Thursday, June 9, 2016

Lights Out In Michigan? - Night Races Not In Michigan Future

Have you had dreams of seeing a night race at Michigan? Well I hate to bust your bubble but the lights may be off for Michigan International Speedway before they even get turned on or built in that case. Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis says the track's future is still days which honestly doesn't surprise me but with Michigan being one of those Rain Magnets I begin to question on why we haven't at least considered it. Well in some cases there are other concerns around the Michigan International Speedway and those are getting touched at in the very near future.
"There are so many other things we continue to build on out here like garages, restrooms and the Wi-Fi service. For example, erecting lights for a night race would cost around $17 million for the track and tram routes. We'd have to light two lanes out. Going east on U.S.-12 is curvy between here and Clinton. I don't see MDOT and the police making it happen." states Michigan International Speedway president Roger Curtis
The garage issue is one that is being a problem this weekend for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. This weekend The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series are joined by the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. Well with only room for two series, the ARCA Racing Series Haulers entered early this morning and and are parking in an alternative location later in the afternoon. This is a problem that you wouldn't expect to see at a NASCAR sanctioned track but it is and the officials at Michigan are working hard at getting this resolved and make everyone happy or at least the most they can without giving a win.
So if you are wanting to see a night race at Michigan anytime soon might I suggest Berlin Raceway? Because there won't be one at Michigan International Speedway for the foreseeable future. (Koelle,2016)

Joey Logano Looks to Michigan For First Win of 2016

So far in 2016 the only two drivers who won in 2015, who have yet to post a points paying win in 2016, are Joey Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Joey Logano returns to a track where he won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race with the Captain, Roger Penske. Joey won the Pure Michigan 400 in 2013 in his first season with Team Penske. Logano started that race in 2013 from the pole, leading 49 of the race's 200 laps to win. Logano looks to end his winless streak that goes all the way back to Talladega of last season. That is a total of 18 races since his last W. Logano and his team have not been lacking speed and the fact that he has not been to victory lane really surprises many fans and many fans rejoice at
it. Logano has so far recorded one non points paying victory in the All-Star Race earlier this season where they raced the same rule package they will race this weekend at Michigan. Joey Logano has had a rather successful season and a win is certainly just around the corner. Logano has one pole, at Martinsville, and 5 runner up starting positions. Logano has tallied 4 Top-5's, 3 Top-10's, and 2 DNF's. Those are his first DNF's since New Hampshire in 2014. Logano is surely working his way back to the Top and I would not doubt him being a championship contender as he has been in years past. There is still much of the season to go with many tracks Logano has been really great at in the past including Michigan, Daytona, New Hampshire, and of course Bristol. Logano turned 5 of his 6 wins from here until Homestead which means the odds are pretty good in the hands of Joey Logano and his Shell Pennzoil Ford Fusion to land back in Victory Lane very soon. (Koelle,2016)

LP Dumoulin Confident For The Season's First Oval-Track Event

Trois-Rivieres (Québec, Canada), June 9, 2016 – Team #47 WeatherTech Canada / Groupe Bellemare will present itself with a lot of determination this Saturday, June 11th for the first event of the season taking place on an oval track at Autodrome Chaudière Vallée-Jonction, Beauce, Québec. In a strong outing in 2015, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin had qualified the car in 2nd place. For this year, much success is anticipated.

“Last year we qualified on the front row, and we maintained our place in the top-3 for more than half of the race. The #47 WeatherTech Canada / Groupe Bellemare team is solid, and we work well together. The mechanical challenges we’ve experienced in the first race seem to be behind us, and we’re confident we can have a strong showing at Autodrome Chaudière this weekend”, shares Louis-Philippe Dumoulin.

300-lap event: mandatory pit stop halfway through
Much like the Riverside International Speedway track (Antigonish, Nouvelle-Écosse, 9th event- August 20, 2016), which is considered a near-replica of the famous Bristol Motor Speedway (Bristol, Tennessee, USA), the Autodrome Chaudière is nicknamed “Le petit Bristol Québécois” (the little Bristol of Quebec). This asphalted oval track (a quarter mile) is also the most steeply inclined in Quebec.

The pits are located outside the track, requiring a full stop of the race planned by the series at approximately the 150th lap. The drivers are also authorized to make pit stops at any point during the race; however it’s an extra challenge as all teams will need to make a simultaneous pit stop for fuel replenishment and the tire change. The cars will then get back into place for the race’s second start.

See you at Autodrome Chaudière this weekend! “This oval track is popular in stock-car in Quebec. It’ll be a good show for partners and fans alike, we have quite a show planned!” shares the driver of the #47 Dodge WeatherTech Canada / Groupe Bellemare. (Dumoulin Competition)

Testing At Kentucky Next Week, Free For Fans

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be testing from the Kentucky Speedway next week on Monday, June 13th. Kentucky Speedway Gate 15 will be open for fans to enjoy the on-track activities.  Please note that concession stands will NOT be open.  Patrons will have access to restroom facilities. They will not only be testing the new surface but will also be testing how the new Aero-Package will do at the Track next month. This will be one of the first opportunities for drivers to take to the un-bumpy Kentucky Speedway.

Drivers Expected to Appear (Subject To Change)

  • Richard Childress Racing - Paul Menard - #27 - Chevrolet
  • Chip Ganassi Racing - Jamie McMurray - #1 - Chevrolet
  • HScott Motorsports - Michael Anett - #46 - Chevrolet
  • Hendrick Motorsports - Kasey Kahne - #5 - Chevrolet
  • Stewart Haas Racing - Kevin Harvick - #4 - Chevrolet
  • Team Penske - Joey Logano - #22 - Ford
  • Front Row Motorsports - Chris Buescher - #34 - Ford
  • Richard Petty Motorsports - Aric Almirola - #43 - Ford
  • Wood Brothers Racing - Ryan Blaney - #21 - Ford
  • Furniture Row Racing - Martin Truex Jr. - #78 - Toyota

Want To Watch Testing from the Garage?

2016 Kentucky Speedway Season Ticket Holders will have the unique opportunity to watch the Goodyear Tire Test from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Garage.

Additional options exist for this unique opportunity, and fans are encouraged to call the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 859-578-2300.

Derrike Cope Racing Announce Michigan Partners

As you most likely know by now, Jackson Coffee Company, in conjunction with Jackson Candy & Fudge Factory, Inc, has generously donated primary sponsorship of the #70 Camaro driven by Derrike Cope to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Jackson County (BBBS). Cope will be doing a meet and greet for BBBS before the weekend events and will also be partaking in an appearance in the grandstands at MIS on race day for 500 “Littles.” TV, radio, and social media events are planned all week in an effort to gain more volunteers for BBBS. MIS has donated 500 tickets for the cause, which is the biggest donation in MIS history. The Mission of BBBS is to provide children facing adversity with strong, enduring and professionally supported relationships that help these children to have higher aspirations, greater confidence, better relationships, and avoid risky behaviors for better success at school. Jackson County BBBS supports 250 matches and has 100 youth on the waiting list, and has been serving the county for almost 50 years! All it takes is a minimum of 4 hours a month. Sign up to be a Big Brother or Big Sister today at www.bbbs.org.
Also on board the #70 this weekend will be GRADY'S custom catering. Jerry and Nancy Pollard started their business in 2010 after planning their own wedding and realizing they could offer better and more affordable catering options. They now serve more than 50 weddings a year. Check them out at www.gradyscustomcatering.com
E-hydrate, a nutritional product line featuring numerous products for people of any age, will also be featured on the #70 car. Summer is just beginning, and hydration is a key element not only in the racecar, but for doing any daily activity. Get the hydration, protein, and electrolytes you need today at Target, or at e-hydrate.com.
Ready to go to the fastest track in NASCAR, and tackle Michigan! (Derrike Cope Racing)

Does the Announce Booth Need an Overhaul?

Brad Keselowski made remarks about Jeff Gordon in the announce booth that really made a lot of fans either happy or angry.
“That’s because Jeff Gordon is in the booth,” Keselowski said. “They need to get some people in the booth who aren’t inbred to the sport and own teams and have internal knowledge, because that’s pretty crappy. But it is what it is.” stated Keselowski. In many cases I would agree with Keselowski but this is something that has been said with not only Gordon but also Steve Letarte last season in the NBC Sports Booth during their coverage of the race beginning at Daytona in July. In most cases I like seeing drivers in the booth because you get the in car knowledge that driver has. Now with that being said I like what the Xfinity Series and Fox are doing with having active drivers being in the booth. When it comes to Sunday's with NASCAR on Fox I really didn't see an issue with Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip, and Larry
McReynolds like it had been for many years and understand that having the commentary of Jeff Gordon still gives fans the chance to see Jeff every Sunday but in my opinion Jeff should be on Jimmie Johnson's pit box as an owner and not up in the broadcast booth but that is strictly my opinion. There are people who have done NASCAR Commentary in the past that I honestly would like to see return up in the booth doing calls every race like Rusty Wallace (who currently does MRN broadcasts), Wally Dallenbach, Kenny Wallace, and Dick Berggren. I would personally like to see more of a neutral and level announce booth. (Koelle,2016)  

Active Pest Control to Sponsor 2017 Atlanta Truck Race

McDonough, Georgia-based Active Pest Control will sponsor the March 4 Active Pest Control 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race during Atlanta Motor Speedway's 2017 NASCAR weekend. The race will be the tail end of an XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series same-day doubleheader unique to Atlanta.

"With more than 31 years of providing high-quality service to Georgia residents, we can't think of a
better way to enhance the relationship we've built with our community than to partner with Atlanta Motor Speedway to sponsor the Active Pest Control 200," said CEO Tony Carder. "Active Pest Control is the high-performance pest solution for racing fans everywhere, and we look forward to the exciting action on the track next March and continuing to meet and exceed the needs of our customers."

Active Pest Control is one of Henry County's largest employers and was recently named to the National Pest Management Association Top 100 pest control companies nationwide. Family-owned since its inception in 1985, Active Pest Control is a full-service pest control, termite, wildfire removal and exclusion, attic insulation and crawlspace encapsulation company serving more than 40,000 customers daily in both Georgia and Houston, Texas.

The Active Pest Control 200 will be the second of three NASCAR national touring series races during the weekend. It will polish off the twinbill, following the Atlanta 250 XFINITY Series race, with a scheduled green flag at 4:30 p.m. on March 4. The Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will round out the weekend at 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 5.

Active Pest Control sponsored the Friday qualifying day at Atlanta's 2016 NASCAR Weekend and steps up in 2017 as a first-time race sponsor.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. (Atlanta Motor Speedway)

NASCAR Pinty's Stat Advance: Chaudiere

Quebec native Andrew Ranger will go for his second straight win to kick off the 2016 NASCAR Pinty's Series season this Saturday at Autodrome Chaudiere. Ranger won the season opener last month and will try and score his second oval track win in the province in the CRS Express 300.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The NASCAR Pinty’s Series will visit Autodrome Chaudiere in Vallee-Jonction, Quebec on Saturday for the CRS Express 300. Below is a statistical look at the performance of the series and selected drivers at the track:

CRS Express 300 Setup:

• The CRS Express 300 will be the first of six oval events on the 2016 NASCAR Pinty’s Series schedule, and one of two in Quebec.
• Jason Hathaway is the defending winner of CRS Express 300. He’ll try and tie a series record with his third straight win at Chaudiere this weekend.
• Ontario drivers have won eight of the nine previous oval races in Quebec with Hathaway scoring the two previous races at Chaudiere with Kennington (1), Steckly (4) and Dave Whitlock (1) also scoring wins for those drivers. Andre Ranger became the first Quebec native to win an oval race last season in Quebec at St-Eustache last summer.

At Autodrome Chaudiere:

• Opened in 1992 as a dirt track and was converted to an asphalt racing surface in 2005.
• Has held ACT Castrol Series, PASS North, International Supermodified Association and Sportsman Quebec touring series events.
• Facility held its inaugural NASCAR Pinty’s Series race on June 15, 2014.

Autodrome Chaudiere Data

Race #: 2 of 12
Track Layout: .25-mile asphalt oval
Banking/Straights: progressive from 6-11 degrees
Banking/Turns: progressive from 11-16 degrees
Race Length: 300 laps (75 miles)

Qualifying/Race Data

2015 Pole Winner: Alex Labbe, Dodge, 13.113 seconds, 68.634 mph
2015 Race Winner: Jason Hathaway, Chevrolet, 1:31:18, 49.288 mph
Track Qualifying Record: Steve Mathews, Ford, 13.109 seconds, 68.655 mph (2014)
Race Record: Jason Hathaway, Chevrolet, 1:19:23 seconds, 56.876 mph (2014)

Select Driver Highlights:

Mark Dilley (No. 02 Leland/Johnsonville/BDI Ford)

• Has three wins, three poles, 33 top fives and 52 top 10s in 91 career NASCAR Pinty’s Series starts.
• This will be his 2016 debut. Kerry Micks piloted the No. 02 Ford in the opener at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
• All of his wins and poles have come on ovals, where he has 42 top 10s and an average finish of eighth in 64 starts.
• Led 60 laps and finished as the runner-up in the series’ inaugural Autodrome Chaudiere event in 2014 and finished 17th there a year ago.

L.P. Dumoulin (No. 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge)

• The 2014 NPS Champion and 2011 Rookie of the Year has four wins, a pole, 24 top fives and 38 top 10s in 60 career starts.
• Has a win (2014 Auto Clearing Motor Speedway), 20 top 10s and an average finish of ninth in 32 career oval starts.
• Has one top-five and two top-10 finishes in as many starts at Chaudiere.


Jason Hathaway (No. 3 Fast Eddie/Choko/HGC Chevrolet)

• Has eight wins and 69 top 10s in 110 career starts. Is one of two drivers to compete in every race in NPS history.
• All five of his wins have come on ovals, where he has posted 43 top 10s and an average finish of eighth in 63 starts.
• Led 177 laps en route to victory in 2014’s inaugural event at Chaudiere and followed that up by leading 35 laps en route to picking up the win in last year’s event at the track.
• Finished a career-best second in last year’s final season standings.

D.J. Kennington (No. 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge)

• The 2010 and 2012 NPS champion. Currently is tied for second in all-time NPS career wins (19), top fives (74) and top 10s (91), and is one of two drivers to start each of the 110 all-time events. Also ranks second in series history in laps led (2,797) and fifth in poles (11).
• Suffered first DNF in 69 races last fall at Riverside after starting on the pole. His most recent DNF before last year also came at Riverside International Speedway in 2009.
• His 16 oval wins are second to Scott Steckly for the most in NPS history, and all 11 of his career poles have been earned on ovals. He has an average finish of sixth with 44 races led and 58 top 10s in 70 career oval events.
• Finished third at Chaudiere last season and seventh in 2014.

Gary Klutt (No. 59 Pioneer Family Pools/PoolSuppliesCanada.ca Dodge)

• Has a win, a pole and 11 top 10s in 18 career NPS starts. Both the pole and win came in last year’s season-opener at CTMP.
• Finished seventh at Chaudiere last year and has scored five of his career top-10 finishes on ovals with his best finish to date of sixth at Sunset Speedway in 2015.
• Recently named to be a part of the NASCAR Next program.

Alex Labbe (No. 36 Can-Am/Kappa/Cyclops Gear Dodge)

• Has three poles, five top fives and nine top 10s in 16 career starts. His first career pole came at Autodrome St-Eustache and he also won the pole at Chaudiere last year.
• Labbe also equaled his best career finish of second at this track in 2015. He scored his first career runner-up finish at Riverside in 2014.
• Has recorded three top-10 finishes on ovals.

Kevin Lacroix (No. 74 Bumper To Bumper/Total/Lacroix Tuning Dodge)

• Recorded two wins in seven starts during his debut season in 2015. Won road races at Circuit ICAR and Circuit de Trois-Rivieres.
• Is the first driver in series history to win two of his first four starts, and first to record two victories in rookie season.
• Finished 15th in last year’s final season standings.
• This will be his first appearance at Autodrome Chaudiere.

Andrew Ranger (No. 27 Mopar/Pennzoil Dodge)

• The 2007 and 2009 NPS champion and after his season opening win at CTMP holds the record for all-time wins with 20 and tied for first in poles (17). Has 49 top fives and 70 top 10s in 84 career starts.
• Has five wins, 18 races led, 37 top 10s and an average finish of sixth in 48 career oval starts.
• Finished fourth last year at Chaudiere and 12th in 2014.

Alex Tagliani (No. 18 EpiPen/Riobel/Complexe JCP/Juste du Chevrolet)

• Has two wins, six poles and 10 top 10s in 34 career NPS starts.
• Has a pole, three top 10s, an average finish of 12th and scored his first oval track win at Sunset Speedway last summer for his best finish on an oval in 17 oval starts.
• He finished fifth at Chaudiere last year and came home 14th after qualifying fourth in the inaugural Chaudiere event in 2014.

Other Driver Notes

• Rookie Josh Collins is scheduled to make his first start of the season at Chaudiere. He’s the first driver in series history to compete in the series from Newfoundland. Best career finish in two starts was 10th at Riverside in 2015.
• Donald Theetge will start in a car fielded by four-time champion Scott Steckly. Theetge has two career starts in the series at Trois-Rivieres and Montreal in 2011.

Up To Speed:

• The 2016 season is the first for new series sponsor Pinty’s and the 10th overall for the Canadian-based NASCAR division.
• The 2016 schedule features 12 races at 11 different tracks across five provinces and a return to the road course in Toronto as part of the IndyCar weekend in July.
• Quebec native Andrew Ranger took the lead on the penultimate lap of the season opening race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Part to score the win.
• The next race, the Leland Industries 300 presented by Dickies on June 18, will be the series’ second straight visit to Sunset Speedway in Innisfil, Ontario.

The Future Is Sooner Than You Think - Hendrick Motorsports Edition

NASCAR Race Hub has been starting a special talking about where we see different teams ending up in the next few years and we decided we'd take the same teams and give our opinions about what is to come for each team in the new article series entitled The Future Is Sooner Than You Think. The first team we will cover is the powerhouse of Hendrick Motorsports.

Jimmie Johnson

When it comes to Jimmie Johnson unless Hendrick Motorsports closes their doors or he retires I don't see him leaving anytime soon. Jimmie has made every single one of his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts with Hendrick Motorsports where he has also won 6 titles over 11 years and has a win at Hendrick every year since 2002. Johnson leaving Hendrick would completely make him the hottest free agent but sorry everyone I don't see this guy entering free agency anytime soon. His current contract lasts until the end of 2017 along with his Career long Lowes Sponsorship. If Johnson leaves Hendrick I highly doubt he would go somewhere else, I think Jimmie Johnson Motorsports would be formed but I don't see that out of the 6 time champion at least for the foreseeable future.   

Chase Elliott 

The rookie from Dawsonville Georgia has certainly exceeded my expectations in 2016 and I expect a victory out of him very soon. Chase Elliott is the only person other than Johnson that I can see at Hendrick for the foreseeable future and with the reputation of being an Elliott wins are bound to come and I would honestly be circling Indianapolis on my calendar. Back to what I see in Chase in the next few years. I could see him competing for a championship very early in his career but I could see a Joey Logano look in him where he will come close so many times before finally winning his first. I see Chase Elliott there at HMS longer than I see Johnson just because of the age difference between them. Chase could become the next Guy at Hendrick Motorsports and I think fans will grow to like him. Not just because of his last name or the number he is driving.

Kasey Kahne 

Kasey Kahne's future at Hendrick Motorsports to me isn't looking very bright and if he doesn't leave soon other rides will fill up and he will have nowhere to go. Kahne has shown improvement recently and I am not putting that past him but just look at the last 2 years for the driver of the #5 Chevrolet SS. He missed the Chase in 2015, the only Hendrick Driver to miss, and is on the outside looking in again in 2016 despite his teammates being solidly in. With HScott Motorsports having an opening in either the #51 or #15, I could see Kahne landing there after 2018 when his contract expires. His time at Hendrick Motorsports could last longer than I am anticipating but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

This hasn't been one of Jr's best seasons and trust me it's starting to pan out to his fans. This time last season Dale had a win and was locked into the chase with a total of 7 Top-5's, and 1 Top-10. So far in 2016 Jr. has no wins, 5 Top-5's and 1 Top-10 which is something that is rather surprising considering Daytona and Talladega are not in either of those categories but rather in the DNF categories. As Daytona approaches you know Dale Jr. has his sight set on it but so do 39 other drivers who all feel Daytona is a level playing field. When it comes to
Jr's future at Hendrick, His contract runs out at the end of 2017 and I think the Retirement tour could be coming very soon for Jr. If he doesn't retire I could see JR Motorsports come up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and hold the stature Dale Earnhardt Inc. held at one time. It wouldn't surprise me if you see Jr. at Hendrick for a few more years but I see his own team coming up very soon. Yes JR Nation I could see Dale behind the wheel of a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Truck at Talladega or Daytona very soon and I think a victory is evident with that group.