- Race postponed to Sunday: Due to persistent rain, the Toyota Owners 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway has been postponed until 1:00pm/et Sunday.(4-25-2015)
- Burton in for Yeley at Richmond? hearing that Jeb Burton, who failed to qualify for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond in the #26, will replace J.J. Yeley in the BK Racing #23 for the race. Burton had sponsorship from Estes Express Lines this weekend.(4-25-2015)
- Rain will be an issue again this weekend: The Richmond area forecast looks rainy for Saturday afternoon and evening into Sunday. According to the National Weather Service, there is an 80% chance of rain Saturday and a 60% chance on Sunday, until around 2:00pm/et. After that, the weather clears up. According to @NASCAR_WXMAN, "Depending on how early the rain arrives Saturday afternoon and evening, NASCAR could get the race started. I am giving the odds of racing Saturday night to be around 30 percent. Even if they get the race started, rain is expected to increase through the evening and into the overnight…If anything we should be seeing steady areas of rain around 8:00pm on Saturday and continuing to around 2:00-4:00am Sunday. I will be honest, unlike last weekend where I felt pretty optimistic they could race, I just don’t have the same feeling this weekend."
For more weather links, check out the Richmond Race Page – Weather Links.
- Michael Waltrip in the #55 at Talladega; then Ragan UPDATES: Two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Talladega Superspeedway on May 3. Waltrip, founder and co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, replaces 22-year-old Brett Moffitt who has driven MWR’s #55 since the March 22nd race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. "Talladega is a place where I know we will be very competitive," said Waltrip who owns four restrictor plate victories including a Talladega win in the fall of 2003. "This will be my 58th Sprint Cup start at Talladega so believe me when I tell you Talladega is some of the best racing in the world and I’m glad I’ll get to be part of it again in the Aaron’s Dream Machine." The May 3 and Oct. 25 Talladega races are the only remaining races Waltrip is scheduled to drive this season.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(4-23-2015)
UPDATE: The team is believed to be trying to sign David Ragan to drive the #55 beginning next month at Kansas. Ragan is currently the replacement driver for Kyle Busch at Joe Gibbs Racing, but JGR is leaning toward putting 18-year-old development driver Erik Jones in the car until Busch returns. That would free Ragan, who has subbed for Busch since the second week of the season. Waltrip wasn’t prepared Thursday to discuss anything beyond next week at Talladega. "We’re making plans now and we wanted a more long-term solution for the situation by this point, but we just haven’t been able to put all the pieces together yet," he said. He also said it’s unclear when – or if – Vickers will be back. "I can’t answer that," Waltrip said of Vickers, who is in a contract year with the team. "He certainly wants to be back, but he’s on thinners. Until he comes up with a long-term solution to that, that challenges us in answering if he’ll be back."(Associated Press)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 2: David Ragan, who entered the season planning to run with Front Row Motorsports, is expected to move to Michael Waltrip Racing’s #55 Toyota beginning with the May 9 race at Kansas Speedway, multiple sources confirmed to the Observer on Friday. He would replace rookie Brett Moffitt in the #55, who has been filling in most of the team’s races since the team’s regular driver, Brian Vickers, was sidelined once again with blood clots. Ragan would remain with the team for the rest of the 2015 season, sources said. Saturday’s race is expected to be the last for Moffitt with MWR in the Cup series, but the organization remains committed to obtaining sponsorship in order to run him in a third team and he remains under contract with MWR. An official announcement is expected sometime next week, sources said. Ragan’s move will require another fill-in driver for JGR in the #18 as Busch is not yet set to return to competition. Sources said JGR will move Xfinity and Truck series driver Erik Jones into the #18 beginning with the Kansas race. An official with Joe Gibbs Racing said "nothing has been confirmed" thus far about any changes to their driver lineup. With Ragan moving to the #55 for the remainder of the season, Front Row Motorsports will need to find a more permanent replacement for Ragan in its #34 Ford. Roush Fenway Racing has been loaning Xfinity driver Chris Buescher to the team when the schedule doesn’t disrupt his run for Xfinity Series championship. That arrangement could well continue, with other drivers used when Buscher’s schedule doesn’t allow double-duty, sources said. A FRM spokesman said at this time, the organization was still expecting Ragan to return to the team whenever his tenure at JGR is completed.(Charlotte Observer)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE 3: If the deal is finalized, Vickers, who announced in March that he would have to miss at least three months while he takes blood thinners to treat blood clots that had developed in his lungs, would be left to find another ride if he is able to return this season, [a] source said. That could include the possibility of MWR fielding a third car, pending sponsorship, after Vickers is ready to return.(ESPN.com)
AND Asked about reports that he would be moving to MWR: "I know I’m going to be in the 18 car for a little while," Ragan said. "This week and Talladega are obviously two very important weeks we’re looking forward to. I’m focused on that and I just don’t really have any comment.")USA Today)(4-25-2015)
- Thirteen teams to test at Indianapolis: Thirteen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are scheduled to participate in an open test April 29 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Slated to take part in the one-day event are #24-Jeff Gordon (Hendrick Motorsports), #4-Kevin Harvick (Stewart-Haas Racing), #15-Clint Bowyer (Michael Waltrip Racing), #19-Carl Edwards (Joe Gibbs Racing), #9-Sam Hornish Jr. (Richard Petty Motorsports), #2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske), #42-Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), #13-Casey Mears (Germain Racing), #27-Paul Menard (Richard Childress Racing), #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (Roush Fenway Racing), #78-Martin Truex Jr. (Furniture Row Racing), #21-Ryan Blaney (Wood Brothers Racing) and #23-J.J. Yeley (BK Racing). Gordon, Truex Jr., Hornish Jr. and Yeley are on tap to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at IMS Monday and Tuesday preceding the open test. According to IMS track officials, the Turn 2 viewing mounds (infield) and South Terrace grandstands will be open to fans. The Pit Stop Café next to the IMS Hall of Fame Museum will also be open during the test session.(NASCAR.com)(4-25-2015)
- NASCAR was willing to approve Jones at Bristol based on experience: Erik Jones had never turned a lap in the Sprint Cup Series when he became a last-minute replacement driver for Denny Hamlin at Bristol last weekend. Jones was flown in from North Carolina during a lengthy rain delay in Sunday’s race when because Hamlin had neck spasms. The 18-year-old arrived 5 minutes before the race resumed, and jumped into Hamlin’s car for the remainder of the event. NASCAR had to approve Jones as the replacement driver, something that isn’t done until the competitor has at least turned some laps. But in the case of Jones, NASCAR was satisfied he was capable of driving. Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Friday that Jones was approved "based upon his recent experience at the track, and we had just gotten a fresh look at him the day before at Bristol."(Associated Press)(4-25-2015)
- Richmond International Raceway Notes & Facts – Saturday – race:
· There have been 117 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Richmond International Raceway, one NSCS event from 1953 – 1958 and two races per year since 1959.
· Petty Enterprises has the most wins at Richmond in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 15; followed by Hendrick Motorsports with 10, Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing each have nine.
· Nine different manufacturers have won at Richmond. Chevrolet leads the series in wins at Richmond with 36 victories; followed by Ford with 31 and Toyota with seven.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Richmond International Raceway was 31st, by Clint Bowyer in the spring of 2008.
· There have been two NSCS races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Richmond International Raceway: spring of 2008 (400/410) and spring of 2013 (400/406).
· Only four of the 115 races at Richmond International Raceway have been shortened due to weather conditions: spring of 1962, spring of 1977, spring of 1982 and spring of 2003.
· Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Richmond International Raceway was the (09/12/1998) race won by Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.051 second.
- Crew members injured at Richmond UPDATES: NASCAR says three pit road crew members were taken to a hospital after a fire broke out on pit road Friday night during the Xfinity Series race at Richmond International Raceway. Two of the crew members were working in Brendan Gaughan’s pit, where the fire erupted, and one was in Eric McClure’s pit. There was no additional information about the extent of their injuries, or what sparked the fire. Television replays showed a huge ball of flame that appeared to engulf at least one crew member in Gaughan’s pit. NASCAR identified the three injured as Gaughan’s rear tire changer, Anthony O’Brien, and fueler, Josh Wittman, and Clifford Turner, a crew member from McClure’s team. McClure’s team said later that Turner had been treated and released. There was no word on the condition of O’Brien or Wittman.(Associated Press)(4-24-2015)
UPDATE: McClure’s crew member was treated and released Friday night. As of Saturday evening, both RCR crew members remained in the hospital.(4-25-2015)
UPDATE 2: "Following last night’s pit road incident at Richmond International Raceway, Richard Childress Racing pit crew member (gas man) Josh Wittman of the #62 XFINITY Series team has been released from a Richmond, VA-based hospital after overnight observation. Thanks to quick action that was taken by the Richmond International Raceway fire crew and NASCAR medical staff. Rear tire changer Anthony O’Brien remains under the care of physicians at the local hospital for further evaluation and is in good condition. The Sparco safety equipment, including the crew members’ firesuits, did its job in protecting them. We thank the NASCAR community for their continued support."(Richard Childress Racing)(4-25-2015)
- Hamlin gets Toyota’s 100th XFINITY win: Camry driver Denny Hamlin visited victory lane in the Toyota Care 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Friday night to give Toyota its 100th victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The Richmond race is the 281st event since Toyota entered NXS competition in 2007 and this year marks the manufacturer’s ninth season in the series. The victory also marks the seventh win for the Camry in NXS competition at Richmond. The first Toyota NXS victory came with Jason Leffler behind the wheel of a Camry at Indiana’s Lucas Oil Raceway in July 2007 in the manufacturer’s inaugural year in the series. In nine seasons, 12 Camry drivers have contributed to the 100 wins with Kyle Busch visiting victory lane the most after collecting 59 first-place trophies. Other drivers to register NXS wins in a Camry include Joey Logano (18), Denny Hamlin (7), Tony Stewart (5), Matt Kenseth (3), Marcos Ambrose (2), Kurt Busch (1), Sam Hornish Jr. (1), Erik Jones (1), Leffler (1), David Reutimann (1) and Elliott Sadler (1). The most successful season by Camry drivers occurred in 2008 with 20 wins, contributing to the first of three NXS manufacturer’s titles by Toyota (also earned in 2009 and 2010). Camry drivers have earned at least 10 wins each year since 2008 after winning two races during the inaugural 2007 season. So far in 2015, Toyota drivers have two wins with Hamlin’s Richmond triumph and Jones earned his first-career NXS victory in Texas (April 10).(Toyota Racing)(4-25-2015)
- Bristol TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Bristol drew a 0.8 final rating and 1.1 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 last Saturday, down 27% in ratings and 30% in viewership from last year (1.1, 1.7M) and down 27% and 33%, respectively, from 2013 (1.1, 1.7M). The race aired on ESPN2 the past two years. Viewership was the lowest of the season for the Xfinity Series, falling below the previous mark set at Texas a week earlier (1.2M).(Sports Media Watch via Awful Announcing)(4-25-2015)
- Richmond adds more security near catchfence: Richmond International Raceway officials have added metal barriers and more security personnel in an attempt to avoid a repeat of last fall’s fence climber. A spectator disrupted last September’s Sprint Cup race at the 0.75-mile track by climbing atop the catchfence separating the main grandstand from the track. Track president Dennis Bickmeier told USA TODAY Sports that "bike racks," movable metal barriers, have been placed along the track concourse in front of the fence from end to end to keep fans away from the area. Additionally, Bickmeier said more security officers – he didn’t provide a number – will work the fence area during on-track activity to guard against fans approaching the fence. Bickmeier also said new "No Trespassing" signs have been posted in the area.(USA Today)(4-25-2015)
- Salute to the Troops Coca-Cola 600 Pre-Race Show returns to Charlotte: For decades, Charlotte Motor Speedway has paid tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces each Memorial Day Weekend with a captivating pre-race show before the drop of the green flag for the Coca-Cola 600. On May 24, the 56th running of the ultimate test of man and machine will host one of the biggest military appreciation pre-race spectaculars in the track’s history. The action-packed show will include ground exercises with troops from Fort Bragg featuring Humvees, Howitzers, a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System and more. Rope teams from Fort Campbell will descend from Black Hawk helicopters. Other elements include a 21-gun salute from the Fort Bragg Firing Squad, a vintage war bird air parade and sky-diving members of Team Fastrax descending to the infield with Old Glory flying behind. Fans will be able to salute the troops when 600 soldiers from Fort Bragg walk through the grandstands to the infield and during a pace lap with buses carrying hundreds of troops from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Patriot Partners program. Medal of Honor recipients Bob Patterson (Vietnam), James Taylor (Vietnam) and Walter Joseph Marm (Vietnam) will also be recognized on the pre-race stage. Several musical performances will highlight the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race show including a 45-minute concert with Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famers ZZ Top, "God Bless the USA" performed by Lee Greenwood, a rendition of "Amazing Grace" by the Charlotte Fire Department Pipe Band and "Taps" played by a Fort Bragg bugler. There will also be an Armed Forces Medley featuring the 100-member Central Church of God Chorus Group. Closing out the pre-race festivities is the 82nd Airborne Chorus singing the "The Star Spangled Banner." During that time, soldiers from Fort Bragg will hold a football field-sized American Flag and four F-18s will fly over the legendary 1.5-mile superspeedway.(CMS)(4-25-2015)
- Kentucky Speedway announces Ford F-150 as official pace vehicle: Kentucky Speedway announces the 2015 Ford F-150 truck will lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series field to green Saturday, July 11 at 7:30pm, for the fifth running of the Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The truck will also pace the July 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series and July 9 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series fields becoming the "Official Pace Vehicle of Kentucky Speedway" of the 2015 season. Ford has been providing cars and trucks to the Speedway since 1998. During speedway events, Super Duty trucks tow free fan trams and are utilized by the speedway’s operations department as well as the Fire and Safety team.(Kentucky Speedway)(4-25-2015)