Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Richard Petty to fill in as grand marshal Sunday at Martinsville

Richard Petty has long been a sponsor for for Goody's Headache Powder, and now he is the grand marshal for the race they are sponsoring at Martinsville.

Gary Sinise was scheduled for the position, but he was involved in an automobile accident Friday and can not attend.

Good thing for them, The King was happy to step in.
FYI: Richard Petty is the all-time wins leader at Martinsville with 15, so he's a bit familiar with the place.

Tickets remain for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. Call 877-722-3849 or visit

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Friday, March 30, 2012

John Wes Townley excited to be back racing at Martinsville; apologizes for DUI

NASCAR's John Wes Townley found himself in hot water earlier this year after a little too fun on the town one night.
Now, the driver of the #09 truck for RAB Racing is ready to put it behind him.

He got he requisite apology to his team and sponsors out of the way right off the bat at Martinsville, and put on the 'looking forward' spin.

"It's up to me moving forward to put this behind me and to make better decisions in the future and to really learn from this," Townley said.

He went into some detail about his night out that got him in trouble with the law -- saying it was a combination of late night drinking and early morning driving.

"That night I was having a few drinks with some friends and that morning I had to get up really early to go to Charlotte to go get some seats done and I left really early in the morning. It was really foggy. It was really rainy outside and I ran off the
road and I hit my head pretty bad. You know, I was disoriented. I went up to somebody's door because I left my cell phone back at the house and when that all happened -- that's where I was. But I don't want of those conditions to undermine the decision that I made, because it's on me. It was up to me. I'm the one who got in the car. It was just a perfect storm that everything happened that night. I want to send my deepest apologies to anybody."

He said that hopes to make 'better choices' in the future.
"This was just a horrible lack of judgment on my part," he said.

With sanctions from NASCAR and his team in place, Townley says he is now on the straight and narrow, and is looking forward to racing.
"I feel good about it. It will be great to get back on the race track. I know its poor circumstances coming back, but I'm real excited to get back in the seat. I know the team's really pumped up. They're all ready to go. I know I've got my full support behind them, but I know there's a lot of guys out here that I will have to earn my respect back from them and I'm looking forward to that."

In a move that is not unexpected, Townley said he will likely use his position to speak out against drunken driving in the wake of this incident.

"I think that's really important. I haven't done that yet, but going forward I know that that's something I would like to address as far as this happened to me and it can happen to anybody. I wouldn't wish it upon anybody. It's something very serious. I could have injured people, hurt people really bad and it's very selfish of me. I think that putting that out in the open is something other people could learn by."

And getting back to racing, young Townley is back from a long break and eager to try and prove his critics -- who often cite his penchant for crashing and lack of overall success -- wrong with some strong runs this year.

"Well, back in Richmond I just felt like it was something that I needed to do. I needed to step back and re-evaluate how I felt about continuing on with the sport. I didn't really know where I was at the time and I just needed that time to step back and re-think what I wanted out of life and coming back into it I really just wanted to give it another shot and certainly didn't want to leave it the way I left it. So to answer your question, I really want to get back into it to show some people that I can really perform out there and give it another shot."

I doubt Townley will set the track on fire, as his record is pretty hideous (just search YouTube for "John Wes Townley crash"), but if he can hold his own maybe he can shake the image of a daddy's boy who got his ride without earning it.

I wouldn't bet on it, but time will tell if he can break through and get him talking about his success on track and not his mistakes on and off it.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Chevy returns to Indycar with a big win from Castroneves; more likely to come

Chevy returning to Indycar racing was a big deal, and they have shown they are there to contend.

Helio Castroneves won the race, his third win at St. Petersburg, and earned his 26th career victory.

“This was a great effort for everyone,” said Castroneves, who moved into a tie for 13th place on IndyCar’s all-time list with his 26th career victory. “Chevy did a great job to keep everything under control. We had some issues in the beginning that we have to raise the revs so that we can have the battery, or something like that. But, to be honest, it didn't upset us, it makes our temperature in the engine very nice and everything went really smooth.”

Castroneves was driving for Roger Penske -- who also owns a NASCAR team and is used to winning in whatever field of motorsport enters

This is a great day for Chevrolet who made the commitment to come back into IndyCar racing,” said Roger Penske. “This is really an event that shows the commitment in the automobile industry in the U.S. All the engineers within Chevrolet teaming with Ilmor to bring a product to the marketplace like this car in one year is amazing.

“It’s going to be a great season. It’s great to be back racing.”
Castroneves' win led a strong contingent of Chevy drivers: Ryan Hunter-Reay (third), James Hinchcliffe (fourth), Ryan Briscoe (fifth), pole-sitter Will Power (seventh) and E.J. Viso (eighth).Chevrolet—now with a purpose-built Chevy IndyCar twin-turbocharged, direct-injected V-6—previously competed in Indy-style competition from 1986-93 and 2002-05 with a V-8, winning 104 races—including seven Indianapolis 500 wins—and powering six driver champions.

“This weekend was very satisfying from the perspective that all of the Chevrolet teams worked together to prepare for this first race, and the outcome was terrific,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet’s North American Vice President of Performance Vehicles and Motorsports. “I’m very proud of all of the teams that were here competing. This was a terrific day for all of the teams, and for Chevrolet as we introduce the twin-turbo Indy V-6.”

Prior to Castroneves' win, the last win for Chevrolet in Indycar came on June 11, 2005 when Tomas Scheckter won at Texas Motor Speedway.

Don't be surprised if this win to start the season is the first of many Indycar victories for Chevy this year; as they are looking pretty sharp straight out the gate.

The IndyCar Series next races at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on April 1, 2012.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WITH VIDEO: Trevor Bayne's winning Daytona 500 car now on display at The Henry Ford in Dearborn

The winning 2011 Daytona 500 car from Trevor Bayne is now on display in Dearborn at The Henry Ford. Here's a video from the unveiling.

AT LAST! -- Truck Series returns this weekend at Martinsville

After Daytona the Truck series went into hibernation. That's too bad, because it brings some of the best racing in NASCAR

Thankfully, it’s back this weekend at Martinsville. ThorSport Racing driver Johnny Sauter is the defending spring race winner at Martinsville.

Points leader John King is excited to be back on the track after his miraculous win at Daytona.
"It's pretty cool to be the points leader for five weeks. For five weeks, I've turned on Speed and watched 'Race Hub' and seen my name scroll across the bottom of the screen -- pretty wild. I was ready to go somewhere the next Monday morning. I was ready to load up and go back to the race track somewhere. It's hard to get out of a race truck and you've got all this other stuff to do and you can't really be around racing. We're all just really excited. The win at Daytona is good for the whole organization and gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum going into this next race. We've got some really nice trucks for Martinsville and the rest of these races."

Todd Bodine, driver for the Red Horse Racing teaam is looking forward to Martinsville.
"I have been going to Martinsville since I was eight-years-old,” he said. “I grew up in Rocky Mount, Va., and went to school at Franklin County High School, which is about 30-40 minutes from the race track. My brothers Brett and Geoffrey both have multiple NASCAR wins at the track and also multiple wins in the modified series. I was part of the team and even changed tires back when they were racing modifieds. There is a lot of family history in southern Virginia and it's very much a 'home track' for me."

There will also be a lot of newcomers making their series debut at Martinsville.
— Jeb Burton, 19, Halifax, Va., is the latest competitor to join one of Virginia’s most storied families on the NASCAR national series level. His father, Ward, is the 2002 Daytona 500 winner. Burton’s uncle, Jeff, is a 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup winner.
— Caleb Holman, 28, Abingdon, Va., made five NNS starts between 2003 and 2007.
— Brennan Newberry, 22, Bakersfield, Calif., has nine K&N Pro Series West starts under his seatbelt with a best finish of fifth in last year’s race at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
— Natalie Sather, 27, Shelby, N.C., finished second in NASCAR Whelen late model points at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. The Drive for Diversity graduate, whose nickname is “Speed,” is a former Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway 360 sprint car rookie of the year.

2012 by the numbers -- five races into the season
0.259 seconds – The closest margin of victory (Phoenix) in the first five races this season.
1 – Point Standings leader throughout the first five races – Sadler
4 – Different drivers to win: Sadler (2; Phoenix and Bristol), Stenhouse (1; Las Vegas), James Buescher (1; Daytona) and Joey Logano (1; Auto Club Speedway).
4 – Different Coors Light pole winners: Logano (2; Bristol and Auto Club), Danica Patrick (1; Daytona), Sadler (1; Las Vegas) and Denny Hamlin (1; Phoenix).
12 – Different drivers have accumulated at least one Bonus Point – led by Sadler with 11.
41 – Number of Leaders: Daytona (16), Phoenix (5), Las Vegas (8), Bristol (5) and Auto Club (7). Forty-one is the sixth largest number of leaders in the first fives races behind 2010, 2007 (46 leaders); 2006 (44); 1997 (43); and 2008 (42).
74 – Number of Lead Changes: Daytona (38), Phoenix (8), Las Vegas (8), Bristol (5) and Auto Club (15). Seventy-four lead changes ties with 2006 for the third most lead changes in the first five races of the season behind 2007 (77 lead changes) and 1997 (76 lead changes).

Roush Fenway Martinsville facts
— In 170 Cup starts at the half-mile paper-clip shaped track, Roush Fenway has turned more laps at Martinsville Speedway than any other venue in the Sprint Cup Series, with 81,982 laps completed. During that span, Roush Fenway has collected four wins, four poles, 25 top-five and 60 top-10 finishes. All-in-all Roush Fenway carries a 17.1 average finish to Martinsville this weekend.
— Roush Fenway has won four Sprint Cup races at Martinsville, with three different drivers. However,the team has not visited victory lane at the track since the fall of 2002. Roush Fenway also boasts two truck wins in 46 starts at Martinsville (fall of ’03 and ’05).
— Roush Fenway had its overall most-successful outing at Martinsville in the spring of 2002 when it placed all four of its cars inside the top 10. In addition, RFR posted a one-two finish at the track in the spring of 2000. Ironically, Roush Fenway has not placed more than one car inside the top five at Martinsville since that finish in 2000.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dodge at Martinsville Speedway -- numbers through the years

— Dodge drivers have recorded 10 wins at Martinsville Speedway since the track opened in 1949. Lee Petty got the first Dodge win on May 17, 1953. Dodge has three sweeps at the track (1953, 1956 and 1975).
— Dodge drivers posting wins at Martinsville include Lee Petty, Jim Paschal, Buck Baker, Jack Smith, Dave Marcis, Rusty Wallace, Bobby Isaac (2) and Richard Petty (2). Wallace posted the last Dodge win at Martinsville in the 2004 spring event, one of seven victories for Wallace, but his only win at Martinsville in a Dodge.

— SRT Motorsports Engineering will unveil its updated R6P8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series engine this weekend at Martinsville. The refreshed R6P8 will power both the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger and No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger from Penske Racing.
— Dodge driver Brad Keselowski’s career best Sprint Cup finish at Martinsville was 10th at the 2010 fall event.
— A.J. Allmendinger had a career best Martinsville finish of ninth in the 2009 spring race, driving a Dodge.
— The No. 7 SPEED Energy Dodge Charger from Robby Gordon Motorsports has been withdrawn from this weekend’s event.

“We are excited to launch our new “closed deck” engine block with Penske Racing Engines for the Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville this weekend. We are very pleased with the performance and durability of our previous “open deck” block, but are introducing design changes to help improve head gasket life and future capability for power increases. The post machining and processing time at Penske’s engine shop will be significantly reduced. We will also take advantage of weight improvements that come along with the base block material changing to “compacted graphite iron” similar to the other manufacturers. We worked closely with NASCAR to ensure the changes are compliant and have competitive parity.”
Dave Bailey, SRT Motorsports Engineering

— First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm Beach, Fla., 100 miles, .5-mile track.
— Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Brad Keselowski, 03/18/2012, Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway, 93.037 mph avg. speed.

"Martinsville is the ultimate heat management test – managing the heat that the cars generate on this very tight track and managing the heat under the collar of any driver that's not leading the race. The engineers have to confine their focus to the heat that's generated by the car; doing that ultimately helps keep the driver a little cooler under the collar as well.

"I would argue that a Martinsville Sprint Cup race generates more parts-destroying heat from the engine, transmission, rear axle and brakes than any other race, not just in this series, but in all motorsports anywhere in the world. Coming up with efficient and effective cooling systems will be at the top of every engineer's to do list this week before this grueling test of components, unmatched anywhere in the world."
Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering

— Dodge has 213 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins.
— Dodge teams have posted 53 victories since the manufacturer’s return to NASCAR’s premier series in 2001 after being out of the sport since 1977.
— Dodge has posted wins each season since its return in 2001 including seven wins twice (2002 and 2006).

— The Dodge Charger street car is the only rear-wheel-drive model in Sprint Cup Series competition that is available with a V-8 engine.
— SRT Motorsports includes all of Chrysler Group’s NASCAR racing efforts for Dodge and RAM.
— Dodge is an Official Passenger Car of NASCAR.
— SRT Motorsports is competing for championships in all three NASCAR touring series in 2012.

— A.J. Allmendinger’s career-best finish at Martinsville Speedway came in 2009 while driving a Dodge Charger. He finished ninth. His best finish this season is 15th which came last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.
Brad Keselowski’s seesaw start to the season has produced finishes of 32nd, 5th, 32nd, 1st and 18th in the first five NSCS. He led a career best 232 laps at Bristol two weeks ago en route to victory. He has started inside the top 15 only once this season – Bristol (3rd).

— 4 – number of jet dryers available for track drying this weekend.
— 34 – number of races at Martinsville won from the front row.
— 46 – different winners in 126 races.
— 56 – different pole winners.

“I thought that we had a good test for Martinsville. It’s one of my better tracks. I think that we need to keep making gains on it (race results). We struggled a bit last weekend getting a 15th-place finish. That’s not great, but we’re moving in the right direction. We need to go there, have a good car and keep building on what we’ve learned the first five races. It’s early in the season. I try and remember that it’s only my fifth race with Todd (Gordon) and we’re still trying to learn each other a bit. We’ve had fast cars all year. We just need to keep building on it race after race and continue to get better. I ran top-10 there in a Dodge before and I really like how Martinsville sets up to race. I’m excited to get there.”
A.J. Allmendinger, No. 22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge Charger

“Coming off the last short-track run that we had in Bristol in which we won, I’m excited to get to Martinsville this weekend. I think that our short-track program has been one of our strengths. This will be a true test for us. I feel that Martinsville owes us one after we ran so well there last fall only to get pushed up the track late in the race. We’ve tested at Little Rock in preparation for this weekend and I think that we’re bringing a pretty good package. The key for me is to be patient at Martinsville. You can’t use your stuff up too early in the race. You have to let the race come to you and stay away from contact. Anything can happen short-track racing. You have to make sure that you have all the fenders on it at the end.”
Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

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Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix announces free events surrounding event this June

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix has announced that the return of world-class auto racing to the Motor City, June 1-3, will include a series of free events presented by PNC Bank.

“We are excited to continue the long-standing tradition of ‘Free Prix Day’ thanks to support by PNC Bank,” said Bud Denker, event chairman of the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. “We’re committed to hosting one of the most thrilling, memorable events in the racing world the first weekend in June.”

The Grand Prix will feature “PNC Bank Free Prix Day” on Friday, June 1, when race fans can enjoy free admission for the day’s activities on Belle Isle. On-track events on the picturesque 2.1-mile Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course will include:

-- Practice by the stars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, and
-- Practice and qualifying for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, practice for the Pirelli World Challenge Series and Firestone Indy Lights Series.
New on “PNC Bank Free Prix Day” this year is free admission to the paddock area – the “locker room” of racing, where fans can see drivers and their teams, racecars and various high-tech equipment of the sport.

In addition, live entertainment will feature legendary Detroit band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels when they rock the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage on June 1 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

“PNC is providing free admission to make the program more accessible to families throughout Michigan and the Midwest,” said Ric DeVore, PNC Bank regional president for Detroit and Southeast Michigan. “This year’s Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix promises to be more exciting than ever.”

The event will be held June 1-3, 2012 and will include the Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix eaturing the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle with the sports cars of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented featuring the cars of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series and the Firestone Indy Lights Series. For more information, visit

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Your 2012 leader at Hendrick Motorsports is: Dale Earnhardt Jr?; Jimmie Johnson's golden horseshoe returns

I remember it like it was yesterday; because it kind of was yesterday.

For the past several years, it’s been a familiar refrain with Dale Earnhardt Jr. … He might run good at some point during the race, but come race end and he’s going to be languishing mid-pack and come home in the teens or 20s. This happened more often than not through the years as Dale Jr. struggled to find a crew chief that worked with him as well as Tony Eury Sr. did back in the day.

Well, that appears not to be the case anymore. His partnership with Steve Letarte is paying off well this year, and he has risen to 3rd in the point standings after a strong 3rd place run at California. More often than not, so far this year you’ll find Dale Jr. up front, not in the middle of the pack.

As the saying goes, when you run up front that often, you’re bound to win eventually, so it’s a good bet Jr. will end his win streak this year. But his wishes no doubt go far beyond that. He doesn’t just want to get one win and go back into being a bystander in the title hunt. He wants to not only make the Chase, but contend in it.

And based on his early performance, everything is clicking and he might just be able to do that. Instead of sneaking into the Chase, he might roar into it. And if that happens, no one would be happier than NASCAR, which has long hoped for its golden boy to break out into a successful streak.

Jr. said Sunday after his California finish that he’s excited about his strong start, and gave credit to his team for the resurgence.

Yeah, I'm really happy. I'm performing better. Most of the credit has to go to Steve and the team. Those guys did a great job today on pit road. We had some really good stops,” Jr. said. “Steve is doing an amazing job. He deserves most of the credit for how well we're running. He's giving me really good cars, cars that are fun to drive, relatively easy to drive.”

Whether it’s the crew chief, the driver, or some combination of the two, once thing is for certain – Jr. Nation appears to have something legitimate to cheer for this season.

Jimmie Johnson both good AND lucky

It was a hell of a good week for Jimmie Johnson. First, his points penalty was rescinded, launching him up the standings.

Then, fate intervened in his favor as the red flag came out at California just as his car broke and started leaking oil. If the race had gone on, he likely would have dropped over 20 positions in the finishing order ... ironically a similar number to what his initial penalty from NASCAR was for the C-post infraction. Instead, due to the perfect timing of the red flag, he finished 10th.

That's what you call luck. And we all know Jimmie is a great driver. So combine those two things, and you have the makings of a resurgent year for Mr. Johnson, who is now in Chase territory and will likely stay there for the rest of the year.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

What do the Kardashians and Jack Roush have in common? -- Bruce Jenner

Here's your little known fact of the day. Bruce Jenner, in addition to being an Olympian and a multiple plastic surgery having reality TV star with the Kardashian empire, is a former race car driver.

Jenner, who served as Grand Marshal today in the Nationwide race, competed in Mustangs for Roush in the 1985-86 seasons, winning two IMSA GTO races with teammate Scott Pruett.

Jenner recalled his time with Roush.
“I had a lot of fun. You couldn’t have found a
better team owner. We had Jack and obviously Ford Motor Company, but
the real key to the whole success was in 1983 I found this kid at a
go-kart track and he was like the king of karting. I talked to him –
nice kid, nice family – and I asked him, ‘What do you want to do?’
And he says, ‘I want to race. This is what I want to do for a living.
This is what I want my career to be.’ So I said, ‘Well, maybe I can
get you in a car with me.’ Well, it took a few years to get him in
the car with me, but in 1985 he finally got in his first Jack Roush
Mustang with me and the rest is history. His name is Scott Pruett."

Jenner said he still loves racing and has much respect for drivers as athletes.
"I competed for so many years in the Olympics and other things, so you look for other
things that you can do and racing, to me, I’ve always loved cars.
People don’t realize how difficult of a sport this is in so many ways. I had dinner with Jimmie Johnson after he won his fifth one and I said to him, ‘I think one of the hardest things to do in all of sport is to win in auto racing and be consistent at doing something like that.’ Him winning five championships is sick because there’s so much to this sport. It’s not only the ability to drive the car, it’s
starting a year in advance with the right technology, putting the right people together and getting that right effort and getting something that everybody can work together. I did it for 10 years and had a lot of fun doing it.”

Roush also fondly remembered the partnership with Jenner.

“Bruce Jenner was a sure-enough athlete and a great competitor. Like all the
guys that have been successful in this business, he was late starting and didn’t stay very long so he didn’t realize his potential that I’m sure was certainly there for him. He was a delight to be around. He was funny and always involved in practical jokes, either a practical joke he had put on somebody else or one that somebody had put on him in an effort to get even or get ahead.”

“That’s not inaccurate, but there were a number of races that we had that were single-driver races and I remember Bruce for his personal enthusiasm and his ability in those circumstances as much as I do for his ability to keep the car out of trouble when we were in multiple-driving events. He seldom put a foot wrong and operated within an envelope that he was comfortable with and he got a lot out of the car on a given day. Now, not every day when you go to the race track do you have the dominant car and on those days you have to take what the race track and the car will give you and not reach for more because if you do you wind up broke or you wind up crashed. That’s a form of self-destruction that Bruce never got involved with. He was 100 percent respectful. He contributed something all the time to the effort and there was no negative downside or dark moment with Bruce.”

Now that Bruce has made an appearance in NASCAR, maybe Jack can make a guest appearance at the next Kardashian get-together?

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Roush always strong in California

-- Roush Fenway Racing has won 15 NASCAR races at Auto Club Speedway (seven Cup, six NNS & two Truck). Matt Kenseth is one of only three drivers in NASCAR history to post multiple wins at the track (‘06, ’08 & ‘09).

-- Roush Fenway has won at least two races at California during the same weekend four times, including sweeping all three events there in 2004. In addition, RFR swept both NNS races at Fontana in 2005, while winning both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide races there in the spring of that same season.

-- Roush Fenway’s Matt Kenseth is one of only three drivers in NASCAR history to post multiple wins at California. Kenseth has won three times at the track, with the first coming in ‘06 and the last in ‘09. In addition, he won there in the Nationwide Series in 2007. Former RFR driver Mark Martin drove a Roush Fenway Ford to victory lane in all three series at California as well (1998-Cup, 2005-NNS, 2006-Truck).

-- Roush Fenway Racing has placed at least one car in the top 10 in 20 of the 21 NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Auto Club Speedway, including two in the top six last year. In addition, Roush Fenway has scored a total of 27 top fives and 46 top-10 finishes at the two-mile quad oval, and led a total of 1,440 laps in Cup action.


Toyota notes

Mark Martin is one to watch this Sunday. The driver of the #55 Michael Waltrip Racing machine has 20 NSCS starts at the race track and was victorious in 1998, has six top-five finishes, 10 top 10s and has led 324 laps. He won at California in the Nationwide Series in 2005 and the Trucks in 2006.

Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have swept the last seven Nationwide Series races at California – the most Toyota Nationwide series victories at any track. Busch has five of those -- Aug. 2008; Feb. 2009; Feb. 2010; Oct. 2010; and 2011. Joey Logano won in Oct. 2009 and Tony Stewart won in a Toyota in Feb. 2008. Toyota drivers have also led 713 laps (of 1,054) in those seven races.


Dodge notes
-- Dodge has started from the pole four times at Auto Club Speedway. The most recent came at the fall event in 2007 (Kurt Busch).
-- A.J. Allmendinger has made seven NSCS starts at Auto Club Speedway. He’s finished 14th twice.
-- Brad Keselowski will be making his fourth NSCS start at Auto Club. His best finish of 21st came in 2010.

-- First Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Lee Petty, 2/1/53, West Palm Beach, Fla., 100 miles, .5-mile track.
-- Last Dodge NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Win: Brad Keselowski, 03/18/2012, Food City 500, Bristol Motor Speedway, 93.037 mph avg. speed.
-- NASCAR team haulers will travel over 2,300 miles in approximately 35 hours en route from the Charlotte, N.C. area to Fontana, Calif., for this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Auto Club Speedway.
-- All four manufacturers have won Sprint Cup races this season: (Daytona – Ford, Phoenix – Toyota, Las Vegas – Chevy and Bristol – Dodge).
-- There have been four different style tracks, pole sitters and race winners in each of the first four NSCS races.
-- Penske Racing Dodges led 286 of 500 laps en route to winning the Food City 500 last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway (Keselowski -232 and Allmendinger -54).

-- Eleven of the 22 NSCS races at Auto Club Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
-- Only one of 22 NSCS races at ACS has been won from the pole – (J. Johnson, 2008).
-- Brad Keselowski has already led 236 laps this season. He led a total of 298 in 2011.

“One win is good, two wins is really good. We need to keep winning races to lock ourselves in the Chase, but heck, I’d rather just go into the Chase in the top spot. If we run like we have the last few weeks, we’ve got as good a shot as anybody else.”
Brad Keselowski, driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

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