Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Conway to finish out 2010 season at Robby Gordon Motorsports

Charlotte, N.C. (August 31, 2010) – Kevin Conway, the leading 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year driver, and ExtenZe Racing officially announced that they will be teaming with Robby Gordon Motorsports for the balance of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season beginning this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

For Sunday’s running of the Emory Healthcare 500, fans will find Conway behind the wheel of the No. 7 ExtenZe Racing Toyota. Conway heads into the Atlanta race weekend leading Terry Cook in the Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie Standings by 154 points (192-38) and looks to better his 31st-place finish at Atlanta earlier this year.

Grand marshal for Emory Healthcare 500 at Atlanta given second chance at life

The title of grand marshal at NASCAR's Sprint Cup races has been bestowed on a variety of individuals. Celebrities in the realms of film, TV, music and sports have held the honor, as well as executives from many of NASCAR's sponsors and local community figures to even the president of the United States.

But every so often, the grand marshal is an individual who's not a household name, who's faced the challenges life put before them and like the drivers on the track, came out ahead. This describes Terry "Mr. 500" Green, the grand marshal for Sunday's Emory Healthcare 500 Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

With a nickname like "Mr. 500," Green must have seemed like the perfect man for the job. But the nickname originally had nothing to do with racing and everything to do with Green's second chance at life.

In March 2008, the Lawrenceville, Ga., native became the 500th patient at Atlanta's Emory University Hospital to receive a heart transplant.

Monday, August 30, 2010

NASCAR to revamp communications department

NASCAR Managing Director of Corporate
Communications Ramsey Poston
Managing Director of Corporate Communications Ramsey Poston will leave department after this year and will move into consulting role; search under way for chief communications officer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Aug. 30, 2010) – Following a comprehensive review of its communications function and public relations activity across the industry, NASCAR announced it will move immediately to create an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department that will better position the sanctioning body to lead best practices and provide overall thought leadership in the communications space for the entire industry.

“Our sport has unique challenges and very diverse constituencies and it has become clear that NASCAR must be a catalyst in this space to help all stakeholders find greater value,” said Brian France, NASCAR’s chairman and chief executive officer. “This is a major investment for the company at a critical time and represents an elevation of this highly-important function for NASCAR and the industry. We are confident this evolved approach will yield immediate and long-term value for NASCAR, its media and business partners and the industry as a whole.”

Said wins first NASCAR race in photo finish at Montreal (NNS recap)

Boris Said celebrates his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win in 22 races in
Victory Lane at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. (
Jason Smith/Getty Images)
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

MONTREAL — At long last, road-course ace Boris Said is a winner in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

Said won Sunday’s NAPA Auto Parts 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve when — with the two strongest cars out of contention — the always unpredictable event ended with Said beating Max Papis in a drag race to the finish line.

After leader Robby Gordon ran out of gas on a green-white-checkered-flag finish that sent the race three laps past its scheduled distance of 74 laps, Said lost the lead to Papis at the entrance to the final two corners. But Papis’ momentum sent him wide in Turn 14, and Said drew alongside at the top of the final straightaway.

Papis lost a fraction of a second when he hit the rev limiter in second gear but still had enough to race side by side with Said all the way to the finish line.

History Was Made on Saturday: My Bristol Experience (Part III)

Many apologies for the delay in getting this posted! This is the third and final part recounting my Bristol experiences. I hope you all have enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed sharing them with you!

Since the race was the only on-track action on Saturday, the gates did not open until 1:00p.m. I left my house and picked up my cousin Kayla around noon. The weather was dreary. It was sprinkling rain as we left my cousin’s house. Kayla, who is a die-hard Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fan, is also a David Gilliland fan. When you ask her why she’s a Gilliland fan, she’ll respond “Because he wrecked Montoya!” Just as a side note, the incident she’s referring to happened two seasons ago! Proudly sporting her David Gilliland shirt, Kayla was excited to be back at Bristol for her 2nd ever Cup race. The rain was pouring down when we arrived at the track, which was around 2:30p.m. Kayla and I both had ponchos, but we both still questioned how smart it had been to wear white t-shirts.

So for the second day that week, I went to the Bruton Smith building and ducked into the Fan Relations office, hoping to run into Ben Trout again. As it turns out, Ben had something special for the fans in the office. He called us all over and began to explain to us about the driver introductions. Then he told us that he had some pre-race passes he wanted to hand out. So, I got one for me and one for Kayla. With the chance to be on the track before the race started, everyone who held a pre-race pass in their hand looked at the gray skies, hoping the rain would stop so driver introductions wouldn’t be cancelled.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Race Week Got Better on Friday: My Bristol Experience (Part II)

Yesterday I shared with you my experiences at Bristol Motor Speedway last Wednesday. Today, I bring you part II, in which I share with you about what all happened before, during, and after the Food City 250 last Friday.

By the time my alarm went off Friday morning, I was more than ready to hit the road and return to Bristol. Thankfully I only live just over an hour from the track. My best friend Hope was with me for the drive that day. We met up with Jordan—my best friend who had gone to the Truck race with me—and her friend Lindsey at Waffle House for breakfast before going on to the track.

WIN Series Returns with…

The Women of ESPN


After a break, the Women in NASCAR Series will make its return with a triple header: Turning the Table on 3 of ESPN's top motorsports reporters. These women are making a once male-dominated environment a thing of the past, bringing with them a new level of excitement that crushes the old "Trophy Girl" image. They are extremely knowledgeable as well as passionate about the world of motorsports.

Over the next couple of weeks, you will get to know a little more about Jamie Little, Nicole Briscoe and Shannon Spake. We will dive into their lives, both on and off the track, the roads on which each of them have traveled to get where they are, and the goals they have for their futures.

I would like to personally thank the three of them as well as Andy Hall, manager - media relations, for taking the time to talk with me during a recent phone interview via Skype. It was a pleasure speaking to each of them and I am honored that they have opened their lives to me as well as the readers and followers of Skirts and Scuffs.

So, look for the announcements from Skirts and Scuffs on the first installment of a special three-part series on the above-named women. They'll be sharing their opinions on such topics as NASCAR’s controversial "Boys, Have At It" policy as well as their thoughts on what teams they see as top contenders for The Chase.

Thanks for your support and I hope you enjoy this series!

Most Popular Driver votes reach 1 million

Fans have 2 weeks to get their driver into Top 10

Minneapolis, Minn. (August 27, 2010) - The race to the NASCAR Chase is on and so is the chase for its favorite driver - and that effort has reached a major milestone. Fans have now cast more than 1 million votes for the NASCAR® National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Hamburger Helper® Most Popular Driver Award at www.HelpersMostPopularDriver.com.

Fans only have two more weeks of voting before the competition is narrowed to the top-10 vote-getters, coinciding with when the drivers in the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be determined. The votes will be reset on Sept. 12 and the 10 driver finalists will then begin a new race to the finish.

The current top 10, in alphabetical order, are Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart.  

Kyle Busch extends winning streak at Chicagoland (NCWTS recap)

Kyle Busch celebrates in victory lane
Friday at Chicagoland Speedway.

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)
By Lee Montgomery
Special to the Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

JOLIET, Ill. (August 27, 2010) —What can slow down Kyle Busch? Perhaps only the checkered flag.

Busch won his second consecutive NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and his fourth national series race in a row by dominating the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 on Friday night at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch swept all three NASCAR national series races at Bristol Motor Speedway last weekend and continued his winning ways at Chicagoland. He led three times for 121 laps for his fourth truck series win in nine starts in 2010.

Busch now has 17 wins across the Sprint Cup (three wins), Nationwide (10) and truck series this year.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Bodine on the Pole for EnjoyIllinois.com 225

Print Tonight the Camping World Truck Series makes its return to Chicagoland Speedway for the EnjoyIllinois.com 225 and Todd Bodine will lead the trucks to the green flag at just after 9pm eastern. Bodine who qualified with a time of 31.063 seconds will start alongside rookie Austin Dillion.

Kyle Busch, defending race winner, will start in forth position.

Here’s the full starting grid:
  1. Todd Bodine
  2. Austin Dillon
  3. James Buescher
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Johnny Sauter
  6. Shelby Howard
  7. Ron Hornaday
  8. Aric Almirola
  9. Narain Karthikeyan
  10. Justin Lofton
  11. Jason White
  12. David Starr
  13. Ricky Carmichael
  14. Chris Fontaine
  15. Timothy Peters
  16. Mike Skinner
  17. Brad Sweet
  18. Matt Crafton
  19. Ryan Sieg
  20. Johanna Long
  21. Rick Crawford
  22. Tony Jackson Jr.
  23. Chris Jones
  24. Jamie Dick
  25. Steve Park
  26. Mario Gosselin
  27. Tim Andrews
  28. Mike Harmon
  29. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  30. JC Stout
  31. Brent Raymer
  32. Lance Fenton
  33. Ken Butler III
  34. Norm Benning
  35. Jerick Johnson
  36. Mike Garvey

Logano, Allgaier, and Venturini Headline Appearances at Richmond International Raceway (September 10)

209292 Richmond, VA (August 26, 2010) — NASCAR drivers Joey Logano and Justin Allgaier, and NASCAR on SPEED reporter Wendy Venturini will participate in question-and-answer sessions in the Friday, September 10 Scotts Turf Builder Party Zone fan hospitality at Richmond International Raceway. The Scotts Turf Builder Party Zone fan hospitality, which includes a pre-race pit pass to see Friday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice from pit road, is a great way to experience all of the excitement at America’s Premier Short Track prior to the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

In addition to the appearances by Logano, Allgaier and Venturini, SPEED-TV personality Hermie Sadler and track president Doug Fritz will also participate in question and answer sessions in the Scotts Turf Builder Party Zone.

The Scotts Turf Builder Party Zone is available on Friday, September 10 from 2:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and includes:

NASCAR Changes up Qualifying Procedures for Sunday’s Nationwide Race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

51 875_01 NASCAR PubJQc Lightning
When you sit down Saturday to watch qualifying for Sunday’s Nationwide race from Circuit Gilles Villeneuve don’t be surprised if things look a little different. That’s right, instead of the traditional method of qualifying NASCAR has chosen to change things up a bit. Below are the rules:
  • Cars attempting to quality will be divided into 8 groups. The first 6 groups will include 6 cars; the remaining groups will have 5 cars each.
  • Group assignments will be based on first practice times.
  • Each qualifying group will be on-track for approximately 7 minutes.
  • A car’s best lap time during the group session will be the lap time of record.
  • A group’s time begins when the first car receives the green flag at the start/finish line.
  • Time will stop only in the event of a red flag. Time will begin again when the first car retakes the green flag.
  • A car must qualify in its assigned group unless otherwise designated by the Series Director.
  • Once a car enters pit road or service area it may not re-enter the qualifying group.
  • A five-minute clock may be applied to a car that does not enter the qualifying group at the designated time.

Jack Roush to Headline Appearances at Auto Club Speedway’s Ford Racing Party Zone (October 9-10)

109706 SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. (August 26, 2010) – NASCAR personality and team owner Jack Roush, who has lived a much talked about life both on the track and off, will make a special appearance in the Ford Racing Party Zone fan hospitality tent during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoff race weekend at Auto Club Speedway, Oct. 9-10.  Don’t miss the chance to see this legend of NASCAR reflect about his life – past, present and future.

Joining Roush in the Ford Racing Party Zone on Sunday, Oct. 10, will be NSCS Ford Racing Team drivers Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger.

On Saturday, Oct. 9 NNS Ford Racing Team drivers Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be in the Ford Racing Party Zone to talk about their racing experiences.

By simply upgrading a grandstand ticket, fans can take their NASCAR race weekend experience to the next level. The Ford Racing Party Zone fan hospitality tent comes complete with:
  • NASCAR driver and celebrity appearances, including NASCAR team owner Jack Roush and Ford Racing drivers Elliott Sadler, Greg Biffle and AJ Allmendinger on Sunday, Oct. 10, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Colin Braun on Saturday, Oct. 9.  Visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/fordracingpartyzone for additional and up-to-date driver and celebrity appearances.
  • Pre-Race Pit Pass, providing up close access to pre-race activities
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • 5 beverage tickets valid for Pepsi & Aquafina products, beer, wine and mixed drinks (must be 21 or older, with valid I.D., for alcoholic beverages). Beverage tickets only valid inside the Ford Racing Party Zone tent.
  • Live entertainment
  • Multiple closed circuit flat screen TV’s
  • Commemorative Ford Racing gift
  • Parking pass
Admission to the Ford Racing Party Zone requires a valid grandstand ticket, in addition to the Ford Racing Party Zone upgrade at an additional charge.  Upgrade options are:
  • $85 per person for Saturday, Oct. 9
  • $125 per person for Sunday, Oct. 10
  • $175 per person for Saturday, Oct. 9 & Sunday, Oct. 10

Ford Racing Party Zone upgrades do not include a grandstand ticket(s).  Grandstand tickets must be purchased separately and start as low as $35.Race fans must act quickly, as the Ford Racing Party Zone fan hospitality tent offers limited seating.

To purchase tickets, visit us online at www.autoclubspeedway.com/fordracingpartyzone or by calling 800-944-RACE (7223).

About Auto Club Speedway
This October the playoffs go golden!  The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup roars into the Golden State and Southern California’s Auto Club Speedway.  Experience a weekend full of speed beginning with NASCAR Qualifying Day (Oct. 8), followed by the NNS CampingWorld.com 300 (Oct. 9) and culminating with Southern California’s “playoff” race – thePepsi 400 (Oct. 10).

Free parking, unbelievable menu items and a full weekend of entertainment, live music and fun await fans in the Speedway’s Opportunity, California FanZone.

Pepsi 400 tickets start at $35 and AAA members receive Show Your Card & Save discounts, including a special section with half-priced tickets for kids 12 and under.  And don’t forget children 12 and under can sign up for the FREE Auto Club Speedway Lefty’s Kids Club membership to receive FREE admission on Friday and Saturday.

For more information or to purchase tickets call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com.

Let's Hear It for the Ladies

ARCA driver Alli Owens (Motorsports Images & Archives)
This weekend at Chicagoland Speedway, no less than nine female racers will be looking to make the field across four series of motorsports.

The IZOD IndyCar Series leads all series with five women entered for Saturday's Peak Antifreeze and Motor Oil Indy 300.
Sarah Fisher, Danica Patrick (who's also running part-time this season in the NASCAR Nationwide Series), rookies Simona De Silvestro and Ana Beatriz, and Milka Duno are in the 29-car field, which is the largest for any IndyCar race this season. The record number of women entered matches that for the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The Race Week Began on Wednesday: My Bristol Experience (Part I)

The waning days of August mean that summer is almost over and that for many kids, school is just around the corner. However, for me, thousands of other residents of northeast Tennessee, and NASCAR fans, it means something totally different—race week at Bristol Motor Speedway. Every time I passed a motorhome on the highway, it made me realize just how much closer it was to being race day at Bristol.

Last August was the first time I had ever gone to a Camping World Truck Series race at Bristol, and after the exciting time I had then, I couldn’t wait to see what last week’s race would bring. This year, I was fortunate enough to have my best friend Jordan join me. She is fairly new to being a NASCAR fan and had never been to Bristol, despite the fact she has lived in east Tennessee for quite some time now. Recalling my past experiences at Bristol, I knew this year’s race week would be one I would never forget. When I fired up my car’s engine and headed for Bristol on Wednesday morning for what would be the first of a three day racing schedule, I never could have imagined just what would happen this time around.

TV Schedule Aug. 27-29

The Sprint Cup Series is out of commission this week, its last off-weekend of the season. But fans still have plenty of racing action to look forward to this weekend with the Nationwide Series in Montreal and the Camping World Truck Series at Chicagoland.

Nationwide heads north to our neighbor Canada for the third and final road-course race of the season at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The 2.71-mile track has 15 turns and has provided dramatic racing since it was added to the Nationwide schedule in 2007. Last year Marcos Ambrose's mistake at the final chicane allowed Carl Edwards to swoop in and capture the win. Can Ambrose overcome his bad luck to claim his first victory at Montreal?

Meanwhile the Truck Series makes a stop in the Windy City. Kyle Busch won the series' inaugural race at the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 2009. Busch made history last week by achieving the elusive trifecta of wins across all three series in a single race weekend. Can he make history again by becoming the only Truck Series driver to win at Chicagoland?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Martinsville set to hold two Sprint Cup dates for next five years; infrastructure upgrades planned

MARTINSVILLE, Va. (Aug. 26, 2010) - Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and state and local officials announced Thursday a Tobacco Commission grant and other initiatives that will help provide an enhanced fan experience at Martinsville Speedway.

The Tobacco Commission awarded Martinsville Speedway a grant of $1.5 million, which will be matched by Martinsville Speedway for a $3 million project to upgrade facility infrastructure.

As part of the agreement with the Tobacco Commission, International Speedway Corp. has committed to two Sprint Cup races annually at Martinsville Speedway for at least the next five years.

Do haters dislike Busch for domination or personality issues?

Is Kyle Busch an a@#? Brad Keselowski obviously thinks so, and he had no problems expressing his opinion of his fellow competitor last Saturday night during driver introductions preceding the Irwin Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. When handed the microphone during pre-race ceremonies, Keselowski said what he thought about Busch after introducing himself, something he said another driver—Juan Montoya—said he wouldn’t do.

Busch has drawn the ire of a lot of NASCAR fans since his entry into the national ranks a few years ago. He does have his supporters, though, and even most of those who claim to hate the guy will admit the the driver has a lot of talent and is one heck of a race car driver.

While Busch lovers and haters seem to agree that Busch is a great race car driver, there is something they don’t agree on—why all the hate? According to Busch fans, Busch haters are simply haters because the guy wins all the time—an argument they seem to have borrowed from Jeff Gordon fans, ala the 1990s.

The haters see it another way. According to them, the strong dislike for Busch—a dislike so strong it seems to make stomaches turn at the mere mention of the driver they love to hate—is the guy’s attitude.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

NASCAR reinstates LaJoie after suspension

NASCAR announced Wednesday it had reinstated Randy LaJoie upon his successful completion of a counseling program after the former driver failed a drug test. He was suspended June 22 for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

On June 11, LaJoie was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR substance abuse policy) of the 2010 NASCAR Rule Book. He said he had smoked marijuana in May.

In issuing their decision, NASCAR determined LaJoie had satisfied all the requirements for reinstatement.

LaJoie was randomly drug tested after applying for a spotter's license to work on Joe Gibbs Racing's No. 18 team in the Nationwide Series. The two-time Nationwide Series champion is an analyst for ESPN, but was suspended by the sports news network following his suspension from NASCAR.

"I am thankful to NASCAR for reinstating me for competition, and grateful to my friends and family who supported me through this time," LaJoie said in a statement. "This has been a tremendous learning and growing process for me, and I have come through it a stronger, better person. I am looking forward to returning to work, and continuing to prove to NASCAR, my colleagues, my family and my friends that this was an isolated incident that I have put behind me."

Regan Smith signs two-year extension with Furniture Row Racing

DENVER, Colo. (Aug. 26, 2010) -- Furniture Row Racing announced Thursday that Regan Smith has signed a contract extension through the 2012 season to drive the team's No. 78 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Smith, the 2008 Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year, is currently in his second season driving for the Colorado-based Furniture Row Racing team. Last year he competed on a part-time basis, entering 20 races. The 26-year-old native of central New York is running a full schedule this season and will do the same in 2011 and 2012.

"Regan is a young, talented driver with an outstanding future," said Joe Garone, Furniture Row Racing general manager. "He has done a great job as our athlete and also as a spokesperson for our organization. The contract extension does indeed express a serious commitment by both the race team and driver."

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Kenseth to Make Nationwide Start at Atlanta

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 25, 2010) - Matt Kenseth is set to make his third
Nationwide Series start this season for Roush Fenway Racing at Atlanta
Motor Speedway driving the No. 16 World Financial Group (WFG) Ford. The
Atlanta-based WFG began their partnership with Roush Fenway Racing in
2004 and they are making their first on-track appearance since winning
with Carl Edwards at Phoenix International Raceway in 2008.

World Financial Group has sponsored Roush Fenway Racing Fords in all
three of NASCAR’s top series’ beginning with Carl Edwards at Atlanta
and Darlington Raceway in 2004. The financial services marketing
company has been on board for two wins, both secured by Carl Edwards in
the Nationwide Series.

Roush Fenway Continues Sustainability Efforts

Both at Home and in the Community, Roush Fenway Remains a Leader in

Concord, N.C. (August 25, 2010) - Its no secret that Roush Fenway
Racing recycles 96 percent of every race car but it’s their continued
efforts to become more sustainable that is really paying off for the
environment. In 2009 the team recycled 65 tons of plastics, metal and
paper and implemented small but impactful changes across all its
facilities. These efforts helped the team meet its goal of an overall
10 percent improvement in indoor air quality; reduction of water
consumption; increase in waste reduction and recycling; and improvement
in energy usage over the last year.

“I am most proud of the smaller impacts we have achieved,” said Ian
Prince, Roush Fenway’s director of real estate and sustainability.
“The second and third rounds of reduction and improvement are
exponentially harder to achieve.”

Harraka to make Nationwide Debut in Montreal

112585 Mooresville, N.C. – August 25, 2010 – When the NASCAR® Nationwide Series heads north of the border for its annual visit to Canada this weekend, one of the series’ most experienced race teams will have a fresh face behind the wheel. Paulie Harraka, in his sophomore season in the K&N Pro Series West and his junior year at Duke University, will pilot the Exide® Batteries #87 Chevrolet for NEMCO Motorsports at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal on Sunday, August 29. The race will air live on ESPN 2 at 2:30 PM EST.

This event marks the NASCAR Nationwide Series debut for Harraka, who is a member of the Drive for Diversity program. Harraka, the winningest driver in the program, won the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship in 2008, followed by NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Rookie of the Year in 2009. Currently, he is 3rd in K&N Pro Series West points standings.

After finishing 2nd in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Infineon this summer, Harraka caught the eye of Joe Nemechek, NEMCO Motorsports owner. “I’ve been impressed with how he’s grown as a race car driver – particularly on the road courses,” said Nemechek, who has won 16 Nationwide Series races.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Roush Rewind: Irwin Tools Night Race

For the second time this season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series headed to Thunder Valley for the running of the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, located in the mountains of Bristol, TN. Bristol was looking to add to the history books as the race would be the track’s 100th Cup race. Rain fell in the early hours of the afternoon, but the weather improved before the race was set to begin. While many drivers looked like they had what it took to win on Saturday, it was Kyle Busch who would show he was the class of the field as he took the checkered flag and added his name to the NASCAR history book’s once again as not only Bristol’s 100th Cup winner but also as the first driver to win all three races in NASCAR’s top three series in one weekend.

The Roush Fenway Racing drivers headed into the weekend looking to build on the wave of momentum they have been riding. Statistically speaking, Bristol Motor Speedway is one of Roush Fenway’s best tracks. With 10 Cup wins and 9 poles at Bristol, the organization hoped to add to those impressive stats this past weekend. While none of them got the win, they proved that the facts don’t lie. Back in March, three of the four Roush Fenway drivers finished inside the top ten at Bristol, while one got caught up in a wreck not of his own doing that knocked him out of contention. Saturday night’s race was almost like déjà vu. Three finished inside the top 12, while once again, one was left accepting a less than stellar finish after being knocked out of contention.

When it comes to Nationwide Series racing, how many Cup drivers are too many?

Do Sprint Cup Series drivers belong in the Nationwide Series? There seems to be two schools of thought on this topic.

One one side of the fence you have people who feel that Sprint Cup drivers racing in the Nationwide Series is good for the health of the Nationwide Series, as these “big name” drivers bring money, primarily through ticket sales, to the series. Track owners and race promoters contend that fans want to see the stars of the sport, and having big name Sprint Cup Series drivers in the race brings more fans to the racetrack.

These same people also argue that the more popular Sprint Cup drivers bring attention to the Nationwide series. This is true. After all, many Cup drivers probably have some fans who follow the Cup Series and that’s it, but if said driver runs the occasional Nationwide Series race, maybe those fans would follow him to the Nationwide Series and see something they like and stick around.

But at the same time, does this attention take away from the regulars of the series? Yes, it probably does. Whether it does or not, the Cup drivers who were called “Buschwhackers” back when the Nationside Series was the Busch Series, take away prize money and sometimes even sponsorship from the regulars of the series—or at least the regulars who aren’t racing full-time in both series. They’ve even taken over the head table at the series banquet at the end of the season, since more and more Sprint Cup Series drivers have opted to race full-time in the Nationwide Series while also competing on a full-time basis in Sprint Cup. One has to go back to 2005 when Martin Truex Jr. claimed his second-straight title to find a non-Sprint Cup competitor as the Nationwide Series champion.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee spotlight: Jack Ingram

With his inclusion on the list of nominees under consideration for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2011, Jack Ingram becomes the first driver from what is now known as the Nationwide Series to receive such recognition.

Ingram competed in NASCAR from 1965 until 1991, and during that time he made 275 starts in the NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) Series. In those 275 starts, he collected 31 wins and claimed the series championship in 1982 (the first year of the Busch Series) and again in 1985. He came close to winning another title in 1986, but his championship run was thwarted by a two-race suspension for rough driving. Unlike the younger champions of today, Ingram's Busch Series titles came after the age of 45.

Prior to his Busch Series accomplishments, Ingram also won three-consecutive championships in the series that preceded the Busch Series -- the Late Model Sportsman Series -- in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

To read more of this bio, visit Nationwide Series News, Notes and Rumors.

Photo of Jack Ingram courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images.

Talladega Makes Select Rows of Allison Grandstands Free for Children Under 11

Talladega Superspeedway announced today that kid’s 11 and under will be admitted free to select rows in the Allison Grandstands for the AMP Energy 500 weekend.

“The Allison Grandstands are one of the best values in all of motorsports,” said Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch.  “With the tough economy weighing most heavily on families, we are looking to make it more affordable than ever to experience the excitement of Talladega Superspeedway.”

Children 11 and under are free in the Allison Grandstands on Saturday for the Mountain Dew 250 and free in rows 1-5 and only $10 in all other rows of the Allison Grandstands on Sunday for the AMP Energy 500.  Adult two-day Saturday and Sunday tickets are only $49.

For more information on these special offers check out www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.  To reserve kid’s seating, race fans must call the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA.  Kid’s seating must be reserved in advance.

Will more NASCAR history be made when racing returns to Talladega Superspeedway for the AMP Energy 500 weekend? Fans will have to be here to find out.   NASCAR action returns with the Mountain Dew 250 fueled by Fred’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and Race Number Seven in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, the AMP Energy 500, Oct. 29 – 31.  To experience it all, call 1-877-Go2-DEGA or visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com.

Traxxas To Sponsor #18 for Kyle Busch Motorsports

Kyle Busch Motorsports MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 23, 2010) – Traxxas, the leading manufacturer of hobby-class radio-controlled (R/C) vehicles, will sponsor Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) and its No. 18 Toyota Tundra in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races – Aug. 27 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Oct. 30 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, and the Nov. 19 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway – with driver-owner Kyle Busch behind the wheel for each event.

The sponsor is a perfect fit for Busch, as the 25-year-old Las Vegas-native has been an R/C car enthusiast nearly all his life.

“It’s incredibly cool for me to have Traxxas as a sponsor of the No. 18 KBM Toyota at Chicagoland, Talladega and Homestead,” said Busch, who has 19 career victories in the Camping World Truck Series, including last week’s O’Reilly 200 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. “I worked at a hobby store in Las Vegas when I was a teenager and remember selling a lot of Traxxas vehicles and equipment. I’ve used the vehicles throughout my life because R/C cars have always been a huge passion of mine. Traxxas’ reputation is second-to-none, and it’s an honor for me to have them as a partner with Kyle Busch Motorsports.”

Win Kyle’s Toyota Tundra

KyleBuschFoundation MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 21, 2010) – The Kyle Busch Foundation and Toyota have joined forces in a unique giveaway in which one lucky race fan will “Win Kyle’s Tundra” in a drawing to be held on Monday, Nov. 1. Grand prize is a 2010 Toyota Tundra pickup truck, along with roundtrip airfare for the winner and a guest, free lodging and garage passes to join driver Kyle Busch for the next-to-last NASCAR weekend of the season at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz., Nov. 5-7.

Drawing tickets are available at www.WinKylesTundra.com, ranging from $18 each for five or fewer tickets, or at the discounted price of $16.50 per ticket with the purchase of six or more. All proceeds benefit the Kyle Busch Foundation.

“We can’t thank Toyota enough for partnering up with the Kyle Busch Foundation and helping to support a lot of deserving children’s homes,” said the 25-year-old Busch, whose No. 18 Toyota Tundra racetruck for Kyle Busch Motorsports is helping to promote the giveaway with a commemorative decal during its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in August, September and October. “Not only is it a great cause to support, but some lucky fan is going to win a really cool looking Toyota Tundra.”

Since 2007, the Kyle Busch Foundation has been dedicated to providing essential tools for less fortunate children throughout the country. The foundation’s efforts are concentrated on assisting organizations in fostering a safe environment for children to live, learn and challenge themselves, as well as seeing that day-to-day needs are met. It currently supports children’s homes in Grand Rapids, Mich., Concord, N.C., Mesa, Ariz., Atlanta and in Busch’s hometown of Las Vegas.

For more information about the Kyle Busch Foundation, or to learn how to donate, visit www.kylebuschfoundation.org.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Press Release: Busch Makes History with Bristol Hat Trick

Date: Aug. 21, 2010
Event: Irwin Tools Night Race (Round 24 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway (.533-mile oval)
Start/Finish:    19th/1st (Running, completed 500 of 500 laps)
Winner:           Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Kyle Busch scored the elusive hat trick at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway by winning Saturday’s Irwin Tools Night Race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The 25-year-old swept the slate of NASCAR races at the .533-mile oval, winning the Camping World Truck Series race Wednesday night and the Nationwide Series race Friday night before wheeling his No. 18 Doublemint Toyota to victory in Saturday night’s Sprint Cup race.

“It means a lot,” said Busch after notching his 19th career Sprint Cup victory, his third of the season and his fourth at Bristol. “I’m out of breath. I’ve been screaming the whole time. Normally, you take your time to get your breath back, but I used it all up. Man, I can’t say enough about this team, Joe Gibbs Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports earlier this week. This Doublemint Camry was awesome today. What a great racecar. It’s the second time we ran it this year, and the second race for Doublemint, and we won for them. Again, I can’t thank these guys enough. Flawless pit stops. These guys were awesome.”

Busch led four times for a race-high 282 laps in Saturday night’s race, and coupled with his victories in the Nationwide and Truck Series events, the Las Vegas native led 514 of a possible 956 circuits throughout the weekend.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Roush Fenway Looks to Finish off Strong Run to Chase

Three Roush Fenway Cars look to wrap up Chase berth within next three races

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 19, 2010) – With only three races remaining before the cutoff point for the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Roush Fenway Racing has three cars solidly entrenched in the heated battle for one of the 12 spots that will ultimately decide this seasons’ NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion.

Carl Edwards (6th), Matt Kenseth (9th) and Greg Biffle (11th) each have a good shot at earning a berth in this season’s ‘playoff,’ with Edwards and Kenseth each posting outside shots to lock up a spot as early as this Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Edwards to Make 200th Career NASCAR Nationwide Series Start at Bristol

CONCORD, N.C. (August 19, 2010) – Carl Edwards, 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion, is set to make his 200th Nationwide Series start at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday, August 20 in the Food City 250.

“I’ve had an amazing opportunity to drive for Jack Roush for the past six years,” Edwards said. “We’ve had 27 wins in those 199 races. I consider myself lucky that I have had such great equipment and crews to work with. I didn’t realize that I had already run that many Nationwide races. It sure has gone by in a flash. I’m looking forward to strapping in at Bristol for my 200th start and I can’t think of a better place for such a milestone. I plan on running a lot more and hope to continue to have a lot of fun and success.”

Kenseth Travels to Bristol With Statistics on His Side

CONCORD, NC (Aug. 18, 2010) --- Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford heads into this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway with some impressive statistics on his side. Kenseth has the opportunity to lock himself into the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup Series Championship based on numbers this weekend. In order for drivers to earn a berth into the 2010 Chase, they must reach the “magic number” which is 391. Any driver who can move themselves to 391 points ahead of 13th place following Saturday night’s Irwin Tools Race Night at Bristol Motor Speedway would lock themselves in to Chase contention. Kenseth is currently 241 points ahead and thus needs 150 points Saturday night.

Chase lineup pretty much determined with three to go

With only three races remaining—including Saturday night’s Irwin Tools 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway—is the top-12 drivers who will make up the lineup for the 2010 Chase for the Sprint Cup already determined? Granted, the complete lineup won’t set in stone for three more races, with the points being reset and the Chase field locked in after the Sept. 11 race at Richmond International Raceway, but are the drivers in the top-12 heading into this weekend’s race the same 12 drivers who will still be in the top-12 after Richmond?

There’s a pretty good chance that the drivers in the top-12 right this moment will still be there after Richmond, meaning there’ll be no room at the inn so to speak for drivers who currently find themselves on the outside looking in with just three to go until the all-too-important reset.

Points leader Kevin Harvick locked himself into the top-12 with his win at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, so he is already officially a Chase driver for 2010. Several other drivers have a shot to join Harvick as Chase shoe-ins by clinching their spots in the Chase field come Saturday night. Drivers all the way down to sixth-place in points Carl Edwards can mathematically leave Bristol locked into the Chase. To do that, a driver must leave Bristol Motor Speedway with a 391-point advantage over the driver who occupies the 13th spot in points at the conclusion of Saturday night’s race.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

Photo of Kevin and DeLana Harvick by Amanda Vincent

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sponsors have their own silly season

In the NASCAR world, silly season often refers to the game of musical chairs drivers play as they move from one team to another as they look ahead to the upcoming season. This season there seems to be a second version of silly season playing out as teams prepare for 2011—sponsor silly season.

Many times when teams take on a new sponsor, it’s because said sponsor is new to the sport, while another sponsor opts to leave the sport because a company is facing financial hardship and can no longer afford to be in NASCAR or simply chooses to spend its advertising dollars elsewhere.

In recent months, several teams have announced new sponsorship deals, but they’re not bringing new business entities to the sport and sponsors aren’t leaving NASCAR. Instead, sponsors are jumping from one team to another. Granted, sponsors moving from one team to another isn’t a new phenomenon in NASCAR, but it seems to be going on more and more at this point in time.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee spotlight: Rick Hendrick

When it comes to NASCAR team owners, they don't come much more decorated than Hendrick Motorsports head man, Rick Hendrick. His nine Cup level championships tie him with Petty Enterprises for the most at that level. When it comes to overall NASCAR national series titles, Hendrick's 11 tie him with fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Richard Childress for most-ever.

Hendrick ventured into race team ownership through boat drag racing. He entered NASCAR team ownership in 1984 with All-Star Racing, which would eventually be renamed Hendrick Motorsports. Over the years, Hendrick has fielded Cup cars for drivers including Geoff Bodine, Tim Richmond, Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Mark Martin, among several others.

Hendrick visited a Cup Series victory lane for the first time on April 29, 1984, at Martinsville Speedway with Bodine as his driver.

To read more of this bio, visit Cup Series News and Notes.

Photo of Rick Hendrick courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images.

Press Release: Ambrose Makes Move to RPM with Stanley Tools as Sponsor for 2011 Season

Concord, N.C. (August 17, 2010) - In preparation for the 2011 season, Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that driver Marcos Ambrose has signed a multiyear agreement with the organization to drive the No. 9 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Long-time RPM sponsor Stanley Black & Decker will be the primary sponsor of the No. 9 team.

"I'm very excited to join Richard Petty Motorsports," said Ambrose.

"It's an incredible honor to be able to race for a legend like The King and be a part of this organization. I'm also happy to be back with Ford Racing. The No. 9 team has been a very successful team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the support of Ford and everyone at RPM, I believe we can continue that tradition of success. I'm also excited to join forces with Stanley."

"We are very happy to have Marcos Ambrose join our team," said NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Richard Petty. "He's a very talented and passionate driver and will be a great addition to our team."

"We knew once Marcos became available that we wanted him to be a part of the RPM family," said Foster Gillett, managing partner and team owner. "He's a fan favorite and he's proven to be a tough competitor on track. We're thrilled to have Stanley continue their partnership with our team and believe that Marcos is a great fit for the Stanley Racing program."

Budweiser Makes Move to RCR and Taps Kevin Harvick as Driver

2010 Michigan2 Aug NSCS pit road Harvicks Childress
King of Beers to be Primary Sponsor of No. 29 Chevrolet in 2011

ST. LOUIS (August 17, 2010) - Budweiser has a rich NASCAR tradition, sponsoring some of the sport's most celebrated drivers, including Bobby Labonte, Darrell Waltrip, Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne. Today, Budweiser announced Richard Childress Racing driver Kevin Harvick will become the next star to take the wheel of the iconic Budweiser car when the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins in February.

"Budweiser's involvement in NASCAR dates back more than three decades, and we're excited to have as successful a driver as Kevin Harvick to usher in a new era for Budweiser," said Mark Wright, vice president of media, sports & entertainment marketing, Anheuser-Busch. "Kevin also benefits from having the support of a highly respected owner in Richard Childress and the great people of Richard Childress Racing, who will help put the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet in a position to challenge for Sprint Cup championships."

Under the terms of the deal, Budweiser will serve as primary sponsor of the No. 29 Chevrolet for 20 points races, two non-points races during Speedweeks and co-primary sponsor of the Sprint All-Star Race. Budweiser will remain an associate sponsor for the remaining races on the schedule.

Irwin Tools Night Race Will Add to Bristol’s Rich History

Bristol Motor Speedway is known to NASCAR fans everywhere as the World’s Fastest Half-Mile. It is a track known for its high banks and exciting racing action. “Rubbin’ is racin’” could almost pass as the track’s motto. Since 1961, Bristol Motor Speedway has hosted NASCAR races. The running of the Food City 500 in March 2007 marked the 50th consecutive Cup race sellout for the track — a feat not easily accomplished by most tracks. It was a streak that had begun in August 1982. However, it’s the night race at Bristol in the fall that has become one of the most anticipated short-track races on the schedule. This year, however, it’s not just another night race for Bristol. The track is passing a historic miletsone once again. But just how did Bristol get to where it is today?

The half-mile speedway was the idea of Larry Carrier and Carl Moore. The two attended a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960, and decided they wanted a similar track to Charlotte to be built in northeast Tennessee. Many people don’t know that Bristol was not the first choice as the building site. Piney Flats was actually the first choice, but according to Moore, the idea of the speedway wasn’t exactly welcomed by the locals.

Roush Rewind: Carfax 400

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visited Michigan International Speedway for a second time for the running of the Carfax 400. The speedway is known as a track where the Ford drivers tend to excel. However, this year, a Ford driver would not win at Michigan. After Denny Hamlin, in a Toyota, won the race at MIS in June, Kevin Harvick, in a Chevrolet, won on Sunday.

Riding a wave of momentum, the Roush Fenway Racing drivers came into the weekend looking to prove that Michigan was still the “House of Roush”, and the organization welcomed back team owner Jack Roush in spectacular fashion. Roush’s presence at the track inspired all four Roush Fenway drivers to give it their all at MIS. Even though none of the Roush Fenway drivers won the race, all four finished inside the top 11—three of the drivers inside the top 5.

Jennifer Jo Cobb climbs points ladder to history

Jennifer Jo Cobb made history in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series over the weekend, becoming the highest-ranked female driver in the points standings in the series' history.

Following a 14th-place finish in Saturday's race at Darlington Raceway, the veteran racer gained a spot in the standings and moved up to the 16th position. This surpasses the previous mark held by Tammy Jo Kirk, who was ranked 17th during the 1997 season.

Cobb's 14th-place finish at Darlington in the No. 10 Ford F-150 ties her career-best finish in the series at Texas, garnering her two top-15s out of four top-20 finishes in 2010. Her starting position of 21st also tied her best qualifying effort this season at Kansas.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr. to answer fans' questions in live video chat session at Bristol

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, will answer fans’ questions Thursday, Aug. 19, at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Earnhardt headlines the live AmpUpThe88.com video chat, powered by the new AMP Energy Juice, which has all the power of AMP Energy in a 100% Juice formula.

The AmpUpThe88.com chat is open to free to the public and takes place 7:30-8:30 p.m. ET at the AMP Energy Juice stage in the BMS display area located on the grounds between the Speedway and Bristol Dragway (behind the frontstretch).

While fans may attend the chat free of charge, race fans who purchase tickets to the AMP Energy Club, with tickets to the IRWIN Tools Night Race, are entered to win access to the VIP area, which is closest to the stage.

Ford/Bristol Motor Speedway's Transporter Parade a treat for fans

Fans may not know the names of these drivers, but they certainly recognize the colorful vehicles they pilot through Bristol during the wildly popular Ford/Bristol Motor Speedway Transporter Parade.

One of a number of entertaining and fun-filled special events that takes place at BMS during August race week, the Transporter Parade, which is Thursday evening, Aug. 19, is truly a fan favorite.

Thousands of fans in the area for the four NASCAR races at BMS that week come out early, staking their claim on their chosen viewing position along the 10-mile route from Bristol Mall to "The World’s Fastest Half-Mile."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Win At Home Again

This time last year Brad Keselowski, driver of the 88, wanted nothing more than to win at Michigan, his home track. Brad would end up winning for the first time at his home track, something he wanted to do for a long time.

Now it's 2010 and we're back at Michigan. Brad Keselowski, with new team Penske and the current points leader in the Nationwide Series, wanted nothing more than to win again at home. Brad would go on to win the pole Saturday in the 22 Discount Tire Dodge, which by the way, was the new car this race. It looked fast and great - it was sure to be a car to watch.

The race was green and that 22 was gone. Brad had every lap, and then green flag stops were under way. Brad’s first stop was clean and he still had the lead. It wasn’t till lap 64 that the first caution came out. Pit stops were under way, but problems arose for the 22 team.

Something was amiss with the clutch. The clutch wasn’t working right; it caused Brad to stall. Brad would lose the lead to Paul Menard. Was this clutch problem the end of the 22's chances to win at his home track? It may have seemed like Brad Keselowski’s chances were over. New leader Carl Edwards had taken the lead and now Brad was in second.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

TV Schedule Aug. 14-15

NASCAR makes its second stop at Motor City as the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series head to Michigan International Speedway this weekend.

A win in the backyard of the Top 3 manufacturers comes with bragging rights, perhaps even more so when your manufacturer isn't based there - such as when Denny Hamlin won in the spring in a Toyota. But no driver has swept both races at Michigan since 1995. Can Hamlin pull a double and add to the five wins he's already accumulated this season? Kasey Kahne will lead the field to green Sunday.

Michigan marks the second race where the new car will be used in the Nationwide Series. The new model won raves from drivers and fans after its first outing at Daytona, but this weekend marks the first time the car will be used on a 2-mile track. There are a lot of unknowns about how the car will perform on this kind of track. While Thursday's extended practice helped answer some questions, Saturday will be the true test to see how the car does in race conditions. Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of last year's event.

Conway, ExtenZe out at Front Row Motorsports

Tony Raines to pilot No. 34 car without sponsor at Michigan this weekend

Statesville, N.C. (August 13, 2010) – Kevin Conway, the leading 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year driver, and ExtenZe Racing announced they are suspending their program with Front Row Motorsports with Yates Racing (FRM) effective immediately.

In 21 starts this year for FRM, Conway captured 21 straight Rookie of the Race awards while padding a 153-point lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings. He also gave FRM its best finish in the team’s history since its inception back in 2005 when he finished 14th at Daytona International Speedway on July 3. Kevin has consistently finished right in line with his veteran teammates David Gilliland and Travis Kvapil in each race he has competed in this year.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Track Travels: Watkins Glen International

In spite of living a couple of hours north of the track, I had never been to Watkins Glen International for a NASCAR race – until now. While perusing the listings for a local travel company specializing in bus trips this spring, I uncovered a brand new trip for 2010 – Watkins Glen!

The package deal was very reasonably priced, and included a “box lunch” from Dinosaur BBQ, pre-race pit pass, and a ticket in the Silver grandstand (at the exit of pit road, in Turn One), plus the roundtrip bus ride. While I was initially turned off by road-course racing (it just seemed like I would see more on television than at the track), I was pleasantly surprised by my experience at The Glen.

If I had one complaint, it was that I really needed a track map – getting to the pits, vendors, and souvenir haulers was an adventure, as they are all on what I normally think of as the “infield.” Once I gathered my bearings, however, I was able to enjoy the pre-race experience. The seats were great – I can honestly say I saw more action there than I do at the track I’m most used to, Pocono; we also had a Sprint Vision Jumbotron in front of us. The only drawback of the seats – the pre-race fireworks during the National Anthem were right in front of us…VERY smoky for a few minutes! I was pleasantly surprised by the prices in the concession areas – they were very reasonable compared to New Hampshire and Pocono.

I’m happy I attended my first race at The Glen – and if another bus trip is offered next year, I can say without a doubt, I’ll go again!
Photo 1: the field lined up on pit road - Paula Thompson
Photo 2: Marcos Ambrose (47) overtakes Juan Pablo Montoya (42) for the lead during the race - Paula Thompson

5 Questions Before ... Carfax 400

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Michigan International Speedway this weekend, which means the teams will be racing in the backyard of some of the series' leading manufacturers (Ford, Chevy, etc.). Meanwhile, Toyota is attempting to steal the show for the third race in a row. With the schedule sliding ever closer to the start of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, intensity is picking up with every lap.

Here are some questions on my mind heading into the weekend …

Will Roush Fenway Racing continue to improve? … With Biffle’s win at Pocono a couple of weeks ago and Carl Edwards finishing in the top five the last two races, Michigan would be the perfect time for RFR to show continued improvement. Three of their drivers have multiple victories at MIS and only one DNF across all four drivers. Even David Ragan, who is not typically a front-runner, has a couple of top 10s and has led a few laps. The last time RFR won at MIS was back in 2008 in the 3M Performance 400 presented by Bondo. Will we see an RFR driver in victory lane come Sunday?

Roush released from hospital

Jack Roush was released Wednesday from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he spent two weeks recuperating from injuries suffered in a plane crash last month, team officials said in a release.

It is not known when Roush, co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing and chairman of Roush Performance, will return to the track, according to the statement.

“I would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and concern I have received the past two weeks,” Roush said in the release. “Our teams and drivers have not missed a beat in my absence, and I am proud of the effort they have put forth. I look forward to rejoining them at the track soon.”

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Edwards Closes in on Milestone 50th NASCAR Win

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2010) – Roush Fenway driver Carl Edwards, who will turn 31 Sunday, is closing in on another NASCAR milestone. Edwards’ next NASCAR victory will be the 50th of his decorated career. With his next trip to victory lane, Edwards will become one of just 13 drivers to accomplish the feat of 50 in the modern era (1972-present) and one of only seven active drivers to accrue 50 or more wins in NASCAR’s three-main divisions.

“I feel blessed to have had the opportunities that I’ve been given by Jack Roush, Ford all of my sponsors and everyone at the shop,” said Edwards who will have two opportunities at Michigan to get the win this weekend; first in Saturday’s Nationwide race and then on Sunday in the Sprint Cup race.

2011 Sprint Cup Series Schedule Update: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

2010 NHMS June NNS race bar logo fans (AUGUST 11, 2010) With anticipated crowds exceeding the Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series games, and even the Stanley Cup Playoffs , New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the three the biggest sporting events in New England during its 2011 racing season.

For the 15th consecutive season, the “Magic Mile” will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends.

Moving from its recent late-June date, NASCAR’s elite series makes its season debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 17 for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its second trip to the “Granite State” on Sunday, September 25, as the SYLVANIA 300 lights up the competition for the second race in the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee spotlight: Tim Flock

The Flock family was one of the first families in NASCAR racing and its represented by Tim Flock among the 25 nominees for induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame and rightfully so. While Flock's 39 wins place him on 17th on NASCAR's all-time win list, he amassed those 39 wins in only 187 starts.

Flock's best racing season came in his second championship season -- 1955. He dominated that year, winning nearly half the races he started -- 18 wins in 39 events. He also posted 32-top fives in those 39 races. Flock's 18-win season was a NASCAR single-season win record that stood until surpassed by Richard Petty's 27 victories in 1967.

Flock already had one NASCAR title prior to his 1955 dominance. He scored eight wins and 22 top-five finishes in 33 starts to claim what is now the Sprint Cup Series championship three years earlier in 1952.

To read more of this bio, visit Cup Series News and Notes.

Photo of Tim Flock courtesy of ISC Archives/Getty Images.

Is Elliott Sadler's goose cooked?

On the surface, the future doesn't look bright for Elliott Sadler, at least as far as his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing career is concerned. Awhile back, Sadler announced that he would not return to Richard Petty Motorsports in 2011. This season is the last on Sadler's contract with RPM and whether it was Sadler's decision, the team's or a mutual one, it doesn't look like the driver will be with RPM next year.

Of course, if the decision was mostly Sadler's, it was at least somewhat an understandable one. After all, there seems to be a lot of instability within the RPM camp -- so much so that all but one of the current four drivers with the team are leaving the organization at the end of the season. Kasey Kahne will be driving a car for Red Bull Racing next year on his way to his 2012 ride with Hendrick Motorsports, and Richard Childress Racing announced on Wednesday morning that Paul Menard would be coming to the team to drive a fourth car for RCR next season. Sadler's destination looks to be up in the air at this point, but he's made it clear that he won't be with RPM. That just leaves AJ Allmendinger, who signed a contract extension with RPM last week.

While the future doesn't exactly look bright at RPM, did Sadler pull the trigger too quickly? After all, in the real world, it's often suggested to not quit a job until you have a new one lined up. And with the U.S. economy in the state it's in now -- which has affected many NASCAR teams' searches for sponsor dollars -- that sort of advice would probably be even more beneficial for people seeking a change in career scenery at this point in time.

To read more of this article, visit AutoRacingDaily.com.

Photo of Elliott Sadler courtesy of NASCAR Media.

Workplace surprise: Dale Jr. AMPs it up at Nashville office

How would you feel if during a typical day at work, NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. strolled in unannounced and handed you an AMP?

That's exactly what happened on Thursday, Aug. 5, at a Nashville, Tenn., office. To the employees' surprise, Earnhardt Jr. was filming a commercial for AMP Energy Juice in their very own workplace.

Dale Jr., shown above with Alex Stamper of Hendrick Motorsports, handed out bottles of AMP Energy Juice to employees and stopped to sign autographs. A few lucky fans got tickets to the Aug. 21 Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway, courtesy of AMP Energy Juice.

Many of the employees started snapping photos and posting them to Twitter, allowing others to share in their workplace surprise. So much for being productive, right?

Movin' on up: Phoenix spring race bumped up to second event of 2011 Cup season

Phoenix becomes only track in the West to host two Cup dates

PHOENIX (August 10, 2010) - Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced Tuesday that the track has been awarded two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends in 2011, marking seven consecutive seasons for PIR to host a pair of nationally-televised event weekends featuring the brightest stars in NASCAR. Phoenix will maintain two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends in the face of widespread schedule realignment that saw multiple race dates moved amongst multiple facilities.

“We are honored to be the only facility in the West with two Sprint Cup Series events,” Sperber said. “The commitment from NASCAR to race twice at Phoenix International Raceway speaks volumes for the level of enthusiasm the sport has from fans in Arizona and throughout this part of the country.”

Another Piece of the Puzzle Falls into Place: Infineon to Change Date for 2011

208676 (August 11, 2010) Infineon Raceway will return to its more traditional date for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in 2011.

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 will take place, June 24-26, the final weekend in June. The race had been held on Father’s Day each of the last two years.

“This is a small change on the calendar, but a very positive development overall.  We’ve had lots of feedback from fans over the last two seasons that the Father’s Day date presents a conflict with their traditional family plans," said Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway.

The raceway had hosted the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series the final weekend in June for a number of years before moving to Father’s Day in 2009.

People of Kansas Rejoice: Second Sprint Cup Series Race Coming in 2011

Kansas_Speedway_C_thumb (July 10, 2010) Kansas Speedway and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced today that NASCAR has approved ISC’s request for realignment and beginning in 2011, Kansas Speedway will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends.

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend will be held June 4-5 and the second event weekend will be the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Oct. 8-9.

2010 Kansas Speedway ticketholders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the new June race. Tickets for the 2011 events will go on sale after Kansas Speedway’s 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in October.

“This is an exciting announcement for Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas, and the state of Kansas,” said Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren. “Our fan support for the past 10 years has been tremendous and as a result of that support and the new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, we are fortunate enough to gain an additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race starting in 2011. We will continue to offer our fans the best guest experience in motorsports.”

Save the Date: Saturday July 9, 2011: Sprint Cup Series Racing at Kentucky Speedway!

2010 Kentucky Schedule Announcement Aug Billboard SPARTA, KY. - Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI) Chairman and CEO Bruton Smith announced today that Kentucky Speedway will play host to its inaugural 400-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 9, 2011.

“The passionate NASCAR fans throughout Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati have deserved a Sprint Cup Race for a long time. Before this, racing in Kentucky was about horses, but now it’s all about more horsepower. We’re going to create the grandest sports event in the history of the state in 2011, and any fan that comes here will know what it means to be ‘Lucky in Kentucky,’” Smith said.

The Sparta, Ky., venue will become the 23rd motorsports facility on the 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule and the first facility to be added to the national tour since Chicagoland Speedway made its debut July 15, 2001 and Kansas Speedway staged its first series race on Sept. 29, 2001.

Childress to Field Fourth Cup Team in 2011: Menard Tapped to Drive

2010 Daytona June NNS New Car ESPN Menard At the conclusion of the 2009 season Richard Childress did what any team owner hates to do. He shut down his fourth Sprint Cup Series team due to lack of sponsorship and cut driver Casey Mears loose. With Jack Daniels Whiskey pulling out of NASCAR and few sponsorship opportunities on the horizon there was little else he could do.

Today Richard Childress Racing announced that the fourth team will be back for 2011 and that Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Paul Menard would be the driver. Along with his driving abilities Menard comes with a built in sponsorship from Menards, a large home improvement retail chain that operates throughout the Midwest.

In his forth season as a driver Menard has shown much improvement according to Childress who on Wednesday said,"Paul has developed into a very good race car driver, and we see his move to RCR next year as an opportunity for him to continue that progress. At the same time, we feel Paul will contribute to the continued progress and success of RCR. Paul will fit in perfectly with our team of drivers at RCR, and they are all looking forward to working with him. We're also very proud to be aligned with Menards, one of the great family business success stories in American history."

Menard will join Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick at RCR in 2011 and while we don’t yet know what number Menard will be driving we do know that it’s a multi-year deal.

To learn more about the move check out Richard Childress Racing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Roush Rewind: Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen

On Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series made its second, and last, stop at a road course for the season. The drivers had to master the left and right turns of Watkins Glen International during the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen. With 7 turns and a series of left and right turns known called “the bus stop”, Watkins Glen can be a big challenge for drivers, as well as crew chiefs. Fuel mileage is the determining factor for deciding when to pit at road courses. Crew chiefs have to calculate the fuel mileage by figuring out the fuel window then subtracting that from the final lap of the race to determine the earliest they can pit and still make it on fuel to the end. Of course, now they have to figure in green-white-checkered finishes, but on Sunday, the scheduled 90 laps would be completed—no more, no less. As those laps flew by, it became apparent that nobody could even challenge Juan Pablo Montoya as he powered his way to Victory Lane on Sunday.

After the organization scored its first win of the 2010 season last week at Pocono Raceway, the Roush Fenway Racing drivers set their sights on Sunday’s road course action. The organization has three wins at Watkins Glen, and with three of the Roush Fenway drivers still winless this season, they had hopes of getting another win for the team. Despite the great runs the week before, none of the Roush Fenway drivers were able to contend for the win on Sunday. All four finished inside the top 25, but only one finished inside the top 10.

5 Questions After ... Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen

No more road courses for the remainder of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, but the last one put on quite a show! Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the entire race, though Marcos Ambrose put up quite a fight. Meanwhile, several drivers left the racetrack very angry with each other, but what else is new? Would it be too corny to say it was a “Heluva Good!” race?

Here are some questions on my mind following the race…

Kahne to Red Bull Racing for 2011

2010 Infineon Kasey Kahne on pit road In April we learned that Kasey Kahne had signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to take over for Mark Martin as driver of the #5. The only problem with the deal was that Mark Martin wasn’t set to retire until after the completion of the 2011 season and Kahne’s contract would not begin with HMS until 2012. 

With Kahne leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the conclusion of the 2010 season we all started speculating where Kahne would land in 2011. Many, including myself, speculated that Kasey would move to a third team for Stewart-Haas Racing because of their affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports.

Today we “officially” learned that Kahne will pilot one of the Red Bull Racing cars in 2011. What we don’t yet know is which car it will be or who his teammate on the two car team will be. Below you will find the press release from Red Bull Racing, but before you dive into that tell us what you think of the news. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Guest Post (Kelly Crandall): The Month of May Means One Thing for Danica Patrick and Millions of Fans: Indy

From time to time the ladies of Skirts and Scuffs hand the reigns over to a woman who isn’t part of our usual group of contributors. Today we welcome Kelly Crandall who is a regular at Bleacher Report. (Read more of her work and her bio by clicking the link.) Kelly was quick to point out that this story is a bit “outdated”, but we don’t mind at all. We are happy to have Kelly’s post here on Skirts and Scuffs and welcome her back anytime.

You can see them line up rows deep at souvenir haulers around the country or talking about her on racing message boards. Danica. Danica. Danica.

It’s not a popular name or one that is heard often like those of Michelle, Kimberly, or Tiffany, but it’s a name that specifies a woman that is extraordinary. Even if it’s one name, one word, many know whom it refers to without any more information. If the question were posed though, “You know who Danica is right?” the answer nine out of 10 times would be “yes.”

“Is that the racecar driver?” others might turn around and ask.

Yes, that Danica, NASCAR Nationwide Series and IZOD IndyCar Series driver. With just one word, Danica has joined the ranks of other superstar athletes’ also recognizable by one word: Kobe, MJ, and Tiger, to name a few. She captured the hearts of millions from the beginning and “Danica-Mania” has been in full effect.

“Danica is everywhere: media, online, makes everyone very familiar with her,” says Jeff Smelser of Olympia, WA. Smelser is an avid NASCAR fan with a casual eye for IndyCar events.