Wednesday, Nov 30
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Any trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame puts fans face-to-face with some of the sport's most remarkable artifacts, stories and legends.

Today, five more of those all-timers will live on forever, as NASCAR announced the inductees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

The five newest members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame that will be inducted on January 29, 2014, are Tim Flock, Maurice Petty, Dale Jarrett, Jack Ingram and Fireball Roberts.

Flock, who received 76 percent of the vote, was one of NASCAR's earliest superstars, winning the NASCAR premier series championship twice (1952, 1955). In only 187 starts, he had 39 victories, which ranks him 18th on the all-time wins list. He won eight races and posted 22 top fives in 33 starts while driving a Hudson Hornet to his first title in 1952. In 1955, his second championship season, he visited Victory Lane an amazing 18 times with 32 top fives and 18 poles in only 39 races.

He also won NASCAR's only sports car race in 1955. For Flock, racing in NASCAR's premier series was a family affair as he was joined on track by his brothers Bob and Fonty and sister Ethel. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

Petty joins his father Lee, older brother Richard and cousin Dale Inman in the NASCAR Hall of Fame after receiving 73 percent of the vote in his first time on the ballot. As the chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, he supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to most of his 200 victories in the NASCAR premier series, including seven titles and seven Daytona 500 victories.   

The younger Petty also built winning engines for a number of other drivers, including his dad, Lee. As a teenager, he worked on his father's pit crew alongside his brother. In 2001, he worked as a consultant to Dodge upon its return to NASCAR's premier series in 2001.

Jarrett, who was on the ballot for the first time this year, received 56 percent of the votes. The 1999 NASCAR premier series champion joins his father, Ned, as the third father-son combination to be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame behind the Frances and Pettys. In the younger Jarrett's championship season, he finished first four times and landed 29 top-10 finishes in only 34 races. He capped off the year with a run of eight consecutive top-10 finishes that propelled him to the title.

By the time he hung up his driving gloves in order to pursue a successful career as a NASCAR commentator for ESPN and ABC, he had won 32 races in the premier series -- good for 21st on the all-time wins list -- including three Daytona 500s, two Brickyard 400s and a Coca-Cola 600.  

Ingram, who only started 19 NASCAR premier series races, primarily found success in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and its precursor -- the Late Model Sportsman Division. Before the series as we know it today was formed, Ingram won three consecutive championships (1972-1974). He won the NASCAR Busch (now Nationwide) title in its inaugural season of 1982, and again in 1985.

After 10 years of racing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, he had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of his wins came on short tracks. He was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers in 1988.

Fireball Roberts, who earned his nickname as a hard-charging high school pitcher, was the last inductee to be announced with 51 percent of the vote. During his career, which spanned 207 starts, he often came up big in the biggest events, winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and the Southern 500 in 1958 and 1963. His driving style was a perfect match for Daytona International Speedway, where he won seven times.

In 1958, he only competed in 10 of 51 races, winning six and finishing in the top 10 in nine of them. Although he didn't compete in 41 of that season's races, he still finished 11th in the season-ending points standings. In 1998, he was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.

The next top vote getters were Jerry Cook, Joe Weatherly and Wendell Scott.

The top five vote getters in the fan vote were (listed alphabetically) Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Jarrett, Benny Parsons and Fireball Roberts.

The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway has long been one of the “crown jewel” races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, along with the Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and since 1994 when stock cars debuted at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400. Each of these events garners extra attention given their historical implications and unique attributes, further distinguishing them from their counterparts on the 36-race Sprint Cup calendar.

The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s richest race. The Southern 500 is the series’ oldest superspeedway race. The Brickyard 400 marks NASCAR’s ascendency, because prior to 1994, only Indy cars competed at the venerable oval. And by virtue of being NASCAR’s longest race, the Coca-Cola 600 tests man and machine like no other race on the marathon-like Sprint Cup schedule.

A full 100 miles longer than any other Sprint Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600 starts in the full light of day and ends in the dark of night. Much is made of the endurance a driver must have to negotiate the typically temperamental 1.5-mile oval in a four-wheeled, 850-horspower, sauna-hot laboratory in a race that surpasses four hours.

For Tony Stewart, it’s a lot of hyperbole.

Stewart built his career by racing anything, anywhere, anytime he could. Often times, it translated into running multiple events in different series in the same day. Stewart had to operate at a manic pace, but the effort obviously paid off, first evidenced by him winning the USAC “Triple Crown” in 1995 when he earned the USAC Sprint, Midget and Silver Crown titles in a single year. Those seeds planted future

success, for in 15 years as a Sprint Cup driver, Stewart has amassed 47 point-paying victories and three championships (2002, 2005 and 2011).

Stewart continues to return to his racing roots, supplementing his NASCAR program with various Sprint Car races, including the occasional World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series event. On any given night, Stewart can be found competing at select dirt races after working his regular job – driving the No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing.

Switching racing genres keeps Stewart sharp, and while barnstorming dirt track across America doesn’t always move the media’s needle, one high-profile bit of extra-curricular racing certainly did.

Twice on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Stewart has competed in two of the world’s biggest races – the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. The grueling, one-day trek, known as “Double Duty,” saw Stewart compete in an Indy car at Indianapolis before flying to Concord, N.C., to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 that evening at Charlotte. He became the first driver to complete both races in the same day, finishing ninth and fourth, respectively. Stewart drove a total of 1,090 miles. Stewart repeated this feat in 2001, when he drove an Indy car for Chip Ganassi at Indy. He bettered his mark from 1999 by finishing on the lead lap in sixth before jetting off to Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. He improved that finish, as well, coming home third in the 600-miler. Stewart completed all 1,100 miles – breaking his record for most racing miles driven in one day.

Those races proved that Stewart is most comfortable behind the wheel of a racecar, regardless of its sparse and claustrophobic confines. With NASCAR’s longest race up next for Stewart, it’s just another day at the office.

TSC PR

It is always an exciting time for NASCAR drivers and teams to stay at home and race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For Jason White and his SR2 Motorsports NASCAR Nationwide Series team it is even a little more special. White welcomes hometown sponsors JW Demolition and Bubble Charlotte as they adorn the SR2 Motorsports No. 24 Toyota for the running of the History 300 at the 1.5 mile track in Concord, North Carolina.

 

"Everyone at SR2 Motorsports is honored to receive the support from great hometown companies like JW Demolition and Bubble Charlotte," stated White. "We had a great Top-10 finish with Will and the JW Demolition folks at Talladega and Bubble Charlotte just had their Grand Opening last weekend at their downtown location."

 

In business since 2000, JW Demolition is a licensed demolition and hazardous materials remediation contractor serving commercial and industrial clients in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic States, and Mid-West. Their experience and safety record in both areas makes them uniquely qualified to take the lead in plant decommissioning and commercial redevelopment.

 

Step out of the ordinary and into sophistication at Bubble Charlotte, a premium establishment in downtown Charlotte that stimulates the senses. Bubble Charlotte serves an extensive list of unique cocktails, spirits and select wines that compliment chef-driven small plates, crafted for a mature palate. Strict attention to detail is evident throughout, with exceptional service and hospitality provided at all times. Rich surroundings and stunning décor create an ambiance fitting for a casual evening after work or night out on the town. Bubble Charlotte is social sophistication.

 

"This SR2 Motorsports team has worked extremely hard to grow to this point and the addition of quality sponsors like this is a testament to all of that work," added Jason. "We look forward to a great race in front of our hometown fans and putting together another solid finish for our sponsors."

 

ISM PR

Daytona International Speedway launched a special promotion with area hotels to provide race fans with the best deals possible when they attend the upcoming Coke Zero 400 Weekend Powered By Coca-Cola on July 5-6.

During the month of June, fans who book their stays at participating hotels will receive at least a 10 percent discount off regular rates. In addition, these area hotels will not require a minimum night stay to participate in the promotion – the discounted rates are good for one night or multiple nights.

Participating hotels include the Bahama House and Best Western Aku Tiki in Daytona Beach, the Holiday Inn Express Orange City and Clarion Hotel in DeLand (approximately 20 miles from the speedway), the Marriott and Westin hotels in Lake Mary (approximately 35 miles from the speedway) and the Legacy Vacation Club Palm Coast (approximately 35 miles from the speedway). A complete list of participating hotels and special promotional codes can be found on www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com/hotels.

“Securing a reasonable hotel rate is important to race fans when making their travel plans for attending a race,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “The hotel partners in this promotion are providing the best possible deals for our fans so they can enjoy the excitement of NASCAR at Daytona. This year’s Coke Zero 400 will be a thrilling event from start to finish, kicking off with a 60-minute pre-race concert by nine-time GRAMMY winner Sheryl Crow and ending with the largest fireworks display in the Southeast.”

DIS PR

NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the 2014 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The five-person group – the fifth in NASCAR Hall of Fame history – consists of Tim Flock, Jack Ingram, Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty and Fireball Roberts. Next year’s Induction Day is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, broadcast on Fox Sports 1 from Charlotte, N.C.

The 54-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2014. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France made the announcement this evening in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”

Next year’s class was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, which included representatives from NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame, track owners from major facilities and historic short tracks, media members, manufacturer representatives, retired competitors (drivers, owners, crew chiefs), recognized industry leaders and a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.com – which counted for the 55th and final vote. The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

Voting for next year’s class was as follows: Tim Flock (76%), Maurice Petty (67%), Dale Jarrett (56%), Jack Ingram (53%) and Fireball Roberts (51%).

The next top vote getters were Jerry Cook, Joe Weatherly and Wendell Scott.

Results for the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, in alphabetical order, were Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Dale Jarrett, Benny Parsons and Fireball Roberts.

The five inductees came from a group of 25 nominees that included:

Red Byron, Richard Childress, Jerry Cook, H. Clay Earles, Tim Flock, Ray Fox, Anne Bledsoe France, Rick Hendrick, Jack Ingram, Bobby Isaac, Dale Jarrett, Fred Lorenzen, Raymond Parks, Benny Parsons, Maurice Petty, Larry Phillips, Les Richter, Fireball Roberts, T. Wayne Robertson, Wendell Scott, Ralph Seagraves, O. Bruton Smith, Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly and Rex White.

Class of 2014 Inductees:

Tim Flock

A two-time NASCAR premier series champion, Flock was one of the sport’s first dominant drivers. In 187 starts, Flock had 39 victories, a total that still ranks 18th on the all-time wins list. Flock won his first series title in 1952 while driving Ted Chester’s Hudson Hornet, and his second in 1955 driving Carl Kiekhaefer’s Chrysler. He dominated that season, posting 18 wins, 32 top fives and 18 poles in 39 races. Flock’s 18 wins stood as a single-season victory record until Richard Petty surpassed it with 27 wins in 1967.

Jack Ingram

The NASCAR Nationwide Series has had a variety of incarnations through the years but when considered collectively, an argument can be made that Jack Ingram is the series’ all-time greatest driver. Before the formation of the series, Ingram won three consecutive championships, from 1972-74, in its precursor – the Late Model Sportsman Division. When the NASCAR Busch Series was formed, he won the inaugural title in 1982 and again in ’85. In his 10 years of competition in what was called the NASCAR Busch Series, Ingram had 31 wins, a record that stood until Mark Martin broke it in 1997. All but two of Ingram’s 31 wins came on short tracks.

Dale Jarrett

Dale Jarrett personified big-stage performances. A three-time Daytona 500 winner and two-time winner of the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Jarrett excelled under NASCAR’s brightest spotlights. His 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories – 21st all-time – also include the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Jarrett won the 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, and recorded six additional top-five championship finishes. With father Ned, the Jarretts are only the second father-son combination with NASCAR premier series championships after NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee and Richard Petty. Ned Jarrett was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in May 2011. Ned and Dale Jarrett become the third father-son duo selected to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, following Bill France Sr. and Bill France Jr., and Lee and Richard Petty.

Maurice Petty

The chief engine builder at Petty Enterprises, Maurice Petty becomes the fourth member of the dynasty to be chosen for membership in the NASCAR Hall of Fame – following his older brother Richard, father Lee and his cousin Dale Inman. The man simply called “Chief” supplied the horsepower that propelled Richard Petty to a majority of his record 200 NASCAR victories, plus his seven NASCAR premier series championships and seven Daytona 500 victories. Lee Petty, Buddy Baker, Jim Paschal and Pete Hamilton were also among those who won with his engines. Petty had a brief driving career – 26 premier series races with seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes between 1960 and 1964 – but was satisfied to work behind the scenes as one of the top engine builders ever seen in the sport.

Fireball Roberts

Glenn Roberts, who got his legendary nickname from his days as a hard-throwing pitcher in high school, is perhaps the greatest driver never to win a NASCAR title. He was arguably stock car racing’s first superstar, an immensely popular prototype for some of today’s competitors who are stars on and off the track. During his career he often came up big in the biggest events, winning the Daytona 500 in 1962 and the Southern 500 in 1958 and ’63. Overall, he won seven races at Daytona International Speedway, starting with the Firecracker 250 in the summer of 1959 – the year the speedway opened.

NASCAR PR

Lt. Col. Oliver North is a combat decorated U.S. Marine, a No. 1 best-selling author, the founder of a small business, an inventor with three U.S. patents, a syndicated columnist and the host of “War Stories” on Fox News Channel.

For his unwavering support of the military, decades of service to his country and a continued commitment to service, the man whom President Ronald Reagan described as “an American hero” can add Stonewall Jackson Award winner to his long list of accolades.

“Each May, as we gather more than 100,000 strong to pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces as part of the Coca-Cola 600, we select one recipient as our Stonewall Jackson honoree,” said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. “This year, we could think of no one more deserving to recognize for his decades of unparalleled service to our country than Lt. Col. Oliver North.”

In addition to being recognized with the Stonewall Jackson Award, North will deliver a moving “State of Freedom” speech during pre-race festivities and sign autographs in The Speedway Club for a limited number of military members. The address and the salute for the military portion of the pre-race show is presented by NRA Life of Duty. North is also scheduled to appear earlier in the day at a special “Welcome Home the Troops” luncheon at zMAX Dragway.

North was born in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and served 22 years as a Marine officer. His awards for service in combat include the Silver Star, the Bronze Star for valor and two Purple Hearts for wounds in action.

Assigned to the National Security Council staff in the Reagan administration, North was the United States government’s counter-terrorism coordinator from 1983 until 1986. He was involved in planning the rescue of 804 medical students on the island of Grenada and played a major role in the daring capture of the terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro. After helping plan the U.S. raid on Muammar Qaddafi’s terror bases in Libya, North was targeted for assassination by Abu Nidal, the infamous terrorist killed in Baghdad in August 2002.

From his years of military service, North knows the sacrifices today’s men and women in uniform make on a daily basis to bring about the freedom enjoyed by millions across the United States.

“Active duty soldiers, sailors, airmen, guardsmen and Marines and veterans of all services are America’s heroes,” North said. “They put themselves at risk, forfeit the comforts of home and absent themselves from loved ones to protect us and offer others the hope of freedom.”

Since 2001, he has been the host of “War Stories” – the award-winning military documentary series on Fox News Channel -- and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units. North has authored 13 books, all of them New York Times best sellers. His latest, “Heroes Proved” is a gripping tale of intrigue and duplicity at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

North serves on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and is the founder of Freedom Alliance, a foundation providing college scholarships to the sons and daughters of U.S. military personnel killed in the line of duty.

He claims his most important accomplishment is being “the husband of one, the father of four and the grandfather of 14.”

A decorated veteran, North said he is honored to be a part of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s efforts to pay tribute to the U.S. Armed Forces on Memorial Day weekend.

“What the NRA and NASCAR are doing here at the Coca-Cola 600 should be replicated all across our land,” he said. “Those we honor here are the bravest and best of their generation. They are proof we are the home of the brave – and the reason why we’re still the land of the free.”

Presented annually since 1992, the Stonewall Jackson Award recognizes recipients who have demonstrated, by example, the highest standards of patriotism through personal support of the military and/or by personal service to sacrifice above the call of duty. Past recipients include Gen. Gary Luck (USA), Congressman Bill Hefner (N.C.), Gen. James Livingston (USMC), Gen. Dwayne Dorming (USSOC), the 82nd Airborne Division, Gen.Lloyd Newton (USA), Gen. Peter Pace, Gen. Buck Herman (USA), Gen. Henry Shelton (USA), Gen. John Handy (USAF), Gen. William B. Tonguy (USSOC), Command Sgt. Major Michael W. Williams, Brigadier Gen. Iwan B. Clontz, Col. (ret.) Walter Joseph Marm, former American Legion Post Commander Dale Punch and last year’s winner, Purple Heart Homes co-founder Dale Beatty.

CMS PR

RAB Racing with Brack Maggard and driver Alex Bowman announced today that they are teaming with Microsoft Corp. for the NASCAR Nationwide Series History 300 on May 25 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

Since its premiere at Daytona International Speedway in February, Toyota teams - including RAB Racing - have been utilizing its line-of-business Windows 8 Trackside app to enhance their performance on and off the racetrack. Developed by Toyota Racing Development (TRD) and running on the Surface Pro, RAB Racing is able to monitor real-time performance data, conveniently and portably. Because of its ability to share data with the crew instantaneously, the application has quickly become a staple of the team's strategy.

 

"I'm very proud to be able to represent a company like Microsoft and great products like Windows 8 and the Surface Pro," said owner Robby Benton. "Microsoft products have been a part of everyday life at RAB Racing since day one, so being able to represent them in NASCAR is a great opportunity. The Windows based application that TRD developed with Microsoft has helped our race team tremendously and made us more efficient utilizing the technology."

 

TRD selected the Surface Pro because of its touch-screen and lightweight features, making it easy for crew members to utilize its powerful computing features. Additionally, Surface's durable VaporMg chassis allows it to withstand the hazardous conditions of the racetrack.

 

"I love the Windows 8 Trackside app; it's made a world of a difference and boosted our performance in 2013," said Chris Rice, pit crew chief for #99 Alex Bowman. "There's a long list of features that have made all of our lives easier, from the track map, to the live timing and scoring - I can even make all my setup notes in the application and eliminate that big bulky binder with hundreds of pages that I carried from track to track. Probably my favorite feature on the device is how each one of my guys can share information back and forth without ever passing a note or talking to each other. And I can instantly see all the information from my engineers, read tire temperatures all instantly. The Windows 8 Trackside app really saved us a lot of time which translates into more time on track and less in the garage.

 

RAB Racing PR

The Goody’s Fast Relief 500 is five months away, but there is no better time than now to make sure you have the best possible seats for the seventh race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup at Martinsville Speedway.

Tickets in all areas of the grandstands are now on sale for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500, the seventh race in the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup, on Sunday, Oct. 27.

“We are already looking forward to the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 even though it’­­s not until October,” said Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell. “Short tracks offer the best racing around and that’s especially true here at Martinsville with the long straights and tight turns.

“Throw in the fact that the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 is the seventh race of the Chase, and it puts even more pressure on the drivers, makes things even more exciting.”

Whatever your budget or seating needs, Martinsville Speedway can take care of you.

Tickets for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 start at just $37.

There is also great family and youth pricing for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500.

  • · $90 Family Four Pack, two adults, two children in the Clay Earles Tower, rows 6-14. The Clay Earles Tower is located above the second turn.

  • · $120 Family Four Pack, two adults, two children in the Sprint Tower, rows 6-12. The Sprint Tower is located above the first turn.

  • · Tickets for youth 12 and under are just $10 in the Clay Earles Tower, rows 15-52. Teen tickets (ages 13-17) in the same area are $25. Youth and teen ticket prices are good with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Tickets for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, Oct. 26 are just $30 with youth 12 and under admitted free. Tickets for Pole Day, Friday, Oct. 25, are $15.

Martinsville Speedway PR

Like nearly everyone in America this week, Eddie Wood and his fellow members of the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have had the weather on their minds, especially after the heart-breaking death and damage that massive tornados caused in Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Wood and his crew also have been keeping an eye on the forecast for Charlotte on Thursday, when qualifying is scheduled for Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, and there’s a chance of rain.

Wood is hoping for clear skies and a fast Ford Fusion so his family team can reach a milestone 1,400 Sprint Cup starts, dating back to Glen Wood’s first appearance in NASCAR’s elite division, at Martinsville Speedway on May 17, 1953, driving a 1953 Lincoln. Should there be rain, enough rain for qualifying to be cancelled, the team would miss the race. By competing on a limited schedule, the team has made fewer attempts to qualify for races this season than the other teams not otherwise locked into the starting field.

In rainouts, the final starting slots go to teams based on the number of attempts to qualify.

“Considering the tragedy and loss the people of Oklahoma have suffered, our weather concerns don’t seem that important,” Wood said. “But the Wood Brothers have run 1,399 races, and we plan to run a lot more in the future. If we miss Charlotte, we’ll make our 1,400th start somewhere else.”

Charlotte would be an appropriate venue, as the team got its first superspeedway victory there in the 1960 National 400 with Speedy Thompson at the wheel.

Crew chief Donnie Wingo also is hoping the weather works out in the team’s favor, as he and driver Trevor Bayne are looking forward to getting the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion back into Sprint Cup action.

“We’re taking the same Ford Fusion we ran at Texas and Las Vegas,” Wingo said. “It was our best chassis last year, and we’ve done a lot of work on it since.”

Wingo, Bayne and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane crew also are hoping to keep up the momentum from two recent test sessions, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

“We tested with a different car, but you always pick up things that can help you at other places and with other cars,” Wingo said.

The veteran crew chief will be putting his experience – recent and long-term – to work should the team make the field for NASCAR’s longest race.

“I like the challenge of 600 miles,” he said. “It requires a lot of preparation, and you have to build a lot of adjustability into the car because the race goes from daytime into night, and Charlotte is one of the most heat-sensitive tracks we race on.”

Qualifying for the Coca-Cola 600 is scheduled for Thursday at 7:10 p.m., and the race is set to get the green flag just after 6 p.m. on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.

Wood Brothers Racing PR

COCA-COLA 600 NOTES & QUOTES:

Bobby Labonte's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win occurred during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28, 1995. His second win at Charlotte, took place on October 8, 2000. He has six runner-up finishes.

In 40 starts at the 1.5-mile home track, he has two victories, three poles, 12 top-five and 17 top-10 finishes and has led 807 laps. His average start is 15.675 and his average finish is 15.500.

 

Labonte reflects on his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career win at Charlotte: "It was the 1995 Coca-Cola 600," Labonte said. "I started second, was running well and leading on several occasions. I even roughed up Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. on the frontstretch one time, which made him mad. We got down towards the end of the race and Kenny Schrader was leading. I thought I could catch him, but not sure about passing him. Then his engine blew up and I thought, 'Now what am I going to do?' I'm leading going for my first win. I ended up winning the race over six seconds in front of my brother (Terry), who finished second. It was the first race I won and my brother Terry finished second. Pretty cool."

The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion also remembers his first Coca-Cola 600: "I can remember my first Coca-Cola 600 race and leading at mile 400, it was a wild moment to be in a big event like that and lead with 200 miles to go and finish seventh," Labonte said.

There's nothing like being at home for the 21-time winner: "One of the greatest things about racing at Charlotte Motor Speedway is that you are able to have some time at home for a couple weeks and sleep in your own bed," Labonte said. "I've always enjoyed racing there and for us drivers it's a prestigious race. You want to win in your backyard in front of a hometown crowd."

It's all about beans: "We're happy to have BUSH'S® Grillin' Beans® on the hood of our No. 47 Toyota Camry at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600," driver Bobby Labonte said. "Since the Coca-Cola 600 was the first race I won in my career, that race and track has special meaning to me. Also, it's followed by a special holiday, Memorial Day. It's the time of year when people come together for different things and it's a big day of grilling with family and friends. We look forward to grilling out ourselves on Monday and getting together with the family. There's always a grill lit up at my house."

Moving in the right direction: "The Sprint Showdown was like a test session for us because we tried some different things, but decided to go back to the way we were in the fall race because we were more competitive," crew chief Brian Burns. "That setup points us in the right direction that will make us better. Basically, we are going back to what we thought was right in the first place."

Show and tell: "Finishing strong at Charlotte Motor Speedway is more of a pride thing, kind of like, show and tell in elementary school," Burns said. "There's more pride around this race because your friends and family are here and you always put in extra effort. At the same time, being at home, you are able to catch your breath and relax a little from being on the road. It's good to be home."

Gaining strength: "Every week we get stronger," Burns said. "We understand our strengths and weaknesses and I think that helps make us a cohesive unit. We expect a good qualifying effort on Thursday. Usually, we expect top-20 finishes, but this Sunday we expect a top-15 finish. We had one of our best race car setups at Charlotte last year, but everything that could possibly go wrong, went wrong. We want to go back and redeem ourselves. Also, we are looking at some tests coming up to help improve our intermediate track program. Good things are ahead for us."
 
JTG PR
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