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Gordon: SHR reached out before Daytona 500
RELATED: Full schedule for Indianapolis " Gordon through the years SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Jeff Gordon 's "un-retirement" from competing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series began in earnest Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The four-time Sprint Cup Series champion is filling in for Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Indianapolis and next weekend at Pocono Raceway while Earnhardt recovers from concussion-like symptoms. Almost as surprising as Gordon's return to the driver's seat -- he retired from full-time competition after the 2015 season -- was his disclosure that he had been approached about filling in for the injured Tony Stewart in this year's Daytona 500 . Stewart, driver of the No. 14 Chevrolet and co-owner of the four-car organization, missed the first eight races after suffering a broken back in an off-road driving incident prior to the start of the 2016 season. Gordon's role as a FOX NASCAR analyst (the network provides coverage of the season's first 16 points races) prohibited him from returning to competition. "The crazy thing about all of this (is) I was asked to drive Tony Stewart 's car in Daytona to start the season," Gordon said Friday. "I wasn't able to do it because of my commitments to FOX. Now Rick (Hendrick, team owner) has some amazing ways to convince people into things that the average person might not be able to. I don't know, maybe he could have called Eric Shanks or something, but no, I don't think so." Shanks is President, COO and Executive Producer of FOX Sports. Stewart is competing in his final season as a driver. Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard will be his final appearance at the famed 2.5-mile track, where he has earned two of his 49 career victories. That Gordon was asked about filling in earlier this season was news to Stewart. "I wasn't (aware)," Stewart said, "but that would have been awesome. That probably would have been one of the coolest things to happen this season. If that happened, I would have been all for it. … "I wasn't aware of that, but that would have been a really cool deal for us." MORE: Dale Jr. out, Gordon in No. 88 at Indianapolis, Pocono
Sights and Sounds: 5-Hour Energy 500
Take a dramatic look back at the Jeff Gordon's victory along with the sights and sounds from Pocono.
Stats advance: Analyzing the 5-hour Energy 301
A statistical look ahead to the 19th race of the 2015 Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 13, 2015) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire going into the 5-hour ENERGY 301 on July 19 (1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). NEW HAMPSHIRE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota) · Two wins, four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14. 500 , 10th-best · Average Running Position of 12.335, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 95.0, eighth-best · 245 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.934, seventh-fastest · 3760 Laps in the Top 15 (69.9), eighth-most · 498 Quality Passes, 10th-most Kyle Busch (No. 18 Interstate Batteries Toyota) · One win, seven top fives, ten top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 14.050, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 13.375, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 94.7, ninth-best · 232 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.801, 11th-fastest · 3975 Laps in the Top 15 (66.5), 10th-most · 532 Quality Passes, eighth-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Three wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 17. 500 , 12th-best · Average Running Position of 14.294, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 88.1, 13th-best · 187 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · 3529 Laps in the Top 15 (59.0), 13th-most · 548 Quality Passes, sixth-most Dale Earnhardt Jr (No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet) · Seven top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.350, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 11.743, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 97.1, sixth-best · 251 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.100, fifth-fastest · 4435 Laps in the Top 15 (74.2), fourth-most · 625 Quality Passes, third-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AARP Member Advantages Chevrolet) · Three wins, 16 top fives, 22 top 10s; four poles · Average finish of 10.700, third-best · Average Running Position of 7.680, series-best · Driver Rating of 107.3, series-best · 457 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.292, series-fastest · 5266 Laps in the Top 15 (88.1), series-most · 676 Quality Passes, series-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 10. 500 , second-best · Average Running Position of 11.406, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 103.2, third-best · 320 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.064, sixth-fastest · 3936 Laps in the Top 15 (73.2), fifth-most · 570 Quality Passes, fourth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.750, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 12.288, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 93.1, 10th-best · 219 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.890, ninth-fastest · 4002 Laps in the Top 15 (66.9), ninth-most · 465 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Three wins, ten top fives, 18 top 10s · Average finish of 10.950, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 11.144, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 102.1, fourth-best · 432 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.193, third-fastest · 4758 Laps in the Top 15 (79.6), second-most · 626 Quality Passes, second-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · One win, three top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 18.050, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 14.160, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 91.3, 12th-best · 340 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.891, eighth-fastest · 3781 Laps in the Top 15 (63.2), 12th-most · 534 Quality Passes, seventh-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · One win, four top fives, seven top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 11.000, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.985, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 95.6, seventh-best · 229 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.866, 10th-fastest · 2147 Laps in the Top 15 (65.3), 11th-most · 336 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · Two top fives, two top 10s · Average finish of 2. 500 , series-best · Average Running Position of 10.730, third-best · Driver Rating of 99.1, fifth-best · 14 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.217, second-fastest · 443 Laps in the Top 15 (72.9), sixth-most · 51 Quality Passes, 13th-most Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Three wins, seven top fives, 16 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 15.150, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 13.142, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 91.8, 11th-best · 169 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 124.770, 12th-fastest · 4342 Laps in the Top 15 (72.6), seventh-most · 504 Quality Passes, ninth-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Three wins, 14 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 10.947, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 10.290, second-best · Driver Rating of 106.9, second-best · 412 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 125.104, fourth-fastest · 4347 Laps in the Top 15 (76.6), third-most · 557 Quality Passes, fifth-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 1 1 6 14 0 13.9 93.1 2 Jimmie Johnson 26 0 3 10 18 1 10.3 102.1 3 Joey Logano 13 0 2 3 5 2 17.9 77.2 4 Dale Earnhardt Jr 31 0 0 7 14 4 15.3 97.1 5 Martin Truex Jr 18 0 0 3 6 1 14.4 86.3 6 Brad Keselowski 11 3 1 4 7 0 11 95.6 7 Jamie McMurray 24 0 0 4 6 3 20.5 70.4 8 Kurt Busch 28 0 3 7 11 1 16.1 88.1 9 Matt Kenseth 30 0 1 7 15 1 13.3 85.7 10 Jeff Gordon 40 4 3 16 22 2 11.4 107.3 11 Denny Hamlin 18 0 2 7 11 0 10.5 103.2 12 Kasey Kahne 22 0 1 3 8 3 17 91.3 13 Paul Menard 16 0 0 0 0 0 23.7 61.4 14 Ryan Newman 26 7 3 7 16 3 13.8 91.8 15 Clint Bowyer 18 1 2 4 7 1 14.5 95.0 16 Aric Almirola 9 0 0 1 2 0 19.6 64.8 New Hampshire Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 19 of 36 (07-19-15) Track Size : 1.058-mile Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 2 to 7 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 2 to 7 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 1 degree Banking/Backstretch : 1 degree Frontstretch Length : 1, 500 feet Backstretch Length : 1, 500 feet Race Length : 301 laps / 318.46 miles Top 10 Driver Rating at New Hampshire Jeff Gordon .............................. 107.3 Tony Stewart ............................. 106.9 Denny Hamlin ............................ 103.2 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 102.1 Kyle Larson . ............................... 99.1 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 97.1 Brad Keselowski ......................... 95.6 Clint Bowyer ............................... 95.0 Kyle Busch ................................. 94.7 Kevin Harvick .............................. 93.1 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kyle Busch , Toyota 138.130 mph, 27.574 secs. 07-11-14 2014 race winner : Brad Keselowski , Ford 108.741 mph, (02:58:03), 07-13-14 Track qualifying record: Brad Keselowski , Ford 140.598 mph, 27.090 secs. 09-21-14 Track race record: Jeff Burton , Ford 117.134 mph, (02:42:35), 07-13-97 New Hampshire Motor Speedway: History · Groundbreaking for New Hampshire International Speedway, as New Hampshire Motor Speedway was originally named, was Aug. 13, 1989. · The 1.058-mile oval is located on approximately 1,200 acres; the multi-use complex is the largest sports facility in New England. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on July 11, 1993 – won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace . · Speedway Motorsports, Inc. agreed to purchase New Hampshire International Speedway from Bob and Gary Bahre on January 11, 2008 and then renamed the track New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Starts · There have been 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway; one per year from 1993 through 1996 and two per year since. · 160 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire; 129 in more than one. · Jeff Gordon has competed in all 40 races at New Hampshire – the only driver to accomplish the feat. · Only one active championship contending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver has made their first career start at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Joey Logano (9/14/08). · Three drivers will attempt to make their series debuts at New Hampshire this weekend: Trevor Bayne , Matt DiBenedetto and Brett Moffitt . · Ryan Newman leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at New Hampshire with an 8.692. Poles · Mark Martin won the inaugural Coors Light pole at New Hampshire in 1993 with a speed of 126.871 mph. · 18 drivers have Coors Light poles at New Hampshire, led by Ryan Newman with seven. · Four active drivers have multiple poles at New Hampshire: Ryan Newman (seven), Jeff Gordon (four), Brad Keselowski (three) and Kyle Busch (two). · Five drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at New Hampshire: Ken Schrader (1997 sweep); Jeff Gordon (1998-1999); Rusty Wallace (1999-2000); Ryan Newman (twice – 2003-2004 and 2011 sweep); Juan Pablo Montoya (2009-2010). · Youngest New Hampshire Coors Light pole winner: Brian Vickers (07/17/2005 – 21 years, 8 months, 23 days). · Oldest New Hampshire Coors Light pole winner: Bill Elliott (07/21/2002 – 46 years, 9 months, 13 days). · Brad Keselowski (9/19/10) is the only active driver to post his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Wins · 24 different drivers have won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, led by Jeff Burton with four. · Eight active drivers have multiple wins at NHMS: Kurt Busch , Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson , Ryan Newman , Tony Stewart (each have three); Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano (each have two) · Two drivers have posted consecutive wins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Jimmie Johnson (2003 sweep) and Kurt Busch (2004 sweep). · Youngest New Hampshire winner: Joey Logano (06/28/2009 – 19 years, 1 month, 4 days). · Oldest New Hampshire winner: Mark Martin (09/20/2009 – 50 years, 8 months, 11 days). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at New Hampshire in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with nine; followed by Roush Fenway Racing (seven), Team Penske (six), Joe Gibbs Racing (six) and Richard Childress Racing (four). · Five different manufacturers have won at New Hampshire; led by Chevrolet with 18 victories; followed by Ford (13), Toyota (four), Dodge (three) and Pontiac (two). · Jeff Burton is the only driver to win the July race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway three consecutive years in a row (1997, ’98 and ’99) · Five of the 40 (12.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Ryan Newman in 2011. · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (five) than any other starting position at New Hampshire. · Eight of the 40 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from the front row: five from the pole and three from second-place. · 22 of the 40 (55%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at New Hampshire have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Nine of the 40 (22.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at New Hampshire is 38th, by Jeff Burton in 1999. · The deepest in the field that an active race winner has started at New Hampshire is 32nd, by Kurt Busch in the summer of 2003. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at New Hampshire without visiting Victory Lane at 31; followed by Jamie McMurray and Casey Mears (24 starts each). · Three active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at New Hampshire Motor Speedway: Ryan Newman (9/15/02), Clint Bowyer (9/16/07) and Joey Logano (6/28/09). Additional Finishing Position Stats · Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart are tied for the series lead in runner-up finishes at New Hampshire with five each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at New Hampshire with 16; followed by Tony Stewart with 14 and Jimmie Johnson with 10. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-10 finishes at New Hampshire with 22; followed by Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson with 18 each. · Jimmie Johnson leads NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at New Hampshire with an 10.269. · All 14 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at New Hampshire Motor Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Ryan Newman and Joey Logano won at New Hampshire in their second appearance. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was the July 1, 2007 race won by Denny Hamlin over Jeff Gordon with a MOV of 0.068 second. · 17 of the 33 (51.5%) NSCS races scored by el
Larson: 'I would love to run the Indy 500'
Kyle Larson talks about the potential of running the Indianapolis 500 in the future.
Sprint Cup qualifying order for Daytona 500
RELATED: Sprint Unlimited results # Car Driver Team 1 30 * Josh Wise Curtis Key Plumbing Chevrolet 2 40 * Reed Sorenson CRC Brakleen Chevrolet 3 26 * Robert Richardson Jr. Stalk It Toyota 4 35 * David Gilliland Ford 5 23 David Ragan Dr Pepper Toyota 6 98 * Cole Whitt Toyota 7 32 Bobby Labonte C&J Energy Services Ford 8 38 Landon Cassill Florida Lottery Ford 9 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 10 34 Chris Buescher Love's Travel Stops Ford 11 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 12 59 * Michael McDowell Thrivent Financial Chevrolet 13 46 Michael Annett Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet 14 83 Michael Waltrip Maxwell House Toyota 15 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 16 7 Regan Smith Nikko RC/Golden Corral Chevrolet 17 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 18 42 Kyle Larson Target Chevrolet 19 1 Jamie McMurray McDonald's/Cessna Chevrolet 20 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Express Toyota 22 27 Paul Menard Peak Antifreeze/Menards Chevrolet 23 14 Brian Vickers Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 24 95 Ty Dillon (i) Cheerios Chevrolet 25 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 26 44 Brian Scott # Albertsons Co./Shore Lodge Ford 27 31 Ryan Newman CAT Chevrolet 28 78 Martin Truex Jr . Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota 29 3 Austin Dillon DOW Chevrolet 30 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr . Fastenal Ford 31 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's Chevrolet 32 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 33 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 34 16 Greg Biffle KFC Nashville Hot Ford 35 19 Carl Edwards ARRIS Toyota 36 24 Chase Elliott NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 37 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Chevrolet 38 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr . Nationwide Chevrolet 39 20 Matt Kenseth Dollar General Toyota 40 18 Kyle Busch M&M's 75 Toyota 41 41 Kurt Busch Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 42 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 43 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Ford 44 22 Joey Logano Shell Pennzoil Ford * Required to qualify on time, (i) Ineligible for driver points in this series
Wallace Jr. shows off 'Shredder' scheme for Chicagoland
NEW YORK -- Nickelodeon today announced that it is has teamed up with NASCAR XFINITY Series star "Bubba" Wallace to drive a special No. 6 Shredder Ford Mustang in the XFINITY 300 on Saturday, September 17. Nickelodeon is the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Sept. 18, dubbed the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. The track will feature a weekend of action, activities and fun for the entire family with the iconic Heroes in a Half Shell. Wallace is in his second full-time season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series for Roush Fenway Racing. His unique race car at Chicagoland will feature Shredder in his iconic helmet on the hood, rear bumper and left rear quarter-panel. The Foot Clan is right there with him, standing watch on the right rear quarter-panel, ready to do battle. Shredder is the commander of an evil ninja army called the Foot Clan, and is one of the deadliest martial artists in the world. He is cold, cunning, ruthless, and obsessed with destroying Splinter, whom he blames for the death of his true love. Shredder’s thirst for revenge has drained him of all compassion, warmth and connection to humanity. Wallace will join a number of other drivers with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles paint schemes for the Sept. 17-18 race weekend. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Danica Patrick has already been announced to drive the No. 10 April O'Neil/Nature's Bakery Chevrolet SS in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 . Additional drivers will be announced this summer. "I grew up watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Shredder was always a cool character," said Wallace. "It's an honor to partner with Nickelodeon on this program. Hopefully Shredder and the Foot Clan will lead the way to Victory Lane." This Sept. 15-18 marks the sixth consecutive year that Chicagoland Speedway will kick off the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. The Nickelodeon partnership will include sponsorship of the 2017 kick off race, as well. "We are excited to partner with Bubba Wallace and Roush Fenway Racing to showcase Shredder and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the NASCAR XFINITY race," said Anthony DiCosmo, Senior Vice President, Sports Marketing and Development, Nickelodeon. "Just as we did with last season's SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 will continue to expand our relationship with NASCAR, while working with another best-in-class ISC track to give fans a unique and engaging race experience that the whole family can enjoy." Nickelodeon has a long-standing relationship with NASCAR, teaming up with the motorsports giant on several programming and racing events. On the track, the network has sponsored the SpongeBob SquarePants 400 at Kansas Speedway in 2015; brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2014; participated in the Bank of America 500 week in 2012; and the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC in 2004. NASCAR has also contributed talent and content to Nickelodeon programming such as the Kids’ Choice Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2012 and 2013), Kids’ Choice Sports Awards ( Danica Patrick , 2014, Ben Kennedy , 2015), Team Umizoomi ( Jeff Gordon , 2012), Hammer Down (2014), which aired on Nicktoon’s NickSports block, and an upcoming Bubble Guppies episode ( Jimmie Johnson , 2015). Currently in its fourth season, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is seen in over 170 countries and territories and translated in 50+ languages. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles follows four mutant turtles -- Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo -- trained in the art of ninjutsu by their mutant rat sensei, Master Splinter, who teaches the turtles to battle evil from the New York City sewers. Executive produced by Ciro Nieli and Brandon Auman, the series is created at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, Calif.
Filled with Indy memories, Patrick looks to better season at the Brickyard
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Danica Patrick is always the first to remind you that her success competing in the Indianapolis 500 does not necessarily translate directly in her quest to win her first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the historic track. But she remains optimistic about the good juju the speedway tends to send. And after a frequently frustrating season in the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet, Patrick welcomes any change in success – at Indy or otherwise. The vibe here is tangible. "I totally feel it," Patrick said. "I think that it's probably undeniable on some level; even just driving back into the track and seeing the Pagoda all lit up which is what I love seeing when I come in through the Turn 2 tunnel. Seeing that and just having spent so much time here. "I feel it. And having great memories. That always helps." Indianapolis is undoubtedly the venue that propelled Patrick into worldwide vernacular. She finished fourth as a rookie in the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and backed it up with a career-best third place in 2009 -- the best-ever finish for a woman in the race. The talent, fame and promise she showed in IndyCar -- created and punctuated by her showings at the great Indianapolis Motor Speedway -- provided her opportunity to shift career paths and give stock cars a go. But her results racing at Indy in NASCAR haven't been up to Patrick par. She hasn't finished better than 27th in three Sprint Cup Series tries at the track. She scored that career-best last year after finishes of 30th and 42nd in her first two stock car starts. "I don't think they all have been really bad, but I think it's tough for me," Patrick acknowledged Friday before Coors Light Pole qualifying for Sunday's Crown Royal presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN). "Do I miss running in the top five? Of course I do. Especially for casual fans, it's very easy to understand. But a top five for me now is a top 15 right now. And it's just different. In stock car racing there's so many more cars and there's so much that goes into it and there's so many of these guys who have just been at it for so long. "Especially with my lack of stock car experience before I jumped into it, I didn't start off racing dirt. I didn't start off in Late Models and things like that and work my way up. The car itself is challenging. It's a work in progress and I think that at any point in time, when everything is right, it can be a breakthrough and a great result. By great, it's a top 10; maybe a top five." Rolling off the grid 24th in Sunday's 400-miler, Patrick comes to Indianapolis ranked 24th in the point standings and is still looking for her first top-10 finish of the year. A 14th-place run at New Hampshire last week is her best showing since posting a season-high 13th-place finish at Dover in May. Patrick said she and new crew chief Billy Scott are still getting familiar with one another. It's her third crew chief in four seasons with Stewart-Haas Racing as the team looks for the best combination. Certainly as the schedule starts to revisit tracks for a second time, she is more hopeful -- make that expectant -- of signs of progress. Half of her six career top-10 finishes have come at tracks still to come on the schedule -- Kansas, Martinsville and Bristol. "There's constant car revisions that get done and updates to cars that get done throughout the season," Patrick said. "Every single week that work is done in the wind tunnel. So, things are very evolving from the car perspective. But, there are a lot of things that go into a race other than just the car. And so, having a set-up when you first start the weekend that's closer than when you went there the first time is a great thing. "We don't really get that many shots at making the car that much better when we get there. It's more about optimizing what you have. So, hopefully that will be a good second-half of the season for us to have that foundation established between rules, crew chief, me; and I know that none of us are happy running 20th. I'm not. It's miserable. So, we want to do better."
'Smoke' called to front of line for Indy tribute
SPEEDWAY, Ind. -- Tony Stewart 's final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Indianapolis Motor Speedway got off to an emotional start here Sunday as NASCAR and IMS officials, along with fans of the three-time premier series champion, paid tribute to Stewart during pre-race activities. Stewart, twice a winner at the legendary 2.5-mile facility, is retiring from Sprint Cup competition at season's end. Sunday's Crown Royal Presents the Combat Wounded Coalition 400 at the Brickyard marked his 18th career start at the track. Stewart, 45, led the field on the opening pace lap well ahead of even the pace car prior to the start of the race before falling back in line to his official starting position of third on the 40-car grid. Earlier, additional room on the pre-race grid was provided to the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team to accommodate up to 100 guests on hand to see Stewart make his final scheduled Brickyard start. Stewart has 49 career victories, including Brickyard 400 wins in 2005 and '07. His 9.6 average finishing position at Indy is his best at any track in the series. Stewart grew up in Columbus, Indiana, located approximately 50 miles south of the speedway, and he maintains his primary residence there. He has spoken often of what the track has meant to him through the years. "You know, it means a lot," he said recently. "Some of the greatest race car drivers in the world, whether it was IndyCar, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, they've run and won at the Brickyard, so that in itself makes it special. "I grew up ... in Indiana. I didn't move to Indiana. I didn't move away from Indiana. I'm the only NASCAR driver in the (Sprint) Cup Series that's from Indiana that still lives in Indiana, and I'm proud of where I was born. I'm proud to be back. "I still live in the town I was raised in. I take a lot of pride in that. I think the state of Indiana takes a lot of pride in that, and that's what makes it a big weekend. I'm representing a lot of people around me, and I'm proud to do that." Stewart made his first start at Indy in 1996, winning the pole and finishing 24th for team owner John Menard in the Indianapolis 500 . He finished fifth the following year. Stewart remains the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles of the Indy/Charlotte double held in May. He finished sixth in the Indy 500 in 2001, then flew to Charlotte Motor Speedway where he drove to a third-place finish in the Coca-Cola 600 .
Results from Indianapolis heat races
Heat 1 Finish Car Driver Team 1 18 Kyle Busch (i) NOS Energy Drink Toyota 2 42 Kyle Larson (i) ParkerStore Chevrolet 3 22 Joey Logano (i) Discount Tire Ford 4 19 Daniel Suarez Juniper Networks Toyota 5 1 Elliott Sadler OneMain Chevrolet 6 98 Jeb Burton Estes Ford 7 33 Brandon Jones # Jeld-Wen/Menards Chevrolet 8 16 Ryan Reed Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford 9 11 Blake Koch LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet 10 51 Jeremy Clements RepairableVehicles.com/SDD Chevrolet 11 44 J.J. Yeley Zachry Toyota 12 14 Jeff Green Toyota 13 0 Garrett Smithley # teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 14 01 Ryan Preece # teamjdmotorsports.com Chevrolet 15 13 Harrison Rhodes TredWear.com/Masters Properties Toyota 16 25 Stanton Barrett KeensBuildings.com Chevrolet 17 74 Mike Harmon truckersfinalmile.org Dodge 18 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 19 40 Timmy Hill (i) CrashClaimsR.Us/Icard Merrill Dodge 20 10 Matt DiBenedetto (i) Toyota * -- Daniel Suarez and Elliott Sadler are eligible to run for the Dash 4 Cash in the main race. Heat 2 Finish Car Driver Team 1 20 Erik Jones # Hisense USA Toyota 2 88 Kevin Harvick (i) Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet 3 7 Justin Allgaier BRANDT Chevrolet 4 2 Paul Menard (i) Richmond/Menards Chevrolet 5 48 Brennan Poole # DC Solar Chevrolet 6 3 Ty Dillon Rheem/Nidec/US Motors Chevrolet 7 6 Darrell Wallace Jr. Ford EcoBoost Ford 8 62 Brendan Gaughan South Point Chevrolet 9 39 Ryan Sieg NiceTargets Chevrolet 10 28 Dakoda Armstrong WinField Toyota 11 4 Ross Chastain Dream Water Chevrolet 12 07 Ray Black Jr. # Scuba Life Chevrolet 13 46 Brandon Gdovic TCC Culture of Good Chevrolet 14 78 BJ McLeod # Safecraft Safety Equipment Ford 15 93 David Starr Massimo Motors Chevrolet 16 90 Mario Gosselin BuckedUp Apparel Chevrolet 17 97 Ryan Ellis VroomBrands Chevrolet 18 70 Derrike Cope E-hydrate/Circle Track Warehouse Chevrolet 19 52 Joey Gase Donate Life Chevrolet 20 15 Todd Peck Carport Empire/Lilly Trucking Ford * -- Erik Jones and Justin Allgaier are eligible to run for the Dash 4 Cash in the main race.
Best in-car audio from the 5-hour ENERGY 301
Check out the best in-car audio from the 5-hour ENERGY 301 as Kyle Busch grabs his third win in four races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.