News & Views – Volume 33 – July 2 – 8, 2012

News & Views – Volume 33
For the week of July 2 – 8, 2012

“We were gutsy today, had a fast car and drove to the lead on the first run. We waited for someone to make a mistake or give us a chance. Hard work equals results and today this team got the results. It feels pretty dang good.” – Brad Keselowski after winning the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Brad Keselowski makes a strong statement and raises the bar for the rest of the field with his third win of the season at Kentucky Speedway on Sunday. 

Although Bad Brad currently sits 10th in the point standings – with nine Race to the Chase events left, before the Chase begins in September – his win in Kentucky puts him at the top of the chart with the Chase reset. That is -if-no one else equals or exceeds his current three-win performance.  

Also, fans will see a heated Wild Card competition as the window to make the chase is getting smaller with each of the next nine races. Wins are becoming more important in determining who’s in and who’s not, but will also play big in determining the reset ranking for the Chase that begins at Chicagoland Speedway.   Stay tuned-in to see how drivers bring on their mojo for the remainder of the Race for the Chase season.  

While Sprint Cup and Nationwide teams head to Daytona for races this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, the Camping World Truck Series will return to the track at Iowa Speedway on July 14th. 

Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, July 8, 2012
It’s a boy: Kevin and DeLana Harvick welcome birth of first child
Baby Otis finally has a real name and a face.

Kevin and DeLana Harvick welcomed son Keelan Paul Harvick – pronounce Keylan – Sunday, July 8th, 2012.

Keelan weighed in at 6.8 lbx and 19.5 inches. Throughout the pregnancy, the Harvicks had jokingly referred to their son as “Baby Otis” on Twitter and in public.

“Waiting on Keelan was the longest nine months of my entire life,” Harvick said. “But time literally stood still when I held our baby for the first time. I’ve accomplished a lot in my life that I’m proud of, but those moments don’t hold a candle to becoming a father and seeing that little face looking up at you. DeLana and I are just amazed by how special and rewarding this is.”

Mother and baby are doing well.

From Kevin Harvick, Inc-PR

Jeff Gordon’s season of frustration continues at Daytona
There is a substantial touch of gray in a beard that’s still in the developmental stages, reflecting the wear and tear of a man who has made his living grinding it out on asphalt. 

Jeff Gordon first hopped behind the wheel when he was five years old, racing quarter midgets. Thirty-five years later, he is stills spinning ’round, chasing speed among comrades who might consider him old-school.

Read more from Orlando Sentinel

Jeff Burton hoping Daytona finish “kick starts” his season
Jeff Burton – “Well, certainly feels good to have a good finish. We’ve had a miserable year, and to come – to get out of Daytona with a second place finish, we ought to be happy. We finished fifth here in the 500 and second tonight, so two top-five’s down here is probably more than I can expect with all the wrecks and stuff. Hopefully, it’s something that’ll kick start our year a little bit. It’s been a difficult year, and hopefully we can build on this.

Read more from Eye On NASCAR

Sam Hornish Jr has whirlwind day as he fills in for AJ Allmendinger
Sam Hornish Jr at first didn’t answer the phone call Saturday afternoon from Penske officials. He figured they just wanted to make fun of his tie while he worked as a commentator on the Speed Center television show set in North Carolina.

But they kept calling, and he soon found out the needed to get to the airport as soon as possible in order to replace the suspended AJ Allmendinger.

Read more from Sporting News

Stewart Battles from 42nd Place to Capture Fourth Career Coke Zero 400 Victory

Tony Stewart celebrates in Victory Lane
for Coke Zero 400 at Daytona
Photo – Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Tony Stewart added another win at Daytona International Speedway to his resume driving his No. 14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevrolet from 42nd starting position to the first, to win his fourth Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola in eight years in a gripping green-white-checkered finish.

With the win, Stewart now has 18 career victories at the “World Center of Racing” – second all-time behind Dale Earnhardt – 34. The win was also Stewart’s third of the year and ties him with Brad Keselowski for the most victories this season.

“This is 18 wins at Daytona,” said Stewart. “All of them are special and it’s the second time this year we’ve been in Victory Lane at Daytona, so I’m really proud of – my crew. I wish I could trade a couple of these races in for just one Sunday race in February. It’s just being at the right place at the right time. We’re still trying to win the Daytona 500.”

Jeff Burton had a season-best second-place finish and defending Daytona 500 champion and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points leader Matt Kenseth was third.

Kenseth put the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford on the pole and dominated most of the race with teammate Greg Biffle; the two combined to lead 124 of the 160 laps with Kenseth leading a race-high 89 – the most laps he’s led in a race on the 2.5-mile tri-oval. On the final restart, the tandem of Kenseth and Biffle valiantly battled that of Stewart and Kasey Kahne until the No. 14 car shot to the front on the Superstretch.

“I’m really disappointed,” said Kenseth. “My team deserved to be down there holding the hardware and I let them down. Daytona has been wonderful to us this year, starting last July when we were able to push David – Ragan – to his win and finish second. Obviously, I had a really good Speedweeks and then came down here and sat on the pole and led the most laps. We had one of the fastest cars and had a good finish. It’s hard to be disappointed with that, but the racer in you, when you have a car like that, you certainly want to figure out how to try to win with it.”

Stewart, who started 42nd after his Office Depot Chevrolet failed post-qualifying inspection and his second-place qualifying time was disallowed, made the longest trek through the field for the win in the Coke Zero 400 – the record was previously held by Bill Elliott who won from 38th-place in 1988. Stewart stayed at the back for most of the race before picking off competitors to take the lead on lap 131.

“I was a little too cautious at the beginning…and we lost touch with the lead pack,” said Stewart, who gained four positions in the point standings and now sits in fifth. “We got a caution and regrouped and made sure that when the green came out I didn’t wait this time.”

Multi-platinum, Grammy-winning band Train kicked off the pre-race show with a 60-minute concert and HLN morning personality and country singer Robin Meade performed the national anthem. DIS honored four Congressional Medal of Honor recipients from the Vietnam War as a flag that flew on the USS Eisenhower waved in the background.

From Daytona International Speedway-PR

NASCAR ticket revenue in sharp decline
The green flag dropped on Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race with all 57,000 seats in Daytona International Speedway’s back stretch grandstands empty.

With decreased demand, NASCAR’s most famous track never offered those seats for sale, in stark contrast to the days when sellouts were routine at Daytona and most other tracks on racing’s premier Sprint Cup series.

Read more from That’s Racin

Saturday, July 7, 2012
2012 NSCS Coke Zero 400 Race Results
After starting 42nd, Tony Stewart brought his No. 14 Chevy to the front and into victory lane – under caution as a “big one” occurs behind – during the 2012 NSCS Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night.

Stewart – who had his car fail post-qualifying inspection, forcing him to go from starting 2nd to starting 42nd – received his 3rd series win of the 2012 season, his 47th series career win and his 4th series win at Daytona International Speedway.

Following Stewart to finish in second-place – by 0.111 seconds – was Jeff Burton, while pole-sitter Matt Kenseth – who led the most laps – 89 of 160 – finished third, Joey Logano fourth and Ryan Newman finishing fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishers were Brad Keselowski who finished sixth, Carl Edwards seventh, Michael Waltrip eighth, Bobby Labonte, ninth and David Reutimann finishing in the 10th position.

Third-place finisher Matt Kenseth continues to lead the point standings, as he holds a 25-point lead over second in the points, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Race Notes
Average Speed – 157.653-mph
Time of Race – 2 Hrs, 32 Mins, 14 Secs
Margin of Victory – 0.111
Lead Changes – 12 among 9 drivers
Cautions – 6 for 23 laps
Attendance – 115,000

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – The LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 15th, with an approximate starting time of 1:20pm ET and TNT – for their final broadcast of the season – will provide television coverage begining with their 12:00pm ET “Countdown to Green” pre-race program.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

AJ Allmendinger replaced by Sam Hornish Jr at DIS
Plenty of reports on twitter and NASCAR RaceDay that AJ Allmendinger failed a random drug test – A-Test – from Kentucky.  He has 72 hours to request a second test – B-Test. Steve O’Donnell from NASCAR made the announcement at Daytona’s media center and ended by saying he would take no questions. Sam Hornish Jr is in flight from Charlotte, NC to fill the seat for the #22 car for the Coke Zero 400 tonight.  

Penske’s Statement:
“NASCAR notified Penske Racing this afternoon that AJ Allmendinger was administered a drug test earlier this week, and those results tested positive. NACAR has a strict drug testing program that Penske Racing fully supports. Penske Racing will work with NASCAR through this process and its next steps. Sam Hornish Jr, will drive the No. 22 car in tonight’s Coke Zero 400.”

From Penske Racing

And – Driver AJ Allmendinger has been temporarily suspended from NASCAR competition based upon notification of a positive “A” test NASCAR received from the Medical Review Officer as stated in Section 19-11B – 6,7 – of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy. Pursuant to the rule book, Allmendinger has the opportunity to request within the next 72 hours that his “B” sample be tested.

NASCAR will follow its policies and procedures set forth in the rule book in dealing with this matter.


Roger Penske Statement:
“It’s a disappointment at this particular time, but we’re going to wait and see what the second test results are before we make any comment or decision,” Penske said Sunday morning from IndyCar’s race at Exhibition Place in Toronto on Sunday. “I don’t think it’s fair to him. NASCAR’s got a good policy. I think it’s the right thing.

“Evidently he was tested at Kentucky and the results of those tests cam back on Friday. Unfortunately, we didn’t know anything about it until 4 o’clock on Saturday which was the last minute. It’s difficult to make a decision on where we go next.  

“I think as you look at sports, things happen like this,” he said. “It’s unfortunate, but I don’t really want to make a statement pro or con right now, I’m counting on another test being proper for him within 72 hours and at that point we’ll make a decision.”

From AutoWeek

NASCAR cola wars spark frosty fireworks at Daytona
As folks roll into Daytona on Saturday, they will be greeted with an endless row of streetlight posts with banners that read “Welcome, race fans.” The Pepsi logo will be etched below those words.

As they enter the turn one tunnel at Daytona International Speedway, they will also get another “Welcome, race fans” greeting, this one framed with the Coca-Cola logo.

Read more from Orlando Sentinel

Dillon to serve as standby driver for Harvick
Austin Dillon will stand by as a possible relief driver for Kevin Harvick in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400, the NASCAR Wire Service has learned.

Harvick and his wife, DeLana Harvick, are expecting their first child, and there’s a possibility the baby may be born Saturday, which also is DeLana Harvick’s birthday.

“Happy birthday @DeLanaHarvick could be an interesting one,” Harvick posted on his Twitter account just before noon ET on Saturday.

Dillon flew home to North Carolina after finishing fourth in Friday night’s Nationwide Series race, intending to race Late Models before heading for a Nationwide event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, according to sources close to the situation.

But Dillon was returning to Daytona on Saturday in case his services were needed. Harvick said in his Thursday media availability at Daytona that he didn’t have a back-up arranged, but apparently that changed as the weekend progressed.


Update – Based on a tweet from Austin Dillon, “Well scratch the back up driver I’m not eligible because I’m a Rookie. Oh well that stinks I’ve already ran two cup races.”  

And – Apparently Kenny Wallace is now Kevin Harvick’s back up. “I just received a call from Mike Dillon and I am on ‘Stand by’ for @KevinHarvick I will gear up after @NASCARonSPEED.”  From @Kenny_Wallace 

Could Coke Zero 400 be Bill Elliott’s last ride?
Bill Elliott will make his 828th career Sprint Cup start Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, and whether he runs his 829th race is still to be determined.

The 56-year-old Elliott wouldn’t call the Coke Zero 400 as his last race be he doesn’t have anything else planned at the moment.

Read more from Sporting News

2012 NASCAR Race Day Weather Forecast at DIS: Watching for afternoon storms
My forecast for tonight’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway is calling for warm and muggy conditions at the start of the race, temperatures will be in the mid 80s. Showers and storms popping up this afternoon will have to be watched as they form during the late afternoon hours. If rain showers were to form or move over the track, I don’t see a scenario where the race is rained out, just a small possibility of of delay. The likelihood for rain causing a delay this evening is low, less than twenty percent.

Read more from WX-MAN

Daytona Drafting Remains Dicey
So, how does the Coke Zero 400 end?

With a two-car draft blitzing through traffic to the finish line? With a lone-wolf breakaway winner on the last lap? With a pack of cars jammed up at the finish? With one or more green-white-checkered runs?

Read more from SPEED

Can there really be another No. 3?
Austin Dillon said Thursday he’d be honored to drive the late Dale Earnhardt’s iconic No. 3 in the Sprint Cup Series.

Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress who owns the rights to the number and uses it for Dillon in the Nationwide Series. Dale Earnhardt Jr has also used the number before in the Nationwide Series, but the No. 3 has not been in a Cup race since Earnhardt’s 2001 death.

Read more from Statesman Journal

Danica crashes at Daytona: ‘I thought we were going to win’
In a few frightening seconds, Danica Patrick went from hopeful to helpless.

Patrick led 13 laps of Friday’s Nationwide Series race at Daytona, but her No. 7 Chevrolet was sent spinning and crashed hard on lap 83 of a scheduled 100, leaving her with another frustrating finish in her attempt to become the first woman to win a NASCAR national series race.

Read more from USA Today

Kurt Busch Wins Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola

Kurt Busch celebrates in Victory Lane
for Jalapeno 250 at Daytona
Photo – Nigel Cook/News Journal

Kurt Busch held off a hard-charging pack of competitors to take a green-white-checkered win in Friday night’s Subway Jalapeno 250 Powered by Coca-Cola NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

“We brought it home to Victory Lane at Daytona,” an emotional Busch said. “That there is a statement – that’s what (owner) James Finch is all about. He loves Daytona and I’m happy that we were able to deliver. All of – the crew – came out to the start-finish line to be a part of the celebration. It’s all about heart, and it’s all about passion with these guys and I couldn’t be more proud of this team effort tonight.”

Pushing Busch to the win was pole-sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr, followed by Michael Annett.

“Kurt – was fast all night and I just pushed him to the win,” Stenhouse said, “I was hoping I could make a move there, but I saw the No. 3 car and everybody coming, so I tried to duck out and block them and we ended up second. It was a fun race.”

Busch, who has seven second-place points finishes at the “World Center of Racing,” and two non-points wins, explained the reason for the bright orange cr that he nicknamed, “The Great Pumpkin.”

“There’s no other guy that gets as excited for Daytona as James Finch,” Busch said. “He wanted his cars orange so that they could be seen up front and so that the car could be recognized without a sponsor on it. We drove an unsponsored car into Victory Lane tonight.”

The race produced a new track record for lead changes – 42 – in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition at Daytona among 16 drivers. The 43-car field included six drivers that will pull double duty this weekend and participate in Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola.

Friday night’s race also served as the qualifier in the “Dash 4 Cash” bonus program as the top four drivers to receive NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship points, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Michael Annett, Austin Dillon and series points leader Elliott Sadler, will carry the “Dash 4 Cash” designation in the first race of the bonus program on July 14.

Tune in for the Coke Zero 400 on TNT on Saturday, July 7 at 6:30pm ET for the pre-race program. The race is scheduled to begin at approximately 6:50pm ET.

From Daytona International Speedway-PR

Brian France Press Conference – July 6, 2012
Moderator – Good afternoon, everybody. We’re going to start with the chairman of NASCAR, Brian France, who is here on the eve of the Subway Jalapeno 250 and the Coke Zero 400.

Brian, want to just start off with telling us how you think things are going so far in the first half of the season?

Brian France – Yeah, thanks, David. Good afternoon, everybody. We’re obviously at the midway or a little further than the midway point and making the turn into our version of the playoffs. I think if you see some of the things that are going on, we’re encouraged by that.

By that, I mean some of the story lines and how it’s shaping up. You’ve got Dale Jr obviously in contention, won a race, competing hard, could be a factor in the Chase. That would be a good thing for him, for sure, and everybody else.

I think there are also some interesting things with Jeff Gordon and where he is on the outside looking in, and probably is going to have to win a wildcard slot, going to have to win a couple of races at least as he goes down the stretch.

So that’s kind of what we want shaping up to try to match the intensity and competitive zeal of last year’s Chase which was probably our best ever. Our goal is to build on that. We’ll talk, and I’ll be happy to take any questions.

I know talking earlier with some of you regarding how I feel about the racing and some of the hot topics of the day, and I’ll be happy to take any questions, but I want to say a couple of things that I had mentioned in May.

We had moved Steve O’Donnell to take a much more direct role with the R&D center, and we also did a second thing with that which is we split out from competition. They’re still closely aligned and they’ll come together wherever we’re solving rules packages or innovation or any other issue which has to do with the racing product. But to give the group at the R&D center more clarity and more autonomy, frankly, to get at some of the things that going to be critically important for us to get right. One of those is the racing product.

Our stated goal is to have the most competitive and close competition as we possible can. I look at that over long periods of time with snap shots as we go along. It would be fair to say at any one time, although it would be subjective to say it’s really, really good or it’s not as good as some would like it to be.

When the new car came out several years ago, it would have been a fair argument at the time to say we didn’t have the rules packages just right for that particular car. We worked on that, later achieved that. We can go to tandem racing, go to any number of things that change around on us.

So our goal is to use what I’ve said, which is a lot more science than art for us to keep up, solve issues, create rules packages on intermediate tracks and alike that produce closer, more competitive racing.  That is the stated goal. We’re doing a number of things to achieve that.

Then the last part of that discussion is technology and innovation. There are a lot of things on that agenda. Things like drying the race track off in a much faster way than we currently do it today, which obviously would have a huge benefit to our race fans and the sport in general. It’s going to mean doing things with technology inside the car, balancing that issue that we always have – which is not to drive the cost unnecessarily up on the team owners, but be more relevant in the technology space.

We’re working on a glass dashboard that is in the early stages, which is not inconsistent because the car manufacturers and some already there are coming with their own version of glass cockpits in passenger cars. So we’ll be very careful how we get there, but we’ll be looking at such things as that and many other things.

So that was our goal with what we’ve done strategically with the R&D center, and we’re only a few months into that plan. But it’s going to accelerate our ability to achieve solutions to sometimes complicated problems.

With that, I’m happy to take any questions.

Q – Could you go into more detail in terms of what the technological innovations may be? Is the object to get the cars harder to drive to make them closer, put more emphasis back in the driver’s hands, things like that?

Brian France – Simply put, it’s to make the competition closer, more competitive. That is the stated goal of ours. Now how we get there, how fast we can move on those kind of sometimes problems, sometimes they’re just a circumstance of how things have evolved. Tandem racing would be a good example of that where it just evolved on us in a way that we, obviously, moved quickly to solve because it wasn’t popular.

But whatever it is, it is to make sure when you’re watching NASCAR that it’s as we’ve stated. That it is the closest, most competitive form of auto racing in the world. That’s going to mean a lot of different things, but we’re going to use – here’s what’s important – we’re going to use more science than we’ve ever used in getting those rules packages where we want them.

Even when we do get them where we want them, they’re going to change. That’s just the nature of the business, the nature of the teams and so on. I do want to make one mention. One of the things we did a few years ago was involving – most of you know this, is involve the teams, their personnel and others, to share information not only where the sport was headed on business issues, but technical issues about what can we do to make racing better, safer, and different things? Before that exercise occurred, years before, whenever we’d solicit teams for their advice or information, we used to get very self-serving data back or very self-serving suggestions back.

Today, my guys tell me and I see, that’s largely changed.  What we get back now engineering simulation reports, whatever it might be for us to look at and maybe change the rules package for the future is much more focused on what’s best for creating this closer, competitive racing. That is a nice change to see. The teams really have mobilized to work a lot closer with us to get a better result for our fans.

Q – Are you hiring any outside consultants or taking any advice from outside the garage or from people that you currently have on staff in trying to work on this project?

Brian France – Yes. We frequently use the smartest people in any given industry. We can’t employ everybody that’s best in class, so the answer is as we do in all other parts of our business, absolutely.

Q – Wanted to ask you about the 2013 season. How is the schedule for the top three series taking shape? Should we anticipate any surprises when those schedules are released in a few weeks?

Brian France – I don’t think there will be any dramatic changes in 2013. There may be a few things here or there, but I would anticipate a big change.

Q – You said you all want to increase the competition and increase the action and all. Where is the fine line you walk between maybe getting artificial and creating that and improving things?

Brian France – It’s a very clear line to us. What we’re not going to do are gimmicky things. I’ve heard we ought to throw a caution every ten laps. That’s nonsense. We won’t do gimmicky things. But we’ll do things that incentivize performance, incentivize wins. That we are open to. The wildcard does that. It does it in an authentic way. 

Double file restarts get us better racing action. Anything that gets something better on the track and doesn’t employ a gimmick, we’d be reasonably open to.

Q – These days most of our fans, the series fans, basically can’t make it to races, so most of the time the way they watch the race is on television. Many of us writers and especially people like myself, get screaming emails on a weekly basis from fans that feel they can’t realistically follow the races on TV because they’re so focused on certain large-scale sponsors, or so zoomed in close that they can’t see anything. What is your opinion on the current broadcast? Do you feel that general race fans can really follow everything that’s going on? And if not, what changes could be potentially made to help that?

Brian France – Well I think we hear those similar kinds of complaints over the years, and they may be differently put or they may have different concerns or whatever. But I think it’s important for us to work with our broadcast partners, and we’re up in a renewal cycle here shortly, to make sure that they present the sport in the best possible way. The good news is that’s their goal too. 

We may differ from time to time on one thing or another, but that’s always a concern of ours to see how – because you’re right. That’s where most people get their NASCAR fix is on television, and we want to make sure that it’s as good as it can be.

Q – Can you update us on the TV negotiations? Obviously that is forthcoming and a lot of things are based on that moving forward. Can you tell us where it’s at?

Brian France – Well, we’re getting into the time line where we’re having serious discussions about what the future will look like. We have our incumbents, some of the best partners we’ve ever had. We’ll have to see how that goes.

The good news for NASCAR and frankly any high-powered sports content is there is a lot of demand for it. So the sport will be in very good shape, and we’re looking forward to those discussions and how they materialize.

Q – Do you expect or foresee any changes to Rookie of the Year criteria to open that up to more drivers?

Brian France – That’s working pretty well for us. We like that it’s spotlighted some drivers. But we’ll look at it. We’ll look and see if that’s something we work on in the off-season.

Q – Going back to the TV Pandora’s box that’s been opened. One complaint that we in the media center get a lot from fans is the amount of commercials, and they find that the race is very difficult to watch because there are actually people, if you can believe this, who time how much time there is on track versus commercial time, and they present these statistics that show they’re not seeing much actual racing. Is that an issue that NASCAR is made aware of, and is there anything that NASCAR can do to cut down on commercials?

Brian France – Well look, there is a commercial balance here. There are parameters. All of our partners have very strict parameters of how many commercial units they can run at a given time. Some have experimented, and there will be another here this weekend with Turner doing sort of a rolling live event with their commercials laced in.

That is a fair point. I say most of our action is live action. There aren’t TV timeouts, per se, in our sport. So it’s understandable where our fans can miss something, feel like they’re missing something and be frustrated by it. I understand that.

Then there is a commercial position that, as wonderful as this sport is, our TV partners aren’t doing it to just be good sports about things. So we have to balance their commercial concerns and so on.

Look, it’s something that Steve Herbst and out group in New York work on. That’s all they do is getting the presentation right or as right as we think we can in every way.

Q – You might have touched upon this earlier when you said you didn’t anticipate changes in the Chase. But is there any viability in looking at a road course in the mix of the Chase races down the road?

Brian France – I don’t know. We only have two, so it would be a little challenging just from a scheduling perspective. We haven’t heard a lot of concern one way or the other why it is or it isn’t. So it wouldn’t be top of our list.

Q – When you say glass dashboards in cockpits. What is the purpose of that? What does that do? How does that enhance things?

Brian France – Well, there would be phases of that. It’s one of – I only share that with you because it’s one of many, many things from an innovation standpoint that are on the drawing board, not all of them will happen. But for example, that is the future if you talk to the car manufacturers, which they’re always insisting and we understand why. 

They want us to be as in-step with them as possible. That your car dashboard in the future is going to be like an airplane cockpit. You’ll be able to do different things with that and set it up the way you want to set it up. So the first step is for us to have a look and feel that is consistent with what they see their cars looking at the showroom down the road.

Second part of that is there are going to be any number of things once we get this digitally done where that information out of the cockpit can be part of the racing experience for our fans in the stands or anywhere else.

I think that’s our step towards technology, our step towards innovation and a step towards being aligned with the car manufacturers.

Q – We hear a lot about your five-year plan. What parts of that plan might you see results the soonest? What would you expect out of that?

Brian France – Well, many of you work with our IMC Group and see many, many changes we’ve made to better service the media, better get at some of the things that we think can be improved on our end. You see our efforts to take our digital rights and social media and alike that we’re working very hard, hiring a lot of people, putting a bunch of resources against, and we’ll have those rights. We’ll be managing them fully in 2013 when the light comes on, you’ll see a big change there.

I mentioned throughout this discussion about innovation, about what the R&D center, and how they’re accelerating things. I got an update today from Steve O’Donnell and Robin Pemberton and Group at a very fast pace.  But they’ll all take time. There won’t be anything we can do. There is nothing we should do just for the sake of being in a hurry. We want to make sure all of these things that we’re doing are best for the race fan, that make the racing better, make the experience better, align better with our partners. All the things that we say all the time.

What you’re seeing from us is putting a lot of those plans into very formal motion. I think we’ll all be happy. I know it gives the industry, the drivers, teams, tracks a lot of reassurance that these important things that we’re all trying to get right, that we’re leaning on them. We’re investing lots of money and resources in a time where that’s not always easy to do.

We have a very, very clear plan, of which they’re participating, contributing, and we’re all going in one direction. That is a pretty big change from where things were four or five years ago, as many of you may remember where there were a lot of confusing messages or whatever that you may have heard from different people in the industry.

I’m really proud of that. That is a whole collection of efforts in the entire group at NASCAR, and the entire industry that’s figured out that these are big things to get done right, and we can get further together.

Q – What are your feelings in general on shorter races and considering that sort of short attention span world we’re living in, can you see the sport short term or long-term going to things like maybe a pair of 20-mile races on race day as opposed to a four or 500 mile marathon? Are you looking at all of those things down the road?

Brian France – We are. I think you have to acknowledge that’s real. Any information shows that people have more to do, more devices to play with and get information from, and as a result, their attention span is shorter. We’ve shortened events. It’s generally worked well. At Pocono it worked well, California worked well, Dover has worked well. Some of the events that we’ve done. We’ll look at that.

We’ll also look at one of the great features this sport has, you know, the technology is a real part of this sport – in the cars themselves, in the way information is flowing back and forth between the teams, the drivers and ourselves. We’ll be able to enhance that experience for our race fans in ways that other sports may not be able to do.

That will be something – I said the glass cockpit, and we’ve said our digital rights. They’re all designed as people are watching, and maybe this convergence which has already happened in a fair amount, where people – and I was talking to somebody today – they don’t watch the event without having their computer on to interact digitally in some way. All those things are on the table.

That’s why you have to plan to deal with those things.  You have to have a plan down the road, and you have to have great people that can figure outcome indicated issues to make the sport better.

Q – In 2007 you introduced the COT, this is the last year for that car. Next year you’ll have the new style cars. How much are we going see those cars here? Since they debut in Daytona, will we see a lot of testing here? Just generally the fact that the manufacturers now have more of a signature on their cars, does that get you excited?

Brian France – Yeah, and more importantly it gets them excited. They’ve had a lot more input, as the teams have had, in this car, than we certainly did in the car in ’07. So that’s just going to get us better results. The answer is given how important Daytona is to the season and the biggest event, my sense is we’ll see quite a bit of testing as we go down the road here is Daytona.

From FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Friday, July 6, 2012
2012 NNS Subway Jalapeno 250 Race Results
After a green-white-checkered – flags – restart to the finish, it was Kurt Busch – with the drafting assistance of Ricky Stenhouse Jr – crossing the start/finish line to win the 2012 NNS Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Busch, who led the most laps – 23 of the 101 that were run, received his second series win of the 2012 season, his fifth series career win and his first series win at Daytona International Speedway.

Following Busch and Stenhouse to the drop of the checkered flag were Michael Annett finishing third, NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon – who originally had the pole but forfeited the position when failing post-qualifying inspection – fourth and Joey Logano finished fifth.

The NNS current points leader, Elliott Sadler – who leads Austin Dillon by 2-points in the standings – finished in sixth, while Justin Allgaier finished seventh, Mike Bliss eighth, Timmy Hill ninth and Sam Hornish Jr finishing in the tenth position.

Race Notes 
Average Speed – 132.045-mph
Time of Race – 1 Hrs, 54 Mins, 44 Secs
Margin of Victory – 0.054 Seconds
Lead Changes – 42 among 16 drivers – a new series track record; the previous record was 38 lead changes among 16 leaders in 2/25/12
Cautions – 6 for 24 laps

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – The 23rd annual New England 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday, July 14th with an approximate starting time of 3:50pm ET and television coverage provided by ESPN beginning with their 2:30pm ET pre-race program. 

Update – Post race inspections indicate the No. 18 car was too low in the front with possible penalty from NASCAR early next week.  From @NASCAR_NNS

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Stewart’s car fails inspection
Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champ Tony Stewart’s second-position qualifying effort was disallowed Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

Stewart, who was second to Matt Kenseth in qualifying for Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400, saw his time disallowed after his No. 14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet failed post-qualifying inspection. Stewart’s car had an open cooling hose directed into the cockpit – an illegal configuration that violated NASCAR rule 20A-2.1J. Nationwide Series polesitter Austin Dillon had the same issue earlier in the day and his time was disallowed as well. 

Read more from FOX Sports

2012 NSCS Coke Zero 400 Starting Lineup
The 2012 Daytona 500 winner and current NSCS points leader, Matt Kenseth, with a qualifying lap speed of 192.386-mph, captured the Coke Zero 400 Coors Light Pole Award at Daytona International Speedway.

This was Kenseth’s first pole of the 2012 season, his eighth series career pole and his first series pole at Daytona International Speedway.

Tony Stewart, with a qualifying lap speed of 192.361-mph, will start second on the outside pole, and will be followed by teammate Ryan Newman 192.353-mph starting third, Kasey Kahne 192.291 fourth and Greg Biffle 192.139 starts fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Jeff Gordon 192.061-mph who will start sixth, Bill Elliott 192.012 seventh, Casey Mears 191.934 eighth, AJ Allmendinger 191.894 ninth and Brad Keselowski 191.857 will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup was the No. 23 driven by Robert Richardson Jr.

The 54th annual Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET Saturday evening, and TNT will provide television coverage beginning with their 6:30pm ET “Countdown to Green” pre-race program.

Starting Lineup

Update – Apparently the No. 14 had it’s qualifying time disallowed and will start at the rear with the same issue as No. 3 in NNS. Open cooling hose into cockpit during qualifying – violation of rule 20A 2.1J.  From @NASCAR

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Danica Patrick qualifies fourth, predicts victory at Daytona
Perhaps wisely, Danica Patrick didn’t point to the fence a la Babe Ruth when she predicted victory Friday before the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Daytona.

She did, however, later clarify her lighthearted and somewhat facetious comments on Friday’s The Dan Patrick Show, saying she thought she should have elaborated at the time.

Read more from USA Today

Austin Dillon’s car fails inspection
Austin Dillon could be in line for another penalty.

Dillon’s No. 3 Chevrolet failed a post-qualifying inspection at Daytona International Speedway on Friday after NASCAR officials found an open cooling hose in the cockpit, which would boost aerodynamics.

Read more from ESPN/AP

Brian France – NASCAR open to shorter races, but not to gimmicks
Amid complaints of the quality of racing, especially on intermediate tracks, NASCAR chairman Brian France pledge Friday that NASCAR is going to work with science – and not the yellow flag – to get it right.

NASCAR races on 1.5-mile tracks have been rife with long green-flag runs, where passes for the lead have occurred less frequently.

Read more from Sporting News

NASCAR doesn’t want more cautions
Bruton Smith has an idea how to create more excitement in NASCAR. 

NASCAR president Mike Helton didn’t sound very interested in the billionaire track promoter’s suggestion to throw bogus cautions to bunch up the field. Smith argued last weekend at Kentucky that long green-flag runs are damaging NASCAR and floated his theory on creating mandatory cautions.

Read more from ESPN

2012 NNS Subway Jalapeno 250 Starting Lineup
For the second consecutive week, NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, will start from the pole – with a qualifying lap speed of 177.340-mph – as he captured the 2012 Subway Jalapeno 250 Coors Light Pole Award at Daytona International Speedway.

This was Dillon’s third series pole of the 2012 season, his third series career pole and his first series pole at Daytona International Speedway.

Starting on the outside pole from second with a qualifying lap speed of 177.253-mph, will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr, followed by rookie contender Cole Whitt 177.092-mph who will start third, Danica Patrick 177.012 fourth and Kevin Harvick 176.995 will start fifth.

Rounding our the top-ten starting positions will be Kurt Busch 176.866-mph who will start sixth, Brad Keselowski 176.744 seventh, Mike Wallace 176.561 eighth, Joey Logano 176.547 ninth and Brian Scott 176.467 will start from the tenth position.

With only 43 drivers/teams attempting to qualify for the 43 starting positions, no one failed to make the starting lineup.

The 11th annual Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET this evening and ESPN providing television coverage beginning with their 7:00pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

UPDATE – Apparently the No. 3 had it’s qualifying time disallowed due to a violation of rule 20A 2.1J – Open cooling hose in cockpit.  From @NASCAR

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Keys for Success – Coke Zero 400
Each race weekend, SRT Motorsports Engineer Howard Comstock gives his insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week’s focus is on the NACAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Track – Daytona International Speedway – Race 18 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series.
Race – Coke Zero 400 – 160 laps/400 miles

Make ‘Em Count – “We saw it last night, people aren’t going to run laps until it ocunts. If that was the case in practice, then I think that’s the case for the race. People realize the potential danger here. We always claim that the summer race is all about handling and the winter race is more about speed. Well, we change to the smaller spoilers for the winter race and that was fine. Now we’re at the summer race and it’s all about handling these cars with the smaller spoiler may be a handful. I think that will hold drivers back even more from making a bunch of moves until the end. But watch out at the end of the race, it’s going to be spectacular.”

Keep ‘Em Cool – “We saw some manufacturers struggle more in February with engine temperatures while others were fine. But believe me, they’ve worked on that issue since February and I think that it will be less of an issue in the race than people think.”

Tires – “Tires won’t be an issue. I don’t see people doing a lot of four-tire stops. It’s going to be about fuel mileage and making it to your next window. I think tires will be fine.”

Final 10 – “I think the race will really pick-up with 25 – 10 laps – miles to go. Ten laps to go may be too soon. You have to be in position with 10 laps to go and with five laps to go, you’re going to see drivers make their moves. Drivers waited too long in February to make their move. I don’t think that will happen on Saturday night.”

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

Thursday, July 5, 2012
2012 NSCS Coke Zero 400 Final Practice Session Speeds
Jamie McMurray, with a lap speed of 197.837-mph, showed the fastest way around Daytona International Speedway during the final Coke Zero 400 practice session.

Second fastest – of the 24 drivers that practiced – was Michael Waltrip with a lap speed of 197.733-mph, and he was followed by Kurt Busch 197.459-mph who was third fastest, Travis Kvapil 197.425 fourth and Aric Almirola 197.416 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Regan Smith 197.239-mph who was sixth fastest, Marcos Ambrose 197.057 seventh, Carl Edwards 196.980 eighth, Dale Earnhardt Jr 196.958 ninth and Juan Pablo Montoya 196.928 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return Friday afternoon for their 4:10pm ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for Saturday evening’s race, which is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET. And, TNT will provide television coverage beginning with their 6:30pm ET “Countdown to Green” pre-race program.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS Subway Jalapeno 250 Final Practice Session Speeds
Only 15 NNS teams took to the track at Daytona International Speedway during the final Subway Jalapeno 250 practice session, and it was Brad Keselowski, with a lap speed of 188.750-mph, showing the fastest way around the track.

Second fastest and with a lap speed of 188.747-mph, was Sam Hornish Jr followed by Jeffrey Earnhardt 181.426-mph who was third fastest, NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Casey Roderick 181.214 fourth, and Timmy Hill 181.167 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Robert Richardson Jr 178.671-mph who was sixth fastest, Blake Koch 178.649 seventh, Bryan Silas 178.483 eighth, Mike Harmon ninth and TJ Bell 176.568 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return Friday afternoon for their 2:05pm ET qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for the 11th annual Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola, which is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET Friday night. ESPN will provide television coverage beginning with their 7:00pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Coke Zero 400 First Practice Session Speeds
Aric Almirola, with a lap speed of 201.961-mph, was the quickest during the first NSCS Coke Zero 400 practice session at Daytona International Speedway.

Almirola’s fellow Richard Petty Motorsports teammate, Marcos Ambrose, with a lap speed of 201.374-mph, was second quickest, followed by Joey Logano 201.122-mph who was third quickest, Ryan Newman 201.068 fourth and Greg Biffle 200.933 was the fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the practice session were Jeff Gordon 200.495-mph who was sixth quickest, AJ Allmendinger 199.951 seventh, David Gilliland 199.720 eighth, Casey Mears 199.654 ninth and Kasey Kahne 199.557 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will have their “Happy Hour” – final – practice session later this evening from 6:35 – 8pm ET and then return Friday afternoon at 4:10pm ET for their scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for Saturday evening’s race.

The 54th annual Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET with TNT providing television coverage beginning with their 6:30pm ET “Countdown to Green” pre-race program.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS Subway Jalapeno 250 First Practice Session Speeds
The defending 2011 NNS champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr and driver Clint Bowyer with the identical lap speed of 191.046-mph, were the fastest during the first Subway Jalapeno 250 practice session at Daytona International Speedway.

Also posting identical laps speeds – 190.913-mph – were the Busch brothers, Kurt and Kyle, posting the third and four fastest laps respectively, while NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt 190.888 was the fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the practice session were Danica Patrick 190.884-mph who was sixth fastest, Kevin Harvick 188.147 seventh, rookie contentder Austin Dillon 188.143 eighth, Michael Annett 187.813 ninth and Joey Logano 186.807 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The team’s “Happy Hour” – final – practice session will begin from 5:00pm – 6:25pm ET and then teams return Friday afternoon for their 2:05pm ET qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for that evening’s race.

The 11th annual Subway Jalapeno 250 powered by Coca-Cola is scheduled to get underway around 7:50pm ET Friday night, with ESPN providing television coverage beginning with their 7:00pm ET pre-race show.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Fans can now live the life of NASCAR Hall of Famer for a cool $4 million
NASCAR fans who want to take their love of NASCAR a step further can live in the place NASCAR legend Junior Johnson once prowled.

An estate belonging to Johnson has recently gone on the market. The real estate agent describes the 150 acre horse ranch as an ‘extraordinary opportunity for NASCAR fans to live the life of this 2010 Hall of Fame inductee!”

Read more and see slideshow from Examiner

NASCAR, Daytona to host USS Vicksburg families
NASCAR will honor families of sailors aboard the USS Vicksburg on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero 400 through a patriotic initiative called “NASCAR Unites – An American Salute.” The family members of sailors aboard the USS Vicksburg will be hosted as part of the Troops to the Track program in partnership with the Armed Forces Foundation.

Read more from

Troy Pennington, Kasey Kahne Supporter
The former Washington Generals basketball player is a loyal Kasey Kahne fan

Troy Pennington’s former job took him to 36 different countries in a nine-year span, where he spent night after night playing basketball in front of thousands of people.

But Pennington did so without any of the glory that comes with being a professional basketball player. Why? Because Pennington was a shooting guard for the Washington Generals – better known as the punching bag for the Harlem Globetrotters – and his team lost every single game.

Read more from SB Nation

Edwards knows team is better than results show
Success came quickly for Carl Edwards, who won four times and finished third in the championship race in his first full season at NASCAR’s top level.

The next year was a disaster. Edwards failed to win a Sprint Cup race, missed the 2006 Chase, and learned it wasn’t as easy as it looked just a season before.

Read more from Yahoo Sports/AP

SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Presents The Numbers – Coke Zero 400
0 – fewest cautions – seven times, most recent 2/18/62
1 – fewest on lead lap at finish – eight times, most recent 2/15/76
1 – fewest leaders – four times, most recent 2/22/63
1 – fewest laps led by race winner – four times, most recent 7/2/94
4 – drivers sweeping both races – Fireball Roberts, Cale Yarborough, LeeRoy Yarborough and Bobby Allison
8 – races won from outside a top-20 starting position
10 – most wins – Richard Petty
10 – number of jet dryers available for track drying
11 – fewest cars running at finish – 7/4/63
12 – most poles – Cale Yarborough
15 – wins by car owner – Wood Brothers
16 – most cautions – 2/20/11
20 – drivers with more than one pole
25 – most leaders – 7/2/11
26 – drivers with more than one win
34 – most cars on lead lap at finish – 7/1/06
39 – worst starting position for race winner – Matt Kenseth, 2/15/09
41 – most cars running at finish – two times, most recent 7/2/94
44 – wins from the front row; 25 from the pole
54 – different pole winners
56 – different race winners
60 – most caution laps – twice, most recent 2/20/11
74 – most lead changes – 2/20/11
120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 2.5-mile track
184 – most laps led by race winner – Richard Petty 2/23/64

2012 Caution Update
1 – fewest cautions this season – Fontana
5 – races extended beyond scheduled distance – Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega, Darlington and Sonoma
10 – most cautions this season – Daytona
94 – cautions in the first 17 races of 2012; includes 38 for accidents, 29 for debris and 11 for spins
503 of 5,027 – laps under caution in 2012
702.501 of 6,656.498 – miles under caution in the first 17 races

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

JGR makes changes to Nationwide Series lineup in Daytona
Denny Hamlin to Rest Sore Back – Logano will pilot No. 18 with Clint Bowyer stepping into the No. 20 Toyota

Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that it has altered its driver lineup for Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Jalapena 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

Denny Hamlin, who was scheduled to drive the No. 28 Dollar General Toyota will now take the night off in order to rest a sore back in preparation for Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race. Joey Logano will move from the No. 20 to now pilot the No. 28 Sport Clips Toyota. Clint Bowyer will now drive the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota for JGR. Brian Scott will remain behind the wheel of the No. 11 Dollar General Toyota.

“My hope was to run the Nationwide Series race Friday night, but I woke up with a sore back earlier this week and feel it’s in the best interest of the team to sit it out,” said Hamlin. “Luckily it’s nothing serious and the extra rest will help me on Saturday night.”

Logano won this race last year and in seven Nationwide Series starts on the famed track, he has the one win along with three top-five and four top-ten finishes. Bowyer has 13 career Nationwide Series starts at Daytona with one win, eight top-five and 10 top-ten finishes. He has won a total of eight Nationwide Series races over the course of his career. This will be his first start for JGR.

“We’re looking forward to working with Clint and appreciate his willingness to step behind the wheel for us on such short notice,” said JD Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. “Denny will be fine, but we just felt it was in his best interest to rest his back and not have him have to practice or race in Nationwide this weekend.

From Joe Gibbs Racing-PR

Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Kahne Takes on Dale Earnhardt Jr in the Finals of “Drive for the Cover” campaign
This is it. A month of voting by the most passionate fans in all of sports has whittled down the field to two mamoth combatants: Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kasey Kahne.

Two more weeks of voting between this par of NASCAR stars will decide the victor of the Drive for the Cover campaign – and the ultimate prize of gracing the NASCAR The Game: Inside Line cover.

NASCAR fans can vote in the bracketed tournament that is hosted entirely on NASCAR the Game’s Facebook page.

Voting for the finals of the “Drive for the Cover” campaign has two weeks remaining in the campaign to select the driver who will adorn the cover of NASCAR The Game: Inside Line. The voting schedule culminates on July 15th.


Get Connected, Follow the Action & Stay Up to Speed at Daytona
With the largest social media following of any NASCAR venue, Daytona International Speedway has set the bar for how it connects with fans during a race weekend and throughout the season.

The speedway recently launched a number of new initiatives leading up to the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola weekend on July 6-7.

  • Mobile App – In addition to the many great original app features such as the friend finder, personal schedule builder and GPS-enabled map, a new fan photo postcard function is available along with new app-style navigation icons and a QR code scanner. Download the mobile app to your Sprint smart phone via Android Marketplace of the iTunes Store.
  • DISINFO Text Messaging – Want to receive text messages with the latest schedule, parking, race times and other event related information during the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola Weekend? Text DISINFO to 69050 and sign-up now. The texting service will be active starting on July 5.
  • Social Squad – Once again, roaming teams of volunteers will help fans check-in and like DIS on Facebook, follow on Twitter and Google+ and demo the mobile app.
  • Facebook – Fans can buy tickets directly or “trick out” their virtual RV with My RV Rocks
  • Twitter – Follow the racing action all weekend long with #CokeSubwayJalapeno250; #CokeZero400 and of course #NASCAR
  • Google+ – DIS established its presence for fans to stay up to date on the latest happenings at the “World Center of Racing” all season long.
The starts of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7. 
Be sure to catch the Coke Zero 400 live from Daytona on Saturday, July 7 at 6:30pm ET on TNT.

From Daytona International Speedway-PR

Joe Nemecheck to auction private equestrian estate near Charlotte
An equestrian property known for its premier facilities where a host of Olympic athletes train and a custom residence on five acres that was originally built for NASCAR Legend Ernie Irvan, located just north of downtown Charlotte known as “Finncastle,” will sell at auction Without Reserve on August 2nd, NYC-based Concierge Auctions has announced. Originally listed for $10.995 million, the approimately 139-acre property offers the ultimate in luxury living and development potential for 33 additional two- to five-acre homesites. The sellers are NASCAR champion Joe Nemechek and his wife Andrea. Their property will sell to the highest bidder in cooperation with Hanes Walker and Thomas and Carole McKay of Pinnacle Sotheby’s International Realty. Prior to the property auction, a VIP NASCAR experience will be auctioned to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities.

Nemecheck is contributing the charity auction item, which includes a behind-the scenes garage tour of the Charlotte Motor Speedway and box suite passes. “A day at the track you will remember forever,” he commented. 100% of the proceeds will benefit the Charlotte chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.

From PR Newswire

Emily Maynard goes for a ride with Arie Luyendyke Jr
The second reality-show trip to a race track for Emily Maynard wasn’t nearly as tearful or emotional as the first.

Maynard, this season’s star of the reality television series The Bachelorette, is the former fiancee of Ricky Hendrick, the father of her child and former driver who was killed nearly eight years ago in a Hendrick Motorsports plane crash.

Read more from Sporting News

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
American Flag from USS Eisenhower to Fly in Sprint FanZone at Daytona
During the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway, race fans will experience many patriotic salutes as the “World Center of Racing” celebrates the Independence Day holiday weekend.

One of those salutes will have special meaning to a US Naval carrier group just commencing deployment.

Earlier this year, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III and Vice President of Operations Andrew Gurtis took a once-in-the-lifetime trip to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower – CVN69, also known as IKE, aircraft carrier in the Atlantic Ocean.

Flying from Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Chitwood and Gurtis spent the night aboard the aircraft carrier, visited with sailors and presented a green flag autographed by all the drivers in this year’s Daytona 500 to the Commanding Officer, Captain Marcus Hitchcock.

In addition, Chitwood left an American flag on board the IKE with Captain Hitchcock. On June 20, the flag was flown on the first day of a nine-month deployment and has since been returned to DIS to be flown during the race weekend in the Sprint FanZone. Also the shooter – the crew member who signals the planes for take-off – used the autographed green flag to signal the first flight off the carrier on his deployment.

“IKE deployed from Norfolk, VA on 20 June at 10:30am,” Captain Hitchcock said. “It was an awesome and proud day for the ship and crew. We are especially grateful to Daytona International Speedway and the entire Daytona community for their support and best wishes. “We look forward to continued relations with Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR as we embark on an historic deployment.”

Chitwood expressed his joy with his experience with the IKE.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to have that American flag returned to Daytona International Speedway to fly in the Sprint FanZone,” Chitwood said. “It was incredible experience earlier this year to visit the IKE and meet the men and women who protect our rights and freedoms that allow us to enjoy NASCAR racing on our nation’s birthday.”

The stars of NASCAR return to Daytona International Speedway on July 6-7. 

From Daytona International Speedway-PR

Monday, July 2, 2012
Wild Cards Getting Wilder
With only nine races left to the Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway, the hunt for the two wild-card spots is becoming as intense as its architects might have hoped.

The two wild-card positions in the Chase will to to the drivers with the most victories who don’t make the standings top-ten but are in the top 20.

Read more from SPEED

NASCAR’s long-reigning king is more of an ambassador
He will climb atop of one of the team haulers Saturday night as he always does, finding solitude in the roar of 43 engines churning along Daytona’s super-speedway.

The moonlit skies will cast an iconic silhouette of a tall, slim man wearing sunglasses, a cowboy hat, long sleeve shirt, jeans with a big ‘ol belt buckle, and cowboy boots.

Read more from The Morning Call

Commercial Interruptions Make NASCAR Viewing Almost Unbearable
According to one website, TNT’s broadcast of the Kentucky race had a higher percentage of commercials than any other NASCAR event this season. Enough is enough.

If it seemed like there were more ads than usual during Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Kentucky, that’s because there were.

Read more from SB Nation

No. 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series Team Penalized For Post-Race Infraction at KYS

NASCAR has penalized the No. 3 team in the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during post-race inspection last Friday at Kentucky Speedway.

The No. 3 car was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 – actions detrimental to stock car racing; 12-4J – any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules; and 20A-12.8.1C – body height requirements – car failed to meet the minimum rear car heights – of the 2012 NASCAR rule book.

As a result, crew chief Danny Stockman Jr has been fined $10,000, while owner Morgan Shepherd and driver Austin Dillon have been penalized with the loss of six championship owner and six championship driver points, respectively. In addition, Stockman and car chief Robert Strmiska continue to remain on NASCAR probation until Dec 31.


Kyle Busch leads for 118 laps, but race ends in disappointment for him
Kyle Busch’s month of June ended pretty much like it started with him leaving the race track disappointed.

Busch made it a sweep Saturday of the five June races in a way no driver could want as he suffered through his fifth consecutive race where he had either a mechanical issue or got caught up in an accident not of his own doing.

Read more from Sporting News

Happy Could Be Happier
These are not the happiest of times for Happy Harvick.

True, Kevin Harvick is sitting in sixth in Sprint Cup points and seems to be on the way to another Chase appearance, and he’s finished every race except one this season.

Read more from SPEED

In race for the Chase Cup, the plot thickens
Brad Keselowski was the only driver to compete in all three NASCAR races this weekend at Kentucky Speedway.

Late on a hot Saturday night, he also was the only one to pick up a third Sprint Cup win of the season.

Read more from Pilot Online

Carl Edwards needs to follow Keselowski’s road map to Chase
For Carl Edwards to turn his fast-but-bumbling season around, he’s going to have to channel his inner Brad Keselowski – by overcoming adversity instead of creating it.

Edward’s latest gaffe, failing to get fuel during a late caution period at Kentucky Speedway, resulted in a fifth consecutive week outside the top-ten and put a strain on his season.

Read more from USA Today

Kentucky could be Kahne’s turning point for Chase
Kasey Kahne charged through the field in the closing laps in rallying from a lap down to finish second in Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.

If Kahne is to rally from a troublesome start to his Hendrick Motorsports tenure and make the Chase, he might be able to look back at Kentucky as the turning point.

Read more from

Feel free to express your views of this week’s news.  As always, Thanks for reading and participating.  


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