Sunday, June 30, 2013

Dollansky Takes Jim "JB" Boyd Memorial in Emotional Win


Photo courtesy of Rob Kocak Photos


Beaver Dam was wet. The pits were wet. The track was wet. Everything was behind because of an abnormally wet summer. But the Outlaws stayed their course and stood guard at the gate while the pits were pumped out and the track crew struggled to get the track ready to race. When the gates opened they took their spots in the pits, covered the floors of their trailers with plastic and readied the horses for what looked to be a muddy, sloppy ride. After surveying the track, there was one that smiled: he liked wet, he liked heavy and when the checkered flags waved, that smile turned to emotion as Craig Dollansky remembered an old friend and mentor.

The Outlaws took the track 36 cars strong. They were aiming for an 11.275 second lap around the 1/3 mile high banked clay oval track. It could be done: Daryn Pittman had done it in 2001. But with heavy wet track conditions it was highly unlikely that it would be done again tonight. The engines seem to strain to make the laps with even the most seasoned veterans' cars sounding like they were at the top of the peg but when the smoke cleared it was Jason Sides who came home with Quick Time. Sides turned a lap of 13.115 seconds to collect his first Quick Time of the season. He was followed by James McFadden, Paul McMahan, Cody Darrah and Craig Dollansky.

The heat races were a challenge with minimal passing taking place. David Gravel brought home the first heat win with Craig Dollansky, Donny Schatz, Jason Sides and Brian Brown following him into the A Main. Gravel, Dollansky and Sides would transfer to the Dash.

The second heat was a tight battle between second and third place cars Kraig Kinser and Tim Kaeding. Kinser beat Kaeding to the line by .004 seconds to take the runner up spot. Daryn Pittman took the win, with James McFadden and Paul Nienhiser rounding out the top five for the A Main. Pittman, Kinser, and McFadden would advance to the Dash.

The third heat showed a pattern beginning to form. Cars were able to pass the car in front of them but the slick wet track made it very very difficult to hold the pass. If you could hold the pass it was difficult for an equal car to take the spot back as the turn back was treacherous and hard to control. This would stay true the rest of the night. Joey Saldana took the checkers ahead of Paul McMahan, Steve Kinser, Chad Kemenah and Wayne Modjeski. Saldana and McMahan would go on to the Dash while the others advanced to the A Main.

The final heat race of the night went to Kerry Madsen with some help from fate. Todd King, the assigned pole sitter, jumped the start on the initial green and was penalized one row, putting Madsen on the pole. It was a position that he took full advantage of and rocketed to a two-second lead and never looked back. Cody Darrah and Sammy Swindell battled for second with Darrah coming home on top. Also transferring to the A were Jason Solwold and King.

The Dash was a quick race with Cody Darrah leading all the way after starting on the pole with an inversion of four drawn. The closest race on the track was for the fourth spot between Australian natives James McFadden and Kerry Madsen. McFadden would beat Madsen to the line by just .009 seconds.

The last chance showdown looked more like an IRA (Interstate Racing Association) Sprint race with Bill Balog and Mike Kerscher leading the way from start to finish and crossing the line nose to tail, transferring to the A Main. Jeremy Schulz and Bill Rose also transferred. 

The A Main was a 40-lap test of wills and patience. With the track being basically two grooves with a somewhat usable middle groove, the slide job pass was a difficult move. The wet track was slick and the final slide in front of the car you were passing was a tricky move: to get the car to grab the track, move forward and not keep sliding, allowing that car to drive back under you. Craig Dollansky is the master of the heavy, wet, slick track, and tonight was no exception. Once Dollansky took the lead on Lap 14, he only lost it for one brief second in traffic to Daryn Pittman. He regained it the following lap and never looked back. 

The race was marred by only one crash when Sammy Swindell and Kraig Kinser got together sending Swindell on his roof between turns three and four. Swindell landed on his wheels and was uninjured. Both crews made repairs and both drivers returned to the track.

For Dollansky, winning the Jim “JB” Boyd memorial was an emotional win. "This is the Jim Boyd Memorial and he was Scott Boyd's father," said Dollansky, who is a long-time friend of the Boyd family. "You know that family supported me for a long time, they owned the team that I raced for 10 years and Jim Boyd was just a great person and an inspiration for me and an awesome individual. He passed away a few years back. He's gone but not forgotten and I know he was riding around with me tonight in spirit."

For second-place finisher Daryn Pittman it was a return to normal after a horrible night on Friday. "We were good all night and I always enjoy coming here," said Pittman, a native of Owasso, Okla. "This is one of my favorite race tracks. We put ourselves in position, just maybe needed to time trial a little better and really got up there and had a shot to win, just came up a little short. I think we were good enough to get around him on the bottom if any lapped cars would have held him up at all or if I hit it right. I passed him twice under green flag, once running second and third and once for the lead, but anytime you pass a good car like that you have to take advantage of it."

For third-place finisher and Friday night's winner Tim Kaeding, it was a return to days gone by. "We worked on the car all night got it way better in the feature, and my motto 'live and die by the high-side' and that's where I went - straight to the top," said Kaeding, of San Jose, Calif. "We had a good car on the bottom too so I could jump around and move around and have a little fun, like crisscross back in the day."

Donny Schatz was the KSE Hard Charger of the race, finishing fourth after starting 13th.

The night ended on a much better note than it began. The plastic made clean up of the trailers and load in easier. The cars would get baths. The caravan would continue on its journey, this time to a small track in New Richmond, Wisconsin called Cedar Lake Speedway. With any luck and a little sun, it would be a better day. But regardless of what the future holds there is one thing you can count on: if the Outlaws are coming to your town, they will race whether heat and sun baked or mud and high waters.

Qualifying: 1. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.115; 2. 55X-James McFadden, 13.159; 3. 51-Paul McMahan, 13.226; 4. 4-Cody Darrah, 13.247; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky, 13.307; 6. 83-Tim Kaeding, 13.311; 7. 11-Steve Kinser, 13.314; 8. 29-Kerry Madsen, 13.328; 9. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.338; 10. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.358; 11. 71M-Joey Saldana, 13.408; 12. 1-Sammy Swindell, 13.491; 13. 6-David Gravel, 13.504; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.544; 15. 6R-Bill Rose, 13.554; 16. 97-Todd King, 13.561; 17. 21-Brian Brown, 13.562; 18. 17B-Bill Balog, 13.602; 19. 63-Chad Kemenah, 13.639; 20. 82-Jason Solwold, 13.728; 21. 80K-Mike Kertscher, 13.742; 22. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, 13.818; 23. 10V-Matt Vandervere, 13.982; 24. 5J-Jereme Schultz, 14.035; 25. 44-A.J. Bruns, 14.191; 26. 65-Jordon Goldesberry, 14.209; 27. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski, 14.236; 28. 23-Russell Borland, 14.243; 29. 28-Brian Paulus, 14.260; 30. 7U-Scott Uttech, 14.391; 31. 8A-Nick Alden, 14.405; 32. 1M-Phillip Mock, 14.538; 33. 4K-Kris Spitz, 14.570; 34. 20R-Robbie Pribnow, 14.620; 35. 94-Brandon Thone, 14.722; 36. 43-Jereme Schroeder, 14.934 

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 6-David Gravel [1]; 2. 7-Craig Dollansky [3]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [2]; 4. 7S-Jason Sides [4]; 5. 21-Brian Brown [5]; 6. 80K-Mike Kertscher [6]; 7. 28-Brian Paulus [8]; 8. 44-A.J. Bruns [7]; 9. 4K-Kris Spitz [9] 

Heat 2 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 9-Daryn Pittman [2]; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser [1]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 4. 55X-James McFadden [4]; 5. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [6]; 6. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [7]; 7. 7U-Scott Uttech [8]; 8. 20R-Robbie Pribnow [9]; 9. 17B-Bill Balog [5] 

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 71M-Joey Saldana [2]; 2. 51-Paul McMahan [4]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser [3]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah [5]; 5. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski [7]; 6. 6R-Bill Rose [1]; 7. 10V-Matt Vandervere [6]; 8. 8A-Nick Alden [8]; 9. 94-Brandon Thone [9] 

Heat 4 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [3]; 2. 4-Cody Darrah [4]; 3. 1-Sammy Swindell [2]; 4. 82-Jason Solwold [5]; 5. 97-Todd King [1]; 6. 5J-Jereme Schultz [6]; 7. 23-Russell Borland [7]; 8. 1M-Phillip Mock [8]; 9. 43-Jereme Schroeder [9] 

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 4-Cody Darrah [1]; 2. 7-Craig Dollansky [5]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan [2]; 4. 55X-James McFadden [3]; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen [6]; 6. 7S-Jason Sides [4]; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman [7]; 8. 6-David Gravel [9]; 9. 11K-Kraig Kinser [10]; 10. 71M-Joey Saldana [8] 

Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 17B-Bill Balog [2] [-]; 2. 80K-Mike Kertscher [3] [-]; 3. 5J-Jereme Schultz [5] [-]; 4. 6R-Bill Rose [1] [-]; 5. 44-A.J. Bruns [6] [$200]; 6. 10V-Matt Vandervere [4] [$180]; 7. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [7] [$175]; 8. 4K-Kris Spitz [13] [$160]; 9. 7U-Scott Uttech [10] [$150]; 10. 1M-Phillip Mock [12] [$150]; 11. 8A-Nick Alden [11] [$150]; 12. 23-Russell Borland [8] [$150]; 13. 20R-Robbie Pribnow [14] [$150]; 14. 94-Brandon Thone [15] [$150]; 15. 43-Jereme Schroeder [16] [$150]; 16. 28-Brian Paulus [9] [$150]

A-Main - (40 Laps): 1. 7-Craig Dollansky [2] [$10,000]; 2. 9-Daryn Pittman [7] [$5,500]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [11] [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [13] [$2,800]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [3] [$2,500]; 6. 55X-James McFadden [4] [$2,300]; 7. 6-David Gravel [8] [$2,200]; 8. 4-Cody Darrah [1] [$2,100]; 9. 7S-Jason Sides [6] [$2,050]; 10. 11-Steve Kinser [12] [$2,000]; 11. 17B-Bill Balog [18] [$1,500]; 12. 63-Chad Kemenah [19] [$1,200]; 13. 71M-Joey Saldana [10] [$1,100]; 14. 29-Kerry Madsen [5] [$1,050]; 15. 11K-Kraig Kinser [9] [$1,000]; 16. 6R-Bill Rose [15] [$900]; 17. 80K-Mike Kertscher [21] [$800]; 18. 1-Sammy Swindell [14] [$800]; 19. 5J-Jereme Schultz [23] [$800]; 20. 82-Jason Solwold [20] [$800]; 21. 14AJ-Wayne Modjeski [24] [$800]; 22. 21-Brian Brown [17] [$800]; 23. 97-Todd King [16] [$800]; 24. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [22] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Cody Darrah 1-13; Craig Dollansky 14-17, 19-40; Daryn Pittman 18. KSE Hard Charger Award: 15-Donny Schatz [+9]

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kaeding Wins At LaSalle Speedway

 Photo Courtesy of World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars



The Outlaws had been conspicuous by their absence from LaSalle Speedway in Illinois for 3 years. The quarter-mile high-banked track patiently awaited their return. When they came back they did not disappoint. There was a new winner in victory lane for the eighth time in as many visits to the fast bull ring. This time it was Tim Kaeding, and he came all the way from California to tame the high banks. 

The 32-car field of winged sprints hit the track with great expectations. The track record was 10.368 seconds and was set by Brandon Wimmer in June of 2004. Even in hot laps it became apparent that record was in jeopardy. It fell for the first time with the 11th car out of the gate, when current reigning champion Donny Schatz turned a lap of 10.335 seconds. It would fall again with the 24th car out, when Paul McMahan turned a lap of 10.330 seconds. The top five qualifiers on the night were within .116-seconds of each other. Daryn Pittman, Jason Sides and Brian Paulus rounded out the top five qualifiers.

The first of four heat races was won by Kerry Madsen with Sammy Swindell in hot pursuit. Paul McMahan, Paul Ninehiser and Cody Darrah all transferred to the A Main. Darrah would take the spot at the line from Brian Paulus. Madsen, Swindell and McMahan would all transfer to the dash.

The second heat race was won by the King of the Outlaws, Steve Kinser, with Bill Balog right on his heels and teammate Donny Schatz all over his. Kraig Kinser and Jason Solwold rounded out the transfers to the A Main. Balog and Schatz got together early in the race and bang wheels with both able to continue on without a yellow. Steve Kinser, Bill Balog and Donny Schatz transferred to the Dash.

The third heat race was won by Tim Kaeding with Craig Dollansky nipping at his tail tank. Joey Saldana, Daryn Pittman and Kody Kinser also transferred to the A, with Kaeding and Dollanksy going to the Dash.

The final heat of the night was won by Australian champion and the winningest Sprint Car driver in the world right now, James McFadden. David Gravel came home second followed by Jason Sides, Chad Kemenah and A.J. Bruns. McFadden and Gravel transferred to the Dash. McFadden was running his first Sprint Car race of the season in the United States after finishing up the Australian championship. 

The Dash Inversion was a six, putting McFadden on the pole with Tim Kaeding to his outside. But it didn’t stay that way for long. Kaeding quickly jumped to the lead and never looked back. The first scary moment of the night came when Steve Kinser jumped the berm on the inside of the track and drove through the infield, sliding back up on the track on the other side and barely missing David Gravel and Craig Dollansky. With the skills of the King, he righted the car and avoided hitting the wall, finishing on the lead lap in 10th spot. 

The Last Chance Showdown was a battle royal between Wayne Johnson and Brian Paulus, and Jordon Goldesberry and Ben Wagoner. Goldesberry secured the final transfer on the front stretch after losing it on the back stretch of the final lap. Johnson and Paulus battled back and forth for the victory with Johnson holding off Paulus by a car length. 

The A Main took four tries to get started. Three laps in, Daryn Pittman and Wayne Johnson had scary moment number two, when they got together coming out of four and both flipped down the front straightaway in what closely resembled synchronized flipping. The top wing of Pittman’s car looked to be torn in a couple of places and the front axle was broken, but the Kasey Kahne Racing team called it to the work area rather than to the trailer. With the open red flag period that came at the same time, the Great Clips team was able to make the repairs and return Pittman to the track to finish the race. Johnson was done for the night with significant rear end damage. From that point on the A Main was a fast-paced, hold-your-breath race full of slide jobs and cunning tactics by some of the best the world has to offer. Donny Schatz closed on Tim Kaeding in traffic. He even edged up in front of him but he couldn’t hold the position. Kaeding was just too strong. It was his night to win. 

The two incredible performances of the night came from points leader Daryn Pittman who, after his team pulled off the feat of the night getting the Great Clips number 9 back out for the restart, came from dead last on the field to 14th. The run saved Pittman a great deal in the points: Schatz was able to cut the lead to just 109 markers but it could have been cut to less than 50. The courage that it took for Pittman to crawl back in that car after flipping it five times down the frontstretch with each impact harder than the last is immense. If there was ever any doubt that Daryn Pittman is an Outlaw, it is gone now. He earned his medal tonight. And he did it in an impressive and hard charging fashion.

The second incredible performance was that of Steve Kinser, who finished the last two laps of the race with a flat rear tire. He held on to 10th spot and he never, not one time, lost control of the car. Realize that these guys were doing 100 + mph out there on the dirt: to drive a car with a flat tire competitively at 100 mph is no joke. As a matter of fact, it is almost the stuff that super heroes are made of. But the fact is that Steve Kinser is not a super hero. He is a brick layer and a common man whose God-given skills and talents are driving a race car on dirt. We are blessed to be able to watch him work his magic. 

The Outlaws cars all sighed and yawned. It had been a long night. They were ready for their baths and then the trailer. They had a long trip ahead of them and they were all taking the green tomorrow night. It was a good night all in all. Everyone’s driver was safe and going home to their loved ones to make the trip to Wisconsin tonight. It was the second stop of the weekend. There was still a third looming ahead this weekend. But when the gates dropped tomorrow they would be ready to carry their drivers as fast and as far as together they could go. 

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; LaSalle (Ill.) Speedway; June 28, 2013

Qualifying: 1. 51-Paul McMahan, 10.330; 2. 15-Donny Schatz, 10.335; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman, 10.352; 4. 7S-Jason Sides, 10.425; 5. 28-Brian Paulus, 10.446; 6. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 10.447; 7. 71M-Joey Saldana, 10.467; 8. 63-Chad Kemenah, 10.501; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell, 10.535; 10. 11-Steve Kinser, 10.565; 11. 83-Tim Kaeding, 10.586; 12. 55X-James McFadden, 10.596; 13. 29-Kerry Madsen, 10.623; 14. 17B-Bill Balog, 10.663; 15. 7-Craig Dollansky, 10.709; 16. 6-David Gravel, 10.717; 17. 4-Cody Darrah, 10.723; 18. 77X-Wayne Johnson, 10.740; 19. 4M-Kody Kinser, 10.740; 20. 44-A.J. Bruns, 10.752; 21. 9X-Paul Nienhiser, 10.785; 22. 82-Jason Solwold, 10.818; 23. 84-Ben Wagoner, 10.883; 24. 6R-Bill Rose, 10.888; 25. 65-Jordon Goldesberry, 10.993; 26. 52F-Logan Faucon, 11.006; 27. 4K-Kris Spitz, 11.007; 28. 8A-Nick Alden, 11.103; 29. 5H-Patrick Haynes, 11.144; 30. 79-Blake Nimee, 11.192; 31. 10V-Matt Vandervere, 11.221; 32. 10T-Tim Moore, 11.681.

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [1]; 2. 1-Sammy Swindell [2]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan [4]; 4. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [6]; 5. 4-Cody Darrah [5]; 6. 28-Brian Paulus [3]; 7. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [7]; 8. 5H-Patrick Haynes [8].

Heat 2 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 11-Steve Kinser [2]; 2. 17B-Bill Balog [1]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [4]; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser [3]; 5. 82-Jason Solwold [6]; 6. 77X-Wayne Johnson [5]; 7. 79-Blake Nimee [8]; 8. 52F-Logan Faucon [7].

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 83-Tim Kaeding [2]; 2. 7-Craig Dollansky [1]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [3]; 4. 9-Daryn Pittman [4]; 5. 4M-Kody Kinser [5]; 6. 84-Ben Wagoner [6]; 7. 4K-Kris Spitz [7]; 8. 10V-Matt Vandervere [8].

Heat 4 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 55X-James McFadden [2]; 2. 6-David Gravel [1]; 3. 7S-Jason Sides [4]; 4. 63-Chad Kemenah [3]; 5. 44-A.J. Bruns [5]; 6. 6R-Bill Rose [6]; 7. 8A-Nick Alden [7]; 8. 10T-Tim Moore [8].

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 83-Tim Kaeding [2]; 2. 55X-James McFadden [1]; 3. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 4. 1-Sammy Swindell [4]; 5. 15-Donny Schatz [5]; 6. 29-Kerry Madsen [7]; 7. 6-David Gravel [10]; 8. 7-Craig Dollansky [9]; 9. 17B-Bill Balog [8]; 10. 11-Steve Kinser [3].

Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 77X-Wayne Johnson [2] [-]; 2. 28-Brian Paulus [1] [-]; 3. 6R-Bill Rose [4] [-]; 4. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [5] [-]; 5. 84-Ben Wagoner [3] [$200]; 6. 8A-Nick Alden [8] [$180]; 7. 52F-Logan Faucon [6] [$175]; 8. 4K-Kris Spitz [7] [$160]; 9. 79-Blake Nimee [10] [$150]; 10. 5H-Patrick Haynes [9] [$150]; 11. 10T-Tim Moore [12] [$150]; 12. 10V-Matt Vandervere [11] [$150].

A-Main - (40 Laps): 1. 83-Tim Kaeding [1] [$10,000]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [5] [$5,500]; 3. 7-Craig Dollansky [8] [$3,200]; 4. 51-Paul McMahan [3] [$2,800]; 5. 17B-Bill Balog [9] [$2,500]; 6. 1-Sammy Swindell [4] [$2,300]; 7. 7S-Jason Sides [12] [$2,200]; 8. 6-David Gravel [7] [$2,100]; 9. 11K-Kraig Kinser [14] [$2,050]; 10. 11-Steve Kinser [10] [$2,000]; 11. 4-Cody Darrah [17] [$1,500]; 12. 29-Kerry Madsen [6] [$1,200]; 13. 71M-Joey Saldana [15] [$1,100]; 14. 9-Daryn Pittman [11] [$1,050]; 15. 4M-Kody Kinser [19] [$1,000]; 16. 6R-Bill Rose [23] [$900]; 17. 44-A.J. Bruns [20] [$800]; 18. 55X-James McFadden [2] [$800]; 19. 82-Jason Solwold [22] [$800]; 20. 77X-Wayne Johnson [18] [$800]; 21. 9X-Paul Nienhiser [21] [$800]; 22. 65-Jordon Goldesberry [24] [$800]; 23. 28-Brian Paulus [13] [$800]; 24. 63-Chad Kemenah [16] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Tim Kaeding 1-40. KSE Hard Charger Award: 6R-Bill Rose [+7].



"Caption this" winner: @TeamNASCAR

The Biff showing off his invisible "red solo cup" to JPM

Congratulations to @TeamNASCAR who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Juan Pablo Montoya chatting with Michigan winner Greg Biffle. The caption makes you wanna break out in song, doesn't it?

 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 Tuesday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Pole Report: Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway

Print
With only two Sprint Cup Series races in the books at Kentucky Speedway, the driver and team notebooks are thin. Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski have visited victory lane and this in the only track on the circuit where Jeff Gordon is yet to win. Who will celebrate Saturday night?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. posted a new track record on route to his first pole of the season and first at Kentucky Speedway. Earnhardt’s speed of 183.636 mph beat out Carl Edwards for the top starting spot.

Coverage of the Quaker State 400 will begin Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on TNT with the green flag flying at 7:45 p.m.

Here’s the full starting grid:
  1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  2. Carl Edwards
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Marcos Ambrose
  6. Denny Hamlin
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Brad Keselowski
  9. Brian Vickers
  10. Juan Pablo Montoya
  11. Joey Logano
  12. Jeff Gordon
  13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  14. Jeff Burton
  15. Clint Bowyer
  16. Matt Kenseth
  17. AJ Allmendinger
  18. Aric Almirolla
  19. Martin Truex Jr.
  20. Greg Biffle
  21. Kasey Kahne
  22. Kevin Harvick
  23. Jamie McMurray
  24. Paul Menard
  25. Tony Stewart
  26. Austin Dillon
  27. Kurt Busch
  28. David Stremme
  29. Danica Patrick
  30. Landon Cassill
  31. Casey Mears
  32. Dave Blaney
  33. Michael McDowell
  34. David Gilliland
  35. JJ Yeley
  36. David Reutimann
  37. Josh Wise
  38. David Ragan
  39. Mike Bliss
  40. Travis Kvapil
  41. Joe Nemechek
  42. Scott Riggs
  43. Ken Schrader
Qualifying Notes:
For the first time since 1992, Bobby Labonte won’t be competing in Sprint Cup Series competition. His streak of consecutive starts ends at 704. The streak began at the 1993 Daytona 500 and is third on the the all-time list and second among active drivers. Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with 705. AJ Allmendinger is behind the wheel of the No. 47.

Pole Report: Nationwide Series Feed the Children 300 at Kentucky Speedway

ftc_300_11
The NASCAR Nationwide Series revs its engines tonight for the second race of the weekend at Kentucky Speedway. On the heels of Thursday night’s victory for Ty Dillon, RCR’s Austin Dillon looks to return to victory lane in the Bluegrass State. The elder brother swept the track in 2012 earning wins in June and September. Dillon starts from the pole tonight, qualifying with a speed of 175.758 mph. This is Dillon’s fifth pole of the season and third at Kentucky Speedway.

Friday night’s race is slated to start at 7:30 with the green flag at 7:46. The telecast will air on ESPN.

Here's the full starting grid:
  1. Austin Dillon
  2. Travis Pastrana
  3. Sam Hornish Jr.
  4. Trevor Bayne
  5. Kyle Busch
  6. Elliott Sadler
  7. Justin Allgaier
  8. Matt Crafton
  9. Cole Whitt
  10. Alex Bowman
  11. Brian Vickers
  12. Parker Kligerman
  13. Michael Annett
  14. Regan Smith
  15. Brian Scott
  16. Brad Sweet
  17. Kevin Swindell
  18. Nelson Piquet Jr.
  19. Brad Keselowski
  20. Johanna Long
  21. Kyle Larson
  22. Joe Nemechek
  23. Jamie Dick
  24. Mike Bliss
  25. Landon Cassill
  26. Jeff Green
  27. Mike Wallace
  28. Reed Sorenson
  29. Ken Butler
  30. Blake Koch
  31. JJ Yeley
  32. Joey Gase
  33. Bryan Silas
  34. Harrison Rhodes
  35. Carl Long
  36. Derrike Cope
  37. Josh Wise
  38. Morgan Shepherd
  39. Jeremy Clements
  40. Eric McClure
Qualifying Notes:

Jeremy Clements crashed coming out of Turn 2 during his qualifying run making hard contact with the outside wall.  Clements was locked in to the field and will have to go to a backup car and start from the back.

Eric McClure did not make a qualifying run but was locked into the field.

DNQ: Dexter Stacey  - During his warm-up lap Stacy spun in Turn 3 but was allowed to start his qualifying run from scratch as he hadn't yet taken the green flag. Stacey was tracking to be the slowest of the qualifiers up to that point when he lost the car on his second qualifying lap and hit the wall ending his chances at making the race.

That's My Nature: Five Questions for Kentucky

Credit: Katy Lindamood for Skirts and Scuffs 
Standardized testing is my nemesis, as it is to all high school students across the world. It is everything I hate and more. The timed aspect, the crowded room, the cramped hands all equal torture. I mean, I love writing, but filling in bubbles for four hours? Eh, no.

I have taken the ACT three times, so I feel like an expert on this subject. Sadly, being an expert on Mathematics and Science would be more useful. The reason I have taken "The Devil Test" multiple times is that my score doesn't meet the score needed to get my school’s Honors diploma. There are eight criteria for this regard; however, you only need to achieve seven to receive the actual award.

Since I’ve set for the other seven standards, I don’t need to worry about the score, but I do. People think I’m crazy, but I have my reasons. It’s mostly a pride thing, yet a majority of it involves my future.

No, not getting into college. My current score will get me into my dream school. I’m talking about my future endeavors. Life. The winding, ever-changing road.

Everything is a test of character, morals, intelligence. I plan on keeping my mind sharp for a long time. I hope you are, too.

In this world, we tend to focus on the fleeting aspects, like beauty, sex appeal. To me, it’s sickening; I’d rather have a genius I.Q. than a supermodel body. You may think that’s crazy, but that’s my nature, my priorities.

So, as I wait until September to take my fourth ACT test, I wonder why I put myself through the stress, the emotional breakdowns, the frying of my brain. But, that’s my determination. Is it a good thing? Yes and no. Will it get me somewhere?

Heck yes.

We delve into The Bluegrass State, where we have thoughts about Bobby Labonte, Silly Season, and slashed hotel prices. I sound-off on those topics this week.

How heartbroken should Bobby Labonte be? As many fans are aware, Labonte won’t be racing this weekend, ending his streak of 704 consecutive starts. The only active driver with a longer streak is Jeff Gordon with 705. Putting yourself in his shoes, you would think he would be devastated. However, I see it differently; his career has been amazing, Hall of Fame worthy. He needs to celebrate that fact and his stats in general.

As Silly Season begins to stir, who will go where? Sonoma race weekend brought the news that Ryan Newman is the frontrunner for the no. 29 in 2014, as said by Richard Childress himself. This means that Silly Season is in full effect. We have four drivers with contracts up this season: Newman, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, and Jeff Burton. Everyone knows that Harvick is going over to Stewart-Haas Racing, but Busch and Burton? The no. 78 will most likely be home to the eldest Busch brother next year; he and that team have jived so well that it seems impossible to imagine the driver with another team. As for Burton, it’s a tossup. Does he stay at RCR one more year as a warm-up act for Austin Dillon? Or does he step aside and let the inevitable take over? I’m not sure, but when Burton is ready to announce these plans, we will get our answer.

Does the ‘Austin Dillon vs. No. 3’ debate hold any water? Speaking of Austin Dillon, Childress has also revealed that whenever his oldest grandson gets into Cup, he will run the No. 3, and BOOM went the dynamite. This debate has been going on forever: should the No. 3 even come back into Sprint Cup competition? The answer is yes; Childress owns the number, and he will do with it whatever he pleases. Although Dale Earnhardt Sr. won six of his seven championships with that slanted number on his side door, we can’t keep it from carrying more history. NASCAR is different for not retiring numbers. It has always been that way, and it will never change.

Is Atlanta Motor Speedway getting trendy? Atlanta Motor Speedway announced that it was partnering with local hotels to offer deals during their upcoming race weekend; no fan in town for the race will pay more than $114 for a room. First off, FINALLY! This idea has been swirling around for so long, and it’s going to actually happen. I am so proud of Atlanta, I really am. Now, will other tracks follow suit? Because if they don’t, it will be a HUGE mistake. This is hopefully the start of a trend. A really good trend.

Can Michael Waltrip Racing ride the upswing? Momentum is a beautiful thing in racing, and MWR has a good bit of it right now. Clint Bowyer is fourth in points, Martin Truex Jr. in tenth, and the latter just broke his 218-race winless streak. So things are looking up for this group, but can they ride the wave into Kentucky? I say yes. After Truex Jr. won his first race, he knocked off multiple runner-up finishes, so I expect him to do well. Kentucky just seems like a Clint Bowyer track; it has a certain feel. I can see those two and part-timer Brian Vickers finishing in the top ten this weekend.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Quaker State 400



Track Classification: Intermediate
Similar Tracks: Atlanta Motor Speedway • Charlotte Motor Speedway • Chicagoland Speedway  Darlington Raceway • Homestead-Miami Speedway • Kansas Speedway 
Las Vegas Motor Speedway • New Hampshire Motor • Texas Motor Speedway
Distance: 1.5 Miles

With only two Sprint Cup races in the books at Kentucky Speedway, let's look at performance trends over those two races and compare them with statistics for Intermediate Tracks.

Past Performance at Kentuscky Speedway
Top 10s: Jimmie Johnson; Matt Kenseth; Kyle Busch; and Brad Keselowski 

Performance at Intermediate Tracks in 2013:
Top 10s
Kyle Busch - 7
All with 6 - Kevin Harvick; Carl Edwards; Jimmie Johnson; Matt Kenseth; Joey Logano; and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
All with 5 - Tony Stewart; Clint  Bowyer; Brad Keselowki; Martin Truex, Jr.; and Ryan Newman

Top 5s
Kyle Busch - 5
Both with 4 - Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson

Drivers with Most Top 10s - Intermediate Tracks (Last 5 Years):
Jimmie Johnson - 71
Tony Stewart - 61
Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon - 57
Matt Kenseth - 54
Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer  - 53
Denny Hamlin - 51

Past Pole Winner:
2012 Jimmie Johnson

The Likely Suspects: This core group of drivers have skillfully mastered Kentucky Speedway and reign supreme when it comes to intermediate tracks: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth; Kyle Busch; and Kevin Harvick. 

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is a tie between Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski although Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick are also decent picks. I will round out my team with Martin Truex, Jr., Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, A.J. Allmendinger, and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr..

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

TV Schedule: June 27-29

Brad Keselowski won last year's Sprint Cup race at Kentucky. Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
NASCAR makes its annual stop in the Bluegrass State. All three series converge on Kentucky Speedway, a 1.5-mile speedway in Sparta. The track will host its third Sprint Cup race since getting its own date at NASCAR's highest level in 2011.

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

Thursday, June 27:
10:30 a.m. NCWTS Practice
12 noon NCWTS Final Practice
5 p.m. NCWTS Qualifying, SPEED
6:30 p.m. NASCAR Race Hub, SPEED
6:30 p.m. NNS Practice
7:30 p.m. NCWTS SetUp, SPEED
8 p.m. NCWTS: UNOH 225, SPEED. Green flag: 8:18 p.m.

Friday, June 28:
1 a.m. NASCAR Now, ESPN2
7 a.m. NASCAR Race Hub, SPEED
9 a.m. NNS Final Practice
11:30 a.m. NSCS Practice, SPEED
12:30 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
1:30 p.m. NSCS Final Practice, SPEED
3 p.m. NASCAR Live, SPEED
3:30 p.m. NNS Qualifying, SPEED
5 p.m. NSCS Qualifying, SPEED
6:30 p.m. Trackside, SPEED
7 p.m. NNS Countdown, ESPN
7:30 pm. NNS: Feed the Children 300, ESPN. Green flag: 7:46 p.m.
10:30 p.m. NSCS Final Practice (re-air), SPEED

Saturday, June 29:
12 a.m. NSCS Qualifying (re-air), SPEED
1:30 a.m. Trackside (re-air), SPEED
3 a.m. NNS: Feed the Children 300 (re-air), ESPN2
12 noon NASCAR Now presented by 5-Hour Energy, ESPN2
4 p.m. SPEED Center NASCAR Edition, SPEED
4:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, SPEED
6:30 p.m. NSCS Countdown to Green, TNT
7:30 p.m. NSCS: Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts, TNT. Green flag: 7:45 p.m.
11 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, SPEED (re-airs 8:30 p.m. Sunday)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

RCR takes the No. 3 car to Goodwood Festival with an Earnhardt behind the wheel

WELCOME, N.C. (June 26, 2013) Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will have a presence in England's Goodwood Festival of Speed for the fourth year by providing a pair of stock cars to be driven in this year's annual Hillclimb. Kerry Earnhardt will pilot the 2000 No. 3 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo and Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III will drive the 2013 No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro in July's historic event.

The Goodwood Festival of Speed, July 11-14, is one of the world's premier historic auto racing events. The festival has been held annually since 1993 on the grounds of Goodwood House, West Sussex, England. Race cars from the past and present participate in both demonstration and competition runs up the nine-turn, 1.16-mile Hillclimb circuit.

The No. 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo the legendary Dale Earnhardt drove to victory in March 2000 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and tallied 10 top-five finishes that year, will be driven by his eldest son, Kerry Earnhardt.

"I had the honor of attending the Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2010 for RCR and drove the car that my dad won the 1995 Brickyard 400 with," Earnhardt said. "The fans 'over the pond' are so enthusiastic about NASCAR and to have the opportunity to attend such a prestigious event not once, but twice, is awesome.

"This time I will be driving RCR's 2000 No. 3 GM Goodwrench Monte Carlo that my dad won the spring Atlanta race in. Words can't express what I feel when I sit in dad's car, and I can't thank Richard (Childress) enough for asking me to participate again."

Joie Chitwood III will be behind the wheel of the 2013 No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Camaro in this year's Festival of Speed. This Chevrolet is driven in regular NASCAR Nationwide Series competition by Childress' grandson Austin Dillon, the 2012 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and 2011 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Champion.

"My dad, Joie Chitwood Jr., had the distinction of racing against Richard Childress back in the 1960s, so it's great to come full circle and drive one of his cars at Goodwood," Chitwood said. "It's a privilege to be behind the wheel of the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro and part of this diverse celebration of motorsports."

Both cars participating in Goodwood festivities were prepared by and will be cared for at the Festival of Speed by Danny Lawrence, former No. 3 team crew member. Lawrence is an award-winning engine builder and longtime member of the RCR management team.

For additional information on today's announcement, and all that's happening at RCR, please visit www.rcrracing.com.

About Richard Childress Racing

Richard Childress Racing (www.rcrracing.com) has earned more than 200 victories and 14 championships, including six in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Its 2013 Sprint Cup Series lineup includes Paul Menard (No. 27 Menards Chevrolet), Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Budweiser/Rheem/Jimmy John's Chevrolet) and Jeff Burton (No. 31 Caterpillar/Cheerios Chevrolet). Its Nationwide Series program includes Brian Scott (No. 2 Shore Lodge/Armour Vienna Sausage/Fast Fixin'/Charter/Husky Liners Chevrolet), 2012 Nationwide Series rookie of the year Austin Dillon (No. 3 AdvoCare Chevrolet) and an all-star driver lineup on the No. 33 Menards/Rheem/WESCO/Armour Vienna Sausage/Hunt Brothers Pizza/Fast Fixin' Chevrolet team. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series program will consist of 2012 Camping World Truck Series rookie of the year Ty Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) and Brendan Gaughan (No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet).
 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fast Facts: Travis Kvapil

credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts & Scuffs
Travis Kvapil, driver of the No. 93 Toyota Camry for BK Racing in the Sprint Cup Series, already has a top-tier NASCAR title to his credit. Find out in which series he won it in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Travis Kvapil was born March 1, 1976 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Growing up, he worked in his father’s garage, and at age 16 began racing at Rockford Speedway in Illinois, where he won the American Short Tracker division championship in 1994. In 1995 he moved up to Super Late Models at Madison International Speedway in Wisconsin and won the track’s Rookie of the Year award. In 1996 at age 20, he became the youngest title holder in the track’s history when he won the Late Model championship.
  • From 1998 to 2000, Kvapil raced in the short-track ARTGO Series, finishing in the top 10 in points each season. From there, he moved up to the Craftsman (now Camping World) Truck Series in 2001 with Addington Racing, winning Rookie of the Year. Two seasons later in 2003 with Xpress Motorsports, Kvapil became the Truck Series champ. In 143 Truck Series races to date, Kvapil has nine wins and 85 top 10 finishes.
  • Late in the 2004 season, Kvapil made his Cup Series debut with Penske Racing at Martinsville Speedway. He went on to replace Brendan Gaughan as the driver of the No. 77 for Penske in 2005. Kvapil has also driven for PPI Motorsports, Yates Racing and Front Row Motorsports before joining BK Racing in 2012. He also spent time with Roush Racing and Randy Moss Motorsports in the Truck Series.
  • Kvapil and his wife Jennifer have three children, Kelsey, Carson and Caden. He is a fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.
  • In 2006, Kvapil appeared in one episode of the soap opera Guiding Light along with his Tide ride from PPI Motorsports.
  • Learn more about Kvapil at his website, www.traviskvapil.com.  

Monday, June 24, 2013

Caption this: Greg Biffle & Juan Pablo Montoya

Greg Biffle and JPM chatting on the grid at Dover.
CAPTION THIS!


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)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

AJ Allmendinger's Nationwide victory at Road America bigger than the race

Credit: John Harrelson/NASCAR via Getty Images
"We're going to win the race but it's going to take all day to do it. You just have to patient and let it come to you." Jeremy Bullins, crew chief No. 22 

Sometimes the story behind the race is bigger than the story of the race.

Like in the 2001 Pepsi 400 where Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the first race back at the track which claimed his father's life.

Like Ernie Irvan's first win after taking over the No. 28 Havoline Ford that had been Davey Allison's.

Or like Irvan's 1997 victory at Michigan three years after a crash during practice at that track nearly killed him.

The Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 at Road America was one of those races.

Not to the same degree as those examples, of course, since no one had died along the way. Unless you count AJ Allmendinger's career, which was pronounced dead by many after his incomprehensible lapse in judgement that led to his indefinite suspension from NASCAR because of a failed drug test.

But unlike Jeremy Mayfield, the poster child for how not to handle a failed drug test, AJ took full responsibility for his actions, took all the right steps to return to the sport he loves and took every opportunity to prove to Roger Penske that the Captain's faith in him was not misplaced.

And Saturday he took home the trophy from Road America. His first NASCAR win in his first race in a Nationwide car since 2008 came at the same track where he scored his last solo win. AJ and his Michael Shank Racing teammates won the 2012 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, but beyond that, AJ last visited victory lane in 2006 right there at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin in the Champ Car Series.

The Dinger started from the pole and clearly had the dominant car, but with road-course specialists such as Owen Kelly and Billy Johnson, and talented series regulars such as Justin Allgaier and Parker Kligerman, who finished second and third respectively, the win was never a given.

Billy Johnson bumps past AJ Allmendinger to take the lead.
Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images
In fact, on Lap 7 AJ took a corner too hot and lost the lead to GrandAm racer Billy Johnson, but even that worked to Allmendinger's advantage.

"I made a mistake early in the race which was actually to my benefit," Allmendinger said in victory lane. "It allowed me to get behind a couple of guys and see where I was stronger and where I was probably over-driving a little bit and once I figured that out, this thing was a rocket ship."

Near the end of the race, on Lap 40, Johnson bumped past Dinger to take the lead. AJ told his team that he would pay back the No. 16 (Johnson) and within two laps, AJ pulled up behind Johnson and skillfully moved him over and cleanly claimed the spot and went on to pass Allgaier for the lead. From there it was simply him vs. fuel mileage through the two green-white-checkered finishes.

In victory he gained a measure of redemption and a serving of affirmation bigger than the race itself.

In his post-race interview, AJ spoke about how much Roger Penske's support meant to him and how badly he wanted to win for Roger.

"Anyone who's been to his shop -  this huge race shop that he's got between the Indy cars and the sports cars and all the NASCAR stuff. When he wins, he's got the posters up of each win. I've walked through that place for a year now…and I'd like to have a lot of them, but I just wanted one. I thought the Indy 500 one was going to be pretty cool, but that wasn't meant to be, but I just wanted one of those posters in there at least. I want to show that I was a small part of this race team who did something for Roger and it's cool to have that now," said Allmendinger.

Overall the race held all the excitement that fans have come to expect from road courses. Allgaier and Kligerman raced hard but in the end just didn't have enough for the No. 22.

"This is a little bit of redemption when we were leading on the last lap a couple of years ago," said Allgaier, referring to when he ran out of gas while leading on the last lap of the race in 2011. But he was quick to admit, "I would say that at the end of the race, the best car won."

Kligerman's cool box shorted out early in the race and he both got knocked around and did some punting of his own.

"With all the damage we had on the front end from moving cars out of the way to get up to the front, we probably hurt ourselves in terms of raw speed," said Kligerman. "But we were able to hold of Vickers for third, so that's all that matters."

Fourth-place finisher Owen Kelly might have been more a challenge but he ran out of fuel on Lap 30 and stopped in Turn 9. The No. 54 Monster team hadn't gotten the car quite full and their driver, a veteran of V8 Supercars, had to work his way back to the front. Kelly drove in the tradition of the Monster car, not shy about punting other cars off the track.

Penske regular Sam Hornish Jr. managed a fifth-place finish.

The Johnsonville Sausage 200 featured 11 lead changes among seven drivers, with Allmendinger leading the most laps.

Eight cautions slowed the pace for 16 laps and featured two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
Laps: 5: No. 18 stopped on track Turn 6
Laps: 16-18: No. 53 stopped on track
Laps 31-33: No. 54 stalled off track Turn 9
Lap 39: No. 21, 32 spin Turn 12
Laps 41-42: Debris front stretch
Laps 46-47: No. 51 into tire barrier Turn 7
Laps 49-50: No. 26 stopped on track Turn 6
Laps 52-53: No. 43 spin Turn 7

Series points leader Regan Smith had a rough day and saw his points lead cut to 28 because of his 32nd place finish. He held his own until the last few laps but ended up getting dumped. Allgaier's second place put him in front of Sam Hornish Jr., despite the latter's fifth-place finish.

"Road racing takes no driving ability, it just takes slamming ability," said Smith.

For the full finishing order click here

For the full points standings click here.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

NSCS Pole Report: Jamie McMurray edges out Marcos Ambrose for Coors Light Pole at Sonoma

Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
Qualifying for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 took a page from European touring series competition by debuting group-based qualifying. After all eight groups completed their five-minute sessions, Jamie McMurray took the top spot from Marcos Ambrose with a speed of 94.986 mph versus Marcos Ambrose's 94.924 mph.

This is McMurray's first pole, fourth top-10 start in 2013, and his second pole at Sonoma Raceway. His previous pole at Sonoma came in 2007. Marcos Ambrose (second) posted his fourth top-10 start of 2013 and his sixth in six races at Sonoma Raceway. Carl Edwards (third) posted his first top-10 start at Sonoma Raceway. It is his seventh in 16 races this season. Danica Patrick (31st) was the fastest qualifying rookie.

The starting lineup for tomorrow's 25th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 is:

1. Jamie McMurray
2. Marcos Ambrose
3. Carl Edwards
4. Greg Biffle
5. Clint Bowyer
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Kurt Busch
8. Joey Logano
9. Kyle Busch
10.   Jeff Gordon
11. Tony Stewart
12.   Kevin Harvick
13.   Juan Pablo Montoya
14.   Martin Truex, Jr.
15.   Kasey Kahne
16.   Paul Menard
17.   Denny Hamlin
18.   Brad Keselowski
19.   Jimmie Johnson
20.   Bobby Labonte
21.   Casey Mears
22.   Jacques Villeneuve
23.   David Ragan
24.   Boris Said
25.   Ron Fellows
26.   Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
27.   Jeff Burton
28.   David Stremme
29.   David Gilliland
30.   Ryan Newman
31.   Danica Patrick
32.   Aric Almirola
33.   Travis Kvapil
34.   Jason Bowles  
35.   Josh Wise
36.   Justin Marks
37.   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr
38.   David Reutimann
39.   Alex Kennedy
40.   Paulie Harraka
41.   Tomy Drissi
42.   J.J. Yeley
43.   Victor Gonzalez, Jr.

AJ Allmendinger claims his first Nationwide Series pole at Road America

Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images
AJ Allmendinger put the Penske Racing Discount Tire No. 22 on the pole for the Nationwide Series Johnsonville Sausage 200 as rain threatened at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The last time the California native drove a Nationwide car was 2008, the year Nationwide became the title sponsor, but he won at the track in 2006 - back in his CART days. The Dinger's done a bit  of road racing since then, winning the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona and more recently competing this season in an IZOD IndyCar.

V8 Supercar visitor Owen Kelly of Australia will start the No. 54 Monster Camry on the outside pole, while Parker Kligerman and Justin Allgaier roll off third and fourth.

Elliott Sadler's weekend isn't going well; he lost an engine during his qualifying run, the second of the weekend. "

"This transmission's a lot different than anything I ever had," Sadler said. "It's hard to learn here at the racetrack like this." His OneMain Financial team will hustle to get the car on the track by the time the race starts and 5:00 ET today.

Full results:

Rank    Driver  
1   A.J. Allmendinger  
2   Owen Kelly  
3   Parker Kligerman  
4   Justin Allgaier  
5   Michael McDowell  
6   Nelson Piquet, Jr.  
7   Billy Johnson  
8   Sam Hornish, Jr.  
9   Brian Vickers  
10   Max Papis  
11   Trevor Bayne  
12   Johnny O'Connell  
13   Kyle Larson  
14   Austin Dillon  
15   Alex Bowman  
16   Regan Smith  
17   Cole Whitt  
18   Brian Scott  
19   Travis Pastrana  
20   Michael Annett  
21   Andrew Ranger  
22   Elliott Sadler  
23   Mike Bliss  
24   Jeremy Clements  
25   Stanton Barrett  
26   Brendan Gaughan  
27   Kyle Kelley  
28   Kenny Habul  
29   James Buescher  
30   Landon Cassill  
31   Mike Wallace  
32   Jeffrey Earnhardt  
33   Reed Sorenson  
34   John Young  
35   Eric McClure  
36   Jeff Green  
37   Kevin O'Connell  
38   Dexter Stacey  
39   Derek White  
40   Tony Raines  


Victor Gonzalez Jr. teams up with Tommy Baldwin Racing to make history at Sonoma Raceway

Photo courtesy of Silver Visibility
Tommy Baldwin Racing fields three teams this weekend as the Sprint Cup Series visits Sonoma Raceway for the first road-course race of the season. Justin Marks drives the No. 7 normally piloted by Dave Blaney, JJ Yeley, normally in the No. 36, takes the wheel of the No. 37 as a last-minute entry, and in the No. 36, Victor Gonzalez Jr. makes history as the first Caribbean driver to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

Puerto Rican native Gonzalez Jr., 39, now calls the Dominican Republic home. While Juan Pablo Montoya represents Brazil in Sprint Cup racing and the Brazilian flag flies over Nelson Piquet Jr.'s Nationwide and Miguel Paludo's Camping World Truck Series haulers, the 25th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350 marks the first time a driver from a Caribbean country will race at the highest level of NASCAR.

In 2009, 2010 and 2012 Gonzalez Jr. raced at select venues in the Nationwide Series, but this weekend will be his first Cup start, joining Montoya in representing the growing Hispanic market in stock car racing.

Gonzalez Jr. told Skirts and Scuffs via email, "I grew up in Puerto Rico where Formula One is big, but NASCAR has always been my dream. I have always been a fan, and it is a privilege to compete in NASCAR at the highest level. One issue that is tough for Hispanic NASCAR drivers is getting Hispanic sponsors to buy in."

He explained that while Hispanic fans are brand-loyal, Hispanic businesses don't yet understand that phenomenon and are reluctant to spend marketing money in the sport. Gonzales Jr. wants to change that.

"I want to help change their perception that they can’t reach a broader Hispanic market through NASCAR. Hispanic fans are loyal to brands and support them. Hispanics understand that they must support our sponsors, like PhoneDaddy.com, in order for me to continue to race at this level, and for NASCAR to stay a bargain when it comes to entertaining your family."

PhoneDaddy.com is a personal sponsor of Gonzales Jr. He'll be in the IMCA Dominican Republic Chevrolet this weekend.

Gonzalez Jr. enjoys working with Tommy Baldwin and the team at TBR.

"TBR has a great team, from Tommy, to Joe Lax, to everyone on the crew. Those guys work incredibly hard, and they are perfectionists. They are going to give me the best chance possible to do well on Sunday." he said. "I can’t say enough great things about Tommy. The man knows racing and comes from a great racing family. He gave me my first shot at the Sprint Cup Series.  He is a wonderful man, and I am going to do everything I can to show him he made a great choice having me drive at Sonoma, and in August at Watkins Glen."

While he's racing the road courses this season, Gonzalez Jr.'s goal is to race the full season in 2014. He's driven on ovals before, both in the Barber Pro Series, where he won a pole at the Milwaukee Mile, and once in Nationwide at Phoenix.

"While people sometimes see me as a road course specialist, I can hold my own on the ovals." he explained. "My goal is to race the entire NSCS next year so I can show everyone what I can do."

Gonzalez Jr. described his experience in Cup car so far:

"I tested the No. 36 car on the short course at VIR (Virginia International Raceway) and it was incredible. More powerful than the Nationwide car, and it felt great to drive. The testing went better than we expected." he said. "We did a complete test so TBR knew what the car needed and what I needed to do my best. That test was very important leading into Sonoma, and I know it will make a difference."

Gonzalez Jr. isn't intimidated by the prospect of facing such notable names as Jacques Villeneuve, either.

"He (Villeneuve) is a great driver, and I look forward to competing against him again. I love being in a field at Sonoma with all the great Cup drivers." he said. "I am proud to be mentioned in the same breath with them all.  And, I am excited to have a chance to show everyone what I can do against the best NASCAR competition there is."

Celebrating his 39th birthday this week, Gonzalez Jr. is a bit older than most drivers making a first start in Sprint Cup, but that doesn't bother him either.

"I still feel like I am 18! But I have a lot of experience in these years and use that to my advantage. I have won more than 30 international races, and every race is another learning experience. You are never too old to learn."

When asked how he would describe himself, Gonzalez Jr. said, "I am a normal guy, a family guy, who loves to drive fast and to compete. I have worked hard for a long time to get here, and I will never forget the people who helped me get to this point. Robbie Benton who gave me my first chance in NASCAR. Alfredo Najri in the Dominican Republic who is my biggest supporter, is like a brother to me, and is a great driver himself. And, Tommy Baldwin and his crew. I cannot thank them enough."

"I am humbled by the kindness and generosity of the people who have helped me get to this point."

Skirts and Scuffs appreciates Victor Gonzalez Jr. taking time from his hectic schedule to introduce himself to our readers. He and the rest of the Sprint Cup field take the green flag Sunday at 3:19 pm Eastern. Tune in to TNT, PRN, or SiriusXM NASCAR to see the Toyota/Save Mart 350 twist and turn over the hills and curves of Sonoma.

Darrah Breaks Through At River Cities

Photo courtesy of River Cities Speedway


The World of Outlaws Sprint Cars invaded Grand Forks, North Dakota tonight for one of the most exciting races of the season. It was also one of the most emotional victories of the season for young Cody Darrah who dedicated the win to Jason Leffler and made a tribute lap with donuts in his honor.

The not-quite half-mile banked track was lightening fast from the very beginning of the night. Sammy Swindell set Quick Time with a lap of 10.151 seconds or 106.393 mph. Donny Schatz, Kraig Kinser, Craig Dollansky and Kerry Madsen rounded out the top five in time.

The heat races were exciting but crashed filled. The first heat of the night was won by Sammy Swindell. Swindell who was scheduled to start on the outside second row was moved up to the outside front row when David Gravel was late to staging for the race and penalized one row. Swindell was chased to the line by Cody Darrah, Gravel, Kerry Madsen, and Casey Mack. 

The second heat of the night was won by local driver Chris Shirek. Shirek held off Joey Saldana in a hard last-lap charge to win by a nose. Daryn Pittman, Donny Schatz and Paul McMahan would also transfer to the A main.

The third heat was also won by a local, this time Mark Dobmeier showed his skills by holding off the King of the Outlaws, Steve Kinser. The elder Kinser had his hands full holding off son Kraig on the final lap but came home in the runner-up spot followed by son Kraig Kinser, Jason Solwold and Wade Nygaard. 

The fourth and final of heat of the night had the first of the scary wrecks of the night. On lap eight of the ten-lap heat, Cory Mack made contact with Tim Kaeding and got into the water barrels that protect the retaining wall in turn four. The barrel exploded and sent water several hundred feet across the track and into the stands. Mack’s car was badly damaged but he climbed out and walked away. The race was won by Kaeding with Chad Kemenah, Jason Sides, Dave Glennon and Craig Dollansky all transferring to the A Main. Dollansky spun over the banking and came back from last place to the final transfer position in just two laps. 

The dash inversion was eight, which put Steve Kinser on the front row with Cody Darrah. Steve Kinser would jump to the early lead and hold Darrah off until the final 50 feet when Darrah won the pole for the A Main and the dash by a nose. Steve Kinser showed his incredible car control at the half way point when Darrah got into the King coming out of the second turn and Kinser literally drove out of it and maintained the lead. 

The Last Chance Showdown was the scene of the second scary crash of the night when Chris Ranten and Greg Nikitenko got together half way down the back stretch on the first lap of the race and sent Ranten flipping violently end over end and ending up at the fence at the edge of the property. Ranten crawled from the car and walked away. The last chance showdown was won by local driver Austin Pierce. Pierce was accompanied to the A main by Mitch Mack, Ryan Wilson and Jody Rosenboom.

The A Main would take 4 tries to get started. The initial green flag went yellow in turn two when Mitch Mack got over the banking and spun to a stop. The field would take a complete restart at the green. The second start would go Red when Jason Sides got upside down after contact with Casey Mack and Jody Rosenboom. Mack was pushed back to the field, while Rosenboom and Sides went to the work area on hooks. Neither beat the 2-minute clock in the work area and were trapped there. The third restart went yellow in turn two when Kerry Madsen bicycled wildly, saving the car but spinning over the banking. This allowed Jason Sides to return the track with a damaged top and nose wing. Madsen entered the work area, made repairs and returned to action until he broke a spark plug and retired from the event on lap 17. The fourth try saw the field go green and stay green for a few laps. Darrah took the lead early on and Tim Kaeding got by Steve Kinser, whose car was periodically puffing smoke. The caution waved again for Chad Kemenah on lap three as Kemenah lost power and slowed to a stop on the front stretch.

Then came the final scary wreck of the night. After taking the lead and losing it again in traffic, Joey Saldana got over the cushion, hit the wall and flipped wildly, hitting a second retaining wall that separates the pits from the track surface. It took several minutes for Saldana to exit the car. He was unhurt but the car was mangled and everyone in attendance and within ear shot of the broadcast breathed a sigh of relief. When the field went green, they stayed green until lap 37, when Jason Solwold flipped in turn four. Solwold was unhurt and returned to racing. The GWC single-file restart would not make it a lap before Jason Solwold would again flip in the exact same place on the track for a second time. Again the car was righted and he returned to racing action. Cody Darrah took the lead when Tim Kaeding opted to protect the low side, which was the line that Darrah had been running. Darrah jumped to the lead on the top and took off. Tim Kaeding would then do battle with Steve Kinser for second place, which Kinser would take momentarily but lose on the back stretch of the final lap. 

Cody Darrah won his first race of the year. It was an emotional victory for Darrah: he did a lap for friend Jason Leffler and dedicated the race to Jason and Charlie Leffler. “ I should have been fired for about three of those restarts,” said an emotional Darrah, “This win is goes to Jason and Charlie. We have been beating the ground all year with bad finishes. It’s great to race with Tim and Steve. I always thought that Kasey Kahne was taking a big chance on me. I just hope tonight he is glad he did.”

Tim Kaeding said, “I want to thank my crew. I just gave that one away. Cody earned it. Congratulations to him. He really deserves it.”

Steve Kinser, who was puffing smoke all night long, said, “It was sucking a little oil there somewhere but it didn’t hurt its power. We broke a rocker and lost a couple cylinders there the last three laps but it didn’t hurt us and it didn’t help us either.”

They say that you measure a victory by what you learned from it and what you take away with you. Tonight we learned that we can all hold our breath and say a prayer at the same time. We learned that somewhere in the back of our minds and in the middle of our hearts a little boy's little league tournament victories should be shared with his Dad - and thank God Reese’s daddy is still here to share them with him. We also learned that time heals wounds, but it takes time and there hasn’t been enough of it pass yet. It still hurts us a lot that Charlie’s dad won’t be there to see his little league wins. 

World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; River Cities Speedway; Grand Forks, N.D.; June 21, 2013

Qualifying: 1. 1-Sammy Swindell, 10.151; 2. 15-Donny Schatz, 10.222; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 10.285; 4. 7-Craig Dollansky, 10.346; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen, 10.363; 6. 9-Daryn Pittman, 10.425; 7. 13-Mark Dobmeier, 10.535; 8. 83-Tim Kaeding, 10.539; 9. 6-David Gravel, 10.564; 10. 71M-Joey Saldana, 10.569; 11. 11-Steve Kinser, 10.607; 12. 5-Dave Glennon, 10.615; 13. 4-Cody Darrah, 10.625; 14. 1K-Chris Shirek, 10.654; 15. 19-Ryan Wilson, 10.676; 16. 63-Chad Kemenah, 10.704; 17. 2A-Austin Pierce, 10.704; 18. 92-Mitch Mack, 10.717; 19. 82-Jason Solwold, 10.720; 20. 7S-Jason Sides, 10.746; 21. 8-Casey Mack, 10.748; 22. 51-Paul McMahan, 10.809; 23. 14-Tom Egeland, 10.824; 24. 10TRB-Bob Martin, 10.950; 25. 20A-Jordon Adams, 10.971; 26. 97G-Jody Rosenboom, 11.021; 27. 9N-Wade Nygaard, 11.123; 28. 25-Cory Mack, 11.129; 29. 27-Chris Ranten, 11.249; 30. 6N-Greg Nikitenko, 11.337; 31. O-Nick Omdahl, 11.351; 32. 26-Blake Egeland, 11.529; 33. 99-Jordan Graham, 11.744; 34. 91K-Kyle Fedyk, 11.752; 35. 35-Brenden Wilde, 11.753; 36. 69-Brandon Rekow, 12.858.

Heat 1 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 1-Sammy Swindell [4]; 2. 4-Cody Darrah [1]; 3. 6-David Gravel [2]; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen [3]; 5. 8-Casey Mack [6]; 6. 27-Chris Ranten [8]; 7. 20A-Jordon Adams [7]; 8. 99-Jordan Graham [9]; 9. 2A-Austin Pierce [5]

Heat 2 - (10 Laps – Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 1K-Chris Shirek [1]; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana [2]; 3. 9-Daryn Pittman [3]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [4]; 5. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 6. 6N-Greg Nikitenko [8]; 7. 92-Mitch Mack [5]; 8. 97G-Jody Rosenboom [7]; 9. 91K-Kyle Fedyk [9]

Heat 3 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 13-Mark Dobmeier [3]; 2. 11-Steve Kinser [2]; 3. 11K-Kraig Kinser [4]; 4. 82-Jason Solwold [5]; 5. 9N-Wade Nygaard [7]; 6. 19-Ryan Wilson [1]; 7. 14-Tom Egeland [6]; 8. O-Nick Omdahl [8]; 9. 35-Brenden Wilde [9]

Heat 4 - (10 Laps - Top 5 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 83-Tim Kaeding [3]; 2. 63-Chad Kemenah [1]; 3. 7S-Jason Sides [5]; 4. 5-Dave Glennon [2]; 5. 7-Craig Dollansky [4]; 6. 10TRB-Bob Martin [6]; 7. 26-Blake Egeland [8]; 8. 25-Cory Mack [7]; 9. 69-Brandon Rekow [9]

Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 10 starting positions of A-feature): 1. 4-Cody Darrah [1]; 2. 11-Steve Kinser [2]; 3. 83-Tim Kaeding [4]; 4. 71M-Joey Saldana [3]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 6. 13-Mark Dobmeier [5]; 7. 63-Chad Kemenah [10]; 8. 15-Donny Schatz [7]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell [8]; 10. 1K-Chris Shirek [9]

Last Chance Showdown - (12 Laps - Top 4 finishers transfer to the A-feature): 1. 2A-Austin Pierce [2] [-]; 2. 92-Mitch Mack [3] [-]; 3. 19-Ryan Wilson [1] [-]; 4. 97G-Jody Rosenboom [7] [-]; 5. 20A-Jordon Adams [6] [$200]; 6. 99-Jordan Graham [18] [$180]; 7. O-Nick Omdahl [11] [$175]; 8. 6N-Greg Nikitenko [10] [$160]; 9. 26-Blake Egeland [12] [$150]; 10. 91K-Kyle Fedyk [14] [$150]; 11. 35-Brenden Wilde [20] [$150]; 12. 14-Tom Egeland [4] [$150]; 13. 69-Brandon Rekow [16] [$150]; 14. 27-Chris Ranten [9] [$150]; 15. 10TRB-Bob Martin [5] [$150]; 16. 25-Cory Mack [8] [$150]

A-Main - (40 Laps): 1. 4-Cody Darrah [1] [$10,000]; 2. 83-Tim Kaeding [3] [$5,500]; 3. 11-Steve Kinser [2] [$3,200]; 4. 15-Donny Schatz [8] [$2,800]; 5. 11K-Kraig Kinser [5] [$2,500]; 6. 13-Mark Dobmeier [6] [$2,300]; 7. 51-Paul McMahan [22] [$2,200]; 8. 7-Craig Dollansky [11] [$2,100]; 9. 1-Sammy Swindell [9] [$2,050]; 10. 6-David Gravel [14] [$2,000]; 11. 9-Daryn Pittman [13] [$1,500]; 12. 82-Jason Solwold [19] [$1,200]; 13. 63-Chad Kemenah [7] [$1,100]; 14. 92-Mitch Mack [18] [$1,050]; 15. 7S-Jason Sides [20] [$1,000]; 16. 8-Casey Mack [21] [$900]; 17. 19-Ryan Wilson [16] [$800]; 18. 1K-Chris Shirek [10] [$800]; 19. 5-Dave Glennon [15] [$800]; 20. 71M-Joey Saldana [4] [$800]; 21. 29-Kerry Madsen [12] [$800]; 22. 9N-Wade Nygaard [24] [$800]; 23. 2A-Austin Pierce [17] [$800]; 24. 97G-Jody Rosenboom [23] [$800]. Lap Leaders: Cody Darrah 1-10, 12-18, 35-40; Joey Saldana 11, Tim Kaeding 19-34. KSE Hard Charger Award: 51-Paul McMahan [+15]



"Caption this" winner: Shannon3n88

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Congratulations to Shannon3n88 who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Michael Waltrip's head.

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.

Button and Stewart star in pair of comical Mobil 1 advertisements

Last weekend, during the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan, Mobil 1 debuted a new commercial featuring three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and Formula One's Jenson Button. The ad, called Stretch, shows the two drivers trying to one-up each and providing some comedic relief. Who knew Stewart was so limber?

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Mobil 1 is set to launch a new web-only video in the coming days where the two drivers are once again going head-to-head. Skirts and Scuffs has been given the opportunity to share an advanced copy of Biking with our readers. We hope you enjoy seeing the lighter side of things. 


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Let us know which spot is your favorite in the comments below.
Videos provided by Mobil 1.