Wed11262014

Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

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Change in format for the annual NASCAR All-Star race

The 28th running of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race will provide some additional incentive for drivers to win one of the four segments heading into the final 10-lap shootout, as the emphasis on winning and pit road strategy have never been more prevalent in this special night of NASCAR star-studded competition. Through the annual Sprint Fan Vote, under way now, fans can again cast ballots for their favorite eligible driver. The driver receiving the highest number of votes will earn a spot in the field.

The NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race set for Saturday, May 19 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (SPEED, 7 p.m.), will consist of four 20-lap segments, concluding with a 10-lap sprint and a $1 million payout to the race winner. This year’s format will place a higher premium for drivers who win one of the four segments, however, as the winners of the first four segments will move to the front of the field and line up 1-4 prior to the field coming to pit road

Read more: Change in format for the annual NASCAR All-Star race

Cup Series competitors enjoy Easter weekend holiday

With the traditional Easter bye week in place, everyone in NASCAR’s national divisions got  last  weekend off  to collectively exhale – especially those in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage who have been busy on-track since the third week of February.

All continue to chase Greg Biffle, whose revamped team under direction of crew chief Matt Puccia has been the “steady Eddie” of the 2012 season. Biffle took over the points’ lead after finishing third at Las Vegas and, with three top-five and four top-10 finishes,

Read more: Cup Series competitors enjoy Easter weekend holiday

Martinsville’s Big Three - Johnson, Gordon, Hamlin - shut out again

If last season’s victory lane celebration at Martinsville Speedway seemed a bit odd, consider that 2011 was the first time since 2002 that one of the track’s current Big Three - Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, or Denny Hamlin - failed to win at least one race at the flat 1/2 mile track. Going into last Sunday’s race the trio had combined to win 14 of the track’s past 18 races.

Gordon had season sweeps in 2003 and 2005. Johnson did the same in 2007. Hamlin swept both Martinsville races in 2010. The only driver besides Gordon, Johnson and Hamlin to score multiple victories at Martinsville in the last nine years was Tony Stewart who won the fall Martinsville race last year. That win started Stewart on his

Read more: Martinsville’s Big Three - Johnson, Gordon, Hamlin - shut out again

Gordon leads California contingent

With three victories at Auto Club Speedway, Jeff Gordon has reason to enjoy visits to his home state. Gordon, who spent his early childhood in Vallejo, east of San Francisco, has also won five times at Infineon Raceway. He’s tied with Bobby Allison for the most wins in the state of California with eight.

But there’s another reason Gordon has fond memories of the southern California trips. Hollywood. He’s attended several Oscar parties, meeting Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and Meryl Steep, among other actors.

“I remember several years ago meeting Tom Cruise for the first time at an Oscar Party. There was a long of people that were there to meet him,” Gordon said. Rick Hendrick is friends with Cruise and said if you get a chance, go up and say hi to him, and tell him I said hi.”

Gordon is far from the only Californian who made the trip home last weekend. Kevin Harvick and Casey Mears are from Bakersfield. Jimmie Johnson is from El Cajon in the San Diego area. David Gilliland and Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Josh Wise are from Riverside, not far from Auto Club Speedway. Robby Gordon is from Orange, also in Southern California, and A. J. Allmendinger is from Los Gatos.

Gordon was a finalist for this year’s Justice Brothers-Shav Glick Award presented to those who have made significant contributions to California motorsports. The award is named for the late Los Angeles Times motorsports writer. The other finalists are drag race, “TV Tommy” Ivo, Indianapolis roadster builder A.J. Watson, and sports car competitor Tony Adamowicz. Dan Gurney, a five time winner at the old Riverside International Raceway, is among the past winners.

Read more: Gordon leads California contingent

Penske’s Brad Keselowski wins Food City 500

Four races into the 2012 season and each manufacturer can boast of a win.  

Matt Kenseth drove his Roush Fenway Racing Ford to victory lane at Daytona.  The following week it was off to Phoenix, and Denny Hamlin drove his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to the win.

Tony Stewart, notorious for getting off to a slow start each season, notched his earliest-ever win in week three at Las Vegas, wheeling  his Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet to victory lane. Last Sunday it was Dodge’s turn, as Brad Keselowski drove the Blue Deuce, Penske Racing  Dodge to the win.

This was Keselowski’s second straight win at Bristol. He won the late season race at Bristol last season.  It was career  Cup win number 5 for the 28 year-old from Rochester Hills Michigan, and his second win in five starts at the high banked half

Read more: Penske’s Brad Keselowski wins Food City 500

Stewart holds off Johnson for Las Vegas victory

When you think back to the dramatic duel Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart waged down the stretch last season for the Championship, it seems a bit odd that last Sunday’s Kobalt Tools  400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked exactly one year since Carl Edwards’ last victory.

Another win or two over the remainder of the 2011 season could have made the Missouri driver the 2011 Sprint Cup Series Champion, just based on some wins.

Stewart’s historic run, winning five of the 10 Chase races that ended the season with Edwards and Stewart tied in the points saw the

Read more: Stewart holds off Johnson for Las Vegas victory

 

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