KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race
We hope you will join us here every Friday, where we will reveal our thoughts about the week’s events in motorsports while previewing the coming weekend’s major events.
For the purpose of this blog, our heat race will be 10 laps in length.
1. After much speculation to the contrary, Penske Racing will continue with a three-car IndyCar Series team next season with drivers Will Power, Helio Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe all returning to the fold.
2. NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East schedule was fascinating with the addition of several new tracks, which will feature very different types of racing for developmental stock-car series. Many were thrilled to see a June 4 event on the historic quarter-mile at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C. As well, the series will join the Cup cars on the fast three-quarter-mile track at Richmond Int’l Raceway April 28. Langley Speedway in Virginia, which like Bowman Gray hosted early days NASCAR Grand National (Cup) events, is on the slate for the first time June 18. The series will also make a first-time visit to the half-mile Columbus Motor Speedway in Ohio July 23.
3. In the seven races, which concluded the ASCS Lucas Sprint Car Series season out west, six of the feature winners were not tour regulars with all five of those cars owned by NASCAR drivers. Two-time NASCAR champ Tony Stewart won at Las Vegas in his own car, while Steve Kinser and Donny Schatz (2) earned victories in Stewart’s cars at Tucson, Ariz., and Las Cruces, N.M. Joey Saldana claimed the series finale in a Kasey Kahne car. The other winners were tour regular Jack Dover and New Mexico veteran Johnny Herrera. Great car counts were on hand at all three venues.
4. It was interesting to see Sarah Fisher has retired from driving. Hiring Ed Carpenter is an excellent start to building one of IndyCar’s teams of the future.
5. Tony Stewart won Friday night’s ASCS sprint-car race in Las Vegas then spent the whole week in Sin City awaiting tonight’s NASCAR banquet. How long do you think his short-track winnings lasted him?
6. Only 40 days until the Chili Bowl.
7. The racing schedule is slim the next few weeks and banquet time is upon us. We’ll be hitting the ARCA award ceremony on Saturday. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series banquet is Friday as is USAC’s crowning of Bryan Clauson as National Driver’s Champion. The following weekend brings the NASCAR Weekly Racing and Touring banquets to Charlotte.
8. Being popular has its drawbacks. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. had to trek to Las Vegas just to pick up the Most Popular Driver award at today’s Myers Brothers Luncheon. Otherwise, Earnhardt was not required to attend tonight’s banquet festivities, as he did not finish in the top 20.
9. Am I the only one that broke out a little “Charlie Brown” when he heard that U.S. Army extended its sponsorship of NHRA’s Tony Schumacher and NASCAR’s Ryan Newman. I’m stoked to hear Schumacher talk about being Army Strong for another season. Oh, good grief.
10. Time’s running out to get your driver greetings into NSSN for the year-end issue.
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