The ladies of NASCAR will once again compete at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 9, 2014 in the fourth annual Better Half Dash
Concord, North Carolina (Oct. 9, 2014) – The ladies of NASCAR are set to compete in the fourth annual Better Half Dash at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014. The girls will be driving U.S. Legend Cars International Bandoleros down the front stretch for the title and to help Motor Racing Outreach and Speedway Children’s Charities in their working making the life of others better.
Last years champion, Ashley Stremme will be on hand to defend her title, and showcase the driving skills that won her the title. “We’ve got some pretty stout competition this year,” said Stremme. “We’ve got some girls coming back. It’s going to be interesting with the bandoleros being so, you know, everybody running the same thing. We don’t get to tweak or test in them.
“It’s going to be tough; it’s going to be interesting. I think it’s all going to be about starting spots,” continued Stremme. “Just because we sit in the pit box week in and week out doesn’t mean we’re not competitive ourselves.”
New faces will also be behind the wheel this year, as Amy Reimann, the girlfriend of Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be running in her first Better Half Dash. “I’m about as green as it gets, so I need a little bit of practice. But I hope we’re competitive and I hope we get the trophy,” said Reimann. “Dale talked me into it. It was offered to me by Kelley (Earnhardt Miller). And I didn’t really know what the Better Half Dash was to be honest. I mentioned it to Dale and he said, ‘yeah, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to do it. It’s going to be so much fun.'”
Below we list the ladies of NASCAR competing in the fourth annual Better Half Dash.
Ashley Allgaier, wife of NASCAR driver Justin Allgaier
AshtonBayne, wife of NASCAR driver Trevor Bayne
Jordan Fish, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin
Karlee Hensley, fiancé of NASCAR driver Dakoda Armstrong
Adrienne Pattie, wife of NASCAR crew chief Brian Pattie
Amy Reimann, girlfriend of NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Jenna Robinson, wife of NASCAR pit crew member Clay Robinson
Melanie Self, representing Motor Racing Outreach
Heidi Stoddard, wife of NASCAR team owner Frank Stoddard
Ashley DeihlStremme, wife of NASCAR driver David Stremme
Kristen Yeley, wife of NASCAR driver J.J. Yeley
The starting grid for the 25-lap fourth annual Better Half Dash will be determined during qualifying on Monday, Oct. 6, 2014 at the 1.5-mile track in Charlotte, North Carolina. Race fans can also help their favourite lady of NASCAR reach the pole position on the grid, by visiting www.go2mro.com/betterhalfdash, and then giving a little money to the charity of their chosen driver. The lady of NASCAR collecting the most money for their charity will be in front of the field heading to the green flag.
The winning driver during the fourth annual Better Half Dash receives $10,000. $5000 is spread between Speedway Children’s Charities and Motor Racing Outreach, while the remaining money is donated by the winning driver to charities of their choice.
Race fans can find more information on the upcoming Better Half Dash on Bojangles Pole Night at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or www.go2mro.com/betterhalfdash.
After finishing 12th in Chicago and 5th in New Hampshire, Jimmie Johnson sits fourth in the Chase heading to Dover International Speedway this weekend
Raleigh, North Carolina (Sept. 23, 2014) – NASCAR driver and six-time Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson has been heard talking about his race car driving like a tank. Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway Jimmie Johnson met with the media and fans to talk about the upcoming Bank of America 500 and take a comparison drive in a World War II tank.
“I have made references to how bad my race car is driving and it driving like a tank. Today I will find out if it’s true,” Johnson joked before climbing aboard. “It’s usually relative to our car not turning sharp enough and from our debriefing earlier, it doesn’t turn very sharp.”
“The comparison’s fair,” Johnson said of driving the 75,000-pound battle-tested beast. “They don’t turn very well. I just feel bad that I tore up the grass so bad.”
You can watch Jimmie Johnson compete in the fifth race in the Chase for NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series Championship, the Bank of America 500, at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Oct. 10 and 11th. Check ESPN and local providers for details on possible television coverage of the upcoming race.
“When we get to Charlotte – granted the format is far different now – but you usually have an idea of who the players are. We’ll have a good idea of who’s showing strength,” Johnson said. “I want another win sticker. This has been a great track for me over the years. It has changed a lot. The surface in May was finally starting to lose its grip. We have a lot of little bumps building around the race track which over the next few years will turn into big bumps and allow us to move around the race track and find some different lines.”
Ford Fusion and Team Penski sit in the drivers’ seat after third straight win
Joey Logano combined a quick pit stop to grab four new tires on Sunday during the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with a great restart to take the lead with just two laps to go and then won the race down the stretch to the finish line. This victory punches his ticket to the Contender round of the 2014 Chase to NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series Championship.
Sports History Today was on hand after the Slyvania 300 to hear what Joey Logano had to say about his victory and the upcoming race at Dover International Speedway.
Did you know that four tires would be the call of the day?
“No, I thought we gave it away at that point, but four tires were good and we had some good restarts and were able to get ourselves back up there. We worked hard. This is my home race track, the coolest place to win for me. I could never pick a better race track to win. I watched my first Cup race here when I was five and I won that other Cup race here, but I just felt like I had to win one the right way here, and this means so much. I’ve got to thank all the boys at Team Penske. We’re doing what we’ve got to do to win this thing right now – both teams are – and I’m proud of that. This is my home track so it means so much to me.”
What went through your mind when the caution came out with four to go?
“I had a lot of things I can’t say right now that came to my mind, but we were able to have some good restarts. The guys did a good job setting this thing up and gave me something to win with today. I went to sleep last night hoping for a top five. That would be good for me at this track because it’s not one of my key places, and that’s why it means so much to win here.”
How does it sound to be going to the next round?
“It feels good to go into the next one. We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing though. We’ve got to keep our eye on the prize and think about the big trophy at the end.”
How did you feel heading into the race?
“A lot went into this one, that’s for sure. I’ll just take you back to when we unloaded we were OK and then yesterday in practice we were so-so. I didn’t feel like we were great and towards the end of practice we made a couple changes and found some speed, started seventh today and was able to work our way up a little bit in the beginning of the race. I felt like, ‘OK, ‘we’ve got something to contend for a victory with,’ if everything worked out right and we ran around top-three most of the day. We came in and put two tires on and a couple cars stayed out, and at that point I had a bad restart third and another bad restarted when I was fifth and that put us sixth or so when the caution came out. Todd put four tires on it and at that point I thought he was crazy because we came out 16th, and I was like, ‘Well, let’s just try to salvage something out of this and try to get a top-10 or top-5,’ because our goal coming into the race was to get to the next round. We’ve got to get to the next round to win the championship. That’s our ultimate goal is to win the championship and we had to get through this day the best we could and had some really good restarts. Before I knew it I was sitting third and was like, ‘Huh, I’ve got a shot at winning this thing.’ I’ve got 30 lap newer tires than anybody and we were able to capitalize with that, and then of course it was caution after caution after caution and that was making me nervous for sure. I don’t know if Todd and Walt were, but I know I was and we were able to capitalize and have some good restarts and be here in Victory Lane. Too me, this is almost like Daytona. It’s such a special place for me. I watched my first Cup race here when I was five and started my first one and won my first one. After the week I had in Connecticut doing some really cool fundraisers, to top it off with a victory is really neat.”
Does this increase your confidence heading to the next round?
“I would think so. It definitely didn’t go the other way. You get a win like that. This is personally I consider my worst race track. That’s terrible to say because it’s my home race track, but I’ve always struggled when I come here. To be able to win at your worst race track that makes you feel like you can win anywhere. It’s just special to be able to do that and the confidence is high with the 22 team right now and all of Team Penske. We all feel like we’ve got some championships to win this year, not only on the Cup side but on the Nationwide side also. Obviously, we’ve already got one with IndyCar so we’re just trying to catch up to them.”
Did you think you had a good chance to win with all of those late cautions?
“Restarts you never know what’s gonna happen, but Todd gives me a really good car that I can be aggressive with on restarts and I think that’s a big deal because the more in control I am the more aggressive I can be, and the more aggressive you are in restarts the more you’re in control of the restart. You don’t want to be the guy going the wrong way. Todd said a second ago about being on the offense and not on the defense. It’s not just putting tires on that makes it like that, it’s having a car that’s capable of running in traffic and it’s something we work on a lot in practice and making sure that we have something that’s gonna be good in traffic and that can restart well. We’ve seen it time and time again with these Sprint Cup races that it’s most likely gonna come down to a late-race caution, so you’ve got to be able to execute the restart and the first five laps around traffic. That takes a good car and kind of knowing what to expect and trying to play it out in your head before it happens.”
How does it feel when you have a car that responds to your input?
“It’s nice when you say something about the race car and Todd is able to adjust it and fix it and it gets better. That’s what we get paid to do. When we go to practice it’s, ‘OK, where we are on speed and what do we need to be better.’ We talk about it and be methodical about our adjustments and go from there. I think Todd does a great job. Todd doesn’t just make changes to make changes. I know that’s how I would be if I was a crew chief. I’d be like, ‘Yeah, yeah, just do that and do that and it will be fine and go for it.’ But Todd really understands and takes the time to talk it out with me, which I think is very important to dig out the deep information and then think about what the adjustment is gonna do and what the reaction to other parts and pieces of the car is gonna be when he does it, and understand why it changes a certain thing. I think that’s what makes him very strong as a crew chief, and that’s why I wouldn’t be a crew chief because I would just go for it. So together we work out.”
How much sweeter was it to win this race today compared to the last time?
“I didn’t know where Victory Lane was here actually, so I just made another lap. I said, ‘I’m just gonna keep going around.’ I didn’t have any rear tires on it. I think it drug the frame rails off the car, but I just didn’t want to come in. I wanted to stay out there. This is, like I said, how big of a win this is for me. I never got out in front of all the fans on the front straightaway before but it was just too cool. I couldn’t give up that opportunity. Then I just wanted to keep going, so I just kept making laps out there. There might not be much left of the car, but it was really special to win here and I wanted to make it last as long as I could.”
Has this track always been an outside line restart track or did weather conditions play a role?
“As far as I can remember, yes, the outside has been the preferred lane, but it’s kind of sketchy. It is where you can get the momentum and most likely you come out in the lead, but the way you get in the corners here, it’s so flat just one lane down that the inside car gets loose really easily, so it’s dangerous being out there, but it is the preferred lane and that’s why when I was in the lane I did everything I could to make sure I had a good enough restart that I had position on him, that I didn’t have to race him through turn one. That was my big goal on every one was just getting through the gear box as quick as I could.”
What happened on the restart when you and Brad were together and Harvick passed you guys for the lead?
“It’s exactly what I just talked about. I got on the inside and we were both racing for the lead and I got loose and I started chasing it up. Thank goodness he held onto it and we held onto it and we both ended up with good days out of it. The important thing is that both of us have moved on to the next round and we can keep racing and working together and trying to win the championship.”
Did you think your shot at the win was gone at that point?
“No, it’s not over until it’s over. I’ve seen these races change a lot in the late laps. No, it’s never over until it’s over. If I’m running fifth with four to go, I still think I can win this thing a lot of times. I think that’s the attitude you’ve got to have. If you get a late-race caution it’s like, ‘I’ve got a shot at it. It might take a miracle, but I’ve got a shot,’ and that’s all I can ask for.”
What’s your attitude heading to Dover?
“Dover is a crazy race track. It’s so much fun to go around it. Right now, my focus is on Texas though. We’ve got a test down there the next two days and we’ve got to make sure we make that test everything we can do out of it and make sure we’re ready for it when we get to Texas and try to win down there again. Right now, I’m focused on that and then we’ll think about Dover. You talked about being relaxed, it’s not really the case. Walt said earlier our next focus is the next race and we need to keep doing what we’ve been doing. We focus hard on each and every race track and we want to go to Dover. Knowing that we’re in the next round is nice, but we want to go out there and win. We want to keep the momentum going and you never know what’s gonna happen later on in this Chase. There could be a time that we don’t make it to the next round and we’ve got to revert back to points. It would be pretty nice to have a solid finish at Dover to try and get a good, solid points position at the end of the year. Our goal is to win the championship though, so we have to get from round to round, but just because we’re in the next one doesn’t mean we’re gonna take an off weekend next week.”
The next test for competitors is the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on September 28, 2014. Four drivers will be eliminated from the Chase for the 2014 Sprint Cup Series Championship next week. You can catch the race live on ESPN starting at 1 p.m. eastern time and the race begins at 2 p.m.
Penske Racing gives Ford its 1th win of the season, but the first at Chicagoland Speedway
Joliet, Illinois (Sept. 14, 2014) – Brad Keselowski won for the second consecutive time, and the fifth overall this season, on Sunday at Chicagoland Speedway to advance to the Challenger round of the 2014 Chase.
This win puts Keselowski and Ford Racing at the front of the pack and in control of their own destiny heading to the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 21. Presently, he’s just seven points ahead of second place racer Jeff Gordon, nine ahead of his teammate Joey Logano in third, and 13 ahead of Kevin Harvick in the Chase for the 2014 Sprint Cup Championship trophy. You can check the official standings for the Sprint Cup series here.
With only two weeks remaining in the first round of the Chase, several drivers are on the verge of being eliminated, and need to put their foot down on the accelerator. Ryan Newman finished 15th at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, after starting second on the grid, and needs to pick up the pace this Sunday. AJ Allmendinger sits five points outside the cutline, and after finishing 22nd last week, will need to find a path through the pack and finish high in the standings to keep his hopes for the second round of the Chase alive. Greg Biffle sits nine points behind the cutline and after an average start and 23rd place finish at Chicagoland Motor Speedway, is expected to let his horses do the talking this Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Sports History Today was on hand after the race to listen to Brad Keselowski talk about his win at Chicagoland on Sunday.
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion
How you were able to win? “I am not really sure what to say. I don’t really know what happened I just know we got to the lead. There was traffic and I was just digging and in the zone. The recorder was turned off so I don’t remember what happened. I had my head down doing all I could do. We had a great Miller Lite Ford Fusion that I knew from the start would be good but man it was really awesome the last few runs. We really dialed it in and the 2 crew did a excellent job. What a day. Man, I am still pumped.”
Starting 25th on the starting grid, how much patience did it take to make it to the front and win? “You have to be so patient. The cars in traffic are all over the track and it is very easy to spin out on your own and you have to pace yourself. I don’t know what to say. I am so thankful to be here. I want to say thanks because I know the fans can hear me. I saw all of them standing on their feet when we made the pass for the lead and that was awesome. Thank you fans for being here and for your support. What a great day. God that was sweet.” How does it feel to make it to the next round of the Chase? “Awesome.”
Give our readers a few comments about the way the race played out for you today. “I guess you couldn’t ask for a better way to start the Chase other than starting up front. Just phenomenal with the way things played out. I don’t know if we were the fastest car. There were some runs where I thought we were really fast and then some runs where I thought the 4 and the 42 were really fast. It was so hard to tell. Whoever had the cleanest air was really at such an advantage. But towards the middle part of the race, that’s when we lost track position. That was something that we all thought was awful at the time, but I guess it worked out. Then from there we just fought, just climbed and clawed. I think we got up to eighth, and Paul made the call or decision to pit a little bit late. It worked out perfectly. We were able to be on pit road right as the yellow came out. That put us from eighth to fourth, I think. We were able to take advantage with that on the restarts, get up to third. I just saw a hole and I went for it. The 4 and the 42 were racing really hard, doing all the things they needed to do. It just opened a hole. I didn’t know if my car would stick or not, but I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t try it. I tried it, it did. That got us into the lead. Even that was going to be close. I think the 42 was quite a bit faster as the long run went. We got that yellow. Things evened out. We were able to take advantage from there.”
Everything didn’t go well with the car today, but despite this you seemed to be confident throughout the race. Was there ever a time during the race you thought things were about to fall apart, or were you confident throughout the competition? “I knew we were going to need to catch a break to get to Victory Lane from there. That was going to be tough. We did catch a small one. But I was really surprised how much speed we had to get as close as we did to the front there. That was amazing. I think we drove up to eighth. We restarted 16th or 17th in position, but probably had to be 30th or something in car order. So to get by that many cars, get close to the front, was really an incredible run, and put us in position to capitalize when that yellow came out. That was something that all came together. From there, I knew once we got to fourth with 30 or 40 to go, it was going to be about executing the restarts. We had an okay one the first time where we just really held serve. The outside groove was very, very difficult to get a good restart in with wheel spin. Then we had a great one there the last one. There were three of them. I can’t remember there were two or three of them. The last one, once we had gotten the lead. We just put it all together, and that was very, very special.”
Give our readers an idea of what this win means in terms of the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship? “It means a lot. My boss would say don’t read your own press clippings. I want to enjoy the moment but I still know there’s nine weeks to go. We have a bit of a hall pass for the next two, which I’m very appreciative. But those other seven, nobody cares that we won Chicago, nobody cares that we won Richmond or the other three races. It keeps resetting. You have to reset yourself. You have to keep developing the car and pushing as a team, whether it’s on pit road, the car handling, spec, whatever it might be, or driver tactics. So I want to be thankful for today, but I know there’s a long ways to go. Today was about as much of a statement as you can make on a week one with ten weeks to go. I don’t want to understate it but certainly don’t want to overstate it. It’s a hard balance.”
What does this race mean for you and the team? Is this win a road sign the other racers need to heed? “I think kind of like I was saying before, it’s a statement for this week. After we get done with Dover, everything resets. I still don’t think we were the fastest car. It was probably pretty even between the 4 and the 42 and maybe the 24. It was about the clean air and restarts. But I’m still very thankful for what we were able to do today and we got to keep pushing.”
How is this win going to change the way you race this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway? Will you be willing to let it all loose, knowing it doesn’t really matter what you do here, or will you play it conservative and save the car for later races? “I don’t know. I guess that’s something we have to sit down and discuss as a group. I can’t really say I’ve thought about that in detail. I think there’s potential with people. There’s potential with pieces we might be worried about from a reliability standpoint, things of that nature that come to mind. I don’t know what those opportunities are. A guy like Paul, Travis, Tim Cindric, they know that best and could probably answer that question better, but we still have a lot to talk through and work on. Certainly don’t want to lose focus on the seven races after that, as well.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup series action continues this weekend on the pavement at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. Brad Keselowski will be on hand to entertain and make a run for his third consecutive Sprint Cup series win. Always willing to talk to fans and let it all go on the race track, Brad will be happy to show you his No. 2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion, and sign an autograph.
If you can’t make it to Loudon this Sunday for the running of the Sylvania 300 on the pavement of the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. ESPN’s Motorsports This Week is airing a live telecast of the second race of the 2014 Chase on NASCAR Countdown starting at 1 p.m. ET. The green flag will drop around 2:15 p.m., so you have time to grab a few snacks and get ready for the fun!
Round one of the NHRA Mello Yellow Countdown to the Championship playoffs delayed until next weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals
Texas Motorplex, Dallas (September 21, 2014) – If you love drag racing, but missed the airing of round one of the NHRA Mellow Yellow Countdown to the Championship playoffs at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday afternoon because you had to work? Your Lucky Rabbit’s Foot must be working. Charlotte Motor Speedway race officials had to delay the Pep Boys NHRA Carolina Nationals due to persistent rain showers. Today NHRA officials decided round one would continue during qualifying rounds of next weekend’s AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals at the Texas Motorplex near Dallas.
You still have three rounds of Top Fuel and Funny Car to watch and four pairs of Pro Stock cars still need to complete the first round. Pro Stock Motorcycle competitors still have to compete, as well, so you only missed part of the fun.
In Pro Stock top drag racers Erica Enders-Stevens and John Gaydosh; Jonathon Gray and Rodger Brogdo; Vincent Nobile and Larry Morgan; and Dave Connolly and Shane Tucker still need to complete their first round runs against each other.
This Sunday J.R. Todd and Spencer Massey; Billy Torrence and Tony Schumacher; Steve Torrence and Leah Pritchett; and Morgan Lucas and Khalid alBalooshi will compete in the Top Fuel quarterfinals.
In Funny Car the quarterfinals will feature Dave Richards vs. John Force; Bob Tasca vs. Ron Capps; Robert Hight vs. Jeff Arend; and Matt Hagan vs. Tim Wilkerson.
Watch 12 Hours of the Biggest Event in Drag Racing this weekend
Do you love to watch the big boys race down the track at 300 mph? ESPN is showing 12 hours of one of the most popular races in the NHRAMello Yellow Drag Racing Series season on ESPN2 this weekend. This is your chance to enjoy the 60th running of the boys in the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis.
Coverage begins at 6 p.m. Friday, with qualifying rounds on ESPN3. Viewers can watch the qualifying rounds of the race on the multi-screen capability of the network. On Sunday viewers can watch qualifying rounds for the Top Fuel and Funny Car classes on ESPN2 starting at 11 a.m. The action culminates on Monday with six hours of drag racing eliminations that are fun and exciting to watch. There will be two sessions on Monday, the first will be telecast on ESPN3 at 11 a.m. and the second will air at 12 noon on ESPN2.
Four-time NHRA champion Gary Scelzi will be on hand, along with ESPN’s normal lineup of announcers, to lend a useful comment or two and add a little class to the show. You can even watch all of the competition on computers, smartphones, tablets, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV via WatchESPN.