Page 2 for the week of 02-24-2014

The First Reid: Phoenix Will Offer First Full Version Of Amped-Up Qualifying

By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service

At Daytona, fans got an appetizer.

At Phoenix International Raceway, they’ll get the full-course meal.

The debut of NASCAR’s new knockout qualifying in Nationwide Series time trials at Daytona International Speedway was truncated by rain. Drivers completed the first 25-minute session, but weather washed out the 10- and five-minute sessions that were to follow.

Rain wiped out NASCAR Camping World Truck Series qualifying completely. But fans got a big enough taste of the new format to whet their appetites for the first use of the knockout system in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on Feb. 28 at Phoenix.

What was clear from the abbreviated NNS qualifying at Daytona was the exponential increase in strategic elements both drivers and crew chiefs must consider.

Is it best to go out early in the first session to give your tires the maximum time to cool, or do you go out late when you already know what the top qualifying speed might be?

On a one-mile track, how do you pick an entry to the speedway that will give you a clean lap?

If you’re impeded on your first qualifying attempt, is it really worth sustaining additional tire wear to record a better time?

Even though qualifying was cut short at Daytona, drivers universally agreed that the Nationwide Series time trials packed enhanced entertainment value into a more compact time window.

That should be doubly true at Phoenix when the full format rolls out for the first time.


COOL KIDS: The must-have fashion accessory of 2014? The stylish toddler fedora! Who wore it best? Keelan Harvick or Evie Johnson?
  • Despite the copious amount of wreckage that occurred during the 2014 Daytona 500, NASCAR would like to clarify that it wasn’t actually the “Eliminator” round of the Chase.
  • At the moment, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the only driver that can say what 30 or so drivers were able to say after Richmond last year – “I’m in the Chase!”
  • A Dale Earnhardt Daytona 500 victory means one thing and one thing only – look for a Harley J. Earl trophy with a rather high reserve and quality described as “LIKE NEW” to suddenly show up for auction on EBay tomorrow.
  • With the new Chase format firmly in place, we would like for you to comb through your post-race quotes from drivers and bask in the glorious dearth of “Good points day” mentions. You’re welcome.

(Follow @nascarcasm on Twitter and also on His unique views on NASCAR are his own – but chances are you already knew that.)



By Reid Spencer

3: The number of No. 48 Chevrolets pressed into service during Daytona Speedweeks by Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports team. Johnson wrecked his Daytona 500 backup car in the Feb. 15 Sprint Unlimited and lost his Daytona 500 primary car in the last-lap wreck Thursday night’s second Duel.

32: The lap of the Daytona 500 on which Martin Truex Jr.’s oil pump belt dislodged, killing the engine of the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet. Accordingly, Truex was the first driver out of the 56th running of the 500. The car was a backup for Truex, who had earned the second starting spot a week earlier, only to have his car destroyed in a last-lap crash in Thursday night’s Budweiser Duel at Daytona.

10: The number of consecutive races since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has seen a back-to-back winner at Phoenix International Raceway. Jimmie Johnson actually won three straight races at the one-mile track in the Sonoran Desert—the fall race in 2007 and both races in 2008.

11: The maximum degree of banking through Turns 1 and 2 at Phoenix International Raceway, after progressive banking was incorporated into the layout during a 2011 reconfiguration. Aside from Pocono Raceway and the road courses, Phoenix features the most irregular configuration of tracks used in the Sprint Cup Series.

137.279: In miles per hour, the former track-record pole speed at Phoenix, set by Carl Edwards Feb. 25, 2011 in qualifying for the last race before the one-mile track was repaved and reconfigured. Since the renovation, Edwards’ mark has been surpassed three times, with Jimmie Johnson holding the current track record (139.222 mph), set last November.

National Series Standings

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Pos     Driver                                   Points

1      Dale Earnhardt. Jr.                 48

2      Denny Hamlin                         43

3      Brad Keselowski                     42

4      Jeff Gordon                               40

5      Jimmie Johnson                      40

6      Matt Kenseth                            38

7      Ricky Stenhouse. Jr.              37

8      Greg Biffle                                 37

9      Austin Dillon #                        36

10    Casey Mears                             34

11    Joey Logano                             34

12    Kevin Harvick                         31

13    Jamie McMurray                    30

14    Bobby Labonte                       29

15    Reed Sorenson                        28

16    Carl Edwards                           28


NASCAR Nationwide Series

Pos     Driver                                   Points

1      Regan Smith                           47

2      Trevor Bayne                           41

3      Elliott Sadler                            39

4      Brendan Gaughan                   38

5      Ty Dillon #                                37

6      Dylan Kwasniewski              36

7      Joe Nemechek                         32

8      Mike Wallace                           31

9      Chase Elliott #                         29

10    James Buescher                      28


NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

Pos  Driver                                      Points

1      Timothy Peters                       43

2      Johnny Sauter                          41

3      Ron Hornaday Jr.                    39

4      Ryan Blaney                             38

5      Jeb Burton                                 37

6      Jimmy Weller III                    35

7      German Quiroga                     34

8      Ryan Sieg                                   33

9      Tyler Reddick                          32

10    Matt Crafton                            31

Tweets Of The Week From The Daytona 500

Clint Bowyer




Jenna Fryer
Associated Press


All this fretting about if/when it might rain … Why not just ask Tony Stewart’s leg?

Bob Pockrass
The Sporting News


Funny at tweetup: Parker Kligerman said after car stopped on his hood (in practice wreck), he realized he had his foot on the brake. Not much good.

Stewart-Haas Racing @StewartHaasRcng
How good is the #AirTitan? It can stand in a bottomless pit.

The #AirTitan can stain stainless steel.

FACT: #AirTitan can kill two stones with one bird.

It used to be known as the Bermuda Square until #AirTitan made it a triangle.

Freddy Krueger has #AirTitan nightmares.

When #AirTitan pokes you on Facebook, you have to go to the ER.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.






Tonight seemed like as good a night as any to join Twitter. How is everyone doin? #2XDaytona500Champ

Jimmie Johnson



RT @MartySmithESPN: Interesting. Johnson pressured Junior to join twitter. Importance to sponsors & relevance in the current market.

Gary Sinise


With the trophy at Daytona…





Darrell Wallace Jr


Sr is smiling up there.

Michael Waltrip


Winning this race will make you cry. Seeing #Junior win made me cry.

This Week


The Race:

The Profit on CNBC 500 Presented by Small Business Fueling America

The Place:

Phoenix International Raceway

The Date/Time:

Sunday, March 2, 3 p.m.


Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Ch. 90



The Race:

Blue Jeans Go Green 200 presented by Cotton,

The Fabric of Our Lives

The Place:

Phoenix International Raceway

The Date/Time:

Saturday, March 1,

3:45 p.m. ET


Radio: MRN,

Sirius XM Channel 90


Though his Daytona 500 victory didn’t guarantee a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Dale Earnhardt Jr. all but assured himself a spot in NASCAR’s playoffs (the top 15 winners are locked in). Was a potential Chase spot on the two-time Daytona 500 winner’s mind? You bet: “Yeah, (now) we don’t have to think about it,” said Earnhardt. “If everyone is telling the truth, and we’ve won a race, we’re going to be in it. … We’re going for the jugular this year.” … Earnhardt became the 11th driver to win multiple Daytona 500s. That stat has been updated in each of the last three years, with Matt Kenseth (2012) and Jimmie Johnson (2013) also capturing their second win in The Great American Race. … This year, Phoenix International Raceway celebrates its 50th anniversary (NASCAR has raced there since 1988). Throughout the year, the raceway will spotlight the top 50 people who have influenced the track. Among the NASCAR figures already announced are drivers Sam Hornish Jr., Matt Kenseth,  Mark Martin and Kyle Busch. Also on the list is owner Richard Childress and former NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications, the late Jim Hunter. … Last year’s two winners at Phoenix were Carl Edwards (spring) and Kevin Harvick (fall). … Eliminator Preview: If this year’s November winner is a championship-eligible driver, he or she will automatically earn a berth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. … Several members of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage will make a homecoming of sorts this weekend in Phoenix. Notables with Phoenix ties include: Danica Patrick, Michael McDowell, Denny Hamlin and new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Managing Director Richard Buck. … Phoenix is the site of Alan Kulwicki’s first Polish Victory Lap, which he performed after winning the track’s inaugural NSCS race in 1988.

Tune-In: NASCAR On Television, Week of February 24-March 2

Monday, Feb. 24                                          

4 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

9 p.m., NASCAR K&N Pro Series Race at New Smyrna Speedway re-air, FOX Sports 2

2 a.m. (Tue.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2


Tuesday, Feb. 25

11 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., FOX Sports 1 on 1: J. Johnson, FOX Sports 2

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

5:30 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2


Wednesday, Feb. 26                                                          

2 a.m., NASCAR Now, ESPN2

Noon, NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

1 p.m., FOX Sports 1 on 1: J. Johnson, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

2 a.m. (Thu.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2


Thursday, Feb. 27

11 a.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 2

5 p.m., NASCAR America, NBC Sports Network

7 p.m., NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series Race, mun2

1:30 a.m. (Fri.), NASCAR Now, ESPN2


Friday, Feb. 28                                                  

12:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson, FOX Sports 1

1 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice, FOX Sports 1

3:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1 on 1: Jimmie Johnson, FOX Sports 1

4 p.m., NASCAR Race Hub, FOX Sports 1

5 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Practice, FOX Sports 1

6:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Qualifying, FOX Sports 1

8 p.m., Daytona 500 re-air, FOX Sports 1


Saturday, Mar. 1

11 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice, FOX Sports 1

Noon, NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying, FOX Sports 2

1:30 p.m., NASCAR Live, FOX Sports 2

2 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice, FOX Sports 2

3:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Countdown, ABC

3:45 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Series Race at Phoenix, ABC

9:30 p.m., NASCAR Nationwide Qualifying re-air, FOX Sports 2

11 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Practice re-air, FOX Sports 2

4 a.m. (Sun.), NASCAR Nationwide Series Race, ESPN Deportes

Sunday, Mar. 2

12 a.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Final Practice re-air, FOX Sports 2

1:30 p.m., NASCAR RaceDay, FOX Sports 1

2:30 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Pre-Race Show, FOX

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Phoenix, FOX

3 p.m., NASCAR Sprint Cup Race at Phoenix, FOX Deportes

8 p.m., NASCAR Victory Lane, FOX Sports 2

Greg Engle
About Greg Engle 7421 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.