Showing posts with label 2011. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2011. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2012

Skirts and Scuffs: A Year in Photos

The 2011 season was a blast for the Skirts and Scuffs team, we achieved a new level of success by many of our wonderful writers attending many races this season. This video is a stroll down memory lane as seen through the lens of our photographers Debbie Ross and Karel Zubris along with staff writers Amy McHargue and LJ Cloud.

Enjoy, we sure did!

A special thank you to Crystal Samountry for putting together this great video for us!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A year in NASCAR quotes

NASCAR drivers often leave us with some memorable quotes through a season, so strolling down memory lane, we pulled together a list of our favorites (in no particular order).
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Tony Stewart has a gift of providing some great quotes throughout the season. Early in the Chase (at Chicagoland), Stewart said, "We got rid of some dead weight earlier this week, so it's made it a lot easier. It's been a big weight lifted off our shoulders." Darian Grubb’s response to that was also shocking, "Maybe he's talking about (firing) me and I just don't know it yet." Weeks later, Grubb was informed that he would not return as the crew chief for Stewart in 2012.

Heading into Homestead, Tony Stewart was confident; he knew he was going to win. Stewart was asked during the Chase title contenders' press conference: if it came down to him and Carl Edwards on the last lap, would he take action? Stewart said this: “I'd wreck my mom to win a championship. I'd wreck your mom to win a championship!”
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
During the Chase, Stewart was asked if he enjoyed "poking" Carl Edwards. Stewart’s reply showcased his sense of humor: "I don't poke Carl. I've made it real clear. I like women."

During the season finale at Homestead, “Smoke” was faced with some challenges but his attitude remained in check. "They're going to feel like s*** after we kick their a** after this." A short time later he went on to say, "They [Edwards' team] are going to really feel worse when we've been to the back twice."

Showing a new level of class and putting a face to victory in defeat, Carl Edwards said during his post-race press conference at Homestead, “I told my wife, 'If I can't win this thing, I'm gonna be the best loser NASCAR has ever had.'"

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Racing throughout the season created many memorable quotes. Dale Earnhardt Jr. thought it was snowing in Charlotte due to the trash flying in air. “I think it's snowing out here,” he said over his radio. When asked to start and park, Jennifer Jo Cobb took a stand. "I'm not a start-and-park driver. I'm here to race,” said Cobb, igniting a controversy against start-and-park drivers. Denny Hamlin was hung out to dry at Talladega, with no dance partner in sight. His take: "I couldn't find a date for the prom ... so I just hit on everyone's mom!" Finishing in the top 10, Hamlin’s speed method proved to work. While racing at Daytona, Danica Patrick took time to quote "Talladega Nights": “How does that movie go, slingshot engaged!”

Although each driver is competing for themselves, racing at Talladega and Daytona created the tandem and teamwork was in play. Working together for the win was the Hendrick Motorsports tandem of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Via their in-car radio, Earnhardt Jr. said to Johnson, “I'm going to push you like hell, no matter what." Johnson was ready and waiting to head to the front: "10-4 man, let's do it." After winning, Johnson offered up his prizes to Earnhardt Jr.: "Take the damn flag. I'll give you the trophy, too." Politely, Earnhardt declined: “No, I don't want the trophy. I'll take the flag, though."

And of course, there are those quotes that follow on-track incidents and are often anger-invoked. After an incident with Juan Pablo Montoya at Atlanta, Clint Bowyer simply said, "You can’t race around the jackass!” Martin Truex Jr. was furious at his pit crew in Richmond after several bad pit stops. "You're all f**king fired! Every g**d**n one of ya!" Following the race, most of the pit crew was replaced, so that threat was followed through. The now infamous Ron Hornaday vs. Kyle Busch crash at Texas brought this quote from Hornaday: “He’s such a candy-ass, he won’t stay around to get a whooping like he’s supposed to get." On the opposite end, Kyle Busch had an accident with Elliott Sadler during the Bristol NCWTS race. During his interview afterward, Busch said, "Yeah, sure he did [do it on purpose]. Where's his paycheck come from?" (Elliott Sadler was not driving for Kevin Harvick Inc. in that race; he was driving for Joe Denette Motorsports.) After Brian Vickers and Tony Stewart had a dust-up at Sonoma, Stewart said, “If they want to block, that's what is going to happen to them every time for the rest of my career." Vickers offered this, “It's unfortunate. He made his bed at that moment, and he had to sleep in it." Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch let the words fly after Richmond, though Busch did most of the talking after several on-track incidents. "I know we're in his head,” Busch said, though he later recanted that statement. "He's got to learn how to race,” said Busch as he spouted off. Busch went as far as saying Johnson is the “five-time chump." Johnson took the high road, not exchanging verbal jabs but simply saying, "I'm sure I'll go find him and talk to him and he'll run his mouth.”

Not limited to the Cup Series, one of the most memorable quotes actually came in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. After leading the race and restarting with just two laps to go, Johnny Sauter was black-flagged for crossing lanes before the start/finish line. During his interview, he simply said, “God Bless America!” Best line ever! No swearing, no blaming anyone - just patriotic pride. Sauter also had another quote that stuck out to us. During the season finale Ford 200, rain hampered the race. Suddenly Sauter screams, “IT’S RAINING!” NASCAR threw the red flag and the race ended; Sauter won and was just 6 points short in the championship points battle. While beatin' and bangin' with James Buescher, Kevin Harvick had an internal dialogue which included this: "Don’t be Kyle Busch. Don’t be Kyle Busch."

Social media forums such as Twitter have provided us some great insight into the drivers this season. Jimmie Johnson took to Twitter in May with a public plea. “Hey Kevin Harvick, can I have my horseshoe back? Please?” DeLana Harvick replied, “oh come on, can't he keep it for just a little while longer? :)”  And after his extremely hard wreck at Charlotte, Johnson once again took to his Twitter page, simply saying, "Hello soreness..."

And call this the "oops" moment of the season. Chad Knaus was caught on RaceBuddy during Talladega saying, "If we win this race, you have to crack the back of the car. Got it?" Knaus was worried about the bump drafting knocking the car out of alignment if they won the race. NASCAR spoke to Knaus afterwards and for the remainder of the season they inspected the No. 48 at random.

The death of IndyCar star Dan Wheldon had a tremendous impact on the motorsports community this season. Danica Patrick drove in IndyCar with Wheldon and honored him with a tribute paint scheme at Texas Motor Speedway. “It feels comforting in a way, to be honest. I kind of feel like I have a little angel in a way,” said Patrick, speaking about her tribute car.

The most memorable quote for many was simply, “Are you kidding me?!” uttered by Trevor Bayne as he won the Daytona 500. The jubilation in his voice made you smile and his Cinderella story swept the nation.

With just 89 days until Daytona, we certainly hope for another celebratory line like that once again.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Skirts and Scuffs recounts the best and worst moments of 2011

36 Sprint Cup Series races, 34 Nationwide Series races, and 25 Camping World Truck Series races - Through it all the women of Skirts and Scuffs were there to provide interviews, opinions, recaps, and more. With the 2011 season in the books we wanted to bring you our look back at some of the best and worst moments in our eyes.

Katy Lindamood: Boiling down ten months of racing into three “best” moments wasn't as difficult as it might sound. Sure there were tons of moments that deserve an honorable mention, but for me these three stands out as being the best of the best. First NASCAR announcing the new points system. Did anyone think it could get closer than the 2010 season? Did anyone predict that it would come down to the final race with just three points between first and second? The new points system has forced drivers to race for the win each week and has produced some of the best racing we have seen in years. Kudos to NASCAR for making the right changes.

First time winners and Cinderella stories deserve a place among the best moments of the season, don't ya think? Trevor Bayne, Regan Smith, David Ragan, Marcos Ambrose and Paul Menard got their first Cup victories this season and you can't leave out the story of Brad Keselowski who came from a non-competitive season in 2010 to win three races and win a wild card spot in the Chase. Did you see any of that coming? I sure didn't.
Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Finally we have to give credit to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. In his second season with the Roush-Fenway Racing Stenhouse has done a complete 180 compared to a year ago. In 2010 Stenhouse was pulled from his ride for a few races because he wasn't performing up to Roush's standards and that lit a fire in the young driver. Battling for the points lead all season long Stenhouse has proven he's worthy and that he may just be the next driver to watch. The only thing with Stenhouse is ensuring that he's not moved up too quickly, but I think Roush learned his lesson with Ragan.

On a personal note I'd like to thank our readers and team for making 2011 a banner year for Skirts and Scuffs. Without readers we would be nothing. We look forward to many more years covering the greatest sport out there. To the Skirts and Scuffs team you remind me everyday how truly amazing female NASCAR fans are. Thank you for your continued dedication to the cause. To Summer, Rebecca, Unique, Melissa, Lindi, Debbie, Karel, Rosalie, LJ, Genevieve, Kristina, and Genna (miss you!) thank you for representing Skirts and Scuffs proudly at the track. I am truly blessed to have you all.

On the other side of the coin the 2011 season has seen its share of bad moments; whether it be the hard crashes for Brad Keselowski at Road Atlanta or David Ragan and David Reutimann at Watkins Glen or even Jimmie Johnson's hard crash just a few weeks ago at Charlotte. All those aside, for me the worst moments of the season didn't actually occur on the track.

Kentucky Speedway's traffic debacle and parking issues were a PR nightmare leaving many fans with a bad taste in their mouth and swearing never to return to the newest track on the Cup schedule. Few people will remember that Kyle Busch won the inaugural event but we'll be talking about the melee and the line of cars entering the speedway for years to come. Second on my list is the loss of Lucas Oil Raceway from the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series schedules. LOR provided some of the best racing we see all season. The small track in the middle of a field just a few miles from the monstrosity of Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be missed by longtime fans who appreciate short track racing and Ron Hornaday who dominated the track during it's time on the NCWTS schedule.  

Rebecca Kivak: It’s been an incredible season in NASCAR. The season started with a bang - Trevor Bayne’s storybook win at the Daytona 500 - and ended with one, with Tony Stewart’s all-out charge through the field to his third Sprint Cup title. In between we saw moments that inspired us, made history and some that frustrated us and even horrified us. Here are the moments that stand out in my mind as I look back on the season that was.


Trevor Bayne’s Daytona 500 win. It was the feel-good story of the year – in only his second Sprint Cup start and just a day after turning 20, Bayne won the hearts of NASCAR fans by winning the daddy of all NASCAR races, the Daytona 500. For once, all fans came together to cheer for this young, optimistic and religious young man, who helped bring the sport to a new audience. No one would have thought then that Bayne would miss part of the year due to a mysterious illness that turned out to be lyme disease. As heartbreaking as it was to see this young man’s career temporarily stalled, he conducted himself with such grace and class upon his return. It was inspiring to see Bayne overcome the obstacles to find himself in victory lane yet again – his first Nationwide Series win came at Texas.

The season finale at Homestead. This race exemplifies why we love NASCAR: two title contenders battling their hearts out for the ultimate trophy, the Sprint Cup title. Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards gave it everything they had. Stewart was magnificent in his charge throughout the field, overcoming a hole in the grille early on in the race and bad pit stops, and nailed his restarts, which he had struggled with prior to the Chase. Stewart gave the most ferocious performance I’ve ever seen. His only option to win the title was to win the race, and that’s exactly what he did – he wouldn’t settle for anything less. Edwards did everything he could to win the race and the title – he just simply got beat. His speech in defeat was full of grace and class, and he showed himself to be a champion in every way but holding the trophy. (I know a lot of fans may think that Edwards didn’t show class when he wrecked Brad Keselowski at Atlanta and Gateway in 2010 – and no, he didn’t – but his behavior this entire season shows that he learned from those mistakes to become the man we saw at Homestead.)

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Brad Keselowski's inspiring Pocono win. The will to win can be strong, especially when you have an obstacle to overcome. Keselowski earned the nickname of "Ironman" after winning the second Pocono race with a broken ankle after being injured in a vicious crash during testing earlier in the week. It was absolutely thrilling to see him pass Kyle Busch in the final laps - and the victory became all more real when I saw Keselowski hobble into the media center afterward. After that race, Keselowski went on a tear that saw him finish 2nd at Watkins Glen, 3rd at Michigan and win at Bristol - that's four top-3 finishes in a four-week span! It was a true example of excellence under pressure and shows the unquestionable talent this driver possesses. 

Runner-ups: first-time winners, historic moments for women, teamwork during tandem racing and the end of Johnson’s reign. It was incredibly inspiring to see first-time Sprint Cup winners Regan Smith, David Ragan, Paul Menard and Marcos Ambrose find their way to victory lane. The year began on an uplifting note for women in the sport, as Danica Patrick became the highest-finish woman in NASCAR history with a 4th-place finish at Las Vegas in the Nationwide Series, and just a few weeks earlier Jennifer Jo Cobb became the highest-finishing woman in Camping World Truck Series history with a 6th-place finish at Daytona. I’m not a fan of the tandem racing that has become the norm at restrictor-plate tracks, but I had never seen teamwork like that displayed by Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the Talladega spring race. Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. were the dynamic duo and showed what teams needed to do to win in this new-fangled style of racing. I was so impressed I devoted a column of Motor Mouth to it (shameless plug!). And this became the year Jimmie Johnson’s reign atop the Sprint Cup Series ended. For the last five years, Johnson, crew chief Chad Knaus and the No. 48 team set the standard at NASCAR’s top level. Eventually the other teams caught up – it was inevitable they would. But Johnson accomplished something never seen in the sport before – and it may never be done again. I am truly grateful to have witnessed the dynasty firsthand.


Dan Wheldon’s death. It affected the entire motorsports community and reminded us that despite innovations in safety, this is a dangerous sport. Wheldon was one of my favorites in IndyCar; I genuinely enjoyed watching this man race around the track, no matter what team he was racing for. It still is hard to believe that he’s no longer walking this Earth. The first few days after his death were unreal; I can only imagine the grief that his family must have been going through. An unfortunate first for me: his death was the first I’ve seen live in a race, and I will never forget it. I will also never forget his smile, his talent and the happiness he brought to many.

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs 
Kyle Busch retaliates against Ron Hornaday. It was so blatant - I don’t think I’ve ever seen a retaliatory act that blatant. Busch completely disregarded Hornaday’s safety and those around them, and Hornaday paid the price as it ended his championship hopes. For as talented as Busch is – and he is one of the most talented drivers out there – it still makes me angry to see how reckless he can be. Let’s hope that NASCAR’s decision to park him, M&Ms’ decision to temporarily pull sponsorship from the car and whatever talks he had with Joe Gibbs will help this talented driver to control his anger and impulses so he can be the driver we know he’s capable of being.

Kentucky Speedway’s “carmageddon.” It should have a been a highlight of the NASCAR season when Kentucky Speedway held its first Sprint Cup race in July. The track had fought 10 years for a date and appeared that it was prepared to handle one. It wasn’t – it was a catastrophe of epic proportions. Thousands of fans were tied up in traffic and never made it to the race. Many who did after the race had started were turned away because of a lack of parking spots. Those who made it to the track were forced to endure food shortages and not enough bathrooms. It was atrocious - the fans deserved better. Let’s hope the track gets its act together for next year if it hopes to be an annual date on the Sprint Cup calendar.

Amanda Ebersole: Summing up the three series into best and worst moments in an immense challenge, the racing this year overall has been great. So here are my picks for the best and worst moments of the season.

The best moments of 2011 included:

The breakthrough winners as I just recently discussed,  we have had a season full of first time winners. It is great to see new names getting their shot at glory versus one name dominating so many races.

The new points system – Kudos to NASCAR for implanting a new points system and giving us the best Chase is many years! Thank you for adding back the excitement to the Chase.

The 2011 Chase – Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart made it intriguing to the final lap of Homestead. In the years that I have been a fan, that has not happened. Usually the championship is decided long before and Homestead is just a formality. This goes along with the No. 2 best moment – Thank You NASCAR for the new point format and keeping the Chase exciting until the very end!

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
While I hate to point out the worst moments of the season, let’s face it, there were some.

Kentucky’s debacle – This takes top billing as the worst moment of the season. The premise of Kentucky getting a Cup race was hyped for months but the delivery fell flat after fans were turned away due to traffic issues and lack of parking. That was truly a black eye on NASCAR and the track itself.

Deliberate crashes and lack of consistent penalties – Come on NASCAR, where are the defining lines on these wrecks? In the past few weeks we have had the calamity at Martinsville, Kyle Busch crashing Ron Hornaday under CAUTION and Brian Vickers wrecking Matt Kenseth. The penalties need to be consistent; Busch got parked, mainly because of being under caution, but green flag deliberate wrecks are just as dangerous in my opinion.

LJ Cloud: 

1. Watching Tony Stewart make history in epic fashion at Homestead. I asked him at Texas if he thought he could find his way back to Victory Lane at Phoenix and Homestead since he hadn't been there in so long and he said, “Been a while since I won here, but we're here tonight, aren't we?  I don't know how you count us out."

2. Watching my first live race at Texas Motor Speedway, from standing on pit road during the invocation and national anthem to standing behind Marcos Ambrose's pit box at the start-finish line watching Tony Stewart take the checkered flag to getting to ask questions of the top three in the Media Center. I could write a whole piece on just that weekend. Oh wait, I did!

LJ speaks with Kenny - Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
3. Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 for the Wood Brothers in the No. 21 with the classic David Pearson paint scheme. 

While there were plenty of low moments in the 2011 season, I prefer to focus on the positive aspects.

Lacy Keyser:

Worst moment of the season: Final laps of the Coke A Cola 600. I was on feet ready for that win when suddenly...the 88 ran out of gas. Heartbroken I had to breath in a brown paper bag because I was so overly worked up.

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs
Best moment: Going to my second race, Kansas and seeing my favorite driver finish second and seeing one of my favorite drivers win the race.

Carol D'Agostino: 

Best Moments in 2011
1. On a personal note, in addition to doing my two races at Dover International Speedway this year I went to the Brickyard 400 for the second time. I stayed with a long time friend (not a NASCAR fan, but she went to her first race!) who lives so close to both IMS and Lucas Oil Speedway that we could sit on her patio and her house mate could tell me which track was practicing just by the sound of the engines!

2. Tony Stewart capping off a tremendous Sprint Cup season that provided intriguing and competitive racing from the first to the last race!

3. In a span of less than one week Marcos Ambrose winning his fourth career Nationwide Series race and his first Sprint Cup event.

Worst Moments in 2011
1. Dan Wheldon’s crash and death in the INDY race in Las Vegas.

2. The weird hair pulling incident between Patrick Carpentier’s crew member and Steve Wallace after the Nationwide race in Montreal.

3. Kyle Busch crashing Ron Hornaday in the Texas truck race.

Holly Machuga:
The best of 2011
1) Attending the Truck and Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway in August. I got to meet Dale Earnhardt Jr., and participate in MIS’s fan appreciation programs!
2) Such a tight points race going into Homestead!
3) Seeing first time winners like Regan Smith, Marcos Ambrose, and Paul Menard!
4) Taking on the Pole Reports!

Worst moments of 2011:
1) The death of Dan Wheldon.
2) The Kyle Busch incident at Texas.
3) The Kurt Busch incident with Dr. Jerry Punch.

Melissa Wright: 
This year I feel that I've been most fortunate than the past several seasons while working in the NASCAR industry. I've met countless new people and learned so much more about the sport, not only by being a writer at Skirts and Scuffs, but from going over the wall myself.

In April, I interviewed David Starr at Texas Motor Speedway as a guest writer for the site as he made his Cup debut. That same weekend I stood trackside during invocations with a driver that ended up being a “start and park” for four different teams this year. Little did I know that I would go on to have my own column shortly after that.

Before I knew it, I was on the road with our staff photographer, Debbie Ross heading to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star race. We call ourselves, “Thelma and Louise.” For the CWTS race that Friday night, I caught up with our lead editor, Rebecca Kivak and we sat in the stands as NASCAR fans together and watched the North Carolina Lottery 200. Then, that Saturday, Dierks Bentley had a concert in the infield in which Mike Calinoff (who was the second person I interviewed for my column) was a special guest – along with his sister, Stephanie. Stephanie and I became friends through Mike months before this but I had never met her in person. I had only purchased a couple pieces of her One-Of-A-Kind Glass Jewelry. During the concert, Debbie, Rebecca her boyfriend and I all got together and afterwards headed to the tweetup. It was there that I had met Genevieve as well! Summer Dryer was in the Media Center and didn't make her way out to meet us on the hill but it was really nice to finally meet a few others from our staff. Who else attended the tweetup? The Calinoff's, Junior Johnson, SB Nation's very own Jeff Gluck and of course, Bob Pockrass. I also had the pleasure of meeting Mary Lou Hamlin. Yes, Denny's mom. Deb was in hysterics. But the fun was just beginning with the crew challenges so Deb and I made our way to pit road. We laughed, a lot! The laughter carried us home late Sunday night when we made it back to Dallas.

Melissa, Genevieve, and Rebecca in Charlotte
It was summer and back to Debbie and I once again at Texas Motor Speedway for the weekend. The CWTS and IICS were in town, Texas style. This was always exciting for me because the speedway was hosting the first Twin 275s. I was excited to be a part of that history as well on the speedway side of things. I toured the garages, took some pics and wrote a couple articles but the biggest memory that I have from that weekend was my last conversation with Dan Wheldon on Sunday after he left the suites. I congratulated him once again for his Indianapolis 500 win and told him, “Thanks again. See you next time honey.” Wheldon turned back and looked at me with his infectious smile and said, “Honey! I like honey!” My colleagues who didn't know Wheldon were just captivated by his smile – his accent. My response, “Oh yeah? I love honey!” Yes, I was smiling beyond out of control to the point of laughter. He went onto to state his appreciation for the hospitality over the weekend and told me he'd see me next time. Little did I know that it would be the last time I'd see that smile or hear that laugh again. Over all, it was a great weekend.

My list could go on and on but, lastly, I guess what disappointed me the most this season would be the actions of Kyle Busch.

Unique Hiram:
Best of 2011
1. The increased presence of  Skirts & Scuffs in the Media Center throughout the season.
2. Tony Stewart's historical win as the 2011 Sprint Cup champion.

Worst of 2011
1. Dan Wheldon's tragic death at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the IndyCar Series.
2. Marco Simoncelli's tragic death at the Malaysian Moto Grand Prix on he day of Dan Wheldon's funeral.
3. The "Boys Have It" taken to a new level by Kyle "Rowdy" Busch when he purposely wrecked Ron Hornaday Jr.

What are your best and worst moments of 2011? Share with us in the comments in below.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Speak Your Mind: The 2011 Season Thus Far

The ladies of Skirts and Scuffs are a diverse group. We all have our own opinions and this is our chance to share them.

This week's Speak Your Mind looks back at the first half of the 2011 season and the "best of" moments.

Best race moment:

Rebecca Kivak: The Daytona 500. Seeing 20-year-old Trevor Bayne cross the finish line in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford was an ending I'll never forget. It was the juxtaposition of the sport's past and future, all wrapped up in one moment. A close second would be the Southern 500 - Regan Smith redeems himself three years after Talladega. I also want to give a shoutout to this year's Talladega race. Even though I like pack racing better than the two-car drafts, I thought that race was exciting throughout and especially at the end - with so many pairs contending for the win, I had to get up out of my seat to watch! The teamwork between Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson was incredible.
Genevieve Cadorette: Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega; I love teamwork and watching these two race together was awesome, especially in the end when Dale Jr. pushed Jimmie to victory lane first. I need to remind people Dale Jr. pushed Jimmie to the finish line ... OK, that is talent people and Dale Jr. is showing that he's got talent still stuck somewhere in his firesuit. The fact that all four HMS guys started in the first two rows and to have them finish in the top spots was awesome ... sure, it wasn't a perfect back-to-back 1-2-3-4 finish as it was a start, but it was still a great finish. And Mr. Hendrick's comment that he was happy all four cars came back from Dega in one piece for the first time.
Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 win - a highlight of the year.
Credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images for NASCAR

In Nationwide: Danica Patrick finished in 4th, becoming the first woman to do so. In Bristol when she collided with Ryan Truex, she stood up for herself by making her gestures on the track - she's not one to mess with boys. Give her more time and she'll make you work for your win. 

Paula Thompson: My favorite moment of the season so far came at Daytona in February – Trevor Bayne’s win in the 500 brought joy to a weekend that had a dark shadow cast over it, as fans and competitors marked the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death at the track. 

Katy Lindamood: Maybe we should call this the feel good story of the year category. I'm going with David Ragan winning the July race at Daytona. After being black-flagged in the 500 for making a pass too early, Ragan made up for it in a big way in the Coke Zero 400, earning his first career victory in the Cup Series. Honorable mention to Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Nationwide Series. Last year Stenhouse was benched for a few races because he wasn't performing up to Roush standards, but in 2011 he's proved himself worthy of the seat with a win and a shot at the points title.

Amanda Ebersole: I am tied between Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 win and Regan Smith's win at Darlington. Both Bayne and Smith were unexpected wins and became Cinderella stories, so they both are at the same level for me.

Worst race:

Rebecca: Quaker State 400 at Kentucky. The track's inaugural Cup race was mired in complete disaster over the traffic catastrophe and shortages at the track, as well as a lackluster race to boot.

Genevieve: I feel for the fans in Kentucky - it was the most anticipated race event of the year and it just ended so badly with all those fans not being able to get in after they were stuck in bad traffic for so long. The Cup cars looked fast in Kentucky and it looked like it could've been a great race to go to until I heard about what happened ... it just put a sour taste in a lot of first-time fans attending the event and that's not what NASCAR is all about. We often say your first race will hook you to the sport for life; unfortunately, many Kentucky fans didn't get that "awe" moment that hooked them for life. 

Katy: Kentucky - Not for the actual racing but the backlash from fans, media and other industry experts. No one will remember Kyle Busch won the race, but they will remember the traffic jam, lack of restrooms, and inadequate parking for years to come. 

Amanda: Is this a contest? Kentucky! Racing was difficult, single groove and little passing, but besides that, the debacle created by the track with the parking left such a black eye on them. For those fans, please do not shy away from NASCAR.

Best rivalry: Lots of choices

Rebecca: Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. With Busch and Harvick, it's a perfect rivalry: both are passionate drivers with fiery tempers and competitive with one another across three series and as team owners. 

Genevieve: Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, need I say more? 

Paula: The best rivalry so far has to be Kyle Busch against Richard Childress Racing – even as Busch won his 100th race at New Hampshire, RCR had to get involved! 

Katy: Kyle Busch vs RCR - It's not just Busch vs. Harvick, but Busch vs. the whole organization from Richard to Joey Coulter. I love this rivalry because I love seeing two drivers who are passionate show it on the track, plus with them competing in all three series the rivalry can bubble up at any point. Honorable mention: Tony Stewart vs. the Field - Stewart made it blatantly obvious that if you block him, you're gonna get punted out of the way.

Amanda: Richard Childress vs. Kyle Busch was the most captivating story in my eyes. We all waited to see if Busch would have a black eye after the garage smackdown and many were disappointed he did not. The shocking part - Childress is an owner and finally had enough!

Best soundbite: A quote that is unforgettable

Rebecca: One is full of joy, the other of defeat. Trevor Bayne saying "Are you kidding me?" after winning the Daytona 500. Also, after losing through tire strategy to Carl Edwards at Las Vegas, nothing could console Tony Stewart - not even having the points lead. After the race, a visibly upset Stewart said, "Second sucks." 

Genevieve: There are a lot of cool quotes but I have to say, what happened in the media center with Bruton Smith at NHMS was quite entertaining. "Is NH South Canada?" will be a question/comment he made that'll stick in my mind for a long time. Also, Dustin Long wrote an article last weekend titled, "Is there a government conspiracy to keep Dale Jr. out of the Chase?" A title he came up with after hearing Dale Jr. say that every damn week they keep changing the tires, "I think the government is getting on 'em about how to build them ..." 

Katy: "Are you kidding me?" - Trevor Bayne

Amanda: I agree that it is Trevor Bayne's in-car audio after winning the Daytona 500. His jubilation was contagious - fan or not, 99 percent of people were celebrating with him. Honorable mention nod: Johnny Sauter's "God Bless America" after being black-flagged at Texas. When asked for comments, he simply replied, "God Bless America," which I commend him for saying, rather then spouting off.

Biggest surprise: The moment that surprised you the most this season, on or off track

Did the women of Skirts and Scuffs consider this moment as surprising?
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR
Rebecca: Thirteen different winners in 19 Cup races. It just goes to show you how competitive the series is and that even the underdogs have a chance to win - this is a good thing. If I had a second choice, it would be our three first-time winners: Bayne, Smith and David Ragan.

Genevieve: Two unpredictable wins: one the youngest driver - and debut driver to the 500 and to win the Daytona 500, in only one of his few Cup races with the pros. To beat them all at their own game was awesome! The second one was Furniture Row's Regan Smith to win Darlington simply because no one expected it, they deserved it.

Paula: The biggest surprise of the season has been the emergence of the independent teams. Bayne, Dave Blaney and Regan Smith have all had impressive seasons while doing a lot with a little.

Katy: Jimmie Johnson gets a Twitter account and people who called him vanilla actually start to like him. They still may not like him on the track, but he's become more of a man and less of an enigma in their mind. 

Amanda: I have to go with Bayne's health scare, being sidelined for weeks and missing out of what was dubbed his Cinderella season. It was not of his own doing, but shocking and surprising that you are at the top of your game one minute, then knocked down the next.

Most shocking moment: the moment that had you saying "What?"

Rebecca: Richard Childress-Kyle Busch altercation. Looking back on it, I still can't believe it happened. Also, Trevor Bayne's season being derailed by a mystery illness he now believes was Lyme disease. To go from the top of the world, winning the Daytona 500, to essentially losing his chance at a Nationwide championship was heartbreaking to see. 

Genevieve: Sprint Cup drivers winning more races in the Nationwide series than the regular Nationwide drivers. Just kidding, I think. 

Katy: Richard Childress banned from the garage after he his altercation with Busch. Who the heck saw that happening in this lifetime? Honorable mention: Paul Menard's first several races of the season. Though his performance has fallen off since then, Menard came out of the gate at RCR like a man on a mission. 

Amanda: Carl Edwards winning the All-Star Race and then destroying the car celebrating. Oops!

Biggest letdown: What has disappointed you this season?

Rebecca: After the season he had last year, I'd have to go with Jamie McMurray. After winning the Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and fall Charlotte race in 2010, McMurray has faded into the shadows, sitting in 29th in the points standings with only two top 10s this season. Apart from some standout performances at Martinsville, Darlington and leading a few laps at Loudon, there's little to make me think his season will turn around. 

Genevieve: I'll be honest with you, Dale Jr. leading and in position to win twice this year and Kevin Harvick passing him both times, once in Martinsville and then again at the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte because he ran out of gas. It's not Harvick's fault that he was the one to pass Junior twice right before he won, but it was a letdown that it was an unfortunate ending for Dale to lead and lose. Also, at the Coca-Cola 600, Kasey Kahne was in row 1 in the restart for the final lap of the race and he ran out of gas also, that could've been a win for him, one long coming, and I'm sure there were a lot of broken hearts that night. 

Paula: The biggest let-down – but catching up fast – has been the performances of the two Stewart-Haas Racing cars. Both Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman seem to be picking up steam as they head into the second half of the season though, so I’m looking forward to writing about them as the second-half surprises when the season ends! 

Katy: Denny Hamlin - The curse of the second-place Chase finishers continues. Hamlin only has one win in 2011 and has struggled with engine woes and poor finishes. Compared to last season, it's a letdown. 

Amanda: I am going to hear about this answer, but I am saying Dale Earnhardt Jr. Yes, he is making progress, Steve Letarte has proved to be a valuable asset for him, but still something always happens.

Surprise performer: Who is the unexpected standout in your eyes?

Rebecca: This is tough, as there are a lot of worthy candidates. I'm giving this to David Ragan, who scored his first Cup win, is having what could be his best year in Cup and at 13th in points, is looking at a wildcard Chase spot.

Genevieve: David Ragan gets my vote for this one, he raced himself into the All-Star race in the showdown and then wins his first Cup race. In some respects, that is two wins in one season, even though one was not a points race.

Katy: I'm going to the Truck Series for this one and my vote goes to Cole Whitt. Young and new to the series, Cole has contended for the win against Cup regulars on many occasions. 

Amanda: Paul Menard, who many heckled for years about "buying" his ride due to his father's company sponsorship. Since moving to RCR, Menard is definitely a driver to watch for. Honorable mention to the entire NCWTS field of drivers! They provide some of the hardest racing in NASCAR.

Which moments do you think fall under the best and worst halfway through the season? Let us know in the comments below.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Kevin Harvick Inc. and Elliott Sadler team up for 2011 Nationwide Series

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. (November 5, 2010) - Kevin Harvick Inc. announced today an expansion of its NASCAR Nationwide Series program with partner CitiFinancial and driver Elliott Sadler. CitiFinancial and Kevin Harvick Inc. have solidified a multi-year deal to compete full time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and run select events in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The partnership will begin on the track during Championship Week at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where Sadler will run the No. 2 CitiFinancial Chevrolet in the Truck Series event. In 2011, CitiFinancial will be the primary sponsor for 29 Nationwide Series races with Sadler, and one Nationwide race with Kevin Harvick.

This partnership marks both a new beginning for each of the three parties involved, as well as an opportunity to build on past experiences. CitiFinancial, which has maintained a strong presence in the sport since 2004, announced earlier this year that it will be changing its name and will use this sponsorship as a key platform to launch that new brand. KHI is excited to build on its successes in the Nationwide Series and run for a championship in 2011. Sadler will start the next chapter of his 15-year career by reuniting with a former sponsor as he looks to add to his career win total of nine in the top three NASCAR series.

Mary McDowell, President and CEO of CitiFinancial North America stated, “We are thrilled to expand and enhance our incredibly successful presence in NASCAR. Our customers and employees are huge supporters of this great sport, and we could not be happier teaming up with Kevin Harvick Inc. and Elliott Sadler. We have worked with Elliott in the past, so this is somewhat of a reunion for NASCAR fans and for us. By partnering with KHI and Elliott, we have a powerful platform from which we can support our new brand and our business overall. We look forward to a great 2011 season on and off the track.”

Sadler comes to KHI as an experienced NASCAR veteran. The 35 year old made his NASCAR Nationwide Series debut in 1995 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway accumulating 130 starts, five wins, 19 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes. Sadler will compete full time in the Nationwide Series in 2011 and vie for his first series title. During 2010, Sadler will compete in one Nationwide and eight Truck Series races for KHI. He won his first Truck race of his career in KHI equipment at Pocono (Pa.) International Raceway in July. Sadler also qualified on the pole and finished third while representing KHI at Bristol in the August Nationwide Series race.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's Official: Kasey Kahne at Red Bull Racing

Kasey Kahne adressed the media in a press conference Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway. He and Jay Frye, Vice President of Red Bull Racing cleared the air about the Richard Petty Motorsports/ Kasey Kahne split.

Kahne confirmed that he was paid up to date by RPM and that his release from them was mutual. Discussion of this began Monday. Also, "Easy" Kenny Francis will remain with the nine car at RPM for the last five races of the 2010 season.

Then began the discussion about the move to Red Bull, "I've been doing the same thing for six and a half years, so everything's different. A big change for me.

"The excitement at Red Bull now... it's nice to be a part of it.

"I've been looking forward to next year for quite some time now. This just gives us a head start on next year." Kasey said.

Indeed, Red Bull is excited to have Kahne, too. Vice President Jay Frye expressed this when he said, "His DNA is a race car driver. We couldn't be more excited ro have him for the final five races and 2011.

"... We want to win races, make the Chase, and win the championship."

Kasey then continued to talk about those who questioned his commitment: "Anyone who questions my commitment doesn't know my love of racing."

"It's about me moving on, and starting with the next year. I'm glad we've done it." he said of the split.

"People can talk. They can say what they want, but I'm definately not a quitter. I've done a lot for that company for a long time." Kahne spent his first six and a half years within the organization. If he hadn't been doing something right, they would have gotten rid of him long ago.

Kasey is disappointed about leaving Budweiser early, but will finish out his appearences for 2010. We still do not have word if Budweiser will continue to sponsor Kasey Kahne Racing driver Joey Saldana.

Next year? Kasey is happy that they will be prepared and has time to get to know the company. He is hoping to win races for Red Bull.

As for Red Bull, Jay Frye says that they are still monitoring Brian Vickers' health and Scott Speed's performance. They also are dealing with the fact that they have three crew chiefs (Kenny Francis signed on to be with Kasey for 2011) and only two cars.

"This went down a lot different than anybody expected, especially myself."

We did not expect this either, Kasey.

Side note: During practice in the 83, Kasey said, "Everything feels good. Forward bite is good. Brakes feel really good!"

Thank you so much to Skirts and Scuffs for giving me this opportunity and for following this coverage all week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

""Atta Boy!"

"'Atta Boy!"

That is what I yelled when I was watching qualifying yesterday and Kasey passed the finish line and qualified for the pole. His time of 30.920 completely dominated the qualifying results.
It is so nice to see Kahne, a non-chaser that has clearly had horrible luck all season long, qualify for a pole over all the Chase guys. Even better, his teammate, Paul Menard, is starting right up front with him! I'm sure RPM did not see this coming, because I didn't. An interesting fact, Elliott Sadler, who is also leaving RPM at the end of the season, qualified 15th. Meanwhile, A.J. Allmendinger qualified 30th.

I'm looking forward to next season to see how Kasey performs under a new team. He is a great driver with a great potential to win a lot of races or, even better, a championship. I have a good feeling that Kasey will show all the doubters what he is made of next year at Red Bull Racing and then the year after at Hendrick Motorsports. Especially at Hendrick. With Jimmie Johnson, a driver who has dominated the Sprint Cup series, Dale Earnhardt Jr., the most popular driver, and Jeff Gordon, a driver that came from a background like Kasey's and is a great driver, Hendrick can do no wrong by adding Kasey to the roster.

I do not pay attention to the results coming from Hendrick this year. It doesn't matter to me where they finish. The drivers are not the same. If I were to compare Mark Martin to Kasey, I wouldn't be saying the same things about them. Mark is a well seasoned veteran and is a great driver, while Kasey is in his seventh seson in the Sprint Cup series. They come from different backgrounds, they have different crew chiefs. The list is endless.

All in all, Kasey is not giving up and I felt that his pole-winning was an excuse to write about him. Keep your eyes on Kasey Kahne, he's already gearing up for the 2011 season!
The views expressed in this post are those of the author and not necessarily those of the site or its administrators.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Press Release: Ambrose Makes Move to RPM with Stanley Tools as Sponsor for 2011 Season

Concord, N.C. (August 17, 2010) - In preparation for the 2011 season, Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that driver Marcos Ambrose has signed a multiyear agreement with the organization to drive the No. 9 Ford Fusion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Long-time RPM sponsor Stanley Black & Decker will be the primary sponsor of the No. 9 team.

"I'm very excited to join Richard Petty Motorsports," said Ambrose.

"It's an incredible honor to be able to race for a legend like The King and be a part of this organization. I'm also happy to be back with Ford Racing. The No. 9 team has been a very successful team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the support of Ford and everyone at RPM, I believe we can continue that tradition of success. I'm also excited to join forces with Stanley."

"We are very happy to have Marcos Ambrose join our team," said NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Richard Petty. "He's a very talented and passionate driver and will be a great addition to our team."

"We knew once Marcos became available that we wanted him to be a part of the RPM family," said Foster Gillett, managing partner and team owner. "He's a fan favorite and he's proven to be a tough competitor on track. We're thrilled to have Stanley continue their partnership with our team and believe that Marcos is a great fit for the Stanley Racing program."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2011 Sprint Cup Series Schedule Update: New Hampshire Motor Speedway

2010 NHMS June NNS race bar logo fans (AUGUST 11, 2010) With anticipated crowds exceeding the Super Bowl, Final Four, NBA Finals, World Series games, and even the Stanley Cup Playoffs , New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host the three the biggest sporting events in New England during its 2011 racing season.

For the 15th consecutive season, the “Magic Mile” will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends.

Moving from its recent late-June date, NASCAR’s elite series makes its season debut at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 17 for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its second trip to the “Granite State” on Sunday, September 25, as the SYLVANIA 300 lights up the competition for the second race in the “Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

Movin' on up: Phoenix spring race bumped up to second event of 2011 Cup season

Phoenix becomes only track in the West to host two Cup dates

PHOENIX (August 10, 2010) - Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced Tuesday that the track has been awarded two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends in 2011, marking seven consecutive seasons for PIR to host a pair of nationally-televised event weekends featuring the brightest stars in NASCAR. Phoenix will maintain two NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends in the face of widespread schedule realignment that saw multiple race dates moved amongst multiple facilities.

“We are honored to be the only facility in the West with two Sprint Cup Series events,” Sperber said. “The commitment from NASCAR to race twice at Phoenix International Raceway speaks volumes for the level of enthusiasm the sport has from fans in Arizona and throughout this part of the country.”

People of Kansas Rejoice: Second Sprint Cup Series Race Coming in 2011

Kansas_Speedway_C_thumb (July 10, 2010) Kansas Speedway and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced today that NASCAR has approved ISC’s request for realignment and beginning in 2011, Kansas Speedway will host two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends.

The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend will be held June 4-5 and the second event weekend will be the fourth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Oct. 8-9.

2010 Kansas Speedway ticketholders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets for the new June race. Tickets for the 2011 events will go on sale after Kansas Speedway’s 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend in October.

“This is an exciting announcement for Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas, and the state of Kansas,” said Kansas Speedway President Pat Warren. “Our fan support for the past 10 years has been tremendous and as a result of that support and the new Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, we are fortunate enough to gain an additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race starting in 2011. We will continue to offer our fans the best guest experience in motorsports.”

Childress to Field Fourth Cup Team in 2011: Menard Tapped to Drive

2010 Daytona June NNS New Car ESPN Menard At the conclusion of the 2009 season Richard Childress did what any team owner hates to do. He shut down his fourth Sprint Cup Series team due to lack of sponsorship and cut driver Casey Mears loose. With Jack Daniels Whiskey pulling out of NASCAR and few sponsorship opportunities on the horizon there was little else he could do.

Today Richard Childress Racing announced that the fourth team will be back for 2011 and that Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Paul Menard would be the driver. Along with his driving abilities Menard comes with a built in sponsorship from Menards, a large home improvement retail chain that operates throughout the Midwest.

In his forth season as a driver Menard has shown much improvement according to Childress who on Wednesday said,"Paul has developed into a very good race car driver, and we see his move to RCR next year as an opportunity for him to continue that progress. At the same time, we feel Paul will contribute to the continued progress and success of RCR. Paul will fit in perfectly with our team of drivers at RCR, and they are all looking forward to working with him. We're also very proud to be aligned with Menards, one of the great family business success stories in American history."

Menard will join Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick at RCR in 2011 and while we don’t yet know what number Menard will be driving we do know that it’s a multi-year deal.

To learn more about the move check out Richard Childress Racing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Kahne to Red Bull Racing for 2011

2010 Infineon Kasey Kahne on pit road In April we learned that Kasey Kahne had signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to take over for Mark Martin as driver of the #5. The only problem with the deal was that Mark Martin wasn’t set to retire until after the completion of the 2011 season and Kahne’s contract would not begin with HMS until 2012. 

With Kahne leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the conclusion of the 2010 season we all started speculating where Kahne would land in 2011. Many, including myself, speculated that Kasey would move to a third team for Stewart-Haas Racing because of their affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports.

Today we “officially” learned that Kahne will pilot one of the Red Bull Racing cars in 2011. What we don’t yet know is which car it will be or who his teammate on the two car team will be. Below you will find the press release from Red Bull Racing, but before you dive into that tell us what you think of the news. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Atlanta loses one of two Cup dates to Kentucky for 2011

Atlanta Motor Speedway will give up one of its two Sprint Cup dates for the 2011 season, track officials announced Thursday. The move opens the door for Kentucky Speedway to claim a Cup race.

Atlanta will keep its Labor Day race weekend on Sept. 2-4 but will lose its March race weekend.

According to an Associated Press report, the track's owner Speedway Motorsports Inc. will give a Cup race to Kentucky Speedway in July. Kentucky Speedway has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, when the announcement is expected to be made. On Thursday, the speedway's website said, "Big news coming in 5 days!" with the Sprint Cup Series logo in the background.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dover Motorsports Declines 2011 NASCAR Events at Gateway International Raceway

2010 Gateway1 Scoring Pylon No Power July 28, 2010 - Dover Motorsports, Inc. (NYSE: DVD) announced today that its wholly owned subsidiary, Gateway International Raceway has notified NASCAR that it will not seek 2011 sanctions for its two Nationwide Series and one Camping World Truck Series races.

Vice President and General Manager of Gateway, Terry Harmeson stated, “This was a difficult decision in light of the many years of earnest and continued efforts on everyone’s part to develop a viable market for these events in one of our nation’s greatest cities. We remain committed to fulfill the balance of our 2010 schedule including our October 23rd NASCAR Nationwide race which will provide our fans the opportunity to see Danica Patrick compete here for the first time. We also plan to explore various ways to change the economics at Gateway both from the revenue and expense side.”

Labonte to Replace Ambrose for JTG Daugherty in 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 14:  Bobby LaBonte, driver of the #43 Cheerios Dodge speaks with the media during NASCAR testing at Daytona International Speedway on January 14, 2008 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) *** Local Caption *** Bobby LaBonte JTG Daugherty Racing announced today that 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte will take the reins as driver of the No. 47 Toyota Camry for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 36-race schedule. 

“JTG Daugherty Racing is a solid race team that has come close to winning races with Marcos Ambrose and I’m looking forward to developing our new partnership in 2011,” Labonte said. “The team is thriving and their technical alliance with MWR (Michael Waltrip Racing) is intact. It’s great to have next year already set in stone so when this season ends we can begin focusing on next year right away. Everything is in place and we have all the right ingredients to win races together.”

Labonte’s credentials speak for themselves. The Corpus Christi, Texas native is a 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winner with 26 pole awards, 114 top-five and 199 top-10 finishes. Team owners Jodi and Tad Geschickter and Brad Daugherty are pleased Labonte accepted the offer to drive the JTG Daugherty Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry as they enter their third full-time season of competition at Daytona International Speedway on February 13th.