Carl Edwards promises not to speed on pitroad, plus other drivers comment on the G-W-C finish.
See how the rookie meeting has evolved over the years RELATED: Labonte's crash still impacts rookies " Youngest, oldest rookie winners One by one, before the first engine has fired and the first car has hit the track, they gather in the NASCAR hauler parked inside the garage. It's a scene repeated every weekend when NASCAR rolls into town. Their levels of experience often differ quite a bit. There are champions and those with numerous starts in lower series seated alongside those with limited experience and much less success. Yet here everyone is treated the same. And everyone carries the same label -- rookie. • • • "A lot of stuff happens fast here," Richard Buck, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series managing director, tells the group that's gathered on a cool, damp Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway . Each driver has been given several sheets of paper showing diagrams that include the placement of timing and commitment lines, pit entrance and exit and the proper route to enter and exit pit road from the garage area. It's information that is track-specific. While the basic processes that take place during any given race weekend are relatively the same, there are certain details at each venue that those with limited experience need to know. Proper procedures are explained and advice is doled out. "Use your hand signals so you don't start to slow down and get all jammed up and have somebody's radiator in your backseat," Buck tells the drivers. Each week, a veteran driver will also attend the meetings to offer pointers and answer any questions a rookie driver might have. At Martinsville, 2004 premier series champion Kurt Busch was on hand. "Those of you that have made laps around here before, you know how quick it is," Busch said of the series' shortest venue. "It's an awkward track. There's no other place that really compares to this. So the thing you have to do is to get comfortable with the surroundings." Busch said he would often walk around tracks "even if I've been here before" to reinforce the information given during the meeting. "Have your spotters communicate to you where the holes are when you pull out ... your tires will be ice cold here ... they won't help you do much turning when you get into (Turns) 3 and 4 ... but if you're consciously making an effort to warm up your tires, somebody's going to be right on your bumper and it's going to be chaos," he said. Busch also urged them to take note of the commitment and blend lines at Martinsville. "It's the same Turn 2 line that's painted at Bristol," he said later. "But at Bristol, you have two pit roads (one on the frontstretch and one on the backstretch). It's the same line in the same place and it means two different things." Drivers' left-side tires must touch the blend line near Turn 2 at Martinsville before pulling up onto the track. A similar line at Bristol signifies the pit entrance on the backstretch -- touching any portion of it without proceeding onto pit road will result in a commitment line violation. "Now they'll go to Bristol (in two weeks)," Busch said, "and they need to remember." • • • So what constitutes a rookie in the eyes of NASCAR? In most cases, it's up to the discretion of the series director and is based on the individual's prior experience. Matt DiBenedetto , 23, made his first Sprint Cup Series start this year after running the bulk of the races (29 of 33) in the XFINITY Series last season. Brett Moffitt , 22, made seven Sprint Cup Series starts in 2014. Between 2009 and 2013 he made just one XFINITY Series start and two in the Camping World Truck Series. Both are among those competing for this year's Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award in Sprint Cup , along with Jeb Burton , Tanner Berryhill and Alex Kennedy . To be eligible for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award, a driver must attempt to qualify in at least eight of the first 20 points races. A 10-1 point system, separate from the NASCAR championship driver points format, is used for scoring rookies in each race. The highest finishing rookie receives 10 points, second highest receives nine, etc. Only the top 17 finishes by each driver count toward his or her points total at the end of the year. Bonus points are also awarded for attempts, finishing inside the top 10 and upon the completion of the final race of the season. A panel then grades each rookie on conduct with officials, conduct and awareness on the track, personal appearance and relationship with the media. Points awarded by the panel are then averaged and added to each driver's total, and the driver with the most points is the Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award recipient. Jeb Burton is one of five rookies this year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. • • • Of course, it wasn't always that way. In 1959, Darlington Raceway , in conjunction with sponsor Pure Oil (later to become Union 76), debuted the Darlington Record Club. Members were those that had qualified highest for each auto manufacturer during time trials for the annual Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway . Special recognition went to those that established track records there as well. While NASCAR had been selecting a rookie of the year for nearly a decade -- Rocky Mount, North Carolina's Blackie Pitt was the first recipient in 1954 –- the Union 76/Darlington Record Club was eventually tasked with monitoring the progress of rookie drivers on the uniquely shaped, treacherous 1.366-mile track. What began as an effort between driver Glenn "Fireball" Roberts and NASCAR official John Bruner Sr., to observe new drivers eventually evolved into a panel of Record Club members whose job was to either pass or fail those drivers attempt to make their Southern 500 debuts. (It's worth noting that the club also played a crucial role in requiring all drivers to complete a physical examination before being allowed to compete at Darlington. Today, a physical examination is mandatory for all three national series prior to the start of each season.) Before the Record Club came into existence, "you just went down there and run," said NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR premier series champion and winner of the 1967 Southern 500. "(The Record Club) was good public relations. It gave those (rookies) something they had to do. Indianapolis (home of the Indianapolis 500) always had a rookie test you had to pass before you could go out and run. Well, we said if they can do it, we can do it, too. "Back then, (Darlington) was a one-groove track through (Turns) 3 and 4, which is now 1-2. We'd explain what you had to do to pass people or let people pass you. Then you just said, 'OK, now go out and run.' " To pass the test, drivers new to the series were required to run within a percentage of a pre-determined speed. "If we were running 130 mph," Petty said, "they would have to run 125 or something like that. Then they'd go out and run six or eight laps on the track by themselves." "It was a little easier to show up at Daytona with a car even though you may not have that much experience and get in the race," three-time series champion and NASCAR Hall of Fame member Darrell Waltrip said. "But they really observed you. If you were somebody new that they didn't know and you showed up at the track, they'd have some drivers that would kind of see how you did, see if you could handle the track and the speed and all that. There was always somebody watching you, but Darlington was the only official test we took." The panel would make its recommendations to NASCAR, but it was up to Bruner, a former flagman who eventually became Chief Steward for the sanctioning body, to make the final call. Richard Petty, who won the Southern 500 in 1967, used to show rookies the ropes at the iconic track. • • • In 1976, the Record Club's competition panel began overseeing the rookie program. Nearly a decade later, one of racing's greatest figures found himself labeled a rookie, and was required to go through the orientation process. Far from being a rookie, Anthony Joseph Foyt, better known simply as A.J., already had seven NASCAR premier series wins to his credit including a victory in the 1972 Daytona 500 . But Foyt, a four-time winner of the Indy 500 as well, had never raced at Darlington. "I am going to Darlington as a bonafide rookie. I don't want anything waived," Foyt told the press prior to his debut. "Why should I be different than anybody else? I know a lot of guys would have too much pride and ego to take the rookie test, but I'm not that type of person." NASCAR driver Ricky Rudd was the president of the Record Club at that time. Among the members of the competition panel were fellow drivers Waltrip and Buddy Baker. "Buddy and I and I forget who else, we observed A.J. Foyt and we flunked him his first day," Waltrip said. "Well, we told him we flunked him. "I told Buddy, I said 'Go down there and tell A.J. that we're going to have to have a meeting about his test because I'm not sure he passed.' Buddy looked at me and said 'Do you think I'm crazy? You go down there and tell him.' " Foyt passed the test, eventually finishing 25th in his only Southern 500 start. • • • Ken Schrader , a four-time race winner in NASCAR's premier series, was in that same rookie class with Foyt in 1985. Schrader posted three top-10 finishes that year en route to winning the Rookie of the Year title, beating out Eddie Bierschwale and Don Hume. Twice he served as president of the Record Club. "Yeah, I got elected president one time, then got elected president another time because at the banquet in Darlington I sat in the back and drank with the wrong group," the fun-loving Schrader said. "I was sitting with, I think, Phil Holmer and T. Wayne (Robertson) and some Unocal folks." Holmer was a Goodyear representative while Robertson headed up series sponsor R.J. Reynolds sports marketing arm. "They threw my ass right in," Schrader said of his election. "My acceptance speed, I stood up and said 'This is (expletive)!' "But the rookie meetings were neat. We'd just go in there, talk about the do's and don'ts for the tracks. Some of it was repetitious obviously but then there was so much about each individual track and it was the first time that some of those guys went to those tracks. Because back then not everybody then came through the Truck or ( XFINITY ) Series. "Now, hell, you're a rookie at a race, you've been to how many places (already)? You've probably raced there in some other series. "So it's a little different now." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
18-year-old driver wanted more from strong Daytona run Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Erik Jones wrapped up his 2014 Camping World Truck Series campaign with his third win of the season, putting a stomping on the field to the tune of 114 of 126 laps led in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix Raceway . The 18-year-old Kyle Busch Motorsports driver then finished second in Friday night's 2015 season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway, making a last-lap move to position himself for -- albeit coming up just short of -- the win. Bookending seasons with an average finish of 1.5 in a pair of races? Surely, any driver would take that. However, the highly-touted NASCAR Next wheelman wasn't satisfied. "I wish we could have won the race; that's first off," Jones said on pit road following the race. "… It's unfortunate for us to finish second any day, but it's a good run for us. We just wanted to come in here and have a good day, solid day to start off the year. "Second is a great start to the season and we did what we wanted to. We came in here and didn't get wrecked and put ourselves in a position not to be making up all year." That second-place finish was looking like a certain fourth for the latter chunk of the 100-mile event, as the Brad Keselowski Racing duo of race-winner Tyler Reddick and Austin Theriault had a lock on the 1-2 spots ahead of the field. Jones said his final lap strategy was to lay back through Turns 3 and 4, hopeful that if Theriault ended up making a move on his teammate -- which is what ended up happening -- he could pull his No. 4 Toyota Tundra off both of them and attempt to make his way to the front. "It worked up to second, but just couldn't quite get to the lead," he said. Give him one more lap and there's a good chance he puts his truck in Victory Lane. Considering it was just Jones' second career restrictor-plate race, there are still lessons to be learned from finishing a position lower than he'd prefer, particularly from his experienced team owner, who has been offering his sage advice to his young padawan. "Just lots of listening. Lots of listening," Jones said. "Really talked to Kyle a lot about it last year before Talladega. Talked to him more about it here. Read a lot of data that Toyota gives us. Try to apply it all in real‑time. "I think everybody kind of knows the basics of drafting. It's not extremely complicated. It's just a matter of being able to process those during the race and being able to remember all the things you've gathered about it. Actually, I don't mind plate racing. I enjoy it. I had fun tonight. Would have had a lot more fun if we came home one position higher." You see? At all times -- Jones is focused on nothing but winning. It's the same mentality that all of NASCAR's greats shared, and one that bodes well for the future of a talented young driver that is quickly rising within the sport's ranks -- he finished 18th in Saturday's Alert Today Florida 300 XFINITY Series event. While the first win of 2015 will have to wait, it was still crucial for Jones to escape Daytona without digging himself into a points hole, something that he and his team knew could be a possibility. Instead, his momentum remains in tact and the team will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for next weekend's Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 (Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "That was pretty important to us," the Michigan native said. "We talked about it for the last couple weeks. When you start off Daytona and get wrecked or whatever, say you finish 30th, it really gives you a hole to dig out of for really the next four races, even if you run those well. "It's pretty important to finish well here, just get good momentum going for your season. It's my first full‑time season." Atlanta is similarly configured to the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where he picked up his second win of the year in 2014. Needless to say, he's looking forward to it. "Atlanta is going to be fun. I think our mile‑and‑a‑half program is pretty strong. It was really strong last year. I think we can probably go out and hopefully contend for a win." 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
17-year-old will compete in two more 2014 Camping World Truck Series races Brandon Jones is joining GMS Racing to run two more NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races this season. Jones will pilot the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in the Kroger 200 at Martinsville Speedway on Oct. 25 as well as the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway on Nov. 7. Shane Huffman will serve as crew chief. "I couldn't be more excited to continue our NCWTS efforts this season with GMS Racing at Martinsville and Phoenix ," Jones said in a release. "The opportunity to start our relationship at a familiar track like Martinsville is a great benefit and I'm incredibly excited to tackle Phoenix for the first time. GMS Racing has had impressive performances this year and I can't wait to get back on track working with Shane Huffman and the entire organization." Jones has made six previous Camping World Truck Series starts in his career, including three this year, all for Turner Scott Motorsports. His best finish was a fourth-place result at Dover this past spring. Jones has made two previous starts at Martinsville and has an average finish of 17.0 at the track. The 17-year-old Atlanta native competed full-time in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East circuit this season and finished fourth in the final standings. He won his first K&N Pro Series East race at Iowa Speedway in August. Huffman served as the crew chief for most of his races on that circuit and has also been the crew chief for all three of Jones' starts this season in the Truck Series. "Everyone at GMS Racing is thrilled to welcome Brandon into the fold of the No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado," Nic Moncher, the general manager of GMS Racing, said in a team release. "He has shown a great deal of talent this season across every series he has competed in, and we're both looking forward to great performances together at both Martinsville and Phoenix . Brandon has all the tools you like to see in a young driver and he will be a great asset to our Truck Series program." This season, GMS Racing has fielded a full-time truck for Joey Coulter (No. 21), while Max Gresham and Spencer Gallagher have split time in the No. 23 entry. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Get full lineup of NASCAR programming for the week RELATED: See the full weekend schedule All times ET Monday, May 25 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 4:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBC Sports Network 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Tuesday, May 26 10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Hisense 300 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Wednesday, May 27 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 Thursday, May 28 5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1 7 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FOX Sports 2 11:30 p.m., NASCAR America: States of NASCAR #5 (re-air), NBC Sports Network Midnight, NASCAR America: States of NASCAR #6 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 12:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 - 2015, Episode 2 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 1 a.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 - 2015, Episode 1 (re-air), NBC Sports Network 1:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Sr. Moments (re-air), NBC Sports Network Friday, May 29 10 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 2 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Setup, FOX Sports 1 5:30 p.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 , FOX Sports 1 Saturday, May 30 4 a.m., NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 (re-air), FOX Sports 1 8:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying (re-air), FOX Sports 2 10 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 11 a.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 Noon, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - Detroit Belle Isle, FOX Sports 2 12:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub: Weekend Edition, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 2 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay: XFINITY , FOX 2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket , FOX Sunday, May 31 10:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice (re-air), FOX Sports 1 11:30 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay: Dover, FOX Sports 1 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks, FOX Sports 1 5 p.m., TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - Detroit Belle Isle (re-air), FOX Sports 1 3 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 1 &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;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;
Get on-track times for all three NASCAR national series at the Monster Mile The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will race at Dover International Speedway this weekend. Check out the full schedule below. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;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; All times are ET THUR SDAY, MAY 28: ON TRACK -- 2-4:25 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series final practice ( Follow live ) FR IDAY, MAY 29: ON TRACK -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 11 a.m.-12:25 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 12:45 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 2-3:25 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 3:45 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 5:30 p.m.: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 200 (200 laps , 200 miles), FOX Sports 1 ( Follow liv e ) GARAGECAM (Watch live ) -- 10:30 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series -- 1:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series SATU RDAY, MAY 30: ON TRACK -- 10-10:55 a.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 11:15 a.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 1-1:50 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live ) -- 2:30 p.m.: NASCAR XFINITY Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket It (200 laps, 200 miles), FOX ( Follow liv e ) SU NDAY, MAY 31: ON TRACK -- 1 p.m.: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks (400 laps, 400 miles), FOX Sports 1 ( Follow live )
Find out why this story still resonates with young drivers RELATED: Evolution of rookie meeting " Youngest, oldest rookie winners A 2005 crash involving Bobby Labonte at Pocono Raceway continues to serve as a reminder for rookie drivers today in NASCAR’s three national series. "We were getting ready to put right-side glasses in the trucks when we were going to Talladega," NASCAR XFINITY Series Director Wayne Auton said. "We'd never run right-side windows in the trucks before. I was talking to Bobby about some stuff to help us get ready to go down there and one of the things he brought up was about running the right-side glass. "I sort of questioned about why we should be worried about the right-side glass. And he said, 'well what happened to me was … I got pinned up against the outside wall (on the) driver's side.' There was so much smoke inside the car he got disoriented … and couldn't get out of the car." As a result of the incident, Labonte set out to correct the problem, meeting with former crew chief Jimmy Makar one evening at the Joe Gibbs Racing shop. "He told me that he crawled in the car, buckled himself in and then told Jimmy to turn off the lights," Auton said. "He started to get out of the car and … hooked himself on something. So he stopped and told Jimmy to turn on the lights. They adjusted some things he crawled back in the car, buckled back in, turned off the lights. Started to come out again, got hooked on something, stopped, turned on lights, adjusted that, sat back down … and he came out of the car. "He said he tried that two or three times just to make sure he knew where everything was in the car." Makar, now senior vice president of racing operations at JGR, said the biggest issue for the driver was the bars inside the car and locating the window release on the right side. "You have to crawl over them and you have to find the window release; that was hard to do," Makar said. “When you're in a panic and trying to do it, it's not intuitive. "Crawling over those bars is hard enough, but those two things combined, that was something that he said on his own that 'we need to figure this out. I need to be able to do this better.' "Most of the stuff that’s in the way is stuff that has to be there. The bars, the way the seats are with the headrest, it makes it very hard to get through that space. "It's just a matter of figuring you the best way to maneuver yourself, headfirst or feet first, what part is first? And that was mostly it, just doing it. And not having to do it in a panic the first time." Auton relates the importance of being able to exit the vehicle from the right side each time he oversees a rookie meeting where the right-side windows are required (all tracks 1.5 miles or larger). Locks are attached to a strap that, when pulled from the inside, release the window. "The driver can take it out from the inside or the safety teams or crews can take it off from the outside," Auton said. "… We don't want it locked to where the driver can't have access to remove it." "Most think you just crawl in your car and you drive it and you don't worry about nothing. We try to explain to them that it's as important getting out of your car as it is getting in it. Because there might be that one time that you need to go out the right side." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Ross Chastain and others comment on strong runs at Phoenix International Raceway .
James Buescher, Ty Dillon and Timothy Peters comment on the beating they took at Phoenix International Raceway .
Timothy Peters talks about overcoming an early-race spin to win at Lucas Oil Raceway .