Saturday, May 27, 2017

Caption This: Ryan Blaney

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Welcome to Caption This!

Each weekend, we’ll post a NASCAR photo taken by a Skirts and Scuffs photographer. You have until Monday night to leave us a funny caption in the comments. Your goal is to make us laugh out loud.

We’ll publish the winning caption on Wednesday.

All of the weekly winners’ names will be tossed into a hat for a drawing, and one will win a prize package of racing swag at the end of the season. It could be you!

Enjoy this week’s photo of Ryan Blaney, which was captured by our Carol D'Agostino at Richmond in April.


Here are the rules:
* Leave your photo caption in the comment section below by Monday at midnight.
* Include your name and twitter handle.
* Only one entry per person for each photo.
* If you win multiple times during the season, you get an entry in the prize drawing for each win.
* Anonymous posts & entries without a twitter handle are not eligible to win.

Keep in mind that we offer Caption This in the spirit of fun. Any nasty, vulgar or otherwise offensive entries will be disqualified and removed at the discretion of Skirts and Scuffs.

So bring on your funnies! Then pop in again on Wednesday to read the winning caption.
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Friday, May 26, 2017

When the Sun goes Down: Five Questions for Charlotte

 (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

It’s Homecoming Week, but not the kind with braces and awkward dancing at arms’ length.

No, this is when the sport returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway and celebrates Memorial Day, a holiday near and dear to the hearts of many. NASCAR’s military appreciation is unrivaled, with patriotic schemes and themes abundant. We honor those who serve our country, and we thank them.

This race is a crown jewel, a sport staple, one of the greatest races we have—but does it still live up to all we’ve praised it to be?

I contemplate this, along with recent schedule changes and the sport's evolution, in this week’s column. Let’s get down to business.

Time for “change”—is that the right term? It’s that time of year again when the schedules for next season are released and everyone screams a lot. Wash, rinse, repeat, because the changes to the 2018 roster look quite interesting. Pro: we finally have a road course in the playoffs! Con: it’s the Charlotte roval, which doesn’t quench the thirst of Watkins Glen International, Road America, and Sonoma Raceway lovers. The Brickyard 400 will now close out the regular season, which is different—but is that really a “good” different? Basically, NASCAR put the existing tracks into a hat and shook them up. The only problem is that only a few names had movement. But hey, let’s see how it goes!

The latest Hall of Fame class—yay or nay? Coming home to Charlotte means a lot to the sport, and it also signals one of the biggest days of the year. Industry members voted for the next NASCAR Hall of Fame class and chose Ken Squier, Ray Evernham, Robert Yates, Ron Hornaday, and Red Byron for the 2018 induction. There tends to be a debate about these results, but the opinions seemed particularly abundant this time around. This is most likely due to Davey Allison and Alan Kulwicki being on the ballot for the first time and not immediately making the group of five. When we look closer, people debated Hornaday’s inclusion and compared his status and impact to Allison and Kulwicki. My thoughts? We tend to forget that NASCAR is more than the highest level, which is a disservice to others not at the top tier. Hornaday’s contributions to the sport matter, and suggesting he isn’t worthy of this nomination is simply rude. I approve of this class and can’t wait to see who gets in next year.

What can we take away from the RHR news? It was a dismal Monday in the motorsports world, with one of the blows coming from the Camping World Truck Series. Red Horse Racing closed their doors this week due to lack of funding. They're actively looking for sponsors but will cease operations until they get the situation straightened out. This is heartbreaking for many reasons, but RHR's long-term presence in the sport makes it hurt worse. What this says to me is, despite things going decently at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, we can't forget about the teams in others series that aren't affiliated with larger organizations. Remember the ThorSport Racing fire last summer? That made everyone realize how successful ThorSport was without outside support. That's what RHR's news does for me, remind me that their drivers, especially Timothy Peters, always found their way to the top five and established dominance with the odds stacked against them. Wishing everyone at Red Horse Racing the best as they figure out what happens next.

Will current drivers commentating the Xfinity race hype up Pocono? Fox is doing some interesting things to keep fans entertained, but this recent announcement takes the cake. The entire Fox crew—play-by-play, pre-race hosts, and pit reporters—will be replaced by current drivers. That’s a twist. Part of me thinks this will be an utter disaster with “too many cooks.” However, they can provide relevant insight that relates to the current era of Xfinity. It’s a concept that caught my eye, and it’s so out there that I want it to work. I can’t believe I’m saying that I’m excited for the Pocono Xfinity race—and that’s the entire point.

Can the Coke 600 wash the awful All-Star taste out of our mouths? I'll give you my short answer: no. The Monster Energy Open was some of the greatest racing we've seen in a while, but the "feature" race didn't ride the momentum. If you're hoping to see some fantastic racing that will restore your interest, well...good luck. The fact of the matter is, Charlotte Motor Speedway provides better racing during the day. The industry understands that as well; see the time change for the October race. Everyone calls the upcoming Sunday "The Greatest Day in Racing," with Monaco, the Indy 500, and the Coke 600 jam-packing race fans' days. However, if you compare the three races to each other, it's quite obvious which one loses out. Now, there's a chance (read: high probability) my prediction is wrong, and the race is full of rubbing and battling and three-wide stage finishes. At the urging of my gut feeling, though, most of the action will take place at the beginning -- when the sun is still out. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

TV Schedule: May 25-28

Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
By Rebecca Kivak

It's a weekend of endurance as NASCAR runs its longest race of the year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Monster Energy Cup Series and the XFINITY Series take to the track for Memorial Day weekend. All-Star week caps off with the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, which adds a fourth stage to the format. The XFINITY Series gets on track Saturday.

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage at Charlotte. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, May 25:
2 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
4 p.m. XFINITY Series practice, FS1
6 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
7 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1

Friday, May 26:
8 p.m. K&N Pro Series West Race: Orange Show Speedway, NBCSN

Saturday, May 27:
9 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
10 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
11:30 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, FS1
12:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FS1
1 p.m. XFINITY Series race, Hisense 4K TV 300, FS1
3:30 p.m. XFINITY Series Post-race Show, FS1

Sunday, May 28:
4:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
5:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Pre-race Show, FOX
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600, FOX
11:30 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte



By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kevin Harvick - 5
All with 4 - Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski
All with 3 - Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch 

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 7
All with 6 - Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski
Both with 5 - Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch
All with 4 -Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch

Recent Pole Winners:  
2016 Martin Truex Jr.
2015 Matt Kenseth

2015 Race Winner:  Martin Truex Jr.

Likely Suspects: This race is all about endurance and grit. I will be looking to these drivers this weekend: Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.  

My 2 Cents: This week's no-brainer pick is Martin Truex Jr. My next picks are Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman. I will complete my team with Matt DiBenedetto and Daniel Suarez.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon.

Points to Ponder:
  • The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting spot in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
  • Nine drivers have posted consecutive wins at CMS. Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers for consecutive wins with four in a row (2004 and 2005 sweeps).
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Charlotte in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 19. Among Hendrick active drivers Jimmie Johnson has eight and Kasey Kahne has one. 
  • Eight different manufacturers have won in the MENCS at Charlotte, led by Chevrolet with 44 victories.
  • 88 of the 116 (75.9%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • 45 series drivers have earned Coors Light poles at Charlotte. Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine, followed by Jimmie Johnson with four.
  • 13 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Charlotte. Matt Kenseth is the most recent driver to accomplish the feat with a 2015 sweep.
  • 49 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight wins – 2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 playoffs. 
Remember, if you're playing Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, your pick deadline is Thursday, May 25th at 5 a.m. EDT.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

Rookie Stripe: You Won’t See These Wheels on the Highway -- 13 Things to Know About NASCAR Tires

Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
By Logan Stewart

Like everything else in NASCAR, tires are almost always in motion. They have to be changed with lightning speed during a pit stop, stay intact amid soaring temperatures and hug the track tightly. Racing tires are radial-ply tires just like those on your car, but that’s where the similarities end. Here are some of the fastest facts you might not know about NASCAR’s wheels:

1. NASCAR tires are supplied exclusively by Goodyear®, who has a presence at every race. In fact, Goodyear sets up shop in the infield at a special spot to distribute and collect race-used tires.

2. Tires cost about $500 each, meaning a set of four will cost a team $2,000. The number of sets of tires a team goes through during a race depends on the track. At longer super speedways they may only use six sets, but at a shorter track they will use 12-14 sets (if you’re not great at math, that’s up to a whopping $28,000 in tires alone for one race for one car).

3. Teams pay for their own tires.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
4. Tires used in practice cost the same as race tires, making the cost even higher.

5. Smaller teams with less funding can’t afford as many sets, and will sometimes re-glue lug nuts and reuse tires later in the race. If a car wrecks out early a smaller team may ask to use their unused tires.

6. Most race teams use nitrogen instead of air in the tires because they have more control over the increasing pressure as the tire gets hotter on the track.

7. Every team has a tire specialist who goes to pick up tires from Goodyear before the race and takes care of putting them into sets by the pit box, determining what tires go into what set. Tires manufactured on the same day are normally grouped together.

8. Tires pick up rubber and debris on the track which contribute to wear. Before a tire is out on the track the tire specialist will mark it to determine how much wear the tire will have so teams know how many laps they can go or how to adjust air pressure before the tire burns out.

9. Tires are made from materials known as compounds. Different tracks need different compounds. Softer compounds grip or hug the racing surface better but wear more quickly than harder compounds. Each track has a unique number of turns, degree of banking, surface and other factors that determine how a compound will perform. Compounds are a safety issue and regulated by NASCAR. Right side tires are also bigger in size than left side tires on oval tracks and have different compound makeups, because of the banking and load on the car.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
10. New tires going on to a car already have five lug nuts attached to the wheel by a special glue. This adhesive is stretchy and helps tire changers during what is already a high speed, complicated maneuver.

11. There are heavy and light tires used depending on the track. Heavier tires have an inner liner that is almost like an inner tube; if the outer layer blows the inner liner enables the driver to get to pit road safely. NASCAR requires the inner liner tires on tracks more than one mile long.

12. It’s hard to rain on a road course’s parade. While it is dangerous and nearly impossible to race in the rain on an oval track, Goodyear manufactures special rain tires that can be used on NASCAR road courses.

13. Skirts and Scuffs?? Try stickers and scuffs! New tires from Goodyear come with a sticker. Once they’ve been used, they’re considered scuffed. Check out this video from NASCAR.com.

If your wheels aren’t spinning enough check out one of the most informative pieces on NASCAR tires I’ve read to date.
Road and Track: An Inside Look at the Incredible Engineering Behind NASCAR’s Tires.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Iowa Speedway

credit: NASCAR Media
Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa is the home of upcoming races for the Xfinity Series (June and July) and the Camping World Truck Series (June). Learn more about this popular short track in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Iowa Speedway is a 7/8-mile oval which NASCAR Hall of Fame member and past Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace had influence in designing. It is the only major professional sports venue in Iowa according to the track website. 
  • Iowa Speedway is owned by Iowa Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of NASCAR. The track is patterned after Richmond International Raceway, features more than 25,000 permanent seats and a multi-tiered RV area along the backstretch.
  • Iowa Speedway opened in Sept. 2006, hosting a USAR Hooters Pro Cup (now CARS Tour) race. The Indy Racing League first raced at the track in June 2007, and NASCAR’s Nationwide (now Xfinity) and Camping World Truck Series began racing there in 2009.
  • Series currently racing at include the ARCA Racing Series; the Verizon IndyCar Series and its “Road to Indy” support series the Indy Lights and USF2000; and NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, along with a K&N Pro Series East/West Challenge race.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski both have three Xfinity Series wins at the track, while Erik Jones and Timothy Peters each have two wins in the Truck Series.
  • Learn more about the track at www.iowaspeedway.com


Monday, May 22, 2017

Travel Tips: Charlotte Motor Speedway – Coca Cola 600 edition - May 25-28, 2017

credit: NASCAR Media
We’re in the midst of “10 days of speed” in the heart of NASCAR country, Charlotte, North Carolina. The action at Charlotte Motor Speedway continues with this weekend’s big races, the Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 and the longest race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the Coca-Cola 600. The green flag drops on those races on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, respectively.

If you’re heading down to Charlotte for the action, you may have a few days and evenings to explore the area. Here are a few things to check out:
Check out the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series on Friday night, May 26 at the neighboring Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and find out more about the Outlaw Showdown here.

Key on-track times:

Thursday, May 25 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 2 p.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series practice – 3:30 and 6 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying – 7:15 p.m. ET
Friday, May 26 –
  • World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway – opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 27
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 10:05 a.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice –11:30 a.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 – 1:15 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 28
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd pre-race concert – 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 – 6 p.m. ET
Find out about different ticket packages and single-day tickets at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Trackin' Trucks: Kyle Busch dominates at Charlotte

Kyle Busch earned his seventh CWTS win at Charlotte.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs


by Courtney Horn

Kyle Busch dominated the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning back-to-back wins in the Camping World Truck Series.

“It was certainly interesting from my seat,” Busch said, “We had a really fast Cessna Tundra tonight, Bono and the guys did a great job. Really appreciate everybody at KBM being a cohesive unit, working together, and building speed at the racetrack together.”

Busch swept every stage of Friday night’s event to earn his seventh victory in 11 starts at the track, a feature no other driver has done in the series.

Busch’s teammate Christopher Bell overcame early trouble in Stage 1 for a third-place finish. Bell made contact with the wall and cut a tire in the beginning laps, he went a lap down during the incident.

“I think we had a flat right rear – or left rear when we fired off." explained Bell. "It was really really loose the first couple laps and then finally went down off of (turn) four there. All these guys on this SiriusXM Tundra did a great job of getting me back out there."

Johnny Sauter extended his points lead over Bell with a second-place finish.

Ryan Truex overcame a late-race penalty to finish fourth at Charlotte. Truex started at the back of the field after an uncontrolled tire left his pit stall. The finish was Truex’s first top-five finish this season and third in his Camping World Truck Series career.

Kaz Grala had an eventful night at the 1.5-mile track as he was involved in multiple wrecks throughout the race. Grala took it to the garage after suffering heavy damage to his Outlaw Fasteners Chevrolet when he got into the wall on Lap 69. He finished 30th.

A Look Ahead

The CWTS is off until June 2nd when they head to Dover International Speedway. Last year at the Monster Mile, Matt Crafton led 76 laps before taking the checkers ahead over Daniel Suarez.

Who will take the checkers this year? Find out June 2nd at 5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Friday, May 19, 2017

TV Schedule: May 19-21

The 2016 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit:  Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
By Rebecca Kivak

It's All-Star Race week! NASCAR goes home to Charlotte, N.C., the heart of the sport, for the next two race weekends.

Nineteen Monster Energy Cup drivers will vie for the $1 million prize Saturday night under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Camping World Truck Series takes to the track Friday.

After a break in action, the XFINITY Series returns to the track next Saturday, May 27.

This weekend's events lead up to the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, on Sunday, May 28.

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage this weekend at Charlotte. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, May 19:
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
3 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying, FS1
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
8 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Setup, FS1
8:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, FS1

Saturday, May 20:
1 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, (re-air) FS1
4 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
4:30 p.m., Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
5:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Open Race, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
7:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
8 p.m. Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)

Sunday, May 21:
Noon Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (re-air), FS1

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Caption This Winner for 4-13-17: Pam Smith

Congratulations to Pam Smithwho contributed the winning caption for this photo of
Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski. All winners who include their twitter handles with their entries will be entered in a drawing for the end-of-season prize package of racing swag.



Thanks to everyone who played Caption This. Check back on Saturday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.
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