Breaking Down Edwards’ Controversy at Richmond

Bob Osborne, crew chief for Carl Edwards
discusses the Black Flag penalty with an Official
Photo – Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Fans craving more drama on the track, were given some controversy over Carl Edwards Black Flag penalty issued by NASCAR at Richmond.  In reading comments after the race, it appears the confusion and controversy continues depending on which side of the fence you stand. 


In post race comments, Carl Edwards said, “I am trying to not be too frustrated and say something stupid. So right before that start my spotter Jason Hedlesky was told by NASCAR officials that the 99 was the leader. Jason told me and I had a split second to decide what I was going to do. I thought, okay, NASCAR made a mistake and they lined us up wrong. I was at a disadvantage being on the outside, so I thought I was getting the best start I could get. It looked like Tony waited or spun his tires so they black flagged me. I still don’t understand why they black flagged me. They said we were the leader and I restarted the best I could given the disadvantage position I was in. The problem is I don’t know if NASCAR is going to take the stance that I jumped the start. If they are saying that I jumped the start then that would be real frustrating.”

While Edwards frustration is somewhat understandable, after all there seems to have been a lot of radio discussion between Edwards, his spotter and an official claiming he was leading the race on the restart. However, when the situation is broken down, it becomes apparent, there should have been no confusion about who was leading at this point of the race, even though there is a time when the scoring pylon also indicates Edwards in the lead position. 

Let’s clarify what happened by breaking this down. On Lap 310, Tony Stewart was on pit road while Carl Edwards misses pit road and Jeff Burton slams the wall in Turn 4.  

Lap 311, the caution flag waves with Jimmie Johnson pitting as the caution comes out for debris from Jeff Burton hitting the wall.  Although Johnson is in a position to be leading the race, a bad pit stop gets worse when a tire violation puts the No. 48 at the rear of the field for the restart. 

What happens next – while easily overlooked – is where the point that Carl Edwards is not the race leader becomes crystal clear.

Carl Edwards makes a pit stop at Richmond
Photo – Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Lap 314, Carl Edwards hits pit road as the only lead lap driver to not pit under green.  At this moment, Carl Edwards is no longer leading the race – period.  


Although Edwards is no longer leading the race due to the pit stop, there is a point when scoring pylon shows the race order with Edwards first and Stewart in second. 

Actually, Stewart is first and Edwards is second, but at one lap to go, Edwards was weaving back and forth – a common practice to scrub the tires and maintain heat for more grip on the restart – he moves momentarily ahead of Stewart at the start/finish line and it changes the lineup on the scoring pylon showing Edwards as the leader until they once again cross the line. 


“What you’ve got to understand is the electronics,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “When the transponder crosses the start/finish line – when Carl was scrubbing his tires, he beat the 14 to the line – so that instantaneously puts him up top.


“It happens all the time, but these circumstances don’t stack on top of it. That put him up on top of the board just because he was coming to the line with one to go.”

So, with the confusion that follows, Edwards is frustrated and at the same time anxious to be in position to win the race, because if there is a mistake and he’s actually first, he would have preferred the inside line for the restart. But with less than a lap to go now, there’s no time to make that change. 


“We’re coming to the restart and there’s a lot of finger pointing up there, and everybody has to look at the scoreboard,” Pemberton said. “But you really have to look at the fact of coming to one to go, they knew the 14 was the leader and the 99 was second (based on the pit stop). It’s as clear as that.”


Apparently NASCAR found no evidence to support Hedlesky’s claim that an official confirmed to him Edwards was the leader.  Hedlesky remains firm about what he says happened. Despite what was on the pylon, NASCAR also says, the team should have known Stewart was the leader. Still, Edwards next decisions are based on inaccurate information from his spotter. 


The situation gets compounded on Lap 318 when the Green Flag waves and while Stewart spins his tires, Carl Edwards jumps to the front, but does so in violation of the rules for a restart.


By Dustin Long for USA Today

Via a post from Dustin Long on Google+ here are the NASCAR rules pertaining to restarts in Section 10-2A and 10-2B from the 2012 Sprint Cup Rule Book:


10-2A – The green flag signifies the start or restart of racing conditions. At the beginning of the Race/restarts, when the green flag is displayed by the starters, cars must maintain position as designated by NASCAR officials until they have crossed the start/finish line, and the No. 2 position must not beat the No. 1 position to the start/finish line. NASCAR Officials may make a special ruling on restarts for any Race (for example, following a red flag, the yellow flag may constitute an official restart of the Race).

10-2B – All restarts shall be made at a designated zone on the race track and will be made known to the drivers in the Pre-Race driver’s meeting.

On the video at the counter point of 2:34 the restart box is shown and although it’s close, it does appear that Edwards jumped ahead of Stewart prior to the restart box. Again in slow motion at 3:50 it becomes more clearly shown that Edwards is ahead of Stewart before the restart box and he definitely was ahead of Stewart before the start/finish line.


Perception is always a tricky proposition and it’s understood fans are on both sides of this perception fence. What is provided here, is an attempt to present what happened in Richmond from an objective point of view. 

Being objective, it appears NASCAR made the right call in giving the black flag to Edwards based on the fact, and video support that he did jump the restart. And regardless of what the scoring pylon indicated or “if” the official told the spotter anything, it’s also a fact that Edwards made the yellow-flag pit stop and when doing so, he no longer held the lead spot. 

That said, there’s also an appreciation that in the heat of the moment, a lot can happen, especially with confusion added and little time to evaluate the circumstances.  No matter what side of the fence you stand, all fans know what every driver seeks when running at the front of any given race is an opportunity to take the lead. 


Monday morning Robin Pemberton was on Sirius/XM NASCAR radio discussing this topic.  Fans can read the transcript at CBS Sports  and/or Listen to the Audio of Robin Pemberton
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Wild Thing Wins at Richmond



Kyle Busch celebrates his 4th consecutive
Spring Richmond Win with the Checkered Flag
Photo – Getty Images

Kyle Busch won the race in Richmond Saturday night, but the race could have had multiple outcomes. 


Penalties hurt drivers like Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards who had very fast cars and a chance to win the race. And an untimely debris caution lost Stewart’s lead and his chance at winning.


Tony Stewart struggled incredibly on restarts which ultimately cost him the race. Kyle Busch beat Stewart off pit road under the final caution and was the race winning move for Busch. 


Pole-sitter, Mark Martin led the first 30 laps before being passed by Carl Edwards.


The competition caution came out on lap 51.  A competition caution was added because of rain that hit the track earlier in the day. 


Then the race off pit road let Carl Edwards regain the lead followed by Hamlin and Harvick. Mark Martin slipped back to seventh. 


On the ensuing restart Jeff Gordon got loose sliding him up the hill, making contact with Kurt Busch. Then in turn 3 Kurt Busch got up into Jeff Gordon again causing moderate damage to each car. The green flag would stay out, and Gordon would have to pit, resulting in his return to the track a couple laps down. 


The second caution came out on lap 117 with Kurt Busch spinning on the backstretch. 


After the pit stops, Kevin Harvick came off pit road as the leader for the first time in the race, but on the restart with three cars battling for the lead, it would be Carl Edwards emerging once again as the leader.  


The next caution flew around lap 230 for debris. 


Then with 114 laps to go Kyle Busch took the lead for the first time. 


Next came the most confusing part of the young NASCAR season. During green flag pit stops, the caution came out for Jeff Burton hitting the wall. Some drivers were just finishing up their pit stops with a couple drivers missing pit road just before the caution came out, causing them to lose precious track position. This mess left only three cars on the lead lap, however, many drivers would get the wave around, regaining position on the lead lap. 


Then during pit stops, one of Jimmie Johnson’s crew members rolled a tire in the pit box instead of carrying it back to the pit wall – leaving Johnson with a penalty and placing him at the rear of the field. 


Coming to the restart with 14 cars on the lead lap, no one was sure if the leader was Stewart or Edwards. According to NASCAR, Tony Stewart was the apparent leader, but Carl Edwards was told by his spotter that he was the leader. Edwards subsequently went too soon on his restart, while Tony Stewart spun his tires, making Edwards pre-mature restart more obvious. NASCAR saw Edwards speed up to beat Stewart to the line, which is illegal, resulting in a black flag for Edwards, forcing him to serve a pass through penalty and giving up his lead. 


Carl Edwards later commenting on his radio regarding the black flag said, “It’s not cool to get a race taken from you like that.” 


This confusing mess gave Stewart the lead at 76 laps to go with the remaining top-five drivers, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt Jr, Kahne and Allmendinger. 


The final caution of the race came out on lap 386 with 14 laps to go, for debris – a water bottle on the backstretch. This caution would bunch the field up for an exciting restart. The winning moment of the race is when Kyle Busch beat Tony Stewart off pit road to gain the lead. 


Coming up on the restart, Tony Stewart spun his tires – for about the fourth time – giving Kyle Busch a decent size lead and Dale Earnhardt Jr. a second place position. After some wild and confusing restarts, in the final laps Earnhardt Jr. didn’t have enough for Kyle Busch and “Wild Thing” went on to win his fourth straight spring race at Richmond. Kyle later commenting in victory lane said, “Last caution was saving grace for us.” 


Earnhardt Jr. was happy finishing second, later commenting, “Even with brakes working, the 18 had a better car.” 


In Tony Stewart’s post race comments, he said, “We gave it away on pit road,” which to some is questionable, as Stewart’s restarts throughout the race were the worst of his career. Spinning his tires on the final restart hurt Stewart’s chances at a potential third win of the season, giving him a third place instead. 


Kyle Busch was elated with two major season accomplishments in Richmond. On Friday night Kyle Busch Motorsport’s Nationwide team with his brother Kurt Busch driving, won their first Nationwide race as an organization. Then on Saturday night, Kyle wins his first Sprint Cup race of the season, becoming the only active driver with four consecutive spring Richmond wins.


Next week NASCAR heads off to one of the most anticipated races of the season at Talladega.


Results via Nascar.com


SPONSOR
STATUS
1
5
18
Toyota
M&M’s Ms. Brown
47/4
400
Running
2
10
88
Chevrolet
National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
42/0
400
Running
3
22
14
Chevrolet
Mobil 1 / Office Depot
42/1
400
Running
4
7
11
Toyota
FedEx Freight
40/0
400
Running
5
9
5
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
39/0
400
Running
6
27
48
Chevrolet
Lowe’s
39/1
400
Running
7
23
15
Toyota
5-hour Energy
37/0
400
Running
8
1
55
Toyota
Aaron’s Dream Machine
37/1
400
Running
9
16
2
Dodge
Miller Lite
35/0
400
Running
10
2
99
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
36/2
400
Running
11
24
17
Ford
Ford EcoBoost
33/0
400
Running
12
20
42
Chevrolet
Target
32/0
400
Running
13
31
27
Chevrolet
NIBCO / Menards
31/0
400
Running
14
37
1
Chevrolet
McDonald’s
30/0
400
Running
15
12
39
Chevrolet
U.S. Army Reserve
29/0
400
Running
16
4
22
Dodge
Shell / Pennzoil
28/0
400
Running
17
19
47
Toyota
Bush’s Baked Beans
27/0
400
Running
18
28
16
Ford
3M “Give Kids A Smile”
26/0
400
Running
19
3
29
Chevrolet
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
26/1
400
Running
20
21
83
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
24/0
399
Running
21
26
13
Ford
GEICO
23/0
399
Running
22
14
9
Ford
Stanley
22/0
399
Running
23
6
24
Chevrolet
DuPont
21/0
399
Running
24
18
20
Toyota
The Home Depot
20/0
399
Running
25
8
56
Toyota
NAPA Brakes
19/0
399
Running
26
11
43
Ford
Smithfield “Helping Hungry Homes”
18/0
398
Running
27
15
78
Chevrolet
Furniture Row / Farm American
17/0
398
Running
28
13
51
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
16/0
397
Running
29
17
36
Chevrolet
SealWrap
15/0
397
Running
30
29
93
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
15/1
397
Running
31
30
31
Chevrolet
BB&T
13/0
396
Running
32
38
34
Ford
Front Row Motorsports
12/0
394
Running
33
33
10
Chevrolet
Tommy Baldwin Racing
11/0
394
Running
34
42
32
Ford
Virginia Faith & Freedom Coalition
0
392
Running
35
40
33
Chevrolet
Little Joes A
utos.com / Link-Belt
9/0
391
Running
36
41
38
Ford
Long John Silver’s
8/0
355
Running
37
34
30
Toyota
Inception Motorsports
7/0
139
Brakes
38
32
26
Ford
Morristown Driver’s Service
6/0
127
Accident
39
25
98
Ford
Curb Records
5/0
67
Brakes
40
43
74
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing
0
29
Vibration
41
35
87
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
0
28
Brakes
42
39
119
Toyota
Humphrey Smith Racing
0
23
Rear Gear
43
36
195
Ford
Tommy Williams Drywall
1/0
19
Electrical



Point Standings

News & Views – Volume 23 – April 23 – 29, 2012

News & Views – Volume 23
For the week of April 23 – 29, 2012

“I just hope that I live up to the standards of the number 11 car because there’s been some great drivers drive it and I’m just living on the legacy.”  – Denny Hamlin



Once again, fans are mixed in their opinions of the racing at Kansas Speedway this past weekend. By some accounts, it seems to be a 50/50 breakdown.  As the season progresses, it appears more and more that no matter what happens on the track, some people are not going to be happy with the on-track racing. 


Same can be said for the top two racers in Sunday’s race. Hamlin, of course is happy the weather changed and the adjustments worked, allowing him to lead the last 31 laps of the race in Kansas.  And Truex, Jr. is understandably, disappointed with his second place finish after leading a race high 173 laps for the day. Even more upsetting to Truex was the last set of tires being so bad for no rhyme or reason, but still taking away his shot at winning the race. 


Next up is Richmond on April 27th with Nationwide Friday night racing at 7pm ET and Sprint Cup racing Saturday night April 28th at 7pm ET.  This is Hamlin’s home track and one of his favorites.  The Camping World Truck Series returns May 18th at Charlotte.

Fan4Racing Blogging Nascar News & Views
Fan4Racing now has an “Official” page on Facebook. Click the title-link above, “Like” our page and encourage your friends to “Like” us too. Our blogs will be posted, with today’s birthdays, polls and games. To get us started, for every 100 “likes” – up to 500 – we’ll play some trivia and our very own Racing4Words game for celebration prizes, with a few practice laps along the way! 


Look for more fun features coming soon!


Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, April 29, 2012
Paul Menard crewman goes after Hendrick team member during pit-road incident
Paul Menard crew chief Slugger Labbe was more angry Saturday night with what happened after a pit stop when one of the team’s tires rolled across pit road than what happened during it in the Capital City 400.


Front Tire carrier Erik Pringle tripped on a tire placed on the ground inside Menard’s pit box by a crew member on Jimmie Johnson’s team, which had the pit in front of Menard. Pringle lost control of his tire and ran out into the middle of pit road to get it.


Following the pit stop, Pringle went to Johnson’s pit box and shoved the Johnson crew member.


Labbe was overheard on the team radio telling his crew that Richard Childress Racing would not tolerate such actions.


Read more from Sporting News


Brian Vickers Joins AF Waltrip
AF Waltrip Racing announces it’s driver line up for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of LeMans on June 16 as well as the six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race at Spa Francochamps in Belgium on May 5. 


Michael Waltrip Racing owner Rob Kauffman and NASCAR driver Brian Vickers will join Rui Aguas behind the wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia competing in the LMGTE Am class at both events. The AF Waltrip entry is a joint effort by the Italian AF Corse team and NASCAR’s Michael Waltrip Racing.


Vickers replaces two-time Daytona 500 Champion Michael Waltrip whose television and NASCAR duties will keep him out of the driver lineup at both races.


Vickers, who’ll drive the No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine in eight NASCAR Sprint Cup races in 2012, said he relishes the opportunity to compete in major sports car races.


Read more from MWR-PR


Dale Earnhardt Sr: The Legend Lives On…
A legend was born on April 29, 1951. A NASCAR legend to some, but yet to his family he was a son, father,  brother, and also a husband.


With a twinkle in his eye, and a devilish grin on his face, Dale Earnhardt Sr. pushed and shoved his way into NASCAR superstardom.


His highly aggressive driving style made him a fan favorite, which was how he earned his nicknames, “Old Iron Head,” “The Man in Black,” and of course the most famous of all, “The Intimidator.”


Read more from 3 Wide and 1 To Go


Notes-n-Nuggets

  • Kyle Busch’s 24th career victory is tied with brother Kurt for 26th all-time.
  • Kyle Busch got his first victory in 2012, ending a 20-race winless streak.
  • This is his first win since Michigan in August of last year.
  • He’s the seventh different race winner in 2012.
  • Kyle Busch earned his fourth Richmond win in his 15th start.
  • His four Richmond wins are the most among all active drivers.
  • Kyle Busch now has nine short-track wins, ranking third among active drivers as he has won five of the last 13 short-track races.
  • It was the 96th Cup victory for Joe Gibbs Racing, and ninth at Richmond.
  • The third victory in 2012 for JGR ties Stewart-Haas for most this season.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr grabbed his seventh second-place finish since his last win (138 races).
  • Tony Stewart (third) led 118 laps, but lost the lead on pit stops with 13 to go; only his third top-five finish of the season.
  • Denny Hamlin (fourth) got his seventh top-five in his 13th start at Richmond.
  • Kasey Kahne (fifth) notched his best finish of the season; has top-ten finishes in the past three races after none in the first six of 2012.
  • Jimmie Johnson (sixth) recovered after being penalized for an uncontrolled tire on lap 308; his worst finish in the past eight races is 12th.
  • Carl Edwards (10th) led a race high of 206 laps, but was penalized for jumping the restart on lap 319.
  • Martin Truex Jr (25th) had his first finish outside the top-ten in the past six weeks.
From Racing Resources and Services – Statistics Racing Recall

Richmond – Capital City 400 Post Race comments from Race Winner Kyle Busch
Camry driver Kyle Busch claimed his first victory of the season in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Richmond International Speedway.


Busch led the field twice for 32 laps in the 400 lap race.


The win marks the fourth consecutive spring race victory for Busch at Richmond International Raceway. He broke the record of three straight spring race wins previously held by Richard Petty (1971-73).


It was Busch’s 20th win driving a Camry and the 42nd win for a Toyota since the start of the 2007 season.


Toyota drivers Denny Hamlin (fourth), Clint Bowyer (seventh) and Mark Martin (eighth) also posted top-ten finishes at the .75-mile Virginia short track.


Kyle Busch, No. 18 M&M’s Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing Finishing Position – 1st
Why are you so successful at Richmond?
“Great team. Great cars. Being aggressive when it matters, but yet trying to save your tires when you can. I don’t know where that last caution came from, but that was our saving grace today. I can’t say enough about this M&M’s Camry. It was a really good race car. Just didn’t quite have enough on the long runs like (Tony) Stewart had. He was really, really good and beat us there.”


What did you think about the final caution?
“It was a gift. Man, I just don’t know where it came from or what it was or anything, but it doesn’t matter. We came down pit road and Dave Rogers (crew chief) and these guys went to work and gave me a great pit stop – got me out front. Gave me the lead so I could restart the race how I wanted to. That was the win right there. This thing was so fast if I could abuse the tires, but I knew in long runs you couldn’t do that. And we always kind of struggled in the long run, but had a lot in reserve on the short run. So, that was really cool. This M&M’s Camry is awesome.


How much did the track change during the race?
“It changed a little bit, especially the first 20, 25 laps. That’s kind of the biggest thing that you go through once you’re really putting down rubber and racing on top of rubber is probably the most challenging aspect of these things. And you try to figure out what your car’s going to do on restarts and on the long runs. That’s the biggest challenge we fight. (Tony) Stewart was phenomenal. I hate it that – I hate it for him that we had that caution like that. He deserved to win the race, but I can’t say enough about us just getting our lucky break there and getting a chance to win and get here in victory lane. It feels good.”


How does it feel to win a record-setting four straight spring races at Richmond?
“Is that some sort of record? I’m hoping it is. I don’t know. It means so much that we’re able to come to this place every time and know that we can have a decent car and again, like I said, it wasn’t the best car, but it was really good. We just kept fighting, kept ourselves up there in track position, kept the fenders clean, the right side clean – didn’t hit the wall or anything – so I think it’s in relative one piece. We probably get ready here to go to Loudon (New Hampshire).


Would you have caught Tony Stewart without the last caution?
“No. I was losing half a tenth to a tenth on every lap to what Tony (Stewart) was doing up there. He was just so fast. At that point, I kept trying and staying with him there early in that run to get him the pressure and use up his tires a little bit and I could see him doing some of that, but then my car just started getting a little bit too tight in the center and a little bit too loose off where I started losing ground. And once I about couldn’t see him anymore, I figured, ‘Okay. I’m going to save what I’ve got here and just try to make it to the end here and see if any of the guys catch me from behind, give me something that I have left that I can reach them with if they get to my back bunker.’ No catching Stewart without that caution.”


Was it harder to win as a driver or owner this weekend?
“It’s way harder to win as an owner for sure. I’m standing there on the pit wall and I’ve go no control over what’s going on. I’m ready to come on the radio with Kurt (Busch) and tell me what all he needs to be doing. I’m glad Joe (Gibbs) buttons broke.”


Dave Rogers, crew chief, No. 18 M&M’s Brown Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Do you think about slumps and hot streaks?
“As a crew chief, honestly I don’t focus on that. I have to perform a job and my job is to bring the best race cars I can to the race track each and every week, regardless of whether or not people are saying we’re in a slump or not. You know, obviously a year ago I think you look back and we were leading the most laps and contending for the win nearly every week at this point in the season. Now we’re not living up to that standard. That tells me we’ve got to work harder, bring better race cars to the race track. I feel this race is an indication that we’re turning the corner. I think Kansas was an indication. Kyle came back after Kansas and just gave me phenomenal feedback about what we need in our mile-and-a-half program and that we’d come back to Richmond, a place we think we should run good and we do. I don’t think one race makes or breaks a season, but pleased we were able to run up front here. Now looking forward to going to Talladega, Darlington, Charlotte and seeing what we can do at those tracks.”


From Toyota Motorsports-PR

Richmond – Capital City 400 Post Race comments from Robin Pemberton
Pemberton said that even if the NASCAR official “supposedly” said Edwards was the leader, Edwards should have known that Stewart was the leader because that’s what they were told before they lined up for the double-file restart.


Read more from Sporting News


NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton was steadfast about two things: Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet was the leader, and Edwards jumped the restart. “All of the above” he reiterated.


Pemberton said the automated scoring system probably tallied Edwards as the leader under caution, even though he said NASCAR made teams aware that the starting order was Stewart then Edwards.


“He wasn’t the leader. The 14 was the leader,” Pemberton said. “And the 14 should have started the race.”


Even if Edwards was leading, Pemberton said he would have been black-flagged for starting before reaching the designated restart zone, which was Edwards’ main point of contention.


Read more from USA Today


Richmond – Capital City 400 Post Race comments from Tony Stewart & Carl Edwards
When you go to bed tonight, do you dream of the one that got away?
Tony Stewart – “Well when the caution is for a plastic (water) bottle on the backstretch, it’s hard to feel good about losing that one, I mean. And we gave it away on pit road. So we did everything we could to throw it away; it got taken away from us. That’s the best car I’ve had at Richmond in a long time. So I’m really proud of that and (crew chief) Steve Addington and I’m proud of our guys. But we’ve got some work to do on pit stops right now. I don’t know what their malfunction was but I’m pretty ticked off about it tonight.”


Can you put into words what happened on that final restart?
Tony Stewart – “We got…we lost it on a plastic bottle on the backstretch. For a caution for a plastic bottle, so you tell me how you’d feel.”


From Team Chevy-PR


Carl Edwards – “I am trying to not be too frustrated and say something stupid. So right before that start my spotter Jason Hedleskey was told by NASCAR officials that the 99 was the leader, the 99 is the leader. Jason told me and I had a split second to decide what I was going to do. I thought, okay, NASCAR made a mistake and they lined us up wrong. I was at a disadvantage being on the outside so I thought I was getting the best start I could get. It looked like Tony waited or spun his tires so they black flagged me. I still don’t understand why they black flagged me. They said we were the leader and I restarted the best I could given the disadvantaged position I was in. The problem is I don’t know if NASCAR is going to take the stance that I jumped the start. If they are saying that I jumped the start then that would be real frustrating.”


“This takes a minute to explain so bear with me. I was on the outside and thougt Tony Stewart was the leader on the inside. NASCAR told my spotter about three seconds before the restart that the 99 was the leader. They put us on the scoreboard as the leader and I realized I was at a disadvantaged position on the outside and NASCAR made a little mistake. I got the best start I could and Tony didn’t start or spun his tires and NASCAR black flagged us. I don’t know why they black flagged me. I don’t think it is right and I don’t agree with it. Before I say something stupid because I am real frustrated I would like to go talk to them.”


“Everyone knew were were here and our Ford EcoBoost Fusion was fast and our pit crew was spectacular. I would give anything to be able to have that start again and be able to race to the end. That was going to be a heck of a race.”


Carl Edwards – After meeting with NASCAR
“We had to just agree to disagree and that’s the way it is. They run the sport and they do the best job they can and I drive a race car and do the very best job I can. I’d rather not say what was said in there. This whole thing is very frustrating. I don’t feel like we did the wrong thing.”


From PCGCampbell for Ford Racing-PR

Saturday, April 28, 2012
2012 NSCS Captial City 400 Race Results

Kyle Busch Celebrates Richmond Victory
Photo – AP/Clemment Britt

For the fourth consecutive year, Kyle Busch wins the spring NSCS event at Richmond International Raceway, as he keeps Dale Earnhardt Jr, behind him (by 1.095 seconds) for the Capital City 400 victory.


Busch, who won his first Nationwide Series race Friday night as a team owner, received his first NSCS win of the 2012 season, his 24th series career win and his fourth series win at Richmond International Raceway (breaking the tie with Richard Petty’s 1971, ’72 and ’73 consecutive RIR victories).


Following Busch and Earnhardt (who moves into second place in the points, 5-points behind leader Greg Biffle) to the drop was Tony Stewart finishing third, last week’s winner Denny Hamlin, finishing fourth and Kasey Kahne finishing fifth.


Rounding our the top-ten finish positions were Jimmie Johnson finishing sixth, Clint Bowyer seventh, pole-sitter Mark Martin eighth, Brad Keselowski ninth and Carl Edwards (who led the most laps – 211 of the 400 that were run) finishing in the tenth position.


Race Results
Point Standings


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 RIR Race Day Weather Forecast: Midday Update
So you’ve looked at the radar today and you’ve started to get worried about tonight’s Sprint Cup Series Race at Richmond International Raceway. Expect a few light rain showers to move through Richmond later this afternoon. The rain will be light but enough to clean off any rubber that was put down from last night’s Nationwide series race. This area of light rain should diminish and end between 4 and 5pm EDT.


Once the rain ends this should provide plenty of time to dry the track and get it ready for the scheduled green flag later tonight. I expect the start of the race to be cloudy but dry and temperatures new 60, but as the race goes on the chance of rain increases through the evening.


I tweeted that I think we have at least a 60 to 70 percent probability of getting an official race (getting to the half way point). There is a chance we can get the whole race in but with the chance of rain showers increasing into the overnight the odds start to decrease.


Read more from WX-man


Who Steps Up Tonight?
Redemption. At its core, redemption is one of the most fundamental storylines of NASCAR racing. That much was obvious watching the brothers Busch Friday night at Richmond International Raceway, where Kurt won a NASCAR Nationwide Series race driving Kyle’s Toyota.


Everyone knows it’s been a pretty rotten six months for the brothers, but Friday night made a lot of things that had been wrong suddenly become very, very right.


And that’s why Kyle was fighting back tears in his post-race TV interview and Kurt had the verve of a kid who’d just won his first race. It was real, genuine emotion from two men who needed some good news and got it. And a sport that needed it, too.


Read more from FOX News


Boys Ready To Have At It?
Two weeks of ho-hum racing has left NASCAR fans starving for some on-track excitement, so a Saturday night stop at Richmond International Speedway couldn’t have come at a better time.


Short track racing traditionally produces some of NASCAR’s best racing, and the .75-mile oval at Richmond is the perfect venue for the bumping and banging that spices up the show. And there’s been a shortage of that of late.


Read more from FOX News


Singularly focused Harvick rolling right along
For all the recent talk about repaving and reconfiguring certain race tracks, folks seem to forget that Richmond International Raceway underwent its own transformation in 2004.


But not Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing.


Harvick remembers the way he used to run on the old RIR surface. True, he was then just starting out in his Cup Series driving career. True, he only ran six Cup races on it. True, he finished second in his second career start at the .75-mile track as a rookie in 2001.


But in five other career starts before the 2004 repaving, he had only one other top-ten finish and had an average finish of 19.4. It wasn’t until the place got repaved that Harvick really started to get the hang of the short track – and then it has shown in the results he’s posted since then.


Read more from NASCAR .com


2012 Richmond International Raceway NASCAR Race Day Weather Forecast
Will it rain Saturday night for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway Saturday night? That’s what everyone wants to know. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a straight forward yes or no.


Rain chances begin to increase as we go into the evening. It appears we should be mostly dry and mostly cloudy as we start the Capital City 400. As the evening goes on and we get later into the race the rain chances begin to increase.


As far as rain postponing the race until Sunday, the odds of that look low. I would expect it to be in the 20 to 30 percent probability, with a good 70 percent probability we see at least an official race Saturday night.


Read more from WX-Man


NASCAR driver appearances
NASCAR driver, show car and simulator appearances in and around the Richmond area…


See Today’s appearances at Richmond Times-Dispatch


Drivers irked at not being consulted
Bruton Smith’s decision not to seek driver input on how to fix Bristol Motor Speedway didn’t sit well with several competitors in the Sprint Cup Series.


And not all drivers are convinced the decision by the Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman to grind the top groove will return racing at the half-mile track in Tennessee to the bumping and grinding it was known for before the 2007 reconfiguration.


Read more from ESPN


Ex-NASCAR star Kyle Petty’s motorcycle tour rolls into Reno this weekend
US Highway 50 might be the “Loneliest Road in America,” but for Kyle Petty, it’s a bit of a paradise.


Petty, a retired NASCAR driver and a co-host for NASCAR RaceDay, will ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle across Nevada on Monday as part of his week-long Charity Ride Across America.  The ride raises funds for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.


Before that, he and his group, including former NFL running back Herschel Walker, will ride from Napa to Redding CA, on Saturday. On Sunday, they will ride from Redding to Reno where Petty and company will host a public meet-and-greet event at the Grand Sierra Resort.


Fans are invited to the GSR’s Xtreme Sports Bar and Lounge at 3pm. Admission is $45 and includes small-plate food. All proceeds from the event will be donated to Victory Junction.


Read more from RGJ


Shell V-Power To Sponsor Legends Day Honoring Roger Penske
Shell will serve as the presenting sponsor when Roger Penske, the most winning team owner in Indianapolis 500 history, is saluted for his remarkable career during Legends Day Honoring Roger Penske Presented by Shell on Saturday, May 26 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


As part of the sponsorship, Shell will provide fans with the opportunity to receive a free ticket voucher to the event with a minimum $10 purchase at participating Shell stations on c-store offerings, fuel, or a combination of both including Shell V-Power, the No. 1 premium gasoline brand in America. Fans can bring their receipt to the station cashier to receive their ticket voucher, which can be redeemed at the IMS Ticket Office with the purchase of one General Admission ticket.


Read more from IMS-PR


Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County & Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Sonoma County and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina are the next two charities selected for the 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which Johnson will wear in the June 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA.


Each organization will receive a grant of $10,000 and a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.


Read more from Jimmie Johnson Foundation-PR


Shell-Pennzoil To Sponsor Allmendinger Karting Scholarship
Looking to give back to the sport and help develop future talent, Penske Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger recently announced that he was establishing a scholarship designed to give one young deserving racer the opportunity to run a full karting season.


That effort got a big boost on Friday as Shell-Pennzoil announced that it will serve as a primary partner for Allmendinger’s karting scholarship.


Read more from Walldinger Racing, Inc-PR


Friday, April 27, 2012
2012 NNS Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Race Results

Kurt Busch celebrates NNS Richmond Victory
Photo – Drew Hallowell/Getty Images

Kyle Busch Motorsports received their first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory Friday night, as Kurt Busch held off Denny Hamlin by 0.062 seconds to win the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway.


This was Busch’s first series win of the 2012 season, his first series career win and his first series win at the track known for “racing perfection.”


Following Busch and Hamlin to the drop of the checkered flag were pole-sitter Kevin Harvick finishing in third, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (who trails the series leader Elliott Sadler by 2-points in the standings) fourth and Sam Hornish Jr, finishing in fifth.


The current series point leader, Elliott Sadler, finished in the sixth position, while Ryan Blaney finished seventh, Michael Annett eighth, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon ninth and Kasey Kahne rounding out the top-ten finishing positions.


Race Results
Point Standings


Next Up – From short track racing to the superspeedway at Talladega, it’s the Aaron’s 312 on Saturday, May 5th, at 3:15pm ET with television coverage provided by ESPN on ABC.


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NNS Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Final Practice Session Speeds
In the only practice session being held for tonight’s NNS Virginia 529 College Savings 250 race at Richmond International Raceway, it was the defending series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, with a lap speed of 122.990-mph, showing the quickest way around the 0.75 mile track.


Kevin Harvick was second quickest with a lap speed of 122.979-mph, and was followed by Joey Logano (122.610) who was third quickest, Sam Hornish Jr (122.371) fourth quickest and Kurt Busch (122.166) was fifth quickest.


Rounding our the top-ten quickest during the “Happy Hour” (final) practice session were Denny Hamlin (122.111) who was sixth quickest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt (121.885) seventh, Steve Wallace (121.786) eighth, Danica Patrick (121.753) ninth and rookie contender, Austin Dillon (121.638) posting the tenth quickest lap speed.


The teams will return to the track later his afternoon for their 4:05pm ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for tonight’s race – which is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET with television coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with their pre-race show at 7pm ET.


Final Practice Speeds

2012 NNS Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Starting Lineup
Kevin Harvick, with a qualifying lap speed of 124.625-mph, captured the 2012 NNS Virginia 529 College Savings 250 Coors Light Pole Award at Richmond International Raceway.


This was Harvick’s first series pole of the 2012 season, his 24th series career pole and his second series pole at the 0.75-mile track in Richmond, VA.


Sharing the front row with Harvick on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 124.608-mph, will be Virginia native Denny Hamlin, and they will be followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders, Austin Dillon (124.229) and Cole Whitt (123.870) starting third and fourth respectively, while Kasey Kahne (123.774) will start from fifth.


Defending series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (123.434) will start sixth, followed by another Virginia native, Elliott Sadler (123.237) starting seventh, Ryan Blaney (123.012) eighth, Brad Keselowski (123.007) ninth and Kurt Busch (122.817) rounding out the top-ten starting positions.


Failing to make the starting lineup was the #15 driven by Scott Riggs.


The Virginia 529 College Savings 250 is scheduled to get underway later this evening at approximately 7:50pm ET and television coverage will be provided by ESPN 2 beginning with their 7pm ET pre-race show.


Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NSCS Capital City 400 First Practice Session Speeds
Mark Martin with a lap speed of 126.707-mph, posted the fastest lap during the first NSCS Capital City 400 practice session at Richmond International Speedway.


Second fastest with a lap speed of 126.186-mph, was Greg Biffle, followed by Paul Menard (126.139 – will have to go to back-up car due to wreck after throttle go stuck) who was third fastest, Clint Bowyer (126.133) fourth and Joey Logano (125.997) was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during practice were Jimmie Johnson (125.886) who was sixth fastest, AJ Allmendinger (125.739) seventh, Brad Keselowski (125.657) eighth, Aric Almirola (125.646) ninth and Denny Hamlin (125.617) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams will return to the track this afternoon for their 2:45 – 3:30pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” (final) practice session before qualifying at 5:35pm ET this evening.


First Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

2012 NSCS Capital City 400 Final Practice Session Speeds
Dale Earnhardt Jr, with a lap speed of 123.853-mph, showed the fastest way around Richmond International Raceway during the final NSCS Capital City 400 practice session.


Carl Edwards was second fastest with a lap speed of 123.706-mph, and was followed by Landon Cassill (123.209) who was third fastest, Jeff Gordon (123.113) fourth and Kyle Busch (122.783) who was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” (final) practice session were Clint Bowyer (122.666) who was sixth fastest, Michael McDowell (122.660) seventh, Greg Biffle (122.655) eighth, Joe Nemechek (122.638) ninth and Kasey Kahne (122.582) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


Qualifying for tomorrow night’s Capital 400 (scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET) is set for this evening at 5:35pm ET.


Final Practice Speeds

2012 NSCS Capital City 400 Starting Lineup
Mark Martin, with a qualifying lap speed of 128.327-mph, captured the 2012 NSCS Capital City 400 Coors Light Pole Award at Richmond International Raceway.


Martin – at the age of 53 years, 3 months and 19 days, breaks his own previous record for being the oldest pole-sitter at RIR – received his second series pole of the 2012 season, his 53rd series career pole and his fifth series pole at Richmond International Raceway.


Starting second on the outside pole and with a qualifying lap speed of 128.290-mph, will be Carl Edwards, followed by Kevin Harvick (128.041) starting third, AJ Allmendinger (127.962) fourth and Kyle Busch (127.956) starting from fifth.


Four-time series champion, Jeff Gordon (127.750) will start sixth, while Virginia native Denny Hamlin (127.732) starts seventh, Martin Truex Jr (127.678) eighth, Kasey Kahne (127.593) ninth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (127.545) will round out the top-ten starting positions.


Failing to make the starting lineup were the #23 driven by Scott Riggs and the #49 driven by JJ Yeley.


Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Keys for Success – Capital City 400
Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering, provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.


The Track – “It’s funny, but it used to be every time you came to Richmond in the spring the track would have been sealed over the winter and that’s not the case this year. So you see that gray surface with the tire strips in between the cracks; there’s been a little repair here and there. It’s really back to more of an original Richmond. We’re practicing in the day today for a race tomorrow night. By the race tomorrow, we’re going to have run the Nationwide race and a lot of Cup practice on the track. It’s going to be a different racetrack. The drivers are already talking about the effects that they’re going to have to deal with when the track rubbers in. As the race progresses, it’s going to get tighter and tighter in the corners. I think the teams are going to struggle more and more with being able to free the car up enough to get ’em through the center.”


Lack of Cautions – “We collected evidence all last year and we saw fewer and fewer cautions. The trend looks to continue this spring, although I will make note that when we raced here last fall there were a record number of 15 cautions in that race. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you come to some place like Richmond and it’s all new business. People know that a lower number of cautions are a possibility, but I’m not going to be surprised, especially with the track surface the way it is, if we get back to old Richmond. I think that’ll make a good show for the fans.”


Brakes – “You cannot go flat our for 400 laps. You’ll run out of brakes, so the drivers have to conserve and manage their braking during the race in order to get to lap 400 and still have brakes on the car.”


Handling – “When the car won’t turn, the driver uses the brakes to get it to turn. He’ll get on the brake harder going into that corner to get the back end freed up a little bit so he can get the car to rotate. The drivers, without even knowing it, will end up using the brakes too much. The crew chief will have to advise the driver lap after lap, time after time, to go easy on those brakes.”


Two Tire Stops – “It depends on how many laps you’ve run and how the tires are wearing. I don’t think we’ll see tire wear issues. I think you’ll see guys try it, but if they try it and you get a long green flag run, you may end up losing more than you’ve gained by taking the two tires.”


From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-PR


2012 Richmond International Raceway NASCAR Weather Forecast
Weather will be quiet for Friday’s NASCAR activities at Richmond International Raceway. It is Saturday and Saturday night when things get tricky. Cold front stalls south in the Carolinas on Friday. This will allow for high pressure to move in and provide mostly sunny skies to the region. It should also remain dry for Friday night’s Nationwide Series race.


Saturday’s forecast becomes more problematic as the same front that stalls across the Carolinas moves back north as a warm front then stalls. The challenge and question becomes where does this front stall?  It appears that it will be close enough that showers will be a threat at anytime during the day and evening on Saturday. It doesn’t appear that it will be a large wave of rain but more the threat of scattered hit or miss type showers. I don’t think it will be a rain out, at leas I hope not but showers and radar will need to be watched Saturday afternoon and Saturday evening.


From WX-man


Mark Martin Now has Epic Swag T-Shirts

Mark Martin sports his new Epic Swag T-Shirt
Photo – Michael Waltrip Racing

At 53-years-old, Mark Martin might be the oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, but he’s certainly one of the hippest.


Check out his new “Epic Swag” T-shirt.


Both Martin and his Michael Waltrip Racing crew plan to sport the new black “Swagtastic since 1981” shirts at race tracks in the coming weeks.


“I think they are pretty bad,” said Martin.


Obviously “bad” meaning good in the vernacular of today’s youth.


“Who’d of thought I’d ever have a T-shirt like this, but I think they’ll be in pretty high demand on the Internet and souvenir truck. I think it’s something I’ll wear at the race track or working out in the gym.”


The Epic Swag saga began when Martin’s 65,000-follower Twitter account (@55markmartin) was hacked last month rendering the 30-year NASCAR veteran completely powerless over his newest hobby.


The unknown culprit – Epic Swag – commandeered the account and began changing every setting and altering followers.


Some quick work by Twitter restored Martin’s account to full functionality, and by late Saturday night Martin was back to tweeting about his favorite rappers like Dr. Dre, Gucci Mane and answering fan questions.


His race team couldn’t resist some good natured ribbing of the future Hall-of-Famer and gave Martin the new nickname of “Epic Swag.”


Martin’s No. 55 Toyota even carried the name above the driver’s window during the Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.


“I can’t walk through the garage now without someone calling out Epic Swag,” laughed Martin. “We’ve had a lot of fun with it. The fans kept asking so we made some T-shirts. My wife (Arlene) just shakes her head.”


Shirts are available by clicking these links: markmartin.com or NASCAR Superstore.


From Michael Waltrip Racing-PR


Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne & Tony Stewart Guesting on The Cleveland Show
NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kasey Kahne and Tony Stewart will guest-voice on the Fox series next season, TVGuide.com has learned exclusively.


Earnhardt, Kahne and Stewart join a long list of athletes who have lent their voices to the show…


Read more from TV Guide


Barry Dodson Returns to NASCAR
Barry Dodson has been absent from the NASCAR spotlight for many years but, on Thursday he announced his plan to return with a new team and a new mission.


Dodson has been a winner at all levels of NASCAR competition. He holds the 1989 Cup Series Crew Chief Championship title and has played a vital role in developing many of today’s stars. However, after tragedy struck his family in 1994, Dodson realized that winning at NASCAR’s premier level didn’t seem as important in his life as it once had. Slowly he disappeared from the NASCAR weekly scene and set a course to get his life straightened out and back on track. Sure, he maintained his connections in the NASCAR community and had many offers to return, but declined to make a comeback until now.


Dodson has decided to join forces with Free Pennington and his Free American Racing team out of Augusta, Georgia. “For us to come together in this way is a dream come true for me,” commented Pennington. “Barry is one of my heroes and to think that I could drive for him is such a blessing to me.”


Read more from FOX 54 Augusta


Casey Weston to Perform Bojangles’ Southern 500 National Anthem
Casey Weston, Nashville-based recording artist and former finalist on the popular TV show, “The Voice,” will perform the National Anthem for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 12.


Read more from Darlington Raceway-PR


Nationwide Bumper Covers Taken from Six Cars
NASCAR officials confirmed that inspectors confiscated front bumper covers from six NASCAR Nationwide Series cars during inspection Thursday at Richmond International Raceway.


The cars involved all came from two teams: Turner Motorsports (No. 30 James Buescher; No 31 Justin Allgaier; No. 38 Kasey Kahne) and Richard Childress Racing (No. 2 Elliott Sadler, No. 3 Austin Dillon and No. 33 Kevin Harvick).


The teams were allowed to replace the front bumper covers and will compete in Friday night’s Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at RIR.


If there are any penalties, they will be announced next week.


From SPEED


Zest Announces “Race to Get Zestfully Clean” Facebook Contest
As part of Zest’s sponsorship of driver Matt Kenseth, they have launched a “Race to Get Zestfully Clean with the No. 17” Facebook contest for NASCAR fans.


The promotion focuses on getting fans of Roush Fenway Racing and 2012 Daytona 500 Champion Matt Kenseth, to create buzz about the Zest brand using Facebook and social media outlets. Fans will compete to earn “Zest Clean Points” and then have the opportunity to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences and prizes for the three remaining races of the  brand’s 2012 primary sponsorship of Kenseth.


Fans will have the chance to play along and earn Zest Clean Points by going to facebook.com/zestsoap. Points will be awarded based on likes, comments and posts on Zest’s Facebook page. If a post is creative and engages the community, additional Zest Clean Points will be awarded. A leaderboard displays the daily standings, in a similar fashion to the leaderboard for the Sprint Cup series.


Zest Clean Points will be given throughout the day, and the leaderboard will be updated on average between every 4 to 12 hours. The daily limits for the contest per person are: three comments (in reply to any post of Zest or other fans), one post to the Zest Facebook wall and four likes on the Zest Facebook wall.


“We are thrilled with the positive fan loyalty for Matt Kenseth and wanted to provide them and all NASCAR race fans an opportunity to participate in a fun contest,” said Nina Riley, Vice-President of Marketing for High Ridge Brands, the owner of Zest bar soap and body wash.


Prizes will be awarded before each Zest sponsored race which will include the Sprint Cup events at Darlington in May, Daytona in July and Kansas in October. The leaderboard will be reset after each race, so fans will have a new chance to move up the leaderboard for each race payout.


Participants will have a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience as well as some unique authentic race team prizes on behalf of Zest brands. The once-in-a-lifetime experiences include tickets to attend a NASCAR race, a “meet & greet” with Matt Kenseth, airfare and hotel. The unique authentic race team prizes include a replica Zest driver’s helmet autographed by Kenseth, team owner Jack Roush and crew chief Jimmy Fennig; a personalized and autographed Zest crew shirt, an autographed Zest crew hat, or a 1:64 sized Zest die-cast replica of the No. 17 Ford Fusion.


From Roush Fenway Racing-PR


NASCAR embraces Twitter, fans
Drivers, teams, media personnel, track presidents, family members of drivers, media personnel and fans have used social media to make NASCAR one of the most talked about subjects on Twitter.


For fans, the role NASCAR plays on Twitter brings their relationship with the drivers to a new level.


Read more from Richmond Times-Dispatch


NASCAR driver appearances
NASCAR driver, show car and simulator appearances in and around the Richmond area.


Read more from Richmond Times-Dispatch


Big-name NASCAR drivers need to pick up speed in Sprint Cup Series
For some big-name NASCAR drivers, it’s time to get moving.


Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Jeff Burton, AJ Allmendinger and Kasey Kahne are among those mired deep in the Sprint Cup Series standings after eight races, and they need to start posting strong finishes if they hope to make NASCAR’s title playoff this fall.


Read more from LA Times


Tony Stewart wins charity race
Tony Stewart passed Virginia short-track racer Greg Edwards before the midway point of the race and ran away with the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on Thursday night at Richmond Raceway.


Read more form ESPN/Associated Press


And – Stewart Dominates Showdown


From SPEED


Dover International Speedway creates auction package to benefit Al Robinson

Al Robinson
Photo – Greg Zyla

Dover International Speedway is creating a special June 3, 2012 auction package to benefit former Public Relations Directory Al Robinson. The all-inclusive package includes:

  • (2) passes to the Dover Motorsports, Inc luxury suite on Sunday, June e
  • (2) pit passes for Sunday, June 3
  • An overnight stay at Dover Downs Hotel & Casino on Sunday, June 3
  • Complimentary breakfast buffet on Monday, June 4
  • A Monster Racing four-lap ride package on Monday, June 4
To participate in the online auction visit DoverMonster. The auction ends on May 14, 2012.

Robinson has been involved in racing for more than 40 years in various capacities and served as public relations director at Dover International Speedway for more than a decade. On May 11, 2011, Al suffered a debilitating stroke which has left him in need of 24-hour care. Confined to Elderwood Care Facility in Waverly, NY, he has been working hard through physical therapy, but still has a long way to go.

Due to mounting medical costs, Robinson is now facing a significant financial hardship. A group of Robinson’s friends have come together to create a family oriented event on May 11-12, 2012 at Shangri-La II Motorspeedway in Tioga Center, NY. All proceeds from the event will go to Robinson.

Planned events include a track walk, pace car rides, kid’s activities, a bon-fire, race memorabilia auctions, show car displays and much more. A special section with more information about the event has been added to shangrila-2.com, the track’s website, under the schedule tab.

Monetary donations for Robinson may be sent by check to The Spalding Foundation, c/o Betty Sherwood, 1074 Sulpher Springs Road, Owego, NY 13827. Please write “Al Robinson Fund” on the comment line. All money and check donations specified for the Al Robinson Fund will go to Al Robinson.

From Dover International Speedway-PR

Thursday, April 26, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1987 – Dale Earnhardt extends his season-opening hot streak to four wins in a row by outrunning two huge rivals in the Sovran Bank 500 at Martinsville (VA) Speedway. Earnhardt, who started fourth, by passed Geoffrey Bodine and led the final 17 laps at the .526-mile track. Rusty Wallace finished second, 2.73 seconds behind, and Bodine held on for third. The victory was the sixth in the first eight races of the season for Earnhardt, who rolled to five more wins and his third series championship in ’87.


From NASCAR .com


Roush beefs up Ricky Stenhouse team with new sponsorship
Defending Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr and his Roush Fenway Racing team have picked up a 15-race sponsorship from Cargill Beeftoday.


The company, a food producer that promotes the nutritional value of beef, will sponsor Stenhouse for 15 races, beginning with Friday’s race at Richmond. It will sponsor nine races this summer to coincide with grilling season and continue the sponsorship through September and October.


Read more from Sporting News


“Pin It Forward” Campaign to Kick Off 2012 NASCAR Day Celebration
NASCAR Day, an annual celebration of NASCAR’s fans, charities and spirit, will have extra incentive for fans to share their passion for the sport and make a difference in the lives of children this year.


The ninth celebration of NASCAR Day on Friday, May 18th will encourage fans to join the NASCAR Foundation’s initiative in the “Pin It Forward” campaign. Fans are invited to connect and share their pride for NASCAR by posting stories and uploading pictures on the foundation’s Facebook page.


NASCAR Day’s impact in the racing family already has been felt with the foundation’s commitment to positively impact the lives of children. This week, on Friday, April 27th, The NASCAR Foundation will present the Victory Junction Camp for chronically ill children with a $565,000 donation, consisting of 2011 fund-raising efforts through NASCAR Day, the NASCAR Unites campaign and the Tom Murphy Memorial Golf Classic, a charity golf tournament in Kansas City, MO. Since it began in 2004, NASCAR Day has raised nearly $10 million for charity.


“The NASCAR Foundation remains proud to continue to support Victory Junction and all the wonderful opportunities that they provide children in need,” said Sandy Marshall, executive director, The NASCAR Foundation.


To continue raising awareness, fans can visit The NASCAR Foundation’s Facebook page between now and NASCAR Day to “Pin It Forward” with their $20 donation for a pair of commemorative pins – one for yourself, and one for a friend. In addition to helping the cause online, fans may post pictures displaying their spirit – and their pins – and share the story of what it means to “Pin It Forward.”


Accounts to engage this promotion are The NASCAR Foundation’s Facebook page at facebook.com/NASCARFoundation and @NASCAR_FDN on Twitter. The associated Twitter hashtag for this initiative is #NASCARDay. Submissions received will be featured across various communication channels including NASCAR television and social media platforms.


For more information, visit: facebook.com/NASCARFoundation. To learn more about The NASCAR Foundation, log on to NASCAR.com/Foundation


From NASCAR/NASCAR Foundation-PR


Free practice session added to June weekend
The speeds at Michigan International Speedway are fast, and now race fans can witness them first-hand during a special test session added to the June schedule.


NASCAR and ARCA have added a daylong practice session at Michigan International Speedway on Thursday, June 14.


The Turn 3 grandstand will be open free of charge that day for guests to watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup and ARCA Racing Series drivers practice on the newly paved, ultra-fast racetrack.


Read more from MIS-PR


Virginia Governor Proclaims April 26, 2012 is Denny Hamlin Foundation Day
Governor Robert McDonnell has officially recognized April 26 as Denny Hamlin Foundation Day.


Read more at Denny Hamlin Foundation-PR


In NASCAR, cautions are bad, except when they are good
Three-wide used to be a good thing in NASCAR.


It used to be synonymous with exciting racing. Three cars side by side, hold your breath to see if the meat in that sandwich makes it through in one piece.


Somewhere along the line it evolved into boring racing, especially on the so-called cookie-cutter, 1.5-mile tracks.  That’s because even when the racing is three-wide it doesn’t result in one car in the wall, another with a cut tire and a third looking for payback.


Is it because drivers are so good? Or is it because, a crew chief Bootie Barker suggested on a Sirius Radio show, drivers are a little too chummy these days to keep up a decent feud.


Whatever the reason, NASCAR lately has been producing something that drives old-school racing promoters like Eddie Gossage at Texas Motor Speedway crazy – good, clean racing.


Read more from al


Hamlin Races for Good Cause
The Denny Hamlin Short Track Challenge will air tonight on SPEED at 8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT


As weeks go, they don’t get much bigger than this one is for Denny Hamlin.


Hamlin, who grew up 15 miles away from Richmond, returns to his home track Richmond International Raceway, in high spirits this week.


Last Sunday, he won his second NASCAR Sprint Cup race of the year at Kansas Speedway. This Saturday night, he will go for his third Cup victory at the 0.75-mile, D-shaped track.


And Thursday night at RIR, he hosts the fifth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, a 100-lap NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division charity race featuring the best Late Model races on the East Coast, along with a dozen or so racers from NASCAR’s top divisions.


Read more from SPEED


2012 Richmond International Raceway NASCAR Weather Forecast: Chance of Rain
Another NASCAR weekend and another challenging forecast. Warm front lifts to the north during the day Thursday. This will help to spread in showers and potentially thunderstorms during the afternoon. There could even be some breaks in the clouds for some sunshine that would spark storm formations in the afternoon. Off and on times of rain are possible today.


The same front that brought warm temperatures will drop south as a cold front Thursday night with more showers into early Friday morning. As the front pushes south it looks like Friday and Friday night could be relatively quiet. We may have fair and dry conditions on Friday night for the Nationwide race.


Saturday is when things get tricky. 


Read more from WX-Man


Hamlin on major NASCAR roll heading to home state track at Richmond
Denny Hamlin’s on such a winning roll this NASCAR season, even his biscuits turned out great.


Hamlin won last week at Kansas Speedway, his second Sprint Cup victory of the year. Now, Hamlin is heading to Richmond, one of his favorite layouts. It’s a place where he’s won two of the past four races and usually where he kicks his season into high gear.


Read more from Star Tribune


NASCAR Drivers Testing at Pocono Raceway
The rumble of stock cars in April is not an indigenous sound to the Poconos. Drivers from NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series’ took to the track, mainly to test out new tires from Goodyear. But the buzz was more about the new track surface laid down in the off-season.


2012 has brought changes here to Pocono Raceway. Obviously, a new track surface and concrete pit boxes, but will that change the way the drivers feel about Pocono Raceway?


The track record for fastest qualifying lap stands at 52.18 seconds, held by Kasey Kahne. By the time the boys roll back into town in June, it’s more than likely we’ll have a *new* track record on the *new* asphalt!


Read more from WNEP


NASCAR pit crewman Shannon Myers can relate to NFL Draft
NASCAR pit crewman Shannon Myers will have a keen eye on the NFL Draft this week. That’s because Myers knows what it’s like to be drafted into the NFL. 


Myers, a tire changer for driver Mark Martin at Michael Waltrip Racing, was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1995. After a career hampered by injury, the former wide receiver from Division II Lenoir-Rhyne College in Lenoir, NC joined the NASCAR circuit in 2001.


Read more from Sporting News


Kurt Busch to run Nationwide race
NASCAR Sprint Cup regular Kurt Busch will run the Nationwide race at Iowa Speedway on May 20.


Busch confirmed he’ll race in Iowa for the first time. He will be the first Sprint Cup champion to run on Iowa’s 0.875-mile oval.


Danica Patrick, Sam Hornish Jr, Austin Dillon and Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who won both Nationwide races at Iowa in 2011, are also slated for the race.


Read more from ESPN/Associated Press


Denny Hamlin Visits Darlington to Support Upcoming Bojangles’ Southern 500
Sprint Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin is used to a job that features high risk, piloting the No. 11 FedEx Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. However working behind the counter of a Bojangles’ restaurant in Darlington, SC was another story.


Hamlin stopped by the Darlington Bojangles’ on Wednesday promoting the upcoming Bojangles’ Southern 500 which will take place at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, May 12. Hamlin had hands-on training of how to make the famous Bojangles’ biscuits, while also serving race fans their orders from behind the counter.


It was a fast-paced, positive experience for a driver who just last Sunday was at the top of his profession by winning the Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway.


Read more from Darlington Raceway-PR


Get your Golden Tickets! You could be a winner!
Two words: Golden Tickets. Now is your chance to be treated like a VIP at Michigan International Speedway.


MIS and its Fan Appreciation Programs have taken the Golden Ticket Program to unparalleled heights. Out with the randomness and in with all-inclusiveness. Every account holder will receive a Golden Ticket in the same package as their race tickets in the mail. While each ticket will not be a winner, MIS is giving each account holder the chance to feel victorious.


And what is better than winning? Be sure to look for the exclusive Golden Ticket in your package. Then simply scratch off the silver box to see if you have won.


Read more from MIS-PR


Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1954 – Gober Sosebee drives to his second and final victory in NASCAR’s premier series, scoring a home-state win at Central City Speedway in Macon, GA. Sosebee, an Atlanta native, let 58 of 200 laps on the half-mile dirt track. Pole-sitter Dick Rathman finished second with Jim Paschal third, one lap down.


From NASCAR .com


Ford Unveils Focus Electric Pace Car
After being unveiled in a public ceremony today at the Virginia State Capital, the 2012 Focus Electric pace cars are ready for their historic race weekend when they become the first all-electric vehicles to pace a NASCAR Sprint Cup event.


The two Focus Electric vehicles will perform all pace duties for the Capitol City 400 presented by Virginia is for Lovers Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.


Read more from Ford Racing-PR


NASCAR driver and sports commentator, Kyle Petty brings Charity Ride to Willits
For nearly two decades NASCAR driver and television personality Kyle Petty has organized a motorcycle ride across America to raise funds for various charities. For his 2012 adventure, Petty has chosen to start in Napa and ride north through the towering redwoods of the North Coast before heading east to his final destination: Texas Motor Speedway. Petty and a group of hardy riders will travel thousands of miles in seven days to raise donations to aid children suffering from serious illness.


Beginning in Napa on the morning of Saturday, April 28, the 2012 ride will wind north through the vineyards stopping in Willits at Safeway for fuel and to stretch a bit under the Willits Arch. While in Willits, Mayor Bruce Burton, city council members and Willits Chamber of Commerce directors will welcome Petty and his fellow riders. Naturally more than 125 motorcycle riders would not go unnoticed, but to be sure they travel safely the Willits Police Department will escort the entourage as they venture through town.


Read more from Willits News


GM Confirms the 2014 Chevrolet SS Performance – Thanks to OnStar Mishap
Could this be an inadvertent preview of the 2013 NASCAR Chevrolet – yet to be unveiled – but confirmed to not be the Impala or any current Chevrolet model?


Read more from ChristopherPrice.net


Bristol to Tighten Racing Grooves
Responding to race fans’ complaints, Bristol Motor Speedway will change its racing surface for August events…


Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced Wednesday that they will grind the top groove of the speedway surface in an attempt to tighten racing at the track for the NASCAR weekend in August.


A full report to follow…


From SPEED …Read more from Press Release


And – OPINION: Bristol Motor Speedway Made the Best Change It Could
There was never a thought in Bruton Smith’s mind to leave Bristol Motor Speedway untouched.


After last month’s Food City 500, in which the stands were half-full at best, the Speedway Motorsports Inc. chairman had no choice. He had to to something, even if not everyone agreed.


And though many fans, drivers and observers won’t like Smith’s ultimate decision, Bristol announced Wednesday it will grind down the top lane of the track and therefore take away the advantage of progressive banking.


Smith said none of the drivers he spoke to were in favor of him changing the track. And after an initial onslaught of fans who demanded something be done, the final numbers were only 40 percent in favor of making the change.


Read more from SB Nation


NASCAR driver appearances at Richmond
Lots of driver appearances , show car and simulator appearances in and around Richmond area…


Check it out at Richmond Times-Dispatch


NASCAR officials like Kentucky Speedway results, now all invited
NASCAR officials continue to receive regular updates about the work being done at Kentucky Speedway in preparation for the Sprint Cup Series race weekend in late June.


The speedway has done more than it originally laid out to NASCAR, general manager Mark Simendinger said. 


He presented the plans to NASCAR president Mike Helton before they were unveiled publicly in August. Kentucky Speedway owner Bruton Smith also has had conversations with Helton about Kentucky Speedway, Simendinger said.


Read more from News Cincinnati


Have NASCAR drivers had enough of “havin’ at it?”
In the hours after Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, there was a lot of discussion among NASCAR fans and media members about the fact that 900 miles of racing had been completed in back-to-back weekends without a single wreck.


There were lots of reasons offered, such as the high winds at Texas and Kansas; hard tires; aerodynamic issues; and so on. Many have stated before. One – proffered by driver Brad Keselowski – was new.


On Twitter, Keselowski noted that drivers may be less inclined to put themselves in position in position to accidentally run into someone because those drivers now have a “free pass” at intentional retaliation.


At first it sounds iffy. If a driver accidentally gets into another one, why would that driver then want to intentionally wreck him back?


Read more from That’s Racin’ Lucky Dog


Pastrana committed to NASCAR: No dirt bikes for 2-5 years
While pursuing his NASCAR aspirations, Travis Pastrana realizes staying off a motorbike certainly won’t hurt him – literally or figuratively.


After a broken ankle postponed his Nationwide Series debut for nearly nine months, the action sports superstar said he’s done with two wheels for a while.


Read more from USA Today


NASCAR Autograph Session and ARCA Garage Walk
Two great additions to the 2012 Aaron’s Dream Weekend at Talladega Superspeedway have just been announced for Friday, May 4th. To kick off the weekend, fans will be treated to the ARCA Fan Walk from 11:30am to 12:30pm and a NASCAR Nationwide series autograph session from 1:30 to 2:30pm.


Read more at Talladega Superspeedway-PR


TaxSlayer.com Chevy to Feature Childhood Cancer Initiative
CURE Childhood Cancer’s Press On Fund will be featured on Cole Whitt’s No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet in NASCAR Nationwide series events at Richmond International Raceway and Darlington Raceway as part of a collective effort by TaxSlayer and JR Motorsports to raise awareness in the fight against childhood cancer.


Read more and see the car at JR Motorsports-PR

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1983 – Darrell Waltrip completes a late-race pass of Bobby Allison to cap a dominant day at Martinsville, winning the Virginia National Bank 500. Waltrip, who led 296 of the 500 laps, held off runner-up Harry Gant by 0.8 seconds at the end. Allison held on for third place, just ahead of Joe Ruttman and pole-sitter Ricky Rudd.


From NASCAR .com


Now Courting NASCAR Fans: Clean Coal
The fight over American energy consumption is coming to a NASCAR track near you this summer.


The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, an advocacy group representing coal producers, electric utilities and railroads, announced its sponsorship Tuesday of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr and his race team JR Motorsports.


As one of the sport’s most famous faces, Mr. Earnhardt will serve as a spokesman for the group, and JR Motorsports cars will feature the ACCCE logo, starting this week at a Nationwide series race in Richmond, VA. The sponsorship is part of a $40 million advocacy push, according to a spokeswoman for the group.


Read more from The Wall Street Journal


Jennifer Jo Cobb Launches PSA for Driven2Honor
Jennifer Jo Cobb, driver of the No. 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Dodge Ram in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS), is proud to take another step forward with her Driven2Honor program. Cobb has created a PSA for the program and is launching the announcement this week. The PSA will air on public broadcasting stations across the nation.


The Driven2Honor program, which Cobb created in 2011, aims to accomplish three goals: to honor women in the US Military, to inspire young women that the military is a viable option for their future and to empower female veterans post-duty.


Read more from Cobb Racing Team-PR


NASCAR Unites Track Walk & Sunoco Free Fuel 5k Run set for Saturday June 2
Dover International Speedway will host The NASCAR Unites Track Walk and Sunoco Free Fuel 5k Run, benefiting Autism Speaks and The NASCAR Foundation, on June 2, 2012, after the “5-hour Energy 200” NASCAR Nationwide Series race.


Participants will have the unique opportunity to walk or run around the concrete oval at Dover International Speedway, all while raising money for The NASCAR Foundation and Autism Speaks. Denny Hamlin, driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota, will be on hand to meet with fans, and other NASCAR celebrities will be announced as they are confirmed on DoverSpeedway.com, as well as at Facebook.com/DoverInternationalSpeedway and on Twitter at @MonsterMile.


Read more from Dover Speedway-PR


Daytona Beach Half Marathon Races into Budweiser Speedweeks 2013
In 2013, a new race will be part of the Budweiser Speedweeks lineup, but competitors won’t need a helmet. Scheduled for Sunday, February 17, the Central Florida Sports Commission and Daytona International Speedway will host the fifth annual Daytona Beach Half Marathon just one week before the 55th running of “The Great American Race” – the Daytona 500.


Read more from DIS-PR


John Wilson & Monica Palumbo To Serve as Master & Mistress of Ceremonies at Charlotte
Every celebration needs an emcee, so it stands to reason that Charlotte Motor Speedway will need two for the 10 greatest days of racing, May 18-27, which includes the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the 53rd running of the Coca-Cola 600.


Two personalities from the Charlotte air-waves will serve as the speedway’s ambassadors of fun beginning May 1 and lasting through the final lap of NASCAR’s greatest test of man and machine, the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27.


Fox Charlotte’s Jon Wilson, of famed “Wilson’s World” segments on the popular Fox News Rising morning show, has been named Master of Ceremonies and he will serve alongside former Miss Sprint Cup and current radio personality on The Ace & TJ Show, Monica Palumbo, who has been named Mistress of Ceremonies for the 10 greatest days of racing.


Read more from CMS-PR


Hamlin’s Team Changes Working Well Early
Denny Hamlin sure has ridden the roller coaster the last few years. Think back to 2010 when he won eight races and was vying for the championship right up to and including the last race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway.


He ended up finishing second to Jimmie Johnson that season.


In 2011, it was literally the completely other end of the spectrum for he and his Joe Gibbs Racing team. Yes, they won the June Michigan race, but they limped into the Chase for the Sprint Cup last year and much like their season, they really weren’t a factor. At the end of the season the team made wholesale changes, including in the crew chief position.


Read more from SPEED


Virginia is for Lovers & RIR team up for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race
One of the most storied tracks in NASCAR is teaming up with one of the most well-known tourism brands in the country this weekend for the Saturday, April 28, Capital City 400 Presented by Virginia is for Lovers NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.


Richmond International Raceway, celebrating 60 Years of NASCAR this season, has hosted Sprint Cup races since 1953 – third longest among tracks on the circuit. The Capital City 400 name pays homage to the track’s days of yore, when RIR hosted NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races that included the “Capital City” name annually from 1962 to 1980.


Read more from RIR-PR


Forbes honors Jimmie Johnson
Forbes annual ranking of America’s Most Influential Athlete has placed NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson at the top of the list for the second consecutive year.


The rankings are done by public opinion polling. Forbes says Tuesday that Nielsen and E-Poll surveyed over 1,100 adults about dozens of well-known athletes to measure their likeability and whether they are considered influential to marketers.


Five-time NASCAR champion Johnson was joined on the list by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. But Earnhardt slipped from third to seventh, while teammate Jeff Gordon dropped off the list completely.


Read more from ESPN/Associated Press


Max Siegel named CEO of USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field board of directors has selected Max Siegel to serve as CEO, President, Chair Stephanie Hightower announced Monday.


The board voted unanimously to hire Siegel after two CEO searches that took place over the course of 16 months. He will become the fourth CEO in the organization’s history when he assumes his duties on May 1 as part of a two-year contract. Chief Operating Office Mike McNees has served as interim CEO since September, 2010.


He previously served as President of Global Operations at Dale Earnhardt Inc, where he sold tens of millions of dollars in sponsorship; and as Senior Vice President at Sony/BMG and as President of Zomba Gospel, Tommy Boy Gospel and Verity Records, where he led one of the most profitable divisions in the Sony BMG system. As a music executive, he increased top-line revenue and reduced expenses to yield unprecedented profit in the gospel industry. He was part of the executive team overseeing the careers of stars such as Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Usher.


The owner of Rev Racing; Siegel took NASCAR’s Drive for Diverstity program and advanced it from a fledging effort to add diversity to the sport into a competitive juggernaut on the racetrack. In 2011, his team’s drivers won 50 percent of all races on the K&N Pro Series East circuit, NASCAR’s top development circuit.


Read more from USATF-PR


And – Max Siegel continuing in his role as Drive for Diversity team owner
Max Siegel, who owns the NASCAR Drive For Diversity race team Rev Racing, will continue to own the team while running USA Track and Field.


The USATF is based in Indianapolis, where Siegel spends the majority of his time. Siegel has a staff in North Carolina that handles the race team.


Read more from Sporting News


Philabundance, Food Bank of Delaware & Sunoco Announce Major Food Drive at Dover
Sunoco, Inc. announced a partnership with Philabundance and the Food Bank of Delaware to conduct a major food drive at the Dover International Speedway from June 1 to June 3 during the upcoming NASCAR race weekend.


Read more from Dover Speedway-PR


Facts and Notes about Richmond International Raceway

  • Originally known as the Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds, Richmond International Raceway held its first race in 1946 as a half-mile dirt track.
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was April 19, 1953
  • The spring 1964 race was run on a Tuesday night under temporary lighting.
  • The track name changed to Virginia State Fairgrounds in 1967.
  • The track surface was changed from dirt to asphalt between races in 1968.
  • The track name was changed to Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway in 1969.
  • The track was re-measured to .542-mile for 1970.
  • The track was rebuilt as a three-quarters-mile D-shaped oval following the Feb. 21, 1988 race.
  • The first race under permanent lights was Sept. 7, 1991.
  • The first season with both races as night races was 1999.
Notebook
  • There have been 111 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Richmond since the track opened in 1953.
  • The current 400-lap race length was established on the .542-mile measurement in March 1976.
  • Buck Baker won the pole in 1953.
  • Lee Petty won the first race in April 1953.
  • There have been 50 different pole winners, led by Bobby Allison and Richard Petty (eight).
  • Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with five poles.
  • 47 different drivers have posted victories at Richmond, led by Richard Petty (13).
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Terry Labonte and Jimmie Johnson (three) lead active race winners.
  • Petty Enterprises has won 15 races at Richmond, more than any other team.
  • 63 of 111 races have been won from the top-five starting positions, including 22 from the pole.
  • The last driver to win from the pole was Kyle Busch in 2010.
  • The furthest back in the field a race winner has started was 31st, by Clint Bowyer in the 2008 spring race.
  • Kyle Busch (5.0) and Denny Hamlin (7.5) are the only active drivers with an average finish in the top-ten.
  • Kyle Petty became the first third-generation NASCAR race winner when he won his first race at Richmond, on Feb. 23, 1986. Richard Petty posted his first Richmond victory in 1961 and Lee Petty won the very first Richmond race in 1953.
  • Three of the last four races have had a margin of victory less than one second.



The NASCAR Technophobe’s Heaven Sent Tool
NASCAR fans who are looking to take the checkered flag on keeping up with action at the track now have access to a high-tech tool that will give them everything they need in the palm of their hands. The new FanVision controller replaces the now outdated FanView device and looks to be the sports junkie’s tool of the future.


The Mechanicsville Local recently conducted a demo test of the FanVision device, which provided impressive results. Approximately the width and weight of a video game control, FanVision links into the host track’s Wi-Fi system to provide live feeds from the NASCAR media group. The 4.3-inch screen provides bright, high-quality live race video that is visible even in sunlight. But unlike watching the race on TV or computer, the FanVision device gives the fan complete control on what they see and hear. Fans can either watch the main video feed or select the camera on any car in the race. Likewise, an immediate replay of any video they are watching is only a click away.


Read more from The Mechanicsville Local


Hendrick or No. 11 – which will hit 200 first?
Denny Hamlin’s win in the No. 11 last Sunday at Kansas meant the No. 11 was the winningest car number in Cup series history, breaking a tie with the No. 43. But as the No. 11 broke one tie, it entered into another. Still sitting at 199 Cup victories after Jimmie Johnson’s victory at Kansas last October is Hendrick Motorsports. The team has been close to hitting the 200 milestone, but has come short all season.


So, which will come first – the 200th victory for Hendrick Motorsports or the 200th victory for the No. 11? 


Read more at NASCAR .com


How Do Drivers Handle Victory Drought?
For at least a while Sunday at Kansas Speedway, we saw a chance that drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr and Martin Truex Jr were finally going to break their losing streaks and get back to Victory Lane.


Obviously, eventual race-winner Denny Hamlin dashed all those hopes and brought home his second NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season.


It is so much easier to talk about what those drivers trying to snap a streak need to do then actually being the one behind the wheel trying to make it happen. That said, I still will tell you that those drivers need to keep doing what they are doing. When you keep performing like they are right now, the wins will come.


Read more from SPEED


Kyle Petty not concerned about direction of Victory Junction camp
Kyle Petty doesn’t believe the removal of his wife, Pattie, as chief executive officer of Victory Junction Gang Camp will negatively impact the camp the couple founded in memory of their son Adam. 


The Kansas City Star reported Sunday that Pattie Petty had been removed from the day-to-day operations of the camp. She has accepted a position as goodwill ambassador and chairwoman emeritus of the board that oversees the camp, according to a news release issued by the camp on Monday.


Read more from Sporting News


Denny Hamlin returns to Richmond as NASCAR conquering hero
Basking in the afterglow of his second Sprint Cup victory this season, Denny Hamlin naturally will be heading to Richmond, VA, early this week.


And while there might be a few stops at the haunts of his youth, the hometown kid won’t be just partying in advance of Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway.


Hamlin, who was raised in nearby Chesterfield, returns as a conquering hero with another project to master. Thursday will mark the fifth annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, a nationally televised charity exhibition race presented by FedEx that will attract a star-studded field to RIR.


Read more from USA Today


Caution-free races aren’t thrilling the fans
The last 901.5 miles at NASCAR’s top level have been quick and clean, the kind of races where a team can tinker on the car the entire day and not worry about artificial on-track action ruining a strong run.


It’s a racer’s dream, but it’s apparently a fan’s nightmare.


Three of the last four Sprint Cup races have been accident-free, which has reignited the age-old debate: Do fans prefer racing or wrecking?


Based on feedback five-time champion Jimmie Johnson has heard of late he knows the answer and seems to disagree with the popular opinion.


Read more from FOX News


Annoyed with NASCAR’s Hall of Fame
Sorry, Rusty Wallace, not yet. Not next year, either, or maybe even the year after. You’ll get into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC, eventually, of course – but you’ve got to wait a while.


Same to you, Rick Hendrick. Sure, you’ve won all those championships and all those races, but it’s too early for you as well. The same goes for fellow championship-winning team owner Richard Childress. Both of you undeniably deserve to get in the Hall of Fame and you will…but now isn’t the right time. And while we’re at it, why isn’t team owner Jack Roush among the recently announced 25 nominees for the class of 2013?


Read more from Auto Week


NASCAR loses motion agains diversity driver; Rodriguez case set for trial
A federal judge has denied NASCAR’s request to throw out a lawsuit by an aspiring driver who was invited to its 2005 Drive for Diversity combine but claims he was discriminated against when he never made it onto the track.


Michael Rodriguez, who is of Puerto Rican descent, filed the lawsuit in January 2010 claiming NASCAR and Access Communications, which operated the diversity program, violated his civil rights. He is asking for unspecified damages.


Read more from Sporting News


Big-name drivers, teams absent from Victory Lane
Take a wild guess what everyone at Hendrick Motorsports and everyone at Richard Childress Racing has in common with Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch.


None of them has won a Sprint Cup race in 2012. And all of them have a pretty strong history of winning.


Two top teams and a couple of top drivers going winless so far is a big surprise after eight of 36 races.


Read more from ESPN


Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin & Regan Smith to speak in Darlington
Race fans who want to get up close and personal with today’s NASCAR stars look no further than Darlington Raceway’s hospitality options for 2012.


NASCAR Sprint Cup series drivers Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and defending Bojangles’ Southern 500 champion Regan Smith are scheduled to participate in 15-minute question and answer sessions for race fans in the track’s Darlington Stripe Zone Hospitality Club on Saturday, May 12, prior to the running of the Bojangles’ Southern 500.


Read more from Darlington Raceway-PR


One Hot Fan Night at Charlotte with Kenseth and more
Charlotte Motor Speedway will wave the green flag on its mega month of May with One Hot Fan Night, a free event featuring appearances by NASCAR celebrities and a showing of historic 1992 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on the world’s largest HDTV.


On Tuesday, May 1, the speedway will open the infield at 5:30pm to fans for a drive-in movie style night of entertainment. Scheduled to appear are Matt Kenseth, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner, NASCAR Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton and NASCAR on Fox broadcasters Larry McReynolds and Mike Joy. The NASCAR personalities will participate in a fan forum at 7pm before the showing of the 1992 All-Star Race known as “One Hot Night” at approximately 7:30pm.


Read more from CMS-PR


Steve Wallace 2012 debut at Richmond in Nationwide
Steve Wallace, a perennial Nationwide Series top-ten points finisher as of late, will make his 2012 NNS debut at the helm of RWR’s No. 4 Loanmax Ford Mustang in the April 27th Virginia 529 College Savings 250 at Richmond International Raceway. Although his Rusty Wallace Racing team took a hiatus from Nationwide Series competition following 2011, Wallace looks to return to the Nationwide series in a limited 2012 schedule, beginning with the Richmond event.


Read more from RWR-PR


Dover & FedEx offering one-of-a-kind race day experience through online auction
Dover International Speedway and FedEx with the help of the NASCAR Foundation, is offering an amazing race day experience package via online auction that includes the opportunity to serve as Honorary Starter and wave the green flag to start the June 3, 2012 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.


In addition to serving as Honorary Starter, the winner of the auction will receive an autographed green flag signed by the starting lineup for the day’s race; a chance to be on stage for driver introductions; a guided tour of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage for two guests; access to the pre-race ceremony for two guests; two tickets to watch the race from a luxury suite; and two pit passes.


The package will be up for auction from Monday, April 23 through Monday, May 7. You can bid by clicking here. All proceeds from the auction will benefit Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.


Read more from Dover Speedway-PR


Monday, April 23, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1960 – Ned Jarrett outruns a pair of Petty’s to win the Greenville 200 at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. Jarrett snagged the lead in the 140th lap and led the rest of the way in the 200-lap main event on the half-mile dirt track. Lee Petty finished second, five seconds behind the winner with his son, Richard in third. The race was also noteworthy for an eighth-place effort by rookie David Pearson, making his first top-ten finish in NASCAR’s top series.


From NASCAR .com


Kansas Notes-n-Nuggets

  • Denny Hamlin earned his 19th Cup Series victory in his 231st start and joins Tony Stewart as the second repeat winner of 2012.
  • This is Denny Hamlin’s first victory at Kansas in his ninth start.
  • Denny Hamlin is the ninth different driver to win in 13 races as Kansas.
  • This is the 199th win for car No. 11, most of all numbers after breaking a tie with No. 43.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing earned its 95th Cup Series victory, second win of 2012 and second win at Kansas.
  • This is Toyota’s first Kansas victory and second  victory of 2012.
  • Martin Truex Jr, (second) has top-ten finishes in the past five races, a career high. This is Truex’s best Kansas finish and puts him a career-best second in points.
  • Martin Truex Jr, led 173 laps, the most of all drivers, but was passed by Hamlin for the final lead change with 31 laps to go. This is the ninth time in 13 Kansas races that the driver who led the most laps failed to win.
  • Jimmie Johnson (third) scored his seventh consecutive top-ten finish at Kansas and fifth top-ten of 2012.
  • Matt Kenseth (fourth) has top-five finishes in five races in 2012 including four of the past five.
  • Greg Biffle (fifth) scored his fifth top-five finish of 2012 and seventh consecutive top-ten at Kansas.
  • Kevin Harvick (sixth) has finished  11th or better in all but one of the eight races of 2012.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr (seventh) has top-ten finishes in the past four races. This is only the second time he has finished in the top-ten in four consecutive races since moving to Hendrick Motorsports.
  • Kasey Kahne (eighth) earned his second top-ten finish of 2012, both of which came in the past two races.
  • The average speed of the race was 144.126-mph – a new track record
  • The three cautions for 18 laps was the fewest for a Cup race at Kansas.

From Racing Resources and Services – Statistics Racing Recall/NASCAR .com


Mechanical woes run rampant in chilly Kansas
AJ Allmendinger first realized something was wrong when he heard the engine of his No. 22 car spitting and chattering.


“Not sure how to explain it,” the Penske Racing driver said, “other than you’re on the pole one minute riding around leading laps, and then the next thing you know, your car isn’t right.”


That was certainly the case Sunday for Allmendinger, the pole winner at Kansas Speedway who led 44 laps early. Then he ran out of gas, and later he suffered a problem with the linkage in his vehicle’s engine that took many laps to diagnose and repair. After all that Allmendinger found himself 10 laps down and still searching for his first victory in NASCAR’s premier series.


Read more from NASCAR .com


Can Jeff Gordon Dig Himself Out of Trouble?
During Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway, something dawned on me. Is there a real possibility of Jeff Gordon missing the Chase for just the second time in his career?


And can someone really come to this conclusion just eight races into the year?


Yes and yes.


Read more from SB Nation


Is caution a NASCAR virtue?
A colleague, Jeff Gluck, noted last week that caution flags are way down. He had the foresight to do so after a race at Texas Motor Speedway in which there were only two caution flags, slowing the race for a mere 10 laps.


It’s not “one in a row” anymore. It really never was. The race in Fontana, Calif, only had one caution flag. Bristol had five. In the minds of many, including yours truly, it wasn’t an issue until Texas and it wasn’t a trend until, well now.


Read more from Gaston Gazette


The Young And The Wreckless
Sprint Cup drivers have strung together hundreds of consecutive laps without a crash…Does anybody here wreck any more?


Sprint Cup drivers have raced two complete races on two fast 1.5-mile tracks over the past two weeks, and there have been no crashes. There were only two caution flags for 10 laps at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago and only three for 18 laps Sunday at Kansas.


Read more from SPEED


New Record, Win 199 for car #11
#11-Denny Hamlin’s win in the STP 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway was car #11’s 199th win in the Sprint Cup Series. This win passes the #43 for all-time wins in Sprint Cup Series history for a car number. Richard Petty, who drove the #43 for most of his 200 wins, actually won 192 races including the #43 and 8 in other car numbers (#41 & #42). The car number in third is the #3 with 97 wins.


Read more from Jayski’s


Landmark 200th win again eludes Hendrick
Hendrick Motorsports owns the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories at Kansas Speedway with four – including the outfit’s last win, a victory by Jimmie Johnson in the Hollywood Casino 400 last October.


That win got Hendrick Motorsports to the cusp of a milestone 200th Cup victory


But all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers came up short again Sunday in the STP 400, extending the team’s winless stretch to 14 races.


Read more from The Kansas City Star


Bowyer one of several to suffer fate
There’s not a venue where Clint Bowyer wants to win more than Kansas Speedway – his hometown track. But Bowyer’s hopes were dashed on Lap 52 when he spun out in Turn 4 while running in the top 15.


Bowyer limped through the next 48 laps and retired on Lap 138 when his engine failed.


Read more from FOX Sports


Repave of Kansas begins moments after the race ends
No sooner had Denny Hamlin pulled off the track and into Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway on Sunday did a tank and an earth mover from the National Guard rumble onto the asphalt.


It was the ceremonial start to a repaving and reconfiguring of the 1 1/2-mile oval, where large chunks of pavement had come loose over the weekend. One piece, about 5 inches long and a couple inches deep, wound up in the infield media center after a routine inspection Friday night.


Read more from Enquirer-Herald


Keep checking back for updated news throughout the week. Each day’s news stories will be posted here as a digest of NASCAR news for the entire week.


As always, Thanks for reading and participating.  

Fan at the Track – Richmond International Raceway 2012

John Nicholson is an avid NASCAR fan and with roots from Massachusetts and Maine, he currently resides in Virginia. His first race was the Daytona 500 in 1993.  Since then he’s been to many races and tracks, including Daytona, Loudon, New Hampshire, Dover, Pocono, Charlotte, Darlington, Richmond and Martinsville. John also loves the road course tracks and has attended races at Watkins Glen and hopes to one day attend a race at Sonoma. His favorite driver was Ricky Craven (now retired). Currently he is an avid follower of South Boston native Jeff Burton with Richard Childress Racing as his favorite team. John also enjoys kayaking, skiing and camping with a roaring fire. His other favorite sports teams include the Boston Red Sox and Celtics!


Fans can follow John on Twitter @31CupFan


This week’s Fan at the Track features John’s photos from Thursday, April 26th at Richmond International Raceway’s two races – The Blue Ox 100 – NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East Race. And Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown presented by FedEx charity race – a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division.  


Jeff Burton fans will enjoy the seeing their favorite driver in his own Late Model Caterpillar car. 

The Blue Ox 100 – NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race






Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown presented by FedEx charity race 
NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model division




Thanks for sharing your photos John!


  

Capital City 400 at Richmond Preview

Race Info

Date- Saturday Night April 28th, 2012

Location- Richmond, VA

Start Time- 7:43 PM EST

Distance-400 Laps, 300 Miles

Broadcast TV- FOX

Broadcast Radio- MRN

Weather Forecast

Night Weather- High- 62 F Low- 48 F

Chance of rain- 40%

Showers

Past Race Winners

2011- Kyle Busch

2010- Kyle Busch

2009- Kyle Busch

2008- Clint Bowyer

2007- Jimmie Johnson

Notables yet to win spring race at track

Denny Hamlin

Greg Biffle

Matt Kenseth

Kevin Harvick

Jeff Burton

Ryan Newman

Carl Edwards

News & Notes

Martin Truex Jr. looks for redemption after loss last weekend at Kansas

Kyle Busch looks to win fourth straight spring race at Richmond

Dale Earnhardt Jr. continues his attempts to get back to Victory Lane; last visit to victory lane was 137 races ago in Michigan. Last year Earnhardt Jr. finished 19th

Denny Hamlin looks for back-to-back wins

Greg Biffle looks to remain point’s leader

Hendrick continues quest for win No.200

Jason’s Fantasy Racing Picks

Group A- Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson

Group B- Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Group C- Aric Almirola, Dave Blaney

Event Schedule

Cup Practice 12:00 PM EST Friday on SPEED

Practice 2:30 PM EST Friday on SPEED

Qualifying 5:30 PM EST Friday on SPEED

Race- 7:00 PM EST Saturday on FOX

Next Race- Aarons 499 @Talladega Superspeedway Talladega, Alabama

Entry List via Nascar.com

HOMETOWN
SPONSOR
OWNER
1
Joplin, MO
Chevrolet
McDonald’s
Felix Sabates
2
Rochester Hills, MI
Miller Lite
Roger Penske
5
Enumclaw, WA
Chevrolet
Farmers Insurance
Linda Hendrick
9
Launceston, Tasmania
Ford
Stanley
Richard Petty
10
Zephyrhills, FL
Chevrolet
Tommy Baldwin Racing
Tommy Baldwin
11
Chesterfield, VA
Toyota
FedEx Freight
J D Gibbs
13
Bakersfield, CA
Ford
GEICO
Bob Germain
14
Rushville, IN
Chevrolet
Mobil 1 / Office Depot
Margaret Haas
15
Emporia, KS
Toyota
5-hour Energy
Rob Kauffman
16
Vancouver, WA
Ford
3M “Give Kids A Smile”
Jack Roush
17
Cambridge, WI
Ford
Roush Fenway Racing
John Henry
18
Las Vegas, NV
Toyota
M&M’s Ms. Brown
Joe Gibbs
20
Middletown, CT
Toyota
The Home Depot
Joe Gibbs
22
Los Gatos, CA
Shell / Pennzoil
Walter Czarnecki
23
Bahama, NC
Chevrolet
North Texas Pipe
Robert Richardson
24
Pittsboro, IN
Chevrolet
DuPont
Rick Hendrick
26
Riverside, CA
Ford
Morristown Driver’s Service
Jerry Freeze
27
Eau Claire, WI
Chevrolet
NIBCO / Menards
Richard Childress
29
Bakersfield, CA
Chevrolet
Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches
Richard Childress
30
South Bend, IN
Toyota
Inception Motorsports
Kevin Buckler
31
South Boston, VA
Chevrolet
BB&T
Richard Childress
32
Peachtree City, GA
Ford
FAS Lane Racing
Jack Roush
33
Asheville, NC
Chevrolet
Little Joes A
utos.com
Richard Childress
34
Unadilla, GA
Ford
Front Row Motorsports
Bob Jenkins
36
Hartford, OH
Chevrolet
SealWrap
Allan Heinke
38
Riverside, CA
Ford
Long John Silver’s
Brad Jenkins
39
South Bend, IN
Chevrolet
U.S. Army
Tony Stewart
42
Bogota, Colombia
Chevrolet
Target
Chip Ganassi
43
Tampa, FL
Ford
Smithfield “Helping Hungry Homes”
Richard Petty
47
Corpus Christi, TX
Toyota
Bush’s Baked Beans
Tad Geschickter
48
El Cajon, CA
Chevrolet
Lowe’s
Jeff Gordon
51
Las Vegas, NV
Chevrolet
Phoenix Construction Services
James Finch
52
TBA
No Home Town
Toyota
Crusader Staffing Associates
Kelly Owen
55
Batesville, AR
Toyota
Aaron’s Dream Machine
Bill Jenkins
56
Mayetta, NJ
Toyota
NAPA Brakes
Michael Waltrip
74
Grit, VA
Chevrolet
Turn One Racing
Vickie Compton
78
Cato, NY
Chevrolet
Furniture Row / Farm American
Barney Visser
83
Cedar Rapids, IA
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
Thomas Ueberall
87
Lakeland, FL
Toyota
AMFMEnergy.com / Pellet & Wood Stoves
Andrea Nemechek
88
Kannapolis, NC
Chevrolet
National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew
Rick Hendrick
93
Janesville, WI
Toyota
Burger King / Dr Pepper
Thomas Ueberall
98
Phoenix, AZ
Ford
Curb Records
Mike Curb
99
Columbia, MO
Ford
Roush Fenway Racing
Jack Roush
19
Milwaukie, OR
Toyota
Humphrey Smith Racing
Randy Humphrey
95
Manteca, CA
Ford
Tommy Williams Drywall
Bob Leavine
49
Phoenix, AZ
Toyota
America Israel Racing / JPO Absorbents
Jay Robinson

Strategic Changes Helped Richmond Prosper Through Seven Decades

NASCAR Press Release – Daytona Beach, FL

Staging NASCAR Sprint Cup races through portions of seven decades, Richmond International Raceway is proof that changing with the times equals prosperity.


Since its first series race in 1953, won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Lee Petty in a Dodge, the track has had five different configurations as well as a pair of racing surfaces – dirt and two iterations of asphalt. Auto racing at what’s known as Strawberry Hill in suburban Henrico County dates to October 1946 and Ted Horn’s championship car victory.


Other short tracks have come and gone – only Martinsville Speedway, which hosted its first race in 1949, is older – but Richmond continues to thrive. Saturday night’s Capital City 400 Presented by Virginia Is For Lovers (7:30pm EDT, live on FOX) marks the 112th time stock car racing’s premier series has taken the green flag.


Richmond, once a dusty, 0.5-mile fairgrounds operation seating no more than 10,000, is a short track in measurement only. Reconfigured as a 0.75-mile D-shaped layout in 1988, Richmond International Raceway’s grandstands can accommodate 94,063. It was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series facility to present both spring and fall races under the lights.


Twenty-two NASCAR Sprint Cup champions have won races at Richmond as well as 10 members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame – as driver, owner or crew chief, Richard Petty won 13 races. His Richmond record included seven consecutive victories – and nine wins in 10 starts – between 1970 and 1975.


“You can sit anywhere in the grandstands and see action,” said Petty. “If you miss it in one corner just look in another. There’s action up there.”


Before former owner Paul Sawyer, who bought the track with two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Joe Weatherly in 1955, settled on Richmond International Raceway, the facility was variously known as the Virginia State Fairgrounds, Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds, Rural Exposition Fairgrounds and Richmond Fairgrounds.

Three Generations of Petty racing family
 – Lee – Richard – Kyle –
Photo – Don Hunter

Sawyer might well have named it Petty International Raceway.


An unprecedented three generations of Pettys’ – Lee, Richard and Kyle – won a combined 16 times in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition in Richmond.


“Richmond always was pretty good to the Petty crowd,” said Petty, who swept both dirt races in 1967, the season before the track was paved. He won 11 times on the asphalt surface. “I liked the dirt. You were sideways all the time. It was just a lot of fun.”


Lee Petty’s two victories came in 1953 and 1960. Kyle Petty, driving for NASCAR Hall of Famer Glen Wood, won in 1986. Video highlights of the race remain popular, showing Petty going from third place to victory when leaders wrecked in Turn 4 of the final lap battling for the win.


That race was one of the last in which the track was ringed by steel guardrails, which frequently were uprooted by the nearly two-ton stock cars.


Linwood Burrow, the track’s director of safety operations, drew his first paycheck from Sawyer in 1969 at the age of 16. Guardrail repair was among Burrow’s duties.


“Every race the drivers would tear down the guardrail and we’d have to fix it,” said Burrow. “Whether it was cleaning up the grandstand or cutting the grass, I was right there.”


Sawyer sold Richmond International Raceway to International Speedway Corp. on Dec. 1, 1999.


Winning races has come in bunches over the years: Petty for sure, along with fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers David Pearson, Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip – a combined 19 wins – and Hall nominee Rusty Wallace, six wins. NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, a five-time Richmond winner, swept both races in 1987. Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson did likewise in 2007 adding a third victory in the fall of 2008.

Lately, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyotas have been the dominant cars winning all but one Richmond race – five in all – dating to 2009. Kyle Busch has won three consecutive spring races. His teammate Denny Hamlin, added two fall victories before Kevin Harvick snapped JGR’s streak last September.


Busch said he and his teammate have worked together to maximize their performances at Richmond and the cooperation shows. Hamlin, a two-time winner in 2012, has a series-best Driver Rating of 117.6, two Coors Light Poles and an average finish of 7.6. The Virginian also will try to give the No. 11 its 200th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory – 10 of which have come at Richmond with Hamlin, Waltrip, NASCAR Hall of Famers Cale Yarlborough and Ned Jarrett and Bill Elliott.


Busch, looking to end an uncharacteristic 20-race winless drought, owns Richmond’s second-best Driver Rating (114.8) and in 14 races has never finished off the lead lap.


“We really work closely together and Denny and I have had a good relationship where we’ve been able to talk a lot about this place and where we can really help each other. Different lines, how our cars are driving and obviously being on the same team helps all of that,” said Busch. “We run a lot of the same stuff there and it’s a place that we always look forward to coming to. We kind of know the tricks of the trade, if you’d say, at what it takes to be good at Richmond.”


RichmondInternationalRaceway.com