Monday, May 31, 2010

Roush Rewind: Coca-Cola 600

Following the excitement of the previous weekend’s All-Star Race, the drivers returned to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600, on Memorial Day weekend. On Sunday, the Roush Fenway Racing drivers strapped themselves in for the 600-mile, 400 lap race hoping to finally give Roush the showing that team desperately needs.

For Greg Biffle, it looked like it was going to be a long race on Sunday. The No. 16 3M Nexcare Ford didn’t seem very fast in the practice sessions. His qualifying effort was less than stellar and left him starting Sunday’s race in the 40th position. He began to gain positions. By lap 50, Biffle had gained 20 positions. Green flag stops began a lap later, and Biffle was 18th once the stops cycled through. The caution came out on lap 63 for Juan Pablo Montoya getting loose and spinning. Biffle pitted under that caution for fuel only and restarted 14th on lap 67. Lap 100 found Biffle in the 10th position, but just 24 laps later he had dropped back to 14th. Around lap 146, Biffle made a green-flag stop. Ten laps later Biffle was up to 8th and moving toward the front. Biffle had powered his way to 4th by lap 190. Around lap 213, the caution came out for debris and Biffle pitted. He remained inside the top 5 for a few more laps, even running as high as 2nd at one point, but was back to 9th by lap 235. Biffle made a green flag stop on lap 267, and a few laps later the caution came out for Jimmie Johnson spinning. On lap 285, Biffle was 10th. With 94 laps remaining, Biffle brought out the caution after hitting the wall. Unable to overcome the damage to his racecar, Biffle had to settle for a 32nd place finish. Biffle dropped to 9th in the standings.

For David Ragan and his crew, there was never a dull moment at the track. During practice on Thursday, Ragan reported to his team that he had hit a bird. The might have been small, but it still put a crack in the front bumper of the No. 6 UPS Ford. Later that evening was qualifying. As Ragan came off turn four, his car got loose and spun. He kept it off the wall, and slid through the grass a bit. Since he hadn’t taken the green flag for his run, he went back to pit road for new tires. Some of Elliott Sadler’s crew and Paul Menard’s crew helped the UPS crew get Ragan back out on track. Even after those fresh tires, Ragan qualified 35th. Once the green flag dropped on Sunday, Ragan began to make his way through the field. He was up to 25th on lap 52. Loose-handling conditions plagued Ragan throughout the early going. Green-flag stops began on lap 50. Ragan pitted for four tires, fuel, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. The adjustments were a major help, but the car was still free in the center of the turns. Ragan pitted under the caution on lap 63 for two tires and another trackbar adjustment. While the free-handling issue continued, Ragan held on and focused on moving through the field. Halfway through the race, Ragan was inside the top 10 with a lot of help from pit strategy. Handling issues continues to be a problem. The car became tight in the middle of the turns, loose off. Ragan hung around 18th to 20th position after the handling changed, but with 25 laps remaining, Ragan radioed to his crew that there was a problem with the car. He thought the engine was going to blow. Ragan’s crew could see smoke coming out from under the hood, but with so few laps remaining, there wasn’t much they could do. The team assumed the engine had dropped a valve spring. Ragan had to hold on and do all he could to get a decent finish. Ultimately, he was 24th to cross the line. He is tied with A.J. Allmendinger for 23rd in the standings.

Carl Edwards started the weekend off in the worst way possible. A cut tire sent the No. 99 Scott’s GrubEx Ford into the wall during practice on Thursday. The damage was too much to repair, resulting in Edwards going to a backup. Edwards had very little time to get the backup ready for qualifying later Thursday evening and ended up with a 31st starting position for Sunday. Edwards fought an ill-handling racecar much of the race, but gained 12 positions in the first 25 laps. Edwards had worked his way up to 11th when the second caution of the night came out due to Marcos Ambrose spinning. On the previous pit stop, Edwards’ crew had made an air pressure adjustment and so on the pit stop under the second caution they did the same. Only this time it didn’t help. Edwards soon dropped back to 24th by lap 144. Edwards had only moved up to 21st by lap 200. He reported the car was tight in the center, free off. Edwards pitted on lap 214 under the caution for debris. His crew made an adjustment to the shocks, and Edwards restarted 23rd. Edwards was up to 16th about 30 laps later. With 125 to go, Edwards was 13th. It seemed as though Edwards would get a top 10 finish until trouble on a green-flag pit stop caused Edwards to lose track positions. A lug nut fell off the right-front and the extra time on pit road had Edwards restarting 23rd with 40 laps to go. Edwards and his team refused to give up and gave it all they had. When the final caution came out on lap 378, Edwards pitted for four tires and restarted 17th. He gained just one more position to finish 16th. Edwards dropped one position in the standings to 11th.

For Sunday’s race, Matt Kenseth had a new sponsor on the No. 17 Ford—Jeremiah Weed Southern Style Sweet Tea Vodka. Kenseth was the 5th driver out for qualifying and was able to get the 16th starting position for Sunday. Just like his teammates, Kenseth found himself battling handling issues. He was up to 14th in the early going, but told his crew he needed more rear grip. The car was loose on and off the turns, but it was tight in the center. Kenseth had to fight his racecar every lap. Kenseth made a green-flag stop on lap 49 for fuel, four tires, and air pressure adjustments. The changes only seemed to make things worse for Kenseth. He reported on lap 58 that the car was getting so loose that it was tough to hang on to it. As luck would have it, the caution came out on lap 63 when Montoya spun. Kenseth pitted for two tires and his crew made air pressure and track bar adjustments. Kenseth restarted 16th, but a lack of grip had him dropping back to 29th roughly 100 laps later. On lap 169, Kenseth pitted under caution for two tires and his team made more adjustments. A four tire stop on lap 268 had Kenseth claiming the lead when the caution came out a few laps later. Kenseth led 7 laps before he began to drift back. The car continued to be loose, and the No. 17 Ford continued to get looser the last 100 laps of the race. Kenseth’s final pit stop came on lap 379 under the caution brought out by Ambrose crashing. Kenseth pitted for two tires and fuel. He restarted 5th on lap 382, but was 10th when the checkered flag waved. He remained 3rd in the standings.

After winning last weekend’s All-Star Race, Kurt Busch was able to stay ahead of Jamie McMurray to become one of the few drivers who have won the All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 in the same year. Congratulations to Kurt Busch and the No. 2 team on their victory!

Next up: Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 presented by Target at Pocono Raceway

Craft Corner with Elise

Hi All! My name is Elise from Love, Lisy and once a month or so I will be putting up a step-by-step tutorial of a fun craft project that incorporates a racing theme for you to try out! I'm excited to be a part of this fabulous blog that celebrates women's love for racing (because I know I sure do!) and I hope you enjoy the projects!


I'm NUTS about YOU frame!
This first project I'm going to show you is a great way to show off that picture of you and your favorite driver! Or you can wrap it up and gift it to your loved one who is into racing or cars! Not to mention it's super easy and fun to create!

Approximate time: 1 hour (with drying)

Materials that I used to make this frame
Wooden Frame (Found at Michael's Craft Store for $1)
Acrylic Paint
Puffy Paint
Paint Brush
Tape
Hot glue gun
Nuts/Bolts/Screws (Found in the garage)
[This project leaves the door open for your creativity to take over. When I go through the steps I will leave side notes on different routes that can be taken .]


Step 1: Prepping/Painting your frame
If your frame has a glass front, you're going to want to tape off where the wood meets the glass so you don't end up painting the glass.
Next, paint your frame! You might want to paint a second coat over the first depending on the color you choose. Make sure you get the sides and back of your frame :)
Here you have a choice at many different color paints to choose from. You can choose your color based upon your driver's car's color scheme or to just simply match the picture that will be later placed in the frame.
Also, you can create stripes by taping off every other inch or so. Another fun way to switch it up is to paint the sides a different color that the top.


Step 2: Give your frame that "grungy" look
This step is optional but it gives the frame character!
After you have your main color down and it is completely dry, take a smaller brush, dab it with white paint and kinda brush it on a paper towel to get most of the paint off and lightly brush it over the frame to give it that grungy look.
Again, you have a choice at a variety of different paint colors to choose from. You can also choose more than one color and kind of overlap them! Just make sure you let the first layer dry before moving on to the other color!


Step 3: Adding the nuts/bolts/screws
After all the paint is completely dry you are going to take your hardware and position it on the frame however you want it positioned. After all of the nuts/bolts/screws are in place, take your hot glue gun and carefully glue them one by one onto your frame.
Here you have the option to choose how many nuts, bolts and screws you use (or not to use) and where on your frame to position them.


Step 4: Add the title
I used puffy paint to paint on the title "I'm nuts about you." If you're not confident with free handing the title, you can use stencils or even go buy stickers and add them to your frame instead!

Add your favorite picture of you and your racecar driver or fanatic anddd Viola!
The finished project!
I hope you decide to try it out and have fun making it!
I would love to see a picture if you decide to give it a try!
Be sure to check back in the next month or so for a new fun tutorial!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Women in NASCAR………Carbon Free Girl

Making a Difference

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

“Never underestimate the power of a vegetarian hippie chick… with a race car.”

Leilani Munter

On February 18, 1976, Manfred and Doris Munter became the parents of their 4th daugher, Leilani Maaja Munter; Leilani was born and raised in Rochester, MN, along with her three older sisters, Svenja, Nicolette and Natascha. Leilani gets her exotic looks from her father, Manfred, who is German, and mother Doris, who is Japanese, but was born and raised in Hawaii.
A she grew up, Leilani aspired to be a many things: from an ice skater to gymnast, a race horse jockey to a veterinarian. She was always active. She was a gymnast through junior high school and began to scuba dive as well as snow board in high school. To this day she continues to enjoy both.
horse2But it was a strong interest in Marine Biology that took her to the University of California, San Diego where she earned a bachelors degree in Biology specializing in Ecology, Behavior and Evolution. While going to school she worked as a model, and started racing in her first series, the Allison Legacy Series.
When Leilani is not in her race car she is out doing a lot of environmental work. Currently, she serves as the first Ambassador of the National Wildlife Federation, and travels all over giving speeches on issues pertaining to the environment and how we all can make a difference.
She makes trips to Capitol Hill on behalf of her work as an ambassador, speaking to members of Congress regarding environmental legislation. Very active in the green sector, she is using her voice as a race car driver to bring attention to the challenges we face in relation to our environment.
Photo By: Ralph Alswang Photographer 202-487-5025 <www.ralphphoto.com> PLEASE CREDIT PHOTO: Ralph Alswang Photo credit to Ralph Alswang Taken in Washington, DC
Washington, D.C. Speech
Leilani Munter has worked as a stunt woman and as a photo-double for actress Catherine Zeta-Jones in such movies as “Traffic” and “America’s Sweethearts”. While working in Hollywood, she spent her off time volunteering as a crew member for a NASCAR Southwest Tour team, and would wake up at 4 a.m. to hit the track.
In January of 2004, Leilani began working as a ‘special correspondent’ for the NASCAR.com program, Leilani Reports. Interviewing such Nextel Cup and Busch drivers as David Stremme, J.J. Yeley and Dale Jr. Leilani said this about her job as a NASCAR Correspondent,
“"It's a great job because I get to learn from the guys who are at the top of the game, where I hope to end up one day as a driver."
In 2007, Leilani earned the distinction of being the fourth woman in history to race in the Indy Pro Series. She was also named “One of the top ten female race car drivers in the world” by Sports Illustrated.
Before going any further, Leilani asked that you take a minute and check out a video piece regarding the BP Oil spill and what you can do to help. I don’t usually like to promote within the column but felt this was too important to ignore.
Video Credited to Leilani Munter.com
With a very busy schedule, Leilani took some time out to answer a handful of questions about her career, her passions and her desire to make the world more aware of our ever changing environment.

Lindi Bess(LB)-At what point did you know you wanted to be a race car driver?
Leilani Munter(LM)-“From the moment I sat in a race car for the first time. It did not seem attainable to really become a professional driver, it was more like a dream. I never thought it would become a reality.”
LB-What is your earliest memory involving motorsports?
(LM)-“I grew up riding horses, so I wanted to be a jockey as a child. It wasn’t until later in life that I got into auto racing. I went to a local race and fell in love with it right away.”
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LB-What part does your family play in your racing career?
LM-“They are my biggest cheerleaders! They are very supportive. My parents have always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. They believed in me and that helped me to believe in myself. They all come to my races in person when they can. If they are not there, they are watching on TV, cheering me on.
My husband, Craig Davidson, is always by my side. He has only missed two races since we met and that was only because he was out of the country. I wouldn’t have made it this far without their support. I have a wonderful family and I feel lucky to have them!”
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Photos taken in New Zealand where Leilani and Craig were married.
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Leilani and her husband Craig Davidson, were married in March 2009 in a seaside wedding in New Zealand.
LB-Do you have any female mentors/role models?
LM-“Female role models would be my three older sisters and my mother. As far as racing goes, Shawna Robinson and Lyn St. James have given me advice over the years and I really admire what they did for women in racing. They were pioneers and I hope that all female drivers remember how their accomplishments have helped make the journey for us all a little easier.”
Photobucket Photobucket

LB-When was your first race? How did you do?
LM-“My first series was in August of 2001 at Cajon Speedway in El Cajon, CA in the Allison Legacy Series. I fought for the lead for most of the heat race. We were trading paint and I was going to his inside and outside trying to get by him, but we were so equally matched. Neither of us could pull away and we stayed door to door. Finally with a few laps to go, coming out of turn four, I was on his inside and he bumped my right front, I spun. I came back to finish 4th in the heat. The main event I finished 7th. I was hooked from day one. Within less than a year, I had moved to North Carolina to pursue my dream.”
LB-What has been your biggest career achievement so far and why?
LM-“I am proud of a few things in my career. I hold the record for the highest finish for a female stock car driver in the history of TMS in 2006. I ran as high as 3rd and finished fourth there in the First Convenience Bank 100. I am the first and only woman in the 49 year history to qualify for the Bettenhausen Classic Late model race in Indiana. When I made my debut in the INDY PRO SERIES at Kentucky Speedway, I ran up front and passed a lot of cars and a lot of people in the garage had some really nice things to say about my driving; Including 4 time INDY 500 Champion Rick Mears. It was quite an honor to hear people that I admire so much say such nice things about my abilities.”
tms 2006
LB-What are your racing goals?
LM-“Like most drivers, I imagine my goal is to make it to the top level of whichever division I am racing in and win. A couple of years ago when I was racing open wheel, I would have told you my goal was INDY CAR and the INDY 500. Now I am racing in ARCA so the ultimate goal would be the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I love driving both stock cars and open wheel. I don’t care if the cars have fenders or not, I just want to race.”
LB-Do you have any female Pit Crew members?
LM-“At Daytona, I had a female rear tire changer on my crew. Her name is Randi Olsen and she’s been changing tires for three years now. I thought it was really cool to have a girl on my pit crew. Talk about Girl Power!”
LB-As a woman, what are some of the difficulties that you’ve faced in this male dominated sport?
LM-“My biggest challenge has always been sponsorship. It’s such an help expensive sport and that is the most difficult part of the equation for me. The opportunity to get into quality race cars is there for me, but I need to be able to bring the funding to the the car on the track.”
LB-Speaking of sponsors, who do you have working with you now?
LM-'”Currently, my sponsor is GREENandSAVE, an energy efficiency company. I am specifically working with one of their divisions called LED Savings Solutions. We help companies go green and save money each month with the simple act of changing to energy efficient LED lighting, which can cut energy costs by up to 80%. It’s the perfect fit for me because it combines my race program with the helping companies survive this tough economy by reducing their energy consumption and its also very good for our environment!”
Carbon-Free GirlKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA Photo credited to Craig Davidson
LB-Tell us a little about the charities and causes you support……..
LM-“My life outside the race car is focused on environmental awareness. I am doing everything I can to reduce my carbon footprint such as recycling. Supporting local green power and companies that use recycled materials, using renewable energy, installing solar and rainwater collection, and adopting an acre of tropical rainforest for every race I run.
I will continue my work as the first Ambassador for the National Wildlife Federation which includes the trips to Capitol Hill to encourage Congress to pass environmental legislation. We need to get America off of fossil fuels and instead be using clean renewable energy made right here in the USA.”
LB-Do you see more media attention this season compared to previous yrs at the Daytona/Arca Race? Why?
LM-“Yes, Of Course! There was tons of press. I was on the front page of the sports section of the New York Times on race day! And we all have Danica Patrick to thank for that. Where she goes, the media follows!”
LB-What is the reason for the big influx of women in the sport?
LM-“Well, I think most of the women in the garage have been working towards this for a long time. So I don’t really think that there is a big influx. I think the female drivers are just starting to get better opportunities to get into higher quality equipment and so you are hearing more about us in the press.”
credit_to_Craig_Davidson2Photo Credit to Craig Davidson
LB-What advice would you give to a young woman wanting to be a race car driver?
LM-Never Give UP! You never know when you get your break. Just keep working at it. Many drivers give up and go home because they can’t take all the disappointments. Racing is full of disappointments but you have to be determined enough and passionate enough to love it anyway. That’s the difference between the drivers who eventually make it and the ones who give up because its too hard.”
LB-How does your schedule look for the 2010 Season?
LM-“I am planning on going to the 10 televised ARCA races. It started in Daytona with the most recent at Pocono on June 5th & 31st, MIS on June11th, Iowa Speedway on July 10, Chicagoland Speedway on August 27th, Kansas on September 30 and the finale at Rockingham Speedway on October 9th. All these races will have live or same day coverage on SPEED and we are looking for marketing partners to join us at these events!”
LB-How was off season testing?
LM-“The only testing I did was at Daytona in December and it went really well. On the final day of testing Danica and I were drafting together and I just thought it was really cool to have two female drivers drafting together. I don’t know if that has ever happened at Daytona, but there was this moment where I thought, “This feels kind of historic.” We were both fast- I think I was 7th quick on the grid and she was 5th quick. It was a whole lot of fun.”
Photobucket
Photo credits: NextEra Energy Resources, Doug Murray, Craig Davidson
LB-What do you do to relax?
LM-“I like to relax and chat with my sisters, girl talk is a necessity! I hang out with my husband and we travel when we can. He is from New Zealand so we have made a few trips there to see his family. It’s such a beautiful place! I am a vegetarian so we like to cook a lot at home. We both love adventure and adrenaline- scuba diving, snowboarding, and skydiving are things we do whenever we get the chance!”
Photobucket
Leilani and Kiwi in New Zealand, Jan 2006
LB-Where is your ‘Happy Place’?
LM-“Anywhere my husband and my family are. And Hawaii! :)”
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Leilani and Kiwi in Hawaii 2009, her happy place!
LB-Do you have a favorite philosophy or quote?
LM-“I have lots of favorite quotes, in fact, I have a page on my website where I have posted a lot of them. One of my favorite quotes that comes to mind is,
Well behaved women seldom make history.”
But my personal motto is,
“Never underestimate a vegetarian hippie chick with a race car.”


intro5
Photo taken a Grateful Dead Concert
Leilani’s sister, Natascha, is married to Bob Weir
Leilani Munter LeilaniMunter
Leilani Munter Website
Check out Leilani's article in the Huffington Post on Our Clean Energy Wake up Call. She links NASCAR with the need for Environmental Change.

Thanks to Leilani for her patience with this article. Its been a long time coming and we are both happy to bring it to the readers of Skirts and Scuffs.
As always, any opinions expressed or implied are those of the writer and not of the other contributors on this site.
We will be having drawings for Leilani Munter autographed posters. Just RT at top of the page and add the hashtag #kiwi’swife. You must be following both @skirtsandscuffs and @LindiB_NASCAR to enter. One poster for every 20 entries will be awarded.
Bryce Worsham roushyates1fan won the a-graphed poster from @LeilaniMunter. Congratulations! Please remember to send me your addy. As soon as I rec. the poster I will let you know when you can expect it.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Questions Before ... Coca-Cola 600





Now that the Sprint All-Star race is complete, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for a much more important and longer race. The Coca-Cola 600 begins in the day and ends at night. While the All-Star race was more of a sprint to the finish, the 600 will have more to do with endurance. Several drivers shined in the All-Star race, but can they carry that over to the 600 on Sunday night? It may not be a matter of who is fast or slow but a matter of who can last the longest during the most grueling race of the season.








Who will outlast all the other competitors to win the race? … The Coca-Cola 600 is an endurance race. Most races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series are no longer than 400 or 500 miles long. With this race being over 100 miles longer than these drivers used to, keeping hydrated and rested up for the race will be vital to winning the race. The drivers will have to pace themselves during the race and not push the issue before the end.





Will we see the Kyle Busch/Denny Hamlin feud continue? … Busch and Hamlin are clearly not happy with each other. At the very least, they have a pretty heavy disagreement going on right now. Both drivers were strong during the All-Star race, and there’s no reason to think they won’t be again this weekend for the Coca-Cola 600. If both drivers last until the end of the race, it’s more than likely they will be racing each other for the win once again. Busch felt he was wronged. Hamlin felt like he was maintaining his position and had every right to do so. Drivers never forget. Keep an eye on the No. 11 and No. 18 on Sunday night.





Which drivers will carry over their success from the All-Star race to the 600? … Aside from the strength of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers and race winner Kurt Busch, drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Martin Truex Jr., and Tony Stewart showed some strength. All-Star success does not always translate to a Coke 600 victory. However, Kasey Kahne would beg to differ (Kahne won both the All-Star race and the Coke 600 in 2008. The Saturday night All-Star race makes a great test session for the Sunday night 600-miler race. If drivers can keep themselves out of trouble, drivers such as Busch (both of them), Johnson, and Hamlin should all be strong at the end of the race on Sunday night.





Have race fans died and gone to Heaven? … Every race fan marks this weekend on their racing calendar. This Sunday, the Indianapolis 500, the crown jewel of auto racing, will run just hours before NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600. 1100 miles of racing? What race fan could ask for more? A full day of intense racing action across two different series gives race fans something to look forward to every Memorial Day weekend.





Will Jimmie Johnson make a comeback this weekend? … Johnson hasn’t particularly struggled, but he hasn’t been contending for the win the past few points races. However, in the All-Star race on Saturday night, Johnson was won 2 of the 4 segments. He spun while racing Hamlin for the second position, admittedly pushing the issue and trying to make a pass his car clearly wasn’t handling well enough for. Bottom line, he was competitive. Johnson has always been competitive at the track that used to be called “Lowe’s Motor Speedway.” Lowe’s is Johnson’s sponsor and the four-time champion has dominated and won many races here. It would be a great race to shake off the “slump” talk and work on getting back that points lead.





Bonus questions: What will you be doing to celebrate Memorial Day other than watching racing? … What is your favorite paint scheme of the weekend? … Anyone interested in taking Bruton Smith’s challenge to win both the Indy 500 and Coke 600?


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Photo courtesy of NASCAR Media. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

TV Schedule May 27-30

NASCAR stays close to home for a second straight week as the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series converge on Charlotte Motor Speedway. And with Memorial Day weekend comes one of the premier races of the season: the Coca-Cola 600.

Last week's All-Star Race gave us a taste of what's to come this weekend. But the 600 is a different animal. Not only is it the longest race on the Cup schedule, but it starts in the day and ends under the lights. Crew chiefs will have to account for changing track conditions when making their adjustments. With a race this long, a good-handling racecar is essential. Fuel mileage could also be a factor, as we saw in 2007 with Casey Mears' victory.

Last year's Coca-Cola 600 was postponed a day due to rain. On Memorial Day, David Reutimann played strategy and emerged the winner of the rain-shortened race. Charlotte Motor Speedway's fall race was won by Jimmie Johnson.

In the Nationwide Series, Mike Bliss won the 2009 rain-shortened spring race. Kyle Busch is the defending fall race winner.

The Camping World Truck Series is off this weekend.

The following is a schedule of track events and television coverage this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway (all times in Eastern Standard Time):

Thursday, May 27:
2:00 p.m. Nationwide practice, SPEED
3:30 p.m. Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
5:00 p.m. Nationwide final practice, SPEED
6:30 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub, SPEED
7:00 p.m. Sprint Cup qualifying, SPEED
1:30 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Friday, May 28:
7:00 p.m. Trackside, SPEED. Guests: Greg Biffle, Brad Keselowski and Richard Childress. (reruns at 11 p.m.)

Saturday, May 29:
9:30 a.m. Nationwide qualifying, SPEED
11:30 a.m. Sprint Cup practice, SPEED
12:30 p.m. Sprint Cup final practice, SPEED
2:00 p.m. Nationwide Countdown, ABC
2:30 p.m. Nationwide race: TECH-NET Auto Services 300 Powered by CARQUEST, ABC. Green flag: 2:46 p.m. (reruns at 2:30 a.m. on ESPN2)
9:00 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
9:30 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED

Sunday, May 30:
9:00 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
1:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
2:00 p.m. NASCAR Smarts, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NASCAR in a Hurry, SPEED
3:00 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
5:00 p.m. Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show, FOX
6:00 p.m. Sprint Cup race: Coca-Cola 600, FOX. Green flag: 6:16 p.m.
11:00 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday)

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Photo: The Coca-Cola 600 trophy at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Used with permission of Brian Heddon from Carolina Lifestyles)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5 Questions After ... Sprint All-Star Race





Points racing. No fan really seems to like it, yet every driver has a tendency to do it. The NASCAR points system emphasizes consistency and leaves drivers feeling the need to sandbag in order to salvage a top 5 finish instead of going for the win. Last Saturday night, though, all points racing went away. A 100 lap shootout of intangible intensity distributed through a field of 21 All-Star drivers with insatiable appetites showcased some of NASCAR’s greatest talents. At the end of the night, only one driver would surge through as the victor while all other competitors were left to walk away with nothing but the agony of defeat.




Here are some questions after an All-Star weekend…





How did the transfer drivers fare in the big race? … In a field of 29 drivers, only two drivers could transfer from the Sprint Showdown to the Sprint All-Star Race. Many big name drivers were in the Showdown trying to redeem themselves of a lackluster past year in racing that left them on the outside looking in of one of the biggest races of the season. At the end of the 40 lap sprint, Martin Truex Jr. and Greg Biffle prevailed as the transfer drivers finishing 1st and 2nd, respectively. Both drivers finished well in the big race, with Truex finishing 2nd and Biffle finishing 9th. Meanwhile, fan vote winner Carl Edwards failed to pull through as he finished last in the 21-car All-Star field. A crash with 10 laps to go kept him from a higher finish and from the $1 million paycheck that would go to the winner at the end of the night.





Is Kurt Busch sick of being overshadowed by his younger brother? … Older brother, Kurt, may have won the All-Star Race but younger brother Kyle was the one who stole the show. It wasn’t for leading laps or a stellar finishing, but a temper tantrum afterwards. While racing for the lead with 9 laps to go, Busch got a run on Hamlin on the outside. Hamlin moved up the track to block and Busch ended up in the wall. Busch dropped all the way back to 9th place before his right front tire gave out on lap 8 of the final 10 lap shootout. Busch smacked the wall hard and collected Kasey Kahne as an innocent victim of the incident. Busch came on the team radio after the wreck and said, “Somebody better keep me away from Denny Hamlin after this race … I had this race won!” After pulling into the garage, instead of going to his No. 18 hauler, Busch parked behind Hamlin’s No. 11 hauler and promptly went inside. Team owner Joe Gibbs was right behind him. After the race, Hamlin was escorted by his team to the hauler where Gibbs, Busch, and Hamlin had a lengthy discussion about the incident. Busch refused to speak with the media afterwards, though Gibbs and Hamlin insisted they had worked everything out. Meanwhile, older brother Kurt was celebrating an All-Star win in Victory Lane. Yet, everybody seemed to be more interested in Kyle’s antics. At the end of the night, though, it was Kurt with the paycheck and Kyle with a battered racecar.



Why can’t we see racing like this more often? … Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch were clearly the cars to beat on Saturday night. Even with all three Joe Gibbs Racing cars at the front of the field, and drivers like Greg Biffle and Mark Martin thrown in for good measure, Johnson and Busch were still the class of the field. In fact, both of them combined to win all four segments (two apiece). While Busch forged ahead for the victory, Johnson found himself racing Denny Hamlin for the 2nd position with three laps to go. While racing underneath Hamlin, Johnson lost control of his racecar and spun through the infield grass. After the race Johnson said: “I knew I had to clear the No. 11 on the outside of me so I just kept my foot in it and I could feel them outside of me kind of pulling the back end of my car around but I said the hell with it, it's the All Star race. Kept my foot to the floor and hoped that I made it off the turn and I didn't.” In other words, Johnson let it all hang out and didn’t worry about anything but the win. Johnson can be one of the worst culprits of points racing, using some of that strategy to win the last four championships. It was extremely refreshing to see drivers race for nothing but the trophy and the emotions of losing were apparent in every competitor’s face. Racing at its finest!





Did the All-Star Race seem tame in comparison to years past? … On Saturday night there were six cautions but only three were for actual incidents. The other three were competition cautions to end segments. The last three cautions came in the last 10 races of the race. There were only six lead changes among four leaders. Though some of the low numbers might be indicative to the fact that it was the shortest race of the season, the All-Star race is known to be more of a demolition derby than a “sit back and wait” mentality. However, three cautions in 10 laps and the battle for the win more than made up for a seemingly quiet All-Star event. Still, who would have thought it would take 90 laps before we had an 8-car pileup?





Did the rain make the racing more exciting? … Qualifying isn’t normally very exciting, but All-Star weekend makes everything fun to watch. In All-Star qualifying, the pit crew members get involved with a mandatory four-tire pit stop before the three lap qualifying attempt is complete! Unfortunately, qualifying for both the Showdown and All-Star races had to be cancelled due to rain. Instead of setting the field by points as is normally done in the event of a rainout, the starting lineup was decided by a random qualifying draw. Therefore fast cars may have been at the back, slow cars at the front, and everything else in between. The Showdown had lots of shuffling of racecars throughout the entire event most likely due to the draw, and we saw a few drivers come from the back in the All-Star race (though race winner Kurt Busch won from the pole). Normally the rain puts a damper on things and while it was disappointing that the most exciting qualifying session of the year got rained out, mixing up the competitors was fun to watch too.



Bonus questions: How cute was Taylor Gibbs’s prayer Saturday night? … What was your favorite All-Star paint scheme of the weekend? … Will you miss the sponsafier commercials?



--
Photo courtesy of NASCAR Media. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

Bo Bice to perform one Heluva Good! national anthem at The Glen

The top names of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will not be the only star power in attendance at this year’s Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen event weekend, Aug. 5-8.

National recording artist and former American Idol star Bo Bice will be on-hand to sing the American National Anthem leading up to the fall of the green flag just after 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 8. Bice will not only sing the American National anthem but will also perform a “surprise” concert during the weekend and take part in a Q&A with fans in The Bog Hospitality.
   
“We are thrilled to be able to bring a high quality performer such as Bo Bice to WGI to both entertain our fans and sign our national anthem,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “I would like to personally thank Todd and Janet Bodine for putting us in touch with Bo. We would not have been able to make this happen without them and greatly appreciate their efforts to give back to their home track and enhance the experience of our fans.”

The “surprise” concert will be a rare first at historic Watkins Glen International. The “surprise” is that the time, date, and location will not be officially released prior to the event weekend. Fans will need to visit the official Twitter (www.Twitter.com/wgi) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/watkinsgleninternational) pages to receive clues starting three weeks prior to the event weekend. The clues will help fans figure out all the information that they need to be the first in line to grab the best seats to watch Bice perform live at WGI.

The concert will be open to any fan holding a weekend ticket and will be a “can’t miss” show for any music or race fan.

Bice will also be available for an exclusive Q&A in The Bog Fan Hospitality area at 10 a.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 8. Any fan that purchases Saturday & Sunday or Sunday-only Bog admissions will have the chance to ask the popular rock star questions during the session. 

The Bog is presented by Red Cat wine and features access to the trackside hospitality area located inside Turn 11, multiple driver Q&A’s, self-guided pit tour access on Sunday morning, preferred parking near Gate 5, unlimited Pepsi Co. products and bottled water, Red Cat wine and Budweiser beer selections, buffet lunch and snack food, and much, much more. Passes to The Bog start at $75 and can be purchased by calling 866-461-RACE or by visiting www.TheGlen.com.

Bo Bice gained national attention when he finished second to county music star Carrie Underwood in the fourth season of the hit show American Idol. Since exploding on the music scene, Bice has released two records "The Real Thing," which went gold, in 2006, and "See the Light in 2007." He is preparing to release his most recent album entitled 3 on Tuesday, May 18.

The number “3” holds a great deal of significance to Bice as this will be his third album, he and his wife just celebrated the birth of their third child this past January, and he is a fan of the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. Fans can get more information on the southern rock star and his upcoming album by visiting his official website, www.bobice.com.

Tickets for the entire 2010 season including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 5-8, and Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 2-4, weekends are on sale now! Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4.

Release courtesy of Watkins Glen International

PHOTO: Courtesy of Jyle Dupuis on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/people/23675285@N06

Johnson to make debut at Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen

Jimmie Johnson will challenge the 3.4-mile Grand Prix course at WGI for the first time ever during the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on June 5.

Over the course of its history, the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen has featured some of the top names in all of motorsports and this year another illustrious driver will add his name to the list - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Jimmie Johnson.

The four-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion will make his Sahlen’s Six Hours debut with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing and team of two-time champion drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. The green flag will drop on the 29th Running of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 5.

“It is fantastic news for our fans and the Rolex Series to have Jimmie Johnson competing in this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen,” said Michael Printup, president of Watkins Glen International. “The Daytona Prototypes put on a great show here and I think his willingness to take time away from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a race weekend speaks directly to the prestige of the Sahlen’s Six Hours event and the attraction of adding one’s name to the list of great champions that have won here. I have no doubt that Jimmie, Jon, and Alex will be in the hunt for a trip to Gatorade Victory Lane come the end of the race on Saturday, June 5.”

The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen marks the first time Johnson has made more than one start in a season with the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team and just his second time running multiple GRAND-AM Rolex Series races in a year. The Sahlen’s Six Hour will also be Johnson’s first start in any series on the traditional 3.4-mile Grand Prix road course that has played host to some of the greatest racecar drivers of all time since opening in 1957. The six-hour sports car race has been an international fixture on The Glen’s annual schedule since 1968.

“I always look forward to racing with Alex, Jon and the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing team,” said Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. “We’ve tried to make some things come together for other races and it’s just never worked out so I’m very excited that we were able to make this happen. I think most people know how much I want to win on a road course and also in a GRAND-AM car. It would be pretty cool if we could pull it off. I know Alex and John have won this race before and I hope we’re able to do it again.”

Johnson co-drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley at the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona the last three years, scoring a second-place overall finish with Gurney, Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser in their debut race together in 2008. Team owner Bob Stallings has always looked to expand Johnson’s races with the team beyond the Rolex 24 and the circumstances were right for this year’s Sahlen’s Six Hours. Johnson will compete at both Watkins Glen, which is a Saturday race, and in the Cup race activities at Pocono Raceway on the same weekend.

“We are very motivated to win another Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and for our first race there with Jimmie,” Alex Gurney said. “This isn’t a guest driver situation and never really has been as Jimmie has been a key part of this team since we first raced with him in 2008. I know Jimmie will have no problem getting up to speed, as he has proven that to us each year at Daytona. I think he’ll also really love The Glen long course. Those particular sections in the “The Boot” are some of the best parts of the track and Jimmie should really shine there.”

Gurney and Fogarty have been one of the most competitive driver combinations in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen over the last four years.  The co-drivers have two Top-5 and three Top-10 finishes in the event including a runner up finish in 2006 and win in 2007.  Their only finish outside the Top-10 came in 2009 and was the result of a late race incident with 2009 Rolex 24 champion David Donohue as he and Fogarty battled for fifth place.

“We are ready to get back to our winning form at Watkins Glen and Jimmie is just the guy to help us do that,” Fogarty said. “I say this every time we announce that Jimmie is going to drive with us, but he is a great guy to have around not only as a driver but as a friend and teammate as well. The only bummer is that we will not get to see him as much as we normally do at the Rolex 24 because of his split racing schedule, but that is a small price to pay. It is great to have him back.”

Tickets for the entire 2010 season including the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at The Glen, August 5-8, and Camping World Grand Prix at The Glen, July 2-4, weekends are on sale now!  Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Watkins Glen International ticket office at 866-461-RACE (7223) or logging on to the official website, www.TheGlen.com. Tickets, gift certificates and track merchandise can all be purchased at The Shop located at 2 North Franklin Street in downtown Watkins Glen.  The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9-5 and Sunday 9-4.

Release courtesy of Watkins Glen International

PHOTO FROM NASCAR MEDIA

Darius Rucker to perform concert, anthem at Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Capitol Records Nashville’s Darius Rucker will perform a pre-race concert as well as the National Anthem for the 52nd annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Saturday, July 3.

All race fans that purchase the Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race Pit Pass along with a race ticket for the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola will be able to view  the 60-minute Darius Rucker Concert presented by LongHorn Steakhouse as well as the driver introductions from the grass tri-oval in the heart of Daytona International Speedway.

“We’re excited to welcome back Darius Rucker to Daytona International Speedway,” track president Robin Braig. “Darius is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable voices in country music and we’re looking forward to both his pre-race concert as well as his rendition of the National Anthem.”

It will be Rucker’s third appearance at Daytona. He performed at the “World Center of Racing” as the leader singer of the Grammy-winning group “Hootie and the Blowfish” at the Dale Earnhardt Tribute Concert and returned for a solo appearance at the 2002 mid-summer classic.

Rucker, a native of Charleston, S.C., kicked off his solo career in country music in 2008 with the platinum selling album “Learn To Love,” which produced No. 1 hit singles “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” “Alright” and the Top 5 “History In The Making.” A native of Charleston, S.C., Rucker garnered the Country Music Association’s Best New Artist Award in 2009.

In addition to the Darius Rucker Concert presented by LongHorn Steakhouse and National Anthem, a special ticket package has been designed around Rucker and includes a Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola race ticket, a Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race Pit Pass and VIP area access to Rucker’s performance. The exclusive ticket package created around Rucker starts at $110.

To purchase the special ticket package designed around Rucker, click here.

The 52nd annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola will be the final race on the current asphalt of Daytona International Speedway. Following the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola, the entire 2.5-mile tri-oval will be repaved for only the second time in its history.

For tickets to the Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Release courtesy of Daytona International Speedway

PHOTO FROM WIKIMEDIA

Miracle Whip to sponsor Kevin Harvick's No. 33 team at Charlotte Nationwide race

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (May 24, 2010) — Kevin Harvick Inc. announced that Miracle Whip dressing, a Kraft Foods brand, will serve as the primary sponsor on the No. 33 Nationwide Series car for the May 29 TECH-NET Auto Service 300 at Charlotte (N.C) Motor Speedway with two-time Nationwide Series champion Kevin Harvick behind the wheel.

“We’re excited to bring another partner in to the KHI family,” said KHI co-owner Harvick. “We have great relationships with our sponsors and I have no doubt it will be the same with Miracle Whip. Although I’ve won the All-Star race at Charlotte, historically it hasn’t been one of my better tracks, but our Nationwide Series program at KHI has really stepped up this year, and I’m hoping this could be the shift in momentum.”

Making their only scheduled appearance on the No. 33 KHI Chevrolet at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Miracle Whip dressing will bring NASCAR fans its unique blend of spices and distinctive turkey-smacking, ham-pumping, sandwich-kicking flavor, according to Harvick.

“Move over, mayo. Kevin and the No. 33 Miracle Whip car are ready to smear the rest of the competition in Charlotte,” said Justin Parnell, Brand Manager for Miracle Whip. “We are thrilled to team up with Kevin Harvick and can’t wait for the checkered flag to fall.”

Harvick will be making his 18th-career Nationwide Series start at the 1.5-mile track looking to visit victory lane for the first time at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the series. In 17 previous Nationwide Series starts at the track, Harvick has recorded two top-five and nine top-10 finishes. The only career win Harvick has at the track is the 2007 All-Star race, a non-points paying event in the Cup Series.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Family Honors the Racing Legend at NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction

In a ceremony attended by NASCAR's finest, five legends of the sport became the first to be enshrined in the new NASCAR Hall of Fame, located in Charlotte, NC, the heart of racing country. The 2010 inductees were honored on Sunday.

Racing greats Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson and Richard Petty and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and Bill France, Jr. were the 2010 inductees into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Johnson and Petty were in attendance and members of the Earnhardt family represented Earnhardt, representing Bill France Sr. was his son Jim France, representing Bill France Jr., was his daughter Lesa France Kennedy, and his son Brian France.

Current drivers and past champions came together to celebrate the special day. NASCAR Champions Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who were all absent from the Hall of Fame Opening Ceremony, attended the induction ceremony on Sunday. All three are expected to be future Hall of Fame members.

Most eyes, however, were on the Earnhart family as they came together to honor the senior member. Dale Earnhardt's family, despite any previous differences, stood united as they spoke about the racing legend that they knew as not only a great driver but also as a father and husband.

Dale Earnhardt family honors the racing legend at NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony


The Earnhardt Family at Dale's Hall of Fame Spire

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images



Harvick Inks Deal with Richard Childress Racing


CONCORD, N.C. (May 22, 2010) — Richard Childress Racing and Kevin Harvick have signed a multi-year contract extension for the 2007 Daytona 500 winner to continue his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driving career with the 12-time NASCAR championship-winning organization.

The announcement was made today in the infield media center at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Harvick, 34, began his RCR driving career in 1999. All of his 334 Sprint Cup Series starts, beginning with the second race of the 2001 season, have been in RCR’s No. 29 Chevrolet. The 12-time race winner in NASCAR’s elite series has also been part of three NASCAR Nationwide Series championships with RCR, winning the title outright in 2001 and 2006 and co-driving for the owners-only championship in 2003.

“I’m happy to be able to continue my relationship with Richard and RCR because, over the last 10 years, we’ve been through a lot together,” said Harvick.  “Being able to put this piece of the puzzle in place couldn’t have come at a better time for me and this team because we can focus solely on winning this championship.”

Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings after 12 of 36 races. The winner of the April 2010 race at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway leads second-place Kyle Busch by 69 points. RCR teammates Jeff Burton and Clint Bowyer are eighth and 15th, respectively.

“Kevin has been a big part of RCR for more than a decade now so it’s good to know our relationship will continue for years to come,” said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. “The No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil team is leading the points and really working very well together this season. This new contract should only help build on their momentum.”

About Richard Childress Racing

Richard Childress Racing (www.rcrracing.com) has earned more than 180 victories and 12 NASCAR championships, including six in the Sprint Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the Sprint Cup Series, Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series. 

Its 2010 Sprint Cup Series lineup includes Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell-Pennzoil Chevrolet), Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet) and Clint Bowyer (No. 33 Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Chevrolet). Bowyer and John Wes Townley drive the No. 21 Zaxby’s Chevrolet in the 2010 Nationwide Series, Austin Dillon drives the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in the 2010 Camping World Truck Series and Tim George Jr. drives the No 31 RCR Development Chevrolet in the 2010 ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards. Ty Dillon, Ryan Gifford and Stephen Leicht are RCR developmental drivers in both asphalt and dirt track racing.

Roush Rewind: All-Star Race

After the Showdown on Saturday came the night’s biggest event--the All-Star Race. With no points on the line and $1 million up for grabs, the gloves came off as the stars came out to shine on Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 21 drivers had their sights set on winning the $1 million and earning the bragging rights to be called a NASCAR All-Star.

Carl Edwards started the All-Star Race 21st in he No. 99 Aflac Ford due to winning the fan vote. The green flag waved to start segment 1, which consisted of 50 laps. For that first segment, things were relatively uneventful for Edwards. Tight-handling issues plagued Edwards during the first segment. He pitted on lap 25 so his crew could make adjustments during the mandatory stop. However, the car began to get loose as the first segment wore on. When the second segment, consisting of 20 laps, began, Edwards was up to 15th. Edwards was up to 13th when he pitted between segments two and three for two tires and an air pressure adjustment. The team thought a two-tire stop would help them gain positions, but many drivers did not pit so he remained 13th. When the third segment, another 20-lap run, began Edward soon dropped back to the 15th position. The caution came out at the end of segment three, and the drivers were given a 10-minute break. The crews were allowed to make changes to the car, but could not change the tires. All teams would make a mandatory stop for four tires before the start of the 10-lap shootout of segment four. On the restart for segment four, Joey Logano got into Mark Martin, which caused a multi-car crash in front of Edwards. Edwards managed to get slowed down, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who was behind him, did not get slowed down and plowed into Edwards. The No. 99 suffered heavy damage, and Edwards was unable to finish the race. He was credited with finishing 21st.

Due to being the Showdown runner-up, Greg Biffle started the All-Star Race in the 20th position. From the drop of the green flag, the No. 16 3M Pit Bulls Ford began to pick up positions. Biffle was up to 15th by lap four. He was 15th when the field had to make mandatory pit stops on lap 25 of segment 1. Biffle remained 14th as he left pit road. He was 13th when segment 1 ended and restarted in that position for the second segment. 7 laps into segment 2, Biffle had cracked the top 10. However, the No. 16 was loose and Biffle dropped back to 11th by the time the third segment began. His crew made adjustments during the pit stop before segment 3. Biffle had worked his way up to 9th when the caution waved to signal the end of segment 3. Biffle restarted in the 9th position for the final ten laps, and picked up two positions after avoiding the multi-car incident on the restart. He restarted 7th with 10 laps remaining due to caution laps not counting during last segment. Biffle fell back as he fought a tight-handling racecar. When the caution came out again with just 2 laps remaining, Biffle pitted for two tires and adjustments, but Biffle was penalized during the stop due to an equipment violation. The penalty resulted in Biffle restarting 13th. One more caution came out, and Biffle was 12th for the final restart. He gained 3 more positions to finish 9th.

The driver intros before the All-Star Race are unlike those for any other race. It’s a chance for the drivers and the crews to both be acknowledged as the entire team steps out onto the stage. Some crews find ways to be creative for the intros, and Kenseth’s crew was no exception Saturday night. The Crown Royal pit crew walked out wearing crowns and purple robes, which got a lot of positive comments from Kenseth fans. Due to qualifying being rained out, Kenseth started the All-Star Race in the 14th position in the No. 17 Crown Royal Black Ford. Kenseth made quick work of moving through the field for the first segment. He was up to 8th by lap 4. Just a couple laps later, Kenseth informed crew chief Todd Parrott that his racecar was tight in the center of the turns and loose off. Overall, Kenseth’s car was just lacking the grip he needed to be a contender. The team made their mandatory stop on lap 26 for fuel, four tires, and track bar and air pressure adjustments. Kenseth was 9th after that stop, but said the car had become loose off and the tires were chattering. Kenseth pitted at the end of the 50-lap segment for four tires and a trackbar adjustment. The Crown Royal crew also placed a rubber in the right rear. Kenseth restarted 16th for segment two, but a few laps later said his racecar had gone from loose to tight. Kenseth pitted once more after segment two. His crew made track bar and air pressure adjustments, as well as adjustments to the rubbers once more. For the third segment, Kenseth remained 18th most of the time. Handling issues continued to plague Kenseth. Under the ten minute break after segment three, Kenseth’s crew went to work once again making adjustments to the car. Kenseth avoided the melee during the restart for segment four, and restarted 10th afterward. With 4 laps remaining, Kenseth was up to 6th. Two laps later the caution came out. Kenseth stayed out and was 5th for the final restart. Kenseth fought hard to remain in the top five, but in the end, had to settle for an 8th place finish.

After winning segment 1, Kurt Busch went on to win the final segment, claiming the $1 million prize and his first All-Star Race win. Congratulations to Kurt Busch and the No. 2 team!

Next up: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Roush Rewind: All-Star Showdown


Coming into the Sprint All-Star weekend, Matt Kenseth was the only Roush Fenway Racing driver locked into the All-Star race. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and David Ragan were going to have to try and race their way in during the All-Star Showdown, prior to the big race. With two 40-lap segments between them and their shot at $1 million, the three Roush drivers knew they would have to give it all they had if they wanted to make the All-Star Race.

David Ragan was first out to qualify on Friday for the Showdown. Usually, being the first out is a disadvantage, but with only four cars left to qualify, rain began to fall at Charlotte. When NASCAR decided to call off qualifying, the field was set according to the qualifying draw. Ragan got the pole position for the Showdown. Starting first in the No. 6 UPS Ford, Ragan led all 20 laps of the first segment. The caution was scheduled to come out on lap 20 to signal the end of segment 1, but on lap 17, Juan Pablo Montoya and Regan Smith crashed. Under the caution, Ragan and teammate Greg Biffle, who was running in 2nd, both stayed out while almost everyone else pitted. On the following restart, Biffle took the lead from Ragan. Before they completed that lap, David Gilliland, running 3rd, slid up into Ragan. Ragan’s car suffered right side damage. Once more, Ragan and Gilliland made contact. The caution flag waved as Gilliland spun. Ragan was 4th for the following restart. The damage to his racecar had caused the car to become tight. Since there was no fenders rubbing the tires, Ragan never pitted. He didn’t want to lose track position. Ragan was able to hold on for a 6th place finish in the Showdown. Once again, Ragan failed to make the All-Star Race. He would be the only Roush Fenway Racing driver to not make the 2010 All-Star Race.

Greg Biffle was faced with the possibility that, for the first time in seven years, he might not be in the All-Star Race. Due to qualifying being rained out, Biffle started the Showdown in the 5th position. With the special 3M Pit Bulls paint scheme on the No. 16, Biffle was determined to give it his all to make the All-Star Race. Once the green flag waved, Biffle charged to the front. He was up to 2nd and running down teammate Ragan by lap 3. For the remaining 17 laps of segment 1, Biffle remained 2nd to his teammate. He stayed out under the caution between the two segments of the Showdown. Biffle restarted 2nd, but took the lead almost immediately once the green flag waved again. By lap 8 of segment 2, Martin Truex, Jr. had moved up to 2nd and was gaining on Biffle. A few laps later, Truex, Jr. took the lead. Biffle remained 2nd as the checkered flag waved and Truex, Jr. won the Showdown.

Due to his qualifying draw, Carl Edwards started the Showdown in the 26th position. By lap 8, Edwards had driven the No. 99 Aflac Ford up to the 21st position. Edwards never really made his presence known in the Showdown. He worked his way up to 15th by the time the caution came out during segment 1. Unlike his teammates, Edwards did pit between the two segments. He remained around the 15th position for almost half of the second segment. Edwards was up to 14th by the eighth lap, but gained 4 more positions before the checkered flag waved to finish 10th in the Showdown. At first, it seemed Edwards would join his teammate Ragan in having to watch the All-Star Race from the sidelines. However, during the driver intros for the All-Star Race, it was announced that Edwards had won the fan vote, which secured his position in the big race.

Congratulations to Carl Edwards for winning the fan vote! Congratulations to Martin Truex, Jr. and the No. 56 team on their victory in the Showdown!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Truex, Biffle, and Edwards Join All-Star Lineup

Joining the lineup in tonight's Sprint Cup All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway are Martin Truex Jr and Greg Biffle who raced their way in by finishing first and second in the 40 lap Showdown just prior to the All-Star event.


Also joining the field will be Carl Edwards who won the fan vote.


Casey Mears will be piloting the #83 Red Bull Toyota as the replacement driver for Brian Vickers. It was announced earlier this week that Vickers will be unable to compete in the remainder of the 2010 races as he undergoes treatment for blood clots.



Showdown, All-Star qualifying rained out

The qualifying sessions for Saturday's Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race were rained out Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The starting lineup for each event was determined by qualifying order.

Kurt Busch was scheduled to qualify first for the All-Star Race, so he was awarded the pole position. Joey Logano will start on the outside pole.

David Ragan was awarded the pole for the Showdown. Max Papis will start beside Ragan on the front row.

Denny Hamlin's No. 11 pit crew won the Pit Crew Challenge on Wednesday, giving the team the first choice of pit stalls for the All-Star Race. But Hamlin blew an engine during practice Friday. He will start 12th, but will have to go to the rear of the field due to the engine change.

Red Bull Racing received approval from NASCAR to have Casey Mears drive the No. 83 car at the All-Star Race in place of Brian Vickers, who was diagnosed with blood clots last week. Vickers announced Friday that he will miss the remainder of the 2010 season while he undergoes treatment.

The Sprint Showdown and Sprint All-Star Race will be broadcast Saturday on FOX starting at 7 p.m. ET. Sprint Showdown is set to start at 7:30 p.m. ET and the All-Star Race at around 9 p.m. ET.

Starting lineup for the Sprint Showdown:

1. David Ragan
2. Max Papis
3. Sam Hornish Jr.
4. Kevin Conway
5. Greg Biffle
6. Reed Sorenson
7. Bill Elliott
8. A.J. Allmendinger
9. Clint Bowyer
10. Robby Gordon
11. Regan Smith
12. Paul Menard
13. Michael Waltrip
14. Juan Montoya
15. Norm Benning
16. Elliott Sadler
17. Jeff Burton
18. Scott Speed
19. Marcos Ambrose
20. Martin Truex Jr.
21. Todd Bodine Toyota
22. Robert Richardson Jr.
23. J.J. Yeley
24. Travis Kvapil
25. Joe Nemechek
26. Carl Edwards
27. Tony Raines
28. Derrike Cope
29. David Gilliland

Starting lineup for the Sprint All-Star Race:

1. Kurt Busch
2. Joey Logano
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Jamie McMurray
5. Kyle Busch
6. David Reutimann
7. Jimmie Johnson
8. Jeff Gordon
9. Casey Mears
10. Ryan Newman
11. Tony Stewart
12. Denny Hamlin
13. Kevin Harvick
14. Matt Kenseth
15. Mark Martin
16. Kasey Kahne
17. Bobby Labonte
18. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

PHOTOS FROM NASCAR MEDIA

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vickers out for rest of 2010 season


Brian Vickers said he will be out of the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota for the rest of the 2010 Sprint Cup season as he undergoes treatment for blood clots.

During a press conference Friday, Vickers said he will be on blood thinners for at least six months and his doctors have advised him not to race during that time.

"This sucks, because this is what I love to do," Vickers, 26, said. "I fully intend to be able to do it again.

"I do expect to be back in the car next season and to win the Daytona 500,'' he said.

Vickers was admitted to a Washington, D.C.-area hospital May 12 after complaining of chest pains. He was diagnosed with blood clots in both lungs and his left leg. Vickers was released May 14 and returned to North Carolina. But he experienced more chest pains and was re-admitted to a nearby hospital May 15, where he stayed until Sunday. It was decided shortly afterward that Vickers would not race for the remainder of the season.

“It is not advisable for him to race while on blood thinners,” said Dr. Steven A. Limentani, Vickers' doctor. Vickers and Limentani said racing would be risky in case Vickers was injured in a crash.

Vickers and Limentani did not know what caused the blood clots. Limentani said tests are ongoing, but it may take weeks to determine a cause, if ever.

The two were observed sitting with cans of Red Bull during the press conference. Limentani was asked if energy drinks like Red Bull could have caused the clotting, as a report from Australia has suggested. The doctor denied that the product could have contributed to the condition.

Vickers sat out last weekend's Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Raceway after being diagnosed with blood clots. Casey Mears took Vickers' place in the No. 83 car and was approved by NASCAR to race for Vickers in the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night.

Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team vice president and general manager, said it hasn't been decided if Mears will replace Vickers for the rest of the season, but that he didn't anticipate a driver change, except possibly for the road course races.

PHOTO: Brian Vickers announces that he will miss the remainder of the 2010 season due to a recently discovered health condition. (Jason Smith / Getty Images for NASCAR)

Bowyer gets three-race probation for aggressive driving at Dover

Clint Bowyer was placed on a three-race probation for intentionally wrecking Denny Hamlin under caution during last weekend's Nationwide Series race at Dover, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

Bowyer, driver of the No. 21 car in the Nationwide Series, will be on probation until June 16 for aggressive driving. The probation applies to all three of NASCAR's top series.

NASCAR parked Bowyer for the last six laps of the Heluva Good! 200 for retaliating against Hamlin, driving the No. 20 for Joe Gibbs Racing, for an incident that happened a few laps earlier.

Before the second to last restart, Hamlin got into the back of Bowyer, who was running second. The contact triggered a nine-car wreck. After the red flag, Bowyer drove from the pits and hit the side of Hamlin's car, spinning him out.

Bowyer was issued the same penalty that Carl Edwards and Jason Leffler received for retaliation incidents earlier in the season.

PHOTO FROM NASCAR MEDIA