Thursday, February 23, 2017

TV Schedule: Feb. 23-26

Dale Earnhardt Jr., left, and pole-sitter Chase Elliott make up the front row
for Sunday's Daytona 500. Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images
It's the Great American Race. It's NASCAR's Super Bowl. It's the Daytona 500.

One of the greatest races in motorsports steps off the pedal Sunday. Who will take home the coveted trophy and ring?

All three of NASCAR's top series hold their season-opening races this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Let the racing begin!

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

Thursday, Feb. 23:
Noon Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
2 p.m. Camping World Truck Series practice, FS1
3 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
4 p.m. Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1
5 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
7 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Can-Am Duel at Daytona, FS1

Friday, Feb. 24:
Midnight Monster Energy Cup Series Can-Am Duel at Daytona (re-air), FS2
4 a.m. Camping World Truck Series practice (re-air), FS1
5 a.m. Camping World Truck Series final practice (re-air), FS1
6 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Can-Am Duel at Daytona (re-air), FS1
Noon XFINITY Series practice, FS1
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
2 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
3 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
4 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying, FS1
7 p.m. Camping World Truck Series SetUp, FS1
7:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250, FS1

Saturday, Feb. 25:
5 a.m. XFINITY Series practice (re-air), FS1
6 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
7 a.m. XFINITY Series final practice (re-air), FS1
8 a.m. Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 (re-air), FS1
10:30 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
Noon NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, FS1
2 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
3 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FS1
3:30 p.m. XFINITY Series Power Shares QQQ 300, FS1
6 p.m. XFINITY Series Post-Race Show, FS1

Sunday, Feb. 26:
1 a.m. XFINITY Series Power Shares QQQ 300 (re-air), FS1
3:30 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
11 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay (re-air), FS1
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
2 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Daytona 500, FOX
9 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1
11:30 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane (re-air), FS1

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: 2017 Daytona 500


by Carol D'Agostino

The Daytona 500 and the beginning of the 2017 racing season is upon us. I don't know about you, but I'm going to need some extra cheat sheets to remember all of this year's changes. The official name of the series and who is in which car are the least of my concerns. I'm still trying to figure out the stages of the race and the new point system. It's either going to evolve seamlessly or continue to hurt my brain. Fortunately, my focus is fantasy stats, so let's get this party started!

Drivers with Most Top 10s in the Last 5 Years:
By Race
Both with 4: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin
All with 3: Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson
All with 2: Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski

By Track
All with 5: Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon, Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer
Both with 4: Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick
All with 3: Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Brad Keselowski and Michael McDowell

Last Year's Race Winner: Denny Hamlin

The Likely Suspects: The unpredictability of a restrictor plate race makes it fun for the fans to watch, but nightmarish for fantasy players. The Daytona 500 is particularly challenging for number- crunchers since a fast car and some knowledge of drafting can catapult a car driven by a rookie from the back of the pack to the front in less than a lap. I'll be focusing on these drivers as we begin our new season: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Martin Truex Jr., Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick is a tie between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Austin Dillon. My next choices are Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Jamie McMurray. I'll round out my fantasy team with Michael McDowell and Landon Cassill. David Ragan is also a nice dark horse pick. 

My Final Four: Dale Earnhardt Jr., Austin Dillon, Chase Elliott and Michael McDowell

Points to Ponder:
  • The pole position is the most proficient starting position in the Daytona 500 field, producing more winners (nine) than any other position, followed by the outside pole (seven wins) and starting in fourth place (seven wins).
  • Eighteen full-length races at Daytona have been won from the pole. The last to do it was Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the July 2015 race.
  • Nine different manufacturers have won the Daytona 500, led by Chevrolet with 23 victories, followed by Ford (14), Dodge (four), Plymouth (four), Buick (three), Mercury (three), Oldsmobile (three), Pontiac (three) and Toyota (one).
  • The Wood Brothers have won 15 races at Daytona, more than any other organization.
  • Among active drivers, Denny Hamlin has led the most laps in a single Daytona 500, when he led 95 laps on his way to victory last season. 
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers in Daytona 500 top-five finishes with eight. Earnhardt Jr. is tied with Benny Parsons, Bobby Allison and Buddy Baker for fifth-most all-time. Dale Jr. also leads all active drivers in average finishing position in the Daytona 500 with a 13.5 in 17 appearances.
Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter at @purplecatpr.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

ROOKIE STRIPE: 8 Things to Know about the 2017 NASCAR Season



Photo credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
by Logan Stewart

It’s February. That means it’s NASCAR time.

Some may still be languishing in football season’s end zone, but those who love the sport of NASCAR have their eyes on the road ahead. Like every year before it, the 2017 NASCAR season brings new changes and new faces to the sport, but the thunderous energy and smell of rubber on the road remain the same.

It’s going to be a wild ride, and here are eight things to know about the 2017 NASCAR season.

1. There’s a new brute in town. Monster Energy takes over as NASCAR’s title sponsor, beginning with the Daytona 500. According to Monster Energy, it has built its brand on racing and motorsports, so we’ll all be hoping for a serious jolt of exhilaration.

2. There’s a new points system. Races will now consist of three stages. Stages 1, 2 and the Final Stage will vary depending on the track and the length of the race. Read more about the new points system.

3. Dale Jr. returns. After missing half the 2016 season due to a concussion sustained at Michigan last June, the perennial fan favorite has finally received medical clearance to race again. Here is a fascinating read from ESPN about his recovery and private life.

Photo credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
4. Concussions will be a bigger deal. Speaking of concussions, NASCAR is enforcing a consistent screening rule for concussions in 2017. If a driver is involved in a wreck that sends his or her car to the garage, he or she must report to the infield care center for a medical evaluation, where medical providers must use the SCAT-3 diagnostic tool to check for head injuries. This is different than the prior rule where a driver only had to go to the infield care center if the car was towed to the garage. Cue the serious headache for some drivers who are anxious to stay on the track in competition.

5. Carl Edwards is out. As in, stepping out of the racecar entirely. He walked away from a career that spans 20 years, with a year left on his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, citing personal reasons. His replacement, former Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity driver Daniel Suarez, dominated that series last year and will be one to watch in 2017.

Photo credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
6. Clint Bowyer is in. Bowyer officially takes the reins of the No. 14 Ford for Stewart Haas Racing, replacing now-retired Tony Stewart.

7. Stewart Haas Racing gets new wheels. They’re now racing Ford vehicles and building their own chassis. This change is a big one for the SHR empire which has long been aligned with Chevrolet. Why Ford? The team says it was a business decision, but this will be a year to see if Ford can rule the track.

8. Three rookies are in the running. Daniel Suarez, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon are all rookies planning to run the full Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

Hats off to all of you "fan rookies" out there. Enjoy the season!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Travel Tips: Speedweeks at Daytona – Feb. 23-26, 2017

credit: NASCAR Media
The 2017 NASCAR season kicked off on Sunday with The Clash at Daytona and Daytona 500 qualifying. This week, Daytona International Speedway continues to host Speedweeks at Daytona, culminating with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26. This weekend, fans will see the season-opening points races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series.

Fans heading to Daytona for Speedweeks will want to check out the UNOH Fanzone for off-track activities, including garage tours, driver and team appearances, live music and the kids’ area. Find out more about the UNOH Fanzone here.

The annual Hot Rods and Reels charity fishing tournament, benefitting the Darrell Gwynn Quality of Life Chapter of the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, takes place Friday, Feb. 24 at 8 a.m. ET on Lake Lloyd at the track. Find out more about the event here.

Key on-track times for the second weekend of Speedweeks at Daytona:

Thursday, Feb. 23 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – noon -12:55 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series practice – 2-2:55 p.m. and 4-4:55 p.m. ET
  • Can-Am Duel qualifying races for the Daytona 500 – 7 p.m. ET
Friday, Feb. 24 –
  • Xfinity Series practice – noon-12:55 and 2-2:55 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 1-1:55 and 3-3:55 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 4:30 p.m. ET     
  • Camping World Truck Series NextEra Energy Resources 250 – 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 25
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 10:30 a.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 1-1:55 p.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series PowerShares QQQ 300 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 26
  • Pre-race show on pit road featuring Lady Antebellum – 1:20 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 – 2 p.m. ET
Get information about and purchase tickets for Speedweeks at Daytona, and find a complete schedule for Speedweeks, including scheduled driver appearances, at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/
 

Fast Track Facts: Daytona International Speedway

credit: NASCAR Media
Another NASCAR season is upon us, and this year in Fast Facts, you’ll learn more about the fast tracks on the 2017 schedule for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series. First up: the “World Center of Racing,” Daytona International Speedway.
  • Florida’s Daytona International Speedway, which opened in 1959, was built by NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. along with architect Charles Moneypenny. 42,000 spectators witnessed the first Daytona 500, held on Feb. 22, 1959.
  • In addition to the 2.5-mile tri-oval where NASCAR and ARCA races take place, there is a 3.56-mile road course (used for the Rolex 24 at Daytona), a 2.95-mile motorcycle road course, and a 0.25-mile dirt karting track. Lake Norman, found on the infield, has also hosted powerboat races in the past.
  • The UNOH Fanzone, opened in 2004, features many ways for fans to get close to the action in the pits. The FanDeck, on top of the garages, allows fans to view track and garage activities, and they can also watch NASCAR tech inspections. The garages include windows and slots for autographs, and the area also features entertainment, food and beverages, and other interactive displays and activities.
  • In 2016, the speedway finished the “Daytona Rising” project, putting $400 million into the speedway grounds to improve the fan experience. Among the projects: five expanded and redesigned entrances called “injectors,” which lead visitors to the escalators and elevators which will take them to three concourse levels. These three levels feature 11 social areas called “neighborhoods” along the frontstretch. The “neighborhoods,” each the size of a football field, feature dedicated bars, premium food options and charging stations. Concourse areas are covered and approximately 90 feet wide, with video monitors and free Wi-Fi throughout the concourses. Grandstand improvements include wider and more comfortable permanent seats, three times as many restrooms and twice as many concession stands as previously available.
  • The 1979 Daytona 500 was the first live telecast of the race, and what a race it was: the last lap featured the famous fight between Cale Yarborough and Donnie and Bobby Allison.
  • The NASCAR Cup Series qualifying record was set by Bill Elliott in his No. 9 Ford in 1987 (210.364 mph). Elliott won three consecutive poles for the Daytona 500 from 1985-1987, and his son Chase has won the pole for the 500 in 2016 and 2017. The younger Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, is the first crew chief to win three consecutive poles (2015 with Jeff Gordon) since Chase’s uncle Ernie Elliott did it from 1985-1987.
  • The late Dale Earnhardt raced for the Daytona 500 trophy 19 times before finally winning on his 20th attempt in 1998. That wasn’t his first victory at the track however – he won 34 total races at Daytona, including wins in the CanAm Duals, Advance Auto Parts Clash, Coke 400 and IROC series during his Hall of Fame career.
Find out more about Daytona International Speedway at its website, www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

Friday, February 17, 2017

TV Schedule: Feb. 17-19



By Rebecca Kivak

With a new NASCAR season comes change, and this year has plenty of it.

The top series has a new sponsor and a new name: The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The races will be divided into three segments.

And the season's first exhibition race has a new name: the Advance Auto Parts Clash. It's part of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway that leads up to the Great American Race itself - the Daytona 500 on Feb. 26. The first part of qualifying for NASCAR's Super Bowl gets under way Sunday.

The following is a handy guide to this weekend's track activity and TV coverage at Daytona. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, Feb. 17:
5 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
6:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, FS1

Saturday, Feb. 18:
1 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
2 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
12:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
2:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
3:30 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub Weekend Edition, FS1
5 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
6 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
8 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash, FS1 - POSTPONED

Sunday, Feb. 19:
11 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash, FS1
3 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Fast Facts: Daytona 500 qualifying

credit: NASCAR Media
It’s known as the “Super Bowl of Stock Car Racing,” so why should qualifying for the Daytona 500 being anything less than epic – or confusing? Here's what it takes to qualify for the season-opening race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
  • Drivers qualify for the 500 over two days: Daytona 500 Qualifying Day, held the Sunday before the race (Feb. 19 in 2017), sets the front row for the 500 and starting positions for the Can-Am Duel; and the Can-Am Duel at Daytona, held the Thursday before the race (Feb. 23 in 2017) and consisting of two 60-lap, 150-mile qualifying races.
  • In 2017, Daytona 500 qualifying returns to a single-car qualifying format with three qualifying sessions. The top 24 cars on time move on from session one, the top 12 cars on time move on to the final session after session two, then those 12 cars will race for the front row in the final session. From these qualifying sessions, only the front row (positions Nos. 1 and 2) are locked in for the Daytona 500. The remainder of the qualifying session speeds/times will be used to fill the fields for the Can-Am Duel at Daytona.
  • Drivers earning odd-number positions through qualifying will be assigned to the first Duel race, while those earning even-number qualifying positions will be assigned to the second Duel race.
  • Due to the charter system instituted in 2016, the 36 chartered Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams are guaranteed starting positions in the Daytona 500 and all other races during the season. This limits the number of “open” teams able to qualify for a race to four.
  • The top 15 drivers in each Duel, excluding the drivers already locked in on the front row, will fill spots Nos. 3-32 in the Daytona 500 grid, with drivers from race No. 1 in odd-numbered starting positions and drivers from race No. 2 in even-numbered starting positions. Position Nos. 33-36 go to the four fastest cars that did not qualify through the Duel races. Position Nos. 37-39 go to the top three drivers who did not qualify on speed, based on the previous season’s owner’s points, while position No. 40 goes to either the most recent Cup Series champion not qualified on speed, or the fourth driver in owner’s points from the previous season who did not make it in the field on time. As mentioned previously, chartered teams receive precedence in qualifying.
  • Beginning with the 2017 season, the Can-Am Duel at Daytona races are now considered “segments” in the Daytona 500, with points being awarded to the top 10 finishers in each race (10 for the first-place finisher, down to one for the 10th-place finisher).
  • Learn more about Daytona 500 qualifying and Speedweeks at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.  


Monday, February 13, 2017

Travel Tips: Speedweeks at Daytona – Feb. 17-19, 2017

credit: NASCAR Media
The “off-season” is over. It’s time to head back to the track and kick off the 2017 NASCAR season at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. Speedweeks at Daytona begins Friday, Feb. 17 and culminates with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26. During the seven days of on-track action, fans will see the season openers for the newly-named Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the Xfinity Series and the Camping World Truck Series, along with the ARCA Racing Series. Fans can also see the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona and Daytona 500 qualifying during the opening weekend.

Fans heading to Daytona for Speedweeks will want to check out the UNOH Fanzone for off-track activities, including garage tours, driver and team appearances, live music and the kids’ area. Find out more about the UNOH Fanzone here.

Fans can also enjoy the grand opening of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on Friday, Feb. 17. The Hall is located in the Daytona Ticket and Tours building – find out more about it here.

credit: NASCAR Media

Key on-track times for the first weekend of Speedweeks:

Friday, Feb. 17 –
  • ARCA practice – 9:30 a.m. ET
  • ARCA qualifying – 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona practice – 5-5:55 p.m. and 6:30-7:25 p.m. ET
Saturday, Feb. 18 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 10:30 a.m.-12:25 p.m.  and 1:30-3:25 p.m. ET
  • ARCA Racing Series presented by Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire – 4:15 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona – 8 p.m. ET
Sunday, Feb. 19 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 qualifying presented by Kroger – for the front row of the Daytona 500 and for starting positions in the Can-Am Duel – 3:10 p.m. ET
While there are no on-track activities for the NASCAR teams Monday through Wednesday, Feb. 20-22, the Richard Petty Ride-Along Program will run each day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET. Find out more here. A number of Daytona Tours are available 8 a.m.-5 p.m. ET on Monday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. ET on Tuesday and Wednesday. Learn more here.

Purchase tickets for Speedweeks at Daytona and find information and a complete schedule at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/

Monday, February 6, 2017

Travel Tips: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America

"Texas Terry" Labonte will be inducted into the
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in June 2017
credit: Skirts & Scuffs/Debbie Ross
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America was headquartered in Novi, MI, from 1989 – the year of its first class induction – to 2015, after which it was relocated to the Daytona Beach, FL; on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017, the new venue will hold its official grand opening. Learn more about past inductees and the Hall’s new digs – just in time for Daytona Speedweeks – in this week’s Travel Tips.
  • The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America celebrates all forms of speed – stock car racing, drag racing, open wheel racing, motorcycle racing, power boats, sports car racing and aviation. The Hall’s first induction class in 1989 included such racing royalty as drag racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, “Super Tex” A.J. Foyt and “The King” Richard Petty. Past classes have included NASCAR personalities Junior Johnson (1991), Bobby Allison (1992), David Pearson (1993), Ned Jarrett (1997), the Wood Brothers (2000), Dale Earnhardt (2002) and Benny Parsons (2005).
  • The 2017 class, announced at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26, includes open-wheel ace Steve Kinser, two-time Cup Series champ Terry Labonte, sports-car racer Scott Pruett and NASCAR’s first two-time champ, Herb Thomas. The induction ceremony will be held on June 28.
  • The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America’s new venue is located at Daytona International Speedway. While the official grand opening is scheduled for Feb. 17, the Hall has been open to DIS tour visitors since July 2016.
  • Learn more about the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America at its website, www.mshf.com.
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Monday, January 30, 2017

Travel Tips: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum

credit: NASCAR Media
If you’re making plans to visit “Indy” in July, put a side trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum on your list of things to do. There, you can explore more than 100 years’ worth of motorsports and automobile history all in one place.
 
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is located on the grounds of Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 4790 W. 16th St. in Speedway, IN. The Museum was established in 1956 by Tony Hulman Jr. and Karl Kizer, the Museum’s first director, as a place to display memorabilia and race cars. Its current location was built in 1975, and measures approximately 36,000 square feet. In addition to the Museum, it is home to two gift shops, the track’s retail photography store and other offices.
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum houses race cars from many series including IndyCar, NASCAR and Formula One, plus sprint car racing, midget racing, motorcycle racing and drag racing. There are also some passenger vehicles in the Museum. It is also home to the Auto Racing Hall of Fame, which was organized in 1952 and revived by Hulman in 1962.
  • The Museum offers a number of tours to the public, including the “the Qualifying Lap” – one narrated lap around the oval in an IMS bus – and the “VIP Grounds Tour” – a 90-minute guided tour of the grounds, the racing surface and the infield area. Find out more about these tours in the “Plan Your Visit” section of the website.
  • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum is open daily except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET from March through October and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET from November through February. Admission at this time is $10 for adults, $5 for kids ages 6-15 and free for kids 5 and under. Learn more about the Museum at http://www.indyracingmuseum.org/.
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