Today’s Daytona 500 start time, TV, weather and more

1 Comment

The NASCAR Cup season gets underway with the 59th running of the Daytona 500 today.

Chase Elliott sits on the pole for the second consecutive year. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., who missed the second half of last season due to a concussion, starts on the outside of the front row.

Defending race winner Denny Hamlin starts fourth.

Here’s all the information you need before the start of the race on Fox.

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be given at 2:18 p.m. by actor Owen Wilson. The green flag is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (500 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The NASCAR Cup garage opens at 8 a.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 12 p.m. Driver introductions are at 1:43 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Singer/actress Jordin Sparks will perform the National Anthem at 2:11 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox will broadcast the race with its coverage beginning at 1 p.m. (pre-race at 12 p.m.). Motor Racing Network’s radio broadcast begins at 1 p.m. and also can be heard at MRN.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have MRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: Wunderground.com predicts a temperature of 67 degrees with a zero percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Denny Hamlin edged Martin Truex Jr. in the closest finish (0.010 seconds) in Daytona 500 history. It was the 27th win of Hamlin’s career at the time and his first of three race victories in 2016.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for Daytona 500 starting lineup.

PIT STALLS: Click here for pit stall assignments

Follow @JerryBonkowski

My Home Tracks: New Mexico’s the Land of Enchantment and home of Cardinal Speedway

Leave a comment

The state of New Mexico is known more for IndyCar racing, with the Unser family being the state’s favorite sons.

Al Unser won four Indianapolis 500s, brother Bobby three and Al’s son Al Jr. a two-time winner (this weekend’s 500 marks the 25th anniversary of Little Al’s second 500 triumph).

But there’s a strong grassroots racing scene in the Land of Enchantment, particularly in the far southeast corner of the state at Cardinal Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in the little town of Eunice.

NASCAR America continues its My Home Track series of 50 states in 50 shows.

Wednesday, we visit New York state.

2018 NASCAR schedule changes: EVP Steve O’Donnell breaks it down (video)

Leave a comment

On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR America, NASCAR executive vice president Steve O’Donnell joined us to discuss the NASCAR Cup schedule changes in 2018, including running a road race at Charlotte and having Indianapolis be the final race before the playoffs.

“I’m real excited about these changes,” said O’Donnell, who cited unprecedented cooperation between NASCAR, its teams, drivers and sponsors to reach agreement on the schedule changes.

Among the key changes: Las Vegas will kick off the 10-race playoffs in 2018 (Chicagoland Speedway, which will have hosted the last seven playoff openers, will return to its more traditional race date in early July/late June and serve as a run-up to the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona.

Several other changes include:

  • The fall playoff race at Charlotte will move up a couple weeks in the schedule and also incorporate competition on both the infield road course and part of the speedway itself.
  • After 14 years as the deciding race to qualify for the NASCAR Cup playoffs, Richmond International Raceway will now become the second race of the playoffs.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway will see it’s Brickyard 400 go from late July to become the final qualifying race for the playoffs in early September. While still in the rumor stage, there’s a lot of talk that IMS may change the race to something akin to its Verizon IndyCar Series Indy Grand Prix race in mid-May, where half the race is run on the infield road course and the other half on the traditional racetrack surface.

Catch up on all the changes in the above video.

Tony Stewart pulled over by state trooper, but it’s not for speeding

Photo courtesy Damein Cunningham Twitter account
1 Comment

Retired NASCAR Cup driver and team co-owner Tony Stewart was stopped by an Illinois State Trooper over the weekend near DeKalb, Ill., about 90 minutes west of Chicago.

But before you think Stewart was stopped for speeding by Trooper Damein Cunningham, he wasn’t.

Rather, Cunningham pulled Stewart over for improper lane usage, although exactly what the infraction was is unclear.

After getting a verbal warning, Stewart gladly posed with Cunningham for a selfie, which the trooper promptly tweeted out.

“Just pulled over NASCAR LEGEND Tony Stewart on I-88 in DeKalb, IL, what you think I got him for? #NASCAR #ISP”

But according to the Chicago Tribune, Cunningham’s bosses apparently didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident or realize the good PR it meant for the Illinois State Police.

That, or they’re not Stewart or NASCAR fans. They ordered Cunningham to delete the tweet, which he did.

It’s unclear what Stewart, who was stopped on his 46th birthday, was doing in the Land of Lincoln.

But his luck went from bad to worse a few hours later. According to USA Today, Stewart and others were stuck in an elevator in a Madison, Wisconsin hotel for about 20 minutes before being rescued by firefighters.

We can just imagine what the elevator riders talked about while trapped.

How much do you want to bet Stewart said, “Man, do I have a story about a cop that I have to tell you.”

Cunningham then posted another tweet on Sunday after attending church services.

 

Follow @JerryBonkowski

All-Star Race will remain at Charlotte in 2018

Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR confirmed that the All-Star Race will be held again at Charlotte Motor Speedway despite more of a push from competitors and others to move the event.

Criticism was raised after last weekend’s 70-lap event featured only three lead changes. Kyle Busch took the lead on the restart to begin the final 10-lap stage and went on to win. It marked the fourth time in the last five years the All-Star winner led every lap in the final stage. In 12 All-Star Races at Charlotte since the track was repaved, there have been two lead changes in the final five laps.

Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, was clear in a call with reporters Tuesday that the All-Star Race is set for Charlotte.

“We’ve finished our discussions for ’18,” he said. ” We’ll begin looking at ’19 and beyond in the near future.”

The All-Star Race debuted at Charlotte in 1985, moved to Atlanta in 1986 and returned to Charlotte the following year. It has been held at Charlotte ever since.

 and on Facebook