News & Views – Volume 37 – July 30 – August 5, 2012

News & Views – Volume 37
For the week of July 29 – August 5, 2012

“This fourth, I’m able to join racing legends, my heroes, people I’ve looked up to my entire life, so to join them is a huge, huge honor.” Jimmie Johnson after winning his fourth Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – July 29, 2012

Well race fans, this past weekend, gave us plenty of racing action. It was great to see 125,000 fans in the stands at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With a capacity of more than 250,000, there were still sparce sections, but let’s keep perspective – that many fans would be over capacity at several of the tracks on NASCAR’s circuit!

The Nationwide race on Saturday created a lot of buzz and some controversy, read my take on Fan4Racing. Then share your views of the starts and restarts confusion and NASCAR’s explanations. 

On Sunday, Jimmie Johnson continued making history by joining racing legends, with four or more wins at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. And right behind him in second place was his teammate Jeff Gordon the only other NASCAR driver in this elite group. 

So will this season bring Jimmie Johnson, his sixth championship? Only six more races to determine who will be his 2012 Chase competitors. Jimmie Johnson, now joins 2011 champion Tony Stewart, and Brad Keselowski with three wins for the 2012 season.  This is building up to be an exciting Race to the Chase on the way to the Chase! 

This weekend, the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck series teams head to Pocono Raceway. The trucks will race on Saturday afternoon and the cup guys will race on Sunday afternoon. The Nationwide teams are headed to Iowa Speedway for their race on Saturday night under the lights. 

Let’s begin with news for today…

Sunday, August 5, 2012
1 Killed, 9 hurt in Pocono lightning strike
Ten race fans were hit by at least two lightning strikes following the conclusion of Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway, and officials confirmed one of the victims has died.

The strikes took place as a severe thunderstorm hit the track shortly after the race was called at 4:55pm Eastern. The strikes happened in the parking lot behind the main grandstands and near the Gate 3 area of the track.

Read more from That’s Racin

Furniture Row may switchc to Dodge
Furniture Row Racing is prepared to switch from Chevrolet to Dodge in 2013 if the manufacturer chooses to go in that direction.

Furniture Row general manager Joe Garone said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there have been initial talks with Dodge about making a switch and adding a second team, potentially with 2004 Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch.

Read more from ESPN

2012 NSCS Pennsylvania 400 Race Results

Gordon Family celebrates Pocono Win
Photo – Lesley Ann Miller/AP

Rains delayed the start and then shortened the 39th annual NSCS Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway Sunday afternoon, and when the NASCAR officials called it an official race – since it had gone past the half-way point and ended with 62 laps uncompleted – it was Jeff Gordon at the front for the win.

This was Gordon’s 1st series win of the 2012 season, his 86th series career win and his 6th victory at “the tricky triangle” gives him the honor of having the most series wins at the track.

Being recorded as the second-place finisher was Gordon’s fellow Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Kasey Kahne, and they were followed by Martin Truex Jr, who finished in third, Brad Keselowski fourth and Tony Stewart finished in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Ryan Newman finishing in sixth, Carl Edwards seventh, Clint Bowyer eighth, Regan Smith ninth and Marcos Ambrose finished in the tenth position.

The current series points leader, Dale Earnhardt Jr, suffered transmission trouble and finished in the 32nd position, and now leads second in the points, Matt Kenseth – who was caught up in an incident and finished 23rd – by 5 points.

Race Notes
Average Speed – 139.249-mph
Time of Race – 1 Hr, 45 mins, 34 secs
Margin of Victory – Caution
Lead Changes – 13 among 10 drivers
Cautions – 3 for 14 laps
Attendance – 85,000

Race Results (UNOFFICIAL)
Point Standings (UNOFFICIAL)

Next Up – The final road course event, the 27th  annual Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen – Watkins Glen International – on the series schedule set for Sunday, August 12th, with an approximate starting time of 1:20pm ET. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Pennsylvania 400 – Pit road speeds in drivers’ minds after June penalties
If a driver gives up a sport or two at the end of pit road Sunday in the Pennsylvania 400, it would be hard to blame that driver for driving conservatively while exiting.

In the June race at Pocono, 14 drivers were nailed for speeding on pit road for a total of 22 violations. Of those 21 occurred while exiting.

Read more at Sporting News

So why not NASCAR in the Olympics?
One of the arguments against NASCAR, or motorsports in general, being a part of the Olympics is that it’s more about machine than man.

Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne can be in better shape than Ryan Lochte, but, if they win, it’s about how fast the car was and not whether they can complete a triathlon. Tony Stewart can drink as many milkshakes and eat as many cheeseburgers as he wants and still win races and championships.

Read more at ESPN

Hendrick’s success with rear suspension has other teams scrambling
There aren’t many secrets in the Sprint Cup garage, so when the Hendrick Motorsports cars appear to have a little different rear suspension than other teams at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week, teams took notice.

The rear suspension is an area of focus of teams, and NASCAR tried to eliminate some of their more creative measures with rule changes earlier this summer. But Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin certainly noticed something different in the HMS cars last week – Jimmie Johnson won while Dale Earnhardt Jr was fourth and Jeff Gordon was fifth. Hamlin admitted Saturday he didn’t know exactly what the Hendrick teams were doing.

Read more at Sporting News

Saturday, August 4, 2012
2012 NNS US Cellular 250 Results

Sadler: Indy Black Flag to Checkered in Iowa
Photo – Brian Ray/Associated Press

NASCAR Nationwide Series pole-sitter, Elliott Sadler, returned to victory lane Saturday evening after suffering a black-flag disappointment last week at Indianapolis, as he wins the 2012 US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Sadler – who came into the race with a 1-point lead and now leaves with an 18-point lead over Austin Dillon, who finished 15th – received his fourth series victory of the 2012 season, his ninth series career victory and his first series victory at Iowa Speedway.

Coming in 0.649 seconds behind Sadler for second place was Justin Allgaier – who led the most laps, 101 out of 250 – and they were followed to the drop of the checkered flag by Dash4Cash – $100,000 – winner Sam Hornish Jr, who finished in third, Michael Annett fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr, finishing fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Michael McDowell finishing in sixth, outside pole-sitter Darrell Wallace Jr – who led the first 36 laps – seventh, Jason Leffler eighth, Brett Moffitt ninth and Ryan Blaney finished in the tenth position.

Race Notes
Average Speed – 115.622-mph
Time of Race – 1 hr, 53 mins, 31 secs
Margin of Victory – 0.649-seconds
Lead Changes – 6 among 4 drivers
Cautions – 3 for 16 laps
Attendance – 50,000

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – The Zippo 200 at The Glen – Watkins Glen International – on Saturday, August 11th with an approximate starting time of 2:30pm ET, and television coverage provided by ESPN on ABC at 2:00pm ET.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS US Cellular 250 Starting lineup
Elliott Sadler, with a new NNS qualifying record speed of 135.151-mph captured the US Cellular 250 Coors Light Pole Award at Iowa Speedway.

Starting second on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 135.014-mph, will be Darrell Wallace Jr, followed by series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon 134.875-mph starting third, Jason Leffler 134.569 fourth and Justin Allgaier 134.477 will start fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Brendan Gaughan 134.386-mph who will start sixth, Sam Hornish Jr 134.294 seventh, Michael McDowell 134.220 eighth, Brian Scott 134.140 ninth and Brett Moffitt 133.911 will start from the tenth position.

There was no failing to make the starting lineup.

The 4th annual US Cellular 250 is scheduled to get underway around 8:20pm ET this evening, and television coverage will be provided by ESPN2 beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Pocono Mountains 125 Race Results

Coulter’s 1st Victory at Pocono
Photo – Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Joey Coulter who started fourth, captured his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory Saturday afternoon with winning the 2012 Pocono Mountains 125 at Pocono Raceway.

Coming in second and 1.224 seconds behind Coulter was James Buescher, and they were followed to the drop of the checkered flag by pole-sitter Nelson Piquet Jr, who finished third, Matt Crafton fourth and Denny Hamlin finished in fifth place.

Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender and outside pole-sitter, TyDillon – who moves within 8-points of the leader, Timothy Peters, who finished 22nd – finished in sixth place, while Parker Kligerman finished seventh, rookie contender John Wes Townley eighth, Justin Lofton ninth and rookie contender Ross Chastain rounding out the top-ten finishing positions.

Race Notes
Average Speed – 121.523-mph
Time of Race – 1 hr, 01 min, 43 secs
Margin of Victory – 1.224 seconds
Lead Changes – 7 among 5 drivers
Cautions – 3 for 12 laps
Attendance 25,000

Race Results
Point Standings

Next Up – Teams will have an off-weekend before returning to action for the 13th annual VFW 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday, August 18, with an approximate starting time of 12:50pm ET. SPEED will continue their television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race show.

2012 NASCAR Weather Forecast – Threat of Storms Increase Sunday
Strong Showers and storms moved through Newton, IA this morning. There is a Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect until 5pm CDT. This means severe weather is possible in and around the watched area.

Read more from WX-Man

Johanna Long hopes to make a name for herself
Johanna Long was sprawled on the couch in front of her Nationwide Series hauler at Iowa Speedway this May, disarmed and chatty as her parents sat nearby.

She fidgeted with her phone, perhaps waiting for NASCAR veteran David Green to respond to a question. Her customary spotter wouldn’t be at the track that day.

Read more from ESPN

Jeff Gordon receives Heisman Humanitarian Award
Jeff Gordon, whose foundation has helped fund cancer treatment programs in the United States as well as Africa, was named the 2012 Heisman Humanitarian Award recipient.

Gordon will receive the award Dec. 10 at the Heisman Trophy dinner.

The announcement of the award was made at Pocono Raceway, the site of this week’s Sprint Cup race, with 1980 Heisman winner George Rogers and 1987 winner Tim Brown joining Heisman officials.

Read more from Sporting News

2012 NSCS Pennsylvania 400 Starting Lineup
Juan Pablo Montoya, with a qualifying lap speed of 176.043-mph, captured the 2012 NSCS Pennsylvania 400 Coors Light Pole Award at Pocono Raceway.

This was Montoya’s first series pole of the 2012 season, his eighth series career pole and his first series pole at “the tricky triangle.”

Sharing the front row with Montoya and starting second with a qualfying lap speed of 175.795-mph, will be Denny Hamlin, and they will be followed by Paul Menard 175.627-mph who will start third, Kasey Kahne 175.439 fourth and Marcos Ambrose 175.432 starting fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Kurt Busch 175.339-mph starting sixth, Matt Kenseth 175.169 seventh, current series points leader, Dale Earnhardt Jr 175.131 eighth, Ryan Newman 175.097 ninth and Jimmie Johnson 175.067 will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup was the #33 driven by Stephen Leicht.

The 39th annual Pennsylvania 400 is scheduled to get started around 1:20pm ET Sunday afternoon, and ESPN will continue television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Pocono Mountains 125 Starting Lineup
Nelson Piquet Jr, with a qualifying lap speed of 169.504-mph, captured the 2012 NCWTS Pocono Mountains 125 Keystone Light Pole Award at Pocono Raceway.

This was Piquet’s second series pole of the 2012 season, his second series career pole and his first series pole at Pocono Raceway.

Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon, with a qualifying lap speed of 169.252-mph, will start second, followed by Miguel Paludo 168.631-mph who will start third, Joey Coulter 168.530 fourth and James Buescher 168.143 will start fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Timothy George Jr 167.645-mph starting sixth, rookie contender Paulie Harraka 167.448 seventh, Timothy Peters 167.333 eighth, Matt Crafton 167.299 ninth and Ron Hornaday Jr 167.119 will start from the tenth position.

There was no one failing to make the starting lineup.

The 3rd annual Pocono Mountains 125 is scheduled to get underway around 1:20pm ET this afternoon, and television coverage will be provided by SPEED beginning with their 12:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Friday, August 3, 2012
2012 NNS US Cellular 250 Final Practice Session Speeds
Joe Gibbs Racing development driver, Darrell Wallace Jr, with a lap speed of 132.962-mph, showed the fastest way around Iowa Speedway during the final NNS US Cellular 250 practice session.

Brendan Gaughan was second fastest with a lap speed of 132.805-mph, and was followed by Brett Moffitt 132.514-mph who was third fastest, Justin Allgaier 132.375 fourth and series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Cole Whitt 132.336 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Michael McDowell 132.258-mph who was sixth fastest, rookie contender Brad Sweet 132.209 seventh, Ryan Blaney 132.131 eighth, Jason Leffler 132.092 ninth and Elliott Sadler 131.910 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams return Saturday afternoon at 4:35pm ET to determine the starting lineup for the 4th annual US Cellular 250, which is scheduled to get underway around 8:20pm ET Saturday evening. Television coverage will be provided by ESPN2 beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS US Cellular 250 First Practice Session Speeds
NNS Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, with a lap speed of 131.343-mph, was the fastest during the first US Cellular 250 practice session at Iowa Speedway.

Second fastest was Michael McDowell with a lap speed of 130.917-mph, and was followed by Danica Patrick 130.510-mph who was third fastest, Jamie Dick 130.510 fourth and Ryan Blaney 129.892 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the practice session were Elliott Sadler 129.763-mph who was sixth fastest, Brian Scott 129.475 seventh, Jason Leffler 129.475 eighth, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 129.385 ninth and Darrell Wallace Jr 129.125 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will have their “Happy Hour” – final – practice session from 7:00 to 8:30pm ET this evening and then return Saturday afternoon at 4:35pm ET to determine the starting lineup for that evening’s race.

The 4th annual US Cellular 250 is scheduled to get underway around 8:20pm ET Saturday evening with television coverage provided by ESPN2 beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS Pennsylvania 400 Final Practice Session Speeds
Current NSCS points leader, Dale Earnhardt Jr, with a lap speed of 177.441-mph, posted the quickest lap during the final NSCS Pennsylvania 400 practice session at Pocono Raceway.

Second quickest with a lap speed of 176.974-mph, was Matt Kenseth, followed by Greg Biffle 176.724-mph who was third quickest, Kyle Busch 176.564 fourth and Carl Edwards 176.391 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Jamie McMurray 176.174-mph who was sixth quickest, Martin Truex Jr 176.167 seventh, Jeff Gordon 176.125 eighth, Kurt Busch 176.108 ninth and Jimmie Johnson 176.067 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track Saturday morning at 10:40am ET for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for the 39th annual Pennsylvania 400 – which is scheduled to get started around 1:20pm ET Sunday afternoon. ESPN will continue television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.

Final Practice Speeds
Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Denny Hamlin makes announcement at NASCAR media session at Pocono
Q: Do you have some news to announce today:
A: “I’ve been excited for a little while. I just want to let everyone know that me and Jordan (Fish) are expecting next January, and excited about that. It’s been a long time coming, so it’s going to be exciting to be a dad.”

Q: What are your thoughts on fatherhood and how were you raised by your dad?
A: “Hopefully, half of what my dad was would be good. My family has done a lot for me to get to this point obviously, and just all of the sacrifices and all that they’ve gone through. My dad tells me all of the time that some of the best times he had is just carrying me around in his pickup truck every day, taking me to work with him and things like that. It’s going to be a great experience and so I’m really excited about it and really just excited to be a part of it. For my parents to have grandkids is all going to be good. Everything works great, things happen and we’re excited about the timing. It’s going to be in January, so it’s the off-season so all of that seems to be aligning perfectly for us. My parents and all live a mile or two down the road, so they’re going to get to visit all of the time. It’s going to be a great time over these next six months to a year.”

Q: Have you set a wedding date?
A: “Especially now that all of this is going on and you want to be patient and everything. I am 31, so I consider myself pretty patient if I haven’t been married yet. There’s no reason to rush into it right now especially with everything that is going on. We’ve obviously got a busy six months ahead of us.”

From Toyota Motorsports-PR

Smithfield to Host Live Twitter Event
On Tuesday, August 7, from 1 – 2pm EDT, Smithfield Foods, Inc. will host a Twitter event that will give motorsports fans a chance to chat live with NASCAR legend Richard Petty and his driver Aric Almirola. The event will bring fans together to celebrate Petty’s 75th birthday – which was July 2nd.

In anticipation of next Tuesday’s event, NASCAR fans are encouraged to Tweet questions during the week leading up to the live event via Twitter using the hashtab, #SFDPetty. Those who Tweet questions using the specified hashtag, either before or during the event, will be entered into a drawing to win a Smithfield prize pack including two tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Charlotte, NC, on October 13, a baseball cap autographed by Aric Almirola, product coupons, a BBQ tool set and more. For more information, please visit

In January, Smithfield Foods entered into a multiyear, integrated partnership with Richard Petty Motorsports – RPM – NASCAR team. The Smithfield-RPM partnership comes as a natural fit for many reasons.

“The Pettys demonstrate a strong commitment to helping others, which is something we’re happy to be a part of,” said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer for Smithfield Foods.”

Smithfield is working with RPM to increase awareness for hunger through Helping Hungry Homes, Smithfield’s hunger initiative. During Daytona weekend earlier this year, Petty and Almirola helped Smithfield donate 120,000 servings – 30,000 pounds – of much-needed protein to Second Harvest Food Bank to help hungry families in central Florida. Smithfield and RPM share a common passion for community improvement initiatives that enhance the lives of our neighbors. For more information about Smithfield’s efforts to alleviate hunger, please visit

As part of its agreement with Richard Petty Motorsports, Smithfield is utilizing various brands and unique engaging promotional initiatives throughout the racing season to communicate with existing customers and introduce others to the company’s many fine products. In addition, a variety of Smithfield brands are adorning the legendary No. 43 Ford as primary sponsor in 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2012. Smithfield brands include Farmland, Eckrich, Gwaltney and Smithfield, among many others.

A member of the inaugural class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, Petty is one of the most successful and respected drivers in the sport’s history, with a record 200 career wins and seven Cup Championships. Petty is also famous for winning the Daytona 500 a record seven times. Earlier this year, Almirola was named as driver of the famed No. 43 Ford and made his debut in the Richard Petty Motorsports-owned entry at Daytona International Speedway.

From Richard Petty Motorsports-PR

2012 NSCS Pennsylvania 400 First Practice Session Speeds
Coming off from his NSCS victory last week at Indianapolis, Jimmie Johnson, with a lap speed of 174.290-mph, was the fastest during the first Pennsylvania 400 practice session at Pocono Raceway.

Kyle Busch, who was runner-up to Johnson last week, was also second fastest in this practice session with a lap speed of 173.625-mph, and they were followed by the Roush Fenway Racing trio of Carl Edwards 173.967-mph who was third fastest, Matt Kenseth 173.950 fourth and Greg Biffle 173.772 fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the practice session were Kasey Kahne 173.755-mph who was sixth fastest, Joey Logano 173.621 seventh, current series points leader, Dale Earnhardt Jr 173.614 eighth, Mark Martin 173.548 ninth and Casey Mears 173.444 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return to the track this afternoon for their 3:30 to 5:00pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session, and then return Saturday morning at 10:30am ET for qualifying.

The 39th annual Pennsylvania 400 is scheduled to get started around 1:20pm ET Sunday afternoon, and ESPN will continue television coverage beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS Pocono Moutains 125 Final Practice Session Speeds
During the only practice session being held for the NCWTS Pocono Moutains 125, it was Nelson Piquet, Jr, with a lap speed of 167.635-mph, showing the quickest way around Pocono Raceway.

Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon, with a lap speed of 167.330-mph, was the second quickest and was followed by Matt Crafton 167.243-mph who was third quickest, Miguel Paludo 167.109 fourth and Joey Coulter 167.078 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Justin Lofton – 166.778-mph who was sixth quickest, Timothy Peters 166.670 eighth, James Buescher 166.420 ninth and Johnny Sauter 166.377 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will return Saturday morning at 9:35am ET for their scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for that afternoon’s race – which is set to get underway around 1:20pm ET. ESPN will provide television coverage for the race, beginning with their 12:00pm ET pre-race program.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Mark Martin, 53, trying to become NASCAR’s oldest winner
Many of Mark Martin’s contemporaries no longer race.

But the 53-year-old is in no hurry to join Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace, Ernie Irvan and Ricky Rudd in retirement.

In a wide-ranging interview with USA Today Sports, Martin explained what he’ll miss most after he steps out of a stock car for the last time.

Read more from Free Press

Can Keselowski Kick It Again?
If you want some idea just how wide open the NASCAR Sprint Cup wild-card race really is, consider how things looked coming into last year’s Pennsylvania 500.

A year ago at this time, the two wild-card leaders were Denny Hamlin, who had one race victory and was 11th in points, and Paul Menard, 14th with one victory of his own. David Ragan was breathing down Menard’s neck, just seven points behind him in 16th place with six races to go until the field would be set for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Read more from SPEED

Team owner wants driver when ready (And it’s not who you think)
What’s next for AJ Allmendinger?

Allmendinger, 30, received the news from team owner Roger Penske on Tuesday night that his services would no longer be needed in the No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Dodge.

Team owner Michael Shank, who campaigns in the NASCAR Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and won the Rolex 24 with Allmendinger behind the wheel at Daytona International Speedway on Jan 29 said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he would field a car for the driver once he satisfies the sanctioning body’s requirements for reinstatement.

Read more from FOX Sports

Dodge skipping Martinsville test with no 2013 teams lined up
While Dodge has a car approved for 2013, it will skip the first tire test for the 2013 car next week at Martinsville Speedway.

Dodge is still looking for teams to campaign its 2013 Dodge Charger in Sprint Cup. its only manufacturer-backed team, Penske Racing, announced in March that it would switch to Ford. Since that announcement, Dodge has continued to meet all the deadlines and work on its 2013 body despite not having a team signed for 2013.

Read more from Sporting News

Joey Logano plays the waiting game
Joey Logano was deep into conversation with New England Patriots lineman Nick McDonald about which was worse, getting hit by another car on the track or another player on a football field, when the conversation turned to free agency.

“So where are you going to drive next year?” McDonald asked last month during a pre-race chat with the Joe Gibbs Racing driver at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“I don’t know yet,” Logano responded.

Read more from ESPN

Thursday, August 2, 2012
Kid Rock to serve as Pure Michigan 400 Grand Marshal
Rock and Roll is coming to Michigan International Speedway, the fastest track in NASCAR. Recording artist and Michigan resident, Kid Rock has been named this year’s Pure Michigan 400 Grand Marshal.

Known for his award-winning music and philanthropic efforts, Kid Rock will say the most famous words in racing, “Gentlemen start your engines,” in his role as the grand marshal for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 on August 19.

“Kid Rock is a tremendous ambassador for Michigan and a perfect fit to serve as Grand Marshal of the Pure Michigan 400,” said George Zimmermann, Vice President of Travel Michigan, pare of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “He is a longtime supporter of Michigan – from featuring Pictured Rocks in his Born Free video to his work fundraising with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and will also he has given back to our state through the Kid Rock Foundation. We are thrilled to have him join us the fans at MIS on August 19 for the Pure Michigan 400.”

Known around the world for his musical prowess, Kid Rock has sold more than 25 million records since his debut more than a decade ago. The five-time Grammy nominee released his 8th studio album “Born Free,” last November, featuring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior, as well as Ortonville, MI in the music video for the title track off the album. 

From Michigan International Speedway-PR

Two Opportunities to Meet NASCAR Drivers Austin and Ty Dillon on Tuesday, Aug 7
NASCAR racing brothers Austin and Ty Dillon, both coming off of top-five finishes in NASCAR Nationwide Series event at Indianapolis last weekend, will be in Atlanta on Tuesday, Aug 7 for two appearances to promote the upcoming Labor Day night racing weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Aug 31-Sept 2.

The two drivers are among the top rising stars in NASCAR. Austin is currently second in the NASCAR Nationwide Series point standings and is the defending NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion. AdvoCare, the Official Performance Elite Products of Atlanta Motor Speedway, is one of Dillon’s primary sponsors.

Austin’s younger brother Ty, who races full-time in his rookie season in the truck series, is second in points.

Both are grandsons of legendary NASCAR team owner Richard Childress.

The brothers will compete in a 3-D dodgeball game from 3:00pm to 3:30pm and the first 24 kids present will receive paid admission to Sky Zone and have the opportunity to play 3-D dodgeball with both Austin and Ty.

Sky Zone Atlanta is located at 560 Old Peachtree Road, Suwanee, GA 30024. Sky Zone’s indoor trampoline park allows participants to play dodgeball in an environment comprised of trampolines on all sides, including the walls.

Following the dodgeball competition, the drivers will hold an autograph session from 6:00pm to 7:00pm on Aug 7 at Bass Pro Shops in Lawrenceville, an event open to fans of all ages.

The location’s address is 5900 Sugarloaf Parkway Lawrenceville, GA 30043. The Atlanta Motor Speedway pace car will be on-site, and fans can also get information about the Labor Day weekend of NASCAR night racing, capped by the AdvoCare 500 on Sunday, Sept 2.

Both drivers will be part of two of the most exciting NASCAR night races of the season – the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, Aug 31 and the NASCAR Nationwide Series NRA American Warrior 300 on Saturday, Sept 1. 

Friday tickets are $25 and Saturday general admission tickets are $30, with kids 12 and under admitted free each day when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket. 

NASCAR night racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend, Aug 31-Sept 2, 2012. Reserve your AdvoCare 500 tickets now. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX – 770-946-4211 or visit

From Atlanta Motor Speedway-PR

BK Racing to Assist in Search for Missing Iowa Girls

Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil will carry
this decal on their deck lids at Pocono

BK Racing is lending a hand in the search for Elizabeth Collins and her cousin Lyric Cook, who have been missing since Friday, July 13. The team will run a special decal on the deck lid of its No. 83 Toyota, driven by Landon Cassill, and No. 93 Toyota driven by Travis Kvapil. The decals will feature an image of the missing girls, along with a phone number to call for any information on their whereabouts. The decals will run this weekend during the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono (PA) Raceway.

Collins and Cook were last seen in the city of Evansdale, Iowa. Their bicycles and Elizabeth’s purse were found near a trail at the edge of Meyers Lake after leaving their grandmother’s house. Cassill, a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is anxious to help bring attention to the case.

“The group leading the search efforts have been contacting as many people as possible about this case to help spread the word,” Cassill said. “Being from Iowa, and having some other folks in the sport from Iowa, we’re all pulling together to raise as much attention as possible to help locate the two missing girls. I really want to do as much as possible and this is one step. I can’t thank the team enough for doing this.”

Kvapil, a father of three kids, hopes his team’s efforts will put a national spotlight on the investigation.

“As a parent, I want to do anything I can to help families locate their children,” Kvapil said. “I’m pleased that we have the special decals on our cars this weekend and i Hope that this will aid in the search.”

BK Racing, a first-year team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, was glad to be able to help.

“Learning more about this case, and with Landon being from Iowa himself, I think it was important for us to help out,” said team co-owner Ron Devine. “We have worked with our sponsors to make space on our cars to help to help raise awareness. Once learning more about the case we didn’t hestitate in putting the wheels in motion to help where we can. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the girls’ families during these difficult times.”

If anyone has any information on Collins and Cook, please contact 1-800-THE-LOST – 843-5678 or the local tip line at 1-319-232-6682

From Breaking Limits Marketing for BK Racing-PR

Howard uses NASCAR experience to fuel F1 movie
Ron Howard got to drive the pace car that led the field to the green flag of last Sunday’s Brickyard 400. He wasn’t just visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to enjoy the thrill of racing, though.

The award-winning director is working on a motorsports-themed move – “Rush,” the story of the 1970s rivalry between Formula One stars James Hunt and Niki Lauda. And while the scene in NASCAR is wildly different than Europe’s F1 series, Howard still saw value in getting a close look at what a driver experiences in a top racing series so he can reproduce that feeling on film. 

Read more from NBCSports/AP

Brickyard Chase opener last option
Let’s face facts. The Brickyard 400 has fallen on very hard times.

Sunday’s 19th edition of NASCAR’s annual trip to Indianapolis Motor Speedway drew an “announced” crowd of 125,000, but as anyone who reads the weekly box scores that come from the sanctioning body the figure was the usual generous estimate.

Read more from Eye On NASCAR

‘Start the Car,’ Travis Tritt to Headline NASCAR Pre-Race Concert
Known as country music’s outlaw, Travis Tritt will bring his mix of bluesy Southern rock and country to “The Magic Mile” as the featured pre-race act for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 on September 23.

Travis Tritt was one of the leading new country singers of the early 90s holding his own against Garth Brooks, Clint Black and Alan Jackson. He was the only one not to wear a hat and the only one to dip into bluesy Southern rock. Consequently, he developed a gutsy, outlaw image that distinguished him from the pack. Throughout the early 90s, he had a string of platinum albums and Top Ten singles, including three number one hits.

“We want our fans rockin’ and ready to go when it’s time to drop the green flag, so to add an act like Travis Tritt certainly provides the type of pre-race atmosphere we’re looking for,” says Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway. “We want to ensure that everyone soaks up every second of entertainment when they’re here. Travis Tritt ensures that we will make that happen come September.”

Including his Greatest Hits album, seven of Tritt’s records have gone platinum or higher by the Recording Industry Association of American – RIAA; the highest being It’s All About to Change – 1991, which is certified triple-platinum. During his career, Tritt has charted five number one hits, including “Help Me Hold On,” “Anymore,” “Can I Trust You with My Heart,” “Foolish Pride” and “Best of Intentions” – as well as 15 additional top ten singles.

Tritt has won two Grammy Awards for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals. He also has won four awards from the Country Music Association, and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1992.

For more details and ticket information on events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway or to purchase tickets to the upcoming Sylvania 300 NASCAR weekend, please stop by our Ticket Office, visit, or call our Ticket Hotline at 603-783-4931.

From New Hampshire Motor Speedway-PR

SRT Motorsports – Dodge – Presents The Numbers – Pennsylvania 400
The Numbers for the Pennsylvania 400 – Pocono Raceway – All 69 Sprint Cup races
1 – fewest cautions – 7/30/78
2 – fewest on lead lap at finish – twice, most recent 6/6/82
3 – fewest caution laps – 7/30/78
4 – races won from outside a top-20 starting position
4 – fewest leaders – twice, most recent 6/9/85
4 – fewest laps led by race winner – Bobby Labonte 7/29/01
5 – most wins – Jeff Gordon, Bill Elliott
5 – most poles – Bill Elliott, Ken Schrader
10 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend
10 – fewest lead changes – 7/26/98
12 – wins by car owner – Rick Hendrick
13 – most cautions – twice, most recent 7/24/05
16 – most leaders – three times, most recent 6/13/04
17 – drivers with more than one pole
18 – fewest cars running at finish – 7/25/82
20 – drivers with more than one win 
23 – wins from the front row – 13 from pole
29 – worst starting position for race winner – Carl Edwards, 6/12/05
31 – different race winners
36 – most cars on lead lap at finish – 6/10/07
38 – different pole winners
42 – most cars running at finish – 6/10/07
56 – most lead changes – 7/30/79
57 – most caution laps – 6/13/04
120 minutes – approximate amount of time it takes to dry the 2.5-mile track
175 – most laps led by race winner – Kurt Busch, 8/5/07

2012 Caution Update
1 – fewest cautions this season – Fontana
5 – races extended beyond scheduled distance – Daytona1, Martinsville, Talladega, Darlington and Sonoma
10 – most cautions this season – Daytona1
108 – cautions in the first 20 races of 2012 – includes 47 for accidents, 2 for debris and 12 for spins
566 of 5,648 – laps under caution in 2012
838.371 of 7,774.956 – miles under caution in the first 20 races.

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Carl Edwards to Run Nationwide Race at Watkins Glen with Subway
Carl Edwards will return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next weekend at Watkins Glen International to race the No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang. It will be Edwards’ first appearance in the series this season after running full-time the past seven years. Subway, which also sponsors Edwards in the Sprint Cup Series, will be the primary sponsor at The Glen.

“I’m very excited about running the No. 60 Subway Ford Mustang in my first Nationwide Series race of the year,” Edwards said. “It’s great to have Subway on board and it will be fun to be back in the 60 car. The Nationwide race at Watkins Glen is almost like a Sprint Cup event because of the length of the race. It’s a very long and tough race, and there is a lot of competition with all the road course specialists. There are always a lot of really fast guys there, so it’s a race that will test the equipment and our strategy. The guys are working very hard on the car and it would be big to win a road course there.”

“Subway is pleased to cheer Carl on for his first Nationwide Series race of the season,” said Subway director of sports marketing, Paul Bamundo. “The race next weekend at Watkins Glen is perfect timing for Subway with avocado season underway, and our primary paint scheme will highlight this super food. We have a great partnership with Carl, and we’re excited to add this race to our schedule with him.”

In seven Nationwide starts at Watkins Glen, Edwards has earned two top-five finishes and led 25 laps. He has, however, claimed victories on road courses at Montreal and Road America in Nationwide competition. In 17 Nationwide starts on road courses, Edwards has two wins, seven top-five and 10 top-ten finishes.

From Roush Fenway Racing-PR

Trevor Bayne to Appear on “Good Morning America”
2011 Daytona 500 champion, Trevor Bayne will make a special appearance on “Good Morning America” Thursday, August 2 on ABC at 8:30am. Bayne was a guest on the popular show last March after his improbable Daytona 500 win.

The segment will feature Bayne and the all-new 2013 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion stock car, the model that was just approved for ’13 competition by NASCAR this past Monday.

Bayne’s historic Daytona 500 victory as a 20-year-old, driving for Wood Brothers Racing in only his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start last season, propelled him into the spotlight and on a whirlwind media tour from Los Angeles to New York City.

From PCGCampbell for Ford Racing-PR

Is This Earnhardt’s Year?
Following his fourth-place finish in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, Dale Earnhardt Jr took over the Sprint Cup points lead for the first time since Sept 19, 2004.

But with 16 races left in NASCAR’s marathon season, the big question is, can he stay there and at long last deliver a first Sprint Cup championship for himself and his millions of devoted fans?

Read more from SPEED

AJ Allmendinger’s replacement: Sam Hornish Jr, Joey Logano among candidates
Roger Penske admits that his phone has been ringing off the hook from those wanting a shot in the No. 22 Sprint Cup car.

Now that AJ Allmendinger has been released, it is officially “game on” as far as who could drive that car in 2013.

Read more from Sporting News

Allmendinger Released From Penske Racing
Penske Racing announced today that AJ Allmendinger has been released as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger in the NASCAR Cup Series. Allmendinger was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR last week for a positive drug test.

“Penske Racing fully supports NASCAR’s substance abuse policy and we are disappointed with AJ’s positive drug test results,” said Roger Penske. “AJ is a terrific driver, a good person and it is very unfortunate that we have to separate at this time. We have invested greatly in AJ and we were confident in his success with our team. The decision to dismiss him is consistent with how we would treat any other Penske Racing team member under similar circumstances. As AJ begins NASCAR’s ‘Road to Recovery’ program, we wish him the best and look forward to seeing him compete again in NASCAR.”

Sam Hornish Jr, will drive the No. 22 Dodge at Pocono this weekend and for the forseeable future. 

Penske Racing will evaluate its options for a driver of the No. 22 car for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.

From Penske Racing-PR

Statement from AJ Allmendinger
“Effective today, I have been released from Penske Racing as driver of the No. 22 Dodge Charger. I wish to thank Mr. Penske, Penske Racing, their sponsors, and especially all of the No. 22 team for the opportunity they provided me and for their support in this difficult time. I also, again, would like to thank all the fans that really have been awesome through this.

“I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment, and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided. As I stated last week, I have begun NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR in the near future.”

From Walldinger Racing Inc-PR

Brian Burns to serve as Labonte’s crew chief at Pocono
Change is good and JTG Daugherty Racing has learned that adapting quickly is essential to success as they enter the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway with Bobby Labonte at the wheel of the No. 47 SCOTT Products Toyota Camry. 

The next step for JTG Daugherty Racing is finding a long-term crew chief. This weekend Labont’s interim crew chief David Hyder is fulfilling his normal role at Iowa Speedway with the K&N Pro Series East team that JTG Daugherty Racing prepares for recent winner Cale Conley. With that being said, team engineer Brian Burns will step up to call the shots for the team this weekend at Pocono.

From JTG Daugherty Racing

Brickyard 400 profitable despite falling crowds, experts say
Despite sharp attendance declines in recent years at the Brickyard 400, the event remains hugely profitable for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, motorsports industry experts say.

NASCAR officials estimate attendance at this year’s race in Indianapolis at 125,000, down from 138,000 last year. In 2007, race attendance was more than 200,000.

Read more at Indianapolis Business Journal

NASCAR tracks making upgrades to combat sagging attendance
The roar of 43 rumbling stock cars remains the main attraction. But to combat sagging attendance, NASCAR track operators are adding personal touches to make races more enjoyable for fans – and to keep them from staying home and watching on TV.

Read more from USA Today

Watkins Glen International Honors Region with Finger Lakes 355
Watkins Glen International has chosen to honor the region in which it is located by naming the Sunday, August 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen.

The historic road course is one aspect of the popular tourist destination that includes a variety of state parks and is New York’s largest wine producing region. Located at the southern tip of Seneca Lake, The Glen and the region’s history and future are inexplicably interwoven. Selecting the name of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series reflects Watkins Glen International’s appreciation for its surroundings.

“We value the support of our neighbors annually and felt naming our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen is the best way to display our appreciation,” Michael Printup, Watkins Glen International President expressed. “It shows respect we feel toward our fans, neighbors and fellow tourist attractions.”

Watkins Glen International – the only host to NASCAR’s premier Sprint Cup Series in New York State – will welcome thousands of fans to the region for the Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen August 9-12. In addition to the marquee race on Sunday, GRAND-AM Rolext Sports Car Series returns to the historic road course for the Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire on Saturday, following NASCAR Nationwide Series Zippo 200 race.

From Watkins Glen International-PR

Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Dale Earnhardt Jr Leads NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Points Standings for First Time Since 2004
NASCAR’s most popular driver used Sunday’s Brickyard 400 to climb to a location that he’s not been able to reach since late in 2004 season: the top of the point standings in NASCAR Sprint Cup competition.

For Earnhardt Jr, Sunday’s fourth-place finish at Indianapolis was the culmination of a season full of strong runs and consistent finishes.

“I’m proud of that – becoming the points leader – because it says a lot about our body of work,” Earnhardt said following the race. “All season long, we’ve been working hard and finishing well. That is symbolic of how well we’ve done. I’m proud of that. I have felt that way about our position in points all season long.”

With only six races remaining before the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup is set at the conclusion of the Sept 8 event at Richmond, Earnhardt Jr knows that simply logging good finishes won’t get the job done.

“We need to win more races,” said Earnhardt, with one win currently in the books from the June event at Michigan. “If we want to win the championship, we have to – win more races. I imagine we can win a couple races in the Chase. I don’t know if finishing fourth or fifth is going to do it. We’ll just have to see. We’d like to step it up just a little bit more.”

Not only will race wins in the Chase be crucial to a championship, but race wins leading into the Chase are just as important as race wins and will determine the standings when the Chase begins.

Prior to the start of the Chase, the series will visit several tracks that Earnhardt Jr has a strong performance history at, and among those are the historic Atlanta Motor Speedway. Earnhardt has claimed one AMS trophy in his Sprint Cup career winning the Golden Corral 500 in March of 2004. In 24-career Sprint Cup starts at the 1.54-mile facility, Earnhardt Jr has recorded eight top-five finishes and 10 top-tens for an average finish of 13. A pair of pole position and outside pole position starting spots also accompanies his name in the AMS record book.

There have been several races where he has ran well for much of the day but was unable to log the good finish he deserved, such as the 2007 fall race, when a top-five run was spoiled on the final restart by a loose wheel, causing him to crash into the turn one wall.

With Atlanta being a longtime staple on the Sprint Cup Series schedule, Earnhardt Jr has said that winning a race on the high banks of AMS is a different type of accomplishment.

“When you win at Atlanta or Bristol or Charlotte or Daytona, tracks that have been there for a very long time and have a lot of history, it’s a very good feeling for me,” said Earnhardt Jr. “I like winning races, obviously, but to go to Atlanta and win is a very different feeling than maybe a Chicago or a California.

“There’s a different sense of accomplishment. When you’ve done something that makes you part of a crowd like – Richard – Petty or Cale – Yarborough – or those guys that have won there, and you’ve seen your daddy win there so many times, it’s definitely a different feeling.”

NASCAR night racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend, Aug 31-Sept 2, 2012.

From Atlanta Motor Speedway-PR

Your Name on the No. 43 Eckrich Ford – What’s Not to Like?
When the No. 43 Eckrich Ford Fusion hits Michigan International Speedway next month, there will be an additional name on the car beside driver Aric Almirola’s. Eckrich, part of the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, will include on the paint scheme the name of a lucky fan who helps the company reach a milestone 100,043 “likes” on its Facebook page.

The “Race to 100,043 Likes” promotion, which launched Tuesday, encourages Facebook users to click the “like” button on Eckrich’s page to help teh company surpass 100,000 followers. If the milestone of 100,043 is met by August 11, the company will reward one participating fan with his or her name on Almirola’s No. 43 Eckrich Ford Fusion at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway on August 19. The winner will also receive an authentic Eckrich pit crew helmet signed by Richard Petty, racing legend and owner of Richard Petty Motorsports.

The winner’s name will appear in the paint scheme near the logo of Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit that provides emergency financial assistance to the families of United States service members and wounded warriors. Eckrich supports Operation Homefront through various programs, including its NASCAR partnership with the No. 43 team. In addition to putting the winning Facebook fan’s name on the car, Eckrich will also place the name of a local military family on the car in recognition of their sacrifice.

“The whole idea of social media, of course, is to interact with your fans and followers, and this promotion provides a new and fun way to get even more people engaged with what we’re doing on our page,” said Charles Gitkin, vice president, marketing, innovation and R&D for the John Morrell Food Group. “in the end, one lucky fan will get their name on a race car and, at the same time, we’ll also be drawing attention to Operation Homefront and its efforts to support our military families.”

To participate in the “Race to 100,043 Likes” promotion, visit the Eckrich Facebook page  Complete details are available on the page’s “Race to 100,043 Likes” tab.

From Richard Petty Motorsports-PR

Logano Chasing Another Win at Pocono
Joey Logano is in that group of drivers who finds themselves talking about “or else.” 

As in, win or else.

Logano enters Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway, a track he dominated on the way to a win in June, well within range of making the Chase for the Sprint Cup. But he’s 17th in points and needs to win, or else.

Read more from SPEED

As NASCAR ponders dropping Top 35 rule, drivers weigh in on meaning
Trevor Bayne figures that as long as he’s a part-time Sprint Cup driver, he’ll have the similar worries whether NASCAR keeps its top-35 rule or goes to a speed-and-provisional system to determine the starting lineup.

NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said last week that the sanctioning body is considering going back to a more traditional qualifying method than what has been used since 2005.

Read more from Sporting News

Facts & Notes – Pocono Raceway

  • Opened in 1968 as a three-quarter-mile track, Pocono Raceway held the first race on the 2.5-mile track in 1971
  • The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race was 1974
  • The 2.5-mile track was repaved during the fall of 2011
  • There have been 69 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Pocono Raceway
  • There was one race from 1974 through 1981, and two per year since.
  • This season will mark the first time the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Pocono will be scheduled for 400 miles. Prior to 2012 all NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races were 500 miles at Pocono Raceway
  • Buddy Baker won the first pole
  • There have been 38 different pole winners, including David Pearson who won the pole there in June 1984 but did not race; 17 drivers have more than one pole there.
  • The pole has been swept just three times: Bill Elliott – 1985, Ken Schrader – 1993, and Denny Hamlin – 2006.
  • Richard Petty won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono
  • 31 different drivers have won races at Pocono, led by Bill Elliott and Jeff Gordon, each with five victories; 20 drivers have won more than once there.
  • There have been six season sweeps at Pocono, the last by Denny Hamlin in 2006. 
  • Bobby Allison – 1982, ’83 – and Tim Richmond – 1986, ’87 – each won three consecutive races at Pocono
  • 48 of 69 Pocono races have been won from a top-ten start
  • The June 2005 race was won by Carl Edwards from the 29th starting position, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started
  • 14 of 69 races have been won from the pole, Bill Elliott – 1985, 2002 – and Denny Hamlin – 2006 sweep – are the only drivers to have done it twice. Joey Logano is the most recent driver to win from the pole earlier this season.
  • Rick Hendrick leads all car owners with 12 Pocono victories
  • Mark Martin leads all drivers in top-fives – 20 – and top-tens – 34, but has yet to win at Pocono. His best finish was second, seven times – most recently last June. In June, Martin set the record for most runner-up finishes at a track without winning.
  • Jimmie Johnson – 8.7 – and Denny Hamlin – 9.3 – are the only active drivers to average a top-ten


More Fast Fun – Back To Pocono
Sprint Cup drivers return to one of the circuit’s fastest non-restrictor plate tracks – Pocono Raceway – this weekend, and speed numbers again are expected to rattle computers.

After an off-season repave, the 2.5-mile triangular track produced out-of-sight numbers for its June race weekend. Joey Logano won the pole at 179.598-miles per hour, obliterating Kasey Kahne’s track record of 172.533, the track’s top time-trial run since 2004. Thirty-five other drivers also eclipsed Kahne’s record.

Read more from SPEED

Points leader Dale Earnhardt Jr enjoys view from the top
Jimmie Johnson won his fourth Brickyard 400 and solidified his status as a title favorite in NASCAR. 

Impressive? You bet. Surprising? No really.

But how about this: Dale Earnhardt Jr left the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the Sprint Cup Series points lead.

Read more from The Salt Lake Tribune

Is it time for NASCAR to revise its restart rules?
Was the penalty on Elliott Sadler after a late restart in Saturday’s Nationwide Series race justified?

Elliott Sadler absolutely was robbed Saturday in Indianapolis. NASCAR’s restart rules are confusing and so open-ended it’s hard to believe this situation doesn’t happen more often. And in the case of Sadler the ramifications of being black flagged for truly not doing anything “wrong” more than likely cost him a win, a $100,000 bonus and quite possibly the overall Nationwide Series championship.

Read more from Eye On NASCAR

Jimmie Johnson making the rounds on ESPN Today
Five-time champion and 2012 Chase contender, Jimmie Johnson will be making the rounds on ESPN today – catch him on Sports Center – 10:30am, 12:40pm and 3:40pm ET and @notthefaceSVP at 1:30pm 

From @NASCARNation tweet

Monday, July 30, 2012
Goodyear confirms new tire combination
A tire test at Michigan International Speedway saw fast speeds and happy drivers.

The daylong tire test allowed teams and Goodyear to check out the new tires the teams will race when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series return in a few weeks.

Goodyear has selected a new combination for the two-mile race track – a combination of the original tires from the April test and a slightly softer version of the harder tire used during the June race.

Though top speeds were not official, some drivers went about 210-mph on Monday, but only averaged about 195-mph, a little slower than during the previous test in April and the June NASCAR event at the track.

The last time drivers were at MIS, the tires were very hard, a last-minute change when some drivers experienced blistering on their tires during practice sessions.

To avoid bringing back the same tires, Goodyear developed a new combination.

“Back in June was our first race on this new pavement. We digested everything we saw over the weekend in practice as well as what we had in the race,” Greg Stucker, director of Racing Tire Sales for Goodyear said. “We digested that and looked at all the data, poured over all the comments we got from the teams and drivers, made our recommendation for our package coming up in August. That is why we were here today for, just confirming that.”

Twenty-eight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams and two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams participated in a daylong tire confirmation at Michigan International Speedway on Monday.

Michigan International Speedway became NASCAR’s fastest racetrack in June. Marcos Ambrose’s speed of 203.41-mph for the Quicken Loans 400 was the 11th fastest pole-winning speed in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history and the first time the pole winning speed was faster than 200-mph at a track other than Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway.

Michigan son, Brad Keselowski agrees with Greg Biffle’s assessment, though speeds are slower, they lend themselves to exciting racing at NASCAR’s fastest track.

“Michigan is a lot different track with the repave and we saw that here with the spring race. So we’re all still just trying to get a grip on that, literally, and trying to figure it out,” he said. “So Goodyear has us here to find or reconfirm some things that we saw and hopefully improve the racing another notch here at Michigan International Speedway. So we’re just trying to help out here as we can and also make our cars better at the same time. So it’s a good process for all.”

From Michigan International Speedway-PR

New Goodyear tire passes test at Michigan
The NASCAR race weekend at Michigan International Speedway on Aug 17-19 should still be fast, and, in terms of a good, safe race, the tires on the Sprint Cup cars are more reliable this time around.

That’s the consensus from Monday’s Goodyear confirmation tire test by 28 Cup teams at MIS that saw slower speeds on a new tire but no blistering of rubber that disrupted practice and qualifying at Michigan’s repaved 2-mile oval during June’s Quicken Loans 400 Sprint Cup event.

Read more from USA Today

Track Position Could Lead to Chase Position for Jeff Gordon
Six races remain until the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup” field is set, and Jeff Gordon is currently outside looking in. The five-time Pocono Raceway winner knows it will take at least one win to earn a coveted “Chase” position, and track position could be the determining factor in who captures victory in Sunday’s Pennsylvania 400.

Two months ago in the newly repaved 2.5-mile track, Gordon battled back from 30th –  and a lap down due to a pit road speeding penalty – to run fifth in the 160-lap event. But a late pit stop for fuel placed Gordon well down the running order, and lost track position resulted in a 19th-place finish.

“That was a tough race, especially fighting back from a lap down and also having engine temperature issues,” said Gordon. “I remember two cars running off the track into the dirt that day and I was behind them both times which led to the high engine temps.’

“But the cra had good ‘speed’ all day. I’m hoping the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet has good race pace again and that we can do a good job of maintaining track position throughout the race.

“It’s amazing the difference on restarts when running up front here versus running mid-pack where you’ll get a run on a couple cars and before you know it, you’re already three-wide and other drivers that have gotten a run on you.”

Along with five wins, Gordon has two poles, 17 top-fives and 27 top-tens in 39 starts at the Pennsylvania track. He has led 957 laps here, tops among alld rivers at “The Tricky Triangle.”

“This track – even after the repave made it smoother and faster with more grip – still has ‘old’ Pocono characteristics which I love,” said Gordon. “The shape and the banking of the turns haven’t changed.

“It still has three unique – and three very challenging – corners.”

And if he can conquer those challenges Sunday, Gordon will draw one step closer to a “Chase” berth.

From Performance PR Plus for DuPont Motorsports-PR

Roger Penske still undecided on engine source for 2013 NASCAR season
Roger Penske not only must figure out who will drive the No. 22 Sprint Cup Series car next season, he must figure out where the engine will come from for all of his NASCAR vehicles.

Penske, who announced in March that his Penske Racing team would move from fielding Dodges to Fords, still has not made a final decision on whether to build his own engines, lease them from Roush Yates Engines or possibly become a partner in Roush Yates Engines.

Read more from Sporting News

Goodyear Tire Test Q&A with Ford Racing Driver Greg Biffle
Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Ford Fusion, was one of five Ford drivers participating in a Goodyear tire test today at Michigan International Speedway. Biffle took time to speak with MIS President Roger Curtis before the afternoon session on the track.

Q: How is the Tire Test going out there?
A: “The track is in excellent condition. The tire that Goodyear brought, we were all fearful that this tire would be really low on grip and the car would be hard to drive and it would chatter out from under us. That is certainly not the case. The tire has a lot of grip. It slowed the speed down a little bit. They told em it is the same right side tire, which I am pretty happy with, they just thinned the tire out a little bit so it doesn’t get so hot and it is really the same compound on the left. I am really pleased with the tire. I think we are going to see a great race when we come back here. Everybody will feel a little better about it.

Q: No Blistering? Still pretty fast?
A: No blistering and it is still pretty fast.

Q: How about the grooves? Are you going to be able to pass?
A: “Yeah, I think so. I think just like before, even probably a little better. Since the speed is down just a tiny bit I think you will see that groove continue to widen out. I have even floored it down lower on the race track and the car has some turn in it down there. I think we are going to see some good racing.

Q: How much of today is for you and your team to get ready and how much is for Goodyear to help them figure out the tire?
A: “Well, the good think about it is that this is really a verification test for Goodyear. It isn’t try this tire, this tire and this tire. They are pretty happy with the tire they have so this is to make sure it works. That opens it up for us to do whatever we want. This morning up until lunch we have been trying all kinds of things. We just go done with a 12 lap run which really helps Goodyear and helps us as well. We are seeing 295 degree shoulder temp which is well within range and we are running some fast laps. I think everyone is happy. We are happy we get to test and they are happy the tire is working out.”

Q: So this will probably be the fastest track in NASCAR, but not as fast as June?
A: “I am going to try but I don’t know if that will work. Maybe if we get it cold. If the track is green and cold we might be able to rip one or two off. I feel pretty good about running the fastest unofficial time in NASCAR ever. I guess it isn’t official because it wasn’t qualifying or anything but is was with NASCAR timing and scoring that we ran that 204.7-mph lap. I think I deserve a mini-cheetah for the fastest lap recorded in NASCAR.”

Q: How does the rest of the season look for you?
A: “We just got done with Indy and coming here for this test we feel really good about where we are as a team. Indy was a real eye opener for us. We ran very well and we were just a little short of the 48. We feel like we can come here and close that gap even more. We will go to Pocono and here and compete for a win and we feel like we are right there for the Chase.  That was a brand new car, a Chase build that we ran at Indy and we have four or five of those coming down the chain. We feel good about it.”

Q: Sounds like you are already thinking playoffs.
A: “Yeah, we are thinking playoffs. We are trying to figure out how to win and win the title.”

From PCGCampbell for Ford Racing-PR

Original Equipment Manufacturers Meet Necessary Targets for 2013 NSCS Race Car
Manufacturers get green light to begin developing parts for next year’s models

Based upon the final aerodynamic test results from July 18, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing – NASCAR – has announced that all four of its Original Equipment Manufacturers – OEMs – have met the necessary targets for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race car. This represents another step forward in the new car process and means manufacturers can begin making parts and pieces for the new models.

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car is the result of more than two years of collaborative efforts between the manufacturers and NASCAR. with goals of enhancing product relevance, featuring race cars that more closely resemble their respective manufacturer models on the showroom floor, and building upon the highly competitive racing the series features, the roll out of the new car is highly anticipated by NASCAR fans.

The four new models – Chevrolet’s SS, Dodge’s Charger, Ford’s Fusion and Toyota’s Camry – will make their race debuts next February at Daytona International Speedway, with the first championship points event being the 55th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb 24, 2013.

“We commend the manufacturers and our team at the R&D center on all the hard work they’ve put into this new car,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “With all the designs and surface areas of the car now approved, manufacturers can now move forward with building the components needed to outfit their cars. The wind tunnel testing we’ve had with the manufacturers over the past several months has given us the timely and necessary data we needed to come to this confirmation. We believe the new car is going to be a milestone opportunity for our sport, one that our fans will embrace.”


Sponsor woes hold up plans for The Glen
Watkins Glen International is still without a title sponsor for their NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event with less than two weeks until race team haulers start rolling into the facility.

Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips had been the presenting sponsor of the track’s Cup Series race since 2009 but pulled out of their contract earlier this year.

Read more from WGR 550 Sports Radio

Michigan tire test: Danica Patrick blows engine early in session
Even a tire test didn’t go well for Danica Patrick in a season that could be best described as a “learning process.”

Part of the learning came Monday, when Patrick was among the more than two dozen cars testing tires at Michigan International Speedway.

Read more from Sporting News

Runners-up awed by Johnson’s dominance
Kyle Busch and Greg Biffle had every reason to be pleased with their Sunday drives at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After all, each had a car worthy of a trip to the winner’s circle.

One of them might have made it there, had Jimmie Johnson decided at some point three silver brick trophies were enough. Instead, Busch’s “phenomenal” Toyota and Biffle’s “great” Ford had to play second and third fiddle to Johnson’s dominant Chevrolet.

Read more from

Gordon, Edwards Face Rough Road
Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards had very different Sundays at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. 

Gordon had one of the Crown Royal 400’s best cars and rolled home to a fifth-place finish. Edwards was largely forgotten by the race’s halfway point, his day ruined by early-race engine trouble. He finished 29th.

Read more from SPEED

NASCAR Owes Clearer Explanations On Restart Rules
NASCAR won’t get specific about certain situations and penalties on restarts. But wouldn’t it be better to have all the rules clearly spelled out?

Like the parent who justifies everything with “Because I said so,” NASCAR had no intention of getting specific about its thinking on restart rules during Sunday’s pre-race drivers meeting at Indianapolis.

Read more from SB Nation

Tony Stewart colorful as in-race reporter at Indy
On most weekends, Tony Stewart wouldn’t be happy with a 10th-place finish, especially in his favorite race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit.

But he said he had little reason to complain after finishing 10th in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, in which he started 28th after a slow qualifying session one day earlier and spent most of the race near the back of the pack.

Read more at USA Today

Denny Hamlin notes ‘Unique’ Hendrick Setup
Denny Hamlin was watching Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 car during qualifying when something caught his eye: The rear of Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports car looked different than the others.

“The Hendrick cars had something going on with the back of their cars that was…unique,” Hamlin said. “They were the dominant cars. No one was going to run with them – especially the 48.”

Read more from SB Nation

NASCAR’s ISC tracks respond to Fans
Great news for #NASCAR fans – ISC tracks announce they are installing fiber optic networks to help fan wireless connectivity on race day. 

From @NASCAR Tweet  Watch for more details when available

Johnson Joins Legendary Company with Fourth ‘400’ Victory

Johnson kisses famed bricks with team,
his wife and daughter
Photo – IMS/Chris Owens

Make room for Jimmie Johnson among the legends of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Johnson won the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard Powered by on Sunday, July 29, joining Jeff Gordon as the only four-time winners of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at IMS.

Five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Johnson also won in 2006, 2008 and 2009. He joins Gordon and Indianapolis 500 legends AJ Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears as four-time winners of an oval race at IMS. Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix five times on the IMS road course.

“Man, you just hope to race here,” Johnson said. “To come here and win is a huge honor. And to win four – four wins! I’m at a loss for words. It was a total team effort. We put it on them today. It was nice.”

Johnson drove his No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet to a 4.758-second victory over the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota of Kyle Busch. He earned $430,461. Hendrick Motorsports earned its eighth Brickyard victory, extending its event record.

Greg Biffle finished third in the No. 16 3M Ford.

Dale Earnhardt Jr finished a Brickyard career best fourth in the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet, taking the Sprint Cup points lead. Gordon was fifth in the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, his 11th top-five finish in 19 starts at this event.

Johnson led 99 of 160 laps in a dominate performance. He took the lead for good by passing Biffle on Lap 132. Johnson’s crew won the race in the pits on the final stop of the race, under caution on Lap 134. Johnson then did his part by holding off Biffle on the final restart of the race, on Lap 141, and he pulled away over the final laps on the 2.5-mile oval.

Pole-sitter Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski were Johnson’s toughest challengers over the first 100 laps.

Hamlin led the first 26 laps in the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota and one lap thereafter but finished sixth. Keselowski led three times for 22 laps in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge but faded to ninth.

Indiana natives and Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart both finished in the top-ten. Newman, from South Bend, placed seventh in the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet. Steward from Columbus, finished 10th in the No. 14 Mobil1/Office Depot cheverolet.

2011 “400” winner Paul Menard finished 14th in the No. 27 Menards/Nibco Chevrolet.

The next event at IMS is the Red Bull Indianapolis GP MotoGP World Championship motorcycle race in August.

From Indianapolis Motor Speedway-PR

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


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