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Alex Gurney takes top spot for Rolex 24 at Daytona
Son of legendary driver Dan Gurney looks for first Rolex 24 win
Blaney balancing on bubble, but not focused on Chase -- yet
RELATED: Chase Grid NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and teams resume the pursuit of a position in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup this weekend as the series heads to Sonoma Raceway and the year's first road-course stop. Ten drivers have all but officially secured berths with one or more victories through the series' first 15 races. If there aren't at least 16 winners following the cutoff race at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 10, the remainder of the field will be determined based on points positions. Last season, there were 11 winners, leaving five positions to be awarded based on points. Ten drivers have found themselves 16th in the standings at some point this year. Five have advanced; four have fallen by the wayside for now and one, Ryan Blaney , heads to Sonoma situated in the 16th position. Blaney, driver of the Wood Brothers No. 21 Ford, is aware of his situation, but says he pays no mind to his past or current points placement. "I don't care about it," he said during a recent organizational test for teams at Kentucky Speedway . "I really don't look at it." Blaney has been as high as 12th in the standings and as low as 21st. With 11 races remaining before the field is set for the 10-race, championship-determining format gets underway, there's little reason to panic. He enters Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 (3 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR) with an 11-point cushion on Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne and is 19 points ahead of 18th-place Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ). Richard Childress Racing driver Ryan Newman (15th) is five points ahead of Blaney. Jamie McMurray sits 14th -- the driver of the Chip Ganassi Racing No. 1 Chevrolet is five up on Newman and 10 on Blaney. "I don't like to look at that stuff," Blaney reiterated. "I think if we go on the race track and perform the way I know we should, and run toward the front of the field like we can do week in and week out, that stuff will take care of itself." Sunday's race will be Blaney's first Sprint Cup start on a road course but he is not alone. Fellow Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Chris Buescher , Chase Elliott , Brian Scott and Jeffrey Earnhardt will be making their first Sprint Cup road-course starts as well. Both Blaney and Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) have one road-course win apiece in the Camping World Truck Series and both came at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park . Buescher ( Front Row Motorsports ) won at Mid-Ohio in 2014 while competing in the XFINITY Series. The Wood Brothers Racing team is making its first appearance at a road-course since the 2008 season when former driver Marcos Ambrose wheeled the No. 21 from 43rd to a third-place finish at Watkins Glen International . Blaney's father, Dave, also competed in that race. One of roughly a half dozen teams competing without a Charter this season (and thus no guaranteed starting spot in the 40-car fields), Wood Brothers Racing has eight road-course wins to its credit. Marvin Panch scored the first in 1965 at The Glen; Dan Gurney won four times and NASCAR Hall of Fame member David Pearson three at Riverside International Raceway. Blaney and his team, led by crew chief Jeremy Bullins, have one top five and six top-10 finishes this season. Two of the last three starts, however, have resulted in finishes of 20th (at Charlotte) and 17th (at Michigan), sandwiched around a 10th-place run at Pocono. A brush with the wall late in the second half of the Michigan race sent his No. 21 entry to pit road. Although he restarted 29th, Blaney did gain 12 positions in the closing laps of the 400-mile race. "We had a bad day," Blaney said. "It was unfortunate because we had a really good car. We should have run in the top five pretty easily. Just the circumstances we were put in really hurt us." Michigan was the most recent outing for the series. Teams will return to the 2-mile track in August. For now, though, Sonoma is the focus. Two practices are slated for Friday on the 12-turn, 1.99-mile layout. Qualifying for the 40-car field is scheduled for Saturday.
Ray Evernham talks season 3 of 'AmeriCarna'
Season 3 of the popular car culture show "AmeriCarna" began Thursday on Velocity TV (9 p.m. ET), and show host Ray Evernham couldn't be more excited. "We've got some really cool stuff coming this year … just some incredible, incredible stories," Evernham told NASCAR.com. Evernham has an excellent eye for "cool stuff" when it comes to the automobile. From popular vehicles that may have little or nothing to do with the world of racing to those that left their mark on the track, the stories behind the vehicles that turn up on "AmeriCarna" are told well, they're informative and they’re entertaining. It's a labor of love for Evernham, the former championship-winning crew chief for Hendrick Motorsports and driver Jeff Gordon as well as a winning car owner in NASCAR's premier series with Dodge. "There are so many stories out there because cars have really documented the timeline of America and its history," Evernham said. "Each culture is represented by different things that happened around the automotive market or industry for years. They're connected by music and fashion and politics and all kinds of things." Tonight's premiere details the 2014 disaster at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the efforts to rescue the cars and repair the museum. A 30-foot deep sinkhole opened in the facility two years ago, and eight vehicles -- six owned by the museum and two on loan from General Motors -- were either damaged or completely destroyed. "We've got the complete story of when the sinkhole opened up and swallowed up all these priceless Corvettes … and the story of how they restored it, how they fixed that building," Evernham said. "We've got inside, never-seen-before footage from the folks at GM." Other shows this season will look everything from board tracks to the Bonneville Salt Flats, and a record-setting hot rod from the early '50s. "We're doing a thing on board tracks which is incredible because there was a huge board track right here in Charlotte," he said. "How in the 1930s they build these giant wooden tracks banked up to 45 degrees, a mile and a quarter in length and ran events there. "They were kind of the daredevils of the '30s and we actually went and got Travis Pastrana, who is a daredevil of today you might say, to talk with me about that show. "We found one of Dan Gurney's cars that was lost for 35-plus years and put it back on the track. "We've got a vintage hot rod from California that went across Bonneville at 133 mph in 1951. It's somewhat untouched and we're rebuilding the motor and doing all those things to see if we can make it go 133 mph again just like they did." The series consists of 10 episodes, but Evernham says that only scratches the surface of the incredible tales he and his team uncover. "We have people that bring us incredible car stories every day," he said. "We want more than 10 episodes a year because we've got a lot more stories to tell."
Danica Patrick sits down with Dan Patrick, things get interesting
Danica Patrick sat down on the set of "The Dan Patrick Show" on Tuesday to promote the start of the NASCAR on NBC season (the show is simulcasted on NBCSN), which embarks this Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway with the Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola (7:45 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). And boy, did things get interesting. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver touched on a variety of subjects, talking about differentiating how her competitors act on the track versus in real life, who she'd help win a race first: team owner Tony Stewart or boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -- hint: she's a good employee -- and whether or not she can beat up Kasey Kahne if the pair had an on-track issue. "Oh, definitely (I could take Kasey Kahne in a fight)," Patrick said. "There's a lot of them I could take, but Kasey's definitely one of them. I should've probably taken care of that at Fontana when he right-reared me at 210 (mph), but I didn't. Instead he was a little scared for a while. I didn't say a lot of hellos. I kind of wanted to keep him right there." MORE: Danica, Kahne wreck at Auto Club Be sure to watch the video below in its entirety; Dan Patrick asks a lot of great questions -- and Danica has a lot of great answers.
Highbrow comingles with down-home at Sebring
Boris Said: 'The infield at Sebring is like a mini-Talladega'
Top 10 road racers who left their mark on NASCAR
Plenty of road racers have made an impact on NASCAR
GRAND-AM Road Racing and American Le Mans Series to merge
Check out how sports car racing will change forever in 2014.
Rolex 24 crown remains high prize for NASCAR stars
RELATED: History of NASCAR drivers in the Rolex 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The list of NASCAR greats to hoist a trophy at Daytona's famed Rolex 24 ranges from Hall of Famers such as Bill Elliott and Terry Labonte to stock car greats such as Mark Martin and includes Jamie McMurray , who after seven tries, won a champion's Rolex last year to showcase along with his 2010 Daytona 500 trophy. The late Dale Earnhardt competed just once finishing on the GT podium in his only try driving with his son Dale Earnhardt Jr . in 2001, along with sports car veterans Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins. AJ Allmendinger claimed a much-celebrated Rolex overall win in 2012, the 50th anniversary of the legendary race. The very first full-time NASCAR driver to win overall? Casey Mears in 2006. Through the history of this event full-time NASCAR drivers have been eager to give the Rolex 24 a try. And typically, found it as challenging and confounding as any week in a Sprint Cup Series' competition. McMurray, Allmendinger and third-year Cup driver Kyle Larson -- who co-drove with McMurray to the 2015 Rolex overall win -- will give the great endurance race another shot this weekend at the newly-unveiled, highly-celebrated, ultra-modernized Daytona International Speedway , which is fresh off a $400 million "re-imagining" renovation. RELATED: Learn more about Daytona Rising project The Russia-based prototype team and driver Mikhail Aleshin won the pole in the No. 37 BR01 Nissan and it will lead the 56-car field to green at 2:40 pm ET in the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona -- the first round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. "Looking forward to defending our win," Larson said, smiling. "I think we're a great team and great combo with (Scott) Dixon leading it and me on the tail. I'm hoping we can put together another full 24 hours here and get another watch." Larson is part of Chip Ganassi's defending championship team this weekend co-driving again with McMurray, reigning IndyCar champion and another former Indianapolis 500 champion, Tony Kanaan. The high-wattage, high-achieving lineup is matched by the anticipation of the series' new cars and revised classes fighting it out among the best sports car racers in the world for an entire day. And for much of the great history of this event, the sports car veterans ruled the road. NASCAR champions such as Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart gave it their best but are collectively 0-for-12 in claiming a shiny new watch. Johnson came closest to adding a Rolex to his resume and his wrist after finishing second overall in both 2005 and 2008 -- co-driving, in '08, with sports car royalty Alex Gurney , Jon Fogarty and IndyCar champion Jimmy Vasser. Stewart's best finish was third in 2005 co-driving with sports car veterans Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers. Danica Patrick and NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace have given this race a try too. Patrick finished eighth overall in 2009 with Mears on her team. Wallace's only entry ended before the half-way mark. He was teamed with Patrick in 2006 and their car turned only 273 laps of 734 ultimately run. The race remains a crown sought by NASCAR's best, who compete alongside those sports car talents in one of the most diverse, highly anticipated events on the calendar. "I enjoy it, last year was fun and I think having all the drivers together, it's really the only time of the year we're all together," Larson said, smiling. "Everyone's telling stories. We all have dinner together. And to see everyone's driving talent and share the vehicle is pretty cool."
Roush Fenway, Fastenal agree to extend deal
CONCORD, N.C. -- Roush Fenway Racing has entered a multi-year partnership extension with primary partner the Fastenal Company that will continue Fastenal's position as the anchor partner of the No. 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . As part of the extension, Fastenal will also increase the number of its primary races in 2017 and beyond. "We are really excited to announce that Fastenal will remain the anchor partner of the No. 17 team for years to come," said driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . "Fastenal is a first-class organization with values that align completely with myself and this race team. "We've seen a lot of improvement across the board this year," added Stenhouse. "We are very happy that Fastenal will continue to be a part of the momentum at Roush Fenway. There has been a lot of hard work and effort put into this team and our goal and expectation is to reward Fastenal with a trip to victory lane and the Chase in the near future." Fastenal is currently in its fifth season as a primary partner in Roush Fenway's Sprint Cup stable, and its second full season as the anchor partner on Stenhouse's No. 17 Ford Fusion. "To have a company of the caliber of Fastenal recognize the long-term value of a partnership with Roush Fenway, Ricky and the No. 17 team is gratifying for our entire organization," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "During our relationship, Fastenal has created and implemented a robust and impactful motorsports marketing program, and we are thrilled to have Fastenal continue to be a key part of the Roush Fenway family now and in the future." Fastenal, which boasts 2,600 stores nationwide, first joined Roush Fenway as a primary partner in 2010 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "We are truly looking forward to continuing our partnership with Roush Fenway Racing as the anchor sponsor of the No. 17," said Fastenal President and CEO Dan Florness. "Ricky has done an excellent job representing our brand -- both on and off the track -- and we are extremely proud of the relationship we have built with Ricky, Jack Roush and everyone at Roush Fenway Racing ." "Extending our partnership as the anchor sponsor of the No. 17 reflects our belief in Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse," said Florness. "The NASCAR program has helped us grow our business and excite our employees, and we feel a strong connection with the NASCAR community and fan base."
Full schedule for Dover
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series all will head to Dover International Speedway this week. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, MAY 15: PRE-RACE SCHEDULE — 11 a.m.: NSCS Driver/Crew Chief Meeting (NCWTS Garage Area Tent) — 12:20 p.m.: NSCS Driver Introductions with NASCAR Special Awards presented backstage — 1:00:00 p.m.: Intro Presentation of Colors by: Dover Air Force Base Color Guard — 1:00:20 p.m.: Invocation by: Dan Schafer, Pastor of Calvary Assembly of God in Heightstown, New Jersey — 1:01:00 p.m.: National Anthem by: Tom Dixon, Nashville recording artist — 1:02:00 p.m.: Aerial Adventures (3) Parachutists Land on track (frontstretch, turn 1 and turn 4) — 1:02:40 p.m.: Flyover TOT by: (2) US Navy F/A – 18C Hornets Strike Fighter Squadron from Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia (Turn 3 > Turn 2) — 1:07:30 p.m.: "Drivers, Start Your Engines" by: Jason Jones, Star of the TBS comedy, "The Detour" — 1:15:00 p.m.: Green Flag: AAA 400 Drive For Autism (400 Laps / 400 Miles) ON TRACK -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA 400 Drive for Autism (400 laps, 400 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 4:30 p.m.: (approx.) NSCS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Kenseth holds off Larson, wins at chaotic "Monster Mile" -- Larson, Elliott hunt down Kenseth in final laps -- Monster-size wreck claims 18 cars at Dover -- Edwards knocked out of contention with 40 laps remaining THURSDAY, MAY 12: ON TRACK -- 2:00-2:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice ( Results ) -- 4:00-4:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice ( Results ) DAILY ROUNDUP -- Byron, Custer quickest at Thursday's practices -- Recalling Stewart's last win at Dover -- and looking to his next -- JGR confirms No. 18 pit crew replacement -- Fantasy Fastlane: Dover FRIDAY, MAY 13: ON TRACK -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- Ended early due to rain -- 2:15 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- Canceled due to rain -- 3:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- Canceled due to rain -- 5:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series JACOB Companies 200 (200 laps, 200 miles), FS1 ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 8:45 a.m.: Brendan Gaughan -- 9 a.m.: Joey Logano -- 9:15 a.m.: Ty Dillon -- 9:30 a.m.: Martin Truex Jr . -- 12:45 p.m.: Ricky Stenhouse Jr . -- 1:15 p.m.: Jimmie Johnson -- 5 p.m.: (approx.) NSCS post-qualifying -- 7:30 p.m.: (approx.) NCWTS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Crafton conquers Dover for Truck win -- Harvick to start up front after qualifying rained out -- Stewart, Danica involved in early practice wreck -- RCR teammates discuss A. Dillon's strong start to '16 SATURDAY, MAY 14: ON TRACK -- 9:30-10:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 10:45 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS2 ( Results ) -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 Heat #1 (40 laps, 40 miles), FOX ( Results ) -- 2:50 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 Heat #2 (40 laps, 40 miles), FOX ( Results ) -- 3:30 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Ollie's Bargain Outlet 200 main race (120 laps, 120 miles), FOX ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 4:30 p.m.: (approx.) NXS post-race DAILY ROUNDUP -- Key story lines to watch for Sunday's race -- Jones wins at Dover, takes Dash 4 Cash prize -- Johnson: A monster talent at Dover -- Bubba makes history, strides with Dover runner-up