News and Views – Volume 19 March 26 – April 1, 2012

News & Views – Volume 19
For the week of March 26 – April 1, 2012

“I feel like I’m just as competitive now at 40, as I’ve ever been.”

– Tony Stewart

Five weeks into the 2012 season, NASCAR’s 2011 Sprint Cup champion, Tony Stewart posts his second win of the season at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. 

Taking this point a step further, since Chicagoland Speedway – September 2011, Stewart has won seven of the last 15 Sprint Cup races. Proving Tony is indeed “just as competitive now at 40,” as he’s ever been. 

Updating this paragraph, after NASCAR reporter Nate Ryan (@nateryan on twitter) posted a tweet with this information: “Jeff Gordon won a phenomenal 7 of NINE races in 1998. Jimmie Johnson won 7 of 14 in 2009-10. Kyle Busch has won 7 of 14 in 2008. #nascar.”

Let’s begin with news for this week…

Sunday, April 1, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1973 – David Pearson records a runaway win, the 68th of his career, in the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta International Raceway. Pearson, who started ninth, leads 155 of 328 laps and beats Bobby Isaac to the finish by two laps. Third-place Benny Parsons finishes five laps off Pearson’s pace.

From NASCAR .com

2012 NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Race Results
No April foolin,’ Ryan Newman gives Stewart-Haas their 3rd victory of the NSCS season, as he wins the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Ryan Newman celebrates in
Victory Lane at Martinsville
Photo – Jerry Markland/Getty Images

It was taking shape that Hendrick Motorsports was going to receive their 200th series victory with either Jeff Gordon (who led the most laps – 328 of 505, that were run) or Jimmie Johnson who were first and second respectively at the first attempt at a green-white-checkered (flags) finish. But with the two on older tires and the rest of the lap leaders on fresher tires, the restart resulted in the two getting together with Clint Bowyer going into turn one to bring out the caution, an end the two Hendrick teammates chances at victory.

The second attempt to finish the race was more productive and without incident, as Ryan Newman was able to hold off AJ Allmendinger, Dale Earnhardt Jr (who moves into second in the point standings with 6-points behind leader (Greg Biffle) Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr, finishing second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.

This was Newman’s first series win of the 2012 season, his sixteenth series career win and his first series win at the “paper-clip” shaped Martinsville Speedway. (Note: with Newman’s win – or top-ten – people dining at Outback Steakhouse on the following Monday will get a free Bloomin’ Onion).

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were Denny Hamlin finishing in sixth, Tony Stewart seventh, Aric Almirola eighth, Brad Keselowski ninth and Clint Bowyer finishing in the tenth position. 

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Bringing self-driving cars to NASCAR
Well, our autonomous cars have now been test-driven (or rather, Test-ridden) for more than 200,000 miles without a single machine-caused mishap. And today we’re moving the project one great leap forward with Google Racing, a groundbreaking partnership with NASCAR to help self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing. We think the most important thing computers can do in the next decade is to drive cars – and that the most important thing Google Racing can do in the next decade is drive them, if possible more quickly than anyone else. Or anything else. 

Read more from Google & Self-Driving Car Project & This is a must read

2012 Martinsville Speedway Race Day Weather Forecast: Mostly Sunny
No Joke about it, weather is not a concern for NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. Winds will be generally light, plenty of sunshine and very comfortable temperatures.

High Pressure builds in for the day and gives us mostly sunny skies. Cooler than it was on Saturday but with out the threat of scattered rain or isolated storms.

From WX-Man

NASCAR Great Junior Johnson Hospitalized in Durham
WFMY News 2 has confirmed that NASCAR legend Junior Johnson is being treated at Duke University Medical Center. According to a family friend, Johnson is doing well and his illness is non-life threatening. WFMY News 2 spoke with the nurse at 9:30pm Saturday night dealing with his condition: “He is fine.”

Johnson is nicknamed “The Last American Hero.” He won 50 NASCAR races in his career as a driver. Johnson retired in 1966 before becoming a NASCAR racing team owner in the 1970’s and 80’s. 

From WFMY News 2

Teams get extra time to adjust to new track surfaces
NASCAR has added two days to the Pocono Raceway weekend and one to the Michigan race weekend in June so all teams get a chance to tackle the repaved tracks. Both tracks have new surfaces since last year and Goodyear will conduct tire tests in the next month.

NASCAR will have open test days the Wednesday and Thursday prior to the June 8-10 weekend at Pocono. It will have an open test day the Thursday prior to the June 15-17 weekend at Michigan, according to NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp.

While that just might mean an extra few days on the road for most drivers and teams, it does throw a wrench into plans for the Feed The Children Prelude to the Dream at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway. The charity race is scheduled for June 6, the same as the first day of the Pocono open test.  Eldora officials are still hopeful they could run on that date, a Stewart spokesman said.

Read more from Sporting News

VDOT advises NASCAR fans to follow signs to reduce Martinsville race congestion
The Virginia Department of Transportation encourages race fans driving to and from Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 race on April 1 to follow recommended traffic patterns as posted on signs and message boards.

VDOT will place many signs and changeable message boards throughout the region to assist travelers. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic will be heavy. Traffic is being routed to the speedway in certain patterns to minimize overall congestion as much as possible.

Read more from Go Dan River

Saturday, March 31, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1985 – NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans opens the Modified season with a rain-shortened triumph in the Icebreaker at Thompson (CT) Speedway. Evans led 23 of 47 laps before rain halted the event 28 laps short of the scheduled distance. Pole-starter Jeff Fuller took second with Brian Ross third.

From NASCAR .com

Tony Stewart among the leaders in early television exposure
Defending Sprint Cup series champ Tony Stewart has garnered most television exposure through the first five races of the 2012 season.

According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates Stewart leads in securing on-screen time for his sponsors while Carl Edwards collected most verbal mentions for his supporting brands.

Jamie McMurray bested all drivers with $18.3 million of exposure value. McMurray’s appearance on the Fox set during the Sunday rain-delay portion of last month’s Daytona 500 led to quality exposure for several of his brands during some of the most valuable broadcast time of the season.

Read more from Eye On NASCAR

2012 NCWTS Kroger 250 Race Results
The 2012 NCWTS Kroger 250 pole-sitter, Kevin Harvick dominated the “paper-clip” shaped Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon, as he led 248 laps of the 250 that were run and held off RCR teammate, Ty Dillon (by 0.953 seconds) for the victory.

This was Harvick’s first series win of the 2012 season, his fourteenth series career win and his third series win at Martinsville Speedway.

Following the Richard Childress Racing teammates to the drop of the checkered flag were James Buescher finishing in third, Justin Lofton fourth and Timothy Peters finishing in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were Nelson Piquet Jr. coming in sixth-place, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ross Chastain finishing seventh, Jason Leffler eighth, rookie contender John King (remains the series points leader by one-point over both Timothy Peters and Justin Loftin) ninth and Jason White finishing the tenth position.

Next Up – The teams will have next weekend off and then return to action for the inaugural Good Sam Roadside Assistance Carolina 200 at Rockingham Raceway on Sunday, April 15th, with a green flag drop scheduled around 1:20pm ET.

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Starting Lineup
Kasey Kahne, with a qualifying lap speed of 97.128mph, captured the NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Coors Light Pole Award at Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon.

This was Kahne’s 2nd series pole of the 2012 season – the first repeat pole winner of the season – his 24th series career pole and his 1st series pole at Martinsville Speedway.

Sharing the front row with Kahne and sitting on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 97.048mph, will be Kevin Harvick, and they will be followed by Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer with identical speed (97.003) starting third and fourth respectively, and Ryan Newman (96.988) will start fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Brian Vickers (96.765) starting from sixth, Brad Keselowski (96.750) seventh, Kyle Busch (96.746) eighth, Jeff Gordon (96.731) ninth and Joey Logano (96.706) will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #37 driven by Tony Raines (qualifying time was disallowed) #52 driven by Scott Speed and the #19 driven by Mike Bliss.

The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 is scheduled to get underway approximately around 1:20pm ET Sunday, April 1st, and television coverage will be provided by FOX beginning with their pre-race show at 12:30pm ET.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Pre-Race Q&A with Driver Jeff Burton
Jeff Burton, No. 31 BB&T Chevrolet, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed his outlook for tomorrow’s race, his nephew Jeb Burton’s NASCAR Camping World Truck series debut and other topics.

Jeff, Talk about your season so far and outlook heading into tomorrow’s race
“We have certainly not had the start we wanted to have. I mean we went to Daytona and that went well, and then we went to Phoenix and that went well right up until the time we blew an engine but we ran really well at Phoenix…we ran well at Bristol. The two 1.5-mile tracks didn’t go good for us which was surprising based on our testing this off season and we really felt well about what we were doing. We did end up 14th at Vegas which obviously isn’t good, but isn’t horrible. Then last week we ran about 17th or 18th and that is just not good enough so we are having to regroup a little bit on the 1.5-mile and 2 mile program which that is disappointing because it’s so important to be good on those race tracks. But our short track program has been good and we have been fast and we feel like we will be fast again tomorrow.”

Jeff tell us your thoughts about watching your nephew Jeb Burton race at your hometrack and see his debut
“Well, it’s extra rewarding for me this weekend because I have never seen Jeb race as silly as that sounds. We are gone every weekend, and of course they race on the weekend. My schedule has never allowed me to see him race so that has been something that has been disappointing for me but I haven’t found a way around it. So I have watched videos, but have never watched him in person. To be able to watch him today means a lot to me. You know, he is a young man who is a very respectful young man. He wants to make it in this sport and he is working hard to make it in this sport and hopefully he can have a good, solid day. It’s difficult as a young driver to try not to conquer Rome in one day but I think he will do really well. He is fast and he looks very comfortable on the track and I have listened to him a lot this weekend and he knows what he is talking about, he knows what he wants and I am looking forward to seeing it. It’s fun watching my son and I race together, and I’m watching Ward and Jeb race together and there are a lot of similarities and I get to sit on the sidelines and laugh about this one. It’s fun to watch those two together and do the normal father/son thing about disagreeing and working that out so that has been fun to watch but it’s cool weekend for our family. We have got everybody coming up to watch Jeb and we are all going to have a chance to sit together and for me that is…I never get a chance to do those things. We miss a lot of things as it relates to family because of racing so to be able to come together while we are racing – will be a special weekend for us.”

Are there some tracks like Martinsville where the driver has more ability to change how a car is working?
“As many times…we have had this conversation a lot. Wherever a driver is good at that is what he thinks is a driver’s race track. He thinks that is where drivers matter. The fact of the matter is that drivers matter everywhere. And the cars matter everywhere. You can’t take apart the car and the driver and say ‘it’s this or it’s that.’ The reason why is to get the car to do what it needs to do, the driver has to be part of that. The way he drives the car, how he drives the car, and how he communicates with the team. All those things go into making a good race car, and all those things go into making a good set up. So that communication with the team along with the driver is vital. You really can’t separate it. Without a doubt, the way the car drives has a huge impact on the ability for the driver to do the things he needs to do. But it’s easier to get that car to do what it needs to do for some drivers than it is for others. So it’s hard to give a percentage, and it’s always been hard to give a percentage, and it always will be. But the reality of it is that it’s much easier at Daytona and Talladega to say that was all car. Anytime you go to a racetrack where the cars are all spread out, which we never do, where the cars are all spread out and you are running wide open – it’s real easy to say, ‘well that was all car.’ But we never do that, so anytime you have to lift off the gas, go around the corner and get on the brake, and get back on the gas…the driver is heavily involved. The driver has a lot to do with the success he is having and the amount of failure he is having, his relationship with the team, and his relationship with the car goes into all that.”

What makes Kevin Harvick good at this track?
“Well, first of all I think Kevin’s personality fits racing. You know what I mean? He is aggressive and knows when to turn it on and when not to turn it on and this is the kind of race track where you have to know when to be patient and have to know when to mash the gas and go hard. I think this race track is a lot of what Kevin is all about and his personality. He is good at throttle control and he is really good at braking. You know, Kevin is one of our best race car drivers in the series. For a while he has struggled on the 1.5-mile and 2-mile tracks, but now he is one of the best at that too. Kevin is one of the most well-rounded drivers on the circuit period. This track in particular, I think it just suits his style. It’s about being aggressive and you have to be aggressive at the right time and patient at the other time, and I just think that works for him.”

What is your impression on Tony Stewart’s recent run and where do you see it ranking in the great runs we have seen in recent years?
“The deal about Stewart is that you know he is capable. You know, he can win races at any time and he is one of those drivers that has a rare talent to be able to just get it done at any time. They were not running well…they were running well, but not Tony Stewart standards. Then from the outside looking in it looked like they flipped the switch, and then they went from a mediocre/upper-echelon team to a great team. And they have carried that along with crew chief change….they have carried that along and that is really impressive that you can step it up at the right time when all the pressure is on, and when it’s do-or-die; and they stepped it up and won that championship and beat a really, really good 99 team and then not lose anything over the winter. To continue that has been really impressive with a crew chief change. So it’s hard to rank it, but it’s extremely impressive.”

Can you tell a difference in Kevin Harvick now that he doesn’t have the Truck and Nationwide teams?
“I think he is way more relaxed. I think to make a Truck or Nationwide team work, you can’t just do a single car team. You have to do it as a big team, a big entity and as soon as you make it big a lot of the pleasure of owning a team goes away. And then you get so much more responsibility but I thought Kevin handled it as well as it could be handled. I really thought it would be a distraction to him but he went through all that and handled it very well. There is no question that you can tell he is way more relaxed. You know, I will see him just sitting down and just talking and two years ago you wouldn’t see him doing that. He didn’t really have very much time and he would be to the point but now he will have a more more in-depth conversation about things and you started to see that change last year. I think it’s going to help him and he is going to be more able to focus now on one thing. And I think you are always better if you can focus on one thing.”

“He seems to be in a really good place personally and professionally. He seems very much at peace and i think an improved Kevin Harvick will be difficult to deal with. He is going to be very difficult to beat in this championship because he is in a good place, feels good about what we are doing at RCR; and don’t get me wrong, he is not complacent. His personality has not changed and he wants it, and wants it now. And he is not willing to wait. None of that has changed but he is able to focus just on the Cup thing. He is doing Nationwide and Truck too, but when that race is over, it’s over. He goes home, takes a shower and he is done with it. Where before he would go home and take a shower and the day just started and that is a huge difference.”

You talked about your short track program doing well, could you talk about the next short track – Richmond?
“Richmond is one of my favorite race tracks, it’s a really cool track. It’s a track where we have not run as well at recently. We have run well, but not good enough. Which I can say that about a lot of places, but I feel like I ought to go there and should have a chance to win. It’s one of my best race tracks so we have to put a lot of emphasis on because I am better at some tracks than I am others. And the ones I am good at, we have to make sure we go execute on and i feel like that is a track we need to go execute on for sure.”

What do you like about some short tracks that you don’t about others?
“Well, to be honest all the short tracks to me are fun and I wish we had more short tracks and I think our sport would be a little more cools if we had more short tracks. All race tracks have different personalities but short track racing is so much more in your face when you are having a good day, having a great day, having a bad day, having a horrible day, because that is just how short track racing is. And I like that about our sport. I rewards those who are running well, and punishes those who are not running well. And to me, you can’t hide on a short track. At Michigan when you are having a bad day, you can just hide and stay out of trouble and hope other people have problems. It’s very, very hard to do that here and that is what I like about it. It’s bumper-to-bumper all the time and its full pressure from the time they drop the green to the time they drop the checkered.”

What are your thoughts and perspective on Rockingham where the Trucks are going to run in a couple weeks?
“Well they will leave Rockingham loving it. It’s one of the coolest race tracks we ever ran on. It was hard and it was really, really tough. You would burn the tires off the thing and it would get really hard to drive and we tend to think about all the bad stuff about it because we don’t do it anymore but it was one of the hardest tracks we would go to. You would take off and have new tires on and you would feel like Richard Petty and few laps later you would feel like you had never been on a race track before in your life and you would change lines and you would be on top of the track, you would be on the bottom and it was a lot of fun when things were going well. When things weren’t going well, it was miserable. It was one of those race tracks that I got a chance to race on when growing up and moving into the larger divisions and it’s really cool to see the Truck Series going back there. I actually contemplated trying to run the race because it would work in the schedule but it really wasn’t in my best interest to do that. But there will be a lot more fans once they leave there.”

You have always been the go to guy in the garage and did you experience that change any at all last year when you guys were struggling? And Mark Martin always talks about that when he wins a race he is worried that it might be the last one and do you have those thoughts?
“Well, last year sucked. There is no way around it. We ran awful and we were just pathetic. And I don’t care who you are, there is no way you can have a year like that and come out of it beaming with confidence and feeling like we know what we are doing. And if you are, you are just arrogant as hell.”

“We set out to change a lot of stuff and we have seen some improvement in some areas and in others we haven’t. I was lucky enough to race with Mark a long time and learned a lot from Mark a long time before I started racing with him and he is right. You never know when you are going to win another race. I know people laugh when he says that, but it’s true. The day I don’t think I can be competitive, I promise you, I will leave. I have never gotten into a race car to get a check. I got every dollar I could get while I was driving it but I didn’t want to get in it to get the dollar, I got in it because I wanted to get the trophy. And that is the God’s-honest truth.”

“I have been through this before in my career where I wasn’t successful but we got back to it, and I believe we will get back to it. It will be difficult, there are some things I have got to change and there are some things that have to change around me. I have to change and some things around me have to change and we have worked hard to do both of those things. We will get back and I believe in my heart we will get back. We saw it some at the end of the year last year and we have seen it this year some. I thought we had a legitimate shot there for a while to win Bristol, but it got away from us. We have had a few shots and at this point last year we weren’t even close to seeing it. We have seen some improvements but not at the level we need to.”

From Team Chevy-PR

Goody’s Headache Powder Names Life-Time Spokesperson Richard Petty as Grand Marshal
Life-time Goody’s Headache Powder spokesman Richard Petty will serve as the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 grand marshal on Sunday.

Goody’s asked Petty to fill in for award-winning actor Gary Sinise, who was involved in an automotive accident Friday and will not be able to attend Sunday’s premier event.

Tickets to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway are on sale. For more information, call 877-722-3849 or visit 

From ASPIRE Communications for Goody’s Headache Powder-PR

SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Keys for Success – Goody’s Fast Relief 500
Each race weekend, selected SRT Motorsports Engineers, Penske Racing engineers and crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering, provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race.

New Tire Compound: “One big change this year is the new tire. You can see that it’s made a difference in speed. A softer tire is faster for a while, but I think we’re going to see tires back in play at Martinsville which is something we haven’t seen for a while. That will change the complexion of the race.”

Pit Strategy: “I’ve seen plenty cases here of over-pitting, guys pitting too often. I think the smart crew chiefs are going to manage the pit stops, the frequency and the placement of the pit stops to get the most out of the tires that they’ve got. There’s going to be adjustments from last year and I don’t think fuel economy is going to be an issue. I think you’re going to have to get tires before you get gas.”

Pit Road: “I think they’ve done a good job here. It’s spread out around the track and you have to appreciate that as a configuration. Bristol has it own quirks which you have to work to. Dover is terribly narrow and tight with short pit boxes, so I think there are a lot of tracks that have equally challenging pit roads.”

Clean Racetrack: “If we get the truck race in and it looks like we will, that will be important for the Sprint Cup race. The track seemed to take rubber well enough yesterday that I think we’ll be back in good shape by race time on Sunday.

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-PR

2012 NCWTS Kroger 250 Starting Lineup
After being delayed for little over an hour due to track drying from morning showers, the NCWTS Kroger 250 qualifying session at Martinsville Speedway finally got underway, and it was Kevin Harvick with a qualifying lap speed of 95.665mph, capturing the Keystone Light Pole Award.

Harvick, the 2010 Kroger 250 winner, received his first series pole of the 2012 season, his third series career pole and his first series pole at the “paper-clip” shaped Martinsville Speedway.

Starting second and on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 95.588mph, will be Ty Dillon, followed by Timothy Peters (95.458) who will start third, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cale Gale (95.420) starting fourth and Ron Hornaday Jr. (94.979) will start from fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Justin Lofton (94.951) starting from sixth, Sunoco Rookie contender, Jeb Burton (94.870) seventh, Johnny Sauter (94.794) eighth, James Buescher (94.761) ninth and Jeff Agnew (94.751) will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #38 driven by BJ McCleod #65 driven by Tyler Tanner; #57 by Norm Benning; #75 driven by Caleb Holman; #50 driven by Natalie Sather; #84 driven by Chris Fontaine and the #10 driven by Chris Lafferty.

The drop of the green flag for this afternoon’s Kroger 250 is scheduled to drop at 1:30pm ET – but start may be delayed due to NSCS qualifying – and SPEED will begin their pre-race television coverage at 1:00pm ET.

Starting Lineup

Up and downs for Hendrick at Martinsville
For Starters
7 – The average starting position for the 126 race winners in Cup and 26 race winners in Truck is seventh in both series. Eighteen Cup races have been won by the pole winner, most recently by Denny Hamlin in October 2010, and 19 from the first starting position. Four Truck races have been won by the pole winner, most recently by Johnny Sauter in April 2011, and five from the first starting position.

Camping World Truck Series
Breakout Number
7 – Martinsville has produced seven first-time winners, more than any other track: Bobby Hamilton (April 2000), Scott Riggs (April 2001), Jamie McMurray (October 2004), Bobby Labonte (April 2005), Ricky Craven (October 2005), Timothy Peters (October 2009) and Denny Hamlin (October 2011). Only Riggs, Craven and Peters were full-time at the time of their victories.

Track Tidbits
2 – The driver leading with 10 laps to go has gone on to win all but two races at Martinsville: the 1995 inaugural (Joe Ruttman passed Geoffrey Bodine with two laps to go) and last year’s spring race (Johnny Sauter passed Kyle Busch with two laps to go). Rutmann led only those two laps, the fewest of any Martinsville winner.

7 – There have been seven green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville; six have come in the spring race but the most recent in the fall (2010). Two of the three races to end under caution also took place in the spring, in back-to-back years (2008 and ’09).

16 – The winner at Martinsville has led only 16 times, including six of the past nine races.

Recent Trends
0 – Todd Bodine has 21 career Truck Series wins, but none on a short track. He is the only driver with 10 or more wins that has not won on a short track. In 47 short-track starts, he has finished second six times, including twice at Martinsville (most recently in October 2009).

4 – Ron Hornaday has finished in the top four in the past six races at Martinsville and has led in the past eight races there. He has made 19 starts, more than any other track, and his 10 top-fives and 13 top-tens are tied with Phoenix for personal bests. However, only one of Hornaday’s series-best 22 short-track wins has come at Martinsville, in October 2010.

6 – Six drivers scored top-ten finishes in both races last year at Martinsville: Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, Kevin Harvick, Ron Hornaday, Timothy Peters and Johnny Sauter. Hornaday and Sauter (the only 2011 winners of the six) each posted top-fives in both races. 

Sprint Cup Series
Breakout Number
4 – A Hendrick driver has been passed for the final lead change in four of the past five races at Martinsville. Last year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was passed with four laps to go in April; Jimmie Johnson was passed with three left in October. In March 2010, Jeff Gordon was passed with two to go. In October 2009, Denny Hamlin passed Johnson with 139 laps remaining and led the rest of the way.

Track Tidbits
2 – Points leader Greg Biffle has only two top-ten finishes in 18 starts at Martinsville, with a best of seventh in October 2007. His average finish of 22.44 is his lowest among all oval tracks and overall ranks second-worst to Watkins Glen (25.78). Biffle has 16 Cup wins but none on a short-track. He has only four top-tens in the past 24 races on short tracks, all at Bristol.

3 – The leader of the most laps has failed to win the past three races at Martinsville, and seven of the past ten. Kyle Busch led the most laps in both 2011 races (151 and 126); the two winners led a total of 20 laps (six by Kevin Harvick in April and 14 by Tony Stewart in October).

9.5 – Dale Earnhardt Jr’s average finish at Martinsville since joining Hendrick Motorsports is 9.5, his second-best track based behind Las Vegas (9.2). He has finished second six times since his last win (134 races ago) and two of those runner-ups came at Martinsville. Earnhardt is one of three drivers to finish in the top-ten in both races at Martinsville last season (Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick).
Furthermore, crew chief Steve Letarte’s first of 10 Cup wins came at Martinsville in October 2005 with Gordon.

Recent Trends
0 – Kyle Busch has eight short-track wins, including seven in the past 19 races, but has never won at Martinsville. He has seven top-ten finishes in 14 Martinsville starts but finished 18th or worse in the other seven races. Busch has finished outside the top-20 six times in the past 25 short-track races; five of the six have been in the past seven at Martinsville. Busch’s second-place finish last week at (Fontana) was his first top-five finish of 2012 and only his second finish better than 17th in his past nine starts.

23 – Roush Fenway Racing has just 23 top-ten finishes out of 87 starts at Martinsville since its last win, in October 2002. Six of those top-ten’s came from drivers who are no longer with Roush. Its current stable of drivers is winless at Martinsville. Roush has 69 wins, encompassing 18 different tracks, since its last win at Martinsville.

37 – Jeff Gordon has the most short-track wins among active drivers with 15 but none of the past 37 short-track races, dating to October 2005 at Martinsville. Martinsville is Jeff Gordon’s best track: He has seven wins (tied with Darlington for most among all tracks), 25 top-fives, 31 top-tens, 3,094 laps led and an average finish of 6.89, all tops among the 25 tracks at which he has competed. Gordon has finished fifth or better in 13 of the past 14 races at Martinsville. Gordon is the only driver to lead in all five races this season; however, he is 25th in points, the lowest he has ever been at this point in the season.

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

NASCAR: Five-time series champ Johnson has just one victory in pasts 39 starts
Jimmie Johnson has gone from dominating NASCAR to watching others do it. Johnson won the last of his unprecedented five consecutive Sprint Cup championships in 2010. But he hasn’t won in his last 11 races and has visited victory lane just once in his last 39 starts. That from a guy who has won once for every 6.7 career starts.

Johnson even went winless last year at Martinsville Speedway, where he won six times in ten races from 2004-2009. But the drought isn’t really what bothers him.

Read more from Richmond Times-Dispatch 

2012 Martinsville Speedway Weather Forecast: Small Threat of Rain Saturday
Mother Nature is expected to play nice this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. The only weather concern we have is for possible scattered rain showers and isolated storms Saturday. Weather WILL NOT be a factor for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race.

Weak storm system will push through the Ohio Valley dragging a cold front across western Virginia on Saturday. This could result in a few scattered showers or isolated storms during the morning and possibly the afternoon. The threat is low but because there is no way to know where a storm or shower may pop up, it could only take one to delay or threaten any of the days activities.

Sunday’s Sprint Cup race is much better. High pressure builds in behind the cold front giving way to mostly sunny skies, light winds and high temperatures in the low 70’s.

From WX-Man

Friday, March 30, 2012
NASCAR Dodges running new R6P8 engines
There will be new power in the Penske Dodges when they hit the track for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway Sunday. Both the No. 2 Miller Lite Charger and the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Charger will be running with SRT Motorsports newly updated R6P8 racing engine.

Read more from AllPar

Team Owner Joe Falk Set for NASCAR Return
Hermie Sadler will race in Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway, driving a No. 33 Chevrolet fielded – officially – by Richard Childress Racing. The Virginia native has confirmed, however, that the No. 33 team will soon belong to former Sprint Cup series owner Joe Falk, who will make his return to the sport in two weeks at Texas Motor Speedway.

Read more from Motorsports-Soapbox

A 20/20 Look at NASCAR Team Owner Joe Denette Tonight
Mega Millions Lottery winner and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) owner Joe Denette, will be featured on tonight’s 20/20 with Barbara Walters. The feature, “Lottery Happiness” will air at 10:00pm on ABC

Denette and his wife, Meagan sat down with Walters on Thursday in New York to discuss life after winning $75.6 million dollars in the May 2009, Mega Millions lottery. With the current Mega Millions jackpot at an all-time high, $540 million dollars, the big question to ask is, ‘what would you do if you won the lottery?’ NASCAR enthusiast, Joe Denette, bought a NCWTS team.

Tune in tonight to find out more about Joe Denette’s “Mega” life in the fast lane.

From Joe Denette Motorsports-PR

ESPN2’s ‘NASCAR Now’ features Tech Eco-car Sunday
The Louisiana Tech’s record-setting Eco-car “Roadster” will be featured nationally on ESPN2’s “NASCAR Now” program at 8am ET Sunday in a segment hosted by NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger.

Read more from The News Star

Automobile Crash Forces Postponement of Lt. Dan Band Concert
Saturday night’s Lt. Dan Band Concert at Martinsville High School has been postponed after Gary Sinise was involved as a passenger in an automobile accident earlier today.

Sinise was not seriously injured, but will be unable to perform at Saturday night’s concert, a fundraiser for triple-amputee Cpl. JB Kerns. The award-winning actor, who starred as Lt. Dan in the movie Forrest Gump, founded and plays in the Lt. Dan Band. He was also scheduled to be the Grand Marshal at Sunday’s Speedway event, which he will also be unable to attend.

John Hodge, spokesman for the Steven Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation which is promoting the event, said the concert will be rescheduled in Martinsville, and that an announcement on the date is forthcoming.

“We are asking ticket holders to wait for the new date to be announced and if they can’t make that show, we will refund their money,” said Hodges.

From Martinsville Speedway-PR

2012 NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 Practice Session Speeds
Jeff Gordon, with a lap speed of 97.048mph, was the quickest during the first NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 practice session at Martinsville Speedway.

Second quickest was Kyle Busch with a lap speed of 96.959mph, and was followed by Denny Hamlin (96.835mph) who was third quickest, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (96.686) fourth and Ryan Newman (96.376) was the fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during practice were Martin Truex, Jr. (96.362) who was sixth quickest, Tony Stewart (96.337) seventh, Kasey Kahne (96.332) eighth, Clint Bowyer (96.249) ninth and Brian Vickers (96.220) posting the tenth quickest laps speed.

The teams will have their “Happy Hour” (final) practice session this afternoon from 3:30 – 5pm ET.

Speeds Practice 1
Qualifying Order

Final Practice Session Speeds
Once again, it was Jeff Gordon, with a lap speed of 97.028mph, on top of the speed charts at the end of the final NSCS Goody’s Fast Relief 500 practice session at Martinsville Speedway.

Kurt Busch, with a lap speed of 95.937mph, was second fastest on the speed charts, followed by Brad Keselowski (95.728) who was third fastest, Ryan Newman (95.550) fourth and David Stremme (95.463) was the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during “Happy Hour” were Landon Cassill (95.424) who was sixth fastest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender (Josh Wise (95.405) seventh fastest, Juan Pablo Montoya (95.184) eighth, Scott Riggs (95.161) ninth and Aric Almirola (95.156) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The drivers will return to the track late Saturday morning at 11:45am ET for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – which is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET and FOX will begin their pre-race television coverage at 12:30pm ET.

Speeds Practice 2

Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Kroger 250 Practice Session Speeds
After 5-weeks of being off the race track since Daytona, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams returned to action Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway for their first Kroger 250 practice session. And, with a lap speed of 94.742mph, it was Kevin Harvick posting the fastest lap during the practice session.

Second fastest with a lap speed of 94.359mph, was Jason Leffler, followed by Todd Bodine (94.322mph) who was third fastest, Nelson Piquet, Jr. (94.172) fourth and Joey Coulter (94.143) was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during practice were Ron Hornaday Jr. (94.087) who was sixth fastest, Jeb Burton (94.022) seventh, Justin Lofton (93.999) eighth, Jeff Agnew (93.989) ninth and Timothy Peters (93.929) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track later this afternoon for their 2:10 – 3:20pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” (final) practice session.

Speeds Practice 1

Final Practice Session Speeds
It was Nelson Piquet Jr., with a lap speed of 95.022mph, showing the fastest way around Martinsville Speedway during the final NCWTS Kroger 250 practice session.

Second fastest was Parker Kligerman with a lap speed of 94.994mph, followed by Miguel Paludo (94.984) who was third fastest, Johnny Sauter (94.960) fourth and Justin Lofton (94.727) was the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during “Happy Hour” were Todd Bodine (94.666) who was sixth fastest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cale Gale (94.656) seventh, Joey Coulter (94.623) eighth, Matt Crafton (94.562) ninth and Kevin Harvick (94.543) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track Saturday morning at 10:05am EST to qualify for the Kroger 250 which is set to get underway around 1:50pm ET that afternoon, and SPEED will provide television coverage beginning at 1:00 pm ET. 

Speeds Practice 2
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

ESPN Shelves NASCAR Driver Blake Koch’s Voter Registration Ad for Religious Overtones
Returning for his second full season in the NASCAR Nationwide series with a new team and a new look, driver Blake Koch was proud to announce his partnership last month with The Rise Up and Register Campaign, which reached out to NASCAR fans and educated them on the importance of being registered to vote in the upcoming elections, But, the ad never aired.

Koch says ESPN told him and his sponsor that the ad was denied due to political and religious overtones.

Read more from Fox News Insider

Hamilton Means Racing to make Martinsville Debut
After overcoming numerous obstacles and setbacks, Hamilton Means Racing is poised to make its series debut at the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 this weekend at Martinsville Speedway with driver Scott Speed behind the wheel. The team will run the No. 52 Crusader Staffing Toyota.

After months of preparation HMR has everything in place and is ready to get their car on the track. The team will run Toyotas purchased from Michael Waltrip Racing and is leasing engines from Mark Smith at Pro Motor Engines (PME). The No. 52 will be a late entry for this weekend’s event so it will not accrue any driver or owner points.

Speed has run a limited schedule in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since his release from Red Bull Racing in 2010. Speed has run in all three NASCAR series. Speed’s best finish with Red Bull Racing was 5th at Talladega in 2009. He recorded his first career Top-ten finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, when he finished tenth at Martinsville Speedway.

Speed must beat three other teams on time to qualify for Sunday’s Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

Hamilton’s company Crusader Staffing will be the primary sponsor while the team seeks new partnerships and sponsors. Crusader Staffing is a nationwide company that specializes in professionally managed warehouse labor. 

From Hamilton Means Racing-PR

Vickers to drive MWR’s No. 55 in Road Course Races
Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that it has added two more events to Brian Vickers’ 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule in the No. 55 Toyota Camry. Vickers, who led 125 laps and finished fifth in his debut with MWR at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago, will pilot the No. 55 at Infineon Raceway on June 24 and Watkins Glen International on Aug 12. 

Read more at MWR-PR

Kyle Petty to be Honored at Star-Studded Event
Paul Simon and Elvis Costello are among the luminaries who will perform at “A Celebration of Paul Newman’s Dream,” a fundraising event scheduled for April 2 at Avery Fisher Hall at New York City’s Lincoln Center. The benefit will raise money for the late acting legend’s Association of Hole in the Wall Camps charity, which runs a worldwide network of camps for children with serious illnesses including the NASCAR-themed camp in Randleman, NC, Victory Junction.

Read more from Victory Junction-PR

2012 Martinsville Speedway Weather Forecast: Mostly Dry Weekend Forecast
We are looking at a dry and mostly nice weekend for Martinsville Speedway. Another cold front will slide through the region later tonight and early Saturday. This could cause a few scattered showers but this activity will clear out for Saturday afternoon.

High pressure will build in for Sunday and we expect mostly sunny skies, pleasant temperatures and most importantly… NO RAIN!!!!

From WX-Man

Rockwell Tools joins up with Kasey Kahne to Race at “The Rock”
Rockingham Speedway and Positec Tool Corp., a global company that manufactures and markets power tools and lawn and garden equipment, announced today that Positec’s Rockwell Tools brand will serve as the “Official Power Tool” of Rockingham Speedway and as the primary sponsor of the No. 4 Turner Motorsports entry driven by Kasey Kahne for the upcoming NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on April 15 in Rockingham, NC.

Rockingham Speedway, often referred to as “The Rock,” holds two significant spots in Kahne’s career milestones. Kahne’s first-ever NASCAR national touring series start was at Rockingham on Feb 23, 2002 for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race. Two years later on Feb 22, 2004, in only his second career NASCAR Sprint Cup start, Kahne fell short of his first career win at the very last NASCAR race at Rockingham, losing to Matt Kenseth by 0.01 seconds in one of the closest finishes in NASCAR history.

Like the speedway itself, which shut down operations for several, Positec acquired the Rockwell brand for power tools after it was taken off the market in the mid-1980’s and re-introduced it back into the market in 2005. Today, the Rockwell brand of power tools and accessories is available at thousands of home improvement retailers in the United States and Canada.

Turner Motorsports teammate Brad Sweet will practice and qualify the No. 4 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet on Friday and Saturday at Rockingham while Kahne competes at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Texas Motor Speedway.

From Rockingham Speedway-PR

Kahne makes temporary change on spotter stand
Kasey Kahne confirmed Friday at Martinsville that former Jeff Gordon spotter Shannon McGlamery will replace Kahne’s cousin Kole Kahne, as spotter for the No. 5 Chevrolet – on an interim basis.

Read more from NASCAR Wire Service

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1959 – Junior Johnson starts 22nd in a 24-car field and roars to victory in a 200-lap main event at Wilson (NC) Speedway’s half-mile dirt track. Curtis Turner, who led 166 laps, settles for second, Richard Petty finishes two laps down in third place, making his first top-five effort in NASCAR’s premier series.

From NASCAR .com

“Junior” Johnson’s Legendary 1963 Impala NASCAR Added to RK Motors Charlotte Collection
RK Motors Charlotte, one of the nation’s premier restorers, re-sellers and builders of classic, muscle and high-performance cars, has added “Junior” Johnson’s 1963 Cheverolet Holly Farms Impala No. 3 NASCAR to the company’s private collection as part of a partnership with the Johnson family. The only Impala Super Sport ever raced in NASCAR, Johnson captured an impressive seven Grand National Events and nine poles in it.

Read more from Market Watch

Papa John’s Offers Fans Appearances by Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr
Race fans who love pizza will get a double treat as Papa John’s is offering a VIP experience with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Coca-Cola 600, on May 27, with the Papa John’s Pizza Party at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Papa John’s pizza boxes throughout the Carolinas and Virginia will include an offer for a pizza party race package for $99. With the package, up to 1,000 fans will get a frontstretch ticket for the May 27 Coca-Cola 600 and exclusive access to a VIP party that includes appearances by the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers.

At the party, fans will also be treated to two slices of Papa John’s pizza, beverages and a goody bag with gifts from Papa John’s and Charlotte Motor Speedway. The promotion will run through late April or while supplies last.

To get the ticket package for the Papa John’s Pizza Party at the Coca-Cola 600, order from Papa John’s or visit

Tickets are still available for the 10 biggest days in racing, including the May 19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the May 27 Coca-Cola 600. To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit Camping is also available and starts at just $100 per week. 

From CMS-PR 

NASCAR will patrol garage area the same way
Jimmie Johnson’s team might have had his 25-point penalty and six-week suspensions for crew chief Chad Knaus and car chief Ron Malec overturned last week by sport’s chief appellate office, but it won’t change  the way NASCAR patrols the garage area.

Read more from The Augusta Chronicle

Dover creates all-inclusive “Breakfast with the Bagman” ticket option for June 3
Dover International Speedway has created a special, all-inclusive “Breakfast with the Bagman” package, featuring Delaware’s own Mike Bagley, for the Sunday, June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

The $99 option includes a ticket to the race in sections 202-204, all-you-can-eat hot breakfast buffet, a souvenir program, and a question-and-answer session with Bagley. And you never know who else may pop in to say hello, too!

Read more from Dover Speedway-PR

Sammy Johns Give Thoughts of RPM Progress After First Five Races
Director of Race Operations Sammy Johns – This weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup series heads to Martinsville (VA) Speedway for the sixth race of the 2012 schedule. The NASCAR Nationwide Series, which has also raced four consecutive weeks, will now take two weekends off before racing again at Texas Motor Speedway. Richard Petty Motorsports director of race operations Sammy Johns gives his thoughts on the progress of both the No. 9 and No. 43 Sprint Cup teams, as well as the No. 43 Nationwide program after the first two months of racing.

Read more from RPM-PR

2012 Martinsville Speedway Weather Updated Forecast
Cold front that brought scattered showers and storms to western and southwestern Virginia Wednesday will push through followed by high pressure for Thursday. Thursday and Friday both look dry with mostly sunny skies on Thursday and a few more clouds on Friday.

Weak warm front slides back across the region Friday night into Saturday. This could spark a few isolated showers or storms Saturday but most of the time looks dry. This system exits and we are looking at partly sunny skies for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

From WX-Man

Arteaga proof NASCAR knows no boundaries
Jorge Arteaga hails from a little farther south than is usual for a NASCAR driver, but he grew up wanting to be in the field of 43 at Daytona just like a kid from Alabama or Georgia.

“When I was a very young, I remember watching the Daytona 500 and I knew then I wanted to be in that race someday, like those racers,” the 24-year-old Arteaga said recently before competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season opener at Bristol Motor Speedway. “I started doing some racing in Mexico and, fortunately the next year, NASCAR came to Mexico and began sanctioning races there creating an opportunity for me.”

Read more from NASCAR .com

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1982 – Sam Ard rolls to his first win of the season in Nationwide Series race at Martinsville Speedway. Butch Lindley finishes second with fellow series legend Jack Ingram third. Pole-starter Geoffrey Bodine would up fourth on the .526-mile track.

From NASCAR .com

Bruton Smith Announces Changes to be made to Bristol Motor Speedway
After more than a week of studying requested fan input, Bruton Smith, Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, today announced he has ordered the go-ahead to make the changes to the track surface at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Read more from BMS-PR

Smith, Furniture Row Racing Eyeing Martinsville for Breakthrough Race
Regan Smith and his Furniture Row Racing team are looking for a breakthrough performance as the young season approaches the sixth Sprint Cup race of 2012 – the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville (VA) Speedway.

Entering Sunday’s event at the half-mile flat track, Smith finds himself in 19th place in the driver point standings, his highest-ever position at this time of the season. His results in the first five races include three top-20 performances along with two finishes of 24th. He is coming off a 20th-place result at Sunday’s race in Fontana, CA.

Read more from Furniture Row Racing-PR

SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Presents The Numbers – Goody’s Fast Relief 500
1 – Fewest cautions – three times, most recent 4/24/71
1 – Fewest cars on lead lap at finish – 27 times, most recent 4/27/86
1 – Fewest lead changes – three times, most recent 4/9/61
2 – Fewest leaders – 11 times, most recent 9/26/76
3 – Fewest caution laps – 4/25/71
4 – Fewest laps led by race winner – John Andretti, 4/18/99
4 – Fewest running at the finish – 5/6/51; 35 cars started the 200-lap race on .500-mile dirt track
4 – Jet dryers available for track drying this weekend
11 – Cautions in last year’s spring race
14 – Most leaders – 10/15/01
15 – Most wins by driver – Richard Petty
19 – Races won from the pole
21 – Most cautions for a race – 10/21/07
26 – Most cars on the lead lap at finish – twice, most recent 10-22-06
29 – Cautions for two races last year – 11 for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 and 18 for TUMS Fast Relief 500
42 – Most running at finish – two times, most recent 4/1/07
46 – Different race winners
56 – Different pole winners
90 – Minutes, amount of time it takes to dry the .526-mile track after a significant rainfall.
126 – Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway since 1949
127 – Most caution laps – 10/21/07
493 – Most laps led by race winner – Fred Lorenzen, 9/27/64

2012 Caution Update
31 – Cautions in the first five Sprint Cup races; 45 after five races last year
16 of 31 – Cautions have been for accidents; 25 of 45 for accidents last year
166 of 1,410 laps completed have been under caution; 211 of 1,487 in 2011
227.617 of 1,742.000 miles completed have been under caution; 307.881 of 2,899.000 in 2011

Nine Virginia tracks have hosted 274 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races – does not include convertible events – through the years dating back to the early 1950s. Two tracks remain on the schedule – Martinsville  (126) and Richmond (111). Of the seven tracks that are no longer on the Sprint Cup calendar, Boston Speedway hosted 10 events, Langley Field Speedway nine and Old Dominion Speedway seven. The other four tracks had a total of 11 races.

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-PR

Accell Construction Increases Tommy Baldwin Racing Program with 3-Race Sponsorship
Accell Construction made a three-race commitment with Tommy Baldwin Racing adding to the Oklahoma-based company’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) program. David Reutimann will pilot the No. 10 Accell Construction Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway.

Read more from TBR-PR

Goodyear Set for Busy Test Schedule
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced an aggressive schedule of tire tests at NASCAR tracks. Beginning next week at Michigan International Speedway, Goodyear will hold four tests in a six-week stretch.

Two of the tracks at which Goodyear will test – Michigan and Pocono Raceway – will have new surfaces for 2012, creating an immediate need for tests. The other two tracks – Dover International Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway – have been designated as tracks where Goodyear continues to incorporate feedback and stay in tune with the advancements NASCAR teams continue to make.

Read more from Motorsports-Soapbox

STP bringing back Richard Petty’s iconic paint scheme at Kansas
The iconic blue and red STP paint scheme that NASCAR legend Richard Petty made famous will return to the track April 22 at Kansas Speedway as the company celebrates its 40th year in NASCAR.

The STP 400 at Kansas will feature Aric Almirola driving an STP-sponsored No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Read more at Sporting News

NASCAR Driver Press Conference Schedule – Martinsville
Press Conferences are typically conducted in the media center unless indicated otherwise. Each Driver’s session will last approximately 15 minutes and can be seen on, over the weekend based on the following schedule:

March 30th *All Times Eastern Time Zone
10:15am – John King & Timothy Peters 
10:30am – Kevin Harvick 
10:45am – Brian Vickers & Michael Waltrip
11:15am – Jimmie Johnson
11:30am – Matt Kenseth
11:45am – Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2:00  pm – Tony Stewart
2:05  pm – Carl Edwards
2:20  pm – Martin Truex Jr.
2:35  pm – Greg Biffle 
2:45  pm – Denny Hamlin & Kasey Kahne (#5 Hauler)

March 31
10:15am  – Jeff Burton
10:30am  – Jeff Gordon 

Just for Fun: NASCAR Inanimate Objects Martinsville Preview

From Tom’s Just Sayin Blog

Caleb Holman eager to make NASCAR Truck Series debut
Caleb Holman has already reached several of his goals in motorsports. He’s won at Bristol Motor Speedway, competed in the NASCAR Nationwide series and found a full-time job as a driver-mechanic. Saturday afternoon, the 28-year-old Abingdon resident hopes to continue his steady climb at a racing temple. 

Read more from NewsAdvance

Ricky Stenhouse Jr: How Racing for Nationwide Series Championship Changed Me
In this week’s 12 Questions, Stenhouse Jr. says competing with Elliott Sadler in last year’s Nationwide title hunt showed him a different way to race.

Read more from SB Nation

Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth will finally get his due at track
For Matt Kenseth, the downside to winning the rain-delayed Daytona 500 was that he didn’t get to participate in the typical postrace celebration for Daytona 500 winners.

Daytona International Speedway will remedy that on April 11 when Kenseth and Roush Fenway Racing co-owner Jack Roush return to Daytona for a special fan forum and luncheon to celebrate their victory in the 54th Daytona 500.

Read more from Scene Daily

Jeff Gluck among Top 50 Sports Writers to Follow on Twitter
Few understand the power of social media in the motor sports world as well as Jeff Gluck. Gluck has built up a nice following by being active and smart about a sport that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the NFL, NBA, or NLB. If you want to know the latest about NASCAR, you are following Gluck on Twitter. @jeff_gluck.

Read more from International Business Times

Barney Hall Rejoins MRN at Martinsville
As NASCAR returns to Martinsville Speedway this week, fans who tune in or log on to will hear a familiar voice describing the action.

Barney Hall will be back behind the Motor Racing Network microphone as the March racing schedule comes to a close.

Read more from Motor Racing Network

Brian Vickers In Martinsville with RK Motors
Brian Vickers makes his second 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup start Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. He’ll driver Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 55 RK Motors Toyota on the Virgina half-mile track. The 28-year-old Thomasville NC native finished fifth in his first race of the season at Bristol Motor Speedway on March 18. Vickers led 125 laps – nearly equaling the 135 laps he led in the last three seasons. Vickers will drive six races in the No. 55 in 2012 including both races at Bristol, Martinsville and New Hampshire. The No. 55 is eighth in owner points.

Read more from Michael Waltrip Racing-PR

Martinsville Speedway History and Notes:

  • Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles. Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States
  • The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949
  • The track was paved in 1955
  • The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956
  • Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976
  • There have been 126 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races a Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.
  • Curtis Turner won the pole for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville in 1949.
  • Red Byron won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
  • 56 drivers have won poles, led by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Jeff Gordon, with seven poles, can tie that mark this weekend.
  • Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip share the consecutive pole record, each with three
  • 46 different drivers have won, led by Richard Petty’s 15.
  • Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with seven wins. Jimmie Johnson has six and Denny Hamlin has four.
  • 19 races have been won from the pole, the last by Denny Hamlin in October 2010.
  • Petty Enterprises has won 19 races, more than any other organization. Hendrick Motorsports, with 18 wins, can tie that mark this weekend.
  • Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position, the furthers back a race winner has started.
  • Three active drivers average a top-ten: Jimmie Johnson (5.4), Denny Hamlin (6.4) and Jeff Gordon (6.8).

Humanitarian Award Winner Honored by the City of Talladega
As the 2012 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award nominations kick into high gear, the contest’s 2011 winner Robert Weaver, had a street named in his honor last week in Talladega, AL. The city of Talladega recognized Weaver by renaming a street “Robert Weaver Way” to acknowledge his charitable accomplishments.

Read more from The NASCAR Foundation

Changes Paying Off in NASCAR Nationwide Series
Last year, NASCAR announced a major change in the way it awards championships in its three national series. For the first time, the sanctioning body decreed that drivers would be allowed to earn points in only one division, regardless of how many races they ran. In one sweep of the pen, NASCAR Nationwide series champion Brad Keselowski and fellow Sprint Cup series regulars Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch were eliminated from 2011 title contention, raising concern in some corners that the Nationwide Series would lack in excitement and star power.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Read more from Motorsports-Soapbox

What NASCAR can teach you about making marriage work
Between two careers, taking care of children and aging parents, running a household and keeping up with your fitness routine, you may often feel as if you and your mate are like race cars on a track. You pass at amazing speeds and if you actually ever do slow down long enough to get a good look at each other, you run the risk of crashing into each other or someone else.

Modern married life can definitely be like a NASCAR race.

Just ask SPEED television personality Wendy Venturini, who grew up in a NASCAR family and whose husband, Jarrad Egert, is  fuel injection engineer for Toyota Racing Development.

Read more from Las Vegas Review-Journal

Ty Dillion’s start at Martinsville as first timer in Camping World Truck series 
Saturday’s 250-lap affair (at Martinsville) will mark (Ty) Dillon’s first NASCAR Camping World Truck series race at the half-mile speedway. The 20-year-old racer has one previous start at Martinsville Speedway. In 2010, the Dillon took the weel of a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East car for Team Dillon Racing where he started in the ninth position and finished 22nd.

Read more from RCR-PR

Sponsorship Update for Kenny Wallace
Here is a UPDATE for my NASCAR driving career: My race team RAB Racing is not shutting down and I will NEVER quit racing, HOWEVER here is the situation. We need money to keep paying our employees at RAB Racing. I will race FOR SURE race at Talladega and both Chicago races and Kansas and Michigan because I have sponsorship from “Family Farmers and American Ethanol.” If another driver comes along and HAS MONEY to drive MY CAR I will support that because we need to keep our employees. Thank You all, Kenny

From Kenny Wallace’s Google+ page

Kasey Kahne says knees doing really well
While Kasey Kahne hasn’t had much to smile about this season, he can smile about two things: His left knee and his right knee.

Kahne had athroscopic surgery for a partical medical meniscus removal in his left knee about seven weeks ago in Charlotte. In April 2011, Kahne had the procedure done on his right meniscus. He also had surgery on both knees in December 2010 to repair a condition known as “plica syndrome,” the result of a buildup of tissue in the knees.

Read more from Scene Daily

Sad News – Marie Foster, Mother of Lindy Hornaday and Grandmother of Candice Blickensderfer
Marie Ann Foster, 72 of Moorseville, passed away on Monday, March 26, 2012 at Davis Regional Medical Center. She was born on February 2, 1940 in Akron, OH, to the late Jess and Elmira Miller Coffe. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother, who enjoyed time with her grandkids. She is survived by her husband, Bill Foster; daughers, Lindy Hornaday and husband, Ron Hornaday, Jr., Alicia Dyer and husband, Dennis, Miss Foster; sister Elmira Coffe; brothers, Jess Coffe, Bobby Chesebrough; grandchildren, Ronnie, Jeremy, Candice, Travis, Chris, J.D., Jesse, Amanda; and great grandchildren, Lacey, Viktoria, Slater, Lily, Maddie, Scarlett, and Violet. The family will receive friends on Thursday, March 29 from 2-4pm at Cavin-Cook Funeral Home located at 494 E. Plaza Drive, Moorseville, NC. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Salvation Army, 2318 Julia Ave, Charlotte, NC 28202

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1967 – NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison drives from the pole position to land his fourth victory in NASCAR’s premier series, wining by two laps at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, NC. Richard Petty finishes second with John Sears third on the flat, quarter-mile asphalt track.

From NASCAR .com

Jeb Burton, 19, set for Truck Series debut
The days can’t pass soon enough for 19-year-old Jeb Burton, but it’s more than a teenager’s impatience that has him in a hurry.

The son of Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton will make his Camping World Truck Series debut in Saturday’s Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway.

“It won’t ever get here,” Jeb Burton said in a drawl similar to his father’s syrupy tone. I’m ready to go right now.”

Read more from USA Today

And – Second Generation Burton Makes Debut From State Water Heaters-PR

2012 Martinsville Speedway First Look Weather Forecast
After the rain shorten race at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR hopes to have better luck when it returns to the east coast and Martinsville Speedway. Both the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series are in action this weekend. Although I have a mention of showers in the forecast for Saturday and Sunday, it looks mostly dry.

Read more from WX-man

New NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race Format Place Premium on Winning
The 28th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will provide some additional incentive for drivers to win one of the four segments heading into the final 10-lap shootout, as the emphasis on winning and pit road strategy have never been more prevalent in this special night of NASCAR star-studded competition. Through the annual Sprint Fan Vote, under way now, fans can again cast ballots for their favorite eligible driver. The driver receiving the highest number of votes will earn a spot in the field.

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race set for Saturday, May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (SPEED, 7pm ET), will consist of four 20-lap segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. This year’s format will place a higher premium for drivers who win one of the four segments, however, as the winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up 1-4 prior to the field coming to the pit road for the final mandatory pit stop.

When the drivers come down pit road, crew chiefs will have to decide on their best pit strategy, as multiple scenarios will unfold. The team that makes the besst call, combined with the optimum performance on pit road, is likely to be in the driver’s seat for the final 10 laps of competition. Wherever the drivers are positioned as they come off pit road after that pit stop is where they will line up to start the final 10-lap segment.

“This new addition to the format is going to provide even greater incentive for the drivers to go all out to win one of the four segments,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “It also puts even more focus on the pit crews and how they perform during the final pit stop. The team aspect of the sport will be highlighted more than ever and it helps set the stage for an exciting race and an exciting evening for the fans.”

The eligibility standards for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race remain the same: race winners from either the 2011 or 2012 season through May 12 or any past champions of the all-star event or NASCAR Sprint Cup series over the previous 10 years are eligible for the race. In addition, the top-two finishers in the Sprint Showdown, a 40-lap preliminary race scheduled for 7:30pm and the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote, all advance into the all-star race lineup.

Fans can vote by using the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile Android application on their Sprint phone, or by texting “VOTE” to 229466 on any wireless carrier (standard text messaging and data rates apply). Voting is also open at or by visiting the Sprint Experience, located in the midway at all NASCAR Sprint Cup series races. Voting will continue until 5pm EDT on Saturday, May 19. As an added customer benefit, votes submitted from a Sprint, Boost, Nextel or Virgin Mobile device count double toward an individual driver’s total.

Individual tickets for the May 19 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Blake Shelton pre-race concert presented by Target are on sale now starting at just $39. Fans can also purchase an All-Star Four-Pack for just $99. Tickets can be obtained online at or by calling Charlotte Motor Speedway at 1-800-455-FANS.

The eighth annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge returns to kick off the all-star week’s competition, Thursday, May 17 at 7pm at the Time Warner Cable Arena. The event’s finishing order determines pit selection for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. The No.11 FedEx Toyota team is the defending Pit Crew Challenger champion. Tickets for the NASCAR Sprint Crew Challenge start at $15 and can be purchased online at or by calling the Charlotte Bobcats ticket office at 1-800-745-3000.

Drivers currently eligible for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (as March 27) include: Marcos Ambrose, Trevor Bayne, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Mark Martin, Paul Menard, Ryan Newman, David Ragan, Regan Smith and Tony Stewart.


Martinsville Speedway, Jesse Jones Announce Official Partnership
Sixty-five years after the first Jesse Jones wiener was served at Martinsville Speedway it has an official partner with the historic Virginia track.

Martinsville Speedway president Clay Campbell announced today that the track and Jesse Jones, LLC had partnered to bring official status to the wiener just in time for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 weekend.

If stretched end-to-end, the hot dogs sold during this weekend’s events at Martinsville Speedway would wrap around the half-mile track more than nine times.

The Famous Martinsville Speedway Hot Dog has achieved rock-star status in racing over the years. Team members battle to see who can get in line first when the infield concession stands open on race Friday; hundreds of stories have been written about the hot dog over the years and it even has its own Twitter account.

Good tickets remain for all of this weekend’s events at Martinsville Speedway, including the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 on Sunday, the Kroeger 250 on Saturday and NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series practice on Friday. Tickets may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at

From Martinsville Speedway-PR

Atlanta Motor Speedway Introducing New Ticket Specials for 2012
For spectators looking to enjoy a great racing event experience at a favorable cost, Atlanta Motor Speedway is rolling out new ticket specials for the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series AdvoCare 500 weekend, Aug 31-Sept 2.

Two frontstretch Lower Petty or Lower Winners grandstand tickets will be offered for $99 while they last for the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept 2. Fans will have a view of pit road and will see the high-speed racing action up close as the cars race down the frontstretch.

Danica Patrick will make her Atlanta Motor Speedway debut this Labor Day weekend, and her fans can watch her race in both of her starts with the “Danica Deal.” In this package, customers will receive a ticket in the Lower Earnhardt Grandstand for Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 and a general admission ticket for Saturday’s Nationwide series race. Included will be a limited-edition Danica Patrick hero card to commemorate her first start at the historic 1.54-mile speedway.

Read more from Atlanta Motor Speedway-PR

NASCAR Kinetics – Marketing in Motion set for 2012 Launch
NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion kicks-off the 2012 season by welcoming 18 partner schools from across the US. This innovative case study competition gives college students the opportunity to work through real-world business challenges and scenarios provided by NASCAR and its various industry stakeholders, such as Official Partners, teams and tracks. Since 2009 college students across the nation have spent a semester immersed in the NASCAR brand and through NASCAR Kinetics. This grassroots program began with four schools and has grown to become NASCAR’s largest college initiative with 19 schools this semester. 

Learn more at

Kenseth’s No 17 to Honor Wounded U.S. Marine at Martinsville
In an effort to salute those who have given so much to protect our freedoms, Roush Fenway Racing and driver of the No. 17 Ford, Matt Kenseth, will be running a special paint scheme at Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500. Kenseth’s car will be the No. 17 Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation/Gary Sinise Foundation Ford and feature a salute to United States Marine Corps Corporal Josh “JB” Kerns.

Read more from RFR-PR

Corvette Museum Motorsports Park Moves Forward
The massive motorsports park planned for the area across the highway from the National Corvette Museum took another step closer to construction this week as the Warren County, Kentucky authorities approved the zoning necessary to place a track there.

In addition to the National Corvette Museum, the track would also be adjacent to the Bowling Green Corvette assembly plant. The new ordinance includes 405 acres of land rezoned for the new motorsports park…

Read more from MotorAuthority

NASCAR Hall to offer discounts to Rockingham Speedway NSWTS ticket holders
Thanks to a partnership between the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Rockingham Speedway, race fans will be able to get a double dose of racing history in the coming weeks.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is offering a 20% discount on admission to anyone presenting a ticket, at the NASCAR Hall of Fame box office, for April 15, 2012 running of the Good Same Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine NASCAR Camping World Truck series (NSWTS) race at Rockingham Speedway.

“The NASCAR Hall of Fame is committed to preserving and honoring the history of our great sport,” said NASCAR Hall of Fame Executive Director Winston Kelley, “and Rockingham Speedway is an important part of that history. Considering that, it was a natural fit for the Hall to partner with Rockingham to offer this benefit for race fans.”

Conveniently located in uptown Charlotte, NC, the 150,000 square-foot NASCAR Hall of Fame is an interactive entertainment attraction honoring the history and heritage of NASCAR. It was the second highest attended sports hall of fame in America its opening year. The high-tech venue, designed to educate and entertain race fans and non-fans alike, opened May 11, 2010 and includes artifacts, hands-on exhibits, 278-person state-of-the-art theater, Hall of Honor, Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant, NASCAR Hall of Fame Gear Shop and NASCAR Media Group-operated broadcast studio. The venue is open 10am – 6pm seven days a week and has an attached parking garage on Brevard Street. The five-acre site also includes a privately developed 19-story office tower and 102,000-square-foot expansion to the Charlotte Convention Center, highlighted by a 40,000 square-foot ballroom. The NASCAR Hall of Fame is owned by the City of Charlotte, licensed by NASCAR and operated by the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.

For more information on the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine, or to purchase tickets for any of Rockingham Speedway’s events, contact the speedway at 910-205-8800 or visit online at

For more information on the NASCAR Hall of Fame, visit them online at

*This special price may not be combined with any other offer and is available until December 31, 2012, excluding May 12 – May 28 and October 6 – 14, 2012.

From Rockingham Speedway-PR

Monday, March 26, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1961 – Bob Burdick races to the only victory in his brief career in NASCAR’s top series, prevailing in the Atlanta 500 at Atlanta International Raceway. Rex White finishes second under caution with Ralph Earnhardt third. Only 13 of 46 cars are running at the finish. Burdick, who led 43 of 334 laps, competed in just 15 NASCAR Grand National events. His final start, at age 25, was in the 1962 Daytona 500.

From NASCAR .com

Chiquita leases NASCAR Plaza space in Charlotte, NC
Chiquita Brands International officially has a new home.

The banana giant signed a lease for more than 130,000 square feet in the NASCAR Plaza building and plans to move in by September, real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer announced Monday. Chiquita will occupy six floors.

Read more from Charlotte Observer

And – The company announced it was leaving Cincinnati for Charlotte last year. Chiquita will bring 400 jobs and is in line for roughly $24 million in state and local incentives, provided it meets jobs and investment targets.

About half of those jobs are expected to be workers who relocate from Cincinnati, and about half are expected to be filled by local job candidates. The company has been taking applications and interviewing prospective employees in Charlotte.

Read more from Winston-Salem Journal

Pit road mistakes prove costly at California
Eight different drivers and teams were penalized on pit road Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.

That’s not an inordinate number of penalties for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race.

But it is when the race is shortened to 129 laps.

Such mistakes are particularly costly when there are no caution flags to slow the action on the track.

Read more from Scene Daily

NASCAR Nationwide Money Leaders

From Newsday

Jeremy Mayfield loses appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals
A three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel has rejected the appeal of Jeremy Mayfield in his lawsuit against NASCAR over a May 2009 drug test that NASCAR said was positive for methamphetamines.

Mayfield’s appeal was heard Jan 24 in Richmond VA, and the three judges handed down their unanimous opinion on Monday. The panel ruled that U.S. District Court Judge Graham Mullen ruled correctly in May 2010 when he dismissed all of Mayfield’s claims against NASCAR.

Read more from Scene Daily

AND – NASCAR Statement
Statement from Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Operations:  “NASCAR is pleased that today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s original decision in May 2010 in Jeremy Mayfield v. NASCAR. This case was never about anything more than NASCAR’s ability to keep the sport clean and our competitors safe.”


Ryan Reed Lobbies for Congressional Diabetes Research Support
In continued efforts to raise awareness for diabetes research, 18-year-old NASCAR development driver Ryan Reed met with Congressman Kevin McCarthy (CA-22) as part of a JDRF’s Promise to Remember Me Campaign.

Read more from Ryan’s Mission-PR

NASCAR’s Tony Stewart ready for Office Depot relaunch
Office Depot is gearing up to celebrate the reopening of 13 Houston stores with NASCAR champion Tony Stewart.

Stewart will be on hand for the ribbon cutting at the Office Depot store on Interstate 45 at West Road at 4:30pm on March 28. The ceremony will celebrate the 13 newly remodeled stores and will raise donations for three local nonprofit organizations.

Stewart’s No. 14 Office Depot show car and a racing simulator will be on site. Stewart will sign autographs for the first 300 attendees to obtain wristbands, which the store will begin distributing at 8am.

From Houston Business Journal

Notes-n-Nuggets from Auto Club 400 at Fontana

  • Tony Stewart scored his 46th career win in his 467th career race.
  • Tony Stewart posted his second career win at ACS in his 21st start; he has won two of the past three races there.
  • Tony Stewart scored his second win of 2012, the first driver to win multiple races this season; he has won seven of the past 15 races, dating to Chicagoland (September 2011).
  • Tony Steward scored his third career win in a rain-shortened event: Michigan (June 2000), New Hampshire (July 2000).
  • This is the first race to be rain-shortened since June 2009 at New Hampshire.
  • Tony Stewart led twice for 42 laps, including the final 22.
  • Stewart-Haas Racing posted its 15th career win.
  • Chevrolet scored its 12th win at ACS, most of all makes; it has won the past five races there.
  • Kyle Busch (second) scored his best 2012 finish; he led a race high 80 laps.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. (third) has finished 15th or better in all five races in 2012.
  • Kevin Harvick (fourth) has finished 11th or better in all five races this season.
  • Carl Edwards (fifth) matched his best finish in 2012; he also finished fifth at Las Vegas.
  • Greg Biffle (sixth) scored his fourth top-ten in five races this season; all five of his finishes are 13th or better.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (eighth) posted his best finish and only top-ten in the past seven races at ACS.
From Racing Resources and Services – Statistics Racing Recall at NASCAR .com

XGames star Travis Pastrana teams with Dodge in RallyCross
Pastrana was in downtown Detroit on Monday to announce a partnership with Dodge and SRT (Street & Racing Technology) Motorsports in this year’s Global RallyCross Championship Series. The popular 28-year-old will be behind the wheel of a Dodge Dart rally car on this circuit, which begins May 26 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Pastrana also said he was going ahead with plans for his Nationwide debut at Richmond Interntional Raceway on April 27.

Read more from USA Today

NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon a finalist for Shav Glick Award
Jeff Gordon, winner of the first NASCAR Cup race at Auto Club Speedway (ACS) in 1997, is one of four finalists for the Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award. The annual award, voted on by a panel of veteran motorsports writers, is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to motorsports from the state.

Other finalists are drag racer “TV Tommy” Ivo; Indianapolis 500 roadster builder AJ Watson and sports car racer Tony Adamowicz. The award, named in honor of the longtime Los Angeles Times motorsports writer and columnist Shav Glick. 

From Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (scroll to bottom of article)

Penske willing to build Dodge engines despite switch to Ford
Roger Penske will run Fords in NASCAR’s premier series next season, but the team owner said Saturday his Sprint cup team still could be building Dodge engines.

Asked for comment on what Penske said, Dodge released a statement from Ralph Gilles, president and CEO of its SRT brand and motorsports division.

“While we’re moving forward developing a plan and a process to identify our opportunities, we’re only in the initial stages,” Gilles said. “Any details beyond that would be speculative at this point in time.”

Read more from USA Today

Rumours: Commodore heading to NASCAR

The Commodore mentioned in numerous internet rumors
Photo – Chris Harris/Digital Image

The blogosphere has gone into overdrive with speculation that Holden’s Commodore may race in the 2013 US-based NASCAR racing series.

Rumours are flying on social media sites and web forums following a news release from Chevrolet in the US that it would drop its Impala mid-size sedan in favour of a new car “based on a new nameplate to the brand’s lineup.”

Read more from Sydney Morning Herald

‘Disabled’ FDNYer now a NASCAR rescuer
Cliff Stabner, a 55-year-old city firefighter who retired in 2003 with a three-quarter disability pension of $95,000 annually has surfaced as a member of the fire rescue team responding to crashes at Dover International Speedway in Delaware.

Read more from New York Post

NASCAR, Fontana speedway pause to honor fallen soldier from Redlands
NASCAR and Auto Club Speedway paid homage to the memory of fallen soldier Sgt. Raymond Chavez Alcaraz of Redlands on Sunday before the start of the Auto Club 400.

Alcaraz, a 2007 graduate of Redlands High School, was killed in August 2010 in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device. The 20-year-old, one of four U.S. Army soldiers who perished in the explosion, was just 43 days from the end of his tour.

Read more from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

Tony Steawart earns his Second Win of 2012 in first Rain-Shortened Race at ACS

Tony Stewart shows two wins of five races in 2012
Photo – Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Three-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) champion Tony Stewart scored his second win of 2012 at Auto Club Speedway, earned second top-ten finish of 2012, and claimed his second career victory at Auto Club Speedway in Round 5 of the series tour.

Stewart took over the lead at lap 85 and in dominating fashion paced the field until rain ended the 200-lap contest at lap 129. The victory moves Stewart and his No. 14 Chevrolet team to fourth in the point standings only 18 markers from the lead spot.

Post Race Press Conference Transcript:
Tony Stewart – Race Winner
Steve Addington, Crew Chief
Gene Haas, Co-owner

Moderator: We welcome our race winner, Tony Stewart. Tony, talk a little bit about your run out there today.

Tony Stewart: Just really excited about it, obviously. I mean, you hat to have them end with rain like that. But I’ve lost some that way. The good thing is we didn’t back into the lead because we stayed out, the leaders came in. I mean, we were leading the thing and had earned the spot. Proud of that.

I feel bad for Denny and Darian, to have a car that strong. It was a hard call. I know it was hard for Steve and for all the other crew chiefs. We’re kind of sitting on the west edge of the cell, it looked like it was all going to go north. We just kind of caught the edge of it, but you didn’t know if it was going to go away or keep building. You hate to see guys lose spots like that that pitted.

I was proud of our day. I made a mistake in qualifying on Friday. I thought we were going to be a top three car in our qualifying run if I hadn’t got sideways.

Our car drove really, really well in traffic. Felt like it was real maneuverable as far as being able to move to different spots on the racetrack than other guys were at. I felt like we could move around with some of the other guys seemed to be a little more line committed.

Just really proud of this guy sitting to my left. Steve did an awesome job all day of the changes that he made. Every time he changed something, the car really responded well to it. That’s when you know you have a real good race car under you, when you make little changes and it makes a big difference. He did an awesome job. Each run we got better and better and better.

Even if we went back to green, I still feel like we had a little ways to go to get it perfect, but I was confident Steve was going in the right direction, no doubt. I felt like we still had more we would gain of it, would gain on it as the day went.

Either way, whether it rained or didn’t rain, I felt confident we had a car that was capable of for sure running in the top-three and definitely had a great shot at winning, I think.

Moderator: Joining Tony up here is Steve Addington, crew chief. Talk about your day.

Steve Addington: It’s been a real enjoyment in my life to get involved with this race team. Tony and Gene and Eddie and Brett and them guys, what they’ve put in place, really love to come to work and work on race cars, enjoy going to the race track.

Thank Hendrick Motorsports for giving us great chassis and engines. Our guys that hang the bodies on them and put them together do an awesome job. It really is nice to be with an organization like this.

Moderator: Also joining Steve and Tony is Gene Haas, owner of the No. 14. Talk about being here today, winning this race with Tony and Steve.

Gene Haas: Well, it’s always a lot of fun to win races. I’m really happy with the changes that we made last year at Stewart Haas Racing. I think you’re starting to see the results. Tony is a great driver. I’ve always told everybody on the team that if Tony is not winning, we’re not doing our job, we’re not giving him the car he needs. If the car is right, Tony can win at any track, anywhere.

This is just showing the results. We really have a great team now. Tony rolls off the haulers fast. They spend a little bit of time tweaking the cars, getting them right. The result is that we are going to be competitive at every track we go to now.

Moderator: We’ll open up for questions.
Q. Tony, we know what you can do in the summertime and in the Chase. Have you ever been this strong this early?

Tony Stewart: Not in this series. It’s been nice to get off to a good start this year the way we have. Like you said, the history shows in the last 13 years we have not had the strongest starts the first third of the year. I’m really, really excited about the start that we’ve got going.

We’ve been strong everywhere we’ve been. I mean, Daytona was probably our weakest race, and I know I made decisions trying to make things happen, and didn’t work out, but it wasn’t because our cars weren’t good.

We’ve had top-ten cars and top-five cares every race this year after that. So really, really proud of what Steve and all of our guys at Stewart Haas Racing have done. Like Steve mentioned, places like California and Michigan, big horsepower tracks. Really proud of the Hendrick engine department. They’ve worked hard and are doing a good job with the EFI system. Proud of that, real appreciative of Gene giving us the confidence to do what we do each week.

Q. Tony how did the approaching rain affect your strategy pit wise and otherwise on the track? Describe that little move that you made on Denny Hamlin that put him into the pits.

Tony Stewart: I doubt very seriously that we suckered him onto pit road, so to speak. I’m sure him and Darian had their mind before they got there.

Honestly, as far as the strategy with the weather coming, it’s all Steve Addington. He gets the credit for that. It’s hard. I would want to have to sit there and guess on when this rain’s coming. But Steve kept me informed of what he was seeing on the radar.

Didn’t really change what I was doing behind the steering wheel. It’s obviously nerve wracking for all the crew chiefs, especially when it starts off as light as it did. It’s a hard call to make. You know if it goes back to green, you might have put yourself in a hole. If you have a scenario like we had today, it’s just hard to know exactly what to do. You got to have that confidence.

Steve said, Stay out. I didn’t question it. We stayed out. The drops kept getting bigger and bigger. Obviously when we pulled on pit road, they had definitely lost the track by that point.

It would have been a lot easier for all the crew chiefs today if the cell just came straight at us. If you watched the radar, we were on the west side of that front that was going through. A lot of it was just going north across the west side. We were on the east side of it, I guess. It was so close to not getting us or getting us. It just makes it nerve wracking for guys. That’s why six of them came and pitted. You don’t know a hundred percent what that weather is going to do.

Q. Tony, yesterday you and Addington and Ryan Newman were having a deep conversation about tires outside of the garage. Before the rain today, how important was the performance of the tires in this race?

Tony Stewart: Steve can answer that question better than me. I know I wouldn’t want to be in that position. These crew chiefs, they earn their money, for sure, by having to make these kind of calls. Its difficult. It’s nice being in the driver’s seat, not having to worry about it, letting somebody else take that responsibility.

Well, I mean, in the race, the tire wear, small issues that kind of creep up in practice always seem to go away during the race because you get a lot more rubber on the race track. Obviously having the Nationwide race run yesterday helps out with that a lot too.

The stuff we saw wasn’t severe by any means. We try to work really closely with Goodyear, all the teams do. If there’s something that creeps up like that, you definitely want to make Goodyear aware of it.

Jim Campbell and his guys came over and didn’t think it was going to be an issue. Immediately from the drop of the green flag, what we saw on our tires yesterday, we didn’t see at all today. The history, you know what it’s going to do in the race. You know it’s probably going to be a lot easier on the tires. We didn’t have any of the issues that we had when we were looking at the tire yesterday.

Q. Can you talk about your pass of Kyle as you were coming up on Montoya there.

Tony Stewart: Yeah, I mean, we made up a lot of ground on Kyle I think in traffic. Kyle was really, really strong I would say the first ten laps of a run. It seemed like after that we were able to make up ground on him. At that part of the run, we had caught a lot of lap traffic at that point. I think our car was just a little better in traffic than his was at that point of the race.

My theory has always been, You can’t pass ’em if you’re following ’em. I went behind Juan. My car really like the outside. I felt like I had a better shot going to the outside than trying to go to the inside. Got a really good run off the corner and got by Juan too.

Q. Tony, do you feel the lack of cautions helped you out with the car being so good, not allowing your competition to work on the cars to get better?

Tony Stewart: They still had opportunities to work on them just like we did, but I think it was nice not having to deal with any restarts. The restarts can get kind of hairy here. Especially our car wasn’t quite as strong as Denny and Kyle’s cars for the first five or six laps. But it seemed like after that we really settled in our car and was really, really good the last half of a run.

I’m not sure the restarts would have been great for us. But I think that last particular run that we made, I mean, that was the best we had taken off all day, so we were definitely gaining on that side of it and didn’t give up any time to Denny and Kyle after the pit stop.

Felt like we were gaining on that, for sure. But with the draft down the straightaway, as strong as it is, with this track being as wide and so many grooves, there’s so many options for us as drivers to use, it’s nice to not have to be in that situation when you have a strong car and you don’t have to deal with as much traffic that way.

Q. Tony, I know you hear a lot here that it’s a wide track. Everything is a plus and minus in life. How is it possible and how much is it a little negative, having that much space?

Tony Stewart: Well, I mean, obviously the bigger the track, the more opportunity you have for cars to get strung out. But the great thing is it’s hard to get race tracks to where they have multiple grooves, to have a bottom lane, a middle lane, all the way from the top to the bottom, have all the room in the middle that is about even as fast depending on what you set your car up for.

We spent a lot of time in race practice yesterday working on the high side. I felt like that’s where our car was the strongest. I told Steve that’s where I felt the most comfortable. I felt like we were going to need to be up there.

I watched the Nationwide race yesterday. It was an awesome race to the end. It’s so easy for cars to get separated here, but they had an awesome finish in their race.

We had great battles with Harvick and a great battle with Denny and Kyle at the same time. Obviously playing the weather, everybody’s trying to get everything they can get toward the midpoint of that race.

It was fun to have that. When you have a car that is so balanced like what we had today, we could move around. A lot of guys, when their cars are a little off, theyr’e stuck in one particular groove. A plus for us was our car was very maneuverable. We were able to switch lines. I could run in the middle of the racetrack, I could run the top, I could run the bottom, just depending on where the traffic was. I had that flexibility to move around. It’s fun when you have a car that’s balanced like what we had and able to do that.

Q. Tony, as hard as it is to keep things going from one season to the next, really maintain momentum, you look at this stretch that you’ve been on since the Chase last year, how do you think you’ve been able to really maintain it? Talking about having a good car is one thing, but what other things do you see that are working for you right now?

Tony Stewart: I think this guy to my right. Gene Haas is a big factor in that. Gene has always given us the flexibility and the tools to do what we think needs to be done at our shop.

It’s been a hard economic time, obviously, the last three or four years. Not once have we asked for anything and Gene said no. We don’t take advantage of that. We don’t look at it as an empty checkbook by any means. We definitely run it like a business and do the best we can to watch our budgets. But Gene has been awesome of letting us make changes when we felt like we needed to.

There’s been some key pieces that we’ve needed in the shop, and he’s been behind it a hundred percent. That gives all our guys the confidence that we’re doing everything that we can to give ourselves the best opportunity to be successful.

It’s nice to see those guys go through the off season, especially after the championship, and I’ll be honest, as much as we were all celebrating, it was so impressive to get back to the shop and see how hard they were already working for next year.

It’s easy for teams, when they have success, to kind of slow down a little bit, take a breath, feel like they’re exactly where they need to be. That’s probably the one think I was most excited about through the winter, was watching our guys, listening to their comments about how excited they were to have the success we had, but how they were looking forward to next year and trying to be able to duplicate that.

It takes that kind of support from guys like Gene, that kind of dedication from our guys. To see somebody like Steve come into the organization through the winter, learn a whole new group of people, a whole new pit crew. A lot of times when crew chiefs change race teams, they bring the whole team with them. Steve cam by himself to our organization and had to learn a whole different group of guys to work with. I think he’s settled in quickly and really gets along good with our guys, learned our system really quick.

He brings so much to the table. We’ve learned a lot from him. He’s made great adjustments through the off season and those results are showing right now.

It was a long off season. To watch these guys work that hard, it’s nice to end the year on a high note like we did, and to be able to come out of the box and carry that momentum with a new competition director and new crew chief, I think it shows the depth of our program and our group of guys back at our shop.

Q. Steve, I had the impression watching Tony and Ryan’s car that maybe Ryan’s car, especially in traffic, didn’t go the same speed. Is there a big difference between the two cars? When you know in advance that the rain will come and will approach, how is your personal approach? Do have talks with other crew chiefs from rival teams, exchange experience, or maybe with officials of NASCAR?

Steve Addington: I would answer the weather deal. We just got to play that off gut feeling of, you know, what’s approaching each weekend, how you’re going to approach the race. Whether you feel like they can get the track dried again or anything like that situation, we don’t discuss this with other crew chiefs. We’ll joke around with each other about what we think, hope we get it in, because we all want to get it in and go home see our families.

Tony Stewart: I just have to go home to see my dog. That’s all I got.

Steve Addington: Need to work on that (smiling).

To answer your question about Ryan’s car, each driver needs something different and they ask for different things in their setups. Balance wise or anything like that, we have our baseline. The differences in the cars and things like that, I can’t say, I didn’t get to see Ryan’s car a whole lot, when you’re sitting on the pit box on pit road, I didn’t get to pay attention to it, but they had a really fast race car all weekend. Ryan was real happy with it.

It’s that way with a lot of cars, that when you get back there in dirty air, it changes the car so much. Track position is such a key. That’s what’s cool about this race track is our car would work in different grooves and we were able to make ground on people and get by them.

I haven’t had a chance to talk to Tony Gibson about what they saw today, so I can’t answer that question.

Q. Steve, to follow up on the momentum question, are you surprised to the start you guys are off to at all?

Steve Addington: No, I’ve said it all along. The group of people they have in place there at Stewart Haas Racing is just unbelievable. I mean, it’s just racers, guys that want to work. There’s a lot of smart people that give you support. You can ask a question and somebody will have you an answer really fast.

Getting in there, getting to know personalities, things like that, you learn how to work and deal with each person.

No, it doesn’t surprise me. I think what they’ve put in place here with bringing Zippy in to work with Tony and myself at the race track like that, he sits down with us, even with Tony and Ryan in a debrief, he asks the questions and opens your mind up to different things. That’s really cool that he can sit back and watch the big picture, what’s going on in practice and things, then ask you questions. You go back and look at different areas of the car and your setups and your notes and stuff. That’s brought a lot to the table. I think that’s helped us a ton, too, both teams.

Moderator: One final stat, significant to Tony. AJ Foyt scored his second victory at Ontario Speedway just down the road 40 years ago this month. Significant to Tony and somebody that he’s mentored himself under for many, many years.

Guys, thank you and congratulations.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

From Team Chevy-PR

Jimmie Johnson Foundation Launches 2012 Helmet of Hope
Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson kicked off the 2012 Helmet of Hope campaign at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA by announcing Blue Bunny Ice Cream as the title sponsor of the program. Johnson unveiled this year’s helmet, customed designed by Jason Beam and complete with ice cream scoops.

Read more from Jimmie Johnson Foundation-PR

Sprint Fan Vote now open for 2012 race
As the date of the Sprint All-Star Race approaches, fans fan once again help determine the starting lineup for what is one of the most highly anticipated events of the Sprint Cup Series season.

Read more and Vote at NASCAR .com

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.  


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