Monster Energy Cup Series News (16851)
A broken track bar mount spoiled Regan Smith's dash to the finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Dover International Speedway.
As he completed a strong green flag run on the Monster Mile, which was followed by a solid pit stop, Smith radioed his crew during a caution (Lap 334 of 400) to say that something was seriously wrong with his Furniture Row Chevrolet. He was then instructed by crew chief Pete Rondeau to bring the car to the garage where the broken right-side mount was diagnosed.
Though Smith returned to action after the problem was eventually repaired, he was a number of laps down. He was credited with a 34th-place finish in the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks.
"What a difference a week makes," said a disappointed Smith, who captured his first NASCAR win in Darlington, S.C. last week. "The frustrating thing is that our Furniture Row Chevrolet was coming to life just before the track bar mount broke. Our car really picked up steam during the second half of the green flag run before that caution came out. We were definitely in position to make a late-race charge and get a nice finish out of this race."
Smith started the race 11th and ran in the top 10 for nearly the first 100 laps. But then his car went through a handling issue and dropped back to 20th in track position. It appeared he was going to get lapped as the race was approaching the 300-lap mark.
But instead of getting lapped, Smith's car kicked into another gear on the all-concrete surface. At the time of the track bar incident, he was running in 16th place and moving forward.
"I could see the lead car behind me and then all of a sudden the Furniture Row Chevy took off," explained Smith. "At that point of the race we were running similar lap times as the leaders and managed to gain four positions (from 20th to 16th) in a short period of time. The potential for a top-10 finish was there, but we let it slip away due to the breakage."
Smith added, "It hurts because we had a good car and wanted to continue the momentum from last week's win in Darlington. But we know we had a fast car today and we will continue to have fast cars. We'll bounce back, and I am very confident about that. This is a good race team."
The next event for Smith and the Denver, Colo.-based team will be Saturday night's (May 21) Sprint All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It will be Smith's first career appearance in the prestigious event which will pay $1 million to the winner.
"I can't wait for the Sprint All Star Race, that's an event I've always wanted to be part of," stated Smith, who earned the All Star berth as a result of his Darlington victory.
Furniture Row Racing PR
Red Bull Racing Team’s gamble didn’t come at the casino adjacent to Dover International Speedway.
The roll of the dice came on pit road.
No. 83 crew chief Ryan Pemberton called for a two-tire stop under the final caution flag in Sunday’s FedEx 400. Would Brian Vickers’ aging left-side rubber hold up for the last 33 laps? Would he be able to hold off the cars that took four fresh ones? Or would the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota get gobbled up?
Yes. Yes. And definitely no.
After overcoming an early brush with the inside wall and flirting with the top 10 for much of race, Pemberton knew track position was the ticket to a strong showing. Vickers entered pit road for that decisive stop in 11th, restarted fourth and held on for a fifth-place finish — his first top five in a season defined by bad luck.
“I have to thank the Red Bull guys — they did a great job with the car,” said Vickers, who earned his best Dover finish since a sixth in June 2005. “It was definitely a team effort this weekend, both of the teams were working really close together. Ryan and the guys made good calls all day in the pits. Good stops all day. All we needed was track position and that’s why you fought so hard for every spot.”
The top-five also had special significance for the 27-year-old Vickers. The 2010 edition of this 400-miler was the first race Vickers missed due to a blood-clot condition. “It’s a special race for me,” Vickers said. “Last year, I didn’t make it here. Last year, I was lying in the hospital with IVs in both arms when this race was going around. It feels pretty good to finish it — and finish it well.”
Vickers’ teammate, Kasey Kahne, was on target for his third consecutive top five. That was until the engine in his No. 4 Red Bull Toyota quit on lap 331. Kahne came to a stop high in turn two and had to get a push off the track so the team could diagnose the problem. He finished 36th, with his official post-race status being listed as “engine.”
“We had a great Red Bull Toyota. The car was fast,” Kahne said. “I was really loose, and we kept working on it. We got up there and then would fall back on the runs. Early on, it was like there was something wrong on restarts. I over revved it one time, trying to get it to go. I think that had something to do with why the engine let go, and it was probably a little bit my fault. But it wasn’t running. Kind of a bad deal.”
Red Bull Racing PR
Matt Kenseth took two tires under the race’s final caution, restarted second, quickly took the lead and drove right into victory lane to give Roush Fenway Racing the weekend sweep in NASCAR’s top two series at Dover International Speedway (Carl Edwards won the Nationwide Race on Saturday). The weekend continued Roush Fenway’s dominance of the track deemed “The Monster Mile.”
“I’m just blessed to be standing here,” said Kenseth, who scored his 20th career Sprint Cup win and his second of 2011. “We were going to do four tires (under the last caution) and we got in the stall and decided to do two and that was the key. I have to thank Wiley X for jumping on the car this weekend and Crown Royal. If Doug Yates were here, I’d probably give him a kiss; we had so much horsepower and it made our job so much easier.”
Carl Edwards, who had one of the field’s most dominate cars and led 117 laps, finished seventh. Greg Biffle had an issue with the throttle early and battled back to a 19th-place finish, and David Ragan - who had an early incident on pit road - finished 28th in the race.
Edwards looked to make a strong bid for the win, but opted for four tires after the race’s final caution on lap 361 of 400. Kenseth opted for two tires and restarted second. He needed only two laps to take the lead from Mark Martin on lap 368 and he never looked back, leading the final 33 laps and taking his second-career checkered flag at Dover and his first there since 2006.
“I didn’t think that many guys would take two,” said Edwards, who won yesterday’s Nationwide race and has recorded three NASCAR wins at Dover. “I thought Bob’s (Osborne) call was a good one, but it just didn’t work out – those guys (who took two) were just screaming fast. Congrats to Matt Kenseth and Wiley X. We had a good weekend over all. It was going really good there for a while and I thought we were going to win the race.”
The win is Roush Fenway’s third in the Sprint Cup Series this season. It is the team’s ninth at Dover in the Cup Series and its 15th overall NASCAR victory at Dover. It marked just the second time (June, 2004) that the team has swept the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races in a single weekend at “The Monster Mile.”
With the finish, Edwards increased his Sprint Cup points lead to 24. Kenseth moved up to sixth place in the standing; the victory gives him two for the season and all but assures the No. 17 team a place in the 2011 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Biffle leaves Dover 12th in the points and David Ragan is 21st.
Roush Fenway Racing PR
Roush Fenway Racing will host its annual 2011 Fan Day event, on Thursday, May 26th at its corporate headquarters in Concord, N.C. Fans are invited to participate in an array of activities that kick off with autograph sessions by all seven Roush Fenway drivers and legendary team owner Jack Roush.
In addition, Sirius NASCAR Radio will broadcast live on site and Roush Fenway will host its second annual fan tweet up at the event, featuring RickyvsTrevor.com.
Tickets for both autograph sessions are limited and will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis beginning at 8:00 a.m. EDT on the day of the event (Thursday, May 26.)
The autograph sessions are as follows:
11:30 a.m. -- Trevor Bayne, Carl Edwards, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jack Roush
12:30 p.m. -- Matt Kenseth, Greg Biffle and David Ragan
In addition to the above activities, fans will be able to tour the Roush Fenway museum, shop in the store and peruse a variety of displays from Aflac, Scotts, Kellogg’s, Avon and Blackwell Angus.
There will also be live music performed by Luke Kauffman, as well as food and drink vendors so fans are encouraged to make a day of the festivities.
Roush Fenway Racing PR
Jack Roush and his race teams have been battling the “Monster Mile” of Dover International Speedway for almost 25 years and during that time the ‘Cat in the Hat’ has experienced more than his fair share of success at the one-mile concrete oval known for fast turns and gritty racing action. Still, that’s not to say the track has not lived up to its nickname for Roush and his multi-car organization.
“It’s a ‘Monster Mile’ for sure,” said Roush. “It’s concrete, high-banked and there’s lots of grip. You go down in that corner, breathe the throttle a little bit and go hard on the gas. It really doesn’t take a lot of finesse, but you better have both feet on the gas and you better be ready to go.”
At first glance it may appear easy, what Roush and this organization have been able to accomplish in Delaware. His teams boast 13 NASCAR wins at Dover, having won there in all three major series. The stats include eight wins and six poles in the Sprint Cup Series, where the teams have combined to lead over 3,500 laps. In addition, Roush Fenway can claim three Nationwide Series wins and three truck victories.
However, a closer look reveals that Roush Fenway battled intensely before eventually besting the one-mile Monster.
Roush Fenway found speed from the start at Dover, starting on the front row in its first three races there, while winning the pole in two of the three. The team led in six of its first seven races there and finished runner up in three of its first six attempts.
In fact, Roush Fenway led an amazing 611 laps in its first decade of racing there, but victory at the Monster Mile was elusive.
Eventually the ultimate success came with Roush Fenway and Mark Martin besting the track in the fall of 1997, taking the checkered flag from the pole, while leading 194 of 400 laps in a dominating victory. The win appeared to open the flood gates of success, with the team again winning from the pole the following year, this time leading an amazing 379 of 400 laps. Roush Fenway would win again in 1998 and the course of success was set for the organization.
Since that first win Roush Fenway has went on to visit victory lane at Dover 12 more times, with a total of five different drivers taking cars to victory lane at the track. The team will look to expand on the legacy this weekend, when they once again hit the fast concrete of Dover.
Roush Fenway’s Matt Kenseth, who made his first career start at Dover – a sixth-place finish in 1998 – lists the track as one of his favorites on the circuit. Kenseth, who has finished top 10 in 15 of 24 races at Dover, notes that it is perhaps the most unique track on the NASCAR schedule.
“I always look forward to coming to Dover,” said Kenseth, the 2003 Sprint Cup Champion. “It’s kind of always been my favorite track, and it’s always a real challenge. It’s a very unique track. There’s not another track even remotely close to it on the circuit anymore, so I always look forward to coming here.”
Roush Fenway’s Carl Edwards, who has won at Dover in both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series said there is nothing like the sensation of speed at DIS.
“Dover is one of the most fun race tracks we go to,” said Edwards. “It’s got the highest sensation of speed for me of any place we go, so that’s always fun.
“That’s why we all started racing – we like to drive fast,” added Edwards. “It’s a mile. It’s high-banked. It’s fast-paced, and late in the race you can run two or three-wide, which is really fun. And, yeah, the wrecks there are crazy. It’s like driving 100 miles an hour down the hallway in your house. There’s not a lot of room.
“It’s certainly not the biggest track, but it feels like you are going 280 miles per hour. It can be a grueling race track and that is what makes wins there very special.”
Greg Biffle, who has hoisted the monster four times between the NNS and Sprint Cup Series, says that while tough, the track tends to suit the driving styles at Roush Fenway.
“It’s a tough race track and the driver’s ability makes up a little bit more of it,” said Biffle. “Then the car has to make up the rest. I think it is just one of those race tracks that suits our driving styles and suits our cars. It’s a challenge for sure, but it’s one of the places that we really look forward to going as an organization.
Roush Fenway will hope to continue its tradition of fast cars when NASCAR once again rolls into the Monster Mile of Dover this weekend, and you can bet the teams will look to once again take home a couple of Monster trophies to go along with the 12 others that currently set in the team’s trophy case.
“We’ve had a lot of success at Dover over the years for sure,” said Roush. “But we’ve had our heartache as well. You have to earn it there. As I said, it’s not about finesse at Dover. You better hope that your tires don’t give up and you better be ready to get on the gas and go. I think based on our reasonable history at the track and our lineup of drivers, that we’ll be able to do that again with success this year. I would certainly expect with the start to the season that we’ve had and how we have run, that we will go to Dover looking to be contenders and looking to take our Fords back to victory lane there.”
Roush Fenway Racing PR
TRG Motorsports driver Andy Lally is looking for a good finish for the No. 71 Interstate Moving Services Ford Fusion in the show this weekend as the team heads to Dover International Speedway for the running of the FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks.
Crew Chief Doug Richert, who has one career Dover win, is looking forward to the weekend. “Our guys have worked very hard this week to get the car ready for Dover. We spent a lot of hours on the 7-post and pull-down rigs preparing the car. A solid run at Dover would be just what the team needs right now.”
Team owner Kevin Buckler is optimistic about the team’s performance as well. “We are looking forward to having a solid day on Saturday in qualifying and earn a strong finish on Sunday. We had some incredible momentum after the terrific run we had at Richmond as we watched Andy go toe-to-toe with some of the best in the business. It would be nice to be able to have the same momentum from a quality run at Dover as we head home to Charlotte for the next two weeks.”
Rookie driver Andy Lally is preparing to make his first start at the Monster Mile. “I’ve spent some time on the simulator and been watching a lot of in-car footage. Some of the other drivers have been able to provide me with some advice too. My guys have worked extremely hard to prepare the car this week. Doug’s given me great cars at Talladega and Richmond. We had our best and second-best finishes of the season in his first two races with the team. We just have to do our best in the limited amount of practice we have, so that we can keep up with the racetrack throughout the weekend.”
TRG Motorsports PR
Before the green flag drops on the 52nd running of the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, several NASCAR stars will get their engines started in a completely different way when they take to the track with thousands of fans during the Coca-Cola Family Track Walk and Quarter-Mile Cookout.
Fans can get moving alongside Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman and Clint Bowyer, plus meet racing legends Bobby Allison and Ned Jarrett, during the third event in the 2011 Coca-Cola Family Track Walk series, which begins at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 27. Following the walk, fans can enjoy activities for the whole family, including games, music, racing simulators, motivating lifestyle tips and Q-and-A sessions with drivers.
"Coca-Cola Family Track Walks are an uplifting, refreshing wayfor NASCAR fans to get up close and personal with their favorite sport while enjoying some active family fun at the same time," said Stuart Kronauge, vice president, Coca-Cola Trademark Brands, Coca-Cola North America. "Coca-Cola is giving fans exclusive access to walk on a real racetrack and be part of the unique perspective their favorite drivers experience every week."
Following the walk, for the third consecutive year fans can enjoy the Quarter-Mile Cookout at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which features a picnic-style lunch complete with hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and Coca-Cola-brand soft drinks.
The entire day of events is free and open to all ticket and annual credential holders for the Coca-Cola 600. Tickets are available online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-455-FANS(3267).
"We had a tremendous response to last year's Quarter-Mile Cookout and our fans have been hungry for us to bring it back," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "The track walk and picnic lunch is a great way for the speedway and Coca-Cola to say thanks to our race fans for their loyal support of the Coca-Cola 600 and to kick off race weekend."
Throughout the 2011 season, Coca-Cola has given more than 6,000 fans the opportunity to get moving by offering direct access to several race tracks on the circuit. Track walks have already been held in Fontana, Calif., and Talladega, Ala., and additional events are set for Brooklyn, Mich.; and at Texas Motor Speedway in November.
Coca-Cola has been involved with stock car racing for more than 50 years and has been the official sparkling beverage of NASCAR since 1998. Through its motorsports partnerships, Coca-Cola refreshes racing fans at the majority of NASCAR-sanctioned tracks. A signature part of the brand's NASCAR association is the Coca-Cola Racing Family - a group of top drivers that includes Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Jeff Burton, Denny Hamlin, Bobby Labonte, Joey Logano, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Tony Stewart and alumni drivers Dale Jarrett, Ned Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Michael Waltrip. Coca-Cola Racing Family members make appearances and are featured in advertising, promotions and packaging.
If Webster’s dictionary had illustrations, Bobby Allison’s picture would accompany the entry "hard-core racer."
Allison, whose NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career spanned nearly three decades beginning in 1961, could hold his own with any of his peers – a stellar group that included NASCAR Hall of Fame member Richard Petty and fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee David Pearson, among others.
But Allison, born Dec. 3, 1937 in Hialeah, Fla., didn’t just superbly turn a steering wheel.
He built race cars equally as well as he drove them. And he did just that during much of his competitive career. Allison could, most say, turn parts he found in wrecking yards into the equal of those specially machined in Detroit – and the competitiveness of his equipment reflected just that.
Allison, who will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on May 23, raced his own cars for several reasons, foremost because in those days it was the only sure path to NASCAR’s premier division. And later, it became a means of pursuing championships in an era of 50-60 race seasons in which few of the factory-backed owners ran full schedules.
"He was, at that time to me, what a real racer was," said NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and FOX television analyst Darrell Waltrip. "This was a guy who did it all. He was an underdog and he viewed himself that way."
Allison left South Florida and high school early because there weren’t enough races on which to build a career. He and his younger brother Donnie landed in Hueytown, Ala., outside Birmingham. They, along with Red Farmer and later Neil Bonnett and Allison’s son Davey, became the "Alabama Gang," a formidable collection of take-no-prisoners competitors.
He won NASCAR Modified Division championships in 1964-65 after winning 1962-63 titles in NASCAR’s Special Modified Division.
Allison won 84 NASCAR premier series races, tied for third-most on the all-time list, with Waltrip. His first victory came in 1966 at Oxford, Maine driving a self-built Chevrolet under ownership of J.D. "Woody" Bracken, one of 13 different owners for which Allison won.
He scored victories in seven different brands of car, including four of the five wins by Roger Penske’s AMC Matador.
Allison was off to the races – literally and figuratively – catching the attention of NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Cotton Owens, Holman-Moody and Mario Rossi. Between 1967 and 1971, Allison won 27 times on virtually all surfaces and configurations including speedways, short tracks and road courses.
In 1972, then-Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Richard Howard hired NASCAR Hall of Fame member Junior Johnson to prepare and operate an all-star team that included Allison, crew chief Herb Nab and engine builder Robert Yates.
Relations between Johnson and Allison, who brought Coca-Cola sponsorship to Howard’s Chevrolet team, were frequently tense; the Howard-Johnson-Allison pairing lasted just one season. But what a season it was. Allison won 10 races, finished second 12 times and sat on the pole 11 times. About all they didn’t win was the championship. Allison finished second to Petty in a season also remembered for the pair’s epic feud that extended outside the race track, all the way to Petty and Allison partisans in the infields, grandstands and beyond.
In retrospect, Johnson wonders what might have been. "If he’d stayed with me, those would be Bobby Allison’s records, not Richard Petty’s (records)," said Johnson, who went on to win six NASCAR premier series titles with NASCAR Hall of Fame nominees Waltrip and Cale Yarborough.
Allison won the 1978 Daytona 500 for NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Walter "Bud" Moore, a first for both. After finishing second in the standings five times, Allison finally captured the NASCAR premier series championship in 1983 driving for DiGard Racing.
At age 50, Allison became the oldest Daytona 500 winner in 1988 with son Davey finishing in second place – the only time a father and son have finished one-two in the "Great American Race."
Allison’s third Daytona 500 win (he also won in 1982) turned out to be his final trip to Victory Lane. A June accident at Pocono Raceway left Allison with a career-ending head injury. His retirement proved bittersweet. Son Clifford was killed in a NASCAR Nationwide Series accident during practice at Michigan International Speedway in 1992 and son Davey, after winning his own Daytona 500, died following the crash of his helicopter at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993.
"We really had the highs and lows to win the Daytona 500 three times, the last at age 50," said Allison. "To have the heartache and agony, it’s really been a mixed thing. NASCAR has been an important part of our lives and America’s, I think."
The premiere of the NASCAR Hall of Fame Biography: Bobby Allison will air on SPEED at 8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 14.
Before arriving at the high-banked concrete oval of Dover International Speedway, No. 47 Kingsford Toyota driver Bobby Labonte detours to the golf course with his son Tyler for the 10th annual Drive for Autism Celebrity-Am Golf Outing at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington, Del. on Thursday. The event helps raise awareness and funds to serve people affected by autism and their families throughout Delaware. Since 2002, the Drive has raised awareness and $3 million.
“I think DW (Darrell Waltrip) and I are two of the longest running players in the tournament,” Labonte said. “It’s for such a great cause and Artie (Kempner) does an amazing job bringing it all together. I enjoy participating and it’s something my son Tyler and I do each year.”
After the 18th hole, it’s back to business as usual. With one win (1999 from the pole), 11 top-five, 14 top-10 finishes and three pole awards in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Dover International Speedway, it’s safe to say that the Monster Mile has been a good track for the JTG Daugherty Racing driver.
“I’ve had some success at Dover,” said Labonte, who also has a NASCAR Nationwide Series victory at the notable track. “It’s a challenging racetrack, but at the same time it is so fun to race. There are a lot of grooves and it’s not like any other track on the circuit as far as drivability. It has its own challenges, but it’s a great race for fans to watch. You definitely need a good handling car to get around that place.”
Labonte is coming off a solid performance at Darlington Raceway entering the 11th race of the season with his No. 47 Kingsford Toyota Camry. While closing in on the top-10 Saturday night, a last lap accident not of his own accord derailed his efforts forcing him to cross the finish line 18th with a severely damaged racecar.
“Darlington was a step in the right direction because we ran really well and that has us really looking forward to Dover this weekend,” said Labonte. “We ran in the top 15 all night at Darlington and hope to build upon that on Sunday. My crew chief and a few team guys are from the area too. So, it would be nice to have a good finish for them and, of course, for all of our wonderful sponsors.”
For three JTG Daugherty Racing team members, it is a homecoming of sorts. Crew chief Frank Kerr hails from Bensalem, Penn., tire specialist William “Billy” John is from Pitman, N.J., and front tire carrier Dave Kulak is from Runnemede, N.J.
“Dover is one of the faster places we go to and my hometown is one hour north of the track,” crew chief Frank Kerr said. “I used to race quarter midgets there. I have a picture when I was 10 years old of Richard Petty handing me a trophy, which is pretty cool. Ironically, Billy John and I grew up 15 minutes from each other and didn’t know it.”
Since 1989, John has worked with great teams, such as, Michael Waltrip Racing, Penske Racing, Roush Racing and Robert Yates Racing. In 2009, John made the move to JTG Daugherty Racing.
“The first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race I ever went to was in 1981 at Dover that Jody Ridley won - - I think he had been two laps down and won the race,” Billy John said. “Going back to your home track makes you feel different than when you go to any other track because you are on the road for so long. There’s just something about home and having your friends and family come out to watch your race and it means a lot to run well at your home track.
“Bobby, some of the crew guys and I are also going to have a little fun out at Airport Speedway in Wilmington racing Micro Sprints,” John continued. “That track helped me get my start in racing. Guys like Brad and Todd Parrott would come up and race and I got to be a helper. It was a great way for me to network and get into racing on the NASCAR circuit.”
Before joining JTG Daugherty Racing in 2009 as a front tire carrier and an IT director, Kulak cut his teeth in NASCAR as a fabricator and tire carrier for Michael Waltrip Racing.
“Dover was the first NASCAR track I had ever been to,” Kulak said. “Because of the speed, being on top of everything, for me, Dover is my Bristol. It’s not only my favorite track for the speed and in your face action, I also consider it my home track. I grew up and lived in the area most of my life (Runnemede N.J., and lived in Middletown, Del.). When I was younger my family would come down for qualifying and the occasional race. Now, they come to see me race. It’s really ironic. This area, the Delaware Valley, was a great place to grow up. So, it’s nice to come back to your old stomping grounds.”
JTG Daughtry Racing PR