Saturday, May 23, 2015

Austin Dillon dominates NASCAR XFINITY race at Charlotte

Austin Dillon dominates NASCAR XFINITY race at Charlotte

May 23, 2015

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

CONCORD, N.C. – For the second straight Saturday, Denny Hamlin had the chance to hold off a race’s strongest car for the victory.

Unlike last Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, however, there were too many laps left after the final restart in Saturday’s Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series, and polesitter Austin Dillon powered past Hamlin on Lap 186 of 200 to finish the race where he belonged—at the front of the field.

By the time he crossed the finish line, Dillon was 2.692 seconds ahead of Hamlin, who had taken the lead during a restart on Lap 167 that saw Dillon fall back to fourth from the inside lane by the time the leaders exited Turn 2.

One by one, Dillon picked off Regan Smith, Kahne and Hamlin on the way to his second XFINITY Series victory of the season, his first at Charlotte and the fourth of his career.

Kahne ran third behind Dillon and Hamlin, followed by Smith and rookies Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Ty Dillon came home seventh and trimmed the series lead of 11th-place finisher Chris Buescher to four points.

Dillon led 163 laps and held an advantage of more than six seconds during a 54-lap green-flag run that preceded the second caution of the race on Lap 110.

How good was Dillon’s No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet?

“I didn’t want to get out of this thing,” Dillon said in Victory Lane. “This thing drove so good. It was a heck of a race there with Denny at the end and Kasey (Kahne). I had to go right there in lapped traffic (to make the winning pass).

“I knew if I didn’t hurry up and get in front of him right there, the tires might equalize (in terms of grip).”

But when Dillon picked the inside lane for what proved to be the final restart—after a caution for Kyle Fowler’s wreck in Turn 1—Hamlin seized what he considered a fortuitous opportunity and surged into the lead.

“I thought when the 33 gave us the outside, that was a big advantage for us if we could stay with him through Turns 1 and 2,” said Hamlin, who last Saturday held off Kevin Harvick in the final 10-lap shootout to win the all-star race. “We (did), and it allowed us to get position on him and even get him shuffled a few spots.

“That was all good, but his car was just so fast he just overcame that track position.”

Hamlin lost the lead when the lapped car of Peyton Sellers stayed low and forced Hamlin’s No. 54 Toyota to pass on the outside.

“I needed to stay on the bottom,” Hamlin said. “My car was best on the bottom. His car was pinned to the bottom as well. So I needed all of the lapped cars to move up high, and all of them did, except for the 97 (Sellers). He gave us the high line. That just killed us and killed our chances from that point, once the 33 got to our inside.”

Dillon chose the inside line because his car had worked well on the bottom for the entire race to that point.

“My spotter (Andy Houston) made the fact that we should have probably taken the top, and I had been on the bottom all day, so I chose the bottom again,” Dillon said. “I just didn’t want to let these guys down (his crew). The Rheem car was so fast...

“I thought about it, and I probably should have used the top, just because I would have had the run down the backstretch. It seems that, as the race goes on, that the outside can stop spinning the tires, and the rubber lays down...

“Andy made the point, and it all worked out, but I’ll definitely learn from that, for sure.”

Smith, Wallace, Suarez and Ty Dillon qualified for next week’s XFINITY Dash4Cash competition at Dover as the top four finishers among series regulars. Those drivers will compete for $100,000 in next Saturday’s race at Dover, with the top finisher among them claiming the prize.

Saturday Charlotte Notebook

Saturday Charlotte Notebook

Notebook Items:
·         Birth of son brings change to Kyle Busch’s life—in more ways than one
·         Biffle to make 450th start
·         Short strokes

May 23, 2015

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

Birth of son brings change to Kyle Busch’s life—in more ways than one

CONCORD, N.C. – The birth of a first child is often described as a life-changing experience.

For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kyle Busch, it has also been diaper-changing.

Brexton Locke Busch was born to Kyle and wife Samantha Busch on Monday night, and the routine of the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota changed immediately.

“It’s a whole new world right now for sure,” acknowledged Kyle Busch, who fielded questions from reporters before Thursday night’s Coca-Cola 600 qualifying session at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “It’s an entirely different feeling. You wonder where the time goes already. I was trying to get ready this morning, and Samantha was trying to get ready – she had to take him for an appointment and some other stuff, and I’m trying to help out—and all of the sudden it’s time for me to leave to come out here to the race track and I’m like, ‘Holy smokes, I have to get ready, I have to hurry up.’

“That was different. It’s way different than what it was before he was born. Obviously, Samantha was taking care of him. She had him in her, so just taking care of him that way and carrying him around. I didn’t have to worry about anything. I didn’t have to feed him, I didn’t have to change him or nothing like that, but it’s a whole different world now that he’s here with having to take care of him, so we both have to spread our time. Obviously, when his favorite thing to do is make stinky diapers, then you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you.”

The birth of his son capped a milestone week for the driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, who returned to competition for the first time two days earlier. Busch broke his right leg and left foot on Feb. 21 in an accident at Daytona during a NASCAR XFINITY Series race and missed the first 11 Sprint Cup points races of the season.

In his first competitive action since the wreck that sidelined him, Busch finished sixth in last Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. On Sunday he’ll race for the first time in an event that counts in the standings.

But the thrill of being back on the track couldn’t compare to the feelings that surfaced when Busch witnessed the birth of his son.

“It was emotional and physically taxing on me,” Busch said. “I couldn’t imagine what Samantha was going through. Obviously, I was there and trying to help her and coach her and be with her the entire time, and she did phenomenal.

“For me, just working through that whole experience was – I can’t even really put a word on it, I guess. It was just an amazing feeling. She’s a champ – Samantha is my champion. No matter how well or how successful I ever am in my career, she’s got the championship trophy already on her mantle.”


Greg Biffle made his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in 2002 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

On Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FOX), Biffle, 45, will race for the 450th time in NASCAR’s top series.

“It’s kind of amazing how fast the time goes by,” said Biffle, who has accumulated 19 victories in his 14-year career with Roush Fenway Racing. “I remember my 300th start; we did a deal at Martinsville a few years back. 

“It seems like it was last year or the year before, but it was 150 starts ago, and that is a long time. It amazes you how fast it goes, and I’ve got a lot of great memories, wins, close races and fun times.”

Biffle hopes the fun continues on Sunday, when he takes the green flag in the Coca-Cola 600. The driver of the No. 16 Ford would like nothing better than to break his current 68-race winless streak with a breakthrough victory at Charlotte.

Saturday’s practice results were promising. Biffle had the fifth-fastest 10-lap average in the first session and posted the fourth-quickest lap during Happy Hour.


David Ragan was fourth fastest in Saturday’s first practice but spun off Turn 4 and slid through the infield grass during the session. Amazingly, the car sustained no serious damage from the incident…

Erik Jones took over for Kyle Busch late in Happy Hour to prepare for the possibility Busch might need a relief driver in NASCAR’s longest race on Sunday. Returning to competition after rehabilitation from injuries sustained at Daytona in February, Busch said he intends to complete all 600 miles…

Kurt Busch led both Sprint Cup practices on Saturday, running 192.644 mph, the fastest lap of the day, during the morning session when temperatures were cooler.

Friday, May 22, 2015

“NASCAR: An American Salute” launches Sunday with the Coca-Cola 600

May 22, 2015

Staff Report
NASCAR Wire Service

A major faction of Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be noticeably absent, yet far from forgotten.

They are the fallen heroes of the U.S. Armed Forces, and although their uniforms have been retired and their medals preserved – their legacies remain untouchable. It’s these legacies NASCAR pays tribute to in a special Memorial Day event featuring 600 Miles of Remembrance at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The Coca-Cola 600 marks the launch of NASCAR: An American Salute™, the industry’s collective expression of reverence, respect and gratitude for those who have served and those who continue to defend. Sunday’s race will feature all 43 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in cars bearing the names of fallen heroes, some with more personal ties than others.

No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle will proudly showcase the name Private Dean Van Dyke, a relative killed in Vietnam. A member of the No. 83 BK Racing team’s pit crew – Chris Clayton – will honor his relative First Lieutenant Daniel Hyde, who was killed alongside him during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“The NASCAR community rallying to honor the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, has long been part of our sport’s heritage,” said Brent Dewar, chief operating officer, NASCAR. “As part of NASCAR: An American Salute, 600 Miles of Remembrance represents a special moment in time as we pay tribute to service members who have sacrificed dearly for our freedom.” 

The Coca-Cola 600 – which is expected to host more than 6,000 active military members – is the first of several on-and-off-track activities to support the seven-week campaign, culminating Independence Day Weekend with the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.

Throughout the tenure of NASCAR: An American Salute, fans will have front-seat access to the stories of our nation’s military heroes on NASCAR’s social platforms. Fans, service members and families are encouraged to offer their own words of gratitude using #NASCARSalutes.

Catch live interviews with NASCAR drivers this Sunday, May 24, as they discuss 600 Miles of Remembrance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (channel 90) during a special military tribute show airing at 1 p.m. ET. The “Dialed In Salute to the Troops” special, hosted by Claire B. Lang, will highlight interviews with several drivers as well as service men and service women from various branches of the military.

Then be sure to tune in at 6 p.m. ET to see and hear the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Coca-Cola 600, broadcast live from Charlotte Motor Speedway on FOX, PRN and SiriusXM Radio. Additional live coverage can be found on

To learn more about NASCAR: An American Salute, visit

NASCAR racers notice IndyCar's safety team:

NASCAR racers notice IndyCar's safety team: The quick response of the IndyCar Series safety team in saving James Hinchcliffe from suffering catastrophic blood loss in his accident Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway demonstrated the critical role the series-hired safety team plays in driver care. NASCAR doesn't have its own safety team, instead relying on the tracks to hire the doctors and emergency medical technicians who treat the drivers. While NASCAR requires an emergency response plan, holds an annual safety worker summit as well as weekly meetings at the tracks hosting each event and can dictate
staffing requirements to the tracks, NASCAR's traveling medical staff consists primarily of nurses who keep driver files and know their medical histories. Drivers talked with NASCAR after Kyle Busch's accident earlier this year about the week-to-week staffing levels and training. Busch suffered a broken right leg and broken left foot in an accident Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway in one of the most crushing wrecks in recent years.
"NASCAR is adamant that having true ER folks that every single day fight in the ER room to save people's lives are the best people to have in place here on a weekend for us," six-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson said Thursday. "In my heart, I feel like there is maybe a hybrid version where, yes, we have those EMTs here, but we also have people that are very sharp and NASCAR-specific, car-specific, know the drivers, know our cockpits. I know that NASCAR briefs them and works with them on all that." With the tracks primarily owned by two companies, it is not unusual for doctors and first responders to work at multiple tracks.
"Once [NASCAR] explained the process and how the doctors and things were chosen was definitely kind of eye-opening as to how much
money and time were spent to make sure they have the right people at every race track -- and really the longevity of the staff," Kevin Harvick said.(full story at ESPN)(5-22-2015)