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March 2016 News Archives

 

News from March 31, 2016


  • It’s Richard Petty Day in North Carolina: Beginning last year, Governor Pat McCrory proclaimed March 31 “Richard Petty Day” in North Carolina. Petty was born July 2, 1937, in the Level Cross community of Randolph County. After watching his father on the race track, he joined NASCAR and in 1959 was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Upon retirement, he had earned a record 200 career victories and 7 NASCAR Cup championships. Governor McCrory visited Victory Junction in July of 2013 in Randleman. The camp is in memory of Adam Petty who died in a crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway while practicing for a race in May 2000.(3-31-2016)
  • Buescher unsure of 2017 plans; Erik Jones has a plan: Rookie Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones said Joe Gibbs Racing knows what they plan to do with him in 2017. “There’s a plan in place that will be in motion here later in the year,” Jones said Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway’s Media Day at Gilley’s. “There’s a plan in place and really, my performance this year isn’t going to be indicative of where that’s going to end up.” Jones didn’t give specifics on the team’s plan. The 20-year old driver is five races into the Xfinity season with the #20 team for JGR after winning last year’s Camping World Truck Series title for Kyle Busch Motorsports. All four Sprint Cup rides at JGR are filled, but the team formed a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing before this season. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser has expressed interest in fielding a second car. “It’s the first time in my career where I’ve been in a position like this, where I am set in my future at this point at least, and that’s a great feeling as a young driver, not to really have to really fight every week,” Jones said.
    It’s a slightly different story for defending Xfinity Series champion Chris Buescher. The Texas native is in his first full-time Sprint Cup season, driving the #34 Ford in a partnership between Roush Fenway Racing and Front Row Motorsports. The 23-year-old driver doesn’t know yet where he’ll be competing in 2017 but said the possibility remains that he could be right where he is a year from now. “We don’t have anything figured out yet beyond this year,” Buescher said. “I’m still under contract with Roush as a development driver. I do not know what next year holds. It could be the same, could be different. We haven’t gotten that far, we’ve barely gotten far enough as to discuss how this year is all going to work out.” Buescher would be surprised if he learned his fate any time soon.(NBC Sports)(3-31-2016)
  • Goody’s on the #44 of Brian Scott at Martinsville: Brian Scott and the #44 Ford team are looking to build on the momentum built from Scott’s season-best finish at Auto Club when they head to Martinsville this weekend, where Scott will race in his first Cup Series race at the half-mile track. Scott earned a 12th-place finish in California before the off-weekend, which tied for his career-best finish in the Cup Series and was his best finish since the fall Kansas race last season. For the first of two races, Goody’s and Goody’s Mixed Fruit Blast Powder will be featured on the hood of the #44 Ford Fusion this weekend in Martinsville. Goody’s Headache Powder temporarily relieves minor aches and pains due to headaches, arthritis, colds and fever. Scott will boast the Goody’s Mixed Fruit Blast flavor this weekend, which works fast like Goody’s but gives it a whole new taste.(Richard Petty Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #44 team paint schemes page.(3-31-2016)
  • STP returns to the #43 at Martinsville: After an off-weekend spent with family and friends, Aric Almirola is ready to get his Ford Fusion back on the race track. Martinsville Speedway is a track that the #43 car has historically run well. “The King” Richard Petty won 15 races at the half-mile oval, and the last five of those races saw the iconic STP paint scheme in Victory Lane. Almirola is ready to bring those colors back to Martinsville Speedway when he races the #43 STP Ford this weekend in the STP 500. A sponsor of Petty and his race team since the 1970s, this will be the first of two races in 2016 in which STP will adorn the hood of the #43 Ford. Almirola is 13th in Championship Point Standings going into the weekend.(Richard Petty Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #43 team paint schemes page.(3-31-2016)
  • 100th Cup start for Bayne: #6-Trevor Bayne will make his 100th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start on Sunday afternoon. In 99 previous starts, Bayne has recorded one victory, the 2011 running of the Daytona 500. Upon taking the green flag Sunday, Bayne will become the 197th driver to start 100 NSCS races.(Roush Fenway Racing)(3-31-2016)
  • Martinsville Track Notes & History:
    � Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.
    � The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.
    � The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.
    � The track was paved in 1955.
    � The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.
    � Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.
    (NASCAR)
  • Sad News – Ryan Shea: Ryan Shea, car chief for Chip Ganassi Racing’s Xfinity Series team, died overnight, NBC Sports has confirmed. He was 34 years old, according to his Facebook page. According to his LinkedIn page, Shea joined Chip Ganassi Racing in Jan. 2015. He was a car chief/mechanic at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2007-15. Shea began working in NASCAR in Feb. 2001 when he was hired by BAM Racing. He later worked for FitzBradshaw Racing, Carver Racing, ppc Racing and Braun Racing. Kyle Larson and Justin Marks have split time driving the #42 car this season.(NBC Sports)(3-31-2016)
    UPDATE: Chip Ganassi Racing is sad to report that Ryan Shea, car chief on the #42 NASCAR XFINITY Series team, passed away last night at his home in Troutman, N.C. “It is a sad day for our team as we mourn the untimely loss of Ryan,” said Chip Ganassi, team owner. “Ryan was a dedicated worker and a great friend to those on our team, as well as others in the garage. Our hearts go out to Ryan’s family and friends during this difficult time.” “Ryan was a tremendous asset to Chip Ganassi Racing and the No. 42 team and will be sorely missed,” said crew chief Mike Shiplett. “My thoughts go out to his wife, children, family and friends in this time of mourning.” Chip Ganassi Racing will communicate further details regarding funeral arrangements and memorials as they become available.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-31-2016)
  • Napier to make Trucks debut at Martinsville: Bryce Napier will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 this Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. 16 Year old Napier will sport the colors of the #1 Lilly Trucking, ASAP Appliance Service Chevrolet for MAKE Motorsports. Bryce is a High School Junior from Scotts Valley, CA. He has raced since the age of 5, starting in quarter midgets then moving up the ranks. In the Mini Cup Racing Series Napier won an Impressive 4 Championships. At the age of 14, Bryce moved into the Late Model Racing circuit, where He was named the Stockton 99 Speedway Rookie of the Year. Most recently Bryce competed in the Super Late Model Series at Loan Mart Madera Speedway. He has also competed in the Pacific Challenge Series (PCS) Super Late model program throughout California and the West Coast. Bryce Napier had the honor of being a member of the 2015 Inaugural Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP). Bryce spent the entire year speaking to the fans about Alan Kulwicki and doing promotional events. He went above and beyond with this task, even racing part of his season in 2 different commemorative Kulwicki race vehicles including the #7 Hooters car and Alan’s 1991 Daytona 500 Army car. Associate Support for Bryce Napier will continue to be SupportMilitary.org and the BeHero2Hero Program.(MAKE Motorsports)(3-31-2016)
  • Paige Decker in the #74 at Martinsville: Paige Decker Racing announced that Paige Decker will be piloting the #74 Mike Harmon Racing Dodge in the Camping World Truck Series race April 2, in the ALPHA ENERGY SOLUTIONS 250, at Martinsville Speedway. This will be Paige’s 3rd time at Martinsville, where she came in 30th at the fall race. Paige Decker was the first female to win a feature TUNDRA series race and first female Rookie of the Year of the TUNDRA series. Paige has also been a part of REV Racing, the home of NASCAR Drive for Diversity. Paige knows what she is up against “I understand it will be an uphill battle. We have limited resources but I have been in this truck twice now and Mike has worked hard this winter to give me the best piece he could. I feel very good about our chances of making the race and racing this truck up the field. Decker’s primary sponsor will be longtime supporter Fennetti Community center with associates from Amsoil, Best Western, and 20 local business from her home town in Eagle River WI.(Paige Decker Racing)(3-31-2016)
  • No Limits Checkered Past craft beer to be available at Texas: Texas Motor Speedway will become the state’s first professional sports industry entity and arguably the country’s first sporting venue to own its own beer with the unveiling of the No Limits Checkered Past craft beer. The rapidly growing Audacity Brew House in nearby Denton created the No Limits Checkered Past session craft beer that will be sold at all major events at the world-renowned motorsports facility in Fort Worth as well as through retailers in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. No Limits Checkered Past officially will debut during the April 7-9 Duck Commander 500 weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The appropriately named No Limits Checkered Past craft beer, centered around the speedway’s “No Limits, Texas” marketing campaign, is a versatile, light-bodied Texas steam beer that provides low bitterness and a character that revolves into a toasty, rustic finish that remains perfect for year-round consumption. The beer is carefully crafted with pale barley and lager yeast to provide a light, malt character that is aged for three weeks and cold filtered before being transferred into the signature No Limits Checkered Past can. The 12-ounce can features a diamond-plated look with the iconic No Limits, Texas skull logo adorned at the top with the No Limits Checkered Past logo across a race tire and pistons. Beginning with the upcoming Duck Commander 500, No Limits Checkered Past will be sold throughout Texas Motor Speedway. Following the race weekend, No Limits Checkered Past will be available at various local retailers. No Limits Checkered Past will become the 12th beer on Audacity Brew House’s lineup of popular craft beers. Audacity Brew House, which began operation nearly a year and a half ago, has exploded onto the popular craft beer scene after becoming Denton’s first brewery when it opened in 2014.(TMS)(3-31-2016)
  • Melissa Joan Hart to drive pace car at Martinsville: Melissa Joan Hart, star of God’s Not Dead 2 will lead the field to green as the Honorary Pace Car Driver in Sunday’s STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Having made her first national commercial at age four, Hart is now a veteran of television, film and theater. She is best known for her starring roles in Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Clarissa Explains It All, and Melissa & Joey. On the big screen, Hart starred in the romantic comedy Drive Me Crazy, for which she won a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award and she made a memorable appearance in the graduation night comedy Can’t Hardly Wait. It was recently announced that Melissa and Paula Hart’s Hartbreak Films will be collaborating with 44 Blue Productions to develop the docuseries, Sweet Harts. The docuseries will follow the Hart family and its journey as they open their dream dessert shop.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-31-2016)
  • #43 Smithfield Ford placed in Monster Monument at Dover Victory Plaza: Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty and Aric Almirola, the driver of the #43 Smithfield Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, were among the guests at Dover International Speedway today as the new stock car for the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza presented by Smithfield was unveiled. Smithfield Foods has entered into a three-year deal with Dover International Speedway as presenting sponsor of the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, the 46-foot iconic statue that features a stock car in the structure’s right hand. Officials from Smithfield, Autism Delaware and the Monster Mile unveiled a new “Petty Blue” #43 Smithfield Ford for assembled media and fans on Wednesday. The event also coincided with the start of “Autism Awareness Month” in April and precedes the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15.(Dover Speedway)(3-31-2016)


    News from March 30, 2016


  • Goodyear tire test at Richmond UPDATE: Two-time Richmond race winner #11-Denny Hamlin is one of four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers scheduled to take part in a one-day Goodyear tire test Tuesday, March 29 at Richmond International Raceway. Also expected to participate in the test are Joey Logano (Team Penske #22 Ford), Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing #16 Ford) and Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing #10 Chevrolet). Tuesday’s Richmond test is one of two single-day tests by the tire supplier for 2016. A one-day test is also scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at Michigan International Speedway. The Richmond test is scheduled to run from 10:00am-5:00pm/et. According to track officials, the grandstands will be open and fans attending the test should enter through Gate 70.(NASCAR.com)(3-29-2016)
    UPDATE: In the never-ending quest to improve the racing in the Sprint Cup Series, former Chesterfield resident Denny Hamlin and three other drivers spent Tuesday at Richmond International Raceway testing new tire compounds for this year’s Toyota Owners 400, which is a month away. All NASCAR teams use the same tires, provided by Goodyear. It’s occasionally a contentious issue, as past races have been marred by tires that disintegrated or exploded after a few laps of use. There were no such complaints on Tuesday, though, as the assembled drivers came away pleased with what was offered. Hamlin, a Manchester High graduate, said the tires handled much better than the ones offered in 2015.”Last year it didn’t seem like the track rubbered up a whole lot,” he said. “I definitely feel like we have improvement – we got a little bit faster on the frontside and a little bit slower on the backside. So we’re very encouraged by that.”
    “It was a lot of fun,” Joey Logano said. “They really rubbered up the racetrack. As a driver we all want to see that, and that also puts on a great race for the fans. We want to have cars that can move around and be able to pass people by going to a different lane.” It was also the drivers’ first glimpse at a changed facility. Thousands of seats have been removed along the backstretch at RIR, leaving an empty opening where there were once grandstands. The testing was conducted over the lunch hour, which is standard procedure for the teams, but reflected race conditions for the first time in several years. This year’s spring race will be held in the early afternoon, instead of its traditional nighttime start.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(3-30-2016)
  • Hallam joins Toyota Racing Development: Steve Hallam, a veteran of motorsports including Formula One, NASCAR and Australia V8 Supercars, has taken a new position with Toyota Racing Development. The Englishman, who spent more than a decade with McLaren Formula One and most recently served as managing director of the TEKNO Autosports V8 Supercars team, will assume his new role as senior manager of vehicle support and team engineering for TRD next week. In an interview Tuesday with Motorsport.com, David Wilson, president and general manager of TRD, confirmed Hallam’s hire and said Hallam would be based in TRD’s Costa Mesa, Calif., headquarters and report directly to Andy Graves, TRD’s group vice president and technical director. TRD had previous experience with Hallam during his tenure as director of race engineering for Michael Waltrip Racing between 2009 and 2011. Wilson said Hallam will work with TRD’s team of engineers, supporting their work across multiple series in which Toyota is involved.(Motorsport)(3-30-2016)
  • Louisiana Hot Sauce to sponsor Allmendinger: JTG Daugherty Racing officials welcome The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce to the team through an expanded relationship with Southeastern Mills in efforts to promote the brand along with Better than Bouillon, Shore Lunch Premium Soup Mixes and Southeastern Mills Gravy Mixes at select events this season. “Southeastern Mills’ business philosophy is in line with ours and we are fortunate to continue to represent a sophisticated food company like theirs and we are pleased to announce the addition of their Original Louisiana Hot Sauce,” JTG Daugherty Racing team owner Tad Geschickter said. Allmendinger, who has one victory, four pole awards, seven top-five and 39 top-10 career finishes, also welcomes The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce brand to the family. It may be the newest addition to be sported on the #47 Chevrolet SS, but The Original Louisiana Hot Sauce has an eighty year reputation for quality and perfection.(JTG Daugherty Racing), see an image of the car on the #47 team paint schemes page.(3-30-2016)
  • 3M on the #24 at Martinsville: 3M will be the primary partner on board Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott’s #24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Martinsville Speedway for the first time this season. 3M, which began its partnership with Hendrick Motorsports in 2015, will be the primary partner on the car for four additional races this year. (Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #24 team paint schemes page.(3-30-2016)
  • Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Martinsville this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires these teams have run at this track since October 2014 . . . this left-side tire code has been run at this track since April 2013 . . . Martinsville is the only track where NASCAR teams are scheduled to run either of these two tire codes . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville.(Goodyear), see more nots, tire codes, set limits and more on the Martinsville Race Info page.(3-30-2016)
  • Derek White Targeted in Tobacco-Smuggling Operation: NASCAR driver Derek White was among almost 60 people targeted by Quebec and Ontario police in the biggest tobacco-smuggling bust in North American history, according to law enforcement officials. Authorities said some of the suspects arrested early Wednesday have links to biker gangs and organized crime, buying tobacco in the U.S. and illegally importing it into Canada through three border crossings. The tobacco was ultimately sold on the Kahnawake and Six Nations reserves, according to police. Ingrid Asselin, a spokeswoman for Surete du Quebec, the provincial police force, declined to confirm that the Derek White they arrested is the NASCAR driver. Law enforcement officials, who requested anonymity because of restrictions about commenting beyond the scope of the warrants, said it was the same man. White is listed as one of the top ranking members of the smuggling operation, according to a chart provided by police. Dwayne Zacharie, Kahnawake’s chief peacekeeper, said investigators from Quebec contacted his police force early Wednesday and said they had arrest warrants for three members of the tribe, including NASCAR driver Derek White. Zacharie said his office informed the three suspects of the warrants and told them to contact Quebec police. Lieutenant Jason Allard, spokesman for the Quebec provincial police, said the tobacco operation was tightly organized. It bought shipments of tobacco leaf in North Carolina, trucking them north and reselling them in Canada. Profits from tobacco were used to purchase cocaine, and some of the money was laundered abroad, in Europe, he said. The tobacco shipments were not declared at the border and disclosed to government officials, thereby avoiding taxes and allowing the cigarettes to be manufactured and sold for less money.(Bloomberg)(3-30-2016)
  • Erik Jones says next year already planned out: Rookie Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones said Joe Gibbs Racing knows what they plan to do with him in 2017. “There’s a plan in place that will be in motion here later in the year,” Jones said Wednesday at Texas Motor Speedway’s Media Day at Gilley’s. “There’s a plan in place and really, my performance this year isn’t going to be indicative of where that’s going to end up.” Jones didn’t give specifics on the team’s plan. All four Sprint Cup rides at JGR are filled, but the team formed a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing before this season. Furniture Row Racing owner Barney Visser has expressed interest in fielding a second car. “It’s the first time in my career where I’ve been in a position like this, where I am set in my future at this point at least, and that’s a great feeling as a young driver, not to really have to really fight every week,” Jones said. “I still fight every week, like I have always, but it’s nice not to have that added pressure of not knowing what the future holds or what’s going to happen. It’s definitely a little bit more relaxed knowing that I can just go out and do my best and hey, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out.”(NBC Sports)(3-30-2016)
  • Texas Rangers on the #33 at Texas: The Texas Rangers will sponsor Brandon Jones’ #33 Chevrolet for the Xfinity Series race April 8 at Texas Motor Speedway. Jones’ car will be wrapped in Rangers blue and red with baseballs on the doors and the team’s logo on the hood, the club announced Wednesday. Jones’ driver suit will be modeled after the team’s blue jersey top with gray pants. Jones, 19, is in his first full season as a driver for Richard Childress Racing. He is scheduled to throw the ceremonial first pitch before the Rangers’ game Wednesday with the Seattle Mariners.(Ft. Worth Star-Telegram), see an image of the car on the #33 team paint schemes page.(3-30-2016)
  • Melon 1 teams up with Delaware Office of Highway Safety, JD Motorsports: Melon 1, Inc., has teamed up with the Delaware Office of Highway Safety to continue encouraging safe driving this summer with a new “Protect your Melon” campaign. Delaware grocery stores will be carrying watermelons with “Protect your Melon,” and #BuckleUp stickers on them from May to June. From July until September, they will be partnering together on a DUI awareness campaign as well. In addition to the label promotion, Melon 1 and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety are excited to also carry the theme of “Protect Your Melon” to the NASCAR Xfinity Series in partnership with JD Motorsports. Look for their logos on the #4 JD Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Ross Chastain, for the Dover Race on Saturday May 14th. The partnership will also continue for the Xfinity Series Drive Sober 200 race on Saturday October 1st. Melon 1, Inc. is one of the nation’s largest and oldest watermelon grower and shippers. The Melon 1 team has been growing, packing and shipping watermelons collectively for over 30 years.(Melon 1 PR)(3-30-2016)
  • Grala to make Truck debut at Martinsville: Seventeen-year-old Kaz Grala will attempt to make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in the #33 Chevrolet for GMS Racing. Grala takes the reigns of the #33 from Grant Enfinger, who was originally scheduled to race the whole season, but will now run select events. Grala currently competes in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East for Ben Kennedy Racing. In three NKNPSE starts this season, he has produced a top-five finish and two top-10 showings. The Westborough, Massachusetts native finished seventh in the NKNPSE standings in 2014 and 2015. In January, Grala became the youngest driver to ever participate in the Rolex 24.(NASCAR)(3-30-2016)
  • New Truck team to debut at Martinsville: Faith Motorsports has prepared to make their NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway this coming weekend. The team will run the #62 Toyota with owner/driver Donnie Levister behind the wheel. Kansas City based real estate management company, Property Pro’s will be the first primary sponsor on the #62. Property Pro’s is owned and operated by Faith Motorsports team owner Shane Lamb. Another partner of Faith Motorsports will also be making their NASCAR in 2016. Shawn Magee Design (SMD) is the official graphics partner of Faith Motorsports and will serve as a primary sponsor in the upcoming racing season. The crew chief will be Matt Carter and engines are scheduled top be supplied by TRD. Faith Motorsports plans on attempting to run the remaining Camping World Truck Series races in 2016.(Faith Motorsports)(3-30-2016)
  • Bliss in the #71 at Martinsville: Contreras Motorsports heads to Martinsville Speedway for the third race of the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Mike Bliss will be behind the wheel of the #71 RaceTrac Silverado. Bliss, a past champion of the series in 2002, has 13 wins in the NCWTS and more than 700 starts across NASCAR’s national series. The former Joe Gibbs Racing driver will serve as a fundamental piece of Contreras Motorsport’s development in its debut season. Co-owner of the team and driver of the first two races of the season, Carlos Contreras, will now be serving as chief of racing operations for the team. Carlos’ experience will ease the team’s growth as the season unfolds. The #71 Chevy Silverado will have RaceTrac’s traditional colors for the second time this season, red white and blue.(Contreras Motorsports)(3-30-2016)
  • Martinsville Speedway using Kenseth-Logano feud in advertising: The controversial accident between #20-Matt Kenseth and #24-Joey Logano at Martinsville Speedway last fall happened and track president Clay Campbell will not shy away from it. In a TV commercial advertising the upcoming STP 500, footage is used of Kenseth intentionally wrecking Logano. The act resulted in Kenseth being suspended for two weeks while Logano failed to advance from the second to last round in the Chase. It’s why some are upset the track would use the wreck as a promotional tool. But according to Campbell, including it wasn’t a difficult decision.
    “Yeah, it stirred up controversy but what do people want me to show, the pace lap? That would be like (the media), you write about the deal after it happened but you can’t do it anymore,” Campbell said on Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame promoting this weekend’s race. “Is that going to sell newspapers? Is that going to sell what you do? I get paid to sell tickets. I don’t think that crossed over the line.” Campbell referenced other incidents that have also been highlighted throughout the years, such as the fight after the 1979 Daytona 500. While lore has it NASCAR didn’t feel it was good for the sport at the time since it was the first race broadcast flag-to-flag on cable TV, it has been shown over and over since then. “No, I wouldn’t think twice about it. Unfortunately, somebody did get penalized on it, that was the bad part about it, but we didn’t make a highlight out of that incident. It was just a small blurb of it. Was it a difficult decision, no,” Campbell reiterated. “I wouldn’t be doing my job, and I don’t think anyone sitting in this room would have done anything any different if what I’m paid to do is sell tickets. The golden rule is that if there’s an injury or anything like that, certainly you don’t cross over that line.”(Popular Speed)(3-30-2016)
  • Big & Rich in concert at Talladega: Guess who is Comin’ to Your Infield City at Talladega Superspeedway. The party will be rockin’ and rollin’ this spring at NASCAR’s biggest and baddest track as the iconic country duo Big & Rich, featuring Cowboy Troy, will perform Talladega Superspeedway’s traditional Saturday Night Concert on April 30 as part of the track’s spring race weekend, featuring the GEICO 500. After a day of epic racing with the Talladega 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series earlier on Saturday, the ‘Dega faithful will be treated to a grand time with Big & Rich for one of the most anticipated Saturday Night Concerts ever at NASCAR’s Most Competitive track. John, Big Kenny and Troy will play a host of all-time favorites, as well as their highly successful album titled “Gravity” that has had back-to-back top ten hits – “Look at You” and “Run Away With You.”America’s Technicolor cowboys, John Rich and Big Kenny Alphin are first-rate musicians, songwriters, producers and entertainers. Together, they are one of the most original musical forces ever unleashed on the industry. Their partner in crime, Cowboy Troy, will be right there as well, as the self-proclaimed “hick-hop” artist continues to amaze the masses with his own brand of southern, country-fried rap that has turned heads for years.(TSS)(3-30-2016)


    News from March 29, 2016


  • Attorney seeks to withdraw from XXXtreme Motorsports suit: Drew A. Richards, attorney for former Sprint Cup car owner John Cohen, filed a motion to withdraw on Monday because Cohen and XXXtreme Motorsports have “failed to fully compensate” for services rendered and failed to provide a retainer to cover fees and expenses in preparing the case. NBC Sports sought a comment from Cohen but has not received a response. Cohen is being sued in federal court by former Swan Racing car owner Brandon Davis for failure to pay $200,000 for the points of Swan Racing’s #30 car based on an April 2014 agreement cited in the complaint. The complaint notes that Cohen’s XXXtreme Motorsports fielded the #30 car for one race and transferred the points to the #44 car after that.(NBC Sports)(3-29-2016)
  • Goodyear tire test at Richmond Tuesday: Two-time Richmond race winner #11-Denny Hamlin is one of four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers scheduled to take part in a one-day Goodyear tire test Tuesday, March 29 at Richmond International Raceway. Also expected to participate in the test are Joey Logano (Team Penske #22 Ford), Greg Biffle (Roush Fenway Racing #16 Ford) and Danica Patrick (Stewart-Haas Racing #10 Chevrolet). Tuesday’s Richmond test is one of two single-day tests by the tire supplier for 2016. A one-day test is also scheduled for Tuesday, May 17 at Michigan International Speedway. The Richmond test is scheduled to run from 10:00am-5:00pm/et. According to track officials, the grandstands will be open and fans attending the test should enter through Gate 70.(NASCAR.com)(3-29-2016)
  • Ganassi crew member to have heart surgery: Front tire changer Nick Krizmanich of Chip Ganassi Racing will undergo open-heart surgery on March 29. Krizmanich has been a mainstay on pit road for the last few years working with multiple teams, including the #11, 2 and 42. This year Krizmanich was slated as the backup for the #1 and 42. “My condition was found during a physical,” Krizmanich said. “The condition the doctors are fixing is called an aortic insufficiency. They will be replacing the main aortic valve in my heart through open-heart surgery. Apparently, the valve I was born with has a defect and doesn’t close all the way, not allowing blood to fully pump through my heart and body. Thankfully, they found it, and it’s getting fixed before it got even worse.”(Pit Talks)(3-29-2016)
  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 118.4
    #11-Denny Hamlin, 110.6
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr, 99.4
    #18-Kyle Busch, 96.5
    #4-Kevin Harvick, 94.6
    #15-Clint Bowyer, 92.5
    #22-Joey Logano, 89.7
    #2-Brad Keselowski, 87.8
    #1-Jamie McMurray, 86.9
    #31-Ryan Newman, 86.5
    Note: Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2015 races (22 total) at Martinsville Speedway (active drivers only).
    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)
  • Custer driving 5 races for JR Motorsports: Cole Custer, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet Silverado in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for JR Motorsports, will compete in five NASCAR Xfinity Series events this season. Haas Automation will sponsor Custer in four of the five races with Cessna receiving primary branding at Kentucky Speedway. The 18-year-old Californian will make his debut in the #5 Chevrolet next month at Richmond International Raceway (April 23) in a fourth entry for JRM. Custer then transitions to the #88 Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28) and Kentucky Speedway (July 8). He’ll return to the seat of the #5 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 7) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 19). After spending 2015 competing part-time in the NCWTS with JRM, Custer embarked on his first full-time season in 2016. In 12 starts for the team, Custer has amassed one win (Gateway Motorsports Park), two top-five and four top-10 finishes, with one pole.(JR Motorsports)(3-29-2016)
  • Natalie Decker attempting Martinsville CWTS race: Natalie Decker will make her NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in the alpha Energy Solutions 250. Natalie Decker will be piloting the #14 VP’s Madditive NTS Motorsports Chevrolet Entry. Natalie will join her cousins Paige and Claire Decker for a family affair at the Virginia based short track. “I’m excited but nervous to make my first laps in the #14 VP’s Madditive available at Auto Zone Chevrolet.” says Driver Natalie Decker. “I hope to learn a lot on and off track. I am super thankful for this opportunity to be able to show my abilities and join an elite class of drivers.”. Natalie Decker was recently selected as one of seven drivers to join the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP). The KDDP is a program that has been established by the family of late NASCAR Champion Alan Kulwicki to help worthy drivers along the way in reaching their dream…while at the same time keeping Alan Kulwicki’s memory and legacy alive. VP’s Madditive will serve as the primary sponsor for Natalie’s NCWTS Debut. VP’s Madditive line of performance chemicals for automotive applications is engineered to improve performance as it saves you money at the pump and at the shop.(Decker PR)(3-29-2016)
  • Zaxby’s returns to the #05 at Martinsville: Big Z is returning to JWT’s Chevy bowtie at NASCAR’s famous paperclip-shaped oval in south Virginia. After posting solid runs for Bad Boy Mowers in Daytona and ESPFANCLUB.org in Atlanta, John Wes Townley’s #05 Chevrolet Silverado will feature a familiar look this weekend when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rolls into Martinsville Speedway. Townley will welcome longtime supporter Zaxby’s onboard for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at the .526-mile oval, a place he has had a love-hate relationship with during the past four years. The 26-year-old Georgia native flexed some short track muscle in last spring’s Truck Series race at Martinsville when he qualified fifth and wound up eighth. During the same event in 2014, Townley was a half lap away from logging a fourth-place finish until he was turned into the wall on the backstretch by fellow competitor German Quiroga. Following Saturday’s event in Martinsville, Townley will turn his attention to ARCA for the balance of April when he competes at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, Salem Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He will also participate in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event in Talladega, Ala. on Saturday April 30th, before resuming activity in the Truck Series at Kansas Speedway on May 6th.(Athenian Motorsports)(3-29-2016)
  • Blake Shelton filming at Texas; casting call for fans: Texas Motor Speedway is having a casting call during next week’s Duck Commander 500 NASCAR doubleheader that will give fans of Blake Shelton the opportunity to take part in a national television commercial featuring the country music superstar. NBC and NBC Sports have selected Texas Motor Speedway as the backdrop for the broadcast partner’s opening theme video for its 2016 NASCAR coverage of the season’s final half, which includes November’s AAA Texas 500, and will film the segment on Friday, April 8, in the south paddock area of the speedway infield. The casting call is for fans to serve as the stage-side crowd as Shelton, also a judge on NBC’s popular reality show “The Voice,” performs his hit song, “Bringing Back the Sunshine.” To register, it’s as simple as downloading Texas Motor Speedway’s free mobile app. The app is available on iTunes and Google Play. Those selected as participants will get access to the Texas Motor Speedway infield for them and a guest and be part of the crowd for Shelton’s performance.(Texas Motor Speedway)(3-29-2016)


    News from March 28, 2016


     

  • Entry List for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is posted, 40 teams/drivers [for 40 spots] are listed, including: #14-Vickers, #21-Blaney*, #30-Wise*, #32-Gase, #49-Sorenson*, #95-McDowell, #98-Whitt*.
    Drivers who are not a Charter team, an Open Team, and must get in via speed: #21-Blaney, #30-Wise, #49-Sorenson, #98-Whitt
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts, then owners pts): none
    Since only 40 cars are entered, all drivers will make the race, 40 is the maximum.
    * Open Team (no Charter)
    See the full entry list on Jayski.com’s Martinsville Entry List
  • Ryan Ellis joins BK Racing for multiple races: BK Racing announced that Ryan Ellis has signed on for multiple races in the #93 Toyota Camry with sponsorship from ScienceLogic. Ellis will make his debut in the #93 ScienceLogic Camry at Richmond International Raceway on April 24, 2016. “Four or five years ago, I met Ron Devine and I told him one day I would drive for him. It seemed very far-fetched at the time, but this year it finally came to fruition,” Ellis said about his deal with Devine’s BK Racing team. It’s an amazing opportunity for me and I’m so happy to bring ScienceLogic with me to the BK Racing program,” Ellis continued. “I’ve gotten to know the ScienceLogic employees and brand a lot in the last year, and really feel like part of their family.”
    “Ryan is a driver that we’ve been watching for quite some time as he raced in the Trucks and XFINITY,” said team owner Ron Devine. “We’re proud to bring him to BK Racing this season and welcome ScienceLogic to our family.”
    “We see a lot of similarities between ScienceLogic and our driver Ryan Ellis – both in our passion for what we do every day and the speed at which we are advancing and growing in our respective professions. ScienceLogic is proud to continue our participation in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series by sponsoring Ryan Ellis and BK Racing this season,” said Yama Habibzai, Chief Marketing Officer at ScienceLogic.(BK Racing)(3-28-2016)
  • Wood Brothers returning to Martinsville as a full-time team: It’s a home game for the Wood Brothers. But the April 3 STP 500 is a home game the Wood Brothers haven’t experienced as a full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with a single driver since Ken Schrader filled the seat of the vaunted #21 Ford in 2006. We’re talking about Martinsville, the closest to the Wood Brothers’ family home in Stuart, Va. “It’s a huge thing,” says NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Leonard Wood, who co-founded NASCAR’s most venerable organization with brother, driver and fellow Hall of Famer Glen Wood. “We look forward to going to Martinsville. We used to run over there and have a lot of fun.” The Wood Brothers last competed at Martinsville in 2011, when Trevor Bayne’s unexpected victory in the season-opening Daytona 500 gave the family-owned team the wherewithal to run more races than originally planned. The Woods’ last trip to the paper-clip-shaped track before Bayne’s 35th-place run was with veteran driver Bill Elliott in 2008. This year, they return to the track with Sunoco Rookie of the Year hopeful Ryan Blaney, a 22-year-old who has never driven a Sprint Cup car at Martinsville, though he does have five NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races under his belt there. When Blaney completes his 22nd lap at the .526-mile track on Apr. 3, it will mark 45,000 laps in Cup competition at Martinsville for the Wood Brothers.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-28-2016)
  • Grosjean wants to run NASCAR road course race: Romain Grosjean says that contesting a one-off road course event in NASCAR is still on his radar – but that he would want to do a proper test first. The Frenchman sat in a NASCAR machine at Gene Haas’s factory last year after signing for the American’s F1 team and said at the time that he would not be against trying one out on a track. And although he has ruled out doing an oval race, he says competing in a road course event is something that he is still up for. When asked whether he still had an interest in contesting a NASCAR race, Grosjean told Motorsport.com: “Yes! But I’d do it on a road course. Not on an oval, never. I’d be scared, and it’s too much of a specialty. I’m open to doing some testing [of a Sprint Cup car] on a road course to see how it runs before making my decision. This car is vastly different from an F1 car.”(Motorsport)(3-28-2016)
  • Truck Series Entry List: There are 36 trucks on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. A few notes:
    The #07 is TBA;
    The #10 of Jennifer Jo Cobb is TBA;
    Kyle Busch makes his first start in the #18;
    Kyle Larson will drive the #24 for GMS;
    J.J. Haley is in the #32 for Todd Braun;
    Kaz Grala will drive the #33 for GMS;
    Spencer Boyd will be in the #63 for Mike Mittler;
    The #71 is TBA;
    The #74 is TBA;
    See the complete list on the Martinsville entry list page.
  • Claire Decker attempting CWTS debut at Martinsville: Claire Decker, a 21-year old Criminal Psychology major at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will pilot the Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing #10 Chevrolet Silverado during Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. This will be her first NCWTS attempt, though she brings an impressive resume to the series. Claire has competed in the Super Late Model ARCA Midwest Tour Series and won the “Trickle 99,” a Super Late Model memorial race honoring beloved racer Dick Trickle, also a Wisconsin native. She was also chosen to compete in the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge. Claire will not be the only Decker on the entry list as her sister Paige will be making her third attempt and her cousin Natalie is also making her first attempt. The NCWTS has become even more competitive in recent months and Claire is prepared to do her best despite having a lower budget than many of her competitors. “I understand I am facing an uphill battle and am looking forward to my first time in a truck,” she said, “of course I want to make this race against a very competitive field but the worst case scenario is that I gain a lot of experience, meet new fans and showcase my sponsors to a larger audience.”(Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing)(3-28-2016)
  • Kyle Busch making first CWTS start of the year: Kyle Busch will make his first of four scheduled NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts this season in Saturday’s Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway. It will mark Busch’s first Truck Series start at the .526-mile oval since he produced a runner-up finish in October of 2011. Kyle Busch Motorsports’ owner-driver is also scheduled to be behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota Tundra at Charlotte Motor Speedway May 20, Kentucky Speedway in Sparta July 7 and Bristol Motor Speedway Aug. 17. Toyota will be the primary sponsor for all four of his Truck Series starts in 2016.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(3-28-2016)


    News from March 27, 2016


  • Earnhardt Jr. to donate brain for concussion research: Following in the footsteps of many NFL players and extreme sports athletes, Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday [via Twitter] he plans to donate his brain for concussion research. It’s a major announcement, because Earnhardt is NASCAR’s most popular driver – and has been the past 13 years. Earnhardt, 41, like many veteran NASCAR drivers, is no stranger to hard crashes and head injuries similar to what football players endured before being diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) post-mortem.(Sporting News), Earnhardt missed two races in October 2012, at Charlotte and Kansas after being diagnosed with a concussion following the Oct. 7, 2012 race at Talladega.(3-27-2016)
  • Auto Club TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Auto Club Speedway earned a 3.5 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 13% from last year and 2014 (4.0 both years) and the lowest overnight for the race since rain-shortened coverage drew a 3.4 in 2012. Outside of 2012, no edition of the race has had a lower overnight since at least 1998 (Does not include the fall race that was run from 2004-2010). The race faced lighter competition from the NCAA Tournament, which had double-digit declines for all four of its telecast windows on Sunday. Excluding the tournament, it ranked second for the weekend among sporting events behind ABC’s Warriors/Spurs NBA game Saturday night (3.7).(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily).(3-22-2016)
    UPDATE: For the fifth straight week to start the season, NASCAR suffered declines in ratings and viewership. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Fontana earned a 4.0 final rating and 6.8 million viewers on FOX last Sunday afternoon, down 7% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.3, 7.3M) and down 9% and 4%, respectively, from 2014 (4.4, 7.1M). Ratings and viewership rank as the lowest for NASCAR from Fontana in four years, since rain-shortened coverage in 2012 (3.8, 6.2M). Ratings and viewership have now declined for every NASCAR Sprint Cup telecast this year, including exhibition events such as the Sprint Unlimited and Duel at Daytona. The past four races have set or tied a multi-year low in at least one measure.(Sports Business Daily / Sports Media Watch) see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(3-27-2016)
  • Earnhardt, Jr. adds to his car graveyard: On Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s return from the #NASCARGoesWest tour, he lit up Twitter with a marathon Q&A; session with fans. When asked about his race car graveyard at Dirty Mo’ Acres – Earnhardt’s compound north of Mooresville, N.C. The driver revealed the recent acquisition of two new wrecks:
    “I just got the @PhoenixRaceway @JimmieJohnson qualifying car. @KyleBusch sent me the 4 truck from @DISupdates”
    The last time we saw the remains of the #4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra, it was on a tow truck. Fortunately, Christopher Bell climbed out of his vehicle after flipping nine times down the front stretch entering Turn 1 on the final lap of the Camping World Truck Series season opener on Feb. 19. Earnhardt’s latest contribution came from his own teammate – Jimmie Johnson. The freshly wrecked #48 Chevy did not make it through Friday at Phoenix International Raceway following the six-time champion’s mishap in time trials.(Motorsport)(3-27-2016)
  • Martin’s Business Manager health update: Mark Martin’s long time Business Manager Benny Ertel was released from the hospital March 23 after a successful surgery to remove a tumor in his abdomen (stage IV renal cell Carcinoma ) and news from the pathology report show that the cancer had not spread (3-27-2016)
  • Full weekend of musical entertainment at Bristol: Bristol Motor Speedway is the place in 2016, and during the Food City 500 weekend, it will be the place for musical entertainment in the region. In addition to the previously announced pre-race concert featuring the Doobie Brothers, country star Clare Dunn, respected country music artist Lee Greenwood and country singer/songwriter Lance Stinson will be at Bristol Motor Speedway to entertain the fans during race weekend. The Doobie Brothers will take the stage prior to driver introductions on Sunday, April 17 to perform some of their greatest hits including “Rockin’ Down the Highway”, “Black Water” and “Jesus is Just Alright”. While supplies last, Food City 500 ticket holders may add on a pre-race SuperPass and be stage-side (on the track) for the concert featuring The Doobie Brothers. The SuperPass also includes a Track Walk and track access for Bristol’s wildly popular Food City 500 driver introductions.
    Country music singer/songwriter Dunn will be rocking out for fans on Saturday, April 16. She will sing the national anthem prior to the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race and perform a concert set on the Ole Smoky Roof at Turn 4 between the finish of the XFINITY race and the start of the PittLite 125 NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East race.
    Greenwood’s career has spanned decades, charting more than 35 singles on the Billboard country music charts. His catalog includes “Somebody’s Going to Love You” and “Dixie Road”, but he will be on hand on Sunday during pre-race to perform his most famous song, “God Bless the USA”, one of America’s most well-known unofficial anthems.
    Stinson, a native of South Georgia, is a singer of self-described “kick-in-the-teeth country” and has traveled all over the South to clubs and honky-tonks. After recently relocating to Nashville, he is continuing on his path of entertainment. Stinson will perform for fans following the conclusion of the PittLite 125 on Saturday.(BMS)(3-27-2016)


    News from March 26, 2016


  • Kenseth’s spotter finally well enough to return to the track: Chris Osborne will celebrate Easter weekend and feel blessed. He will spend it with his wife, Melissa, and son, Austin, and they will consider themselves fortunate despite the hell they have experienced the last three months. Five days after Easter, Osborne plans to embark on an emotional trek to a racetrack. He will return to the job he loves as Matt Kenseth’s spotter and will enjoy every breath he takes of the cool mountain air at Martinsville Speedway. The Osborne family had their lives forever changed at 10:04 p.m. Dec. 17 when, less than 10 minutes from the Osborne home in Sophia, North Carolina, a driver who would later be charged with driving under the influence lost control of his car while going 60 mph and smashed into Osborne’s vehicle, crushing the entire front of the car. That driver, with prior DUIs in 2006 and 2007, has a date in court Monday. Osborne suffered a shattered right leg that needed 25 screws to hold the rod and plates together. His wife, Melissa, in the back seat, was catapulted over her son Austin in the front passenger seat and suffered a broken hip, pelvis and right elbow — all needed reconstructive surgery — in addition to nine broken ribs and a broken shoulder. Austin suffered a partially collapsed lung, a bruised sternum, a concussion, a broken nose, a bruised shoulder and lost a couple of teeth. All were wearing seat belts.
    Osborne has spent more than two decades in the NASCAR garage (he also used to drive the hauler), and now it’s time for him to get back to work. He will wear an air cast on his right leg, which allows him to wear sneakers. He will spot for both Daniel Suarez in trucks and Kenseth at Martinsville. He will have a walker or a cane for as long as he needs — getting to the spotter stand he expects will be the toughest part. His doctor approved his putting 100 percent weight on his leg March 12, but he doesn’t expect the leg will ever be the same as it was prior to the accident. Osborne notes that one of the screws has broken inside his leg, but because it hasn’t caused a problem, it remains among the 25 inside of him. While obeying his doctor’s orders and confident that if he can’t do the job, he will tell the team he needs more time, Osborne hasn’t had it easy watching races from home and listening to the in-car radio.(ESPN.com)(3-26-2016)
  • Auto Club XFINITY TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Fontana drew 1.5 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 last Saturday afternoon, up 4% from last year (1.4M) but down 18% from 2014 on ESPN (1.8M). The race ranks as the first Sprint or Xfinity Series telecast this season to score an increase in viewership.(ShowBuzz Daily / Sports Media Watch)(3-26-2016)
  • Bisci joins Gateway Motorsports Park: Gateway Motorsports Park officials announced that 28-year motorsports veteran John Bisci has joined the staff of Gateway Motorsports Park in the new position of Media and Promotions Manager. With more than 40 years of experience in the entertainment industry, Bisci will be actively involved in the promotion of the NHRA-sanctioned Dragplex and Gateway Kartplex. Bisci brings event development experience that will be utilized for schedule expansion and racing diversity. Bisci’s experience includes media relations for NHRA-sanctioned tracks, as a publicist for Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams and representation for multiple NASCAR sponsors and drivers. Bisci joins the track’s expanding public relations team and will be working closely with Susan Ryan, who has led the public and media relations efforts for Gateway Motorsports Park since its rebirth in 2011. “I am proud and excited to join the Gateway Motorsports Park team,” Bisci said. “It is important to work for, and with, people who share my passion for the sport. This is an exciting time for Gateway Motorsports Park, and I am pleased to be a part of the continued growth of one of the fastest growing, up-and-coming motorsports facilities in the United States.”(Gateway Motorsrports Park)(3-26-2016)
  • Andy Grammer Concert added to All-Star Weekend at Charlotte: One of the fastest-rising stars on the Billboard Top 100 charts will kick off the biggest all-star event in sports when triple-platinum recording artist Andy Grammer takes the stage for a free concert before the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The full 70-minute Andy Grammer All-Star Race Concert Powered by Rayovac, will kick off the pre-race festivities of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race between Turns 1 and 2 of the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield. Entry is free for all All-Star Race ticket holders. For just $20, fans can upgrade to a special Golden Ticket for early access to a reserved area directly in front of the stage. Golden Tickets are limited and can be purchased by calling the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Los Angeles-born, New York-raised singer-songwriter Andy Grammer has gone from hustling street performer to multi-platinum selling recording artist. He has released two albums, “Andy Grammer” and “Magazines or Novels,” producing debut top 10 hit singles including “Fine by Me” and triple-platinum No.1 single “Honey, I’m Good.” Most recently, Grammer released his new hit single “Good To Be Alive (Hallelujah)” dazzling the Billboard Top 100 charts.(CMS)(3-26-2016)


    News from March 25, 2016


  • O’Donnell talks about “full fields”, race winnings: Interviewed by the Charlotte Observer, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell talked about various issues including the size of Sprint Cup fields and why race winnings are no longer released:
    Q: Although there are four spots available each race for non-charter “open” teams, they haven’t all been filled since Daytona and fields have been composed of 39 of a possible 40 cars. Is that a concern?
    O’Donnell: “When we looked at the charter system, we decided to leave four spots open. We didn’t necessarily think those four spots would be occupied at each race and we’d love to maybe have them filled. But we’re concentrating on the quality of the race teams that do show up each week. We’re happy with that. We’ve got 36 teams and whichever open teams that show up and it’s provided quality racing.”
    Q: Why is prize money is no longer released after races?
    O’Donnell: “All the teams know what they are racing for. It’s listed in the charter agreements. Teams and tracks are aware. We don’t have anything to hide from the team owners and tracks. But it’s something we could continue to look at.”(Charlotte Observer)(3-25-2016)
  • GM exec says Chevy’s success forced Ford to get Stewart-Haas: Mark Kent, GM’s director of racing, has described Ford’s joining forces with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017 as a “bold move” but has pledged support to the team to season’s end. Kent told Motorsport.com: “Ford hasn’t won a drivers’ or manufacturers’ championship in over a decade. So obviously they’ve been looking at Chevrolet and realizing it takes great teams and great depth to be able to win championships. We’ve been able to win the last 13 manufacturers’ titles and nine of the last 11 drivers’ championships. So Ford realized they had to do something. They made a bold move.” While Kent acknowledged the achievements of SHR, he stated that the team’s use of Hendrick Motorsports equipment had also made the team susceptible to outside offers. “Satellite teams are obviously the easiest takeover candidates,” he observed, “because they don’t build their own chassis, don’t build their own engines and so it’s easier for them to switch alliances.(Motorsport)(3-25-2015)
  • Sonoma Raceway adding new Panasonic LED scoring pylon: Sonoma Raceway will offer fans an entirely new perspective on the racing action, as the wine country facility upgrades its spectator experience with more than 5,000 square feet of Panasonic LED digital signage. Most notably, the raceway will replace its outdated lap/leader board, which has stood above Turn 1 of the road course since 1994, with an 85-foot tall, four-sided LED scoring tower. The new pylon will provide real-time running order for up to 20 positions, dynamic race-related graphics and fan information. The new scoring tower will be located in approximately the same position above Turn 1, but is more than 26-feet taller than the old board and will be easily visible from almost every seating area around the road course. The new fan amenity will make its debut at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event, June 24-26. In addition, the raceway will add an 84- x 12-foot Panasonic LED video board on the front of its three-story Drag Tower building. This video board will be easily viewed from the Main Grandstand, as well as the temporary grandstand during the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event in July. This new technology will allow the raceway to create and deliver videos, graphic overlays, real-time statistics, custom content and sponsor advertisements.(Sonoma Raceway)(3-25-2016)


    News from March 24, 2016


  • Auto Club Speedway penalties announced: NASCAR has announced penalties following the race weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
    #10-Danica Patrick has been fined $20,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through the completion of the next four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship Points Races. She violated section 10.4.2.1.a “At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach any portion of the racing surface or apron. At no time should a driver or crew member(s) approach another moving vehicle.”
    Kyle Busch was fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the next four NASCAR Championship Points Races through April 27 for his actions following the XFINITY race. He violated section 10.4.2.i -“The second and third place drivers must report to the media center for post-race interviews upon the conclusion of the Race unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR”
    In addition, the following warnings were issued:
    #19-Carl Edwards: Failed laser inspection twice in pre-race;
    #95-Michael McDowell: Trailing arm did not meet specifications;
    #20-Matt Kenseth: Failed template inspection twice in pre-qualifying;
    #3-Austin Dillon, #20-Matt Kenseth, #21-Ryan Blaney, #27-Paul Menard: Failed laser inspection twice in pre-qualifying.
    See the Auto Club Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report (pdf) for more.(3-24-2016)
  • F1’s Kimi Raikkonen to NASCAR in 2017?: If rumors hold any weight, the sun is setting on Kimi Raikkonen’s Formula One career, and he may look to land in NASCAR. He started racing again with the Ferrari team in 2014 (after racing with them from 2007 to 2009) and has just three podium finishes in 39 races. For the last year, many have speculated that Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo has his eye on Raikkonen’s seat for 2017. In the past, he raced in the World Rally Championship and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series. It’s his NASCAR experience — one race in each the trucks series and Xfinity series in 2011 — that is fueling the latest rumors. According to Tanja Bauer of Sky Sport News, Raikkonen could end up in a seat with Stewart-Haas Racing in 2017. It’s all conjecture at this point. Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner Tony Stewart is retiring at the end of the season and giving up his seat to Clint Bowyer. The team also employs drivers Kevin Harvick, Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch. Right now there doesn’t seem to be room for Raikkonen [as the team is at the max of four cars/drivers]. So if he were to join SHR, it would mean a current driver would leave. The best scenarios for that would be either Harvick or Patrick taking a hike [but Harvick says he is staying and Patrcik is signed thru 2018].(full post at AutoWeek)(3-24-2016)
  • Poll gives good grade to this year’s racing: The Century Poll, a monthly survey of 100 members of the NASCAR community, has given the racing with the new low-downforce package in the Sprint Cup Series an average grade of an A- after four races. The poll, which asks 50 media members and 50 members of the NASCAR garage one question every month, found an average grade of 90.81 among the votes. That number combines from combining the total averages of the media and garage votes.
    This month’s question: After running three distinct track lengths this season – 1-mile (Phoenix), 1.5-mile (Atlanta and Las Vegas) and 2-mile (Fontana) – what early season grade would you give the 2016 Sprint Cup low downforce rules package?
    The garage voters gave six more A votes than the media, while also giving the four lowest grades out of the 100 taken – two Bs, one C and one C-. Media voters made up most of the difference by awarding eight more Bs, with no grade out of their 50 being below a B. Compared to a similar vote after the first five races of 2015, this year’s poll gave the racing seven more points (90.81 with 58 As vs. 83.42 with six As).(NBC Sports)(3-24-2016)
  • SunEnergy1 scheme posted: And image of #24-Chase Elliott’s SunEnergy1 Chevy has been posted. SunEnergy1 will debut Daytona and run three other races, see an image of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page (3-24-2016)
  • JTG Daugherty Racing partners with MacroPoint: MacroPoint, creators of patented freight tracking software designed to give third party visibility into load status by tracking the location of a driver’s mobile phone, including flip phones, or existing in-cab ELD/GPS devices, announced it will be the Official Logistics Track & Trace Provider of the #47 JTG Daugherty Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team, tracking the trucks that haul for the Harrisburg, N.C. racing organization all over the country weekly until the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. For the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, drivers of the JTG Daugherty Racing trucks will be partnering with MacroPoint to MacroPoint Enable every trucker on the road. To follow the JTG Daugherty Racing team as it is tracked by MacroPoint, visit www.MacroPointRacing.com as they compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with an ECR Engines powered Chevrolet driven by AJ Allmendinger.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(3-24-2016)
  • Dover to “Light It Up Blue” for Autism Awareness Month: Dover Downs Hotel & Casino and Dover International Speedway will continue their support for autism awareness by participating in the global “Light It Up Blue” campaign, organized by Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, in April. Two of Delaware’s most famous landmarks, the Monster Monument at Victory Plaza, as well as the Dover Downs Hotel, will be illuminated in blue light throughout April, coinciding with Autism Awareness Month. Autism is a summary term for a group of brain development disorders, characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest statistics show that 1 in 68 U.S. children have autism. Dover International Speedway has had a long relationship with autism awareness. The “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15, will mark the 10th consecutive year the Monster Mile’s spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will have an autism awareness element within the entitlement sponsorship. Also on May 15, the track will host an Autism Awareness Day at the Races program for families and children on the autism spectrum for the fifth straight year. The package provides a sensory-friendly environment to watch the race, and also features pre-race appearances by NASCAR drivers and personalities, seating in air-conditioned grandstands, presentations by educational speakers, food and beverage options, as well as a quiet zone, with muted lighting and sound, allowing attendees to take a break from the race and crowds when necessary.(Dover Speedway)(3-24-2015)


    News from March 23, 2016


  • Audi to NASCAR?: While many have speculated that Audi is looking to enter Formula One, NASCAR.com’s Matthew Dillner says the German manufacturer is preparing to enter stock-car racing with NASCAR. “I’ve heard rumors for two years of Audi entering #NASCAR and know the interest has been there,” Dillner tweeted on Tuesday. “My prediction is that it will happen.”(AutoWeek)(3-23-2016)
  • Kurt Busch still interested in Indy 500 this year UPDATE: Could Kurt Busch make another run at the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double? It sure sounds like he’s interested. After Busch won the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, FOXSports.com asked Busch if he had any update on his hopes to find an Indy 500 ride this year. “Nothing new on Indy. Part of the reason for staying here in Vegas extra is a few different meetings have popped up,” said Busch. “We are going to go through some of the meetings, even bumped into (Verizon IndyCar Series team owner) Sam Schmidt today. There is definitely the interest, the intrigue, but nothing to announce right now.” This year will mark the 100th running of the Indy 500, which would make competing in the race even more attractive than usual.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)
    UPDATE: “After seriously contemplating making another run at “The Double”, and in response to the many questions I receive on the subject as the Month of May approaches, I wanted to state that I will not be participating in this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. I must say this was not an easy decision and it does not in any way reflect upon my desire to compete again in one of the world’s greatest races; it is based solely on a need to maintain the focus and momentum we have built early in this NASCAR season with our #41 Stewart-Haas Racing, Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevy team – hopefully all the way to Homestead and the championship weekend. My experience with Andretti Autosport and its drivers was so very positive and the way in which the IndyCar fans and media welcomed me, it is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career both personally and professionally. Fortunately, Michael and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway have left the door open for a future run, and perhaps one day I will take them up on that, it just won’t be this year.”(KurtBusch.com)(3-23-2016)
  • Vickers under consideration for Indy 500 ride: The race to land one of the most coveted open seats for the Indy 500 is winding down as a NASCAR driver, an Indy veteran, a new team, and the most recent Rookie of the Year chase the third Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry. RACER has learned current Stewart-Haas Racing Sprint cup driver Brian Vickers, who is filling in for the injured Tony Stewart, nine-time Indy 500 starter Townsend Bell, the new Grace Autosport team, and 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series/Indy 500 RoY Gabby Chaves are in the running for SPM’s available Dallara DW12-Honda. “Those four are on the list, and we’d really like to run any of those people,” Schmidt told RACER. Among the four options, Bell has the most experience with the team, having raced for SPM at Indy from 2010-2012 with a best finish of ninth.
    With the allure of the 100th Indy 500 in mind, more first-timers like Vickers could try to make the race, although according to Schmidt, running a driver with no recent open-wheel experience on the sport’s biggest stage could be a stumbling block. “I’d think Brian is the least likely only because he hasn’t done it before and we’re unsure if he’ll still be driving for Tony [Stewart], so with that unknown, it’s hard to figure out the costs and the logistics,” Schmidt said. “Granted, he’s very experienced and very mature, so I’m sure he’d get the job done, but I’m not sure we need any distractions with a rookie. He’s an option, though, and we aren’t ruling him out. I know how badly he wants to be in the race. We’re still trying to find money for all of them, they’re all trying to find money, but it’s not completely there.”(Racer)(3-23-2016)
  • Menards sponsoring Penske in Indy 500: Team Penske announced that Menards, the industry-leading home improvement store company with locations throughout the Midwest, will sponsor the #22 car and driver Simon Pagenaud for two races during the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series, including this year’s 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 29th. Menards will adorn the side of the #22 Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet both at the Indy 500 as well as the series’ return to Road America in June. The company will also be an associate sponsor on the #22 Team Penske car for the balance of the 2016 season. The announcement marks a return for Menards to the Verizon IndyCar Series. The Wisconsin-based company raced as a sponsor in INDYCAR from 1996-2003 but the return to action this season represents Menards first taste of series competition in 13 years. A Menards-sponsored car captured the Indy Racing League title in both 1997 with driver Tony Stewart and in 1999 with driver Greg Ray. With its track record of success in INDYCAR, Menards returns this season with a clear goal of winning its first Indianapolis 500. In addition to its history in INDYCAR competition, Menards has been a long-time supporter in other forms of motorsports, including NASCAR.(Team Penske)(3-23-2016)
  • Keloorah returns to Michigan Speedway: NASCAR race fans and music festival fans both will have reasons to celebrate this summer at Michigan International Speedway. Keloorah, a music festival experience, will take place on Friday and Saturday of each NASCAR weekend at MIS this summer. Keloorah kicks off in June when GROUPLOVE, Third Eye Blind, Fitz and the Tantrums, Andy Grammer, The Neighbourhood, Elle King, as well as Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers take the stage. The action does not stop in August as country music is featured over two nights of fun at Keloorah. Fans can sing along with Chase Rice, Chase Bryant, Kip Moore, Drake White and The Big Fire and Tim Dugger. The track is offering a special presale for fans to get in on all of the celebration at Keloorah. Fans that have already purchased NASCAR Sprint Cup Series admissions can call 800.354.1010 beginning March 23 to get your two-day admission to Keloorah for just $20. All you need to do is ask for the Keloorah add-on admission. If haven’t purchased NASCAR admissions yet, no problem. Ask the agent about the Keloorah packages. The presale is only available on the phone. The call center is open 9:00am-9:00pm Monday-Friday and 9:00am-7:00pm Saturday-Sunday. Special packages and VIP experiences are also available for fans looking to make it a weekend of partying.(MIS)(3-24-2016)
  • Shane Lee running partial CWTS schedule for SS Green Light: Shane Lee will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Martinsville Speedway in the Alpha Energy 250 on April 2nd driving the #07 LeeBoy Toyota Tundra for Bobby Dotter and SS Green Light Racing. Shane Lee made his ARCA Racing Series debut last month in the Lucas Oil 200 at Daytona International Speedway and continues to compete on local short tracks across North Carolina. Lee has competed full time in the NASCAR Whelen All-American series for the past four seasons at tracks across the southeast picking up 18 wins along the way including two limited latemodel track championships at Hickory Motor Speedway in 2012 and 2013 along with the North Carolina rookie of the year in NASCAR Whelen All-American series in 2013. Veteran crew chief Jamie Jones will oversee the SS Green Light Racing entry for Shane Lee. Jones, Lee, and the SS Green Light Racing team will kick off their 2016 NCWTS racing season at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, followed by Gateway Motorsports Park on June 25, and Michigan International Raceway on August 27.(SS Green Light), see an image of the truck on the #07 team paint schemes page.(3-23-2016)
  • Magpul Industries sponsoring Pole Day at Kentucky: Magpul Industries Corp., is expanding its partnership with Kentucky Speedway by becoming the official Pole Day sponsor for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series Friday, July 8. The Magpul partnership has given the brand numerous signage opportunities throughout the race weekends. In addition, Magpul is a proud sponsor of Kentucky Speedway’s annual Top Cop Challenge program where police officers from regional jurisdictions compete in NASCAR stock cars to identify the fastest officer. This year’s Top Cop Challenge will be held in September. Magpul was founded in 1999 with the intent of developing a simple device to aid in the manipulation of rifle magazines while reloading under stress. The company’s name comes from this original product called the Magpul. Over the last decade Magpul has continued to grow and develop using much the same mission and process with a focus on innovation, simplicity, and efficiency. Kentucky Speedway’s 2016 season begins in July with the return of a NASCAR tripleheader weekend anchored by the July 9 Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts. The Camping World Truck Series starts the weekend with the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 Thursday, July 7 and the XFINITY Series Alsco 300 Friday, July 8.(Kentucky Speedway)(3-23-2016)


    News from March 22, 2016


  • Hillman suing Circle Sport over charter: A Sprint Cup team owner’s lawsuit seeks the charter NASCAR granted his former partner. Hillman Racing, team owner Mike Hillman and partners Doug Fuller and Matt Miller filed suit Friday in North Carolina Superior Court in Iredell County against former partner Joe Falk, Circle Sport, Leavine Family Racing and Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. Hillman Racing and its partners seek a judgment in excess of $25,000, punitive damages, rights to ownership of the #33 team, its charter and all the profits and benefits that Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing’s #95 car enjoys. Falk aligned with Leavine Family Racing before this season to form Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. As part of the merger, the No. 95 was maintained but inherited the #33 team’s points and performance, making it eligible for one of the 36 Sprint Cup charters NASCAR granted before the season. Hillman Racing’s #40 was not granted a charter because it had not competed full-time the past three seasons. The complaint by Hillman Racing states that Falk improperly entered into an agreement with Leavine Family Racing.
    Court documents state that for the 2015 season, the partnership [between Hillman and Falk] agreed to divert more resources to the #40 car, making it the flagship car. The partners agreed to allow Richard Childress Racing to operate the #33 car for multiple races in return for a payment of $25,000 for all races except the Daytona 500 (in addition to other details regarding the payment of purse and plan money, etc.). RCR would pay $75,000 for the Daytona 500. The complaint alleges that before the Daytona 500 Hillman “discovered that Falk directed a sponsor for the 40 car to write the sponsorship check (for funds due from the 2014 season) payable to Circle Sport and not Hillman Racing. Of course, the parties had all previously agreed and understood that sponsorship funds were to be utilized to fund racing operations, for which Hillman Racing incurred substantial debt.” After the Daytona 500, according to the complaint, Hillman and Falk agreed to terminate their partnership after the 2015 season.
    Among the agreements the complaint states is that following the 2015 season, Circle Sport and Falk would “transfer all of their right, title and interest in and to the 33 points, and to all other property acquired by the Partnership to the remaining partners or an entity to be designated by them.” In March 2015, then-counsel for Hillman Racing drafted a written “Purchase Agreement” for the termination of the partnership and transfer of assets, including the No. 33 car’s points. The complaint states that Falk initially did not respond with any objection but later failed and refused to sign the agreement.
    The complaint states that in Oct. 2015 Hillman was informed by NASCAR personnel that material terms of the charter system had been agreed upon. Court documents state that NASCAR informed Hillman that the field would be reduced from 43 to 40 cars and that 36 would receive charters. Hillman was informed that the #33 would receive a charter but not the #40.
    In late January 2016, Circle Sport announced its merger with Leavine Family Racing. The complaint states that Hillman and his partners were not included in the discussions with Leavine and that the announcement came as a “surprise.” The complaint states: “As a results of the circumstances described … the 40 points are of negligible value, the Partnership is unable to race full-time during the 2016 race season, Hillman and Hillman Racing have no ability to pay for the significant debt incurred in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 race seasons, and the remaining partners have been forced to liquidate many of the Partnership’s remaining assets.”
    See much more at NBC Sports.(3-23-2016)
  • Congrats to #23-David Ragan and wife Jacquelyn on the birth of their second daughter, Meredith on Tuesday morning. The news was posted on the David’s Facebook page.(3-22-2016)
  • Penalties coming for Danica, Kyle Busch, Kahne, Pearn? Does NASCAR’s competition brass fine Danica Patrick for walking on a hot race track during the Auto Club 400? Do they believe Kasey Kahne’s explanation of what happened in the wreck with Patrick? Do they fine Kyle Busch for an in-car radio rant (XFINITY race)? Patrick walked up toward Kahne’s car under caution and held out her hands in a “what was that?” fashion as Kahne drove around under caution after turning her and sending her hard into the Auto Club Speedway wall. NASCAR instituted a rule in 2014 after the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy — Ward, in a non-NASCAR sprint-car event, walked on to a track and was struck and killed by Tony Stewart, who has said he did not see Ward until the last moment — and has fined drivers for leaving the area of their cars to motion at drivers as they pedal under caution. Last year, Jennifer Jo Cobb was fined $5,000 for walking up the track during a Camping World Truck Series race at Dover. Sprint Cup fines are typically larger than truck fines, although whether Patrick walked far enough up the track for NASCAR to consider fining her will likely be discussed this week.
    Fines and penalties typically now are announced Wednesday afternoon instead of Tuesday afternoon as in previous years. It is unlikely Kahne will face any additional penalties but it is so rare that a driver gets hooked like that, NASCAR probably wanted at least to talk to him.
    As far as Busch, he tweeted that he expects a fine this week. That fine most likely will stem from an in-car radio rant after the Xfinity Series race where he thanked NASCAR for fixing the race by not throwing a caution for his flat tire on the final lap. Busch declined to talk to the media after the race Saturday and tweeted Sunday night in response to a fan comment that “By not doing interview, I’ll b getting a discount on my fine on Tuesday.”
    NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell also told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Monday that NASCAR will look into #78-Martin Truex Jr. crew chief Cole Pearn’s tweet following the race. He tweeted Logano can’t see through his “squinty … eyes.”(ESPN)(3-22-2016)
  • 2016 Top-5’s, Top-10’s:
    #18-Busch leads all drivers in 2016 with 4 top-fives after 5 races followed by #4-Harvick, #19-Edwards, #48-Johnson, #11-Hamlin with 3.
    #4-Harvick and leads all drivers in 2016 with 5 top-Ten finishes, followed by #18-Busch, #19-Edwards & #41-Busch with 4.
    See the Official Auto Club Race & Points Report(pdf) for the standings.(3-22-2016)
  • Josh Wise feels team is progressing: Riverside (CA) native Josh Wise was again behind the wheel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car on Sunday, making his fifth career start at Auto Club Speedway [in the #30 TMG Chevy]. Wise completed 195 of 205 laps to finish 36th and match his career-best finish in the Auto Club 400. “I feel the performances have improved every weekend, and we’re looking to continue that trend,” Wise said. It was the 131st Sprint Cup race in six seasons for Wise, 33, a former USAC Sprint Car Series champion. New season-long sponsorships with The Motorsports Group, SBC Contractors and Curtis Key Plumbing are a vast improvement over last season when Wise scrambled to find a number of part-time deals that saw him complete just 24 of 36 races and finish 37th in points in 2015. “Our cars are better and getting our engines better and just finding setup packages that work for us at certain styles of race tracks,” Wise said. “We’re up against teams that have been doing it for 20-plus years. It’s been a process up to this point in the season. We have our car driving pretty good. The guys have worked really hard on it. We’ve gone through a lot of changes and found some trends, so we’ve been in a building process with the team.”(Press-Enterprise)(3-22-2016)
  • Auto Club Overnight TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Auto Club Speedway earned a 3.5 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 13% from last year and 2014 (4.0 both years) and the lowest overnight for the race since rain-shortened coverage drew a 3.4 in 2012. Outside of 2012, no edition of the race has had a lower overnight since at least 1998 (Does not include the fall race that was run from 2004-2010). The race faced lighter competition from the NCAA Tournament, which had double-digit declines for all four of its telecast windows on Sunday. Excluding the tournament, it ranked second for the weekend among sporting events behind ABC’s Warriors/Spurs NBA game Saturday night (3.7).(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily) see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(3-22-2016)
  • Ed Iskendarian receives Shav Glick award: A tradition that is nearly as old as the Auto Club Speedway is the pre-race awarding of the Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award, which recognizes a motorsports personality from the state (California) who have made valuable or distinguished contributions to the sport. It was named for nationally acclaimed writer Shav Glick, who worked for the Los Angles Times and a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. The newest winner of the award, as voted upon by a distinguished panel, is Ed Iskendarian. Born in the Central Valley, Iskendarian’s family moved to the Los Angeles area before the war. While in high school, he built his first hot rod and became associated with legendary Ed Winfield, considered to be the father of hot rodding. His products were utilized in record setting runs throughout all forms of motorsport. He also became a one of the SEMA founders. Other finalists for the award Bill Pollack, Joe Huffaker, and Ricky Johnson.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(3-22-2016)
  • Darlington Raceway’s Turn 3 Theater returns: Darlington Raceway is bringing back its family fun Turn 3 Theater Presented by Raceway Ford Chevrolet. This year’s free movie lineup will feature Disney’s Aladdin on April 8 and Frozen on May 13. The events will once again be FREE and take place in the track’s hospitality village. For more information, visit DarlingtonRaceway.com. Pace car rides for a $10 per person donation and concessions will be available with all proceeds benefiting the track’s 501(c)3 non-profit arm Darlington Shares. For the showing of Frozen on May 13, the track is encouraging moviegoers to dress up as their favorite Frozen character. Prior to the start of the movie, the Darlington Raceway staff will select the best costume, with the winner receiving tickets to the Sept. 3 NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200.(Darlington Raceway)(3-22-2016)
  • Dream Water sponsoring Chastain at Charlotte: The makers of Dream Water, a natural sleep and relaxation shot designed to promote relaxation and support restful sleep, will sponsor the #4 Chevy of driver Ross Chastain and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team in the May 28, 2016 Hisense 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As part of its entry into the racing arena, Dream Water is presenting its own NASCAR VIP Experience, a sweepstakes that will provide two fans with a dream experience at one of auto racing’s biggest and most famous tracks – Charlotte Motor Speedway. The winners will be named honorary Dream Water pit crew members for the race and will watch the event from atop the team’s pit box. They will also join Chastain and team members for a dinner the evening before the race and will be in the driver’s vehicle at pre-race introductions. Fans can enter the sweepstakes at drinkdreamwater.com/NASCAR. Dream Water is a natural, zero calorie, 2.5oz liquid sleep enhancer. It consists of three key natural ingredients – GABA (helps one relax), Melatonin (helps induce sleep) and 5-HTP (helps improve the quality of sleep). This SleepStat Natural blend helps people fall asleep naturally and wake refreshed.(Johnny Davis Motorsports)(3-22-2016)


    News from March 21, 2016


  • Eckrich, Operation Homefront and Almirola Give Thanks Military Family: Eckrich, the makers of naturally hardwood smoked sausage and savory deli meats, partnered with Albertsons and Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit whose mission is to build strong, stable, and secure military families, to honor a Southern California military family in advance of the big race in Fontana on Sunday. Before the race, Richard Petty Motorsports driver and Eckrich partner, Aric Almirola, surprised the unsuspecting Desma family with $5,000 worth of free groceries at Albertsons, courtesy of Eckrich. Eckrich, Operation Homefront and Richard Petty Motorsports have partnered to honor military families since 2012. Almirola, who is a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner, was born on a military base and, as a father of two, is inspired by our military families. The surprise is part of the ongoing campaign by Eckrich to honor, thank and support military families through its partnership with Operation Homefront. The Desma family is supported by Operation Homefront’s Hearts of Valor program, a network of people caring for wounded, ill or injured service members. Frank Desma served 18 years in the Army as a Sergeant and served in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Eckrich, entering the fifth year of partnership with Operation Homefront, has surpassed $2 million in donations since 2012.(RPM Facebook)(3-21-2016)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2016 Auto Club 400: For those NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:49 PM (all times are EST). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 104
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 48
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 86
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 46
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 18
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 10
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 4
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:49 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 199
    Minutes of race broadcast: 160
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 39
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 8
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 1
    Total race brdcst time 160 Total comm. brdcst time 39
    See past races, more info on the commercials with links at CawsnJaws.com.(3-21-2016)
  • Larson talks about Auto Club 400 wreck: #42-Kyle Larson was involved in a single car accident on lap 48 in the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway.
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
    Larson: “I was going down the back stretch and I think it was my left-rear tire got cut. It must have ripped the brake line because I went to push the pedal and it went straight to the floor board. I couldn’t slow down. It was definitely a hard hit there, probably one of the harder ones of my career. Even before that we were pretty sub-average there, we were pretty bad. Disappointed in our run today, but glad I’m alright.”
    Q) ON THE INCIDENT:
    Larson: “We were struggling all day. We were really bad. And just on that backstretch, my left rear tire got cut and spun me to the outside wall and then spun me back into the inside wall. By the time I could hit the brakes it must have ripped the brake line and I had no brakes. They just went to the floorboard. I couldn’t slow down and had a hard hit there; head-on. I’m okay. I’m thankful for Safer barriers and thankful that I’m all right. That was definitely probably the hardest hit I’ve ever had in my career. I’m glad to be on my feet right here.”(Team Chevy)(3-21-2016)
  • Contact from Kahne puts Patrick into the wall: A collision with #5-Kasey Kahne ruined a promising afternoon for #10-Danica Patrick in Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. Patrick started 31st and had worked her way up to 19th before wrecking hard into the Turn 1 wall on Lap 121 after contact from Kahne’s Chevy. Kahne was a lap down at the time, thanks to an earlier unscheduled pit stop. “We were on a restart, and I had a run on him so I went down low,” said Patrick, who finished 38th. “If you get too close to them (a car you’re trying to clear) then it will drag you both back. I was going low. I saw him chase me down the track, and then the next thing I know I was getting spun up the track. I was passing him. He was behind me in the right rear. I don’t know what kind of day he was having. I just heard he was a lap down, actually. I feel bad if he felt like he was put in a position to have to be that desperate a lap down. … I was having a pretty good recovery day, kind of like last weekend. I was just running good race laps and on the lead lap at the end of the race back up into the top 20 from a bad starting position.”
    Kahne said the accident was unintentional but avoidable. “I passed her in (Turns) 3 and 4, and then she had the momentum off the top and went back under me going down the front stretch,” he explained. “So I went just to kind of catch a side draft to make sure I was in position getting into Turn 1, and it didn’t hold me up when I got there because I was the one coming, and I just got too close and the car was moving around and we hit and she had a bad wreck. I felt really bad because it was far from anything than just trying to hold my position. I’ve never had an issue with Danica at all. It was an avoidable accident in the middle of the straightaway that was far from anything but just trying to hold my position that I had just gained.” Kahne and crew chief Keith Rodden were summoned to the NASCAR hauler after the race. “I don’t see the NASCAR hauler very often, other than signing in on Friday mornings,” Kahne said. “They just wanted to make sure that everything was OK from my perspective and there were no hard feelings prior to the wreck or anything like that. Not at all.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-21-2016)
  • Incident with Logano leaves Truex upset: #78-Martin Truex Jr. and #22-Joey Logano were racing for 4th place on lap 151 of the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway when Logano either took the air off or made contact with the #78 sending the car up and into the wall. Truex was able to keep racing but fell back when he was caught speeding during a pit stop on lap 154. Truex Jr. finished 32nd and was not happy with Logano. Comments from each driver:
    Q) How was your race?
    Truex Jr.: “We had a good run going until the #22 (Joey Logano) put our car into the fence. There was a lot of right-side damage to the car, and we were pretty much toast after that incident. Not sure what he (Logano) was thinking about at the time, but that hit spoiled our day. We went from being a contender to the back of the field. Really frustrating to have a good car and not have anything to show for it. I think we were running in or close to the top five when the 22 rammed our Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota.”(Toyota Racing)
    Q) MARTIN TRUEX JR. TALKED WITH YOU AFTER THE RACE. WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT?
    Logano: “It was completely my fault. I was gonna go in on the outside of him and he was gonna go in on the top as well and I just ended up being right on him. We never touched each other, but just taking the air off these cars makes them uncontrollable. I didn’t mean to do that. I was gonna try to go to the top and I just got a little bit close to him and got him free, so I’m taking the hit on that one.”
    Q) WE HEAR HOW AGGRESSIVE YOU LIKE TO BE AT THE END OF RACES, SO WERE YOU LICKING YOUR CHOPS ON THAT FINAL RESTART?
    Logano: “I was in a decent spot. I was gonna try everything I could to try to get a run and do what I had to do, but I just spun the tires. I don’t know why. It didn’t really do that all day. I don’t know what made it do that at the end. I’ll have to watch the replay.”(Ford Racing)(3-21-2016)


    News from March 20, 2016


  • Superman (Johnson) wins at Auto Club: #48-Jimmie Johnson, running a Superman paint scheme, won the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway for his 2nd win of the season, 6th win at Auto Club Speedway (the most of any driver) and 77th career win, which allows him to pass Dale Earnhardt (76 wins) for 7th all time. #4-Kevin Harvick led the most laps 142 of 205 laps. The race ended in NASCAR Overtime when #18-Busch had a tire go down with two laps left in the race. Harvick led the race when the caution came out. All the leaders made pit stops for new tires, Harvick came out 2nd and #11-Hamlin came out with the lead. Johnson came out 3rd but took the lead on the first overtime lap and kept the lead to win the race.
    #4-Harvick finished 2nd, followed by #11-Hamlin, #22-Logano, #17-Stenhouse Jr., #24-Elliott (best career finish), #19-Edwards, #47-Allmendinger, #2-Keselowski and #1-McMurray.
    #88-Batman (Earnhardt Jr.), was never a factor but was able to finish 11th. The pole winner, #3-Austin Dillon ended up with a 24th.
    There were two hard wrecks. The first was on lap 46 when #42-Larson had a rear tire go down, causing his car to slap the outside wall, which then shot the car across the track, with no brakes, hard into the SAFER wall on the inside wall. Larson was OK.
    On lap 120, #10-Patrick was running 19th when she passed #5-Kahne. Kahne came down after the pass, but misjudged and clipped the #10 rear end, causing it to spin and slam the outside wall. Patrick was OK, but not happy.
    There were 26 lead changes among 8 drivers and 6 cautions for 33 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 137.213mph.
    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)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Auto Club Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-20-2016)
  • Race Fast Facts – Auto Club:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson won the 20th Annual Auto Club 400, his 77th victory in 512 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second victory and third top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his sixth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 22 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    #4-Kevin Harvick (second) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 23 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his fifth top-10 finish in 2016.
    #11-Denny Hamlin (third) posted his fifth top-10 finish in 15 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    #24-Chase Elliott (sixth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    #4-Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 11 points over Jimmie Johnson.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-20-2016)
  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Points (not CHASE) Standings:
    [after Auto Club, race 5 of 36]
    1) #4-Harvick [1 win], 195
    2) #48-Johnson [2 wins], 184, -11
    3) #19-Edwards, 171, -24
    4) #11-Hamlin [1 win], 170, -25
    5) #18-Busch, 170, -25
    6) #22-Logano, 165, -30
    7) #41-Busch, 148, -47
    8) #88-Earnhardt Jr., 145, -50
    9) #2-Keselowski [1 win], 142, -53
    10) #3-Dillon, 139, -56
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
    Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)
  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup CHASE Standings:
    [after Auto Club, race 5 of 36, 16 drivers for the Chase]
    Set by most wins, then by points standing
    1) #48-Johnson [2 wins], 2nd in drivers pts
    2) #11-Hamlin [1 win], 4th
    3) #4-Harvick [1 win], 2nd
    4) #2-Keselowski [1 win], 9th
    no wins, in by drivers points standings
    5) #19-Edwards, 171 points
    6) #18-Busch, 170
    7) #22-Logano, 165
    8) #41-Busch, 148
    9) #88-Earnhardt Jr., 145
    10) #3-Dillon, 139
    11) #78-Truex, Jr., 127
    12) #1-McMurray, 125
    13) #43-Almirola, 120
    14) #17-Stenhouse Jr., 119
    15) #20-Kenseth, 113
    16) #24-Elliott, 110
    (3-20-2016)
  • Race Coverage of the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is scheduled for Sunday, March 20, 2016.
    Television (TV): FOX at 3:30 pm/et; Pre-Race show at 3:00 pm/et; green flag approx. 3:47pm/et
    RadioMotor Racing Network (MRN) and Sirius XM Satellite NASCAR Radio 90
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, March 21 at 3:00am/et and 8:30am/et on FS1; and 12:00pm/et on FS2
  • Auto Club Pre-Race Schedule for Sunday, March 20: (eastern time)
    1:30:00 pm: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting
    3:00:00 pm: NSCS Drivers Introductions
    3:30:15 pm: God Bless America by American Idol Top Five finalists
    3:31:15 pm: Presentation of Colors: California Army National Guard Color Guard
    3:31:35 pm: Invocation by Jeff Hamilton, Official Chaplain of Auto Club Speedway
    3:32:15 pm: National Anthem by Jon Foreman of SwitchFoot
    3:33:45 pm: Fly-by: 2 F-16’s from the 16th Weapons Squadron at Nellis AFB, NV
    3:38:45 pm: Command to Start Engines by actor Eric Dane of TNT’s “The Last Ship”
    3:47:00 pm: Green Flag for the Auto Club 400
    eastern time (NASCAR.com)
    TV = FOX, Radio = MRN / SiriusXM90
  • Auto Club Race Notes & Facts:
    � There have been 26 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway, the track hosted one NSCS race a season from 1997-2003, then two races per season from 2004-2010. In 2011 Auto Club Speedway returned to a single race season.
    � Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Auto Club Speedway with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven and Stewart Haas Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske each have two.
    � Only three car numbers have produced three or more Auto Club Speedway NSCS wins: #48-Jimmie Johnson (2002, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010), #17-Matt Kenseth (2006, 2007 and 2009), #24-Jeff Gordon (1997, 1999 and 2004)
    � There have been four green-white-checkered finishes at Auto Club Speedway: 2005 (250/254), 2006 (250/251), 2014 (200/206), 2015 (200/209).
    � Since the advent of electronic scoring (1993) the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Auto Club Speedway was the (3/27/2011) race won by Kevin Harvick with a MOV of 0.144 second over Jimmie Johnson.
    � The NASCAR Sprint Cup race at ACS has only been postponed to another date due to weather once – the 2008 February race – Scheduled date: 2/24/08; Actual Date: 2/25/08.
    � Four of the last five races at Auto Club Speedway that have not ended under caution have had a margin of victory that is less than a second.
    (NASCAR)
  • Haas F1 Team Earns Points in Debut Race: the Haas F1 Team, owned by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Gene Haas [Stewart-Haas Racing #4, #10, #14, #41], made history before and after the 32nd Australian Grand Prix Sunday in Melbourne. The organization’s debut in Round 1 of the 2016 FIA Formula One World Championship marked the first time an American team had competed in Formula One since 1986. And after ending a 30-year drought for an American squad in Formula One, Haas F1 Team ended another drought for an organization’s maiden F1 race. After starting 19th, Haas F1 Team driver Romain Grosjean finished an impressive sixth, earning the team eight points in the constructor standings.(full post at haasf1team.com)(3-20-2016)
  • Wounded veterans enjoy day at Auto Club Speedway: Bringing veterans together for an adventure brought Temecula-based Wishes For Warriors to Auto Club Speedway on Saturday for the NASCAR Xfinity Series TreatMyClot.com 300. The group, founded two years ago by former Marine Corps Staff Sergeant Bryan Marshall, is a nonprofit organization specializing in outdoor experiences for wounded veterans. “We get these men and women back out there,” Marshall said. “Ninety nine percent of what we do is outdoors, and there’s no gimmicks.” Marshall, 32, was joined by nine veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Saturday for a meet-and-greet with several series drivers before escaping to an on-track suite to watch the race. “We try to do as many epic, awesome things for these guys as we can. To let them know that we care, and to re-fire that spark in them,” said Marshall, a resident of Temecula. It was the first NASCAR experience offered by Wishes For Warriors, which has previously provided hunting and fishing trips, white-water rafting and even skydiving excursions for veterans.(Press Enterprise)(3-20-2016)
  • Kyle Busch fighting tire issues: Adam Stevens, crew chief for #18-Kyle Busch, said his team hasn’t resolved a left rear tire wear issue that surfaced during Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice sessions at Auto Club Speedway. “I don’t know what it was,” Stevens said. “We tried multiple things to remedy it and it’s getting better, but it’s not like it’s gone. We still have some concerns after final practice.” Goodyear officials said the problem was traced to air pressures and camber settings, but Stevens said his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing team was not “out of the box on any one of those things compared to every car that we’re capable of looking at and past history.” JGR fields four Sprint Cup entries and has a technical alliance with Furniture Row Racing. “But we’re the only ones that seem to be having a problem,” he said. “I don’t know what to do to fix it because everybody else is quite similar.” The wear improved in the final practice, according to Stevens, “but you (still) saw excessive wear,” he said. “When it gets hot and gets slick and slows down, a lot of those problems tend to go away,” he said. “I don’t know that anything that we’ve done has made it any better, other than just the normal rubbering in of the track and the lap times falling off to be honest.” Stevens said his team didn’t see the wear issues here last season, but a similar problem did surface at Atlanta earlier this year.(NASCAR.com)(3-20-2016)
  • Bees force NASCAR to abandon flag stand UPDATE: There was a lot of buzz Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Literally. A swarm of bees invaded NASCAR’s flag stand Friday afternoon at the 2-mile oval, meaning Xfinity Series practice got underway with no green flag and no flag man. FOX Sports cameras zoomed in on a collection of bees – dozens, at least – clinging to a ledge in the flag stand. Obviously, NASCAR decided it was better to not have a flag man for practice than to expose any officials to needless stings (drivers can still hear about the track conditions from their team radio communications). After practice, a beekeeper arrived and sprayed some sort of liquid at the swarm — many of which fell in a bucket. But NASCAR spokesman Tom Bryant said there were remnants of “less than happy bees in the flag stand area” before Sprint Cup Series qualifying, which meant the flag man had to stand on an elevated platform near the start/finish line in order to wave the green. “We anticipate no problems with this situation tomorrow or at any other point in the weekend,” Bryant said.(USA Today)(3-19-2016)
    UPDATE: When NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice started on Saturday morning at Auto Club Speedway, there was a flag man on his usual perch atop the flag stand at the start/finish line. That was noteworthy only because an infestation of bees had driven the flag man from his usual station on Friday, forcing Sprint Cup qualifying to be flagged on a temporary platform behind the grandstand fence. Bees are an important part of the ecology, and in California, invading swarms must be relocated rather than killed. Accordingly, the speedway called in a beekeeper who immobilized the unwelcome visitors with a spray and collected and removed the swarm. So when Sprint Cup practice began at 8:00am/pt on Saturday morning, the flag man was back in his usual spot – with no bees in sight.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-20-2016)
  • NASCAR defends letting Auto Club XFINITY race ‘play out’: Kyle Busch thought NASCAR should have thrown the caution flag. ustin Dillon called it a “great decision.” And NASCAR officials said they saw no reason to throw the yellow on the final lap of Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen at Auto Club Speedway. Because Busch had taken the white flag at the start/finish line, if NASCAR had thrown the caution flag, the field would have been frozen at that point. According to the rulebook, under such circumstances each vehicle is required to complete the lap without assistance while maintaining a reasonable speed based on track conditions. Vehicles aren’t permitted to pass and must maintain their position; reasonable speed and track conditions are a NASCAR judgment determination. NASCAR officials said they saw no reason to throw the caution at that point, and that Busch was continuing to race; they saw nothing that posed a safety risk to others. It was their decision, an official said, to “let it play out.”(NASCAR.com)(3-20-2016)


    News from March 19, 2016


     

  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #3-Dillon chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole winners].
    Outside pole sitter #4-Harvick took pit stall 12A, the first pit stall with an opening in front of it.
    #11-Hamlin, who starts 3rd took the 2nd, right behind the pole winner.
    The 43rd and final pit stall was taken by #19-Edwards, who starts 5th.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on Jayski.com’s Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-19-2016)
  • Happy Hour (final) Practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top-five, slowest and notes:
    #20-Kenseth 185.419
    #19-Edwards 185.347
    #21-Blaney 185.161
    #22-Logano 185.099
    #43-Almirola 185.071
    slowest: #46-Annett 177.039 & #32-Earnhardt 177.309
    notes: #42-Larson smacked the turn 4 wall midway thru practice, #16-Biffle ran info the rear of the #42 and spun thru the grass.
    The #16 team and #42 team will fix their primary cars and are not going to a backup car.
    #78-Truex Jr. had the best 10 consecutive lap average speed of 180.723.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, 10 consecutive laps aves on the Auto Club Happy Hour Practice Speeds page (pdf).(3-19-2016)
  • Saturday’s First Practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top-five, slowest and notes:
    #19-Edwards 187.906
    #78-Truex Jr. 187.632
    #31-Newman 186.640
    #18-Busch 186.635
    #3-Dillon 186.587
    slowest: #30-Josh Wise 176.337 and #32-Earnhardt 178.771
    most laps run: #95-McDowell 37; #20-Kenseth & #22-Logano 33
    notes: #43-Almirola and #41-Busch both slapped the turn 2 wall, pancaking the right sides of their cars.
    Supposedly the #43 team will repair the car. The #41 team will go to a backup car and start the race on Sunday from the rear.
    #18-Busch had the best 10 consecutive lap average speed of 182.568.
    Happy Hour (final) practice is scheduled to start at 2:30pm/et and be televised on FS1.
    See fastest speeds, laps run, 10 consecutive laps aves on the Auto Club Practice 2 Speeds page (pdf).(3-19-2016)
  • Biffle & Larson involved in Happy Hour practice wreck, quotes: #16-Greg Biffle was involved in a practice accident during Happy Hour with #42-Kyle Larson at Auto Club Speedway. Biffle damaged the nose of his Fusion, but the team has removed the hood and is currently working to make repairs. Biffle spoke about what happened immediately afterwards.
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
    Biffle: “We were on new tires. That was our second lap and the 42 was on old tires, so our closure rate was super-fast. I was kind of looking at my mark on the wall and on the race track and he wrecked in front of me and I just couldn’t get stopped. There wasn’t anywhere for me to go. The groove is right up against the fence and I was going probably 15-20 miles an hour faster than he was. By the time I saw him sideways I was catching him so fast that I don’t know what happened.”(Ford Performance)
    #42-Kyle Larson hit the wall during Happy Hour practice, and was subsequently hit by the #16 of Greg Biffle.
    Q) WHAT HAPPENED?
    Larson: “I was running decent laps up there on the top and just got loose there and kind of corrected and just barely hit the wall. I decided to slow down so much that the #16 (Greg Biffle) caught me in the back quarter. They’re still trying to decide if we need to go to a back-up car, or not. I didn’t hit the wall hard, so the frame is all right; there’s just body damage. I was decent there. I’m just disappointed; but it was my fault and I apologize to Biffle for that. I just had to slow down so much that he (Biffle) didn’t have time to react and got into my rear bumper there. So they’re still trying to decide if we need to go to a back-up, or not; it’s more just body damage. They may be able to (make repairs); hopefully they can because I thought that finally I felt okay. It’s been the first time all weekend that I felt that we had decent speed, especially long-run speed. So, I’m disappointed in myself. It was a mistake on my part and hopefully it’s not too much work for them (the #16 team).
    Q) WHAT DID YOU AND GREG BIFFLE DISCUSS JUST NOW?
    Larson: “Oh, just that he was on fresh tires and was coming and it’s so wide, he wasn’t really looking at my car. And he said by the time I got loose, he didn’t really have whole lot of time to react. So, I hate it for those guys having to work hard on their car, as well. Hopefully we can get ours fixed enough, and so can they to have some speed tomorrow.”
    FOLLOW-UP NOTE: The team will make repairs to the #42 Target Chevy and will not go to a back-up car for Sunday’s Auto Club 400.(Team Chevy)(3-19-2016)
  • France discusses thrilling start to 2016 season, new manufacturer coming? After two photo finishes and a bevy of side-by-side racing to start the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined SiriusXM Speedway host Dave Moody on Friday to discuss the early-season returns on the new aero package employed in the sport’s top series. “Well it’s off to a really good start obviously,” France said. “It’s not a situation where we’re willing to say everything is perfect because we’re always searching for terrific things on the racetrack. The low downforce [package], in combination with Goodyear producing a really good tire to match up to that, has given the drivers more of what they want and they’re putting on one heck of a race.”
    The 2016 season opened with Denny Hamlin capturing the Daytona 500 by a scant .010 seconds over Martin Truex Jr. That finish was followed by a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway – the first with the new lower downforce aero package – that saw a record number of green flag passes for the lead (44). And last Sunday in Phoenix, Kevin Harvick edged Carl Edwards to the finish line by the identical Daytona margin of victory of .010 seconds. But it was the end-of-race, sheet-metal crushing aggression displayed by both Harvick and Edwards at the end of the race that most impressed France.
    “You’ve heard me say many, many times, that’s classic NASCAR racing when that happens,” France said of the contact made between Harvick and Edwards at the close of Sunday’s race. “But it’s interesting to note that not all the drivers that we have, present or past, would have made the moves that Carl Edwards tried to do to get around Harvick. Harvick did a great job. They both did a great job. But that’s classic NASCAR. We expect that.”
    In the wide-ranging 12 minute interview, France also touched on the potential of new manufacturers entering the sport, joining the current stable of Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota. “There is some interest, and by a couple of different manufacturers and we would be open to that in the right conditions,” France said. “I think a lot of the car companies are understandably looking at the terrific job that Toyota has done by partnering with NASCAR and the success and all the things that comes along with that. They’ve been an incredible success story for a car manufacturer looking to come into a sport that’s very difficult to come in, compete and win every weekend. But there’s an interest. And this is obviously the biggest opportunity in auto racing in North America.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-19-2016)
  • Bees force NASCAR to abandon flag stand: There was a lot of buzz Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Literally. A swarm of bees invaded NASCAR’s flag stand Friday afternoon at the 2-mile oval, meaning Xfinity Series practice got underway with no green flag and no flag man. FOX Sports cameras zoomed in on a collection of bees – dozens, at least – clinging to a ledge in the flag stand. Obviously, NASCAR decided it was better to not have a flag man for practice than to expose any officials to needless stings (drivers can still hear about the track conditions from their team radio communications). After practice, a beekeeper arrived and sprayed some sort of liquid at the swarm — many of which fell in a bucket. But NASCAR spokesman Tom Bryant said there were remnants of “less than happy bees in the flag stand area” before Sprint Cup Series qualifying, which meant the flag man had to stand on an elevated platform near the start/finish line in order to wave the green. “We anticipate no problems with this situation tomorrow or at any other point in the weekend,” Bryant said.(USA Today)(3-19-2016)
  • Vickers to drive at Martinsville and maybe some sports cars: Brian Vickers, subbing for injured Tony Stewart in the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Chaqritible Foundation Chevy, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed a few things including his future schedule, the transcript in part:
    Q) WHAT IS YOUR FUTURE SCHEDULE FOR RACING IN THE SPRINT CUP SERIES?
    Vickers: “Well I think practice is next and then qualifying. I’m really thinking long term. I just want to get through tomorrow (laughs). To be honest with you, the only think I do know is I’m going to have a weekend off next weekend. I’m kind of really enjoying this schedule. I don’t know if NASCAR is up to changes, but I am loving the weekend off, weekend on thing. That has been very relaxing, very fun. I get to race, but I also get some time off. I’m going to get it again with Easter weekend, but as of right now I’m going to be in Martinsville in the Janssen Arnie’s Army Foundation car again. Really pumped about that to kind of continue that forward. Then we are figuring out everything from there. Nothing has really changed I think everyone is really just kind of waiting to see how Tony shakes out. As much as I and I can genuinely and honestly say this, as much as I want to race this car as long as I can, because it’s a great team and a great car and a great opportunity. I really want to see Tony back in it. I have been in his shoes. I know exactly what it’s like. It’s his last season; he deserves to be in this car as much as he can be. I’m honored to race it as long as I need to and as long as I can, but I’m happy to turn the keys back over as soon as he’s ready.”
    Q) ARE YOU ALSO LOOKING AT THE POSSIBILITY OF GOING BACK TO RACING SPORTS CARS AGAIN?
    Vickers: “Yes, I am open to racing everything that has a seat, four wheels and a steering wheel if the opportunity presents itself. I would absolutely go back to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. I would absolutely go back to the BC Series. I would be open to racing anything. I love racing. I love being in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I think it’s one of the greatest forms or racing in the world. It’s fun for the drivers. Everyone always talks about, yeah, but your car’s don’t’ have wings, and I’m like yes, they don’t and they pass more and they race side-by-side and we get to bump each other. It’s a fantastic form of racing, but there is also a lot of merit to the other stuff. I’ve had the opportunity to drive a lot of different cars in different series and they are all amazing. I think in the racing community, it’s funny, everyone in the racing community agrees that racing is one of the best forms of sports and most entertaining and fun and exciting for the drivers and the fans. Now, they all may debate which series they think is the best, but they all agree that all of them are great. I would second that. I would love to be back in a sports car again and anything else that comes along.”(Team Chevy)
    Ty Dillon who has been a co-sub in the #14 Chevy, is scheduled to run the #95 Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing Chevy at Texas, so looks like Vickers could be in the #14 Chevy at Texas.(Team Chevy)(3-19-2016)
  • Phoenix TV Ratings UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Phoenix drew a 3.6 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 5% from last year (3.8), and down 25% from 2014, when the race was the second of the season (4.8). The 3.6 overnight is the lowest for NASCAR from Phoenix since 2010, the last time it aired on a Saturday night (3.4). The six-year low continued a season-long trend for NASCAR. Las Vegas tied its lowest overnight since moving to FOX in 2001, Atlanta earned the lowest overnight since 2000 for the second race of the season, and the Daytona 500 had its second-lowest overnight since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979. After overnights dropped by double-digits at Daytona (-16%) and Atlanta (-27%), Sunday’s race was the second straight to drop by only five percent. While a decline is still a decline, the single-digit slide marks a noticeable improvement. For the weekend, NASCAR on FOX trailed only the NCAA Selection Show (3.7) among sports programs. It will almost certainly come out ahead when the final numbers are released.(Sports Media Watch / ShowBuzz Daily)(3-15-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Phoenix drew a 4.0 final rating and 6.6 million viewers on FOX Sunday afternoon, down a tick in ratings and 5% in viewership from last year (4.1, 7.0M) and down 25% in both measures from 2014, when it was the second race of the season (5.3, 8.8M). Kevin Harvick’s win ranks as the lowest rated and least-watched Sprint Cup race from Phoenix since 2010 – the last time the race took place on a Saturday night (3.7, 6.0M).(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily), see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(3-19-2016)
  • Auto Club Driver Notes & Facts:
    � 141 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club; 116 in more than one.
    � Jeff Gordon leads the series in starts at Auto Club Speedway with 26.
    � Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers in start at Auto Club Speedway with 23 starts.
    � Chris Buescher (2015), Kevin Conway (2010), J.J. Yeley (2004), Shane Hmiel (2004), Greg Biffle (2002) and Mike Dillon (1998) all made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start at Auto Club Speedway.
    � 15 different drivers have won at ACS, led by Jimmie Johnson (five). Three other drivers have multiple wins at Auto Club Speedway: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth each have three wins, Tony Stewart has two.
    � Jimmie Johnson (2002) and Kyle Busch (2005) posted their first series career win at Auto Club Speedway.
    � Jimmie Johnson (fall of 2009 – spring of 2010) and Kyle Busch (2013, 2014) are the only drivers to win consecutive races at Auto Club Speedway.
    � 12 of the 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Auto Club Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon (1997 – inaugural event) and Jimmie Johnson (2002) are the only drivers to win at ACS in their first appearance.
    � Tony Stewart competed at Auto Club Speedway 18 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the 15 winners. Only Stewart (18) and Kevin Harvick (17) have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Auto Club Speedway.
    � Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Auto Club Speedway without visiting Victory Lane at 23.
    � Three reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Auto Club Speedway the following season: Tony Stewart (2012), Jeff Gordon (1999) and Jimmie Johnson – the only driver to do it multiple times (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
    � Two drivers have won at Auto Club Speedway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (1997) and Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010).
    � Jimmie Johnson leads the series in runner-up finishes at Auto Club Speedway with five; followed by Jeff Gordon with four.
    � Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Auto Club Speedway with 12; followed by Jeff Gordon (10), Matt Kenseth (nine), Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch (eight each).
    � Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson lead the series in top-10 finishes with 15 each; followed by Carl Edwards (14) and Tony Stewart (13).
    � Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finishing position at ACS with a 6.762.
    � Jimmie Johnson (6.8), Carl Edwards (8.7) are the only two active drivers with an average finish inside the top 10 at Auto Club Speedway.
    � Two female drivers have competed at Auto Club Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Shawna Robinson and Danica Patrick. **Note: Robinson first attempted to qualify for a race at ACS on 4/29/2001 but did not qualify for the event.
    (NASCAR)
  • Harvick comments on the downforce package: #4-Kevin Harvick, race winner last week at Phoenix, met with media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed the new downforce package, the transcript in part:
    Q) CAN YOU GIVE US A SENSE OF THE NEW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE SO FAR THIS YEAR, AND TELL US WHAT YOU THINK THE RACING WILL BE LIKE THIS WEEKEND IN FONTANA? HOW HAS THE PACKAGE IMPACTED THE RACING?
    Harvick: “As a driver, especially last week; when you look at myself and Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., and you look at the way you could go through traffic, it seems like the cars were affected a lot less by the aero push and being around each other. They seemed a lot less dependent on where you are in the field. Obviously they are still not going to be as good as they were if you were the lead car, but I think we’ve definitely made some headway. I think there’s obviously a lot of notes that have been gathered and from a driver’s standpoint, I think this is the race we’ve all been looking forward to the most just because of the fact that you have some high speeds and lots of racing lanes and the cars are going to slide all over the place. So, it’s definitely a weekend that we’re all looking forward to. This has probably been one of our better races over the past several years, so it’s going to be a fun weekend.”(Team Chevy)(3-19-2016)
  • Auto Club Speedway a rough, difficult track: The rougher a track is, the more drivers seem to like it. That’s certainly the conventional wisdom at Auto Club Speedway, which features pronounced bumps on the backstretch, abrasive asphalt and distinct seams between the racing lanes. “You could write a book about a lap at this place,” said Carl Edwards, runner-up to Kevin Harvick by .010 seconds last Sunday at Phoenix. “There’s so much happening out there-where you place your tires, how you enter the corner, what the guy in front of you is doing. All of those things add up to a lot different balance. Turns 1 and 2, as many times as I’ve been here, I still don’t feel like I have it figured out. There’s spots that I like to run, there’s things I like to do, but there’s some spots out there and it’s like, man, I can’t quite figure out what’s happening. When you hit this point in the race track and the car moves and I can’t repeat it all of the time, so you never really know what you’re going to get. I think that’s good. It’s a little bit unpredictable, it’s definitely tough and, to me, that’s part of the fun.”
    Edwards, however, didn’t have as much fun as he would have liked during Friday’s opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. He was 25th on the speed chart, and he pointed to a dilemma that can haunt drivers and crew chiefs at the two-mile track: Whether to change the car or change your racing line? “Your car can drive terribly, and then you can move around a little bit and it drives pretty well,” Edwards said. “So then you’ve got to decide, ‘Well, is that where I want to race, or do I want to race over here where it’s terrible? Should we work on it?’ It’s tough. It’s hard to decide exactly what you want. The fun is that you can actually change it. You can do things. If the car isn’t working well in one spot, you move somewhere else and try something else. You’re not locked into a tiny little box where everybody has to run in the exact same spot.”(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-19-2016)
  • Busch could be fined for Fontana post-race: Kyle Busch could face penalties after NASCAR completes a review of his conduct following Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. A NASCAR spokesman confirmed to Motorsport.com on Saturday night the sanctioning body would be reviewing Busch’s post-race actions and comments. Busch was upset with NASCAR’s decision not to throw a caution – which could have locked Busch in as the winner if the field was frozen – but he still managed to finish second. However, he failed to fulfill any of his post-race media obligations, either on pit road or in the media center, after the race. Drivers can be penalized for not fulfilling required media obligations. NASCAR is also reviewing Busch’s comments after the race over his team radio, a portion of which were played on the TV broadcast by Fox Sports. At one point, Busch says, “Debris all over the race track and they don’t throw a yellow. I’m just so pleased with you NASCAR. Thanks. Y’all are awesome. Fixing races. How about ….” NASCAR’s code of conduct, which was updated in February, calls for fines of between $10,000 and $50,000 and/or probation for comments that disparage the sport and/or NASCAR’s leadership. An accusation of “fixing races” could certainly fall under that category.(Motorsport)(3-19-2016)
  • Wallace fails post-race inspection: #6-Darrell Wallace’s car failed post-race Laser Inspection Station. NASCAR will determine next week if a penalty is warranted.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-19-2016)
  • Austin Dillon wins XFINITY race at Auto Club: #2-Austin Dillon won the TREATMYCLOT.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway. It is his 7th XFINITY Series win and 1st of the year. #18-Kyle Busch finished second, followed by #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., #19-Daniel Suarez, #1-Elliott Sadler, #88-Kevin Harvick, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #42-Kyle Larson, #33-Brandon Jones, and #7-Justin Allgaier.
    Kyle Busch lead 133 of the 150 laps and was leading on the final lap, but cut a tire down going into turn 1. He was briefly passed by Suarez, who then ran out of gas on the backstretch. Busch retook the lead but Dillon passed him coming off turn 4 to take the win. It was the only lap Dillon led all day.
    There were just 4 cautions for 16 laps and 12 lead changes among 8 leaders.
    The average speed was 143.008mph.
    Complete results are on the Auto Club race results page (pdf).
    (3-19-2016)
  • Auto Club XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Austin Dillon(i) won the 18th Annual TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen, his seventh victory in 102 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in four races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Kyle Busch(i) (second) posted his 14th top-10 finish in 17 races at Auto Club Speedway. It is his fourth top-10 finish in 2016.
    Darrell Wallace Jr. (third) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Brandon Jones (ninth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Daniel Suarez leads the point standings by 10 points over Elliott Sadler.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-19-2016)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Auto Club:
    1) #19-Daniel Suarez, 182
    2) #1-Elliott Sadler, 172, -10
    3) #7-Justin Allgaier, 163, -19
    4) #33-Brandon Jones, 161, -21
    5) #3-Ty Dillon, 159, -23
    6) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 154, -28
    7) #20-Erik Jones, 152, -30
    8) #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., 134, -48
    9) #16-Ryan Reed, 133, -49
    10) #48-Brennan Poole, 130, -52
    11) #11-Blake Koch, 122, -60
    12) #43-Jeb Burton, 121, -61
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-19-2016)
  • Daniel Suarez on XFINITY pole at Auto Club: #19-Daniel Suarez won the Coors Light pole for the TREATMYCLOT.com 300 at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 179.955mph. #20-Erik Jones will start second. The rest of the top 12: #18-Kyle Busch, #42-Kyle Larson, #1-Elliott Sadler, #2-Austin Dillon, #43-Jeb Burton, #11-Blake Koch, #48-Brennan Poole, #16-Ryan Reed, #22-Ryan Blaney, and #3-Ty Dillon.
    Did Not Qualify: #13-Carl Long & #89-Morgan Shepherd.
    The starting lineup is posted on the Auto Club starting lineup page (pdf).(3-19-2016)
  • Auto Club Qualifying Notes:
    Daniel Suarez won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 18th Annual TreatMyClot.com 300 by Janssen with a lap of 40.010 seconds, 179.955 mph.
    This is his fourth pole in 40 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his first pole and fifth top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his first pole in two races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Erik Jones (second) posted his fifth top-10 start of 2016 and his second in two races at Auto Club Speedway.
    Kyle Busch(i) (third) posted his 12th top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his fourth in four races this season.
    Erik Jones (second) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-19-2016)
  • XFINITY Qualifying Results (pdf)
  • Gase picks up California sponsor: NASCAR driver Joey Gase has a passion for sharing the importance of organ and tissue donation that rivals his passion for racing. When he was just 18 years old, his mother suffered from a sudden brain aneurism and tragically passed away at 44 years old. Joey and his family made the decision to honor her wish to be an organ donor, which led to saving and improving the lives of 66 people. Gase has teamed up with OneLegacy, the non-profit dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation serving the seven-county greater Los Angeles area, and Donate Life California, the nonprofit state-authorized organ, eye and tissue donor registry, to inspire others to register as organ donors. He will proudly display the OneLegacy and Donate Life California logos on the hood of his car as he races in Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series TREATMYCLOT.com 300 in Fontana, CA. He will also display the words “In Memory of Mary Gase,” a tribute to his mother’s inspiring choice that he shares each time he is on the race track. This is the first time Joey will team up with Donate Life California and OneLegacy at Auto Club Speedway and he could not be happier to do so.(Joey Gase PR)(3-19-2016)
  • Former NFL Player John Lynch named honorary race official: Auto Club Speedway announced that Super Bowl Champion John Lynch will be behind the wheel of the Official NASCAR 2016 Toyota Camry Pace Car as he leads the field of 39 stock cars before the start of the Auto Club 400 on Sunday. As an Honorary Race Official, Lynch will be involved with pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. He will be joined by Miss Sprint Cup, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Kevin Ortiz, Regional Mexican Artist, USMC Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville, Actor Eric Dane, and other dignitaries. A 15-year NFL veteran, Lynch played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Denver Broncos, earning 9 Pro Bowls in his career. He was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year. He now works as an Analyst for the NFL on FOX. In addition to top-notch live entertainment and a variety of Auto Club 400 ticket packages, fans experiencing Auto Club Speedway can also take advantage of free parking, bring in their own food, or partake in the unbelievable menu items on site as well as other cost-savings opportunities while enjoying a full day of entertainment and fun at a fantastic family value. For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit autoclubspeedway.com.(ACS)(3-19-2016)


    News from March 18, 2016


     

  • Austin Dillon wins Auto Club pole: #3-Austin Dillon won the Coors Light pole for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway with speed of 188.482mph for his 1st pole of 2016, 1st at Auto Club and 2nd of his career. Dillon’s previous best starting spot at Auto Club was 20th in 2014. #11-Hamlin set the new track record of 188.511 in the 2nd round.
    #4-Harvick is on the outside pole followed by #11-Hamlin, #31-Newman, #19-Edwards, #18-Busch, #6-Bayne, #24-Elliott, #22-Logano, #1-McMurray, #47-Allmendinger and #5-Kahne.
    #5-Kahne failed to get to the start-finish line in time and got no time and will start 12th.
    #2-Keselowski was fastest in the first round with a speed of 188.482mph and will start 15th.
    #11-Hamlin topped the second round with a track record speed of 188.511mph.
    Only 39 cars were entered so everyone made the race.
    See round-by-round qualifying results on the Auto Club qualifying results page (pdf) and the complete starting lineup on the Auto Club Starting Lineup page (pdf).(3-18-2015)
  • Auto Club Speedway – Qualifying Fast Facts:
    #3-Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 20th Annual Auto Club 400 with a lap of 38.200 seconds, 188.482 mph.
    This is his second pole in 90 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and third top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his first pole in three races at Auto Club Speedway.
    #4-Kevin Harvick (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2016 and his eighth in 23 races at Auto Club Speedway.
    #11-Denny Hamlin (third) posted his ninth top-10 start at Auto Club Speedway. It is his third in five races this season.
    #24-Chase Elliott (eighth) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Statistics)(3-18-2016)
  • Second Round of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over after 10 scheduled minutes.
    #11-Hamlin 188.511
    #24-Elliott 188.506
    #3-Dillon 188.437
    #4-Harvick 188.353
    #6-Bayne 188.034
    the rest of the top 12: 1 22 19 18 47 31 5;
    out of the top 12 and not advancing to the final round 3: 27 21 2 34 78 17 48 20 44 16 13 14
    (3-18-2016)
  • First Round of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 20 scheduled minutes.
    #2-Keselowski 188.482 (new track record)
    #24-Elliott 188.408
    #4-Harvick 188.294
    #11-Hamlin 188.280
    #22-Logano 188.152
    the rest of the top 24: 5 78 6 31 20 47 1 3 18 48 17 27 13 14 19 21 34 16 44;
    out of the top 24 and not advancing to round 2: 43 41 88 7 15 95 10 42 83 38 23 30 46 32
    Drivers who will miss the race: none as 39 cars entered for 40 spots
    (3-18-2016)
  • Coverage of Qualifying for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is scheduled for Friday, March 18, 2016 at 7:45pm/et.
    Television (TV): FS1, 7:30pm/et
    Radio: Live online at Motor Racing Network (MRN)
    Scheduled Qualifying Re-Air: Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 8:30am/et
  • Qualifying Order for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is posted. 39 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first driver to be lined up on pit road will be #44-Scott.
    The final driver lined up on pit road will be #78-Truex Jr..
    The order is set by a random draw, how cars park on pit road before they qualify, held about an hour before the first practice.
    After the first and second rounds, the cars line up by speed.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Auto Club Qualifying Order Page (pdf).(3-18-2016)
  • Friday Practice for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is over, after 85 scheduled minutes, the top-five, slowest and notes:
    #3-Dillon 188.511
    #78-Truex Jr. 188.432
    #4-Harvick 188.304
    #17-Stenhouse Jr. 188.289
    #34-Buescher 187.823
    slowest: #30-Josh Wise 179.073 and #32-Earnhardt 180.153
    most laps run: #47-Allmendinger 19; #24-Elliott & #32-Earnhardt, 32
    The top four drivers all ran faster then the track record of 188.245mph, set in Feb. 2005 by Kyle Busch.
    See fastest speeds, laps run (No driver ran 10 consecutive laps during this practice) on the Auto Club Practice 1 Speeds page (pdf).(3-18-2016)
  • Auto Club Pole Notes & Facts:
    � Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average starting position at Auto Club Speedway with a 9.476.
    � Joe Nemechek won the inaugural Coors Light pole (1997) with a speed of 183.015 mph (39.341 secs.).
    � 16 drivers have poles at Auto Club Speedway, led by Kurt Busch with four.
    � Denny Hamlin (2012, 2013), Kurt Busch (2006 sweep) and Jamie McMurray (2010 sweep) are the three drivers to win consecutive poles at Auto Club Speedway.
    � Three active drivers have posted their first NSCS Coors Light pole at Auto Club Speedway: Carl Edwards (9/4/2005) and Joe Nemechek (6/22/1997). Kyle Busch won his first pole (2/27/05) and first series win (9/4/05) at ACS in 2005.
    � California-native Jimmie Johnson became the first and only driver to win from the pole at Auto Club Speedway in 2008.
    � Only two of the 26 (7.6%) ACS races have been won from the front row both by six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, fall of 2008 (pole); and the fall of 2007 (second-place).
    � Nine of the 26 (34.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-five starting position.
    � 14 of the 26 (53.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
    � Seven of the 26 (26.9%) races have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    � The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 31st, by Matt Kenseth in the spring of 2006.
    � The most proficient starting position at ACS is pretty random. Three starting positions (third, ninth and 24th) have produced three winners each.
    � Coors Light Pole Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather at ACS only once – 1999 event.
    (NASCAR)
  • Most Mentioned Drivers 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
    Driver, Interviews, Interview Time, Mentions
    #48-Johnson, 4, 0:02:40, 532
    #4-Harvick, 3, 0:01:18, 434
    #20-Kenseth, 3, 0:01:52, 312
    #18-Busch, 5, 0:04:58, 306
    #78-Truex, Jr., 3, 0:02:56, 301
    #22-Logano, J., 2, 0:01:00, 291
    #2-Keselowski, 2, 0:02:48, 283
    #41-Busch, 0, 0:00:00, 264
    #11-Hamlin, 1, 0:01:00, 244
    #88-Earnhardt, Jr., 3, 0:02:35, 210
    #19-Edwards, 3, 0:02:15, 166
    #24-Elliott, 4, 0:01:58, 160
    #3-Dillon, 4, 0:03:02, 109
    #21-Blaney, 2, 0:01:10, 98
    #42-Larson, 0, 0:00:00, 52
    Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season (through #3 Las Vegas).(Joyce Julius & Associates)(3-18-2016)
  • What drivers are up in the standings over a year ago? down? Change is evident when the Sprint Cup series points standings is examined compared to this time last year. #41-Kurt Busch, #19-Carl Edwards and #3-Austin Dillon are among the drivers who have gained the most in the standings since last year, while #15-Clint Bowyer and #31-Ryan Newman are among those who have dropped the most. Here are the drivers who have gained the most in the standings compared to this time last year:
    #41-Kurt Busch … gained 29 spots to fourth
    #19-Carl Edwards … gained 16 spots to fifth
    #3-Austin Dillon … gained 14 spots to eighth
    #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr. … gained nine spots to 18th
    #11-Denny Hamlin … gained seven spots to sixth
    Kurt Busch was suspended the first three races last year and was 33rd at this time in the points after running one race, thus the big turnaround. His younger brother, Kyle, had yet to race at this point last year after being injured in the season-opening Xfinity race at Daytona.
    While those drivers have had better starts to the season, others have not fared as well.
    #15-Clint Bowyer … lost 19 spots to 34th
    #31-Ryan Newman … lost 17 spots to 25th
    #47-A.J. Allmendinger … lost 15 spots to 20th
    #27-Paul Menard … lost 15 spots to 26th
    #13-Casey Mears … lost 15 spots to 27th
    Bowyer is with HScott Motorsports this season before heading to Stewart-Haas Racing to take over Tony Stewart’s ride. Bowyer has not finished better than 22nd and has placed outside the top 30 in three races. Newman finished last at Phoenix after a melted bead caused a tire failure and sent him into the wall. Allmendinger has not finished better than 14th. Menard finished next-to-last at Phoenix after suffering a similar fate as Newman, his teammate. Mears has not finished better than 14th this season.(full article at NBC Sports)(3-18-2016)
  • FVP on the hood for Menard..what is FVP? image: #27-Paul Menard’s Chevy will run a FVP / Menards scheme at Auto Club Speedway. FVP will also be featured on the hood of the #27 Chevy in one more race in 2016, at Kansas in October. Built on a commitment to quality and delivered with unmatched service, FVP has been the confident solution for customers nationwide since 2005. FVP products are engineered to provide OE quality that is equal or superior in performance to national brands at a competitive price. FVP offers batteries, radiators, condensers, hub assemblies, automotive filters, antifreeze, DEF, oil, ATF and automotive chemicals (RCR), see an image of the car on the #27 Team Schemes page (3-18-2016)
  • Wood Brothers head to Auto Club Down One Man: Ryan Blaney and the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team head into Sunday’s Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway without the services of the team’s longest-serving road crew member other than those related to the Wood Brothers. Michael “Andretti” Smith tore his bicep muscle loose from his shoulder and fifty percent apart from his elbow while trying to hold a full can of gasoline out over the wall during a pit stop at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Smith was able to continue his role on the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew for the remainder of that race, since the remaining stops that day required only one can of fuel, which he was able to hand over to the gas man despite the injury and the pain. After consulting doctors, he decided to forego surgery and basically let his muscle reattach itself, although that will leave him with a slight bulge known as a “Popeye Muscle.” Doctors told Smith that with surgery he risked another tear that could cause him to lose some use of his wrist and fingers. He plans to return to the team after the Easter Break, at Martinsville Speedway, his home track. In the meantime, Jeffery Thousand and Wade Moore both from Team Penske are on loan to the team to fill in for Smith.(Wood Brothers Racing)(3-18-2016)
  • 2016 Kulwicki Driver Development Program Lineup Announced: Officials of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) announced the seven drivers who will represent the organization during the 2016 racing season. The seven drivers hail from six states spread from coast to coast. They range from 18 to 24 years in age. The Kulwicki Cup competition goes from April 1 through Oct. 31. The contest’s points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Drivers are given points for both their success in chasing checkered flags and for community engagement, program representation and social media activities. More info on the Driver Development News page.(3-18-2016)
  • Final day to nominate for Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award: Time is running out to nominate a Champion for Children for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide. The winner of The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented by Nationwide will receive a $100,000 donation for their charity and the three finalists will receive $25,000 donations. The nomination phase will end on March 18, 2016. The four finalists will be announced this summer and the winner will be announced on September 27 at The NASCAR Foundation Honors Gala in New York City. Nominations and more info nascar.com/award (3-18-2016)
  • Austin Dillon fastest in XFINITY happy hour: #2-Austin Dillon was quickest during happy hour for the TREATMYCLOT.com 300 with a speed of 176.622mph. He was followed by: #18-Kyle Busch, #22-Ryan Blaney, #3-Ty Dillon, #42-Kyle Larson, #19-Daniel Suarez, #20-Erik Jones, #43-Jeb Burton, #28-Dakoda Armstrong, and #16-Ryan Reed. 40 drivers participated in the session.
    See complete results on the Auto Club practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-18-2016)
  • Kyle Busch fastest in first XFINITY practice: #18-Kyle Busch was fastest during opening practice at Auto Club Speedway with a speed of 177.327mph. #20_Erik Jones was second, followed by: #42-Kyle Larson, #1-Elliott Sadler, #2-Austin Dillon, #22-Ryan Blaney, #19-Daniel Suarez, #16-Ryan Reed, #3-Ty Dillon, and #7-Justin Allgaier. 38 drivers practiced during the session.
    #7-Allgaier got into the wall during practice and will have to go to a backup car.
    See complete results on the Auto Club practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-18-2016)


    News from March 17, 2016


  • Joey Gase back in the #32 at Martinsville: per Joey Gase Racing’s Facebook page: Happy to announce Joey (Gase) will be racing at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on April 3rd! We are looking for sponsors for this race. This is a track Joey has always wanted to race at and is similar to the local track he grew up on! Hawkeye Downs Speedway and Expo Center. Gase ran the #32 Ford in one race so far in 2016, last week at Phoenix, finishing 32nd, his career best finish. Gase has raced the #32 in 3 races in 2015 and 4 races in 2014. This season the #32 Go Fas Racing team has run Bobby Labonte in the Daytona 500 and Jeffrey Earnhardt in two races, at Atlanta and Las Vegas. Earnhardt will be back in the #32 Can-Am Ford this week at Auto Club Speedway (3-16-2016)
  • McMurray visits Martinsville high school: #1-Jamie McMurray spent Wednesday (3/16/2016) morning with the MADawgs robotic team and other engineering students at Martinsville High School, learning about their competitive robotics program and 3-D printing operation and taking some questions on racing. The driver said he went to school to be a machinist and appreciated the time the students put in to the projects. “I thought it was really cool to see all the time the kids put in after-hours,” McMurray said. “It’s really neat and is something I would have wanted to be a part of when I was in school. It’s really cool to see the kids use their heads to build something like that then do it in competition. It was really cool.” McMurray admitted that he has a competitive streak and was happy to hear about the competitive aspect of MADawgs. “They give them parameters to work it. The challenge of it wasn’t just building a robot, it was going and competing,” McMurray said. “I’ve always been super competitive. I like the fact you get to build something as a team and see how you stack up against everybody else.” Todd Cassell, the engineering and robotics teacher at Martinsville High School, said he was thrilled to have McMurray in town for the morning. McMurray met the Bulldogs’ basketball team before heading out and posed for photographs with a number of students.(full post at the Martinsville Bulletin)(3-17-2016)
  • College students audition for NASCAR pit crews: NASCAR representatives were wowed Wednesday [3-16-2016] during a pit stop at Virginia State University, part of a nationwide search for athletes talented enough to become pit crew members. As it stands, NASCAR crews are predominantly white men, and NASCAR has been visiting several universities to attract talented racial minorities and women. “I’m impressed,” Phil Horton, director of athletic performance for Rev Racing, told about two dozen student-athletes at VSU, a historically black school in the Chesterfield County village of Ettrick. Horton said the VSU competitors were some of the most talented prospects he has seen as part of the Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program. He also praised the camaraderie of the students, who cheered for one other. VSU football, track and field, basketball and volleyball athletes competed in timed drills that included jump-roping, agility tests, sit-ups and push-ups. Organizers said they saw record performances, including one student who did 100 jumps in 28 seconds during the jump-roping competition.(full article at Richmond Times Dispatch)(3-17-2016)
  • Students will get their day at Auto Club Speedway: If NASCAR is returning to Auto Club Speedway this weekend, so are nearly 500 eighth grade students from 17 schools in San Bernardino County on Friday as part of the seventh S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Day. In addition to viewing practice for Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series cars, the students will get a first-hand experience on why science, technology, engineering and mathematics are important to the motorsports community through a series of hands-on activities. Richard Petty Motorsports driver #43-Aric Almirola is scheduled to be the guest speaker.(Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)(3-17-2017)
  • “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” schemes at Auto Club: To promote the upcoming and highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be running the #88 Nationwide Batman Chevy, while teammate Jimmie Johnson will represent the Man of Steel, driving the #48 Lowe’s Superman scheme. Earnhardt’s paint scheme will showcase the Batman emblem and textures of the Caped Crusader’s suit, and he will also wear a custom Batman-themed fire suit. This won’t be the first time Earnhardt Jr. has teamed up with The Dark Knight. Earnhardt has enjoyed past success in a Batman-themed car, winning at Michigan International Speedway on June 17, 2012.
    The “S” shield of Superman will adorn the #48 Lowe’s Chevy and Johnson will also wear a custom Superman-themed fire suit. Lowe’s, in partnership with DC Comics, has teamed up to promote the movie “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” featuring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, which opens in theaters on March 25th.
    Hendrick Motorsports, along with its partners Nationwide and Lowe’s, has also teamed with Warner Bros. to create “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” at-track activations for fans of all ages during the California race weekend. In addition to giveaways and themed activities, movie props, costumes, the Batmobile and the Nationwide Batman and Lowe’s Superman show cars will make an appearance in the Fan Zone. Licensed merchandise featuring the “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” paint schemes for the #48 and #88 cars will be available trackside and online. Lowe’s is partnering with “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and will provide kids with over 2,200 “Build and Grow” kits in the Auto Club Speedway Fan Zone this weekend. Kids can stop by the display area and build their own #48 Lowe’s Superman Chevy throughout the weekend.
    On Thursday, March 17, Earnhardt and Johnson will meet “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” actors Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in Los Angeles.(HMS), see images of the schemes on the #48 team paint schemes page and #88 team paint schemes page.(3-17-2016)
  • American Ethanol makes 2016 debut on the #3: #3-Austin Dillon will run the American Ethanol colors for the first time in the Auto Club 400. American Ethanol, a renewable source of cleaner burning energy from the bounty of America’s farmers, helps create new green jobs and a renewed sense of pride for the American worker, while helping to achieve greater energy security for our country. Launched by Growth Energy and the National Corn Growers Association, along with the support of other partners, American Ethanol is a breakthrough brand that seeks to expand consumer awareness of the benefits of ethanol and E15, and takes the NASCAR Green initiative to the next level (RCR), American Ethanol will also be the primary sponsor for five other races in 2016: Kansas in May, Pocono in Juy, Darlington in Sept (throwback), Talladega in October and Phoenix in November, see an image of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(3-17-2016)
  • Brian France at NYU & NASCAR at MIT: NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and the Commissioners of the NBA, NFL, MLB and MLS, led a group from across nine major professional sports leagues Monday at New York University to collaborate on social responsibility in sports. The industry summit was hosted by the NYU School of Professional Studies Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business.
    NASCAR at MIT: During the milestone 10th MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston, NASCAR Senior VP of Strategic Development Eric Nyquist participated on a panel entitled ‘Road to the Championship: Playoff Analytics.’ Joined by executives from MLB, the NCAA and MLS, Nyquist spoke about the evolution of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and how analytics played a role in shaping the new format of NASCAR playoffs.(NASCAR)(3-17-2016)
  • Auto Club Track Notes & History:
    Groundbreaking for California Speedway, as Auto Club Speedway was originally known, took place in November 1995.
    � The first race at Auto Club Speedway was a NASCAR K&N; Pro Series, West race won by Ken Schrader on June 21, 1997.
    � The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 22, 1997 and won by Jeff Gordon.
    � September 2004 was the first night race at Auto Club Speedway and that also was the first year both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series ran two races in a season there.
    � The track name was changed to Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in February of 2008.
    (NASCAR)
  • Auto Club Goodyear Tire Notes: While teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run the same left-side tire code at Fontana this week, they will run their own right-side codes . . . in Sprint Cup, teams previously ran this left-side tire code at Indianapolis and Darlington last year, but this is the first time they have run this right-side code . . . compared to what was run at Fontana last season, this left-side features a slight construction change . . . the change for this right-side is that it is a multi-zone tread tire, which features two distinct tread compounds on the same tire — one for endurance and heat resistance on the inboard two inches of the tread and one for traction on the outboard 10 inches . . . this right-side code features the same compound run at Fontana ’15 on the inboard, with a different compound for more grip on the outboard . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Fontana . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire. Goodyear’s “Spirit of Innovation,” based out of Carson, Calif., will be in the air over Auto Club Speedway this weekend . . . the ship will be a part of Fox’s television coverage of the Xfinity race on Saturday and Sprint Cup race on Sunday (Goodyear), see more nots, tire codes, set limits and more on the Auto Club Race Info page (3-17-2016)
  • NASCAR Tech Open House: The NASCAR Technical Institute is scheduled to have an Open House on Saturday, March 19th from 9:00am – 1:00pm/et at NASCAR Technical Institute location: 220 Byers Creek Road, Mooresville, NC 28117. More info and directions at uti.edu.(3-17-2016)
  • Harrison Burton to run fall Martinsville race for KBM: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that second-generation driver Harrison Burton will make his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut for the team driving the #18 DEX Imaging/Konica Minolta Tundra Oct. 29 in the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 at Martinsville Speedway. Burton, the son of 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner and current NBC Sports broadcaster Jeff Burton, is currently competing for Rookie of the Year honors in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series East. The racing prodigy was a three-time USAC Quarter Midget national champion before moving into Late Models, where at the age of 11 he captured his first pole in the Limited Late Model division at Ace Speedway in Elon, N.C. At the age of 12, he graduated to Pro-Late Models and won two races at Dillon (S.C.) Motor Speedway. At the age of 14, the talented teenager became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Whelen Super Late Model event when he visited victory lane twice during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna (Fla.) last February and in May he picked up his first Southern Super Series win at Mobile (Ala.) International Speedway. Last October, at the age of 15 years and eight days, Burton became the youngest driver to compete in the NASCAR K&N; Pro Series West when he raced in the series stop at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif. Burton, who will be eligible to race at Martinsville after his 16th birthday on Oct. 9, joins a crop of talented young drivers already in the KBM stable. The team recently signed 15-year-old third-generation driver Todd Gilliland to a limited schedule for the team’s Super Late Model program and boasts three Truck Series drivers that are 21 and younger; Christopher Bell (21), Cody Coughlin (20) and William Byron (18).(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(3-17-2016)
  • Eric Dane Named Auto Club 400 Grand Marshal: Eric Dane, the star of TNT’s The Last Ship, has been named Grand Marshal for the NASCAR Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series on March 20, 2016 at Auto Club Speedway. As Grand Marshal, Dane will give the command “Drivers, start your engines” to the 39-car field. As an Honorary Race Official, Dane will be involved with pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. He will be joined by Miss Sprint Cup, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot, Kevin Ortiz, Regional Mexican Artist, John Lynch, NFL on FOX, Nine Time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl Champ, and USMC Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville. Dane is currently in production on Season 3 on “The Last Ship” from executive producer Michael Bay. He plays Capt. Tom Chandler on the series which has the full cooperation of The US Navy, and was the #1 new cable series of 2014. To purchase tickets to race weekend call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to autoclubspeedway.com, or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.(ACS)(3-17-2016)
  • USMC Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville named Auto Club Honorary Starter: U.S. Marine and Hero, USMC Staff Sergeant Charlie Linville, will serve as Honorary Starter for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. As Honorary Starter, Staff Sergeant Linville will wave the green flag to start the Auto Club 400, and watch the stock cars take their first lap on one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit. As an Honorary Race Official, Linville will be involved with pre-race ceremony activities including driver introductions and special NASCAR awards. On January 20, 2011, while conducting an IED sweep in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, USMC Staff Sergeant Linville was blasted several yards into the air by a tertiary explosive device. By the time he landed in the blast crater, he had suffered devastating injuries to his right foot and hand. By summer of 2013, despite over a year of attempts at rehabilitation, he lost his right foot to an amputation below the knee. After the NASCAR Auto Club 400, he will climb Mount Everest in April and will become the first combat wounded veteran to summit the world’s biggest mountain. Linville partnered with The Heroes Project that leads mountaineering expeditions with gravely wounded veterans and active service members, enabling them to rediscover their strength and pride by scaling the world’s most challenging summits. To purchase tickets to race weekend call 800-944-RACE (7223), log on to autoclubspeedway.com, or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.(ACS)(3-17-2016)


    News from March 16, 2016


     

  • Kevin Harvick & Cal Ripken Jr. unveil Kevin Harvick Foundation Park: Kevin Harvick continued his commitment to supporting his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif., when the Kevin Harvick Foundation and Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation opened a multi-purpose Youth Development Park in the city. Sport superstars Cal Ripken Jr. and Kevin Harvick cut the ribbon to unveil the Kevin Harvick Foundation Park, which will provide a clean and safe environment in which local youth can play, learn and grow. The Bakersfield facility marks the second collaboration between the two organizations, which commenced their alliance by opening the Kevin Harvick Foundation Park in Greensboro, N.C., in November 2015.
    “The Kevin Harvick Foundation once again is honored to partner with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation to provide an amazing facility for so many underserved children to develop physically and mentally,” Harvick said. “Sports played a pivotal role in my youth and development later in life, and I am looking forward to seeing these children derive the same benefits from this facility, particularly the ones who wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to play and let loose in such a clean, safe atmosphere.”
    Much like the Greensboro park, the Bakersfield state-of-the-art facility is designed for multi-sport use, featuring four outdoor fitness stations, a rubber track surface circling the field’s perimeter and a digital scoreboard. The park, a gift to The Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Kern County, will be maintained by the organization, with whom the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Kevin Harvick Foundation will collaborate to create and implement character education programming and clinics for the children who utilize the facility.
    Guest speakers at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony included: Ripken, Baseball Hall ofFamer and Ripken Foundation vice chairman; Harvick, 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion and Kevin Harvick Foundation co-founder; Harvey Hall, Bakersfield Mayor; Jason Cohen, former President of Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Kern County; Vanessa Emo, President, Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Kern County; and Steve Salem, President, Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. Following the ceremony, the group christened the new Kevin Harvick Foundation Park when Ripken, Harvick and the children hit the field for a Quickball clinic – a fast-paced, easy-to-learn version of America’s pastime.
    “We are thrilled to have another opportunity to collaborate with the Kevin Harvick Foundation and continue to provide a safe place for our youth to play and learn,” Ripken said. “It’s very rewarding to unite with such a like-minded organization toward a greater cause. Together, we can continue to expand our reach and make a difference for kids everywhere.” The Bakersfield park marks the 52nd Youth Development Park completed by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation for use by Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. The Kevin Harvick Foundation assists in funding the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, as the two charitable organizations share the common goal of supporting underprivileged youth across the United States in various ways. During the last five years, the Ripken Foundation has developed more than 50 multi-purpose turf facilities in 16 states, impacting more than 220,000 youth. Since 2009, the Ripken Foundation has had presence in numerous communities throughout North Carolina through its Badges for Baseball law enforcement youth mentoring programand Youth Development Park initiative. In addition to Kevin Harvick Foundation Park, the Ripken Foundation has three Youth Development Parks in use by youth-serving organizations in Charlotte, Greenville and Raleigh – two of which are adaptive fields to provide children with special needs a safe place to play and grow. Kevin Harvick Foundation Park marks the second Ripken Foundation Youth Development Park in California, joining LA Dodgers Dreamfield adaptive field.(Kevin Harvick Foundation)(3-16-2016)
  • Three teams given written warnings for failing Phoenix inspections: Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams were warned for failing inspection at Phoenix International Raceway. #78-Martin Truex Jr. was given a written warning by NASCAR for failing NASCAR’s Laser Inspection System twice in pre-race inspection. #38-Landon Cassill’s car failed template inspection twice before qualifying at Phoenix and was given a warning. #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s car failed the Laser Inspection System three times in pre-race inspection and was given a warning and will lose 15 minutes of practice time on Friday at Auto Club Speedway. See the Phoenix Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report (pdf) for more.(3-16-2016)
  • Logano Presents Helmet to Student in Anti-bullying Campaign: On Sunday, March 13th, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion for Team Penske made a presentation in Victory Lane at Phoenix International Raceway. The Fuel for Success program, created a multi-state anti-bullying campaign that was focused on promoting anti-bullying at the elementary school level. Over 900 students across three states and four districts submitted race helmet designs as part of the campaign. The top five were chosen from police officers involved with the FFS program and then the winning design was selected from those five by Joey Logano. Felecia Na from the Colton Unified School District, CA was the overall winner. She and her family were provided a trip to the NSCS race at Phoenix International Speedway on Sunday, March 13th where driver Joey Logano presented her with an actual helmet, painted in her design.(Sport Dimensions)(3-16-2016)
  • Stewart to be Honored at the Speedway Children’s Charities Gala: The 36th annual Sonic Automotive Speedway Children’s Charities Gala will recognize one of NASCAR’s great philanthropists during a truly unforgettable evening on Wednesday, May 25. Tony Stewart will be honored for his successes on and off the track, including his incredible contributions to Speedway Children’s Charities across all eight Speedway Motorsports chapters. Stewart announced last year that 2016 would be his final season as a NASCAR driver, with the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion transitioning full-time into the role of owner at Stewart-Haas Racing, the title-winning Sprint Cup team he co-owns with Gene Haas, founder of Haas Automation. Stewart will never be far from the racetrack, be it in NASCAR or in the other realms of motorsports where he has a presence. Since 2009, Stewart has raised more than $1 million for Speedway Children’s Charities with his annual “Smoke Show” event. This day-long stock-car fantasy camp gives attendees a chance to drive a stock car around the 1.5-mile Texas Motor Speedway, with personal instruction from Stewart, as well as enjoy a three-lap ride-a-long around the oval’s high banks. Stewart is also an annual participant in SCC’s “Ride of a Lifetime” promotion. This online auction allows fans to bid on a chance to ride in the back of a pick-up truck with their favorite driver during the pre-race parade at speedways around the country. Stewart has participated in this fundraiser at each of the eight Speedway Motorsports facilities. The Speedway Children’s Charities Gala is among the top fundraising events in the area, with proceeds going to the grant program of Speedway Children’s Charities’ Charlotte Chapter. More info on Jayski.com’s Racing Charities page.(3-16-2016)
  • Updates on Tony Stewart’s health and return UPDATE2: #14-Tony Stewart already has defied his doctor’s orders, but there is one order he won’t ignore: The order that he won’t return to racing until the broken bone in his back has healed. The three-time Sprint Cup champion said Friday he will be ready to race once doctors give him the OK. He just has no clue when that will come. His first X-rays since the Feb. 3 surgery for his fractured L1 vertebra will be Wednesday, and that will let him know his progress and possibly set the schedule for his rehab and potential return. Stewart also wouldn’t rule out making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season, hopeful that NASCAR will award him a waiver to miss races, just like it did with Kyle Busch, while still requiring a win and a top-30 regular-season finish in the standings to make the Chase.(ESPN.com)(3-5-2016)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart was evaluated today by doctors, who checked on the injury he sustained in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident where the driver of the #14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra. Satisfied with the amount of healing that has taken place, doctors implemented a rehabilitation regimen that will hasten Stewart’s recovery. Future evaluations will be necessary before a timetable is known for Stewart’s return to racing. A full recovery is expected for the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, as is a return to the #14 Chevy this season. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(3-9-2016)
    UPDATE2: Tony Stewart has good news to savor in terms of his health. “You’re not waiting on me as far as my mind, I’m ready to go,” Stewart told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio after Sunday’s Good Sam 500, won by SHR driver Kevin Harvick in thrilling fashion. Four races into his final season, Stewart has yet to turn a lap because of a burst fracture of his first lumbar (L1) vertebra — the uppermost bone in the lower back — in an all-terrain vehicle accident Jan. 31. “It’s just, we had a good doctor visit this week and the X-rays were good,” he added. “It wasn’t really to see about the bone growth as much as just making sure the rods and screws were staying in place where they wanted them. They were really happy.” A return to the cockpit is still on indefinite hold for Stewart. “The funny part was when the doctor told me, or the surgeon cleared me to drive a street car,” Stewart said of his most recent doctor’s visit March 9. “I didn’t have the heart to tell him I’ve been driving for almost three weeks. I’m not really one to follow the doctor’s orders anyway, so we’re fine. I’ve been up all day today and I feel great, so we’re excited about where we’re at right now.” Stewart told SiriusXM that part of his rehabilitation has involved strengthening his core; he is expected to make a full recovery. Stewart also indicated that his next scheduled doctor’s appointment would come in late April.(in part from NASCAR.com)(3-15-2016)
  • TaxAct returns to #10 car at Auto Club: TaxAct, the official tax preparation software partner of Stewart-Haas Racing and driver Danica Patrick, will return to the track this weekend for the Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. To celebrate the 2016 debut of the #10 TaxAct Chevy and gear up for the end of tax season, TaxAct has joined forces with SHR to give race fans another opportunity to save money when filing their taxes with the launch of “Premium Finish.” TaxAct is offering race fans the chance to purchase its top-tier online tax preparation and filing solution at a highly discounted price. If Patrick or any member of the SHR team grabs a top-10 finish in select upcoming races, fans can register to file their 2015 federal and state tax returns using the TaxAct Online Premium Bundle for only $10 (originally priced at $49.98). This gives filers access to the federal and state forms needed to complete their return no matter how complex their situation, all in, for $10. In the event none of the SHR drivers finish in the top-10 in those selected races, a $10 discount off federal returns will be extended to honor the savings opportunity. Tax filers can get a “Premium Finish” starting Sunday with the running of the Auto Club 400, with applicable discounted pricing available through the following Saturday. TaxAct will offer additional opportunities for NASCAR fans to file returns with “Premium Finish” pricing for the races following the Auto Club 400 up to the tax filing deadline on April 18, 2016 (or April 19, 2016 for residents of Massachusetts and Maine). These races include Martinsville on April 3, Texas on April 9 and Bristol on April 17. Fans can lock in their “Premium Finish” price by visiting TaxAct.com/Ten. With TaxAct’s Price Lock Guarantee, filers are guaranteed to pay the price offered at the time they register, no matter when they choose to file. *Offer and prices subject to change (SHR), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(3-16-2016)
  • New award in motorsports dedicated to race mechanics: In the sport of racing, you won’t find too many awards beyond the drivers, owners and crew chiefs. The Brian Lunniss Lifetime Achievement Award by Mechanix Wear is dedicated to the hardest working hands in racing. The unsung hereos of motorsports. Those who possess exceptional drive and inspire the team to win. The Brian Lunniss Award is reserved for motorsport mechanics who demonstrate remarkable achievement during their career. Ted Abdon Director of Mechanix Wear Racing: “Brian’s the epitome of the award. We want to give back to those people in all forms of racing who helped us make the best products for mechanics. When you put his name on it, his success, his determination, his drive; you know exactly why that person is getting the award.” Brian Lunniss has dedicated his life to spinning wrenches and rolling out winning machines on race day. His days as a championship Motocross mechanic, trainer and mentor has set the bar for factory mechanics in the sport today. Brian created an atmosphere tuning for the likes of Donnie Hanson, Bob Hannah, Ricky Johnson, and Damon Bradshaw where he walked away with 11 championships from 1971 to 1997. His transition from two wheels to four first landed him in IndyCar as a suspension technician for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team. In 1999, Brian packed his tools and joined Joe Gibbs Racing where he won a NASCAR championship with Bobby Labonte in 2000.(Mechanix Wear)(3-16-2016)
  • NBC Sports announces 2016 NASCAR Broadcast Schedule:After presenting more than 360 hours of live, trackside NASCAR coverage across 22 states in 2015, NBC Sports Group returns as the home of NASCAR’s Championship run in 2016. NBC Sports’ NASCAR XFINITY and Sprint Cup Series racing schedule kicks off in primetime, amid Independence Day weekend festivities, on Friday, July 1 and Saturday, July 2, at the newly-renovated Daytona International Speedway. NBC Sports Group’s exclusive coverage of the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup swings into action on Sunday, Sept. 18 from Chicagoland Speedway and culminates with the Sprint Cup Championship from Miami on Sunday, Nov. 20.
    NASCAR XFINITY Series racing makes its 2016 return to NBC Sports Group on Friday, July 1, at 7:30 pm/et on NBCSN. NBC Sports Group’s coverage of the XFINITY Series, where “Names Are Made,” consists of four races on NBC, 12 races on NBCSN, two races on USA Network, and one race on CNBC.
    NASCAR on NBC’s 12-person on-air team returns in 2016 for NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series race coverage. Lead race announcer Rick Allen returns to the booth alongside Daytona 500-winning crew chief Steve Letarte and 21-time Sprint Cup race winner Jeff Burton. Krista Voda returns to host pre- and post-race coverage, alongside NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett and analyst Kyle Petty. Marty Snider, Mike Massaro, Kelli Stavast, and Dave Burns return to report from pit road in 2016, in tandem with features reporter Rutledge Wood and NBCSports.com lead motorsports writer Nate Ryan.(NBC)(3-16-2016)
  • Erik Jones fails post-race inspection: In post-race inspection, Erik Jones’ #20 was cited for rear toe outside of tolerance when measured by the laser inspection station. NASCAR will address possible sanctions at next week’s competition meeting.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-12-2016)
    UPDATE: The #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team of Erik Jones has been penalized following the XFINITY race at Phoenix. The team’s crew chief has been fined $5,000.
    In addition the #21 team of Spencer Gallagher has been given a written warning for failing pre-race laser inspection 3 times during pre-race inspection. In addition, the team will lose 15 minutes of practice time at Auto Club Speedway.(NASCAR)
    See the Phoenix Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report (pdf) for more.(3-16-2016)
  • E-Hydrate sponsoring Cope in Fontana UPDATE: Derrike Cope Racing and E-hydrate team up for Xfinity NASCAR in Fontana March 19th 2016 to launch new Protein On-the-Go ACTIVE. E-hydrate has announced it’s primary sponsorship of Derrike Cope’s #70 car for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on March 19th at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California to launch E-hydrate’s new natural protein and joint health product, ACTIVE Protein On-the-Go. This race will be the fourth in a series that kicked off in Daytona this year and is part of the brand’s sponsorship of Derrike Cope’s NASCAR West Coast Swing that also included Las Vegas and Phoenix. Protein On-the-Go ACTIVE is the world’s first ready-to-mix natural protein and joint health product designed for active adults. ACTIVE will be available at Target stores nationwide starting the first week of April, 2016.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-15-2016)
    UPDATE: DCR with JP Motorsports has three returning associate sponsors on board for Fontana this weekend. Goodwin’s Market in Crestline California has been family owned and operated since 1946. The store is located directly across the street from beautiful Lake Gregory in the San Bernardino Mountains. Nestled high in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest is Sleepy Hollow Cabins and Hotel. Sleepy Hollow has great rates, comfy accommodations, romantic fireplaces, fully equipped kitchens, and all of the conveniences of home. ICEAID continues to support DCR as an associate for this weekend’s event. This all natural, mineral based and environmentally safe ice additive will turn your cooler into a freezer by reducing the temperature of ice to as low as 10 degrees.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-16-2016)
  • Ballast Point Brewing sponsoring Almirola: Biagi-DenBeste Racing will unveil a new sponsor and paint scheme this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Ballast Point Brewing Company will be the primary sponsor of the #98 Ford Mustang for Saturday’s XFINITY Series race. A first-time partnership for the race team and the brewery, both are looking forward to great on-track results for the Ford. Founded in 1996 by Jack White, Ballast Point brings the perfect balance of taste and aroma to IPAs, beers and liquors. What started as a small group of home brewers, who simply wanted to make a better beer, evolved into the adventurers known today as Ballast Point. Headquartered in San Diego, Calif., Ballast Point recently sought out a larger space to keep up with demand and settled into a 107,000 square foot brewing facility. The TreatMyClot.com 300 will be the third outing of the 2016 season for the #98 Biagi-DenBeste Ford Mustang. With two Top-15 finishes to start the season, the team is looking to ride the positive momentum and compete with the XFINITY Series leaders at the front of the pack.(Biagi-DeBeste Racing)(3-16-2016)
  • Brad Keselowski & Kyle Busch to be honored at Auto Club Speedway: Brad Keselowski, winner of the 2015 NASCAR Auto Club 400, and Kyle Busch, winner of the 2014 Auto Club 400, will be inducted into Auto Club Speedway’s Walk of Fame on Friday, March 18, 2016: Kyle Busch at 9:40am and Brad Keselowski at 1:00pm. The Walk of Fame is located outside the O’Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone at Gate B of Auto Club Speedway. To purchase tickets to NASCAR Auto Club 400 race weekend, call 800-944-RACE (7223), or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.(ACS)(3-16-2016)
  • Texas Motor Speedway honorary positions announced: Sadie Robertson, who finished runner-up in last year’s “Dancing With The Stars” competition and one of the stars of A&E;’s reality hit show “Duck Dynasty,” has been named the Honorary Starter for the Duck Commander 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, April 9, at Texas Motor Speedway. Sadie Robertson will have the honor of waving the green flag from the starter’s stand for the 40-car field in the first Saturday night race of the Sprint Cup season that will be televised live on FOX. Robertson was a fan favorite on “Dancing With The Stars” as she advanced to the finals with partner Mark Ballas before finishing runner-up to actor Alfonso Ribeiro and partner Witney Carson. Sadie will be one of several members of the Robertson clan or associated with Duck Commander that will be in honorary positions for NASCAR’s third-highest paying race. Those include:
    Jase Robertson and 12-year-old Rowdy Robertson, the recently adopted son of Willie and Korie who is from Texas, as the tandem that will provide the most famous words in motorsports in their role as co-Grand Marshals.
    Uncle Si will spice up driver introductions as he will announce the top-10 starting lineup for the Duck Commander 500 while his brother and family patriarch, Phil, will deliver the invocation.
    Justin Martin, a Duck Commander employee and “Duck Dynasty” co-star, will drive one of the pace cars and lead the field to the green flag.
    Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck/Buck Commander, will culminate the day by helping present the Duck Commander 500 trophy to the race winner in Sunoco Victory Lane.(TMS)(3-16-2016)


    News from March 15, 2016


     

  • Phoenix TV Ratings: NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Phoenix drew a 3.6 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 5% from last year (3.8), and down 25% from 2014, when the race was the second of the season (4.8). The 3.6 overnight is the lowest for NASCAR from Phoenix since 2010, the last time it aired on a Saturday night (3.4). The six-year low continued a season-long trend for NASCAR. Las Vegas tied its lowest overnight since moving to FOX in 2001, Atlanta earned the lowest overnight since 2000 for the second race of the season, and the Daytona 500 had its second-lowest overnight since live start-to-finish coverage began in 1979. After overnights dropped by double-digits at Daytona (-16%) and Atlanta (-27%), Sunday’s race was the second straight to drop by only five percent. While a decline is still a decline, the single-digit slide marks a noticeable improvement. For the weekend, NASCAR on FOX trailed only the NCAA Selection Show (3.7) among sports programs. It will almost certainly come out ahead when the final numbers are released.(Sports Media Watch / ShowBuzz Daily), see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(3-15-2016)
  • NASCAR will look at limiting contact with suspended crew members: NASCAR will examine if there is more it can do to limit the contact suspended individuals, particularly crew chiefs, have with their teams on race weekends. Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s chief racing development officer, said Monday on “The Morning Drive” that even if the sanctioning body barred suspended crew chiefs from having contact with their team at the track, it would be “very difficult to police.” The question was asked on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show after Martin Truex Jr. stated last week that his team would stay in touch with suspended crew chief Cole Pearn via FaceTime, chat and other electronic means last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
    “The old policy of ‘You’re suspended, and you can’t be there’ has probably served its time,” O’Donnell said. “As we go forward now, obviously we never want to have to suspend someone, we’re going to have look at the technology. It’s very difficult to police, but you could have almost a no-contact rule. That would be hard to police, but we could put that in place. It is something we’re looking at. We wanted to see how Phoenix went, and we’ll kind of evaluate what teams are doing with all the technologies that they have in place and see what we can and can’t monitor on a fair manner and go from there. A suspension should be that. It shouldn’t allow someone just to crew chief a car from a different location.”(NBC Sports(3-15-2016)
  • First back-to-back top 10s for #21 team in 11 years: Ryan Blaney and the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team backed up their sixth-place finish at Las Vegas a week ago with a 10th place finish in Sunday’s Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. It was the first back-to-back top-10 finish for the Wood Brothers team since Ricky Rudd scored a pair of ninth-place finishes at Kansas and Charlotte in the fall of 2005. Blaney qualified 12th for the 500-kilometer run at Phoenix, where he’d never before raced a Sprint Cup car.(Wood Brothers Racing)(3-15-2016)
  • Sports Business Journal Awards have several NASCAR nominations: NASCAR has been nominated in multiple categories in the Sports Business Journal’s ninth annual Sports Business Awards. The sanctioning body has been nominated for “Sports League of the Year” with the American Athletic Conference, MLB, MLS, NBA and PGA Tour.
    NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France has been nominated for “Sports Executive of the Year.” The other nominees are Stan Kroenke from Kroenke Sports and Entertainment; Joe Lacob, owner of the Golden State Warriors; Rob Manfred, commissioner of Major League Baseball and Mark Parker, CEO of Nike.
    Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 13-time most popular driver, is a nominee for “Best in Sports Social Media.” Last May, Earnhardt became the second NASCAR driver after Danica Patrick to reach 1 million followers on Twitter. They have both since been passed by Jimmie Johnson.
    Daytona International Speedway is nominated for “Sport Facility of the Year” along with Avaya Stadium, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Kyle Field and Petco Park. Daytona unveiled its completed $400 million “Daytona Rising” renovations in February in time for the 58th running of the Daytona 500.
    Both Toyota and Xfinity from Comcast were nominated for the “Sports Sponsor of the Year.” The awards will be presented May 18 in New York City.(NBC Sports)
    AND: Darlington Raceway’s successful 2015 Bojangles’ Southern 500 Tradition Returns throwback event is among the final nominees for “Sports Event of the Year.” The throwback campaign was a collaborative industry-wide effort to celebrate the history and heritage of the sport and featured a celebration of the early 1970’s (1970-74). The nominees were announced by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, one of the most respected business publications in sports. Winners will be announced LIVE at the Sports Business Awards on May 18 in New York City. Other nominees for “Sports Event of the Year” are the 2015 Belmont Stakes, 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, and Super Bowl 50. Launched in 2008, the Awards were established by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily to celebrate and recognize the leaders, visionaries and day-to-day practitioners who personify excellence in the business of sports.(Darlington Raceway)(3-15-2016)
  • Wood Brothers crew member misses first race in 26 years: You don’t hear many stories like this in any sport, but this past weekend in Phoenix Wood Brothers Racing crew member Andretti Smith missed his first race since October 1990. The veteran pit crew member spent his first 24 years in the sport going over the wall with the Wood Brothers, doing everything from carrying to changing tires and finished up gassing his last eight years. When the Wood Brothers aligned with Team Penske two years ago, Smith started handing in the second gas can from behind the wall. “I did everything over the wall,” Smith said. “I carried from 1990 to ’92, jacked from ’92-94, changed from ’95-05, and then gassed from ’06-’14.” It was the behind the wall help that sidelined Smith following the Las Vegas race earlier this season. “I tore my biceps at the top of the shoulder and 50 percent at the elbow. It happened handing in the second can during the Vegas race.” Smith hopes to be back at the track as early as Martinsville, depending on how his recovery goes.(PitTalks/NASCAR.com)(3-15-2016)
  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Auto Club Speedway:
    #48Jimmie Johnson 119.6
    #18-Kyle Busch 110.0
    #20-Matt Kenseth 106.1
    #19-Carl Edwards 97.1
    #4-Kevin Harvick 96.8
    #41-Kurt Busch 93.2
    #11-Denny Hamlin 91.7
    #16-Greg Biffle 91.6
    #5-Kasey Kahne 90.6
    #15-Clint Bowyer 90.5
    Note: Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2015 races (17 total) at Auto Club Speedway (active drivers only).
    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)
  • Phoenix XFINITY TV Ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Phoenix drew a 1.2 overnight rating on FOX Saturday afternoon, down 20% from both last year on FOX and 2014 on ABC (1.5). Overnights have been flat or down for all four Xfinity Series races this season.(Sports Media Watch)(3-15-2016)
  • Bristol gets XFINITY race sponsor: The popular NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash heat race April 16 ratchets up the intensity with a new name, the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. Fitzgerald, a Tennessee-based company that is North America’s leader in glider kit assembly, is joining the Bristol Motor Speedway family as a multi-year entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR XFINITY Series race. The Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 is the first race of an XFINITY Series/K&N; Pro Series doubleheader on Saturday during the Food City 500 weekend. The 2016 edition of the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 will feature the new Dash 4 Cash format, which will include two Heats and a Main event. Qualifying for the event will set the 40-car field with odd-numbered qualifiers competing in the first Heat and even-numbered qualifiers contending in the second. Finishing order from the two Heats will then set the final starting spots for the Main event of the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. The top two series regulars from each Heat will then battle for an additional $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus. For over 20 years, Fitzgerald has been the largest glider kit dealer in the country. They have refined their production of gliders, a new cab and chassis with rear axles but without an engine, transmission or accessorial parts, into a steady enterprise, which earned them the name of “The Glider Kit Specialist”. The company produces more than 4,000 trucks per year and offers various models of the Peterbilt, Kenworth, Freightliner, and Western Star brands.(BMS)(3-15-2016)
  • E-Hydrate sponsoring Cope in Fontana: Derrike Cope Racing and E-hydrate team up for Xfinity NASCAR in Fontana March 19th 2016 to launch new Protein On-the-Go ACTIVE. E-hydrate has announced it’s primary sponsorship of Derrike Cope’s #70 car for the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on March 19th at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California to launch E-hydrate’s new natural protein and joint health product, ACTIVE Protein On-the-Go. This race will be the fourth in a series that kicked off in Daytona this year and is part of the brand’s sponsorship of Derrike Cope’s NASCAR West Coast Swing that also included Las Vegas and Phoenix. Protein On-the-Go ACTIVE is the world’s first ready-to-mix natural protein and joint health product designed for active adults. ACTIVE will be available at Target stores nationwide starting the first week of April, 2016.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-15-2016)
  • Spencer Boyd to make CWTS debut at Martinsville UPDATE: MB Motorsports looks to serve as the launching pad for yet another young driver with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut of Spencer Boyd and his sponsor, Go-Parts. Spencer, who has had a successful run in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, will pilot the #63 Go-Parts Dodge Ram, powered by War Hawk Performance in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 on April 2, 2016 at Martinsville Speedway.
    “I am beyond excited to be making my first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Mike Mittler,” says Spencer. “Growing up in St. Louis, MB Motorsports was the local NASCAR team, so I’ve followed them since I was a kid. This really is a dream come true. There are so many people to thank for helping me get to this point, now I just want to make them proud by putting on a good show for my family, my partners, and certainly Go-Parts who is also making their NASCAR debut.”
    Go-Parts is an auto parts retailer that has built a strong reputation on servicing customers in a variety of automotive arenas. From online sales to collision shop distribution, the company strives to provide a unique, effective, and affordable buying experience. Boasting one of the industry’s highest Customer Satisfaction ratings, Go-Parts remains focused on helping consumers find great parts at incredible prices. The company is owned and operated by it’s parent organization, Parts Dynasty Corporation.
    Mike Mittler, owner of MB Motorsports and Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool, adds “Spencer is a team owner’s dream. He races to win, as his record shows, and he is a student of the sport. It is a delight to work with such a down to earth young man and we expect great things from Spencer Boyd in the future.”(MB Motorsports), see an image of the truck on the #63 team paint schemes page.(3-9-2016)
    UPDATE: A partnership between Race Engines Plus and War Hawk Performance will be powering Spencer Boyd’s #63 Go-Parts Dodge Ram in his NCWTS debut. Joey Arrington, founder of REP, has channeled his Truck Series Championships and Engine Builder Awards to build a custom engine program for Boyd’s Go-Parts Dodge Ram in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 on April 2, 2016 at Martinsville Speedway. The partnership between REP and War Hawk Performance highlights the potential of creating custom Dodge products for people with the need for speed. “When Spencer came to us looking for an engine program that would give him the best showing in his debut, we jumped at the opportunity,” states Arrington. “With REP and War Hawk, we’re bringing other performance components into the equation that further enhances MB Motorsport’s already great program and gives Spencer a truck that fits his driving style.”(MB Motorsports)(3-15-2016)


    News from March 14, 2016


  • Vickers in the #14 at Auto Club Speedway: Stewart-Haas Racing has named Brian Vickers interim driver of its #14 Chevrolet SS for the March 20 Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway. In honor of Blood Clot Awareness Month (March), Janssen is partnering with Vickers and the track for the third consecutive year to help raise awareness about the signs and symptoms of blood clots. Vickers will drive the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet SS in the 400-mile race that marks the fifth event of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The car’s paint scheme is in support of Vickers’ friend and Janssen’s partner, legendary golfer Arnold Palmer. Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation has been entrusted to continue Arnold Palmer’s legacy of philanthropy and invests in organizations that help children, youth, families, the environment and our communities. Janssen will also sponsor the TreatMyClot.com 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race March 19 at Auto Club Speedway. Vickers and Palmer have partnered with Janssen to chronicle their personal experiences with blood clots which fans can view on www.TreatMyClot.com. Plans for an interim driver beyond Fontana have not been finalized. (Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #14 team paint schemes page.(3-14-2016)
  • Entry List for the Auto Club 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway is posted, 39 teams/drivers [for 40 spots] are listed, including: #14-Vickers, #21-Blaney*, #30-Wise*, #32-Jeffrey Earnhardt, #95-McDowell, #98-Whitt*.
    Drivers who are not a Charter team, an Open Team, and must get in via speed: #21-Blaney, #30-Wise, #98-Whitt
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts, then owners pts): none
    Since only 39 cars are entered, all drivers will make the race, 40 is the maximum.
    * Open Team (no Charter)
    See the full entry list on Jayski.com’s Auto Club Entry List
  • Tire failures impact 5 drivers at Phoenix: Melted beads led to tire failures for five drivers during Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway, according to Goodyear. #31-Ryan Newman, #27-Paul Menard, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #2-Brad Keselowski and #5-Kasey Kahne each hit the wall after tire failures. Goodyear stated melted beads were the cause in each incident. Newman finished last in the 39-car field. Menard was 38th with Stenhouse 37th, Keselowski 29th and Kahne 22nd. “We were really tight, and I was having to use too much brake and I think we got the tires hot,” Stenhouse said. “Once we did that, the right front gave out from having to use too much brake.”(NBC Sports)(3-14-2016)
  • Closest Sprint Cup Race Finishes:
    Margin Winner Runner-up Track Date
    .002 Ricky Craven, Kurt Busch, Darlington, March 16, 2003
    .002 Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Talladega, April 7, 2011
    .005 Jamie McMurray, Kyle Busch, Daytona, July 7, 2007
    .005 Dale Earnhardt, Ernie Irvan, Talladega, July 25, 1993
    .006 Kevin Harvick, Jeff Gordon, Atlanta, March 11, 2001
    .008 Jimmy Spencer, Ernie Irvan, Daytona, July 2, 1994
    .010 Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Phoenix, March 13, 2016
    .010 Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Daytona 500, February 21, 2016
    .010 Dale Earnhardt, Bobby Labonte, Atlanta, March 12, 2000
    .010 Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, Rockingham, February 22, 2004
    .011 Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray, Talladega, April 25, 2010
    .017 Greg Biffle, Mark Martin, Homestead, November 20. 2005
    .018 Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, Talladega, October 23, 2011
    .020 Kevin Harvick, Mark Martin, Daytona 500, February 18, 2007
    (points races only – since the advent of electronic scoring in 1993)(3-14-2016)
  • Sunoco could be sold: Energy Transfer Equity LP, the U.S. pipeline company that agreed to acquire Williams Companies Inc, has held talks to sell gas station and convenience store operator Sunoco LP, according to three people familiar with the matter. While these discussions were preliminary, they underscore Energy Transfer’s efforts to bolster its balance sheet after a plunge in oil prices made its pending acquisition of Williams more financially burdensome than it previously envisioned. Energy Transfer held conversations to sell Sunoco earlier this year after it was approached by at least one interested company, the sources said this week, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations were confidential. Energy Transfer and Sunoco did not respond to requests for comment. The potential sale would have involved Energy Transfer’s ownership of the general partnership of Sunoco, which could be valued at more than $2 billion, the people said. Sunoco operates about 900 convenience stores and fuel outlets in eight U.S. states, offering merchandise, food service and motor fuel. It also distributed about 7.6 billion gallons of motor fuel across the United States in 2015. Logical buyers for Sunoco’s gas station network could include Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc, Valero Energy Corp or Tesoro Corp, sources said.(Reuters)(3-14-2016)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Good Sam 500: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:34PM (all times are ET). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 103
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 44
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 84
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 43
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 19
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 13
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 4
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 67
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 35 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:34 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 181
    Minutes of race broadcast: 142
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 42
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 10
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 0
    Total race brdcst time 142 Total comm. brdcst time 42
    See past races, more info on the commercials with links at CawsnJaws.com.(3-14-2016)
  • West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Announces Inductees: A NASCAR K&N; Pro Series West double champion, a pair of pioneer hard top competitors, an acclaimed short track racer with multiple titles and an industry agent/marketer comprise the five-member Class of 2016 to be inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. The latest inductees – John Bickford, Mike Duncan, Johnny Key, Al Pombo and Jim Thirkettle – were announced March 13 prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Induction of the five will take place June 23 at the Meritage Resort in Napa, Calif. during Sonoma Raceway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series/K&N; Pro Series West weekend. This year’s class marks the first time that voting was broadened to include nominees from a variety of historic and present stock car disciplines that include weekly racing competition and tours as well as NASCAR modified stock car racing.(West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame)(3-14-2016)
  • TreatMyClot.com sponsoring XFINITY race at Auto Club Speedway: Auto Club Speedway announced that TreatMyClot.com will serve as title sponsor for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Race on Saturday, March 19, 2016. The race will be known as the TreatMyClot.com 300. Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is sponsoring the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, TreatMyClot.com 300, during Blood Clot Awareness Month with driver Brian Vickers to help raise awareness about blood clot signs, symptoms and treatment. Vickers has partnered with Janssen for the past three years to raise awareness about blood clots by sharing his own personal story. Blood clots impact about 900,000 Americans each year. To further support the health and well-being of our communities, beyond Janssen’s sponsorship of the race, on Sunday Brian will race the #14 Janssen Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation Chevrolet in support of his friend, and Janssen’s partner, legendary golfer Mr. Arnold Palmer. Arnie’s Army has been entrusted to continue Arnold Palmer’s legacy of philanthropy by supporting institutions and organizations that help youth, families and the communities in which we live.(Auto Club Speedway)(3-14-2016)
  • Menards sponsoring Michigan XFINITY race: Michigan International Speedway officials have partnered with Menards and Valvoline to bring fans the Menards 250 presented by Valvoline on June 11. While Valvoline has had a presence in NASCAR for years, this marks the first time the organization has sponsored a race at NASCAR’s fastest track. As title sponsor, Valvoline will help to market the Menards brand and its involvement as the official motor oil of the stores through television, radio, print and social mediums on a nationwide scale.(MIS)(3-14-2016)


    News from March 13, 2016


  • Harvick wins at Phoenix: #4-Kevin Harvick won the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 8th win in at Phoenix and 32nd career win. Harvick led 139 of the 312 laps. He has now led more than 100 laps in the last 5 races at Phoenix.
    After a late caution, the race restarted with “NASCAR Overtime” and Harvick held off #19-Edwards, beating him to the finish line by .01 second, the closest finish ever at Phoenix.
    #11-Hamlin finished 3rd, followed by #18-Busch, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #41-Busch, #20-Kenseth, #24-Elliott, #3-Dillon, and #21-Blaney.
    There were 7 lead changes among 4 drivers and 5 cautions for 30 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 113.212mph.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway
    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf)
    See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf). (3-13-2016)
  • Race Fast Facts – Phoenix:
    Kevin Harvick won the 12th Annual Good Sam 500, his 32nd victory in 542 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his eighth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 27 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Carl Edwards (second) posted his 13th top-10 finish in 24 races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2016.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his 12th top-10 finish in 22 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Chase Elliott (eighth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 0 points over Kyle Busch.
    Today’s margin of victory (0.010 sec.) is now the closest MOV in series history at Phoenix International Raceway. Previous record was 0.13 sec. in 2010 (won by Ryan Newman over Jeff Gordon).
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-13-2016)
  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Chase Standings:
    [after Phoenix, race 4 of 36]
    1) #4-Harvick [1 win], 154
    2) #18-Busch, 154
    3) #48-Johnson [1 win], 140, -14
    4) #41-Kurt Busch, 137, -17
    5) #19-Edwards, 136, -18
    6) #11-Hamlin [1 win], 131, -23
    7) #22-Logano, 127, -27
    8) #3-Dillon, 122, -32
    9) #78-Truex, Jr., 117, -37
    10) #88-Earnhrdt, Jr., 115, -39
    11) #2-Keselowski [1 win], 110, -44
    12) #21-Blaney, 104, -50
    13) #43-Almirola, 100, -54
    14) #5-Kahne, 96, -58
    15) #1-McMurray, 94, -60
    16) #20-Kenseth, 90, -64
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
    Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf) See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).
  • Penske still plans to add Blaney with a third team: Roger Penske has said his young NASCAR protege Ryan Blaney is “part of the family” and is moving closer to becoming a full-blown member of Penske’s Sprint Cup lineup. Blaney, 22, is currently entered by the Wood Brothers, using equipment supplied by Penske. Blaney finished sixth at Las Vegas last weekend, and looks set to be brought even closer to the Penske fold next season. “Our goal is ultimately for that to be a Penske entry – or maybe a Wood-Penske entry, depending on how the Charter system works out,” said Penske. “Today it’s entered by the Wood Brothers, they’re involved in the strategy, some of their guys work on it, and it’s perfect. “You could call him the nephew, you could say. He’s part of the family. He’s in the shop, he briefs with us, it’s a great setup.” Penske said that it had a long-term strategy with Blaney, going forwards, and this way it could allow him to build his experience in a low-pressure environment before stepping up his level to being an expected regular frontrunner. “Our plan with [Blaney] has worked out well, he’s been with us now for four years,” he added. “The fact we’ve been able to provide the car and get [crew chief] Jeremy Bullins over there, and working with the Woods, it means we can build him without the pressure of being with Brad [Keselowski] and Joey [Logano]. But he can use them as a benchmark because he’s got access to all their information, because the cars and pieces are the same.(Motorsport)(3-13-2016)
  • Phoenix Race Notes & Facts:
    � There have been 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
    � Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Phoenix with 10, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven.
    � Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furth((EDT)) back a race winner has started.
    � Since the advent of electronic scoring (1993) the clos((EDT)) margin of victory in the NSCS at Phoenix was the (4/10/2010) race won by Ryan Newman with a MOV of 0.130 seconds.
    � Three drivers have won at Phoenix and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009); Dale Earnhardt (1990); Kevin Harvick (2014).
    � Four perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix, Kurt Busch in April of 2005 and Kevin Harvick in November of 2006, November 2014 and March 2015.
    � Of the 39 races at Phoenix five have ended with a Green-White-Checkered: 3/3/13 (312/316); 11/11/2012 (312/319); 4/10/10 (375/378); 11/9/08 (312/313); 11/7/04 (312/315)
    � Only two of the 39 races at Phoenix have been shortened due to weather – 10/25/98 (Scheduled 312 / Completed 257); 11/15/2015 (Scheduled 312 / Completed 219)
    (NASCAR)


    News from March 12, 2016


     

  • Final practice: for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #4-Harvick 136.317
    #41-Busch 136.173
    #18-Busch 136.096
    #24-Elliott 136.044
    #3-Dillon 135.947
    slowest: #46-Annett 131.353 & #30-Wise 131.210.
    All 39 cars have been on track during practice.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Phoenix Practice 3 speed page (pdf).(3-12-2016)
  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway have been made.
    Pole sitter #18-Busch chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #19-Edwards took pit stall 33, just before the start-finish line.
    #11-Hamlin, who starts 3rd took the 41st pit stall, which is the last pit stall in use at Phoenix.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on Jayski.com’s Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-12-2016)
  • First Saturday practice: for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #41-Busch 137.436
    #4-Harvick 136.685
    #19-Edwards 136.493
    #78-Truex, Jr. 136.389
    #24-Elliott 136.379
    slowest: #30-Wise 132.033 & #32-Gase 130.957.
    All 39 cars were on track during practice.
    NOTE: #46-Annett hit the wall during practice and will have to go to a backup car. Final practice is today at 1:00pm/et on FS1.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Phoenix Practice 2 speed page (pdf).(3-12-2016)
  • Steering wheel came off on Johnson’s qualifying lap: Jimmie Johnson escaped injury when his steering wheel came off and he crashed into the wall at full speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying Friday. Johnson was on his second lap in the final round on the mile oval when he couldnt turn and his car rammed into the second-turn wall. The right front of the Hendrick Motorsports’ #48 car took the most damage and Johnson was able to climb out after the car slid onto the grass. Johnson didn’t explain the reason for the crash in media interviews, but later took to Twitter. “About qualifying, the steering wheel came off,” Johnson said. “I know my interview was vague, but wanted to tell the team first. I’m thankful for soft walls.”(Associated Press)(3-12-2016)
  • Penske expects to work closely with Stewart-Hass next year: Legendary team principal Roger Penske has welcomed Stewart-Haas Racing to Ford’s NASCAR lineup for 2017, and suggested that there will “be some collaboration” between the two. Speaking to the media at the IndyCar Series opener at St Petersburg, Penske said the numerical advantage of more Fords was only one aspect of the potential benefit of SHR joining Ford’s roster. “If you have four of one thing you’re going to be better than if you had two, and I think what Ford looked at is the number of cars Chevy and Toyota had,” said Penske. “They looked to expand their footprint. As far as we’re concerned we feel good about it. If Ford is successful, it’s gonna help us. With two cars, it’s hard to carry the banner as we did last year.”
    On the potential for collaboration with Stewart-Haas, Penske added: “I think that we’ll do what we’ve done with Roush, we’ve put cars in the windtunnel – our car and their car to see where we are. We’ll do benchmarking, we have to race these guys every weekend. I don’t think [Hendrick’s star crew chief] Chad Knaus gives Stewart-Haas guys the playbook or vice versa. The things that will help overall, I think there’ll be some collaboration in some way, and we’re glad to see that.(Motorsport)(3-12-2016)
  • Las Vegas TV Ratings UPDATE: After two weeks of double-digit drops, NASCAR overnights fell only slightly over the weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Las Vegas drew a 4.1 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 5% from last year (4.3) and even with 2014 (4.1). The 4.1 is tied as the lowest overnight for the race since it moved to FOX in 2001, matching 2014 and 2010. There was some good news in Sunday’s numbers, as the 5% decline marked a significant improvement from the previous two weeks – when overnights sank 16% at Daytona and 27% at Atlanta. For the weekend, NASCAR ranked as easily the highest rated sporting event on any network – comfortably ahead of the second-place finishers, the final round of the PGA Tour at Doral and the Warriors/Lakers NBA game on ABC (2.9 for both).(Sports Media Watch)(3-8-2016)
    UPDATE: After a series of double-digit declines to open the season, NASCAR’s ratings fell only slightly last weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Las Vegas drew a 4.4 final rating and 7.2 million viewers on FOX last Sunday afternoon, down 4% in ratings and 7% in viewership from last year (4.6, 7.7M). Compared to 2014, ratings dropped a tick and viewership increased a fraction of a percent (7.20M to 7.23M). The 4.4 rating is tied as the lowest for NASCAR from Las Vegas since FOX began airing the race in 2001, matching 2010. Viewership was the third-lowest for the race dating back to 2002, ahead of 2014 and 2010. Ratings and viewership have now dropped for every Sprint Cup telecast this season, including the Sprint Unlimited, Daytona 500 qualifying, and the Duel at Daytona. Despite the lower numbers, NASCAR easily topped the weekend sports slate – topping both the PGA Tour on NBC (2.6, 4.0M) and NBA on ABC (2.4, 3.7M) head-to-head.(Sports Media Watch)(3-12-2016)
  • Phoenix says no decision made on track upgrades: Bryan Sperber, president of Phoenix International Raceway, told NBC Sports Friday that any talk about the track flip-flopping the frontstretch and backstretch is “all speculation at this point.” International Speedway Corp., which owns the track, had no comment on a Fox Sports 1 broadcaster saying that the “rumor” is the company will flip the frontstretch and backstretch at Phoenix. During Friday’s broadcast of Sprint Cup practice on Fox Sports 1, broadcaster Mike Joy said: “The rumor now is that ISC is going to take and flip-flop this track as has been done at Atlanta and Darlington and the reason is that these (frontstretch) seats face South, which means you are sun-baked all day long, so there’s a possibility of making this (Joy drew on the screen along the backstretch) the frontstretch with new seats and suites.” Sperber told NBC Sports: “It’s no secret that we’ve been looking at upgrading PIR in general, and we’re starting to put plans together now, but it’s a long, way away from making any kind of announcement.” Sperber said they’re putting together a list of possible changes and examining prices for the projects.(NBC Sports)(3-12-2016)
  • Phoenix Driver Notes & Facts:
    � 203 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix; 148 in more than one.
    � Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon lead series in starts at Phoenix with 34 each; Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Ryan Newman lead all active drivers with 27.
    � Rusty Wallace leads the series at Phoenix in average starting position (8.053). Kasey Kahne leads all active drivers with a 11.565.
    � There have been 23 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Phoenix, eight have won more than once, led by Kevin Harvick, with seven – (’06 spring race and Chase race, ’12 Chase race, ’13 Chase race, ’14 spring race and Chase race, ’15 spring race).
    � The eight drivers that have won more than once at Phoenix: Kevin Harvick leads the series in wins with seven followed by Jimmie Johnson (four), Davey Allison (two), Jeff Burton (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Jeff Gordon (two) Carl Edwards (two) and Mark Martin (two).
    � Of the eight drivers with multiple wins at Phoenix International Raceway, Mark Martin is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Ford (1993) and Chevrolet (2009).
    � Five drivers have won consecutive races at Phoenix: Davey Allison (1991,1992); Jeff Burton (2000, 2001); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2004); Kevin Harvick (swept 2006) and (2013 Chase race, swept 2014 and ’15 spring race); Jimmie Johnson (fall 2007, swept 2008).
    � Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 28th-place starting position, the furthest back an active race winner has started.
    � Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Bobby Hamilton (10/27/1996) are the only two drivers to post their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win at Phoenix International Raceway.
    � 21 of the 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Phoenix participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Tony Stewart (11/7/1999) are the only two drivers to win at Phoenix in their first appearance.
    � Jeff Gordon competed at Phoenix International Raceway 16 times before winning (4/21/2007); the longest span of any the 23 winners.
    � Six drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon (16), Ryan Newman (15), Kasey Kahne (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Carl Edwards (12) and Rusty Wallace (11).
    � Jamie McMurray leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix without visiting Victory Lane with 25.
    � Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with five; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart with three each.
    � Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Phoenix with 15; followed by Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon with 12 each.
    � Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-10 finishes at Phoenix with 24, followed by Mark Martin with 21. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with 19.
    � Alan Kulwicki leads the series in average finishing position at Phoenix with a 5.200. Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with a 7.720; he is the only active driver with an average finish inside the top 10.
    � Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway.
    (NASCAR)
  • Sad News – Larry Balewski: Larry Balewski, known for his written work in the sports pages of the Daytona Beach News-Journal, and later throughout NASCAR for his work as a public-relations manager at Daytona International Speedway, died this past weekend in Daytona Beach after a lengthy illness. He was 66. He served under three enormous figures in this area’s history: He played football for Bud Asher at Father Lopez High School, he wrote for Herbert M. Davidson’s newspaper and he managed media affairs for Bill France Jr. “He was a very good person and we became close friends,” said Jim France, longtime Speedway and NASCAR executive and son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. “I am saddened by the news of his passing and extend my condolences to Larry’s family and friends.” Balewski ended an 11-year career as a News-Journal sportswriter in 1982 and joined the Speedway’s PR department. He’d spent his last several years at the N-J as motorsports editor. He remained with the Speedway, in PR and then administration, for 15 years until the late 1990s, when he left and eventually entered real estate sales. “Larry was one of my many mentors, especially when it came to motorsports,” said Godwin Kelly, who replaced Balewski as motorsports editor and remains in the position today. “He was very encouraging and helpful when I first started the beat and became one of my go-to resources when it came to NASCAR and Speedway stories.”(full story and more info at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-12-2016)
  • Erik Jones fails post-race inspection: In post-race inspection, Erik Jones’ #20 was cited for rear toe outside of tolerance when measured by the laser inspection station. NASCAR will address possible sanctions at next week’s competition meeting.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-12-2016)
  • Kyle Busch wins XFINITY race at Phoenix: #18-Kyle Busch won the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Speedway. It is his 79th XFINITY Series win and 3rd of the year. He lead 175 of the 200 laps. #20-Erik Jones finished second, followed by #19-Daniel Suarez, #7-Justin Allgaier, #88-Chase Elliott, #3-Ty Dillon, #2-Austin Dillon, #1-Elliott Sadler, #22-Brad Keselowski, and #48-Brennan Poole.
    There were 3 cautions for 16 laps and 5 lead changes among 4 leaders.
    The average speed was 114.087mph.
    Complete results are on the Phoenix race results page (pdf).
    (3-12-2016)
  • Phoenix XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Kyle Busch(i) won the 12th Annual Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200, his 79th victory in 314 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his third victory and third top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his ninth victory and 16th top-10 finish in 20 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Erik Jones (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in four races at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2016.
    Daniel Suarez (third) posted his second top-10 finish in three races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Erik Jones (second) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Daniel Suarez leads the point standings by 8 points over Elliott Sadler.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-12-2016)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Phoenix:
    1) #19-Daniel Suarez, 144
    2) #1-Elliott Sadler, 136, -8
    3) #3-Ty Dillon, 135, -9
    4) #7-Justin Allgaier, 132, -12
    5) #33-Brandon Jones, 129, -15
    6) #20-Erik Jones, 126, -18
    7) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 119, -27
    8) #16-Ryan Reed, 106, -40
    9) #48-Brennan Poole, 102, -42
    10) #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., 96, -50
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-12-2016)
  • Erik Jones on XFINITY pole at Phoenix: #20-Erike Jones won the Coors Light pole for the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Speedway with a speed of 136.789mph. #19-Danie Suarez will start second. The rest of the top 10: #18-Kyle Busch, #3-Ty Dillon, #88-Chase Elliott, #2-Austin Dillon, #22-Brad Keselowski, #33-Brandon Jones, #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., and #7-Justin Allgaier.
    Did Not Qualify: #40-Reaume & #99-Peck.
    The starting lineup is posted on the Phoenix starting lineup page (pdf).(3-12-2016)
  • Phoenix Qualifying Notes:
    Erik Jones won the Coors Light 21 means 21 Pole Award for the 12th Annual Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 with a lap of 26.318 seconds, 136.789 mph.
    This is his fourth pole in 30 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his first pole and fourth top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his first pole in four races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Daniel Suarez (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2016 and his third in three races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Kyle Busch(i) (third) posted his 18th top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his third in three races this season.
    Erik Jones (first) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-12-2016)
  • Team Kapusta working with Rick Ware to field #25 at Phoenix: The fourth race of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season will see Team Kapusta return to the race track with driver Timmy Hill aboard for Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 from Phoenix. In a partnership with Rick Ware Racing, Hill will drive the #25 Team Kapusta Racing Chevrolet Camaro in his first XFINITY Series event of the year. Team Kapusta will attempt to make their third XFINITY Series race, all coming in the desert sun of PIR’s 1.0-mile oval. “It’s really an humbling experience for us to return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway,” said team principal Thom Kapusta. “It’s our plan to run a handful of races this year, with our exact number still underdetermined, as our schedule could increase as we continue to have discussions with potential marketing partners.” The team also debuted their new marketing partner for the 200-lap event in Wrap Nation.(Kapusta PR)(3-12-2016)
  • Bush’s Beans to continue sponsorship of Bristol pole day: Bush Brothers & Company is renewing its partnership with Bristol Motor Speedway for a third season. The company, based in East Tennessee, will continue to sponsor Bush’s Beans Pole Day, April 15, in support of the Food City 500 weekend and the Bush’s Beans 150 NASCAR Whelen Modified Series race entitlement on Aug. 17. In addition, Bush’s Grillin’ Beans will be available at the Bush’s Trackside Cafes and at concession stands throughout the grandstands during the Food City 500 weekend. Fans can save $5 by purchasing tickets for Bush’s Beans Pole Day by March 31. Children 12 years old and under are free with a paying adult. Adult tickets are $20 starting April 1. Bush’s Beans Pole Day includes NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Food City 500 practice and knockout-style qualifying, along with practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The day ends with the Food City Race Night Fanfest on property.(BMS)(3-12-2016)


    News from March 11, 2016


     

  • Kyle Busch wins Phoenix pole: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coors Light pole for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway with speed of 138.387mph for his 1st pole of 2016, 3rd at Phoenix and 18th of his career. Busch has won 3 race from the pole out of 17 previous poles.
    #19-Edwards is on the outside pole followed by #11-Hamlin, #41-Busch, #48-Johnson, #20-Kenseth, #42-Larson, #78-Truex, Jr., #22-Logano, #17-Stenhouse, Jr., #1-McMurray, and #21-Blaney.
    #5-Kahne & #48-Johnson will both have to start at the rear for the race. #5-Kahne’s team had to change an engine after trouble in the first round of qualifying. #48-Johnson hit the wall during the final round and will have to go to a backup car.
    #41-Busch was fastest in the first round with a speed of 137.536mph. #11-Hamlin topped the second round at 138.042mph.
    Only 39 cars were entered so everyone made the race.
    See round-by-round qualifying results on the Phoenix qualifying results page (pdf) and the complete starting lineup on the Phoenix Starting Lineup page (pdf).(3-11-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Phoenix:
    Kyle Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 12th Annual Good Sam 500 with a lap of 26.014 seconds, 138.387 mph.
    This is his 18th pole in 394 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first pole and second top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his third pole in 22 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Carl Edwards (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2016 and his 11th in 24 races at Phoenix International Raceway.
    Denny Hamlin (third) posted his 10th top-10 start at Phoenix International Raceway. It is his second in four races this season.
    Ryan Blaney (12th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-11-2016)
  • Friday practice: for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is over after 85 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #41-Busch 138.846
    #11-Hamlin 138.467
    #22-Logano 138.254
    #78-Truex, Jr. 138.132
    #4-Harvick 138.074
    slowest: #98-Whitt 132.675 & #32-Gase 131.234.
    All 38 cars were on track during practice.
    NOTE: Qualifying is today at 6:45pm/et on FoxSports2.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Phoenix Practice 1 speed page (pdf).(3-11-2016)
  • Harvick reaffirms commitment to Stewart-Haas: Friday at Phoenix International Raceway, #4-Kevin Harvick again addressed speculation that he would leave Stewart-Haas Racing next season because of their move to Ford:
    Will we see you in a Ford with Stewart-Haas Racing next season?
    Harvick: “I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t happen. For me I’m in the best position that I’ve been in with my team. I feel like I have the best crew chief in the garage. It would be pretty tough to turn around and walk out on everybody who has been a part of building everything that we have built so far.”(Chevy Racing)(3-11-2016)
  • Qualifying Order for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is posted. 39 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first driver to be lined up on pit road will be #46-Annett.
    The final driver lined up on pit road will be #2-Keselowski.
    The order is set by a random draw, how cars park on pit road before they qualify, held about an hour before the first practice.
    After the first round, the cars line up by speed.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Phoenix Qualifying Order Page (pdf).(3-11-2016)
  • NASCAR Names Ford Winner Of ‘Driving Business Award’: Days after Ford Motor Company celebrated its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory of the season, the manufacturer will take home its third NASCAR “Driving Business Award.” Ford is the first three-time recipient of the annual award, which is bestowed upon the Official NASCAR Partner that demonstrates leadership and results through its participation in the NASCAR Fuel for Business (NFFB) Council. The NFFB Council hosted its first meeting of the year last week in Las Vegas, bringing together an exclusive group of nearly 60 Official NASCAR Partners. Ford has been competing in NASCAR since 1949 and has been a proud member of the NFFB Council since 2007. Council members bring key personnel from across their organization to construct customized deals that help address specific business needs. As a result of Ford’s participation in the Council in 2015, Ford aligned business goals with a number of Official NASCAR Partners, resulting in highly visible partnerships and a number of programs that were successful in “Driving Business.” As one of the most active participants of the NFFB Council in 2015, Ford identified procurement opportunities, optimized chances for NASCAR partners to purchase Ford vehicles for their fleets, offered participation in Ford’s “Partner Recognition Program” and created successful co-marketing programs. Since the NFFB’s 2004 inception, the Council has facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue and savings to its participating members.(NASCAR)(3-11-2016)
  • DiBenedetto gets Phoenix sponsor: A company with Plattsburgh ties is sponsoring a NASCAR vehicle for Sunday’s Good Sam 500. Schluter Systems announced it sponsored driver Matt DiBenedetto’s #83 Toyota Camry. A spokesperson said this was the first time Schluter Systems had sponsored a NASCAR vehicle. Schluter Systems improves and promotes tile installation through the development of products for ceramic and stone tile at facilities in Plattsburgh, Reno, Canada and Europe.(WPTZ.com), see an image of the car on the #83 team paint schemes page.(3-11-2016)
  • Earnhardt, Jr. featured on ‘Treehouse Masters’ Friday night: This Friday, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s very own getaway-in-the-sky will be featured on “Treehouse Masters,” the very show from which he gleaned the inspiration for his project. Earnhardt revealed his plans for the project following the end of the 2014 season and the construction was completed in time for the beautiful summer months. To catch Earnhardt’s episode of “Treehouse Masters” and get an inside look at his handiwork, tune in to Animal Planet Friday, March 11 at 10:00pm/et.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-11-2016)
  • Phoenix Pole Notes & Facts:
    � Geoffrey Bodine won the first pole at Phoenix in 1988 at a speed of 123.203 mph (29.220 sec.).
    � There have been 21 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four.
    � Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), Gordon won the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
    � Casey Atwood (October 2001), Denny Hamlin (November, 2005) and AJ Allmendinger (April, 2010) won their first career NSCS poles at Phoenix International Raceway.
    � Five of the 39 (12.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the Coors Light pole: Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009), Carl Edwards (fall 2010) and Kevin Harvick (spring 2015).
    � Eight of the 39 (20.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the front row: five from the pole and three from second-place.
    � 20 of the 39 (51.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
    � 19 of the 39 (48.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
    � 3 of the 39 (7.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    � Qualifying has never been cancelled due to weather at Phoenix International Raceway.
    (NASCAR)
  • Ty Dillon fastest in XFINITY happy hour: #3-Ty Dillon #19-Daniel Suarez was quickest during happy hour for the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 with a speed of 133.087mph. He was followed by: #19-Daniel Suarez, #20-Erik Jones, #18-Kyle Busch, #7-Justin Allgaier, #33-Brandon Jones, #22-Brad Keselowski, #88-Chase Elliott, #2-Austin Dillon, and #11-Blake Koch. 40 drivers participated in the session.
    See complete results on the Phoenix practice 3 speeds page (pdf).(3-11-2016)
  • Erik Jones fastest in second XFINITY practice: #20-Erik Jones was fastest during second practice at Phoenix with a speed of 134.053mph. The rest of the top 10: #19-Daniel Suarez, #18-Kyle Busch, #3-Ty Dillon, #33-Brandon Jones, #22-Brad Keselowski, #48-Brennan Poole, #7-Justin Allgaier, #43-Jeb Burton, and #42-Justin Marks.
    See complete results on the Phoenix practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-11-2016)
  • youtheory sponsoring Cory LaJoie: JGL Racing officials announce that youtheory will serve as Primary Sponsor for their #24 Toyota with driver Corey LaJoie for eight races in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. youtheory, the leader in nutritional dietary supplement manufacturing, will debut their sponsorship next weekend at Auto Club Speedway as LaJoie will pilot the #24 youtheory Toyota in the running of the XFINITY 300 at the Fontana, California track. The eight race program will resume on July 1st at Daytona International Speedway followed by July 16th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, August 19th at Bristol Motor Speedway, October 1st at Dover International Speedway, November 5th at Texas Motor Speedway, November 12th at Phoenix International Raceway and concluding in the season finale on November 19th at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(Integrity Sports Marketing), see an image of the car on the #24 team paint schemes page.(3-11-2016)
  • Erik Jones fastest in first XFINITY practice: #20-Erik Jones was fastest during opening practice at Phoenix International Speedway with a speed of 134.128mph. #3-Ty Dillon was second, followed by: #39-Ryan Sieg, #22-Brad Keselowski, #11-Blake Koch, #6-Darrell Wallace, Jr., #7-Justin Allgaier, #48-Brennan Poole, #2-Austin Dillon, and #33-Brandon Jones. 34 drivers practiced during the session.
    See complete results on the Phoenix practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-11-2016)
  • X-Treme PH Sports Water sponsoring BJ McLeod Motorsports at Phoenix: B.J. McLeod Motorsports announced that X-Treme PH Sports Water will serve as the primary marketing partner of the team’s #78 and #99 Ford Mustangs for Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway. Based in West Monroe, Louisiana, X-Treme PH is a high alkaline water that allows for faster absorption into the body’s cells for hydration. The popular refreshment has served as an associate marketing partner with the team for the first three NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season. Bottled in a heavier 22-gram bottle made to withstand the rigors of sports, workouts and more, X-Treme PH Sports Water represents the only high-alkaline water that achieves its high alkalinity of 9-plus pH using a proprietary, plant-derived mixture of calcium, magnesium and potassium, which is injected into its source water at very low levels for a TDS of less than 25 ppm per bottle. The variety is made with zero dyes, sugars, caffeine, sweeteners and artificial flavor.(BJ McLeod Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #78 team paint schemes page.(3-11-2016)
  • Derek Scott Jr. approved for NASCAR Trucks: Derek Scott Jr. has been approved by NASCAR to compete at several tracks. Scott Jr. is now eligible to race in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on tracks with a size of one mile and under with the exception of Dover. Scott Jr., who is a 16-year-old from Franklin, Texas, began his racing career by achieving numerous go kart wins and titles. He also has several starts in a Pro and Super Late Model, including two feature victories in the pro and numerous top-five finishes in both. “I am elated,” Scott Jr. said. “I can’t believe this opportunity arose so quickly in my career. I owe a lot of thanks to my parents, Alex Query Racing, my fans and of course my sponsors – Sikk Shades by Eddie Bauer Jr., Gary Hendrix and Derek Scott’s Auto Park.” Scott Jr. plans to continue to race pro late model and super late model events throughout the Southeast. News regarding his debut with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will be released in the near future.(McCallister Precision Marketing)(3-11-2016)
  • Lee Brice performing pre-race concert at Charlotte: One of the biggest names in entertainment today will perform at the biggest Memorial Day Weekend celebration on the planet when two-time GRAMMY nominee and country music megastar Lee Brice rocks the pre-race entertainment stage before the Coca-Cola 600, Sunday, May 29 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The full 45-minute Lee Brice Coca-Cola 600 pre-race concert presented by Speed Perks, will highlight the Coca-Cola 600 pre-race pit party, which will also include driver appearances, Q&As; with some of the biggest names in the sport and even more live music. Before breaking onto the scene in 2010 with his debut album, ‘Love Like Crazy,’ Brice was a noted songwriter, penning “More Than A Memory” recorded by Garth Brooks, and wrote songs recorded by artists including, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Blake Shelton and Kenny Chesney, among others. During the Lee Brice Coca-Cola 600 pre-race concert presented by Speed Perks, the multitalented musician, songwriter, producer and recording artist is expected to perform several of his smash hits like “Love Like Crazy,” “Woman Like You” and “I Don’t Dance,” among other favorites. The concert will take place on pit road.(CMS)(3-11-2016)
  • Sad News – Bobby Johns: Robert “Bobby” James Johns, 83, passed away suddenly March 7 at his home in Miami. Born May 22, 1932 in Miami, where he resided his entire life and began his racing career. He was a racing legend as he won the Atlanta 500, the Bristol 500, 2nd in the Daytona 500 and many other racing achievements (stats at racing-reference.info). He was one of the first NASCAR drivers to race in the Indy 500, where he raced twice and finished in the top ten.(full obituary and more info at the dignitymemorial.com)(3-11-2016)


    News from March 10, 2016


  • Goodyear Tire Test at Charlotte UPDATES: Goodyear will hold a closed tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway next week. Four drivers are scheduled to take part in the test: #78-Martin Truex Jr., #3-Austin Dillon, #1-Jamie McMurray, and #44-Brian Scott. The test is closed to fans.(Charlotte Motor Speedway)(3-5-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are scheduled to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8-9, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the second of eight tire tests scheduled by Goodyear officials and NASCAR for 2016 as part of the 2016 Unified Testing plan. Goodyear officials have said the overall tire selections for 2016 with the lower downforce rules package have thus far resulted in slightly softer compounds for tire builds. “Obviously we test, we look at all the data, we look at temperatures … lap times, but we’re not just trying to go as fast as we can,” said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear. “We’re also trying to make sure that we get as much feedback from the drivers as we can to make sure we’re landing in the right spot. Goodyear tire tests are also scheduled for Richmond, Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan and New Hampshire this season.(NASCAR.com)(3-8-2016)
    UPDATE2: Four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers took part in the second Goodyear Tire test of the season with the lower-downforce aerodynamic package on Tuesday and Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Austin Dillon, Jamie McMurray, Brian Scott and Martin Truex Jr. participated in the test to help set tire recommendations for races at the speedway in May. The test was the second consecutive at a 1.5-mile track following the January session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the Sprint Cup Series competed last weekend. At one point during the test, teams put on the tires they raced with at Charlotte last season to compare to the new tires. The tire that the teams ran last year was the same left-side they’ve run at Charlotte since 2012 and the right-side made its debut in May 2015.
    “It’s similar to Vegas,” McMurray said. “The new tires have quite a bit more grip. Speeds have been up from last year. We went through quite a few different sets of tires, and everything seems to have good grip and a pretty good amount of fall-off after 15-20 laps. It’s been a good test. We found two or three sets I think will race really well.” Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the most temperature-sensitive racetracks on the circuit and the test was held in temperatures in the high 70s. “There are a lot of unknowns when you come to Charlotte this time a year,” McMurray said. “It could be 25 degrees or it could be 80. The fact that it was warm helped Goodyear and the teams because the track did slow down quite a bit yesterday afternoon.”(Motor Racing Network)(3-10-2016)
  • Ticket sales down in 2015: The three public companies that operate racetracks reported a tick downward in ticket revenues in 2015 as they attempt to turn around what has become an eight-year trend. International Speedway Corp., Speedway Motorsports Inc. and Dover Motorsports combined to sell $238.8 million in tickets in 2015, down from $239.2 million in 2014, according to their annual reports. SMI was the last to issue its annual financials Wednesday. Those figures include tickets for non-NASCAR events, but NASCAR races make up a large majority of the ticket sales at the tracks. ISC, 72 percent of whose stock is owned by the NASCAR-owning France family, has 20 of the 38 Sprint Cup events, while SMI, controlled by Bruton Smith and family, has 13 events and Dover has two.
    The 0.17 percent drop from 2014 to 2015 could show some stabilization. Ticket revenues dropped 9.1 percent in 2012, 6.5 percent in 2013 and 2.5 percent in 2014. The 2015 figures for the three companies is 49 percent below their all-time high of $467.4 million in 2007. Tracks at the three public companies have eliminated more than 428,000 seats — 23 percent of their capacity — since 2007 in order to create increased demand. ISC reported that its Sprint Cup tickets sold in 2015 went for an average price of $86.10, up slightly from $85.82 in 2014, with grandstand capacity at 89 percent in 2015, up from 87 percent in 2014. It also reported that its six Chase for the Sprint Cup races had a 4 percent increase in attendance. The money the companies earned from tickets pales to what they earn from the NASCAR television package, of which the tracks get 65 percent. They took in about $407.1 million in broadcast rights in 2015.(ESPN.com)(3-10-2016)
  • Phoenix Goodyear Tire Notes: NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series teams will run the same combination of left- and right-side tires at Phoenix this weekend . . . this is the first time these teams have run either of these two tire codes . . . compared to what was run at Phoenix last season, both left- and right-side tires feature the same constructions with different compounds to give the cars more grip . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Phoenix last October 12-13, which included work on the 2016 rules package . . . drivers participating in that test were A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run liners in their tires at Phoenix.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, tire codes, tire pressures, set limits on the Phoenix Race Info page.
  • Phoenix Track Notes & History:
    � Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
    � Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
    � The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
    � The track underwent its first repave in 2011. The construction began in March and concluded in September of that year.
    � The following changes were made during the construction period (March – Sept., 2011): Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet; Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls; Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet; Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet; Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
    (NASCAR)
  • Full weekend of entertainment at Phoenix: Race weekend entertainment for the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will feature two new concerts as DJ Michaelis will throw a ‘Spring Break After Party’ following the AXALTA Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 on Saturday, March 12, while Christopher Shayne will entertain fans post-qualifying for Gatorade Pole Day on Friday, March 11. Famous for deconstructing popular music, PIR fans know DJ Michaelis for putting his own twist on the traditional driver introductions before the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. The West Coast DJ holds big room residencies in cities around the world including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, Moscow and Bali, and has new Trap and Progressive House music being released later this month. Arizona’s own Christopher Shayne will highlight Friday’s entertainment as he will be performing a concert at the Fan Midway immediately following NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying for Gatorade Pole Day on March 11. Nationally known for his hard rock band Whiskey Six, Shayne introduces a new line-up in concert at PIR. The band brings southern-tinged desert rock with Christopher on lead vocals and guitar, playing songs with infectious hooks inspired by American music greats ranging from ZZ Top to The Black Crowes to Johnny Cash. Prior to the Good Sam 500 on Sunday, March 13, Grammy-nominated Soul Asylum will also be performing a free concert for any fan with a grandstand ticket. The multi-platinum rock group known for their 1994 hit “Runaway Train,” will entertain fans in the midway area at 10:30am/mt.
    Following the Spring Break After Party on the Fan Midway on Saturday, fans can make their way back to the new Busch Garage for a night concerts starting with Georgia Chrome from 7:00-9:00pm. Making his PIR debut, the local Donny Grubb Band will close out Saturday evening with a concert from 9:00-11:00pm at the Busch Garage. Race weekend entertainment officially kicks off at the Busch Garage with Harry Luge, Jr. on Thursday, March 10 from 7:00-9:00pm. He will be returning to the Busch Garage stage on Friday, March 11 from 9:00-11:00pm. Hitting the Busch Garage on Thursday night, Chad Freeman & Redline will close out Thursday night entertainment from 9:00-11:00pm. Also performing at the Busch Garage will be Arizona’s original and best hair band rock show, METALHEAD, who will entertain fans on Friday from 7:00-9:00pm.(PIR)(3-10-2016)
  • Colossus construction continues at Bristol: Construction of Colossus TV, the world’s largest outdoor center-hung video screen, is on schedule and continues to pick up pace near the much anticipated debut of the new permanent outdoor display at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 race weekend, April 15-17. The halo, the support structure that will hold Colossus TV, went approximately 155 feet in the air Monday, March 7 to have the support cables attached. This component weighs 146,000 pounds and is nearly 100 feet in diameter. The installation of Colossus TV’s 540,000-watt, 428-speaker sound system continues. The next phase of construction is to assemble the gondola on the ground before it attaches to the halo.(BMS)(3-10-2016)


    News from March 9, 2016


  • NASCAR issues warnings from Las Vegas: NASCAR issued the following written warnings following Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
    #19-Carl Edwards & #78-Martin Truex, Jr. failed template inspection twice during prequalifying inspection. #31-Ryan Newman failed the Laser Inspection Station twice during pre-race inspection.
    In addition, crew member Christopher Jamieson was suspended for violating NASCAR substance abuse policy.(NASCAR), see full report on the Las Vegas Post-Event Penalties page (pdf).(3-9-2016)
  • Still no timeline for Stewart’s return UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart already has defied his doctor’s orders, but there is one order he won’t ignore: The order that he won’t return to racing until the broken bone in his back has healed. The three-time Sprint Cup champion said Friday he will be ready to race once doctors give him the OK. He just has no clue when that will come. His first X-rays since the Feb. 3 surgery for his fractured L1 vertebra will be Wednesday, and that will let him know his progress and possibly set the schedule for his rehab and potential return. Stewart also wouldn’t rule out making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season, hopeful that NASCAR will award him a waiver to miss races, just like it did with Kyle Busch, while still requiring a win and a top-30 regular-season finish in the standings to make the Chase.(ESPN.com)(3-5-2016)
    UPDATE: Tony Stewart was evaluated today by doctors, who checked on the injury he sustained in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident where the driver of the #14 Chevy for Stewart-Haas Racing suffered a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra. Satisfied with the amount of healing that has taken place, doctors implemented a rehabilitation regimen that will hasten Stewart’s recovery. Future evaluations will be necessary before a timetable is known for Stewart’s return to racing. A full recovery is expected for the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, as is a return to the #14 Chevy this season. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(3-9-2016)
  • Harvick crew member injured in snowmobile accident: Michael McCarville, shock specialist for Kevin Harvick’s team, was hospitalized after suffering seven broken ribs and a collapsed lung while on a snowmobiling excursion in Utah with Stewart-Haas Racing team members. McCarville, who was on Harvick’s championship winning team in 2014, tweeted a picture Wednesday of his day snowmobiling and a shot of him in the hospital. A team spokesperson stated that Adam Gravitt will replace McCarville.(NBC Sports)(3-9-2016)
  • Pit road penalties up this year: Just three races into the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and there seems to be a trend developing: a growing number of pit road penalties. There were a total of 19 pit road penalties in Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, starting with pole-sitter #41-Kurt Busch being too fast on pit road on Lap 32 of the 267-lap event. The #41 Stewart-Haas Racing driver was not alone in his faults, seven other drivers accumulated a race-total of eight speeding penalties on pit road. Race winner Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, Greg Biffle, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson, Regan Smith and AJ Allmendinger all received speeding penalties.
    Pit road drama also was prevalent the week before at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as Matt Kenseth received a black flag in the race. During a pit stop on Lap 117, the gas man for the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing pit crew placed a tool on the rear of Kenseth’s Toyota, which is illegal and resulted in a penalty for improper fueling. Kenseth was unaware of his penalty and stayed out after receiving the black flag with a white cross from NASCAR officials, signaling the 2003 Sprint Cup Series champion was no longer being scored as completing a lap. He served his penalty and ended up two laps down.
    While much of the fault can be placed on drivers for pit road penalties, the teams’ crew members have played a huge role in the infractions. Besides this year’s Daytona 500 having the closest finish in NASCAR history, the “Great American Race” also produced the most modern-day pit road infractions (12) caused by pit crews. This is the second year of NASCAR’s Pit Road Officiating system, a camera-operated technology that captures pit stop footage during a race, and as NASCAR officials have learned more about the system since last season, pit crews are wising up any little way they can. NASCAR’s managing director of technology field and media operations, George Grippo, previously explained in January that crew members are now wearing shoes that match the color of pit road. The similar color could jumble up officials determining whether a team member has come over the wall too soon.(NASCAR.com)(3-9-2016)
  • Axalta debuts on the #88: Axalta Coating Systems will make its debut as primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports #88 team this weekend at Phoenix, marking the first time the new red, orange and yellow “Solar Flare” paint scheme will be featured on the #88 Axalta Chevrolet SS. Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global manufacturer of liquid and powder coatings, is continuing its longstanding, 24-year partnership with Hendrick Motorsports after a contract extension that expanded its presence and takes one of the longest sponsorships in NASCAR through 2018.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemems page.(3-9-2016)
  • Hendrick plane makes emergency landing in Memphis UPDATE: A plane headed from Las Vegas to Charlotte, North Carolina made an emergency landing in Memphis. The plane belonged to Hendrick Motorsports and was carrying team members home from the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. A Hendrick Motorsports representative said the plane landed safely in Memphis after someone noticed smoke in the cabin. No one was injured or breathed in too much smoke. The plane is being evaluated for issues. The passengers will return to Charlotte on another flight.(WMC Action News)(3-7-2016)
    UPDATE: Just hours after smoke in the cabin forced a Hendrick Motorsports plane to make an emergency landing early Monday morning, a passenger on the aircraft discussed the situation with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Earl Barban, the spotter for Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, was one of multiple passengers on the plane, which was en route back to Charlotte, North Carolina from Sunday’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. None of Hendrick’s drivers were on board the aircraft, and there were no injuries. Speaking with SiriusXM on Monday after returning home to Charlotte, Barban described the events that led to the emergency landing in Memphis after the plane had made a fuel stop in Oklahoma City.
    “On our second leg we had like an hour and 50 minutes left and had a little smoke in the cabin there and they decided they should probably land, and we landed in Memphis, and they got us off the airplane and all the procedures and safety stuff was done,” Barban told SiriusXM. “After they checked it out and things were good, we got all our stuff off the plane, sat in the FBO for a couple hours until our other plane could get refueled back in Concord (N.C.) and come get us, so it was a little bit of a delay getting home, but everybody was safe.”(Fox Sports)(3-9-2016)
  • NASCAR Tech Open House: The NASCAR Technical Institute is scheduled to have a couple of Open Houses: Saturday, March 12th & Saturday, March 19th from 9:00am-1:00pm/et at NASCAR Technical Institute location: 220 Byers Creek Road, Mooresville, NC 28117. More info and directions at uti.edu.(3-9-2016)
  • Regan Smith returning to JR Motorsports: Regan Smith will drive the #88 Chevy for JR Motorsports in the fall race at Bristol. His sponsor will be Dale’s Pale Ale. See an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(3-9-2016)
  • Custer driving 3 races for JR Motorsports: Cole Custer will be behind the wheel for 3 races for JR Motorsports in the XFINITY Series this year. He is scheduled to drive the #5 at Richmond (Apr), Charlotte (Oct) and Homestead. He will be sponsored by Haas Automation. See an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(3-9-2016)
  • TJ Bell driving for JGL at Phoenix: #24-TJ Bell will be making his sixth career NASCAR XFINITY Series start at Phoenix International Raceway to go along with three previous starts in Camping World Truck Series competition at the one-mile track. He most recently competed at the track last fall for JGL Racing. Bell and the JGL Racing team will have sponsorship support from Apex Contracting and Restoration this week in Phoenix. Apex is a Southern California based company specializing in new construction and restoration after storm or flood damage and providing loss mitigation.(Integrity Sports Marketing)(3-9-2016)
  • Spencer Boyd to make CWTS debut at Martinsville: MB Motorsports looks to serve as the launching pad for yet another young driver with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut of Spencer Boyd and his sponsor, Go-Parts. Spencer, who has had a successful run in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, will pilot the #63 Go-Parts Dodge Ram, powered by War Hawk Performance in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250 on April 2, 2016 at Martinsville Speedway.
    “I am beyond excited to be making my first start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with Mike Mittler,” says Spencer. “Growing up in St. Louis, MB Motorsports was the local NASCAR team, so I’ve followed them since I was a kid. This really is a dream come true. There are so many people to thank for helping me get to this point, now I just want to make them proud by putting on a good show for my family, my partners, and certainly Go-Parts who is also making their NASCAR debut.”
    Go-Parts is an auto parts retailer that has built a strong reputation on servicing customers in a variety of automotive arenas. From online sales to collision shop distribution, the company strives to provide a unique, effective, and affordable buying experience. Boasting one of the industry’s highest Customer Satisfaction ratings, Go-Parts remains focused on helping consumers find great parts at incredible prices. The company is owned and operated by it’s parent organization, Parts Dynasty Corporation.
    Mike Mittler, owner of MB Motorsports and Mittler Bros. Machine & Tool, adds “Spencer is a team owner’s dream. He races to win, as his record shows, and he is a student of the sport. It is a delight to work with such a down to earth young man and we expect great things from Spencer Boyd in the future.”(MB Motorsports), see an image of the truck on the #63 team paint schemes page.(3-9-2016)
  • Phoenix announces signature food and drink for race weekend: It’s Spring Break, NASCAR-style, and fans coming to the Good Sam 500 race weekend are encouraged to take advantage of the exclusive food and beverage offerings – only at PIR – including the Two-wide Spicy Tempura Burger and the Fuzzy’s Desert Mule. A collaboration between PIR and Americrown, the Two-wide Spicy Tempura Burger is a tempura battered all Natural grass fed-beef patty topped with ham, charred peppers, Yancy’s Fancy jalapeno cayenne cheddar cheese and pineapple ketchup on a whole wheat bun. The unique twist on the classic burger was developed by Americrown’s Chef Carl Van Wagner, the same chef who developed last year’s popular CARBuretor Crunch. The Two-wide Spicy Tempura Burger can be purchased for $10 at the food row behind Bryan Allison and A.J. Foyt Grandstands. New this year, PIR partnered with new track sponsor the award-winning “Fuzzy’s Ultra Premium Vodka,” and Chaco Flaco Unusually Delicious Drink Mixers to create the Fuzzy’s Desert Mule. PIR’s spin on the classic mixology includes Fuzzy’s Premium Vodka, Chaco Flaco Berry Mojito Mix, Ginger Beer and ice. The 10oz signature cocktail can also be purchased at the Start Finish Line Grill or the new Busch Garage (formerly known as SPEED Cantina) for $9.(PIR)(3-9-2016)


    News from March 8, 2016


  • Furniture Row to drop appeal of penalty?UPDATE: By the start of the Kobalt 400 on Sunday in Las Vegas, NASCAR had not yet received word from Furniture Row Racing that it was officially withdrawing its appeal of crew chief Cole Pearn’s one-race suspension. FOX reported during the early portion of Sunday’s race that Pearn told the network the team would withdraw its appeal and he would serve the one-race suspension issued to him as punishment next week at Phoenix. The team was found to have illegal roof flaps before the Atlanta event. It resulted in a P3 penalty that included a $50,000 fine, 15-point deductions of championship driver points and owner points and Pearn’s suspension. The team initially said it would appeal the punishment because it was a “safety issue” not something that resulted in a competitive edge. Furniture Row officials told NASCAR.com the team had no official announcement regarding its appeal.(NASCAR.com)(3-7-2016)
    UPDATE: Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing, has informed NASCAR it has withdrawn the appeal for a prerace infraction at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Garone, who met with NASCAR officials, said he was satisfied with the clarification of the penalty and was appreciative of the sanctioning body’s cooperation on this matter. Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn will serve his one-race suspension at this weekend’s NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series race in Phoenix. Subbing for Pearn on race day in Phoenix will be former Furniture Row Racing crew chief Todd Berrier, who is now the director of fabrication at Joe Gibbs Racing. Berrier will call the race strategy on top the pit box for Martin Truex Jr.’s #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota. “Being able to secure the services of Todd for Phoenix was an incredible and selfless gesture by Joe Gibbs Racing,” said Garone. “We are very proud to have a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and are deeply grateful for its quick response to offer assistance. I also want to thank Todd. He has plenty on his plate and to go the extra mile to help us out is appreciated by everyone at Furniture Row Racing.” Berrier and Pearn have had a long-standing relationship as co-workers. Berrier was the crew chief at Furniture Row Racing from July 2012 through the 2014 season while Pearn served as the team’s lead race engineer during the same period. Berrier and Pearn also worked together at Richard Childress Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-8-2016)
  • Goodyear Tire Test at Charlotte UPDATE:: Goodyear will hold a closed tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway next week. Four drivers are scheduled to take part in the test: #78-Martin Truex Jr., #3-Austin Dillon, #1-Jamie McMurray, and #44-Brian Scott. The test is closed to fans.(Charlotte Motor Speedway)(3-5-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers are scheduled to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8-9, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It is the second of eight tire tests scheduled by Goodyear officials and NASCAR for 2016 as part of the 2016 Unified Testing plan. Goodyear officials have said the overall tire selections for 2016 with the lower downforce rules package have thus far resulted in slightly softer compounds for tire builds. “Obviously we test, we look at all the data, we look at temperatures … lap times, but we’re not just trying to go as fast as we can,” said Greg Stucker, director of race tire sales for Goodyear. “We’re also trying to make sure that we get as much feedback from the drivers as we can to make sure we’re landing in the right spot. Goodyear tire tests are also scheduled for Richmond, Pocono, Indianapolis, Watkins Glen, Michigan and New Hampshire this season.(NASCAR.com)(3-8-2016)
  • Las Vegas TV Ratings: After two weeks of double-digit drops, NASCAR overnights fell only slightly over the weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Las Vegas drew a 4.1 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 5% from last year (4.3) and even with 2014 (4.1). The 4.1 is tied as the lowest overnight for the race since it moved to FOX in 2001, matching 2014 and 2010. There was some good news in Sunday’s numbers, as the 5% decline marked a significant improvement from the previous two weeks – when overnights sank 16% at Daytona and 27% at Atlanta. For the weekend, NASCAR ranked as easily the highest rated sporting event on any network – comfortably ahead of the second-place finishers, the final round of the PGA Tour at Doral and the Warriors/Lakers NBA game on ABC (2.9 for both).(Sports Media Watch)(3-8-2016)
  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Phoenix:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 112.6
    #4-Kevin Harvick, 109.9
    #19-Carl Edwards, 99.2
    #41-Kurt Busch, 98.4
    #18-Kyle Busch, 97.3
    #11-Denny Hamlin, 95.1
    #2-Brad Keselowski, 93.8
    #22-Joey Logano, 89.9
    #31-Ryan Newman, 88.6
    #42-Kyle Larson, 88.3
    Note: Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2015 races (22 total) at Phoenix (active drivers only).
    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)
  • Las Vegas XFINITY race TV ratings: NASCAR Xfinity Series racing from Las Vegas drew 1.6 million viewers on Fox Sports 1 Saturday, down 15% from last year (1.9M) and 19% from 2014 on ESPN (2.0M). Viewership was the lowest for the race since at least 2007, falling below last year’s mark.(Sports Media Watch / ShowBuzz Daily)(3-8-2016)
  • NASCAR admits to delay in throwing caution at Las Vegas: Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer, admits that NASCAR officials probably should have thrown the caution flag sooner when Cody Ware wrecked with 63 laps left in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Ware, who hit the wall in Turn 2, was clobbered by the oncoming car of Darrell Wallace Jr., who had nowhere to go in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. But by the time Wallace’s car approached Ware’s car, which was sliding gingerly down the banking, three other cars had already passed by Ware’s slowly moving No. 25 — ample time for officials to throw the caution flag before Wallace and Ware collided. Speaking this week on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, O’Donnell was asked if the caution flag wasn’t displayed as quickly as officials ideally would have wanted it displayed. “I think that is probably fair,” O’Donnell said on SiriusXM. “That’s something we’ll talk about as a group at the R&D; Center on Tuesday. When we kind of noticed (Ware’s) car, it was probably already mid-accident by the time we saw it, spinning out. In that case, I think there was a bit of a delay in throwing the caution.”(Fox Sports)(3-8-2016)
  • Juniper Networks sponsoring Suarez: Joe Gibbs Racing and Juniper Networks, the industry leader in network innovation, announced an eight race sponsorship, beginning this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, on the #19 Toyota Camry driven by 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year Daniel Su�rez. Through its sponsorship with JGR, Juniper Networks and their Elite partner Structured Communications, Inc. have helped to improve the racing organization’s network infrastructure for better performance on and off the track through Juniper Networks’ next-generation switching and security solutions, including several key components of the Juniper Networks MetaFabric architecture. From analyzing car-performance data to providing real-time feedback to the crew chiefs and ensuring a reliable connection to the driver, JGR’s network will blend on-track with off-track capabilities. Su�rez has 38-career starts in the XFINITY Series over three seasons. He has earned three pole starting positions, nine top-five finishes, 21 top-10 finishes and led 83 laps with an average start of 8.1 and average finish of 11.5. In addition to this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway, Juniper Networks will adorn the No. 19 Camry this season at Texas Motor Speedway (April, 8); Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16); Richmond International Raceway (April 23); Daytona International Speedway (July 1); New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16); Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23); and Charlotte Motor Speedway (October 7).(Joe Gibbs Racing)(3-8-2016)
  • Cope announces Phoenix sponsors: For week two of #NASCARGoesWest, Derrike Cope Racing announces our sponsors for the “Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200,” March 12th at the Phoenix International Raceway. For the second week in a row, Ehydrate, a unique line of natural, hydrating, and nutritious drink mixes, will be displayed prominently on the #70 Camaro as a coprimary sponsor. Available at every Target store nationwide, you too can get the hydration, energy, protein, & more essential elements of life that you need. Also on the #70, for the second Phoenix race in a row, is Ashurst American Honey. Ashurst American Honey produces, packages, and distributes honey throughout the western United States. Many notable food producers use the premium honey in breads, cereals, and many different bakery items. Joining the #70 as an associate sponsor for Phoenix, is ICEAID. ICEAID, a mineral based additive, virtually transforms a standard cooler into a brisk freezer in no time. Also on the #70 as an associate sponsor is Unique Luxury Catering. Providing an upscale experience for home entertaining, they allow you to enjoy your guests more freely while we create the dining experience.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-8-2016)
  • Phoenix extends partnership with O’Reilly Auto Parts: Phoenix International Raceway announced the extension of a successful long-time partnership with O’Reilly Auto Parts, as the Missouri-based company will continue as the track’s Official Auto Parts partner. “We are pleased to have a great partner like O’Reilly Auto Parts and it’s always great when we continue to build our long term relationships,” said track president Bryan Sperber. “A partnership with a brand familiar to NASCAR fans coast to coast is fitting for the track.” The Valley of the Sun is both a key automotive market and a key market for the automotive parts business. O’Reilly has played host to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway for many years and has been the Official Auto Parts partner since 2010.(PIR)(3-8-2016)


    News from March 7, 2016


     

  • Entry List for the Good Sam 500(k) Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway is posted, 39 teams/drivers [for 40 spots] are listed, including: #14-Dillon, #21-Blaney*, #30-Wise*, #32-Joey Gase, #95-McDowell, #98-Whitt*.
    Drivers who are not a Charter team, an Open Team, and must get in via speed: #21-Blaney, #30-Wise, #98-Whitt
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts, then owners pts): none
    Since only 39 cars are entered, all drivers will make the race, 40 is the maximum.
    * Open Team (no Charter)
    See the full entry list on Jayski.com’s Phoenix Entry List
  • Snap Fitness sponsoring Cassill in 4 races: Snap Fitness, the world’s premier 24/7 fitness provider, announced that it will sponsor NASCAR driver Landon Cassill for the third-straight season. Cassill will continue to represent Snap Fitness as a brand champion – only this season, he’ll be driving a new car for a new team. Earlier this year, Cassill joined Front Row Motorsports and will drive the #38 Ford for the 2016 Sprint Cup season. Watch the Snap Fitness car in action with Cassill at the wheel during the following races this year: March 13 – Good Sam 500 at Phoenix, April 17 – Food City 500 at Bristol, July 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #38 team paint schemes page.(3-7-2016)
  • Hendrick plane makes emergency landing in Memphis: A plane headed from Las Vegas to Charlotte, North Carolina made an emergency landing in Memphis. The plane belonged to Hendrick Motorsports and was carrying team members home from the NASCAR race in Las Vegas. A Hendrick Motorsports representative said the plane landed safely in Memphis after someone noticed smoke in the cabin. No one was injured or breathed in too much smoke. The plane is being evaluated for issues. The passengers will return to Charlotte on another flight.(WMC Action News)(3-7-2016)
  • Furniture Row to drop appeal of penalty? By the start of the Kobalt 400 on Sunday in Las Vegas, NASCAR had not yet received word from Furniture Row Racing that it was officially withdrawing its appeal of crew chief Cole Pearn’s one-race suspension. FOX reported during the early portion of Sunday’s race that Pearn told the network the team would withdraw its appeal and he would serve the one-race suspension issued to him as punishment next week at Phoenix. The team was found to have illegal roof flaps before the Atlanta event. It resulted in a P3 penalty that included a $50,000 fine, 15-point deductions of championship driver points and owner points and Pearn’s suspension. The team initially said it would appeal the punishment because it was a “safety issue” not something that resulted in a competitive edge. Furniture Row officials told NASCAR.com the team had no official announcement regarding its appeal.(NASCAR.com)(3-7-2016)
  • Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Kobalt 400: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday’s race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 7:04PM (all times are ET). Did not keep records for the pre- and post-race coverage. Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
    Total number of commercials: 121
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 54
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 101
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 52
    Number of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 20
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 12
    Number of times Fox utilized ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials during this broadcast: 4
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 64
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 4 min.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:30 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 7:04 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 214
    Minutes of race broadcast: 169
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 45
    Minutes of ‘Side-by-Side’ commercials (split-screen): 8
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of ‘mystery cautions’ (debris not shown): 0
    Total race brdcst time 169 Total comm. brdcst time 45
    See past races, more info on the commercials with links at CawsnJaws.com.(3-7-2016)
  • Sad News – Jim Freeman: Jim Freeman, former public relations expert for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, passed away in Murfreesboro, TN on Sunday morning. Freeman was 73. A native of Murfreesboro, Freeman was named Sports Information Director at MTSU in 1969 after serving stints on the staffs of the Daily News Journal and Nashville Banner. In 1976 he joined a small group of MTSU administrators to create the Blue Raider Sports Hall Fame. Over the following 40 years, Freeman was an integral part of the hall of fame process at his beloved alma mater. In 2014, he was honored by director of athletics Chris Massaro in being named to the Ring of Honor. After a decade at MTSU, he was offered the stock car media coordinator position at Daytona International Speedway, a post he held from 1979 to 1982. He then moved up in the NASCAR family, accepting the position of Public Relations Director at the famed Talladega Superspeedway, where led the PR efforts for 14 years. In 1996, Freeman was asked to serve as the executive director of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame. He led the hall of fame for 10 years before retiring in 2006.(full post with service info at the Daily News Journal)(3-7-2016)
  • XFINITY Entry List: There are 42 cars on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Speedway. A few notes:
    DJ Kennington will drive the #13;
    The Rick Ware #15 & #25 are TBA;
    Spencer Gallagher will be in the #21;
    Josh Reaume will drive the #40;
    Chase Elliott remains in the #88;
    Dylan Lupton will be in the #93;
    Todd Peck returns to the #99.(3-7-2015)
    See the complete list on the Phoenix entry list page.


    News from March 6, 2016


  • Keselowski wins at Las Vegas: #2-Brad Keselowski won the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 2nd win in at Las Vegas and 18th career win. Keselowski led 24 of the 267 laps. He took the lead from #18-Busch with 6 laps to go and pulled away to win by .6 seconds.
    #22-Logano finished 2nd, followed by #48-Johnson, #18-Busch, #3-Dillon, #21-Blaney, #4-Harvick, #88-Earnhardt, Jr., #41-Busch, and #5-Kahne.
    Polesitter #41-Busch led the first 31 laps, but was penalized for speeding on pit road under the first caution and was never able to get back to the front of the field.
    There were 20 lead changes among 10 drivers and 6 cautions for 36 yellow flag laps.
    The race started a few minutes late after a few rain showers just before the start.
    The average speed was 138.170mph.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs: Monday, March 7 at 8:30am/et on FS1
    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and [NOTE: money won is no longer reported] more at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf)
    (3-6-2016)
  • Race Fast Facts – Las Vegas:
    Brad Keselowski won the 19th Annual Kobalt 400, his 18th victory in 236 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and second top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his second victory and fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Joey Logano (second) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his second top-10 finish in 2016.
    Jimmie Johnson (third) posted his ninth top-10 finish in 15 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Ryan Blaney (sixth) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Kyle Busch leads the point standings by 6 points over Jimmie Johnson.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-6-2016)
  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver Chase Standings:
    [after Las Vegas, race 3 of 36]
    1) #18-Busch, 115
    2) #48-Johnson [1 win], 108, -7
    3) #4-Harvick, 109, -7
    4) #22-Logano, 104, -11
    5) #41-Kurt Busch, 103, -12
    6) #2-Keselowski [1 win], 97, -18
    7) #19-Edwards, 96, -19
    8) #11-Hamlin [1 win], 92, -23
    9) #78-Truex, Jr., 90, -25
    10) #3-Dillon, 89, -26
    11) #17-Stenhouse, Jr., 79, -36
    12) #88-Earnhrdt, Jr., 78, -37
    13) #5-Kahne, 77, -38
    14) #21-Blaney, 73, -42
    15) #43-Almirola, 72, -43
    16) #1-McMurray, 69, -46
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf)
  • AAA Mid-Atlantic to sponsor Austin Dillon: AAA Mid-Atlantic announced it has partnered with Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series with drivers Austin Dillon and Brandon Jones. AAA will serve as a primary partner of Richard Childress Racing’s #3 AAA Chevrolet SS driven by Austin Dillon in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for select races in 2016, beginning with the spring race weekend at Richmond International Raceway on Sunday, April 24. The organization will serve as a major associate partner on the #3 Chevrolet for the duration of the season. AAA will also have primary placement on the #33 Chevrolet Camaro driven by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Brandon Jones in the XFINITY Series race at Kentucky Speedway on July 8. In addition to their partnership with RCR, AAA’s initiatives in 2016 include title sponsorship of the AAA Track Takeover prior to the start of the Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on Sunday, April 24 and title sponsorship of the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at the Dover International Speedway Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15.(RCR), see an image of the car on the #3 team paint schemes page.(3-6-2016)
  • Many drivers attending UFC fight Saturday night UPDATE: Less than 24 hours before the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas, many of NASCAR’s best and brightest will be attending UFC 196 on Saturday night to watch Conor McGregor battle Nate Diaz in the main event. Drivers expected to attend include: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #4-Kevin Harvick, #15-Clint Bowyer, #41-Kurt Busch, #10-Danica Patrick, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #42-Kyle Larson, #5-Kasey Kahne, #3-Austin Dillon, and #21-Ryan Blaney. Harvick will actually be working Saturday night in support of one of his fighters. KHI Management, a full service agency that was founded by Harvick, represents Miesha Tate, who is fighting in the co-main event against Holly Holm for the UFC women’s bantamweight title.(Fox Sports)(3-5-2016)
    UPDATE: When Miesha Tate defeated Holly Holm with a fifth-round choke hold in UFC 196 at Las Vegas Saturday night, it was a huge victory for her, as it earned Tate the UFC women’s bantamweight championship. And it was a big victory for KHI Management, the full-service celebrity marketing agency that represents Tate. KHI is owned by Kevin and DeLana Harvick, and represents a number of top clients in the sports and entertainment industry, including Jake Owen, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Jeff Burton, among others. While Kevin has been under the weather all weekend and didn’t attend UFC 196, DeLana was there in person to see Tate’s stunning upset.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)
  • Weather an issue Sunday? While the threat of rain remains for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it will be more about the wind than the rain. There’s currently a wind advisory for Las Vegas from noon Sunday until 8:00pm/pt Sunday evening. Winds are going to increase during the afternoon out of the southwest. Sustained winds will be between 20-30 mph while wind gusts could reach 40 to possibly 45 mph. As for the rain, while there could be some rain showers or an isolated storm through the morning and into the early afternoon, any shower that could impact the track would be brief due to the strong winds pushing the precipitation quickly through the area. By mid- to late-afternoon skies are expected to clear out but winds will remain. Odds of racing Sunday continue to be between 75 to 85 percent, due to the unknown element of the wind and how NASCAR will handle the situation. Temperatures will also be much cooler than the previous days, with afternoon temperatures in the middle 60s. Follow @NASCAR_WXMAN on Twitter for the latest weather updates through the rest of the weekend.(SB Nation)(3-6-2016)
  • Hamlin’s Daytona 500 win means extra value for FedEx: A new study conducted jointly by the Los Angeles-based media agency Wasserman and Buffalo, New York-based Nervve showed that #11-Denny Hamlin’s Daytona 500 victory was worth $1.9 million in earned media value for his primary sponsor, FedEx. According to the study, FedEx got nearly 23 minutes of clear exposure during the race, tops among the 40 cars in the field. There were some interesting tidbits from the study:
    — “For brands seeking to optimize their earned media performance in NASCAR, the wise place to focus initial efforts should be on the hood placement. Consistent with other races we’ve measured, the hood placement generated the most value of any single signage location,” the study concluded.
    — The study measured clarity of sponsor logos “to help determine the effectiveness of the logo and creative execution.” The winners in this category were Caterpillar and McDonald’s, which each generated a 92 percent clarity rating.
    — The winner in the average duration of exposure was Kevin Harvick’s #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, which managed an average of 6.7 seconds per exposure, 60 percent above the average for the field.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)
  • Kurt Busch still interested in Indy 500 this year: Could Kurt Busch make another run at the Indianapolis 500/Coca-Cola 600 double? It sure sounds like he’s interested. After Busch won the pole for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, FOXSports.com asked Busch if he had any update on his hopes to find an Indy 500 ride this year. “Nothing new on Indy. Part of the reason for staying here in Vegas extra is a few different meetings have popped up,” said Busch. “We are going to go through some of the meetings, even bumped into (Verizon IndyCar Series team owner) Sam Schmidt today. There is definitely the interest, the intrigue, but nothing to announce right now.” This year will mark the 100th running of the Indy 500, which would make competing in the race even more attractive than usual.(Fox Sports)(3-6-2016)
  • Las Vegas Race Notes & Facts:
    � There have been 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    � Roush Fenway Racing leads the series in wins at Las Vegas with seven, followed by Hendrick Motorsports with five.
    � Four manufacturers have visited Victory Lane in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at LVMS, led by Ford (eight), Chevrolet (seven), Toyota (two) and Dodge (one).
    � Only two car numbers have produced two or more Las Vegas NSCS wins: #48 – Jimmie Johnson (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010), #99 – Jeff Burton (1999, 2000) Carl Edwards (2008, 2011), #17 – Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004)
    � There has been one green-white-checkered finish at Las Vegas: 2006 (270/267).
    � Qualifying has only been cancelled once (2013).
    � Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Las Vegas was the (3/12/2006) race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.045 seconds.
    (NASCAR)
  • Broad Valley Micro Fiber Networks to upgrade Dover’s digital network: Dover International Speedway has reached an agreement with Broad Valley Micro Fiber Networks to upgrade digital capabilities at the Monster Mile, track officials announced today. The deal includes plans for expanded Wi-Fi access in many areas of Speedway grounds, allowing fans to be better connected while on the property, as well as tighter security networks for customer transactions and improved operational efficiencies. Work is scheduled to be complete by the May 13-15 NASCAR tripleheader weekend at Dover International Speedway, featuring the “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, May 15. Upon project completion, mobile apps will work more efficiently throughout the Speedway grounds, allowing guests to save money on their cellular data plans. In addition, transaction time at food and merchandise outlets will decrease, audio from all devices will be improved, and guests can feel secure about any online activity, thanks to a stronger security network.(Dover Speedway)(3-6-2016)


    News from March 5, 2016


     

  • Final practice: for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 50 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #20-Kenseth 189.460
    #19-Edwards 188.851
    #41-Busch 188.706
    #27-Menard 188.679
    #31-Newman 188.547
    slowest: #32-Earnhardt 180.995 & #30-Wise 180.524.
    All 39 cars were on track during practice.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Las Vegas Final Practice speeds page (pdf).(3-5-2016)
  • First Saturday practice: for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #19-Edwards 191.564
    #3-Dillon 190.894
    #13-Mears 190.698
    #5-Kahne 190.355
    #2-Keselowski 190.925
    slowest: #98-Whitt 182.445 & & #30-Wise 182.537.
    All 39 cars have been on track during practice.
    NOTE: Happy Hour (final) practice is scheduled today at 2:30pm/et on FS1.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Las Vegas Practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-5-2016)
  • Pit Stall Selections: The selections of pit stalls for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway have been made.
    Pole sitter #41-Busch chose pit stall 1 [as do most pole sitters].
    Outside pole sitter #22-Logano took pit stall 15, the first pit stall with an opening in front of it.
    #20-Kenseth, who starts 3rd took the 40th and final pit stall.
    The 40th pit stall [the final pit stall being used at Las Vegas] was taken by #20-Kenseth, who starts 3rd.
    To see where the drivers/teams pit stall is, see the pit selection chart on Jayski.com’s Pit Stall Selection chart.(3-5-2016)
  • Still no timeline for Stewart’s return: #14-Tony Stewart already has defied his doctor’s orders, but there is one order he won’t ignore: The order that he won’t return to racing until the broken bone in his back has healed. The three-time Sprint Cup champion said Friday he will be ready to race once doctors give him the OK. He just has no clue when that will come. His first X-rays since the Feb. 3 surgery for his fractured L1 vertebra will be Wednesday, and that will let him know his progress and possibly set the schedule for his rehab and potential return. Stewart also wouldn’t rule out making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in his final season, hopeful that NASCAR will award him a waiver to miss races, just like it did with Kyle Busch, while still requiring a win and a top-30 regular-season finish in the standings to make the Chase.(ESPN.com)(3-5-2016)
  • Goodyear Tire Test at Charlotte: Goodyear will hold a closed tire test at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday, March 9. Four drivers are scheduled to take part in the test: #78-Martin Truex Jr., #3-Austin Dillon, #1-Jamie McMurray, and #44-Brian Scott. The test is closed to fans.(Charlotte Motor Speedway)(3-5-2016)
  • Atlanta TV Ratings UPDATE: Continuing a rough start to the season, NASCAR’s second race of the season scored its lowest overnight since FOX acquired rights. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Atlanta earned a 3.7 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 27% from last year (5.1) and the lowest overnight for the second race of the season since FOX began airing races in 2001. The previous low was a 4.8 for the 2014 Phoenix race. The second race of the season is usually the highest rated outside of Daytona, topping a 6.0 overnight in all-but-one year from 2001 to 2008 and a 5.0 in all-but-two years since. Overnights reached as high as 7.1 for the Auto Club 500 in 2005. For the weekend, NASCAR placed second among sporting events behind Saturday’s Warriors/Thunder NBA game on ABC (3.9). Because NBA ratings tend to decline from the overnight to the final, while NASCAR ratings remain stable or increase, the race will likely come out ahead in the final tally.(Sports Business Daily / Sports Media Watch) (3-1-2016)
    UPDATE: One week after a near record-low for the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s second race of the season earned its lowest rating in 16 years. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Atlanta earned a 4.1 final rating and 6.8 million viewers on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 27% in ratings and 28% in viewership from last year (5.6, 9.5M) and down 23% in both measures from the second race of the 2014 season, Phoenix (5.3, 8.8M). Jimmie Johnson’s win earned the lowest rating for NASCAR’s second race of the season in 16 years – since Rockingham on TNN in 2000 (3.9). The previous low over that span was the 5.3 for Phoenix in 2014. NASCAR’s second race of the season – previously Phoenix (2011-14), Fontana (2005-10) and Rockingham (prior to 2005) – is usually the highest rated outside of Daytona. For the weekend, NASCAR on FOX was the top sporting event on any network – ranking comfortably ahead of the Warriors/Thunder NBA game on ABC Saturday night (3.2, 5.3M).(Sports Media Watch)(3-5-2016)
  • Many drivers attending UFC fight Saturday night: Less than 24 hours before the Kobalt 400 in Las Vegas, many of NASCAR’s best and brightest will be attending UFC 196 on Saturday night to watch Conor McGregor battle Nate Diaz in the main event. Drivers expected to attend include: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #4-Kevin Harvick, #15-Clint Bowyer, #41-Kurt Busch, #10-Danica Patrick, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., #42-Kyle Larson, #5-Kasey Kahne, #3-Austin Dillon, and #21-Ryan Blaney. Harvick will actually be working Saturday night in support of one of his fighters. KHI Management, a full service agency that was founded by Harvick, represents Miesha Tate, who is fighting in the co-main event against Holly Holm for the UFC women’s bantamweight title.(Fox Sports)(3-5-2016)
  • Las Vegas Driver Notes & Facts:
    � 139 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas; 106 in more than one.
    � Jeff Gordon is the only driver to participate in all 18 previous Las Vegas Motor Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup races.
    � Stanton Barrett (1999), Kyle Busch (2004), Timmy Hill (2012), Jon Wood and Aric Almirola (2007) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
    � 11 different drivers have won at LVMS, led by Jimmie Johnson with four (2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010).
    � Three other drivers have multiple wins at Las Vegas: Matt Kenseth (three), Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards (each have two).
    � Las Vegas-native Kyle Busch became the first and only driver to win from the pole, in 2009.
    � Three drivers have won consecutive races at Las Vegas: Jeff Burton (1999, 2000); Matt Kenseth (2003, 2004) and Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to win three consecutive races (2005, 2006 and 2007).
    � Eight of the 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Las Vegas participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Mark Martin (1998; inaugural event) is the only driver to win at Las Vegas in his first appearance.
    � Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte lead the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Las Vegas without visiting Victory Lane with 16 each.
    � Four reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions have gone on to win at Las Vegas the following season: Matt Kenseth (2004), Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2010), Tony Stewart (2012) and Kevin Harvick (2015).
    � Three drivers have won at Las Vegas and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season: Jeff Gordon (2001), Matt Kenseth (2003) and Jimmie Johnson (2006, 2007 and 2010).
    � Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in runner-up finishes at Las Vegas with three; followed by Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart with two each.
    � Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart lead the series in top-five finishes at Las Vegas with six each.
    � Mark Martin has 10 top-10 finishes, more than any other driver. Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers with nine top-10 finishes each.
    � Carl Edwards leads the series in average finish at LVMS with a 11.375.
    � Danica Patrick and Shawna Robinson are the only two female drivers to compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
    (NASCAR)
  • Kyle Busch wins XFINITY race at Las Vegas: #18-Kyle Busch won the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his 78th XFINITY Series win and 2nd of the year. He led 199 of the 200 laps. #19-Daniel Suarez finished second, followed by #20-Erik Jones, #88-Chase Elliott, #2-Austin Dillon, #33-Brandon Jones, #3-Ty Dillon, #1-Elliott Sadler, #7-Justin Allgaier, and #62-Brendan Gaughan.
    There were 3 cautions for 15 laps and 2 lead changes among 2 leaders.
    The average speed was 145.415mph.
    Complete results are on the Las Vegas race results page (pdf).
    (3-5-2016)
  • Las Vegas XFINITY Race Fast Facts:
    Kyle Busch(i) won the 20th Annual Boyd Gaming 300, his 78th victory in 313 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his second victory and second top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his first victory and fourth top-10 finish in 12 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Daniel Suarez (second) posted his second top-10 finish in two races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his third top-10 finish in 2016.
    Erik Jones (third) posted his first top-10 finish in two races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Jones (third) was the highest finishing rookie.
    Suarez leads the point standings by 3 points over Elliott Sadler.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-5-2016)
  • XFINITY Driver standings following Las Vegas:
    1) #19-Daniel Suarez, 106
    2) #1-Elliott Sadler, 103, -3
    3) #3-Ty Dillon, 99, -7
    4) #33-Brandon Jones, 99, -7
    5) #7-Justin Allgaier, 95, -11
    6) #62-Brendan Gaughan, 91, -15
    7) #20-Erik Jones, 86, -20
    8) #16-Ryan Reed, 79, -27
    9) #39-Ryan Sieg, 73, -33
    10) #43-Jeb Burton, 72, -34
    See complete owner and driver standings on the driver standings(pdf) and owner standings page (pdf).(3-5-2016)
  • Las Vegas Qualifying Notes:
    Kyle Busch(i) won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 20th Annual Boyd Gaming 300 with a lap of 29.557 seconds, 182.698 mph.
    This is his 50th pole in 313 NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is his second pole and second top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his first pole in 12 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Erik Jones (second) posted his third top-10 start of 2016 and his second in two races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
    Daniel Suarez (third) posted his first top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is his third in three races this season.
    Jones (second) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    (NASCAR Integrated Marketing)(3-5-2016)
  • Kyle Busch on XFINITY pole at Las Vegas: #18-Kyle Busch won the Coors Light pole for the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 182.698mph. #20-Erik Jones will start second. The rest of the top 10: #19-Daniel Suarez, #88-Chase Elliott, #33-Brandon Jones, #7-Justin Allgaier, #1-Elliott Sadler, #62-Brendan Gaughan, #3-Ty Dillon, and #98-Aric Almirola.
    Did Not Qualify: #70-Derrike Cope & #99-Todd Peck.
    The starting lineup is posted on the Las Vegas starting lineup page (pdf).(3-50-2016)
  • Jordan Fisher to sing National Anthem at Phoenix: Actor and singer Jordan Fisher will be on hand to perform the National Anthem prior to the Good Sam 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 13. Fisher most recently appeared in the FOX special “Grease: Live” as ‘Doody’ which attracted more than 12.2 million viewers and ranked as the number one most viral special live musical event with over 162.2 million social impressions. Originally from Birmingham, Ala., he made his debut on the popular Nickelodeon series “iCarly” and later landed his first major acting role on ABC Family’s “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” He has also appeared in Disney’s “Teen Beach Movie” and “Teen Beach 2”, Nickelodeon’s “The Thundermans”, MTV’s “Teen Wolf” and currently stars on Disney’s “Liv and Maddie.” In addition to his on-camera roles, Jordan signed a recording deal with Hollywood Records last year and is currently in the studio working on his debut album with some of the industry’s premier writers and producers. His first single off the album will be dropping this Spring.(Phoenix Raceway)(3-5-2016)
  • LVMS names infield care center in honor of Dr. Dale Carrison: Las Vegas Motor Speedway has announced it is naming its infield care center the Carrison Care Center in honor of longtime LVMS Medical Director Dr. Dale Carrison. The speedway’s medical director since it began operating in 1996, Carrison is one of the most accomplished and decorated doctors in Nevada. He currently serves as the Las Vegas Regional Medical Director and Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada and is also the professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine for the University of Nevada School of Medicine. A Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Carrison has been instrumental in the evolution and development of the LVMS medical program. He and his staff have been dedicated to providing injured racers with the best medical care for years, and Carrison has helped LVMS’s medical program and care center become elite. Carrison’s extensive medical background includes being the medical director for the Clark County Fire Department, Mercy Air Aeromedical Transport in Clark County and the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, as well as serving as a tactical physician for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s SWAT Team. An FBI agent before he became a doctor, Carrison also was appointed by the Governor of Nevada to serve as chairman of the Nevada Homeland Security Commission.(LVMS)(3-5-2016)


    News from March 4, 2016


     

  • Kurt Busch wins Las Vegas pole: #41-Kurt Buch won the Coors Light pole for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with speed of 196.328mph for his 2nd pole of 2016, 2nd at Las Vegas and 21st of his career. Busch has won 1 race from the pole out of 20 previous poles.
    #22-Logano is on the outside pole followed by #20-Kenseth, #2-Keselowski, #3-Dillon, #4-Harvick, #43-Almirola, #5-Kahne, #11-Hamlin, #78-Truex, Jr., #48-Johnson, and #47-Allmendinger.
    #41-Busch was fastest in the first round with a speed of 196.378mph [a track record]. #2-Keselowski topped the second round at 195.560mph.
    14 drivers posted laps faster than the previous track record of 194.679mph which was set last year by Jeff Gordon.
    Only 39 cars were entered so everyone made the race.
    See round-by-round qualifying results on the Atlanta qualifying results page (pdf) and the complete starting lineup on the Las Vegas Starting Lineup page (pdf).(3-4-2015)
  • Qualifying Fast Facts – Las Vegas:
    Kurt Busch won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 19th Annual Kobalt 400 with a lap of 27.505 seconds, 196.328 mph.
    This is his 21st pole in 543 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his second pole and third top-10 start in 2016.
    This is his second pole in 15 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway .
    Joey Logano (second) posted his second top-10 start of 2016 and his sixth in eight races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway .
    Matt Kenseth (third) posted his sixth top-10 start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway . It is his second in three races this season.
    Chase Elliott (13th) was the fastest qualifying rookie.
    Busch set the track record in the first round of qualifying with a lap of 27.498 seconds, 196.378 mph.
    (NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(3-4-2016)
  • Ty Dillon, Vickers will continue to split #14 until Stewart returns: #14-Tony Stewart met with the media Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and was asked who would be in his car until he returned. He stated that “Basically the races that Bass Pro is going to be on the car, Ty will be in the car. The rest of the races it will be Brian.”(Chevy PR) SHR has not released a schedule of races that Bass Pro will sponsor.(3-4-2016)
  • Friday practice: for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is over after 85 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
    #2-Keselowski 195.327
    #22-Logano 195.263
    #41-Busch 194.672
    #27-Menard 194.496
    #14-Vickers 194.398
    slowest: #32-Earnhardt 185.344 & #30-Wise 180.427.
    All 39 cars have been on track during practice.
    NOTE: Qualifying is today at 7:45pm/et on FoxSports1.
    See the fastest speeds, best 10 consecutive lap average, laps run on the Las Vegas Practice 1 speed page (pdf).(3-4-2016)
  • Qualifying Order for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted. 39 cars/drivers are listed.
    The first driver to be lined up on pit road will be #23-Ragan.
    The final driver lined up on pit road will be #24-Elliott.
    The order is set by a random draw, how cars park on pit road before they qualify, held about an hour before the first practice.
    After the first round, the cars line up by speed.
    See the full qualifying order on Jayski.com’s Las Vegas Qualifying Order Page (pdf).(3-4-2016)
  • Garone explains Furniture Row’s penalty appeal: As Furniture Row awaits word on when it will conduct its formal appeals hearing with NASCAR, [crew chief Cole] Pearn is allowed to work this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, Garone spent some time dissecting the nature of the violation during an appearance Wednesday evening on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
    “In the thrash through the winter of getting cars ready and cars built, we managed to let a part on the car, on the roof flap, get in the car that is unapproved, and it’s a spring up inside the roof flap,” Garone told host Dave Moody.”It’s not necessarily easy to catch, and NASCAR found it. I’m actually grateful that they found it before we got on the track because it is a safety issue, no doubt, and we certainly aren’t questioning that.”
    Garone then explained what he sees as the basis for the team’s appeal. “The nice thing about NASCAR’s appeals system is it gives you the opportunity to sit across from NASCAR and discuss the circumstances, and that’s what we’d like to do is understand clearly why it’s such a severe penalty,” he said. “There was never anything intended on competition, there’s nothing to gain from it on competition, for sure, and it was found before we got on the track.”(Fox Sports)(3-4-2015)
  • Changes to NASCAR sanctioning agreements this year: NASCAR has added new language to its sanction agreements that prohibit anything resembling the Sprint Cup Series at tracks that have Sprint Cup races. Because Dover International Speedway’s entire business is virtually reliant on its two NASCAR weekends, Dover filed select financial information as well as its entire Sprint Cup sanction agreements with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week. The money Dover will get from the NASCAR television package will increase from 3.37 percent to 4.25 percent annually over the next five years. Dover will receive $30.7 million in television money for its two Sprint Cup weekends … and it will increase anywhere from $1.1 million to $1.4 million a year through 2020.
    The sanction agreement also includes some new language — interesting language from the standpoint that NASCAR has now banned any races of similar cars at the tracks where Sprint Cup competes. Among other new items in the five-year sanction agreements:
    * NASCAR will tell promoters by April 1 the dates of their races for the following year.
    * There is a new section on “secondary ancillary rights” fees that will be distributed 60 percent to teams, 30 percent to promoters and 10 percent to NASCAR. These would be non-live broadcast rights for highlights and other digital content, including licensing to fantasy games for use of driver and team images.
    * There is a new section called “event standards” that creates a promoter council and requires that the tracks and NASCAR will work together to create series-wide and event-specific criteria relative to fan experience, remote viewers experience, promotion of events and stature of events – and that NASCAR and the track would put together a plan to rectify any shortfalls or deficiencies.
    * NASCAR will now require pace vehicles to be only those from manufacturers that participate in NASCAR competition, with any track deals with other manufacturers grandfathered in for 2016.(ESPN.com)(3-4-2016)
  • Allegiant Air becomes Official Passenger Airline of NASCAR: NASCAR and Allegiant Air announced a multi-year agreement designating the travel company as the Official Passenger Airline of NASCAR. The newly forged partnership positions Allegiant as the first-ever “Official Passenger Airline Partner” of the sanctioning body. Allegiant will allow fans to take advantage of its convenient, ultra-low-cost service to enjoy races in more than 20 NASCAR race markets, including NASCAR’s entire west coast series of events in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. As part of this integrated partnership, Allegiant Air joins the NASCAR Fuel for Business Council, which brings together an exclusive group of nearly 60 Official NASCAR Partners four times per year to buy and sell products and services from one another. This exclusive business-to-business environment offers unique opportunities for many Fortune 500 companies to bypass the time and layers of corporate coordination that may exist to construct customized deals that help address specific business needs.(NASCAR)(3-4-2016)
  • Las Vegas Pole Notes & Facts:
    � Dale Jarrett won the inaugural pole with a speed of 168.224 mph (32.773 secs.).
    � 11 drivers have poles at LVMS, led by Kasey Kahne with three (2004, 2007 and 2012).
    � Kyle Busch is the only driver to win consecutive poles at LVMS from (2008-’09).
    � Kyle Busch leads the series among active drivers in average starting position with an 8.273.
    � Only three LVMS races (16.6%) have been won from the front row: Kyle Busch, 2009 (pole); Carl Edwards, 2008 (second-place); Brad Keselowski, 2014 (second-place).
    � Four of the 18 races (22.2%) have been won from a top-five starting position at Las Vegas.
    � Eight of the 18 (44.4%) races have been won from a top-10 starting position at Las Vegas.
    � Four of the 18 races (22.2%) at Las Vegas have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
    � The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 25th, by Matt Kenseth in 2004.
    (NASCAR)
  • Final season for Brendan Gaughan: It is Tuesday of NASCAR Week, high noon, the Coronado Cafe at South Point. Michael Gaughan, who owns the joint, is about to break bread with his board of directors, which is what he calls the men who serve as his department heads and confidants. The topic switches to auto racing. Michael Gaughan is asked if he is proud of what Brendan Gaughan, his youngest son who has turned 40, has accomplished on the racetrack. He nods his head. His way of saying, yes, he is very proud. Then he says this season probably is going to be it for Brendan. What?
    Yes, this is probably going to be Brendan Gaughan’s last season driving the black and yellow gold #62 South Point Chevy in the Xfinity Series for Richard Childress. Last season was to have been it, his old man said. But Childress talked him into letting Brendan make another season of left-hand turns – Childress’ racing grandsons, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon, really like having Brendan around, Michael said.
    The next day, Brendan Gaughan will say that he and his old man have yet to sit down and talk about this being it. But if his old man decides not to write the check, then yes, that will be it, because it’s difficult to be competitive in NASCAR without a good sponsor, no matter how heavy one’s foot is. In chatting with Brendan Gaughan, one laughs a lot. For a kid of means, he doesn’t have a spoiled bone in his body. Instead of pretension, you get self-deprecating humor. You get the impression he’d like to drive Richard Childress’ car and hang out with the Dillon boys for at least one more season after this one. Or two.(Las Vegas Review-Journal)(3-4-2016)
  • Lupton withdraws from Vegas race: A corrective technical glitch that would have left Lupton with no practice before his Las Vegas Motor Speedway debut in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300, a joint decision has been made between RSS Racing and Lupton to withdraw him from competition and concentrate on next Saturday’s XFINITY Series Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200 race at Phoenix International Raceway. RSS Racing and Lupton have also tentatively agreed to compete in the Apr. 8 O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway to fulfill their original three race agreement announced earlier this week.(Lupton PR)(3-4-2016)
  • Kyle Busch fastest in XFINITY happy hour: #18-Kyle Busch was quickest during happy hour for the Boyd Gaming 300 with a speed of 181.348mph. He was followed by: #3-Ty Dillon, #20-Erik Jones, #19-Daniel Suarez, #33-Brandon Jones, #42-Justin Marks, #11-Blake Koch, #88-Chase Elliott, #2-Austin Dillon, and #62-Brendan Gaughan. 39 drivers participated in the session.
    See complete results on the Las Vegas practice 2 speeds page (pdf).(3-4-2016)
  • Erik Jones fastest in first XFINITY practice: #20-Erik Jones was fastest during opening practice at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with a speed of 183.094mph. #19-Daniel Suarez was second, followed by: #62-Brendan Gaughan, #33-Brandon Jones, #2-Austin Dillon, #18-Kyle Busch, #3-Ty Dillon, #88-Chase Elliott, #6-Drrell Wallace Jr, and #98-Aric Almirola. 37 of the 42 drivers practiced during the session.
    See complete results on the Las Vegas practice 1 speeds page (pdf).(3-4-2016)
  • Ganassi using solar-powered generator: Chip Ganassi Racing announced that NASCAR XFINITY Series team partner DC Solar is bringing its patented mobile solar technology to the race track. Beginning with this weekend’s Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway the #48 team will utilize a newly designed solar-powered generator unit. The generator is used for cooling down the engine after practice and qualifying runs as well as heating the engine oil to optimum operating temperatures. Together, DC Solar and CGR are identifying strategic opportunities to integrate mobile solar solutions within the CGR organization and broaden sustainability options across the NASCAR industry.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-4-2016)


    News from March 3, 2016


     

  • Thursday PM Test Session: Sprint Cup teams tested for 120 minutes Thursday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The fastest:
    #43-Almirola 192.940
    #3-Dillon 192.658
    #21-Blaney 191.659
    #41-Busch 191.381
    #16-Biffle 189.800
    Slowest: #32-Earnhardt 182.463 & #23-Ragan 180.891.
    38 drivers tested during the session. #11-Hamlin wrecked during the session and will go to a backup car tomorrow.
    See top speeds, 10 lap averages and complete results on the Las Vegas Test Session 2 page (pdf).(3-3-2016)
  • Thursday AM Test Session: Sprint Cup teams tested for 120 minutes Thursday morning at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The fastest:
    #48-Johnson, 192.981
    #11-Hamlin, 192.843
    #20-Matt Kenseth, 192.137
    #14-Brian Vickers, 191.56
    #10-Patrick, 191.211
    Slowest: #32-Earnhardt, 180.536 & #95 McDowell 180.536.
    38 drivers tested during the session. See top speeds, 10 lap averages and complete results on the Las Vegas Test Session 1 page (pdf).(3-3-2016)
  • Speed Stick joins Premium Motorsports to sponsor Whitt: Up-and-coming NASCAR driver Cole Whitt will pilot the Premium Motorsports No. 98 in the 2016 season with ongoing support from Speed Stick. Whitt and the #98 Speed Stick brand team will make their first appearance on track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 4-6. The 24-year-old Whitt will enter his third full-time Sprint Cup Series season after progressively climbing the NASCAR racing ranks of the Nationwide, Camping World Truck and K&N; series. The Alpine, California native made his transition to stock cars after an early career in open-wheel racing, which included a 2008 U.S. Auto Club National Midget championship. Speed Stick is also on board to support Whitt this NASCAR season. “Cole Whitt continues to embody the traits that we champion at Speed Stick,” said Bill Van de Graaf, Vice President and General Manager, U.S. Personal Care, Colgate-Palmolive. “In the last two years, he has impressed fans, teammates and adversaries by continuously stepping up in high-pressure situations. Achieving dreams takes courage when it counts and the Speed Stick brand is excited to be at Cole’s side as he reaches for new heights.” Known for its line of high-performing antiperspirants and deodorants, Speed Stick previously sponsored Cole during his rookie and sophomore years and connected with fans by documenting the driver’s first race at the Daytona 500 through a unique, online video series. In addition to this month’s Las Vegas Motor Speedway race, Speed Stick brand sponsored races this year will include high-profile events such as the 400-mile event at Kentucky Speedway in July, the Crown Royal 400 at the Brickyard at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway also in July, and the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in November.(Premium Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #98 team paint schemes page.(3-3-2016)
  • 2017 NASCAR race dates expect to be set early: NASCAR will set 2017 race dates after completing discussions with track operators on or before April 1, according to Dover International Speedway’s sanctioning agreement with NASCAR. No timetable is set for when NASCAR will announce the upcoming schedule but it is expected to be sooner than last year (October) and 2015 (Aug. 2014). NASCAR announced five-year agreements with tracks that host Sprint Cup and Xfinity races in October and with tracks that host Camping World Truck Series races in November, assuring events through the 2020 season in each series. By having those agreements in place, it allows NASCAR to focus on dates earlier in the year. Dover’s sanctioning agreement – recently released in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, also states that NASCAR will use “good faith” to maintain relative placement of races in the series calendar.
    The clause about future schedules also includes: “Opportunities may stem from any number of factors including, but not limited to, requests for realignment, requests for date changes, requests from NASCAR’s then current transmission partners, the dates of other major sports events, changing local market conditions, and so on. Accordingly, (NASCAR Event Management) may make adjustments to the overall annual Series Calendar for one or more of the future calendar years that fall under the Term of this Agreement to maximize the value of the Series. Except as noted above, if such an adjustment requires an Event date change(s) of more than two (2) weeks, NEM will notify PROMOTER on or before April 1st of the preceding year and such change will only be made with the PROMOTER’s consent.”(NBC Sports)(3-3-2016)
  • Las Vegas Track Notes & History:
    � The construction to build the superspeedway known today as Las Vegas Motor Speedway (LVMS) began in 1995. Speedway Motorsports Inc. acquired the property in 1998.
    � The first NASCAR race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was a NASCAR K&N; Pro Series West race won by Ken Schrader on Nov. 2, 1996.
    � The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was held on March 1, 1998, won by Mark Martin.
    � In 2006, the track was reconfigured to include progressive banking.
    (NASCAR)
  • Clements names Vegas sponsor: Jeremy Clements Racing is West bound and down, loaded up, and headed to the Entertainment Capital of the World and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Jeremy and the team welcome back www.repairablevehicles.com to their first race of the 2016 season as primary sponsor . Jeremy Will pilot the #51 Repairable Vehicles Camaro SS to his fifth start at the 1.5 mile oval and looks to continue his strong start to the 2016 season. As the NASCAR XFINITY Series starts the three week #NASCARGoesWest tour. Repairable Vehicles is a division of Interstate Auto Center, Inc. They are one of the leading resellers of repairable vehicles in North America.(Jeremy Clements Racing)(3-3-2016)
  • UFC Champion to drive pace car at Phoenix: Current UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Pace Car at the start of the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 13. Cruz’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 30-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval. Cruz, a native of Tucson, Ariz., is a two-time UFC bantamweight champion and former WEC champion. Undefeated since 2007, Cruz is widely considered to be one the sport’s best pound-for-pound athletes with an overall record of 21-1. Known for his nonstop in-ring footwork and entertaining fight style, Cruz has become a favorite among fans every time he steps inside the Octagon. When he’s not competing, Cruz also serves as an analyst for FOX Sports often breaking down UFC action on FOX Sports 1. This event marks the second appearance for Cruz as the official pace car driver for a NASCAR event at PIR, as he also served in the same role ahead of the Subway Fresh Fit 500 on March 4, 2012.(PIR)(3-3-2016)


    News from March 2, 2016


  • Atlanta Post-Event Penalties announced: NASCAR released the Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report from Atlanta on Wednesday, among the penalties announced:
    #78 Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn has been fined $50,000, suspended from the next NSCS championship event [Las Vegas] and remains on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; team has been assessed with the loss of 15 championship owner and 15 championship driver [Martin Truex Jr.] points for a roof flap violation at Atlanta.
    #78 Team Statement: The following statement is attributed to Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. “Due to the severity of the P3 penalty levied against Furniture Row Racing and its crew chief Cole Pearn today (Wednesday), the #78 Sprint Cup team has informed NASCAR it will appeal the decision. The infraction, which was immediately corrected following technical inspection at Atlanta Motor Speedway last week, was safety related and not competition related. We sincerely appreciate that NASCAR has an appeal process so we can review the level of the penalty. The one-race suspension to Cole Pearn and monetary fine are temporarily deferred until the conclusion of the appeal hearing (FRR).
    #47 JTG Daugherty Racing crew chief Randall Burnett has been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; team has been assessed with the loss of 10 championship owner and 10 championship driver [AJ Allmendinger] points for illegal body attachment mounts/supports.
    Crew chiefs from the #3 (Slugger Labbe), #27 (Jason Alexander) & #31 (Luke Lambert) Richard Childress Racing teams and #95 Circle Racing – Leavine Family Racing team (Dave Winston) have been fined $15,000 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31; teams have been assessed with the loss of 10 championship owner and 10 championship driver (Austin Dillon, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, Michael McDowell) points for illegal body attachment mounts/supports.
    #32 Go Fas Racing team of Jeffrey Earnhardt failed template inspection three times, pre-qualifying and received a written warning/loss of 15 min. practice time.
    #83-Matt DiBenedetto, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #98-Cole Whitt failed template inspection twice, pre-qualifying and received a written warning.(NASCAR)
    Pearn has appealed the suspension and will be at Las Vegas this weekend.
    see full report on the Atlanta Post-Event Penalties Page (pdf).(3-2-2016)
  • Joey Gase in the #32 at Phoenix: Joey Gase will be making his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start of 2016 with Go Fas Racing at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 13th. “It was a last minute deal,’ said Gase. “I just found out late last week that I was going to be behind the wheel of the #32 Go Fas Ford in Phoenix. I am very excited for the opportunity Archie and the Go Fas Team is giving me and I look to take full advantage of it.” Joey and Go Fas Racing are still looking for primary and associate sponsors.(Joey Gase Racing)(3-2-2016)
  • Extra track time for teams at Las Vegas: With the new low-downforce rules package for 2016 still in its infancy, NASCAR is giving Sprint Cup Series teams a little extra track time this week in Las Vegas. There are two test sessions scheduled Thursday, one in the morning and the other after lunch, to aid teams in preparing for Sunday’s Kobalt 400. All told, teams will get five hours of test time on Thursday. There’ll be one more practice session Friday morning before qualifying later in the day.(Motor Racing Network)
    AND: NASCAR has scheduled an all-day test session on Thursday at 9:00am, for the Sprint Cup Series teams, and Las Vegas Motor Speedway is opening the grandstands and Neon Garage for free to all race fans. In addition to the test, Brad Keselowski and Landon Cassill will visit the Neon Garage to participate in question-and-answer sessions with fans at 3:30pm.(LVMS)(3-2-2016)
  • Las Vegas Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run different tire set-ups at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the first time Sprint Cup teams have run either of these two tire codes . . . this right-side tire incorporates Goodyear Racing’s multi-zone tread technology, which features two distinct tread compounds — one for endurance and heat resistance on the inboard two inches of the tread and one for traction on the outboard 10 inches . . . compared to what was run at Las Vegas last season, this right-side code (D-4690) features the same compound on the inboard, with a different compound for more grip on the outboard . . . this left-side tire code (D-4680) also features a compound change to give more grip . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Las Vegas on January 12-13 . . . drivers participating in that test were Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, tire codes, tire pressures, set limits on the Las Vegas Race Info page.
  • Sieg gets Vegas sponsor: RSS Racing welcomes Big Valley Towing as a primary sponsor for the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Additionally, Speedway Children’s Charities will join the team as a major associate sponsor for the race. Herr’s Chips and Rollin Smoke BBQ will be associate sponsors on the #39. Driver Ryan Sieg has started the year with two top 20 finishes with support from SRI and Stock Car Steel at Daytona. Pull-A-Part was the primary sponsor for the race in Atlanta.(RSS Racing)(3-2-2016)
  • Atlanta XFINITY Penalties: The #2 Richard Childress Racing team, driven by Paul Menard, has been given a P2 penalty for violation of Sections 12.1; 12.5.3.3.1 g; 20.17.3.1.2 [post-race inspection measurements]of the rule book. Crew chief Danny Stockman has been fined $5,000. The violation was found in post-race inspection.
    The #1, #3, #11, #24, #33, and #51 teams were given a written warning for failing the last inspection system twice. The violations were found in pre-race inspection.(NASCAR)(3-2-2016)
  • Atlanta Warning: The #86 team of Brandon Brown has been given a written warning following the Georgia 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway for a Truck trailing arm did that not meet specifications.(NASCAR)(3-2-2016)
  • Darlington Raceway looking for Lady in Black: Darlington Raceway is looking for its next Lady in Black! The track Too Tough To Tame is now accepting applications for its Lady in Black position. The next Lady in Black will serve as a vital representative of Darlington Raceway, making appearances at various community and media events, parties and its annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 Labor Day race weekend on Sept. 2-4. The position is an integral part of the track’s continued efforts to focus on the fans and represent the track in the communities that have supported it since its inception in 1950. The candidate will follow a successful two-year reign by Darlington native Kaitlyn Bailey, who held the position in 2014-15. To submit an application, simply visit www.DarlingtonRaceway.com/LadyInBlack.(Darlington Raceway)(3-2-2016)


    News from March 1, 2016


     

  • Entry List for the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is posted, 39 teams/drivers [for 40 spots] are listed, including: #14-Vickers, #21-Blaney*, #30-Wise*, #32-Jeffrey Earnhardt, #95-McDowell, #98-Whitt*.
    Drivers who are not a Charter team, an Open Team, and must get in via speed: #21-Blaney, #30-Wise, #98-Whitt
    Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts, then owners pts): none
    Since only 39 cars are entered, all drivers will make the race, 40 is the maximum.
    * Open Team (no Charter)
    See the full entry list on Jayski.com’s Las Vegas Entry List
  • SunnyD to sponsor Stenhouse Jr. in 2016: Roush Fenway Racing announced that the iconic 50-year-old Sunny Delight brand will serve as a primary partner for five races with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during the 2016 season; four on his #17 Sprint Cup Ford Fusion and once as the two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) champion makes his return to the NXS. “This is really awesome,” said Stenhouse. “Who didn’t grow up loving the bold taste of SunnyD? It’s truly one of the most recognizable brands in the world and it’s great to both have them on board as a partner and of course to have a big supply of SunnyD on hand at the track as the season moves into the hot, thirsty months of summer.”
    “We are extremely excited to bring the SunnyD brand and its loyal customer following to our Roush Fenway Racing NASCAR partnership,” said Henk Hartong III, chairman & CEO of Brynwood Partners. “This is a platform that directly connects with the most brand-loyal fans in all of sports and we know it will connect on a high level with the NASCAR fans.”
    SunnyD will make its debut as the primary partner on Stenhouse’s #17 Ford at Dover in May. It will also serve as the primary on the #17 at NSCS races at Pocono, Indianapolis and Charlotte. In addition, the two-time champion will make his return to the XFINITY Series at Phoenix, where he will carry SunnyD on the historic #60 Roush Fenway Mustang in November. This will not ‘mark’ the first time SunnyD has appeared on a Roush Fenway Ford. Mark Martin carried the Sunny Delight logo on the deck lid of his Ford Thunderbird during his heated championship battle with Dale Earnhardt in 1990.
    Sunny Delight Beverages Co. (SDBC), based in Cincinnati, OH, was acquired by Brynwood Partners VII L.P, based in Greenwich, CT, in February 2016. SDBC is a leading producer, distributor and marketer of juices, juice drinks and flavored waters in North America. Its brands include the iconic SunnyD juice drink, Veryfine juices and drinks, and Fruit2O flavored and sparkling waters. The company operates four plants across the U. S. They service both refrigerated and shelf stable distribution systems and supply a wide range of customers in grocery, club, mass merchandise, convenience, dollar and drug channels (Roush Fenway Racing), see images of the scheme on the #17 Team Schemes page.(3-1-2016)
  • Goodyear Las Vegas Tire Notes: Teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series will run different tire set-ups at Las Vegas this weekend . . . this is the first time Sprint Cup teams have run either of these two tire codes . . . this right-side tire incorporates Goodyear Racing’s multi-zone tread technology, which features two distinct tread compounds — one for endurance and heat resistance on the inboard two inches of the tread and one for traction on the outboard 10 inches . . . compared to what was run at Las Vegas last season, this right-side code features the same compound on the inboard, with a different compound for more grip on the outboard . . . this left-side tire code also features a compound change to give more grip . . . Goodyear held a tire test at Las Vegas on January 12-13 . . . drivers participating in that test were Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run liners in all four tire positions at Las Vegas . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire (Goodyear), see full notes, tire codes, tire pressures, set limits and more on the Las Vegas Race Info page.(3-1-2016)
  • Atlanta Overnight TV Ratings: Continuing a rough start to the season, NASCAR’s second race of the season scored its lowest overnight since FOX acquired rights. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Atlanta earned a 3.7 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, down 27% from last year (5.1) and the lowest overnight for the second race of the season since FOX began airing races in 2001. The previous low was a 4.8 for the 2014 Phoenix race. The second race of the season is usually the highest rated outside of Daytona, topping a 6.0 overnight in all-but-one year from 2001 to 2008 and a 5.0 in all-but-two years since. Overnights reached as high as 7.1 for the Auto Club 500 in 2005. For the weekend, NASCAR placed second among sporting events behind Saturday’s Warriors/Thunder NBA game on ABC (3.9). Because NBA ratings tend to decline from the overnight to the final, while NASCAR ratings remain stable or increase, the race will likely come out ahead in the final tally.(Sports Business Daily / Sports Media Watch), See past race TV Ratings, comparison chart and more on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(3-1-2016)
  • Tulsa County Sheriff completes investigation into Chili Bowl incident: A spokesman for the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office told NBC Sports on Monday that it has completed its investigation into an incident between Cpl. Kyle Hess, who was off duty at the time, and Tony Stewart at the Chili Bowl Nationals in January. “The investigation into that incident has been concluded and handled according to policy,” Dep. Justin Green, public information officer for the Tulsa County’s Sheriff’s Office, emailed NBC Sports. “There are no results that I can release at this time.” Stewart walked into the stands Jan. 15 to confront Hess, who had been heckling Stewart, according to witnesses. In one video, Hess appears to tell Stewart “I don’t like you” after Stewart walked up to him. They grabbed each others hands. As a security officer attempted to separate them, Hess appeared to push Stewart and fell down in the process.(NBC Sports)(3-1-2016)
  • Bosch renews Hendrick partnership: Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America has announced a multi-year renewal of its technical partnership with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. Dating back to 2001 with an agreement to supply spark plugs to the racing powerhouse, the scope of the relationship has since expanded to include alternators, starters, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors and fuel pumps. Entering its 16th season, this partnership has yielded seven Sprint Cup Series championships and a wealth of knowledge and insights. Hendrick Motorsports engine builders have worked closely with Bosch engineers over the years to develop some of the most powerful vehicles on the track.(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-1-2016)
  • Top 10 Driver Ratings at Las Vegas:
    #48-Jimmie Johnson, 111.9
    #18-Kyle Busch, 103.4
    #4-Kevin Harvick, 98.8
    #20-Matt Kenseth, 96.7
    #16-Greg Biffle, 97.9
    #19-Carl Edwards, 96.1
    #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 05.7
    #22-Joey Logano, 94.4
    #42-Kyle Larson, 89.7
    #5-Kasey Kahne, 89.4
    Note: Driver Ratings are compiled from 2005-2015 races (11 total) at Atlanta (active drivers only).
    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)
  • Lupton driving 3 races for RSS Racing: NASCAR Next driver Dylan Lupton confirmed he has paired with RSS Racing to compete in the next three NASCAR XFINITY Series races beginning with Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Lupton will drive the #93 Chevrolet Camaro as a teammate to Ryan Sieg in the #39 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Las Vegas, next weekend at Phoenix International Raceway and the following weekend at Auto Club Speedway. A native of Wilton, California, Lupton is poised to make his ninth career XFINITY Series start and first since Kentucky Speedway last September. Last season, Lupton competed in eight races, delivering a top-10 finish in his road course debut at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. His ninth place effort is an XFINITY Series best for Athenian Motorsports, now a part-time team. Reuniting with Lupton for the “West Coast Swing” is crew chief Mike Ford. A longtime industry veteran, Ford led the 22-year-old to several impressive outings last season in the #25 Chevrolet Camaro. In over 450 starts as crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Ford won 21 races, most recently in 2011 with driver Denny Hamlin.(RSS Racing)(3-1-2016)
  • Cope announces Las Vegas sponsors: Derrike Cope Racing announces partners for the upcoming Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, including Ehydrate, ICEAID, and Poppa Napps BBQ. Ehydrate, the world’s first line of premium natural nutritional products, will be prominently featured as a coprimary sponsor for the race, following their sponsorship at Daytona. Ehydrate offers a complete range of natural products for athletes and the entire health-conscious family, which are available at Target. ICEAID, formerly known as Beer Frost, an environmentally safe, all natural, mineral based product that turns your cooler of ice into a freezer will continue its support of DCR and will be featured as a coprimary sponsor at the Boyd Gaming 300 on the #70 Camaro. Also on board the #70 for the Las Vegas event is Poppa Napps BBQ. Offering premium barbecue to the Las Vegas area.(Derrike Cope Racing)(3-1-2016)
  • XFINITY Entry List: There are 42 cars on the preliminary entry list for Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A few notes:
    Austin Dillon returns to the RCR #2;
    Jeff Green remains in the TriStar #10;
    Derek White will drive the #13;
    Stanton Barrett is entered in the RWR #15;
    Corey LaJoie returns to the JGL #24;
    Cody Ware will drive the RWR #25;
    Carl Long stays in the MBM #40;
    Justin Marks will drive the Ganassi #42;
    Chase Elliott returns to the #88;
    The #93 is TBA;
    Airc Almirola will be in the #98.(3-1-2015)
    See the complete list on the Las Vegas entry list page.
  • Country star Craig Morgan to perform national anthem at Kobalt 400: Award-winning country star Craig Morgan will highlight pre-race activities for the Kobalt 400 when he performs the national anthem before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, March 6. The native Tennessean and U.S. Army veteran is perhaps best known for his chart-topping hit “That’s What I Love About Sundays,” which was named as Billboard magazine’s number one country hit of 2005. Morgan, a two-time Inspirational Country Music Award winner, is also known for his breakout songs “International Harvester” and “Redneck Yacht Club,” among others. The 51-year-old, who is also a sheriff’s deputy and former EMT, will be in Las Vegas performing at Race Jam on Fremont Street on Saturday, March 5. Morgan is the host of the popular television show “Craig Morgan’s All Access Outdoors,” which airs on the Outdoor Channel.
    Joining Morgan for pre-race activities is the popular group The Atlantic City Boys, who will perform before opening ceremonies for the 19th annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at LVMS. The Atlantic City Boys perform hits of all kinds, from Beatles and Beach Boys songs, to top hits from the Bee Gees, Four Seasons and members of the “Rat Pack.”
    Kobalt 400 pre-race festivities will also include a flyover by the famed Thunderbirds, as well as driver introductions and the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers’ meeting in the Neon Garage. The Neon Garage in the superspeedway’s infield opens at 7 a.m. Pacific Time.
    LVMS’ 2016 NASCAR Weekend begins Thursday, March 3, with a free practice session that runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Stratosphere Pole Day follows on Friday, March 4, with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying beginning at 4:45 p.m. The Xfinity Series’ Boyd Gaming 300 takes place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 5, and the weekend’s crescendo comes on Sunday, March 6, in the form of the Kobalt 400 at 12:30 p.m.
    For tickets, call 1-800-644-4444 or log on to LVMS.com.(LVMS)(3-1-2016)
  • Soul Asylum performing a pre-race concert at Phoenix: Fans coming to the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will be entertained with live music prior to the race as popular Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum rock group Soul Asylum will perform a pre-race concert in the Fan Midway area. The concert, which resulted from a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment, is just one part of race-day excitement and is free to all fans with a grandstand ticket for the Good Sam 500. The group, which includes founding singer/guitarist Pirner with guitarist Justin Sharbono, bassist Winston Roye and drummer Michael Bland, will release its eleventh studio album, Change of Fortune, and its first for Entertainment One Music (eOne Music) in March of 2016. Soul Asylum has been inspiring rock fans since 1981, when the band, initially known as Loud Fast Rules, formed in Minneapolis. The band’s raucous live sets and early releases on the hometown indie label Twin/Tone – including the albums Say What You Will, Made to Be Broken and While You Were Out – earned it a loyal fan base and widespread critical acclaim.(Phoenix Raceway)(3-1-2016)