Saturday, Oct 16

Kevin Harvick has clinched the pole in Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Harvick’s first pole of 2016. His last pole came at Phoenix in March of 2015.

 

“This has just been a fun car to drive today. Hopefully, we can get it dialed in for race trim. We struggled when we first rolled off the truck in race trim and we just got it better and better and better. We applied all that stuff to qualifying so hopefully we’ll what we learned in qualifying we can apply to the race trim stuff and go from there,” said Harvick about his car today.

 

As the first round of qualifying went green, numerous cars were caught in the inspection. However, Harvick was the fastest in the first round at a speed of 194.756 mph. AJ Allmendinger was second at a speed of 194.252 mph, Alex Bowman was third at a speed of 194.140 mph, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was fourth at a speed of 193.840 mph, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five at 193.833 mph. Within the last 30 seconds of round one, Matt DiBenedetto was able to bump Kyle Larson out of the 24th position to transfer. All drivers made time on the track. All 12 drivers remaining in the Chase for the Sprint Cup advanced into the second round. Notable drivers who did not advance include Larson who qualified 25th, Trevor Bayne who qualified 27th, and Clint Bowyer who qualified 31st.

 

The second round of qualifying saw Bowman at the top of the board with a speed of 196.200 mph. Harvick was second at 195.494 mph, Chase Elliott was third at 195.228 mph, Kasey Kahne was fourth at 195.087 mph, and Martin Truex Jr rounded out the top five at 194.925 mph. Chase drivers who did not advance to the final round include Matt Kenseth who will start 17th, Austin Dillon who will start 19th, and Brad Keselowski who will start 20th. 

 

The third round of qualifying saw Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch run the same speed at 195.228 mph. Harvick will start on the pole. Bowman will start second at a speed of 196.029 mph, Elliott will start third with a speed of 195.759 mph, Ky. Busch will start fourth, and Stewart will round out the top-five. Jimmie Johnson was the lowest qualifying chaser in this round. He qualified 11th at a speed of 192.630 mph.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from Charlotte Motor Speedway will be two practice sessions at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.

In a very entertaining race on the quarter-mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Katelyn Sweet dominated to win Motor Racing Outreach’s Better Half Dash. Paige White finished second and Haley Dillon finished third.

"I had so much fun. I told Kyle [Larson] this week that I wish I could do this a little more often," said Sweet. 

The race saw numerous cautions. Candice Smith, wife of Chris Smith of Red Horse Racing, wrecked into turn 1 bringing out the first caution. The caution flew for a spin on the backstretch.. The caution flew again for Julie Mauldin and Smith. Tati Papis spun, but the field remained green. Maluldin, who wrecked earlier, brought out the caution after stalling on the backstretch. After a few laps of green flag racing, Wendy Venturini went for a spin in turn 2.  After the restart, Paige White took the lead from Katelyn Sweet, but the caution flew for a spin by Dillon. Under caution, there was a spin by McAllister. However, Sweet went on to win the race.

Before the start of the event, Motor Racing Outreach raised a total of $58,000. The top fundraiser of the event was Mauldin with a total of $20,790. She had the chance to pick where she wanted to start, but chose to remain in the same position she qualified in because she wanted everyone to start where they qualified. Over the six years of this event, over $300,000 has been raised for charities. This has become the biggest fundraiser for MRO. This event brings the ladies of NASCAR for fun and excitement. After the race, MRO announced this race raised over $70,000 this year. 

The Better Half Dash was made possible by Racing Electronics, US Legends Cars International, MRO, Charlotte Motor Speedway, and Performance Racing Network.

It was announced today that Maaco will join Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

Maaco is a Charlotte-based company and provides auto paint and collision repair company. They will join Furniture Row for one race as the rear quarter-panel sponsor.

 

“We’re proud to partner with Martin Truex Jr., and Furniture Row Racing for the Charlotte race. He’s a great driver, and even more important, a great representative for the hundreds of Maaco franchisees who will be cheering him on this Saturday night,” said Jason Ryan, President of Maaco Paint and Collision.

 

“Anytime you can have a Charlotte-based company displayed on your race car it carries a special feeling of pride, knowing that you are being supported locally in the hub of NASCAR racing. It is even more special to have Maaco, a leader in its industry, on our car at a Charlotte Motor Speedway race, which is not only their home track but also a home track for a majority of drivers competing this weekend at the historic oval,” said Truex Jr.

 

“From a business standpoint, when you have an industry-leading company such as Maaco supporting your team it can only serve as a resume builder while seeking additional sponsorship,” said Joe Garrone, president of Furniture Row Racing.

 

Joining Furniture Row in announcing new sponsors, Hendrick Motorsports joined in the day of sponsorship announcements.

 

UniFirst and Hendrick Motorsports struck an eight year agreement to sponsor the no. 5 Chevrolet. UniFirst is a workwear and textile service company. The contract will run through 2023.

 

Unifiers will be the primary Sprint Cup sponsor for 2016 and 2017, with the sponsorship increasing to three primary races annually from 2018-2023. They will be one of the full season associate sponsors of the No. 5.

 

The primary sponsorship for 2016 will debut at Talladega Superspeedway and Martinsville Speedway.

 

“UniFirst is excited to be a primary sponsor of Kasey and Hendrick Motorsports,” said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications for UniFirst. “This partnership is a great opportunity for our company because Hendrick Motorsports is one of the premier -- and most highly respected -- teams in professional auto racing. UniFirst’s broad customer base, which includes 300,000 business locations across North America, employs thousands of enthusiastic NASCAR fans, so this relationship is a natural fit. We’re extremely proud to have the UniFirst brand represented in such a dynamic atmosphere.”

 

“When a sponsor feels strongly enough to commit for eight years, it sends a clear message,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “There’s tremendous excitement about the opportunities our team and our sport present for UniFirst. They have a reputation for world-class service, the highest quality products and services, and having incredible people. We share a similar mindset and culture, and we’re looking forward to working together across our entire organization.”

 

“UniFirst will be a great addition to our partners at Hendrick Motorsports,” Kahne said. “They’re a reliable company that we’ve worked with at Kasey Kahne Racing for a long time, so I was happy to hear they are coming on board. I’m looking forward to having them as part of the No. 5 team and working with them in the years to come.”

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads back home to Charlotte Motor Speedway to kick off the “Round of 12” in the Chase for the Sprint Cup for the Bank of America 500, the only Saturday night race in the Chase. This is the final voyage to the Charlotte area for 2016.

 

40 drivers are scheduled to compete in the Bank of America 500.

 

Charlotte Motor Speedway is a 1.5-mile asphalt speedway located in Concord, North Carolina. The front stretch is 1980 feet long with the backstretch at 1500 feet. The first and second turns are 2400 feet in length with turns three and four at 2040 feet. The turns are banked at 24 degrees with the straightaways at five degrees.

 

This is the 57th October event at Charlotte. This will be the 116th event all together from Charlotte. This race has seen 44 different pole winners with Jeff Gordon as the youngest and Bobby Allison as the oldest. The race has seen 49 different drivers win with Gordon as the youngest and Cale Yarborough. 16 races have been won from the pole with the last race being the Coca-Cola 600 in May by Martin Truex Jr. Truex Jr. holds the race record set back in 2016 at 160.655 mph. Kyle Busch holds the qualifying record set back in 2014 at 197.39 mph.

 

Drivers are excited to be racing “back home” at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

“I'm proud of the way we've been running. I think we've been building and gaining on some things that we've been missing. Really really cool to move on, I’m proud of that. Like I said, this group has been doing a really good job. I’m proud of all these guys and we are excited to get on to Charlotte. We had a good car there in the spring and fought hard. Hopefully we can get that next little bit there this weekend,” says Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.

 

“Charlotte has been a tough track for us when it comes to this race weekend in the Chase for the last few years and it’s certainly a track that we need to work on in order to make sure that we qualify well and keep our track position. I feel that overall Charlotte has been a pretty good track for us. We just haven’t been able to get some of the finishes there when we’ve needed them. Track position is always so important at Charlotte and it’s been one of the hardest tracks to pass at recently, especially at night. It’s just very difficult to get around other cars at Charlotte even if you’re a lot faster than a car ahead of you. It’s important to put a lot of emphasis on qualifying, pit stops and restarts heading into this weekend,” said Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.

 

“It’s always nice to race at Charlotte.  It is good to race in our backyard and I’ve had some luck at Charlotte.  We had a good run there earlier this year racing our way into the All-Star race.  Hopefully we can get another good finish this weekend at Charlotte,” said Greg Biffle, driver of the No. 16 Rosh Fenway Racing Ford.

 

There will be one practice session on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN. Qualifying for the Bank of America 500 will be at 7:00 p.m EST on NBCSN and Performance Racing Network. There will be two practice sessions on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN. Performance Racing Network and NBC will have the action on Saturday night in the Bank of America 500 at 7:00 p.m. EST.

Fire up the scanner, it is time for Crew Chatter with Speedway Digest writers. This week we tackle New Hampshire and Kentucky with the question, “Should NASCAR get rid of post-race laser inspection?”


Katie Williams:

The LIS system has been a difficult process for some teams but I think it still needs to be done after a race. Cars get banged around oon the race track and you just never know what is done on purpose and what just got a little out of place during some hard racing.

I've never seen the system up close so I don't know what all it checks. I kind of compare it to drug testing athletes. Inspect the top 10 finishers or even just the current 'Chasers'. I feel like this is one of those problems that won't be solved because teams are smart and look for ways to cut corners. I guess that's why the penalties have to be more strict. I'll be watching to see if it does have an impact on how the Chase race plays out.

Davey Segal:

This is NOT an easy question, by any means. So let's take a brief look at both sides of the coin.

If NASCAR were to remove laser inspection from post-race inspection, one would think that the main things officials would look at would be tires, engines and give an "eye test" to the body of the race cars. However, it would leave much room

for possible rules infractions when it comes to skew, side skirts, etc.

If NASCAR were to keep the laser inspection in post-race inspection, it would eliminate any questions. Transparency is important in evert facet of life, and it should be no different in the premier form of North American

motorsport. Personally, I think NASCAR should KEEP post-race LIS. If you cheat, even by 0.001 inches, you should have consequences and be held to the highest standard.

Davey Segal:

This is NOT an easy question, by any means. So let's take a brief look at both sides of the coin.

If NASCAR were to remove laser inspection from post-race inspection, one would think that the main things officials would look at would be tires, engines and give an "eye test" to the body of the race cars. However, it would leave much room

for possible rules infractions when it comes to skew, side skirts, etc.

If NASCAR were to keep the laser inspection in post-race inspection, it would eliminate any questions. Transparency is important in evert facet of life, and it should be no different in the premier form of North American

motorsport. Personally, I think NASCAR should KEEP post-race LIS. If you cheat, even by 0.001 inches, you should have consequences and be held to the highest standard.

Caleb Whisler: 

I believe that post-race LIS is needed because it allows for more transparency for fans and drivers. However, I applaud NASCAR for not penalizing for small infractions. The small infractions were resulting from damage done during the course of the event. NASCAR has been tasked from the teams to “save the them from themselves” and this is just the right step. Inspecting all current chasers will help level the playing field.  I will be surprised if we see any “encumbered” penalties in the near future. Hopefully, with the new rules announced this week, this is a step in the right direction. What will NASCAR do when the Chase is over about post-race LIS? That question still needs to be answered.

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