News & Views – Volume 25 – May 7 – 13, 2012

News & Views – Volume 25
For the week of May 7 – 13, 2012

“At Talladega, patience is a bit of an oxymoron because you know you’ve got to go hard to win this race”  Brad Keselowski

Talladega Superspeedway delivered bringing a lot of racing action and drama this weekend, but also gave fans some long green flags. Even with pack racing back on the track, most of the action came within the last 20 laps of the Sprint Cup race.  

With the “Big One” also bringing potential serious injury to Eric McClure in Saturday’s Nationwide race, the debate still continues to evolve among the media, fans and drivers of the sport. And by the end of the Sprint Cup race, Tony Stewart gave an Academy Award-worthy post-race interview, using a rather bizarre method to convey his perspective and spurring more discussion. Stewart’s interesting, somewhat humorous, yet very serious commentary will be posted within our News & Views

Included in thoughts shared by the water cooler this week will be several questions of how NASCAR will respond to first, the broader question of racing on  super speedways that will satisfy drivers and fans; but also the more specific questions of how they will respond to Danica’s retaliation with Sam Hornish Jr. and Tony’s bizarre post-race interview, reminiscent of also strange commentary by Ryan Newman a year ago.

Nationwide and Sprint Cup teams return to short-track racing at Darlington this weekend. As the discussion continues, it will be interesting to follow along, and Fan4Racing will share various points of view for your thoughtful consideration. 

Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, May 13, 2012
Matt Kenseth’s car number likely won’t change
Matt Kenseth will get a new sponsor that has a number in its company name, but apparently not a new car number for his race car.

Read more from Sporting News

Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman Teams Scuffle After Southern 500
Several of Ryan Newman’s crewmen confronted Kurt Busch on Saturday night at Darlington Raceway following an ill-advised decision by Busch to do a burnout through Newman’s pit box.

After Busch had a flat tire and crashed with six laps remaining – an incident which also collected Newman – the Phoenix Racing driver lost his cool and began yelling on the team radio.

When Busch completed his pit stop to fix damage shortly after the wreck, he slammed his foot down on the throttle and did a loud, angry burnout while leaving his pit box. The burnout startled fans in the stands and put a huge plume of smoke, an expression of Busch’s frustration at a promising night gone bad.

Read more from SB Nation

Pastrana, Patrick pleased with debuts
There was a bit of role reversal among some of NASCAR’s up-and-comers in their Darlington debut.

Danica Patrick and X Games star Travis Pastrana put together strong runs during Friday night’s Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway, one of NASCAR’s most difficult tracks.

Both finished on the lead lap, with Patrick in 12th and Pastrana 17th.

Read more from News Observer

A year later, wreck still a sore subject
Time has not smoothed things over between Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

The Sprint Cup stars stole the show at the Southern 500 last year with their post-race dustup on the way to the garage after Regan Smith’s victory at the track “Too Tough To Tame.”  Harvick was angered with Busch’s tactics late in the race when both were contending for the checkered flag.

Read more from Pilot Online

Rule changes already have teams scrambling for wind tunnel time
In one respect, the racecars being developed for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season will be on the racetrack next week – in the form of ideas that will be incorporated into the new models.

On Tuesday, NASCAR sent a technical bulletin to all Cup team owners, crew chiefs and drivers, listing rule changes that will take effect as of May 16, in time for the Sprint All-Star Race.

Typically, NASCAR technical bulletins are more about housekeeping items and less about major changes to the competition package, but Tuesday’s bulletin, which contained a laundry list of rule changes in eight areas, was significant enough that crew chiefs immediately began booking wind tunnel time.

Read more from Sporting News

Saturday, May 12, 2012
2012 NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 Race Results

NASCAR President Mike Helton, with Rick Hendrick
and Jimmie Johnson celebrating 200 wins at HMS
Photo – LAT Lesley Ann Miller/Associated Press

Jimmie Johnson, who sat on the outside pole for the 2012 NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500, dominated the race by leading 134 laps of the 368 that were run, and gave Hendrick Motorsports their 200th victory with his win at the track “Too Tough To Tame,” Darlington Raceway.

This was Johnson’s first series win of the 2012 season, his 56th series career win and his third series win at Darlington Raceway.

Denny Hamlin came in second and was followed by Tony Stewart finishing in third, Kyle Busch fourth and Martin Truex Jr, finishing in the fifth position.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Matt Kenseth coming in sixth-place, his fellow Roush Fenway Racing teammate, Carl Edwards seventh Kasey Kahne eighth, Marcos Ambrose ninth and last night’s NNS race winner, Joey Logano, finishing in the tenth position.

The current series points leader, Greg Biffle, finished in the 12th position, but with Matt Kenseth finishing in sixth, Biffle now only has a 2-point lead over Kenseth in the series point standings.

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – Non-points event with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 19th, at approximately 7:50pm ET with SPEED providing television coverage beginning with their 7pm ET pre-race show. 

The next points race is the 53rd annual Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 27th.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

JR Fitzpatrick to Focus on Racing in Canada – Open Seat at Turn One
Turn One Racing announced today that driver JR Fitzpatrick may not return to the seat of the No. 60 Chevrolet after efforts to find a full-season sponsor have been slow to materialize. Instead, Fitzpatrick will focus on another championship run in the Canadian Tire Series, and may return to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in a limited number of events later this year.

“We are definitely disappointed that JR will not be finishing out the year in the 60 truck,” said Team Owner Stacy Compton. “he is a great young man with a lot of talent who has never really got the chance to race in the States all year long. We knew going in that we had an uphill battle ahead of us in trying to secure a full-season sponsor, but we were willing to take the gamble and put him in the truck at Daytona and Martinsville. Unfortunately, we just haven’t been able to secure a sponsor for JR and he has decided to focus on his racing efforts in Canada.”

When asked what that means for his team, Compton said, “We are actively looking for drivers who have sponsorship backing, while also pounding the pavement to try and find sponsors of our own. We went to the last two races with minimal sponsorship to try to keep the truck up in points so we have something more marketable to potential sponsors. Having a guaranteed starting spot is definitely more enticing to sponsors and drivers alike.”

Compton’s team was one of the top contenders in 2011. Rookie Cole Whitt sat on the pole at Darlington, led six events, ran door-to-door with Kyle Busch before falling to second at Dover, and claimed 11 top-ten finishes in 25 starts. The team went on to finish ninth in the series standings.

From Turn One Racing-PR

Friday, May 11, 2012
2012 NNS VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 Race Results

Logano in Wins Darlington Victory
Photo – LAT, Lesley Ann Miller/Associated Press

After an attempt at a green-white-checkered (flags) finish, it was Joey Logano holding off fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin, by 0.255 seconds to win (for the second consecutive week) the VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway.

This was Logano’s third series win of the 2012 season, his second series career back-to-back win (his first came in 2009 at Kansas Speedway and Auto Club Speedway) his 12th series career win and his first series win at “The Lady in Black.”

Following Logano and Hamlin (who led the most laps – 103 of the 151 that were run) to the drop of the checkered flag were Brad Keselowski finishing third, Sam Hornish Jr fourth and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, finishing in fifth.

Pole sitter, defending series champion and current points leader, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (who now has a 23-point lead over Elliott Sadler who finished 24th) finished in sixth, while Brian Scott finished seventh, Kurt Busch eighth, James Buescher ninth and rookie contender, Cole Whitt, rounding out the top-ten finishing posiitons.

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – The 2nd Annual Pioneer 250 at Iowa Speedway on Sunday, May 20th, at approximately 2:20pm ET with television coverage provided by ESPN beginning with their 1:30pm ET pre-race program.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Grammy Winning Country Music Icon Tim McGraw to Announce Top-10 Qualifiers
Grammy Award winning country music megastar Tim McGraw will join a star-studded celebrity lineup at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 53rd running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 27 when he introduces the Top 10 qualifiers before the race.

The country superstar will introduce the Top 10 drivers based on qualifying times from LiftMaster Pole Day on May 24. In addition, McGraw, a brand ambassador for Pennzoil, will help shed light on the company’s Long Live Cars campaign.

As part of the campaign, Pennzoil will donate $100,000 over the next two years to Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Mission: ABLE, which retrofits vehicles for handicapped veterans. It is a mission that closely aligns with Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Let Freedom Race theme throughout the Coca-Cola 600 race weekend.

Retro-fitting often includes removing seats and installing hand-controls or mounting ramps to help disabled veterans better access and drive their vehicles.

From Charlotte Motor Speedway-PR

2012 NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 Starting Lineup
The current NSCS points leader, Greg Biffle, with a qualifying lap speed of 180.257-mph, captured the 2012 Bojangles Southern 500 Coors Light Pole Award at Darlington Raceway.

This was Biffle’s second series pole of the 2012 season, his eleventh series career pole and his second series pole at the track “Too Tough To Tame.”

Starting second and on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 179.566-mph, will be Jimmie Johnson, followed by Kasey Kahne (with the identical lap speed of 179.566-mph) starting third, Ryan Newman (179.461) fourth and Kyle Busch (179.448) will start from fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Martin Truex Jr (179.317) who will start sixth, Carl Edwards (179.298) seventh, Denny Hamlin (179.187) eighth, Regan Smith (179.141) ninth and Jeff Burton (179.095) will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #23 driven by Scott Riggs; #98 driven by Michael McDowell; #33 driven by Stephen Leicht and the #19 driven by Mike Bliss.

The teams return Saturday evening for the 7:20pm ET approximate start of the 63rd running of the Southern 500, and FOX will continue their television coverage beginning with their 6:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

New rules could creat less downforce, more passing for Sprint Cup drivers
Trying to reduce downforce and the chance of cars becoming airborne, NASCAR will implement a pair of rules changes for Sprint Cup teams that may also produce more passing.

One change will go into effect starting next week at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The side skirts – the body of the car between the wheels – will be higher above the ground, meaning more air will run underneath the car. Currently, the skirts must be 3 to 4.5 inches off the ground on both sides of the car. Starting next week, they must be 4 to 4.5 inches off the ground on the right side and 4.5 to 5 inches on the left side.

Teams tested with the shorter side skirts during recent Goodyear tire tests.

Read more from Sporting News

2012 NNS VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 Starting Lineup
The defending NNS champion and current series points leader, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, with a qualifying lap speed of 173.546-mph, captured the 2012 VFW Sports Clups Help a Hero 200 Coors Light Pole Award at Darlington Speedway.

This was Stenhouse’s first series pole of the 2012 season, his fifth series career pole and his first series pole at the “Lady in Black.”

Sharing the front row with Stenhouse and starting second with a qualifying lap speed of 172.784-mph, will be Denny Hamlin, and they will be followed by Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon (172.650) who will start third, Kurt Busch (172.378) fourth and Joey Logano (172.354) will start fifth.

Rounding our the top-ten starting positions will be Elliott Sadler (171.920) who will start sixth, Brian Scott (171.698) seventh, Sam Hornish Jr (171.357) eighth, Kasey Kahne (170.821) ninth and Justin Allgaier (170.253) will start from the tenth position.

With only 43 drivers attempting to qualify, there was no one failing to make the starting lineup.

The VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 is scheduled to get underway at approximately 7:35pm ET this evening, and ESPN2 will provide television coverage beginning with their 6:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

SRT Motorsports (Dodge) Keys for Success – Darlington
Howard Comstock – SRT Motorsports Engineering
Tire Wear – “They tried to pave (tire wear) out of the racetrack when they did the repave in 2008, but it’s back. It’s the same ol’ Darlington. You look at practice here and “Darlington Stripes” are on every other car and you still have to battle the racetrack, not the other guys. You can go out and run about any lap you want to run on tires. The faster you run, the faster they’re going away. If you don’t get cautions on some kind of regular basis, you’ll be in trouble and we’ve seen in the last several years that there’s lots of green flag during this race. You cannot count on cautions. You can’t come for tires unless other people come for tires or you’ll get laps down in a hurry. You’ve got to race the racetrack.”

The Pits – “The pit lane here is odd and it comes up on you fast off that very fast backstretch. Turns 1 and 2 are wider than Turns 3 and 4. Drivers carry a lot more speed through one and two on and on to the backstretch. When they get to the end of the backstretch, you’ve got to dive low on the racetrack, dive on to pit road, so you’ve got a lot of speed built up. You’re going downhill literally into the pits and a lot of drivers really struggle with either speeding, coming into the pits, sliding the tires coming into the pits or turning the car around coming into the pits.”

Follow the Trend – “Well I think that Friday is the only time we’ve got to do that to be sure and that’s why these guys are out here taking advantage of all two hours and 45 minutes of practice. Even though it’s sunny during the day and we’re going to race at night you can still learn things about the car and the trends will be the same direction. If it’s trending toward getting looser on Friday afternoon it’s going to trend toward getting looser during the race on Saturday night.”

Four tires on Every Pit Stop? – “I think we’re back to that. There was a brief period after the repave that you might have imagined and guys did try some two-tire pit stops, but I think that the track has enough wear on it now that we’re back to four tires every chance you get.”

Prepare To Take a Hit – “The rule package restricts you a little bit but guys used to put lots of extra bracing in the right-side of the car so that they could lean against that outside wall and actually not hurt the car. I’m not sure how mnay guys are trying to sneak some extra bracing in there, if you will (smiles). The driver just needs to be aware that if you beat up the right-side of the car, you’re going to end up with tire rub or you’re going to hurt the aerodynamics here. And remember we’re running 175-mph average laps. This is a fast place.”

Track Conditions – Expect a Change – “I think you’ll chase the track all night because we go from dusk into what’ll be a cool night tomorrow night. The weather forecast for the day is supposed to be moderate, maybe high 70s. By the time we start the race at 7pm, it will likely be in the lower 70s and by the time we finish the race it could be in the upper 50s. This is a very long race and it gives the track a long time to cool and if the track is going to have a propensity to change it’s got a long time to do it.”

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports (Dodge)-PR

Rivalry heating up as May 15 celebrity softball game looms between Dover & Pocono
The celebrity softball game between Dover International Speedway and Pocono Raceway is set for Tuesday, May 15 at 4pm at Campbell’s Field, home of the Camden Riversharks. The rosters for each team have been announced, with Carl Edwards captaining Team Dover and Jeff Burton at the helm for Team Pocono.

Tickets to the game are free with the purchase of a ticket to that evening’s 7:05pm baseball game between the Camden Riversharks and Lancaster Barnstormers. Children ages 16 and younger that wear their NASCAR gear get in free. In addition, the United Way of Camden County offers free admission for any child that wears the uniform of the little league team they play for to the game.

Edwards and Burton will be joined on their respective teams by members of the local media and the tracks they are representing. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drive Cale Gale, as well as Nationwide Series driver Donnie Neuenberger, will play alongside Edwards with Team Dover. ARCA driver Brandon McReynolds, son of NASCAR on Fox analyst Larry McReynolds, and Ron Karkovice, former Major League Baseball catcher and current bench coach for the Camden Riversharks, will support Burton with Team Pocono.

The full rosters are as follows:
Team Dover – Carl Edwards, NASCAR, Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 99 Fastenal Ford, Donnie Neuenberger, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver of the No. 76 Ford for DGN Racing, Cale Gale, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver of the No. 33 Rheem Chevrolet, Tom Sredenschek, Fox Philadelphia, Bill Fleischman, Philadelphia Daily News, Pete Schnatz, Philadelpia Inquirer, Ernie Saxton, Bucks County Courier Times, Scott Walsh, Scranton Times-Tribune, Chris Flood, Delaware State News, Andie Summers, 92.5 WXTU, T-Morgan, 102.9 WMGK, Michael Tatoian, COO of Dover International Speedway, Tim Horne, CFO of Dover International Speedway, Mike Dill, Combat Sports.

Team Pocono – Jeff Burton, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet, Ron Karkovice, Bench Coach for the Camden Riversharks and former Major League Baseball player, Brandon McReynolds, ARCA driver of the No. 28 Chevrolet, Katherine Scott, WPVI Channel 6 ABC, Dan Gelston, Associated Press, Bill Huneke, Trenton Times, Doc Medek, 92.5 WXTU, Crockett, 92.5 WXTU, Dave Gibson, 102.9 WMGK, Brandon Igdalsky, President of Pocono Raceway, Roger Green, Pocono Raceway, Jenna Fitch, New Era.

During the Barnstormers vs. Riversharks game, both tracks will be giving away tickets to their respective NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races each inning – the June 3 “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” race for Dover and the June 10 “Pocono 400” race for Pocono.

For tickets or more information, call 800-441-RACE or visit You can also keep up with the Monster Mile on Facebook at and on Twitter at @Monstermile

From Dover International Speedway-PR

Carroll Shelby, 1923-2012
Legendary sports car racer and automaker Carroll Shelby passed away on Thursday night in Dallas, where he had been undergoing treatment for pneumonia. He was 89.

Shelby is renown for making the AC-based Shelby American Cobra and later the Mustang-based performance cars for Ford Motor Company known as Mustang Cobras, which he has done since 1965. His company, Shelby American, Inc, founded in 1962, sells modified Ford vehicles, as well as performance parts.

Read more from Racer

2012 NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 Final Practice Session Speeds
In the final NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 practice session, it was AJ Allmendinger with a lap speed of 175.022-mph, posting the fastest lap speed around Darlington Raceway.

Greg Biffle, with a lap speed of 174.730-mph, was the second fastest, and was followed by Carl Edwards (174.099) who was third fastest, Jimmie Johnson (174.087) fourth fastest and Travis Kvapil (173.626) was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” (final) practice session were Paul Menard (173.509) who was sixth fastest, Landon Cassill (173.021) seventh, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Josh Wise (172.687) eighth, Michael McDowell (172.572) ninth and David Stremme (172.360) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return this evening for their 5:10pm ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for Saturday night’s race – which is set to get underway around 7:20pm ET – and television coverage will be provided by FOX beginning with their 6:30pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Ryan Newman: What’s so different?
Ryan Newman doesn’t see any difference between his 2010 comments about the racing at Talladega  Superspeedway that resulted in him being fined and what Tony Stewart said on Sunday.

NASCAR has said Stewart will not be fined.

Read more from ESPN

Go Green Racing Honoring “Team Kyle” at Darlington
Go Green Racing will make their second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series attempt of the season this upcoming weekend at Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 driving the No. 79 Go Green Racing Ford Fusion will be NSCS regular, Scott Speed.

The team will be honoring seven-year old Kyle St. Clair of Scarborough, ME. Kyle was born seven weeks early and has spent much of his life at hospitals in Maine, Boston and Columbus. Kyle has had over 45 surgeries and suffers from lung disease and severe immobility. Recently, his family has been able to bring him home on hospice.

Read more from Go Green Racing-FB Page

NASCAR is still rooted in the South, but southern drivers have vanished
The rebel yell that once echoed throughout NASCAR nation has turned into more of a yelp.

Sure, there is still a strong Southern presence in terms of the tracks on the circuit, especially this weekend at Darlington Raceway, a 62-year-old throwback nestled among the tobacco farms of rural South Carolina. The track in so many ways represents the heart of Dixie that its primary NASCAR Cup Series race has long been known as the Southern 500.

Read more from Sports Illustrated

2012 NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 First Practice Session Speeds
Kevin Harvick, with a lap speed of 177.090-mph, was the quickest during the first NSCS Bojangles’ Southern 500 practice session at Darlington Raceway.

Second quickest was Greg Biffle with a lap speed of 176.290-mph, followed by Kurt Busch (175.993) who was third quickest, Carl Edwards (175.760) fourth and Tony Stewart (175.647) was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during practice were Martin Truex Jr (175.403) who was sixth quickest, Jimmie Johnson (175.353) seventh, Ryan Newman (175.353) eighth, Joey Logano (175.322) ninth and AJ Allmendinger (175.141) posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will have their “Happy Hour” (final) practice session from 2:15 – 3pm ET this afternoon before returning this evening for their 5:10pm ET scheduled qualifying session.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Media Interview with Eric McClure
How are things going after the accident?
“The first thing I need to say is that when I started racing, I always dreamed about having this opportunity to be here (media center) under different circumstances. It hasn’t panned out that way. I’m doing okay – about as well as can be expected. I’m definitely sore and battling some things this week. It’s obviously been a very long week for me and my family. I’m thankful – I’m thankful to be here and certainly very thankful for the safety initiatives and everything NASCAR’s put on display over the years – certainly firsthand experience – very grateful for that. I would just like to say thank you to everyone. There’s been a lot of calls and concerns about my health and well-being last week – a lot of outpouring of support from the fans and peers in the sport, some of the competitors. Most importantly I would like to say thank you to NASCAR, the NASCAR medical liason team, Talladega Superspeedway and UAB (University of Alabama Birmingham) – a lot of care there, a lot of professionalism that certainly helped me through the process and I’ll always be thankful for that.”

Do you have any recollection of the crash?
“I remember bits and pieces of everything,” he said. “It’s very spotty at times after the impact. I just remember being really excited – we were in a good position and I felt like I had an opportunity for our first top-ten and we were just in a pack there. Saw the smoke ahead of me and went to hit the brake pedal and the brakes were not there. At that point, I just remember getting hit by someone and going towards the wall. At that point, I just braced for impact and that’s really all I remember until after the accident.”

Have you ever raced without a HANS device or head restraint?
“No, not even in late models.”

What injuries did you sustain and how soon do you want to get back in the car?
“There was a lot of speculation about what the injuries were. I’m not familiar with the communication process there. The largest thing we battled was the internal bruising, which is still quite painful, and the concussion. As far as getting back in the race car, we’re following the process that NASCAR has in place – it’s a very thorough process and a very good process. We’re consulting with the doctors on that. Once they feel that I’m cleared to get back in the race car and that I’m ready to get back in the car, then I look forward to doing that. We’re definitely preparing the best we can to do that as soon as possible.”

Do you know how your injuries happened?
“I’m not sure. I’m probably not the right one to ask. It’s probably speculation at this point. Honestly, I remember just before the accident and then I remember pieces of the safety workers there – they did an excellent job getting me out of the car and I remember bits and pieces of that and then I remember the helicopter ride. I don’t have a lot of recollection there so it probably wouldn’t be accurate fi I speculated on that.”

Did you ask the safety personnel what was wrong with you?
“You know, obviously I’m a human being and it’s a good question. It was all new to me – the surroundings and everything. I was not familiar with what was going on. Once I was at the point where I was able to communicate regularly, if I heard them say something I didn’t understand I would try to get a clarification or something in laymen’s terms that helped me. I remember being really scared of the helicopter because I don’t like to fly. It was just a lot of talking to help me feel better and just waiting to hear what they had to say and what their plans were. Definitely if I didn’t ask a specific question or talk to them or try to be funny to make myself feel better, they weren’t paying a whole lot of attention to what I was saying. They were making a plan and I’m thankful for that too.”

What has this been like for your family?
“I have four daughters and the oldest is five. I was able to see them Saturday night and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect our oldest daughter just a little bit. Fortunately, they didn’t see the accident. There were at the track, but they did not see it live. I think there was a lot of unknowns in the interim right after that. Fortunately, my wife is a nurse so she’s had experience with things like this, obviously not with us. I hate for them to go through anything like that, but I will keep most of it private, but there were times with the family when things died down at the hospital that made me understand how loved I was by them and made very thankful that I had a family like that. This week, it’s been good. Our three-year-old, she’s tried to doctor me several times – brought the little stethoscopes in and told me she was going to make my heart better and try to rub the bruises away things like that. It was really sweet and I think they are doing okay with it. I’ve really enjoyed our time together this week.”

How old are your daughters?
“I have a five-year-old, a three-year-old, 21 months and eight weeks.”

What happened to the brakes in your car and how hard was the accident?
“We’ve communicated a little bit about that with the things I’ve had to do medically this week and being in the hospital. I haven’t communicated for the entire data or everything that happened. I do have some idea of the impact and things like that. I had no idea the brakes were out. We had it the whole race. Right there on the green-white-checkered, on the restart – it was a slow start and everyone bunched up and I remember having brakes because we were dragging the brake a little bit to try to bump someone or stay in line or get a good start and not lose too much time. The next time I hit the brakes was when I saw the smoke and they just weren’t there. It’s a little bit of a heart-sinking feeling right there and obviously, that created the impression that I was speeding up or going faster than everyone when I hit. Obviously I was – I’m just glad it wasn’t worse.”

Did you ever question whether you wanted to race again?
“No. I love to race. Sometimes I question how good I am at it sometimes. Never had a doubt that I wanted to do it again. Obviously, when you’re in a situation like that and things are happening fast and you’ve just been through something like that, you’re a human being and thousands of things run through your head. As far as questioning my desire to do this, I don’t. I look forward to going through the process that NASCAR has laid out, getting the right clearance when it’s time to come back and at this point, when they do that, I look forward to doing it and racing again and trying to get better.”

How can you compare safety improvements in NASCAR to the NFL?
“I think you can’t put into words the advancements that NASCAR has made in safety. I love football. I study the NFL (National Football League) and college football and I think the concussion reports are apples to oranges based on the nature of our sport. You generally don’t hear a lot of stories or reports of concussions in our sport and I think that’s a testament to NASCAR and what they’ve done. We’re all fans of NASCAR. We all grew up watching it, wanting to be a part of it and I think we’re guilty sometimes of trying to be critical of NASCAR as a whole sometimes  and point out things that we don’t always agree with. I was a skeptic of the new car and everything they did and never questioned the safety and the SAFER barrier, but I was always one that, “Hey, they need to worry about this instead of this,’ but experiencing it first hand, I think the initiatives they have put in place is very good and I think a lot of people don’t understand how proactive NASCAR has been. We know all about the media and the racing and the venues and everything, but what we don’t always see and I was guilty of not paying attention to it is what they’re doing behind the scenes to stay ahead of the curve on all the safety and things like that. I experienced it first hand and all I can speak from is my experience in NASCAR and it’s been amazing what they’ve done and I’m thankful they did it.”

Have you spoken to your uncle, Larry McClure about the accident?
“Well, I spoke with Larry (McClure) – I’ve spoken to a lot of people and it’s amazing to see how many people have come forward and offered their support and assistance and that’s really humbling for me as a somewhat anonymous guy. Larry was one of the first people to call, as were – my father was there and as were brothers.  They’ve seen a lot over the years, both good and bad. They certainly, I guess because I was a family member, they didn’t want to say anything other than they were worried, they were praying for me and concerned. I was appreciative of that. Growing up working at the shop, I’ve seen some of the cars that have come back from tracks and you just look at it and be like, ‘Wow, somebody was lucky. Somebody was blessed.’ And I don’t really know how to say anything other than say the same thing. In our family, we’ve seen a lot, but I think that’s the first time we’ve experienced something that close.”

What is your timetable for returning to your vehicle?
“That’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for that. I would hate to speculate on when I get back in the car. Like I said, NASCAR has a great process in place and we’re following it in trying to do everything that they say. There’s various time periods that are needed for proper healing and things, but once we go through this process and the doctors feel that medically I’m cleared to race then that’s what we’ll do. I can’t speculate on when that is. I would love to be back in the car as soon as possible. I look forward to doing that – I’m excited. I really hate not being in the car here (Darlington Raceway). I really like this place and I feel like I’ve been fast here, so I wish there weren’t fun race tracks coming up. I wish it was some of my worst ones and then I would be like, ‘Well, maybe we’ll take some more time,’ but right now we’re just doing what they say. I got back for more evaluations next next week and, at this point, I would just say week-to-week.”

Have you ever had a fear of racing and do you consider yourself tough?
“Well, that’s a good question. Thank you. I think I’m a lot tougher now. Mario Andretti said on Twitter I was really tough, so that must mean I’m really tough. You know, I’m not worried about the race car. I’m not scared, especially now. I think that I’ve hit about as hard as you can hit. I never have been scared of teh car. That’s one think I can – some of the frustrations I’ve had in my career, I can’t credit that to fear and uncertainty, but certainly not now. I joked with Jeff Green and Mike Bliss just this week that maybe I can drive the car harder now, because I don’t have to worry about it because everything’s in place – the safety equipment is amazing. It’s been a crazy thing. You talk yourself into or out of something, but if anything I think my confidence will be a little higher just from the safety initiatives and how safe our sport really is. It’s always dangerous, but it’s a lot safer than it ever has been. For me, it’s just a neat opportunity to be able to come and talk to you guys and be here and watch how it works form outside the seat. I will say this – this is probably neither here nor there – there has been some good things to come out of everything this week. And growing up with Morgan-McClure (Motorsports) and watching him revolutionize the sport was kind of cool. So, evidentially a lot of people have paid attention to this, so we felt like it was a neat opportunity or necessary to come and just let everybody know that we’re doing okay and we’ll push through it the best we can and get back as soon as possible.”

From Toyota Motorsports-PR

‘Too Tough’ indeed as success rare at Darlington
For Starters
27 – Number of consecutive Cup races the pole-sitter has not gone on to win the race. The last pole-sitter to win – Kyle Busch, at Kentucky Speedway in July 2011. The best finish of a pole-sitter in 2012 belongs to Martin Truex Jr, who finished sixth at Texas. The streak looks like it will continue – Dale Jarret is the last winning pole driver at Darlington, and he did it back in 1997. The longest drought for a pole-sitter victory in Cup Series history is 29 in the 1989 and 1990 seasons.

4 – On the flip side, Nationwide races at Darlington usually see the pole-sitter head to Victory Lane. In the past six Nationwide races at the track, four have been won from the P1 position.

Nationwide Series – Breakout Number
6 – Darlington is one of six active tracks that were on the Nationwide schedule when the series started in 1982. The other five: Bristol, Charlotte, Daytona, Dover and Richmond. Interestingly, Darlington is not known to reward drivers with their first series victory. In the first three races held at the track from 1982-’84, Geoffrey Bodine, Neil Bonnett and Ron Bouchard earned their first series victory at Darlington, but since then – a streak that spans 48 races – no driver has earned his or her first victory at the Lady in Black.

Track Tidbits
7 – In six of the past seven races, the final green-flag run was seven laps or fewer. However, last year the final 44 laps were run under green.

7 – The driver leading the most laps has won seven of the past nine Nationwide races at Darlington. In 2009, Kyle Busch had to pit with a flat tire after leading 143 laps and Matt Kenseth went on to win. In 2006, Denny Hamlin, Kenseth and Jamie McMurray took their turn at the point for at least 38 laps with Hamlin leading when it mattered most.

16 – Joe Gibbs Racing and Roush Fenway Racing have won 16 of the past 22 races at Darlington. Roush drivers dominated the track in the ’90s and early 2000s, but its been a Gibbs track more recently with wins in five of the past six races with JGR driver leading 59 percent of the laps run in that stretch.

Recent Trends
3.3 – Denny Hamlin has an average finish of 3.3 in six Nationwide starts at Darlington. He has three victories in his past four starts with the one non-victory a second-place finish last year. Hamlin’s worst finish is eighth and he’s finished every race on the lead lap. In 2010, Hamlin swept the weekend winning both the Cup and Nationwide races, the first driver to accomplish that in the past 18 years.

4 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr took the points lead from Elliott Sadler last week at Talladega and it is because he has been on a tear recently. In the pst four races, Stenhouse is the only driver to notch a top-five in each one. He finished second at Fontana, won at Texas, was fourth at Richmond and third at Talladega. Stenhouse has finished sixth or better in the past seven races, with his only finish outside the top six a 19th in the opener at Daytona.

9 – Nationwide regulars have won five of the eight races this season, but at Darlington, it’s the Cup stars who shine. The past nine Nationwide races have been won by Cup regulars with Hamlin leading the way with three. Brian Vickers, back in 2003, was the last Nationwide driver to capture the checkered at Darlington.

Sprint Cup Series – Breakout Number
13 – Could this be the week? Hendrick Motorsports has been trying all season to grab its elusive 200th victory and Darlington could be its best opportunity. Hendrick has 13 victories at the 1.366-mile track, four more wins than any other Cup team. It’s been 16 races since Hendrick has last been to Victory Lane, the team’s longest drought since 2001-2002. However, the team is still a long way from its worst winless skid of 40 races back in 1991-1992 when Ken Schrader and Ricky Rudd drove for the owner and rookie named Jeff Gordon made his Cup debut at Atlanta.

Track Tidbits
0 – Number of victories and top-five finishes for Richard Childress Racing at Darlington since 2005. RCR has eight victories at the South Carolina track, but none since Dale Earnhardt won in 1994. The team has 21 top-five finishes, but only four from anyone other than Earnhardt. Robby Gordon scored the team’s last top-five back in 2004. All four RCR cars finished 17th or worse in 2011.

2 – Darlington is one of two active tracks Tony Stewart has yet to win (Kentucky is the other). In 19 starts, Stewart’s best finish is third in 2009 and he has just three top-fives and 10 top-tens. His average finish is a solid 12.3, but he’s led just 20 laps.

5 – Darlington has had double-digit cautions in five of the past seven races and has seen two green-white-checkered finishes in that stretch. In both instances, the driver who was leading at the time of the caution did not go on to win the race.

Recent Trends
0 – So far in 2012, there has not been a last lap pass for the victory. If you’er a fan of last-lap passes, Darlington may lead you to be disappointed. In 108 races, there have only been five last-lap passes for the victory with the most recent coming in Darlington’s most famous finish between Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch in 2003.

5 – Believe it not, but Brad Keselowski is second in Cup Series wins since the beginning of 2011. Tony Stewart has seven, followed, followed by Keselowski and Kyle Busch with five, and Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth with four. Of those five drivers, though, Keselowski has the worst average finish and the fewest top-tens. But Darlington is Keselowski’s best track where he has started more than once with an average finish of 7.3.

21.6 – Jeff Gordon’s average finish of 21.6 this season is his worst in ten races since the summer of 2005, the only season he missed the Chase. Interestingly, in the three races this season without an incident, he’s done pretty well finishing eighth at Phoenix, 12th at Las Vegas and fourth at Texas.

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

NASCAR Darlington Raceway Weather Forecast: Skies Clear for Southern 500
As NASCAR drivers tackle the track that’s “Too Tough To Tame” at Darlington Raceway they won’t be worrying about Mother Nature.

After weeks of dodging rain drops, high winds and chilly temperatures, there’s finally a race weekend where the attention is on the track and not the radar or the sky.

High pressure will build in over the Carolinas for Friday and Saturday. There will be plenty of sunshine both days and temperatures will be very pleasant ranging from the upper 70s to low 80s. Humidity levels will also be low, so it will feel very comfortable as well. Winds will also remain generally light between 3-8 mph.

Enjoy a quiet weather weekend. NASCAR has definitely earned it.

Read more from WX-Man

2012 NNS VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 Final Practice Session
In the only practice session being held for tonight’s NNS VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200, it was Kurt Busch with a lap speed of 171.740-mph, showing the fastest way around Darlington Raceway.

Second fastest and with a lap speed of 171.405-mph was Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, followed by Brian Scott (170.922) who was third fastest, Elliott Sadler (170.484) fourth and Denny Hamlin 169.924) was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” (final) practice session were Brad Keselowski (169.906) who was sixth fastest, Sam Hornish Jr (169.859) seventh, rookie contender, Cole Whitt (169.701) eighth, current series points leader, Ricky Stenhouse Jr (169.596) ninth and Joey Logano (169.549) posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

Qualifying is scheduled to take place at 3:35pm ET this afternoon to determine the starting lineup for this evening’s race – which is set to get underway around 7:15pm ET – and ESPN2 will provide television coverage of the race beginning with their 6:30pm ET pre-race program.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Thursday, May 10, 2012
Dale Jr. looks for breakthrough at Darlington
Dale Earnhardt Jr says he’s gone faster at every track he’s raced at this season and he’s certain Darlington Raceway won’t be any different.

Earnhardt will try for his first Sprint Cup victory at the Southern 500 on Saturday night. He’s also hoping to end a nearly four-year winless drought on the circuit stretching back to his first year driving for powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports.

Read more from WTOP/Associated Press

Eric McClure wreck: Steering column bent, but safety equipment worked
While the steering column did move quite a bit toward driver Eric McClure during his nasty crash Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, the TriStar Motorsports team did not see anything out of the ordinary when inspecting the car after the accident, crew chief Wes Ward said Thursday.

Ward, who spent 22 years in the sport, and NASCAR officials looked over the car Monday at the TriStar shop to determine if any of the safety features failed.

McClure had to be cut out of his car after the accident, where he slid several hundred feet and hit a steel-and-foam barrier head-on. He was airlifted to the hospital, where he spent two days for treatment for a concussion and mild internal bruising.

Read more from Sporting News

Cole Whitt to Drive No. 88 “Join the Dew Crew” Chevrolet in Iowa
In front of a frenzied crowd at Walmart’s Race Time event Thursday night, JR Motorsports team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr and driver Cole Whitt unveiled the No. 88 “Join the Dew Crew” Chevrolet that Whitt will drive in the May 20th NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway.

The unveiling was part of a one-race partnership announcement between JR Motorsports and PepsiCo that will drive awareness of Dew Crew, an online Facebook community that gives fans the opportunity to get more involved with Dale Jr. and Diet Mountain Dew, while having a voice and making key decisions for the 88 team. Fans can become a member of the Dew Crew free of charge at

Read more from JR Motorsports-PR

Michael Waltrip Racing’s Sixth Annual Fan Fest Set for May 23
Michael Waltrip Racing will hold its sixth annual Fan Fest at its race shop in Cornelius, NC on Wednesday, May 23.

MWR NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Martin Truex Jr, Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer will sign autographs from 1-3pm.

Up to 300 wrist bands for each driver will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at 9am on Monday, May 21 in the MWR team store. A wrist band is required for an autograph. Wrist band distribution is limited to one band per fan per day until all bands have been distributed. No purchase required to obtain a wrist band.

To guarantee an autograph from all three drivers, express passes to all autograph lines will be available for all fans who purchase more than $100 in merchandise from the team store on May 23.

Team business partners plan to bring interactive displays and SiriusXM Radio will broadcast from MWR. Music, a free poster, prizes and the MWR transporters will also be part of this years event. Food will be available for purchase.

Due to out-of-state commitments, Waltrip and Brian Vickers will not be present.

Michael Waltrip Racing is at exit 28 on I-77 in Cornelius, NC about 15 miles north of Charlotte, NC. The team’s race shop and team store will be open to the public throughout the day.


Danica Patrick & Ryan Newman Join Officials to Roll Out New Logo

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Danica Patrick and Ryan Newman were on hand Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway to help roll out exciting new programs and activities for fans during Coca-Cola 600 race weekend and unveil the title sponsor’s new race logo.

The celebration starts early in the week and includes the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk & Summer Cookout, where fans can join NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle in the infield for an afternoon of food and fun. Coca-Cola will also sponsor an infield camping extravaganza, with movie night, corn hole tournaments and other fun and games throughout the weekend.

On race day, the celebration is all about the troops. With a flyover by a B-52 Bomber, infield military demonstrations and an aerial stunt by the US Army Black Daggers parachute team, the day will be filled with patriotic entertainment fitting of the weekend’s Let Freedom Race theme.

In addition to a unique pre-race military tribute, fans can show up early and enjoy a 10-acre Fan Zone with interactive displays, NASCAR merchandise haulers and the POWERADE Play Zone with activities just for kids. Entertainment will also include a pre-race concert by country music star Darius Rucker, who will perform the National Anthem.

Tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 are still available, with weekend packages starting at just $99. To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway Ticket Office at 800-455-FANS (3267) or visit For all the news from the speedway, follow the track on Facebook at or on Twitter at @cltmotorspdwy

Read more from CMS-PR

Ryan Newman: Move Talladega race to road course
Ryan Newman wondered aloud Thursday if NASCAR really needs to race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Unlike his boss/teammate Tony Stewart’s sarcastic commentary of the crashes following Sunday’s race that left only 24 cars running at the finish, Newman’s thoughts on the 2.66-mile Alabama track were clear-cut.

Read more from USA-Today

Danica gets Tab Boyd as new spotter
Danica Patrick will have a new spotter for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Tab Boyd, a former spotter for Juan Pablo Montoya and an employee at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.

Boyd will replace Mark Robertson as Patrick makes her second Cup start of this season.

Read more from ESPN

Motorcyclist Hopes Fans Follow His Leap to NASCAR
Travis Pastrana crawled through the window of his No. 99 Toyota, kissed his wife and flashed his magnetic smile. Even though he had placed 22nd in his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut last month, we was pleased that he had not wrecked his car or anyone else’s.

Pastrana, an action sports star best known for back flips on motorcycles, relaxed outside his car as Richmond International Raceway quietly called it a night. Drivers retreated to their motor homes, maintenance workers filled trash bags, and the stands emptied. Then Pastrana, 28, heard a small group of people screaming to him from the bleachers.

Read more from New York Times

Jeremy Mayfield’s wife files for bankruptcy
In a move that will allow Jeremy Mayfield to delay the sale of his foreclosed-on property, Mayfield’s wife, Shana Sessions Mayfield, has filed for bankruptcy.

The move was not a surprise as the Mayfields have seen the bills stack up ever since Mayfield was suspended by NASCAR for what NASCAR officials said was a May 2009 positive drug test for methamphetamines. Mayfield contends the test was a false positive for a mix of prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Read more from Sporting News

Unchanged Smith set to defend at Southern 500
It isn’t easy making a name for yourself in NASCAR, particularly when your name happens to be Regan Smith.

And that’s why is victory a year ago in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, the first Sprint Cup win of Smith’s career, has changed his life. At least in one regard.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Raceday in Talladega Spurs Changes in 2012 Sprint Fan Vote Top 10
Fueled by his run at Talladega Superspeedway this past Sunday, Michael Waltrip leaped into the 2012 Sprint Fan Vote top 10 (alphabetical) standings and forced rookie Aric Almirola to the outside. Seven drivers currently in the top 20 in points need to either win at Darlington or claim a win or runner-up finish in the Sprint Showdown to earn a spot in the NASCAR All-Star Race field.

Without either of those two scenarios playing out, top-20 drivers AJ Allmendinger 20th, Jeff Burton 18th, Dale Earnhardt Jr 3rd, Joey Logano 15th, Jamie McMurray 16th, Juan Pablo Montoya 17th, and Martin Truex Jr 6th will have to rely on the Sprint Fan Vote to get into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.

The 10 drivers leading the Sprint Fan Vote standings (in alphabetical order) are: Allmendinger, Burton, Earnhardt Jr, Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Logano, McMurray, Truex Jr, Kenny Wallace and Waltrip.

Voting will continue until 5pm EDT Saturday, May 19. Fans can vote by visiting, using the NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile application on Sprint Android devices, or by texting “VOTE” to 229466 on any wireless carrier (standard text messaging and data rates apply). As an added incentive for Sprint customers, votes submitted from a Sprint, Nextel, Boost or Virgin Mobile device will count double toward an eligible driver’s total.

Voting is also open or by visiting the Sprint Experience, Sprint’s mobile-marketing display located in the midway at all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.

To be eligible for the Sprint All-Star Fan Vote, drivers must be approved by NASCAR for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition and have met all other eligibility requirements. Those requirements include finishing in the Top 50 of the final 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship point standings or an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Daytona 500.

The driver who accumulates the most votes and finishes the Sprint Showdown qualifying race on the lead lap with a car in “raceable” condition (as determinded by NASCAR competition) will earn a spot in the prestigious NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race field.

Drivers eligible for the 2012 Sprint Fan Vote
AJ Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, TJ Bell, Dave Blaney, Geoffrey Bodine, Jeff Burton, Landon Cassill, Chris Cook, Erik Darnell, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Bill Elliott, David Gilliland, Robby Gordon, Brian Keselowski, Bobby Labonte, Terry Labonte, Andy Lally, Stephen Leicht, Joey Logano, Michael McDowell, Jamie McMurray, Casey Mears, Juan Pablo Montoya, Joe Nemechek, Steve Park, Andy Pilgrim, Tony Raines, David Reutimann, Robert Richardson, Boris Said, Ken Schrader, Brian Simo, David Stremme, Martin Truex Jr, Brian Vickers, Kenny Wallace, Mike Wallace, Michael Waltrip and JJ Yeley.

From Sprint Nextel-PR

NASCAR Hall of Fame: Grassroots Racing – Where NASCAR Heroes are Born
The NASCAR Hall of Fame introduces a new exhibition in the Great Hall, Grassroots Racing: Where NASCAR Heroes are Born, opening May 14. The exhibit is free with general admission.

Grassroots Racing: Where NASCAR Stars are Born tells the story of hometown racetracks, affectionately called “grassroots,” where many NASCAR drivers began their racing careers racing every Friday and Saturday night.

Read more from NASCAR Hall of Fame

Mitchell company sues NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer
A Mitchell-based motorcycle company is suing NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer. Klock Werks Kustom Cycles is alleging Bowyer 32, failed to pay $30,788.45 for the customization of a motorcycle conducted by the company in late 2008 and early 2009.

In its complaint, dated Nov 23, 2011, and filed May 2 with the Davison County clerk of courts, Klock Werks says Bowyer contracted the company on or about Nov 11, 2008, and hired it to customize a 2009 Harley-Davidson motorcycle. After the work was performed at Klock Werks’ Mitchell facility, it was delivered to Bowyer in Daytona Beach, FL, on or about Feb 15, 2009, the date of the 2009 Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Read more from The Daily Republic

NASCAR’s cure for tandem racing is worse than the disease
Now that NASCAR has fixed the problem of tandem racing, it needs to fix the problem created by the fix of the problem.

To get rid of the two-car tandem that fans like even less than Kyle Busch, NASCAR pulled out its bag of wooden stakes and garlic cloves and silver bullets and declared holy war on tandem racing.

Read more from al .com

NASCAR plants trees for Green Clean Air
Folks from NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway were tearing up a little grass again on Wednesday, but it wasn’t cars careening through the infield.

Instead, 57 employees of the Speedway, NASCAR and International Speedway Corp. fanned through the community to dig holes and plant trees as part of NASCAR’s Clean Air program.

Read more from Daytona Beach News-Journal

Danica Patrick, Coke to partner
Danica Patrick will be introduced as the first female member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family during a Thursday news conference at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The 30-year-old full-time Nationwide Series driver and part-time Sprint Cup driver joins current CCRF members Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart.

Read more from ESPN

2012 Darlington Raceway NASCAR Weather Forecast: Taming of the Shrew
This weekend, NASCAR heads to the track that is “Too Tough to Tame” Darlington Raceway. Over the last few weeks it seems like Mother Nature has been a “shrew” that has needed some taming. Looks like mother nature will be on her best behavior in Darlington, SC.

High pressure will control the weather across the Carolinas. Expect sunshine over the weekend and comfortable temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s.

From WX-Man

NASCAR fueds are short-lived or long-lasting
Thanks to an awkward moment in a Detroit steakhouse, Jimmy Spencer and Kurt Busch are now friends.

The two spent three years hating and hitting each other.

Those included Spencer being suspended for a race in 2003 after punching Busch in the nose. But those hard feelings have been replaced by mutual respect. Neither backed down; they simply decided to move on.

Read more from The Augusta Chronicle

Jeremy Mayfield ordered to pay $1 million to postal worker bitten by his dogs
A postal carrier hospitalized after being attacked by dogs on Jeremy Mayfield’s property in April 2011 was awarded $1 million judgement by a North Carolina judge Wednesday.

Mary Bolton filed a negligence lawsuit against Mayfield and his wife in June in state Superior Court in Winston-Salem, NC, after being attacked by Mayfield’s dogs.

Read more from Sporting News

Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Tony LaRussa Named Grand Marshal of Toyota/Save Mart 350
Tony LaRussa, one of the greatest managers in the history of Major League Baseball, has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend at Infineon Raceway, June 22-24.

La Russa will be honored on Friday, June 22, of race weekend at the Children’s Champions Grand Marshal’s Banquet at beautiful Cline Cellars in Sonoma. The gala is a fundraiser for the Sonoma Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. He will also take part in pre-race activities on Sunday, June 24, and participate in the official command of “Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.”

LaRussa, who still calls the Bay Area home, posted three World Series victories during his 33-year managerial career, one coming with the Oakland Athletics (1989) and two with the St. Louis Cardinals, most recently in 2011. His other world championship with the Cardinals came in 2006. He retired after the 2011 season.

Four times he was named Manager of the Year, three times in the American League and he posted 2,278 victories as a manager, third all-time behind Connie Mack and John McGraw. Overall, he managed 5,097 games, joining Mack as the second manager or coach in American sports history to reach 5,000 games.

While with the Athletics, LaRussa guided the team to three consecutive American League pennants and the one World Series title in 1989. In 1988, led the Athletics to a 104-58 record.

In addition to baseball, LaRussa, along with his wife, Elaine, founded the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), based in Walnut Creek, CA, in 1991. ARF saves dogs and cats that have run out of time at public shelters and brings people and animals together to enrich each others’ lives. ARF strives to create a world where every loving dog and cat has a home, where every lonely person has a companion animal, and where children learn to care. To find out more about ARF or to get involved, visit

Great ticketing options are still available for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend in Sonoma. Visit or call 800-870-RACE (7223) for details.

From Infineon Raceway-PR

Jeff Green to Sub for Eric McClure at Darlington Raceway
TMI (Team McClure Inc) announced today that due to injuries sustained last Saturday following a crash at Talladega Superspeedway, Eric McClure will be sidelined for Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway. Jeff Green, the 2000 NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and teammate to McClure at TriStar Motorsports will drive the No. 14 Hefty Reynolds Wrap Toyota at Darlington.

Green, an Owensboro, KY native, has 18 career Nationwide Series starts at “The Lady in Black” and has one win, five top-five and nine top-ten finishes.

McClure has said he will make himself available to the media at the Jim Hunter Media Center at Darlington Raceway at 9:45am on Friday, May 11.

From Team McClure Inc-PR

Inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Quaker State 400” Honored
Kentucky Speedway’s inaugural NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Quaker State 400” has been honored as the 2011 Sports Event of the Year by the Cincinnati Sports Professional Network (CSPN) and speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger will accept the award during a Wednesday, June 6 ceremony in the Sharonville Convention Center at 11355 Chester Rd., in Sharonville, OH.

Read more from Kentucky Speedway-PR

MWR Transport Driver to Honor Brother Killed in 9/11 Attack
Michael Waltrip Racing’s No. 15 5-hour ENERGY transport driver Al Nelson, a native of Long Island, NY will get the special opportunity on Thursday night in Darlington to honor his brother Peter Allen Nelson. Peter Nelson was a firefighter in FDNY Rescue 4 killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.

Members of the Remembrance Rescue Project, a not-for-profit created by firefighters to restore, preserve and operate Rescue 4 and Rescue 5 from 9/11 as educational tools, historical artifacts and memorials, reached out to Al Nelson last month. The group informed Nelson that former FDNY Rescue 4 will be in Darlington at the same time as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and asked if he would be willing to drive the Rescue 4 truck in the Darlington Car Hauler Parade on Thursday night.

Nelson agreed and will now drive the Rescue 4 truck in Thursday night’s festivities.

Read more from MWR-PR

Truex Jr. Helps Repair Car of National Guardsman
No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota driver Martin Truex Jr relies on his pit crew whenever his race car needs repairs. On Wednesday near Columbia, SC, it was the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver’s turn to act as the chief mechanic.

The Michael Waltrip Racing driver visited Love Automotive, a NAPA AutoCare Center, in Cayce, SC. to supervise the pit stop for Blair Raines whose car had fallen out of repair. Truex and the shop employees put on new NAPA brakes and made some general repairs.

Raines, 27, from Leesville, SC returned from a year in Afghanistan with the 1221 South Carolina Engineering and Clearance Company in the National Guard. Raines and his company’s duties were to ensure safe travel in some very tough areas.

Read more from Michael Waltrip Racing-PR

Matt Kenseth to get new sponsor, car number
Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth has apparently landed a new sponsor and will get a new car number to go along with it.

Roush Fenway Racing announced Wednesday that it has scheduled a news conference for Monday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to introduce a new multi-year partnership for Roush and Kenseth. The release indicates that Kenseth also will have a new number on his Ford Fusion.

Read more from Sporting News

MEDL Mobile Takes NASCAR to the Line
MEDL Mobile, Inc. an incubator and aggregator of mobile technology, announced today that it has introduced a NASCAR lesson pack for the “Kids! Learn to Draw b Walter Foster” app for iPad. The new “NASCAR: Learn to Draw Race Cars” lesson pack is the latest digital drawing title in the app from art instruction leader Walter Foster, and joins 14 other lesson titles. The iPad app is now available for a limited time for free in the Apple App Store, with most lesson packs available as in-app purchases for $2.99 each. The NASCAR lesson pack is available for an introductory price of $3.99.

Read more from Globe Newswire

Jeremy Clements overcomes career-threatening injury to run on Nationwide circuit
Clements is in his second full season on the Nationwide circuit and is coming off a 29th-place finish last week at Talladega. He’s 14th in points so far after finishing 15th last year.

Clements is just glad to be racing after his career almost was cut short after an accident in 2004. He was making a turn at 311 Speedway in Madison, NC, when a piece of steel from his drive shaft ripped through the cockpit and slammed into the right side of his body.

Clements got out of the car under his own power but was severely bleeding and was rushed to Wake Forest University Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem NC. He underwent nine hours of surgery and doctors told him he wouldn’t have regular use of his hand.

Read more from Chicago Tribune

Carl Edwards to join ESPN for two Nationwide races
Carl Edwards will move from the cockpit of his race car to the broadcast book as he becomes an analyst for ESPN on two upcoming telecasts of the NASCAR Nationwide Series races. Edwards will make his debut during ESPN2’s live telecast of the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Darlington Raceway on Friday night May 11, at 6:30pm ET. Edwards also will serve as an analyst for the June 29 event at Kentucky Speedway. 

For the Darlington race telecast, Edwards will join lap-by-lap announcer Allen Bestwick and analyst Andy Petree in the booth. While Edwards has never called a race, he has worked closely with ESPN the past two years during ESPN’s portion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule by doing post-race analysis for Sports Center. 

“I am humbled by this opportunity to broadcast for ESPN and be part of their team,” said Edwards. “This Friday in Darlington, I will hop out of my Sprint Cup car and trade my firesuit for a suit and tie to see the Nationwide race from a totally different perspective. I am honestly a little nervous as it will be my first time being part of the broadcast,” he said. “ESPN has been a great partner for everyone in NASCAR and I hope I can add some insight for the fans.” 

Edwards, who drives for Roush Fenway Racing, stopped competing in NASCAR Nationwide Series races this season after racing fulltime in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series the past seven years. He was the Nationwide Series driving champion for 2007, and earned the 2011 series owner’s championship for Roush Fenway Racing, but decided to concentrate his efforts on the Sprint Cup Series this season.

“Having a past NASCAR Nationwide Series champion and active NASCAR Sprint Cup driver in the booth will certainly bring some unique perspective to our viewers,” said Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production. “We have a very strong on-air team for NASCAR and this addition makes it even stronger.”


Quicken Loans & Michigan International Speedway Announce Partnership

Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc today announced it has teamed with Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn, MI to sponsor the Quicken Loans 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at MIS on Sunday, June 17.

Along with its sponsorship of the Quicken Loans 400, the nation’s largest online mortgage lender is the primary sponsor of Newman’s No. 39 Chevrolet for nine Sprint Cup races, and an associate sponsor for the remainder of the season. Quicken Loans also is an associate sponsor of three-time and reigning Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart.

The Quicken Loans 400 will be the first race at MIS since a full repave in the fall. Based on the speeds reached by a small group of drivers during tire tests conducted by Goodyear in April, it’s expected that MIS will earn the title as the fastest track on the Sprint Cup circuit during the Quicken Loans 400.

Newman, who has two Sprint Cup wins and two NASCAR Nationwide wins at MIS and calls MIS his home track, currently holds the lap record with a top speed of 194.232-mph – a record that is sure to fall in June during the Quicken Loans 400 race weekend.

Race fans can keep up-to-speed with all aspects of the race from Quicken Loans racing at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @quickenloans

Fans also can connect with MIS via Twitter @MISpeedway or on Facebook at

From Michigan International Speedway-PR

NASCAR Has a Tough Job Pleasing Drivers and Fans
Well, we seem to be in a quandary. We seem to be in a pickle. Like they said in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” – we seem to be in a tight spot. NASCAR is doing everything it can to make the restrictor-plate racing at Daytona and Talladega as exciting as fans want it to be.

Than’s a really tough balancing act because you have to remember what makes the fans happy doesn’t always make the drivers happy. Drivers are perfectionists. A perfect weekend to a driver is a combination of sitting on the pole, leading the most laps and winning the race. The other goal is to demoralize the field. A driver wants to beat those other 42 cars like a drum.

Read more from SPEED

Hendrick now has longest winless streak since 2002
More than a decade has passed since Hendrick Motorsports slogged through this kind of drought. Back in 2001, Hendrick went the final eight races without a win. Then in 2002, the squad went the first nine winless. That 17-race drought ranks as the team’s sixth-longest in an NSCS history that began in 1984. The seventh longest? This one, right here, right now. Sixteen races have passed since Hendrick’s last win, but one of its top tracks awaits – Darlington Raceway. Hendrick has 13 victories at “The Track Too Tough To Tame,” most by any owner all-time. On Hendrick’s personal wins list, Darlington ranks tied for third with Dover behind only Martinsville (18) and Charlotte (16).


Darlington Raceway – Numbers & Stats

  • Built as a 1.25-mile paved superspeedway in 1949-50, Darlington Raceway hosted the first 500-mile race in NASCAR history and the first on asphalt on September 4, 1950
  • The track was re-measured to 1.375-miles in 1953
  • The track was re-configured to 1.366-miles following the spring race in 1970.
  • The track was repaved in 1995.
  • The 2005 race was the first Saturday night race at Darlington.
  • The track was repaved again prior to the 2008 season.
  • There have been 108 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Darlington Raceway since the track opened in 1950.
  • There was one race per year in 1950, 1951, from 1953-1959, and again every year since 2005. Darlington held two races a season in all other years.
  • Curtis Turner won the first pole, in 1950.
  • 47 drivers have posted poles at Darlington.
  • David Pearson leads all drivers with 12 poles at Darlington.
  • 45 drivers have won races at Darlington; 25 drivers have won more than once there.
  • David Pearson leads all drivers with 10 victories, followed by Dale Earnhardt with nine.
  • Jeff Gordon is third overall and leads all active drivers with seven victories.
  • Hendrick Motorsports has won 13 races at Darlington, more than any other organization.
  • 19 races at Darlington have been won from the pole, the most productive starting position. Dale Jarrett was the last driver to win from the pole in 1997.
  • The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 43rd, in the track’s inaugural race in 1950 by Johnny Mantz. That race had a 75-car field.
  • Darlington is the site of one of the closest race finishes in NASCAR history. Ricky Craven edged out Kurt Busch by 0.002 seconds on March 16, 2003 – which is tied with Talladega (April 17, 2011) as the two smallest margins of victory since NASCAR instituted electronic timing in 1993.
  • Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (05/10/2008 – 23 years, 0 months, 8 days).
  • Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Darlington Raceway winner: Harry Gant (05/10/1991 – 51 years, 7 months, 22 days).

Danica locked into field for Bojangles’ Southern 500
With David Reutimann’s 22nd place finish at Talladega Superspeedway, Danica Patrick and the No. 10 car have officially made the field for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

The No. 10 car, which sits 33rd in owner points after Talladega, secures Patrick in the field based on NASCAR automatically giving the top 35 cars a spot in the starting field without having to race their way in on qualifying time.

Patrick will be just the third woman to ever compete in a NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway, joining Shawna Robinson in 2002 and Janet Guthrie in 1977. Robinson and Guthrie finished 42nd and 16th in those races, respectively.

Read more from Darlington Raceway-PR

And – Danica Patrick prepares for 1st trip to Darlington
Danica Patrick is ready to earn her stripes – probably plenty of them – this weekend at the Southern 500.

Patrick is back in the Sprint Cup series for the first time since the season-opening Daytona 500 and she picked one of the circuit’s most treacherous tracks for her return in Darlington Raceway.

Read more from Yahoo Sports-Associated Press

Kurt Busch to do double duty at Iowa Speedway in 2012
Former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch says he’s planning to run both Nationwide series races at Iowa Speedway this season.

Busch says he’s slated to run both the May 20 and August 4 races in Iowa this season in the No. 54 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Read more from CBS Sports

Cargill To Host “Darlington Signature Burger Event”
Darlington Raceway and Cargill Beef are asking fans to submit recipes for the “Track Too Tough to Tame’s” new signature hamburger. Fans will submit their favorite and most unique hamburger recipes, with the selected entries being prepared by Miss Sprint at an old fashioned race-day cook out on Saturday at the track prior to the Bojangles’ Southern 500. The burgers will then be judged and a winner chosen by track president Chris Browning.

Read more from Roush Fenway Racing-PR

Two NASCAR Nationwide Series Crew Chiefs Fined
NASCAR announced Tuesday, that two NASCAR Nationwide Series crew chiefs had been fined and placed on probation for violations during this past weekend’s event at Talladega Superspeedway. In addition, the teams’ respective car chiefs have also been placed on probation for the remainder of the year.

Crew chiefs Jeremy Bullins (No. 22 team) and Chad Walter (No. 12 team) have each been fined $10,000 and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31. Additionally, the teams’ respective car chiefs – Thomas Clavette (No. 22) and Raymond Fox (No. 12) – have been placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.

The rules violations referred to Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR officials that the race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20-A of the rule book); 20A-2.1E (streamlining of the contours of the car, beyond what is approved by the series director will not be permitted. Installation of air directional devices, underpans, baffles, shields or the like beneath the car or the car’s hood and fender area, front firewall, floor, rear firewall area, rear deck and quarter panel will not be permitted. If in the judgement of NASCAR officials, any part or component of the car not previously approved by NASCAR has been installed or modified to enhance aerodynamic performance, will not be permitted. All cars must remain standard in appearance); 20A-3.10A (front upper bumper cover must be from the respective OEM manufacturer and must be approved by NASCAR. The front lower bumper cover and rear bumper cover must be from an approved manufacturer and must be approved by NASCAR. Once approved, the front lower bumper covers may be used on all approved models. NASCAR officials may use bumper covers provided by the respective manufacturer as a guide in determining whether a competitor’s bumper cover conforms to the specifications of the NASCAR rule book. Unless otherwise authorized by the series director, cutting and reshaping of bumper covers will not be permitted.)

The infractions were discovered during opening day inspection on May 3.


The Southern 500 – NASCAR’s Original 500-Mile Legend
When people talk about NASCAR Sprint Cup auto racing and bring up that magic 500-mile distance, nowadays discussion always seems to head straight to the Great American Race, the Daytona 500. And that isn’t necessarily unfitting. It is our sport’s iconic race and the one trophy drivers and teams seem to covet above all others, the championship trophy aside. Few words can send chills up and down a race fan’s spine as quickly as “Daytona.”

One name that gives Daytona a run for its money in the goosebumps department is the sight of this weekend’s Bojangles Southern 500: Darlington.

Read more from SB Nation-Atlanta

Darlington prepares for Round 2 of Harvick vs. Busch
Darlington Raceway is bracing for Round 2 between Kevin “The Hitman” Harvick and Kyle “Rowdy” Busch.

Track President Chris Browning said he knew from the moment Harvick and Busch tangled after last year’s Southern 500 his people would have the perfect way to sell this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Read more from USA Today

Penske Racing’s Nationwide crew chiefs fined for bumper covers
NASCAR remained consistent in its penalties for illegal front bumper covers, as it issued fines and probation for those found on Penske Racing’s Nationwide Series cars at Talladega.

The Penske cars of Sam Hornish Jr. and Brad Keselowski had their upper front bumper covers confiscated by NASCAR during opening-day inspection last Thursday at Talladega Superspeedway. They replaced them by the time practice started Friday morning.

Crew chiefs Jeremy Bullins for Keselowski and Chad Walter for Hornish were fined $10,000 and put on probation through the end of the year. Car chiefs of those cars – Thomas Clavette for Keselowski and Raymond Fox for Hornish – also were put on probation for the rest of the year.

Read more from Sporting News

Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million Announces New Stars, Events
AARP Foundation today announced new event information as part of the Drive to End Hunger Charlotte 1 Million, a series of volunteer events in North Carolina from May 22-25 that will package and donate one million meals to help older North Carolinians who struggle to put food on the table.

The centerpiece of the Charlotte 1 Million will be a two-day package event at the Charlotte Convention Center on May 24-25, where up to 3,000 volunteers can join in to help feed hungry older Americans alongside celebrities and NASCAR stars like four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, tennis legend Martina Navritilova and award-winning sports caster James “JB” Brown. Volunteers are still needed and are encouraged to visit to learn more and sign up for one of the many volunteer shifts.

The new additions to the Charlotte 1 Million program include
Richard Petty, Smithfield, UFCW to Join United Healthcare at Meal Packaging Event in Greensboro on May 22. 

Miss Sprint Cup to Participate in Charlotte 1 Million
Volunteers will have the opportunity to work alongside the ultimate NASCAR fan ambassador, Miss Sprint Cup, at the Charlotte 1 Million on May 24-25. Miss Sprint Cup will appear on two days of the meal packaging event, including the afternoon of Thursday, May 24, at the Charlotte Convention Center.

From AARP Foundation-PR

Drivers find it hard to keep cool when running hot
At the conclusion of Sunday’s Aaron’s 499, the steam emanating from the garage area at Talladega Superspeedway was coming more from between the drivers’ ears than their overheated radiators.

After at least four cars retired with engine-related issues – and a number of drivers spent the day worrying they’d be next – the prevailing feeling in the garage was that the current rules limiting cooling system water pressure and the grille size need to be re-evaluated before the next restrictor plate race in July at Daytona.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Omnigon Communications and NASCAR Launch the NASCAR Green Website
NASCAR and Omnigon Communications has announced the launch of the NASCAR Green website, designed to build awareness of NASCAR’s leadership in sustainability.

Over the past four years, NASCAR has raced forward in their efforts to educate fans, reduce environmental impact and validate green technologies. Among NASCAR’s most notable ecological achievements to date include creating the world’s largest solar-powered facility, a tree planting program that captures 100% of emissions produced by on-track racing, and the largest recycling program in US sports.

To learn more about NASCAR Green’s ongoing efforts, visit Green NASCAR

NASCAR’s holy war agains tandem racing hits a snag
Tandem racing is not going to go away easily.  Even with the changes NASCAR made to the rear spoiler and the restrictor plate and, most significantly, the settings on the cooling systems, tandem racing is still the fastest way around Talladega.

Even with water temperatures soaring 240, 260, 280 degrees drivers still paired up every chance they could.

Read more from Inside Racing News

NASCAR’s attempt to grow hurts the sport
Brad Keselowski should be a sports star. The guy who picked up more than 200,000 Twitter followers when he tweeted from his car during a red flag period at the Daytona 500 won Sunday’s Aaron’s 499 at Talladega. And then he came to the media center and held court in a way that few athletes could.

Asked about making the right moves and pleasing his owner Roger Penske, Keselowski replied: “Hell, it’s my job to be good. It’s not my job to suck at this.”

No doubt in my mind – if this were the NASCAR of five or 10 years ago, Keselowski would shine bright.

But it’s not the same sport.

Read more from PNJ

Hornish Comments On Patrick Incident
Driver Sam Hornish Jr, who’s also an analyst for SPEED Center, was involved in a dispute with Danica Patrick after Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Talladega, Superspeedway.

Once both crossed the finish line to complete the race, Patrick nudged the left-rear bumper of Hornish’s car, sending him into the outside retaining wall. Hornish had forced Patrick high when his right-front tire deflated on the final lap.

Read more from SPEED 

Monday, May 7, 2012
Eric McClure released from hospital; prognosis good
Eric McClure, who was treated for a concussion and mild internal bruising after his car hit the Talladega Superspeedway wall during Saturday’s Nationwide Series race, was released Monday evening from University of Alabama at Birmingham Hospital, team spokesman and McClure sister Emily Brandt said in a statement.

Read more from Sporting News

Danica Patrick: Is She What NASCAR Needs?
When Danica Patrick nudge Sam Hornish Jr. into the wall after the finish of Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 stock-car race, I got flashbacks to NASCAR’s earlier days.

As it appeared, Hornish blocked Patrick on the final lap by nearly pushing her car into the outside wall. On the cool-down lap Patrick seemed to intentionally “wreck” Hornish.

While it doesn’t hold a candle to the 1979 finish-line fisticuffs at Daytona involving Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison, Patrick’s get-even move rings with an outlaw overtone that hasn’t been present at NASCAR events for at least 15 years.

Read more from Blogs at Wall Street Journal

AND – Danica apologizes for wreck
Danica Patrick says she never intended to put Sam Hornish Jr. into the wall when she tapped his car on the cool down lap after Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Patrick told on Monday she called Hornish and team owner Roger Penske later Saturday to apologize after she realized what happened.

Read more from ESPN

Roush Fenway Racing to Host a Fan Day on May 24
Roush Fenway Racing will host its annual Fan Day on Thursday, May 24 at its Concord, NC campus. The Roush Fenway drivers, show cars and sponsor booths will highlight the activities planned that day.

The event will kick off at 8am when tickets will be handed out for the autograph sessions. The autograph sessions begin at 10am with Roush Fenway drivers Matt Kenseth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Trevor Bayne and team owner Jack Roush. Then Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle will sign for fans at 11:30am.

Several displays will be on hand along with show cars, free samples, food and a band. The RFR gift shop and museum will also be open extended hours throughout the race weekends at Charlotte.

“Our fan day is a great opportunity for people of all ages to get to meet the drivers, see the the show cars up close and learn about the wide range of products our sponsors offer,” said Jack Roush. “It is a fun way to kick off the Memorial Day race weekend and we enjoy having so many fans visit our facility.”

Admission is free and fans of all ages are encouraged to attend.


Daytona to Celebrate NASCAR Day 2012 on May 18

Daytona International Speedway, home to NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race – the Daytona 500, will celebrate the ninth annual NASCAR Day on Friday, May 18.

Between 11:30am and 1:30pm, Daytona International Speedway will celebrate NASCAR Day in front of the Tours and Ticket Office with lunch, raffle prizes and music. In addition, the Florida Blood Centers will be on site for a blood drive from 10am – 4pm. 

Read more from DIS-PR

Sunoco Helps Drive Out Hunger at Dover
Sunoco, Inc. is holding a major food drive for Philabundance and the Food Bank of Delaware at the Dover International Speedway from June 1 to June 3 during the upcoming NASCAR race weekend. Sunoco’s food drive comes during a time when hunger relief organizations are seeing a record number of people coming to them for food.

Throughout the weekend, NASCAR fans are encouraged to donate food and monetary donations to volunteers located at various locations on Speedway grounds. Each day of the race weekend, Sunoco is raffling off a $100 gas gift crd for those who donate. Donations will be equally split between Philabundance and the Food Bank of Delaware. Here are some of the most needed items that can also be found at the Giant Food Store in RV Lot 10 off of Leipsic Road

See the list and read more from Dover International Speedway-PR

Hammond reports break in, vandalism to truck
NASCAR broadcaster and former championship winning crew chief has reported a break in, larceny and vandalism to a truck at his shop in western Rowan County.

According to a report at the sheriff’s office, Jeff Hammond, who works as part of the Fox Network crew covering NASCAR races, reported that a 1988 truck at his shop on Phifer Road in Cleveland was broken into at some point over the last couple of weeks.

Among the items reported missing was a hydraulic tank valued at $300, and one set of copper lines valued at $100. Another set of copper lines and a set of hoses were damaged. Vandalism to the Ford Truck was also reported.

Read more from WBTV

Was Heat The Cause Of ‘Dega issues?
Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway was far and away the warmest day NASCAR teams have raced since the implementation of the new fuel-injection systems for 2012. I know in talking to NASCAR and the folks involved in the electronic-fuel injection project that the impact of heat is definitely next on their radar.

Sure it is still early, and I am not sure that anyone knows for certain yet that it was simply the heat causing the problems that several teams experienced with fueling and engines on Sunday. We are all assuming it has to be the cause, or the biggest contributing cause, in what we saw unfold during the start of green-flag pit stops late in that race. Drivers were running out of fuel on late runs, causing incidents on the track.

Read more from SPEED

‘Big One’ returns with a vengeance
Three races without a multi-car wreck in the Sprint Cup Series left some wondering if there was something wrong with NASCAR. But don’t worry. The sport is not broken, though more than a few race cars were when the “big one” finally came during the Aaron’s 499 on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

It was only a matter of time with pack racing back at Talladega, but it took a while for it to happen. with 45 laps to go, Aric Almirola ran out of gas, and the cars behind him weren’t able to check up in time. The chain-reaction crash collected Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards, Martin Truex Jr, Juan Montoya, Joey Logano, Terry Labonte, Dave Blaney and Landon Cassill.

Read more from NASCAR .com

Stewart rants about Talladega race
Tony Stewart may be trading in his “Smoke” moniker for “Shecky” as he continues to amuse audiences on the NASCAR tour.

Between running out of gas twice, watching his teammate/driver Ryan Newman’s engine fail and catching a piece of an eight-car wreck with four laps remaining in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway, Stewart had plenty of material to work with on Sunday. Plus, the laps he lost in the pits while the team made repairs offered the funnyman plenty of time to work on his material. Here’s some of his best lines.

On the race in general: “We didn’t quite crash half the field which is what we normally look to do here. I was excited about it. I thought it was a pretty good race. I made it further than I thought I would before I got crashed. I call it a successful day.”

Read more from Fox Sports

AND – Read the full interview from Jeff Gluck at SB Nation

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week Returns to Las Vegas
NASCAR announced today that the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards – and all of Champion’s Week – will return to Las Vegas, NV, and remain there for the next three years.

For the fourth-consecutive season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will take place at Wynn Las Vegas on Friday, Nov. 30, a culmination of a week-long celebration for the series champion – and NASCAR fans. As in past years, fans can expect the traditionally exciting and interactive week of activities.

“Experience tells us that Las Vegas creates the perfect backdrop for our sport and our fans to join us in celebrating a NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship,” said Steve Phelps, chief marketing officer for NASCAR. “Returning Champion’s Week and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards to Vegas for the next three years will help our loyal fans crystallize their plans to join us in putting the finishing touches on the season that was with a series of intriguing events across the city.

From 1981 until 2008, NASCAR held it’s year-ending premier series awards show in New York City before moving to Las Vegas in 2009. Since then, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards has been held at the Wynn Las Vegas and has grown in stature and prestige with each passing year.

Fans can count on another star-studded and entertainment-filled week, culminating in the highly-anticipated NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. During last year’s official crowning of Tony Stewart as champion, Sprint announced its renewed commitment to the sport through 2016, and renowned multimedia superstar Reba hosted and singer-songwriter and musician Kid Rock performed for members of the NASCAR industry and fans.

Included among the impressive list of celebrity entertainment the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards has attracted in Las Vegas are Brooks and Dunn, David Gray, Rascal Flatts, Colbie Caillat, Martina Martina McBride, the Jersey Boys, Cirque Elvis and Frank Caliendo.

“We’re very excited that NASCAR Champion’s Week will return to Las Vegas,” said Las Vegas Motor Speedway President Chris Powell. “The Las Vegas community has shown great support for the NASCAR events at the speedway as well as Champion’s Week. There is no better stage for NASCAR to crown its champion, and we continue to be thrilled that Champion’s Week has found a home in the same city as American’s Racing Showplace.”

“The partnership between the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards and Las Vegas leverages the strength of two great brands,” said President and CEO for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Rossi Ralenkotter. “NASCAR Champion’s Week celebrates the best performances of the year and there is no better destination to provide the excitement and energy for the fans and the drivers than Las Vegas.”

A full lineup of activity during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champions Week will be announced at a later date.

From NASCAR-Press Release

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

As always, Thanks for reading and participating.  


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