Nashville -based NeXovation purchases property with new business plan for facility
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 -- with Team Xtreme withdrawing, there are 45 cars on the entry list; 43 make 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 among active drivers 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
A new year and a new season brings reduced ticket prices for fans of Nashville Superspeedway . Single event tickets will go on sale at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday. Fans can take advantage of the reduced ticket prices by reserving their seats in advance to receive the best pricing available. Tickets for Nationwide Series races at Nashville on April 23 and July 23 start at $30, while tickets for Camping World Truck Series races on April 22 and July 22 start at $25. Nashville has also increased the age and reduced the price on all junior tickets for fans 14 and under. Juniors can attend any of the four events for just $10 when purchased in advance. Tickets purchased at the gate will increase by $5 for juniors and $10 for adults per ticket. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1-866-RACE-TIX or online at NashvilleSuperspeedway.com. "Our new ticket prices give fans many affordable ways to experience a NASCAR race," said Cliff Hawks, vice president and general manager of Nashville Superspeedway . "Fans who purchase in advance can reap the benefits of locking in a great seat at a reduced price from what will be available at the gate. Coupled with the debut of the new Nationwide Series car at Nashville , there's a lot for fans to be excited about this season." Season ticket packages are also available starting at $129 for adults, and just $40 for juniors. Season ticket packages include tickets for both the April 22-23 and July 22-23 race weekends, a Season Ticket Holder Day at the Superspeedway that gives fans the opportunity to drive their vehicle on the track, and the highly popular ALL ACCESS pass that includes many behind-the-scenes amenities. The ALL ACCESS pass can also be added to any Nationwide Series race ticket for $30. The pass allows fans unprecedented access at the track prior to the race. Fans can attend the pre-race driver's meeting, walk the grid near the cars on pit road, visit Victory Lane and experience the Fan Walk prior to the start of the race.
New structure to feature two rounds to determine pole winner
NASCAR reserves right to have more than one vehicle on track at Daytona, Talladega
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director Richard Buck breaks down the modifications to the qualifying format for all three national series at superspeedways.
Waltrip, Curb among investors ready to renovate former NASCAR short track
Chat with NASCAR fans while following the races at Talladega Superspeedway
Take a virtual lap around Talladega Superspeedway with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Roush Fenway Racing driver returns after failing to qualify at 'Dega RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Ricky Stenhouse Jr . watched last weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway from his motorcoach, one day after failing to make the starting field for the first time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. It was a sour pill to swallow, but the 27-year-old driver was quick to note that he's bounced back from adversity in the past. He also learned that his girlfriend, fellow driver Danica Patrick , was quick to go to bat for him, pleading his case and railing against tweaks to the qualifying procedure that made him a Sunday spectator. One weekend removed from the qualifying gaffe, Stenhouse was buoyant after the first Sprint Cup practice Friday at Martinsville Speedway , eager to put the miss behind him and push toward improved performance in 2015. If nothing else, with 43 cars showing up for 43 spots in the field at Martinsville Speedway , he'll have a better vantage point behind the wheel of his Roush Fenway Racing No. 17 Ford. "Having to watch the race is never any fun, but it's part of it," Stenhouse said. "Sometimes you don't make races. I never thought we wouldn't miss a race here, but everything worked out perfectly and we did. Everything aligned and a worst-case scenario happened for us and we wouldn't let it happen again, that's for sure. … We learned from it and thankfully we don't have to worry about it this week. That's a positive." The confusion surrounding the multicar Coors Light Pole Qualifying at restrictor-plate tracks Talladega and Daytona was compounded last Saturday by the waiting game with teams trying to time their qualifying attempts to the best aerodynamic advantage. Ultimately, time was not on Stenhouse's side. "We're not thinking about making it in the race. Knowing we needed to make it in the race, we would have gone to the middle of the pack to run a lap good enough to make it in, and that'd be it," he said. "We were trying to make it to the next round, because that's what we get paid to do -- try to get poles. I thought rolling off last, we'll get the biggest draft and easily make it to the next round and have no problem. Then my spotter's telling me you need to kind of hurry up. He told me halfway down the back straightaway, you're going to have to hustle to get around here." After Jeff Gordon 's car slowed his momentum, Stenhouse crossed under the start-finish line just after the black and red flags were unfurled, leaving him among those bitten. But so were several other Chase-eligible drivers, who snapped up the remaining provisional berths based on the team owner points standings, leaving Stenhouse and Co. as spectators. "Now, being where we are in points is not where we want to be, but heck, 10 positions up in points still wouldn't have got us in the race," said Stenhouse, who was 27th in the driver standings entering Talladega. "It would still be tough to have that perfect scenario work out again, but we'll be better in points next year and hopefully won't run into any situations again like that. Stenhouse ran an extra lap after flashing under the black and red flags, just in case there was an error in timing and scoring. But as he inched back toward pit road, it became more and more evident among the No. 17 camp that the team would be left out. That prompted Patrick to action, as she marched up to NASCAR officials to speak her mind -- not just on her boyfriend's behalf, but as a general protest to the unconventional qualifying system. "I was really pissed off after qualifying," Patrick said. "I went to the NASCAR hauler and said 'what the … is this? Is that what we were trying to accomplish?' Part of it was because it was Ricky and part of it was, that could've just as easily been me, and I know how important those races are to me and my team, but then also my sponsors and the people who invest into those events, especially the speedways, the big ones, all of them. These are all very big races, all four of those, in particular the Daytona 500 . "And so I was fighting for not having someone who wasn't deserving in that situation." The qualifying lockout left Stenhouse in a tricky position regarding what to do next, but instead of going home, he remained to fulfill sponsorship obligations and stay as a TV viewer with a strong rooting interest. With the laps winding down and Patrick leading, she looked like as good a pick as any to secure a surprise breakthrough win. If so, Stenhouse said he would have been front and center in Victory Lane but stopped short of watching the race from atop the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 10 pit box. "All those guys like me. They would have let over there, but I figured it would be best to watch it from the bus," Stenhouse said. "Had some pizza. A Coca-Cola. Just chilled out." Stenhouse has already had hard lessons in his tenure with car owner Jack Roush. He failed to qualifying for a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Nashville during his rookie season of 2010; that and a flurry of crashes in the first half of the year led to a two-race benching and shop duty back at Roush Fenway headquarters. The rest of the story is that Stenhouse recovered to win Nationwide Series championships the next two seasons, graduating to NASCAR's premier division the following year. While he hasn't enjoyed this most recent dose of misfortune, he's hoping the difficult lessons eventually pay similar dividends. "I learn real quick of things to do and not to do," Stenhouse said. "Sitting there watching races, especially long Cup races, makes you sit there and think about everything you need to do, whether it be get more focused and help the guys at the shop on our team more to figure out what we need to do to make our Fords fast again like they need to be. Spent some time with my guys about already looking ahead to next year at the things we need to do differently so we're not in the circumstances we are (in) right now in terms of being further back in points and not running as well. "We're already looking to 2015 and making sure we're not this far back in the garage." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation