NXS: Hisense 4K TV 300 Preview
After a couple of weekends off, the NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to on-track action at the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Hisense 4K TV 300. There will be two stage lengths of 45 laps and a final 110 lap shootout on Saturday afternoon.
42 drivers are scheduled to arrive in Charlotte to compete for the 40 car field on Saturday. Todd Bodine will be driving in the 07 car for Ray Black Jr. on Saturday. Cup drivers scheduled to run in the race include Austin Dillon, Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski, and Kevin Harvick.
This will be the 36th annual Hisense 4K TV 300 from Charlotte Motor Speedway. There have been 45 different pole winners. 33 different drivers have found their way into victory lane. 11 races have been won from the pole with A. Dillon being the last driver to do so in October of 2015. Mark Martin holds the race record at 155.799 mph set back in 1996. Jimmie Johnson holds the qualifying record set back in 2005 at 187.735 mph.
Xfinity drivers are ready to return to action this weekend in Charlotte.
“Charlotte Motor Speedway is a place that is obviously a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to racing at home this weekend with this Breyers team,” said Elliott Sadler, current points leader. “We had a great test a couple of weeks ago and everybody at JR Motorsports was able to go out there and run laps and I think we learned a lot. We didn’t quite have the speed we were looking for, but we also tried a lot of things and we were able to get a good database of things we tried and what worked and what didn’t. I think that’s even more important at a test.”
“I’m excited for everyone to be able to come out to Charlotte and join me for a lap around the track,” said Ryan Reed. “Getting a look at the banking and making a lap around the 1.5-mile track is a great way to #DriveYourHealth, while also raising money for a great cause and something that I know firsthand can affect so many people.”
“I’m ready to get back behind the wheel of the No. 41 Hunt Brothers Pizza Ford,” said Harvick. “We had a good test at Charlotte a couple weeks ago and the No. 41 guys are working hard to make our cars better each and every time we go out. (Richard) Boswell (crew chief) has really been working hard, just for the fact that he’s building a team from scratch and we should have a great shot at running up front and competing for SHR’s first XFINITY win.”
Teams will only have two practice sessions on May 25th at 4:00 p.m. EST and 6:00 p.m. EST. Teams will qualify on May 27th at 10:00 a.m. EST. The race will go green shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network.
MENCS: Coca-Cola 600 Preview
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns for the second week in a row to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600, the sport’s longest race and the nightcap on one of the biggest days in all of motorsports. The race will consist of four stages each of 100 laps.
40 drivers will arrive in Charlotte to compete for 40 spots on Sunday night. Carl Long was scheduled to attempt to qualify, but with the chance of impending rain in the Charlotte area and being short on people with the Xfinity car running this weekend, he withdrew.
Earlier in the week, Charlotte Motor Speedway announced that they would be placing VHT, the sticky substance used in the low groove at Bristol, on the high line in the corners. Officials at the track have also ran the tire dragon over the sticky substance. Officials believe this move will help the high groove come in during the 600, something that did not happen in the All-Star Race.
The Coca-Cola 600 will also feature the addition of a fourth stage. Each stage will be 100 laps.
“The stage racing format is delivering more dramatic moments over an entire race, fueling tremendous racing action this season,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “With a fourth stage added to the Coca-Cola 600, the historic event will have another layer of strategy for teams, and even more excitement within the race for fans.”
This will be the 58th annual Coca-Cola 600. There have been 45 different pole winners at Charlotte. 49 different drivers have made their way into victory lane. Only 16 drivers have won from the pole with Martin Truex doing so last year in the same event. Truex Jr. also set the race record at 160.655 mph in 2016. Kurt Busch set the qualifying record in 2014 at 198.771 mph.
Teams will be allotted four sets of tires for practice, one set for qualifying, and 11 sets for the race. Goodyear is bringing the same tire compound as last season.
Drivers are excited about 600 miles at Charlotte and the chance to honor our nation’s heroes.
“This weekend is more than racing – it's a time for Americans to remember and pay tribute to our military service members who gave their life so we can enjoy our freedom,” said Truex, who is the defending champion of the Coca-Cola 600. “As I learn the courageous background of 2nd Lt. John Yates during his time in Vietnam he is without a doubt a true American patriot.”
“I think you saw from the All-Star Race that track position is going to be key. But we will have longer green-flag runs Sunday and handling will come into play,” said Clint Bowyer, who is looking for his first win in 2017. “We had a really good car last week. If we could have gotten out front in the All-Star Race like we did in the Open, then we would have been tough to handle.”
"Charlotte is a big weekend for us," Chris Buescher said. "We need to come out here and be competitive. This is our fifth 1.5-mile track this season. We’re starting to get an idea of where our intermediate track program is at, and what needs to be done to improve on it. We’ve got to come out and get the job done. This team has been working really hard. We’ve been coming out with better racecars, and we’re headed in the right direction. We get a lot of families from employees in the shop that are able to come out to the races at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) and it’s really special and important to be able to go out and run well for not only the guys on the road every weekend, but for everyone in the shop too."
Cup teams will have one practice session beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, May 25th with qualifying set for 7:15 p.m. EST. Friday will be a “dark” day in Charlotte. Action will pick up on Saturday with two practice sessions slated for 9:00 a.m. EST and 11:30 a.m. EST. The Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcasted on FOX and Performance Racing Network on May 28th at 6:00 p.m. EST.
The Candy Man Can and Did at Charlotte
CONCORD, N.C-- After a daring move to go three-wide on the start of the final 10 lap shootout, Kyle Busch went victorious in the Monster Energy All Star Race. Busch was able to sweep the weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway by winning tonight and the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 last night.
“It’s the All-Star race for one and for two, we’ve never won at Charlotte in a Cup car so we finally achieved that goal tonight and won the All-Star race and won a million bucks, so there’s reason to celebrate and to celebrate big. I can’t say enough about this team, everybody on this M&M’s Camry, this M&M’s Caramel Camry this week. First race, first win for those guys. Being a whole new product and being on the shelves here in May, it’s a whole new launch and a whole new program and it’s here to stay, so everybody pick up your caramel,” said Busch. “Can’t say enough about Adam Stevens (crew chief). You have Adam Stevens and these guys in the pit box and you can rely on them all day long. I had to do that tonight. You know we weren’t quite the fastest car, but we made the right changes when it mattered most. We made the right moves when it mattered most and we got the most out of our night tonight and got here to victory lane. Feel so relieved, alluded, proud and excited all in the same time.”
This was Busch’s 12th attempt to score an All-Star victory, and his first victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway in a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race.
After dominating the first two stages, Kyle Larson was able to finish in the second position after losing some track position in the third stage by going to the “option” tires.
“My pit crew has been awesome all year and I don’t want to take anything away from them. We came down pit road the leader and three people passed us, that was pretty much the difference there. But, in ten laps, track position is huge. We just didn’t have it there at the end,” said Larson. “We had the best car out there, for sure. In traffic I thought it was really good. I thought we had it most of the race but that’s how racing goes. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But I think we had a really fast car today. We’ll go onto the 600, that’s a long race, and try it again.”
Being a silent contender for most of the night, Jimmie Johnson was able to win the third stage and finish third overall in the All-Star race.
“When you’re the second place car, you can’t jump the leader. But everybody in the second, third, and fourth row is going to jump and do what they can to roll-up on the situation. So, I was really hopeful of old tires and being on the bottom. They’d be able to hold that lane back, especially Kyle (Busch) and how good he is on race starts. And it just didn’t happen. He got in there. I had a decent start. They weren’t able to push me and get me going. And I had a couple of shots at him,” said Johnson. “He wasn’t handling too well at the start of the run, but I just drove too hard. I could see a million dollars out the windshield and I just drove this Lowe’s Chevy way too hard in the corner a couple of times and gave up some ground. We learned a little bit tonight and we’ll come back next week and have some more fun.”
Drivers will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway on Thursday to begin preparations for the Coca-Cola 600, the sports longest race. FOX and Performance Racing Network will have the coverage on May 28th beginning at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Bowyer Wins Open Pole
CONCORD, N.C— Clint Bowyer will start from the pole in today’s Monster Energy Open from Charlotte Motor Speedway. This is Bowyer’s first career open pole
In the first round of qualifying, Bowyer posted the fastest speed at 188.765 mph. Ryan Blaney was second fastest at 188.646 mph. Erik Jones was third fastest at 188.627 mph. Chase Elliott was fourth fastest at 188.107 mph. Austin Dillon rounded out the top-five by posting a speed of 186.961 mph in the final moments of the opening round. Danica Patrick was in contention to make the top-eight with a speed of 184.427 mph, but the speed of A. Dillon bumped her out of that final round. Michael McDowell and Reed Sorenson were the only two drivers who did not post a speed in qualifying.
The second round of qualifying went green, but the caution flew do to a rogue golf cart going onto the racing surface. Bowyer posted the fastest speed at 189.474 mph. Blaney will start second with his speed of 188.009 mph. Elliott will start third with his speed of 187.859 mph. A. Dillon will start fourth with a speed of 187.487 mph. AJ Allmendinger will start fifth with his speed of 187.285 mph.
The Monster Energy open will be live on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Tires, Tires, Tires Everywhere: A Look Into Tires For All-Star Race
CONCORD, N.C.— After the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with the help of Goodyear, NASCAR, and Speedway Motorsports Inc. officials, Michael Waltrip was able to take laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway to test the difference between the “prime” and “option” tire being used in the Monster Energy All-Star Race on Saturday night. Waltrip ran one lap at speed on the “prime” tire and multiple laps on the “option” tires.
Goodyear has allocated teams in the All-Star race the use on one set of the “option” tires to be used on Saturday night. The option tire is a softer tire compound compared to the prime tire. The addition of this tire allows for strategy to be played during the race. If teams choose to use the option tire for the final segment, they will start behind those who took the primary tire.
Goodyear officials believe the option tire will be a half a second faster than the primary tires. However, they will fall-off within a few laps.
When Waltrip ran laps after practice, he explained the difference he could tell with the tires.
“The difference was how much harder could I run because it’s not set up like our cars Saturday night, for sure. When it hit bumps on the primary, it chattered across them. I wasn’t going to spin out. I ran through the bumps under control. When we put those (option) on, I was able to go across the same bumps, feel the same uneasy feeling, but no chatter. You could feel the same bumps, but the tires didn’t let the car go out from underneath me,” said Waltrip.
Waltrip was unable to feel tire fall off, but believes drivers will feel a fall off within six laps from running at speed.
“I didn’t run enough laps. I don’t think I could get them to with the speed I was running. They’re going to be going 20 to 30 mph faster in the corner. They’ll go away in a hurry, you can guarantee that. I think they will be perfect for six to eight laps then you hang on. Hopefully you have a gap if you are able to use them in a timely fashion and take advantage of them,” said Waltrip.
Although his laps were not at the speed drivers will be running, Waltirp could tell the difference in the tires.
“There is definitely more grip in these tires. You can run as fast on the primary for one lap as you could on the optional because they’re new. after a couple laps, the greens will still go fast and then fall off. Then it’ll switch,” said Waltrip. “The optionals will wear out and the primary’s will have more longevity. I can’y wait to see what they do.”
During practice, Ryan Newman ran 10 consecutive laps on the “option” tire. Based on the calculations of Speedway Digest, Newman was 5.702 mph slower than when he first started. During the only practice session of the weekend, Kyle Busch used the “option” tire to practice entering onto pit road, which will have no speed limit for qualifying. Speculation arose that Ky. Busch did so to help simulate conditions during qualifying.
After practice, Stu Grant, General Manager for Goodyear, was made available to talk about what Goodyear saw during the practice session. Grant stated that Goodyear saw a steeper curve on the falloff for the “option” tire compared to the prime, “It looked to me that the rate of falloff was higher on the option tire. It seemed to fall off on a regular lap by lap basis although it was a little more of a falloff than the prime.”
Goodyear and NASCAR began discussion about using a softer tire began last season in September.
“We have obviously had that discussion with NASCAR. If you go back to the original discussion we had with NASCAR about this whole option tire scenario. It was a conversation we had with them back in September of last year. Our reaction was, ‘Let’s come back to you with questions. What’s our objective? What are we trying to accomplish? What are we going to run?’, a whole series of questions. The bottom line is we are going to go ahead and see what will happen tomorrow night and then have some additional discusions with NASCAR to see if that is what they are wanting to do. But, an option with more grip in a points race that has to last a gas stop is a whole different discussion than one that lasts 20 laps.”
When asked about what the option tire would do after it heats and then cools, Grant was quick to answer. “I think the performance in this situation will be similar to the prime. You will see similar type of falloff,” said Grant.
With three sets of primary and one set of option tires, teams do have the option to not use the “option” tire. “You can do that. You only have three sticker sets of prime and one option. So, you would need to run your prime setup for two segments,” said Grant.
As the weekend progresses, teams will be strategizing when the best time would be to use the optional tire during the Monster Energy All-Star Race. The race will be broadcasted on Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 at 8:00 p.m. EST tonight.