NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Stats

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  • Martin Truex Jr. wins Charlotte pole: #78-Martin Truex Jr. won the Coors Light pole for the Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway with speed of 192.328mph for his 2nd pole of 2016, 1st at Charlotte and 9th of his career. Truex Jr. has never won a race from the pole.
    #22-Logano will start 2nd, followed by #17-Stenhouse Jr., #11-Hamlin, #2-Keselowski, #16-Biffle, #48-Johnson, #4-Harvick, #19-Edwards, #6-Bayne, #27-Menard and #24-Elliott.
    #22-Logano was fastest in the first and second rounds and will start 2nd.
    Since the maximum of 40 cars entered the race, everyone made the race.
    See round-by-round qualifying results on the Charlotte qualifying results page (pdf) and the complete starting lineup on the Charlotte Starting Lineup page (pdf).(5-26-2016)

  • Three teams penalized: The teams of #48-Jimmie Johnson, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. & #43-Aric Almirola will lose their place in order for pit-stall selection - typically they choose in order of qualifying results - for receiving their fourth warning of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday. Teams get warnings for minor violations that cause them to fail opening-day, prequalifying or prerace measurements. Johnson would have picked seventh, Almirola would have picked 20th and Earnhardt would have picked 25th (ESPN), Pit Stall selections will be most likely be released and posted Saturday morning (5-26-2016)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway - Qualifying Fast Facts:
    #78-Martin Truex Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 57th Annual COCA-COLA 600 with a lap of 28.077 seconds, 192.328 mph.
    This is his ninth pole in 382 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and eighth top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his first pole in 22 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    #22-Joey Logano (second) posted his ninth top-10 start of 2016 and his fifth in 15 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (third) posted his second top-10 start at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is his seventh in 13 races this season.
    #24-Chase Elliott (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.(NASCAR Statistics)(5-26-2016)

  • Mark Martin to drive the pace car before Coke 600: NASCAR legend Mark Martin made numerous memories while racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the 2002 Coca-Cola 600 winner will make a triumphant return to the iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway on Sunday when - to commemorate being inducted into the 2017 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame - Martin will drive the Toyota pace car prior to the green flag for the 57th running of the Coca-Cola 600. "When the speedway called to ask me if I'd do it, my first reaction was 'Hell, yeah!'" Martin said. "Originally I'd planned to be at Indy, but now I get to do the 'double' in a way, and I can say I'll be driving at Charlotte. Charlotte Motor Speedway was always my favorite race track. I was fortunate enough to have a lot of success there, including winning a Coke 600. Bruton and Marcus always put on a fabulous show, and this will be cool to lead the field to green in front of thousands of fans that I enjoyed racing for all those years." Martin will attend the start of the Indianapolis 500 before heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for his pace-car driving duties. The Batesville, Arkansas, native won four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a career that spanned from 1981 to 2013. Martin also captured two NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race wins, in 1998 and 2005, and six NASCAR XFINITY Series victories at the speedway. Fans can purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shopping online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(5-27-2016)

  • Charlotte Track Notes & History:
    ˇ Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959.
    ˇ The track's first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 19, 1960 - won by Joe Lee Johnson.
    ˇ The track was repaved midseason in 1994.
    ˇ The track name changed from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Lowe's Motor Speedway in 1999. It changed back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2010 season.
    ˇ The track was re-paved again before the 2006 season. (NASCAR)

  • Larson closing in on first NASCAR Sprint Cup win: #42-Kyle Larson is close - and he knows it. Two weeks ago at Dover, he ran a near second to #20-Matt Kenseth in the AAA 400, dogging the race winner to the finish line on the final green-flag run. Last Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Larson had the lead in the $1-million-to-the-winner NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, only to be passed by Joey Logano with fewer than two laps left. But after a star-crossed sophomore season in 2015, when he finished 19th in the standings and took a backward step from his rookie campaign, Larson has plenty of reason to be encouraged by his recent performances. And there's no place he'd rather make his first visit to Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series than Charlotte Motor Speedway, host venue for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. "It would mean a lot," Larson said on Thursday at CMS. "It would mean a lot to get it anywhere, but especially here at Charlotte, close to home. Friends and family and all sorts of people are here. All the teams' families are here. it just means a lot when you can win in your hometown or for the race shop and all that. We've been rolling good the last few weeks. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going. Our car has been getting a lot faster. Everybody at the shop has been working really hard all year long. We started the year off not great, but everybody stayed positive and kept digging. Lately, we've been bringing really good stuff to the track." Because of his strong performance in the All-Star Race, Larson knows he'll have to buck a trend to win NASCAR's longest event. "It'll be tough - the 600 is a really tough race," he said. "A lot of the times I've seen drivers in the past that run well in the All-Star race don't run well at the 600. Hopefully, that's not the case this week, but we're going to work really hard to try and have a good run. Hopefully, it all works out." (NASCAR Wire Service)
    Drivers with the most 2nd place finishes before winning a Cup race:
    James Hylton had 12 second place finishes, won in his 187th race, at Richmond in 1970
    Harry Gant had 10, won in his 107th race, at Martinsville in 1982
    Sterling Marlin had 9, won in his 248th race, at Daytona in 1994
    Bill Elliott had 8, won in his 116th race, at Riverside [CA] in 1983.
    Lennie Pond had 7, won in his 130th race, at Talladega in 1978.
    Kahne had 6, won in his 47th race, at Richmond on 5/14/2005.
    Kyle Larson has four 2nd place finishes in 87 races, has not yet won.(5-27-2016)

  • Mears to run GEICO Military scheme at Coke 600: For the second season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers won't have their names on the windshields of their racecars in the longest race on the schedule. Instead, for 600 miles of racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Casey Mears' #13 GEICO Military Chevrolet SS will bear the name of Spc. Christopher Wright. This U.S. Army Ranger fell in service to our nation on assignment in Afghanistan. The #13 GEICO Military Chevy will be featured at Charlotte, the second of four weekends that Germain Racing's #13 is scheduled to display the GEICO Military paint scheme.(Germain Racing / GEICO Racing), see images of the car on the #13 team paint schemes page.(5-27-2016)

  • Box of Chocolates help mend fences between Edwards and Busch: Joe Gibbs Racing driver #19-Carl Edwards was made available to the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and one of the questions was:
    Q) How did the photo come about with you and Kyle Busch with the box of chocolate after the Richmond incident?
    Edwards: "Richmond, we pushed it right to the limit, as hard as I could race a teammate and Mars does a really neat thing for the winners of a race. If you win the race, Mars sends you a really neat box of chocolates. So at the shop the next week, Kyle (Busch) and I got together, we had a meeting and it was kind of a tough meeting, but we left on decent enough terms and Randy (Fuller, PR) gave me this box of chocolates and it's 'Congratulations on the Toyota Owners 400 win from Mars.' I don't know if that might have got sent before they stopped it or what, but I thought it was really cool of them to send that and I saw Kyle across the shop and I thought, 'Man, I have to ask him to sign it.' That's where that picture that we put up on Twitter and all that. I thought it was pretty cool. We somewhat made peace over chocolate so that's pretty good."(Toyota Racing)(5-27-2016)

  • Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing: updates to Camp95: In preparation for the second annual CAMP95, in which high school students will learn about the depth of careers in NASCAR, Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) is pleased to announce the following updates for the June 28-29 session: Alan Cavanna will emcee the event and moderate the panels and guest Q&A's. The two-day line-up currently includes interviews with NASCAR drivers Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon, a Pit Crew demonstration, PR & Social Media panel, a discussion with an ECR engine specialist, inside look at race team operations and a sponsorship session. Wingate by Wyndham in Concord, N.C. will have a special rate for CAMP95 attendees and their families, offering a discounted rate for a double-bed room. The Checkered Flag Crew, comprised of 14-year-old NASCAR enthusiasts, will be on-site to interview speakers and campers and bring insight to the experience across their social media platforms, as well as "taking over" the CSLFR race team channels for the event. Queen City Q, a favorite Charlotte restaurant serving North & South Carolina-style BBQ, will provide meals both days of the camp. Students interested in attending can fill out the application at cslfr95.com/camp95. Applications are due on Monday, May 30 and only 25 campers will be chosen to participate.(CSLFR)(5-27-2016)

  • NASCAR teams join forces with Hope For The Warriors: Several NASCAR teams and drivers will join Hope For the Warriors this Memorial Day weekend to honor several fallen service members during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. With the NASCAR Salutes initiative driving a patriotic theme for the weekend, Hope For The Warriors has capitalized on its relationships within the NASCAR garage to let several Gold Star families know that their loved ones are still remembered this Memorial Day weekend. The initiative incorporates drivers from Richard Childress Racing, BK Racing and Front Row Motorsports, who have partnered with Hope For The Warriors, to not only honor the fallen service members, but also to host the Gold Star families at Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. The Gold Star families will gather for a private dinner on Saturday night before heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday morning. On race day, Newman, Buescher, DiBenedetto and David Ragan have each agreed to do private meet and greets with the group. The families will have an opportunity to attend the drivers meeting and pose for photos with the drivers and cars while lined up on the grid during prerace. On a near weekly basis, Hope For The Warriors brings service members to the track through their Drive For Hope program, which focuses on engaging transitioning service members in a unique social setting while giving them an opportunity to learn about prospective careers, make networking connections and realize different ways their skills can transition as they reintegrate into the civilian sector.(PR)(5-27-2016)

  • Historical Landmark to be Unveiled at Upcoming PettyFest: The Petty Museum will once again host its annual PettyFest Saturday, May 28 at its historical grounds in Level Cross, N.C. This full day celebration of the past, present and future of the Petty Museum, Petty's Garage and the Petty Family Foundation will include many family-fun activities and also bring back history of the Petty family legacy. Richard Petty and the Petty Museum will unveil the restored reaper shed, a historical landmark where the original Petty Engineering and later Petty Enterprises was begun by Lee Petty. The A-frame building was built in the early 1940's and had a dirt floor and tin roof. It was the humble beginning in what turned out to be the most successful organization in NASCAR history. The shed has been restored to showcase its time in the 1940's and will feature the restored car that Lee Petty raced to begin the family dynasty. The Petty Museum and Petty Family Foundation will also bring back and sell the original merchandise of Adam Petty, the fourth-generation driver of the Petty family. All Adam Petty merchandise was pulled off the market after his accident in 2000. The family will now continue to honor Petty by selling his merchandise to help aid others, a characteristic that defined Petty. Original Adam Petty hats and shirts will be on sale with proceeds to benefit the Petty Family Foundation. The Foundation will then donate funds to support Victory Junction, the camp built in honor of Adam. For more info go to richardpettymotorsports.com (RPM)(5-27-2016)

  • Record-Setting Night for Speedway Children's Charities' Gala: On Wednesday, the biggest stars in the NASCAR industry came together for the 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children's Charities' Gala presented by The NRA Teach Freedom Foundation. The fundraising event, which attracted 450 attendees, generated more than $800,000 through table sponsorships and live and silent auctions. Held at the Ritz-Carlton in uptown Charlotte, the black-tie dinner and auction was hosted by NBC's Krista Voda, with entertainment provided by GRAMMY award-winning musician Darius Rucker and special honors bestowed upon NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Tony Stewart. The night was designed to honor philanthropist Tony Stewart, who is competing in his final season as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. Stewart is an accomplished driver with a total of 12 championships to his credit, including three titles in the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In addition to being one of the top drivers in the world, Stewart is also a successful businessman, owning race teams and race tracks. Stewart has still taken the time to help raise more than $1 million for Speedway Children's Charities over the years. Last year, the Charlotte Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities granted almost $750,000 to 77 deserving charities in the Charlotte region.(CMS)(5-27-2016)

  • Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest Returns To Pocono Raceway, needs fans: Nathan's Famous will return to Pocono Raceway this summer to hold a regional qualifying event for the annual Nathan's Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest held on July 4 in Coney Island, N.Y. Pocono Raceway fans are encouraged to sign-up to compete. One male and one female winner will earn a seat at Coney Island to challenge defending champions Matt Stonie and Miki Sudo. The Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest Qualifier will be held Sunday, June 5 at 11 a.m. in Fan Fare 2 behind the grandstands on the Nathan's Famous stage. The winner of the qualifier, one of 13 being held across the country, will gain entry to the annual finals at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., on July 4. More info at poconoraceway.com. Tickets for all races are now on sale at www.poconoraceway.com or by calling 1-800-RACEWAY.(Pocono Raceway)(5-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Bernie Fletcher: Bernard "Bernie" William Fletcher Jr of St Augustine FL passed away in Baldwin GA on May 21, 2016 at the age of 87. Bernie was born in Clarion PA and resided in DuBois PA in his early years. Bernie enjoyed automobile racing and NASCAR in particular. In the mid 1950's Bernie worked as crew member for the late Walt Chapman on one of the Fabulous Hornets with late driver Dick Rathmann. Bernie was active in the automobile business having begun his career as a wash boy at age 15 and having worked for or managed with several dealerships and owned various used car lots and rental businesses in St. Augustine. Service, donation and guest book info at whitfieldfuneralhomes.com (5-27-2016)

  • Charlotte Pole Notes & Facts:
    ˇ Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway (World 600) in 1960 with a speed of 133.904 mph.
    ˇ 43 drivers have Coors Light poles at Charlotte, led by David Pearson with 14. Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine; followed by Jimmie Johnson with four.
    ˇ 13 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Charlotte. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Charlotte with 11 straight from the fall of 1973 through 1978 - Matt Kenseth swept the poles in Charlotte last season.
    ˇ Eight drivers have posted their first career NSCS pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway: Donnie Allison (5/26/1968), Brett Bodine (10/7/1990), Jeff Gordon (10/10/1993), Ward Burton (10/9/1994), Derrike Cope (10/4/1998); including three active drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (5/28/2000), Ryan Newman (5/27/2001) and Aric Almirola (5/27/2012). ˇ Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Charlotte with a 7.793.
    ˇ 15 of the 114 (13.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson in 2014 (Coca-Cola 600).
    ˇ The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    ˇ 32 of the 114 (28.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the front row: 15 from the pole and 17 from second-place.
    ˇ 87 of the 114 (76.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    ˇ Nine of the 114 (7.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    ˇ The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Charlotte is 37th, by Jimmie Johnson in the Coca-Cola 600 of 2003.
    ˇ Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway twice; the fall race of 2002 and the fall race of 2008.
    (NASCAR)

  • #2 Lite throwback scheme unveiled: Brad Keselowski unveiled the Darlington Raceway throwback scheme for the #2 Lite Ford, which is based on the original 1972 Miller Lite can (Team Penske Facebook), see an image of the car on the #2 team paint schemes page.(5-26-2016)

  • Rules changes for Kentucky, Michigan races: Changes to the rear spoiler, front splitter and rear deck fin will be put into play for two upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races as the sanctioning body continues to reduce aerodynamic downforce and sideforce in an effort to promote closer competition on the race track. The changes, announced Thursday morning, will be in effect only for upcoming races at Michigan in June and Kentucky in July and are in addition to previous adjustments made by the officials in recent weeks. Initial moves implemented before the start of the season combined with a Goodyear tire matched more closely to the lower downforce package have resulted in closer competition through the season's first 12 races.
    Why more chnages? "I think we look at it as a never-ending journey; if we can improve we're going to do that," Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president of competition and chief racing development officer said. "We wanted to go the direction of low downforce, see how that worked, not kind of go all the way in and hope that we are directionally right. And we are seeing that play out. We've seen some great racing at the beginning of the year. But we also knew that we had some more levers that we could pull if the direction kind of proved out, so we've tried some of those things. We've tested it and what we've also wanted to do is lower some of the corner speeds to allow for even more passing. That was one of the areas where we've seen minimal change, but there are some levers we can pull to really drive that down."
    The changes for those races consist of a reduction in spoiler height from 3.5 inches to 2.5 inches, a splitter reduction of two inches and a re-sizing of the rear deck fin to complement the spoiler change. Beginning with this year's race at Kansas Speedway, NASCAR required teams to weld truck arm mounts; for the recently completed Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, downforce-generating electric fans were removed and the rear toe alignment was reset to zero to reduce sideforce. The changes to truck arm mounts and fans are to remain in place for the remainder of the 2016 season. The rear toe adjustment was initially only in play for the All-Star event but now will be incorporated into the June Michigan and July Kentucky races. Downforce is the pressure created across the surface of a vehicle at speed. Likewise, sideforce is generated by the flow of air along the sides of the vehicle.
    O'Donnell said limiting the latest changes to two upcoming races is beneficial in two ways: Teams have spent plenty of time in development of setups with the initial base package and that information will still be relevant; and focusing on two tracks will give teams and officials much-needed information as they look ahead to 2017. "We have worked collectively on some directions we want to go in, but to do that right we think the final step is to let that play out on one or two tracks," he said. "And these are the two -- Kentucky and Michigan -- that we've played out and let the teams concentrate really on what they've done to prepare for the year. We think that's manageable and that'll give us enough data to look at for 2017."(NASCAR)(5-26-2016)

  • NASCAR Partners with Steven Soderbergh on Heist-Themed Film Project: NASCAR is collaborating with Academy Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh on a feature film entitled Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum alongside Daniel Craig, Riley Keough, Adam Driver and Seth MacFarlane. Depicting a theoretical heist at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the project will mark Soderbergh's first feature film since announcing his retirement from the film industry in 2013. Soderbergh, who also directed heist film Ocean's Eleven, is best known for his work on the critically acclaimed Traffic and Erin Brockovich, which garnered him two Oscar nominations and the accolade of Best Director. This will not be Tatum's first experience working with NASCAR or Soderbergh. He and 22 Jump Street co-star Jonah Hill served as grand marshals for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400 in 2014, while Tatum and Soderbergh previously teamed up for the Magic Mike films, Haywire and the 2013 thriller Side Effects, which was the most recent film project led by the acclaimed director.
    "We are excited to work with Steven, Channing and all of Logan Lucky's incredible cast and producers," said Zane Stoddard, NASCAR vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. "It's a big-hearted, fun story that showcases NASCAR and Charlotte Motor Speedway as the world-class sports entertainment property and venue that they are, much like the Bellagio in Steven's Ocean's Eleven."
    Logan Lucky is tentatively scheduled for release in Fall 2017. Mark Johnson, Gregory Jacobs and Reid Carolin are producing. Zane Stoddard is executive producing for NASCAR. Pre-production filming will begin this weekend at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600.(NASCAR)(5-26-2016)

  • All-Star Race TV Ratings UPDATE: The 2016 NASCAR All-Star Race earned a 1.7 overnight rating on Fox Sports 1 Saturday night, down 19% from last year (2.1) and even with 2014. The 1.7 is tied as the lowest for the race in at least four years (complete overnights prior to 2013 were not available). The All-Star Race ranks as the lowest rated Sprint Cup telecast of the season in the metered markets, falling below the previous mark set by Kansas two weeks earlier (1.8). No other race has dipped below the 2.0 mark. As is usually the case, NASCAR's All-Star event pales in comparison to those in other sports. The NBA All-Star Game had a 5.4 in February, the NFL Pro Bowl had a 5.0 in January, and the MLB All-Star Game had a 7.8 last July. The race did top the NHL All-Star Game, which had a 1.2.(Sports Media Watch / ShowBuzz Daily) see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(5-24-2016)
    UPDATE: The 2016 NASCAR All-Star Race had a 2.0 final rating and 3.291 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday night, down 5% in ratings and 14% in viewership from last year (2.1, 3.8M) and down 9% and 5%, respectively, from 2014 (2.2, 3.5M). The 2.0 rating is the lowest for the All-Star Race since at least 1999, falling below the previous mark set last year. Viewership was also the lowest in at least ten years. Head-to-head, it trailed the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals on ESPN (3.3, 5.5M) but not the NHL conference finals on NBC (1.4, 2.3M) and - notably - Major League Baseball on the FOX broadcast network (1.4, 2.2M).(Sports Media Watch / Programming Insider)(5-26-2016)

  • R-W-B M&M's for the #18 at Charlotte: On this Memorial Day weekend, Kyle Busch will sport a special #18 Red, White and Blue M&M'S Toyota promoting M&M'S partnership with Operation Gratitude and Walmart. For a limited time, fans can buy the Red, White and Blue M&M'S exclusively at Walmart. M&M'S candies were created 75 years ago as rations for our troops. During this year's promotion, for every bag purchased by a consumer, one bag will be sent to our American troops abroad. Fans can also show their support for our troops on social media with #CelebrateWithM. More can be learned about the program at www.myconfectioncorner.com. The Coca-Cola 600 would be special because the event is at what Busch often says is his favorite racetrack. He has come close to winning a Sprint Cup event at Charlotte, but he's yet to carry home a coveted Sprint Cup trophy from the track that is home to a majority of the NASCAR teams and is just around the corner from where Busch now lives in Mooresville, NC. Continuing the sport's longstanding tradition of honoring the United States Armed Forces, all 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will bear the name of a fallen service member on their racecar windshields during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. Busch's #18 Red, White and Blue M&M'S Toyota will feature U.S. Army PFC Robert Stephan Underwood, who hailed from O'Fallon, Missouri, on the windshield for Sunday evening's race (JGR), see an image of the car on the #18 team paint schemes page.(5-26-2016)

  • Danica Patrick to run a camo scheme in Coke 600: This Memorial Day weekend in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the #10 Nature's Bakery Chevy of Danica Patrick will feature a special camouflage paint scheme in honor of the men and women who have died in military service for the United States. While Sunday is a special day in the motorsports world, in Charlotte the focus will instead be on those service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our country and our freedom. For the second consecutive year, the NASCAR community will come together to honor fallen U.S. Armed Forces members with "600 Miles of Remembrance" in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600. As part of that tribute, this weekend the #10 Nature's Bakery Chevy team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) is honoring Lance Corporal Benito Ramirez, who died May 21, 2006 in the Anbar Province of Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Ramirez's name will be featured in place of Patrick's on the windshield header of the team's car. Patrick's comments: "I think it's very fitting that Nature's Bakery decided to go with a special camouflage scheme on Memorial Day weekend to pay tribute to the men and women who've made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They are true heroes. We're also honoring a 21-year-old Marine, Lance Corporal Benito Ramirez, who was killed in combat in 2006. He has direct ties to the Nature's Bakery family, so I know it means a lot to everyone at Nature's Bakery to have him featured on the car. And I know I speak for everyone on the #10 team when I say it is an honor to have his name on the car, as well."(SHR), see images of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(5-26-2016)

  • Buescher, CSX Honor Memory of U.S. Marine Killed in Iraq: On Memorial Day weekend, Chris Buescher and sponsor CSX will race in the name of a U.S. Marine killed while on patrol during Operation Iraqi Freedom. The #34 Ford will pay tribute to SSgt. Eric McIntosh, a 29-year-old Infantry Unit Leader who died conducting combat operations in Iraq in 2006. SSgt. McIntosh's name will be displayed across the top of the windshield of Buescher's #34 for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte as part of NASCAR's tribute to America's fallen military. SSgt. McIntosh was one month into his second tour of duty in Iraq when he was killed by a roadside bomb while on patrol in Anbar province. He was survived by his wife, mother, sister and brother. CSX has a proud history of service in hiring individuals with military experience to operate the nation's largest eastern railroad. One in five CSX employees has served in the armed forces, and the railroad was presented the GI Jobs Most Military Friendly 2015 and ESGR Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve Freedom Award. Additionally, CSX donated 200 grandstand tickets to the Charlotte Motor Speedway "Let the Troops Race" program so active military members can watch the race in person (Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #34 team paint schemes page.(5-26-2016)

  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson........................ 109.0
    #18-Kyle Busch............................... 106.1
    #5-Kasey Kahne.............................. 97.4
    #20-Matt Kenseth.............................. 95.5
    #11-Denny Hamlin............................. 94.9
    #22-Joey Logano.............................. 93.6
    #19-Carl Edwards.............................. 90.8
    #16-Greg Biffle.................................. 88.0
    #2-Brad Keselowski......................... 87.8
    #4-Kevin Harvick.............................. 87.7
    Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2015 races (21 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 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)

  • Toy State and Go Baby Go Host Annual Charlotte Workshop: Toy State, a toy industry leader and innovator, has once again pledged its support to helping children with mobility issues. Today, along with Tommy Baldwin Racing, Toy State hosted their 4th Go Baby Go workshop over the last 12 months and the second in Charlotte. Today's workshop took place in Mooresville, NC at the Tommy Baldwin Racing shop. Toy State provided ten area children with a ride-on car that was outfitted to model the #7 Nikko RC / Toy State car driven by Regan Smith on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Smith along with fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell and Ryan Preece were in attendance along with other members of the NASCAR community. Toy State is currently in the middle of a 14-race partnership with TBR as the primary sponsor of the #7 car. For more information about how you can get involved in Go Baby Go visit the University of Delaware's GoBabyGo website, udel.edu/gobabygo/. The site includes contact information for program affiliates across the United States and around the world, as well as information about how to bring a car-modifying workshop to your area.(140Buzz)(5-26-2016)

  • IMS announces spectacular holiday event: 'Lights at the Brickyard' coming in 2016: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway will bring new levels of cheer to this holiday season with a spectacular "Lights at the Brickyard" seasonal event. Attendees will experience more than 40 scenes filled with 400 light displays along a 1.7-mile driving experience, which includes crossing the famous "Yard of Bricks" at IMS. In addition to the Lights at the Brickyard driving experience, other out-of-car holiday festivities and attractions will be offered for families to complete their adventure at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Dates are subject to change, but the event is tentatively scheduled to run from Nov. 18-Dec. 31. Exhibits will include festive holiday celebrations as well as racing-themed installations throughout the iconic venue. IMS has partnered with Winterland Inc., an international leader in holiday light installations and events to deliver the thrilling experience. Early-bird tickets will start at just $20 per car and will be available at a later date on www.IMS.com, or by calling the IMS ticket office. A $40 early-bird pass will provide expedited passage into the event. Prices will eventually increase to $30 and $60 for each.(IMS)(5-26-2016)

  • Five Legends Unveiled as 2017 NASCAR Hall Of Fame Class: NASCAR announced the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017. The five-person group - the eighth since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 - consists of Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin, Raymond Parks and Benny Parsons. In addition, NASCAR announced that Martinsville Speedway founder H. Clay Earles won the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2017 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton announced the class and Landmark Award winner, respectively, this evening in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's "Great Hall."
    The Class of 2017 was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, including representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders, a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com and, for the third year, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion (Kyle Busch). In all, 54 votes were cast, with four additional Voting Panel members recused from voting as potential nominees for induction (Ricky Rudd, Robert Yates, Waddell Wilson and Ken Squier). The accounting firm of EY presided over the tabulation of the votes.
    Voting was as follows: Benny Parsons (85%), Rick Hendrick (62%), Mark Martin (57%), Raymond Parks (53%) and Richard Childress (43%).
    The next top vote-getters were Robert Yates, Red Byron and Alan Kulwicki.
    Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Buddy Baker, Alan Kulwicki, Mark Martin, Benny Parsons and Larry Phillips.
    The five inductees came from a group of 20 nominees that included, in addition to the five inductees chosen: Buddy Baker, Red Byron, Ray Evernham, Ray Fox, Ron Hornaday Jr., Harry Hyde, Alan Kulwicki, Hershel McGriff, Larry Phillips, Jack Roush, Ricky Rudd, Ken Squier, Mike Stefanik, Waddell Wilson and Robert Yates. Nominees for the Landmark Award included Earles, Janet Guthrie, Raymond Parks, Ralph Seagraves and Ken Squier.
    Class of 2017 Inductees:
    Richard Childress
    Long before he became one of the preeminent car owners in NASCAR history, Richard Childress was a race car driver with limited means. Childress, the consummate self-made racer, was respectable behind the wheel. Between 1969-81 he had six top-five finishes and 76 top 10s in 285 starts, finishing fifth in the NASCAR premier series standings in 1975. Having formed Richard Childress Racing in 1972, Childress retired from driving in 1981. He owned the cars that NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt drove to six championships and 67 wins between 1984-2000. In addition to Earnhardt's championships, Childress drivers have given him five others. Childress was the first NASCAR owner to win owner championships in all three of NASCAR's national series, and his 11 owner titles are second all time. Childress also owned the vehicles driven by NASCAR XFINITY Series driver champions Clint Bowyer (2008) and Austin Dillon (2013), as the 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver champion Austin Dillon.
    Rick Hendrick
    The founder and owner of Hendrick Motorsports, Rick Hendrick's organization is recognized as one of NASCAR's most successful. Hendrick Motorsports owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles - six with Jimmie Johnson, four with Jeff Gordon and one with NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte. Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, most in NASCAR history. Gordon and Labonte combined to win four consecutive titles from 1995-98. In 2010, Johnson won a record-extending fifth consecutive championship. Hendrick also owned the car driven by 2003 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver champion Brian Vickers. Hendrick's 242 owner wins in the premier series rank second all-time.
    Mark Martin
    He is often described as the "greatest driver to never to win a championship," but Mark Martin's legendary career is so much more than that. He came incredibly close to that elusive title many times - finishing second in the championship standings five times. Over the course of his 31-year premier series career, Martin compiled 40 wins (17th all time) and 56 poles (seventh all time). Martin saw success at every level of NASCAR. He won 49 times in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, holding the series wins record for 14 years. He retired with 96 wins across NASCAR's three national series, seventh on the all-time list. In 1998, Martin was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
    Raymond Parks
    Raymond Parks is one of stock-car racing's earliest - and most successful - team owners. Funded by successful business and real estate ventures in Atlanta, Parks began his career as a stock-car owner in 1938 with drivers Lloyd Seay and Roy Hall. His pairing with another Atlantan, mechanic Red Vogt, produced equipment good enough to dominate the sport in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Red Byron won the first NASCAR title (modified, 1948) and first premier series title (1949) in a Parks-owned car. Parks' team produced two premier series wins, two poles, 11 top fives and 12 top 10s in 18 events.
    Benny Parsons
    Benny Parsons won the 1973 NASCAR premier series championship and could be called an everyman champion: winning enough to be called one of the sport's stars but nearly always finishing well when he wasn't able to reach Victory Lane. He won 21 times in 526 career starts but finished among the top 10 283 times - a 54 percent ratio. One of Parsons' biggest victories came in the 1975 Daytona 500. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1998. Parsons also was known as a voice of the sport making a seamless transition to television following his NASCAR career. He was a commentator for NBC and TNT until his passing in 2007, at the age of 65.
    Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR:
    H. Clay Earles
    One of the original pioneers of stock car auto racing, H. Clay Earles played an integral role in the early years of NASCAR's development. Earles built and opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947, and the short track remains the only facility to host NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races every year since the series' inception in 1949. The speedway held its first race on Sept. 7, 1947 - three months before the creation of NASCAR. That initial race drew more than 6,000 fans to the track, which had just 750 seats ready. In 1964, Earles decided it was time for a "different" type of trophy for his race winners. He gave winners grandfather clocks, a tradition that continues today.(NASCAR)(5-25-2016

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 announced UPDATE: The NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2017 and winner of the 2017 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR is scheduled to be announced on Wednesday, May 25th at 5:00pm/et following a vote by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel. The five NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees will be selected from the list of 20 nominees, and the third Landmark Award recipient will be chosen from the list of five nominees. The announcement will air live on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, NASCAR.com and MRN.com.(NHOF), more info on the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the list of the nominees on Jayski.com's NASCAR Hall of Fame page (5-23-2016)
    UPDATE: 2017 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class was announced Wednesday afternoon:
    Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
    Rick Hendrick, 14-time car owner champion in NASCAR's three national series
    Mark Martin, 96-time race winner in NASCAR national series competition
    Raymond Parks, NASCAR's first champion car owner
    Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier series champion
    The Landmark Award winner is H. Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
    (5-25-2016)

  • Cassill to run patriotic scheme at CMS: Landon Cassill's #38 MDS Transport Ford will run a patriotic paint scheme for the Memorial Day weekend race, promoting the transportation company's support for the U.S. military. Cassill's #38 team will pay tribute to a fallen soldier with a Front Row Motorsports family connection for the Memorial Day weekend Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Cassill's MDS Transport Ford will carry the windshield name decal of Pvt. Earl Platt, a World World I Army infantryman who fought in two of the Great War's biggest battles before dying from the effects of mustard gas poisoning. Pvt. Platt was the great uncle of Gwen Bartley, the wife of Front Row Motorsports suspension mechanic and U.S. Air Force veteran Kurt Bartley.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #38 team paint schemes page.(5-25-2016)

  • Charlotte Goodyear Tire Notes: All Goodyear tires run this week will be branded with "Support Our Troops" instead of the customary "Eagle" . . . teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run completely different tire set-ups at Charlotte . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that debuted for Sprint Cup teams at the Sprint Showdown/All-Star event at Charlotte last week . . . this tire set-up came out of a Goodyear test at Charlotte on March 8-9 . . . drivers participating in that test were Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Brian Scott and Martin Truex Jr. . . . compared to what was run at Charlotte last year, both of these tires have an updated construction to bring them into line with what is run at other speedways . . . this left-side code features a compound change for more grip . . . this right-side code is a single tread compound tire which offers more grip than either of the two compounds run on Goodyear's multi-zone tread tire run at Charlotte last year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Charlotte . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Goodyear's "Wingfoot One" will be in the skies over Charlotte Motor Speedway this weekend . . . this ship is based out of Pompano Beach, Fla. . . . Wingfoot One will provide aerial coverage for Fox Sports for both the NASCAR Xfinity and Sprint Cup races.(Goodyear Racing), see tire codes, set limits, pressures and more on the Charlotte Race Info page

  • Roush Fenway Racing Announces Multi-Year Extension with Fastenal: Roush Fenway Racing has secured a multi-year partnership extension with primary partner the Fastenal Company that will continue Fastenal's position as the anchor partner of the #17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. As part of the extension, Fastenal will also increase the number of its primary races in 2017 and beyond. "We are really excited to announce that Fastenal will remain the anchor partner of the #17 team for years to come," said driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. "Fastenal is a first-class organization with values that align completely with myself and this race team. We've seen a lot of improvement across the board this year. We are very happy that Fastenal will continue to be a part of the momentum at Roush Fenway. There has been a lot of hard work and effort put into this team and our goal and expectation is to reward Fastenal with a trip to victory lane and the Chase in the near future." Fastenal is currently in its fifth season as a primary partner in Roush Fenway's Sprint Cup stable, and its second full season as the anchor partner on Stenhouse's #17 Ford Fusion.
    "To have a company of the caliber of Fastenal recognize the long-term value of a partnership with Roush Fenway, Ricky and the #17 team is gratifying for our entire organization," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "During our relationship, Fastenal has created and implemented a robust and impactful motorsports marketing program, and we are thrilled to have Fastenal continue to be a key part of the Roush Fenway family now and in the future." Fastenal, which boasts 2,600 stores nationwide, first joined Roush Fenway as a primary partner in 2010 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
    "We are truly looking forward to continuing our partnership with Roush Fenway Racing as the anchor sponsor of the #17," said Fastenal President and CEO Dan Florness. "Ricky has done an excellent job representing our brand - both on and off the track - and we are extremely proud of the relationship we have built with Ricky, Jack Roush and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing. Extending our partnership reflects our belief in Roush Fenway Racing. The NASCAR program has helped us grow our business and excite our employees, and we feel a strong connection with the NASCAR community and fan base."(Roush Fenway Racing)(5-25-2016)

  • RPM & U.S. Air Force Partner for 600 Miles of Remembrance: Richard Petty Motorsports and the U.S. Air Force are once again partnering for NASCAR's 600 Miles of Remembrance program on Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Air Force Ford, will race in memory of fallen U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Forrest B. Sibley with his name featured on the windshield header. A long-time partner with the military branch, Richard Petty Motorsports will feature a U.S. Air Force primary paint scheme on the #43 Ford for the Coca-Cola 600. This will be the first of two race weekends of primary sponsorship for the U.S. Air Force in the 2016 season [the other is Phoenix in November]. Almirola, born on Eglin Air Force Base, is deeply connected to the U.S. Air Force and understands the sacrifices made by military members and their families.(RPM), see an image of the car on the #43 team paint schemes page.(5-25-2016)

  • Dillon to run Cheerios colors at Charlotte: Austin Dillon continues a long-standing Richard Childress Racing tradition this weekend by carrying General Mills' Cheerios brand on the #3 Chevy in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. General Mills has been an active sponsor in motorsports for more than 15 years. Both Dillon brothers made their Daytona 500 debut with General Mills, with Austin in the Honey Nut Cheerios Chevrolet in 2013 and Ty in the Cheerios Chevrolet in 2015. In 2016, Cheerios is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The cereal debuted as "Cheerioats" in 1941. Dillon and the #3 Cheerios team will participate in 600 Miles of Remembrance on Memorial Day Weekend. Dillon's name will be replaced on his race car windshield header with the name of a fallen military service member for the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The #3 team will feature Navy SEAL Special Warfare Operator Chief Petty Officer Mark "Badger" Carter, who was killed in action in Balad, Iraq on December 11, 2007. There is a Crossfit "Heroes" workout named after Badger that Dillon and several RCR team members have completed in Carter's honor.(RCR), see images of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(5-25-2016)

  • Evernham restores Mario Andretti rookie car: Ray Evernham made his name in NASCAR, but this week, he's got the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 on his mind. At the Brickyard, Evernham will have a very special car that he restored himself and owns: The Brawner Hawk Ford Indy car that Mario Andretti drove to a third-place finish and Rookie of the Year honors in the '65 Indy 500, as well as the 1965 USAC National Championship. Evernham restored the car to such a high standard that at the prestigious Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, the Brawner Hawk won Best in Class -- Race Cars (1961-1967) and the Phil Hill Restorer's Award, "which is an award created to honor the artisan whose restoration of a classic, antique, historic or competition car is judged the best new restoration in its first concours appearance." And at the Brickyard, Andretti himself will be behind the wheel of the Brawner Hawk in a parade of 33 vintage cars that will pace the field.(full story at FoxSports)(5-25-2016)

  • Cup crew member suspended 2nd time for violating substance abuse policy: A crew member in the Sprint Cup Series has been indefinitely suspended a second time in his career for violation of NASCAR's substance abuse policy. Kelly Johnson, who most recently worked as a jackman with Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7 Chevy), was indefinitely suspended Tuesday for violation of NASCAR's substance abuse policy. It's his second violation in less than two years. Johnson was indefinitely suspended for violation of the policy in November 2014 and reinstated in January 2015 after completing NASCAR's Road to Recovery program.(Motorsport)(5-25-2016)

  • Pocono Raceway To Honor A Hero: Pocono Raceway will honor a hero during its July NASCAR Race, CEO & President Brandon Igdalsky announced today. The six-week competition will culminate with a $5,000 prize being presented to the chosen hero at pre-race driver introductions on Sunday, July 31. Submissions are now being accepted to nominate a hero and fans will have a say in who is honored as the winner. All fans are eligible to nominate who they believe is a hero, whether it be a volunteer, active community service member, someone who has overcome hardship or someone you think is deserving. Top consideration will be given to those heroes who are aligned with Pocono Raceway's core values of Integrity, Respect, Service, Sustainability, Growth and Community. On-line nominations will be accepted until July 5, 2016 at poconoraceway.com/hero.html. There is a 500-word limit for nominations. Members of the Pocono Fan Council, with input from Pocono Raceway, will select three finalists who will be invited to 'The Tricky Triangle' July 30-31 for the Pennsylvania 400. Fans will then have the chance to vote for who they believe should be the winner during an on-line voting period. The three finalists will be invited to Pocono Raceway and be featured at the track on Saturday. The winner will be announced on Saturday and presented a $5,000 check during driver introductions on Sunday. The selected Hero will then participate in a full slate of activities prior to and during the Pennsylvania 400. Tickets for all races are now on sale at poconoraceway.com or by calling 1-800-RACEWAY.(Pocono Raceway)(5-25-2016)

  • Marty Snider's son wins ARCA race in debut: Son of NBC NASCAR announcer Marty Snider, 21-year-old Myatt Snider made his ARCA Racing Series race at Toledo Speedway last Sunday. Starting the #22 Cunningham Motorsports Ford with sponsorship from The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce from the third starting position, Snider won the race. Sunday was the first of nine ARCA races Snider will take part in this season. Dalton Sargeant finished second, followed by Kyle Weatherman, Chase Briscoe and Matt Kurzejewski.(NBC Sports)(5-25-2016)

  • Nationwide unveils Earnhardt's patriotic Coke 600 scheme: For the second consecutive week, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will get patriotic at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After piloting a special Mountain Dew scheme in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, Earnhardt will get behind the wheel of a #88 Nationwide Chevy sporting some stars and stripes. He'll drive the scheme in the 600-mile race this Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Nationwide and Earnhardt worked together on the American flag-themed design, and perhaps the most notable feature can be seen on the car's windshield. It features the name of Lance Corporal Aaron Reed, who was killed in action on Aug. 3, 2005, in Iraq. Earnhardt and Nationwide have invited Lance Corporal Reed's mother, aunt and sister to attend the race as their guests. In addition, Travis Williams, the only surviving member of Aaron's squad, will join Nationwide and the Reed family at the race.(HMS), see images of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(5-24-2016)

  • Special patriotic scheme for McDowell at Charlotte: Michael McDowell will run a Thrivent Financial patriotic scheme on the #95 Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing Chevy in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (CSLFR Facebook), see an image of the car on the #95 team paint schemes page.(5-24-2016)

  • Whelen to Partner with RCR's #31 at Charlotte: Richard Childress Racing announced that Whelen Engineering Co., the "Official Warning Lights of NASCAR", will serve as the primary sponsor on Ryan Newman's #31 Chevy for Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "Whelen Engineering, the Official Warning Lights of NASCAR, is pleased to be the primary sponsor of the Whelen #31 Chevrolet for the Coca-Cola 600," said Phil Kurze, vice president of motorsports. "Ryan (Newman) is a familiar name to us since he has been in Victory Lane a number of times in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. It is fitting to have a graduate engineer driving a race car sponsored by an engineering company. The familiar red and white Sam Bass paint scheme will be displayed on the car and we look forward to the excitement of the longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule." The red and white colors of the #31 Whelen Chevy will hit the track for the annual Memorial Day weekend event, in which Newman has three top-five and six top-10 finishes, in addition to five pole awards.(RCR), see an image of the car on the #31 Team Schemes page (5-23-2016)

  • Dollar General Leaving as Primary Sponsor JGR's #20 after 2016: Dollar General will end its primary sponsorship of Joe Gibbs Racing's #20 Sprint Cup Series entry after this year and is not planning to align with a new team next year. The company, which has been with JGR since the 2012 season, currently has a 30-race deal -- one of the largest in the sport -- with the #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth. It also has some track assets in NASCAR. Dollar General in a statement noted it has enjoyed a "great partnership" with JGR, but said, "Our strategy to reallocate our future marketing assets into new programs is strictly a business decision to align our priorities to better serve our customers in this rapidly changing retail environment." For JGR, Dollar General's departure will leave a big void to fill. Though the team is almost, if not entirely, sold out of inventory for the foreseeable future for its other three Sprint Cup cars, landing 30-race deals with a single company is an increasingly tough task in the sport. JGR is expected to announce a deal or deals to fill the void that will be left by Dollar General in the next month or so. Other primary sponsors of the #20 include Stanley Black & Decker and Dewalt, and it is possible that either they or sponsors of JGR's other cars could step up to help fill the hole.(Sports Business Daily)(5-23-2016)

  • NASCAR to Honor Fallen U.S. Armed Forces Members with Windshield Tribute at Charlotte: Continuing the sport's long-standing tradition of honoring the United States Armed Forces, all 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers will bear the name of a fallen service member on their race car windshields during Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For the second consecutive year, "600 Miles of Remembrance" will pay tribute this Memorial Day Weekend to those who bravely served and died defending our country. Windshield headers normally reserved for drivers' last names will read "SGT HARVEY," "LCPL RAMIREZ," and "SPC BEAUDOIN," among other names of the fallen. The special tribute will commemorate the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute, the industry's collective expression of respect and gratitude for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present. Fans can follow the conversation on social media using #NASCARSalutes. Many of the service members whose names will be displayed on the race cars were chosen by the teams, and some have unique connections to the fallen. Toyota will also honor the names of fallen service members on its pace cars and grand marshal cars for the Coca-Cola 600 as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance. Many of the families of the service members being recognized will be in attendance at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The track will host more than 6,000 active military members at the Coca-Cola 600 in honor of Memorial Day.
    Throughout the week, NASCAR: An American Salute will feature various activities demonstrating the industry's support for the military, including:
    ˇ During Saturday's Hisense 4K TV 300, NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers will display red, white and blue XFINITY windshield decals on their race cars.
    ˇ Goodyear will replace the "Eagle" sidewall design with "Support Our Troops" messaging on all tires used during the Memorial Day Weekend races.
    ˇ NASCAR, Coca-Cola and Mars, through the annual military support program, DeCA, will offer a sweepstakes to shoppers at more than 180 commissaries who will have a chance to win a trip for two to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas. The kickoff event will take place at Fort Bragg on May 25 and feature #11 Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin. The 2016 DAYTONA 500 winner will tour the Warrior Transition Battalion Unit and visit with families at the South Commissary.
    ˇ In partnership with Operation Gratitude, Mars will invite race fans to help assemble care packages for the troops in the midway at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The care packages will include Mars candy and be shipped following the Coca-Cola 600 to deployed military members.
    ˇ NASCAR and Honor and Remember, Inc. will display specially prepared Honor and Remember flags representing those who lost their life in service to our country from each of the 50 United States throughout the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
    During the Coca Cola 600 pre-race broadcast, FOX Sports will recognize all service members who have lost their lives in the past year by displaying their names and branch of service on a graphic scroll. This Sunday, NASCAR drivers will discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1:00pm/et. The Dialed In Salute to the Troops special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will feature interviews with several drivers as well as service men and service women from different branches of the military. To view an online gallery of the service members honored as part of 600 Miles of Remembrance, visit NASCAR.com/salute.(NASCAR), see the names on the Charlotte Entry List page (5-23-2016)

  • Kahne says rumors not distracting: Having his name become grist for the NASCAR rumor mill isn't taking a toll on #5-Kasey Kahne. The Hendrick Motorsports driver was linked to a report about the future of Kevin Harvick that was debunked Thursday when Harvick signed a long-term extension with Stewart-Haas Racing. Harvick said Friday he had told Kahne two months ago that he hadn't been contacted by anyone at Hendrick. Kahne said he had gotten acclimated to the speculation. "Those rumors have been out for a while now," he said. "It hasn't been distracting to me. I've been kind of fine with it because I know where I'm at. I know I have a deal through 2018. So it is what it is. People can come up with different ways to have a story, I guess. I think it was a story, and it probably worked out well for Harvick to have that going on once in a while."(NBC Sports)(5-23-2016)

  • Goodyear test at Michigan includes possible 2017 changes: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams saw their time cut short this past week during a tire test at Michigan International Speedway, but Goodyear officials said the on-track time was sufficient for the tire supplier's needs. Additionally, NASCAR officials were on hand for the May 17 session to examine the impact of recently announced rule changes for 2016 and potential aerodynamic adjustments for the 2017 season. Rain around the 2-mile track delayed the start of the test, and returned later, forcing officials to end the session just after 2 p.m. "We were able to run through our stuff pretty quickly and got some long runs in," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It was a confirmation test; we weren't going through a lot of different combinations or anything. We just confirmed that what we had taken was the right combination. Everyone was very comfortable with it. There was plenty of grip; it was cool, but we knew that going in. No surprises. We were real comfortable with everything."(NASCAR.com)(5-23-2016)

  • Some Coca Cola 600 officials and dignitaries announced: The 2016 Coca-Cola 600, the nation's largest Memorial Day weekend celebration, will feature a number of elected officials and dignitaries honoring our nation's servicemen and servicewomen at NASCAR's most challenging race. Gen. George W. Casey Jr. (Ret.), chairman of the USO, will be the Grand Marshal; Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin will serve as Honorary Starter; and Cookeville, Tennessee, Mayor Ricky Shelton will serve as Honorary Race Director for the 57th running of NASCAR's only 600-mile race at the famed Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 29. Continuing its tradition as the biggest Memorial Day weekend celebration in America, the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show will pay tribute to veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
    To commemorate the special 75-year relationship between Coca-Cola and the USO, the USO of North Carolina - with the longest continuously operating USO center in the world - is bringing 75 service members and USO volunteers from across North Carolina to join Gen. Casey in giving the command to begin the race. Several of the service members and volunteers will also display a special USO 75th anniversary flag as the race command is given.
    As a founding partner, The Coca-Cola Company celebrates the USO's 75th anniversary with limited edition "Share a Coke and a Song" packaging featuring the classic lyric "I'm Proud To Be An American." Beginning Memorial Day weekend through July 4, the custom design will be available nationwide on limited edition 16-ounce cans and 20-, 24- and 35-packages of 12-ounce Coca-Cola beverages. Fans are encouraged to join Coca-Cola in honoring the USO during this historic celebration.
    Great seats are still available for the 57th running of the iconic Coca-Cola 600 and the rest of the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder, with weekend passes starting at just $99. To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, fans should call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(5-23-2016)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway and DC Solar Promote Revolutionary Green Technology: Long considered one of the crown-jewel sporting venues in the United States, Charlotte Motor Speedway can also lay claim to being one of the most energy-efficient in its efforts to promote a green environment. By partnering with DC Solar, the industry leader in mobile solar innovation, Charlotte Motor Speedway will save more than 3,000 gallons of diesel fuel throughout the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder. In total, a record 79 mobile solar products will be deployed throughout the speedway including 60 solar light towers, 10 solar generators, four solar personal device charging stations in Fan Zone areas, and five solar electric vehicle charging stations. The units will offer everything from free phone and EV charging to safety lighting in the parking lots. An entirely new offering in the green space, DC Solar products require no fuel and operation is completely silent making the environmental impact virtually non-existent.(CMS)(5-23-2016)

  • NASCAR Comments about All-Star race confusion: NASCAR attempted a new Sprint All-Star Race format to increase passing in the final green-lap dash to the finish and succeeded, as Joey Logano outmaneuvered Kyle Larson with two laps remaining to win the $1 million exhibition race. But a whole lot of confusion reigned before the outcome Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway (ESPN)
    AND: The complex format, the brainchild of Logano's Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski, was thwarted by a scenario that NASCAR admitted no one saw coming. "It's just very unfortunate that this situation cropped up and a lot of people walked away from here disappointed," NASCAR senior vice president of competition Scott Miller said. "We're disappointed as well."
    The situation was complicated, but here's an attempt to explain:
    Drivers were required to make a pit stop under the green flag within the first 50 laps of the first segment.
    All of the drivers did that except for Matt Kenseth, who was still on the track as the race leader when Jamie McMurray suddenly spun out and caused a caution with a few laps left in the segment.
    As a result, there wasn't enough time for Kenseth to make a green-flag stop. He was penalized one lap for not taking tires and forced to pit.
    Since Kenseth was technically the race leader - even though it was illegally so - it meant nearly half the field was trapped one lap down and unable to take the wavearound.
    That left drivers confused as to what their position on the track was. They were upset because it was a different procedure than NASCAR would use in a normal race, and it muddied the setup for the final segment. After all, the entire idea of the 2016 format was to have fast cars with new tires start behind a bunch of slower cars on old tires. But instead of a bunch, there were only two - Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. What should NASCAR have done? It should have held Kenseth a lap, let the field come back around and then opened the pits. The cars would have unlapped themselves and returned to the lead lap while Kenseth would have been one lap down.
    "Hindsight is really easy, and we didn't really have a mechanism (to correct the situation) in our race procedures," Miller said.(USA Today)
    AND: "We have, obviously, a format we have never done before,'' said Scott Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of competition. "We worked diligently trying to come up with every scenario and an answer for every scenario that might crop up. We ran into a situation where our race procedure didn't give us the opportunity for a wave-around and it created a lot of confusion.''(NBC Sports)(5-22-2016)

  • Earnhardt Jr. discusses the new All-Star race format: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd in the Sprint All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Earnhardt Jr. comments after the race;
    Q). NASCAR kind of wanted to change the format to try to increase excitement. Did you feel you increased excitement? There seemed to be a lot of confusion out there about exactly how things would work, and then with only two cars on old tires on that last
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, wasn't -- you know, I think that the intent was really positive, and the ideas were great. But I think the simpler we make it, the easier it is to follow. You just have to worry about rooting for your guy. I was pretty confused right up until it was 13 laps to go, and then I knew, well, we're racing from here to the end, and this is all the normal rules. But everything before that was really out of my -- I was out of my element. But NASCAR did a good job making sure -- even though all the pitting was confusing and how the lap cars were pitting with the leaders, people weren't really where they were supposed to be, NASCAR did make sure all the lineups were correct before we went back to green. So you can't really complain about that too much. It was just an unorthodox way of doing it. I don't know. I think they ran into some scenarios tonight that they didn't really anticipate and got caught off guard. I think the 20 obviously not pitting, however that worked out, that threw them for a loop and everybody was confused from that minute on."
    Q. What made you think if the All-Star Race became a race of innovation and you guys just raced whatever you brought to the track?
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Well, I don't know. We probably wouldn't pass too much because we'd all be wide open. We would all be full throttle. I just think they ought to go back to the original formats that they started with that are simple and make the cars race better, you know? Gimmicks and all that stuff, trying to trick up the race is going down the wrong path. The way to make the racing exciting is to make the cars exciting.
    Q). Along those lines, the changes that were implemented, could you tell from the driver's seat, did they have much effect in this race on the racing in general?
    Earnhardt Jr.: "There was a lot of -- yeah, I mean, we gained some track position somehow. You know, all the mandatory stops during the segments, then the mandatory stops in between the segments. Somehow or another Greg did some magic and got us into the top 5. Guys were struggling, and I don't know. You know, it came down to the 22, the 42. That was pretty exciting, and I don't think that had anything to do with any format, so that was just two guys going at it, and that's what you really want."(Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)
    AND
    Q) WE HEARD YOU ON THE RADIO EARLIER REMINDING YOU OF THE FIRST TIME YOU FLEW A REMOTE CONTROL HELICOPTER. WAS THAT THE KIND OF CRAZY DAY THIS WAS?
    Earnhardt Jr.: "Yeah, I didn't know what way up and what way was right and left. Lap-down cars were pitting with lead-lap cars and wave-by cars were up front and in the middle. NASCAR did a good job of sorting the lineups out. Everybody was where they were supposed to be when we went back to green so you can't complain. They were doing it unlike any other way they were doing it before. I'm sure they ran into some scenarios they weren't really anticipating. That really was probably part of it; guys getting caught a lap down, the 20 not pitting within the first 50 laps. They weren't anticipating all that. As far as our Mountain Dew and Nationwide Chevy, we got it better. A lot of the setup is new and some stuff we're trying to find some speed with. We still have some gains to make. We didn't win the race but we outran a lot of guys who had been outrunning us the last few weeks. We didn't get to practice so we worked really hard during the race changing a lot of stuff, and I hope Greg (Ives) learned a lot. Next weekend we'll actually get to practice some and make some changes to see if we can't get our car better for the 600. I'd love to win that race before I retire."(Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)(5-22-2016)

  • Stewart finished last in All-Star race; format is dumbest thing he ever saw: #14-Tony Stewart finished 20th in his 18th and final NASCAR Sprint All-Star race after hard contact ended his night Saturday at Charlotte. Stewart's bid to win his second All-Star race ended on lap 20 in the second 50-lap segment when Chase Elliott, in traffic, slowed on the track in turn four to enter the pits. The field attempted to avoid Elliott, but the result was a multicar accident that saw Stewart make hard contact with Kasey Kahne, destroying the #14. Stewart was not injured but admitted he was angered, both by the accident and by the officiating that had him down a lap to the leaders at the beginning of the second segment, his comments:
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
    Stewart: "I got in a wreck. I mean, the #24 (Chase Elliott) wrecked everybody and put everybody behind him in jeopardy and we got caught on the outside of it. I shouldn't have been back there in the first place. We couldn't even get clarification after the pit stop as to where we were even supposed to be and then we restarted and find out we're a lap down and it's like, how did that happen? How did that happen? It's the dumbest damn thing I've ever been a part of.
    Q) CHASE ELLIOTT WAS WAVING OFF CARS BEHIND HIM THAT HE WAS GOING TO PIT. BUT IT'S BEEN ONE OF THOSE INDESCRIBABLE NIGHTS.
    Stewart: "I'm as baffled as everybody. I don't know how in the hell we were scored a lap down after they stopped the 20 car (Matt Kenseth) and the pit everybody together a lap down then lead lap and then lap down. It's the most screwed up All-Star race I've ever been a part of. I'm glad it's my last one. I'm all right. I'm just madder than hell because I don't understand how the hell they've officiated this from start to finish."(SHR / Team Chevy / ASAP Sports)(5-22-2016)

  • Logano talks about All-Star win; Keselowski defends format: #22-Joey Logano passed #42-Kyle Larson with two laps to go to win Saturday night's Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, becoming the ninth different Ford driver to win the non-points event. #2-Brad Keselowski finished second to give Team Penske a sweep of the top two spots. Comments from both drivers about the win and the format of the All-Star race:
    Logano Victory Lane Interview: "I tell you, Larson is a hard racer. I watched him in the Showdown earlier today and I knew what I was up against. I knew he was gonna run hard. I'm a hard racer, I knew it was gonna be a fun battle for sure. I got underneath him once and I got to the outside of him once, we went up high and I got underneath him and I got loose underneath him. I knew I had position on him going into the corner and had to keep him on my quarterpanel and not let him get to my door, so I drove in there hard. He was gonna drive in there hard to keep on my door and I was gonna drive in there hard to keep him at my quarter. What a crazy battle for a million dollars at the end. This is the All-Star Race. It's special just to be in the race. Forget winning it, it's just special. It's neat to be in victory lane."
    Q) WHEN DID YOU DECIDE ON THAT STRATEGY?
    Logano: "We actually didn't go by Plan A. We had Plan A, B, C, and D, and we actually went by Plan B, which was the two-tire call there. I actually thought we were in trouble there when a couple cars pitted under caution and we got used up on that restart. I thought, 'Oh boy, we're not in position to win,' but then we had a good pit stop by our pit crew -- got us out there in a decent spot and it was game-on from there."
    Q) WHERE DOES THIS WIN RANK?
    Logano: "It's up there for sure. It's definitely one you want to have on your resume. You want to have the Daytona 500, but the All-Star Race is special and the Coca-Cola 600 is next and that's a really special one to have.
    Keselowski Post-Race Press Conference: "A decent night, but not the great night we wanted with the Miller Lite Ford ending up second. I'm pretty happy for my teammate Joey Logano. He kind of did exactly what you would expect out of an All-Star Race format and made a pretty incredible pass to win the race. I'm happy for Team Penske as a whole, but, of course, I wish it was me in victory lane."
    Q) CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS FORMAT AND HOW IT PLAYED OUT?
    Keselowski: "There was a next-to-last lap pass for the lead. There were several passes for the lead. The last four races there hasn't been a pass for the lead in the last 20 or 30 laps. I think our fans deserve a better format than that and they got that today. I don't know how you can get much more compelling racing than what we saw today, so they need to get unconfused and enjoy the racing."
    Q) DID THE RULES CHANGES HELP?
    Keselowski: "Absolutely. I thought it was certainly a key to making the cars have more fall off and open up more passing opportunities, so, yeah, I think that was a pretty big positive for here."(Ford Racing)(5-22-2015)

    Support the Troops
    To run at all Charlotte races in May 2016, 'Support the Troops' Goodyear Tires.



  • Goodyear Transforms NASCAR Race Tires to Honor U.S. Military: The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company will customize its iconic Goodyear Eagle race tires for the seventh consecutive year to support the U.S. Armed Forces. Goodyear, the Official Tire of NASCAR, will replace the "Eagle" logo on the sidewalls of its race tires with "Support Our Troops" messaging on tires used during all NASCAR races at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. The NASCAR industry kicks off its annual military tribute, NASCAR: An American Salute, leading up to the Coca-Cola 600 on May 29. "Support for the military is part of the fabric of our company," said Stu Grant, Goodyear's general manager of global racing. "Goodyear's rich history of making tires for the U.S. Armed Forces is a source of pride for our associates - especially the many that have served - and these tires are a reflection of our deep respect for all Military branches." Goodyear has more than 100 years of history building innovative tires and equipment to help support and protect U.S. troops and is the largest producer of military tires in the country. The company was recently recognized as a Military Friendly Employer by G.I. Jobs magazine for its leadership in hiring and supporting veterans. In 2014, Goodyear surpassed a three-year goal of hiring 1,000 veterans and since then, Goodyear has renewed the commitment to hiring another 1,000 veterans over three years.(GoodYear), see images of all seven tires on the Tire News and Testing page (5-20-2016)

  • Harvick talks about contract extension: #4-Kevin Harvick met with media at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday and discussed his contract extension with Stewart-Haas Racing and more, the transcript in part:
    Q) CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR SHR CONTRACT THIS WEEK. HOW GOOD DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE LONG-TERM SECURITY AND A DEAL IN PLACE?
    Harvick: "I was hoping that we were going to get all this out of the way today so that we don't have to talk about it for several more years again. As you sit back and you see all the things that happened at the beginning of the year and I'll kind of give you guys (media) a little more background on how all this went. For me, I had an automatic two-year extension that the team held; but which everybody was understood that we were going to extend that option. But I think as you stood back and looked at it there was a lot of things that changed in the sport and within our team.
    We had a lot of sponsorship things that wanted to do things further than really where we were. So, we sat back and said okay, let's mutually agree just to forget that contract and let's restructure everything and I think anytime somebody hears the word 'restructure' somehow within an organization or within a team, it was a mutually agreed restructure to extend the contract and make it go further so that we could extend our sponsorships and extend our relationships that we had to make them longer. You hear the scuttlebutt. It affects the guys in the shop a lot more than it affects me. I think it's kind of fun, to be honest with you, because I think a lot of you guys have gone through a lot of the things that we go through as drivers when you see somebody say something that you take offense to and seeing the internal squabbles between a lot of you guys kind of reminds me of putting us in situations. So, I think there's a lot that can be learned through this particular situation.
    But I think as you look back and it got so out of control that I actually went to Kasey Kahne and I said look man, here's what's going on. And I told him there's not been one person that's called me from your organization and I want you to have the trust in your team. I want you to believe in your team. I want you to keep working on the things that you're working on, but here's where it's at. Here's what I'm doing. Here's what I see. Here's how it's going to go. And here we are up until last week still running around.
    And I think for me, when you look at things and you say well, you can only say so much before you start crossing line or putting things into legal responsibilities and treading lightly on what you can and can't say. So, you put yourself in that position and I tried to be as up-front as I could with you guys to tell you exactly what was going on. So, it's all been great with the management at SHR. I never even worried about having to take phone calls or place phone calls or put our team in a position to go out, my personal team, in a position to go out and talk to other people. That was never the case. It was just extending an extension that needed to be put in place because in the end it's like I've said several times, I feel like I've got the best crew chief in the garage. Our team has been performing well and doing the things that they need to do and I like the challenges that face us in the future. That motivates me to have those things in place. And so, it's all been good. It's just been some crazy rumors that however they got started, they got started."
    Q) HAVE YOU GIVEN ANY THOUGHT AS TO WHETHER THIS LONG TERM DEAL MAY BE YOUR LAST, OR HAVE YOU KEPT THAT KIND OF OPEN-ENDED FOR NOW?
    Harvick: "Most everything we do is in four or five-year chunks. So, it's really until you get to this particular point in the last year of the deal it's really not something that you really evaluate until then. DeLana and I and everybody on our team tries to put as many things to bed as possible so that our goal is to always focus on being parents and trying to do the best we can on Sunday's or Saturday night in this particular case. DeLana and I talked about where we wanted to be and we set the goals of how we were going to do things for the next several years and we'll address those things then. But, you hear too many guys talk about retiring too soon and you watch Mark (Martin) do it into his mid-50's. So, I'm going to sit up here and say I need to retire at this particular age. I'm going to quit when I feel like I'm not having fun anymore or I'm not competitive. It's way too much fun right now being competitive and having fast cars and you feel like you're making up for a little bit of lost time at the beginning. So, it's been fun to kind of have that rejuvenated the last three years and really be excited about it and love being part of the team and organization and all the things that come with what we have right no. So, it's just a lot of fun and it's going to have to be pretty painful for me at the end of this one to just say I'm done because I'll still be in my mid-40's. I'm not going to commit to quit before it's too soon."
    Q) THE BIG RUMOR WAS THAT YOU WERE DOING TO THE NO. 5 CAR NEXT YEAR. YOU WANTED TO RELIEVE KASEY KAHNE OF THE STRESS OF THAT. DO YOU FEEL THAT THIS HAS DISTRACTED YOUR DRIVING AT ALL?
    Harvick: "I don't think so. Not from my part. I think it's probably been a distraction at the shop and to the guys on the team a lot more than it has me. I don't mind getting in the middle of some of these games. At this point, we weren't even really trying to play a game, but unfortunately it kind of turned into just a spiraling out of control rumor. But I felt like that was important. I feel like I have a good relationship with Kasey. I felt like it was important for him to know where his organization stood and the talks and situations that had been there were never even talked about. So, I thought that was important for him to know. That was probably two or two and a half months ago that I had that conversation with him. I felt like that was important because I knew that there was a lot of pressure on that particular side of things to get where they have been and where they're performing better and doing the things that they're doing on the race track. I just felt that was important."
    Q) ON SHR'S CHANGE TO FORD NEXT YEAR, WHAT IMPACT IF ANY DID THAT HAVE ON YOUR DECISION TO SIGN THE EXTENSION?
    Harvick: "I'm just happy to race to the end of the year and be competitive right now and worry about the things that we have in front of us. So, we'll worry about all that stuff when we get to the end of the year."(Team Chevy)(5-20-2016)

  • Lee's Café to be featured on the #3 at CMS: A logo from Lee's Café will be featured on a race car during a NASCAR race on May 29. Lee's East Rowan Café, at 203 W. Main St., Rockwell, NC, won a General Mills drawing to feature their logo on the upper quarter panel of the #3 race car driven by Austin Dillon during the Coca-Cola 600 race in Charlotte. The "Lee" of Lee's Café was Sarah Bickish's brother. Bickish said she got involved in the business to help her brother in 2012 and took over in 2013 when he passed away from cancer. Bickish greets many of her customers by name and prides herself on offering fresh, homemade food, like the hand-cut pork loin, charbroiled, flatiron Black Angus steak, potato salad and baked spaghetti. Bickish said Lee's Café usually wins something at the show every year. General Mills sponsored a drawing that offered a "VIP NASCAR Experience," with three prize packages available to the 350 restaurants at the show. When the final prizes were being announced, Bickish said Paul Hager, the restaurant's manager who was also at the show, said he realized the Café had not won anything all day. Lee's Café ended up winning the grand prize package. The value of the package is more than $210,000. Along with Lee Café's logo on both sides of the car, the package also includes pre-race passes, all-access passes, a meet and greet with Austin Dillon and the pit crew, pictures with Dillon and the car, VIP clubhouse seats, a 2-night hotel stay, a hospitality suite and a track tour. All transportation is provided and they will also receive food and beverage vouchers. The Lee Café's logo will be against a red background with the restaurant's name printed in white. The upper corners of the logo will each feature a black stallion.(Salisbury Post), see images of the car on the #3 Team Schemes page (5-20-2016)

  • Elliott's throwback scheme for Darlington: Chase Elliott will run a yellow and back NAPA Auto Parts scheme on the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in September. Image from NAPA Auto Parts. See an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (5-20-2016)

  • Share a Coke and a Song Superstar Tour at 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder at Charlotte: After an extensive search across the Carolinas and Virginia, the Share a Coke and a Song Superstar Tour presented by Walmart, Coca-Cola and Sprint has identified some of the Southeast's top vocal talent to perform during the unforgettable 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 20-29. The month-long tour, which launched on April 18, gave fans the special chance to audition in a mobile studio that traveled to 12 different Walmart locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, with the winners selected by a panel of judges from Charlotte Motor Speedway. The following winners were selected and are scheduled to perform during the events listed below:
    - Dixie Moon (quartet) - "God Bless America," NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Featuring Donnie Smith - Mount Holly, North Carolina; Debbie Hatchins - Stanley, North Carolina; Eric Sayne - Charlotte, North Carolina; Bruce Keedy - Cornelius, North Carolina
    - Kayla Watson - Greensboro, North Carolina - national anthem, N.C. Education Lottery 200
    Contestants for the Share a Coke and a Song Superstar Tour presented by Walmart, Coca-Cola and Sprint were judged on four qualities: pitch and range, pace, stage presence and traditional rendition. Each member of the judging panel scored each finalist contestant. The criteria sheets of all judges were totaled to provide an overall score for each finalist.
    TICKETS: Great seats are still available for the 57th running of the iconic Coca-Cola 600 and the rest of the 10 Days of NASCAR Thunder, with weekend passes starting at just $99. To purchase tickets, camping and race-day upgrades, fans should call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or shop online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.(CMS)(5-20-2016)


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