Sprint Cup Series News (4536)
Characterizing last week’s on-track fracas with Kasey Kahne at Darlington as a racing incident, Kyle Busch says he doesn’t expect Kahne to exact revenge.
That doesn’t mean Busch will be surprised if payback comes his way.
Busch and Kahne we racing hard side by side after a restart with 30 laps left in last Saturday’s Bojangles’ Southern 500. Neither driver gave ground as the cars entered Turn 1 at breakneck pace, battling for the lead. Busch’s Toyota, which was on the inside, slipped up toward Kahne’s Chevrolet.
Though there was no apparent contact between the cars, Kahne slapped the outside wall and lost his chance to win the race. Busch later cut a tire and faded to sixth at the finish.
That was the third incident of the year involving Kahne and Busch, the first two coming at Daytona and Talladega. Kahne got the short end of the stick on all three occasions.
“The first two instances were a mistake, just misjudgment,” Busch said Friday before Sprint All-Star Race practice at Charlotte. “Kasey admitted it, he had to get on the brakes in Daytona and checked up a little bit and I ran over him… (Talladega) I just misjudged. I wanted to pull out and thought last second that I was going to stay in line and push Kasey. I turned him sideways when I was coming back in line.
“Last week was just hard racing. You're in the last (30) laps, and you're past the last pit stop, and it's all about track position. For us, we were racing as hard as we could. He pulled a huge slide job on me in Turn 3, and I got back to his inside, and I had been running down there on the flat all night and had been passing lapped cars down there, and some of my restarts were even that low on the race track.
“I didn't think there was going to be a problem, and when I got down there I just got tight and pushed up a little bit. Whether or not we touched, I think that's insignificant because I'm not racing to wreck Kasey Kahne, but Kasey Kahne did crash because of me so it's a part of hard racing at the end of the race. I hate that it keeps being the same guy, but if it were a Matt Kenseth on a Tony Stewart we probably wouldn't see a story.”
Busch has his fingers crossed that Kahne won’t take out his frustration on the track.
“I just told Kasey, I said, ‘Just don’t make it hurt too bad,’” Busch joked. “I don’t think Kasey is that kind of guy, but if it happens, I’ll understand.”
Mark Martin says he and other Sprint Cup stars likely wouldn’t have achieved the success they have, if it weren’t for the guidance of Dick Trickle.
Trickle died Thursday at age 71 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, but Martin prefers to remember the talented, ebullient driver who was a prolific winner at short tracks in the Midwest before embarking on his NASCAR career.
“Dick made himself a mentor to many--Rusty (Wallace), myself, Alan Kulwicki,” Martin said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We wouldn't have been the racers that we were when we got here had we not come under his influence. Of course, you have to change; after a while you have to adapt to circumstances as well. I was proud of who we were and the racers we were.
“For the influence that he had on us and the etiquette and the way he raced--he raced us real hard on the race track, but off the race track, he was very free with parts or advice--he gave freely. Really, really good dude. I'm confused and brokenhearted about what happened.”
NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE SHOWDOWN QUALIFYING: Martin Truex Jr. won the pole for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Showdown, an event consisting of two 20-lap segments with an optional pit stop between. The top two finishers will transfer to the main event, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
“It was a good day. The guys did a good job, made good adjustments for qualifying there and looking forward to tomorrow night,” Truex said. “Unfortunately I do have a lot of experience in this race. We do understand a little bit about how the race works, how it’s probably gonna play out. We made a mistake last year by not pitting on the 20-lap caution and got beat by it, so I think this year we’ll be ready for anything.”
Truex was distracted throughout his post-qualifying media interviews, hoping to catch a glimpse of the All-Star race qualifying on the TV monitors dotting the room.
“I want to watch this,” Truex said. “I texted Mark (Martin), and I said how was it practicing for this qualifying. I was like, it looks awesome; I’m jealous. And he said it was insane, so I’m looking forward to watching it for sure. I’m definitely jealous I’m not out there. And I have to go to a wedding now, so I can’t even watch it. I would rather not go to the wedding and be in this. It’s not my wedding.”
THEY NEVER ‘TIRE’ OF SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS: It’s just one more way Charlotte Motor Speedway and its corporate partner Goodyear salute our armed forces. In addition to the usual “Goodyear” branding, this weekend’s tires for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will sport special “Support Our Troops” decals.
RAVE REVIEWS: Before NASCAR All-Star qualifying had even concluded, polesitter Carl Edwards was already raving about the three-lap, one-stop, no-pit-road-speed format. In fact, he was campaigning for it.
“I vote we do this at every race track! This is so fun,” Edwards said, who will sit on the pole in tomorrow night’s Sprint All-Star Race.
Clint Bowyer emerged from his qualifying run slightly breathless and with a wide grin, also singing the format’s praises.
“Man, that’s a wild deal,” Bowyer said. “It’s amazing coming off pit road like that. It’s interesting, it’s exciting … that’s a fun event right there.”
The NASCAR Foundation and the NASCAR industry celebrate the 10th Annual NASCAR Day today at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the final stop on the “Ten Days of Giving” tour. This special day is an unprecedented celebration of drivers, corporate partners, media and fans uniting with The NASCAR Foundation to support a range of charitable causes that are relevant and meaningful to those within the NASCAR family.
“We are proud of the NASCAR industry’s contributions to communities through NASCAR Day over the past 10 years,” said Betty Jane France, chairwoman of The NASCAR Foundation. “The industry has responded as we envisioned, when we began the foundation, helping us raise almost $12 million for various charities, with an emphasis on children’s causes. These funds have helped more than 100,000 children through numerous organizations including those participating with the tour.”
As part of the day’s festivities, The NASCAR Foundation is hosting a celebratory cake-cutting ceremony in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Charlotte Motor Speedway that includes appearances by NASCAR drivers and industry representatives. Additionally, the foundation is presenting a check to Victory Junction for $3,385,454 symbolizing donations collected for the camp over the past 10 years of NASCAR Day.
For the first time, The NASCAR Foundation launched a “Ten Days of Giving” tour that included philanthropic activities in several markets across the country. At each stop on the tour, which began May 8 in Atlanta, the foundation partnered with various organizations to deliver surprise acts of kindness. The tour also visited Winston-Salem, N.C.; Brooklyn, Mich.; Darlington, S.C.; Kansas City, Kan.; New York, and Daytona Beach, Fla.
Some of the highlights from the last 10 days are listed below.
Day One:The NASCAR Foundation visited the George Washington Carver Boys & Girls Club in Atlanta, Ga., and surprised the kids with a new flat-screen TV and video gaming equipment. In addition, The NASCAR Foundation celebrated The Coca-Cola Company’s 10 years of contributions, totaling $500,000. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver John Wes Townley participated in the day’s activities. Atlanta Motor Speedway joined the celebration by giving the kids race tickets to the track’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 race in September.
Day Four: The NASCAR Foundation and Darlington Raceway honored Stephanie Decker and her family with an all-inclusive VIP race experience. Decker, a mother of three, lost both her legs after a tornado ripped through Henryville, Ind., in 2012 and leveled their home. Stephanie used her body to shield her children from the falling debris, and, as a result, the kids survived unharmed. The Stephanie Decker Foundation’s mission is to assist children in need of prosthetics and to help others gain access to cutting-edge prosthetics. Decker was recognized and presented with a $5,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation for her charity onstage as part of the pre-race festivities prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
Day Five: The NASCAR Foundation, along with NASCAR driver and Kansas City native Jennifer Jo Cobb, surprised mothers staying at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Kansas City with beautiful, fresh flowers in honor of Mother’s Day. In 2010, as part of its seventh annual NASCAR Day celebration, The NASCAR Foundation and Sprint donated a playground for children at the facility in honor of Tom Murphy, former board member of The NASCAR Foundation and Sprint Vice President of Corporate Brand Marketing, who was tragically killed in 2009.
Day Eight: The NASCAR Foundation surprised all past Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award finalists with donations of supplies needed for their charities. The eight charities include: Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind (Robert Weaver), Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation (Ali McDonough), Autism Academy of South Carolina (Lorri Shealy Unumb), Autism Speaks (Jake Bernstein), Bridge of Books Foundation (Patty Aber), Camp Sunshine of Sebago Lakes (Ron Eby), PBJ Connections, Inc. (Brenda Doner) and Starlight Children’s Foundation (Michael Jackson).
Camping World, the Official Outdoor and RV Retailer of NASCAR, joined the cause this year and offered the limited edition pin, designed by NASCAR’s first officially licensed artist Sam Bass, at Camping World SuperCenters nationwide for a $10 donation to The NASCAR Foundation. NASCAR fans and supporters can pick up their collectible pins through the end of the season at track during select race weekends or online at NASCAR.com/foundation.
To read a recap on each of the stops during the tour, please visit http://nas.cr/g4zP. Fans and supporters can join the conversation on Twitter using hashtag #NASCARDay.
No points, no problem: Two million reasons the All-Star Race will have a checkers-or-wreckers feel to itWritten by NASCAR Wire Service
No matter how you slice it, this year's running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race (7:30 p.m. ET, SPEED) at Charlotte Motor Speedway promises plenty of action and unbridled speed as 22 drivers vie for the checkers and a payout that could have them singing a merry tune all the way to the bank.
The annual non-points race is known for its non-stop action and the mad dash to the checkered flag. Of course, that is fueled by the $1 million payout the victor receives.
However, that's not all the winner could potentially take to the bank. This year, Bruton Smith, the CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., and Charlotte Motor Speedway have added a special incentive for drivers to run at the front of the pack the entire race. If a driver wins all five segments of the all-star race, he or she will take home an additional $1 million.
Although the race doesn't have any direct implications on the points standings, the possible $2 million payout is just one of many reasons drivers find the event enticing.
"[The race] means a lot. Now, it's got a million more reasons if you're able to win all the segments," said Jimmie Johnson, last year's race winner and one of only three drivers to win the event three times. Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt are the other two.
Though it's probably not the primary thought going through most drivers' minds while circling the track, the evening race should allow teams to better gauge how their car's setup will handle the Charlotte track and evening temperatures during the Coca-Cola 600 the following week and make adjustments.
"It's fun to race without points and that sets you up for a nice Memorial (Day) weekend and a good starting point with your race car," said Johnson.
Johnson and Gordon, both of whom will be in the starting field, will be joined by 20 other drivers. Seventeen of their competitors have already been determined: Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Mark Martin, Ryan Newman, David Ragan and Tony Stewart.
In order to qualify for the race a driver must have won a NASCAR Sprint Cup points race in 2012 or 2013, have won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in the last 10 years, have won the championship in the last 10 years, finish in the top two in the 40-lap Sprint Showdown or receive the most Sprint Fan Votes.
The Sprint Showdown will be run immediately prior to the all-star race on Saturday night with the top-two finishers transferring over to the main event. The final entrant in the race, the winner of the Sprint Fan Vote who finished the Showdown with a car deemed "raceable," won't be known until he or she is announced during driver introductions. Only drivers that haven't already qualified for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race are eligible to receive votes and participate in the Showdown.
Drivers who have yet to qualify for the all-star event include Jeff Burton, Bobby Labonte, Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Juan Pablo Montoya, Martin Truex Jr. and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
In 2008, Kahne became the only driver in the event's history to make the field via fan vote and go on to win the race. To make the story even better, Kahne and his team used the knowledge they gathered during the all-star race to put the car back in Victory Lane one week later in the Coca-Cola 600.
The meaning of being voted into the event by fans isn't lost on the drivers.
"Obviously our sport revolves around the fans. We talk about it all the time. Without them, there would be no NASCAR," said Truex, who was voted into the race by the fans in 2005. "To get voted in by the fans was one of the coolest things I've ever had happen to me in my whole career."
Unfortunately, he wasn't as successful in his race as Kahne was -- he finished 16th out of 22.
The number of laps and breakdown of segments remain unchanged from last year, when it was changed to a 90-lap affair with five segments. The first four segments are 20 laps each, with a final 10-lap dash to the cash.
How the cars line up for the final segment, however, has changed. Last year the winners of the first four segments were guaranteed to start in the first four positions for the final 10 laps, regardless of how they finished the penultimate segment.
This year, there will a mandatory four-tire pit stop between the fourth and fifth segments. Prior to entering pit road for the stops, the cars will be repositioned based on the average finishing position in the first four segments, thus further amplifying the importance of running near the front of the pack throughout the race. The order in which the cars return to the track after their four-tire pit stops will determine how they line up for the fifth and final segment.
The new rules should provide more quality on-track action with drivers fighting throughout the race to stay at the front or near the front of the pack, as well as making pit road strategy more integral to the overall outcome of the race.
"[NASCAR] did a good job at coming up with a format this year that is going to be more conducive to better racing," said Joey Logano, who won last June's Pocono race to qualify for the all-star event. "This year, the big question will be pit strategy and when to come in, when you take tires and such."
One lucky auto racing fan and three guests will win a weekend in Daytona for an exclusive hangout with Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) drivers Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart, as well as a VIP race package for the Sprint Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway during the July 4weekend, thanks to a partnership between Aspen Dental and SHR.
The lucky winner and their three guests will receive:
- Round trip airfare to and from Orlando, Fla.
- Two nights hotel accommodation
- A private meet and greet with Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart
- VIP access all weekend including Victory Lane on Sat., July 6
- Weekend passes to Daytona 500 Club
- $1,000 spending money
"I'm really looking forward to taking part in the Aspen Dental sweepstakes," said Newman. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lucky fan and some of their friends to come spend the holiday weekend with me and Tony Stewart down in Florida. I always enjoy getting to meet the fans, and I'm sure this is an experience they'll never forget."
Fans can enter to win the "Weekend At Daytona With Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart" sweepstakes and read the official sweepstakes rules at www.AspenDentalRace.com between Thursday, May 16 and Friday, June 14, 2013.
Aspen Dental will be the primary sponsor of Newman's No. 39 Chevrolet at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on Saturday, May 18 and during the AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 1.
For all other races during the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Aspen Dental is an associate sponsor of the No. 39 Chevrolet and an associate sponsor of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet driven by Stewart.
Aspen Dental PR
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Dick Trickle on his passing today. Dick was a legend in the short-track racing community, particularly in his home state of Wisconsin, and he was a true fan favorite. Personalities like Dick Trickle helped shape our sport. He will be missed.” – Brian France, NASCAR Chairman & CEO
Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) has extended its partnership with Atlas Copco Compressors, and the Rock Hill, S.C.-based company will also serve as an associate sponsor of the No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS of driver Ryan Newman during the Oct. 10-12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
“Atlas Copco Compressors has enjoyed an exceptional partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing as a compressed air provider and sponsor,” said Paul Humphreys, vice president communications and branding for Atlas Copco Compressors, which has served as SHR’s official compressed air supplier since the team’s inception in 2009.
As part of this continued relationship, Atlas Copco Compressors is installing its new SmartLink technology into SHR’s headquarters in Kannapolis, providing 24/7 remote monitoring of the team’s compressed air system to ensure continuous uptime and peak performance.
“Atlas Copco Compressors has been a consistent, committed partner since the beginning of Stewart-Haas Racing and we’re proud to have them in our shop and at the track for another season,” said Brett Frood, executive vice president, SHR.
This year marks Atlas Copco’s 140th anniversary, and when Atlas Copco Compressors serves as an associate sponsor of Newman’s No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet at Charlotte in October, one lucky Atlas Copco employee will have their name printed on the side of Newman’s car.
“Putting an employee’s name on Ryan Newman’s No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet is another way for us to honor our people during our 140th anniversary,” Humphreys added. “Our people are the key to our success, and we’re excited about acknowledging this fact in front of millions of race fans.”