Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kevin Harvick using winning Charlotte chassis at Texas this week

Kevin Harvick is 9/2 favorite to win at Texas
Budweiser Racing Team Notes of Interest

Kevin Harvick is scheduled to make his 500th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) start in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway (TMS). In the midst of his 14th season in the series, Harvick has earned 26 wins, 111 top fives, 226 top-10 finishes and 14 pole awards. This weekend the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS will feature a special 500th start logo on the hood, under the right taillight and on the base of the b-post in recognition of the milestone. In addition, the hashtag #TexasToast appears on the car’s decklid.

Chase Update… With two races to go in the Eliminator Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, Harvick is ranked eighth in the standings

Chassis Info…The No. 4 Budweiser team will utilize Chassis No. 884 in Sunday’s race. Harvick has competed in this car three times so far this year: In July, he scored the pole award and finished eighth at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In August, he scored the pole award, led 195 laps and finished 19th after getting caught up in a late-race accident at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Earlier this month, Harvick started seventh, led 162 laps and drove this car to Victory Circle at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Texas Stats… Harvick has 23 previous starts at TMS. He has earned three top fives and 11 top-10 finishes. He also has an average start of 20.3 and an average finish of 13.6 at the 1.5-mile track.

Testing… Harvick and the No. 4 Budweiser team are scheduled to take part in a two-day test at Homestead-Miami Speedway this week in preparation for the season finale at the 1.5-mile track.

Double Duty… In addition to racing the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet on Sunday, Harvick will drive the No. 5 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet Camaro in NASCAR Nationwide Series competition for JR Motorsports in Saturday’s race. ESPN2 will have live television coverage of the race starting at 3:30 p.m. ET while PRN affiliates and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio provide the radio broadcast.

Loop Data… Harvick holds several impressive marks in NASCAR’s Loop Data scoring system at TMS heading into this weekend’s event, including: second in closers (32 positions gained); third in green flag passes (1,461 passes); and ninth in quality passes (685 passes).

A Look Back… During last year’s AAA Texas 500, Harvick started 19th and finished eighth. In the spring event at TMS, Harvick started third and led one lap before the car’s engine expired on lap 28. The team was credited with a 42nd-place finish as a result.

Harvick on Racing at Texas Motor Speedway

How important is qualifying and track position at a place like Texas Motor Speedway?

“Qualifying is definitely very important on the mile-and-a-half race tracks. Texas is one of those places where track position is so important to keep the handling on your car. There is never a dull moment because you’re trying to drive the car to the edge every lap. You’re trying to make the car go as fast as you can. When you’re in traffic, it’s harder to drive the car than it is when you’re out there by yourself for the fact that it takes downforce off of the car and it feels like the car is lifting out of the race track. It’s definitely a challenge every lap.”

Where does Texas Motor Speedway rank for you?
“Well, it ranks pretty high right now, just for the fact that I’ve never been to Victory Lane on the Cup side. I’ve won a ton of races there in the Nationwide and Truck series as a driver and an owner. We had a really, really fast car there in the spring and had a crazy, freak motor problem. Our mile-and-a-half stuff has really been our bread and butter this year, so I’m looking forward to getting back there and trying to get to Victory Lane. That would really be the best spot to end up.”

- Elevation Group of Companies for Budweiser Racing

Kevin Harvick a good bet to win at Texas this week

Kevin Harvick is favored to win at Texas, and for good reason
This NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase stuff is getting pretty good, filled with all the drama the series had hoped for when making changes to the format prior to the season. We've got past champions eliminated and others the ropes and a few underdogs making a case to win their first championship.

Ryan Newman was the biggest mover on the Las Vegas odds board at the Westgate Superbook where they dropped his NASCAR Sprint Cup odds to win from 30/1 last week, down to 10/1 (Bet $100 to win $1,000) heading into Sunday's AAA Texas 500 for the second of three races in the Eliminator Round.

Newman's third-place finish at Martinsville on Sunday puts him three points behind leader Jeff Gordon in the round with two races to go until the final four advance to the championship at Homestead. Because Dale Earmhardt Jr. won last week, and he's not involved in the Chase anymore, that means at least two drivers will have to advance on points.

Meanwhile, as Newman improves his odds of advancing to Homestead, pre-Chase favorites such as Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick put themselves into a position with poor performances at Martinsville that they're almost forced into a must-win situation over the next two weeks. Keselowski finished 31st and Harvick 33rd on half-mile track, and both their Chase odds rose from 3/1 up to 6/1. Harvick is now 30 points behind Newman.

The good news for Keselowski and Harvick is that they are at ideal tracks for both of them over the next two weeks. Harvick has never won at Texas, but he did win on its sister track at Charlotte three weeks ago, the most recent 1.5-mile track run on. He's also won at Phoenix five times, including the last two.

Keselowski doesn't have a win at either Texas or Phoenix over his career, but it's only a matter of time because he's been the best on tracks similar such as three wins on 1.5-mile tracks this season, and the the comparatives to Phoenix where's he's grabbed wins at the flat layouts of New Hampshire and Richmond.

In the second race of the last round we saw some tempers flare at Charlotte when Kenseth tried to put a headlock on Keselowski. This week we've got Harvick mad at Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano are ready to ignite soon and everyone seems to have a beef with Keselowski. This gauntlet the drivers have been put in is much more stressful than they imagined and it's translating well on the TV screen. What theatrics it would be if Keselowski won another elimination race like he did at Talladega two weeks ago to stay alive.

But let's not forget about the point leaders. Jeff Gordon is up by three points over Newman and only seven points better than fifth-place Denny Hamlin.

The great story would be Newman making the final round and trying to win his first Cup title, and he could make Homestead based on what we've seen this year. He's won at both Texas and Phoenix in the past, but more importantly, he's finished 15th or better on his last seven 1.5-mile tracks. He may not be in the Keselowski, Logano, Gordon or Harvick class on those tracks, but he's good enough to point well and the third-place at Martinsville gave him the luxury to just finish well the next two and have a chance.

When breaking down Texas, I feel like I've gone through this drill all season because I have. This is the 10th race on 1.5-mile track this season and everyone of them were rather predictable. The biggest surprise of all might have been Jimmie Johnson's win at Charlotte.

Five of the nine races so far have been won by Penske Racing's dynamic duo of Keselowski (Las Vegas, Kentucky, Chicago) and Logano (Texas, Kansas). Gordon (kansas), Johnson (Charlotte) and Kasey Kahne (Atlanta) represent Hendrick Motorsports, and then there is Stewart-Haas driver Kevin Harvick (Charlotte) who uses a Hendrick engine.

Despite only winning once on the 1.5s, Harvick may have been the most impressive of all leading hundreds of laps. It will be the same group battling for the win with Newman hanging close around, but not really capable enough to win (good matchup play though).

The best longshot is once again Jamie McMurray, who also uses a Hendrick Chevy engine.

Read More Here.....Top-5 Finish Prediction

Newman looking for quality finishes to close out Eliminator Round

Ryan Newman is 30/1 to win at Texas
Ryan Newman
No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS
Event Preview Fact Sheet

This Week’s Caterpillar Chevrolet SS at Texas Motor Speedway
… Ryan Newman will drive chassis No. 491 on Sunday at the 1.5-mile speedway. This is a new Chevrolet SS being utilized under race conditions for the first time this weekend.

The Newman Two Step … Newman is looking to capture his second-career victory at the 1.5-mile oval when he makes his 23rd NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at the Fort Worth, Texas venue. His win came in the spring of 2003 making him the youngest Texas winner at 25 years, 3 months and 22 days. The Rocket Man also won the pole for both Sprint Cup Series events in 2005 to complete the sweep. In total, he owns three top-five and five top-10 finishes. The South Bend, Ind., native has an average start of 16.6 and average finish of 19.1.

Featured Caterpillar Dealer … HOLT CAT and Warren CATwill be featured on the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

About Caterpillar … For nearly 90 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been making sustainable progress possible and driving positive change on every continent. Customers turn to Caterpillar to help them develop infrastructure, energy and natural resource assets. Caterpillar is the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company principally operates through its three product segments – Resource Industries, Construction Industries and Energy & Transportation – and also provides financing and related services through its Financial Products segment. For more information, visit To connect with us on social media, visit

#NewmanNation …When calculating points earned through the seven Chase races, Newman ranks second in most points earned. With a third-place showing at Martinsville Speedway,Newman is now second in the championship standings, just three markers out of first place.

Newman Media Availability … The driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet is scheduled to stop by the TMS media center on Friday at 11 a.m. CT.

Where’s Ryan? … On Sunday, Newman is scheduled to participate in a question and answer session at the Sprint Experience located in the Texas Motor Speedway midway at 10:20 a.m. CT.

Race Rewind … Earlier this year in the Caterpillar Chevrolet, Newman started eighth and was running in the top five when an unscheduled pit stop slowed the team’s effort and resulted in a 16th-place finish.

Drive Home a Winner … Quicken Loans’ latest sweepstakes, “Drive Home a Winner” awards one lucky winner both a brand-new Chevrolet SS and a year’s worth of mortgage payments. The sweepstakes, open to those 18 and older, is a collaboration between General Motors and Quicken Loans. Fans can enter by visiting


You finished third at Martinsville Speedway and head to Texas Motor Speedway second in points, sum up your start to the Eliminator Round?

“Martinsville Speedway was a hard-fought battle for us. I put our whole team behind with the pit road speeding penalty. We fought back. We had a really tight-handling car during the entire race. We kept freeing it up. It finally got better in the end when it mattered. We took two tires and it was nice to see it go green because we had some guys behind us that had four fresh tires. They were going to pass us eventually, but we just had the right number of laps left to finish third. It was a good day for the No. 31 Chevrolet.”

Can you win this championship without winning a race?
“The math is officially there now. With Dale Jr. winning at Martinsville, there are at least two people making it to the Championship 4 Round that will not have a win in this latest bracket. Technically you can finish 39th at Homestead and still win a championship. The math is going in that direction more than ever. In saying that, this team still wants to win. We are here to win each and every race. It is nice to have back-to-back top fives. It is a first for me here at Richard Childress Racing. I just look forward to going to the next three races.”

Is your strategy more about consistency or about taking chances to get the win?
“There is no defining goal on consistency. Our job is to go out there and do the best job we possibly can based on how we work together as a team. We have to outperform all those guys and, so far, it has provided us with consistency. We have been one of the most consistent teams out there when it comes to the Chase. For the longest time we were a seventh to 11th-place car. Over the second half of the season, we have made improvements that have allowed us to be championship contenders. With that said, we definitely need to win as a team. That’s what we need to do to improve. That’s our goal. We just have to keep our nose to the grind stone and keep digging and digging. We need a win.”

- Richard Childress Racing

Texas one of Matt Kenseth's best statistical tracks

Matt Kenseth is 10/1 to win at Texas
Matt Kenseth / No. 20 Dollar General Toyota Preview
AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway
No. 20 Dollar General Toyota News and Notes:

KENSETH BY THE NUMBERS: In 24 Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas, Kenseth has completed 7,981 of 8,033 laps (99.4 percent) and has led for a total of 775 laps. Kenseth is the top active driver in the Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway with the best average finish (8.2) and most top five (13) finishes. Kenseth has earned two wins, 13 top-five, and 17 top-ten finishes at the 1.5-mile track.

JOE GIBBS RACING IN THE LONE STAR STATE: Joe Gibbs Racing has 73 Sprint Cup Series starts at Texas Motor Speedway earning a total of four wins, 18 top-five, 31 top-ten finishes, and three poles. The organization also has led for a total of 1,249 laps and has an average start of 16.2 and an average finish of 15.9 at the Texas track.

THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Kellogg’s, Coke Zero, Reese’s, Zyrtec, Febreze, First Quality, Arrid and Glad will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.

KENSETH’S DOUBLE-DUTY: In addition to competing in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, Kenseth will also pilot the No. 20 GameStop/Call of Duty Toyota in Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas.
RACE INFO: The AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile) begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, November 2. The race will be broadcast live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and PRN Radio.

Kenseth’s 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Season Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish

Kenseth’s Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats:
StartsWinsTop 5Top 10PolesLaps LedEarningsAvg. StartAvg. Finish

 From the Cockpit:
Matt Kenseth: “Texas is always one of my favorite stops on the circuit because it’s a great race track and we always have such great fan support out there as well. You never know what’s going to happen at any of these remaining tracks on the schedule for the year, but the bottom line is that we need to run well at all of them in order to stay in this. Up until last year, Texas was always one of my best race tracks statistically, but it’s a fun track and really challenging which I enjoy about it.”

From the Pit Box:
Jason Ratcliff:
“Texas is one of Matt’s (Kenseth) favorite tracks, and we’ve been pretty good there together the last three races. The race at Texas earlier this year was a bit of a struggle, but we were still getting used to the whole new rules package. I feel that we’ll be much better heading back there this weekend, and our 1.5-mile track program has been much improved in this second half of the season. I think the biggest difference between the two races at Texas this year is going to be us having much better race cars and set-ups than we did for the first race.”

About Dollar General:
Dollar General Corporation has been delivering value to shoppers for 75 years. Dollar General helps shoppers Save time. Save money. Every day!® by offering products that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids, cleaning supplies, basic apparel, house wares and seasonal items at low everyday prices in convenient neighborhood locations. With more than 11,500 stores in 40 states, Dollar General has more retail locations than any retailer in America. In addition to high quality private brands, Dollar General sells products from America’s most-trusted manufacturers such as Clorox, Energizer, Procter & Gamble, Hanes, Coca-Cola, Mars, Unilever, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Pepsico.

Find the Dollar General store nearest you or learn more about the company at or on Dollar General’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

- Joe Gibbs Racing

Keselowski in a another Chase jam heading into Texas

Keselowski is 6/1 to win at Texas
Apparently, Brad Keselowski can’t stand prosperity.

Or perhaps he’s just trying to extract every ounce of drama possible from the new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format.

A week after keeping his championship hopes alive with a storybook victory at Talladega Superspeedway, in a race he had to win to advance to the Chase’s Eliminator Round, Keselowski and his No. 2 Ford team are back on skid row.

And, once again, he has company on his quick trip from the penthouse to the outhouse heading into Sunday’s race at Texas Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN).

At Talladega, Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. entered the GEICO 500 facing win-or-bust scenarios. Obviously, the trophy went to the Keselowski and No. 2 Team Penske squad, and the pink slips went to Johnson and Earnhardt.

After Martinsville, Keselowski can commiserate with fellow championship favorite Kevin Harvick, who met his own Waterloo on Sunday at Martinsville in the form of fellow Chase driver Matt Kenseth.

Keselowski and Harvick fell to the bottom of the Chase grid in very different, but equally precipitous ways.

Harvick was first to go. After starting 33rd thanks to an overly loose setup in his car for Friday’s qualifying session, Harvick had worked his way methodically into the top 10 before the halfway point of the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500.

But on Lap 228, the race went awry for the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. Kenseth drove hard into Turn 1 in the bottom lane, ran up on teammate and fellow Chase driver Denny Hamlin, wheel-hopped in the corner and spun, knocking Harvick into the outside wall.

Harvick drove his smoking car to the garage, where his team performed masterful surgery over the course of 40 laps and sent Harvick back to the track to complete the race in a Chevy carcass that looked more like a modified than a Cup car.

Harvick finished 33rd, dropped 33 points behind race runner-up and Chase leader Jeff Gordon and left Martinsville with a chip on his shoulder and a promise to make sure Kenseth wouldn’t win the championship.

For most of the race, Harvick seemed likely to finish alone near the bottom of the running order, but Keselowski proved once again that misery loves company.

In a freakish failure after a restart on Lap 434 of 500, Keselowski broke a rear gear. Like Harvick, he took his car to the garage, where his crew replaced the gear within 28 laps and sent the No. 2 Ford back on track to complete the race.

Keselowski finished 31st, dropped 31 points behind Gordon and left Martinsville facing the same sort of challenge that confronted him at Talladega.

With the top five drivers bunched within a seven-point range, and with a cut from eight to four Chase drivers looming two weeks hence at Phoenix, both Keselowski and Harvick know the certain path to avoid elimination from the championship—and in all probability the only path—is to win one of the next two races.

That, of course, leaves us with a litany of intriguing unanswered questions as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads for Texas and then Phoenix.

Can lightning strike twice for Keselowski?

Should Kenseth start looking over his shoulder now, or will Harvick wait to exact payback only if Kenseth makes the final four at Homestead, where the four remaining Chase drivers will battle for a title that goes to the highest finisher among the four?

Can Harvick live up to his nickname “The Closer” by winning one of the next two races in a car that has been the class of the field for most of the season? Harvick will be a heavy favorite at Phoenix, where he led 224 of 312 laps in a dominating win on March 2.

Or, conversely, will two of the year’s best-performing cars, drivers and teams suffer elimination under a new Chase format that has no memory?

By the time we exit Phoenix, all those questions will be answered.

Except, perhaps, for the one about Kenseth. Harvick may save that surprise for the season finale.

- Reid Spencer / NASCAR Wire Service

Kevin Harvick favored by Westgate to win at Texas

Gordon makes his 28th start at Texas - only driver to start every Texas race
LAS VEGAS -- For the second time this season, NASCAR glides through the Texas two-step, and the winner has a gateway to a Sprint Cup title opportunity. If one of the eight eligible drivers wins Sunday's AAA Texas 500, they're in. If one of the eight eligible drivers has a bad run, he's likely out unless he wins at Phoenix next week.

The top candidate to win at Texas Motor Speedway according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook's odds is Kevin Harvick at 9-to-2. In 23 starts at Texas, Harvick has never won, but his prowess on the nine 1.5-mile tracks already run at this season -- where he's led hundreds of laps -- makes him an easy favorite.

On the last race at a 1.5-mile track (Charlotte), Harvick led 162 laps and took the checkers for the first time in 2014 -- it was the first time a non-Penske Racing or Hendrick Motorsports driver won on a 1.5-mile track. Harvick uses a Hendrick Chevy engine for his Stewart-Haas team. He's the driver to beat coming in before any qualifying or practice sessions.

If we look back on the previous nine races held on 1.5-mile tracks this season, you'll see that Penske has five wins and the Hendrick engine has four wins. Don't look for that to change this week. Because of a poor run at Martinsville, Harvick and Brad Keselowski are almost in a situation where they have to win to advance, and we saw what Keselowski could do in the crunch at Talladega.

Here's a look at where the Chasers stand and what they've done at Texas (deficit in parenthesis):

1). Jeff Gordon: With Earnhardt Jr. winning last week, it opens up this round for drivers that can points race as only two immediate tickets to Homestead can be punched. Gordon has the points lead and a 2009 Texas win under his belt. He's been strong on 1.5-mile tracks all season, so no reason to doubt he'll be top-5 again.

2). Ryan Newman (-3):
He's the feel-good story of the Chase and comes in having finished 15th or better in his last seven races on 1.5-mile tracks. His 2003 win here is long gone, but his championship chances are better than ever. He's also won at Phoenix.

3). Joey Logano (-4): He took the checkers in the April race and also won at Kansas. The Penske power is a tough animal as they've won five races on 1.5-mile tracks this season.

4). Matt Kenseth (-5): He's a two-time winner here and has a career legacy at stake. He doesn't have the horsepower to compete with the heavyweights, but he may be able to point himself into the points Chase with another top-5 run.

5). Denny Hamlin (-8): This guy swept the season in 2010 and his team/crew is getting better. The No. 11 team comes off a disappointing eighth-place finish at Martinsville, but the Gibbs cars have been getting stronger. Look for another finish of eighth or better.

6). Carl Edwards (-20): He has three Texas wins, but none since a 2008 sweep. Roush-Fenway Racing has been awful on this type of track over the past season. Edwards doesn't look so hot on the competitive balance landscape so far.

7). Brad Keselowski (-31): We saw him do it at Talladega and we might see him win at either Texas or Phoenix to advance -- two places where he's never won. He has three wins at 1.5-mile tracks and two others on flat tracks similar to Phoenix such as Richmond and New Hampshire. He was runner-up in 2012 for his best Texas finish, which also was a prelude to 'The guy is insane and comes up big in money situations.'

8). Kevin Harvick (-33): All this guy does is lead laps, and he's been the most impressive on 1.5-mile tracks despite only one win on such a track to show for it (he has three wins overall this season). He is the top candidate to win this week and it's quite understandable.

Read More Here....Texas odds

Kurt Busch and new crew chief head to Texas

Kurt Busch is 30/1 to win at Texas
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. (Oct. 29, 2014) – In slang, the term “old school” can refer to anything that is from an earlier era or anything that may be considered old-fashioned. The term is commonly used to suggest a high regard for something that has been shown to have lasting value or quality.

Call him nostalgic, but Kurt Busch, driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), has always seemed to gravitate toward, and respond well with that old-school feel in an age where racing has embraced an engineering-based leadership.

So, when the Haas Automation team arrives at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth for Sunday’s AAA Texas 500, it will have a different, yet familiar look thanks to a crew swap between the teams of Busch and Danica Patrick that will go into effect this weekend in preparation for the 2015 season.

Busch, spotter Rick Carelli, and the No. 41 team’s pit crew are the only remaining members from the Haas Automation team that began the 2014 season. Beginning this weekend, the mechanics, engineers and entire road crew for the No. 41 team will be led by crew chief Tony Gibson, who will take the seat atop the Haas Automation pit box.

For Gibson, leading a race team isn’t just about making the right calls during any given race. Instead, the Daytona Beach, Florida native takes a hands-on approach with his racecar at the SHR shop, and it extends all the way to the racetrack – something many consider to be old school. He oversees every aspect of the development of the team’s fleet of racecars. He takes great pride in working with his cars, from bare chassis, to hanging the car’s body, to painting and decaling the car, to setting up the car for each track. Gibson wants to be there with his racecars each and every step of the way.

Gibson came to SHR in 2009 from Dale Earnhardt, Inc., to serve as Ryan Newman’s crew chief of the No. 39 Chevrolet. Many of the crewmembers who worked with him came to SHR, as well. As such, Busch gets a close-knit crew that believes in the old-school mentality that has been a key to the group’s success.

A look at Busch’s career shows that he’s seemed to thrive when he’s paired with a crew chief who shares that same, old-school mentality that Gibson has. Busch has been quick to compare Gibson to Jimmy Fennig, with whom he’s won 14 Sprint Cup races and the 2004 championship.

While the team may look different this weekend, the goal remains the same. Even though he’s no longer in contention to win the Sprint Cup championship this year, Busch wants to finish the season with as many solid finishes as possible and, ideally, wins. Beyond that, as Gibson enters the picture with three races remaining in 2014, Busch and his new-look No. 41 Haas Automation team are working together to get a jump on 2015.

KURT BUSCH, Driver of the No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet SS for Stewart-Haas Racing:

This weekend’s race at Texas will be your first working with crew chief Tony Gibson. Talk a little bit about that.

“I’m looking forward to Texas, first off, because it’s a track I’m very comfortable with. It’s a bread-and-butter type track for me. It fits my driving style. I go to Texas every race looking for a top-10 finish. But now I’m jumping in with Tony Gibson and making the crew change, so we’ll have to be patient with things. We’ll have to look at each of the sessions that we’re out on the racetrack and really move forward as a group with those first few steps being important, and not trying to go for that all-out win on the first weekend out of the box together. I’m looking forward to using what has been a good track for me toward working with a new team.”

You mentioned your success at Texas. You scored a top-five finish in your first Sprint Cup start there and have 12 top-10 finishes in 23 starts. Why has it been such, as you called it, a bread-and-butter racetrack for you?
“I think it’s the way the banking transitions into the straightaway, into the corners. It’s a very smooth racetrack but, at the same time, it’s a driver’s racetrack because of the way the asphalt is worn out. You have to manage the tires. You can’t just go all-out for the whole fuel run. Making sure that the car uses all four tires is an important trait to finding success at racetracks that are worn out.”

You have one Sprint Cup victory at Texas. What would it take for you to win there again?
“It’s being able to get that throttle-on time through the center of the corner and being able to leave it on the floor. You have to be able to jump on the gas early at Texas and make sure you’re able to leave it on the floor all the way around the corners.”

Back to working with Tony Gibson this weekend – talk about expectations you have of working with him.
“There won’t be a question of respect or lack of confidence with Tony Gibson because I know he’s been around to do it and knows exactly what has to happen at each type of track. Until now, I’ve felt like I’ve worn a mentor hat or wore a hat of helping the crew chief understand the pitfalls he was going to experience this year. I’ve enjoyed it. I was hoping to build a consistency, and that’s what we didn’t get done. Winning a race and getting in the Chase, that wasn’t all that the 41 car was here to do. It’s to be competitive week-in and week-out and have consistent shots at winning. I’d consider the year a success, but there are certain areas we can look at that we did what we wanted to, and there are certain areas that we looked at that we know we can do a better job.”

Why make this change now rather than finish out the season and start fresh for 2015?
“With the testing ban that’s being imposed for 2015, it makes sense for us to make this change now and get ahead of that. While there will be numerous rule changes that will change many facets of the package that we’ll have to race with next season, making this change now gives myself and Danica a couple of weeks to get a baseline established with our new teams. Making this move beginning at Texas will help myself and Tony Gibson establish a good sense of communication – for me to be able to communicate to him what I need out of my racecar, and for him to be able to anticipate the direction to go with changes.”

Kurt Busch’s Texas Motor Speedway Performance Profile:
YearEventStartFinishStatus/LapsLaps LedEarnings
2014Duck Commander 5001139Crash, 327/340080,865
2013NRA 500237Running, 316/3340$117,603
AAA 5003117Running, 332/3340$133,505
2012Samsung Mobile 5002713Running, 333/3340$148,638
×AAA Texas 500188Running, 335/3350$155,493
2011Samsung Mobile 5001010Running, 334/33450$167,127
AAA Texas 5001430Running, 331/3340$137,340
2010Samsung Mobile 500114Running, 334/3342$239,123
AAA Texas 500624Running, 333/3340$139,773
2009Samsung 500288Running, 334/3341$151,000
Dickies 50031Running, 334/33489$440,575
2008×Samsung 5002323Running, 337/3390$102,125
Dickies 5004041Engine, 267/3340$95,205
2007†Samsung 5001711Running, 334/33442$157,233
Dickies 50068Running, 334/33410$165,783
2006Samsung/RadioShack 500734Running, 286/3340$124,633
×Dickies 50038Running, 339/33937$164,833
2005Samsung/RadioShack 500197Running, 334/3342$134,975
Dickies 5001810Running, 334/3340$163,000
2004Samsung/RadioShack 500126Running, 334/3341$147,050
2003Samsung/RadioShack 500309Running, 334/3340$133,150
2002Samsung/RadioShack 5001923Running, 332/3341$80,900
2001Harrah’s 500164Running, 334/3340$162,150
* Race cut short due to weather.
† Qualifying canceled due to weather, starting position set via car owner points.
× Race length extended due to green-white-checkered finish.

- True Speed Communication for Stewart-Haas Racing

Denny Hamlin looking for a top-5 finish at Texas

Denny Hamlin is 12/1 to win at Texas
Event: AAA Texas 500
Date/Time: Nov. 2/2:00 p.m. CT
2013 winner: Jimmie Johnson
2013 polesitter: Carl Edwards
Distance: 334 laps/501 miles
Track Length: 1.5 miles
Banking: 24 degrees
Track Shape: Oval


Martinsville Recap:
Denny Hamlin finished eighth in Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in the #11 FedEx Freight Toyota, leading 68 laps in the first event of the Eliminator Round of the Chase en route to his 14th top-10 finish in 18 career starts at the half-mile track. Hamlin pitted for right-side tires under the race’s final caution with six laps remaining, but was forced to restart sixth in the outside groove, losing a pair of spots in the final laps. A four-time Martinsville winner, Hamlin again showed his prowess at the flat ‘paper clip,’ posting a race-best 4.9 average running position in the event won by Dale Earnhardt Jr. The finish placed Hamlin fifth in the Chase standings following Martinsville, just seven markers behind leader Jeff Gordon with two races remaining in the third playoff segment.

Texas Preview: The Series heads to Texas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s 334-lap event at the fast 1.5-mile Fort Worth facility. Hamlin is a two-time Texas winner, sweeping a pair of races at the track in 2010. In 17 career races at Texas, Hamlin has posted eight top-10 finishes and has led 151 laps. Earlier this year, Hamlin started sixth and led 20 laps before a mid-race pit road speeding penalty and late-race miscue on pit road, where Hamlin slid through the box during the final stop, relegated the FedEx team to a 13th-place finish.

FedEx Office – Closest to Texas Motor Speedway: 8509 Davis Blvd., North Richland Hills, TX 76180, (817) 281-9014

Palmdale, Calif., Along for the Ride at Texas: The FedEx Office location in Palmdale, Calif., a leading store in the company’s President’s Club program, will be recognized with its “0351” code numbers on the b-post of the #11 FedEx Office Toyota this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway


What are your goals for the FedEx Team at Texas?

“Obviously, it would be great to get another win at Texas this weekend. Although it’s a fast, intermediate track that has been a weakness of our team this year, Texas has good tire fall off and really plays into the hands of drivers that have a good handling car over the course of long runs. Earlier this year, when I felt like we didn’t have the speed to compete with some of the top cars, we drove up and led laps at Texas, but didn’t get the finish to show for it. We need another solid day with no mistakes to put ourselves in position to advance to the final four. Certainly, our hope was to get a better result at Martinsville last Sunday, but we’re still in the thick of things. This segment of the Chase will require top-five finishes and hopefully we can achieve that this weekend.”

Feb. 23Daytona 500Daytona42200/200Running$1,148,451162nd
March 2The Profit on CNBC 500Phoenix1219312/312Running$87,4808th
March 9Kobalt Tools 400Las Vegas2712267/267Running$121,41018th
March 16Food City 500Bristol16500/500Running$116,86547th
March 23Auto Club 500Fontana*1317202/202Running$107,41011th
March 30STP 500Martinsville219500/500Running$94,47512th
April 7Duck Commander 500Texas613340/340Running$137,7702013th
April 12Bojangles’ Southern 500Darlington1019374/374Running$101,905315th
April 26Toyota Owners 400Richmond2822400/400Running$88.89014th
May 4Aaron’s 499Talladega351188/188Running$303,3151212th
May 105-Hour Energy 400Kansas3018266/267Running$94,76512th
May 25Coca-Cola 600Charlotte622398/400Running$112,98514th
June 1FedEx 400Dover75400/400Running$136,8809th
June 8Pocono 400Pocono14160/160Running$137,50048th
June 15Quicken Loans 400Michigan2929198/200Running$92,64012th
June 22Toyota/Save Mart 350Sonoma1626110/110Running$97,03513th
June 28Quaker State 400Kentucky44227/267Accident$71,58017th
July 6Coke Zero 400Daytona376112/112Running$135,37014th
July 13Camping World RV Sales 301Loudon38305/305Running$109,5652012th
July 27The John Wayne Walding 400Indianapolis273160/160Running$307,8901821st**
Aug. 400Pocono139160/160Running$96,96521st
Aug. 10Cheez-It 355Watkins Glen172490/90Running$84,01520th
Aug. 17Pure Michigan 400Michigan217200/200Running$108,94020th
Aug. 23Irwin Tools Night RaceBristol1340160/500Accident$96,5652820th
Aug. 31Oral-B USA 500Atlanta173335/335Running$182,7053719th
Sept. 6Federated Auto Parts 400Richmond1121398/400Running$89,6159th
Sept. 400Chicagoland246267/267Running$131,0456th
Sept. 21Sylvania 300New Hampshire437265/303Running$87,2173213th
Sept. 28AAA 400Dover312400/400Running$96,540T-1st
Oct. 5Hollywood Casino 400Kansas257267/267Running$126,4705th
Oct. 11Bank of America 500Charlotte39334/334Running$106,640227th
Oct. 19GEICO 500Talladega3818194/194Running$96,5361T-1st
Oct. 26Goody’s 500Martinsville58500/500Running$97,140685th
Averages/Totals14.914.993.4% $4,897,164286  
* Driver: Sam Hornish Jr.
** Penalized 75 points following post-race inspection

- Weber Shandwick Worldwide for FedEx Racing

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Harvick pissed off at Kenseth following Martinsville

The No. 4 crew did a nice job with quick repairs for Harvick mid-race
MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Kevin Harvick put Matt Kenseth on notice at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday.

Harvick told reporters following the Goody’s 500, "He will not win this championship. I can promise you that."

On Lap 228, Kenseth bounced off the back of Denny Hamlin, slowed and wheel-hopped, then clipped Harvick and sent the No. 4 Chevy spinning into the wall in Turn 2. Tony Stewart was also collected in the melee but recovered and finished fourth.

Harvick was forced to retire to the garage for repairs and didn’t return until 40 laps later. He restarted in 40th, 41 laps off of the pace.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jeff Gordon is 2/1 favorite to win 2014 Sprint Cup heading into Texas

Jeff Gordon last won a Sprint Cup title in 2001 

MATT KENSETH 6/1 (10/1 last week)
DENNY HAMLIN 10 (10/1)
CARL EDWARDS 60 (40/1)
RYAN NEWMAN 10 (30/1)

Las Vegas odds to win the 2014-15 NBA Title

NBA Season tips off Tuesday, here's what the odds are to win the title from William Hill sports books:
As of 10/28/2014
As of
% of Tickets Placed