CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Last November at Phoenix International Raceway, William Byron was 12 laps away from clinching a spot in the Camping World Truck Series’ championship race.
Then those chances literally blew up in front of him with an engine failure.
Byron, who set a rookie record with seven Truck wins, hopes the new points format announced on Monday will mean he and future drivers in similar positions are less likely suffer similar consequences.
“I think it was an unfortunate situation last year,” Byron said Tuesday on the NASCAR Media Tour. “We can’t really look back at that. But I think if we do have a good season this year and we have something bad happen coming into in the second round of the (playoff), it feels a lot more comforting that we could get through to Homestead with our previous success throughout the year and stuff like that.”
MORE: Nate Ryan: The Chase is dead in name only
MORE: Xfinity drivers react to new point system
With the enhanced points system, bonus points carry through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
The winner of the first two race stages of each regular-season race would receive one bonus playoff point to be added to his/her reset total before the playoffs begin. The race winner will receive five bonus playoff points to be added to their reset total.
Those bonus points also can be earned in the playoff races. As a result, a Truck Series driver who wins the playoff opener at New Hampshire Motor Speedway would receive five points that would count to his/her overall total. Byron won last year at New Hampshire but did not finish better than fifth until the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
“I’m just glad the sport is trying to innovate themselves and do things that will help a situation like that last year,” said Byron, who enters his rookie Xfinity Series season with JR Motorsports. “To try and avoid that happening, I guess again, is a good thing for our team to know that if we do have a parts failure we can advanced past it and still have our championship hopes alive.”
and on Facebook
NASCAR handed out two crew chief suspensions in the Cup this week following the race weekend in Phoenix while another was upheld on appeal.
Brad Keselowski‘s crew chief, Paul Wolfe, was suspended three races and the team was docked 35 driver and owners points for failing weights and measurements in post-race inspection.
Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, was suspended one race and the team docked 10 driver and owner points for an unapproved track bar slider assembly.
The penalties for AJ Allmendinger‘s team, including the suspension of crew chief Randall Burnett, was upheld after an appeal.
The NASCAR America crew debates which team is hurt the most by their penalties.
We now have two positive reviews of the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course.
Following AJ Allmendinger‘s comments back in January, IndyCar legend Mario Andretti has shared his thoughts on the 2.4-mile circuit that will likely host a NASCAR Cup race in fall 2018.
As a guest of the track and the NASCAR Racing Experience, the 77-year-old driver piloted two cars – a 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid and a 2017 Cadillac CTS-V. Andretti maxed out at 177 mph in the Porsche.
“It’s very difficult sometimes to really create a road course where you can ‘stretch your legs’ inside an oval,” Andretti said in a press release. “From that standpoint, I think they did a good job by giving it rhythm by putting some banking to the hairpin corners – which obviously invites some overtaking. It’s wide enough that you can choose a line. You’re not really trapped. … It’s got a multiple-line (groove) that you can choose from, depending on the capability of the car.”
The “roval” circuit would use most of the 1.5-mile oval NASCAR already competes on.
Allmendinger took part in a data test on the road course in mid-January and later said it “was a lot of fun.”
Earlier this month, Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith said the track “learned a lot” from the test.
“We have done a lot to engineer a world-class road course that would include the ‘roval,'” Smith told NBC Sports, adding that “several truckloads of crash walls and catchfence” were being transported in for installation.
The Cup Series has two road courses on it schedule, at Sonoma Raceway in California and Watkins Glen International in New York.
and on Facebook
The drivers of the Furniture Row Racing hauler carrying Erik Jones’ No. 77 Toyota were uninjured Thursday in a hit-and-run accident 15 miles north of Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Travis Watts, who was behind the wheel, and David Shano were traveling from Phoenix Raceway to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, when their tractor-trailer rig was struck shortly after midnight on Interstate 15, according to a team release. The team said a car carrying two occupants pulled off the shoulder and back onto the highway directly in front of the truck, causing front-end damage to the tractor.
The team said there was no damage to the trailer or its interior, which was carrying Jones’ cars.
“We’re all very relieved no one was injured in the incident,” team president Joe Garone said. “There was substantial damage to the tractor, but everything in the trailer was checked out thoroughly and is OK. We’ve rented a tractor and the No. 77 hauler is on schedule to arrive at Auto Club Speedway later (Thursday).”
The team rented a replacement tractor at a Rush Truck Centers in North Las Vegas.
According to the team, the Nevada Highway Patrol apprehended and arrested the occupants of the car. The team is working to supply police with a video dash cam from the No. 77 tractor.
Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs for 90 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and previews this weekend’s action at Auto Club Speedway.
Krista Voda hosts with Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut. Dale Jarrett joins them from Burton’s Garage.
On today’s show:
- My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows continues as we visit Central Arizona Speedway in Casa Grande. We’ll also discuss some fun facts about the Grand Canyon State.
- 2014 Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick has been on a roller coaster ride through four races this season. Now, he heads home to California where he looks to grab his first win of the season. We’ll take a trip to Harvick’s hometown of Bakersfield and examine his Racing Roots.
- Kligerman jumps in the simulator to see what challenges the drivers will face this weekend in Fontana.
If you can’t catch the show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http://nascarstream.nbcsports.com
If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.
Once you plug-in that information, you’ll have access to the stream.
Click here at 5:30 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.