Podcast explores Darlington's throwback paint schemes and more
@nascarcasm imagines Menard's Facebook page after his XFINITY win RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
RELATED: Darlington throwback schemes " Fired up for throwback race It's 1.366 miles of character-testing asphalt; a track so demanding it required not one nickname, but two. The Lady in Black. Too Tough to Tame. Welcome to Darlington Raceway , host for six and a half decades of one of the most anticipated, most difficult events on the NASCAR schedule. The Bojangles' Southern 500 returns to what many believe is its rightful place on the Sprint Cup Series schedule, Labor Day weekend, with history in tow. That history will be on display as the track and various teams adhere to a throwback theme, part of a five-year program that launches this weekend. "I remember that 1968 Southern win that was on the old (layout); I wouldn't take anything for that win and then went on to win five Southern 500s," NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Cale Yarborough said recently. "I just have so many fond memories of racing here. Even though I had rather win here than anywhere else -- because it's home, it's the first superspeedway -- I absolutely hated to drive this place. It was just so tough to drive. But I still would rather win here than anywhere." Yarborough, a three-time champion and member of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, hails from nearby Timmonsville, South Carolina. He made his first Darlington start in 1957 as a teenager. More than 20 years later, he became the first driver to win five Southern 500 titles. "I was definitely in over my head," Yarborough said of that first start, which came with car owner Bob Weatherly. "But I came back and won five times and that record stood for 30 years. When Jeff Gordon tied my record (in 2002), I told him, 'Jeff, you've got a long way to go son. Because you never won one on that old Darlington race track.' "This is a unique place. There's not another one like it. I think any driver would love to have a win at Darlington on his resume." • • • Fast Fact I: In 1965, Ned Jarrett won the Southern 500 by a whopping 14 laps, the largest margin of victory ever recorded in NASCAR's premier series. • • • The story goes that after purchasing the land for the track, owner Harold Brasington was instructed that he wasn't to disturb a nearby minnow pond when constructing NASCAR's first paved speedway. What resulted was a layout that features two vastly different ends of the facility, giving the track a somewhat egg-shaped appearance. The unique design, along with the application of what was known as "bear grease," resulted in yet another piece of NASCAR terminology -- the Darlington stripe. Cars would often ricochet off the wall as they skirted along the very edge of the outside racing groove . Because of laws that restricted certain types of commerce on Sunday, the Southern 500 was contested on Labor Day, the first Monday of September, annually from 1950 through 1983. "I guess what they had in South Carolina at the time were what they called Blue laws. We couldn't run on Sunday," Dale Inman, winner of seven championships as a crew chief for Richard Petty and eight championships overall, said. "We'd practice three or four days, practice on Saturday and then we didn't do anything on Sunday. Then we'd come back and run Labor Day. "Golly, while we were gone they'd paint the track in bear grease, so when we started the race it was just a different world for awhile." The appeal was obvious. Not only was Darlington the first big paved track in NASCAR's realm, but the purse in the early years was equally impressive as well. "The first time I went there I think was 1951," Inman said. "Lord, in those years they started them three abreast. They didn't use the banking, or very few used it. It was just unheard of at that time." Petty won three times at Darlington, including the 1967 Southern 500. But the race that stands out in Inman's mind came three years later in the spring event. The track, already known as one of the most treacherous on the circuit, lived up to its billing when Petty's blue No. 43 Plymouth came off Turn 4, broke loose and struck the inside pit wall with such force that it destroyed the concrete barrier. Petty's car flipped violently before coming to rest on its roof. "When we got to him, (the car) was ... in the middle of the race track and cars were still going by on both sides," Inman said. "We unhooked the seatbelt, he kind of came down pretty hard on the roof because he was laying upside down. "Until he groaned we didn't think he was still with us. But he did groan so we knew he was OK. The big thing was his shoulder was out of place. It knocked him out." Darlington favored no one. Not even NASCAR's soon to be King. • • • Fast Fact II: In 1976, David Pearson won NASCAR's version of the Triple Crown by capturing the Daytona 500 , the World 600 and Southern 500. • • • "Bear grease" is no longer a part of track preparation, but the Darlington stripe remains very much in evidence. When track officials moved the start/finish line to what had previously been the backstretch in 1997, the difficulty in navigating the cantankerous old circuit remained unchanged. Turn 1 didn't become any easier simply because it was now Turn 3. "You don't go to race tracks ... going, 'Man, I've got to beat this track,' " Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . said. "The track's not even a factor, not even a part of the conversation. ... But when you go to Darlington, the track is a competitor. The track becomes as big of a challenge as trying to beat the next guy in front of you or outrunning your peers. "Darlington is one of the few ovals that can reach out and grab you if you're not paying attention or being careful. Most of the tracks we go to you won't really run into the wall or spin out unless you have a failure on the car. Here, if you don't watch every corner, every little thing you do ... that challenge of it, how hard it is and the odds are so bad to come here and get a win, you're up against so much more. I think that's what adds to the appreciation for what it means to win here." • • • Fast Fact III: The movie "Days of Thunder" starring Tom Cruise debuts in 1990. Cruise's character, Cole Trickle, scores his first NASCAR win at Darlington Raceway . Naturally. • • • At the close of the 1984 season, then series sponsor RJ Reynolds, through its Winston brand, unveiled what was known as the Winston Million, a program that offered a $1 million bonus to any driver winning three of the series "Big Four" events -- the Daytona 500 , the Winston 500 at Talladega Superspeedway , the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. Previously, only two drivers had won three of the four races in a single season -- LeeRoy Yarbrough (1969) and Pearson (1976). In the first year of the Winston Million program, Bill Elliott came to Darlington having won two of the first three, at Daytona and Talladega. In the Southern 500, the future Hall of Famer had to nimbly avoid a spin by Dale Earnhardt and a smoking Yarborough entry in the latter stages of the race to seal the victory. It was a career-defining moment for the Dawsonville, Georgia native, earning him the nickname "Million Dollar Bill." It wasn't until 1997 before another driver collected the bonus, again with a victory in the Southern 500. Hendrick Motorsports driver Jeff Gordon held off a tremendous charge by Jeff Burton in the final two laps to pocket the bonus in the final year of the program. • • • Fast Fact IV : Johnny Mantz won only one NASCAR premier series event -- the inaugural Southern 500 held Sept. 4, 1950. The race featured a 75-car starting lineup and took more than six hours to complete. • • • Former crew chief Ray Evernham guided Gordon to four consecutive Southern 500 wins from 1995 through 1998. The most memorable win? "The million dollar win," Evernham said without hesitation. "Because we did not have a car to win that day. "We won that as a team and driver; we kept working on the car. I think we made 16 pit stops that day. "The car was basically destroyed -- front clip bent, rear clip bent, door bars ... we just stayed after it and won that race and we really shouldn't have. But we did." Evernham won 47 races as a crew chief for Gordon, with victories coming at nearly every stop on the schedule, including Daytona, Charlotte and Indianapolis. But Darlington, he said, holds a special place. "I love this place," he said. "It's still my favorite track. It challenged me. I could make a difference as a chassis person -- that's different from being a crew chief. "I loved making the car handle. The springs, the shocks, getting all that stuff right. You could make changes here. This is like a damn dirt track. You have to chase it. You chase it all day long -- 500 miles, five hours sometimes, you chase this race track. "You had to have a tough driver and a great pit crew. Our wins here to me are some of our best wins because we really won those races as a group. Jeff had to be the best, I had to be the best, the crew had to be the best. This place, to run as hard and as long as you do here, everything had to be just right. And when I look back at Darlington, they're some of the most satisfying wins that I had as a crew chief." MORE: Photos, facts about Darlington
Michigan race winner discusses his family's jam song and more RELATED: Kenseth wins at Michigan Matt Kenseth dominated on the track on Sunday to win the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway and his six-year-old daughter, Kaylin, had a predetermined family celebration planned out. Appearing on "The Dan Patrick Show," Kenseth told the host just how he celebrated after his third victory of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the celebration involved that catchy Kool & The Gang classic hit. (You know, you know it.) Let's let Kenseth describe the scene involving the whole family. "Katie was there. My three little girls were there, which was fun, so they got to go to Victory Lane. We were at the race track for a really long time so I have this radio station in my car when I take my girls to school that we always listen to and its called 'Kids Classic Hits' and you have all these songs come on. It's like old pop stuff but it's kind of for kids and so they like Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' believe it or not. "And Kaylin’s like, 'if you ever win a race dad, we listen to 'Celebration' on the way home.' So we all got in the rental car and I found 'Celebration' on my phone and we were all singing to that on the way to the airport. So that was our celebration." Patrick was amazed by the thought of the 2003 Cup champion singing and pressed for some details. "Yeah it was pretty funny. They usually got me trying to sing Taylor Swift, which was slightly embarrassing for me since I've always liked metal. Kool & The Gang 'Celebration' was kind of better than that." And while Matt may like metal, it's been Taylor Swift jams that have been flowing in the Kenseth household. "Metallica has always been my all-time favorite band. I like a little bit of everything. I don't get to listen to my genre of music as much as I used to. "Lately, my four-and-six-year-old (daughters Grace and Kaylin) have been extremely addicted to Taylor Swift music so I have that in my head way more than I wish I would but that's better than having Yo Gabba Gabba! in your head."
Racing community sounds off on Sunday night's awards show MTV's Video Music Awards show on Sunday night was a spectacle, to say the least. While there were a few shining moments -- we're looking at you, Tori Kelly -- the majority of the night was simply full of outrageousness. From host Miley Cyrus' outlandish outfits to singer Kayne West's long-winded speech and declaration of 2020 presidential candidacy, the awards show left eyes wide and mouths agape, with an occasional nervous chortle slipping through the shock. And the NASCAR community was not immune -- especially Ricky Stenhouse Jr . This @MTVVideoAward pre show is making me want to scratch my eyes out and put some ear plugs in... ( @DanicaPatrick ) — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) August 31, 2015 Got back from dinner with tv on the VMA's. #ChangedtoFootball — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) August 31, 2015 I remember when "Achy Breaky Heart" came out and we thought THAT was the worst thing Billy Ray Cyrus would ever create. #vmas — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) August 31, 2015 Good thing I've got something way better to watch than this garbage show thanks @SpeedShiftTV pic.twitter.com/El1wFVqT7W — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) August 31, 2015 Well I just don't get it #MTVVMAs — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) August 31, 2015 And for the record... I had a boy. WTH is with these girls and their outfits???? Leave a lil something to the imagination! #classitup — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) August 31, 2015 Thought I was done... Such a weirdo .."bro listen to the kids".. Making zero sense. I've always believed in myself not sure about him #VMAs — Ricky Stenhouse Jr . (@StenhouseJr) August 31, 2015 Don't do drugs kids. #kanyewest — Brian Scott (@bscottracing) August 31, 2015 Poor Billy Ray #MTVVMAs — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) August 31, 2015 See what @Chris_Buescher has to say about last night's #VMAs ! pic.twitter.com/sbf2f5rMVp — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 31, 2015 Despite all the Miley and Kanye-bashing, there was some love for America's sweetheart -- and Denny Hamlin 's favorite -- Taylor Swift. @DeLanaHarvick All I have to say is Thank God for Taylor Swift, and that she is more popular with all the girls than the others! — Nikki Krone (@NKrone) August 31, 2015 I have to agree with you... She seems to have it together. #positiverolemodel http://t.co/1K3Jn43HEW — DeLana Harvick (@DeLanaHarvick) August 31, 2015 And then there's Kenny Wallace , who dared to be different in the Twitterverse. LOL I am pretty sure the only way you all know about @MileyCyrus is you "Tuned into" the #VMAs2015 and that was your choice. — Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) August 31, 2015 Seriously? Have any of you watched @MileyCyrus "Sit Down" interviews? She is a carbon copy of @Madonna and some "I guess" have forgot? — Kenny Wallace (@Kenny_Wallace) August 31, 2015 Pretty sure Ryan Reed got it right, though -- never thought we'd say it, but thank goodness for Monday. I'm really excited for when my timeline isn't filled with vma tweets. — Ryan Reed (@driverRyanReed) August 31, 2015
Beware the consequences of breaking JJ's bike and blaming it on him RELATED: NASCAR driver preps for race ... on a bike? Remember last week when Dale Earnhardt Jr . tweeted that he borrowed a bike from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson , only to have that bike quit shifting on him a mile into his ride? At the time, Junior included the popular (sometimes sarcastic) hashtag, #BlameJJ. RELATED: Junior borrows, breaks Jimmie's bike Well ... Johnson felt he had to investigate exactly what happened. Turns out -- Junior wasn't using the shifter correctly. So I've come to find out @dalejr wasn't operating the shifter correctly on the bike he borrowed... Feel free to to harass him at anytime. — Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 25, 2015 Shoulda read the directions https://t.co/SVYpecQpsa — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 25, 2015 I assumed @JimmieJohnson would be using the voice command shifter. He needs to get on that. https://t.co/a419tpzbdJ — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) August 25, 2015 @nascarcasm had a pretty good suggestion. . @JimmieJohnson @DaleJr Please just get a tandem. pic.twitter.com/wk8GZ1t5Cz — nascarcasm (@nascarcasm) August 25, 2015 All of this is really to say two things. 1. Feel free to poke fun at Junior. Jimmie gave you permission. And, more importantly ... 2. Never borrow something from Jimmie Johnson , because if you break it, he will publicly out you to his over 920,000 Twitter followers.
Drivers sporting alter egos at the Wisconsin road course Ladies and gentlemen, meet Raymond Wiggles. My cousin, Raymond Wiggles is filling in for me this weekend! pic.twitter.com/LzNmaFmz9y — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) August 28, 2015 So, uh, Roush Fenway Racing driver Darrell Wallace Jr. and Team Penske driver Ryan Blaney are looking a little different this weekend at Road America, site of Saturday's Road America 180 Fired Up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Ryan @Blaney and @BubbaWallace are looking good @roadamerica this morning. pic.twitter.com/1HhbUyZ7HU — Team Penske (@Team_Penske) August 28, 2015 Bubba had to teach his friend Ryan Blaney how to tie a tie this morning pic.twitter.com/HRSc0NDtTv — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 Looking good, @BubbaWallace ! pic.twitter.com/R4r1K67jQs — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015 There's very little context for why, exactly, the two drivers are dressed the way they are, but here are a few shots in the dark. 1. Bubba and Blaney thought Darlington was this weekend and only packed their retro throwback outfits. 2. They heard "Anchorman 3" was shooting in Wisconsin, of all places. 3. They each lost bets -- to each other. 4. They got kicked out of a dairy tour for eating too much cheese, but needed disguises so they could sneak back in ... to eat more cheese. Whatever the reason, Bubba eventually removed his getup. You know, because he had to get behind the wheel of a race car. All good things must come to an end. @BubbaWallace removes the mustache, but his wig stays. pic.twitter.com/e6unEZUh1n — Roush Fenway Racing (@roushfenway) August 28, 2015
@nascarcasm dreams up Logano's Facebook page after his win on Sunday RELATED: All content from @nascarcasm " Follow @nascarcasm
Logano dishes on Bristol win, sneezing while racing and more