Getty Images

NASCAR’s Speedweeks schedule leading to the Daytona 500

Leave a comment

Four days remain until the 59th Daytona 500.

The final stretch to the “Great American Race” begins today with practice for the NASCAR Cup  and Camping World Truck Series.

The day ends with the scheduled Can-Am Duel, which will set the starting lineup for the Daytona 500.

Here is the remaining Speedweeks schedule.

All times are Eastern. 

Thursday, Feb. 23

8:30 a.m. – 11 p.m. – Cup garage open

10:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. – Truck Series garage open

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

Noon – 12:55 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

2 – 2:55 p.m. – Truck practice (FS1)

4- 4:55 p.m. – Final Truck practice (FS1)

5:15 p.m. – Cup driver – crew chief meeting

6:40 p.m. – Cup driver introductions

7 p.m. – Can-Am qualifying duel No. 1; 60 laps, 150 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

8:40 p.m. – Cup driver introductions

9 p.m. – Can-Am qualifying duel No. 2; 60 laps, 150 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, Feb. 24

9 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Cup garage open

10:30 a.m. – Truck garage opens

10:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

Noon – 12:55 p.m. – Xfinity practice (FS1)

1 – 1:55 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

2 – 2:55 p.m. – Final Xfinity practice (FS1)

3 – 3:55 p.m. – Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

4:30 p.m. – Truck qualifying; single vehicle/two rounds (FS1)

6:15 p.m. – Truck driver – crew chief meeting

7 p.m. – Truck driver introductions

7:30 p.m. – NextEra Energy Resources 250; 100 laps/250 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, Feb. 25

9 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

10:30 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying; single car/two rounds (FS1)

11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Cup garage open

12:10 p.m. – Xfinity driver – crew chief  meeting

12:30 – 1:55 p.m. – Final Cup practice (FS1, MRN)

3 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

3:30 p.m. – PowerShares QQQ 300; 120 laps, 300 miles (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Feb 26

8 a.m. – Cup garage opens

Noon – Driver – crew chief meeting

1:15 p.m. – Driver introductions

2p.m. – 59th Daytona 500; 200 laps, 500 miles (Fox, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Atlanta Motor Speedway to delay repave at least a year

1 Comment

The cries of drivers have been heard. Atlanta Motor Speedway will not repave its track as previously scheduled. Instead, track officials will evaluate the surface following the 2018 race there.

Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns the track, had planned to have the track surface repaved beginning in late March. It would have been the first repave there since 1997.

Engineers examined the track after the March 5 race to determine if the track surface could last another year with modest repairs. Track officials also consulted with Goodyear and others.

“There’s no question that the surface is worn out, but probably the most powerful lobby this side of Washington, D.C., was the biggest influence,” Ed Clark, president of Atlanta Motor Speedway, told NBC Sports of the drivers. “They kind of put the pressure on. I understand.”

After winning there, Brad Keselowski made his pitch not to repave the track.

“Drivers hate repaves,” he said. “We want to see the surfaces last as long as they can.  But the reality is nothing lasts forever, and this surface has made it a really, really long time, 20 years, I think, this season, and they should be really proud of that.

“My hope is they can get another year or two out of it, and I understand if they can’t, and you have to kind of leave it to their expertise and so forth.”

Clark said that work will need to be done to the track before next year’s race.

“The worst part is down the frontstretch in front of the grandstands,” Clark told NBC Sports. “There’s a lot of issues there. We’re actually going to have to cut a few areas and patch … to make it last through 2018. We consulted with Goodyear on that. They don’t think, as long as it is on the straightaway, it is a big issue from a tire standpoint.”

Clark said that the track surface will be sealed in October and should have the patching done before then.

“Let them go ahead and slip and slide one more time in 2018,” Clark said.

Clark said that while anything can change, he doesn’t foresee being talked out of a repave job too many more times.

“You have to see how the weekend goes and what happens,” Clark told NBC Sports. “We had to patch some places after the Saturday events this year, small places. Hey, if we could go two more, great. All you’ve got to do is walk out there and look at it. It is absolutely worn out. But if the drivers say, hey our choice is to race on this surface as it is.

“There comes a point (when a repave is needed). We do have a few drainage issues we do need to correct, some other things when the time comes. Right now, we’re going to get through 2018 and evaluate and see if that is the time or when is it.”

Clark said that when the track is repaved, Goodyear has expressed interest in having two test sessions to determine the proper tire for that 1.5-mile track instead of the customary one because of the track’s challenging surface.

Clark warns that with the excitement of Tuesday’s news, the day is still coming when the track will have to be repaved.

“I can’t see this going two more seasons, maybe only one,” Clark said.

 and on Facebook

 

 

NASCAR America — My Home Track: 50 States In 50 Shows — Arkansas

Leave a comment

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we continued our series of My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows as our trucks rolled into Arkansas!

We visited two short tracks in the state that produced President Bill Clinton and Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen.

Plus we talked to NASCAR Hall of Famer and Arkansas native Mark Martin about racing in his home state.

NASCAR America: Is there cause for concern with Jimmie Johnson’s performance thus far?

2 Comments

It’s no secret that Jimmie Johnson is off to a slow start in 2017.

The defending and seven-time NASCAR Cup champion has a starting average of 21.8 and a finishing average of 18.8 in the first five races of this season.

He has just one top-10 finish (ninth at Phoenix), along with 34th at Daytona, 19th at Atlanta, 11th at Las Vegas and 21st Sunday at Fontana.

And let’s not forget he’s 17th in the NASCAR Cup standings heading to one of his strongest tracks, Martinsville Speedway, this Sunday.

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, we discussed this: After such a slow start to the season, is there a cause for concern over Johnson’s performance?

NASCAR America: Mark Martin is definitely a Kyle Larson fan

Leave a comment

On Monday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR Hall of Famer Mark Martin shared his experience of racing in his home state of Arkansas, as well as the excitement he feels watching  Kyle Larson compete in the Cup series.