richard petty

How soon before Kentucky Derby-type finish happens (again) in NASCAR?

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While it has occurred before in NASCAR, the winner being disqualified — as happened in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby — will happen again in stock car racing.

NASCAR all but assured that before this season. Series officials announced that they would disqualify the winner if its car failed inspection after the race.

“We’re changing the culture,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, on Feb. 4. “We’ve tried to do it one way, and it hasn’t worked.”

So far, no winner in Cup, Xfinity or the Gander Outdoors Truck Series has failed inspection after the race. 

It’s coming. It’s just a matter of who, when and where.

When it does, the grandstands will be empty … unlike Saturday at Churchill Downs. More than 150,000 fans were in attendance and waited 22 minutes after the Kentucky Derby before stewards disqualified Maximum Security and made runner-up Country House, a 65-1 longshot, the winner. Country House will go for the next leg in the Triple Crown at the Preakness on NBC on Saturday, May 18.

NASCAR officials said before the season that they hoped to have inspection done about 90 minutes after each race. Fans will be on their way home by that time. There won’t be the gasps and groans from the crowd at Churchill Downs when the Kentucky Derby was declared official with a new winner.

History shows that there will be a day (or night) when NASCAR fans will see one car cross the finish line first and another later declared the winner.

It’s in the sport’s DNA.

NASCAR’s first race in 1949 saw the winner disqualified. Records list Jim Roper as the winner but he finished second to Glenn Dunaway at Charlotte. Dunaway was disqualified because his car did not pass inspection afterward.

Eventually, NASCAR decided it was best for fans that if the driver who crossed the finish line first was the winner even if the car failed inspection afterward.

Richard Petty kept his 198th career victory in 1983 at Charlotte despite having an oversized engine and left side tires on the right side of the car. Instead, he was fined a then-record $35,000 (the winner’s purse was $40,400) and stripped 104 points.

In 1991, NASCAR penalized Ricky Rudd for spinning Davey Allison out of the lead just before the final lap at Sonoma Raceway. Rudd crossed the finish line first but was given the black flag. Allison, who came across the line behind Rudd, was given the checkered flag and ruled the winner.

Those are rare instances where NASCAR reacted.

Last year, Kevin Harvick had cars fail inspection after he won at Las Vegas in March and Texas in November. NASCAR disallowed Harvick a berth in the championship race for his Texas violation but allowed him to keep the win (as it allowed him to keep the Las Vegas win).

But the next time a winning vehicle fails inspection in NASCAR, the record books will no longer list that person as the winner. Just as the list of Kentucky Derby winners will have Country House as the 2019 champion instead of Maximum Security.

Kyle Busch aims for third straight Richmond win

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If anyone should be happy about the current Cup schedule, it’s Kyle Busch.

The month of April has Busch getting to visit his two of his best tracks in consecutive weekends.

A week after earning his eighth victory at Bristol Motor Speedway – the most victories he has at any Cup track – Busch will get the chance to follow it up at Richmond Raceway.

The .750-mile track has been the site of six of Busch’s 54 Cup wins, the most for Busch at a track after Bristol. Now, Busch will try to win his third straight Richmond race.

Should he do that, he’d be the fourth Cup driver to win three or more races in a row at Richmond and the first since Bobby Allison (1982-83).

Busch would join Allison, David Pearson (three wins, 1965-66) and Richard Petty’s seven in a row from 1970-73.

In this race last year, Busch started from the rear for unapproved adjustments and led 32 laps to claim the win.

“I always looking forward to Richmond,” Busch said in a media release. “Obviously, last year was really good for us there, even though we didn’t have the best car there in the spring, (crew chief) Adam (Stevens) and the pit crew guys were able to put me in a good position to win and we capitalized on that, as well. Certainly want to keep the momentum rolling from last week and really the start of the season for us, keep that top-10 streak going, too.”

Busch has finished in the top 10 in all eight races this year, something not done since Terry Labonte in 1992.

At Richmond, Busch has one finish outside the top 10 in his last seven starts.

Busch said Richmond is “getting a little trickier” due to the combination of its aging race surface and the current Cup car.

“The consensus at Richmond is, of course, just trying to get your car to turn, but also having really good forward bite,” Busch said. “You have to be able to get off the corners at Richmond. You have to have good brakes, as well, and be able to turn the center. All of it correlates.

“Everything you want as a racecar driver, you’ve got to have (the) most of all of it and, if you don’t, then you better hope you have more forward bite than the rest of them. That’s sort of the equation of Richmond. It’s a fun place to race. It’s really cool. As a driver, you wish it could widen out and give you more options of being able to run around in different grooves, but it hasn’t shown us that the last couple of years.”

While Busch will attempt to earn his fourth win of the year, he’ll also look to continue the dominance of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske to open the season.

The two teams are the only organizations to earn wins this year, with JGR claiming five to Penske’s three.

Their command of victory lane also stretches over Richmond.

JGR and Penske have combined to win eight of the last 10 races there.  JGR has five wins and Penske has three.

Video celebrates 50th anniversary of Dover International Speedway

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Gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary during the NASCAR triple-header weekend May 3-5, Dover International Speedway has unveiled a new video celebrating its golden jubilee.

The 14-minute video, which includes interviews with three NASCAR champions talking about their experience at The Monster Mile, offers some of the biggest highlights from five decades of action at the 1-mile concrete oval about 90 miles south of Philadelphia.

Among elements in the video (click here to view):

Footage of Dover’s first NASCAR race, the Mason-Dixon 300, from July 6, 1969.

Interviews with NASCAR champions Bobby Allison, Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty, the top three drivers in all-time Dover victories, and highlights of their top Monster Mile triumphs.

The first NASCAR Cup Series race following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. in front of a sea of patriotic fans.

Coverage of the “Miller Genuine Draft 500,” from June 4, 1995, Dover’s first NASCAR Cup Series race on its new concrete track surface.

We’re proud of the Monster Mile’s place in auto racing history and its role as an economic driver for Delaware,” said Mike Tatoian, Dover International Speedway’s president and CEO. “We appreciate Bobby, Jimmie and Richard taking the time to sit down with us and relive their Dover memories. We loved taking a walk down Memory (Victory) Lane with them.”

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Long: Let’s talk about 250 NASCAR wins for Kyle Busch, not 200

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As Kyle Busch approaches 200 NASCAR victories, the question that should be asked is how many more will he win in his career instead of how his victory total compares to Richard Petty’s 200 Cup wins.

Busch could reach 200 total NASCAR victories this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. He’s entered in the Xfinity race — he’s won both series races he’s entered this season — and the Cup race.

But why stop there? Busch doesn’t turn 34 until May 2, meaning he could have another decade of racing in NASCAR. That would put him at the age Jimmie Johnson is. Johnson turns 44 in September.

Could 250 wins be a possibility for Busch?

Without a doubt.

Provided NASCAR continues to limit Cup drivers to five Gander Outdoors Truck Series races a season, Busch could have another 50 races if he goes a decade longer. He has a 36.1 percent career winning percentage in that series. At that pace, he would win 18 times in 50 more starts.

The Xfinity Series is a bit tricky. Busch is limited to seven series races a year, but he has hinted that once he reaches 100 series victories, he would reduce his involvement in that series. He enters this weekend with 94 series victories. So one can figure on at least six more wins, but after that it remains uncertain. Still, if he got six wins and 18 in the Trucks that would put him at 224.

So what about Cup?

To figure this out, take a look at what Johnson has done. Johnson has won 36 races since the season he turned 34 (the season Busch is in now). If Busch won 36 more Cup races before his career ended, that would give him 88 total, putting him behind only Petty (200), David Pearson (105) and Jeff Gordon (93) in that category. Johnson is at 83 so he could finish with more than 88 career wins.

If you want to pencil Busch in for 36 Cup wins the rest of his career and add it to his projected total for Truck and Xfinity, that would put him at 260 total wins.

So, yes it is possible for him to top 250 career NASCAR wins. 

Get ready for some more bows.


With track position so critical, strategy and restarts proved key Sunday at ISM Raceway.

Kyle Larson again showed what makes him so special with restarts, making moves others couldn’t.

Larson finished a season-high sixth and it was because of his restart ability.

Twice in the final stage, Larson restarted on the outside and rode the high line to gain multiple positions on a day when Joey Logano said “it was really, really, really, really, really hard to pass.”

Larson was 12th when the final stage began on Lap 158. He went to the outside of Aric Almirola, starting the row ahead of him  and was up to ninth entering Turn 1. Larson stayed in the high line and was about to pass Logano for seventh off Turn 2 when Ryan Newman and Jimmie Johnson both bobbled, killing Larson’s momentum. He still managed to be ninth on the first lap after the restart.

Larson started on the outside in 14th after pit stops later in that stage. He took four tires while a few others in front of him took no tires or two tires. Johnson blocked the high line so Larson went underneath him but got boxed in. Larson still had gained two spots before the caution came back out.

Larson then restarted 12th on the outside and made his biggest move on the Lap 233 restart. This time, Larson got outside of Johnson and passed four cars by the exit of Turn 1. He gained two more spots — for a total of six positions — before another quick caution. That put him in position to finish sixth

“You had to take advantage of the restarts for sure,” Larson said after the race. “I felt like I did a good job of that today going to the very top when I was in the outside lane and passing four or five guys at times. Yeah, that was important and then just being able to pass some cars and get in line and just kind of try and maintain and not make any mistakes.”


Richard Childress Racing is not afraid to take chances, particularly at ISM Raceway.

Recall that Ryan Newman won there in March 2017 on a pit gamble by crew chief Luke Lambert to stay out late. Newman took the lead while others pitted just before the overtime restart. He led the final six laps to win.

Sunday, Danny Stockman, crew chief for Austin Dillon, called for a two-tire stop twice and no tires on what was to have been their final pit stop. That put Dillon in position for a fifth-place finish despite a speeding penalty on Lap 196 of the 312-lap race. The plan failed when Dillon had to come to the pits late for fuel and finished 21st.

“Danny made a good call during the final stage to take fuel only to put us back up front, but that cut us just a couple laps shy of making it,” Dillon said after the race. “I was doing everything I could to save through the remaining cautions and lift as much as I could once we got spread out. It was just a little short this time around.”

Also, Lambert, who is with rookie Daniel Hemric this season, had Hemric not pit when the field did on Lap 222. Those with fresher tires ate up Hemric but he went on to finish 18th, which is his best result of the season.

Keep an eye on this organization and the chances they take in the coming weeks.


Kyle Busch’s victory marked the fourth different winner in the season’s first four races.

That’s not a new trend.

Seven times in the last nine years, the season opened with different winners in each of the first four races.

What’s different this time is that Sunday marked the first time Busch had won in the first four races of the season since 2011. He won the season’s fourth race, which was at Bristol, that year.

The last time there were five different winners in the first five races was 2017. It also happened in 2011, ’13 and ’14 in the previous nine seasons.

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Route finalized for 25th Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America

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The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America has announced its official route and celebrity riders for this year’s motorcycle journey to raise funds for the Victory Junction Camp.

The charity ride will celebrate its 25th anniversary with its longest route yet, starting in Seattle, Washington, on May 3 and ending in Key Largo, Florida, on May 11.

Petty and 250 participants, including more than 30 new riders, will travel through 11 states and cover nearly 3,700 miles to raise funds and awareness for Victory Junction, a camp dedicated to providing life-changing camping experiences for children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses.

Here is the schedule and route:

  • Day 1, Friday, May 3 – Seattle, Washington to Ontario, Oregon
  • Day 2, Saturday, May 4 – Ontario, Oregon to Orem-Provo, Utah
  • Day 3, Sunday, May 5 – Orem-Provo, Utah to Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Day 4, Monday, May 6 – Glenwood Springs, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Day 5, Tuesday, May 7 – Santa Fe, New Mexico to Childress, Texas
  • Day 6, Wednesday, May 8 – Childress, Texas to Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana
  • Day 7, Thursday, May 9 – Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana to Pensacola Beach, Florida
  • Day 8, Friday, May 10 – Pensacola Beach, Florida to Tampa, Florida
  • Day 9, Saturday, May 11 – Tampa, Florida to Key Largo, Florida

Participants in this year’s ride include former NASCAR drivers Richard Petty, Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff and Donnie Allison; current NASCAR driver David Ragan; former Formula 1, IndyCar and NASCAR driver Max Papis; former NFL great and Heisman Trophy winner (1982) Herschel Walker; Heisman Trophy winner (1980) and Super Bowl champion (XXII) George Rogers; and NBC Sports NASCAR personalities Krista Voda, Rutledge Wood and Rick Allen.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the Ride started,” Kyle Petty said in a release. “What started as just a few friends riding motorcycles to racetracks around the country has turned into something so much bigger than I could’ve ever imagined.

“Because of our sponsors, fans and the people who participate in this Ride, whether they’re veteran participants or first-timers, so many deserving kids get to have the time of their life at Victory Junction each year.”

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