New Hampshire takeaways: The end of PJ1? Race showed why the situation isn’t so sticky

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LOUDON, New Hampshire – It’s been called PJ1, VHT and the sticky stuff, but it’s been most commonly known as traction compound.

A suggestion for streamlining future references: NASCAR should call it gone – and heed the advice of a rising chorus in its Cup garage.

After finishing third Sunday on New Hampshire Motor Speedway asphalt unsullied by the spray of traction compound (or “the glue” as it’s pejoratively known in some circles), Brad Keselowski responded “Absolutely,” when asked if NASCAR should stop applying PJ1 the rest of the season.

“I just wanted to put on a good show to make sure the racetrack and NASCAR knew that we don’t need that PJ1 stuff to put on a good race,” he said. “We don’t need that crap. I thought it was one of the best races of the year. I’m curious what the Jeff Gluck poll says. If it doesn’t win, then I don’t know. But maybe this will get them to stop putting that stuff down.”

NASCAR Cup Series Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
Aric Almirola and Kyle Larson lead the field Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images).

The decision to skip the application of PJ1 at New Hampshire was made late last week. After initially deciding to wait on putting it down until after the Xfinity race because of how it would affect the Modified Series (on another tire), NASCAR decided to forego PJ1 altogether.

The result was one of the best races of the 2021 season with plenty of action despite passing remaining at a premium.

“It was racy; the grip really went away,” race winner Aric Almirola said. “It really caused you to have to drive the race car (with) more car control. You didn’t feel stuck. When you caught somebody, you could move around and pass them. When we had the PJ1, you had to work twice if not three times as hard to get by somebody because the PJ1, even if their car was not handling, it was the preferred groove. You could not get by them.”

Sunday’s race featured a memorable midrace battle for the lead between the Team Penske Fords of Keselowski and Ryan Blaney, who were able to race hard despite a slightly narrower groove and less adhesion for their 3,400-pound cars.

I thought it put on a great show with no PJ1, just less grip,” Blaney said. “It felt like there was a little bit of a grip change, like the track was darker in the first and third lane. I just thought the track was pretty wide, so I think the place doesn’t need PJ1 at all.”

New Hampshire raises the question of whether any tracks still need traction compound, which has been in use at various tracks since 2016. Initially a hit at tracks such as New Hampshire and Bristol Motor Speedway, its efficacy has come into question as its use became more widespread (particularly at critical playoff tracks such as Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix Raceway). As Kyle Busch recently noted in a delightfully blunt diatribe, the proposed 2022 reconfiguration of Atlanta actually is a move in the other direction

When Nashville Superspeedway made its Cup debut last month, NASCAR treated the surface with a resin that drew rave reviews (William Byron suggested using it in place of traction compound everywhere) in producing a wider racetrack. Eventually, the substance faded in the Cup and Xfinity races but was less intrusive than PJ1, which seems to have the potential for long-term repercussions.

Last weekend, NASCAR drivers said residue remained at New Hampshire that showed “maybe we’ve been putting it on way too much,” Kevin Harvick said. “Seems there’s a lot we don’t know about that particular substance.”

Texas is the biggest case against PJ1, which was last applied on the 1.5-mile oval two years ago (for a NASCAR race weekend).

In three races there over the past season, IndyCar drivers vociferously have complained that the areas formerly treated with traction compound (which still retain dark stains) are “no-go zones” with little grip – turning Texas (once known as IndyCar’s answer to Daytona or Talladega) into a one-lane nightmare. (The track never was treated with traction compound for IndyCar races.)

NASCAR fortunately has avoided any cases of PJ1 backfiring so badly, but its tracks also have arrived at a point of diminishing returns with the traction compound’s impact on racing.

Yet the tired and banal narrative remains (“You think that glue they spray will work this week?” isn’t exactly as alluring “Who will Dale wreck next?”), forcing Cup stars constantly to answer insipid questions about an arcane science project instead of cool stuff like why they’re afraid of lobsters (this week we learned Denny Hamlin is on the Wikipedia page for ostraconophobia).

No matter what it was called, traction compound had a well-intentioned run as a means for improving the racing, but it’s time to say goodbye to the glue.

This isn’t such a sticky situation after all. Just stop using it.


Nashville hopes and dreams

As a reserved champion mindful of the power of his words, Chase Elliott rarely speaks on big-picture issues. That’s why it was so notable the three-time most popular drive was so outspoken in lobbying Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway for a Cup Series race.

Though his sway is significant and his case was persuasive (as a short track in an urban location, Nashville’s addition could deliver many benefits of the much-hyped street race concept but on an oval), Elliott probably can’t make it happen alone – but the momentum is growing for fostering Cup’s grassroots connections.

Hamlin and Kyle Busch also were interested in racing SRX at Nashville, which reportedly drew its largest crowd in decades.

Chase Elliott won the SRX season finale at Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway, where his Hall of Fame father, Bill, finished third (Dylan Buell/SRX via Getty Images).

“That’s something you probably could have at most short tracks around the country,” Hamlin said. “When you go to a facility like that where they haven’t had anything big production of a race with some stars, you’re going to get big turnouts. Our Short Track Showdown would sell out every short track we went to, so people want to see the stars.”

After the SRX event at Slinger Speedway, Trackhouse Racing co-owner Justin Marks speculated on whether the path forward for NASCAR might be nationally televised events at throwback speedways without the traditional market draw once touted as essential for sponsors.

It’s raised the possibility that NASCAR’s premier series could work at tracks such as Bowman-Gray Stadium or South Boston Speedway (where NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton has advocated taking the All-Star Race).

Hamlin believes that “absolutely” could work a few times annually.

“We went away from those places for a reason,” he said. “The reasons might be different now than then, but the infrastructure is one thing. We have corporate sponsors and where are they going to go? Are they going to sit in the infield on the back of a tailgate? No, they want to sit in a nice suite. So you have to have a balance there. I think there’s a balance to put on a big event but helps grass roots with what they’re doing.

“There are plenty of tracks that really don’t have suites. We just want people excited to go to the racetrack.”

It also might help if there was some thawing in the working relationship between NASCAR and SRX, whose co-founder Tony Stewart recently alluded to friction between the series.

Though Elliott said his participation was encouraged by Hendrick Motorsports and NASCAR executives, Kyle Busch told NBC Sports that “the message I got delivered was no” when he requested to race Nashville. Asked to clarify whether NASCAR or Joe Gibbs Racing turned him down, Busch said, “Yes” without further elaboration.

Hamlin said he missed Nashville because of conflicts and thinks NASCAR would be supportive of its drivers racing SRX (which just wrapped its inaugural season) because “we want to make everyone collectively more excited about motorsports in general. If you can open that audience up, broaden it, everyone’s going to be better.”


Crew chief ‘destroying’ Xfinity Series competition

Overlooked in the world-beating performance of the No. 54 Toyota in the Xfinity is crew chief Chris Gayle, who was demoted from the Cup Series after winning twice with Erik Jones from 2017-20. With Kyle Busch, Ty Gibbs and now Christopher Bell at New Hampshire, Gayle has guided the car to seven victories in 19 starts

As noted by NASCAR on NBC analyst Jeff Burton in Saturday’s Xfinity broadcast, being moved down a rung on the NASCAR ladder was a blow to Gayle’s pride that left him motivated to “destroy” the Xfinity Series field to prove he still deserves to be a crew chief in Cup.

Gayle didn’t learn he would lose his Cup position until the last week of the 2020 season after meeting with Bell about becoming his crew chief (Adam Stevens moved over to the No. 20 after six seasons and two championships as Busch’s No. 18 crew chief in Cup). Without any practice or qualifying at New Hampshire, Bell won in his debut with Gayle as crew chief.

AUTO: JUL 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series - Credit Karma Money 250
Crew chief Chris Gayle on the pit box at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he guided Kyle Busch to his fifth Xfinity Series victory this season (David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images).

“It’s ironic; I thought the opportunity might present itself to drive for Gayle on the Cup side when he was with the 20 group last year,” Bell said. “I went to lunch with him, had a conversation with him, and it didn’t work out, so it didn’t prcoeed any further.

“I had all that faith that Gayle was going to give me the fastest race car, and he delivered today. I defintely was not aware of that motivation, but he’s proven himself time and time again. He’s a great crew chief and has done a really good job of bringing really great race cars to the track.”

Laughing about how he (wrongly) tried to get Gayle fired from his position as an engineer on the No. 18 during his first two seasons at Joe Gibbs Racing, Busch also believes Gayle is worhty of Cup. “Chris is a smart guy,” he said. “We’ve come to respect one another a lot.”


Silly season update

Brad Keselowski will be announced officially Tuesday in his new driver-owner role at Roush Fenway Racing, and there could be more happening behind the scenes the next two weeks during NASCAR’s break for the Olympics. An update on the 2022 free agent market:

Kurt Busch said his deal isn’t finalized because “things changed with the announcement of Ganassi selling the team,” but “we’re getting close” and isn’t worried about having a full-time ride. He intends to bring sponsor Monster with him whether he takes Trackhouse Racing’s second ride (as a teammate to Daniel Suarez) or joins 23XI Racing in a second car. “My relationship with Monster is important,” he said Sunday. “I’m trying to balance all that out to figure out what their needs are.”

After his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the hundreds of congratulatory messages Busch received included “crew members wanting to learn information on where I’m going. I feel like I’m now part of a recruiting process. So there’s quite a bit to balance out now. A good problem to have.”

–Suarez has talked to Trackhouse owner Justin Marks about his prospective teammate, “but nothing that really tells me who it’s going to be. We know there are some options. (Marks is) not in a position yet to make the call. I think the final call is going to be his. And it has to be obviously somebody that brings good experience and wants to push this team in the right direction. Competition is great. I’d love to have somebody who is very, very strong to push together and get better together. I have been fortunate to learn a lot from experienced teammates.”

Matt DiBenedetto said “nothing yet” when asked about his prospects at New Hampshire. “Our team being at the best spot ever, the feel is there,” he said. “You’ve seen it the last few weeks. We’ll run up front, go try and win, and I’ve got to trust the rest will work out.”


Man of the people

A few dozen fans were waiting outside the infield tunnel after Saturday night’s Xfinity race at New Hampshire. In the days of two- and three-day weekends, it would have been a prime spot to catch Cup stars leaving their motorhomes for dinners in nearby locales the night before the race. But the eradication of most practice and qualifying sessions the past two seasons means much later arrivals (such as Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson, both of whom flew Sunday morning to New Hampshire after racing in other states Saturday night).

These fans weren’t disappointed, though. New England native Joey Logano stopped by in a golf kart to sign autographs after walking the 1.058-mile oval.

“I was checking out the racetrack, and there were some fans yelling, so I went and said hello,” he said. “A friend of ours was parked out there, so I went and said hello, too. The nice part of being at your home track, you see everyone you know that you haven’t seen for a while.

“I did the same thing (walking the track and signing autographs) at Road America. It’s been my thing lately. I’ve been walking the tracks and saying hello to fans. I think I’ve missed them a lot. I like doing appearances again and seeing people in person. You won’t see me in my bus much. I hate being in there. I just sleep in there.”

Logano, 31, spent most of last week around his Middletown, Connecticut, hometown, celebrating the repaving and grand reopening of Silver City, the quarter-midget track where he started his career. He also brought his first race car out of storage after 25 years so that his 3-year-old son, Hudson, could go for a spin.

“We put a motor in it, bled the brakes and moved the steering wheel down and the pedals up for him,” said Logano, who posted photos of Logano quarter-midget racers across the generations in the same car. “Put some foam behind him, some new belts in and said, ‘There you go, bud!’ He drives some stuff around home, so he kind of had an idea what to do, but he was timid. He didn’t want to do it at first. He watched the other kids go. He was waving the flags for them during practice. He goes, ‘Oh, Dad, I want to try.’ I said, ‘I thought you would.’

“It’s really scary when your kid is racing by the way! It was cool. And then he was doing it, and I was l like, ‘Uh-oh. Did we make this thing go too fast?’ Dad was adjusting the throttle stop.”

Snowball Derby entry list includes NASCAR Cup, Xfinity, Truck drivers

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Four Cup drivers are among those entered for Sunday’s 55th annual Snowball Derby at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida.

The Cup drivers entered are former series champion Brad Keselowski, playoff competitor William Byron, two-time Southern 500 winner Erik Jones and incoming Cup rookie Noah Gragson, who advanced to the Xfinity title race this year.

Also entered: Josh Berry, who competed in the Xfinity championship race this year, and Ty Majeski, who competed in the Truck championship race this year.

Majeski won the 2020 Snowball Derby. Gragson won the race in 2018. Jones won the event in 2012 and ’13.

Others entered include:

Chandler Smith, who won the 2021 Snowball Derby and will drive for Kaulig Racing in the Xfinity Series in 2023, is listed on the entry list but stated on social media he will not be competing.

The Snowball Derby is among the more prestigious Super Late Model races on the calendar and coming after the NASCAR season makes it easier for more Cup, Xfinity and Truck competitors to take part in the event.

Qualifying takes place Saturday. The Snowball Derby is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET Sunday. Racing America will stream Sunday’s race for $49.99. A three-day viewing pass can be purchased for $74.99.

 

 

An upset for the ages: Jody Ridley’s 1981 victory at Dover

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NASCAR’s history is sprinkled with upsets, from unlikely winners riding the Talladega draft to short tracks that yielded unexpected wins when favored leaders crashed on the final lap.

Survey the list of surprise winners over the decades, and Jody Ridley’s name likely will stand out.

On May 17, 1981, two days shy of his 39th birthday, Ridley won a 500-mile race at Dover Motor Speedway in Delaware. It was the only victory of Ridley’s Cup career and the only win scored by Virginia team owner Junie Donlavey, who participated in the Cup Series for 45 years, with 863 starts.

Donlavey’s team was perpetually underfunded, and his drivers often raced with tired, overused engines and tires that had too many laps. He survived with a mostly volunteer crew and enough sponsorship to carry him from race to race. Rival drivers and team owners considered Donlavey one of the most popular residents of NASCAR garage areas across those many years, but he rarely had the chance to reach for victory lane.

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On that spring day at Dover, one of NASCAR’s toughest tracks, everything fell the right way. Many of the tour’s leading drivers parked with engine or overheating problems, and the day’s best car – the Wood Brothers entry driven by Neil Bonnett — was sidelined with an engine issue late in the race after leading 404 laps.

Ridley, running a steady race, benefited from an unusual day at Dover. The race had only two cautions, and the final 471 laps of 500 were run under green-flag conditions. A general lack of cautions prevented top teams from changing tires frequently, putting Ridley, who was used to running tires longer than normal, on better footing.

When Cale Yarborough left the race with engine trouble 20 laps from the finish, Ridley inherited the lead — he had been two laps down to Yarborough — and led the rest of the way. He won by 22 seconds over Bobby Allison, who was the only other driver on the lead lap. Dale Earnhardt finished third, a lap down. Illustrating the problems experienced by many in the field — not an unusual result in those days — was the fact that the fourth-place driver, D.K. Ulrich, was nine laps off the lead pace.

Ridley drove into Victory Lane for the first time, much to the delight of Donlavey’s crew.

“Junie took it all in stride,” Ridley, now 80, told NBC Sports. “He wasn’t as excited as the team guys were. Junie was the type of guy who didn’t want to cash in on other people’s bad luck. He kind of felt sorry for the guys who blew up. That’s just the way he was.

“For me, it was the highlight of my career. Once I got into Cup racing, I knew we probably wouldn’t do much winning because we didn’t have the equipment. It was icing on the cake to win that one.”

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Jody’s son Anthony, then 22 years old, was listening to the race via radio in Chatsworth, Georgia, where the family lived.

“I was upstairs at my girlfriend’s house, and I think I bounced all over the upstairs and then floated down to the first floor,” Anthony said. “It was all pretty cool. Dad called home. He’s the kind of guy who doesn’t get real excited about anything, but he was happy.”

The win paid $22,560. Ridley’s cut from the check (40 percent, generally standard in those days) was $9,024, a nice payday but not Ridley’s biggest in Cup. He would win more for finishing in the top 10 in the Daytona 500.

“We were having a good day,” Ridley said, “but I never thought about winning it. We just didn’t have the cars. But we stayed in the hunt, and the other teams couldn’t get too many new tires, and Junie had put a different gear in the car. Normally he would put in a taller gear and drop the RPMs down (to protect the engine), and you couldn’t keep up. For some reason that day, he didn’t. And it paid off.”

Before joining the Cup tour full time in 1980 at age 37, Ridley had established himself as one of the top short-track drivers in the country. Across the South, at top Eastern Seaboard tracks and into the Midwest, a visit by Ridley usually meant a tough night for the locals.

MORE: Five laps that impacted Cup season

Ridley’s older brother, Biddle, and Anthony kept the Ridley short-track cars running.

“We did all that together for 36 years,” said Anthony, who started changing tires during pit stops at the age of 14. “It was how we made a living, but trying to feed three families out of a race car is tough.”

Ridley still lives in Chatsworth, where his 1981 victory was a sports highlight for years.

“He can’t hear well, but he’s still tough as a pine knot,” Anthony said.

 

 

 

 

2023 NASCAR, ARCA schedules

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The start of the 2023 racing season moves closer with each passing day.

Here are the Cup, Xfinity and Truck schedules (playoff races in bold), along with the ARCA, ARCA East and ARCA West schedules for the upcoming season:

2023 NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Date Race / Track Network Start Time (ET) Radio
Sunday, February 5 Clash (L.A. Memorial Coliseum) FOX 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thursday, February 16 Duel at Daytona FS1 7:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, February 19 DAYTONA 500 FOX 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, February 26 Auto Club FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, March 5 Las Vegas FOX 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, March 12 Phoenix FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, March 19 Atlanta FOX 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, March 26 COTA FOX 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, April 2 Richmond FS1 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, April 9 Bristol Dirt FOX 7:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, April 16 Martinsville FS1 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, April 23 Talladega FOX 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, April 30 Dover FS1 2:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, May 7 Kansas FS1 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, May 14 Darlington FS1 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, May 21 NASCAR All-Star Race (North Wilkesboro) FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, May 28 Charlotte FOX 6:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, June 4 World Wide Technology Raceway FS1 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, June 11 Sonoma FOX 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, June 25 Nashville Superspeedway NBC 7:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, July 2 Chicago Street Race NBC 5:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, July 9 Atlanta USA 7:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, July 16 New Hampshire USA 2:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, July 23 Pocono USA 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, July 30 Richmond USA 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, August 6 Michigan USA 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, August 13 Indianapolis Road Course NBC 2:30 p.m. IMS/SiriusXM
Sunday, August 20 Watkins Glen USA 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, August 26 Daytona NBC 7:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, September 3 Darlington USA 6:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, September 10 Kansas USA 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, September 16 Bristol USA 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, September 24 Texas USA 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, October 1 Talladega NBC 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, October 8 Charlotte Roval NBC 2:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, October 15 Las Vegas NBC 2:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, October 22 Homestead-Miami NBC 2:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, October 29 Martinsville NBC 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, November 5 Phoenix NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series Schedule

Date Location Network Start Time Radio
Saturday, February 18 Daytona FS1 5:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, February 25 Auto Club FS1 5:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 4 Las Vegas FS1 4:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 11 Phoenix FS1 4:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 18 Atlanta FS1 5:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 25 COTA FS1 5:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 1 Richmond FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 15 Martinsville FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 22 Talladega FS1 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 29 Dover FS1 1:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, May 13 Darlington FOX 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, May 27 Charlotte FS1 1:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, June 3 Portland FS1 4:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, June 10 Sonoma FS1 8:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, June 24 Nashville Superspeedway USA 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 1 Chicago Street Race USA 5:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 8 Atlanta USA 8:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 15 New Hampshire USA 3:00 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 22 Pocono USA 5:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 29 Road America NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, August 5 Michigan NBC 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, August 12 Indianapolis Road Course USA 5:30 p.m. IMS/SiriusXM
Saturday, August 19 Watkins Glen USA 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, August 25 Daytona USA 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, September 2 Darlington USA 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, September 9 Kansas NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, September 15 Bristol USA 7:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, September 23 Texas USA 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, October 7 Charlotte Roval USA 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, October 14 Las Vegas USA 3:30 p.m. PRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, October 21 Homestead-Miami NBC 3:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, October 28 Martinsville USA 3:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, November 4 Phoenix USA 7:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

 

2023 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series Schedule

Date Location Network Start Time Radio
Friday, February 17 Daytona FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, March 3 Las Vegas FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 18 Atlanta FS1 2:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, March 25 COTA FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 1 Texas FS1 4:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, April 8 Bristol Dirt FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, April 14 Martinsville FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, May 6 Kansas FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, May 12 Darlington FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, May 20 North Wilkesboro FOX 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, May 26 Charlotte FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, June 3 World Wide Technology Raceway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, June 23 Nashville Superspeedway FS1 8:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 8 Mid-Ohio FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 22 Pocono FS1 12:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, July 29 Richmond FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, August 11 Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Sunday, August 27 Milwaukee FS1 4:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, September 8 Kansas FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Thursday, September 14 Bristol FS1 9:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, September 30 Talladega FS1 1:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Saturday, October 21 Homestead-Miami FS1 12:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM
Friday, November 3 Phoenix FS1 10:00 p.m. MRN/SiriusXM

2023 ARCA Menards Series Schedule

  • Broadcast schedule, including event start times, will be released at a later date.
Feb. 18 Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, FL
March 10 Phoenix Raceway Avondale, AZ
April 22 Talladega Superspeedway Talladega, AL
May 6 Kansas Speedway Kansas City, KS
May 26 Charlotte Motor Speedway Concord, NC
June 17 Berlin Raceway Marne, MI
June 24 Elko Speedway Elko, MN
July 7 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Lexington, OH
July 15 Iowa Speedway Newton, IA
July 21 Pocono Raceway Long Pond, PA
Aug. 4 Michigan International Speedway Brooklyn, MI
Aug. 11 Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park Brownsburg, IN
Aug. 18 Watkins Glen International Watkins Glen, NY
Aug. 20 Illinois State Fairgrounds Springfield, IL
Aug. 27 The Milwaukee Mile West Allis, WI
Sept. 3 DuQuoin State Fairgrounds DuQuoin, IL
Sept. 8 Kansas Speedway Kansas City, KS
Sept. 14 Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, TN
Sept. 30 Salem Speedway Salem, IN
Oct. 7 Toledo Speedway Toledo, OH

 

2023 ARCA Menards Series East Schedule

March 25    Five Flags Speedway              Pensacola, Fla. 

April 28      Dover Motor Speedway           Dover, Del. 

May 13      Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway    Nashville, Tenn. 

May 20      Flat Rock Speedway              Flat Rock, Mich. 

July 15      Iowa Speedway                  Newton, Iowa 

Aug. 11     Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park  Brownsburg, Ind. 

Aug. 27     The Milwaukee Mile              West Allis, Wisc. 

Sept. 14    Bristol Motor Speedway           Bristol, Tenn. 

 

2023 ARCA Menards Series West Schedule

March 10    Phoenix Raceway                Avondale, Ariz. 

April 1     Irwindale Speedway               Irwindale, Calif. 

April 22    Kern County Raceway Park          Bakersfield, Calif. 

June 2      Portland International Raceway      Portland, Ore. 

June 9      Sonoma Raceway                Sonoma, Calif. 

July 1      Irwindale Speedway               Irwindale, Calif. 

July 29     Shasta Speedway                 Anderson, Calif. 

Aug. 19     Evergreen Speedway             Evergreen, Wash. 

Sept. 30    All-American Speedway            Roseville, Calif. 

Oct. 13     The Bullring at LVMS              Las Vegas, Nev. 

Oct. 21     Madera Speedway                Madera, Calif. 

Nov. 3      Phoenix Raceway                 Avondale, Ariz. 

Each ARCA Menards Series East and West stand-alone race will be streamed live on FloRacing and televised on a delayed basis on USA Network. Race start times, as well as broadcast details for combination races with the ARCA Menards Series will be announced at a later date. 

 

2022 spotlights: The Clash, the King and Martinsville Mania

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The 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season brought something new (a race inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum!) and something old (a win by the No. 43!) and a lot in-between.

In many ways, it was one of NASCAR’s best seasons. There were new winners, the Next Gen car kicked up competition a bit and there was a race finish (see the Ross Chastain file) like none other in the history of the sport.

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There were downsides, too: The safety of the new car came under fire (figuratively and literally, as wheel-well flames ended more than a few rides), drivers’ seasons were interrupted or ended because of hard wrecks and some races were less than stellar.

Looking back over the February-to-November marathon, some races stand out:

Rocking the City of Angels – Despite the naysayers, the Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was a roaring success. A platter of questions, including whether the purpose-built track inside the stadium would hold up under heavy stock cars and generate good racing, awaited as teams rolled into LA. The racing wasn’t sensational, but it was good, and there were no problems with the track. A huge crowd showed up, and NASCAR left town with many ideas, having proven that it could run a race on a temporary track inside a large stadium. It has escaped no one’s notice that there are many other large stadiums in the country – and, by the way, outside it.

Wiggling at Watkins Glen – The venerable New York road course produced another hot finish as teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott battled for the win. Larson forced Elliott out of the main groove and took the lead for good with five laps remaining. “I’m not proud of it, but I knew it’s what I had to do to get the win,” Larson said. Elliott didn’t publicly criticize Larson, but it was clear he wasn’t pleased with Larson’s move.

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Six hundred miles, and then some – The long history of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s 600-mile race has produced some great competition – and some races that prompted long naps. This year’s was one of the craziest and, by the way, the longest. The race went to two overtimes, finally ending after 413 laps and 619.5 miles, making it the longest race in NASCAR’s 75 years. The winner – perhaps most accurately described as the survivor – was Denny Hamlin, who outran teammate Kyle Busch over the final two laps.

The King is back…but where is he? – The Cup playoffs opened at Darlington Raceway with the storied Southern 500, but the playoffs took a back seat to other storylines. Erik Jones scored an upset win in Richard Petty’s No. 43, marking the iconic car’s first victory since 2014. Petty, however, missed the Victory Lane festivities. He and Dale Inman, the No. 43’s former crew chief, left the race early for the drive home to North Carolina. The long night held several incidents, including one involving Kevin Harvick, who criticized NASCAR after his car caught fire, uttering his now-infamous diatribe about what he called “crappy-ass parts.”

No watermelon, but a lotta juiceThe finish of the Oct. 29 playoff race at Martinsville Speedway generated international interest. Christopher Bell won in a must-win situation to advance in the playoffs, but the post-race spotlight was on Ross Chastain, who rode the outside wall through the final two turns at speeds rarely seen on the short track and finished fourth, good enough to stay in the championship hunt. Chastain’s remarkable move drew comment from observers outside NASCAR, including Formula 1 drivers.