Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fast Facts: Jeb Burton

credit: Getty Images for NASCAR
Jeb Burton, driver of the No. 4 Arrowhead Chevrolet Silverado for Turner Scott Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, is one of the top young drivers in the series in 2013. Find out more about this second-generation driver in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • John Edwards Burton IV was born August 6, 1992 in Halifax, Virginia. He’s the son of 2002 Dayton 500 winner Ward Burton and nephew of Cup Series regular Jeff Burton.
  • Burton began racing at age 16 at South Boston Speedway – where his father and uncle got their starts – competing in the Limited Sportsman Series. In 2009, his first full season racing in the series, he finished fourth in points. Burton moved up to the Late Model Series at South Boston in 2010, finishing 11th in points and winning the series’ Rookie of the Year title. As a Late Model driver, Burton competed at a number of tracks throughout southern Virginia and central North Carolina, including Ace Speedway, where he picked up his first Late Model win in June 2011.
  • Burton made his ARCA Racing Series debut for Eddie Sharp Racing in July 2011 at Berlin Speedway. He made his NASCAR debut in the Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway in April 2012 for Hillman Racing. At the end of the season, Turner Scott Motorsports announced a two-year deal with Burton for 2013 and 2014, including a full-time ride in the Truck Series and a limited Nationwide Series schedule. Burton won his first pole at Martinsville in April 2013, followed by his first win at Texas Motor Speedway in June.
  • Off the track, Burton enjoys hunting and fishing, along with watching Carolina Panthers and Virginia Tech football and Duke basketball.
  • Learn more about Burton at his website, www.jebburton.com.

Ryan Gifford pulls double duty at Iowa, debuts in Nationwide Series

Ryan Gifford celebrates his K&N Pro Series East win at Richmond, April 25, 2013
Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images  
The No. 33 Rheem/Menard’s Chevy has a first-time pilot for this weekend’s Saturday night event. Ryan Gifford, a participant in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, makes his first-ever Nationwide Series start for Richard Childress Racing. He will also compete in the K&N Pro Series East race for Rev Racing on Friday night.

“The biggest thing I'm looking forward to is getting out there on the track and learning more about the Nationwide cars. You know, I have zero experience in one of those cars. For me, I think I just got to take it a lap at a time and just feel the car out. Hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll have the Menards Chevy up front.”

Iowa Speedway seemed a natural choice for a debut NNS run due to his experience there. Currently in his fourth full-time year in the K&N Series, Gifford has five starts at the track under his belt.

“I know Iowa Speedway kind of like the back of my hand,” he said. “I think there will be some things that change between the K&N Series and the Nationwide Series. But being familiar with how the garage is laid out, pit road, things like that, is a big help as a driver.”

The 24-year-old Gifford earned his first victory in the K&N Series this April at Richmond where he won the Blue Ox 100. Heading into Iowa, he has four top fives, five top 10s and sits fourth in the K&N East standings.

The Tennessee native has spent time around the Dillon family, racing Dirt Late Models for Team Dillon Racing. Gifford said even though Austin and Ty Dillon are “almost like complete opposites” behind the wheel, he tries to emulate the driving styles of both brothers.

“They're both guys that I try and learn a lot from. That's one of the things that I do a lot is watch their races, just try and pick out things that they do that make them better than other guys. It seems to help me.”

Gifford said he thinks an important trait in a racecar driver is being able to adapt to different situations. That adaptability will be key as he switches from K&N car to Nationwide car for qualifying, practice and the races at Iowa Speedway.

How excited is Gifford about the upcoming race weekend?

“For me, I'm looking forward to it probably more than anything I've looked forward to in years,” he said. “It's kind of like the last day of school: it doesn't get here soon enough.”

Monday, July 29, 2013

Caption this: Tony Stewart

Eldora Speedway owner extraordinaire, Tony Stewart, poses for the camera.

Leave your caption in the comment section below. One entry per person and please leave your name or twitter handle. Anonymous posts will not be eligible to win.

We'll take captions until Thursday evening, then the Skirts and Scuffs staff will vote to choose a winner. Check back this Saturday to read the winning caption.

And yes, there is a PRIZE! The "Caption this" winner will receive a copy of the book, Race Fans' Devotions to Go. The winner must follow instructions for sending us his or her contact info, as specified in the winning caption post.

Bring on your funnies. We look forward to reading them! :o)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

History almost repeats itself as Kyle Busch takes Nationwide win at Indy

Photo by Tom Pennington/NASCAR via Getty Images

Dominant wins and Kyle Busch are nothing new, especially in the Nationwide Series. However, what seemed like another Rowdy Busch slam-dunk almost turned into a repeat of last year's disappointing loss.

During the final restart with only six laps to go, Joey Logano started on the outside, taking some air off Kyle Busch's car, and both cars slid up the track into the marbles. Brian Scott, who was running in third, took advantage of the opportunity to take the lead. Scott was able to hold Busch off for a couple laps, but ultimately Busch overtook him for the lead, and the win. This is Kyle Busch's eighth win of 15 starts in the Nationwide Seres this season, and his fifth from the pole -- a new NNS record. In all, it is Busch's 59th win of 259 career starts in the Nationwide Series.

Brian Scott came in second, which is his career best finish in the Nationwide Series. Logano finished third, followed by Brian Vickers and Kevin Harvick.

"I feel like he was able to get by me because I was a little too cautious on corner entry," Scott said. "I was really focused on making sure I got as low as I could and not give him any clean air. I thought that was going to be more beneficial."

Unfortunately Sam Hornish, Jr.'s day was less than stellar due to an engine failure at Lap 65 resulting from an overheating issue. Hornish went into the race as the points leader but his 34th-place finish cost him the series lead. Austin Dillon, who ran 12th, took over the top spot in the standings by six points over Regan Smith, who finished 19th.

The official race results:
1. (1) Kyle Busch (i), Toyota, 100, $69625.
2. (11) Brian Scott, Chevrolet, 100, $58444.
3. (13) Joey Logano (i), Ford, 100, $40050.
4. (6) Brian Vickers, Toyota, 100, $41453.
5. (15) Kevin Harvick (i), Chevrolet, 100, $31575.
6. (10) Paul Menard (i), Chevrolet, 100, $28000.
7. (9) Matt Kenseth (i), Toyota, 100, $26575.
8. (18) Kevin Swindell #, Ford, 100, $33128.
9. (19) Michael Annett, Ford, 100, $31628.
10. (39) Travis Pastrana, Ford, 100, $31603.
11. (17) Kyle Larson #, Chevrolet, 100, $29953.
12. (7) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 100, $29703.
13. (4) Elliott Sadler, Toyota, 100, $30428.
14. (8) Nelson Piquet Jr. #, Chevrolet, 100, $29078.
15. (38) Alex Bowman #, Toyota, 100, $29828.
16. (3) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 100, $30953.
17. (22) Cole Whitt, Toyota, 100, $28553.
18. (5) Parker Kligerman, Toyota, 100, $28403.
19. (16) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 100, $28203.
20. (23) Kyle Fowler, Ford, 100, $28753.
21. (20) David Starr (i), Chevrolet, 100, $27928.
22. (30) Mike Wallace, Chevrolet, 100, $27803.
23. (24) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, 100, $27653.
24. (25) Ryan Sieg (i), Chevrolet, 99, $21100.
25. (29) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 99, $27953.
26. (12) Kasey Kahne (i), Chevrolet, 99, $20975.
27. (26) Johanna Long, Chevrolet, 98, $27253.
28. (28) Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 98, $27178.
29. (27) Tanner Berryhill, Toyota, 98, $20650.
30. (37) Robert Richardson Jr., Chevrolet, 98, $27303.
31. (36) Eric McClure, Toyota, 95, $26903.
32. (35) Ken Butler, Toyota, Transmission, 90, $26778.
33. (14) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 81, $26718.
34. (2) Sam Hornish Jr., Ford, Overheating, 64, $26683.
35. (31) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, Overheating, 59, $26617.
36. (21) Mike Bliss, Toyota, Engine, 41, $25008.
37. (34) JJ Yeley (i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 7, $18545.
38. (40) David Green, Toyota, Transmission, 6, $18461.
39. (32) Josh Wise, Chevrolet, Rear Gear, 6, $18300.
40. (33) Jeff Green, Toyota, Vibration, 4, $18190.

(i) = ineligible for driver points in this series

Ryan Newman scores 50th career Cup pole back home in Indiana

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Known as "Rocket Man" because of his uncanny ability to put his car on the Sprint Cup pole, Ryan Newman last scored a first-place start in September, 2011. Saturday afternoon he scored his 50th career pole in qualifying for the 20th running of the Brickyard 400.

The native of South Bend, Indiana and Purdue University graduate drew the last slot in qualifying for the Crown Royal Presents The Samuel Deeds 400 at The Brickyard. He set a new track record and knocked defending race winner Jimmie Johnson off the top of the pylon.

Johnson went out 11th and sweated through the rest of the session until Newman wheeled the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevy around Indianapolis Motor Speedway around the narrow track and became the ninth driver to score 50 or more career Cup poles.

"I did miss Turn 2 a little bit on my turning point, and felt like that I made that mistake and then the lap tracker showed that." said Johnson. "But Ryan hit all four corners great and got it done. Happy for him. It's got to be a big day for him, being a hometown boy and all. Very happy for Ryan and very happy for our team."

Newman got teary-eyed over his achievement.

"I got emotional on the backstretch when they told me that. It's special to me because it's Indiana, but it's more special to me because it's the Brickyard, because it's Indy, because of the history of auto racing at this facility." Newman said.
            "So many drivers who are my heroes, so many drivers I've admired, so many drivers that have worked so hard in their career to get to here on this day, to be the fastest one, that's what's themost special to me. Yeah, it's awesome to get that standing ovation from all the Indiana guys and girls that are here.  It does feel like home again in Indiana."

When asked why he hadn't won a pole since September (2011,) Newman said, " Actually I woke up this morning and had a couple chocolate chip cookies and just decided to try harder."

No confirmation on whether they were soda cookies.

Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, and Tony Stewart round out the top five starting positions.

Edwards said, "We brought a brand new car here that everyone worked very hard on, and we were not very good at the beginning of practice.  Everybody worked really hard to get the car right, and we had a great 1 and 2 and not so great at 3 and 4, and I thought I was going to be the most disappointed guy in the place until Ryan ran his lap and I feel bad for Jimmie..."

The race begins at 1 p.m. (ET) with coverage on ESPN beginning at 12 p.m. (ET).

Full starting lineup:

Rank Driver Time Speed
1   Ryan Newman 47.992   187.531  
2   Jimmie Johnson 48.016   187.438  
3   Carl Edwards 48.088   187.157  
4   Denny Hamlin 48.097   187.122  
5   Tony Stewart 48.173   186.827  
6   Kurt Busch 48.200   186.722  
7   Kasey Kahne 48.223   186.633  
8   Juan Pablo Montoya 48.248   186.536  
9   Jeff Gordon 48.264   186.474  
10   Marcos Ambrose 48.314   186.281  
11   Joey Logano 48.399   185.954  
12   Brad Keselowski 48.408   185.920  
13   Matt Kenseth 48.442   185.789  
14   A.J. Allmendinger 48.477   185.655  
15   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 48.486   185.621  
16   Jeff Burton 48.531   185.448  
17   Clint Bowyer 48.534   185.437  
18   Jamie McMurray 48.601   185.181  
19   Kyle Busch 48.622   185.101  
20   Austin Dillon 48.659   184.961  
21   Aric Almirola 48.703   184.794  
22   Travis Kvapil 48.734   184.676  
23   Paul Menard 48.742   184.646  
24   Kevin Harvick 48.756   184.593  
25   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 48.771   184.536  
26   Mark Martin 48.832   184.305  
27   Greg Biffle 48.901   184.045  
28   Trevor Bayne 48.938   183.906  
29   Landon Cassill 48.962   183.816  
30   Casey Mears 48.979   183.752  
31   David Reutimann 49.092   183.329  
32   Josh Wise 49.168   183.046  
33   Danica Patrick 49.197   182.938  
34   Bobby Labonte 49.227   182.826  
35   Michael McDowell 49.229   182.819  
36   David Ragan 49.329   182.448  
37   David Stremme 49.539   181.675   OP
  Martin Truex, Jr. 49.577   181.536   OP
39   J.J. Yeley 49.658   181.240   OP
40   Joe Nemechek 49.772   180.825   OP
41   Dave Blaney 50.034   179.878   OP
42   David Gilliland 50.126   179.548   OP
43   Timmy Hill 50.344   178.770   OP

DNQ: Mike Bliss, Scott Speed 

NNS Pole Report: Kyle Busch makes history at the Brickyard

Credit: Andy Lyons / Getty Images
Kyle Busch not only blew away the competition to claim the pole for today's Indiana 250 Nationwide race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but also made history in the process.

With his lap of 179.644 mph (50.099 seconds), Busch claimed his 31st pole, becoming the record-holder for the most poles ever in the Nationwide Series.

Busch also set a new track record in winning his fifth series pole of the season. This puts him in position to try for his eighth win of the year.

Today's race marks the second year the Nationwide Series has run at the Brickyard. Rounding out the top 5 are Nationwide points leader Sam Hornish Jr., who won the 2006 Indianapolis 500; Trevor Bayne, Elliott Sadler and Parker Kligerman.

Travis Pastrana hit the wall during his qualifying lap and will move to a backup car. Joey Gase also wrecked during his lap and did not make the race.

The Indiana 250 will be broadcast today at 4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:51 p.m.

Starting lineup:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Sam Hornish Jr.
3. Trevor Bayne
4. Elliott Sadler
5. Parker Kligerman
6. Brian Vickers
7. Austin Dillon
8. Nelson Piquet Jr.
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Paul Menard
11. Brian Scott
12. Kasey Kahne
13. Joey Logano
14. Justin Allgaier
15. Kevin Harvick
16. Regan Smith
17. Kyle Larson
18. Kevin Swindell
19. Michael Annett
20. David Starr
21. Mike Bliss
22. Cole Whitt
23. Kyle Fowler
24. Joe Nemechek
25. Ryan Sieg
26. Johanna Long
27. Tanner Berryhill
28. Reed Sorenson
29. Landon Cassill
30. Mike Wallace
31. Jeremy Clements
32. Josh Wise
33. Jeff Green
34. JJ Yeley
35. Ken Butler
36. Eric McClure
37. Robert Richardson Jr.
38. Alex Bowman
39. Travis Pastrana
40. David Green

Did Not Qualify: Matt Dibenedetto, Carl Long, Morgan Shepherd and Joey Gase.

"Caption this" winner: Cassie Laberee

"Do I really look like an ogre? I don't think so."

Congratulations to Cassie Laberee who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Ryan Newman.

Please send your full name and mailing address to bbreinke@skirtsandscuffs.com to receive your prize, a copy of the devotional book Race Fans' Devotions to Go.

Thanks to everyone who played "Caption this!" Check back next Monday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trust, the Main Ingredient in Life's Kitchen: Five Questions for Indianapolis

Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
When I was a kid, being in the kitchen with Mom was one of my favorite activities. I can still smell the spices in the pot as potatoes stewed, the sweetness wafting from the baking cake, the char of food that fell down in the burner’s murky depths.With every recipe came a memory, and, with every cooking adventure, a new one was created.

Being so young meant I couldn’t physically work around the stove, yet I did with my eyes.

Add a pinch in there. No, no, no, not too much! Turn down the heat a smidgen. Perfect.

I learned terms and tricks from Mom, yet I also gained another weighty lesson: trust. As weird as it sounds, pasta is the reason why.

It was Spaghetti Night, and I observed as she checked the boiling water for readiness. She then cracked a handful of long, wafer-thin noodles and dropped them into the Jacuzzi. My feet danced and swished as the time ticked away. We performed a musical. We played charades.

I was in the middle of a solo when her head whipped to the stovetop. Immediately, she took the pot off the heat and went to the sink. As she drained the pasta, my eyebrows came together.

“How do you know it’s ready?” She hadn’t set a timer or glanced at the clock.

Shaking the excess water off the noodles, Mom answered, “I just know. Too late to put the water back, so you have to trust your gut.”

Trust your gut. Seven years later, that phrase sticks in my stomach every time I have a decision to make. It’s hard to gain, yet easy to lose. It’s definitely more fragile than uncooked pasta. When someone you’ve given your heart to injures that key muscle, it’s over. Well-done, burnt, call the fire department and throw it in the trash.

Recently, I’ve been embarking on my own. Media days at the local track, attempting to land opportunities out of my reach, giving life to old book ideas. All those things have happened due to having faith in my instincts.

Also, cooking has been another release as of late. Grabbing ingredients and setting them on the counter, only to make something entirely different half an hour later is invigorating. Smells flooding throughout the entire house, seemingly telling the world what’s on the menu.

Life is a concoction, one full of bitter notes, hints of sweetness, and a huge dollop of mystery. As you stir and whisk and try to make the flavors even out, the truth is that they never will. But you throw in some spice, relaxation, and maybe even love to try, not even measuring how much of what aspects should be added.

That’s because your gut knows what feels - and tastes - good.

So, what’s cooking at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you ask? More history in the making, of course! The Brickyard 400 will take the green flag for the 20th time, yet should we keep having this prestigious race? What about dirt racing? How about some love for Toyota? I’ve got all of that here, in this week’s Five Questions.

Should Indianapolis be taken off the schedule? This question comes up every year, which is depressing, but it will always have the same answer: no. However, this time around, there’s a different reasoning behind that choice. The history behind this track is encapsulating, yet the car is another thing to keep in mind. It’ll be the first time the Gen-6 rolls around Indy, so everyone’s blind. We have no idea how this is going to go down. I think it’s best to not judge this weekend’s race on races past, take it as it comes. That’s the best strategy.

Will we see more dirt tracks on the schedule soon? If you didn’t have the chance to watch the NCWTS race at Eldora on Wednesday night, I feel bad for you; it’s going to be named The Best Race of 2013 by year’s end. I’ve never seen so many drivers smiling after a race. That’s the main thing: when the drivers are happy, the racing is great, and it seems like these wheelmen were happy slipping and sliding around on sediment. Does this mean that we’ll see dirt more often? I would think so, but not too many; that would have the same effect as too many night races, magic dwindling away over time. Another dirt race in Trucks would be divine, but I’m not sure about the Nationwide and Cup cars. But, who knows?

May the Nationwide series PLEASE go back to Lucas Oil Raceway? While everyone is talking about how dull The Brickyard has gotten, I’m over here fretting about Saturday. Last year was the Nationwide Series’ first time at Indianapolis, and it produced less than stellar results. As much as I appreciate the effort, the ball was dropped with that decision. It’s possible this weekend could be different, but it’s also possible it won’t be. Maybe those in charge will end up regretting this decision.

Can one of this season’s winless drivers break through? It’s befuddling to hear that Jeff Gordon, Clint Bowyer, Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch all have zeros in the "win" column; some of the biggest names haven’t won yet? What? Well, I’m expecting these four to make up some ground on Sunday. It’s time to take things seriously, guys. I’d hate to see any of these guys miss The Chase (to be honest, I want every driver to have a chance). It isn’t right that three former champions and last year’s runner-up aren’t competitive when the white flag falls. I have faith that they all will get their stuff together.

Do we finally see a Toyota enter Victory Lane? Chevy has won every trip to the Brickyard for the past ten years. However, I’m talking about a different manufacturer. Last year, many TRD engines blew, and the race turned out to be another foiled attempt for a Toyota team to kiss the bricks. That may change due to two words: Matt Kenseth. He’s been a stout contender this year, the only one in position to rival Jimmie Johnson so far. With that bullet in Toyota’s chamber, they certainly have a surefire chance at victory this time around.

TV Schedule: July 26-28

Jimmie Johnson and his family kiss the bricks after Johnson won last year's Brickyard 400 at
Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR
After NASCAR's historic and successful return to dirt at Eldora, the sport heads to one of the most prestigious track in all of motorsports: Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Sprint Cup and Nationwide series take on the 2.5-mile speedway, with one question on everyone's mind: who'll kiss the bricks?

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage at Indianapolis. All times are in Eastern Standard Time. Events without a channel listed will not be televised.

Friday, July 26:
8:30 a.m. NNS Practice
10:30 a.m. NNS Final Practice, SPEED
11:30 a.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
1:30 p.m. NCWTS: Inaugural Mudsummer Classic at Eldora (re-air), SPEED

Saturday, July 27:
2 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
9 a.m. NSCS Final Practice, ESPN2
11 a.m. Trackside, SPEED
12 noon NNS Qualifying, SPEED
2 p.m. NSCS Qualifying, ESPN
4 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN
4:30 p.m. NNS: Indiana 250, ESPN. Green flag: 4:51 p.m.

Sunday, July 28:
9 a.m. NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy, ESPN2
9:30 a.m. SPEED Center NASCAR Edition, SPEED
10 a.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
12 noon NSCS Countdown, ESPN
1 p.m. NSCS: Crown Royal Presents the Samuel Deeds 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com, ESPN. Green flag: 1:20 p.m. Reruns at midnight on ESPN2.
5 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED
8:30 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED

Thursday, July 25, 2013

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: At the Brickyard

Track Classification: Superspeedway
Similar Tracks: Daytona International Speedway •  Auto Club Speedway (Fontana) 
Michigan International Speedway • Pocono Raceway • Talladega Superspeedway
Distance: 2.5 Miles

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Greg Biffle - 5
Both with 4 - Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon
All with 3 - Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch 

By Track
Both with 4 - Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart
All with 3 - Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch

Recent Pole Winners:
2012 Denny Hamlin
2011 David Ragan

The Likely Suspects: Tony Stewart, the Indy hometown hero, tops the Likely Suspects list this week. Other drivers who excel here include Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Jamie McMurray, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: The no-brainer nod this week goes to Tony Stewart because Indy is his home track, it's the summer and Stewart has mastered the Brickyard. Greg Biffle runs a very close second. I will round out my team with Jeff Gordon, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, A.J. Allmendinger and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. If you are feeling a little iffy about Jeff Gordon, taking the Jimmie Johnson route at Indy makes a lot of sense. If you have any Kyle Busch starts left, starting him and pulling Ryan Newman would be the way to go.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or email me at ssfantasyracing@skirtsandscuffs.com.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Iowa Speedway Foundation pledges $8000 to Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation

ias and americas place
(NEWTON, Iowa – July 24, 2013)   Officials with the Iowa Speedway Foundation announced today that $8,000 will be donated to the Checkered Flag Foundation, a 501-C-3 charity established by NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski.

After he agreed to participate in the August 3 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Iowa Speedway, the Iowa Speedway Foundation board offered to make a significant contribution to Keselowski’s charity.

“We are pleased to support Brad’s ‘Checkered Flag Foundation’,” said Stan Clement, Iowa Speedway President and foundation board member.  “His work with wounded warriors and their families, as well as with our heroes in the fire and police services, is admirable.  We are truly proud to offer support for this wonderful cause that Brad has championed.”

Keselowski will pilot the #22 Penske Racing Nationwide car in Iowa Speedway’s fifth annual ‘U.S. Cellular 250 presented by The Enlist Weed Control System’ on Saturday evening, August 3, challenging a talent-rich field of Nationwide Series regulars, headlined by New Hampshire NASCAR Cup winner Brian Vickers.

“I am sure looking forward to racing at Iowa Speedway again,” Keselowski said.  “I won the first Nationwide race at the track in 2009, and I’m coming back to do exactly the same thing this time around.  And I can’t say enough about the Iowa Speedway Foundation’s generosity.  I feel strongly about our mission to support those who have sacrificed for the rest of us, so the foundation support was a great added incentive to do the Iowa/Pocono double that weekend.  It’s tough to do, but really worth it for the Checkered Flag Foundation and Iowa race fans!”

Tickets for the ‘U.S. Cellular 250 presented by The Enlist Weed Control System’, scheduled for 7 pm  on Saturday, August 3, start at $20 and are available online at www.iowaspeedway.com, or by calling the track’s toll-free ticketing hotline at 866-RUSTY-GO (787-8946).  Tickets are also available at the Iowa Speedway Ticket Office, located at 3333 Rusty Wallace Drive in Newton, Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

The final NASCAR K&N Pro Series East/West challenge race of the season will kick off the Nationwide Series weekend on Friday, August 2, with the ‘Pork Be Inspired 150’ at 8 pm.  Tickets for the twice-annual clash of NASCAR’s rising stars start at $20, and are available through all Iowa Speedway ticketing options.

The final major event weekend of Iowa Speedway’s 2013 racing season will be Saturday, September 7 and Sunday, September 8, and will feature the ‘Prairie Meadows 150’ ARCA stock car race and the ‘Iowa 200’ NASCAR Camping World Truck Series clash.  Tickets and weekend passes are available for those two events at www.iowaspeedway.com as well.

Detailed information about Brad Keselowski’s Checkered Flag Foundation may be obtained by logging on to the charity’s official website,www.checkeredflagfoundation.org/. 


About Iowa Speedway
Iowa Speedway is a state-of-the-art 7/8 mile asphalt paved tri-oval race track and motorsports facility located just 30 miles east of Des Moines at I-80 Exit 168 in Newton, Iowa. The track is owned and operated by U.S. Motorsport Corporation and designed by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace, now an anchor and analyst for ABC-TV/ESPN. Call 1-866-RUSTY-GO, or visit www.iowaspeedway.com to learn more.

Guide to the Mudsummer Classic Truck Race at Eldora Speedway

Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images
Finally, arguably the most anticipated race of the year has arrived!

NASCAR returns to its roots on the dirt as the Camping World Truck Series runs at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio. For all the current news, check the track website here, but we've put together some basics for your convenience right here.

Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images
Track owner Tony Stewart watches the action. 
The Race: The CarCash Mudsummer Classic presented by CNBC Prime's The Profit
The Place: Eldora Speedway
The Date: Wednesday, July 24
The Time: 9:35 p.m. (ET)
TV: SPEED, 7 p.m. (ET) (Qualifying 7-9 p.m., Truck Setup 9-9:30 p.m. Race 8:30-11 p.m.)
Radio: MRN, Sirius XM Ch. 90
Distance: 75 miles (150 laps)

The Format:
Two-lap qualifying determines starting position for the qualifying races

Qualifying Races
  • Five qualifying races
  • Eight laps each; only green flag laps count
  • Five trucks transfer from each qualifying race
  • Lineup for the qualifying races will be based on qualifying speeds with four locked-in trucks (trucks in the top 20)
  • The top-five trucks in qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying race
  • Highest finishing non-locked-in truck will transfer to race from each qualifying race
  • At the completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will have earned spots into the feature.
  • Last Chance Race
Last Chance Race 
15 laps; only green flag laps count
  • The top-four finishers will transfer to the feature and start in positions 26-29
  • The lineup will be based on the finish from the qualifying races
  • Starting position No. 30 will go to the most recent past series’ champion who has not already qualified. If the 30th starting position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned to the next highest finishing truck in the Last Chance Race.
It's no surprise that young dirt-track regulars Austin and Ty Dillon and Kyle Larson did well in practice. Also at the top of the charts, experienced dirt racers Dave Blaney, Ken Schrader and Tracy Hines.

First Practice 
Pos. Driver                     Car#    Time   
1Kyle Larson*30Leader
2Dave Blaney19-0.211
3Ryan Blaney29-0.273
4Austin Dillon39-0.337
5Ty Dillon3-0.56
6Brendan Gaughan62-0.704
7John Wes Townley7-0.838
8Scott Bloomquist51-0.851
9Ron Hornaday Jr9-0.854
10Dakoda Armstrong60-0.893
11Ryan Newman*34-0.909
12Joey Coulter18-0.91
13Jeff Babcock*84-0.959
14Max Gresham*8-1.2
15Jeb Burton4-1.21
16Darrell Wallace Jr54-1.23
17Brennan Newberry*24-1.242
18James Buescher31-1.315
19Timothy Peters17-1.354
20Tracy Hines13-1.362
21Jared Landers*6-1.467
22Johnny Sauter98-1.517
23Ken Schrader*52-1.582
24Miguel Paludo32-1.588
25Jr Heffner*44-1.735
26German Quiroga Jr77-1.945
27Kenny Wallace81-1.952
28Norm Benning*57-2.153
29Justin Jennings*63-2.226
30Clay Greenfield*68-2.246
31Jason Bowles*5-2.313
32Matt Crafton88-2.342
33Bryan Silas*99-2.465
34Joe Cobb*10-3.244

Second Practice
Pos. Driver                     Car#         Time   
1Austin Dillon39Leader
2Ty Dillon3-0.059
3Kyle Larson*30-0.075
4Ken Schrader*52-0.104
5Tracy Hines13-0.109
6Ryan Newman*34-0.186
7Dave Blaney19-0.228
8Ron Hornaday Jr9-0.233
9Ryan Blaney29-0.292
10Jeb Burton4-0.333
11Darrell Wallace Jr54-0.354
12Brennan Newberry*24-0.377
13Matt Crafton88-0.381
14Scott Bloomquist51-0.386
15Johnny Sauter98-0.407
16Brendan Gaughan62-0.42
17Kenny Wallace81-0.44
18Joey Coulter18-0.473
19Timothy Peters17-0.482
20Miguel Paludo32-0.563
21Jared Landers*6-0.567
22Jeff Babcock*84-0.641
23Jason Bowles*5-0.649
24Max Gresham*8-0.658
25German Quiroga Jr77-0.67
26James Buescher31-0.719
27Dakoda Armstrong60-0.751
28Jr Heffner*44-0.756
29Jimmy Weller III*07-0.766
30Norm Benning*57-0.867
31John Wes Townley7-0.966
32Bryan Silas*99-0.987
33Joe Cobb*10-1.035
34Clay Greenfield*68-1.048
35Justin Jennings*63-1.125

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Fast Facts: Chase Elliott

Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 94 Aaron’s/Hendrickcars.com Chevrolet Silverado in the Camping World
Truck Series, seems to have taken after his famous father. Find out more about this member of the NASCAR Next program in this week’s Fast Facts.

Chase at age 6 in victory lane in Indy
with dad Bill and mom Cindy.
Credit: Getty Images/Jonathan Ferrey
  • Chase Elliott was born November 28, 1995 in Dawsonville, Georgia, the son of “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville,” 1988 Cup Series champ Bill Elliott, and his wife Cindy. NASCAR fans watched Chase grow up, including a visit to victory lane and the famed “Yard of Bricks” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2002 at age 6.
  • Elliott’s early years in racing included go-karts, from which he worked his way up to various late model series. In 2009, his first year in late models, he recorded four wins, 24 top 10 finishes and three poles in 31 starts. In 2010, his statistics improved, earning 13 wins, 39 top 10 finishes and six poles in 42 late model starts – those wins included the prestigious Winchester 400 and the first race at the re-opened North Wilkesboro Speedway.
  • When NASCAR lowered the age requirement for its lower-tier series to 15 in 2011, Elliott was signed to a development contract by Hendrick Motorsports, resulting in a full-time schedule in the K&N Pro Series East in 2001 and 2012. In two seasons in the series, Elliott earned one win (Iowa, 2012), 15 top 10 finishes and a pole in 26 races, finishing in the top 10 in points both years. In April 2011, Elliott was named Sports Illustrated’s High School Athlete of the Week.
  • Elliott also ran late models during this time, finishing third in the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown in 2011 and winning the prestigious Snowball Derby later that year. In 2012, he ran six ARCA Racing Series races, finishing in the top 10 in each start.
  • In 2013, Elliott is competing in the ARCA Racing Series and the Camping World Truck Series as a 17-year-old. Elliott became the youngest superspeedway winner in ARCA history in June by winning the first of two races this season at Pocono Raceway.
  • Learn more about Chase Elliott at his website, chaseelliott.com.

NASCAR and NBC Sports Group reach landmark media rights agreement

Ten-Year Agreement Returns NASCAR to NBC Family of Networks Beginning in 2015, Further Underscores Strength of NASCAR’s Live Racing Product And Positions Industry for Continued Growth
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and NEW YORK (July 23, 2013) – NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced today they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement, which runs through the 2024 season, were not disclosed.

With this partnership, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.

“NBC is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports, as well as its broad portfolio of broadcast and digital properties so we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian France. “We know this partnership will yield great value to our entire industry, provide a premium experience to our most important stakeholders, the fans, and help us achieve a number of strategic growth objectives. Our new partnership with NBC and the recent extension by FOX validate the strength of our fan base and the many bold steps we have taken the last several years to provide fans with better, more accessible racing.”

In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC has also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC’s national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR’s season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.

“Acquiring the rights and bringing NASCAR back to NBC comes at an important point in time for NBC Sports Network, NBC, and all of our distributors and affiliates,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman, Mark Lazarus. “We look forward to working with Brian and his management team, who have brought a renewed focus to NASCAR's intersection of sports and technology.”

“We are excited about the cross-promotional opportunities NBC provides, especially in the timeframes right before NBC’s NASCAR schedule and during the Chase,” said NASCAR VP of Broadcasting and Productions, Steve Herbst. “We’re confident NBC will utilize its powerful Championship Season lineup, including the NHL Playoffs, Premier League, the French Open, the Kentucky Derby and other events, to build interest and excitement for NASCAR. Those opportunities, combined with the opportunity to lead into the number one show on television – NBC’s Sunday Night Football – for select Chase races, were both very attractive prospects when considering this partnership.”

Summary of key NBC Sports Group Exclusive Rights – 2015-2024:
· Final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (7 on NBC, 13 on NBCSN)
· Final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races (4 on NBC, 15 on NBCSN)
· NASCAR K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events
· NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events
· NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets
· ‘TV Everywhere’ live-streaming rights for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series
· Spanish-language broadcast rights on Telemundo and Mun2 for national series events and NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series

The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for the No. 1 form of motorsports in the United States. NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series), four regional series, one local grassroots series, three international series and GRAND-AM Road Racing and the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila PatrĂ³n, both known for competition on road courses. Based in Daytona Beach, Fla., with offices in eight cities across North America, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada, Mexico and Europe. For more information, visit www.nascar.com and follow NASCAR at www.facebook.com/NASCAR and Twitter: @NASCAR.

About NBC Sports Group
When the Comcast-NBCUniversal transaction was completed in January 2011, the sports assets of the two companies combined to form NBC Sports Group, which serves sports fans 24/7 with premier live events, insightful studio shows, and compelling original programming. The sports media company consists of a unique array of broadcast television, cable television, radio and digital sports assets, including NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, NBC Sports Network, Golf Channel, 11 NBC Sports Regional Networks, two regional news networks, NBC Sports Radio and all of their respective digital properties. NBC Sports Group possesses an unparalleled collection of television rights agreements, partnering with some of the most prestigious sports properties in the world: the International Olympic Committee and United States Olympic Committee, the NFL, NHL, PGA TOUR, PGA of America, USGA, Churchill Downs, Premier League, MLS, Tour de France, French Open, Formula One, IndyCar and many more.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Talking Trucks: Max Gresham is excited about racing at Eldora

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs
How many teenagers truly know what they want to be when they grow up? Outside of racing, probably not too many. In the world of motorsports, though, it’s not unusual for a youngster to decide to race for a living, especially when it’s a family passion.

In a recent interview with Skirts and Scuffs, Gresham spoke about his introduction to racing, how he made his way into NASCAR, and what his goals are for the future.

Max Gresham knew he wanted to pursue racing as a career from the time he was 10 or 11 years old.

“My grandfather got me started when I was about eight,” said the native of Milner, Georgia. “He had raced some back in his younger days with some drag car stuff and I had a little fuel go-kart there on the farm and he just saw I liked driving so figured we’d try and go to a little Bandolero and see how it went. I fell in love with it and just kept pursuing and pursuing and now I’m here.”

“Here” is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, driving the No. 8 Made in U.S.A. Brand Silverado for Eddie Sharp Racing. And though he’s just 20 years old, he’s been racing for 12 years.

With the backing of his grandfather, Gresham started in the Bandolero Bandit Series in 2002, where he scored 16 wins over the course of three years. In 2005, he moved up to Legends cars, where he showed even more promise, earning 11 wins and 69 top-ten finishes in 89 starts, along with the 2006 Semi-Pro Legends Championship.

Before long he was racing Pro and Super Late Models, notching five wins, 12 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes, paving the way for his transition to ARCA racing and the K&N East Series, where he won the 2011 championship.

While Gresham would have preferred to go straight to the Nationwide Series, the Camping World Truck Series provided a less expensive alternative for the young racer.

“I just had a better truck opportunity available. I would have preferred to go straight into the Nationwide, but I just didn’t have the opportunity,” said Gresham.

He made three Truck starts for Stacy Compton in 2011, then in 2012 ran 13 races for Joe Denette Motorsports. He finished 24th in points despite having four DNFs in his limited schedule.

He’s doing better in 2013, making all nine starts so far this season. Sitting 18th in points with his third place at Charlotte his first top five in the NCWTS, Gresham’s not satisfied. He wants to be in Sprint Cup, winning races and championships.

“Anybody that gets into racing, that’s what you want to be, you want to be the guy on top, and that’s what I want to be.”

Right now Gresham’s focus, and that of most of NASCAR Nation, is on the CarStart Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway on Wednesday. Though he’s not far removed from his short-track roots, Gresham’s experience is on asphalt, not dirt.

“I ran a few races at Volusia in a dirt modified at the beginning of the year,” explained Gresham. "Besides that I don’t have any experience but we’re going to test pretty heavy here in the next few weeks in a full-blown truck to hopefully get some experience and understanding of what it’s going to feel like when we get to Tony’s place.”

When I asked Gresham if he was excited about racing at the legendary Ohio track as NASCAR returns to dirt for the first time in 42 years, he quickly answered, “Very!”

“It’s going to be a heck of a race. There’s a bunch of really great competitors and they all want to win that race. It’s the freak show, it’s one of a kind. It may never happen again so we all want to win that race so you can be like ‘Yeah, I won the Eldora race.’”

He’s almost as excited about the Trucks foray into road racing at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in September.

“They’re fun,” Gresham said of road races. “I ran one in a K&N car in 2010 and just had a blast. To have to do so many things in the truck is completely different from what we’re used to we’re used to shifting twice and then holding it wide open for as long as we can stand, so to have to shift gears and brake and do a whole bunch of different things in a set time. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to be difficult but it’s going to be a lot of fun.

So, does Gresham appreciate a challenging track?

“I like the more challenging places,” he said. “The ones you have to run a finer dance line around. Places that just give it to you and are easy, everyone’s good at them, so places where you can make a difference are always more fun.”  

Off the track, Gresham’s idea of fun is spending time with his family and their animals. He says he prefers to be in the woods or on the water than anywhere that’s not a racetrack. “I’m just a Southern guy,” he told me.

Finally, I like to end interviews by asking the subject to pick a fantasy team with two drivers from the pre-Modern or early Modern era, and two from current or future drivers.

Gresham didn’t have to think long about the first two. "I’d like to have Dale Earnhardt. That’s a pretty good guy to have. And I think Richard Petty. Two big names that are really big."

"For the modern era, I’d like Carl Edwardsand I want a young guyI was going to say Ty [Dillon]I love racing with him.”

Pretty good choices. Gresham says Edwards is "...the full package. He can talk, he can drive, he does the right thing at the right time."

And Dillon? Two quintessential Southern boys who love the outdoors and racing?

They'd go hunting together, of course.

Janine, aka Lisa or LJ, Cloud, a fifth-generation Texan, lives in Houston and considers Texas Motor Speedway her home track.

She's been a part of the Skirts and Scuffs team since May 2011, going from contributor to media rep, photographer, and associate editor covering both NASCAR and IZOD IndyCar. Janine considers it a privilege to represent the site at the track and to share with readers the excitement of the world of motorsports.

Caption this: Ryan Newman

Our photographer caught Newman signing autographs at Charlotte in May.

Leave your caption in the comment section below. One entry per person and please leave your name or twitter handle. Anonymous posts will not be eligible to win.

We'll take captions until Thursday evening, then the Skirts and Scuffs staff will vote to choose a winner. Check back this Saturday to read the winning caption.

And yes, there is a PRIZE! The "Caption this" winner will receive a copy of the book, Race Fans' Devotions to Go. The winner must follow instructions for sending us his or her contact info, as specified in the winning caption post.

Bring on your funnies. We look forward to reading them! :o)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

"Caption this" winner: @chad_booker

There may be gray on my chin, but this Onion can still make you cry on the track!

Congratulations to @chad_booker who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Todd Bodine and Jason White.

Please send your full name and mailing address to bbreinke@skirtsandscuffs.com to receive your prize, a copy of the devotional book Race Fans' Devotions to Go.

Thanks to everyone who played "Caption this!" Check back next Monday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.

Friday, July 19, 2013

TV Schedule: July 20-21

Nationwide is on your side as the series goes to Chicagoland, the only one of NASCAR's top 3 series
running this weekend. Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR
The Sprint Cup Series has a rare off-weekend to prepare for next week's race at the Brickyard, and the Camping World Truck Series doesn't get back on track until next Wednesday for its first dirt race at Eldora. That means the Nationwide Series is front and center at Chicagoland, the lone series racing this weekend.

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage of Nationwide at Chicagoland. All times are in Eastern Standard Time. Events without a channel listed will not be televised.

Saturday, July 20:
12:30 p.m. NNS Practice
3:30 p.m. NNS Final Practice

Sunday, July 21:
11 a.m. NNS Qualifying, ESPN2
2:30 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN
3 p.m. NNS: STP 300, ESPN. Green flag: 3:17 p.m. (re-airs at midnight on ESPN2)