Speedway Digest Staff
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"Spring Race Madness" gives race fans the opportunity to vote for the top Food City 500 moment in Bristol Motor Speedway history
Bristol Motor Speedway is giving race fans the chance to determine the greatest moment in the history of the BMS Spring Race, now known as the Food City 500.
Beginning Monday, March 30, “Spring Race Madness” will present eight of the most iconic moments in the history of the Food City 500 and allow fans to vote in a bracket-style competition. The eight moments were selected by historians of The Last Great Colosseum. Each matchup will be posted on Facebook and Twitter each morning at 9 a.m. ET and voting will continue until 7 p.m. ET each evening. The votes from each platform will be added together for a final total. The moment moving on in the competition will then be announced shortly following the close of the vote.
“There have been many great moments in the history of the Food City 500 and we’re excited to give fans the opportunity to vote on the best one via Facebook and Twitter,” said Jerry Caldwell, executive vice president and general manager at Bristol Motor Speedway. “While we await a new date for the Food City 500, this is the perfect time to take a look at what has made this race so special. Each moment is certainly deserving of the top spot, so we look forward to seeing the results.”
The moments (seeded in the order below) are:
- Cale Yarborough leads all 500 laps to win the 1973 Spring Race, becoming the first driver to lead every lap in the Cup Series
- A rookie named Dale Earnhardt grabs his first career Cup Series win at the 1979 Spring Race; he remains the only rookie driver to ever win a Cup race at BMS
- Darrell Waltrip races to four consecutive Spring Race victories from 1981 to 1984 on his way to a BMS record seven straight wins
- Rusty Wallace wins a record sixth Food City 500 in 2000, also earning his milestone 50th career Cup Series victory
- NASCAR icon Junior Johnson races to his only BMS win as a driver in the 1965 Spring Race
- Jeff Gordon bumps Rusty Wallace out of the way en route to winning the 1997 Food City 500, his third straight of four consecutive Spring Race victories
- Jimmie Johnson finally grabs his coveted Bristol victory during the 2010 Food City 500, also earning his milestone 50th career Cup Series victory
- Davey Allison edges Mark Martin by inches at the finish line to win the 1990 spring Race, which featured one of NASCAR’s closest finishes and gave the younger Allison his only BMS victory
First Round Matchups are: Cale Yarborough 1973 vs. Davey Allison 1990 (Monday), Dale Earnhardt 1979 vs. Jimmie Johnson 2010 (Tuesday), Darrell Waltrip 1981-1984 vs. Jeff Gordon 1997 (Wednesday) and Rusty Wallace 2000 vs. Junior Johnson 1965 (Thursday). The Final Four will be held Friday and Saturday with the final on Sunday.
To vote or follow along the competition, visit www.Facebook.com/
For those with racing withdrawals, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series continues from the virtual Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET and will be simulcast on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app. The Series, which features stars from numerous NASCAR national touring series, will then head to The Last Great Colosseum for intense short track racing action at virtual Bristol Motor Speedway on Sunday, April 5.
Greg Biffle will make his return to Roush Fenway’s No. 16 this weekend, when he takes the wheel of the Castrol© Ford Mustang in Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series event set at Texas Motor Speedway. Biffle piloted Jack Roush Fords for 19 seasons, carving out a career worthy of the Hall of Fame while winning a pair of championships in the Truck and Xfinity Series and coming just short of becoming the only driver in history to win the championship in all three of NASCAR’s major touring series.
“How exciting is it to get back behind the wheel of the No. 16,” said Biffle. “I watched the iRace last week on TV and I was really impressed with the overall quality of the broadcast and the racing. It was just a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to being a part of the show this weekend.
“We are running a really cool Castrol scheme on the car,” added Biffle. “I think it’s going to show up really well. My plan is to log a ton of practice time leading up to the race, so hopefully we can have a strong showing and you’ll see a lot of the Castrol green and red on the broadcast.”
Biffle drove to victory lane 56 times during his NASCAR career (19 Cup, 20 NXS, 17 Trucks) and has led almost 12,000 laps. He brought home Jack Roush’s first championship via the Truck Series in 2000, and captured Roush Fenway’s second championship two years later in the Xfinity Series. He went on to become a perennial championship contender in the Cup Series, finishing second in 2005 and qualifying for the playoffs xx times.
While this will be his iRacing event debut, Biffle is certainly no stranger to Texas Motor Speedway (TMS) where he won twice in the Cup Series, leading 733 laps and scoring eight career top 10s. Overall Biffle started 42 races at TMS, winning four times and leading 10,893 laps in NASCAR action.
Castrol serves as Roush Fenway Racing’s official oil partner. The team’s car run Castrol Oil exclusively in all of its Ford machines. In addition, the high-performance lubricant brand serves as a primary partner on the team’s No. 6 NASCAR Series entry in select events.
The inaugural event in the NASCAR Pro Invitational iRacing Series was an unqualified success, and this week’s event scheduled for the virtual Texas Motor Speedway will attempt to build on that auspicious debut.
The O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 is set for 1 p.m. ET (noon CT) Sunday on FOX, FS1 and the FOX Sports app.
JR Motorsports will be well-represented in this weekend’s event after team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished a close second in the inaugural run to winner Denny Hamlin. Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to run the No. 8 Hellmann’s Chevrolet in the virtual event this weekend after campaigning FilterTime colors last week.
Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet for JRM, put his Brandt-red Chevrolet in last week’s event and finished 20th. He will again attempt to qualify in on time with the familiar paint scheme at Texas.
Jeb Burton, who shares JRM’s real-life No. 8 machine with Earnhardt Jr. and Daniel Hemric, will attempt to make the race in his No. 08 State Water Heaters/LS Tractor Camaro. It will be his first attempt in the new series.
Since all NASCAR Cup Series drivers are automatically granted starting spots, those in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series will have to again qualify for the second event. Follow the @JRMotorsports twitter account for updates leading up to and during the race.
“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” This is an ancient Chinese proverb, and it’s particularly apt when it comes to NASCAR and its embrace of iRacing.
With the entire sports world shuttered to combat the spread of the coronavirus, NASCAR – the 72-year-old purveyor of ground-pounding speed – has found its windmill in iRacing, specifically, the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.
The eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series is an exhibition esports series featuring a collection of actual racecar drivers from the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. It kicked off last Sunday at the virtual Homestead-Miami Speedway and it is a multi-week series emulating the original 2020 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.
It has been an unabashed success, with the series’ second race taking place this Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT at the virtual Texas Motor Speedway with live coverage on FOX.
Last Sunday’s eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race at Homestead was the single most-watched esports event in U.S. history. The race drew 903,000 viewers on FS1, besting the previous high of 770,000 viewers when Mortal Kombat aired on The CW in 2016. The race was the highest-rated broadcast on FS1 since mass postponements of sporting events began on March 15. During the race, the #ProInvitationalSeries was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter in the U.S.
But while the drivers have been hands-on in this endeavor, what do their crew chiefs think? In the real world, they’re always hands-on, with an assortment of tools occupying their hands regularly. But in the sim world, they’re bystanders.
“The iRacing event that took place at Homestead last weekend was quite revolutionary, not only for our sport, but for all sports in general,” said Mike Bugarewicz, crew chief for NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola and the No. 10 Smithfield team of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). “It gave us something to do and something to watch on Sunday, and it gave the drivers some seat time. While it’s not perfect to what the real world is, it still forces them to make a call from a crew chief’s perspective. Not every call is so easy.”
SHR’s Johnny Klausmeier, crew chief for Clint Bowyer and the No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 team, provided an example.
“The most interesting thing to me was the tire strategy with the guys taking none, two or four tires. It seemed very realistic, especially at Homestead-Miami Speedway where you have a lot of tire fall off. Guys could get their track position, but after 10 laps, the tires were wearing out and they were shuffling around, moving and jockeying.
“As a crew chief, I wanted to put my hands on things and work on the car. So, it was different for the drivers to be able to just instantly change things and make the car different on the computer. It was neat and a great show for the fans.”
While the racecar is obviously important, the track is the other key element. Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick and SHR’s No. 4 Busch Light team, was impressed with how real a track’s idiosyncrasies were detailed in iRacing.
“The racetracks are really accurate, with the bumps and the features and all of that stuff,” Childers said. “From a visual side of things, it’s probably very beneficial for the drivers.”
One of those drivers is Chase Briscoe, pilot of the No. 98 HighPoint.com/Ford Performance Racing School Ford Mustang for SHR in the Xfinity Series. Briscoe’s crew chief, Richard Boswell, believes the time his driver spends on iRacing makes him better in general.
“Laps are laps, regardless of what car it is or what type of simulator it’s on,” Boswell said. “The repetition of seeing the markers at certain tracks and feeling the bumps is a great way to stay sharp. Of course, there’s the added advantage of Chase having a motion rig where he can get a more realistic feel for each track, not just in the steering wheel but in his seat.
"I sure am glad my driver is spending this time wisely. I know when we finally get back to racing, he will be as ready as anyone. So will his team!”
Boswell, like everyone in NASCAR, is eagerly awaiting the resumption of real racing, but he has embraced the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series and the newfound time at home.
“This is a great way to keep fans connected to our sport considering the difficult times our country is facing. I applaud FOX, NASCAR, iRacing, the sponsors and all of the folks who have participated in bringing this event to our homes. Even my little girls were excited to see some sort of racing on TV. The only difference was they could root for their favorite driver, Chase Briscoe, with daddy instead of without him.”
Ryan Blaney found himself like many race fans last weekend as he watched the NASCAR debut of iRacing from the grandstands. And while he enjoyed the view, he’s used to being part of the action.
So when Fox Sports hits the airwaves on Sunday from the virtual Texas Motor Speedway, Blaney will be behind the wheel of his familiar No. 12 Team Penske Ford Mustang in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 125 (12 Noon CT on FOX, FS1, FOX Sports App).
“I’ve never been a big iRacing person for multiple reasons, but it just looked like it was a lot of fun,” said Blaney, who won at Talladega Superspeedway’s fall NASCAR Cup race in dramatic fashion by .007 second over Ryan Newman. “The thing that pushed me into making it want to happen was seeing how the fans enjoyed it. Social media was blowing up and people really enjoyed just watching some form of racing again, which is nice. I saw their support and their push for me to try to get in, so I was happy we were able to make it happen.”
Blaney has internet connectivity issues from his home, one of the few drawbacks he finds living in the North Carolina wilderness, so he’s joined forces with his spotter, Josh Williams. A noted iRacer himself, Williams is opening his house and loaning his rig so Blaney can compete.
“I practiced on Monday and Josh has kind of been helping me out,” said Blaney, whose only real simulator experience has come at the Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, NC. “I’m not the biggest tech savvy person out there, especially when it comes to that stuff, but it was neat watching everybody on there again. There were a lot of Cup guys and XFINITY guys and some Truck guys doing it, but it’s something I’m pretty green at, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Last Sunday’s race at Homestead featured nine cautions as a mix of experience led to some major wrecks, but, thanks to their handy reset button, everybody was able to finish. Blaney is hoping he doesn’t need that this weekend, but he’s glad it’s there, just in case.
And despite his relative lack of iRacing laps, Blaney says his goal for Sunday is the same as if he were going to be buckling into his real stock car.
“You want to win the race. Competitors are competitors no matter what they’re playing,” he said. “You want to win, so that’s why I’m practicing on Josh’s rig a little bit during this week to try and get a feel for it. You don’t want to go in there not knowing anything and make yourself look silly.
“You want to have a shot at it, so you want to try to win the race, but it’s also about having fun and hoping you don’t wreck anybody,” continued Blaney. “The stakes aren’t as high, but, at the end of the day, I believe it’s a good time for everyone.”
Texas Motor Speedway to host American Red Crodd blood drive April 1 at Lone Star Condominium Clubhouse
- Ensuring that we have sufficient workers and resources to collect vital blood products.
- Investing in public consciousness to raise awareness and inspire individuals to donate blood.
- Equipping and training disaster workers to provide a safe environment for those affected by disasters.
- Increasing their ability to provide key services virtually.
- Working with community partners to provide supplies and meals when called upon.
NTT IndyCar Series PR
In these challenging times, the entire NWES community relay the #StayHome message and encourage everybody to be smart and safe. When it will be time to return racing, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will hit the track with a record number of 33 full-time entries, fielded by 17 teams for the 2020 NWES season.
Champion team Hendriks Motorsport will expand to put three cars in the entry list, while EuroNASCAR 2 title winning squad DF1 Racing will field four Chevrolet Camaros. A fifth car will be entered by the Austrians in cooperation with Marko Stipp Motorsport. CAAL Racing and Jacques Villeneuve’s Feed Vict Racing will have four V8 beasts each ready for the upcoming season. The Italian powerhouse also reached a technical partnership with Solaris Motorsport, which will return with their Camaro. There are several two-car teams confirmed for the 2020 NWES season: Alex Caffi Motorsport, RDV Competition, PK Carsport, 42 Racing and Braxx Racing. Memphis Racing, Mishumotors, Marko Stipp Motorsport, Team Bleekemolen and newcomer TC Motorsports will field one full-time entry each.
As proven by the many drivers already announced during the offseason, the competition level will be the highest in NWES history, with an unprecedented number of drivers capable of winning. The battle for titles and trophies will be more intense than ever before.
What Team Managers said
Roy Hendriks (Hendriks Motorsport): “The competition will be outstanding and there have been several big names already announced. I think it will be harder in 2020 than it was last year. Beside ours there are a lot of good drivers joining the other teams. The cars are ready to race and also the whole team and all drivers want to get back to the track as soon as possible. But we fully understand that it’s not responsible to go racing during this crisis. We make the best out of it, as we have more time to think about strategies and setups right now.”
Norbert Walchhofer (DF1 Racing): “I really think the upcoming season will be the strongest one in the history of NWES. Our drivers are well prepared and we’re looking positively to the 2020 season despite these difficult times. We are looking forward to hitting the track again soon and continuing our winning streak from 2019.”
Jacques Villeneuve (Feed Vict Racing): “It’s great to see so many entries because it shows that there’s a lot of interest in the series. There are also many important names joining. The races are exciting, the cars are fun to drive, the tracks are great and the drivers are hungry for pure racing. There’s a place for everyone, from 16 to 70 years old. We all can’t wait to go back racing, but now it’s the time to be smart and focus on going through this difficult moment, hoping to return to the track soon.”
Luca Canneori (CAAL Racing): “We worked hard during the winter, preparing our cars and completing several test days. We are ready for a season with no equals as far as competition on track. Having so many strong competitors is positive for the whole sport. We are of course looking forward to going back racing soon and giving the fans some unique NASCAR races.”
Anthony Kumpen (PK Carsport): “We’ve already won our first race in 2020 with our new driver Alon Day piloting the #24 Monster Energy car at virtual Watkins Glen. I watched the sim race and it was nice! To have such a big grid for the 2020 NWES season is good news. Since joining the series in 2014 I always said that EuroNASCAR is one of the fastest growing series in Europe and it is becoming really strong. It’s a special mix of experienced and young drivers, surrounded by great crowds at the tracks, a special atmosphere. It’s great to be part of the series for a team like us.”
Franck Violas (RDV Competition): “We started racing in NWES ten years ago and year after year the level kept rising. It’s amazing to have so many teams and drivers with the potential to win a race. It’s not like in other series where the same drivers and teams end up on the podium. We had a tough 2019 season but I think we will look way better in the 2020 championship. To have 33 full time entries already is great for us as we can prove ourselves in this tight and high-level competition. We work very hard to be successful again.”
Jerry De Weerdt (Braxx Racing): “I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season as we worked hard during the winter to put everything in place. We are still working on filling a third car with good drivers. I think we already have a strong line-up for the series. Marc Goossens will join us again and he’s always good for podiums and wins. We also have young drivers in our rows who have the potential to bring home some good results in 2020.”
NBC Sports Group earned 24 Sports Emmy Award nominations for 2019, highlighted by recognition for its coverage of the NFL, NHL, Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Premier League, FIFA Women’s World Cup, golf, and Tour de France.
The announcement was made today by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Highlights of NBC Sports Group’s nominations:
- Sunday Night Football – primetime television’s No. 1 show – was nominated again for Outstanding Live Sports Series, which it has won 10 times in the past 11 years;
- NBC received two nominations in the Outstanding Live Sports Special category for its presentations of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final and the 145th Kentucky Derby;
- NBC earned a nomination in the Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly category for Football Night in America, and a nomination for Outstanding Studio Show – Daily for NHL Live;
- Tour de France coverage on NBC and NBCSN garnered nominations for its Outstanding Technical Team Remote, and The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award for augmented reality;
- NBC and NBCSN earned a nomination in the Outstanding Editing – Long Form category for its production of the documentary Drive Like Andretti about the life of motorsports icon Mario Andretti;
- Mike Tirico (NBC) was nominated in the Outstanding Sports Personality – Host category for the second consecutive year;
- Mike “Doc” Emrick (NBC), who has won the Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play in six consecutive years and seven of the last nine, was nominated once again in the category along with Al Michaels (NBC) and Kenny Albert (NBC/NBCSN);
- Cris Collinsworth, winner of 16 Sports Emmys throughout his career, was nominated for the Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Event Analyst category;
- Michele Tafoya (NBC), the only three-time winner of the Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter Emmy, was nominated for the ninth time in the nine-year history of the category;
- Andrés Cantor (Telemundo), winner of three Sports Emmys, was nominated for Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish.
NBC Sports Group earns a total of 24 nominations, including three nominations for GOLF Channel and two nominations for Telemundo.
The complete list of NBC Sports Group nominations are as follows:
- Outstanding Live Sports Special: 2019 Stanley Cup Final (NBC)
- Outstanding Live Sports Special: 145th Kentucky Derby (NBC)
- Outstanding Live Sports Series: Sunday Night Football (NBC)
- Outstanding Edited Sports Event Coverage: Ironman World Championship (NBC)
- Outstanding Short Sports Documentary: Golf Films: Chi Chi and Devo (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Weekly: Football Night in America (NBC)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Daily: NHL Live (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Studio Show – Daily: The Dan Patrick Show (NBCSN/B/R Live/DirecTV)
- Outstanding Short Feature: NCAA Golf Championships – Life Without Katie: The Jason Enloe Story (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding Trans-Media Sports Coverage: Premier League (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host: Mike Tirico (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Mike “Doc” Emrick (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Al Michaels (NBC)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play: Kenny Albert (NBC/NBCSN/FOX/FS1/MSG)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Event Analyst: Cris Collinsworth (NBC)
- Outstanding Sports Personality – Sports Reporter: Michele Tafoya (NBC)
- Outstanding Technical Team Remote: Tour de France (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Editing – Long Form: Drive Like Andretti (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Live Event Audio/Sound: NASCAR on NBC (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Live Graphic Design: NHL on NBC (NBC/NBCSN)
- The George Wensel Technical Achievement Award: Tour de France – Augmented Reality (NBC/NBCSN)
- Outstanding Studio Show in Spanish: Hoy en la Copa Mundial Femenina de la FIFA (Telemundo)
- Outstanding Feature Story in Spanish: Golf Central: Dylan Reales: El Loco del Palo (GOLF Channel)
- Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish: Andrés Cantor (Telemundo)
A complete list of nominees is available at www.emmyonline.org.
NBC Sports PR