Border War: Northern, Southern Mods Invade Magic Mile
The debut of a new, all-star shootout event for NASCAR National and Southern Whelen Modified Series will create one of the biggest and most diverse pole days on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule on Friday, July 11 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Long known as the Super Bowl venue for the exciting NASCAR Whelen Modified Series, the Magic Mile will be the stage for the inaugural $25,000 shootout event. The special event will feature 20-24 cars, representing previous winners and champions from the national and southern touring series along with the 2013 Sunoco Rookies of the Year for both tours. The 30-minute race will pay $4,000 to win and $800 to start in the $1,000-lap shootout.
Trucks Return to Magic Mile
Anchored by its two traditional NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends, New Hampshire Motor Speedway will welcome the return of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in September. Absent from the Magic Mile since 2011, the UNOH 175 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event will run on Saturday, Sept. 20, the day before the OSRAM SYLVANIA 300 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship event on Sunday, Sept. 21. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series full-time driver Kyle Busch won the last three Truck Series races at the Magic Mile from 2009-11.
Win On Sunday, Sell on Monday: Toyota Renews with NHMS
If there’s a company that knows how to “win on Sunday and sell on Monday” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, it’s Toyota. Speedway officials recently announced that it has renewed its relationship with the popular manufacturer, retaining Toyota as the speedway’s “official vehicle” through 2016. Toyota has been the speedway’s partner since 2011, and has enjoyed tremendous success both on the track and throughout the Boston region marketplace. Drivers have piloted Toyota Camrys into victory lane in three straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races dating back to 2012, while the manufacturer continues to be a leader in American automotive production, maintaining 10 manufacturing plants throughout the United States.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway ticket officials have sold tickets across the globe for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends in 2014. Fans in Canada, Austria, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Hungry and New Zealand have all purchased tickets for either/both the Camping World RV Sales 301 (July 10-13) or the OSRAM SYLVANIA 300 (Sept. 18-21). The Magic Mile has also sold tickets to all 50 states in North America.
The Speedway Star search is underway, as the Magic Mile will begin accepting entries for the fifth annual national anthem singing competition from all New England area singers on March 24 at 8:00 a.m. The Speedway Star competition will be held at the Mall of New Hampshire on Saturday, April 26. Prospective contestants are asked to submit a DVD, CD, .wav file or .mp3 file of them singing “The Star Spangled Banner” a cappella style (without music or other accompaniments). Submissions will be accepted until Friday, April 11 at 5:00 p.m.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will make its first of two annual stops this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. The flat, one-mile tri-oval has seen six different drivers win the last six winter races, a streak that would extend to seven should Dale Earnhardt Jr. follow up his Daytona 500 victory with another in Arizona:
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Next Race: The Profit on CNBC 500 presented by Small Business Fueling America
The Place: Phoenix International Raceway
The Date: Sunday, March 2
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
TV: FOX, 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Distance: 500 Kilometers (312 laps)
Key stats from last week at Daytona
Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Margin of Victory: Under caution
Cautions: 7 for 39 laps
Lead Changes: 42 among 18 drivers
Most Laps Led: Dale Earnhardt Jr. 54 of 200
Top 16 Driver Points (regular season):
(1) D. Earnhardt. Jr. 48; (2) D. Hamlin 43; (3) B. Keselowski 42;
(4) J. Gordon 40; (5) J. Johnson 40; (6) M. Kenseth 38;
(7) R. Stenhouse. Jr. 37; (8) G. Biffle 37; (9) A. Dillon 36;
(10) C. Mears 34; (11) J. Logano 34; (12) K. Harvick 31;
(13) J. McMurray 30; (14) B. Labonte 29; (15) R. Sorenson 28;
(16) C. Edwards 28
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1)
This race last year
Winner: Carl Edwards
Pole Sitter: Mark Martin
Margin of Victory: 1.024 seconds
Lead Changes: 12 among 9 drivers
Most Laps Led: Carl Edwards 122 of 316
Top-Five: Carl Edwards, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
New NASCAR Sprint Cup Coors Light Qualifying Debuts
That phrase you heard so often the last two weeks – “the pack is back” – can be recycled, and used again Friday at 7:30 p.m. (ET) at Phoenix International Speedway. At about that time, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will roll their cars to the grid, ready for the debut of the new group qualifying format to be used at each premier series race except last week’s Daytona 500. A primer on the new rules: There will be two rounds of qualifying at Phoenix, a one-mile track. The first round will last 30 minutes. The fastest 12 will then move to a second and final round lasting 10 minutes, with the fastest car in the final round winning the Coors Light Pole. Nationwide Series qualifying to be limited to one round.
History At Phoenix Tees Up Earnhardt For Two In A Row
With an epic Daytona 500 triumph in the books, it’s on to Phoenix International Raceway for Dale Earnhardt Jr., with plenty of historical fodder indicating a second-straight victory not only is possible but somewhat probable considering the inevitable momentum from winning NASCAR’s biggest event. Earnhardt’s success at the one-mile PIR oval has been somewhat intermittent but it’s also been memorable; he went to victory lane back-to-back in 2003 and ’04 (there was one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race per season there at the time). Also, there’s this recent history: Earnhardt finished fifth and fourth at PIR during his solid 2013 season. Inevitably, talk started almost immediately Sunday night about another possibility: Earnhardt winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship for the first time. Five drivers have won the Daytona 500 and the series title in the same season: Jimmie Johnson (2006, ’13), Jeff Gordon (1997), Richard Petty (1964, ’71, ’74, ’79), Cale Yarborough (1977) and Lee Petty (1959).
Preseason Favorites Racing To Rebound After Daytona
Despite the new increased emphasis on winning races, faltering at the 500 will never be easy to accept. A total of 16 drivers will qualify for the Chase, with race winners in the season’s first 26 races getting first dibs – provided they are in the top 30 in series points after 26 events. And since there have been two times (1961 and 2003) that there have been more than 15 different winners in the first 26, the points likely will come into play.
Rookies Face Tough Assignment In Rebound Effort
This season marks the largest class of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year contenders since 1994, and because of this and their talent they were a hot topic throughout Speedweeks. They were hoping to get their rookie campaigns off to strong starts in the Daytona 500, but by the end of the 200-lap race five of the seven in the race had succumbed to accidents that ended their nights prematurely. Austin Dillon was the highest-finishing rookie with a ninth-place finish. Alex Bowman was the only other rookie still running at the end of the night, finishing two laps down in 23rd. They will be looking to bounce back this Saturday when the series heads west to Phoenix. The group of eight (Ryan Truex failed to qualify for the Daytona 500) has combined for only three series starts at the one-mile facility. Justin Allgaier started last season’s penultimate race and finished 31st, while Cole Whitt ran the fall races in 2011 and 2013, finishing 25th and 40th, respectively.
Homecoming For Patrick
Danica Patrick is another driver who was disappointed at Daytona, after a 40th-place finish that belied a semi-strong run. A hard crash into the wall entering the DIS tri-oval ended her effort. This week Patrick returns to her adopted hometown of Phoenix. Patrick, from Roscoe, Ill., has three NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at PIR with a best finish of 17th in November 2012.
Gas ’N Go
– Dale Earnhardt Jr. became the 11th driver to win multiple Daytona 500s. That stat has been updated in each of the last three years, with Matt Kenseth (2012) and Jimmie Johnson (2013) also capturing their second win in “The Great American Race.”
– Milestone Watch: With his next top-10 finish, Matt Kenseth will become the 22nd driver in NSCS history to reach 250 career top 10s.
– Kyle Busch needs 192 laps led to become the 15th driver in NSCS history to reach 10,000 career laps led (Sunday’s race is scheduled for 312 laps).
– This year, Phoenix International Raceway celebrates its 50th anniversary (NASCAR has raced there since 1988). Throughout the year, the raceway will spotlight the top 50 people who have influenced the track. Among the NASCAR figures already announced are drivers Sam Hornish Jr., Matt Kenseth, Mark Martin and Kyle Busch. Also on the list is owner Richard Childress and former NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications, the late Jim Hunter.
– Last year’s two winners at Phoenix were Carl Edwards (spring) and Kevin Harvick (fall).
– Eliminator Round Preview: If this year’s Phoenix winner in November’s race is a championship-eligible driver, he or she will automatically earn a berth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway.