Monday, February 28, 2011

Fast Facts: Todd Bodine

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Todd Bodine is the driver of the #30 Germain Racing Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series, and occasionally runs in the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series. Bodine is a two-time Truck Series champ – 2006 and 2010.
  • Bodine was born February 27th, 1964 in Chemung, New York. He is the younger brother of former NASCAR drivers Geoff and Brett Bodine.
  • Bodine started as a junior crew member on Brett’s street stock team at age 13; he entered his first race at age 19, and at age 22 in 1986 he started his first Nationwide Series race.
  • In 1991, Bodine signed with Frank Cicci Racing from central New York, teaming up with fellow New Yorker Mike McLaughlin. In 1992, Bodine made his first Cup Series start at his home track, Watkins Glen International.
  • Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Bodine made numerous Cup and Nationwide Series starts, and in 2005 began racing full-time in the Truck Series.
  • “Onion” is one of four drivers in the Germain Racing Truck Series stable; his teammates are Max Papis, Brendan Gaughan, and Justin Loftin. They also field a Cup car for Casey Mears.
  • Find out more about Todd Bodine at

NASCAR By the Numbers: Phoenix

Phoenix is in the books and now it is time to see how the battle for the points shake out.  Here, each week I will recap the top 15 in all three of NASCAR's series.

Sprint Cup:
Kyle leads headed into his home track of Las Vegas
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

1. Kyle Busch
2. Kurt Busch  -3
3. Tony Stewart -11
4. AJ Allmendinger -11
5. Jeff Gordon -15
6. Mark Martin -15
7. Bobby Labonte -16
8. Ryan Newman -16
9. Juan Pablo Montoya -16
10. David Gilliland -17
11. Paul Menard -17
12. Carl Edwards -21
13. Jimmie Johnson -21
14. Denny Hamlin -22
15. Kasey Kahne -23

*Top 12 make it into the Chase at the end of the season*

Reed Sorenson left Phoenix on top of the standings.
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR

1. Reed Sorenson
2. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. -5
3. Jason Leffler -7
4. Danica Patrick -20
5. Joe Nemechek -20
6. Aric Almirola -22
7. Mike Bliss -23
8. Justin Allgaier -25
9. Kenny Wallace -28
10. Jeremy Clements -28
11. Trevor Bayne -30
12. Brian Scott -33
13. Landon Cassill -37
14. Derrike Cope -38
15. Josh Wise -39

Camping World Truck Series:

Matt Crafton sits atop the chart when
the Truck Series returns to Darlington on March 12.
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
1. Matt Crafton                
2. Clay Rogers -1
3. Cole Whitt -3
4. Johnny Sauter -4
5. Timothy Peters -5
6. Austin Dillion -8
7. Jeffrey Earnhardt -9
8. Max Papis -10
9. Miguel Paludo -12
10. Ron Hornaday -14
11. Brad Sweet -15
12. Todd Bodine -20
13. Ricky Carmichael -21
14. Craig Goess -22
15. Jason White -23

Hendrick Garage: Subway Fresh Fit 500 Recap

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
On Saturday, Feb. 26, the Hendrick cars took to the track for qualifying at Phoenix International Raceway, hoping to be fast and get great starting positions for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500. However, that was not the case, for the Hendrick cars did not qualify the way they had hoped.

Out of all the Hendrick cars, Jeff Gordon qualified the highest at 20th, followed by Mark Martin, who was 23rd, Jimmie Johnson in 28th, and finally Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 35th. It was safe to say none of the Hendrick drivers were pleased with their qualifying positions. The Hendrick drivers could hope that their cars were going to be fast when it came time to race on Sunday.

Mark Martin
For the driver of the No. 5 Go Daddy car, his day looked to be great; however, when the Big One happened on lap 67, Mark sadly got some damage to the nose of his car. But that damage didn’t stop Mark from driving his way through the field. To sum it up, Mark Martin had a pretty good day, bringing his No. 5 Go Daddy Chevy home in 13th place. This also marks the second race with new crew chief Lance McGrew. Two races into the season, the No. 5 ranks sixth in the points standings. Is this a good team to look out for? We shall see.

Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson had an up-and-down day Sunday. On lap 129, the No. 48 car made his way down pit road to receive minor adjustments; this would allow the five-time Sprint Cup champion to gain two spots. For about 50 laps, Jimmie was in third battling Tony Stewart and fellow teammate Jeff Gordon. However, on lap 176 Jimmie took second from his teammate; now Jimmie’s eyes were on that 14 car for first place. When the green flag pit cycle happened on lap 184, Jimmie took the lead from Tony. With another quick pit stop thanks to the 48 crew and crew chief Chad Knaus, Jimmie got to keep the lead.

Jimmie would keep that lead to about lap 205 when teammate Jeff Gordon took it over yet again. On lap 218 Joey Logano’s engine blew, bringing out the race's seventh caution. The 48 car came in to pit. Jimmie would have started second on the restart, but a mishap with lug nuts resulted in an 18-second stop and caused him to lose seven spots. But have no fear - Jimmie would bounce back from that and would finish in 3rd place. That goes to show that with great teamwork and effort, you can bounce back from your mistakes. Jimmie now sits 13th in the points standings.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

For Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88, he would have to make his way from 35th to the top if he wanted to contend for this race. Junior managed to miss the Big One, which took out 13 cars, with great help from his spotter. Junior didn’t get any damage, despite making slight contact with another car. However, when coming down to pit after that red flag, Junior would have to serve a penalty for entering too fast.

That wasn’t the end of Junior’s problems; on about lap 240, he radioed in saying he felt a loose wheel. Having to pit would cause them to go a lap down. However, that was good for them if this race stayed green - they could make it on fuel while the other cars couldn’t. With 26 to go the final caution came out. Junior got the lucky dog, pitted for four fresh tires and was back on the lead lap.

He would restart 13th; before you knew it, that 88 car was moving on up. After going a lap down, Dale Jr. managed to overcome it and finish 10th. The finish moved Dale Jr. up to 17th in points. What a way to start off the season with new crew chief Steve Letarte.

Jeff Gordon

Jeff Gordon had a full-out amazing day from the start of that green flag. He may have started 20th, but that didn’t slow down the No. 24 car. Jeff found the speed he needed with his new crew chief Alan Gustafson. However, a wreck triggered by Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards on lap 59 caused Gordon to hit the wall, damaging the right side of the car. It looked like the 24's chances for a win were over. But when Gordon took the lead on lap 77, he knew he had a car to win with. Gordon would go on and lead the most laps Sunday (at 138), but not before he overcame his biggest challenge: Kyle Busch.

As the laps were winding down, it would look to be a Busch win, as he sought to sweep Phoenix. But all of sudden, like he was being shot out of a cannon, here came that 24 car. The two would battle for a few laps. Jeff would eventually bump Kyle Busch out of the way and take the lead.

By making that move, Jeff Gordon ended his 66-race winless streak (he hadn’t won a race since 2009). Jeff was one happy driver to finally end this streak. His victory at Phoenix puts him at 83 Cup wins, tying him with Cale Yarborough for fifth on the all-time wins list. He also jumped a staggering 21 spots to fifth in the points standings.

I close with a quote from our race winner Jeff Gordon:

"Gosh, you know, I'm going to have to go back and watch it on TV. I drove in deep into (Turn) 1 and got to him (Kyle Busch) and I could tell he was having to really get after it right then; and then I got underneath him and got off of (Turn) 4 and I knew coming down the front straightaway that he was going to kind of pinch me down into (Turn) 1 and he did and I got a little loose. Then I just drifted up the track and I didn't know what was going to happen at that moment but when they said we were 'clear' then I just went. We had a great car and catching him was one thing and passing him was going to be a whole lot different deal. And it worked out."


I am a NASCAR fan. I’ve been one since 1990, but I’ve known about racing my whole life. My father is an amateur racecar driver. He loves vintage automobiles and was a stalwart member of the Vintage Sports Car Club of America (VSCCA). He has a love of pre-war racecars, a lot of British makes like Allard and MG, and has a passion for Crosleys. Over his life he has amassed an amazing collection of historic vehicles, selling some for one reason or another, buying others, and keeping his all-time favorites. In our home I saw an occasional football game on the television, but, when Dad had control of the set, it was invariably racing that was on. Whatever the Wild World of Sports would air we would be watching, especially if it involved four-wheeled vehicles. And, although I can’t remember watching one race in its entirety in my youth, I can tell you I always knew who Richard Petty was. Richard is King. Period.

It wasn’t until the summer of 1990 that I was thrust into a situation where I allowed myself to enjoy racing with my father. I had never participated in watching him race, as my opinions were heavily shaded by my mother who was not interested in this part of my father’s life. But during the summer of 1990 a film called Days of Thunder was in the theaters and starred Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall. My father was adamant about seeing the film. My mother was not. I, being home from my first year in college, wanted to bond with my Dad and decided, especially since I attended school in Virginia, NASCAR country, that I’d like to check the movie out with him. From the moment the lights went dim, the cars in the movie revved their engine, and the season was flagrantly misrepresented in the movie (I would later find out) I was hooked on NASCAR. We both loved the flick. For my father it was just cool to see a film about racing, as Grand Prix and Le Mans were motion picture history by then. I loved the atmosphere depicted, the camaraderie, the sounds, and the lifestyle that is racing.

During my second year of college in Virginia I began living with my husband. We were anxious to assimilate into the culture of Virginia and that culture definitely includes NASCAR. My husband, most curious about motor sports ever since he met my dad four years earlier, wanted to immerse himself in watching a race. We tuned in to the last race of the 1990 Winston Cup Season. Not knowing any of the cast of characters (drivers, car owners, crew chiefs, etc.) we simply listened to the announcers during pre-race and chose the driver we perceived as the ‘underdog’. That driver was Dale Earnhardt. And the one to beat was a driver named Mark Martin. It’s funny now as little did we know then that Mark Martin had never won the Winston Cup but Dale Earnhardt already held three for the years 1980, 1986, and 1987. Right or wrong we threw our allegiance behind Dale Earnhardt who had to lead the most laps and win the race to beat Mark Martin for the 1990 Championship. It was seemingly impossible, but we didn’t know the kind of champion we threw our fandom. History shows that Dale Earnhardt accomplished his goals that day. We were hooked after one race and began watching NASCAR in earnest starting with the 1991 season.

I like NASCAR because it gave and continues to give me a common passion with my father and my husband. It is fine entertainment and it is a sport with heart. I would like to reveal all of the myriad of reasons I like NASCAR. I am Chief 187, crew chief of my family and of Team 187. I am a NASCAR fan like you. Join me every Monday as I bring you ever more reasons why I like NASCAR.

Jeff Gordon Ends His Drought In the Desert!

Jeff Gordon completes the pass on Kyle Busch on lap 304
Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Typically the desert weather brings on droughts, but not in Jeff Gordon's case. Phoenix was the track that ended Gordon's 66-race winless streak, dating back to the April 2009 race at Texas. This was Gordon's 83rd career victory, and he is now tied with the legendary Cale Yarborough for fifth on the list for the most wins in the Cup series.

The favorite going into the race was the pole sitter, Carl Edwards. Edwards was leading laps and showing his strength when he got caught by Kyle Busch and received major damage. Edwards and team worked for many laps to get him back on track to regain every precious point. Edwards did manage to finish in 28th but was multiple laps down.

Unique for a track like Phoenix, we saw the "Big One," which is usually reserved for restrictor plate racing. A multi-car accident saw many fan favorites headed to the garage for repair. Involved were the 1, 6, 7, 13, 31, 33, 34, 46, 47, 71, 78, 83, 88, 00. This accident brought out a red flag for approximately 15 minutes. 

The final 10 laps came down to Gordon and Kyle Busch, who was trying to win all three series this weekend. In the end, Jeff showed he still has it! His passion is still there and now with a new crew chief we may see more from him. 

Jeff, new crew chief Alan Gustafson and team celebrate
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR

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

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Davey Allison!!

Davey celebrates with father Bobby
Credit: RacingOne MultiMedia
If you are a longtime NASCAR fan you undoubtedly know the name Allison. Bobby Allison is being inducted to the second class for the NASCAR Hall of Fame and he and brother Donnie were two of the original “Alabama Gang”. Bobby had two sons, Davey and Clifford, who were following in their dad’s tire tracks. Unfortunately, tragedy struck twice in the Allison family. First, fate claimed Clifford on August 13, 1992 at Michigan International Speedway during practice for the Detroit Gasket 200 in the NASCAR Busch Series. Injuries sustained on the track took the young Allison’s life. Within a year, on July 12, 1993, while piloting his helicopter to Talladega to take part in the race, Davey Allison crashed and perished.

As a mother, I cannot imagine the unbreakable sadness that would grip me losing not just one but also two of my sons. The enormity would be too much for me to bear. And then, as an extra cruel twist of fate, having the death dates less than a year apart and at the same time of the month would simply do me in. Bobby, having dealt with his own tragic career-ending crash, was dealt the most unfair of hands, and yet, to this day, is still a great ambassador for NASCAR. He does what most of us take for granted; he gets up each morning and breathes. For those of you who have lived through tragedy and adversity, you know how difficult that one activity can be.

The Allisons were a dynasty in NASCAR; a racing family that was supposed to endure through the generations. Davey and younger brother Clifford were talented and good and primed to be the next generation of the “Alabama Gang”. Davey, several times, was a breath away from sitting at the lead table at the Waldorf Astoria. Many have pondered, “What if Davey lived” scenarios that include “would Dale Earnhardt have won as many Cups?” No one will ever know.

As 2011 unfolds, many anniversaries have been marked, most notably the ten year anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death. This spring Bobby Allison will take his rightful place in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. But, before we bid February adieu and look ahead, I just wanted to point out that February 25, 2011 marked Davey Allison’s fiftieth birthday.  As a fan in Davey’s heyday, it is hard for me to wrap my brain around that.  It was important for me to bring Davey’s name back to the forefront for a moment. I’m sure Bobby hasn’t forgotten; I just wanted him to know, I haven’t forgotten either.

Apolo Anton Ohno Visits NASCAR

Imagine my delight and surprise to see gold medallist Apolo Anton Ohno, the American short track speed skater, when the race coverage began for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix. If you haven’t had the distinct pleasure of watching this incredible athlete in his natural element, then you need to find a way! Apolo Anton Ohno is a fierce competitor and an unparalleled athlete. Watching him maneuver and think lightening fast during a match is fascinating and heart-racing entertainment. To watch this man in motion is as adrenaline-fueled as watching the NASCAR boys race at the short tracks.

If this man’s daring on the short tracks isn’t enough, I fell in love with him again when he was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars during its Spring 2007 season. Paired with dancing darling Julianne Hough, the blonde bombshell with talent, creativity, and a drive second only to Ohno, the two danced their way into America’s hearts and won the celebrity contest. Each week my husband and I would watch this graceful, energetic, and chemistry-filled couple enchant us on the dance floor. Watching them win the competition solidified our fandom for Ohno. Watching him in the following Winter Olympic games made us fans for life.

Seeing Ohno during the Subway Fresh Fit 500 made us feel great! Long have we felt Ohno epitomizes NASCAR – speed, teamwork, confidence, grace, determination, and, in the end, a champion. I hope to see more of Ohno in NASCAR’s world, even if it continues to be with the Subway sponsorship. These two forces, NASCAR and Ohno, are unbeatable to these fans!

Trevor Bayne visits San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square

On February 22, 2011, I had the distinct pleasure of representing Skirts and Scuffs at my first press conference. I would like to personally thank not only Skirts and Scuffs, but also Infineon Raceway's manager of media and community relations, Jennifer Imbimbo, for the opportunity to be a part of the event. Sitting up front along with Trevor, to the right, is Steve Page, president and general manager of Infineon Raceway; Ken Clapp, who is Speedway 99 co-owner and promoter; and Steve Genzoli, vice president of research and development of Ghirardelli Chocolate Co.

Trevor Bayne was born February 19, 1991, in Knoxville, Tenn. This young man at the tender young age of 20 years, almost to the day, is living a dream. During his first Daytona 500, his second Sprint Cup Series race, he blazed across the finish line, taking the checkered flag and starting the 2011 season off with a bang at Florida's Daytona International Speedway.

Known as "The Great American Race," the Daytona 500 is a race that even non-NASCAR fans love to watch. It's the race that sets the tone for the upcoming season, and it didn't let us down. There's a new kid in town and many feel he is what the sport needs to renew its wounded pride. After a few years filled with much change and growth, NASCAR has suffered through a "depression." Many hope that with the recent changes, it can prevail as the sport it once was.

Trevor Bayne's racing career began at the age of 5 with go-karts, not unlike many of our favorite drivers. When he was 13, Bayne joined Allison Legacy Race Series and became their youngest top rookie. After a two-year stint with Allison, Trevor’s path led him to USAR Hooters Pro Cup Series Southern Division in 2008, where he signed a contract with Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI). During his time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck East Series, Bayne boasted one win, six top-5s and seven top-10 finishes. Bayne was awarded Sunoco Rookie of the Race honors after participating in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Raceway in California. It was onto the Nationwide Series with Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) in 2009.

I myself can honestly say that Trevor wasn’t even on my radar when it came to the up-and-coming drivers. While I was watching drivers like Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and Mark Martin, young Trevor Bayne was silently moving up the ranks. In the 2010 Nationwide Series, Trevor ran his first full schedule with decent stats - six top 5s, 11 top 10s and three poles - and ranked seventh at the season's end.

The 2011 Daytona 500 was only Trevor’s second time racing in the Sprint Cup Series, the first being Texas in 2010, where he finished 17th in his #21 Wood Brothers Ford. At Sunday’s running of the 53rd Daytona 500, Trevor started the race in 32nd position and of course as we all know, finished first. It was an extremely exciting win for not only Trevor and the Wood Brothers, but for many fans of the sport as well.

Trevor Bayne will now be known as a winner of the Daytona 500, no matter where his career goes from here. He joins a group of individuals who motorsports fans will remember for years to come, keeping company with drivers like Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, Richard Petty and Fireball Roberts. Trevor is now the youngest driver in NASCAR’s history to win the Daytona 500. It was in 1997 that 25-year-old Jeff Gordon won the race. Trevor is actually 5-1/2 yrs younger than Jeff was when he won the coveted trophy.

Interesting side note: Trevor’s average speed during the race, 130.326 mph, was the second-slowest in the history of the Daytona 500. The slowest average speed was 124.740 mph back in 1960 by then winner Junior Johnson.

Is Trevor a “golden boy” or was Daytona just a fluke? When I took some time to investigate Bayne a little more, it's the numbers that don’t lie. But one question that I keep hearing is what in the world was Michael Waltrip thinking by letting this young man slip through his fingers? It sure seems as though what is Michael's loss now is the Wood Brothers' gain. After such a long time between races, can Trevor Bayne be what they needed to become a competitive team?

Last Tuesday, Trevor arrived in Ghirardelli Square fashionably late, as some would say. He was greeted by his fans, NASCAR fans and the press. He was led down a red carpet into the Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, where he would invent his own namesake sundae. Many fans and media waited outside at a media center for the actual press conference. Since he was running a bit late, we were kept apprised of the situation.

Hanna, from Infineon Raceway, stepped up to the mic and said, with a big smile, “Trevor has finally arrived. He will be out here as soon as he is finished. You should have seen it out there. It is almost like Bieber fever out on that red carpet. There are many fans out there making all kinds of noise.”

The ingredients for Trevor’s namesake sundae are chocolate, chocolate chips and rocky road ice cream with marshmallow and chocolate syrup, topped with whipped cream. Although on the menu it's referred to as the Trevor Bayne Sundae, Sundae, Sundae, Trevor later told the crowd at the press conference he would refer to it as the T-Bizzle Drizzle!

Infineon Raceway presented the Daytona champion with a couple of items to remember his visit by. The first item was a Golden Scoop. Then they handed him a mock sign that said “Right Turn Ahead” as well a mock (fake) I.D. so that he would be able to accept the third item, a Magnum of Wine. But the best item I felt by far was the map to Victory Lane at Infineon Raceway so he wouldn’t get lost.

After introductions and gifts were presented to Trevor, a question-and-answer session began. Skirts and Scuffs will have the highlights of this Q&A, hopefully in audio form, in part 2 of this interview.

Kyle Busch sweeps at Phoenix

Bashas Supermarkets 200 logoTo call what Kyle Busch has been able to accomplish at Phoenix a “domination” would be an understatement. From the Camping World Truck Series to Nationwide qualifying and then the race, Kyle Busch has commanded the weekend so far. He added to his list of Nationwide victories by taking the win at the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday.

Kyle Busch qualified for the pole position with a top lap time of 26.806 seconds, breaking the track record set by Joey Logano in November 2010. After a strong start, he never lost the position. Although Carl Edwards in the 60 car had a good run and challenged him near the end, he just didn’t have quite enough to catch Busch. Edwards finished .514 seconds behind Busch in a race that had only three cautions, one for debris and two for right front tire issues on the 22 car of Brad Keselowski and the 16 of Trevor Bayne.

In spite of leading every lap, Busch knew that the 60 car would be his biggest challenger.

“It came down toward the end of the race there, and Carl was alongside of me, and we were racing really hard, and he was trying to pass me, and I was like, ‘Man, just beat him back to the start/finish line; man, just beat him back to the start/finish line.’

“I was trying to hold on as long as I could. Finally, it seemed like about 15 laps or so that his stuff would start falling off enough that we could start clicking back away and get away from him a little bit. So I knew that if we could just make it to that threshold, I thought we’d be OK.”
2011 Phoenix Feb NNS Kyle Busch with checkered flag
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Busch became the first driver since 2003 to lead every lap in a race. The last driver to do this was Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the July Nationwide race in Daytona that year. Adding to the accomplishments he already has this weekend, this was Busch’s 44th win in the series. He now stands only four behind all-time series win leader Mark Martin.

Although Kyle Busch was ineligible to earn driver points in this series, his Joe Gibbs Racing 18 Toyota is in first place in the owner points standings.

“All in all, this was such a phenomenal day with this Camry. This thing was phenomenal.”

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pole Report: Subway Fresh Fit 500

Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR
Carl Edwards is starting the 2011 season on a high note.  A second place finish in the Daytona 500 and now the pole position for the Subway Fresh Fit 500, seems as though he is picking up where he left off, after finishing the 2010 season with 2 wins in a row.  Edwards, claimed the pole with a time of 26.244 seconds which is 137.279 MPH and set a new track record.  The previous record, also held by Carl Edwards was set November of 2010, with a time of 26.365 seconds.

Here is the starting lineup for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500:

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

Tune into the race on your local FOX station at 2:30pm est this Sunday.

Pole Report: Nationwide Series Bashas' Supermarkets 200

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
One day after winning the Camping World Truck Race, Kyle Busch is attempting the trifecta, starting on the pole for the Nationwide Bashas' Supermarkets 200.  Busch, with a time of 26.806 seconds and a speed of 134.298 MPH will be starting in a familar position and hopes to end right back in the same spot.

Here is the complete starting lineup:

2. Carl Edwards
3. Joey Logano
4. Brad Keselowski
5. Brian Scott
6. Ryan Newman
7. Trevor Bayne
8. Steven Wallace
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Reed Sorenson
11. Elliott Sadler
12. Joe Nemechek
13. Jason Leffler
14. Ryan Truex
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
16. Justin Allgaier
17. Michael Annett
18. Kenny Wallace
19. Mike Bliss
20. Danica Patrick
21. Mike Wallace
22. Jeremy Clements
23. Charles Lewandowski
24. Josh Wise
25. Aric Almirola
26. Scott Wimmer
27. Eric McClure
28. Morgan Shepherd
29. Shelby Howard
30. Timmy Hill
31. Robert Richardson Jr.
32. Blake Koch
33. Kelly Bires
34. Daryl Harr
35. Derrike Cope
36. Justin Marks
37. Kevin Lepage
38. Carl Long
39. Brett Rowe
40. Jennifer Jo Cobb

Tune into the race at 5:30 est TODAY on ESPN 2.

Kyle Busch wins at Phoenix in dominating style

Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Clint Bowyer had the pole for Friday night’s Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway. He was also one of the favorites to win; he was defending a win that came in the fall race at Phoenix last November. During Friday’s qualifying, Bowyer had even set a new track qualifying record of 26.876 seconds, 133.949 MPH. However, he just didn’t have enough to catch Kyle Busch, who snatched the lead on lap 44 under caution.

Kyle Busch also felt that Bowyer would dominate and win again. Busch had finished second to Bowyer last fall. "We had a really good truck, but I was scared there at the beginning," said Busch. "I was like, 'Man, it's going to come down like last fall -- Clint's going to walk the dog on this one.' But (crew chief) Eric (Phillips) made some changes to this thing that really brought it to life."

There were a total of six restarts during the final 50 laps of the race and Bowyer feels that he has only himself to blame. “Whichever one of us had clean air, we were about a 10th [of a second] to a 10th and a half better," he said. "For me -- and I'm not making any excuses; I was screwing up big-time on the restarts -- I'm just not used to a) not having any power and b) I was hitting the rev what sounded like about 5,000 less rpm than it should have been.”

Bowyer dominated almost a third of the race, however, before the caution flew on lap 41 for Chase Mattioli, who blew a right front tire and tossed debris into turn 3. Busch won the race off pit road, taking the lead, and never lost it. Busch won over Bowyer with a .291 second lead. It was his second win at Phoenix and his 25th in the series.

Crafton leaves Phoenix with Truck Series points lead

Matt Crafton left Phoenix International Raceway not with the win - that went to Kyle Busch. But he didn't leave empty-handed. For the first time since June 2009, Crafton leads the Camping World Truck Series points standings.

Crafton finished seventh in Friday’s Lucas Oil 150, surviving an eventful race that saw eight caution flags, six of which occurred in the last 50 laps. In the final stretch, the race became a series of sprints as the trucks couldn’t run more than three laps without a disruption.

For Crafton, the short runs at the end worked against him in the No. 88 Menards/Ideal Door Chevrolet Silverado.

"It was good on a long run, but we lost so many spots, we tried to take two (tires) at the end” to make up position, Crafton said in a post-race TV interview. “That two-lap sprint was our saving grace.”

“We’ve got to run better. It was really good on long runs, not so good on short runs."

The seventh-place finish vaulted Crafton five spots in the standings. Crafton has a one-point lead over Clay Rogers, who was the points leader after Daytona and finished 16th at Phoenix.

It's a promising start to the season for Crafton, who notched a 10th-place finish at the Daytona season opener despite being involved in a multiple-vehicle wreck.

Crafton last sat atop the series standings for two weeks in June 2009, after the truck races at Texas and Michigan. He finished the season a career-best second in points. In 2010, Crafton struggled in the spring races, but rebounded during the summer and finished fourth in the final standings.

His finish Friday night continued a strong showing at Phoenix for the ThorSport Racing driver. In 11 visits to the 1-mile track, Crafton has three top 5s and five top 10s to his credit.

The new Truck Series points leader was also busy this week in another capacity – acting as driving coach for Travis Pastrana. The X Games champion is making the transition to NASCAR and will run seven races this year in the Nationwide Series, starting at Indianapolis in July. To prepare for his Nationwide debut, Pastrana will be competing in a handful of K&N Pro Series races, with Crafton guiding him along the way.

This week Crafton helped Pastrana get ready for Thursday’s K&N Pro Series West season opener at Phoenix. During the race, Crafton acted as Pastrana’s spotter. Pastrana ran in the top 10 for most of the night, but a wreck with three laps to go relegated him to a 25th-place finish.

“It has been a lot of fun to help him get comfortable in the stock cars. We have a lot of practical jokes happening at the tests and the tracks, but he’s a serious racer. He’s getting this down pretty quickly, so look for him to be a serious competitor in the Nationwide Series this year,” Crafton said about Pastrana.

Crafton will work with Pastrana again in April for the K&N Pro Series East race at Richmond.

After a busy week in Phoenix, Crafton gets to rest next week when the Truck Series takes its first break of the season. Crafton will return to the track March 12 when the series heads to Darlington.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Daytona a 'Cinderella story' for J.J. Yeley

J.J. Yeley raced his way into the Daytona 500 by way of the
Gatorade Duels last week at Daytona. (Getty Images for NASCAR)
In all the excitement of Brian Keselowski making the Daytona 500 by racing his way in, the other go-or-go-home teams were somewhat overlooked. J.J. Yeley was one of the drivers who had to race his way into NASCAR’s biggest race of the season - the Daytona 500.

It wasn’t an easy day for the second-year Whitney Motorsports team.

“For me, it was the first time in my NASCAR career where I had to make the race based on beating a certain amount of people to lock myself in,” Yeley said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway.

"My first three years in Cup, I had a car that was locked in points. You could go down there and be brave and try to get the best finish you possibly could and not worry about getting caught up in a wreck and having any kind of problem and still make the Daytona 500.”

It certainly isn’t the situation that any Sprint Cup team wants to be in, especially an underfunded one like Whitney Motorsports. “Going down there, having a poor qualifying run, having to race our way in was probably one of the more stressful situations I've had to be in in my NASCAR career,” Yeley said.

Yeley raced his Whitney Motorsports Chevrolet in Gatorade Duel number one and took 17th place. For any points-racing day, a 17th-place finish wouldn’t be the most desirable finish, but this wasn’t a normal race. This was a qualifying race and 17th place was all it took for the 46 team to make the Daytona 500. And that finish meant everything to Yeley and his team.

“It's a small team, Whitney Motorsports, and because of the situation which fell into place, it's helped us come up with some new sponsorship. It's created a lot of buzz around the team that's making it easier to help us find some associate sponsors and some primary sponsors as well.”

Two of the cars that Yeley had to outrace were Joe Nemechek and Kevin Conway.

“The manner in which we did, we caught a caution late in the race that put us in a position, I was able to get by two cars on the restart and obviously kind of made it a Cinderella story for us,” he said.

“You need everything to go your way and the cards fell our way and we locked ourselves in. We only made 10 laps before the engine failure (in the Daytona 500), but, nevertheless, all the guys were very excited and it was a good motivation for our team.”

Pole Report: Lucas Oil 150 (NCWTS)

Bowyer celebrates his 2010 Phoenix win: Todd Warsaw/Getty Images for NASCAR
 Last fall when the Camping World Truck Series headed to Phoenix Clint Bowyer was the driver who left with the trophy. This season, although the race has moved from November to February, Bowyer is once again poised for a win. Bowyer, who will be driving the #2 for Kevin Harvick Inc., beat out Austin Dillon for the pole.

With a time of 26.876 seconds (133.949 MPH) Bowyer set a new track qualifying record.

Friday night's television coverage of the Lucas Oil 150 begins with The SetUp on Speed at 7:30 p.m. and the green flag sceduled for 8:18 p.m.

Starting grid:

  1. Clint Bowyer
  2. Austin Dillon
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Ron Hornaday
  5. David Mayhew
  6. Matt Crafton
  7. Todd Bodine
  8. Johnny Sauter
  9. Cole Whitt
  10. Joey Coulter
  11. Timothy Peters
  12. Brendan Gaughan
  13. Clay Rogers
  14.  Justin Johnson
  15. David Starr
  16. Greg Pursley
  17. Jason White
  18. Max Papis
  19. Dusty Davis
  20. Parker Kligerman
  21. Brad Sweet
  22. Nelson Piquet
  23. Ryan Sieg
  24. Justin Lofton
  25. Johanna Long
  26. Ricky Carmichael
  27. Justin Marks
  28. Miguel Paludo
  29. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  30. Shane Sieg
  31. Craig Goess
  32. BJ McLeod
  33. Travis Kvapil
  34. Chase Mattioli
  35. Norm Benning
  36. Mike Skinner
Failed to qualify: James Buescher, Brent Raymer, Tayler Malson, Chris Eggleston, Rick Crawford 

Carl Edwards gets some air, jumps off Las Vegas hotel

Carl Edwards jumps off of the 108-story Stratosphere Tower
on the Las Vegas Strip on Thursday. (
G. Harry Ransom)
Edwards joined by ESPN reporter Jamie Little, AMA Superbike Series legend Miguel Duhamel

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards visited Las Vegas on Thursday to help promote the March 3-6 NASCAR Weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – and some guys will do just about anything to sell tickets.

Edwards, along with ESPN NASCAR reporter and Las Vegas native Jamie Little and AMA Superbike Series legend Miguel Duhamel, jumped off the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.

The SkyJump Las Vegas ( attraction is located 108 stories above the ground at the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower on the Las Vegas Strip.

Edwards, along with ESPN NASCAR reporter and
Las Vegas native Jamie Little prepare to jump off
the Stratosphere on the Strip. (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)
“It sounded like it was really going to be fun,” Edwards explained. “I told my PR guy, ‘We’re going to Vegas, let’s do something really fun, like skydiving or something.’ Then they showed me this video (SkyJump Las Vegas) on the Internet and I said, ‘That’s it – that’ll be a blast.’ Then today I realized I actually had to do it.”

Edwards and Little were scheduled to jump, but Duhamel was a surprise addition. The winner of LVMS’s 2008 Kobalt Tools 400 was speaking at a luncheon earlier in the day when he received a text from his friend, Duhamel. Miguel heard Carl was in town and asked what his plans were. Edwards texted back, “I’m going to jump off the Stratosphere at 2 p.m.” Duhamel, jokingly referring to Edwards’ recent Daytona 500 finish, replied, “Carl, it’s OK, second place was really not that bad. You’ll win next year.”

Duhamel met Carl and Jamie at the Stratosphere and the trio suited up. They could not have picked a nicer day to jump: sunny, with a slight breeze and temperatures in the high 50s. Duhamel went first, followed by Little, then Edwards.

AMA Superbike Series legend Miguel Duhamel jumps
off the Stratosphere. (Las Vegas Motor Speedway)
“You’re standing up there (on the jump platform), and they go, ‘Three, two, one’ and I said, ‘Wait a second – let’s check everything one more time,’ “ said Edwards. “That was an ESPN SportsCenter moment, for sure. It was unbelievable – I want to go do it again. Anybody who is planning to come to Vegas, go to the Stratosphere and jump off. It’s a cool thing to do.”

“I’m standing on solid ground, but my legs are shaking,” admitted Little, still in her jumpsuit. “Carl was asking so many questions. I finally said, ‘Carl, stop – I gotta jump!’ Awesome. That was fun.”

View the photo gallery:,photo_gallery/sf_id,9817/cat_id,44256/

The NASCAR weekend begins on Thursday, March 3, with a full day of NASCAR Nationwide Series practice and a free driver autograph session. Stratosphere Pole Day features practice for both the Kobalt Tools 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and Sam’s Town 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race as well as qualifying for the Kobalt Tools 400 on Friday, March 4. The Sam’s Town 300 is set for Saturday, March 5, and the Kobalt Tools 400 will run on Sunday, March 6. Two nights of World of Outlaws Sprint Car racing will take place at the Dirt Track March 2 and 3.

Tickets for all events are on sale at or by calling (800) 644-4444. Follow LVMS on Facebook and Twitter.

Jamie Little jumps off of the 108-story Stratosphere. (G. Harry Ramsom)

- Release courtesy of Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Charlotte Motor Speedway partners with hotels to lower rates during May race weekends

Minimum stay requirements also waived

CONCORD, N.C. (Feb. 25, 2011) - Charlotte Motor Speedway will partner with regional tourism bureaus and area hotel operators to secure lower room rates for fans attending races during the weekends of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600, May 20-29.

More than 50 hotels within approximately one hour of the 1.5-mile superspeedway have agreed to reduce their race week room rates by 15 percent and waive the minimum stay requirements.

"We strive to make the fan experience at Charlotte Motor Speedway second to none," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We understand that lodging can be a significant expense and we are very thankful to these area hotels who have taken the initiative to help fans alleviate some of those costs."

A full list of participating hotels is available at or fans can call the speedway's ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) for information. In order to obtain the discounted rate, those interested must call the hotels directly and request the Speedway Special when making reservations.

In addition to the lower hotel rates, cost savings extend to the speedway as well. The Coca-Cola Four Pack, which includes four race tickets, four Coca-Cola soft drinks and four hot dogs is available for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race for just $29.75 a person or the Coca-Cola 600 for $39.75 a person. The Super Ticket is also available for the Coca-Cola 600 weekend, giving fans the opportunity to see four nights of action-packed racing, including Windstream Pole Night qualifying, the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Showdown at The Dirt Track, the Charlotte 300 Nationwide Series race and the Coca-Cola 600, starting at just $99.

Charlotte Motor Speedway offers 164 acres of free parking. Coolers, limited to 14 inches in any direction, are permitted in the grandstands.

For fans who are interested in camping instead of a hotel stay, Charlotte Motor Speedway also offers numerous affordable camping options, including Pre-Packaged Campsites - all fans need to bring is clothes! Speedway officials will set-up the campsite, which includes a tent, one lantern, a bottle of propane, sleeping bags and chairs for two, three, five or eight people. There are eight pre-packaged sites located in the infield or outside of the track from which fans can choose.

For more information, visit Connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at or by becoming a fan on Facebook at

The following Charlotte area hotels have reduced nightly room rates by 15 percent and waived minimum stay requirements for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600 race weekends at Charlotte Motor Speedway. In order to obtain the discounted rate, race fans must request the Speedway Special when making reservations.

America's Best Value Inn (704) 788-8550
2451 Kannapolis Hwy/I-85 Exit 58, Concord, N.C. 28028

Ballantyne Hotel (888) 627-8048
10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28277

Bed & Bike Inn (704) 463-0768
15750 Mattons Grove Church Road, Gold Hill, N.C. 28071

Best Western Inn & Suites - Monroe (704) 283-4746
2316 Hanover Drive, Monroe, N.C. 28110

Blake Hotel Uptown Charlotte (704) 372-4100
555 South McDowell Street, Charlotte, NC 28204

Comfort Inn Executive Park (704) 525-2626
5822 Westpark Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Comfort Suites (704) 540-0069
10415 Centrum Parkway, Pineville, N.C. 28134

Comfort Suites Charlotte Airport (704) 971-4400
3425 Mulberry Church Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28208

Comfort Suites Northlake (704) 598-0478
7315 Smith Corners Blvd., Charlotte, N.C. 28269

Country Inn & Suites University Place (704) 549-8770
131 East McCullough Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Country Suites Lake Norman (704) 895-6565
16617 Statesville Road, Huntersville, N.C. 28078

Courtyard by Marriott Charlotte/Matthews (704) 846-4466
11425 East Independence Boulevard, Matthews, N.C. 28105

Days Inn Statesville (704) 872-9891
703 Gaither Road, Statesville, N.C. 28625

Dunhill Hotel (704) 332-4141
237 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Extended Stay America Charlotte-Pineville (704) 341-0929
10930 Park Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28226

Extended Stay America Charlotte-Tyvola Rd (704) 676-0569
6035 Nations Ford Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Extended Stay America Charlotte-University Place (704) 510-1636
8211 University Executive Park Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Extended Stay Deluxe Charlotte-Pineville (704) 542-9521

8405 Pineville-Matthews Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28226

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Charlotte Arrowood (704) 319-5100
7920 Arrowridge Boulevard, Charlotte, N.C. 28273

Four Points by Sheraton (704) 522-0852
315 East Woodlawn Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Four Points by Sheraton Charlotte/Pineville (704) 540-8500
9705 Leitner Drive, Pineville, N.C. 28134

Great Wolf Lodge (866) 740-9653
10175 Weddington Road, Concord, N.C. 28027

Hampton Inn & Suites Concord Mills Mall (704) 979-5600
9850 Weddington Road Extension, Concord, N.C. 28027

Hampton Inn Monroe (704) 220-2200
2368 Roland Drive, Monroe, N.C. 28110

Hilton Garden Inn, Ayrsley. (704) 970-5000
1920 Ayrsley Town Blvd, Charlotte, N.C. 28273

Holiday Inn Center City (704) 335-5400
230 N. College Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Holiday Inn Express (704) 341-1190
9825 Leitner Drive, Pineville, N.C. 28134

Holiday Inn Express Carowinds (803) 548-0100
3560 Lakemont Boulevard, Fort Mill, S.C. 29708

Holiday Inn Express Concord/Kannapolis (704) 743-1080
2491 Wonder Drive, Kannapolis, N.C. 28083

Holiday Inn Express Matthews (704) 443-3100
9420 East Independence Boulevard, Mathews, N.C. 28105

Homestead Studio Suites-Charlotte-Coliseum (704) 676-0083
710 Yorkmont Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Homewood Suites Ayrsley (704) 970-5500
1921 Ayrsley Town Boulevard, Charlotte, N.C. 28273

Homewood Suites by Hilton-Davidson (704) 987-1818
125 Harbour Place Drive, Davidson, N.C. 28036

Knights Inn (704) 394-4131
4115 Glenwood Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28208

Quality Inn & Suites Matthews (704) 821-9800
13470 East Independence Boulevard, Matthews, N.C. 28105

Quality Inn Executive Park (704) 525-0747
440 Griffith Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Residence Inn by Marriott Charlotte Uptown (704) 340-4000
404 South Mint Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Sleep Inn & Suites Lake Norman (704) 766-2500
16508 Northcross Drive, Huntersville, N.C. 28078

Sleep Inn Billy Graham Parkway (704) 525-5005
701 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Sleep Inn Concord (704) 788-2150
1120 Copperfield Boulevard, Concord, N.C. 28025

Sleep Inn Matthews (704) 841-1660
9900 Matthews Park Drive, Matthews, N.C. 28105

Sleep Inn University Place (704) 549-4544
8525 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Ramada Airport South & Conference Center (704) 525-8350
212 West Woodlawn Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Red Roof Inn Charlotte Airport (704) 392-2316
I-85/Ext. 3300 Queen City Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28208

Residence Inn by Marriott-University Research Park (704) 547-1122
8503 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Residence Inn by Marriott Charlotte Uptown (704) 340-4000
404 South Mint Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28202

Sheraton Charlotte Airport (888) 627-7110
3315 Scott Futrell Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28208

Sleep Inn Billy Graham Parkway (704) 525-5005
701 Yorkmont Road, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Sleep Inn Concord (704) 788-2150
1120 Copperfield Boulevard, Concord, N.C. 28025

Sleep Inn & Suites Lake Norman (704) 766-2500
16508 Northcross Drive, Huntersville, N.C. 28078

Sleep Inn Matthews (704) 841-1660
9900 Matthews Park Drive, Matthews, N.C. 28105

Sleep Inn University Place (704) 549-4544
8525 North Tryon Street, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Staybridge Suites (704) 248-5000
15735 John J. Delaney Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28277

Studio Plus Deluxe Studios-Charlotte-Tyvola Road. (704) 527-1960
5830 Westpark Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Studio Plus Deluxe Studios-Charlotte-University Place (704) 510-0108
123 East McCullough Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Charlotte Arrowood (704) 227-2000
7805 Forest Point Boulevard, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Charlotte Mooresville (704) 659-8600
139 Gateway Boulevard, Mooresville, N.C. 28117

TownePlace Suites University (800) 380-3092
8710 Research Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28262

Wingate by Wyndham Charlotte Airport (704) 395-3600
4238 Business Center Drive, Charlotte, N.C. 28214

Wingate by Wyndham I-77 & Tyvola (704) 523-3366
6050 Tyvola Glen Circle, Charlotte, N.C. 28217

Fast Facts: Danica Patrick

Daytona 2011: Photo by Debra Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Danica Patrick drives part-time for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series. She drives the #7 Chevrolet Impala, and ran 13 races in 2010; she is scheduled to compete in 12 races in 2011. Patrick also drives for Andretti Autosport in the IZOD IndyCar Series.
  • Danica Sue Patrick was born March 25th, 1982 in Beloit, Wisconsin. She grew up in Roscoe, Illinois and started racing go karts at age 10.
  • At age 16 Patrick moved to England and competed in Formula Ford and Formula Vauxhall for three years. In 2002 she returned to the US and signed with Rahal Letterman Racing, running in the Barber Pro Dodge Series and the Toyota Atlantic Championship Series.
  • In 2005 she made her IndyCar debut, and qualified and finished fourth in her first Indy 500. She won the Rookie of the Year Award for both the Indy 500 and the IndyCar season. In July 2006 she signed with Andretti Green Racing and started racing for the team in 2007.
  • Patrick became the first woman to win an IndyCar race when she won the Indy Japan 300 at Twin Ring Motegi in 2008
  • Patrick has also raced in the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East.
  • During the 2011 DRIVE4COPD 300 Nationwide race at Daytona on February 19th, Patrick became the first woman to lead a lap at the historic track; she went on to finish 14th, her highest Nationwide finish yet.
  • Find out more about Danica Patrick at

Thursday, February 24, 2011

TV Schedule Feb. 25-27

The stands were packed for the spring Sprint Cup
race at Phoenix last year. (Photo by Rebecca Kivak)
After the restrictor-plate racing and two-car tangos at Daytona, NASCAR heads to the desert for the second race weekend of the 2011 season. The races at Phoenix International Raceway, a one-mile tri-oval, could provide a better indication of how drivers and teams will perform this season.

If it seems like the sport converged on Phoenix not too long ago, you're right - it traditionally hosts the second-to-last race of the year. Its spot in the NASCAR schedule was moved up for 2011 after Auto Club Speedway lost one of its Cup dates, and its sole race weekend was pushed back to late March. Phoenix is a flat but fast track, with a banking of 11 degrees in Turns 1 and 2 and 9-degree banking in Turns 3 and 4.

Like Daytona before it, Phoenix is due for a makeover. After this weekend, the track will undergo a comprehensive repaving and reconfiguration project, its first since 1990. The project will result in a wider front straightaway, progressive banking in the corners, multiple grooves and a tighter, more challenging "dogleg," the bend in the backstretch that's unique to this track. The changes are being made to allow for more side-by-side racing. This means when NASCAR returns to the track in the fall, Phoenix will be a wildcard in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

As for this weekend, NASCAR's top three series will battle it out under the desert sun. Here are last year's winners in each series:

Spring: Ryan Newman
Fall: Carl Edwards

Spring: Kyle Busch
Fall: Carl Edwards

Clint Bowyer

The following is a handy guide to track events at Phoenix International Raceway. All times are in Eastern Standard Time:

Friday, Feb. 25:
11 a.m. NCWTS Final Practice, SPEED
1 p.m. NNS Practice, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
4 p.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
5 p.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
5 p.m. NCWTS Pole Qualifying, SPEED
6 p.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
7:30 p.m. NCWTS SetUp, SPEED
8 p.m. NCWTS: Lucas Oil 150, SPEED. Green flag: 8:18 p.m.
11 p.m. Trackside at Phoenix, SPEED. Guests: Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne.

Saturday, Feb. 26:
12 a.m. NCWTS SetUp, SPEED
12:30 a.m. NCWTS: Lucas Oil 150, SPEED
3 a.m. Trackside at Phoenix, SPEED
12 noon Trackside at Phoenix, SPEED
1 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
2 p.m. NNS Pole Qualifying, SPEED
3:30 p.m. NSCS Pole Qualifying, SPEED
4:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
5 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN2
5:30 p.m. NNS: Bashas' Supermarkets 200, ESPN2. Green flag: 5:45 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 27:
3 a.m. NNS: Bashas' Supermarkets 200, ESPN2
9 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
11 a.m. NASCAR Performance, SPEED
11:30 a.m.  The 10, SPEED
12:30 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
2:30 p.m. NSCS Pre-Race Show, FOX
3 p.m. NSCS: SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500, FOX. Green flag: 3:14 p.m.
8 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (reruns at 1 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday)

Speak Your Mind: Does Bayne's win show flaw in one-title rule?

Trevor Bayne shows off his 2011 Daytona 500
champion's ring. (
Courtesy of ESPN Inc.)
Trevor Bayne's record-setting Daytona 500 win has spurred much discussion about the new one-title rule that NASCAR implemented this year.

Before the start of the season, NASCAR drivers in each of the top three series had to check a box on their license forms as to which series they would compete for a championship and thus earn points. Bayne, who is running 18 Cup races this season for Wood Brothers, had already checked the box for the Nationwide championship. So even though he won the sport's biggest race, he receives no Sprint Cup points and therefore is not included in the standings. Under the previous system, Bayne would be leading the points.

Bayne does have the option to switch his title preference from Nationwide to Cup, but in doing so he would not receive the points retroactively for his win. Instead, the win would count toward the Chase wildcard provision. However, Bayne has said he intends to stick with Nationwide.

The Sprint Cup points leader is Carl Edwards, who finished second in the Daytona 500 but did not lead a single lap. Because of the new rule, none of the points leaders in the three series currently are the season-opening race winners.

Some questions we are pondering here at Skirts and Scuffs: Does Bayne's win show a flaw in the one-title rule? Does it change the way you had thought about the rule previously? Do you think the race winner of the first race of the season should lead the points, as in the past? Or do you think the rule will work out in the long run (for the series regulars)? Should Bayne should opt for Cup or stay with Nationwide?

Amanda Ebersole: Although I am still torn over the one-title rule, in the case of Trevor Bayne I believe it is a good rule. He needs the additional experience the Nationwide Series will give him before running full time in the Cup Series. Although he did great in the Daytona race, that was only his second Cup race. I would be concerned about him running the full Cup season, and possibly not doing as well, then everyone will want to chastise him.

We now know Trevor has chosen to only run the full season in the Nationwide, and to his credit I think this was a wise decision. Roush Fenway Racing is lacking sponsorship for Bayne, but after his astonishing win at the Daytona 500, I don't see how that will remain a problem any longer.

Summer Dreyer: The change in the points structure was more of an effort to bring more attention to the Nationwide Series (and, to a lesser extent, Camping World Truck Series) regulars who were getting overshadowed by the Sprint Cup Series drivers. I don't think NASCAR (or anyone really) expected a Nationwide Series regular to win the Daytona 500. And, to be honest, they probably won't the rest of the year. I think the points situation in all three series right now is just a product of unpredictable Daytona racing and won't be as big a deal as the year goes on. I think we'll still see a lot of ineligible drivers winning races in the Nationwide Series, but that is to be expected.

As far as Bayne, I think it would be foolish to switch his points to the Sprint Cup Series. Bayne doesn't even have a full schedule lined up for the Sprint Cup Series, and expecting him to remain ultra-competitive in the series would be unfair. Bayne still needs to knock out a few Nationwide Series race wins before we can expect him to do the same thing in Sprint Cup.

Katy Lindamood: The one-series rule was put into effect to give those who otherwise not have a shot at the championship a chance. With Cup drivers dominating both Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series over the past few seasons, something had to be done.

We already know that Bayne and the Wood Brothers team don't have enough funding for the entire season, so him not being at the top of the points standings now isn't a big deal. The only way this could be a potential issue is if they secure funding for the other races before the Chase begins and if they are able to perform consistently over the course of the season.

How things will work out in the long run with the new points system and the one series rule is anyone's guess. It's foolish to think we can predict how the season will unfold with only one race in the books and so many factors playing into a driver/team having a good weekend. If the past is any indication, it will take a couple of weeks for the points to sort themselves out and for an accurate assessment of the system to be made.

As for Bayne choosing to keep his declaration for Nationwide, this is a wise decision. While there is no doubt Bayne surprised many with his drafting abilities at Daytona last weekend, we've seen several drivers move up into the Cup Series too quickly and not have the expected results. Choosing to change his declaration now would possibly hurt his focus on the Nationwide Series, where he has a better chance of winning the title.

Rebecca Kivak: The one-title rule was implemented to put the focus back on regulars in the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. In both series, Sprint Cup drivers have dominated many of the races, and in Nationwide they’ve had a stranglehold on the championship. I still believe NASCAR made the right call in making the rule to put these series, particularly Nationwide, back in the hands of its regulars, and I think the points in each series as they stand now – with a regular sitting on top - reflects that.

The standings may look quirky because the race winner in each series – Michael Waltrip in trucks, Tony Stewart in Nationwide, and Trevor Bayne in Sprint Cup – is not leading the points, but none of them were scheduled to run the full season, anyway. Even though that was the way things were done in the past, I would find it strange to see Waltrip or Stewart as the points leader knowing each was only set to run one race (or a handful, at the very least) in that particular series this year. I’d automatically look to see where the highest series regular fell. Now, however, with the new rule, NASCAR has sorted it out for me and that driver is already sitting on top of the points.

I think the race winner not leading the points, because of the one-title rule, is a temporary blip in the system. After all, we’re only one race into the season. As we’ve seen in years past, I think the points will sort themselves out accordingly in each series as the season goes on. And as the year goes on, we will be able to better assess the effectiveness of the new rule.

As for Trevor Bayne, he and the Wood Brothers increased their Cup schedule by one race, making it 18, after his win, but because of funding, they were prepared to run only part of the season, anyway. As big a deal as it would be for Bayne to lead the Cup points, he had made the decision to take the time to develop in Nationwide, and knowing his options, he has still chosen to stick with his original decision. I think this is a wise choice.

Clearly Bayne was solid throughout Speedweeks. Winning in only his second Cup start – the Daytona 500, no less – at the age of 20 is a huge accomplishment, no matter how you look at it. But we’ve seen a lot of drivers be rushed into Cup full-time, denying them the chance to develop and instead face a set of expectations that perhaps didn’t fit with their level of development. Bayne even said himself on NASCAR Now: “We’ve got to keep our expectations in check. This isn't going to happen every weekend, even though we want to win every weekend.” In my opinion, Bayne made the right decision to stick with Nationwide, where he has a better chance at winning a championship, before making the jump full-time to Cup.

Roush Rewind: Daytona 500

Photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for NASCAR
The 2011 Daytona 500 was a race that saw two of the Roush Fenway Racing's drivers (Greg Biffle & Matt Kenseth) return back to North Carolina with damaged cars, one finishing up as the race's runner-up (Carl Edwards) and the fourth driver (David Ragan) watching his hopes of winning "The Great American Race" disappear after making a costly mistake during a restart.

Once the green flag dropped on Sunday afternoon, every driver had their sights set on becoming the 2011 Daytona 500 Champion. Instead of the usual big packs of cars that are normally seen at Daytona International Speedway, it became a matter of finding the right drafting partner as "two-car tandems" became the best way to get around the newly paved racetrack. When the checkered flag waved, it was 20 year old Trevor Bayne who became the history making driver to win "The Great American Race." He is the youngest driver in NASCAR history to ever win this prestigious event.

Greg Biffle—Started: 26th. Finished: 35th.
During last year’s Daytona 500, Greg Biffle finished in the third position. The #16 3M Ford Fusion team looked to better that result this time around. Biffle took the green flag from the 26th position and was soon paired up with teammate Carl Edwards. The plan throughout most of the day was that these two would remain towards the back of the pack to avoid any potential trouble.

Under the first caution of the day, Biffle was running 40th and pitted for fuel only. On the restart, he partnered with Edwards again and the two remained in the back for a while. When the next caution flag waved, both drivers stayed out on the racetrack.  Once the green flag waved again, the duo began to move towards the front of the field. They were running 8th and 9th respectively when the third caution came out. Biffle made a pit stop for two tires, fuel and would have to restart in 15th position. He was then paired up with one of his other Roush Fenway teammates Matt Kenseth.

Biffle and Kenseth made their way through the pack trying to avoid the three-wide and four-wide racing by riding in the middle of the pack. However, they were unable to avoid the multi-car incident that unfolded just a few laps later. The damage to the #16 3M Ford Fusion was enough to send Biffle to the garage for repairs. The right side of the car was heavily damaged along with the radiator which had to be replaced.

On lap 46, Biffle was able to return to the track. In the following 90 or so laps saw Biffle pushing one of his teammates at some point. On lap 135, Biffle was pushing teammate Matt Kenseth when Kenseth had to check up suddently to avoid getting into Logano. Biffle couldn’t check up as fast and got into Kenseth, which turned him into the wall, effectively ending Kenseth’s day. Just a handful of laps later, Biffle and the #42 Target Chevrolet of Juan Pablo Montoya made contact which sent Biffle into the wall. At this point, Biffle's day ended early due to the further damage to his car.  He is currently 32nd in the standings and 33 points behind the current points leader. 

Matt Kenseth—Started: 9th. Finished: 34th.
It was approximately two years ago Matt Kenseth and his crew won the Daytona 500.  After a disappointing and winless season last year, the #17 Crown Royal Black Ford Fusion team looked to kick off the 2011 season with a win. Kenseth started ninth on the grid and in no time at all was running up front. Just like every other driver, Kenseth had to find help in the draft and that help came in the form of the #29 Budweiser Chevrolet Impala of Kevin Harvick. These two drivers had worked well together during the first Gatorade Duel on Thursday and on the chemistry proved to be no different during this race.  By the second lap of the race, Kenseth pushed Harvick to the lead.

Kenseth stayed out under the first caution of the day and made a fuel-only stop under the caution which  came out shortly after the first few laps. Harvick pitted with Kenseth so they could get hooked up again on the restart. Kenseth restarted 20th and was looking to once again work with Harvick. However, six laps after the restart, Harvick had engine problems and his day ended early. As a result, Kenseth lost his drafting partner.

Under the caution that resulted from Harvick’s blown engine, Kenseth pitted for right side tires and fuel. He restarted 17th; however, shortly after the restart a multi-car incident unfolded in turns 3 and 4. Kenseth was caught up in the melee which caused right side and left rear damage to his car. He immediately began to fill his crew in on the damage over the radio stating the right-front suspension and the steering were off. Kenseth pitted multiple times under the caution so his crew could make repairs. Surpisingly, he didn’t have to go to the garage but did return to the track with a car that was still pretty damaged.

Following the restart, Kenseth reported the car was slow since he had no drafting help but otherwise it drove fine. Due to the lack of drafting, on lap 44 Kenseth went down a lap; however, he gained it back on lap 47 due to a caution flag. He made a pit stop for four tires, fuel, and more repairs. On the restart, Kenseth informed his crew that car was chattering the tires. Once again, another caution came out and the team tried to repair the damage.

Eventually, the lack of grip combined with the damage to the car had Kenseth fighting for position from that point on. During a restart on lap 129, Kenseth and teammate Biffle planned to work together. It went well until lap 135 when Kenseth had to check up for Logano in front of him. He received a nudge from Biffle that sent the #17 3M Ford Fusion into the wall. Kenseth’s day was over at that point and he left accepting a 34th place finish. He is currently 31st in the standings and 32 points behind the current points leader. 

David Ragan—Started: 34th. Finished: 14th.
The 2011 season could prove to be a pivotal year for David Ragan. With a lot of talk that his ride at Roush Fenway Racing is in jeopardy(recently it was announced his contract with RFR has been extended to 2014), he needed a great showing on Sunday to prove that he could earn his keep. Ragan qualified 34th for the Daytona 500 thanks to the second Gatorade Duel on the Thursday; however, he crashed his primary car on the last lap of that race and was forced to pilot a backup car. The #6 UPS Ford Fusion took the green flag from the back of the field.

In the early laps of the race, Ragan quickly teamed up with the #9 Stanley Ford Fusion piloted by Marcos Ambrose. The two had discussed a strategy to work together during practice earlier that weekend. Under the second caution of the day, Ragan pitted for adjustments and fuel. He restarted 33rd since some drivers had stayed out and Ambrose continued to work with him. Under the caution brought out by the #29 (blown engine), Ragan pitted again for fuel. On that following restart, Ragan hooked up with the one driver who would prove to be instrumental in getting the duo to the front. His new drafting partner was the #21 Motorcraft Ford /Quick Lane Ford Fusion piloted by Trevor Bayne. By the time the next caution came out, they were running in the top five.

Ragan made a pit stop for left side tires and fuel on lap 77 but was forced to pit again because the team was worried they hadn’t gotten the fuel tank completely full. Making the extra stop caused Ragan to be separated from Bayne on the restart. His new drafting partner was teammate Greg Biffle, who had returned to the track in a damaged car. The two worked together for a while before pit stops separated them. On lap 108, Ragan made a stop for right side tires and fuel under caution. On the restart he had help from another teammate, Carl Edwards. At some point during the next run, something caused a hole to form in the nose of the Ragan's car but he reported that it wasn’t affecting the handling. During the next pit stops, the crew put tape on the nose of the car and sent Ragan back out on the track. Finally, during a pit stop on lap 160 Ragan was reunited with Bayne once again.

Ragan and Bayne paired up and stuck together until there were just two laps remaining in the race. The caution came out on lap 197 of the 200 lap race, resulting in a green-white-checkered finish attempt. Ragan was the leader for the restart and Bayne fell in line behind him. A multi-car accident happened behind them just after the restart. As a result, this meant that there would be another attempt for a green-white checkered finish.

Perhaps the win in the Daytona 500 would have meant more to Ragan than anyone could have ever known. Unfortunately, fate threw a cruel curveball in the form of a black flag against Ragan on the final restart. He had changed his line on the restart well before the start/finish line causing NASCAR to penalize him. He was forced to make a pass-through penalty on pit road and restarted in the 15th position. This resulted in Ragan finishing 14th and is currently sitting 13th in the points standings.  He is 11 points behind the current points leader.

Carl Edwards—Started: 22nd. Finished: 2nd.
The #99 Aflac Ford Fusion started Sunday’s race from the 22nd position. Carl Edwards found a drafting partner in teammate Greg Biffle. The two had worked well together in the second Duel on Thursday so it was only logical they work together for the Daytona 500. Edwards was able to avoid the multi-car incident that collected Biffle early in the race.

Edwards pitted under the caution brought out by that incident for four tires and fuel. On the restart, he worked with the #4 Red Bull Toyota Camry piloted by Kasey Kahne.  Once Greg Biffle returned to the track, Edwards planned to stick with him despite the fact that his teammate was multiple laps down in a damaged car. When Biffle’s day ended after another incident, Edwards had to find another drafting partner. Halfway through the race, Edwards was running in the top five being pushed by the #56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota Camry piloted by Martin Truex, Jr. However, with all the cautions and pit strategies coming into play, Edwards ran anywhere from the top five all the way to mid-pack. With 20 laps to go, Edwards once again teamed up with Kahne; however, a brake rotor broke on Kahne’s car just a few laps later which brought out a caution. Edwards couldn’t avoid the rotor and ran it over cutting down a tire.

Fortunately, Edwards was able to pit for four tires and remained on the lead lap. He restarted 24th and once again found himself being pushed by Truex, Jr. Edwards was able to avoid the multi-car incident on lap 197, and was up to 11th for the first green-white-checkered attempt.  For the second attempt, Edwards was lined up 10th. Once the green flag dropped, it became one of those “where’d he come from?” moments as Edwards rocketed to second place coming off turn four on the last lap with help from the #34 Taco Bell Ford Fusion piloted by David Gilliland. Despite an impressive late race charge, Edwards fell short of claiming the victory as he took the checkered flag in the second position. Ironically, he is currently the points leader due to the new points system that was put into the place by NASCAR at the beginning of the year.

Race Winner—Trevor Bayne
In a race that had a record 16 cautions and broke the record for lead changes, it was only fitting that the winner also break a record himself as the youngest driver to ever win the "Great American Race." Congratulations to Trevor Bayne and the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing team on their astonishing victory!