Podcast: Rumors and the rise, fall and rebirth of Jayski’s Silly Season

Jayski
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The most famous – and at one point, the most powerful – website in NASCAR history started as a class project in a college computer lab.

While learning basic HTML programming in 1996, Jay Adamcyk was assigned to create a web page. Its focus was Ernie Irvan, his favorite NASCAR driver. In the infancy of Internet, it drew many questions from fans interested in the status of other drivers, or the annual movement between teams that is known colloquially as “Silly Season” in NASCAR.

Adamcyk made a chart to track drivers in the Cup Series and rechristened the page as “Jayski’s Silly Season” on Aug. 26, 1996.

The logo that has become synonymous with the Jayski Silly Season site is a caricature of its founder, Jay Adamcyk.

“That just frickin’ took off,” Adamcyk recalled during the most recent episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, which catalogs the history of a site that was named multiple times to the Charlotte Observer’s list of the 25 most influential, people, places and things in NASCAR.

By the end of 1996, Jayski.com (which was named after the nickname that Adamcyk had picked up while serving in the U.S. Air Force) was averaging an impressive 5,000 page views daily.

Within five years, it had become the primary clearinghouse for NASCAR news and information (as well as a vast gallery of more than 2,000 paint schemes) and drawn traffic in the seven figures on its most popular days.

Virtually every driver who currently races in NASCAR’s national series was affected by Jayski, whether as the subject of one of its reports or as a valuable resource tool.

“When I found out about Jayski and knew what Jayski was, I was on that thing whether it was daily or weekly,” Kyle Busch said on the podcast. “It was a religion going on there checking it out. My favorite, favorite, favorite time of year was December or January when everyone was coming out with new paint schemes for the next year. I’d go on there every day like, ‘Whose new paint scheme got released today?’”

Kevin Harvick was an admirer of the site but also wary of being connected with it during contract negotiations or team personnel changes.

“Man, a lot of secrets got out,” Harvick said. “For me, when I first started, I used to pull up Jayski every day. That was really where I went to get all my racing news, and as I got further into the sport, I realized that was not the place where I wanted to have my name at was on Jayski unless it was something really good.

“But if there were rumors on there, you knew they were coming from somewhere near your situation because they were usually true. It was a pretty valid place and source of information.”

NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton recalls that Jayski “was a shit stirrer. That was the site that would print anything, write rumors, if you wanted to hear a rumor that’s where you went. It was not without facts. I’m not saying they were always wrong. But they were willing to print the rumors and talk about the rumors about the sport in general. Driver changes, sponsors changes, crew member changes.

“They seemed to have an in with teams and the willingness to print things that other people wouldn’t print. When I think of Jayski, that’s what I think about. It turned and evolved into much more of a reference.”

During the podcast, Adamcyk recalled receiving 100 tips daily from the NASCAR industry when the site was at its peak (once drawing close to 100 million page views annually in 2005). He also lamented running rumors from sources who later turned out to be incorrect and occasionally angering some prominent people (“Richard Childress wanted to kill me at one time.”).

“When something came out, and it was totally wrong, I was not happy. I was very upset with myself for falling for it. But sometimes it might have been in the works, and then they decided not to do it.”

Jayski.com was acquired by ESPN.com in 2006. A site redesign and the rise of social media (which hampered Jayski’s ability to break news) led to a nearly 30 percent decline in page views. In January, ESPN.com shut down the site but eventually returned its rights to Adamcyk.

The site was relaunched May 13 with its throwback black and yellow background and goofy clip art that harkens to its mid-1990s origins. It also has restored its meticulous archive of paint schemes, which have become one of its primary drivers of traffic.

“It’s been really, really cool,” Adamcyk said of the relaunch. “We were known for being about rumors when we started the site. That’s no longer the case. There’s not a lot of rumors out there now. It’s a whole different world now.

“For a while there, I was wondering how relevant the site was even anymore. When everything went down this year, I guess people still liked us doing it.”

To listen to the NASCAR on NBC Podcast episode about Jayski, click on the embed above or listen via Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play or wherever you download podcasts.

Drivers to watch in NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte Roval

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The lineup for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs Round of 8 will be decided in Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Entering the race, the final event in the Round of 12, Austin Cindric, William Byron, Christopher Bell and Alex Bowman are below the cutline. Bowman will miss the race — and thus the cutoff — as he continues to battle concussion-like symptoms. Noah Gragson is scheduled to drive the No. 48 Chevrolet Sunday.

Cindric is tied with Chase Briscoe for the eighth playoff spot, but Briscoe would claim it on the tiebreaker. Byron is 11 points back, and Bell is 33. Hendrick Motorsports has appealed the penalty to Byron that dropped him below the cutline. That appeal is scheduled to be heard Thursday.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Any playoff driver who wins Sunday’s race and isn’t already qualified — Chase Elliott qualified for the Round of 8 by winning last week at Talladega Superspeedway — automatically advances to the Round of 8.

Drivers to watch Sunday at the Roval (2 p.m., ET, NBC), the final road-course race of the season:

FRONTRUNNERS

Chase Elliott

  • Points position: 1st
  • Last three races: Won at Talladega, 32nd at Texas, 2nd at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2019 and 2020

Elliott is the clear favorite to win a second championship. He won Sunday at Talladega to advance to the Round of 8 and can relax Sunday at Charlotte having punched his ticket. Relaxing isn’t likely, however, as Elliott will be among the favorites to win.

Ryan Blaney

  • Points position: 2nd
  • Last three races: 2nd at Talladega, 4th at Texas, 30th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2018.

Blaney continues along a path that could result in him winning the Cup championship without winning a race. He came within an eyelash of winning Sunday at Talladega but fell victim to Chase Elliott’s last-lap charge. He should be a threat Sunday at the Roval, where he has four straight top 10s.

Kyle Larson

  • Points position: 6th
  • Last three races: 18th at Talladega, 9th at Texas, 5th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Won in 2021

Larson’s last win — and his last top-four finish — came at Watkins Glen seven races ago. He is 18 points over the cutline entering Sunday’s race.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

Austin Cindric

  • Points position: 9th
  • Last three races: 9th at Talladega, 15th at Texas, 20th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Sunday will mark his first Cup race. Has three top threes in four Xfinity starts.

Cindric hasn’t won since the season-opening Daytona 500 and is one of five drivers still in the playoffs who own only one victory this year. His ninth-place run at Talladega ended a streak of four straight finishes of 12th or worse.

MORE: NBC Sports NASCAR Power Rankings

Daniel Suarez

  • Points position: 7th
  • Last three races: 8th at Talladega, 12th at Texas, 19th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Best finish in four starts is 13th

Suarez is 12 points above the cutline entering Sunday’s race. He has never led a lap at the Roval and has never finished in the top 10.

Chase Briscoe

  • Points position: 8th
  • Last three races: 10th at Talladega, 5th at Texas, 14th at Bristol
  • Past at CMS Roval: Finished 22nd last year in his only Cup start

Briscoe is teetering on top of the cutline in search of a spot in the Round of 8. He hasn’t won since the fourth race of the year at Phoenix and had a poor performance at the Roval last year.

 

 

AJ Allmendinger to return to NASCAR Cup Series in 2023

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AJ Allmendinger is getting another shot at success in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Kaulig Racing announced Wednesday that Allmendinger, currently chasing the Xfinity Series championship, will drive full-time in Kaulig entries in the Cup Series next season.

Allmendinger raced in Cup from 2007 to 2018 but won only one time — at Watkins Glen International — across those years. He moved to the Xfinity Series part-time with Kaulig in 2019, winning on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. He won twice in 2020 and five times in 2021 and is a favorite to win the Xfinity championship this year. He has won four Xfinity races this season, including last Sunday at Talladega.

MORE: Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

Allmendinger, 40, will drive Kaulig’s No. 16 car in Cup next year. Justin Haley will drive the team’s No. 31.

Chandler Smith will replace Allmendinger in the Xfinity Series next year.

“It’s crazy how the last five years of my life have gone,” Allmendinger said. “More than anything, I love this organization. I know the fans get tired of me talking about all the men and women of Kaulig Racing. This is not a race team. This is a huge family.

“There will be tough times and growing pains, for sure. But I love what they’re about, and they believe in me. I’ll be OK whether it’s good or bad.”

MORE: Chase Elliott atop NASCAR Power Rankings

Team owner Matt Kaulig said Allmendinger is “one of the best in the world at every type of track. He’s done so much for Kaulig Racing and our program. He’s a gigantic part of what we’re building.”

Team officials said Allmendinger has a multi-year contract.

 

 

 

 

 

NASCAR viewer’s guide for Charlotte Roval

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Sunday provides a final chance for drivers to advance to the Round of 8 and keep their Cup championship hopes alive.

Talladega winner Chase Elliott is the only driver who has advanced to the next round. That leaves seven spots available going into Sunday’s race at the Charlotte Roval (2 p.m. ET on NBC).

Chase Briscoe holds the final transfer spot by a tiebreaker over Austin Cindric. At least for now.

William Byron is 11 points behind both drivers, but Hendrick Motorsports will appeal Byron’s 25-point penalty from Texas on Thursday. Should Hendrick win and Byron get those points back, he would move into a transfer spot.

There’s just part of what to watch for in Sunday’s race.

Favorites to be No. 20

This season remains tied for the most different winners in series history at 19, but there are a few candidates who could become the 20th different winner this year on Sunday.

Among the favorites to do so:

Ryan Blaney, who came close to winning last week at Talladega, won the inaugural Cup race at the Roval in 2018.

Martin Truex Jr., who has four career Cup wins on road courses, still seeks his first victory of the season.

Michael McDowell, who is coming off a third-place finish at Talladega, has had a career-high 12 top-10 finishes this season, including top 10s in each of the last four road course events this year.

Will history repeat?

Last year, the four drivers eliminated after the Roval were Kevin Harvick, Alex Bowman, Christopher Bell and William Byron.

Harvick was eliminated in the first round this year, but Byron (-11 to the cutline) and Bell (-33) are in jeopardy of being eliminated in this round again. Bowman stated Tuesday that he will miss his second consecutive race because of continued concussion symptoms. He will be among the four eliminated from title contention.

Bowman missed last weekend’s race because of concussion-like symptoms suffered at Texas. A decision on if he’ll be able to race at the Roval will come later this week.

Will chaos continue?

Consider what some of the former Roval winners have endured on their way to the checkered flag:

In 2019, Chase Elliott drove into the Turn 1 wall on a restart while the leader. He recovered to win.

In 2020, Elliott overcame a loose wheel to win for the second year in a row.

In 2021, Kyle Larson won after his team changed batteries and put the alternator belt back on.

Could a similar fate be in store for this year’s winner? Or will they have a cleaner day?

Entry lists

Thirty-nine drivers are entered including IndyCar driver Conor Daly, former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat, former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller and former 24 Hours of Daytona winner Joey Hand. JJ Yeley will drive the No. 51 for Cody Ware, who stated that he would skip this event because of his ankle injury at Texas the footwork needed on a road course.

Charlotte Roval Cup entry list

The Xfinity entry list includes 41 drivers for 38 spots. Among those joining the series regulars are IndyCar driver Marco Andretti and former F1 driver Daniil Kvyat.

Charlotte Roval Xfinity entry list

This week’s schedule and forecast

(All times Eastern)

Saturday, Oct. 8

Forecast: Partly cloudy with a high of 66 degrees. No chance of rain during the Xfinity race.

  • 10 – 10:30 a.m. — Xfinity practice (NBC Sports App)
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. — Xfinity qualifying (NBC Sports App)
  • 12 – 1 p.m. — Cup practice (NBC Sports App, USA Network coverage begins at 12:30 p.m.)
  • 1 – 2 p.m. — Cup qualifying (USA Network, NBC Sports App)
  • 3 p.m. — Xfinity race (67 laps, 155.44 miles; NBC, Peacock, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, Oct. 9

Forecast: Sunny with a high of 64 degrees. No chance of rain during the race.

  • 2 p.m. — Cup race (109 laps, 252.88 miles; NBC, Performance Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

 

Hailie Deegan to make Xfinity debut at Las Vegas

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Hailie Deegan announced Tuesday that she will make her Xfinity Series debut Oct. 15 Las Vegas Motor Speedway on NBC and Peacock.

The 21-year-old Deegan is in her second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. She finished a career-high sixth in that series last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

She will drive the No. 07 car for SS Green Light Racing with Jeff Lefcourt.