wearing a special firesuit this weekend paying tribute to Josh Comstock, CEO of C&J Energy Services who recently passed away, and will auction it off to honor his niece, Miranda Labonte. Miranda Labonte is currently battling breast cancer and all proceeds from the 10-day auction will be donated to the Northwest Triad Affiliate of Susan G. Komen in North Carolina. To bid in the auction, fans are encouraged to visit the Bobby Labonte Facebook page.(Breaking Limits)(4-30-2016)
Hendrick named Charlotte Chamber 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas: The Charlotte Chamber has named local car dealer and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick its 2016 Citizen of the Carolinas. The chamber said that Hendrick was chosen for the honor for his contributions to Charlotte's business community, his influence within NASCAR and his work with local organizations, including Levine Children's Hospital and Together We Feed Charlotte. "Rick embodies the collaborative spirit that sets Charlotte apart from any other major city in the United States," chamber CEO and President Bob Morgan said in a statement. Last year, the chamber gave the award to former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles. Other past honorees include former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan. Hendrick, at age 26, became a Chevrolet dealer in 1976 with his first franchise in Bennettsville, S.C. By 1978, he moved to Charlotte and purchased City Chevrolet, which now serves as the flagship location for Hendrick Automotive Group. The privately-held dealership group employs more than 10,000 people and operates more than 130 retail franchises across 14 states. In a statement, Hendrick said he was humbled to receive the award. "We've been fortunate to call Charlotte home for nearly 40 years," he said. "It's been such a wonderful place for our family, and now our grandchildren are growing up here. I cannot imagine a more giving community or a better city to live and do business." The chamber will present Hendrick with its most prestigious honor at the organization's annual meeting in December.(Charlotte Business Journal)(4-30-2016)
Talladega Pole Notes & Facts:
· Bobby Isaac won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Talladega in 1969 with a speed of 199.466 mph. Isaac won the first three poles at the 2.66-mile superspeedway.
· 38 drivers have Coors Light poles at Talladega, led by Bill Elliott with eight.
· Seven active drivers are tied for the most poles at Talladega with one - Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers, Brian Scott, Michael Waltrip and Bobby Labonte.
· 11 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Talladega. Bill Elliott holds the record for most consecutive poles at Talladega with six (1985 - 1987).
· Six drivers have posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Talladega; the only active driver to post his first series career pole at Talladega is Brian Scott (05/04/2014).
· 13 of the 93 (13.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the Coors Light pole.
· The No. 2 starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega.
· 33 of the 93 (35.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from the front row: 13 from the pole and 20 from second-place.
· 65 of the 93 (69.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Talladega have been won from a top-10 starting position.
· 8 of the 93 (8.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Talladega was 36th, by Jeff Gordon in the spring of 2000.
· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Talladega Superspeedway five times; most recently fall of 2013.
Michigan launches Fan Appreciation program: Michigan International Speedway has launched this year's Fan Appreciation program. Through this summer's events at MIS, all guests have the opportunity to win prizes online at www.MISpeedway.com/goldenticket. All guests who purchase a ticket to the any of the track's June 10-12 and Aug. 27-28 events including the FireKeepers Casino 400 or the Pure Michigan 400 may enter online for a chance to win. Guests in their party, even if they're not account holders, can also try. In its ninth year, the Fan Appreciation Program continues to grow and reward fans with prizes and experiences. Prizes range from one fan being selected as the Ultimate Winner for June or August. Other prizes include NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cold garage passes for the weekend, Busch Acceleration Club tickets, FanVision rentals, "Michigan Money" food vouchers, NASCAR XFINITY Series garage passes, access to the XFINITY Series drivers' meeting and an invitation to the XFINITY Series open garage session, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series cold garage passes, access to the truck series drivers' meeting and an invitation to the truck Series open garage session, Racing Electronics scanner rentals and more.(MIS)(4-30-2016)
Stewart talks about his fine: Tony Stewart met with the media Friday at Talladega Superspeedway:
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE WHOLE LUGNUT CONTROVERSY, WHICH HAS BEEN RESOLVED WITH THE RULES CHANGE? WHAT WENT INTO YOUR DECISION TO MAKE THE DONATION TO THE AUTISM SOCIETY?
Stewart: "I've been trying to figure out how many more $35,000 rules changes I want to make (laughter). I'm glad that something has been done. Scott Miller is a huge asset to NASCAR right now. And from what I understand, he's the one who spearheaded getting something done. You hate to have to pay $35,000 to get somebody's attention to do something, but apparently that's what it took. I've got questions that I'd like to have answers to. I'm still wondering why I'm paying a $35,000 fine for something that got changed three days later. But, it is what it is. I was gone that evening when the announcement came out that I was getting the fine and the Driver Council, we all have a chat that we get in and when I was able to get back on my phone for 90 messages of discussions of what went on with those guys and I realized what they had done at about three in the morning. I didn't want to take their money. I appreciated their support and I think they made a huge statement about what the Driver Council is about and the fact that they didn't believe what I did deserved the fine. And with that, that's why they decided to support us and help split the fine with me. I didn't feel comfortable taking the money. And so what we decided as a group was to put the money together and give it to a great charity. Artie Kemper (founder of Autism Delaware) is a great friend to everybody in NASCAR and is somebody that we all as a group know personally and we thought that would really make a big difference. So that's why we chose that charity. But we did it collectively, as a group; and that's something I'm really proud of with this Driver Council is how the drivers are united about everything that we're doing. This was the first time something had happened where somebody on the Council got a penalty for speaking an opinion and for them to show that kind of support and show that we're all one unit; and that's something that you don't normally see and we haven't seen in this sport. Guys talk amongst each other, but somebody gets in trouble for something where the rest of the drivers, privately, will support it but can't publicly support it. So this was the first time that we've seen public support like that and I think it went a long way."(Chevy Racing PR)(4-29-2016)
Accudoc Solutions sponsoring Bowyer at Talladega: Clint Bowyer's #15 will carry Accudoc Solutions as the primary sponsor in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. AccuDoc Solutions is based in Morrisville, N.C. and provides billing-statement printing and processing to hospitals and hospital-based physicians. In addition to paper-based billing statements, AccuDoc Solutions enables patients to choose electronic statement delivery and make payments through secure online payment portals. Accudoc Solutions was the sponsor on Justin Allgaier's #51 twice last season. See an image of the car on the #15 team paint schemes page.(4-29-2016)
Pit crew changes at Stewart-Haas: In an effort to improve pit stops, Stewart-Haas Racing has moved around several crew members between its teams. This past weekend's Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway saw different faces on different teams. So let's start with the easy stuff: The #4 (Kevin Harvick) and #41 (Kurt Busch) looked to be the same as at Daytona. Both teams have been performing at a top level for years, and we didn't see any changes as of Richmond. Now the fun stuff. The #10 car of Danica Patrick had a different front carrier, rear changer, and rear carrier. The team moved rear carrier Matt Holzbaur to the front and added rear changer Jonathan Sherman and rear carrier Jeremy Howard. Both Sherman and Howard came from the #38 team (Landon Cassill), which is pit supported by SHR. The #14 of Tony Stewart got a new front changer in Ryan Mulder. Mulder was moved from the rear of the #10 to the front of the #14. The #38 team got a new front changer, front carrier, rear changer and rear carrier. Bryan Jacobsen moved from the #14 is now on the front with Jeff Shoaf. Anchoring the rear is now Chris Jackson and Tyler Bullard. From what we can tell, no new pit crew members were hired or fired, just a restructuring of crewmen.(PitTalks)(4-29-2016)
Talladega Driver Notes & Facts:
· 441 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega; 306 in more than one.
· Dave Marcis and Terry Labonte lead the series in starts at Talladega with 61 each. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with 33 starts; followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. with 32.
· Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Talladega with a 9.750.
· A total of 68 drivers have made their first series start at Talladega; Jamie McMurray (10/06/2002) is the only active driver to make his series debut at Talladega Superspeedway.
· 45 different drivers have won at Talladega Superspeedway, led by Dale Earnhardt with 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with six.
· 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski (04/26/2009) and Brian Vickers (10/08/2006) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Talladega.
· Nine drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Talladega; Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in consecutive wins at Talladega after posting four-straight from the fall of 2001 - 2003.
· Brad Keselowski is the only active series driver to win at Talladega in his first appearance.
· Matt Kenseth competed at Talladega Superspeedway 25 times before winning the fall of 2012; the longest span of any the 11 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.
· Matt Kenseth (25), Tony Stewart (19), Kevin Harvick (18), and David Ragan (12) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Talladega.
· Kurt Busch leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega without visiting Victory Lane at 30; followed by Ryan Newman with 28.
· Buddy Baker and Tony Stewart are tied for the series' most runner-up finishes at Talladega with six each.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Talladega with 23. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 12.
· Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-10 finishes at Talladega with 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 16.
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 12.200.
· Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Talladega with 960 laps led in 32 starts.
· Three female drivers have competed at Talladega in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise and Danica Patrick.
Dover adding SAFER barrier: ESPN's Bob Pockrass reports, "Dover International Speedway will replace the guard rails it had on the inside of Turn 3 with approximately 500 feet of SAFER Barrier by the time NASCAR visits for its May 13-15 race weekend. The steel-and-foam barrier is designed to absorb energy in a crash."(ESPN.com)(4-28-2016)
Ty Dillon will also qualify for Stewart at Talladega: Ty Dillon said Wednesday that he plans to qualify Stewart-Haas Racing's #14 Chevrolet as part of his relief efforts for owner/driver Tony Stewart this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. Dillon told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he's discussed a preliminary game plan with #14 crew chief Mike Bugarewicz to split time in the cockpit with Stewart, who made his season debut last Sunday at Richmond after missing the first eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races of 2016 with a broken back. "Sounds like Tony's got to get in and make some practice laps to make it official and then I'll get in and run some practice and not sure if we're going to draft or what," Dillon told SiriusXM. "I'll qualify the car and Tony will start the race and it sounds like he'll run to maybe the first caution, but you never know with Tony. He might like his race car and want to stay out there. But I think he'll probably run to the first caution, we'll try and make the swap as quick as possible, hopefully not lose a lap, and we'll go to racing and hopefully win the race for Tony and hopefully get him that win he needs." Stewart plans to resume normal full-time driving the following weekend at Kansas Speedway.(NASCAR.com)(4-28-2016)
Tire test this week at IMS UPDATE: Goodyear will hold a tire test at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday Wednesday. Four drivers are scheduled to take part in the test: #43-Almirola (Ford), #24-Elliott (Chevy), #14-Stewart (Chevy), #19-Edwards (Toyota).(4-25-2016)
UPDATE: Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers concluded a two-day Goodyear tire test Wednesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For three-time series champion Tony Stewart, it wrapped up what he said would be the final tire test of his career. Stewart joined last weekend's winner Carl Edwards, Aric Almirola and rookie Chase Elliott among drivers involved at the Brickyard, helping Goodyear officials determine the proper tire compound for the Sprint Cup Series' annual visit on July 24. Stewart was fresh from his season debut at Richmond International Raceway. "I'm actually having fun up here," said Stewart, an Indiana native. "This is my last tire test as a driver, so I've been having fun working with the Goodyear guys and it's been kind of fun because three of the main guys here when I started here are at this test, which they don't always get to come to the same test together. It's kind of nice to be working with them one last time."
Edwards' more immediate focus was to provide feedback to Goodyear engineers after a battery of tests at the historic 2.5-mile track. "There's a lot of stuff to learn here," Edwards said. "This track, it's difficult for a number of reasons, but really for me, just the weather today versus yesterday, it's hard to determine how much of it is the weather. As the track changes, the Goodyear rubber lays down, it changes. The challenge for us is as we make these changes with the car to try to separate the track changes and the temperature changes from the actual changes to the car. So it's a pretty difficult place to test and to figure things out, but that kind of makes it fun."(NASCAR.com)(4-28-2016)
Busch's "Catch One. Win Big." on the #4: Kevin Harvick's #4 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing will feature a special Busch Beer fishing scheme this weekend for the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway. The scheme will help Busch Beer kick off the return of its popular fishing program for a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime fishing excursion with pro fisherman and seven time Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam. Beginning May 8, all Busch and Busch Light packaging will feature one of the four unique fish cans, or the grand prize: the brand new gold trophy can. The refreshed packaging will be featured on 18-, 24- and 30-packs of 12-ounce and 15-ounce cans. The graphics will represent each of the four potential grand prize trip destinations, with a particular species of game fish representing each trip's respective geography. The four fish species and corresponding trips up for consumer voting are: Red Drum in Venice, Louisiana; Largemouth Bass in Lake St. Clair, Michigan; Cutthroat Trout in Montana; or Sockeye Salmon in Kenai River, Alaska. Consumers who find one of the 100,000 gold trophy cans randomly seeded in packs of Busch and Busch Light can capture a photo of themselves with the can and submit it online via Busch.com. They'll then be entered for a chance to win weekly premium prizes including GoPros, sonar systems, tackle boxes, fishing bobbers and more. Five lucky consumers will be awarded the grand prize: the fishing trip of a lifetime to one of four possible destinations to go fishing with professional bass fisherman, Kevin VanDam. To celebrate the launch of the Busch fishing promotion, Harvick's #4 Busch Fishing Chevrolet SS will prominently feature each of the four fish cans and the trophy can. The driver side will display the image of a cutthroat trout while the passenger side will feature a largemouth bass.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #4 team paint schemes page.(4-28-2016)
Turbocharged Tooth Fairy for Patrick at Talladega: This weekend, Danica Patrick's #10 Chevrolet SS will sport blue and silver for Aspen Dental's second of four primary races this season. The car will have a different look than it did in Atlanta, featuring a "Turbocharged Tooth Fairy" logo on the a hood, a nod to Patrick's role in Aspen Dental's newest TV campaign that started airing earlier this month. Aspen Dental dentists and teams recognize that going to the dentist isn't always at the top of the "to-do" list. And so, as a part of the Aspen Dental Weekend at Talladega, a "Turbocharged Tooth Fairy Squad" will be roaming the grounds at the track to not only ask fans, "What would it take to get you to go to the dentist?" but also deliver on some of those wishes on the spot. It's all a part of Aspen Dental's commitment to doing whatever it takes to make dentistry easier.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(4-28-2016)
Talladega Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same tire set-up at Talladega this weekend . . . for Sprint Cup teams, this combination of left- and right-side tires dates back to October 2014 . . . for Xfinity teams, since they don't run at Talladega in the fall, they started running this tire set-up in May 2015 . . . teams in both of these series also ran this left-side code at Daytona in February . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear), see more nots, tire codes, set limits and more on the Taladega Race Info page
Alsco joins Richard Petty Motorsports: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that they will team up with Alsco Linen and Uniform Rental Services on track this season. Alsco, the official race shop uniform and supplies provider for the team, will join as an associate partner on the #44 Ford driven by Brian Scott for the remainder of the 2016 season. It's only fitting this announcement comes at the launch of NASCAR Race to Green campaign as reducing their ecological footprint and offering sustainable choices are core components of Alsco's business values. In their first year as the official race shop uniform and supplies provider for Richard Petty Motorsports, Alsco brings more than 125 years of experience and a standard of excellence as a pioneer in their field. The Alsco logo will run on the #44 Ford Fusion driven by Brian Scott starting this weekend at Richmond International Raceway and remain on the car for the remainder of the season.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(4-28-2016)
Talladega Track Notes & History:
· Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969 - won by Richard Brickhouse.
· The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.
· Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.
Sad News - Bill Wimble: Bill Wimble, 84, who captured NASCAR's National Sportsman Championship in 1960, died Sunday from a brain aneurysm. Wimble, from Lisbon, New York, is best known in this area for his heroism by helping save the life of 1961 Daytona 500 champion Marvin Panch. Panch was trapped in a burning sports car after crashing during a test run at Daytona International Speedway in 1963. Tiny Lund, Wimble and several other men rushed to Panch's aid and pulled him out of the flaming race car. Panch, who was injured in the incident, in turn gave his Daytona 500 ride with Wood Brothers Racing to Lund, who won the race. Wimble captured numerous track championships in the northeast. He made two NASCAR Cup Series starts in Daytona in 1962. He finished 17th in a qualifying race, which counted as a points race, and finished 11th in the Daytona 500. The Living Legends of Auto Racing honored Wimble with its prestigious Pioneer of Racing Award in 2007.(Daytona Beach News-Journal) service information on the Sad News page.(4-28-2016)
Sprint Cup Drivers Council To Donate Stewart's Fine To Autism Delaware: The Sprint Cup Drivers Council will donate the $35,000 it raised last week to pay Tony Stewart's fine to Autism Delaware. Artie Kempner, coordinating director, NASCAR on FOX, and his wife, Marcy, founded Autism Delaware in 1998. It has raised more than $5 million and served more than 1,000 children and adults living with autism. "I appreciated the Drivers Council support, but I didn't want them to pay the fine. We decided as a group to donate the money to charity," Stewart said. "Artie is such a good friend to all of us and his foundation does a lot of great work." The Drivers Council was formed in 2015 and meets periodically with NASCAR to discuss various issues from competition to safety. The Drivers Council is comprised of Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Stewart. Hamlin will present the check to Kempner at his Drive for Autism golf tournament May 12 in Wilmington, Delaware.(True Speed Communications)(4-27-2016)
Richmond post-race penalties and warnings; #17 crew chief suspended: Following the Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway, the team of #17-Stenhouse, Jr. team was given P3 penalty for violation of Section 20.13.I-1.d. [related to the steering system]. Stenhouse, Jr's crew chief, Nick Sandler, has been fined $20,000, suspended from one race, and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. The violation was found on opening day inspection.
In addition, the #48-Johnson and #14-Stewart teams were given written warnings. The #48 team failed template inspection twice The #14 team failed laser inspection twice. Both violations were found in pre-race inspection.
See the Richmond Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report (pdf) for more.(4-27-2016)
Stewart can still make the Chase with relief driver: #14-Tony Stewart doesn't plan on finishing the race Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, but NASCAR rules could make him a big winner. Stewart, who missed the first eight races with a broken back and returned to racing last weekend at Richmond, plans to get out of his car at the first caution Sunday because of the increased potential to be involved in a crash in this race. Ty Dillon will be his relief driver and, with the unpredictable nature of restrictor-plate racing, a win isn't out of the question. NASCAR rules have always credited the initial driver with the result of the relief driver. Most notably in recent years, Aric Almirola was credited with the victory in the Xfinity Series when he started the race but handed off to a late-arriving Denny Hamlin in 2007 at Milwaukee. A NASCAR spokesman confirmed Tuesday that according to the interpretation of its Chase for the Sprint Cup eligibility rules, if a relief driver is first to cross the finish line, the initial driver can use that win to make the Chase. Stewart must win a race and be in the top 30 in points after the season's 26th race to make the Chase. [NASCAR] has no written rule on relief drivers and the Chase, with the exception that driver changes are not permitted by the four championship-eligible drivers in the season finale.(ESPN.com)(4-27-2016)
Love's and CSX team up with Buescher at Talladega: Chris Buescher's #34 Ford Fusion will have the support of his two biggest partners at Talladega Superspeedway's Geico 500. Love's Travel Stops and CSX will serve as co-primary sponsors of the Front Row Motorsports entry for the May 1 Sprint Cup Series race, promoting safety on the roads and around railroad tracks. Love's and CSX are the #34 team's principal sponsors for the 2016 season, combining for 26 of the series' 36 points races. The Talladega race will serve as an opportunity for the two transportation-based companies to come together to promote a unified message during one of the season's most anticipated and action-packed races. CSX has used its Front Row Motorsports partnership for four straight seasons to promote its message to 'Play It Safe' around railroad tracks. And, with more than 370 locations in 40 states, Love's has a customer base of recreational and professional drivers around the country who encounter railroad crossings every day.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #34 team paint schemes page.(4-27-2016)
Rimrock Devlin sponsoring Go Fas at Dega: Go Fas Racing announced that Jacksonville, FL based company Rimrock Devlin will return to Go Fas Racing as the primary sponsor of Bobby Labonte's #32 Ford Fusion at Talladega Superspeedway for this weekend's Geico 500. Rimrock Devlin Development is a partnership established by two industry experts, fueled by the desire to build solid relationships and strong communities. They have worked to build an organization capable of managing large development projects while providing personal, reliable service, customized to meet clients' individual needs. (Go Fas Racing), see an image of the car on the #32 team paint schemes page.(4-27-2016)
Robb Rogers hired as Pit Crew Coach at Richard Petty Motorsports: Richard Petty Motorsports secured 36-year-veteran coach Robb Rogers to lead the pit crews for both Sprint Cup Series teams and the XFINITY Series team. Rogers brings a varied resume with experience training emerging athletes to first round picks, Olympians to soccer moms, walk on free agents to perennial All-Pro athletes. His diverse experience will bring a new perspective to pit crew coaching for Richard Petty Motorsports. Rogers will coach 18 athletes who's focus is to train throughout the week to perform solid pit stops in 11 seconds or less on race day. A pivotal aspect of the race, both the Sprint Cup #43 and #44 teams rely on their crews to keep and ideally enhance their position each pit stop during the race. "We are thrilled to add Robb (Rogers) to our team," said Sammy Johns, Vice President of Operations. "We feel like Robb will bring a different approach with his very diverse background. We have a very robust and seasoned pit crew that I feel can benefit from a coach with a strong background in strength and conditioning and coaching in other fields." A professional coach since 1980, Rogers is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), USA Weightlifting and is a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach (MSCC) as certified by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association. Rogers has been a national/international lecturer since 1985, teaching and consulting with coaches around the world from the United States to China, Australia and Europe.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(4-27-2016)
JACOB Companies joins Richard Petty Motorsports as associate sponsor: Returning for a second year in 2016, JACOB Companies has partnered with Richard Petty Motorsports and the #44 team as an associate partner. JACOB Companies joined Richard Petty Motorsports in 2015 and is continuing the partnership through the 2016 season with Brian Scott and the #44 team. JACOB Companies is a nationwide full service General Contractor offering design, development, construction, technology and management services to a diverse portfolio of clients in various industries. JACOB Companies specializes in High Rise Structures, Universities, Hotels, Automotive Dealerships, Athletic Facilities both Professional and Collegiate, and Parking Structures.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(4-27-2016)
Lixar Becomes a Preferred Technology Partner of NASCAR: NASCAR and Lixar, a technology company driven by mobile and data science innovation, announced a multi-year deal, designating the company as a preferred technology partner of NASCAR. Lixar specializes in mobile solutions for enterprise airline, automotive and travel clients and will work with NASCAR to enhance the guest experience at national series events, specifically related to garage access. NASCAR's Garage Access Program is a three-year initiative to enhance guests' experience while visiting the garage. The initial steps of the project debuted during 2016 Daytona Speedweeks when NASCAR's in-house credentialing and registration operations merged to form The Guest Fulfillment Center. Working with Lixar, NASCAR plans to integrate state-of-the-art technology that will make the credential process easier and faster. With the rapid evolution of mobile technology, Lixar specializes in connected product platforms and mobile-to-everything software solutions. Through personalized architecture, design, development, implementation, and support, Lixar will evolve the credential system and help push forward NASCAR's renewed focus on improving the event experience.(NASCAR)(4-27-2016)
Talladega race officials named: Talladega Superspeedway announced the Honorary Officials for Saturday's Sparks Energy 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at the biggest, baddest race track on the planet. Wayne Sternbergh, of Heyworth, Illinois, will serve as the Grand Marshal and give the most famous command in motorsports, "Drivers, Start Your Engines!" just prior to the start of the 113-lap event. Sternbergh, who will be celebrating his 30th birthday on Saturday, has raced Sprint and midget cars, competitively, for over twenty years and is an avid NASCAR fan. Bringing the field to the green flag to start the race will be the event's Honorary Starter, Michael Zappone, Manager of Resource Acquisition for Eversource Energy.
Sunday's National Anthem for the GEICO 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be complimented by a C-130 flyover. Housed at Maxwell Air Force Base (Montgomery, AL), the plane is a 1985 Vintage H-2. In addition, the traditional patriotic pace lap by Johnny Ray - which features his iconic semi-truck displaying a giant American Flag blowing in the wind - will once again make its way through the tri-oval to the excitement of fans young and old alike. The Star Spangled Banner will be performed by the 313th United States Army Band, comprised of 30-plus citizen-soldiers who train and perform as Army musicians. The event's military theme will continue with Master Sergeant Larry D. Nix, the Grand Marshal for the GEICO 500, bringing the field to life with the command to start engines, while Senior Airman Maxime V. Copley, Aerospace Medical Services Technician, will be serving as Honorary Starter and will waive the green flag to get the event started. Following the race, the Freedom Trophy, one of Talladega Superspeedway's newest and most unique patriotic traditions, will be presented to the race winner by Commander Daniel G. Straub of the soon-to-be commissioned USS Montgomery. Earlier on Sunday morning, the United States Air Force will conduct a DEP (Delayed Enlistment Program) swear-in on the pre-race stage, located on the frontstretch near the start/finish line.(Talladega Superspeedway)(4-27-2016)
Panthers player Greg Olsen named All-Star pace car driver: While many in the professional football world are focused on the NFL Draft, Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen will lead a different kind of draft when he drives the Toyota Camry pace car prior to the unforgettable, action-packed May 21 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race during the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Since arriving in Charlotte I have developed a great admiration for NASCAR and their athletes," Olsen said. "Their concept of teamwork and commitment to excellence is second to none and I have a great deal of respect for the drivers and their teams. I am honored to be included in such an event and I am looking forward to driving the pace car to kick off the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race." Olsen, one of the NFL's premier pass catchers, is no stranger to NASCAR. For the past two years, the Charlotte, North Carolina, resident has participated in fundraising efforts with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. to support The Dale Jr. Foundation and The Greg Olsen Foundation's HEARTest Yard campaign. Olsen has also attended race events at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the past, but never in a dignitary role. Last season, the veteran tight end earned his second Pro Bowl nod after recording a career-high 1,104 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Olsen's efforts helped the Panthers finish with a franchise-best 15-1 record in a (Charlotte Motor Speedway)(4-27-2016)
Bayne's Darlington Throwback scheme released: Roush Fenway Racing and Trevor Bayne unveiled the paint scheme the No. 6 AdvoCare Ford Fusion will run this September at Darlington Raceway for the second season of the track's The Tradition Continues throwback celebration. The #6 AdvoCare Ford will carry the same red, white and blue design as Mark Martin's #6 Ford did during the 1996 and 1997 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series seasons. "It's an honor any time you are mentioned alongside Mark Martin," said Bayne. "He obviously contributed a lot to Roush Fenway and this organization, so to carry a paint scheme that he ran for the second year in a row is really cool. Our team has been working really hard and running well this season, so I'm hopeful that we can make Mark proud." Last season Bayne paid homage to another successful Martin paint scheme, sporting the colors Martin donned in 1998, on his way to seven wins.
"It's going to be really cool to see that car on the track again at Darlington," said Martin. "It's always been one of my favorite paint schemes and we had a lot of good times taking that car to victory lane and leading a lot of laps during that time. I look at it as a tribute to all the guys that put the hard work in on those cars and gave us the opportunity to go out and compete each week."(Roush Fenway Racing). See an image of the car on the #6 team paint schemes page.(4-26-2016)
France explains why Stewart was fined: Tony Stewart said Sunday that he wasn't sure why he was fined $35,000 last week by NASCAR after comments he made about officials not requiring teams to tighten all five lug nuts on each wheel. NASCAR Chairman Brian France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday that Stewart's fine was based on what he said and how he said it. "Tony has been very aware of how we approach from a criticism standpoint of the sport and the product of the racing itself and safety is paramount," France told host Dave Moody. "Tony is very aware of how we look at that."
France explained on "SiriusXM Speedway" how Stewart crossed the line. "I think we have to make judgment calls and how we look at the tone of what someone says, how they're saying it," France said. "They have ample opportunities, particularly with safety, to deal with us directly on that. But to insinuate that we're taking the sport down a road that doesn't care about safety or we're trying to hurt people, those kind of comments, that goes to the integrity of the sport and we'll have to deal with that. We go way beyond what any other league would allow in terms of how far people can go in voicing their view. There's just a little line out there that is a bright line and everybody is aware of. Every once in a while we'll have a driver or somebody else that gets over that line and we'll just have to deal with it. It's not a big thing. We deal with it. They understand it and we move on. That's how it goes."(NBC Sports)(4-26-2016)
Chicago race will be the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400: Nickelodeon announced that it is the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 18, dubbed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Danica Patrick has signed on to drive a special car for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400, which will feature a weekend of action, activities and fun for the entire family with the iconic Heroes in a Half Shell. NASCAR star Danica Patrick, a Roscoe, Illinois native, helped kick off the partnership in true Turtles style. She unveiled her #10 April O'Neil/Nature's Bakery Chevrolet SS at an event at Wrigley Square in Millennium Park with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, then took her car for a spin down Michigan Ave. She will join a number of other drivers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint schemes for the Sept. 18 race. This Sept. 15-18 marks the sixth consecutive year that Chicagoland Speedway will kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Nickelodeon partnership will include sponsorship of the 2017 kick off race, as well. Patrick's unique car was designed by Chicago artist Hebru Brantley, who will also design the race trophy, additional Turtles-branded paint schemes and other visual elements. Brantley breaks down the walls of cultural boundaries through his art and inspired by his 1980s Chicago upbringing, Brantley's work touches on tough subjects in a way that may be easily digestible to the viewer, by telling his stories through youthful characters and their adventures. Brantley's work can be described as pop infused contemporary art inspired by Japanese anime and the bold aesthetics of street art pioneers Jean Michel Basquiat, KAWS and Keith Haring.(Chicagoland Speedway), see an image of Patrick's car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(4-26-2016)
NASCAR will require teams to tighten all lugnuts UPDATE: NASCAR sent a memo to teams on Monday updating the NASCAR rulebook that all 5 lug nuts are now required to be installed:
.a All tires, wheels, and all five lugnuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the event.
.b NASCAR reserves the right at any time to require any Competitor to report to pit road to inspect for any noncompliance.
.c Any loss of a wheel(s) beyond the exit of pit road may result in a penalty...
Violation of the section, resulting in the loss of a wheel, could result in a mandatory minimum four race suspension of the crew chief and tire changer and tire carrier.(4-25-2016)
UPDATE: NASCAR's updated rule states that if any missing lug nuts are found on a wheel before the race it must be corrected immediately and is listed as an unapproved adjustment, forcing the competitor to start at the rear. Any tire intended for race use without all five lug nuts glued to the wheel must be fixed immediately. If the issue is found after a Sprint Cup race, the crew chief will be suspended for one race, placed on probation and fined $20,000 on the first offense. Multiple events will result in escalated penalties. The penalty in the Xfinity Series is a one-race suspension for the crew chief, probation and a $10,000 fine. In the Camping World Truck Series, the penalty is a one-race suspension, probation and a $5,000 fine.(NBC Sports)
AND: "Our job is whenever there's a safety improvement to make or a policy to enhance things, we will just do that," NASCAR CEO Brian France said Monday during an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It's as simple as that. There's not a controversial thing. Our whole system is based on safe and competitive racing. If we can make an adjustment to make things safer, we just simply will." (Associated Press)(4-26-2016)
Schluter-Systems to sponsor Ragan at Talladega: BK Racing announced that Schluter-Systems will be the primary sponsor of David Ragan's #23 Toyota Camry at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition, Schluter-Systems also joins BK Racing as an associate sponsor for the remainder of the 2016 season. "This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for us at Schluter-Systems," said Marco Ludwig, President and CEO of Schluter-Systems North America. "We've come to get to know David Ragan and the whole team at BK Racing, and our relationship evolved to where sponsorship was the next natural step for us. It began where many Schluter relationships begin-- talking tile-- and today, we are very proud to stand behind #23 at the Talladega race. We'll be cheering for David, and wishing him a safe race."(BK Racing), see an image of the car on the #23 team paint schemes page.(4-26-2016)
"Amelia" returning for Earnhardt, Jr at Talladega: It's official: one of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s favorite cars will make its return this weekend. "Amelia" is back. In 2015, Amelia earned three wins -- a Duel at Daytona International Speedway, the May race at Talladega Superspeedway and the July race at Daytona - in addition to a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a second-place result in the second Talladega race. Earnhardt's average finish of 1.75 while driving Amelia in the four superspeedway points races last season led all competitors. So it was no surprise that the chassis would make its return this season for the Daytona 500 this season. It looked like another successful run was in the works, but as Earnhardt looked to jump back into the top five with 30 laps remaining, the #88 Chevy SS was caught up in an incident that sent him to a 36th-place finish. Last month, Earnhardt hinted that it was posible Amelia could make a comeback for Talladega Superspeedway, but it was up to #88 crew chief Greg Ives and the team whether the car would be the backup or the primary. Ives answered that question Monday morning.(Hendrick Motorsports)(4-26-2016)
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega:
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr 93.8
#48-Jimmie Johnson 89.5
#20-Matt Kenseth 88.5
#41-Kurt Busch 88.0
#2-Brad Keselowski 84.4
Brian Vickers 84.0
#11-Denny Hamlin 82.9
#42-Kyle Larson 81.9
#22-Joey Logano 81.5
#4-Kevin Harvick 80.6
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (22 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.
Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.
See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
Chitwood named Chief Operating Officer of ISC; Wile moves from Darlington to Daytona: International Speedway Corporation announced that Joie Chitwood III, Executive Vice President, ISC and President of Daytona International Speedway, has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of ISC. Concurrently, the Company announced that Chip Wile, President of Darlington Raceway, has been promoted to President of Daytona International Speedway. "Joie has played a tremendous role in the success of our flagship racetrack at Daytona International Speedway since 2010," stated ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy. "Most recently, his leadership of the DAYTONA Rising project, while simultaneously operating the facility, has demonstrated his operational acumen." Chitwood moves into the newly-formed role of COO following oversight of the Company's largest development to-date - the $400 million transformation of Daytona International Speedway into the world's first motorsports stadium, along with the 2010 repave of the Speedway. In his new position, Chitwood will oversee ISC enterprise facility operations, along with strengthening key industry initiatives.
Wile, promoter of one of NASCAR's most successful events of the 2015 season - the Bojangles' Southern 500, will transition from leadership of Darlington Raceway to President of Daytona International Speedway. In just two years as President of Darlington Raceway, Wile transformed the facility's identity and impact on and off the track. He spearheaded a five-year strategy to reinvent Darlington Raceway with an inaugural Throwback Campaign during NASCAR's return to Darlington on Labor Day weekend, in addition to re-engaging the local community hosting nearly 15 annual events. In his new role, Wile will oversee promotion and operation of the new motorsports stadium beginning with its first major event, the Country 500 over Memorial Day weekend, followed by the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.(ISC)(4-25-2016)
Edwards talks about bumping Busch for the win:
Q: Can you take us through the final lap and how close things were with Kyle Busch?
Edwards: "So going into the white flag Dave (Rogers, crew chief) said something on the radio basically like, 'Get your butt in gear and go get him.' So, I thought, 'Heck, I'll drive down there in turn one really far and it looked like Kyle (Busch), his car got real slow that last lap like his tires were just burnt up. He did a really good job keeping me held at bay 'til then but then we went down the back straightaway and I saw him spin the tires. So, going back down the back straight away I thought, 'I'm going for the bottom. That's where I'm going.' He went down there and just parked it and his car was sliding and I was just so much faster I had to give him a little tap and we got by him. I didn't think I was going to get him hard enough. I thought it would just be a bump and go but we got the win. We both got wins so it's just racing hard and having fun."
Q: How much more difficult is that situation when it's a teammate you're racing for the win?
Edwards: "It's really difficult. I didn't want to touch him at all. I just decided I was going to run the bottom and I went down there and I was like either I've got to lay on the brake and slow down or I can just kind of keep my momentum going and touch him. We were so much faster there at the bottom. If he'd have gone high I don't know, I might have just got by him but it just looked like - I'd have to talk to him but it looks like his car just gave up like he'd just used up his tires. I couldn't catch him up to that point, I thought it was over with about five to go."(Toyota Racing)(4-25-2016)
Stewart says he will continue to speak his mind UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart talked to Fox Sports during pre-race coverage at Richmond Sunday:
Q: Moving forward, will you hold back on any of those opinions?
STEWART: "No. I understand what NASCAR is trying to do, but I'm always going to speak my mind. I don't know what the key word or key phrase was that got me fined. But when it comes to safety, I'm not going to hold back. That's $35,000 well-invested if it makes it safer for these guys. I think they're (NASCAR) doing something different today with rules on trying to keep everybody ... making sure we get enough lug nuts on the cars. You just don't want to be in a position where, with 20 laps to go and you're leading the race and you haven't won a race and you need that to get in the Chase, to have to make a decision as a driver whether to come in or whether to ride down and hope it stays. That's not a good position for us to be in. I think some of the people at NASCAR took it the wrong way. They've done an awesome job with safety and this is one thing we still need to look at. It wasn't saying they're not doing their job. I just felt like this is one thing they dropped the ball on. So, they're doing a good job. They're looking at it. They're going to address it and make it right, and down the road, we won't have to worry about this again, hopefully."(Fox Sports)(4-24-2016)
UPDATE: ESPN's Marty Smith says: [I] asked Tony Stewart what it said to him that his peers backed him up so staunchly this week: "It told me I was right. I won't back down on safety." Smoke also told me he hears, in the aftermath of his safety rant, that NASCAR is working now to fix/alter/change the rule.(ESPN.com)(4-25-2016)
Vickers still possible for an Indy 500 ride UPDATE - No: Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team owner Sam Schmidt says NASCAR driver Brian Vickers and the late Justin Wilson's brother, Stefan, are still possibilities for the team's third car in the Indy 500. The team owner, whose other candidates include - but are not confined to - trusty veteran Oriol Servia and Verizon IndyCar Series sophomore Gabby Chaves, said: "The same four or five guys have been circling the sandbox for the last 45 days. One week one of them will be all fired up and there'll be LOIs [letters of intent] exchanged...and then nothing happens and it's left hanging. We seem to be spending a lot of time on it at the moment, which I hoped not to be doing by now, but that's the nature of the business. So let me put it this way: as of this morning, the door's still open to all!" Schmidt, whose team took pole at the 2011 Indy 500 with Alex Tagliani, confirmed that rookies Vickers and Wilson remain in the running for the third SPM seat on Memorial Day Weekend. Schmidt said no clear favorite had emerged among his potential third drivers for the 100th Indy 500.(Motorsport)(4-14-2016)
UPDATE: Veteran IndyCar Series driver Oriol Servia was confirmed Saturday to the #77 Honda of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports for next month's Indianapolis 500. The team co-owned by Sam Schmidt and Ric Peterson fields full-season cars for James Hinchcliffe and Mikhail Aleshin. Schmidt also considered Gabby Chaves, Katherine Legge and Jay Howard. At one point NASCAR driver Brian Vickers was considered for the SPM ride, but he has been focused on serving as the temporary Sprint Cup Series replacement for Tony Stewart, who is returning this weekend from a late-January back injury.(Indianpolis Star)(4-24-2016)
Frustrations continue for Bowyer: With less than five minutes remaining in Happy Hour at Richmond International Raceway, Clint Bowyer was far from pleased with the #15 car. Bowyer, who has struggled to get up to speed since joining HScott Motorsports, suffered another rant on Saturday when smoke started spewing from his car. "Right front smoking, real bad, real bad, real bad," spotter Brett Griffin reported to the #15. Bowyer was 37th on the speed chart in single-lap runs during final practice - at a track where he's won twice and enjoys his second-best career average finish (11.3) behind Sonoma. Yet on Saturday, he was one of just two cars not to post a 10 best consecutive lap run. "I've never been with such a (expletive) unprepared (expletive) team in my life," Bowyer replied via team radio. "It's a (expletive) joke. No power steering. (Expletive) put this in the truck and go home." Bowyer is coming off of a season-best eighth place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend. His performance matched the organization's career-high result posted by former driver Justin Allgaier at BMS in 2015. But as Bowyer acknowledged - quite honestly, two weeks ago - this season has been "tough".(Motorsport)(4-24-2016)
Get Well: Longtime NASCAR spotter and entrepreneur Mike Calinoff was hospitalized Saturday morning. Calinoff was attending the IndyCar race at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, AL to promote his PopularOpenWheel.com website and woke with severe abdominal pains and immediately flew to Charlotte to receive medical care. Calinoff is scheduled to undergo gallbladder surgery Sunday morning and be released from the hospital on Monday. Calinoff is expected to make a complete recovery (140 BUZZ)(4-24-2016)
BK Racing owner talks about Bristol finish; hiring DiBenedetto: BK Racing owner Ron Devine talked to the media Friday at Richmond and was asked about #83-Matt DiBenedetto's 6th place finish at Bristol:
Q: How special was last week's finish for the entire BK Racing organization?
Devine: "It was special for us and I know you saw it on pit road, we were all so emotional. We have a lot of confidence in this guy (Matt DiBenedetto) right here and I say he's kind of like, 'my guy,' because we found each other along the way. We were excited to put him in a race car and we kind of took a chance on him, but he deserves it and I think he showed it last week. Think about, we've been out here for five years and that's our best finish and it was real emotional. Even that last lap, we've taken the white flag in 10th by the way and came back 25th, and this time we took the white flag in sixth and came back sixth. It was really special for us and I can't say enough about him and about this race team. It really speaks to how hard these guys worked all winter putting the cars together and their commitment to make something happen. Now that we've finally had some success with it, it just felt great."
Q: How insistent was J.D. Gibbs that you hire Matt DiBenedetto to drive for you?
Devine: "I'm glad you asked that, the first person that mentioned Matt DiBenedetto to me was J.D. Gibbs and he said, 'Ron, this guy is special.' I have a lot of respect for the Gibbs organization - Joe (Gibbs) and myself have been friends for many, many years so I said, 'Let's take a look at him.' We looked at his test when he was over there and then we started just examining him and J.D. was the first one that said, 'Hey, we really like this young man and we think he's something special and you should get him.' For that, we thank you J.D. Gibbs and we wish you all the best with all that you're going through. That organization and us both being Toyota, we have a great relationship anyway, but he is just a great friend and he was very kind to send him our way."
(Toyota Racing PR)(4-23-2016)
Richard Petty Motorsports aligns with Pioneer Technology Group: Richard Petty Motorsports announced an alignment with Pioneer Technology Group for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The software development company will have associate placement on the #44 Ford Fusion driven by Brian Scott. In their first NASCAR partnership, Pioneer Technology Group looks to grow their client base and provide targeted software solutions and content management solutions that increase productivity, improve delivery and reduce costs across a wide spectrum of institutions in both the public and private sectors. They strive to help companies and local governments do more with less through their state of the art technologies and experienced leaders who have the knowledge to make every client of theirs function better.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(4-23-2016)
Honorary Starter, Grand Marshal announced for Talladega: Talladega Superspeedway announcedthe Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 on Sunday, May 1.
Master Sergeant Larry D. Nix, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, will serve as the Grand Marshal and give the most famous words in motorsports, "Drivers, Start Your Engines," bookending pre-race ceremonies at the 2.66-mile superspeedway. Bringing 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to the green flag as Honorary Starter will be Aerospace Medical Services Technician Senior Airman Maxime V. Copley, also from the Maxwell Air Force Base.
MSgt Nix is currently responsible for the training of 1,700 students annually that are commissioned in the Chaplain, Healthcare and JAG Corps. MSgt Nix enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1998. In addition to being awarded the Bronze Star, MSgt Nix has acquired numerous prestigious decorations and awards including: Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with One Silver Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal and Air Force Achievement Medal with Three Oak Leaf Clusters.
SrA Copley is currently assigned to 42d Medical Operations Squadron and performs a wide range of medical roles. She provides essential care in assisting 5 providers who care for patients in various situations such as immunizations and Pediatric screenings. SrA Copley was awarded the Hard Charger Award, 42d MDOS in 2015. Her other achievements include: 2015 Airman of the Second Quarter, 42d MDOS, 2015 Airman of the Year Award, 42d Air Base Wing and 2015 Airman of the Year, Team Maxwell.(TSS)(4-22-2016)
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, April 29, 2016, 4:30pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 4:30pm/et
Born in APRIL
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin, Amanda Ebersole, Mike Thomas
5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page
10 Sherry Pollex, Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Tim Flock, Glenn Bobo, Will Kimmel, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Deb Adamczyk, Jabe Thomas
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch
15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner
16 Josh Walker
17 Mike Shiplett, Craig Ferguson, Kevin Pennell
18 Brexton Busch, Mike Motil
19 Bob Germain, Jody Ridley, Dario Franchitti, Danny Culler
20 Tony Stewart, Dave Despain, Steve Portenga, Mike Stefanik, Eric Norris, AJ Heister, Les Huntley
21 Cotton Owens, Mark Muller, Jeff Meendering, Brandon McReynolds, Rodney Fetters, Nathan McGuire
22 Jay Guy, Joey Knuckles, Janice Almirola
23 Kerry Tharp, Harvey Walters, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Matthew Donley
24 Joey Logano, Ricky Craven, Chip Ganassi, Lesa France Kennedy, Amy Rice, Brent Sherman, Colt Hammond, Tommy Chong, Jack Smith
25 Bud Moore, Paul Andrews, A.J. Foyt IV, Spenny Clendenen, Ross Kenseth, Kevin Hulstein, Smokey Yunick
26 Stacy Compton, Adam Gravitt, Kenny Trout
27 April Horner, Jeremy Mayfield, Dick Berggren, Van Colley, John Bickford, Carol Einarsson
28 Ray Fox, Butch Stevens, Marvin Panch, Dan E. Donnely, Ron Lemasters Jr., David Joy, Michael Klein
29 Joe Weatherly, Ken Schrader, Bobby Hamilton, Al Unser, Jimmy Means, Todd Berrier, John F. Kennedy, Germán Quiroga, Steve Allen, Kaye Jenkins, Jessica Taylor
30 Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Reagan Page, Gale Wilson
31 Jerry 'Dad' Adamczyk, Jack Baldwin, Gayle Barnwell, Pat Calkins, Charlie Lewis, Krista Voda, Faith Anne Yeley