Showing posts with label LJC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LJC. Show all posts

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wild Card Talladega shuffles the Chase deck in qualifying

Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images
Four will be done in 'Dega.
It's time to prepare for glory, or defeat. ~ NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup commercial 

Brian Vickers grabbed the pole for the GEICO 500 at Talladaga Superspeedway Saturday, perhaps as much because of what other drivers didn't do as because of what he did.

"I don't deserve any credit." said Vickers after the final segment. "I just tried not to wreck."

Jimmie Johnson starts second for much the same reason. "I'm not sure what happened there, but it worked out." said Johnson, who's in danger of being eliminated from Chase contention if he doesn't win today's race.

In September, NASCAR announced changes to the qualifying format for Talladega that included a first round divided into two groups by a random draw, with each group getting five minutes on track to make their runs. After a 10-minute break, the 24 drivers with the fastest laps in either round advanced to an intermediate round also five minutes long. From that round 12 advanced to determine their starting positions based on their fastest lap in that five-minute segment.

At the time the changes were announced, Robin Pemberton, NASCAR senior vice president of competition and racing development, said the changes, "Should be more exciting for our fans. It will feature a more accelerated pace, provide greater opportunity for team strategy to come into play and it should more closely resemble actual racing conditions.”

"Strategy" resulted in five Chase contenders relying on owner's points to make the show. For the first time in his Cup career, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. failed to qualify. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Justin Allgaier also didn't make the race. Joe Nemechek's car failed post-qualifying inspection, so Reed Sorenson got a reprieve and starts in 36th position.

Jeff Gordon qualified 43rd.  Only four times has Gordon earned starting spots of 40th or worse, but for the first time in his career, his lap time put him dead last in the field. The four-time champion made the race by only .127 seconds.

"I just mistimed getting to the line." said Gordon. "The whole group was going so slow I knew I had to have a gap and when I came across the line I thought I had enough (time) to be able to complete that lap and get one more, which was the only way we were going to make it. But we came up short."

Gordon leads active drivers in wins at the 2.66 mile superspeedway with six to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s five victories.

Tony Stewart had to use a past-champion's provisional to make the field.

On the other side of the equation, the beneficiaries of "strategy" were names not usually seen in at the top of the field in qualifying. AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Blaney, who's running the No. 12 Penske entry, line up on the second row. Michael McDowell qualified sixth, Travis Kvapil seventh, and Michael Annett tenth, while Terry Labonte earned a ninth-place start in his final Cup race.

The Dogecoin-funded entry of Josh Wise also made the field, qualifying 36th.

Matt Kenseth starts in the back because of a precautionary engine change. Also dropping to the back: Brad Keselowski, who may discover just how many enemies he made with his actions last week at Charlotte.

Here are the full qualifying results. Tune in at 2:00 pm ET on ESPN to see whose nation falls the hardest.

Rank Driver Time Speed
1   Brian Vickers 48.825   196.129  
2   Jimmie Johnson 48.924   195.732  
3   A.J. Allmendinger 48.983   195.496  
4   Ryan Blaney 49.357   194.015  
5   Brad Keselowski 49.359   194.007  
6   Michael McDowell 49.439   193.693  
7   Travis Kvapil 49.462   193.603  
8   Kasey Kahne 49.489   193.498  
9   Terry Labonte 49.506   193.431  
10   Michael Annett 49.575   193.162  
11   Ryan Newman 50.057   191.302  
12   Martin Truex, Jr. 50.141   190.981  
13   Matt Kenseth 49.510   193.415  
14   Alex Bowman 49.520   193.376  
15   Carl Edwards 49.542   193.291  
16   Trevor Bayne 49.771   192.401  
17   Aric Almirola 49.803   192.278  
18   Kurt Busch 49.850   192.096  
19   Casey Mears 49.899   191.908  
20   Paul Menard 49.934   191.773  
21   David Gilliland 50.140   190.985  
22   Cole Whitt 50.144   190.970  
23   Mike Wallace 51.838   184.729  
24   Greg Biffle 49.985   191.577  
25   David Ragan 50.026   191.420  
26   Marcos Ambrose 50.080   191.214  
27   Danica Patrick 50.097   191.149  
28   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 50.101   191.134  
29   Landon Cassill 50.102   191.130  
30   Austin Dillon 50.129   191.027  
31   Jamie McMurray 50.184   190.818  
32   J.J. Yeley 50.218   190.689  
33   Clint Bowyer 50.220   190.681  
34   Michael Waltrip 50.245   190.586  
35   Josh Wise 50.266   190.507  
36   Reed Sorenson 50.585   189.305  
37   Tony Stewart 50.590   189.286   OP
38   Denny Hamlin 50.863   188.270   OP
39   Kevin Harvick 51.110   187.361   OP
40   Joey Logano 53.980   177.399   OP
41   Kyle Busch 54.065   177.120   OP
42   Kyle Larson 54.163   176.800   OP
43   Jeff Gordon 54.245   176.532   OP
44   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 54.118   176.947   DNQ
45   Justin Allgaier 54.166   176.790   DNQ
46   Joe Nemechek .000   DQ 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Contender 12 face off in the Hollywood Casino 400

The Contender 12 carry special stickers. Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Fate and skill will decide who moves forward....

It's time to prepare for glory or defeat - the Contender Round is upon us. (NASCAR promo)

The championship points have been reset and 12 drivers now sit tied at 3000 points. An equal playing field for all.

Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon,  Ryan Newman, Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kevin Harvick , Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Denny Hamlin survived the Challenger Round and advanced to the Contender Round. Will one of these Chase drivers win today and automatically advance to the Eliminator Round?

Kevin Harvick broke his own track record in claiming his eighth pole of the 2014 season (197.773 mph in Round 2 of 3.) If you're keeping score at home, that's his sixth track record this year and the 20th time this season a new track record has been set in qualifying.

Jeff Gordon's Challenger sticker in Victory Lane at Dover
credit: Beth Bence Reinke/Skirts and Scuffs
Will Harvick finally show why he's called The Closer? Or will he again suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as he has so many times in 2014?  Six-Time spun out in qualifying and starts way back in 32nd. Will the real Jimmie Johnson finally stand up and find Victory Lane?

For Jeff Gordon, back-to-back wins used to be commonplace, but he's not managed that feat since 2007. That was also the last season he scored more than three wins. Can he ring the Hendrick victory bell again this week?

Then there's the four drivers who were just eliminated from championship contention. Greg Biffle, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger, and Kurt Busch can still finish as high as fifth in points. Almirola qualified an impressive third, Biffle begins in 11th and both showed speed in the first practice.

The Roush Fenway drivers tested at Texas last week and must have found something on that mile-and-a-half that translates to Kansas because they're looking racier than they have all season.

Dinger starts from 20th, but was fast in the second and the final practices, while Busch starts 24th and seems to be searching for speed.

Perhaps a non-Chase contender will break out a win. Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson have been factors in the last few races and both showed wicked speed in practices. McMurray starts 14th and Larson 18th, but both will probably get to the front quickly. If Larson can keep his No. 42 Chevy off the wall, he might earn his first career Cup win.

The green flag flies in the Hollywood Casino 400 at 2:19 pm ET on ESPN. Tune in to see who draws first blood in the second round of eliminations.

Here's your complete starting lineup. The drivers in bold are the Contender 12.

Rank Driver Time Speed
1   Kevin Harvick 27.325   197.621  
2   Brian Vickers 27.508   196.307  
3   Aric Almirola 27.530   196.150  
4   Joey Logano 27.544   196.050  
5   Jeff Gordon 27.544   196.050  
6   Brad Keselowski 27.548   196.021  
7   Kyle Busch 27.555   195.972  
8   Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 27.593   195.702  
9   Tony Stewart 27.619   195.518  
10   Kasey Kahne 27.641   195.362  
11   Greg Biffle 27.696   194.974  
12   Carl Edwards 27.732   194.721  
13   Paul Menard 27.654   195.270  
14   Jamie McMurray 27.669   195.164  
15   Martin Truex, Jr. 27.681   195.080  
16   Austin Dillon 27.684   195.059  
17   Ryan Newman 27.690   195.016  
18   Kyle Larson 27.704   194.918  
19   Clint Bowyer 27.711   194.868  
20   A.J. Allmendinger 27.716   194.833  
21   Justin Allgaier 27.738   194.679  
22   Marcos Ambrose 27.748   194.609  
23   Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 27.798   194.259  
24   Kurt Busch 27.832   194.021  
25   Denny Hamlin 27.873   193.736  
26   Casey Mears 27.885   193.653  
27   Matt Kenseth 27.891   193.611  
28   Michael McDowell 28.026   192.678  
29   Danica Patrick 28.111   192.096  
30   Reed Sorenson 28.126   191.993  
31   David Gilliland 28.243   191.198  
32   Jimmie Johnson 28.254   191.123  
33   Alex Bowman 28.274   190.988  
34   Josh Wise 28.296   190.840  
35   Landon Cassill 28.302   190.799  
36   Michael Annett 28.313   190.725  
37   David Ragan 28.325   190.644  
38   J.J. Yeley 28.436   189.900  
39   Cole Whitt 28.584   188.917  
40   Timmy Hill 28.640   188.547  
41   Mike Bliss 28.660   188.416  
42   Joey Gase 28.913   186.767  
43   Mike Wallace 29.499   183.057  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Darrell Wallace Jr. Victorious in Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Speedway

Credit: Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images
Darrell Wallace Jr. withstood Kyle Larson's relentless attack to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Mudsummer Classic at Eldora Wednesday night.

From the intensity of the heat races to the desperation of the last chance qualifer to the flag-to-flag action of the main event, the sophomore outing at Tony Stewart's iconic Midwestern dirt track lived up to the standard set in the inaugural event last summer. Fans cheered just as loud this year as Norm Benning again raced his way into the main from the last chance qualifier. The four-wide salute was just as impressive, and the main event again delivered the best racing of the Truck season.

Credit:Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images
If rubbin' is racin', then the Truck race at Eldora represents racing in its purest form, with Larson well on his way to master status. Wallace Jr. led twice for 97 laps and won the race, but Larson stole the show.

From his starting place in 11th, Larson took the No. 32 Glad Chevy to the top five and while he only led five laps, he challenged the other front-runners at every turn. On more than one occasion, he spun 360°, bounced off the wall and continued down the track, taking aim at his next target., the nose of the bright yellow Silverado pointing toward the infield even as Larson stood on the gas and aimed straight down the track. Finally, with two to go, Larson slammed the wall for the last time, leaving Wallace streaking to the finish and his third career win.

Larson limped to 26th place finish as Wallace gave Kyle Busch Motorsports their eighth win of the season.

Ron Hornaday Jr. showed that he's still got the right stuff, finishing second despite being attacked by younger drivers such as Wallace, Larson, Ty Dillon and Jeb Burton all night. At times Hornaday seemed to be driving with the right tires on the wall as he banged through the corners.

Finishing in third, Ryan Blaney kept his No. 29 near the front all night.  Behind him in fourth, Ken Schrader's experience on dirt was obvious as he found the best lines to run all night.

Ty Dillon overcame a disastrous error by his crew to finish fifth. Just past half way, an encounter with a spinning Kyle Larson cut a left-rear tire on the No. 3, and when Dillon pitted, the official told crew chief Danny Stockman they could change four tires despite the rule that only the affected tire could be changed. The team added fuel, which was only supposed to be added during competition cautions, so Dillon came back to the pits to put the old tires back on again, but since they couldn't remove the fuel from the truck, officials held the No. 3 in the pits for a lap.

Seventeen-year-old John Hunter Nemechek, with no dirt experience, held his own and finished sixth, with Jeb Burton, Johnny Sauter, Matt Crafton and Austin Dillon rounding out the top 10.

Polesitter Erik Jones' difficulties began early with a spin on Lap 27 and a wreck on Lap 37, putting him four laps down. He finished 29th out of 30 trucks.

The complete unofficial results:

Fin St #    Driver Laps Status         Led
1 6 54    Darrell Wallace, Jr. 150 running 97
2 3 30    Ron Hornaday, Jr. 150 running 17
3 4 29    Ryan Blaney 150 running 0
4 10 52    Ken Schrader 150 running 0
5 13 3    Ty Dillon 150 running 0
6 18 8    John Hunter Nemechek 150 running 0
7 2 13    Jeb Burton 150 running 7
8 5 98    Johnny Sauter 150 running 0
9 9 88    Matt Crafton 150 running 0
10 19 2    Austin Dillon 150 running 0
11 8 19    Tyler Reddick 150 running 0
12 24 77    German Quiroga 150 running 0
13 21 31    Ben Kennedy 150 running 0
14 7 21    Joey Coulter 150 running 0
15 27 2    Tyler Young 150 running 0
16 14 17    Timothy Peters 150 running 0
17 23 9    Chase Pistone 150 running 0
18 16 63    J.R. Heffner 150 running 0
19 26 5    John Wes Townley 150 running 0
20 17 20    Gray Gaulding 150 running 0
21 15 50    T.J. Bell 150 running 0
22 12 35    Mason Mingus 150 running 0
23 20 99    Bryan Silas 150 running 0
24 25 8    Korbin Forrister 150 running 0
25 30 14    Michael Annett 149 running 0
26 11 32    Kyle Larson 148 crash 5
27 29 6    Norm Benning 148 running 0
28 28 80    Jody Knowles 148 running 0
29 1 51    Erik Jones 144 running 24
30 22 3    Mike Affarano 93 overheating 0

Saturday, July 19, 2014

RCR sweeps front row for the NASCAR Nationwide Series' 300

Polewinner Brian Scott in the garage at Chicagoland Speedway
Credit: Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

The Nationwide Series stands alone tonight at Chicagoland Speedway, with Brian Scott sitting on the pole. Scott's fourth career Nationwide pole and his second of 2014 is also his second at the Joliet, Illinois 1.5 mile track.

Rookie Ty Dillon made it an all-RCR front row with his second-place qualifying effort, while his rookie-of-the-year rival Chase Elliott rolls off third. Erik Jones beside him in fourth, driving the JGR No. 20 that Kyle Busch has taken to Victory Lane three times this season.

The JR Motorsports No. 5 car has also been to Victory Lane three times this season, and tonight starts in fifth with Kasey Kahne behind the wheel.

Coverage of the " 300"  starts on ESPN2 8:30 PM Eastern, with the green flag scheduled for 8:44 PM.

The starting lineup:

Rank Driver Nbr Car
1   Brian Scott 2 Chevrolet
2   Ty Dillon 3 Chevrolet
3   Chase Elliott 9 Chevrolet
4   Erik Jones 20 Toyota
5   Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet
6   Sam Hornish, Jr. 54 Toyota
7   Elliott Sadler 11 Toyota
8   Ryan Blaney 22 Ford
9   Brendan Gaughan 62 Chevrolet
10   Cale Conley 33 Chevrolet
11   Trevor Bayne 6 Ford
12   Kyle Larson 42 Chevrolet
13   Chris Buescher 60 Ford
14   Ryan Reed 16 Ford
15   Regan Smith 7 Chevrolet
16   James Buescher 99 Toyota
17   Ryan Sieg 39 Chevrolet
18   J.J. Yeley 28 Dodge
19   Dylan Kwasniewski 31 Chevrolet
20   Chad Boat 84 Chevrolet
21   Jeremy Clements 51 Chevrolet
22   Mike Bliss 19 Toyota
23   John Wes Townley 25 Toyota
24   Landon Cassill 1 Chevrolet
25   Eric McClure 14 Toyota
26   Dakoda Armstrong 43 Ford
27   David Starr 44 Toyota
28   Matt DiBenedetto 40 Chevrolet
29   Jeffrey Earnhardt 4 Chevrolet
30   Tanner Berryhill 17 Dodge
31   Joey Gase 52 Chevrolet
32   Kevin Lepage 74 Dodge
33   Blake Koch 10 Toyota
34   Jamie Dick 55 Chevrolet
35   Derrike Cope 70 Chevrolet
36   Carl Long 72 Chevrolet
37   Josh Reaume 87 Chevrolet
38   Richard Harriman 23 Chevrolet
39   Mike Harmon 93 Dodge
40   Ryan Ellis 46 Chevrolet

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Questions Before: Loudon and Iowa

 Chris Trotman/Getty Images
This week our regular columnist Kirsten Faith Schneider is preparing to start college, so I'm stepping in with my set of five questions before the New Hampshire Motor Speedway - Iowa weekend. And I'm grateful for the opportunity because I've got a few things on my mind.

This week my friend Lisa Reese died of an apparent heart attack, sitting at her computer. Lisa wrote for Skirts and Scuffs briefly, covering Formula One with passion and in detail. Her passing again reminds me how precious life is, and how important it is to let those you love know how much they mean to you every chance you get, because you never know when it may be the last time.

Kyle Petty knows how important that is. It's been 14 years, but if I still remember Adam Petty every time the traveling circus that is NASCAR rolls into Loudon, New Hampshire, I can't imagine what it must be like for Kyle. I vividly remember hearing the news of Adam's death in a crash during practice that May afternoon in 2000. Words fail. A light that shone so brightly snuffed out too soon. I cried for weeks.

Adam would have been 34 years old yesterday, July 10. It's hard to visualize him as 34, but I imagine he would always have had that broad, beautiful grin, the one that radiated goodness and joy.

So when the cars roar into Turn Three at New Hampshire on Sunday, smile and think of Adam Petty.
Happy birthday, Adam. We miss you. Your legacy lives on in the Victory Junction Gang Camp, and this weekend, Sprint Cup teams honor the Camp's 10th anniversary with special stickers on each car.

On to the questions.

1. Will Matt Kenseth finally get a win?
At the beginning of the season, who would have thought that Aric Almirola would take the iconic No. 43 to Victory Lane before Matt Kenseth? By this time last season, Kenseth had four of his seven wins and was setting the bar high. With six top fives and 11 top 10s, the No. 20 hasn't been bad, it just hasn't been as expected. He won for the first time at Loudon last September in his 500th start, so it's possible.

2. Can Toyota step it up?
Although the last three races at NHMS have been won by Toyotas, only two of the 18 races this season have seen Toyotas in the winner's circle. Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin have wins - can any other Toyota team score one? Clint Bowyer is the top Toyota drive without a win; he sits 12th in points but has only two top fives this season. Brian Vickers has a win at NHMS and is running well ... but will it be enough to beat the Bowtie and Oval teams?

3. Will Kevin Harvick's pit crew finally gel?
How many races would Harvick have won this season if his pit crew had synced as quickly as he and Rodney Childers have. The mind boggles. Harvick's made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the status quo. Will the No. 4 team beat themselves again this week?

4. Can a Nationwide regular beat the Cup drivers?
Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson are all on the entry list for the Sta-Green 200. Can Chase Elliott or Ty Dillon, or maybe even Brendan Gaughan make it a race.

5. Will youth and enthusiasm win out over age and experience at Iowa Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series?
With the Cup Series in New Hampshire, Erik Jones will be behind the wheel of the No. 51, so we know Kyle Busch won't win. Can points-leader Johnny Sauter bring home a trophy? What about Timothy Peters or the cagey veteran Ron Hornaday? Or will it be one of the next generation of NASCAR stars?

All these questions and more will be answered this weekend.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Celebration of NASCAR Dads

Being a dad is a big job for any man. But throw in a crazy travel schedule — being away three or four nights a week, including weekends — and it becomes even harder. Such is the life of fathers on the racing circuit.

Nick Terry, a chaplain with Motor Racing Outreach, said guys in the garage often ask him, “How do I be a good dad when I’m gone all the time?” The answer is different for each dad and his kids, of course. But Terry, a father of three, recommends dads focus on making the time they have with their kids count.

Terry thinks the number one struggle for NASCAR dads is balancing family, faith and career.

“It’s tough to fit all three of those into one box that’s not that big, because it’s a sport that’s not a 9-to-5 job,” he said. “There’s a lot of good men out there (in the garage) — good dads, good husbands. It’s just a tough lifestyle to balance it all.”

The number of daddies in the Spring Cup garage keeps growing. Just this week, driver David Ragan and his wife, Jacquelyn, welcomed their first child, a baby girl. On Friday, rookie Kyle Larson announced he and his girlfriend, Katelyn Sweet, are expecting. 

This Father’s Day, we salute the hard-working, dedicated dads of the NASCAR community. Whether they wield a wrench, a microphone or a steering wheel on race day, their hearts belong to the special little folks who call them “Daddy.”

Click on "view slideshow" to see photos of NASCAR dads captured by our Skirts and Scuffs photographers.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Drama-Filled Race at Texas Brings Third Career Victory for Ed Carpenter

Ed Carpenter shoots the guns.
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Ed Carpenter scored the third victory of his Verizon IndyCar Series career in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. He led 90 laps and survived a late-race caution to make his way to Victory Lane where the Foyt-Rutherford trophy awaited him along with a Charlie 1 Horse cowboy hat and a pair of six-shooters.

"I've always liked this place and ran okay, just haven't had good luck here to be honest, so it was nice to finally break through tonight," said Carpenter. "The team gave me a great car. They've been giving us great cars all year for myself and Mike, so it's nice to be able to deliver."

Billed as the "Second Home of IndyCar racing," TMS rarely fails to deliver exciting racing and drama. Saturday night's event, which marked the 25th race run at Texas, more than any track other than Indianapolis Motor Speedway, certainly brought the drama. And the comedy, too, in the post-race media center interviews.

From Will Power's point of view, he gave Carpenter the victory. Power led 145 laps and was poised to win his third race of the season when he caught a penalty for speeding on pit road.

"That's four drive-throughs in five races," said Power. "Got to stop doing that. It's ruining our chances of winning. But an awesome call at the end by the team to call for new tires and obviously got back to at least where we were, one more lap and we probably would have had it. But yeah, very good day. Great day, really enjoyed it."

According to Juan Pablo Montoya, Carpenter got the win by cheating. Montoya, who led 13 laps, his first since the Indy 500, managed a third-place finish, his best since his return to IndyCar. While he said he had a lot of fun in the race, saying he hadn't had that much fun in a long time, Montoya accused Carpenter of jumping the restart.

"I was recovering from a flat tire at the beginning of the race," said Montoya. "We recovered and we did a good job there, and just a little mad at the end. I don't know, I want to go talk to IndyCar and clarify why the cones are there for the restart if you don't have to use them. I don't know. I understand if you wanted to go a little early or a little late, it's okay, but like 200, 300 yards before we get to the cones and he was already going, I was kind of disappointed with that, that he got away with that. But it is what it is."

Carpenter, when told about Montoya's accusations, dismissed them.

"I figured he'd be miffed. I was sick of him because he was lagging back. If he wants to talk to me about it, I'll be happy to talk to him. He ended up finishing third, right? So it doesn't matter."

The 600 kilometer (372 mile) race began with Marco Andretti on a mission, heading three-wide into Turn Two, heading toward the front from his 17th-place start. Just a few laps later, Andretti's night ended in flames as his Honda engine expired in spectacular fashion. He escaped unharmed, but visibly frustrated.

Justin Wilson and Sebastien Bourdais got tangled up when Bourdais checked up to avoid a car in front of him, and Wilson had too big a run to avoid him. Wilson ended up against the outside Turn Four wall, while Bourdais slid to the inside.

The third caution was on Lap 241, when Takuma Sato's Honda engine blew up. Though it didn't catch fire, it did set the stage for what Montoya compared to a green-white-checkered finish.

Power leads the Verizon IndyCar points standings by 39 over Penske teammate Helio Castroneves.

Complete finishing order:

1    Ed Carpenter Fuzzy's Ultra Premium Vodka   (Ed Carpenter)
2    Will Power Verizon   (Roger Penske)
3    Juan Pablo Montoya Verizon   (Roger Penske)
4    Simon Pagenaud Lucas Oil   (Schmidt Peterson Hamilton)
5    Scott Dixon Target   (Chip Ganassi)
6    Tony Kanaan Suave Professionals For Men / Target   (Chip Ganassi)
7    Mikhail Aleshin SMP Bank   (Schmidt Peterson Motorsports)
8    Helio Castroneves AAA   (Roger Penske)
9    Ryan Briscoe NTT Data   (Chip Ganassi)
10    Charlie Kimball NovoLog FlexPen   (Chip Ganassi)
11    Josef Newgarden Strike USA   (Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing)
12    Graham Rahal National Guard   (Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing)
13    Carlos Munoz Cinsay /   (Andretti-HVM)
14    James Hinchcliffe United Fiber & Data   (Andretti Autosport)
15    Jack Hawksworth Integrity Energee Drink  (BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian)
16    Carlos Huertas Cafe de Colombia   (Dale Coyne)
17    Sebastian Saavedra Automatic Fire Sprinklers   (KVAFS Racing)
18    Takuma Sato ABC Supply Co.   (A.J. Foyt)
19    Ryan Hunter-Reay DHL   (Andretti Autosport)
20    Sebastien Bourdais Hydroxycut   (KVSH Racing)
21    Justin Wilson Boy Scouts of America   (Dale Coyne)
22    Marco Andretti Snapple   (Andretti Autosport)

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

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

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Erik Jones Graduated from High School and to Superspeedways at Texas

Erik Jones gets congratulatory kisses from Kristen and P.J. of The Great American Sweethearts.
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
Erik Jones turned 18 on May 30, 2014. Like many 18-year-olds, he was set to graduate from high school this weekend, but he had a scheduling conflict with his part-time job. Erik chose to work instead.

When you consider that his employer is Kyle Busch Motorsports and that his job is driving a race truck in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, that decision made perfect sense. Especially since that 18th birthday meant Erik would be able to drive on superspeedways and happened to fall just in time for him to take over the seat of the No. 51 Tundra for KBM in the WinStar World Casino 400 at Texas Motor Speedway.

As far as Erik was concerned, there was no choice to be made.

His parents agreed.

"You'd have to know Erik," said his father Dave. "Ever since about the first grade, all he ever wanted to do was race. So, everything in school, whatever the assignment was, whether it was writing a story, it would be about racing, or drawing pictures in kindergarten, it would a racecar. So to get to this point and to have him graduate and get his diploma at a racetrack is beyond his wildest dreams. He would have quit school in first grade to go racing if that was an option."

When the TMS staff found out that Erik was foregoing picking up his diploma, they decided to hold a graduation ceremony for him during pre-race activities.

"It kind of started off as a joke, really, to graduate here but it all worked out and Texas Motor Speedway was gracious enough to get it all together," said Erik. "Being able to graduate at a racetrack, I don't think I would have had it any other way."

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
As Pomp and Circumstance rolled out of the track PA system, track president Eddie Gossage Jr. donned a cap and gown to present the young driver with his diploma from Swartz Creek High School. Gossage also presented Erik a diploma commemorating his graduation to superspeedway racing as Erik's parents, sister, his mother's mother and his father's father watched proudly.

Erik's debut on the high banks of the Great American Speedway went well, considering that it was only his seventh race. He ran in or near the top five all night, until a long green-flag run put him and the rest of the field in jeopardy of running out of fuel. Jones pitted late and wound up finishing 11th.

After the race he tweeted, "Well you're going to have nights like this. We worked hard all night, finish doesn't represent our run. We will be better next weekend." He then tweeted a photo of two of the Great American Sweethearts kissing him on the cheeks as he posed with his diploma pre-race, and said, "But, I will say it was a pretty good graduation!"

And how is the new graduate celebrating? By racing, of course. He'll be in the ARCA Midwest Tour’s Swiss Colony Howie Lettow Memorial 150 Super Late model event at the Milwaukee Mile on Sunday.

Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs

Matt Crafton Credits Kyle Busch for Win at Texas

Photo Credit: Boyd Adams
Courtesy of
Matt Crafton put an old-fashioned Texas-style whuppin' on the field of the WinStar World Casino 400 Friday night.

The driver of the No. 88 Menards Tundra dominated in Kyle Busch-fashion, earning his fifth career victory and the second of the season by leading 118 of the 167 laps, and running 61 laps on his final tank of Sunoco fuel. His margin of victory, 13.302 seconds, set a track record at Texas Motor Speedway.

Polesitter Justin Lofton finished second, his fifth top 10 in eight races at the Great American Speedway.

Joe Nemechek made the most of his first start at TMS; he qualified in sixth place and finished third.

"It's good to be back in the media center," he said. "It's been too long."

Nemechek shares the ride with son John Hunter Nemechek, racing at the tracks where the 16-year-old can't yet. "I want to win a race in a truck this year," the elder Nemechek said. "I've won in everything else I've ever done."

Ryan Blaney finished fourth after leading 45 laps, and John Wes Townley came in fifth, only his second career top five in the Camping World Truck Series.

Crafton gave some of the credit for his dominance to the absent Kyle Busch, saying that the team's efforts to beat Busch made the organization stronger as a team.

Busch turned his No. 51 Hiring Our Heroes / ToyotaCare Toyota over to Erik Jones, whose recent birthday made him eligible for racing on mile-and-a-half tracks. Jones missed his high school graduation to run at TMS, so before the race, Eddie Gossage presented Jones with both his high school diploma and one for his graduation to 1.5 mile tracks.

Fin #    Driver Sponsor  
1 88    Matt Crafton Slim Jim / Menards    
2 20    Justin Lofton NTS Motorsports    
3 8    Joe Nemechek    
4 29    Ryan Blaney Cooper Standard Performance Products   
5 5    John Wes Townley Zaxby's    
6 30    Ron Hornaday, Jr. Ruud Heating & Cooling   
7 98    Johnny Sauter Nextant / Curb Records   
8 99    Bryan Silas PBG / Bell Trucking    
9 21    Joey Coulter Allegiant Travel   
10 54    Darrell Wallace, Jr. ToyotaCare    
11 51    Erik Jones Hiring Our Heroes / ToyotaCare    
12 13    Jeb Burton Estes    
13 32    Tayler Malsam Outerwall    
14 31    Ben Kennedy Turner Scott Motorsports    
15 2    Tyler Young Standard Structures, Inc.   
16 9    Brennan Newberry Qore-24   
17 8    Jimmy Weller III Geneva Liberty Steel / Integrated Metal Prod.   
18 50    T.J. Bell Electrical Linemen   
19 35    Mason Mingus Call 811    
20 10    Jennifer Jo Cobb Grimes Irrigation & Construction  
21 19    Tyler Reddick DrawTite    
22 57    Norm Benning Boedeker Construction   
23 77    German Quiroga Net 10 Wireless    
24 17    Timothy Peters Red Horse Racing  
25 7    B.J. McLeod    
26 63    Justin Jennings Randco / Young's Building Systems    
27 0    Ryan Ellis Grimes Irrigation & Construction   

Friday, June 6, 2014

Justin Lofton dashes to Truck pole at Texas Motor Speedway

Justin Lofton
photo credit Boyd Adams, courtesy of
Justin Lofton nabbed his second career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pole Friday evening for the WinStar World Casino and Resort 400. 2013 series champion Matt Crafton almost caught him, running just .049 seconds behind the polewinner.

Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile speedway, so 24 drivers advance from the first round of qualifying. With only 27 entries in the field, the drivers had to do something to make knockout qualifying exciting.

Norm Benning and Jennifer Jo Cobb did their part to ramp up the tension by almost not making it to the grid. Then Darrell Wallace Jr. ran an early lap at what was probably three-quarters throttle, then waited to see if he needed to make another run. In the end, only Benning, Justin Jennings, and Ryan Ellis failed to advance.

For the second round, a pack of drivers attempted the Kevin Harvick maneuver of waiting until the literal last minute to go out. Then they blasted a quick lap, running as fast as they could to take get that last lap before the end of qualifying. The TMS track announcer said they were "running like a stabbed rat."

Those who made it through to the next round employed the same technique in the final round, with similar results.

The race broadcast begins at 8PM Central on Fox Sports 1.

Here's the starting order:

Rank Driver Nbr Time Speed
1   Justin Lofton 20 30.054   179.677  
2   Matt Crafton 88 30.103   179.384  
3   Ryan Blaney 29 30.229   178.636  
4   Johnny Sauter 98 30.235   178.601  
5   Erik Jones 51 30.239   178.577  
6   Joe Nemechek 8 30.399   177.637  
7   Darrell Wallace, Jr. 54 30.422   177.503  
8   German Quiroga 77 30.424   177.491  
9   John Wes Townley 5 30.457   177.299  
10   Ron Hornaday, Jr. 30 30.523   176.916  
11   Jeb Burton 13 30.535   176.846  
12   Tyler Reddick 19 30.558   176.713  
13   Brennan Newberry 9 30.628   176.309  
14   Tayler Malsam 32 30.657   176.142  
15   Timothy Peters 17 30.673   176.051  
16   Bryan Silas 99 30.744   175.644  
17   Tyler Young 2 30.745   175.638  
18   Ben Kennedy 31 30.792   175.370  
19   Joey Coulter 21 30.896   174.780  
20   Mason Mingus 35 31.063   173.840  
21   T.J. Bell 50 31.511   171.369  
22   Jennifer Jo Cobb 10 31.766   169.993  
23   Jimmy Weller III 8 31.785   169.891  
24   B.J. McLeod 7 .000  
25   Justin Jennings 63 32.713   165.072  
26   Norm Benning 57 33.030   163.488  
27   Ryan Ellis 0 33.174   162.778

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

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

Will Power on the pole for Saturday's Firehawk 600

Will Power scored his second Verizon P1 award of the 2014 season with a blistering two-lap average of 218.896, knocking Josef Newgarden to P2 for Saturday's Verizon IndyCar Firehawk 600 at Texas Motor Speedway. The pole is Power's second in a row at the Great American Speedway, and the 34th of his career, moving him ahead of Dario Franchitti for sixth on the all-time list.

Newgarden's goal was a top-ten starting position; instead he laid down his career-best qualifying laps.

When the green flag flies Saturday night, 2013 Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan will start from inside the second row with Juan Pablo Montoya next to him in P4. Saturday's race marks Montoya's first race at TMS in an IndyCar after 14 NASCAR starts.

This year's Indy 500 polesitter, Ed Carpenter, rounds out the top five.

Power sits atop the Verizon IndyCar points standings with two wins in the seven races so far in the 2014 season, but he's not worried about points. The Team Penske driver says he's just focusing on the racing, that while points racing may work for some people, it just doesn't suit his personality.

Here's the starting order for the Firestone 600, broadcast on NBSCN beginning at 7:30 pm Saturday.

Rank  Driver Nbr Car Speed
1   Will Power 12 Chevrolet 218.896  
2   Josef Newgarden 67 Honda 217.835  
3   Tony Kanaan 10 Chevrolet 217.826  
4   Juan Pablo Montoya 2 Chevrolet 217.724  
5   Ed Carpenter 20 Chevrolet 217.677  
6   Simon Pagenaud 77 Honda 217.222  
7   Scott Dixon 9 Chevrolet 217.128  
8   Justin Wilson 19 Honda 217.007  
9   James Hinchcliffe 27 Honda 216.967  
10   Carlos Munoz 34 Honda 216.960  
11   Mikhail Aleshin 7 Honda 216.880  
12   Ryan Hunter-Reay 28 Honda 216.823  
13   Ryan Briscoe 8 Chevrolet 216.667  
14   Helio Castroneves 3 Chevrolet 216.591  
15   Charlie Kimball 83 Chevrolet 216.151  
16   Takuma Sato 14 Honda 215.376  
17   Marco Andretti 25 Honda 214.843  
18   Sebastien Bourdais 11 Chevrolet 214.108  
19   Sebastian Saavedra 17 Chevrolet 213.153  
20   Jack Hawksworth 98 Honda 212.411  
21   Graham Rahal 15 Honda 212.675  
22   Carlos Huertas 18 Honda 211.773  

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

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