Monday, October 29, 2012

Texas Motor Speedway History and Notes

At Texas Motor Speedway:
· Construction began in 1995.

· The first NASCAR race was a NASCAR Nationwide Series event on April 5, 1997.

· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was on April 6, 1997.

· There have been 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Texas Motor Speedway, one per season from 1997 through 2004 and two races per year since 2005.

· Four drivers have competed in all 22 Texas races: Jeff Burton, Jeff Gordon, Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin.

· Jeremy Mayfield was the first pole winner, in 1998. Qualifying for the inaugural race in 1997 was canceled.

· Jeff Burton won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

· 16 drivers have scored poles, led by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Bobby Labonte, Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr. with two.

· 16 drivers have won races, led by Carl Edwards, with three. Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, Tony Stewart, Jeff Burton and Greg Biffle each have two wins.

· 17 of 23 races have been won from a top-10 starting position. Only one has been won from the pole - Kasey Kahne in 2006.

· Matt Kenseth started 31st en route to his victory at Texas in 2002, the deepest in the field that a race winner has started.

· Both Jeff Burton (1999) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2000) scored their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Texas, and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne made his first series start at Texas (11/07/10).

· Martin Truex Jr. (11/04/07) and David Ragan (04/09/11) scored their first series poles at Texas.

· Matt Kenseth (8.6) and Jimmie Johnson (9.7) are the only active drivers to average a top-10 finish at Texas.

· Jimmie Johnson (9.2) is the only active driver to average a top-10 starting position at Texas.

· Roush Fenway Racing leads all owners in victories, with nine. Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports have three wins each.

· There has been two season sweeps, by Carl Edwards in 2008 and Denny Hamlin in 2010.

· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway winner: Ryan Newman (3/30/2003 – 25 years, 3 months, 22 days). Oldest NSCS Texas Motor Speedway winner: Dale Jarrett (4/1/2001 – 44 years, 4 months, 6 days).

· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Texas Motor Speedway pole winner: Brian Vickers (11/5/2006 – 23 years, 0 months, 12 days). Oldest NSCS Texas Motor Speedway pole winner: Bill Elliott (4/8/2002 – 46 years, 6 months, 0 days).

Texas Motor Speedway Data
Chase Race #: 8 of 10
Season Race #: 34 of 36 (11-04-12)
Track Size: 1.5-mile
Banking/Turns: 24 degrees
Banking/Straights: 5 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 2,250 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,330 feet
Race Length: 334 laps / 501 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Texas
Matt Kenseth............................. 107.2
Greg Biffle................................ 103.3
Tony Stewart............................. 102.5
Jimmie Johnson........................ 100.6
Carl Edwards.............................. 99.2
Kyle Busch................................. 96.8
Denny Hamlin............................. 94.6
Dale Earnhardt Jr........................ 92.8
Jeff Gordon................................ 91.3
Clint Bowyer............................... 90.9
Mark Martin................................. 89.0
Kurt Busch.................................. 89.0
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (15 total) among active drivers at Texas Motor Speedway

- NASCAR Statistics

NASCAR This Week on ESPN

NASCAR Sprint Cup, Nationwide Series at Texas
The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend with races on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 3-4. ESPN will have a live telecast of Sunday’s 500-mile NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, with NASCAR Countdown at 2 p.m. ET and the race’s green flag at 3:16 p.m. Saturday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race also airs on ESPN, with NASCAR Countdown at 7 p.m. and the green flag at 7:41 p.m.  Also from Texas, ESPN2 will televise NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying on Friday, Nov. 2, at 4:30 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and

Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick (Sprint Cup); Marty Reid (Nationwide); analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree.
Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Dr. Jerry Punch, Vince Welch.
NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty (analysts).

NASCAR Now Schedule
ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in the one-hour edition airing Sunday, Nov. 4, at 8 a.m. ET. Host Mike Massaro will be joined in the studio by ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven with reporters Marty Smith and Ryan McGee at the track. Massaro and Craven will review the race Sunday night at 10 p.m. while ESPN analyst Rusty Wallace joins for more review on Monday’s show at 11:30 p.m. The week’s schedule:

Date    Time          Show                  Host              Network
Mon., Oct. 29 3 p.m.  NASCAR Now Marty Reid            ESPN2
Tue., Oct. 30 3:30 p.m. NASCAR Now Marty Reid            ESPN2
Wed., Oct. 31 3 p.m.  NASCAR Now Marty Reid            ESPN2
Thu., Nov. 1 3 p.m.  NASCAR Now Mike Massaro       ESPN2
Fri., Nov. 2 4 p.m.  NASCAR Now Mike Massaro       ESPN2
Sun., Nov. 4 8 a.m.  NASCAR Now Mike Massaro       ESPN2
Sun., Nov. 4 10 p.m.  NASCAR Now Mike Massaro       ESPN2

- ESPN Media Zone  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dale Earnhardt Jr Driver Press Conference Transcript October 26, 2012

DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 DIET MOUNTAIN DEW/NATIONAL GUARD CHEVROLET AND CREW CHIEF STEVE LETARTE, met with members of the media at Martinsville Speedway and discussed returning to competition this weekend and the process Dale has gone through in healing his concussion. 

TALK ABOUT HOW THINGS HAVE BEEN GOING SINCE WE LAST SAW YOU AT CHARLOTTE: “It’s been just a lot of time off. A lot of time on my hands. Just exercising, and doing what the doctors told me to do. Feeling better every day. Just going through the process. You just have got to be patient and let thing happen. I’ve learned a ton, just about what I’ve went through. Feel like I’m a lot smarter. A lot more prepared, and understand the situation a lot better now than I did beforehand. So, that’s really good. It’s been a good experience. It’s something I’d rather not have went through; I learned a lot from it. It’s been good for me. I’m just excited to be back to work. Get back in the car, and get back to normal. Get back to the life that I’m used to.”

STEVE – WE KNOW DALE RAN SOME LAPS EARLIER THIS WEEK AT GRESHAM MOTORSPORTS PARK AND YOU WERE PLEASED WITH HOW IT WENT: “Yes. Part of the sequence of events that the doctor laid out was that Dale and him had things they had to work through. But then from a team standpoint, they expected us to take the car to the race track and just run some laps. We went down to Gresham; it’s a nice little short track that we were able to run. I think we ran 125 laps. I thought the laps were great; the times were great. His (Dale, Jr.) feedback was as good as it always it. So, that was really encouraging. Excited to have him back here at Martinsville.”

DALE, WHAT SORT OF SUPPORT DID YOU GET FROM OTHER DRIVERS, FROM YOUR FANS DURING THE TIME YOU WERE OUT OF THE CAR? “I was really kind of shutoff from everything. I got some text messages from people that it was nice to know people are thinking about you. Most of the guys that I got contacted by were just wishing I was at the race track. Wishing I was racing with them. That it just didn’t seem normal not to be racing with me. And, I felt the same way. It wasn’t normal for me to be sitting at home. I had great support from the fans, and my family and everybody.”

A LOT OF SPECULATION THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE REST OF THE YEAR OFF. DID YOU EVER CONSIDER SITTING OUT THE REST OF THE YEAR? “I left the table of options really kind of open.  Like the decision to get out of the car in the first place; I wanted the doctors to make that decision instead of me. If I could race, I wanted to be at the race track. It’s what I love to do. If the doctors felt that I was healthy enough to do that, I wanted to be doing it. I’ve really kind of left all that up to them throughout the whole process. And, I’ve been honest and upfront about how I felt every day and when we go through exercises – how those are affecting me.  I’ve been pretty honest, and so far they’ve been real pleased with what they’ve seen, and feel like I can get back in the car. That is what I want to do. I felt like I could have raced in Kansas for sure, and probably ran at Charlotte with no problem. I feel foolish…you know…I feel kind of foolish sitting at home feeling okay, and not being in the car. It feels really un-natural. I feel good, and the doctors say it’s okay, I want to be in the car.”

WHAT HAVE THE LAST TWO AND HALF WEEKS BEEN LIKE FOR YOU?  HAVE YOU BEEN SCARED? HAVE YOU BEEN FRUSTRATED OR DO YOU KIND OF GO WITH THE FLOW? “Just probably more going with the flow. There have been times when it’s frustrating because you want your brain to clear up, and the fogginess to go away, and all those symptoms to go away. Every concussion is different. They’re kind of like snowflakes. Everyone is different and you react differently to each one. Like I said, I’ve learned a whole lot about it. I feel good knowing what I know now about it; know what I’ve learned about it. It’s just been really frustrating at times. Regan (Smith) did a really good job for the team. I told him that I was worried about the momentum we’d built as a team, and he maintained that. I feel like we didn’t miss a beat and I can get back in the car as if nothing has really been changed. That couldn’t have went better. It was really hard to see your car out there running around turning laps without you in it. That was difficult. I just know we had a really good test up until the tire blew at Kansas, and I was really expecting to go there and run really well; so it was frustrating knowing how good of a car we had, and not being able to enjoy that with the team. But, you just kind of have to be patient and stay in regular contact with the doctors. Once I got to know the guys at Pittsburgh (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center-Center for Sports Medicine Concussion Program -UPMC), I was on the phone with Micky (Dr. Michael Collins) twice a day, just talking about everything that I was doing and everything I was feeling, because I just wanted to do it right. I didn’t want to take any chances, and I wanted to get back in the car as soon as I could. But, I wanted to make sure it was not too quick.”

WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE LEARNED THE LAST SEVERAL WEEKS, WILL YOUR APPROACH GOING FORWARD CHANGE WHEN IT COMES TO ISSUES LIKE THIS AS FAR AS YOU LOOK AT ANOTHER INCIDENT IN THE FUTURE? “Yes, absolutely. It changes the way I feel about it to where if I know I’ve suffered another concussion, or if I have symptoms after an accident, I’m definitely going to be a lot more responsible about it. I can understand people’s opinions that they would try to push through it, or they would ignore it to stay in the car because I did the same thing in the past. Some concussions are kind of light, and the symptoms are real light. If you don’t have another incident, you feel like you can get through it. Some concussions are really bad, and I don’t care how tough you think you are, and your mind is not working the way it is supposed to, it scares the shit out of you. You are not going to think about race cars. You aren’t going to think about trophies. You are not going to think about your job. You’re going to be thinking about what do I got to do to get my brain working the way it was before. That’s going to jump right to the top of the priority list, I promise you.  I definitely take it more seriously now after everything I’ve learned. I’m glad I did what I did. I hate the attention that it got, and hate kind of being in front of you guys talking about it. But, I’m glad it did what I did. I’m glad I took the time off and made the choices that I made. They were hard to make, but I had to do it. I had to do it. I didn’t have a choice. I knew something wasn’t right. You can’t ignore concussions. It’s really dangerous doing that. You read about it in the papers, and I was going through it. I was living it. So, I had to make a choice, and I feel like I made the right one.”

HOW DO YOU APPROACH THIS WEEKEND? DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN GET IN THE CAR AND BE THE OLD DALE?  OR DO YOU KIND OF HAVE TO EASE INTO THE FIRST PART AND KIND OF GET YOUR BALANCE? “I feel like I’ve been out of the car for a year. It doesn’t feel like a couple of weeks. But, I think we can go right to it. I felt good at the test. I like this race track, and I feel like we can run good here, and I want to do a good job over the next four weeks. I want to run hard, and I want us to go into every weekend trying to do what we’ve been doing all year long.”

“The first 48 hours they told me not to do anything so I just kind of didn’t do anything.  I slept a lot.  No TV, just basically just standing walking around the house doing nothing.  It was really weird. So I went back to the doctor and I told him that I couldn’t do that anymore that I need to watch TV or play video games or something.  I needed some kind of entertainment.  I went to Pittsburgh and they put me on a physical and mental exercise program that I did every day.  That really made the biggest difference it was really crazy because I went to Pittsburgh a mess.  I was just really mentally a mess.  The doctors up there we talked for the whole day and went through these exercises and did a lot of stuff and in 12 hours I felt really good.  I felt completely different, I couldn’t believe it.  It’s been pretty normal the last 15 days or so have felt a lot better and everything about my life is back to normal except for the driving part.  I just haven’t been able to do my job so I’m glad to be doing this.”

“I don’t think he’s going to crack.  I think he’s going to be hard to beat.  I think he will be a tough competitor all the way through.  Brad has been waiting on this opportunity all his life so I don’t expect him to crack under the pressure.  I think he will be tough.”

“The part of the two concussions, I’m trying not to get long winded, but the two concussions were completely different as far as where my brain was injured.  As far as I can understand what the doctors have told me.  The first one at Kansas was your typical concussion where the frontal lobe and the headaches and the fogginess that you typically feel.  The one that I had at Talladega was a vestibular is what they call it.  It’s more in the back or the base of the brain where the brain and your spine sort of connect.  It sort of mixed up a lot of anxiety and emotional stuff so they symptoms were more like anxiety driven.  If I would get into sort of a busy situation I would just get a lot of anxiety.  I was already that way anyways I’ve never really been much on being around crowds and a lot of people.  So the two concussions were completely different.  I was dealing with different symptoms.  When I went up there to Pittsburgh I was just really frustrated, when I say I was a mess, I was just really frustrated and having a lot of anxiety about, man how long is this last, is this ever going to be right again.  I had no answers, didn’t know anything.  These guys up there are the professionals and I just asked them everything I wanted to know.  Then we went through all these drills and exercises, they ran me ragged.  It was a fun day.  By the end of the day I felt like I understood what I was dealing with, understood what the process was and I felt a whole lot better.  If I ever got any doubts I would just call Mick up and we would talk about it for an hour.  Really that was the best therapy for me just kind of understanding what was going on.  The typical symptoms of being foggy and having headaches those were really prevalent in the first concussion, not so much in this one.”


“I guess you could say that.  I don’t have any statistical facts or anything, but I was surprised to hear how much more often the guys in the NFL have issues than we do.  We were talking about how many concussions I thought I’d had in a year and it was somewhere between four… or how many I had in my career and it was somewhere between four and six.  They were saying that most of the guys in the NFL have that many a season.  I just can’t imagine.  That would be a scary situation to be in.  The symptoms alone are frustrating trying to just go through your everyday life.  I would compare it to like a computer that has too many processes running in the back ground that slows it down and it just doesn’t work as fast.   Programs don’t start up as quick and things sort of hang up in the middle.  That is kind of what it’s like.  The G-forces are way different for the different sports and everything sort of happens differently in the event itself as far as a race car versus a guy having a helmet to helmet hit.  The even itself is quite different in the way the brain handles the traumas different.  I felt like that our sport I do have an opportunity to get back in the car probably sooner than you would on the football field because on the football field you are going to go out  there and you are going to run into somebody head on the first opportunity you get.  You better make sure you have your melon in good shape if you are going to do that.”

“I guess I don’t really think about that too much.  The one thing that I can tell you is that I’m definitely going to be honest with myself and honest with the doctors.  I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do.  I want to be able to live a full life and not have any issues down the road, but I feel pretty fortunate to have recovered from this concussion rather quickly.  I feel lucky that I made the choices that I did to give myself that opportunity.  I think that had I tried to push through this second one I would have really put myself in a lot of danger.  I think we can just hope that I don’t have any more big hits for a while and race another five, 10 years and have some fun.”

“The team, just working with the team, working with the guys, we’ve got a pretty good relationship and I really enjoy working with them and being at the track.  Just going through practice, making a change, it working and everybody getting excited about that just that small improvement that we made.  It’s hard to put your finger on one detail, but when you are sitting there watching the race go on I miss hearing Steve (Letarte) and T.J. (Majors) voices and just being in the car and going through the process.  Begin out there and competing watching all my peers compete and just wishing I was in the mix being out there doing it.  Just being around the guys, every one of my guys we’ve gotten a great relationship built over the last couple of years.  It’s fun to race with them, it’s fun to go to work with them.”

“No, it’s really hard to tell when somebody has a concussion unless they speak up and say something.  Concussions are pretty easy to hide.  I’ve never known anyone that had one or been around anybody that had a concussion and wasn’t being honest about it.”

“I am going to wear a new helmet this week.  I know that is going to draw a lot of attention it might not.  It’s a Stilo helmet and I had worn one before.  I like the helmet back then a couple of years ago when I decided to wear it back then, but there was a particular part about the helmet that I didn’t like that they weren’t able to make an adjustment for at the time so I went away from the helmet.  I’m going back to it.  This was all sort of in the process prior to all this concussion stuff.  I didn’t want anybody to really put two and two together thinking that I’m changing away from my Impact helmets because of the concussions. That is not the case at all.  I have just wanted to try to the Stilo helmet since they made some modifications to it.  It’s definitely not a final decision I’m just checking it out because I liked it before.  It’s a nice helmet, but I’ve enjoyed my Impacts too but I’m going to try this one out and see how it works.  I’ve enjoyed working with Impact and I do like their helmets and I just didn’t want anybody to get the wrong idea there.”

- Team Chevy Racing

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Martinsville Chassis Selections

Not all teams announce their weekly race chassis'. Here is a list of those teams that do reveal the chassis in the teams race preview:

#1- Jamie McMurray - Crew Chief Kevin “Bono” Manion and the No. 1 McDonald’s team will bring Chassis #1222 to Martinsville Speedway this weekend.  This chassis will make its race debut this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

#2- Brad Keselowski - The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will race chassis PRS-831 during Sunday’s Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. This is a brand-new chassis to the No. 2 fleet.

#5- Kasey Kahne - For the Oct. 28 race at Martinsville, crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-651. Kahne raced this car at Martinsville earlier this year, capturing the pole position and running inside the top five before encountering an engine issue.

#9- Marcos Ambrose - The No. 9 RPM team has prepared chassis No. 728 for this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race at Martinsville. This Black & Decker Ford was run previously this season at New Hampshire.

#10- David Reutimann - CHASSIS NO. 356 – Reutimann will pilot chassis No. 356, purchased from Richard Childress Racing in the off-season. Reutimann last drove this chassis at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Reutimann drove the chassis at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, Dover International Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway and Richmond International Raceway this season. He had his best showing in the chassis at Michigan International Speedway where he drove from the 39th starting spot to a 21st-place finish. His best qualifying effort of 16th was at Kansas Speedway.

#14-Tony Stewart - Chassis No. 14-710: This car debuted in April in the Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway, where it qualified 22nd and led four times for 118 laps before a late-race caution canceled Stewart’s two-and-a-half second lead and forced him to settle for a third-place finish. It was then tested June 6-7 at Pocono Raceway and again during a Goodyear Tire Test June 12-13 at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 in July at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon marked Chassis No. 14-710’s second career start. There, a new tire compound from Goodyear confounded Stewart and crew chief Steve Addington, and they labored to a 12th -place finish. The car returned to Richmond in September for its third career start via the Federated Auto Parts 400, where it rallied from its 28th -place starting spot to lead 15 laps before finishing fourth. Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway will mark the car’s fourth career start.

#15- Clint Bowyer - Primary chassis No. 743 is a new chassis that has never been raced. Backup chassis No. 712 finished 30th at Phoenix and seventh at Richmond in the spring.

#16- Greg Biffle - Primary chassis: RK-822   Last ran New Hampshire – finished 18th.  Backup chassis: RK-777, Last ran Pocono – finished 24th

#17- Matt Kenseth - This week at Martinsville, Kenseth will pilot the 17 Ford EcoBoost Fusion, chassis RK 806, last ran at Loudon finished 14th.

#22- Sam Hornish Jr. - Hornish and the Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be utilizing the "PRS-828" Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend's TUMS Fast Relief 400 at Martinsville. Hornish and team last raced this chassis in the September 2 Advocare 500 at Atlanta, where they started 15th and finished 11th. It was a new car for the Atlanta race and has not been utilized since. The "PRS-807" will serve as the backup Shell-Pennzoil Dodge. It was in the 22 team transporter serving as the backup at Phoenix, both Bristol races, the first Martinsville race, the second Richmond race and the second Charlotte race. It has never seen any track time to date.

#24- Jeff Gordon - Gordon will race HMS chassis 24-652 this week at Martinsville. The car finished 14th at Martinsville earlier this year, and finished fifth and third at Martinsville in 2011.

#27- Paul Menard - Paul Menard will pilot Chassis No. 349 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in this weekend’s Tums Fast Relief 500. This Chevrolet was last raced at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September, where Menard started seventh and finished 12th, his career-best result at the one-mile race track. This chassis was also utilized this season at Martinsville Speedway (April – started 11th/finished 26th) and at New Hampshire in July (started 13th/ finished 17th).

#29- Kevin Harvick -  Kevin Harvick will pilot Chassis No.400 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable in the TUMS Fast Relief 500. The No. 29 team utilized this Chevrolet at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September and brought home an 11th-place finish after starting 16th.

#31- Jeff Burton - Jeff Burton will race Chassis No. 329 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable this weekend. This No. 31 Chevrolet, originally built in 2010, has seen significant track time over the last two seasons including Texas Motor Speedway in November 2010 (started-16th, finished-36th), Bristol Motor Speedway in August 2011 (started-21st, finished-15th) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September 2011 (started-18th, finished-13th). Burton also tallied a top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway last November, finishing fourth after starting 14th and finished 22nd at Martinsville Speedway in April after suffering electrical issues near the halfway point of the event.

#36- Dave Blaney - CHASSIS NO. 293 – Blaney will drive the No. 293 chassis, which he drove eight times this season and five times during the 2011 season. The Harford, Ohio native’s best start with the No. 293 chassis was 17th at Richmond last season and best finish was 23rd at Phoenix this season. TBR purchased the chassis from Richard Childress Racing, where Jeff Burton drove the chassis prior to its debut with TBR.

#39- Ryan Newman - This weekend, Newman will pilot Chassis No. 39-691, which has four starts and three top-10 finishes to its credit. Its most recent top-10 came last month at Richmond International Raceway, where Newman led 13 laps and finished eighth. Prior to that, at Phoenix International Raceway in March, the chassis looked to be a lock for its third consecutive top-10 finish but, 56 laps shy of the checkered flag, Newman was sent spinning into the turn-four wall after contact with another car while racing side-by-side for fifth place. The incident relegated Newman to a 21st -place finish. Last season, the chassis competed at Richmond in September and Phoenix in November. At Richmond, Newman started 18th and fought his way into the top-10 near lap 100 and stayed in that relative position for the remainder of the 400-lap event, finishing eighth. Newman finished fifth at Phoenix in November

#42- Juan Pablo Montoya - Crew Chief Chris “Shine” Heroy and the No. 42 Target team will bring Chassis #1110 to Martinsville Speedway this weekend.  This chassis has seen several tests and raced once this season at Loudon, finishing 22nd. 

#43- Aric Almirola - The No. 43 team has prepared chassis No. 736 for Martinsville. This is the same car Almirola drove to an eighth-place finish at the spring Martinsville race this season.

#48- Jimmie Johnson - Chassis No. 749 is a new chassis and serves as the primary for Johnson at Martinsville. Chassis No. 689 serves as the backup.

#88- Dale Earnhardt Jr - Crew chief Steve Letarte will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-654 for this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway. This will be the fourth time Earnhardt has raced this chassis, and each time, he has driven it at Martinsville to record an average fourth-place finish. He drove this chassis during the 2011 season to a second-place finish at Martinsville in April and a seventh-place finish in October. In April 2012, he drove it to a third-place finish at the Virginia short track.

#99- Carl Edwards - The No. 99 Geek Squad Team will unload RK-815 for the weekend. Edwards last raced this car at Loudon last month where he finished 19th.

- Reported in Team News/Press Releases

Martinsville Driver Statistics

Not all teams announce their weekly race previews'. Here is a list of those teams that do reveal the information in the teams race preview: 

#1- Jamie McMurray -  McMurray has made 19 starts at Martinsville Speedway.  In those 19 starts, the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet has accumulated one top-five, 10 top-10’s and 11 top-15’s. McMurray has completed 8,878 out of a possible 9,534 laps (93%) with a total of 117 laps led.  He has an average start and finish position of 14.8 and 16.9, respectively.  His best start at the half-mile oval was first in 2011.

#5- Kasey Kahne -  In 17 Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway, Kahne has one top-five finish and two top-10s. He scored his best result at the short track in April 2005 when he rallied from a 35th-place starting spot to finish second. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet scored the pole position at the half-mile oval in April and has qualified sixth or better six times at the Virginia short track.

#9- Marcos Ambrose - Ambrose will be making his eighth career start at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. The Australian native’s best start (second) and best finish (11th) at the Virginia track came in 2010. Ambrose sits in 17th-place in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series point standings heading into this weekend’s 500-mile race.

#14-Tony Stewart - The TUMS Fast Relief 500 will mark Stewart’s 497th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his 28th Sprint Cup start at Martinsville 
Speedway. Stewart will make his 500th career Sprint Cup start in the season finale Nov. 18 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Stewart has three wins, three poles, seven top-threes, nine top-fives, 15 top-10s and has led a total of 1,208 laps in his 27 career Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville. His average start is 13.2, his average finish is 13.2 and he has a lap completion rate of 96.0 percent.

#17- Matt Kenseth -  In 25 Cup starts at Martinsville, Kenseth has completed 12,401 of 12,534 laps (98.9 percent) and led for 72 laps.  Kenseth has an average starting position of 22.3 and an average finishing position of 16.0 at Martinsville.  Kenseth has achieved three top-five and eight top-10 finishes at Martinsville in the Cup series.

#18- Kyle Busch - Busch has six top-five and seven top-10 finishes and has led a total of 397 laps in his 15 career Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville. His average Martinsville finish is 17.7. Sunday will marks Kyle's 290th Cup start.

#22- Sam Hornish Jr. - In six prior Cup starts during the 2008-2010 seasons at Martinsville Speedway, Hornish has a 30.3 average start and a 28.3 average finish. He made solid steps forward and posted his best start and best result to date during his last two trips there. Entering this weekend's return, Hornish's best finish, a 13th, came in the spring race of 2010. His best start, a 24th, came in the fall race there that season. 

#24- Jeff Gordon - In 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville Speedway, Gordon has seven victories, seven pole positions, 25 top-five finishes, 31 top-10s and 3,423 laps led - all tops among active drivers at the 0.526-mile track.

#27- Paul Menard -  In 10 previous starts at Martinsville Speedway, Menard has completed 94.9 percent of his laps (4,779 of 5,034), has an average starting position of 23.4 and a 23rd-place average finishing position. His best finish of 13th came in the October 2010 event and his best start at the 0.526-mile speedway came in March 2010 when he took the green flag in the ninth position.

#29- Kevin Harvick -  Harvick will make his 427th career Sprint Cup Series start and 23rd appearance at the concrete oval. In his first 22 showings, the Bakersfield, Calif., native has earned one win (March 2011), one pole award (March 2010), three top-five and 10 top-10 finishes. Harvick maintains an average starting position of 13.4, along with a 16th-place average finishing position, is credited with 363 laps led and has completed 97.5 percent (10,763 of 11,034) of the laps contested.

#31- Jeff Burton - Burton grew up an hour away from Martinsville in South Boston, Va. Sunday’s event marks Burton’s 37th start at the half-mile facility and 651st-career Sprint Cup Series entry. He has amassed 10 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes, led 940 laps and made one trip to Victory Lane in 1997.

#39- Ryan Newman - Newman has one win (April 2012), three poles, seven top-five finishes and 11 top-10s in 21 starts at the .526-mile paperclip-shaped oval.

#42- Juan Pablo Montoya - Montoya looks to make his 12th start this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.  In his previous 11 starts he has led 46 laps and earned two top-five and three top-10 finishes.  Montoya has completed 5,418 out of a possible 5,534 (97.9%). His best start was fifth in 2010; and he earned his best finish of third in 2009. The driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet has an average starting position of 22.2 and an average finishing position of 15.3 at the half-mile oval.

#43- Aric Almirola - With seven Sprint Cup starts at the .526-mile track, Almirola's best result was his eighth-place finish earlier this season in the same Ford Fusion that he will pilot this weekend.

#48- Jimmie Johnson - Six wins (October 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and April 2007, 2009). One pole (October 2008). 14 top-five finishes (66.7 percent) and 18 top-10s (85.7 percent) in 21 starts. One DNF (did not finish- April 2002). Average start of 12.4 and average finish of 5.8.

#88- Dale Earnhardt Jr - In 25 Sprint Cup starts at Martinsville, Earnhardt has scored 10 top-five finishes, 14 top-10s and led 868 laps. He recorded a career-best runner-up finish at the Virginia short track behind the wheel of the No. 88 Chevrolet in October 2008 and again in April 2011.

#99- Carl Edwards - In 16 starts at the 0.526-mile track, Edwards has one top-five and five top-10 finishes. His average start is 17.8, and his average finish is 16.0. Edwards has completed 97.7 percent of his laps in Cup competition attempted there.

- Reported in Team News/Press Releases

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

JRM Signs Regan Smith to Drive No. 5 Chevrolet in 2013

JR Motorsports announced today it has reached an agreement with Regan Smith to drive the team’s No. 5 NASCAR Nationwide Series entry full time in 2013. General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said Smith will make his JRM debut this year, as the company will field three teams for the Nov. 17 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Smith will join teammates Cole Whitt and Danica Patrick in the season finale.

“This is an extremely good opportunity for me,” Smith said. “Dale Jr. and I first started talking about this several years ago, but the timing never matched up to where we could make it happen. Now it’s time. I’m happy to be a part of this organization. I don’t want to just win races. I want to be the team that dominates races and contends for the championship.”

Smith, a 29-year-old native of Cato, N.Y., has competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series since 2002 and Sprint Cup Series since 2007. He was crowned Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year in 2008, but it was 2011 when he made his biggest splash. Driving the No. 78 Chevrolet, Smith held off Carl Edwards in a thrilling finish to win the prestigious Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. The popular victory was Smith’s first in NASCAR competition and was part of a storybook season that included two top-fives, five top-10s and 36 laps led.

Smith has not competed in the Nationwide Series since 2007 when he tallied three top-fives, five top-10s, and a pole award at Kentucky Speedway.

“Regan has always impressed me,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “He gets the most of his car, no matter what he’s driving or who he’s driving for. He takes care of his cars and gets good finishes. With his experience and ability, we feel he can excel in our equipment. He has a super personality, and his ability to work with everyone here at JR Motorsports and Hendrick Motorsports will be important in getting us back to the winner’s circle.”

Smith’s No. 5 Chevrolet, to date, is the only JRM entry cemented for a full-season slate in 2013. Earnhardt Miller said the goal of the organization is still to run two full-time teams – the No. 5 and No. 7 – in addition to Earnhardt Jr. competing in select Nationwide Series races in the No. 88 car.

“We feel it is important for our sponsors, our fans, and even Dale to keep his Nationwide Series number consistent with his Cup number,” Earnhardt Miller said. “His brand is associated with the No. 88. That’s what makes him distinguishable on the race track, so it’s only natural that he drives the No. 88 all the time. To do that, we are making our No. 5 Chevrolet our full-time entry. We hope to have Cole in the No. 7 full time in 2013, and we are working hard on securing sponsorship for that.”
Smith recently was thrust into the spotlight as the driver chosen to fill the seat of the No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports while Earnhardt Jr. healed from a concussion. In Earnhardt Jr.’s absence, Smith competed in two Sprint Cup races in the No. 88 Chevy, most recently scoring a seventh-place finish at Kansas Speedway this past Sunday. Smith had recorded his season-best finish of fifth two weeks earlier at Talladega Superspeedway for Furniture Row Racing.

“It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks for me, but it’s been great,” Smith said. “Filling in for Dale Jr. was an honor, and it got me acclimated to the Hendrick Motorsports group, which obviously JR Motorsports works with hand in hand. I was glad to fill in for Dale Jr., and I’m happy that he’s back in his race car this week at Martinsville.”


NASCAR Driver Press Conference Schedule - Martinsville

Press Conference Schedule,

NASCAR schedules driver press conferences at every race weekend event. These normally include the Top 12 drivers in championship points in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, along with other drivers of note. The press conferences will last approximately 15 minutes each and may be viewed at Times listed are local time.

Friday, October 26:

10:15 a.m. – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers  Ty Dillon (No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet); James Buescher (No. 31 Great Clips Chevrolet); Timothy Peters (No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota); Parker Kligerman (No. 7 Red Horse Racing Toyota) – Media Center

10:50 a.m. – Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet), 2nd in points (2243)/3 wins – Media Center

11:10 a.m. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew/National Guard Chevrolet), 12th in points (2128)/1 win – Media Center

1:30 p.m. – Tony Stewart (No. 14 Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet), 7th in points (2203)/3 wins – #14 hauler

1:45 p.m. – Martin Truex Jr. (No. 56 NAPA Auto Parts Toyota), 6th in points (2207)/0 wins - #56 hauler

1:45 p.m. – Kasey Kahne (No. 5 Chevrolet), 5th in points (2220)/2 wins - #5 hauler

2 p.m. – Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet), 8th in points (2199)/1 win – #24 hauler

2:30 p.m. – Brian Vickers (No. 55 MyClassicGarage Toyota), MWR update – Media Center

Note: Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge), 1st in points (2250)/5 wins will come to the media center following NSCS qualifying (begins Friday at 3:40 p.m.

Note: Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota), 3rd in points (2230)/5 wins will be available following his NSCS qualifying lap (begins Friday at 3:40 p.m.)

Saturday, October 27:

9 a.m. – Matt Borland (crew chief, No. 39 Quicken Loans Chevrolet) - #39 hauler


SRT Motorsports Presents THE NUMBERS for the TUMS Fast Relief 500

Martinsville Speedway (All 127 Sprint Cup races)

1 – fewest cautions (three times, most recent 4/25/71)

1 – fewest cars on lead lap at finish (27 times, most recent 4/27/86)

1 – fewest lead changes (three times, most recent 4/9/61)

2 – fewest leaders (11 times, most recent 9/26/76)

3 – fewest caution laps (4/25/71)

4 – fewest laps led by race winner (John Andretti, 4/18/99)

4 – fewest running at the finish (5/6/51); 35 cars started the 200-lap race on .500-mile
dirt track

4 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend

7 – cautions in spring race

14 – most leaders (10/15/01)

15 – most wins by driver (Richard Petty)

19 – races won from the pole

21 – most cautions for a race (10/21/07)

26 – most cars on the lead lap at finish (twice, most recent 10/22/06)

29 – cautions for two races last year: 11 for the Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500 and 18
for TUMS Fast Relief 500

42 – most running at finish (two times, most recent 4/1/07)

47 – different race winners

57 – different pole winners

90 – minutes, amount of time it takes to dry the .526-mile track after a significant rainfall.

127 – Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway since 1949

127 – most caution laps (10/21/07)

493 – most laps led by race winner (Fred Lorenzen, 9/27/64)

2012 Caution Update

1 – fewest cautions this season (Fontana)

8 – races extended beyond scheduled distance (Daytona, Martinsville, Talladega,
Darlington, Sonoma, Michigan2, Atlanta and Talladega2)

14 – most cautions this season (Kansas2)

185 – number of cautions in the first 32 races of 2012; includes 86 for accidents,
50 for debris and 20 for spins

961 of 9,021 – number of laps under caution in 2012

1,359.288 of 12,234.676 – miles under caution in the first 32 races

-  Darnell Communications for SRT Motorsports Press Release

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Martinsville Speedway History and Notes

At 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.

· There have been 127 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, one in the inaugural year and two races per year since 1950.

· Curtis Turner won the pole for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville in 1949.

· Red Byron won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race.

· 57 drivers have won poles, led by Darrell Waltrip with eight. Jeff Gordon, with seven poles, can tie that mark this weekend.

· Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and Darrell Waltrip share the consecutive pole record, each with three.

· 47 different drivers have won, led by Richard Petty’s 15.

· Jeff Gordon leads active drivers with seven wins. Jimmie Johnson has six and Denny Hamlin has four.

· 19 races have been won from the pole, the last by Denny Hamlin in October 2010.

· Petty Enterprises has won 19 races, more than any other organization. Hendrick Motorsports, with 18 wins, can tie that mark this weekend.

· Kurt Busch won the 2002 fall race from the 36th starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.

· Three active drivers average a top-10: Jimmie Johnson (5.7), Denny Hamlin (6.4) and Jeff Gordon (7.0).

· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville Speedway winner: Richard Petty (4/10/1960 – 22 years, 9 months, 8 days). Oldest NSCS Martinsville Speedway winner: Harry Gant (9/22/1991 – 51 years, 8 months, 12 days).

· Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Martinsville Speedway pole winner: Ricky Rudd (4/26/1981 – 24 years, 7 months, 14 days). Oldest NSCS Martinsville Speedway pole winner: Morgan Shepherd (04/26/1987 – 45 years, 6 months, 14 days).

Martinsville Speedway Data
Chase Race #: 7 of 10
Season Race #: 33 of 36 (10-28-12)
Track Size: 0.562-mile
Banking/Turns: 12 degrees
Banking/Straights: 0 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 800 feet
Backstretch Length: 800 feet
Race Length: 500 laps / 263 miles

Top 12 Driver Rating at Martinsville 
Jimmie Johnson....................... 121.4
Jeff Gordon.............................. 120.8
Denny Hamlin.......................... 113.4
Tony Stewart........................... 101.5
Dale Earnhardt Jr..................... 100.1
Kyle Busch............................... 94.4
Kevin Harvick............................ 93.9
Ryan Newman.......................... 90.1
Jeff Burton................................ 88.9
Clint Bowyer............................. 87.9
Jamie McMurray....................... 83.2
Brad Keselowski....................... 82.3

Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2012 races (15 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway.

-NASCAR Statistics

Monday, October 22, 2012

NASCAR This Week on ESPN

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will compete on the only short track in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Martinsville Speedway, on Sunday, Oct. 28, and ESPN will have a live telecast of the 500-lap race. NASCAR Countdown airs at 1 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 2:01 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available on computers, smartphones and tablets with the WatchESPN app and

Booth: Lap-by-Lap announcer Allen Bestwick; analysts Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree.
Pit reporters: Dave Burns, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Dr. Jerry Punch.
NASCAR Countdown: Nicole Briscoe (host); Rusty Wallace, Ray Evernham, Brad Daugherty (analysts).

NASCAR Now Schedule
ESPN2’s daily NASCAR news and information program NASCAR Now will preview the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in the one-hour edition airing Sunday, Oct. 28, at 8 a.m. ET. Host Marty Reid will be joined in the studio by ESPN NASCAR analyst Ricky Craven with reporters Shannon Spake and Jim Noble at the track. Reid and Craven will review the race Sunday night at 11 p.m. Thursday’s program at 3 p.m. will feature a tribute to NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson. The week’s schedule:

Date Time        Show                 Host        Network

Mon., Oct. 22 3 p.m.     NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2
Tue., Oct. 23 3:30 p.m.    NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2 
Wed., Oct. 24 3 p.m.     NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2 
Thu., Oct. 25 3 p.m.     NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2
Fri., Oct. 26 3:30 p.m.    NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2
Sun., Oct. 28 8:30 a.m.    NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2
Sun., Oct. 28 11 p.m.     NASCAR Now Marty Reid ESPN2

- ESPN Media Zone