Dale Jr. jumps back into familiar surroundings with plenty of speed
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! " RELATED: Junior through the years DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . didn't take any credit for his qualifying effort Sunday, a 192.864 mph lap that put his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet on the front row for next week's season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . "Ain't much to it," Earnhardt quipped. "The car does all the work." Earnhardt, twice a winner of the "Great American Race," won't be on the pole, but he'll start alongside Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott , giving the team a front-row sweep for the second time in the last three years. His previous wins in the 500 came from third (in 2004) and ninth ('14). Earnhardt is regarded as one of the best at restrictor-plate racing but qualifying is a solo effort. There are no other cars off which to pick up a push or gain an advantage. It's all about horsepower. But there's a bit of technique required as well. "The transitions are kind of important as far as feeding the car into the corner and also running as tight as you can on the apron without bouncing the skirt off the apron or giving up any speed, or just time adding feet to your lap by running high, at least a little bit, can make a big difference," he said. "But other than that, the driver, I don't think he's feeling like he's in control of too much. The car is doing most of the work." Sidelined for the last half of the 2016 season after suffering concussion-like symptoms, Earnhardt is eager to be back behind the wheel. He chose not to compete in Sunday's Advance Auto Parts Clash, instead allowing Alex Bowman to field his entry. Bowman had won the pole at Phoenix driving in relief of Earnhardt last fall, a distinction that Earnhardt said earned the driver the opportunity. But after spending "The Clash" working as an analyst in the booth for Fox Sports, Earnhardt traded in his suit and tie for a firesuit, and eased his way back into more familiar surroundings. He was second-fastest in the opening round of qualifying; Elliott ended the session atop the board. In the final round, the No. 88 went to the top of the board with only one driver, Elliott, remaining. "I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man is happy," Earnhardt said of team owner Rick Hendrick. "I just talked to him on the phone and he's got to be thrilled with having his cars up front." Elliott's final-round run, a lap of 192.872 mph, gave the Dawsonville, Georgia, youngster his second consecutive Daytona 500 pole. It was the third straight No. 1 qualifying effort for his No. 24 team, which also started out front here in '15 with four-time series champion Jeff Gordon behind the wheel. "Obviously Dale is good down here, and we all knew he was going to be fast today," Elliott, 21, said. "That's no surprise. But I don't really care who it is. I'm not going to feel bad about beating somebody. "It's cool to share a front row with a teammate is really the biggest thing I look at with that. But Dale is a good guy. I'm happy to share the front row with him, but happier to beat him, obviously, but regardless of who it is, that's what you're trying to do, you know." Elliott and Earnhardt were the only two drivers to officially lock in their starting positions for next weekend's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The remainder of the field will be determined through the Can-Am Duels, a pair of 150-lap qualifying races scheduled for Thursday evening (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Chase Elliott captures back-to-back Daytona 500 poles
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Full results DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Winning back-to-back Daytona 500 poles is something of a family tradition, as Chase Elliott proved by the skin of his teeth Sunday at Daytona International Speedway . The last driver to take a lap in the second and final round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying at the 2.5-mile superspeedway, Elliott covered the distance in 46.663 seconds (192.872 mph) to edge Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr . by .002 seconds. The pole was the second straight for Elliott, who led the field to green last year as a Sunoco rookie. It was the third straight for Elliott's crew chief, Alan Gustafson, who won the pole with driver Jeff Gordon in 2015 in Gordon's last year as a full-time driver. With three straight poles as a crew, Gustafson shares a record previously held solely by Ernie Elliott, Chase Elliott 's uncle, who fielded cars driven by former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott , Chase's father. "Everybody at Hendrick Motorsports has done a lot of work this off-season," said Elliott, who claimed the third Coors Light Pole Award of his career, all at restrictor-plate tracks. "This team definitely has a knack for these plate tracks, as they showed with Jeff Gordon and then last year with here and Talladega (where Elliott also won the pole). "But that stuff doesn't just happen by staying the same, as everybody knows. Everyone is always trying to get better and make their cars better and faster, and the engine shop is always finding new things. So I think that's just proof that they're improving with everybody else and taking that next step, which is really impressive. "I'm happy to be a part of it, and hopefully we can run good next Sunday." Elliott and Earnhardt are the only two drivers locked into their starting spots for next Sunday’s 59th running of the "Great American Race" (2 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). They will lead the field to the green flag in both Can-Am Duel 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) -- Elliott in the first Duel, Earnhardt in the second. Earnhardt is racing for the first time since a concussion sidelined him for the final 18 events of the 2016 season. The satisfaction of locking in a front-row starting position tempered his disappointment at missing the pole by the slimmest of margins. "I certainly would have loved to have gotten a pole, but my boss man ( Rick Hendrick) is happy," Earnhardt said. "I just talked to him on the phone, and he's got to be thrilled with having his cars up front." Brad Keselowski qualified third at 192.691 mph and will start on the outside of the front row in Thursday night's first Duel. Clint Bowyer , in his first competitive effort in a Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, will start beside Earnhardt in the second Duel after posting the fourth-fastest speed (192.571 mph). With 36 chartered teams knowing they will race next Sunday, six Open entries are vying for the four remaining berths in the Daytona 500 field. Sunday's time trials brought good news for Brendan Gaughan and Elliott Sadler , who know they will race next Sunday as the two fastest qualifiers among the "go-fast-or-go-homers." Conversely, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Timmy Hill , who posted the two slowest times in the field, can race in the 500 only if they are the fastest Open drivers in their respective Duels. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Stats advance: Analyzing Indianapolis
A statistical look ahead to the 20th race of the Sprint Cup season DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 20, 2015) -- Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana going into Crown Royal presents the Jeff Kyle 400 at the Brickyard on July 26 (3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN). INDIANAPOLIS-SPECIFIC STATISTICS Greg Biffle (No. 16 Lilly/American Diabetes Association Ford) · Three top fives, six top 10s · Average finish of 13.100, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 12.649, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 92.3, ninth-best · 60 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.968, eighth-fastest · 1062 Laps in the Top 15 (66.4), eighth-most · 217 Quality Passes, 10th-most Clint Bowyer (No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota) · Two top fives, two top 10s · Average finish of 13.556, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 14.450, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 85.0, 11th-best · 12 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.683, 13th-fastest · 845 Laps in the Top 15 (58.7), 11th-most · 194 Quality Passes, 11th-most Kyle Busch (No. 18 SKITTLES Toyota) · Three top fives, eight top 10s · Average finish of 10.600, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 12.311, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 98.5, sixth-best · 64 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.317, sixth-fastest · 1178 Laps in the Top 15 (73.6), sixth-most · 297 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 13.400, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 16.619, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 83.9, 13th-best · 44 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.725, 12th-fastest · 819 Laps in the Top 15 (51.2), 12th-most · 263 Quality Passes, sixth-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 3M Chevrolet) · Five wins, 12 top fives, 17 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 7.900, third-best · Average Running Position of 10.869, second-best · Driver Rating of 105.6, second-best · 157 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.820, series-fastest · 1252 Laps in the Top 15 (78.3), second-most · 315 Quality Passes, second-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota) · Two top fives, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.333, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 15.540, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 90.6, 10th-best · 54 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.251, seventh-fastest · 851 Laps in the Top 15 (59.1), 10th-most · 227 Quality Passes, ninth-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, four top fives, eight top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 12.500, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 13.532, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 92.7, eighth-best · 34 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.740, 11th-fastest · 1057 Laps in the Top 15 (66.1), ninth-most · 254 Quality Passes, seventh-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 KOBALT TOOLS Chevrolet) · Four wins, five top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.800, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 10.911, third-best · Driver Rating of 108.1, series-best · 173 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.814, second-fastest · 1192 Laps in the Top 15 (74.5), fifth-most · 248 Quality Passes, eighth-most Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Farmers Chevrolet) · Three top fives, six top 10s · Average finish of 14.400, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 11.911, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 100.1, fifth-best · 102 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.415, fifth-fastest · 1237 Laps in the Top 15 (77.3), fourth-most · 299 Quality Passes, third-most Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Seven top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 12.600, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 12.194, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 96.6, seventh-best · 18 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.948, ninth-fastest · 1238 Laps in the Top 15 (77.4), third-most · 282 Quality Passes, fifth-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Two top 10s · Average finish of 14.000, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 16.489, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best · 30 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 169.882, 10th-fastest · 371 Laps in the Top 15 (46.4), 13th-most · 104 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Larson (No. 42 Target Chevrolet) · One top 10 · Average finish of 7.000, series-best · Average Running Position of 9.212, series-best · Driver Rating of 104.4, third-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.538, third-fastest · 148 Laps in the Top 15 (92.5), series-most · 36 Quality Passes, 13th-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Mobil 1 / Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet) · Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 7.800, second-best · Average Running Position of 11.608, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 101.9, fourth-best · 98 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 170.478, fourth-fastest · 1095 Laps in the Top 15 (68.4), seventh-most · 319 Quality Passes, series-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 14 2 1 4 8 0 10.7 92.7 2 Joey Logano 6 0 0 1 3 0 15.3 83.8 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 15 0 0 1 5 3 18.6 82.5 4 Jimmie Johnson 13 1 4 5 6 3 15.5 108.1 5 Martin Truex Jr 10 0 0 0 1 1 20.8 73.2 6 Brad Keselowski 5 0 0 0 2 0 14 84.2 7 Matt Kenseth 15 0 0 7 9 2 14.3 96.6 8 Kurt Busch 14 0 0 1 4 2 20 73.9 9 Jamie McMurray 12 0 1 3 5 0 14.6 78.8 10 Jeff Gordon 21 3 5 12 17 1 8.4 105.6 11 Denny Hamlin 9 1 0 2 4 0 15.3 90.6 12 Kasey Kahne 11 0 0 3 6 2 13.5 100.1 13 Ryan Newman 14 1 1 2 3 2 17.2 79.6 14 Paul Menard 8 0 1 1 1 0 20.6 65.3 15 Aric Almirola 3 0 0 0 0 0 19 70.8 16 Clint Bowyer 9 0 0 2 2 0 13.6 85.0 * – Based on last 10 races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2005 – 2014). Indianapolis Motor Speedway Data Season Race #: 20 of 36 (07-26-15) Track Size : 2.5-miles Banking/Turns 1 & 2 : 9 degrees Banking/Turns 3 & 4 : 9 degrees Banking/Straights : 0 degrees Frontstretch Length : 3,330 feet Backstretch Length : 3,300 feet Race Length : 160 laps / 400 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Indianapolis Jimmie Johnson ........................ 108.1 Jeff Gordon .............................. 105.6 Kyle Larson ............................... 104.4 Tony Stewart ............................. 101.9 Kasey Kahne ............................. 100.1 Kyle Busch ................................. 98.5 Matt Kenseth .............................. 96.6 Kevin Harvick .............................. 92.7 Greg Biffle .................................. 92.3 Denny Hamlin ............................. 90.6 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 188.470 mph, 47.753 secs. 07-25-14 2014 race winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 150.297 mph, (02:39:41), 07-27-14 Track qualifying record: Kevin Harvick , Chevrolet 188.889 mph, 47.647 secs. 07-25-14 (Set in Round 1 of 3) Track race record: Bobby Labonte , Pontiac 155.912 mph, (02:33:56), 08-05-00 At Indianapolis Motor Speedway: History · Indianapolis Motor Speedway has existed since 1909, and is the original "Speedway," the first racing facility to incorporate the word into its name. · With a permanent seating capacity for more than 250,000-plus people and infield seating that raises capacity to an approximate 400,000, it is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in history. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was August 6, 1994 – won by Jeff Gordon . Starts · There have been 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; one per year from 1994 through 2012. · 138 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway; 107 in more than one. · Two drivers have competed in all 21 races at Indianapolis: Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte . Poles · Rick Mast won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Indianapolis in 1994 with a speed of 172.414 mph. · 17 drivers have Coors Light poles at Indianapolis, led by Jeff Gordon with three. · Two drivers have won consecutive Coors Light poles at Indianapolis: Jeff Gordon (1995-96) and Ernie Irvan (1997-98). · Youngest Indianapolis Coors Light pole winner: Reed Sorenson (07/29/2007 – 21 years, 5 months, 24 days). · Oldest Indianapolis Coors Light pole winner: Mark Martin (07/26/2009 – 50 years, 6 months, 17 days). · Reed Sorenson (07/29/07) is the only active driver to post his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light pole at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Wins · 12 different drivers have won at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, led by Jeff Gordon with five; followed by his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Jimmie Johnson , with four. · Jimmie Johnson is the only driver to have posted consecutive wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2008 and 2009). · Youngest Indianapolis winner: Jeff Gordon (08/06/1994 – 23 years, 0 months, 2 days). · Oldest Indianapolis winner: Bill Elliott (08/04/2002 – 46 years, 9 months, 27 days). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Indianapolis in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with nine; followed by Richard Childress Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing with three each. · Four different manufacturers have won at Indianapolis; led by Chevrolet with 16 victories; followed by Ford (three), Dodge and Pontiac each have one. · Chevrolet has won the last 12 consecutive NSCS races at Indianapolis – the longest active win streak by a manufacturer in the NSCS at a single track. · Only three of the 21 (14.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis have been won from the Coors Light pole: Kevin Harvick (2003), Jimmie Johnson (2008) and Ryan Newman (2013). · The pole and the third-place starting positions are the most proficient starting positions in the field, each producing three winners - more than any other starting positions at Indianapolis. · Five of the 21 (23.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis have been won from the front row: three from the pole and two from second-place. · 13 of the 21 (65%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Indianapolis have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Three of the 21 (14.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Indianapolis is 27th, by Jeff Gordon in 2001. · Six of the seven active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Indianapolis Motor Speedway participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Jeff Gordon won the Brickyard 400 in his first start at Indianapolis. · Ryan Newman competed at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 12 times before winning in 2013; the longest span of any the seven active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Matt Kenseth lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Indianapolis without visiting Victory Lane at 15 each. · Paul Menard (07/31/11) is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to have posted his first career NSCS win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Additional Finishing Positions · NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace leads the series in runner-up finishes at Indianapolis with three; followed by Kyle Busch , Bobby Labonte , Mark Martin and Matt Kenseth with two each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-five finishes at Indianapolis with 12; followed by Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth with seven each. · Jeff Gordon leads the series in top-10 finishes at Indianapolis with 17; followed by Tony Stewart and Mark Martin with 11 each. · Ryan Newman leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Indianapolis with a 7.143. · Jeff Gordon leads NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Indianapolis with a 8.381. Track Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the August 3, 1997 race won by Ricky Rudd over Bobby Labonte with a MOV of 0.183 second. · Four out of the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races have had a MOV larger than one second. · Only one of the 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races have resulted with a green-white-checkered finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): 2004 (160/161). · None of the 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway have been shortened due to weather conditions. · Qualifying has not been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Indianapolis with 528 laps led in 21 starts. Female Competitor Stats · Danica Patrick became the first female driver to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2013. · Shawn
Stats advance: Analyzing the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500
A statistical look ahead to the opening race of the Eliminator Round RELATED: Follow your picks in the Perfect Chase Grid Challenge for chance at $100,000 prize DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at the eight Eliminators – and beyond – at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia going into the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500 on October 26. MARTINSVILLE-SPECIFIC STATISTICS 1 - Joey Logano (No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 106.6 2014 Rundown · Five wins, 15 top fives, 20 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.5 · Led 20 races for 916 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 14.8 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 82.3, 14th-best 2 - Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Outback Steakhouse Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 109.7 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s; eight poles · Average finish of 13.4 · Led 24 races for 1,817 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, three top fives, 12 top 10s · Average finish of 15.8 in 26 races · Average Running Position of 13.7, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 93.2, eighth-best · 956 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.163 mph, eighth-fastest · 6,348 Laps in the Top 15 (66.6%), sixth-most · 578 Quality Passes, sixth-most 3 - Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 85.1 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 14 top 10s · Average finish of 13.3 · Led 7 races for 41 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One win, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 15.5 in 25 races · Average Running Position of 15.1, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 86.9, 10th-best · 1,008 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most · 5,419 Laps in the Top 15 (56.8%), ninth-most · 528 Quality Passes, ninth-most 4 - Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Freight Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, 14 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 15.1 · Led 14 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four wins, nine top fives, 13 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 8.8 in 17 races · Average Running Position of 9.0, third-best · Driver Rating of 109.6, third-best · 580 Fastest Laps Run, third-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.467 mph, third-fastest · 7,007 Laps in the Top 15 (82.1%), fourth-most · 609 Quality Passes, fifth-most 5 - Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Dollar General Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 91.6 2014 Rundown · 12 top fives, 19 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 13.6 · Led 18 races for 468 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Four top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 15.0 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 16.0, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 84.2, 12th-best · 173 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-most · 1,023 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.042 mph, 11th-fastest 6 - Carl Edwards (No. 99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 81.7 2014 Rundown · Two wins, seven top fives, 13 top 10s · Average finish of 14.5 · Led 11 races for 135 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 15.7 in 20 races · Average Running Position of 15.9, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 81.4, 15th-best · 1,036 Green Flag Passes, third-most · 5,181 Laps in the Top 15 (54.3%), 11th-most · 555 Quality Passes, eighth-most 7 - Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 108.4 2014 Rundown · Four wins, 12 top fives, 20 top 10s; two poles · Average finish of 10.3 · Led 23 races for 743 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 27 top fives, 34 top 10s; seven poles · Average finish of 7.0 in 43 races · Average Running Position of 6.7, second-best · Driver Rating of 119.0, second-best · Series-high 1,034 Fastest Laps Run · 933 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.684 mph, second-fastest · 8,375 Laps in the Top 15 (87.8%), second-most · Series-high 691 Quality Passes 8 - Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 104.3 2014 Rundown · Six wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; five poles · Average finish of 12.9 · Led 26 races for 1,518 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, five top 10s · Average finish of 13.4 in nine races · Average Running Position of 16.2, 14th-best · Driver Rating of 84.5, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.102 mph, 10th-fastest 9 - Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Halloween Toyota) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 90.0 2014 Rundown · One win, eight top fives, 14 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 17.0 · Led 15 races for 453 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 15.9 in 19 races · Average Running Position of 13.3, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 96.1, sixth-best · 409 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most · 952 Green Flag Passes, ninth-most · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.342 mph, fifth-fastest · 6,587 Laps in the Top 15 (69.1%), fifth-most · 616 Quality Passes, fourth-most 10 - Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 99.2 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 10 top fives, 18 top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 14.7 · Led 16 races for 1,119 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Eight wins, 18 top fives, 22 top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 5.2 in 25 races · Series-best Average Running Position of 5.6 · Series-best Driver Rating of 124.8 · 1,010 Fastest Laps Run, second-most · Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 91.737 mph · Series-high 8,833 Laps in the Top 15 (92.6%) · 680 Quality Passes, second-most 11 - Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 89.1 2014 Rundown · One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s · Average finish of 16.3 · Led 12 races for 218 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Three top fives, four top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.2 in 21 races · Average Running Position of 20.4, 20th-best · Driver Rating of 77.7, 19th-best · 255 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most 12 - AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Clorox Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 70.2 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.2 · Led 5 races for 68 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 20.6 in 12 races · Average Running Position of 21.3, 23rd-best · Driver Rating of 70.8, 22nd-best 13 - Dale Earnhardt Jr . (No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 96.6 2014 Rundown · Three wins, 11 top fives, 17 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 · Led 15 races for 300 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · 11 top fives, 16 top 10s · Average finish of 12.8 in 29 races · Average Running Position of 10.8, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 99.9, fourth-best · 471 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most · Series-high 1,111 Green Flag Passes · Average Green Flag Speed of 91.374 mph, fourth-fastest · 7,393 Laps in the Top 15 (77.5%), third-most · 668 Quality Passes, third-most 14 - Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 78.6 2014 Rundown · Three top fives, 10 top 10s · Average finish of 16.1 · Led 7 races for 110 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Five top 10s · Average finish of 20.1 in 23 races · Average Running Position of 20.6, 21st-best · Driver Rating of 70.5, 23rd-best · 1,068 Green Flag Passes, second-most 15 - Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 86.5 2014 Rundown · One win, six top fives, nine top 10s · Average finish of 19.4 · Led 12 races for 183 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · Two wins, three top fives, five top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 20.8 in 28 races · Average Running Position of 18.2, 18th-best · Driver Rating of 79.0, 18th-best · 987 Green Flag Passes, sixth-most 16 - Aric Almirola (No. 43 Smithfield Ford) · Season-to-Date Driver Rating: 72.4 2014 Rundown · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 21.6 · Led 5 races for 23 laps Martinsville Speedway Outlook: · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 24.0 in 11 races · Average Running Position of 23.9, 30th-best · Driver Rating of 64.8, 27th-best The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Eliminator Eight at Martinsville Speedway Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Joey Logano 11 0 0 2 3 0 14.8 82.3 2 Kevin Harvick 26 0 1 3 12 1 15.8 93.2 3 Ryan Newman 25 3 1 7 11 2 15.5 86.9 4 Denny Hamlin 17 3 4 9 13 1 8.8 109.6 5 Matt Kenseth 29 0 0 4 10 2 15.0 84.2 6 Carl Edwards 20 0 0 1 5 0 15.7 81.4 7 Jeff Gordon 43 7 8 27 34 0 7.0 119.0 8 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 1 5 0 13.4 84.5 * – Based on last 19 races at Martinsville Speedway (2005 – 2014). Martinsville Speedway: History · Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles , Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States. · The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949. · The track was paved in 1955. · The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956. · Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976. Notebook · There have been 131 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway , one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950. · 599 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville; 376 in more than one. · NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty has the all-time most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Martinsville with 67 starts; Jeff Gordon has the most among active drivers with 43. · Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949. · 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven. · 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004). · Youngest Martinsville pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days). · Oldest Martinsville pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (4/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days). · 47 different drivers have won at Martinsville Speedway , led by Richard Petty with 15; Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon lead the series among active drivers with eight wins each. · 24 drivers have multiple wins at Martinsville Speedway only five active drivers have multiple wins: Jimmie Johnson (eight), Jeff Gordon (eight), Denny Hamlin (four), Tony Stewart (three) and Kurt Busch (two). · Hendrick Motorsports leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in wins at Martinsville Speedway with 21. · 21 of 131 races (16.0%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010). · The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position. · 36 of the 131 (27.4 %) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place. · 95 of the 131 (72.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position. · Six of the 131 (4.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002. · Youngest Martinsville winner: Richard Petty (04/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days). · Oldest Martinsville winner: Harry Gant (09/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in runner-up finishes at Martinsville Speedway with seven; Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers with four each. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-five finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 30; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 27, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 18. · Richard Petty leads the series in top-10 finishes at Martinsville Speedway with 37; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with 34, followed by Jimmie Johnson with 22. · Jeff Gordon leads active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Martinsville Speedway with a 7.186. Ryan Newman (9.680) and Denny Hamlin (9.765) are the only two other active drivers with an average starting position at Martinsville inside the top-10. · Three active drivers have a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series average finish in the top-10 at Martinsville: Jimmie Johnson (5.200), Jeff Gordon (6.953) and Denny Hamlin (8.765). · There have been five NSCS green-white-checkered finishes at Martinsville Speedway : fall 2007 (500/506), fall 2008 (500/504), fall 2009 (500/501), spring 2010 (500/508), and spring 2012 (500/515). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway ; the most recent was the fall race of 2011. · Jeff Gordon has participated in the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway without a DNF (43). · Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway . · Mike Bliss (09/27/1998), Travis Kvapil (10/24/2004), Michael McDowell (3/30/2008) and Scott Speed (10/19/2008) made their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career starts at Martinsville Speedway . · 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted consecutive wins at Martinsville Speedway . Fred Lorenzen won four NSCS races straight (the most) from the fall of 1963 through the spring of 1965. · All eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who have won at Martinsville Speedway participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Tony Stewart won at Martinsville with the fewest previous appearances (three). · Ryan Newman competed at Martinsville Speedway 20 times before winning in the spring of 2012; the longest span of any the eight active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Four drivers have made eight or more attempts before their first win at Martinsville Speedway : Kevin Harvick (19) and Ryan Newman (20). · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway is the 4/1/2007 race won by Jimmie Johnson with a MOV of 0.065 second. · Danica Patrick is the only female driver to compete at Martinsville Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 10 32 3/30/2014 Danica Patrick 41 17 10/27/2013 Danica Patrick 32 12 4/7/2013 · Seven car numbers have produced five or more Martinsville Speedway NSCS wins: Car Number – Drivers – (Years) o No. 43 – Richard Petty (1960, ’62, ’63, ’67 sweep, ’68, ’69 sweep, ’70, ’71, ’72 sweep, ’73, ’75 and ’79); John Andretti (1999) o No. 11 – Cale Yarborough (1974, ’76, ’77 sweep, ‘78); Darrell Waltrip (1981, ’82, ’83, ’84); Geoff Bodine (1990 sweep); Denny Hamlin (2008, ’09, ’10 sweep) o No . 28 – Fred Lorenzen (1961, ’63, ’64 sweep, ‘65 and ‘66); Buddy Baker (1979); Ernie Irvan (1993). o No . 2 – Dale Earnhardt (1980); Rusty Wallace (1993, ‘94 sweep, ’95, ’96 and ‘04) o No . 48 – Jimmie Johnson (2004, ’06, ’07 sweep, ’08, ’09, ’12, ‘13) o No . 24 – Jeff Gordon (1996, ’97, ’99, ’03 sweep and ’05 sweep, fall 2013) o No . 3 – Ricky Rudd (1983); Dale Earnhardt (1985, ’87, ’88, ’91, ’95) NASCAR in Virginia · There have been 285 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among nine tracks in Virginia. Track Name City NSCS Martinsville Speedway Martinsville 131 Richmond International Raceway Richmond 117 South Boston Speedway South Boston 10 Langley Field Speedway Hampton 9 Old Dominion Speedway Manassas 7 Southside Speedway Richmond 4 Starkey Speedway Roanoke 4 Norfolk Speedway Norfolk 2 Princess Anne Speedway Norfolk 1 · 172 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Virginia. · 19 drivers from Virginia have won at least one race in NASCAR’s three national series. 11 of the 19 Virginia native NASCAR winners have won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Driver NSCS NNS NCWTS Joe Weatherly 25 0 0 Denny Hamlin 24 11 2 Ricky Rudd 23 1 0 Jeff Burton 21 27 0 Curtis Turner 17 0 0 Ward Burton 5 4 0 Glen Wood 4 0 0 Elliott Sadler 3 10 1 Emanuel Zervakis 2 0 0 Lennie Pond 1 0 0 Wendell Scott 1 0 0 Tommy Ellis 0 22 0 Jimmy Hensley 0 9 2 Rick Mast 0 9 0 Hermie Sadler 0 2 0 Elton Sawyer 0 2 0 Stacy Compton 0 0 2 Jon Wood 0 0 2 Jeb Burton 0 0 1 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
Dale Jr. waiting on 'confidence in my health' before signing new contract
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Dale Earnhardt Jr . said he intends to race "for more years," but NASCAR's most popular driver also said he won't sit down to discuss his contract with team owner Rick Hendrick until he's confident his health isn't an issue. Earnhardt, 42, missed the final 18 races of the 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season while recovering from a concussion suffered at mid-season. He is in the final year of his contract as driver of the No. 88 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports . "I told Rick (Hendrick) that I would like to get a couple of races, a couple of months under my belt to get confidence in my health," Earnhardt said Saturday at Daytona International Speedway , site of next week's season-opening Daytona 500 . "This is the only reason I feel that way. There's no underlying crap about it. When I got hurt last year, what I saw it put the company through, how I saw it frustrate certain aspects of the company -- maybe not frustrate but it put a strain on our relationships. Our partners were worried about my future, Rick and everybody was worried. I don't want to do that again. "I want to get some races under my belt and get confidence in my health before I can commit to him. I don't want to make him a promise that I can't deliver on. "Once I feel like, 'You know what? I think I'm good. I think I can withstand the wear and tear of driving these cars to do a couple more years,' I’m ready to do it. Because I want to race; I want to be here and I want to race." Earnhardt joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008 after eight seasons with Dale Earnhardt Inc., the company founded by his father, the seven-time series champion and inaugural NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee. Nine of his 26 career victories have come since the move to HMS. In addition to competing for HMS, Earnhardt also co-owns JR Motorsports, a race organization that fields four teams in NASCAR's XFINITY Series. He will make his first start since his injury next week here at DIS. He's a two-time winner of the Daytona 500 and considered one of the sport's best on the big superspeedways, where NASCAR mandates the use of restrictor plates to limit speeds. Retirement has been on his mind, Earnhardt admitted, even before last season's setback. But he said the injury made him realize that it might now be best to put off such thoughts until he knows his health isn't a concern. Earnhardt said in December that he hoped to sit down and discuss a contract extension before the '17 season got underway. "I've been trying over the last year or two to put a number on it, say, 'This is when I'm going to retire,'" he said. "'This will be the year or the day or the age.' But I've decided that maybe it's best that I don't. Considering my health, I can't even think about putting a date on it because I don't know what's going to happen to me going forward. "I want to get a couple of races under my belt, a couple of months, and then we'll sit down and say, 'You know, if everything is going great and we haven't had any issues, I'm confident to continue to race.'" Earnhardt has twice signed five-year contracts with HMS – the first from 2008 through '12 and the most recent, an extension which ran from 2013-17. Hendrick Motorsports also fields Monster Energy Series teams for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson , Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott . &lt;/p&gt;
Rick Ware Racing to field Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team
THOMASVILLE, N.C. -- Officials from Rick Ware Racing (RWR) announced today the team’s intent to compete in the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series as an "open non-chartered" team beginning with next month's 59th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway . RWR's return to the elite level of NASCAR will have Timmy Hill aboard the No. 51 Chevrolet for Speedweeks with a rotating list of drivers to follow throughout the season including longtime RWR drivers Stanton Barrett , Cody Ware and road course veteran Kevin O’Connell to name a few. "We've been eyeing our return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since the end of last year," said RWR team principal Rick Ware. "We knew with the competition level stronger than ever, we needed to take the steps to make sure we could come to the track and be as competitive as possible, while focused on building our organization as the season presses on.” RWR also announced the team has acquired assets from Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) for use this season, including cars, pulldown rig and technology support. Additionally, longtime industry veteran Joe Lax, also previously with TBR will serve as crew chief, while pro-motor engineering (PME) will supply the horsepower during the season. Furthermore, Mike Hillman Sr., a longtime fixture in NASCAR joins RWR in a newly created role as team consultant. "I feel like we've done a great job getting our stars aligned for this year," Ware added. "Between acquiring cars from Tommy Baldwin Racing and having a good open relationship with them, plus being able to bring key personnel aboard who have the desire and drive to make our team the best it's ever been. "One component I'm really proud about is our initiative to bring our body work in-house. We really have hired some talented and experienced personnel overall and I couldn't be more excited to get our season underway." Hill is hopeful to make his "World Center of Racing" debut in next month's Super Bowl event. The 23-year-old hopes to make his 49th Cup race in his first ever Daytona 500 . Despite no Cup starts at Daytona, the Port Tobacco, Maryland native has four XFINITY starts at the 2.5-mile oval with two career top-10 finishes including back-to-back top-10 runs for Rick Ware Racing in 2012 with a career-best seventh in the season-opening race. "I'm thankful to continue my relationship with Rick Ware Racing for the 2017 season," said Hill. "I've always wanted the chance to compete in the Daytona 500 and thanks to Rick and Lisa (Ware), I'll have that opportunity. It won't be easy, but as a team and Joe (Lax) leading the way, we’re focused and will give it all we have and hope we’ll be one of the 40 cars running in the Daytona 500 !" In addition to their effort in the Cup Series, Rick Ware Racing will also compete in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season with recently announced driver Spencer Boyd at the wheel. Sponsorship for the team’s Cup entry will be announced at a later date. </p>
Kyle Petty Charity Ride route announced for its 23rd annual trek
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America, one of the most successful and popular charity rides in the country, today announced the route for its 23rd annual motorcycle trek. For the first time in almost a decade, the Ride led by former NASCAR driver and NBC Sports racing analyst Kyle Petty, will travel across the Pacific Northwest. With Manheim, North America's leading provider of used vehicle services, as returning presenting sponsor, the Ride will leave Portland, Oregon, on May 13 and arrive in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on May 19, covering eight states in seven days. Petty will lead 200 bikers on the weeklong, 2,400-mile route to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction - a camp dedicated to providing life-changing camping experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. What started out as Petty and a small group of friends riding together for fun in 1995, has grown into one of the most successful and popular charity rides in the country. This year, more than 20 first-time riders will join the dedicated team of men and women riding for the cause, along with new sponsors and a continued sense of passion. "It's pretty straightforward: every single mile we ride is for one cause, and that is to send chronically ill children to camp at Victory Junction at no cost to their families," said Petty. "The Ride is an enriching experience for everyone involved, and this year we'll be riding through some spectacular parts of the country like Mount Rushmore, and for the very first time the Columbia River Gorge." The Ride will see many of our country's historic landmarks including Yellowstone and Badlands National Parks; Bighorn National Forest; and the iconic Harley-Davidson Museum, the birthplace of the all-American motorcycle manufacturing company. Emblematic of the American open road, riders will also take in roadside attractions, including the world's largest ball of twine rolled by one man in Darwin, Minnesota. Fans are encouraged to come support the cause and greet riders at one of the Ride's seven overnight stops or daily pit stops. Spectators along the route may also purchase memorabilia or contribute to the Ride's "Small Change. Big Impact." program, which accepts donations at each stop. 23rd Anniversary Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America Schedule: (Information about scheduled pit stops can be found on the Ride's Facebook page.) Day 1, Saturday, May 13 - Portland, Oregon to Walla Walla, Washington Day 2, Sunday, May 14 - Walla Walla, Washington to Missoula, Montana Day 3, Monday, May 15 - Missoula, Montana to Cody, Wyoming Day 4, Tuesday, May 16 - Cody, Wyoming to Deadwood, South Dakota Day 5, Wednesday, May 17 - Deadwood, South Dakota to Mitchell, South Dakota Day 6, Thursday, May 18 - Mitchell, South Dakota to Minneapolis, Minnesota Day 7, Friday, May 19 - Minneapolis, Minnesota to Milwaukee, Wisconsin As a result of the Ride, 7,985 children have attended Victory Junction at no cost to their families. Last year alone, the Ride raised more than $1 million, sending 100 children to camp. Victory Junction has served as the Ride's primary beneficiary since its establishment by Petty and his family in 2004 in honor of his late son, Adam. This year's Ride will feature several celebrity riders, including: NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion Richard Petty NASCAR legends Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff and Donnie Allison Former NFL great and ESPN's 2016 Coaches Poll greatest college football player of all time, Herschel Walker Heisman Trophy winner (1980) and Super Bowl champion (XXII) George Rogers NBC Sports NASCAR personalities Rick Allen and Rutledge Wood Harley-Davidson Museum president, Bill Davidson, who comes from a long list of Harley-Davidson greats starting with his great grandfather who founded the company. "As we travel to new parts of our country - or ones we haven't seen in a while - the Ride brings with it a passion for sharing the great work of Victory Junction and a comradery that can't be matched. That's what makes it one of the most popular motorcycle rides in the country," said Kyle's father Richard Petty. The 2017 Ride is made possible by presenting sponsor Manheim, as well as Coca-Cola, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, FCA Fleet, Racing Electronics, WinCraft Racing, FLUIDYNE Racing Products, Petty Family Foundation, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Headbands of Hope, Piedmont Moving Systems, ArticBlu, Select-A-Vision and Goody's. "Giving back to the community is a core value of Manheim, so we're thrilled once again to be supporting Victory Junction and the children who camp there," said Janet Barnard, president, Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions. "Our teams are excited to welcome the Ride at two of our operating locations, Manheim Portland and Manheim Minneapolis, and offering their local support to this worthwhile cause." To keep up with Petty and the riders live, follow along on social media: Facebook: www.facebook.com/kpcharityride and www.facebook.com/kylepetty45 Instagram: www.instagram.com/kpcharityride and www.instagram.com/kylepetty Twitter: www.twitter.com/kpcharityride and www.twitter.com/kylepetty For more information about the 23rd Annual Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America or to make a donation, please visit www.kylepettycharityride.com .
Diamonds in the rough: NASCAR eBay findings
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove ITEM 1: Richard Petty autographed photo w/ Rick Wilson at the zoo It's what you've dreamt of for the past 25 years -- an autographed photo of Richard Petty. And Rick Wilson. AT THE ZOO. Alternative: Men's NASCAR Classics light blue Richard Petty 80th birthday shirt While the photo would look great at your desk at the office instead of that picture of your family, a T-Shirt featuring The King might do a better job out in public. ITEM 2: NASCAR sheet metal No. 4 Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's quarter-panel A piece of sheet metal from Kevin Harvick 's Jimmy John's car that just reads "Freaky." Give the guests stopping by your racing cave the wrong idea. Alternative: Unsigned Kevin Harvick Fanatics authentic display case with race-used sheet metal Protect yourself from sharp metal edges with a display-case protected piece of Happy's car. ITEM 3: 2003 Wheels High Gear No. 69 Greg Biffle rookie racing card A Greg Biffle rookie card -- No. 69, of course. Alternative: Greg Biffle pit row cornhole game set Greg Biffle cornhole. I think he would have wanted it this way. ITEM 4: Ryan Newman action figure An action figure of Ryan Newman spilling a bottle of sports drink. Butter fingers! Alternative: Men's Ryan Newman New Era black team relation knit beanie Protect your head from rogue sports drink spray. ITEM 5: Dale Jr. NASCAR 3M Hard Charger Award A novelty check for $25,000. If you successfully cash it, you've got a pretty decent return on investment. Alternative: NASCAR Superstore $25 Gift Card Why have $25,000 in novelty dollars when you can have 25 real dollars' worth of NASCAR merchandise? ITEM 6: Ron Hornaday No. 2 pit board sign Does Ron Hornaday live in your neighborhood? Wave this sign out front of your house and find out -- he'll surely stop! Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR street sign You might get a little more buy-in from your cohabitants with the alternative. ITEM 7: Mike Bliss Advair race-used fire suit Was your Mike Bliss Halloween costume feeling incomplete? No longer. Alternative: Men's Kyle Busch orange M&M's Halloween t-shirt Of course there's no true alternative to a complete Mike Bliss driver suit and helmet. ITEM 8: Dale Jarrett No. 88 race-used tire side wall picture Finally! The answer to your longtime question: "Where can I find a photo of Dale Jarrett to put inside the sidewall of my tire?" Alternative: Dale Jarrett collectible lot of 15 trading cards You might be able to assemble all these trading cards on a piece of poster board, and enjoy 15 pictures of Dale Jarrett instead of just one. ITEM 9: Mike Wallace No. 91 Spam Racing denim jacket Want to show your love of Mike Wallace 's tenure in Joe Falk's No. 91 Spam Racing machine from the late '90s? What better way than with a 20-year-old denim jacket? Alternative: Rusty Wallace black vintage car t-shirt While Mike Wallace merchandise is hard to come by in this decade, you can always count on brother Rusty to come through with vintage shirts. ITEM 10: Dale Jr. wakeboard You've often asked yourself: "How can I combine my love of NASCAR and passion for wakeboarding?" Look no further than this Dale Earnhardt Jr .-from-the-early-2000s-themed wakeboard. Alternative: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2017 wall calendar Of course, there's no substitute for a wakeboard -- but this calendar can help you remember when it's time to hit the ... waves? (Or whatever it is that wakeboarders say). ITEM 11: Dale Sr. knife set in metal tin car What do we have here? If you guessed "a car resembling the late Dale Earnhardt's that's been stretched out in Microsoft Paint and has wheels that don’t touch the ground," you're right! Alternative: Dale Earnhardt checkered flag black name and number bandana How about a nice bandana instead? ITEM 12: Race-used Cougar hood It's a hood. With a cougar. Alternative: Fanatics authentic Daytona generic chair with black track bottom It's hard to beat actual seats from Daytona International Speedway . ITEM 13: Kyle Busch ID holder Holy heck! A genuine "Kyle Bush" ID holder! And you’d better believe it's emblazoned with that famous No. 18 (well, a No. 18 that doesn't really resemble the real thing). Alternative: WinCraft NASCAR color frost key ring How about something a little more official? (And speaking of ... ) ITEM 14 : NASCAR race official race-used fire suit There's no telling what you could do when you show up to the race in an Official's uniform. Alternative: Men's Fanatics branded black NASCAR t-shirt It's probably a safer bet to show your love of NASCAR with a simple t-shirt than impersonating a race official. Trust me on that one.
Rick Hendrick honored to win 12th NSCS Championship
Rick Hendrick looks back on Hendrick Motor Sports' spectacular 2016 season which includes Jimmie Johnson's record-tying seventh NSCS title.
Rick Hendrick: Dale Jr. 'on track' for Daytona 500
MORE: Buy tickets for Homestead-Miami Championship Weekend HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Team owner Rick Hendrick shed light Friday on Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s timetable to return to NASCAR competition, saying he anticipated his driver to be on pace to compete in time for the 2017 Daytona 500 . Earnhardt Jr., 42, has been sidelined from the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet since July after two severe crashes left him with concussion-like symptoms. He was ruled out for the remainder of the Sprint Cup season in September. "I think sometime in December the doctor's going to give him the final clearance and then we'll get him in a car," Hendrick said Friday after a news conference with the Sprint Cup Championship 4 car owners at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "He feels great. Everything's on track. I mean, every step that we supposedly need to go through, we've gone through, and I don't see anything holding us back." Earnhardt, who has been working on rehabilitation of his neurological conditions since this summer, reiterated that intention last month at Martinsville Speedway , saying in a pre-race interview that "we're booking things as normal" ahead of the 2017 season. That included sponsorship plans, photo shoots and other logistical agreements in preparation for next year. But Earnhardt Jr. also indicated he was eager to return to NASCAR's premier series, something Hendrick reaffirmed Friday. "He sent me a text the other day that he was excited and waiting for Daytona," Hendrick said. "I think we've just got a couple more hurdles to clear." Jeff Gordon and Alex Bowman have split time in Earnhardt's No. 88 this season, with Gordon filling in for eight races and Bowman set to make his 10th start of the year in Sunday's season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Gordon has indicated that he's likely to resume his retirement from racing next season unless called upon by Hendrick. As for Bowman, the 23-year-old racer who competes part-time in the XFINITY Series has said he's still uncertain what his driving responsibilities -- beyond simulator work for Hendrick's team -- will be in 2017. Friday, Hendrick was uncertain as well. "Alex is a good guy. He's helped us in a lot of ways," Hendrick said. "We're just kind of taking that one a day at a time. He's done testing for us, he's done simulation for us and he's really done a good job. We're just kind of taking it a day at a time. We don't really have any certain plan." &amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
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