At age 19, Chase will attempt to qualify for first Sprint Cup race Vote: Who will win at Martinsville? " Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Think about this for a moment: Chase Elliott , son of the ever-popular Bill Elliott , will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Martinsville Speedway , a track steeped in history and tradition, for Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). Not only does he need to qualify for the race, but Elliott also will need to do it without having the benefit of much time spent in a Sprint Cup Series seat. And if that's not enough, if he qualifies for the race -- which is expected to be attended by none other than Richard Petty -- Elliott will do so at a younger age than Jeff Gordon did in 1992. Throughout his short history as a national series driver, Elliott has shown an unflappable, even-keel approach en route to such heights as last season's XFINITY Series title. But if any weekend were to test his Zen-like calm, who could blame him if this were the one? "If I wasn't nervous come this weekend, then I'd think something was wrong with me," Elliott said. "I think that should be the case. With as much excitement as this weekend brings I think you're going to have some nerves to go along with it. I'm looking forward to experiencing both of those sensations." If his nerves indeed need some calming, then Elliott can go to bat knowing he will have Gordon on his side. Jeff just happens to be tied with HMS teammate Jimmie Johnson for the most Cup wins at the track with eight, so it's not like he's coming at Chase with a blank slate. "I think for me, Jeff will probably be the guy I lean on most this weekend," Elliott said. "One, our car is being prepared out of the 24 and 5 shop. Just to be familiar with that group of guys and how they do things, I think that only makes sense to kind of lean on those guys more than anybody else with the plans for next year. Last time I checked, Jeff had run a handful of races at Martinsville; I feel like he'll have some good information and a lot to be learned talking to him." Elliott said he hasn't driven a Cup car since January of 2014, and most of that experience was at Nashville Superspeedway, a 1.33-mile concrete track that was used for testing. Plus, in the time since Elliott drove a Cup car, a lot has changed thanks to the 2015 rules package. Add in the fact that Elliott will be working with crew chief Kenny Francis for the first time, and there are a lot of challenges he'll be facing beyond just the normal task of driving on a tough, tight 0.526-mile track. But besides having Gordon and the entire HMS team on his side, Elliott also has the benefit of it being a break in the XFINITY Series schedule. Therefore, he can concentrate on the very tall task at hand. But as one might expect, his own expectations for his first Cup race sound pretty reasonable. "Hopefully, for me, I just want to execute all weekend and put together a solid week," Elliott said. "I think for us, if we can run all the laps and stay on the lead lap and battle to run in the top 15, I feel like that's a great day to shoot for. I feel like that's possible and that would be a really good day." Of course, if he does something more than that, then it could add to the track's already thick history. It's a history that will be on the young driver's mind. "I think back of all the times I've gone to Martinsville to watch my dad race," Elliott said. "Even not that long ago. Weird to think I'm going to go run a Cup race and not be watching. ... Such a great opportunity and I want to make the most of it." Senior writer Holly Cain contributed to this report. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Wrapping up the week that was and look forward to the week ahead Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Hendrick Motorsports will have five teams vying for starting positions in Sunday's STP 500 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway , but HMS officials aren't skirting the rules. Since 2006, NASCAR has limited Sprint Cup organizations to no more than four full-time teams. However, officials allow a fifth entry for a maximum of seven starts "for the purpose of enabling a rookie driver … to become familiar with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition." In addition to full-time teams for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr ., Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson and Kasey Kahne , HMS will field a fifth entry for defending XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott at Martinsville. It will be Elliott's first attempt in the Sprint Cup Series, one of five scheduled for the 19-year-old this season. Elliott will also be entered in Sprint Cup races at Richmond (April 25), Charlotte (May 24), Indianapolis (July 26) and Darlington (Sept. 6). The No. 25 Chevrolet will carry sponsorship from NAPA and will be led by crew chief Kenny Francis. Elliott is slated to replace Gordon in the team's No. 24 Chevrolet beginning in 2016. It will be the first time an organization has fielded five Sprint Cup teams in one race since 2009 provided Elliott qualifies for the 43-car field. HMS fielded a fifth team on a part-time basis that season for driver Brad Keselowski -- his final start with HMS came at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. Roush Fenway Racing was allowed to field five full-time teams through the end of '09 due to sponsorship agreements that were in place when the cap was announced three years earlier. MORE INSPECTION TIME ADDED • NASCAR will continue to incorporate additional time into the pre-qualifying inspection process as the Sprint Cup Series returns from a three-week West Coast swing and heads to Martinsville. Schedule adjustments at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway resulted in an additional 15 minutes of off-track time at each venue to allow teams to prepare and present their cars for pre-qualifying inspection and for officials to complete the inspection process. The move came in the wake of inspection delays at the season's second event, the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway . Thirteen cars were unable to complete the pre-qualifying inspection process in time to post an official first-round qualifying lap at Atlanta. Friday's schedule at Martinsville indicates changes from '14 that will provide an additional 10 minutes of time between the end of opening practice and the start of qualifying. Compared to last year's Martinsville spring race schedule, opening practice is now five minutes shorter (12-1:25 p.m. ET) and qualifying will being later (4:45 p.m. instead of 4:40 p.m.). In addition, in a NASCAR bulletin distributed to teams, the first round of Sprint Cup Series qualifying will now be 20 minutes at short tracks and intermediate tracks. This takes affect at Martinsville this weekend. NO PRACTICE PENALTIES • No teams required more than three attempts to pass pre-qualifying inspection at Auto Club Speedway , meaning none will be docked 15 minutes at the beginning of practice Friday at Martinsville. NASCAR notified teams earlier this year that any vehicle that fails qualifying inspection more than twice will be subject to a 15-minute practice penalty that will be applied during the opening practice of the next scheduled event. TIRES IMPOUNDED • NASCAR impounded the tires from four teams following Sunday's Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway . Tires from the teams of Kevin Harvick and teammate Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), as well as teammates Ryan Newman and Paul Menard ( Richard Childress Racing ) went back to the NASCAR R&D Center for evaluation. Harvick and Busch finished second and third, respectively, while Menard finished fourth and Newman fifth. It marked the second time this season that NASCAR had impounded tires following a Sprint Cup Series event. The sanctioning body took tires from the teams of race winner Harvick and eighth-place finisher Joey Logano after this month’s Phoenix race. No issues with the Phoenix tires were found, according to NASCAR officials. Sunday's race was the first for teams with the new left-side tire code at Auto Club. There was no change in the right-side tires. • According to Goodyear, Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series teams will run the same Goodyear tire codes this weekend at Martinsville used when the two series visited the half-mile track last October. This particular tire is not used for any other events by the two series. PIT ROAD PENALTIES • Officials in NASCAR's Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday’s Auto Club 400 , the second fewest through this year’s first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations -- failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations. PENALTIES FOR FONTANA INFRACTIONS • On Wednesday, NASCAR issued penalities for infractions during race weekend at Auto Club Speedway . Click here for penalties on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series No. 33 team, and click here for penalties on the NASCAR XFINITY Series No. 8 team. POST-RACE INSPECTIONS • Because of the schedule that saw teams competing at Las Vegas, Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway in consecutive weeks, final post-race inspection for entries from both Phoenix and Auto Club will be conducted Wednesday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. Both Stewart-Haas Racing entries of driver Kevin Harvick , which finished first and second at Phoenix and Auto Club, respectively, were sent back to the R&D Center as well as the cars of Auto Club winner Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) and Phoenix runner-up Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates). MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
JR Motorsports will make its Truck debut this weekend at Martinsville Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Kelley Earnhardt Miller appeared on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday. Among other topics, she discussed JR Motorsports' first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race this weekend at Martinsville Speedway . Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of JR Motorsports, said earlier this year that there were no plans at that time to field the organization’s Camping World Truck Series team for any races beyond the 10 currently in place with driver Cole Custer . On Wednesday she said that was still the case, but also said Sprint Cup Series Dale Earnhardt Jr . had broached the subject of driving the truck. "He's definitely mentioned that that's something he might be interested in," Earnhardt Miller said. "I think he would want to see how the program is going to do, and make sure we have the resources and the capability to do that. Let Cole the team get off the ground first and see how that goes." The organization will make its CWTS debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway , fielding the No. 00 Chevrolet for Custer in Saturday’s Kroger 250 (FOX Sports 1, 2:30 p.m. ET). The entry will carry sponsorship from Haas Automation and will be under the direction of crew chief Joe Shear Jr. Earnhardt Miller, Earnhardt Jr. and Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick share ownership of JRM. One of the organization’s three full-time XFINITY Series teams features multiple Sprint Cup drivers, Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne , behind the wheel for select events. Two other full-time teams feature drivers Chase Elliott and Regan Smith , who finished 1-2 in points, respectively, last season. "He (Earnhardt Jr.) and some others have expressed interest in running the truck," Earnhardt Miller said. “We’ve actually gotten calls from other people saying ‘do you want to fill out the balance of your schedule and run it full time?' "We really don't want to do that. We want to focus on Cole. If the opportunity exists to put a couple of the Cup drivers in there to make our program stronger, (that's) really why would we want to do that… "I won’t say it’s not going to happen but there aren’t any concrete plans for it to happen right now." Even though the XFINITY Series is taking a one-week break after five consecutive races to open the 2015 season, it is shaping up to be a big weekend for JRM. Custer, 17, made his NCWTS debut last season with Haas Racing Development and became the youngest winner in a NASCAR national series event when he won the UNOH 175 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . In only nine starts, he scored six top-10s and two poles. Elliott, the defending XFINITY Series champion, will attempt to make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Sunday’s STP 500 at Martinsville. The 19-year-old is scheduled to step into the Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Chevrolet in 2016, replacing four-time series champion Jeff Gordon . HMS will field a No. 25 entry for Elliott this weekend, with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis heading up the team. With Elliott already tabbed for the move to Sprint Cup next season, Custer could be auditioning for a full-time XFINITY Series ride with the organization. "Hopefully, that (truck effort) will roll into an XFINITY Series ride for Cole, depending on how he performs," Earnhardt Miller said. It will be the first start of the season for Custer, who is limited to competing on road courses and tracks 1.1 miles or less in length due to his age. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
See what's coming this week to NASCAR.com Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Here's what you'll see on NASCAR.com this week: MONDAY: Dale Earnhardt Jr . finished in the top 10 after a last-place effort last week. How'd he bounce back? Taylor Starer reports from Fontana. Plus, recap the Auto Club weekend in GIF form, and read a note on every driver in the 43-car field in The Rundown. TUESDAY: Kevin Harvick has eight consecutive finishes of second or better dating back to last season. No. 1 in the Power Rankings? For sure. But who's behind him in No. 2? Plus our weekly video of the best sounds from the scanner. WEDNESDAY: Check out the new paint schemes for this weekend's action at Martinsville Speedway . THURSDAY: Have you been bitten by the March Madness bug? Stay tuned as NASCAR.com presents its own version of March Madness, complete with fan voting. We'll be in the semifinal round Thursday. Zack Albert will write on Danville Speedway and its link to NASCAR and Wendell Scott, and @nascarcasm also chimes in on something historic -- the Martinsville hot dog. FRIDAY: Cars are on track in Martinsville. Visit us for live leaderboards throughout the day, plus the best tweets of the week. Also coming this week: Holly Cain previews Chase Elliott 's first scheduled Sprint Cup Series start ... How is Kurt Busch holding up after a near-miss at Fontana? Cain has that story, too ... Senior writer Kenny Bruce takes a deep dive on Martinsville, the original NASCAR facility.
There isn't a conspiracy against Kurt Busch
From riding around in the desert, to living the good life in Los Angeles, enjoy a look back at the best moments from Chuck Bush and Matthew Dillner's three-week odyssey out west. Visit CampingWorld.com to find everything you need for your RV!
Hosts Marty Snider and Chris Rice look back at the exciting finale this past Sunday at Auto Club Speedway, as well as, preview and give their picks for what driver will take the checkered flag in this weekend's upcoming race at Martinsville Speedway.
Humpe led 97 of 125 laps in a convincing win at Auto Club Speedway.
Tempers flare at Bristol Motor Speedway, but Matt Kenseth keeps his cool to win the Irwin Tools Night Race.
FS1 analyst Kenny Wallace tackles negativity and shorter attention spans