Thursday, January 31, 2013

Danica Patrick-Ricky Stenhouse Relationship Should Be Fun to wach

Danica-mania will go to entirely new level in 2013 (Getty)
By Micah Roberts
The Linemakers on Sporting News

LAS VEGAS -- We have a doozy of a story brewing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series this season, something not even Hollywood script writers could have dreamed up. Just before Valentine’s Day, there’s love in the air between two drivers.

When I heard Danica Patrick was getting a divorce, my first thought was ‘good for her.’ But who knew she had allegedly been ‘dating’ fellow Nationwide series driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for the previous seven months?

The storyline of fellow Cup drivers dating has never been seen before. We saw Cha-Cha Muldowney get caught up with a fellow driver in her early NHRA days, but nothing even close to matching this type of drama at the highest levels of NASCAR.

With social media, the Internet and America falling in love with tabloid TV shows, this is going to be huge.

What makes it even better is that Patrick and Stenhouse Jr. will be racing each other for 2013 Rookie of the Year honors. Will their inevitable disputes be taken out on the track? Will Stenhouse Jr. earn some street credibility for capturing such a prize, or will he be a marked man?

Read More Here....

VIDEO: Super Bowl Preview - OVER looks good 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Earnhardt Jr. Looking to Continue Improving in 2013

Looking for better things out of Junior this season? (Getty)
Sporting News

Dale Earnhardt Jr. has seen steady improvement the last two years, making the Chase for the Sprint Cup in back-to-back seasons after finishing outside the top 20 in points in 2009-10.

His fans breathed a sigh of relief last year as Earnhardt finally re-established himself among the sport’s top drivers.

But they want more, and Earnhardt does, too.

A one-win season last year — his victory at Michigan snapped a four-year winless streak — just won’t cut it in 2013.

“We’ve got to do more than that,” Earnhardt said. “We’ve got to win more than one race. We weren’t satisfied with winning just one race. If we win less than three races, that’s going to be disappointing.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Might See No. 3 Cup Car Soon; Childress 85%

It's time to see RCR No. 3 again, isn't it? (Getty)
Sporting News

WELCOME, N.C. – The way Richard Childress talks, he sounds pretty convinced that Austin Dillon will drive Dale Earnhardt's famous No. 3 in the Sprint Cup Series.

It’s just a matter of when.

Last November, Childress said he didn’t think Dillon would drive a No. 3 car in select races in 2013 but it is a possibility when he moves to Cup full time in 2014.

Not much has happened in the last couple of months to change Childress’ mind about bringing back the slanted No. 3 made famous by Earnhardt, the seven-time Cup champion.

Read More Here.......

Kind of cool to see No. 3 again

I wouldn't be opposed at all to seeing the car back on the track and honoring his legacy. It's not at all a lack of respect. All it would do is let us remember him more. If you didn't know any better, a new fan at a race since Earnhardt Sr. passed would think No. 3 was driving that day just because a massive portion of the crowd has gear with the number on it.

NASCAR and its fans love the image of Earnhardt and that No. 3. If fans get the chance to see anyone driving -- likely one of the Dillon brothers -- within the next two years, these fans will have a new driver to root for that follows the lineage of the Earnhardt legacy. Fans root passionately for Kevin Harvick because he is the direct cross over link, and he had success. Dale Jr. already had the fans, but they grew because of his father.

Whoever takes over this car has a huge amount of responsibility to perform well and NOT disrespect the legacy. Richard Childress would surely not use a few of the Cup cars he gave Brendan Gaughan or Jeff Burton last season. The last thing the fans want to see out of the No. 3 car in battling for 33rd.

The Dillon boys look like they are going to be special and around for a while. Also, Childress has a vested interest to also see them -- his grandsons -- succeed.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday Test Session Speeds at Charlotte

New Penske teammates in harmony at Charlotte testing (Getty)
Sporting News

CONCORD, N.C. — It wasn’t just another day of practice for Sprint Cup teams Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

If it were, then NASCAR wouldn’t have spent five hours drying the track before it was finally ready for the final day of what was supposed to be a two-day test with the new 2013 car.

With rain washing out Thursday’s session and then cold overnight temperatures resulting in ice on the track barriers, Sprint Cup drivers started a nearly seven-hour test session about four hours later than originally scheduled Friday.

That was OK for the drivers, who just wanted to get on the track to see how their cars would handle on the 1.5-mile oval.

“There’s a lot of questions to be answered,” said Martin Truex Jr. as he awaited his first time in the 2013 car on an intermediate track. “What is this car like? What is it going to feel like? What kind of balance is it going to take to make more speed? What kind of shift will take place in the balance as the fuel burns off.”

After about four hours of testing, Greg Biffle posted the top speed at 192.610 mph, followed by the Toyota of Clint Bowyer (192.375), the Ford of Joey Logano (192.014) and the Chevrolet of Juan Pablo Montoya (191.761).

Read More Here......

Rain Washes Away Thursday Charlotte Testing; Resumes Friday

Kenseth attempting half-court shot at halftime of Weds. ATL-BKLN game 
Sporting News

CONCORD, N.C. — Rain washed out the first day of testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway Thursday, leaving Sprint Cup teams with just one day to gather data on NASCAR’s new car on the 1.5-mile track.

After Friday, it will be up to teams to figure out where to test as they try to get the new Sprint Cup car up to speed on a variety of tracks.

NASCAR changed its testing rules in 2013 to allow each organization four tests at tracks where the series runs Sprint Cup races. Teams still can test as much as they want at tracks that don’t host national series events.

In trying to help teams learn about the 2013 car, which has a new body style, NASCAR set up two days of testing last month at Charlotte plus another two days this week following a three-day test last week at Daytona International Speedway.

None of those tests count against the four. NASCAR also plans to open Las Vegas Motor Speedway a day early for a test and add practice time to the Texas and Auto Club Speedway weekends.

Teams must decide whether to hold their tests until later in the year to focus on the Chase for the Sprint Cup or whether to test at a track they race on early in the year, especially if they get off to a slow start.

“You probably are going to want to use those tests early in the year to get a handle on what the car likes and dislikes and what you’re going to learn there is going to transfer through the whole season,” three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart said after the policy was announced last year.

“If you get a really good start to the year, you might save them.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NASCAR Betting: Daytona Pre-Season Testing Notes

Denny Hamlin was one of the standouts during Daytona testing (Getty) 
By Micah Roberts
The Linemakers on Sporting News

LAS VEGAS – Many of us got our much needed NASCAR fix last week, when 35 drivers participated in a three-day test session at Daytona. The drivers and crews needed to get a feel for the new sixth-generation car, but in the process, they created even more of a fan yearning for Speedweeks. The 2013 NASCAR season is right around the corner.

Daytona 500 odds have been posted for about a month throughout Las Vegas sports books, and watching the test sessions gave a little more insight into who may have an edge. We’re apparently going to see more pack racing in a similar fashion we saw 10 years ago. Speeds got over 199 mph when drivers got hooked up in the draft, but drivers were very cautious with bump drafting.

The team that looked the most dialed in was Joe Gibbs Racing, led by two-time Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth. All three JGR cars were fast, both in and out of the draft. The Aliante sports book has Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch all at 12-to-1 to take the checkers at Daytona.

Another driver who looked strong in testing is Jeff Burton, who was fastest in one of the sessions. Burton is currently listed at 50-to-1 for Daytona. He’s never been known as a great plate racer – he has only one win in his career between Daytona and Talladega (the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 2000), but has been very close the last couple of seasons. With a smaller, lighter car, who knows? Maybe this will be his chance to finally win the Daytona 500. And the odds make him a tempting choice.

Read More Here....Danica Maybe?


Las Vegas Test Session Date Moved
Before I could even got excited about confirming news that a test session was scheduled for Las Vegas Motor Speedway in late January, the date was changed. I never knew there was one scheduled to begin with. It was never posted on their site. But LVMS confirmed that the change was made because Goodyear didn't have the tire compound they wanted to test ready. The all-day session has been moved to Thursday, March 7, just before the Las Vegas NASCAR race weekend. Between Charlotte testing this week and Las Vegas prior to the Vegas race, we should have a pretty good idea on who will be the drivers to beat in the new car when they take their first crack at a 1.5-mile track. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Daytona Pre-Season Testing: Pack Racing Returns

The final Daytona test session before Speedweeks is Saturday (Getty) 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 11, 2013) – Day 2 of Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway offered a little bit of everything, with the highlight coming in the afternoon as the pack returned to the high banks.

Friday’s second session opened with a multi-car pack working on drafting around the hallowed 2.5-mile superspeedway. About an hour into the afternoon test session, a 12-car accident ended several teams’ day.

During Day 2’s media availability, NASCAR’s 10-time Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about his anticipation for the upcoming 2013 season.

“I feel like that the sport is in a good healthy place,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “We have a good opportunity to grow. With this car we have a chance to do something great and really make a big impact … I think the racing is as exciting as it has been in a long time. You look at some of these old races and look back at some of the events that we had in the ‘80s and the ‘90s … it always is changing and it always will, but I think we have improved it.”

Trevor Bayne, the 2011 Daytona 500 champion, posted the fastest lap of both days at 199.650 mph, set in the afternoon session.

"The biggest thing was just how the draft was working more like it used to be,” said Martin Truex Jr. “There were no two-car tandems, it was cool being able to back up off the leader and get runs and take the lead and do things like you used to do. It has a little bit more strategy involved than just holding it wide open and hitting the guy in front of you as hard as you could, so I thought it was cool.”

With The Sprint Unlimited (Feb. 16 on SPEED, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio) and the Daytona 500 (Feb. 24 on FOX, Motor Racing Network Radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio) a little more than a month away, Greg Biffle is readying himself for what he believes will be a “fun” and “exciting” Speedweeks.

“The cars are stuck less and they are looser,” said Greg Biffle. “That is good for racing. It is good for the fans. It will make it more exciting and make pit strategy come into play. If you put tires on, you will be able to go faster. I think all of that is good. This is going to be a heck of a race. I like that the cars were sliding around and hard to drive. It will make it a fun race.”

Off the track, Jimmie Johnson, 2006 Daytona 500 winner, has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to provide fans with “The 48 Experience,” the ultimate race fan package for the Daytona 500.

“I became a fan of racing as a kid and I think the future of our sport really relies on connecting with the young kids and helping them get involved in the sport and understanding and being around it,” said Jimmie Johnson. “Hopefully, this program can contribute to that.”

“The 48 Experience” and great seats are still available for the 55th Annual Daytona 500 on February 24. Call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit

Tomorrow concludes 2013 Preseason Thunder for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition, will be available in the media center at 12:30 p.m.

Daytona Pre-Season Testing: Big Wreck in Friday Afternoon Session

The Sporting News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Drivers wanted to see how their new Sprint Cup cars handled in the draft at Daytona International Speedway.

The answer? Don’t push.

It was a costly lesson for many Friday as a 12-car crash resulted in eight teams having their three-day test end in the middle of the second day because of damage to their cars. At least four other teams decided to go home to avoid wrecking.

The accident happened about 22 laps into the drafting session Friday afternoon when Dale Earnhardt Jr. turned Marcos Ambrose.

“I was just going to give him a push down the back straightaway and see if he could get the lead,” Earnhardt said. “We got off the back straightaway and was pushing along there and our cars didn’t match up very well.

Read More Here.....

Day 2 afternoon Tests Speeds

Daytona Pre-Season Testing: Drivers Like the New Car

New teammates hooking up and fast in draft (Getty)
Sporting News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tony Stewart summed up feelings likely shared by many drivers Thursday as they took their first laps of 2013 in the new Sprint Cup car.

“I’m glad we finally got away from the Car of Tomorrow that wasn’t, I don’t think, one of the best of ideas,” Stewart said. “… It is nice to get back to cars that look like production cars again.”

"I would say the coolest part of this #daytonatesting is the way these cars look!" Kyle Busch tweeted near the end of Thursday's session. "@NASCAR all the manufacturers did a great job!"

Drivers like to race cars that look cool. For the last six years, they raced Sprint Cup cars that, according to many fans and drivers, weren’t so cool. The Cup car introduced in 2007 was safer but too boxy with an ugly rear wing.

The 2013 version — the Gen-6 — features a return to manufacturer identity. To many, they look like racecars.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Aliante Odds to Win 2013 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas

Johnson 7/1 to win at Las Vegas in March (Getty)
Aliante Sports Book
Odds to win 2013 Kobalt Tools 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jimmie Johnson 7-1
Tony Stewart 8-1
Greg Biffle 10-1
Kyle Busch 10-1
Kasey Kahne 12-1 (now down to 10-1)
Brad Keselowski 12-1
Denny Hamlin 12-1
Matt Kenseth 12-1
Clint Bowyer 12-1
Carl Edwards 12-1
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 15-1
Kevin Harvick 15-1
Jeff Gordon 15-1
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 18-1
Ryan Newman 18-1
Martin Truex, Jr. 20-1
Joey Logano 22-1
Mark Martin 30-1
Jeff Burton 30-1
Juan Montoya 30-1
Paul Menard 40-1
Jamie McMurray 50-1
Marcos Ambrose 75-1
Aric Almirola 75-1
Kurt Busch 75-1
Regan Smith 150-1
Danica Patrick 250-1
Casey Mears 250-1
Bobby Labonte 250-1
Field 75-1

NASCAR Drivers to Test New Car at Daytona This Weekend

Earnahrdt Jr will be one of many drivers testing at Daytona this weekend
Sporting News

The Daytona 500 is still more than a month away, but NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will begin testing for their biggest race on Thursday. So what’s the rush?

The rush is that by this time, teams typically have a good feel for the car they will race.

Not this time. They have a new car that’s never been tested at Daytona, so the three-day “Preseason Thunder” test at Daytona International Speedway has added importance.

Drivers will do single-car runs during the morning sessions and be allowed to draft during the afternoon. They will try to learn everything they can about the new 2013 car. Only a handful of drivers tested the cars at Talladega in October so many will be getting a feel for the car.

Read More Here...

TRACK SCHEDULE (Jan. 10-12):
7:30 a.m. NSCS Garage opens
8:30 a.m. Media Center opens
9 -12 p.m. NSCS testing
1 - 5 p.m. NSCS testing
6 p.m. Garage closes

All times Eastern

Day 1 AM session speeds