News & Views – Volume 29 – June 4 – 10, 2012

News & Views – Volume 29
For the week of June 4 – 10, 2012

“None of it matters until we get to Chicago. We need to be in the Top 10 or the wildcard spot, and then all that matters is the final ten.”
– Jimmie Johnson after winning in Dover

This week starts the beginning of the second half of the regular season for the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams. 

The top spot is hotly contested going into the next half of the season with only one-point separating two Roush Fenway teammates – Biffle at the top, followed by Kenseth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. claims third, only ten points away from the leader. Clint Bowyer this week moves two spots into the top-ten while Carl Edwards moves two spots down to the 12th position.  Right now the two wild-cards are owned by Brad Keselowski with two wins and Ryan Newman with one win. 

But as Jimmie Johnson said in his post race interview…”all that matters is the final ten races.” Between now and then, all of these drivers are racing to position their teams for those final ten Chase races. Will the lineup change in the next 13 races? Time will soon reveal that story and we’ll be watching along the way. 


Nationwide teams will be taking a break this weekend, with the Camping World Truck teams heading to Texas for their race on Friday night. Then the Sprint Cup drivers will be racing in Pocono on Sunday afternoon. 



Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, June 10, 2012
Rash of speeding penalties ruin day for many drivers at Pocono
The new surface at Pocono Raceway wasn’t the only thing that challenged the field in the Pocono 400. The new pit road brought a flurry of speeding penalties that confounded drivers.


NASCAR issued 22 speeding penalties overall but 18 of them came during the first 69 laps of the 160-lap event. By comparison, only two speeding penalties were issued last week at Dover.


Read more from Sporting News


2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Race Results

Pole-Sitter, Logano Wins at Pocono
Photo – NASCAR.com

From the pole to victory lane, Joey Logano keeps Mark Martin behind him by 0.997 seconds to win the 2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon.


Logano, who led the most laps – 48 of the 160 that were run, received his first series win of the 2012 season, his second series career win and his first series win at “the tricky triangle.”


Following Logano and Martin to the drop of the checkered flag were Tony Stewart finishing third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Denny Hamlin finished fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Clint Bowyer finishing sixth, the new series points leader, Matt Kenseth seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr – 10-points behind Kenseth for second in the standings – eighth, Paul Menard ninth and Jamie McMurray finishing in the tenth position.


Race Notes
Average Speed – 131.004-mph
Time of Race – 3 Hrs, 03 Mins, 12 Secs.
Margin of Victory – 0.997 Seconds
Lead Changes – 21 among 10 drivers
Cautions – 7 for 35 laps


Race Results
Point Standings


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NASCAR Race Day Weather Forecast At Pocono Raceway
A passing shower or isolated storm is possible today for the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway. I don’t see a washout but a stalled boundary across the region gives us a shot at seeing some rain before and during the race.


Read more from WX-Man


Saturday, June 9, 2012
Compton makes first Cup race since 2003
Stacy Compton stood at the fence near Pocono Raceway’s pit road, signing autographs for fans on the other side. He wore a very broad smile on his face – for a very good reason.


The veteran driver qualified for his first start in NASCAR’s premier series in nine years Saturday, making the field for Sunday’s event at Pocono in a Turn One Racing car that he owns as well as drives. The 45-year-old Virginia native last competed in a Cup race in the summer of 2003, when he drove the No. 4 of Morgan-McClure Motorsports – which no longer competes in the series – to a 33rd place result at Daytona.


Read more from NASCAR.com


NASCAR Pocono Raceway 2012 Weekend Weather Forecast
A slight chance of rain still remains in the weather forecast for the NASCAR weekend at Pocono Raceway. It will remain mostly dry with sunshine and clouds, but each afternoon could feature pop-up showers and isolated storms.


Read more from SB Nation


SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Keys for Success – Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR
Howard Comstock – SRT Motorsports Engineering
Fuel Economy – “Yes the track is fast, incredibly fast, approaching 12 miles per hour faster than it was last year. That’s a big deal and it makes a big difference. I think a couple of the unknowns are things that teams are going to have to focus on. One is with the increase in speed, what has that done to the fuel economy? We all know that this is a very important place for fuel economy. You cannot risk running out on the backstretch on a flat track or you’ll never get back to the pits. So the speed is great but how bad does that hurt fuel economy?  We’re in the throttle so long around the track now that it’s using fuel to get the kind of speeds that we’re seeing. I think the teams are going to have to be very careful about fuel economy. The’re going to have to be conservative for at least the first stop and I think they’re going to have to watch it all day.”


Tires – “During all the testing and practice that we saw this week, the tires actually get better the longer you tun ’em but with the format that they run here at Pocono now, all of our practice is done on Friday. You don’t get your race tires until practice is over. The teams proved that scuffs work better than stickers but all the teams are going to be forced to put stickers on during the race. They’re going to have to solve the mystery of how do you get stickers up to speed and what’s going to be the consequences of putting stickers on a green flag pit stop. It’s going to be tricky.


“If there are some quick cautions, you might see some teams putting older tires back on but the amount of track position you lose here would be nearly impossible to make up. If you gave up a top-five position to run that strategy and ended up 25th, you couldn’t race back 20 positions. I think you’re going to see more road course strategy here than maybe we have in the past where, if teams are going to make green flag stops, as long as you’re close to the front of the field you can stop, get your service and still be on the lead lap.  I think for fuel economy and road course strategy reasons, you might see more teams stopping sooner rather than later.


“I would think that four tire stops would be an endangered species. These tires last and they’re better scuffed than they are new so why would you put on newer, slower tires except for wear reasons (smiles)? Eventually, you’ve got to consider wear but if the wear looks good and the tires are just as fast old, why put on something that’s newer and slower?”


Second Groove – “I think it’ll get worked in, unless we see rain. Then, that’s going to be a problem. If there’s rain, it’s just going to slow the process of working in that second groove. I think you’ll see a lot of one-groove racing for a long time if we get considerable rain. And the added uncertainty is the 400 miles now instead of 500, so you don’t get that last 100 miles to where that second groove is nicely worked in. You’re going to have to get your business done early tomorrow.”


The 400 Mile Factor – “To me, it’s all about strategy. It’s now about durability. I like the change to the 400-mile format because I think you will get better racing packed into 400 miles. In a 500-mile format teams had to ride, had to just log laps for a long time in this race waiting to get to a milestone so they could work some strategy. And now that that’s gone, I think you’re going to get a better race in 400 miles than you did in 500.”


From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR


2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Starting Lineup
Joey Logano, with a qualifying lap speed of 179.598-mph captured the 2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Coors Light Pole Award at Pocono Raceway.


Logano, who set a new series qualifying track record, received his first series pole of the 2012 season, his series career pole and his second series pole at “the tricky triangle.”


Starting on the outside pole in second with a qualifying lap speed of 178.866-mph, will be Carl Edwards, followed by Paul Menard 178.582-mph who will start third, Kyle Busch 178.575 fourth and Denny Hamlin 178.543 starting from fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Mark Martin 178.228-mph starting sixth, Regan Smith 178.158 seventh, Dale Earnhardt Jr 177.939 eighth, Marcos Ambrose 177.862 ninth and Kasey Kahne 177.823 will start from the tenth position.


Failing to make the starting lineup was the #30 driven by David Stremme.


The 31st annual Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET on Sunday, and TNT will begin their 6-race/weekend television coverage starting with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.


Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Will Penske buy into Roush-Yates Engines?
The Roger Penske – Jack Roush dealing for 2013 is still being kept well hidden by both sides. Penske, after 10 years with Dodge, is switching to Fords at the end of the season, and what Penske will do for engines has been a big question in the NASCAR garage.


Roush has said he’s willing to sell engines to Penske. But then Penske has his own engine operation, 80-men strong.


Read more from MikeMulhern.net


Jimmie Johnson’s rainbow ‘victory hat’ causes craze even after Dover win
If NASCAR fans didn’t know the term ‘Wigging Out’ before this week, they do now.


After winning three of the last five races – including the Sprint All-Star Race – Jimmie Johnson punctuated his latest victory in a most appropriate way. Because nothing says “Dover win” like “Rainbow wig.”


Read more from NASCAR.com


2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 400k Race Results
Johnny Sauter and teammate Matt Crafton made it a 1.2 ThorSport Racing finish Friday night, as Sauter wins over Crafton by 2.101 seconds in the 2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway.


Sauter received his first series win of the 2012 season, his fifth series career win and his first series win at Texas Motor Speedway.


Following Sauter and Crafton to the drop of the checkered flag were Joey Coulter finishing third, Brendan Gaughan fourth and Nelson Piquet Jr finishing in fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Jason Leffler finishing sixth, NCWTS Rookie of the Year contenders, Ty Dillon and Cale Gale finishing seventh and eighth respectively, while current series points leader, Justin Lofton – who leads Timothy Peters by 5-points – ninth and Parker Kligerman finishing in the tenth position.


Next Up – The teams return to action in almost three weeks with the inaugural UNOH 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Thursday, June 28th, with an approximate start of 8:20pm ET. Television coverage continues to be provided by SPEED, and coverage will begin with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.


Race Results
Point Standings


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Friday, June 8, 2012
2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Final Practice Session Speeds
Joey Logano, with a lap speed of 179.501-mph, was on top of the speed charts at the end of the final NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR practice session at Pocono Raceway.


Second on the charts was Carl Edwards with a lap speed of 179.361-mph, and he was followed by Jeff Gordon 179.108-mph who was third, Paul Menard 178.798 fourth and Kyle Busch 178.540 was fifth fastest on the charts.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Kasey Kahne 178.455-mph who was sixth fastest, Greg Biffle 178.303 seventh, Brad Keselowski 177.683 eighth, AJ Allmendinger 177.459 ninth and Marcos Ambrose 177.333 posting the tenth fastest lap on the speed charts.


The teams will return to the track Saturday morning for qualifying at 11:10am ET to determine the starting lineup for the 31st annual Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR on Sunday. The race is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET and TNT will begin their 6-race/weekend television coverage starting with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.


Final Practice Speeds


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR First Practice Session Speeds
Mark Martin, with a lap speed of 179.379-mph, was the quickest during the first NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR practice session at Pocono Raceway.


Second quickest with a lap speed of 178.937-mph, was Jamie McMurray, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr 178.809-mph who was third quickest, Jimmie Johnson 178.678 fourth and AJ Allmendinger 178.204 was fifth quickest.


Rounding out the top-ten quickest during practice were Ryan Newman 177.820-mph who was sixth quickest, Kasey Kahne 177.809 seventh, Tony Stewart 177.739 eighth, Denny Hamlin 177.718 ninth and Regan Smith 177.585 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.


The teams will return to the track this afternoon for their 3:30-5pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session, and then be back Saturday morning for qualifying at 11am ET.


The 31st annual Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET on Sunday, and TNT will begin their 6-race/weekend television coverage starting with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.


First Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


At Pocono, Jeff Gordon Defends NASCAR Reporter Involved in Kurt Busch Situation
SportingNews.com reporter Bob Pockrass, the target of Kurt Busch’s comments which drew suspension from the NASCAR Pocono race this weekend, had an influential driver spring to his defense on Friday.


When asked about Busch’s suspension, four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon first gave a short answer about how officials were perhaps trying to send a “wake-up call” to Busch. But then he suddenly veered from the question and addressed Pockrass’ role in the matter, unprompted.


Read more from SB Nation


Driving peers hope Kurt Busch can get act together
David Reutimann was behind the wheel Thursday of the No. 51 Chevrolet usually driven by Kurt Busch. The 2004 Sprint Cup champion’s absence from the test session at Pocono Raceway didn’t curtail the buzz surrounding Busch’s weekend suspension for berating a Sporting News reporter last week at Dover International Speedway.


Read more from USA Today


NASCAR by the Numbers for Pocono and Texas
For Starters
29 – This week’s Truck race marks the 29th at Texas, most of any track in series history.
56 – Cup races at Pocono have been won from the first two rows 56 percent of the time – 38 of 68 – and 65 percent – 44 of 68 – from the top six. The pole winner has won 13 times.


Camping World Truck Series – Breakout Number
2 – Two drivers have combined to win the past six June races at Texas Motor Speedway – Todd Bodine – 4 – and Ron Hornaday – 2. Overall, Bodine is a six-time winner at Texas, most by a driver at a track in series history; Hornaday has won three times, including last June when he became the oldest winner – 52 years, 11 months, 21 days – in track history.


Track Tidbits
4 – Brendan Gaughan holds the record for most consecutive wins at one track with four at Texas. He won both races in 2002 and ’03; in 10 subsequent races at TMS, he only has one finish better than 14th: a runner-up effort in November 2007. Gaughan, who scored his first career win at TMS in June 2002, hasn’t won a series race since his victory at Texas in October 2003.
4 – The driver who has led the most laps at Texas has failed to win 17 of the 28 races, but has won four of the past five.
8 – Eight of the past 12 races at Texas have ended in a green-white-checkered finish, and nine overall.


Recent Trends
3 – A driver has scored his first career pole in three of the past four June races: Justin Marks – 2008, Austin Dillon – 2010, and James Buescher – 2011. Dillon, who became the youngest pole winner – 20 years, 1 month, 7 days – in track history and second-youngest in series history, finished third for his first career top-five. Buescher, the only one of the three entered in this week’s race, swept the pole in 2011.
5 – Johnny Sauter has had issues in five of the six races this season, beginning at Daytona where he was leading at the end of regulation but was wrecked on a second green-white-checkered restart; he finished 24th – all other problems were mechanical in nature. In last June’s race at Texas, Sauter was leading when he was black-flagged for changing lanes on the final restart; he finished 22nd. Sauter finished seventh t Texas in November 2011; in his only problem-free race this year, he finished fourth, at Rockingham.
6 – Ty Dillon holds a rookie record with top-ten finishes in the first six races of the season. Texas holds a rookie mark when in 1997, Kenny Irwin, Boris Said and Rick Crawford finished 1-2-3, the only time in series history rookies have swept the top-three. Three rookies have won at Texas: Irwin, Travis Kvapil – 2001 and Brendan Gaughan – both races in 2002. Dillon scored his first career top-ten, a third-place finish in November 2011, at TMS.


Sprint Cup Series – Breakout Number
9 – Jeff Gordon has scored top-tens in nine of the past 11 races at Pocono Raceway, including a win last June. His next top-ten will be the 400th of his career. Gordon ranks fifth on the all-time list: 4. Dale Earnhardt – 428; 6. Darrell Waltrip – 390. Gordon, the all-time laps leader at Pocono, is 43 shy of becoming the first to reach 1,000 laps led.


Track Tidbits
1 – The final lead change took place in the last 10 laps only once in the past 19 races at Pocono: Jeff Gordon passed Carl Edwards with nine to go in June 2007. There have been five last-lap passes at Pocono, but none since 2000 – both races.
6 – Mark Martin has six runner-up finishes at Pocono, tied for the Cup record for most second-place finishes at a track without a win: Bobby Allison – Martinsville. Martin has made 50 starts at Pocono, and leads all drivers in both top-fives – 19 and top-tens – 33, although his last top-five came in July 2005 and he was only two top-tens in the past six races there.
9 – Nine of the past 10 pole winners at Pocono finished in the top-three, all but Joey Logano, who finished 26th in August 2011, the last driver on the lead lap. Logano became the youngest pole winner – 21 years, 2 months, 13 days – in track history.


Recent Trends
3 – The leader of the most laps has not won the past three Pocono races and only two of the past seven, both by Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski led 19 laps in August 2011, the fewest laps led by the winner in the past 20 races at Pocono.
3 – Richard Petty Motorsports has scored three top-tens in the past three races, including both cars at Dover, after having just one in the first 10 races. Aric Almirola posted RPM’s best finish of the season, sixth at Dover, with recently appointed crew chief Mike Ford. Ford is tied with Tim Brewer for the most wins at Pocono by a crew chief, with five: four came with Denny Hamlin; one with Bill Elliott.
9 – There have been 73 cautions in the first 13 races of 2012, the fewest through 13 races since 1979 when there were nine fewer – 64. There were nine cautions combined in the two 2011 races at Pocono – four in June, the fewest in a season since 1997 when there were eight.


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




Sprint Cup drivers expect standings shakeup in next six weeks
After an inauspicious first half of the Sprint Cup regular season, Carl Edwards is seeking the positive side of pressure.


For the Roush Fenway Racing driver who lost last season’s championship on a tiebreaker, there is plenty of it.


Through 13 of 26 races to determine the Chase for the Cup field, Edwards is outside the top-ten points cutoff for a guaranteed spot. He doesn’t have a win to make him eligible for two Chase wild cards.


Read more from Detroit Free Press


2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 400K Final Practice Session Speeds
After having two practice sessions and qualifying canceled for the NCWTS WinStar World 400k due to rain, the teams were able to get in a final practice with Johnny Sauter 182.080-mph on top of the speed charts at Texas Motor Speedway.


Matt Crafton, with a lap speed of 180.911-mph, was second fastest, followed by Todd Bodine 180.343-mph who was third fastest, Joey Coulter 180.048 fourth and Nelson Piquet Jr 180.036 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest in practice were Jason Leffler 179.970-mph who was sixth fastest, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon 179.712 seventh, Brendan Gaughan 179.683 eighth, rookie contender Cale Gale 179.372 ninth and Parker Kligerman 179.325 posting the tenth fastest lap.


The 16th annual WinStar World Casino 400k is scheduled to get underway Friday night around 9:20pm ET with SPEED providing television coverage beginning with their 8:30pm ET pre-race show.


Final Practice Speeds
Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Thursday, June 7, 2012
Johnny Davis takes on Gary Keller as partner in JD Motorsports Nationwide team
Johnny Davis, owner of JD Motorsports No. 01 and No. 4 Chevrolets in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, has taken on Ohio businessman and former NASCAR team owner, Gary Keller, as an partner for his operation.


The team will now officially be called JD Motorsports with Gary Keller. The move is one where both parties quickly agreed on the same thing – They want to improve the results and take it to the next level in competition.


Davis, who has solely-owned the team since 2002, and Keller, who has owned an ARCA, NASCAR Camping World Trucks and Nationwide Series team since 2001, have joined forces. Davis will oversee the team on a day-to-day basis at his shop and Keller will concentrate on marketing the sponsorships for the team from Ohio.


Their business arrangement takes effect immediately.


“in talking to Johnny (Davis) I knew right away I had found the right person to partner with in racing,” said Keller, owner of Disaster Services of Environmental Specialists in West Chester, OH. “He has no airs about him and JD Motorsports is just the type of team I know I can help escalate on and off the track.


“By combining our knowledge and resources, we can improve the team and make it better. I am very impressed with him and what he’s trying to do in NASCAR racing. And I want to help achieve their, or should I now say “our” goals, in the sport.”


Keller’s business deals with water damage and mold remediation for businesses and residential customers after hurricanes, His racing background includes owning an ARCA team in 2001, then a Craftsman Truck team with Tim Sauter driving in 2003 before he moved to Nationwide Series in 2004 and made some Cup attempts with Mike Wallace that same year. The connection is what led Keller to Davis, and the formation of JD Motorsports with Gary Keller this week.


“It quickly became apparent to me that Gary and I were on the same page from the first few minutes we started talking,” Davis said. “He wants to be with a team that wants to do its best on the track, and we want him to know we can achieve all the goals together.


“He’s owned teams so we both know what we’re talking about when it comes to the business of running a race team. This partnership is just the shot in the arm JD Motorsports…I mean, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, needs at this point in the game.


“I know what this team is capable of doing. We just needed that someone extra to get there, and both Gary and I know it can be achieved together. I’m glad he took an interest in  this team to bring some new marketing ideas to the table.


“We need to and can step up this program. I’m looking forward to moving forward with him as a partner.” The NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action on Sunday 16 at Michigan International Speedway.


From JD Motorsports with Gary Keller. 


Drivers Anticipating Excitement Sunday at Repaved Pocono

Speed – and plenty of it – was the buzz word at Pocono Raceway during the second of two days of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series testing at the newly-paved 2.5-mile triangular-shaped track as teams prepare for Sunday’s Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR.


Kasey Kahne put down the overall fastest lap of the test at 179.490-mph during today’s afternoon session. AJ Allmendinger set the pace in the morning session at 177.190-mph – well ahead of the 175.380-mph fast lap Mark Martin recorded on Wednesday. A total of 41 cars tested today; yesterday 36 cars were on track.


Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, said the test was a success from NASCAR’s perspective.


“It’s been really smooth,” Pemberton said. “All in all it’s been really positive in the garage area. (The track is) definitely faster but with the amount of grip that’s here, you’ll see the grooves widen out. With the 400 mile race and the outstanding job Goodyear did with these tires, I think we’re in for an exceptional weekend.”


Drivers pointed to the different feel of the track due to the re-pave, both in visual cues and overall speed.


“The race track is very fun in the sense of how they graded it and smoothed it out in different places,” said Denny Hamlin, a four-time winner at Pocono. “It’s still Pocono, but it drives very different that what it used to. You’re getting a feel of a lot different race tracks here within the Pocono Raceway.


“You’re going to see massive dive bombs going into the corner trying to get position. My estimation – you’re going to see a lot of excitement,” Hamlin said. “Anyone who takes time trials on Friday is going to break the track record – 172.533 by Kasey Kahne in June 2004. All the cars should break the track record easily. Really, you drive it totally different than what you used to.”


“When we were here at the tire test – in April – there was only seven of us, it was really cold and not a lot of rubber was getting put down on the race track,” Allmendinger said. “With (41) cars out there, there’s a lot of rubber. More than anything, you’re just learning how the track changes and what your car does with that rubber on the race track.”


Some who spoke offered a bit of good news for drivers with rocky Pocono resumes. This version is a bit different than the previous Tricky Triangle.


“It feels like a new race track to me,” said two-time Pocono winner Carl Edwards. “Took me a minute to get used to just the different visual cues, and braking points and transitions into the corners. The way you drive into Turn 1, you can be much more aggressive on the throttle, you can be really aggressive on the brakes. It will be an opportunity to really shake things up here. I think the guys that normally run really well here won’t have an advantage any more. It’s a new day.”


There was also reaction to the passing of Cotton Owens, recently selected as a member of the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Owens – a noted driver, owner and mechanic – died this morning at his home in South Carolina. He was 88. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family,” said Mike Helton, NASCAR president. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to celebrate with him but we’ll be able to celebrate around the contributions he made. He had a lot of passion and turned that passion into ingenuity for NASCAR.


“He was part of that Spartansburg, SC, crew – David Pearson, Bud Moore – that did so much to blaze a trail for so many of us.”


Other off-track news at Pocono featured Twitter ‘flipping the switch’ late Wednesday and going live for the first time with its NASCAR hashtag product in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR. The first of its kind with any sports league or organization, this new product will create an enhanced live event experience on Twitter at Twitter.com/#NASCAR.


Twitter.com/#NASCAR showcases the best Tweets and photos from NASCAR insiders in an effort to bring the behind-the-scenes story of life for fans during NASCAR race weekends. The page includes Tweets from drivers, pit crew members, families, media, NASCAR representatives and other industry constituencies like race tracks and sponsors. Fan also have the opportunity to see their Tweets featured.


Coverage of Sunday’s Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR begins at noon ED on TNT. This is the first of six consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race broadcasts during the “NASCAR on TNT Summer Series.”


From NASCAR-PR


Edwards On The Edge
Carl Edwards isn’t having as much fun as he’d like to right now, which is understandable.


Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, put together a brilliant 2011 season, only to see Tony Stewart get white hot at exactly the wrong time, winning three of the final four races to edge Edwards out for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup championship.


Read more from SPEED


Denny Hamlin Says ‘The Succes We Had Here is Gone’
To Denny Hamlin, Pocono is a brand new race track.


As Hamlin predicted two weeks ago, the repaving of the 2.5-mile triangular track has removed any advantage the driver of the No. 11 Toyota might have had at one of his favorite venues.


Read more from SB Nation


With Chad Johnston’s wife expecting, Martin Truex Jr will be without regular crew chief
Martin Truex Jr crew chief  Chad Johnston flew to Pocono Raceway last year a little nervous as he headed to his first weekend as a Sprint Cup crew chief.


He’s much more nervous flying to Pocono this week.


He planned to fly to the track Thursday night, having missed the two-day test session at Pocono to be with his wife, who is expecting to give birth to a baby boy in the next few days.


Read more from Sporting News


2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 400k Starting Lineup
Wet weather in Texas forced NASCAR officials to cancel qualifying for Friday night’s NCWTS WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway, and the starting lineup is based upon owner points and attempts made according to the NASCAR rule book.


First in owner points and starting first will be Justin Lofton, followed by Timothy Peters starting second, Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon third, James Buescher fourth and Parker Kligerman will start fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Brendan Gaughan starting sixth, last week’s winner Todd Bodine seventh, Nelson Piquet Jr eighth, Ron Hornaday Jr ninth and Matt Crafton will start from the tenth position.


There was no one failing to make the starting lineup.


The 16th annual WinStar World Casino 400k is scheduled to get underway Friday around 9:20pm ET with SPEED providing television coverage beginning with their 8:30pm ET pre-race show.


Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Final Test Session Speeds
Kasey Kahne, with a lap speed of 179.490-mph, was the fastest during the final NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR test session at Pocono Raceway.


Jamie McMurray was second fastest with a lap speed of 179.401-mph, and was followed by Mark Martin 179.390-mph who was third fastest, Jeff Gordon 179.272 fourth and Paul Menard 179.005 was fifth fastest.


Rounding our the top-ten fastest during the session were both Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger – with identical lap speed of 178.809-mph – who were sixth and seventh respectively, Denny Hamlin 178.589 eighth, Jeff Burton 178.486 ninth and Kevin Harvick 177.859 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams return to the track Friday for their two regular practice sessions 12:30 – 1:55pm and “Happy Hour” 3:30 – 5pm ET before returning on Saturday for their 11:10am ET scheduled qualifying session.


The 31st running of the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET Sunday – with TNT taking over the television coverage beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.


Final Test Session Speeds via Jayski’s


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


NASCAR celebrity poker showdown set
Pocono Raceway is hosting the first Pocono Celebrity Charity Poker Showdown tonight at 7 at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre. The event will benefit The NASCAR Foundation and the Armed Forces Foundation, and will feature race fans playing alongside NASCAR drivers and celebrities.


Confirmed VIP participants include Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Chevrolet; Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Toyota; NASCAR president Mike Helton; and Pocono Raceway president/CEO Brandon Igdalsky.


Kurt Busch was scheduled to participate in the Poker Showdown, but was given a one-week suspension by NASCAR for verbally abusing a media member after Saturday’s Nationwide Series race at Dover International Speedway. Greg Biffle was expected to take Busch’s place.


Read more from Citizens Voice


2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR Second Test Session Speeds
AJ Allmendinger, with a lap speed of 177.190-mph, was the quickest Thursday morning during the second NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR test session at Pocono Raceway.


Second quickest with a lap speed of 176.602-mph, was Juan Pablo Montoya, followed by Mark Martin 176.595-mph who was third quickest, Clint Bowyer 176.550 fourth and Denny Hamlin 176.218 was fifth quickest.


Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the session were Kyle Busch 176.205-mph who was sixth quickest, Greg Biffle 176.132 seventh, Kevin Harvick 175.960 eighth, Kasey Kahne 175.864 ninth and Dale Earnhardt Jr 175.781 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.


The teams will have one more test session this afternoon from 1-3:30pm ET before returning on Friday for their two regular practice sessions.


Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday morning at 11:10am ET and the 31st running of the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET Sunday – with TNT taking over the television coverage beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.

Second Test Session Speeds via Jayski’s


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Statements regarding the passing of Cotton Owens, 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee


Statement from the Owens Family – “The family would like to express gratitude for the thoughts and prayers of precious friends and fans.


“While Cotton was a racing legend with an incredible racing ‘family,’ we mourn the irreplacable great granddad, granddad, father, uncle, brother-in-law and friend we have all lost. The family respectfully requests privacy at this difficult time.”


Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO – “NASCAR has lost one of its true pioneers, with the passing of Cotton Owens. On behalf of the France Family and everyone at NASCAR, I offer heartfelt condolences to Cotton’s family and friends.


“This is a sad day for the NASCAR industry, but we are all consoled by the fact that Cotton was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame before his death. Today we have lost a portion of our past. But people like Cotton Owens are the reason our sport thrives today – and can look forward to a promising future.”


Statement from Winston Kelley, executive director, NASCAR Hall of Fame – “We lost one of NASCAR’s greats today. Our hearts go out to Cotton’s family, and we hope they find strength in the memories of his remarkable life and career. That career was topped off just a few weeks ago with his selection for the Class of 2013. In speaking to his grandson, Brandon Davis, he reiterated how much being an Inductee meant to Cotton and how much it lifted his spirit.


“I vividly remember when I first started following NASCAR in the early to mid-’60s watching his white and red No. 6 Dodge run up front with David Pearson and later Buddy Baker. I was just a child, but I still remember his car being a contender all the time. It was one of the ones to beat. In more recent years I remember how supportive he was of our initiatives. NASCAR recognized his career by inviting him to be an original member of our Voting Panel. You could always count on Cotton to be here for Voting Day and other hall events. He will be missed.”


Statement from Buz McKim, historian NASCAR Hall of Fame
“Cotton Owens was one of the first heroes of NASCAR. He was exciting to watch, as he thrilled early-day fans with his patented broadsliding on dirt tracks. Not only a gifted driver, he was a fine mechanic and was a championship car owner. He also mentored many drivers, among them David Pearson. Another chapter of history closes today as the racing world has lost a great friend and pioneer, Everett “Cotton” Owens.”


From NASCAR-PR


#NASCAR Complementary Live Event Experience Launches On Twitter
Hashtag Product To Be Most Active for Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR On Sunday
Twitter ‘flipped the switch’ late yesterday and went live for the first time with its NASCAR hashtag product in preparation for Sunday’s Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR. The first of its kind with any sports league or organization, this new product will create an enhanced live event experience on Twitter at Twitter.com/#NASCAR.


Twitter.com/#NASCAR showcases the best Tweets and photos from NASCAR insiders in an effort to bring the behind-the-scenes story to life for fans during NASCAR race weekends. The page includes Tweets from drivers, pit crew members, families, media, NASCAR representatives and other industry constituencies like race tracks and sponsors, Fans also have an opportunity to see their Tweets featured.


Using a combination of sophisticated algorithmic signals and Twitter’s editorial curation, Twitter.com/#NASCAR features the highest quality, most engaging content about the race and NASCAR. Behind-the-scenes photos, exclusive content and innovative and original Tweets will likely have the best chance of being featured on this new live event page.


“Twitter brings fans closer to the sports and moments they’re most passionate about,” said Jack Dorsey, co-founder and executive chairman at Twitter. “The innovation of the NASCAR organization, the spirit of the fans, and the personalities of the drivers all shine on Twitter, making NASCAR a natural partner for us. Twitter.com/#NASCAR will offer fans an all-access pass to the race weekend action as it unfolds on the track, in the pit, in the garage and in the stands.”


While currently up-and-running, Twitter.com/#NASCAR will be most active on race day before, after and in conjunction with the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR from Pocono Race – TNT, 1pm ET.


In support of this new NASCAR event page, NASCAR’s broadcast television partner will be engaging with audiences via Twitter as an integral part of TNT’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage throughout the summer. As part of an evolving relationship between Twitter and Turner Sports, Twitter.com/#NASCAR will be thoroughly integrated into the race broadcast via innovative graphics and with TNT’s on-air team displaying some of the most relevant and engaging Tweets on a touch-screen TV.


“Throughout Turner’s 30-year partnership with NASCAR, we have consistently striven to be innovative,” said Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports, senior vice president and executive producer. “This new relationship with Twitter is going to allow Turner Sports to engage the viewers in several new and creative ways, therefore making social media a key component of our six-race series this summer.”


Built to support the live race broadcast, this new experience gives fans a complementary insider’s view of the action as it unfolds on the track and on Twitter. During a race, when fans click on #NASCAR, search for #NASCAR on Twitter.com or visit Twitter.com/#NASCAR, they’ll reach a new Twitter experience where they will see the most relevant Tweets from their favorite NASCAR drivers, NASCAR families, teams, commentators, celebrities and other racing fans and personalities.


“This is an exciting weekend for the NASCAR industry,” said Marc Jenkins, NASCAR vice president of digial media. “We are pleased to be able to partner with Twitter and bring a great cutting-edge digital experience to our fans. This is a great extension of our strategy of innovation in the digital space to enhance the fan experience with our sport. Reflective of the strength of NASCAR’s fan base and the sport’s cutting-edge use of social media and Twitter in particular, the sanctioning body is pleased that Twitter partnered with NASCAR to launch this product and we look forward to a long and healthy relationship coming out of this weekend’s launch in Pocono.”


From NASCAR-PR


Cotton Owens Dead at 88
Everett “Cotton” Owens, a racer whose life touched practically every era of stock car racing, died Thursday morning. He had turned 88 years old May 21.


On May 23, it was announced that Owens was one of the five new members selected for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Owens will be inducted posthumously as part of the hall’s fourth class in February.


Owens was diagnosed with lung cancer seven years ago at 81. He chose not to treat the cancer aggressively, saying he had led a full life.


Read more from SPEED

Wednesday, June 6, 2012
2012 NSCS Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR First Test Session Speeds
The NSCS teams took to the newly repaved Pocono Raceway Wednesday afternoon for their first (of three) Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR test session. And, with a lap speed of 175.380-mph, it was Mark Martin on top of the speed charts at the end of the session.


Second fastest and with a lap speed of 175.029-mph, was AJ Allmendinger, followed by Jimmie Johnson 174.808-mph who was third fastest, Kevin Harvick 174.686 fourth and Kasey Kahne 174.578 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the test session were the current series points leader, Greg Biffle 174.162-mph who was sixth fastest, Joey Logano 174.132 seventh, Martin Truex, Jr. 174.091 eighth, Kyle Busch 173.933 ninth and Juan Pablo Montoya 173.926 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams will have two more test sessions on Thursday – 9am – 12pm & 1 – 3:30pm ET – before Friday’s actual practice sessions (2).

First Test Session Speeds via Jayski’s

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


RCR/ECR Engines to Honor Memory of Co-Worker

All six Richard Childress Racing entries in this weekend’s NASCAR races at Pocono Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway will carry decals honoring the memory of long-time RCR/ECR Engines employee Tommy Lee “Sy” Earnhardt.


Earnhardt, 63, passed away June 2, 2012, at his home in North Carolina after a long illness. He had been an engine assembler for RCR/ECR Engines since November 1998. His NASCAR engine building career included stops at Benfield Racing, Mike Curb Racing, Stavola Bros/Bobby Allison, and Cale Yarborough Motorsports. Sy was the owner of Firehouse Racing Engines, which build late model stock car engines.


Read more from Richard Childress Racing-PR


Fan-Friendly August Lodging Options
Twenty-four properties stretching from East Tennessee to Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina comprise the first group participating in the Bristol Motor Speedway Fan-Friendly Lodging Partnership Program for the IRWIN Tools Night Race in August.


A continued effort to help guests of BMS with the overall cost of a trip to Bristol, the Fan-Friendly Program includes properties that require reduced or no minimum-night stays at lower cost than previous years.


Read more from Bristol Motor Speedway-PR


Pockrass, Byrnes & Dillner Talk about (Kurt) Busch’s future with James Finch
Last Night’s NASCAR Race Hub on SPEED, hosted by Steve Byrnes, offered an interesting discussion on how the latest trouble for Kurt Busch may affect his relationship, and future, with his current car owner James Finch and Phoenix Racing.


The Sporting News NASCAR writer, Bob Pockrass, a guest on last night’s show, along with SPEED NASCAR reporter Bob Dillner talked about how everything may play out. Here is what each had to say.


Bob Pockrass, The Sporting News NASCAR writer


Steve Byrnes – James Finch (Busch’s car owner) was quoted again today saying that they were going to have a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting – his words not mine – with Kurt. And he said ‘It’s simple. He’s got to quit wrecking race cars, and be nice to people. In your opinion, do you think he will continue – that being James Finch – with Kurt Busch after Pocono?


Bob Pockrass – First off, I haven’t talked to James because of the situation I am in – in this deal. So I don’t know exactly what he’s thinking. But I think he will. I think if he didn’t want Kurt, Kurt would already be out the door.


Bob Dillner, SPEED NASCAR Reporter


Byrnes – Bob, you have had a very lengthy conversation with James Finch, the team owner of the No. 51, and I want to get back to what (NASCAR Analyst) Matt Clark said last night, Matt’s comment was, “I feel like we’re watching a great talent self-destruct right in front of us.” Lend us the perspective of James Finch, the car owner feels.


Bob Dillner – James said he’s a ‘loose cannon’ and he needs to change. James said that he has more problems than just on-track attitude that he has to deal with. James has not taken Kurt’s phone call. Kurt has called him several times and left messages.


Byrnes – …Okay, but Bob Pockrass mentioned that, that they aren’t going to meet until next Tuesday, why is that?


Dillner – Well, James wanted to give Kurt the time to really think about what happened. And he said he’s not going to take his phone calls, but he’s had several people call me (James Finch) on his behalf to say, ‘Hey reach out to Kurt. He wants to talk to you. He wants to apologize.’ But he’s (Finch) has had enough of it, honestly. He said, ‘We are going to meet on Tuesday.’ And he used the same phrase with me; we’re going to have a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting. Kurt is going to adhere to his rules; otherwise, he’s not going to be in that race car. It depends on Kurt. That’s exactly what James Finch said. If Kurt says the right things, I’ll (James Finch) put Kurt in the car for Michigan, and if he gets in the car, it will be by a race-by-race basis.


Byrnes – Their relationship to me has seemed tenuous because – they didn’t have a contract and I think they are okay with a handshake deal – I get it. But, at issue, Kurt has torn up at leas 10-12 race cars, maybe more.


Dillner – James told me 14 race cars to date, and he’s completely demolished two or three of them, so…


Byrnes – …and they don’t have a sponsor.


Dillner – Yeah. Absolutely.


Byrnes – So my question to you is, in your conversation with James, does James feel like he can attract sponsorship with Kurt Busch as his driver?


Dillner – James actually brought that up in our conversation today, he said, “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to get a sponsor with Kurt Busch as my driver.” He admitted, “You know what, I knew Kurt Busch was using me. He had no place to go this year. He needed a ride. He came to me.” At the same time, “You know. I was kind of using Kurt Busch myself because I figured if I got a big-name driver in my car, I might be able to attract that sponsor. Honestly, right now, he’s damaged goods. I don’t know if anybody is going to want to sponsor my car with Kurt Busch in it.”


Byrnes – I texted back and forth last night with Steve Barkdoll, the general manager at Phoenix Racing and James Finch. I was, maybe not surprised, but his comment was, “We’ve been inundated by people who have called us.” So to me, I think James has options, meaning competent drivers in that seat, do you think they will move forward together once the suspension is lifted?


Dillner – I think James Finch is telling the truth. If Kurt Busch mouths off to him on Tuesday, Kurt Busch will not be in that 51 car come Michigan. James said that David Reutimann is a good driver; obviously he’s in the seat this week. They have thought about Brian Vickers, but Brian is off in Europe (Le Mans) and all over the place with his road racing right now, and maybe one other person he said. He’s gotten calls. He’s gotten calls from Carl Edwards saying, “Hey, put this guy in the car.” Several others as well, he’s got opportunities to put a driver in there. I think it really comes down to how Kurt is going to approach this. The bottom line is; this is Kurt Busch’s last chance. He does not have another leg to stand on. He’s damaged so many things for his career right now. It even goes back to what James Finch told me about his crew, he said he’s going to make demands of Kurt, and if he doesn’t meet those demands, he’s going to be out of the ride. He’s tired of Kurt Busch cursing his team on the radio. He said, ‘To tell you the truth. If he does that again, he’s not only going to be out of a ride, but one of my crew members has the permission to take a crescent wrench upside his head.’


Byrnes – Wow. Strong words. If in fact Kurt doesn’t say what James wants to hear, where does Kurt go?


Dillner – Kurt has the Nationwide stuff with his brother right now, but it goes back to that sponsor thing, that goes back to what James was saying, who else is going to want Kurt Busch at this point? He has to resurrect his career, his personality, and do some right things to be able to right all of these wrongs that he’s done. That’s going to be a tough row to how right now.


From SPEED – PR


Kroger to Present Chris Young’s Quaker State 400 Pre-race Concert June 30
Kentucky Speedway announces Kroger will present country music star Chris Young in concert on Saturday, June 30 at 5:15pm, before the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series “Quaker State 400” and will offer shoppers coupon codes redeemable for a $50 savings on infield Fan Zone passes.


Read more from Kentucky Speedway-PR


Testing the Triangle – Drivers ready to try out Pocono Raceway’s repaved surface
Dale Earnhardt Jr is looking forward to checking out the repaved surface at Pocono Raceway.


What he is not excited about, however, is spending two extra days here.


Read more from Times-Tribune


NASCAR driver diversity lawsuit settled
The lawsuit between former NASCAR “Drive for Diversity” candidate Michael Rodriguez and the program was settled out of court on Tuesday, Sporting News reports.


Read more from Eye On NASCAR


Tony Stewart defends Kurt Busch threat, comment to Sporting News reporter
A day after Kurt Busch was suspended for threatening Sporting News reporter Bob Pockrass, defending Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart defended Busch.


Stewart, who has had numerous run-ins with the media over the years, came to Busch’s defense on his weekly Sirius Satellite Radio show Tuesday night.


Read more from Sporting News


SRT Motorsports – Dodge – presents The Numbers – Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR
1 – fewest cautions – 7/30/78
2 – fewest on lead lap at finish – twice, most recent 6/6/82
3 – fewest caution laps – 7/30/78
4 – races won from outside the top-20 starting position
4 – fewest leaders – twice, most recent 6/9/85
4 – fewest laps led by race winner – Bobby Labonte, 7/29/01
5 – most wins – Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott
5 – most poles – Bill Elliott, Ken Schrader
10 – jet dryers available for track drying this weekend at Pocono Raceway
10 – fewest lead changes – 7/26/98
12 – wins by car owner – Rick Hendrick
13 – most cautions – twice, most recent 7/24/05
16 – drivers with more than one pole at “The Tricky Triangle”
16 – most leaders – three times, most recent 6/13/04
18 – fewest cars running at finish – 7/25/82
20 – drivers with more than one win
22 – wins from the front row; 13 from the pole
29 – worst starting position for race winner – Carl Edwards, 6/12/05
30 – different race winners
36 – most cars on lead lap at finish – 6/10/07
38 – different pole winners
42 – most cars running at finish – 6/10/07
56 – most lead changes – 7/30/79
57 – most caution laps – 6/13/04
120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 2.5-mile track
175 – most laps led by race winner – Kurt Busch, 8/5/07


2012 Caution Update
1 – fewest cautions this year – Fontana
4 – races extended beyond scheduled distance – Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega and Darlington
10 – most cautions this season – Daytona
73 – cautions in the first 13 races of 2012; includes 29 for accidents, 24 for debris and eight for spins
398 of 4,288 – laps under caution in 2012
504.571 of 5,233.118 – miles under caution in the first 13 races


From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR


Tuesday, June 5, 2012
DIS to Honor Four Medal of Honor Recipients at Coke Zero 400 in July
During the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered by Coca-Cola, Daytona International Speedway, along with the thousands of race fans in attendance, will pay tribute to four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.


It’s the fourth straight year that Daytona International Speedway will honor Medal of Honor recipients, a program that was first started by Bill France Sr back in the 1970s.


Read more from Daytona International Speedway-PR


NASCAR Appoints New Leadership for all Broadcasting & Productions & more
NASCAR announced Tuesday, a number of strategic moves designed to further strengthen it’s broadcasting and production units by re-focusing business strategy, improving alignment with other key NASCAR departments and bolstering the overall leadership structure.


Steve Herbst, who has overseen NASCAR’s broadcasting and global media rights since May 2011, has been selected to lead what was formerly known as NASCAR Media Group Productions as vice president, broadcasting and production. This unit is being rebranded as NASCAR productions and will join NASCAR Broadcasting, NASCAR Digital Media and NASCAR Entertainment in being more closely aligned with the company’s other fan engagement and development departments. Herbst will report to Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps.


Steve Stum has been promoted to vice president of operations and technical production, Tally Hair has been named managing director of production and programming and Seth Bacon has been elevated to senior director of broadcasting. Each of these appointments is effective June 5, 2012. NASCAR Vice President of Digital Media Marc Jenkins will continue to lead NASCAR Digital Media and report to Phelps. Zane Stoddard, managing director in NASCAR’s Los Angeles office, will continue to lead NASCAR Entertainment, reporting to NASCAR Vice President, Strategic Development Eric Nyquist. Jay Abraham, who has held various leadership roles at NMG, is no longer with NASCAR.


In addition to the alignment of these business unites and the leadership appointments, NASCAR also announced a streamlined business focus for NASCAR Productions. Going forward, NASCAR Productions will focus solely on delivering content and executing projects that support NASCAR’s broader mission of serving current NASCAR fans and growing new audiences. Current projects unrelated to NASCAR will be completed but initiatives outside NASCAR’s core mission will no longer be pursued.


NASCAR announced earlier this year that it had restructured its digital rights agreement with Turner Sports. NASCAR Digital Media is currently building a team that will be based in Charlotte, NC to assume operational control of NASCAR.com on Jan 1, 2013. Strategic alignment of NASCAR’s broadcasting, productions, digital media and entertainment groups, along with Integrated Marketing Communications, is the latest step in preparing the company to execute against a long-term industry action plan focused on fan activation and audience growth.


Herbst, who will split his time between NASCAR’s New York and Charlotte office, joined NASCAR in May of 2011 from CBS College Sports Network where he served as executive vice president and general manager. Prior to his time at CBS-C, Herbst spent 19 years with the National Basketball Association in a number of broadcasting positions, including SVP of Broadcasting and GM of NBA TV. He was also responsible for managing the league’s relationships with ABC, ESPN and TNT.


Stum joined NASCAR as director of field operations and has served as managing director of operations at NMG’s Charlotte headquarters since 2007. Hair, also based in Charlotte, has been serving as NASCAR’s senior director of broadcasting since May of 2011. Before joining NASCAR, Hair was with Fox Sports where he served as a coordinating producer on The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Bacon, who works out of NASCAR’s New York office, has been director of broadcasting since 2008. He joined NASCAR from Fox Sports where he worked on NASCAR Victory Lane – All access and The Best Damn Sports Show Period, among other assignments.


From NASCAR-PR


TNT’s Six-Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule begins June 10 at Pocono
Turner Sports is geared up for its 30th year of NASCAR coverage with TNT’s six-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series set to begin Sunday, June 10, at noon ET from Pocono Raceway. TNT’s NASCAR coverage will again feature analysis by Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach with play-by-play commentator Adam Alexander expanding his role this season. Alexander will add pre-race hosting responsibilities this year, joined by analysts Petty and Larry McReynolds. TNT’s reporters will include: Ralph Sheheen, Marty Snider, Matt Yocum and Chris Neville.


TNT’s coverage also will include several production enhancements this year including a weekly “NASCAR Generations” segment during the Countdown to Green pre-race show, a new on-set touch screen application, and broader social media integration. Additionally, McReynolds will roll out a customized, unique broadcast unit that will house his very own studio, as well as his base location to provide analysis using a cut-away display car.


TNT’s “NASCAR Generations” is a segment which will air during the one-hour Countdown to Green each week featuring a panel discussion hosted by Alexander and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, legendary NASCAR champions Ned Jarrett and Bill Elliott, as well as TNT NASCAR analysts McReynolds and Petty. The conversation will tough on broad-ranging topics and storylines within the sport.


A new on-set touch-screen application will provide the ability to track drivers throughout the race, telestrate the action, offer real-time weather updates and engage with audiences via Twitter. Fans can participate in the social media discussion by using the hashtag #NASCAR leading up and throughout the races. Throughout the broadcast, TNT’s production also will include selectively-displayed race content obtained through Twitter.


Additional production elements include McReynolds utilizing TNT’s Off-Track Robotic Car presented by Toyota (TORC) to analyze pit crew strategies. Inside Trax also will return with select crew chiefs and teams miked up to offer fans unique access to the sounds and strategy of NASCAR.


From Turner Sports-PR


Reutimann to replace Kurt Busch at Pocono
David Reutimann will replace suspended driver Kurt Busch at Pocono Raceway, but Busch’s future with Phoenix Racing appears murky, at best.


Read more from Yahoo Sports-Associated Press


SPEED Analysts Steve Byrnes, Matt Clark & Kenny Wallace React to Kurt Busch Suspension
Here are quotes from SPEED analysts on the news…


Read more from SPEED


Greg Biffle Making HISTORY this Week
Greg Biffle will reach a new level of stardom this week when he makes an appearance on one of his favorite shows which airs on one of his favorite channels. Biffle had been a fan of “American Restorations” on HISTORY – channel – since it began four seasons ago. He got a chance to meet the show’s host, Rick Dale and his wife in Las Vegas earlier this year and they immediately shared a vision to do an episode together.


After a few months of planning, several miles of travel and a lot of hard work by Rick and his crew, the episode will air this Wednesday, June 6th on HISTORY at 10pm ET.


From Roush Fenway Racing-PR


NASCAR considers lifting ban on testing
NASCAR is considering lifting its testing ban for next season and giving Sprint Cup teams five to seven test sessions, FoxSports.com reports.


NASCAR is switching to a new Sprint Cup car next season and the additional tests would help teams adjust to the vehicle.


Read more from Sporting News


Wild Times Ahead for Wild Card Contenders
Of all the myriad tweaks NASCAR has made in the Chase for the Sprint Cup since its introduction in 2004, creating two wild card slots has proven to be a masterstroke.


Read more from FOX News


Another Strong Week For Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt Jr’s fourth-place finish in Sunday’s FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway moved him back to third place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings, just 10 points behind leader Greg Biffle.


And while Earnhardt’s winless streak extended to 142 races on Sunday, the rest of his numbers this year continue to be impressive.


Read more from SPEED


Crown Royal has announced 5 ‘heroes’
NASCAR will once more be honoring an individual who goes above and beyond the call of duty, this time in the naming of the NASCAR Sprint cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.


The race will honor the good citizen through the official naming of the Crown Royal Presents the “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard.


The five finalist are: Dale Beatty, veteran and co-founder of the nonprofit organization Purple Heart Homes from Statesville, NC; Lindsey Marquez, ICU nurse from Sun Prairie, WI; Curtiss Shaver fire lieutenant and EMT from Troy, Ala; John Thomas, deputy sheriff from Sarasota, FL; and Brandon Veatch, veteran and Purple Heart recipient from Bloomfield, IN.


Read more from FOX Sports  Fans can vote at Facebook.com/CrownRoyal


Monday, June 4, 2012
Kurt Busch suspended until June 13
Kurt Busch’s future with Phoenix Racing is in jeopardy after NASCAR suspended the 2004 Sprint Cup champion for this weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway.


Phoenix Racing owner James Finch isn’t so sure the driver will return immediately after serving the suspension, saying he will sit down with Busch over the next couple of days to see if they will move forward together.


“If he’s going to kill himself I’m not going to be in the airplane with him,” Finch told ESPN.com by phone. “If that’s what he’s planning on doing, I am going to get out.”


Finch said he was in the process of looking for a driver to replace Busch for Pocono and possibly beyond. Among the candidates he mentioned were Brian Vickers and David Reutimann, although Reutimann was scheduled to drive the No. 10 for Tommy Baldwin Racing this weekend.


Read more from ESPN


Jimmy Spencer Reacts To Kurt Busch’s Suspension
“Kurt Busch’s suspension is long overdue, and that is coming from someone who learned his lesson after sitting out of race for punching him a few years ago. Kurt has been given plenty of chances to right his wrongs and put himself back on the right path, but he has failed to take advantage of any of those opportunities. NASCAR had to do something to restore a sense of respect toward the sport on Kurt’s behalf because he seems to consistently flaunt his disrespect for everything and everyone in this sport. Maybe sitting out and watching the race from the pit box or his couch will wake him up to how great he really has it.”


“If Kurt is under the microscope, it is because he has put himself there by acting as if the rules don’t apply to him. But the rules apply to everyone, and if you cannot treat your fellow competitors, crew members and members of the media in a respectable manner, you do not deserve to race. He’s a hell of a driver, but until he gets his temper under control, he has no business in a race car.


“Speaking from experience, I can say that my suspension was extremely upsetting to me, but it made me a better person off the track. That’s what Kurt needs now, and I hope this helps him. It seems to have straightened his little brother, Kyle, out, and I hope the same is true for Kurt.”


Read more from SPEED


Statement from Kurt Busch Regarding his One-Week NASCAR Suspension
Below is a statement from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch regarding his one-week suspension from all NASCAR-sanctioned events and the extension of his probation until Dec 31.


“I accept NASCAR’s decision. I put them in a box, they had to take action and it’s my fault for putting them in this position. I apologize for the comments I made to Bob Pockrass.”


From True Speed Communication for Kyle Busch Motorsports-PR


NASCAR Suspends Driver Kurt Busch Until June 13; Extends His Probation
NASCAR has suspended driver Kurt Busch until June 13 of this year and extended his NASCAR probation until Dec 31 for his actions following the NASCAR Nationwide Series race June 2 at Dover International Speedway.


Kurt Busch violated Section 12-1 – Actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member – of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. Kurt Busch had previously been place on NASCAR probation May 15 for his actions during the May 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Darlington Raceway. That probation was originally scheduled to end July 25 but has now been extended through the end of this year.


From NASCAR-PR


Pocono 400 Renamed Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR
NASCAR and Twitter new digital platform launching during Raceway’s June race weekend.


Pocono Raceway – @PoconoRaceway – announced today a relationship with Twitter. The June 10, Pocono 400 will be renamed the Pocono 400 Presented by #NASCAR. The renaming of the first of two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events annually held at “The Tricky Triangle,” comes two weeks after @NASCAR and @Twitter announced a unique digital partnership with the creation of twitter.com/#NASCAR, launching this week at Pocono Raceway. The twitter.com/#NASCAR event page will feature Tweets that bring fans closer to everything that unfolds during the Pocono 400.


Read more from SPEED


Appeals court backs NASCAR chief in recording case
A state appeals court Friday ruled in favor of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in a lawsuit alleging that his ex-wife illegally recorded telephone calls between them.


The Daytona Beach-based 5th District Court of Appeal overturned a circuit judge’s decision to dismiss the case. The case centers on a Florida law that bars the recording of calls without the consent of both parties.


Read more from Daytona Beach News-Journal


Luckless Jeff Gordon frustrated by miscue, untimely caution flag
After several unfortunate incidents this season, Jeff Gordon has said that he can only laugh at his bad luck in 2012.


There was no laughing Sunday at Dover International Speedway, where the bad luck was self-inflicted.


Read more from Sporting News


Pocono’s New Coat
Pocono Raceway’s long (3,740 feet) front stretch has produced some of the fastest spot speeds in NASCAR racing since the track hosted its first Cup event in 1974.


Those numbers – and, consequently, the speedway’s average speeds – are expected to surge even higher this week as the Sprint Cup Series rolls into the Pocono Mountains to challenge a freshly repaved track.


Read more from SPEED


Osborne trying to get Edwards headed in right direction
Bob Osborne is trying to put last year behind him. The Chester native and crew chief for Carl Edwards’ No. 99 car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series had a pretty good 2011 season. It was one most NASCAR teams would love to experience.


Osborne led Edwards to a second-place finish in the Chase for the Championship, NASCAR’s version of the playoffs. But the No. 99 team lost the title on a tiebreaker when champion Tony Stewart won the final race of the season.


Read more from Del Co Times


Stewart among those collected in early wreck
Tony Stewart stood off to the side and watched as his team took hammer and wrench to his battered No. 14 Chevrolet. The FedEx 400 benefiting Autsim Speaks was in only it’s ninth lap when a pile-up in Turn 2 took out 12 race cars including Stewart.


As they pounded the sheet metal, the frown didn’t leave his face.


Read more from NASCAR.com


NASCAR mulls discipline over Kurt Busch’s latest tirade
Kurt Busch wouldn’t speak with USA Today Sports at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, the morning after a video of him berating a news reporter went viral.


“Why would I want to speak with anyone today?” Busch said as he and girlfriend Patricia Driscoll exited a short chapel service at the track, about 90 minutes before the scheduled start of the FedEx 400. “No comment.”


Shortly thereafter, he spent about five minutes meeting with NASCAR President Mike Helton and vice president Robin Pemberton in the Sprint Cup hauler. NASCAR confirmed to USA Today Sports that the meeting was called to speak with Busch about his Saturday tirade.


Upon exiting, Busch continued to decline comment, and NASCAR wouldn’t offer further details about the meeting but was considering discipline. NASCAR typically doles out punishment on Tuesdays after a race.


Read more from USA Today


Jimmie Johnson ties Dover wins record with victory “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks
Jimmie Johnson won three of the four races at Dover International Speedway in 2009 and 2010, so when he didn’t win either event last year, it was almost a strange thing to see.


But Johnson ended that drought and made some history Sunday when he drove to the win in the “FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. It was his seventh victory at the Monster Mile, which ties David Pearson and Richard Petty for the most wins ever at Dover.


Read more from Dover International Speedway-PR



Keep checking back for updated news throughout the week. At the end of each day, more news and views will be posted here. 


As always, Thanks for reading and participating.  

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