NASCAR News and Rumors: May 18-24

Mason DunnCorrespondent IMay 20, 2009

CONCORD, NC - MAY 16: Tony Stewart driver of the #14 Office Depot/Old Spice Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 16, 2009 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images)

Camping World Trucks

J.R. Fitzpatrick has reportedly found a new home. Fitzpatrick, whom was driving for TRG Motorsports, has been recently replaced in the No. 7 truck by TRG's Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland has reportedly come to terms with Kevin Harvick Inc. in a deal that is expected to include a combination of CWTS and Nationwide starts.

Johnny Benson has announced that he will be making eight appearances in the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) starting this Saturday at the Waterford Speedbowl in Connecticut. Benson will drive the number 21 in honor of his father, who is a former supermodified champion.

Tyler Maslam earned the title of Rookie of the Race last week at Lowe's Motor Speedway with his career best eighth place finish. Unofficially the Randy Moss Motorsports driver has a five point lead n the Rookie of the Year standings over Circle Bar driver James Buescher (62-57).

Some stats from last week's race:

  • Hornaday's win was his 40th in his career in his 231st career start.
  • The win was the 19th CWTS win for KHI—14th for Hornaday—and KHI's 23rd NASCAR victory.
  • Hornaday pulled an unusual sweep on Friday in Charlotte by leading both practices and winning the race.
  • Nine of the top 10 in points changed after last week's race.
  • The top 10 was evenly split—five Chevys and five Toyotas, while Rick Crawford was the best finishing Ford(11th) and Jason White was the best finishing Dodge(23rd).

Top 10 after the NC Education Lottery 200:

1. Ron Hornaday Jr. 966, one win

2. Mike Skinner 882, (-84) one win

3. Matt Crafton  877, (-89)

4. Kyle Busch 852, (-114) two wins

5. Todd Bodine  837, (-129) one win

6. Terry Cook 786, (-180)

7. Johnny Benson 779, (-187)

8. Chad McCumbee  770, (-196)

9. Stacy Compton  762, (-204)

10. Brian Scott 759, (-207)

Other winners: Kevin Harvick (1)



51 teams have put in entry forms for this week's CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Here is the list of the go or go home teams for this weekend's race:

Car # Driver

0 Mark Green

5 Dale Earnhardt Jr.

05 Casey Atwood

09 John Wes Townley

19 J C Stout

31 Stanton Barrett

36 Marc Davis

40 Scott Wimer

42 David Gilliland

49 Kertus Davis

50 Jeremy Clements

52 Kevin Lepage

73 Derrike Cope

75 Brandon Knupp

77 Peyton Sellers

84 Mike Harmon

89  Morgan Sheperd

90 Johnny Chapman

91 Terry Cook

96 Dennis Setzer

98 Paul Menard

21 teams fighting for 13 spots in the race lineup, so unfortunately eight teams will be making the sad but short trip home after qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Jeff Burton will make his own piece of history this weekend when he makes his 300th career Nationwide series start at Lowe's. Burton made his debut at Martinsville Speedway on March 13, 1998.

A sentimental favorite is slated to return to the Nationwide series this weekend as Sun Drop Citrus Soda, former associate sponsor of legend Dale Earnhardt, will be on the hood No. 01 Chevy of JD Motorsports and driver Danny O'Quinn Jr..

JC Stout will be attempting an impressive feat this weekend as he attempts to make this weekend's race with an all-volunteer crew on the No. 19 Stellar-Quest Racing entry. This is the organization's first attempt.

There will be a little local flavor on the No. 81 car of Kevin Hamlin as he will be sporting decals supporting the Carolina Hurricanes who are currently competing in the Eastern Conference finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Team owner Randy MacDonald was quoted as saying, "I've been going to the Hurricanes games since they arrived in Greensboro in 1997. When (they won) Thursday's dramatic 3-2 game, we had to incorporate the 'Canes into the race at LMS."

Justin Allgaier currently has a seven point advantage in the Rookie of the Year standings over Brendan Gaughan (102-95) with Michael McDowell and Scott Lagasse Jr. tied for third with 94 points each.

Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Matt DiBenedetto is slated to make his Nationwide series debut in October at Memphis Motorsports Park. DiBenedetto, who won in only his second Camping World Series East start at Tri-County Speedway, turns 18 in July.

A $50,000 Nationwide Insurance "Dash 4 Cash" bonus will push the June 13 Kentucky Speedway purse to all-time track high of $1,507,996.

Could this weekend see the first full time Nationwide only driver win a Nationwide race? Only time will tell but the entry list does consist of 12 full time Cup drivers that is just over one-fifth of the total entry list.

Top ten in points going into the CARQUEST 300:

1. Kyle Busch 1,539 3 wins

2. Carl Edwards 1,502 (-37)

3. Jason Leffler 1,386 (-153)

4. Joey Logano 1,340 (-199) 1 win

5. Brad Keselowski 1,331 (-208)

6. Jason Keller 1,181 (-358)

7. David Ragan 1,139 (-400) 1 win

8. Scott Lagasse Jr. 1,095 (-444)

9. Justin Allgaier 1,089 (-450)

10. Steve Wallace 1,088 (-451)

Other winners: Tony Stewart(1), Greg Biffle(2), Kevin Harvick(1), Matt Kenseth(1)

Nationwide-only adjusted points (wins=highest finishing Nationwide only driver)

1. Jason Leffler 1386 4 wins

2. Brad Keselowski 1331 (-55) 3 wins

3. Jason Keller 1181 (-205) 1 wins

4. Scott Lagasse Jr. 1095 (-291)

5. Justin Allgaier 1089 (-297) 1 wins

6. Steve Wallace 1088 (-298)

7. Michael McDowell 1085 (-301)

8. Brendan Gaughan 1062 (-324) 1 wins

9. Mike Bliss 1044 (-342)

10. Kenny Wallace 1019 (-367)

Note: I consider Brad Keselowski a Nationwide-only driver since that is his focus and his part-time Cup schedule is development only and is not negating his Rookie of the Year status for the Cup series.

Sprint Cup

46 teams are currently on the entry list for this weekend's Coca Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Here are the go-or-go home drivers for this weekend:

06 David Starr (53 in owners points/2 attempts)

09 Mike Bliss (2009 Race Winner as owner)(40/11)

13 Max Papis (47/4)

21 Bill Elliott (Past Champ 1988)(49/3)

36 Scott Riggs (41/11)

41 J.J. Yeley (44/11)

64 Todd Bodine (48/9)

66 Dave Blaney (43/11)

71 David Gilliland (37/11)

82 Scott Speed (36/11)

87 Joe Nemechek (39/11)

If qualifying is rained out or cancelled for any reason the eight that would make it are Bliss, Elliott, Speed, Gilliland, Nemechek, Riggs, Blaney and Yeley while Bodine, Papis and Starr would head to the house.

The bottom of the top 35 in Owner Points has a bit of separation between those in and those currently out:

34. Gordon/Robby Gordon 847, +120

35. Raines/Earnhardt Ganassi 831, 104 points ahead of 36th

36. Speed/Red Bull 727, 104 points out of 35th

37. Gilliland/TRG 674, -157

Shea Trucking has signed a two-race associate sponsorship deal with Tommy Baldwin Racing to be on the No. 36 Toyota for Charlotte and Dover. The company logos will be featured on the C-post and the TV panel.

After undergoing a recent procedure to ease the pain in his back, Gordon feels that he is ready to go for 600 miles on Sunday at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Gordon underwent a facet block procedure on Monday which is performed to confirm that a facet joint is the source of pain and decrease the pain and inflammation in a facet joint or joints.

Rumors are swirling that NASCAR Media Group may be prepping for a NASCAR Network as they move into their new $45 million home, $30 million in state-of-the-art equipment, $15 million in construction, next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte where it will occupy two floors. The group does reportedly have all the equipment necessary to start a network.

CompUSA will be on the No. 71 of TRG Motorsports for the Charlotte race but the team is still looking for long-term sponsors for both their Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck teams.

Mark Martin has logged more miles—23,205 total—as Lowe's than any other track on the Sprint Cup circuit. That is only 1,795 miles shy of the distance around the equator.

Matt Kenseth will be carrying the R+L Carriers on his No. 17 Ford this weekend and Reed Sorenson will be sporting his Air Force colors on the No. 43 Dodge at Charlotte.

Joey Logano holds a nine point advantage over fellow rookie Scott Speed in the Rookie of the Year standings (109-100). As of this point, it remains a two horse race since third place Max Papis has only run three races and Dexter Bean has only made one attempt.

Some stats from the 25th edition of the All-Star race:

  • Tony Stewart won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race pocketing $1,058,656. It was Stewart's first All-Star Race win in his 11th try.
  • First win for Stewart-Haas Racing
  • Stewart led only once for the final two laps.
  • Stewart is the seventh driver to win a million plus in the All-Star Race.
  • Stewart did not finish in the top five in any of the first three segments. Segment One - ninth, Segment Two - eighth, Segment Three - sixth.
  • Stewart joined Geoff Bodine as the only owner-drivers to win the All-Star Race. Bodine accomplished that feat in 1994.
  • The win was the 14th All-Star win for Chevrolet.
  • Six times the winner of the All-Star race has gone on to win the Coca-Cola 600 the following week.
  • Segment One Winner: Jimmie Johnson -- $25,000
  • Segment Two Winner: Kyle Busch -- $25,000
  • Segment Three Winner: Jeff Gordon -- $125,000

Top 12 in Sprint Cup standings:

1. Jeff Gordon 1601, one win

2. Tony Stewart 1572 (-29)

3. Kurt Busch 1546, (-55) one win

4. Jimmie Johnson 1465, (-136) one win

5. Denny Hamlin 1445 (-156)

6. Jeff Burton 1384 (-217)

7. Kyle Busch 1380 (-221), three wins

8. Ryan Newman 1363 (-238)

9. Greg Biffle 1345 (-256)

10. Matt Kenseth 1326 (-275), two wins

11. Mark Martin 1316 (-285), two wins

12. Carl Edwards 1271 (-330)

Other winners: Brad Keselowski (1)

Should be another exciting weekend of racing from the Queen City as the drivers prepare for the longest race of the season.


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