- Did you mean:
Road America may be Boris Said's last NASCAR ride
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Saturday's race at Road America marks the finale of a five-race NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for veteran road racer Boris Said this year in Joe Gibbs Racing 's No. 54 Toyota. On Friday, Said hinted that the event could signify another finale on a much broader scale. Said will try to cash in on another opportunity in top-flight equipment in Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). He'll be driving for the same No. 54 team that's visited Victory Lane four times this season, three times with Sprint Cup vet Kyle Busch and once with JGR prodigy Erik Jones . "Man, this is like the best Christmas present I ever got in my life," Said said after Friday's final practice at the 4.048-mile track. "I've been racing for over 30 years. I'm going to be 53 in a couple weeks. In the last three or four years, I've been racing cars that don't have a prayer to win, underfunded teams. It's still fun, but not fun not being competitive. So, to get an opportunity to drive for Monster and Joe Gibbs and Toyota in equipment like this, it was a dream come true. To finally run in the top five at Watkins Glen, it kind of shows, hey maybe it's not my age, it was just the equipment. "It's just been one of the most fun years I've ever had doing these five races with these guys. Now that it's last one, it might be the last NASCAR car race I ever run, I don't know. But it sure is a cool way to go out." If Saturday proves to be Said's swan song, his record will show one XFINITY victory, one Camping World Truck Series win and two Sprint Cup pole positions in a career that dates back to 1995 in NASCAR national series competition. This year, Said's biggest highlight was a fourth-place finish at the Glen, and leading two laps two weeks ago at Mid-Ohio and a lap at Talladega in May. Said pointed out that he dialed back his sports-car racing schedule this year to better focus on his five-race schedule with Joe Gibbs Racing . But he's otherwise kept occupied off the track in a partnership with Rick Hendrick's automotive group for BMW and Volkswagen dealerships. "That's another dream come true," Said said . In terms of the future, Said indicated that he'd likely compete in sports car events next season, but he'd jump at the chance for another competitive ride in NASCAR. "Who knows? If I could ever get another opportunity like this again, I don't care if I was 70 years old, I'd take it," Said said . "This is like a vacation every time I get to run this. I have fun every minute of the day here. Part of me is sad to see it end, but part of me is like, man, it sure was fun, though."
Said : "[Biffle] is a chump"
Boris Said doesn't mince words about Greg Biffle after they had on-track incidents and a skirmish in the garage area.
Rookie of the Year gets reacquainted with NASCAR
RELATED: See more Darlington throwback schemes KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Thirty-five years after he walked away from the sport, Bruce Hill walked back in. At Kansas Speedway of all places. "If somebody would have told me back then that there would eventually be a speedway in Kansas I would have told them they needed a straightjacket," Hill said Friday. They didn't race at Kansas when Hill, now 66, debuted in NASCAR's premier series at the end of 1974. Or Las Vegas, or Texas, Chicago, Sonoma or Loudon, New Hampshire. Hill was considered an outsider, specifically a Yankee -- from Kansas. "I had to laugh," Hill said . "I had never been called a Yankee, but I was pretty far north, I guess." The 1975 Rookie of the year is on hand this weekend as a guest of Sprint Cup Series driver AJ Allmendinger and the No. 47 JTG-Daugherty team. Allmendinger will run a throwback paint scheme later this year at Darlington Raceway honoring Hill for his rookie accomplishment. The original paint scheme actually came from Johnny Ray, another name some fans might not recognize, but if you've seen the semi rig steamrolling its way around Talladega Superspeedway towing the American flag during pre-race festivities, well, tip your cap to former racer Johnny Ray. Hill made 100 starts in NASCAR's premier series from 1974 through 1981, earning three top-five and 21 top-10 finishes. "I was like a lot of guys back then that ran out of money and had to get out of it and couldn't stand to go back without being involved in it," he said . "It's been a fun experience, brought back a lot of memories." His first start came at the end of the '74 season, in a car he had purchased from owner/driver Bobby Allison. The leader of the Alabama Gang had signed on late that year to drive for team owner Roger Penske. "It was the 12 car, the Coca-Cola (sponsored) car," Hill said . "We decided since we were in Kansas it didn't matter where we were going to go race, it was going to be a long trip. We saw we could still make it to a race at the end of the year in Ontario. "So we went out there and made the field. There were 80-some cars there, that's the way it used to be with all the West Coast guys there. I thought 'Uh-oh.' We were still running the big blocks; that's when they were making the switch (to small blocks). We had to run a restrictor plate and that thing would quit running halfway down the straightaway. There was nothing you could do about it. Those small blocks were flying by me." But Hill persevered and was running inside the top 10 late in the race before blowing a tire and finishing 13th. "That's when I realized, 'I think I can do this,' " he said . His final race came at Michigan International Speedway . He finished 33rd, completing only 21 laps before being sidelined by driveshaft issues. Today, Hill stays busy raising quarter horses at his home in Topeka, Kansas. He may no longer be racing, but he's still involved in horsepower. "Part of the experience this morning has been seeing people that I haven't seen for about 35 years," he said . "... I just hadn't seen these guys in a long time. It's been a neat deal just talking about the history of the sport. Some people really follow the history and some maybe not, but there is a lot to it. A lot of people have been involved through the years that a lot of people don't know about. "This is a cool deal."
Bowyer: Racing is 'about what you're going to do tomorrow'
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Those heat-of-the-moment tirades that fans are able to hear during the course of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race might be entertaining, but they don't always tell the whole story, according to HScott Motorsports driver Clint Bowyer . "Whether I'm frustrated or happy or whatever … whether it's a (celebration) or a pissed off moment that happens, the wick's pretty short," Bowyer said Thursday at Kansas Speedway , site of Saturday's GoBowling 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "It burns out in about five minutes. The next thing out of my mouth is 'Alright, now what are we going to do to fix it?' " Bowyer, 36, is in a transition year, spending the 2016 season as driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet for HSM. He'll move over to Stewart-Haas Racing in '17, inheriting the No. 14 ride currently occupied by co-owner/driver Tony Stewart . An early-season start that saw the driver finish inside the top 20 only once in seven races frustrated the eight-time winner, and that frustration often could be heard as he vented to his team on the radio during races. But it's what takes place after the pot has boiled over, he said , that determines what occurs next. "I don't ever care about yesterday or what happened in a practice or a race," he said . "… This sport is all about what you're going to do tomorrow. That's what you have to instill into yourself and everybody around you to be able to go out there and get the job done, compete at the level I know we're capable of competing at for our sponsors and for ourselves." Bowyer hasn't been to Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup race since the 2012 season, a span of 123 races. He did qualify for last year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup based on points earned, but was eliminated in the first round. HScott fields two Sprint Cup teams -- the No. 15 of Bowyer as well as the No. 46 for driver Michael Annett . Bowyer enters this weekend's race 27th in points while Annett is 35th. But two of the last three races have seen Bowyer finish inside the top 10 -- he was eighth at Bristol and seventh most recently at Talladega. "I was struggling to get that kind of consistency where I was last year," he said of his final season at the now-defunct Michael Waltrip Racing. "When you're down, most of the time there's a reason, especially when you're down as far as we' re down. We had work to do; we're starting to get some new waves of cars built, get some things to where we are satisfied with them and excited about bringing them to the track and seeing what our hard work has done. That's all you can do." Anyone should be frustrated, he said , if they felt their performance as a driver or their team's performance wasn't up to par. That doesn't mean a team no longer attempts to improve. "When you're running good, it's easy," Bowyer said . "When you're running bad, it's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life. I don't care what organization you're at or how much depth you have or anything else. It's that simple. … "This is hard. This is a hard business and it's very competitive. If you're good, you better work hard to stay good or you're not going to be there long. If you're bad, you've got to work hard to get caught up."
As executive producer, Dale Jr. excited about new series
MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- When Dale Earnhardt Jr . previewed the first installment of the upcoming three-part series "NASCAR: The Rise of American Speed," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said he was amazed at what he witnessed. "The first part I watched like a kid at Christmas," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said Tuesday, adding that he kept thinking, "This is cool; I love what I'm seeing. I didn't know it was like this; this is awesome." Earnhardt is an executive producer for the series, which debuts this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on CMT. "You know about Red Byron (NASCAR's first premier series champion) and guys like that and what they've done but you've never actually had a window into what they might have been like," he said . "So that was really, really neat. "Watching that first episode, it's completely different from watching the other two. The other two I was there, or I remember it as a kid. You immediately go to sort of picking it apart and (asking) does it live up to the standard?" The series (episodes 2 and 3 will air on consecutive Sundays, May 15 and May 22) uses archival footage as well as reenactments and interviews to document the history of NASCAR from its beginning to modern day. Among those contributing on-air to the project were stars such as Jeff Gordon , Kevin Harvick , Tony Stewart and Darrell Waltrip. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and Lesa France Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer of International Speedway Corp., provide additional insights. NASCAR founder William Henry Getty France was their grandfather, Bill France Jr. their father. Episode 1 details stock car racing's rough, raw beginnings and the senior France's desire to pursue his dream of bringing acceptability and professionalism to the sport. Episode 2 features the continued rise of the sport and France's many battles to bring NASCAR to mainstream America. Episode 3 begins with the '79 Daytona 500 , a watershed moment for NASCAR, and focuses heavily on the career of France's son, Bill Jr., and seven-time series champion Dale Earnhardt before closing with where NASCAR sits in today's sports landscape. But it was that first episode that Earnhardt Jr. said , "Intrigues me the most. "Because I wasn't there and didn't know much about that time," he said . "You know people's names and you match that name with an accomplishment. But you never really knew their personalities much. "I believe in this kind of film you're able to see maybe what this guy's attitude or personality was like. You see when Big Bill is trying to form NASCAR, some of the drivers are kind of grinding against the gears and pushing back a little bit. "We really don't know a lot about that and there aren't a lot of stories telling that part of it, that side of it. So that was real interesting."
Sprint All-Star format puts emphasis on tires, intrigue
RELATED: Vote now in Sprint Fan Vote Rules outlining the 2016 versions of the Sprint All-Star Race and Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway were announced Friday, and NASCAR's annual All-Star Race will once again include a dramatic final segment to determine a $1 million prize winner. There are three segments in this year's Sprint All-Star Race -- a 50-lap opening segment, a 50-lap second segment and a 13-lap final dash to the finish with a unique rule. For the first time in the event's history, the starting order for the final segment will be determined following a random draw that decides if the top running nine, 10 or 11 cars have to pit for a mandatory four-tire stop between Segment 2 and Segment 3. Pit road will be closed for all other cars, and those for which pit stops were mandated must resume position for the final sprint, lining up behind the cars that did not pit -- creating an unpredictable, no-holds-barred rush to the checkered flag and All-Star history. "The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race has always been a special race for our sport and I believe this year's format may offer up the best race to date," 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski said in a track release. "I hope to be the one with a million-dollar check at the end. The last segment is sure to demand the ultimate performance. Winning the last segment will require the driver to masterfully navigate traffic and hunt down the leader, or hold off the best drivers with an ill-handling car on old tires with everything on the line." The format idea came from Keselowski himself, according to Dale Earnhardt Jr . The Allstar format is all @keselowski idea. https://t.co/ClSeA3Iuz4 — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) May 6, 2016 The All-Star Race (May 21, 7 p.m., FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) features drivers who have won a race in the current or preceding year, past NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winners and past NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions. Winners of the three segments in the Sprint Showdown (May 20, 7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will also line up for the All-Star Race. RELATED: See the list of eligible drivers Fans will again have the opportunity to select at least one driver through the popular Sprint Fan Vote, which will fill any remaining starting spots until the field reaches a minimum of 20 cars. "We worked with NASCAR and talked to several drivers to gather feedback for what they thought would make the very best race for the fans," Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith said . "The drivers don't all agree on the perfect strategy, which means some drivers will be fighting on race-worn tires to stay up front at the end, while others will be charging through the field on new tires after the final pit stop. "At the end of the final shootout, one driver will have a million reasons why '13' is a lucky number." Carl Edwards , the 2011 winner of the All-Star Race, weighed in on the changes during a Friday media availability at Kansas Speedway . He said that new tires and how beneficial they might be will play a significant factor in how the three-segment race unfolds. "The one thing that will be interesting is through that night if you have to pit that much and get tires, you have a really good database to go off of to know what you want to do and know where you stand," Edwards said . "It could be complete chaos, which is probably going to be fun." Additional rules are as follows: • Starting order for the opening 50-lap segment for the All-Star Race will be determined by qualifying, and includes a mandatory green flag pit stop with a minimum of two tires. • A break between Segment 1 and Segment 2 includes a mandatory pit stop with a minimum of two tires. The exit off pit road following that stop sets the starting order for Segment 2. • During the 50-lap second segment, cars must make a green-flag pit stop and change a minimum of two tires prior to Lap 85. The Sprint Showdown includes three total segments of 20 laps, 20 laps and 10 laps. The winner of each of those sprints earns a start in the All-Star Race. Additional rules for the Sprint Showdown: • Starting order for the first 20-lapper will be set by practice speeds, and the winner advances to the All-Star Race (and sits out Segments 2 and 3 of the Showdown). • The second 20-lap segment starting order will be set according to pit road order after a mandatory pit stop for a minimum of two tires. Again, the winner of that segment will automatically advance to the All-Star Race and sit out the final segment. • The winner of the final 10-lapper will also advance to the All-Star Race, with the starting order if this segment again set by pit road order following a mandatory pit stop for a minimum of two tires.
Allmendinger's Darlington look to honor 1975 Rookie of the Year
RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes " SHOP: 'Dinger gear AJ Allmendinger ’s Darlington throwback paint scheme will honor Kansas native Bruce Hill's 1970s-era No. 47 with a Kroger/Kingsford red, white and blue theme, JTG Daugherty Racing announced today. Allmendinger will drive the car in the Bojangles' Southern 500 on Sept. 4 (6 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Allmendinger and Hill, the 1975 Cup series Rookie of the Year, will meet for the first time on Friday at Kansas Speedway . "It is an honor, quite honestly," Hill said in a release. "Being remembered for something is always an honor, especially as big as the sport has gotten." Hill made starts in NASCAR's premier series in eight seasons with his best coming in his rookie year, 1975. He earned three top fives and 11 top 10s on his way to finishing 16th in driver points. He continued racing in the then-Winston Cup series through 1981. Hill now lives in his hometown of Topeka, Kansas, where he raises show horses on a ranch. "I'm really looking forward to meeting Bruce on Friday," Allmendinger said in the release. "I think what Darlington Raceway does to recognize former NASCAR drivers and the heritage of the sport is unprecedented. It's a great way to celebrate our sport and the people who made it what it is today. It's pretty neat to see all the sponsors and teams really get into it."
Early release, Chase swap highlight '17 schedule
RELATED: See the full 2017 schedules here NASCAR released its 2017 national series schedules on Thursday -- months prior to the more typical fall arrival -- and among the significant news is a Chase-time swap between two of the tracks on the Cup schedule. Although the order and dates of races in NASCAR's premier series remain mostly intact, a noteworthy change involves swapping the Chase race order at Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway . For 2017, Talladega (Oct. 15) will be the second race in the Round of 12 with Kansas becoming the third -- and elimination -- race (Oct. 22) for the Round of 12. This past weekend, Talladega recorded the second-highest number of green-flag passes for the lead in the track's great history (213), and the series heads to Kansas this week for a Saturday night show with its revamped rules package. NASCAR Senior Vice President of Racing Operations Jim Cassidy caught up with reporters Thursday at Kansas Speedway , explaining the dynamics of the schedule swap and the enhancements to the Chase. Cassidy said that with the new reduced downforce package in place, driver input and a team's ability to adjust at an intermediate-sized track would play a greater role in determining eliminations. "I would say it definitely adds a different layer of pressure for the competitors; I would say it adds certainly to the weekend and to the Chase overall," Cassidy said . "But at the same time it does not take away from, on the Talladega side, what the fans are going to get. To me, it's good for the fans on either side because … no matter when you go to Talladega you're going to see a product that is quite frankly some of the most popular racing that we've got on the circuit. Now with Kansas in that spot, you add another layer of complexity to a very compelling playoff format." NASCAR credited an "unprecedented" collaboration among the industry for being able to complete and announce the upcoming 2017 schedule so early in 2016, specifically noting the importance of the five-year sanctioning agreement between NASCAR and its tracks. "Announcing the 2017 national series schedules this early in the season is another example of the collaborative spirit across the NASCAR industry," NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell said . "It's an exciting time in NASCAR, with some of the most intriguing racing we've seen in years. With the 2017 schedule solidified, the industry can now concentrate on the remainder of this season while planning for the future much earlier than in previous years." RELATED: Explaining the five-year agreement The other big date news is that Dover International Speedway 's spring race will be moved back a month to June 4 -- a week after the Coca-Cola 600 -- versus a date in May this year. And Michigan International Speedway 's second race returns to its traditional August timeframe -- Aug. 13. Texas Motor Speedway 's spring race will also be held on Sunday afternoon, rather than Saturday night. The Cup schedule begins with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 26. Its regular-season finale at Richmond is Sept. 9, with the first round of the 10-stop playoff slate scheduled for Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway . The 2017 champion will be crowned at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19. As for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules, they will open the new season at Daytona on Feb. 25 and Feb. 24, respectively. The XFINITY Series will feature four stand-alone events -- at Iowa Speedway (July 29), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 12), Road America (Aug. 26) and Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 23). The Kentucky event opens the NASCAR XFINTY Series Chase. The Camping World Truck Series will host five stand-alone events on its 23-race schedule, including the hugely popular race at Eldora Speedway on July 19. It will kick off its postseason at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 23. Iowa Speedway will again host an XFINITY and Camping World Truck series doubleheader on June 23-24. Contributing: Kenny Bruce in Kansas City. RELATED: Learn more about all 23 Cup tracks
Carl Edwards: Fences mended with Kyle Busch
RELATED: Watch the last lap at Richmond KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch have put that bump-and-run finish at Richmond International Raceway firmly in their rearview mirrors, a Twitter photo earlier this week and Edwards' comments Friday at Kansas Speedway indicate. On Wednesday, Busch retweeted a photo of himself and Edwards holding a card congratulating Edwards on the April 24 Richmond win from Kyle's sponsor, M&M's/Mars. Edwards explained Friday how the photo came about, letting fans know there were no hard feelings after Edwards nosed Busch out of the way for his second consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory this season. "Mars sends a really nice box of chocolates to the winner of each race, and they sent me that congratulatory box of chocolates," Edwards explained at Kansas Speedway . "Kyle and I had talked that morning and I saw him in the shop, so I went over there and asked him if he'd sign the box, and he laughed and did and we took the picture. I thought that was pretty neat." At the time of the Richmond finish, Busch was looking for his third win in four Sprint Cup events. On Friday, Edwards was effusive about his teammate's skill and perseverance. "Obviously, Kyle and I still race really hard. I think that's obvious. But for a long time, racing against him and not being a teammate, I didn't really understand how good Kyle is," Edwards said between Sprint Cup practices for Saturday's GoBowling 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "But seeing it firsthand and watching him come back last year after that injury, which for anyone would be devastating … from then all the way up to the championship, I think he exhibited a lot of toughness. It was very impressive." When asked about Busch's record of winning at all but three current Sprint Cup tracks (Kansas, Charlotte and Pocono), Edwards succinctly summed up his teammate's talent. "Nobody will argue that Kyle Busch is one of the greatest drivers in the sport."
NASCAR announces 2017 national series schedules
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 5, 2016) -- NASCAR today announced the 2017 schedules for its three national series, giving fans and stakeholders a significant head start in planning for next season’s thrilling slate. A credit to unprecedented industry collaboration, specifically the five-year sanctioning agreement between NASCAR and its tracks, the sanctioning body finalized its 2017 schedules months ahead of previous years’ release. The result: Three unique schedules featuring race tracks that have hosted record-setting races already this season, with the majority of the slate still remaining. A notable change in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule includes a date swap between a track that just hosted one of the most competitive races in its history, and one that will showcase the lower downforce competition package this coming weekend. Talladega Superspeedway, which last Sunday had the second-highest total of green flag passes for the lead ever recorded (213), will become the second race in the Round of 12 in 2017 (Oct. 15). Kansas Speedway will now become the third and final race in that round (Oct. 22). "Announcing the 2017 national series schedules this early in the season is another example of the collaborative spirit across the NASCAR industry," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "It is an exciting time in NASCAR, with some of the most intriguing racing we’ve seen in years. With the 2017 schedule solidified, the industry can now concentrate on the remainder of this season, while planning for the future much earlier than in previous years." Texas Motor Speedway's spring Cup race shifts to Sunday (April 9), a move expected to produce great racing action like that seen after Richmond International Raceway switched to a Sunday race for the 2016 season. Other changes in the NASCAR Cup schedule include Dover International Speedway's spring date move to June 4, a week after the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28). Michigan International Speedway's second race will return to its traditional early August slot, on Aug. 13. The NASCAR Cup Series 2017 schedule opens with The Great American Race, the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway, scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26. The season culminates with the NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 19. The NASCAR XFINITY Series will kick off at Daytona on Feb. 25, and crown its champion at Homestead on Saturday, November 18. Its schedule features four standalone events -- Iowa Speedway (July 29), Mid-Ohio (Aug. 12), Road America (Aug. 26) and Kentucky Speedway, the first event in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase (Sept. 23). For the second consecutive season, Iowa will host a NASCAR XFINITY Series-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series companion weekend on June 23-24. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series opens its season at Daytona on Feb. 24, and culminates at Homestead on Nov. 17. Five standalone races are included among the 2017 lineup: Texas Motor Speedway (June 9), Gateway Motorsports Park (June 17), Eldora Speedway (July 19), Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (Aug. 27) and Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 30). The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase once again begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 23). All races will air on either the FOX or NBC family of networks, MRN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. See below for all three NASCAR national series schedules.