The second part of the NASCAR Cup Series’ Pocono Raceway doubleheader weekend will be held Sunday afternoon with a 350-mile race around the “Tricky Triangle.”
The race will wrap up the first tripleheader in NASCAR history at one track. The day starts with Sunday morning’s Truck Series race (rescheduled after Saturday’s rain), the Xfinity Series race at 12:30 p.m. ET and the Cup Series race at 4 p.m. ET.
The top-20 finishers from Saturday’s Cup race will be inverted for Sunday’s starting lineup.
Here are the details for Sunday’s race:
(All times are Eastern)
START: The command to start engines will be given by James Mascaro, director of special projects for J.P. Mascaro & Sons at 4:13 p.m. The green flag is scheduled to wave at 4:24 p.m.
PRERACE: Garage access health screening begins at 7 a.m. (teams are assigned specific times). Engine prime and final adjustments are at 1:30 p.m. Drivers report to their cars at 3:50 p.m. The invocation will be given at 4:05 p.m. by Billy Mauldin of Motor Racing Outreach. The national anthem will be performed by saxophonist Mike Phillips at 4:06 p.m.
DISTANCE: The race is 140 laps (350 miles) around the 2.5-mile track.
STAGES: Stage 1 ends on Lap 30. Stage 2 ends on Lap 85.
TV/RADIO: FS1 will televise the race. Its coverage begins at 4 p.m. Motor Racing Network will broadcast the race. Its broadcast begins at 3 p.m. and also can be heard at mrn.com and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
FORECAST: The wunderground.com forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms with a high of 79 degrees and a 50% chance of rain at the race’s start.
LAST RACE AT POCONO: Kevin Harvick snapped a 38-race winless streak at Pocono Raceway, earning his first career win there on Saturday. He’s been close several times before, including four runner-up finishes there before Saturday’s triumph.
In the stands with Diaz on Monday was fiancé Mel Rose and friend Brionne Horne. Also there was Errin Bentley and Greg Drumwright, a senior minister at the Citadel of Praise Church and Campus Ministries. Bentley had called Drumwright, telling him about the noose found in Wallace’s garage stall and asked Drumwright to help organize a group to go to Talladega.
When the race ended, Wallace was so far away on pit road from the stands that Diaz said he looked “a little like an ant” to her. But the group continued to chant Wallace’s name.
“I heard the Bubba chants, and I looked over and I see a decent amount of African Americans sitting in the stands,” Wallace said. “I was like, dude, that’s badass, that’s awesome. I guarantee you that was their first race. I felt obligated to walk over there, I wanted to walk over there. I wanted to kind of share that moment with them.”
He did. Wallace slapped their hands through the fence and thanked them for being there.
“That was an epic moment for me,” said the 36-year-old Bentley, a restaurant employee. “That was an out-of-body experience.”
It was a bigger moment for the sport, said Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing and the only Black owner of a full-time Cup team.
“When I saw those fans leaning against the fence, I thought, man, this is awesome, this is what we need,” Daugherty said. “We need the symbolism of people not being discouraged to come and participate in our sport.
“It made me feel great. I’m so excited. I’m telling you, the folks at NASCAR better watch out. I’ve got about a hundred people that I want to get garage and pit passes for. It’s going to be big. They want to come to the racetrack.
“It’s going to be great to see a sea of color as well as being embraced by our Caucasian brothers and sisters while we’re there. Maybe we can get back to this being about race, but the human race.”
They call Drumwright Pastor Greg. His church is in Greensboro, North Carolina, but his ministry is where healing and justice are needed.
He went to Brunswick, Georgia after Ahmaud Arbery was killed by a white man while jogging.
Drumwright was in Minneapolis where George Floyd died after a since-fired white police officer had his knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. Drumwright traveled to Houston for Floyd’s funeral.
Drumwright then went to Atlanta after a since-fired white police officer shot and killed Rayshard Brooks.
Never did Drumwright expect he would go next to Talladega, Alabama.
But Bentley felt something had to be done after seeing the reports about the noose.
“I felt like if I was to be just like the other millions of people that say I’ll let somebody else handle it, then I’ll become part of the problem,” Bentley said. “It’s really that simple to me. That is really a big major problem that we have, whether it’s Black Lives Matter, whether it’s human rights, civil rights or anything of that nature, someone is always trying to pass something over to somebody else.
“Nobody wants to take responsibility. Nobody wants to stand up and be the face. Too many people are afraid. That’s part of the problem. I want to be a part of the solution.”
For as much as NASCAR has progressed with diversity, its past and stereotype cast a long shadow over the sport. When Drumwright organized the group to go to Talladega on Monday, he and others got calls from friends and families urging them not to go.
“This far into 2020, it is still a commonly held belief that Black folks are not safe in an overwhelmingly white space in the Deep South,” Drumwright said.
When the group with Drumwright stopped at a Dollar General store in Alabama to purchase supplies for posters to take to the track, he said “we were literally told by local residents, you all need to be careful … but we were also told, we are glad you are here, We needed you all to come here. Thank you for being here.”
Drumwright wore a black shirt that read “We Still Can’t Breathe” on it. Horne was among a few in the group who wore a Black Lives Matter shirt. The message on Bentley’s shirt stated: “We march. Y’all mad. We sit down. Y’all mad. We speak up. Y’all mad. We kneel. Y’all mad. We die. Silence.”
The posters they carried included those that stated:
“We stand with Bubba”
“We Bang with Bubba”
“Let Freedom Ring”
“Take Your Knee Off Our Neck”
When they arrived at the track, they saw a tent set up not on track property selling Confederate flags.
“It’s still difficult to look at it,” Horne said of the Confederate flag.
Those in the group admit to getting stares, eye rolls and seeing some people look away after they arrived at the track.
But those that made the trip to Talladega also said they were warmly welcomed by fans.
Horne, a 20-year-old student at Georgia Southern, said a fan came to members of the group and asked to take a picture with them.
“After that, it was like family after family after person after person kept asking us to take pictures (with them), showing their support and their love for what we were out there doing for the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said. “That, I feel like, completely changed the fear, the anxiety we had walking into Talladega.”
Bentley, who had never been to a NASCAR race before Monday said he was more afraid going to Talladega than any time he has protested in the streets. Bentley said after attending Monday’s race, he would encourage Black fans to go to a race and support Wallace.
“I would tell them don’t be afraid,” he said. “If they were afraid, you don’t have to be afraid anymore.
“As long as we are afraid to do something, we don’t have any control. We don’t have any fight. You’ve got to have courage, you’ve got to have heart, that will to want. (Wallace) needs our support. We need his support.”
NASCAR Cup races this weekend at Pocono Raceway, July 5 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and July 12 at Kentucky Speedway will be held without fans. The next race scheduled to have fans will be the July 15 All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway, which will admit up to 30,000 fans.
Drumwright, who wants a meeting with NASCAR leadership, said he is looking to organize a larger group for the Bristol race.
Diaz, a mother of boys ages 2 and 3, said it was “mission accomplished” for the Talladega trip but acknowledges more can be done in society.
“I’ve been out here for the last month, fighting for everybody to be equal so my kids, when they are older, they can go wherever they want and they do whatever they want and they don’t have to worry about nobody judging them because of who their father is or who their mother is or the color of their skin,” she said. “That’s what I’m out here for, honestly, every day.
“I wanted Bubba to know that we supported him for that noose that was found in his garage. I wanted him to know that we were there for him.”
Brad Daugherty, co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing, said NASCAR is going in the right direction in its battle against racial bias and systemic inequality — but there is still more work to be done.
“It’s incumbent upon us at NASCAR to do better,” Daugherty said in a media teleconference Thursday afternoon. “And I’m telling you, we’ve got the cats that want to do better.”
Daugherty applauded NASCAR for its efforts to eliminate bias and racism, including banning the Confederate flag from being displayed at racetracks, as well as its support of Bubba Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in the sport.
“The actions that have been taken initially are remarkable,” Daugherty said. “By standing up, removing obstacles for people of color from some of the events, I think that is paramount.
“The diversity program NASCAR has, one I helped co-found, continues to evolve. So there needs to be more resources for that program. We need to encourage more fan participation, which I think will be a lot easier to do, seeing that we don’t have the Confederate flags and those types of things in our midst.
“I’ve always talked about bringing more for young kids to the racetrack of color, letting them come, see, touch and feel and being around these race cars. I think as NASCAR continues to evolve as a company and as a culture, I think just having open arms and creating more opportunity and more access to the sport is what it’s really about.
“We need to create more avenues of access to the sport. We need to encourage more people to come, enjoy what goes on on race weekend. Once you get the masses there and see race cars going 200 mph, six inches apart, who’s not going to be hooked?”
Daugherty also addressed how NASCAR handled the discovery of a noose found in Wallace’s garage Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. The incident led to an FBI investigation that eventually disproved the incident as a hate crime, saying that it was just a knot that had been placed on the door late last year to facilitate lifting and closing.
“I’m glad NASCAR reacted the way they did,” Daugherty said. “No doubt about it swiftly, fairly, but with a heavy hand. I think that was needed. But I said that day it doesn’t matter, we’re going forward and any distractions (like) people flying the flag over the racetrack and outside, man, good luck to you, do what you got to do.
“Then when it was found to not be something that was placed there, something that had been there for a while, I was relieved. We have so much in our world that’s so politicized, it’s awful. It’s a tough time being in our country because everything is left or right and people’s reactions I thought were just really bad, because everyone in the media really wants something to be so significant and such a problem. I thought it was great for our sport. I think it showed we overreacted just a little bit, like we should have, and found out that it wasn’t true. So we can push that aside and it doesn’t matter and we move on.”
Daugherty said he was brought to tears when the entire NASCAR garage followed Bubba Wallace and his race car onto pit road prior to Monday’s rescheduled Cup race.
“It was a significant moment for me and I’ve been in the sport for 30 years,” Daugherty said. “You always wonder who was on board in anything, any movement. And when you see a movement like this, you’re looking through that garage area and you’re looking at the faces and 99% of those faces are or not the same as mine or Bubba’s, you wonder who really has your back?
“… When I looked up and saw those guys pushing that race car out, it brought tears to my eyes because it made me realize that when I walk into that garage area, that’s my home, I’m welcome there.”
Daugherty concedes that NASCAR and society still have a ways to go to see true equality both on and off the racetrack.
“I get a lot of uneducated comments all the time,” Daugherty said. “And I think when we have something like this out front and the world can see, then you have to pay attention. You can’t just broad brush it and put us in this box.
“We can no longer be put in that box that we’ve been in for the past 60 years. Now you have to look at this sport and you can be cynical, I don’t have a problem with that or pessimistic, I think that’s fair. But you have to pay attention.”
Daugherty revealed that his team’s No. 37 Chevrolet Camaro, driven by Ryan Preece, will carry a special paint scheme for this weekend’s Cup doubleheader at Pocono Raceway. The paint scheme will highlight an initiative – PG.com/TakeOnRace – that Daugherty said “will create the opportunity for communication based on eliminating inequality, racism, bias and insensitivity.”
“When I saw The King (Richard Petty) walking down the pit road there (with Wallace and hundreds of other Cup team members), it warmed my heart because he’s from a different genre, different generation and expectations probably wouldn’t be as high for him as it should be or would be for me,” Daugherty said. “But when I saw him walking down, I saw his statement (about the noose). I said, ‘Man, we’re rolling.’
“So the world saw that and we’re in a better place today in NASCAR than we were two weeks ago and I’m really excited about the future. I’m happy and I’m very proud to be a part of this organization.”
Buescher’s departure leaves JTG with an opening for next season with the No. 37 car.
“We were in the final strokes of the contract when learning that Chris has gone in a different direction,” said Geschickter said in a statement. “We appreciate all of the efforts from Chris through the past three seasons at JTG Daugherty Racing. When the dust settles, we will begin the process of searching for our next driver to fill the No. 37 seat for the 2020 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.”
“Tough day for us,” co-owner Brad Daugherty said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Sirius Speedway.”
Daugherty said that the team had only recently found out that Buescher could be moving to another team.
“We had somewhat of an idea the last day and a half that this possibly could happen,” Daugherty said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We didn’t understand why it would happen, working very hard, going back and forth trying to get all of our numbers together, trying to get the contract done. We get to today and find out he’s going to go in a different direction.Totally caught us off guard because we were already building stuff for next season as everybody else does, getting ready and preparing.
“We were in the full throes of trying to put something significant together and thought we had it done, pretty close to it, and things changed. Just like that.”
Buescher has been with JTG Daugherty Racing since 2017. His contract expires after this season.
“This catches you really by surprise this late in the year, especially,” Daugherty said. “You’re trying to be as professional as you possibly can about how you handle these situations. I don’t ever blame any athlete if he thinks he’s putting himself in a situation that is going to be better for him and his family, got no problem with that. it’s just for us, it’s always the timing. Getting this late in the season when you have commitments, it makes it very, very difficult to swallow this easily. … We’ll just say it’s a very, very difficult time go though this thing, but we have very smart people who work at our company.
“We’ll figure it out. We just wish the timing could have been different, a little more flexible toward us, but it’s not working out this way. Chris will move on and do his thing. We’ve put a lot of time and resources into Chris. We think we helped him become a better race car driver. As he moves on, we’ll look for the next young man or young woman that wants to get into our race car and try to help us continue to build what we’re trying to accomplish, which is winning races on (the track) and being successful off (the track) business wise.”
As to what type of driver the team will look for to take over the No. 37 car, Daugherty told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio:
“We like to give people a chance. We’ve done that with Ryan Preece. … You always like to have, since Ryan is a rookie, a veteran to go with that. I think that’s what helps make us work.
“I think it would be difficult to have two guys in the series or someone in the series with Ryan who doesn’t have any experience. That would be just absolutely, that would be miserable at times. We’re going to look. We would like to find someone with some experience we can continue to grow. We’ve taken good steps with that 37 car this year, really positive steps. We’d like to continue that. We don’t want to go backwards. It’s a tough situation to be in as an owner and a team, but we’re pretty resilient and we’ll figure it out. We’re going to give somebody a heck of an opportunity.”
Buescher issued a statement Wednesday night:
Ryan Preece signs with JTG Daugherty to drive in Cup in 2019
CONCORD, N.C. — Ryan Preece, who gained notice by pooling his sponsorship money to run a limited number of races with a top Xfinity team last year instead of running a full-time schedule with a lower team, had that gamble pay off Friday with a full-time Cup ride for 2019.
Preece will join JTG Daugherty and drive the No. 47 next season, the team announced Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The 27-year-old Preece, who has signed a multi-year agreement, replaces AJ Allmendinger. Preece, who has five career Cup starts, will be a teammate to Chris Buescher. The team will have Hendrick Motorsports supply its engines next year. This is the team’s last season with ECR Engines.
Preece drove a full Xfinity season for JD Motorsports in 2016 for JD Motorsports, a lower-funded team, and had one top-10 finish. Preece used his sponsorship money to run a couple of races for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017. He finished second at New Hampshire and won at Iowa, earning a ride in two additional races. This season, he’s scored one win and six top-10 finishes in nine starts for JGR. He’s set to run the rest of the Xfinity schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing before joining JTG Daugherty Racing for the 2019 season.
“We’re really looking forward to having Ryan join our team for the 2019 season,” team owner Tad Geschickter said. “Ryan has an impressive list of accomplishments in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Series and is now being given a great opportunity to compete at NASCAR’s highest level full-time. We really believe in him and think he’s a great addition to the team.”
Preece, a native of Berlin, Connecticut, has competed in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour since 2007. He has 22 wins and 76 top-five finishes in 155 series starts. He won the 2013 title. Preece also was a part of the NASCAR Next Class in 2013 and 2014.
“Tommy Lasorda says, ‘The difference between impossible and possible lies in a man’s determination,’ and I feel that JTG Daugherty Racing has just that,” Preece said. “It’s been many years of fighting for opportunities to compete and win races at NASCAR’s highest level, and it is nice to officially say that JTG Daugherty Racing is my new home for 2019. I look forward to not only racing, but working with the team as well to build speed and create a name for myself here. I can’t thank Tad and Jodi Geschickter, Brad Daugherty and Gordon Smith enough for the opportunity.”