NASCAR fans, check your calendars. Sure, it’s hot and humid outside -- it is August, after all -- but this week feels a lot like Christmas, doesn't it? Saturday marks one of the premier days of each year in motorsports -- we'll be runnin' 'em under the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway in the Irwin Tools Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). For many, the night race at Bristol is the most-anticipated event of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, even ranking ahead of the Daytona 500 . Seeing that race live is something special, something sure to be on every fan's ultimate bucket list. So that has us wondering -- what's on your bucket list? NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola and Jessica Ruffin offer their personal ones, and you should feel free to list your own down in the comments section. DeCola : My NASCAR bucket list? Man, that's a tough one. The sport has so much history at so many different tracks for so many different reasons, it's hard to narrow it down. For starters, I think I'd want to knock the Brickyard 400 at Indy off my list. The Brickyard is arguably the most famous track in the world -- certainly in the United States -- and I have a sneaking feeling the history runs so deep there that you can breathe it in just as easily as the exhaust from 43 cars running around a 2.5-mile rectangle at 200 mph. Indy's an obvious bucket list item. RELATED: Busch wins Indy for third straight victory Ruffin: Stepping on those celebrated bricks and looking up at the famed pagoda is nothing short of a NASCAR dream, Pat . Indy definitely makes my list, too. And while it's much smaller and less glamorous than Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I'm going to throw Martinsville Speedway on my NASCAR bucket list. As the oldest track on the circuit, Martinsville takes you back in time to the roots of racing. All the greats from Fireball Roberts to Junior Johnson to Richard Petty to Dale Earnhardt have wheeled race cars around the paperclip oval. Watching old-school short-track racing from the grandstands -- which all have a spectacular view -- while munching on a legendary Martinsville hot dog is a must-do for any diehard fan. DeCola : Tell me about it. Much to my cholesterol-level's dismay, Martinsville probably makes my bucket list for the hot dog, alone. Continuing down the history trail here, another one any fan would be thrilled to cross off their list is Darlington Raceway, especially for this year's Labor Day Throwback race. Sure, the summer trips to Myrtle Beach are great, but driving along the outside of the landmark track along the way only makes me wish I could be standing in the infield, watching those killer throwback schemes race to take home the biscuit race for one of NASCAR's majors -- the Bojangles' Southern 500 . RELATED: NASCAR.com names NASCAR's Majors Ruffin: This year's throwback schemes at Darlington are going to be incredible -- fans can bet they'll be transported back to another age of racing when they watch Kevin Harvick 's old-school Budweiser scheme turning laps around the speedway Labor Day weekend from the infield. Another place that makes my bucket list possibly for the infield alone is a "Big One" -- good ole Talladega. Located in the heart of Dixie, the larger-than-life tailgating -- which includes everything from mud wrestling to weddings -- and passionate fans make 'Dega a must-stop on the circuit. The racing's pretty awesome, too, with the superspeedway-style drafting, high speeds and crazy, multi-car pile-ups. And if someone like Junior -- the 'Dega fan favorite -- takes the checkered, the contagious post-race excitement is bound to leave you singing "Sweet Home Alabama" all the way home. DeCola : Home, you say, eh? Well, there's no better place to call home than Daytona International Speedway, which may as well consider itself the flagship track of our entire sport. Sure, I've been there before, but guess what -- the annual season-opening Daytona 500 should be on every NASCAR fan's bucket list … every year. One of the most unpredictable, enthralling races of the entire season, there's no reason to "cross it off" if you've been there before. Once is surely not enough. Ruffin: Daytona International Speedway isn't called the World Center of Racing for nothing, that's for certain. It's an iconic track and the Daytona 500 -- NASCAR's Super Bowl -- is the perfect way to open up the NASCAR season. Let's fast forward from the first race to the last race now: The season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. While it's not considered a NASCAR Major in everyone's book (see what we do consider the four NASCAR Majors here ), the final race of the season is a bucket list item simply for the sake of it being the race that ultimately decides the NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Judging by the exciting, nail-biting atmosphere it created last season with four drivers all vying for the title, Homestead's popularity and hype is bound to increase. Not to mention its located in beautiful south Florida -- so why not make a vacation out of it?
Drivers sporting alter egos at the Wisconsin road course Ladies and gentlemen, meet Raymond Wiggles. My cousin, Raymond Wiggles is filling in for me this weekend! pic.twitter.com/LzNmaFmz9y — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 28, 2015 So, uh, Roush Fenway Racing driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney are looking a little different this weekend at Road America, site of Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Ryan @Blaney and @BubbaWallace are looking good @roadamerica this morning. pic.twitter.com/1HhbUyZ7HU — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) August 28, 2015 Bubba had to teach his friend Ryan Blaney how to tie a tie this morning pic.twitter.com/HRSc0NDtTv — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 Looking good, @BubbaWallace ! pic.twitter.com/R4r1K67jQs — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 There's very little context for why, exactly, the two drivers are dressed the way they are, but here are a few shots in the dark. 1. Bubba and Blaney thought Darlington was this weekend and only packed their retro throwback outfits. 2. They heard "Anchorman 3" was shooting in Wisconsin, of all places. 3. They each lost bets -- to each other. 4. They got kicked out of a dairy tour for eating too much cheese, but needed disguises so they could sneak back in ... to eat more cheese. Whatever the reason, Bubba eventually removed his getup. You know, because he had to get behind the wheel of a race car. All good things must come to an end. @BubbaWallace removes the mustache, but his wig stays. pic.twitter.com/e6unEZUh1n — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015
See what's coming this week to NASCAR.com Here's what you'll see on NASCAR.com this week: MONDAY: Kenny Bruce writes on Furniture Row Racing , which is rumored to be considering a manufacturer switch to Toyota ... Kyle Busch won for the third time in four races; see exactly what he has to do to clinch a Chase berth ... The Rundown analyzes how every driver fared at New Hampshire. TUESDAY: This week's Power Rankings presented by Outback has a new No. 1 driver; who is it? Could Kyle Busch climb that high? ... @nascarcasm has his weekly winner's Facebook page, so get ready Kyle Busch ... For the second week in a row, Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske were the cars to beat, as Pat DeCola reports ... Want to know how Eldora works? We'll tell you. WEDNESDAY: New paint schemes will be on display at Indianapolis and Eldora, and we'll have them all in Paint Scheme Preview ... Speaking of Eldora, there's plenty of action on the dirt track, and it begins at 10:30 a.m. ET. The race itself starts at 9 p.m. ET. We'll have live leaderboards of it all ... While you're watching the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, vote on who you think will win at Indy. THURSDAY: Driver Reports highlights the 16 drivers currently on the Chase Grid, and how they fare at Indianapolis ... Senior writer Kenny Bruce will look back at Jeff Gordon 's top Brickyard moments ... Jessica Ruffin, for #TBT, throws it back to Tony Stewart 's first win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. FRIDAY: The Sprint Cup Series gets on track at 9 a.m. ET, and we'll have full coverage from a busy day at the track ... 8 Tweets You Might Have Missed highlights the best from social media over the past week ... Kissing the bricks? @nascarcasm has a take on that. Also coming this week: High Five, which drops Wednesday, highlights the best NASCAR content from around the internet ... the Major League Baseball trade deadline is coming up, which got RJ Kraft thinking about some possible NASCAR driver trades.
Beware the consequences of breaking JJ's bike and blaming it on him RELATED: NASCAR driver preps for race ... on a bike? Remember last week when Dale Earnhardt Jr . tweeted that he borrowed a bike from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson , only to have that bike quit shifting on him a mile into his ride? At the time, Junior included the popular (sometimes sarcastic) hashtag, #BlameJJ. RELATED: Junior borrows, breaks Jimmie's bike Well ... Johnson felt he had to investigate exactly what happened. Turns out -- Junior wasn't using the shifter correctly. So I've come to find out @dalejr wasn't operating the shifter correctly on the bike he borrowed... Feel free to to harass him at anytime. — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 25, 2015 Shoulda read the directions https://t.co/SVYpecQpsa — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 25, 2015 I assumed @JimmieJohnson would be using the voice command shifter. He needs to get on that. https://t.co/a419tpzbdJ — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 25, 2015 @nascarcasm had a pretty good suggestion. . @JimmieJohnson @DaleJr Please just get a tandem. pic.twitter.com/wk8GZ1t5Cz — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) August 25, 2015 All of this is really to say two things. 1. Feel free to poke fun at Junior. Jimmie gave you permission. And, more importantly ... 2. Never borrow something from Jimmie Johnson , because if you break it, he will publicly out you to his over 920,000 Twitter followers.
J.J. Yeley's daughter takes center stage to introduce her dad RELATED: Driver intro songs for Bristol " @nascarcasm: Songs drivers should have picked &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp; Between the MRO children singing the national anthem and all of the children accompanying their fathers during driver intros, kids took center stage at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday night. None more so than J.J. Yeley's daughter, Faith Anne. Dressed in full Elvis Presley garb -- to match his "Devil in Disguise" by The King (no, not that one) Irwin Tools Night Race driver introductions song -- Yeley handed the mic over to his (literally angelic) daughter to announce him and boy, did she not disappoint. What really made it was that little extra twang she added. Well done, J.J. Yeley’s daughter.
Team release says that assets have been purchased Photo courtesy of Viva Motorsports Viva Motorsports, which fields the No. 55 entry in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, announced on Monday that the team is ceasing operations effective this week, according to a release issued by the organization. The team was on track at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, where Jeffrey Earnhardt was behind the wheel of the No. 55 Chevrolet and finished in 34th place. The organization made its NASCAR debut in 2009 and competed in both the XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "It takes a tremendous level of commitment to compete at this level of auto racing, especially when striving to get better on limited resources, week in and week out," team owner Jamie Dick said in a release provided by the team. "It has come to a point where my family and I cannot continue to make the personal and financial commitments that this sport requires. I have always been proud of the quality of race team we brought to the track. Instead of lessening that quality, we decided to take a step back from the sport." "I want to thank the whole NASCAR community for allowing me to be part of the family. I want to thank our sponsors and our fans for all the support through the years. But most of all, I want to thank the employees of Viva Motorsports, both past and present, for making this team the best it could be." All the team assets have been purchased and the No. 55 car will appear in a handful of races in the 2015 season, according to the release. This season, Earnhardt (six races), Dick (five races) and Brandon Gdovic (two races) split driving duties in the No. 55 car. Dick missed some time after being diagnosed with new onset diabetes after the Phoenix race in March. The team's best result in 13 races this season was a 12th-place showing by Earnhardt at Talladega in May. A few weeks ago, Dick sat down with NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola at the team's shop in China Grove, North Carolina, to discuss the challenges of running a single-car team. "I do (have a single-car team, "us against the world" mentality). I don’t try to make it a point to spread that opinion throughout our employees and everyone else, but I certainly have that opinion," Dick said. "Because of that mentality, I'm glad we do our own single-car team. Not that we want to be a single-car team, I just mean that we’re independent and we own it and we do it." Dick also reflected on where his own driving career was heading. The 26-year-old has made 60 XFINITY Series starts and 14 Camping World Truck Series starts in his career. "The trajectory and the path of the mountain of my driving career and Viva Motorsports have already started to split and have more and more over the past year or two. I think they'll continue to split more. I don't think that my driving career will blossom into something greater than it is right now. I still like driving and I want to be the best race car driver I can be, but I don’t foresee any opportunities coming along to advance my driving career beyond what it is now, which I'm perfectly OK with. I'm happy with where I am and where I've made it." The Albuquerque, New Mexico native had big hopes for the organization, telling NASCAR.com in May that he would love to work his way into the Sprint Cup Series one day. "The potential for Viva Motorsports to grow with other drivers and other partners and other sponsors, the sky is the limit," Dick said last month. "I'd still love to venture into the Cup Series if the right opportunity presented itself, but I realize how difficult it is and I don't want to go in there with a half-hearted effort. I want the right opportunity to do it right way. That probably will never mean the 'right way' compared to Joe Gibbs or Rick Hendrick, but at least the right way as something that we can be proud of." And those hopes extended to the team's XFINITY efforts. "I hope in three to five years we're no longer a single-car team. I hope we're a two or three car XFINITY car team competing for better finishes, top-10 finishes, and continue to present ourselves professionally like we do now." ---NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola contributed to this report. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Racing in Kansas has resumed after wet weather stopped the race RELATED: Live weather updates from Kansas Saturday night's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 (FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) at Kansas Speedway was delayed by rain with 98 laps completed but racing resumed after a red flag period of two hours and 16 minutes. Drivers were called back to their cars around 10:30 p.m. ET and engines were re-fired at 10:58 p.m. ET. Shortly thereafter, the green flag waved and racing resumed. The 267-lap, 400.5-mile race, No. 11 of 36 Sprint Cup Series points events, got underway with a green flag time of 7:36 p.m. ET. However, rain hit the track after the race's third caution on Lap 94 near 8:35 p.m., and after a yellow flag period, NASCAR officials threw the red flag and brought cars down pit road. The Air Titan track-drying system was quickly deployed to get the track race-ready. Polesitter Joey Logano led the opening 29 circuits, but gave way to Kurt Busch for the next 20 laps. Reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick took the point position from there for seven laps. Martin Truex Jr . was then out front for 22 laps. Brad Keselowski , Matt Kenseth and Erik Jones also held the lead briefly as the field cycled through pit stops that ultimately put Truex back out in front. At the time of the delay, the top 10 running order was: Truex, Harvick, Busch, Kasey Kahne , Kyle Larson , Keselowski, Carl Edwards , Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Jamie McMurray . Logano would have been in the top 10 at the delay but he was hit with a penalty for having his crew go over the wall too soon during his four-tire stop. Jones is making his first career Sprint Cup Series start. He filled in for Denny Hamlin at Bristol Motor Speedway in April after Hamlin suffered neck spasms. Jones is in 11th place. There was a competition caution at Lap 25 to check tire wear on the cars at the 1.5-mile track. Alex Bowman had ignition issues and went to the garage just before the competition caution. In the early moments of the race, Jimmie Johnson nearly spun out, but the six-time champion was able to save it. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this evening's weather forecast for the area calls for a chance of precipitation at 40 percent. New rainfall amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, except higher amounts are possible if thunderstorms occur. Earlier this year, the start of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was delayed for nearly one hour by rain. That event was eventually run in its entirety with Jimmie Johnson collecting the win. There were also lengthy rain delays last month at Bristol Motor Speedway that twice delayed a race eventually won by Matt Kenseth . Two weeks ago, storms in the Richmond, Virginia area pushed the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway back from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon. --NASCAR.com's Pat DeCola contributed to this report . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Team Penske driver gets ready for Mid-Ohio race in a different way LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Plenty of drivers have their particular ways of preparing for an upcoming race track, whether it's watching tape, talking to veterans, poring over data from previous races, etc. And then there are some that ride around on their bicycles to glean the ins and outs. Yes, bicycles. Alex Tagliani , a road course pro set to take the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang around Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the second consecutive year, took a lap around the winding, 2.258-mile track on his man-powered two-wheeler on Thursday night to get a feel for it -- at a much slower speed, of course. "For the first time in so many years last night I was biking around the track; it was my first time with a bicycle and it's really amazing how much the elevation is," Tagliani said Friday, ahead of Saturday's Nationwide Children’s Hospital 200 (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). "When you're driving the car, everything looks a lot flatter. You see that there’s a little bit of up and down, but with the bike I was getting 50 kph (approximately 31 mph) down Turn 4 and 15 kph (approx. 9 mph) going up some hills, so there is a huge elevation change in the track and even some banking in some places. "It was quite fun to have that sort of perspective for the first time and when you drive any other car, the track doesn't really feel the same. Downforce helps a lot with cars that have a lot of movement like the XFINITY cars and a lot of body wall. It changes a lot, too, so you have to approach the track a little bit different, but it's fun ... just look at the small, minor details that you don't see when you're sitting in your car." It certainly didn't hurt that Tagliani, who finished fifth in this race last year after starting second, picked up an early win to build some momentum for the weekend, either. "My wife was out there, too, with the baby and the stroller. I was not the slowest one out there."
Hendrick Motorsports driver teams with YouTube stars for 'Driving Stereotypes' There are certain social norms that need to be followed when you’re driving in the car with your buddies. Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Dude Perfect teamed up to show us what happens when they aren’t followed -- and the consequences are dire. Junior and Co. show us the classics such as “The Mom Arm” -- you know exactly what that is -- “The Wing-Man” and of course, everyone’s favorite passenger, the oh-so-lovable “Backseat Driver”. And be careful. If you’re falling asleep at the wheel, you will get a quick slap to the side of the head. Fun times shooting the #DrivingStereotypes video with @DudePerfect . Check it out! https://t.co/SwKmGHgSOE — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 17, 2015 We hope you enjoy our new video, Driving Stereotypes ft. @DaleJr ! http://t.co/E7deLkez2l — Dude Perfect (@DudePerfect) August 17, 2015