Schrader wins first heat, will start on Pole
Ken Schrader wins the first heat race and will start on the Pole at Eldora Speedway.
Schrader won't let age slow his racing days
The 59-year-old has run 14 races in just 23 days
Member of the Month: May
Name: John Current City: Somerset, New Jersey Member since: 2011 Getting to know John : Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "I joined the Fan Council to make sure fans have a strong voice in NASCAR. I want the sport I love to continue on with the traditions that have made it what it is today." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR? "When I was a young child vacationing in Daytona Beach during the summer, I would go by the track and was curious what it was all about. One year, we happened to be there when the race was on and I talked my dad into going. Well, that was it! The sites, the sounds - I was hooked from that point on!" Q. What makes NASCAR special for you? "There are many items that make NASCAR special. First, they build everything around family and being family-friendly. I love that you can see multiple generations at every event. Second, they support the military and all the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving this great country. Without them, none of this would be possible and we must never forget that or them. The other thing special to me is that before each race, God is mentioned! In this current society we live in where everyone has to be politically correct all the time, I love that we still have the national anthem and a prayer before the race. These are the core values this country was built on and we should be proud of that! And NASCAR still is! And we can't forget the loud cars, the speed, the drivers, the crews and the rest of the sights and sounds that envelope you with this great sport." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "I have two favorite NASCAR memories. The first is watching Dale Earnhardt race in person for the first and only time at my home track, Martinsville Speedway, in the early 90's. He finished second to Jeff Gordon that day. My second favorite NASCAR memory is watching Dale Jr. win at Martinsville. It's the only race I have seen him win in person and it was AWESOME!" Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Driver: "Davey Allison." Track: "Talladega." Memorabilia: I have a lot of autographed die casts from Harry Gant, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ricky Craven, Ken Schrader , Terry Labonte and others. Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? "Talladega." Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "I like to spend time outside with my son doing all different types of things, ride and race dirt bikes, ride my Ducati, head to the beach, hang with friends and of course, go to the races with my son & my friends!" Q: Tell us about your family. Do you have children and/or pets? "I am a single dad with one son and one dog." Q: What's your dream car? "1969 Camaro ZL-1." Q: If you could go anywhere in the world on a dream vacation, where would you want to go? "I would have to say an oceanfront Villa at a 5-star Caribbean resort - nothing like crystal clear water, warm breezes and laid back people to make you smile!" From all of us at NASCAR, we thank John for his continued support and look forward to hearing from him in 2017.
Poole seeks redemption for Talladega near-win
BUY TICKETS: See the races at Talladega TALLADEGA, Ala. -- Around this time last year at Talladega Superspeedway, Brennan Poole experienced the thrill of winning, followed by the sinking feeling of third-place disappointment in a matter of minutes. This weekend's Sparks Energy 300 marks the XFINITY Series' first stop at the Alabama superspeedway since that day -- which brings some unfinished business for the No. 48 team. "Our guys have been calling it 'redemption weekend' this week," Poole said Friday at the Talladega Media Center with a slight smile. Poole's No. 48 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was running third in the final overtime lap of the April 30, 2016 XFINITY Series event at Talladega, when the seas – the seas being leader Joey Logano and second-place driver Elliott Sadler -- seemed to part with a hard wreck triggered by the pair on the final turn. Poole shot through the middle, cheering inside the car for what he and NASCAR announcers thought was his first career XFINITY Series win. However, after further review, NASCAR officials ruled that Sadler's No. 1 Chevrolet was ahead when the caution flag waved -- which freezes the field per NASCAR overtime rules -- thus awarding the victory to Sadler's JR Motorsports camp. RELATED: Poole wins fans after losing in Talladega Saturday's 300-miler is a chance for Poole to finally nab that first career win in the series that has eluded him for 58 races. "Last year, this is where we were the closest (to a win)," Poole said. "It seems like for whatever reason I can just finish third -- I've got several thirds, I need to break the plane a little bit and get up to battle for some of these wins and lead some laps and just be a little bit more in contention." But that third-place run at Talladega a year ago seemed to spark something for Poole's No. 48 team; more than 77 percent of his 22 top-10 finishes have come since that day, most recently a trio of eighth-place results at Phoenix, Fontana and Bristol this season. "We definitely have a lot of confidence coming into this weekend," Poole said. "But really, even last week, these next string of races are really good tracks for me. Richmond, we were really fast and qualified really well, we just didn't have the race go the way that we wanted it to … Then going to Charlotte, last year, we ran in the top five both races and had a parts failure that kept us from moving on in the playoffs. "I'm excited about these next several weeks and feel like we have just as good of an opportunity as anybody." One of the beauties of Talladega and all of its restrictor-plate glory is that its Alabama asphalt is practically breeding ground for first-time winners and surprise visitors to Victory Lane. Think Brad Keselowski (2009), Ken Schrader (1988), Dick Brooks (1973). This -- along with fast cars and a 10th-place spot in the series standings -- gives Poole confidence heading into race weekend. "All the cars handle so good here that there's so many people that have an opportunity to win a race, that literally it could be anybody," Poole said. "So, it's really just about putting yourself in that position to be able to make it happen. "I feel like we've got a good team and a fast car where we feel like we could be up there and be in position to win tomorrow." </p>
Larson believes in keeping in touch with grassroots racing
R ELATED: Starting lineup for Sunday MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Kyle Larson, the most recent winner and the points leader in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, said Friday he believes competing in local weekly shows is good for NASCAR and that others should be encouraged to compete outside of NASCAR as well. Larson, 24, has one win and three second-place finishes in this season's first five races. His fast start hasn't led Chip Ganassi Racing officials to ask him to cut back on his extracurricular efforts and focus on his No. 42 Chevrolet team. "I've got a deal with Chip where I can run 25 races, so I'm going to fill all 25 of those up this year," Larson said prior to practice at Martinsville Speedway. "I enjoy doing it and I had a lot of fun racing this week." Three days after his second career win in the Monster Energy Series, Larson was back behind the wheel of a World of Outlaws entry, competing in the Placerville Short Track Showdown in Placerville, California. RELATED: Larson breaks runner-up streak with win at Auto Club Larson said he's often asked "when are they going to shut you down?" and curb his outside racing interests. "But I feel like everybody needs to encourage me and others to go race at your local short track and all that because I feel we've lost touch with our grassroots race fans," he said. "And I really think with me going back and doing that stuff and Kyle Busch running Late Model races throughout the year, it really kind of gets the local fans back excited about NASCAR." Bobby Allison, the 1983 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, often raced several times throughout the week in between his Cup starts; Ken Schrader would race as many as 90-100 times each season while competing full time in Cup. Others also raced local shows on occasion. "I would usually race on the short tracks before the Cup events as many as five times per week," Allison said. "Aside from my Cup efforts, I was really obsessed with running the short tracks as much as I could." Many fans at local tracks weren't close enough to tracks hosting NASCAR events and only got the opportunity to see NASCAR stars compete when those drivers showed up for mid-week shows. "I ran the Modifieds for many years in the early 1960s," Allison said. "I also ran the Late Model Modifieds and many, many regular Late Model events. I would either take my own cars from Alabama or I would go to race tracks when asked to do so by promotors and would drive a car by local team owners." RELATED: Harvick calls Larson 'best driver to come along since Gordon' Larson is in his fourth full season at NASCAR's top level and won his first race last year, at Michigan. He'll carry a 29-point lead into Sunday's STP 500 (2 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). And regardless of how the following weeks and months play out, he said, he hopes to continue to race elsewhere when the opportunity is there. "Yeah, I feel like everybody should, instead of making Chip and Felix (Sabates, minority team owner) feel like they have to shut me down," he said, "(they) should encourage them because it helps our fan base out."
Elliott joins elite list with back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! As he propelled his No. 24 Chevrolet to the top of the leaderboard for the 2017 Daytona 500 pole position, Chase Elliott was a part of history Sunday afternoon, once again. He rewrote record books last season with his Daytona 500 pole, becoming the youngest driver to lead "The Great American Race" to green at 20 years old. This year, he became only the fifth driver to win the Daytona 500 pole twice in a row in the race's 59 year history. The feat puts him in a rare club and one that his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott , is a part of. "Awesome Bill from Dawsonville" had a three-year run of Daytona 500 poles from 1985 to 1987. Talk about keeping it in the family. Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts kicked off a three-year run of Daytona 500 poles in 1961. Buddy Baker scored back-to-backs beginning in 1979, kicking off a three-win, seven-pole season for NASCAR's "Gentle Giant." Ken Schrader went with three-in-a-row starting in 1988 during his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports . All but Baker completed the three-peat for poles. Premonition for 2018? Only time will tell. But for now, tune into the 2017 running of the Daytona 500 (Sunday, Feb. 26 at 2 p.m., FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) to see if Elliott can turn that P1 into a checkered flag. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Menard's Darlington scheme gives honor to Al Unser Jr.
RELATED: Buy Darlington tickets " '16 throwback schemes CONCORD, N.C. -- When Valvoline officials queried NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard about his racing heroes, the first name on the list was Al Unser Jr. So Menard couldn't be more pleased that the Valvoline-themed throwback paint scheme he will run in this year's Bojangles' Southern 500 pays tribute to Unser Jr.'s lone NASCAR premier series start. Menard's Richard Childress Racing No. 27 Chevrolet will carry the gray, orange and black color scheme used by Unser Jr. for the 1993 Daytona 500 with sponsor Valvoline featured on the hood when the series travels to Darlington Raceway for the annual Labor Day weekend classic. "Little Al's first NASCAR race was the Daytona 500 in 1993," Menard said earlier this week as preparations for the unveiling of the paint scheme got underway. "The partnership with Valvoline this year -- we got to talking earlier about who some of my racing heroes were and Al Jr. was right away, even without the Valvoline relationship. I've always been a huge fan of his. He was the guy in IndyCar that I always pulled for." Menard said he met the former open-wheel champion and two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500 "when I was probably 12." "I remember; he probably doesn't," Menard continued. "But I pulled up (this morning) … and he was standing out in the parking lot. We were out there talking probably 10 or 15 minutes, just about the '93 (Daytona) 500, his autocross stuff that he's doing now, just talking about a little bit of racing." Unser Jr. was carrying the Valvoline colors in 1992 when he won his first Indy 500 title. Already a NASCAR sponsor, Valvoline wanted additional branding in '93 to promote its line of synthetic products, particularly for that year's Daytona 500. And the Daytona 500 just happened to be on Unser Jr.'s bucket list. "There were special races that I wanted to race in my career," Unser Jr. said. "The Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans. Those are the ones that I really wanted to run as a kid. "The Indy 500 is really where my heart is so we'd been doing that. But yeah, I wanted to run the Daytona 500 sometime during my career and it was just a blessing when Valvoline called me up and said, 'You know, we'd like to do this down in Daytona. Would you like to do it?' "I said, 'Of course I would. It's got to be with a great team.' "They said, 'We've contacted Hendrick Motorsports,' and I go, 'Awesome.' " At that time, the Hendrick organization consisted of three teams with drivers Ken Schrader , Ricky Rudd and rookie Jeff Gordon. The addition of Unser Jr. made it a four-team effort for the series' most notable race. A crash during the second of two twin qualifying races three days before the 500, however, cost Unser Jr. his primary entry and he wound up racing Schrader's backup Chevrolet Lumina. Instead of a gray, orange and black paint scheme, Unser Jr.'s race-day car was white with the Valvoline branding on the hood and across the rear quarter panels. A crash with less that 50 laps remaining took Unser Jr. out of contention, and he finished 36th. When told that Menard and Valvoline were bringing the original paint scheme back to the track for the Darlington throwback weekend, Unser said he was "just overwhelmed." "Mainly because this was just a one off," he said, "not a traditional kind of car with a lot of running behind it, a lot of heritage to it. So when they contacted me and said they were thinking about doing this throwback at Darlington … it was a true blessing." Menard praised Valvoline for not only bringing back the paint scheme, but for the company's long involvement in auto racing. "The brand is iconic in our sport," he said. "You pick out right away where that Valvoline car is on the race track, whether it's a stock car race or IndyCar races, NHRA. They're always around the sport. They have a huge racing legacy and I'm proud to be a part of it." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Reddick rules final truck practice at Eldora
Dirt-track background pays off for 19-year-old in chaotic session RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Tyler Reddick claimed the top spot in final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice Wednesday at Eldora Speedway in a spin-filled final prep for the only NASCAR national series race on dirt. Reddick, who possesses a rich dirt-track pedigree, drove the Brad Keselowski Racing No. 19 Ford to a best lap of 89.264 mph in the 85-minute session. He enters the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) in second place in the series standings, just 20 points behind two-time series champion Matt Crafton . NASCAR XFINITY Series regular Ty Dillon was second-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet at 88.924 mph. Timothy Peters landed the third-fastest lap at 86.248 mph on the half-mile track in the Red Horse Racing No. 17 Toyota. Illinois dirt-track hotshot Bobby Pierce, 18, was fourth-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet with Christopher Bell in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota capping the top five. Speeds were slightly slower than the first practice session, topped by 19-year-old Erik Jones in the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota, but the amount of incidents rose sharply with several spins and some isolated instances of contact. The dirt cushion inched up closer to the outside wall, but a significant dip also developed at the exit of Turn 2, causing trucks to become unsettled as they traveled across the bump. The trucks of Johnny Sauter , John Hunter Nemechek and Cole Custer sustained the most damage. Sauter and Nemechek both backed into the outside retaining wall after separate spins, and Custer's No. 00 truck crunched into the back of the slowing truck of teenage newcomer Madeline Crane. Other drivers involved in solo spins without damage (in chronological order): Matt Tifft , Ty Dillon , Chad Boat , Custer, Brad Keselowski , Jennifer Jo Cobb (twice), Jody Knowles , John Wes Townley , Christopher Bell , Jake Griffin, Nemechek and Pierce. Former Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski managed the 16th-fastest lap among the 34 drivers to participate in final practice. Fellow Sprint Cup regular Austin Dillon , winner of the truck series' inaugural dirt-track event in 2013, was seventh-fastest. Crafton registered the ninth-fastest lap in the ThorSport No. 88 Toyota. Ken Schrader , the first pole winner for the annual Eldora event, was 19th-fastest in preparation for his first NASCAR national series start of the season. Keystone Light Pole Qualifying is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. ET. Qualifying heats are scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET with the 150-lap main event set for a 9 p.m. ET go. Jones fastest in opening Eldora practice Erik Jones topped the charts in Wednesday's opening practice for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at muddy Eldora Speedway. Jones drove the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 4 Toyota to a mud-slinging lap of 89.454 mph around the historic half-mile dirt track. The 19-year-old driver was fastest in qualifying last season in his Eldora Speedway debut. Jones' lap edged second-fastest Austin Dillon , who turned a 89.299-mph lap in the NTS Motorsports No. 31 Chevrolet in preparation for Wednesday's third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Dillon holds the distinction as the inaugural winner in 2013 of the truck tour's only race on dirt. Bobby Pierce -- an 18-year-old dirt Late Model driver from Illinois, prepping for his first Camping World Truck Series start -- was third-fastest in the MB Motorsports No. 63 Chevrolet owned by Mike Mittler. Christopher Bell was fourth-fastest in another Kyle Busch Motorsports Tundra with two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton completing the top five in the ThorSport Racing No. 88 Toyota. Dillon wasn't the only Sprint Cup regular making his mark in the opening 55-minute session. Brad Keselowski , making his first Eldora start in the truck series, brushed the wall late but was 24th-fastest in the No. 29 Ford from his own race shop. Ty Dillon , an XFINITY Series regular and part-time Sprint Cup entrant, was seventh-fastest in the GMS Racing No. 33 Chevrolet. Ken Schrader , a longtime Sprint Cup driver now racing recreationally, was 22nd-fastest in his own No. 52 Toyota. The 60-year-old Schrader won the inaugural Keystone Light Pole Award at Eldora in 2013. Teams furiously fought for grip in the early going as the ground-pounding trucks began to work in the damp dirt surface. The track's characteristics, though, created plenty of tacky mud on windshields and inside the trucks' wheel wells, caking the inside of the fenders. Ben Kennedy had the hardest contact of the 55-minute session, slamming the right side of his Red Horse Racing No. 11 Toyota in the Turn 4 wall. Korbin Forrister continued after a pair of spins, and Pierce also looped his truck without any damage. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Keselowski headlines Eldora entry list
Austin and Ty Dillon also set to compete at Ohio dirt track RELATED: Complete entry list for Eldora " All you need to know for Eldora Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski is scheduled to make his first start on the dirt of Eldora Speedway in the Camping World Truck Series next week. Keselowski, who will drive the No. 29 Ford from his own race shop, joins Sprint Cup regulars Austin and Ty Dillon on the preliminary entry list -- released Wednesday -- for the third annual 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic (July 22, 9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Keselowski has one victory in 64 truck series starts, but did not participate in the tour's first two events on the half-mile dirt track. The Dillon brothers, who share an extensive racing background on dirt, both competed in the previous two Eldora events. Austin Dillon prevailed in the series' inaugural dirt-track race in 2013 and will drive the No. 31 Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports this year. Ty Dillon is set to drive for GMS Racing in the No. 33 Chevy. Veteran owner/driver Ken Schrader , 60, is scheduled to make his first NASCAR national series start of the season, wheeling his own No. 52 Toyota. Schrader has participated in the previous two Eldora races, winning the Keystone Light Pole Award for the inaugural running. Christopher Bell carries a rich dirt-track pedigree in sprint cars into just his third truck series start. He'll wheel the Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota, aiming to improve upon the fifth-place effort in his series debut at Iowa Speedway. The event is also scheduled to mark the Camping World Truck Series debut of teenager Madeline Crane, a product of Legends Car and dirt late model racing in her home state of Georgia. Crane took part in the NASCAR Drive 4 Diversity Combine at Langley Speedway last October. A total of 31 trucks -- with one listed with a driver to be announced at a later date -- are posted for a maximum 32-truck field. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Bobby Pierce earns first career pole at Eldora
The 18-year-old will be making his first Truck start in tonight's event RELATED: Qualifying race lineups " Qualifying results After recording top-five speeds in both practices today, newcomer Bobby Pierce earned his first career 21 Means 21 Pole Award on Wednesday, using a high speed of 86.889 mph to bring his No. 63 MB Motorsports Chevrolet owned by Mike Mittler to the top of the leaderboard. It also was Mittler's first pole. Pierce, an 18-year-old dirt Late Model driver, will be making his first Camping World Truck Series start in tonight's 1-800-CarCash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). His qualifying effort tonight made him the fifth driver in Truck Series history to win the pole in his first start. He joins former series champions Ron Hornaday Jr . (Phoenix, 1995) and Bobby Hamilton (Martinsville, 1996) as well as Kerry Earnhardt (Daytona, 2005) and Alex Tagliani (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, 2014). After sustaining damage in the second practice, Johnny Sauter rebounded, posting the second-fastest speed (84.818 mph) on the leaderboard in his No. 98 ride. Ray Black Jr . was third on the leaderboard, his No. 07 Truck recording a high speed of 84.567 mph. Cameron Hayley (84.380 mph) and John Wes Townley (84.309 mph) rounded out the top five. The top five from this evening's single truck qualifying willl start on the pole for each of the five qualifying races, which will determine the rest of the field for tonight's 1-800-CarCash Mud Summer Classic (9 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM). Beyond the pole, the random draw will decide the order of the qualifying races. RELATED: Learn more about Eldora race format Sprint Cup Series Brad Keselowski will be making his dirt track debut in tonight's Mud Summer Classic. After a brush with the wall, Keselowski's No. 29 BK Racing Truck picked up the 21st-fastest spot on the leaderboard. Former Sprint Cup Series driver Ken Schrader -- who was the first pole winner for the annual Eldora race -- ranked 18th on the leaderboard in his own No. 52 Toyota. Wednesday's opening qualifying session provided the drivers with plenty of challenges associated with dirt track racing. JR Motorsports' Cole Custer took a hard hit to the wall in his first qualifying run, damaging his No. 00 Chevrolet and giving him a flat tire. The incident left him with a 34th qualifying spot. Ty Dillon 's No. 33 GMS Racing truck made contact with the wall on his first qualiyfing run, giving him a 20th qualifying position for tonight's five-race event. Madeline Crane's No. 80 truck -- which took on damage in the second practice -- also hit the wall in Turn 1 early in the qualifying session, which qualified her 33rd. Matt Tifft -- who qualified 27th -- spun out in his second lap, but didn't make contact. The Camping World Truck Series is back on track for the first qualiyfing race at 7 p.m. ET (FOX Sports 2). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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