Saturday, March 31, 2018

Xfinity Series Youth Movement Continues In 2018

Xfinity Series Youth Movement Continues In 2018 In recent years, the NASCAR Xfinity Series has been a big stage for up-and-coming young stars in NASCAR to show off their talents, and this season is no different.


Through the first five races, the top 10 in driver points is besieged with youngsters looking to make a name for themselves, so much so, the average age of the series’ top 10 following Auto Club Speedway is a youthful 26.0.

Eight of the top 10 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship driver standings are in their 20s; with the youngest being Cole Custer at the age of 20. The two elders of the group are Elliott Sadler at the age of 42 and Justin Allgaier at 31.

Cole Custer - Pit Stop #NASCAR

To put in perspective how young some of these drivers are, current standings leader Elliott Sadler is twice the age of three of his top-10 competitors - Cole Custer (20), Brandon Jones (21) and Matt Tifft (21).

The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to action next week on April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300. Erik Jones swept the NASCAR Xfinity Series races at Texas Motor Speedway last season. 

Source:  NASCAR PR

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  2. Solid Run Earns Motorcraft Team a 13th-Place Finish at Martinsville
  3. Danica Patrick Admits She's 'Nervous' About Returning To IndyCar
  4. Missing #NASCAR this Easter?
  5. Clint Bowyer Wins at Martinsville!

Friday, March 30, 2018

#NASCAR Xfinity Series’ First Five: A Statistical Look At 2018 Season Thus Far

#NASCAR Xfinity Series’ First Five: A Statistical Look At 2018 Season Thus Far With the NASCAR Xfinity Series taking a couple of weekends off, let’s look back at some of the key stats from the first five races of the 2018 season.

Tyler Reddick (9) beats teammate Elliott Sadler (1) the   NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.
Tyler Reddick (9) beats teammate Elliott Sadler (1) the
NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Daytona International Speedway.


Winners: Five

2018 marks the 15th season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the first five races on the schedule have seen five different winners. The 2018 series race winners are:
  1. Tyler Reddick (Daytona),
  2. Kevin Harvick(Atlanta),
  3. Kyle Larson (Las Vegas),
  4. Brad Keselowski (ISM Raceway),
  5. Joey Logano (Auto Club Speedway).

Pole Winners: Three

This is the eighth season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the first five races on the schedule have seen three different pole winners. The 2018 pole winners are:
  1. Daniel Hemric (Daytona),
  2. Christopher Bell (Atlanta, Las Vegas, Auto Club),
  3. Justin Allgaier (ISM Raceway).

Average Leaders: 6.20

The 2018 season is the 19th different season in the 37-year history of the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the average number of leaders is greater than five. The series’ highest average number of leaders through the first five races of a season is 9.20 – it has occurred twice in 2007 and 2010.

Average Lead Changes: 10.80

The 2018 season is the 26th different season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series that the average number of lead changes is 10.0 or greater. The series’ highest average number of lead changes in the first five races of the season is 18.5 – it occurred in the inaugural season, 1982. The second-highest average number of lead changes in the first five races is 16.20 in 2013.

Green Flag Passes For The Lead: 130 (Average of 26.0 Per Race)

This season the NASCAR Xfinity Series has produced 130 Green Flag Passes for the Lead in the first five races of the season; which is third most over the last five seasons – 2015 (197), 2017 (157) and 2016 (130), 2014 (95) and 2016 (77).



2018 Driver Statistical Leaders (First Five Races):

  • o Points Leader: Elliott Sadler (199 points)
  • o Stage Wins: Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano (three each)
  • o Stage Points: Justin Allgaier, Christopher Bell (53 points each)
  • o Playoff Points: Tyler Reddick (five)
  • o Wins: Five different drivers (one each)
  • o Poles: Christopher Bell (three)
  • o Top Fives: Elliott Sadler (four)
  • o Top 10s: Elliott Sadler (five)
  • o Average Finish: Elliott Sadler (4.8)
  • o Laps Led: Kyle Larson (203 laps, 23.7% of his laps completed)
  • o Laps Completed: Matt Tifft, Elliott Sadler (855 laps each, 99.88% of their laps attempted)
  • o Driver Rating: Justin Allgaier (112.9)
  • o Average Running Position: Justin Allgaier (5.993)
  • o Fastest Laps Run: Christopher Bell (89 laps, 12.7%)
  • o Laps Run In The Top 15: Justin Allgaier (811 laps, 97.4%)

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will be back on track April 7 at Texas Motor Speedway for the My Bariatric Solutions 300 at 3 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. 


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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Solid Run Earns Motorcraft Team a 13th-Place Finish at Martinsville

Solid Run Earns Motorcraft Team a 13th-Place Finish at Martinsville
Paul Menard and the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane team continued their forward progress this season with a solid 13th-place finish in Monday’s snow-delayed STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Solid Run Earns Motorcraft Team a 13th-Place Finish at Martinsville


Menard started 15th after qualifying was cancelled due to snow and rain and the line-up was set according to the points standings.

He raced his way into the top 10 at times and spent much of the 500-lap race just outside the top 10.

Most green-flag runs saw Paul Menard fade back a bit on fresh tires then pick up speed and positions as the laps went by.
Most green-flag runs saw Menard fade back a bit on fresh tires then pick up speed and positions as the laps went by.

Team co-owner Eddie Wood said he continues to see improvement and building chemistry in what is essentially a new team.

After six races together, Menard, crew chief Greg Erwin and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team have two top-10 finishes and four top-20 finishes. Menard is 15th in the Monster Energy Cup standings.

Monday’s race was another race free of major mistakes for the No. 21 team.

“Paul did a great job,” Wood said. “Greg called a great race, and the pit crew gained spots on nearly every stop, which is hard to do at a tight place like Martinsville.

“We had another solid run, and this team is really impressive with the way everyone works together.

“We’re all looking forward to the rest of the season.”

After an Easter weekend break, Menard and the No. 21 Wood Brothers team return to the track for a 500-miler at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8.


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Danica Patrick Admits She's 'Nervous' About Returning To IndyCar

Danica Patrick Admits She's 'Nervous' About Returning To IndyCar

The Second Half of The "Danica Double" Farewell Tour

Danica Patrick has to wait a few more weeks before getting behind the wheel for an IndyCar test drive.

It's been more than six years since she's piloted an open-wheeled race car, and she'll have to wait a little longer to see if switching back from NASCAR is just like riding a bike. A test drive originally set for the end of March was delayed because of inclement weather.

But Patrick's OK with that, she told ‘For The Win’ by phone Wednesday, admitting: "Being nervous, waiting is not the worst thing in the world."



She is, of course, still excited to get a few practice laps in before the Indy 500 on May 27. It will be her last race before retiring, and it's the second half of her "Danica Double" farewell tour - following the Daytona 500 in February, her last NASCAR event.



But nerves aside, Patrick explained the test date being pushed back is still a good thing and what she'd want if she could choose the test anyway. The experience will be much more similar to that for qualifying and racing in the Indy 500, from the weather to the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet itself, she said.



"It's gonna be good to get in the car and get that part done, but I am nervous," said Patrick, who's currently based out of Scottsdale, Arizona.

"It's also good because the car is probably going to be my actual car that I'll be driving for the month of May and in the Indy 500, as opposed to a backup test car. And teams have really been rushing around to get cars ready for this test because (IndyCar's) season has started, so as far as preparation goes on the team's behalf, it's been a little bit of a relief to wait as well."

Patrick still recently paid a visit to one of the world's most famous tracks. For GoDaddy and Ed Carpenter Racing's announcement Wednesday about what her car will look like, Patrick did a photo shoot at the Brickyard.

Although her last IndyCar race was in 2011, this wasn't her first time back at Indianapolis Motor Speedway since that season or even after she realized the 2018 Indy 500 would be her final career race. The NASCAR Cup Series competes at the track annually - her best finish was 11th in July 2017 - and she said she was there earlier this year for an IndyCar physical.

But still, there's something magical about returning to the Brickyard.

"It always feels good," she said. "My dad took me from the airport to the track, and as we were driving in, he was like, 'Man, it just always feels so good to drive into this track.'

"And I always say the same thing too. It's a special place. We were driving out and said the same thing - it's a special place."




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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Missing #NASCAR this Easter?

Missing #NASCAR this Easter?

FEEL the SPEED at NASCAR RACING EXPERIENCE!

As is a NASCAR tradition – there is no Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, nor Camping World Truck Series on-track action this coming weekend. That does not mean that you must miss racing. 

Missing #NASCAR this Easter?


Did you know that the NASCAR Racing Experience is having a sale today? However, you have to hurry because the savings ends soon.

The NASCAR Racing Experience’s team of driving instructors specializes in NASCAR-themed Cinderella stories: at whichever world-famous speedway they’re visiting, they give civilians the chance to drive real NASCAR race cars that have actually been raced by NASCAR superstars for a few hours. That means getting behind the wheel of a real NASCAR race car that’s been driven by Dale Jr, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and other NASCAR favorites and putting the pedal to the metal. 

Missing #NASCAR this Easter?


Unlike other racing experiences, there’s no lead car to follow here, you’re driving by yourself and yes, passing is allowed! The instructors still offer guidance though, coaching those driving solo over a two-way car radio, and speed-chauffeuring racing enthusiasts around the track on ride-alongs.

Now that Easter is just days away, it’s time to buy yourself a NASCAR Easter Gift! Shop the Easter Sale and Save up to 50% off NASCAR Racing Experience, Richard Petty Driving Experience and Mario Andretti Racing Experience.

Shop the SPRING SAVINGS Sale!

Get the Ride Along for only $99.99 (retail $149.99) Sit back and hold on tight as you ride shot gun in a real NASCAR race car! You’re in good hands as you take a 3 lap NASCAR Ride Along at top speeds with a professional racing instructor driving around one of the nation’s premier speedways. The NASCAR Ride Along is a ride like no other you ever experienced. Book now or give a gift card, Personalized, Emailed and NEVER Expires.

Get the Rookie- Sale $319.99+ (Retail: $599.99). Voted “Most Popular” driving experience for a reason. In this three-hour experience you drive a real NASCAR race car by yourself for an 8 minute timed racing session. Book now or give a gift card, Personalized, Emailed and NEVER Expires. Gift Cards are for ANY amount and are good for ALL nationwide locations. 




Guaranteed Best Prices of the Season.
Buy before Easter Sunday and Save!

www.NASCARRacingExperience.com

 

On a Personal Note

#NASCAR Race Mom at Las Vegas Motorspeedway.Paul Smith at Auto Club Speedway #NASCARMy husband did the Petty Experience at Auto Club Speedway and NASCAR Race Mom experienced the thrill at Las Vegas Motorspeedway. We both had the time of our lives. The staff was kind and helpful. They were even able to put me at ease before NRM climbed in and behind the wheel – which is saying a lot since I was a real scaredy-cat. 

Get a taste of racing. You drive a real NASCAR race car! Following Driver’s Meeting with Crew Chief, training & instruction you drive a real NASCAR race car for a 5 minute racing session around one of the nation’s premier speedways. There’s no lead car to follow as you drive a NASCAR race car by yourself. Talk over 2 way in car radio with a personal racing instructor while you drive. And when you’re done, get a Graduate Certificate with top speed for bragging rights.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Clint Bowyer Wins at Martinsville!

Clint Bowyer Wins at Martinsville!

Old Dog Received A Fresh Chance & Fresh Blood

Clint Bowyer won his first race at Martinsville Speedway, leading a race high 215 laps in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500.

Clint Bowyer won his first race at Martinsville Speedway, leading a race high 215 laps in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series STP 500. The No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion powered by the Ford FR9 engine, recorded his first win for Stewart-Haas Racing and a new Grandfather clock. Ford Performance now has 28 career MENCS wins at the famed “Paperclip”.

Congratulations Clint, Tony and Gene on a fantastic win” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines.

“Congratulations Clint, Tony and Gene on a fantastic win” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Clint drove a great race, showcasing his talents leading 215 laps in his Ford Fusion. Ford Performance continues to provide the technology and resources to keep our cars running up front."


“This is a place where I’ve gotten so close,” an emotional Bowyer commented in Victory Lane. I wanted to win this grandfather clock so bad. Let me tell you something, Gene Haas, Tony Stewart, to give this old dog a fresh chance and fresh blood with a new opportunity. Finally, to get the 14 in Victory Lane is just a weight off the shoulders. It’s been a long time. To have it come at this place meant a lot.”

After a snow delayed start to the STP 500, Bowyer came out strong, his car was perfectly set up for the cooler conditions in Martinsville.

After a snow delayed start to the STP 500, Bowyer came out strong, his car was perfectly set up for the cooler conditions in Martinsville. The No. 14 took the lead over Ford teammate Ryan Blaney (Stage 2 winner) on lap 285 and never looked back. Bowyer managed his race car and equipment throughout the 500-lap event to take the checkered flag 1.146 seconds in front of Kyle Busch, marking consecutive Ford Performance spring race wins at Martinsville.

Ford Performance teammates led a race high 361 lap total out of the 500-lap race; Clint Bowyer 215 laps, Ryan Blaney 145 laps and Brad Keselowski 1 lap.

#NASCAR heads to the longhorn state, to the Texas Motor Speedway after Easter break.

It was a stellar day for Ford Performance racing with eight Ford Fusions finishing in the top-15:
  • #14 Clint Bowyer-P1,
  • #12 Ryan Blaney-P2,
  • # 4 Kevin Harvick-P5,
  • #22 Joey Logano-P6,
  • # 2 Brad Keselowski-P10,
  • #41 Kurt Busch-P11,
  • #21 Paul Menard-P13,
  • #10 Aric Almirola-P14.


NASCAR heads to the longhorn state, to the Texas Motor Speedway after Easter break. Reference the full 2018 schedule on www.roushyates.com.



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Monday, March 26, 2018

John Hunter Nemechek Victorious in Monday’s Martinsville Truck Race

John Hunter Nemechek Victorious in Monday’s Martinsville Truck Race
John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane
John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, celebrates
in Victory Lane (Photo by Sarah Crabill)

John Hunter captured his first win at Martinsville in the snow delayed Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Nemechek took the lead on a restart with thirty-one laps to go and fended off Rookie Kyle Benjamin by a mere 0.106 seconds.

"I've finished second here multiple times, so tick-tock we finally got a clock," Nemechek said of Martinsville's signature grandfather clock trophy. "It's going to be awesome to take that thing home."

Nemechek, son of NASCAR driver Joe Nemechek, was one of six drivers to stay out during a caution on Lap 216 of 250. He did not hear his crew chief’s order to pit. Therefore, he remained on the track and hoped for the best.

“We just had to stay out there and I didn’t know if we were going to be able to do it,” Nemechek explained. “I can think everyone enough that pours their heart and soul into this deal. There are only four guys at our shop this year.


Second place finisher, Kyle Benjamin was able to get alongside Nemechek on the final lap but couldn’t complete the pass for the lead.

“It was pretty close right there. We had a pretty good truck on long runs and unfortunately it came down to a short run,” Benjamin said. “It’s Martinsville so I figured I needed to give him a run for his money coming off (4) there on the last lap.


Alpha Energy Solutions 250
Race Results


# Driver Manufacturer Laps Led
1 8  John H. Nemechek  Chevrolet 250 31
2 54  Kyle Benjamin  Toyota 250 74
3 16  Brett Moffitt  Toyota 250
4 98  Grant Enfinger  Ford 250
5 18  Noah Gragson  Toyota 250
6 13  Myatt Snider  Ford 250
7 92  Timothy Peters  Ford 250
8 51  Harrison Burton  Toyota 250
9 2  Austin Hill  Chevrolet 250
10 24  Justin Haley  Chevrolet 250
11 25  Dalton Sargeant  Chevrolet 250
12 41  Ben Rhodes  Ford 250 134
13 4 Cory Roper  Ford 250
14 4  Todd Gilliland  Toyota 250 1
15 88  Matt Crafton  Ford 250 4
16 20 Reid Wilson  Chevrolet 250
17 50 Dawson Cram  Chevrolet 250
18 49  Wendell Chavous  Chevrolet 250
19 21  Johnny Sauter  Chevrolet 249
20 52  Stewart Friesen  Chevrolet 248 6
21 99 Tyler Matthews  Chevrolet 248
22 3  Jordan Anderson  Chevrolet 248
23 83  Kyle Donahue  Chevrolet 234
24 15 Robby Lyons  Chevrolet 227
25 33  Josh Reaume  Chevrolet 227
26 2  Cody Coughlin  Chevrolet 225
27 22  Austin Wayne Self  Chevrolet 164
28 45  Justin Fontaine  Chevrolet 158
29 10  Jennifer Jo Cobb  Chevrolet 55
30 63  Kevin Donahue  Chevrolet 49
31 6  Norm Benning  Chevrolet 35
32 1  Mike Senica  Chevrolet 8


Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford, leads  a pack of trucks during the weather delayed Alpha Energy Solutions 250
Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford, leads
a pack of trucks during the weather delayed Alpha Energy Solutions 250
(Photo by Sarah Crabill)

John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, celebrates with  a burnout after winning.
John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, celebrates with
a burnout after winning. (Photo by Jerry Markland)

Brett Moffitt, driver of the #16 AISIN Group Toyota, leads Cody Coughlin,  driver of the #2 JEGS.com Chevrolet, and Harrison Burton, driver of the #51  DEX Imaging Toyota.
Brett Moffitt, driver of the #16 AISIN Group Toyota, leads Cody Coughlin,
driver of the #2 JEGS.com Chevrolet, and Harrison Burton, driver of the #51
DEX Imaging Toyota. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, poses with the  winner's decal on his truck in Victory Lane.
John H. Nemechek, driver of the #8 Fleetwing Chevrolet, poses with the
winner's decal on his truck in Victory Lane. (Photo by Sarah Crabill)


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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Weather Postpones All on Track Activity at Martinsville Speedway Until Monday

Weather Postpones All on Track Activity at Martinsville Speedway Until Monday

750 Laps for 394.5 Miles on Monday

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers were able to participate in two practices Saturday before the weather forced the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race to be postponed. The initial Sunday doubleheader turned into a full Monday slate after heavy snow Saturday night forced a quick postponement decision.

The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race is scheduled for 11 a.m. EST on Monday, followed by the STP 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at 2 p.m. EST.

Monday, March 26 Race Detailed Schedule

  • 8:00 am 2:00 pm Credentials Open
  • 8:00 am NCWTS Garage Opens
  • 9:00 am Track Services Meeting (Speedway Operations Building)
  • 9:00 am MENCS Garage Opens
  • 10:30 am 7:00 pm MENCS ** Hot Pass In Effect **
  • 11:00 am NCWTS Race (250 Laps, 131.5 Miles)
  • 12:00 pm MENCS Driver / Crew Chief Meeting (Drivers Meeting Tent Outside Turns 3 & 4)
  • 1:20 pm MENCS Driver Introductions
  • 2:00 pm MENCS Race (500 Laps, 263 Miles)

Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford,  leads a pack of trucks
Ben Rhodes, driver of the #41 Alpha Energy Solutions Ford,
leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck
Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 at Martinsville Speedway
Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Martinsville Speedway has seen seven different winners in the last seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at the half-mile track.

A trio of strong series regulars will look to end that streak by returning to Victory Lane at Martinsville.

The most recent winner, Noah Gragson, has just two starts at the short track and finished fourth in his other outing last April. Martinsville was a shining light for him in 2017, as half of his top-five finishes in his rookie campaign came at the track.

Daniel Suarez, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, leads JJ Yeley,  driver of the #55 Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet, and  Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops  Toyota
Daniel Suarez, driver of the #19 ARRIS Toyota, leads JJ Yeley,
driver of the #55 Adirondack Tree Surgeons Chevrolet, and
Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Toyota, during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
STP 500 at Martinsville Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion and current points leader Martin Truex Jr. dominated the competition to collect his first trophy of the season in California, snapping an eighteen-race winless streak at the track. But he faces a similar winless barrier this weekend at tiny Martinsville Speedway

Truex is still looking for his first victory in his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota after 24 races at Martinsville, where he has only three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He started on the outside pole and finished runner-up in his last race there in November and has four total top-seven finishes in his last six starts there.

Since Monster Energy NASCAR Cup qualifying was rained-out, Truex inherited Pole via point standings.

Both races will be broadcast on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.



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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Bayne, DiBenedetto, Allmendinger, Buescher, Whitt Round Out Lineup For STP 500 Pre-Race Experience At Martinsville Speedway

Bayne, DiBenedetto, Allmendinger, Buescher, Whitt Round Out Lineup For STP 500 Pre-Race Experience At Martinsville Speedway

Chase Elliott and Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. Are Also A Part of The Pre-Race Experience.


Bayne, DiBenedetto, Allmendinger, Buescher, Whitt Round Out Lineup For STP 500 Pre-Race Experience At Martinsville Speedway #NASCAR

The Pre-Race Experience not only gives fans a chance to sign the start/finish line and watch STP 500 driver introductions from the track, it also give them the opportunity to hear from seven different Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers in emceed question-and-answer sessions.

Trevor Bayne, Matt DiBenedetto, AJ Allmendinger, Chris Buescher and Cole Whitt are the latest to add their names to the list of drivers participating in the $25 experience.

“These five drivers all bring a different element to the Pre-Race Experience as we continue to do everything we can to make this a fun, affordable event for fans the morning of the STP 500,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “They have competed in everything from a Late Model Stock Car to a Cup car at Martinsville and will give fans great insight into driving at our historic facility and their lives outside of a race car.”

Bayne, DiBenedetto, Allmendinger, Buescher and Whitt will join Chase Elliott, the 2016 Sunoco Rookie of the Year and two-time NASCAR Playoff contender, and Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace Jr. as a part of the Pre-Race Experience.

The Pre-Race Experience gives fans the chance to watch driver introductions from the track, along with a morning full of fun and excitement on the track.

In addition to the emceed question-and-answer sessions, the Pre-Race Experience offers fans the opportunity to walk the frontstretch on race morning, sign the start/finish line, have a photo opportunity in mock Victory Lane, and enjoy music, games and prizes.

The cost of the Pre-Race Experience is $25 for adults and $15 for youth 17-and-under.

The driver question-and-answer sessions, music, games and prizes will be held on the frontstretch beginning at 10:00 a.m. and will remain open until the conclusion of driver introductions.

Admission to the Pre-Race Experience does not include a ticket for the STP 500.

The STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org is March 23-25.


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Hendrick Motorsports Stars Excited to Have STP 500 at Martinsville on Horizon

Hendrick Motorsports Stars Excited to Have STP 500 at Martinsville on Horizon
Rick Hendrick casts a long shadow when he exits the tunnel under Turn Four and enters the infield of Martinsville Speedway. His thoroughbred short-track machines have claimed 24 victories, 17 poles and a staggering 78 top-five finishes in 223 races on the half mile.

Hendrick Motorsports Stars Excited to Have STP 500 at Martinsville on Horizon

Success in the STP 500 on March 25, then, is something that his drivers expect. The fact that Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman and William Byron are yet to visit Victory Lane in a regular season race in 2018 brings no added pressure, they said.

Bowman, who has taken the reigns of the No. 88, said that he enjoyed his previous four trips to Martinsville and is excited at the prospect of driving a Hendrick car there.

“Going to Martinsville with Hendrick Motorsports is going to be a great time. They always seem to bring really fast racecars there and it’s one of my favorite racetracks to go to,” Bowman said. “There’s really not a whole lot of pressure taking over the 88 car. I’m just ready to go enjoy it, have as much fun as I can and hopefully win some races along the way.”

Jimmie Johnson made Martinsville his personal playground early in his career and he said the positive memories of nine wins at the historic facility give him confidence heading into the first short-track race of 2018.

“I have nothing but great thoughts for Martinsville,” Johnson said. “For me I just love that little racetrack. Martinsville has been a great place for me.” 



In regards to his younger teammates, however, Johnson said patience is the key at a unique track like Martinsville.

“It took me a while to figure it out,” Johnson said of the driving style at Martinsville. “We’re not that slow through the center of the corner anywhere we go. There is just a rhythm and a feel and even a look to the way that our cars go around that track and the way we complete laps (that is unique).”

Chase Elliott is in the midst of that learning process and nearly capped it off with a win in the fall of 2017 before a late-race incident with Denny Hamlin saw his hopes of his first grandfather clock trophy fall by the wayside.

“Martinsville was my first start so it’s kind of always going to be a special place,” Elliott said. “There’s been a lot of things that have happened since then, obviously, at the track. But your first of anything is always special. We didn’t have a very good run that day, but it was still my first and I would love to have a great run there. It was my first Cup start and hasn’t been my best track so I would love to figure it out.”

Byron, on the other hand, will be making his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start at Martinsville on March 25, something he said does come with a little pressure, adding that a fast race car can erase that pressure in an instant.

“It’s definitely a little bit of pressure. They (Hendrick Motorsports) have been so good at Martinsville for so long,” Byron said. “That’s a racetrack you circle on your calendar to hopefully have success at and I feel like we’re going to be capable of doing that this year.”

The Charlotte, NC native noted that Martinsville has a special place in his young career as he drove in Late Model Stock Car and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races there on his way to the Cup series.

“Martinsville has always been special to me. It’s where I went to my first Cup race and it’s also where I got to race a Late Model and do a lot of different races,” Byron said. “It’s always special to me and I think it’s going to be one of those places that you always look forward to and hopefully, one day, I can get one of those clocks.”

As for Johnson, it isn’t just a place he enjoys driving, but a track he recommends people attend in person.

“Because of the history of the track, the connection to history when you experience it first hand, and the tradition of the trophy, I have an experience when I race there that feels like I could be racing in the 50’s or 60’s,” Johnson said. “It has that feel and that intensity to it…it really is a track that I suggest all my friends go to. When people ask me what track to visit, I tell them that they won’t find a more intimate and cool track to experience than Martinsville.”



The STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org is March 23-25.


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Friday, March 23, 2018

Gilliland - Like Father, Like Son – A New Beginning

Gilliland - Like Father, Like Son – A New Beginning When you see two trucks on track sporting the name "Gilliland" on the back window, you won’t be imagining things. For the first time, veteran driver David Gilliland and his Sunoco Rookie of the Year-contending son Todd will face off against each other in a NASCAR national series race.

Giilliland - Like Father, Like Son – A New Beginning

Todd will finally be able to start his 2018 campaign behind the wheel of the No. 4 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports when the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series heads to Martinsville this Saturday (2 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

He isn’t eligible to compete on intermediate tracks or superspeedways until he reaches his 18th birthday in May. So, until now, in 2018 Todd’s had to sit on the sidelines and watch a cast of substitute drivers pilot his truck.

His dad drove it in the season-opener at Daytona before his truck owner, Kyle Busch, took over for Atlanta and Spencer Davis drove it in Las Vegas.

It hasn’t been easy for Todd to sit back and watch other drivers pilot his truck. "It's been very hard. I'm a racer and all I want to do is race. Seeing other people jump in the truck you are going to be in the rest of the year is really tough, but you have to take every opportunity you have to learn and catch up to the guys who already have three more races worth of experience than I do."

Todd competed in six Camping World Truck Series races in 2017, posting a pair of top fives and three top 10s. He had a best finish of third at New Hampshire and crossed the line fifth at Martinsville in the fall.

David is racing the No. 54 Toyota for DGR-CROSLEY Racing – a team that was formed when David Gilliland Racing and CROSLEY Sports Group joined forces for the 2018 season. The organization, which fields late model, NASCAR K&N Pro Series, ARCA and Camping World Truck Series entries, is co-owned by David and Bo LeMastus.

David has 11 series starts under his belt and won the pole this season at Daytona while driving his son’s No. 4 KBM entry. He’s taken the green flag 333 times in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, including in the 2018 Daytona 500. He has a trio of poles (all on superspeedways), four top-five and eight top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s premier series.

Q&A with Todd Gilliland

How hard has it been watching other people drive your truck for the first three races?

"It's been very hard. I'm a racer and all I want to do is race. Seeing other people jump in the truck you are going to be in the rest of the year is really tough, but you have to take every opportunity you have to learn and catch up to the guys who already have three more races worth of experience than I do."

What did you learn from being at the races and listening to feedback on the team radio?

"Anytime you can listen to someone on the radio and especially a Cup champion like Kyle Busch, is always a great honor. Just the way that he can break down every corner of the race car and what needs to be fixed the most and what can wait. I think that's all stuff you can learn from and what is going to take you to the next level."

You finished fifth at Martinsville last fall. What is the key to winning there?

"I think it's going to be tough. The race is all about restarts and track position, so having a fast truck and being able to qualify up front and hopefully controlling the race. Last year in the fall, we were kind of just in the middle of the pack and were able to capitalize and make our Tundra a lot better to keep track position. I'd like to be able to control the race a little bit better this time."

Source: NASCAR PR

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