Dallas Motorsports: Nascar

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 trivia: Amaze your friends!

April, 11, 2013

Want to impress your friends while hanging out at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday and Saturday? Here's a little bit of TMS trivia, courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information:

FRONT RUNNERS: If you qualify in the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway, you have a very good chance of winning. In 24 races since the track’s inaugural race in 1997, 18 winners have rolled off pit row from a top-10 starting spot, the highest win percentage of any track along with Sonoma. Richmond and Dover are next at 71.9 percent.

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: So who has the best chance of starting in the top 10 at Texas Motor Speedway? None other than Jimmie Johnson, who has started from inside the top 10 on 12 occasions in 19 races (63.2 percent), including both of his Texas wins. Greg Biffle (61.1), Kasey Kahne (58.8) and Mark Martin (54.2) are next.

CLIMBING THE LADDER: Enough about those at the front. That's easy, right? Now ... coming up through the field to win? That's an achievement. Matt Kenseth currently holds that honor, winning in 2002 after starting 31st. Denny Hamlin, however, proved he was no fluke, having swept both 2010 races from the 30th and 29th starting spots in the field. Carl Edwards (2005) also won from the 30th spot.

PHOTO FINISHES: Nothing beats the drama of a last-lap sprint to the checkered flag. Just ask Elliott Sadler, who edged Kasey Kahne by .028 seconds in 2004 for the closest Cup finish in TMS history. And if you want the opposing viewpoint, you can try to ask Jimmie Johnson, who was the runner-up in close finishes to Denny Hamlin (.152 seconds in 2010), Tony Stewart (.272 seconds in 2006), Jeff Gordon (.378 seconds in 2009) and Carl Edwards (.399 seconds in 2008). Venturing a guess, however: You need not feel overly sorry for "Five-Time."

WHICH WAY IS VICTORY LANE: Will there be a first-time Cup winner in Texas? It's happened twice before. Jeff Burton earned his first Cup victory at TMS in 1997. Burton, who started fifth, beat Dale Jarrett by 4.1 seconds to win in his 96th career race. Dale Earnhardt Jr. reached Victory Lane much quicker, winning at TMS in 2000 in just his 12th career race. Who'd Dale Jr. beat to the finish line? Why Jeff Burton, of course.

Danger always lurking around the corner at TMS

April, 11, 2013

Danger can strike at any time in any area of the track at Texas Motor Speedway.

There have been 89 accidents in 24 races at TMS (3.7 per race) with almost a quarter occurring on the backstretch since 1997, where 23.6 percent of incidents occur. Turn 2 has been the next busiest area for the tow trucks, where 20.2 percent of accidents have happened.

Other areas: Turn 4 (19.1 percent), Frontstretch (16.9), Turn 1 (13.5) and -- finally -- Turn 3 (6.7).

Where's the best place to be? Running at the front of the field, of course. Since average running position was first added into accident data in 2008, Texas Motor Speedway has the second-lowest wreck percentage -- 2.4 percent -- by cars running in the Top 5. Phoenix is the safest track for cars in the top five (1 percent).

Who was the unlucky driver? Tony Stewart was running second when he wrecked in the 2010 spring race.

And if you're a fan of fireworks, you might not have to wait until the checkered flag flies and the postrace festivities begin. TMS has a history of explosive moments.

  • November 2009: Jimmie Johnson was pursuing his fourth straight Cup title as the series headed to Texas, but it ran into a snag when Sam Hornish Jr. got loose and made contact with the 48. Johnson nearly saved the car before colliding with Hornish again, and he sustained heavy damage. Johnson was very critical of Hornish after the race.

  • April 2010: Jimmie Johnson made contact with teammate Jeff Gordon, and Gordon shared his thoughts over the radio. They also made contact the very next week at Talladega.

  • November 2010: Jeff Burton inexplicably put Jeff Gordon into the wall well after a caution had come out. After Gordon climbed out of his car, he walked all the way down the backstretch and shoved Burton. Burton shoved back as the two shouted at each other.

  • November 2010: Kyle Busch was tabbed for speeding on a pit stop, and in frustration, he gave a one-finger salute -- and then a two-middle finger salute -- to a NASCAR official while being held on pit road. He was attempting to stay ahead of the pace car after a wreck.
  • SMI CEO Bruton Smith among nominees for NASCAR HOF

    April, 11, 2013
    AM CT

    O. Bruton Smith, the CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., was among the 25 finalists for the NASCAR Hall of Fame that were announced Wednesday. Texas Motor Speedway is one of eight tracks owned and operated by Smith.

    "We are so proud that our boss, Bruton Smith, has been nominated to be considered for the NASCAR Hall of Fame," TMS president Eddie Gossage said in a statement. "He deserves to be honored in the Hall. He has been one of the people to lead our sport from a small regional promotion to an international force. I also know the many occasions he has quietly helped employees, crew members and drivers that came across hard times in their lives. Most of all, Bruton has helped the fans by leading the way with modern facilities and major-league promotion."

    SMI also owns and operates Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The tracks play host to 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 17 NASCAR Nationwide or Camping World Truck Series races, and other high-profile motorsports events. Smith also founded Speedway Children's Charities in 1984.

    To see the rest of the finalists for the Class of 2014, click here.

    Stats & Info: NRA 500 at TMS

    April, 10, 2013
    PM CT

    Playing the numbers game for the NRA 500, to be held at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night:

  • Jimmie Johnson is back in the points lead after a dominant Martinsville victory. It’s his 12th straight multi-win season -- the fourth-longest streak in Sprint Cup Series history. It’s also the fourth time he’s won at least twice in the first six races of the season. The other three times he did it, he went on to win the title. Johnson could add a third win at Texas, a track at which he led 324 laps last season -- nearly half the laps of the two races held there (669).

  • Johnson took the points lead away from his Hendrick Motorsports teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished outside the top 10 for the first time this season. Earnhardt will look to bounce back at Texas, site of his first career win in 2000 and a track where he’s had five top 10s in the last six races, coming back from a slump.

    From 2000-06, Dale Jr. had top 10s in seven of his nine races for an average finish of 10.2. Over the next three seasons, through 2009, he failed to crack the top 10 in six races for an average finish of 21.2. Since then, however, he's averaged an 11th place finish in his last six races.

  • No team has a better record at TMS than Roush Fenway Racing, which has won nine of the 24 races -- more than twice as many as any other team. In the last five races at TMS, Roush Fenway drivers have led 646 laps (38.7 percnet) and have gone on to 11 top 5s and 15 top 10s in 18 starts, and they've won the last two spring races with Matt Kenseth (no longer with the team) and Greg Biffle.

  • Kenseth is no longer with Roush Fenway Racing, but he’ll look to bring his Texas expertise to Joe Gibbs Racing. Kenseth is the all-time TMS leader in top 5s (12), top 10s (15), laps led (772) and average finish (8.3). He’s just one win behind former teammate Carl Edwards, who has three.

  • Danica Patrick was a pleasant surprise at Martinsville, finishing 12th in her first visit there. She’s struggled this season on larger tracks, but TMS could be a place where she maintains momentum. Last year in the spring Nationwide Series race, she finished a NNS season-best eighth. And in her only Sprint Cup start at the track, she passed a career-high 107 cars under the green flag.

    Who stars in the Lone Star State?

  • Greg Biffle: Nine straight top-10 finishes at Texas; longest streak in track history (defending spring race winner).
  • Jimmie Johnson: Finished second and first at Texas last season (five top 10s in last six races).
  • Matt Kenseth: Five straight top-5 finishes at Texas (won spring 2011 race).
  • Carl Edwards: Three Sprint Cup Series wins at Texas (leads all drivers).
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Four straight top 10s at Texas (1st career NSCS win came at Texas in 2000).

    Who's just feeling alone?

  • Brad Keselowski: Has finished 14th or worse in eight of nine career Texas races (2nd last fall; 36th last spring).
  • Mark Martin: Has wrecked out of two of last four TMS races.
  • Ryan Newman: Has finished outside top 10 in last nine TMS races.
  • Brian Vickers: Has never finished better than 12th at Texas (14 starts).
  • Kyle Busch: Has finished outside top 10 in three of last four races at TMS.
  • First time under the lights for Gen-6 car

    April, 9, 2013
    PM CT
    Gen-6 Courtesy Texas Motor Speedway

    Greg Biffle and Eddie Gossage preview NRA 500

    April, 8, 2013
    PM CT
    Greg Biffle and Eddie Gossage join Fitzsimmons & Durrett to talk about the upcoming NRA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway and the drama going on around NASCAR.

    Click here to listen.

    Dude Perfect meets Wild Asphalt Circus at TMS

    March, 6, 2013
    AM CT

    The guys from Dude Perfect, the basketball trick shot artists who have become YouTube sensations, visited Texas Motor Speedway to contribute their talents to the track's Wild Asphalt Circus. Always a must see. Click the video above.

    Daytona 500 victory lap brings Jimmie Johnson to Dallas

    February, 27, 2013
    PM CT
    DALLAS -- Jimmie Johnson will have covered all four time zones and five states on his Daytona 500 victory tour by the time he climbs in the car for the first of two races in Phoenix this weekend.

    To the victor go the toils, although that's hardly the way the five-time Sprint Cup champion view things.

    "I know what time zone I'm in," Johnson said Wednesday during a stop at the House of Blues in Dallas to promote the Texas 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway on April 13. "I'm a little confused on days. Not much sleep, but some of that is self-induced. But it's been a very fun ride."

    If Johnson was feeling a little road weary, maybe a pep rally with primary sponsor Lowe's will help.

    There was double cause for celebration Wednesday night in Las Vegas after Johnson's Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team announced a two-year extension with the only primary sponsor Johnson has ever had. The new contract runs through 2015, and the announcement happened to coincide with a major sales meeting.

    "I'll be in front of 5,000 store managers, and they treat me like Elvis," Johnson told The Associated Press. "It's a great relationship."

    The Daytona victory celebration started with an impromptu Harlem Shake video, followed by the early Monday morning ritual of turning in the winning car for display at the Daytona track. Then it was on to Connecticut for part of a day, and New York overnight for a full day of media engagements Tuesday.

    Johnson and his publicity team landed in the Dallas area Tuesday night, and he was back at it Wednesday before hopping a plane to Vegas. He'll be in Los Angeles on Thursday before finally getting back to the business of racing Friday. He's running the Nationwide race Saturday and will be trying Sunday for a series-best 62nd victory since his rookie year in 2002.

    After his first Daytona victory in 2006, Johnson remembers the following week as busy. Just not quite this busy.

    "I think that NASCAR has worked very hard to get us in major markets, and people want to see us," Johnson said. "They want to see the winner, want to talk to the winner. I think there's more interest today than what I personally had and what our sport had in 2006."

    By the time he gets to Phoenix, Johnson will have a lot of catching up to do. He says Tuesday is normally "download" day, when he goes over the previous week and looks ahead to the next one with crew chief Chad Knaus and the rest of his team. Instead, he was chatting up David Letterman.

    "So I feel a little removed and not really in the space to go racing in Phoenix," he said. "But it's for good reason, and Chad's going to cut me some slack and I'll have to catch up Friday when I get to the track."

    Knaus doesn't really feel the need to cut his driver any slack.

    "Jimmie does a very good job of balancing that out," Knaus said. "He'll be on point when it comes time for Phoenix."

    Johnson's first Daytona win sparked the first of five consecutive championship seasons through 2010. He had no way to compare a Daytona win and a series title then. Now that he can compare, he better understands the scope of a win the so-called Super Bowl of NASCAR.

    "So to experience this after the five championships, what I'm getting at is this is like winning a championship," Johnson said. "I'm just as busy and there's just as much reach for myself, my sponsors, my team, as it did from winning a championship. It's amazing the impact of this single event."

    Johnson doesn't have to tell any of that to Dale Earnhardt Jr., the 2004 winner and Sunday's runner-up.

    "Yeah, it's like a drug, I assume. It's such a high," Earnhardt said. "You just don't know when you'll ever get that opportunity again, or if you'll ever get that opportunity again. I'm ready to do it again. It's been too long."

    While nothing's bigger than winning at Daytona, Johnson's contract extension with Lowe's Companies Inc. is an important early-season development in what was otherwise shaping up as a contract year, something drivers always hope to avoid. Johnson and Lowe's will be partners through at least a 14th season in 2015.

    "The stability is the key," Johnson said. "To know that that's done and literally the season's starting, we don't have to worry about that as a lot of teams do, field those questions and concerns. Honestly, it's a great honor."

    Johnson will return to the Metroplex -- along with the rest of the NASCAR drivers from the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series -- from April 11-13 for the Texas 500 race weekend. For more information, go here.

    Travis Pastrana visits TMS before Nationwide debut

    April, 14, 2012
    PM CT
    FORT WORTH, Texas -- If it has wheels and a motor, Travis Pastrana has probably driven it professionally. The action sports superstar visited Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday to talk about his newest venture -- the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

    Pastrana was set to make his NASCAR debut last season, but two night before his first race, he broke his right foot and ankle at the Summer X Games. Now he's back and set to race in the NASCAR Nationwide Series 250 at Richmond International Speedway on April 27.

    "We've put together a lot of testing," Pastrana said. "I have to thank the Samsung people for sticking with me through all the injuries, but I'm really looking forward to getting back out there and getting in the car."

    Pastrana plans to race the No. 99 Boost Mobile Toyota in seven races this season.

    "I feel as ready as I'm going to get without really knowing what to expect," Pastrana said. "That's our starting point, and we hope it's higher than lower."

    He'll be back in Fort Worth on June 9 for the Global Rallycross Championship race at TMS.

    Pastrana will also serve as the grand marshal for the Samsung Mobile 500.

    Ricky Stenhouse Jr. wins O'Reilly 300

    April, 13, 2012
    PM CT
    FORT WORTH, Texas -- After bizarre lighting problems and a wild late restart, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. took home his second win in the first six races of the Nationwide season at the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 on Friday.

    While most of the pack went in to get their last set of tires during a late caution, Stenhouse Jr. stayed in the pack.

    "[Crew chief Mike Kelley] decided to go with no changes on that last pit stop, which I wasn't fond of, but he knows what he's doing," Stenhouse Jr. said. "That last restart was crazy. I think I spent the whole caution praying for a good restart."

    Owner Jack Roush has had some good luck in the Lone Star State. The win was the fourth in a row for Roush Fenway Racing at Texas Motor Speedway.

    "First thing I want to say is God bless Texas," Jack Roush said laughing after the race. "Texas has been really good to us."

    In the race's second year under the lights, a few of them weren't quite cooperating. Some of the track lights were malfunctioning around the third turn, causing two cautions and a red flag in the 163-172th laps.

    Race officials said it was a problem with one of the breakers, but Stenhouse Jr. didn't seem to mind.

    "We went a few laps through there and I thought it was fine. Some people had different opinions," Stenhouse Jr. said. "It was probably safer to stop it and get it back going."

    Paul Menard led for 100 laps, but couldn't hold on for a win. In the final laps, Menard went for one last push on the outside of Stenhouse Jr., but got caught in the middle when Denny Hamlin made the track three-wide.

    The win moves Stenhouse Jr. into second in the Nationwide Series standings, four points behind Elliott Sadler.

    "As soon as you get in the middle of a restart, you lose all of your momentum," Menard said. "I just feel like we let them get away with it."

    Rookie driver Austin Dillon's crew also took the gamble not to change tires to try for a bigger lead. He ended up falling back to sixth after the red flag in the 176th lap. After another caution, he opted out of getting new tires again to try and keep his position. He ended up moving into fifth, the highest-finishing rookie.

    "We're very proud of that finish, especially with less tires than the other guys out there," Dillon said.

    Danica Patrick made a great late move with some new tires to move from 16th into eighth, her best finish of the year.

    The action at TMS continues with the Sprint Cup Series Samsung Mobile 500 at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night.

    O'Reilly 300 Top 10 update - 150 laps

    April, 13, 2012
    PM CT
    FORT WORTH, Texas -- Here's the top 10 through 150 laps at the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300:

    Position - (#) Driver

    1 - (33) Paul Menard

    2 -(6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

    3 - (2) Elliott Sadler

    4 - (38) Kasey Kahne

    5 - (3) Austin Dillon

    6 - (18) Denny Hamlin

    7 - (31) Justin Allgaier

    8 - (12) Sam Hornish Jr.

    9 - (5) Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    10 - (27) David Ragan

    Out: (42) Josh Wise, (47) Scott Speed, (74) Kevin Lepage, (10) Jeff Green (75) Scott Riggs, (46) Chase Miller, (11) Brian Scott, (23) Robert Richardson, Jr., (15) Blake Koch.

    O'Reilly 300 Top 10 update - 50 laps

    April, 13, 2012
    PM CT
    Here's the top 10 through 50 laps at the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300:

    Position - (#) Driver

    1 - (33) Paul Menard

    2 - (38) Kasey Kahne

    3 - (3) Austin Dillon

    4 - (18) Denny Hamlin

    5 - (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

    6 - (2) Elliott Sadler

    7 - (20) Joey Logano

    8 - (11) Brian Scott

    9 - (31) Justin Allgaier

    10 -(5) Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    Out: (42) Josh Wise, (47) Scott Speed, (74) Kevin Lepage, (10) Jeff Green (75) Scott Riggs, (46) Chase Miller.

    Martin Truex Jr. wins pole for Samsung Mobile 500

    April, 13, 2012
    PM CT
    FORT WORTH, Texas -- Martin Truex Jr. won the Coors Light Pole Award at the Samsung Mobile 500 qualifying Friday.

    He won with a lap of 28.366 seconds.

    After the qualifier, he continued to talk about how he can feel a win coming.

    "I can't even explain it. I'm just blessed to have the team I have and be in the position I'm in," Truex Jr. said. "It makes you think back to those days when things weren't going so well."

    This could be a huge step in winning his first Samsung Mobile 500. He's had problems winning the pole in the past, and he's willing to admit that.

    "I'm not the greatest qualifier," Truex Jr. said. "At times I tend to overdrive the car. There are some days, like today, that the car will take that."

    Asked if he did anything different to win the pole, he smiled and said he "just drove harder" this time.

    Matt Kenseth finished second with a lap of 28.399 seconds.

    Greg Biffle continued to be impressive at Texas Motor Speedway. He finished third at qualifying with his 10th top-10 start in Fort Worth.

    It's Truex Jr.'s second pole at Texas Motor Speedway and first in the Samsung Mobile 500. His first came in the 2007 Dickies 500 where he finished third.

    His best finish in the Samsung Mobile 500 came in 2007 when he started 24th and moved his way up to finish seventh.

    Clint Bowyer ready to contend with new owner

    February, 7, 2012
    PM CT
    FORT WORTH, Texas -- After a disappointing 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Clint Bowyer is looking to start over.

    Heading into the Feb. 26 Daytona 500, "New" is a word Bowyer and the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY team will hear a lot this season.

    Bowyer said he doesn't necessarily like changes, but after seven seasons with Richard Childress Racing, he's not afraid of his change to Michael Waltrip Racing.

    "I know these cars are a lot the same," Bowyer said Tuesday night at the Gear Up for the Green Flag event at Texas Motor Speedway. "For the most part, it all comes down to the people working together and getting the most out of each other. That's what makes up the difference."

    Bowyer said this offseason was the busiest of his career, and most of it was spent getting used to veteran crew chief Brian Pattie.

    "The communication is better, way farther ahead than I thought it would be at this time," Bowyer said. "For a new team like that, getting that 'gelling' of everybody is so crucial."

    Bowyer won't be the only one making a big switch to Michael Waltrip Racing. Veteran Mark Martin will drive at least 25 races this season in the No. 55 car.

    "Mark is a great asset that I'm going to learn a lot from, even at this stage in my career," Bowyer said.

    For the second consecutive year, Bowyer and the Sprint Cup drivers will race under the lights of Texas Motor Speedway. The Samsung Mobile 500 was traditionally a Sunday afternoon race but switched to Saturday night last season.

    "Night races are always better," Bowyer said. "I don't know why. We all grew up racing under the lights. It just adds that extra element of excitement."

    This year's Samsung Mobile 500 is Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m.