Monday, May 2, 2016

Travel Tips: Kansas Speedway – May 6-7, 2016

credit: NASCAR Media
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series visit Kansas Speedway this weekend for the Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 on Friday night, May 6 and the Cup Series Go Bowling 400, which goes green on Saturday night, May 7. This is the first of two trips this season to the 1.5-mile tri-oval, with the second weekend being part of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in October.

Key on-track times:

Friday, May 6 –
  • Sprint Cup Series practice – 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 3:30 p.m. CT
  • Sprint Cup Series qualifying – 5:45 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 – 7:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, May 7 –
  • Pre-race concert with Eddie Money – 4:45 p.m. CT
  • Sprint Cup Series Go Bowling 400 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Fans can check out the Guest Guide, including the track’s carry-in policy, here.

Fans can add a number of options, including a pre-race pass (drivers meeting access, pre-race concert access and more) or a Sprint Fanwalk pass, if they already have tickets. Find out more here.

Get tickets and more information on race weekend as it approaches at www.kansasspeedway.com

Right Sides Only: Notes from the GEICO 500 Winning Crew Chief, Paul Wolfe


by Stacey Owens

It's often been said that only two things are certain in life: death and taxes. Race fans may want to add "wrecking at Talladega," because that's also a sure thing.

Crew chief Paul Wolfe credits the No. 2's win to staying out of the fray.

"Yeah, it seemed like a bit of survival at points," Wolfe said. "I think the key today for us was, first off, having a pretty fast Miller Lite Ford, and qualifying well, getting a good pit stall. From there, it was about keeping the track position.
            
"We kept the track position, were able to stay out of the wrecks. There was a lot of good cars that got caught up in that. As I talked to Brad in the closing laps, there was a lot of cars in the top 10 that we hadn't seen all day because so many good cars had gotten caught up in the wreck.
            
"From there, a lot of it came down to the spotter and the driver and their communication of getting the lead and managing the lead. I think they did a great job of doing that today and found ourselves in Victory Lane.

"Like I said, it did seem like somewhat of a survival race, as we saw a lot of what I would consider some of the top cars or faster cars get caught up in wrecks."

Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
With the "win and you're in" mentality, drivers know that victories are worth far more than mere trophies. Wins guarantee drivers an opportunity to race for a championship. To secure those wins, drivers are more apt to take risks on-track.
 
"It just seems like everyone is very aggressive. I think there's opportunity for a lot of cars to win races. The key to that for us today was just keeping the track position, like I said," Wolfe said.
            
"... I think a little bit of it can start in qualifying with pit selection, having a good day on pit road. I think I saw the 11 car get knocked around on pit road a couple times as an example of how pit road can go the other way.
            
"We had a good pit stall. The guys did a good job on the pit stops. We were able to hold track position when we had to pit."
If a driver can stay out of the way of "The Big One" at Talladega Superspeedway, then the crew chief is tasked with making the best decisions he can on pit road. Paul Wolfe made exceptional decisions for the win.
 
"With tire wear not being big here, the fuel dictates whether we're going to do two tires, four tires, or as we saw at the end, a lot of cars do fuel only, to show how important that track position was.
            
"Track position was huge. I don't think we ever fell out of the top 10 at all today. I think that's the first time we ever did that here and at Daytona. I think that was key to getting the win," Wolfe explained.
The No. 2 team won earlier this season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, so Wolfe and Keselowski have concentrated their efforts on making overall improvements to their 1.5-mile program.

"After Vegas, it seemed like we weren't exactly where we wanted to be on the intermediate style tracks. We had a great car at Martinsville, felt like we could contend for a win there.
            
"I think as a whole, if you look at the tracks we've run so far, we know we need to be better on the mile-and-a-half style racetracks," Wolfe said.
            
"So getting the win here obviously doesn't mean a whole lot as we go to Kansas, other than it's kind of a shot in the arm and a little momentum. A lot of times in this sport, that's worth something.
            
"So even though it will be totally different style racecars heading into Kansas, with a win this week, it will be huge. Hopefully we can keep that momentum going."
 
If you're keeping track (no pun intended), Keselowski joins Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards as drivers with two wins this season. Will another previous winner join this elite club or will a winless driver step up next week in Kansas? I don't know about you, but I can't wait to find out.

--------------------------

   Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
    This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.

Friday, April 29, 2016

TV Schedule: April 29-May 1

Talladega Superspeedway. Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images
NASCAR heads to one of the most volatile tracks on the circuit - Talladega. The Sprint Cup Series and XFINITY Series converge on the wild unpredictable 2.66-mile superspeedway.

The Camping World Truck Series is on an extended break until May 6 at Kansas.

The following is a handy guide to this weekend's track events and television coverage at Talladega. All times are in Eastern Standard Time:

Friday, April 29:
11:30 a.m. XFINITY Series practice, FS1
1:30 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
2:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1
4:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1

Saturday, April 30:
8:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
9:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
10:30 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, FOX
2:30 p.m. XFINITY Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
3 p.m. XFINITY Series: Sparks Energy 300, FOX
Midnight XFINITY Series: Sparks Energy 300 (re-air), FS1

Sunday, May 1:
10:30 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
1 p.m. Sprint Cup Series: GEICO 500, FOX

Thursday, April 28, 2016

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: GEICO 500 at Talladega


Track Classification: Superspeedway
Similar Tracks: Daytona International Speedway • Auto Club Speedway (Fontana)  
Indianapolis Motor Speedway • Michigan International Speedway • Pocono Raceway
Distance: 2.66 Miles

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
All with 3 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle
All with 2 -  Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., David Gilliland, Denny Hamlin, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth and David Ragan

By Track
Clint Bowyer - 5
All with 4 -  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Martin Truex Jr.Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Paul Menard, 
Ryan Newman and David Ragan
All with 3 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle BuschKevin Harvick and Greg Biffle

Recent Pole Winners:  
2015 Jeff Gordon
2014 Brian Scott

Last Year's Race Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The Likely Suspects: Picking a fantasy team for a restrictor-plate race is an unnerving process. There are restrictor-plate greats and there are dark horses who can just as easily win by not getting caught in a big wreck. Break out the crystal ball and just pick and hope and pray. Look for these drivers to perform well: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Carl Edwards and Ryan Newman.  

My 2 Cents:  My no-brainer pick this week is a tie between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick. My next choices are Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Ryan Newman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. I will complete my team with Ryan Blaney and David Gilliland.

My Final Four: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney.

Points to Ponder:
  • A total of 45 different drivers have won at Talladega Superspeedway, led by Dale Earnhardt with 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with six.
  • Seven active drivers are tied for the most poles at Talladega with one – Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Brian Vickers, Brian Scott, Michael Waltrip and Bobby Labonte.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Cup Series in average starting position at Talladega with a 9.750.
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers in the Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Talladega with 960 laps led in 32 starts.
  • Richard Childress Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are tied for the most wins at Talladega in the Sprint Cup Series with 12 each.  
  • Nine different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Talladega, led by Chevrolet with 40 victories, followed by Ford with 22 and Toyota with three.
  • About 70% (65 of the 93) Sprint Cup races at Talladega have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • The outside pole is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (20) than any other starting position at Talladega. 
Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Rookie Stripe: The Rookie’s Guide to Buying NASCAR Tickets

By Logan Stewart

So you’re all set for your first NASCAR race but don’t know how to get tickets. Take a parade lap, rookies… this is your blueprint to making sure you’re dialed in and full-throttle with race-day tickets in hand.

Bristol Motor Speedway
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
Where to Start
Like almost any professional sport, you can find tickets across the web on different sites at a range of prices simply by searching for “NASCAR tickets” and the name of the track. But if you’re not sure what seats to choose -- and if you want to be sure your tickets are legit -- consider buying through the tracks for your first race. Individual race tracks sell their own tickets for NASCAR-sanctioned races, and NASCAR.com has a comprehensive list of tracks and races with links to purchase tickets. Most tracks will offer single, double, weekend and premium packages with a variety of options, so it may be helpful to call the track directly. Some, like Charlotte Motor Speedway, even offer live online chat with a representative to help answer your questions.

View from the Seats
So where should you sit in the grandstands? Ideally, you’ll want to be able to see the front stretch and pit road as clearly as you can, because that’s where much of the action takes place. At some of the short tracks like Martinsville and Bristol, it can be fun to sit up high so you can see the entire oval.

Sitting in close proximity to the track can block part of the race from your view, depending on the seats. But at the same time, front row seats have other perks. The whirling vortex of wind and grit whipping into the stands through the catchfence is almost ethereal. In fact, my first experience with this phenomenon was at Richmond International Raceway, when I sat with my friend Ali. It was like being in a tornado, where you're pelted by tiny soft chunks of rubber each time the cars fly by.

Richmond International Raceway
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
As you go to different tracks, you’ll get a better feel for where you like to sit. In this article from USA Today, Jeff Gluck highlights some of the best spots at different tracks to watch a race, including Rattlesnake Hill at Phoenix International Raceway and Dover International Speedway's Monster Bridge. If you still can’t decide, call the track and ask for help.

Stop and Go: Other Options for Tickets
General seating for NASCAR is in the grandstands, which surround the outside of the oval track. But the spectacle of any race takes place on the race track itself, on pit road and the infield. If you’re willing to pony up some extra dollars for a pre-race pit pass, you can check out the infield and all its grandeur. Wander past the haulers, watch the pit crew at work and check out the cars as they go through inspection. You might even spot a few drivers. Passes don’t give you access to the NASCAR garage, but do offer a rare glimpse of the real work behind the scenes of a race that most of the public doesn’t see. You can buy pre-race pit passes through the track’s website, but do it early because they go quickly. In the infield you’ll also see people with “hot” and “cold” passes which are issued by NASCAR for team sponsors and other VIPs, and are only available for public purchase in limited numbers at select tracks.

Charlotte Motor Speedway Infield
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs

If the mere thought of scouting and buying just the right tickets makes your engine idle, you can also consider joining a charter tour through companies like Star Coach Race Tours or There and Back Again Adventures. These pre-planned, all-inclusive options often include food and drinks, luxury accommodation and even infield access. Keep in mind they can also be fairly pricey.

And for the perennial last-lappers who tend to procrastinate, or perhaps just enjoy the thrill of the hunt, you can always go to the track and try to score a last minute bargain on tickets. At every race you’ll find people for miles around the track selling tickets, sometimes at face value, sometimes more, sometimes less. Oftentimes they’re fans who’ve purchased seats and decided not to go, but just want to recoup some money, so try your hand at haggling.

Whatever tickets you end up buying, hang on for a wild ride on raceday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fast Facts Redux: Talladega Superspeedway

credit: Getty Images/Brian Lawdermilk
Talladega Superspeedway, located in Alabama, is not only the fastest track in NASCAR, with a NASCAR-sanctioned track record of 212.809 mph set by Bill Elliott in the pre-restrictor plate days of 1987, but a track that has a lot of stories to tell. Here are the Fast Facts on this fast track, originally published in Oct. 2013.
  • Talladega Superspeedway, originally known as Alabama International Motor Speedway from 1968 to 1988, is located on what was once the Anniston Air Force Base just outside of Lincoln, Alabama. The 2.66-mile tri-oval is NASCAR’s longest oval track and has a seating capacity of 80,000; at its peak, seating capacity was 175,000.
  • The groundbreaking for the track took place on May 23, 1968, a project spearheaded by Bill France, founder of NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway. France wanted a track faster than Daytona, and gave his new speedway 32- and 33-degree banking in its turns. The original drivers on the entry list for the first race in September 1969 abandoned the track due to tire problems; France went and hired substitute drivers for the event, which was won by Richard Brickhouse.
  • Claims over the years have been made the speedway is cursed, jinxed or haunted. Legends bout the track include: it was built on Indian burial grounds; that the area was used by Indians for horse racing; and that their chief was killed there when he was thrown from his horse. There are eerie stories from drivers as well: NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Isaac heard voices while racing there in 1973 telling him to park his car and get out – he did just that, because earlier in the race, driver Larry Smith was killed in what seemed to be a minor accident.
  • In the race for which Bill Elliott set that track record at Talladega, Bobby Allison’s airborne car took down a large portion of the frontstretch catchfence after cutting a tire on debris. The result: restrictor plate racing began in 1988. The close-quarters racing that came along with restrictor plates brought out another demon at Talladega, the multi-car accident most commonly known as “the big one.”
  • In July 1993, Talladega Superspeedway was the site of the helicopter crash that eventually took the life of driver Davey Allison, Bobby’s son. Red Farmer, a veteran NASCAR driver and family friend of the Allisons, was injured in the crash but survived.
  • The fastest speed ever recorded for a lap at Talladega was 216.309 mph in June 2004, set by Rusty Wallace; it does not replace Elliott’s record in that it was not for a NASCAR sanctioned event. Talladega is also the site of the first-ever testing lap over 200 mph (Buddy Baker – 200.447 mph in 1970) and the first-ever qualifying lap over 200 mph (Benny Parsons – 200.176 mph in 1982).
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads active drivers with six wins at Talladega, the most recent coming in May 2015. Earnhardt Jr.’s first four wins came in a span of four races from Oct. 2001-April 2003. The most recent first-time race winners at the track were Brian Vickers (Oct. 2006) and Brad Keselowski (April 2009).
  • Learn more about Talladega Superspeedway at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com


Monday, April 25, 2016

Travel Tips: Talladega Superspeedway – April 29-May 1, 2016

credit: NASCAR Media
NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series are joined this weekend by the ARCA Racing Series in Talladega, Alabama, the home of Talladega Superspeedway. The weekend schedule includes the ARCA General Tire 200 on Friday, April 29, the Xfinity Series Sparks Energy 300 on Saturday, April 30 and the Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 on Sunday, May 1.

Visit the International Motor Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, located adjacent to the speedway, for a glance back at the history of motorsports. Extended hours will be available during race week, so check the website for details.

On Friday, all infield guests and renewal guests with a “Golden Ticket” can check out “The Big One on the Blvd,” billed as NASCAR’s biggest party. There will also be an Xfinity Series autograph session from 2:30-3:15 p.m. CT in the Hospitality Village behind the Birmingham Tower. Wristbands for the autograph session can be picked up at Guest Services, located near OV Hill South grandstands section L.

On Saturday night, country stars Big & Rich featuring Cowboy Troy will hit the stage at approximately 9 p.m. CT, preceded by Eric Lee Beddingfield at approximately 7 p.m. CT. The concert is open to all infield guests and anyone with a Sunday race ticket.

Key on-track times:

Friday, April 29 –
  • ARCA Racing Series practice – 8:30 a.m. CT
  • Xfinity Series practice – 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT
  • Sprint Cup Series practice – 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. CT
  • ARCA Racing Series General Tire 200 – 5 p.m. CT
Saturday, April 30 –
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 9:30 a.m. CT
  • Sprint Cup Series qualifying – 11:30 a.m. CT
  • Xfinity Series Sparks Energy 300 – 2 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 1
  • Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 – noon CT
Check out gate policies here, frequently asked questions here and get the complete event schedule, including more things to do at the track, here.

Get more information and purchase tickets for this weekend’s race at www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.

Right Sides Only: Notes from Toyota Owners 400 Winning Crew Chief, Dave Rogers

by Stacey Owens

Dave Rogers, crew chief of the No. 19 Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing, is a firm believer that NASCAR fans "deserve good, hard racing." He was able to help deliver that to the fans at Richmond International Raceway when his driver, Carl Edwards, took the checkered flag.

"Everyone at NASCAR, Goodyear and the tracks are working really hard to make sure we're putting on the best show we can for our fans. Made some great rule changes this winter with the low downforce package. Goodyear is doing a great job of adapting and bringing new tires," Rogers said.  
            
"Richmond moved this to a day race so parents have a chance to bring kids to the racetrack. It added up to a fantastic race. There's a lot of racing. It's been a while since we've seen people on the very bottom and very top, and passing. 
            
"I know the fans in the stands had to really enjoy the show today. Hats off to XFINITY. I know they're really excited to come onboard this season and capture a win. Great day for this Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 team." 

Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images
To the casual fan, it may appear that only Joe Gibbs and his teams are allowed in Victory Circle. The coach has actually been the only Sprint Cup owner with wins since April 3. Three of the four Gibbs' drivers have wins this season, starting at Daytona when Denny Hamlin won the 500. Since the beginning of April, however, Kyle Busch had back-to-back wins, and Carl Edwards has now followed that with impressive consecutive wins of his own.

Had Edwards not moved Busch out of the way on the final lap of the race, he might not have earned that second win, but they follow the same philosophy other multi-car teams have: no team orders.


"If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don't want to see teammate orders. They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing.
            
"So I think today was a great day for the sport. It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I'm sure Adam and I will talk about it, and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if Joe imposed a team order and told us, 'Hey, have a parade instead of a race.'
            
"There's going to be plenty of days that the 18 is faster than us and they'll probably get to our back bumper and move us. We'll go down to Victory Lane, shake their hands, tell them, 'Good job. ' That's just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing, allowing us to put ourselves in that position," Rogers said.

Rogers apparently gave the command for Edwards to push Busch aside.

"I don't remember what I said. But what prompted me is we wanted to win," Rogers said. "I think today, we can talk about the relations with the 18. Adam and I are great friends. Kyle and I are great friends. So I'm not worried about any relations. 

"As far as what I said, I don't know. I just wanted to win. I wanted to be here and talk to you guys today. I told him whatever I had to say."

The No. 19 team is on a roll, and Joe Gibbs Racing as a whole looks to be on a non-stop freight train. The rest of the field can't just keep chugging along if they expect to make any trips of their own to Victory Lane.
--------------------------

   Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
    This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

TV Schedule: April 22-24

Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images
NASCAR goes short track racing for back-to-back weekends. After Bristol, the Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series head to Richmond for more beating and banging - but this time during the day, not under the lights.

The Camping World Truck Series is on an extended break until May 6 at Kansas.

The following is a handy guide to this weekend's track events and television coverage at Richmond. All times are in Eastern Standard Time:

Friday, April 22:
11 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1
12:30 p.m. XFINITY Series practice, FS1
3 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
4 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, FS1

Saturday, April 23:
3 a.m. XFINITY Series practice (re-air), FS1
4:30 a.m. XFINITY Series final practice (re-air), FS1
5:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
7 a.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying (re-air), FS1
8:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1
9:30 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
11 a.m. Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1
Noon NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FS1
12:30 p.m. XFINITY Series: ToyotaCare 250, FS1

Sunday, April 24:
10:30 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
1 p.m. Sprint Cup Series: Toyota Owners 400, FOX
Midnight (Monday) NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Short-Track Racing Richmond Style



Track Classification: Short Track
Similar Tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway • Dover International Speedway 
Martinsville Speedway •  Phoenix International Raceway 
Distance: .75 Mile 

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Both with 4 - Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer 
All with 3 - Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenneth, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson

By Track
Both with 6 - Matt Kenseth and Clint Bowyer
Both with 5 - Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski
All with 4 - Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson

Recent Pole Winners:
2015 Joey Logano
2014 Rained out
2013 Matt Kenseth

Last Year's Race Winner: Kurt Busch

The Likely Suspects: Here we are at yet another short track. Richmond is a tad more predictable than Bristol, so stick to the proven elite drivers this week and you should do well. Look for these drivers to score you some solid points this weekend: Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray.

My 2 Cents: Starting position is very important at Richmond. If you get stuck on your picks, think open wheel experience. Drivers who have open wheel experience tend to do better on short tracks. My no-brainer pick this week is Joey Logano, followed by Kyle Busch. My next picks are: Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer and Jamie McMurray. I will round out my team with Chase Elliott and Brian Vickers.

My Final Four: Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards and Chase Elliott.

Points to ponder:
  • Petty Enterprises has the most wins at Richmond in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 15; followed by Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing with 10 each and Richard Childress Racing with nine.
  • Although eight Sprint Cup drivers have posted consecutive wins at Richmond International Raceway, Jimmie Johnson (2007 sweep) is the only active driver in this category.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active drivers in theSprint Cup Series in average finishing position at RIR with a 7.095.
  • Brad Keselowski leads all active Cup drivers in average starting position at RIR with an 8.769.
  • More than three-quarters (93 of 119) of the Sprint Cup races at Richmond International Raceway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.