1964: The Wood Brothers, a road trip and a surprise driver
Noted road -course racer Dan Gurney won the event and Marvin Panch finished second to give Wood Brothers Racing a 1-2 finish in the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway. The name of the fellow who climbed aboard the car in Greenville, South Carolina, however, has been lost in the mists of time. Say what? The year was 1964 and crew chief Leonard Wood, along with brother Ray, was transporting Panch's No. 21 Ford across the country, returning from Riverside to the team's shop in Stuart, Virginia. After a brief stop for dinner in Greenville, the two resumed their journey, planning one more stop in Charlotte, North Carolina. "People were standing around the car, it was 20 degrees," Leonard Wood told NASCAR.com regarding the brief break for a quick meal just across the South Carolina state line. "Normally you'd stop and talk to them a little bit but it was so cold we just jumped in the truck, pulled away and left." The first sign that the two had picked up an uninvited passenger, Wood said, came about halfway between Greenville and Charlotte when their truck "started making this noise and we couldn't figure out what it was." "Ray said 'You can even feel it in the roof. It's vibrating the roof!' " Leonard Wood recalled. Initially, Wood said he thought the loud vibration was the result of a jet aircraft, "so I'm looking around to see if I could see an airport," he said. Neither crewman realized the vibration was coming from the race car, and the engine being revved wide open. But the noise soon stopped so the pair continued on up the road , unaware that a none-too-sober gentleman had climbed inside the race car back in Greenville during the food stop. When they arrived in Charlotte for one final stop, Wood said the noise and vibration had resumed. And this time he realized it wasn't coming from any aircraft. It was coming from the race car on the back of the open truck. "I looked in the side mirror when we got off the highway and I saw steam coming out the exhausts of the race car," he said. "I knew something was wrong and I told Ray to stop this thing. "I saw what looked like a person in the car behind the wheel and I thought, 'Man, one of the crew members is trying to pull a trick on me.' Of course I bypassed that thought immediately because I thought 'There's no one on the crew that's going to be stupid enough to get in that car as cold as it is.' "I look in there and this guy's got Marvin's helmet on. I said 'What do you think you’re doing in here?' and he said 'Let's go!' " In the meantime, Ray Wood had gotten out of the truck, still unaware of the inebriated passenger. With help from Leonard they attempted to pull the unwanted fellow from behind the wheel. "I said 'We'll let you go in a minute,' grabbed ahold of him and jerked him out," Leonard said. "He got his foot hung and was hollering and squalling. We turned him loose and he just settled back in there and got comfortable again. He had a little bit to keep him warm, liquid wise." As fate would have it, a local law enforcement officer happened by and stopped to see what was going on. After explaining the situation, the officer gave the "would-be racer" another ride -- this one in the back of a patrol car. Panch, who would go on to win three times that season for the Wood Brothers, had told Leonard after finishing second at Riverside that the motor had been about to blow near the end of the race. "When I got home," Wood said, "I said, 'Marvin, that thing was good for another 100 miles!' "But the funniest thing is Glen (Wood, team founder) had passed us in the station wagon and didn't see the man in there. "If he had, he would have had a heart attack."
Full schedule for Michigan and Road America
RELATED: Find NBCSN in your area " Watch live online at NBCSports.com The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will gather for a doubleheader showing at Michigan International Speedway this weekend while the XFINITY Series makes a stop at Road America . Check out the full schedule below. Note: All times are ET FRIDAY, AUG. 26: ON TRACK: MICHIGAN -- Noon-1:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series first practice, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Follow live ) -- 1:30-2:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series first practice, FS2 ( Follow live ) -- 4-4:55 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice, FS2 ( Follow live ) -- 5:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Follow live ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 11:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series ON TRACK: ROAD AMERICA -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series first practice ( Follow live ) -- Noon-1:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice ( Follow live ) -- 6:35 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Follow live ) SATURDAY, AUG. 27: ON TRACK: MICHIGAN -- 8:30-9:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC ( Follow live ) -- 9:45 a.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Follow live ) -- 11:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, CNBC ( Follow live ) -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 Presented by Cooper Standard and Brad Keselowski 's Checkered Flag Foundation (100 laps, 200 miles), FS1 ( Follow live ) ON TRACK: ROAD AMERICA -- 3 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville (45 laps, 182.16 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Follow live ) SUNDAY, AUG. 28: ON TRACK: MICHIGAN -- 2 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 (200 laps, 400 miles), NBCSN/NBC Sports App ( Follow live )
Live chat: Michigan and Road America
Chat with fans this weekend during the NASCAR action at Michigan International Speedway and Road America .
Kyle Busch surprises fan with autograph on RV
Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha are seriously doing the most good . After all, it wasn't too long ago that the couple was pulling alongside Kyle Busch fans in traffic just to make their day. Now, take a look at what the pair got themselves into on Saturday evening when a wreck ended Busch's run in the XFINITY Series race early. Samantha shared a video on Twitter of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion climbing the tires of an RV just to sign the No. 18 logo that was sprawled across the side. "They're not home right now, but they'll have quite a surprise when they come back," Samantha says of the RV owners in the video post. These Kyle fans are going to be pretty happy when they come back pic.twitter.com/MVl0NG8fQu — Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) August 6, 2016
Dillon takes wild ride to pit road
Ty Dillon gets loose and ends up on pit road after spinning at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Sam Hornish Jr. sets track record, earns Coors Light Pole at Mid-Ohio
RELATED: Results Sam Hornish Jr . won the Coors Light Pole Award Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course , setting a track speed record as well. Hornish Jr. wheeled his No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet around the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course in Lexington, Ohio, at a track record-setting 96.755 mph in the opening session of qualifying. In the second and final session, with a fast lap of 96.374 mph, he sealed the first starting spot in the Mid-Ohio Challenge (3:30 p.m. ET, USA Network, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "The fact that we're here. We're as good as we have been really is hats off to RCR and all the people that work on the Rheem No. 2 car," the polesitter said post-qualifying. "Right off the bat, this morning I was kind of worried about it being a little bit rusty. It's been a little while since I've been on a road course." This marks Hornish's eighth career pole and first of 2016. Sharing the front row will be Owen Kelly , a road specialist who reached 95.877 mph in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Ryan Blaney , (95.739 mph in No. 22 Team Penske Ford), Elliott Sadler (95.675 mph, No. 1 JR Motorsports Chevrolet) and Daniel Suarez (95.613 mph, No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota) completed the top five, respectively.
Dillon shows durability, skill in fourth-place finish
RELATED: Full race results " Driver standings " Chase Grid BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Austin Dillon didn't think his team had a winning car this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway . His performance on the track begged to differ, as Dillon powered his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to the front, battling eventual race winner Kevin Harvick for the lead before earning a solid fourth-place result in Sunday's rain-delayed event at the short track. Coupled with his victory in the XFINITY Series race at Bristol Friday night, Dillon's weekend in the Appalachian Mountains turned into his best combined series effort he's seen all season. But he and his team had to fight for it. "We had a car that we had to really work on all day," a red-faced and worn-out-looking Dillon said on pit road after the race. "I tell you what, my butt's kicked right now. We just had to really fight hard early in the race, we about went a lap down and they made good adjustments to put us back in the race. "Proud of (crew chief) Slugger (Labbe), proud of my pit crew – they really stepped up and that means a lot getting ready to what we're going into." After restarting third at Lap 450, the 26-year-old driver moved into the second position behind Harvick three quick laps later, putting Dillon in position to challenge the No. 4 driver for the lead. The No. 3 wheelman fought to overtake Harvick for eight laps, looking for momentum in the inside lane. He made it look effortless, but Dillon assures it was anything but. "I was really proud of that little short run we had on the bottom," Dillon said. "Harvick was pretty loose and I got to his door. Just didn't have enough to really do much on the top. (I was) holding on for my dear life there at the end." Sitting 13th in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, Dillon finds himself in a relatively comfortable points position with three races remaining until the playoffs begin. But Dillon & Co. aren't just looking for " good points days"-- they're looking for a win. That long-waited victory could very well come next weekend at Michigan International Speedway . "I'm racing like I'm in the playoffs right now, for sure," Dillon said. "We've still got a lot of work to do. Really looking forward to Michigan, probably my best track, so hopefully we can go win one and not have to worry about it for two weeks." Crew chief Slugger Labbe also has his sights set on the Irish Hills, having circled it following the team's 13th-place run at Pocono in August. "Last time at Michigan we ran extremely well with the low downforce package," Labbe told NASCAR.com on pit road . "We're taking the same car back that we had at Pocono that ran extremely well at Pocono battling for the lead against Kyle Larson … so we're just hoping for big things. "After Pocono, he was kind of mad that we didn't finish at good as we wanted so I told everyone on this team to make sure we circle Michigan and that's the one we're going to win. So, we're going to shoot really hard for it, prepare, do the best we can and give it our best shot at Michigan."
Hornish Jr. to fill in for McDowell at Michigan
CONCORD, N.C. (August 23, 2016) – Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) has announced that Sam Hornish Jr . will fill in for Michael McDowell on Friday and Saturday during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend at Michigan International Speedway . McDowell is scheduled to race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Road America for Richard Childress Racing on Friday and Saturday. He will then travel to Michigan International Speedway and drive the No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet on Sunday in the Pure Michigan 400 for Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing .
Who can tame the road course of Mid-Ohio?
NASCAR.com's Chris Rice and Jonathan Merryman give you insight on which NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers have a chance to finish in the top 10 at the road course of Mid-Ohio.
Hamlin earns first career road course win at Watkins Glen
RELATED: Results " Standings " Chase Grid SHOP: Hamlin gear WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Denny Hamlin , winner of Sunday's Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, entertained a sold-out grandstand with a celebratory burnout that trailed a plume of smoke the entire length of the frontstretch at Watkins Glen International . But Hamlin's smoke show — with a bad back, no less — paled in comparison to the fireworks that preceded the checkered flag, Hamlin's first at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course. The race was in doubt until the final corner, with Martin Truex Jr . pressuring Hamlin, who led the final 10 laps after surging past Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in Turn 1 following a Lap 81 restart. RELATED: Second red flag brought out after another wild restart But Truex never got a chance to drag-race Hamlin's No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the finish line. As the cars neared the exit from Turn 7, with Truex running second and Keselowski third, contact from Keselowski's No. 2 Ford sent Truex's No. 78 Toyota spinning. Defending race winner Joey Logano took advantage of the melee to finish second ahead of Keselowski and 2014 Watkins Glen winner AJ Allmendinger , who knocked Kyle Larson off the track and into the inside barrier on the way to a fourth-place finish. Tony Stewart recovered from an early mistake—blowing the inner loop and losing 10 positions in the process—to finish fifth. Kyle Busch was sixth and Truex seventh after the last-lap spin. Hamlin won the race in pain, with nerve endings on fire in his back. "I just woke up with back spasms this morning," he explained. "Just hits me every three or four months or so. I just wake up and can't move. Really doubted being in the race car today, to be honest with you, but can't say enough about this whole FedEx Freight Toyota team. "Should've won both road courses (Hamlin was second to Stewart at Sonoma ), which is something we never would've predicted going into the year. Sold out crowd, two years in a row, this is a good time. I've finally won at all of the (types of) race tracks, so it's a great accomplishment for us." For the second-straight year, the Daytona 500 champion also has gone to Victory Lane at the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen road course, with Hamlin joining 2015 winner Logano in that accomplishment. The victory was Hamlin’' second of the season and the 28th of his career, and though Hamlin was in a mood to celebrate, there were plenty of hurt feelings behind him. Keselowski took responsibility for the incident with Truex, who expressed his displeasure by banging fenders with the No. 2 car on the cool-down lap. "I got right up to the bumper of the 78 (Truex) and couldn't do anything there, and he made a move to get by the 11 (Hamlin) on the inside, and the 11 blocked him," Keselowski said. "I went high, and the 78 went high, and by then I was already deep in the corner and got into him and turned him. That was really unfortunate, and the last thing I wanted to see. "This track here, when you drive into the corner, you commit, and sometimes you don't know what will happen when you commit. The last thing I wanted to do was turn him. I'm proud of my guys for a really fast race car and it was another crazy Watkins Glen day." That craziness included eight cautions for 20 laps, four for multicar incidents in the final 38 laps. There were two yellows after Hamlin took the lead on Lap 81, when Kyle Busch and Keselowski ran wide in Turn 1, and Hamlin seized the moment. RELATED: Big wreck brings heavy damage to multiple cars at The Glen After the final restart on Lap 87 of 90, Truex stayed close to Hamlin, almost getting to the bumper of the No. 11 in the final corner before the contact from Keselowski turned him. The ensuing chaos allowed Hamlin to cross the finish line 2.065 seconds ahead of Logano for a victory that was nowhere near as comfortable as that margin might seem to indicate. It was an ending befitting a race track accustomed to wild racing. "Typical Watkins Glen," Logano said. "I mean, it's just awesome, crazy racing, full contact. Just insane out there. So a lot of fun from the driver's seat and I'm sure the fans loved it as well in front of a sold out grandstand. It was pretty cool when I pulled over for the red flag in front of the grandstands and I could hear just fans screaming and yelling and loving it. I thought, 'Man, this is really cool to be in the driver's seat right now.' " </p>