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All-Star Race features longer final stage, technical changes

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The Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race will feature a longer final stage for $1 million and some technical changes that could be implemented in the Gen 7 car.

NASCAR announced the technical guidelines and race format Wednesday night.

The two technical changes for the May 18 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be:

# A single-piece carbon fiber splitter/pan that is expected to offer improvements in ride height sensitivity for drivers. This is expected to provide a more stable aero platform and create more consistent performance in traffic.

# The car will be configured with a radiator duct that exits through the hood as opposed to the current design, which exits into the engine component. This feature is expected to create improved aerodynamic parity and reduce engine temperatures.

“Throughout its history, the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race has provided a platform to try new and innovative ideas, some of which we have incorporated on a full-time basis,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “Last year’s all-star rules package resulted in one of the most exciting all-star races in history. With a similar package, and added elements that we could see in the next generation race car, we expect another must-watch event.”

The format for the race is similar to last year with the exception of the final stage. That stage will be 15 laps — five laps longer than last year’s race. That will make the race 85 laps total.

The first stage will be 30 laps and the next two stages will be 20 laps each. Green flag and yellow flag laps will count in the first three stages. Only green flag laps will count in the final stage.

Each stage must end under green. Overtime procedures will be in place for each stage. If the race is restarted with two laps or less in the final stage, there will be unlimited attempts at a green, white, checkered finish.

As was the case last year, there is no mandatory pit strategy.

The Monster Energy Open, which also will be held May 18, will be three stages. The first two stages will be 20 laps. The final stage will be 10 laps. That is the same as last year.

Each stage winner in the Monster Energy Open advances to the All-Star Race.

Those eligible for the All-Star Race are winners from last season and this season, previous all-star winners who are competing full-time in the series, Cup champions who are running full-time in the series, the three stage winners from the Monster Energy Open and the winner of the fan vote, which is underway at nascar.com/fanvote.

Drivers who are eligible to compete are:

Aric Almirola

Ryan Blaney

Clint Bowyer

Kurt Busch

Kyle Busch

Austin Dillon

Chase Elliott

Denny Hamlin

Kevin Harvick

Jimmie Johnson

Erik Jones

Brad Keselowski

Joey Logano

Ryan Newman

Martin Truex Jr.

Kevin Harvick won last year’s All-Star Race. Alex Bowman, Daniel Suarez and AJ Allmendinger advanced to last year’s All-Star Race by winning a stage in the Open. Chase Elliott was the fan vote winner.

Also, the format for All-Star qualifying will remain the same. Qualifying will include a pit stop.

Weekend passes for the All-Star Race are $79 per person and include admission to the May 17 Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at Charlotte, All-Star qualifying, the Monster Energy Open on May 18 and the All-Star Race after that. Kids 13 and under get in free on May 17 and for $10 with an adult purchase on May 18. For more ticket information, call 1-800-455-FANS or visit CharlotteMotorSpeedway.com.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing reveals new sponsor for Clint Bowyer

Photo: Stewart-Haas Racing
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RICHMOND, Va. — Stewart-Haas Racing announced Friday that Toco Warranty will be the primary sponsor on Clint Bowyer’s car for four races this season.

Toco Warranty will be the primary sponsor on Bowyer’s car at Talladega Superspeedway (April 28), the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 18), at Chicagoland Speedway (June 30) and at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Sept. 15). Toco Warranty will be an associate sponsor at all other Cup races.

Toco Warranty also will be co-primary sponsor with Tony Stewart Racing’s sprint car of 10-time and reigning World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz. Toco Warranty also will be an associate sponsor on Stewart’s sprint car. Stewart is scheduled to compete in more than 90 winged sprint car races this year.

Toco Warranty is a new generation of vehicle service contracts with pay-as-you go monthly plans.

“We’re obviously very pleased to welcome Toco Warranty to SHR and TSR,” said Stewart, the three-time Cup champion who formed TSR back in 2001 and co-owns SHR with Gene Haas. “Clint Bowyer and Donny Schatz are great racecar drivers with strong and compelling personalities who can deliver for Toco Warranty on and off the track.”

“Toco Warranty is all about helping people take care of their cars quickly and efficiently, and nowhere is speed and efficiency more prominent than in racing,” said Nota Berger, CEO, Toco Warranty. “We’ve found great partners in Stewart-Haas Racing and Tony Stewart Racing and strong, relatable personalities in Clint Bowyer, Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart to increase recognition for our simple and affordable vehicle service contracts. They’ll help showcase our practical and straightforward plans which clearly outline what is and isn’t covered while requiring no major up-front investment or long-term contract.”

2020 Cup schedule features new finale, doubleheader weekend and more

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The 2020 Cup season will end at a different site for the first time in nearly two decades, one of many changes that includes a doubleheader weekend, date swapping among iconic tracks and the season concluding earlier.

The championship race moves to ISM Raceway near Phoenix. It replaces Homestead-Miami Speedway, which has been the season finale since 2002.

Next year’s finale at ISM Raceway will be Nov. 8, marking the earliest finish to the Cup schedule since 1998, which also ended Nov. 8.

Here are among the changes to the schedule:

# Homestead-Miami Speedway moves from its season-ending spot to March 22 and will be the sixth race of the season.

# Daytona’s second race will move from its traditional July date to Aug. 29 (a Saturday) and be the regular-season finale.

# Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s date moves from September to July 5 and takes Daytona’s spot.

# Bristol’s August dates moves to Sept. 19 (a Saturday) and will be in the playoffs. It will be the cutoff race for the first round.

# Martinsville’s fall race becomes the cutoff race for the third round of the playoffs on Nov. 1.

# Martinsville’s spring race moves from March to May 9 (Mother’s Day weekend) and will be held on Saturday. Clay Campbell, president of Martinsville Speedway, said in a statement: “This is a very exciting day for Martinsville Speedway. It’s a question we’ve gotten from fans literally every day since we installed the lights and we are now able to say, ‘May 9, 2020.’ So, this is a very exciting day for everyone involved.”

# Pocono will host a doubleheader weekend with Cup races on June 27 and June 28. Race lengths have yet to be announced for those events. Nick Igdalsky, president and CEO of Pocono Raceway, said in a statement: “Pocono Raceway will be a marquee, bucket-list event next year. We will be the first track to host two, points-paying Cup races in consecutive dates in NASCAR’s modern era (1972-present).”

# The West Coast swing — Las Vegas, ISM Raceway and Auto Club Speedway — will follow the Daytona 500.

# Atlanta Motor Speedway moves off its February date as the second race of the season to March 15 and will be the fifth race of the year.

# The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will begin the playoffs on Sept. 6.

Here is the 2020 Cup schedule:

DATE

RACE/TRACK

Sunday, Feb. 9

The Clash

Thursday, Feb. 13

Duel at Daytona

Sunday, Feb. 16

Daytona 500

Sunday, Feb. 23

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 1

Auto Club Speedway

Sunday, March 8

ISM Raceway

Sunday, March 15

Atlanta Motor Speedway

Sunday, March 22

Homestead-Miami Speedway

Sunday, March 29

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 5

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, April 19

Richmond Raceway

Sunday, April 26

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, May 3

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, May 9

Martinsville Speedway

Saturday, May 16

All-Star Race, Charlotte

Sunday, May 24

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, May 31

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, June 7

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, June 14

Sonoma Raceway

Sunday, June 21

Chicagoland Speedway

Saturday, June 27

Pocono Raceway

Sunday June 28

Pocono Raceway

Sunday July 5

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Saturday July 11

Kentucky Speedway

Sunday, July 19

New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 9

Michigan International Speedway

Sunday, Aug. 16

Watkins Glen International

Sunday, Aug. 23

Dover International Speedway

Saturday, Aug. 29

Daytona International Speedway

PLAYOFFS BEGIN

Sunday, Sept. 6

Darlington Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 12

Richmond Raceway

Saturday, Sept. 19

Bristol Motor Speedway

Sunday, Sept. 27

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 4

Talladega Superspeedway

Sunday, Oct. 11

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 18

Kansas Speedway

Sunday, Oct. 25

Texas Motor Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 1

Martinsville Speedway

Sunday, Nov. 8

ISM Raceway

 

Coffee With Kyle with Ned and Dale Jarrett Part 2: Ned will never forget Fireball Roberts tragedy

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Here’s Part 2 of this week’s edition of Coffee With Kyle, featuring NBC Sports’ NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty interviewing NASCAR Hall of Famers and father and son Ned Jarrett and Dale Jarrett.

Both men remembered the fateful day in 1964 when Glenn “Fireball” Roberts was involved in a horrific crash at Charlotte Motor Speedway that eventually took his life more than a month later.

It was on May 24, 1964, during the World 600 race that Ned Jarrett and Junior Johnson were racing each other, vying for position when they got tangled in a wreck. In most cases, it would have been considered a typical racing crash. But this one was so much different.

Here’s how Ned Jarrett described it:

I remember Fireball had shared with me that he was going to retire at the end of the year,” Ned Jarrett told Petty. “He had not publicly made that announcement, but he was going to become a spokesperson for Falstaff Beer for $50,000 a year, which is a lot of money.

Junior and I were racing side-by-side going into Turn 1 and there’s a bump between Turns 1 and 2. Junior was on the inside, hit that bump, hit me and I spun to the inside of the racetrack while Junior spun to the outside. When I hit the wall, it burst the gas tank open. As I skidded down the wall, there was a spark and the gas caught on fire, so the car was on fire. Then, something caused Fireball to spin into me and his gas tank burst open as well, so all hell broke loose. We landed about 30 feet apart. I got out of my car and the wheels were still turning on his car. It landed on its top. I saw him trying to get out so I ran over and tried to pull him out.

He was wearing a custom made uniform. It had zippers on the sleeves and up the sides and looked very nice, but if you tried to pull it off in a hurry, we both got our hands burned from the heat on the zippers (of his firesuit). We had it basically torn off while it was burning on him. The rescue squad got there and I just turned it over to them, not thinking that it was that bad. I knew he had some burns and I had some burns on my hands and face, but it wasn’t okay and it finally took his life. It was a sad day for the sport.”

Dale Jarrett (R) and Ned Jarrett pose after Dale Jarrett won the Indianapolis 400 in Indianapolis, Indiana on August 3, 1996. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Ned Jarrett suffered those burns while trying to rescue Roberts from his race car turned inferno. It’s a memory that has stayed with him, as vivid today as the incident was 55 years ago.

Son Dale also recalled that race, but from a different perspective. Dale was only seven years old and was at the speedway to watch the race.

Here’s what Dale Jarrett remembers about that race, more so about the uncertainty of what happened in that crash and how his father was doing.

I can remember (older brother) Glenn and I were against the fence just coming off Turn 4, where the car was parked,” Dale Jarrett said. “We didn’t see a lot, just dad gone by and keep up with things. The next thing we see is this black smoke on the back straightaway and had no idea of what was going on. It seemed like 30 minutes, probably wasn’t that long, but it was the not knowing part.”

Also part of the interview: Ned Jarrett’s recovery from a horrible crash in a race at Greenville, as well as entering the world of television after hanging up his racing firesuit.

Check out the interview in the video above.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Charlotte Motor Speedway unveils logo celebrating 60th Coca-Cola 600

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Charlotte Motor Speedway officials on Monday unveiled a patriotic logo to commemorate the 60th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on May 26.

“The Coca-Cola 600 has been one of NASCAR’s crown jewels since its first running 60 years ago,” Speedway Motorsports Inc. president/CEO Marcus Smith said in a media release. “Charlotte Motor Speedway takes great pride in being a trailblazer, and we’ve made a significant amount of history on Memorial Day weekend with the Coca-Cola 600.

“Coca-Cola has been a wonderful entitlement sponsor for 35 years, the longest such partnership in sports, and we look forward to our continued partnership entertaining fans and saluting the U.S. Armed Forces.

“This year’s race is going to be hotly contested with the new rules package, and unveiling our patriotic new logo only adds to the excitement. The Coca-Cola 600 is NASCAR’s toughest test of man and machine. We can’t wait to see its 60th running unfold.”

The logo was unveiled among several other events held at the race track Monday, including a roll-out of CMS’s 2019 schedule, which includes three major NASCAR race weekends, two NHRA national events and a pair of World of Outlaws race weekends.

Team Penske also had its drivers and teams there to take part in a pit crew competition.

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