Restrictor plate tracks return to single-car qualifying starting this weekend Related: Biffle tops final practice " Stenhouse fastest in first practice TALLADEGA, Ala. – Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick said, “it just didn’t work.” Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Danica Patrick likened it to the TV show “Survivor.” The shelf life of group qualifying on restrictor plate tracks has expired. Tradition, some would say sanity, has returned. When NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series teams hit the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway for qualifying Saturday, fans won’t see packs of cars jostling for position, trailing cars laying back trying to catch the air and possibly ride the draft to a front-row starting spot. They also won’t see multi-car crashes similar to the one that unfolded at Daytona when the format was put into play for this year’s season-opening race. Instead, teams will go it solo with one driver’s qualifying attempt coming to a close as the next begins. “I feel really good about what it has evolved into,” Harvick said Friday at Talladega, site of Sunday’s GEICO 500 (FOX, 1 p.m. ET). “I think all the competitors feel that way. We were tearing up a lot of cars in qualifying.” According to NASCAR officials, each driver will complete three laps – the first to get up to speed, the second which will be the official qualifying lap, and a third as he or she returns to pit road. Approximately halfway through the qualifying lap, the next driver in line will head out for his or her attempt. The qualifying order in each series will be based on a random draw for the first of two rounds. In the final round, the order will be based on first-round times, from slowest to fastest. Each session is expected to take less than one hour to complete. Patrick’s only pole in the Sprint Cup Series came in the Daytona 500 two years ago, under the single-car qualifying format. “It just was, I feel, like a very unnecessary stress for everybody,” Patrick said of the group qualifying format at Daytona and Talladega. “The amount of conversations and meeting with drivers … I felt like I was on ‘Survivor’ … trying to make alliances and finding out the best thing to do was not have any and just be the one that tags onto the group. Because nobody really cared if it was just one car. “But when a group of five saw you, you’re like ‘oh, I can’t have all five of those going faster.’” The speed and closing rate of a car, or cars, catching a group in front often meant the pole winner wasn’t the first to cross the line. Friday’s two practice sessions saw plenty of pack drafting but no significant contact. Roush Fenway Ford driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr . ( 200 .780 mph) led the opening practice while teammate Greg Biffle (197.929 mph) topped the leaderboard in the second. Biffle, who has one restrictor plate pole and one win, says he’s pleased with the change to the qualifying format “because it’s the speed of the car.” “It’s not who got the lucky lane or who got a draft or who laid back so far and got sucked up on a big run,” Biffle, 45, said. “… I feel (this is) the right way to do it.” Group qualifying will continue to be used to set the starting lineup at tracks other than Talladega and Daytona. Such a format works well at those shorter tracks, Harvick said. “I think there have been a lot of things that have changed, but … our qualifying change has been week-in and week-out probably one of the better changes that we have had in our sport in a while. “I think when you look a the adjustment and the time everybody has put in, I hope it evolves into that … this weekend as well.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See who will be in the 22nd and final NCWTS race of the 2014 season Entry # Driver Owner Crew chief Manufacturer Sponsor 1 0 Caleb Roark Kenneth Grimes Michael Stewart 14 Chevrolet Grimes Irrigation & Construction 2 02 Tyler Young Randy Young Bryan Berry 14 Chevrolet Randco/Young's Building Systems 3 05 John Wes Townley Tony Townley Michael Shelton 14 Toyota Zaxby's 4 6 Norm Benning Norm Benning Kevin Dargie 14 Chevrolet TBA 5 07 Todd Peck Ken Smith Doug Weddle 14 Chevrolet TBA 6 8 Joe Nemechek Sidney Mauldin Jerry Babb 14 Toyota swmtx.com 7 08 Ray Black Jr Bobby Dotter Jason Miller 14 Chevrolet ScubaLife / NASE WorldWide 8 9 Brennan Newberry Joe Denette Ryan McKinney 14 Chevrolet Qore-24 9 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Jennifer Jo Cobb Steve Kuykendall 14 Chevrolet Oohrah! Hydration Drink 10 13 Jeb Burton Duke Thorson Jeriod Prince 14 Toyota Estes-Carolina Nut Company 11 115 Mason Mingus Billy Boat Ben Leslie 14 Chevrolet Call 811 Before You Dig 12 17 Timothy Peters Tom Deloach Marcus Richmond II 14 Toyota Red Horse Racing 13 19 Tyler Reddick Brad Keselowski Doug Randolph 14 Ford DrawTite 14 20 TBA Bob Newberry Chris Rice 14 Chevrolet Qore-24 15 21 Joey Coulter Maurice Gallagher Jr Jeff Stankiewicz 14 Chevrolet Allegiant Travel 16 23 Spencer Gallagher Maurice Gallagher Jr Harold Holly 14 Chevrolet Allegiant Travel 17 29 Ryan Blaney Brad Keselowski Chad Kendrick 14 Ford Cooper Standard 18 31 Ben Kennedy Steve Turner Doug George 14 Chevrolet Heater.com 19 32 Tayler Malsam Harry Scott Jr Shannon Rursch 14 Chevrolet Outerwall 20 35 Ross Chastain Kevin Cywinski Mark Rette 14 Toyota TBA 21 136 Blake Koch(i) Beverly Mittler Michael Mittler 14 RAM Mittler Bros Machine & Tool/LG Seeds/Ski Soda 22 40 Todd Peck Michael Peck Keith Wolfe 14 Chevrolet Horizon Pharma/Arthritis Foundation 23 242 Kyle Larson(i) Steve Turner Mike Hillman Jr 14 Chevrolet ParkerStore 24 245 Matt Tifft B J McLeod Trip Bruce III 14 Chevrolet TBA 25 50 T J Bell Mark Beaver Tim Sliva 14 Chevrolet Dedicated to the Electrical Lineman 26 51 Kyle Busch(i) Kyle Busch Eric Phillips 14 Toyota ToyotaCare 27 54 Darrell Wallace Jr Kyle Busch Jerry Baxter 14 Toyota ToyotaCare 28 159 Kyle Martel William Martel William Martel 13 Chevrolet TBA 29 63 Justin Jennings Michael Mittler Michael Mittler 14 Chevrolet Mittler Bros Machine & Tool/LG Seeds/Ski Soda 30 77 German Quiroga Tom Deloach Butch Hylton 14 Toyota OtterBox 31 88 Matt Crafton Rhonda Thorson Carl Joiner 14 Toyota Jeld-Wen/Menards 32 92 Austin Hill Ricky Benton Michael Hester 14 Ford Goodyear Fleet HQ / Wynns / ARCO / A&D Welders 33 98 Johnny Sauter Mike Curb Jeff Hensley 14 Toyota Nextant/Curb Records 34 99 Bryan Silas Chris Baluch Cal Boprey 14 Chevrolet TBA MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
A look ahead to the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 18, 2014) – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina going into the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24 (6 p.m. ET on FOX). CHARLOTTE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ortho Ford ) · Five top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 17.3 · Average Running Position of 15.3, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 88.7, eighth-best · 303 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.378 mph, ninth-fastest · 3,918 Laps in the Top 15 (54.6%), ninth-most · 700 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), ninth-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · One win, six top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 19.4 · Driver Rating of 84.4, 12th-best · 216 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most · 3,833 Laps in the Top 15 (53.4%), 10th-most Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota) · 10 top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.1 · Average Running Position of 9.8, second-best · Driver Rating of 106.7, second-best · 478 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 177.219 mph, second-fastest · 5,624 Laps in the Top 15 (78.4%), second-most · 1,007 Quality Passes, second-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 Subway Toyota) · Six top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 11.3 · Average Running Position of 14.6, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 89.6, seventh-best · 1,671 Green Flag Passes, second-most · 4,450 Laps in the Top 15 (62.0%), seventh-most · 848 Quality Passes, fifth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Five wins, 17 top fives, 24 top 10s; nine poles · Average finish of 15.5 · Average Running Position of 14.2, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 91.6, sixth-best · 280 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.644 mph, third-fastest · 4,562 Laps in the Top 15 (63.6%), sixth-most · 826 Quality Passes, sixth-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota) · Four top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.5 · Average Running Position of 12.6, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 92.8, fifth-best · 239 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.433 mph, sixth-fastest · 4,837 Laps in the Top 15 (71.4%), third-most · 791 Quality Passes, seventh-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Budweiser / Jimmy John’s Chevrolet) · Three wins, five top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 15.8 · Average Running Position of 16.4, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.7, 11th-best · 214 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most · 1,609 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · 4,254 Laps in the Top 15 (59.3%), eighth-most · 743 Quality Passes, eighth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Patriotic Chevrolet) · Seven wins, 13 top fives, 17 top 10s; four poles · Average finish of 11.4 · Series-best Average Running Position of 7.6 · Series-best Driver Rating of 111.6 · Series-high 688 Fastest Laps Run · 1,444 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 177.298 mph · Series-high 6,277 Laps in the Top 15 (87.5%) · Series-high 1,031 Quality Passes Kasey Kahne (No. 5 LIFTMASTER Chevrolet) · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 11.5 · Average Running Position of 11.8, third-best · Driver Rating of 100.8, third-best · 667 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · 1,642 Green Flag Passes, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.601 mph, fourth-fastest · 4,725 Laps in the Top 15 (65.9%), fourth-most · 874 Quality Passes, third-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 D E WALT Toyota) · Two wins, nine top fives, 16 top 10s · Average finish of 13.6 · Average Running Position of 13.8, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 95.5, fourth-best · 379 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · 1,531 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.531 mph, fifth-fastest · 4,680 Laps in the Top 15 (65.2%), fifth-most · 854 Quality Passes, fourth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford ) · One win, two top fives, three top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.7 · Average Running Position of 14.6, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 86.5, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.408 mph, eighth-fastest Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford ) · Four top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 10.0 · Average Running Position of 14.0, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 88.4, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 176.344 mph, 11th-fastest The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Charlotte Motor Speedway Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 28 0 3 5 11 1 15.8 84.7 2 Martin Truex Jr . 19 0 0 0 4 0 18.5 77.0 3 Jimmie Johnson 27 4 7 13 17 4 11.4 111.6 4 Joey Logano 12 0 0 4 7 0 10.0 88.4 5 Dale Earnhardt Jr . 30 1 0 5 11 4 19.4 81.1 6 Brad Keselowski 11 1 1 2 3 1 15.7 86.5 7 Matt Kenseth 31 0 2 9 16 5 13.6 95.5 8 Jamie McMurray 25 0 2 7 10 3 16.6 80.0 9 Jeff Gordon 44 9 5 17 24 10 15.5 91.6 10 Kasey Kahne 22 0 4 9 13 1 11.5 100.8 11 Aric Almirola 6 1 0 0 0 1 19.5 74.3 12 Paul Menard 16 0 0 0 2 2 22.9 66.1 13 Ryan Newman 28 9 0 4 11 5 18.5 79.0 14 Kurt Busch 29 0 1 6 7 4 19.4 84.4 15 Denny Hamlin 19 1 0 4 11 1 13.5 92.8 16 Clint Bowyer 18 0 1 2 5 1 17.1 82.0 * – Based on last 19 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Charlotte Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 12 of 36 (05-24-15) Track Size : 1.5-miles Banking/Turns 1 & 2 : 24 degrees Banking/Turns 3 & 4 : 24 degrees Banking/Frontstretch : 5 degrees Banking/Backstretch : 5 degrees Frontstretch Length : 1,980 feet Backstretch Length : 1,500 feet Race Length : 400 laps / 600 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte Jimmie Johnson ........................ 111.6 Kyle Busch ............................... 106.7 Kasey Kahne ............................. 100.8 Matt Kenseth .............................. 95.5 Denny Hamlin ............................. 92.8 Jeff Gordon ................................ 91.6 Carl Edwards .............................. 89.6 Greg Biffle .................................. 88.7 Joey Logano .............................. 88.4 Brad Keselowski ......................... 86.5 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (19 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Jimmie Johnson , Chevrolet 194.911 mph, 27.705 secs. 05-22-14 2014 race winner : Jimmie Johnson , Chevrolet 145.484 mph, (04:07:27), 05-25-14 Track qualifying record: Kurt Busch , Chevrolet 198.771 mph, 27.167 secs. 10-09-14 Track race (600 miles) record: Kasey Kahne , Chevrolet 155.687 mph, (03:51:14), 05-27-12 At Charlotte Motor Speedway : History · Construction began on Charlotte Motor Speedway (CMS) in 1959. · The track’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on June 19, 1960 – won by Joe Lee Johnson . · The track was repaved midseason in 1994. · The track name changed from Charlotte Motor Speedway to Lowe’s Motor Speedway in 1999. It changed back to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2010 season. · The track was re-paved again before the 2006 season. Notebook · There have been 112 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races at Charlotte Motor Speedway , two races per year since the track opened in 1960. In 1961, there were two 100-mile qualifying points races held the week before the May race. The first six fall races at Charlotte were 400-mile events (1960-65). · 527 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points paying race at Charlotte Motor Speedway ; 378 in more than one. 441 drivers have competed in the Coca-Cola 600 ; 287 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty leads the series in starts at Charlotte with 64. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 44 starts; followed by Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart with 31. Richard Petty and Bill Elliott have made the most Coca-Cola 600 starts with 31 each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in 600 starts with 22. · Fireball Roberts won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Charlotte Motor Speedway (World 600) in 1960 with a speed of 133.904 mph. · 42 drivers have Coors Light poles at Charlotte, led by David Pearson with 14. Ryan Newman and Jeff Gordon lead all active drivers in poles at CMS with nine. · David Pearson and Ryan Newman are tied for the series most Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup Coors Light poles with six each; followed by Jeff Gordon with five. · 12 drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Charlotte. David Pearson holds the record for most consecutive poles at Charlotte with 11; from the fall of 1973 through 1978. · Jeff Gordon won five straight Coca-Cola 600 poles at Charlotte between 1994 and 1998. · Youngest Charlotte pole winner: Jeff Gordon (10/10/1993 – 22 years, 2 months, 6 days). · Oldest Charlotte pole winner: Bobby Allison (10/11/1987 – 49 years, 10 months, 8 days). · 45 different drivers have won at Charlotte Motor Speedway , led by Jimmie Johnson with seven wins including four Coca-Cola 600 wins - 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2014. · 30 different drivers have won the Coca-Cola 600 , led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with five; Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers with four; followed by teammates Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne with three each. · Nine drivers have posted consecutive wins at Charlotte Motor Speedway , including three consecutive by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen (fall 1964 and both 1965) and four straight by Jimmie Johnson (2004 and 2005 sweeps). · A season sweep at Charlotte has occurred eight times, including each season from 2004-2007. · Seven times from seven different drivers has the winner of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway : Darrell Waltrip (1985), Davey Allison (1991), Dale Earnhardt (1993), Jeff Gordon (1997), Jimmie Johnson (2003), Kasey Kahne (2008) and Kurt Busch (2010). · Youngest Charlotte winner: Jeff Gordon (05/29/1994 – 22 years, 9 months, 25 days). · Oldest Charlotte winner: Cale Yarborough (10/06/1985 – 46 years, 6 months, 9 days). · Hendrick Motorsports has the most wins at Charlotte in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with 18: Jimmie Johnson (seven), Jeff Gordon (five), Darrell Waltrip (two), Ken Schrader (one), Terry Labonte (one), Casey Mears (one) and Kasey Kahne (one). · Eight different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Charlotte; led by Chevrolet with 43 victories; followed by Ford with 29. Chevrolet also has the most Coca-Cola 600 wins at 23. · 15 of the 112 (13.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Jimmie Johnson in 2014 ( Coca-Cola 600 ). · The second-place starting position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (17) than any other starting position at Charlotte Motor Speedway . · 32 of the 112 (28.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from the front row: 15 from the pole and 17 from second-place. · 85 of the 112 (75.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Charlotte have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Nine of the 112 (8.0%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Charlotte have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Charlotte is 37th, by Jimmie Johnson in the Coca-Cola 600 of 2003. · Richard Petty leads the series in runner-up finishes at Charlotte with nine. Jeff Gordon , Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers with three. · Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth lead all active drivers in runner-up finishes in the Coca-Cola 600 with two. · NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty and Bobby Allison are tied for the series most top-five finishes at Charlotte with 23. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 17. Richard Petty leads the series in top fives in the Coca-Cola 600 with 12; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Charlotte with 31. Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 24. Darrell Waltrip, Ricky Rudd and David Pearson lead the series in top 10s in the Coca-Cola 600 with 15 each; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 12. · Jimmie Johnson leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Charlotte with a 7.630. · Joey Logano leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Charlotte with a 10.000. Carl Edwards leads all active drivers in average finish in the Coca-Cola 600 with a 9.000. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Charlotte without visiting Victory Lane at 30; followed by Ryan Newman with 28. · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the May 29, 2005 race won by Jimmie Johnson over Bobby Labonte with a MOV of 0.027 second. · There have been three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway , but only once for the Coca-Cola 600 (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): fall of 2005 (334/336), fall of 2007 (334/337) and the 2011 Coca-Cola 600 (400/402). · Five of the 112 races at Charlotte Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions; the most recent was the 2009 Coca-Cola 600 won by David Reutimann and Michael Waltrip Racing . Four of the five races shortened were the 600-mile events (1968, 1997, 2003 and 2009). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway twice; the fall race of 200
Driver actively involved with military causes; will adorn truck at Charlotte Brad Keselowski couldn't have imagined a trip in 2008 to Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, California, would still be affecting his life today. But then again, the young driver couldn't have predicted what he would hear, see or experience in that hospital either. "I went through there in the hospital and it damn near made me cry walking past all these other guys," Keselowski recalled. "At the time, I was 23. There were guys that looked like they weren't going to make it and they were my age. "I think that rattles you pretty hard, at least it did me." Less than a year later, another experience with a close friend left Keselowski shaken once more, but a bit more certain of his eventual calling. "I had a friend, a close friend, who I remember spending New Year's with in 2009," Keselowski said. "He got deployed two weeks later, was in the Middle East … and he got blown up within the first month or two. He came back and when I saw him, that's when I knew. "All these things, it felt like kind of karma or the universe was pushing me this direction. I'd say that's what got me to where I am. Once I started the events and spent time with these people, I could relate to them so well." With a nudge from the universe, Keselowski launched the Checkered Flag Foundation in 2010 -- a 501(c)(3) organization that helps support military personnel and hosts various events to raise funds and awareness. • • • His foundation was the reason Keselowski was standing in the middle of the upscale David Yurman jewelry store at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Tuesday night. Proceeds from the store's sales that evening benefited Charlotte Bridge Home, a local foundation that supports veterans and helps former military personnel ease the transition between service and their return home. "Tonight's event is about, one, having fun; two, raising attention; and three, helping to raise funds in the process for Charlotte Bridge foundation, which is a foundation that's dedicated in a very similar fashion (to the Checkered Flag Foundation) to help servicemen, servicewomen here locally in Charlotte … trying to find a home, trying to get back on their feet," Keselowski said, addressing the group on Tuesday night. "It's a cause that we're near and dear to as well, and we're glad and proud to help support them." The night's guests included foundation members, friends, NASCAR personnel and several veterans. One of the attendees was Charlotte Bridge Home's Veteran Outreach Specialist Tommy Rieman, a Silver Star and Purple Heart recipient who Keselowski refers to as a "general badass." "The way (Keselowski) sets himself up above the other drivers by coming out and doing things like this, showing that he cares for veterans, he leads by example," said Rieman, whose military service was recognized by President George W. Bush during the 2007 State of the Union Address. "So every veteran appreciates him … You've just got to love a guy who puts on a NASCAR event at a fine jewelry store." Rieman met Keselowski during one of the ride-alongs that the driver often gave to military personnel in the Checkered Flag Foundation's infancy. Surrounded by spotless glass cases filled with sparkling gems, the pair engaged in a lengthy conversation on Tuesday as the night was winding down. Staying past the event's scheduled hours while working the room, Keselowski seemed to know a little about each of the foundation's members. "He's a veteran who was in the Vietnam Era," Keselowski said, pointing out the organization's founder Thomas Norman with whom he had just exchanged goodbyes. "He was (U.S. Army) Special Forces and for some reason, he got ranked up so quickly they wouldn't send him over because he was too important ... Feels like to me that there's some kind of feeling that maybe he needs to do something back. So he's done all kinds of different things. He started this (foundation) here I would say four years ago -- a lot of growth, right?" With the fame, fortune and stature that arrives with being a professional athlete, Keselowski shares a similar feeling of wanting to give back. "Sports in general is very decadent, it always has been," Keselowski said. "There's something to be said for that, as an escape. But those that live in the escape, I always feel like, maybe have a greater responsibility to do something outside of it. "I sit back and look at the Tom Brady situation from this weekend and how much noise that makes in the media landscape. Then you think of so many other significant things going on the world right now that get zero recognition. So in that sense, I feel like those of us that are fortunate enough to get that recognition -- for good or bad -- always have to spread it to other areas." This weekend, Keselowski's No. 29 Ford in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series featured Careers for Veterans on the hood in Friday night's NC Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway , in which he finished fifth. For Keselowski, it's another way to raise awareness for the cause that speaks to him. "I read this really great quote -- I think it's from Kevin Spacey, the actor -- about how fortunate he was to ride the elevator up to where he is and how important it is to send the elevator back down," Keselowski said. "And I thought that was really inspiring. "I'm not curing cancer. I make a very good living doing something that's decadent. I couldn't look myself in the mirror every morning, especially as I get older, knowing that I rode the elevator to the top and didn't send it back down with something so decadent as driving a car. "I'm very fortunate to have rode the elevator up." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See where all 43 drivers will pit in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX) RELATED: Full starting lineup " See all 43 cars Matt Kenseth won his second Coors Light Pole of the season for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway and chose the first pit stall entering Turn 1, which is also the pit stall closest to the pit road exit. Kenseth's Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin joined him in the top five in qualifying and will start third and fifth, respectively. The No. 19 took the first stall in the second section of pits behind the Turn 1 entrance, and Hamlin picked a pit stall next to a break near the start-finish line with a rear opening. Team Penske driver Joey Logano starts second and will pit the No. 22 Ford in the second pit stall heading into Turn 1. Another Ford , Roush Fenway Racing 's No. 16 driven by Greg Biffle will start fourth. Biffle will be using a pit stall with a rear opening at the tail of the section of pits heading into Turn 1. David Ragan (starting seventh) and Kyle Larson (starting ninth) also have openings in front of them on pit road, while Kevin Harvick (starting eighth) will have an opening behind him, making it easier for him to pull into his pit stall. Brad Keselowski , who qualified sixth, chose the first stall coming onto pit road for service on the No. 2 Team Penske Ford . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Co-owner Len Wood admits team could run full slate, but it would be tough CONCORD, N.C. -- Officials with Wood Brothers Racing said Thursday that the legendary team could run a full 36-race schedule today in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, something the team hasn’t done since 2006. But, said co-owner Len Wood at Charlotte Motor Speedway , "you've got to pay for it. "We could go run 'em all (now), but it wouldn't be pretty. "And with that being said, I don't think you could keep a sponsor like that either." The organization is scheduled to compete in 18 of this year's 36 points races with driver Ryan Blaney . A new three-year package with Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center covers 12 of those events while the affiliation with Team Penske , which began this year, provided the opportunity to add six races. Blaney is a development driver for the Penske group. "We know pretty much where we're going and set our schedule based on where we think we can run the best -- which are the speedways and the intermediates," Wood said. "We try to be more efficient about it. Not have to go buy two sets of short track brakes to go run one short-track race, things like that. "If more races were to come up, then we're ready. We'd get more cars from Team Penske , more parts and away we'd go." Penske, whose group fields Fords for 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano , told the Associated Press last week that he was not interested in expanding Team Penske to three full-time teams. "If we can get sponsorship for (Blaney), that gives him a chance to take a look at extending that through a full season next year. That would be our goal," Penske told the AP. Blaney replaced 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne in the red and white No. 21 Ford when Bayne was named to drive full-time for Roush Fenway Racing this season in the No. 6 Ford . Blaney finished fourth at Talladega earlier this year, one of his four Sprint Cup starts so far this season. Wood Brothers Racing , which has been competing in NASCAR practically since the sanctioning body’s inception in 1949, has 98 wins in more than 1,400 starts. The team was founded by NASCAR Hall of Fame member Glen Wood and originally based in Stuart, Virginia. The affiliation with Team Penske has already provided improved results on the track. "The situation we have with Ryan and Team Penske , when we come to the race track, we feel like we've got a shot every week," Len Wood said. "Not just at the speedways … when we leave the shop we feel like we can win." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Joey Logano will also start from the front row in Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 RELATED: Full starting lineup " See all 43 cars CONCORD, N.C. – After powering to his second pole of the season on Thursday night, Matt Kenseth will start NASCAR's longest race from the most advantageous position—with his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota getting serviced in the most advantageous pit stall. Kenseth ran his fastest lap of the night (194.252 mph) in the third and final round of knockout qualifying at Charlotte Motor Speedway and secured the top spot on the grid for Sunday's Coca-Cola 600 (6 p.m. ET on FOX, PRN, SiriusXM), the 12th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race of the season. The Coors Light Pole Award was Kenseth's first at Charlotte and the 15th of his career. Kenseth, who covered the 1.5-mile distance in 27.799 seconds, was a whopping .204 seconds faster than Joey Logano (192.836 mph), whose No. 22 Team Penske Ford will start beside Kenseth's Camry on the front row. "I think starting up front is important at this track," Kenseth said. "It typically goes through a lot of changes here, especially if the sun is out for the beginning of the race. You want to have good track position, good pit selection—all those things—so if you get a little bit off and you're chasing the setup, or the track changes, you have a little bit of a buffer being toward the front, hopefully... "All the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyotas had some speed tonight, and that was encouraging." SHOP: Kenseth gear Carl Edwards (192.733 mph) was third in his No. 19 JGR Toyota, followed by Greg Biffle in his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford (192.226 mph) and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race winner Denny Hamlin in his No. 11 JGR Toyota (192.007 mph). Surprisingly, in consecutive seasons that have seen domination of the intermediate speedways by the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Chevrolet of reigning series champion Kevin Harvick and the No. 48 Chevy of six-time champ Jimmie Johnson , Toyotas and Fords claimed the top seven qualifying positions for the 600. To Logano, however, the absence of a Chevrolet from the top five spots on the grid for the first time this season isn't hugely significant. "Those guys have been fast in the race—that's where their speed really shines," Logano said. "They qualify good--don't get me wrong—but in the race they shine a little bit more. You're talking about the 4, the 41 ( Kurt Busch ) and the 48. Those are the ones that stand out. "And I'm sure they'll be fast when it comes to race time. Qualifying's a different animal. You use a completely different setup, and qualifying can kind of mask over some issues you have in race trim a lot of times. ... I wouldn't (read) too much into it." Notes: All four Hendrick Motorsports entries failed to advance to the final round of knockout qualifying, but Kasey Kahne had a valid excuse. A cut tire prevented him from posting a quick qualifying laps. As a result, the three-time winner of the Coca-Cola 600 will start 33rd on Sunday ... Jeb Burton , Mike Bliss , Travis Kvapil , Jeff Green and Brendan Gaughan failed to make the 43-car field. The 48-car turnout for qualifying was the largest since 49 entries showed up for the season-opening Daytona 500 .
Fourth XFINITY Series pole of the season for 2013 champion RELATED: Full starting lineup Austin Dillon won the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, PRN, SiriusXM), turning a lap of 184.615 mph around the 1.5-mile oval at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The No. 33 Richard Childress Racing will be on the pole, sharing the front row with Darrell Wallace, Jr. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford led the first round of qualifying with a speed of 183.968 mph and finished the final round of qualifying with a lap at 184.395 mph. This is the fourth pole of the season for Dillon, who won from the top spot in Las Vegas in March. Brian Scott will start third in the No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet (183.799 mph); Denny Hamlin starts fourth in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (183.536 mph); and Kyle Larson rounded out the top five with a lap of 183.474 mph in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Chevrolet. Chad Boat lost control and spun out through the grass during XFINITY Series qualifying. The incident was almost identicial to Boat's wreck in the No. 84 Billy Boat Motrosports Chevrolet during Thursday's practice for the Hisense 300 .
Official partners team up to create NASCAR-themed retail program RELATED: NASCAR Salutes page Shoppers at the Fort Bragg Commissary South were welcomed by a special guest on Tuesday, and an opportunity to win tickets to the Coca-Cola 600 . Joey Logano , driver of the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Fusion and member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family, visited the commissary at Fort Bragg to meet-and-greet shoppers and give away eight tickets to this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . The appearance was part of a collaboration between NASCAR, Coca-Cola, Mars Chocolate North America and 3M with DeCA (Defense Commissary Agency) to create a NASCAR-themed retail program at over 180 military commissaries across the country, as well as NASCAR: An American Salute. As part of this retail program, commissary shoppers can also enter the 2015 Champions Week Sweepstakes for a chance to win a trip for two to the 2015 NASCAR Champion’s Week in Las Vegas by visiting www.ChampionsWeek2015.com or by texting "NASCARSALUTE" to 313131. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Jones, Reddick chasing two-time defending champ in standings Five races into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the cream is still on top. Matt Crafton ’s third-place finish last Friday in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway allowed the series points leader to maintain his top spot. Crafton, driving the No. 88 for ThorSport Racing, now has 217 points on the strength of two wins, four top fives and a series-best five top-10 finishes. The 38-year-old Crafton is trying to three-peat as the Camping World Truck Series points champion. Crafton has 343 Trucks races under his fire suit, starting with the Motorola 200 at Fontana back in 2000. His first-ever win was the 2008 edition of the North Carolina Education Lottery. He has a modest seven career wins, but consistency works in his favor. He’s placed among the top 10 in his Trucks races 57.4 percent of the time (197 out of 343). Erik Jones ’ epic battle with Kasey Kahne , which included side-by-side racing for most of the final lap and a photo finish, is the type of excitement NASCAR officials — and fans — want to see. Kahne won the race by 0.005 (that’s not a typo) of a second. The No. 00 Truck failed the post-race inspection for a ride-height violation. Kahne does, however, get to keep the win. Driving the No. 4 for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Jones led 88 of the 139 laps at Charlotte. Jones, who turns 19 on May 30, ranks second in the points standings. He finished 18th last year. Just two points behind Jones in the standings sits Tyler Reddick , who picked up his fourth top-five finish of the year by placing fourth last week. Driving the No. 19 Truck for Brad Keselowski Racing, Reddick already has one more top-five finish than he had in 16 starts as a rookie in 2014. The 19-year-old placed 12th in the standings last year. More than a decade removed from his rookie season in a NASCAR national series, Johnny Sauter is chasing his first-ever Truck Series title. Sauter, who turned 37 earlier this month, ranks fourth in the current standings. His best season was a second-place finish in 2011, and he placed fourth in the standings the past two years. John Wes Townley moved into the top five with a sixth-place finish at Charlotte. Townley doesn’t have a win in his 74 career starts on the circuit. He was 15th in the final 2014 standings, and his best year was an 11th-place showing in 2013. Up next for the Camping World Truck Series is the Lucas Oil 200 at Dover International Speedway on May 29 (5:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule