NASCAR News & Views – Volume 50 – October 29 – November 4, 2012

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 NASCAR News & Views – Vol 50

October 29 – November 4, 2012

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Today’s NASCAR News & Views

November 4, 2012

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pit Stall Selections – AAA Texas 500

2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 Race Results

From back-to-back poles and now back-to-back victories, Jimmie Johnson holds off Brad Keselowski – by 0.808 seconds – Sunday to win the 2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Johnson, who was also on the pole and won last week at Martinsville, received his 5th series win of the 2012 season, his 60th series career win, his 2nd series win at Texas Motor Speedway and gives Chevrolet their 700th series victory.

Following Johnson and Keselowski – who now has a 7-point deficit behind series points leader Johnson – to the drop of the checkered flag were Kyle Busch finishing in third, Matt Kenseth fourth and the series defending champion Tony Stewart finished in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Clint Bowyer who finished in sixth, Dale Earnhardt Jr seventh, Kurt Busch eighth, Kevin Harvick ninth and Greg Biffle finishing in the tenth position.

Race Notes

Average Speed – 136.117-mph

Time of Race – 3 hrs, 41 mins, 30 secs

Margin of Victory – 0.808 seconds

Lead Changes – 20 among 7 drivers

Cautions – 9 for 49 laps

Attendance – 146,000

Race Results   –   Point Standings

Next Up – The 25th annual AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, Nov 21st, with an approximate starting time of 3:20pm EST and television coverage provided by ESPN beginning with their 2:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

November 3, 2012

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Race Results

Kevin Harvick dominates the NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Saturday night, as he leads the most laps – 127 out of 200 – and holds off an impressive run by 18-year-old Ryan Blaney – by 1.628 seconds – to win at Texas Motor Speedway.

This was Harvick’s second series win of the 2012 season, his thirty-ninth series career win and his fifth series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Following Harvick and Blaney to the drop of the checkered flag were pole-sitter Kyle Busch finishing third, the new series points leader, Ricky Stenhouse Jr – who is actually tied with Elliott Sadler, but has the lead, based upon having more wins this season – fourth and Denny Hamlin finished fifth.

Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon came in the sixth position, while Sam Hornish Jr finished seventh, Justin Allgaier eighth, Kevin Swindell ninth and Joey Logano rounding out the top-ten finishing positions.

Race Notes

Average Speed – 141.919-mph

Time of Race – 2 hrs, 06 mins, 50 secs.

Margin of Victory – 1.628 seconds

Lead Changes – 11 among 5 drivers

Cautions – 5 for 22 laps

Attendance – 68,500

Race Results   –   Point Standings

Next Up – The 14th annual Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, Nov 10th, with an approximate starting time of 4:20pm ET and television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 3:30pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race program.

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Bruton Smith shares his ideas, criticisms for current state of NASCAR

Bruton Smith, the eccentric billionaire whose Speedway Motorsports Inc owns eight NASCAR tracks, held court in the Texas Motor Speedway media center on Saturday and addressed a wide range of subjects.

Read more from SB Nation

2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 Final Practice Session Speeds

During the final NSCS AAA Texas 500 practice session, it was once again Brad Keselowski with a lap speed of 184.300-mph, showing the fastest way around Texas Motor Speedway.

Clint Bowyer, with a lap speed of 184.193-mph, was the second fastest, and was followed by Matt Kenseth 184.187-mph who was third fastest, the current series points leader, Jimmie Johnson 184.055 fourth and Carl Edwards 183.830 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Denny Hamlin 183.624-mph who was sixth fastest, Sam Hornish Jr 183.287 seventh, Kyle Busch 183.045 eighth, AJ Allmendinger 182.877 ninth and Dale Earnhardt Jr 182.463 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The 8th annual AAA Texas 500 on Sunday afternoon is scheduled to get underway approximately at 3:20pm ET and ESPN will provide television coverage beginning with their 2:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

SRT Motorsports’ Keys for Success – AAA Texas 500

Track – Texas Motor Speedway – Race 34 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the eighth race in the ten-race Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Via Howard Comstock – SRT Motorsports Engineering

Don’t Forget About Pit Road – “It’s a long race with long green-flag runs. You have to be careful on pit road. Drivers continue to get caught speeding, costing them valuable track position. Somebody is going to get in trouble tomorrow on pit road because they’re not paying attention.”

Fuel Economy – “We talk about it almost every week, but fuel mileage will be a key tomorrow. We’re in the 34th of 36 Cup Series races and we’re still talking about fuel mileage, it’s not by coincidence. Fuel economy is a big issue. Some drivers have handled it better than others this year. Our Dodge R6 engine has proven to be the best in the garage with fuel economy and it may very well play out tomorrow.”

Run Your Race – “It’s really important, especially if you’re the No. 2 Dodge team, to run your race. I think they’re independent thinkers and it has gotten them this far. Don’t change now. Run your race and understand the limits of your car and the limits of changes you can make to your car. Brad – Keselowski – is one of the best in the garage at saving fuel and we think we have an advantage with our R6 engine with fuel mileage. Advantage Brad Keselowski

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Starting Lineup

Kyle Busch, with a qualifying lap speed of 183.051-mph, captured the 2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Coors Light Pole Award at Texas Motor Speedway.

This was Busch’s second series pole of the 2012 season, his twenty-fifth series career pole and his third series pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

The current series points leader, Elliott Sadler, with a qualifying lap speed of 182.859-mph, will sit on the outside pole, and will be followed by Kevin Harvick 181.452-mph who will start third, series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon 181.293 fourth and Ricky Stenhouse Jr 181.257 starting from fifth.

Rookie contender, Cole Whitt 180.355-mph will start from sixth, while Joey Logano 180.090 seventh, Danica Patrick 180.084 eighth, Denny Hamlin 180.000 ninth and Kenny Wallace 179.850 rounds out the top-ten positions.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #46 driven by Chase Miller; #15 driven by Timmy Hill; #13 driven by Jennifer Jo Cobb; and the #89 driven by Morgan Shepherd.

The 8th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET this evening and television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 7:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 Second Practice Session Speeds

Saturday afternoon, Brad Keselowski, with a lap speed of 186.929-mph, was the quickest during the second NSCS AAA Texas 500 practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

The current series points leader Jimmie Johnson was second quickest with a lap speed of 186.864-mph and was followed by Denny Hamlin 186.066-mph who was third quickest, Greg Biffle 185.950 fourth and Carl Edwards 185.312 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the practice session were Clint Bowyer 185.223-mph who was sixth quickest Kyle Busch 185.096 seventh, Tony Stewart 185.020 eighth, Kasey Kahne 184.875 ninth and Martin Truex Jr 184.344 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return later today for their 5:45 to 6:45pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session before they tackle the 8th annual AAA Texas 500 on Sunday afternoon. The race is scheduled to get underway approximately at 3:20pm ET on Sunday, Nov 4th and ESPN will provide television coverage beginning with their 2:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Second Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Chevrolet Clinches 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship

Chevrolet has clinched the 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship. With Nelson Piquet Jr’s third place finish in the WinStar World Casino 350 at Texas Motor Speedway, Chevrolet captured the prestigious title for the eighth time since the 1995 inception of the Series.

“It is exciting to clinch the Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway,” said Jim Campbell, US Vice President Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “Each Chevrolet Silverado team contributed valuable points all season long to help us secure the championship. We appreciate the hard work of each Chevy team and driver who helped deliver this prestigious title for Chevrolet.”

With 20 of 22 races in the 2012 record books, Chevy Silverado drivers have gone to Victory Lane 11 times with James Buescher scoring a series-high four wins to this point in the season.

“The Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series have worked diligently this season with the Chevrolet engineers as well as our technical partners,” said Pat Suhy, Chevrolet Racing NASCAR Group Manager. “It is their dedication, passion and focus that resulted in winning the Manufacturers’ Championshp for Chevy. Thank you to everyone whose efforts played such a significant role in our on-track success.”

Nelson Piquet Jr – two wins, Ty Dillon – one win, Joey Coulter – one win, Justin Lofton – one win, Kevin Harvick – one win, Kasey Kahne – one win, and Ron Hornaday, in addition to Buescher, contributed valuable Manufacturers’ points to Chevrolet’s title-winning effort.

“I am very proud of the efforts put forth each and every race weekend by our teams,” said Dayne Pierantoni, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. “Though always focused on winning each race, they are also united in their dedication to delivering the best performance possible for Chevrolet. Congratulations to all of the Silverado teams as well as our technical partners on winning the 2012 Manufacturers’ Championship in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. We are looking forward to a strong finish to the season.”

With just two races remaining in the season, Team Chevy has three drivers in the top-five in point standings Buescher leads Dillon by 15 points in the battle for the championship following the Texas race.

From Team Chevy-PR

 Fire destroys Marlin’s garage, race cars

Welding sparks ignited a gas leak at an automotive garage owned by retired NASCAR driver Sterling Marlin causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage and burning three race cars inside, Marlin said.

The 2,500-square foot garage in the 900 block of Mahon Road was destroyed, as were the cars, Maury County Fire Chief Mark Gandee said.

Marlin said the three cars belonged to his son-in-law Michael House, who intended to drive them in Nashville. Marlin estimated that the fire caused about $300,000 in damage.

Read more from The Columbia Daily Herald

November 2, 2012

2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k Race Results

Johnny Sauter held off Parker Kligerman – by 2.199 seconds – Friday night as he won the 2012 WinStar World Casino 350k, and making it a clean sweep of the two NCWTS races held at Texas Motor Speedway this season.

This was Sauter’s second series win of the 2012 season, his sixth series career win and his second series win at Texas Motor Speedway.

Following Sauter and Kligerman to the drop of the checkered flag were pole-sitter Nelson Piquet Jr finishing third, Kyle Busch fourth and series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon – now second in the points with a 15-point deficit behind James Buescher, who came in eleventh – finished in fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten finishing positions were Matt Crafton finishing in sixth, Joey Coulter seventh, Todd Bodine eighth, Aric Almirola ninth and Timothy Peters finished in the tenth position.

With Sauter’s win, Chevrolet has now clinched the manufacturer’s championship, and sweeps all three NASCAR national series manufacturer titles for 2012.

Race Notes

Average Speed – 154.737-mph

Time of Race – 1 hr, 25 mins, 30 secs

Margin of Victory – 2.199 seconds

Lead Changes – 10 among 9 drivers

Cautions – 2 for 8 laps

Attendance – 55,000

Race Results   –   Point Standings

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Ross Kenseth impresses Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch would love to offer Ross Kenseth a Camping World Truck Series ride in 2013.

While Busch is quite impressed with Kenseth and has raced against the 19-year-old in various series, the biggest stumbling block for inking a deal could be sponsorship.

Read more from FOX Sports

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge Final Practice Session Speeds

Friday evening during the final NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge practice session, it was Kyle Busch with a lap speed of 183.038-mph, showing the fastest way around Texas Motor Speedway.

Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Austin Dillon, was second fastest with a lap speed of 181.354-mph, and was followed by the defending series champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr 180.355-mph who was third fastest, Danica Patrick 179.886 fourth and Sam Hornish Jr 179.134 was fifth fastest.

The current series points leader, Elliott Sadler 178.501-mph posted the sixth fastest lap speed, while rookie contender Brad Sweet 178.389 was seventh fastest, Kevin Harvick 178.359 eighth, Ryan Blaney 177.989 ninth and Kevin Swindell 177.954 rounds out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session.

The teams will return Saturday afternoon at 4:10pm ET for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for the 8th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge race that evening. The race is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET on Saturday, Nov 3rd and television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 7:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds   –   Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 Starting Lineup

For the second week in a row, Jimmie Johnson, with a qualifying lap speed of 191.076-mph, will take point as he captured the 2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 Coors Light Pole Award at Texas Motor Speedway.

This was Johnson’s fourth series pole of the 2012 season, his twenty-ninth series career pole and his first series pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Starting second on the outside pole with a qualifying lap speed of 190.382-mph, will be Greg Biffle, followed by Kyle Busch 190.127-mph who will start third, Clint Bowyer 190.127-mph who will start third, Clint Bowyer 190.067 fourth and Martin Truex Jr 189.994 starts fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be Joey Logano 189.760-mph starting sixth, Trevor Bayne 189.607 seventh, Brad Keselowski 189.534 eighth, Carl Edwards 189.474 ninth and Matt Kenseth 189.460 will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #33 driven by Stephen Leicht; #79 driven by Kelly Bires and the #30 driven by David Stremme.

The teams will return Saturday for two more practice sessions 3:00 to 3:30pm ET and “Happy Hour” 5:45 to 6:45pm ET before they tackle the 8th annual AAA Texas t00 on Sunday afternoon. The race is scheduled to get underway approximately at 3:20pm ET on Sunday,  Nov 4th, and ESPN will provide television coverage beginning with their 2:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k Starting Lineup

Backing up his practice speeds, Nelson Piquet Jr, with a qualifying lap speed of 180.246-mph, captured the 2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k Keystone Light Pole Award at Texas Motor Speedway.

This was Piquet’s third series pole of the 2012 season, his third series career pole and his first series pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

The current series points leader, James Buescher, with a qualifying lap speed of 179.952-mph, will start on the outside pole, and will be followed by Kyle Busch 179.916-mph who will start third, Miguel Paludo 179.390 fourth and Joey Coulter 179.045 starting fifth.

Rounding out the top-ten starting positions will be David Mayhew 179.033-mph starting from sixth, Aric Almirola 178.873 seventh, Series Rookie of the Year contenders, John Wes Townley 178.820 and Ty Dillon 178.808 will start eighth and ninth respectively, and Parker Kligerman 178.796 will start from the tenth position.

Failing to make the starting lineup were the #83 driven by Chris Fontaine and the #0 driven by Blake Koch.

The 14th annual WinStar World Casino 350k is set to get underway around 8:20pm ET this evening, and SPEED will provide television coverage beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

Starting Lineup

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NNS O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge First Practice Session Speeds

NASCAR Nationwide Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Cole Whitt, with a lap speed of 179.892-mph, was the quickest during the first O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

The defending series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr, with a lap speed of 179.862-mph, was the second quickest followed by Kevin Harvick 179.390-mph who was third quickest, the current series points leader, Elliott Sadler 179.015 fourth and Sam Hornish Jr 178.583 was fifth quickest.

Last week’s NCWTS race winner, Denny Hamlin 177.959 posted the sixth quickest lap speed, and was followed by Joey Logano 177.954 seventh, series rookie contender Austin Dillon 177.942 eighth, Kyle Busch 177.632 ninth and Michael Annett 177.509 rounding out the top-ten quickest in the session.

The teams will return later this evening for the 6:00 to 7:30pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session, and then return on Saturday afternoon at 4:10pm ET for qualifying to determine the starting lineup for that evening’s race.

The 8th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge is set to get underway around 7:50pm ET on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, and television coverage will be provided by ESPN beginning with their 7:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Entry List   –   First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

2012 NSCS AAA Texas 500 First Practice Session Speeds

Martin Truex, Jr – with a lap speed of 190.745-mph, and his Michael Waltrip Racing/MWR teammate Mark Martin – with a lap speed of 190.449-mph, posted the top-two fastest speeds respectively during the NSCS AAA Texas 500 practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

Second in the series point standings, Brad Keselowski was the third fastest with a lap speed of 190.121-mph, while the third MWR driver, Clint Bowyer 189.867-mph was fourth fastest and the series defending champion Tony Stewart 188.805 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the practice session were Aric Almirola 188.633-mph who was sixth fastest, Matt Kenseth 187.963 seventh, Kasey Kahne 187.826 eighth, Kevin Harvick 187.748 ninth and Greg Biffle 187.735 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return later this afternoon for their 4:10pm ET scheduled qualifying session to determine the starting lineup for Sunday’s race, and then return on Saturday for two more practice sessions 3:00pm to 3:50pm and “Happy Hour” 5:45pm to 6:45pm ET.

The 8th annual AAA Texas 500 is scheduled to get underway approximately at 3:20pm ET on Sunday, Nov 4th and ESPN will provide television coverage beginning with their 2:00pm ET NASCAR Countdown pre-race show.

Entry List   –   First Practice Speeds   –   Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

November 1, 2012

2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k Final Practice Session Speeds

Nelson Piquet Jr, was once again on top of the speed charts as he ran a lap speed of 182.113-mph, for the fastest lap in the final NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

Miguel Paludo, with a lap speed of 181.220-mph, was the second fastest during the session, while the current series points leader, James Buescher 181.111-mph was third fastest, Ryan Blaney 181.002 fourth and series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, Ty Dillon 180.838 was fifth fastest.

Rounding out the top-ten fastest during the “Happy Hour” – final – practice session were Kyle Busch 180.288-mph who was sixth fastest, Matt Crafton 180.270 seventh, David Mayhew 180.240 eighth, rookie contender Cale Gale 180.168 ninth and Joey Coulter 180.108 posting the tenth fastest lap speed.

The teams will return on Friday for qualifying at 3:10pm ET to determine the starting lineup for the 14th annual WinStar World Casino 350k – which is set to get underway around 8:20pm ET Friday night that evening – and SPEED will provide television coverage beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

Final Practice Speeds   –   Qualifying Order

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

Dodge still sees its potential in sport

The chief of Dodge Motorsports is hopeful that the manufacturer will return to NASCAR in the not-too-distant future.

“Going forward, we’re going to take the year off, evaluate the potential,” Ralph Gilles told ESPN.com Tuesday after a panel discussion at the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association Show on the future of motorsports. “We also did a lot of data mining. Part of the issue our management team wanted was, what are we really getting out of NASCAR? We only have two cars out of a huge field. Are we getting our money’s worth?

Read more from ESPN

2012 NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k First Practice Session Speeds

Nelson Piquet Jr, with a lap speed of 181.574-mph, was the quickest during the first NCWTS WinStar World Casino 350k practice session at Texas Motor Speedway.

Second quickest with a lap speed of 180.735-mph, was Parker Kligerman, followed by the current series points leader, James Buescher 180.469-mph who was third quickest, Timothy Peters 180.433 fourth and Joey Coulter 180.421 was fifth quickest.

Rounding out the top-ten quickest during the practice session were Kyle Busch 179.922-mph who was sixth quickest, series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender, John Wes Townley 179.910 seventh, Brandon McReynolds 179.880 eighth, Miguel Paludo 179.874 ninth and Johnny Sauter 179.778 posting the tenth quickest lap speed.

The teams will return later this evening for their 7:30pm to 9:00pm ET scheduled “Happy Hour” – final – practice session, before returning on Friday for qualifying at 3:10pm ET to determine the starting lineup for that evening’s race.

The 14th annual WinStar World Casino 350k is set to get underway around 8:20pm ET Friday night, and SPEED will provide television coverage beginning with their 7:30pm ET pre-race show.

First Practice Speeds

From Timing & Scoring provided by NASCARmedia

 

October 31, 2012

Cheerios Returns to the Track with RCR No. 31, Burton in 2013

General Mills iconic Cheerios brand will be returning to the track in 2013 in partnership with Richard Childress Racing as the primary sponsor for six races and as a major associate sponsor for the rest of the season with the No. 31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Jeff Burton.

America’s No. 1 cereal franchise will bring its fan-favorite yellow and black paint scheme to the following races in 2013: Phoenix International Raceway – March 3, Bristol Motor Speedway – March 17, Charlotte Motor Speedway – May 26, Dover International Speedway – June 2, Michigan International Speedway – August 18 and New Hampshire Motor Speedway – September 22.

“We are excited to continue our partnership with RCR and Jeff Burton in 2013. As a successful professional athlete committed to health and fitness, and an honest, hard-working husband and father, Jeff lives out the values that Cheerios represents,” said Meredith Tutterrow, Associate Marketing Director, Cheerios. “We know that Jeff is committed to winning and we look forward to seeing him in Victory Lane.”

General Mills, with roots as a NASCAR sponsor for more than 15 years, began its partnership with RCR in 2008 with Cheerios brand as a primary sponsor of the No. 33 Sprint Cup Series team. The program moved to the No. 31 team as a co-primary sponsor for the 2012 Sprint Cup season.

“General Mills, through its Cheerios brand and others, including Wheaties, has been a great partner over the years, so we’re proud to continue that relationship in 2013 with Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Chevrolet team,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “Cheerios has been a family favorite for over 70 years and is one of the most iconic and trusted brands in America. We look forward to a successful 2012 season with Cheerios and the No. 31 team.”

From Richard Childress Racing-PR

Joey Logano will have Todd Gordon as his Penske crew chief

Todd Gordon, in his first season as a Sprint Cup crew chief, will return to Penske Racing’s No. 22 car in 2013, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gordon will be the crew chief for new Penske driver Joey Logano, who is joining the organization after this season.

Read more from Sporting News

ESPN’s Hannah Storm Goes In-Depth with Four of NASCAR’s Best

With the 2012 NASCAR season nearing the finish line, four of the sport’s biggest stars will open their lives to fans in a one-hour conversation special with ESPN Sports Center anchor Hannah Storm on Tuesday, November 6, at 8pm ET on ESPN.

Sports Center Special – NASCAR Face-to-Face with Hannah Storm, will feature NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Tony Stewart. Viewers will get an up-close look at their lives away from the track through a blend of conversation and access as they near the end of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with Johnson and Keselowski locked in a battle for the 2012 series championship.

NASCAR will be the fourth subject in Storm’s Face-to-Face series on ESPN, which in previous editions focused on the NBA, the NFL and NFL player Tim Tebow. The program re-airs Thursday, Nov. 8, at 8pm on ESPN2.

In the program, Keselowski, one of NASCAR’s younger stars who has developed a large following with his openness on social media, and Storm visit a shooting range, where Keselowski often goes to unwind. “As is typical he was incredibly forthcoming on any number of topics from his rivals, his reputation, his upbringing and controversial issues in the sport,” said Storm.

Johnson and his wife, Chandra, talk with Storm in an art gallery. “He was surrounded with very personal photographs of the Chase last year,” said Storm. “Jimmie opens up about what he learned from the ending of his (championship) streak,” adding that the Johnsons also discuss their life on the road as young parents.

Earnhardt, the sport’s most popular driver, gives one of his most extensive interviews since missing two events due to a concussion, while Stewart provides a glimpse of his busy life as a driver-owner.

“I believe NASCAR fans, and sports fans in general, will come away with a real appreciation and insight into the drivers we are profiling,” said Storm.

From ESPN-PR

Parkway to buy NASCAR Plaza for $100 million

Parkway Properties has agreed to buy the 20-story NASCAR Plaza office building for approximately $100 million.

Read more from Charlotte Business Journal

SRT Motorsports Presents The Numbers – AAA Texas 500

1 – number of wins from the pole – Kasey Kahne, 4/9/06

1 – fewest laps led by race winner – Jeff Burton, 4/15/07

2 – fewest cautions – 4/14/12

4 – fewest leaders – 11/8/09

6 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend

6 – fewest cars on lead lap at finish – 11/8/09

10 – fewest caution laps – 4/14/12

12 – most cautions – three times, most recent 11/4/07

13 – fewest lead changes – twice, most recent 11/8/09

16 – different race winners

17 – most leaders – 4/2/00

17 – wins from a top-ten starting position

25 – most on lead lap at finish – 11/6/05

29 – fewest running at finish – three times, most recent 4/19/10

33 – most lead changes – 11/7/10

40 – most cars running at finish – twice, most recent 11/2/08

73 – most caution laps – 4/6/97

120 minutes – amount of time it takes to dry the 1.5-mile track after a significant rainfall

278 – most laps led by race winner – 11/5/06

Key TMS Dates

1995 – construction began

1997 – first Sprint Cup race

2005 – first year track hosted two Sprint Cup events

2012 Caution Update

1 – fewest cautions this season – Fontana

8 – races extended beyond scheduled distance – Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega, Darlington, Sonoma, Michigan2, Atlanta and Talladega2

14 – most cautions this season – Kansas2

196 – number of cautions in the first 33 races of 2012; includes 91 for accidents, 50 for debris and 24 for spins

1,025 of 9,521 – number of laps under caution in 2012

1,392.952 of 12,497.676 – miles under caution in the first 33 races

BONUS – Three Texas tracks have hosted 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with Texas Motor Speedway the site of 23 races since 1997. Meyer Speedway in Houston hosted one race in 1971 and Texas World Speedway in College Station hosted eight from 1969 to 1981.

From Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports – Dodge-PR

Hurricane Sandy Update – Watkins Glen, Pocono feel effects

Some racetracks that play host to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy reported slight damage from the storm as of Tuesday afternoon, while others were largely spared.

Watkins Glen, a road course that covers more than 1,800 acres in upstate New York that is 250 miles northwest of New York City, suffered more than an estimated $50,000 worth of damage, according to track president Michael Printup.

Read more from Sporting News

ALSO from Sporting News – Martin Truex Jr’s family feels Hurricane Sandy’s effects

Green Earth Technologies partners with NASCAR

Company offers environment-safe products to help fans keep their home green

In a joint announcement Tuesday at the 2012 AAPEX Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas, Florida-based Green Earth Technologies (GET) joined the stable of Official NASCAR Green Partners. GET’s G-CLEAN pressure washers and environment-safe cleaning products and degreasers for concrete, home siding and outdoor mold and mildew stain removal, will offer NASCAR fans a green alternative to use on their homes,

Since its 2008 launch, NASCAR Green and its stakeholders have helped fans discover the substantial improvements and technological advancements made to reduce the sport’s impact on the environment,. According to a 2012 custom environment-related study by Toluna, NASCAR fans are more than 20 times more likely than non-fans to describe their own households as very green — always looking for new ways to positively impact the environment.

“NASCAR is synonymous with high performance and partnering with them will allow us to reach millions of consumers who desire to keep their homes clean and green without giving up product performance or value,” said Jeffrey Loch, President and CMO of Green Earth Technologies. “We are proud to deliver American-made environment-safe outdoor cleaning solutions and we look forward to having a growing presence in the sport.”

In 2012, GET established a partnership with the US Environment Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program (DfE), certifying its products as effective and safer for human health and the environment. Earlier this year, NASCAR entered into a broad, voluntary collaboration with the EPA to raise awareness about the benefits of green products and solutions that have earned the DfE label.

“Our NASCAR Green platform has been dedicated to integrating environmentally sound practices within the sport because it is the right thing to do for our fans, our business and our planet,” said Jim O’Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. “Through its cutting-edge development of environment safe consumer goods, Green Earth Technologies has positioned itself as an innovator in the green marketplace. We will work together to create additional ways to reduce our sports’ impact on the environment.”

GET’s presence in the sport will expand across NASCAR Home Tracks, including participation in the NASCAR Home Tracks Contingency program. GET’s G-CLEAN logo will be featured on-track with a decal on each entry in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Additionally, Green Earth Technologies signage will be prominently featured at Home Track racetracks across the country.

“This is a great opportunity for Green Earth Technologies to reach our core fans,” said Bob Duvall, NASCAR director of business development, weekly & touring. “We are proud to be able to incorporate NASCAR Green into every level of our sport – from grassroots races to the Sprint Cup Series.”

NASCAR’s transformative efforts in Green have established the league as the leader in sustainability across all sports. Through strategic partnerships with teams, tracks and Official Partners, NASCAR Green continues to set new benchmarks. NASCAR features the world’s largest solar-powered sports facility, a tree planting program capturing 200 percent of emissions produced by on-track racing, and the largest recycling program in sports including such partners as Coca-Cola, Coors Light, Creative Recycling, Goodyear, Safety Kleen, and Sprint. Additionally, NASCAR launched a long-term biofuels program to reduce emissions in all its racing series with partners Sunoco, American Ethanol and the National Corn Growers Association.

From NASCAR’s Official Release

Chandra and Jimmie Johnson announce second edition of On the Road

The 208-page, hardcover book chronicles Johnson’s 2011 unsuccessful quest for a historic sixth consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship.

In addition, a partnership with online retailer Amazon has been formed and the book is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

In less than three months, more than 4,200 books have been sold through various outlets, including JimmieJohnson.com and the #48 Lowe’s trackside merchandise hauler – a testament to the passion and loyalty of NASCAR fans that played a significant role in the book’s sellout status.

From True Speed Communications-PR  For more details go to Amazon.com

 

October 30, 2012

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Yearbook now available to order

This hardcover collectible edition and complete chronicle of the 2012 race season will ship in mid December of 2012. The yearbook showcases great photography from the sports best photographers and includes complete stories for every race by noted motorsports writer Bob Zeller.

For more details go to Round5Books.com

New Updated Book for NASCAR Fans – Then Junior Said to Jeff…

This collection of behind-the scenes happenings from the history of the beloved stock car series, shares stores of the great and infamous, revealing privy insights into the drivers that fans thought they knew everything about. The book grants a glimpse into Buck Baker’s tomato juice incident, how his son Buddy Baker landed face first in the mud on an ambulance stretcher, Dale Earnhardt’s 1997 Daytona 500 rolling crash and how he famously went from ambulance to car to complete the race. Tony Stewart’s realization that racing was the ideal career choice, and how Jeff Gordon “misplaced” his commemorative Richard Petty money clip.

For more details go to TriumphBooks.com

Jimmie Johnson vs. Brad Keselowski – Who has the edge?

By Reid Spencer – NASCAR Wire Service

It’s that time of year.

Barring disaster for the top two drivers, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is a two-man race.

With three Chase races remaining, who has the edge? Johnson or Keselowski?
Photo – Getty Images

That’s not to say that the sort of misfortune that quashed Denny Hamlin‘s title aspirations in Sunday’s TUMS Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville can’t happen to Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.

A part can break at any time, as did a bolt to the master switch on Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota on Sunday. A stuck throttle can send a car hurtling into the outside wall, as was the case with Jeff Gordon in the first Chase race at Chicagoland.

A sudden twitch by another driver can trigger a wreck that wipes out one of the leaders, as was the case when Sam Hornish Jr.‘s car collided with Johnson’s in the 2009 Chase race at Texas.

In 2009, however, Johnson had a large enough margin to absorb a 38th-place finish. This year, his margin heading to Texas is razor-thin.

In winning at Martinsville, Johnson turned a seven-point deficit entering the race into a two-point advantage. Keselowski also accomplished his objective at the Cup series’ most venerable short track, rallying from a 32nd-place starting position to post a career-best finish — sixth.

“It’s like being in a war and surviving a battle,” Keselowski said after the race. “It’s not necessarily a win — you’re just happy to still be living.”

Clint Bowyer left Martinsville third in points, 26 behind Johnson. Kasey Kahne is fourth, 29 back. Neither has a realistic shot at the championship if either Johnson or Keselowski simply stays the course.

Between the two frontrunners, who has the edge? Here’s a breakdown of the relevant factors.

Experience: A clear edge here for Johnson, who has been through the Chase meat grinder in five championship-winning seasons. Johnson is the only driver to have qualified for every Chase since the inception of NASCAR’s playoff format in 2004, and he’s never finished lower than sixth in the final standings. This is Keselowski’s first taste of life as a contender in NASCAR’s premier series. If he gets one hand on the trophy, will nerves set in, as they did with Hamlin in 2010?

Race Tracks: On the surface, the last three venues would seem to favor Johnson, but a close analysis indicates that may not be the case. Keselowski believes Texas and Homestead, both 1.5-mile intermediate speedways, play to his strengths. Johnson has one career win at Texas, none at Homestead. Johnson has but 12 top fives in 29 starts at the two tracks combined, suggesting that there’s room for Keselowski to make inroads. True, Keselowski has never posted a top-10 at either Texas or Homestead, but he has made a habit of outperforming expectations this year. His first career top 10 at Dover, for instance, was a win in this Chase.

Johnson’s real edge comes at Phoenix, scheduled between the two intermediates. In terms of career-average finish — with the exception of Kentucky and its small sample size (two races) — Phoenix is Johnson’s best track. The five-time champ has four wins in 18 starts there and an average finish of 5.3 to Keselowski’s 22.2. Keselowski did finish fifth there in March, however, and will need a similar result to keep pace with Johnson.

Crew Chiefs: This category is a dead heat. True, Chad Knaus is the architect of Johnson’s five championships, but in his second full season with Keselowski, Paul Wolfe is a master strategist and a budding superstar on the pit box. Knaus orchestrated the repairs of a wrecked car at Kansas, and Johnson drove it to a top-10 finish, keeping the No. 48 in title contention. Wolfe’s calls were integral to putting Keselowski in Victory Lane in the first Chase race at Chicagoland. No edge here.

Drivers: Another dead heat. Both Johnson and Keselowski are elite talents and equally fearless. Both are at the top of the chart in terms of the feedback they provide to their teams. There are some differences in style and substance: typically, Johnson does the driving and leaves the strategy to Knaus, while Keselowski is more of a decision maker behind the wheel. But in terms of the metrics that matter — intelligence, judgment, calculated aggression, car control — neither has a decisive advantage.

Fuel Mileage: A clear edge here for Keselowski, whose Dodges have consistently outperformed the other manufacturers in fuel economy. Johnson is well aware that all three of the final Chase races could turn on gas mileage — that’s why the No. 48 team has been working diligently to improve in that area. If two of the final three races turn into fuel-mileage contests, however, superiority in that area could propel Keselowski to the championship.

Qualifying: It’s not where you start but where you finish. That’s the axiom, but Keselowski has been playing with fire on Fridays. Yes, his cars have been capable of driving to the front in race trim, but in qualifying 22nd, 20th, 25th and 32nd for his last four starts, Keselowski has put himself in positions that are vulnerable to the vagaries of the back markers. Poor results in time trials haven’t hurt him yet, but there’s no reason to tempt fate. The real death knell to Hamlin’s 2010 title effort was a 37th-place qualifying effort at Homestead, which led to an early spin in traffic on Sunday.

Keselowski’s two wins in the Chase have come from starting positions of 13th at Chicagoland and 10th at Dover. He must improve in time trials for the last three races to have a realistic shot at Johnson, who has two poles in seven Chase races. In fact, Keselowski has been giving up, on average, 10.7 positions to Johnson at the start of every race. If he continues to do that, Johnson will be hoisting his sixth championship trophy.

October 29, 2012

“I THINK IN ORDER TO BE THE CHAMPION, YOU HAVE TO WIN AT THE TRACKS WHERE YOU ARE GOOD AND WE DID THAT TODAY. THIS WAS A STRONG PERFORMANCE FOR THE TEAM.”” – JIMMIE JOHNSON AFTER WINNING HIS 4TH WIN OF THE SEASON,  59TH CAREER WIN AND 7TH WIN AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY – OCTOBER 28, 2012

Jimmie Johnson had the dominant car all weekend by winning the pole, leading the most laps and winning the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville on Sunday. For the first time in the Chase this season, Johnson now holds the points lead by just two points over Brad Keselowski, followed by Clint Bowyer in third and Kasey Kahne in fourth.

After overcoming two pit road speeding penalties, Denny Hamlin finished 33rd when  the bolt on his electrical switch broke, causing his car to stall on the track. Hamlin dropped two places from third to fifth in the Chase point standings – 49 points behind the leader – and most likely, out of contention for the championship.

Denny Hamlin did win the Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday.

Texas Motor Speedway Event Schdule 

Chevrolet Clinches 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Cup

Chevrolet Clinches NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship; 2012 Title is the 10th Consecutive and 36th Overall for the Bowtie Brand

Jimmie Johnson’s victory in the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway clinched the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet. It is the 10th consecutive year, and the 36th time overall that the Bowtie Brand has captured the prestigious title in NASCAR’s top series.

“Chevrolet is truly honored to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for the 10th consecutive year and the 36th time overall,” said Jim Campbell, US Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “This award is the result of a relentless effort by the Chevrolet team owners, drivers, crew chiefs, crews and technical partners. Many laps remain to be run in the balance of 2012. Chevrolet and the teams remain committed to a strong finish.”

In the 33 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races run-to-date in 2012, Chevrolet drivers have captured 12 victories, Chevrolet won its first Manufacturers’ Cup in 1958, and now with the 2012 Cup secured, Chevrolet has reached an unprecedented 36th title.

“Winning Chevrolet’s 36th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship has been a dedicated effort of focus and cooperation by our teams, technical partners and Chevrolet’s engineers,” added Pat Suhy, Chevrolet Racing NASCAR Group Manager. “Everyone associated with Team Chevy in the Sprint Cup Series has worked tirelessly throughout the season to meet the challenges, and to give our drivers race cars that are competitive and reliable. Thank you to everyone whose passion has brought this award to Chevrolet.”

The Team Chevy drivers that have contributed manufacturers’ points that resulted in the title for Chevrolet are: Jimmie Johnson (four wins); Tony Stewart (three wins); Kasey Kahne (two wins); Dale Earnhardt Jr (one win); Jeff Gordon (one win); Ryan Newman (one win); Kevin Harvick, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray.

“I would like to offer my sincere congratulations to our teams, drivers and technical partners on winning the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturers’ Championship for Chevrolet for the 36th time,” said Alba Colon, Chevrolet Racing Program Manager, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “The spirit of cooperation among all of our teams is extraordinary, and has allowed us to give them the right tools to be competitors on the track, as well as partners for the benefit of Chevrolet. To achieve this accomplishment 10 consecutive years is a remarkable feat with the level of competition in the Sprint Cup Series.”

With three races remaining in the 2012 season, Jimmie Johnson is the current points leader and Kasey Kahne sits fourth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. Other Team Chevy Chase drivers current ranking in the top-12 point standings; Jeff Gordon – sixth; Tony Stewart – 10th, Kevin Harvick – 11th and Dale Earnhardt Jr – 12th.

From Team Chevy-PR

Wilson to Oversee RCR No. 31 Program for Rest of 2012 Season

Additional plans set for 2013 Season

Championship-winning Richard Childress Racing crew chief Shane Wilson will replace Drew Blickensderfer at the helm of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team with driver Jeff Burton for the final three races of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

“I want to thank Drew for all of his effort with the No. 31 Caterpillar team this season,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing, “He’s a great crew chief and I can’t say enough about his dedication to RCR. Making the move now, before the season is over gives Drew some addiitonal time to pursue other opportunities.

“Shane is a proven winner and I appreciate his willingness to stop into this role for the balance of the 2012 season.”

Luke Lambert, who currently calls the shots for RCR’s NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship point standings leading No. 2 team with Elliott Sadler, will take over the No. 31 team crew chief duties for the 2012 season. Lambert served as interim crew chief for the No. 31 team in 2011.

“Luke is proving this season that he’s a strong, young crew chief who can win races and compete for a championship,” added Childress. “Announcing his move to the No. 31 team in 2013 will not take anything away from his focus on the No. 2 team winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. That’s his No. 1 priority. We merely wanted to show that we have both an interim plan for the rest of the season and a long-term plan for the future.”

From Richard Childress Racing-PR

Johnson Claims 7th Martinsville Win, Takes Sprint Cup Points lead

Jimmie Johnson held off Kyle Busch in the closing laps of the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sunday afternoon to claim his seventh Martinsville Speedway victory and take over the Chase for the Sprint Cup points lead.

The victory, combined with Brad Keselowski’s sixth place finish, gave Johnson a two-point lead in the championship points race with just three races remaining in the season.

“I think in order to be the champion, you have to win at the tracks where you are good and we did that today,” Johnson said after his 59th career NASCAR Sprint Cup victory. “This was a strong performance for the team.”

Johnson took the lead for good on lap 486 passing Keselowski for the lead. Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr were the only lead-lap drivers who didn’t pit for tires during a late caution period. The gamble didn’t pay off as both were quickly passed by Johnson.

Keselowski, who led the points when the day started, wound up sixth. Earnhardt was involved in a late spin and finished 21st.

It was a solid day for Keselowski, even though he dropped several spots down the stretch. He had a poor qualifying effort and started 32nd, but fought his way back all day.

“This means you can’t count this team out, This team has a tremendous heart,” said Keselowski.

Busch, who is out of the points race, finished second, followed by Kasey Kahne, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer.

Denny Hamlin was the big loser of the day. He was third in the points when the green flag flew, but suffered mechanical woes after the halfway point and wound up all the way back in 33rd position. He dropped two spots on the points race.

“It ended in disappointment,” Hamlin said of his day. ” We overcame the pit road penalties, things like that. We had a great car. When these things happen, you just got to suck it up and move on.”

There were 22 lead changes among nine drivers. The caution flag flew 11 times for 64 laps.

Racing returns to Martinsville Speedway with the Virginia 500 on April 7, 2013. The Kroger 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race will be on April 6.

From Martinsville Speedway-PR

Hamlin Races from Back of the Field to Win Kroger 200 at Martinsville

Denny Hamllin took the long way to his second straight win in the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway Saturday afternoon.

Hamlin, who is in the thick of the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship battle, qualified fifth for the race, but had to go to the rear of the field for the start of the race, a penalty for missing the drivers meeting.

Hamlin missed the truck series’ drivers meeting because it conflicted with the final Sprint Cup practice of the day, and he said he couldn’t afford to give up any track time in his Cup car. Hamlin is third in the Sprint Cup points headed into the Tums Fast Relief 500 Sunday, 20 points out of the lead.

He started 36th and methodically worked his way toward the front. He took the lead on lap 195, getting a bumper under Crafton, and then shoving him high up the race track.

“I love this place. Man, this was short-track racing at its finest,” said Hamlin, a native of Virginia who began racing at Martinsville Speedway when he was a teenager in the Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300 late model stock event. “It was a great day for us. We took our time getting to the front.”

Nelson Piquet Jr, finished second, followed by Joey Coulter, Matt Crafton and Scott Riggs. Crafton wasn’t happy with Hamlin after the race, slamming into his truck on pit road and having words with Hamlin after the race.

“He was telling me how excited he was about finishing fourth,” Hamlin said about the post-race exchange with Crafton. “When you are the leader, with a few laps to go at Martinsville, you gotta expect that. It’s sort of a standard protocol here at Martinsville.”

It was Hamlin’s second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win, the first coming in this event last year. This was only his second truck series start this season.

James Buescher made up a lap and fought his way back to finish sixth and take over the points lead from Dillon, who finished 28th.

From Martinsville Speedway-PR

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