Larson wins Michigan: #42-Kyle Larson won the Pure Michigan Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 1st win at Michigan and FIRST career win. Larson led a race high 41 of 200 laps to win his first race.
The victory came in Larson's 99th start in the series, long after most observers expected Larson to record his first win. It also broke a 99-race drought for Chip Ganassi Racing, dating to Jamie McMurray's victory at Talladega in October 2013. It was also the first win for car #42 since Juan Pablo Montoya won Watkins Glen in August 2010.
#24-Elliott (ties his career best finish) finished 2nd followed by #2-Keselowski, #21-Blaney, #4-Harvick, #48-Johnson, #19-Edwards, #1-McMurray, #11-Hamlin and #22-Logano.
#14-Tony Stewart clinched a position in the top 30 in the standings and therefore a berth in the Chase with his 21st-place finish.
#34-Chris Buescher lost a cylinder early in the race, finished 35th, and held onto a seven-point lead over #23-David Ragan for the 30th spot in the standings.
Buescher must remain in the top 30 after the next two races to parlay his Pocono victory into a Chase berth.
The win marked the first time a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs has reached Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
It is the first time in NASCAR history that first time winners in each of the three National series on the same weekend: Larson at Michigan in the Cup series. Michael McDowell at Road America in the XFINITY Series and Brian Moffitt winning the Michigan Truck Series race.
There were 20 lead changes among 13 drivers and 4 cautions for 17 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 162.730 mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
Lap Summary Report (pdf)
Penalty Report (pdf)
Pit Stop Times (pdf)
Brad Keselowski's car fails postrace inspection at MIS: #2-Brad Keselowski, who finished 3rd, had his car fail postrace measurements following the Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway. The typical penalty for the violation has been a 15-point deduction for the driver and a $25,000 fine to the crew chief, but NASCAR won't comment on potential penalties until they are announced, which typically is the Wednesday following a race. The 15-point penalty is insignificant to Keselowski, who sits second in the standings by 50 points and whose four wins this year have him locked into NASCAR's postseason Chase for the Sprint Cup. The #2 Ford failed the inspection station that measures tire camber, axle housing, alignment, rocker panels and the main frame rail. All cars go through that inspection station prior to the race. The top-five cars plus any other cars chosen by NASCAR also go through it after the race.(ESPN)(8-28-2016)
Race Fast Facts - Michigan International Speedway:
#42-Kyle Larson won the 47th Annual Pure Michigan 400 , his first victory in 99 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
This is his first victory and eighth top-10 finish in 2016.
This is his third top-10 finish in six races at Michigan International Speedway.
Larson is the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next programs to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
With the victory, Larson now cliches a spot in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Chip Ganassi Racing ends a wins drought of 99 races, extending back to Jamie McMurray's win on October 20, 2013 at Talladega.
#24-Chase Elliott (second) posted his second top-10 finish in two races at Michigan International Speedway. It is his 12th top-10 finish in 2016.
#2-Brad Keselowski (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 15 races at Michigan International Speedway.
(NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(8-28-2016)
2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup CHASE Standings:
[after Michigan, race 24 of 36, 16 drivers for the Chase]
Set by most wins, then by points standing
1) #2-Keselowski [4 wins], 2nd in points
2) #18-Busch , 6th
3) #4-Harvick , 1st
4) #19-Edwards , 3rd
5) #11-Hamlin , 7th
6) #48-Johnson , 9th
7) #20-Kenseth , 10th
8) #41-Busch , 4th
9) #22-Logano , 5th
10) #78-Truex, Jr. , 8th
11) #42-Larson , 15th
12) #14-Stewart , 26th
13) #34-Buescher , 30th
no wins, in by points standings
14) #24-Elliott, 11th in points, 27 pts ahead of 17th
15) #3-Dillon, 12th, +21
16) #1-McMurray, 13th, +15
no wins, not in the Chase
17) #31-Newman, 14th, -15 out of 16th
18) #5-Kahne, 16th, -52
19) #6-Bayne, 17th, -58
20) #21-Blaney, 18th, -71pts
2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Points (not CHASE) Standings:
[after Michigan, race 24 of 36]
1) #4-Harvick [2 wins], 799
2) #2-Keselowski , 774, -25
3) #19-Edwards , 724, -75
4) #41-Busch , 721, -78
5) #22-Logano , 716, -83
6) #18-Busch , 696, -103
7) #11-Hamlin , 691, -108
8) #78-Truex Jr. , 652, -147
9) #48-Johnson , 648, -151
10) #20-Kenseth , 633, -166
See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)
How Kenseth helped John Krasinski land role of 'Jim' on 'The Office': It's nearly impossible to think an actor besides John Krasinski playing the role of 'Jim Halpert' on the American version of "The Office," but it may not have happened without the help of Matt Kenseth. Back in 2002 -- a full three years before the NBC premiere of inarguably the greatest comedy series of all time, in my opinion, at least -- a fresh-faced Krasinski appeared in a commercial with Kenseth that caught the eye of future "Office" executive producer, Greg Daniels. The back-and-forth dialogue between last fall's grand marshal at Texas Motor Speedway and Kenseth (more back than forth, knowing the stoic Joe Gibbs Racing driver) and wild antics by the now-36-year-old led to an audition and before long, "Jim" was born.(see full article at NASCAR.com)(8-28-2016)
Hamlin's Darlington throwback scheme unveiled: Joe Gibbs Racing unveiled #11-Denny Hamlin's throwback scheme for Darlington on Wednesday afternoon. The SportClips Toyota is a throwback to Darrell Waltrip's #11 1984 race car design.(8-10-2016), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(8-10-2016)
AND - Hamlin & Sport Clips Honor Military at Ft. Bragg: Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver Denny Hamlin, and long-time partner Sport Clips, officially unveiled the #11 Sport Clips Toyota Camry "Throwback" edition this past week at the Ft. Bragg Airborne & Special Operations Museum. The paint scheme is modeled after the #11 car driven by NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Darrell Waltrip in the 1980's. The special throwback edition will debut at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend with Hamlin in the #18 Sport Clips Camry in Saturday's VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200, as well as the #11 Sport Clips Camry in the Southern 500 on Sunday.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(8-28-2016)
Logano going for Michigan sweep: #22-Joey Logano will go for the sweep of Michigan after winning the June race at the two-mile track from the pole. Logano has seven straight top-10 finishes there, including two wins. During that streak, Logano has led the most laps in three races. For his career, Logano claims two wins, four top fives, 10 top 10s and an average finish of 12.8 at MIS. (NASCAR)(8-28-2016)
Keselowski Tries For First Win In Home State: #2-Brad Keselowski, a Rochester Hills, Michigan native, attempts to become the eighth active driver to win a race in his home state in Sunday's Pure Michigan 400. The seven active drivers with wins in their home states are: Jimmie Johnson (7 victories/California), Denny Hamlin (7/Virginia), Tony Stewart (2/Indiana), Aric Almirola (1/Florida), Kyle Busch (1/Nevada), Kevin Harvick (1/California) and Ryan Newman (1/Indiana). Keselowski's best finish at MIS was a runner-up showing in August of 2012. Overall, he has four top fives, seven top 10s and a 13.0 average finish in 14 Michigan starts. Keselowski has finished in the top 10 in his last five races at MIS, including a fourth-place showing in June. He does have two NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at Michigan, in 2009-2010.(NASCAR)(8-28-2016)
Playoff Spots Dwindling With Three Regular Season Races Remaining: Last weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway changed everything as the resulting Chase Grid looks very different now than it did prior to Bristol.
- #34-Chris Buescher finished fifth, which catapulted him into the top 30 by 13 points - thereby placing him firmly in Chase contention for the first time since his victory at Pocono. All 12 race winners are now on the Chase Grid.
- Buescher's finish, paired with #42-Kyle Larson's 24th-place run, pushed Larson off the Grid.
- #31-Ryan Newman finished 28th, which dropped him three spots in the standings, and likewise, the Chase Grid. He's now 16th on the Grid, and if there's a new winner in the next three races, he's in danger of missing the playoffs.
- #3-Austin Dillon (4th) and #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (2nd) both turned in top fives, which either solidified their Chase standing (Dillon) or bolstered their chances (Stenhouse).
One winless driver, in particular, could threaten at Michigan International Speedway: #16-Greg Biffle. For one, Biffle's Roush Fenway Racing team leads all organization in wins at Michigan, with 13. Secondly, Biffle boasts the Michigan wins lead among active drivers with four.(NASCAR)(8-28-2016)
APC sponsoring Smith at MIS: Regan Smith and the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing team is headed back to the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) this weekend for the Pure Michigan 400. Smith will be sponsored by Advanced Patient Care LLC, a hands-on clinical care company dedicated to making the transition from hospital to home seamless and successful. Toy State will be an associate sponsor.(Tommy Baldwin Racing)(8-28-2016)
Harvick leads in 2nd place finishes since 2014: Since the start of the 2014 season #4-Kevin Harvick has 22 second-place finishes - more than double the next-closest driver in the same period: #2-Brad Keselowski has 10.(USA Today), Harvick has 47 career 2nd place finishes, 11th all time. Richard Petty is the all-time leader with 157 second place finishes. See the list on the All-time winners page (8-28-2016)
Chase-clinching scenario for Michigan: With three races remaining in the regular season, 10 drivers have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, assuming each driver starts the remaining races. The 10 clinchers: Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Everyone who has a win this season is locked in -- except for Tony Stewart and Chris Buescher, both of whom have yet to clinch a top-30 spot. Stewart can clinch a top 30 spot at Michigan with some help as he must be 91 points ahead of the 31st position in the standings. A number of drivers who currently have no wins can clinch this weekend, but only if they win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway. Winless drivers in the standings from Austin Dillon all the way to Aric Almirola could lock in a spot with a victory. See the Sprint Cup standings here.(NASCAR.com)(8-27-2016)
Liberty Mutual Debuting New NASCAR Deal To Promote Spotters: Liberty Mutual this weekend is debuting a unique content sponsorship in NASCAR entitled "Spotter Coverage" based around the notion of spotters helping their drivers worry less. At select ISC and SMI races remaining on the 2016 schedule, the Massachusetts-based insurer will sponsor spotter stands. The deal starts at Michigan International Speedway and also has an accompanying media buy on NBC Sports. Spotter stands at participating tracks will have track-facing signage that reads, "Helping Drivers Worry Less."(Sports Business Daily)(8-27-2016)
Keselowski takes lap at MIS in 1901 replica Ford race car: Before taking laps at 200-plus mph in his #2 Miller Lite Ford, Brad Keselowski took a lap around Michigan International Speedway in an exact replica of Henry Ford's 1901 race car. The actual car, nicknamed "Sweepstakes," sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. But the replica Keselowski drove at MIS Friday, Aug. 25, was built using its same specifications and pieces, right down to the wheels and tires. "Back then, it was about, can you just run?" said Keselowski, a Rochester Hills native. "The race that car won, there were 40 entries and only two finished. The others all blew up, broke down, had all kinds of issues. That's a good indication of how motorsports have changed." Keselowski was decked out in a suit, goggles, hat and bow tie for the drive. He thinks he got the car up to 50 or 60 mph. "That car was interesting and fun to drive," he said. "A lot of things we probably take a little bit for granted now as far as amenities are concerned."
Ford drove "Sweepstakes" in his first and last race as a driver. He finished first in a 10-mile race on Oct. 10, 1901, at a horse-racing track in Grosse Pointe. The win helped Ford gain financial support for the creation of the Ford Motor Co. in 1903. After Keselowski drove the 2,430-pound car into victory lane, MIS President Roger Curtis handed him the Michigan Heritage Trophy, which goes to the winning manufacturer in the MIS Sprint Cup Series races.(Michigan Live)(8-27-2017)
Bowman grateful for a chance to drive: Though he would prefer to be in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car under other circumstances, Alex Bowman hopes to make the most of his second chance to drive the #88 Chevy of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is still awaiting medical clearance after suffering concussion-like symptoms that have kept him out of the car. Bowman subbed for Earnhardt at New Hampshire in July, running in the top 10 for much of the race, before a crash relegated him to 26th. Jeff Gordon took over the seat for the next four races, but a scheduling conflict kept Gordon out of the car at Michigan and gave Bowman his second shot. "Honestly, for me being as close of friends as I am with Dale, I have just been hoping he gets to feeling better more than anything," Bowman said Friday at Michigan. "Obviously, I'm more than happy to fill in whenever I can. New Hampshire was a lot of fun. Obviously, we ran a lot better than we finished. I hated that the race team didn't get the finish they deserved. Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and Chevy and everybody-they have been so welcoming and easy to work with. It's just been fun. Off the truck today we were really fast (14th in opening practice) and didn't really get the qualifying run speed that we really wanted. But I feel like we have a good shot at it this weekend. It's just so much fun to be able to come to a (Sprint) Cup race and be able to say that. I'm just really enjoying it and trying to make the most out of it."(NASCAR Wire Service)(8-27-2016)
Smithfield Donates more than 25,000 lbs to Food Bank: Smithfield's Helping Hungry Homes truck pulled into Jackson (MI) Friday morning for the 24th stop on the 2016 nationwide hunger-relief tour to donate more than 25,000 pounds of protein to the Food Bank of South Central Michigan. The donation will provide more than 100,000 servings and help the Food Bank continue to provide meals to the South Central Michigan community, where one in six people suffers from hunger. Smithfield partnered with Meijer and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) to present the donation during an event at the Jackson Meijer, 3333 E. Michigan Ave. Speakers discussed the importance of donations like these in South Central Michigan. "The King" of racing, Richard Petty, who has partnered with the Smithfield Helping Hungry Homes program to donate thousands of pounds of protein over recent years, was present to discuss the importance of these donations from Smithfield and to raise awareness about the necessity of providing assistance to our neighbors in need.(RPM)(8-27-2016)
Stewart to appeal ruling: Tony Stewart will appeal a ruling last month by a U.S. District Court judge who determined Axis Insurance Company does not have to cover legal costs and claims by the family of Kevin Ward Jr. against Stewart. The judge ruled that Stewart's policy did not cover Empire Super Sprints events, the series Stewart was competing in when the Ward tragedy occurred in August 2014 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park.(ESPN)(8-26-2016)
What is Marcos Ambrose up to: Former NASCAR driver and race winner Marcos Ambrose, left the sport of auto racing to develop a new tourism venture Thousand Lakes Lodge near Lake Augusta in the Central Highlands (Tasmania, Austrailia). Ambrose says driving a race car and developing a new tourism product may seem worlds apart, however it's been surprising to experience the similarities between rising up the ranks of professional sport and developing a new tourism product. In an interview (video) at ultra106five.com, Ambrose provides insights into the lessons he has learned as an elite sportsperson and applying them to developing a tourism business in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area in the Central Highlands and added that he was extremely excited to be back in Tasmania and involved in the tourism industry.(8-26-2016)
Sad News - Waymond Lane Stricklin, Sr.: Waymond Lane Stricklin, Sr. went home to the Lord on August 24, 2016. He was born February 19, 1940 in Vina, AL (Franklin County). Mr. Stricklin was the owner of Giant Auto Parts in Pelham, AL for 32 years. He drove late model race cars until the late 1970s after which he enjoyed watching NASCAR races. His son, Hut Stricklin raced in NASCAR, competing in 328 Sprint Cup Series races with 2 2nd place finishes and 54 XFINITY Series races. Full obituary, guest book and service info at at pattersonfuneralhomes.com (8-26-2016)
Tanger Outlets to make NASCAR Debut with Sponsorship on the #78: Tanger Outlets will be the primary sponsor on Martin Truex Jr.'s #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota for the Federated Auto Parts 400 Saturday night Sept. 10 at Richmond International Raceway. The red, black and gray paint scheme that will be adorned on Truex's Tanger Outlets Toyota Camry will be showcased at NASCAR's final Sprint Cup Series race before the 10-race Chase playoffs begin. The sponsorship will be the first NASCAR involvement for Tanger Outlets. Headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., Tanger Factory Outlet Centers operates and owns, or has ownership interest, in 43 upscale outlet shopping centers located coast to coast in 21 states and Canada. More than 185 million shoppers visit the Tanger Outlet Centers annually.
"Tanger Outlets is known for its competitive spirit and partnerships with winning brands," said Steven B. Tanger, president and chief operating officer of Tanger Outlets. "The Furniture Row Racing team sponsorship allows us to team up with another best in class NASCAR brand and support Martin Truex Jr.'s efforts to reach Richmond's Victory Lane."
Truex, who already has clinched a Chase berth, said he is proud to be the first NASCAR driver with the Tanger Outlet sponsorship. "I take a great deal of pride that Tanger Outlets has chosen our Furniture Row Racing team for its first sponsorship venture in NASCAR," said Truex. "It's an honor to have a successful, high profile company be part of our team. The Tanger Outlets company has been a winning business story for decades and having its name on our car will give us even more incentive to get to Richmond's Victory Lane."(FRR), see images of the scheme on the #78 Team Schemes page (8-25-2016)
NASCAR and Nickelodeon Wave Green Flag for Third Season of Hammer Down: NASCAR and Nickelodeon are joining forces again to take viewers inside the world of NASCAR racing with the return NASCAR Hammer Down. Premiering Friday, Sept. 23 at 9:30pm (ET/PT) on Nicktoons, the third season of NASCAR Hammer Down features eight, 15-minute episodes hosted by Karsyn Elledge, granddaughter of Dale Earnhardt and daughter of Kelley Earnhardt Miller. This season, Elledge will be joined by her sister, Kennedy Elledge, for driver interviews, goofy antics and behind-the-scenes insight into the technology and people that propel more than 90 annual NASCAR national series events. Ryan Blaney, driver of the #21 Ford for Wood Brothers Racing, and Bubba Wallace Jr., driver of the #6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing, also return as series regulars for the popular "Bubba & Blaney" segment. Produced by NASCAR Productions, season three premieres with back-to-back episodes, the first of which emanates from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.(NASCAR)(8-25-2016)
Earnhardt Jr. to miss next two races: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports, has not been cleared by physicians to compete in at least the next two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events as he continues to recover from a concussion. Earnhardt, who will miss the races at Michigan (Aug. 28) and Darlington (Sept. 4), underwent further evaluation today at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program. "We know how hard Dale is working to get back," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "He's following what the doctors are saying, to the letter, and doing exactly what he needs to do. Everyone wants to see him in a race car, but his health is first and foremost. We're behind him." Alex Bowman, who drove the #88 Chevrolet in Earnhardt's absence July 17 at New Hampshire, will be the team's substitute driver this weekend at Michigan. He has four career Sprint Cup starts at the track. Four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will return to the #88 team at Darlington, where his seven wins lead all active drivers. Gordon has driven the last four races for Earnhardt -- at Indy, Pocono, Watkins Glen and Bristol.(Hendrick Motorsports)(8-24-2016)
Kahne, Labonte unveil LiftMaster Throwback scheme: Wednesday afternoon, #5-Kasey Kahne and Terry Labonte joined LiftMaster at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to unveil the throwback paint scheme that Kahne will pilot next weekend at Darlington Raceway. The scheme reflects Labonte's 1982 JD Stacy Buick paint scheme and also corresponds with LiftMaster's founding year. "This paint scheme brings back a lot of really great memories for me, and I'm honored that LiftMaster put together this program with Kasey and the #5 team for Darlington," Labonte. "To experience the unveiling through virtual reality is something I would have never thought was possible in 1982, so to see just how far technology has come and how LiftMaster integrates it into its products was really neat." The scheme was unveiled through an interactive virtual reality experience, allowing guests in attendance to virtually go back to 1982 and see the car as Labonte drove it, while also seeing Kahne's tribute version. "Darlington's throwback weekend is one of the coolest programs any track does all year," Kahne said. "I'm glad that LiftMaster is participating in the program to celebrate their start of the garage door opener business. I appreciate the opportunity to honor Terry Labonte with our throwback paint scheme at one of my favorite tracks."(HMS), see images of the scheme on the #5 Team Schemes page (8-24-2016)
Buescher to run Love's throwback scheme at Darlington: Chris Buescher and Love's Travel Stops will turn the clock back to 1981 - the year Love's opened its first travel stop - for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Front Row Motorsports and Love's unveiled the #34 team's paint scheme for the Sept. 4 Sprint Cup Series race Wednesday on social media. The stripes replicate the look that was on the fuel canopies and the building's façade at the company's first travel stop, which opened in 1981 in Amarillo, Texas. Today Love's has more than 390 locations in 40 states and employs more than 15,000 people. "The Darlington throwback weekend has become a pretty big deal, and it's cool to have Love's Travel Stops bring some of their history into the race weekend with their old colors," said Buescher. "Darlington is my favorite track, and I can't wait to get there and turn some laps in this special Love's Ford Fusion."(Front Row Motorsports), see images of the scheme on the #34 Team Schemes page (8-24-2016)
Testing at Chicago August 23rd UPDATE: Chicagoland Speedway will host a NASCAR organizational test with several of the sport's top teams on Tuesday, August 23, and fans are invited to take part in this preview to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Chicagoland Speedway September 15-18. The drivers who are tentatively scheduled to participate in the organizational test are as follows:
#4-Kevin Harvick, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #18-Kyle Busch, #21-Ryan Blaney, #22-Joey Logano, #23-David Ragan, #31-Ryan Newman, #34-Chris Buescher, #44-Bryan Scott,
#48-Jimmie Johnson, #78-Martin Truex Jr. and #95-Michael McDowell (All drivers scheduled to attend are subject to change at the discretion of NASCAR and its teams).
With proof of their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 ticket purchase, fans can watch their favorite drivers participate in the organizational test free of charge from between 1 and 4 pm. Fans are required to bring their printed tickets as proof of purchase. Those who plan on attending the test can enter the facility through Gate 1 off West Schweitzer Road. Once inside the facility, fans will be directed to park along the Midway directly in front of the main box office. The box office will be open to accommodate fans looking to purchase tickets prior to the start of the organizational test. Attendees will then use the elevators to access the third floor where they will now be able to walk outside and sit within a reserved section of grandstand seats. This exclusive opportunity will be open for those wishing to take in all the sights and sounds of stock car racing. In accordance with usual rules and regulation, fans are welcome to bring soft coolers containing refreshments and snacks for the event.
Lastly, a Chicagoland Speedway staff member will be available to escort a small group of fans every 10 minutes down near the front of the grandstands for a photo opportunity. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, Sept. 15-18, will begin on Thursday, Sept. 15 with the ARCA Racing Series followed by American Ethanol E15 225 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series under the lights on Friday night. On Saturday, Sept. 17, the NASCAR XFINITY Series will hit the track as the precursor to Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series showdown, the first race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.(Chicagoland Speedway)(8-17-2016)
UPDATE NASCAR Sprint Cup teams spent Tuesday testing at Chicagoland Speedway, which will host the first race in the post-season Chase on Sept. 18. The test was originally slated to run two days but was cut down to one full day due to rain in the forecast for Wednesday. Throughout 12 hours of on-track testing, 14 drivers combined to complete 2,046 laps around the 1.5-mile oval with #4-Kevin Harvick running the most, 222. Harvick, who won the first two races at Chicagoland in 2001 and 2002, was the fastest with a lap of 185.268 mph coming on his third lap. #18-Kyle Busch was second-quick (184.628 mph) after running 214 laps with #21-Ryan Blaney (183.524 mph), #31-Ryan Newman (182.859 mph) and #7-Regan Smith (182.809 mph) rounding out the top five. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was on hand for the test, but Roush Fenway Racing teammate Trevor Bayne drove his #17 Ford. On Wednesday, Stenhouse will travel to Indiana to attend the Celebration of Bryan Clauson's Life at Kokomo Speedway. "This was supposed to be a two-day test and they weren't going to let me test one day, and then Trevor Wednesday," Stenhouse said. "I was already in Chicago, so I just came to hang out with the guys."(Motor Racing Network)(8-24-2046)
Target throwback scheme revealed: Chip Ganassi Racing and Kyle Larson will honor Target's start in auto racing at this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The team revealed Tuesday on social media the #42 Chevy to be used. The slick scheme honors Target's first car in motorsports, in IndyCar in 1990. The bull's-eye on the roof is a nod to both Chip Ganassi Racing's relationship with Target, and also CGR's roots in IndyCar racing. The Southern 500 will also mark Larson's 100th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start.(NASCAR.com), see images of the scheme on the #42 Team Schemes page (8-24-2016)
Mountain Dew scheme returns for Elliott: After the first trip of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career to Dover, earlier this season, #24-Chase Elliott walked away with a third-place finish. When the series returns to the First State in October, Elliott will be looking to do even better. In the October race, Elliott will have an extra kick in his step since he will be "fueled" by Mountain Dew. The citrus soda will serve as the primary sponsor on his #24 Chevy (Lionel Racing), see images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (8-24-2016)
Quarterly National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award winner named: Autoweek's Al Pearce wins quarterly National Motorsports Press Association's Pocono Spirit Award. Pearce raised more than $13,000 through the sale of a helmet bearing the signatures of the 20 living Formula 1 champions as well as those of Phil Hill and Sir Jack Brabham, which he collected prior their passing. The project took nearly four years to complete and the helmet was sold at auction earlier this year. Proceeds went to the Victory Junction Gang Camp, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation. Pearce has covered NASCAR for Autoweek since 1972, and in 2012 was elected to the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. He is currently embarking on another autographed helmet project -- the 18 NHRA Top Fuel champions.(AutoWeek)(8-24-2016)
NASCAR Launches Youth Mobile App: Kids everywhere are going back to school, but not before celebrating the end of summer with NASCAR. All this week, Kids Drive NASCAR is engaging the sport's young fans with news, events and social content geared toward kids leading up to the NASCAR national series races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America. As part of the festivities, NASCAR today announced the launch of the Acceleration Nation app, the first digital experience created just for kids featuring racing-themed games, activities and fun ways to learn more about NASCAR. Parents can download the new app for their children at the App Store and Google Play. NASCAR's social media channels will share Kids Drive NASCAR content throughout the week, including videos and Snapchat takeovers featuring young drivers sharing their off-track experiences, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers with their kids. Fans are also invited to get in on the fun by sharing pictures of their children and families enjoying NASCAR races using #KidsDriveNASCAR. The 6,400-square-foot NASCAR Acceleration Nation live experience will be on display at Michigan International Speedway and will host interactive activities and driver autograph signings for kids throughout the weekend. For more information about at NASCAR Acceleration Nation.(NASCAR)(8-24-2016)
Biffle to run Hooters scheme at Darlington; promote National First Responders Day: Greg Biffle will honor the late Alan Kulwicki by running a Hooters throwback scheme in the famed Southern 500 at Darlington Speedway on Sunday, September 4th. In addition to honoring the 1992 Winston Cup Champion, Biffle and Hooters have teamed up to help petition congress to recognize our local and national heroes who risk their lives on a daily basis by creating a National First Responders Day. "I was a huge Alan Kulwicki fan, so this is a really special opportunity to get to honor him in this way," said Biffle. "I'm also a fan of Hooters and really excited to support the campaign to create a National First Responders Day. There are so many men and women who risk their lives each and every day to keep the rest of us safe, they are the real heroes and definitely deserve a day of recognition."
Andrew Collier, brother of slain MIT police officer Sean Collier who gave his life protecting his community during the Boston marathon bombing tragedy, has been lobbying Congress since 2013 to formally recognize the contribution and sacrifice of First Responders but so far has been unable to secure enough support in Washington to succeed. Inspired by Andrew's determined efforts and on behalf of First Responders across America, Hooters has partnered with the National Association of Police Organizations, the National Black Police Association and Thankyoufirstresponder.org to launch FirstRespondersDay.org. A website where Americans can express gratitude for First Responders and sign a petition formally requesting Congress to pass legislation creating a National First Responders Day. Fans are encouraged to sign the petition by visiting FirstRespondersDay.org.
In addition to signing the petition, Americans can show their support for First Responders by posting a picture on social media using the hashtag #OneWordOneDay and holding a sign with one word that they believe best represents First Responders. "We are excited to partner with NASCAR driver Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing as part of our campaign to help America come together in support of our First Responders," said Carl Sweat, CMO of Hooters. "Our First Responders risk a great deal to protect and serve us every day and we are all safer because of their sacrifices. Hooters is proud to recognize First Responders and join Andrew Collier in creating a National First Responders Day to honor them all."
Hooters is expressing its thanks to our Nation's First Responders by treating them to a free entrée. On Tuesday September 20, all First Responders can select an item from a special menu when they present a valid organization ID at any Hooters location across the nation. Biffle is no stranger to finding victory lane at Darlington Raceway. Biffle has two Sprint Cup wins at the track, two poles, has earned three top-five and six top-10 finishes over his 15 starts at the 1.366-mile track. Biffle has led 718 laps at Darlington, the most laps he led at any track on the Sprint Cup circuit.(RFR), see images of the scheme on the #16 Team Schemes page (8-23-2016)
Cassill Pays Tribute to J.D. McDuffie with Darlington Throwback: Landon Cassill will enter Darlington Raceway's Southern 500 in a car that will honor the memory of J.D. McDuffie, the scrappy but respected independent racer who competed for 28 years in the Sprint Cup Series before losing his life in a crash at Watkins Glen International. Cassill unveiled the throwback paint scheme of the #38 Ford during a Facebook Live broadcast on NASCAR's Facebook page. The blue and gold scheme replicates a design McDuffie drove in the 1970s and 80s. McDuffie sponsors Rumple Furniture and Bailey Excavating will be featured on the car as part of the tribute during the Sept. 4 race. Despite being an independent owner/driver without the resources of a larger team, McDuffie competed in 653 Cup races, collecting 106 top-10 finishes and a pole position, and finished in the top 20 in points 14 times in his career. Even though he holds the record for making the most starts without ever reaching Victory Lane, he won the respect of fans and fellow competitors in the sport. A 52-year-old McDuffie was on Lap 5 of the 1991 race at Watkins Glen when a mechanical failure resulting from contact with another car sent him into the Turn 5 tire barrier without brakes. He died instantly. Cassill and Front Row Motorsports are proud to pay tribute to a competitor who was known for his blue-collar ethic.
"J.D. was a guy who just kept scrapping, week after week, and earned a lot of good finishes as a result," Cassill said. "Bob Jenkins likes to say that Front Row Motorsports is the team that does more with less. You can definitely say that J.D. McDuffie did the same thing, and we're proud to honor his memory at Darlington." The Darlington Raceway event will celebrate the decade spanning 1975 to 1984 at this year's race with throwback paint schemes on all 40 entries.(Front Row Motorsports), see images of the scheme on the #38 Team Schemes page (8-23-2016)
Otter Pops to sponsor Jeffrey Earnhardt at Darlington: After a twenty-year hiatus, Otter Pops, the delicious and fun freezer pops "like no otter," re-enter the world of auto racing at the Bojangles' Southern 500 race at the Darlington Raceway. Rookie Jeffrey Earnhardt will be driving the Otter Pops-sponsored car at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The Bojangles' race is a "throwback race" and Earnhardt's Otter Pops car will be decked out in a blue and yellow color scheme matching his grandfather Dale Earnhardt Sr's, iconic racecar sponsored by Wrangler. "I'm really excited to have Otter Pops joining us at Darlington. I've been eating them since I can remember and you can't help but smile when you're eating an Otter Pop!" said Jeffrey Earnhardt. "It's hot this summer so I'm happy to have them being part of our team and look forward to eating a bunch of them at Darlington.(BusinessWire), see and image of the scheme on the #32 Team Schemes page (8-23-2016)
NASCAR National Series Tracks to Offer Free Youth Ticketing for XFINITY & Truck Series Races in 2017: NASCAR announced exclusively via Facebook Live that beginning in 2017, kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races. The announcement was made during an all-kids press conference hosted at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. The press conference also kicked off Kids Drive NASCAR, a week-long, youth initiative leading up to this weekend's national series races at Michigan International Speedway and Road America. Many race tracks already have in place a bevy of offerings geared towards youth, including youth autograph sessions, youth garage tours, kids' clubs and designated kids' zones. Numerous tracks also have employed various ticket platforms focused on youth, but this new program marks the first time where tracks will institute a consistent offer wherever NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races take place.
Beginning in 2017, the number of complimentary tickets available for children 12 and younger will vary from venue to venue for every adult ticket purchased. Specific track policies and procedures, including sections in which the tickets are offered, will still apply and may differ for each track as well in an effort to welcome and accommodate as many families as possible. This program is another example of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks improving the at-track experience with the ultimate goal of delivering additional value and an unparalleled live-event experience for fans.(NASCAR)(8-23-2016)
Kurt Busch's record lead lap streak is over: #41-Kurt Busch, lined up second for a lap-372 restart in Sunday's rain-delayed Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol. Coming off turn two, he passed #22-Joey Logano for the lead. However, Busch got loose in front of Logano, and contact between the two set off an 11-car incident that would see the 2004 Sprint Cup champion's historic streak of lead-lap finishes end at 22 races. "I think I just missed the bottom groove by a few inches, got loose, and the wreck was on," Busch said. "The way that our Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet was restarting it felt comfortable, it felt good. That inside with the rosin and the VHT, if you don't hit it exactly right you lose a lot of time. I tried to make up for it and got loose. I feel really bad for the Monster Energy/Haas Automation guys. We had a win in our sights, and I just drove the car at 101 percent instead of 99." The damage to the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevy was deemed too severe to repair, leaving Busch with a 38th-place result and his first did not finish (DNF) since Kansas Speedway in Kansas City on Oct. 5, 2014.(SHR)(8-22-2016)
Stenhouse Jr. ties career best finish: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove his #17-Bryan Clauson Fastenal tribute Ford to a second-place finish after overcoming a two-lap deficit and a speeding penalty on pit road. The second-place finish tied his career best finish of second at Bristol in 2014. "It wasn't from a lack of hard work and being lucky a few times," Stenhouse said. "We really wanted to get this Bryan Clauson tribute car in victory lane. It just wasn't meant to be today. We made our car a lot faster throughout the race and came from two laps down to get back on the lead lap. We missed some wrecks and gave it all we had. I thought we were matching the No. 4 car there lap for lap, but he got away from us and we had to restart sixth there on that last restart, but it was an honor to drive this car. This place was pretty packed last night so thanks to all the fans and thanks to all the fans that were able to stay around. I thought the track was really good. You could run the bottom. You could run the top. We just wanted one more spot."(RFR)(8-22-2016)
Ty Dillon Says He's Ready To Move to Cup: For Ty Dillon, Friday's Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway marks a milestone in the third-generation driver's NASCAR Xfinity Series career - his 100th start - but it also solidifies his belief he's ready for a full-time Sprint Cup ride. "I'm ready to make that step (into the Sprint Cup Series)," Dillon said. "I feel confident as a driver that I can go and compete inside the top 10, top 15 in the Sprint Cup Series if I get a full-time gig." Dillon has driven a limited schedule in the Sprint Cup Series with #95-Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing and Stewart-Haas Racing (subbing for Stewart in the #14). "I've had really good talks and there are a lot of positive things coming," Dillon said. "I feel really comfortable with where my future is going as far as my goal of being in the Sprint Cup Series; also, being a part of the Xfinity Series, which is important to me, too. I want to continue to run races in the Xfinity Series no matter where I go or what I do."(RacinToday)(8-19-2016)
Earnhardt Jr. shares detail on concussion treatment: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will miss his fifth consecutive race this week as he recovers from a concussion, and he gave his Instagram followers a peek into his rehab Thursday. Earnhardt posted a series of videos that he said are to help with his balance and gaze stability -- the ability to focus on an object in the distance while moving his head. One of the videos shows him doing steps as well as having someone throw a ball at a wall behind him, and then he turns and catches the ball on the rebound. In the post showing some of the physical exercises, Earnhardt wrote: "Simple stuff but it's really helping." Other posts included eye charts he is supposed to read while shaking his head -- "Bout got them memorized," he wrote in a post -- and in another, he talks about a computerized three-dimensional program, which crosses his eyes and trains his eyes to work together. The results are sent to his doctors online. Earnhardt is expected to see doctors next week, which could determine when he returns to racing. See full article at ESPN.com.(8-19-2016)
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, September 2, 2016, 3:30pm/et
TV: NBCSN 3:30pm/et
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