Four Sprint Cup teams, two XFINITY teams penalized
NASCAR gave written warnings to four teams in the Sprint Cup Series on Wednesday following last weekend's action at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Food City 500 . Meanwhile, in the XFINITY Series, one team was docked practice time and another will be without its crew chief, who was suspended and fined after the team received a P3-level penalty following the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at the Tennessee short track. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team for Kevin Harvick , the No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing team for Carl Edwards and the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team for Dale Earnhardt Jr . all received written warnings for failing template inspection twice during pre-qualifying. The No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing team for Trevor Bayne was issued a written warning for failing laser inspection twice, pre-qualifying. The No. 33 team for Brandon Jones will lose 15 minutes of practice time at this weekend's XFINITY event at Richmond International Raceway for failing pre-race laser inspection three times at Bristol. The No. 3 XFINITY team for Ty Dillon will be without crew chief Nick Harrison, who was fined $10,000 and suspended from all NASCAR Series Championship points events through April 27 and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. The team violated sections 20.4.13 and 18.104.22.168 a, b, c, d of the NASCAR Rule Book -- spoiler extensions didn't conform to NASCAR rules specifications -- and was assesed the P3 in accordance with section 22.214.171.124.1 c.
Jones storms to bonus in new-look Dash 4 Cash
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. -- It's payday for Erik Jones , as the 19-year-old is going home with an extra-large $100,000 check for taking the first NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus at Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday. The race-winning Joe Gibbs Racing driver led a total of 62 of the 200 laps in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 , and his victory essentially locks up a spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. Should Jones record another Dash 4 Cash bonus in any of the three remaining Dash 4 Cash races, having two Dash 4 Cash bonuses would be the equivalent to a regular-season race win and give him a leg up on seeding when the Chase begins on Sept. 24 at Kentucky Speedway . MORE: What to know about the Dash 4 Cash "We got a really good restart and Kyle (Larson) just left the top open and we went up there and he worked pretty hard to keep us behind him," Jones said post-race. "We just kept digging and it worked out. Just an awesome feeling. I never thought we'd get our first win here at Bristol." As for what he's spending the dough on, Jones is a frugal man. "Well, we're all going to dinner so that's going to be a big bill already I can tell," Jones said. "After that, I don't know, I'll probably put it away. I don't like to buy too many things." RELATED: Jones' discusses emotional Victory Lane call Jones' JGR teammate Daniel Suarez , Richard Childress Racing driver Ty Dillon and JR Motorsports driver Justin Allgaier all qualified for the Dash 4 Cash competition by being the top two finishers among XFINITY Series regulars in the two heat races that preceded Saturday's main event, which all came down to the final restart on Lap 198. With just three laps remaining, it looked as if Suarez -- who was running the highest of the Dash 4 Cash drivers in third -- was going to be the one to hoist the cardboard check after the checkered flag fell. That was until his JGR teammate Kyle Busch spun his tires, backing up Suarez's No. 19 Toyota. "I feel like we had a top-three car all day long and we were running in the top five, top three all day," Suarez said after the race. "In the end, the outside line was the preferred line and my teammate ( Kyle Busch ) spun his tires right there at the end with old tires and I was just right there stuck in the middle on the inside and there was nothing I can do at that point." Jones came from fourth on the restart to win the race. This was Jones' first Dash 4 Cash event, as he was not eligible for the competition last season being a full-time Camping World Truck Series driver. The next Dash 4 Cash event will be the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 23 (12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The two heat races will be 35 laps each, with a 140-lap main event. There are a total of four Dash 4 Cash events in the 2016 season.
Final restart hinders front-runners shot at XFINITY win
RELATED: Saturday's race results " Watch the dramatic finish BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kyle Busch said it would happen eventually, and eventually arrived Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway . The defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion likely didn't expect it to happen like this. Busch had won four NASCAR XFINITY Series races this season, and Sprint Cup Series regulars had gone six-for-six entering the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol. But after Busch and fellow Sprint Cup regular Kyle Larson chased one another lap after lap after lap around the high-banked half-mile track, it was series regular Erik Jones who collected the win and a $100,000 bonus from the series sponsor in its Dash 4 Cash program. Busch had said earlier this season after a typically strong performance there was no doubt teammates Jones and Daniel Suarez would eventually make their way into Victory Lane. Jones had two series wins (earned in 2015) before Saturday; Suarez is looking his first series victory. Both finish consistently in the top five. The issue for Busch at Bristol was the late restart, a three-lap dash after Ryan Reed and Mario Gosselin brought out the yellow on Lap 189 of 200. Larson chalked up the loss to the restart as well, but blamed himself. The Reed/Gosselin incident bled nine laps off the board and set up the three-lap dash. Not that more laps under green would have mattered, according to Busch, who led three times for 43 laps. "Both restarts I had today were absolutely horrendous; both times I would go to the throttle and the engine would shut off and those guys were gone," he said. "... I couldn't keep a nose on their left-rear fender or anything. "More laps obviously would have been better ... but being on that inside lane is already a disadvantage." And that doesn't bode well for Sunday's Food City 500 Sprint Cup Series race (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), he said. "It used to be a race track that you could race around three-wide and pass and work traffic really well and have some fun," Busch said. "Now it's just frustrating and aggravating. "It will be the top lane tomorrow. ... The race will be around the top and it will be the same frustrating single-file show tomorrow." Larson restarted for the final time in the outside lane, Busch on the inside. Jones, fourth on the restart, shot in front of Busch when the No. 18 Toyota stumbled, then raced side-by-side with Larson for the lead as they came to the white flag. "Just did a really poor job the last couple of laps," Larson said, "really disappointed in myself and probably not going to forget about this one for quite a while."
Erik Jones rallies for Bristol win, Dash 4 Cash prize
RELATED: Race results " Updated series standings BRISTOL, Tenn. – Erik Jones ' third NASCAR XFINITY Series victory was a real triple play. In the series' new Dash 4 Cash format featuring two heat races and a main event, Jones took advantage of a restart with three laps left in Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 and 1) won the race, 2) earned the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus and 3) stopped Joe Gibbs Racing teammate and race runner-up Kyle Busch ’s streak of four straight NASCAR national series victories. Jones, the pole winner, restarted fourth on the final restart and charged into second place behind leader Kyle Larson when Busch's No. 18 Toyota hesitated trying to pick up power in the bottom lane. Larson left the preferred top lane open through Turns 3 and 4 and Jones took advantage, taking the lead from Larson with two laps left. Busch followed his teammate into second place, but couldn't keep up with Jones on the final lap, trailing the No. 20 JGR Toyota by .418 seconds at the finish line. The runner-up result ended Busch’s prospects for a record third straight NASCAR weekend sweep. "We had a really good restart, and Kyle (Larson) just left the top open," said an elated Jones, who was battling teammate and eventual sixth-place finisher Daniel Suárez for the Dash 4 Cash bonus, a prize available only to drivers competing for the XFINITY Series championship. Suárez had the misfortune to restart third on the bottom on Lap 198 and got bottled up behind Busch as Jones charged forward in pursuit of Larson. That allowed Austin Dillon to take fourth and Justin Allgaier fifth at the finish. It's doubtful Jones could have scripted a more satisfactory ending if he’d written it himself. "I figured at some point in the year we could get a win when those guys weren't in the field, but it would be a tall task with them in the field," said Jones, who picked up his third victory in the series and his first this year. "Here at Bristol, for those two guys, this is one of their best tracks. I'm just so excited and you can tell – I'm out of breath. I wasn't working that hard. Just so excited about the win and to be here in Victory Lane and beat those guys. This is a really big day for us." Though Jones was the winner, most of the race was a battle for the top spot between Larson, who led 94 laps, and Busch, who led 43. "The two cars that were the class of the field today didn't win – oh, well," Busch said. "It's a great day for Erik Jones . He certainly stole one today. He didn't out-race the two Kyles up front, but he certainly did in the final laps that counted." Larson spent most of his time in the post-race beating himself up for leaving the top lane open for the opportunistic Jones. "I just did a really bad job on that restart – really bad," Larson said. "I knew I gave it away. I'm really disappointed in myself. I just ran half a groove too low through (Turns) 3 and 4." The two 50-lap heat races produced a pair of wire-to-wire winners, Jones and Austin Dillon , and no cautions. But the heats did establish the starting order for the 200-lap main event, as well as identify the four eligible Dash 4 Cash competitors. Jones, Allgaier (fourth in the first heat), Ty Dillon (second to his brother in the second heat) and Suárez (fourth in the second heat) took the green as the only drivers competing for the $100,000 bonus. Any driver who wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses qualifies for the Chase, but as the first XFINITY regular to win a race this year, Jones won't need the extra help.
NASCAR TV schedule: April 11-17
RELATED: Find FS1 in your area All times ET Monday, April 11 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Duck Commander 500 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Tuesday, April 12 4 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Duck Commander 500 (re-air), FS1 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 9:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 6 p.m., 100,000 Cameras: Daytona (re-air), FS1 Wednesday, April 13 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 Thursday, April 14 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 Friday, April 15 10:30 a.m., The 10: Greatest Bristol Moments (re-air), FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 2 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 4 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 Saturday, April 16 7 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FS1 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 9:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 10:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 Noon, NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY , FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series: Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 , FS1 7 p.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Long Beach, FS2 11 p.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Long Beach, FS1 1 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series: Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 (re-air), FS1 Sunday, April 17 4:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1 5:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), FS1 6:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Classic: The 1993 Daytona 500 (re-air), FS1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1 12:30 p.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Long Beach (re-air), FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FOX Pre-Race Show, FOX 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500 , FOX 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Colossus formally takes center stage at Bristol
BRISTOL, Tenn. -- The unveiling of Colossus, the world's largest outdoor, center-hung, four-sided video screen, is the latest addition in amenities race fans can enjoy when attending NASCAR-sanctioned events at Bristol Motor Speedway . "To be able to unveil Colossus today is a neat experience and definitely one for the history books at Bristol Motor Speedway ," BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell said Thursday during a private unveiling of the engineering marvel. The entire piece weighs approximately 700 tons and is suspended by cables attached to towers located outside the track. The screens on each side measure 68 feet wide by 30 feet high. Construction, which began last fall, was completed earlier this month. Unveiling Colossus at Bristol Motor Speedway . #gamechanger pic.twitter.com/488jeyJCBK — Jeff Wohlschlaeger (@JeffWohlschlaeg) April 14, 2016 "What Bruton and Marcus (Smith) continue to do with this place and re-invest, I mean look at this, look at the sound system," Caldwell said. "They didn't have to do that. But they wanted to do that because it's the right thing to do for the fans. They want it to be great." Officials said there are no concerns outside of those that existed for the previous scoring pylon that was anchored in the center of the .533-mile track's infield. "This thing is so over-engineered that … all those questions were asked when we were going through this process," Caldwell said. "We've had engineers from all over the world study this and peer reviews upon peer reviews of that. So we feel good about everything that's up there and having Colossus is going to be a great experience for all of us." Steve Smith , CEO of race sponsor Food City, said the new video screen "is just another of those pillars that Bristol Motor Speedway does for the race fans." BMS will host the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday (first heat race at 12:30 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN) and the Food City 500 on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). RELATED: Full weekend schedule at Bristol "What it does even more so than during the races is (enhance) our pre-race shows," Caldwell said. "Our pre-race shows are amazing. There have been times when it's been hard for the race fans to hear the pre-race show, to hear from the drivers and what they're saying. And we've heard from the race fans; this sound system came from the race fans. They said they wanted new speakers. Of course Marcus and Bruton answered their call. We'll see what happens with the races but I know it's going to enhance the pre-race experience tremendously." The idea for Colossus came about as officials began preparations for hosting this year's inaugural Battle at Bristol college football game between the University of Tennessee and Virginia Tech. Other similar non-racing events are being considered; Caldwell wouldn't confirm anything beyond this fall's football game, scheduled for Sept. 10. "We've had some really good conversations," he said. "No question, Bristol is already on the map for hosting world-class NASCAR events, but this is for other sporting events and entertainment events. Look at this place; it really is a colosseum. What else can we do? Colossus is the start of that."
NASCAR TV schedule: April 18-24
RELATED: Find FS1 in your area All times ET Monday, April 18 8 a.m., Empty Cup: Quest for the 1992 NASCAR Championship (re-air), FS1 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Food City 500 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Tuesday, April 19 8:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 (re-air), FS1 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 6 p.m., 100,000 Cameras: Daytona (re-air), FS1 6:30 p.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Long Beach (re-air), FS1 Wednesday, April 20 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN Thursday, April 21 5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR America, NBCSN 2 a.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (tape), NBCSN Friday, April 22 9 a.m., WeatherTech SportsCar Championship: Long Beach (re-air), FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 2 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 3 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 4 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 Saturday, April 23 3 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice (re-air), FS1 4:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice (re-air), FS1 5:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice (re-air), FS1 7 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FS1 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 9:30 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 10:30 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FS1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 Noon, NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY , FS1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series: ToyotaCare 250 , FS1 Sunday, April 24 10:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Toyota Owners 400 , FOX Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;nbsp;
Full schedule for Bristol
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series will head to Bristol Motor Speedway this week while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is off. Check out the full weekend schedule below. Note: All times are ET SUNDAY, APRIL 17: ON TRACK -- 1:13 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Food City 500 (500 laps, 266.5 miles), FOX ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 4:30 p.m.: (approx) post-NSCS race DAILY ROUND-UP Edwards rides pole position to checkered flag in Bristol Dale Jr. rebounds from early miscue, nearly wins Kenseth sent into wall, Bristol repeat bid derailed Multiple tire issues sends Busch into wall, out of race Every driver's Bristol intro song FRIDAY, APRIL 15: ON TRACK -- 11 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 12:30-1:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 3-3:55 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 4:15 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) GARAGECAM ( Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- 2:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 9:30 a.m.: Chase Elliott -- 10 a.m.: Ryan Reed -- 10:15 a.m.: Ryan Blaney -- 10:30 a.m.: Kyle Busch -- 12:30 p.m.: Carl Edwards -- 1:30 p.m.: Dale Earnhardt Jr . -- 3:30 p.m.: Todd Gilliland -- 5:30 p.m.: (approx) post-NSCS qualifying DAILY ROUND-UP Edwards earns pole at Bristol; JGR sweeps front row Colossus takes center stage at Bristol Busch closes in on 'Smoke's' JGR win record Edwards seeks first '16 win in shadows of No. 18 success Blaney takes a bet? Driver sneaks silly word into presser 'Rowdy' likes chances for Bristol sweep this weekend SATURDAY, APRIL 16: ON TRACK -- 8:30-9:25 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series second practice, FS1 ( Results ) -- 9:30 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FS1 ( Results ) -- 11-11:55 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FS1 ( Results ) --12:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 Heat #1 (50 laps, 26.65 miles), FS1 ( Results ) --1:10 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 Heat #2 (50 laps, 26.65 miles), FS1 ( Results ) -- 1:45 p.m. (approx): NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 main race (200 laps, 106.6 miles), FS1 ( Results ) PRESS CONFERENCES ( Watch live ) -- 3:30 p.m.: (approx) post-NXS race DAILY ROUND-UP -- Key story lines to watch for in Sunday's race -- Jones rallies for Bristol win, takes Dash 4 Cash bonus -- Jones, Dillon win heat races at Bristol -- Returning to Bristol makes Dale Jr. nostalgic -- Hamlin, Danica collide, point fingers at Bristol practice -- Busch, Hamlin lead Bristol Cup practices
'Gray Ghost' left lasting impression with Dale Jr.
MORE: See the scheme, fire suit that Dale Jr. will sport at Darlington RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes " SHOP: Dale Jr. gear DARLINGTON, S.C. -- The "Gray Ghost" lives to race again. Or at least a very reasonable facsimile of the famous entry that was driven to victory in the 1980 Daytona 500 by NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Buddy Baker. On Wednesday at Darlington Raceway , Hendrick Motorsports driver Dale Earnhardt Jr . unveiled his team's throwback paint scheme for this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 (Sunday, Sept. 4, 6 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio), paying homage to the 19-time race winner and his Harry Ranier-owned, Waddell Wilson-tuned machine. Photo credit: @Nationwide88 Twitter account The black and silver Chevrolet carries orange numbers -- 88 instead of Baker's No. 28 -- and orange stripes while featuring Nationwide branding. But even with those minor differences, the resemblance is striking. RELATED: Dale Jr. drops throwback hints It is, Earnhardt Jr. said, his favorite paint scheme. "The black and silver, the chrome numbers that NASCAR doesn't allow any more," Earnhardt said. "Those chrome numbers to me were very, very cool. But the black and silver was a mean looking race car, a real tough looking race car. "I thought the colors and the chrome numbers really complimented each other really well. Buddy was this giant guy; it probably wouldn't have been quite as cool a paint scheme if it had been a four-foot 10 guy driving it." The car was named the "Gray Ghost," a reflection of its color scheme which blended in with the racing surface of the track and its apparent ability to appear out of nowhere, speeding past unsuspecting rivals at a moment's notice. Baker and Wilson teamed up to win twice that season -- at Daytona and again later that year at Talladega. His average winning speed of 177.602 mph at Daytona, where he led 143 of 200 laps, remains a race record. It was especially gratifying given the team's stumble the previous year when a clearly dominant car (Baker had won the pole and his qualifying race handily) suffered mechanical issues early in the race. "He just seemed to be a great match with the car," Earnhardt Jr. said. "They were just so good, so fast. When they won the Daytona 500 after such a devastating loss after 1979 -- they were the greatest thing down there, nobody could touch them throughout the entire weekend and then they didn't even really get to race. "And then they went back in '80 and won, it was pretty neat; I know that was pretty special for Buddy to get that win. You can tell in some of the interviews from back then how important the Daytona 500 win was to him." The car and the team were no less stout at Talladega Superspeedway , Earnhardt Jr., said, adding, "Nobody could keep up with them." Seven-time premier series champion Dale Earnhardt ran second to Baker, but according to Earnhardt Jr., the elder Earnhardt "was just hanging on to his coattails all day long. "(He was) just lucky to be in the draft," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I think Dad had the lead somehow or another, (through) pit cycles, to where (he) had like a 10-second lead and Buddy ran him down in like 20 laps. It was ridiculous. "You could see all day long in that particular race Buddy wasn't even really stretching the legs in that race car. And when he had to, when he got nervous and it got down to the end and he had to make up that distance, he was beating the second-place car by half a second a lap almost. It was incredible." This will be the second year Darlington Raceway has featured a throwback theme, with a focus on paint schemes that ran between 1975 and 1984. Last year, Earnhardt Jr.'s entry featured a red, white and blue paint Valvoline paint scheme that honored NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and three-time series champion Cale Yarborough. RELATED: See Dale Jr.'s paint scheme from 2015 Jim McCoy, Director of Sports Marketing for Nationwide, said the company knew as soon as last year's throwback program hit the track at Darlington that Nationwide should be involved. "We talked about it starting last September when we saw the pieces come together," McCoy said. "We weren't (the) primary (sponsor), Valvoline had the paint scheme with Dale. It just felt like we should be there. "We love his passion and he loves what he drives and what it looks like. He's such a great partner. "He clearly had a vision in direction in which he wanted to head. We were supportive of that and found the right ways to infuse our logo, the historic logo (with) the 'N' and Eagle that's on the hood. It was a great back-and-forth process that I think we're all very pleased on how it turned out." Baker passed away Aug. 10, 2015. Come September, he and the "Gray Ghost" will be front and center once again.
Former NASCAR driver Jim Sauter dies at 71
Father of Johnny Sauter made 76 career starts in premier series Jim Sauter, a racer and father of four drivers including NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Johnny Sauter , died on Friday night shortly before the conclusion of the Truck event at Texas Motor Speedway , according to ThorSport Racing. He was 71. Sauter competed in 82 NASCAR national series races from 1980 to 2004, including 76 premier series starts. The native of Necedah, Wisconsin, made his final NASCAR Nationwide Series start at the Milwaukee Mile in 2002, racing against his sons Jay, Johnny and Tim. Jim Jr. followed in his father's footsteps as well. In addition to these four sons, Sauter is survived by his wife, Debbie, eight additional children, 51 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two sisters. A two-time champion in the ARTGO Racing Series in the Midwest, Sauter tested International Race of Champions cars with fellow Wisconsin racers Dave Marcis and Dick Trickle. His son, Johnny, learned of his father's passing following Friday's Winstar World Casino & Resort 350. His lone win of 2014 came at Michigan International Speedway , and he acknowledged it was a special victory in his post-race comments that recalled his dad's recollections of the track. "I'm just going to relish in this win because this has been a tough, tough race track for me throughout my career," Johnny said. "My Dad always said, 'That place is easy.' But, I never felt that way. Until today, I mean when you have a truck like this -- it was just awesome." NASCAR issued the following statement on Jim Sauter's passing: "NASCAR offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Sauter. A true racer, Jim passed on his passion and competitive spirit to his children and grandchildren. A driver himself with roots in the Midwest, his reach and impact extend across the entire sport." The racing community expressed condolences on social media with a sample included below from Sauter's former competitor Mark Martin ; fellow Wisconsin racer Roy Kenseth, father of Matt; crew chief and former IROC chassis specialist Ray Evernham and NASCAR Senior Vice President, Racing Operations Jim Cassidy. Sorry to hear Jim Sauter died. He was a really good man and a great racer. — Mark Martin (@markmartin) November 1, 2014 Thoughts and prayers go out to the Jim Sauter family today. pic.twitter.com/ydHNAQcXQT — Roy Kenseth (@roykenseth) November 1, 2014 Really sorry to hear about passing of Jim Sauter. Worked with him for many years at IROC. Crew chiefed for him at Pocono 1990 #RIP — ray evernham (@RayEvernham) November 1, 2014 Thinking about the Sauter family. Jim Sauter's contribution to stock car racing and NASCAR will be felt for many generations. Good man. — Jim Cassidy (@jfcassidy) November 1, 2014 MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView