Talladega Sprint Cup qualifying order
RELATED: How qualifying works at Talladega # Car Driver Team 1 32 Bobby Labonte VisoneRV.com Ford 2 93 * Matt DiBenedetto Dustless Blasting Toyota 3 7 Regan Smith Golden Corral Chevrolet 4 46 Michael Annett Pilot Flying J Chevrolet 5 55 * Reed Sorenson Toyota 6 35 * David Gilliland Dockside Logistics Ford 7 1 Jamie McMurray Cessna Chevrolet 8 83 Jeffrey Earnhardt # Starter Toyota 9 23 David Ragan sweetFrog Toyota 10 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Chevrolet 11 41 Kurt Busch (C) Haas Automation/Monster Energy Chevrolet 12 31 Ryan Newman Caterpillar Chevrolet 13 3 Austin Dillon (C) American Ethanol Chevrolet 14 22 Joey Logano (C) Shell Pennzoil Ford 15 21 * Ryan Blaney # Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford 16 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield Ford 17 2 Brad Keselowski (C) Miller Lite Ford 18 14 Tony Stewart Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Chevrolet 19 10 Danica Patrick Nature's Bakery Chevrolet 20 13 Casey Mears GEICO Chevrolet 21 11 Denny Hamlin (C) FedEx Ground Toyota 22 42 Kyle Larson Energizer Chevrolet 23 78 Martin Truex Jr (C) Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats Toyota 24 18 Kyle Busch (C) Snickers Halloween Toyota 25 99 * Ryan Reed (i) Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford 26 27 Paul Menard SYLVANIA/Menards Chevrolet 27 88 Alex Bowman (i) Mountain Dew Chevrolet 28 5 Kasey Kahne UniFirst Chevrolet 29 19 Carl Edwards (C) Subway Toyota 30 24 Chase Elliott # (C) NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet 31 20 Matt Kenseth (C) DeWalt Flexvolt Toyota 32 48 Jimmie Johnson (C) Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet 33 4 Kevin Harvick (C) Jimmy John's Chevrolet 34 38 Landon Cassill FR8 Auctions Ford 35 44 Brian Scott # Goody's Ford 36 95 Michael McDowell KLOVE Radio Chevrolet 37 6 Trevor Bayne AdvoCare Ford 38 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr Zest Ford 39 34 Chris Buescher # Love's Travel Stops Ford 40 47 AJ Allmendinger Kroger/Scott Products Chevrolet 41 16 Greg Biffle Cheez-it Ford *Driver is required to qualify on time, (i) ineligible for driver points in this series
PEAK becomes title sponsor of NASCAR Mexico Series
RELATED: Peak becomes new sponsor for Mexico Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 18, 2016) -- During an event with team owners, drivers, local dignitaries and media at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel in Mexico City, NASCAR today announced plans to strengthen its presence in Mexico for years to come with a full slate of races in 2017 and beyond. Also announced was a multi-year agreement with Old World Industries (OWI) to make PEAK® title sponsor of the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, only the third title sponsor in series history. Additionally, PEAK becomes an Official NASCAR Partner along with other key brands such as BlueDEF®. "The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series is a place where young drivers are honing their skills and competing for a championship against the toughest competition in Latin America," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "The series drives interest in stock car racing in Mexico, while cultivating talented drivers and pit crew members aspiring to compete at the NASCAR national series level." The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will make its return with an exhibition race on Dec. 3-4 in Mexico City. Celebrating its 10th season, the series will officially get underway in 2017, with a full championship schedule that will be announced at a later date. The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series has helped develop some of NASCAR's best young drivers, including Daniel Suárez, who is the first Mexican-born driver to capture Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors; win a NASCAR national series race; lead a national series in points; and compete in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase for a championship – which he is currently pursuing. Furthermore, the continued development of young Mexican drivers, like reigning NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series Champion Ruben Garcia Jr., exemplifies the wealth of talent competing throughout the series. "I am extremely proud to be a Mexican driver competing against the best young drivers making a name for themselves in the NASCAR XFINITY Series," said Suárez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing . "I am lucky to have had the support of NASCAR's developmental programs along the way – including the NASCAR Mexico Series. I am excited to see that other talented Latin American drivers will continue to have similar opportunities for many years to come." "We remain steadfast in our commitment to develop young talent and engage our passionate fan base in Mexico," said Lou Garate, vice president, partnership marketing, NASCAR. "PEAK is a world-class brand, and its three decades of experience in motorsports will help elevate NASCAR-sanctioned racing in Mexico." Old World Industries' PEAK, BlueDEF and HURCULINER brands have a storied history in motorsports. PEAK held race entitlements in NASCAR throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In 2016, PEAK sponsored Clint Bowyer 's No. 15 Chevrolet, including two primary races and a season-long associate sponsorship. PEAK is also the title sponsor of NASCAR's eSports partner, iRacing.com, which has helped produce current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points leader William Byron. "Old World Industries products have been a recognized part of the racing industry for decades, and we're proud to help bring NASCAR to the passionate fans in Mexico and the U.S. for years to come," said Bryan Emrich, chief marketing officer at Old World Industries. "Whether in the garage or on the track, we'll continue to deliver quality products that auto enthusiasts can count on." As an Official NASCAR Partner, race fans will see the NASCAR bar mark on select products including: PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant (Official Antifreeze/Coolant of NASCAR®), PEAK Windshield Washer Fluid and Wipers (Official Washer Fluid and Wiper Blade of NASCAR®), BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment (Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid of NASCAR® and Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid Equipment of NASCAR®) and Herculiner Truck & Bed Liners (Official Roll-On and Spray-On Bed Liner of NASCAR®). For more information on OWI products and the company's involvement in motorsports, please visit www.PeakAuto.com .
Denny Hamlin to start on the Pole in Federated Auto Parts 400
Denny Hamlin takes the Coors Light Pole Award at Richmond International Raceway at his home track for the Federated Auto Parts 400.
Kyle Busch wins at Kansas; XFINITY Chase gets shake-up
RELATED: Race results " Standings " Chase Grid " Photos from the day SHOP: Busch gear KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Kyle Busch 's domination of Saturday's Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway was about the only predictable thing that happened in the first race of the Round of 8 in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In winning his fourth XFINITY race at the 1.5-mile track, his ninth of the season and the 85th of his career -- extending his own series record -- Busch led 150 of 200 laps, passing Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Daniel Suarez after a restart with 13 circuits remaining. "It was a hard-fought battle," said Busch, who had surged to a lead of 7.961 seconds before the first caution slowed the field on Lap 57. "Seemed like it was going to be easy for us. We had a super-fast car, and when we were out front, I could take it easy on those long runs and we could drive away. "The car would turn so well. A lot of things were trying to work against us at the end of the race. We were able to persevere and do the right things and have lucky restarts and be in the right grooves and not get caught up in the melee that was happening." Suarez had reason to be elated with his eventual third-place finish. An unexplained "popping" sound in his No. 19 Toyota accompanied a loss of horsepower, and Suarez settled for a hard-won result after Elliott Sadler passed him in the closing laps for the runner-up spot. Because Suarez led laps and Sadler didn't, he and Sadler leave Kansas tied for the Chase lead, but Sadler owns the tie-breaker due to higher finishes. "I'm proud of my race team," Sadler said. "We just kept working on the car and getting it better and better. I've got to do a better job trying to outrun that 18 car (Busch). He's really good, and he knows how to manipulate the air. But I've got to keep trying." Blake Koch finished ninth -- third among Chase drivers -- despite a late flat tire, the adverse effect of which was diminished by a timely caution, one of 10 during the afternoon. Koch is seven points behind the two Chase leaders. Chaos gobbled up the remaining five Chase contenders. A tap from Brandon Jones turned Chaser Justin Allgaier sideways and ignited a six-car wreck that also eliminated Darrell Wallace Jr ., who crashed out in 33rd-place. In a severely damaged car, Allgaier soldiered to a 14th-place result and left Kansas tied with Erik Jones for the final transfer spot into the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . Jones ran up front through the vast majority of the race, but his No. 20 Toyota was turned into the Chevrolet of Ty Dillon when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Kyle Larson made an aggressive move after a restart on Lap 183. Jones pitted with a cut tire and finished one position behind Allgaier, one lap down. "He (Larson) said it was his fault," Jones said after talking to Larson on pit road. "He owned up to it, got me ran over. It is what it is… He just said he got a good start and there was no hole there, nowhere to go with the run he had just got into my left rear and turned us. It's a shame, we both had fast cars." Ryan Reed salvaged a 16th-place finish despite a loose plug wire that kept him down on power until his team could troubleshoot the problem on pit road. After contact in heavy traffic on Lap 176, Brendan Gaughan took a wild spin through the infield grass and came home 31st, 18 laps down. Both Wallace and Gaughan will have yeoman work to do when the Chase resumes at Texas Motor Speedway after a two-week break for the O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge (Nov. 5, 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
O'Reilly Auto Parts to sponsor Texas spring Sprint Cup race
FORT WORTH, Texas (May 16, 2016) - O'Reilly Auto Parts and Texas Motor Speedway have signed a multi-year agreement for the national automotive aftermarket retailing leader to serve as the race entitlement sponsor for the annual April NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the world-renowned motorsports facility beginning in 2017. O'Reilly Auto Parts will be linking its brand to the state's best-attended, single-day sporting event and the Sprint Cup Series' third-highest paying race in the newly named O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 that will be held Sunday, April 9, 2017. The O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 will be the signature race entitlement of the deal, but the company also will continue its title sponsorship of the annual November XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway to ensure a year-round presence in a top-five metropolitan market. The current O'Reilly Auto Parts Challenge XFINITY Series race that is part of a NASCAR tripleheader in November will be rebranded the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 beginning in 2017. The O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 XFINITY Series race is scheduled for Nov. 4, 2017. In addition to the traditional branding assets in race entitlement agreements, O'Reilly Auto Parts will continue as the "Official Auto Parts Supplier of Texas Motor Speedway " and own exclusive status in the auto parts store category. No financial terms or specific length of the contract were disclosed. "Expanding our partnership with Texas Motor Speedway helps us deepen our connection with loyal NASCAR fans and build the O'Reilly brand on a national stage," O'Reilly Auto Parts Vice President of Marketing Doug Ruble said. "The O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 sponsorship gives us new ways to promote our stores, engage our customers and reinforce our commitment to motorsports." The agreement is O'Reilly Auto Parts' initial race sponsorship venture on the Sprint Cup Series level at Texas Motor Speedway , but the publicly traded Fortune 500 company boasts an expansive NASCAR race entitlement portfolio at this venue. Beginning with the O'Reilly 300 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in the fall of 1999, O'Reilly Auto Parts has been the title sponsor of six truck series races (1999-2004) and 27 XFINITY Series races (2002 through '16 season) at Texas Motor Speedway . That total includes sponsoring both the spring and fall XFINITY Series races annually since 2005 when Texas Motor Speedway added an annual fall NASCAR national series weekend. Under the new agreement, O'Reilly Auto Parts will relinquish its entitlement of the spring XFINITY Series race. The multi-year deal includes an expansive, multi-pronged promotional plan for the Sprint Cup Series race in O'Reilly Auto Parts' largest metropolitan market. The Springfield, Missouri-based company has more than 150 stores in the Dallas/Fort Worth Designated Market Area among its 4,600 in 44 states. O'Reilly Auto Parts and Texas Motor Speedway will be working in close cooperation to build this NASCAR race on a local, regional and national basis, engage race fans, increase attendance and attract race fans to its stores for all of their automotive needs. "We had a great meeting with the O'Reilly management team in Missouri a few months ago, and the thing that excites me the most about the partnership is this is going to be the promotion they are going to hang their hat on companywide all year long," Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage said. "That's exciting because it helps spread the word about the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, Texas Motor Speedway and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to all of their customers across the country. It helps build this event up and makes it bigger. This is a perfect fit for each other and I don't know how we could have done any better."
Member of the Month: October
Name: Jennifer Current City: Temecula, California Member since: 2008 Getting to know Jennifer Q. Why did you join the Official NASCAR Fan Council? "I wanted a chance to voice my opinion on this sport and to have an active role in giving fans a voice." Q. How did you first become interested in NASCAR? "NASCAR is special for me because it brings families together each weekend." Q: Do you have any favorite NASCAR memories or traditions? "My Dad and I are season ticket holders at Auto Club Speedway . For one weekend every year we get to spend quality time together enjoying the excitement all around the track. Listening to the Anthem being sung, watching the flyover and cheering or booing drivers brings a smile to my face and making memories with my Dad tops it all." Q: Do you have a favorite in any of the following categories? Driver: " Jamie McMurray " Tracks: " Auto Club Speedway " Memorabilia: "My 2 signed McMurray cars" Q: If you could go to any NASCAR race/track, where would you go? "Bristol for sure!!" Q: What do you like to do in your free time? "I love to read and ride horses." Q: What’s your dream car? "1957 Ford T-Bird." From all of us at NASCAR, we thank Jennifer for her continued support and look forward to hearing from her in 2016.
Furniture Row Racing, Maaco team up for sponsorship
Martin Truex Jr . will return to the site of his history-making Coca-Cola 600 win with the same car, but with a new sponsor on board. Furniture Row Racing announced Thursday that Maaco has signed on as a sponsor of its No. 78 Toyota entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The partnership with the auto painting and collision repair company starts with Saturday night's Bank of America 500 (7 p.m. ET, NBC, PRN, SiriusXM) at Charlotte Motor Speedway . "This has been such a great season for Furniture Row Racing , bringing on new partners," Truex said. "This is just another step in that direction." Truex has a career-best four Sprint Cup victories this season, kicked off by the most dominant win in Coca-Cola 600 history at Charlotte in May. Truex won the Coors Light Pole Award and led 392 of the 400 laps. Truex said during his media availability Thursday that the Colorado-based team will use the same car from their Memorial Day romp this weekend.
Chase Elliott's No. 24 2017 paint scheme revealed
Chase Elliott 's 2017 NAPA Auto Parts paint scheme for the No. 24 Chevrolet was revealed by the driver and Hendrick Motorsports on Tuesday. The 2017 season will mark Elliott's second season in the No. 24 car. This season he has the car that he took over from sure-fire Hall of Fame driver Jeff Gordon in the Round of 12 of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and looking to advance even further in the Chase. Still pursuing his first win in the legendary ride, Elliott has accumulated nine top fives and 15 top 10s in his rookie Sprint Cup season. He ran well at Charlotte on Sunday leading 103 laps, but was collected in a pileup on a Lap 259 restart. RELATED: Elliott, Austin pick up pieces after big wreck at Charlotte
Unifirst, Hendrick Motorsports strike 8-year sponsorship agreement
CONCORD, N.C. -- UniFirst and 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports have reached an eight-year agreement that will make the workwear and textile service company a primary sponsor of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS driven by Kasey Kahne . The contract runs through the year 2023. As the new Official Workwear Provider of Hendrick Motorsports , UniFirst will be a two-race primary sponsor in both 2016 and 2017, with the relationship increasing to three primary races annually from 2018-2023. In addition, UniFirst will be a full-season associate sponsor of the No. 5 team. UniFirst will make its Sprint Cup Series primary sponsorship debut later this season with back-to-back races Oct. 23 at Talladega Superspeedway and Oct. 30 at Martinsville Speedway . "UniFirst is excited to be a primary sponsor of Kasey and Hendrick Motorsports ," said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications for UniFirst. "This partnership is a great opportunity for our company because Hendrick Motorsports is one of the premier -- and most highly respected -- teams in professional auto racing. UniFirst's broad customer base, which includes 300,000 business locations across North America, employs thousands of enthusiastic NASCAR fans, so this relationship is a natural fit. We're extremely proud to have the UniFirst brand represented in such a dynamic atmosphere." UniFirst is one of North America's largest workwear and textile service companies, providing managed uniform, protective clothing, custom corporate image apparel, and ancillary facility services programs to businesses in virtually all industries. As part of the new relationship, UniFirst will supply work clothing and uniforms to Hendrick Motorsports and sister company Hendrick Automotive Group, which is the largest privately held retail automotive organization in the United States. "When a sponsor feels strongly enough to commit for eight years, it sends a clear message," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports . "There's tremendous excitement about the opportunities our team and our sport present for UniFirst. They have a reputation for world-class service, the highest quality products and services, and having incredible people. We share a similar mindset and culture, and we're looking forward to working together across our entire organization." Since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne, 36, has earned three Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths and five race wins with the No. 5 team. The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career victories, 27 pole positions and 166 top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s top division. "UniFirst will be a great addition to our partners at Hendrick Motorsports ," Kahne said. "They're a reliable company that we've worked with at Kasey Kahne Racing for a long time, so I was happy to hear they are coming on board. I'm looking forward to having them as part of the No. 5 team and working with them in the years to come."
Auto Club a homecoming for Harvick, Mears, Reed
RELATED: Paint Scheme Preview for Auto Club " Power Rankings post-Phoenix BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- As the colorful and massive NASCAR haulers roll into the California hustle and bustle this week for the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway , the small town of Bakersfield -- about a two-and-half hour Interstate drive northwest -- will proudly perk up too. Its own racing contributions will be on full display in the NASCAR garages, its latest crop of high-talent exports ready to roll at the speedway. The 2014 Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick , veteran Cup driver Casey Mears and XFINTY driver Ryan Reed -- all Bakersfield bred -- will suit up to compete this weekend. And of course, most of Casey Mears ' famous racing family -- including his dad, Roger, a Baja 1000 and Pikes Peak Hill Climb multi-champion and uncle Rick, a four-time Indy 500 winner -- hail from this humble hamlet, too. NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Ron Hornaday's hometown, Palmdale, is an hour southeast of Bakersfield's oil fields and almond orchards. He raced in the area, too. This is a blue collar, hard-working and weekend-loving region. It's the West Coast's down-home version of "middle America" -- hours from the glitz of Hollywood, the tech heads of San Francisco and the famous beaches of San Diego. And yet it is ironic how the slow pace of Bakersfield daily life is eclipsed by the high-speed distinctions of its many racing natives. They have won a Daytona 500 , a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, Indy 500 rings, IndyCar championships, a Rolex 24 watch, Pikes Peak Hill Climb titles and various USAC crowns. There may not be a higher concentration of this wide-range of racing success in another single hometown in the country. "For years, Bakersfield was kind of the butt of the jokes in L.A. on television with the late night shows," Rick Mears said. "It was a running joke, so that always made it a little sweeter when you put it (Bakersfield) on the map a little bit and could kind of rub it in and say, 'Hey, what are you talking about? Bakersfield's not so bad.' "There is a sense of pride to be able to accomplish those kinds of things and being from there. And now Kevin Harvick doing a similar deal in NASCAR, it's really cool." While surfing -- the water or the Web -- may characterize other parts of the Golden State, racing is the definitive brand here. Go-kart tracks, short tracks, Kern County Raceway Park, Bakersfield Speedway. They are typically packed with spectators, and as history has proven, perhaps the "next great thing" behind a wheel. The former -- and famous -- Mesa Marin Speedway track here has only recently been leveled and used as foundation for a modern sports complex of softball fields. For decades, the birthplace of NASCAR's truck series was a West Coast hub and showcase for the region's racing talent. "I wouldn't say the racing community is huge in Bakersfield, but for some reason it's definitely developed quite a few racers that have gone on to be successful," said Casey Mears , driver of the No. 13 Geico Chevrolet in the Cup Series. "I think everybody in Bakersfield is aware of motorsports and aware of what my family has done, and with Harvick winning the championship [in 2014], I'm sure that was huge. "There's definitely a following but I wouldn't say the racing community itself is large. It's just those that are involved are passionate about it." The first family of Bakersfield Bakersfield residents certainly know Casey Mears grandparents, Bill and Mae Mears, as "beloved regulars." The two ride their scooters around the downtown riverfront on their way to a nice lunch at one of their favorite haunts. The actual food is truly the least of their pursuits. This is social exercise. The Mears are easy to spot because of their wide smiles, friendly handshakes and all the people eager to greet them -- either to share some stories or listen to better ones. The couple is bona fide Bakersfield celebrity -- their offspring some of racing's greatest talents. So it is oh-so perfect that these two -- married 70 years now -- get all around town via scooters. And every so often, Bill says with a laugh, Mae will make a run right by him, speeding along the way just to keep things interesting. Their celebrated racing offspring definitely get their competitive edge and need for speed honestly. The Mears' loved Bakersfield from the moment they came upon it in 1955 -- only a couple years after a major earthquake in the region. "We came out here and saw how nice it was, so we went back home (to Kansas) and sold everything and came back," Bill Mears explained, still today a little amused by the adventure of his own story. "My wife's aunt sent her mom some money to buy gas for us. We brought them out here to see it and just liked it so well, we said, 'We'll go home, give ourselves a couple weeks and we're coming back.' And so we did." They sold most of their belongings in Kansas and motored West to set up home. Racing was not necessarily any grand vision for this couple that ultimately raised some of the country's most celebrated champions in Roger and Rick. "I came out here and I started racing out here and when I quit, the kids started doing it," Bill Mears explained. "We always did everything to be together. We did it for family, never expected to do it for racing. That's why they called it the 'Mears Gang.' We were always together, rode motorcycles together, just grew up in the mountains on the weekends. We had a family deal and it just worked out to be unbelievable," he explained, his voice becoming a little emotional. "It's just been unbelievable. "We would go to L.A. and Rick raced motorcycles, but my wife didn't like him riding. He was winning and everything, but we were afraid he'd get hurt. We went to L.A. and saw a (dune)buggy race, Volkswagens. We watched them race and said to the boys, 'We'll build you one of these if you'll quit racing motorcycles.' So that's how it got started." He remembers his then-teenage sons working hard during the week to raise money for their weekend racing passion -- their fantastic legacies still to be set. "We were all just racers and went out to local tracks on weekends with friends," Bill Mears said. "Harvick's dad came out to our shop and helped us on our first NASCAR pick-up we built. Harvick was just a little kid standing back there watching his dad work on our car. "Just a group that everybody likes racing. We'd just meet at local tracks on weekends and race. I can't believe how many local drivers have made it. And Ryan Reed now. It just shows there's a lot of talent around here." Harvick, Reed welcomed back with open arms A year ago, then-reigning Cup champion Harvick stopped by his hometown to dedicate a YMCA, film a biographical feature for TV, dine with his old friends and supporters, and bask in the love and pride showered upon him by all those fans who remember him when. People stood in front of the brick YMCA building for hours waiting for a handshake or autograph, eager to cheer his entrance. Many wore "vintage" t-shirts from Harvick's late-model days. They remember watching him "when." And yet for many waiting in line, this was yet another chance to see Harvick, who comes back to town several times a year. His mom, father and sister still live in Bakersfield's "Oildale" community, or as Harvick said in accepting one of his early NASCAR trophies, "Not bad for an 08-er," referring to the 93308 zip code for the area. Harvick, Mears and Reed all went to different high schools and are just different enough in age to represent three distinct Bakersfield eras. Reed, 22, who drives the No. 16 Ford Mustang for Roush Fenway Racing in the XFINITY Series, considers himself fortunate to have grown up in the town and pursued racing -- and to have the Mears and Harvick to look up to. "For sure this is a racing town," Reed said of Bakersfield. "And it's just a really cool thing. The newspaper, the sports writers, it doesn't matter. In (2014), we finished ninth in the points and they were still doing stories on us. It doesn't matter if you've had a horrible year and they want to know how you'll get better, or you have a great year and they want to brag about it. "They are there to support you, and when I go home I always have people coming up to me and saying, 'Good going.' They're just so proud of me. To hear that is really cool. "And it definitely motivates you." Marion Collins, who used to run Mesa Marin where Reed’s father and later, Harvick raced, is still sentimental about what the track meant to the area and how it contributed to the sport. "We feel really good about all the people that's come through here," Collins said. "Kevin (Harvick), (Ron) Hornaday and just a ton of guys from this part of the country. "At one time, we had the best race track in this part of the country and everyone wanted to come here. Kinda nice to have people come here and then do good things on down the road." Harvick couldn't agree more. And as the Stewart-Haas Racing driver interacts with old friends and former influences in Bakersfield, his pride -- their pride -- couldn't be more apparent. Everyone worked in a large confluence to help racing careers. And it's been an undeniable success. "That's just this town and really the way it's been since I started racing," Harvick said. "You develop the relationships through the years. "That network of people is what made our race teams function well. Getting out there and talking to people, you create friendships and partnerships. You have to put the effort in to make it work. "I come back here all the time and it would be the same type of turnout whether I was winning or losing. These people have supported me through the years, win lose or draw. "That's the type of community it is."