The year is 2013. On September 13th (Friday the 13th, btw) NASCAR made an unprecedented decision to put Gordon into the Chase as a 13th entry following a week of juggling and penalties concerning Michael Waltrip Racing drivers at Richmond.

Gordon logged his first win of the season in Martinsville at the GOODY’S Headache Relief Shot 500 which has injected new hope into the #24 with three races remaining. He has driven from the 13th points slot to 3rd. However, these next three races may stretch the luck of his drive. He is 27 points off the lead. The mathematics of racing keeps him within the margin but Lady Luck needs to keep smiling on the #24 and turn sour on Hendrick team mate Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth of Joe Gibbs Racing. The #48 and the #20 are tied for the first position following Martinsville. (more…)

Martinsville has always held a bit of a temper. Most of the time, it stays in check as “just racin'” but sometimes…

Such was the case for the Kroger 200 (Camping World Series Trucks). Late in the race the Bass Pro Shops #3 of Ty Dillon got into the Anderson’s Maple Syrup – Kroger #14 of Kevin Harvick.

Spin, wall, crash…

After they were able to move, Harvick began tapping and bumping the #3, moved around Dillon but only to jump and brake towards pit road. (more…)

Two weeks. What could happen…?

Apparently, a mishmashed medley of automotive mayhem.

It was only two weeks but in the scope there was a lot of racing, and a lot of driving, for us and for the top series around the world.

For us, it was a trek around a foreign country in a TDI (diesel) VW Golf. Foreign, but still within the language of the King’s English. The land of elves, faeries and leprechauns. Ireland. Left side driving, left side shifting and an added appreciation for driving skill were experiences taken away among the castles and landscapes. The roads are narrow, the cars are agile (most, anyway…) and the driving is on a different level than in the States. Imagine a VW Golf, a Ford Focus, a Chevy Cruze… a 3 series Bimmer… Now add 6 inches to each side. That is your lane at 60 mph. A vertical hedge with no shoulder is on the left. A truck on a blind curve is on your right coming at you. That is driving in Ireland, the UK and much of Europe. It may give a clue as to the European racing style.

And, to begin in Europe, pull up a pint as we catch up… (more…)

Jimmie Johnson keeps pushing but just can’t seem to cross into the front of the points. He won at Dover and almost had it in Charlotte but still holds a firm grip on second place. There is still enough room in the schedule to gain the points needed to move up but he does have to race better than the current leader, Matt Kenseth.

Talladega is next, followed by Martinsville. These two races offer big chances to move up, not just for Johnson but also for some that are back double digits. Kevin Harvick is 29 points off the front, while Jeff Gordon and Kyle Busch are 36 and 37 points back. Talladega could shake the box quite a bit as the constant threat of a big crash taking out contenders lingers on every lap. The short track at Martinsville has been a winning track for Johnson and Gordon but the last bunch of meetings there have seen others pop into Victory Lane. (more…)

Three races down and on the heels of the fourth. So far it has been a run for Matt Kenseth with Jimmie Johnson squeezing in closer at Dover. Kenseth won the first two away from Richmond.

Dover was an interesting run as Johnson and nine other CHASE drivers filled the Top 10 at the checkers. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. started from the pole but could not overcome an early pit road mistake and was chasing the lead from that point on to finish 2nd. Jeff Gordon, the “Lucky 13th” following the MWR shake-up at Richmond, finished 4th. Kyle Busch finished 5th but remains in the number 3 slot for total points.

Jimmie Johnson and the Hendrick/Lowes #48 moved up to the #2 points slot, now sandwiched between Joe Gibbs Racing Kenseth and Kyle Busch.

Kansas is next up and Kevin Harvick will start from the front. Harvick and Gordon are both 39 points off the lead in 4th and 5th place in The CHASE.

Seven races remain, including Kansas. It is these next few, likely through the tough, little track at Martinsville at the end of the month, that can determine if the Top 3 remain as the main battle. However, luck and nerves can still shake it up. One or two bad races for some mixed with really good runs for others could see more drivers in the points squeeze moving forward. It would make for a good show for the fans if those points gaps tightened!

The race, and The CHASE, is ON! We’re looking forward to seeing it up close as they return to our neck of the woods at Martinsville. Until then, like you, we’ll be keeping an eye on who moves up, and back, over these next weeks.

Go Racing – We’ll see you there!

Virginia International Raceway is on the eve of two big weeks at the rolling hills road course of Southside Virginia. The American Le Mans Series, and some really fun support races, are coming up on that first weekend of October. They are closing out September with the annual Heacock Classic showcase event.

For the Heacock, it is a weekend of classic history as owners and drivers bring their vintage beauties to the course to show them, drive them and race them. All sorts of classic street metal show up for the Heacock Classic making it an enthusiast’s party of art and color. The owners are proud to show them and love to talk to fans about the classics they cherish.

Heacock Insurance, the long time sponsor, offers coverage tailored to fit classic automobiles without tagging the wallet. It’s a perfect fit for VIR as the setting and the course really show off these fantastic examples of the glory days of automotive eye candy.

The Heacock Classic is also a perfect warm up for the following weekend. As fans have the opportunity to see the best of classic and vintage automotive history at the Heacock weekend and then return in just a few days to see the best of modern racing and style on the very same course.

The American Le Mans Series brings the speed and muscle of modern engineering to VIR for the weekend of October 5th. From the Prototypes to the GTs and the classes running with them, it is a flash of beauty and exotic badges on every lap. Ferrari, BMW, Aston-Martin, Porsche, Chrysler SRT…  Plus a host of support racing showcasing the best of sports car racing.

You might even see driver and movie star Patrick Dempsey wandering the paddock. He has driven the VIR course with Grand-Am and is now running GTC classes in ALMS.

The support races include the Lamborghini Super Trofeo. These races run the Lamborghini Gallardo, side by side and at speed, along the twists of VIR. That alone is worth the ticket to see such exotics let loose. Other races for the ALMS weekend include the Ariel Atom Spec races, the NARRA GT sports cars and the ITC Porsche Cayman races. The showcase ALMS Oak Tree Grand Prix combines the Prototype classes with GT and GTC running all at once for a full course, full on race to the flag. Only one race follows VIR for the series so this one is on the cusp for points leading to the championship.

Racing at Virginia International Raceway is an experience. The track follows the terrain of the southern Virginia countryside and the speed of the American Le Mans class of racing machines is amazing. The Heacock Classic is a trip through automotive and racing history. The two weekends coming up at VIR offers as much variety in racing as one can fathom.

If that’s not enough, on a side note, you can enjoy the American Le Mans on Saturday, October 5th, then make a full weekend of it with a short drive to Martinsville for the late model “Virginia is for Racing Lovers 300” on Sunday, October 6th.

Racing is on. Go get some!

PHOTOS: 2012 American Le Mans at VIR

This CHASE is set… No… wait…  OK… NOW the CHASE is set!

After penalties were issued by NASCAR over “manipulation” of the race at Richmond, the actual CHASE group of 12 drivers eligible to win the Sprint Cup Championship was altered slightly. Martin Truex, Jr.  and other Michael Waltrip Racing drivers and teams were docked and fined and the result replaced Truex, Jr. with Ryan Newman.

Once that was settled, the CHASE drivers were spread out across the states and places with upcoming races for the “CHASE Across America”. The race this weekend, the first in the Championship CHASE, is in Chicago. As a premiere for all the remaining races, drivers were out meeting fans and participating in racing communities.

Matt Kenseth went to Chicago, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. went to New York, Kyle Busch was with the Armed Forces at Dover Air Force Base, Greg Biffle was celebrating First Responders in Birmingham, Harvick was in Texas…

Martinsville Speedway is on the CHASE schedule, too, with the Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500 coming in late October. To celebrate their part of the CHASE, the folks at Martinsville hosted Kasey Kahne in nearby Roanoke, VA. The folks at the Speedway said a major fan base comes from the area and it was a good fit to have Kahne drive a Sprint Car through the streets of Roanoke. They were right… (more…)