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Stewart unveils special Coca-Cola look for Darlington
RELATED: See all the Darlington throwbacks BUY TICKETS: Darlington CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Tony Stewart joked that "I can't remember what I had for lunch most days" but the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion said he can recall the first time he saw Bobby Allison race. "It was at Scottsburg, Indiana," Stewart said Wednesday during an appearance at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "They ran Late Models, Street Stocks and Bombers or something like that that night. "It was him in a Coke-sponsored car. He was running around the bottom the whole time; I was yelling 'Run the top!' I wanted to see him run the top once. But he was set up for the bottom I'm sure and I remember he ran eighth. "That was probably 30-35 years ago but I can remember it." Stewart will pay tribute to the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver during this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with a throwback paint scheme similar to that run by Allison between 1970-73. The car was unveiled for the first time at the Hall Wednesday. Stewart's No. 14 Chevrolet will bear the Coca-Cola logos and feature the same red and gold paint scheme that adorned Allison's familiar No. 12 entry. "I knew Bobby because he was a NASCAR driver. My family, we barely could afford to race the go-karts we were racing let alone go do something else. ... So I went with a buddy of mine; I didn't know Bobby was going to be there that day. But out front of the race track on the marquee it said Bobby Allison was racing and the date and I thought 'Wow, that's going to be cool.' Some two dozen throwback schemes for this year's race, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 4, have been announced. Track officials say they expect the entire field to feature a nod to the past in some form or fashion. Allison won 84 times in NASCAR's premier series and won the championship in 1983. He won the Southern 500 at Darlington four times, twice (1971-72) while running the red-and-gold scheme. But what helped make the Hueytown, Alabama-based driver a fan favorite was his willingness to go race anywhere, at any time. Race fans that were not able to travel to Daytona or Darlington, Bristol or Riverside could see Allison compete at the tiny half-mile tracks across the Midwest and Northeast. Stewart, Allison said, is cut from the same cloth." I appreciate his enthusiasm for the sport, his ability, his willingness to go anywhere anytime and run different kinds of tracks, different kinds of equipment," Allison, now 78, said. "I ran different kinds but I never really got into the dirt Super Mods or anything. I did run them just a little … never dug into that, which he has. And he's won. I won in quite a few, but not all of them. I look at that and really appreciate him." Allison spent his entire driving career darting between weekly short-track events while competing in NASCAR's premier series."I felt like any lap was just more experience, more training for me," he said. "Also any differences helped me adjust when the track changed, the weather changed. So much of that would throw the drivers; it helped me adjust to whatever went on anywhere I was racing." Stewart, co-owner of Stewart-Haas Racing , will retire from Sprint Cup competition at season's end. It's a fitting way, he said, to honor Allison in what will be his final Southern 500 start. "He was fierce in a race car," Stewart said. "You knew that if he was out there … you were going to have to be on your game to beat him that day. "(Darlington) is one of two Cup tracks that we run that I've not won a Cup race at … this is my last chance to cross another one, and a big one, off the list. And it's going to be in a really cool car too." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Lorenzen family recounts Fred’s legacy
Chris Lorenzen talks about his childhood experiences and growing up with his father Fred Lorenzen.
Edwards ready to get started with JGR
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Member of the Month: April
Name: Sadie Hometown: Chevy Chase, Maryland Current City: Brooklyn, New York Member since: 2009 Getting to know Sadie Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "Because I absolutely love NASCAR and want to do everything I can to support the sport. I also feel I have a unique voice from many other NASCAR fans, living in New York City and not even owning a car." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR? "The first race I watched was the 2003 Daytona 500 and I instantly fell in love. Even though it was rain shortened, I loved the way the commentators described the strategy and the technical aspects of the sport. As I learned more about the drivers and picked favorites, I was hooked forever." Q. What makes NASCAR special for you? "I love introducing new people to NASCAR and explaining the strategies as well as the different driver personalities and associated rivalries. Many people think it's just about turning left, but when I convince them to watch (or attend) a race with me, they get the reason I'm so obsessed. I've also met so many incredible people across the country attending NASCAR races. I make friends at every event." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "My favorite memory of all time was winning a pass to Victory Lane in '08 at Watkins Glen when my favorite driver ( Kyle Busch ) won the race. I was so excited, jumping up and down, that one of the crewmembers brought over the huge champagne bottle so I could celebrate with the team! Incredible!" Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Driver: " Kyle Busch " Track: "Richmond" Memorabilia: "I don't have much space in my tiny Brooklyn apartment, but I do keep out a collection of signed diecast cars. One of the coolest diecasts I have is the throwback Wrangler #3 that Dale Jr. won the Daytona Nationwide race with, signed by him." Sponsor: "Wrangler (such a good looking car)" Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? "Talladega" Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "I love to knit. I get a lot of knitting done while watching NASCAR." Q: Tell us about your family. Do you have children and/or pets? "I have a wonderful husband of 12 years who knows more about racing than he ever wished." Q: What's your dream car? "If it's a dream, let's go Maserati." FROM ALL OF US AT NASCAR, WE THANK SADIE FOR HER CONTINUED SUPPORT AND LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM HER IN 2016.
Pocono truck trivia stumps drivers on GarageCam
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series garage at Pocono Raceway, where he test drivers knowledge with some tricky Pocono trivia.
Wood Bros. return to full time opens up new doors
RELATED: Complete driver roster for 2016 The folks at Wood Brothers Racing are busy getting ready for this month's Daytona 500 , the season-opening race for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. That is not unusual. The legendary team has prepared for the series' biggest, most well known race ever since there was a Daytona 500 . This year is No. 58 for the event billed as the "Great American Race." Actually, the family-owned organization's Daytona history runs a bit deeper -- team founder and patriarch Glen Wood competed on the beach and road course before the 2.5-mile superspeedway rose up a few miles inland. What's unusual is what will follow. Because after Daytona will be Atlanta. And Las Vegas. And Phoenix and Auto Club. Martinsville and Texas and Bristol. And on and on and on. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule whips across the country, and this year, for the first time since 2008, the Wood Brothers and their familiar red-and-white No. 21 Ford will be there every step of the way. "I'm looking forward to going back to some of the tracks we haven't been to for a while like Atlanta, Martinsville -- I really love road courses and things like that, places that present an opportunity that's a little different, even like a Pocono," Len Wood, who along with brother Eddie oversee the operation of the team today. "Anything can happen at a Pocono or a road course, so that's what I'm looking for." The team has 98 victories, but only one since cutting back to a limited schedule. Granted, it was a big one -- the 2011 Daytona 500 with driver Trevor Bayne . Last year, Ryan Blaney made 16 starts for team, finishing with top 10s at Talladega in the spring (fourth) and Kansas in the fall (seventh). He scored a pair of XFINITY Series wins (Iowa-2, Kentucky-2) while driving for Team Penske and a Camping World Truck Series victory (at Bristol) for owner/driver Brad Keselowski . MORE: Blaney clarifies height conspiracy His Sprint Cup schedule may have been limited, but the knowledge gained was not. "It's good to get experience, it's good to work with the whole team on these Cup cars and be able to race around the competition," Blaney, 22, said. "Just racing around your other competitors is one of the biggest battles -- knowing how they race and just learning from them. "That's something I've been able to do in the Truck Series and the XFINITY Series. But the Cup side is way different. The cars are way different, they handle way different, there are different things you can do. "It was definitely a learning year, a good year to get us prepared for this full-time season." RELATED: Who is the favorite for Sunoco Rookie honors? Blaney, along with Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports), Chris Buescher (Front Row Motorsports), Brian Scott (Richard Petty Motorsports) and Jeffrey Earnhardt (Go FAS Racing) make up this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year class. All have multiple Sprint Cup Series starts, from Earnhardt's two to Blaney's 18. The Wood Brothers team will continue its technical alliance with Team Penske, likewise a Ford organization and one that fields Sprint Cup teams for Keselowski, the 2012 series champion, and teammate Joey Logano . Crew chief Jeremy Bullins is a former Penske crew chief, having helped lead all three drivers to Victory Lane in the XFINITY Series. Bullins also has ties to the Wood Brothers -- he began his career working with the group when the team shop was still based in tiny Stuart, Virginia. "For me personally, it's a big deal to be on this car, for this car to be successful," Bullins said. How successful the team can be as it transitions back to full-time status, Bullins said, "is up to us." "When you look at Ryan and his ability, the equipment that we have and the resources we have, really it's up to us and how far we take it," he said. "Obviously the goal, the reason we are here, is to try to win races and try to win championships eventually. "When you start your first year in the Cup series, you don't anticipate that but it's up to us how far we take it. The potential is there, for sure."
Strategy play OK, but Keselowski seeks speed
Rash of late cautions derailed No. 2 team's Phoenix plan RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings AVONDALE, Ariz. -- With Kevin Harvick 's desert dominance on everyone's mind, strategy plays were the tactic of choice to potentially break up his monopoly. The No. 2 team of Brad Keselowski tried its hand with two such ploys, but it ultimately wasn't enough with how the cautions fell in the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday. Keselowski finished sixth, while Harvick won his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season and fourth straight at the 1-mile oval. Afterward, Keselowski lamented the fact that Chevrolet teams seem to have a little more speed than the other manufacturers right now. "We just didn't quite have enough speed," Keselowski said. "I thought we were about a third- or fourth-place car and got shuffled to finish where we did. It was a great effort. We have to keep working to find more speed. There are a lot of Chevys up there and we need to get our Fords running a tiny bit better." Team Penske 's No. 2 crew made two crucial strategy calls during the race. One worked out well, while circumstances disrupted the other. A caution on Lap 117 saw all the front-runners come down pit road, and Keselowski and crew chief Paul Wolfe decided to take two tires. That lifted the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion from fourth place to the lead. From there the 31-year-old was out front for 52 laps -- 41 more than he had led in the season's previous three events. Through three races last year, Keselowski had led 69 laps and already had a race win to his credit. "We had that one run where we got out to the lead and led like 50 laps which was second to Harvick, that is something here," Keselowski said. Keselowski gave up the lead for good on Lap 171, but spent the next 50-plus laps in the top three. During his pit stop after the race's seventh caution on Lap 227, Keselowski shook up the strategy some more. This time, pitting from third place, Wolfe and Co. elected to put on four tires. The No. 2 restarted in 17th place on Lap 234, with the hope being a lengthy green-flag run would aid their chances of getting back to the front. However, three more cautions came out between the Lap 234 restart and the finish of the race, allowing drivers on older tires to keep track position near the front. Keselowski rose as high as fifth place on Lap 289, but fell back to sixth by the checkered flag as a surging Kurt Busch slipped past him for the final spot in the top five. "Everybody was on a different strategy it seemed, and it didn't quite pan out for us to get the third or fourth we deserved but we ran really well," Keselowski said. For the first time all season, Keselowski led more laps in a race than Team Penske teammate Joey Logano . And despite leading 35 circuits himself, Keselowski's younger teammate was direct in his assessment about whose car had the upper hand. "Brad had the better car, for sure," Logano said after his eighth-place finish. "The finishing order kind of showed that." For Keselowski, the sixth-place result continued his upward trajectory for the season as he has improved on his finish in each race. After a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 led to his day ending early and a 41st-place result, he has rolled off three consecutive top-10s with a ninth-place finish at Atlanta and a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas. The Phoenix finish also saw him rise seven spots in the point standings. Still, unlike last year, when the No. 2 crew came out firing with a win and three straight top-three finishes, something seems to be lacking in the early going. Keselowski said he knows exactly what it is. "We just have to find some more speed," he said. "That is the common theme." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Junior in the city: He could be anyone
A behind-the-scenes look at Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s media tour Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Editor's note: Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in New York City last week for a Road to Daytona 500 media tour and let NASCAR.com tag along. NEW YORK -- It's cold at 9:30 a.m. in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Thirty degrees won't come for four more hours, and the wind whips and swirls between the skyscrapers and billows down the sidewalk at the intersection of 67th and Columbus, where a line of people snakes down the sidewalk. These huddled masses are lined up around the block outside 7 Lincoln Square, awaiting the opening of the doors that will bring both warmth and a seat inside the "LIVE with Kelly and Michael" studio. NASCAR superstar Dale Earnhardt Jr. has already called in to "The Dan Patrick Show" as his first media obligation on Feb. 11, and he has four more stops on the docket as part of the Road to Daytona 500 Media Tour. He's in a black Chevrolet SUV fighting morning traffic, but steadily making progress toward this tiny pocket of the largest city in the United States. And he's running late. Congested morning streets make it hardly Junior's fault, but he bustles into the dressing room at the "LIVE" studio a bit behind schedule, and there's a pair of show producers eager to get him prepped for his spot. Part of their job is to make Earnhardt feel both welcome and comfortable. With Valentine's Day three days away, it's an easy talking point -- and one Junior will hear relentlessly throughout both this trip, and at Media Day in Daytona Beach, Florida, the following day. "Got any big plans for Valentine's Day?" an assistant asks Dale Jr. after a few quick brushes in the makeup room. "We've got a race," Junior says. "Oh, how romantic!" • • • It's a commercial break, and host Michael Strahan signs an old New York Giants jersey that was tossed down from the balcony. He banters playfully with the audience, including one member who makes fun of his arm strength. "Hey, I wasn't a quarterback," he says. "I hit quarterbacks." An image of Earnhardt Jr. suddenly blares on the television screens behind the hosts, and Strahan teases, "You don't know who our next guest is, do you?" "Dale Jr.!" screams the audience, and there's a few shrieks thrown in there as well. The man himself strides on stage, and that's where one first sees the transformation. Quiet and reserved by nature, he is a media chameleon of sorts -- his personality adapts to its surroundings . When the camera comes on, there's Junior smiling, there's Junior giving these well thought-out answers to questions he's answered literally hundreds of times before. He's stopped just once in this building, by a pair of veterans who ask for a quick picture with NASCAR's 12-time Most Popular Driver as he walks to his waiting ride in the building's parking garage after the filming is completed. "Thank you for your service," he says before climbing into the back seat and being whisked away. • • • At the "Rachael Ray Show," an employee named Vida creates a pet name for Earnhardt as she describes how the taping will go. "Hey, pumpkin!" she says when he walks in. "OK, pumpkin?" after her final bit of instruction. "Yes ma'am," he replies. It's how he always replies. Vida appears flustered when Earnhardt is pulled away to do the stage. "I have to get a picture with him," she says on the way out. Vida's not the only one at this stop to feel the Junior Effect. Chad Carter, a producer on the show, is from Concord, North Carolina. It's a town just north of Charlotte (Charlotte Motor Speedway is actually in Concord), and about 20 miles southeast of Mooresville, where Junior grew up. He's talked Earnhardt up all week, so the staff is eager to meet the man. "In my area of North Carolina, it's Jesus, Elvis and Dale Earnhardt Jr.," Carter told the show's associates, and even Ray herself, leading up to this day. Carter left a note for Junior, along with a gift bag full of local beer, gin and bourbon. The wooden table has a stack of North Carolina-specific books, an attempt to make the glamorous green room feel more like Mooresville than Manhattan. A succinctly titled "Duke Sucks" sits on top. Earnhardt thumbs through Carter's 1994 Concord High School yearbook, and a book of photography by Hugh Morton, one of North Carolina's most well-known native sons, while waiting to be called to the stage. The TV blares behind him. Someone brings food -- flank steak and popovers. Junior has already changed clothes so he doesn't appear on different talk shows wearing the same outfit, and he reacts to a new piece of clothing like most everyone. He puts on his new striped suit jacket, fixes it, pulls on it, then checks it out in the mirror before finally asking, "Does this look OK?" Vida will soon get her picture, and Carter is waiting for Earnhardt when he gets back to the green room after his interview with Ray and special guest host Regis Philbin. There isn't much time for pleasantries, but Earnhardt greets Carter as he does everyone else he encounters on this trip -- a look in the eye, a firm handshake and a one-word introduction: "Dale." "Thank you for the gift bag," Earnhardt says. "That was very generous of you." • • • At lunch, Earnhardt perks up at the prospect of food. It's been a busy morning. He offers suggestions to the sushi novice (black dynamite, on account of the tempura shrimp -- the crunchiness hides the fact that there's actual raw fish jammed in there), then expertly wields his chopsticks with his left hand while polishing off a salad, miso soup and two lines of brightly colored sushi. Whether it's eating or walking or making a decision, Earnhardt Jr. is always moving fast, as if his personality mirrors how he hopes to perform on the track. Maybe it does. But there is no wasted movement with this man in the city, no dallying. When lunch is finished, he rises, puts on his jacket and is 25 feet away before anyone else has pushed a chair back from the table. He power-walks on the city sidewalks, reaching his vehicle before anyone else in his group and not waiting for the driver to emerge and open the door for him. Now, at 1 p.m., is the only break Earnhardt has in the day, a 45-minute stretch in which he doesn't have a commitment, and doesn't need to be chugging along in his rented ride to get to his next commitment. He can do anything he wants. And he wants to go to Bleecker Street. Nestled near New York University, Bleecker Street is a trendy nightclub district in Greenwich Village. It also has a Burberry store. That is the purpose of this detour. Junior looks like any man shopping for his significant other when he walks through the doors and is confronted with a dizzying array of pink purses, accessories and clothes. He selects two scarves for his girlfriend Amy Reimann, but the merchandise continually catches his eye as the employees ring him up. He inspects a wallet, whose well-designed interior is stunning when he pops it open. "That's cool as hell," he murmurs. Two scarves quickly becomes two scarves plus a wallet … plus a shawl … plus a new purse to replace the one stolen from Amy on vacation. Not even the loud buzz as he walks out the door -- two of the security devices hadn't been removed -- harshens his mood. • • • That famous selfie in Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway last year is the first image of Dale Earnhardt Jr. that people on Twitter glimpsed. It was the first tweet from @DaleJr, and it kicked off a year in which Junior delighted his fans and followers with Throwback Thursday photos, race predictions and late-night Q&A sessions. It directly led to this penultimate media tour stop at one of the Twitter offices, where a bunch of hip 20-somethings sequester Junior into a conference room and film his reasoning -- and reaction -- to joining the platform. "It's hard to do," Earnhardt says. "You can't try it for a week and go 'It's not for me.' I needed a moment. … "But it also gives us a way to say we're confident, and fans want to hear that confidence. And when we win, we get to celebrate with all our fans." The Twitter folks exude New York. They are trendy, they wear jeans to work and they are young. Yet the 40-year-old Earnhardt does not look like an outsider. He looks like he could be either Twitter's guest for the day, or one of its executives. That's something else we learn from this trip. Earnhardt somehow is both the laid-back guy from rural North Carolina and a media mogul that can blend into the biggest city in the United States, looking like he belongs on Wall Street. It's a dichotomy that shows up everywhere, from the people he meets to his Southern politeness, even to the way he dresses. Sure, he's wearing blue jeans (Wrangler, no doubt) but his black dress shoes are gleaming as if they've been freshly polished, and he bought a new striped sports coat for this occasion. He gives thoughtful, professional answers on questions that need them. But when he's off camera, and sees a beautiful three-layer cake the Twitter folks surprised him with, he grins. "Hell yeah!" he says. • • • He arrives at the day's last stop at 3:32 p.m. It's the fifth hit of his day, a day that began in North Carolina before the sun came up, has spanned states and necessitates that a somewhat introverted man talk almost nonstop. Junior has not yawned once. In fact, this day of racing talk has him amped for the start of the season. An offseason with virtually no testing had the driver itching to get back in the car alongside his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, one of whom is Jeff Gordon. This is Gordon's last full-time season, and it has Earnhardt thinking about his own future. Junior tackled the topic of retirement multiple times last year, and admits it's almost an obsessive thing to mull when one of the greats hangs it up. "I often think about retirement, and what it is that makes people retire," Earnhardt Jr. says. "I wonder about myself. 'What is going to take me out of the car? Is it gonna be family? Is it gonna be health?' "I can tell you I wouldn't step out for the car right now for anything." Minutes later, his "Pardon the Interruption" taping is finished. And one final time, we see the two sides of Dale. He's leaving a beautiful midtown studio, the type of place so very few people have access to, walking away from the marble flooring and fancy recording equipment. It's a building that so few people -- really, so few professional athletes -- will ever be qualified to enter. His day is done, but there's still one final piece of business as the elevator takes him down and spits him back toward the crowded streets. Before he leaves, Dale Earnhardt Jr. heads to a small nook of a convenience store and buys a Powerball ticket. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today