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Monday, August 22, 2016

Dover extending SAFER barriers and increasing usable space in Cup garage:

Dover extending SAFER barriers and increasing usable space in Cup garage: Dover International Speedway has started two construction projects which will add more than 500 feet of SAFER barriers around the track and increase usable space for NASCAR haulers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. Both projects are scheduled to be completed in time for the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 NASCAR tripleheader weekend at the Monster Mile, highlighted by the first elimination race of the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship playoffs on Sunday, Oct. 2. Facts on the recent construction are:
o Approximately 500 feet of Steel And Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers will be added to the one-mile, high-banked, concrete oval. The outside wall in Turn 2, under the walkover bridge, and the outside wall of Turn 4, entering the frontstretch, will now include SAFER barriers. All of the SAFER barriers will be added to existing walls.
o The installation companies are Kent Construction of Smyrna, Del., and North Industrial Machine of Hartsville, SC.
o A 753-foot-long concrete wall separating the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage area from the existing harness racing track is being added. The 10-foot-high wall will stretch from the Infield Media Center to the end of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, removing the grass hill between the garage area and harness track that was in place.
o The new construction will allow for additional space for each NASCAR hauler to park in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage, and will create a safer environment in the area.
o The installation company is Kent Construction of Smyrna, Del.
"We continue to improve our facility for all parties involved in NASCAR, including drivers, race teams and fans," Dover International Speedway President and CEO Mike Tatoian said. "Safety is always our top priority and the added SAFER barriers will certainly benefit our competitors. The renovations in the garage will also allow us greater opportunities for space flexibility in the coming years too." The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 NASCAR weekend includes the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race on Friday, Sept. 30, the "Drive Sober 200" presented by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Oct. 1 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Oct. 2. For tickets or more information, call (800) 441-RACE or visit International Speedway)(8-20-2016)

Kevin Harvick wins action-filled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol

Kevin Harvick wins action-filled NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol

Aug. 21, 2016

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

BRISTOL, Tenn. – For most of the final 200 laps of Sunday’s rain-interrupted Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kevin Harvick was where he needed to be – out front and in control of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Behind Harvick, who took the checkered flag 1.933 seconds ahead of runner-up Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the race was often out of control, as the essence of traditional Bristol made an emphatic appearance at the .533-mile concrete short track.

Harvick’s victory was his second at Thunder Valley, his second of the season and the 33rd of his career. It was the first Bristol victory for crew chief Rodney Childers and for Stewart-Haas Racing, whose co-owner, Tony Stewart, finished 30th after experiencing mechanical problems in his final run at the high-banked speedway.

“We should have won a lot of races this year, but we just had things not go our way,” said Harvick, who was out front for 128 laps and pulled away for the win after a brief rain shower caused the ninth and final caution with 66 laps left. “We made mistakes, or whatever the case may be. But, to get back into Victory Lane here at Bristol feels really good.

“We’ve had some good cars here over the last few years… We knew we had the performance that we needed to have in the cars pretty much every week. And it’s been one of those deals where things have just not gone exactly right. But to have the win now and just try to get that momentum before we get into the Chase and get things rolling is really what we needed.”

Denny Hamlin regained two lost laps to finish third, followed by Austin Dillon and Chris Buescher, who moved into 30th place in the standings with his fifth-place run. By virtue of his Aug. 1 victory at Pocono, Buescher will qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup if he’s still in the top 30 three races hence, at the end of the 26-race regular season.

Pole winner Carl Edwards finished sixth, with Jimmie Johnson, Jamie McMurray, AJ Allmendinger and Joey Logano completing the top 10.

Stenhouse posted the best finish of the season for Roush Fenway Racing, running a paint scheme and wearing a helmet in honor of close friend Bryan Clauson, who lost his life because of injuries sustained in a midget car accident on Aug. 6.

“We really wanted to get this Bryan Clauson tribute car in victory lane,” Stenhouse said. “It just wasn’t meant to be today. We made our car a lot faster throughout the race and came from two laps down to get back on the lead lap. 

“We missed some wrecks and gave it all we had. I thought we were matching the 4 car (Harvick) there lap for lap, but he got away from us, and we had to restart sixth there on that last restart, but it was an honor to drive this car.”

On an afternoon where rosin helped provide speed in the low groove, Harvick’s most formidable competition disappeared before the finish of the event, which was suspended because of rain after 48 laps on Saturday night and resumed on Sunday after showers blew through the area by late afternoon.

On Lap 358, Kyle Busch, who led a race-high 256 laps, spun in Turn 2, thanks to a broken suspension part. As Busch’s No. 18 Toyota sat sideways at the exit from the corner, Justin Allgaier delivered the coup de grace, unable to avoid Busch’s car.

Having started the race on Saturday in relief of ailing Michael Annett, Allgaier finished off Busch’s Camry before ricocheting up the track and collecting the competitive cars of Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson.

“We’ve been having parts failures here, so something we’ve got to address and fix,” Busch said. “I’m really tired of losing races here with parts falling apart, so they’ll hear about it on Tuesday.”

Busch also had some choice words for Allgaier and his spotter.

“I’ve been wrecking for half a lap and they just come on through and clean us out,” he said. “That’s stupid, so I don’t know – frustrating day. Let’s go home.”

Allgaier said he tried to go low to avoid Busch but then tried to miss the No. 18 on the high side.

“The No. 22 (Logano) ducked in front of me getting into (Turn) 1 and I had to jam on the brakes pretty hard,” Allgaier said. “I got really loose and I was just trying to catch it. That’s when the spotter was telling me that the No. 18 was spinning and he kept rolling down the hill.

“So at first I committed to go below him, because I was already on the bottom, and then he was still coming down the hill, so I tried to go out around the outside of him and, unfortunately, I just didn’t make it.” 

Comparatively speaking, that wreck was a minor incident relative to the chaos that followed.

Battling for the lead after a restart on Lap 372, Kurt Busch turned sideways in his No. 41 Chevrolet, clipped the side of Joey Logano’s Ford and collided with the No. 2 Ford of Brad Keselowski, who subsequently finished 33rd and lost the series points lead to Harvick.

The contact between Busch and Keselowski ignited a wreck that involved 11 cars and eliminated Busch, Matt Kenseth and Sunoco rookie Ryan Blaney from the race.

“I think I just missed the bottom groove by a few inches, got loose and the wreck was on,” Busch said.  “The way that our car was restarting it felt comfortable, it felt good. That inside with the (rosin), if you don’t hit it exactly right you lose a lot of time. 

“I tried to make up for it and got loose… We had a win in our sights and I just drove the car at 101 percent instead of that 99. I just over-pushed the groove by a few inches. When you miss your line on a (rosin) grip level, you go for a ride.”

Notes: Harvick came from 24th on the grid to win the race, the deepest in the field a Bristol winner has started since Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the checkered flag from 30th in the 2004 Night Race… Three of Stenhouse’s career top-five finishes have come at Bristol… There were 20 lead changes among eight drivers in a race that produced nine cautions for 106 laps.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race - Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol, Tennessee
Saturday, August 20, 2016
    1. (24) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 500.
    2. (25) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 500.
    3. (2) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 500.
    4. (13) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 500.
    5. (12) Chris Buescher #, Ford, 500.
    6. (1) Carl Edwards, Toyota, 500.
    7. (16) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 500.
    8. (28) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 500.
    9. (8) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 500.
    10. (10) Joey Logano, Ford, 500.
    11. (11) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 500.
    12. (22) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 500.
    13. (19) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 500.
    14. (17) Aric Almirola, Ford, 500.
    15. (6) Chase Elliott #, Chevrolet, 500.
    16. (34) Greg Biffle, Ford, 500.
    17. (18) Matt DiBenedetto, Toyota, 500.
    18. (30) Brian Scott #, Ford, 499.
    19. (26) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet, 499.
    20. (32) Landon Cassill, Ford, 497.
    21. (37) David Ragan, Toyota, 497.
    22. (29) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 496.
    23. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 496.
    24. (23) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, 495.
    25. (21) Casey Mears, Chevrolet, 495.
    26. (33) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 491.
    27. (36) * Reed Sorenson, Chevrolet, 489.
    28. (15) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 487.
    29. (38) Jeffrey Earnhardt #, Ford, 479.
    30. (27) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 471.
    31. (31) Clint Bowyer, Chevrolet, 470.
    32. (20) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 458.
    33. (9) Brad Keselowski, Ford, 458.
    34. (35) * Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, 442.
    35. (4) * Ryan Blaney #, Ford, 437.
    36. (40) * Josh Wise, Chevrolet, 416.
    37. (5) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, Accident, 373.
    38. (14) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, Accident, 372.
    39. (3) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 357.
    40. (39) Justin Allgaier(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 354.
Average Speed of Race Winner:  77.968 mph.
Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 25 Mins, 05 Secs. Margin of Victory:  1.933 Seconds.
Caution Flags:  9 for 106 laps.
Lead Changes:  20 among 8 drivers.
Lap Leaders:   C. Edwards 0; D. Hamlin 1-8; C. Elliott # 9-22; Kyle Busch 23-87; B. Scott # 88-92; R. Newman 93-101; Kyle Busch 102-160; C. Edwards 161-189; Kyle Busch 190-226; C. Edwards 227; Kyle Busch 228-250; C. Edwards 251; Kyle Busch 252-285; K. Harvick 286-309; Kyle Busch 310-347; K. Harvick 348-366; J. Logano 367-403; K. Harvick 404-417; J. Logano 418; D. Hamlin 419-429; K. Harvick 430-500.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  Kyle Busch 6 times for 256 laps; K. Harvick 4 times for 128 laps; J. Logano 2 times for 38 laps; C. Edwards 3 times for 31 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 19 laps; C. Elliott # 1 time for 14 laps; R. Newman 1 time for 9 laps; B. Scott # 1 time for 5 laps.
Top 16 in Points: K. Harvick - 762; B. Keselowski - 735; Kurt Busch - 692; C. Edwards - 689; J. Logano - 684; Kyle Busch - 674; D. Hamlin - 659; M. Truex Jr. - 630; J. Johnson - 612; M. Kenseth - 604; A. Dillon - 596; C. Elliott # - 588; J. Mcmurray - 583; R. Newman - 576; T. Bayne - 541; K. Larson - 537.


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bristol Notebook

Saturday Bristol Notebook

Aug. 20, 2016

Notebook Items:
·         Rick Hendrick is pleased with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s progress
·         Bristol applies new layer of coating to turns
·         Carl Edwards approves of track treatment

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

Rick Hendrick is pleased with Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s progress

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Team owner Rick Hendrick made two things abundantly clear during a press conference at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday afternoon to discuss the signing of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series leader William Byron.

First, Hendrick had no specific update as to the status of Dale Earnhardt Jr., other than to say that Earnhardt is progressing in his recovery from concussion-like symptoms and wants to return to the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet as soon as possible.

“Dale looks great,” Hendrick said. “I had lunch…he and the road crew went to lunch on Wednesday – and I think you’ve seen the (video) of him playing basketball. We are taking extra effort with the doctors, making sure he’s going to be 100 percent.

“He’s got a doctor’s appointment next week. He’s doing great, and he wants to get back in the car. Beyond that, I don’t know anything to tell you about him.”

Second, Hendrick stressed that the signing of Byron to drive for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year was not a reaction to the uncertainty of Earnhardt’s timetable for a return to racing.

“William has nothing to do with Dale at all,” Hendrick said. “William has all to do with our future, down the road. What’s going to happen three to five years from now, nobody knows.”

Hendrick confirmed that, if Earnhardt is unable to compete next weekend at Michingan, Jeff Gordon will not be in the No. 88 Chevy because of a prior commitment. If Earnhardt is not cleared to drive, Alex Bowman will fill seat for a second time, having driven in Earnhardt’s stead at New Hampshire in July.


Those who arrived on Saturday for the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway were witness to a novel sight – a rosin covering the inside of the turns at each end of the track.

The compound used was a substance commonly used at dragstrips to increase traction in the take-off area. It is designed to enhance adhesion between tires and the concrete racing surface. A similar coating was applied before Friday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race at BMS, and the quality of competition drew raves from those watching from the grandstands and on television.

One interested home viewer was Dale Earnhardt Jr., who seemed pleased that the top groove was not as dominant as it has been since the grinding of the high lane in June 2012.

“Pretty good @XFINITYRacing @BMSUpdates,” Earnhardt posted on Twitter during the race. “The bottom isn’t useless. And drivers aren’t willing to give an inch. Can’t wait for (Saturday) night.”

In a subsequent tweet, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell explained the process.

“Track re-applied rosin – first 18 inches above the apron in turns 1-2 and turns 3-4 overnight,” O’Donnell tweeted. “Identical to what we did prior to @NASCAR XFINITY.”


Carl Edwards, pole winner for Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), was enthused by the addition of grip to the lower groove.

“I’m excited about the prospect of having not only multiple lines, but having the line be on the bottom is a lot of fun,” said Edwards, who won the April race at Bristol from the pole for his first victory of the season. “The first times I drove at Bristol and for a big part of it, those first years were really fun, and it’s fun because on the bottom, if a guy slips up, it gives you a little window to get under him.

“But at the top, if everybody is following one another, they slip up and you can’t really go between them and the wall and you can’t make anything happen. Multiple lines and having the bottom I think is going to make for a much more dynamic race and a lot more fun for the drivers – and hopefully the fans enjoy it.”