News & Views – Volume 30 – June 11 – 17, 2012

News & Views – Volume 30
For the week of June 11 – 17, 2012

“I didn’t want to get in the back of Mark (Martin) there, but he was kind of running in with speed and he was getting free and I just kind of stayed right there. It’s just awesome to finally get to victory lane the right way.” – Joey Logano after winning the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR


The first race marking the second half of the regular season is now in the books and Joey Logano comes home with his first victory of the 2012 season, his second career win, including a rain-shorten New Hampshire race in 2009. When asked – What does this win say about you with so many people talking about your future? Logano said, “I hope it shuts them all up is what I hope. I tell you what, it just means a lot for this whole team. Jason Ratcliff (crew chief) to get his first Cup win for him – man, it means so much. You don’t understand. Man, it’s just cool.”


The new surface at Pocono was smooth for the drivers on the track, however, pit road proved to be the biggest challenge for drivers. Setting a record of 22 penalties in Pocono, drivers were caught off guard with the timing lines.  Apparently there was an new timing line added and the placement was a bit different than years past. Many crew chiefs and drivers neglected to double check their placement prior to the race, assuming they were the same as in the past. 


This week, Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams are traveling to another newly repaved track at Michigan International Speedway. The Camping World Truck Series teams will return to the track on June 28 at Kentucky. 


Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, June 17, 2012
2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Race Results

Dale Jr Win in Michigan!
Photo – MIS facebook page

Making his 450th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career start and breaking a 143 race – 4 year – win-less streak, Dale Earnhardt Jr, dominates the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, as he keeps Tony Stewart behind him by 5.393 seconds for the victory.


This was Earnhardt Jr’s first series win of the 2012 season, his nineteenth series career win, and his second series win at Michigan International Speedway.


Following Earnhardt – who led the most laps, 95 of 200 – and Stewart to the drop of the checkered flag were the current series point leader, Matt Kenseth – leads Earnhardt by 4-points – finishing third, Greg Biffle fourth and Jimmie Johnson finished in fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Jeff Gordon coming in sixth-place, Clint Bowyer seventh, Juan Pablo Montoya eighth, pole-sitter Marcos Ambrose ninth and Kevin Harvick finishing in tenth-place.


Race Results
Point Standings


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Change to left-side tires throws new wrinkle into Sprint Cup race
Welcome to Michigan International Speedway, home of unfamiliar new pavement and unfamiliar old tires for Sprint cup teams.


The newly paved 2-mile oval has thrown drivers, crew chiefs, NASCAR officials and, most notably, Goodyear engineers for a huge loop this weekend.


Read more from Sporting News


Saturday, June 16, 2012
2012 NASCAR Weather Radar & Forecast at MIS – Rain Tonight & Sunday Morning
Tonight – Showers and thunderstorms, some could be strong possibly severe. Good soaking rain at times. Winds – SSW 5-15-mph, Gusts of 20-mph and Low – 68


Tomorrow/Race Day – Showers and storms likely during the morning, breaking and pushing east during the late morning through early afternoon. Should see the race tomorrow afternoon. It is possible there is a delay but I expect the race to get in tomorrow afternoon. Winds – SSW 5-15-mph, Gusts 20-25-mph and High 82


Read more and see radar from WX-Man


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Final/Extended Practice Session Speeds
After Goodyear decided to change – left side – tires for Sunday’s NSCS Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway, teams were given an extra practice session Saturday evening to get use to the tire. At the end of the session it was Greg Biffle, with a lap speed of 195.647-mph, on top of the speed charts.


Five-time series champion, Jimmie Johnson, with a lap speed of 194.295-mph, was second fastest and was followed by Carl Edwards 194.138-mph who was third fastest, Kasey Kahne 194.070 fourth and Jamie McMurray 193.159 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest in the “Happy Hour” – final/part 2 – practice were Kurt Busch 193.118-mph who was sixth fastest, AJ Allmendinger 193.092 seventh, Martin Truex Jr 192.957 eighth, Mark Martin 192.916 ninth and Kevin Harvick 192.864 will start from the tenth position.


The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET on Sunday afternoon, and TNT will provide television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race show.


Extended Practice Speeds


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 Race Results

Logano celebrates in victory lane at Michigan
Photo – John Harrelson/Getty Images

Joey Logano continues to show dominance in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, as he holds off James Buescher – by 0.208-seconds – to win the 2012 Alliance Truck Parts 250 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.


This was Logano’s fifth series win of the 2012 season, his fourteenth series career win and his – as well as manufacturer Toyota’s – first series win at Michigan International Speedway.


Following Logano and Buescher to the drop of the checkered flag were Kurt Bussch finishing in third, series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders, Cole Whitt and pole-sitter Austin Dillon – who moved into 2nd in the NNS point standings, and is 8-points behind leader Elliott Sadler – who finished 11th – finishing fourth and fifth respectively.


Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Sam Hornish Jr finishing in sixth, Michael McDowell seventh, Paul Menard – who led the most laps with 37 of 125 laps – eighth, Brian Scott ninth and Brad Keselowski finished in the tenth position.


Race Results
Point Standings


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Starting Lineup
Marcos Ambrose, with a new qualifying track record speed of 203.241-mph, captured the 2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan International Speedway.


Ambrose, who received his first series career pole, became the fourth driver to win the pole with a lap over 200-mph – the others are Benny Parsons, Cale Yarborough and Bill Elliott – which is also the 11th-fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history.


Including Ambrose, a total of 40 drivers posted a faster lap than the 2005 Michigan track qualifying record of 194.232-mph, set by Ryan Newman.


Starting second on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 202.037-mph, will be Kevin Harvick, followed by Greg Biffle 201.816-mph who will start third, Kasey Kahne 201.720 fourth and Ryan Newman 201.472 will start fifth.


Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Matt Kenseth 201.461-mph starting sixth, Trevor Bayne 201.444 seventh, Tony Stewart 201.370 eighth, Joey Logano 201.247 ninth and Jimmie Johnson 201.179 will start from the tenth position.


Failing to make the starting lineup were the #30 driven by David Stremme and the #74 driven by Stacy Compton.


Late Friday it was announced that Goodyear is going to replace the tires that were going to be used during Sunday’s race, and that NASCAR will allow teams to have an extra practice session that will follow this afternoon’s NNS race.


The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET on Sunday afternoon, and TNT will provide television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race show.


Starting Lineup


Provided by Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Tire change creates chain reaction ahead of Michigan qualifying
The last-minute change to different left-side tires for the Sprint Cup race Sunday at Michigan International Speedway sent teams scrambling for information and worrying engine builders.


The new left-side tire is harder with different construction. Thus, the tire should have less grip – meaning slower speeds  with an increase in durability.


Read more from Sporting News


SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Keys for Success – Quicken Loans 400
Howard Comstock – SRT Motorsports Engineering
Tires – “Obviously the biggest problem is going to be the change of left-side tires. After all of the tire testing we did, all the testing that we did on Thursday and all of the practice that we had on Friday, the left-side tire is still a problem. The left-side tire won’t give up the heat and we saw several instances of blistering on the left-sides. It’s not unprecedented but NASCAR has decided that we’re going to change the left-side tires not for qualifying but for the race. An extra practice session has been scheduled after the Nationwide race. It’s disappointing after nine hours of track time, we have to change the left-side tire and we’ll only get an hour to adapt to it. Figuring out that new left-side tire is going to be a big key.


“The fact that we’ve spent so much time trying to adapt to the tires that were provided and now there’s going to be a different tire, that’s a big change. We have computer programs that design suspensions to deal with specific tires and their characteristics. We model the tires, we study the tires, we think we understand the grip level of the tires and all of the suspension simulation is built around the tires. Now to change the left-side for the race, it’s a big deal. It’s not an insurmountable problem, but it’s a big deal.”


Engine Durability – “Obviously we’ve changed the gearing to bring the RPM back down even with the advance speeds. The thing that gets the engine here is the fact that you stay on the throttle for so long the only time the engine gets to breathe is when you lift off the throttle. With so much on-throttle time because of the grip in the corners, that’s the problem that teams have to consider with the engine. We’ve been able to control the RPM levels by changing the gearing but the amount of on-throttle time is going to be a problem for durability.”


Fuel Economy – “Fuel economy is always an issue here at Michigan. It’s always a challenge to figure it out. It always seems to come down to a fuel economy race at the end. At the speeds that we’re seeing, we’re making more power. The throttle is open more all the way around the race track which means we’re using more fuel. We’ve got fuel injection this year, so a combination of faster speeds, more wide-open throttle time, fuel injection, that’s a lot of variables to throw at everybody. We’ve just got to conquer all those issues.


“It’s going to be a test of calculating fuel economy because we’ve never run speeds like this before. We’ve certainly never run speeds like this with the fuel injection. How is that going to turn out? I think the teams will have to be conservative early in the race and make sure you don’t run out of fuel. If you ran out of fuel on the backstretch, you could coast to the pits but you’ll lose a lap in the process. You can’t afford that. I’ve already heard teams talking about backing up their first pit stop a lot. I would say that you’ll see pit stops in the 30-40 lap range.”


From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR


NAPA Racing’s crew chief Chad Johnston Receives Early Father’s Day Present
Congratulations to Chad Johnston, crew chief of the No. 56 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and his wife Stacey.


Last night, Johnston received an early Father’ Day present as his son, Chase Allen Johnston, arrived at 10:32pm ET. The baby boy weighed in at nine lbs. and 20.75 inches long. He joins big sister Sydnee into the family.


Plans are for Johnston to remain in Moorseville, NC with his family for the remainder of the weekend. Serving as interim crew chief for driver Martin Truex Jr and the NAPA Racing team for Sunday’s Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway is Scott Miller, Michael Waltrip Racing executive vice president of competition.


From Michael Waltrip Racing-PR


2012 NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 Starting Lineup
The 2012 NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, with a qualifying lap speed of 190.375-mph, captured the Alliance Truck Parts 250 Coors Light Pole Award at Michigan International Speedway.


Dillon, who received his first series career pole out of 24 races, will share the front row with fellow rookie contender, Cole Whitt 189.708-mph starting second, and they will be followed by Joey Logano 189.573 starting third, James Buescher 189.190 fourth and Danica Patrick 188.793 will start fifth.


The current series points leader, Elliott Sadler 188.585-mph will start from sixth, while Paul Menard 188.378 starts seventh, Justin Allgaier 188.373 eighth, Brad Keselowski 188.353 ninth and Kenny Wallace 188.103 rounds out the top-ten starting positions.


The top-20 fastest drivers had a speed faster than Greg Biffle’s previous track record of 186.548-mph, set back in 2007.


Only 43 drivers/teams attempted to qualify for the 43 starting positions; therefore, no one failed to make the starting lineup.


The approximate start for today’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 will be around 4pm ET and television coverage will be provided by ESPN on ABC beginning with their 3:30pm ET pre-race show.


Starting Lineup


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NASCAR Weather Forecast at Michigan – Possible Rain on Sunday
You want to know will the rain on Sunday affect the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Michigan International Speedway. The answer is possibly but it will depend on timing of a cold front, and coverage of rain associated with it.


Cold front slides across the region Saturday night into Sunday morning. With it will be a narrow band of showers and possible storms. It appears the front is through and clearing the area Sunday afternoon. If this verifies I think we can get the race in Sunday afternoon.


My current forecast for Sunday is clouds, some sun with possible showers and storms Sunday morning. In the afternoon we could have a few scattered to isolated chance of a shower or storm but the time could be mostly dry. Temperatures will be in the low to mid 80s depending on how much cloud cover we see. I think there is a 30 percent chance or less we race on Monday.


Read more from WX-Man


Friday, June 15, 2012
Goodyear to change left-side tire recommendation at Michigan
Based on the higher than expected speeds NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams ran in pre-race practice on the newly repaved Michigan International Speedway, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has decided to change its left-side tire recommendation for Sunday’s race. 


In the final Sprint Cup practice on Friday afternoon, Greg Biffle ran an average speed in excess of 204-mph for his fastest lap. For comparison’s sake, when Goodyear tested at Michigan in preparation for this race on April 3-4, the fastest average lap speed topped out in the 198-mph range. The higher speeds caused significantly higher left-side tire temperatures, which caused Goodyear to take this step.


The tire code that teams will now run – D-4020 – features a tougher tread compound, a different construction and different mold shape than the tire teams ran in practice. The replacement tire was run at Charlotte Motor Speedway after that track was repaved at the end of the 2005 season. This code was run at both races at Charlotte in both 2006 and 2007. 


When Goodyear decided to bring a new tire to Charlotte for the 2008 season, a quantity of this code was built as part of the back-up plan that Goodyear has in place for every race track on the circuit.  Since this tire proved durable and provided an ample amount of grip for the repaved Charlotte surface, it made it a logical choice to be put in place for just this type of situation for the fresh asphalt at Michigan.


Goodyear will ship in enough tires for teams to have 10 sets of tires for the race, which is the original NASCAR set limit for this event. Teams will run their original allotment of right-side tires – D-4528 – in Sunday’s race. Teams will have additional tires available for a NASCAR-scheduled practice following the Nationwide Series race on Saturday.


“We decided this move was best to provide quality racing here on Sunday,” said Greg Stucker, Goodyear’s Director of Race Tires. “In collecting data and speaking with drivers and crew chiefs throughout the practice days, we had two choices to make. Our first option was to make the team’s race sets available to them before practice on Friday and allow them the chance to ‘scuff’ them, in order to run them through a heat cycle to increase heat resistance. We did that, but after all the practice sessions ended on Friday, we concluded the safer option was to go to our contingency plan and bring in the 4020s.


“This code has been run before under similar track conditions and we have full confidence that it will give drivers and teams enough grip to run a great race on Sunday, while doing so in the safest possible manner. Safety is always our No. 1 concern, and  by bringing this tire here this weekend, we will accomplish that goal.”


From Goodyear-PR

NASCAR practice speeds continue to soar
Nationwide on track for first time
A day after numerous teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series topped the 200-mph mark, the speeds continued to be the theme. And the speeds only got faster after the teams fine-tuned their cars.


Greg Biffle set the pace and it was one fast lap. He finished the day with a mark of 204.708-mph. The next fastest driver was Marcos Ambrose who had a lap of 203.551-mph.


In the final practice session on Friday, 43 of the 45 drivers surpassed the qualifying record of 194.232-mph. Ryan Newman set the previous mark in 2005 and owns a pair of victories in the Irish Hills.


Kevin Harvick 202.954 and Carl Edwards 202.943 each posted speeds of over 202-mph. In the final practice session, 14 cars had a speed that eclipsed 200-mph.


The official NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying is scheduled to begin on Saturday at 1:10pm. The Quicken Loans 400 will start at 1pm on Sunday.


The Nationwide drivers got their opportunity to test the repaved surface at MIS for the first me. And it did not take them long to confirm they like the speeds.


Danica Patrick was the first driver to surpass 190-mph on the day. She was the second fastest in the first practice with a speed of 190.506. But Austin Dillon registered the fastest speed in the first two sessions and appeared on his way to leading the day.


In the final practice session, NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Joey Logano had a fast lap of 189.773-mph to lead the field.


Biffle set the Nationwide qualifying mark of 186.548-mph in 2007. A total of 19 Nationwide drivers in the first practice session and 18 each in the next two sessions topped the record.


The Nationwide teams will be qualifying on Saturday at 11:05am. The green flag will drop on the 21st Annual Alliance Truck Parts 250 on Saturday at 3:45pm.


From Michigan International Speedway-PR


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Second Practice Session Speeds
Greg Biffle, with a lap speed of 204.708-mph, was the quickest during the final NSCS Quicken Loans 400 practice session at Michigan International Speedway.


Second quickest with a lap speed of 203.551-mph, was Marcos Ambrose, followed by Kevin Harvick 202.954-mph who was third quickest, Carl Edwards 202.943 fourth and Paul Menard 201.737 was fifth quickest.


Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the session were Trevor Bayne 201.506-mph who was sixth quickest, Jimmie Johnson 201.247 seventh, Joey Logano 201.078 eighth, Kurt Busch 201.027 ninth and Matt Kenseth 200.798 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.


The teams will also be back Saturday afternoon at 1:10pm ET for qualifying.


Because of blistering taking place on the left front tires, NASCAR is scheduling another practice session Saturday at 6pm ET. Goodyear is bringing another tire to the track, with the same code used at Charlotte in 2005-07, which have been emergency back-up stock.  


The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET with TNT providing television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race show.


Second Practice Speeds/Jayski’s


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 Final Practice Session Speeds
Joey Logano, with a lap speed of 189.773-mph, was the fastest during the final NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 practice session at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.


NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt, was second fastest with a lap speed of 189.653-mph, and was followed by Brian Scott 189.414-mph who was third fastest, rookie contender Austin Dillon 189.230 fourth and Danica Patrick 189.215 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Sam Hornish Jr 188.699-mph who was sixth fastest, rookie contender Brad Sweet 188.422 seventh, Brad Keselowski 188.349 eighth, Mike Bliss 188.004 ninth and Paul Menard 187.852 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams return Saturday morning for their 11:05am ET scheduled qualifying session, and the approximate start for Saturday afternoon’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 will be around 4:00pm ET with television coverage provided by ESPN on ABC beginning with their 3:30pm ET pre-race show.


Final Practice Session Speeds
Qualifying Order


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Jack Roush and Wood Brothers seek to break Win Tie at Michigan
NASCAR Duel of Dominators hits Michigan
Two organizations are atop the all-time Michigan International Speedway NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win list, with Roush Fenway Racing and Wood Brothers Racing tied at 11. Both organizations will compete Sunday in the Quicken Loans 400 at the track, Wood Brothers with the single-car No. 21 Ford entry driven by Trevor Bayne and Roush Fenway Racing entering three Fords, the No. 16 driven by Greg Biffle, the No. 17 of Matt Kenseth and the No. 99 of Carl Edwards.


Read more from Motorsport.com


Fast times and furious finishes highlight Michigan
For Starters
2 – Two drivers have swept a Nationwide/Cup weekend at Michigan – Mark Martin, 1993 and Carl Edwards 2008.


Nationwide Series – Breakout Number
9 – Paul Menard has finished in the top 10 in his past nine Nationwide Series starts, dating to 2010, including a runner-up finish in his only race this season at Texas.  He has also won the pole in three of his past six starts, including Texas. Included in both streaks is the pole and track-best fourth-place finish at Michigan last year. His average finish of 9.5 at MIS is his best among all tracks where he’s made more than two starts – top-tens in five of six races and top-fives the past two years.


Track Tidbits
1 – Brad Keselowski is the only driver entered in this week’s race who has won at Michigan. Keselowski won in back-to-back years in 2009 and ’10; he passed Kyle Busch on the final lap in ’09, the only last-lap pass in MIS history.
12 – The driver leading the most laps has won 12 of the 20 races at Michigan, including four of the past five races. The lone exception during that span came in 2009, when Brad Keselowski led just three laps, fewest of any winner in MIS history.
169.571 – The average speed of 169.571-mph for the Michigan race in 2995 is the fastest average race speed in the history of the Nationwide Series.


Recent Trends
3 – Joey Logano has won three of the past four races in which he has competed. Furthermore, three of his four wins overall this season were his first at the tracks: Talladega, Darlington and Dover. Logano has never won at Michigan in three starts, but has finished in the top-ten in each race.
9 – The final lead change has taken place with nine laps or fewer left in five of the past seven races at Michigan, including the past three.
10 – The final green-flag stretch was 10 laps or less in seven of the past nine races at Michigan.


Sprint Cup Series – Breakout Number
2 – Jimmie Johnson finished second at Michigan this past August, his best in 20 starts. MIS is one of five active tracks at which he has not not in Cup. Johnson has led 542 laps at Michigan, more than he has led on 11 of the other tracks where he has wins, and led the most laps four times. He’s been passed for the final lead change three times at MIS, and in June 2009 ran out of fuel on Lap 199 of 200 while leading. Johnson led 146 laps, the most by a non-winner in track history.


Track Tidbits
1 – Carl Edwards is the only driver among the most recent 21, beginning in August 1981, who made their first Cup start at Michigan and earned a top-ten finish. Edwards finished 10th in August 2004. In 15 races at MIS, Edwards has two wins, nine top-fives and 12 top-tens; his average finish of 8.2 is the best at Michigan among all drivers with more than two starts.
2 – Kurt Busch has won the past two June poles at Michigan. Denny Hamlin has won the past two June races at Michigan.
194.232 – The Michigan track record is 194.232-mph by Ryan Newman in June 2005. The fastest pole on a track other than Daytona and Talladega is 197.478-mph by Geoffrey Bodine at Atlanta in November 1997. Daytona and Talladega have combined for 17 pole speeds over 200-mph.


Recent Trends
3 – All three of Joe Gibbs Racing’s drivers have at least one win in 2012 and the team’s four wins lead all teams. JGR has won seven times at Michigan, ranking third all time, including three of the past four races: Denny Hamlin – 2 and Kyle Busch.
8 – Michigan is the eighth track to be repaved since the start of the 2006 season. Kasey Kahne – with two – is the only driver to win more than once in the first race on a newly paved track during the seven-year time frame. Carl Edwards finished in the top-ten in six of the seven races and Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth finished in the top-ten in five of them. Kahne also leads all drivers in laps led on newly paved tracks with 193.
23 – The winner has led less than 23 laps in five of the past eight races at Michigan and less than 15 in four races during that streak. Conversely, Greg Biffle has led the most laps in the past three races at Michigan with only one top-ten – fourth in August 2010 – to show for it.


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


Harvick – Tires a Concern
The downside of this weekend’s high speeds at Michigan International Speedway is that teams will have to take extra care with tire wear.


Exploding tires at 215 miles per hour is not an attractive idea.


Read more from SPEED


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 First Practice Session Speeds
Mark Martin, with a lap speed of 201.376-mph, was the fastest during the first NSCS Quicken Loans 400 practice session at Michigan International Speedway.


Second fastest with a lap speed of 201.061-mph, was Dale Earnhardt Jr, followed by Trevor Bayne 200.770-mph who was third fastest, Tony Stewart 200.736 fourth and Matt Kenseth 200.574 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the session were Juan Pablo Montoya 200.552-mph who was sixth fastest, Jeff Gordon 200.540 seventh, Kasey Kahne 200.507 eighth, Paul Menard 200.289 ninth and Martin Truex Jr 200.056 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams will have their “Happy Hour” – final – practice session this afternoon from 3:30 to 4:50pm ET and then return Saturday afternoon at 1:10pm ET for qualifying. 


The Quicken Loans 400 is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET with TNT providing television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race show.


First Practice Session Speeds
Qualifying Order


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 Second Practice Session Speeds
NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon, with a lap speed of 190.900-mph, was – once again – the quickest during the second Alliance Truck Parts 250 practice session at Michigan International Speedway.


Joey Logano was second quickest with a lap speed of 189.858-mph, and he was followed by Elliott Sadler 189.399-mph who was third quickest, Paul Menard 189.001 fourth and James Buescher 188.462 was fifth quickest.


Returning to NASCAR competition after being suspended last weekend, Kurt Busch 188.304-mph was sixth quickest during the session, while Michael Arnett 188.270 was seventh, Danica Patrick 188.255 eighth, rookie contender, Cole Whitt 188.142 ninth and the defending series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 188.137 rounds out the top-ten quickest.


The teams will have their “Happy Hour” – final – practice session this afternoon from 2:00 to 3:20pm ET and then return Saturday morning for their 11:05am ET scheduled qualifying session.


The approximate start for Saturday afternoon’s Alliance Truck Parts 250 will be around 4:00pm ET and television coverage will be provided by ESPN on ABC beginning with their 3:30pm ET pre-race show.


Second Practice Speeds


Provided by Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


2012 NNS Alliance Truck Parts 250 First Practice Session Speeds
The NASCAR Nationwide Series teams had an early start Friday morning at Michigan International Speedway, as they took to the track around 8:30am for their first – of three – Alliance Truck Parts 250 practice session. And, just like how the NSCS teams were Thursday on the newly repaved track surface, speeds were definitely higher as anticipated for the NNS teams – the qualifying record is 186.548-mph, set by Greg Biffle on August 18, 2007. At the end of the session and with a lap speed of 191.494-mph, it was the series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon on top of the speed charts.


Second fastest on the speed charts with a lap speed of 190.506-mph, was Danica Patrick, and she was followed by Kurt Busch 190.350-mph who was third fastest, Justin Allgaier 190.330 fourth and Michael McDowell 190.270 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the session were rookie contender Cole Whitt 190.164-mph who was sixth fastest, Ellliot Sadler 189.703 seventh, rookie contender Brad Sweet 189.633 eighth, Joey Logano 189.539 ninth and Kenny Wallace 189.294 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams will have two more practice sessions today at 11:30am to 12:20pm and “Happy Hour,” 2:00 to 3:20pm ET before returning Saturday morning for their 11:05am ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for that afternoon’s race – approximate start around 4:00pm ET with television coverage provided by ESPN on ABC at 3:30pm ET.


First Practice Speeds


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Bowman Gray Stadium: Childress is a potential buyer
Winston-Salem State University’s effort to buy Bowman Gray Stadium from the city was snuffed out Thursday when state lawmakers killed the university’s request for permission to borrow $7.5 million for the purchase.


The legislative move – sponsored by Sen. Don East, R-Surry, and pushed by Winston-Salem entrepreneur Harold Day – opens the door wider to another potential bidder: Richard Childress, the NASCAR icon from Winston-Salem who sold peanuts as a child at Bowman Gray and started his racing career there in the 1950s.


Read more from Winston-Salem Journal


NASCAR’s Logano knows his way on the ice too
With all this talk about the resurfacing of the track at Michigan International Speedway, maybe it will give Joey Logano the edge in Sunday’s NASCAR Quicken Loans 400.


After all, he’s the only driver in the Sprint Cup series who’s driven an ice re-surfacer, better known in hockey circles as a Zamboni.


Read more from Canada.com


Fans still adore Dale Earnhardt Jr, ‘last of good old boys’
Armed with a Sharpie in his left hand, Dale Earnhardt Jr looped his signature across  seemingly endless rows of diecast cars and stacks of hero cards bearing his likeness.


Meanwhile, he contemplated the chagrin of those for whom he has scribbled countless autographs.


Read more from USA Today

Thursday, June 14, 2012
NASCAR Holds open test Thursday
Speeds top 200-mph in advance of Quicken Loans 400
If today’s NASCAR Sprint Cup practice session was any indication of things to come, don’t blink or you will certainly miss the fastest weekend in Michigan International Speedway history.


MIS repaved its race track in the fall of 2011 and the results have been met with approval from the drivers. And they can go really fast on the surface.


All 43 drivers who practiced on Thursday posted speeds faster than the track record of 194.232-mph set by Ryan Newman in 2005.


No NASCAR Sprint Cup driver has exceeded 200-mph in qualifying since 1987 when Bill Elliott established the record of 212.809 in April ’87.


During the open test on Thursday a total of seven drivers exceeded 200-mph, led by Tony Stewart. It could be a record-setting qualifying session on Saturday starting at 1:10pm in preparation for Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400 slated to being at 1pm.


Stewart registered a fast lap of 201.896-mph. Also posting speeds of over 200-mph were Greg Biffle 201.556, Kurt Busch 201.174, Kevin Harvick 200.697, Dale Earnhardt Jr, 200.658, Paul Menard 200.111 and Clint Bowyer 200.078.


“Man, this place is really, really, really fast,” Biffle said. “Every lap is like a qualifying lap. You’re holding your breath. You make about three laps, come in and think about it for a while. The track is so damn wide. That’s why I love racing here.


“We’re definitely going to gain some attention at 218 – going into the first turn. It’s been a long time since we’ve gone that fast.”


Not to be outdone, the ARCA Racing Series also held a practice session Thursday at MIS in preparation for its RainEater Wiper Blades 200 scheduled to start at 5:15pm on Friday. Qualifying is slated to start at 10am on Friday.


ARCA’s MIS qualifying record of 189.623-mph, set by Cale Gale last year, seems certain to fall by the wayside.


Three drivers exceeded the record led by Kevin Swindell with a speed of 193.143-mph, Matt Lofton 191.149 and Kyle Larson 190.049 also posted practice speeds faster than the current MIS qualifying record.


“It’s quite a rush for the drivers when you go this fast with an average lap time of over 200,” said Jimmie Johnson, who registered the 10th-fastest practice speed of 199.104. “You certainly feel the speed and the comfort is there. This asphalt and tire compound seems to be pretty decent. We wouldn’t be able to run this fast if we didn’t have comfort in the car and not a lot of grip. We’re in a bit of a comfort zone right now as a group because of last week’s experience and our eyes are kind of calibrated for the speed.


“The comfort is in the car but the challenge is still there for the driver. Every lap does feel like a qualifying lap but right now the comfort is there and you complete the lap and kind of giggle and say, ‘I got away with that. It’s pretty awesome.'”


From Michigan International Speedway-PR


2012 NASCAR Weather Forecast at Michigan – Keeping my eye on Sunday
There is a reason I don’t like to put a forecast out before Wednesday of a NASCAR weekend. The forecast usually changes and that was the case this week.


If you have been following the forecast this week for Michigan International Speedway, Monday and Tuesday looked perfect. No rain, no clouds lots of sunshine an warm. I even had people tweeting me, “Great Weather For Michigan!”


Today through Saturday the weather for the Irish Hills of Michigan looks wonderful. Very warm, lost of sunshine as highs reach the upper 80s and maybe even 90 Saturday. The area of high pressure that brought the nice weather will begin to break down by the time we get into Saturday nigh and into Sunday.


I am not calling for a “Rain out” but I will say that the chances and threat of rain and storms Sunday appears to be increasing. This will be something I will be watching and planning on another update on this later this evening or early Friday morning.


Read more from WX-Man


TNT to Feature Carl Edwards and the Fastenal Team during Sunday’s Race at Michigan
Carl Edwards and the Fastenal “Blue Team” will be featured on TNT’s “Inside Trax” segments during Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. The segments will give viewers a behind the scenes look at what is happening with Edwards and the team throughout the race by using various cameras and audio in the race car and pits.


Edwards’ No. 99 Fastenal Ford Fusion will have an in-car camera, while several cameras will be placed in the pit stall to capture all the action. Crew chief Bob Osborne and several crew members will wear microphones throughout the race to provide viewers a glimpse of what goes on off the track during the race.


“There is so much happening in the pits that the fans never get to see,” said Andy Ward, pit crew coach for Roush Fenway Racing. “While the race is going on the crew chief is working on strategy with the engineers, the pit crew is preparing for its next stop all the while the driver is fighting for position on the track. These segments will spotlight some of the action that is every bit as important to the outcome of the race.” 


Edwards has a strong record at MIS with two wins and 12 top-ten finishes in 15 starts, and has led 274 laps at the two-mile oval.


From Roush Fenway Racing-PR


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 Final Test Session Speeds
The top three speeds at Michigan International Speedway remained above the 201-mph mark, as Tony Stewart, with a lap speed of 201.896-mph, was the quickest during the final 2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 test session.


Second quickest and with a lap speed of 201.556-mph, was Greg Biffle, and he was followed by Kurt Busch 201.174-mph who was third quickest. Kevin Harvick 200.697 fourth and Dale Earnhardt Jr 200.658 was the fifth quickest.


Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the final test session were Paul Menard 200.111-mph who was sixth quickest, Clint Bowyer 200.078 seventh, Austin Dillon 199.418 eighth, Michael McDowell 199.049 ninth and Jeff Gordon 198.884 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.


The teams will return on Friday for their two regular session 12:30 to 1:50pm and “Happy Hour,” 3:30 to 4:50pm ET and then return Saturday afternoon for qualifying at 1:10pm ET to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s race – which is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET. TNT will provide television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.


Final Test Session Speeds


From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia


Unlike LeBron, NASCAR’s Jimmie Johnson truly is king
It’s easy to see why Jimmie Johnson is one of the most despised drivers on the NASCAR circuit.


Here are some of the disgusting things I witnessed Wednesday while Johnson was at Walt Disney World Sports Complex – along with about 40 Daytona Beach-area elementary school children – for a promotional gig in conjunction with the Coke Zero 400 next month.


Read more from Orlando Sentinel


2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 First Test Session Speeds
An average lap speed of 201+mph, was reached Thursday morning during the first 2012 NSCS Quicken Loans 400 test session at Michigan International Speedway. And – just like last week’s first test session at Pocono – it was, Mark Martin, with a lap speed of 201.089-mph, posting the fastest lap at the newly repaved track in “the Irish hills.” Note: The qualifying record speed for the event is 194.232-mph, set by Ryan Newman on June 19, 2005.


Second fastest and with a lap speed of 200.999-mph, was Kevin Harvick, and he was followed by Martin Truex Jr 200.306-mph who was third fastest, Dale Earnhardt Jr 200.206 fourth and Tony Stewart 199.856 was fifth fastest.


Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the test session were Kyle Busch 199.590-mph who was sixth fastest, Juan Pablo Montoya 199.440 seventh, Clint Bowyer 199.418 eighth, Greg Biffle 199.253 ninth and Jimmie Johnson 199.104 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.


The teams will have their final test session this afternoon from 1 to 4pm ET before returning on Friday for their two regular practice sessions at 12:30 to 1:50pm ET and “Happy Hour” at 3:30 to 4:50pm ET.


Qualifying is scheduled for Saturday afternoon at 1:10pm ET to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s race – which is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET with TNT providing television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program. 

First Test Session Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Ryan Newman Provides Local Shelter with Donation & Goes for Vintage Spin at Magic Mile
Ryan Newman knows his way around “The Magic Mile.” His track-record six poles and three victories in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are a clear indication of that. But yesterday “The Rocket Man” traded his 850-horsepower Chevy Impala for a 1955 Chevrolet 210, taking military, media and fans for a spin around New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s 1.6-mile road course.


Newman, who won last July’s Cup race in New Hampshire, returned to Loudon to not only share his thoughts on a possible repeat performance in the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 15, but to take part in some of his off-track passions, including his passion for animals, restoring classic cars and fishing.


“it’s really cool to be here and take part in such a great day,” said Newman, who picked up his first-career Cup win at NHMS in 2002. “This was a great turnout. To see so many classic vehicles and get a chance to go for a ride in one, this was just awesome. I like this track and I look forward to our team coming back here and getting a chance to get back into victory lane next month.”


Newman began his day with a video montage that highlighted his three Cup victories and three NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour wins at NHMS. He then took part in a special presentation for the New Hampshire Humane Society based out of Laconia, NH Newman and Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of NHMS, presented a $1,000 check to the New Hampshire Human Society on behalf of the Ryan Newman Foundation and the speedway.


Development Director Marylee Gorham-Waterman and volunteer dog walker Meredith Cashman were on hand as representatives with rescue/alumni boxers, Mason and Bonnie, to receive the donation.


Newman then turned his attention to the 1936 Duesenberg SJN and 1934 Packard – owned  and provided by former speedway owner Bob Bahre – that were parked in the center garage. Newman sat in the Duesenberg and chatted with Bahre, then chatted with classic car owners who were on had from the Car Nutz and Twin State Cruisers Car clubs. A parade lap ensured with Newman, setting the pace  Chevy 210 and over 25 vintage vehicles in tow.


“It’s impressive. I have to thank Bob Bahre for bringing two of his very, very expensive old cars down here,” said Newman. “You usually don’t see cars like that without stanchions put around it. The Duesenberg kind of hits home for me because I’m from South Bend, Indiana, and it wasn’t built too far from there.”


Newman finished his afternoon with a question and answer session with Greg Kretchmar, host of the morning talk show “Greg and the Morning Buzz.” Newman fielded questions from Kretchmar, as well as fans and car club members before heading up to Crystal Lake in Gilmanton, NH, with Charlie Moore to film an episode of “Charlie Moore: No Offense,” which will air on NBC Sports Network just after the new year.


From New Hampshire Motor Speedway-PR See video at nhms.com


Fennigs embody NASCAR’s backbone in sport of families
Built by the France family, fostered by the Pettys and nurtured by Allisons and Jarretts, NASCAR is embodied by families like the Fennigs that the sport depends upon. 


Read more from USA Today


Martin Truex Jr Foundation 3rd Annual Catwalk for a Cause Raises $50,000
The third-annual Catwalk for a Cause fashion show benefiting The Martin Truex Jr Foundation (MTJF), raised an astounding $50,000 on May 16th, bringing the show’s three-year fundraising total to more than $80,000!


“We are overwhelmed by the amount of support at this year’s Catwalk? We had a full house at our shop this year, so many people came out to support the event that we’re going to have to move into a bigger space next year,” said Sherry Pollex, Truex’s girlfriend. “What an awesome problem to have! We feel so blessed. Thank you to everyone that had a small part in making our event such a huge success!”


Proceeds from this year’s event will again benefit the “Martin Truex Jr Special Needs Fund” at Levine Children’s Hospital. The fund provides qualified patients and families of children being treated at Levine’s who need assistance, the necessary medical services and supplies they need to get healthy.


NASCAR drivers and celebrities Martin Truex Jr, Ryan and Krissie Newman, Michael Waltrip, Max and Tati Papis, Ray and Erin Crocker-Evernham and Greg and Nanette Zipadelli joined more than 270 guests for the sold-out fashion show at Martin Truex Jr Motorsports in Moorseville, NC.


A silent auction and raffle were held during the evening’s activities displaying items such as a Bulova diamond watch, a vacation package to Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, designer apparel, diamond jewelry and sports memorabilia. But the most-coveted items from this year’s auction were 10 pieces of hand-painted pottery created by children from Levine Children’s Hospital!


The highlight of the night was seeing the Foundation’s special guests, five children from Levine, strut the Runway in their fashions from GAP Kids! At the end of the show, the Foundation presented a check to Levine Children’s Hospital for $30,000. Due to the tremendous support from the community, MTJF was able to contribute an additional $20,000 to the fund for a total 2012 contribution of $50,000!!


The date for next year’s 4th Annual Catwalk for a Cause will be announced in the coming months! For now, the MTJF staff is gearing up to host its annual fan event and golf tournament in Truex’s hometown of Mayetta, New Jersey on September 25 and 27. To learn more and support the MTJF or to participate in future events, please visit MartinTruexJrFoundation.org


From Martin Truex Jr Foundation-PR


Dodge’s future in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup murky as rumors swirl
Dodge was devastated when Penske Racing switched to Ford in early March for the 2013 Sprint cup season, leaving it without a full-time team, engine builder or chassis manufacturing facility. With the Daytona 500 less than a year away, it was a considerable blow that left the manufacturer little time to rebuild.


Read more from Sports Illustrated


Team owner James Finch says he still believes in Kurt Busch
Phoenix Racing owner James Finch wants to win with driver Kurt Busch, but Busch will need to behave, not only for his race team but for himself, the team owner said Tuesday night. Speaking on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel, Finch talked about his decision to keep Busch as  the driver of the No. 51 Sprint Cup car.


Read more from Sporting News


Petty to Dodge rumors shot down
Speculation that Richard Petty Motorsports was set to announce a switch to Dodge this weekend at Michigan International Speedway have been flatly denied.


Read more from Eye On NASCAR


Stewart, Burton & Bowyer offer comments following first laps on “New” Bristol
Bristol Motor Speedway has witnessed the initial laps on its recently altered surface. On day one of a two-day Goodyear Tire test Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer circled the half-mile concrete oval, and will wrap up the session on Wednesday.


While it’s impossible to predict how the racing action will be when NASCAR hits Bristol for August race week and the IRWIN Tools Night Race, the trio of drivers offered their comments following a full day of lapping the banks of Bristol.


The same drivers will return Wednesday to complete the Goodyear Tire test.
*Goodyear has mandated that the test sessions are closed to the public and media


Tony Stewart – (the only driver among the three to attempt the high groove) “Well, you’ve definitely lost the top groove. Guys who run up there aren’t going to be able to do that because it’s pretty slick up there. There’s going to be less room to race, that’s for sure. We’ve gone from a three-groove track to two grooves and any time you’ve got less room to get around it can get pretty interesting.


“I’m one of the guys who likes the high groove so it’s really going to change things up for me. It’ll change things for everybody though because when you take away room to race on a track this small with 43 cars … yeah, it’s going to tighten things up.”


Clint Bowyer – “That outside line – the upper groove – is out of play now. There’s going to be a lot closer racing than we’ve had here in the past. I don’t typically run up there, but a lot of guys do and I can’t see them going up there now. If they do… it’s pretty slippery and they’ll figure that out in a hurry.


“The closer we have to race just means something’s going to happen. Is it going to make fans happy?” Well, narrowing up the track means less room to get around so there’s no question there’s going to be closer action.


“I tell you what though… this place has always been – and will always be – far and away the best race we have. You wanna see a great race in the best atmosphere we have? Just be here in August.”

Jeff Burton exits Turn 2 during day one of
a two-day Goodyear Tire Test at Bristol
Photo – Bristol Motor Speedway

Jeff Burton – Goodyear is looking to bring a tire with more grip. I really think they have found some stuff that is really promising. As for the track itself, I really can’t imagine running up there in that top groove. I think it is going to force everyone more to the middle and bottom of the track. The drivers aren’t going to be happy, but the spectators probably will be because it is going to put more cars in a closer space.


By taking away that groove, it is going to change your mind about going up there. I think it is going to be two grooves, unless Goodyear brings a tire with a lot of grip. If that is the case, you’ll want to run around the bottom. Making the groove smaller is a good thing, it is going to put the action back to the bottom and middle of the track. What has changed is up near the wall, the bottom is the same. Tony experimented and tried out that top groove, and I know he won’t be trying that again.


If people like the older track more than the new, they are going to like this. This takes the top groove out and brings it back toward the old track. Taking the groove out moves the track closer to what it used to be. Taking the banking out is what is going to make the difference. You won’t run the top groove on a short track without more banking. There is no way you will run around the outside. If there is less banking on a short track near the wall, you are not going to go there.


Every race track should look at the fan experience. The fans come to see action here because this is Bristol. That is why there are so many seats. This is why it is like a gladiator stadium. We always will walk a tight rope of what is in the best interest of the fan. The sport is under more scrutiny all the time. For us, it is moe constant conversation about changing. Some races are better than others. Some are phenomenal, some are sleepers. But all sports are like that. Not every NBA game is great.


This track always has been different. Fans always want to see action here. That is why pressure is always put on this track.”


From Bristol Motor Speedway-PR


Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and Kick-It Partner to Kick Cancer out of Every Child

Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation and Kick-It will be teaming up on the kickball field by challenging supporters to kick cancer out of every childhood once and for all.


Kick-It is a national grassroots fundraising game that was started by Quinn Clarke, a cancer survivor who wanted to make a difference in every child diagnosed with cancer. Kick-It brings community, family, friends and co-workers together to raise money for childhood cancer research. The concept is easy – kick the ball, run the bases and score big in the fight against pediatric cancer.


“I am really excited about this new partnership,” said Jeff Gordon. “We are confident this will take childhood cancer to the forefront and bring it the awareness and funding it deserves. I can’t wait to Kick-It in September when I host my own game in Atlanta.


“And in honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I will be personally matching all funds raised for games played on behalf of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation during the month of September.”


Additionally, Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has launched a new social media campaign centered on the Kick-It program called “I’m Kicking It.” To participate, download the Kick-It sign, write your reason to support the initiative and upload it to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation facebook page. “I’m Kicking It” campaign will feature people from all walks of life who support the cause, from pediatric cancer patients to professional athletes. Then each week Gordon will pick his favorite “I’m Kicking It” reason.


“We truly admire Jeff Gordon’s commitment to children with cancer. Our son, Quinn Clarke, founded Kick-It with the dream to raise enough money to find a cure. He is beyond excited that Jeff Gordon is kicking it with him and the 13,500 children diagnosed with cancer every year,” said Allison Clarke, Founder of Flashes of Hope and mother of Quinn Clarke.


Join the fight against the devastating disease and create your own team today. For more information visit: JeffFordonChildrensFoundation.org or Kick-It.org/jeffgordon  See video at youtube.com/jeffgordon4cure


From Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation-PR


New 2013 F-150 FX4 to serve as Pace Truck for MIS NASCAR Sprint Cup race
New 2013 F-150 FX4 with EcoBoost becomes third straight Ford pace vehicle at Michigan International Speedway’s June race

2013 F-150 FX4
Photo – Ford Racing

Ford Motor Compay will introduce the latest versionof the F-150, part of America’s best-selling truck lineup, on Sunday when Ford’s President of The Americas Mark Fields leads the field to green for Michigan International Speedway’s NASCAR Sprint Cup series race in the new 2013 F-150.


“Like our hardworking customers, Ford is committed to continuous improvement and getting the job done right with our industry-leading trucks,” Fields said. ” So many of our truck customers are race fans that it makes perfect sense to show our new 2013 F-150 FX4 model for the first time at the track.”


Fields will serve as pace car driver for the second straight June race at MIS, after leading the field to the green flag in a 2012 Focus last year.


The F-Series line of trucks has led the way as the best-selling line of pickups in America for 35 straight years, and one of those who has helped keep that streak intact is NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Greg Biffle, who drives an F-150 as his personal vehicle.


“It’s going to be really neat to see that new F-150 leading the field at MIS this year,” Biffle said. “I am a huge truck guy and the F-series has never ceased to impress me over the years. I think this 2013 model continues that trend and I know NASCAR fans are going to be really impressed when they see it leading the way Sunday.”


The 2013 F-150 also boasts best-in-class fuel economy and capability. From the powerful and efficient 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine to the might 6.2-liter V8, the most powerful eight-cylinder engine in the segment, F-150 offers an engine to meet the needs of every customer. Each engine across the F-150 lineup is mated to a fuel-saving electronic six-speed automatic transmission with tow/haul mode.


Also available with the six-speed transmission is SelectShift capability, standard with FX4 and above. SelectShift provides progressive range select and manual shift mode, allowing customers the convenience of an automatic transmission for routine operation combined with the ability to select and lock gears.


What race fans are most likely to notice as the 2013 F-150 FX4 circles the track is the bold new grille with newly available HID projector headlamps that combines fresh design with instantly recognizable F-Series cues. Also new for the latest FX4 model is standard hill descent control proven in the Ford F-150 SVT Rapt and standard SYNC with MyFord, a 4.2-inch multi-function information display that provides enhanced displays of audioand climate-control functions.


The 2013 F-150 FX4 is also available with SYNC with MyFord Touch, which includes an all-new, large 8-inch LCD color touch screen mounted in the center stack. This package adds a media hub with two USB ports, an SD card reader and audio/video input jacks.


“We are proud to continue what is becoming a tradition of highlighting our new products to NASCAR race fans across the country,” said Jamie Allison, director Ford Racing. “Just like last year when we showcased Focus and two years ago with Fiesta, we’re using this Michigan race as a platform to promote another one of the outstanding products in the Ford lineup.”


Ford has been at the forefront of using its NASCAR pace car program to highlight its extensive line of new cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles. This includes being the first company to have an all-electric pace car with the Fusion Electric earlier this year in Richmond. Ford also was the first to use a Hybrid pace car to start a NASCAR race when the Fusion Hybrid led the field to green for the Ford 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2008. In addition, the Taurus SHO, Mustang GT 5.0L V-8 and 2011 Explorer SUV have served as pace vehicles over the last two years.


From PCGCampbell for Ford Racing-PR


NASCAR driver tries his hand in the kitchen
Defending Quaker State 400 champion Kyle Busch has some recipes to share, including deep-fried, bacon-wrapped bourbon balls.


He and Levy Restaurants Executive Chef Jo-Jo Doyle will be cooking up some specialties Wednesday at Kentucky Speedway.


Read more from KFVS12

Tuesday, June 12, 2012
NASCAR Hauler Parade Rumbles into Sacramento, June 21
More than 50 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers will rumble through the streets of Sacramento at the 2nd NASCAR Hauler Parade, June 21.


The NASCAR haulers, which will be enroute to Sonoma for the Toyota Save Mart 350, June 22-24, will make their way over the Tower Bridge and around the State Capitol to greet Northern California NASCAR fans read for a big race in Sonoma.


You can expect to see haulers from Dale Earnhardt Jr, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and every other driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. This marks the second ever hauler parade in Northern California and raceway officials are thrilled to bring it to Sacramento, home to our most avid race fans.


The parade will begin promptly at 2pm, on Thursday, June 21, as the haulers depart their staging area and cross the Tower Bridge, heading for the state capitol. The route is as follows: Cross Tower Bridge and drive up Capitol Mall; Right turn on 9th Street; Left turn on N Street; Left turn on 16th Street; Left turn on L Street. Haulers will then be directed to the freeway and head South on Hwy 80 to the raceway in Sonoma, where they will be parked in the garage for the race weekend.


Race fans can catch the haulers all along the parade route, but are encouraged to head to L and 11th streets for the best view. The raceway will have a display there, as well as the popular Raceway Girls, giveaways and tickets for the big race. This will be the heart of the action.


Mark Thursday, June 21 on your calendar so that we can give the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series a raucous Sacramento welcome as the 50 haulers rumble through town. Be sure to download the parade map on racesonoma.com, which lists the route, as well as best viewing points.


From Sonoma Toyota/Save Mart 350-PR


Local Residents Welcome NASCAR Nationwide Series Team Haulers to Road America
On Thursday, June 21, NASCAR Nationwide Series team haulers will gather at Times Printing Company in Random Lake, Wisconsin prior to their convoy to Road America for the Sargento 200 Presented by Menards. Last year’s hauler parade drew hundreds of NASCAR fans and an impressive welcome was also extended between residents of Random Lake and Elkhart Lake Wisconsin, as fans lined the route to cheer and wave hello to the passing convoy. Times Printing and Road America expert even greater hauler participation and attendance this year and encourage all fans, and residents and businesses along the route to participate in welcoming the return of the NASCAR Nationwide teams to Sheboygan County.


The haulers will gather for the party at Times Printing Company in Random Lake between 2:30pm and 5:30pm. Fans are invited to attend, free of charge. The Random Lake Fire Department will hold a brat fry fundraiser featuring Johnsonville brats on-site in conjunction with the party and the event will be held rain or shine.


The convoy to the track will depart around 5:30pm following Hwy 57 north. After turnin west on County Road J, the convoy will proceed north on Hwy 67 to Road America.


Race day on Saturday, June 23, will feature NASCAR Nationwide qualifying and incredible wheel-to-wheel racing from the GRAND-AM Rolex Series 250 Driven by VISTFLORIDA.com, followed by the Sargento 200 Presented by Menards. This race showcases some of NASCAR’s future stars as they test thier skills on the storied four-mile, 14-turn road circuit. Road America has a legendary history of featuring brilliant racers on a challenging circuit that easily separates the good from the great drivers.


From Road America-PR


Tire test at Bristol Motor Speedway confirms top groove is gone
Drivers testing tires for Goodyear at Bristol Motor Speedway reported that if the track owner Bruton Smith wanted to tighten the racing groove with recent modifications to the racetrack, he has accomplished that goal.


Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton spent Tuesday testing tires at the track, where the banking in the upper groove was decreased from 30 degrees to 28 degrees since the race in March.


Read more from Sporting News


SPEED’s McReynolds, Spencer and Wallace Reactions to James Finch Retaining Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch on Tuesday met with James Finch, owner of Busch’s No. 51 Phoenix Racing team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to discuss Busch’s suspension from last weekend’s race at Pocono Raceway and how the duo move forward.


Following their meeting, Finch and the team released a statement indicating Busch will remain with the team although other details of the conversation will remain between them.


Below, SPEED on-air analysts offer their perspective on the news Finch has retained Busch as his driver:


“The sport needs single-car teams like Phoenix Racing and we need a winning, championship driver like Kurt. I hope sitting out and watching somebody else drive his car has finally impacted Kurt, because monetary fines, losing two rides and past probation haven’t affected him before. Nothing had really moved the needle on Kurt. 

“I’m a huge Kurt fan. He’s so dang talented but he has to figure out how to control his emotions, and I think he will need some help to do that. And when he thinks he can’t control his emotions, he should just walk away. The media will still write about you when you walk away, but you don’t put yourself in jeopardy.



“If he wants to drive for Finch for the rest of his career and sign a sponsor, he’s going to have to rectify himself because a sponsor wouldn’t touch him with a 10-foot pole right now. Kurt is not auditioning his talent to a sponsor – he is auditioning whether or not he can change his behavior and represent a company in a respectable manner.


“I just want to shake Kurt when I look at my son, who has some talent but cant’ get the right opportunity because we don’t have a briefcase full of money, while Kurt has had that opportunity and was able to capitalize on it, but now is throwing it away. Now he needs to continue to capitalize on it and not throw it down the drain.


“He’s the only person to blame. He can blame me if he reads negative things I’ve said about him. He can blame any NASCAR broadcaster or writer, but this lies solely on his own shoulders. He is a good person and does a lot of good things outside of racing, but he has to learn to control his emotions, and if he can’t, then hold his tongue and walk away.
-Larry McReynolds, SPEED analyst


“Kurt can keep doing this only so long before he really finds himself out on the curb. I think James Finch is a great fit for him, but the race still went on Sunday without Kurt. The sport will go on without any one particular driver, so it’s time for Kurt to wake up to the fact he has problems he needs to fix. But until he admits it, we’ll be talking about him in a couple of weeks when he blows up again. Hopefully, he won’t, but I won’t be surprised if he does.”
-Jimmy Spencer, SPEED analyst and former driver


“It would be a tragedy to let Kurt’s talent go to waste. Finch is the right person Kurt at this time because they don’t have a sponsor to answer to. If Kurt had a major sponsor, he would be gone just like he was with his previous two teams. Therefore, Finch is the perfect match for him and hopefully they can get Kurt straightened out so NASCAR fans can enjoy watching his talent behind the wheel.


“But Kurt cannot move forward and improve himself unless he gets help. He has already had two chances with two of the largest car owners in the world and they both fired him. This has become a broken record with Kurt and the only reason he’s getting away with this is because he is so talented. If he wasn’t, he would have been gone four years ago.”
-Kenny Wallace, NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and SPEED analyst


From SPEED-PR


SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Presents The Numbers – Quicken Loans 400
Michigan International Speedway – all 85 Sprint Cup races
0 – fewest cautions – three times, most recent 6/13/99
1 – fewest laps led by race winner – Mark Martin 6/14/09
2 – fewest cars on lead lap at finish – five times, most recent 6/15/75
5 – fewest leaders – five times, most recent 8/12/84
6 – races won from outside a top-20 starting position
6 – wins by Dodge at MIS since manufacturer’s return to NASCAR in 2001
7 – fewest lead changes – 8/12/84
8 – jet dryers available for track drying this weekend at MIS
9 – most wins – David Pearson
10 – most poles – David Pearson
10 – most cautions – 8/20/06
11 – wins by car owner – Wood Brothers, Jack Roush
14 – fewest cars running at finish – 6/16/74
15 – most leaders – 6/20/82
19 – drivers with more than one win
21 – drivers with more than one pole at MIS
24 – wins from the front row – 16 from the pole
32 – worst starting position for race winner – Mark Martin, 2009
34 – different race winners
37 – most cars on lead lap at finish – 6/18/06
41 – different pole winners
41 – most cars running at finish – five times, most recent 6/17/07
63 – most caution laps  – 8/24/75
65 – most lead changes – 8/16/81
66 – races won from a top-ten starting spot
120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 2.0-mile track
162 – laps led by race winner – Rusty Wallace, 8/20/89


2012 Caution Update
1 – fewest cautions this season – Fontana
4 – races extended beyond schedule distance – Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega and Darlington
10 – most cautions this season – Daytona
80 – cautions in the first 14 races of 2012; includes 33 for accidents, 27 for debris and eight for spins
433 of 4,448 – laps under caution in 2012
574.571 of 5,633.118 – miles under caution in the first 14 races


Bonus – In addition to Michigan International Speedway, three other Michigan tracks hosted five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in the 1950s – Grand River Speedrome – Grand Rapids, Michigan State Fairgrounds – Detroit and Monroe Speedway.


From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR


Phil Parsons, Randy Humphey Fined by NC Industrial Commission
The North Carolina Industrial Commission has levied fines against Phil Parsons and Randy Humphrey, owners of HP Racing, now Phil Parsons Racing, for failing to provide workers’ compensation insurance for most of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Parsons, who also works as a television analyst for SPEED, and Humphrey were also ordered to pay medical bills and wages to an HP Racing employee who suffered a work related injury last summer.


The North Carolina Industrial Commission, the state agency that handles disputed workers’ compensation claims when people get hurt on the job, determined that Parsons and Humphrey failed to have the proper workers’ compensation insurance from February 11, 2011 – October 27,  2011. Workers’ compensation insurance was obtained by HP Racing just five days before the claim was initially set to be heard before the Deputy Commissioner of the Industrial Commission. The Commission also determined that the HP Racing employee had sustained a compensable injury by accident during the non-insured period. The North Carolina Assistant Attorney General’s Office, Fraud Unit was also involved in the claim against HP Racing, Parsons and Humphrey.


HP Racing competed in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011, entering driver Michael McDowell in 32 events and earning over $2.4 million in race winnings. The team changed names in 2012, becoming Phil Parsons Racing, a joint effort between Parsons, Whitney Motorsports and new partner Mike Curb, owner of Curb Records. Humphrey formed his own team for 2012, joining forces with Mark Smith to form Humphrey Smith Racing, fielding cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for driver Mike Bliss.


The Workers’ Compensation Act requires any employers who employs three or more employees to provide workers’ compensation coverage. The North Carolina Industrial Commission has begun cracking down on business owners like Parsons and Humphrey, who fail to provide proper workers’ compensation coverage. Roughly 100 employers who failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance to their employees were recently told by the Commission to pay as ordered or face the possibility of jail.


The injured HP Racing employee is still awaiting approval from Parsons and Humphrey for necessary medical treatment, as well as payment of his wages and related medical expenses as ordered by the Industrial Commission. The employee has been unable to work since his accident last summer – and is ineligible for unemployment compensation – due to his injury and physician’s orders preventing him from returning to work or seeking employment.


From Collum & Perry, PLLC-PR


Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer to test tires at Bristol
Three drivers will get the first look at the revamped Bristol Motor Speedway as part of a Goodyear tire test scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.


The grinding of the upper groove was completed on the 0.533-mile concrete oval last week. The changes are designed to diminish the upper lane and create only two racing grooves.


Read more from Sporting News


Monday, June 11, 2012
Jeff Gordon Impressed with Michigan Makeover
This weekend, be sure to catch Jeff Gordon on Extreme Makeover: Michigan International Speedway Edition.


For the second consecutive week, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visits a track that has been repaved during the off season. Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday’s Quicken Loans 400, has always been one of Gordon’s favorite race tracks. It remains so even after a face lift.


“I am not a big fan of repaves, so the fact that I am talking positive about it – and still enjoying the race track as much as I always have – is a sign that I think they did a great job.” said Gordon, who participated in the Goodyear tire test here in April. “Whatever it is about the track, it has always had a great feel to it.”


“And, instead of having to go in and ‘recreate’ (that feel) like some tracks have had to do, they were basically able to pave over the top of what they had – and fix whatever they could – to keep it lasting as long as possible.”


In 38 starts at the Irish Hills track, Gordon has two wins – 1998 and 2001 – five poles, 18 top-fives and 24 top-tens. But the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion will need to find the groove(s) quickly on the newly paved track if he is to battle for victory.


“It’s a very fast track but a very comfortable feeling pace,” said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont “20 Years Chevrolet.” The cars drove well and they stuck to the race track.


“The track drives so similar to the way it did before and I believe it’s going to have multiple grooves. We just need it to widen out a little bit, and that is only going to come with laps.”


Earlier this year at Auto Club Speedway, Gordon drove from his 21st starting position to inside the top-five without the aid of a caution before pit road penalties ruined that effort. But the similarities of Auto Club Speedway to its “sister” track Michigan International Speedway are only in appearance now.


“They are both two-mile tracks, but there are not a lot of similarities now between the two,” said Gordon. “I don’t think because you ran well at California translates to running well here.


“But I am really looking forward to the race this weekend because we tested here and it went well, and because we’ve had strong performances recently.


“Now we just need a strong finish.”


From Performance PR Plus for DuPont Motorsports-PR


Ford Racing Unveils New Updates to 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Car

2013 NASCAR Development
Photo – Ford Racing

After unveiling the 2013 NASCAR Fusion at Charlotte Motor Speedway in January and highlighting the first version of its new car in a team paint scheme on Memorial Day weekend, Ford Racing is using the upcoming race weekend in Michigan to unveil updates to the design of the Cup car which shows even moer brand identity through enhanced design cues, including new grille work and hood lines.


Gone is the stickered front grille from the January reveal and in its place are actual grille bars which will adorn the 2013 Cup Fusion, in addition to several other key tweaks to the front end of the car.


“We had an opportunity to add more personality and detail to the race car,” said Garen Nicoghosian, Ford design manager in charge of the NASCAR project.

“We took advantage of this opportunity and sculpted a more aggressive front end and we added grille bars that are identical in design to the production car. We also added more detail to the fog light housings, and created a more detailed headlight area as well.



“In addition, we also sculpted a more aggressive hood, and were able to achieve a closer look to the production car. Our race car is even closer in design to the production car now, and we are very pleased with the results.”


The latest enhancements have allowed Ford to more closely match the production Fusion while remaining within NASCAR guidelines as the manufacturers inch closer to submitting their final designs to NASCAR for the 2013 season.


“Both the race and production Fusions speak the same design language,” Nicoghosian continued. 


“There is a visual premiumness that is apparent in both the race car as well as the production Fusion design. Both cars appear fun to drive, and are the most emotionally desirable in their segments.”


From PCGCampbell for Ford Racing-PR


Joey Logano Secures Starting Berth in 2013 Daytona Shootout
Joey Logano captured the pole for the Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR at the newly paved Pocono Raceway on Saturday afternoon and earned a starting spot in next year’s Daytona Shootout at Daytona International Speedway.


Logano, behind the wheel of the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, turned a record-breaking lap of 50.112 seconds, 179.598-mph to become the 19th driver to lock up a spot in the star-studded field of top drivers that will compete in the fan-favorite event that kicks off Budweiser Speedweeks 2013.


“We had a great car,” said Logano, who earned his fourth career NASCAR Sprint Cup pole. “Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) done a great job with this thing – all week being here. It’s cool to get a pole here – get a new track record here too.”


Logano who went on to win Sunday’s Pocono 400 presented by #NASCAR, has four career starts in the Daytona Shootout with a best finish of seventh in 2010.


Eligibility requirements for next season’s Daytona Shootout return to its roots with the field consisting of pole winners and past Shootout winners who have attempted to qualify for at least one race during the 2012 season.


2012 Pole Winners 
Greg Biffle
Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin
Kasey Kahne
Mark Martin
Jeff Gordon
Martin Truex Jr
AJ Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Joey Logano


Past Shootout champions
Kyle Busch
Kurt Busch
Kevin Harvick
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Tony Stewart
Jimmie Johnson
Bill Elliott
Terry Labonte
Ken Schrader


The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on June 6-7, 2012. 


From Daytona International Speedway-PR


Blazing Start – Biffle Advances to Round 2 of the “Drive for the Cover” Campaign
Greg Biffle is off to a memorable start in the 2012 season.


First, he occupies the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points lead for 11 consecutive weeks. And now, he takes down five-time champion Jimmie Johnson in Round 1 of the NASCAR The Game: Inside Line “Drive for the Cover” Facebook campaign by a scant one percent margin of victory.


Round 1 of the tournament saw several very close matchups leading to some fascinating pairings in Round 2, which begins today.


Marcos Ambrose led all drivers in total voting as he advances to Round 2 to face Denny Hamlin, who edged out past series champion Bobby Labonte. Below are teh head-to-head matchups for Round 2, which includes a rematch of last year’s exciting championship battle between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.


Dale Earnhardt Jr vs. Martin Truex Jr
Kyl Busch vs. Danica Patrick
Tony Stewart vs. Carl Edwards
Denny Hamlin vs. Marcos Ambrose
Greg Biffle vs. Mark Martin
Kasey Kahne vs. Kevin Harvick
Jeff Gordon vs. Matt Kenseth
Ryan Newman vs. Brad Keselowski


The campaign will continue to let NASCAR fans vote in a bracketed tournament that is hosted entirely on NASCAR The Games’ Facebook page

Voting for Round 2 of the “Drive for the Cover” campaign begins today with five weeks remaining in the campaign to select the driver who will adorn the cover of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. Here is the voting schedule, which culminates in July:


May 24 – Voting Opens – 32 drivers
June 10 – First Round Closes – 16 drivers
June 17 – Second Round Closes – 8 drivers
June 24 – Third Round Closes – 4 drivers
June 30 – Fourth Round Closes – 2 drivers
July 15 – Final Round Closes – Champion


Visit NASCAR The Games’ Facebook page to participate by voting
NASCAR the Game: Inside Line video trailer is available at NASCARTheGame.com/DriveFTC

From NASCAR-PR


Funeral for Cotton Owens honors racing legend’s life
Just inside the doors of the Milestones Church, the hallway featured a vertible walk down memory lane with various photos depicting Everett “Cotton” Owens’ numerous contributions in an existence greatly dedicated to NASCAR.


But racing was only a portion of the man’s considerable life and that rang true through the sentiments of those attending his funeral Sunday. Owens died Thursday morning at age 88 after a seven-year battle with lung cancer.


Read more from Blue Ridge Now


NASCAR’s Explanation of Pit Road Timing Lines at Pocono
NASCAR measures pit road speed from the yellow line the entrance to pit road to the yellow line at the exit. The full distance is divided into segments, and drivers must average the speed limit – plus a tolerance of 4.99-mph – through each segment. Cup cars don’t have speedometers, so drivers must calculate their speed using the tachometer. For example, 4,200 rpm in second gear might equal 55-mph, the pit road speed at Pocono.


The 2.5-mile race track was repaved this year, and pit road was lengthened. The number of segments grew from 10 to 11, and the length of the final segment increased from 56 to 83 feet. NASCAR provides specific information on the pit road configuration to any team that wants it.


The changes from one year to the next, however, seems to have confounded more than one driver/crew chief combination, but NASCAR stood by the accuracy of its measurements.


“Our position is like it’s always been – yellow line to yellow line,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition. “This track’s gone under a lot of reconfiguration since last year. It’s all brand-new pit road, all brand-new loops. Positions have been changed since last year. Sections are smaller than they were last year throughout pit road – and actually, the last section’s a little bit bigger.


“But the bottom line is, every week when we go into a race track, there’s maps that are printed back here for the crew chiefs to come get. Some choose to get ’em, some choose to measure their own lines, and some go off of last year’s measurements. We put the loops in the racetrack, and it’s just simple math. There’s a lot of changes that went on here between last year and this year, gear changes and everything …


“There’s nothing wrong with the loops. It is what it is.”


From NASCAR Wire Service

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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