NASCAR Racing Begins with ARCA Racing in More Ways Than One

The seemingly long off season for Stock Car racing is almost over. The season actually begins with the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards opening at Daytona International Speedway. The  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with open with their exhibition race The Clash at Daytona several hours later. But in some ways NASCAR Cup racing begins with ARCA racing.

In years past many future Monster Energy NASCAR Cup stars got their start in the ARCA Racing Series. Ryan Newman won this race in 2001, Kyle Busch in 2004 and James Buescher in 2009 but many others got important experience by racing this race and in this series.

In 2014, Cup driver Chase Elliott started fifth and finished ninth in this race. Daniel Suarez was also in this race started third and finished fifth. Suarez was also in the race in 2015 starting sixth and finishing second.

Last year we had some future NASCAR stars in this race; NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers Cole Custer (10th) and William Byron (2nd), also NASCAR Camping World Truck driver Chase Briscoe (4th). Camping World Truck driver Grant Enfinger won this race in 2014 and 2015.

This year we have Xfinity Driver Matt Tifft in this race.  20 year old Tifft was a NASCAR Next driver in 2016.  17 year old Riley Herbst driving full time in the ARCA series for Joe Gibbs Racing will also be a rising star to watch.

John Wes Townley won this race last year and retired from all racing at the end of the season.

As always though these big money NASCAR teams will have to contend with the ARCA regulars like eight time winner of this race Bobby Gerhart in his legendary No. 5 Lucas Oil Machine.

If you cannot get to Daytona International Speedway for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards; Lucas Oil Complete Engine Treatment 200 Driven by General Tire it will be shown on Fox Sports 1 on February 18th at 4 PM ET.

Feature Photo Credit ARCA Racing

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Loves Travel Stops Continues Sponsoring the No. 34 with Landon Cassill

Landon Cassill was spotted getting his new 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford Fusion serviced at a Loves in Salisbury North Carolina today.

Front Row Motorsports announced in December that Landon Cassill would be back driving for them this coming season but would switch from their number 38 Ford to the number 34. Cassill, in his first season driving for Front Row had seven top-20 finishes but more importantly finished 98% of the total laps.

Cassill posted an emotional farewell on his Facebook page saying his goodbye to the No. 38 and hello to change. Set to Toto’s song Africa he held up flash cards talking about this change.

It was my choice. A choice for my family, my team, my sponsors and my car owner. The original FRM legacy. The number that signifies a small team going to the big leagues. The number that has seen victory lane. Twice. It’s ok to cry. But remember were here to evolve and inspire. I can’t wait for 2017, and I know we will find a fun, new campaign even better than the 2016.” Landon Cassill via flash cards.

Front Row Motorsports is continuing their relationship with Roush Fenway and Roush Yates Engines. They are bringing David Ragan, who got their first win in the No. 34, back to drive the No. 38.

Loves Travel Stops sponsored the number 34 last year for 18 races with Chris Buescher. It appears from the picture that they are continuing their sponsorship for 2017. We will know how many races sometime in the coming weeks.

Feature Photo Credit: John Vass

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Put an Offense Mentality in the Chase – Revisited

In the first round of the Chase Martin Truex Jr. won two of the three races in the Round of 16 of the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup. It begged the question. What if you can eliminate drivers from the Chase by winning multiple races?  So what would have happened?

In the round of 16, Martin Truex Jr. won two races and Kevin Harvick one. Both drivers were Chase Contenders. Because Truex won two races then one driver would be eliminated from the Round of 12 in the addition to the four originally planned. Martin Truex Jr. would have then eliminated a potential contender. In this case that driver was Austin Dillon the lowest in points of the 12 Chase drivers who did not win a race.

In the round of 12 (only 11 drivers), Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano won races. All were Chase Contenders. Kevin Harvick, because this was his second Chase win would eliminate a driver from the Round of 8. This is where it potentially gets confusing. Since there was only 11 drivers the bottom four are eliminated. They are Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin. Carl Edwards the next lowest in points of the Chase drivers who did not win a race would be eliminated due to Harvick’s win. This would leave Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick. Only six drivers because of the two multiple wins.

In the round of 8 (only 6 drivers), Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano won races.  In this case Johnson and Logano had already won races so they would have eliminated two drivers from the final race (Race of four). Because a driver who wins in a round automatically moves on to the next round this would leave only Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano to fight it out at Homestead Miami for the Championship.

Although this format didn’t appear to eliminate the Champion from winning, it did change who was a contender for the Championship. It would have also changed the complexity and strategy of the last race. It puts an even greater emphasis on winning which is what NASCAR intended with this format.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 322798 Chris Trotman/Getty Images

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

2017 is the inaugural season Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Monster Energy will be ushering a new era of NASCAR now that Tony Stewart has joined Jeff Gordon in retirement. Monster is expected to bring even more Energy to the sport as the current stars of NASCAR move over so the new ones can make their mark.

They’re a fun brand that’s going to interact with our core fans in kind of a cool, neat way actually, and we’ve seen some of the plans, and they’ll get bigger and more robust as we go along.” Brian France

Changes will come with the addition of a new sponsor. One change will be the sponsor will be on the top of the windshield of every car instead of the driver’s name. The drivers name will be on the rear window instead. Current drivers like Kurt Busch that were sponsored by Monster Energy will still have that sponsorship.

Like every season, this one will begin with much hope and promise. Brian France said, “We’re — this is where people come to have fun, right?  Our speedways and watch us on television, what better brand to have associated with us than the people who understand that.

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Schedule

Date Location Network Race Start Radio
2/18 The Unlimited at

Daytona International Speedway

FS1

 

8 p.m.

 

MRN / SiriusXM
2/19 DAYTONA 500 Qualifying at

Daytona International Speedway

FOX

 

3 p.m.

 

MRN / SiriusXM
2/23 Can-Am Duel at

Daytona International Speedway

FS1 7 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
2/26 DAYTONA 500 at

Daytona International Speedway

FOX 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
3/5 Atlanta Motor Speedway FOX 2:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
3/12 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
3/19 Phoenix International Raceway FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
3/26 Auto Club Speedway FOX 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
4/2 Martinsville Speedway FS1 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
4/9 Texas Motor Speedway FOX 1:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
4/23 Bristol Motor Speedway FOX 2 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
4/30 Richmond International Raceway FOX 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/7 Talladega Superspeedway FOX 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/13 Kansas Speedway FS1 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/20 NASCAR All-Star Race at

Charlotte Motor Speedway

FS1 6 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/28 Coca-Cola 600 at

Charlotte Motor Speedway

FOX 6 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
6/4 Dover International Speedway FS1 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/11 Pocono Raceway FS1 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/18 Michigan International Speedway FS1 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/25 Sonoma Raceway FS1 3 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
7/1 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway NBC 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
7/8 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
7/16 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
7/23 Indianapolis Motor Speedway NBC 3 p.m. IMS / SiriusXM
7/30 Pocono Raceway NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/6 Watkins Glen International NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/13 Michigan International Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/19 Bristol Motor Speedway NBC 7:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
9/3 Darlington Raceway NBCSN 6 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/9 Richmond International Raceway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/17 Chicagoland Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/24 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 2 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
10/1 Dover International Speedway NBCSN 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/7 Charlotte Motor Speedway NBCSN 7 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
10/15 Talladega Superspeedway NBC 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/22 Kansas Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/29 Martinsville Speedway NBCSN 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/5 Texas Motor Speedway NBC 2 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
11/12 Phoenix International Raceway NBC 2:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/19 Homestead-Miami Speedway NBC 2:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM

Check out the schedule and make your travel plans to attend a race or two. Don’t forget to check out to see if there is a companion event for the XFINITY or Camping World Truck Series. Hope to see you there.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 322808 Chris Trotman/Getty Images

2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Schedule

The 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series season is starting. 2016 was the inaugural season of the extension of the Chase format to this series. Daniel Suarez won the Championship. He had three wins and 27 top ten finishes in a 33 race season. He had a super season although on too many occasions he was upstaged by the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kyle Busch.

Kyle Busch again dominated this Series with 10 wins and 14 top ten finishes in his 17 starts. This has got to stop so that drivers like Suarez can build their fan base and legacy to this sport.

Next year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers with five or more years of experience will be limited to ten starts in this Series.

The updated guidelines will elevate the stature of our future stars, while also providing them the opportunity to compete against the best in professional motorsports,” said Jim Cassidy, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. “These updated guidelines are the result of a collaborative effort involving the entire industry, and will ultimately better showcase the emerging stars of NASCAR.

2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series Schedule

Date Location Network Race Start Radio
2/25 Daytona International Speedway FS1 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
3/4 Atlanta Motor Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
3/11 Las Vegas Motor Speedway FS1 4 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
3/18 Phoenix International Raceway FOX 4 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
3/25 Auto Club Speedway FS1 4 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
4/8 Texas Motor Speedway FOX 1:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
4/22 Bristol Motor Speedway FS1 12:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
4/29 Richmond International Raceway FS1 12:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/6 Talladega Superspeedway FOX 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
5/27 Charlotte Motor Speedway FS1 1 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
6/3 Dover International Speedway FS1 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/10 Pocono Raceway FOX 1 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/17 Michigan International Speedway FS1 1:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/24 Iowa Speedway FS1 8:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
6/30 Daytona International Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
7/7 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 8 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
7/15 New Hampshire Motor Speedway NBCSN 4 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
7/22 Indianapolis Motor Speedway NBCSN 3:30 p.m. IMS / SiriusXM
7/29 Iowa Speedway NBC 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/5 Watkins Glen International NBCSN 2 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course NBCSN 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
8/18 Bristol Motor Speedway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
8/27 Road America NBC 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/2 Darlington Raceway NBCSN 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/8 Richmond International Raceway NBCSN 7:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/16 Chicagoland Speedway NBCSN 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
9/23 Kentucky Speedway NBCSN 8 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
9/30 Dover International Speedway NBCSN 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
10/6 Charlotte Motor Speedway NBCSN 8 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
10/21 Kansas Speedway NBC 3 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/4 Texas Motor Speedway NBCSN 8:30 p.m. PRN / SiriusXM
11/11 Phoenix International Raceway NBC 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM
11/18 Homestead-Miami Speedway NBCSN 3:30 p.m. MRN / SiriusXM

Check out the schedule and make your travel plans to attend a race or two. Hope to see you there.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Follow him on Twitter @brian_jr1 during the race and throughout the week for more NASCAR news and commentary.

Feature Photo Credit: 322780 Jerry Markland/Getty Images

 

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