Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR America analysts discuss key storylines entering season

2 Comments

The NASCAR season is almost here and so is the return of NASCAR America on NBCSN.

NASCAR America will be back on the air at 6 p.m. ET Monday. NASCAR on NBC analysts Steve Letarte, Kyle Petty, Jeff Burton, Dale Jarrett and Parker Kligerman are ready for the start of the season.

With that in mind, they each talked about the storyline that intrigues them the most entering this season.

Steve Letarte: I’m a true believer that of the 16 playoff spots there are going to be four or six of them that will be determined on points alone. I think that leaving Richmond in September we’re going to look at the stage points awarded determining what four of six drivers there are. I think that those are basically going to determine what driver in that mid-tier that was not fortunate enough to win a race moves forward.

Kyle Petty: Stewart-Haas Racing. Move to Ford and lack of sponsorship as a whole for the company. How will this affect Kevin Harvick, arguably the most consistent championship driver since joining SHR.

Jeff Burton: The format changes, the points changes, how they influence the races, I think that is going to be fascinating to watch.

Dale Jarrett: I think probably like everybody else, how does the new format impact the racing first and foremost and then, eventually what this looks like when we get to the playoffs. How do all the points add up with the drivers getting those opportunities? Does it create racing in a different way? I’m really excited to see this. I’m glad the changes were made. Now, that they have been made, everybody understands where the rules are, and I know this is something that will evolve over the season. In the beginning of the year I’m really anxious to see how does it impact the racing and is it better for the fans.

Parker Kligerman: I know the much vaunted enhancements will be a major storyline for the year simply because they will eventually decide the champion in a new way and may affect the races in ways we have never seen before.

With that said, I believe something bigger is occurring as we head into 2017. With the addition of a new title sponsor, the enhancements, continual shuttering of downforce and the intrigue of maybe using those under-utilized road courses in the tracks we go to, NASCAR is entering a brand new era of possibilities we haven’t seen in this sport. Ever. 

NASCAR America begins its fourth season at 6 p.m. ET on Monday, Feb. 13 on NBCSN

NASCAR America: Comparing severity of Harvick, Keselowski and Allmendinger penalties

Leave a comment

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.

 

Mario Andretti tries out, approves of Charlotte Motor Speedway road course

Leave a comment

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

Drivers unhurt in crash of Furniture Row Racing hauler near Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
1 Comment

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.

NASCAR America live at 5:30 p.m. ET: Auto Club Speedway preview, iRacing simulator

Leave a comment

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.