Crew Call: Team No. 18 wins again at Bristol
NASCAR.com\'s Jonathan Merryman goes inside Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory lane with the race winning crew of Kyle Busch.
That's a hoot! Owl interrupts NASCAR practice
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove NASCAR's latest brush with wildlife stopped practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway as an owl decided to set up camp on the racing surface during opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice. Practice was interrupted until safety workers were able to corral the bird, which initially took low-flying evasive action on the track apron. No word on whether NASCAR race official David Hoots or Chase Elliott sponsor Hooters were involved. Friday's incident marked the third consecutive year that nature has caused a disruption at the 2-mile California track. A swarm of bees crowded the Auto Club flag stand between practices last season. The previous year, bees were a menacing presence around Derrike Cope's hauler, trapping the team inside the transporter. MORE ANIMALS: Groundhog at Michigan " Bees at Auto Club
HOT TAKE: Has slumping Jimmie Johnson lost the magic?
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove It's been quite a drought for Jimmie Johnson. Despite winning the two previous races before Sunday's outing at Richmond International Raceway, Johnson hasn’t won a single race since -- creating a whopping, one-race winless streak that’s probably a career high or something. Johnson made contact with Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. late in the race Sunday (and earned the ire of Junior Nation in the process ), but only finished 11th -- a position that many racing historians claim is actually 10 positions lower than first place. This new week-long winless drought is clear evidence that the No. 48 team has lost its touch. Sure, Johnson has faced a winless drought before -- most recently when he snapped a 24-race streak with a breakthrough victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway last fall that propelled him to a record-tying seventh Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship -- but can he do it again? History says, "Yes, of course, you idiot." But something inside me says, "Maybe I should insinuate 'no' because I have major beard envy." Look, Jimmie Johnson is far and away the winningest active driver. The No. 48 team has won 82 times since 2002, more than double the next driver. And yes, I'll admit, Johnson's seven Cup titles are more than the rest of the field combined. If he's so great, then why didn't he win after his crash Sunday at Richmond? I know, I know. Before Joey Logano won Sunday at Richmond, Jimmie Johnson had won a quarter of the races in 2017. And, yes, history says he'll contend for victories at the remaining 27 races this year -- having won at all but three of the remaining tracks on the schedule. But the fact remains: Jimmie Johnson didn't win the race this past weekend and now faces a monstrous one-race winless streak.
Clint Eastwood Westerns set to NASCAR play-by-play
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Busch dishes on partying with 'Gronk,' winding up with 'Smoke's' ring
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Many benefits come along with winning a Daytona 500, but there's one that no other winner of the "Great American Race" could enjoy other than Kurt Busch. Partying into the wee hours of the morning with New England Patriots tight end -- and notorious party rocker -- Rob Gronkowski. Busch, who shares a sponsor with "Gronk" in Monster Energy, talked about his wild and crazy night following his epic win to open the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season in a press conference at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday morning. "My phone was blowing up with Monster people," Busch said. "They were down at Razzle's (Nightclub) and I was like, 'Razzle's, I remember that place, let's go.' Gronk was down there and had the VIP area so we went. RELATED: Gronk brings the Monter Energy party to Daytona "I was there partying with Gronk and that is a cool stamp to put down to say that you did that. Mark Hull and Mitch Covington, all the top Monster people were there. All the top SHR people were there ... Those are the celebrations you don't forget about. ... I left there about 3:15 or 3:30 a.m. and that is what it takes to pace yourself to make it to the breakfast event with Daytona pushing our car into the Hall of Fame museum the proper way on Monday morning." While the vodka and Monsters were flowing and madness ensuing, however, there was a jewelry mixup that had yet to be resolved as of Friday morning. Busch entered the media center and quipped about how there was an interesting story about the giant Daytona 500 winner's ring, but didn't expand. RELATED: All of Kurt Busch's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victories Naturally, he was asked about it pretty quickly and the story was worth the (short) wait. "So, there are three rings for winning the Daytona 500. Driver, crew chief and owner," said Busch, aiming for his fourth win at AMS on Sunday. "As we gathered to take the picture, I have two owners, Gene Haas and Tony Stewart. So, Tony Gibson, he got his and we moved him off to the side with his and I gave my ring to Tony Stewart. I figured I will get mine later on when they do a ring ceremony with all the crew guys. "I told Tony to take my ring. At Razzle's later on that evening, the ring is floating around with all the crew guys taking pictures and I am like, 'Whose ring is that?' I thought Stewart had mine and Gene was already off to Barcelona for the F1 test and Gibson had his on. "So, Tony Stewart's ring was floating around all the crew guys and one guy shows up at the breakfast deal the next morning, and he was pretty lit up, and we were like, 'There it is, get it off his finger.' "He had gotten a bit too drunk and didn't remember to pass it to the next guy. So, this is Tony Stewart's ring and I am going to give it back to him today and all the crew guys will get theirs later on." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Junior able to 'hold it' for first race back; Waltrip, uh, not so much
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Drivers often joke that the question they receive most often from fans is a simple one -- what do you do if you have to go to the bathroom during a race? Apparently whether or not Dale Earnhardt Jr . needed to resort to such drastic measures during Sunday's Daytona 500 -- Junior's first race back after missing 18 races last season -- was on the mind of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports interior mechanic, Adam Jordan, as well. "I didn't pee in the racecar Sunday." The over 40 racecar driver text to his interior mechanic. pic.twitter.com/mNzU8z712a — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) March 1, 2017 Luckily, Earnhardt was able to hold it. Not all of his competitors were so lucky. I did. #oldpeopleproblems https://t.co/T2V0JBvPNA — Michael Waltrip (@MW55) March 1, 2017
@nascarcasm: Daytona 500 race-day bingo sheet
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove
The Force is strong with Brennan Poole
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Looking to land his first career XFINITY Series win, Brennan Poole will have a little extra help on his side this weekend at Daytona International Speedway -- the Force. Poole, the 25-year-old padawan driver, recently showed off his new helmet on Twitter, which pulls inpiration from Luke Skywalker's Rebel Alliance helmet in 'Star Wars.' Pretty stoked on how this this came out! Thanks @BEAMdesigns https://t.co/DTMwSYr6Rr — Brennan Poole (@brennanpoole) February 23, 2017 The force is strong. @brennanpoole just stepped up his helmet game! pic.twitter.com/R5M9z8XF59 — Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) February 23, 2017 #LukeSkywalker @brennanpoole @DCSolar @BellRacingUSA #RebelAlliance #jedi @NASCAR_XFINITY #Daytona #beamdesigns #qualityhelmetpainting pic.twitter.com/WBi8B0hmfG — BEAMdesigns (@BEAMdesigns) February 23, 2017 Poole has improved his finishing position in each of his three XFINITY starts at Daytona, so it'll be interesting to see if the helmet can help him keep that trend going -- or at least make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs.
Excuses index: How to bail on work to watch the race
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Today's race at Bristol (1 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) happens to fall during a workday. No worries. We've got you covered with a full index of ways to get out of your shift today, courtesy of @nascarcasm and Steve Luvender. Here's how @nascarcasm suggests getting out of work: 1. Tell your supervisor you'll be taking all five of your lunch breaks for the week back-to-back at 1 p.m. ET. 2. Ask Landon Cassill how many retweets it will take for Landon to personally call your boss and inform him or her that you'll be leaving around noon. 3. Claim you have jury duty. If your boss asks "What case?" do not yell "Ol' Junebug vs. the World's Fastest Half Mile! Wooooo!" While tempting, that's a dead giveaway. 4. Just find an empty bathroom stall and hang out in there and follow the race on social media. This common practice is known as "shwittering." 5. Tell your boss you have someone who will fill in for you while you're watching the race. When your replacement shows up, explain to your boss that Alex Bowman is very skilled at Microsoft Excel. 6. Use the Jeff Gordon method. Say you've decided it's time to retire, then just show up back to work the next day like it never happened. And if you're looking for excuses that technically aren't untrue, Steve Luvender has your back. • "I'm sick." Sick of not being able to watch the race while I'm working, that is. • "There's been a family hardship." Your family had to deal with you instead of watching the race yesterday afternoon. That might have been hard for them if they're used to a few hours of peace and quiet. • "I have an appointment." An appointment with the TV at approximately 1 p.m. ET, that is. (But don't tell your boss that part.) • "I'm having car problems." The problem is that you couldn't watch race cars zoom around Bristol's high banks. • "I'm expecting a delivery to my house." While your boss might expect a major appliance being delivered to your house within a five-hour window, maybe you're actually having a pizza or two delivered to your house around the end of Stage 1 or so. Technically not lying. • "I've been arrested." Sometimes you have to get really creative. It's not a good idea to pull out the "I've been arrested" card frequently, lest you arouse suspicion of your co-workers, but it's not lying if you've been arrested by the allure of NASCAR.
Joey Logano hilariously prank calls SiriusXM
RELATED: Read more Inside Groove Perhaps Joey Logano was bored in Martinsville on a Friday night, or maybe he just wanted to mess with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio host Claire B. Lang. Regardless of reason, we're glad someone was recording for posterity when "Ben from Martinsville" called into Lang's radio show to discuss his favorite driver … Joey Logano. From hot dog puns to cuckoo clocks, Logano's trademark laugh -- and slipped traces of his Northeast accent -- nearly gave him away, but he kept the gig up to the end. Listen below, and well done, Ben Joey. Ben from martinsville is a big Logano fan. @ClaireBLang @SiriusXMNASCAR pic.twitter.com/PtOFihu2rW — Joey Logano (@joeylogano) April 1, 2017
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