Each Sunday the NASCAR RaceDay crew gets you ready for the day's race with news and insight not found anywhere else.
This week, Wendy Venturini mapped out possible crew chief changes for the 2014 season, Richard Childress Racing's Gil Martin broke down the pit strategy needed to win at Phoenix International Raceway, and Krista Voda talked to Michael Waltrip Racing's Clint Bowyer about hisincident with Jeff Gordon last seasonand the fallout from the Richmond controversy.
Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer are parked next to each other in the Phoenix International Raceway garage.
(Shake And Bake Crew, FOX Sports)
Think that NASCAR teams don't hold a grudge?
A year ago at Phoenix International Raceway, a frustrated Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecked Clint Bowyer, triggering a brawl in the garage between Bowyer's Michael Waltrip Racing crew and Gordon's Hendrick Motorsports outfit.
This year, the two teams are pitted next to each other in the garage at PIR, and Bowyer's crew prepared an anniversary gift of sorts for their next-door neighbors: Two cakes topped with an image of last year's crash.
To say Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports was dominant in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway would be quite the understatement.
For the majority of the night, all four Hendrick cars - Kahne, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. - were the class of the field. The group led a staggering 313 of the 334 laps, but not the last one.
That honor went to Penske Racing's Brad Keselowski.
The defending series champion has had a tumultuous season, dealing with controversy, contract negotiations and missing the Chase. Going into Saturday night's race, Keselowski was winless through 45 races - just over a full season. Overcoming multiple issues throughout the race, Keselowski earned his first victory of 2013 in a dramatic battle in the closing laps with Kahne.
"I love hard racing and there are a handful of guys you can't race hard within this deal because they freak out, but Kasey is not one of them," Keselowski said. "He's an excellent driver and he ran me hard, but he ran me clean and that's great racing."
KANSAS CITY, KS - OCT. 04: The car of Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 Raspberry5-hourEnergybeneLivingBynd Toyota, sits in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 13th Annual Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on Oc. 4, 2013 in Kansas City, Ks. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Sean Gardner, Getty Images North America)
Earlier this week, Charlotte Motor Speedway painted the pit road wall and start/finish line pink to help kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Now, this weekend at Kansas Speedway, a number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series cars are sporting pink colors to do the same.
Austin Dillon's No. 3 Nationwide Series car
KANSAS CITY, KS - OCT. 04: Austin Dillon, driver of the No. 3 AdvoCare Spark Chevrolet, drives into the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series 13th Annual Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway on Oct. 4, 2013 in Kansas City, Ks. (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
So you think your pit crew can dance? The guys at Michael Waltrip Racing just might have the best moves around. We've seen NASCAR go "Gangham Style" and do the "Harlem Shake". Is this the next big thing?
We're handing out bonus points for keeping their fire suits on ... unlike these guys.
LOUDON, NH - JULY 14: Brian Vickers, driver of the No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Camping World RV Sales 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 14, 2013 in Loudon, N.H.
(Patrick Smith, Getty Images North America)
There are plenty of cool trophies in NASCAR, but none of them quite compare to the one given to the winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Along with the traditional hardware, the driver that wins at the 'Magic Mile' is also given a live rock lobster. Provided by Makris Lobster and Steak House in Concord, N.H., the winning driver hoists the living crustacean before usually making one heck of a post-race meal.
Started seven years ago, the tradition of earning a rock lobster at the end of the day is something drivers and fans certainly have fun with.
So it led us to wonder, who has the biggest lobster?
If you haven't seen the new Sprint "Drive To Win" commercial yet, take a look. In what is probably a very accurate representation of the future, a retired Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth are shown still trading paint well into their golden years.
The ad reminded us of a strikingly similar real-life example of the same competitive spirit. When Maurice Petty was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he was on a scooter. As he went to the media room for his interview, he drove his scooter past David Pearson on the ramp to the stage. Maurice turned around, and with a wicked grin, said, "Hah, Pearson! Another Petty just passed you!"
Just as the commercial suggests, these guys truly NEVER forget and NEVER stop racing each other.
KANSAS CITY, KS - APRIL 20: Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, signs autographs for fans in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 400 at Kansas Speedway on April 20, 2013 in Kansas City, Kan. (Photo by Geoff Burke/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Geoff Burke, NASCAR)
The NASCAR fan base is one of the most loyal and passionate group of fans in all of sports, and that is evident on social media. Following nearly every NASCAR race, Facebook and Twitter explode with comments and opinions from fans of nearly every driver and team.
While NASCAR was handing out its stiffest penalty to date against Michael Waltrip Racing, the NASCAR Twittersphere was on fire with reaction from fans and drivers alike.
As part of the penalties, the organization was fined $300,000, all three MWR cars have been penalized 50 owner and driver points, MWR Executive Vice President/General Manager Ty Norris was suspended indefinitely, and each of the team's three crew chiefs has been placed on probation for the remainder of the year.
This means Martin Truex Jr. is no longer in the Chase, moving Stewart-Haas Racing's Ryan Newman into the 12-driver field fighting for the championship.
Team owner Michael Waltrip took to Twitter to defend his team:
This wasn't a master plan or about a spin. It's about a split-second decision made by Ty to try to help a teammate. I stand by my people.
RICHMOND, VA - SEPT. 07: Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 15 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, is involved in an on-track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 56th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 7, 2013 in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Chris Graythen, NASCAR)
Saturday night's Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway ended with multiple controversies, as Clint Bowyer appeared to cause an intentional spin to bring out a caution on Lap 394. Race-winner Carl Edwards seemed to jump the restart on Lap 398 and Brian Vickers slowed way down on the final lap, apparently to let Joey Logano pass him.
The net effect of all these shenanigans was profound: Martin Truex Jr., the teammate of Bowyer and Vickers at Michael Waltrip Racing, was the final driver to transfer into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, winning a wild-card spot on a tiebreaker with Ryan Newman. Logano made it into 10th place by a single-point over Jeff Gordon.
Without the Bowyer spin, none of this would have happened and Truex would have been the odd man out and Gordon and Newman would have been in.
RICHMOND, VA - SEPT. 07: Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Kellogg's / Cheez-It Ford, leads the field to a restart during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 56th Annual Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond International Raceway on Sept. 7, 2013 in Richmond, Va. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Streeter Lecka, Getty Images North America)
The annual Chase cut-off race at Richmond International Raceway always comes with drama and excitement, and this year's race was no different.
As the race progressed, the Chase picture was constantly changing. Jeff Gordon was in, then he was out. Ryan Nemwan was in as the Wild Card, then he wasn't. Joey Logano was in, then he was out, then he was back in.
The calculators were certainly working overtime as the stress level was pegged.
After the race, the drama didn't end as many raised questions about the final caution and last restart.
HAMPTON, GA - SEPT. 01: Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AdvoCare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept. 1, 2013 in Hampton, Ga. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/NASCAR via Getty Images)
It's time to GIF It Up from Atlanta!
In the town aptly called Hot 'Lanta, the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series sent up plenty of smoke to go with the fireworks on and off the track.
Kasey Kahne got things started early as smoke billowed from his car after rear-ending teammate Jimmie Johnson on a botched restart.
Jimmie Johnson appeared on FOX Sports Live Sunday night to talk about his sixth NASCAR championship. In the one-on-one interview with Dan O'Toole, he was also asked about McNabb's controversal comments about drivers not being athletes.