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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 82: Dave Pericak on a cold call to Roger Penske and keeping secrets

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Keeping Cup teams on the same page while also keeping some secrets between them is a key part of Ford Performance Director Dave Pericak’s job.

And it made for an interesting call to Roger Penske after Ford signed Stewart-Haas Racing to a multiyear deal beginning with the 2017 season.

How would the Team Penske magnate react to having a new team under the Ford umbrella in NASCAR’s premier series? Pericak wasn’t sure.

“I called Roger up and let him know this was happening, and his response was phenomenal,” Pericak said in an appearance on the NASCAR on NBC podcast. “I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get. He said, ‘Dave, awesome move for Ford. It’s going to raise the chinning bar for all of us. That’s going to make all of us better.”

Because Penske virtually coined the concept of the “unfair advantage” in racing, there were questions about the efficacy of asking the team to work closely with another.

Pericak said Ford Performance acts as the buffer between its teams, ensuring that data and information can be shared without compromising the proprietary intellectual property.

“Penske and Stewart-Haas have done a really good job of integrating and learning each other,” Pericak said. “Each team has trust in Ford Performance, so the things that have to remain within a certain team, they absolutely will. Those things we can common-ize and have discussion on, Ford facilitates that discussion and dialogue. We’re doing that role because we have the trust of all the teams, then the teams can work together because there’s a common ground of trust.

“We’ve been very good that we have to make sure we don’t violate that trust, and the things that can’t transfer over, they just don’t transfer over, and there’s a respect from each team that knows there’s going to be an area where we say, ‘That’s off limits.’ So that respect is there, you’re seeing way more collaboration than ever before and we have plans for additional collaboration to give us a more competitive advantage in the future. It’s every week, every month, that trust is building more and more. The results are showing. It’s all coming together to show this is the right approach.”

Other topics discussed by Pericak on the podcast:

–How driver simulator has played an important role in development;

–Where NASCAR is headed with its manufacturers;

–The importance of avoiding marketing leading competition;

–The security of Ford’s NASCAR program after a CEO change;

–The future of racing as autonomous cars become a reality.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Tonight’s Xfinity race at Iowa: Start time, weather, TV/radio info

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Sam Hornish Jr. looks to return to Iowa Speedway and win the June event for the second consecutive year, but several others, including points leader Elliott Sadler and rookie teammate William Byron, look for their first series win of the year. Justin Allgaier and Ryan Reed seek their second victory of the season.

Here are the particulars for tonight’s Xfinity race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: Emily Skor, CEO Growth Energy, will give the command to start engines at 8:37 p.m. Green flag is set for 8:44 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is scheduled for 250 laps (218.75 miles) around the 7/8-mile oval.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 60. Stage 2 ends on Lap 120.

PRERACE SCHEDULE: The Xfinity garage opens at 2:30 p.m. The driver/crew chief meeting is at 7:30 p.m. Driver introductions are at 8:10 p.m.

NATIONAL ANTHEM: Specialist Michelle Monroe, Iowa National Guard 34th Army Band, will perform the Anthem at 8:31 p.m.

TV/RADIO: Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the race. Its coverage begins at 8 p.m. Motor Racing Network’s broadcast on radio and at mrn.com begins at 8 p.m. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the MRN broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com site predicts 70 degrees at race time with a 1 percent chance of rain at the start of the race.

LAST TIME: Sam Hornish Jr. led 183 of 250 laps to win this event a year ago. Ty Dillon was second. Brad Keselowski was third. Erik Jones won the most recent Iowa race last July, leading 154 of 250 laps. Ty Dillon was second. Elliott Sadler placed third.

STARTING LINEUP: Qualifying begins at 6:15 p.m.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kyle Larson want Cup All-Star Race at Iowa Speedway

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NASCAR has been sending its Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series to Iowa Speedway since 2009, but its premier series has never held a race at the .875-mile track in Newton, Iowa.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson would like that to change sooner rather than later.

Stenhouse and Larson spoke to the Des Moines Register ahead of this weekend’s NASCAR races at the track.

The Roush Fenway Racing driver and former Iowa winner expressed enthusiasm at Iowa someday hosting the Monster Energy All-Star Race.

“To see how much support that the Iowa Speedway gets from the fans, it’s pretty incredible,” Stenhouse said. “I’d love to get the All-Star race here.”

The exhibition has been held at Charlotte Motor Speedway every year but one since it was introduced in 1985. It was at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1986.

But with lackluster races and fan turnout in recent years for the event at the 1.5-mile track, support has been growing to possible hold the event at other tracks.

“I would like that better than Charlotte, for sure. … I’d be down for it,” Larson told the newspaper of having the event in Iowa.

Iowa Speedway opened in 2006 and was bought by NASCAR in 2013.

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Saturday’s track schedules at Sonoma and Iowa

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Today we reach the mid-point of this weekend’s busy NASCAR schedule.

The NASCAR Cup Series will have a short day at Sonoma Raceway, with only qualifying on the agenda at 2:45 p.m. ET.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series will have the busier day at Iowa Speedway, with qualifying at 6:15 p.m. ET, followed by the American Ethanol e15 200 at 8:30 p.m. ET. Sam Hornish Jr. is the defending winner of this race, and returns to try and make it two in a row, racing this year for Team Penske.

Here’s today’s schedule (all times are Eastern):

At SONOMA

10 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Cup garage open

2:45 p.m. – Cup qualifying (multi-vehicle, two rounds) (FS1, Performance Racing Network)

At IOWA

2:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage open

6:15 p.m. – Xfinity qualifying (multi-vehicle, three rounds) (Tape delayed at 7 p.m. ET on FS1)

7:30 p.m. – Xfinity driver/crew chief meeting

8 p.m. – Xfinity driver introductions

8:30 p.m. – American Ethanol e15 200 Xfinity Series race (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR radio)

Stats, Results for Truck Series race at Iowa Speedway

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John Hunter Nemechek led the final six laps to win the Camping World Truck Series’ M&M’s 200 at Iowa Speedway.

It’s his second win in two weeks.

Nemechek beat out Johnny Sauter, Brandon Jones, Grant Engfinger and Christopher Bell.

Click here for race results.