Can Carl Long go the distance?
No. 13 driver switched cars with Timmy Hill after crashing in Friday's practice DOVER, Del. -- During Friday's XFINITY Series practice at Dover International Speedway , Carl Long 's No.13 wrecked after a weight fell off Peyton Sellers ' No. 97 and Long ran over it. The piece of tungsten went through Long's radiator, into the steering and engine and caused the MBM Motorsports driver to slam hard into the wall. Having empathy for small team troubles, Selllers and the No. 97 team owner Victor Obaika quickly offered up any help they could. "We have spoken to Carl and we've offered him whatever we can," Obaika said in a statement on Friday. "(Our) backup car, our people, whatever he needs, you know because it's unfortunate, but we have to show some responsibility on our part and we've done that and we'll help however we can." "When you're on the bottom end, everybody kinda sticks together and tries to help each other," Long said on Saturday after the Coors Light Pole Qualifying session. "Some of the guys with a lot of money and a lot of focus and all, some help out, some don't. But all of us little guys usually stick together." While the Obaika Racing owner offered to let Long use the team's backup, the No. 13 driver feels his ride was the way to go. "(Sellers) offered me his backup car, but I had mine here," Long said. "This is the car we had at Iowa, we ran it Talladega, we ran it at Texas, we ran it everywhere. "I just felt like from changing the seats over and doing all the work, we would still be working on his car right now to get it ready for me. So, I think this is a better race car, and that's the ultimate thing is to be here to race, not to ride around." Shortly before the start of the Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket , it was announced that Long switched rides with the No. 40 of Timmy Hill due to the pain he was feeling after Friday's hit. "Yesterday when I got out of the car nothing hurt," Long said. "This morning my chest is hurting, my shoulder is hurting, that's a pretty hard lick, it just didn't seem like it then." " Carl took a pretty good hit yesterday and he's feeling rather sore," Hill said. "He's not sure if he can go the distance. Out of the two cars he's really trying to get the 13 better in the points. With that being said, he wants to assure that the No. 13 runs the whole race." "My chest is hurting quite a bit and I didn't realize that until I did my qualifying laps and I just got to thinking about it," Long said. "My main goal is to run good and have a good finish for our team. If I fall out of the seat, that ain't a good finish." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Carl Edwards proud of Round of 4 appearance
Carl Edwards reflects on making it to the Round of 4 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at the end-of-year Awards Banquet.
Meet Jason Hedlesky, Carl Edwards' spotter
RELATED: Meet Denny Hamlin's spotter, Chris Lambert Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of interviews with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotters. Jason Hedlesky, Spotter for Carl Edwards , No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota How and when did you get started as a spotter? I grew up (in Clinton, Michigan) and my dad brought me to Michigan Speedway for the first time when I was 8 years old. Before that, I knew I wanted to be a race car driver. When he brought me here … I walked up to the fence at the start/finish line and I want to say it was Neil Bonnett in the Wood Brothers car, he just came flying by me. I stepped back about five feet, it scared me at first, but it was the most awesome thing in the world. That just confirmed it. I stayed focused on my goals and tried to eventually make it as a driver. I succeeded to some extent -- getting my start with Mr. (Junie) Donlavey and had raced locally at Flat Rock and Toledo. Getting my start with Mr. Donlavey in 1998, I drove for him, did a little bit of everything, team manager and spotted for the team as well. In '04, Mr. Donlavey was retiring and I wanted to keep driving. I didn't really want another management job or a real job. I wanted to concentrate on driving. Carl needed a spotter. He was driving a truck for Jack (Roush, team owner) and I started spotting for him. We just became ... he's like one of my brothers. What, if any, other duties do you have with the team? That's it. For the last 13 years with Carl , I've just been the spotter. At Roush I did some test driving, a little bit. I filled in for him on the XFINITY side in I want to say '08. I did a couple of practice sessions when he was off with the Cup car. Do you spot only in Sprint Cup or other series as well? I work with Matt Crafton in the Truck Series. I've been with him probably five years now. We've won the two championships together. I've got a great relationship with him as well; he's a great friend of mine. It's just a great team to work with. Junior Joiner, the crew chief, Duke (Thorson, team owner), they're awesome. As much as this is home with Carl and everything else and being with them for 13 years, I feel the same way over there at ThorSport. How long have you been working with Carl ? Since 2004 with Carl , I think that was his second year in Trucks, and then that year he started (at Michigan) in the Cup car, the '99 car. There was a timeframe when Bobby Hudson would come in just for Sunday only and do the races with Carl because he was already doing that 99 car. So I would do the Truck full-time and the Cup practice. Bobby would be here just to do the Sunday stuff. Then it gradually evolved into me doing everything Carl did. We ran seven straight years of XFINTY Series and Sprint Cup full-time. Do you remember the first race you worked as spotter? It goes way back to Toledo Speedway. I helped a guy with a Super Late Model. Toledo is a half-mile race track with a quarter-mile track on the inside. Chuck Roumell, I grew up working on his cars. He gave me a shot to help with the race cars and his brother was spotting. ... For some reason, one 100-lap Iceman feature at Toledo, he couldn't do it, so they just threw the radio at me. At that time, you'd stand on top of the tool box and just spin around in a circle; you really didn't do the inside/outside type of stuff that we do today. You'd let them know if there was a wreck; you'd give them information but that was about it. I think it might have been about '97. Chuck ran some ARCA races at Michigan and places like that and I spotted for him there. What is the most bizarre thing you've ever seen on the spotters' stand? I've been doing it now almost 20 years just in NASCAR, and every time you think you've seen it all ... something else crazy happens. ... There have been so many things, like Daytona when Juan Pablo Montoya broke that part and hit that jet dryer. That was crazy from our vantage point. We're watching the race track burn in Turn 3 and thinking we're never going to go back racing. The race track has to be destroyed. And we ended up going back to racing. I'd say the jet dryer thing and thankfully everyone was OK. What has been your most memorable experience as a spotter? We've had a lot with Carl . He's such a special driver. ... It stunk how it turned out, but one of the coolest things we were a part of was that championship run at Homestead with Tony (Stewart). That was a heck of a race. You just saw two spectacular race car drivers and they were right on the edge. They were an inch from the wall down there. I talked to Carl afterward; obviously we were all so disappointed. We thought that was our championship. To this day we still think we should have won that championship. But Tony just got us. I called Carl after that and said I was worried about him scraping the wall. He said, "I was never going to hit the wall; I knew I couldn't." But he was running a half-inch from it. Me driving and realizing how hard that is to do that at his speed, that's why those guys are the best. You realize that after you watch guys like him and Tony. To be a part of that, to watch the skill they had -- those guys were running as hard as any human being could ever drive a race car. ... That was pretty cool. ... That thing there was just a spectacular race, they put on a spectacular show. The cream rose to the top. What is the most difficult part of your job? As much as we like traveling, I think the toughest part is being away from my wife and kids. Getting through all the practices and trying to stay focused. The races are fun, that's what you're here for. Staying focused all day up on the spotters' stand ... when you've got Truck and XFINITY and Cup. That part is tough, but the travel, all the long days and being away from your family. Your favorite track to work and why? Michigan, of course, because it's home. But I love to spot a race at Bristol. Our vantage point, it's a half mile. You're looking down and you don't have to turn your head. You can see everything right there in front of you. And the action happens so quick. It's probably my favorite. I've enjoyed the racing at Michigan. It's a big, wide race track. ... I've enjoyed draft, the fact that you have to lift in the corners, the fact that a guy can still beat you down in the corners. What is one thing the average fan might not realize about your job or what it entails? Probably how difficult it can be. I think if I just took the average person up there ... they don't realize maybe sometimes how little you can see at some of these places. We have great, clear vantage points, but you're still a long way away. You're listening to NASCAR on one channel, you have the crew chief on another channel and you're talking to your driver. There's a lot going on. ... Just the ability to stay focused. It's not easy or Talladega or Daytona or (Michigan); They're three- and four-wide and you're looking through binoculars to make sure you're as precise as possible. Then wrecks are happening in front of that. ... They're kind of far away from you. If you do it for a season you just get used to it. ... I appreciate all the work all those guys do. It's not easy. Bristol is a fishbowl but there's a lot going on. So you have to keep your head in the game.
Cain: No more counting Carl out
I'll admit it. I didn't necessarily pick Carl Edwards to be one of the Championship 4 drivers challenging for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 20. But now that Sunday's Texas Motor Speedway race winner is officially in the mix, he can no longer be anyone's "sleeper pick" for the sport's biggest trophy. Credit to Edwards for securing one of the four title race positions when other "sure-bets" might have given that first nod to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, defending Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch or this year's Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin , or even former champ Matt Kenseth . Edwards earned this. And his demeanor from that of very hopeful long shot to confident contender transformed in one lengthy day in Texas. He entered the race ranked last among the eight Chase contenders, a whopping 32 points out, but finished the night celebrating in Victory Lane. From body language to just plain language, Edwards seemed to morph before our very eyes in the minutes following his win. He was not a driver content with the opportunity to contend, but someone who absolutely feels he could -- and should -- be hoisting the big hardware in two weeks. "When we made it to this round, I was very certain, I felt very confident," said Edwards, driver of the No. 19 Toyota. "We talked about it. We felt like we could win at Martinsville. We could win Texas. We could win Phoenix. "I know when the trouble happened at Martinsville, a lot of people probably thought, 'That's it for them.' But we really did have a lot of confidence. That's easy to say now because we won the race, but it's the truth, we really did. "It's nice to be able to pull through, make that happen. Now we just got to dig in and do it again." Edwards is not the kind of guy for the competition to ever take lightly. And this shot at the title is significant on many levels. He will quickly remind you that he tied Tony Stewart in the 2011 Cup championship point standings, losing out on the title to Smoke on a technicality. Stewart won the championship via tiebreaker with his five wins compared to Edwards' one. Last year, Edwards looked like he would earn a shot at redemption. But in the penultimate race at Phoenix, he got caught up in a bad position as the race was called for rain with 93 laps remaining. Edwards' Toyota had been a top-five mainstay all day only to be caught 12th (after a green flag pit stop) when the race was declared over for rain. His title hopes drowned out, as well. "One of the first things my dad told my about racing, 'There's a thousand ways to lose a race,'" Edwards said. "None of those thousand things can happen. You have to have everything go well. "Those disappointments like Martinsville or Phoenix last year or 2011, that battle, that's just part of the sport. That's what makes victories and days like this and championships so special. You have to do everything right." Edwards, who has a pair of wins at Phoenix, redeemed himself already this year finishing runner-up to Kevin Harvick in a dramatic, door-slamming chase to the checkered there. It's what he expects this week and what he expects the following week in the championship big show at Homestead. "I will not be relaxed," Edwards said, allowing a smile. "This is the part that I love," he continued. "I mean, next week, we want to go win the race (at Phoenix). Really, starting right now, in Victory Lane, (crew chief) Dave (Rogers) was actually trying to shut me up. I started talking about Homestead already. "Everything we do now will be geared to making sure that that Homestead weekend, we do it perfectly. So, yeah, I relish the opportunity to go focus for the next 14 days on trying to give a championship effort." Edwards' track record at the 1.5-mile Miami track is worth noting. He has a pair of victories (2008 and 2010) and finished in the top 10 for seven consecutive years from 2005 through his runner-up showing to Stewart in 2011. And he returns there next week already smiling and feeling good about his chances. "It's so much fun, you guys," Edwards said. "Just the idea of getting to race for a championship, getting that opportunity. "It's not just going there like we did in 2011 to race against one guy in championship form. We're going to go there and race against three guys, one of which is a six ‑ time champion, top of his game. I know whoever else in there is going to be tough as nails. "It's cool. If we're able to win that, stand here 14 days from now with that championship trophy, we're going to have earned it. And that's as good as it gets."
Dale Jr. wins NMPA Sprint Most Popular Driver Award
MORE: Junior through the years " Relive all of Dale Jr.'s win s DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Although he missed one half of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season due to injury, race fans still overwhelmingly selected Dale Earnhardt Jr . as the National Motorsports Press Association Sprint Most Popular Driver. Earnhardt's selection was announced Friday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards program at the Wynn Las Vegas. A $10,000 donation to the charity of his choice will be made on behalf of the NMPA. It is the 14th consecutive season Earnhardt has been voted the series' MPD. The award is the only major NASCAR honor to be determined solely by fan vote. Only one other driver, Bill Elliott , has won the award more often. Elliott was named the series' most popular driver 16 times between 1984 and 2002. Earnhardt, driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports , was sidelined at midseason after suffering concussion-like symptoms following on-track incidents at Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway . He is expected to return to competition for 2017. RELATED: Junior injury timeline "The Most Popular Driver Award is always very humbling to receive, even more so this year with my injury and time out of the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "The fans continue to amaze me with their loyalty and the support they've shown throughout my career no matter the circumstance. "I try not to think about winning or losing the Most Popular Driver award; it's a bit of a gift, you know. Whether we win the award or not, we get a lot of great support from our fans all season long . I certainly got some extra support this year through the injury and all that stuff; it's unfortunate to be in that position but the fans were great. That was an incredible motivator for me during my recovery to get healthy. Not a lot of people that go through those types of support groups, but the fans really made a world of difference. "I was pretty open and transparent in sharing the process and they were certainly open and honest replying and wishing us well. It made the bad days better and once I started feeling good about coming back it gave me a lot of motivation, maybe a reminder I guess of why I want to be back in the car. You race to have fun and win races, but it wouldn't even be worth making the trip if the fans didn't show up. They're a huge reason why we want to get back in the car and be back at the track next year." Junior also tweeted a message to his fans after receiving the award. Thank you fans! You guys are such a huge part of our team and help motivate us in so many ways. pic.twitter.com/hvEek8hkux — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) December 3, 2016 Sprint has been the presenting sponsor of the Most Popular Driver Award program since 2014. Forty drivers received one or more votes from fans during this year's 12-week voting period. Aside from Earnhardt Jr., others finishing in the top 10 in vote totals were (in alphabetical order): Kyle Busch , Carl Edwards , Chase Elliott , Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne , Matt Kenseth , Danica Patrick , Tony Stewart and Martin Truex Jr . The Most Popular Driver Award has been presented annually since 1953 and the recipient was originally determined by a poll of competitors. It became a fan-driven program in 1984 under the guidance of the NMPA. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Carl Edwards gave special retirement gift to 'Smoke'
RELATED: What if Edwards had won 2011 title? While Tony Stewart hasn't wanted the whole "retirement tour" and the gifts that come along with it like what we saw with Jeff Gordon in 2015, the three-time Sprint Cup Series champion recently received a gift that he couldn't refuse -- and from an unlikely source. Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Carl Edwards revealed Thursday during the Championship 4 press conference in Miami that he gave "Smoke" the helmet he wore at Homestead-Miami Speedway to conclude Stewart's third and final championship run in 2011 ... when Stewart beat Edwards in heart/tie-breaking fashion. "I watched him on my way up," Edwards said of the gesture. "To see him progress and to finally be able to battle him, that was a lot of fun." The effort wasn't lost on Stewart. "That shows you how thoughtful Carl is," Stewart said. "I think that's a huge honor. It shows Carl's character." It may have been fun, but Edwards still can't quite stomach the reminder that he nearly could've been going for his second Sprint Cup Series title this weekend in Sunday's Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App). The final race from 2011 recently re-aired on NBCSN, and the veteran driver could only tune-in for a handful of minutes before he gave up after stumbling upon it on TV. "I had seen enough after five or 10 minutes," Edwards said. "I had to shut it off." MORE: Stewart relives title via live tweeting &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Why Carl Edwards will win the 2016 Sprint Cup title
ALL TITLE STORIES: Johnson " Logano " Busch Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of four stories examining why each driver could win the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. Coming Thursday: Why Kyle Busch will win the 2016 championship Carl Edwards will win the title because … Homestead-Miami Speedway is his best track. The hard(er) part is over -- Edwards survived the first nine races of the Chase, outlasting 12 other drivers as the field was narrowed from 16 to our Championship 4. Now he just needs to come out on top at Homestead, and he's the driver best positioned to do so, given his history at the 1.5-mile facility. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has a sterling 9.2 average finish with two wins at the track, and his 568 career laps led are tops among all active drivers, in the Championship 4 or otherwise. His three 2016 wins are the most he's had since his nine wins in 2008, a year in which he swept three of the last four to close it out, including a dominant Homestead win. Oh, and remember how close he was to winning the title in 2011, matching eventual champion Tony Stewart on points only to lose via tiebreaker? There's no way he lets this slip away from him again.
Daniel Suárez receives hero's welcome in Mexico City
MEXICO CITY -- A NASCAR championship aside, Daniel Suárez is still making his name known in the United States. In his native Mexico, his name is etched in gold. He’s a rock star, the kind of guy who draws large crowds of adoring fans, each one seeking an autograph or selfie or handshake or high-five. Need proof? Just look at the crowd that packed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez on Sunday. Suárez served as the grand marshal of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series exhibition race, continuing a whirlwind celebration that hasn’t stopped since he won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship last month. Suárez could barely take a step without posing for a picture, signing an autograph or hearing the words “felicidades campeón (translation: congratulations, champion).” "I was expecting something good, but this was great," said Suárez, shortly after a large group of photographers captured a photo of him posing with the Mexican flag. "Every time I talk about this, I feel very, very happy for all the fans, all the teams and everyone who has been helping me to get to this point -- the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship." Hoy fue uno de los días más especiales del año! Gracias a todos los fans de @NASCARPEAKMX por si amor y cariño!! De corazón GRACIAS!!!! pic.twitter.com/cVBBoyWkuN — Daniel Suárez (@Daniel_SuarezG) December 4, 2016 Suárez went out of his way to show his appreciation to fans who came to see him in Mexico City. After being interviewed over the public address system, Suárez slowly walked down the length of the frontstretch and waved to all of his fans. Chants of "Dani! Dani! Dani!" could be heard as a beehive of photographers followed his every step. It’s no shock that Mexican fans know him well. The 24-year-old from Monterry, Mexico, was the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Rookie of the Year in 2010. He finished third in the championship battle in 2012 and runner-up in 2013. His star power grew in the process. Such potential made him an inaugural member of the NASCAR Next program, NASCAR’s initiative that spotlight’s the sport’s rising young stars. And now he’s a champion, basking in the glory he earned during the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Along the way, Suárez balanced the weight of expectations with the weight of his country and found the road to success. The reception he received on Sunday is just the latest manifestation of a champion’s just reward. He’ll continue to race for Mexico … and more. "We’re not just talking about Mexico; we’re talking about the entire Latin American community," Suárez said. "That’s something that is unbelievable. I feel very lucky for being a Mexican driver racing in the U.S. and hopefully I can do that for a long time."
NASCAR.com staff predicts 2016 Sprint Cup champion
RELATED: Stats breakdown reveals championship favorite Carl Edwards : Went with the No. 19 as a championship pick on my pre-Chase grid, thinking the postseason schedule lined up favorably. The Championship 4 -- especially this season -- is a toss-up, but Edwards' history at Homestead (two wins, two poles) may tip the scales. -- Zack Albert Joey Logano : The Team Penske driver has been loose and fast throughout the Chase and comes into this weekend's race with much-needed final-round experience. Crew chief Todd Gordon is one of the best. -- Kenny Bruce Jimmie Johnson : Jimmie was my preseason pick to win his seventh championship, and I feel even better about the selection now. No one in his era is better at winning titles and he has shown the ability to do whatever is necessary at Homestead to secure the prized hardware. -- Holly Cain Jimmie Johnson : Now that Johnson has figured out how to outlast his competition in the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format, don't expect him to let a historic seventh championship slip from his grip. -- Pat DeCola Kyle Busch : The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters with the least amount of pressure as the defending champion, and that should lead to a relaxing and celebration-filled weekend in Miami. -- RJ Kraft Joey Logano : Over the last four races he's won twice, led for 302 laps and has finished no worse than ninth. To say he's on fire is an understatement. -- Maggie MacKenzie Kyle Busch : Let's not overthink this. The defending champion is back in the title race, as the best driver on the best team in NASCAR. He also has been the best driver in the Chase, with six top-five finishes through nine races. Busch repeats. -- Brad Norman Jimmie Johnson : Johnson & Co. showed speed in practice and fought through a tough qualifying session, proving they have the calm resilience -- and long -run speed -- needed to win the coveted title No. 7. -- Jessica Ruffin Carl Edwards : All the reminders of that tiebreaker loss in 2011 have stoked the fire of title desire. Edwards' No. 19 has the speed, and we know JGR equipment is stout. A will and a way combine for a championship. -- Kathy Sheldon Carl Edwards : Sentimentally, I'd like to see him get redemption for 2011 and for Concrete Carl to cement a Hall of Fame-worthy career, but he's also a good pick from a stats perspective. He has the best average finish at Homestead among the Championship 4 drivers and the most career wins there (two). -- George Winkler
NASCAR issues penalties to No. 23 team, Carl Long
Ballast violation found in Iowa Speedway inspection