Thursday, June 2, 2016

NASCAR Xfinity Series Practice Report

The NASCAR Xfinity Series had 2 practices this morning and afternoon for Saturday's Pocono Green 250 in Pocono. With the inexperience this weekend NASCAR is holding a few more practices than normal with this being the Xfinity Series' first visit to the Pocono Mountains. It comes to no surprises with names up top because of the experience some drivers have like Kyle Busch, Ty Dillon, Paul Menard, Joey Logano, along a few others. Some Xfinity Drivers will be racing in tomorrow's ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards race at Pocono. Here are the results to the non-televised practice sessions.

First Practice Results

1 18 Kyle Busch
2 20 Erik Jones
3 2 Paul Menard
4 7 Justin Allgaier
5 3 Ty Dillon
6 19 Daniel Suarez
7 88 Alex Bowman
8 48 Brennan Poole
9 1 Elliott Sadler
10 42 Kyle Larson
11 22 Joey Logano
12 33 Brandon Jones
13 62 Brendan Gaughan
14 98 Aric Almirola
15 6 Darrell Wallace Jr.
16 44 J.J. Yeley
17 39 Ryan Sieg
18 4 Ross Chastain
19 11 Blake Koch
20 16 Ryan Reed
21 51 Jeremy Clements
22 01 Ryan Preece
23 28 Dakoda Armstrong
24 0 Garrett Smithley
25 46 Brandon Gdovic
26 97 Alex Guenette
27 07 Ray Black Jr.
28 90 Mario Gosselin
29 89 Morgan Shepherd
30 52 Joey Gase
31 70 Derrike Cope

Second Practice Results

1 20 Erik Jones
2 33 Brandon Jones
3 18 Kyle Busch
4 3 Ty Dillon
5 19 Daniel Suarez
6 2 Paul Menard
7 22 Joey Logano
8 42 Kyle Larson
9 7 Justin Allgaier
10 88 Alex Bowman
11 1 Elliott Sadler
12 11 Blake Koch
13 48 Brennan Poole
14 16 Ryan Reed
15 98 Aric Almirola
16 62 Brendan Gaughan
17 44 J.J. Yeley
18 39 Ryan Sieg
19 4 Ross Chastain
20 6 Darrell Wallace Jr.
21 51 Jeremy Clements
22 01 Ryan Preece
23 46 Brandon Gdovic
24 07 Ray Black Jr.
25 0 Garrett Smithley
26 93 Josh Wise
27 28 Dakoda Armstrong
28 90 Mario Gosselin
29 97 Alex Guenette
30 78 B J McLeod
31 89 Morgan Shepherd
32 13 T.J. Bell
33 52 Joey Gase
34 70 Derrike Cope
35 15 Todd Peck
36 40 Carl Long

NASCAR Suspends 3 Crew Chiefs after Charlotte

Three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams have been issued P3 penalties coming out of the Charlotte
race weekend, which resulted in their respective crew chiefs being suspended for at least one race, according to the NASCAR penalty report released Wednesday evening. Additionally, a P2 penalty was handed down to Tony Stewart .

The Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 (Greg Biffle), Stewart-Haas Racing No. 41 (Kurt Busch) and JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 (AJ Allmendinger) teams, respectively, were hit with the P3 punishment.

Biffle's was the most severe. Multiple infractions were found during post-race inspection, including a
body design that was either not submitted to NASCAR for approval or did not comply with the approved body designs. His crew chief, Brian Pattie, has been fined $50,000 and suspended for the next two races at Pocono and Michigan. The team will also lose 15 driver and 15 owner points.

Crew chiefs for Allmendinger (Randall Burnett) and Busch (Tony Gibson) were each fined $20,000
and suspended for the upcoming Pocono race. Both of their infractions were found in Section a of the NASCAR Rule Book, which states: "All tires, and wheels, and all five lug nuts must be installed in a safe and secure manner at all times during the Event."

Stewart's P2 penalty included infractions in body design and surface conformance found during pre-race inspection. His crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, has been placed on probation through Dec. 31.

Busch is second in the Sprint Cup Series points standings, behind only Stewart-Haas Racing teammate Kevin Harvick. His 11 top-10 finishes (through 13 races) leads all drivers. He finished sixth on Sunday in the Coca-Cola 600.

Biffle finished 11th in the 400-mile event, and was the random car selected for further post-race inspection on Tuesday at the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, North Carolina. The penalty will drop him from 23rd place in the standings to 24th, behind Danica Patrick .

Allmendinger was 16th on Sunday, and he's currently one point behind Ryan Newman in the battle for the final spot in the 16-driver Chase Grid.

The NASCAR penalty scale ranges from P1 to P6 (most serious). (NASCAR)

Other news from the penalty report:

  • The No. 27 of Paul Menard was issued its second warning for failing pre-qualifying template inspection three times. He has received a written warning and was docked 15 minutes of practice time for the next event.
  • The No. 20 of Matt Kenseth and No. 43 of Aric Almirola failed laser inspection twice pre-qualifying. It's the first offense for the 20 team, the first for the 43. They both received a written warning.
  • The No. 43 also failed template inspection twice pre-qualifying. The No. 88 of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and No. 48 of Jimmie Johnson also failed twice. They all received a written warning.
  •  In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, the No. 16 of Ryan Reed and No. 18 of Joe Gibbs Racing failed inspection three times pre-race. Each received a written warning.

A New Frontier For Racing!

Alaska Raceway Park roared to life on Labor Day of 1964 as Polar Dragway.

The historic venue in Palmer, Alaska, embarks on a new era on Saturday. Racing will officially commence on the recently completed oval track as NASCAR comes to Alaska.

2007_arplogoThe visual spectacle of racing beneath 6,398-foot Pioneer Peak and in view of the Knik Glacier is unique for racers and fans alike, and the track with its glorious view in multiple directions is recognized by race fans worldwide.  The site is at 63 feet elevation above sea level, offering excellent air density for racing.

Back in 1964, Governor Bill Egan cut the ribbon and thousands of fans cheered on the first 40 cars to
drag race down the track.  The only International Hot Rod Association sanctioned track in Alaska, ARP is a family business, run since 1998 by Earl and Karen Lackey, both in their mid-70s.  The track is co-owned with their daughter, Michelle Lackey Maynor, who serves as Track Manager and Race Director.

Alaska joins Virginia's Dominion Raceway, Wisconsin's Spring Lake Speedway, and Eastboud
Speedway in Canada's Newfoudland and Labrador, as new tracks in 2016 under the NASCAR Whelen All-AMerican Series banner.

It's been a long road for Alaska, with a plenty of labor and love put into making oval track racing at the facility a reality.

Prior to the most recent expansion, Top End, Inc., and the Lackeys have funded major drag strip improvements and renovations since the 1990s:  environmental cleanup, new entrances, bleachers, sound systems, building roofs, remodeling of the main building, gift shop, firefighting and track-cleaning equipment, staging area paving, pit paving, computerized timing system, new track bed and surface with a 300-foot heated concrete launch pad, and purchase of surrounding 182 acres to make the park permanent and add parking – in the process rejuvenating what was a flagging passion to a sport that is now growing yearly.

In 2016, the most major improvement of all is now a reality:  a .333-mile asphalt oval, becoming a
NASCAR Home Track in February 2016 in the Whelen All-American Series. This expansion and its attendant blood, sweat, and tears created a bona fide motorsports complex, the only of its kind in Alaska and remarkable for a state a fifth the size of the contiguous 48 states, with a population of less than 750,000.

The new track greatly expands racing opportunities for youth and adults in Alaska, and racers with nowhere else to race after a local grandfathered oval closed in 2012 are ecstatic to once again have a racing venue they are calling "amazing!" They love how smooth and fast it is proving to be.  There is plenty of room to maneuver the racecar, with good speeds for the size. It’s a perfectly sized track for community weekly series racing, to accommodate all sorts of cars.

The Lackeys are working hard to make racing affordable for local racers and attract as many participants as possible.

The oval track is constructed on the site of a dirt oval on ARP property operated in the early 1980s
and is below ground level so spectators won’t miss a second of the action. Following the Tesoro Inaugural Oval Debut on Saturday, there will be an additional nine oval race days in the 2016 season throughout the summer, with spectator capacity over 1500.

Kevin Nevalainen, the Director of Weekly Racing Operations at NASCAR, flew up from Daytona, Florida, this past winter to discuss with ARP owners their vision and plans. A day-long discussion and contract-signing resulted in a successful ARP sanction announcement at Daytona Speedweeks.

Architected by Earl Lackey and Dana Pruhs of Pruhs Construction, the talking phase of the asphalt oval track idea first took hold five years ago, but the local assembly would not modify the ARP permit to include the oval. Earl was persistent and succeeded in gaining approval in summer 2014.

With construction activities limited in the winter due to frozen ground and load limits on local roads, active construction began in 2014 and the project took 18 months. In fact, last-minute finishing touches are being worked on as of this writing, right up until the debut race on June 4.Alaska Land Clearing crew made way for the track in fall of 2014, then Pruhs Construction leveled off the cleared space in spring of 2015.  They sculpted in the track dimensions, processing material on site to use for foundation strength.  After installing the foundation, they cut in the pit area and the parking area for the fans.  After everything was sculpted in, Soper’s Concrete, headed by drag racer Monte Soper, poured the concrete footings where they had been surveyed in.  Carson Construction poured the concrete walls on those footings.  After curing, the Pruhs crew back-filled.

Earl created a preliminary electrical grid and started laying electrical into the property.  Pruhs followed with a compacted base/leveling course over the sculpted track and the pit area, then sculpted and leveled off the infield in order to put top soil down.  At that point it was late fall and time to wrap.  The freeze/thaw cycle over the winter allowed the 2015 work to settle.  Over the winter Earl, facility manager Pete Mattison, and crew got the track grandstands up, built a ticket booth, concession stands, spotters’ tower, race director’s tower, and tech inspection building.

As soon as the ground was thawed, AAA Fence installed the fence behind the barrier wall all around the track.  With funding for emulsion from Tesoro, Pruhs paved the track and watered it to cool it down for three days. Straight stretches of the oval are 3 degrees; corners are progressive from 4, 8, to 11 degrees -- 11 is about as steep of banking as can get in Alaska without special paving gear. There are two lanes to race.  Asphalt is in two lifts:  1 ½” with coarse aggregate rock for structural. The last 1 ½” was fine asphalt mixed with small rock to make it smooth. The oval is about 1800 feet around; straight stretches are 400 feet and 50 feet wide; the curves are 158-foot inside radius and 80 feet wide.

Top soil was spread for the infield, followed by hydro-seeding for grass.  Pruhs then striped the track and added start and finish lines.  The scoreboard went up, and the lap counter system was installed.

The Lackeys have put everything on the line for this exciting expansion, and construction has been a family and racing community effort.  Lackey sons John and Jim have pitched in during the construction process, and Pete, the facility manager, has been an indispensable and tireless coordinator and builder of the track’s necessary elements, such as the tower, grandstand, spotter’s deck, gift shop, concessions building, and tech station. The scoreboard and leaderboard came from Daktronics and were installed by DG Signs. Facility EMT John Akers worked under Pete’s guidance from November 2015, when the bleachers arrived from Florida on three semi-trailers.

Technology implemented in support of the new oval includes a state-of-the-art LED electronic timing system, the transponders to activate the timing system, and the raceceiver system which the drivers will be able to hear race director instructions. A new Matanuska Telephone Association fiber optic internet and phone feed helps the facility upgrade to incorporate technologies previously unavailable to the drag strip due to old electrical infrastructure and slow internet service.

Pete works with our I.T. volunteer, Cory Ricks, and uses a Xirrus WiFi Inspector software to plan track-wide frequencies for UHF radios, point-of-sale devices, Daktronics equipment on the scoreboard, wireless microphones, wi-fi access points, and spectator access to MyLaps SpeedHive.

Our recent promotions by press release and on social media have gained the attention of southcentral Alaska TV stations and newspapers, statewide racers and race fans who knew us only for drags, as well as caught the imagination of country-wide NASCAR followers on Twitter and Facebook.  In Dana Pruhs’s words, “Alaska Raceway Park is a venue worthy of the greatest state in the Union!”

In-kind donors and sponsors include Tesoro Refining and Marketing, Pruhs Construction, Diversified Tire, Matanuska Telephone Association, Soper's Concrete, Valley Block and Concrete, Carson Construction, Cruz Construction, Yukon Equipment, National Response Corporation, Carlisle Transportation, CMI Equipment, Airport Equipment Rental, E-Terra, Acutek Geomatics, New Horizons Telecom, J.D. Steel Co., Emerald Fuels, and AAA Fence. (NASCAR Home Tracks)