Which concrete King will reign in The Monster…and beyond?

The Monster – Dover International Speedway

By Fan4Racing

This week the Sprint Cup teams are heading to the Monster Mile at Dover International Speedway, one of two concrete tracks on the circuit. At Dover and on concrete since 2008, there is one team that stands out along with one crew chief, and they will be going head-to-head to reign in the Monster at the FedEx 400 this weekend. 

Among active drivers, the most successful driver-crew chief combination at Dover has been Johnson and Knaus with six wins, nearly half of Hendrick Motorsports, total 13 wins at the track. Johnson found early success, winning twice in 2002, then again in 2005. He repeated his Dover sweep in 2009 and then won again in 2010. 

As impressive as those numbers are, since 2008 there is someone with an equal number of three wins at Dover and greater overall success on concrete tracks.  

Looking at NASCARS’ only two concrete surface tracks – Dover and Bristol – between 2008 and 2011, with eight races at each track, there’s one crew chief that stands out among the rest. With two different drivers, he has earned four wins – three at Dover, six top-threes, seven top-fives and nine top-tens with drivers – Kurt and Kyle Busch. The two drivers have combined to lead 1,398 laps; 1026 led by Kyle and 372 laps led by Kurt. During this time, the two drivers were outside the top-20 only three times. The crew chief behind these drivers’ success – Steve Addington. 

Addington in Daytona January 2012
Photo – Jared C Tilton/Getty Images

Addington is now at Stewart-Haas Racing as crew chief for the 2011 Sprint Cup champion, Tony Stewart. In an interview this week, Stewart was asked about his past success at the track and he acknowledged, in more recent years the track has proven to be challenging. “Whatever we’ve had in the past, we’re not bringing back,”  said Stewart. “I told Steve (Addington), I don’t care what package you put in the car, just make sure it isn’t what we ran the last two races there.”

In the same 2008 to 2011 time frame, Stewart has notched zero wins, two second-place finishes and five top-ten results with 275 laps led and seven finishes outside the top-20. Despite his recent not-so-good results, Stewart goes into this weekend with a great deal of confidence in his crew chief – Steve Addington – who he considers his competitive advantage.  

During the same media interview as Stewart, Addington was asked about how different his set-up is on concrete tracks? “Well, it’s a different animal just because of the speeds you carry at both those places – Dover and Bristol,” said Addington. “Keeping our tires and tire geometry to where we really watch our camber wear and stuff like that, because it’ll mislead you in places like that and you can get off. That’s the big thing – our front-end geometry and how we put the ride in the car.” Addington’s, impressive results on concrete tracks, reveal he knows what he’s talking about, when it comes to competing for a win at Dover.

With the regular season at the half-way point at the conclusion of the FedEx 400, this race will confirm for fans who to watch for the next half of the season going into the Chase.

Knowing the recent success of the #48 team and Steve Addington – particularly on concrete – it seems there’s an interesting concrete King match up developing for this weekend. Which King will reign in The Monster?  

Add to the equation, that since 2002, there are only two drivers with a total of eight championships between them – Stewart and Johnson – it becomes even more clear they are the two main drivers to watch and not just this weekend as they continue to position themselves for their next crowning title.  

For fans it will be fun and perhaps even historic to watch these two championship teams compete. But now the question we are all wondering – is there anyone else this year that will step up to challenge Johnson or Stewart beyond this weekend?

Will Ganassi teams show their strength with another sweep?

Well before his race teams existed, Chip Ganassi competed in several Indianapolis 500s as a driver. In 1984 he drove for the IndyCar team, Patrick Racing and just four years later in 1988, Ganassi purchased an interest in his team. 

Although he retired from driving that same year, he was still part of Patrick Racing when they won the Indianapolis 500 in 1989. With his eye on owning his team, Ganassi parted ways with Patrick Racing in 1990 and developed his relationship with Target as his team sponsor.

His team, Chip Ganassi Racing, has found some degree of success in CART, IndyCar, NASCAR, and Grand-AM. For example, the CART and IndyCar side of his organization has accumulated nine championships and 50 wins. 

Earning the right to be in victory lane and hoisting the winning trophy high is what every driver races for in every event. But there are three trophies that stand apart from the rest as most-wanted by racers and team owners as well. 

For those in NASCAR’s top series, the ultimate rewards to win are the Harley J. Earl trophy from the Daytona 500 and the PPG trophy from the Brickyard 400. In IndyCar, the ultimate prize is the Borg-Warner trophy, awarded to the winner of the Indianapolis 500. 

To win any of these three is truly a big honor, but to win all three is a rare trifeca, bringing a great deal of admiration to any team owner and his associated drivers, accomplishing such a feat.  
McMurray, Ganassi and Franchitti with their Daytona 500 and Indy 500 trophies Photo – IMS Facebook
In 2010, Ganassi’s NASCAR team – now known as Earnhardt Ganassi Racing – with driver Jamie McMurray behind the wheel, won both the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400. 

In the same season, adding the frosting to the cake, Chip Ganassi Racing’s IndyCar driver, Dario Franchitti won the Indianapolis 500, which for Ganassi was his third trip to Victory Lane as a primary owner in the marquee event. But the first time any racing team won all three prestigious trophies in the same season, making the accomplishment not only special for the team, but historic for racing as a sport.  

Currently, Chip Ganassi fields three entries in the IZOD IndyCar seriesGraham Rahal drives for sponsor, Service Central and sits 14th in the point standings – 103 points back from the series’ point leader, Will Power. Dario Franchitti drives one of the team’s two Target cars, and scored his first win this season in the prestigous Indianapolis 500 this past weekend. With his win, Franchitti is now 6th in the point standings and 64 points behind Will Power. Scott Dixon drives the other Target car and is currently ranked 4th, just 47 points away from the leader.  
On the NASCAR side, there are Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s two teams with drivers, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. Following the Coke 600, Juan sits 18th in the point standings while Jamie is ranked 21st. Both drivers are currently winless this season. 

Dario’s Indy 500 win, opens a window of opportunity for the two racing series’ Ganassi teams to sweep both Indy races this season. But, with the Daytona 500 won by Matt Kenseth at Roush Fenway Racing, they will not have a shot at repeating the history they made in 2010. 

Ganassi’s 2010 Indy Sweep Trophies Indy 500 and Brickyard 400 Photo – NASCAR.com/Autostock
In February 2011, Chip Ganassi’s comments in a NASCAR.com interview are revealing at how focused he can be on accomplishing this goal, despite the team’s lack-luster season. Although Ganassi’s IndyCar teams are all ranked within the top-15, his NASCAR teams are performing similar to their 2010 season and ranked outside the top-15. The question now becomes – are McMurray and Montoya prepared to put their teams in position between now and July’s Brickyard 400 to bring home Ganassi’s second Indy trophy of the season and another PPG Trophy for the NASCAR team?

“We had a great year last year (2010) and we didn’t make the Chase. And I’m telling you, there were cars that finished in front of us who made the Chase and didn’t have as good a year as we did.” 

In his final comments of the interview, Ganassi went on to say, 

“If we had the same year in 2011 that we had in 2010, I would not be disappointed. …Let’s just say this: if you win the right races, making or not making the Chase doesn’t become so important.”

Chip Ganassi has come a long way since his days of driving a race car in the 80s. But his desire to win these prestigious trophies continues to run deep for this successful team owner. There’s plenty of reason to believe, Mr. Ganassi and his NASCAR teams will be working hard to join their IndyCar counterpart and will do everything possible for another season sweep with a second Indianapolis Motor Speedway trophy in July.

Co-written by Michelle Lesener and Fan4Racing

Kahne Wins His Third Coca-Cola 600

Kahne celebartes in victroy lane 
Photo – Getty Images-

By Jason Schultz

Kasey Kahne wins his first race 
driving a Hendrick Motorsports car Sunday night in Charlotte. 

Kahne, making his 300thcareer start in the Sprint Cup Series, finds no better way to celebrate than by winning the Coca-Cola 600. Denny Hamlin, unable to catch Kahne in the closing laps, left Kahne leading at the finish line to win his third Coca Cola 600. 

In the beginning laps, pole sitter Aric Almirola exchanges the lead with teammate Marcos Ambrose a few times, with Greg Biffle taking the lead from Ambrose on lap nine. Biffle and Ambrose then battle back and forth with Biffle taking the lead from Ambrose on lap 23.

The first round of green-flag pit stops begin on lap 45, with Biffle remaining the leader after the cycle of stops. There is another round of green-flag pit stops before the race sees it’s first caution of the night. 

On lap 112, the first caution comes out for debris, and on the restart, Ambrose is the leader followed by; McMurray, Biffle, Kyle Busch and Kahne. 

Kyle Busch then takes the lead from Ambrose on lap 121, but on lap 125, Biffle passes Kyle Busch for the lead. 

The second caution comes out on lap 134 for debris in turn one, with Jeff Gordon staying out and taking the lead coming to the restart. 

The only caution, involving a driver making contact with the wall, comes out on lap 170 when Travis Kvapil hits the wall in turns three and four. The next caution comes out on lap 177, again for debris. 

Eventually A.J Allmendinger takes his car behind the wall for severely locked  front brakes. He later returns to the track, with a disappointing 33rd place finish.

On lap 192 Greg Biffle takes the lead from Kyle Busch and at the halfway point of the race, Biffle is still leading followed by; Kyle Busch, Kahne, Johnson and Kenseth. 

The next round of green-flag pit stops begin around lap 216. A dominant car early, the No. 9 of Marcos Ambrose, goes behind the wall with an issue similar to Allmendinger’s. In an interview with FOX, Ambrose says, “this is just how are season is going,”  and he eventually finishes the race, just ahead of Allmendinger in position 32.

On lap 280, Kahne passes Biffle for the lead and with just one hundred laps to go in the longest race of the season, Kahne remains the leader followed by; Biffle, Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Johnson. 

Green-flag pit stops begin again on lap 304 and end with Hamlin as the leader but Biffle quickly passes him, and once again takes the lead. With just 86 laps to go, there are only ten cars on the lead lap. 

On lap 316,  Kahne takes the lead and three laps later, the yellow-flag flies for debris. For this caution, Nos.11 and 88 stay out, giving them the top-two spots for the restart. 

Kasey Kahne wastes no time, by overtaking both Earnhardt Jr and Hamlin for the lead on lap 333. 

With 47 laps to go, the final round of green-flag pit stops begin. The No.48 team loses their shot at winning when the gas can – still attached to the car – exits their pit stall, giving Johnson a stop and go penalty. 

Denny Hamlin is unable to catch Kahne in the closing laps and Kasey Kahne goes on to win his first race of the season and his first win with Hendrick Motorsports. 

After a slow start in 2012 season for Kahne and the rest of the Hendrick organization, they are making their presence known with wins in the last three races, and the best cars on the track week in and week out. Kahne, all smiles in victory lane, was excited to win his third Coca Cola 600. 

Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware and a race filled with excitement looms.

1. Kasey Kahne
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Carl Edwards
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Martin Truex Jr.
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Ryan Newman
15. Paul Menard
16. Aric Almirola
17. Regan Smith
18. Landon Cassill
19. Jeff Burton
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. Jamie McMurray
22. Casey Mears
23. Joey Logano
24. Trevor Bayne
25. Tony Stewart
26. David Gilliland
27. Kurt Busch
28. Bobby Labonte
29. Travis Kvapil
30. Danica Patrick
31. T.J Bell
32. Marcos Ambrose
33. A.J Allmendinger
34. Mark Martin
35. David Ragan
36. Michael McDowell
37. Scott Speed
38. David Stremme
39. Stephen Leicht
40. Dave Blaney
41. Joe Nemechek
42. Cole Whitt
43. Josh Wise

Points Top-Five
1.  Greg Biffle
2.  Matt Kenseth
3.  Denny Hamlin
4.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5.  Jimmie Johnson

News & Views – Volume 27 – May 21 – 27, 2012

News & Views – Volume 27
For the week of May 21 – 27, 2012

“That was the dumbest thing I’ve done ever in racing tonight. That was it. I may have done some smart things, but that was the dumbest one.”
– Rick Hendrick about riding on Johnson’s car as part of the 2012 All-Star victory celebration.

And what a week it’s been for Hendrick Motorsport’s and the #48 Team beginning with their 200th win at Darlington, winning the Pit Crew Challenge on Thursday, Dale Earnhardt Jr winning the Sprint Showdown, followed by Jimmie Johnson winning the the Sprint All-Star Race. A week they and their fans will remember for quite a long time.

As for the racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway, some are not quite so happy with the strategy used to win the race on Saturday night. While fans did get to see some great racing action on the track, the winners of each segment spent the rest of their race – until the final ten-lap shootout – riding at the back of the pack.  First, Johnson, then Kenseth, and finally Keselowski. Although Keselowski had to be coaxed to fall in line with the strategy, as the very idea of not racing for a win was so contrary to how he wanted to race the race. Dale Jr. went directly from winning segment four to the final shootout laps. 

It seems NASCAR is quite aware of fan’s concerns and are taking steps to improve on-track racing. So it will be interesting to see what kind of changes might take place in the coming weeks.  

Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, May 27, 2012
2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 Race Results

Kahne wins his fourth at CMS
Photo – Chuck Burton/AP

Kasey Kahne, making his 300th NSCS career start and for the third time, won the 2012 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Sunday night. And, he did it with a comfortable 4.295 second lead over second-place finisher, Denny Hamlin.

This was Kahne’s first series win of the 2012 season, his first win with Hendrick Motorsports, his thirteenth series career win and his fourth series win at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This also becomes the fastest Coca-Cola 600 to date at 3 hours, 51 minutes, 14 seconds – the previous fastest was the 1995 race at 3 hours, 56 minutes, 55 seconds.

Following Kahne and Hamlin to the drop of the checkered flag were Kyle Busch finishing third, the current series point leader Greg Biffle – who led the most laps, 240 out of 400 – fourth and Brad Keselowski finishing in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Dale Earnhardt Jr, who finished in sixth, Jeff Gordan seventh, Kevin Harvick eighth, Carl Edwards ninth and Matt Kenseth finishing in the tenth position.

Biffle, with his fourth-place finish, added a couple more points on his Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Matt Kenseth, and now leads Kenseth by 10-points in the series point standings.

Race Results
Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Coca-Cola 600 draws a worldwide audience to Charlotte
After 11 time zones and 25 hours in the air, it’s no surprise that Trevor and Lyn Denton slept in before heading to meet their favorite NASCAR driver Thursday. Their trip from southern Australia totaled nearly 10,400 miles and provided a half-world’s worth of jet lag.

But visiting Richard Petty Motorsports and Australian NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose in Concord on Thursday morning made the uncomfortable airplane seats worth it.

Read more from That’s Racin

NASCAR drivers find fuel for body is important
Six hours and 600 miles is a long time to spend in a race cars.

So what do NASCAR drivers do when the stomach starts grumbling in the middle of Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the Sprint Cup year?

Read more from KCTV5

Penske Looks for Sweep
Brad Keselowski broke into a huge smile in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield Media Center after winning Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the venerable North Carolina track.

But as Keselowski and every Penske employee knows, what happened on Saturday was only a warm-up for today, when the man known as “The Captain” will go for his record 16th Indianapolis 500 and only his second Coca-Cola 600 victory.

Read more from SPEED

Johnson-Earnhardt Jr collaboration paying off
That’s been standard operating procedure for Rick Hendrick since 2002, when the championship car owner expanded to accommodate a fourth Sprint Cup program headlined by a then-unknown driver named Jimmie Johnson. Hendrick paired the new outfit in a building with the more experienced team of Jeff Gordon, and the result was an explosive progression that netted 71 combined victories for the stablemates during the ensuing eight years.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Saturday, May 26, 2012
2012 NNS HISTORY 300 Race Results

Brad Keselowski celebrates
in Victory Lane at CMS
Photo – AP/Chuck Burton

On Saturday, the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion, Brad Keselowski, was able to hold off a hard charging Denny Hamlin, as he won the HISTORY 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway by 0.838 seconds.

This was Keselowski’s first series win of the 2012 season, his eighteenth series career win and his second series win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Following Keselowski and Hamlin to the drop of the checkered flag were Kyle Busch finishing third, Kevin Harvick – led the most laps, 92 of the 200 that were run – fourth and Elliott Sadler finishing in fifth.

Pole-sitter Joey Logano led 26-laps early, but his efforts resulted in a sixth-place finish, while James Buescher finished seventh, Justin Allgaier eighth, Sam Hornish Jr ninth and making his series debut with Richard Childress Racing, Joey Coulter, rounding out the top-ten finishing positions.

The current series points leader and defending series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, suffered a broken drive shaft early but was able to return and finish in the 26th position – 21 laps down, and now olds a 132-point lead over Elliott Sadler.

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – Time to take on “The Monster Mile” at Dover International Speedway for the 31st annual 5-hour ENERGY 200 at approximately 2:20pm ET on Saturday, June 2nd. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 1:30 pm ET pre-race show.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Keys for Success at the Coca-Cola 600
Howard Comstock – SRT Motorsports Engineering
A Tale of two Races – “The first 300 miles are going to be in the heat and the last 300 miles are going to be a lot different. If you don’t have adjustability built into the cars, you’re going to suffer because it’ll be hot and slippery the first part of the race and we see this race get faster as it goes on, rather than getting slower. Even though the track gets rubbered up, there’s no substitute at Charlotte for that cool night air and losing the sunlight off the race track. However, you’ve got your car adjusted for the first half, you better be able to adjust it for that second half.”

Experienced Crew Chief Have the Edge – “The experienced crew chief is going to know what to do in the second half of the race; I think that’s key. That’s why this race seems to have favored more experienced crew chiefs.”

Too Much Made of the Extra 100 Miles? – “No, especially this year, given some of the issues we’ve seen with fuel delivery in these cars. You’re looking at having the most severe test yet of the new fuel injection system. The fuel injection system is better, there’s no doubt about it, but we’ve seen some teams go through some teething pains. That last hundred miles tomorrow night will be the last test of that.”

Two Tires for Track Position? – “I think you’ve got to put two tires out of your mind for a long time. I think we’ll see some guys before halfway try two tires, but I’m not sure the track will be cool enough yet for that to really mean anything. When the crew chiefs are staring at 600 miles, the last thing on their mind is two tires or four early in the race.”

Avoid Short Pitting – ” I think the guys in the back will run hard but the guys up front in clean air, I think they’ll manage their run. You can’t get in a game where you start early pitting in a 600-mile race. You can’t start playing that game. At Darling, you might be able to play that game but here you’ve got to run full fuel runs in the first half of this race at least before you can start trying to play a track-position game.”

Heat – “It’s a big factor. This race really doesn’t start at night. It starts at six and there’s still plenty of daylight left. That’s why I think that first hundred miles is tough on everybody.”

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 Final Practice Session Speeds
Wrapping up the final 2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 practice session Saturday afternoon, it was Brad Keselowski, with a lap speed of 183.692-mph, who was the quickest at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Carl Edwards, with a lap speed of 183.349-mph, was the second fastest, while both Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson had the identical lap speed of 183.231-mph, and were recorded third and fourth quickest respectively, and Joey Logano 182.921 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Tony Stewart 182.908-mph who was sixth quickest, Matt Kenseth 182.815 seventh, AJ Allmendinger 182.753 eighth, Kurt Busch 182.513 ninth and Jeff Burton 182.445 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

All that is left next on the track for the drivers is the longest race of the season, as the teams head back to the track Sunday evening for the 6:20pm ET approximate start of the Coca-Cola 600. FOX will bring the television coverage to the viewers beginning with their 5:30pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 Weather Forecast for Charlotte Motor Speedway – Isolated Storms
The weather forecast for NASCAR’s longest race – the Coca-Cola 600 – and today’s Nationwide race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be mostly dry, hot and humid. There’s just the smallest threat of an isolated storm on Sunday.

Read more from WX-Man at SB Nation

2012 NNS HISTORY 300 Starting Lineup
Joey Logano, with a qualifying lap speed of 179.063-mph, captured the 2012 NNS HISTORY 300 Coors Light Pole Award at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

This was Logano’s third series pole of the 2012 season, his nineteenth series career pole, and his first series pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Starting second on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 178.968-mph, will be series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, followed by Danica Patrick 178.932-mph starting third, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 178.873 fourth and Sam Hornish Jr 178.312 starting fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Elliott Sadler 178.183-mph staring from sixth, Kevin Harvick 178.112 seventh, James Buescher 177.889 eighth, Brian Scott 177.760 ninth and Brad Keselowski 177.445 will start from the tenth position.

Only 43 drivers/teams attempted to qualify for the 43 starting positions, so there was no failing to make the starting lineup.

Today’s 31st annual HISTORY 300 is set to get underway this afternoon around 2:45pm EST with ESPN on ABC providing television coverage beginning at 2:30pm ET.

Starting Lineup

Provided by Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 Second Practice Session Speeds
This past Thursday, the NSCS teams had their first Coca-Cola 600 practice session; as well as, qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway. And, after a day of no track activity on Friday, the teams returned on Saturday for their final two practice sessions before Sunday night’s race.

In Saturday morning’s session, it was Denny Hamlin with a lap speed of 186.239-mph, on top of the speed charts at the end of the session, and was followed by Paul Menard 186.123-mph who was second fastest, Carl Edwards 186.021 third, Kyle Busch 185.970 fourth and Martin Truex Jr 185.899 was the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the practice were Jimmie Johnson 185.701-mph who was sixth fastest, Brad Keselowski 185.631 seventh, Clint Bowyer 185.624 eighth, Kevin Harvick 185.395 ninth and Ryan Newman 185.331 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track this afternoon for their 1 – 2pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session, and then it’s racing Sunday night at approximately 6:20pm ET with FOX beginning their pre-race coverage at 5:30pm ET.

2nd Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Ultimate authority: NASCAR’s Mike Helton
The green flag for the Southern 500 is about eight hours away when Mike Helton arrives for lunch at the Raceway Grill, just beyond Turn 2 at Darlington Raceway.

Helton, the president and chief operating officer of NASCAR, arrives at the one-story restaurant in a golf cart driven by someone else, who finds a parking spot near the door.

Read more from That’s Racin’

Friday, May 25, 2012
Section of I-85 dedicated in honor of Gordon
A 1.6-mile section of I-85 from the city of Charlotte corporate limits to the Cabarrus County line was dedicated Friday as the Jeff Gordon Expressway.

North Carolina transportation secretary Gene Conti joined NC Board of transportation member John Collett, vice chairman of the Mecklenburg County board of commissioners Jim Pendergraph, NASCAR President Mike Helton and Rick Hendrick for the ceremony.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Battle of Indianapolis vs. Charlotte not necessary
The question comes up every Memorial Day weekend – which race is bigger, the Indianapolis 500 or the Coca-Cola 600?

The answer is without a doubt Indianapolis.

Read more from Eye On NASCAR

Made in the USA? Not entirely for NASCAR in 2013
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said series officials will take a look this summer at the rule on what type of cars can compete in the Sprint Cup Series next year.

Read more from USA Today

NASCAR and Activision Announce ‘Drive for the Cover’ Campaign
In the first press conference held today in the Charlotte Motor Speedway media center, officials from NASCAR and Activision announced a new program that will allow race fans the chance to vote for the driver who will be featured on the cover of the new version of NASCAR – The Game – Inside Line video game.

Read more from Who Won

Tony Stewart sporting head wound after diving into lake
Defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was sporting a bandage covering a wound on the right side of his forehead Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

After a frustrating performance in the Sprint All-Star Race last Saturday night, it would make sense if Stewart had banged his head against his car.

That wasn’t the case. Instead, he jumped in the lake.

Read more from Sporting News

Aric Almirola king for a day – sort of
All had been introduced at the front table of the Charlotte Motor Speedway infield media center on Thursday night and the moderator was ready to begin the news conference with a statement from pole sitter Aric Almirola of Richard Petty Motorsports.

“I guess it’s the first time we’ve ever won a pole…” team co-owner Richard Petty began. Almirola interrupted: “Hey, it’s my turn! He said me!”

Petty flashed his oh-so-familiar smile underneath his oh-so-familiar dark sunglasses, mustache and trademark black cowboy hat with the peacock feather.

“I’m talkin,” said Petty, whose cars swept the front row for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 with Marcos Ambrose taking the second spot. “Keep quiet, we’ve just go you along for the ride.”

“The King” had spoken.

And with that the world of motorsports seemed right again.

Read more from ESPN

Thursday, May 24, 2012
2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 Starting Lineup
Aric Almirola and teammate Marcos Ambrose will make it an all-Richard Petty Motorsports front row in Sunday’s NSCS Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as Almirola captured his first series Coors Light Pole Award with a qualifying lap speed of 192.940-mph.

Ambrose, with a qualifying lap speed of 191.598-mph, will start next to his teammate, and they will be followed by last week’s All-Star race winner, Jimmie Johnson 192.374-mph who will start third, current series points leader, Greg Biffle 191.259 fourth and Clint Bowyer 191.198 will start fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Mark Martin 191.171-mph who will start from sixth, Kasey Kahne 191.130 seventh, Denny Hamlin 190.887 eighth, Paul Menard 190.597 ninth and Regan Smith 190.456 will start from the tenth position.

With 47 drivers attempting to fill 43 starting positions, four drivers/teams had to go home. Failing to make the starting lineup were the #19 driven by Mike Bliss; #73 driven by David Reutimann; #49 driven by JJ Yeley and the #23 driven by Scott Riggs.

No on track activity is planned for Friday, so the teams will return to action on Saturday for two more practice sessions at 10-10:55am and “Happy Hour” 1-2pm ET and then Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled to get started around 6:20pm ET on Sunday. Television coverage will be provided by Fox beginning with their 5:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Coca-Cola 600 First Practice Session Speeds
Marcos Ambrose, with a lap speed of 189.215-mph, was the fastest during the first NSCS Coca-Cola 600 practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Landon Cassill was second fastest with a lap speed of 189.182-mph, and was followed by AJ Allmendinger 189.409-mph who was third fastest, Greg Biffle 188.344 fourth and Clint Bowyer 188.016 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during practice were Aric Almirola 187.996 who was sixth fastest, Joey Logano 187.983 seventh, Kyle Busch 187.931 eighth, Denny Hamlin 187.774 ninth and Mark Martin 187.754 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

Qualifying is up next for the teams as they will return this evening at 7:10pm ET and then won’t return to action on the track again until Saturday for two more practice sessions – there will be no track activity on Friday.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS HISTORY 300 First Practice Session Speeds
Brad Keselowski, with a lap speed of 179.635-mph, was the quickest during the first NNS HISTORY 300 practice session at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Second quickest with a lap speed of 179.569-mph, was Kevin Harvick, followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr, 179.503-mph who was third quickest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt 179.468 fourth and Joey Logano 178.772 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during practice were James Buescher 178.678-mph who was sixth fastest, Kasey Kahne 178.430 seventh, Joey Coulter 178.406 eighth, Mike Bliss 178.283 ninth and Elliott Sadler 178.147 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The team will have their “Happy Hour” – final – practice session from 5:10 – 6:30pm ET this evening, and then return on Saturday for their 11:05am ET qualifying session. The HISTORY 300 is scheduled to get underway Saturday afternoon at approximately 2:45pm ET with television coverage provided by ABC

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Joe Gibbs may be the only one who can rein in Kurt Busch
Joe Gibbs is one of the most respected men in sports, so when he uttered these words on Tuesday – “We love Kurt (Busch)’ – the immediate reaction was one of shock and disbelief.

As in, “What the heck is he thinking?”

Read more from Sporting News

Paisley Performs for Hendrick Motorsports Celebration in North Carolina
Brad Paisley performed a full show for Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte, NC Tuesday night in celebration of the company’s 200th NASCAR win. 

Read more from WMDH

NASCAR drivers toward innovation
The era of NASCAR’s benevolent dictatorship is slowly fading.

After six decades, the sport realizes the importance of venturing outside its inner circle in search of fresh concepts from the brightest minds inside the garage and beyond. While the sanctioning body has incorporated focus groups on marketing side of the equation, change – in the form of innovation and technology – is also coming to NASCAR.

Read more from FOX Sports

NHOF – Herb Thomas Heads 2013 Hall Class
The 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class features a mix of the old and the new, with pioneers of the sport joining a contemporary racer. Three drivers made the cut, as well as one driver and team owner, and one team owner best known for his mechanical prowess.

Inducted this year were Herb Thomas, Leonard Wood, Rusty Wallace, Cotton Owens and Buck Baker. The five were announced Wednesday night live on SPEED during NASCAR Race Hub.

Read more from SPEED

Jeff Green Continues to Sub for Eric McClure at Charlotte Motor Speedway
2000 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion Jeff Green will continue to sub for the team’s injured primary driver Eric McClure, who is still awaiting for medical clearance to return to NNS competition. The Owensboro KY native will be competing in his 319th-career Nationwide Series start and his 23rd at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In 22 starts at the speedway, the 49-year-old driver has two wins, six top-five, and ten top-ten finishes.

From Team McClure Inc-PR

Rusty Wallace surprised, humbled by selection for NASCAR Hall of Fame
Rusty Wallace drove with an air about him and a sense of confidence that he wouldn’t be beat on the race track.

But with his name on the NASCAR Hall of Fame ballot for the first time, Wallce didn’t display that same confidence Wednesday, unsure if he would be among the five-member 2013 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Read more from Sporting News

2012 Coke 600 Weather Forecast
NASCAR continues to get spoiled by another rain-free weekend, as we stay at Charlotte Motor Speedway for NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600.

Read more from SB Nation/WX-Man

2012 Indy 500 Weather Forecast – Feel More Like August Than May
Rain won’t be a problem this year for the Indianapolis 500, it will be the heat. As I was putting together this weekend’s forecast, I felt like I was forecasting for the NASCAR Brickyard 400 rather than the Indianapolis 500.

Read more from SB Nation/WX-Man

Wednesday, May 23, 2013
Danica Looks to Make History at Charlotte Motor Speedway
“Danica-mania” will make a stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the biggest Memorial Day tailgate party in the world this weekend, as the 30-year-old Illinois native continues to test her mettle against NASCAR’s best competition at the Coca-Cola 600.

With a start in the Coca-Cola 600, Patrick would become just the second woman to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte’s 1.5-mile superspeedway, an attempt that comes 36 years after another woman – Janet Guthrie – shook the male-dominated motorsports establishment to its very foundation.

Read more from CMS-PR

Chevrolet Racing teams make adjustments
Team Chevy in the garage Charlotte Motor Speedway – Alba Colon, program manager – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Chevrolet Racing: “We are back in Charlotte, NC for a second week in a row and Team Chevy is looking forward to another successful race weekend…”

“Last week’s All-Star race was very important for our Chevy teams to try different race set-ups, engines combinations, and other elements that we can use not only at this race, but for other upcoming 1.5-mile tracks. It was a valuable opportunity to evaluate the performance of the race cars, make notes and see what will likely work this weekend.”

Read more from Motorsport .com

NASCAR to announce Hall of Fame class Wednesday
NASCAR will announce the five inductees into its 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class Wednesday night.

SPEED will televise the event live, following a special preview show at 5pm, followed by the announcement at 6pm.

Read more from Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
NASCAR trumps IndyCar in fan appeal
NASCAR began its season on fire, literally, and continues to leave a blistering trail across America.

IndyCar racing is a hot mess, with a chill of indifference.

The comparisons between the two brands are obvious. It’s chardonnay and Gouda cheese versus Budweiser and Cheez-Its. Polo shirts versus tank tops. French accents versus Southern twangs.

Read more from Chicago Tribune

Easy NASCAR Hall Voting Is Thing Of The Past
As we walked toward the room in the Charlotte Convention Center prior to voting for the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame three years ago, a colleague shook his head and said, man, this could be tough.

Yep, I said, but not as tough as things will get in a couple of years.

Read more from Racin Today

Garage Swap: Cup Series Takes Center Stage
The north end garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been home to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series for nearly two decades. But when stock car racing’s premier circuit returns to Loudon for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 15, they will have a new home in the infield center garage, a move that is expected to make life easier for teams and fans alike.

Read more from NHMS-PR

Roush Fenway to Host Google+ Hangout Live from Annual Fan Day
Roush Fenway Racing will host a Google+ Hangout live from its annual Spring Fan Day this Thursday May 24 from its World Headquarters in Concord, NC. The hangout will be hosted by Crush IQ social guru Tim Moor and will feature various Roush Fenway drivers and personalities.

Read more from RFR-PR

The number 3 keeps popping up
Now, I realize this is kind of fun and really has no bearing on what will happen by the end of the season, but has anyone stopped to look who is third in points in all three of NASCAR’s top-tier racing series?

Read more from FOX Sports

Next five NASCAR Hall of Fame spots appear to be anybody’s guess
In the hours before the voting, there doesn’t seem to be a consensus about the next five inductees for inclusion into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The fourth-annual class will be unveiled at 6pm on Wednesday in Charlotte, NC, with Speed on hand to broadcast the live one-hour presentation.

Read more from AutoWeek

Franchitti and Johnson follow each other from afar
They’ve got nine championships between them and a combined five victories on the single most prolific day of racing of the year.

Dario Franchitti and Jimmie Johnson also share a friendship, even if it’s from afar. They follow each other’s races, text back and forth during the season and give the public a glimpse of their mutual admiration via Twitter.

Read more from Sports Illustrated

Is Kurt Busch’s future at Joe Gibbs Racing? Kyle Busch would like it
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday it has a new contract with Toyota, which has been a part of its family since 2008 and will be for many more years to come.

Could JGR’s next big contract be to add someone who has family ties to its successful operation?

Read more from Sporting News

Sadler docked six points for Iowa infractions
NASCAR has penalized the No. 2 team in the Nationwide Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during post-race inspection Sunday at Iowa Speedway.

The No. 2 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4 (any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules); and 20A-12.8.1C (body height requirements – car failed to meet the minimum rear car heights) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.

As a result, crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined $10,000, while owner DeLana Harvick and driver Elliott Sadler have been penalized with the loss of six championship owner and six championship driver points, respectively.


Toyota locks up Gibbs, Waltrip teams with long-term deals
Toyota Racing Development President Lee White said, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing and JTG Daugherty Racing “on very long runways and will be with us for years to come” in NASCAR’s premier series.

Read more from USA Today

America’s Best-Selling Car Tuned Up for 2013 NASCAR Season

2013 Toyota Camry
Photo – Toyota Racing

Toyota Motor Sales, (TMS) USA, Inc and TRD, USA (Toyota Racing Development) today formally introduced the new 2013 Toyota Camry that will compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) beginning next season at TRD’s Salisbury, NC. facility.

The introduction of the new 2013 Camry for NASCAR competition marked the culmination of an aggressive redesign to provide the 2013 Camry with an updated and more-unique identity. TRD worked together with Calty Design, part of Toyota’s global network design team, to create an on-track Camry that incorporates design elements which give America’s best-selling car its distinct character.

A new front grill-area that matches the production model, distinct character lines down the side of the vehicle and an updated rear bumper make the redesigned 2013 Camry stock car more relevant than ever before to its showroom sibling.

For 10 straight years, and 14 of the past 15 years, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America. Built at Toyota manufacturing facilities in Georgetown, KY, and Lafayette, IN, the 2012 Toyota Camry was recently named the ‘Best Redesigned Vehicle’ by Kelley Blue Book. In addition, the Camry has been named the ‘Most American Car’ by Cars.com’s American-Made Index for three consecutive years.

In an effort to create more distinct and stock vehicles for the race track, NASCAR worked together with the four series manufacturers to determine what areas were either ‘locked in’ or ‘open’ for unique design. NASCAR also allowed for the exchange of glass for solid body pieces.

The new 2013 Toyota Camry will make its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at Daytona International Speedway’s ‘Speedweeks’ in February.

From Toyota Motorsports-PR  Also check out this tweet from NASCAR

Dover International Speedway introduces new, user friendly mobile site
In advance of its June 1-3, 2012 NASCAR race weekend, Dover International Speedway has unveiled its newly designed mobile website, m.DoverSpeedway.com

The mobile site is an alternate version of the full DoverSpeedway.com, and blends the most pertinent elements into a user-friendly layout for fans to view on their smart phones while at the Monster Mile or while planning their visit.

Read more from Dover Speedway-PR

AJ Allmendinger hopes All-Star Race ‘fun’ translates into better finishes
AJ Allmendinger looks at the results of his first 11 races as a Penske Racing driver and he cringes a little bit.

Sitting 22nd in the standings, Allmendinger can point to several races where he ran well only to have issues. He has only one top-10 finish – a second at Martinsville – and four finishes of 32nd or worse.

Read more from Sporting News

Gordon already moves to Plan B with hopes of qualifying for the Chase
If Jeff Gordon is going to be in the Chase for the Championship, he has to shift to Plan B.

He knows he probably can’t qualify for the playoffs as a top 10 driver. That leaves one final option – winning races and getting in as a wild card.

Read more from Brainerd Dispatch

United Healthcare, Richard Petty, Smithfield and UFCW Package 50,000 meals
Today nearly 250 UnitedHealthcare employees, racing legend Richard Petty, Smithfield United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW), AARP and AARP Foundation are packaging 50,000 nutritious meals at UnitedHealthcare’s Greensboro office to help fight hunger among older adults.s

The meals, fortified with protein and other nutrients, and designed to meet older adults’ unique dietary needs, will be distributed throughout North Carolina.

Petty, “The King” of racing, will be on hand as part of Smithfield’s “Feeding the Hungry” initiative, through which Smithfield and the UFCW are donating 30,000 pounds of pork products to the event.

Nearly 9 million older adults nationwide face the risk of hunger and are likely to go hungry without help. North Carolina ranks seventh in the United States for food insecurity among adults age 50 and older. Nearly one in four North Carolinians age 50-plus reported not having enough money to buy food in the last year, according to AARP Foundation.

This event, part of UnitedHealthcare’s “Do Good. Live Well.” employee-volunteer program, is the first stage of AARP and AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million, a week-long series of volunteer events that will package and donate 1 million meals to hungry older North Carolinians.

UnitedHealthcare employees have participated in senior hunger prevention events in Minneapolis; San Antonio; Salem, VA; Tampa, FL; Los Angeles and Orange County, CA. Other volunteer events are scheduled later this year in cities across the country.

For more information about the benefits of volunteering and to find local opportunities to get involved, visit DoGoodLiveWell.org. Follow @DoGoodLiveWell on Twitter or “like” Do Good. Live Well on Facebook. 

From AARP Foundation-PR

NASCAR driver Wendell Scott raced right through color barrier
Wendell Scott’s victory on a 1-mile dirt track in Jacksonville, FL, in December 1963 was the first victory for an African-American driver on NASCAR’s top level.

It’s still the only one.

Read more from News Observer

Long Day’s Journey Into Night
“Are we there yet?”
This time-honored vacation-centered question – often asked from a position of travel weariness – has definite applications for Sunday’s 12th race of the Sprint Cup season, the Coca-Cola 600.

Read more from SPEED

ON NASCAR: I came, I saw, I was conquered
You know those people who are always happy to pontificate at great length on the subject of things they know very little about?

I confess that for more than a decade, I have been one of them.

Read more from Thomasville Times

Usually, when I post links here, I consider the link my list for recommended reading. But this was a fun and interesting piece to read and shows how NASCAR can sneak up on fans sometimes. Love it!

The Band Perry and Justin Moore to Perform at NASCAR Your Hero’s Name Here 400
The Band Perry and Justin Moore are among the stars performing at the pre-race concert before the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race Your Hero’s Name Here 400 on July 29. Crown Royal is awarding the naming rights to this race to an unsung hero who makes a difference in his or her community. The finalist include a nurse, a firefighter, a charity founder, a deputy sheriff and a Purple Heart winner.

Read more from 103-WKDF

Monday, May 21, 2012
NASCAR Unites begins patriotic celebration at CMS

Billed as the world’s largest Memorial Day Weekend celebration, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway kicks off the first at-track activation of “NASCAR Unites – An American Salute,” a six week patriotic initiative uniting the NASCAR industry and fans this summer to celebrate America and support US military families. The weekend’s festivities include a patriotic pre-race military salute, special USO race invitations and host Lieutenant Colonel Greg Gadson as Honorary Commander.

To highlight its pride, NASCAR Nation will be covered from head to toe – and from splitter to spoiler – om red, white and blue, starting and ending at two traditionally patriotic summer NASCAR events held at Charlotte Motor Speedway – Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend – and Daytona International Speedway – Coke Zero 400 on Independence Day Weekend.

Teams in all NASCAR series, along with their partners and sponsors will showcase support for the program in their own individual ways from displaying the customized logo on their cars and trucks to developing red, white and blue paint schemes. NASCAR has provided specially-designed, patriotic-themed packages that will incorporate the spoiler as well as other common areas of the car.

In honor of our country’s fallen heroes this Memorial Day weekend, NASCAR and the Honor and Remember organization will host several Gold Star families who have each lost loved ones in their service to the United States. NASCAR and The NASCAR Foundation also will host a group of wounded warriors and their families from Ft. Bragg as part of the NASCAR “Troops to the Track” program in partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation. Each of these military families will be welcomed and treated to a VIP NASCAR experience during their visit to Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Both the NASCAR “Troops to the Track” and Gold Star family programs build on a long, consistent and proud history of supporting men and women in uniform and their families at NASCAR races. The “Troops to the Track” program is a year-long initiative and is scheduled to include military families at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Kentucky Speedway and Daytona International Speedway.

While at the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR fans are invited to participate by filling out postcards with messages of encouragement and appreciation to service men and women as well as signing banners and items that will be shipped to troops actively engaged in combat through the USO’s USO2GO program. The NASCAR Foundation will designate a space for fan participation at the Sam Bass Gallery from 10am to 3pm ET on Saturday, May 26th and from 11am to 6pm ET on Sunday, May 27. Fans may also fill out postcards at-track at the Air Force display and Motorsports Authentic Haulers.

Other partners and sponsors participating include: Miss Sprint Cup, who will unveil a never-seen-before patriotic-themed firesuit; Nationwide will run a special red, white and blue windshield application for all Nationwide Series races from Charlotte to Daytona; and Toyota will incorporate red, white and blue logos on their pace cars and driver intro trucks. Miss Coors Light will don a patriotic firesuit. Goodyear will launch their Goodyear ‘Gives Back Program Benefiting Support Our Troops’ program during the Coke Zero 400. As part of the USO2GO program, partners such as Kraft and Gillette are donating product that will be bundled and delivered to forward deployed troops. K’Nex will donate toys to be packaged with postcards to military children.

Red, white and blue products will also be provided to NASCAR officials, who will be outfitted in NASCAR pit caps by Motorsports Authentics, specially-themed gloves by Mechanix Wear and lanyards by Wincraft. Fans also can show their American pride by gearing up with NASCAR Unites – An American Salute apparel, which can be purchased via Motorsports Authentics and Americrown at trackside, Walmart and NASCAR.com Superstore. Other available products include NASCAR Unites – An American Salute die-cast collectibles, headwear, t-shirts, novelties, plush toys.

To launch the initiative, the NASCAR Unites – An American Salute paint scheme for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s No. 88 National Guard Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet was revealed on April 9th in the nation’s capital for the 134th Annual Easter Egg Roll event at the White House.

To learn more about the initiative, visit NASCAR.com/UnitesFacebook.com/NASCAR will be honoring service members via an “American Hero Salute.” Join the conversation on social media and digital platforms by using the hashtag #NASCARUnties.

From The NASCAR Foundation-PR

Biagi-DenBeste Racing Honors Carroll Shelby in Return to Nationwide Racing
Biagi-DenBeste Racing is proud to announce that we will be fielding the 98 Ford Mustang in the History 300 Nationwide Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC on Saturday, May 26. After a brief hiatus away from racing, the Biagi-DenBeste team is excited to be back on the oval. Team co-owner Bill DenBeste said, “Racing is a passion for us. We stepped away for a few years to focus on other business ventures, but we could not be more excited to be back chasing the checkered flag.” The team has experience on the track, taking home the checkered flag in the Winn-Dixie 250 at Daytona International Speedway in July of 2004 GEICO car.

Driven by Reed Sorenson, the No. 98 Ford will be black and gold. The car is designed to mirror the new Super Snake from Shelby American in celebration of their 50th Anniversary. The 50th Anniversary Shelby logo will adorn the hood, along with the Super Snake racing stripes. The Carroll Shelby Engine Company is the primary sponsor for the 98 Ford and will be featured on the quarter panels.

Biagi-DenBeste Racing is dedicating all 2012 races to the memory of Carroll Shelby. His recent passing was felt by the automotive community Worldwide, especially Biagi-DenBeste Racing with whom he had a close relationship. Tracey Smith, President of Carroll Shelby Licensing, said “Carroll Shelby Licensing is proud to work with Biagi-DenBeste Racing on the No. 98 Nationwide car. Carroll had a distinct passion for racing and it is great to see that live on with the 98 car.”

Biagi-DenBeste Racing is owned by Fred Biagi and Bill DenBeste. Though racing is their passion, their careers have been driven by 18 wheels instead of four. Fred Biagi owns Biagi Bros Transportation with his brother Greg in Napa, CA. They started in 1978 as a transportation company but have evolved over the years into a full service transportation, warehousing and logistics company offering expert 3PL services to clients across North America. You can find out more about Biagi Bros at BiagiBros.com.

Bill and Lori DenBeste founded DenBeste Transportation in 1989. A leader in hazardous waste management, DenBeste has worked on many high profile jobs including playing a major role in the clean-up of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. 
DenBeste is also heavily involved in the automotive industry owning the Carroll Shelby Engine Company and the World’s largest Shelby Cobra dealership, DenBeste Motorsports. You can find out more about DenBeste’s businesses at DenBeste.com or DenBesteMotorsports.com.

From Biagi-DenBeste Racing-PR

NASCAR and EPA Partner on Green Initiatives
“Because NASCAR is followed by millions of passionate fans and many businesses, it can be a powerful platform to raise environmental awareness, drive the adoption of safer products by more Americans, and support the growing green economy,” said Jim Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). “The EPA and NASCAR partnership attests to the progress NASCAR has already made on environmental stewardship through greener fuel choices and multiple recycling initiatives for waste and automotive fluids, and highlights opportunities to further these efforts.”

“This MOU is a great example of NASCAR’s commitment to green innovation and our role as a leader in sustainability,” said Steve Phelps, Chief Marketing Officer of NASCAR. “Even with the largest sustainability program in sports, NASCAR – along with our teams, tracks and partners – continues to create innovative platforms to help reduce the environmental impact of our sport.”

One of the areas of focus for the partnership is promoting safer products that hae earned EPA’s Design for the Environment (DfE) label. The Design for the Environment label helps consumers and businesses identify products that perform well, are cost-effective, and are safer for the environment. NASCAR can make a difference by using DfE products at racing events and conveying to fans that choosing DfE products is an easy choice they can make to protect the health of their families and the planet.

Another example is NASCAR’s offer to encourage its suppliers to get an “E3 tuneup” – to increase productivity, reduce the use of energy and materials, lessen environmental impacts and be better positioned to compete in the global market place. The E3 initiative – Economy, Energy and the Environment – helps promote sustainable manufacturing and economic growth throughout the United States. E3 can help improve the profitability and competitiveness of these businesses, which can help create higher-paying skilled manufacturing jobs.

This MOU will pave the way for other opportunities and areas of focus for EPA and NASCAR such as sourcing more sustainable concessions at NASCAR events, expanding the use of safer chemical products, conserving water, reducing waste and promoting recycling. By working together to foster more sustainable behavior, addressing sustainability challenges and seizing on E3 opportunities, a greener NASCAR and NASCAR supplier network will have positive economic and environmental impacts that extend far beyond the race track.


Drivers flat at All-Star Race
The Coca-Cola Racing Family who won six of the season’s first 11 races could not muster much fizz at the Sprint All-Star Race.

Read more from NASCAR .com

New Hall of Fame Class to be Announced
The five members of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class will be announced Wednesday evening, in what might be the most wide open class to date.

SPEED will televise the event live, with a special preview show at 5pm on Wednesday, followed by the announcement of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class on NASCAR Race Hub at 6pm.

Read more from FOX News

Cutting Military Funding of NASCAR Teams Is Right Move
The National Guard says it’s spending $26 million to sponsor Dale Earnhardt Jr’s No. 88 car this year and added a total of zero recruits through the program last year.  

If you haven’t heard by now there’s a bill in the US House of Representatives that includes an amendment that would ban military sponsorships of NASCAR race teams.

Not surprisingly, all of NASCAR seems completely outraged by this. From drivers to media to fans, there’s a level of disgust that Congress would dare cut the amount of tax dollars being spent on sponsorships for Dale Earnhardt Jr’s National Guard car and Ryan Newman’s US Army car, among others.

But is Congress really doing the wrong thing?

Read more from SB Nation

The Crew Chief’s Advantage
I have long been of the belief that the smartest people in NASCAR are crew chiefs, and Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race did nothing to dissuade me from that belief.

Jimmie Johnson won the race in part because he’s a great driver and in part because he had a great car. But an equally important component of the victory was that his crew chief, Chad Knaus, figured out that if Johnson won the first segment of the race, he’d be in the best position to win at the end.

Read more from SPEED

Earnhardt Jr, Patrick, Harvick headline fan hospitality
Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick and Danica Patrick are just a few of the NASCAR drivers making a stop in Budweiser Acceleration during the upcoming June NASCAR weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Budweiser Acceleration is the fan hospitality area at MIS, and always a good time.

The Budweiser Acceleration Club is an all-inclusive resort right at the track, perfect for fans who want to upgrade their race weekend. But it’s also a great place for companies who want to reward or entertain clients, employees or prospects.

Patrick, in her first full-time year racing in the Nationwide Series, is scheduled to make an appearance on Saturday, June 16 in Budweiser Acceleration.

On Sunday, June 17 the line up will feature a pair of NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who have won at MIS. Earnhardt Jr and Harvick will both stop by before the Quicken Loans 400. Earnhardt, is currently in third place with 397 points and this is his third appearance in Acceleration. Meanwhile, Harvick, driver of the Budweiser Chevrolet will be making his second consecutive trip.

Read more from MIS-PR

2011 Championship Contenders Race to Food Lion Speed Street
Do you feel the need for speed? If so, Food Lion Speed Street is delivering the drivers who know speed best. From the 2011 champion Tony Stewart to contenders Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth and more, the three-day festival will play host to autograph and question-and-answer sessions May 24 – 26 in Charlotte, NC.

Food Lion Speed Street delivers an unprecedented consumer experience to an estimated 400,000 fans by means of live entertainment, access to racing’s brightest stars and displays from sponsors Food Lion, Coca-Cola, Miller Lite, General Mills, Chevrolet and many more.

The lineup of attendees is below – keep in mind changes may occur w/o notice

Thursday, May 24
Driver/Guest Time and Location of Appearance
Donny Schatz
World of Outlaws
Creative Loafing Display – Autographs
1 – 3 p.m.
Kyle PettySPEED and TNT analyst Motorola Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Mackenna BellNASCAR Whelen Late Model Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Trey GibsonNASCAR Whelen All-American Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Cale GaleNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs
4 – 6 p.m.
Johanna LongNASCAR Nationwide Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs
4 – 6 p.m.
Jeremy ClementsNASCAR Nationwide Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs
4 – 6 p.m.
General Mills Characters Food Lion Kids’ Zone presented by General Mills – Appearance
Tony the Tiger & Ernie the Elf Kellogg’s Display – Appearance
WBTV News Anchors WBTV Display – Autographs
Friday, May 25
Driver/Guest Time and Location of Appearance
Amber and Angela CopeNASCAR Nationwide Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Matt Kenseth
No. 17 Best Buy Ford
Kellogg’s Display – Autographs*
Noon – 1:25 p.m.
Kyle BuschNo. 18 M&M’s Toyota Food Lion Cooking Stage – AppearanceNoon – 1 p.m.
Ross ChastainNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Jennifer Jo CobbNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Max GreshamNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
John KingNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Timothy PetersNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Dakoda ArmstrongNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Creative Loafing Display – Autographs1 – 3 p.m.
Kyle BuschNo. 18 M&M’s Toyota M&M’s Display – Autographs**1 – 2 p.m.
Aric AlmirolaNo. 43 Smithfield Ford M&M’s Display – Autographs1 – 2 p.m.
Matt Kenseth
No. 17 Best Buy Ford
Food Lion Cooking Stage – Appearance
1:30 – 1:55 p.m.
Aric AlmirolaNo. 43 Smithfield Ford Food Lion Cooking Stage – Appearance2 – 3 p.m.
Kyle PettySPEED and TNT analyst Motorola Display – Appearance2 – 3 p.m.
Bryan OrtizNASCAR K&N Pro Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Jorge ArteagaNASCAR K&N Pro Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Doug HerbertTop Fuel Dragster N.C. Highway Patrol Display – Appearance2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Kyle BuschNo. 18 M&M’s Toyota N.C. Highway Patrol Display  – Appearance2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Cole WhittNo. 88 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet Food Lion Cooking Stage – Appearance3:15 p.m.
Drew BlickensderferNo. 31 Wheaties Crew Chief Cheerios Stage3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
No. 31 Wheaties Racing Pit Crew Cheerios Stage3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Ryan NewmanNo. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet Food Lion Cooking Stage – Appearance5 – 5:30 p.m.
Jeff BurtonNo. 31 Wheaties Racing Chevrolet Cheerios Stage – Autographs***5 – 7 p.m.
Ryan NewmanNo. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet Kraft Display – Autographs****5:30 – 7 p.m.
Ryan NewmanNo. 39 U.S. Army Chevrolet Coca-Cola Stage – Appearance7:30 – 8:15 p.m.
Bobby LabonteNo. 47 Bush’s Baked Beans Toyota Coca-Cola Stage – Appearance7:30 – 8:15 p.m.
Brad KeselowskiNo. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Miller Lite Stage – Appearance & Autographs7:45 – 8:15 p.m.
Todd PeckNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Stopain Display – AutographsTBD
General Mills Characters Food Lion Kids’ Zone presented by General Mills – Appearance
Tony the Tiger & Ernie the Elf Kellogg’s Display – Appearance
WBTV News Anchors WBTV Display – Autographs
Saturday, May 26
Driver/Guest Time and Location of Appearance
Ryan GiffordNASCAR K&N Pro Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Kyle LarsonNASCAR K&N Pro Series Revolution Racing Display – Autographs2 – 3 p.m. and 5 – 6 p.m.
Elliott SadlerNo. 2 OneMain Financial Chevrolet Coca-Cola Stage – Appearance7 – 7:45 p.m.
Tony StewartNo. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet Coca-Cola Stage – Appearance7 – 7:45 p.m.
Todd PeckNASCAR Camping World Truck Series Stopain Display  – AutographsTBD
Tony StewartNo. 14 Office Depot Chevrolet N.C. Highway Patrol Display – AppearanceTBD
Kyle BuschNo. 18 M&M’s Toyota N.C. Highway Patrol Display – AppearanceTBD
General Mills Characters Food Lion Kids’ Zone presented by General Mills – Appearance
Gecko Geico Display – Appearance
Tony the Tiger & Ernie the Elf Kellogg’s Display – Appearance
WBTV News Anchors WBTV Display – Autographs
Akinori OgataNASCAR Whelen All-American Series Creative Loafing Display – AutographsTBD
Michael LeavineARCA Racing Series Creative Loafing Display – AutographsTBD
Scott SpeedNASCAR Driver Creative Loafing Display – AutographsTBD
Kerry Earnhardt Creative Loafing Display – AutographsTBD
Steve ParkNASCAR Driver Creative Loafing Display – AutographsTBD

*Matt Kenseth – Limited Number of wristbands will be distributed
**Kyle Busch – Autograph session wristbands will be distributed at the M&M’s tent beginning at 11am
***Jeff Burton – Wristbands guarantee an autograph for the first 200 fans in line at the Cheerios Stage beginning at 4pm.
****Ryan Newman – There are a limited number of wristbands to be distributed at the Kraft Display starting at noon on Friday, May 25.

Admission to Food Lion Speed Street is free. The festival opens each day at noon. For a schedule of events, visit 600festival.com or Facebook

From ASPIRE Communications for Food Lion Speed Street-PR

AND – There are a lot of Driver Appearances this week in Charlotte. Check out our Driver Appearances tab which is linked directly with Jayski’s for more details. 

NASCAR studying ways to improve racing
NASCAR Chairman Brian France is aware of the fan debate surrounding the last two months of racing, and acknowledged the sanctioning body is studying several areas to ensure the on-track product is entertaining.

But France indicated it’s difficult to judge where NASCAR is based solely on the last eight races.

Read more from Standard-Examiner

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

As always, Thanks for reading and participating.  

Fan Perspective: Make room for more in Nationwide Series

By Guest Blogger – Paul Oliveri

Over the last seven years or so, fans, myself included, have complained about Sprint Cup drivers dominating in the Nationwide Series. Last year, it took a series eligibility rule to give a Nationwide regular, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the title for the first time since Martin Truex Jr. won his second straight “Busch” – now Nationwide – Series title in 2005.

Between 2005 and 2010, Cup regulars Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski have hoisted the Nationwide Series’ championship trophy.

Below are my suggestions on who should be in the cars occupied by Cup drivers. These likely won’t happen since most sponsors won’t be willing to put money into a rookie driver, or someone with little experience.

  • Trevor Bayne in the #6 car and move Stenhouse up to the Cup Series. If Roush doesn’t feel Ricky is ready to jump into Cup full time, Bayne can drive the 60, which is where he is now, though he hasn’t found sponsorship.
  • Darrell Wallace Jr. in the #18 car for 15 races, and have Denny Hamlin race whenever Wallace doesn’t race.
  • Take Joey Logano out of the Cup Series, and put him in the #20 car full time in Nationwide. Logano has done phenomenal in Nationwide this year, with 3 wins already. With Logano struggling in Cup, many people feel time in Nationwide will help Joey and give him a chance to “start over” in Cup.
  • James Buescher in the #30 car full time. The Texas native shocked everyone with his win at Daytona in February, and has an amazing résumé in the Truck Series, which might have included a title had he not DNQ’d at Phoenix last year.
  • Ryan Truex in the #33 car for a minimum 20 races. Have him run part time to prepare him for a full 2014 schedule. Have him split time with Paul Menard, who has sponsorship in his back pocket, and can also learn more for his own career.
  • Have Ryan Blaney run the #36 car part time in 2013 to prep him for a full slate in 2014. There is no question the kid can drive a race car, and younger fans love him already. The limited schedule will have him ready.
  • Brad Sweet in the #38 car full time. Great Clips already sponsors him now, as well as with Kasey Kahne Racing, so that shouldn’t be difficult.
  • Have Kyle Busch and Jason Leffler split a season in the #54 car. Jason has the experience to run in Nationwide and possibly return to Cup. Leffler already drives for KBM in the Truck Series.

These are only my opinions. Some could be possible with the right sponsors, but aren’t likely. But who’s to say no one will step up and sponsor an up and comer looking to make his way into the top rungs of the NASCAR ladder?

So what do you think about Sprint Cup drivers in the Nationwide series? What, if any, changes would you recommend? 

Paul Oliveri – Paul is a rookie blogger. He has been a die hard NASCAR fan for 13 years. He also enjoys other racing series, such as IndyCar, F1, and Grand-Am. And you can find Paul’s NASCAR artwork on YouTube at his channel, paulsack21
Follow Paul on twitter @pablao21

Coca Cola 600 Preview

Photo –  Getty Images

By Jason Schultz

Race Info

Date- Sunday May 27th, 2012

Location- Concord, North Carolina

Start Time- 6:19 PM EST

Distance- 400 Laps, 600 Miles

Broadcast TV- FOX

Broadcast Radio- PRN (prn.com)

Weather Forecast

High-83 F Low- 69

Chance of rain- 10%

Partly Cloudy

Past Race Winners

2011- Kevin Harvick

2010- Kurt Busch

2009- David Reutimann

2008- Kasey Kahne

2007- Casey Mears

Notables yet to win Coca Cola 600

Brad Keselowski

Denny Hamlin

Tony Stewart

Greg Biffle

Kyle Busch

Ryan Newman

Martin Truex Jr.

Mark Martin

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Carl Edwards

News & Notes

Jimmie Johnson looks for third win in as many weeks

Dale Earnhardt Jr. looks for revenge after coming up one turn short last year

Jeff Gordon looks to rebound his season

Kevin Harvick looks for second straight Coca Cola 600 win

Many drivers to run patriotic themed paint schemes in honor of Memorial Day Weekend

Jason’s Fantasy Racing Picks

Group A- Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon

Group B- Martin Truex Jr, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith

Group C- Casey Mears, Bobby Labonte

Event Schedule

*One practice is over*

Cup Qualifying 7:00 PM EST Thursday on SPEED

Cup Practice 10:00 AM EST Saturday on SPEED

Cup Practice 1:00 PM EST Saturday on SPEED

Race 5:30 PM EST Sunday on FOX

Next race- FedEx benefiting Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Speedway Dover, Delaware

Entry List via Jayski.com

Jamie McMurray
Bass Pro Shops / Artic Cat
Felix Sabates
Brad Keselowski
Miller Lite
Roger Penske
Kasey Kahne
Quaker State
Linda Hendrick
Marcos Ambrose
Richard Petty
Danica Patrick
Tommy Baldwin
Denny Hamlin
FedEx Ground
J D Gibbs
Casey Mears
Bob Germain
Tony Stewart
Office Depot / Mobil 1
Margaret Haas
Clint Bowyer
5 Hour Energy
Rob Kauffman
Greg Biffle
Fastenal / NASCAR Unites
Jack Roush
Matt Kenseth
Fastenal / NASCAR Unites
John Henry
Kyle Busch
M&M’s Red-White-Blue
Joe Gibbs
Mike Bliss (i)
Humphrey Smith Racing
Randy Humphrey
Joey Logano
Dollar General
Joe Gibbs
Trevor Bayne (i)
Motorcraft / Quick Lane / DAV
Glen Wood
A.J. Allmendinger
Shell / Pennzoil
Walter Czarnecki
Scott Riggs
North Texas Pipe
Robert Richardson Sr.
Jeff Gordon
Drive to End Hunger
Rick Hendrick
Josh Wise #
MDS Transport
Jerry Freeze
Paul Menard
Menards / Serta
Richard Childress
Kevin Harvick
Budweiser Folds of Honor
Richard Childress
David Stremme
Inception Motorsports
Kevin Buckler
Jeff Burton
Richard Childress
T.J. Bell (i)
Green Smoke
Jack Roush
Stephen Leicht #
Little Joe’s Autos
Richard Childress
David Ragan
Al’s Liners / Scorpion Coatings
Bob Jenkins
Dave Blaney
Allen Heinke
David Gilliland
Mod Space
Bob Jenkins
Ryan Newman
U.S. Army
Tony Stewart
Juan Pablo Montoya
Chip Ganassi
Aric Almirola
U.S. Air Force
Richard Petty
Bobby Labonte
Kingsford / NASCAR Unites
Tad Geschickter
Jimmie Johnson
Lowe’s Patriotic
Jeff Gordon
J.J. Yeley
JPO Absorbents
Jay Robinson
Kurt Busch
Phoenix Construction
James Finch
Mark Martin
Aaron’s Armed Forces Foundation
Bill Jenkins
Martin Truex Jr.
NAPA Auto Parts / NASCAR Unites
Michael Waltrip
David Reutimann
Burger King
Thomas Ueberall
Cole Whitt (i)
Turn One Racing
Vickie Compton
Regan Smith
Furniture Row
Barney Vissar
Landon Cassill
Burger King Real Fruit Smoothies
Thomas Ueberall
Joe Nemechek (i)
AM FM Energy
Andrea Nemechek
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
National Guard / NASCAR Unites
Rick Hendrick
Travis Kvapil
Burger King – Dr Pepper
Thomas Ueberall
Scott Speed
Jordon’s Truck Sales (JTS)
Bob Leavine
Michael McDowell
Presgyterian Healthcare
Mike Curb
Carl Edwards
Fastenal / NASCAR Unites
Jack Roush