- Did you mean:
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."
JGR hires familiar super-sub for Kyle Busch
Boris Said Q&A: 'If I win (Talladega), I'll let you shave my head!'
Gaughan wins in thrilling finish at Road America
Gaughan earns first win in 98 Nationwide Series starts
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
JGR team orders? Edwards-Busch bump says it isn't so
RELATED: Richmond results " Standings post-race " Updated Chase Grid RICHMOND, Va. -- So much for team orders. With the amount of success Joe Gibbs Racing has enjoyed this season, the recipe for an intra-team skirmish among two of the the team's four drivers in a pressure-filled, late-race situation has been simmering. Sunday at Richmond International Raceway 's short-track cauldron, all the ingredients came together. Carl Edwards nudged teammate Kyle Busch out of the way during the final lap of Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 , leaving Coach Joe Gibbs to celebrate a 1-2 finish -- just not in the order he might have anticipated. Though the team's namesake wound up celebrating in Victory Lane, he first had to endure a brush with his worst nightmare -- hard racing and contact between two of his cars in the closing stages that could've resulted in disaster. "Kind of my fear is always at the end when you got cars as good as we have, and drivers as good as we have, that you wind up with two of your teammates battling there," Gibbs said. "You wish it wouldn't happen. I think Carl would say that, too." He did, likening the scenario to a "double-edged sword." "You're left as a race car driver, what do we do here? We're here to win the race," Edwards said. "You can either finish first or second. It's a tough decision. At this point in the season, we both got wins. Really it's about just going out for trophies and having fun. We still finished first and second. Nobody got wrecked. But you can't just sit there. "I wouldn't expect Kyle -- if the roles were reversed, I'd expect him to bump me the same way. That's hard racing." The JGR twosome savored the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' return to daytime racing at the .75-mile track after a 19-year absence, combining to lead the majority of the 400 laps (Edwards paced 151, Busch 78). But competing under sunshine didn't keep them from conjuring up their own version of full-moon craziness in the final circuit . Edwards' No. 19 Toyota team radio crackled repeatedly with "you and him" as he and Busch separated themselves from the pack during the 37-lap green-flag stretch to the finish. But Edwards also heard encouragement -- "Get him, get him! Dig!" -- as the laps clicked away. WATCH: Edwards: 'I thought, I'm gonna give him a little nudge' Edwards peeked inside Busch's No. 18 through Turns 1 and 2 before falling back in line for the final charge. Midway through Turns 3 and 4, Edwards used his front bumper to push his way past for the checkered flag. Busch's radio largely went silent, with only one reminder during the cool-down lap: "We did everything right. Be smart." Busch's post-race interviews were smart, indeed, as he held his tongue to deflect any potential negatives when asked about his teammate's move and lauded the efforts of his car, team and crew chief instead. "Our Banfield Camry was real awesome today," Busch said, repeating what became a familiar post-race refrain. "We had a great race car. My guys made some awesome adjustments to it. It was really good for us to have an opportunity to run and race for the win like that." Adam Stevens, crew chief for Busch and JGR's No. 18, was more forthcoming, saying that lap traffic tended to race the leader slightly harder, giving Edwards an opening to gain ground. Still, Stevens said he thought Busch's third win in four weeks was well within his grasp. "Generally when you take the white (flag) and have a couple car-length lead, you feel pretty good about it, but they don't always pan out that way," Stevens said. " Joe Gibbs Racing had good cars, we had good equipment, we have good drivers. When you're trading paint and out there leading laps, stuff like this'll happen." What didn't happen during Richmond's first scheduled matinee since 1997 was a Joe Gibbs Racing processional, with orders from above dictating that the two teammates play nice and stay in line with a victory up for grabs. Edwards' crew chief Dave Rogers said competing at the highest possible level is an obligation that all teams share -- teammates or not. "If we look at the big picture, today was a great day for NASCAR. Our fans don't want to see teammate orders," said Rogers, who is just nine races into his first season atop Edwards' pit box. "They don't deserve teammates to fall in line. They deserve good, hard racing. So I think today was a great day for the sport. "It stinks that we had to move a teammate. I'm sure Adam and I will talk about it, and Carl and Kyle will talk about it. But I think it would be very disappointing to our fans if Joe imposed a team order and told us, 'Hey, have a parade instead of a race.' There's going to be plenty of days that the 18 is faster than us and they'll probably get to our back bumper and move us. We'll go down to Victory Lane, shake their hands, tell them, 'Good job.' That's just a testament to Joe Gibbs Racing , allowing us to put ourselves in that position." Edwards joined his teammate as a two-time winner this year in NASCAR's premier series, but now the two must sort out Sunday's differences as they navigate the rest of the season. Gibbs, who won three Super Bowls in his 16-year tenure as an NFL head coach, has loads of experience in maintaining team harmony. And though he's also in his 25th year as leader of one of NASCAR's top organizations, Gibbs says there's no road map for calming the waters in the JGR huddle. "What you do is you start out and work your way through it. That's what we'll do," Gibbs said. "So, you know, it's a tough thing because it's certainly painful for one side. You're on such a high with the other side. It's a tough thing. You kind of know what we'll do is kind of go to work and work our way through it."
Bristol was 'sixth-place victory' for DiBenedetto, BK Racing
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Matt DiBenedetto 's best day in NASCAR's top series nearly ended with the ultimate buzzkill. Driving back Sunday from Bristol Motor Speedway after salting away a career-best sixth-place finish and becoming the provisional leader for feel-good story of the season, the 24-year-old driver saw flashing blue lights not far from his home in Hickory, North Carolina. "Ah, dang, that sucks after a good day,' " DiBenedetto recalled thinking as he pulled to the side of the road. But DiBenedetto didn't think he was over the posted speed limit, a notion that was confirmed when law enforcement approached him. "The cop comes up to me and says, 'Hey, I have one question for you: I just want to know why you were going so darn slow?'" DiBenedetto said. "So then I realized it was a prank." The best of pranks as it turns out. The second-year driver for BK Racing drove the rest of the way with a police escort and with his parents following him home, where he expected a small, muted observance of his stirring Sunday drive. That didn't happen, either, not with the secretive planning of sponsor and close chum Constantine "Cosmo" Kogan, who rallied DiBenedetto's circle of friends into a boisterous welcoming committee, complete with party favors and uncorked bubbly. "There were probably 30-40 people out in our neighborhood," DiBenedetto said with a smile Monday from his BK Racing shop in north Charlotte. "Silly string everywhere. My car was covered. Champagne, the little party popper things -- it was out of control. It was absolutely hilarious. Only my friends, that's just cool to see how much they care and they were all so excited." DiBenedetto's hard-fought sixth-place finish made its own viral turn Sunday, thanks not only to the underdog rooting interest for one of the circuit's smaller teams but also for the unabashed emotion that the driver showed in post-race interviews. As he watched his family wipe away tears off camera, the tremble in his voice became more pronounced. "I couldn't quite hold back the emotion," DiBenedetto said. "I would be lying if I said that I was fighting off the tears, but unfortunately just couldn't hold it back. That was a dream come true for me. I know it wasn't a first-place finish, but for us that was like a win to finish up there in sixth in the Cup Series, which I've dreamed of racing in since I was 5 years old. Just to be here in the first place is a dream come true." Living dreams Making it to the sport's big leagues seemed like destiny, but so often fate takes the curvier road. DiBenedetto seemed earmarked for stock-car racing glory early on as part of the first NASCAR Next class in 2011, then called the NASCAR Next 9. What followed after a successful first season in the K&N Pro Series was a hodgepodge of spot duty in the XFINITY Series, sitting in the driver's seat one week and out the next. "It seem like it's all kind of gone by in a blur," DiBenedetto said. "I was racing K&N, part of the NASCAR Next and then thought my career was done five times in between then and now. It's been so up and down so many times. For me to be here, it's still surreal to think back." Opportunity for DiBenedetto meant pounding the phones and knocking on doors. His big break came shortly before the 2015 season in the form of a race-to-race agreement with BK Racing owner Ron Devine. DiBenedetto said Devine took a substantial chance in hiring a driver without Sprint Cup experience, but the risk was modestly rewarded -- the week-to-week deal turned into a full season with just one DNF and a return invitation for 2016. "Being a rookie in Sprint Cup is way tougher than I gave it credit for," DiBenedetto said of the learning experience. "It's just a whole different level of racing. You have to be so perfect at every single thing you do, down to the level of not losing a half-second on pit road. You have to drive your tail off every single lap of the race to make sure you stay on the lead lap -- everything." Driving his tail off makes for a suitable description of Sunday's spirited drive at Bristol. Carl Edwards captured the checkered flag and punctuated his celebration with his trademark backflip, but he was also head over heels about DiBenedetto's accomplishments, saying, "They finished sixth? Man, that's unbelievable. That's probably tougher than what we did." The driver of the No. 83 Toyota wasn't about to draw a direct comparison with Edwards' feat, but was quick to spread the credit for a banner day among his BK Racing shopmates. "To win in the Sprint Cup Series among the 40 best is incredibly difficult and that takes an amazing amount of talent like Carl Edwards has," DiBenedetto said. "I don't know if I want to say it was harder than what he did, but we're definitely proud of what we did. I'm more proud of all the guys that work on the team, proud of my crew chief … I'm just more proud of my guys, not myself. They're the ones that deserve that good of a finish. They're the ones that are working late nights and dedicating their lives to doing best job they can and putting a good race car underneath me. "It is lot of hard work like Carl did say. That's a total team effort. That's a lot of hard work by my guys. I was just happy to be the one holding the steering wheel and able to drive it up there for them." The camaraderie among the tight-knit group is what made BK Racing 's post-race cheer all the more jubilant with hugs all around. That celebration spread to the shop Monday, with DiBenedetto springing for pizza during the team's lunch break. "A lot of that emotion is shared by this whole team," said Ryan "Frenchie" Dubois, in his second year as BK Racing 's general manager. "We work really hard here and face a lot of obstacles that a lot of other teams aren't faced with. For us to overcome those obstacles and come out of there with a sixth-place victor-, er, sixth-place finish, it's like a victory for the team right now and what we're trying to do for the future." Dubois caught himself, but "sixth-place victory" has a certain ring to it. "To jump to sixth was great," he added. "If we can back that up next week, that'll be a Cinderella story for sure. We just want to be consistent, do everything right. We've got fast cars this year, that's the positive thing. We've got the right people in place, and it's about putting everything together. Once we do all that, we'll get those outcomes more often than not." It's an opinion shared by veteran crew chief Gene Nead, who began working with DiBenedetto in the second half of last season and was atop the pit box for nine Camping World Truck Series victories with Ted Musgrave at the wheel from 2002-05. "It's a definite David and Goliath story, you know what I mean, for a team this small without enough proper funding," Nead said. "You walk out in the shop, there's 60 people. You go into Gibbs', there's 600. It's pretty hard to do what you did with 10 percent of their people." Basking in Bristol Fittingly enough, DiBenedetto was savoring the moment before ever turning a lap Sunday. The California native decided to have some fun with Bristol Motor Speedway 's unique system of drivers selecting their own music for pre-race introductions, taking a page from his wedding reception last August. During his reception, each member of the wedding party selected their own entrance music. His father's comedic take, entering to ZZ Top's "Sharp-Dressed Man" in full beard, hat, sunglasses and guitar, clearly resonated. With his dad's permission, DiBenedetto reprised the role Sunday with gusto, donning the full costume and earning some of the biggest pre-race laughs. "You've got to enjoy it every step of the way, you've got to do fun stuff," DiBenedetto said. "That's what the fans want to see and to get them riled up before the race. That's what it's about." That spirit has been contagious, one that's extended to all corners of the BK Racing shop and that's helped boost the team's morale. "With Matt, for one his attitude is always positive," Dubois said. "He's a very humble driver and very appreciative of the opportunity that he has. We've seen from the beginning with him that he's constantly improved. He's not plateaued like some other drivers have and so we're constantly building with him. We think he's the future of our team and yesterday was a perfect example of what we see, and hopefully everybody else was able to see that, too." Plenty did, based on the outpouring of support on social media and the congratulations he's received privately from well-wishers. DiBenedetto pulled out his phone to show 202 text messages he hadn't had time to respond to, part of the 300-plus pings he estimated he'd accumulated in less than 24 hours. This season's most improbable finish at one of the series' toughest tracks gave DiBenedetto more than TV time, a police escort and a silly-string serenade. It also gave him the rewarding feeling that comes with taking a dark-horse team into the stratosphere usually reserved for the sport's heavyweights. That's why sixth on Sunday meant so much. "Just because we've worked so hard to get here," DiBenedetto said. "To do this without any major funding behind me or family money or anything of that nature, to do it just based on hard work and what teams thought I could do behind the wheel, that's nearly unheard of. To fight that hard and to get here makes you appreciate it that much more."
Dash 4 Cash returns for second week at Richmond
RELATED: Heat races lineup " Full schedule RICHMOND, Va. -- The first brush with qualifying heats and a feature in a revamped Dash 4 Cash race format brought a new wrinkle to the NASCAR XFINITY Series last weekend. With the newfangled system ready for Round 2, many in the garage are bracing for the encore. Dual heats make their return in Saturday's ToyotaCare 250 (12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the second of four races this season for the Dash 4 Cash incentive program. One of four eligible drivers -- determined through the two heats -- will make their bid for a $100,000 bonus at Richmond International Raceway . Last weekend's Dash 4 Cash opener at Bristol Motor Speedway was marked by a pair of wire-to-wire winners in the heats, but some frantic lead-swapping in the shorter 200-lap main. This weekend, the total distance of the feature event (106.6 miles at Bristol vs. a scheduled 105 at Richmond) is comparable, but the difference in lap count (Bristol's 200 vs. Richmond's 140) is far wider. "That's a pretty narrow window to make yourself better if you're not where you want to be," said Erik Jones , last week's winner of both the Bristol race and the Dash 4 Cash prize. "I think it's cool. I think it's a neat thing to do. I think the shorter races is something we as drivers enjoy. I think fans enjoy it as well. And just that dash to the finish running as hard as you can is pretty neat. "Bristol was a part of that -- tire wear at Bristol isn't that great so you can run pretty hard for the majority of the race and not have to worry about fall-off and really dash like that for the whole race. But, I think you'll see a lot of the same here at Richmond with an only 140-lap main as well." Roush Fenway Racing 's Ryan Reed said Friday that the shorter format placed a premium on executing a mistake-free race, for both driver and crew. But the 22-year-old also said that the sanctioning body could discover enhancements as the Dash 4 Cash system continues to evolve. "With 140 laps at Richmond, you're going to have no time to mess around," Reed said. "I think it's good. Everyone's talked about shortening races up, and I think this is a great way to do it without taking away from total laps. You're still running the same amount of miles in the weekend, but you're breaking it up. I'm a pretty big fan of it. I think that they'll continue to improve on it and learn from this year and then be able to apply more things to it." Last weekend's event at Bristol helped fuel discussion about potentially reducing the number of scheduled laps in the hopes of creating more intense racing -- not just on the XFINITY circuit but in all three NASCAR national series. JR Motorsports' Justin Allgaier , who was one of four eligible Dash 4 Cash drivers last weekend, said he saw some validity to that theory, but that he expected more to be learned as the four-race series unfolds. "Obviously as racers, we're competitive, we want to win races and we'll run as many laps as the sanctioning body or the fans will allow us to run. If you told us it was 1,000 laps, we'd go run it. But at the same time to keep our fans engaged and to keep us moving forward as a sport, is this the right philosophy? Did we do a good job? I think that as we get through these four races, we're going to see a lot clearer picture of it. But I definitely give kudos to NASCAR, to Comcast XFINITY , everybody here. There was a lot of give and take to make sure these came off well, and I think so far we've done a good job of that."