News & Views – Volume 21 April 9 – 15, 2012

News & Views – Volume 21
For the week of April 9 – 15, 2012

“I’m just going to keep driving and have a good time doing it.”

– Dale Earnhardt Jr

Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend and time with family and friends. This was good timing for all of us to take some time away from our usual activities and just refresh. 

But now, all of us can regroup and gear up for another weekend of racing. The schedule this week is a bit different with Nationwide drivers racing on Friday night and the Sprint Cup race on Saturday night – both at Texas Motor Speedway.  The Camping World Truck series resumes their race on Sunday at the historic Rockingham Speedway. 

The watercooler news this week will most likely revolve around the expected announcement by Bruton Smith detailing his plans for changing Bristol Motor Speedway. He’s scheduled to be on Thursday’s NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED. And on Wednesday’s NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED, NASCAR is announcing the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. So make sure your DVR is set to record this episode. 

Also, Dale Jr is just six points out of first place – could this be his year to win a championship? And there’s a four-way tie for third place between Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex, Jr. – all just 12 points out of first place.  With Denny Hamlin next in line and just 16 points away from first – that’s six drivers within 20 points of being at the top. Greg Biffle, the current points leader, has a lot of company at the top of the leader board – all refreshed and hoping to take over the points lead this weekend. Who will it be in the top spot at the end of the race on Saturday night?

Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, April 15, 2012
2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Race Results

Kasey Kahne Wins at The Rock
Photo – Autostock/Matthew T. Thacker/AP

After racing in Saturday night’s NSCS race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kasey Kahne flew East to participate in the NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 at Rockingham Speedway on Sunday afternoon, and ends up in victory lane for the inaugural event.

Kahne, who had to start from the rear of the field due to Brad Sweet qualifying the No. 4 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet Silverado received his first series win of the 2012 season, his fourth series career win (out of 5 races) and his first series win at “The Rock.”

Coming seconds behind Kahne in second place was James Buescher and they were followed by Matt Crafton finishing in third, Johnny Sauter fourth and the new series point leader Timothy Peters (who leads Justin Lofton by 6-points) finishing in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were Joey Coulter finishing in sixth, pole-sitter Nelson Piquet Jr, seventh, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Ty Dillon eighth, Parker Kligerman ninth and Justin Lofton finishing in the tenth position.

Next up – The STP 250 at Kansas Speedway on Saturday, April 21st, with an approximate start time of 2:20pm ET and SPEED providing television coverage beginning with their 1:30pm ET pre-race show.

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Neil Bonnett among many to be inducted into Motorsports Hall of Fame of America
Racing legends Derek Bell, Neil Bonnett, Pop Dreyer, Vic Edelbrock Sr, Ricky Johnson, Ed Pink and Danny Sullivan will be this year’s inductees into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at the organization’s 24th Annual Induction Ceremony that will be held on Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.

The Class of 2012 announcement was made in a press conference on the opening day of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach where Hall President Ron Watson was joined by Sullivan and Pink, who represented the accomplished motorsports legends that make up this year’s illustrious group of inductees. Among the Hall members in attendance at the press conference were Don “The Snake” Purdhomme and 1963 Indianapolis 500 winner Parnelli Jones.

Read more from

NASCAR Notes-N-Nuggets

  • Greg Biffle earned his 17th career Cup Series victory in his 337th start
  • It was Greg Biffle’s second Texas win; he is the sixth multiple-race winner at the track.
  • Greg Biffle’s previous win came at Kansas in October 2010, 49 races ago.
  • The victory was Greg Biffle’s eighth consecutive top-ten finish at Texas, the longest current streak.
  • Greg Biffle led seven times for 90 laps, including the final 31, and now leads teammate Matt Kenseth by 19 points in the Cup Series standings.
  • This was the 127th Cup victory for Roush Fenway Racing and its ninth at Texas, six more than any other team.
  • Jimmie Johnson (second) finished second at Texas for the fourth time since his Nov. 2007 victory; his 156 laps led were the most of all drivers.
  • Mark Martin (third) earned his third top-ten finish in five starts this season.
  • Jeff Gordon (fourth) picked up his best finish of 2012 and only his second top-ten.
  • Matt Kenseth (fifth) finished in the top-five for the 11th time at Texas, the most of all drivers.
  • Martin Truex Jr (sixth) earned his fourth consecutive top-ten finish, his longest streak of his career.
  • Carl Edwards (eighth) rebounded after a loose lug nut dropped him to 30th for the Lap 101 restart.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr (tenth) earned his fifth top-ten finish in seven races this season; it was his third consecutive top-ten at Texas.
  • Track records were set for fewest cautions (two) and average speed (160.577-mph).
  • The final 234 laps were run under green. 
From Racing Resources and Services – Statistics Racing Recall

2012 Rockingham Speedway Weather Forecast: Sunny Skies for Filling The  Rock
NACAR makes it return to “The Rock” Rockingham Speedway this weekend with the Camping World Truck Series. Weather looks awesome for NASCAR’s return and there is even a chance of a possible sell out. I am not in the business of making sell out of forecast but I know that returning to Rockingham Speedway is very important for many NASCAR fans. Enjoy the great weather.

From WX-Man

Everything Old is New Again for Sunday’s NASCAR CWTS at The Rock
With all practice sessions complete at Rockingham Speedway for Sunday’s inaugural NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race – live on SPEED at 1pm ET; NCWTS Setup at 12:30pm ET – NASCAR appears to be picking up right where it left off in February 2004.

Of utmost importance remains tire management, much like in the days of old at the venerable one-mile facility, leading many to give the competitive advantage to veteran drivers who previously have raced at the speedway.

“I really think Rockingham could be our best Truck Series race of the entire season,” SPEED reporter Ray Dunlap predicted. “Rockingham isn’t fancy and it’s not a huge facility, but it seems to be providing the same great competition it did nearly a decade ago. Like in years past, the tires are falling off beautifully throughout a run and tire management will be the key. So I expect veterans like Todd Bodine, Ron Hornaday and Kasey Kahne to be good. Timothy Peters looks really good as well.

“What happens if the caution comes out with 10 laps to go?” Dunlap continued. “I bet we’ll see some teams save their last set of tires for a situation like that, and if the 15th-place trucks don’t have a set of tires remaining and the restart comes with eight or 10 laps to go, those guys will get blown out of the water by fresh tires. I’m looking for a great race and I really think The Rock will live up to its billing this weekend.”

Once Sunday’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is complete at Rockingham, track president Andy Hillenburg will be a live guest on Wind Tunnel with Dave Despain on SPEED – live at 8pm ET. Also joining Despain Sunday is Phoenix Racing owner James Finch, for whom Kurt Busch competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.


US Army Brings STEM Education to Life with Ten80 Partnership
The US Army and Ten80 Education announced today a partnership focusing on immersing students in real-life applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers.

The US Army was seeking a high-performance educational initiative that is research-based, compelling for youth and reaches a widely underserved audience. The level of engineering and teamwork on display at the race track is reflective of the Army’s leading-edge technology and the powerful, realistic training of its Army Strong Soldiers making this program the right fit for the US Army and for the NASCAR STEM Initiative. A complete list of Army STEM-focused programs can be found at

Just like today’s Soldiers, students’ physical, mental and emotional strength will be put to the test as they work in teams and compete to optimize performance of a 1:10 scale radio-controlled (RC) racecar.

Four regions are sponsored by the Army: Boston (March 22), Dallas (April 12), Atlanta (May 3) and Charlotte, NC (May 12). The May 2012 National Finals will be held at the Stewart-Haas Racing Shop in Kannapolis, NC. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Ryan Newman, driver of the Army’s No. 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car and holder of an engineering degree, will join Tony Schumacher, driver of the Army’s NHRA Top Fuel dragster, and Antron Brown, his teammate and Top Fuel rival with Don Schumacher Racing, to participate in the regional events.

Their sponsorship makes it possible for new teams to join the STEM league and to benefit from regional competitions and support events with professional mentors. Teachers benefit from professional development focused on project-based education and learn how to integrate STEM ideals into science and math classrooms. The US Army is also sponsoring one winning team from each region to travel to the 2012 Ten80 National Finals in Charlotte.

“NASCAR racing is one of the few sports that actively use science, technology, engineering and math in real time.” said Jeff Thompson, mechanical engineer and vice president of technology for Ten80 Education. “For every one driver, hundreds of technicians and engineers are behind the scenes making this week’s win a possibility. Our student teams operate the same way.”

The Student Racing Challenge is a project-based curriculum for students in grades six through 12 built on the themes of motorsports and safe, sustainable transportation. Students across 27 states that work with the Ten80’s coalition of engineers and educators collaborate and compete through challenges that directly parallel the arduous preparation of real NASCAR teams.

With more than 14 million possible setup combinations for the car, Ten80 Student Racing Challenge offers a wide range of subjects for investigation, according to Terri Stripling, president of Ten80 Education. From basic scientific method to upper-level calculus, the program works to bring real-world math modeling to students of all backgrounds and talents, including a focus on underserved student populations.

Like NASCAR teams, Student Racing Challenge teams also seek sponsorship and media presence to earn points as well as notoriety. Points leaders and regional winners compete in the Ten80’s National Finals, a fast-paced weekend of racing and presentations similar to those at a science and technology fair.

“We’ve worked hard over the last decade to create a focused and engaging curriculum and coalition to support students at all ability levels,” said Beverly Simmons, former middle school science teacher, Georgia Presidential Awardee and Co-chair of the Ten80 Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization and sanctioning body for the student league. “We couldn’t be more proud of our partnership with NASCAR, our higher education affiliates and now the US Army. This will take this important mission to a whole new level.”

The core of Ten80 Education was founded in the 1990’s when a team of teachers spearheaded by Simmons reached out to their community looking for ways to develop authentic classroom applications for math and science. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the engineers, technicians and professors who answered the questions were forming the first Ten80 Engineer-Educator teams. Since then, Ten80 Education has continued to pair STEM professionals with educators to provide professional development for K-12 teachers and to develop innovative and effective supplemental K-12 programs.

From True Speed Communication for US Army Racing-PR

Saturday, April 14, 2012
2012 NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 Race Results

Greg Biffle celebrates in Victory Lane at TMS
Photo – John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

The current 2012 NSCS points leader, Greg Biffle, extended his points lead Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway, as he denied second-place finisher, Jimmie Johnson (who led the most laps – 156 of the 334 laps that were run) with the victory in the Samsung Mobile 500.

Biffle, who led 90 laps and ends a 49-race winless streak, received his first series win of the 2012 season, his seventeenth series career win and his second series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Following Biffle and Johnson to the drop of the checkered flag were Mark Martin finishing in third, Jeff Gordon fourth and Matt Kenseth (who now ties Earnhardt Jr, in the point standings – 19-points behind Biffle – but because of having a win in the Daytona 500, is recorded second in points) finishing in fifth. 

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were pole-sitter Martin Truex Jr, finishing sixth, Kasey Kahne seventh, Carl Edwards, eighth, Kevin Harvick ninth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finishing in the tenth position. 

Next up is The STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on Sunday, April 22nd, with an approximate start of 1:20pm ET and television coverage provided by FOX beginning with their pre-race show at 12:30pm ET.

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

TMS swaps out circuit breakers in lighting system
Texas Motor Speedway changed out all the circuit breakers in its lighting system prior to Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race at the facility to avoid localized outages like those that briefly interrupted the track’s Nationwide Series event.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Wind could be a factor in Samsung Mobile 500 race at Texas
NASCAR drivers typically battle the elements, and while it likely won’t rain Saturday night, another weather condition could have an impact on the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. The wind.

The National Weather Service predicts steady winds of 20mph with gusts near 30mph for the 500-mile race tonight.

Read more from Sporting News

2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Starting Lineup
Nelson Piquet Jr, with a qualifying lap speed of 144.387-mph, captured his first NCWTS career pole with winning the 2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Keystone Light Pole Award at Rockingham Speedway.

Starting second on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 144.381-mph, will be series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Paulie Harraka, followed by Timothy Peters (143.937) starting third, Jason Leffler (143.730) fourth and Brad Sweet (143.392) qualifying the team in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Parker Kligerman (143.147) starting sixth, Todd Bodine (143.033) seventh, Matt Crafton (142.976) eighth, Grant Enfinger (142.885) ninth and Johnny Sauter (142.693) will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #68 driven by Clay Greenfield; #10 driven by Jennifer Jo Cobb; #84 driven by Chris Fontaine; #28 driven by Wes Burton and the #74 driven by Brian Weber.

The Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 is scheduled to get underway approximately at 1:20pm ET Sunday afternoon, and SPEED will provide television coverage beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Practice Session Speeds
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams were up early Saturday morning at Rockingham Speedway as they prepared to tackle “The Rock” for the third Good Sam Roadside Assistance 300 practice session. But the teams had to wait around 20 minutes as officials inspected the bottom of turn one for issues.

Once the teams got on the track, and an extension added to their time for practice, it was Johnny Sauter, with a lap speed of 146.873-mph, posting the quickest lap during the session.

Parker Kligerman was second quickest with a lap speed of 146.264-mph, and was followed by James Buescher (146.086) who was third quickest, Timothy Peters (145.226) fourth and Joey Coulter (144.904) was the fifth quickest.

Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon (144.724) posted the sixth quickest lap speed, while Ron Hornaday Jr (144.480 – required to qualify on time) seventh quickest, Matt Crafton (144.202) eighth, Jason Leffler (144.063) ninth and Todd Bodine (144.006 – required to qualify on time) rounding out the top-ten fastest. 

“Happy Hour” (final) practice for the teams is set to run from 11am-12pm ET this morning/afternoon, and then qualifying for Sunday’s race (a start time of around 1:20pm ET) is scheduled for 3:35pm ET this afternoon.

Television coverage for Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 will be provided by SPEED beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.

Practice 3 SPEEDS

2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 Final Practice Session Speeds
NCWTS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Dakoda Armstrong, with a lap speed of 142.354-mph, showed the fastest way around Rockingham Speedway during the final Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 practice session.

Matt Crafton, with a lap speed of 141.833-mph, was second fastest, and was followed by Parker Kligerman (141.732) who was third fastest, Timothy Peters (141.348) fourth and rookie contender John Wes Townley (141.309) was the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during “Happy Hour” (final) practice were Miguel Paludo (141.143) who was sixth fastest, rookie contenders Paulie Harraka (140.658) and Ross Chastain (140.362) were seventh and eighth fastest respectively, Nelson Piquet Jr (140.345) ninth fastest and rookie contender John King (140.307) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

Qualifying for Sunday’s race (a start time of around 1:20pm ET) is scheduled for 3:35pm ET this afternoon, and television coverage for Sunday’s Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 will be provided by SPEED beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

NASCAR Nationwide TMS Press Conference Notes & Quotes 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Mike Kelley and Jack Roush Winners Press Conference

Jack Roush, Owner Roush Fenway Racing – Talk about the dominance you have had here and the momentum you bring to Texas.
“Well, first off God Bless Texas. Eddie Gossage has supplied me with a lot of Texas hats, 5-gallon hats that Eddie has bought for me. I really appreciated that. The 1.5-mile race track at Texas here is configured very well for the understanding the crew chiefs and engineering guys have about what the car needs and Mike Kelley tonight in particular I can say, I want to be careful about complementing him too much when he can hear me, he took the measure of the race track, he went a little too far on one set of changes and came back and got it right on the last stop.

They had a little problem with the car and he guessed which way the race track was going to go and he had it figured out right and had the best car when it counted. The tires were a factor and the tires on the 27 and 3 were a disadvantage for them. The 33, 18 and 38 had equal tires and we had the best car. I’ve had a lot of success here but don’t take credit for it myself. I’ve been in the company of really great race teams and Ford has given us some really fast race cars to work with. It has been a pleasure.”

Just talk about Ricky and coming back to defend his title before making the jump to Sprint Cup. What do you make of Ricky so far this season?
“Ricky is right on track. Ricky made in his first year, three years ago because this is the third year with Ricky, he was what a rookie should be. He had great enthusiasm and lacked the experience to close the deal on what he undertook. Then last year he got it right and sometimes defending the championship is harder than winning the first one. We have a long way to go but certainly Ricky is in championship form and he is able to make better decisions about the car and what he needs and he and Mike Kelley are doing a real nice job together.

One of the tings I want to make sure I don’t miss a chance to celebrate is the fact that we had a Pure Michigan car down here. Michigan tourism is celebrating the state of Michigan for tourists and they have a promotion that is going to conclude at the August MIS race where they will give away a Roush Mustang that I don’t know if I have to give it to them or not but Michigan is going to have a Pure Michigan contest and celebrate the winners, multiple winners, and one of them will get a car at the August race at MIS. Those folks are with us tonight and they are on the car and it is the first time they have sponsored a car and we were able to bring a victory home for them.

Has Ricky gotten better on restarts?
“Boy, it didn’t look like it there once tonight. We had a bad pit stop early on and the next time we had a good pit stop and Ricky slid back three places when he spun his tires. He had a great restart when it counted and had his speed just right and didn’t spin his tires and was able to hold off a great hard challenge from the 33 car. I think Ricky is getting better at every metric you could apply to driving, he is getting better as he gains experience.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr, No. 6 Pure Michigan Ford Mustang – Talk about the evening and that final restart.
“It was back and forth. The race started and we were very strong. Our Pure Michigan Mustang was doing everything that I needed it to do and then we lost track position on that restart and it seemed like we really struggled. It wasn’t sure if it want to be loose or tight. We were battling with it. Then Mike and the guys kept making the right changes and trying to keep me calm as much as we could. Then that last restart Mike decided to go with no changes on that last pit stop which I wasn’t fond of but he knows what he is doing which is why he gets paid to do that. That last restart, it was crazy man. I think I spent the whole five laps or whatever it was under caution just praying for a good restart and everything worked out for us. It was fun racing those guys. I had to drive it in turn three wide open with Denny on the left rear of us and got us a little bit loose but we managed to hang on and pull it off.”

Mike Kelley, Crew Chief – No. 6 Pure Michigan Ford Mustang – Talk about that last restart and that pit stop call.
“A lot of these races are won back in the shop by the notes we look at and previous races and sitting with the engineering group and decision made on the fly. We looked at things that have happened under caution, whether the track picks up rubber or not. We made a decision not to make any adjustments thinking that once the rubber was back off the track it would allow our car to start turning again. Ricky had a great restart there. We talked to him about if he could get in front of that 33 that he would be fine and to check out. He did a good job. Once he got the lead he was able to take care of his stuff and had something for them there on that short restart at the end and get a big win for Ford and Jack and Pure Michigan and for Ricky. We pride ourselves on being a Nationwide only team and competing with a lot of Cup guys out there means a lot to us to get a win here.”

Can you talk about what it means to get these wins with the Cup guys here which is something you didn’t get last year. These have to be pretty big deals for you.
“yeah, they definitely are. Obviously I felt like Iowa last year we beat two of the best Nationwide guys in our series with Carl and Brad but to have a full group of them here this weekend on a race track that they tend to win a lot on means a lot to us. Denny Hamlin and those guys are up there competing for the wins on Sundays and that builds confidence in me that I can go out and do that. We just have to stay consistent and we’ve been running up there with those guys all year long so we just have to keep it up. Like Mike said, it is the guys back in the shop and our engine program with Roush Yates and the body shop guys, it takes a group effort especially on this fast 1.5-mile at Texas.”

When do you expect or do you have a timetable to be a full time Sprint Cup driver? 
“I think I will pass that one right along to Jack.”

Jack Roush continued –
“We’ve got the decal for the top of the roof on that 6 car all organized for Ricky as soon as I can find sponsorship for it he is good to go. The highest priority we have for this year in the meantime is to defend the championship in the Nationwide series but hopefully we can find sponsorship and run the 6 car with him next year and we will run some races with him in the 6 Cup car before this year is over.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr continued – How difficult was the area where the lights went out?
“It wasn’t bad at all. I actually as soon as they went out the first time under a caution I said that we were good to go. Then when it went out under green there we went a  few laps through there and I thought it was fine. I guess some people have different opinions. It was probably safer to stop it and get them back going but I felt like it was okay.”

Paul Menard said that last year you weren’t real good on restarts. Have you gotten better.
“I feel like we have. I think a big thing last year was just confidence in restarts. If I had a bad one I would spin the whole run and the whole next caution trying to think about what I needed to do different. I think I have more confidence this year about it and they seem a lot better. There are still some things I need to work on as a race car driver and I think restarts, the initial take off, can be improved on. Once we get going I don’t know if there is anybody that drives it harder than we do. Getting up through the gears we are getting a lot better at it.”

Jack Roush continued –
“We did enroll him in a little drag racing school last year to get him a little help. I don’t know if that helped or not. He has another career out there as a drag racer if he wants that too.”

Jack, when did you decide not to run Trevor here and is he done until you find sponsorship?
“Possibly. We need sponsorship for the 60 car to keep it going. We ran both the 6 and the 16 car without adequate sponsorship last year and it is not reasonable for us to do that this year. We are in the quest of sponsorship and we are having some encouraging conversations and I certainly hope to have him back out for a substantial part of the remaining of the year but it will depend on sponsorship.”

Ricky Stenhouse Jr continued – Have you already started looking at points? It looks like probably a three-way battle between you, Elliott and Austin.
“I think we look at it. Ours was a very close race up until Phoenix last year. I think we set down this off season at how many points we gave up at the beginning of the year by not finishing off races as strong as we should or pit calls that didn’t go our way or things like that. We have definitely started looking at it and I think you just need to stay consistent. When you have those bad days at this point you have to keep the 2 in sight as much as you can and try to give up minimal points to him.  We look at it and that is our main goal this year, to go back and defend that championship. I think you have to start looking as early as the first race.”

From PCGCampbell-PR

Atwood Gets Back on Track
Nashville’s Casey Atwood, once billed as NASCAR’s next Jeff Gordon, is back where he started over a decade ago: running Saturday night fender-benders at Fairgrounds Speedway.

Read more from Racin’ Today

Friday, April 13, 2012
2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Race Results

O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Winner at TMS
Photo – Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

With a 5-lap sprint to the finish in the NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, it was Ricky Stenhouse Jr, keeping pole-sitter Paul Menard behind him by 1.434 seconds, and brings himself 4-points behind series leader Elliott Sadler.

Stenhouse, who gives Roush Fenway Racing their fourth consecutive victory at TMS, received his second series win of the 2012 season, his fourth series career win and his first series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Following Stenhouse and Menard (who lead the most laps – 100 out of 200) to the drop of the checkered flag were Kasey Kahne finishing in third, Denny Hamlin fourth and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon, finishing in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were David Ragan finishing in sixth, Justin Allgaier seventh, Danica Patrick eighth, Michael Annett ninth and Steve Arpin finishing in the tenth position.

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Edwards take umbrage with ex-flame’s book
Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards has some issues with how he’s portrayed in a former girlfriend’s book but isn’t sure what he can do about it. Edwards started dating Amanda Beard in 2005, and the year they spent together is addressed in the former Olympic swimmer’s new book, “In the Water They Can’t See You Cry.”

According to the book, Beard had issues with Edwards’ controlling personality as well as the NASCAR community.

Edwards was asked Friday if he would dispute Beard’s assessment. “Absolutely, but I wouldn’t know where to start,” he said at Texas Motor Speedway. “I don’t know if I am suppose to talk about the psychology of feelings and opinions when you have a relationship that doesn’t work out, or if I am supposed to talk about the strategies to sell books or whatever. To be honest with you guys, it is just weird. I don’t know how to address things that I don’t even remember happening. That is tough. It is pretty far…out of left field for me.”

Read more from FOX Sports

By the Numbers at Rockingham & Texas Motor Speedway
For Starters
1 – The Camping World Truck Series starts a new era at Rockingham Speedway by running its first race at the track, which hosted 78 Cup and 42 Nationwide races when it was known as North Carolina Motor Speedway and later North Carolina Speedway. Other uses for Rockingham Speedway included movie locations for Days of Thunder, 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story and Talladega Nights; commercial location for UPS; and the truck pull event during the 2011 World’s Strongest Man competition.

3 – Kasey Kahne is the only driver entered in all three races this weekend:Nationwide and Cup at Texas; Truck at Rockingham.

Nationwide Series
Breakout Number
4 – Drivers entered in this week’s race who have won a Nationwide race at Texas: Dale Earnhardt Jr – 1998, Joe Nemecheck – 2003, Kasey Kahne – 2005 and Kurt Busch – 2006. Busch is driving Kyle Busch Motorsports  No. 54 Toyota in place of his brother, who has the most wins (5), top-fives (10) and laps led (1,187) of any driver at TMS.

Track Tidbits
1 – Kurt Busch is the only driver to win at Texas in his first series start, in April 2006. Two other drivers also scored their first win at Texas: Dale Earnhardt Jr (April 1998, in his 16th series start), his win the only last-lap pass in TMS history; and Trevor Bayne (November 2011, in his 77th start), who set the mark for youngest winner at 20 years, 8 months, 17 days. He is not entered in this week’s race.

5 – Five of the past seven races at Texas have been won from the first two rows, including two from the pole. Neither of those drivers – Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards, are entered in this week’s race. Those two drivers combined to lead the most laps in nine of the past 10 races.

15 – Trevor Bayne’s win at Texas this past November was the first race won by a non-Cup regular since Jeff Purvis won there in April 2002 ( 15 races between). Only one other of the 22 NNS races at Texas has been won by a series-only driver; Dale Earnhardt Jr was the first in April 1998. Each driver led only six laps, the fewest laps led by a winner at Texas.

Recent Trends
3 – The three cautions in last April’s race at Texas set a track record for fewest yellows. Only one of the 22 series races has had double-digit cautions (10 in 2003). There have been five cautions or fewer in nine of the past 11 races. However, the final green-flag stretch has been 14 laps or less in six of the past eight races at Texas.

4 – Brad Keselowski has won only five times in 55 races on 1.5-mile tracks, but four have come in the past eight races. Keselowski has current race streaks of six (top-fives) and seven (top-tens) at Texas, with a best finish of second in last April’s race.

6 – Joey Logano has finished second to Kyle Busch six times in the Nationwide series including once at Texas (April 2010). Logano has competed in four of the five series races in 2012 and leads all drivers with two poles and 211 laps led – nearly twice as many as any other driver and twice as many as he led in 22 starts in 2011 (106 laps led); he has led the most laps in each of the past two races. He has one win, two top-fives and three top-tens this season.

Sprint Cup Series
Breakout Number
2 – The two fastest pole speeds since Talladega in October 1999 (198.331-mph by Joe Nemechek) have been set at Texas. Brian Vickers topped out at 196.235-mph in November 2006; Elliott Sadler hit 195.397-mph in November 2010. The pole speed of 193.736-mph by Greg Biffle this past November was the fastest qualifying speed by 2011.

Track Tidbits
13 – Thirteen of the 22 races at Texas have been won from a top-five starting position, including both in 2011. Kasey Kahne, in April 2006, is the only driver to win from the pole. On the other end of the spectrum, Denny Hamlin, who swept the 2010 season, started 29th and 30th. Only two other drivers started as bad or worse: Matt Kenseth (31st) in April 2002 and Carl Edwards (30th in November 2005. 

24 – The caution laps in the two 2011 races were the fewest at Texas, both with 24. Each race also had a track-low five cautions; in fact, there has been but five cautions in four of the past five races at TMS.

100 – The race winner has led more than 100 laps in six of the past nine races at Texas. 2011 spring winner Matt Kenseth led 173; Tony Stewart led 169 in the fall. Stewart holds the record for most laps led by a winner with 278 in November 2006. The winner has led the most laps in 10 of the 22 races at Texas.

Recent Trends
4 – Tony Stewart has won four of the past six races on 1.5-mile tracks, including the past three; he’s a two-time winner at Texas, most recently this past November. Jimmie Johnson, who leads all drivers with 16 wins on 1.5-mile tracks, has won only one of the past 21 such races; his lone Texas win came in November 2007.

12 – Hendrick Motorsports is on a 12-race winless streak, its longest since they went 12 races without a win in the summer stretch of 2005. The last time Hendrick went more than 12 races without a win was in 2002 when it went 15. Hendrick has three victories at Texas, most recently Jeff Gordon (April 2009), and all four of its current drivers are past TMS winners: Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kasey Kahne each have one win.

31 – There were 31 lead changes in last April’s race, just two shy of the record 33 set the race before in November 2010. Race winner Matt Kenseth led nine times for a race-high 169 laps; he also led the longest consecutive stretch of laps (39). Runner-up Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch, who finished 10th, each led on five occasions.

Camping World Truck Series
Breakout Number
3 – Kasey Kahne has won three of his four starts in the Truck series, and finished second in the other.  Kahne has six career starts at Rockingham: four in the Nationwide series with an average finish of 23.4 (best of 16th); one in the Cup Series (finished second in the most recent NASCAR race run there in 2004). Kahne will drive the No. 4 Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports at Rockingham.

Track Tidbits
1.017 – Rockingham Speedway is just 1 mile in length. The D-shaped oval has a front stretch length of 1,300 feet, the backstretch is 1,367 feet. It has 22 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, 25 degrees banking in Turns 3 and 4, and i degrees banking in the straights. The track’s surface is asphalt.

4 – Combined wins in other series at Rockingham by drivers entered in this week’s race: Todd Bodine (2) – Nationwide; Ty Dillon (1) – ARCA; Parker Kligerman (1) – ARCA.

4.4 – Andy Hillenburg, who owns Fast Track Driving School, paid $4.4 million for Rockingham at an auction in October 2007.

Recent Trends
6 – Six of the top eight drivers in points have never won a series race: 3. Justin Lofton; 4. Ty Dillon; 5. Jason White; 6. James Buescher; 7. Parker Kligerman; 8. Nelson Piquet Jr. Twenty-one points separate the top eight in points.

31 – Ron Hornaday has won on 31 different tracks in the Truck Series. He has made nine previous starts at Rockingham (2 in Cup, 7 in Nationwide). His best finish (third) came in his first start there, in the Nationwide Series in 2000.

48 – Rockingham becomes the 48th different track at which the series has competed, including the fourth in the past four years, joining Chicago (2009), Iowa (2009) and Pocono (2010).

From Racing Resources & Services – Statistics Racing Recall at NASCAR .com

2012 NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 Starting Lineup
Martin Truex Jr, with a qualifying lap speed of 190.369-mph, captured the 2012 NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 Coors Light Pole Award at Texas Motor Speedway.

This was Truex’s first series pole of the 2012 season, his seventh series career pole and his second series pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Matt Kenseth will start second on the outside pole with his 190.148-mph, qualifying lap speed, while his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Greg Biffle (190.121) will start from third, Mark Martin (190.020) from fourth and Kasey Kahne (189.633) will start fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Ryan Newman (189.494) starting sixth, Marcos Ambrose (189.294) ninth and Jimmie Johnson (189.281) will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #30 driven by David Stremme; #87 driven by Joe Nemechek; #74 driven by Stacy Compton.

The Samsung Mobile 500 is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET Saturday evening, and FOX will provide television coverage beginning with their 7pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 Final Practice Session Speeds
It was Trevor Bayne with a lap speed of 184.641-mph, on top of the speed charts at the end of the final NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

The current series points leader, Greg Biffle, was second fastest with a lap speed of 184.370-mph, and was followed by Matt Kenseth (184.351) who was third fastest, Clint Bowyer (184.269) fourth fastest and AJ Allmendinger (184.005) was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during “Happy Hour” (final) practice were Kevin Harvick (183.955) who was sixth fastest, Denny Hamlin (183.830) seventh, kurt Busch (183.698) eighth, Martin Truex Jr (183.680) ninth and Marcos Ambrose (183.405) posting the tenth fastest lap speed on the charts.

The teams will return later today for their 6:40pm ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for Saturday evening’s Samsung Mobile 500 – which is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET. Television coverage will be provided by FOX beginning with their pre-race program at 7pm ET.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Final Practice Session Speeds
It was Ricky Stenhouse Jr, with a lap speed of 182.556-mph, once again showing the fastest way around Texas Motor Speedway during the final NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 practice session.

Second fastest with a lap speed of 180.868-mph, was Paul Menard, followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon (180.481) who was third fastest, Danica Patrick (180.126) fourth and Kurt Busch (179.862) who was fifth fastest.

Rounding our the top-ten fastest during “Happy Hour” were Denny Hamlin (179.623) who was sixth fastest, rookie contenders Cole Whitt (178.974) and Johanna Long (178.974) seventh and eighth respectively, Mike Bliss (178.867) ninth and Steve Arpin (178.560) posting the tenth fastest lap.

Qualifying for this evening’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 is set for 5:05pm ET with the start of the race approximately at 8:50pm ET and ESPN2 will provide television coverage beginning with their 8pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 First Practice Session Speeds
NASCAR returned to “The Rock,” otherwise known as Rockingham Speedway, for the first NCWTS Good Same Roadside Assistance 200 practice session Thursday afternoon, which is also a series debut to the track that hasn’t seen a NASCAR race since 2004.

At the end of the first session, it was Richard Childress driver, Joey Coulter, with a lap speed of 144.445-mph, posting the fastest lap, and was followed by Timothy Peters (144.277) second fastest, James Buescher (143.994) third fastest, Parker Kligerman (143.655) fourth and Nelson Piquet Jr (143.495) the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during practice were Matt Crafton (143.335) who was sixth fastest, Todd Bodine (143.096 – required to qualify on time) seventh, Justin Loftin (142.186) eighth, Johnny Sauter (142.118) ninth and Ron Hornaday Jr (141.995 – required to qualify on time) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track later this afternoon for their second practice session that is scheduled to run from 3:30-5pm ET.

First Practice Speeds

Second Practice Session Speeds
Nelson Piquet Jr, with a lap speed of 143.358-mph was the fastest during the second NCWTS Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 practice session at Rockingham Speedway.

Posting the second fastest lap was Matt Crafton with a lap speed of 143.033-mph, and was followed by Miguel Paludo (141.515) who was third fastest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, John Wes Townley (141.482) fourth fastest and Jeff Agnew (141.243) was the fifth fastest.

Two-time series champion, Todd Bodine (141.143) was sixth fastest during practice, while rookie contender Ross Chastain (141.022) seventh fastest, Joey Coulter (140.933) eighth, another rookie contender, Ty Dillon (140.625) ninth and Jason Leffler (140.274) rounding out the top-ten fastest during practice.

The teams will return on Saturday for two more practice sessions (9-9:55am ET & “Happy Hour” from 11am-12pm ET) while qualifying is scheduled for that afternoon at 3:35pm ET to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s race – which is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET. Television coverage will be provided by SPEED beginning with their pre-race coverage at 12:30pm ET.

Second Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Keys for Success: Samsung Mobile 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.

Track – Texas Motor Speedway (Race 7 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
Race – Samsung 500 (334 laps/501 miles)

Long Green-Flag Runs – “Since 2006, every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spring race at Texas Motor Speedway has had a green-flag run of more than 60 laps. Eighty-five percent of those races have had a green-flag run of more than 90 laps. As well, 85 percent of those races have had two green-flag runs of over 60 laps, which is significant because if your chassis is off a little bit, long-green flag runs won’t allow teams to pit under caution to make adjustments. You better have your chassis right to start the race tomorrow night.”

Good Chassis Equals Good Tires – “If your chassis is off, now you bring into play tire wear. How bad is the chassis abusing your tires? Long green-flag runs with a sensitive chassis will affect your car’s handling through excessive tire wear.”

No EFI Data – “With the new fuel systems on the cars, we don’t know what the fuel economy will be with those long green-flag runs. Do you take a chance and stretch it? Or do you err on the conservative and pit sooner that you may have to because we don’t have a “book” on what fuel economy will be here at Texas.”

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-PR

Five-Time Sprint Cup Champ Johnson crowns ‘Speeding to Read’ champions
If anyone knows how a champion should be crowned, it is Jimmie Johnson. Johnson, the five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, paid a special visit Friday to Clara Love Elementary School in neighboring Justin to crown the inaugural champions of Texas Motor Speedway’s “Speeding to Read” educational program. 

Read more from TMS-PR

NASCAR Teams to Help Texas Tornado Victims
While NASCAR teams in the Sprint Cup Series are in town to race at the Texas Motor Speedway this weekend, some want to use what spare time they have helping disaster victims. On Saturday morning, before they have to head to the race track, drivers and pit crew members will be teaming up with the international relief organization, Samaritan’s Purse, to help homeowners impacted by the tornadoes that struck north Texas March 3.

Who: NASCAR drivers, pit crews, members of Motor Racing Outreach, Samaritan’s Purse staff an volunteers.
What: Helping homeowners clean up by removing debris and trees from tonado-damaged homes and properties.
When: This Saturday, April 14, 7:30am- TBD
Why: Drivers and pit crew members want to get involved by helping those in need.
Where: Arlington, TX neighborhood. Show up at Samaritan’s Purse command post (tractor-trailer unit stocked with relief supplies) at 2011 S. Fielder Rd, Arlington, TX between 7:30-8am and follwo the teams to work site.

From Samaritan’s Purse-PR

Cast of truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing” to meet fans at Food Lion AutoFair
Some of TV’s most popular respossession experts will feel right at home among the thousands of cars on hand when the cast of truTV’s “Lizard Lick Towing” makes an appearance at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Food Lion AutoFair

Ron and Amy Shirley, Bobby and the rest of the crew from the hit series “Lizard Lick Towing” will take part in the world’s largest automotive extravaganza with appearances, autograph sessions and meet-and-greets with fans.

Read more from CMS-PR

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 First Practice Session Speeds
The 2011 defending NNS champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, with a lap speed of 179.611-mph, was the quickest during the first O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 practice session. 

The current series point leader, Elliott Sadler, with a lap speed of 178.956-mph, was the second quickest, followed by Paul Menard (178.909), who was third quickest, Kasey Kahne (178.684) fourth and Joey Logano (178.678) was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest were Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon (178.394) who was sixth quickest, Denny Hamlin (178.353) seventh, Sam Hornish Jr. (178.212) eighth, Mike Bliss (178.194) ninth with Brad Keselowski (178.177) posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will return Friday morning for their 11 – 12pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” (final) practice session, and then return later for their 5:05pm ET qualifying session. The O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 is scheduled to start approximately at 8:50pm ET with ESPN2 beginning their pre-race coverage at 8pm ET.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Samsung Mobile 500 First Practice Session Speeds
After having an off-weekend, the NSCS teams hit the Texas Motor Speedway Thursday for their first Samsung Mobile 500 practice session, and it was Mark Martin, with a lap speed of 189.427-mph, posting the fastest lap in the session.

Second fastest was the current series points leader Greg Biffle, with a lap speed of 189.221-mph, and was followed by Kevin Harvick (189.208) who was third fastest, AJ Allmendinger (188.930) fourth fastest and Ragan Smith (188.877) was the fifth fastest.

Rounding our the top-ten fastest during practice were Marcos Ambrose (188.673) who was sixth fastest, Matt Kenseth (188.587) seventh, Ryan Newman (188.528) eighth, Denny Hamlin (188.495) ninth and Carl Edwards (188.422) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams return to the track Friday afternoon for their 4 – 5:30pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” (final) practice session before returning at 6:40pm ET that evening for qualifying.

First Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 Texas Motor Speedway Weather Forecast – Storm Threat is Low
Like the NWS I think the worst of the weather takes place to the north and northwest of Dallas-Fort Worth Saturday night leaving just a chance of isolated showers and storms. Because of the proximity to the higher risk of severe weather some of the stray storms that form could be strong to potential severe Saturday night but currently the odds are in NASCAR’s favor to get Saturday night’s race completed.

For Friday night’s Nationwide race, it will be breezy, variably cloudy and temperatures in the mid 70’s

From WX-Man

2012 Rockingham Speedway Weather Forecast – Great Weather at The Rock
NASCAR makes its return to “The Rock” Rockingham Speedway this weekend with the Camping World Truck Series. With the exception of some chilly mornings, weather for Rockingham this weekend looks GREAT. 

From WX-Man

NASCAR Gets in Full Gear for Latinos
The Hispanic stamp is becoming ever more prominent on the NASCAR circuit, with Latino drivers and teams and even marketing strategies directed at that segment to broaden the sport’s fan base.

In a mechanical workshop in Moorseville, North Carolina, a team of five people is making history each day by working for Viva la Raza Racing, the first Hispanic NASCAR team in the United States.

Oscar Sanchez, the director of Promo Race, the Mexican firm that is sponsoring the project, told Elfe that his first dream had “become reality” when the team was formed in February and that 2012 will be a “learning year.”

Read more from FOX News Latino

Chris Young to Perform “Quaker State 400” Prerace Concert
Country music star Chris Young will perform at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, June 30 at 5pm, before 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take the green flag for the “Quaker State 400.”

The 2012 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Male Vocalist of the Year nominee will entertain speedway fans with an array of hits that includes consecutive No. 1 Billboard Magazine singles “You,” “Tomorrow,” “Voices,” “Gettin’ You Home,” and “The Man I Want to Be.”

Read more from Kentucky Speedway-PR

NASCAR creates new C-post template after incident with Hendrick car
NASCAR will add a new template to its inspection process when teams go through tech May 4 at Talladega Superspeedway. It’s a template inspired by Hendrick Motorsports and five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson’s team. 

Starting May 4-6 at Talladega, NASCAR will begin using an additional template for the C-post, the area of the car from the roof to the top of the rear quarter panel.

Read more from Sporting News

Can Dinger Add to Surge?
AJ Allmendinger emerged from the fire and fury of the frantic Martinsville Speedway finish last week to refire his season. Allmendinger finished a close second to Ryan Newman in the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, in the process putting some foundational support under a season that had started rather grimly.

Read more from SPEED

NASCAR Stars visit Spokane, Talk about Expansion into NW
The stars were out in Airway Heights on Wednesday – The NASCAR stars, that is. Driver Greg Biffle and Clint Bowyer were at Northern Quest Resort for the All-Star Charity Challenge – an opportunity to raise money for the Emporia Community Foundation an the Greg Biffle Foundation.

Biffle currently leads the Sprint Cup Series with 226 points, just ahead of Dale Earnhardt. Bowyer is in ninth place in the standings with three top-ten finishes. But Wednesday’s event west of Spokane was all about getting behind a good cause.

Read more from KHQ

The life and times of 2012 HOF nominee Ray Fox
Smokey Yunick may have had the self-proclaimed “Best Damn Garage in Town,” but there was another racing operation in Daytona Beach that was pretty darn good in its own right.

Ray Fox Engineering built and entered cars for the likes of Junior Johnson, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough – three of the first 15 members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. And on Wednesday, Fox’s name was added to the list of nominees for possible induction as a member of the Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

Fox’s show was located in the Fish Carburetor building on Bullough Road – directly south of the Intercoastal Bridge at Mason Avenue. Yunick’s show was one block north, so Yunick easily could have heard Fox testing his engines. And the two definitely were rivals throughout the 50’s and 60’s.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Top Five Reasons Dale Earnhardt Jr is better off with Hendrick
Dale Earnhardt Jr has won a total of 18 times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, but only one of those wins has come since he joined Hendrick Motorsports back in 2008. As a fan of Dale Jr. it has been hard to watch him over the last few seasons, but I feel there is reason to be hopeful. In fact, even though he won 17 races with his former family team, Dale Earnhardt Incorporated or DEI, there are five reasons in particular that I feel Dale Earnhardt Jr is better off with Hendrick Motorsports than any other place in NASCAR, including his former team, now known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

Read more from Yahoo Sports

Humpy Wheeler: Mayhem matters
I didn’t like NASCAR much growing up. Oh, I was a huge race fan, all right – but of the “outlaw” short tracks with their lightning-action, 10-lap heats and 30-lap features on half-mile tracks. Wham, bam, in 10 to 15 minutes, flag to flag, you had a winner.

Each race was a sprint, not a marathon. The beginning and the end came back-to-back. No middle stages.

Read more from ESPN (blog)

Walking with Waltrip: NASCAR legend, here to promote Walk of Fame
NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip came home Wednesday to promote the International Bluegrass Music Museum. And while he was here, the city made the three-time Winston Cup champion the first inductee into its new Walk of Fame.

Read more from The Republic

Anne B. France deserves Hall nod, and more
I agree with many NASCAR pundits that Anne Bledsoe France shouldn’t go into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the fourth group. I think she should have gone in before her husband, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr, and her elder son, the second czar, Bill France Jr.

I think she should have gone into the Hall of Fame before there was a Hall of Fame. They should have laid a cornerstone with her name on it before they even started construction of that building in Charlotte, because she WAS the cornerstone of NASCAR.

Read more from ESPN (blog)

Thursday, April 12, 2012
Partnership with Front Row Motorsports to allow fans name on No. 38 car
Front Row Motorsports and the Belmont Abbey College NASCAR Kinetics Team are giving fans the unique opportunity to have their names displayed on David Gilliland’s No. 38 Ford Fusion. All fans who attend the school’s NASCAR Race Viewing Party on Saturday, April 14, will be able to have their name placed on the decklid of the No. 38 car the following weekend at Kansas. The decklid will also feature the respective logos of Belmont Abbey College and the NASCAR Kinetics: Marketing in Motion Program.

Read more from FRM-PR

Darlington Raceway to host American Cancer Society Relay for Life
In an effort to provide support in the fight against cancer, Darlington Raceway is teaming up with the American Cancer Society to host it’s Relay for Life Event on April 13-14 at the track Too Tough to Tame.

The event will take place in the infield of the Lady of Black, beginning at 7pm Friday and ending at approximately 7am on Saturday morning. The Relay for Life events are a major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society every year.

With this year’s event being held at an historic venue like Darling Raceway, residents are encouraged to come out and participate in the fight against cancer.

The Relay for Life event, which was held at Darlington Raceway several years ago, took place in Hartsville, SC for the last seven years before the event returned to the track this year. Darlington Raceway appreciates that community organizations view the track as a special venue to host their fundraising events.

Thus far, 45 teams are scheduled to participate with a fundraising goal of $180,000 for the 2012 event.

From Darlington Raceway-PR

Eighth Annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge returns May 17
The eighth annual NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge returns to Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC, on Thursday, May 17, 2012. Tickets to the pit-crew skills competition are on sale at or by calling Time Warner Cable Arena box office at 800-745-3000.

Similar to other leagues’ all-star skills competitions like the slam dunk contest or home run derby, the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge features the top-25 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pit crews and settles who the best on pit road is with individual and team trials. The No. 11 FedEx Toyota team is the defending back-to-back team champion.

“NASCAR is truly a team sport and requires the skill and talent of the drivers, crew chiefs, pit crews, mechanics, those back at the shop and many more,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition for NASCAR. “The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge showcases a vital element of our sport. The pit crews give it their all to prove who’s the best.”

As one of several events during NASCAR Sprint All-Star Week, the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge will take place at 7pm ET and will air on SPEED at 8pm ET that evening. Ticket prices start at $15 while children ages two through 12 are half price ($7.50 each)

“The NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge allows our sport to shine a spotlight on an essential but often overlooked component of team performance – the pit crew,” said Tim Considine, director of sports marketing for Sprint. “It’s an extremely exciting, fan-friendly event and we’re excited to see the fans come out to  support these unsung heroes of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing.

to qualify for the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge, teams must be eligible for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race on May 19 or be the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge Champion. NASCAR Sprint All-Star race eligibility includes all NASCR Sprint Cup race winners from 2011 and 2012, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners from the last ten years and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions from the past ten years who are active drivers and have competed in at least one series event during the 2011 or 2012 season. Remaining unfilled positions will become available to the car owners ranked highest in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup series owner point standings as of May 15.

The following teams are currently eligible: No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, No. 9 Mac Tools Ford, No. 11 FedEx Toyota, No. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet, No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota, No. 17 Best buy Ford, No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford, No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, No. 27 Moen/Menards Chevrolet, No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet, No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, No. 39 US Army Chevrolet, No. 48 Lowe’s Cheverolet, No. 51 Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet, No. 55 Aaron’s Dream Machine Toyota, No. 78 Furniture Row Chevrolet and No. 99 Cheez-it-Ford.

From ASPIRE Communicatons for NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge-PR

Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR honor local First Responders
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood, NASCAR President Mike Helton and Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey, along with representatives of the France Family, International Speedway Corporation and Volusia County, hosted a special reception last night at the Velocitorium inside the Daytona International Speedway Ticket and Tours building to honor local first responders including police, fire and safety rescue workers, and others for their efforts during the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series race on February 27, 2012.

Read more from DIS-PR

Tim Dugger to Open for Rodney Atkins at Talladega
It has just been announced that up-and-coming country singer and Curb Records Artist Tim Dugger (@Tim_Dugger) will be the opening act for Rodney Atkins, during this year’s Saturday night infield concert at Talladega Superspeedway. Dugger, an Alabama native and avid NASCAR fan, writes and sings country songs that almost all can relate to, which can be said for his latest singles “Way Past My Beer Time” and Tim’s upcoming single, “God For Day” which is available now on iTunes. For more information on Tim Dugger, visit

Read more from Talladega Superspeedway-PR

Dale Earnhardt’s No. 3 Wheaties on Display at Food Lion AutoFair
A pair of iconic No. 3 Chevrolet Monte Carlo race cars driven by seven-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt will be part of a special Richard Childress Racing display during the April 19-22 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Charlotte was Earnhardt’s home race track and the native of nearby Kannapolis made his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the legendary ribbon of asphalt on May 25, 1975. It was also the site of some of his most memorable moments, many of which came in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race.

Read more from CMS-PR

Kroger to Sponsor Super Weekend at the Brickyard
Kroger will sponsor the Super Weekend at the Brickyard as part of an expanded partnership with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Kroger and IMS officials announced April 12.

The July 26-29 event will be known as Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard and culminate with the 19th annual Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard.

The new pact, which also will benefit the Riley Children’s Foundation, also includes Kroger becoming the Official Florist and the Official Box Lunch Provider for IMS and continuing as a sponsor of the IMS Kids Club.

Read more from IMS-PR

Pure Michigan 400 Mustang Sweepstakes
One lucky fan will be driving home from the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday, August 19 in a custom-made Roush Mustang as part of a partnership between Pure Michigan, Roush Fenway Racing and MIS.

The sweepstakes was announced today with help from 2011 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who will be driving the No. 6 Pure Michigan Ford Mustang in the Nationwide series race this Friday, April 13 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.

Read more from MIS-PR

2012 Texas Motor Speedway Weather Forecast: Potential Severe Weather Threat
I think the risk of a severe weather outbreak Saturday night during the NASCAR Sprint cup race is low. Most of this forecast Friday night and Saturday looks mostly dry. Yes, all the reports you are seeing from other outlets are correct, there is a severe weather threat this weekend for north Texas, including Dallas/Fort Worth. From what I’m seeing, it appears that threat is later in the weekend going into Sunday and not Saturday.

DISCLAIMER: Just because I think the worst and the main severe threat is on Sunday rather than Saturday that doesn’t mean there isn’t a threat of storms and that some could be severe on Saturday. I am fully planning on watching the radar Saturday afternoon for any development that could threaten the start or any part of the race at Texas Motor Speedway

Read more from WX-Man

Denny Hamlin names cousin as Grand Marshal for the DH Short Track Showdown

When Kevin Jones announces that command, it will trigger an instant response by NASCAR drivers April 26 at Richmond International Raceway. Flip the ignition switch, rev the engines.

Every NASCAR fan has a favorite driver. Jones’ choice: his cousin, Denny Hamlin, racing Sprint FedEx #11. The event is Hamlin’s fifth annual Short Track Showdown.

Jones doesn’t driver race cars. But in a big, empty field behind the Hamlin home in Chesterfield County, he had an early introduction to his cousin’s talent. Jones recalls:

“I’d just gotten my learner’s permit. But I didn’t know how to drive a stick-shift. Denny told me, ‘No problem. I’ll show you how.’ He grabbed the keys to his dad’s truck and we headed to the field. He made it look simple, but when I tried, I stalled every 20 feet. I guess that’s why he’s the race car driver and I’m not. But at least I can say I had driving lessons from a NASCAR driver even though he was only 11-years-old at the time.”

Jones and Hamlin share another bond with childhood roots. Jones lives every day with cystic fibrosis, a genetic, life-threatening disease that coats the lungs, digestive tract and other areas of the body with thick, sticky mucus. There’s no cure – yet. Hamlin wants to change that.

“I can’t think of a better person to open the race,” Hamlin said. “Kevin is the reason I’m so passionate about finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. He’s the reason I started the Denny Hamlin Foundation. Finding a cure has been important to me my entire life. It’s always been a part of racing for me.”

“It’s an honor to be asked to be the Grand Marshal,” Jones said. “I want to help Denny’s foundation get the word out that, through research, people with cystic fibrosis can lead a better life and eventually find a cure.”

As a child, sports helped Jones combat many of the disease’s early effects. As an adult, work took a toll on his health. “I still exercise on occasion but not enough to make a difference,” he said.

Because of the way it attacks lungs, cystic fibrosis requires a double-lung transplant. “Before my transplant in 2006, I was alive in the physical sense but I wasn’t living my life.” Jones said. “I’ve been given a second chance at life and I’m now doing everything I can to stay healthy. I never take anything for granted. I appreciate the simple things in life much more. I’ve had some bumps in the road since my transplant but nothing compared to what I had to go through before the transplant.”

Cystic fibrosis affects about 30,000 children and adults in the United States; worldwide, about 70,000. Medical advances have dramatically increased the average lifespan for someone with the disease. About 1,000 lung transplants are performed in the US each year; around 15 percent of recipients have cystic fibrosis.

“Transplants are not even considered until lung function is severely limited,” said Dr. Joel Schmidt, Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center with Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. “With only 20 percent of one’s expected lung function remaining, even tying shoes can leave these patients breathless. To double, triple or even quadruple that literally overnight is a huge change.”

But, Dr. Schmidt cautions, “A lung transplant is not a cure for cystic fibrosis.” Recipients still face a life-long regimen of drugs to decrease the likelihood of transplant rejection. These drugs can increase the risk of infection which, in turn, can increase the risk of rejection.

“Aside from my transplant medications, I still take my enzymes every meal,” Jones said. He also takes an antibiotic to prevent infections, and tries to exercise as much as possible.

Sandy Stanina, Jones’ girlfriend, also has cystic fibrosis, and underwent her own double lung transplant in 2005. “She is one of the kindest and caring people I have ever known,” Jones said. “She loves animals, especially cats.”

Jones works in master control for WTVT Fox 13 in Tampa, FL. Outside of work he enjoys golf, walking, shooting pool and, of course watching, NASCAR.

From Denny Hamlin Foundation-PR

NASCAR’s Marcos Ambrose spends a day driving nails instead of cars
Despite a slow start to this season’s Sprint Cup campaign, Marcos Ambrose feels certain that soon enough he will wear the title of “race leader.” On Wednesday, he was in the role of ‘servant leader.’ Ambrose, who will race in Saturday’s Samsun Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, joined a magnanimous crew of volunteers who converged at a work site in a southeast Fort Worth neighborhood to build a new home through Habitat for Humanity.

Read more from Star-Telegram

NASCAR fans will get break from road work in Texas
NASCAR fans need not worry about getting red-flagged by highway construction this weekend. The ongoing expansion of Texas 114 just outside Texas Motor Speedway will be shut down on race days to ensure motorists are minimally affected by the work zone, an official said. Many acres have been cleared on both sides of the highway, but all lanes remain open.

Read more from Star-Telegram

Wendell Scott nominated for ’13 class
The 21-person nominating committee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame should be applauded for making Wendell Scott one of five newcomers to be considered for the class of 2013.

Scott was a trailblazer as the first and only African-American driver to win a race in NASCAR’s top series, although he didn’t get recognized initially for his 1963 win because of the racial prejudices of the day, and the word ‘trailblazer’ seems a bit empty since there is no African-American driver in the Sprint Cup Series today.

But Scott should be on the list. One could argue he should have been on the list the past couple of years.

Read more from ESPN

President Obama to Honor NASCAR Champion at the White House
On Tuesday, April 17, President Obama will welcome Tony Stewart and the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to the White House to honor Tony Stewart’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship. The President will also recognize the efforts by Tony Stewart and NASCAR to give back to their community as part of their visit, continuing the tradition begun by President Obama of honoring athletes and sports teams for their efforts on and off the field. 

From The White House

Les “Coach” Richter nominated as inductee into 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Class
Les “Coach” Richter, who was instrumental in the development of Auto Club Speedway, from the demolition of the historic Kaiser Steel Mill, to its transformation into a first-class racing facility, is one of the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame’s fourth induction class, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominating Committee announced on Wednesday. Richter, who passed away in 2010, was also a nominee for the 2012 class.

Read more from Auto Club Speedway-PR

Larry McReynolds Reacts to NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees & Potential Inductees
Former crew chief Larry McReynolds, a NASCAR analyst for FOX & SPEED, reacted to the new additions to the 25-person nominating pool for the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In the exclusive announcement only heard on SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub tonight, the names Ray Fox, Anne B. France, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves and Rusty Wallace were added to the overall group of potential inductees.

Here are the comments from Larry McReynolds:

SPEED: Talk about the five newest additions to the nominating pool.
McReynolds: What I see here is a very diverse group, probably one of the most diverse groups that have been added to our nominees since we’ve been doing this. You have the recently retired Rusty Wallace, and no question when I look at these guys and ladies, I think Rusty should have probably already been on the list. When you start talking about 50+ wins, add-in a Sprint Cup Championship, there’s no question. I’m a little shocked he’s just now being added.

Then you have Anne B. France. Things were so different today, than they were back then. I think when men were as successful at building a company like NASCAR that Bill France, Sr, was, there’s no question that his wife had to work as hard behind the scenes as he did.

Then, to have an engine and owner builder in Ray Fox; then to have someone who impacted our sport more than we’ll probably ever know, promote or realize, Ralph Seagraves, with what he did with RJ Reynolds and Winston. Of course, Wendell Scott, almost all of the races he competed in he was a one-man band. He drove the truck, he drove the car, worked on the engine, changes his tires. It’s a very diverse group. It’s a very interesting group.

Whether they get into this 2013 class or not, I don’t know, but I think just like the other 20 that’s already in there, no question, they are future Hall of Famers.

SPEED: Take a look at the overall group of 25
McReynolds: When I look at the 20 that were already in place, the ones that I highlighted, the first and foremost (one) is Leonard Wood. With Glen Wood going in last year, how do you not put in Leonard Wood? His numbers pretty much mirror his brother’s numbers with almost 100 wins and the poles, and everything they have accomplished.

I like what they did last year in reaching outside the Sprint Cup (Series) because it says that it’s the (overall) NASCAR Hall of Fame. I think the precedent was set when they put Richie Evans in there, and very deserving. In my book, the “Iron Man” Jack Ingram should definitely be put in there with all those late model sportsmen – what it was called then – victories and championships, and all the Busch Series championships and victories. I’ll be honest with you, a lot like Wendell Scott, I raced against Jack Ingram and he wasn’t called the “Iron Man” for nothing. He was a lot of times, a lot like a one-man band. He’d have a couple of people to help him out, but Jack pretty much drove the truck, drove the race car, tuned the engines, fixed the wrecks. Did it, and did it with a lot of success.

The others that I do like; I look at Buck Baker. He was our first driver to win consecutive Sprint Cup Series championships in 1956 and 1957. In a four-year span, from ’55 and ’58, he finished at the top of the championship.  He had 46 wins and 45 poles. I think Buck is definitely one of our guys that should go in there.

I like Joe Weatherly. You look at the two Cup championships, 25 wins, and then also what I think people forget is in the early 50’s, 1952 and 1953, he won a 101 races in the NASCAR modified division and also won that championship in ’53. Joe was a very diverse driver.

All 25 of these men and women will be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. I think this is the toughest year yet. When I look back at those first three years, we could sit pretty easily before the five were announced, we knew, in our minds absolutely, who two or three of them were. I don’t know if we can say that this year.

SPEED: What’s your best guess on who gets in?
McReynolds: I really believe Buck Baker is one, I definitely see him going in there. And I think Rusty Wallace. I know this is his first year to make the list, but I look at Rusty’s numbers. We have all of our three-time champions and seven-time champions that are not current drivers. We have all of our drivers that have 80+ wins, so when you look at a driver that has a championship that won 55 races. The thing that always impressed me about Rusty, he really made a difference. A driver makes a difference everywhere, but he made even more of a difference at the road courses, Bristol (TN), Martinsville (VA), Darlington (SC), Rockingham (NC), that’s where Rusty shined the brightest. I know he’s new to the nominee list, but I truly like him and I think Rusty may truly get inducted this year.


Husky Liners Partners with RCR’s No. 22 NASCAR Camping Worl Truck Series Team
Husky Liners, a leading supplier of automotive accessories for light trucks, SUV’s, vans and cars, has entered into a partnership agreement with Richard Childress Racing. The Winfield, Kan-based company will be the primary sponsor of RCR’s No. 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team driven by Joey Coulter for two races during the 2012 season.

Read more from RCR-PR

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1965 –Marvin Panch is credited with victory in the Atlanta 500 after AJ Foyt takes the checkered flag as his relief driver at Atlanta International Raceway. Panch, who started from the pole in the Wood Brothers’ No. 21 Ford, became ill during the race. The team asked Foyt, who alread had retired with mechanical issues, to finish the race. Bobby Johns finised second, 2 seconds back, with Ned Jarrett third, four laps down. Only 12 of the 44 starters were running at the finish.

From NASCAR .com

2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Nominees Announced
Determination and innovation, two qualities existing in abundance in the men and women who built NASCAR, characterized the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class.

NASCAR today announced those 25 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s fourth Induction class, and included among the diverse group are five newcomers who make this list arguably the most intriguing in the hall’s history.

Of the 25 nominees, 20 return from last year’s group. Five are first-times, and all vary in expertise: NASCAR’s first treasurer and secretary Anne Bledsoe France, engine builder and owner Ray Fox, trailblazing driver, Wendell Scott, promoter and sponsor and driver champion Rusty Wallace. Of those new five, two represent ‘firsts’ for the hall: Scott the first African-American nominee; France the first female nominee.

From the list, five inductees will be elected by the NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which includes a nationwide fan vote on Voting Day for the 2013 class will be May 23, and once again, fans can attend the announcement live at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

This round of nominees was selected by a 21-person nominating committee consisting of representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and track owners from both major facilities and historic short tracks. The committee’s votes were tabulated by accounting firm Ernst & Young.

The NHoF’s 2013 inductees will be determined by the Voting Panel, which includes the entire Nominating Committee, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs) and recognized industry leaders. In addition, the fan vote will result in the Voting Panel’s final ballot. Fan voting on opens today, April 11, and closes May 16 at midnight.

Following are the 25 nominees, listed alphabetically:
Buck Baker, first driver to win consecutive NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series titles (1956-57)
Red Byron, first NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion, in 1949
Richard Childress, 11-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
Jerry Cook, six-time NASCAR Modified champion
H.Clay Earles, founder of Martinsville Speedway
Tim Flock, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Ray Fox, legendary engine builder and owner of cars driven by Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and others
Anne Bledsoe France, helped build the sport with husband Bill France Sr. Affectionately known as “Annie B,” she is the first woman to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Rick Hendrick, 13-time car owner champion in NASCAR’s three national series
Jack Ingram, two-time NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) series champion and three-time Late Model Sportsman champion
Bobby Isaac, 1970 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Fred Lorenzen, 26 wins and winner of the Daytona 500 and World 600
Cotten Owens, driver-owner, won 1966 owner championship with David Pearson
Raymond Parks, NASCAR’s first champion car owner
Benny Parsons, 1973 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup series champion
Les Richter, former NASCAR executive; former president of Riverside International Raceway
Fireball Roberts, 33 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup series wins, including the 1962 Daytona 500
T. Wayne Robertson, helped raise NASCAR popularity as RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company senior VP
Wendell Scott, NASCAR trailblazer was the first African-American NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series race winner, and first to be nominated for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Ralph Seagraves, formed groundbreaking Winston-NASCAR partnership as executive with RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
Herb Thomas, first two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup series champion, 1951, ’53
Curtis Turner, early personality, called the “Babe Ruth” of stock car racing”
Rusty Wallace, 1989 NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Joe Weatherly, two-time NASCAR premier (now Sprint Cup) series champion
Leonard Wood, part-owner and former crew chief for Wood Brothers, revolutionized pit stops

The 21-person Nominating Committee follows…
Nominating Committee
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Executive Director Winston Kelley; Historian Buz McKim
NASCAR Officials: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Senior Vice President Paul Brooks; President Mike Helton; Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberson; Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Steve O’Donnell; Competition Administrator Jerry Cook; former Vice President Ken Clapp
Track Owners/Operators: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa Kennedy; Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell; Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage; Atlanta Motor Speedway President Ed Clark; former Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Tony George; Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn; Pocono Raceway board of director member Looie McNally; Bowman Gray Stadium operator Dale Pinilis; Riverhead Raceway operators Jim and Barbara Cromarty (1 vote); former Toyota Speedway at Irwindale operator Jim Williams; Rockford Speedway owner Jody Deery.


First Lady seeks more help for military families
Michelle Obama has been everywhere from a West Point mess hall to a NASCAR speedway in the past year to drum up support for military families through her ‘joining forces’ campaign. On Wednesday, she marked the program’s one-year anniversary by taking stock of what’s been done and challenging Americans to do even more. 

Read more from Seattle Times

Bristol Transformation Begins
Work on transforming the racing surface at Bristol Motor Speedway has begun. Crew are removing the SAFER barriers at the half-mile track in preparation for revamping the surface.

The speedway announced Wednesday that Speedway Motorsports chairman, Bruton Smith and track president Jerry Caldwell will detail the planned changes in a news conference at the track April 25.

Read more from SPEED

NASCAR legend Donnie Allison to serve as honorary starter at Rockingham
The Allison name and Rockingham are intertwined in NASCAR history. That history will continue on Sunday as NASCAR legend and two-time Rockingham Speedway winner Donnie Allison will wave the green flag to start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200 presented by Cheerwine at the track.

In addition to his 1968 win, Allison earned his second trip to Rockingham’s victory lane in 1977. Allison is one of only four drivers with wins on both configurations of the track (the track was razed and rebuilt to its current specifications between the spring and fall races in 1969). The other three who can make that claim, David Pearson, Richard Petty and Bobby Allison, are in the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

For his career, Allison made 24 starts at the speedway, leading 786 laps, capturing three poles and 12 top-ten finishes. In all, Allison combined with his brother Bobby (four) and nephew Davey (one) for seven victories on the one-mile oval.

The 36-truck field is scheduled to take the green flag at 1pm on Sunday, April 15.

From Rockingham Speedway-PR

Long time in coming: Matt Kenseth celebrates Daytona 500 win with fans
Matt Kenseth had already celebrated his Daytona 500 victory in the wee hours of the Tuesday morning following the race, and then with a variety of media events the next three days following his Feb 27 triumph.

On Wednesday, he got to celebrate with about 250 fans.

Read more from Sporting News

Al Unser Jr pleads guilty to DWI
Retired American race car driver and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr has pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated and racing on a New Mexico freeway.

Unser entered his plea Wednesday in Albuquerque Metro Court, a day before he was set to go to trial for aggravated DWI, drag racing and reckless driving. He was sentenced to 90 days in jail but a judge deferred jail time in favor of 364 days of supervised probation.

Read more from FOX Sports/Associated Press

SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Presents The Numbers – Samsung Mobile 500
(All 22 Sprint Cup races included)
1 – wins from the pole – Kasey Kahne, No. 9, Dodge, 4/9/06
1 – fewest laps led by race winner – Jeff Burton, 4/15/07
4 – fewest leaders – 11/8/09
5 – fewest cautions – four times, most recent 11/6/11
5 – number of cautions in last year’s spring event
6 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend at TMS
6 – fewest cars on lead lap at finish – 11/8/09
12 – most cautions – three times, most recent 11/4/07
13 – fewest lead changes – twice, most recent 11/8/09
16 – different winners in 22 races
17 – most leaders – 4/2/00
21 – fewest caution laps – 11/6/11
25 – most on lead lap at finish – 11/6/05
29 – fewest running at finish – three times, most recent 4/19/10
33 – most lead changes – 11/7/10
40 – most caution laps – 4/6/97
120 – minutes – amount of time it takes to dry the 1.5-mile track after a significant rainfall.
278 – most laps led by race winner – 11/5/06

Key TMS Dates
1995 – construction began
1997 – first Sprint Cup race
2005 – first year track hosted two Sprint Cup events

2012 Caution Update
2 – races extended beyond scheduled distance in 2012
1 – fewest cautions this season – Fontana 3/25/12
10 – most cautions this season – Daytona 2/27/12
38 – number of cautions in the first six races of 2012; includes 20 for accidents, seven for debris and three for spins
222 of 1,925 – laps under caution in 2012
257.073 of 2,012.890 – miles under caution in the first six races

Bonus – Three Texas tracks have hosted 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with Texas Motor Speedway the site of 22 races since 1997. Meyer Speedway in Houston hosted one race in 1971 and Texas World Speedway in College Station hosted eight from 1969 to 1981

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-Press Release

Class of 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees announced today on SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub
Today’s Hub will include announcing NASCAR’s Hall of Fame 2013 class of nominees at 6pm ET/3pm PT. Full details will be available on after the show. From the 25 nominees, five members are chosen by a panel including a fan votes for the induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame next January.

See current members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame at SPEED 

Nominate a Humanitarian that works to benefit children in your community
Identifying champions at the track is easy. But we have to look a bit harder to find the ones off it.  The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award is looking for champions in our communities who represent the generosity of our sport. And we need your help.

If someone you know has show extraordinary charity and kindness of spirit in working for kids in need, honor their efforts by nominating them for the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award!

When NASCAR and our fans unite together anything is possible.

Nominate someone you know now at The NASCAR Foundation

Travis Pastrana to serve as Grand Marshal for Texas race
Motocross star and soon-to-be Nationwide Series driver Travis Pastrana has been named the Grand Marshal for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway

Pastrana is scheduled to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Richmond on Friday, April 27. He was originally slated to compete in the series in 2011, but broke his right ankle and foot performing a trick in rallycross at the X Games in Los Angeles before the Nationwide race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. The plan is for Pastrana to compete in seven Nationwide Series events in 2012 and he’s already made two starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series this year.

Read more from Yahoo Sports

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Today in NASCAR History
1983 – Harry Gant sweeps to the lead when Darrell Waltrip’s car develops ignition trouble with two laps left, scoring his third win in NASCAR’s premier series in the TranSouth 500 at Darlington Raceway. Waltrip, who led 70 of the 367 laps, nurses his ailing car home to a runner-up finish. Mark Martin finishes third as the final car on the lead lap.

From NASCAR .com

2012 Texas Motor Speedway Weather Forecast: Storm Developement a Concern
Before I could even look at this weekend’s NASCAR weather forecast at Texas Motor Speedway my Twitter stream was getting a lot of questions about the potential for severe weather this weekend around Dallas/Fort Worth. I agree with preliminary reports that this weekend could feature the potential for severe storms, the biggest challenge and question is the timing of when this activity could form and arrive.

Most of the time this week will feature mostly dry conditions with highs ranging from the mid to upper 70s with 80s by the weekend. By Friday we will be watching and trying to time the arrival of a few disturbances that could cause shower and storm development Friday, Saturday and Saturday night. A lot of this we won’t have specific information or until areas of showers and storms begin to form or we start to see development of storms. I am going to mention the chance of showers and storms around Texas Motor Speedway Friday and Saturday but there are some indications that this time frame is more dry than wet.

Read more from WX-man

Elliott Sadler won’t run Texas Cup race, hopes to add more events for RCR
Elliott Sadler still plans to run more Sprint Cup races for Richard Childress Racing later this year, but the race Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway won’te be one of them. 

Sadler, a full-time competitor for RCR in the Nationwide Series, drove the No. 33 RCR car in the Daytona 500, and RCR fielded the car in the next four races for driver Brendan Gaughan.

Read more from Sporting News

Dallas/Ft. Worth Walmart Stores offer NASCAR Driver Appearances, and more
As Dallas/Fort Worth prepares for the upcoming Texas Samsung Mobile 500, select Walmart stores will offer authentic NASCAR merchandise and host exclusive fan events starting April 10. Customers are invited to attend these special events and enjoy driver appearances by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kyle Busch and Eric McClure, show car displays and racing similators – perfect to safety get behind the wheel and feel the power of NASCAR – on April 10 – 13.

Read more from Market Watch

NASCAR drivers inspire students in Darlington County
Students at four Darlington County schools added speed to their schedules of classes on Tuesday. 

NASCAR Nationwide series drivers, Justin Allgaier and Jeremy Clements stopped by Darlington Institute of Technology, Mayo High School, West Hartsville Elementary School, and Hartsville Middle School to talk with students about their careers and about opportunities to maybe come see the VFW SportsClips Help a Hero 200 under the lights Friday night, May 11.

Read more and see photos from SC Now .com

Coca-Cola Family took advantage of off week
The Coca-Cola Family enjoyed their spring break as drivers traveled to the beach, helped their kids find a college, attended an auto show and caddied for a Master’s champion. With the week off, here is where members of the red-and-white army stand after the season’s six races – four of which they have won.

In the points standings, half of the family drivers are among the top 12 to qualify for the Chase, while another two are in contention.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Foreigner Live Auction nets $30,000 for Speedway Children’s Charities
Foreigner raised nearly $30,000 with four select auction items, including a unique on-stage serenade by lead singer Kelly Hansen, during Monday night’s Foreigner Acoutisque: Classics Unplugged concert to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities – Texas at the Flying Saucer in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square.

The serenade was the top-selling auction item as it fetched $9,500 for Hansen to serenade the winning bidder on the Flying Saucer’s outdoor patio stage with Foreigner’s mega-hit, “Waiting For a Girl Like You” as band members Jeff Pilson and Tom Gimbel played acoustic guitars.

Read more from TMS-PR

Phoenix International Raceway Names Chris Reaves, Matt Lowney Corporate Sales Managers
Phoenix International Raceway announced today the hiring of Chris Reaves and Matt Lowney as corporate sales managers. In their new positions, Reaves and Lowney will focus on a variety of business development initiatives including sponsorship sales, ticketing, suites and other hospitality areas.

Reaves joins PIR after spending four years with the Phoenix Coyotes where he most recently served as Group Sales Account Executive. His primary responsibilities with the Coyotes involved group sales of suites and hospitality areas. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Reaves attended Slippery Rock University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management.

Lowney most recently served as Director of Business Development at the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, where he oversaw existing and new corporate development for the company. Prior to joining Bondurant, Lowney held several positions in the automotive and hospitality industries, including at General Motors, Kent-Moore Tools, Creative Marketing International, GMC Truck and MotorCity Casino Hotel. A Detroit, Michigan native, Lowney graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Central Michigan University.

From Phoenix International Raceway-PR

Big & Rich with special guests Cowboy Troy and Bradley Gaskin headline at MIS
Big & Rich with special guests Cowboy Troy and Bradley Gaskin will take the stage at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) during the June race weekend for the McDonald’s Rock and Race Concert.

The multi-platinum  and Grammy-nominated duo will headline the always popular and free post-race concert in Lot 10 on June 16. The concert will begin shortly after the Alliance Truck Parts 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

The concert is free for anyone with an Alliance Truck Parts 250 race ticket.

Read more from MIS-PR

Trevor Bayne will sit out Nationwide race at Texas
Trevor Bayne, who is currently fourth in the NASCAR Nationwide series point standings, and earned his first series victory last fall at Texas Motor Speedway, will miss Friday night’s race at Texas due to lack of sponsorship.

Bayne was not listed on the original Entry form for this week’s race and on Tuesday, Roush Fenway Racing officials confirmed he is not running the event.

Read more from Lucky Dog-Thats Racin .com

Leonard Wood’s Lawn Mower is a Mechanical Marvel
Throughout the decades in which he served as crew chief for the Wood Brothers race team, Leonard Wood was known for being able to take his machine tools and solve most any problem and create some innovative components as well.

It was that same approach to problem solving that led Wood to build one of the most tricked-out lawn mowers ever to snip a blade of grass. He’s also built an even fancier one for his brother Glen Wood, and it’s on display in the Wood Brothers Museum in Stuart, VA. Not surprisingly, both mowers carry the same paint scheme as the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusions that the team fields for Trevor Bayne on NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series.

Read more from Wood Brothers Racing-PR

Wallace to miss two Nationwide races because of lack of sponsorship
Kenny Wallace, 14th in the Nationwide series standings and the all-time series leader in career starts with 527, is out of his full-time ride for the next two races because of a lack of sponsorship.

Ryan Truex will replace Wallace in the No. 09 RAB Racing car this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The 20-year-old Truex, who has 26 career starts with a career best of fourth last September at Richmond is bringing sponsorship from hand-wipe manufacturer Grime Boss.

Wallace will miss the races at Texas and Richmond before returning to the team at Talladega. No driver for Richmond has been announced.

From Sporting News

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Biffle Look to End Droughts in Lone Star State
NASCAR returns to the Lone Star State for this weekend’s Samsung Mobile 500. Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr, both former winners at Texas, are seeking their first victories in a long time as they sit first and second in the point standings.

Read more from SB Nation-Atlanta

Sam Bass has been busy again!
NASCAR artist Sam Bass agreed to share a few of the recent guitar projects he has done for the Sprint Experience…

See the results at Motorsports Soapbox

Martin Truex Jr makes pit stop to rev up remote-controlled boats
On Saturday night, Martin Truex Jr. will be in Fort Worth at the Texas Motor Speedway, continuing to challenge NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle in the Samsung Mobile 500. He is in a three-way tie for third place, just 12 points off the leader.

But on Monday, he was far away from Texas Motor Speedway – mind, body and spirit. 

While an occasional fisherman cast a line at Brahan Spring Park, Truex was busy on the small dock that overlooks the lake. The Moorseville, NC resident and a handful of others were steering high-speed, remote-controlled boats through the Huntsville Model Boating Association’s records trial, which continues through Wednesday.

Read more from al .com

Kenseth, Roush and Fennig set to Return to Daytona for Champion’s Event
Roush Fenway Racing’s two-time Daytona 500 Champion, Matt Kenseth, is set to return to the site of his historic win this week for a rescheduled fan event celebrating the team’s victory. The win in the 54th “Great American Race” also earned a milestone victory for Roush Fenway Racing as the organization earned it’s 300th NASCAR win in the process.

Read more from RFR-PR

History and Notes at Texas Motor Speedway

  • Construction began in 1995
  • The first NASCAR race was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on April 5, 1997
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on April 6, 1997
  • There have been 22 NASCAR Sprint Cup series races at Texas Motor Speedway, one per season from 1997 through 2004 and two races per year since 2005.
  • Four drivers have competed in all 22 Texas races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin
  • Jeremy Mayfield was the first pole winner, in 1998. Qualifying for the inaugural race in 1997 was canceled
  • Jeff Burton won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race
  • 16 drivers have scored poles, led by Dale Earnhardt Jr, Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon with two.
  • 16 drivers have won races, led by Carl Edwards, with three. Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart and Jeff Burton each have two wins
  • 16 of 22 races have been won from a top 10 starting position. Only one has been won from the pole – Kasey Kahne in 2006.
  • Matt Kenseth started 31st en route to his victory at Texas in 2002, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.
  • Both Jeff Burton (1999) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (2000) scored their first NASCAR Sprint Cup series win at Texas, and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne made his first series start at Texas (11/07/10)
  • Martin Truex Jr. (11/04/07) and David Ragan (04/09/11) scored their first series poles at Texas
  • Matt Kenseth (8.7) is the only active driver to average a top-ten finish at Texas
  • Jimmie Johnson (9.2) is the only active driver to average a top-ten starting position at Texas
  • Roush Fenway Racing leads all owners in victories, with eight. Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have three wins each
  • There has been two season sweeps, by Carl Edwards in 2008 and Denny Hamlin in 2010 

Let’s Learn from the Past: Chip Ganassi
As one of the most decorated owners in auto racing today, Fox Chapel resident Floyd “Chip” Ganassi has helped to put Pittsburgh on the international racing map.

The Heinz History Center will honor Mr. Ganassi for his contributions to the region and the nation at the 20th Annual History Makers Award Dinner on April 13. 

Read more from Post-Gazette

Ready for Debut in Brother’s Car
Week six of the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide series (NNS) race season brings the No. 54 Monster Energy team to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) with a new face behind the wheel. Kurt Busch, the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup series Champion and older brother to team owner Kyle Busch, looks to add a victory to the record book for the newly formed Kyle Busch Motorsports Nationwide series team, and to his own NNS resume that already includes three wins and three poles in 13 career series starts.

Read more from Kyle Busch Motorsports-PR

NASCAR weekend kicks off with parade
Richmond County is gearing up for a big weekend, all leading up to the return of NASCAR to The Rock this Sunday, and the roar of engines from more than 30 vehicles in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series.

To kick-off the big weekend, a NASCAR hauler parade will be winding through downtown Rockingham on Thursday at 6pm, on the way to take the trucks to Rockingham Speedway.

Read more from Your Daily Journal

Regarding NASCAR rules, fans find it hard to play it by book
Spurred by a high school lesson, Zach Bernard turned to eBay to purchase a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup rule books – which series officials to not make available to the public. – in early February.

“My government teacher…had a couple of rules in the classroom, and one of them was check your definition,” said Bernard, 25, of Columbus, OH. “As a fan, it’s hard to dispute something with fellow fans if you don’t have the rules in front of you in black and white.”

Bernard bought each rule book for $30. Others have paid more than $80 apiece. A seller on eBay charges $100 a book as demand overrides supply.

Read more from USA Today

Glen goes deep to name new stands
Five names woven into the fabric of Watkins Glen International – Argetsinger, Stewart, Riesback, Seneca and Bodine – will adorn five new granstands at the storied road-racing facility. 

Read more from That’s Racin

Jeff Burton bummed out about slow start but vows to bounce back – again
His peers used to laugh when Mark Martin would go off on one of his paranoid rants about how he might not ever win another race. Martin has 40 career Sprint Cup victories and 49 – once a record – in the Nationwide series. Yet Martin used to race in constant fear of never winning another race. 

Jeff Burton used to be one of those who would laugh at Martin. Now he knows how he felt. “I was lucky enough to race with Mark a long time and learned a lot from Mark…and he is right,” Burton said earlier this month at Martinsville. “You never know when you are going to win another race. I know people laugh when he says that, but it’s true.”

Read more from Sporting News

NASCAR championship field will take shape during upcoming 14-week stretch
Greg Biffle fell two laps down at Martinsville, clawed his way to a 13th-place finish, then headed to the Bahamas as NASCAR points leader. “It feels good to go on vacation being the point leader,” Biffle said after the April 1 race in Virginia.

Biffle better have enjoyed his time away from the track, because it’s game-on from here. NASCAR resumes racing this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, the first in a stretch of 14 consecutive races that will shape most of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field.

Read more from Washington Post

Monday, April 9, 2012
Today in NASCAR’s History
1989 – Rusty Wallace fends off Darrell Waltrip by just .26 seconds to win a crash-filled Valleydale 500 at Bristol International Speedway. Wallace leads 71 laps, including the final 63 to notch the 13th victory of his career in NASCAR’s top series. Geoff Bodine, Davey Allison and Dick Trickle round out the top five. Twenty caution flags slowed the pace to an average speed of 76.034-mph.

From NASCAR .com

NASCAR driver dedicates race to chihuahua killed in golf club attack
Jack Sellers may be the first driver to compete in a NASCAR race with a chihuahua painted on his car (research ongoing). It will happen next weekend at the NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Havasu 95 Speedway, Lake Havasu City, AZ, as Sellers will pay tribute to Lily, a pet chihuahua who was killed by a golf-club wielding man in Menifee, CA. Sellers, from Sacramento and a longtime animal advocate, is dedicating the race to Barbara Hitchman’s pet dog. The hood of his car now features Lily’s photo with the caption: “Stop Animal Cruelty. Protect the Innocent. Be their Voice.”

Read more from NBC Sports

NASCAR’s prerace pairings make for some interesting conversation
Moments before they concluded their championship duel at Homestead-Miami Speedway two years ago, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin found themselves riding around in the same pickup truck. They waved to the fans attending the Chase season finale but said little to each other, avoiding eye contact for the most part. “That’s a long five minutes around the racetrack,” Johnson said.

It’s not that they disliked each other but with a championship at stake that day, there was little to say during the prerace activity. Hamlin sought his first NASCAR Sprint Cup title, while Johnson vied for his record-extending fifth in a row. Eventually, they revealed postseason vacation plans to each other before refocusing on the race.

“I’m a friendly guy by nature, so I’m sitting there trying to have my competitive mindset, and it’s not very comfortable, to say the least,” Johnson said.

Read more from SI .com

Dale Junior’s car grave yard: A bird’s-eye view
When we found out that Juan Pablo Montoya’s car that crashed into – and blew up – the jet drier at Daytona was headed to Dale Earnhardt Jr’s graveyard of wrecked cars on his property, we were intrigued. When we found out that Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona car, the one that was initially penalized 25 points for C-post violations before the penalty was overturned on appeal, was headed there too, we got really curious.

What was this car graveyard like? Were cars laid out in any specific order? Were animals, or even vagabonds, setting up camp inside of them? Was it like a NASCAR version of Michael Jackson’s abandoned Neverland? Could we have an awesome NASCAR scavenger hunt if, on the miniscule chance, Junior ever invited us over?

Thanks to satellite images and the Internet, we found the beguiling place were some racecars go to spend their infinite existence. But instead of satisfying our curiosity, the pictures fuel it even more.

Read more and see photos Sports Yahoo

NASCAR Sprint Cup Manufacturer Standings

From Newsday

NASCAR Hall of Fame Q&A
The SPEED team offers us some possible choices for the next class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame…

On Wednesday’s NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED, NASCAR will unveil the 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Below in no particular order, the SPEED team offers its take on who the next five inductees voted into the fourth class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame should be…

Read more from SPEED

Special NASCAR Unites schemes
As part of the NASCAR Foundation’s NASCAR Unites program, a few drivers will run special paint schemes at various races including #47-Bobby Labonte, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #55-Mark Martin, #56-Martin Truex Jr and #99-Carl Edwards at Charlotte in May; #2-Brad Keselowski, #29-Kevin Harvick and #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr at Charlotte in May and Daytona in July; #16-Greg Biffle at Michigan in June. 

From Jayski’s see links to images of available schemes in their Paint Scheme Gallery page

Burton overcomes pressurized ending in Late Models opener at Ace
As the nose of Speedy Faucette’s car crept ominously closer on the climatic restart, Jeb Burton experienced something indicative of the tension-filled situation.
“I kind of shuddered,” he said.

Yet neither that feeling nor Faucette’s pressurized charge derailed Burton, who held on to claim victory Friday night in the first 75-lap Late Models feature of the season at Ace Speedway.

Burton, from Halifax, VA, made his NASCAR trucks series debut last weekend and finished 13th at Martinsville Speedway.  He led the final 34 laps at Ace Speedway Friday night and collected a winner’s trophy topped off with a stuffed animal – an Easter bunny, of course.

Read more from The Times News

Austin Dillon Featured in New ESPN NASCAR Promotional Campaign
Rising young NASCAR star Austin Dillon and the legendary black #3 made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt are featured in a new ESPN promotional spot entitled “The Next Generation” that will begin airing this week. The 21-year-old Dillon is the leading rookie in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. All 33 races in the series will air on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC this season and Dillon is the second Nationwide series driver this year to be featured by ESPN in its promotional campaign for the series, joining 2011 series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. The 30-second spot, which continues ESPN’s “Names are Made Here” marketing campaign for the NASCAR Nationwide series, traces Dillon’s career through go-karts, dirt tracks and the NASCAR Camping World Truck series, where he was series champion last year. The spot was produced by Wieden & Kennedy New York and will run across ESPN platforms.

From YouTube & ESPN-PR

Four-time champ Jeff Gordon must dig out of big hole to return to Chase
Jeff Gordon has found himself outside the top-ten in points after six races only twice in his career. The first time came in 2004, when he was 12th and still qualified for the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and finished third in the final standings. Then there was last year, when he again was 12th, but rallied to make the Chase and wound up eighth in the standings.

Neither of those could be classified as big comebacks, but this year Gordon finds himself in a much bigger hole.  The four-time Cup champion is 21st in points after six races, and that’s four spots better than he was entering last week’s race at Martinsville Speedway.

Read more from Sporting News

NASCAR, NASA have more in common than letters
Retired astronaut acknowledges forces, technologies similar to those in space. During a qualifying lap at Charlotte Motor Speedway, drivers in NASCAR’s top series will fly around the 1.5-mile oval at speeds of more than 192-mph. Next weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, one of the fastest unrestricted tracks on the Sprint Cup tour, those speeds could edge even higher.  To Joan Higginbotham, it all seems rather slow.

Of course, it’s hard to top making laps around the earth at 17,500-mph, so fast that days and nights go by in 45-minutes, all of it propelled off the starting line by solid rocket boosters that generate seven million pounds of thrust. And yet, a former NASA astronaut like Higginbotham can probably relate to NASCAR drivers, given the commonalities between the two professions – such as the forces felt on the body, the drag on their machines, the advanced materials and technologies that built their respective vehicles, and the suits that keep them safe.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Dale Earnhardt Jr talks about his driving force
Dale Earnhardt Jr has been in this position before – last year at this time in fact. The question is: Can he take the next step?

The Sprint Cup Series enjoys one of its few weeks off this week but please forgive Earnhardt if he and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team choose to savor the moment. Six races into the 2012 season, Earnhardt is six points out of the series points lead. He still remains mired in his career-worse winless streak, but he is again consistently running up front and contending for race wins.

This same scenario unfolded about this time last year and Earnhardt did manage to make the Chase for the Cup, but ended the year without a victory and seventh in points. Can he maintain this level of performance for 36 races?

Read more from The Republic

Holding their own: Nationwide drivers proving they can compete against Cup stars
When Ricky Stenhouse Jr won the Nationwide Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway earlier this year, he became the first non-Cup driver to win a Nationwide race at that track in the 16-year history of the event.  It also marked Stenhouse’s first career victory during a companion weekend when Nationwide cars compete on the same track as the Sprint Cup regulars.

Throughout the last decade, it became more and more rare for a Nationwide regular to win races against Sprint Cup stars like Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch. That appears to be changing though.

Read more from Sporting News

MIS repave track should produce even higher speeds, three-wide racing
The dust has settled at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn following a Goodyear tire test on the newly repaved track. What can you take away from cars running lap after lap Tuesday and Wednesday on the 2-mile oval in the Irish Hills?

Well, for those who’ll be at the NASCAR weekend June 15-17 at MIS buckle your seatbelts. It’s going to be fast, my friends. MIS’s first repave since 1995 has left the track smooth as a baby’s bottom and lightning quick.

Read more from Detroit Free Press

Can Stewart-Haas Keep Rolling?
Tony Stewart will be gunning for his second straight win at Texas Motor Speedway next weekend…Is the Stewart-Haas Racing streak sustainable?

Stewart-Haas drivers have won two straight races (Tony Stewart at Auto Club Speedway and Ryan Newman at Martinsville Speedway), and perhaps more impressively, the team has won eight (Stewart scoring seven) of the past 16 Sprint Cup races, dating to the first race in the Chase last season.

Read more from SPEED

The eyes of electronic fuel injection
Just six weeks after replacing the tried and true carburetor, electronic fuel injection already has proven to be a game-changing technology in NASCAR – both in a good and bad way.

Just about everyone knows about Tony Stewart’s balky circuit breaker at Phoenix, and the failed fuel pumps suffered by Penske’s two drivers at Las Vegas. Those teething problems were surprising but not unexpected.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Annual Kyle Petty charity motorcycle ride to begin in Napa, CA on April 28
For the past 17 years racer-turned-broadcaster Kyle Petty has led a cross-country motorcycle ride to raise money for several youth-focused medical charities. Usually, the Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America starts on the West Coast and works its way toward North Carolina, ending at the family’s Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, near Greensboro.

Read more from AutoWeek

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.  

Biffle Ends Drought with Win at Texas

Biffle takes the checkered flag at Texas
Photo – Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

Greg Biffle takes the checkered flag Saturday night in Texas after making a late race pass on Jimmie Johnson with 30 laps to go. 

Johnson for the second straight week lost his chance of getting team owner Rick Hendrick win number 200 as Biffle gained a decent lead over Johnson and crossed the line first.

The biggest story of the night is the 234 laps that were run under green flag conditions. This is a record-breaking statistic and once again, some race fans found the race boring. Will Texas Motor Speedway suffer from the “boring race” syndrome with a drop in attendance in November?  

Pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. led the first 30 laps before eventual race winner Greg Biffle passes Truex Jr. for the lead.

The first caution of the day came out on lap 67 for debris, letting the field line up again for some action on the restart. 

The second and final caution of the day came out when 2011 Daytona 500 champion Trevor Bayne got into the turn three wall. Bayne found little success during the race weekend in Texas after not being able to race Friday nights’ Nationwide race due to lack of sponsorship. Bayne won the 2011 Nationwide Texas race last November. Bayne had a fast Sprint Cup car but couldn’t show results Saturday night.

On lap 113 Jimmie Johnson passed Greg Biffle for the lead. Eventually pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. would gain the lead after green flag pit stops, then in the midst of the 234-lap green-flag-run, Jimmie Johnson would regain the lead, leading almost every lap to the finish. With 30 laps to go, Greg Biffle would take over the lead for the final time. Johnson was trying to catch Biffle but Jimmie tried too hard and got into the wall slightly, never catching up with Biffle’s No. 16 car

On the last lap Marcos Ambrose, who had been so strong throughout the race, ran out of fuel, taking a good finish away from his efforts. 

Greg Biffle crossed the line just behind two lap cars, taking the win. Biffle was ecstatic to break his 49-race winless drought. 

When addressing media members following the race Biffle said “I knew it was a matter of time until I was going to win one of these.” 

Biffle also grows his points lead over teammate Matt Kenseth. Rounding out the top five in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway are Jimmie Johnson second, Mark Martin third, Jeff Gordon fourth and Matt Kenseth fifth. 

Greg Biffle is looking to continue his success next week at Kansas Speedway, striving to become the only driver in NASCAR history to win a championship in all three premiere series’.