ISM Raceway

Demolition begins on Phoenix media center

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Two days after Josef Newgarden won IndyCar’s Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway, demolition began on the media center.

The demolition is part of a $178 million renovation project that began in February 2018 and is scheduled to be completed before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series returns this November.

While the track was repaved and underwent a slight reconfiguration before the fall 2011 race, the media center has not been replaced in 31 years.

The media center did not go willingly. In a video posted on twitter by the track, the third panel of glass withstood half a dozen whacks from the wrecking ball without breaking – proving that it is one tough old building. Then again, anyone who has ever worked out of that concrete bunker knew that already.

The new media center will be four times as large as the old center – nearly 24,000 square feet – and will feature more than 200 work stations for reporters, photographers, and public relations representatives. It will have five interview rooms, a conference room, 11 garage offices, and a 4,000-square-foot space with large windows for the driver’s meeting. Fans will be able to look in as the drivers meeting takes place.

Hendrick Motorsports withdraws appeal of Phoenix penalties against No. 9 team

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Hendrick Motorsports has withdrawn its appeal of penalties against Chase Elliott‘s N0. 9 team from last weekend’s race in Phoenix, NBC Sports confirmed.

NASCAR found a L1 infraction on Elliott’s car in the rear-suspension after the race at ISM Raceway.

NASCAR stated that the team’s truck trailing arm spacer/pinion angle shim mounting surfaces must be planar and in complete contact with corresponding mating surfaces at all points and at all times.

NASCAR fined crew chief Alan Gustafson $50,000, suspended car chief Josh Kirk two races and docked Elliott 25 points and the team 25 owner points. Elliott’s third-place finish in the race will not count toward any tiebreakers.

Following Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway, where Elliott finished 16th, he is 21st in the point standings.

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NASCAR America: Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains Kyle Busch’s pit strategy at Phoenix

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While Kevin Harvick celebrated a third consecutive win last weekend at ISM Raceway, it was clear that runner-up Kyle Busch could have challenged Harvick more or beaten him had it not been for issues with the final pit stop.

One of the questions raised this week was about Busch’s pit strategy for the final stop and how he didn’t pit immediately after Harvick did.

NASCAR America played audio from the No. 18 team’s radio channel revealing the team’s plan. Also, Earnhardt talked to Busch about the strategy.

“He referred back to some races last year where they had tried the same strategy and it actually worked in their favor,’’ Earnhardt said.

Watch the video above for more on what Busch told Earnhardt about the last pit stop.

“It was great to have the opportunity to talk to Kyle and sort of understand what was going on in that moment,” Earnhardt said.

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NASCAR America: Scan All from ISM Raceway

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“History making right there, you’re the man.”

That’s what crew chief Rodney Childers said to Kevin Harvick after he won his record ninth Cup race at ISM Raceway and his third consecutive race, a career first.

Scan All is back this week to relive Sunday’s race through the best scanner traffic from the Ticket Guardian 500.

Here are some highlights.

— “Went from needing long johns yesterday to I can take my shirt off today.” – Brett Griffin, spotter for Clint Bowyer.

“I probably wouldn’t do that.” – Bowyer

— “My back tires are shaking so much.” – Kyle Larson, who would spin to bring out the caution on Lap 123.

— “Fix your radio, you’re worthless to me right now.” – Jamie McMurray while experiencing radio problems that kept him from communicating with his spotter.

— “Oh, saved by the bell! Gosh, we’ve gotta’ fix this!” – Michael McDowell right after a Paul Menard wreck brought out the caution.

Watch the above video for the full “Scan All” experience.

 

Kevin Harvick makes plea for greater involvement in grassroots racing

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Kevin Harvick wasn’t only passionate about proving the haters wrong by winning Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway. After his victory, he turned his feelings toward the need to boost grassroots racing.

Harvick will compete in the K&N West Pro Series opener Thursday at Kern County Raceway Park (the race will be broadcast at 11 p.m. ET on March 20 on NBCSN), and expressed the need for more to be done with grassroots racing, echoing a plea Kyle Larson made last year.

Larson triggered the conversation last March on short track racing when he said NASCAR should encourage drivers to race at tracks in lower series because “I feel like we’ve lost touch with our grassroots race fans.’’

Harvick carried that conversation forward last May when he said the Camping World Truck Series was racing at the wrong tracks. He said the series needed to run at “grassroots race tracks” instead of the bigger tracks.

Harvick, who is from Bakersfield, California, is racing at the local track before the Cup series competes at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, this weekend.

“I would love to build the K&N West Series back to what it needs to be, that enthusiasm, get to the right racetracks, help those kids,’’ Harvick said after Sunday’s Cup win, his third in a row in the series. “For me it was an eye‑opener last year when I went to Sonoma and saw the impact that running that race had on the competitors, the series.’’

Harvick won that K&N Pro Series West race, holding off Will Rodgers, a 22-year old in his first full-time season in that series last year.

“The fans will sometimes say, You’re cherry picking,’’ Harvick said of racing in a lower series. “I would tell you, nobody would know who Will Rodgers is unless it was for us running that race, having him on the radio show, bringing him to the pit box the next day, these guys take him in. If we can shed some light on those particular series, really build them back to where they need to be.’’

Harvick took exception with ISM Raceway no longer hosting the K&N Pro Series West. The series last raced there in 2015.

“One of the best things that happened for racing, it’s not just about NASCAR, was when we had the Copper Classic here,’’ Harvick said of the track outside Phoenix, Arizona. “We had midgets, sprint cars. Didn’t matter how many people sat in the grandstands. As competitors, those guys, this was their Daytona. 

“It’s kicking those guys low on the K&N West Series that they don’t get to come and race at this particular racetrack because of the fact there’s a little bit of a pissing contest between a budget, what is right, what is wrong from a sanctioning fee side on Trucks and Xfinity. So they cut the K&N guys out. Cutting the grassroots side of things out is not the right way to do things.’’

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