Nashville -based NeXovation purchases property with new business plan for facility
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
Talladega Superspeedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
Talladega Superspeedway schedule, news, media, tickets, and information for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series track only on the official site of NASCAR.
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.
Driver of No. 11 Toyota has strong history at final four tracks on the schedule RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Denny Hamlin has had an up and down year, but that hasn't stopped the Joe Gibbs Racing driver from emerging as a dark horse to win this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. From an eye ailment that kept him out of a race at Auto Club Speedway , to his win at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring, to seeing his crew chief Darian Grubb be suspended for the six races before the start of the Chase to battling his way through the Challenger and Contender Rounds, it has been a roller coaster season. And with his advancement into the Eliminator Round of eight drivers, things are setting up nicely for "The Deliverminator" to get to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at the title. "Really, this year, our expectations have been so low from everyone around that we've flown so much under the radar that we don't have any pressure from here on out," Hamlin said during Eliminator Round Media Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. "I mean, no one thought we'd be here. Now, I love our chances at having a shot for a championship at Homestead. "This format is just tailor made for an average team that's just been squeaking by, squeaking by, to get hot at the right time and next thing you know, steal a championship." Martinsville Speedway , Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway are three of Hamlin's better tracks in the Sprint Cup Series. The 33-year-old has four wins at Martinsville (with an average finish of 8.8, his second-best among active tracks), two wins at Texas (with an average finish of 10.8, his fifth-best among active tracks) and one win at Phoenix (with an average finish of 11.3, his seventh-best among active tracks). "Looking at these three racetracks, I can win any of them, easily." Hamlin sees this round -- specifically Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway (1:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) -- as a great chance for his team to take advantage of speed not being as big of an issue. "It's a huge opportunity for us," Hamlin said. "As average as our team, in general, has been this year, we go into a short track where horsepower doesn't matter. Aerodynamics doesn't matter. It's about the driver and mechanical setup. And I feel like that's our strong suit with our team." While speed has been an issue at times for the Gibbs group and the Toyota fleet in general, Hamlin sees no reason that the team can't be right there at the end. "I believe we've got all the tools necessary. We've got a pit crew that is very, very fast even though we've got a setback there with losing our jackman (Nate Bolling). There's no reason we can't be as competitive as any one of these seven guys that we're going to be racing against these last four races." Despite his good record at Martinsville, Hamlin finished 19th there in the spring after qualifying second. He warned that those results came with little practice time at the track as the final two practices were washed out by rain. Since then, Hamlin disclosed that his team worked on their Martinsville setup at a similarly-configured track in Sandusky, Ohio. "Normally I wouldn't give that information away, but there's no more testing," Hamlin joked referring to a change announced as part of the 2015 rules package for the Sprint Cup Series that bans private testing by teams. And should he reach Homestead, Hamlin has a strong record there with two wins and an average finish of 11.2, his sixth-best among active tracks. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota won there in last year's season finale. "Truth be told, if you ask me 'you have one race to race heads up for a championship, pick either Martinsville or Homestead?' I'd almost pick Homestead simply because we've just had a lot of success there over these last few years and its been a great track for us. No one saw us winning last year. We were running like 15th every week and all of sudden, we win Homestead." Hamlin came to Homestead once before with a shot at the championship. In 2010, Hamlin led Jimmie Johnson by 15 points entering the season's final race. Hamlin finished 14th that day, while Johnson finished second, securing his fifth straight title by 39 points. Since then Hamlin has learned plenty, but mostly he just wants that chance to race for a championship in the season finale again and the new format makes that a bit easier to reach. "What we learned in 2010 is to have fun," Hamlin said. "And this year is going to be fun no matter what, because the expectations have been so low. I always said that if you just give me that Homestead 2010 chance back, then I promise I'd win it. It's hard to do that knowing you are going to have to race three guys heads-up and its going to be the best of the four (that wins the title), but I just want that chance again to be heads-up with those guys at Homestead." 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
Wurth Group to serve as primary sponsor for three Sprint Cup races on No. 2 Ford RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota Brad Keselowski will have a familiar primary sponsor back in the Sprint Cup Series next season. Team Penske announced on Thursday that it reached a multiyear extension deal with the Wurth Group to continue as a partner in the sport's top series. Under the agreement, Wurth will serve as a primary sponsor for three races on No. 2 Ford. Wurth will also serve as an associate sponsor for the balance of the season. Wurth initially joined up with Penske for the 2012 Nationwide Series season, but entered into the Sprint Cup Series this year with Keselowski and the No. 2 car. To date, Wurth has been the primary sponsor for four points races this season for Keselowski. "It has been great to have Wurth on board the No. 2 Ford this year," Keselowski said in a team release. "One of the things that stands out about our relationship with Wurth is that not only do I see their name and colors on our cars -- I see their products being put to good use in our race shop. I think that says a lot about our relationship and they have been a big part of our success this season." Last year, MillerCoors and Penske announced a multiyear agreement for Miller Lite to continue its primary sponsorship on the No. 2 Ford as well. Kesel owski won the Contender Round finale at Talladega Superspeedway to advance to the Eliminator Round in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . 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
Drivers have to be separated by team members MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- The post-race scrap for position Saturday afternoon between hard-nosed veterans Johnny Sauter and Timothy Peters ended with both trucks practically locked together on Martinsville Speedway 's pit road, with both drivers emerging and looking to brawl. But after tempers had soothed slightly, it also ended with an extended olive branch -- at least from one side of the battle. "I'll buy him dinner if he's willing to talk," Peters said, suggesting local staple Clarence's Steakhouse as a cozy nearby venue. Sauter was in no mood for chitchat, regardless of Peters' offer to pick up the check. While his rival went on to a second-place finish in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' Kroger 200 at his home track, Sauter sunk to seventh place after leading the second-most laps (41). "The future of NASCAR looks bright, don't it? What a disgrace of a race," Sauter fumed to MRN Radio, drawing a chorus of boos from the crowd when his remarks were broadcast over the track's public-address system. Sauter declared his fringe candidacy for his first series championship over after last week's engine failure and 31st-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway . At Martinsville, he looked poised to at least keep pace if not make gains, but his late run-in with Peters placed him behind the three drivers ahead of him in the series standings -- race winner Darrell Wallace Jr ., points leader and teammate Matt Crafton and fifth-place Ryan Blaney . Points or no points, Sauter was irate and then some, needing to be separated from Peters and his Red Horse Racing team. Officials and other crew members stepped in, but on more than one occasion when Sauter seemed settled down, heated words and the lure of the scrum pulled him back in. "Take your helmet off, tough guy," Sauter yelled. "You want some? I'll give you all I got. You're nothing." After a slight cooling-off period and a haphazard search for his car keys to beat a hasty retreat out of the .526-mile track, Sauter's dander was still up. "You're just racing hard all day, and you get clobbered at the end," Sauter said. "It's the way it is, and if people like that, I guess they should keep coming." The melee gave Peters an odd season sweep of sorts, with involvement in cool-down lap confrontations in both Martinsville races this year. In March, he crumpled fenders with Peters' Red Horse teammate German Quiroga after their late-race conflict. This time around, Peters was the one in a giving mood. "Just hard racing. I didn't mean to get into him as much as I did, but did I mean to get into him? Absolutely," Peters said. "He drives pretty recklessly and when I get driven like that, I'm going to return the favor. It's just hard short-track racing. I was on the receiving end of it in the spring, so it was time for someone else to be." 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
Both drivers racing No. 34 special paint schemes this weekend at Martinsville RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Darrell Wallace Jr . and David Ragan unveiled special paint schemes several weeks back, giving a sneak peek at their tribute to future NASCAR Hall of Famer Wendell Scott in this weekend's races. Friday at Martinsville Speedway , their matching powder-blue No. 34 designs first took to the track with an appropriate throwback touch. On the back of each vehicle was a nod to the do-it-yourself spirit that made Scott a racing pioneer -- plain script that said, "Mechanic: Me!" While both Ragan and Wallace have shown plenty of versatility in their driving careers, could the weekend feature a hands-on tribute to Scott's practice of changing his own tires in a pit stop? Wallace, for one, seemed willing to give it a shot. "I think our first pit stop today is just going to be me," Wallace said before the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' Kroger 200 . "They're just going to sit on the wall and eat ice cream -- I'm going to get out and change our tires for that stop. 'Mechanic, Me,' that's pretty cool to see that. I saw him (Scott) on TV pointing to it and I did the same thing so it's kind of cool to see that and see what they used to do back in the day and see how the sport has changed as a whole." Ragan, who has a mechanical bent as part of his racing background, agreed. "It's cool to embrace that," he said. "Obviously, we've got a lot of good employees that are going to be wrenching on our Front Row Motorsports car this weekend, so they probably won't let me touch it, but I grew up racing and working on my own race car, so I have an appreciation for what goes into building one of these cars and to know what Wendell was able to do with limited resources and probably a small crew back in the day, it makes you appreciate the accomplishments even more." Wallace landed his first Truck Series triumph at Martinsville last fall, becoming the first African-American winner in a NASCAR national division since Scott's lone premier series victory on Dec. 1, 1963 in Jacksonville, Florida. Saturday, he was joined by Scott's descendants, who made the trip to lend their continued support from the driver's nearby hometown of Danville, Virginia. "As many times as they've texted me my phone bills have gone up," Wallace said of his communication and with the Scott family. "It's been really cool to have that relationship with the Scott family. I was doing appearances with them last week and really getting to know them just outside of racing and in school hearing all the stories about (Wendell) Senior and that's something cool. ... It's cool he keeps it interesting and he's always on me about being the best person I can and doing the right thing. It's always some help for sure." Wallace shifted from his customary No. 54 to honor this weekend's occasion and Scott's approaching induction to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. For Ragan, the tribute didn't involve changing a car number. When Ragan scored a thrilling triumph at Talladega Superspeedway in the spring of 2013, it marked the first time since Scott's landmark win that the No. 34 had visited Victory Lane in NASCAR's top series, the scrappy Front Row team's win also resonating with Scott's underdog spirit. "As a driver you always pay attention to the car numbers that you have and you're always interested to go back and look at the history of those numbers," said Ragan, who joined the Bob Jenkins-owned team in 2012. "Throughout a career you don't often see one driver stay with one car number their entire career through the different divisions, so when I got in the number 34 you definitely look back and see who raced it and who won. That was one of the first things that crossed my mind when we were able to get that victory last season, the significance of it, and it was quite a big deal so it's definitely coming full circle here driving a tribute car for them here at Martinsville this weekend." 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
Hendrick driver brings speed after being eliminated from Chase RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota SPRINT CUP SERIES PRACTICE 2 ( RESULTS ) Kevin Harvick ran the fastest lap of the final Sprint Cup Series practice session on Saturday at Martinsville Speedway , moving up to the top of the leaderboard after his fifth lap, run in 19.457 seconds. The title contender's speed may have come too late, however: He will roll off the grid 33rd in tomorrow's race. Ricky Stenhouse Jr ., one week removed from failing to qualify at Talladega Superspeedway , was second-fastest with a lap in 19.473 seconds. Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon , two drivers who advanced into the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, both finished in the top five, with Keselowski third and Gordon fifth. Kyle Busch , who was eliminated from title contention after last weekend's race at Talladega, finished fourth. Jimmie Johnson, who was first in the earlier session, and pole-sitter Jamie McMurray finished sixth and seventh, respectively, with Justin Allgaier , Chase contender Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr . rounding out the top 10. Earnhardt battled a low splitter that was making contact with the track in corners, heading to the garage midway through the practice session for tweaks. Aric Almirola tried to pass the No. 32 of Kyle Fowler -- who will make his Sprint Cup Series debut on Sunday -- but Fowler couldn't get over fast enough, leading to slight damage on both cars as they scraped each other in the corner. The rest of the Chase field finished as follows: Matt Kenseth , 14th; Ryan Newman , 17th; Denny Hamlin , 21st; Carl Edwards , 33rd. The Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 is scheduled for Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET with coverage on ESPN. SPRINT CUP SERIES PRACTICE 1 ( RESULTS ) Jimmie Johnson topped the second practice for the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 at Martinsville Speedway , a significant improvement on his 19th-place showing in the opening practice. His fourth lap put him atop the leaderboard with a 98.023-mph run, the only of the session to top 98 mph. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup contender Jeff Gordon finished just behind him with a lap of 97.699 mph. Martin Truex Jr., pole-sitter Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick made up the rest of the top five, making a Chevrolet sweep at the top of the leaderboard. Brad Keselowski was the first non-Chevy on the leaderboard in sixth. Defending race-winner Kurt Busch was seventh-fastest., with Brian Vickers , Ricky Stenhouse Jr . and Clint Bowyer rounding out the top 10. The rest of the Chase contenders finished as follows: Joey Logano , 12th; Ryan Newman , 13th; Denny Hamlin , 14th; Matt Kenseth , 20th; Carl Edwards , 26th. Dale Earnhardt Jr. made slight contact with AJ Allmendinger coming out of a corner, doing slight damage to the No. 47. Allmendinger finished 15th, Earnhardt 23rd. 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