Dallas Motorsports: Sprint Cup

Kyle Busch hopes to build off earlier TMS win

November, 1, 2013
One thing Kyle Busch will get this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway is lots of track time. The driver is competing in tonight's truck race, followed by the Nationwide race Saturday and the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday.

But before he even climbs into his truck, Busch has plenty of confidence at TMS. He won the Sprint Cup race in the spring, the first race at TMS with the new Gen-6 car. He won the Nationwide race less than 24 hours earlier.

"It certainly went well for us here earlier this year, and we made it a lot of fun," Busch said. "We want to try to have a repeat performance."

Busch won the Sprint Cup's NRA 500 by leading a race-high 171 laps and won the race from the pole. He was up front all weekend.

Busch believes running all three series gives him an advantage in that he gets to see the track in race conditions a few times before Sunday. Busch sits 36 points behind Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth but is fifth in the standings. He knows he's a long shot to winning the title.

"If you have bad luck with the front two then that's going to bring five guys back into it, I feel like," Busch said. But he later added: "I bet you the front two don't."

Jimmie Johnson comfortable at TMS

November, 1, 2013
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Almost from the moment Jimmie Johnson first arrived at Texas Motor Speedway more than a decade ago, he looked comfortable racing around the 1.5-mile oval.

While other drivers needed a ton of laps to figure things out, Johnson and his team quickly discovered a setup that worked, and despite changes to the track's surface, they've made contending at TMS almost automatic. He looks to continue that run in the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday as he attempts to win a sixth championship.

He's got two wins and 15 top-10 finishes in 20 career starts, including nine top-5s. Johnson hasn't started worse than 18th at TMS, and that was back in 2005, when he finished third. Both of Johnson's victories came by winning one-on-one duels. He beat Matt Kenseth in 2007 on his way to a title and Brad Keselowski in this race last year.

"It's a good track," Johnson said. "I feel like we have to work hard for it, which is fine. It never comes easy here. That's one aspect of this track is that you've got to roll your sleeves up and go to work, and that's something our team is really good at."

Johnson is once again in the middle of a championship chase. He's tied with Kenseth on top of the Chase standings with three races to go and will be competing Sunday at a track that he likes. He said Friday that he enjoys the surface and "character" of the track and that he knows all the bumps and dips.

"The driver has more confidence," Johnson said about the track's surface. "The tire-asphalt combination, the way it works, we can slide the car without big penalty or consequence. Some of the newer asphalt, you get a little slip in the tire and it's gone and around and you can't drive the same."

Eddie Gossage on NRA sponsorship

April, 12, 2013
Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage joins Galloway & Company to discuss the NRA sponsorship and who he's picking to win Saturday's Sprint Cup race.

Listen here.

TMS gets new sponsor for Sprint Cup race in April

March, 4, 2013

FORT WORTH -- The National Rifle Association is taking its relationship with racing to a new level as the title sponsor of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

NASCAR Truck champ James Buescher joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett at Media Day at Texas Motor Speedway.

Listen Listen
Texas Motor Speedway announced Monday that its April 13 race, the first night race on the Cup schedule this season, will be known as the NRA 500. It is a one-year agreement with a renewal option.

TMS president Eddie Gossage said the NRA has been involved in racing for several years and a generous supporter of Speedway Children's Charities, donating more than $500,000 to the charity's Texas chapter since 2000.

"This race entitlement is just another extension of that business relationship," Gossage said. "We look forward to another successful partnership with the NRA for our April race week."

For more of the story, click here.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett at TMS Media Day

March, 4, 2013
NASCAR Truck champ James Buescher joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett at Media Day at Texas Motor Speedway.

Listen Listen
It's that time of year with the Texas 500 closing in -- just six weeks or so away -- for media day at Texas Motor Speedway. Ian Fitzsimmons and Richard Durrett will be there with the ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM radio crew.

Lots of good guests will join us, including Danica Patrick's boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who made the jump to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition after four years in the Nationwide Series.

We'll also talk to TMS president Eddie Gossage about the state of NASCAR, Danica Patrick's importance to the sport and what to expect at TMS in April.

So join us on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM on Monday. Listen here.

NASCAR 2013: Let's get it started

February, 15, 2013
It’s official ... spring is right around the corner. How do we know?

Practice begins Friday evening for next Sunday’s Daytona 500! (I betcha’ thought I was going to say something about pitchers and catchers reporting! Sorry, nope.) To 75 million fans nationwide, the sound of racing engines, thrilling finishes and lots of hold-your-breath moments are the true sign that winter is almost over!

The season starts with tremendous buzz. NASCAR fantasy leagues are being set. Las Vegas sports books are setting odds on prop bets. A brand new car will debut this year. A new champion is set to defending his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. We even have two competitors dating each other! This sport keeps surprising even folks like me!

In 2012, the April race at Texas Motor Speedway drew the largest crowd of the NASCAR season -- bigger than even the venerable Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis or the historic Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte. The race was, in fact, the second-largest single-day paid spectator event in the United States. Did you catch that? Of the big racing towns in this country -- Daytona, Indy, Charlotte, etc. – more fans came to Texas Motor Speedway than any other last year. Dallas-Fort Worth is racing territory!

I just wanted to encourage you to pay close attention. The green flag on the 2013 NASCAR season drops in just a few hours. We’re only about seven short weeks away from our NASCAR race on Saturday, April 13! The Wild Asphalt Circus is coming!

Brad Keselowski wins race, leads Chase

September, 30, 2012

DOVER, Del. -- Brad Keselowski had fuel to spare for a couple of victory burnouts.

Those few splashes of gas left down the stretch were just enough for a checkered flag -- and a sign Keselowski is a championship favorite.

With other contenders battling fuel woes and limping toward pit road, Keselowski had enough gas in the No. 2 Dodge to win Sunday at Dover International Speedway for his second victory in three weeks.

Keselowski's stout start to the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship allowed him to swipe the points lead from Jimmie Johnson.

Read more here.

Brad Keselowski wins Chase opener

September, 16, 2012

JOLIET, Ill. -- Brad Keselowski raced to an impressive victory in the opening race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, outdueling five-time champion Jimmie Johnson at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.

Keselowski got ahead of Johnson after a crucial pit cycle with about 35 laps remaining and led the final 26 laps in the 400-mile race, holding on comfortably from there for his first victory in a Chase race. He also takes over the points lead.

Kasey Kahne was third. All 12 of the Chase drivers finished in the top 18, with the exception of Jeff Gordon, who went into the wall with about 80 laps remaining. Gordon barely qualified for the Chase to begin with, and his championship hopes are already in serious jeopardy after his 35th-place showing Sunday.

Read more here.

TMS set for 'No Limits Wild Asphalt Circus'

August, 21, 2012
Today we announced the 2013 racing schedule and a new promotional theme for Texas Motor Speedway -- No Limits Wild Asphalt Circus!

The theme could have just as easily been, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” The 2013 schedule is exactly the same as it was in 2012 and should draw 1.2-1.3 million people. There probably isn’t another speedway in America that draws that many fans in the course of a season. And that says a lot, considering the relative youth of Texas Motor Speedway compared to the age and tradition of this country’s other speedways.

So a NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend under the lights in April, a nighttime Indy Car race in June and a twilight NASCAR Sprint Cup race in November highlights the schedule at “The Great American Speedway!”

The theme?

Well it was dropped on me by a fan almost two years ago in a conversation during race weekend in November 2010. We had just rolled out the uber-successful “No Limits” campaign just a couple months before and our fans quickly identified with the program.

“ 'No Limits' is perfect for us here in Texas because it perfectly reflects our excitement for racing here,” said the fan.

And then he dropped the line on me.

“Man, every race weekend is just a wild asphalt circus,” he said.

And while this anonymous fan may not have realized the gold that came from his mouth, I did. And I filed it away for use in August 2012 when we roll out the next season’s schedule.

Whether it’s an all-out battle between two racers like we saw Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards stage last year or the pace car being delivered in a Chinook helicopter or an inexplicable incident such as Kyle Busch wrecking Ron Hornaday Jr., in a NASCAR Truck race UNDER CAUTION or a man flying into the speedway with a jet pack, fans know the “Wild Asphalt Circus” is always center ring.

Craziness. Mayhem. Drama.

2013 TMS Schedule At A Glance

Texas 500 NASCAR Doubleheader Weekend, April 11-13
* Fri., April 12 – O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 Nationwide Series race
* Sat., April 13 – Texas 500, the first Saturday night race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season

Firestone 550 NASCAR/INDYCAR Doubleheader, June 6-8
* Fri., June 7 – WinStar World Casino 400 race
* Sat., June 8 – Firestone 550, “America’s Original Nighttime IndyCar Race”

AAA Texas 500 NASCAR Tripleheader Weekend, Oct. 31-Nov. 3
* Friday, Nov. 1 – WinStar World Casino 350 race
* Sat., Nov. 2 – O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge race
* Sun., Nov. 3 – AAA Texas 500; eighth race in the 10-event Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup

Brad Keselowski takes jab at Hendrick Motorsports

August, 20, 2012
Did we just see a rivalry develop right before our eyes in Sunday’s NASCAR race at Michigan?

I don’t mean between Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Certainly Gordon had said some harsh words over his radio during the race about Dale Jr., and after the race made it clear he wasn’t apologizing. But I’m sure team owner Rick Hendrick has patched things up for two of his stars.

I’m talking about Brad Keselowski and five-time champ Jimmie Johnson.

While Johnson suffered heartache by blowing an engine while leading with only five laps remaining to finish 27th, Keselowski finished second.

As Johnson left the track without speaking to reporters, Keselowski took the opportunity to stake his claim as a title contender and also try to play some mind games with Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team.

“I can taste the legitimacy of being a championship contender,” said Keselowski in throwing down the gauntlet.

But perhaps he had already done that during the race when he referred to the “tricks” used by Hendrick Motorsports in their set-ups over the radio. Keselowski said six to 12 cars use the Hendrick “tricks” and have separated themselves from the field and upset the balance of competition in NASCAR.

“There’s parts and pieces on the car that are moving after inspection that make the car more competitive," Keselowski said of the Hendrick team cars. “Some guys have it, some don’t. There’s a question to the interpretation of the rule. Penske Racing (Keselowski’s team) errs on the safe side because we don’t want to be the guys that get the big penalty.”

Since June some drivers have complained about the rear end of cars driven by drivers such as Earnhardt and Johnson that appear to move around. NASCAR put a rule in place prior to Indianapolis in late July but drivers said it did nothing to impact the performance of Hedrick’s cars. In fact, Johnson won the Brickyard 400.

Other drivers agree.

“Whatever they’ve got working in the back of their cars is working well for them,” Hamlin said of the Hendrick team.

“Sometimes I think some of those comments are made just because people are getting beat and they don’t like it and they want to bring attention to something that is probably not there,” said Jeff Gordon, another Hendrick driver.

But Keselowski, in claiming his role as a championship contender, also indicated his team has to re-think its position.

“There’s certainly some performance there that we haven’t gained,” he said about the Hendrick teams’ setup. “That’s something we have to evaluate every week that goes by, that those components are permitted to be run. We have to make a re-evaluation of that internally to decide if that’s the right way to go.”

There are only three races until the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship begins. You can smell the playoffs as everybody jockeys for position.

Business is about to pick up.

Penske Racing releases AJ Allmendinger

August, 1, 2012
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Suspended Sprint Cup driver AJ Allmendinger was released by Penske Racing on Wednesday.

Allmendinger, who drove the No. 22 Shell Penzoil Dodge, was indefinitely suspended last Tuesday after his 'B' sample urine test supported his original test that was positive for amphetamines.

"I apologize for the distraction, embarrassment and difficulties that my current suspension from NASCAR has provided,'' Allmendinger said in a statement. "As I stated last week, I have begun NASCAR's Road to Recovery program and look forward to using those resources and its completion to compete again in NASCAR in the near future."

For more on the story, click here.

Eli Young Band headlines TMS pre-race show

July, 9, 2012
The Eli Young Band, whose hit single "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" already has reached gold status, will headline the AXE Salute Our Troops Pre-Race Show at Texas Motor Speedway before the AAA Texas 500 on Sunday, Nov. 4.

The country music group will take the stage on the frontstretch at 12:20 p.m. CT and perform an hour-long concert that will lead up to the green flag of the eighth race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at 2 p.m.

Clint Bowyer gives boost to MWR

June, 25, 2012

SONOMA, Calif. -- There is a new big-boy team in NASCAR. If you've being paying attention this season, it's not a surprise.

Michael Waltrip Racing has been coming on all year. The only thing MWR lacked in 2012 was a victory. Mission accomplished.

Clint Bowyer, the hired gun who came to MWR this season after six years at Richard Childress Racing, finally got the organization into the win column this year with a dominating victory Sunday on the Sonoma road course.

"To have this dirt [track] boy from Kansas in Victory Lane here is big, trust me," Bowyer said. "It's just a dream come true. To switch teams like I did was a huge new chance for me and a chance to showcase my talent."

Read more of Terry Blount's column on the race here.

Jimmie Johnson wins All-Star race

May, 19, 2012

CONCORD, N.C. -- It's not often a race car driver intentionally cruises slowly at the back of the field.

Jimmie Johnson did it for roughly 60 laps Saturday night, and it earned him a cool $1 million payday.

Johnson used a calculated strategy -- he drove hard for the first and last segments, and coasted for the three in between -- to join the late Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon as the only three-time winners of NASCAR's All-Star race.

The five-time champion won the first 20-lap segment of the Sprint All-Star race, then deliberately faded to the back for the next three 20-lap segments at Charlotte Motor Speedway. His plan was to keep the No. 48 Chevrolet out of trouble, then make his play for the win in the fifth and final segment.

"We did a strategy that we thought was best for our team," he said.

Read the rest of the story here.

Jimmie Johnson rewards students with ice cream

May, 15, 2012
After an entire elementary school lived up to their promise, five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup series champion Jimmie Johnson lived up to his.

Johnson, who visited Clara Love Elementary School in Justin to crown the "Speeding to Read" champions in April, was asked during a Q&A session with the student body if he would bring them ice cream again just like he did when he was voted the school's most popular NASCAR driver in 2010 by the students.

The question made Johnson double over in laughter and brought a roar out of the 600-plus students and faculty on hand.

"How do you say no when a little kid is asking you for ice cream?" Johnson said in a statement. "I know I can't say no to it myself. I told the students that if they kept up with their reading I'd see what I could do."

After the students met their reading goal to live up to their end of the deal, Johnson responded by sending enough ice cream for the entire student body and faculty to enjoy Friday.

Said Johnson: "They definitely deserve some ice cream."