- Kyle Busch wins Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown: Kyle Busch has won Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown for the third time in six years. Busch, a teammate of Hamlin’s with Joe Gibbs Racing, grabbed the lead before the 5-minute pit stops that came after 46 laps, then pulled away when the race went back to green, easily holding off David Ragan on Thursday night. With Hamlin sidelined by a compression fracture of a vertebra in his lower back and forced to watch the event at his home track, Busch once again made the 75-lap race his to lose in a car that was built by his team, Kyle Busch Motorsports. Ragan was second, and Ben Rhodes finished third. The race benefits the Denny Hamlin Foundation, which is committed to helping children with cystic fibrosis.(Associated Press), other notable finishes: Kyle Larson 10th, Max Papis 21st, Matt Kenseth 22nd, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr, 25th, Trevor Bayne 26th, Tony Stewart 28th, Michael Waltrip 33rd.(4-25-2013)
- Nationwide Insurance sponsoring Stenhouse, Jr. in Cup: Nationwide Insurance announced a two-year partnership with Roush Fenway Racing’s #17 Ford Fusion powered by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Sprint Cup Series. Nationwide Insurance will be the primary sponsor for three races in 2013, four races in 2014 and will serve as associate sponsor for all other #17 team Sprint Cup races. "We’ve had a 15-year presence in NASCAR and this is the first time we’ve sponsored a car in any NASCAR series," said Matt Jauchius, chief marketing officer for Nationwide Insurance. "We built a solid relationship with Roush Fenway and two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and Nationwide Insurance member, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and we’re eager to carry that momentum forward and enhance our existing integrated NASCAR marketing platform." The #17 Nationwide Insurance Ford Fusion will contend in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on Aug. 24 at Bristol, Sept. 7 at Richmond and Oct. 20 at Talladega. The race dates in 2014 are yet to be determined.(Nationwide PR)(4-25-2013)
- Kenseth calls penalties unfair: #20-Matt Kenseth talked to the media Thursday morning at Richmond:
What was your reaction to the penalties NASCAR announced yesterday? Do you think they were severe?
"I think the penalties are grossly unfair. I think it’s borderline shameful. There’s no argument the part was wrong. They weighed it and it was wrong. However, there is an argument that there certainly was no performance advantage. If you can find any unbiased, reputable, knowledgeable engine-builder and if they saw the facts, what all the rods weighed. The average weight of all the rods was well above the minimum – 2.5 (grams) above the minimum at least. There was one in there that was way heavy. There was no performance advantage, there was no intent, it was a mistake. JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) had no control over it. Certainly to crush Joe Gibbs like that – to say they can’t win an owner’s championship with the 20 this year is just, I can’t wrap my arms around that, it just blows me away. And the same with Jason Ratcliff (crew chief). I don’t feel bad for myself at all, but for Jason and Joe, I just couldn’t feel any worse. There’s no more reputable, honest hard-working guys with good reputations more so than those two – I feel really bad for them."
Do you expect a positive response from the appeals process?
"I don’t know. I’ve never been through it so I honestly don’t know. That’s the hope, that’s why it’s setup. You’ve seen some examples of both. I don’t know. That’s what the hope is, that’s why it’s setup. We’ll just go through that and see what happens and see whatever the final verdict is – we’ll have to live with that and move on."(Toyota Racing PR)(4-25-2013)
- Dominion Raceway to sponsor Kvapil at Richmond: The proposed Dominion Raceway facility in Thornburg, VA, Spotsylvania County announced its sponsorship of #93 owned by BK Racing and driven by Travis Kvapil. Dominion Raceway is a newly planned Motorsports facility to be located on Interstate I-95 at Exit 118 in Thornburg, VA. The facility includes a 1/8-mile drag strip, 4/10-mile oval and 2 mile road course. It’s believed that the facility may be the only kind in the world that incorporates three different racing formats served by a single multipurpose building. "Dominion Raceway is the culmination of everything we have learned at Old Dominion Speedway," says managing member, Steve Britt. He continues, "It’s an extremely forward thinking project, expands the fan experience greatly with modern facilities, interactive video and numerous venues, not all of which are motorsports, all designed for family fun and enjoyment. It’s fabulous that Ron Devine and BK Racing were willing to work with us so closely on a Dominion Raceway Car for the Richmond Toyota Owners 400 race."(Dominion Raceway), see an image of the car on the #93 team paint schemes page.(4-25-2013)
- Ragan’s team still searching for sponsors: From an interview with Frontstretch.com:
#34-David Ragan: "We’ve got a couple of sponsors for the season. We’ve got a lot of races sold, but we have a lot of races unsold. CSX Railroad, one of our primary sponsors throughout the year and associate all year long, Peanut Patch Peanuts, obviously Taco Bell and Long John Silver’s, but our owner, Bob Jenkins, he really puts a lot of extra personal money into our team to try and keep it going forward and growing. Certainly without his subsidy, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. We do have a lot of good partners, but we need a couple more to fill up the whole season."(Frontstretch)(4-25-2013)
- Yeley to run special NASCAR Day scheme: Tommy Baldwin Racing’s JJ Yeley joins The NASCAR Foundation as the industry celebrates the 10th Annual NASCAR Day on Friday, May 17. Yeley is running a special ‘NASCAR Day’ paint scheme on his #36 Chevy SS in Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway. For the first time, The Foundation will launch a "Ten Days of Giving" tour, beginning May 8, which will include philanthropic activities in Atlanta, Ga., Charlotte, N.C., Winston-Salem, N.C.; Brooklyn, Mich.; Darlington, S.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; New York, N.Y.; and Daytona Beach, Fla.(140Buzz/TBR)(4-25-2013)
- Outback making first appearance on the #39: For Ryan Newman, Richmond couldn’t come soon enough. Needing a breakout performance to quiet skeptics who have written off the SHR teams as contenders in 2013, there’s no better place to prove them wrong. With Outback Steakhouse making the first of three 2013 appearances as primary sponsor of Newman’s #39 Chevy this weekend at Richmond, memories of last year’s spring race at Martinsville Speedway evoke memories of that fateful day. Newman scored his only win of the 2012 season at the other Virginia venue, and did so with the Tampa, Fla.-based steakhouse across the hood of his racecar. Outback Steakhouse has been celebrating Newman’s top-10 finishes since last season with a free Bloomin’ Onion for its customers on Mondays. Come Saturday night, Newman would like nothing more than to relive last year’s April success at Martinsville – by scoring his first "Bloomin’" win of the 2013 season at Richmond.(SHR), see an image of the car on the #39 team paint schemes page.(Stewart Haas)(4-25-2013)
- Toyota Care on Bowyer’s car: #15 Toyota Camry driver Clint Bowyer knows he has momentum on his side as he returns to Richmond International Raceway for this weekend’s Toyota Owners 400. Bowyer won last fall at Richmond in the final race before the start of the 2012 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Bowyer also has a new paint scheme for his trip to the .75-mile D-shape oval which will carry extra meaning for him this weekend. Bowyer hosted the grand opening of the Clint Bowyer Autoplex Toyota dealership in his hometown of Emporia, Kan. last Thursday. This weekend, Bowyer is sponsored by Toyota Care. Toyota Care is a service program that comes free with the purchase or lease of every new Toyota vehicle. It provides roadside assistance, as well as routine service to give new Toyota owners peace of mind.(Michael Waltrip Racing)(4-25-2013)
- Kahne sponsored by Quaker State at Richmond: Quaker State will adorn the hood of Kahne’s #5 Chevy SS this weekend at Richmond International Raceway and will be the primary sponsor on the car for two more Sprint Cup Series events this year: Kentucky Speedway on June 29 and Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 12. The Quaker State and Hendrick Motorsports relationship began in 1996, and during this partnership, Quaker State has helped deliver a total of nine Sprint Cup championships and 162 race victories.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(4-25-2013)
- Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post these] and what chassis were selected by the team to run at Richmond on the Richmond Race Info page – Chassis selection area.
- Keselowski fastest in Thursday practice: #22-Brad Keselowski was fastest during Thursday’s open practice / test at Richmond International Raceway with a speed of 123.672mph. #99-Alex Bowman was second, followed by: #54-Kyle Busch, #7-Regan Smith, #12-Sam Hornish, Jr., #33-Kevin Harvick, #29-Kenny Wallace, #2-Brian Scott, #3-Austin Dillon, and #31-Justin Allgaier. 43 drivers practiced during the session. See complete results on the Richmond practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(4-25-2013)
- Talladega, Daytona to reinforce crossover gates: Two NASCAR tracks will reinforce their crossover gates with extra cables following the February Nationwide Series crash at Daytona International Speedway that injured at least 28 fans. Talladega Superspeedway, which hosts a pair of NASCAR races next weekend, has implemented the changes to all of their gates after an engineering firm hired by Daytona made the recommendations after reviewing data from the Feb. 23 crash. Kyle Larson’s car made contact with a gate opening on the last lap, sending an engine, tire and debris flying into the stands and injuring several fans. Daytona track president Joie Chitwood III said the additional cables will be added for redundancy in the system. The track will also put tethers between the gate frame and the posts. That work will be completed in time for the July 5-6 races there. Chitwood said the removal of the gates was not considered, nor was it an option to move seats back further from the fence area. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s senior vice president of operations, said Larson’s car is still being evaluated and there will be no immediate changes made in regard to safety. In addition, O’Donnell said no changes are expected with the restrictor plate at Talladega next week – including a smaller plate that would slow the cars down.(USA Today)(4-25-2013)
- Patrick to tour Talladega Boulevard, judge campsites: The world famous Talladega Boulevard, a strip of land in Talladega’s infield known as NASCAR’s "Party Capital" for providing fans with the most fun in all of motorsports, just got even better! When the Aaron’s Dream Weekend rolls into Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR driver Danica Patrick will walk the Boulevard, mingle with fans, and award a one-of-a-kind "Coke Zero Tailgate Champion" trophy to the best decorated campsite. Plans are for Danica to award the "Coke Zero Tailgate Champion" trophy Saturday afternoon, at some point following the conclusion of the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. The most notorious strip of real estate in NASCAR, Talladega Boulevard, is an innovative corridor like no other and has been a mainstay in NASCAR circles since the track was built in 1969. The Mardi Gras-type atmosphere of The Boulevard, complete with strings of beads and shenanigans, is a NASCAR tradition that separates Talladega from other venues. It truly is a sight to behold how tents, RVs, trucks and trailers, with an abundance of ingenuity and creativity, can liven up a large crowd of people.(TSS)(4-25-2013)