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NASCAR says using VHT at Dover is a possibility after Charlotte success

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After a positive reception at the Coca-Cola 600, NASCAR could apply VHT this weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell said the 1-mile oval’s concrete surface – similar to Bristol Motor Speedway, where VHT was used in the past – makes it an obvious candidate.

VHT, which is intended to promote multiple grooves to enhance passing, made its asphalt debut with NASCAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway this past weekend. O’Donnell said its success led to NASCAR being contacted by “a lot of interested parties” about its usage at more tracks in the future.

“It’s something for sure you could see” in the future, O’Donnell said Tuesday morning during his weekly “The Morning Drive” appearance on SiriusXM’s NASCAR channel. “We have to break down what did we see from the asphalt application, what’s it doing to the track vs. the tire vs. the racing. There are a lot of things to digest.

“Going into Dover, you’ve got that one-off where you ran it at Bristol on a similar surface. It is something we could look at and then beyond that have, we have to analyze what happens in terms of the asphalt surface.”

Dover spokesman Gary Camp said Tuesday that VHT usage has been discussed, but no decision had been made. Camp said if NASCAR believes the compound would enhance Dover’s racing, the track “would certainly be supportive.”

O’Donnell said NASCAR also would be consulting with Goodyear, but that such a decision wouldn’t necessarily require much lead time.

“The good news is it’s just enhancing what they have,” he said. “It’s not something that if we apply this next week, we need a different tire. So far it’s helped whatever tire they’ve brought to the track.”

O’Donnell praised Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Marcus Smith for lobbying to use the VHT, which had been used successfully at its adjacent NHRA-affiliated drag racing track.

NASCAR applied the traction compound twice on Charlotte’s 1.5-mile oval, before practice and qualifying Thursday and again on Saturday night.  Drivers who competed in the Cup and Xfinity races asked NASCAR to reapply the VHT for the Coca-Cola 600.

“I think it had an impact,” O’Donnell said. “We’ll continue to learn and work with tracks. This was the first time on asphalt and the second time we used it. As we see multiple grooves open up earlier, I think it’s something you could see us apply in the future at other tracks.”

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler having fun mentoring William Byron

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If there’s anyone in the Xfinity Series William Byron should turn to for advice during his rookie season in the series, it’s Elliott Sadler.

A veteran of more than 800 NASCAR races across all three of its national series, Sadler has taken the lead in advising the 19-year-old driver this season. During his appearance on NASCAR America, Sadler praised the driver and the time he’s spent with him.

“That kid is special,” Sadler said. “I want to be that guy (that helps), because I had that guy. I had Jeff Green when I started, I had Dale Jarrett, people I could lean on all the time that could help the learning curve.”

Sadler leads the points standings with four races left in the regular season, but he is winless so far. Byron has earned three wins and is second in points behind Sadler.

“He’s a student of the game,” Sadler said. “I’ve been in meetings with young kids that come along, we’ve been in the meeting and kids are still playing on their phones. I’m in a meeting with William … and he’s still learning and taking notes. He’s got great questions. We’re usually sitting beside each other on the airplanes and we’re talking about things for that particular weekend. I can’t help him drive the car faster. But I can help him maybe with restarts and getting on pit road. Maybe things to think about on Friday to maybe make your car better for Saturday.”

Watch the video for more from Sadler on Byron and his friendship with Dale Earnhardt Jr.

NASCAR America: Elliott Sadler paying tribute to Cale Yarborough with Darlington paint scheme

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Xfinity Series points leader Elliott Sadler will honor childhood racing hero Cale Yarborough with his paint scheme for the Sept. 2 race at Darlington Raceway.

Cale Yarborough poses with his Hardee’s car during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee Exhibit Unveiling at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 22, 2012. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The JR Motorsports driver revealed the paint scheme Tuesday on NASCAR America. His No. 1 Chevrolet will have the same color blocking, but not colors, of Yarborough’s famous No. 28 Hardee’s car.

Sadler is not the only driver that will have some form of the Hardee’s paint scheme at Darlington. Dakoda Armstrong, driver of JGL Racing’s No. 28, will have the exact colors of the Hardee’s car and a logo on the hood commemorating Yarborough.

A five-time winner at Darlington and a three-time Cup champion, Yarborough is a native of Timmonsville, South Carolina, which is roughly 20 miles from Darlington.

Watch the video for the full reveal of the car.

Former Truck Series driver Shane Sieg dies at 34

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Shane Sieg, a former Camping World Truck Series driver and older brother of Xfinity driver Ryan Sieg, died over the weekend at the age of 34.

Ryan Sieg Racing announced his passing Tuesday on social media. He would have turned 35 on Wednesday. A team spokesperson could not provide additional details.

“Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers,” the team said on Twitter. “We lost a great driver and an incredible person. Forever in our hearts.”

A native of Tucker, Georgia, Shane Sieg was a veteran of 68 Truck Series races and two Xfinity starts.

He earned three tops 10 in the Truck Series. His best result was eighth at the Milwaukee Mile in 2004. Sieg also won one race in the NASCAR Southeast Series in 2003 at Huntsville Speedway in Alabama.

Sieg made his last Truck start in June 2011 at Pocono Raceway.

Sieg was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR in August 2011 for violating its substance abuse policy and for actions detrimental to the sport.

Ryan Reed honors Alan Kulwicki, Sam Bass with Darlington paint scheme

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Roush Fenway Racing and artist Sam Bass have worked together to create Ryan Reed‘s throwback paint scheme for the Sept. 2 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway on NBCSN.

Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford will resemble the No. 7 Zerex Ford driven by Alan Kulwicki in 1989.

Kulwicki was sponsored by Zerex from 1987-90, earning two of his five Cup wins in that time.

“My dad was huge fan of Alan and had a lot of respect for him, so it’s awesome to get to run this throwback scheme in Darlington,” Reed said in a press release. “My Dad ran his own race team and drove for himself throughout the 90s, just like Alan. Alan overcame a lot of challenges to become a champion and I can’t help but have a lot of respect for him.”

Bass, who lives with type 1 diabetes like Reed, worked with Kulwicki during his career and helped design Reed’s car. In a Facebook Live video, Bass said he took extra care to make the one in Reed’s No. 16 resemble Kulwicki’s No. 7.

Bass’ name will also be on the passenger-side nameplate on the roof of Reed’s car.

Reed’s car won’t be the only one at Darlington that will pay tribute to the 1992 Cup champion.

Michael McDowell‘s No. 95 Chevrolet in the Cup Series will resemble the car Kulwicki drove in his 1986 rookie year.