NASCAR Changes Qualifying Format
posted by Summer Bedgood
Tuesday March 11, 2014
Following safety concerns regarding NASCAR’s new qualifying format, the sanctioning body is introducing some changes in preparation for this weekend’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway. According to the Associated Press, NASCAR is banning teams from cool-down laps after their qualifying attempts, but will instead be allowed to hook up cool-down units to the engine through hood flaps.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a release from NASCAR fully detailed the changes. Teams will be allowed a single cool down unit to be connected through the right or left side hood flap, however the hood must remain closed. Additionally, two crew members will be allowed over the wall while cooling down.
“The qualifying is new to all of us and as we have said over the past several weeks, we are looking at it from all aspects,” said Robin Pemberton, vice president of competition and racing development. “Following discussions, both internally and with others in the garage area, we moved quickly to make a few revisions that will be effective starting with our two national series events at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend. We believe this will only enhance and improve what has demonstrated to be an exciting form of qualifying for our fans, competitors and others involved with the sport. Moving forward we will continue to look at it and address anything else that we may need to as the season unfolds.”
The move comes after three weeks of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying system, where multiple cars are allowed to make qualifying attempts at the same time instead of the traditional one-car-at-a-time procedure. Drivers and teams had complained that the new rules didn’t allow them to cool their engines down on pit road, and the cool-down laps caused a dangerous situation with slower cars staying on the track at the same time that other cars were running by them at much higher speeds.
The rule will begin this weekend in Bristol, a track that has a much narrower racing surface than Daytona, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Kurt Busch to Attempt The Indianapolis-Charlotte Double
posted by Phil Allaway
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Andretti Autosport announced this morning that Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series, will attempt the Indianapolis 500 in a fifth entry for the IndyCar Series team. Once the Indianapolis 500 is completed, Busch will fly from Indianapolis to Charlotte, jump in his No. 41 Chevrolet and compete in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Busch considers the opportunity to do the double as an old-school throwback moment.
“This is really to challenge myself within motorsports,” Busch said in Andretti Autosport’s press release. “Perhaps I am a bit of an old-school racer; a throwback, I guess. I enjoyed the era of drivers racing different cars and testing themselves in other series. It is tough to do now for a variety of factors, but when the opportunity is there, I want to do it. While NASCAR is my home, I have been fortunate to compete in Pro Stock on the NHRA circuit a number of years ago and test a V8 Supercar. This opportunity was a talk with Michael [Andretti] over dinner one night, a “What if,” and now it’s becoming a reality for me to drive in the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport. It’s literally a dream come true. To go to the famous Brickyard with the iconic Andretti name, it doesn’t get much cooler or better than that.”
Busch will be doing the Indianapolis-Charlotte double as a Memorial Day mission to men and women serving in the U.S. Military via the Armed Forces Foundation. Fans can contribute to the cause by texting AFF to 50555 to donate $10.
Busch, who has never raced an IndyCar, passed Rookie Orientation at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year during a test session. At the time, Busch was more or less testing the Dallara DW12 for fun.
Busch will be the fourth driver to attempt the Indianapolis-Charlotte double. John Andretti was the first driver to attempt it in 1994. After finishing four laps down in tenth in Indianapolis, Andretti crashed and had engine problems in the 600. Robby Gordon has attempted the double five times, most recently in 2004. However, Gordon failed to make it to Charlotte on time and did not start the 600 in 2000 (P.J. Jones started Gordon’s No. 13 Ford in that instance). Finally, Tony Stewart has attempted the double twice (most recently in 2001) and is the only driver to ever complete all 1100 miles. Neither of the three drivers has won either leg of the double. The best finishes are Stewart and Gordon’s sixth-place finishes at the Indianapolis 500 (although Gordon’s came in 2000, the year he didn’t make it to Charlotte in time to start the Coca-Cola 600), and Stewart’s fourth-place finish in the 2001 Coca-Cola 600.
Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier Talk About Phoenix Incident
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
A disappointing start to the year for Danica Patrick won’t include continued conflict. Patrick met with rookie Justin Allgaier Sunday, shortly after the Phoenix Cup race after a wreck ruined both drivers’ days. Patrick, who was critical of the No. 51 car on the radio, claiming Allgaier was “driving all over the track” appeared receptive to a conversation that quickly settled differences over what will be a long season.
“She was just upset because she got involved in the crash that we had,’’ said Allgaier to the Motor Racing Network. “She says she’s been through this and that she felt like I needed to settle down at that point. I explained my position on why everything happened. I think she understood where I was coming from. It doesn’t fix either one of our racecars. It doesn’t fix either one of our days. Unfortunately, we were both having pretty decent days.’’
Allgaier wound up 30th due to the incident while Patrick was 36th. The incident, which was caused by Allgaier’s spin also involved the No. 32 team and Travis Kvapil, which wound up 38th after sustaining heavy damage.
Camping World Close to Extending Title Sponsorship of NCWTS
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Tuesday March 4, 2014
Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World, Grand Marshal of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race at Phoenix International Raceway, and star of CNBC’s “The Profit,” made the announcement over the weekend that the retailer is very close to announcing a deal that would continue its title sponsorship of NASCAR’s Truck Series. The original agreement with NASCAR is scheduled to conclude after the 2015 season.
According to the sanctioning body, no formal contract has been signed, but “the agreement between the two parties has proven to be a beneficial one.”
“In about a month, we’ll be announcing a significant extension to that contract. It’s been great for us,” said Camping World’s Lemonis in a statement. “The NASCAR relationship has worked well for Camping World. When we started, we had 35 stores. Now, we’re up to 120 stores. As we travel the country and we meet new customers in stores, they always are very appreciative of our relationship with NASCAR. It’s been good.”
Gaining a long-term commitment from Camping World to sponsor the Truck Series would be a relief for NASCAR, which is set to lose Nationwide Insurance as title sponsor for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at the end of the 2014 season. The sponsorship of the Cup Series by Sprint runs through 2016.
The NCWTS is back in action on March 29th at 2:30 PM (ET) when the trucks visit Martinsville Speedway in the Kroger 250, which can be seen on Fox Sports 1. Ratings for the season opener were up 11 percent.
Harvick Takes Win At Phoenix In Second Race With New Team
posted by Justin Tucker
Monday March 3, 2014
Phoenix International Raceway has become Kevin Harvick’s home away from home. Sunday Afternoon was no exception as Harvick charged to the front early and would dominate for much of the day, leading 224 of the scheduled 312 laps to record his record fifth win on the one mile oval and his third win in the last four races at Phoenix.
Harvick, coming off of a disappointing Speedweeks which was capped by a last lap crash in the Daytona 500 in his debut with Stewart-Haas Racing, set the tone on Saturday by winning both practices while having the best 5 and 10-lap averages in the first practice of the day on Saturday. On Sunday, Harvick and his No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet was nothing short of flawless as he was able to hold Dale Earnhardt, Jr. by .489 seconds after a late race restart to claim his 24th career Sprint Cup Series victory.
“Man, this is awesome,” Harvick said after his dominant victory on Sunday. “Man, this just solidifies so many things and so many decisions. It’s been so much work with all the time and effort that these guys (the crew) have put in—but what a race car.”
Stewart Haas Racing co-owner Gene Haas shared in Harvick’s excitement after the race.
“It took long enough,” Haas joked. “This is phenomenal. I think there was a lot of skepticism last year about what myself and Tony (Stewart) what we were up to, was there a lot of madness to this. Quite frankly, it’s a great team, there’s a lot of synergy at the shop, people working together. I don’t know what we did, but I think we put together a great organization.”
Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt, Jr. continued his hot start to the 2014 season. Earnhardt Jr. would finish second on Sunday, marking his seventh consecutive top 10 finish since the end of the 2013 season. Earnhardt Jr. was pleased with the effort after a coast-to-coast whirlwind week after winning his second Daytona 500 and also gave great praise to the efforts of Harvick and the No. 4 team.
“I’ve got to congratulate Kevin. Those guys were two-tenths faster than everyone all weekend in practice. They were just phenomenal,” Earnhardt said. “To be able to run with them all day was a big confidence builder for us.”
Joining Harvick and Earnhardt in the top 5 of The Profit on CNBC 500K were Brad Keselowski with his second consecutive top 3 run of 2014 in third. Keselowski’s Team Penske teammate Joey Logano would finish fourth, and Jeff Gordon would come home fifth in his No. 24 Pepsi Max Chevrolet.
Jimmie Johnson finished in sixth, followed by Ryan Newman with a nice rebound after Daytona in seventh. Carl Edwards would carry the banner for Roush Fenway Racing by finishing eighth, Kyle Busch was ninth, and Jamie McMurray would finish tenth.
A look at the Profit on CNBC 500K by the numbers. There were 14 lead changes among eight different drivers, there were eight cautions for 39 laps which slowed the race pace to 109.229 MPH.
Next Sunday, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Sin City and the Las Vegas Motor
Starting Lineup: The Profit On CNBC 500K
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday March 1, 2014
Drivers in RED (i) are those ineligible to collect Sprint Cup points
Daytona 500 TV Ratings Down
posted by Frontstretch Staff
Wednesday February 26, 2014
What was the longest weather delay in Daytona 500 history turned out to bring NASCAR lower ratings and TV viewership Sunday night than expected. According to a report Monday from FOX Sports, the 56th running of the Daytona 500 airing at 8 PM (ET) posted a 5.6/10 national household rating/share which averaged 9.3 million viewers. That’s down 44 percent from last year’s 9.9, easily making it the least-watched Daytona 500 of all-time.
Due to the six-hour, twenty-two minute rain delay in Daytona, the race was up against the primetime coverage of the Winter Olympics Closing Ceremony from Sochi, Russia on NBC (15.25 million viewers). FOX also reported that 69% of the pre-rain delay viewers of the race, which began at 1 PM (ET) kept tuning in.
In comparison, the 2013 Daytona 500 on FOX was the most-watched race in five years, posting a 9.9/22 rating/share, commanding 16.7 million viewers. The Daytona 500 in 2012, the first to ever be run on a Monday and in the primetime slot did a 7.7/13 overnight rating/share which resulted in 13.67 million households viewing the race according to Nielsen TV ratings data.
Earnhardt, Jr. Claims Second Daytona 500 Victory
posted by Justin Tucker
Wednesday February 26, 2014
Ten years is a long time. For Dale Earnhardt, Jr., it felt like an eternity. NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver endured many near misses and close calls at the Daytona 500 since his only win in the Great American Race in 2004. Earnhardt had finished second in two of his last three Daytona 500s coming into Sunday’s race. He was also riding the tail of a 55-race winless streak, dating back to Michigan in 2012.
However nothing would stop Dale Jr. on Sunday, not even a 6 hour and 22 minute rain delay from capturing his second Daytona 500 win. Earnhardt Jr. led a race-high 54 laps on the evening and used some timely drafting help from teammates Jimmie Johnson and, on the final restart, Jeff Gordon to separate from the pack and secure the victory.
“Winning this race is the greatest feeling that you could feel in this sport besides accepting the trophy for the championship,” said a jubilant Earnhardt after pulling into Victory Lane. “We could fight off battle after battle. We got a little help at the end there from Jeff to get away on the restart. This is amazing. I can’t believe this is happening. I never take this for granted, man because it doesn’t happen twice, let alone once.”
Aside from the race itself the big story of the race was the 6 hour and 22 minute red flag, which threatened to move the race to Monday evening (had the race been postponed, FOX Sports’ Chris Myers had tweeted that the race would resume at 5:00pm EST). However, Mother Nature would cooperate and would allow the race to be run under different conditions from which they practiced this week. Once the race resumed, the intensity picked up from the changing track conditions. This allowed the pack to race side-by-side and at times 3-wide up to seven rows deep.
Joining Earnhardt Jr. in the top 5 for the 2014 Daytona 500 were: Denny Hamlin who closed out a spectacular Speedweeks in second, Brad Keselowski in third, Jeff Gordon in fourth, and Jimmie Johnson who overcome two wrecks leading up to the 500 in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 in the Daytona 500 were Matt Kenseth in sixth, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in seventh and Greg Biffle would bring his No. 16 Ford home in eighth. Austin Dillon would come home ninth in his first Cup Series race in the iconic No. 3 for Richard Childress Racing, while Casey Mears would round out the top 10.
A couple of major contenders for the Daytona 500 win would see their hopes dashed early on as Martin Truex, Jr. would blow up just 30 laps into the race, relegating him to a 43rd-place finish in his debut for Furniture Row Racing. Crew chief Todd Berrier was already in Nashville for a test session before the race was even over. Kyle Busch, meanwhile would have a pit road violation just before halfway and would spend much of the race battling back from that mistake. Busch would eventually finish 19th after leading 19 laps.
Danica Patrick would also be bit by bad luck as she was caught up in a multi-car wreck on lap 145. Patrick would lead her second consecutive Daytona 500, but wouldn’t have the finish to show for it finishing 40th. Tony Stewart would encounter a frustrating evening as well, with a fuel pickup problem derailing his quest for his first Daytona 500 win. Stewart would finish 35th.
A look at the Daytona 500 by the numbers. There were 42 lead changes among 18 drivers, while seven cautions for 39 laps would slow the race pace to 145.290 MPH.
Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to the “diamond in the desert,” Phoenix International Raceway for The Profit on CNBC 500K. The Green flag is scheduled for 3:15pm EST.
Nationwide Series Post-Race Quotes: Drive4COPD 300
posted by Thomas Bowles
Tuesday February 25, 2014
Frontstretch Interviews – Courtesy Mike Neff
ELLIOTT SADLER – FINISHED 4th
Thoughts on the race?
It’s definitely a lot different racing than what we’re used to.
Comfortable with it?
Yeah, it’s just different. You’re worried about what you’re doing, but you’re also worried about what everyone else is doing and they’re not doing more than you’re doing. Physically pushing a guy is way better than just riding so you just gotta time it right and push it to the edge.
Happy to start the year with a top 5?
Yeah. Hell, that was the worst we ran all day, I think. I have no idea how they put the 3 car in front of us on that last restart. I hadn’t seen the 3 car hardly all day. When they put us from fifth to sixth, on the outside line, it just really boxed us in. I would have really restarted behind my teammate and given him a good push to the front. Anyways, it is what it is; we’ll take it and move on.
Looked like you were up front all day.
The guys did a good job. We had a fast race car. Great pit stops, just really proud of these guys. The car’s in one piece and we can take it to Talladega now. Great job by my guys. A lot of effort came into coming down here to Daytona and giving ourselves a shot to win. We had that chance to be up front and make some things happen. Fifth is not what we want, but we’ll take it and move on.
Bumping vs Pushing?
It’s way harder. You don’t want to lay on the guy in front of you, so it’s tough racing. A lot different than what we’re used to, ‘cause you gotta go. You gotta drag the brake too ‘cause you don’t want to hit the guys and you don’t want to stay on him. It’s a lot harder mentally than what we’ve done in the past.
Car was strong all day. Pushing vs. Bumping, is that harder to do than just getting on somebody and pushing them?
Yeah, it is a little bit. When you bump ‘em, you jar ‘em, it kinda jacks ‘em a little bit. It’s a little more abrupt, obviously. I thought it was OK there at the end. It was certainly fun and hopefully entertaining. But a little bit of a struggle in the early part of the race and the midpart of the race to see a good race. And that’s unfortunate for the fans. You can’t do that the whole race, you can’t tear up your stuff, knock your grill in, overheat your motor, all that stuff so there’s no sense in doing all that until you get down to the last lap. The 7 and the 6, they did a good job. Man, the 7 really held the 22 and I tight on the bottom. I was rubbing his door and hitting the apron at the same time, no room whatsoever. So it was good; wish we were the ones who could have won but a lot better now than what we were last year.
Going home in one piece makes it a lot better, right?
Yeah. My back feels good. My foot feels good. Past years here, I’ve been going home with pain so I’m alright.
Connect with Mike!
2014 Truck Series Post-Race Quotes: Daytona (Exclusives)
posted by Thomas Bowles
Saturday February 22, 2014
When you’re on the outside like that, how frustrating is it?
It’s so hard. Timothy Peters has won here. Kyle Busch has won everywhere. Ron Hornaday has been running Trucks forever, probably before I was even born. I was surrounded by veterans there, and like I told them I don’t have a rookie stripe but I’m a rookie. This is only my fourth Truck race ever, my fourth superspeedway race, and man, I figured out when the 17 got up in front of me, I pushed him. And as soon as I pushed him, he took off. And I went with him. And I just kept doing it, and before I knew it, he was leading. And I saw Ron in my mirror, backed up to him, and if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know what would have happened. I gotta thank him big time for that. That was a true teammate move right there. I really appreciate that. He just bounced off me and we got to the front. I tried my hardest to sidedraft Kyle. I was probably touching his door.
Top 5 in the No. 30 truck. This deal come together at the last minute, but you had a heck of a truck. Tell us about your night.
Yeah, I’ve got to thank Turner Scott Motorsports. The guys worked so hard on this Rheem Comfort Products Chevrolet. Exciting! Just got hung up on the outside and had to wait for my teammate there to catch up. And then he got to the bottom, so… I got the old 32 and started pushing ol’ Ryan to the front. So, it’s not bad. We’ll take it. You just don’t want to step over that boundary. You don’t know how far to push and shove. We bumped about six times down the straightaway without latching onto them. Hopefully, that was OK and we came home with a top 5.
Connect with Mike!
Check in with Matt and Jay on their site at CareyandCoffey.com.
Bryan Davis Keith · Thursday October 9, 2008
Jeff Burton has left the media center and the final press conference of the night has come to a close.
To all Frontstretch readers out there, we hope that this blog we have maintained was something worth reading. Our apologies for not having in-race updates like we did with the Nationwide race, the temptation to watch from pit road proved too much to overcome.
Please shoot us any feedback and let us know what you thought. Thanks for reading as always, we’re signing off from the track.
“We’re not curing cancer. We’re not solving world hunger. We’re racing.”
Burton was asked if winning felt different in 2008 after having such a drop in the number of wins since experiencing success early in his Cup career. Burton recalled that Mark Martin used to preach to him that a driver never knows when they’ll win again, and that he laughed at the notion. Burton has since learned from this, and he cited a conversation he had before the race tonight with Ryan Newman where he was able to give the same advice to a young driver that Martin gave to him.
When asked about whether or not Burton’s failure to score the win in Friday night’s Nationwide race entered into Scott Miller’s decision to call for no tires on Burton’s final pit stop, Miller replied that the influence of last night’s race was neglible, instead pointing to the use of the strategy in the last few Cup races at LMS and more specifically how the No. 9 team used that strategy to win the Coca-Cola 600 in May.
Says Burton on his age…“No one has proven to me you can’t do at 41 what you can at 23.”
Winning crew chief Scott Miller reports that the call to take no tires on the final cycle of pit stops was based on the current set of tires on the car, which made the No. 31 the “happiest” it had been all night. The team is reportedly looser this Chase than they have been in years.
Jeff Burton has just entered the media center, but the conference is being delayed as “he is old and can’t hold it like he used to.”
Kurt Busch complimented the second race of Dodge’s new R6 engine package. He and Kahne were grateful for closing the deal on solid finishes.
When questioned regarding the emergence of Jeff Burton as a title contender, Jimmie Johnson said that Burton “has always been on his radar” as a contender.
Kurt Busch, discussing his new engine, described how the new Dodge motors have allowed for cooler water temperatures and warmer oil temps, something that to him indicates durability and the ability to run more tape on the cars. The motor is still lacking, according to Busch, in lower end tourque in the 8000-8500 rpm range.
ESPN Releases Edwards/Harvick Scuffle Images
ESPN.com has released photos of the fight Thursday between Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
The garage has gone hot and the cars are now being rolled onto the starting grid.
Pre-Race Concert Underway
Jessica Simpson is currently giving a free pre-race concert on the infield grass. Our own Mike Neff is attending and photographing the event.
Driver’s Meeting Update
All cars will roll onto the grid at 630. Engines will start at 733. Jeff Burton asked for clarification regarding the leader on restarts. NASCAR stated, very clearly, that the leader once they hit the double red lines has until the start finish line to start the race, as long as they maintain their speeds. NASCAR stated that the flagman will not drop the green until the leader makes his break, and that there will not be a definitive restart point put in place by NASCAR.
The legality of the restarts questioned last night was upheld by NASCAR. Elliott Sadler and Kyle Busch followed up Burton’s queries, to which Mike Helton responded:
“Restarting races isn’t rocket science.”
5 PM Update
The Sprint Cup cars are being rolled onto pit road. The last two cars being worked on in the garage area were the No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson and the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin.
Technical inspection is progressing smoothly, with no problems being reported as of now. The drivers’ meeting will be taking place in the next 15 minutes in the now empty Nationwide Series garage. Stay tuned to Frontstretch as we will bring you a full rundown of the Cup drivers’ meeting upon its completion.
Mike Neff on Restarts: The Fix is Simple
During the Nationwide race Friday night, there was some dispute over the restarts at the end of the race. Kyle Busch claimed he was maintaining a constant speed and that Jeff Burton was trying to lag back and get a run on him. Brian Vickers and Burton claimed that Busch was jumping on the brakes and causing the bunch ups that ended several drivers’ nights early.
Burton was adamant that this was not a Busch issue. It has been going on for years. All of the drivers involved noted that the rules state that the leader needs to maintain a constant speed coming to the line. In the modern, technologically advance world that is NASCAR racing these days, the fix would seem simple. Every car on the grid has a GPS device in them. NASCAR already enforces pit road speeding by utilizing the loops in the pit lane. They can enforce the speed coming to the green by monitoring the GPS of the leader’s car. Let them write the rule however they want, but be it five or ten percent, if the driver drops or accelerates more than that amount within 300 yards of the restart line, they get black flagged. That would stop all of the uneven restarts and torn up race cars immediately.
Monkeying around with the field as a leader comes to the line has been around since the first two cars got together to see who was the fastest, but the fix is quite simple. Its just up to NASCAR to implement the necessary procedures.
DOLLAR GENERAL 300 POST-RACE
Jeff Burton: “There were some brakechecks out there.” Burton points the finger at NASCAR for the problem with Kyle Busch’ s restarts tonight. Both Jeff Burton and Brian Vickers are not pleased with how Kyle Busch was handling restarts.
Brian Vickers in his comments claims that the first thing he will do in the Cup driver meeting tomorrow is to clarify the rules of how to restart and maintain a steady pace. Vickers places the fault on NASCAR, saying that NASCAR needs to penalize, not warn.
When asked regarding brakechecks, Brian Vickers said that he locked his tires up avoiding restart wrecks on numerous occasions. Jeff Burton indicated that Kyle Busch is not the only driver doing such things on restarts.
On Toyota’s HP
Brian Vickers, driving the Braun Toyota, reports that he was passed by Jeff Burton when running wide open. Vickers describes the dominance of the No. 18 and No. 20 as a JGR thing, not a Toyota thing.
DOLLAR GENERAL 300 UPDATES
Kyle Busch led 137 of 200 laps to win the Dollar General 300.
Lap 192: Coming to the restart, Kyle Busch again stacks up the field and causes a big wreck behind him, with Mike Bliss and John Wes Townley both enduring heavy damage in the infield grass. Bliss has driven to the garage. The No. 29 crew is demanding NASCAR officials black flag the No. 18 for brakechecking on the restart.
Said Marcus Smith in his address to the crowd for the Dollar General 300:
“We dont’ have the yellow line here at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The drivers can pass in the grass whenever they want.”
730 PM Cup Update
Though Jimmie Johnson led Happy Hour practice for the Sprint Cup field, it was Roush Fenway Racing that stole the show in practice. Carl Edwards led a fleet of 4 RFR Fords into the Top 10 on the charts. Only Matt Kenseth, who timed in 17th, didn’t crack the Top 10.
Leading the Dodge camp was not Penske or Evernham, surprisingly. Juan Pablo Montoya was the fastest Dodge in fourth, while Robby Gordon put down the 12th fastest time. Gordon’s car was noticeably yawed out during the final practice session.
Sam Hornish Jr. was unhurt following a practice crash. His team is preparing a backup No. 77 Dodge.
7 PM Cup Update
Sam Hornish Jr. just made hard contact with the Turn 2 wall in his Dodge. Hornish will be forced to a backup. Clint Bowyer hit the wall earlier, though the damage was light enough that the No. 07 team chose to repair the car.
Matt Kenseth and the No. 17 team are continuing a great deal of adjustment work on a race car that they are extremely unhappy with for a wide variety of reasons.
Jimmie Johnson is current atop the practice chart, followed by Carl Edwards.
GO OR GO HOME
Jamie McMurray has taken the provisional pole, the first drive to crack 184 mph. He bettered Jeff Burton’s lap by two and a half tenths.
Josh Wise wrecked on his first qualifying lap, losing it in Turn 3 and backing into the Turn 4 wall. With no time of record, Wise will miss the race. Wise has been treated and released from the infield care center.
John Wes Townley posted the 19th quickest time his first lap, but backed into the wall in Turn 2 on Lap 2 after clipping the apron. There is extensive damage to the rear end of his Ford. The team is preparing a backup should the first lap time get them into the field.
In the Field: No. 17 Jamie McMurray, No. 10 Dave Blaney, No. 90 Johnny Chapman, No. 12 Justin Allgaier, No. 18 Kyle Busch, No. 91 Terry Cook, No. 19 Chase Miller, No. 31 Jeff Green, No. 30 Stanton Barrett, No. 35 Danny O’Quinn, No. 05 Burney Lamar, No. 73 Kevin Lepage, No. 09 John Wes Townley
To the House: No. 70 Mark Green, No. 49 Kertus Davis, No. 93 Kenny Hendrick, No. 02 Andy Ponstein, No. 89 Morgan Shepherd, No. 78 Johnny Sauter, No. 0 Larry Gunselman, No. 00 Josh Wise
NNS QUALS: TOP 30 News and Notes
Jeff Burton posted a 29.53, one tenth better than the field and is the new provisional polesitter.
Running with help from Front Row Motorsports this weekend, Tony Raines picks up on his second lap, posting the 24th quickest time.
Qualifying has resumed. Andrew Ranger ran a 31.024 in the No. 22 Dodge, reporting that he was extremely tight in Turns 3 and 4. Bobby Hamilton Jr. is one and done, 15th of 28 cars.
On his first lap, Brian Vickers spun the No. 32 Toyota in Turn 1 and flattened the rear end of his car. Vickers and team are going to a backup car.
Brad Keselowski was 15th on his first lap, and aborted the second lap after clipping the apron in Turn 4 and nearly spun out. Kenny Wallace has been in radio conference with his teammate Kertus Davis, reporting that the track has grip but that it is not capable of being run wide open in this session. Scott Lagasse Jr. ran two nearly identical laps, 9th of 25.
The cloud cover over Lowe’s Motor Speedway is beginning to thicken, and the cooling track proved to be beneficial to Marcos Ambrose, who picked up on his second lap to place fifth of 22 drivers. Kenny Wallace also posted a surprisingly fast run in his Jay Robinson No. 28, qualifying 13th of 23. Wallace told his guys to be proud of being able to beat so many good cars.
Carl Edwards is the new provisional polesitter, the first driver to break 182 mph. Derrike Cope is currently 17th of 20. Jason Leffler is ninth.
Bryan Clauson ran a 30.249 on his first lap. Clauson cut his car off before the line on his second lap after entering Turn 4 too high.
David Ragan is one and done, fifth of the 16 drivers to time in. Ragan was going for a second lap but nearly lost the car in Turn 2. Kevin Harvick reports that he left a little on the table in Turn 4, but still managed to qualify third.
Danny Efland is the first driver to report suffering through a tight qualifying run. Efland reports that there is a problem in the front end and that the car needs to be toed out more. Currently the No. 01 machine wants to dart itself right towards the wall. As a result, the JD team is relaying to it’s other driver, Larry Gunselman, not to make a hot lap in his No. 0 Chevrolet.
David Reutimann is one and done, 5th fastest after running a 30.053. Reutimann was very lose and nearly lost in coming out of Turn 4.
Kelly Bires backed up some strong runs in practice with a solid effort, posting a 29.924 second run on his first lap that currently has him third on the charts, fastest of the Nationwide regulars. Eric McClure followed him on the track, posting the slowest time of the 13 teams who have made runs.
Jimmie Johnson becomes driver number two to break 30 seconds, but fails to steal the provisional pole from Clint Bowyer. Joey Logano also breaks 30 seconds, and with his run is now the provisional polesitter.
Clint Bowyer is now the provisional polesitter, the first driver to break the 30 second barrier in this session. Bowyer, like Bliss, took a second lap hoping for more grip but found none. Brandon Whitt also made his run in the No. 61, currently 8th of 9 drivers.
Mike Bliss was second quick on his first lap, took a second lap and nearly wrecked his No. 1 Chevrolet. Bliss was surprised that he picked up no grip on the second lap, but saved his machine from any contact with the wall.
Steve Wallace is now currently the quickest driver. Wallace reportedly played it safe in a slick Turn 3. His teammate David Stremme just timed in third of the six to go so far. Stremme reported being too lose all over the racetrack, and that the tires used for the qualifying run were looser than those in practice. Stremme also is complaining of door padding coming off in his cockpit.
Kasey Kahne has just timed in and is currently second of the three drivers to qualify. Kahne reported his car was extremely lose on entry. Jason Keller was next to qualify and also reported slick conditions on entry for his No. 27 Ford.
DJ Kennington, the second car on track for qualifying, spun in Turn 4 and flattened the rear end of his No. 81 Dodge. He made it back under his own power. Mike Wallace qualified without incident.
JR Motorsports Sponsor Announcement
Happy Hour Wreck
After the practice, as it stands, the following go or go homers will race tonight.
#03 Justin Marks, Construct Corps Toyota (heavily damaged however) #17 Jamie McMurray, Citi Financial Ford #10 Dave Blaney, Dollar General Toyota #18 Kyle Busch, NOS Energy Drink Toyota #30 Stanton Barrett, Donatos Pizza Chevrolet #00 Josh Wise, NAPA Auto Parts Toyota #91 Terry Cook, MSRP Motorsports Chevrolet #12 Justin Allgaier, Penske Truck Rental Dodge #70 Mark Green, Foretravel Motorcoach Chevrolet #19 Chase Miller, Verizon Wireless Dodge #31 Jeff Green, Key Motorsports Chevrolet #73 Kevin Lepage, Derrike Cope Racing Dodge #35 Danny O’Quinn, Team Rensi Ford
NNS Mid-Happy Hour Updates
We’re 25 minutes into Nationwide Series practice. Roush Fenway Racing is dominating, with Jamie McMurray, Carl Edwards and David Ragan at 1-2-3 on the pylon. It hasn’t been all rosy for the RFR guys, as David Ragan very nearly backed into Stanton Barrett’s machine while exiting his garage stall.
NNS Morning Observations
As of Friday morning, 9:30 AM, there are clouds over Lowe’s Motor Speedway but the area and the track are both dry. The Nationwide garage is open and engines are being run, as teams prepare for their second practice at 10 AM.
MY TAKE: HARVICK V. EDWARDS
There is no question that there was a confrontation between the two, as Carl Edwards’ refusal to discuss the matter and reference to it as a matter between him and Harvick made it very clear that there was something to it.
My take? I don’t doubt for a second Edwards provoked Harvick. I happened to be entering the media center for the day’s final conferences at the same time as Edwards, and judging from how he all but bowled through the front doors something had definitely struck a nerve. Several fans I talked to who had seen Carl earlier in the day at Roush’s shop said that he was in great spirits, polite and upbeat, which was a far cry from how tense and ticked he seemed to be come the final presser yesterday.
And for the record, good for Harvick for stepping up and shoving back. Assuming the incident panned out like reported, Harvick tried to take the high road, and Edwards wouldn’t let him. And frankly if you’re forced from taking the high road, make sure you hit harder than your opponent.
All on-track activity at Lowe’s Motor Speedway has been cancelled for Thursday, and with that has come the cancellation of Sprint Cup qualifying. The field will be set based on owner points, meaning that the following 4 cars will not make Saturday’s field.
#25 Brad Keselowski #40 Bryan Clauson #75 Derrike Cope #82 Scott Speed
The hot rumor spinning in the garage area is with regard to an incident that occurred in the Nationwide Series garage between Cup regulars Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards. Edwards was questioned about the incident during the final press conference in the media center but refused to comment.
On-track activity will resume tomorrow morning at 10 AM tomorrow with final practice for the Nationwide cars. Cup cars will first practice at 5 PM Friday afternoon.
As of 4:30 pm, the precipitation has picked up at LMS. No word has come from NASCAR as to whether or not on-track activities will be cancelled for Thursday, but the track is soaking wet right now and will take considerable time to dry should a break in the rain come.
As of 3:55 pm at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, a light drizzle continues to fall on the racing surface. No Sprint Cup cars have yet been able to take to the track for practice.
40 of the 53 teams entered for Friday night’s Dollar General 300 took to the track for the first of two Nationwide Series practice sessions to be run on Thursday. David Ragan paced the field in his No. 6 Discount Tire Ford with a best lap of 179.438 mph. He was followed in the Top 5 by Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, David Stremme and Joey Logano.
Looking at the teams that will have to race their way into the field, the fastest of the bunch was Penske Racing’s newest development driver, Justin Allgaier. Allgaier timed in eighth. Based on the speeds from the first practice, these 13 go or go home teams would be in Friday’s race.
Justin Allgaier, No. 12 Penske Truck Rental Dodge
There were no incidents in the first practice session. There is currently rain on the speedway, which is delaying the start of Sprint Cup practice.
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