Bayne Returns Home In Race Car Honoring Tennessee’s Summitt
Tennessee native Trevor Bayne (Knoxville) returns to his home state for this weekend’s NNS Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway with a paint scheme honoring one of the state’s biggest icons, University of Tennessee Head Women’s Basketball Coach Emeritus Pat Summitt.
Bayne will be driving the Roush Fenway Racing-owned No. 60 Yourracecar.com Ford Mustang sporting the phrase "We Back Pat." The Volunteer-orange race car is part of a promotion to raise awareness for The Pat Summitt Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for the battle against Alzheimer’s.
"Growing up in Knoxville, I’ve always been a big UT fan and an even bigger fan of Pat Summitt," said Bayne, who has one top-five finish in five starts in the series this year. "I have always respected what she stood for. … I am excited she is going to be a part of our team at Bristol."
Summitt will serve as Grand Marshal of the Food City 250 on Friday night. In 38 years at UT, Summitt led the Lady Volunteers to eight NCAA titles.
Biffle Regains Lead
The early-season points leader is back atop the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings following last Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 victory. Biffle won for the second time this season, giving him three additional bonus points when the standings are reset for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup™, which begins Sept. 16 at Chicagoland Speedway.
The driver of Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 16 Ford largely had dropped out of the championship conversation after losing the points lead in early June.
"Well, I know that a lot of people don’t expect us to win the championship and don’t expect us to compete for the title, but I don’t care what they say or who they want to talk about or what they want to talk about," Biffle said. "We will be a factor when it comes down to Homestead, I promise you that."
The top four in the championship standings – Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Earnhardt and Johnson – have separated themselves from the next six contenders.
ARCA Series Takes to the Dirt!
The ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, celebrating its 60th Anniversary Season in 2012, is steering for the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds "Magic Mile" dirt, where the 60th running of the Southern Illinois 100 presented by Federated Car Care comes alive Labor Day Monday, September 3. The momentous meeting will take shape alongside the 90th annual DuQuoin State Fair.
Fittingly, much of ARCA's rich history played out on dirt tracks across America. In fact, the 2012 Southern Illinois 100 marks the 347th ARCA race on dirt since the series' inception in 1953.
"The Illinois State Fair mile dirt venues are vitally important to the character and identity of the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards," said ARCA President Ron Drager. "It's a conscious effort on our part to continue to recognize the role non-pavement tracks played in the development of our series, and motorsports as a whole, and the role dirt racing continues to play today."
The past winners list of the Southern Illinois 100 includes some of the greatest names in motorsports. Jay Frank won the inaugural Southern Illinois 100 in 1950. Marshall Teague, Indy 500 winners Jimmy Bryan and AJ Foyt, Fred Lorenzen, Don White, Norm Nelson, Jack Bowsher, NASCAR champions Rusty Wallace and Tony Stewart, Bob Keselowski, Billy Thomas, Ken Schrader, Parker Kligerman, and most recently, Buescher, in 2011.
Chase ‘Wild Card’ Opportunities Fading Fast
With the regular season dwindling down to a precious few races, the Chase "Wild Card" race literally has become a game of musical chairs.
Six winners into two seats obviously won’t go. And that doesn’t take into consideration four more drivers ranked 11th through 20th able to win their way into post-season racing.
Kasey Kahne and Ryan Newman retained the provisional "Wild Cards" in Michigan. Kyle Busch, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose and Joey Logano must wait for another day – or in the case of Bristol, night – to oust their rivals. Hope remains for non-winners Carl Edwards, Paul Menard, Jamie McMurray and Jeff Burton.
Kahne holds the best cards: Two victories to his challengers’ one or zero. He’s also only 33 points out of the top 10 and the possibility of entering the Chase with at least six bonus points.
Bristol isn’t quite a get-it-done-or-else affair but it’s close – especially for drivers who have feasted at the 0.533-mile concrete-surfaced oval in past years. That would be Busch and Gordon, five-time winners, and Edwards, who counts a pair of victories.
Aleks Gregory Looking for Successful Short Track Debut
BATON ROUGE, La. (August 22, 2012) - In what seems to be the new normal for Aleks Gregory in his debut ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season, the 23-year-old rookie is set for another first this weekend- his first-career short track start. Coming off his best-career finish with his new team, Coulter Motorsports, in his last ARCA start at one of the largest tracks on the series, Pocono Raceway, Gregory is eager to carry that momentum to one of the shortest tracks on the schedule, half-mile Madison International Speedway, in Sunday afternoon's Herr's Live Life with Flavor 200.
To say that Gregory will be a rookie when he takes his No. 61 The Mosquito Patch Chevrolet around Madison's half-mile oval might be an understatement as the Baton Rouge native's only short track experience comes as a spectator watching the ARCA Racing Series compete at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2011. But, armed with the experience of his Coulter Motorsports team and new crew chief, veteran Jon Wolfe, Gregory and team have high expectations for a strong finish.
In preparation for his first short track start Gregory and his No. 61 crew tested at Gresham Motorsports Park last week, where he was able to begin his relationship with Wolfe while learning how to negotiate a high-powered stock car around a half-mile track.
"The test out in Gresham was great," said Gregory. "It will definitely prove to be beneficial in Madison. Being able to work with Jon Wolfe and Kelly Bires- in just those seven hours that we were at the track, I learned so much from both of those guys."