Annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event recognized Darrell and Michael Waltrip have been selected by the National Motorsports Press Association as the organization's Spirit Award recipient for the fourth quarter of 2014. The brothers were recognized for their annual Waltrip Brothers Charity Championship event, which raised $450,000 through an auction, dinner and golf tournament. The proceeds from the fifth annual event benefit several organizations including Motor Racing Outreach (a non-profit organization that ministers to the needs of families of those involved in NASCAR ), Feed the Children (a U.S.-based anti-hunger organization) and Tucker's House (an organization that seeks to improve the quality of life for children with disabilities that require modifications at home for safety, accessibility and therapy). Darrell Waltrip was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, won three premier series titles and 84 premier series races in his storied career. Michael Waltrip is a four-time winner in the sport's premier series with two victories in the Daytona 500 and is also the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, which fields two full-time cars in the Sprint Cup Series . Also receiving votes for the second quarter award were the Kyle Busch Foundation and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Joey Coulter . Lynda Petty, the late wife of seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Truex Jr . and longtime car owner Junie Donlavey, who passed away in June, have also won the quarterly award this year. An overall winner of the 2014 NMPA Spirit Award will be determined by the members of the NMPA and announced on January 25, 2015 at the association's annual convention in Concord, North Carolina. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the race of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Hall of Fame: Darrell Waltrip
Darrell Waltrip gives his take on what it takes to win at Bristol.
Waltrip is a three-time Cup Series champion, a winner of 84 races and continues his legacy in the broadcast booth.
Waltrip reflects on reaching the pinnacle of his career, his family, and his place in NASCAR history.
A stats-based look ahead to the 15th race of the Sprint Cup Series season DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA (June 8, 2015) -- Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan going into the Quicken Loans 400 on June 14 (FOX Sports 1 at 1 p.m. ET). MICHIGAN-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Safety-Kleen Ford) · Four wins, 10 top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Series-best Average Running Position of 8.9 · Series-best Driver Rating of 107.1 · 311 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · 1,427 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 179.050 mph, second-fastest · Series-high 3,265 Laps in the Top 15 (82.9%) · Series-high 920 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green) Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two wins, four top fives, nine top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 21.3 · Average Running Position of 14.9, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 89.9, 10th-best · 179 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · 2,518 Laps in the Top 15 (63.9%), eighth-most · 652 Quality Passes, 12th-most Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 AMP Energy Chevrolet) · Two wins, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.6 · Average Running Position of 12.5, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 98.0, fifth-best · 197 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 1,549 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.673 mph, fifth-fastest · 2,674 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), fifth-most · 831 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 ARRIS Toyota) · Two wins, nine top fives, 15 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 9.7 · Average Running Position of 11.4, second-best · Driver Rating of 100.5, fourth-best · 200 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 1,427 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.757 mph, third-fastest · 2,967 Laps in the Top 15 (75.3%), third-most · 861 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PANASONIC Chevrolet) · Three wins, 19 top fives, 27 top 10s; six poles · Average finish of 12.1 · Average Running Position of 13.5, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 93.6, seventh-best · 232 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · 2,546 Laps in the Top 15 (64.6%), seventh-most · 678 Quality Passes, ninth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser/Jimmy John's Chevrolet) · One win, seven top fives, 12 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.0 · Average Running Position of 14.3, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 90.2, ninth-best · 153 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 1,581 Green Flag Passes, second-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.365 mph, 10th-fastest · 2,161 Laps in the Top 15 (54.9%), 11th-most · 656 Quality Passes, 11th-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT Tools Chevrolet) · One win, five top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 15.9 · Average Running Position of 11.5, third-best · Driver Rating of 102.5, second-best · Series-high 411 Fastest Laps Run · 1,342 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 179.188 mph · 2,857 Laps in the Top 15 (72.5%), fourth-most · 766 Quality Passes, fifth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · One win, eight top fives, 10 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.9 · Driver Rating of 89.0, 12th-best · 178 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · 1,553 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.475 mph, seventh-fastest · 2,238 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), 10th-most · 751 Quality Passes, sixth-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Two wins, 12 top fives, 18 top 10s · Average finish of 10.7 · Average Running Position of 11.6, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 101.3, third-best · 164 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 1,334 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.752 mph, fourth-fastest · 2,989 Laps in the Top 15 (75.9%), second-most · 833 Quality Passes, third-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 · Average Running Position of 14.3, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 89.0, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.294 mph, 11th-fastest Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.9 · Average Running Position of 14.3, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 91.8, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.486 mph, sixth-fastest Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · One win, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s · Average finish of 11.7 · Average Running Position of 12.6, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 95.8, sixth-best · 104 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 178.377 mph, ninth-fastest · 2,610 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7%), sixth-most · 735 Quality Passes, seventh-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Michigan International Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 1 1 7 12 1 13.0 90.2 2 Martin Truex Jr . 18 0 0 3 5 1 18.0 79.1 3 Jimmie Johnson 26 0 1 5 11 3 15.9 102.5 4 Joey Logano 12 1 1 2 7 1 14.9 91.8 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 31 2 2 7 12 3 15.6 98.0 6 Brad Keselowski 11 0 0 3 4 0 14.8 89.0 7 Jamie McMurray 24 0 0 1 4 2 19.2 72.1 8 Kasey Kahne 22 2 1 8 10 3 15.9 89.0 9 Matt Kenseth 31 0 2 12 18 1 10.7 101.3 10 Jeff Gordon 44 6 3 19 27 6 12.1 93.6 11 Paul Menard 17 0 0 4 5 0 18.4 71.9 12 Kurt Busch 28 2 2 4 9 8 21.3 89.9 13 Denny Hamlin 18 0 2 5 8 2 15.3 88.2 14 Aric Almirola 6 0 0 0 0 0 20.5 72.2 15 Ryan Newman 27 1 2 5 7 2 17.1 77.6 16 Carl Edwards 21 1 2 9 15 0 9.7 100.5 * – Based on last 20 races at Michigan International Speedway . Michigan International Speedway Data Season Race #: 15 of 36 (06-14-15) Track Size : 2-miles Banking/Turn 1 & 2 : 18 degrees Banking/Turn 3 & 4 : 18 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 5 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 2 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,600 feet Backstretch Length : 2,242 feet Race Length : 200 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Michigan Greg Biffle ................................ 107.1 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 102.5 Matt Kenseth ............................. 101.3 Carl Edwards ............................ 100.5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . ....................... 98.0 Tony Stewart ............................... 95.8 Jeff Gordon ................................ 93.6 Joey Logano .............................. 91.8 Kevin Harvick .............................. 90.2 Kurt Busch .................................. 89.9 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Michigan International Speedway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 204.557 mph, 35.198 secs. 06-13-14 2014 race winner : Jimmie Johnson , Chevrolet 143.441 mph, (02:47:19), 06-15-14 Track qualifying record: Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 206.558 mph, 34.857 secs. 08-17-14 Track race record: Dale Jarrett, Ford 173.997 mph, (2:17:56), 06-13-99 At Michigan International Speedway : History · Michigan International Speedway sits on more than 1,400 acres in the "Irish Hills" of Southeastern Michigan. Ground-breaking took place on Sept. 28, 1967. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan was held June 15, 1969 – won by Cale Yarborough at a speed of 139.254 mph. · The track was known as Michigan Speedway during the time Roger Penske was the primary owner (1996-99). · The 2-mile speedway underwent a repave in 2012. Notebook · There have been 91 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan International Speedway since the first race there in 1969. Other than 1973, which had just one race, there have been two races each season since 1969. · The first race was 500 miles in length; the second was scheduled for 600. The track was re-measured to 2.04 miles for the last race in 1970 and both races in 1971 – with the race distance being 402 miles. All other races have been scheduled for 400 miles. · 373 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway ; 274 in more than one. · Bill Elliott leads the series in starts at Michigan with 61. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts. · Donnie Allison won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Michigan in 1969 with a speed of 160.135 mph. · 46 drivers have Coors Light poles at Michigan, led by David Pearson with 10. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with six. · Six drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Michigan. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Michigan with five; fall 1976 through 1978. · Youngest Michigan pole winner: Joey Logano (08/16/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 23 days). · Oldest Michigan pole winner: Mark Martin (08/19/2012 – 53 years, 7 months, 10 days). · 36 different NSCS drivers have won at Michigan International Speedway , led by David Pearson with nine wins; Greg Biffle leads all active drivers with four. · Eight drivers have posted consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway , including four consecutive by Bill Elliott (1985 sweep and 1986 sweep). · Youngest Michigan winner: Joey Logano (08/18/2013 – 23 years, 2 months, 25 days). · Oldest Michigan winner: Harry Gant (08/16/1992 – 52 years, 7 months, 6 days). · Roush Fenway Racing has the most wins at Michigan in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 13: Mark Martin (four), Greg Biffle (four), Carl Edwards (two), Matt Kenseth (two) and Kurt Busch (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Michigan; led by Ford with 34 victories; followed by Chevrolet with 22. Toyota has four wins at Michigan. · 18 of the 91 (19.7%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jeff Gordon last season. · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (18) than any other starting position at Michigan International Speedway . · 26 of the 91 (28.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from the front row: 18 from the pole and eight from second-place. · 69 of the 91 (75.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Michigan have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 91 (6.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Michigan is 32nd, by Mark Martin in the spring of 2009. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in runner-up finishes at Michigan with eight; followed by Darrell Waltrip with seven and Kevin Harvick with five. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough leads the series in top-five finishes at Michigan with 21; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 19. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Michigan with 31; followed by Bill Elliott with 29. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Michigan with a 9.615. · Carl Edwards leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Michigan with a 9.714. · All active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Michigan International Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Michigan in his third appearance, the fewest previous starts among the active NSCS winners. · Kevin Harvick competed at Michigan International Speedway 19 times before winning in the fall of 2010; the longest span of any the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Among the active NSCS Michigan winners Kevin Harvick (19), Dale Earnhardt Jr . (17) Kyle Busch (13), Jeff Gordon (11) and Joey Logano (10) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win. · Jamie McMurray leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Michigan without visiting Victory Lane at 24; followed by Casey Mears at 23. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway was the June 10, 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Ricky Rudd with a MOV of 0.085 second. · There have been two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Michigan International Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2011 (200/203); and fall of 2012 (200/201). · Four of the 91 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the event on 6/18/2006. · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway four times; most recently the spring of 2008 race. · One active driver has posted his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Michigan International Speedway : J.J. Yeley (6/17/2007). · Two active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver have posted their first career start at Michigan International Speedway : Carl Edwards (8/22/2004) and Landon Cassill (6/13/2010). · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Michigan with 1,058 laps led in 44 starts. · Four female drivers have competed at Michigan International Speedway
Take a look back at Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip battle for the victory in the 1989 running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
Emergency surgery kept FOX Sports broadcaster out of action for start of Speedweeks
See how the rookie meeting has evolved over the years RELATED: Labonte's crash still impacts rookies " Youngest, oldest rookie winners One by one, before the first engine has fired and the first car has hit the track, they gather in the NASCAR hauler parked inside the garage. It's a scene repeated every weekend when NASCAR rolls into town. Their levels of experience often differ quite a bit. There are champions and those with numerous starts in lower series seated alongside those with limited experience and much less success. Yet here everyone is treated the same. And everyone carries the same label -- rookie. • • • "A lot of stuff happens fast here," Richard Buck, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series managing director, tells the group that's gathered on a cool, damp Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway . Each driver has been given several sheets of paper showing diagrams that include the placement of timing and commitment lines, pit entrance and exit and the proper route to enter and exit pit road from the garage area. It's information that is track-specific. While the basic processes that take place during any given race weekend are relatively the same, there are certain details at each venue that those with limited experience need to know. Proper procedures are explained and advice is doled out. "Use your hand signals so you don't start to slow down and get all jammed up and have somebody's radiator in your backseat," Buck tells the drivers. Each week, a veteran driver will also attend the meetings to offer pointers and answer any questions a rookie driver might have. At Martinsville, 2004 premier series champion Kurt Busch was on hand. "Those of you that have made laps around here before, you know how quick it is," Busch said of the series' shortest venue. "It's an awkward track. There's no other place that really compares to this. So the thing you have to do is to get comfortable with the surroundings." Busch said he would often walk around tracks "even if I've been here before" to reinforce the information given during the meeting. "Have your spotters communicate to you where the holes are when you pull out ... your tires will be ice cold here ... they won't help you do much turning when you get into (Turns) 3 and 4 ... but if you're consciously making an effort to warm up your tires, somebody's going to be right on your bumper and it's going to be chaos," he said. Busch also urged them to take note of the commitment and blend lines at Martinsville. "It's the same Turn 2 line that's painted at Bristol," he said later. "But at Bristol, you have two pit roads (one on the frontstretch and one on the backstretch). It's the same line in the same place and it means two different things." Drivers' left-side tires must touch the blend line near Turn 2 at Martinsville before pulling up onto the track. A similar line at Bristol signifies the pit entrance on the backstretch -- touching any portion of it without proceeding onto pit road will result in a commitment line violation. "Now they'll go to Bristol (in two weeks)," Busch said, "and they need to remember." • • • So what constitutes a rookie in the eyes of NASCAR? In most cases, it's up to the discretion of the series director and is based on the individual's prior experience. Matt DiBenedetto , 23, made his first Sprint Cup Series start this year after running the bulk of the races (29 of 33) in the XFINITY Series last season. Brett Moffitt , 22, made seven Sprint Cup Series starts in 2014. Between 2009 and 2013 he made just one XFINITY Series start and two in the Camping World Truck Series. Both are among those competing for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in Sprint Cup , along with Jeb Burton , Tanner Berryhill and Alex Kennedy . To be eligible for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, a driver must attempt to qualify in at least eight of the first 20 points races. A 10-1 point system, separate from the NASCAR championship driver points format, is used for scoring rookies in each race. The highest finishing rookie receives 10 points, second highest receives nine, etc. Only the top 17 finishes by each driver count toward his or her points total at the end of the year. Bonus points are also awarded for attempts, finishing inside the top 10 and upon the completion of the final race of the season. A panel then grades each rookie on conduct with officials, conduct and awareness on the track, personal appearance and relationship with the media. Points awarded by the panel are then averaged and added to each driver's total, and the driver with the most points is the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award recipient. Jeb Burton is one of five rookies this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. • • • Of course, it wasn't always that way. In 1959, Darlington Raceway , in conjunction with sponsor Pure Oil (later to become Union 76), debuted the Darlington Record Club. Members were those that had qualified highest for each auto manufacturer during time trials for the annual Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . Special recognition went to those that established track records there as well. While NASCAR had been selecting a rookie of the year for nearly a decade -- Rocky Mount, North Carolina's Blackie Pitt was the first recipient in 1954 –- the Union 76/Darlington Record Club was eventually tasked with monitoring the progress of rookie drivers on the uniquely shaped, treacherous 1.366-mile track. What began as an effort between driver Glenn "Fireball" Roberts and NASCAR official John Bruner Sr., to observe new drivers eventually evolved into a panel of Record Club members whose job was to either pass or fail those drivers attempt to make their Southern 500 debuts. (It's worth noting that the club also played a crucial role in requiring all drivers to complete a physical examination before being allowed to compete at Darlington. Today, a physical examination is mandatory for all three national series prior to the start of each season.) Before the Record Club came into existence, "you just went down there and run," said NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR premier series champion and winner of the 1967 Southern 500. "(The Record Club) was good public relations. It gave those (rookies) something they had to do. Indianapolis (home of the Indianapolis 500) always had a rookie test you had to pass before you could go out and run. Well, we said if they can do it, we can do it, too. "Back then, (Darlington) was a one-groove track through (Turns) 3 and 4, which is now 1-2. We'd explain what you had to do to pass people or let people pass you. Then you just said, 'OK, now go out and run.' " To pass the test, drivers new to the series were required to run within a percentage of a pre-determined speed. "If we were running 130 mph," Petty said, "they would have to run 125 or something like that. Then they'd go out and run six or eight laps on the track by themselves." "It was a little easier to show up at Daytona with a car even though you may not have that much experience and get in the race," three-time series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip said. "But they really observed you. If you were somebody new that they didn't know and you showed up at the track, they'd have some drivers that would kind of see how you did, see if you could handle the track and the speed and all that. There was always somebody watching you, but Darlington was the only official test we took." The panel would make its recommendations to NASCAR, but it was up to Bruner, a former flagman who eventually became Chief Steward for the sanctioning body, to make the final call. Richard Petty, who won the Southern 500 in 1967, used to show rookies the ropes at the iconic track. • • • In 1976, the Record Club's competition panel began overseeing the rookie program. Nearly a decade later, one of racing's greatest figures found himself labeled a rookie, and was required to go through the orientation process. Far from being a rookie, Anthony Joseph Foyt, better known simply as A.J., already had seven NASCAR premier series wins to his credit including a victory in the 1972 Daytona 500 . But Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indy 500 as well, had never raced at Darlington. "I am going to Darlington as a bonafide rookie. I don't want anything waived," Foyt told the press prior to his debut. "Why should I be different than anybody else? I know a lot of guys would have too much pride and ego to take the rookie test, but I'm not that type of person." NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd was the president of the Record Club at that time. Among the members of the competition panel were fellow drivers Waltrip and Buddy Baker. "Buddy and I and I forget who else, we observed A.J. Foyt and we flunked him his first day," Waltrip said. "Well, we told him we flunked him. "I told Buddy, I said 'Go down there and tell A.J. that we're going to have to have a meeting about his test because I'm not sure he passed.' Buddy looked at me and said 'Do you think I'm crazy? You go down there and tell him.' " Foyt passed the test, eventually finishing 25th in his only Southern 500 start. • • • Ken Schrader , a four-time race winner in NASCAR's premier series, was in that same rookie class with Foyt in 1985. Schrader posted three top-10 finishes that year en route to winning the Rookie of the Year title, beating out Eddie Bierschwale and Don Hume. Twice he served as president of the Record Club. "Yeah, I got elected president one time, then got elected president another time because at the banquet in Darlington I sat in the back and drank with the wrong group," the fun-loving Schrader said. "I was sitting with, I think, Phil Holmer and T. Wayne (Robertson) and some Unocal folks." Holmer was a Goodyear representative while Robertson headed up series sponsor R.J. Reynolds sports marketing arm. "They threw my ass right in," Schrader said of his election. "My acceptance speed, I stood up and said 'This is (expletive)!' "But the rookie meetings were neat. We'd just go in there, talk about the do's and don'ts for the tracks. Some of it was repetitious obviously but then there was so much about each individual track and it was the first time that some of those guys went to those tracks. Because back then not everybody then came through the Truck or ( XFINITY ) Series. "Now, hell, you're a rookie at a race, you've been to how many places (already)? You've probably raced there in some other series. "So it's a little different now." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Catch up before the FedEx 400, 1 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 1) What: FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks . Where: Dover International Speedway , 1-mile oval in Dover, Del. When: Sunday, May 31; 1 pm ET TV/Radio: FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Distance: 400 miles Pit road speed: 35 mph Caution car speed: 45 mph Fuel window: 81 laps On the front row " Full starting lineup Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin earned his first pole position of the season and third career at Dover. The Martinsville (VA.) winner will start alongside the hometown favorite, Martin Truex Jr . It is the best start of the season for the New Jersey native Truex, who is the highest ranked driver without a win in 2015. He has good history at The Monster Mile, scoring his first career Cup victory here in 2007. Fastest in practice: Pole-winner Hamlin's No. 11 FedEx Toyota topped both of Saturday's practice sessions, turning in a best speed of 156.087 mph in final practice. His Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards was second fastest in each Saturday practice and JGR driver Matt Kenseth top-10 in both. Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson was fastest in Friday's practice and fifth quickest in both Saturday sessions. Last year's winner: Johnson won last year's race in relatively dominant fashion, leading a race best seven times for 272 laps. It was his second win in as many weeks and made him the all-time Dover race winner with nine victories. On the line: With nine winners in the first 12 races, the trend is for yet another to punch his ticket to the Chase. Truex has to be considered the favorite for this. He and Kevin Harvick lead the series with 11 top-10 efforts. Truex's No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevy has led the most laps in the last two points-races -- at Kansas and at Charlotte. He was runner-up at Las Vegas in March and has two fifth-place showings in the last three races and qualified second. History lesson: Even with six championship trophies and 73 wins, Johnson approaches another historical milestone this week that he is especially proud of. Should he collect his 10 th Dover win on Sunday, he would be only the fifth driver in NASCAR history to record double digit wins at a track. The last to do it was Dale Earnhardt (10) at Talladega. Johnson would join the esteemed company of Richard Petty who has double-digit wins at Daytona, Martinsville, North Wilkesboro, Richmond, and Rockingham, and Darrell Waltrip (Bristol, Martinsville, and North Wilkesboro) and David Pearson (Darlington). A Good Start: Outside polesitter Truex can take solace in an interesting Dover statistic. The second starting position has produced more winners in this race than any other starting position. Front row drivers have won 31 percent of all the races. Nearly 80 percent of Dover race winners started from the top 10 positions on the grid. Return to Glory: Three-time Cup champ Tony Stewart 's last victory came in this race two years ago. Smoke has a good record at The Monster Mile with three wins and 17 top-10s in 31 starts. And, although his No. 14 Code 3 Associates/Mobil 1 Chevy will be starting from the 26 th position, Stewart holds a distinguished mark. Only five times in 90 Dover Cup races has the winner started from outside the top-20. Stewart was the last to do it – winning from 22 nd place on the grid. Kyle Petty won the 1995 spring Dover race starting 37 th . They said it: " It's hard to say one aspect that I enjoy the most [about the Dover track], but just the set of corners from straightaway to straightaway, you kind of work up your bravery. You make it through the corner, you get on the next straightaway and you smile, 'like wow, that was pretty cool, I’m going to do it again here, here we go.' And you fly through [turns] two and three and you just end up wit that mindset around the racetrack. It's a ton of fun." – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet) FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule