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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Saturday Daytona Notebook

Saturday Daytona Notebook

Notebook Items:
·        Team Penske drivers (and affiliate) top Daytona 500 practice
·        Three charters change hands
·        Ken Griffey Jr. named honorary starter for Daytona 500

Feb. 13, 2016

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

Team Penske drivers (and affiliate) top Daytona 500 practice

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Defending Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano saved his best for the last two minutes of the second and final practice session on Saturday afternoon.

Drafting with teammate Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney of Wood Brothers Racing, a Team Penske affiliate, Logano topped the speed chart at 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway with a lap at 195.933 mph (45.934 seconds), the fastest of the day.

Keselowski was a close second at 195.848 mph, followed by Blaney at 195.797 mph. Those three drivers were the only ones who cracked the 46-second mark.

Logano was consistently fast all day, running second to two-time Daytona 500 winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. in Saturday’s opening practice for the Great American Race (Feb. 21 on FOX).

While Logano established himself as one of the favorites for the Feb. 21 season-opening points race, Blaney, who has to qualify for the race on speed, positioned himself for a spot in the field in the unlikely event of a qualifying rainout on Sunday.

“We had a plan,” Blaney said after practice in an interview with “That’s what we usually do. Brad, Joey and I figure out how we can run together — a little three-car — to see how they draft up. You can’t tell much, but you can see where you’re at and where they’re loaded down with extra drafting help. That was kind of the plan, to line up there at the end.

“We have a pretty fast car, compared to the cars we need to beat — if we’re in the top two of the eight that don’t have charters. I feel pretty good about that. As far as overall raw speed, I think we need to find a little bit more, but I don’t feel like we need too much more. I feel pretty good about (qualifying on Sunday).”


Saturday afternoon brought confirmation of the first sales of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series charters under the new ownership model announced on Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C.

“Charter for the No. 41 car (driven by Kurt Busch) has been secured,” Stewart-Haas Racing asserted on its Twitter account during Daytona 500 practice on Saturday afternoon. “SHR officially has 4 charters. #NASCAR”

Joe Gibbs Racing made a similar proclamation a few minutes later. “It’s official!” JGR tweeted. “Today JGR secured a 4th charter to be used for the No. 19 team (with driver Carl Edwards).”

Stewart-Haas and Gibbs obtained their charters from Rob Kauffman, who earned two charters as a principal with Michael Waltrip Racing, which ceased operations at the end of the 2015 season.

In discussing the possible purchase of a charter on Friday at Daytona, Stewart-Haas Racing president Brett Frood deflected the question with a joke.

“As far as what we paid for it, Rob’s a fairly reasonable guy—well-traveled—enjoys cars, fine dining. We ended up coming to an agreement. We’re going to give him a lifetime supply of Mobil 1 (motor oil) for his cars, and we’re going to deliver Jimmy John’s and Busch beer for the next two years. Good deal!”

On Friday, the day before the official confirmation of the sale of Kauffman’s charters, HScott Motorsports announced it had acquired a charter on a short-term lease basis from Premium Motorsports, owned by Jay Robinson.

Team owner Harry Scott said the charter will be used with the No. 46 Chevrolet driven by Michael Annett. Scott already had earned a charter for the No. 15 Chevy, to be driven this year by Clint Bowyer, who will move to Stewart-Haas in 2017.


Ken Griffey Jr., who will be inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in late July, was named honorary starter for the Feb. 21 Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway officials announced on Saturday.

“We’re honored to welcome baseball great Ken Griffey Jr. as the honorary starter for the Daytona 500,” said DIS president Joie Chitwood III. “We’re looking forward to having such a legendary athlete wave the green flag on the first ‘Great American Race’ in the world’s first motorsports stadium.”

Griffey led the 2016 Hall of Fame class with a record 99.32 percent of the vote (437 of 440) by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. In 22 seasons total with the Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox, Griffey was a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and 1997 American League MVP.

He is sixth on the all-time home run list with 630.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Daytona Notebook

Friday Daytona Notebook

Notebook Items:
·        Brian Vickers elated at opportunity to compete in Daytona 500
·        Logano stays motivated as new season approaches
·        Short strokes

Feb. 12, 2016

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

Brian Vickers elated at opportunity to compete in Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – To say that Brian Vickers appreciates the opportunity to drive the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet in place of injured Tony Stewart would be nothing short of a colossal understatement.

“If anything, I feel more rested than every single person in this garage,” Vickers said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway, as Stewart-Haas announced him as the interim driver for Stewart during Speedweeks. “I’m more hungry than every single person in this garage.

“I’m happier to be here, more appreciative.”

Vickers has good reason to feel both rested and appreciative. In fact, he has experienced more health issues over the past six years than the driver he is replacing. On three occasions during that span, Vickers has been forced to abandon a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series ride because of blood clots, which originally were discovered in his legs and lungs in 2010.

“I think all those feelings and all those experiences and things I’ve learned will only contribute to success, not failure,” said Vickers, who has received clearance to race from his doctors and from NASCAR. “I feel good about it. I’m pumped. It’s a great opportunity.”

But it’s an opportunity that comes at Stewart’s expense, as Vickers was quick to note.

“It’s unfortunate that this is the car I’m in, because that means Tony’s not here,” Vickers said.

Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra in a Jan. 31 all-terrain vehicle accident in the Glamis Dunes of California.

The three-time series champion had back surgery in North Carolina on Feb. 3 and will miss an indeterminate number of races as he recovers. Stewart, however, did hold an impromptu question-and-answer session with fans via the live-streaming application Periscope on Friday, as he worked out on a treadmill.

“We’ve been through a lot worse than this,” Stewart told his fans during the session.

In fact, Stewart missed the final 15 races of the 2013 season after breaking his leg in a sprint car accident in Iowa. In 2014, he missed three races after a sprint car he was driving at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Speedway struck and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr., who had exited his car and approached Stewart’s after an accident involving the two cars.

Thus far, SHR hasn’t named substitute drivers for Stewart beyond Daytona Speedweeks.

“Obviously, the situation is fluid,” said Stewart-Haas president Brett Frood. “There are a lot of different scenarios and tentacles to every decision we’re making. We want to focus on Speedweeks. We want to come in here and give ourselves the best opportunity to win (Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited) and the Daytona 500.

“Then we’ll figured out Atlanta (Feb. 28) and the rest, and hopefully get Tony back in the car as soon as possible.”


Two flirtations with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and the continuing strength of the Team Penske organization over the past two years have only intensified Joey Logano’s desire to win a first title in the series.

To win, though, he’ll have to avoid the sorts of pitfalls that have derailed him. In 2014, a pit road snafu ruined his chances in the Championship Round race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Last year, a feud with Matt Kenseth culminating in a wreck at Martinsville knocked Logano out of the Chase in the Round of 8.

“The last two years have been career seasons for me,” Logano said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. “I feel like we had two championship seasons without a trophy. We have a lot of confidence. We know what it takes to win this whole thing. We have been right on that edge. Arguably, with the most wins last year (six), we should have been there but that’s the way the format is, and that’s the way we play it, and it is what it is.

“I feel like I learned a lot as a driver the last few years and what I need to do to make it happen. I feel like I’ve found new levels as a driver to reach. I know I am a silver linings person, but I feel like that’s something you have to have, that confidence and not get beat down. I feel like there’s nothing to hold our heads down about. We’ve had two great seasons.”

This past season included a victory in the Daytona 500, but Logano will have to buck the odds to win back-to-back editions of the Great American Race. The last driver to win consecutive Daytona 500s was Sterling Marlin in 1994 and 1995.


Jimmie Johnson won the pole for Saturday night’s Sprint Unlimited without getting behind the wheel of his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. The starting order for the race was determined by a blind draw by crew chiefs in the Fan Zone at Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 48 team picked pit stall 43, closest to the entrance to pit road, leaving pit stall 4, closest to pit road exit, to Brad Keselowski, who drew the second starting position. AJ Allmendinger and Kyle Larson will occupy the second row for the start of the 75-lap non-points exhibition race…

NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing on Friday announced sponsorship agreements with Credit One Bank, one of the largest and fastest-growing credit card issuers in the United States. Credit One Bank will carry the designation “Official Credit Card of NASCAR” and will serve as primary sponsor for three races on Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Ganassi Racing Chevrolet…

Kyle Larson led opening practice for the Sprint Unlimited with a lap at 199.344 mph. Kasey Kahne was second fastest at 199.159 mph. As is his custom, Jimmie Johnson eschewed the draft in favor of single-car runs and was 23rd quickest of the 25 cars.

Denny Hamlin topped the speed chart in the second Unlimited practice, posting a lap at 198.930 mph with a strong run from the back of a drafting pack. Clint Bowyer was second fastest at 195.253 mph.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

NASCAR FAST FACTS - 2016 Procedural Changes

NASCAR FAST FACTS - 2016 Procedural Changes  2/2016

Maximum Field Sizes / Corresponding New Points Systems
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Maximum 40-car field (36 Charter team cars, 4 Open team cars), race winner awarded 40 points, 40th place awarded one point.
NASCAR XFINITY Series – Maximum 40-car field, race winner awarded 40 points, 40th place awarded one point.
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – Maximum 32-truck field, race winner awarded 32 points, 32nd place awarded one point

New points systems apply to driver, owner, and manufacturer championships. Existing 2015 Bonus points remain in place for 2016. 

Qualifying – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Daytona 500 Specific
-          Thirty-six Charter teams will be assigned a starting position
-          Four Open teams are eligible for starting positions
o    The highest finishing Open team in each Can-Am Duel race earns a starting position
o    The final two starting positions are awarded to Open teams based on Coors Light Pole Qualifying if not already a top finisher in a Duel race
-          Qualifying sets the front row for the Daytona 500 and the starting lineup for the Can-Am Duel fields, with the number of Charter team and Open team cars split evenly throughout both races
-          If qualifying is cancelled due to weather, the top two finishing Open teams from each Can-Am Duel race earn starting positions in the Daytona 500
-          If the second Can-Am Duel race is cancelled due to weather, the highest finishing Open team from the first race earns a starting position, with the other three Open teams determined by qualifying
-          If both Can-Am Duel races are cancelled due to weather, qualifying determines all four Open teams
-          If qualifying and both Can-Am Duel races are cancelled due to weather, the combined practice speeds are used to determine the four Open teams
-          If all on-track activity prior to the race is cancelled due to weather, 2015 Owner points will be used to determine the four Open teams

All Other Championship Race events

-          Thirty-six Charter teams will be assigned a starting position and four Open teams are eligible for starting positions.
-          Qualifying results will determine the Open team starting positions assuming the event is run as scheduled
-          If qualifying is cancelled due to weather, the combined practice speeds determine the four Open teams
-          If practice and qualifying are cancelled due to weather, Owner points determine the four Open teams (events 1-3 revert to 2015 Owner points)

NASCAR Overtime
For all three NASCAR national series, a race may be concluded with overtime, consisting of a new procedure for a green-white-checkered flag finish featuring an “overtime line.” The location of the overtime line will vary by track.

After taking the green on the overtime restart, if the leader then passes the overtime line on the first lap under green before a caution comes out (a “clean restart”), it will be considered a valid green-white-checkered attempt. However, if a caution comes out before the leader passes the overtime line on the first lap under green, it will not be considered a valid attempt, and a subsequent attempt will be made.  If necessary, multiple subsequent attempts will be made until a valid attempt occurs.

Once a valid attempt is achieved (clean restart), it will become the only attempt at a green-white-checkered finish.  If a caution comes out at any time during the valid green-white-checkered attempt, the field will be frozen and the checkered/yellow or checkered/red displayed to cars at the finish line.