Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Lugnut Report: Lady Luck Not with Kurt Busch in Vegas

Despite Las Vegas being his home track, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway has not been kind to Kurt Busch.

In nine starts entering this weekend, Busch had one top five and two top tens coupled with DNFs in 2003 and 2008.

"It's something that you can't count your chickens before they hatch, but this would be a special win," Busch said. "It's hard to talk about it and play what-if."

The weekend, however, got off to a promising start. On Friday Busch finished practice 21st on the speed charts but later that day qualified on pole for his hometown race. Something that brought the former champion to tears in the media center.

But what Busch really wanted to do was what younger brother Kyle did last year: win at the track they watched be built.

"To me and Kyle, it's like a Daytona-type atmosphere, and we want to go out and win this big daddy," Busch explained.

Unexpectedly, both practice sessions went on despite concerns of rain. Busch ended the first of those in third, and ended happy hour 16th in speed.

Busch was hopeful for the race ahead on Sunday.

Unfortunately, it didn't go the way one of Vegas' favorite son would have hoped.

Despite starting on the pole, Busch failed to lead a single lap on the day, losing the lead when Jeff Gordon passed him.

Busch's struggling day got worse when, on lap 92 he was the innocent victim of contact betweent Ganassi teammates Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge would come down pit road several time to fix damage, going three laps down in the process.

A tough day in his home state ended with Busch finishing eight laps behind winner Jimmie Johnson in 35th position. He is now 19th in points headed into Atlanta next weekend.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series enters the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 500. Fans can watch that race live on FOX at one p.m. Eastern time.

Thanks to Scene Daily, FOX,, Racing Reference and NASCAR on FOX for the information used in this post.

For Patti Rodisch's recap of Kevin Harvick's weekend, click here.

The Lugnut Report: Kevin Harvick Takes Second, Again

It has been a fast start for Kevin Harvick in 2010. After struggling in 2009, Harvick and his team came to Daytona ready to contend each week for wins and for the championship.

After a second-place finish last week at Auto Club Speedway, Harvick has had an up-and-down weekend and on Sunday it was more up than down.

On Friday he hit the wall early in traffic. It sent him to the garage for most of practice and they were unable to get a qualifying run done. For Sunday’s race he started 37th but the team was able to work on the car Saturday.

On Sunday Harvick wasted no time starting in the back. In fact, he had one of the fastest cars on the track early in the race. On the second caution of the day, the team hit pit road, took four new tires and a slight chassis adjustment.

It was a solid pit stop, but they were trapped back in 18th position on the restart. On the caution on lap 87, they planned on raising the track bar one round and leaving the air pressures alone.

He said he had good grip and was a lot more comfortable on the run. He came out 20th on the pit stop.

Harvick seemed to struggle in traffic. On the caution for the caution lights malfunctioning, there was a ton of strategy going on. Harvick and his crew just took two tires and fuel and restarted eighth.

Harvick worked his way up to sixth by lap 120.

Harvick had a fast car but the long green flag run had them making a stop under green. He maintained track position in fifth. He was really tight after they went too far on an adjustment.

After a more than 100 lap green flag run, a caution came out for Kevin Conway hitting the wall. The leaders hit pit road and Harvick and his crew took right sides only. They came off second behind Jeff Gordon.

With just 40 laps to go, Harvick was able to move his way back into third and with 10 to go he was battling Gordon for second place. Harvick finished second for the second consecutive race.

It was an impressive rebound for them after how the weekend began. They really were able to work on the car and make it better as the race went on.

Now they head to Atlanta next week where they hope to finally break that winless streak.

Check out Jen Preston’s Lugnut Report on Kurt Busch.

Lady Luck on Harvick’s Side in Vegas

LAS VEGAS — The best car in the Sam's Town 300 finally got to the front — just in time to win the race.

Frustrated by slow stops on pit road and a variety of different tire strategies on the part of his competitors, Harvick passed Denny Hamlin for the lead with 25 laps left in Saturday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and pulled away to beat Hamlin by 1.361 seconds.

2010 Las Vegas NNS Kevin Harvick pit stop

Though he won the race his pit crew didn’t perform up to Harvick’s standards on Saturday (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

The victory was Harvick's first of the season and the 35th of his career, second best all-time in NASCAR's Nationwide Series.

Carl Edwards ran third, polesitter Brad Keselowski fourth and Brian Vickers fifth. Trevor Bayne, Justin Allgaier, Paul Menard, Greg Biffle and Steve Wallace completed the top 10. Danica Patrick fell out of the race after a crash on Lap 83 and finished 36th in her final NASCAR race before returning full-time to the IndyCar Series.

Fortunately for Harvick, his No. 33 Chevrolet had enough muscle to overcome what crew chief Ernie Cope termed the team's "worst day ever" on pit road. Harvick lost spots on every exchange of pit stops.

2010 Las Vegas NNS checker flag Harvick

Harvick crosses the finish line ahead of Denny Hamlin (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

"The car was really fast," said Harvick, who led a race-high 82 laps, most of them early in the race before getting burned by the lackluster work in the pits. "We've definitely got some work to do on pit road, but, fortunately, the car was fast enough.

"I get mad, and they (the crew) know how I am and what I expect of them. … But you can only gripe about it so long, and then you have to go back and drive the car."

Kyle Busch led 43 laps and was chasing Harvick and Hamlin during the final 25-lap green-flag run before contact with the wall in Turn 2 slowed his progress and dropped him to 16th at the finish. Busch, however, had the strongest car at the midpoint of the 200-lap race and led Vickers by 3.537 seconds when NASCAR yellow-flagged the race for the fourth time on Lap 104 because of a light rain shower.

2010 Las Vegas NNS racing action

Harvick leads the pack in Satuday’s NNS race from Las Vegas 

That caution came 21 laps after Patrick's No. 7 Chevrolet slammed into the outside wall, thanks to contact from Michael McDowell's Dodge. Patrick, who pitted for fuel on Lap 17 and ran as high as third during a cycle of green-flag stops, had returned to the track with fresh tires and was closing quickly on McDowell, who was logging laps after blowing a tire and hitting the wall on Lap 16.

2010 Las Vegas NNS Danica Patrick Michael McDowell accident
Danica Patrick and Michael McDowell tangle to end both driver’s days

As Patrick ducked to the inside to make the pass, McDowell turned down and took away her line.

"Holy (expletive)! He (expletive) turned down," Patrick fumed on the radio right after the wreck. "He's got a broken rear bumper, and he's (expletive) trying to race!"

McDowell took full responsibility for the incident, which relegated Patrick to a 36th-place finish in her final Nationwide race before her scheduled return to the series at New Hampshire in June.

"It was completely 100-percent my fault," McDowell said. "The closing rate was so much, there just wasn't much time to make a decision."

Note: Edwards retained the series points lead by 41 over second-place Keselowski, 48 over Vickers in third and 56 over Allgaier in fourth.

(Recap courtesy of Reid Spencer – Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service)

Here are the final standings for the Sam’s Town 300 from LVMS
  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Brian VIckers
  6. Trevor Bayne
  7. Justin Allgaier
  8. Paul Menard
  9. Greg Biffle
  10. Steve Wallace
  11. Mike Wallace
  12. Jason Leffler
  13. Brendan Gaughan
  14. Scott Riggs
  15. John Wes Townley
  16. Kyle Busch
  17. Scott Lagasse Jr.
  18. Joe Nemechek
  19. Josh Wise
  20. Shelby Howard
  21. Eric McClure
  22. Tony Raines
  23. Danny Efland
  24. Stanton Barrett
  25. Willie Allen
  26. Robert Richarson Jr.
  27. Mike Bliss
  28. Colin Braun
  29. James Buescher
  30. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  31. Brian Scott
  32. Brian Keseloski
  33. Michael Annett
  34. Kenny Wallace
  35. Parker Kligerman
  36. Danica Patrick
  37. Kevin Lepage
  38. Danny O’Quinn Jr.
  39. Michael McDowell
  40. Chad Blount
  41. Mark Green
  42. Kelly Bires
  43. Dennis Setzer
Top 10 Points
  1. Carl Edwards (505)
  2. Brad Keselowski (464)
  3. Brian Vickers (457)
  4. Justin Allgaier (449)
  5. Kyle Busch (424)
  6. Steve Wallace (423)
  7. Kevin Harvick (414)
  8. Greg Biffle (408)
  9. Paul Menard (398)
  10. Scott Riggs (359)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Las Vegas + Alcohol = Trouble

Nationwide Series driver John Wes Townley was cited this past Thursday in Las Vegas. Townley, who is not of drinking age, received a citation for possession of alcohol. Although it is unknown what his blood alcohol level was, NASCAR has declined to comment on the situation.

In a statement released Saturday, Townley, 20, says he made a "terrible mistake" and offered an apology to his team and NASCAR. Townley stated he felt terrible and learned his lesson.

Townley drives the No. 21 for Richard Childress Racing. He participated in the practice and qualifying events Friday. NASCAR's policy regarding substance abuse prohibits a driver or competitor from drinking 12 hours prior to or during any track activity.

NASCAR also declined comment on whether they had been informed prior to Townley's appearance on the track or if they were informed of the incident at all.

UPDATE: NASCAR said in a statement it was "aware of the situation."

"We have met with the driver and addressed the matter with him directly," the statement said.

Keselowski sitting on pole for Sam's Town 300

Brad Keselowski won the pole for the Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in today's qualifying session, with a lap of 29.122 seconds, 185.427 mph. His last pole came at Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2009. This is Keselowski's first pole in four races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His best previous start was eighth a year ago.

Kevin Harvick has the outside pole with a lap of 29.185 seconds, 185.027 mph.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was the fastest qualifying rookie, rolling out seventh.

Danica Patrick will start in the 37th position. After today's race, Patrick is not set to run another Nationwide race until July at New Hampshire International Speedway.

The Sam's Town 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway is scheduled for today at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Green flag is set for 4:46 p.m. ET. 

Starting lineup:

1. Brad Keselowski
2. Kevin Harvick  
3. Carl Edwards  
4. Denny Hamlin  
5. Kyle Busch  
6. Paul Menard  
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.*  
8. Brian Scott*  
9. Greg Biffle  
10. Brian Vickers  
11. Colin Braun*  
12. Kelly Bires    Chevrolet  
13. Justin Allgaier  
14. John Wes Townley  
15. Steve Wallace  
16. James Buescher*  
17. Dennis Setzer  
18. Trevor Bayne  
19. Shelby Howard  
20. Scott Riggs    Ford  
21. Parker Kligerman*  
22. Joe Nemechek  
23. Michael Annett  
24. Kevin Lepage  
25. Willie Allen  
26. Brendan Gaughan  
27. Danny Efland  
28. Mike Bliss  
29. Stanton Barrett  
30. Danny O'Quinn Jr.  
31. Jason Leffler  
32. Scott Lagasse Jr.  
33. Michael McDowell  
34. Mike Wallace  
35. Chad Blount  
36. Eric McClure  
37. Danica Patrick+  
38. Kenny Wallace+  
39. Josh Wise+
40. Tony Raines+  
41. Robert Richardson Jr.+
42. Brian Keselowski+  
43. Mark Green
+Owner's points

Did not qualify: Jason Keller, Johnny Chapman, Derrike Cope, Jeremy Clements, Stephen Leicht, John Borneman III, Andy Ponstein and Morgan Shepherd.  

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kurt Busch on Pole for Shelby American

Official Shelby American Logo LVMS

With a time of 28.614 (188.719 MPH) Las Vegas native Kurt Busch is on the pole for Sunday’s Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch’s time set a new track record. Starting alongside Busch will be Jeff Gordon.

Defending race winner Kyle Busch will start in 5th position. Kyle is the only driver in the history of the Sprint Cup Series race at Vegas to win from the pole. Can older brother Kurt do it this year?

Here’s the full starting lineup for Sunday
  1. Kurt Busch
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Ryan Newman
  4. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Joey Logano
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Mark Martin
  9. Tony Stewart
  10. Juan Pablo Montoya
  11. Matt Kenseth
  12. Carl Edwards
  13. Clint Bowyer
  14. Sam Hornish Jr.
  15. Joe Nemechek
  16. Brad Keselowski
  17. David Reutimann
  18. Davif Ragan
  19. Kasey Kahne
  20. Jimmie Johnson
  21. Max Papis
  22. Jeff Burton
  23. Scott Speed
  24. Jamie McMurray
  25. Travis Kvapil
  26. Paul Menard
  27. Denny Hamlin
  28. Regan Smith
  29. Bobby Labonte
  30. Mike Bliss
  31. Brian Vickers
  32. Marcos Ambrose
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. Kevin Harvick
  35. Martin Truex Jr.
  36. Dave Blaney
  37. Bill Elliott
  38. David Gilliland
  39. Kevin Conway
  40. AJ Allmendinger
  41. Boris Said
  42. Robby Gordon
  43. Aric Almirola
Failed to Qualify
  1. Casey Mears
  2. Terry Cook

Busch brothers take family duel to Vegas

This weekend could provide a showdown of sorts within the Busch family as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads into the family's home base of Las Vegas for Sunday's Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch brothers Kurt and Kyle each look to reign supreme at the home track, and each has a legitimate shot of making it happen.

Kyle comes into Sunday's event as the reigning race winner, his one and only victory at LVMS. He also has three top-five and four top-10 Las Vegas finishes to his credit.

"It was awesome, just the feeling of a lifetime," Kyle said of his win a year ago. "I told everyone that it would be just like another race, but it really meant a lot more than that when I got to victory lane."

The rest of this article can be found at

Photo of Kyle Busch by Amanda Vincent

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Nascar’s Future Gal..... Alli O. Opens Up

Dream, Believe, Achieve: Meet Alli Owens

Women racers are on the rise! The 2010 is looking like the year of the Girl Racers. Women have been a part of the sport since its beginning with such drivers as Louise Smith, Sara Christian, Ethel Mobley and Patty Moise just to name a few. These women opened the door for other women in the world of motorsports, proving that women were and are more than capable of running fast and with as much intensity as their male counterparts.

More recently, women like Janet Guthrie, Shirley Muldowney, Jennifer Jo Cobb, Lyn St. James and Shawna Robinson are perfect examples of women who can hold their own. Times have changed for the most part and women are taking control of their racing careers and making every lap count.

A new era in motorsports is upon us. More and more we are hearing about these up and coming women much earlier in their careers. One in particular that is making some noise right now, is 22-year-old Alexandra "Alli" Owens, from Daytona Beach, Fla. Alli was born born Sept. 2, 1988 to parents Mike and Sherry Owens. Alli also has a younger brother, Adam, who is 14 years old.

Alli says this about her brother Adam: “My brother is probably the most critical one about the whole thing. He is very protective of me even though he is younger. He doesn’t always understand why I put myself through some of the things with male drivers or bad media. But on the other hand he pushes me to be the best; he will be the first one to get mad if I don’t pass a car when had a shot at it.”

Lindi Bess: When you were growing up, what did you aspire to be and why?
Alli Owens: “When I was really little I wanted to be a vet and help animals. That all changed as soon as I got a motor!”

LB: During your school years, were you involved in any clubs? Athletics?
AO: “I was always involved in school activities. In elementary school I was in safety patrol (yeah, I was the kid yelling "NO RUNNING!") I was also involved in the Dragon News, our 5th grade morning TV news group. Once I got into middle school I joined WEB Leaders, which was a group that helped new 6th graders adapt to to the challenges of change in their lives. High school was hard for me to be a part of any clubs or athletics because racing took all my after school and weekend time.”

Alli in her first quarter midget at age 12.
Alli continued on, sharing a little know secret with us: “There is one secret hardly anyone knows, I was the cheerleading captain of my freshman squad. I had to give cheerleading up because racing season interfered. I also volunteered in the special needs classes and spent time teaching the kids things and spending friend time with them. As far as athletics growing up, I played Pitching Machine Little League and softball all the way up until I moved to North Carolina in 2008.”

LB: Education wise, what are your goals? Degrees? Plan B?
AO: “School came natural to me for some reason. I was in honor classes and really good in English. I loved to write. I struggled to stay focused in school because all I wanted to do was turn wrenches on my cars. In class I would practice my autograph and day dream about the last race I competed instead of listening and following the lessons. I still somehow managed to graduate with honors from high school in three years on an excelled program. As far as college goes, I unfortunately didn’t have the funding to go. Not sure if I would have went anyway because racing was the only thing I cared about and still is. There is not a Plan B for me, no way. If I were thinking about a Plan B I would have already prepared myself to fail in motorsports. I will NOT fail at this, that is not an option!”

Alli tearing down mini stock engine at 16 years old.
LB: What are some of your career goals?
AO: “I want to win in the ARCA series before I move up. Once that happens I want to move up to either trucks or Nationwide and run full-time. From there obviously the Cup Series is the ultimate destination. The day I hang my helmet up and call it quits, I want to be able to say that I have won at every top level stock car series. My main goal is to align myself with one of the top Cup teams and develop under their wing so one day I can branch off and start my own team and be successful on the owner’s side as well."

LB: What was your very first racing experience? 
AO: “My first racing experience was when we lived in Indianapolis. They held a community event called the Kiddy 500, right before the Indy 500. It was an event for kids to race Big Wheels against each other. My dad was the one who took me to the big wheel race without my mom knowing. I was the only girl there and I remember this red head, freckle face, missing front teeth little boy next to me sticking his tongue out at me. From that point on I have had the desire to beat the boys for the rest of my life in any activity they think they can do better. I ended up winning that entire event and became the first girl to do so.”

LB: What is your earliest memory of motorsports?
AO: “We lived in Indianapolis and my parents took me to the Indy 500 practices before the 500 and I actually hated it. I cried and cried to go home, I didn't like the sound of those cars. My first stockcar race was at Volusia Speedway Park, a local dirt track here in Florida. I went there for the first time when I was 10 and I fell in love! I loved the rumble of the late models a lot more than the high-pitched Indy cars. I think I was born a stockcar fan moreover than open wheel.”

She began her career as a BMX racer at the age of 8, bringing home the Presidents Cup along with many other competitions early on, which only made her hungry for more.

At age 14, Alli won First Place in her first stockcar event.
It was in Barberville, Fla., when she started racing stock cars. With much support from friends and family, this is where her real talents began to shine through. With every new division, class or track, Alli became more hungry for the next. In 2003 Alli finished sixth in a field of 27 cars. Her then young resume boasted eight top finishes, including six top 5's and two wins. It was uncommon to find someone so young winning at these levels.

LB: What part does your family play in your auto racing career?
AO: “Family is number one, point blank! My dad is the one who took me to the big wheel race without my mom knowing. My dad and I have always been close when it comes to sports. He coached my little league teams each year and went on to my softball teams as well. When I was 8, our neighbors started racing BMX and of course my dad was the first one on the list to step up and take me to the bike shop to get a bike. That’s what started my whole career in racing. I think fathers are always secretly happy when they have daughters who like extreme sports or something of that sort over ballet or cheerleading. He was always a big supporter of everything I wanted to do that was potentially dangerous that my mom quickly said, “I don’t know about that.” Alli continued on, "As far as my mom is concerned, I think at first she would have liked to see me doing more girly things so she could be a part of it, but once she realized how happy racing made me, she quickly became my biggest fan. She fell in love with my passion for competition.”

LB: Was there moment that stands out as the point where you absolutely knew for sure you wanted to be a ‘racecar driver’?
AO: “Yes, I was 12 years old and we just built my first dirt car. When I sat in the car, strapped up, put on my helmet and took to the track for the first I knew that this was it. I was born to race, no wait, I was born to WIN! I came home and told my parents, they laughed it off and said I’m sure things will change when you get into high school. Guess what? They didn’t! At 12 I was fully committed to succeeding in this sport.”

Alli with her trophies, last BMX, first quarter midget and first dirt car.
At 15, Alli became the spokesperson for Race Against Drugs. She went on to volunteer as a motivational speaker for the National Crime Prevention Service, speaking at schools and rehabilitation centers. In 2004 Alli graduated from Finishline Racing School's advanced course "Race to Win."

2004 and 2005 brought Alli two Rookie of the Year awards in mini-stock and Late Models at New Smyrna, finishing third in both seasons. It was obvious she was fast becoming a championship contender. Alli was now considered a veteran of NASCAR-sanctioned late models, Fascar Late Models, Mini Stocks, pure Stocks, quarter stocks and BMX competitions.

2006 was a year of change for both Alli herself and Alli Owens Racing. Alli graduated from Atlantic High School with honors. This was the year that Alli Owens Racing signed with The National Labor Management Committee, The Electric Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers as sole sponsors for the upcoming 2007 season.

2007 brought Alli her best finish to date, third at Hickory Motor Speedway. It was also the year that she qualified just outside of pole. The year ended with six top fives, and nine top s in the Nascar Sanctioned Late Models division.

Alli drove the No. 12 Chevrolet right into the 2008 ARCA RE/MAX Series, teamed with DGM Racing. This female stockcar driver has two top-10 and seven top-20 place finishes in her 22 ARCA starts.

On Dec. 26, 2009, in an open test at ARCA at Daytona International Speedway, Alli Owens and seven other women went up against the "new girl," Danica Patrick. The weekend had almost 60 participants. You wouldn’t have known it as they became virtually invisible with the parade of media around the “new girl.” That was okay. Alli snuck in under the radar in her No. 15 Chevrolet and was the fastest female in the group. Not to mention, Alli’s Venturini Motorsports teammates were in the top 5 all weekend.

LB: When I asked Alli what she thought of Danica Patrick's involvement in NASCAR, Alli said the following:
AO: “Bring it. As soon as she (Danica) puts on the helmet and buckles in, she’ll just be another car to beat. That’s what I hope she’d say about me at least. I wish her the best and I think she’s opened the media doors to this series and women drivers everywhere. This is a different world than what she’s used to and I hope she respects that and understands the responsibility she will carry on her back on behalf of all of us females in general. She is a very nice person and we get along fine.”

The ARCA season opener at DIS had Venturini Motorsports driver Alli Owens driving the No. 15 car. Alli ran third for most of the race, running strong and consistently. Unfortunately, mechanical problems and a crash in the final 10 laps of the race dropped her back to a 23rd-place finish. Alli’s teammates, Mark Thompson, driver of the No. 66, finished second and John Wes Townley, driver of the No. 35, finished in the third position.

LB: What has been your biggest career achievement thus far and why?
AO: “Getting an incredible partnership with NECA and IBEW at the age of 17. I worked day and night, in school, on the weekends, and all the time in between to get this sponsorship with them. It took me a whole year to do it and I sold it all myself. To look back and see how we have grown in the last four years is something amazing and very self-rewarding. On track performances, awesome to talk about but as of right now to know I was self-driven to succeed at such a young age. I know what we went through as a family to build Owens Racing LCC into what it is today and that's what true achievement is all about.”

LB: Who are your current sponsors? How is your schedule for 2010?
AO: “The National Electric Contractors Association and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. We are adding more races each and every day. We are pushing to run the full ARCA season.”

LB: Who is your crew chief? Pit crew members? Any females on the crew?
AO: “My crew chief is Cal Boprey and my pit crew members are Dicky, Shoney (nickname), Pauly Poo (nickname), Herm (nickname) and Dave. There are no females on my crew but we do have a couple girls that come in and work around the shop every now and then.”

LB: In your opinion, what are some of the problems that females face when trying to get a job in NASCAR, at any capacity?
AO: “They need to know this sport inside out. There are a lot of talented people out there and for the most part teams are not looking at gender. They are looking for talent and skills. As for the over the wall pit crew jobs, its a lot harder because of physical strength; that’s something that most teams can’t see past.”

LB: What advice would you give to a young woman aspiring to be a racecar driver?
AO: “You have to want this 100% and be willing to sacrifice anything and everything besides family. I think this is the toughest sport mentally, physically and emotionally. This is a hard life to live and have to be so unbelievably focused. Dream, Believe, Achieve!”
LB: Do you have any female mentors/role models?
AO: “When it comes to role models and mentors, it is hard to pick one person because every women pioneer brings something to the table to respect. I don’t have a person that I have ever said “I want to be like….” In fact, my true inspiration comes from children. There is nothing more powerful than looking into children’s eyes and seeing the look of purity, fascination and amazement. When they see me or any other driver, they see a super hero. I don’t know about you, but that’s a tall order to live up to.”

LB: What do you do to relax? Girlfriend time?
AO: “I go out line dancing, fishing, mudding in trucks or on four wheelers. Head out to the lake, going out to eat, and curling up on the couch with my puppy and watch movies all day. It’s normally just my roommate/best friend Jessica as far as the girls I hang out with. She and I are normally out with my boy from the team or other guy friends. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up as one of the guys - the girly stuff just doesn’t seem fun.”

LB: Where is your Happy Place?
AO: “Inside a race car. It is the single most perfect place in the world. The only place where everything goes away and I don’t have to worry about stress, money, personal issues, or anything else that we face in everyday life!”
Alli shares her words of wisdom:

DREAM-BELIEVE-ACHIEVE (It's what I live by each and every day!)"

I would like to personally thank Alli Owens for taking the time to do this interview. I have to say that I have become a big fan of hers and I’m sure you will too after you’ve gotten to know her a little better.
Alli can be found on Twitter as @AlliOwens, on Facebook where she blogs regularly, on her Web site She also has a radio talk show,Gas N' GO with Alli "O".

Skirts and Scuffs enjoys bringing you these one-on-one interviews and would love to hear from you regarding those you would like to read more about. Please feel free to comment about the article and we hope you come back again.

Skirts and Scuffs contributor Lindi Bess had permission to use photos in this article. Please do not copy; they are the property of Alli Owens.

Winners and Losers: Can Jimmie Johnson win back-to-back?

The NASCAR Sprint Cup series heads to the desert this week but last week the teams hit Auto Club Speedway for the first intermediate track race of the season. Sunday’s race at ACS was a good measuring stick of just who was ready to challenge Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson.


Jimmie Johnson

You can call him lucky, but do recognize he is also just that good. Jimmie Johnson does not need luck to win a race but on Sunday he got exactly that. Johnson was pitting as the caution came out, he beat leader, Jeff Burton off of pit road and when the leaders came to pit Johnson was able to stay out and inherit the lead.

Johnson held off a hard charging Kevin Harvick hit the wall Johnson was able to pull away with the lead.

Expect his luck to continue this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson has three wins, three top fives and four top 10 finishes. Johnson also has a series best drivers rating of 113.6 with an average finish of 11th.

Points: 12th

Kevin Harvick

After the year Richard Childress Racing had in 2009, their hot start to the season has turned more than just a few heads. For Kevin Harvick he has came out of the off season on fire. At ACS Harvick quietly ran in the top 10 for most of the day.

After multiple cautions Harvick found himself running leader Johnson down in the closing laps of the race. The only thing that cost him the win was when he smacked the wall with only a handful of laps left. That slowed his momentum and he was unable to catch Johnson and finished second.

RCR has never won at LVMS but that could change Sunday. With two top fives and three top 10s, Harvick recent resurgence should continue this weekend

Points: First


Jeff Gordon

It has not been the start to the season that Jeff Gordon expected. Suffering spark plug issues throughout the second half of the race, Gordon and his team settled for a 20th place finish.

The finish does not tell the whole story for Gordon on Sunday he had a fast car and was able to work his way into the top 10. He led some laps but struggled on the restarts and lost multiple spots.

LVMS has been an interesting track for Gordon, he suffered his hardest hit in his career at the track in 2008. He also has won at LVMS, five top fives and six top 10 finishes. The team is off to a slow start but I think a solid finish here on Sunday could get this season back on track.

Points: 22nd

Jamie McMurray

What a two weeks it has been for Jamie McMurray. After winning the Daytona 500, McMurray has been on a whirlwind media event and he laid down the fastest lap in qualifying for Sunday’s event at ACS.

As the green flag waved McMurray began struggling with the handling of the car. They dropped back to mid pack which is where they ran for most of the day. A poor handling race car cost them a better finish, he finished 17th.

At LVMS in his last five starts he has one top five and three top 10 finishes. His average finish is 16.9. The question for McMurray is can he rebound and continue his early season magic?

Points: Fourth

Final Lap…

On Sunday there were a lot of comers and goers. We saw teams struggle with engine problem and axle wear. That being said it is still early in the season and the real picture will not be known till after Bristol in March.

My dark horse picks for Sunday are Kyle Busch. Now to say Busch is a dark horse is kind of hard to believe. He has one win, three top fives and four top 10 finishes. I expect to see Busch up front early and often on Sunday.

My other dark horse is Joey Logano. No more a rookie Logano is showing that on the track with strong performance week after week going back into 2009. Logano has only run one race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series with an average finish of 13th.

Check out the Shelby American Sunday on FOX at 3 pm est.

Talking Points: NASCAR Nationwide Series – Sam’s Town 300 (LVMS)

Sams Town 300 logo thumb

After and exciting finish in last week’s Stater Bros. 300 the NASCAR Nationwide Series returns to action this Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for its third  race of the 2010 season.

Here’s some things you might want to pay attention to:

Dancia Mania to Cease after Sam’s Town 300….until June

Media darling Danica Patrick will complete in her third Nationwide Series race this weekend at Las Vegas before heading back to IndyCar for the start of their season. Patrick who finished 35th at Daytona and 31st at Auto Club Speedway will return to NASCAR on June 26th for the Nationwide Series race at New Hampshire.

Reigning Series Champ Hopes to Improve on 2009 Finish at Vegas

2009 was an awesome year for Kyle Busch in the Nationwide Series, but the Las Vegas native recorded his worst finish of the season at his home track.  Busch has one victory in 2010 NNS competition coming last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Another hometown boy, Brendan Gaughan is hoping to end up in victory lane at LVMS. In one Nationwide Series start at the Vegas track Gaughan earned a 7th place finish.  Gaughan earned a victory on him home track in 2003 in the Camping World Truck Series.

New Crew Chief and Baby for Carl Edwards

Just one week after being replaced by Todd Parrott as crew chief for Matt Kenseth’s Sprint Cup Series team Drew Blickensderfer is back on top the pit box. Blickenserfer has been called in to replace Mike Kelly as Nationwide Series crew chief for Carl Edwards. Mike Kelly will be heading up Roush Fenway Racing’s Nationwide Series effort as their new director of competition.

Carl Edwards and his wife Kate welcomed their first child this week. Will new fatherhood give Carl the boost he needs?

Milestone Starts for Steve and Mike Wallace

Steve Wallace will be making his 125th Nationwide Series start this weekend in Las Vegas while his uncle, Mike is poised to make his 350th start in the series.

Race Facts:
  • Race: Sam’s Town 300 (Race 3)
  • Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • Track Length: 1.5 mile oval
  • Banking / Corners: 20 degrees
  • Banking Front and Backstretch: 9 degrees
  • Start Time: 4:30 PM Eastern
  • Distance: 300 miles / 200 laps
  • Television coverage: ESPN2 4:00 PM Eastern
  • 2009 Race Winner: Greg Biffle
  • 2009 Pole Sitter: Scott Speed
Top 10 in Points After 2 Races
1 Carl Edwards 335
2 Joey Logano 311
3 Kyle Busch 304
4 Justin Allgaier 303
5 Brad Keselowski 299
6 Brian Vickers 297
7 Steve Wallace 289
8 James Buescher 271
9 Greg Biffle 265
10 Paul Menard 256

TV schedule Feb. 26-28

Viva Las Vegas! NASCAR heads to Sin City this weekend for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series.

Las Vegas Motor Speedway hosts one Sprint Cup race and one Nationwide race a year. The speedway is an intermediate, 1.5-mile tri-oval. Who will Lady Luck favor on the track? Stay tuned!

The Nationwide Sam's Town 300 gets rolling Saturday and the Sprint Cup Shelby American roars to a start Sunday. It is an off-weekend for the Camping World Truck Series (don't worry - it returns next week!).

The following is a handy guide of track events and television coverage of NASCAR events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (all times listed in Eastern Standard Time):

Friday, Feb. 26:
2:00 PM Nationwide practice, SPEED
3:00 PM Sprint Cup practice, SPEED (reruns at 9:30 p.m.)
4:30 PM Nationwide practice, SPEED
6:00 PM NASCAR Now, ESPN2 (reruns at 1:30 a.m.)
6:30 PM Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED (reruns at 11 p.m.)
8:30 PM Trackside, SPEED: Danica Patrick and Juan Pablo Montoya. (reruns at 1 a.m.)

Saturday, Feb. 27:
12 noon Nationwide qualifying, SPEED
1:30 PM Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
2:30 PM Sprint Cup final practice, SPEED
4:00 PM Nationwide countdown, ESPN2
4:30 PM Nationwide race: Sam's Town 300, ESPN2. Green flag: 4:46 PM. (reruns at 3 a.m.)

Sunday, Feb. 28:
10:00 AM NASCAR Now, ESPN2
10:30 AM NASCAR Performance, SPEED
11:00 AM NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
11:30 AM NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
12 noon NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
2:00 PM Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show, FOX
3:00 PM Sprint Cup race: Shelby American, FOX. Green flag: 3:16 PM
8:00 PM NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED

Thursday, February 25, 2010

5 Questions Before ... Shelby American

Viva, Las Vegas! It’s that time of year again! All the teams from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pack up and head to Sin City for some gambling unrelated to pit stops, bright lights away from the cameras, and a trip to In-N-Out Burger for the world famous Double Double! What may be a favorite stop on the NASCAR circuit of many drivers and teams is also popular among the viewers at home. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has put on some great racing in the past, and one can only hope it does the same on Sunday during the Shelby American race at LVMS.

Will we see any new teams emerge as contenders? … Already, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing, and Hendrick Motorsports (duh) have shown some strength in the first two races of 2010. What team will step up this weekend? Will Joe Gibbs Racing show the speed they showed most of last year? Will Roush Fenway Racing return to prominence? What about an underdog team? It’s something we pay attention to every year, and already we have plenty of potential contenders in the wake. Now we’ll see if any other teams will step up to the challenge.

Who will steal the golden horseshoe? … There’s no doubt some people are just plain lucky. But luck only lasts so long. Jimmie Johnson got a huge break when he beat the leader off of pit road when the caution came out while the No. 48 team was making a pit stop. This week, who will be the “lucky dog” and enjoy a fair amount of success that comes from more than just talent? Who knows, it may be Kevin Harvick since he was the one to finally discover the secret to Johnson’s success.

Can we escape the rain? … Rain washed out the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in Daytona and caused issues with the pothole. It forced a caution last week at Auto Club Speedway and had some teams thinking about gambling due to the weather. This weekend we’re in Las Vegas … the desert. You’d think that since we’re in Nevada, Mother Nature would take a week off and go rain on someone else’s parade (or sporting event). However, showers are expected on Saturday, during which NASCAR is supposed to have two Sprint Cup Series practice sessions, Nationwide Series qualifying, and the Nationwide Series race. It seems as though the weather might have other plans. Mother Nature: 2. NASCAR: 0.

Who will be leading the points standings after the race? … This is my favorite time of the NASCAR season. During the first few races, the points don’t really matter. The points leader at the beginning of the race could be well out of the top 12 by the time all is said and done. For instance, Johnson gained 23 positions with his win on Sunday. He was 35th heading into the Auto Club 500, and left in the 12th position. That’s quite a leap! On the other end, Juan Pablo Montoya was 9th leaving Daytona, and is now 23rd in points. The further we get into the season, the less drastic these points changes will become. But it sure is fun to watch right now!

When will the dark horses become contenders? … There are some sleepers and surprises in the top 15 in points right now. David Reutimann is quietly hanging out in the 8th position. Last year’s rookie of the year, Joey Logano, is in 9th. The Red Bull Racing duo of Brian Vickers and Scott Speed are in 14th and 15th, respectively. Not to mention the RCR trio of Clint Bowyer, Jeff Burton, and Harvick. These are teams and drivers that, while they had some degree of success last season, weren’t necessarily title contenders. Now, they’re getting a jumpstart on what they hope is a terrific season. Now we’ll have to see what they can do in Sin City.

Bonus questions: How many double-doubles will the NASCAR circus have devoured before we leave Las Vegas? … Is Carl Edwards more relieved that his daughter was born during the week or that the media will finally quit asking him about it? … Which Las Vegas native will outperform the others this weekend?

Is Michael Waltrip Already Done?

When Michael Waltrip announced last fall that Martin Truex Jr. would take over for him behind the wheel of the Michael Waltrip Racing NAPA-sponsored full-time Sprint Cup Series entry, he also announced that he’d scale back his driving duties, opting to compete on a part-time basis as a driver in 2010. But has he already climbed out of the cockpit of a Cup car for good?

When Waltrip made the announcement to go part-time racing, the only races he specifically mentioned running were the Daytona 500 and the Budweiser Shootout, a non-points paying all-star-type event held at Daytona International Speedway a week prior to the 500. With those races now in the history books, Waltrip still doesn’t have definite plans to compete again in 2010.

“That’s the only Cup races I have planned,” Waltrip said not too long ago. “I’m okay with that.”

The rest of this article can be read at Auto Racing Daily.

Photo of Michael Waltrip by Amanda Vincent

Hornaday gets new crew chief in Truck Series

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2010) — Kevin Harvick Inc. announced today that Doug George has been appointed crew chief of the No. 33 Longhorn Chevrolet Silverado driven by four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday.

George, who made the move to KHI in the offseason, began 2010 as crew chief of the organization’s No. 2 Truck Series team with Cup Series veterans Elliott Sadler and Kevin Harvick splitting time behind the wheel.

“This is a really great opportunity to work with Ron and the No. 33 team,” George said. “Ron is a dedicated driver with goals to win races and championships. I’m really happy that Kevin and DeLana put their confidence in me to lead the No. 33 team. We are going to work hard to take the best equipment in the Truck Series to victory lane week in and week out. Ron and I have known each other forever, both as competitors and friends. I look forward to working with him in 2010.”

Hornaday, the series’ first four-time champion and all-time winningest driver with 45 victories, feels confident with George calling the shots.

“I really like Doug, he and I go way back,” Hornaday said. “I raced against Doug for the 1992 Southwest Tour championship. He was always a great competitor. He’s got a confidence about him that makes him likeable and a good leader. Knowing all of the experience that Doug has I feel really good that he is coming to join our team. I think he will be a great addition.”

George replaces Dave Fuge, whose departure from Kevin Harvick Inc. was announced Feb. 17. Fuge joined the organization during the offseason and served as crew chief for the No. 33 for just one race, the season-opening NextEra Energy 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Fuge took over crew chief duties from Ron Ren, who left KHI at the end of the 2009 season to serve as competition director for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Ren and Hornady won two Truck Series championship together, in 2007 and 2009.

Carl and Kate Edwards welcome daughter

We'll never know if Carl Edwards did a backflip, but we're sure he must have been beyond happy when his wife Kate gave birth to their first child, daughter Anne, on Wednesday.

The birth was announced on Ford Racing's Facebook page on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, Edwards' Facebook page confirmed the good news:

Kate and I have a beautiful baby girl! Anne Edwards is 8 lbs, 4oz and likes to eat and cry. all of the well wishes and support from everyone mean a lot to us. kates doing great, though shes having a little trouble burping annie....whole new world!

Edwards married Kate Downey, a physical rehabilitation doctor, on Jan. 3, 2009. The two met in their hometown of Columbia, Mo. The couple announced they were expecting in October.

The baby's due date was announced as Feb. 17. In anticipation of his daughter's birth, Edwards has had a driver on standby for the first two race weekends of the NASCAR season, at Daytona and Fontana, Calif.

In a team press release, Edwards and Kate request that instead of flowers or gifts, donations may be made to a charity called Back 2 Back Ministries. Donations will be used for an orphanage in Monterrey, Mexico.  

The arrival of Edwards' daughter comes during a baby boom in the Sprint Cup Series. Two weeks ago, Elliot Sadler and his wife Amanda welcomed a son, Wyatt Herman Fritts Sadler. Also expecting babies are Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon.

Skirts and Scuffs congratulates Carl and Kate on their new addition!

Photo: NASCAR Media

Bristol Makes Modifications to SAFER Barrier

BMS Logo no racingai

BRISTOL, Tenn. (Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010) – Bristol Motor Speedway officials announced today the addition of more than 160 feet of SAFER barriers.

Track operations personnel extended SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barriers at the exits of Turns 2 and 4. Work began last week and will be complete before NASCAR teams arrive for the Food City 500 weekend, March 19-21.

“We believe with these modifications, we will not only increase driver safety, but will also create a different transition at the exit of the turns,” said Jeff Byrd, BMS President and General Manager. “While we don’t know exactly how this will impact the racing, the more confined racing area should create less elbow room and tighten up the racing groove at those points.”

A deteriorating track surface forced officials in the summer of 2007 to put down a fresh layer of concrete and an additional four feet of width to the racing groove was part of the change. The modifications will eliminate some of that added room.

“Without question, this extra four feet added room and aided in creating three and, at times, even four-wide racing,” Byrd said. “However, while it is breathtaking, many of our fans have responded that we went too far, in actuality, giving too much racing room to the greatest drivers in the world.”

A package for the Food City 500 weekend is available for only $99. The package consists of Ford Fan Friday qualifying March 19, followed by Saturday’s doubleheader, the Scotts Turf Builder 300 and the Scotts EZ Seed Showdown, culminating with the Food City 500 on Sunday.

For fans who can only attend the Food City 500, single day tickets also are available, starting at $93. Tickets for Saturday’s doubleheader begin at just $45 while fans can watch Ford Fan Friday qualifying for just $5, then attend Food City Race Night at BMS for free.

A season ticket package featuring nine events during the March and August NASCAR weekends starts at only $199. The package includes the two most popular Sprint Cup races in the sport, along with a pair of Nationwide events, a Camping Truck Series race, the Scotts EZ Seed Showdown, a Whelen Modified event, qualifying and Food City Race Night.

For more information concerning tickets, please visit or call the BMS ticket office at 423-BRISTOL (274-7865).

Bristol Motor Speedway is a subsidiary of Speedway Motorsports, Inc.  Speedway Motorsports is a leading marketer and promoter of motorsports entertainment in the United States.  The Company owns and operates the following premiere speedways: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Infineon Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.  The Company provides souvenir merchandising services through its SMI Properties subsidiary, and manufactures and distributes smaller-scale, modified racing cars through its 600 Racing subsidiary.  The Company also owns Performance Racing Network (PRN), which broadcasts syndicated motorsports programming to more than 725 radio stations nationwide including XM Satellite and  For more information, visit the Company’s website at

- Release Courtesy of Bristol Motor Speedway

MIS Goes Smoke-Free

Michigan logo

(February 24, 2010) All grandstand seating, mezzanines, concession and restroom buildings, suites and chalets at Michigan International Speedway will be smoke-free, racetrack officials have announced.
The ban comes on the heels of a state measure that will go into effect May 1, banning smoking in public places.

“Not only are we adhering to the law, but we are addressing a growing number of concerns from our race fans who do not smoke,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “Race fans who smoke, can still do so in approved areas. We appreciate all our fans for their understanding and patience.”

Smokers may choose to smoke in open-air areas behind the grandstands, in the New Holland Fan Plaza and in campgrounds.

The Champions Club, seating and adjacent patios will also be smoke-free.

Anyone who does not adhere to the new smoke-free policy will be subject to fines by state and county enforcement officials who are on site during race weekends.

Signs will be posted throughout the grandstands, reminding fans of non-smoking areas.

“MIS ushers and security will monitor the grandstand seats, and we fully expect our fans to police each other,” Curtis said. “We will have a number of avenues in place for fans to notify us, including our text messaging service as well as notifying security, if someone around them is smoking in the grandstands or suites.”

Affordable tickets, wider seats, larger infield campsites and earlier NASCAR Sprint Cup start times are just a few of the fan initiatives in place at MIS. Fans are celebrated year-round with the Fan Appreciation Program presented by LifeLock. Check out for details.

MIS’ Value Pricing is now available to the public until April 4. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on June 13 and CARFAX 400 on August 15 are as low as $25. Visit or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2010 events at MIS.

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is the Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the love of racing and the thrill of a great time for race fans and drivers alike.

- Release Courtesy of Michigan International Speedway

March 16 Talladega Test Session Open to Public


(FEBRUARY 24, 2010) - The NASCAR Test Session on March 16 will be open to the public.  This will give fans their first glimpse of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars circling the track using the new spoiler while confirming the restrictor plate size and gear ratio for the Aaron’s 499 race on April 25.  It will also give fans the opportunity to experience the renovated frontstretch grandstands.

“The test session falls at a perfect time for us,” said Talladega Superspeedway President Rick Humphrey. 

“Our renovated grandstands will be open so fans can check out those areas and NASCAR will be unveiling their new competition package.  It’s a great way for fans to get a feel for how Talladega is going to look during the Aaron’s Dream Weekend, April 23-25.”

Parking lots open at 8:30 with the test officially kicking off at 9 am.  The event is free to the public and food and beverages will be permitted.  (Standard admission rules apply – No glass containers, only soft-sided coolers permitted and coolers must meet size requirement: 6”x6”x12” or smaller).  For questions on permissible items, please contact the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office at 1-877-Go2-DEGA.

Talladega Superspeedway is preparing for the 2010 Aaron’s Dream Weekend featuring qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series, followed by the ARCA Racing Series 250 race on Friday, April 23.  On Saturday, April 24, fans will see qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, followed by the Aaron’s 312 NASCAR Nationwide Series race.  On Sunday, April 25, the greatest drivers in the world face off in the Aaron’s 499 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

For more information on tickets to Talladega Superspeedway, please visit or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). Tickets also are available in person by visiting the Talladega Superspeedway Ticket Office from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CDT, Monday- Friday.

-Release Courtesy of Talladega Superspeedway

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ryan Newman is out of the top 35 drivers but should rebound at Las Vegas

Stewart-Haas driver Ryan Newman had a good car for the Daytona 500.  Newman had a good car at Auto Club Speedway.  But, after these two races with two good cars, he finds himself in 36th place in the NASCAR standings and faces a long road back to get himself into the top 12.

What happened to Newman can just be catagorized as rotten luck.  At the Daytona 500, Newman was biding his time in the back and waiting to make his move toward the front when he was clipped by Elliott Sadler and his day was over.

Newman was in a great position in the Auto Club 500 at Fontana Sunday when he was running 2nd on a restart at lap 146. He spun the tires on the restart, on the next lap the engine blew and Newman was out of the race. Newman said the tire spinning had nothing to do with the engine but he finished 36th and dropped to 36th in the points standings.

"We just lost an engine," Newman said. "We had a really good car with the Haas Automation Chevrolet, but it just grenaded, basically. I couldn't tell you what happened, but it was big and there was smoke and that was the end of our day."

Look for Newman to have another good car at Las Vegas Sunday and start to work his way up the standings. 

Ryan Newman
Photo Credit Cameras in Action

Winners and Losers: Can Kyle Busch Win His First Nationwide Race at LVMS?

The NASCAR Nationwide series left Daytona and headed to California for the Stater Bros. 300. For the first time this season, the teams would be able to compare their equipment to the competition's.

Check out the winners and losers of the Stater Bros. 300.


Kyle Busch

Even though Kyle Busch took the outside pole on Saturday, Busch continued to say over his radio that he did not have a car good enough to win.

Busch struggled with handling all day long. It took a late restart that saw the dominating car of Logano shuffled out of the lead and Greg Biffle and Busch battling for the win. Busch and Biffle banged their way to the finish and Busch took the checkered.

On Saturday, Busch hopes to find a similar result at his home track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Busch’s one win at the desert track came last year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series race. In the NNS, he has yet to find victory circle there.

In six starts, Busch’s average finish is 23.0 and in his last two starts he has finished 31st and 30th due to accidents. Busch has one top five at LVMS and that was in 2007, when he finished second. I would expect the results on Saturday to be different.

Points: Third

Kelly Bires

In case you did not know it, JR Motorsports' other driver, Kelly Bires, made his team debut on Saturday. He did it under the radar and came home with a solid seventh place finish.

Bires had a poor qualifying run that had them starting 32nd on Saturday. Bires and his crew were confident they could rebound and make it to the front.

They did not lead the race, but Bires made his way into the top 10 using the long green flag runs and pit strategy.

It was an impressive run for Bires, who has been overshadowed by his part-time teammate, Danica Patrick.

Bires now will head to Las Vegas with momentum on his side. He has only run twice at LVMS with an average start of 17th and an average finish of 26th; his best finish was 15th in 2008.

Bires has a long road ahead of him to rebound from not being entered at Daytona. He has the talent to run up front, but it’s all a matter of limiting mistakes both on pit road and on the track.

Points: 30th


Joey Logano

Joey Logano led over 100 laps, but it was his teammate, Busch, who took the checkered flag.

Logano had the best car out there all day long on Sunday. They lost the lead early but got it back from Busch.

On the final restart of the race, Logano was shuffled to third after contact between him and Biffle. Logano was not able to regain the lead after then getting spun into the infield after contact between himself and Brad Kesleowski. He finished fifth.

It was a disappointing finish to the race but heading to Vegas, Logano has a lot to look forward to. Logano will be factor for the race on Saturday. He has had fast race cars every week.

Like his teammate, he needs to run a clean race and avoid making mistakes. I expect to see him up front and leading laps at LVMS this weekend.

Points: Second

John Wes Townley

It was an impressive start for John Wes Townley, the Richard Childress Racing driver, after he qualified sixth for Saturday’s race. He ran in the top 10 for most of the first half of the race.

It was on lap 119 that Townley’s day turned for the worse. Townley’s car got loose and spun down the track, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., unable to avoid Townley, slammed the inside wall hard.

Townley finished 30th after what looked like a promising day. Townley has good equipment under him, race-winning equipment, but he is still learning how to minimize mistakes.

When he comes to LVMS, he will only have one other start at the desert track and that was a 38th-place finish in 2009. He should be able to improve that average finish with a strong run on Saturday.

Points: 27th

Final lap…

If you are looking for a few dark horses on Saturday, check out Brad Keselowski. His average finish of 28th does not tell the whole story.

Last year, he had a slow start to the season and that continued at LVMS. I expect him after his third-place finish on Saturday at ACS to be running up near the front.

I would also look out for Brian Scott. After his impressive run at ACS, he is carrying a lot of momentum. He was one of the few drivers who were able to come up and challenge Logano.

I expect to see him start near the front. He has experience at this track when he ran in the Camping World Truck Series. Two very different vehicles but I am confident he will be challenging for the win on Saturday.

My two questions for the upcoming race:

Can Kyle Busch finally win at LVMS in the Nationwide series?

Can Danica Patrick rebound in her final NASCAR race until June?

These are just two of the many questions heading into Las Vegas on Saturday. The Sam’s Town 300 starts at 4 ET on ESPN2.

Women in Nascar’s Future……


Alli as a infant

Here we go again! If this was a beautiful baby contest, this youngster would have a great chance of winning. As an adult, she is a combination of a beautiful young woman and a tomboy at heart. As you can see by the mix in the photo, bib overalls and the dainty little umbrella. If anything is a dead giveaway in this photo it would be those gorgeous cheeks.

You can see it her eyes; She is already dreaming of what she wants to be when she grows up. She was born in Centralia, Illinois. Her family, unlike many, was not involved in racing professionally.

When she was 5 yrs old she competed in the Kindy 500 in Indianapolis, Indiana during the Indy 500 weekend.. The difference was that the driver’s were children and their vehicles were Big Wheels. She said, “My dad was the one who took me to the big wheel race without my mom knowing.” She ended up bringing home a first place trophy not to mention wearing the honor that she had been the first girl who had done so.

This young racer grew up racing BMX bicycles and Quarter Midget cars. At age 14, she won 1st Place in her first stock car event.

Who is she?

The winning entry will receive an autographed photo from the driver. Guesses will be accepted through on the Thursday 25th. The first part in a 2 part series on this driver will be out on Friday the 26th at 2 pm. The winner will be announced then.

Members of this site are not eligible for prizes and in order to be considered, an entry must include either an email address or Twitter id as part of the comment. Without one of these, we cannot contact you should you win.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Start and Park--What Say You?

Understanding Start and Park

First off, for those of you who don’t understand what ‘Start and Park’ means here is how I understand it:

It all boils down to money in NASCAR. If you’ve got it, you can run a full schedule with full teams and back-up cars. When you don’t, you struggle to keep the one or two cars you have, on the track.

When a team qualifies for a race, they are assured to get what is referred to as a ‘purse’ whether they finish in first or in last place, as long as they start. Usually, its enough for the struggling teams to use to compete in their next race. This has been a practice in NASCAR since its beginning.

For example, Prism Motorsports previously ran their #55 car with McDowell in a 200 lap race. The team had run 195 laps when it experienced a broken driveshaft. Although they didn’t finish the full 200 laps, they still placed 33rd and received $267,495 in purse money. This allowed them to continue on to California’s Fontana race.

Many teams aren’t in the position to purchase new engines, so they put all they have into used ones. They are unable to run full time crews and drivers, due to the lack of funds. They are just doing the best they can to achieve their dreams. Often barely surviving.

So what purpose does NASCAR have in their decision to confiscate any teams race car? The excuse is always the same. “Actions detrimental to the sport of stock car racing.”

At the Fontana race, Prism Motorsports had two cars. #66 driven by Dave Blaney and #55 driven by Michael McDowell. McDowell drove his car to the garage during lap 40, and then Blaney’s car came in on lap 43, both reporting engine failure.

NASCAR's sanctioning body decided to confiscate the #66 car of Dave Blaney. When Bill Henderson, general manager of Prism Motorsports, was asked why he thought this had been done? Henderson replied, “Because they can.”

Do the ends justify the means here? 

John Darby, the Sprint Cup Series director, stated the following, ”We’ve got to make sure that we fulfill our responsibility to our competitors to make sure that everyone is playing with the same rulebook and adhering to the same rules—and that means everybody. That car deserves a look at to make sure it’s up to start.”

NASCAR's Darby stated that choosing the #66 car as the random car met NASCAR's normal inspection policies.

Darby was also quoted in an interview for Fox Sports as saying, “The randomness of the inspection covers everyone in the field. The #66 car was a car that was very competitive. Yes, he was outside of the top 35, but he was the fastest of the group. He was fifth overall qualifying and he led the race today.”

With his primary car gone, all that he has left is the back-up car. A normal back-up car sits without all the basic necessities of the primary—springs, shocks etc. Unfortunately, this leaves them without a complete car to race in Las Vegas next weekend.

Darby’s informed Henderson that his hopes were to have the car inspected in Las Vegas and returned to Prism Motorsports in a “timely fashion” but couldn’t guarantee it. Even if its returned before the race, it won’t be enough time for them to set the car up, practice and qualify.

So, if they can’t qualify and race next weekend, this struggling team will lose at least $100,000 for starting the event. Its a vicious cycle in that by not at least starting in Las Vegas can set them back for the following race.
Its as though Nascar has fined them for something that is not even known to be a rule.

This leaves me to question NASCAR's motives regarding their decision. Are they hoping to send a message to those teams who ‘Start and Park’, collecting a check without the intent of finishing, or are they more concerned with NASCAR’s appearance with the showing of a short field.

This blogger feels that the ‘grey area’ here is somewhat like an insurance policy for the teams that can’t afford to compete with the ‘Big Boys’. This gives them an opportunity to fulfill their dreams.

How do you feel about ‘Start and Park’? Leave us a comment on your feelings regarding it’s place in NASCAR?

Opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and may not reflect those of the site or it's other contributors.

San Francisco Honors Jamie McMurray

Courtesy of Photobucket
Taken by phatken91

The Victory Tour

This past Wednesday, San Francisco hosted Jamie McMurray, the 2010 Champion of NASCAR's Daytona 500. Jamie and his wife, Christy, were escorted around the 'City by the Bay' in a motorized San Francisco Cable Car. Lucky fans who purchased a special ticket package offered by Infineon Raceway, that included the cable car ride in SF along with weekend tickets to the Toyota/Save Mart 350 race.

Daytona 500 Champion Jamie McMurray hangs out of a trolley in San Francisco during his Victory Tour.
(Ezra Shaw: Getty Images)

The 'Victory Lap' began at SF Giants Willie Mays Plaza where the McMurrays were greeted by the S.F. Giants VP Russ Stanley. Jamie was given an official team jersey, with his name and car number. The tour was led by an escort from the California Highway Patrol.

Daytona 500 Champ McMurray addresses the crowd at San Francisco's Willie Mays Plaza Wednesday during his tour of the city.
(Ezra Shaw: Getty Images)

The welcoming committee included Northern California race fans as well as the media. Jamie stated, "I have to say, New York was cool, but San Francisco has been awesome. The weather is beautiful and it's so great to see the fans come out here. As a driver, you can't imagine what this means to me. It's been wonderful."

His visit included a lesson on how to crack crab with Grotto #9 co-owner Anthony Geraldi, a historic drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and a visit to the very popular and well known Ghirardeli Square. It was there that Jamie and Kristy enjoyed ice cream sundaes and were presented with a special basket of gourmet chocolate.

The Victory Tour was part of a ticket package sponsored by Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Ca. Jamie and his wife Christy were also given a commemorative magnum of Sonoma Valley wine by Infineon Raceway President Steve Page.

It was an Official start to the countdown of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Toyota/Save Mart 350 held June 18th-20th, Father's Day Weekend, at Sonoma's Infineon Raceway. McMurray and his No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet along with 42 other NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers will be 'Starting their Engines' to run the first of 2 road races during the 2010 NSC Season.

Tickets are still available online at or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-870-RACE for more information.

Infineon Raceway offers a 2 for $99 package
. Its referred to as Kasey's Korner. The package includes 2 Tickets in Turn 9 Terrace, and exclusive access to a Q&A session with defending 2009 Champion, Kasey Kahne, on Tuesday, April 13th.


For additional information on the McMurray's trip to San Francisco and Kasey's Corner visit