Jeff Gordon latest in series of substitute drivers in last four seasons

2 Comments

The news that Jeff Gordon will exit retirement to race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway for Dale Earnhardt Jr. means Gordon will be the latest – and among the most high profile – in a long line of substitute drivers over the last four years.

It will be Gordon’s 23rd start in the Brickyard 400, which he’s won a record five times. It will be his first start in a Sprint Cup race in a car other than No. 24.

The last time the No. 88 car visited victory lane with someone not named Earnhardt driving it was Oct. 2, 2005 when Dale Jarrett earned his final Sprint Cup win at Talladega Superspeedway. Before Earnhardt joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2008, the No. 88 was driven by Ricky Rudd in 2007 for Robert Yates Racing

Sunday’s Brickyard 400 and the July 31 event at Pocono Raceway will be the fourth and fifth races Earnhardt has missed for concussion symptoms since joining Hendrick. He missed races at Charlotte and Kansas in 2012. Regan Smith drove for Earnhardt, finishing 38th (engine failure) and seventh.

Alex Bowman drove the No. 88 last weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finished 26th.

RECENT SUBSTITUTES

Smith was one of the go-to drivers for substitute work in recent years before joining Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2016.

Two years after he subbed for Earnhardt, Smith was called at the last minute to replace Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International following the sprint car accident that claimed the life of Kevin Ward Jr. Smith failed to finish after being in a Lap 81 crash.

Here’s a look at other substitute performances in the last four seasons.

2013

  • Mark Martin – one race for Denny Hamlin at Martinsville (10th); 12 races for Tony Stewart (best finish of ninth at Richmond).
  • Brian Vickers – three races for Denny Hamlin at Texas (eighth), Kansas (31st) and Richmond (35th).
  • Max Papis – One race for Stewart at WGI (15th).
  • Austin Dillon – two races for Stewart at Michigan (14th) and Talladega (26th).

2014

  • Jeff Burton – two races for Stewart at Michigan (37th) and Bristol (15th).
  • Regan Smith – one race for Stewart (37th).
  • Sam Hornish Jr. – one race for Hamlin at Auto Club Speedway (17th).

2015

  • Matt Crafton – one race for Kyle Busch in Daytona 500 (18th)
  • David Ragan – Nine races for Busch (best finish of fifth at Martinsville); 25 races for Vickers (best finish of 12th at Daytona II)
  • Erik Jones – one race for Kyle Busch at Kansas (40th). Two races for Matt Kenseth at Texas (12th) and Phoenix (19th).
  • Regan Smith – one race for Kyle Larson at Martinsville (16th); three races for Kurt Busch (two finishes of 16th at Daytona and Las Vegas
  • Brett Moffitt – Six races for Vickers (best finish of eighth at Atlanta)

2016

  • Brian Vickers – five races for Stewart (best finish of seventh at Martinsville)
  • Ty Dillon – Three races for Stewart, plus relief effort at Talladega (best finish of sixth at Talladega)
  • Alex Bowman – one race for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Loudon (26th)

SUBSTITUTE WINNERS

If Gordon wins Sunday he would join a short list of notable wins by substitute drivers in the history of the Sprint Cup Series:

  • Tiny Lund for Marvin Panch – 1963 Daytona 500
  • David Pearson for Dale Earnhardt – 1979 Southern 500
  • Dale Jarrett for Ernie Irvan at Robert Yates Racing for the 1995 season (won at Pocono).  Irvan was hurt at Michigan in 1994
  • Robby Gordon for Mike Skinner— 2001 at New Hampshire
  • Jamie McMurray for Sterling Marlin — 2002 at Charlotte

How do you think Jeff Gordon will do this weekend at Indianapolis?

Weekend schedule for Kentucky Speedway

Leave a comment

NASCAR heads to the Bluegrass State this week for four days of racing at Kentucky Speedway.

All three national series will be in action, plus the ARCA Menards Series, for five races. The Xfinity Series will hold two races for its second doubleheader of the season.

According to wunderground.com, the forecast for the start of each race is:

Thursday Xfinity race: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees and a 20% chance of rain.

Friday Xfinity race: Scattered thunderstorms, 80 degrees and 37% chance of rain.

Saturday Truck Series race: Partly cloudy, 86 degrees and 0% chance of rain.

Sunday Cup race: Scattered thunderstorms, 84 degrees, 40% chance of rain.

Here is the full weekend schedule for Kentucky Speedway.

(All times are Eastern)

Wednesday, July 8

3:30 p.m. – Xfinity rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5 p.m. – Xfinity driver-crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Driver motorhome parking (screening in progress)

Thursday, July 9

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. – Xfinity haulers enter (screening in progress)

1 – 10:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access (screening in progress)

6 – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity engine prime and final adjustments (pit road)

7:50 p.m. – Xfinity drivers report to cars

8 p.m. – Xfinity race No. 1; 134 laps/201 miles (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Friday, July 10

10:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity garage access (screening in progress)

Noon – ARCA driver/crew chief/spotter meeting (electronic communication)

12:30 p.m. – ARCA rookie meeting (teleconference)

1 p.m. – ARCA crew chief meeting (teleconference)

4 – 5 p.m. – ARCA haulers enter (screening in progress)

5 – 5:30 p.m. – Truck Series rookie meeting (teleconference)

5:30 p.m. – Trucks driver/crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

6 – 7:30 p.m. – Xfinity engine prime and final adjustments (pit road)

7:50 – Xfinity drivers report to cars

8 p.m. – Xfinity race No. 2; 200 laps/300 miles (FS1, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Saturday, July 11

7 a.m. – 2 p.m. – ARCA garage access (screening in progress)

8 – 10 a.m. – Truck series haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. – Truck garage access (screening in progress)

Noon – 1 p.m. – ARCA practice

2:20 p.m. – ARCA drivers report to cars

2:30 p.m. – ARCA race; 100 laps/150 miles (FS1)

4 – 5:30 p.m. – Trucks engine prime and final adjustments (garage area)

4:40 – 5:30 p.m. – ARCA haulers exit

5 p.m. – Cup driver/crew chief meeting (electronic communication)

5:30 p.m. – Cup rookie meeting (electronic communication)

5:50 p.m. – Truck drivers report to vehicles

6 p.m. – Truck race; 150 laps/225 miles (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. – Cup haulers enter (screening and equipment unload)

8:30 p.m. – Truck haulers exit

Sunday, July 12

7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – Cup garage access (screening in progress)

12:30 – 2 p.m. – Engine prime and final adjustments on pit road

2:20 p.m. – Cup drivers report to cars

2:30 p.m. – Quaker State 400; 267 laps/400.5 miles (FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

6:30 p.m. – Cup haulers exit

Thursday night’s Xfinity race at Kentucky: Start time, forecast and more

Leave a comment

A stretch of five races in four days at Kentucky Speedway begins Thursday night with the first of two Xfinity Series races.

It will mark the second doubleheader of the year for the Xfinity Series.

Can Chase Briscoe keep up a winning pace that’s seen him win three times in the last four races (and five overall thus far in the season’s first 13 races)?

Here’s all the info you need for Thursday night’s race:

(All times are Eastern)

START: The command to start engines will be at 8:13 p.m by Shady Rays CEO Chris Ratterman. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 8:24 p.m.

PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 1 p.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments are at 6 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 7:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 8:05 p.m by Jason Romano. The national anthem will be performed at 8:06 p.m. by Matthew Grant.

DISTANCE: The race is 134 laps (201 miles) around the 1.5-mile speedway.

STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 60.

TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Its coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. Performance Racing Network’s coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. and also can be heard at goprn.com. SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry PRN’s broadcast.

FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, a high of 86 degrees and a 24% chance of rain predicted at the start of the race.

LAST RACE: Chase Briscoe defeated Justin Haley and Noah Gragson to win on the Indianapolis road course.

LAST RACE AT KENTUCKY: Cole Custer beat Christopher Bell and Tyler Reddick.

STARTING LINEUP: Click here for lineup

Starting lineup for Saturday’s Truck Series race at Kentucky

Leave a comment

Brett Moffitt will start from the pole for Saturday’s NASCAR Gander RV and Outdoors Truck Series race at Kentucky Speedway (6 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Zane Smith. In fact, the first three drivers are all from GMS Racing: Moffitt, Smith and Tyler Ankrum, who will start third.

Rounding out the top five are Christian Eckes and Austin Hill.

Click here for the starting lineup 

NASCAR Truck Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 6 p.m. ET Saturday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 150 laps, 225 miles

Stages: Stage 1 ends on Lap 35. Stage 2 ends on Lap 70.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Motor Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); mrn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Cup race: Sunday at Kentucky (267 laps, 400.5 miles), 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Starting lineup for Sunday’s Cup race at Kentucky

Leave a comment

Two-time winner Kyle Busch will start from the pole for Sunday’s Cup Series race at Kentucky Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET on FS1) thanks to a random draw.

He will be joined on the front row by Joey Logano.

The top five is completed by Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola and Alex Bowman.

Click here for the starting lineup

NASCAR Cup Series at Kentucky

Race Time: 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

Track: Kentucky Speedway; Sparta, Kentucky (1.5-mile speedway)

Length: 267 laps, 400.5 miles

Stages: Stage 1 ends on Lap 80. Stage 2 ends on Lap 160.

TV coverage: FS1

Radio: Performance Racing Network (also SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Streaming: Fox Sports app (subscription required); goprn.com and SiriusXM for audio (subscription required)

Next Xfinity race: Thursday at Kentucky (134 laps, 201 miles), 8 p.m. ET on FS1

Next Truck race: Saturday at Kentucky (150 laps, 225 miles) 6 p.m. ET on FS1

Follow @JerryBonkowski