Monday, May 23
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

At the end of the night, the truck that Scott Riggs pulled on pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway did not look like one that was a last-lap pass away from a top-ten finish.

Riggs overcame a bruised and battered BTS Tire and Wheel Distributors/Goodyear FleetHQ/QMI/Davis Tire Chevrolet for an 11th place finish in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200. Justin Lofton passed Riggs off of turn tour on last lap to deny the Bahama, N.C. driver of his first top 10 since Martinsville last fall.

"I hate we got passed there at the end," said Riggs, who started 24th, "but after the night we had, I'll take it. We took some speed out of the truck after practice and it hurt us in qualifying, but it made us better during the race.

"The guys did a heck of a job all race. We got behind after the first pit stop but (crew chief) Mike (Hester) called a great race and got us some track position in the mid part of the race. With the damage, the truck just got too tight at the end."

On a restart on lap 88, Brad Keselowski came across the nose of Riggs' Chevrolet severely damaging the truck's left front fender. Riggs was running third at the time.

"(Spotter) Keith (Barnwell) warned me that Keselowski was going to do exactly what he did," said Riggs. "I went down to break his momentum but he just kept going lower down the frontstretch. They had much fresher tires than we did. When we got into turn one, he came right across our nose."

Fortunately for Riggs, another caution came out on lap 95 when Jake Crum and Ron Hornaday, Jr got together in turn four.

"The guys did a great job getting the hole plugged up and getting us back out there without losing a lap," said Riggs.

"Scott drove a heck of a race," said Hester. "It would have been easy to give up after getting the damage on that restart, but he stayed with it and the guys gave us some good stops and we got a good finish out of it."

RBR PR

Race Highlights:

  • Richard Childress Racing teammates Jeff Burton and Paul Menard participated in the Sprint Showdown finishing third and fourth, respectively. Kevin Harvick competed in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, capturing an 11th place result.
  •  According to NASCAR's post-race loop data statistics, Harvick gained two positions during the final 10 percent (nine laps) of the Sprint All-Star Race, positioning him third in the Closers category.
  • Burton ran in the top 10 for the entire 40-lap race, maintaining a 5.675 Average Running Position.
  • Burton posted a 97.2 Driver Rating, sixth-best in the 23-car field.
  • Menard ranked second in Speed In Traffic, with an average speed of 185.088 in the 40-lap event.
  • Menard earned a 102.5 Driver Rating, ranking him fourth in the 23-car field.
  • Jamie McMurray earned a transfer position into the Sprint All-Star Race by winning the Sprint
    Showdown. Jimmie Johnson earned his fourth-career Sprint All-Star Race victory and was followed to the finish line by Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch.
  • The next Sprint Cup Series race is the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 26.  The 13th race of the 2013 season is scheduled to be televised live on FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

 

 

2011 CC Team Icon 27 NSCS Menards  

Menard Finishes Fourth in the Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway

 

Paul Menard started the No. 27 Serta/Menards Chevrolet from the eighth position and quickly drove into the top five in Saturday night's Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Though he was running up front, Menard relayed to the crew he was fighting a tight-handling condition. The Wisconsin native maintained his position when the competition caution was displayed on lap 20, ending the first of two segments. Crew chief "Slugger" Labbe called the No. 27 machine into the pits and the pit crew changed four tires, added fuel and made track bar and air pressure adjustments in an attempt to remedy the tight condition. Menard restarted 10th for the final 20-lap segment after several other teams elected not to pit or only take two tires. By lap 25, the No. 27 Chevrolet SS had worked its way back to fifth, when Menard communicated to the crew he was still tight. With 10 laps remaining, Menard gained an additional position crossing the stripe in fourth when the checkered flag flew.

 

Start - 8               Finish - 4                Laps Led - 0               Points - N/A

 

PAUL MENARD QUOTE:

 "The Serta/Menards Chevrolet SS was tight tonight and we just ran out of laps to be able to gain any ground on the leader. With just two 20-lap segments it's difficult to work on the handling of the car and be able to make up much ground. The crew did a great job in the pits and we gained some information we can use in the Coca-Cola 600 next weekend."    

 

 

   

Harvick Earns Hard Fought 11th-Place Finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway

 

Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Rheem/Budweiser Chevrolet SS team earned a hard fought 11th-place finish in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race under the lights of Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday night. The California native started the non-points paying event from the 19th position, but dropped to the back of the field because the team changed a motor following practice on Friday. During the early laps of the race, Harvick reported he was battling a tight-handling black, red and white Chevrolet causing the team to pit under caution on lap eight for fuel, four tires and multiple chassis adjustments. Back on track, the handling issues persisted leaving Harvick to finish 18th after the first of five segments. Only laps into the second segment, the Richard Childress Racing driver informed crew chief Gil Martin the car had transitioned from tight to loose. Despite the handling issues, Harvick managed to gain track position finishing the second segment 12th. Harvick continued to work his way toward the front of the field during the third segment, settling into the ninth spot by the time caution flag waved. Between segments, the pit crew went to work changing right-side tires and adding fuel to the No. 29 machine. The quick pit stop positioned their driver in second for the fourth segment restart. After battling competitors with four fresh tires, Harvick lost ground falling back to sixth by the end of segment four. Following a mandatory four-tire pit stop during the final scheduled caution period of the night, Harvick returned to the track in 13th for a 10-lap shootout. The 2007 Sprint All-Star Race champion worked his way up to 11th, where he ultimately crossed the finish line.
 
Start - 19               Finish - 11               Laps Led - 0               Points - N/A
      

KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE:

"This was a long, tough weekend for the Rheem/Budweiser team. Between switching engines after practice on Friday and making a bunch of changes to the car during the race, these guys really worked hard. We didn't get the finish we would have liked tonight, but we did learn a few things about the car that will hopefully be useful for us during the Coca-Cola 600 next weekend."

 

 

2011 CC Team Logo NSCS 31 CAT     

Jeff Burton Earns Top-Five Finish in the Sprint Showdown

 

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team brought home a top-five result in the Sprint Showdown, finishing third in the non-points event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a sixth-place qualifying effort, the South Boston, Va. native reported a loose-handling condition on his black and yellow machine and maintained an eighth-place running position until the competition caution flag waved on lap 20, signaling the end of the first segment. Crew chief Luke Lambert called the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner to pit road under caution so the No. 31 pit crew could put on fresh Goodyear tires, add Sunoco Green E15 fuel and make adjustments for the final 20-lap dash to the checkered flag. On the ensuing restart, the No. 31 Chevrolet came to life and Burton climbed into the top five on lap 25 and top three by lap 30. The RCR driver made a valiant effort throughout the final 10 laps to move into the second position and transfer into the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, but in the end Burton didn't have enough time to catch the second-place competitor and scored a third-place finish.

 

Start - 6               Finish - 3               Laps Led - 0                Points - N/A

 

JEFF BURTON QUOTE:

"We dug ourselves a hole at the start by handling loose, but the car definitely came alive in the final segment after the pit stop. Luke (Lambert, crew chief) made the right call on pit road and we were able to showcase some speed there at the end. We also learned a lot for next weekend's Coca-Cola 600 and might even bring this car back for it."

 

RCR PR

NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE NOTES AND QUOTES

JIMMIE JOHNSON (WINNER, No. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET): JIMMIE JOHNSON (WINNER, No. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET): “That’s crazy, wow. To beat Jeff (Gordon) and (Dale) Earnhardt, two guys I’ve looked up to my whole life and two of the best icons of our sport, this means the world to me. I didn’t really think we had a shot at winning tonight starting 18th but we had a great race car and worked our way through there and got our job done. But over time, honestly, it’s just dedication and drive, every member of this Hendrick race team, we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we know we need to keep working harder and keep pushing. What we did here tonight – I don’t know how we keep doing it; I’m very proud of this race team.

“It’s incredible, especially the way we had to go about it tonight. I didn’t do us any favors qualifying yesterday, and with this average that we had the first four segments, I was really fearful I wouldn’t have a shot at a front-row start or a second-row start. And I felt like the winner would come from one of those two rows. Not to state the obvious, but the goal for all of us is to be on the front row for that last restart, and through a lot of aggressive driving, a great-handling race car and a lot of different things, we were able to keep clicking away at some good finishes through the second, third, fourth segment, and that got us to fourth. Then pit road came around, and our guys had an awesome pit stop. We almost got off pit road first, but we were on the front row, and the front row’s what we needed for 10 laps. Kasey (Kahne) and I pretty much ran wide open around here for two laps side by side. I was finally able to edge by and have the track to myself and put some distance on him.”

CHAD KNAUS (CREW CHIEF, No. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET): “I was very proud of those guys. We knew what we needed to do on the race track to get ourselves in good position. We felt like we could come down in the top 5 and try to get a good pit stop and maintain that we would be solid. I really didn’t think we would be able to come down pit road and have a pit stop that fast. Man, those guys just absolutely nailed it. We had to switch some things around over the past month or so, and they rose to the occasion.”

JOEY LOGANO (SECOND PLACE, No. 22 PENNZOIL FORD): “It was entertaining. My guys did a great job calling the race and keeping the average finish up. I thought we averaged fifth and came down pit road, beat one car out and that put us in the second row. In the back of my mind, that was where we needed to be, on the second row, to have a shot at the final 10 laps. My guys, they got me what I needed there, and then it was up to me. But I made the most of what I had. The 48 (Johnson) was really fast. When he got in that clean air, he was gone. And then all I could do was hope for a caution, and that would give me one more shot. Second is nothing to hang our head down, but it doesn’t mean much since there are no points. I gave it all I had today.”

KYLE BUSCH (THIRD PLACE, No. 18 SNICKERS BITES TOYOTA): “I was just getting beat around there on restarts, but that is alright. We definitely had the best car here tonight. We ran up front most of the night. We had some really good runs through the segments. We won two of them, and average finish-wise, we were right there with Kurt (Busch). He beat us out a little bit. Coming down pit road, my guys always prove their worth. Unfortunately, tonight we didn’t have the best stop and came out third. That was the race right there. You have to come out on the front row if you are going to win this thing. Unfortunately on the restart, we were getting sucked around and side-drafted and getting loose and everything else. I had to get it straight and get everyone off me so I could finally race. Once I did that I could go forward. Just another missed opportunity here. We had the best car but came home without a win. ”

CMS PR

Kurt Busch saw a potential victory slip to a fifth-place finish in Saturday night’s rain-delayed NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
 
After the four 20-lap segments in the non-points race, Busch posted the best average finish among the 22 drivers and was positioned in first place before teams were required to make a mandatory four-tire pit stop heading into the final winner-take-all 10-lap segment. 

But when Busch left pit road for the 10-lap shootout, he was positioned in fifth place when the race went green for the final time. He ended the race in the same position when the checkered flag waved on Lap 90. 

“Our four-segment average guaranteed us coming down pit road first for the final stop, but it didn't guarantee us leaving pit road first ,” said Busch, driver of the Armed Forces Day Furniture Row/Sealy Chevrolet. “We were one tick slow on our pit stop and one tick off on the chassis adjustment. That was the difference. You have to be perfect to win this race. We weren’t. It was an A- overall performance.”
 
Busch's best average in the four 20-lap segments was a result of two wins -- in the first and fourth segments and a fourth in the second segment and second in the third segment.  His overall average for the four segments was an impressive 2.0. He also led 29 laps, tying his brother Kyle for most laps led.
  
"It was sure a blast to win two segments and lead laps," stated Busch. "I am very proud of how this team is coming together. Everyone knew we were here tonight. We fought hard and felt all along that we could win this race. The car got tight and was plowing during the final 10 laps. It just didn’t have the same handling as it did in the first four segments.”
 
Though Busch felt disappointment for not closing the deal with a victory, he felt the evening wasn’t an entire loss.  
 
“We were strong tonight, and what we learned will translate into next week’s (Coca-Cola) 600,” noted Busch, who is a former winner of the 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
 
The All-Star Race winner was Jimmie Johnson.  Rounding out the top-10 in order were: Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards.
 
TSC PR

It was a night of highs and lows for Danica Patrick on Saturday at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Patrick won the Sprint Fan Vote to gain entrance into her first NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, which was a high for the Rookie of the Year contender. But she fought a tight-handling No. 10 GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet in the 90-lap non-points event and finished 20th.

“First and very foremost, thank you to all the fans who voted for me or maybe voted so many times for me,” Patrick said. “I’m very fortunate to have the fan base that I do, and I never forget that. It really just makes me feel bad to win the Sprint Fan Vote and run in the back of the race. We just couldn’t get the GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet right. We were just too tight. The guys did a great job on pit road. That goes without saying. It was just a tough night, but hopefully we are able to figure out what was wrong, and we can come back here next weekend and have a better run.”

Patrick earned entry into the race by being the recipient of the fan vote on NASCAR.com. Patrick was eligible for the fan vote by competing in the Sprint Showdown, the undercard event to the Sprint All-Star Race. Patrick started seventh in the 40-lap race, which was broken up into two 20-lap segments. She finished ninth in both segments. Jamie McMurray won the Sprint Showdown to advance into the All-Star Race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second to McMurray to also advance into the All-Star Race.

After winning the fan vote, Patrick started 22nd in the 90-lap All-Star race. While Patrick had a solid racecar in the Sprint Showdown, that wasn’t the case in the All-Star race.

Just five laps into the event, Patrick radioed to crew chief Tony Gibson that her GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet was too tight, which became the theme of the night.

Gibson called for a variety of major chassis adjustments during the race to aid Patrick’s tight-handling condition, including track bar, wedge and air pressure adjustments. The crew also made a variety of shock adjustments. But as the laps clicked off, the handling characteristics of the GoDaddy Cares Chevy didn’t improve, and Patrick continued to tell her crew her racecar wouldn’t roll through the center of the corner, preventing her from gaining spots on the racetrack.

Gibson was frustrated with the car’s performance but pleased Patrick got valuable track time, which could help the rookie in next week’s Coca-Cola 600.

“The car was pretty good the first race, and the second race I don’t know what happened,” Gibson said. “It was plowing tight from the very first lap on, and we couldn’t get it fixed. We slung everything I know to sling at it. Maybe we had a bump stop or a shock give up on it, but I just don’t know right now. Everybody dug all night long and we stayed in the game, and that’s all you can do. It’s frustrating because you don’t know what happened. We’ll try to figure out what we’ve got.

“We just want to thank all the fans for getting us into the race because we never would have been in it if it weren’t for them. We appreciated the support from them, and hopefully one day we can give a little bit of something back to them. Overall, we learned a lot and she got some time on the racetrack, so that will pay dividends next week, I think. It’s just frustrating. I thought we would run way better than that based off our first race there. I’m not sure what happened and what went wrong there.”

Patrick’s teammate Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Aspen Dental Chevrolet SS, finished 13th. The third member of SHR, Tony Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS, finished 14th.

Jimmie Johnson won the All-Star Race, his record-breaking fourth victory in 12 All-Star starts, breaking a tie with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for the most All-Star Race wins. Johnson’s past All-Star Race victories came in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

Joey Logano finished 1.722 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to point-paying racing Sunday, May 26 with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

TSC PR

Tony Stewart had a relatively quiet night in the 29th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/National Wild Turkey Federation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), started 13th and finished 14th in the annual non-points race featuring drivers who have won a race in 2012 or 2013, in addition to All-Star Race winners and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions from the past 10 years.

The 90-lap race around the 1.5-mile oval was broken up into five segments of 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps. Throughout the race, Stewart’s No. 14 Chevrolet proved fitful in the corners.

“Loose late exit, then tight the rest of the way through,” said Stewart on lap 35. “No stability throughout the corner,” he said on lap 58.

From there, Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington used the rest of the race as a test session as they tried to determine what ailed their racecar.

“Keep your heads up, guys,” said Stewart over the radio after the checkered flag dropped. “We’ll figure this out. Just have to keep working at it.”

The 14th-place finish was Stewart’s 13th top-15 result in 15 career All-Star Races.

Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 39 Aspen Dental Chevrolet for SHR, finished 13th to notch his 11th top-15 in 12 career All-Star Races.

Danica Patrick, driver of the No. 10 GoDaddy Cares Chevrolet SS for SHR, finished 20th in her first career All-Star Race.

Patrick earned entry into the race by being the recipient of the fan vote on NASCAR.com. Patrick was eligible for the fan vote by competing in the Sprint Showdown, the undercard event to the All-Star Race. Patrick started seventh in the 40-lap race, which was broken up into two 20-lap segments. She finished ninth in both segments.

Jamie McMurray won the Sprint Showdown to advance into the All-Star Race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second to McMurray to also advance into the All-Star Race.

Jimmie Johnson won the All-Star Race, his record-breaking fourth victory in 12 All-Star starts, breaking a tie with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for the most All-Star Race wins. Johnson’s past All-Star Race victories came in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

Joey Logano finished 1.722 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to point-paying racing Sunday, May 26 with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m.

TSC PR

An ill-handling racecar hampered Ryan Newman for most of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday night at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, leading to a 13th-place finish in the non-points event.

Newman battled a tight-handling No. 39 Aspen Dental Chevrolet from the drop of the green flag. When rain midway through the first segment brought out the red flag, contrary to traditional rules, crews were permitted to make adjustments to their racecars before the race resumed some 45 minutes later. Crew chief Matt Borland elected to take four tires and make wedge and shock adjustments in hopes of getting the blue-and-white machine dialed in to Newman’s liking.

The Aspen Dental team decided to come to pit road at the end of the first three 20-lap segments, continuing to make multiple chassis adjustments to help improve the handling of Newman’s racecar. But it seemed those adjustments only made matters worse for Newman, as he continued to struggle with the handling.

Once the field took the green flag for the fourth 20-lap dash, Newman made an aggressive move that saw him make contact with the No. 18 car of Kyle Busch. The contact resulted in a tire rub, which fortunately was fixed after a timely caution flag was displayed at lap 67. Newman pitted, and the Aspen Dental team made the necessary repairs along with another wedge adjustment. By the end of the fourth segment, Newman was shown in the 15th position.

After coming to pit road for the mandatory pit stop at the end of the fourth segment, Newman started the fifth and final segment – which was just 10 laps – in 15th place. He continued to struggle over the final 10 laps and finished the night in 13th place.

“We battled a lack of grip, a lack of track position and handling issues all night,” said Newman, who has participated in each All-Star Race since joining the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a rookie in 2002, the year he won the non-points event. “The front end wasn’t right tonight. The guys kept adjusting on the Aspen Dental Chevrolet, but it seemed like every adjustment had adverse effects. I don’t know that we would have been better toward the front of the pack and in clean air, but we never really had the opportunity to find out, either. I think we’ll be able to apply some of what we learned here tonight for next weekend.”

Jimmie Johnson won the All-Star Race, his record-breaking fourth victory in 12 All-Star starts, breaking a tie with Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt for the most All-Star Race wins. Johnson’s past All-Star Race victories came in 2003, 2006 and 2012.

Joey Logano finished 1.722 seconds behind Johnson in the runner-up spot, while Kyle Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kurt Busch rounded out the top-five. Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards comprised the remainder of the top-10.

McMurray won the Sprint Showdown to advance into the All-Star Race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second to McMurray to also advance into the All-Star Race.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to point-paying racing Sunday, May 26 with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The longest race on the Sprint Cup schedule gets underway at 6 p.m. EDT, with live coverage provided by FOX beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

TSC PR

NASCAR SPRINT SHOWDOWN NOTES AND QUOTES

Jamie McMurray won the 40-lap NASCAR Sprint Showdown and earned a berth in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Finishing second was a closing Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who also transferred to the main event.

McMurray took the lead on the first lap and was never challenged as he cruised to the end of the 20-lap segment ahead of Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Juan Pablo Montoya and Paul Menard.

Most cars chose to pit during the competition caution flag between segments, changing four tires and making adjustments as needed. Montoya was penalized for speeding on pit road and started the second segment from the tail end of the longest line. Casey Mears stayed out in order to gain some track position and led the field back to the starting line; restarting behind him were McMurray, David Gilliland, Truex and Jeff Burton.

McMurray quickly retook the lead in the in the second segment and was never seriously challenged.

JAMIE MCMURRAY (NO. 1 BASS PRO SHOPS/NAT’L WILD TURKEY FED. CHEVROLET): “Obviously, being up front is important. Even running at only 80 percent, it was amazing how good the car would run in clean air. Starting in the back is going to be completely different. It is going to be really hard to pass cars. I think pit strategy is going to be important. Track position is really going to be the key. Tires do make a difference, but the clean air is so much more important when you get out front. These guys are a lot quicker, and I’m starting in the back. So we will have to see what happens. I thought we had a really good car in practice. It is crazy the grip the car has when you are out front.”

RICKY STENHOUSE JR (SECOND TRANSFER, NO. 17 BEST BUY FORD): “That was really cool, getting into the (NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race). We wanted to win that thing; I thought we had a car yesterday that was capable of running up front for the lead, but we’ll take second and give ourselves an opportunity to keep working on it, figure out some things for next week. The more laps the better for me, so we’re definitely excited about it. We couldn’t keep up that first segment, and (crew chief) Scott Graves made some great changes to the car and we were able to get it turning a lot better for us there and we were able to hold on to second. The restart was a lot of fun and I’m sure we’re going to have a lot more of that in a minute.

(You seemed confident; why?) Yeah, I enjoy mile-and-a-half race tracks, and it seems like we’ve been better on short runs this year than what we have throughout the whole race, so I felt like we had a better car than what we had there. I was a little disappointed once we went green to start, but definitely was a lot better that second run. I was a lot more confident in the car than when we started after the first three laps of that first segment. I was a little disappointed.

(And, just to clarify, who did you vote for in the fan vote?) No one.”

DANICA PATRICK (SPRINT FAN VOTE WINNER, No. 10 GO DADDY CHEVROLET): “Well obviously first and foremost thank you to all the fans who voted for me, or maybe voted so many times for me. I’m very fortunate to have the fan base that I do, and I never forget that. Thanks to the Sprint Fan vote. It’s a big honor. This is for the fans. God, I’m gonna sound really cheesy right now. I’m going to race for the fans tonight because I got done with that race, and I feel really fired up. I wanted to make passes and make my way up and do what I could to get to those first two positions, and I didn’t do that. And I feel like owe it to them to put on a good show, or a better show, in the All-Star Race. My good team made something; I didn’t know they made it, so I don’t want this to sound like I’m coming up with this all on my own. But they knew how good my fans were and I know how hard they worked, so we have a “Thanks Fans” sign to put on the car just in case I won. So thank you, Team Danica and Stewart-Haas. So that’ll be on the car, and I’m glad to be in the race.

(Were you able to conserve because you thought you might win the fan vote?) I think that it enters your mind that you don’t do things that put you in a position to crash. But I didn’t think about it at the beginning of those 20-lap runs, but when it gets to the end of them, like at the end when I was running around and clearly wasn’t going to be first or second. If I was fortunate enough to be in the position I am now, I can’t move on with a crashed car. There’s nothing to gain by trying something desperate at that point in time.

(Why do you have such a rabid fan base?) I feel like that would be a good piece; I don’t know. I feel like some fans need to be interviewed and find out what it is. I’ve said it many times that I’m not sure exactly what it is that people like or see or cheer for in me. I mean, I’m a driver, and I race cars, and being different, being a girl, there’s things there. But what is it? All that I know is that I do my best to be myself all the time, to let the fans see different sides of my personality, to be honest with the fans, and at the end of the day, even if they don’t agree with everything I say or do, at least they can respect my honesty.”

BOBCAT SIGHTING: Bismack Biyombo is at tonight’s NASCAR All-Star Race supporting No. 11 Denny Hamlin. But that didn’t stop him from making the rounds during pre-race, helping Aric Almirola’s team get pumped up with a quick huddle and hands-in cheer. He’s also tweeting photos from his night @BismackBiyombo0.

FAMILY TIME: A group of crew members’ kids enjoyed some time at the home track Saturday night, including a large group of little ones from the No. 14 crew of Tony Stewart. A group of about eight preschool- to school-aged kids enjoyed a quick trip to the pits (under the careful supervision of several moms) and even got to duck on top of the pit box for a photo op before the race started.

CMS PR

X

No right click

Please link the article.