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Post-Race Reactions: Good Sam Club 200
Clint Bowyer, Blake Feese, Kyle Busch, James Buescher and Ryan Newman comment on their Atlanta finishes.
Final Laps: Hornaday holds on in Atlanta
Ron Hornaday uses pit strategy to hold off a hard-charging Clint Bowyer and win the Good Sam Club 200 .
Victory Lane: Ron Hornaday
Ron Hornaday celebrates his 49th career NCWTS victory after the Good Sam Club 200 .
Racing community honors Sam Ard at memorial service
RELATED: Sam Ard dies at 78 FLORENCE, S.C. -- Gold chandeliers and dark wood may have suggested a more somber mood, but subdued wasn't an apt description of the crowd filling in to pay their final respects to Samuel Julian Ard on Tuesday evening. Spirited perhaps. But respectful, too. It was an unusually warm evening, with the sun casting long shadows across the parking lot of the Stoudenmire-Dowling Funeral Home. Outside, folks milled about, some smoking and talking and others simply talking. Traffic moved along out on the highway, sporadic but at a respectful pace as the day was coming to an end. Inside, they lined up to express their sorrow and offer comfort to the family -- widow Agnes Josephine "Jo" Ard, a tiny woman with a big heart; the children Melinda, Joane, Robert and Sharon; and the grandchildren and great grandchildren that make up a big, close-knit family. "Mama wanted me in dresses and Daddy wanted a wrench in my hand,” Melinda, the eldest of the children, recalled. They came here to remember and say farewell to Sam Ard, one of the best racers to ever suit up and slip behind the wheel in what is now NASCAR's XFINITY Series. Ard, who was 78 and a Pamplico, South Carolina, resident for most of his life, passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. An Air Force veteran, he served his country during the Vietnam War. In the early 1980s, Ard was one of a handful of tough and talented local racers who helped breathe life into NASCAR just one rung beneath its top series. While it shared billing with what's now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at places such as Daytona, Darlington, Bristol and Charlotte, the series didn't stray too far, too often, from its grassroots beginnings. Hickory and South Boston, Rougemont and Asheville were regular stops in those early years, and drivers such as Ard and Jack Ingram and Larry Pearson and Tommy Houston were among its stars. The familiar No. 00 Oldsmobile, white with red lettering and sponsored by Thomas Brothers Country Ham, was a frequent sight up front. Ard won 22 races in just 92 career starts and he finished 10th or better 79 times. He was the series' first two-time champion (1983-84) and finished second in the standings in 1982. He had eight wins, and the title in hand, when he was injured in a crash early in the '84 Komfort Koach 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway. He missed the final race of season, but still outpointed Ingram for the title. He made no starts the following year and in June of '85 officially announced his retirement from NASCAR competition. "Between him and Jack Ingram, you didn't win a Sportsman race," Dale Earnhardt Jr. recalled Tuesday. "They won everywhere. "It was incredible to me that they could come out of Asheville or wherever they raced and go to Charlotte, a big mile-and-a-half track, and outrun Robert Gee's cars, or those Cup cars that all those Cup drivers were competing in. You would think they would get dusted. But Sam could show up and run better than even the Cup guys with Cup-influenced race teams. "It was incredible the speed that they had, and they had it everywhere, Sam and Jack could compete with anyone on any race track in the Sportsman series back then." His season win mark of 10, set in 1983, stood for 27 years before Kyle Busch won 13 times in 2010. But Ard's record of four consecutive wins, also set in '83, remains the standard for the series. Ard won at South Boston, Martinsville, Rougemont and Charlotte to establish the consecutive win record. "The Charlotte race was always a big deal to me because it happened around my birthday," said Earnhardt, who was born Oct. 10, 1974. "I think it was '82 or '83, Sam whipped Daddy in the 300. I was so upset because I wanted Dad to win (for) my birthday. I remember watching in the infield with all our family, all the Earnhardts and Eurys. We ran second I think, second or third, but that 00 smoked 'em. "Unfortunately, it was just after that where he got injured. I raced with his son (Robert) at Myrtle Beach quite a bit and Sam would come around with him. We became friends and I got to see Sam a little bit then." He was inducted into the National Motorsports Hall of Fame, located on the grounds of Darlington Raceway, in 1999 along with 1992 Monster Energy Cup Series champ Alan Kulwicki. And on Wednesday, Sam Ard was laid to rest, wearing his Hall of Fame blazer, at Mt. Zion Baptist Church cemetery.
Bounce in Bowyer's step with second at Bristol
RELATED: Johnson prevails at Bristol " Race results BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Clint Bowyer's career revival was in full swing here Monday at Bristol Motor Speedway, with the Stewart-Haas Racing driver finishing second in the Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race. It was Bowyer's best result since joining the four-car operation before the start of the 2017 season. In a race that was delayed one day by rain, Bowyer could see but could not catch eventual race winner Jimmie Johnson in the waning laps of 500-lap affair. The seven-time champion was a tick of the stopwatch ahead at the finish line, earning his 82nd career victory and further cementing his status as one of the series' greatest drivers of all time. Seventh when he brought his car to pit road for the final time during a caution on Lap 464, Bowyer restarted ninth for the final push. It wasn't long before he was battling with Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Larson for the lead. Then it was only Johnson out his front windshield. "It's Jimmie Johnson," Bowyer, 37, said. "You're just … you try everything you possibly can and I was starting to do some pretty desperate things with brakes and my line and stuff like that, and then you just realize -- your mindset quickly changes, and you're like, 'all right, let's put it in perspective here; we've come a long way, it was a long day, and second place is probably a good run for us, and we should be happy with that. We shouldn't hang our head about it.' " This was no finish created by smoke and mirrors -- Bowyer and the No. 14 team, led by crew chief Mike Buggarewicz, earned every position picked up on the high-banked half-mile oval. And there were plenty to be collected. Bowyer started ninth on the 39-car grid but quickly found himself the last car on the lead lap. "Way too loose," he said. "(We) just missed it." Then, after racing his way inside the top 10 and staying there, a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 326. "Mike made some great adjustments (and) the pit crew was on their game all day long … gained spots almost every time and then I lost them all back on pit road speeding," Bowyer said. "Went to the back again, and then drove back up through them." The decision to take four tires on the final stop was crucial. "I think the 48 (of Johnson) was the other one (to take four tires) and he won the race, so the right strategy was there," Bowyer said. "The team effort was there. You know, that's what a weekend is all about. It's just been this long since I've won a race and here is pretty special. It would have been pretty cool to be over there in Victory Lane." Bowyer has finished 13th or better in seven consecutive races and Monday's runner-up effort edged out a third-place run at Auto Club Speedway for "season's best" honors at this point. In 2016, driving for the now defunct HScott Motorsports, he had no top-five finishes and just three top 10s, numbers he has already exceeded. Pleased with a runner-up, but disappointed just the same. "Been that way my whole life," said Bowyer, who has eight career victories but none since 2012. "Since I was about 5 years old. "You struggle and struggle and struggle for a year and a half .. and hell, next thing you know you're being greedy about (finishing) second. "That's just the way racers are and the way it's always been. (But) having a ton of fun and working hard and seeing the results is gratifying for this race team." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Monster Energy Series Bristol race set for Monday
RELATED: Full starting lineup " Live weather radar BRISTOL, Tenn. -- Sunday's Food City 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has been postponed due to rain. The race, No. 8 on the 36-race schedule for 2017, has been rescheduled for a 1 p.m. ET start Monday. FOX will provide live television coverage; radio coverage is on the Performance Racing Network (PRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR. "We are close to home so it will be fine," points leader Kyle Larson (Chip Ganassi Racing) said Sunday morning. "Our car was good in practice and I don't think the track will be too different." Larson will start from the pole position in his No. 42 Chevrolet, the result of rain canceling Friday's qualifying and the field being set per the rulebook (owner points). With one victory (at Auto Club Speedway) and four runner-up finishes, Larson leads second-place Chase Elliott (Hendrick Motorsports) by 17 points. " See the full lineup Rain also interrupted Saturday's NASCAR XFINITY Series race, creating a delay of more than 90 minutes. But when the rain moved out of the area, officials were able to quickly dry the .533-mile track, and that race was run to its scheduled distance with Erik Jones (Joe Gibbs Racing) flagged the winner. The rain continued throughout the night and through the morning, eventually forcing officials to postpone. It is the first race to be pushed to the following day due to inclement weather since last fall's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Both races at Pocono Raceway last year also were delayed from Sunday to Monday. Last year's Bristol Night Race, the most recent Monster Energy Series event at the track, was postponed from Saturday to Sunday due to wet weather as well. Because the rain will wash all the rubber build-up off the racing surface, drivers will face a "green" track on Monday when the event gets underway. NASCAR officials have already announced a Lap 60 competition caution to allow teams to check tire wear. Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 Ford) said the rain "is somewhat of a blessing in disguise." " Because (track officials were) talking about laying down more VHT and they can't do it while it's wet," this year's Daytona 500 winner said. "The VHT is like a grip applicator and you have to heat it up to make it work, so in the drag racing world the guys do a burnout through it and you have that stripe that you just heat it up and that's what has to happen for us oval guys. We have to have more cars out there to heat it up, so it's going to be like ice when we first start off and then the grip will come back once we do heat it up after this rain delay." Track officials applied an adhesive compound (VHT) to the lower lanes in the turns prior to this weekend's race at the request of drivers. A similar substance was used in 2016. Matt Puccia, crew chief of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford with driver Trevor Bayne, said the rain will likely wash what remains of the compound off the racing surface and, as a result, "I think that you're going to see the top groove move up and you'll see more of the two- and three-lane racing that we've traditionally seen here." "I think there might still be a little bit of an advantage on the bottom," Puccia said, "but I definitely think the top groove will come in, which, for us, makes it a little bit more challenging because we haven't had any opportunity to run up on the top yet." Some other key story lines to consider with the rain wrecking Sunday's schedule: • Beating the Busches will be tough for competitors; and what about that pesky JGR slow start? " Read more • An updated racing groove has the track extra sticky " Read more • Two XFINITY Series drivers had an altercation that included a connected punch , and a trip to the NASCAR hauler " Read more • Kyle Busch was fast Saturday, but there were multiple spins , including one from Larson that sent his car into the wall " Read more • Larson looks like a championship contender so far, and he and teammate Jamie McMurray have Chip Ganassi Racing surging " Read more &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt
Sam Ard passes away at age 78
Watch as NASCAR.com remembers two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Sam Ard, who passed away April 2 at age 78.
2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Owner Standings
MORE: Monster Energy Series owner standings " Camping World owner standings Pos. Owner Car No. Points Ldr Nxt Race Wins Stage Wins Playoff Pts Attempts 1 Roger Penske 22 330 0 0 0 3 3 7 2 Joe Gibbs 20 277 -53 -53 2 2 12 7 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 1 260 -70 -17 0 2 2 7 4 Chip Ganassi 42 252 -78 -8 1 1 6 7 5 Rick Hendrick 9 244 -86 -8 0 1 1 7 6 J D Gibbs 18 231 -99 -13 1 3 3 7 7 Richard Childress 2 205 -125 -26 0 0 0 7 8 Richard Childress 3 201 -129 -4 0 0 0 7 9 Kelley Earnhardt-Miller 7 200 -130 -1 1 0 5 7 10 Jack Roush 16 184 -146 -16 1 0 5 7 11 Richard Childress 21 180 -150 -4 0 1 1 7 12 Jack Roush 6 180 -150 0 0 0 0 7 13 Matt Kaulig 11 164 -166 -16 0 0 0 7 14 Chip Ganassi 48 163 -167 -1 0 0 0 7 15 Joe Gibbs 19 160 -170 -3 0 0 0 7 16 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 5 157 -173 -3 0 0 0 7 17 James Whitener 28 139 -191 -18 0 0 0 7 18 Gene Haas 00 130 - 200 -9 0 0 0 7 19 Richard Childress 33 128 -202 -2 0 0 0 7 20 Maria Gonzalez Hernandez 24 125 -205 -3 0 0 0 7 21 Mark Smith 14 111 -219 -14 0 0 0 7 22 Richard Childress 62 108 -222 -3 0 0 0 7 23 Rod Sieg 39 108 -222 0 0 0 0 7 24 Maurice Gallagher Jr. 23 103 -227 -5 0 0 0 7 25 Michelle Gosselin 90 88 -242 -15 0 0 0 7 26 Tony Stewart 41 86 -244 -2 0 1 1 2 27 Johnny Davis 01 86 -244 0 0 0 0 7 28 Tony Clements 51 83 -247 -3 0 0 0 7 29 Gary Cogswell 0 81 -249 -2 0 0 0 7 30 Gary Keller 4 81 -249 0 0 0 0 7 31 Fred Biagi 98 76 -254 -5 0 0 0 5 32 Jimmy Means 52 74 -256 -2 0 0 0 7 33 Roger Penske 12 64 -266 -10 1 0 0 2 34 Bobby Dotter 07 64 -266 0 0 0 0 7 35 Danielle Long 40 63 -267 -1 0 0 0 7 36 Rick Hendrick 88 49 -281 -14 0 0 0 1 37 Bj McLeod 78 48 -282 -1 0 0 0 7 38 Jessica Smith-Mcleod 99 47 -283 -1 0 0 0 7 39 Jessica Smith-Mcleod 8 41 -289 -6 0 0 0 7 40 Rick Gdovic 46 37 -293 -4 0 0 0 2 41 Danielle Long 13 20 -310 -17 0 0 0 7 42 Mike Harmon 74 16 -314 -4 0 0 0 7 43 Lynn Cockrum 25 12 -318 -4 0 0 0 2 44 Mark Smith 44 10 -320 -2 0 0 0 1 45 Pamela Sieg 93 6 -324 -4 0 0 0 6 46 Victor Obaika 97 4 -326 -2 0 0 0 6 47 Cindy Shepherd 89 2 -328 -2 0 0 0 5 48 Victor Obaika 177 0 -330 -2 0 0 0 1
New date set for Team Penske's final appeal
RELATED: No. 2 team penalized after Phoenix infraction The date for Team Penske's final appeal of L1-level penalties issued last month has been pushed back one day due to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race postponement at Bristol. NASCAR officials said the hearing is now scheduled for 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday, April 26 at the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. It previously had been scheduled for Tuesday. Bryan Moss, the National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer, will preside over the hearing. The session will determine the final outcome of penalties issued March 22 to the Roger Penske-owned No. 2 Ford team after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway. Team Penske filed the paperwork for a final appeal April 13, one day after the three-member National Motorsports Appeal Panel upheld the original penalties. That punishment included a three-race suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe and a 35-point deduction for Brad Keselowski in the drivers' standings and the same amount for Penske in the owners' standings. With the appeal pending, a Team Penske official indicated that Wolfe is scheduled to be atop the pit box for Monday's Food City 500 at Bristol. Wolfe already has served one race of his three-race suspension, handing over the helm to Brian Wilson for the March 26 race at Auto Club Speedway. Moss, the former president at Gulfstream Aerospace, has held the role of National Motorsports Final Appeals Officer since 2014. His ruling on April 26 will be final. The burden of proof will rest with Team Penske in the final appeal process. In the initial hearing, the burden of proof rested with NASCAR. &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;gt;
Tire tweaks? Indianapolis test on tap this week
Four Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams will travel to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for a two-day Goodyear tire test at the legendary 2.5-mile facility. Drivers scheduled to take part in the test, set for Tuesday and Wednesday, are Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Team Penske Ford), Denny Hamlin (No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota), David Ragan (No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford) and Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet). The Brickyard 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is scheduled for July 23 . "It seems like the last couple of years (Indy) has fairly well stabilized after the grinding that they did," Goodyear's Greg Stucker told NASCAR.com. "Kind of knocked the edges off the grooves in the surface. But the last couple of years we've felt like we were getting to the point that we could look at adding a little bit of grip. Particularly with the move from '16 to '17 with a little less downforce." NASCAR' s 2017 rules package created less overall downforce (from 2,100 to 1,600 pounds) on the cars through changes to the rear spoiler, front splitter and deck fin. Modifications to rear steer settings and a new tire rule (teams must start the race using the tires on which they qualified) were also made. While significant, the changes were an evolution of the initial package that debuted in '15 at select events when the sanctioning body began the move to take downforce away from the cars. Those changes were implemented for all races (excluding superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega) in '16. Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales, said an XFINITY Series test last October at Indy opened the door for a possible tire change in the Monster Energy Series. "When we tested with the XFINITY cars last year in preparation for their new configuration, we actually were running a little bit softer left side. It's the left side (tire) that we run at Pocono," he said. "So that gave us an indication, 'Hey, this might be something that we can standardize between Pocono and Indy, give the Cup cars a little more grip.' So that's one of the main goals, to look at that and see if that's a good move for Indianapolis this year and add a little bit more left-side grip." Stucker said the continued evolution of the rules package has not "significantly" impacted tire selection. The big bump, he said, came between '15 and '16 as the initial lower-downforce package was rolled out. "Because that was the plan," he said. "The big step from '15 to '16 (was) 'let's figure out where we land with tires and if we feel like we're in a good spot, even though we’re taking more downforce off as we go to '17, let's leave tires alone.'" But as the cars have evolved and tracks age and undergo repaves, Goodyear continues to monitor the situation and addresses the changing needs. "There are a couple of areas we wanted to work on," he said. "Kansas at the end of last year, obviously we're going to come with a little bit softer left side (tire), because we felt we were in that position even with the '16 package as we went to '17 and less downforce, that was a good move. Obviously Martinsville (was) a different focus, to rubber in the race track. Texas with the repave; Kentucky with a new top coat on now. Las Vegas, trying to generate a little more wear on a surface that generally doesn't create wear. "We had a few things to work on but it wasn't a significant move in grip like I would call the '15 to '16 move. Overall things are pretty stable and we're kind of fine-tuning specific race tracks that we feel like we can help a little bit." There currently are no plans to test at Texas, which was repaved and reconfigured prior to this month's race. Due to time constraints, there was no tire test at the 1.5-mile track. Stucker said officials were pleased with the Texas tire selection, which was the same left-side tire code used by teams at Kentucky in 2016 (Kentucky underwent a similar repave and Goodyear did conduct tire tests prior to that race). The right-side Texas tire featured the same tread compound as Kentucky but with a minor construction change. "You have to be cautious," he said. "With the (Texas) repave, we raced on it right after it was done. It's not going to change significantly as we get into the fall. I think the race track was very happy. … We certainly are. "Again, hat's off to the race track and to SMI for doing everything they could to put some rubber down with the Tire Dragon and trying to work the groove in. I think that was huge. And I think that was complimented with a pretty racy package from what we had."