Thursday, May 25, 2017

TV Schedule: May 25-28

Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
By Rebecca Kivak

It's a weekend of endurance as NASCAR runs its longest race of the year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Monster Energy Cup Series and the XFINITY Series take to the track for Memorial Day weekend. All-Star week caps off with the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, which adds a fourth stage to the format. The XFINITY Series gets on track Saturday.

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

Thursday, May 25:
2 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
4 p.m. XFINITY Series practice, FS1
6 p.m. XFINITY Series final practice, FS1
7 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1

Friday, May 26:
8 p.m. K&N Pro Series West Race: Orange Show Speedway, NBCSN

Saturday, May 27:
9 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1
10 a.m. XFINITY Series Qualifying, FS1
11:30 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, FS1
12:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY, FS1
1 p.m. XFINITY Series race, Hisense 4K TV 300, FS1
3:30 p.m. XFINITY Series Post-race Show, FS1

Sunday, May 28:
4:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
5:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Pre-race Show, FOX
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series: Coca-Cola 600, FOX
11:30 p.m. NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte



By Carol D'Agostino

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

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 7
All with 6 - Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski
Both with 5 - Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch
All with 4 -Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch

Recent Pole Winners:  
2016 Martin Truex Jr.
2015 Matt Kenseth

2015 Race Winner:  Martin Truex Jr.

Likely Suspects: This race is all about endurance and grit. I will be looking to these drivers this weekend: Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.  

My 2 Cents: This week's no-brainer pick is Martin Truex Jr. My next picks are Joey Logano, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman. I will complete my team with Matt DiBenedetto and Daniel Suarez.

My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman and Ty Dillon.

Points to Ponder:
  • The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting spot in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway. 
  • Nine drivers have posted consecutive wins at CMS. Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers for consecutive wins with four in a row (2004 and 2005 sweeps).
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Charlotte in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with 19. Among Hendrick active drivers Jimmie Johnson has eight and Kasey Kahne has one. 
  • Eight different manufacturers have won in the MENCS at Charlotte, led by Chevrolet with 44 victories.
  • 88 of the 116 (75.9%) Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position.
  • 45 series drivers have earned Coors Light poles at Charlotte. Ryan Newman leads all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine, followed by Jimmie Johnson with four.
  • 13 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Charlotte. Matt Kenseth is the most recent driver to accomplish the feat with a 2015 sweep.
  • 49 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway, led by Jimmie Johnson with eight wins – 2003 summer, 2004 sweep, 2005 sweep, 2009 playoffs, 2014 summer, 2016 playoffs. 
Remember, if you're playing Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, your pick deadline is Thursday, May 25th at 5 a.m. EDT.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

Rookie Stripe: You Won’t See These Wheels on the Highway -- 13 Things to Know About NASCAR Tires

Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
By Logan Stewart

Like everything else in NASCAR, tires are almost always in motion. They have to be changed with lightning speed during a pit stop, stay intact amid soaring temperatures and hug the track tightly. Racing tires are radial-ply tires just like those on your car, but that’s where the similarities end. Here are some of the fastest facts you might not know about NASCAR’s wheels:

1. NASCAR tires are supplied exclusively by Goodyear®, who has a presence at every race. In fact, Goodyear sets up shop in the infield at a special spot to distribute and collect race-used tires.

2. Tires cost about $500 each, meaning a set of four will cost a team $2,000. The number of sets of tires a team goes through during a race depends on the track. At longer super speedways they may only use six sets, but at a shorter track they will use 12-14 sets (if you’re not great at math, that’s up to a whopping $28,000 in tires alone for one race for one car).

3. Teams pay for their own tires.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
4. Tires used in practice cost the same as race tires, making the cost even higher.

5. Smaller teams with less funding can’t afford as many sets, and will sometimes re-glue lug nuts and reuse tires later in the race. If a car wrecks out early a smaller team may ask to use their unused tires.

6. Most race teams use nitrogen instead of air in the tires because they have more control over the increasing pressure as the tire gets hotter on the track.

7. Every team has a tire specialist who goes to pick up tires from Goodyear before the race and takes care of putting them into sets by the pit box, determining what tires go into what set. Tires manufactured on the same day are normally grouped together.

8. Tires pick up rubber and debris on the track which contribute to wear. Before a tire is out on the track the tire specialist will mark it to determine how much wear the tire will have so teams know how many laps they can go or how to adjust air pressure before the tire burns out.

9. Tires are made from materials known as compounds. Different tracks need different compounds. Softer compounds grip or hug the racing surface better but wear more quickly than harder compounds. Each track has a unique number of turns, degree of banking, surface and other factors that determine how a compound will perform. Compounds are a safety issue and regulated by NASCAR. Right side tires are also bigger in size than left side tires on oval tracks and have different compound makeups, because of the banking and load on the car.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
10. New tires going on to a car already have five lug nuts attached to the wheel by a special glue. This adhesive is stretchy and helps tire changers during what is already a high speed, complicated maneuver.

11. There are heavy and light tires used depending on the track. Heavier tires have an inner liner that is almost like an inner tube; if the outer layer blows the inner liner enables the driver to get to pit road safely. NASCAR requires the inner liner tires on tracks more than one mile long.

12. It’s hard to rain on a road course’s parade. While it is dangerous and nearly impossible to race in the rain on an oval track, Goodyear manufactures special rain tires that can be used on NASCAR road courses.

13. Skirts and Scuffs?? Try stickers and scuffs! New tires from Goodyear come with a sticker. Once they’ve been used, they’re considered scuffed. Check out this video from NASCAR.com.

If your wheels aren’t spinning enough check out one of the most informative pieces on NASCAR tires I’ve read to date.
Road and Track: An Inside Look at the Incredible Engineering Behind NASCAR’s Tires.
Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Iowa Speedway

credit: NASCAR Media
Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa is the home of upcoming races for the Xfinity Series (June and July) and the Camping World Truck Series (June). Learn more about this popular short track in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Iowa Speedway is a 7/8-mile oval which NASCAR Hall of Fame member and past Cup Series champion Rusty Wallace had influence in designing. It is the only major professional sports venue in Iowa according to the track website. 
  • Iowa Speedway is owned by Iowa Speedway LLC, a subsidiary of NASCAR. The track is patterned after Richmond International Raceway, features more than 25,000 permanent seats and a multi-tiered RV area along the backstretch.
  • Iowa Speedway opened in Sept. 2006, hosting a USAR Hooters Pro Cup (now CARS Tour) race. The Indy Racing League first raced at the track in June 2007, and NASCAR’s Nationwide (now Xfinity) and Camping World Truck Series began racing there in 2009.
  • Series currently racing at include the ARCA Racing Series; the Verizon IndyCar Series and its “Road to Indy” support series the Indy Lights and USF2000; and NASCAR’s Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series, along with a K&N Pro Series East/West Challenge race.
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski both have three Xfinity Series wins at the track, while Erik Jones and Timothy Peters each have two wins in the Truck Series.
  • Learn more about the track at www.iowaspeedway.com


Monday, May 22, 2017

Travel Tips: Charlotte Motor Speedway – Coca Cola 600 edition - May 25-28, 2017

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 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season, the Coca-Cola 600. The green flag drops on those races on Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28, respectively.

If you’re heading down to Charlotte for the action, you may 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 26 at the neighboring Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and find out more about the Outlaw Showdown here.

Key on-track times:

Thursday, May 25 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 2 p.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series practice – 3:30 and 6 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying – 7:15 p.m. ET
Friday, May 26 –
  • World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway – opening ceremonies begin at 7:15 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 27
  • Xfinity Series qualifying – 10:05 a.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice –11:30 a.m. ET
  • Xfinity Series Hisense 4K TV 300 – 1:15 p.m. ET
Sunday, May 28
  • Lynyrd Skynyrd pre-race concert – 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 – 6 p.m. ET
Find out about different ticket packages and single-day tickets at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Trackin' Trucks: Kyle Busch dominates at Charlotte

Kyle Busch earned his seventh CWTS win at Charlotte.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs


by Courtney Horn

Kyle Busch dominated the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning back-to-back wins in the Camping World Truck Series.

“It was certainly interesting from my seat,” Busch said, “We had a really fast Cessna Tundra tonight, Bono and the guys did a great job. Really appreciate everybody at KBM being a cohesive unit, working together, and building speed at the racetrack together.”

Busch swept every stage of Friday night’s event to earn his seventh victory in 11 starts at the track, a feature no other driver has done in the series.

Busch’s teammate Christopher Bell overcame early trouble in Stage 1 for a third-place finish. Bell made contact with the wall and cut a tire in the beginning laps, he went a lap down during the incident.

“I think we had a flat right rear – or left rear when we fired off." explained Bell. "It was really really loose the first couple laps and then finally went down off of (turn) four there. All these guys on this SiriusXM Tundra did a great job of getting me back out there."

Johnny Sauter extended his points lead over Bell with a second-place finish.

Ryan Truex overcame a late-race penalty to finish fourth at Charlotte. Truex started at the back of the field after an uncontrolled tire left his pit stall. The finish was Truex’s first top-five finish this season and third in his Camping World Truck Series career.

Kaz Grala had an eventful night at the 1.5-mile track as he was involved in multiple wrecks throughout the race. Grala took it to the garage after suffering heavy damage to his Outlaw Fasteners Chevrolet when he got into the wall on Lap 69. He finished 30th.

A Look Ahead

The CWTS is off until June 2nd when they head to Dover International Speedway. Last year at the Monster Mile, Matt Crafton led 76 laps before taking the checkers ahead over Daniel Suarez.

Who will take the checkers this year? Find out June 2nd at 5:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.

Friday, May 19, 2017

TV Schedule: May 19-21

The 2016 All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Credit:  Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
By Rebecca Kivak

It's All-Star Race week! NASCAR goes home to Charlotte, N.C., the heart of the sport, for the next two race weekends.

Nineteen Monster Energy Cup drivers will vie for the $1 million prize Saturday night under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The Camping World Truck Series takes to the track Friday.

After a break in action, the XFINITY Series returns to the track next Saturday, May 27.

This weekend's events lead up to the Coca-Cola 600, the longest race on the NASCAR schedule, on Sunday, May 28.

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

Friday, May 19:
1 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
3 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying, FS1
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1 (Canada: TSN 5)
8 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Setup, FS1
8:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, FS1

Saturday, May 20:
1 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: North Carolina Education Lottery 200, (re-air) FS1
4 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
4:30 p.m., Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
5:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
6 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Open Race, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
7:30 p.m. NASCAR RaceDay, FS1
8 p.m. Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)

Sunday, May 21:
Noon Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race (re-air), FS1

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Caption This Winner for 4-13-17: Pam Smith

Congratulations to Pam Smithwho contributed the winning caption for this photo of
Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski. All winners who include their twitter handles with their entries will be entered in a drawing for the end-of-season prize package of racing swag.



Thanks to everyone who played Caption This. Check back on Saturday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.
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The Best of Faith on the Frontstretch: Relying on Your Spotter



This week we are sharing a past edition of Faith on The Frontstretch. Originally published on March 21, 2012, this is one of our favorites. 

Faith on The Frontstretch: Relying on Your Spotter

Spotters at Pocono Raceway, August 2011
Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

By Beth Bence Reinke

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

Imagine a NASCAR driver racing without a spotter. He has no one to tell him when he’s clear of competitors on the track. No one to say “go high” or “stay low.” No one to help him navigate through smoke from a wreck. No guidance from up above.
A driver relies on his spotter the whole time he’s on the track. That voice in his ear is a constant reminder that he can’t run the race alone. If he ignored the spotter’s directions, the race would probably end with a trip to the garage. Every driver knows he can’t achieve success without his eye-in-the-sky guide.
On the down side, even with all the ways he steers a driver right, a spotter can make mistakes. He’s only human, right? Sometimes his warning isn’t quick enough. Or the smoke is so dense he can’t see through it either. At times he doesn’t have the best angle to view certain spots on the track, so the driver is on his own for a few seconds each lap.
Having a perfect spotter, one who never made an error, would give a driver an advantage, wouldn’t it? Teams would be lining up to hire that spotter!
Now this may sound peculiar, but I have a spotter in real life. Maybe you do, too, and just don’t know it. My spotter doesn’t sit atop a high perch watching me run a race -- although some days I do feel like I’m going in circles. My spotter is the Holy Spirit, who dwells inside every Christian, serving as a guide and friend. If that sounds wacky to you, you’re not alone. There are lots of people who believe in God and have faith and pray -- but don’t know about the Holy Spirit. In fact, that was me for a long time.
I believed in God since I was a little girl and heard the preacher say “Father, Son and Holy Ghost” when we recited stuff in church. But it took me until I was thirty years old, watching Pastor Charles Stanley on television, to finally understand this truth: the Holy Spirit actually comes to live inside every person who accepts Jesus as savior.
Talking about the Holy Spirit can freak people out. They think, “A ghost living inside me? That’s creepy.” But there’s no ghost. It is simply the loving spirit of God inside a person -- to help, encourage and guide him or her. For me, knowing the Holy Spirit is with me is comforting, like a warm blanket around my shoulders on a damp, chilly day. I’m glad I don’t run my race alone.
Since I look at life through a racing lens, I often think of the Holy Spirit as a “heavenly spotter.” He sees things I cannot and steers me toward the right decisions. He helps me make adjustments, like being kind even when I don’t feel like it. He doesn’t speak in an audible voice like a spotter on the radio. But I can tune in by keeping my heart open to His leading.

Just like a driver tunes in to his spotter for the whole race, I will rely on my heavenly spotter for life. Are you tuned in?
... God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.           ~Romans 5:5

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Charlotte Motor Speedway

credit: NASCAR Media
Unofficially, it’s known as NASCAR’s “home track,” and it holds two of the most important races of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season – the longest NASCAR race of the season, the Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend, and the fourth race in the Chase, the Bank of America 500, in October. Learn more about Charlotte Motor Speedway, part of the Speedway Motorsports Inc. group, in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Charlotte Motor Speedway, located in Concord, NC, was designed and built by Bruton Smith and his business partner, NASCAR driver Curtis Turner. The pair built their 1.5-mile dream track in 1959 at a cost of $1.25 million, and the first race – the World 600 – was held there in June 1960. By 1961, however, the track fell into Chapter 11 reorganization, and Smith went on to pursue other business opportunities. After success as an auto dealer, Smith began buying shares of the speedway’s stock, becoming majority stockholder in 1975 and regaining control of the day-to-day operations of the track.
  • Smith hired H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler as general manager of CMS, and they worked out plans for improvements and expansion: more grandstand seats, luxury suites, improved concessions and restrooms, corporate offices, the Speedway Club and 40 condominium units all came to fruition during the first 10 years of their partnership. A lighting system was installed in 1992, making Charlotte the first modern superspeedway to host night races.
  • The 2,000-acre-plus complex is also home to a 2.25-mile road course, a 6/10-mile karting track, a quarter-mile oval on the frontsretch and a one-fifth-mile oval outside Turn 3 of the superspeedway. In May 2000, The Dirt Track @ Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 4/10-mile clay oval, opened across US 29 from the speedway, and in 2008, the “Bellagio of drag strips,” the four-lane zMAX Dragway, hosted its first NHRA drag racing event.
  • The track, which was known as Lowe’s Motor Speedway from 1998 to 2009, hosts races for all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series – Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series – as well as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour on the quarter-mile frontstretch track. The 1/5-mile track is utilized for a spring short-track Legends Cars and Bandoleros series.
  • Other series that have raced at the track include the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East, the International Race of Champions (IROC), the IndyCar Series, the ARCA Racing Series, the American LeMans Series, the IMSA GT Championship, AMA Supercross, and SCCA Formula Super Vee.
  • Numerous movies have been filmed at the track, including Speedway, Stroker Ace, Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Rickey Bobby. In 2006, the track hosted the world premiere of Disney/Pixar’s CARS, becoming the first motorsports facility to host the world premiere of a major motion picture; more than 30,000 fans and numerous celebrities were on hand.
  • In 2011, CMS installed what was then the world’s largest HDTV, standing 80 feet tall, 200 feet wide and weighing more than 82 tons. The title now belongs to another Speedway Motorsports Inc. track, Texas Motor Speedway, which is home to “Big Hoss TV,” introduced in 2014 and listed at 94.6 feet tall, 218 feet wide and weighing more than 108 tons.
  • CMS has been the home of NASCAR’s All-Star Race, originally known as The Winston, for all but one year since its inception in 1985 (Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted the event in 1986).
  • Find out more about the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com

Monday, May 15, 2017

Travel Tips: Charlotte Motor Speedway – All-Star edition - May 18-20, 2017

credit: NASCAR Media
It’s time to return to the heart of NASCAR country, as all three of NASCAR’s top series – the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series 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 Monster Energy All-Star Race, Thursday through Saturday, May 18-20. These races are the predecessors to the following 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, on Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28.

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:
Key on-track times:

Thursday, May 18 –
  • Camping World Truck Series practice – 5 and 7 p.m. ET
Friday, May 19 –
  • Monster Energy All-Star Race practice – 1 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy All-Star Race pit road practice – 2:10 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy Open practice – 3 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 4:45 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy All-Star Race qualifying – 6:05 p.m. ET
  • Camping World Truck Series NC Education Lottery 200 – 8:50 p.m. ET
Saturday, May 20
  • Pre-race concert featuring Justin Moore – 2 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy Open qualifying – 5:05 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy Open – 6:20 p.m. ET
  • Monster Energy All-Star Race – 8:25 p.m. ET
Find the complete schedule for the All-Star weekend here.

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

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Go Bowling 400 Winning Crew Chief, Cole Pearn

by Stacey Owens

If you're a crew chief, some days you define the strategy. Other days, that strategy is defined for you. That may have been the case at the Go Bowling 400 at Kansas Speedway this weekend.

With only eight sets of tires available for each team, crew chiefs had to be judicious about changing them during pit stops. Cole Pearn, crew chief for Martin Truex Jr., eventually used every set allotted to the No. 78 team.

"Yeah, I think the tough thing tonight was we only had eight sets of tires and just picking when you wanted to put them on was probably the trickiest thing as far as strategywise goes," Pearn said. "Yeah, you could make a small gain earlier by maybe coming and pitting or staying out, and you just had to make sure, and we ended up using every one of them, so it was -- I think that was definitely a tricky element with all those cautions."

And there were a ton of cautions -- 15 to be exact. Multiple cautions means multiple, and possibly frenetic, restarts. Truex was one of several cars that had been competitive throughout the evening, so he was among several up front for those restarts.

"There was a lot of cars -- 21, 4, 18 -- all those guys were really quick," Pearn said. "... run to run, depending on who was where and stuff like that, there was definitely some stiff competition.
           
"Really it just came down to those restarts at the end. We really weren't in the best positions at times. I think we restarted ninth one time, and we were fourth by the first turn, which was huge to get back into it after we had a lug nut fall off on a pit stop.
           
"It felt like one of those nights where we were doomed to give it away at some point, and it didn't happen. Fifteen cautions here is just crazy. It was a wild night out there, but I think it's just a product of the racetrack come of age. You've got multiple grooves out there, and guys really pushed the limit. It made for great racing."

Lisa Janine Cloud for Skirts and Scuffs
Team owner Barney Visser commented after the race that any track west of the Mississippi River feels like a home track for the Denver-based Furniture Row team. Now that they have garnered a "home track" win, it's time to head east again where the team was fairly dominant last season. Pearn talked about the next stretch of the schedule.

"I feel like this is like just a strong part of the schedule for us. I look back at the last two years, and I think from the Kansas, Charlotte, Dover, Pocono, Michigan are all really strong tracks for us, and ... we circle that time frame to know that's our shot to capitalize, just because that's where we've typically run strong. I don't know, you've got to continue to evolve, though. Last year is last year. That was an unbelievable night, an unbelievable accomplishment. But this field is so tough, and you just never know. Two weeks from now could be a totally different pecking order in the competition, so you've just got to stay with it, and hopefully we're in a good spot when we get to the [Coca-Cola] 600.

Something tells me they're already in that good spot.

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 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; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession and tunes in with her every week... even if it's just to watch the flyover.
 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Trackin’ Trucks: Kyle Busch Claims Victory at Kansas

Kyle Busch crosses the finish line at Kansas Speedway
Credit: Chris Trotman

by Courtney Horn

Kyle Busch soared to victory lane Friday night during the Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway, earning his 47th career victory in the Camping World Truck Series.

Busch dominated the event, leading 91 of 167 laps, however he didn’t regain the top position until 8 laps to go when leader Ben Rhodes suddenly fell off pace. A piece of debris ended Rhodes’ day after it went through the grille and into the engine.

"A piece of debris went through the grille into the radiator and blew up the motor.” Rhodes said of the misfortune, “It’s just crazy that something always goes wrong with our (ThorSport) team. We do everything right—we just can’t pull one off. We’ve been trying for years and years."

The first race in over a month was caution mayhem within Stage 1 of the event. There were five cautions within a span of 30 laps.

Truck Series regulars Cody Coughlin, Chase Briscoe, and Grant Enfinger brought out the second caution of the night when Briscoe made contact with the left rear of the No. 98 Toyota Tundra. The contact caused Enfinger to spin and Coughlin had nowhere to go.

Wendell Chavous finished 31st after being involved in two lone incidents. Chavous suffered severe damage from a flat right front tire that ultimately ended his day.

A Look Ahead

The Camping World Truck Series heads to home to Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 19th.

Defenting Charlotte winner, Matt Crafton looks to rebound from a 16th place finish at Kansas. Crafton remains third in the points standings, now 44 points behind.

Johnny Sauter looks to continue his momentum after finishing second. Sauter maintains the points lead ahead of Charlotte, where he finished third and led one lap.

Don’t miss the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 on May 19th at 8:30 p.m ET on Fox Sports 1.

Caption This: Ryan Blaney & Brad Keselowski

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Welcome to Caption This!

Each weekend, we’ll post a NASCAR photo taken by a Skirts and Scuffs photographer. You have until Monday night to leave us a funny caption in the comments. Your goal is to make us laugh out loud.

We’ll publish the winning caption on Wednesday.

All of the weekly winners’ names will be tossed into a hat for a drawing, and one will win a prize package of racing swag at the end of the season. It could be you!

Enjoy this week’s photo of Kansas polesitter Ryan Blaney & Brad Keselowski, which was captured by our Lisa Janine Cloud at Texas last year.



Here are the rules:
* Leave your photo caption in the comment section below by Monday at midnight.
* Include your name and twitter handle.
* Only one entry per person for each photo.
* If you win multiple times during the season, you get an entry in the prize drawing for each win.
* Anonymous posts & entries without a twitter handle are not eligible to win.

Keep in mind that we offer Caption This in the spirit of fun. Any nasty, vulgar or otherwise offensive entries will be disqualified and removed at the discretion of Skirts and Scuffs.

So bring on your funnies! Then pop in again on Wednesday to read the winning caption.
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Friday, May 12, 2017

Legitimacy: Five Questions for Kansas

 Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images    
By Kristen Schneider

Kansas Speedway may not have restrictor plates and dogs in victory lane, but that doesn’t make it less (or more!) of a track compared to its fellow venues.

Each track has an element that makes it unique, whether it be the configuration or some other factor not actually related to the surface. Some tracks are more different than the rest; we visited one last week.

All that aside, a win at Kansas is special. This weekend has a lot of factors, from tires to missing crew chiefs. And hey, the Truck Series is back! As we look forward to what they and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers have to offer, here are some questions to keep in mind.

Did you forget about the Trucks Series? It’s been way too long since we’ve witnessed the glory that is the Camping World Truck Series. Their last race was over a month ago, and Cup regular Chase Elliott took home a grandfather clock. Chatter on my timeline suggested surprise when the Trucks hit the Kansas asphalt for practice; they completely forgot about the series in general. Now, that can lead into a different discussion, but let’s recap where the series stands at the moment. Johnny Sauter, who finished second at Martinsville Speedway so long ago, sits atop the point standings. He holds three playoff points. Kaz Grala claims victory at Dayton International Speedway but is fifth in the overall standings. Christopher Bell won at Atlanta Motor Speedway and is only four points behind Sauter. Congratulations, you’re now up to speed on the entire 2017 Camping World Truck Series season.

Wear, oh wear, did these tires come from? Both series have brand new tire pairings this weekend, which can either be good or bad in the sense that we don’t know how they’ll play out. In Cup, left sides were used at Charlotte last October and feature more grip. The right sides have two types of tread, endurance and traction – which means less wear, more grip. From a fan perspective, that makes things hard to predict; tire wear is associated with more cautions and, more importantly, strategic calls. On the Truck side, they’re more use to their left sides, which they ran at Kansas last May. The right sides are completely new, although they feature the same tread compound as the lefts. They were also changed to mimic the Cup tires, so we know what to expect – kinda.  

How will Team Penske do without their crew chiefs? How are things over at Team Penske? Er, not so swell. Two penalties will sideline Todd Gordon and Paul Wolfe this weekend at Kansas Speedway. That’s not a good look. But, it’s mostly about who’s behind the wheel, right? That’s probably up for debate. Let’s look at the stats for these Penske boys before we get worried. Former Cup champ Keselowski has one win, two top-fives, and seven top-10s in 14 starts. His victory came in 2011, and his finishes since then are wishy-washy at best; it difficult to predict how he’ll do. Last year’s May race resulted in 10th, while the No. 2 team brought home a 38th-place finish in the fall event. You can’t nail down their performance at that track. When you look at Logano’s numbers, there is an easily identifiable increase. In 15 starts, the driver of the No. 22 clinched two wins, six top-fives, and six top-10s. Logano accomplished those feats after he joined Penske in 2013. Last May’s visit ended with a 38th-place finish, but he redeemed himself in the fall by earning a third-place result. All in all, these two will manage well without their crew chiefs – ‘well’ in relative terms, I mean.

Where the heck is JGR? There is something weird happening in the sport right now, and it includes Joe Gibbs Racing – because they’re not really included. Here are some teams that won already in 2017: Chip Ganassi Racing, Richard Childress Racing, and Roush Fenway Racing. JGR isn’t on that list, and that is a bit concerning. They haven’t been in the conversation that much, either. I could spout off ideas of what’s wrong and how to fix them, but it all seems pointless. Remember the last time people thought this Toyota team was slipping? They ramped it up when it mattered. Whatever is wrong, they’ll fix it. Sometimes I wonder if we worry too much.

Does Busch’s side comment ring true? Speaking of JGR, I have a few things to say about one of their drivers. Kyle Busch almost won last Sunday. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. executed the final laps better than Rowdy after contending all afternoon. He did start on the pole, remember? Well, it slipped Busch’s mind. In his post-race interview, he said, “We go to a real racetrack next week,” implying that Talladega Superspeedway is not a ‘real’ track. Whatever that means. While this is a typical post-race sound bite from Busch, that’s no excuse. As unpredictable as Talladega is, that characteristic doesn’t discredit the on-track results. They happened, and they matter. I’m tired of people saying restrictor plate racing isn’t real racing; it’s as legitimate as any other type, but it takes a bit more strategy and a willingness to throw it to the wind. Stenhouse’s situation is unusual – winning the pole, running up front and actually capturing the victory – but it’s still legit. Busch would agree if he ended up with a trophy. 

TV Schedule: May 12-13

Kansas Speedway. Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images
NASCAR heads to the Midwest as the Monster Energy Cup and Camping World Truck Series converge on Kansas Speedway. Both series will race under the lights at the 1.5-mile track.

The XFINITY Series is on a break and will get back on track May 27 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The following is a handy guide to track events and TV coverage at Kansas. All times are in Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, May 12:
11:30 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
1:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series final practice, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
4:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Qualifying, FS1
6:30 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying, FS1 (Canada: TSN 2)
8 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Setup: Kansas, FS1
8:30 p.m. Camping World Truck Series: Toyota Tundra 250, FS1
11 p.m. Camping World Truck Series Post-Race Show, FS1

Saturday, May 13:
7 a.m. Camping World Truck Series: Toyota Tundra 250 (re-air), FS1
7 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay Kansas, FS1
7:30 p.m., Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: Go Bowling 400, FS1 (Canada: TSN 1, 3, 4)
11 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Toyota Tundra 250 (re-air), FS1

Thursday, May 11, 2017

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Go Bowling 400 at Kansas

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Matt Kenseth - 5
Both with 4 - Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson
All with 3 -  Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex Jr.  

By Track
Both with 6 - Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano
Both with 5 - Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth
All with 4 - Kasey Kahne, Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski

Recent Pole Winners:  
2016 Martin Truex Jr.
2015 Joey Logano

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Busch

The Likely Suspects: I'm happy to say that Talladega didn't beat up my fantasy team as much as it could have. I can thank Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for that as well as 13 points in qualifying and some extra laps led points from another driver who did crash out. That being said, I am anxious to gain some all important bonus points this week. I will focus on these drivers to help me reach my objectives: Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: For the second consecutive year, my Kansas my no-brainer pick this week is a tie between Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kasey Kahne, Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott. My final picks are Ty Dillon and Matt DiBenedetto. When doing final picks this week focus on any drivers in the top five starting positions.

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and Ty Dillon.

Points to ponder:
  • Thirteen different drivers have won at Kansas Speedway. Eight of the 13 Kansas winners are currently active, led by Jimmie Johnson with three.
  • Matt Kenseth is the only active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver who has posted consecutive wins at Kansas Speedway: Fall 2012, Spring 2013. 
  • Fourteen drivers have earned Coors Light poles at Kansas, led by Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne with three each. 
  • Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only two drivers to win consecutive Coors Light poles at Kansas Speedway (Johnson: 2007-2008 and Harvick: Fall of 2013-2014 sweep).
  • Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Kansas with six: Jeff Gordon (three: 2001, 2002 and 2014) and Jimmie Johnson (three: 2008, 2011 and 2015).
  • Four manufacturers have won at Kansas Speedway in the MENCS, led by Chevrolet with 11 victories, Ford with six, Toyota has three and Dodge has two. 
  • Kevin Harvick has the series most runner-up finishes at Kansas Speedway with three. Rounding out the active drivers in this category are Kasey Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman with two each.   
  • Jimmie Johnson leads active drivers in top-five finishes at Kansas Speedway with nine, followed by Matt Kenseth with seven.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-10 finishes at Kansas Speedway with 17. Rounding out the active drivers in this category is Matt Kenseth with 13.
  • Jimmie Johnson (8.905) is the only active Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver with more than one start at Kansas Speedway with an average finishing position inside the top 10.
Remember, if you're playing Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing, your pick deadline is Friday, May 12th at 5 a.m. EDT.

Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Caption This Winner for 5-7-17: Karen Sibille


Congratulations to Karen Sibille, who contributed the winning caption for this photo of Sunday's winner at Talladega, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and AJ Allmendinger, who got turned over on his roof in The Big One.

All winners who include their twitter handles with their entries will be entered in a drawing for the end-of-season prize package of racing swag.
Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs   
Ricky: I had the craziest dream last night -- 
you were going to FLIP and I was going to WIN!!!

AJ: No way, what would the odds be for that to happen?
Ricky: Oh, about 40:1.

Thanks to everyone who played Caption This. Check back on Saturday for a new photo and your next chance to submit a caption.
----------------------------------------------------

Rookie Stripe: Lingo You Should Know -- The Big One

Photo Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
Big, multi-car wrecks can totally change the trajectory of a race. They’re also one of the things loyal fans come to the track to see -- fleeting, dizzying moments of metal on metal, both pure terror and pure exhilaration. Not every race has enormous wrecks, but when they happen, they're breathtaking spectacles of excitement.
 
In NASCAR, I’ve discovered two things that are almost always true:

Racing has its own lingo.
History still plays a big role. 


NASCAR jargon is a curious thing. “The Big One” is a term I heard here and there when I first started following the sport, but was never quite sure what it meant. I deduced that it had something to do with wrecks.

“It’s near the end of the race, get ready for the Big One!”
“Don’t be surprised if the Big One strikes today!”

Turns out, The Big One is NASCAR slang for a giant crash involving a lot of cars. And it doesn’t refer to one specific crash, but means any huge wreck in a race. Major crashes seem to happen more often at superspeedways that feature restrictor plates. Restrictor plates, which limit how much air and fuel pass through a carburetor, make it difficult for cars to maneuver around each other, meaning they race in a physically close environment. Such proximity puts them in a more precarious position and makes them more apt to crash. Daytona and Talladega are typically the top-two tracks where fans expect to see the Big One, simply because they’re restrictor plate races at superspeedways.

The term "The Big One", like many other things in NASCAR, evolved over time. Even as late as the 1990s, commentators and drivers themselves referred to huge pileups as major crashes or big wrecks.

Photo Credit: Logan Stewart for Skirts and Scuffs
“It’s the big one gang, it’s the big one.” Those were the words spoken by Fox sports analyst, Darrell Waltrip, after he watched the track disappear behind a cloud of dust and debris during the 2001 Daytona 500. – Beyond the Flag

Former driver and commentator Darrell used the term in 2001 to describe a massive 18-car crash at the Daytona 500 in the backstretch on Lap 173. He probably didn’t know it at the time, but he forever coined the term The Big One to represent all big NASCAR wrecks to come.

Sure enough, a monster wreck struck at Talledega over the weekend involving 18 of 40 cars in the field. Check out the Big One at Talladega, May 2017.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Kansas Speedway

credit: NASCAR Media
Kansas Speedway hosts two NASCAR weekends each season, including a race in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs. Here’s a look at the short history of this 1.5-mile tri-oval.
  • Kansas Speedway, owned by International Speedway Corporation, opened in 2001. The group began looking into the idea of building a speedway in the Midwest in 1996, with the focus moving to Kansas City in 1997; they eventually settled on the Kansas side of the city.Construction began in May 1999, and preferred seats went on sale that July. In May 2000, NASCAR and IndyCar announced events at the track in 2001. The IndyCar Series raced at the track from 2001-2010.
  • Initial seating capacity for the track was 75,000, but upfront demand for the seats in 1999 led to an immediate increase to 82,000 seats. Lights were added at the track from mid-2010 to early 2011 – this event coincided with the addition of a second NASCAR weekend in 2011. The track was reconfigured in 2012, adding a road course to the facility as well as repaving the oval and adding variable banking. The addition of the six-turn, 2.37-mile road course brought sports car racing to the facility in 2013 and 2014.
  • In Feb. 2012, the Hollywood Hotel and Casino opened at the track, overlooking Turn 2. The casino features a 100,000-square-foot gaming floor as well as 28,000 square feet of amenities including restaurants, clubs and other attractions.
  • In addition to the three top NASCAR Series and the IndyCar Series, other series that race or have raced at the track include the ARCA Racing Series (still currently racing at the track), the NASCAR Winston West Series (now K&N Pro Series West), the USAC Silver Crown Series, the Indy Lights Series and the TUDOR United (now WeatherTech) SportsCar Championship.
  • The track qualifying record was set by Kevin Harvick in Oct. 2014 (197.773 mph/27.304 seconds). Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon both have three wins at the track.
  • Learn more about the track and purchase tickets for upcoming races at www.kansasspeedway.com


Monday, May 8, 2017

Travel Tips: Kansas Speedway – May 12-13, 2017

credit: NASCAR Media
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series visit Kansas Speedway this weekend for the Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 on Friday night, May 12 and the Cup Series Go Bowling 400, which goes green on Saturday night, May 13. This is the first of two trips to the 1.5-mile tri-oval in 2017, with the second weekend being part of the Cup Series playoffs in October.

Looking to add to your experience on race day? Check out a Pre-Race Pit Pass or upgrade to the Fanwalk. Find out about these and other options here.

Key on-track times:

Friday, May 12 –
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice – 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series qualifying – 3:35 p.m. CT
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying – 5:45 p.m. CT
  • Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 – 7:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, May 7 –
  • Pre-race concert with Parmalee – 4:45 p.m. CT
  • Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling 400 – 6:30 p.m. CT
Fans can check out the Guest Guide, including the track’s gate policies, here.

Get tickets and more information on race weekend as it approaches at www.kansasspeedway.com

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Geico 500 Winning Crew Chief, Brian Pattie

by Stacey Owens

Every driver hopes to start from the front. Likewise, every driver wants to finish at the front. It doesn't happen often, but there are days when the driver who takes the green flag first also takes the checkered one first. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the latest to add his name to the list of those in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series who have done just that.

You've read in this column before that success on Sunday begins on Friday. That's certainly the case this weekend, and crew chief Brian Pattie would be the first one to tell you that, though he was admittedly a little surprised.

"Yeah, obviously Friday was a surprise to all of us, how much speed it had. Yeah, all the four teams got together this morning and talked and came up with a strategy for the first two segments. Most all our four teammates helped us out. Gained some stage points, which is not what we've done the first seven or eight races, so that was nice to finish second. Second one got a little out of control and a little damage. Guys did a nice job fixing it up, and yeah, the last one is just -- you just hope for the best, right? It's just get yourself in position and thank God at the end with the green-white-checker we were in the first two rows, and that's pretty much where you're going to win from," Pattie said.

Though this was the team's first Monster Energy Cup win, the No. 17 team has made great strides since the season began. In 10 races, Stenhouse has an impressive five top 10s, three of which were top fives, including the win at Talladega Superspeedway. To what does Pattie credit the team's success this season? Turns out, it's a few things.

"Just focus. Focus one week at a time, execute, and after the checkered flag falls on a Sunday, we'll regroup on Monday and start over. Just try and not get ahead of ourselves. That's just the biggest part. Obviously, we've got better people and better spots and the cars are faster. That helps tremendously.
           
"Yeah, he drove his tail off. I don't have to question his commitment level, so that's good. It's 110 every lap, probably 10 percent too much most of the time. But you know, the year has gone good so far. We've run well at tracks that he shouldn't run well because he hates it, Martinsville being one of them. So what he likes track-wise and what I like are two different things, and it's made it well, so hopefully, we can continue," Pattie explained.

Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

How does his driver feel about his team's progress this season?

"Yeah, honestly, I feel God is not going to put you through anything you can't make it through. I believed in all the guys that I had around me and the team that they still wanted the same thing that I wanted, and that was to get back in Victory Lane, to compete, and to know that we're here every weekend like we were in the XFINITY Series. When we were in the XFINITY Series, we showed up every week, and they knew that they were going to have to beat us to win a race, and I want that feeling here. We're not there yet, but they know we're here... There's teams that don't look at us throughout practice yet, but they will. You know, Richmond is one where I thought we were really good in practice, and it paid off in the race. But I think people didn't see it coming.
           
"Hopefully we can continue to change that trend and continue to keep on and plug away. We've got to put weekends together from here on out, just making sure that we're having good Fridays, Saturdays, and turn it into a mistake-free race on Sunday," Stenhouse said.

Looks like this weekend was a pretty good start.

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



 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; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession and tunes in with her every week... even if it's just to watch the flyover.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Ricky Stenhouse earns first career victory at Dega

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

After 158 starts, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series winner. Stenhouse received a push from 7-time champion Jimmie Johnson in overtime and edged out Jamie McMurray and Kyle Busch for the victory.

“Doesn't get any sweeter.” Stenhouse said of the victory, “You know, I look at our first 150 or so, and I can only hope that the next 150 are going to be kind of like Joey Logano's. He had 300 races, the first 150 weren't great, the next 150 were. Hopefully this is a start of that. A lot of hard work from Brian Pattie, Steve and Jack and everybody at the shop to continue to put race cars out there and continue to give us the resources, and man, it's awesome to finally finish it off."

The victory is Roush Fenway Racing’s first victory since Carl Edwards won at Sonoma on June 22, 2014.

Several drivers were plagued with trouble in Stage 1, including Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson. Larson brought out the first of eight cautions on Lap 16 after hitting the wall with a right front blown tire. Larson’s troubles continued later in the event when he was forced to change batteries, but he recovered for a 12th place finish.

Brad Keselowski sits third in the points after securing the Stage 1 win. He led 31 laps toward a 7th place finish.

Denny Hamlin dropped to the back of the pack early at the start of the Geico 500, and it paid off for the FedEx driver, unlike a year ago. Hamlin gained the lead for the start of Stage 2 and secured the Stage 2 win before earning an 11th place finish.

The Big One occurred on Lap 169 when Chase Elliott received a push from the No. 47 Kroger ClickList Chevrolet of A.J Allmendinger. More than 10 cars were collected in the incident that sent Elliott airborne and left Allmendinger on his top.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Kansas for its first night race of the season on FS1.

Final Running Order:

1. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
2. Jamie McMurray
3. Kyle Busch
4. Aric Almirola
5. Kasey Kahne
6. Kurt Busch
7. Brad Keselowski
8. Jimmie Johnson
9. Paul Menard
10.  David Ragan
11.  Denny Hamlin
12.  Kyle Larson
13. Ty Dillon
14.  Clint Bowyer
15.  Chris Buescher
16.  Cole Whitt
17.  Elliott Sadler
18.  Matt DiBenedetto
19.  Daniel Suarez
20. Gray Gaulding
21.  Joey Gase
22.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
23.  Kevin Harvick
24. Matt Kenseth
25. Ryan Newman
26.  Brendan Gaughan
27.  Corey LaJoie
28.  Jeffrey Earnhardt
29.  Landon Cassill
30.  Chase Elliott
31.  AJ Allmendinger
32.  Joey Logano
33.  Erik Jones
34.  Michael McDowell
35.  Martin Truex Jr.
36.  Austin Dillon
37.  Trevor Bayne
38.  Danica Patrick
39.  Ryan Blaney
40.  Reed Sorenson

Caption This: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and AJ Allmendinger

Welcome to Caption This!

Each weekend, we’ll post a comical NASCAR photo taken by a Skirts and Scuffs photographer. You have until Monday night to leave us a funny caption in the comments. Your goal is to make us laugh out loud.

We’ll publish the winning caption on Wednesday.

All of the weekly winners’ names will be tossed into a hat for a drawing, and one will win a prize package of racing swag at the end of the season. It could be you!

Enjoy this week’s photo of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and AJ Allmendinger, which was captured by our Beth Reinke at Dover International Speedway in 2016.



Here are the rules:
* Leave your photo caption in the comment section below by Monday at midnight.
* Include your name and twitter handle.
* Only one entry per person for each photo.
* If you win multiple times during the season, you get an entry in the prize drawing for each win.
* Anonymous posts & entries without a twitter handle are not eligible to win.

Keep in mind that we offer Caption This in the spirit of fun. Any nasty, vulgar or otherwise offensive entries will be disqualified and removed at the discretion of Skirts and Scuffs.

So bring on your funnies! Then pop in again on Wednesday to read the winning caption.
------------------------------

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Aric Almirola earns Xfinity win at Dega

Almirola at Atlanta
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs


by Courtney Horn

It was a relatively calm ending to a wild Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway that featured two red flags. Aric Almirola led 13 laps and earned his first Xfinity Series victory in his fourth start this season.

The field stayed under green and raced to the finish line after Bubba Wallace spun through the grass and smacked the wall in the final lap. It was a rough day for the driver of the No. 6 Global Life Ford who was also involved in a multi-car wreck on Lap 20, the first red flag of the afternoon.

The second red flag occurred just before the halfway point and collected eight drivers when Ryan Reed appeared to get loose from the air on Almirola’s car.

The second half of the race only saw one caution, for debris, before the checkers, but was packed with multiple lead changes and pit road troubles.

During green flag stops JR Motorsports teammates Justin Allgaier and Kasey Kahne made contact while trying to reach their pit stalls. Kahne appeared to receive the most damage. He was later penalized and held one lap for pitting outside the pitbox. He finished 15th.

William Byron remains third in the points standings after being involved in a wreck. He attempted to continue but was called to the garage after failing to meet minimum speed.

Elliott Sadler continues to hold the points lead over Justin Allgaier. Allgaier won the second stage of the race and earned bonus points at the end of Stage 1. Almirola won Stage 2.

Last year’s winner Elliott Sadler quietly finished second and was the first of two Xfinity regulars to secure top-5 finishes. Ben Kennedy finished fourth in his return to the Xfinity Series. Kennedy’s last start was at Iowa in June of 2016.

The Xfinity Series returns to Charlotte on Memorial Day weekend after a two week break on May 27th.

Final Running Order:

1. Aric Almirola
2. Elliott Sadler
3. Joey Logano
4. Ben Kennedy
5. Erik Jones
6. Matt Tifft
7. Michael Annett
8. Justin Allgaier
9. Daniel Suarez
10.  Jeff Green
11.  J.J. Yeley
12.  Ryan Sieg
13.  Darrell Wallace Jr.
14. Ty Dillon
15.  Kasey Kahne
16.  Joey Gase
17.  Timmy Hill
18.  David Starr
19.  Ross Chastain
20.  Tyler Reddick
21.  Garrett Smithley
22.  Harrison Rhodes
23.  Dakoda Armstrong
24.  Brennan Poole
25.  Mike Harmon
26.  Cole Custer
27.  Jeremy Clements
28.  Mark Thompson
29.  Ryan Reed
30.  Brendan Gaughan
31.  Blake Koch
32.  Martin Roy
33.  Chris Cockrum
34.  Scott Lagasse, Jr.
35.  Morgan Shepherd
36.  William Byron
37.  Brandon Jones
38.  Daniel Hemric
39.  Spencer Gallagher
40.  Ray Black, Jr.