For Buck, a life of racing, a life of learning
RACE INFO: Starting lineup " Race-day rundown AVONDALE, Ariz. -- The Buck stops here. Here being the nondescript, out- of -the-way Mexican eatery Raul and Theresa's located just a few minutes up the road from Phoenix Raceway. And Buck being Richard Buck, Phoenix native and managing director of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. It's a roadside stop that caters to the denizens of the area, although on any given race weekend, race fans and crew men from various teams fill the dining rooms. Buck rides the fence on this one as a former resident who now is deeply entrenched in the world of NASCAR. Sunday brings the Camping World 500 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) back to the 1-mile track and NASCAR's return has brought Buck back to his old stomping grounds. The 55-year-old grew up north of the city, but his first memories of racing came from another area institution -- Manzanita Speedway, located slightly southwest of Phoenix proper, just across the Salt River. "My dad worked at Motorola," Buck said. "One of the guys he worked with raced sprint cars. One night we went out to watch him at Manzanita Speedway. I don't remember how old I was. I was still in diapers; I was young." The friend, local standout and Arizona Hall of Fame member Will Schmink, won the trophy dash for the race and the victory resulted in a trip to the winner's circle for the toddler. "I remember going down through the mud and everything else, them setting me in the seat of the car in the Winner's Circle," Buck said. "And them telling me about the exhaust pipe, that it was hot, and me hanging on the steering wheel and that's when I was hooked." • • •
This Ryan Newman/Kyle Larson photo -- best pic of all time? We think so
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove " Newman takes Phoenix After Ryan Newman held off a hard-charging Kyle Larson at Phoenix Raceway to snap a 127-race winless drought on Sunday, a photo of the two began circulating on Twitter after the race -- a photo that is nearly two decades old. LOL I stold this off twitter. "Your 1-2 finish today". #ImBad . pic.twitter.com/MrOfgrTFtE — Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) March 20, 2017 When we saw this, our faces matched that of (a really, especially) young Larson, who was a mere 7 years old when the photo was snapped in October 1999. At least Newman was of legal drinking age at just shy of 22, but Larson, man. We can't get over the fact that the skinny kid on the right, missing his two front teeth, was battling the guy on the left for a win in 2017 -- the third consecutive week he's finished second. While Larson finished runner-up for the third consecutive race, we all came away winners after this photo popped up in our timelines. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;<span _rtetemp="spchk" style="background-color: #ffffaa;" _rtespchksugg="Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t">am</span>p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
All of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: Relive Junior's wins
Age nothing but a number: Larson's year full of feats
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Kyle Larson exited the Phoenix Raceway weekend, the fourth event in the season's 36-race circuit, as the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series standings leader for the first time in his young career. At just 24 years old, Larson is the sixth-youngest points leader in the sport's history.
Nos. 2, 4 teams penalized after violations at Phoenix
RELATED: Details on NASCAR's deterrence system NASCAR levied L1-level penalties against the No. 2 car of Team Penske and the No. 4 car of Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Wednesday following Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway. The violation for the No. 2 car is detailed in sections 22.214.171.124.2 of the NASCAR Rule Book (post-race general inspection measurements), and driver Brad Keselowski's fifth-place finish in the Camping World 500 is encumbered, per section 12.10 of the NASCAR Rule Book. Meanwhile, the violation for the No. 4 car is detailed in sections 126.96.36.199 I-4 of the NASCAR Rule Book (track bar mount and supports) and driver Kevin Harvick's sixth-place finish at Phoenix is encumbered. As a result of the violation, No. 2 crew chief Paul Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended from the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races. The team was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and 35 owner points. Brian Wilson will serve as the No. 2 team's crew chief this weekend at Auto Club Speedway while the team "evaluates our approach relative to today's penalties," Team Penske said in a statement. Appearing on a Wednesday night edition of FS1's "NASCAR Race Hub," Keselowski discussed the impact of not having Wolfe atop the pit box and his history with Wilson. "Well, first off, my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is an elite crew chief, and I feel really lucky to have him, " Keselowski told the program. "...To lose a guy like that, it definitely hurts. He's a great asset to our team, but this is one of those setbacks that I think every team faces and we're just going to have to get through it. It looks like it’s going to be a handful of races and we’ll do the best we can during that time. "The good thing about Brian Wilson is he comes from the XFINITY side as a crew chief who just won with Joey Logano at Las Vegas. But even before that, he was on the 2 team as the lead engineer, so a lot of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working together with him." The No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $25,000 and suspended from the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points race. The team was assessed with the loss of 10 driver and 10 team owner points. On Thursday morning, Stewart-Haas Racing officials said that the organization "has officially requested an appeal hearing regarding the penalties ... and have also requested a deferral of the penalties until the appeal process is complete." The appeal request means that Childers will be allowed to participate in this weekend's race activities at Auto Club. Team Penske also has the option to file an appeal to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. As of Thursday morning, the team was still evaluating its options. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;g
NASCAR announces race package for XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Indianapolis Teams competing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway later this year will do so with a race package that incorporates three major modifications aimed at one goal -- improved competition at the legendary 2.5-mile speedway. Designed specifically for the 100-lap race scheduled for July 22, the modifications consist of a taller rear spoiler and splitter package; aero ducts on the lower front bumper area; and a 7/8th-inch restrictor plate currently used for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The static ride height of the cars will remain at 4 inches, which is unchanged from the current 2017 rules package. The Indy package was crafted after much in-house simulation and development and then field-tested on Oct. 12 at IMS for verification. XFINITY Series teams from Richard Childress Racing, Roush Fenway Racing and Kaulig Racing participated in the test. "We (develop) the analytical package and come to some conclusions," Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR Senior Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development, told NASCAR.com. "But then we also need to go on the track and verify this. So this approach has been a two-step approach, analytical creation of the package and then on-track verification. "We race at 29 tracks (across all three national series) and they're all very special," Stefanyshyn added. "Indianapolis has a long history; it's a wonderful track. Our objective is to give our fans the best possible show we can. We are very proud of being able to participate at Indy; we want to put our best foot forward. We believe we have come up with a package that gives us the best opportunity to do that." MORE: IMS announces updated race weekend schedule Stefanyshyn said officials had teams run various packages during the test. While the use of the restrictor plates enabled the cars to run closer together, the ability to pull out and pass remained difficult. "We saw the cars were closer together, but we weren't able to create some passing until we introduced the aero ducts," he said. "That's the main purpose of the ducts, to give the trailing car more of an advantage … we always hear about clean air and how the leader has clean air. Our objective here is to try to give the trail car more benefit." Without the aero ducts, cars running down long straightaways such as those at IMS hit a wall of air, which creates "a significant horsepower deficit" when they get within approximately one car-length of the lead car, Stefanyshyn said. The aero ducts direct air in through the existing brake ducts and out through the wheelhouse on each side. The high speed air flowing out creates a larger hole or "envelope" for the trailing car. Use of the aero ducts should increase the amount of horsepower differential for the trailing car by approximately 25 percent. "We're giving the driver more momentum from four-five car lengths back, gaining coming into within half a car length; when he gets right into that bubble, he's still got to cross through it, but he's carrying momentum and he can break through it," Stefanyshyn said. Stefanyshyn said incorporation of the package isn't "a slam dunk," but studies and testing have thus far validated the changes. "Our belief is that we will create a situation where they can pass on the straightaways," he said. "That's been done analytically, it's been done with three cars. The question is when we turn 40 cars loose on the track can that still manifest itself and that's still what we’re hoping will happen." Speeds likely won't vary greatly with the new package, and the use of restrictor plates isn't expected to generate the big packs of traffic on the track similar to what typically is seen at Daytona and Talladega. Stefanyshyn said it's more likely that there will be several groups of five or six cars each, "and in each of those groupings we're hoping to see passing on the straightaways." The XFINITY Series has competed at IMS since 2012, and the lack of passing on the big, flat track has been a concern for NASCAR and speedway officials. Kyle Busch (Joe Gibbs Racing) led more than half the laps in winning the last two XFINITY Series races at Indy and he led 92 of 100 when he won the race in 2013. Dale Earnhardt Jr. addressed the racing package this week during his weekly Dale Jr. Download podcast. Earnhardt Jr. competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports. He is also co-owner of JR Motorsports, which fields four full-time teams in the XFINITY Series. "I'm curious to see (the changes)," he said. "I think NASCAR sees this as an idea on how fix racing in general at Indianapolis." According to NASCAR officials, there currently are no plans in place to utilize the package at any other venue or in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
'Glass Case of Emotion' covers Vegas tempers, Twitter haters
Warning: This podcast contains strong language and mature content. Ryan Blaney joins Kim Coon and Chuck Bush for the third edition of the "Glass Case of Emotion" podcast on NASCAR.com. In this episode, the crew talks about the Busch brothers each losing their cool at Las Vegas and Blaney calling out haters via Twitter.
NASCAR checks in to Hotels for Hope
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR announced today a multi-year partnership with Hotels for Hope designating the company as the "Official Hotel Booking Partner of NASCAR®." Hotels for Hope, a hotel inventory brokerage with a philanthropic business model, services large scale consumer events across the country and will now include NASCAR race weekends. As part of the partnership, a landing page on NASCAR.com ( www.nascar.com/hotels ) launches today, allowing the industry and fans to book hotels for upcoming race weekends through its "Raceday Hotels by Hotels for Hope™" platform. For each actualized room night booked through Hotels for Hope, one dollar will be donated to The NASCAR Foundation. "There's really nothing like attending a NASCAR race and partnering with Hotels for Hope will provide our fans with a convenient and streamlined process to book travel," said Chad Seigler, NASCAR vice president of business development. "Hotels for Hope drives awareness and funds for notable charitable organizations and we are proud that The NASCAR Foundation will be represented among them." Hotels for Hope's database of over 600,000 hotel partners are utilized across a wide variety of events including music festivals, food and wine festivals, business conferences, trade shows, and more. With custom branded solutions and room block management, Hotels for Hope's technology will fulfill the hotel accommodations for any type of event. "Hotels for Hope's industry leading technology uses hotel reservations as a vehicle to raise awareness and support nonprofit partners, including The NASCAR Foundation," said Neil Goldman, Hotels for Hope CEO and founder. "Servicing NASCAR.com and the fans allows us to reach a larger audience, and to drive more bookings with meaning through this sport." Similar to The NASCAR Foundation, Hotels for Hope's mission is to improve the lives of children worldwide. All the nonprofits on its preferred list work to help children live happier and healthier lives. The NASCAR Foundation is committed to making children's health and medical needs a top priority. "The NASCAR Foundation is rooted in improving the life and health of children," said Nichole Kreiger, The NASCAR Foundation acting executive director. "We are thrilled to be working with an Official Partner that has the same commitment, and look forward to making an impact together." Through the Speediatrics Children's Fund, the Foundation supports needs for hospitals, clinics, and other organizations providing children's medical care. Since its inception, more than one million children in need have been aided. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season will continue with the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Furniture Row No. 77 hauler damaged in accident
Two Furniture Row Racing hauler drivers were uninjured after the No. 77 team's transporter was involved in a hit-and-run highway crash early Thursday morning. The No. 77 hauler was damaged on Interstate 15 on the way to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, site of this weekend's NASCAR races for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and XFINITY Series. Driver Travis Watts and co-driver David Shano escaped injury. According to the Denver, Colorado-based team, a car pulled off to the road's shoulder then back onto the interstate directly in the hauler's path. There was no damage reported to the trailer, race cars and equipment, but the team has rented a replacement truck to complete the trip to the 2-mile California track. "We're all very relieved no one was injured in the incident," team president Joe Garone said in a release provided by the team. "There was substantial damage to the tractor but everything in the trailer was checked out thoroughly and is OK. We've rented a tractor and the No. 77 hauler is on schedule to arrive at Auto Club Speedway later today." The car and its two occupants left the scene of the accident, approximately 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Both were later located and arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol. Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones is in his first year driving the No. 77 Toyota for Furniture Row. He sits 18th in the series standings ahead of Sunday's Auto Club 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), the fifth race of the season.
Does Going Green Bring A Pot of Gold?
Some of the biggest drivers in NASCAR history were superstitious of the color green, while others saw success with the sprouting color. NASCAR.com takes a look at the history of the leafy shade in racing this St. Patrick’s Day.
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