Friday, February 24, 2017

First #MENCS Win Backs Up Chase Elliott's Pole

Chase Elliott Backs Up Pole with First #MENCS Win The Can-Am Duel 1 Provide a Bit More Excitement that the Second One.

Chase Elliott kicked off Speedweeks last Sunday by scoring his consecutive Daytona 500 pole. Then the sophomore Hendrick Motorsports driver continued his hot streak on last night by winning the first of the two Can-Am Duel races. 

Chase Elliott Backs Up Pole with First #MENCS Win

With the win, Elliott becomes the youngest winner of a Duel race, eclipsing Jeff Gordon for that record and also becoming one of three drivers to win a Duel race before winning their first full points race. He is also the first driver since Dale Earnhardt in 1996 to win the Daytona 500 pole and his qualifying race.

Following Elliott to the finish was McMurray, Harvick, Keselowski, Matt Kenseth, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex, Jr.*, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, and Cole Whitt to round out the top-10. All 10 drivers also score season points, with Elliott scoring 10 points down to Whitt with one point.

“We had such a fast NAPA Chevy tonight. I didn’t think anyone was going to help us there at the first part of the race and I had a couple of good pushes to get us out front. Eddie did a great job on top of the roof making sure that he was calling the lanes correctly and we were able to get back to the front. Big thanks to our partners: NAPA, Hooters, Kelley Blue Book, Mountain Dew, Sun Energy 1, Chevrolet, Vavoline, the Hendrick engine shop – they had some steam tonight and it was apparent,” said Elliott.

The race was not without incident as the two drivers battling for the lone race-in spot in the first Duel, Reed Sorenson and Corey Lajoie, got together on lap 49. Sorenson coming out of the tri-oval before hitting the SAFER barrier and destroying his car. Luckily, Sorenson walked out of the Infield Care Center a short time later. Lajoie continued on to race his way into the ‘Great American Race.’

Sorenson was not too happy to be crashed out of the race, stating, “I hope he is proud of that.” Below is the video of the incident – You decide: 

“I was just welding seats in my dad’s shop and Ron Devine’s call came in. He was needing a driver, Matt went over to GoFas, and he had an open seat that I’d politicked very hard for. I picked it up and he said ‘this is the call you’ve been wanting to hear’ and I was like ‘man, thank you, thank you very much’. I’m excited to go and I can’t thank Dustless Blasting enough for putting me in that thing and have faith in me to do it because he could have chosen several other people. He chose me and we’re racing on Sunday,” said Lajoie when recounting how he landed his ride for the Daytona 500.

However, my favorite story of the night has to be Cole Whitt’s performance.  A year ago he entered the race needing a strong performance to make the Daytona 500, however an accident ended his night and hopes early.

This year, Whitt entered the Duels with a guaranteed Daytona 500 spot. Not satisfied with that accomplishment, the twenty-five-year-old rolled off eighteenth in the first Duel and stayed at the tail of the lead pack early on, trying to find a way through the pack. As the race neared its close, Whitt kept himself out of trouble and worked his way into the top-fifteen. After restarting twelfth with eight laps to go, he used the final laps to maneuver his way into top-ten. In the process, he earned his first point in the new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point system**.

It will be interesting to witness how Whitt and his TriStar Motorsports No. 72 team progresses during this 2017 NASCAR Season. NASCAR Race Mom is of the belief that the youngster’s talent and acquired racing maturity will sparkle this year.

The Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. proved too low at the height station and therefore failed tech.

*The Furniture Row Racing Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. proved too low at the height station and therefore failed tech. Truex, who was seventh in Duel 1, lost four points and will start the Daytona 500 from the rear.

**Points! The top 10 drivers from each duel race will carry points into the Daytona 500, marking the first time points ever have been on the line at the duels. The driver whi finishes first is awarded 10 points, and the remaining points are awarded in descending order. This means that two drivers will head into The Great American Race with a share of the points lead; Chase Elliott and Denny Hamlin.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

#NASCAR Duels 2017 – Tonight

#NASCAR Duels 2017 – Tonight
#NASCAR Duels 2017 – Tonight

Thanks to NASCAR's enhanced competition format, a new era begins as the 150-mile qualifying races will determine the rest of the starting positions for "The Great American Race" and will now award points that will impact the season-long championship. Driver and Team Owner Points will be awarded to the top ten finishers in each Can-Am Duel.

Each duel is comprised of 21 drivers, with their starting spots based on qualifying times. The winner of each duel will make up the second row for the Daytona 500, and the rest of field will be filled out in accordance with the finishing order of the duels.

    #NASCAR Duels 2017 – Tonight
  • Where: Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida
  • When: Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. ET
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Live Stream: Fox Sports Go


Below is the official lineup for each race:

Driver Team
1. Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports
2. Brad Keselowski Team Penske
3. Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing
4. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing
5. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing
6. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing
8. Daniel Suarez Joe Gibbs Racing
9. Joey Logano Team Penske
10. Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing
11. Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing
12. Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing
13. Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports
14. Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports
15. Matt DiBenedetto Go Fas Racing
16. Chris Buescher JTG Daugherty Racing
17. Brendan Gaughan* Beard Motorsports
18. Cole Whitt TriStar Motorsports
19. Reed Sorenson* Premium Motorsports
20. Joey Gase BK Racing
21. Corey LaJoie* BK Racing 

#NASCAR Duels 2017 – Tonight


Driver Team
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports
2. Clint Bowyer Stewart-Haas Racing
3. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing
4. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports
5. Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing
6. Ty Dillon Germain Racing
7. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports
8. Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing
9. Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing
10. Erik Jones Furniture Row Racing
11. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing
12. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing
13. Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing
14. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing
15. Michael McDowell Leavine Family Racing
16. David Ragan Front Row Motorsports
17. Michael Waltrip Premium Motorsports
18. Elliott Sadler* Tommy Baldwin Racing
19. D.J. Kennington* Gaunt Brothers Racing
20. Jeffrey Earnhardt Circle Sport - The Motorsports Group
21. Timmy Hill* Rick Ware Racing

These races have been terrific performance indicators for The DAYTONA 500, as nine Can-Am Duel winners have gone on to win the Harley J. Earl DAYTONA 500 trophy. As a reminder, 36 Charter teams are locked into the Daytona 500, leaving four available spots to be filled by six Open, or non-Charter teams.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What are the #NASCAR Drivers Tweeting before Daytona?

What are the #NASCAR Drivers Tweeting before Daytona?

The Twitter-Verse Gives a Glimpse Inside the Mind of #MENCS Drivers

If you do not follow the NASCAR Drivers via Twitter, you should. It is a great and simple way to get familiar with all your favorite NASCAR Stars.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Remembering Last Year's #NASCAR Daytona 500

Remembering Last Year's #NASCAR Daytona 500

A Thrilling Daytona 500 Photo Finish

The 2016 Daytona 500, the 58th running of the event, was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held on February 21, 2016, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Contested over 200 laps on the 2.5-mile (4.0 km) asphalt superspeedway, it was the first race of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Denny Hamlin won the race in a photo finish over Martin Truex Jr.. The top-five was rounded out by Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.

Chase Elliott won the pole for the race and led three laps before crashing out early in the race and finished 37th. Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kyle Busch won the Duel races. Unlike Busch, Earnhardt Jr. crashed out with 29 laps to go and finished 36th.

Race Fast Facts

Daytona International Speedway

  • 58th Annual Daytona 500
  • Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
  • Age: 35
  • Team : No. 11 - FedEx Express Toyota
  • Owner: J.D. Gibbs
  • Crew Chief: Michael Wheeler

  • Denny Hamlin won the 58th Annual Daytona 500, his 27th victory in 363 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
  • This is his first victory and first top-10 finish in 2016.
  • This is his first victory and seventh top-10 finish in 21 races at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Martin Truex Jr. (second) posted his third top-10 finish in 22 races at Daytona International Speedway. It is his first top-10 finish in 2016.
  • Kyle Busch (third) posted his seventh top-10 finish in 22 races at Daytona International Speedway.
  • Ryan Blaney (19th) was the highest finishing rookie.
  • Denny Hamlin leads the point standings by 5 points over Martin Truex Jr.
  • This is the first Daytona 500 win for Toyota.
  • Today's Margin of Victory is the closest in Daytona 500 history at 0.010 second.
  • Denny Hamlin becomes the fifth driver in series history to win the Sprint Unlimited and the Daytona 500 in the same season joining Bobby Allison (1982), Bill Elliott (1987), Dale Jarrett (1996, 2000) and Jeff Gordon (1997).

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bassett Breaks Through For First Win

Bassett Breaks Through For First Win Drives Away With K&N Pro East Opener at New Smyrna 


Ronnie Bassett celebrates in Victory Lane at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway  following his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win Sunday night.
Ronnie Bassett celebrates in Victory Lane at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway
following his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win Sunday night.

A year after coming up just short at New Smyrna Speedway, Ronnie Bassett Jr. walked away with the Jet Tools 150 Sunday night for his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory.

In his 40th career start, Bassett led the final 42 laps – the first laps he’s led in the series – and out-distanced runner-up Zane Smith by 3.563 seconds.

Bassett started seventh and by Lap 108 had moved the No. 04 Bassett Gutters and More Ford to the front. He used a strong restart to pass his brother Dillon Bassett for the race lead.

“I was just watching the restarts,” said Ronnie Bassett, “and I picked a spot in the two lines, and I went after it, and I guess my brother spun his tires a little bit.”

Bassett finished third at New Smyrna last season and is the only driver that was entered into Sunday’s race that has competed in all four series visits to the Florida half-mile.

“We work extremely hard to make these race cars good every weekend,” Ronnie Bassett said. “We’ve had some good runs. We’ve finished second, third, fourth and fifth, but we’ve just never been able to capture the deal, and tonight, I guess was our night and we were able to get it done.”

Smith, making his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut, was fastest overall in practice but had to start his No. 43 Diamondback Towing Toyota in the 25th position after his qualifying run was disallowed for an infraction. 

“The car was good,” Smith said. “Still mad at myself for the qualifying deal, but I cannot thank everyone enough for all they did getting this thing on rails, and I really think if we were able to start up front, it’d be a different story.”

Derek Kraus, Harrison Burton and Travis Cope rounded out the top five. Earlier in the day, Burton captured his second 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Co.

Reid Wilson finished sixth, followed by Hunter Baize, Chase Purdy, Todd Gilliland and Spencer Davis.

Gilliland, the defending race winner, blew a tire on Lap 103 while leading. Davis, who qualified second, was penalized on the opening lap for jumping the race’s initial start. Dillon Bassett led a race-high 79 laps but finished 24th after being involved in a late-race accident.

The Jet Tools 150 will air on NBCSN on Saturday, February 25 at 10 a.m.

Up next on the schedule for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is the Kevin Whitaker 150 at South Carolina’s Greenville Pickens Speedway on Saturday, April 8.

Ronnie Bassett led the final 42 laps en route to winning Sunday's Jet Tools 150  for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway.
Ronnie Bassett led the final 42 laps en route to winning Sunday's Jet Tools 150
for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway.


Fastest Qualifier: Harrison Burton, Time: 18.348 Seconds, Speed: 94.179 mph

Time of Race: 1 hrs., 9 mins, 11 secs Average Speed: 62.443 mph Margin of Victory: 3.563 Seconds

Caution Flags:
  1. Laps 25-29 (#38 Spin - No FP); 
  2. Laps 45-49 (#39 Spin Turn 4 - FP #36); 
  3. Laps 76-79 (Break - FP #38); 
  4. Laps 103-107 (#16 Turn 1 - FP #38); 
  5. Laps 116-120 (#36, #38, #49, #9 Backstretch - FP #16); 
  6. Laps 122-125 (#44, #30, #2, #36 - Turn 1 - No FP).
6 for 28 laps.

Lap Leaders:
  1. Harrison Burton 1-8, 
  2. Dillon Bassett 9-80, 
  3. Todd Gilliland 81-101, 
  4. Dillon Bassett 102-108, 
  5. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. 109-150.

Total Laps Led:
  1. Dillon Bassett 79, 
  2. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. 42, 
  3. Todd Gilliland 21, 
  4. Harrison Burton 8.
4 changes involving 4 drivers.

Top 10 Driver Points:
  1. Ronnie Bassett, Jr. 47 
  2. Zane Smith * 42
  3. Derek Kraus * 41
  4. Harrison Burton 41
  5. Travis Cope * 39
  6. Reid Wilson * 38
  7. Hunter Baize 37
  8. Chase Purdy * 36
  9. Todd Gilliland 36
  10. Spencer Davis 34
* Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender

Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Bondurant Celebrates 49th Anniversary

Bondurant Celebrates 49th Anniversary

February 14th marked the 49th Anniversary of the Bondurant Racing School and Bob Bondurant School of Higher Performance Driving. Pat and Bob Bondurant, their son Vice President Jason Bondurant, with his wife Nicole and the entire Bondurant staff were on hand to celebrate this landmark event.

Opening in 1968, the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance driving was originally located at the Orange County International Raceway near Los Angeles. Bob opened his school with three Datsuns, a Lola T70 Can-Am car and a Formula V. The school grew fast and in 1970 it relocated to to nearby Ontario Motor Speedway, and in 1973 to the challenging Sears Point International Raceway near Sonoma, California. In 1983, Ford Motor Company offered to provide vehicles and other support to the school.

Bondurant Celebrates 49th AnniversaryAlways dreaming of having his purpose-built facility and designing his own track, Bob relocated to Phoenix, Arizona in March, 1990, when Firebird Raceway opened for business. It is the largest dedicated facility of its kind in North America.

The 49th Anniversary event, which coincides with Valentines Day, was celebrated with Valentine decorations around the facility, a lunch party awarding Bob with a special 49th Anniversary trophy and then Bob taking his Cobra out for some Hot Laps on the Bondurant Main Track. Pat and the staff are already planning a huge 50th Anniversary party for 2018! 

Bob Bondurant, World Champion race driver and driving educator, was inducted into the Corvette Hall of Fame in Bowling Green, Kentucky, Sept. 2.

“I am honored by the induction,” said Bondurant, a resident with wife Pat of Paradise Valley. “It’s a wonderful affirmation that my fans and peers heartily recognize that I worked very hard for all the wins in my life and that they also recognize that at 83 years old I go to work every day and live my passion driving and teaching every day. I have never seen my career as working to live; I have always lived to work.” 

Phoenix celebrities Pat and Bob Bondurant honored among top Hollywood Celebrities at the Childhelp DRIVE The DREAM Gala. They attended the gala with son Jason Bondurant and his wife Nicole.
Phoenix celebrities Pat and Bob Bondurant honored among top
Hollywood Celebrities at the Childhelp DRIVE The DREAM Gala.
They attended the gala with son Jason Bondurant and his wife Nicole.

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Remembering Dale Sr. - A Champion's Champion

Remembering Dale Sr. - A Champion's Champion "You Win Some, Lose Some, And Wreck Some."

Dale Sr. died after a final-lap collision at the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2001

If you are a NASCAR fan, you probably heard about the pass in the grass. Coming from seventeenth to win Talladega in 2000, his last win; or mayhap of him winning the pole at Watkins Glen despite being hurt. There's so many, many wonderful tales that conjure pride and smiles.

However, there is no better way to understand the man than by the words of his family. The quotes below are from Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr. induction ceremony into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, 2010.

TERESA EARNHARDT: When Dale Earnhardt had his hands on the steering wheel, he felt and saw things that you and I will never see. He could see the wind. Moving at 200 miles an hour, he could see things more clearly than most of us could ever fathom, and thrill us all while doing it. Some call him legend. Some call him hero. Some simply call him Dad. Or son.

Dale Earnhardt was a man who personified the American dream. He worked hard. He earned everything he had and he enjoyed it. This is an achievement of a lifetime. To be able to celebrate it, for me this is a moment of pride for Dale that I just can't put into words.

As I thought about the importance of today, I thought about the people, I thought about what people recognize and remembered about Dale's attributes. They called him the bravest, the toughest, the greatest, the most unselfish, the most generous, the most authentic, just to summarize a few. But there's so much that we could say about Dale.

But the people who believed in him, steered him to victory, held him up to greatness, have said it best. Former president George Bush quoted, Dale, he was an American legend. Senator Jesse Helms said Dale was an authentic American, he was a hero to millions. Secretary of State Colin Powell called him an American icon. Another quote, he was the greatest racecar driver that ever lived. Also, there’s Earnhardt, and there's everybody else. But local school children put it best when they simply called him a real hero.

Dale Earnhardt was definitely a hero to his family. No one can say more about that than his children. Through them, his friends and fans, through this Hall of Fame, through you, Dale Earnhardt, the legend, lives on.

KERRY EARNHARDT: You know, Dad, as we grew up, he sacrificed a lot in life. There was a lot of times when Dad wasn't around and I wondered what was so important to him that he had to be gone all the time. Things called autograph sessions, appearances. Fans meant the most to Dad. Dad once taught me things about what fans were. He always taught me that no matter who it is in life, your bosses, coworkers you work with, the ones that come out to support you in whatever you do in life, are your fans, the ones that believe in you and believe in everything you do.

You know, Dad was just tremendous with his fans. Learned a lot from Richard. I can't say enough about what the fans meant to Dad. Dad would always take the last minute and plus some to be associated with the fans, young ones up to older ones. There's a lot of times Dad would give back to fans for what they did to him.

I remember times he met children with handicaps. They ended up having a van built for a wheelchair access and giving it to the family, to many other things. Just a proud moment to be here and be part of this induction to the Hall of Fame. As a son, I thank everyone, the fans out there that supported him.

KELLEY EARNHARDT: My dad was a very giving person. Though he was an incredible driver and a businessman that was very important to him. But it was also important to give back. Whether he did that to the local farmers on Highway 3 or racers just getting, started like Jeff Gordon, or the men and women serving our military in the public service, it was about doing business the right way and using his successes to give back to others.

Giving back was important, but what was not important was telling people about it. Most of his acts of kindness went without anyone knowing. Other times his help and his advice was a little more public, right, Dale?

DALE EARNHARDT, JR.: Yeah, I guess you could say there were a few times where I got some public advice from him. We were in Japan racing. I was racing for the first time against the Cup competitors and my father. It was late in the race. I got some new tires. Only had a few laps to make those work for me. I got up underneath him on turn three and four, I just needed two inches to clear him. I didn't have him cleared. I slid across his nose, up to the wall. He carried me all the way down the front straightaway with my back tires in the air all the way off into one. That was the day I met The Intimidator. That same grit and competitive spirit, he carried that with his racing, but he carried it with everything else in life, too. When he wasn't in the racecar, he was always outdoors. He was an avid outdoorsman, right, Taylor?

TAYLOR EARNHARDT: I think that it's a big nod that me and Kerry, Kelley and Dale all grew up with different aspects of Dad. Dale was always at the track with him. I got some more outdoorsy, the real man he was behind the scenes, away from the racetrack. I always grew up not wanting to clean my room. I'd call Dad, we'd go ride around the farm. He taught me to hunt. Aside from that, he taught me how to take care of animals, conserve animals, which is something he was very passionate about. He taught me that. That's something I took from him.

I think with us all having different experiences, we all look like Dad, everyone always tells us that we all look a little bit like Dad. I think we all act like him, too. We're determined, driven, stubborn as a fence post. But Dad gave all four of us something. He gave all his fans something. I think that's what makes him a true champion in everybody's eyes.

TERESA EARNHARDT: I'd like to give you one more quote from Dale.

A racer wants to race and win. Imagine having the opportunity to do that for a living, and then to be successful, and then to be considered one of the greatest drivers that ever raced, especially by a group of peers. It's one of the greatest honors a driver could ever receive. I've had a great career. If it ended tomorrow, I'd have no regrets. Dale Earnhardt. 

Dale Earnhardt was a champion's champion, who carved out his own piece of NASCAR history as he elevated the sport to a higher level. In that process, he brought millions of fans along for the ride. We NASCAR Fans are indebted.

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