Sunday, July 31, 2011

Goodbye Lucas Oil Raceway

2009 OReilly NNS double file restarts Jamie Squire Getty
Whether you know it as Lucas Oil Raceway, O'Reilly Raceway Park or even the old school Indianapolis Raceway Park, you know one thing: the track provides some of the greatest short track racing we see.

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has been visiting LOR since 1985 and has never disappointed fans. The race served as a kickoff event to the Brickyard 400 weekend and now with the addition of the Camping World Truck Series races, the race weekend was a delight for fans. If you had the chance to go to both LOR and the Brickyard, you had the best of both worlds: a short track at LOR (0.686 miles) and a 2.5-mile track at IMS, which some have referred to as a “parade” at times.

The Nationwide Series will move to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next year as part of a new campaign dubbed the "Super Weekend." Unknown in this whole move is the fate of the Camping World Truck Series at LOR. It has been said the series will not race during the “Super Weekend” due to all the other races occurring.
2008 ORP NNS sunset during Kroger 200 Doug Pensinger Getty
Fans and drivers alike have voiced their displeasure over the move. Kenny Wallace is hopeful that if Montreal is taken off the schedule for 2012, Lucas Oil Raceway could remain. I spoke with race fans via Facebook and Twitter for their reactions:

@cfstilettos "We travel from Chicagoland for the LORP truck and NNS races every year, then leave b4 cup. We are sad that we won't be back."

@AshleyAK19983 "The racing just won't be the same. It was an awesome Truck race last night, and I'm sad to see the competitive racing go...I would say this whole race weekend is my standout memory. They always put on a great show, the racing is highly competitive and I think you can say that more so since it's the final weekend at LOR."

A Facebook comment from Michael Matejka: "I still think it is a huge mistake for NASCAR to move this race...... It is one of the few races I truly look forward to. It has the best side by side racing and action of any on the schedule.... And all the drivers love it..... it will be missed...."

Kiara Boal, a Skirts and Scuffs contributor, recounted her visits to Lucas Oil Raceway. She said, “My thoughts, I'll miss the short track racing there. I loved it last year when I attended the Nationwide Series race. I'll never forget standing on my seat with 10 laps to go, shaking uncontrollably and tears filling my eyes as Kyle Busch leads the last laps. Then screaming at the top of my lungs during his burnout and bow to the crowd. Running down to the fence to watch my favorite driver and hero celebrate in Victory Lane with his crew. It was amazing.”

I for one, will hate to say goodbye to LOR/ORP or whichever name you have known it by. I thoroughly have enjoyed the racing the track has produced and hope that this is not the last time we see LOR on the NASCAR schedule.

So long, farewell ... thanks for the good memories, Lucas Oil Raceway.

Paul Menard Qualifies for Sprint Summer Showdown

Earns Chance at $3 Million Payout for Driver, Driver’s Charity and Lucky Race Fan.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. – July 31, 2011 – With his win in Sunday’s Brickyard 400, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard is qualified to be a finalist for a chance to earn a $3 million payout in the Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO™ 3D.

If Menard can also win the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day weekend, he will claim the Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO 3D title and win $1 million for himself, $1 million for his designated charity, Habitat for Humanity, and $1 million dollars for a lucky race fan.

Later this week, a fan will be randomly selected from the pool of entrants who correctly picked Menard to win the Brickyard 400 at That lucky fan will enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Atlanta Motor Speedway and be there in person to see whether Menard can win at Atlanta. If he claims the Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO 3D, the fan will win $1 million.

Fans should visit before each of the four remaining qualifying races to choose which driver they think will win that week’s event. A different fan will be randomly selected after each race and will be in Atlanta for the final event of the six-consecutive-race series to cheer on their driver as he vies for the $3 million payout. Fans can change their picks until the scheduled start time for each event.

Sprint Summer Showdown presented by HTC EVO 3D Qualified Driver Information

Name           Race                                           Designated Charity
Paul Menard  Indianapolis Motor Speedway           Habitat for Humanity
                         Pocono Raceway
                         Watkins Glen International
                         Michigan International Speedway
                         Bristol Motor Speedway
                         Atlanta Motor Speedway

For contest rules and additional information, visit

Paul Menard claims his first career win at the Brickyard 400

Paul Menard and team celebrate after kissing the bricks.
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

The ending of the Brickyard 400 tends to be memorable every year and today was no different.  Fuel mileage played into the ending but Paul Menard and crew chief Slugger Labbe were willing to gamble, their gamble resulted in the jackpot, a win at the Brickyard. Menard ended with enough gas to hold off Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray who were making the late race charge.

Early in the race Kasey Kahne was dominant, leading 48 laps. Jeff Gordon also showed why he is a multiple winner at IMS, leading a total of 4 times and for a combined 36 laps.

The race all changed at lap 121 when Landon Cassill and David Ragan made contact trying to battle four wide for position. Cassill spun, many drivers went through the grass to avoid the wreck and that resulted in grass on the grille of their cars. Several cars, including points leader Carl Edwards, had to make multiple pits stops to repair damage sustained from avoiding the incident.

Menard is the first driver to win his first career race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He is the fourth  different first-time winner this season, the most since 2007.

“This is for my dad” Menard said in Victory Lane, honoring his father and his support of racing through his Menard’s sponsorship. "I've been coming here since I was a little kid, and my dad's been trying to win here for 35 years," said Menard, speaking in reference to his father John, who has been in racing as both a team owner and sponsor as well.

"There's a lot of emotion. I can't believe we won Indy. This is big."

Race results:
  1. Paul Menard
  2. Jeff Gordon
  3. Regan Smith
  4. Jamie McMurray
  5. Matt Kenseth
  6. Tony Stewart
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Mark Martin
  9. Brad Keselowski
  10. Kyle Busch
  11. Kevin Harvick
  12. Ryan Newman
  13. Clint Bowyer
  14. Carl Edwards
  15. Brian Vickers
  16. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  17. Bobby Labonte
  18. Kasey Kahne
  19. Jimmie Johnson
  20. Landon Cassill
  21. Kurt Busch
  22. A.J. Allmendinger
  23. David Ragan
  24. Martin Truex Jr.
  25. Joey Logano
  26. Andy Lally
  27. Denny Hamlin
  28. Juan Pablo Montoya
  29. Casey Mears
  30. Trevor Bayne
  31. Dave Blaney
  32. Mike Bliss
  33. David Gilliland
  34. Marcos Ambrose
  35. Jeff Burton
  36. David Reutimann
  37. Michael McDowell
  38. Joe Nemechek
  39. Scott Speed
  40. Mike Skinner
  41. Terry Labonte
  42. T.J. Bell
  43. Robby Gordon

Saturday, July 30, 2011

NNS: Keselowski claims the final checkered flag at LOR

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. dominated..and I do mean dominated the final Kroger 200 race from Lucas Oil Raceway, only to see the win vanish in just the final 4 laps.

The race was relatively incident free (only 5 cautions; 2 of which were for debris) until an accident at lap 177 involving the cars of Steven Wallace, Michael Annett and Tim Andrews. The cameras missed the cause of the Annett and Andrews portion of the wreck but Wallace made contact with Buescher and wiggled, ending up in the wreck with Annett and Andrews.  All three cars were destroyed and a red flag was displayed to clean up the debris.

Stenhouse lead a race high 189 laps and was contending for the win when he and Keselowski got into a shoving match,  With 4 laps to go, Stenhouse Jr led the restart, only for another caution to come out after Elliott Sadler spun and wrecked. With 2 to go and a green-white-checkers finish, Keselowski was leading after a pass on Stenhouse and several times of rubbing and making contact. Keselowski went onto led the final laps with Stenhouse close on his bumper. After the white flag the 11 car of Brain Scott spun but no caution was thrown and the race remained under green flag conditions. Keselowski went on to collect the checkered flag.  

In his post race interview Stenhouse said that Keselowski was just better than him on the restarts. 

Race Results:
  1. Brad Keselowski
  2. James Buescher
  3. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  4. Aric Almirola
  5. Carl Edwards
  6. Jason Leffler
  7. Joe Nemechek
  8. Drew Herring
  9. Reed Sorenson
  10. Michael McDowell
  11. Mike Bliss
  12. Kenny Wallace
  13. David Stremme
  14. Austin Dillon
  15. Brian Scott
  16. Elliott Sadler
  17. Steven Wallace
  18. Jeremy Clements
  19. Josh Wise
  20. Blake Koch
  21. Eric McClure
  22. Derrike Cope
  23. Timmy Hill
  24. Tim Schendel
  25. Matt Frahm
  26. Fain Skinner
  27. Justin Allgaier
  28. Trevor Bayne
  29. Michael Annett
  30. Steven Wallace
  31. Tim Andrews
  32. Morgan Shepherd
  33. Jeff Green
  34. Dennis Setzer
  35. Mark Green
  36. Danny O’Quinn Jr.
  37. Johnny Chapman
  38. Mike Harmon
  39. Scott Wimmer
  40. Charles Lewandoski
  41. Chase Miller
  42. Jennifer Jo Cobb

NNS Pole Report: Stenhouse Jr. claims the final pole at LOR

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is looking to make a lead in the points battle and if his car is anything like his qualifying lap, it is going to be a great battle to see.  Stenhouse claimed the pole award with a lap of 22.808 seconds (108.278 mph) and will be joined by reigning Nationwide Series champion Brad Keselowski on the front row. 

Elliott Sadler crashed during his qualifying run and will start in the final starting spot.

Starting lineup:
  1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Carl Edwards
  4. Justin Allgaier
  5. Trevor Bayne
  6. Brian Scott
  7. Jason Leffler
  8. Michael Annett
  9. Michael McDowell
  10. Steven Wallace
  11. Kenny Wallace
  12. Austin Dillon
  13. Aric Almirola
  14. Mike Bliss
  15. Drew Herring
  16. Reed Sorenson
  17. James Buescher
  18. David Stremme
  19. Derrike Cope
  20. Josh Wise
  21. Joe Nemechek
  22. Timmy Hill
  23. Blake Koch
  24. Mike Wallace
  25. Eric McClure
  26. Jeremy Clements
  27. Jeff Green
  28. Dennis Setzer
  29. Mark Green
  30. Tim Schendel
  31. Tim Andrews
  32. Morgan Shepherd
  33. Matt Frahm
  34. Fain Skinner
  35. Mike Harmon
  36. Charles Lewandoski
  37. Chase Miller
  38. Johnny Chapman
  39. Danny O'Quinn Jr.
  40. Scott Wimmer
  41. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  42. Elliott Sadler

NSCS Pole Report: Ragan wins the Brickyard 400 pole

Who will be the driver to bend over at the start/finish line and kiss the bricks? Well after qualifying it looks like David Ragan will be in contention after his pole winner qualifying lap.

Running a Ned Jarrett paint scheme this weekend,
Ragan poses with Jarrett for his pole award.
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

Ragan ran a lap of 49.18 seconds (182.994mph) will be joined on the front row by Kasey Kahne.

  1. David Ragan
  2. Kasey Kahne
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. A.J. Allmendinger
  7. Juan Pablo Montoya
  8. Jeff Gordon
  9. Matt Kenseth
  10. Carl Edwards
  11. Casey Mears
  12. Mark Martin
  13. Jeff Burton
  14. Denny Hamlin
  15. Paul Menard
  16. Jamie McMurray
  17. Bobby Labonte
  18. Greg Biffle
  19. Kevin Harvick
  20. Joey Logano
  21. Marcos Ambrose
  22. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  23. Ryan Newman
  24. Tony Stewart
  25. Trevor Bayne
  26. Clint Bowyer
  27. Regan Smith
  28. David Reutimann
  29. Kyle Busch
  30. Martin Truex Jr.
  31. Brian Vickers
  32. Landon Cassill
  33. Dave Blaney
  34. Scott Speed
  35. Michael McDowell
  36. Joe Nemechek
  37. David Gilliland
  38. Mike Skinner
  39. Andy Lally
  40. T.J. Bell
  41. Robby Gordon
  42. Mike Bliss
  43. Terry Labonte
Failing to qualify on time: David Stremme, Travis Kvapil,  Erik Darnell,  J J Yeley and Scott Wimmer

Tune into the historic Brickyard 400 on ESPN tomorrow at 1pm est.

Not a Typical Off Week for Jeff Gordon

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

After finishing 11th in the Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet in New Hampshire on July 17th, Jeff Gordon climbed out of his car and boarded a plane for a 28 hour flight to Congo, a state located in Central Africa. For those who are unaware, Congo is one of the poorest and most violent areas in Africa.

During his press conference on Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jeff Gordon said “It was very eye-opening from the struggles that the people there are going through just to make 10 cents or a dollar or five, to the roads, the structure of the military, the government. From every aspect it was an experience that will change me forever.’

Prior to his trip to the Congo, Gordon was telling everyone how eye opening he expected it to be. He had no idea it was going to be like this. He now will tell you that this was nothing to prepare for.

Sick children, barefoot two years olds walking around with no supervision, and a group of women carrying sacks of coal or other miscellaneous things on their back and walking for hours to make a small amount of money were just some of the experiences Gordon also mentioned on Friday.

For Gordon, who lives a luxurious lifestyle himself, he had some guilt. He mentioned on Friday, that he felt “guilty for buying a two dollar bottle of water.”

The first thing he was excited to do was give his kids a big hug.

Jeff Gordon has always been one of NASCAR’s most charitable drivers. He started The Jeff Gordon Foundation in 1999 to help support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children. He has partnered with the Riley Hospital for Children in Indiana and has even granted more than 200 wishes through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. He is also a proud member of Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative(CGI).Gordon’s trip was actually to help the CGI collect data about a refugee camp.

Gordon may have only been in the Congo for two and a half days, but it was an eye opening experience that left a lasting mark.

NNS: Drivers to Watch at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Austin Dillon claimed the pole for the
NCWTS race, can he claim the magic for NW as well?
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR

Tonight is the last night you'll see a NASCAR Nationwide race at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Next year, Nationwide will race at the Brickyard instead of LOR.

You can watch the qualifying today on ESPN at 4:30. The race is at 7:30 tonight and can be seen on ESPN. If you can't watch it, raceview on will also play the race as well.

Tonight, there's a battle for the lead in points, with only a 14 point separation between Reed Soronson, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. things are sure to get interesting.

Austin Dillon is making his fourth appearance in a Nationwide race, driving for his Richard Childress Racing teammate Kevin Harvick, Dillon has the opportunity to drive the No. 33 Rheem car for Kevin Harvick Inc. Last weekend, he finished third in Nashville, after having won the Truck race. Last night he finished ninth in yesterday's Camping World Truck race. Dillon has expereince at LOR, having raced there in the Trucks series and also one previous appearance in the Nationwide Series as well.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. has had an amazing season, being the first Nationwide regular to win a race and also having made his Sprint Cup debut subbing for an ailing Trevor Bayne. Stenhouse Jr. has raced at Lucas Oil once and is looking for his first win, top five and top ten. His 2011 season looks more impressive than that, as he is currently second in points.

Other drivers to watch are:

Justin Allgaier a hometown favorite is looking for his first win at LOR and first top five; he's finished in the top 10 once and hasn't led laps in his past two starts. He's currently fourth in points this 2011 season.

Elliott Sadler with a history of three starts, with no wins, two top fives and two top tens and has led a total of 56 laps at LOR. He's third in 2011 season points.

Reed Soronson is the points leader who has four starts with no wins at Lucas Oil Raceway, three top fives, three top tens and one pole win.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Timothy Peters wins the AAA Insurance 200 at LORP

Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty Images
Racing at Lucas Oil Raceway Park is always exciting, tonight was no different. After a brief rain shower and a looming threat, the race was raced in completion and saw Timothy Peters claim the checkered flag.

Problems came early; a caution on lap 2 for a wreck between the No. 20 of Johanna Long, the No. 23 of Jason White and the No. 39 of Ryan Sieg. All drivers had damage but were able to continue racing.

A caution flew at lap 41 for a brief rain shower but the jet dryers came to the rescue and racing resumed 17 laps later.

Problems came for the current points leader Johnny Sauter after he cut down a front tire. He pitted, the pit crew changed tires but then broke a sway bar and was showering sparks as he tried to remain on track. Crew chief Joe Shear Jr. was advising Sauter to remain on track due to rain in the area. The rain never came, but Sauter held out and managed a 23rd place finish. Sauter maintains the points lead by a slim points.

In the end, the race came down to a great and often nail-biting battle between James Buescher, Timothy Peters and Austin Dillon. Dillon and Buescher were dominant throughout the race but Peters snuck in at the end, when it counted.

Peters savors the moment in victory lane.
Credit: Jason Smith/Getty Images
Timothy Peters claimed his third career NCWTS win and fifth top-10 finish in 2011.

Race results:
  1. Timothy Peters
  2. James Buescher
  3. David Starr
  4. Miguel Paludo
  5. Ron Hornaday Jr.
  6. Matt Crafton
  7. Joey Coulter
  8. Cole Whitt
  9. Austin Dillon
  10. Ross Chastain
  11. Parker Kligerman
  12. Todd Bodine
  13. Steve Arpin
  14. Nelson Piquet Jr.
  15. Clay Rogers
  16. Brendan Gaughan
  17. Johanna Long
  18. Max Papis
  19. Ricky Carmichael
  20. Justin Lofton
  21. Dakoda Armstrong
  22. Josh Richards
  23. Johnny Sauter
  24. Elliott Sadler
  25. Jake Crum
  26. Jason White
  27. Todd Peck
  28. Jack Smith
  29. Ryan Sieg
  30. Ricky Moxley
  31. Norm Benning
  32. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  33. Tommy Joe Martins
  34. Brad Queen
  35. Shane Sieg
  36. Mike Garvey

Pole Report: Austin Dillon wins pole for AAA Insurance 200

Austin Dillon is on the pole for the Camping World Truck Series race at Lucas Oil Raceway. At 110.127 MPH, he had a time of 22.425. This is Dillon’s fourth pole. Elliott Sadler, Joey Coulter, Johnny Sauter, and Ron Hornaday Jr. round out the top five. Tune into Speed tonight at 7:30 for the AAA Insurance 200!

The field:
1. Austin Dillon
2. Elliott Sadler
3. Joey Coulter
4. Johnny Sauter
5. Ron Hornaday Jr.
6. Parker Kligerman
7. James Buescher
8. Matt Crafton
9. Cole Whitt
10. Brendan Gaughan
11. Nelson Piquet Jr.
12. David Starr
13. Johanna Long
14. Jason White
15. Ross Chastain
16. Timothy Peters
17. Miguel Paludo
18. Todd Bodine
19. Steve Arpin
20. Ryan Sieg
21. Dakoda Armstrong
22. Clay Rogers
23. Shane Sieg
24. Justin Lofton
25. Josh Richards
26. Jack Smith
27. Ricky Carmichael
28. Jake Crum
29. Max Papis
30. Tommy Joe Martins
31. Mike Garvey
32. Todd Peck
33. Norm Benning
34. Ricky Moxley
35. Brad Queen
36. Jennifer Jo Cobb

Television schedule:
AAA Insurance 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway- 7:30 PM Friday on SPEED

5 Questions Before ... Indianapolis

Last year it was Jamie McMurray kissing the bricks, how
does Summer predict for this year's winner?

Summer Dreyer covers Lucas Oil Raceway, Kyle Busch, and more in her 5 Questions Before Indianapolis. Check it out:

TV Schedule July 29-31

Jamie McMurrray and the No. 1 team kissed the bricks last year at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Getty for NASCAR

NASCAR makes its annual stop at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the mecca of auto racing. The storied track hosts the Indianapolis 500, but come July, it's NASCAR's turn.

The Brickyard 400 Sprint Cup race is one of the most prestigious events in NASCAR and drivers dream of "kissing the bricks." Nearby, the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series will battle it out, perhaps for the final year, at Lucas Oil Raceway's short track.

Indianapolis is a 2.5-mile oval with 9-degree banking in the turns and none in the straights. Stockcars get strung out easily at the Brickyard, making passing difficult. Pit strategy and track position will continue to be important as we've seen this season. The 2008 tire debacle still weighs on the minds of many fans, as attendance continues to wane. Still, the prestige remains and winning the race ranks high on many drivers' wish lists.

While Indianapolis Motor Speedway has the fame, most motorsports events in Indianapolis are held at Luca Oil Raceway. The .686-mile short track is a favorite among fans and drivers, as the close quarters allow for exciting on-track battles and show of tempers. With the decision to move next year's Nationwide race to Indy next year, Lucas Oil Raceway's place in the sport remains in doubt.

The Truck Series and Nationwide Series take over LOR on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Sprint Cup drivers will race in the 18th running of the Brickyard 400 on Sunday.

Here are last year's winners in each series:

Jamie McMurray
*Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart combined to win the 5 races from 2005-2009

Kyle Busch

Ron Hornaday

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage for Indy and LOR (events without a channel listed will not be televised. All times are in EST):

Friday, July 29:
1 p.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
3 p.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
4:30 p.m. NCWTS Qualifying, SPEED
5:30 p.m. SPEED Center NASCAR Edition, SPEED
6 p.m. Trackside at Indianapolis, SPEED. Guests: AJ Allmendinger and Pastor Joe Nelms.
7 p.m. NCWTS SetUp, SPEED
7:30 p.m. NCWTS: AAA Insurance 200, SPEED
10:30 p.m. Trackside at Indianapolis, SPEED.
11:30 p.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED

Saturday, July 30:
10 a.m. NNS Practice
12 a.m. NCWTS SetUp, SPEED
12:30 a.m. NCWTS: AAA Insurance 200, SPEED
9:30 a.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy, ESPN2
10 a.m. NSCS Final Practice, ESPN2
11:30 a.m. NNS Practice, ESPN2
1 p.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy, ESPN2
2 p.m. NSCS Qualifying, ESPN2
3 p.m. Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge: New Jersey Motorsports Park, SPEED
4:30 p.m. NNS Qualifying, ESPN2
7 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN
7:30 p.m. NNS: 30th Annual Kroger 200 benefitting Riley Hospital for Children, ESPN

Sunday, July 31:
4 a.m. NNS: 30th Annual Kroger 200 benefitting Riley Hospital for Children, ESPN Deportes
4:30 a.m. NNS: 30th Annual Kroger 200 benefitting Riley Hospital for Children, ESPN2
9 a.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy, ESPN2
10 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
12 noon NSCS Countdown, ESPN
1 p.m. NSCS: Brickyard 400, ESPN (reruns at 3:30 a.m. Monday on ESPN2)
8 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at 12 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday)

Krishtian and James: A Love Story

 during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series WinStar World Casino 400k at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas on June 10, 2011.
Krishtian Turner and James Buescher
James Buescher is known for being the driver of the No. 31 truck for Turner Motorsports. People also now know his fiancĂ©e Krishtian after seeing her on the TV show "Say Yes to the Dress." What you don’t know is the story behind the longtime couple and the path to their upcoming nuptials.

Kris, as she is often called, is the daughter of Turner Motorsports owner Steve Turner and has a background behind the wheel of a race car herself.

Amanda Ebersole (AE): Can you tell me a little bit about your personal racing background?

Krishtian Turner (KT): Well my dad and my mom have always been into racing. My older sister raced, starting at around the age of 13, so I grew up around it. She quit and my dad always wanted us to race, that was his dream. When I was 13 I started driving a Bandolero at Texas Motor Speedway. I raced there and that was how I met James. I raced until I was 15, racing the Bandoleros and Legends cars and I won the Winter Series Championship over there. Once I met James, it was either him or me racing; both of us could not do it, it was way too much.

AE: So you have grown up around a racetrack your whole life?

KT: For sure, probably since I was about 7 or 8 years old. It has been every weekend and I have always been around it.

AE: Currently do you travel every weekend with James?

KT: For the most part. Right now I am finishing school and I am having tests on Saturdays so I had to miss last weekend and this weekend. If it were not for school, I would be there every weekend. Normally I am.

AE: How do you manage school, modeling and traveling with James as well; that is a lot to handle all at once and try to have a normal life on top of it all?

KT: That is the thing, everyone always asks me how I manage it, I have never known any different. I have always been at the race track every weekend and in college, I have never been in college and not have to go to the track or not have to do stuff during the week. There is no time to relax; I am either doing schoolwork, I am at the racetrack or I am doing something with modeling. It is always something. I finish school in December and I am already looking for something to do because I am so used to being busy.

The Love Story

AE: How did you and James meet. You mentioned briefly that it was while racing?

KT: How it happened was funny. We had just gotten done racing and both of us were going to the grandstands to watch the rest of the races and from out of the corner of my eye I felt like I saw someone walking towards me. James was always, when I first met him, was the shyest person in the world; he would say about two words and that was it. So he walks up to me and says, “How is your car?” and I was like, really? I just answered his question, you could tell he was really nervous, all we talked about was our cars and then he walked away. That night he called me (a friend gave him Kris’ number) and ever since we talked on the phone that night, we have been inseparable and that was at the age of 13 or 14 so we have been together for a while now.

AE: Obvious question: What was your father’s reaction to dating a race car driver?
Steve Turner

KT: My dad’s big thing was that I was the one who wanted to go to the track and socialize and make friends. My dad would say, “No, you are not here to make friends, you are here to race.” I would get out of the car and would want to go hang out with my friends. My dad would tell me that I could not do that and finally my dad and I have this joke that he was not allowed to come to the track anymore. I grounded him, told him to stay home because if he was there he would yell at me for hanging out with my friends and that would make me cry. Finally, he didn’t come to the races for a while and we always joke that was because I won races when he was not there. When I could socialize (I won) and when I could not, I was not that good but it was just coincidence. When he found out I was dating James, I think he liked it because I was more competitive on track because I would want to beat him, I had to do better than James. I needed something to rag on him about.

AE: That spurred a competition between you and James then?

KT: For sure! There is a funny story about that actually. One weekend we were racing and James was leading; I was in second and was trying to pass him and he ended up spinning me. He knocked the valve stem out of my tire, I had a flat and had to change it and for three days after that (we were dating at the time) I wouldn’t talk to him because I was so mad. We had a pretty brutal relationship on track and it was hard to keep it like a normal boyfriend/girlfriend relationship off the track because we were both so competitive.

AE: How long did you both race simultaneously?

KT: We raced together for probably a year. It was pretty interesting. He always joked that “on the restarts Kris just wanted to spin you out” and when he starts telling the stories it causes an argument because both of us have our own sides of the story.

Sharing the scoop on James

AE: Does James have a pet peeve either about you or in general?

KT: Hmm, I got to think about that one. That is a hard one! He really does not get annoyed by anything I do. One of his pet peeves would be he hates that I exercise so much. James is very fit but I am addicted to exercising and eating healthy. I am always reading about different ways to stay healthy and finally he will say “Kris, I do not want to hear about it anymore!” That would probably be the thing that he most gets annoyed with me about.

AE: What is one thing that people do not know about James, it can be something common?

KT: Probably that he has a really soft side to him and that he is pretty emotional actually. He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He is probably going to be embarrassed that I said that.

Happily ever after…

AE: If it is not too personal, how did James propose to you?

KT: Oh that is a funny story, too! We have been engaged for two years now but we had been talking about it for about six months before he proposed. I was kind of suspecting things, but when we would talk about it he would say that he was not ready for that yet. The day he proposed - the whole day he would call and text me to tell me that we were going to have an awesome night. He wouldn’t tell me anything, it was all a surprise. We went to dinner at our usual place and I kept thinking to myself, why is he making this a big deal. We ate dinner then left to go home! The whole time on the way home I was complaining at him, saying really ... you made me so excited all day long and that’s it? We got home and the Nationwide race was on, so I turned the TV on and he kept telling me to turn it off that we really needed to talk. I would not turn it off, I was being so mean to him after I complained the entire ride home. After about 15 minutes of begging me, he just turned the TV off himself. As I was screaming at him, he got down on one knee and proposed. (All the ladies, a collective awww at this point!) Once he did I was bawling because I felt so excited but felt so bad that I was a *itch to him.

AE: So you and James have opted for a destination wedding at the beach?

KT: Well not the beach, but we are getting married in Costa Rica. It’s been pretty interesting, it's down to the time to start making the final decisions because we head there in September to see a mockup of the wedding. James has been so involved with planning the wedding, which I was completely surprised by. With his schedule and mine, it is hard to find the time to sit down and make the decisions together. He wants to be involved, I want to be involved, it's crazy. He has been involved in everything, even down to picking the flowers. (The wedding is in January during the off-season from racing.)

AE: Are you headed in the direction of a more private wedding or will there be other NASCAR drivers there as well?

KT: It’s actually pretty big for a destination wedding, we have about 120 guests, which is huge. Ricky (Carmichael), Todd (Bodine) Braun (Colin) and there are a bunch more coming as well. It should be interesting.

AE: You were just on the TV show "Say Yes to the Dress." What type of experience was that for you?

KT: I would never do it again! Oh my gosh, it was stressful. Like you saw on the show, I had to try on about 15 dresses that they all wanted me to try on. Some of them were like turtlenecks with long sleeves, ridiculous stuff like that, and finally by the end of it I had enough. I told them that I wanted to try on what I wanted, stop giving me all the other stuff and that made it maybe 20 times worse then just going by yourself. What made it even worse, I would get in the dressing room to try a dress on and then you have to say something about the dress. Well they would not have the equipment set up right, so they would want you to repeat all over, exactly what you just said. I am glad I had the opportunity to do it, but for all the drama and everyone arguing, it was not worth it.

AE: To wrap everything up: what is one thing that you would want fans to know about you and James? As a couple or individually is fine.

KT: Oh wow, you leave the tough one for last. First of all with me: everyone looks at me like I am stuck up, snobby, spoiled brat and that my parents give me everything. I have had to work, probably more than anybody, for the things that I have. I have been working since I was 16, I work everyday and I am not handed anything on a silver platter like most people think.

For James: everyone stereotypes him because he races for my dad and my dad is his boss and he gets off easier. Honestly my dad is probably harder on him than any of the other drivers. He gets it pretty hard; he gets it at the race track, he gets it when he comes home and he gets it when we are hanging out with my family.

James has a lot to live up to, racing for the team that bears the name of his soon-to-be father-in-law but through it all, he has the love and devotion of Krishtian. A love like theirs, that has been tested already, will stand the test of time as well.

A follow-up with Kris: Krishtian and James Buescher's Love Story Has a Fairy Tale Ending was published on February 29, 2012.

NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews click here.. Feel free to contact Amanda viaTwitter.

Trouble for "Pastranathon"

Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for Michael Waltrip

It’s been dubbed ESPN’s biggest event of July. On Thursday night, it was gone in the blink of an eye. While attempting a back-to-back “TP roll” during the Moto X Best Trick in the X-Games 17, Travis Pastrana crashed hard.

TP was taken off the course on a stretcher and transported to the local hospital. X-rays were taken and medical officials have told ESPN that Pastrana has a broken right foot and ankle.

Going into X-Games 17, Pastrana was planning to compete in the Best Trick and Freestyle on Thursday and Friday, fly to Indianapolis to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut on Saturday, and then fly back to Los Angeles for the RallyCross on Sunday.

The crash took place while Pastrana was attempting a corked 720 that was to make him a gold medal favorite in the Best Trick category. X-Games rules usually give riders one shot in each round to throw tricks, but Pastrana tried the 720 twice. The second attempt is where he grabbed his lower leg upon hitting the ground.

Pastrana has been known to “strive on chaos”, but I don’t think this is what he was referencing. Plans for Pastrana to make his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis have been postponed. Pastrana will also withdraw from the remainder of X-Games 17. Since Pastrana is unable to compete, Michael Waltrip will have to decide who will strap in and race the No.99 Boost Mobile Toyota. Many fans are saying Crafton since he is already there.

Let’s play NASCAR Nationwide Series owner for a second. If you were, Waltrip, who would you want behind the wheel?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Crown Royal® Announces Sponsorship deal for the 2012 Brickyard 400

Crown Royal to elevate annual program to honor all of nation’s heroes at the
 Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard

INDIANAPOLIS – July 28, 2011 – In a continuing effort to provide race fans with an unrivaled experience and honor all of the nation’s heroes, the Crown Royal® brand today announced it will become entitlement sponsor of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Officially titled, the Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard, the race will serve as an expansion of the annual “Your Name Here” program and not only honor  U.S. service men and women, but all of our nation’s heroes.

The past two years, Crown Royal focused the annual promotion solely on military service members to honor their heroic acts and service to their country.  The expanded Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 program will recognize all of the unsung heroes who make a difference in our communities, from firefighters and police officers to local volunteers and military members.

“This partnership gives us the chance to take our annual program to the next level at one of the most historic venues in motorsports,” said Yvonne Briese, VP Marketing, DIAGEO North American Whisky.  “In addition to providing a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our winner, we take great pride in the fact that we are able to acknowledge so many people who do so much for others and ask for nothing in return.”

The grand prize will go to one special individual who will be provided with the reigns to their very own race and receive the naming rights to the Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400. In addition to the grand prize, Crown Royal will honor various heroes throughout the Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard and integrate special characteristics of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to enhance the overall race experience. From showcasing photographs and stories of heroes from across the country, to on-site stations where fans can send messages to service men and women stationed overseas, Crown Royal plans to give heroes the recognition they deserve.

The Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 at the Brickyard will also serve as yet another platform to advance the “Please Drink Responsibly” message and to share the stories of heroes around the country with Indianapolis locals, NASCAR fans and people everywhere.

“We look forward to an exciting partnership with Crown Royal and an opportunity to showcase our appreciation for those who make a difference in our communities,” said Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO Jeff Belskus. “It is great to have a partner like Crown Royal to provide race fans with an exciting and unique race experience at the Brickyard.”

The Crown Royal “Your Hero’s Name Here” 400 will be the marquee event of the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard, which also will feature a NASCAR Nationwide Series event Saturday, July 28, two GRAND-AM road races Friday, July 27 and Nationwide practice Thursday, July 26.
2011 Brickyard 400 tickets
Tickets are on sale for the 2011 Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 31 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Race Day ticket prices start at just $30. Fans can buy tickets online at, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Children 12 and under will receive free general admission to any IMS event in 2011 when accompanied by an adult general admission ticket holder. Tickets for groups of 20 or more also are on sale. Contact the IMS Group Sales Department at (866) 221-8775 for more information.

Dave Blaney: No regrets

IMG_0677 (1)

In these days of young drivers like Joey Logano, the experience of veteran NASCAR stars can be overlooked at times. For Dave Blaney, racing has been a life long passion and career choice, but making the move to stock cars came late.

For Blaney, the racing gene influenced him at a young age. Growing up watching his father Lou and his grandfather race sprint cars, racing has always been a part of his life. As for whether or not they were his mentors, Blaney says “well sure, it is something you can learn while watching what goes on during a race, every lap your dad races and you learn a good bit by doing that.” Following in the Blaney family tire tracks, so to speak, is Ryan Blaney, the 17 year old son of Dave. (For more information on Ryan visit his website.) Passing the experience onward, Blaney tries to help Ryan learn from his mistakes on track. Blaney said, “if I see a mistake he is making a few times, and maybe he doesn’t realize it, I tell him. The sooner you realize that mistake, the sooner he can correct it, the quicker he can learn. Just basic things like that.”

For Blaney himself, his racing career covers just about every form of 4 wheeled cars. Through racing in multiple series (sprint cars, World of Outlaws, USAC, and NASCAR) Blaney has amassed a loyal following of fans. “I might have a nice fan base which is really cool to have from racing all over the country. The dirt cars teach you a lot about racing. If I had to do it over again, I would definitely aim to be in the stock cars earlier in my career. It’s almost like I have had two careers, a dirt career and a NASCAR career,” Blaney said reflecting on whether or not all his experience has been an added benefit to him. 

Many of today’s NASCAR stars who also run dirt cars have cited Blaney as someone they look up to. When asked about his thoughts on this he said, “It makes me feel old. That part is pretty cool. I have gotten to run with a lot of different guys in my career, different generations almost, guys from the 60s that still raced USAC when I first started. In NASCAR I got to run with Dale Earnhardt and now the whole new group of Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and there is such a huge diverse group I have seen race and have raced with. When you are old enough, you have that happen.”

Away from the track Blaney also is the owner of Sharon Speedway located in Hartford, Ohio. Although busy between his own racing, son Ryan’s racing and all of life’s other commitments, Blaney does not get to spend much time hands-on at the Speedway. The track did recently host a Lou Blaney Memorial race in honor of Dave’s late father. Racing alongside Dave was his brother Dale, Kasey Kahne and his team of drivers, and Tony Stewart.

As for currently, Blaney is driving the No. 36 Golden Corral car for Tommy Baldwin Racing. Golden Corral just saddled up with TBR and Blaney this season and at a time when many sponsors are leaving the sport, it is great to see new ones come in. “The team has done very well on the sponsorship side with getting Golden Corral on board, All Sport, Big Red soft drinks for a few races and now Accell Construction is on for a few races as well. We didn’t have anything the 1st of February, so to have three really good sponsors on board, says a lot about what they have done for us.” Performance wise, Blaney feels the team is getting better. “We’re a small team, it’s hard to make big gains quickly.”

When asked if there is one race that he awaits more then the others, Blaney replied, “not really. We are just looking for improvement every week, those little steps each week. The past couple weeks we have added some new people and got a new crew chief - Philippe Lopez to come in. We have definitely made steps forward in the last two weeks and that is the main thing for us.”


In closing I asked Blaney if there is that one spotlight moment in his career, good or bad, that he relives in his mind. He replied, “I don’t think about the bad stuff too much. I do have a couple sprint car races that are very cool to win. A couple at King’s Royal races and a couple of Nationals, for sprint car racing that was and still is, the biggest thing going, To be able to win some of the races is big and you know…they can never take your name out of the record books.” As for his NASCAR career he said. “I don’t. Its been really cool to go to Daytona and run there, Indianapolis, I wish maybe I would have got to NASCAR a little sooner in life. I still have had a really good experience and would not trade it for anything.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brad Keselowski hosts Twitter press conference for media members

Keselowski has found ways to wisely utilize Twitter, unlike any
other driver. Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

Press conferences usually require a press pass and tight cramped spaces, until Brad Keselowski invented the idea of the Twitter Press Conference or TPC.

Keselowski started by opening the floor to all credentialed media members, basically that means the media members who have access to press passes. Joining in were the usual reporters from ESPN, the Associated Press, Yahoo Sports and many others sites. Skirts and Scuffs is a member of The NASCAR Citizen Journalist Media Corps and are able to get press passes, so I dove into the pool potential questioners as Keselowski fired off answers.

In the TPC format, media members presented their questions and Keselowski would select a few to answer. Questions varied, here are a couple responses in case you miss out.

@tomjensen100 @keselowski — What do you feel needs to happen over the next 7 races for you to make the Chase? Tom Jensen,
@keselowski @tomjensen100 The key for us to make the chase lies in execution in my mind. We seem to have speed as of late. We just need to close out. Statistically, I think we need 1 more win and an avg finish below 12th over the next few races to guarantee ourselves.

@keselowski The larger question is, "how can we eliminate the single file racing?" To me the answer is simple. We must keep working on these cars. More testing and more work on the cot style car is the answer. I don't think we can get these cars to where they can pass with current rules. The heavier weight of the cot car comb. with the splitter sensitivity r what we fight 2 make these cars pass. This is where we need 2 work.

@bobpockrass  @keselowski if you win at the Brickyard, how long does your kiss of bricks last and how long before you wash your lips?
@keselowski @bobpockrass Idk But I'm gonna try and find out! I can only imagine it's all gritty and nasty. Which means I'll love every second :)

After all the traditional media members got their questions out of the way, Keselowski made his way to my question which was submitted by a twitter follower. I asked “Is it a challenge with Penske Racing being a 2 car team?” Keselowski replied by saying, “ Sometimes I think it's a blessing. It's so hard to get teams to work together. We naturally go down our own paths. 2 cars teams are more limited on resources for sure. However I'd rather have a great teammate like Kurt then 2 bad ones.”

I enjoyed participating in the first ever TPC and hope maybe some time Keselowski would be open to just the Citizen Media members. The traditional media members get their time every week, we do not or if we do, it is not as often. The idea of a TPC was great and once the additional kinks are worked out, I hope the idea spreads.  I for one, will be sitting by my laptop awaiting the next TPC.

Kenny Francis to join Hendrick Motorsports for 2012

Kahne and Francis will remain together in 2012 and beyond.
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images

CONCORD, N.C.  – Veteran crew chief Kenny Francis will lead the No. 5 Sprint Cup Series team when driver Kasey Kahne moves to Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season. Francis will join the organization after the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR schedule.

The 41-year-old Francis has 11 Sprint Cup victories as a crew chief, with all but one coming with Kahne behind the wheel. Since being teamed for the first time in the final race of the 2005 campaign, the pair has posted 10 wins, 13 pole positions, 34 top-five finishes and 71 top-10s at NASCAR’s elite level.

“Our people have a lot of respect for Kenny and what he’s accomplished,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We know the chemistry is already there with Kasey, and there’s no doubt Kenny will communicate very well with our folks. He’s a character guy who brings an awful lot to the table as a crew chief. When we look at ‘fit factor,’ it’s a great situation.”

Francis, who holds a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Florida, debuted as a Sprint Cup crew chief in 2003. Throughout his career, the Jacksonville, Fla., native has worked in various capacities with multiple drivers, including NASCAR champions Bill Elliott and Dale Jarrett.

“Joining Hendrick Motorsports and continuing to work with Kasey next year is an opportunity I’m excited about,” Francis said. “He’s a championship-caliber driver and good friend, and I’m looking forward to building on our relationship. Mr. Hendrick has built an impressive team and culture, and it’s going to be fun to be a part of that when the time comes.

“I’m very optimistic about the rest of this season and focused on getting to Victory Lane with the No. 4 team. I want to thank Jay Frye and everyone with the organization for the chance to be part of such a great group of people. We still have goals to achieve there, and those are foremost on my mind right now.”

Lance McGrew, 43, will complete the 2011 Sprint Cup campaign as crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet team. After the season, he will remain in a key role with Hendrick Motorsports focusing on research and development and special projects, including work on the new Chevrolet Sprint Cup car scheduled to debut in 2013.

“Before the season started, I told Mr. Hendrick I was open to any role he wanted me to play moving forward,” McGrew said. “My goal has always been to contribute to the long-term success of this company however I can, period.

“Working with these guys on the No. 5 car is a real honor. Mr. Hendrick and everyone on the team is committed to winning races with Mark (Martin, driver), making the Chase and finishing the year on a high note. We have a lot of racing left to do in 2011, and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.”

As a crew chief with Hendrick Motorsports, McGrew has won a Nationwide Series championship (2003) and posted wins in all three of NASCAR’s national series. He has been with the company since 2000.

“Lance is extremely talented and versatile,” Hendrick said. “There’s a ton of ways he’ll continue to impact the organization, from the 2013 project to what we’re doing with the performance car business. He’s like a member of the family, and he’ll be part of our team for a long time.”

In the Rearview Mirror: The history of the Brickyard 400

The final restart of the 2010 Brickyard 400 with winner Jamie McMurray up front.
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR

The famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway had long been the exclusive host of the Indy 500, until the boys of NASCAR hit the bricks in 1994. The first year of the Brickyard 400 saw record attendance and became NASCAR's most-attended event, drawing an estimated crowd of more than 250,000 fans. The Brickyard also boasts the second highest prize purse in NASCAR, second only to the Daytona 500.

The inaugural Brickyard 400 started with Rick Mast on pole becoming the first stock car driver to lead a lap at Indy. After leading a total of 93 laps, Jeff Gordon claimed the historic first win at Indianapolis, in only his second year as a driver. 

The drivers who have mastered the Brickyard are a select few. Names like Gordon, Jarrett, Stewart and Johnson have all won multiple times at Indy.

Year      Winner
1994 Jeff Gordon
1995 Dale Earnhardt Sr.
1996 Dale Jarrett
1997 Ricky Rudd
1998 Jeff Gordon
1999 Dale Jarrett
2000 Bobby Labonte
2001 Jeff Gordon
2002 Bill Elliott
2003 Kevin Harvick
2004 Jeff Gordon
2005 Tony Stewart
2006 Jimmie Johnson
2007 Tony Stewart
2008 Jimmie Johnson
2009 Jimmie Johnson
2010 Jamie McMurray

Looking at the list of winners, it is clear that the skills of the Brickyard takes that of a NASCAR Champion. Every winner, with the exception of Ricky Rudd, Kevin Harvick, and Jamie McMurray, were winners of the Sprint Cup title at some point in their career.

Many fans are now familiar with the tradition of kissing the bricks, but did you know that this tradition wasn't part of the first Brickyard 400 winner celebrations? It started in 1996 with Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates. Yes, a NASCAR driver is now responsible for a tradition that IRL drivers also partake in. Jarrett became the first driver to win the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in the same year.

I would be amiss to write about the Brickyard 400 and not mention the tire debacle of 2008, which is still a sore subject with many fans. After grinding down the track surface to increase grip, tire wear became a problem. Tires were blowing faster then anyone could keep count and as a result NASCAR was forced to throw multiple caution flags. In all, a total of 52 of the 160 lap race was completed under a yellow flag condition. Since then, Goodyear has worked to redeem themselves at the Brickyard and holds a yearly tire test. 

The winner of the Brickyard has been known to go on to win the Sprint Cup championship and I for one, look forward to see if that holds true this year as well.

NASCAR By the Numbers and In the Rearview Mirror (looking back at NASCAR's history) are Amanda's two weekly columns with Skirts and Scuffs, but as an Associate Editor her duties are limitless. Amanda also strives to provide exclusive interviews for the readers of Skirts and Scuffs. To read her past columns and interviews click here.. Feel free to contact Amanda viaTwitter. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fast Facts: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Long known as the hub of open-wheel racing, Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1994. Here are a few items of interest about the Brickyard 400 – taking place Sunday, July 31st – and this historic speedway.
  • “Indy” opened in 1909 and recently celebrated its centennial anniversary era – the first Indy 500 took place in 1911. The 2.5-mile oval has permanent seating for more than 250,000 spectators.
  • Jeff Gordon won the inaugural Brickyard 400 in 1994 – he holds records as the youngest driver to win the race (23 years, two days) and as the driver with the most wins in the Brickyard 400 (four – 1994, 1998, 2001 and 2004).
  • The oldest winner of the Brickyard 400 is Bill Elliott, who was 46 years, 300 days old when he won the race in 2002.
  • Rick Mast won the pole for the inaugural Brickyard 400.
  • 11 drivers have competed in the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400: John Andretti, Geoff Brabham, A.J. Foyt, Larry Foyt, Robby Gordon, Sam Hornish Jr., Jason Leffler, Scott Pruett, Tony Stewart, Danny Sullivan, and J.J. Yeley. In addition, Scott Speed competed in the Brickyard 400 and the Formula One United States Grand Prix, and Juan Pablo Montoya competed in the Indy 500, the Brickyard 400 and the F1 race.
  • Find out more about the Brickyard 400 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at

NASCAR Star Kyle Busch to give Ride-Alongs to Five Fans at Atlanta Motor Speedway for AdvoCare 500

HAMPTON, Ga. (July 26, 2011) – NASCAR veteran Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’s Toyota, will be in Atlanta on August 16 to promote the upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While at the speedway, Busch, who won his 100th NASCAR race last weekend, will be giving ride-alongs to five lucky fans in a NASCAR Sprint Cup stock car.

Fans can register at the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., at which time five fans will be selected to take the ride of a lifetime with Busch on the lightning fast high banks of the 1.54-mile Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Fans who have purchased AdvoCare 500 tickets prior to 6:00 p.m. on August 16 can come to the ticket office will get an additional drawing entry for each ticket purchased.

All fans will have the opportunity to participate in a question and answer session with Kyle from 7:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage after the drawing. The five winners will take their rides with Kyle immediately following the question and answer session.

Busch will be seeking his sixth Atlanta Motor Speedway win when the AdvoCare 500 starting field take the green flag at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night, Sept. 4.

NASCAR night racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-4. Tickets for the AdvoCare 500 start at $39 and $19 for students. Children 12 and under admitted free for the Great Clips 300 and the Atlanta 200 with an adult ticket. For more information, call the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX, (770) 946-4211 or visit

Should teams regulate off weekend activities?

After Kasey Kahne’s scary sprint car crash on Saturday at Williams Grove Speedway, the question of whether teams should place restrictions on their drivers’ off weekends activities arose.

But how could you put restrictions on these drivers? How could you possibly tell Tony Stewart “Listen, we need you to stay at home this weekend. You might get hurt.”? You couldn’t. Just like you can’t tell Kasey Kahne not to drive for his own team, especially after the circumstances that arose with Joey Saldana’s crash just a week before.

However, can teams control what their drivers do on off weekends? Think of all of the incidents that drivers have had on off weekends just in the past couple of years. Denny Hamlin tore his ACL while playing basketball and Carl Edwards broke his foot while playing Frisbee with a few friends. Drivers could hurt themselves anywhere, on or off weekend.

It is possible for a team to contractually limit what their drivers participate in on the off weekends, but it is improbable. A team cannot tell their driver what they can and cannot do unless it is PR or business related. There are only three off weekends per season anyway.

Yes, teams invest a lot of money in their drivers. Yes, Kasey Kahne could have been seriously injured this past weekend. But there are times for business and there are times for drivers to enjoy themselves. We’re all human. We could get hurt anywhere.

You can contact Holly at or through Twitter: @mybrandneweyes.