Friday, February 24, 2017

2017 Daytona Starting Line-Up

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

STARTING LINEUP: It will be an all Hendrick Motorsports front row. Chase Elliott will start on the pole for the second consecutive year after taking both pole qualifying last weekend and the first race of the Can-Am Duels Thursday. Dale Earnhardt Jr., in his first race after missing the second half of the 2016 season recovering from a concussion will start second. Brendan Gaughan, Elliott SadlerCorey LaJoie and D.J. Kennington clinched spots in the field after Thursday's duels.
Here is the lineup for the 2017 Daytona 500 (car number in parentheses):
1. (24) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet.
2. (88) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet.
3. (1) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet.
4. (11) Denny Hamlin, Toyota.
5. (4) Kevin Harvick, Ford.
6. (14) Clint Bowyer, Ford.
7. (2) Brad Keselowski, Ford.
8. (41) Kurt Busch, Ford.
9. (20) Matt Kenseth, Toyota.
10. (3) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet.
11. (6) Trevor Bayne, Ford.
12. (10) Danica Patrick, Ford.
13. (43) Aric Almirola, Ford.
14. (31) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet.
15. (22) Joey Logano, Ford.
16. (42) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet.
17. (72) Cole Whitt, Ford.
18. (13) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet.
19. (19) Daniel Suarez, Toyota.
20. (38) David Ragan, Ford.
21. (18) Kyle Busch, Toyota.
22. (95) Michael McDowell, Chevrolet.
23. (17) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford.
24. (48) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet.
25. (32) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford.
26. (5) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet.
27. (34) Landon Cassill, Ford.
28. (96) DJ Kennington, Toyota.
29 (23) Joey Gase, Toyota.
30. (15) Michael Waltrip, Toyota.
31. (83) Corey LaJoie, Toyota.
32. (33) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet.
33. (27) Paul Menard, Chevrolet.
34. (77) Erik Jones, Toyota.
35. (78) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota.
36. (21) Ryan Blaney, Ford.
37. (37) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet.
38. (47) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet.
39. (75) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet.
40. (7) Elliott Sadler, Chevrolet.
Failed to Qualify
(55) Reed Sorenson
(51) Timmy Hill

Read more here:

Who are you choosing to win ?
d more here:

Read more here:

NEMA Lites Kick Off at ICEBREAKER; Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to Offer “Bounty” to NEMA Lites

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The Northeastern Midget Association has long considered Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) the ultimate 'separate the men from the boys (or girls!)' facility. While any Thompson checkered is a treasure, winning on opening day in the NEMA Lites feature at this year's ICEBREAKER event will be a goal high on the list of many attendees.

To add to the excitement, TSMP is offering a “bounty” of $150 to any teams that forfeit their qualified starting positions and drop to the rear of the field, and come through to win the feature event.
2016 Lites champion Jim Chambers will lead the field to Thompson. Chambers was battling for the lead last year, when disaster struck in turns three and four with another competitor, ending his day. In addition to Chambers, NEMA’s all time winner at TSMP Randy Cabral, will be on hand in his family owned #35. Ben Mikitarian, who had an impressive run last Fall at TSMP, will be on hand with his family owned RACE Depot sponsored machine.

In addition to Chambers, Cabral and Mikitarian, one cannot count out 2015 NEMA Lites Champion, Anthony 'The Tornado' Payne in the Scrivani owned #21. Son of legendary open cockpit mainstay, Joey Payne, the young Payne had impressive outings at TSMP last season.

A number of new teams are rumored to be at TSMP for the ICEBREAKER as well, including one of NEMA’s most famous families, the Coy’s, returning full time with Richie Coy at the helm.
With a twenty plus car field rumored, that's just the beginning of the list. Jeremy Decourcey will be debuting his new chassis at the ICEBREAKER, while the Cugini family will bring their two family owned vehicles to the event with brother and sister, Dan and Meg at the wheel. Dan is a multi time Lites feature winner at the Speedway, and always a threat to win.

Ryan Bigelow is set to return to Thompson in his ECOTEC powered BEAST chassis as well. Other entrants include PJ Stergios, a multi time NEMA Lite winner, set to run a full season in pursuit of a Championship in 2017, and p long time Northeastern racer, Chad Labastie.

Todd Bertrand, who had an impressive run last Fall at the World Series, in the Lites division will be on hand in his family owned Drinan chassis, as will long time NEMA owner Paul Scally in his Drinan Chassis.

Kevin Iannarelli will be on hand debuting his new BEAST chassis, hot off the lettering presses from 32 Signs, and Chris Vose is looking forward to his second season with the Lites kicking off at TSMP as well.

Thompson, known for its long straightaways and high banked corners presents a 'mental wrestling match from mid straightaway into the turns,' pointing out to be successful 'you have to pretty much keep your foot in it deep into the corner' says long time NEMA member and multi time winner Greg Stoehr.

 NEMA and Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park have a relationship that goes back to 1960, the legendary Dutch Schaefer the winner. Since then, Thompson has helped write a ton of NEMA history. Greg Stoehr, driving for John Zahar, passed brother Russ in the closing laps to win in 1994. In 2001, Joey Payne, who like Greg Stoehr started last, passed the same Russ Stoehr on the final lap en route to the checkered. The latter was the famed car owner Gene Angelillo's 100th NEMA win.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

How the Can-Am Duels work, set Daytona 500 field

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The Can-Am Duels are a pair of qualifying races held on Feb. 23 (starting at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) that will determine the bulk of the field for the 2017 Daytona 500 (Feb. 26, 2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). offers a look at how the twin qualifying races work and how they impact the Daytona 500.

Programming info for Can-Am Duels:
Feb. 23, starting at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Daytona International Speedway
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio

What is the format?
There are two 60-lap, 150-mile races. Who is in which Duel is determined based on qualifying speeds from Sunday's single-lap qualifying runs.

How do the Duels set the Daytona 500 lineup?The Duels determine who will line up in spots 3-38 on the starting grid for the "Great American Race" after Sunday's qualifying speeds saw the Hendrick Motorsports duo of Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr. earn front row spots for the 2017 Daytona 500.

Drivers in the first Duel race will line up on the inside row for the Daytona 500 (odd-numbered starting position), based on the order in which they finish the first Duel race. Drivers in the second Duel race will line up on the outside row for the Daytona 500 (even-numbered starting positions), based on the order in which they finish the second Duel race. Remember, all 36 Charter teams are guaranteed spots in the Daytona 500.
RELATED: Which teams have Charters?

How can open teams make the Daytona 500?

Two open teams will make the field based on their qualifying speed from Sunday's single-car qualifying runs. The other two open spots come from the best finishing open teams in each Duel. Should the fastest qualifying open team driver earn a spot based on his or her Duel result, then the next fastest open team would get in based on qualifying speed.

Sadler and Gaughan had the fastest entries among the open teams in single-car qualifying and are locked into the Daytona 500 field.

RELATED: Sadler, Gaughan lock in spots

The open team entries that will battle for two Daytona 500 spots in the Duels are Timmy Hill (No. 51 Chevrolet), Reed Sorenson (No. 55 Toyota), Corey LaJoie (No. 83 Toyota) and DJ Kennington (No. 96 Toyota).

How important are the Duels for drivers locked into the front row?
Very important because of the race enhancements NASCAR announced last month. While a Duel win doesn't put you in the Chase, the top 10 drivers in each Duel will earn points heading into the Daytona 500. Points for Duel results have not occurred before this year.

Drivers locked into the front row need to avoid any sort of calamity to keep their starting spot. With qualifying day so early in Speedweeks and a multitude of practices over three days leading up to the Daytona 500, wrecks resulting in backup cars, engine changes and more are all likely to pop up at some point to affect the green-flag order once on the grid.
How are points awarded?
It's similar to stages in the 36 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Meaning the winner of each Duel will get 10 points down to the 10th-place driver, who will get one point. Two drivers -- each Duel winner -- will head into the Daytona 500 with a share of the point lead.

First 10 points
Second 9 points
Third 8 points
Fourth 7 points
Fifth 6 points
Sixth 5 points
Seventh 4 points
Eighth 3 points
Ninth 2 points
Tenth 1 point

What if the Duels are rained out?If both Duels are canceled due to weather, officials will use qualifying results to determine the four Open teams that would advance.

Should only the second Can-Am Duel be canceled due to weather, the highest finishing Open team from the first Duel would earn a starting berth, with the remaining three positions determined based on qualifying results.
In the event of a complete rainout of the Duels where the event is not rescheduled, the full field will be set according to the NASCAR Rule Book. Source: R J Kraft NASCAR.COM

Monday, February 20, 2017

Patrick adds more history to her Daytona resume

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Patrick adds more history to her Daytona resume !

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Danica Patrick stood on Daytona International Speedway pit road early Sunday afternoon smiling after a fourth-place finish in the NASCAR season-opening, 75-lap Advance Auto Parts Clash exhibition race.

Even she was quick to remind the gathered press this wasn't a points event.

But, she conceded it was a nice way to competitively start a season and that can't be a bad thing.

Her fourth-place showing didn't earn her any points, but it did mark the highest finish for a woman in a NASCAR-sanctioned race at Daytona. And she was the top performer Sunday on the Stewart-Haas Racing team -- something her team owner Tony Stewart recognized following the race, stopping by for a congratulatory pat on the back and some words of encouragement.
As she walked into the garage to prepare for Daytona 500 qualifying a couple hours later, there were loud and rousing cheers from fans acknowledging her work.

"If you're gonna have one track where I've had good races, you kind of hope Daytona is one of them or maybe the one," Patrick said. "It would be great to get a 500 win, but it's great to run up front."

In fact, Patrick's work in six years of NASCAR starts on the Daytona high banks has been both historic and praiseworthy.

She sat on the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500 and has two top-10 finishes in nine starts here -- including an eighth-place in the 2013 Daytona 500.

"We definitely had some luck on our side today with a couple cars spinning down below (on the last lap)," Patrick said. "It felt like a 'Days of Thunder' moment where you see the smoke but hold it wide open and hopefully come out the other side. But that's the name of the game.
"There were certain times I felt like we were competitive and running up there and certain times I felt like I got pushed out. That's the nature of this racing. As there were less cars out there, it got harder and harder to recover from those moments where someone hung you out.

But we had a good result and that's what we show up for."
Source: Holly Cain NASCAR

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Eric Berndt Ready to Challenge for SK Modified® Championship at Stafford

Posted by Wayne G. Barber
Stafford Springs, CT) --- With the 2017 season on the horizon at Stafford Motor Speedway, Cromwell native Eric Berndt is preparing to embark on his 23rd consecutive season of SK Modified® competition at the half-mile facility.  Berndt began his modified career in 1995 at the age of 16 and has been part of the SK Modified® landscape at Stafford ever since. 
Berndt has finished in the top-5 of the points standings 6 times in his career and the top-10 13 times.  He has recorded 6 consecutive top-8 finishes in the points standings and he is looking to build some consistency in order to capture his first career Stafford championship with his #66 Cos Williams owned Cos’ Central Auto / North End Auto Parts machine.
“We had a pretty good 2016 season so we’re hoping we can take some of what we had towards the end of the season with a couple of wins and build on that for a stronger 2017,” said Berndt.  “We’re looking to get out of the gate good because the first race of the season can be a make or break race. Last year we were in the top-4 and we lost an engine about a month and a half before the season ended and that kind of set us back.  We’re close, we just need to have a little more consistency.  You definitely don’t want to have to dig yourself out of a hole at the beginning of the year.  If we can have a good Sizzler and roll into some top-5’s from there, hopefully we can be a contender for the championship.”
Berndt has collected 17 SK Modified® feature wins at Stafford during his career and his best career finish in the points standings came in 2003 when he finished second behind Kerry Malone.  With one career championship to his name coming back in 2003 at Thompson, Berndt knows what it takes to be in contention for and win a championship, but with the level of competition in Stafford’s SK Modified® division, the degree of difficulty is at an all-time high.
“The SK Modifieds® at Stafford are tough because you know you have no room for error,” said Berndt.  “I don’t even know if [defending track champion Rowan Pennink] had one DNF last season.  If you’re having a bad night, you have to try to get it turned around and still try to get a top-10 finish if you can.  But that isn’t easy to do because the competition at Stafford is so strong.  In the past 6 or 7 years at Stafford, there always seems to be that one car every year that is really fast and hard to catch.  Whether it’s Ryan Preece, Rowan Pennink, Teddy Christopher, or Keith Rocco, there’s always that one car that you’re chasing.  We’d sure love to be that car this year and string together a 5 or 6 win season.”
One race that Berndt and his crew have their eyes on is the 4th Annual NAPA SK 5k set for July 7.  Berndt has had success in extra distance races in the past, winning the SK Modified® 100 at Stafford back in 2003 and he has several extra distance wins at Waterford.  A win in the big money, big prestige race could be just the boost that the team needs to put themselves into championship mode during the 2017 season.
“We’d definitely love to win the 5k,” said Berndt.  “Not only for the payout but just the prestige of that race, we’d love to put that notch in our hats.  Last season was the closest we’ve come to winning that race and we ended up finishing third.  The longer races have always seemed to be a strong point for us in my career.  We’ve hit a couple of the 100 lappers, but we don’t have a 150 win or a 5k win yet.  My grandfather won a championship with Teddy at Waterford and I won at Thompson, so Stafford is next.  We’ve finished second in points before, so we’ve been close, just a couple of hiccups here and there that kept us from winning.  It would be great because I still have a couple of guys who have been with me for 10-15 years.”
In addition to his SK Modified® duties, Berndt will also be busy on Monday nights with his kids racing in the Wild Thing Kart Series.  His oldest daughter Brooke is taking a year away from racing but his son Parker and his youngest daughter Summer will be taking to the Stafford Mini-Mile.
“Brooke is taking a year off because she’s getting into dance but my son Parker will be in the primary car and my youngest Summer will be getting started this year,” said Berndt.  “It’s a lot of family fun racing with my kids and you can never get that back so that’s something I always look forward to.  It’s always fun to have the the who did better that week discussion in the shop with them as well.”
Berndt and the rest of the SK Modified® field will get their first on track experience of the new year in the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler on April 28-30.  Tickets for the “Greatest Race in the History of Spring” are on sale now at the Speedway Box Office.  Tickets are priced at $40.00 for adult general admission tickets, $5.00 for children ages 6-14, and children ages 5 and under are admitted free of charge when accompanied by an adult.  Reserved seating is priced at $42.00 for all ages.  As always, Stafford Motor Speedway offers free parking with overnight parking available.  All tickets are good for both Saturday and Sunday admission.  All ticket prices include 10% CT Admission Tax.
For more information on the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler, or to order tickets, contact the Stafford Motor Speedway track office at 860-684-2783 or visit us on the web at

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona

Posted by Wayne G. Barber

The 2017 Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona will consist of:
2016 Coors Light Pole Winners
Past Event winners
Past Daytona 500 pole winners
2016 Chase drivers
Updated 2-15-2017

THE RACE, Saturday, February 18, 2017

TV: FS1 at 8:00pm/et
Green Flag Scheduled: approx 8:29 pm/et
Format: 75-lap, 187.5-mile race, two segments.
A competition caution at Lap 25 will separate the segments.
Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN) & SiriusXM Satellite Radio Channel 90

Friday, February 10, 2017

Key changes in NASCAR for 2017

Photo Credit: Getty Images
Posted by Wayne G. Barber

Participation Guidelines

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers with more than five years of full-time experience are limited to 10 races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and seven in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Those guidelines also prohibit those drivers from participating in the final eight events of the season for the XFINITY and Truck Series -- that stretch includes the regular-season finale and all playoff races. The guidelines do not apply to drivers with fewer than five years of full-time experience in the top series.