NASCAR America: Dover ball joint failures concern teams

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Sunday’s Cup race at Dover saw two instances of rare ball joint failures on cars.

The first occurred on Jimmie Johnson‘s No. 48 Chevrolet during the pace laps and resulted in Johnson going to the garage for repairs before the green flag. He finished 36th, 17 laps off the lead.

The second failure happened to Clint Bowyer‘s No. 14 Ford and resulted in him crashing with less than 10 laps to go.

NASCAR America’s Marty Snider reported Monday that the incidents have caused “concern” in the NASCAR community over the rare failures.

“That’s a NASCAR-mandated part all the teams buy from one vendor,” Snider said. “There is concern –both those pieces have been sent to metallurgists — that there might be a bad batch of ball joints. So throughout the NASCAR community, all those pieces are being changed for Talladega and moving forward.”

Watch the above video for more from Marty Snider on Sunday’s Cup race.

Scott Miller, NASCAR’s senior vice president of competition, discussed the ball joint failures Monday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

“It was a very strange failure, something that we, me as a racer and everybody in the garage area … it’s not a part that would typically fail,” Miller said. “Very strange. We looked at the parts and stuff with the team. Going to get a full metallurgy report and see if there was potentially a bad batch of material or something that led to it because it’s not a typical failure at all.”

Todd Gordon, crew chief for Joey Logano, also addressed the part issue on “The Morning Drive,” saying it “really had me scratching my head.

“I know the Hendrick guys will be looking at it, and I’m sure the parts supplier will have an intent view on (it) because that’s not something we all play in,” Gordon said. “That’s a common part across the industry. I’d say every team is looking at that and trying to understand what happened and make sure we’re not all vulnerable, too, because if Jimmie makes it through the round last week at the Roval, that’s almost a championship-run ender for any team still in the playoffs. Something that we’ll all have to understand.

“That’s a really odd part to break. I can’t ever remember a ball joint failing especially on a pace lap like that. One when it hits the wall is one thing, but to be under normal racing scenarios and have one break, or in that case under caution. From what I understand, I don’t think it was a different part than what they what they had practiced with. Really odd timing with that one.”

NASCAR America: Summertime superlatives

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NASCAR lends itself to superlatives. The words “greatest”, “best” and “most” are tossed about with absolute abandon.

Sometimes, they actually apply.

With Cup off this weekend before a final 12-week stretch, NASCAR America’s Marty Snider, Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill provided their lists of drivers who deserved unparalleled praise.

Most Impressive Driver?
Kyle Busch: “This dude drove by me like 10 times Saturday night.” – Cassill
Kevin Harvick: “This award is like the best coach. … They always give it to a team they didn’t think would do well.” – Burton
Clint Bowyer: “I don’t think we expected him to have two wins at this point in the season.” – Snider

Most Hard-Luck Team?
Daniel Suarez: “Every time they get momentum going, something happens to knock it out from under them.” – Burton
Aric Almirola: “They’ve had bad fortune and in some cases they make their own luck.” – Cassill
John Hunter Nemechek: “With under two laps to go and leading: They lost two races.” – Snider

Surprise of the Season
• Chevrolet: “I’m shocked that Chevrolet hasn’t run as well as they have. … To a man, to a woman, everybody I talked to in the off-season that was involved with Chevrolet, they were like ‘we’re gonna kick their butts.” – Burton
• Hendrick Motorsports: “I did not expect this from Hendrick Motorsports, to struggle this much in 2018.” – Snider
• Superspeedway carnage: “We’ve always seen big wrecks and we always expect big wrecks on superspeedways, but all three superspeedway races we’ve had have all been complete trashed racecars.” – Cassill

Best Strategy Call
• Cole Pearn at Sonoma: “Anytime Cole Pearn makes a strategy call, I’m like ‘that was so awesome.’ “ – Cassill
• Cole Pearn at Sonoma: “Anytime you can surprise this level of crew chief … that to me is really impressive.” – Burton
• Mike Bugarewicz at Michigan: “That was a big call to get them their second win of 2018.” – Snider
Superlatives were also handed out for the wildest wreck, best overall race, funniest moment, best post-race celebration and the championship favorite.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Bill Elliott discusses his return to NASCAR

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN with NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott calling in to discuss his return to the seat of a stock car.

Marty Snider hosts with Jeff Burton and Landon Cassill joining him around the Big Oak Table in NBC’s Charlotte studio.

On today’s show:

  • The 1988 Monster Energy Series champion is making his return to NASCAR competition this weekend in the XFINITY Series race at Road America. We’ll get “Awesome” Bill’s thoughts on the upcoming race and the recent success of his son Chase in the Monster Energy Series.
  • Our panel weighs in with their picks for the “Best Summer Moments” of the 2018 NASCAR season.
  • Plus, “The Mayor” Jeff Burton gives his take on several trending topics, including Kyle Larson’s call for more short tracks.
  • And, we’ll tell the story of 11-year old Caleb Hammond, whose courageous battle with leukemia has touched the hearts of the motorsports community. We’ll show you several examples of how this racing fan’s wish is being fulfilled.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Ford Mustang reveal, Pete Pistone

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Carolyn Manno hosts from Stamford, Connecticut, and is joined by Kyle Petty from NBC Charlotte.

On today’s show:

·        We’ll see the new Ford Mustang that will run in the Cup Series in 2019. Our own Marty Snider and all 13 Ford drivers currently competing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series were on hand at Ford headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, for the unveiling. We’ll also hear more about NASCAR’s new ride from Stewart-Haas Racing’s Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick, and Team Penske’s Joey Logano.

·        Stewart also made headlines by opening the door for a possible return behind the wheel next year. Nate Ryan will call in to tell us what Smoke told him.

·        Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Pete Pistone calls in to the show to discuss whether or not Chase Elliott has become the new face of NASCAR.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

NASCAR America: AJ Allmendinger breaks down the Charlotte Roval

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“It’s crazy. It’s unique. It’s gonna put on a hell of a show, one way or another.”

That is how AJ Allmendinger describes the Charlotte Roval now.

It’s not much different than what he thought in January, when he was the first driver to make laps at the infield course of Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Allmendinger’s background prior to NASCAR included time in open-wheel Champ Cars, and it is generally accepted that he has better than average skill on this type of track. That is why he was part of the initial test of the Roval in January.

At the time, he said “the track has definitely got potential. … It’s a perfect mix for a race team to set up, whether you go for a full oval setup or somewhat of a road course setup. It’ll definitely be a big challenge for the teams.”

More: Goodyear to reassess Charlotte Roval tire after two open tests, chunking issue 
More: William Byron wrecks during Charlotte road course test 
More: What drivers had to say after first Roval open test 

Since then, Charlotte has made a lot of changes to the track, so NASCAR America’s Marty Snider caught up with Allmendinger on Tuesday after an open test and asked where he thought the biggest challenges would come from now.

“They put these weird chicanes on both sides of the straightaway. I didn’t have those (in January) and I was running – I think – about 195 (mph) into turn 3. So it’s definitely a little bit different. Obviously with a lot more cars running than the first time here.”

The infield is as challenging now as it was then.

“It’s still slick in the infield. But the first time here it was like running on an ice rink. … It’s still narrow and it’s still slick. It’s interesting. … it’s gonna be tight. It’s gonna be like a Sonoma in a sense where you’re gonna be having to be bouncing off one another to be two wide.

“It kind of reminds me like a Champ Car days, like I’m on a street course driving through the infield there because it’s so narrow.”

Allmendinger notes that there will be multiple trouble spots around the track.

“Turn 1, go into a tunnel there. So, you get into there side-by-side it’s gonna be interesting. But really the interesting thing are the two chicanes. … The backstretch chicane, you’re flying through there.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter.