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Post-Race Reactions: Heluva Good ! Sour Cream Dips 400
The top 5 drivers along with an upset Dale Earnhardt Jr. give post-race comments.
Matt Crafton wins Truck race at Charlotte
RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings CONCORD, N.C. -- Matt Crafton had a lot to overcome on Saturday -- a 17th-place starting position and a difficult pit stall that cost him dearly in the early stages of Saturday's North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway . But after 134 laps, Crafton was 5.748 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Busch , winning the race and extending his series lead to 12 points over seventh-place finisher Timothy Peters . In fact, the two-time champion won consecutive races for the first time in his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series career, going back-to-back in successive weeks at Dover and Charlotte. Even though it took Crafton more than half the race to get to the front, he sensed the quality of his ride from the drop of the green flag. "I literally did," Crafton said. "I was like, 'Wow!' This thing was unbelievable from the time we dropped the green. This thing went through (Turns) 1 and 2 -- well, the first original start, everybody got jumbled up and went through (Turns) 1 and 2 and then 3 and 4, and I'm like, 'This thing feels really good right here.' "Then we fell back to the 20s (after pit road issues) at that point and we started driving back through them and I was like, 'Oh, my goodness, these boys are in trouble today.' " The victory was the 13th of Crafton's career, but despite the wide margin of victory, his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 80, when Crafton tracked down Peters and passed him for the top spot. After starting mid-pack, Crafton worked his way forward during the first run but had major issues on pit road, first sliding through his pit box and later getting blocked in his stall. The miscues forced Crafton to pass a gaggle of cars, but by Lap 78 he was fourth for a restart after Christopher Bell 's spin off Turn 4, and two laps later, Crafton had the lead. The advantage grew to more than 8.5 seconds before a cycle of green-flag pit stops for fuel trimmed Crafton's winning margin in the closing laps. Johnny Sauter did an extraordinary job of saving fuel and rolled home third behind Crafton and Busch. Tyler Reddick and Matt Tifft , the latter recently named to the 2016-17 NASCAR Next class, were fourth and fifth, respectively, both on fuel strategy. Spencer Gallagher , Peters, Bell, Daniel Hemric and polesitter William Byron completed the top 10. Busch led 27 laps in the early going but suffered a suspension part failure that caused the handling of his No. 18 Tundra to tighten up. Nor did it help that Busch's team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop on Lap 68, forcing the driver to restart at the rear of the field on Lap 71. "Once we got back in traffic, it just got super, super tight," said Busch, whose Kyle Busch Motorsports organization also owns the trucks driven by Bell, Byron and Daniel Suarez . "Something broke, and after that, it was just laying on the splitter."
O'Donnell: Rules package tweaks at Charlotte were 'absolutely encouraging'
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to give his perspective on the racing during All-Star weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a result of some changes in the aero package.
Goodyear test at Michigan includes possible '17 changes
CONCORD, N.C. -- NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams saw their time cut short this past week during a tire test at Michigan International Speedway , but Goodyear officials said the on-track time was sufficient for the tire supplier's needs. Additionally, NASCAR officials were on hand for the May 17 session to examine the impact of recently announced rule changes for '16 and potential aerodynamic adjustments for the '17 season. Rain around the 2-mile track delayed the start of the test, and returned later, forcing officials to end the session just after 2 p.m. "We were able to run through our stuff pretty quickly and got some long runs in," Greg Stucker, Director of Race Tire Sales for Goodyear, said Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "It was a confirmation test; we weren't going through a lot of different combinations or anything. We just confirmed that what we had taken was the right combination. Everyone was very comfortable with it. "There was plenty of grip; it was cool, but we knew that going in. No surprises. We were real comfortable with everything." Drivers taking part in the test were Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing No. 78 Toyota), Austin Dillon ( Richard Childress Racing No. 3 Chevrolet), Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 Ford) and Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing No. 42 Chevrolet). More cars and warmer track temperatures will be in store when teams return to the Irish Hills for the Firekeepers Casino 400, scheduled for Sunday, June 12. "You know that going in," Stucker said. "But obviously we had to get up there at a certain time to confirm that our production is going to be OK. You don't have a choice. But you rely on a lot of history, understand how the conditions will change and you've got some of that built into your recommendation. You just have to know that going into it." NASCAR officials gathered on-track information on a variety of spoiler, skirt, splitter and deck fin combinations under consideration for next season's package. • This week's rule adjustments involving rear toe and the use of electric fans take downforce and side force away, moves that should give Goodyear more flexibility in tire builds. "If anything it's going in the less grip direction," he said. "So I think it will open up the window a little bit more for the tire package rather than something that's going to make the cars faster and make it harder on tires. It's actually going in the other direction." The rear toe adjustment, which will decrease the amount of skew (slant) in a car's setup, is in place only for this weekend's Sprint All-Star Race at this time. • Stucker said the supplier had confirmed a tire for this year's return to Watkins Glen International following a test there on the recently repaved road course. "Where we landed was actually the (right-side) tire that we raced at Iowa from a compound and construction perspective," he said. "It's a known quantity, which is good for us. We know the compound well. It gave us the performance we felt was where we need to be."
Junior looks to carry All-Star success to the 600
Dale Earnhardt Jr. hopes the success the No. 88 team had in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race follows to the Coca-Cola 600, stating he would like "to win the Coca-Cola 600 before he retires."
Sights and Sounds: Heluva Good ! at the Glen
Watch Marcos Ambrose capture his first Cup Series victory and the rest of the sights and sounds from Watkins Glen .
Student of the sport, Ty Majeski cramming for what's Next
RELATED: NASCAR Next 2016-17 class unveiled " Meet the 2016-17 Next class When Ty Majeski got the call informing him that he'd be part of the new NASCAR Next class of up-and-coming drivers, he was actually hitting the books -- or in his words, "crunching before an exam" -- in his University of Wisconsin-Madison dorm room. For the third-year student pursuing a mechanical engineering degree, it was the perfect study break. "It kind of cut into my studying time," Majeski said with a laugh Wednesday during a gathering with his 2016-17 Next classmates. "But when they called me and said, 'We need you in Charlotte next week,' it was just very surreal." But his debut as a member of NASCAR Next wasn't the only major development in the 21-year-old Majeski's racing career this week. Monday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that they had signed the Wisconsin native to a driver development contract. MORE: Full NASCAR Next coverage The deal helped provide some direction for one of the most talked-about short track racers in the country. Even before Tuesday's announcement, Dale Earnhardt Jr . had identified Majeski as a driver to watch in a tweet, and his name came up again during an appearance by reigning Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "It's definitely been crazy," Majeski said. "Last week at this time, I didn't think we were going to announce the Roush Fenway deal. I think there was kind of some media buzz a bit -- Kyle Busch talked about me on (SiriusXM) NASCAR Radio and I think Roush Fenway wanted to announce it, and it lit a fire under them to get that out there, which is all good . Definitely been a surreal week, and just kind of weird that it wound up panning out that way." As part of the deal, Majeski will drive five ARCA Series races for Roulo Bros. Racing, the same team that helped groom Chris Buescher for a career in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. That partial schedule will mesh with continuing school work, his Super Late Model slate and competition in the ARCA Midwest Tour, where he's won two championships. His accomplishments -- including Super Late Model triumphs this year in the New Smyrna World Series and the Rattler -- might make it tempting to forgo a college education to focus full-time on racing. But Majeski is following in the footsteps of another Wisconsonite -- former premier-series champion Alan Kulwicki -- in earning his degree. "It goes both directions," says Majeski, who participated in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program last season. "I've got to have something to fall back on. Obviously, nothing's for certain in this sport. We see it every day that things change by the day. You're never locked into anything and I need to have something to fall back on. I've always wanted to be involved in racing, so if it doesn't pan out, I'm hoping to be an engineer for a team someday and keep racing in my life."
Five drivers get first look at repaved Watkins Glen
RELATED: See The Glen before and after the repave Five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and their teams will be the first to roll out onto Watkins Glen International following the track's off-season repaving project this week when they participate in a Goodyear tire test scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kasey Kahne ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Trevor Bayne ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Carl Edwards ( Joe Gibbs Racing ) and Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) are scheduled to take part in the test. WGI is one of only two road courses hosting Sprint Cup Series events. Sonoma Raceway will host the Toyota/Save Mart 350 June 24-26 while the WGI event, the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen , is scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 5-7. The entire 3.4-mile layout at WGI has been repaved, although NASCAR events are contested on the shorter 2.45-mile portion of the track, avoiding the area of the layout known as " the boot." It is the first complete repave of the facility since 1989 and cost approximately $12 million. In addition to the resurfacing of the race track, workers also poured new concrete on pit road, completed electrical work, installed concrete rumble strips in the turns and finished grading and grassing along the track's perimeter. According to weather reports for the Watkins Glen area, temperatures are expected to be in the high 60s to low 70s Tuesday and Wednesday with a zero percent chance of precipitation. Logano is the defending race winner for the Cheez-It 355 . WGI is also scheduled to host an organization test for Sprint Cup Series teams July 26-27. Under NASCAR's Unified Testing policy, only one team per organization is allowed to participate in those tests. Other organizational tests are scheduled this year for Kentucky Speedway (June 13-14), Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 12-13), Chicagoland Speedway (Aug. 23-24) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (Oct. 18-19).
From The Vault: Stewart gets first win as Driver for SHR
Tony Stewart got his first win for Stewart-Haas Racing in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in dramatic fashion, by passing Matt Kenseth in the closing laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Daytona wins Facility of the Year at Sports Business Awards
RELATED: Daytona through the years Daytona International Speedway won Facility of the Year at the 2016 SportsBusiness Journal Sports Business Awards, held Wednesday night at the Marriott Marquis in New York City's Time Square. The win came as a result of its $400-million Daytona Rising project. The world's first motorsports stadium was unveiled at the 2016 Daytona 500 as the sell-out crowd witnessed Denny Hamlin win by the closest margin of victory in the race's history. Daytona International Speedway beat out the San Jose Earthquakes' Avaya Stadium, Kansas State's Bill Snyder Stadium, Texas A&M's Kyle Field and the San Diego Padres' Petco Park for the accolade. " The incredible transformation of our flagship facility would not have been possible without the hard work and support of our employees, fans, partners, and the entire NASCAR industry," said International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy. "I'm so proud of Joie Chitwood and the Daytona International Speedway and ISC team. They truly earned this prestigious award." It is beautiful! pic.twitter.com/jcfFJ0rnic — Lesa Kennedy (@LesaISC) May 19, 2016 The evening saw many members of the NASCAR industry nominated, including: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France (Executive of the Year), NASCAR (League of the Year), Darlington's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Event of the Year) and Dale Earnhardt Jr . (Social Media in Sports) Daytona Rising, which broke ground in 2013, produced five expanded and redesigned fan entrances called "injectors," three new concourse levels for fans that span the frontstretch of the track, 40 new escalators, 17 elevators and 60 new trackside suites. The project also created 11 football field-sized social "neighborhoods" filled with video screens, widened 101,500 stadium seats, doubled the number of restrooms and tripled concessions and merchandise points of sale to deliver a more convenient fan experience. The impact of the upgraded facility transcends sports. Daytona Rising's economic impact provides 6,300 new jobs, $300 million in labor income and more than $85 million in new tax revenue. A plethora of companies have agreed to naming rights deals with Daytona International Speedway , including Toyota, Florida Hospital, Chevrolet, Sunoco and Axalta. Remarkably, the facility remained open for business throughout the almost three-year period it took to rebuild its nearly mile-long fronstretch. During this time, the facility held two NASCAR events, the 2016 Rolex 24, 2015 Bike Week and hundreds of civic and social gatherings. Launched in 2008 by SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily, the Sports Business Awards recognize leaders and visionaries who personify excellence in the business of sports. The nominees were judged by their achievements from March 1, 2015 through Feb. 29, 2016.