20 great moments from Auto Club's 20 years
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary Look through 20 great moment's from Auto Club's 20 years in this gallery .
Great Clips extends relationship with Hendrick, No. 5 team
CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 20, 2016) -- Great Clips Inc. will continue its sponsorship of Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team of driver Kasey Kahne in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with a contract extension through 2018. The two-year agreement covers the 2017 and 2018 seasons and secures primary sponsorship of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS for 10 events annually. Great Clips , which joined Hendrick Motorsports as a partner in 2012, also will be a major associate sponsor of the No. 5 team each year. The world's largest salon brand, Great Clips became a first-time Sprint Cup primary sponsor with three races in 2013. The program grew to 10 primary races annually in 2014. "We are very pleased to extend our relationship with Hendrick Motorsports and with Kasey through the 2018 NASCAR season," said Terri Miller, senior vice president of marketing and communications, Great Clips Inc. "Kasey has been a member of the Great Clips family for over 13 years and is a great ambassador of our brand. He embodies the same qualities and values that are synonymous with Great Clips -- loyalty, family, dedication and a passion to succeed. "We have built a successful partnership with Hendrick Motorsports over the last several years that has allowed us to activate and elevate our brand and partner programs to a new level, and we are excited to be able to continue that into the future." Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 36, has earned three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths and five race wins with the No. 5 team. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career victories, 27 pole positions and 165 top-10 finishes in NASCAR's top division. " Great Clips has a very strong culture," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports . "The company cares deeply about relationships with their customers, franchisees, stylists, corporate staff and partners. We’ve enjoyed working together to build an effective program, and it's been terrific to see the Great Clips business grow over that time. We're committed to their success and look forward to the future." Minneapolis-based Great Clips , which has more than 4,000 locations and 1, 200 salon owners who employ 40,000 stylists throughout the United States and Canada, has a long history with Kahne. Since 2003, the company has supported his efforts as both a driver and car owner across multiple racing series. " Great Clips has believed in me throughout my career," Kahne said. "They're a big part of the No. 5 team, and we feel like members of their team, too. It's been an awesome partnership, and I'm grateful for their commitment and support. It means a lot to represent them on and off the track."
Post-Race Reactions: Great Clips 200
Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. react after a thrilling conclusion in Phoenix.
Crafton wins Keystone Light Pole Award at Atlanta
RELATED: Full lineup Matt Crafton won the Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Award on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and will lead the field to green to kick off the Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Driving the No. 88 Toyota, the ThorSport Racing driver soared to the top of the leaderboard with a speed of 179.790 mph. The two-time Camping World Truck Series champion is also the defending race winner and the only previous winner in Saturday's field. John Wes Townley will start second to Crafton in his No. 05 Athenian Motorsports Chevrolet. Christopher Bell , Grant Enfinger and Cameron Hayley complete the top five in the starting lineup. Enfinger led two of the three Truck Series practices on Friday. Norm Benning , Timothy Viens , Ryan Ellis , Korbin Forrister and Jordan Anderson failed to qualify.
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."
Christopher Bell recounts harrowing Daytona wreck
HAMPTON, Ga. -- Time away from the driver's seat is not a friend, not after a barrel roll down Daytona International Speedway 's frontstretch. One week removed from his frightening tumble, Christopher Bell is eager to get on the track again and put his dramatic wreck in the season opener behind him. Bell, who is in his first full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, has flipped sprint cars a time or two, but his crash in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota was a first in stock-car racing. It was different in several ways, including having more time to think about the wreck afterward. "In the open-wheel program, you race 100 races a year so you flip on Saturday and you're back racing on Sunday," the 21-year-old driver said before Friday's NCWTS practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway . "Luckily, we didn't have a huge break where you sit there and ponder it. So I'm looking forward to today and tomorrow to get Daytona behind us and I hope to start fresh." The physics of wrecking in NASCAR are different as well. "The biggest thing about the stock car is it might not hurt as bad because you've got more material around you, but the G forces are say more. I think the biggest thing is you're sitting to the left compared to an open-wheel car, you're sitting in the center of the car so everything is flipping around you. In the stock cars, you're off to the side of the truck, so whenever you start barrel rolling, you know, it's trying to throw you out of the car." Bell did start fresh and fast on Friday, posting the second-fastest speed of 178.816 mph in the Truck Series' first practice for Saturday's Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). He's competing in the truck that Erik Jones drove to the series championship in 2015. And he feels fine. "When I stopped, you got a lot of adrenaline, so I felt really good. … But walking to the ambulance I was pretty dizzy and by the time I got there, I was really dizzy. As far as injuries, other than a little bit of bruising, I mean my face was a little bruised afterwards, but other than that I was fine. The next morning I felt 100 percent until I got out of bed, and once I got out of bed, I realized I couldn't move quite as fast. But after a couple days that was all gone, and I was good to go." Bell is hopeful to keep pushing strong speed into Saturday's race with some solid testing at Atlanta under the team's belt. He got his first win while running seven races for KBM in 2015, taking the checkered flag at Eldora Speedway and is eager for another trip to Victory Lane. But first, Bell is grateful to get back to racing and past the wreck. He said the accident could have been worse if the truck had taken a hard hit to the nose or been hit by another truck rather than dissipating energy as it rolled down the track. "Looking back at it, I saw Larson's crash then Austin Dillon last year," Bell said. "You think, 'That's never going to happen to me. That'll never happen to me.' Then suddenly it is happening to you. Watching it was an eye opener. Even after I went through the crash it didn't sink in, but whenever I got to watching myself flipping, it's like 'Wow, that did happen to me.' It puts it in perspective."
Grant Enfinger tops final practice at Atlanta
Practice 3 " Full results For the second time Friday, Grant Enfinger topped the Camping World Truck Series practice leaderboard at Atlanta Motor Speedway , wheeling his No. 33 Chevrolet at a 178.775 mph clip in the final session. Enfinger, who will make just his second Truck Series start since 2012 this weekend at Atlanta, also paced the field in the opening session this morning. Veteran wheelman Matt Crafton was second-fastest, propelling his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota at 178.00 mph around the 1.54-mile track. Christopher Bell rounded out the top three with a fast lap of 177.938 mph behind the wheel of his No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports ride. GMS Racing's Spencer Gallagher (177.681 mph) and JR Motorsports' Cole Custer (177.635 mph) were fourth and fifth on the speed charts, respectively. A blown tire from Garrett Smithley 's No. 63 truck brought out the red flag briefly. The final leg of the third practice was marked by mock qualifying runs, as the series will qualify Saturday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. ET (FS1) for the Great Clips 200 (4:30 p.m. ET, FS1). Practice 2 " Full results Clocking in at 178.224 mph in his No. 05 Chevrolet, John Wes Townley made a late surge to the top of the leaderboard in the second of Friday's Truck Series practice trio at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Townley was fifth-fastest in opening practice. Daniel Hemric came up second, wheeling his No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford at 177.795 mph around the Georgia track. K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron was third on the charts, his No. 9 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota reaching a top speed of 177.368 mph. Reigning race winner and 2014 Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton was fourth-fastest, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing truck rounding the track at 176.882 mph. Red Horse Racing's Ben Kennedy rounded out the top five with a fast lap of 176.701 mph in his No. 11 ride. Grant Enfinger, who led the opening Truck Series practice, came up 10th on the speed charts, his No. 33 Chevrolet reaching 175.833 mph. Korbin Forrister brought out the caution less than 10 minutes into practice, as his No. 59 truck spun across the track leaving pit road. No contact was made with any other trucks. Practice 1 " Full results Grant Enfinger led the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' opening practice at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday with a high speed of 179.574 mph. The No. 33 driver's fastest speed came on Lap 2 of 20 laps. Last week, Enfinger won the Keystone Light Pole Award for the season-opening race at Daytona. Christopher Bell was second-fastest to Enfinger at 178.816 mph. Bell was involved in a scary last-lap wreck in last week's NextEra Energy Resources 250 that had his No. 4 Toyota lifted off the track and sent barrel-rolling down the frontstretch. Defending race winner Matt Crafton was third-fastest at 178.310 mph. Daniel Hemric (177.858 mph) and John Wes Towny (177.858 mph) tied for fourth-fastest. William Byron was just behind them at 177.493 mph.
Stage lengths for Auto Club weekend
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary RELATED: Full schedule for Auto Club The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series are at Auto Club Speedway this weekend. Below are the stage lengths for each race. Click here to bookmark stage lengths for every race this season. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (Race is Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 60 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 120 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 200 XFINITY Series (Race is Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1) Stage 1: Ends on Lap 35 Stage 2: Ends on Lap 70 Final Stage: Scheduled to end on Lap 150 </p>
Lambert relishes first Monster Energy Series win
BUY TICKETS: Celebrate Auto Club's 20th anniversary MORE: Race results " Post-Phoenix standings Richard Childress Racing crew chief Luke Lambert led Ryan Newman and the No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet team to one of the gutsiest and most popular wins in recent NASCAR history last Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. While most of the race field made a final pit stop with a handful of laps remaining, Lambert told Newman to stay out on track. And the veteran driver made the decision look brilliant leading the final six laps to win his first race since 2013 -- a dramatic win from the pole position at Indianapolis. It was Lambert's first ever Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory as crew chief and came in his 157th Monster Energy Cup Series race atop the box and fourth season working with Newman. Looking at the next few races, Newman has five top-10 finishes in his last seven races at this weekend's venue, the two-mile Auto Club Speedway. He scored wins at Martinsville Speedway in 2012 and Texas Motor Speedway in 2003. Lambert, 34, was understandably optimistic when NASCAR.com caught up with him on Tuesday and feels that this team certainly has the potential to win again … and again before season's end. MORE: Childress, Newman win together " Crew call with the No. 31 team HOLLY CAIN: What a memorable way to get a first win as a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series crew chief? LUKE LAMBERT: It was spectacular for sure. We are thankful for being able to put it all together. It was a good day. CAIN: Now that you've had some time to digest this great win, what has the reaction been like from others? LAMBERT: There's certainly been a lot of very gracious congratulations from a lot of people. A lot of people are giving me a lot of the credit, which I think is not completely all due. Ultimately I'm just one cog in the wheel. Everybody at the company has worked so hard to get us there. I think everyone deserves a lot of pride and exuberance for us to be able to get the victory because it certainly took every one of us." CAIN: The win meant so much to the organization as a whole. How did it feel to do something so important for not only the team but for team owner Richard Childress, whose teams haven't won since 2013 either? LAMBERT: It was almost surreal in a lot of ways. We'd been working tirelessly for so long and felt like we had been making gains and getting closer to that mark. But it's almost as if chasing a moving target because of how competitive the sport is. You hope and plan to reach your goals but you can’t be sure it will happen. It was surreal we were actually able to follow through and really enjoy that moment. I felt like the first few races of the year, we've had great cars. I felt like we've had cars that, in the right circumstances, could win the race. Our car at Atlanta was really strong. The Vegas car was strong. We just fought unforeseen circumstances at both of those races -- electrical at Atlanta and tire at Vegas. I really felt like we've had a lot of momentum with the team but the results on paper weren't really reflecting the direction we were going until Sunday. CAIN: With the change in the points structure, how different does it make your approach for the rest of the season having already secured a win only four races into the schedule? LAMBERT: Ultimately it's still a huge step towards being closer to making it into the championship. Getting our win puts us in a scenario we have not been in for the last few years. It does move our season along a lot faster than in years past. The last couple of years we've been holding onto that points position as our transfer spot into the playoffs so we really had to preserve solid finishes and couldn't take gambles for bonus points. Now, we are really racing for those bonus points, for wins and stage wins. So we can take chances that might sacrifice a solid finish in order to go after stage wins. So that's the scenario we’re in and as a team that will be really fun to race like that. As a team we will try equally as hard as we ever have, it just changes the risk-reward balance and affects some of the decisions we get to make. RELATED: Newman pumped to be back in Victory Lane CAIN: Have you spoken to Ryan post-Victory Lane and how are you two still savoring the win? LAMBERT: We hung out for a while yesterday (Monday) and neither of us had really gotten much sleep. He got like an hour and I actually never laid down Monday night (laughter). We got lunch together today and we were both kinda starting to hit that wall. He was physically exhausted and he was burnt up pretty bad from the heat in the car -- his feet and the backs of his legs actually have some pretty severe burns on them. He was kinda hurting. I was tired. More than anything else, we were elated but exhausted at the same time. We talked about how glad we were to be able to accomplish that, but we also talked about Fontana (Auto Club) and started working on our plans to have a car that could win at Fontana this weekend. CAIN: How does this early success change things going forward for your team and the whole organization? LAMBERT: It absolutely can (change things). The thing about racing, they don't give the checkered flag to the fastest race car. They give the checkered flag to the one that crosses the finish line first. You have to have a really good car to do that. Sometimes the fastest car doesn't. It takes certain circumstances to fall your way and you have to do everything right and get a little fortune along with it for most races. For everything to all come together Sunday, proved and reiterated to our group that we have what it takes. And it changes our position in the playoffs as far as having that win and gives us a little more pep in our step to be able to operate a little more aggressively. Having that early is just a big boost of excitement that I think will propel our season in a really strong direction. &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Nos. 2, 4 teams penalized after violations at Phoenix
RELATED: Details on NASCAR's deterrence system NASCAR levied L1-level penalties against the No. 2 car of Team Penske and the No. 4 car of Stewart-Haas Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series on Wednesday following Sunday's race at Phoenix Raceway. The violation for the No. 2 car is detailed in sections 18.104.22.168.2 of the NASCAR Rule Book (post-race general inspection measurements), and driver Brad Keselowski's fifth-place finish in the Camping World 500 is encumbered, per section 12.10 of the NASCAR Rule Book. Meanwhile, the violation for the No. 4 car is detailed in sections 22.214.171.124 I-4 of the NASCAR Rule Book (track bar mount and supports) and driver Kevin Harvick's sixth-place finish at Phoenix is encumbered. As a result of the violation, No. 2 crew chief Paul Wolfe was fined $65,000 and suspended from the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points races. The team was assessed with the loss of 35 driver points and 35 owner points. Brian Wilson will serve as the No. 2 team's crew chief this weekend at Auto Club Speedway while the team "evaluates our approach relative to today's penalties," Team Penske said in a statement. Appearing on a Wednesday night edition of FS1's "NASCAR Race Hub," Keselowski discussed the impact of not having Wolfe atop the pit box and his history with Wilson. "Well, first off, my crew chief, Paul Wolfe, is an elite crew chief, and I feel really lucky to have him, " Keselowski told the program. "...To lose a guy like that, it definitely hurts. He's a great asset to our team, but this is one of those setbacks that I think every team faces and we're just going to have to get through it. It looks like it’s going to be a handful of races and we’ll do the best we can during that time. "The good thing about Brian Wilson is he comes from the XFINITY side as a crew chief who just won with Joey Logano at Las Vegas. But even before that, he was on the 2 team as the lead engineer, so a lot of knowledge and experience, and we look forward to working together with him." The No. 4 crew chief Rodney Childers was fined $25,000 and suspended from the next Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points race. The team was assessed with the loss of 10 driver and 10 team owner points. On Thursday morning, Stewart-Haas Racing officials said that the organization "has officially requested an appeal hearing regarding the penalties ... and have also requested a deferral of the penalties until the appeal process is complete." The appeal request means that Childers will be allowed to participate in this weekend's race activities at Auto Club. Team Penske also has the option to file an appeal to the National Motorsports Appeals Panel. As of Thursday morning, the team was still evaluating its options. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;g
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