Debating 'Smoke's' reported retirement after 2016, No. 4 team's strategy RELATED: Subscribe to NASCAR Illustrated " Harvick shoves Johnson post-race MORE: Stewart to retire from Sprint Cup action after '16 " Bowyer tabbed for No. 14 Tony Stewart 's reported retirement following the 2016 season was big news this week. Jimmie Johnson heading back to Dover, where the No. 48 team has been dominant in recent years, will headline the weekend. And come next Monday, four drivers will have fallen out of the Chase. Will defending champion Kevin Harvick be among them? We cover all of that and more in this week’s installment of Herman Unplugged. NASCAR ILLUSTRATED : Tony Stewart 's retirement after next season means two of our biggest champions will be gone from the competitive landscape in the span of a year. How will losing that amount of star power impact the sport and should NASCAR be concerned? HERMAN: "I think from the standpoint that Dale Jr. is gonna be 41 here in no time. We're looking at our sport's biggest stars by far and we're in that time where these drivers are not racing into their 50s no more. I see the new era of drivers quit in their mid-40s, because all these guys like Jeff, Tony and Dale, started as teenagers. Look at a Harry Gant or drivers back in the day that started in their 20s. It makes sense that these current guys who started young and came in at the right time making millions of dollars a year are leaving earlier. Their bodies have a lot of wear and tear. NASCAR knows we have to put a really big emphasis on Joey Logano now and guys like Brad Keselowski . Whether we like it or not, these guys are our next big superstars." NI: Speaking of Keselowski, his comment about NASCAR being an entertainment sport and not a fair sport after getting black-flagged on the restart was entertaining itself. Was it a case of sour grapes or did he have a beef there? HERMAN: "We always have conspiracy theories. I like Richard Buck, I've talked to him and he's invited me into the NASCAR trailer. I truly believe that Brad was just the first one; I don't believe that NASCAR made an example out of him. He was just the first one. If that's being made an example of, so be it. But that had major implications. This was not a normal race; it had championship implications. That's not an easy one to swallow. And when you get out of the race car like that, I think NASCAR recognized that you can't take what he said wholeheartedly even if he meant it. You gotta give that guy a break. It hurt and he was able to overcome it somewhat but he probably lost 5-8 points and that's a lot." NI: Kevin Harvick now faces a must-win scenario at Dover to advance in the Chase. Point blank: Should Rodney Childers have taken a more conservative approach at New Hampshire? HERMAN: "Because I'm a racer, I'm never gonna second guess. All I'm gonna say is this: They ran him out of gas at Watkins Glen and at New Hampshire and that could have meant bonus points. It is true that he shouldn't have run out of gas at either place. But I think what I've learned is why cut it so close because he's so fast and can pass people at will? I'm sure that they've learned that we'll never do this again." NI: Jimmie Johnson has won seven of the last 13 races at Dover. Does he get another victory in his 500th career start on Sunday? HERMAN: "I'm going on the record and picking Harvick to win Dover right now. He did a walkoff twice last year. He had to win Phoenix and he did. Then he went to Homestead and he won again. They're gonna lose a lot of sleep between now and Dover but I think he wins it. I'm going out on a limb. If Kevin Harvick does not move out of the first round, this will be one of the biggest upsets in the new modern era Chase format. I think Harvick will put the bumper to Jimmie to get it. If you look at the last two races there, Harvick should have won this fall race last year and then he ran second earlier this year. The one race he was dominating he lost a valve stem in the wheel. I just see Harvick doing whatever it takes." SUBSCRIBE NOW!
Meet Abraham Calderon, winner of the 2014 NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series from Monterrey, Mexico.
NASCAR Illustrated's Steven Levine meets up with Richard Childress and explores the legendary NASCAR team owner’s passion for wine.
NASCAR Illustrated takes you around Beer Haven as they stop at Charlotte Motor Speedway to promote local breweries in and around Charlotte, NC.
First look at the magazine's Q&A with NBC's lead Sprint Cup race announcer
RELATED: See the full weekend schedule " NBC Sports Live Extra All times ET Sunday, Oct. 11 11:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN Monday, Oct. 12 6 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 8 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN 2 p.m., NASCAR 120, NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (tape), NBCSN 10:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBCSN Tuesday, Oct. 13 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 4:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS12 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 2:30 a.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBCSN Wednesday, Oct. 14 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 4:30 p.m., NASCAR America: Scan All 43 Special (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 Thursday, Oct. 15 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 5 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FS1 7 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour: Charlotte Motor Speedway (tape), NBCSN 11 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour: Charlotte Motor Speedway (re-air), NBCSN 2 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub (re-air), FS2 Friday, Oct. 16 6 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 7 a.m., NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN Noon, NASCAR America (re-air), NBCSN 1 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, NBCSN 2:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series practice, NBCSN 3:30 p.m., NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour: Charlotte Motor Speedway (re-air), NBCSN 4:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series final practice, NBCSN 6 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 7:30 p.m., Being: Stewart-Haas Racing (re-air), FS1 Saturday, Oct. 17 11:30 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, CNBC 12:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying, NBCSN 2 p.m., NASCAR America Live, NBCSN 2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series final practice, NBCSN 3:30 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN 4 p.m., NASCAR XFINITY Series Kansas Lottery 300 , NBCSN Sunday, Oct. 18 11 a.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FS1 12:30 p.m., Continental SportsCar Challenge: Road Atlanta (tape), FS1 1 p.m., NASCAR America Sunday, NBCSN 1:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Countdown to Green, NBCSN 2:15 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 , NBC 6 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Post-Race, NBCSN 6:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap, NBCSN 8 p.m., Continental SportsCar Challenge: Road Atlanta (re-air), FS2 11:30 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lap (re-air), NBCSN Midnight, NASCAR Victory Lane, FS1 3:30 a.m., NASCAR Victory Lane (re-air), 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;nbsp;
NASCAR RETURNS TO AMS FEB. 26-28; SPEEDWAY INTRODUCES ‘PERFECT RACE WEATHER GUARANTEE’ Buy Tickets for 2016 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 . HAMPTON, Ga. (Oct. 13, 2015) – NASCAR racing will make its thunderous return to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2016 with the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Weekend Feb. 26-28. The Speedway today announced several great new benefits for fans attending the weekend event. The 2016 NASCAR Weekend has become more affordable and fan-friendly than ever. The majority of grandstand seat prices have been reduced, and no ticket to the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is priced at more than $99, with seats starting as low as $39. The new ticket prices represent an overall average reduction of 15 percent from previous levels. Along with reduced ticket prices, Atlanta Motor Speedway has introduced a “Perfect Race Weather Guarantee.” The all-new policy offers fans options in the event that inclement weather prevents them from attending the race. If the daytime high temperature in Hampton, Georgia on Saturday or Sunday of race weekend fails to reach at least 50 degrees as observed by the National Weather Service, or if weather issues postpone the day’s activities to a different day and fans are unable to attend on the rescheduled date, fans who do not enter the admission gates on the day the event is held will receive an account credit for the full price of their tickets. Credits can be applied to any future AMS event or events in 2016 or the 2017 NASCAR Weekend. Also new in 2016, Atlanta Motor Speedway is rolling out the ultra-affordable “Good,” “Better” and “Best” ticket packages that offer unbeatable weekend deals. •The “Good” ticket package, priced at $79, includes upper Petty Grandstand seating for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 , plus general admission seating to Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying day and Saturday’s doubleheader, a savings of $40 off the regular prices. •The “Better” ticket package is priced at $139 and offers seating in the Winners, Earnhardt or Petty Grandstand for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 , general admission seating to Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying day and Saturday’s doubleheader, a weekend FanVision rental and a Sunday pre-race pit pass, for a total savings of $125 off regular prices •The “Best” package, which offers the best value of all three deals, is priced at $179 and boasts an ultimate NASCAR weekend combination, including a seat in the Upper Champions Grandstand or the Upper Winners Grandstand chairback seats for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 , general admission seating to Friday’s Sprint Cup Series qualifying day and Saturday’s doubleheader, a weekend FanVision scanner rental, a weekend pre-race pit pass, and $25 off a purchase of $50 or more in the AMS souvenir shop. In total, the “Best” package shaves a whopping $165 off normal pricing. The Good, Better and Best packages are available for purchase now in addition to other traditional, price-friendly ticket packages. Those include the Two-for-$99 deal, the $159 Start/Finish Line Package, which includes both Saturday and Sunday tickets plus a Sunday pre-race pit pass, and the Jimmie Johnson package, which grants access to a pre-race Q&A session with the defending Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 winner for just $48 and half the price for kids. Another fan-favorite experience available now is the Champions Suite, which offers an indoor, climate-controlled atmosphere, a pre-race pit pass, individual reserved seating, TVs, dedicated restrooms, a delicious food and beverage buffet and much more. For the second consecutive year, AMS will host all three NASCAR national series on the same weekend. Saturday, Feb. 27 features a Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series same-day doubleheader unique to Atlanta, for a combined 450 miles of racing, while the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race headlines the weekend on Sunday, Feb. 28. Sprint Cup Series qualifying will open the weekend’s events on Friday, Feb. 26. Fans are encouraged to secure their tickets early and take advantage of these 2016 NASCAR Weekend specials, as many are available for a limited time and only while supplies last. For event information and to purchase tickets today , fans are encouraged to contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com . -AMS- Buy Tickets for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Now!
In announcing its race dates, Chicagoland Speedway also revealed it was again the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Texas officials said the Nov. 6 race again fell in the Eliminator Round of the postseason, a three-race stretch that again included Martinsville and Phoenix, according to the track. Pocono Raceway officials said upon its schedule release that the NASCAR XFINITY Series would host a race June 4 at the Tricky Triangle. It would be the first XFINITY Series race ever at the venue.
RELATED: Full race results " Updated Chase Grid CONCORD, N.C. -- Two of NASCAR's top drivers were adamant that oil not cleaned up from a previous incident led to each of them hitting the wall in separate incidents during Sunday's Bank of America 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Both Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Kyle Busch bounced off the outside wall shortly after Justin Allgaier had brought out the day's seventh caution flag. "We all hit the wall," Earnhardt Jr. said after the Hendrick Motorsports driver finished 28th in the opening race of the Contender Round of this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . "I hit the wall, the 2 (of Brad Keselowski ) hit the wall, then we went another lap. I pitted, a bunch of other guys hit the wall. "There was oil down there. It wasn't speedy dry (used to absorb fluids put down on the racing surface). I've raced this (expletive) for 20 years, I know what oil and speedy dry is. We hit fluid, flew into the freaking wall hard. That's not speedy dry. There was oil up there." Earnhardt was already running outside the top 25 after an earlier incident had put his No. 88 Chevrolet in the wall. Allgaier's entry began slowing with smoke trailing out the rear of the No. 51 HScott Motorsports entry on Lap 182. Earnhardt said it might have been a "blown hose" that sprayed fluids across the track and that shadows cast by billboards ringing outside of the track could have made it difficult to see. "(Expletive), man, guys hit the fence, what do you want me to do?" Earnhardt said. "I hit the (expletive) wall. I know I hit oil. I hit it. I promise. I'll argue with ( NASCAR ) all day long because I know I'm right. They won't argue about it. ... They shouldn't want to argue about that. A lot of cars hit the wall down there." Busch's Toyota eventually slipped up and into the fence in the turn as well, continuing a day of misfortune for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver. "You now, can't pass anybody -- single-lane race track and then you put oil on the top lane to try to make anything happen and then you put yourself in the fence, so thanks to NASCAR for cleaning that up," Busch said after finishing 20th. With two races remaining in the Contender Round, at Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway , Busch sits 10th and Earnhardt 11th in points. Only the top eight will advance to the three-race Eliminator Round (Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix), with a chance to be one of the final four to battle for the championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Brad Keselowski ( Team Penske ) finished ninth and holds the No. 8 points position, 10 points ahead of Busch and 19 ahead of Earnhardt. Richard Buck, NASCAR Managing Director of the Sprint Cup Series, said afterward that officials "listen to our drivers and our spotters; we get calls all day long. We've got spotters around the track, officials, clean-up and stuff and we'll make the rounds over the radio. "In that instance we actually had men on the ground walking that high groove and they couldn't see anything," he said. Caution car driver Brett Bodine and official Buster Auton were also evaluating the condition of the racing surface in the area in question. "So we got the reports and we looked everywhere," Buck said, "including putting people on the ground walking the area where they said the oil was, and there was no oil. "Sometimes, with some of these lubricants … there is some staining to the track. We'll go back and do a double-check on that just to make sure; we did that today and we feel absolutely confident that there was no oil up in that very top groove or down below." Race winner Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) said there was radio chatter among his crewmen about possible oil on the track, but that he had no issues. "I was warned," Logano said. "My spotter did a great job warning me that people were talking about it, so when someone comes over the radio and says 'Hey, they're talking about oil in the middle of the race track,' then you probably shouldn't run in the middle of the race track." Sunday's race was run a day later than originally scheduled due to rain that washed out all on-track activity on Saturday.
Get to know NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champion Ben Rhodes.