Posts Filed Under NASCAR

(Photo by Getty Images)

What is a number? To Matt Kenseth fans that No.17 is everything. Go to a race and ask members of the Junior Nation all about change. A number in NASCAR is a powerful thing.

Last Friday, when Roush-Fenway Racing put out a press release that the 2012 Daytona 500 Champion would be getting a number change, NASCAR fans all over the country started to freak out. I had people asking me on Twitter and even at church during mass if Jack Roush was really going to change Kenseth’s number 11 races into the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Then there were the people asking me if this was going to be just for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race, similar to what Jimmie Johnson did in 2011 with the No. 5.

For the first time in my short writing career, I had no clue what to tell people. I was just as stumped as they were. When members of the NASCAR media asked Kenseth about it on Friday during his media availability at Darlington Raceway, even he was stumped.

On Monday morning, the question was finally answered and if you had Matt Kenseth driving the Fifth-Third No. 17 Ford Fusion, you win! Read the rest of this entry »

Jeff Gordon stands in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

All eyes have been on Hendrick Motorsports since the 2012 season began. NASCAR fans and members of the media couldn’t wait to see which of the drivers in the stable would give Rick Hendrick his 200th career win. Last night at Darlington Raceway, one of Jeff Gordon’s most successful tracks, it was Jimmie Johnson who was able to celebrate in victory lane with the boss-man, leaving man in the NASCAR world wondering what is going on with Jeff Gordon.

Twice on Saturday night during the 62nd Annual Bojangles’ Southern 500, Gordon had to pit because of flat tires. This continued a host of struggles for the four-time Sprint Cup champion who is currently 23rd in points.

Currently, he is 170 points behind points leader Greg Biffle. Mark Martin, who is running a very limited schedule, passed Gordon in the standings following the race.

Just how much more crazier can the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season get for Gordon and the No. 24 team. Read the rest of this entry »

NASCAR drivers Ryan Newman, left, and Danica Patrick pose for photos during a news conference at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, May 10, 2012, in Concord, N.C.(Photo by The Associated Press)

As if her growing list of sponsors wasn’t already ridiculous, Danica Patrick has added another deal to the list. On Thursday, Patrick announced that she would be a sponsored driver for Coke Zero and has already been cross promoting the brand on her Twitter account (@DanicaPatrick). While other drivers in the NASCAR Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series who have fair more talent than Mrs. Patrick continue to struggle with their search for sponsorship, this hasn’t been a problem for the driver of the No. 17.

Danica Patrick joins a growing list of drivers sponsored in the Coca-Cola Racing Family, including Greg Biffle, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, and 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart. Coca-Cola has been in the NASCAR family for 14 years.

Patrick is the first female involved in the Coca-Cola Racing family, but you probably knew that already. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hendrick Motorsports team, (L-R) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, team owner Rick Hendrick, Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet, celebrate their 200th win after Johnson won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 12, 2012.(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Make it 200 wins for Rick Hendrick.

Jimmie Johnson held off Tony Stewart and Denny Hamlin to win the 62nd Annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway. The win, Johnson’s first of the 2012 season, gave Hendrick Motorsports their 200th career victory.

The final caution occurred with six laps remaining when Kurt Busch side-swiped the wall and Aric Almirola spun Ryan Newman. The caution would bring the third green-white-checkered finish at Darlington Raceway.

It had been 16 races since Jimmie Johnson last won his last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

After the race, Rick Hendrick thanked all the fans of Hendrick Motorsports, the different drivers throughout the organization’s history, everyone at the shop, and the different sponsors. He also dedicated the 200th win to the lives lost on October 24, 2004. Hendrick also mentioned a huge party with Brad Paisley tonight to celebrate the big  win. Four haulers with special 200th win Hendrick memorabilia has been traveling with the NASCAR Sprint Cup team behind Hendrick’s back in preparation for this big day.

In Gatorade Victory Lane Jimmie Johnson climbed out of his car and gave Rick Hendrick a big bear hug and told the media “You’ve got to heart that man[Rick Hendrick].”

Some of Hendrick’s 200 victories include three Daytona 500 wins with Gordon, one with Bodine and Johnson, five Brickyard 400 victories with Gordon and three more with Johnson, 10 Sprint Cup championships combined with Johnson, Gordon, and Terry Labonte. Read the rest of this entry »

Joey Logano celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR)

For the second straight week in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, Joe Gibbs Racing and Joey Logano are back in victory lane. It was a similar situation like last week at Talladega Superspeedway, Logano went from being on the back bumper of the race leader in the last laps to ending up in Gatorade Victory Lane.

However, it was the circumstances that changed.

With five laps to go, Joey Logano bumped leader Ellitt Sadler after a restart, turning the No. 2 into the wall. Logano then shot past his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin during the green-white-checkered finish and held on for his third victory of the 2012 season.

“First off, I want to apologize to Elliott,” a subdued Logano said in Gatorade Victory Lane. “That was obviously not on purpose. We worked so well together last week at Talladega that we were helping each other again there it seemed like and I pushed him ahead on the restart before and got him out front. I was going to do the same thing and I guess he was just spinning his tires still and I was trying to push him ahead and car got squirrely and he starts right.”

For those asking, Logano told the media after the race that he tried to call Elliott Sadler from victory lane but he did not answer his cell phone, instead he left a voicemail. He hopes to talk to him and personally apologize for the racing mishap. Read the rest of this entry »

Greg Biffle poses with the Coors Light Pole Award and Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012. (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Greg Biffle had no problem taming the Lady in Black during his qualifying run at Darlington Raceway.; With a lap of 27. 281 seconds, 180. 257 mph, Biffle won the Coors Light Pole Award for the 63rd Annual Bojangles’ Southern 500. This is Biffle’s 11th pole in 341 NASCAR Sprint Cup races, and his second pole award of the 2012 season.

The 62nd Annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway kicks off on Saturday night with the NASCAR Countdown at 6:30 pm EST on FOX with the green flag dropping at 7:00pm.

Starting Lineup:

1. Greg Biffle
2. Jimmie Johnson(MY RACE PICK)
3. Kasey Kahne
4. Ryan Newman
5. Kyle Busch
6. Martin Truex, Jr
7. Carl Edwards
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Regan Smith(Won in 2011)
10. Jeff Burton Read the rest of this entry »

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Nationwide Series VFW Sport Clips Help a Hero 200 at Darlington Raceway on May 11, 2012 i(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

With a qualifying speed of 173.546, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr captured his fifth career Coors Light Pole Award in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. This is Stenhouse’s first pole award of the 2012 season and his first at Darlington Raceway. Prior to capturing the pole, his best start at The Lady in Black was eighth.

The VFW Sports Clips Help a Hero 200 from Darlington Raceway kicks off tonight with the NASCAR Countdown at 6:30pm ET on ESPN with the green dropping at 7:00pm. Denny Hamlin is the in-race reporter and Carl Edwards joins the guys in the booth calling the race.

Starting Lineup:

1. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
2. Denny Hamlin(MY PICK TO WIN THE RACE)
3. Austin Dillion
4. Kurt Busch
5. Joey Logano
6. Elliott Sadler
7. Brian Scott
8. Sam Hornish, Jr
9. Kasey Kahne
10. Justin Allgaier
11. Brendan Gaughan
12. Mike Bliss
13. Brad Keselowski
14. James Beuscher
15. Danica Patrick
16. Joe Nemechek
17. Ryan Blaney
18. TJ Bell
19. Josh Richards
20.  Erik Darnell
21. Mike Wallace
22. Erik Darnell
23. Jeremy Clements
24.  Josh Wise
25. Travis Pastrana
26. Jeff Green
27. Casey Roderick
28. Jamie Dick
29. Chase Miller
30. Tayler Malsam
31. Timmy Hill
32. Jason Bowles
33. Scott Speed
34. Tony Raines
35. Blake Koch
36. Danny Efland
37. Morgan Shepherd
38. Scott Riggs
39. Mike Harmon
40. Cole Whitt
41. Kevin Lepage
42. Matt Frahm
43. Derrike Cope

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

Four years in a row, Darlington Raceway has sold out its Mother’s Day weekend Sprint Cup race. Can they do it again in 2012?

Will Darlington Raceway provide the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with another first time winner like it did in 2011 when Regan Smith and Front Row Motorsports ended up in Victory Lane?  Last year, race winner Regan Smith climbed out of his car in Gatorade Victory Lane and wished all the moms watching a Happy Mother’s Day. He then got all choked up when wishing a special Mother’s Day to his mom, Lee, who wasn’t there. You see, Lee Smith was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama(my hometown) helping with tornado relief efforts. She had never missed a race since Regan was 4 years old. It was really hard for him not to have her there in VL to share this experience with him. Nicknamed The Lady in Black and The Track too Tough to Tame, Darlington Raceway is a 1.366 mile asphalt track that was built in 1948 and opened for racing on Labor Day 1950. The first race winner was Johnny Mantz, whose car was owned by Brian France, Sr.

NASCAR Nationwide Series:

2011 Coors Light Pole Award: Rain Out
2011 Winner: Kyle Busch
Laps: 147
Miles: 200.8 

Friday, May 11, 2012

11:00 AM   NASCAR Live       SPEED
11:30 AM   NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice             SPEED
1:30 PM      NASCAR Live      SPEED
2:00 PM      NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice SPEED
3:oo PM      NASCAR Live      SPEED
3:30 PM      NASCAR Nationwide Qualifying ESPN 2
5:00 PM      NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying   SPEED
6:30PM       NASCAR Nationwide Countdown   ESPN 2
7:00PM      NASCAR Nationwide Series Race ESPN 2
(VFW Sports Clips Help A Hero 200. Carl Edwards will serve as a TV Analyst. Denny Hamlin will serve as the In-Race Reporter.)

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
2011 Coors Light Pole Award: Kasey Kahne
Laps: 367
Miles: 501.3
2011 Winner: Regan Smith

Saturday, May 12, 2012:

11:00 AM NASCAR Performance SPEED
4:00PM SPEED Center NASCAR Edition SPEED
6:30PM NASCAR Countdown FOX
7:oo PM NASCAR Sprint Cup Race FOX
(Bojangles’ Southern 500)
11:00 PM NASCAR Victory Lane SPEED

**All times above are EASTERN STANDARD TIME**

Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR

Race Information:

When: Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 7:00 pm EST on FOX
Where: Darlington Raceway in Darlington, Raceway
Laps: 367
Distance:  501. 3  miles

A year ago, Regan Smith became the sixth driver to post his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Darlington Speedway. This season, Smith needs a pick me up. In 2012, he has finished in the top 15 just once in the first 10 races of the season. Can he turn his season around on Saturday night with another win?

This is also the final points race before next weekend’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. It’s the final opportunity for driver’s like Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to capture a win and be locked into the all-star field. However, if you don’t win the Bojangles’ Southern 500, drivers still can still finish first or second in the Sprint Showdown or win the Sprint Fan Vote . If you’d like to vote for your favorite driver, you can click here vote: Read the rest of this entry »

Kyle Busch celebrates winning the Royal Purple 200 race at Darlington Raceway (Nigel Kinrade, USA Autostock)

Race Information:

When: Friday, May 11, 2012 at 6: 30 EST on ESPN 2
Where: Darlington, South Carolina
Laps: 144 laps
Distance: 200.8 miles

Last year, Kyle Busch scored his fifth NASCAR Nationwide Series win of the 2011 season and his 48th of his career at Darlington Raceway.  Busch beat his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Denny Hamlin to the checkered flag by 3.677 seconds.  While Kyle Busch isn’t in this race this year, can his brother, Kurt, take the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports to Gatorade Victory Lane?

The big question at Darlington is who will earn their “Darlington Stripe”?  Many of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series superstars, including Kasey Kahne, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, and Denny Hamlin, will come over and try to take the Nationwide Series trophy from the regulars of the series. Travis Pastrana and Danica Patrick also make their track debut at The Lady in Black this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »