Sunday, October 31, 2010

WIN Series presents: NCWTS owner/driver Jennifer Jo Cobb

One Race At A Time

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
No More One and Done

“I tend to be my own worst critic so there is nothing anyone can say about me I haven’t already thought. But you have to be able to turn that around and see the things that are going right. That's a learned technique, and I’ve definitely had to learn it over the years. But it's the critic in me that helps me to strive to be better, so that works.”


I recently had the opportunity to speak with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver/owner Jennifer Jo Cobb via Skype. I was extremely excited about this interview as its been a while since I’d actually spoken to a driver in a NASCAR series. I was told by many of her fans that she was an awesome person and that I would really enjoy speaking with her.

I wasn’t at all disappointed. Jen was very friendly and open to my questions. She didn’t hold back. I think you will enjoy both her sense of humor and her honesty. I’m going to give you most all of the interview. It lasted just about 20 minutes and we spoke the entire time.

Background 

Jennifer was born in Kansas City, Kan., on June 12, 1973. In 1991, she began racing in the 4-cylinder Pony Stock Division at Lakeside and I-70 Speedways in the Kansas City area. She was racing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series (NWRS). Cobb has several victories, with finishes in the top-10 championship standings for every season she competed in NWRS. This include divisions such the Late Model and the Sportsman Late Model Division I-70 Speedway, with NWRS.



Jen pictured here with her father, Joe Cobb
Photo credited to Debbie Ross

Jennifer’s love of auto racing began with her father, Joe Cobb’s, racing career. With hundreds of victories and awards, including a track championship and MPD award, Joe continues to compete in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Premier Modified division at the 1⁄2 mile dirt oval in Kansas.

In 2002, Jennifer attended and graduated from Fast Track High Performance Racing School. She met ARCA RE/MAX Series driver guidelines, reaching speeds over 150 mph at Lowes Motor Speedway. In June 2002, she went on to debut in the ARCA RE/MAX Series, finishing 16th at the Kansas Speedway. In 2003, Jennifer became a driving instructor and ride driver for Richard Petty Driving Experience. Working at speedways from Chicagoland to California and logging in well more than 10,000 laps, giving her additional time and valuable experience behind the wheel. Jennifer continues to improve her driving techniques and skills by testing at tracks and working at the Richard Petty Driving Experience, where she logs more than 1,000 laps per weekend at many NASCAR-sanctioned racetracks.

In 2004, Cobb was invited to compete in the Busch Series finale at Homestead-Miami. Driving the #50 for Keith Coleman Racing, she finished 43rd due to a crash on lap 2. 2004 netted her three consecutive top-10 finishes in the ARCA RE/MAX Series. Jennifer has proven herself to be a tough competitor working aggressively through the ranks in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and NASCAR Busch Series. She is now owner and driver in the NCWTS of the #10 as well as the owner of the #13 in the NNS.

Crown Royal to honor military service with race name

Nominations for 'Your Name Here' 400 contest for April Richmond race will be accepted through Nov. 30

Crown Royal takes pride in showcasing our country’s finest heroes, and once again, the tradition will live on. The makers of Crown Royal Canadian whisky, a subsidiary of Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO), will award naming rights to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway on April 30, 2011 to a serviceman or servicewoman.

This marks the second time throughout the five-year history of the Crown Royal “Your Name Here” 400 contest that only individuals serving our country can be nominated. Nominations will be accepted until Nov. 30 and can be submitted to www.nascar.com/crownroyal.

"Crown Royal truly takes pride in ensuring that our race entitlement shines light on all the everyday heroes who serve our country,” said Heather Boyd, senior brand manager of Crown Royal. “We believe that the experience provided to the winner is unprecedented and really transforms one deserving individual into a superstar the entire race weekend. We look forward to reading all the nominations and announcing our finalists and grand prize winner in February, at the Daytona race.”

Once nominations are received, Crown Royal will provide fans the opportunity to cast their votes for whose name they think should be incorporated into the annual spring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Richmond International Raceway. The grand prize winner will then be announced from Daytona in a patriotic ceremony among all the finalists, NASCAR’s Roush Fenway Racing driver Matt Kenseth and representatives from Crown Royal and Richmond International Raceway.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

NASCAR 'giant' Jim Hunter dies



Jim Hunter smiles at Darlington Raceway in May. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
It was hard to mistake Jim Hunter in his trademark yellow "NASCAR 1948" cap, but in a career spanning more than 40 years in motorsports, he wore many hats. Hunter knew the ins and outs of the sport, first as a journalist, then a public relations representative and finally as an executive for NASCAR itself. He was a father, friend, mentor, mediator, and fan of the sport and the people in it. His guidance was influential in shaping NASCAR to be what it is today.

The 71-year-old vice president of NASCAR's corporate communications died late Friday after a year-long battle with cancer. As the NASCAR community reacts to his death, it is certain Hunter left an indelible mark on the lives of many in its ranks. Juan Pablo Montoya, one of the drivers Hunter took under his wing, dedicated the Amp Energy 500 pole he claimed Saturday at Talladega to Hunter.

Many drivers, journalists and others in the sport turned to Twitter and Facebook to express their condolences. Hunter embraced social media, so it is only fitting that he was a trending topic in the U.S. and worldwide on Twitter today.

Here is the press release NASCAR issued upon Hunter's death, followed by a compilation of quotes from some of those whose lives he touched. We at Skirts and Scuffs offer our sympathies to the Hunter family and his extended NASCAR family.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Oct. 30, 2010) – NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter, whose career in motorsports spanned portions of six decades as both a journalist and public relations professional, died last night in Daytona Beach, Fla. following a 12-month battle with cancer. He was 71.

“Jim Hunter was one of NASCAR’s giants,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “For more than 40 years Jim was part of NASCAR and its history. He loved the sport, but loved the people even more. It seems as if everyone in the sport called him a friend. Jim will forever be missed by the NASCAR community. Our sympathies go out to his entire family.”

Cup Pole Report: Montoya on Target for AMP Energy 500 Pole

JPMPoleAMPEnergy500 Juan Pablo Montoya, the driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, claimed the pole for Sunday's AMP Energy 500 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 51.863 (184.640 mph.) in the all-Chevy front row.  Clint Bowyer was only 0.040 of a second behind Montoya in the No. 33 BB&T for Richard Childress Racing during Saturday's qualifying session. Six out of the top 10 on the grid are Chevrolets. Could this mean a good weekend for Chevrolet once again at Talladega after Kevin Harvick won the race in the spring? 

A few new paint schemes will grace the track for the Halloween weekend. The one to be watching for in my eyes is Jamie McMurray's, who will being driving the Bass Pro Shops Dale Earnhardt Sr. Tribute car, which was announced back in May during the weekend of the inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame class. Other ones to watch out for are Michael Waltrip back in the No. 55 in the Aaron’s 55th Anniversary Toyota and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in "The Legend of Hallowdega" Amp Energy Juice / National Guard Chevrolet. All of the schemes are definitely eye-catching!

For all the racing action, I would set your television on ESPN for 1 p.m. EST race! Happy Halloween to all of the race fans!

Starting lineup:
  1. Juan Montoya
  2. Clint Bowyer
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Joe Nemechek
  5. Jeff Burton
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Dave Blaney
  8. Ryan Newman
  9. Casey Mears
  10. Sam Hornish Jr.
  11. Brad Keselowski
  12. Jamie McMurray
  13. Jeff Fuller
  14. Kevin Harvick
  15. Michael McDowell
  16. Kasey Kahne
  17. Denny Hamlin
  18. Martin Truex Jr.
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Michael Waltrip
  21. David Reutimann
  22. Chad McCumbee
  23. Carl Edwards
  24. Bobby Labonte
  25. Joey Logano
  26. Tony Stewart
  27. Matt Kenseth
  28. David Ragan
  29. Scott Speed
  30. Mark Martin
  31. Jeff Gordon
  32. Kyle Busch
  33. Elliott Sadler
  34. Greg Biffle
  35. Marcos Ambrose
  36. A.J. Allmendinger
  37. Aric Almirola
  38. Paul Menard
  39. Regan Smith
  40. David Gilliland
  41. Robert Richardson Jr.
  42. Robby Gordon
  43. Bill Elliott

Trucks Pole Report: Hornaday Wins Pole for Mountain Dew 250

HornadayPoleOctDega Ron Hornaday takes the pole for the Mountain Dew 250 at Talladega Superspeedway with a lap of 52.839 (181.230 mph.) in his No. 33 E-Z-Go 2Five Street Legal Vehicle Chevrolet for KHI.  Just behind Hornaday on the grid is Jason White -0.093 behind in the No. 23 GunBroker.com / Pursuit Channel Toyota. 

"People say that Ron Hornaday is a short-track driver, and to come to Talladega and sit on the pole is so cool," Hornaday said. "There are only four tracks I haven't won at, and Talladega is one of them. I want to get that off my check list, just like I got this one off my list with the pole here. It's pretty awesome."

For all of the race coverage you can head on over to SPEED at 3 p.m. EST with the Set Up at 2:30, after last years Halloween spectacular you just never know what you will get this year!  Happy Halloween from Talladega and enjoy the race!
  1. Ron Hornaday
  2. Jason White
  3. Austin Dillon
  4. Ken Schrader
  5. Aric Almirola
  6. Chris Fontaine
  7. Ricky Carmichael
  8. Johnny Sauter
  9. James Buescher
  10. Todd Bodine
  11. Matt Crafton
  12. Grant Enfinger
  13. David Starr
  14. Narain Karthikeyan
  15. Timothy Peters
  16. Mike Skinner
  17. Justin Lofton
  18. Kyle Busch
  19. Craig Goess
  20. Max Papis
  21. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  22. Mario Gosselin
  23. Donnie Neuenberger
  24. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  25. Tony Jackson Jr.
  26. Ryan Sieg
  27. Mike Garvey
  28. Justin Hobgood
  29. Norman Benning
  30. Mike Harmon
  31. Brent Rayner
  32. Andy Lally
  33. John Jackson
  34. Bryan Silas
  35. Dominick Casola
  36. Jerick Johnson

IndyCar Honors ………………

Danica Patrick and Pippa Mann

2010 MOST POPULAR DRIVER AWARD WINNERS

During the 2010 INDY DownForce Banquet, two women were honored with the 2010 MPD Awards. Danica Patrick was recognized in the IZOD IndyCar Series and Pippa Mann in the Firestone Indy Lights Series.

Danica’s season in the IZOD IndyCar Series ended with her placing 10th in the overall standings. With 2nd-place finishes in Texas and Homestead, she ran 2,408 laps for the season.

Although this was Danica’s sixth consecutive MPDA, she stated, “I’m very flattered that I’ve received this award once, let alone six times. Every person has the ability to pick their favorite driver, and it can change so it's a real honor to receive an award from the fans.”

Pippa Mann has two seasons under her belt in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Pippa led all 67 laps at Kentucky, winning her first race driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports in 2010. She also managed to finish in the top 10 while driving with a broken hand when she competed in Toronto.

Mann missed one race during the 2010 Season due to surgery on a broken hand, but still came out with a 5th-place finish overall in the Firestone Indy Light Series.

Upon receipt of the MPDA, Pippa felt it was an honor and a “flattering and fantastic feeling.” Perhaps one of the most memorable achievements for Pippa was being the first woman to win a pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The MPDAs are determined through a fan vote during all IndyCar racing events during the season. Voting is also done via their website and at Indycar.com as well.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Chase Coverage: Talladega Preview

A pack during the spring race at Talladega. (John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
After six races, we have the tightest points battle in the history of the Chase. And where better to go next than perhaps the most unpredictable of tracks on the NASCAR circuit - Talladega - on the spookiest day of the year - Halloween.

The 2.66-mile superspeedway is a favorite among fans, but maybe not so much among the Chase drivers. You have as much of a chance of finishing in the top 5 as you do bringing your racecar home in an unrecognizable heap of sheet metal.

Some Chasers see Dega as an opportunity to catch up in points, while others hope to avoid "the big one" and simply survive. With only three races following it in the Chase, Talladega has the potential to make or break any of the top 3's chances for a title run.

Twelve of our contributors look at the Chase drivers' odds at Talladega and how they may fare in Sunday's lottery. Come back Tuesday to find out which drivers were "tricked" and which were "treated."

1. Jimmie Johnson - (Leader) - Rebecca Kivak
Out of all the tracks in the Chase, Talladega is probably the only one that gives points leader Jimmie Johnson heartburn. The wild nature of the 2.66-mile restrictor plate track is more a game of survival than smarts, and the four-time Sprint Cup champion has seen what it’s like to be on the losing end of this lottery. Seven out of his 17 starts here have ended in DNFs. This includes his last visit in the spring, when he wrecked with six laps to go, relegating him to a 31st-place finish.

Johnson’s average finish of 17.8 at the superspeedway is his lowest of the last four tracks in the Chase. His driver rating of 83.6 is the sixth-highest among the Chase field, unusual for a driver whom I’m used to writing leads all drivers in that area of loop data. He has four top-5 and seven top-10 finishes at the Alabama track.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Roush Rewind: Tums Fast Relief 500

The Sprint Cup series made its second stop of the season at Martinsville Speedway this past weekend. The half-mile track is known for its close-quarter racing and the flaring tempers among the drivers. The Tums Fast Relief 500 marked the 6th race in the Chase. The race had no shortage of great racing and exciting battles for position. With all eyes on Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson, every fan watched to see if Johnson’s lead over Hamlin in the standings would increase or diminish. Just as he said he would, Virginia native Hamlin took home the win on Sunday.

The Roush Fenway Racing drivers came to Martinsville hoping to run the race as successfully if not better than they had run at Charlotte the week before when all four of the Roush Fenway drivers finished inside the top twelve. On Sunday, three of the Roush Fenway drivers finished inside the top 20, while one was left with a disappointing finish toward the back after he had to go to the garage for repairs during the race.

"The Legend of Hallowdega"

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be driving a specially painted black and yellow car this weekend to promote “The Legend of Hallowdega,” an AMP Energy Juice short film directed by Terry Gilliam. The film stars David Arquette and Justin Kirk with special appearances by Darrel Waltrip and Earnhardt Jr. Tune in this Sunday before the race on ESPN to find out the truth about the legend and lore about the mystery that’s yet to be solved at the 2.66-mile track at Talladega Superspeedway.

"I hope race fans enjoy this fun-spirited film from AMP Energy Juice. It was an honor to work with Terry Gilliam. His creativity and imagination comes out in all of his work, and he is a lot of fun. I've got a great sponsor in AMP Energy, who is putting together an awesome race weekend for the fans at Talladega," Earnhardt Jr. said on his website www.dalejr.com.

Talladega is one of Earnhardt Jr.’s best tracks. In 19 of his 21 career starts in Talladega, he’s led 672 laps and won five times with four consecutive wins from 2001 to 2003. He has eight top-5 and 11 top-10 finishes. It's possible that he could win this this weekend.

Earnhardt Jr. had an exciting race last Sunday at Martinsville. He moved ahead of the line, passing teammate Jeff Gordon, and led the race for 90 laps. Instead of being upset, Gordon was heard over the radio saying that he was happy that Junior was racing really well. His other teammate Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief Chad Knaus was heard over the radio saying, “If you hear a roar from the right side of the car it just means that Junior took the lead.” Mark Martin, his third teammate, finished in second place after crashing his car.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jeff Gordon to 'Drive to End Hunger' beginning in 2011

Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR
AARP Foundation's Drive To End Hunger will serve as the No. 24's primary sponsor for 22 races annually from 2011 to 2013
 

CONCORD, N.C. (Oct. 27, 2010) – Hendrick Motorsports and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon have teamed with AARP and AARP Foundation on the Drive To End Hunger, an unprecedented three-year initiative to address the growing problem of hunger among older Americans, including 6 million over the age of 60.

Drive to End Hunger will be the majority sponsor of Gordon's No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team in 2011, 2012 and 2013, with primary paint schemes in 22 Sprint Cup races annually. The No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, which will be unveiled at a later date, will race in the next three Daytona 500 events.

Since 1992 DuPont has served as the main sponsor of the No. 24, but the company is planning to cut back its investment in 2011. DuPont and Pepsi will return as primary sponsors for select races.

The deal marks the first time a nonprofit has signed on for a primary sponsorship in NASCAR. AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins said the foundation is planning to find corporate co-sponsors to share the car for all its races.

Jail and Bail event raises $150,000 for Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund

Judge John Darby, right, NASCAR Managing Director of Competition, requests bail for two-time
Sprint Cup Series champion Tony Stewart during the third annual NASCAR Jail & Bail held
at Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson, N.C. (
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 26, 2010) – Twenty NASCAR drivers and celebrities joined more than 1,000 fans to help collect $150,000 in donations and pledges at the Third Official Jail and Bail charity event benefitting the Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund on Oct. 12 at Brickhouse Tavern in Davidson, N.C. Over the three years of the event, more than $300,000 has been raised to provide 30 scholarships for qualified female students.

The Brienne Davis Scholarship Fund is intended to provide an opportunity for qualified female students who wish to attend any one of Universal Technical Institute’s 11 campuses across the U.S., including the NASCAR Technical Institute in Mooresville, N.C.

Alabama Gang members, left to right, Donnie Allison, Bobby Allison and Red Farmer
look for someone to bail them out of jail. (
Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The evening included NASCAR drivers and other celebrities being “sentenced” and put behind bars with all of the “bail money” going to support the scholarship fund. Inmates included NASCAR drivers Landon Cassill; Kevin Conway; Denny Hamlin; Brad Keselowski; Travis Kvapil; Joey Logano; Casey Mears; Michael McDowell; Joe Nemechek; Max Papis; Tony Raines; Brian Scott; Reed Sorenson; Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Tony Stewart. Others locked up were the No. 11 FedEx Pit Crew, NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Jerry Cook and NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison and Red Farmer of “The Alabama Gang.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chase Coverage: Martinsville Wrap-Up Report

Denny Hamlin celebrates in Victory Lane after the Tums Fast Relief 500
at Martinsville Speedway. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
The sixth race of the Chase, Martinsville Speedway did not disappoint. It was 500 miles of exciting racing with plenty of bumping and banging, flaring tempers and a wild unpredictability that left you on the edge of your seat wondering, what's going to happen next? 

Some Chase drivers fell victim to the 0.526-mile short track and effectively ended their shot at the championship. However, the top 3 in the standings rose to the top: Denny Hamlin clinched his seventh win of the year, nearly wiping out leader Jimmie Johnson's lead; Johnson added yet another top 5 to his Chase resume; and Kevin Harvick made an impressive statement with his third-place finish, showing he is in it to win it. Things will surely get interesting between these three next week at Talladega. 

Twelve of our contributors recap how the Chase drivers fared this weekend at Martinsville:

1.) Jimmie Johnson – Rebecca Kivak
Jimmie Johnson left Martinsville on Sunday with a hard-fought fifth-place finish, but the four-time champion’s points lead shrunk from 41 to a mere 6 over race winner Denny Hamlin. It was Johnson’s fifth consecutive top-5 finish in the six Chase races, but it wasn’t an average Martinsville race for the four-time Cup champion, who didn't lead any laps or have a car to contend with in the home stretch. Due to the propensity for cautions at the track, the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet was set up for short runs but would get tight as the run went on, a problem Johnson fought throughout the race. The last long green-flag run only intensified the tight-handling condition, and the changes the No. 48 team made did little to help in the last 100 laps.

Before Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500, NASCAR confiscated the No. 48’s drive-shaft cover. NASCAR discovered stress cracks near the mounting holes during inspection and asked the team to replace the part. After the race, Sprint Cup Series Director John Darby said it was a safety issue and the part was not illegal.

Opening Day of Dale Jr.'s Corral at Victory Junction Gang Camp

On Saturday, Oct. 23, Victory Junction Gang Camp hosted an open house to show off the new Corral and Amphitheatre that was built because Dale Earnhardt Jr. donated $1 million of his own money in March.

Victory Junction Gang Camp has helped 11,000 children and families from 47 different states and three different countries since the facility opened in 2004. It's located in a town called Randleman, N.C. Victory Junction helps children with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, hemophilia as well as many other illnesses. The camp was founded by Kyle and Patty Petty after they lost their son Adam during a practice run at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway; they knew that this is what their son wanted, so they built it to keep his dream alive. Mr. and Mrs. Petty also had help from Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Michael Waltrip, Richard Petty and Tony Stewart.

There’s an arts and craft center and a bowling alley called Victory Lanes with Jimmie Johnson’s car on top of it. There’s a theater and an auditorium. There’s even a hair salon as well as a diner with a black-and-white checkers design. There’s a barn with goats, donkeys, horses and llamas! Yes, llamas - it was the first time I’ve seen them. There’s a Kurt Busch Superdome where kids can play baseball and other sports.

Dale Jr.’s Corral and Amphitheatre is a cool-looking town, western-themed in true Dale Jr. fashion and consists of a mock jail, general store, bank and outhouse. While the venue features playful and colorful buildings, the amphitheater's design is fashioned after the mock western town located on Dale Jr.'s property in Mooresville, N.C.

Dale Jr. took time away from Martinsville on Saturday to participate in the amphitheater's grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony. He took a few minutes to sign autographs and take pictures with the kids. After addressing the audience, he said goodbye and a local band played to end the day.

If you would like to find out more about my day, please visit my site, In the Driver's Seat.

All views expressed are solely those of the writer.

(The middle photo of the stage and was taken by Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Facebook page; the other three were taken by Genevieve Cadorette.)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Nationwide Pole Report: Justin Allgaier Takes Control at Gateway

How do you prove to team owners and different sponsors you are worth the money?  You win the pole at Gateway International Speedway, Justin Allgaier who drivers the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Dodge did just that today with a lap of 33.301 (135.131 mph.).  To finish the front row you have Colin Braun driving the No. 98 MasterCraft Doors / Menards Ford with a lap -0.012 behind the leader. 
5HourEnergy250

What should we be watching out for in today’s race?  I think the new face in Brandon McReynolds is the one to watch out for driving the No. 42 GtMrVctns.cm/Adptv One NAPA Brks Dodge starting 25th on the grid on his first ever Nationwide Series race. 

For all of the racing action from Gateway International Speedway you can catch it all on ESPN 2 starting at 3 p.m. EST! 
  1. Justin Allgaier
  2. Colin Braun
  3. Matt DiBenedetto
  4. Mike Bliss
  5. Sean Caisse
  6. Josh Wise
  7. Steven Wallace
  8. Trevor Bayne
  9. Brad Sweet
  10. Reed Sorensen
  11. Erik Darnell
  12. Brad Coleman
  13. Drew Herring
  14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  15. Brian Scott
  16. Brendan Gaughn
  17. Danny O’Quinn Jr.
  18. Ryan Truex
  19. Kenny Wallace
  20. Parker Kligerman
  21. Shelby Howard
  22. Kevin Lepage
  23. Chase Miller
  24. Jeremy Clements
  25. Brandon McReynolds
  26. Jason Leffler
  27. Michael Annett
  28. Brian Keselowski
  29. Jeff Green
  30. Carl Long
  31. Joe Nemechek
  32. Scott Wimmer
  33. Kevin Hamlin
  34. Antonio Perez
  35. Tim Andrews
  36. Johnny Chapman
  37. Bobby Santos III
  38. Tony Raines
  39. Morgan Shepherd
  40. Mike Wallace
  41. Danica Patrick
  42. Peyton Sellers
  43. Andy Ponstein

Friday, October 22, 2010

Trucks Pole Report: Kyle Busch Takes Pole Kroger 200

MVilleKroger200 Kyle Busch the driver of the No. 18 Toyota Tundra / Z-Lines Design for Kyle Busch Motorsports takes control of the ‘Pretty Paperclip’ of Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 200 with a lap of 19.683 (96.205 mph.) only -0.046 seconds faster than Matt Crafton in the No. 88 Tide / Menards Chevrolet.  The friends of Busch and Crafton lead the pack at the 21st of 25 races in the series. 

What should we be watching out during the Kroger 200?  Amber and Angela Cope, the twin nieces of Derrike Cope will be making their debut this weekend at Martinsville.  Along with the twins, Johanna Long and Jennifer Jo Cobb will be competing against the boys, good luck to the ladies this weekend! 

For all of the racing action you know the place, if you are not in Martinsville, it is SPEED starting at 12:30 p.m. EST with The SetUp with Krista Voda!
  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Matt Crafton
  3. Ron Hornaday
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Johnny Sauter
  6. Ricky Carmichael
  7. Jason White
  8. James Buescher
  9. Austin Dillon
  10. Mike Skinner
  11. Justin Lofton
  12. Timothy Peters
  13. David Starr
  14. Ryan Sieg
  15. Aric Almirola
  16. Jason Bowles
  17. Johanna Long
  18. Mario Gosselin
  19. Dennis Setzer
  20. Stacy Compton
  21. Matt Lofton
  22. Mike Garvey
  23. B.J. McLeod
  24. Todd Bodine
  25. Hermie Sadler
  26. Brent Raymer
  27. John King
  28. Clay Greenfield
  29. Wes Burton
  30. C E Falk
  31. Chris Jones
  32. Angela Cope
  33. Norm Benning
  34. Amber Cope
  35. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  36. Cody Cambensy

Sprint Cup Pole Report: Hamlin Wins Pole for Tums Fast Relief 500

The Toyota Racing Team raced into the two front row positions for the Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway for Sunday afternoons race, Denny Hamlin won the spot with a lap of 19.518 ( 97.018 mph.) in the Joe Gibbs Racing FedEX Camry.  The front line is completed with Marcos Ambrose in the No. 47 Dollar General Country Million Sweepstakes car with a lap of 19.521 (97.003 mph.) only 0.003 seconds behind Hamlin.  Only one third of the Chase drivers are in the top ten including Greg Biffle who considers Martinsville as one of his bad tracks, could this be a sign of good things to come?

  HamlinPoleMVilleOct
The other interesting thing for this race has to be Kasey Kahne driving the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota after being released from Richard Petty Motorsports late Wednesday night, Aric Almirola has replaced Kahne in the No. 9 Budweiser Ford for this weekend.  Do you think these last five races will get Kahne ready for his stint with Red Bull Racing for next season before he goes over to drive the No. 5 for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012? 

For all the racing action your best place to be next to being a Martinsville Speedway in person is in front of the television at 1 p.m. EST on ESPN!  To keep up on all the NASCAR coverage come back here to Skirts and Scuffs!
  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Marcos Ambrose
  3. Greg Biffle
  4. Ryan Newman
  5. Juan Montoya
  6. Tony Stewart
  7. Carl Edwards
  8. David Reutimann
  9. Jamie McMurray
  10. David Ragan
  11. Jeff Gordon
  12. Paul Menard
  13. Regan Smith
  14. Scott Speed
  15. A.J. Allmendinger
  16. Martin Truex Jr.
  17. Clint Bowyer
  18. Jeff Burton
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Casey Mears
  21. Mark Martin
  22. Joey Logano
  23. Bobby Labonte
  24. Sam Hornish Jr.
  25. Brad Keselowski
  26. Kyle Busch
  27. Travis Kvapil
  28. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  29. Kurt Busch
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Elliott Sadler
  32. Matt Kenseth
  33. Kasey Kahne
  34. Dave Blaney
  35. Aric Almirola
  36. Kevin Harvick
  37. Joe Nemechek
  38. Ken Schrader
  39. David Gilliland
  40. Tony Raines
  41. Kevin Conway
  42. Hermie Sadler
  43. J.J, Yeley

Chase Coverage: Martinsville Preview

Green white checker finish at Martinsville spring race.
(John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)

We're over the halfway mark in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and what could be better than some short-track racing? The Cup drivers head to Martinsville for race #6 in the playoffs.

Get ready for some beating and banging as the 12 Chase drivers try to get every point that they can. With 77 points separating the top three drivers, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick, some have already called it a three-man battle. Especially at a track referred to by many as Johnson's and Hamlin's playground - the two share 9 wins between them here. But fourth-place Jeff Gordon's 156-point deficit is possible to make up, especially at a track where he leads all drivers in wins (7).

Here's what our 12 contributors have to say about the Chasers' chances this weekend at the "paperclip." Come back Tuesday for a recap of how they fared.

1.) Jimmie Johnson- Starting 19th - Rebecca Kivak
Six races into the Chase, points leader Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team head to yet another track where they've had great success: Martinsville. The four-time Sprint Cup champion has six wins at the "Pretty Paperclip," the second-most of all active drivers.

In 17 starts, Johnson has 12 top 5s, 16 top 10s and two poles at Martinsville. He has an average finish of 5.4, the best all-time in the series. He leads all drivers with a driver rating of 123.8 and has led 1,551 laps at the 0.526-mile track.

This weekend gives Johnson an opportunity to add to his win total at Martinsville, but it won't come without a fight from second seed Denny Hamlin, who trails Johnson by 41 points in the Chase standings. The two have combined to win the last eight races at the short track, with Johnson claiming five of those victories. As Johnson and the 48 team will do everything they can to maximize their points, we may be in for a thrilling battle to the finish.

“Who I wouldn’t want next to me (on the final restart) — man I guess whoever would be second in points,” Johnson said this week. “We’re going to be gouging for every single point at that part of the race and the way the points are stacked up, the top-five are all guys that are really good at Martinsville. It could be exciting.” 

RPM looks to be on life support with possibly no relief in sight



Did Kasey Kahne’s departure from Charlotte Motor Speedway during last Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 signal the beginning of the end for Richard Petty Motorsports? The turmoil the organization is going through at the present time has been brewing for months, but Kahne’s actions on Saturday and then his parting ways with the team—unexpectedly to fans and others outside the RPM situation—on Wednesday night did definitely shed light on RPM’s plight.

Things started to look at least a little negative for Richard Petty Motorsports when three of its four drivers seemed to one by one look to jump ship. Kahne announced that he was leaving the team to ultimately drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, via a one-year stop at Red Bull Racing in 2011. Then Elliott Sadler announced he wouldn’t be returning to RPM next season, even though he didn’t have another ride lined up. Paul Menard followed suit soon after, announcing that he was heading to Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season.

Of course, Sadler didn’t seem to be wanted by the organization, anyway. The team tried to let him go awhile back, but Sadler threatened a lawsuit to stay, since he was still under contract. Now that the contract is running out, Sadler seems more than happy to pack his bags and look for employment elsewhere.

Maybe these three drivers saw the writing on the wall and opted to get out before it was too late. Kahne, whether it was his decision or RPM’s, couldn’t even wait until the end of the season to escape. He’s beginning his stint with Red Bull Racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

Photo of the No. 9 car by Amanda Vincent

It's Official: Kasey Kahne at Red Bull Racing


Kasey Kahne adressed the media in a press conference Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway. He and Jay Frye, Vice President of Red Bull Racing cleared the air about the Richard Petty Motorsports/ Kasey Kahne split.

Kahne confirmed that he was paid up to date by RPM and that his release from them was mutual. Discussion of this began Monday. Also, "Easy" Kenny Francis will remain with the nine car at RPM for the last five races of the 2010 season.

Then began the discussion about the move to Red Bull, "I've been doing the same thing for six and a half years, so everything's different. A big change for me.

"The excitement at Red Bull now... it's nice to be a part of it.

"I've been looking forward to next year for quite some time now. This just gives us a head start on next year." Kasey said.

Indeed, Red Bull is excited to have Kahne, too. Vice President Jay Frye expressed this when he said, "His DNA is a race car driver. We couldn't be more excited ro have him for the final five races and 2011.

"... We want to win races, make the Chase, and win the championship."

Kasey then continued to talk about those who questioned his commitment: "Anyone who questions my commitment doesn't know my love of racing."

"It's about me moving on, and starting with the next year. I'm glad we've done it." he said of the split.

"People can talk. They can say what they want, but I'm definately not a quitter. I've done a lot for that company for a long time." Kahne spent his first six and a half years within the organization. If he hadn't been doing something right, they would have gotten rid of him long ago.

Kasey is disappointed about leaving Budweiser early, but will finish out his appearences for 2010. We still do not have word if Budweiser will continue to sponsor Kasey Kahne Racing driver Joey Saldana.

Next year? Kasey is happy that they will be prepared and has time to get to know the company. He is hoping to win races for Red Bull.

As for Red Bull, Jay Frye says that they are still monitoring Brian Vickers' health and Scott Speed's performance. They also are dealing with the fact that they have three crew chiefs (Kenny Francis signed on to be with Kasey for 2011) and only two cars.

"This went down a lot different than anybody expected, especially myself."

We did not expect this either, Kasey.

Side note: During practice in the 83, Kasey said, "Everything feels good. Forward bite is good. Brakes feel really good!"

Thank you so much to Skirts and Scuffs for giving me this opportunity and for following this coverage all week!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mr. Philanthropist


Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, was Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.
After making a donation to his foundation, fans had the chance to meet Dale, have a sit-down question and answer session, and grab some goodies. Some lucky fans even had a chance to get a ride with him in his car for few laps.

One fan in particular was a little boy from the Make-A-Wish Foundation; he did the ride around and afterward Dale Jr. gave this little boy his (used) helmet.

Last May, during All Star race weekend, Dale Jr. gave his 200th wish to a 15-year-old with a genetic kidney disorder. Only 18 percent of his kidney is functioning and the percentage will continue to decline, unless they find a kidney donor. Dale Jr. had invited him to his house, where he had the chance to race against him and Brad Keselowski at the go-kart race track in Dale’s backyard. He got a tour of JR Motorsports and when it was race time, Dale brought him on stage during driver intros. That day was also videotaped for an ESPN SportsCenter Make-A-Wish television episode.

Kasey Kahne Released from Richard Petty Motorsports


A little before ten o'clock on Wednesday at night, a press release dropped that surprised some and did not surprise others. Indeed, Richard Petty Motorsports released Kasey Kahne from driving the number nine Budweiser Ford Fusion for the remaining five races of the season.

The beginnings of this came last Saturday during the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when Kahne's braking system seemed to fail (later it was found as a braking fluid issue). The handling of the car was frustrating to Kasey and the nine team, who had been at the top of the board in the final two practices. Kahne and his team began that race with high hopes, which came crashing down when Kasey's car spun in turn four. After limping the ill-handling car to the garage, Kahne got out of his car; he had not felt well before the race.

This is where it all went downhill. An unidentified Richard Petty Motorsports member told Kahne "to start doing his part." Kahne left and never returned to the number nine. JJ Yeley completed the race for him.

The next day, Kasey ran his 5 Kahne to raise money for his Kasey Kahne Foundation. After running in that race, he adressed the media, saying, "I can't control that as a driver. I'm doing my part; I just need the car. I work as hard as anybody out there."

When given the possibility about switching to Red Bull Racing (where he is headed for the 2011 season) early, Kahne thought for a moment and replied with "I don't think so. I doubt it."

Monday morning, Robbie Loomis, Vice President of Competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, adressed the media. He accused the Budweiser driver of not being able to handle adversity and because of that, he was not championship material. Whether Kahne heard this or not, we will never know.

Kahne is headed to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 after a year at Red Bull Racing. Sure, he is anticipating better equipment and a better season. Can you blame a man for that after the season that he has had? He is winless with three poles and a handful of top-tens. But, he is the only one who has dealt with this braking system.

So, when the press release dropped, it was official; Kasey Kahne is done driving the nine Budweiser For Fusion for RPM. His plans? Red Bull Racing has signed him on to finish out the season in Brian Vickers' 83. Originally, Aric Amirola was to drive the 83, but will now drive the nine for RPM.

It seems as though this mess is over. Or we could only hope, at least.

Photo credit: www.Kaseykahne.com

Props to the Pit Crew

When a team does well in a race, who gets a lot of the credit? The crew chief, car chief, driver. When the car doesn’t do so well, misses a cue on pit road, who takes the fall? The pit crew. A lot of race fans seem to want to blame the pit crew for all the bad and never give credit for the good.

So why is it that the crews tend to take so much heat if the driver they work for does poorly in a race? Is it really fair to the crews? These men spend countless hours each week practicing so that they can be the very best they can be each week.

They’re only human. They make mistakes. Sometimes very costly mistakes. Sometimes NASCAR’s fans can be cold and unforgiving to the crews of their favorite drivers. These men have families, wives and children to feed and for the fans to berate them and say they’re not giving 100% is truly unfair to the teams. To say they are not dedicated to their jobs and their driver is beyond unfair, it is possibly one of the worst insults you could throw at them. They work and travel and practice together, they are perfectly choreographed. It’s like a dance to watch them. They throw themselves into the face of danger each week and some have paid dearly for it.

Sometimes the drivers get angry and rebuke their crews when they make mistake, it’s true, but when do you not see a driver thanking their crew before just about anyone else after the race? A team is a team, through good times and bad. The drivers in the cars are fully aware that if not for the dedication of their pit crews, they would not be success full. So why don’t the fans seem to understand that?

I believe, and you can agree to disagree, that the fans don’t really understand the dedication, time, and practice that it takes to be a member of one of the elite NASCAR Sprint Cup pit crews. Four tires and gas can be done in 13 seconds or less. Could you do it? Even in the best shape of your life, do you really have what it takes to do what they do each week?

I encourage you to do some research. Learn just what it takes to do what they do. Watch the All-Star week Pit Crew Challenge. It’s all about speed and pure brute strength. Watch practice. Really study what they do and then when you think you have a good idea, reevaluate what you think it takes to be out there doing what they do each week.

Genesis

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and not those of SkirtsandScuffs.com

5 Things to Do and See in Martinsville, Virginia

Home of Martinsville Speedway

A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...
 Special thanks to Tracey Wilson for sharing her Martinsville hot dog experience!

Martinsville Mazes
Distance from track: view maps
Few things say “autumn” better than corn mazes...and candy…but back to corn. What a better way to spend a fall weekend than to visit a corn maze?

The closest maze to the track is the Mountain Meadow Farm maze, 44 miles and about 58 minutes driving. This maze is open weekends from 10 am to 5 pm- great for families with young children who don’t want to take them out late in the night. The cost is reasonable at just $6 per person over the age of 6. View the virtual map*.

Over at Sinkland Farms, the annual Pumpkin Festival is going on through November 6th. The farm is 69 miles away from Martinsville Speedway, about an hour and a half driving. The festival has a wonderful array of activities for family-oriented fun. Hayrides, pony rides, carriages, pumpkin picking, and of course, the maze. Their corn maze is open from 10 am to 5 pm for families but if you’re looking for a spooky treat, stay for the Corn Maze After Dark from 5 pm to 8 pm. Admission to the festival itself is free and for the corn maze, it is $6 for ages five and up. View the map.
Note: I located these mazes using this website. There are many more if you’re up for the drive.

Philpott Lake
Distance from track: 26.3 miles, approximately a 46 minute drive. View Google map
It may be too chilly now to camp out but if you’re into the outdoors, you may want to plan a day trip out to Philpott Lake. The scenic man-made lake, which is pleasantly situated in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, was built by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1948-51 and held it’s grand opening in 1953. The lake covers 3,000 acres and 100 miles of shore land. The park itself houses eight campgrounds, six beach areas, and nine boat launches for your recreation and enjoyment.
Be sure to visit their website for visiting information.

Virginia Historical Sites
Distance from track: view individual links
If you’re a history buff and love learning about the rich history of the South, you might want to take a journey through time and visit one of the sites or museums. There are quite a few scattered around Martinsville. Below are links to a few of their websites.

The Martinsville Hot Dog
Distance from track: 0 miles
State fairs have funnel cake. The movie theaters have popcorn. Hooters has wings. Martinsville Speedway has the Martinsville hot dog.

Nothing epitomizes a NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at the half-mile oval quite like the Martinsville Hot Dog (Yes I know that the track is technically .526 miles but this isn’t about stats, this is about a hot dog). A greasy Southern-style heart blockage on a bun could be the best way to describe these race day delicacies. The red-colored wieners loaded with slaw and chili are a race day staple. To the skeptic, the red coloring that bleeds into the bun might be a major turn-off but to the dedicated fan, it’s all part of the experience.

And this scrumptious treat truly is an experience all it’s own. Dale Jr. has professed to eating 3-4 a day during race weekends at Martinsville and even the well-built health nut Mark Martin has confessed to letting the famed treat pass his lips once or twice.

Race fan, Tracey Wilson, got to visit Martinsville for the spring 2010 race.

“I went to Martinsville in the Spring after winning the tickets from Denny Hamlin's trivia.  It was a cold rainy day and I KNEW the race was gonna be rained out...but at least I got to try a Martinsville hot dog.  After seeing them on TV so much and hearing about them, I HAD to try one,” Tracey said.

tracey
“At the concession stand, I was asked what I wanted on mine....is there really a choice? Who gets a Martinsville hotdog any other way than with everything? The official  Martinsville dog comes complete with mustard, chili and slaw...”

The race was rained out that weekend and was run on Monday. Still, Tracey was able to at least have part of the experience.

“I think I had 3 before heading back to my car once the race was called.  So essentially, in less than a 24 hour period, I drove 4 hours to Martinsville and 4 hours back to have a hot dog.”

At just $2 a hot dog, you just can’t beat the prices. There are few places you can pick up a snack like this for prices like that so be sure to treat your taste buds next time you’re in town for the races.

Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in Virginia
Distance from track- view individual attractions for information. RoadsideAmerica.com map
Every state and many towns have them. You’ve seen them. You probably wondered “what the #*%^@?” while driving past them. yeah, I’m talking about roadside attractions.

In Virginia, you can see all the stars. You know, Elvis, Marilyn, Vivien..oh wait, you thought I meant those flaming balls of light? Well if star-gazing isn’t quite for you, then maybe you’d be more interested in checking out the dancing cow and pig^. No, I don’t want to see it either. Well you still have a lot of options. With the holidays approaching, you could pay homage to the godfathers of nut-cracking  by visiting the Mecca for nut lovers, the giant nutcracker head. Aw, come on, the rabid eyes and completely abnormal looking under bite are actually kind of endearing.

Whatever your taste for the weird, bizarre, off-beat, be sure to check out RoadsideAmerica.com for more attractions you’ll go..nuts..over.

*Credit to Google for the maps
^Note, a Google search returned this monstrosity but could neither confirm nor deny the actual existence of said attraction.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The No. 9 team needs to just hit fast forward and skip to 2011


Often times when drivers announce moves to different teams for the next season before the current season is over, or teams announce that their going to make driver changes during the offseason before the season is even over, drivers and teams alike insist that the plans for the upcoming changes will not hinder focus and efforts for the remainder of the season in progress. But are they really being honest with their fans, employees, etc., or themselves, for that matter?

The facade of “business as usual” for the remainder of the year with the No. 9 team at Richard Petty Motorsports developed a crack, or maybe even a downright hole, during the Bank of America at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night.

The Charlotte saga started with brake problems on the No. 9 car that resulted in a wreck that sent Kahne to the garage. As the team made repairs to the car, Kahne claimed he felt ill and left the racetrack. With its regular driver gone, the No. 9 team turned to J.J. Yeley to climb into the car to make laps once the car was repaired.

Was it a coincidence that the No. 9’s “gone at the end of the year” driver got sick while his team made repairs, or was this a case of a driver fed up and just not caring anymore, since he’s only with said team a few more weeks, anyway?

Truly, that’s something that I guess only Kahne knows the real answer to.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

Photo courtesy of NASCAR Media.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chase Coverage: Charlotte Wrap-Up Report


While Chase drivers Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson battled for second, spoiler Jamie McMurray
cruised to victory in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
(Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
Usually we don't hear "wild card" in the same sentence with Charlotte Motor Speedway, but that's exactly what happened during Saturday's Bank of America 500. NASCAR's home track provided a race full of twists and turns.

We got the first spoiler of the Chase: Jamie McMurray, on the outside of the top 12 looking in, won his third race of the season, matching the number of wins he'd had from 2002 to 2009. 

It was a mix of fortunes for the Chase drivers themselves, some of whom experienced problems on the track or simply didn't contend. Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson spun early: one missed his chance to make history, while the other made a stunning recovery. Kyle Busch, who counted himself out of the Chase after his engine blew at California, rebounded with a dominating performance that left him finishing second. The younger Busch brother became the week's biggest mover in the Chase standings, jumping four spots to fifth.

Here's what our contributors had to say about the 12 Chase drivers and how they fared this weekend at Charlotte. 

1. Jimmie Johnson – Leader – Rebecca Kivak
After an early-race spin threatened to ruin his night and championship hopes, Jimmie Johnson rallied to finish third and maintain the points lead after Saturday’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Johnson’s run helped him gain five points to give him a 41-point cushion over Denny Hamlin. The No. 48’s seamless recovery shows why this team has won four titles and why they very well may be on their way to a historic fifth.

Charlotte may be Johnson’s house, but the track had a few tricks up her sleeve for the four-time champion. The driver of the No. 48 Lowes Chevrolet started 10th in Saturday’s event. But on lap 34, Johnson got loose and spun coming off turn 2. The incident was a flashback to the Coca-Cola 600 earlier this summer, where Johnson went for a spin in the exact same spot. This time Johnson didn’t hit anything and he emerged without any damage to the racecar.

But the track was not done with the No. 48 yet. After pitting for a flat tire from the spin, Johnson got another flat and had to pit a second time, causing him to restart in the 37th position.

5 Questions After ... Bank of America 500


Now that we’re halfway through the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the true contenders for the championship have emerged and we look to be set up for a three-man sprint to the finish between Jimmie Johnson (shocker!), Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick. Now, heading to some of their best racetracks, we can only hope the points battle remains close and exciting until the final lap at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Who is the favorite for the championship? … The obvious answer would be your four-time and defending champion Jimmie Johnson. However, with the exception of Martinsville this weekend, Johnson’s best tracks are behind him. Though Johnson has enjoyed an enormous amount of success at Martinsville Speedway, winning six times and only ever finishing outside the top 10 once, Denny Hamlin is no slouch at the Virginia racetrack either. In fact, Johnson and Hamlin have combined to win the last eight races there. Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick has some good racetracks coming up, including Talladega Superspeedway in which he is the most recent winner. If these three can keep each other in close proximity the rest of the season, it will be a fantastic battle for the 2010 Sprint Cup Series title.

Monday, October 18, 2010

"... how can you quit on people if they've already quit on you?"


Richard Petty Motorsports Vice President of Competition Robbie Loomis addressed the happenings between an unidentified member of RPM and Kasey Kahne at Charlotte this weekend on Monday.

He started by trying to say that everyone is putting out 100 percent when everything is going well. However, he goes on to say, "It’s those times when you have bad times, it’s hard to fight through those bad times because you know there’s going to be something different you’re doing next year. Probably the hardest part is to keep your focus and attention on it." Paul Menard, Elliott Sadler and Kasey Kahne are all leaving RPM at the end of the season to pursue better offers. Menard is headed to Childress, Sadler is headed to drive for the Camping World Truck Series or the Nationwide Series for KHI, and Kahne is headed to drive for Red Bull Racing - a yearlong hop before heading to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

Kasey Kahne has not had the best of seasons. It has been up and down - one race he will come in second, the next he gets caught in a crash and ends up 33rd with a DNF. After making the Chase last year, sitting 21st in points is not what Kasey had imagined for himself this year. He planned to finish strong at RPM. However, some people within the RPM organization do not believe that Kahne is trying his hardest.

"When you know that [you’re leaving and it’s] in the back of your mind, it gets harder and harder when you’re having adversity to fight through it," Loomis said. "The real champions in life learn how to fight through those things even on the bad days. It’s all part of a growing process for us all."

Loomis suggests that Kasey Kahne is not championship material. If Kahne was not championship material, then why is Hendrick hiring him? Hendrick is made up of Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. In my eyes, all four men are legends within the history of this sport. After 2011, Kahne is headed to the No. 5. There, he will drive with these legends.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Kasey Kahne and the Frustration of the 2010 Season

















After taking part in his charity 5Kahne, Kasey Kahne addressed the media about not finishing the race Saturday night at Charlotte.

Kasey's brakes had failed around Lap 40. His season full of frustration had not helped, either. This is the third brake issue from an RPM car this year, the second in three weeks. When he was involved in a crash later in the race, Kahne took the car into the garage, got out, and never looked back.

"I was just mad," he said. "I came into the race thinking we had a shot to win. We had a good car in practice. It went green, and I was still a little bit tight, but I passed cars and felt really good and then – boom – my brakes are gone."

Indeed, the nine team had a shot at winning this race. They were first in the second practice and fourth in the final practice. Kasey has an average finish of 11.6 at Charlotte - the best out of the non-chasers.

He said it was a joke that he goes to press the brake, it goes all the way to the floor, and doesn't work. I agree. A failure in brakes in a Sprint Cup car should not happen. It is ridiculous to look back and see that Kasey has had this problem three times this year.

Between Roush-Fenway, who also runs Ford Fusions, and Richard Petty Motorsports, Kahne is the only one who has had this problem.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nationwide Pole Report: Bowyer Leads Grid Dollar General 300

BowyerNationwideCMS
No. 21 Zaxby’s Chevrolet from Richard Childress Racing driven by Clint Bowyer will be leading the pack for the Dollar General 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway tonight with a lap of 29.642 (182.174 mph.).  Completing the front row in Ryan Newman in the No. 1 Phoenix Construction Chevrolet only -0.072 behind Bowyer. 

Danica Patrick has announced her NASCAR Nationwide schedule for the 2011 season, she will be driving in the first four races at Daytona, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Bristol before she heads back to open wheel racing.  With the training she has gotten inside the car this season, could it be a good thing for her next year in the seat for JR Motorsports?

For all of the race coverage ESPN 2 is the place to be starting at 7:30 p.m. EST with the NNS Countdown, the NNS race coverage starting at 8 p.m. with green flag at 8:16 p.m.

Who do you think will win the race tonight at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Fall homecoming for the sport of NASCAR in the Nationwide Series?
  1. Clint Bowyer
  2. Ryan Newman
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Paul Menard
  7. Reed Sorensen
  8. Parker Kligerman
  9. Justin Allgaier
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Carl Edwards
  12. Colin Braun
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Kevin Harvick
  15. Aric Almirola
  16. Steve Wallace
  17. Ryan Truex
  18. Danica Patrick
  19. David Reutimann
  20. Jeremy Clements
  21. Brendan Gaughan
  22. Brian Scott
  23. Kelly Bires
  24. Jason Leffler
  25. Trevor Bayne
  26. Mark Green
  27. David Starr
  28. Kevin Lepage
  29. Shelby Howard
  30. James Buescher
  31. Michael McDowell
  32. Michael Annett
  33. Jeff Green
  34. Tony Raines
  35. Mike Wallace
  36. Joe Nemechek
  37. Jason Keller
  38. Hermie Sadler
  39. Josh Wise
  40. Mike Bliss
  41. Robert Richardson Jr.
  42. Kenny Wallace
  43. Eric McClure

Chase Coverage: Charlotte Motor Speedway Preview

The Chase for the Sprint Cup reaches its half-way point as we head to NASCAR's backyard, Charlotte, for the fifth race of the playoffs. The only night race in the Chase, Charlotte Motor Speedway will see the 12 Chase drivers battling to keep their championship hopes alive under the lights.

In Thursday's qualifying session, five of the top 10 drivers are in the Chase, led by four-time champion Jeff Gordon. See where they qualified here.

Twelve of our contributors look at the Chasers' chances for Saturday's Bank of America 500. Check back Tuesday to see our recaps from Charlotte.

1. Jimmie Johnson – Leader – Rebecca Kivak
For the third year in a row Jimmie Johnson leads the Chase points standings going into Charlotte Motor Speedway, arguably his best track on the NASCAR circuit. Johnson has had so much success at Charlotte that many refer to the track as "Jimmie Johnson's house." The four-time champion is tied with 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip for most wins - six - at the 1.5-mile oval. This means Johnson has won 33 percent of the 18 races he's entered at Charlotte.

In 2004 and 2005, Johnson and the No. 48 Lowes team had a stranglehold on the track, winning all four Cup events in that time period, then finishing second at both of the 2006 races. Johnson wouldn't find victory lane again at Charlotte until last year's fall Chase race. He has led 1,370 laps here and has collected nine top 5s, 13 top 10s and three poles. Johnson's driver rating of 115.3 at Charlotte is the best in the series. His average finish of 10.2 is the highest among Chase drivers.

Sprint Cup Pole Report: Gordon on Pole for Bank of America 500

GordonPoleCharlotte
Charlotte Motor Speedway better known as Johnson’s house has a new master, his name Jeff Gordon!   With a lap of 28.192 (191.544 mph.), the driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet took the keys for this race at least.   Just behind Gordon on the grid is Carl Edwards only -0.013 behind in the No, 99 Aflac Ford Fusion, who will we see in the Victory Lane though is the big question.  Will it be another new Chaser, will it be one of the four who won the first four races, or will it be a non-Chaser?  Only time will tell.

This weekend is homecoming for the NASCAR world, this is when the people who work on the cars, work in the different garages get to come out to see a race and realize what they are doing really does effect the team, even if they do not travel to every race. Do you want to see all the racing action on television if not in Charlotte? 

Check out Skirts and Scuffs for a full rundown of television coverage.  The NSCS Countdown starts at 7 p.m. on ABC with the race coverage starting at 7:30 green flag at 7:46 p.m. all EST.  Enjoy the race!
  1. Jeff Gordon
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. A,J, Allmendinger
  4. Mark Martin
  5. Paul Menard
  6. Kyle Busch
  7. Reed Sorensen
  8. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
  9. Elliott Sadler
  10. Jimmie Johnson
  11. Ryan Newman
  12. Joey Logano
  13. Martin Truex, Jr,
  14. Marcos Ambrose
  15. Kurt Busch
  16. David Reutimann
  17. Matt Kenseth
  18. Jeff Burton
  19. Sam Hornish, Jr.
  20. Clint Bowyer
  21. Scott Speed
  22. Greg Biffle
  23. Denny Hamlin
  24. Kevin Harvick
  25. Kasey Kahne
  26. David Ragan
  27. Jamie McMurray
  28. Landon Cassill
  29. Tony Stewart
  30. Bobby Labonte
  31. Brad Keselowski
  32. Regan Smith
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. Juan Pablo Montoya
  35. Patrick Carpentier
  36. David Gilliland
  37. Bill Elliott
  38. Andy Lally
  39. Robby Gordon
  40. J.J, Yeley
  41. Dave Blaney
  42. Travis Kvapil
  43. Jeff Green

Thursday, October 14, 2010

5 Things to Do and See in Charlotte, North Carolina

Home of Charlotte Motor Speedway

A lot of NASCAR fans tend to get caught up in raceday excitement and forget that there are other things to do around the tracks. Sometimes, race fans don't always want to just hang around the track. I have not been to or visited all of these places but many of these have been suggested by fans or natives of the towns and states or even by folks in the NASCAR industry themselves! Others have come from websites or the chambers of commerce. So sit back and take an armchair road trip with me across the circuit...

 

The Historic Latta Plantation

Distance from track: 21.5 miles, about a 37 minute drive. Google map*

In 1799, a Scottish peddler named James Latta purchased 100 acres of land from a man named Moses Hayes. The land contained a log cabin on it at that time until Latta built a  Federal-style home on the property in 1800. Although many men have owned the property since it was sold after Latta’s death in 1841, Latta is to be contributed with the success of the plantation. At it’s height, the plantation reached 742 acres. These days, the plantation is owned by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation and today, you can still tour the past at the Historic Latta Plantation and explore history in the Living History Museum or take a ramble on the grounds.

Daily admission of the house and museum are just $7 for adults. To learn more about the plantation, visit their website.

 

Levine Museum of the New South

Distance from track: 14.6 miles, about a 23 minute drive. Google Map

From the past to the present- you can visit the Levine Museum of the New South and learn about the people and events that formed the South into what it has become today. The idea of a museum dedicated to the rich history of the South was originally conceived in 1990 but did not become the institution that it is today until the year 2001.

With affordable admission prices, just $6 for adults, you might not want to miss this destination if you’re interested in the history of the South. Visit their website for further details.

 

Ray’s Splash Planet

Distance from track: 15.3 miles, about a 24 minute drive. Google map

Summer’s gone, it’s true, but you don’t have to let go of it just yet. In the heart of Charlotte lies an indoor water park. The facility itself is made up of two components- the fitness center and waterpark. Clearly, the waterpark would be the main attraction. The waterpark holds 117,000 gallons of water and is open year-round except for major holidays.

Admission prices for adults are $11 per day and $8 for children for non county residents. For more in-depth prices and hours of operation, visit their website.

 

Paramount’s Carowinds them park

Distance from track: 29.8 miles, about a 37 minute drive. Google map

Water parks not for you? Maybe you have older children and need a bigger diversion. If NASCAR racing just doesn’t give you enough adrenaline this Saturday night, why not head out to Carowinds on Sunday? Although the park is only open weekends in October, if you’re staying a day or two past the race, you might want to check out this 122-acre park. Thrill seekers will love the 13 roller-coasters and five thrill rides. It is a safe bet, though, that any NASCAR fan visiting will want to admire and maybe ride the Intimidator, Carowinds’ tribute to the legendary driver.

Adult single day tickets are only $39.99 if purchased online, a savings of $10. For hours and all other information, visit their website.

 

Bizarre: Roadside Attractions in North Carolina

Distance from track- view individual attractions for information. RoadsideAmerica.com map

Every state and many towns have them. You’ve seen them. You probably wondered “what the #*%^@?” while driving past them. Yeah, I’m talking about roadside attractions.

Muffler men have had a long running history in roadside America. Some people hate them, others love them. Some love them so much they build guitars just their size. Then they place ads on RoadsideAmerica.com asking folks for muffler men to fill the emptiness of their lives. If fiberglass giants (or their guitars) aren’t your thing, maybe you’d like to visit the gravesite of the Hilton sisters…no, not those Hilton sisters, I’m talking about vaudeville actresses Daisy and Violet Hilton. The Siamese twins died, impoverished, in spite of their acting career, at the age of 60 and were buried together in someone else’s grave.

Finally, in Winston-Salem, you might want to visit the gigantic seashell which formerly served as a gas station and now serves no apparent purpose other than to make passersby gawk (and roadside attraction lovers wet their pants). For more o.O attractions in North Carolina, visit RoadsideAmerica.com, shelly you’ll have a good time.

 

*Maps provided courtesy of Google Maps

TV Schedule Oct. 14-17

Charlotte Motor Speedway. (Photo by Rebecca Kivak)

NASCAR returns home to the heart of the sport, the area of Charlotte, N.C., for its second stop of the season at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The week has been busy with activities like the NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees announcement, which honors those who have left their mark on the sport, as well as the annual Jail & Bail and autograph sessions at the race shops that allow fans to get up close and personal with their favorite drivers.

It's been a whirlwind of a week, and it'll only get better as we head toward the green flag. The Bank of America 500 is the fifth race of the Chase and the only Saturday night race in the playoffs. Kurt Busch will try to accomplish a first in the history of the sport: sweeping the All-Star Race, Coca-Cola 600 and the fall race at Charlotte all in one season. Can he prevail under the lights and boost his championship hopes? Jimmie Johnson, who leads all active drivers with six wins at the 1.5-mile track, is defending fall race winner.

In the Nationwide Series, Friday's Dollar General 300 marks the fourth and last race this year with the new Nationwide car. The car will become the standard model in 2011, and this weekend will be the first time the car races on a 1.5-mile intermediate track. Last week Kyle Busch won his 12th race of the season at Auto Club Speedway. The reigning series champion will try to sweep at Charlotte and extend his single-season record. Busch is also the defending fall race winner. If Charlotte is Johnson's house in Cup, has the track become Busch's house in Nationwide? Tune in Friday night.