Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins Talladega pole; Dale Earnhardt Jr. ponders ‘what if’

Leave a comment

TALLADEGA, Ala. — For a moment, it seemed as if Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement might be delayed.

He sat on the pole in qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway with one car left in the final round.

That was Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s hot rod. Stenhouse won the pole for Sunday’s Cup race with a lap of 191.547 mph. It his second career pole. His only other pole came in September 2013 at Atlanta.

Earnhardt, who is retiring from the Cup series after this season, was second Saturday with a lap of 190.780 mph.

Although the rules seem to change most year, eligibility for this year’s Clash at Daytona included pole winners from the previous season. Earnhardt competed in the event as a former winner. If that remains part of the eligibility, he could still compete.

But the notion of being eligible via a pole — his last pole came in 2013 — might be enough to persuade car owner Rick Hendrick into letting him run the event next year. Maybe.

“I got a ‘Get into Clash Free’ card from this year, I’ve got credit,’’ Earnhardt said. “If I get a pole, I’ll talk to Rick and see if we can’t line something up. The Clash isn’t really an official race. It would be fun to talk about it.’’

While Earnhardt looks ahead, Stenhouse’s pole continues the improvement Roush Fenway Racing has made this season. Stenhouse’s teammate, Trevor Bayne, qualified fifth.

“The culture at our shop is just different,’’ Stenhouse said. “The guys want to work there. They want to show up to work and work harder. They’re seeing that working harder is making different results for us, so it’s been a blast for Trevor and myself to drive these race cars each week.’’

Brad Keselowski will start third. Matt Kenseth is fourth and Bayne.

Click here for Cup qualifying results

 and on Facebook

Today’s Xfinity race at Charlotte: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images
Leave a comment

After two weekends off, the Xfinity Series is back in action today at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elliott Sadler enters as the points leader with a 29-point advantage on JR Motorsports teammate Justin Allgaier. William Byron, who also drives for JR. Motorsports, is third in the standings. Byron and Sadler are going for their first victory of the season, while Allgaier seeks his second win this year.

Here are the particulars for today’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The Evil Genius’ Halo ESports Team will give the command for drivers to start engines at 1:07 p.m. The green flag is scheduled for 1:18 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 200 laps (300 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 45. Stage 2 ends on Lap 90.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 6:30 a.m. The drivers meeting is at 11:15 a.m. Driver introductions are at 12:30 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Star Swain will perform the Anthem at 1:01 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race at 1 p.m. Its coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network will broadcast the race on radio and at gorpn.com. PRN’s coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 85 degrees at race time with a 15 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST YEAR: Denny Hamlin led 76 laps to win this even a year ago. Austin Dillon was second and Joey Logano third. Logano led the final 12 laps to win at Charlotte in October. Elliott Sadler was second and Daniel Suarez was third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying is at 10:05 a.m.

Today’s schedule at Charlotte: Cup practice, Xfinity qualifying and race

Leave a comment

NASCAR goes racing today with the Hisense 4K TV 300 Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Denny Hamlin won this race last year.

Here is today’s track schedule, as the countdown to Sunday’s main event of the weekend, the Coca-Cola 600, ticks closer:

(All times Eastern)

6:30 a.m. – Xfinity garage opens

7:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. – Cup garage open

9 – 9:55 a.m. – Cup practice (FS1)

10:05 a.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (FS1)

11:15 a.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m. – Cup final practice (FS1)

12:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

1 p.m. – Xfinity Hisense 4K TV 300 (200 laps, 300 miles) (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

My Home Track: North Carolina’s Caraway Speedway (video)

Leave a comment

Sure, NASCAR is synonymous with Daytona Beach, the state of Florida and Daytona International Speedway.

But there is no other state that is so linked to NASCAR than the Tar Heel state, North Carolina.

Numerous racetracks, from the smallest grassroots short track to Charlotte Motor Speedway dot the state, offering a plethora of race action from amateur all the way to the best of the best.

On Friday’s My Home Track: 50 States in 50 Shows segment, NASCAR America’s Kyle Petty shared some of his fondest memories of one of his favorite short tracks, Caraway Speedway.

Check out the video above.

NASCAR America: Steve Letarte reflects on mentor Ray Evernham’s Hall of Fame selection

Leave a comment

Steve Letarte learned the sport of NASCAR from a number of different individuals.

But no one compares to Letarte’s greatest mentor, Ray Evernham, who was selected earlier this week as one of five individuals that will enter the NASCAR Hall of Fame in its 2018 class.

Evernham, who led Jeff Gordon to three of his four NASCAR Cup championships as Gordon’s crew chief, was not only an innovator in the sport, but also a leader, mentor and team owner.

On Friday’s NASCAR America, Letarte, an Evernham protege, discussed what made his former boss, teacher and close friend so special.  Check out the video above.