DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR will again use a new and well-received enhanced schedule format featuring robust driver appearances and fan interaction opportunities at 12 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series events this season, beginning with this weekend’s STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway (2 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
The enhanced schedule will feature two days of Monster Energy Series action while each track will still host three total days of on-track activity. There also will be a rotating schedule of Monster Energy Series drivers participating in various interactive opportunities for fans at the racing facilities.
In addition to both the spring and fall Martinsville race weekends, the enhanced Monster Energy Series schedule will be in place at both Richmond races, the May Kansas weekend, Chicagoland, Kentucky, the second Pocono race in July, Watkins Glen, the Bristol night race weekend in August, Indianapolis and the fall Talladega weekend.
The decision to bring back the enhanced schedule comes after much success with the new idea last season. It was used at Martinsville, Indianapolis, Pocono races in 2017, receiving good reviews from both spectators and competitors.
Executives from NASCAR, Monster Energy Series teams and the race tracks collaborated on the enhanced scheduling concept for the 2018 season with the idea of unique opportunities for fans to interact with their favorite Cup drivers. Each facility will develop specific programs and events with the goal to continually offer fans new experiences at track, up-close with their favorite drivers.
Joey Logano put on a dominate performance to win Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series Roseanne 300 at Auto Club Speedway, taking Roger Penske's No. 22 Team Penske Ford to victory circle.
Logano and team led a race high 139 of 150 laps which ultimately shown he had the fastest car in the field. Picking up his first win of 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season and 19th career series win, Logano put on a clinic on Saturday in Fontana, California.
“Total team effort there,” Logano told Fox Sports 1. “Great pit stops, great car, oh my gosh. It’s one of those races that you feel relieved when you win. … Man, you’re supposed to win when you have a car that fast.”
Saturday's victory also marked the second consecutive win for the No. 22 Team Penske Ford as teammate Brad Keselowski scored the victory last Saturday at ISM Raceway.
Finishing in second was Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer third, Elliott Sadler fourth and Tyler Reddick rounded out the top-five.
Christopher Bell, who started from the pole, led up until hard charging Joey Logano took command of the lead on Lap 5.
With 26 laps to go, Logano moved to the ninth position within 1 lap and third after the next lap. Logano passed Sadler for the lead within just three laps of the late-race restart.
Austin Cindric brought out the caution with just eight laps remaining and Ryan Sieg opted to take fuel only on pit stops which would give Sieg the top spot. Logano charged pass leader Ryan Sieg within just the fist turn and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford would stay up front for the remainder of the race.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano
Next Race: My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway at 3 p.m. eastern on April 7 on Fox.
This season will mark fifteen years since Kurt Busch and Ricky Craven's iconic door to door finish at Darlington.
When Busch heads to Darlington in September, he will have a resemblance of his 2003 Rubbermaid Ford.
Since the throwback weekends at Darlington started four years ago, Stewart-Haas Racing has brought back some top notch schemes and the fans agree.
In 2016, Tony Stewart won the fan vote for best throwback scheme driving an inspired Bobby Allison throwback.
Last year, Danica Patrick paid homage to Robert Yates and was welcomed by the fans very well.
The Bojangles Southern 500 is Sunday, September 2nd at 6:00 p.m. eastern on NBCSN and MRN Radio.
Brad Keselowski won today's DC Solar 200 at ISM Raceway, visiting victory circle for the first time in 2018.
Taking control of the lead during green flag pit stops when he beat Christopher Bell off pit road, Keselowski led 67 of 200 laps and scored his 37th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory.
"It was a good car. I thought the car was better than me today," Keselowski said in Victory Lane.
Notables that Keselowski beat include pole-sitter Justin Allgaier, Kyle Busch, Jamie McMurray, and 2017 Camping World Truck Series champion Christopher Bell.
Allgaier who started from pole position led a race high 76 laps.
"I needed Brad to make a mistake or have a problem for me to catch him," Allgaier said.
The DC Solar 200 which started at 4:15 p.m. Eastern was halted twice due to threatening weather in the area.
Stage 1 Winner: Justin Allgaier
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch
Next Race: Auto Club 300 at Auto Club Speedway at 5 p.m. Eastern on March 17 on Fox Sports 1.
STAMFORD, Conn. – March 8, 2018 – NBC’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) makes his debut as an analyst on NASCAR America, NBCSN’s daily motorsport show, this Monday, March 12 at 6 p.m. ET. Following his recent assignments as a contributor for NBC Sports Group’s pre-game coverage of Super Bowl LII, and NBC Olympics’ coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Games, Earnhardt will begin his role as a NASCAR on NBC analyst and provide in-depth expertise and insight to Monday and Tuesday’s 60-minute episodes of NASCAR America, live from NBC Sports Group’s headquarters in Stamford, Conn.
Earnhardt will reunite with his former crew chief and fellow NASCAR on NBC analyst Steve Letarte (@Steveletarte), to provide a complete breakdown and examination of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at ISM Raceway, in Phoenix, Ariz.
Leigh Diffey (@leighdiffey) will host NASCAR America throughout the week, and will be joined by NASCAR on NBC analysts and 21-time Cup Series winner Jeff Burton (@JeffBurton), Hall of Fame driver Dale Jarrett (@DaleJarrett), and auto racing icon Kyle Petty (@KylePetty), from NBC Sports Charlotte, in Charlotte, N.C., and Burton’s Garage, in Huntersville, N.C.
NEXT WEEK’S NASCAR AMERICA SCHEDULE ON NBCSN
Date Time (ET)
Monday, March 12 6 p.m.
Tuesday, March 13 5 p.m.
Wednesday, March 14 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 15 5 p.m.
NBC SPORTS PR
Gaunt Brothers Racing (GBR) returns to the track this weekend at ISM Raceway in Arizona. D.J. Kennington will return to the seat of the NO. 96 Toyota Camry with Northern Provincial Pipelines as sponsor.
Sunday will mark the second race of the 2018 season for GBR. Kennington opened the 2018 season with his best finish of 24th in the Daytona 500.
"It's an honor to once again partner with D.J. and join forces with a reputable Canadian company in Northern Provincial Pipelines," said Gaunt. "We look forward to a successful weekend both on and off the track with N.P.P."
Kennington is known for his dominance in the NASCAR Pinty's Series as he's a two-time champion and 19-time race winner.
"I'm thrilled to be back with GBR, in the Northern Provincial Pipelines Toyota Camry, at a track I really enjoy," said Kennington. "Last month in Daytona was a tremendous experience. I got my best Cup finish to date, and now I'm looking for more."
Kyle Larson kicks off his West Coast swing with a victory in the Boyd Gaming 300.
Larson overcame late race restarts to score his ninth career win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Christopher Bell in just his third Xfinity race of his rookie season finished a runner-up second. Justin Allgaier finished third, pole-sitter Ryan Blaney finished fourth and Elliott Sadler finished fifth.
Larson is the tenth different winner in 10 races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
"This car is so fast." Kyle Larson said after his second Xfinity race of the 2018 season. "It was really fast last year, but you never really know. This was my first time with this body and it performed well."
Kyle Bush came back to finish fourteen after being penalized with a drive-through penalty because of a loose tire during his pit stop.
With 48 laps to go, Larson passed Christopher Bell regaining the top spot.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series will head back to Las Vegas for the second time of the season in September.
The Four-time Monster Energy Cup Series champion said last weekend that he's open to possibly running a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.
Gordon was taking part in a question and answer segment with Fox Sports when the question came up on the possible return.
“I always thought about maybe looking at an opportunity to drive a truck at Martinsville or a track like that,” Gordon said. “I like the short tracks. But to do it on part-time basis at a like mile-and-a-half or a superspeedway – no, I’m happy to be up in the booth and out of the car right now.
"I’m enjoying myself and time with my family. I’ll let you know if that opportunity comes up at Martinsville, though."
Since his retirement at the end of 2015, Gordon won the Rolex 24 hours of Daytona in 2016 and filled in for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr. for eight Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races later that season.
In 47 starts at Martinsville, Gordon has compiled nine wins, 29 top five finishes, and an average finish of 6.9.
Go Fas Racing Statement:
"Go Fas Racing and Gene Nead have mutually parted ways. Veteran Crew Chief Randy Cox has taken over Crew Chief duties. Gene had an integral part in building an improved program at Go Fas Racing last season, our most competitive season yet, and we wish him all the best going forward."
With just the third race of the 2018 MENCS season approaching on Sunday, Go Fas Racing has announced Randy Cox will take over as crew chief for the #32 team replacing Gene Nead.
Since Nead's time at Go Fas Racing, the organization has compiled two top-10's coming at Daytona and Indianapolis.
Since 2007, Cox has served as crew chief for 102 races. Previously Nead worked with BK Racing.
Since the start of the 2018 season, Matt DiBenedetto has a finish of 27th (Daytona) and 31st (Atlanta).
20 Years Later, No. 3 Chevrolet Rules DAYTONA 500 Again; Austin Dillon Delivers Emotional Victory for Richard Childress Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 18, 2018) – A historic day for the DAYTONA 500 produced an emotion-filled result that will stand tall alongside the many other epic finishes that have built the tradition of “The Great American Race.”
Twenty years after Dale Earnhardt ended a career-long drought by winning the DAYTONA 500 in the famed No. 3 Chevrolet of Richard Childress, Austin Dillon – Childress’ grandson – returned the No. 3 to Gatorade Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway. And he did it with a last-lap, bump-and-run move that was absolutely Earnhardt-like, to boot – in the 60th running of the season-opening race for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
A Lap 199 late-race incident took out a number of front-running contenders and forced two extra laps of “NASCAR Overtime.” On the first OT lap, Tampa native Aric Almirola (No. 10 Smithfield Ford) assumed the lead and as the final lap transpired, he appeared headed toward the victory.
As the lead pack approached Turn 3, Dillion – with a considerable aerodynamic push from the No. 43 Click n’ Close Chevrolet of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. – made a run in his Dow-sponsored car for the front but was blocked by Almirola. Dillon kept going, tapping the rear bumper of Almirola, which sent the Ford into the wall. Dillon and Wallace continued on to the finish line, with Dillon winning by 0.260 seconds. Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota), the 2016 DAYTONA 500 champion, finished third.
“I did what I had to do,” Dillon said. “He was trying to block me and I just turned him. We had a run and I stayed in the gas. It’s so awesome to take the No. 3 car back to victory lane. This one is for Dale Earnhardt and all those Earnhardt fans. We’re going to keep kicking butt for the rest of the year.”
Wallace lived his own emotional experience Sunday. His presence was steeped in storylines. Series rookie … returning a Richard Petty Motorsports car to DAYTONA 500 contention ... first African-American in the DAYTONA 500 since Wendell Scott in 1969. And now, a runner-up in NASCAR’s biggest race. That is the best finish in the DAYTONA 500 by an African-American, besting the 13th-place finish by Scott in 1966. And there’s more to Wallace’s story: he got a surprise pre-race vote of confidence via a phone call from baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron.
“I have so many emotions going on right now,” Wallace said. “Thank you to ‘The King’ (Petty) for giving me this opportunity.”
Attrition was the name of this DAYTONA 500 game, with a series of incidents that took out high-profile contenders. As those drivers were dropping out with stunning regularity during the sun-splashed afternoon, Dillon hung around – and hung tough.
At day’s end, the 27-year-old who was a wide-eyed seven-year-old in Gatorade Victory Lane when Earnhardt won, had his own piece of DAYTONA 500 history.
And Richard Childress had a second, as far as the No. 3 is concerned.
“The emotions are just flowing,” a tearful Childress said. “This is just so special.”
The DAYTONA 500 was run in three stages over its 200-lap/500-mile distance on the 2.5-mile, high-banked DIS tri-oval. In NASCAR’s stage-racing format, valuable extra points that count in the season-long series championship battle are awarded to the top-10 finishers in each of the first two stages. The first two stages were each 60 laps while the third was 80 laps.
Defending DAYTONA 500 champion Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford) won the first stage which was bookended by significant developments. During the race’s first caution period, Hamlin was penalized one lap for pitting outside his box, giving him a hill to climb the rest of the day. On the stage’s final lap a nine-car backstretch incident ruined the hopes of several contenders including two-time race champion Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s for Pros Chevrolet). Also, former Monster Energy champion Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M’s Toyota) crashed on Lap 51 in Turn 3, necessitating an extensive pit shop for repairs.
Stage 2 was won by Ryan Blaney (No. 12 Menards/Peak Ford), Blaney led 48 of the stage’s 60 laps, including the last 22 laps. He was among the drivers involved in the Lap 199 mishap, but rebounded to finish seventh.
Racing in NASCAR for the final time, Danica Patrick (No. 7 GoDaddy Chevrolet) started strongly but ended up 35th after her involvement in a dramatic Turn 3 crash on Lap 102. The accident started when Chase Elliott (No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet), one of the pre-race favorites, slammed into the Turn 4 wall after contact with Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Discount Tire Ford). The incident also ended the day for 2007 DAYTONA 500 champion Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford).
“It just wasn’t meant to be today,” Patrick said. “I’m grateful for everything … thank you to all the fans.”
Daytona International Speedway Press Release