Mike Wallace

NASCAR entry lists for Michigan, Road America

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The NASCAR entry lists are out for this weekend’s racing at Michigan International Speedway and Road America.

Cup and Truck teams will compete this weekend at Michigan. Cup teams will race Saturday and Sunday.

Xfinity teams will race Saturday at Road America.

Here are the preliminary NASCAR entry lists 

Cup – Firekeepers Casino 400 (4 p.m. ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered.

Joey Gase will be in the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing.

JJ Yeley will drive the No. 27 for Rick Ware Racing.

James Davison will be in the No. 51 for Petty Ware Racing.

Click here for Saturday Cup race entry list

 

Cup – Consumers  Energy 400 (4:30 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN)

Thirty-nine cars are entered.

Josh Bilicki will be in the No. 7 for Tommy Baldwin Racing. That is the only change from the Saturday entry list.

Click here for Sunday Cup entry list

 

Xfinity – Henry 180 (Noon ET Saturday on NBCSN)

Thirty-seven cars are entered.

Among the drivers entered:

Mike Wallace, who made his first series start since 2015 last month in the road course race at Indianapolis, is back in the No. 0 car for JD Motorsports this weekend.

Andy Lally, a road racing expert and the 2011 Cup rookie of the year, will be in the No. 02 Our Motorsports car.

RC Enerson will make his NASCAR debut in the No. 07 SS Green Light Racing ride.

Jesse Iwuji will make his series debut in the No. 13 Motorsports Business Management car.

AJ Allmendinger will be in the No. 16 for Kaulig Racing.

Click here for Xfinity entry list

 

Truck – Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series 200 (6 p.m. ET Friday on FS1)

Forty trucks are entered.

Cup rookie John Hunter Nemechek is entered in the No. 8 truck for NEMCO Motorsports.

David Gravel, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals winner, makes his Truck Series debut in the No. 24 ride for GMS Racing.

Brennan Poole is entered in the No. 30 On Point Motorsports truck.

Jeb Burton is entered in the No. 44 Niece Motorsports ride.

Parker Kligerman is entered in the No. 75 Henderson Motorsports truck.

Xfinity practice report from Indy road course

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Austin Cindric posted the best lap in the last of two Xfinity Series practice sessions Friday on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Team Penske driver posted a top speed of 97.850 mph around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course. Cindric recorded 19 laps.

The top five was completed by A.J. Allmendinger (97.344 mph), Justin Haley (96.753), Chase Briscoe (96.534) and Justin Allgaier (96.530).

Anthony Alfredo had his right-rear tire go down with about 40 minutes left in the session. A few minutes later, Joe Graf Jr. spun going into Turn 1.

Jeremy Clements overdrove Turn 7 and went off course 20 minutes into the session. Michael Annett spun off course with 15 minutes left in the session. Both Allmendinger and Allgaier went off course in Turn 7 late in the session.

Click here for final practice report

First practice

Allmendinger posted the best lap with a top speed of 97.392 mph around the 14-turn, 2.439-mile course. Allmendinger recorded five laps during the 55-minute session.

The top five was completed by Austin Cindric (96.804 mph), Chase Briscoe (96.471), Justin Haley (96.213) and Justin Allgaier (95.976).

Michael Annett, who was 18th fastest, recorded the most laps with 19.

Ryan Sieg and Josh Williams went off course in Turn 12 during the early portion of the session. Turn 12 is where the circuit transitions from the oval short chute between Turns 1 and 2 back into road course.

Sieg then went off course a second time in Turn 13. He and Williams were both able to continue.

Allgaier locked up his brakes and missed Turn 12 with about 26 minutes left in the session.

Mike Wallace briefly went off course in Turn 1 late in the session and Brett Moffitt suffered a cut left rear tire with two minutes left.

The second practice session is scheduled for 3 – 3:55 p.m. ET and can be watched on the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the practice report.

Brickyard 400 entry lists: Cup and Xfinity Series for the weekend, plus TV and live stream info

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This weekend will be a historic one for NASCAR at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Cup Series will hold the Brickyard 400 on the July 4 weekend for the first time as part of a doubleheader with IndyCar. Be sure you know who’s running after reading the Brickyard 400 entry lists.

On Saturday, the Xfinity Series will hold its first race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which follows the IndyCar race.

All three races will be broadcast on NBC. You can stream the Xinfity race here. You can stream the Cup race here.

Here are the Brickyard 400 entry lists for the NASCAR races.

Cup – Brickyard 400 (start time 4 p.m. ET Sunday on NBC and the NBC Sports app)

Forty cars are entered.

Justin Allgaier is in the No. 48 car for Jimmie Johnson, who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Ross Chastain is entered in his third start in Spire Motorsports’ No. 77 Chevrolet this season. His previous starts, in the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600, were in a car prepared by Chip Ganassi Racing.

J.J. Yeley is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 27 Ford.

Josh Bilicki is entered in Tommy Baldwin Racing’s No. 7 Chevrolet.

Click here for updated entry list

Xfinity – Pennzoil 150 (watch at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on NBC and the NBC Sports app)

Thirty-eight cars are entered.

Mike Wallace is entered in JD Motorsports’ No. 0. Chevrolet. This is his first NASCAR start since the 2015 Daytona 500.

Brett Moffitt is entered in Our Motorsports’ No. 02 Chevrolet.

Jade Buford, a Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car driver, is entered in SS Green Light Racing’s No. 07 Chevrolet for his first career NASCAR start.

Jeb Burton is entered in JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet.

A.J. Allmendinger is entered in Kaulig Racing’s No. 16 Chevrolet.

Click here for the Brickyard 400 entry lists.

Friday 5: Preparing for a ‘strange feeling’ when NASCAR returns

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With NASCAR focused on resuming its season May 17 at Darlington Raceway, the Cup Series could be less than a month from being among the first sports in the U.S. to return during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But when NASCAR comes back, the sport will do so without fans in the stands.

It will be in moments before a race and after a race where the absence of fans will be felt the most, at least to Erik Jones.

“It’s going to be a strange feeling,” Jones told NBC Sports of competing without fans at the track. “I would say that before the race, the crowd gets you into it. You’re already excited to race as a driver, but when you see the fans there and they’re excited, I can think of a few times in my career where the crowd was really into it before the race. What a neat feeling that was as an athlete, as a driver, to have people so excited to see you go out and perform. That’s an awesome feeling.”

But there’s a feeling that can top it.

“One of the other cool parts about racing is when you do get a chance to win, you really do get to celebrate with the crowd and they’re really into it and want to see the burnout and the celebration,” Jones said. “That’s a cool moment for them and a cool moment for you. 

“To be a winner and take the checkered flag, and there’s nobody cheering. That would be something I don’t think any of us have experienced. It would be weird, for sure.”

It will happen when NASCAR returns.

Until then, Jones remains at home. He spends his free time reading. He recently read a book on country singer Johnny Cash and one about the city of Detroit.

Reading has been a lifelong passion for the 23-year-old. It was a family activity, especially when his dad took him to races.

“All the travel we would do cross-country, I know a lot of times I would pick a book or my dad would pick a book, and I would read it aloud going down the road so he could hear it while he was driving,” Jones said. 

He continues to read aloud. Jones started “Erik’s Reading Circle” for children this past Tuesday. His Facebook page streamed him reading “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss. At 7 p.m. ET next Tuesday, he’ll read another children’s book, “The Gruffalo.”

Reading to children online is an idea that came from earlier this season when he read a book to children the day of the Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

“With everybody kind of being stuck at home, it was a nice opportunity to try to do something like that and see what the reception was,” Jones said of his reading circle. “Everybody is looking for something to do and something to be a part of, and I thought that was a good opportunity to give this thing a shot.

“I wasn’t sure how much interest it would really ever have. You never really know when you do something like that for the first time. I was surprised, really, how many people were interested in it and how many people wanted me to continue it.”

2. Still laughing 18 years later

It’s still among the most talked-about accomplishments for a driver who won four Xfinity races — and this was a race he didn’t win.

He actually didn’t have a ride when he went to Talladega in April 2002. When he got one, he wasn’t expected to finish the race

But after getting through the largest crash in Xfinity Series history, Tim Fedewa scored a third-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway that remains nearly as memorable as any of his victories.

Fedewa, now the spotter for Kevin Harvick, didn’t have a ride in the 2002 season and went to the first seven races without finding a ride. That changed at Talladega when someone said that the Biagi Brothers were looking for someone to drive Mike Wallace’s backup car. 

The plan was for Fedewa to run about 15 laps and park it. The crew left the qualifying setup on the car instead of changing to a race setup. They didn’t put any heat matting under the floorboard to protect Fedewa’s feet as would have been done if he was going to run the whole race.

Fedewa started 32nd. He was 39th, well behind the pack within the first few laps. His team asked him if he wanted to keep going, and he kept saying he did.

Then on the 15th lap, contact at the front of the field triggered chaos. Depending on the source, there were 27 cars in the crash or up to 32. Either way, it remains the largest crash in Xfinity Series history.

 

“I just kind of picked my way through,” Fedewa told NBC Sports. “I just remember specifically going through that wreck thinking ‘This is awesome. Hope no one is hurt, but I want to keep going here.’

The only injury in that incident was to Mike Harmon, who bit his tongue.

By getting through the crash, Fedewa was a top-10 car with so few cars left. He continued to race, but his feet were burned without the extra heat protection.

As the finish neared, Fedewa was third (and the last car on the lead lap). He was too far behind the leaders to challenge for the win. Unless Jason Keller and Stacy Compton wrecked.

“I’m just thinking, ‘Come on guys, just wreck, just wreck,’” Fedewa said. “Usually you don’t wish for people to wreck, but I was (wishing it) pretty damn hard. I cannot lie. They’re both good friends of mine. But at that particular moment, I was wishing bad things on them.”

Keller won, Compton was second and Fedewa finished third.

“It wasn’t a win, but it sure felt good,” Fedewa said.

The feeling wasn’t so great later. He recalls going to the track a week or two later and his feet still hurting, so he went to the infield care center.

“I burned my heel really, really bad and the side of my right foot really bad,” Fedewa said.

“It got really infected. So I went into the infield care center, and the doctor looked at it and said ‘You ain’t going to like what I’m going to do.’ He had to clean it with a syringe. I don’t know if you ever had a needle stuck in your feet, especially when you got open wounds on your feet. That was the closest I was to passing out, the most pain I felt in my life.”

Now? He laughs about it.

3. Could a driver race showing some COVID-19 symptoms?

NASCAR is in position to return before other sports because its athletes are isolated in a car.

While there are also crew members, those numbers are expected to be reduced to limit the number of people in the garage. Social distancing methods and protective equipment will be key for crew members to avoid any transmission of the coronavirus.

With so much of the sport based around the driver, should a driver be found with COVID-19 symptoms, it could end their championship hopes if it happens during the playoffs.

With that in mind, would it be possible for a driver to show potential signs of coronavirus, such as a slightly elevated temperature, and still be allowed to race?

Dr. John Torres, NBC News medical correspondent, raises some concerns about such a scenario.

“Theoretically, you could do something like that, where as much as they do with NASA astronauts they keep them isolated,” Dr. Torres told NBC Sports. “But there are people that help them get into the car that could be at-risk. If they get into an accident, there would be rescue crews who would be at risk. If somebody has to do CPR on them for whatever reason, that even puts them at a higher risk.

“Every time somebody competes with known symptoms of coronavirus or is suspected to have coronavirus, they are putting other people at risk. In an ideal situation, it would be saying, ‘Hey if you have symptoms, you can’t compete.’ It’s unfortunate, but it’s to protect other people.”

Erik Jones said he’s thought about what he will have to do when the season resumes to try to ensure he is not infected and misses races.

“I would say it’s all in the back of our minds that if we do go back racing, what if somebody tests positive?” Jones said. “What if a driver tests positive or even a crew member? I think anybody would be lying to you if they didn’t say they haven’t thought about it. The thing is the situation is so fluid, and it has been from the start. It changes day by day. I don’t think any of us can plan that far ahead.”

Another issue Dr. Torres notes is that that all sports may have to postpone events even after they resume competing if the coronavirus surges throughout the country again.

“Right now, everything is walking that fine line between protecting people from coronavirus, but at the same time getting back to our lives as best we can, including sports,” he said. “It is going to take some looking at it and saying, ‘Let’s start this,’ but being prepared to pull back if things do start cropping up and particularly being prepared to shut things down if we need to, if they do start showing more and more cases.

“Over time, especially once we get that vaccine, we’ll be able to do more and more. I think we’ll be able to do more and more even without the vaccine once we start getting this under control, and we see cases are lowering, deaths are lowering, and we’re getting a better understanding of how to handle the virus. This is going to take effort by all of us. This is a new normal.”

4.  Plane crash memories

During a recent appearance on the Barstool Sports podcast “Bussin’ with the Boys,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. was asked about the plane crash he, his wife and daughter survived in August in Tennessee.

Earnhardt talked for about 16 minutes detailing the incident, starting with when the plane hit the ground and bounced on landing. The contact with the ground was hard enough that the blinds shut on the windows, preventing Earnhardt from seeing outside the plane.

“We just know we bounced up in the air,” Earnhardt said on the podcast. “I don’t know if we’re 10 feet in the air or 100 feet in the air. But I know we got to get down on that runaway, and it’s not a really long runaway, and we don’t have a lot of time to be bouncing.”

Remains of Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s plane at Elizabethton (Tennessee) Municipal Airport in August 2019. (Photo: Dustin Long).

Earnhardt detailed how when the plane came back down, the right-side landing gear broke. The plane leaned to the right with the wing hitting the ground and the left wing higher in the air.

“That’s probably going to try to create some lift and put the plane up in the air and cartwheel the plane,” he said on the podcast of the elevated left wing. “You’re thinking you’re going to die.”

The plane went off the runaway, down a ditch — “that was extremely violent,” he said — before it went through a fence and came to a stop.

As daughter Isla screamed in the plane, Earnhardt said on the podcast that his thoughts were “God, please don’t let nothing be wrong with her.”

After a quick look at his daughter revealed no obvious injuries, Earnhardt handed Isla to his wife, Amy, and went to the rear of the plane to open the door.

“I went back there, and I’m seeing smoke come out of the toilet,” Earnhardt said on the podcast. “Black, dark, thick smoke. I hollered up to the front, ‘We’ve got a fire! We’ve got to go!”

Earnhardt also discussed the challenges in exiting the plane, what a paramedic did to comfort him in the ambulance and the feelings he, Amy and Isla have about flying since in the podcast.

To hear Earnhardt’s full description, you can listen to the podcast here.

5. Could there be a way to Twitch real races some day?

Parker Kligerman discusses on this week’s NASCAR on NBC Podcast how there could be real-world potential for Twitch – which is a site where people can watch others play video games or in racing, watch professionals compete in iRacing events such as Sunday’s Pro Invitational Series race at a virtual Talladega Superspeedway.

“One of the things we’ve been missing as an opportunity is thinking that (in-car cameras are) solely for the broadcast,” Kligerman said. “And what the Twitch streams have exposed in connection with the linear TV broadcast is these are being put up by the drivers themselves who are willing to do it and offer this inside little view. It’s not great for watching the whole race, but just seeing their little view and seeing their chat.”

He said such cameras on all cars could enhance race broadcasts.

“Then you have this flush of content that we don’t always have,” Kligerman said. “You see a wreck happen in 32nd place, and we don’t have a camera on it, and they don’t have an onboard camera. Well, now you have that chance. So I think the sport could think about it in a way that isn’t degrading the TV broadcast … but it’s almost adding content they maybe wouldn’t have had before.”

To listen check out this or other NASCAR on NBC Podcast episodes with Nate Ryan, go to Apple PodcastsSpotifyStitcherGoogle Play or wherever you get podcasts and download the episodes.

 

 

Mike Wallace, 61, set for NASCAR Xfinity Series return

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Five years after he last competed in a national NASCAR event, 61-year-old Mike Wallace is set to make his return to the cockpit.

Wallace, the younger brother of NASCAR Hall of Famer Rusty Wallace and older brother of Kenny Wallace, is scheduled to compete in the July 4 Xfinity Series race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course for JD Motorsports.

Wallace was part of the inaugural Brickyard 400 weekemd in 1994 and the first Xfinity Series race on the 2.5-mile oval in 2012.

He competed for JD Motorsports from 2009-13.

“(Owner) Johnny (Davis) and I have always kept a good dialogue going through the years,” Wallace said said in a media release. “We started talking about my doing something with his team again and when the idea of Indy came up, we both agreed that was the perfect place.

“This is a pretty big deal to be part of the inaugural series race on the road course, and the first under the ownership of Roger Penske.

“Roger is an icon in this sport and I was fortunate to have driven for him in eight races during the 2001 season. Being part of this race with Johnny as the team owner and Roger as the track owner is pretty special. I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel again for this race.”

Wallace has 806 starts across NASCAR’s three national series. His last start was in the 2015 Daytona 500.

Should the race go as scheduled in three months despite the ongoing COVID-10 pandemic, Wallace wouldn’t be the only NASCAR driver coming out of retirement for the inaugural road course race. Hall of Famer Tony Stewart is also scheduled to make his stock car return in the race.