charlotte motor speedway

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - JANUARY 24:  The #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley driven by Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam races during The Rolex 24 at Daytona at Daytona International Speedway on January 24, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Should NASCAR run a Cup race on Daytona’s road course?


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Although talk has been that the October Charlotte playoff race could utilize the track’s road course, two Cup drivers suggest running a road course at another track.

Daytona International Speedway.

Ryan Newman and AJ Allmendinger both like the idea.

Understand that Newman has been outspoken about restrictor-plate racing, and Allmendinger, who tested the Charlotte road course last month, has raced on Daytona’s road course in the Rolex 24.

The Cup Series currently has two road courses on the schedule – Sonoma Raceway in June and Watkins Glen International in August. NASCAR has never had a road course race in its playoffs.

Newman says NASCAR should try the Daytona road course before running the Charlotte road course.

I think we should do it at Daytona in July first to get a taste for it,’’ Newman said Wednesday during Daytona 500 Media Day. “Put us on a race track as we are drivers, probably 70 percent have some experience with it. And put us in a position where we can do a litmus test for what that would be. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But I’m all for it.

“I’d rather go to a road course in Birmingham than go to Talladega in the Chase. And I’d rather, right now at least, run the road course in Charlotte than the oval, which we’ve already done twice that year.’’

As for Allmendinger, he’s not sure fans would be for running the summer race on Daytona’s road course.

“I mean, I like change,’’ Allmendinger said Wednesday. “I like the opportunities and obviously, I’m going to be biased toward it, but I will say the infield getting into Turn 1 it’s pretty tight. 

“Now Charlotte it was pretty tight as well. I think you could make it work, but I think it’s more… obviously, you are not going to do it for the Daytona 500.  And the Fourth of July race still has a lot of history behind it. So, I don’t know if fans would kind of take it as well just because of the history behind the Fourth of July race. 

“But you know what it comes down to, if they are looking at change and that is a change, then great. Whatever it takes to build more excitement into some of these races. Especially, during the summer stretch or like NASCAR talked about if it was for the Chase at Charlotte, just to change something up to bring some more excitement to it. 

“I look at probably the best road course to try it on would be the Indy road course. Being able to drive that race track before when I was in the Rolex cars. I think that would be a fun course to try it on, but if they want to keep adding road courses I’m okay with it.”

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Tide returns as primary sponsor of Matt Kenseth in three races

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The “Tide Ride” will return to the track this year with Tide serving as a primary sponsor of Matt Kenseth in three NASCAR Cup Series races.

Tide Pods will be on the No. 20 for the first Phoenix race (March 19), the Brickyard 400 (July 23) and the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Oct. 7). Tide will serve as an associate sponsor throughout the rest of the season.

After a long absence, Tide returned to the Cup Series with a retro paint scheme on Kenseth’s car at Darlington Raceway last season. Kenseth finished sixth in the Southern 500.

The Procter & Gamble brand has a long history in NASCAR. It sponsored Darrell Waltrip in the 1980s, Ricky Rudd in the 1990s and Ricky Craven and others in the early 2000s.

“I’m glad they expanded their role, I think it’s exciting for NASCAR and fans as well because they were such a common name in the sport for so many years,” Kenseth said in press release. “You always noticed that car on the track. I think getting it back on the track is pretty cool for the sport.”

Kenseth, entering his 18th full-time season in the Cup Series, will also be sponsored by DeWalt.

MORE: Cup Series Primary paint schemes for 2017

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NASCAR heist movie ‘Logan Lucky’ gets new August release date, new photo

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Daniel Craig, Adam Driver and Channing Tatum in “Logan Lucky.” (FINGERPRINT RELEASING/ BLEECKER STREET)

The Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway won’t be the only NASCAR action you’ll be able to see the weekend of Aug. 18.

That’s also when the NASCAR heist movie Logan Lucky will be released, Variety reports.

A new publicity shot from the movie has also been unveiled.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s 11-13, Magic Mike) the movie stars Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, Magic Mike) and Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) as brothers who plot a heist of Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Coca-Cola 600.

The movie also stars Daniel Craig of James Bond fame.

NASCAR drivers who will make cameos in the film include Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney.

Production of the film took place at Charlotte last year during both of NASCAR’s race weekends at the 1.5-mile track. Atlanta Motor Speedway was also used as a shooting location.

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Lynyrd Skynyrd to rock before Coca-Cola 600 gets rolling at Charlotte

Photo: Vector Management
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Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform a free concert prior to the May 28 Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

All race ticket holders will be able to enjoy the Memorial Day weekend concert by the band that made such iconic songs as “Freebird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” huge hits.

The concert will take place on pit road near the frontstretch scoring pylon. It will also be shown on the giant Speedway TV. Pit pass and driver intro pass buyers will have stage-area infield access.

The group with strong Southern roots was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

“We can’t wait to get to rocking with all the race fans,” lead singer Johnny Van Zant said in a media release. “This is going to be one of the coolest concerts we’ll play all year.

“Everybody had better be ready because it’s going to get wild.”

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AJ Allmendinger had ‘a lot of fun’ with data test on Charlotte road course

WATKINS GLEN, NY - AUGUST 05:  AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Kingsford Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Cheez-It 355 at Watkins Glen International on August 5, 2016 in Watkins Glen, New York.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE – After playing coy about his data test on the Charlotte Motor Speedway road course two weeks ago (“I had heard a rumor there was a test at Charlotte, I had golfed”), A.J. Allmendinger said he enjoyed his time on the 2.3-mile circuit, which includes portions of the 1.5-mile oval.

“I thought it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it,” Allmendinger said at the NASCAR Media Tour. “I think it can bring something new to the schedule … if it was done. I’m all for it. I’m probably biased toward it.”

The road-course ace for JTG Daugherty Racing wouldn’t shed light on NASCAR’s plans for the road course and if it will be used this season. But the winner of the 2014 race at Watkins Glen International made it clear he thinks the Cup Series schedule needs a few more right turns.

“I don’t know what’s going happen, I’m not the decision maker,” Allmendinger said. “It’s like the new (points) format. Change can be good. It can be a little scary. We all got to see how it plays out. Could it be successful? I think it could be a fantastic race. It would be something fans could truly enjoy.”

Prep time could keep the road course from being used for the May All-Star race, but it would more realistic to be used for the October playoff race.