2002 wreck mirrors Austin's Daytona crash, Rusty Wallace involved, too Austin Dillon 's much-talked about Daytona crash paralleled to a wreck from more than a decade ago in Pocono, with both crashes involving Dale Earnhardt Jr . In 2002, Steve Park was lining up with his competition at Pocono Raceway for the Pennsylvania 500, hoping to snag his second top-10 at the track. Park never did see a top-10 finish that day. In fact, he didn't even complete the first lap thanks to a nasty wreck involving Park , Rusty Wallace and Dale Earnhardt Jr . between Turn 1 and 2. The accident was initially sparked by NASCAR Hall of Famer Wallace. Wallace's No. 2 Team Penske Ford hit the wall after the first turn. Park tried to avoid making contact with the spinning Ford and attempted to move sideways. In his quest to dodge out of Wallace's path, he came into contact with teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr . Dale Jr. got under Park's No. 1 Chevrolet causing both cars to spin onto the grass. While on the grass, Park slammed into an interior guardrail, flipping the car over violently, multiple times. Similar to his reaction to Dilllon's crash, Dale Jr. was concerned about Park's well-being as it took safety workers some time to help him out of his upside-down vehicle. RELATED: 88 crew recalls frenzy to check on Dillon When Junior was able to get out of his own car, he sprinted over to check on his teammate. Not only was it difficult getting Park out of his car, but it led to a 65-minute red-flag caution with repairs to the interior barrier having to take place before the field could go back to green. Park , like Austin Dillon , walked away from the crash just fine and headed to the infield care center arm-in-arm with Junior.
Steve Park Wins UNOH Battle at the Beach in Last Lap Pass.
HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Navigating through negative comments from detractors on social media is often a tough road. For Samantha Busch, criticism has been a much more personal topic of late, one that brings emotional timbres to her voice. Her husband, Kyle Busch , hoisted the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship trophy for the first time Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway , capping a stirring comeback season that opened with multiple severe leg injuries in a harrowing crash during the NASCAR XFINITY Series opener at Daytona International Speedway . Busch missed the first 11 races of the year as he recovered, returning to competition in mid-May with an exemption from NASCAR officials that kept him eligible for the title. When that eligibility eventually resulted in his first premier-series championship, online naysayers renewed their scrutiny of a decision and a playoff format that kept Busch's dreams intact. For Samantha Busch, that criticism hit home. "The waiver is very emotional," she said Monday night, moments after accepting accolades for her husband's championship-winning team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' season-ending awards banquet. "First of all, it wasn't just there for Kyle. It's been used for other drivers. It's been used for Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch and I believe Kyle Larson , so it's not like something that was just invented for Kyle and this injury. So that's the first thing that gets me a little emotional. "But secondly, I think people just think, 'Oh, he got to take 11 weeks off and so he's more refreshed than other drivers.' Absolutely wrong. He was sitting there trying to learn how to bend his toes, how to move his foot, how to stand up out of bed. It was not a walk in the park for him, it was not a vacation, and it was probably the hardest thing he's ever done in his life, and not only did he do it with such determination and passion, but he came back so much earlier than anyone expected." Samantha Busch recounted the more difficult moments of her husband's rehabilitation -- the falls, the doubts, and the struggle of merely learning to walk again. "People don't see what we went through," Busch said. "They don't know every hour. They don't understand how hard he works and I think that's why I get a little bit more emotional about it."
NASCAR Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell talks about what went in to the decision to not hold practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway.
RELATED: Buy tickets now " 2016 schedules for top two national series MORE: Highlights of the 2016 schedules DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2015) -- NASCAR today announced the 2016 schedule for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which features 21 tracks hosting 23 events in the U.S. and Canada. As with the previously announced NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series schedules, agreements have also been reached with the tracks to host the Camping World Truck Series through 2020. Iowa Speedway will host its first NASCAR national series companion weekend, with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series joining the NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 18-19. Other changes for 2016 are: • The Dover International Speedway event moves two weekends earlier in the schedule (May 13). • The first visit to Texas Motor Speedway moves one week later to June 10. • The Gateway Motorsports Park event moves two weekends later in the schedule to June 25. • The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park event returns to the Sunday of Labor Day (U.S.) weekend, on Sept. 4. "For more than 20 years, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has been home to some of the closest side-by-side racing in the sport, and we're committed to delivering that to our fans for many years to come," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "We expect that the stability of five-year agreements will benefit the entire industry, and anticipate the continuation of compelling NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship battles, like the one we're watching unfold in 2015." The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series kicks off the 2016 season during Daytona Speedweeks, as the iconic track welcomes fans to experience its $400 million redevelopment project, DAYTONA Rising. After Daytona, the trucks will race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a double-header with the NASCAR XFINTY Series for the second consecutive season. Two popular Wednesday night events -- at Eldora Speedway (July 20) and Bristol (Aug. 17) -- also return to the schedule for 2016. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series closes the 2016 season with five events in five weekends, including three triple-header weekends with the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series at Texas Motor Speedway , Phoenix International Raceway , and Homestead-Miami Speedway . FOX Sports will provide broadcast coverage of every race event in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck season.
WATKINS GLEN-SPECIFIC STATISTICS DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Below is a look at some of the top statistical performers at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York going into the CHEEZ-It 355 at The Glen (2 p.m. ET on NBCSN) on August 9. AJ Allmendinger (No. 47 Kroger’s/Bush's Beans Chevrolet) · One win, two top fives, four top 10s · Average finish of 7.833, second-best · Average Running Position of 12.288, third-best · Driver Rating of 100.5, third-best · 16 Fastest Laps Run, 12th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.332, fourth-fastest · 363 Laps in the Top 15 (67.0), fifth-most · 114 Quality Passes, 11th-most Clint Bowyer (No. 15 Maxwell House Toyota) · One top five, three top 10s · Average finish of 15.778, ninth-best · Average Running Position of 15.912, 11th-best · Driver Rating of 83.3, 13th-best · 2 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.569, 12th-fastest · 427 Laps in the Top 15 (52.6), 12th-most · 106 Quality Passes, 12th-most Kyle Busch ’s Chase Eligibility 30th David Gilliland 331 Rank Driver Wins Points Points From 30th 31 Cole Whitt 0 331 0 32 Kyle Busch 4 318 -13 33 Brett Moffitt # 0 279 -52 34 Alex Bowman 0 264 -67 35 Michael Annett 0 248 -83 36 Matt DiBenedetto # 0 220 -111 37 Josh Wise 0 186 -145 38 Michael McDowell 0 124 -207 39 Jeb Burton # 0 120 -211 40 Alex Kennedy # 0 77 -254 * To be eligible for the Chase, the driver must be in the top 30 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following race number 26. Kyle Busch (No. 18 M&M's Crispy Toyota) · Two wins, four top fives, eight top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 11.300, fourth-best · Average Running Position of 12.453, fifth-best · Driver Rating of 108.4, second-best · 74 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.360, second-fastest · 638 Laps in the Top 15 (70.6), fourth-most · 183 Quality Passes, sixth-most Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) · Two top fives, six top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 16.900, 10th-best · Average Running Position of 15.864, 10th-best · Driver Rating of 94.3, seventh-best · 51 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.288, fifth-fastest · 564 Laps in the Top 15 (62.4), eighth-most · 190 Quality Passes, fourth-most Carl Edwards (No. 19 STANLEY Toyota) · Five top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 8.400, third-best · Average Running Position of 12.370, fourth-best · Driver Rating of 95.0, sixth-best · 15 Fastest Laps Run, 11th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.959, sixth-fastest · 666 Laps in the Top 15 (73.7), third-most · 203 Quality Passes, second-most Jeff Gordon (No. 24 AXALTA Chevrolet) · Four wins, six top fives, nine top 10s; three poles · Average finish of 21.600, 13th-best · Average Running Position of 17.075, 12th-best · Driver Rating of 85.7, 10th-best · 42 Fastest Laps Run, series-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.314, 13th-fastest · 479 Laps in the Top 15 (53.0), 11th-most · 164 Quality Passes, eighth-most Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota) · One top five, four top 10s · Average finish of 20.000, 12th-best · Average Running Position of 15.543, eighth-best · Driver Rating of 85.7, 11th-best · 11 Fastest Laps Run, second-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.911, seventh-fastest · 468 Laps in the Top 15 (57.6), 10th-most · 181 Quality Passes, seventh-most Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John's/ Budweiser Chevrolet) · One win, two top fives, seven top 10s · Average finish of 14.500, eighth-best · Average Running Position of 15.555, ninth-best · Driver Rating of 89.0, ninth-best · 11 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.817, ninth-fastest · 543 Laps in the Top 15 (60.1), ninth-most · 161 Quality Passes, ninth-most Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet) · Four top fives, seven top 10s; one pole · Average finish of 12.100, fifth-best · Average Running Position of 10.079, second-best · Driver Rating of 100.1, fourth-best · 28 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.338, third-fastest · 715 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1), second-most · 208 Quality Passes, series-most Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Ford) · Three top fives, three top 10s · Average finish of 12.200, sixth-best · Average Running Position of 14.117, seventh-best · Driver Rating of 97.5, fifth-best · 39 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.878, eighth-fastest · 290 Laps in the Top 15 (64.2), seventh-most · 66 Quality Passes, 13th-most Jamie McMurray (No. 1 McDonald's Chevrolet) · One top five, two top 10s · Average finish of 19.300, 11th-best · Average Running Position of 17.508, 13th-best · Driver Rating of 83.7, 12th-best · 9 Fastest Laps Run, third-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.734, 10th-fastest · 465 Laps in the Top 15 (51.4), 13th-most · 130 Quality Passes, 10th-most Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops / Mobil 1 Chevrolet) · Five wins, seven top fives, ten top 10s · Average finish of 7.500, series-best · Average Running Position of 5.661, series-best · Driver Rating of 120.4, series-best · 106 Fastest Laps Run, 13th-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 120.785, series-fastest · 678 Laps in the Top 15 (93.6), series-most · 195 Quality Passes, third-most Martin Truex Jr (No. 78 Furniture Row/Visser Precision Chevrolet) · Three top fives, five top 10s · Average finish of 12.444, seventh-best · Average Running Position of 12.885, sixth-best · Driver Rating of 90.7, eighth-best · 6 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-best · Average Green Flag Speed of 119.686, 11th-fastest · 536 Laps in the Top 15 (66.0), sixth-most · 188 Quality Passes, fifth-most The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2015 Top 16 at Watkins Glen International Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating 1 Kevin Harvick 14 0 1 2 7 0 12.6 89.0 2 Joey Logano 6 0 0 1 3 0 16.5 78.4 3 Dale Earnhardt Jr 15 0 0 2 3 2 22.4 76.2 4 Jimmie Johnson 13 1 0 4 7 1 13.9 100.1 5 Martin Truex Jr 9 0 0 3 5 0 12.4 90.7 6 Brad Keselowski 5 0 0 3 3 0 12.2 97.5 7 Matt Kenseth 15 0 0 0 5 0 15.1 79.8 8 Jamie McMurray 12 0 0 1 2 2 19 83.7 9 Kurt Busch 14 1 0 2 6 3 18.6 94.3 10 Jeff Gordon 22 3 4 6 9 3 16.6 85.7 11 Denny Hamlin 9 0 0 1 4 3 20 85.7 12 Paul Menard 11 0 0 0 0 1 23.6 64.7 13 Ryan Newman 13 0 0 1 3 1 17.6 76.5 14 Clint Bowyer 9 0 0 1 3 0 15.8 83.3 15 Kasey Kahne 11 0 0 0 0 0 19.3 73.9 16 Carl Edwards 10 1 0 5 7 0 8.4 95.0 * – Based on last 10 races at Watkins Glen International (2005 – 2014). Watkins Glen International Data Season Race #: 22 of 36 (08-09-15) Track Size : 2.45-miles Number of Turns : 7 Race Length : 90 laps / 220.5 miles Top 10 Driver Ratings at Watkins Glen Tony Stewart ............................. 120.4 Kyle Busch ............................... 108.4 AJ Allmendinger ........................ 100.5 Jimmie Johnson ........................ 100.1 Brad Keselowski ......................... 97.5 Carl Edwards .............................. 95.0 Kurt Busch .................................. 94.3 Martin Truex Jr ............................ 90.7 Kevin Harvick .............................. 89.0 Jeff Gordon ................................ 85.7 Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (10 total) among active drivers at Watkins Glen International. Qualifying/Race Data 2014 pole winner : Jeff Gordon , Chevrolet 129.466 mph, 68.126 secs. 08-09-14 2014 race winner : AJ Allmendinger , Chevrolet 90.123 mph, (02:26:48), 08-10-14 Track qualifying record: Marcos Ambrose , Ford 129.491 mph, 68.113 secs. 08-09-14 (Set in Round 1 of 3) Track race record: Mark Martin , Ford 103.030 mph, (02:11:54), 08-13-95 At Watkins Glen International: History · After several events were held on the streets of Watkins Glen, a permanent facility was opened in 1956. · The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was in 1957, won by Buck Baker (83.064 mph, 08/04/1957). · After a six-year absence, NASCAR returned to The Glen in 1964 and 1965. · After a 21-year absence, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returned to The Glen, and has run one race a year there since 1986. · The first NSCS race at Watkins Glen was scheduled for 101.2-miles in 1957, the second race was 161.7-miles (1964) and the third race was 151.8-miles (1965). Every race since has been scheduled for 220.5-miles. Starts · There have been 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International, one race per season. · 252 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen; 152 in more than one. · Jeff Gordon , Mark Martin , Michael Waltrip and Terry Labonte lead the series in starts at Watkins Glen with 22 each. Poles · Buck Baker won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Watkins Glen in 1957 with a speed of 87.071 mph. Driver/owner Buck Baker went on to win the inaugural race from the pole. · 19 drivers have Coors Light poles at Watkins Glen, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon with three each. · Mark Martin is the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver to post consecutive Coors Light poles at Watkins Glen (three) – 1993, 1994, and 1995. · Youngest Watkins Glen pole winner: Kyle Busch (08/15/2011 – 26 years, 3 months, 13 days). · Oldest Watkins Glen pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (08/13/1989 – 47 years, 10 months, 1 day). · Tony Stewart leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average starting position at Watkins Glen with a 6.286 – Stewart has made 14 starts at WGI. Wins · 19 different drivers have won at Watkins Glen International in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, led by Tony Stewart with five wins; followed by Jeff Gordon with four. · Jeff Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in road course wins with nine (Sonoma, five; Watkins Glen, four); Tony Stewart has the second most road course wins all-time with seven (Watkins Glen, five; Sonoma, two). · NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison holds the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series record for the most wins at a single road course track with six - Riverside International Raceway. · Four drivers have posted consecutive wins at Watkins Glen, including three consecutive by Mark Martin (1993, ’94, ‘95) and Jeff Gordon (1997, ’98, ‘99). The other two drivers to win consecutive races at Watkins Glen are Tony Stewart (2004, ’05) and Marcos Ambrose (2011, ’12). · Youngest Watkins Glen winner: Kyle Busch (08/10/2008 – 23 years, 3 months, 8 days). · Oldest Watkins Glen winner: Geoff Bodine (08/11/1996 – 47 years, 3 months, 24 days). · Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing are tied for the most wins at Watkins Glen in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with six each: --- Hendrick Motorsports : Jeff Gordon (four), Tim Richmond (one) and Ricky Rudd (one). --- Joe Gibbs Racing : Tony Stewart (four) and Kyle Busch (two). · Six different manufacturers have won in the NSCS at Watkins Glen; led by Chevrolet with 17 victories; followed by Ford with seven, Pontiac with four, Toyota with two and Buick and Mercury each have one. · Nine of the 32 (28.1%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from the Coors Light pole; the most recent was Kyle Busch in 2008. · The Coors Light pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (nine) than any other starting position at Watkins Glen. · 11 of the 32 (34.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from the front row: nine from the pole and two from second-place. · 21 of the 32 (65.6%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top-five starting position. · 23 of the 32 (71.8%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Watkins Glen have been won from a top-10 starting position. · None of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen have been won from a starting position outside the top 20. · The deepest in the field that a race winner has started at Watkins Glen is 18th, by Steve Park in 2000. · All five of the active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners at Watkins Glen participated in at least one or more races before visiting Victory Lane. · Kevin Harvick (2006) and AJ Allmendinger (2014) both competed at Watkins Glen five times each before winning; the longest span of any of the five active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners. · Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers have posted their first career win at Watkins Glen: Steve Park (08/13/2000), Marcos Ambrose (08/15/11) and AJ Allmendinger (08/11/14). Additional Finishing Position Stats · Brad Keselowski and Mark Martin lead the series in runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen with three each. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-five finishes at Watkins Glen with 12; followed by Ricky Rudd with eight. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with seven. · Mark Martin leads the series in top-10 finishes at Watkins Glen with 16; followed by Ricky Rudd, Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart with 10 each. · AJ Allmendinger leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Watkins Glen with a 7.833. · Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Matt Kenseth lead the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Watkins Glen without visiting Victory Lane at 14 each. Track/Event Specific Stats · Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory (MOV) in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen is the 2001 race won by Jeff Gordon over Jeff Burton with a MOV of 0.172 second. · There have been two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races resulting with a green-white-checkered finish at Watkins Glen (Scheduled No. of Laps/Actual No. of Laps): 2005 (90/92) and 2011 (90/92). · Only one of the 32 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Watkins Glen has been shortened due to weather conditions - the 1992 race – only 51 of the scheduled 90 laps were completed. · The 8/14/2011 race was the only NSCS race at Watkins Glen that has been postponed to another date due to weather (8/15/2011). · Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Watkins Glen six times: 1965, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008. · Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Watkins Glen with 262 laps led in 22 starts. Female Competitor Stats · Danica Patrick and Patty Moise are the only two female NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers to compete at Watkins Glen International. Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Danica Patrick 43 21 8/10/2014 Danica Patrick 35 20 8/11/2013 Averages 39.0 20.5 Driver Starting Position Finishing Position Date Patty Moise 33 30 8/14/1988 Patty Moise 30 33 8/10/1987 Averages 31.5 31.5 NASCAR in New York · There have been 70 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races among 15 tracks in the state of New York. Track Name City NSCS Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen 32 Monroe County Fairgrounds Rochester 8 Islip Speedway Islip 6 Bridgehampton Race Circuit B
What : Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. Where : 2.454-mile road course in Watkins Glen, New York When : Sunday, Aug. 9; 2 p.m. ET. TV/Radio : NBCSN, MRN Radio Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. Distance : 220.5 miles, 90 laps. Pit road speed : 40 mph. Caution car speed : 45 mph. Fuel window : 33 laps. On the front row " See the full lineup Defending race winner AJ Allmendinger (127.839 mph) won his first Watkins Glen pole position besting fellow Chevrolet driver Martin Truex Jr . The top 10 qualifiers were separated by less than six-tenths of a second. It's Allmendinger's fourth career Sprint Cup Series pole. He also was the top qualifier at the Sonoma, California, road course in June. Kyle Busch is the last driver to win at the Glen from the pole position (2008) Fastest in practice : Four-time race winner Jeff Gordon was fastest in final practice just ahead of second-year driver Kyle Larson , Greg Biffle and two-time Glen winner Kyle Busch . Another former road course winner Clint Bowyer (Sonoma, 2012) led opening practice ahead of defending race winner Allmendinger. Busch and Sam Hornish Jr . were the only drivers to post top-10 laps in both sessions. Last year's winner : Allmendinger's thrilling victory last year in this race was his first and still only one in his Sprint Cup career, earning him and the single-car JTG Daugherty organization its first championship berth. The former open-wheel star is always considered the pre-race favorite at the two Cup road courses and was second fastest in opening practice en route to claiming his first pole position here. This year he won't have his great nemesis Marcos Ambrose to battle with up front as Ambrose returned to his native Australia to race this season. However, there are a lot of hungry non-winners this week who are widely considered road course aces. Gordon, Bowyer, Kasey Kahne and the Glen's all-time winningest driver Tony Stewart lead that charge. On the line : Five races remain to set the 16-car Chase field and the intensity is noticeably amped in the garage. Jamie McMurray leads the list of non-winners still ranked safely among the top 16 in the standings. Bowyer and Kahne are ranked 15th and 16th with only a 25-point cushion for Kahne while Larson (19th) and Stewart (25th) are further behind in points and may need to rely on a victory to get in the Chase. Of those drivers currently ranked among the top 16, only Harvick and Gordon have ever won at Watkins Glen. Four-time 2015 winner Kyle Busch sits only 13 points out of 30th-place, the minimum points position a winner must be ranked to qualify for the Chase. Just own it : Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are currently tied with six wins apiece in this race -- double that of any other organization. However, JGR driver Kyle Busch 's win in 2013 is the only time that one of those two teams has won here in the last six years. A victory by one of the four Hendrick drivers would deliver Chevrolet its 750th Cup win. A victory by one of the four Gibbs drivers would give Toyota its 13th win in the last 17 NASCAR national series races. Road Course Masters " RELATED: Read more about Gordon's ascent Two of NASCAR's most celebrated champions -- Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon -- also happen to be two of the sport's most accomplished road racers. Tony Stewart is Watkins Glen's all-time winningest driver with five victories, his seven top fives the most of any active driver. He'll start his No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy a season-best third on Sunday. Gordon, NASCAR's most successful road course driver with nine career wins, has four at Watkins Glen and is the all-time leader in laps led (262) here. He'll start fifth in the Cheez-It 355 -- the final road course race in Gordon's final season of Cup competition. Nuts and Bolts : Dale Earnhardt Jr . is still looking for his first road course win and should it happen this weekend, it would be a big reversal of fortune for the sport's Most Popular Driver. His 22.4 average finish at the Glen is the worst among the top-16 drivers in points. He has only three top-10 finishes yet two DNFs in 15 starts here. Qualifying is hugely important at the Glen. Nine of the 32 races have been won by the pole sitter, 65 percent of race winners have come from a top-five starting position. Steve Park's 2000 victory from the 18th starting position is the farthest of any race winner. Brad Keselowski and retired driver Mark Martin hold the record for runner-up finishes at the Glen with three each. Earnhardt and Matt Kenseth hold the record for most starts (15) without a win. They said it : "We’re all road course ringers these days. It’s amazing how smart this garage is and how great these competitors are." -- Jimmie Johnson , driver of the No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet. "I look forward to these races. I always do every year. It's kind of fun, a weekend 'off' from the oval stuff. Love the opportunity to turn right, turn left, and have some shifting going on. You try to make the most of it and have some fun with it and come out of here with some decent finishes. Over the years we've run real well here at Watkins Glen. I'm really optimistic about being here this weekend.'' -- Kyle Busch , driver of the No. 18 M&Ms Crispy Toyota and winner of the season's other road course race in Sonoma, California, in June.
2001 Pepsi 400 was also first race that NBC televised Note: NBC Sports Network is reairing this race on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET as part of its NASCAR Classics series. The 2001 season was far from an easy year for the NASCAR world. The sport was shaken to its core by a crash on the closing lap at Daytona International Speedway during the Daytona 500 that led to the passing of NASCAR Hall of Famer and seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt. The races in the weeks after were filled with emotion as Dale Earnhardt, Inc. driver Steve Park won the week after the Daytona 500 at Rockingham. Two weeks later, Kevin Harvick , in just his third career Cup start, scored his first career win in the re-numbered No. 29 car for Richard Childress Racing . Harvick had been tapped after the Daytona crash to take over the car, which had been Earnhardt's No. 3. Many wondered what would happen when the sport returned to Daytona that summer for the Pepsi 400 as an emotional scene was sure to unfold. The 2001 Pepsi 400 also marked NBC's initial foray into NASCAR race coverage as it was the first race the network televised as part of a six-year pact with the sport. An interesting coincidence is that this year's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona will be NBC's first premier series race under its new TV contract that kicks in this season. The booth for that first race featured play-by-play man Allen Bestwick with analysts Wally Dallenbach and Benny Parsons. Britney Spears gave the command to start the race. Here is the intro NBC used for races in 2001 featuring the song "Fuel" by Metallica. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; At the time, Dale Earnhardt Jr . was 26 years old and in his second full-time season in the sport's top series. He came to Daytona that summer on a 39-race winless streak. After experiencing the loss of his father, his 2001 season was very much up-and-down as you might imagine. He came into Daytona the sentimental and emotional favorite. The race had plenty of emotion in the air as Sterling Marlin led the field to the green flag. Starting 13th, it took Earnhardt 26 laps to get his No. 8 Chevrolet to the front and from there it was his show for most of the night. Dale Jr. led 116 circuits in the 160-lap race en route to his third career premier series win and his first at Daytona. The win was anything but certain though, as Junior had to hold off DEI teammate Michael Waltrip (who held off Junior to win the 2001 Daytona 500 ), Elliott Sadler and Ward Burton to win by 0.123 seconds. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; When the checkered flag dropped, the crowd at Daytona roared with approval as Dale Jr. took the victory under the lights. There were tears and jubilation among the crew members and one heck of a burnout, not to mention a big embrace with Chocolate Myers, the fuel man with RCR on his dad's team. The celebration spilled over to the infield with Dale Jr. and Waltrip, who never got to truly celebrate the Daytona 500 win that year, embracing. In Victory Lane, an emotionally drained Dale Jr. told NBC's Bill Weber, "Man, I just don't know what to say. I am worn out. I got to thank my buddy Tony (Eury Jr.), my crew chief for hanging in there with me. All my friends, all the guys on the crew. "I had a great car. It was all car, 100 percent. I was just holding on." On his father he said, "he was with me tonight. I don't know how I did it. He was there and Michael helped me. I guess we're even now." He also predicted that he would be "crying sooner or later." "I dedicate this win to him. There ain't nobody else I could dedicate this win to that it would mean more to me." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/center&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt; Waltrip said of his role reversal with Dale Jr. from the last Daytona race, "I just wanted Dale Jr. to win so bad and I wanted to be a part of it. …I was committed to Dale Jr. just like he was to me in February." The victory would be the first of three Junior recorded that season as he later added victories at Dover and Talladega in the fall. NBC returns to NASCAR premier series coverage after a nearly nine-year absence, with Sunday night's Coke Zero 400 (7:45 p.m. ET). Rick Allen will handle the play-by-play duties alongside analysts Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte.
18-year-old Canadian rounds out powerful ThorSport team CONCORD, N.C. -- In the dead of winter a little more than two years ago, Cameron Hayley took the route of many so-called "snow birds" from his home country of Canada to ride out the harsh February days in the far more temperate climate of Florida. This particular trip, though, wasn't simply a search for warmer weather. It also managed to launch his spring-loaded NASCAR career. Hayley, an 18-year-old driver from Calgary, Alberta, found pay dirt against top-flight short-track talent that February at Daytona International Speedway , claiming the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series portion of the inaugural UNOH Battle at the Beach tripleheader in 2013. He added his name to a distinguished list of winners, with an up-and-coming Kyle Larson prevailing in the Whelen All-American Series race and former Sprint Cup Series winner Steve Park scoring a resurgent victory in the Whelen Modified Tour event. "It does seem like a long time ago now," Hayley said Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "I mean, it was only two years ago, but when it comes down to it -- I've done so much since then." Though the race was an exhibition that paid out no points toward the K&N championship, it helped elevate the stature of an otherwise little-known talent from the Great White North. Fast forward, and Hayley's name takes its place on another list altogether -- as a Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with ThorSport Racing, the championship team the last two seasons. "I think that's kind of what put me on the map with everybody," Hayley said. "Everyone started knowing my name after that and obviously moving to the K&N East Series last year it kind of got me down into the North Carolina, Charlotte-area and I guess people started to know my name more after that. It was kind of that Battle of the Beach when that really sparked people knowing me more." A pair of runner-up finishes in the K&N Series' title hunt the last two years helped that cause. So did his first ventures into the Camping World Truck Series, where he showed speed and landed two top-10s in his first three starts last season. After attracting the eye of team owner Duke Thorson and landing a seat in ThorSport's third truck alongside veteran teammates Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter , Hayley has shown steady growth, even while visiting tracks for the first time in his national series career. Despite the unfamiliarity, Hayley has improved his finishing position each week, capped by last weekend's fifth-place effort at Kansas Speedway . More improvement is the target again at Charlotte, site of Friday night's NC Education Lottery 200 (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, PRN, SiriusXM). "It's definitely been tough," Hayley said. "This race is going to be my fifth new track again this year, so adjusting to all the different tracks and having all the tracks being new has definitely been difficult, but ThorSport has given me great trucks week in and week out and, like you said, we've been consistently getting better every single race. And we've had great trucks and had some bad luck, and I think Charlotte is going to be another one where I have lots to learn, but I think we have a great truck here and can do well." The learning curve may have been accelerated by having teammates in Crafton, the two-time defending series champion, and fellow veteran Sauter -- who have a combined 498 truck series starts to their credit. Hayley has 491 starts to catch the two; in the meantime, he's tapping them as a resource for as much advice as he can digest. "Both of them have been a tremendous help for me already," Hayley said. "Like I said, all these tracks have been new to me, so I can study race tapes, videos all I want, but until to you talk to a driver you don't really know a firsthand account of what's happening. Both these guys have helped me a lot. I haven't been quite quick enough to run up beside them during races yet, but I think we're getting there and I think I can learn a lot from that as well." Even though Hayley is still new to the team, Sauter said he likes what he's seen so far in the teenager's composure. "I don't really know him, he's a rookie, new to the deal -- but I think he's got a pretty good head on his shoulders," Sauter said. "I see him doing things that maybe necessarily don't see from a lot of rookie drivers and I think he's taking care of his equipment and showing speed at the same time. I think he’s been top of the board at Atlanta and Kansas, so there's speed there and he's only going to get better, so I think he's doing a great job and I see some things in him that I typically don't see in a lot of young guys at his age and at his experience level." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
RELATED: Complete Miami race results Youth has been served. Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Erik Jones , all of 19 years old, clinched the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship on Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway . He's the youngest champion in series history. It's the first national series championship for Jones, who also drove select races in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2015. It's also the first championship for Kyle Busch as a team owner, and the championship also ensured that a Toyota would take him the big trophy for the third consecutive season. Thanks to his aggressive racing and ability to overcome bad days, the 19-year-old was one of the most consistent drivers on the circuit this year. He had three wins leading into Homestead, including one at Iowa in June that turned his season around. Prior to that Iowa win, Jones was coming off a 15th-place finish (Texas) and a 23rd-place result ( Gateway Motorsports Park ) despite starting on the pole in those two events. The Gateway finish dropped him to fourth in the standings -- the lowest he'd be all season -- before Jones righted his season the next race. Jones later won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park , then at Texas Motor Speedway two weeks ago to pad his lead. He took the lead in the points race for good after his August win in Canada, jumping from third in the standings to first. Down the stretch he pulled away from fellow 19-year-old Tyler Reddick ( Brad Keselowski Racing) and two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton (ThorSport Racing) to claim his first title. This story will be updated.