Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Teardown Tuesday: Breaking Down the Greatest Day in Motorsports

Miss any of the action in Monaco, Indianapolis or Charlotte? This Tuesday our Amy Branch breaks down the big storylines from the Memorial Day weekend.

Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
By Amy Branch

The Greatest Day in Motorsports

Memorial Day weekend is special in the United States in many ways. We honor lost service members. We celebrate the first long weekend of the summer. We spend time with family and friends, grilling in the backyard or heading to the beach or lake. It's not only Americans who celebrate the weekend though. In the racing world, fans all over the world enjoy one of the most exciting days in motorsports, with racing from dawn until late in the evening.

The day starts with the famous Monaco Grand Prix, a Formula One race which takes place on Monaco's twisty, narrow streets, and ends with NASCAR's longest race at her home track in Charlotte, N.C. Sandwiched between is one of the most famous races in the world: the Indianapolis 500, celebrating its 100th race this weekend.

It's a long day of racing, but worth every minute.


Formula One, Monaco and Tires

In NASCAR, drivers rarely race in the rain. Slick tires and heavy loads on rain tires make it nearly impossible, except at a road course. Formula One racing doesn't have that problem. With several different tire selections for each race, a rainy day in Monaco didn't stop the race from starting. Using treaded tires designed to race in the rain, the F1 drivers started the Monaco Grand Prix under yellow behind a safety car for the first seven laps while the rain stopped and the road started to dry.

Once the racing surface was mostly dry, cars came to pit road to have intermediate tires installed. These tires are still treaded, but less so, designed to race on a track that is wet but without standing water. As the track dries, teams then can opt to change to one of three compounds, decided by Formula One well ahead of the race. For Monaco, teams had the option to use soft, supersoft or ultrasoft throughout the race. F1 regulations state that drivers must use two of the three types of tires provided for each race.

The softer a tire is, the more grip it has. Grip means speed, but a soft tire is also less durable. The idea is that teams will choose differing tire compositions as strategy, hopefully creating a better racing experience.

Monaco gave fans just that. There were botched pit stops, like when pole sitter Daniel Ricciardo's team didn't have his tires ready when he pulled up to the pit box, costing the Australian the win. Team orders were ignored -- the Swiss Sauber team of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson ran into problems when Nasr ignored team orders to let the faster Ericsson pass him. Eventually, Ericsson ran out of patience and tried to pass his teammate to disastrous effect: the two cars collided and the team's day ended.

At the end of the day, champion Lewis Hamilton picked up his first win of the year, breaking an eight-month dry spell.


100th running of the Indianapolis 500

Since 1950, IndyCar fans who lived near Indianapolis had two options to see the storied Indianapolis 500 each Memorial Day weekend: they could buy a ticket, or wait until the early evening for the delayed broadcast. This weekend, for the first time in 66 years, local IndyCar fans were able to watch the race live on TV, thanks to the first sellout crowd ever, pleasing anyone in central Indiana who couldn't make the race. Around 350,000 people were at the track to watch the 100th Indianapolis 500, and neither those watching up close nor at home left disappointed.

After a chaotic race which saw the leaders crash on pit road and a fuel mileage race to the finish, American rookie Alexander Rossi drank the milk and kissed the bricks. The driver for Andretti Autosport didn't even have a ride at the beginning of 2016, and he'd never driven on an oval track before the Phoenix race in April. That didn't stop him from beating faster cars to the finish line using fuel strategy.

"I have no idea how we pulled that off," Rossi said."We've had our struggles. It's been a new experience for me. We've worked very hard every day to try to improve and get things better. It's just a huge testament to the great people I have around me." 

With 10 laps to go, the 24-year old didn't pit with the rest of the field, and he stretched his fuel just long enough to cross the finish line first. Rossi's race car was sputtering on the last lap, but he worked his clutch and conserved just long enough to win, and be towed to Victory Lane for his celebration.


One for the record (and story) books: the Coca-Cola 600

Pure and utter domination. No other words can describe what Martin Truex Jr. did Sunday night. The Furniture Row Racing driver led a staggering 392 of 400 laps, or 588 of 600 miles, the most of any driver in any race in the history of NASCAR. He was passed only one time under green flag conditions, by Jimmie Johnson, for about half a straightaway. Other drivers couldn't catch him, no matter how hard they tried during the course of the grueling race.

Truex has been seeking his first win of the year, but until the Coca-Cola 600, misfortune plagued the No. 78 team in 2016. He almost won in Texas, Kansas and Dover, losing each race to bad luck and resulting in crushing disappointment.

"It's just kind of sinking in now that we won the 600," Truex said, visibly emotional in Victory Lane. "Really proud of my team -- everybody that made this possible, that believed in me, gave me this opportunity. Just a lot of emotion right now. Not really sure it's sunk in yet. Just an amazing day, an amazing weekend for all of us. It's a weekend you dream about."

Truex's win was celebrated throughout the garage and on pit road. After months of heartache and bad luck, none of his fellow competitors begrudged Truex this win. As he drove to Victory Lane, teams lined up on pit road to congratulate him, and some drivers came to Victory Lane to join in celebrating what may be the biggest win of Truex's career to date.

No matter which series they watched on the longest race day of the year, fans were treated to a fantastic day of racing capped by a storybook win. It's hard to ask for better than that.

Fast Facts: Cody Coughlin

credit: NASCAR Media
Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Cody Coughlin is very familiar with horsepower: the Coughlins are one of the top families in NHRA drag racing, and they are also the family behind JEGS High Performance automotive parts. Learn more about the part-time Kyle Busch Motorsports driver in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Cody Coughlin was born Dec. 11, 1995 in Delaware, OH. He is the son of John Coughlin, president of JEGS and a past NHRA winner. Most members of his family are involved in the NHRA, including his uncle Troy, who is a two-time NHRA Pro Mod champ, and uncle Jeg Jr., who is a five-time NHRA Pro Stock champ.
  • Coughlin followed the family footsteps into the NHRA’s Junior Drag Racing League, but switched to ovals as a teen, winning five USAC quarter midget races in 2009. He moved into Late Models in 2010, and to the JEGS/CRA All-Stars tour in 2011, winning Rookie of the Year; in 2013, he won the All-Stars championship.
  • Coughlin signed on with JGR’s development program in March 2014 and made his ARCA Racing Series debut later that month with Venturini Motorsports. In 2015, he won his first career ARCA pole at Talladega Superspeedway, going on to finish second. He also made his Camping World Truck Series debut that same year, finishing 20th at Kentucky for Venturini.
  • In 2016, Coughlin is schedule to run 11 races for KBM, one in the No. 18 and 10 in the No. 51, splitting seat time with Daniel Suarez for the season.
  • Learn more about Coughlin and his family at www.teamjegs.com


Monday, May 30, 2016

Travel Tips: Pocono Raceway – June 3-5, 2016

credit: NASCAR Media
The Sprint Cup Series and ARCA Racing Series are joined by the Xfinity Series for the first time as the trio visits the “The Tricky Triangle,” Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania, Friday through Sunday, June 3-5 for the annual Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 weekend.

The annual NASCAR Hauler Parade takes place Thursday, June 2, beginning at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg at 10 a.m. ET. The free event allows fans to check out the haulers in person before they head out at 11:30 a.m. ET – find out more here.

Key on-track times:

Friday, June 3 –
  • Sprint Cup Series practice – 11 a.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series practice – 12:30 and 3 p.m. ET
  • ARCA Racing Series qualifying – 1:45 p.m. ET
  • Sprint Cup Series qualifying – 4:15 p.m. ET
  • ARCA Racing Series General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 – 5:45 p.m. ET
Saturday, June 4
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 9:15 a.m. ET
  • Sprint Cup Series practice –11:30 a.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series Pocono Green 250 – 1 p.m. ET
Sunday, June 5
  • Sprint Cup Series Axalta “We Paint Winners” 400 – 1 p.m. ET
Find the complete weekend schedule here.

Find out more about the event and purchase tickets at www.poconoraceway.com

Right Sides Only: Notes from Coca-Cola 600 Winning Crew Chief, Cole Pearn

by Stacey Owens

Ever heard the expression, "Everything happens for a reason?" Martin Truex Jr.'s longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex most likely has. After his record-breaking win at the Coca-Cola 600, Pollex revealed her recent advice to the driver of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota.

“I keep telling him that he had to lose all those races and that God was building his character to win the big one,” Pollex said. “This is huge for us and our family. We’ve been through so much ….”

The duo has been through a lot. Pollex has recently been declared cancer-free after battling the disease since 2014. Truex, too, has had several close calls in attempting to find Victory Lane this season. But on this Memorial Day Weekend, they were both winners.

According to crew chief Cole Pearn, that win started earlier in the week.

"It went good once the weekend kind of got rolling, but honestly, we struggled a bit off the truck and had a little bit of a rough night in the All-Star Race," he said. "We were able to work on it on Thursday and made really good gains the whole time through. I think we were only like 13th in the first round and got a little better. I think we were fifth in the second round and then got the pole, which was kind of a surprise actually for how the day had gone. 

"I felt like we had a really good plan on the race trim setup based on what we experienced in the All-Star Race, and just had a really good plan to be good in all stages of the race, and that's really what we worked hard on. It was nice to see it come together. There were some times where some other guys were obviously really strong and we were able to hold them off when they presented a challenge. Just really happy to get it done. We've led a lot of laps this year, especially on mile-and-a-halfs, and to get it done in the Coke 600 is really cool." 


Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
Most teams look forward to the All-Star Race weekend coupled with the Coca-Cola 600 the following weekend because it gives them a chance to be at home rather than on the road. That isn't the case, however, for Furniture Row Racing.

Because they are one of the few teams based outside the Charlotte, North Carolina area, did Furniture Row Racing personnel travel back and forth from Denver, Colorado during every other team's at-home weeks?

"Yeah, we went back and forth," Pearn said. "I think we got home maybe 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, but we were right back. We pretty much had one day to go over -- one day and a morning I guess to work on the 600 car before it had to come out. Now we actually came here and worked on it until about 9:00 Wednesday night at Gibbs, just trying to get the last little details and upgrades on it before we got here Thursday morning. They're busy weeks, but it was definitely a short turnaround with having to qualify on Thursday."

Actually, travel is simply a weekly occurrence for the crew. Whatever the track, the team is on the move and has learned to roll with the schedule.

"I think it shows a lot of the character of the team," Truex Jr. said. "We've got a really tight group of guys that work really well together and have a lot of confidence in each other, and it's good to see that they never give up and they just keep fighting and they work hard, so they deserve winning."

Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
Pearn affirmed the team's solid work ethic.

"[In] this sport you just really don't have a lot of time week-to-week to wonder the what ifs, and 'we should have done that' and 'we could have done that.' Time is of the essence, and we have a tight turnaround every week being in Denver, so just really staying focused on the task at hand and then trying to get better every week.
             
"I think that's what's got us to this point, so I think we're really fortunate, as Martin said, how good a group we have. I don't know, it's fun to be a part of really good teams, and it's really just that way.  Everybody top to bottom in our team is just as solid as I've ever hoped for. I can't remember where it was -- one of the races we led a lot of laps -- and we came in the next morning, and I've never seen such drive in our guys in our shop. If anything, it drove you to work harder. Just really proud of everybody to get the satisfaction of getting this win."

This win catapults the team into Chase territory. With Pocono on the horizon, it's a sure bet that other teams may be wondering whether the newest race winner will be the newest multiple-race winner.  Does momentum count for anything? We'll find out later this week.

-------------------------

   Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
    This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.

Truex Captures Long-Awaited Win at Charlotte

Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs  
by Kristen Schneider

 Finally.

After heartbreaking near-wins at three tracks this season, Martin Truex Jr. claimed the victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in dominating fashion.

The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota paced the field for a record-setting 392 laps, the most at Charlotte since Jim Paschal in 1967. He also led 588 miles, the most in NASCAR history.

Shattering those records isn’t a surprise to Truex. Since FRR aligned with Joe Gibbs Racing, they have consistently battled within the top 10. Truex knew he and his team could capture that victory – and that feeling never wavered.

“I had confidence. I had faith. I had confidence in my team. I’ve got a lot of great people behind me,” he said. “Sherry [Pollex, Truex’s girlfriend] – she gives me a lot of inspiration, and we just keep fighting. We never give up. We never quit. We always just keep digging. And just proud of my guys for sticking behind me – the pit crew has come a long way. They did a great job tonight.”


Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
Truex came close to victory at Daytona, Texas and Kansas, yet late-race challenges prevented him from sealing the deal. For Pollex, it was only a matter of time before her long-term boyfriend made it to Victory Lane.

“It’s amazing," she said. "I keep telling him that he had to lose all those races and that God was building his character to win a big one. This was huge for us and our hometown and our family and for Johnny [Morris from Bass Pro Shops] and Barney [Visser, owner of Furniture Row Racing]. And we’ve been through so much. This is just the icing on the cake.”

Kevin Harvick finished second, 2.573 seconds behind Truex. The No. 4 blossomed when the sun went down, gaining on the top five in the final 50 laps. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver wasn’t upset about the first 450 laps.

“At the beginning of the race, we were just having the same problem getting in the corner and then sliding the back of the car up off the corner,” Harvick said. “Towards the end, we got the car on the racetrack a lot better and were able to really start driving it like we needed to keep up.

“I think we'd have been better off if they would have just kept running,” he said, adding, “But when the caution came out, because we had caught the 78, passed the 48, and then once he got new tires and an adjustment on there, it seemed like he was kind of able to get out in front of us, and we were never really able to make up any ground once we got around the 48.

Harvick's finish Sunday night brings his 2016 stats to one win, six top fives, and 10 top-10 finishes.

Other notable finishes include Chase Elliott finishing eighth in his first Coca-Cola 600, and Ryan Newman claimed just his fourth top 10 in 2016. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hamlin Wins at Charlotte, Xfinity Regulars Finish Up Front

Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images
Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was good to Denny Hamlin as well as to various Xfinity Series regulars, with the former taking home the trophy and putting the No. 18 Hisense Toyota in Victory Lane. 

With a tire violation miring him behind competitors, Hamlin charged through the field and put himself in position as the laps dwindled down. Kyle Larson and Joey Logano battled for the lead over the final dozen laps, but Erik Jones brought out a caution just before Larson took the white flag, putting the race into overtime.

Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Hamlin, who took tires under the caution, capitalized on the fresh rubber and kept moving forward, passing Logano and Larson who both had stayed out. Larson was on Hamlin’s bumper until the car got away from him; the No. 42 hit the wall. The No. 18 took the checkered flag, and Larson came up short once again. 

Hamlin said after the win, “It was a second opportunity obviously. I was hoping for that caution there at the end. We got it, and we were able to get four tires on this Hisense Camry and took off. A little closer than what I thought – I mean, we were just really tight those last couple laps, but what a great day. It’s the Hisense 300 here at Charlotte – couldn’t be prouder of that whole group being here with Joe Gibbs Racing and me and we’ve been in victory lane with them a bunch.”

However, Hamlin’s win wasn’t the biggest takeaway from the Hisense 300. Though Austin Dillon and Joey Logano took second and third, Xfinity Series drivers had strong showings throughout the day, and the finishing order proves it. JR Motorsports drivers Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier finished fourth and fifth respectively, continuing their organization’s strong season with the top finishes by Xfinity Series regulars. 

Brandon Jones brought his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet home in seventh while his RCR teammate Ty Dillon captured eighth place.

The younger Dillon persevered through a tight set-up early on, saying, “We were super tight for whatever reason, so we weren't able to make the moves we needed to start off. Luckily, we had a string of cautions in a row to give us a few opportunities to fix the car. Nick [Harrison, crew chief] took a big swing at the adjustments and they worked out well for us.”

He added, “I was able to race inside the top 10 for a majority of the day. Our car was fast, but I felt like we could have been a little better. The racing at the end for the checkered flag in overtime was fun. We'll take this finish and move on to Pocono next weekend.”

Jones also battled car issues. “I was having problems every time I came into the pit stall. The car felt like it was going to die and I could watch the RPMs fall from the fuel getting out of the catch there. It was a long race. Pretty hot out all day, really slick and greasy. We were just fighting tight conditions all day, and crew chief Mike Hillman Jr. made great calls. We made some pretty big swings at it and got it where we needed to be there at the end to try and make a run at this. All in all, I think a seventh-place finish with all that happened with the pit stops there was good.”

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back in action next Saturday at Pocono Raceway, where the series will race for the first time.

Complete unofficial results:

Finish Car No.     Driver
1 18    Denny Hamlin
2 2    Austin Dillon
3 22    Joey Logano
4 88    Cole Custer
5 7    Justin Allgaier
6 42    Kyle Larson
7 33    Brandon Jones
8 3    Ty Dillon
9 48    Brennan Poole
10 62    Brendan Gaughan
11 43    Jeb Burton
12 19    Daniel Suarez
13 39    Ryan Sieg
14 11    Blake Koch
15 0    Garrett Smithley
16 12    Ryan Blaney
17 4    Ross Chastain
18 24    Drew Herring
19 16    Ryan Reed
20 51    Jeremy Clements
21 28    Dakoda Armstrong
22 1    Ryan Preece
23 44    J.J. Yeley
24 97    Harrison Rhodes
25 78    B.J. McLeod
26 90    Martin Roy
27 6    Darrell Wallace, Jr.
28 1    Elliott Sadler
29 21    Spencer Gallagher
30 13    Carl Long
31 20    Erik Jones
32 70    Derrike Cope
33 25    Timmy Hill
34 14    Jeff Green
35 74    Mike Harmon
36 52    Joey Gase
37 7    Ray Black, Jr.
38 15    Cody Ware
39 93    Josh Wise
40 10    Matt DiBenedetto

High-Speed Chess: Previewing the Coca-Cola 600

Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
by Kristen Schneider

Since 1960, Charlotte Motor Speedway has held a special place on every driver’s bucket list. It presents challenges that vary from 600 grueling miles to transitioning from day to night. Drivers struggle to sustain their energy while crews attempt to tweak the set-up. Everyone is in the pursuit of speed, leverage, and victory.

Those obstacles simply make the win even sweeter.

There is a lot at stake on Sunday night, more than a trophy or making history. With the schedule mainly comprised of 1.5-mile tracks, success at CMS would mean a team found a useful set-up for future races – even ones in the Chase. Not to mention the bragging rights that come along with the Coca-Cola 600 victory. Competitors know who’s strong, and they’ll hear about for the rest of the season.

Before the historic race gets underway, here are three headlines you should know before watching the next 600 miles.


Truex, Furniture Row start on the pole

After coming close to victory three times this season, Martin Truex Jr. is not going away. Furniture Row Racing’s newest alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing makes them a mainstay within the top 10. Truex captured the pole with a qualifying time of 28.077 seconds (192.328 mph). It’s his second pole of the season and the eighth of his Sprint Cup career. Wins tend to slip through Truex’s fingers, but I'm picking him to grab the trophy for this 600. With JGR power under the hood, he is one to watch this weekend.

Credit: Charlotte Bray/Skirts and Scuffs
Ford flourishes in qualifying

Blue ovals make up half of Sunday’s top 10, a rarity in recent years due to Chevrolet and Toyota domination. While Team Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski are up there as usual, Roush Fenway Racing’s qualifying effort is a sight for sore eyes. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. lines up third, while teammates Greg Biffle and Trevor Bayne start sixth and 10th, a testament to their sudden speed. Stenhouse has come into his own early this season, and Biffle and Bayne followed suit. The latter two claimed victories in the Sprint Showdown, another morale boost for the organization. Richard Petty Motorsports was also fast in qualifying, but Aric Almirola and Brian Scott were shuffled around in the late stages of each round. They start 20th and 30th, respectively. Chevy and Toyota have shared the dominance lately, but Ford will have a slight advantage with their presence near the front of the field.

Low downforce invades CMS

Aside from being one of the biggest races on the schedule, much of the hype can be attributed to the newest aero package. Parts of the Sprint All-Star Race set-up are applied this weekend; the mounted truck trailing arm and reduced number of cooling fans will make an appearance, while the rear toe adjustments will not. What does this mean? Well, the racing should be one step below the All-Star craziness because there's still a serious cut in downforce and side force. There is a bit of hesitancy in the fact that the race goes from day to night. That slight doubt is overruled by anticipation. The constant adjustments needed to excel in this race will become the main focus, and it’s thrilling to keep up with the strategy. High-speed chess? Yes, please. This event is the perfect mixture of driver, machine, and those behind the scenes. It has something for everyone. As the 40-car field attempts to manage low downforce at Charlotte Motor Speedway, there will be plenty to watch and enjoy. 

The Coca-Cola 600 is set to take place Sunday, May 29, at 6 p.m. TV coverage starts at 5:30 p.m. on FOX. The race is also available on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and PRN. For updates and photos from the track, follow Skirts and Scuffs and Kristen Schneider on Twitter, and the Skirts and Scuffs Facebook page. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Leave Their Mark: Five Questions for Charlotte


Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
It’s Memorial Day weekend, and in NASCAR, that means one thing – the Coca-Cola 600 is upon us.

After an interesting Sprint All-Star Race, we don’t know what to expect on Sunday night. The latest aero adjustments will be put to the test as late day transitions into night. The teams will fight to hoist Charlotte Motor Speedway’s iconic trophy and leave their mark.

However, this weekend isn’t solely about racing and history; it extends beyond the sport’s longest race and those in the driver seats. It’s about those who fought for our country and paid the ultimate price. Their sacrifice doesn’t go unnoticed, especially by those racing this weekend. The various paint schemes honoring the fallen are a sign of respect. They're also a reminder that freedom isn’t free.

That thought, along with these five questions, are on my mind as we prepare to take on 600 miles.

Can we really blame Keselowski for the All-Star mishap? This week, many fans were still confused about what happened last Saturday night. Some of the media members were in the same boat. “Send angry comments Brad Keselowski’s way,” everyone said. When the format was announced, Dale Earnhardt Jr. outed the 2012 Sprint Cup champion as its creator, and now people are blaming him for the Sprint All-Star Race’s convoluted execution. However, this criticism is misdirected. Although there are some elements of the format that need simplifying, Keselowski’s idea has some great points. The way it was presented? Not so much. NASCAR wasn’t prepared for both Matt Kenseth’s “mistake” and Jamie McMurray’s caution near the end of the first segment, and the sanctioning body certainly wasn’t ready when the two incidents occurred together. That is NASCAR’s fault. If McMurray’s caution didn’t happen, nobody would be upset with how the race turned out.

The other part of this deal is the concept – and the lack of interception. Many drivers – most notably Denny Hamlin – were vocal about the format’s flaws after the race. If so many objected to it, why did it go through? The Driver Council was part of the decision-making process and was tasked with communicating an idea. That’s why the Driver Council exists. That’s also why they have a massive group text, to flesh out any details after hours. Either nobody expressed their thoughts, or nobody listened. Whatever the reason, Keselowski shouldn’t shoulder all the blame. NASCAR and fellow drivers are also responsible. Hopefully, they get the kinks ironed out by next year’s All-Star event.

Which XFINITY regular has the best chance of outrunning Hamlin and Logano? Two heavy hitters are entered in Saturday’s XFINITY Series race, but Kyle Busch isn’t one of them. Hamlin will pilot the No. 18 while Joey Logano drives the No. 22 for Team Penske. The void created by Busch could be filled by these two, but this is still an opportunity for series regulars to visit Victory Lane. Erik Jones and Elliott Sadler have punched their Chase tickets, and both can pressure Hamlin and Logano this weekend. However, the one to keep an eye on is Daniel Suarez. There’s no “Sophomore slump” coming out of the No. 19 camp. He’s collected four top fives and eight top 10s in 2016, half of what he accumulated throughout 2015. Everyone knows who he is, as they should. Suarez’s tough and effective driving style puts him in his competitor’s crosshairs. With Joe Gibbs Racing equipment, he’s an even bigger threat. A win has eluded him thus far, but that won’t last for long. He’s the one to watch going into Charlotte this weekend.

Can Larson keep eyes on him? It’s no surprise that everyone is focused on Kyle Larson. After collecting two top fives and three top 10s in 2016, the Chip Ganassi Racing driver dazzled in the Sprint Showdown and All-Star Race. His risky moves left everyone awestruck and impressed. Now, as we head into one of the biggest races of the season, can he build upon those exhibition finishes? It’s definitely not out of the question because the No. 42 team is hot right now, and many are taking notice. This new downforce package suits Larson’s style, and his competitors need to watch out. He should perform very well this weekend and show everyone his All-Star finish wasn’t even close to a fluke.

Will Sunday’s quality of racing be a disappointment or a breath of fresh air? As previously mentioned, Saturday’s racing was good. Like, really good. The adjustments to remove downforce and side-force worked, but will they change Sunday’s action? Not drastically – because the rear toe adjustment won’t be in effect. This will make the cars handle better, a positive for drivers. However, that translates into less action for the fans. When drivers can’t get in sync with their cars, it makes for struggles that add entertainment value. Despite this, the Coca-Cola 600 has potential to be epic. The other changes – mounted truck trailing arms and a set number of cooling fans – will take away downforce and side-force as well, which will influence the racing. I’m very optimistic for Sunday night, yet it won’t exactly be like the All-Star action – and that’s OK.

Who makes history? As one of NASCAR’s biggest races, the Coca-Cola 600 is a huge deal to drivers, crews and fans. It marks the ultimate test of stamina and focus. Teams must manage tires and tempers to have a shot at entering the history books. Who puts their name in it this year? It’s hard to narrow it down to a single choice. Many of these drivers have won a Coca-Cola 600 before, and the others can make a strong run. Despite the surprises 600 miles can hold, a driver who did well in last year’s event stands out – and his equipment is even better this season. Martin Truex, Jr. led 131 laps in the 2015 Coca-Cola 600 but couldn’t seal the deal for him and his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team. Some say he has bad luck, and others say he has a habit of choking. Either way, it ends with him not being in Victory Lane. This year, he has the ability to be different, because as a Joe Gibbs Racing satellite team, the No. 78 carries some of the best engines in the garage. The extra power puts them on a whole new level. Last season, Truex pulled off a win without the JGR boost. He starts on the pole for Sunday night's 600, and he's my pick to win.

Of course, someone could come out of the shadows and prove me wrong – so I’m choosing a dark horse, and it is Chase Elliott. You probably wouldn’t consider him a “dark horse,” per say, but that’s what I’m calling him. That No. 24 car makes gains every weekend, and his performance in the Sprint Showdown says he is comfortable wheeling it around Charlotte. Many drivers – including his predecessor, Jeff Gordon – can say their first Cup victory was the Coca-Cola 600. If things go his way Sunday night, Elliott may say that as well. I expect both Truex Jr. and Elliott to do well – and have a chance to leave their mark.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

TV Schedule: May 26-29

Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit: Rainier Ehrhardt/Getty Images
By Rebecca Kivak

NASCAR revs up for its longest race of the season, the Coca-Cola 600, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 600-miler is a test of endurance in the heart of NASCAR country.

The XFINITY Series takes to the track Saturday while Sprint Cup gets in gear for the 600 on Sunday night.

The following is a handy guide to track events and television coverage this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, May 26:
2 p.m. Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1
3:30 p.m. XFINITY Series practice, FS1
5:30 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
7 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, FS1
11 p.m. K&N Pro Series Race: Orange Show Speedway (re-air), NBCSN

Friday, May 27:
2 a.m. K&N Pro Series Race: Orange Show Speedway (re-air), NBCSN
4 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
5:30 a.m. XFINITY Series practice (re-air), FS1
6:30 a.m. XFINITY Series final practice (re-air), FS1
8 a.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying (re-air), FS1

Saturday, May 28:
10 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1
11 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
1 p.m. Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1
2:30 p.m. XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300, FS1

Sunday, May 29:
1:30 a.m. XFINITY Series Hisense 4K TV 300 (re-air), FS1
4 a.m. Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1
5 a.m. Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1
4 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
5:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX
6 p.m. Sprint Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600, FOX
3 a.m. (Monday) NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Rookie Stripe: Flying High: The Eight Flags of NASCAR and What They Mean

Photo Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
When I was little, one of my favorite children's books was P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog. Go! A clan of dogs driving cars is on the go, fast and furiously, headed towards a mysterious destination. You don’t know where they’re going, but their journey is ruled by a traffic light. The dogs go. The dogs stop. Then they go some more.

Like the traffic lights in the book, NASCAR’s hallmark flags dictate stop, go and more on the track. They are NASCAR's silent language at powerful speeds. A flying flag can indicate that a driver has won, but another may mean that he or she is in trouble. But if you're a rookie fan, they might be new to you. Here are the eight flags and what they mean:

Green: Go! The green flag is waved to start a race or to restart a race after another flag. Other drivers can’t pass the lead driver until the green flag has been waved.

Yellow: Caution. A yellow flag cautions drivers to slow due to dangerous conditions, often resulting from debris on the track or something else that makes the racing unsafe, such as rain or a wreck.

Red: Stop. A flag that teams usually don’t like to see, a red flag means that drivers and teams have to cease racing and pit crew work immediately. During a red flag, cars come to a halt on a clear part of the track. A red flag occurs for an emergency, such as a big wreck requiring lots of clean-up.

Black: Normally a black flag happens when there's a rule violation and a driver must respond to NASCAR within five laps. This flag is also called the "consultation flag" and personally when I think about it, I just can’t help but think of a misbehaving kid called up to the front of the class to talk to the teacher. Black flags are often used for speeding on pit road or other car issues that could cause hazards..

Black with White Stripe:
 When a driver fails to respond to a black flag within five laps, they get the black flag with white diagonal stripe, and won’t be scored until they're cleared by NASCAR. If the black flag is trouble with the teacher, the black-and-white-striped flag is detention.

Blue with Yellow Stripe: This flag is somewhat of a courtesy indicator and is waved to drivers not on the lead lap to signal that they should allow faster cars to pass. It’s kind of like your mother telling you to mind your manners. The cars don’t always obey it.

White Flag: The white flag flies when the lead driver is on the last lap of the race. It signals drivers that there's only one lap to go.

Checkered flag:  The waving of the checkered flag means that a race is over because someone has just crossed the finish line and won. You’ll often hear the expression that a race winner “took the checkered flag.”

Amidst burnout smoke, Erik Jones grabs his checkered flag after winning the Xfinity race at Dover on May 14, 2016.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
Even though it’s only used once during a race, the checkered flag is one of the most recognized symbols in racing. You can read more about its history on NASCAR.com. NASCAR also offers its own guide to the flags of NASCAR.

Being a NASCAR flagman is actually a really tough job, and it means staying perched in the flag stand for the duration of the race. Flagmen are close to the track, meaning they get pelted in the face with dirt, rubber and other debris, and must wear eye protection. According to this article, bathroom breaks aren’t part of the job, so they plan carefully. While the heat and wind gust around them, flagmen wave their flags like giant sirens above a roaring track of cars, sometimes traveling close to 200 miles per hour. For them it's just a normal day at work.

And because everyone wants to know the ending of a great story, back to my favorite book, Go, Dog. Go! The dogs’ destination? I hate to spoil an ending, but it turns out to be a dog party in a tree. That’s not too far off from Victory Lane, if you ask me.


A NASCAR flagman awaits the start of a race.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 Picks for the Season's Longest Race



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

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kevin Harvick - 5
Denny Hamlin - 4
All with 3 - Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch 

By Track
All with 7 - Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin  
All with 5  - Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch
All with 4 - Joey Logano, Ryan Newman, Martin Truex Jr. and Matt Kenseth

Recent Pole Winners:  
2015 Matt Kenseth
2014 Jimmie Johnson

2015 Race Winner: Carl Edwards

Likely Suspects: As the season's longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 allows the cream rise to the top. This race favors drivers who are in the best physical shape and the pit crews who are fast and flawless. Look for these drivers to run well this week: Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenneth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. Heads up though, we're at a 1.5-mile track this week, so don't overlook Joey Logano, last week'sAll-Star Race winner.

My 2 Cents: This week's no-brainer pick is a three-way tie among Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenneth and the ultra-physically-fit Carl Edwards. My next picks are Martin Truex Jr., Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman. I will complete my team with Regan Smith and Chase Elliott.

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott.

Points to Ponder:
  • 87 of the 114 (76.3%) Sprint Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • 48 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with seven wins. 
  • Eight different manufacturers have won in the Cup Series at Charlotte, led by Chevrolet with 43 victories, followed by Ford (30), Dodge (15), Pontiac (8), Mercury (7), Buick (4), Plymouth (4) and Toyota (3).
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Charlotte in the Cup Series with 18: Jimmie Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader (one), Terry Labonte (one), Casey Mears (one) and Kasey Kahne (one). 
  • Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at Charlotte Motor Speedway with nine, followed by Jimmie Johnson with four.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the Cup Series in average starting position at Charlotte with a 7.793.
Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

Fast Facts: 2016-17 NASCAR Next Class

Matt Tifft is one of the 11 drivers selected to the NASCAR Next class
Credit: NASCAR via Getty Images/Sarah Crabill  
The 2016-17 NASCAR Next class is a diverse group of young drivers hailing from three countries and varying backgrounds. These 11 drivers were selected because NASCAR officials believe they are primed for success and will impact the sport in the future. Learn a little more about these drivers in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Harrison Burton – The 15-year-old second-generation driver from Huntersville, NC, is the son of former Cup Series driver and currently broadcaster Jeff Burton. Burton is currently competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series after setting the record last year as the youngest Division I race winner in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series history.
  • Collin Cabre – A NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver as well, the 22-year-old from Tampa, FL is in his second season with Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. He captured his first career win last October after making the successful move from racing sprint cars.
  • Spencer Davis – The 17-year-old Dawsonville, GA, driver was named the Sunoco Rookie of the Year last season in the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour and has now moved to the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, where he has established himself as a championship contender with top six finishes in his first seven series starts dating back to last season.
  • Alon Day – One of two international drivers on the list, Day is the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to earn NASCAR Next recognition. The 24-year-old is from Ashdod, Israel, and completed his first full season in the Whelen Euro Series as championship runner-up. Including the final two rounds of 2015, Day has won four of the last eight Elite 1 races.
  • Tyler Dippel – The 16-year-old from Wallkill, NY, scored his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory in March. Dippel previously competed in the DIRTcar Racing Series in the northeast, earning the rookie of the year title and becoming the youngest race winner in that series.
  • Todd Gilliland – A third-generation driver, Gilliland is the son of Cup Series veteran David Gilliland and grandson of 1997 Winston West Series champ Butch Gilliland. The 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, NC, made NASCAR history by winning his first four career NASCAR K&N Pro Series starts. He became the youngest winner in series history with his victory last fall, and has followed it up with wins in both the K&N Pro Series East and West season openers this year.
  • Noah Gragson – The 17-year-old Las Vegas native finished second in the championship standings last year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West and earned the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award. Gragson learned his trade in the Legends and Bandolero Divisions at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and earned a pair of K&N Pro Series West wins in 2015.
  • Gary Klutt – The second Canadian to be named to the program and the first full-time driver from the NASCAR Pinty’s Series, the 23-year-old from Halton Hills, Ontario, earned his first career pole and win last year en route to being named the Jostens Rookie of the Year and finishing fifth in series points. 
  • Julia Landauer – Landauer, 24, from New York City, got her start racing a variety of cars – from Formula BMW to Ford Focus Midgets to stock cars. The versatile driver was also a contestant on the hit reality show ‘Survivor’ before graduating from Stanford in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Science, Technology, and Society. She became the first female to win a Limited Late Model division championship at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, VA, last year before graduating to the K&N Pro Series West this season.
  • Ty Majeski – The 21-year-old from Seymour, WI, collected three wins and earned the 2016 Super Late Model championship in the 50th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February. Majeski added a NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Late Model track record and victory in the FrostBuster at Wisconsin’s LaCrosse Fairgrounds Speedway in April.
  • Matt Tifft – A development driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, the 19-year-old from Hinckley, OH, is driving part-time in the Xfinity Series for JGL Racing and JGR, and racing in the Camping World Truck Series for Red Horse Racing. He earned his first career pole in the Xfinity Series at Talladega earlier this month.
Learn more about the program and the drivers at next.nascar.com

More on the NASCAR Next drivers:











Monday, May 23, 2016

Travel Tips: Charlotte Motor Speedway – Coca Cola 600 edition - May 26-29, 2016

credit: NASCAR Media
We’re in the midst of “10 Days of Speed” in the heart of NASCAR country, Charlotte, North Carolina. The action at Charlotte Motor Speedway continues with this weekend’s big races -- the Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 and the longest race of the Sprint Cup Series season, the Coca-Cola 600 -- which go green on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29, respectively.


If you’re heading down to Charlotte for the action, you’ll have a few days and evenings to explore the area. Here are a few things to check out:
Check out the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series on Friday night, May 27 at the neighboring Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Find out more about the NOS Energy Circle K Showdown here.

credit: NASCAR Media
Key on-track times:

Thursday, May 26 –
  • Sprint Cup Series practice – 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series practice – 4 and 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Sprint Cup Series qualifying – 7:15 p.m. ET
Friday, May 27 –
 
  • World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway – opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 28
 
  • Sprint Cup Series practice – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 11:15 a.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series Hisense 300 – 2:45 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 29
 
  • Lee Brice pre-race concert – 3:55 p.m. ET
  • Sprint Cup Series Coca Cola 600 – 6:15 p.m. ET
Find out about different ticket packages and single-day tickets at http://www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

TV Schedule: May 19-22


By Rebecca Kivak

It's NASCAR's homecoming. For the next two weeks, NASCAR returns home to Charlotte, the heart of the sport. During Sprint All-Star Race weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, bragging rights and prize money are on the line.

The Camping World Truck Series also races under the lights Friday, after the Sprint Showdown.

After Saturday's Sprint All-Star race, the rest of the week leads up to the longest race on the circuit, the Coca-Cola 600.

The following is a handy guide to track events and television coverage this weekend at Charlotte. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Thursday, May 19:
4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS1

Friday, May 20:
11 a.m. Camping World Truck Series final practice (re-air), FS1
1:30 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Sprint Showdown final practice, FS1
3 p.m. Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race final practice, FS1
5:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying, FS1
7 p.m. Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Showdown, FS1
8 p.m. Camping World Truck Series SetUp, FS1
8:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: NC Education Lottery 200, FS1

Saturday, May 21:
5:30 a.m. Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Showdown (re-air), FS1
7 a.m. Camping World Truck Series: NC Education Lottery 200 (re-air), FS1
11 a.m. Sprint Cup Series: Sprint Showdown (re-air), FS1
7 p.m. Sprint Cup Series Qualifying, FS1
8:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay - All-Star, FS1
9 p.m. Sprint All-Star Race, FS1

Sunday, May 22:
9:30 a.m. Sprint All-Star Race (re-air), FS1

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: NASCAR Drivers Make Special Moments That Bless Fans

Children's names on Carl Edward's No. 19 car at Dover.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs  
by Beth Reinke

“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b

Carl Edwards had a million reasons to win Sunday’s Cup race at Dover. His sponsor, STANLEY, pledged to donate $1 million to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals through the Ace Hardware Foundation – if Edwards finished the day in Victory Lane.

The No. 19 car ran a special paint scheme featuring the names of young patients and their respective diagnoses. Four of those kids served as “Honorary Crew Members” of the team throughout the Dover race weekend, getting to do all kinds of fun stuff.

His JGR Toyota ran in the top 10 for most of the race, and even led 27 laps, so it looked like Edwards might pull off the win. But after restarting third late in the event, a little tap from Kyle Larson sent Edwards hard into the inside wall, dashing his hopes of winning the payout for the kids.

“We’ll just chalk it up to racing, but the hard part is we felt like we were going to win that million bucks for those kids, and I felt like we could win this race,” Edwards said.

The kids were still winners though, as Edwards and representatives from STANLEY and the Ace Hardware Foundation presented a $100,000 donation to the CMN Hospitals. And last week, Edwards and his crew spent a day with sick children at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, playing games and giving the kids and staff a pit stop demonstration.
This is just one example of how NASCAR drivers, teams and sponsors use their time and funds to help people.

Most NASCAR drivers bless others with snippets of their time during the week, and even on race weekends. If you’ve ever watched a driver walk through the garage area, it’s normally not a smooth process. He or she is interrupted over and over again by fans asking for autographs or photos. What takes a driver a few seconds to do – sign a cap and pose for a snapshot – becomes a lifelong memory for a fan.

While serving as photographer for Skirts and Scuffs at Dover last weekend, I enjoyed watching this process over and over. Erik Jones posed for a photo with a young girl attending her first race. Matt DiBenedetto bent down to sign an autograph for a little boy. Edwards chatted with an elderly veteran, then had his picture taken with him.

Even retired legends, like Bobby Allison, still serve the race fans. Caught in a downpour, I ducked into a tent in the Truck garage to wait out the deluge. Allison had taken cover there, too, and was talking with four fans ranging in ages from a teen to a senior. They took turns taking selfies with him, so I snapped a shot of all five men to email to them later. Watching the joyful grins on the fellows’ faces, it warmed my heart to see what Allison’s small gesture meant to these guys. And Mr. Allison seemed to enjoy it just as much.

Bobby Allison chats with a fan at Dover, May 2016.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
We may not be celebrities who can give autographs, and we may not have oodles of money to dole out to deserving charities, but you and I can still do small things that bring joy to others. And if we’re Jesus followers, the desire to do good deeds isn’t an option; it’s a natural extension of our faith.

Don’t worry about the size of your good deeds though. Just like a driver's autograph and a quick selfie mean a lot to a fan, your kind words spoken in passing can lift up someone who’s feeling rotten. What seems like a small, insignificant deed to you may be a huge blessing to the recipient.

As Galatians 6:9 says, let’s not become weary in doing good. So, how can you bless someone today?

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. ~ James 2:14a, 17 (NIV)
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month during the NASCAR season. Follow Beth on twitter at @bbreinke.

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fast Facts: Harrison Burton

credit: NASCAR Media
Harrison Burton is one of the many young, talented “next generation” stars that is making NASCAR’s future look very bright. The second-generation driver is just 15, and not yet eligible to compete in NASCAR’s upper levels, but he’s got quite a birthday present waiting for him in October. Learn more about this youngster in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Harrison Brian Burton was born Oct. 9, 2000 in Huntersville, NC. Burton’s father is former Cup Series driver and television broadcaster Jeff Burton, his uncle former Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton, and his cousin is current Cup and Xfinity Series driver Jeb Burton.
  • Burton’s racing career began in quarter midgets, and he was a three-time USAC Quarter Midget national champ before moving into Late Models at age 11. At age12, he moved up to Pro-Late Models and won twice at Dillon Motor Speedway (SC).
  • In 2015, at age 14, Burton visited victory lane twice during the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna in Florida, becoming the youngest driver to win a NASCAR Whelen Super Late Model race. He made his K&N Pro Series West debut in Oct. 2015, becoming the youngest driver to compete in the series at age 15 years and eight days.
  • For the 2016 season, Burton will compete full-time in the K&N Pro Series East for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks and compete in a number of Super Late Model races for his family’s team. It was also announced that Burton will make his top-tier NASCAR debut at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 29, driving a Toyota Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports.
  • Follow Burton on Twitter: @HBurtonRacing.


Monday, May 16, 2016

Travel Tips: Charlotte Motor Speedway – All-Star edition - May 19-21, 2016

credit: NASCAR Media
Get ready for “10 days of speed” in the heart of NASCAR country, as all three of NASCAR’s top series – Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series – invade Charlotte Motor Speedway over the next two weeks. Festivities kick off this weekend with the Camping World Truck Series and the Sprint All-Star Race, Thursday through Saturday, May 19-21. These races are a predecessor to the following weekend’s big races, the Xfinity Series Hisense 300 and the longest race of the Sprint Cup Series season, the Coca Cola 600, on Saturday and Sunday, May 28-29.

If you’re heading down to Charlotte for all of the action, you’ll have a few days and evenings to explore the area. Here are a few things to check out:
credit: NASCAR Media
Key on-track times:

Thursday, May 19 –
  • Camping World Truck Series practice – 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. ET
  • Sprint Cup Series hauler parade – 6:30 p.m. (expected arrival at track)
Friday, May 20 –
  • Sprint Showdown practice/qualifying – 1:30 p.m. ET
  • Sprint All-Star Race practice – 3 p.m. ET
  • Sprint All-Star Race pit road practice – 4:45 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 5:30 p.m. ET
  • Sprint Showdown – 7:15 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series NC Education Lottery 200 – 8:30 p.m. ET (approximate)
Saturday, May 21
  • Pre-race concert featuring Andy Grammer – 3:15 p.m. ET
  • Sprint All-Star Race qualifying – 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Sprint All-Star Race – 9 p.m. ET (approximate)
Find the complete schedule for the All-Star weekend here.

Find out about different ticket packages and single-day tickets at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com