Back to the short ovals, back to the East Coast…back to the cold weather?
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Palm Sunday is upon us and that means NASCAR is just about on its Spring Break.
There’s one more race before that happens, and it is a one-week return to the East Coast.
This is the second short oval of the season, and there are three tracks, including Martinsville Speedway, the oldest track on the circuit, that are short ovals on the schedule for the next five weeks, concluding with another Virginia race, at Richmond, on April 25.
After Richmond, there is only one short oval on the schedule for a near four-month period prior to August 22: that’s at Dover, Del. on May 31.
Also, this is also slated be the final week of cold weather prior to Samhain, although there will be a lot less clouds since the series’s last visit to the East Coast at Hampton, Ga. Sunday’s max temperature in Martinsville is slated to be just 50°f.
Harvick denied as Keselowski wins, short track tour begins
Brad Keselowski denied Kevin Harvick the West Coast sweep by passing Kurt Busch on the second attempt at a green-white-checker at Fontana, Calif., which is the final stop out West before a one-off stop at Sonoma, Calif. on June 28.
Mr. Harvick finished second, which was the eighth consecutive race bridging his championship year with this season in which he has finished in the Top 2.
However, one can’t help but believe his streak will be in jeopardy for the next two races.
Martinsville is really tough on brakes, while Bristol, Tenn. is back to being a one-groove racetrack after fans expressed their disapproval over the progressive banking that the track had from August 2006 to March 18, 2012.
And with Talladega, Ala. – notorious for multi-car pileups known as the Big One – not that far off on May 3, we can’t imagine Mr. Harvick going through the month of May, let alone the whole Fox Sports half of the season, finishing in the Top 2 in every race.
Sprint Cup drivers dominant again in xfinity competition
Sprint Cup drivers proved their dominance yet again in NASCAR’s junior circuit, with Mr. Harvick winning the xfinity Series race at Fontana, Calif.
Unlike last week, though, only two drivers that did not declare for the xfinity title finished in the Top 5. Erik Jones, who has declared for the Camping World Truck Series title, finished third. Rounding out the Top 5 were Brendan Gaughan (2d), Chase Elliott (4th) and Chris Buescher (5th).
Brian Scott slammed with a crippling P4 penalty for Sprint Cup violations
The number 33 Chevrolet team was hit with a crippling P4 penalty after a thorough investigation that lasted so long, the penalties were delayed a day from its regularly scheduled announcement date of Tuesday.
The violations NASCAR found from the team were as follows, listed below:
12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing;
20.14.2: Rear Suspension: Truck Trailing Arm
E. The left and right side truck trailing arms must be mounted to the truck trailing arm mounting brackets using a one-piece, minimum ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel bolt.
F. The horizontal centerline of the highest truck trailing arm mounting bolt must not be higher than the top surface of the truck trailing arm crossmember, at the respective truck trailing arm mounting bracket, when the vehicle is at inspection orientation.
INFRACTION: The ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally.
J. Truck trailing arm must conform to the following drawing as specified in the NASCAR rule book: Rear Suspension-Truck Trailing Arm: A-008-00183-14 Rev.C
INFRACTION: Truck trailing arm monoball sleeve does not meet the drawing specifications. Sleeve is required to be minimum .125 inch minimum thick x two inches wide sleeve machined for press fit of .750 I.D. or .875 I.D. monoball assembly.
188.8.131.52.1: Truck Trailing Arm Crossmember Assembly:Truck Trailing Arm Mounting Brackets
B. Truck trailing arm mounting brackets must be constructed of magnetic steel flat plate with a minimum thickness of 0.169 inch.
INFRACTION: Truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from Aluminum solid.
20.20: Assembled Vehicle Overall Rules
A. Except in cases explicitly permitted in the NASCAR rules, installation of additional components and/or modifications of existing components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle will not be permitted, including but not limited to, safety systems, chassis and roll cage, suspension, steering systems, brake systems, heat shields, body fillers, body sealers, filler panels, drivetrain components and exhaust components.
As a result of the violations, Brian Scott was hit with a 50-point drivers penalty, even though he did not have points because he declared for the xfinity Series title; Joe Falk, who is listed as the owner of the team, was hit with a 25 point penalty on the owner’s side; and crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe has been suspended for the next three Sprint Cup Championship races starting with this weekend’s races in Martinsville, along with any non-point events that may be sanctioned for that period, and was fined $50,000.00. Mr. Labbe will be on probation until December 31.
J.D. Gibbs treated for head injuries
Forty-six year old J.D. Gibbs, the president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is undergoing “treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brains function”.
“Gibbs’ doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified,” according to the release. “Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports.”
Mr. Gibbs played defensive back and quarterback at William & Mary from 1987 to 1990 while his father Joe Gibbs coached the Washington Redskins. Mr. Gibbs won 10 games his senior year with the Tribe. His brother Coy was a linebacker at Stanford University.
Mr. Gibbs often jokes about his lackluster racing career. He attempted to qualify for an xfinity Series event at Rockingham Speedway in 1997, but failed to make the race. The following season he ran four races and finished a career-high 20th at South Boston. In 1999, Mr. Gibbs attempted to run the complete K&N Pro Series but qualifed for 16 of 20 events. His best finish was 11th at Thunder Road and he finished 19th in the point standings.
Mr. Gibbs transitioned to the Camping World Truck series, where he race eight races over three years with a series-best effort of 23rd at Darlington Raceway. Mr. Gibbs crash rate was 50 percent in the xfinity Series – including his final NASCAR race at Darlington.
Mr. Gibbs was also a tire changer for his father’s race team from 1992 to 1994, when Dale Jarrett was the driver. Mr. Jarrett won the Daytona 500 in 1993 and the Mello Yello 500 the following year in the final year that the citrus soft drink sponsored a race at Charlotte Motor Speedway or in NASCAR.
Camping World Truck Series is back in action
After a month-long layoff, the Camping World Truck Series is back in action this weekend.
The last race the CWTS ran was at Hampton, Ga. on February 27. That race was won by Matt Crafton, the defending CWTS overall champion.
The CWTS race will run at noon Saturday.
Elliott makes his debut
Chase Elliott will make his debut this weekend, provided he qualifies for the 43-car field.
It is something that I absolutely do not support at all. Why not wait until Texas on April 12 to have him run in a race?
They play bumper cars all day here. That is why it is not a good idea to have a driver start his or her first-ever race at Martinsville.
If you want a tough race debut someone into the Sprint Cup Series at, try Talladega, Ala. in another five weeks.
Concrete: building material created by mixing cement, water, and aggregate including gravel and sand. Tires usually last longer on concrete surface.
Asphalt: a hard ground covering used for roads and walkways. Also known as pavement. Tires usually wear quicker on asphalt surfaces.
Rumble strip: a road safety feature to alert inattentive drivers of potential danger, by causing a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the vehicle interior. Also known as sleeper lines, rumple strips, audible lines, “the corduroy”, and growlers. Also used on race tracks, on the apron.