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Tech Talk: Rain tires, procedures ready at Watkins Glen
RELATED: Junior wants to race in the rain The extended weather forecast for Watkins Glen shows only a slight chance of rain for this weekend’s Cheez-It 355 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). But NASCAR officials are prepared to conduct Sunday’s race should inclement weather become an issue. The same holds true for Saturday's Zippo 200 XFINITY Series race (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM), also slated for Watkins Glen. Steve O’Donnell, Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer for NASCAR, told NASCAR.com Monday that should there be rain on Sunday, "the same rules will apply that we've had in the XFINITY Series." In other words, yes, they're prepared to run the Sprint Cup race in the rain. Three XFINITY Series races have been contested in wet conditions – in 2008 and '09 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (Montreal) and last year at Road America (Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin). Goodyear will have an ample supply of rain tires on hand this weekend and teams will be required to install a functional windshield wiper motor, defogger and rear window flashing light for this weekend’s races. The light must be activated during all wet weather conditions, and must be located in the upper left corner inside the rear window. "We've also got Air Titans that we can deploy if there is ... excess water in certain areas," O’Donnell said. Per the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rulebook, under "wet" conditions, cars will line up on the starting grid under a normal "dry" equipment configuration. After a single pace lap, cars will return to pit road to their assigned pit stalls where crewmembers will install rain tires and a front windshield wiper or wipers. The rear flashing light must also be activated at this time. No further adjustments or refueling of the car will be allowed during the stop. Cars will return to the track in their original starting positions behind the pace car to complete the pace laps. Teams can't change to "dry" weather tires until taking the green flag following the start of the event. RACE CENTER EXTRA: How Watkins Glen's unique pit road impacts teams For "damp" conditions: If there is moisture only in certain areas of the track, the start of the race would be similar to those for "wet" conditions, however when pitting after the first pace lap, teams will have the option to install the rain tires, defogger and windshield wiper or wipers. Activation of the rear flashing light is mandatory under both "wet" and "damp" conditions prior to the race start. Once again, the cars will re-enter the track in their original starting position to complete the remaining pace laps. Should a team or teams opt not to change tires during the designated "damp” conditions pit stop, but pit during one of the remaining pace laps, the team or teams will start at the rear of the field in the order in which they return to the track. Sprint Cup Series managing director director Richard Buck will make the determination of track conditions (wet, damp or dry). Finally, if one or more laps are completed under normal dry conditions then rain arrives, NASCAR will display the yellow flag, putting the race under caution. Once pit road has been opened, teams may pit and change tires, install "wet" weather equipment and perform any additional services permitted. They also have the option of remaining on the track, should they so choose. Tire Build for the Glen Unchanged Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams will run the same Goodyear tire code at Watkins Glen. It is same build that teams have run there since 2013. XFINITY Series teams also ran the tire at Road America last year. The "wet" weather tire, should it be needed, for both series is the same build as that which was also run at Road America in '14. After the Fact Two of the 32 penalties issued Sunday at Pocono Raceway were assessed after the completion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ) both incurred pit road speeding penalties after each driver ran out of gas in the closing laps of the Windows 10 400 . Both Truex (19th) and Logano (20th) finished on the lead lap.
Hayley returns home for Chevrolet Silverado 250
No one would blame Cameron Hayley for getting homesick. The 19-year-old NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver resides in Sandusky, Ohio where his ThorSport Racing team is based -- 1,891.3 miles away from his hometown of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Most of the tracks he races at are even farther away. Distance has not stopped Hayley from chasing his NASCAR dream. Although it's located on the opposite side of Canada, Hayley will have a homecoming of sorts when he performs in front of his fellow countrymen in Sunday's Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (1:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1) -- the NCWTS' only road course race of the season. "Not only is this a track I've been to before, it's also in my home country," said Hayley, who ranks sixth in the NCWTS standings on the strength of three top-five and seven top-10 finishes in 14 starts this season. "I just hope that I will have a good run for all of my Canadian fans." An alumnus of the NASCAR Next initiative highlighting the sport's top up-and-coming drivers, Hayley is still searching for his first NASCAR national series win. If he takes the checkered flag on Sunday, he would be the first Canadian to win a NASCAR national series race since Ron Fellows visited Victory Lane in Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2008. Racing in his first full-time NCWTS season, Hayley has gained momentum lately, logging six top-10 finishes in his last eight starts, including a career-best fourth-place showing at Pocono. He made his series debut at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last season, finishing 11th and believes his prior experience there will help him on Sunday. "We've done really well at tracks that I've been to in the past this year, already," Hayley said. "I've been to Sonoma a couple times and that place was really difficult. You look at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and think, 'it can’t be as difficult as Sonoma ,' but it's a very fast race track, and fast race tracks are not forgiving. It takes a lot of finesse and a lot of guts to go out there and get it done. We are bringing a really good truck, so I think this will be another good race for us to go out and get a solid top five, if not a win."
Meet Eddie D'Hondt, Chase Elliott's spotter
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of interviews with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spotters. Eddie D'Hondt, Spotter for Chase Elliott , No. 24, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet HOW DID YOU GET STARTED SPOTTING? "I was the GM at Evernham Motorsports when Bill Elliott was driving. I actually started spotting for Bill -- I guess about 16 years ago. I had been managing teams up until that point. I just sort of fell into it. I used to drive Modifieds. It just worked. I've been doing it ever since." WHAT OTHER DUTIES DO YOU HAVE WITH THE TEAM? "We have a team meeting on Tuesdays, the driver, the crew chief and all the engineers. I have two reports I'm responsible for putting together for that meeting. That takes up most of my Monday, it's a lot of video work and some other technical work, but that's the other part of my job." DO YOU SPOT IN OTHER SERIES? "I spot in every series every weekend. I do 105 races a year; Rolex, Modifieds, Truck, XFINITY , Cup. In depends on the series as far as who I'm spotting for each weekend. I did all of Chase's XFINITY races, Cole Custer 's XFINITY races; I do Ryan Preece when I'm not doing the 88 XFINITY car. I do Cole's Truck races. The Ferrari team in Rolex." HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH CHASE? "Just this year. For four or five years I was with Jeff (Gordon); three years with Kyle (Busch) before that." WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST RACE AS A SPOTTER? "It was with Bill. I guess the (2001) Daytona 500 , the race that Dale (Earnhardt) passed away." WHAT'S THE MOST BIZARRE THING YOU'VE SEEN WHILE SPOTTING? "Oh my gosh. I've lived up here all weekend for 16 years so I've seen a lot of stuff. There have been so many things. It's a great vantage point. Every single weekend we get to see a lot of what no one else gets to see." WHAT'S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE AS A SPOTTER? "Homestead with Jeff last year and (the win at) Martinsville. I'd have to say those two. Jeff was just special. He is a special guy. He got in the trenches with you, he became your friend. You wanted to fight with him. I was working with Kyle Busch when Alan Gustafson (Gordon's crew chief at the time) came and got me, sat down and struck a deal and five years later, here I am." WHAT'S THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR JOB? "Probably the travel. I’ve been on this circuit since 1996, prior to that I raced on my own. Being away from your family is difficult. Both my boys are working in the garage, so if I want to see them I have to go find them in the garage somewhere. The rest of my family is always home, so that's the hard part." WHAT CURRENT DRIVER WOULD MAKE A GOOD SPOTTER? "That's a good question. Maybe Carl Edwards . He likes to talk." WHICH TRACK IS YOUR FAVORITE? "Bristol and Martinsville. Probably those two. I grew up on the short tracks. The thrill of the short track, anything can happen at any moment. The flow you get into in those races, I enjoy that." WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT WHAT YOUR JOB ENTAILS THAT THE AVERAGE FAN MIGHT NOT KNOW? "Today, it's become way more intricate than what people realize. We're providing information that we never did before. You have all engineers now on top of all these pit boxes, not guys that grew up short-track racing. These guys are all engineers now. So they talk to the drivers less and it's fallen into our laps now to provide more and more information on things like rubber buildup, lanes that are working, braking, backing up corners. We're talking more about driving than safety. Most of the guys up here, just go down the line, used to drive. They have some kind of wisdom about what it feels line so you're able to talk about it. And the guys that didn't drive have educated themselves. Those guys on the pit boxes, they're looking at data."
JGR hires familiar super-sub for Kyle Busch
Boris Said Q&A: 'If I win (Talladega), I'll let you shave my head!'
Villeneuve , Ambrose trade paint
Jacques Villeneuve slams into Marcos Ambrose in Turn 2 and then Ambrose repays the favor later that lap.
Villeneuve turns Tagliani
Jacques Villeneuve makes a move on Alex Tagliani, and when that does not work he finishes the No. 30 off.
Justin Allgaier 2014 driver profile
NASCAR driver stats, preview information for the 2014 season
Gaughan wins in thrilling finish at Road America
Gaughan earns first win in 98 Nationwide Series starts
Junior finds new perspective in time away from racing
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . said it would be hard to explain, the perspective that he's gained being sidelined from NASCAR competition. The driving part, he clearly misses. The related appearances, autograph sessions and other obligations have gained newfound enjoyment during his absence from the cockpit. The challenge for when he plans to return to driving full-time is finding a way to savor the two parts together. Earnhardt described the contrasts Wednesday at Martinsville Speedway , taking part in the announcement that the .526-mile track would add a lighting system as part of its 70th-anniversary season celebration in 2017. The driver, sidelined since July with concussion-related symptoms, also discussed how his time out of the car has spurred a recent health kick, offered him time to assist in planning his offseason wedding to fiancée Amy Reimann, and how it's taught him to relish race-weekend moments that go beyond his driving duties. "When I was driving, I really didn't enjoy everything I did outside the car, reluctantly, just to do the driving part," Earnhardt said. "Now that I'm not in the car, I enjoy all the stuff that I'm doing outside the car that I've always done. I'm getting up in the morning race days to do the hospitalities or coming to do the winner's circle (appearances) here or Talladega, I've really enjoyed doing those things. "The pressure of racing made the majority of everything that came with it miserable, and I probably am responsible for controlling that, right? And so, I think being out of the car has shown me that I've got to find a way that if I'm going to race more how to not feel so much pressure that it makes everything else intolerable or hard to do." Earnhardt Jr., who turned 42 earlier this week, had his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season cut short after 18 races because of concussion-like symptoms. The unexpected absence has allowed Earnhardt to participate in activities he would've otherwise missed, such as attending a drag-racing event in Concord, North Carolina, and taking in his high school's homecoming football game. But his time away from the circuit's entry lists has also meant an unburdening, removing the weekly stress of performing for his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team, which has found able substitutes in Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman while keeping Earnhardt Jr.'s name on the windshield and above the drivers' side window. "I think once I get back in the car, I've got to have a whole new frame of mind about how I handle the pressure of driving and the pressures of performing and finishing well and all that good stuff," Earnhardt said. "… The driving is fun, and I never really had a problem with that. I enjoy being at the track, and I enjoy doing the hospitalities. I'm going to go do a Wal-Mart appearance somewhere in freakin' who-knows-where, and I would be so frustrated about that because of what I was going to be doing on a race weekend. "It wasn't the appearance that had me bent out of shape. It's just the pressure of week to week to week, performing, performing, performing -- the expectations of everything, myself and everyone else made all that sort of a heavy, heavy weight on my back. Now without the performance and the worry of having to perform, I go do this stuff and have fun. So I've got to figure out how to race and have fun, if that makes any sense." Another unintended byproduct of his time away has been weight loss. With Reimann's encouragement, Earnhardt said he's had more of a dedicated fitness routine, something he never had to consider much during his weekly racing obligations since drivers routinely burn hundreds of calories inside the car during a race weekend. "The only thing I ever had to worry about was just making sure I fit in my suit," Earnhardt said, adding that he's lost roughly eight pounds since beginning his rehab regimen for his concussion-like symptoms. "Any time we had to alter the suit, I had to start watching what I was eating, like we're getting out of control here." And Earnhardt Jr. has also kept busy with planning his upcoming nuptials with Reimann in the offseason. "We're definitely not being lazy and pushing everything off until the last minute, but it feels like it's right around the corner," Earnhardt said. "We just want it to be a great day. I think that's the same way everybody kind of feels. They just want everything to go right and not have anything go wrong. We're just making sure we've got all our T's crossed and all our I's dotted, so that that day's a special day for us." While he's finding advice on floral arrangements and other details to make the event go off without a hitch, he's also been receiving unsolicited advice from all corners about his treatment plan. If there was a Highlights for Children etiquette lesson on how best to interact with people with his condition, the would-be physicians lighting up his XFINITY Series team's switchboard fall under the heading of Goofus as opposed to Gallant. "I think the wrong thing to say would be to give any kind of medical advice because you've got to listen to your doctors," Earnhardt said. "We've got people calling every single day to JR Motorsports: 'tell Dale to try this, tell Dale to drink this drink, tell him to eat this, tell him to quit milk' -- all kinds of crazy, hare-brained reasons why I'm ill or need to get better, what'll speed it up and all that stuff. I've got doctors, they're smart, they know everything I need to do and that's who I need to listen to, obviously." And the right way to offer support? "'Look forward to seeing you back at the track,' sounds awesome," Earnhardt said. "I want to hear that. 'Get well' is great. I like to know that people want me to be well, so anytime, that feels good." &lt;/p&gt;
Kentucky Speedway to add layer of asphalt
RELATED: Tire dragon goes to work at Kentucky Kentucky Speedway announced Monday that it will add another surface layer of asphalt to the 1.5-mile track this month. The Bluegrass State circuit underwent a full reconfiguration earlier this year that included a increased banking in Turns 1 and 2, improved drainage, additional energy-absorbing SAFER barrier and a total repave. The work was completed ahead of a tripleheader NASCAR weekend for all three national series July 7-9. "When our team examined the race track, portions of the paving performed earlier this year did not meet the construction specifications," Kentucky Speedway general manager Mark Simendinger said in a release provided by the track. "These deficiencies had no impact on this year's racing and would affect only the long-term viability of the surface if left uncorrected. In order to remedy these issues, an additional surface course of asphalt will be applied. The track will cure over the winter and be fully in use in the spring." The speedway indicated that all work would be complete in October. The track hosts two NASCAR weekends on the 2017 schedule, the first for all three national series July 6-8 and a return trip for the XFINITY Series in September.