Trio of NASCAR Hall of Famers named Darlington grand marshals
Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin , all of whom will be inducted into the 2017 class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, will serve as Grand Marshals for the Bojangles’ Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 4. All three will give the command to start engines accompanied by Bojangles' CEO Clifton Rutledge. Childress, Hendrick and Martin's involvement in the Bojangles' Southern 500 further enhances the track's throwback platform of celebrating the history and heritage of the sport. Childress and Hendrick are two of the most successful owners in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series history. " Darlington Raceway is one of my favorite racetracks. I remember going there when I was very young and seeing some of my heroes race there," Childress said. "Now, it's really neat to say that I'm going to be the grand marshal for the race, and I couldn't think of two better people to do it alongside of than Mark Martin and Rick Hendrick. The race weekend is already special enough with the 'throwback' theme, but this will make it that much more special." Childress and his team, Richard Childress Racing , have posted 105 NSCS wins since he founded the team in 1969. His team has recorded 472 top-five NSCS finishes and won 12 national series championships, which is second all-time in the sport's history. RCR is the first organization to win championships in all three of NASCAR's national series. Much of his success came with driver Dale Earnhardt, who won 67 career Cup races for RCR, including eight victories at Darlington Raceway . Hendrick, founder of Hendrick Motorsports in 1984, owns an all-time record 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car owner championship titles -- six with Jimmie Johnson , four with Jeff Gordon and one with Terry Labonte . Hendrick also has 14 total NASCAR national series owner championships, which is most in NASCAR history. His drivers have won 242 NSCS races with 1,000 top-five finishes. He has 14 NASCAR Cup wins at Darlington Raceway , including seven with Gordon. Johnson's victory at Darlington in 2012 gave Hendrick his 200th career NSCS win in the sport. "Darlington is very special to me, and I'm so grateful to the track for this honor," Hendrick said. "It’s still sinking in that I'm a part of such an incredible Hall of Fame class. Richard and Mark are great friends and competitors, and it means a lot to share these experiences with them." In a 31-year career, Martin won 40 career NASCAR Cup races, including the 1993 and 2009 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . He also won eight NASCAR XFINITY Series races at Darlington, which is still the most in series history. "It is my honor to be co-grand marshal for the Bojangles' Southern 500 with two of my heroes," said Martin. "Richard Childress and Rick Hendrick are two of my favorite people in racing. I'm also looking forward to being inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame with them, along with Benny Parsons and Raymond Parks in January." Rutledge, who has served as Bojangles' CEO for the past three years, will say the command alongside three of the sports legends. Rutledge gave the command with 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Terry Labonte before last year's Bojangles' Southern 500 . "I am blessed to represent Bojangles' and give the command to start the Bojangles' Southern 500 alongside three legends of the sport, Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Mark Martin ," Rutledge said. "Bojangles' is proud to be the entitlement partner of the Southern 500, a partnership we've enjoyed since 2012." The Famous Chicken 'n' Biscuits restaurant chain has more than 680 locations throughout the Southeast. Bojangles' has the naming rights to the Southern 500 through the 2019 season. The NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions ceremonies will take place in January of 2017 in Charlotte, N.C. The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 ® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016. Tickets are still available for all events.
Caution Clock expires for first time in Truck Series history
RELATED: Smith talks Caution Clock HAMPTON, Ga. -- Time became a new factor in NASCAR for the first time on Saturday, with the Caution Clock coming into play twice in the Camping World Truck Series Great Clips 200 . The first competition yellow on Lap 38 caused issues for Christopher Bell in terms of tire strategy. The second competition caution as the 20-minute clock expired also was tied to issues for Bell, but under the surface, was playing into every team's pit and tire strategy at Atlanta Motor Speedway . NASCAR introduced the caution clock in 2016, starting at Daytona International Speedway . A 20-minute timer begins counting down at the beginning of each green-flag run. If no natural caution occurs before the clock runs out, a caution will come out, giving teams the opportunity to pit, change tires and make adjustments. The Caution Clock yellow on Lap 38 came at exactly the wrong time for Bell, who was running second when a flat right front forced him to pit road on Lap 27. The team got off tire strategy as the rest of the field capitalized on four fresh tires on the race's first restart. The No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota team got back on sequence with the field when William Byron's engine blew on Lap 60, bringing out the second caution of the race. He quickly moved back into the top five and was battling Matt Crafton for the lead by Lap 92. The second Caution Clock yellow proved costly for Bell as well, but much more so for Matt Crafton and Daniel Suarez . Bell overshot his pit stall with the setting sun in his eyes and had to be backed up, losing valuable time and falling to fifth place for the restart on Lap 111. That put Bell behind Crafton and Daniel Suarez for the restart, and as Bell aggressively pushed to regain the lead, he made contact with his teammate's No. 51 Tundra. That sparked a hard wreck that took out Crafton and Suarez, but Bell snuck through. "We just had a tough day," Suarez said after being released from the infield care center. "We had the fastest truck." MORE: Crafton, Suarez involved in big wreck at Atlanta Bell's luck ran out a few laps later as his right front tire went down, sending his Toyota hard into the outside wall. Cameron Hayley was one of the drivers who got through that late wreck unscathed, and despite his own right front tire issues finished second. Hayley said after the race that the Caution Clock affected all the teams Saturday, as it played heavily into tire strategy. "It was definitely difficult. The tire was giving up really bad in the right front for a lot of us," Haley explained, saying the No. 13 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't have a tire go down, but did have two right fronts wear all the way down to the cords. "The thing with that Caution Clock was everyone was trying to make it to that Caution Clock, and today the tire just almost didn't make it to those 20 minutes," Hayley said. "So the challenge was we had to get there when we wanted to pit sooner."
GarageCam is ready to rumble in 'The Last Great Colosseum'
Host Matthew Dillner strolls through the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage at Bristol Motor Speedway to talk about the challenges of 'The Last Great Colosseum'.
John Hunter Nemechek wins wild Atlanta Truck race
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings HAMPTON, Ga. – In a wild race that saw some of the best trucks in the field destroyed before the finish, John Hunter Nemechek held off Cameron Hayley in a two-lap dash to the checkers to win Saturday's Great Clips 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway . But it was a skull session with 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick the night before that was instrumental in guiding Nemechek to victory in his unsponsored No. 8 Chevrolet. "I've got to give a shout-out," said Nemechek, who was racing at AMS for the first time. "I can't thank Kevin Harvick enough. I went and sat with him for about 30 minutes to an hour last night, trying to learn everything I could." Obviously, the lesson paid off. After extensive cleanup from Christopher Bell 's hard crash into the Turn 4 wall, Nemechek chose the inside line for a restart on Lap 199 of 200 . When John Wes Townley spun his tires in the outside lane, Nemechek pulled away to beat Hayley to the stripe by .305 seconds. The victory was Nemechek's second in 32 Truck Series starts and his second on a 1.5-mile intermediate speedway, the first coming last year at Chicagoland Speedway . At 18 years, 8 months and 16 days, Nemechek is the youngest NASCAR national series winner at Atlanta. Before the family-owned team with a shoestring budget could get to Victory Lane, however, attrition took care of the drivers who led the majority of laps leading up to the finish. Two corners after a restart on Lap 112 — following the race's second expiration of the 20-minute caution clock — Bell lost the nose of his No. 4 Toyota, hooked Kyle Busch Motorsports teammate Daniel Suarez 's No. 51 Tundra and turned Suarez into race leader Matt Crafton , who had spent 76 circuits at the front of the field. MORE: Caution Clock expires for first time in CWTS " Bell triggers big wreck The trucks of Crafton and Suarez were damaged beyond repair, leaving Bell, who lead 42 of the 130 laps, to grab the top spot after the subsequent restart on Lap 116. Bell pulled away, but on Lap 123, a tire rub resulting from the earlier contact finally popped the right front, and Bell’s Toyota swerved straight into the outside wall in Turn 4. Behind Nemechek and Hayley, Timothy Peters came home third, followed by Daniel Hemric and Grant Enfinger, respectively. Nemechek was circumspect about the circumstances surrounding his conversation with Harvick, but the information he received was clearly valuable. "That's kind of a secret," said Nemechek, who got pit crew help from Jimmie Johnson 's No. 48 Sprint Cup team. "But Kevin's one of the best racers here in Atlanta, so I had to ask him. He's very good at conserving tires, very good at winning races here, so to go and talk to him was very special." Nemechek also got advice from his father and team owner Joe Nemechek , who won a NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Atlanta in 2001. Eighth-place finisher Parker Kligerman took the lead in the series standings by one point over Hemric and three over Nemechek. The afternoon proved expensive for Kyle Busch , who as a driver won the first leg of the Saturday doubleheader in the XFINITY Series race, only to lose three trucks as an owner in the nightcap. In addition to the wrecked trucks of Bell and Suarez, Busch also had to write off the engine of William Byron, which blew on lap 59, with Byron running second.
Bell hits wall while leading at Atlanta
Christopher Bell gets loose and runs into the wall while leading in the Great Clips 200 .
Nemechek celebrates second career NCWTS win
John Hunter Nemechek talks in Victory Lane after winning the Great Clips 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Starting lineup for Zippo 200 at The Glen
See the full lineup for the XFINITY Series Zippo 200 at The Glen -- Watkins Glen International.
OneMain extends sponsorship with JRM, Sadler
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 24, 2016) – OneMain, America's premier consumer finance company, has signed a multi-year extension to continue its sponsorship of Elliott Sadler and the No. 1 JR Motorsports race team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, JRM General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller announced today. OneMain will receive primary branding on Sadler's No. 1 car for 20 races in 2017. It will mark the seventh year of partnership between OneMain and Sadler, the current NASCAR XFINITY Series points leader. "We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Elliott Sadler and JR Motorsports," said OneMain Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bob Hurzeler. "After further evaluation of the program, we felt this relationship was a perfect fit for our company. Elliott has been an outstanding ambassador for OneMain and we look forward to our continued success with Elliott and JRM, on and off the track.”" The announcement all but solidifies JR Motorsports' driver line-up in 2017. JRM will compete for a championship with full-time entries for three drivers – Sadler, Justin Allgaier and William Byron. JRM will enter a fourth car on a select-race basis. "Elliott and OneMain are integral pieces to the make-up of our company," said Earnhardt Miller. "Elliott's talent speaks for itself, but what’s more, his experience and leadership is completely necessary for our younger guys. He brings a professionalism and charisma that permeates our entire organization, and I think he brings it to OneMain as well. I'm glad they have decided to come back with their sponsorship. We've got many things to accomplish together." Sadler has undergone a resurgence in his first year at JR Motorsports. He currently leads the NXS point standings and is preparing to compete in the first-ever NXS Chase format. This year Sadler has one win (Talladega), seven top fives, and a series-leading 19 top-10 finishes in 22 starts. A veteran racer, Sadler has 15 victories across NASCAR’s top-three series. He has been an NXS regular since 2011, twice producing runner-up finishes in the championship point standings (2011-12). "This is a dream come true for me," said Sadler, 41, from Emporia, Virginia. "OneMain is a great partner and we're fortunate to have this stability moving forward to compete for race wins and championships for years to come. I'm as energized as I've ever been."
Teams beat the weather to test at Chicagoland
Weather concerns forced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams to cram two days of testing into a single day Tuesday at Chicagoland Speedway as they prepare for the upcoming Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup 's opening race next month. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 400 is scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The organizational test, which permits one team per organization to participate, was originally scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kevin Harvick , the 2014 series champion, recorded the top lap time during Tuesday's day-long test with the No. 4 Chevrolet circling the 1.5-mile track in 29.147 seconds (185 mph). Defending series champion Kyle Busch had the second best lap in No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 29.24 seconds (184.6 mph) while Ryan Blaney ( Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford) and Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing No. 31 Chevrolet) had the third and fourth quickest times, respectively. Fourteen teams took part in the test. Harvick completed 222 laps, most among those taking part in the test, while Busch logged 214 according to NASCAR timing and scoring data. "We haven't won here in a few years but I think the performance has been fine over the past two or three years," Harvick, winner of the first two Sprint Cup races hosted by the track," said Tuesday. "I'm looking forward to coming back; it's a fun race track just for the fact that you can move around and run all around the race track. That's really the hardest part about today, it's hard to gather a lot of … confirmed information (because) you have to get enough rubber from the bottom to the top of the track to see where everything actually is." Joey Logano finished sixth in last year's Chase opener at Chicago. It's a race that sets the tone for the 10-race playoff, the driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Ford said. "A lot on the line here and you always want to start off the Chase on a good note and have a lot of momentum leaving Chicago," Logano said. "So far so good. … "This is a great track; to me it almost acts like a small Fontana for us. You can run anywhere you want on the race track, its got a lot of speed and it's bumpy. Its got a ton of character." One more organizational test remains for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams, scheduled for Oct. 18-19 at Homestead Miami Speedway. While Sprint Cup teams were testing at Chicagoland, several Camping World Truck Series teams were busy at New Hampshire Motor Speedway Monday and Tuesday. Kyle Busch Motorsports teammates William Byron, Christopher Bell and Cody Coughlin , along with Kaz Grala (GMS Racing) and Stewart Friesen (Halmar Racing) were on hand to test in preparation for the Truck Series' opening Chase race, the UNOH 175 (Sept. 24, 1 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). "This is one of my favorite race tracks," Byron, the series' points leader and winner of five races this season, said. "I won here in the K&N Series last year so think I have a lot of confidence here. "It's good to come back with a truck; it handles totally different but it's the same race track. I'm trying to use some of the things I learned last year and hopefully make that apply for when we come back in the Chase." The inaugural Chase in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series begins at New Hampshire and will feature a field of eight drivers competing for the 2016 championship.
Michigan gives final sneak peek at proposed '17 aero package
The prospective 2017 aerodynamic rules package for NASCAR's premier series will receive what likely will be its final dress rehearsal this weekend at Michigan International Speedway . NASCAR officials announced the move July 28, one month ahead of Sunday's Pure Michigan 400 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM). The 400-mile race is expected to be the last step before NASCAR's competition department delivers final, formal aero rules to teams as preparations for next season begin. The rules at the 2-mile track this weekend will be a repeat of what the series competed with earlier this year in a 400-mile event won by Joey Logano . The rules are designed to reduce the over-stabilizing effects of downforce and sideforce with smaller spoilers, fewer cooling fans, and a neutral body alignment that eliminates rear axle offset, or "skew." The Sprint Cup Series began the season with a five-stage process for testing and validating the potential 2017 rules setup. With last month's announcement, there's an unexpected sixth stage, intended to help competition officials accumulate more data and feedback before finalizing the package. Similar incarnations of the package went through testing at Michigan (May 17) and Kentucky Speedway (June 13-14) before being used in race conditions at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 21), Michigan (June 12) and Kentucky (July 9). Competition officials have indicated they do not intend to adjust aero rules for any of the 10 races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, which begin Sept. 18 at Chicagoland Speedway . The reduction of downforce and other aerodynamic stability has been an evolving philosophy during the last two seasons. The guiding principles behind the trends involve placing more control and input into the drivers' hands, and promoting side-by-side racing by minimizing the advantages of undisturbed, "clean" air for leading cars. Last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway , several drivers mentioned their desire for further testing of the package at more varied tracks before the 2017 rules are decided. Carl Edwards , winner of the series' two most recent Coors Light Pole Awards, still said he was encouraged by the push toward lower downforce, saying, "I think that the less we have, the better." "Michigan is a tough place because even though we're reducing downforce, there is still a lot of it, but it's a very high-speed track so any aero changes, they are magnified there," Edwards added. "Hopefully the track has aged some there. It's a little hotter the second time back and there's a little more rubber down, and hopefully it provides a really good race. "I hope it's a good test of that package. You test it at a new repave like Kentucky and you test it at a really, really fast single-groove track right now like Michigan and it's really hard to gauge where it's at, but I really applaud NASCAR trying and going that direction. I think what you've seen this year with all the great racing and the passing and all that is due in large part to the reduced downforce. If we can keep going that way, it's going to be good." </p>