Microsoft app, tablets cut in half the hours spent in inspection process RELATED: Microsoft streamlines inspection VIDEO: No. 4 car goes through inspection
Hendrick driver gives honest assessment of where organization is right now RELATED: Complete lineup for Sunday's race " See all 43 paint schemes LONG POND, Pa. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . is the only driver other than Kyle Busch to win one of the past five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. However, the driver of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet is aware that the four-team organization he calls home has been a bit off in recent weeks, especially compared to that of Joe Gibbs Racing , in its first year of fielding four cars. "I think you got to be honest with yourself," Earnhardt Jr. said Friday at Pocono. " The Gibbs guys have found more speed. They look like over the last couple of weeks to be a lot stronger and that we're not on top of the mountain anymore, by ourselves anymore at least. They found some speed and we need to combat that with speed of our own." In the past five races, JGR has four wins (all by Busch) and nine top fives. During that same stretch, Hendrick has just one win and three top fives (Earnhardt won at Daytona and has another top-five finish). And since that win at Daytona, Hendrick Motorsports as an organization has led just two laps in the past three races, while JGR has led 330. "It's business as usual as far as I can see," Earnhardt said. "We definitely understand when we don't perform well. Last week was frustrating. I don't think we've been too thrilled over the last month about how things have gone for us. From Rick (Hendrick) on down, you get the impression that things need to be better and everyone needs to work harder. "We have meetings every Tuesday. We had that meeting with the team and then we have a meeting that all the drivers and the crew chiefs are together, Rick's there. We have that meeting every Tuesday and everybody, whether we are all running great, we talk about how to get better. And if we aren't running well at all, we talk about how to get better. Even when things are going good, you see areas where you need to keep working. Because you know it cycles in this sport." Things do indeed cycle around. Last season, Hendrick won 13 races to JGR's two. And this season both organizations have six wins. As things stand now, if Busch can get into the top 30 in points by the regular-season finale at Richmond, JGR will likely send all four of its drivers into the Chase. And while Jimmie Johnson and Earnhardt have clinched spots in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne are still looking for that elusive win, although each hold spots in the provisional Chase Grid based on their point positions. "It's a never-ending pursuit to build the fastest race car week in, week out," Earnhardt said. "And it looks like right now it's a mad scramble to get ready for the Chase. I'd love to be sitting here three-tenths faster than everybody and fighting only my teammates for the win. We need to work a little harder to get a little more and be ready for the Chase to be able to get out there and compete. "It definitely looks like our competition has improved and so I think we can be honest with ourselves. We definitely aren't where we want to be. But I've seen it before. These guys are working on it every single day trying to find that speed and make that difference back up and put ourselves back to have the advantage on the straightaways and in the corners. I'm not too worried about it. We got the best resources. We got the best bossman, and he doesn't quit and he doesn't settle for second. He's in there pushing everybody everyday." The sport's most popular driver will look to turn the recent fortunes of the organization around on Sunday in the Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) at Pocono Raceway where he qualified 15th. Junior has a favorable history in recent years at Pocono, completing the season sweep of both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events last year, and has four top fives in his past five races here. In June, he finished 11th in a race won by Martin Truex Jr , which snapped a five-race win streak at Pocono for Hendrick. After finishing the opening practice session in 14th place, Earnhardt was a bit disappointed but said the team learned what was needed for race trim. "We will see what we have (Saturday)," said Earnhardt. "I'm really anxious to get ourselves back into race trim for those practices (Saturday) and see how we can sort our stuff out and see where we really are. We've always run good here, there shouldn't be any issues. We showed up with some issues. I'm anxious to get to work on the car and see where we can figure out where we are going to be and be competitive." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 24 Hendrick driver races at Pocono one last time; talks Chase chances RELATED: Complete lineup for Sunday's race " See all 43 paint schemes Sunday's Windows 10 400 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM) will be Jeff Gordon 's final start at Pocono Raceway. While he appreciates the support Pennsylvania fans have given him over the years, he won't be sentimental about his last trip to the Tricky Triangle because he's still a win away from making the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "I'm so focused on the competition and trying to compete at a high level, trying to get ourselves in a position to win the race, win the pole, be in the Chase, I just can't and haven't been able to allow it to sink in," Gordon said. "It might not happen until the race is over at Homestead. I have no idea when that's going to impact or sink in." The reality of his current points position hit hard when he finished 42nd last week at Indianapolis and his margin over Clint Bowyer , the last driver currently in the Chase on points, narrowed to 37 points. Just a week earlier, he enjoyed a 71-point cushion over the final provisional Chase position. RELATED: See updated series standings In his final full-time season, Gordon wants to do more than just make the Chase; he wants to compete for his fifth championship. "Obviously having a bad finish like that, it can shake things up in a hurry," Gordon said. "I think our team is very capable of getting ourselves in the Chase, but we want more than that. We want to be battling for wins, and we're fighting extremely hard to do that. We know what a win can do in securing that spot, but we're also a strong team that has overcome adversity in the past. We're going to fight all the way through Richmond to make sure no matter what, whether it's by points or with a win, that we get ourselves in there." The six-time winner at Pocono stands atop the all-time leaderboard at the track, and Hendrick Motorsports ' 17 victories are nearly twice as many as the next closest teams on the list. Joe Gibbs Racing and Roger Penske have nine apiece. Gordon also enjoys racing on the unique three-sided surface. "I love the challenge that this race track presents on track," Gordon said. "I've been driving for a team that has great performance on tracks like this as well. We've been known to get down the straightaways pretty good. This place has a lot of straightaway, but I also like the shifting and the unique corners that are here as well." Gordon acknowledged how the negative side of the fast straightaways figured into the single moment that stands out from his 23 years of racing at the facility. "I wrecked really bad in Turn 1, that stands out," Gordon said, referring to a 2006 crash. "It's funny those types of incidents stand out to you as much as some of the good moments that you have. You never forget moments like that. Let's put it that way. "I can remember coming here early, early on and maybe even watching a race here or an IndyCar race here on TV prior to me ever racing here and just in awe of how long the front straightaway was, how fast the cars are going into Turn 1. And I always said, 'You don't ever want to have a brake problem going into Turn 1 at Pocono,' and I had one and experienced it so that stands out to me." But the people of Pocono Raceway have left a lasting impression as well. On Friday, track president Brandon Igdalsky presented Gordon with a $24,000 check for the Jeff Gordon Foundation to go with nearly $58,000 raised Thursday night for Gordon's foundation and The NASCAR Foundation at a charity poker tournament. In addition to the funds, Igdalsky's team painted "Gordon" on the track, which didn't go unnoticed by the driver of the No. 24 car. RELATED: Gordon, Wallace cash in chips for a good cause "This track has been really special to me over the years," Gordon said. "I thought it was enough that you put my name at the start/finish line but what we did last night at the event and this (check) is above and beyond." The fans of the area welcomed Gordon as a young racer, even before he joined NASCAR's premier series, and he's continued to benefit from their support throughout his racing career. "I go back to when I raced dirt around Pennsylvania and Ohio and Indiana in sprint car racing and how big racing is in this state," Gordon said. "And I think that was very evident to me immediately when I got in the Cup Series and started flying into the airports here, and it was always the biggest crowds of fans that we had, anywhere we went, standing there waiting for the teams and the drivers to arrive, wanting to get a glimpse, a picture, an autograph. "That's been maintained throughout all the years, and when I put a fan club together, our largest number of members were from Pennsylvania, if you took it by state. This is a big racing part of the country, and I think that's why the track has continued to do so well through the years because they have people that love racing, that love NASCAR racing." The four-time champion's love for Pocono would grow with a win this weekend that would keep alive his drive for five titles. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In this From The Road episode, Matthew Dillner explores the history behind The Blakeslee Inn & Restaurants, once owned by Pocono Raceway Founder, Doc Mattioli then turned over to current Pocono Raceway President Brandon Igdalsky.
Sammi Jo Francis gets you caught up on tweets you might have missed from around the NASCAR community.
Host Matthew Dillner takes a stroll through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Pocono Raceway as teams prepare for the WIndows 10 400 on Sunday.
With qualifying canceled, the two drivers sidelined for second straight weekend SPARTA, Ky. -- With rain creating havoc for the on-track activity at Kentucky Speedway, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage has been kept largely on lockdown for three straight days. The weather deck, however, was stacked even more severely against three unfortunate teams who will miss the race because of a qualifying washout. RELATED: Lineup for Saturday's race Part-time teams Wood Brothers Racing (with driver Ryan Blaney ) and Leavine Family Racing ( Michael McDowell ) were sidelined for the second straight weekend after Coors Light Pole Qualifying was canceled by wet weather. The Curtis Key-owned Motorsports Group with driver Travis Kvapil also headed home after the starting lineup for Saturday night's Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM) was determined according to the NASCAR Rule Book. NASCAR officials, faced with a third consecutive day of weather-related challenges, opted to cancel qualifying in an effort to provide teams with more practice time ahead of Saturday night's event, the first for a new, low-downforce rules package. Hopes for that practice were dwindling Friday afternoon because of persistent sprinkles at the 1.5-mile track, but cars finally staged for the session at 4:25 p.m. ET. For longtime team co-owner Eddie Wood, he was left to shrug and say, " the rules are the rules." The Wood Brothers No. 21 had made six previous Sprint Cup Series starts with Blaney at the wheel before the two early exits -- at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, and now here in Kentucky. "A lot of times people get it confused with how it works, but we've gone a long time and not missed a race with weather," Wood said. "Missing races, if you're slow and you miss a race because you're not fast enough, is a bad deal. That just kills your soul, but you can't do anything about the weather. We've been really lucky for the past seven years and haven't missed one, but now the numbers seem to be leveling out. I've always heard that numbers always level out and that's kind of what's going on." Rain has plagued every day at Kentucky since Sprint Cup teams arrived for the expanded race weekend. An extended Wednesday practice and its rescheduled make-up session Thursday were washed out, and Sprint Cup teams only completed 50 minutes of opening practice Friday before a heavy shower throttled the speedway. Both Blaney and McDowell tweeted their exasperation before their team haulers headed for the infield tunnel, just before the start of final practice. Wood said the team planned to enter next weekend's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, hoping that Mother Nature would look kindly on stock-car racing and their team for a change. We can't control the weather, circumstances or road blocks but we have 100% control of our own attitudes. #MakeAchoice — Michael McDowell (@Mc_Driver) July 10, 2015 Mother Nature is playing with my emotions. — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) July 10, 2015 "We're gonna run next week at Loudon, so we'll head up that way and hope we don't get rained out," Wood said. "I'm gonna stop looking at weather apps, I tell you that. I'm done as far as that is concerned." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
News and notes from around the garage When is an uncontrolled tire not an uncontrolled tire? That was the question raised Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway after Jeremy Ogles, the front tire carrier for Brad Keselowski ’s Team Penske No. 2 team, took a fall while coming around the front of the car following a two-tire stop. Ogles stumbled as he went to retrieve the tire, which had fallen over, just as Keselowski was pulling out of his pit stall. The tire carrier was clipped and the tire went bouncing out of the pit box before being stopped by a teammate. The penalty for an uncontrolled tire violation is re-starting at the tail end of the field (when under yellow) or a pass-thru (green). Keselowski wasn't penalized and while he lost track position for the lengthy stop, eventually finished sixth in the Sprint Cup Series' Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts . Tires that have rolled out onto pit road and posed a hazard have resulted in penalties, as have those that have been rolled from the outer half of the pit stall back to pit wall by crewmen. "That's something that we're looking at in terms of tires staying inside the car area near the wall where we haven't called that in the past," Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Monday. "Where you've seen us make calls it's a tire has come across pit road and gets in the way of another car. We'll look at that and review it, and if it's something we can tweak for '16, that's certainly something we would do." It's a Jungle Out There Ogles wasn't the only crewman struck by a car during Saturday night's race. The No. 1 of Jamie McMurray struck John Gianninoto, jack man for the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 with driver Jeff Gordon , during a round of pit stops. Neither crewman was injured. RELATED: Best in-car audio from Kentucky Kentucky Rules Postmortem Take away a little more downforce? That was an initial thought from Jason Ratcliff, crew chief for the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and driver Matt Kenseth following the Kentucky race. "I think if we give Goodyear an opportunity to work on it, they can make it even better," Ratcliff said. "Maybe we need to go one step more. If that was a 20 percent reduction, and I'm just kicking numbers out there, maybe we need to go another 5 percent reduction on downforce, trying to keep the balance the same. Let Goodyear work on it and I think it was just a great race." The aero package for Kentucky featured a shorter spoiler as well as changes to the splitter and splitter extension panel. A similar package will be used later this year at Darlington Raceway. "It looked like with the aero package guys could really follow each other down in the corner and it was less sensitive. A lot of times, we see guys follow each other down and there's just such a disadvantage to the guy in front of them, whereas tonight I thought that was closed up a bit. I like it." Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano and the No. 22 Team Penske Ford, concurred. "I feel like it's something that could be a good direction for us," Gordon said. "If you're the car behind, you've got a little bit of speed and you can get up on 'em and move some air behind them and you're not stuck with that big, old bubble. I would say it's in the right direction." Although Goodyear was unable to produce a tire built specifically for the lower downforce package at Kentucky, there were no tire issues during the race. "My hat's off to everybody for making the change and taking a chance like this in race trim," Goodyear's Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It's one thing to go out and test different concepts and different packages but … really the ultimate test as we’ve always said is really the race itself. That's really where you prove out a concept one way or the other. "We had a lot of confidence in the package as we went in. I think everybody was prepared to take a step back if we needed to and go back to the conventional (aero) package, but I think once we all got on the race track everybody knew that this thing had a lot of potential and it was a good way to go." Stucker said being able to gather race data from Kentucky as well as testing information from Darlington gives the tire maker "two really good bookends … we ran low downforce here at Kentucky with conventional tire grip and at Darlington we’re going to go there with low downforce and we’re going to have more grip. "I think we have a couple of really good data points to look at and learn from and as an industry decide which way we want to go," he said. Wind Tunnel Update For the second time this season, NASCAR obtained additional cars to be taken to the wind tunnel for further evaluation. The cars taken following the Quaker State 400 were those of Jeff Gordon , Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski . Earlier this year, the cars of Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Joey Logano and Aric Almirola were chosen following the QuikTrip Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. NASCAR conducts such tests to gauge aerodynamic numbers for the different makes (Chevrolet SS, Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion). The tests are conducted at the AeroDyn Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina NHMS Tire Selection Tires for this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway will feature the same tire codes and the combination is the same that's been run at the 1.058-mile track since 2012. This particular tire will be used only at New Hampshire. NASCAR K&N Pro Series East teams will be using a tire combination that’s previously been run at Iowa and Phoenix. It will be the first time it's been used at NHMS. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
GarageCam host Matthew Dillner gives you a look at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and asks drivers about lobster, haircuts and much more.
Take a look back at the track history with some noteworthy numbers