Rain in the forecast midweek has not slowed this week of racing. The clouds did throw a shot over the bow at Bristol as they started their racing with the Camping World Series Trucks and the UNOH 200.

The Wednesday night race had Cole Custer up front and minutes before the rain came a lapped driver spun in front of him giving him no place to go. With a damaged truck and the added frustration of the rain, Custer could do little but soak it up. After the delay and the track went green it was Ryan Blaney who came back to win with the #29 on a green-white-checkered finish.

The rain is on tap for today (Thursday 8/20) as well but for the most part should be out for Friday and the weekend. Xfinity and Sprint Cup racing should be fast under fair skies at Bristol.

Weather should not play a big role across the border and a bit to the east as the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship takes center stage in southside Virginia. Even so, the drivers set to take multiple classes of exotics and sports cars to speed at Virginia International Raceway are equipped to run with the rain. They don’t like it, but they can do it. This showcase event is eye candy for auto and speed enthusiasts and weekend weather looks more like sunscreen than umbrellas.

The following week stock cars and the NASCAR K&N Series roll through VIR. If you love watching the big guns race at Watkins Glen then this is your local fix for NASCAR sanctioned stock car racing on this scenic road course.

Don’t pack up the your race gear just yet. Still to come for Virginia race fans is Richmond International Raceway the weekend of September 12. The final shot at the CHASE is on the line as the lights come on and the green flag drops at Richmond.

October has the CHASE full on and on the historic oval at Martinsville. The folks there are busy lining up a lot of specials and fan experience activities to live up to the history.

Racing is on. Virginia has the speed and all you need is a calendar to mark your races. While your at it, you might as well check the locals at tracks like South Boston, Motor Mile and others to fill out that calendar.

Go racing!

Texas saw a return to racing and the longer track for NASCAR and Sprint Cup following the Easter break. Jimmie Johnson made the late race move to pass Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick to take the checkers at the Duck Commander 500.

For Harvick, it was either the Easter peeps, the week off or the return to the larger track that put him back into a groove to challenge for the win and come over in 2nd. Up until Martinsville if he did not finish second he was winning. This weekend and Bristol puts him back into a short track situation and we’ll see if it was peeps or the larger track.

Johnson team mate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. crossed over in third with Penske drivers Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski coming across fourth and fifth.

Kurt Busch, Harvick’s team mate, has had a good, although late, start to the season but just can’t hit the win. Generally good finishes and the pole at Texas keeps him running but Texas left him from the pole to 14th.
So far, Stewart-Haas (Harvick), Hendrick (Johnson, Penske (Logano/Keselowski) have had the honors with Denny Hamlin (Gibbs) sneaking in for a win at Martinsville before Easter.

Next up is Bristol then Richmond with a little stop in between for some of the drivers making the run at South Boston Speedway for the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown to benefit Hamlin’s charity organization.

Virginia is getting a lot of big event racing packed into a relatively short time. Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond all fall in the span of just a few days over a month. Include South Boston and you have a full calendar of action.

Don’t hold back, Virginia – Go Racing!

Well, Virginia… Racing is ON!

Martinsville has had their Spring opener. Denny Hamlin won the Cup race. Joey Logano won the day before in trucks.

Bristol is coming up after the post-Easter stop out in Texas. Bristol is the weekend of April 18-19 followed one week later (April 24-25) in Richmond. It is a big bunch of weeks for NASCAR and the big guns in Virginia. Three visits (Martinsvile has run with Bristol and Richmond on the horizon) in the equivalent of one month.

However, April has much more to fill in for racing now and well into the Summer. The short tracks and other courses offer big racing often overshadowed by the “stars” of NASCAR.

South Boston has been racing since March and always serves up a good show. A lot of familiar names have passed laps at South Boston and one returns with some of his NASCAR pals in April. Mixed in with regular schedules of Late Model and other series is the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown on the 23rd (Thursday before Richmond weekend). Catch a big season at South Boston and get a dose of where NASCAR started.

Motor Mile Speedway in Radford is another of the short tracks in the area with a Summer schedule beginning in May. Late Models, Monster Trucks and drag racing are all ready to run.

Southside, Shenandoah, Lonesome Pine, Langley… Even tracks like Franklin County offer up weekly or regular scheduled racing.

North Carolina tracks also highlight the Summer with tight, fast laps and scraped fenders. From Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem to Caraway (south of Greensboro), Coastal Plains, East Carolina and Hickory the Late Models, Modifieds and more are making the race.

For even more variety to fill your racing plate, check a little spot between Martinsville and South Boston. Just outside of Danville is Virginia International Raceway. From sports cars (SCCA, Tudor, NARRA) to NASCAR (K&N) to motorcycles and more VIR has enough twists and turns and wheels to hold any fan. They even have a new Oak Tree!

Virginia is a hotbed for speed. You don’t have to wait for the TV circus to come around to find it. They are racing on short tracks, paved and dirt, all over the state. Go to Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond but make sure you visit VIR, South Boston and some others and, perhaps, cross the North Carolina border and catch some more.

Just go racing!

“Third time is a charm” or perhaps things sometimes happen in “threes” or maybe it’s just luck…

Tony Stewart is out of the #14, Mobil 1 – Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet for Watkins Glen. That is certain. How many more races he could miss as the season runs closer to Richmond and “The Chase” is yet to be determined.

At Southern Iowa Speedway, Stewart was running quite well in his #14 sprint car when he slid into a slower car and went for an airborne tumble. The result was a smashed car and a broken leg. To be exact, he broke the bones in his lower right leg. (more…)

Tires. Generally you think about your tires when the number on your inspection sticker and the number on your calendar matches up. It is then you take a quick look at the treads and think they will sneak by one more time or you realize they would hardly be safe hanging from a tree. If the latter is the case, you then mumble some profanity and begin the search for the best deal. Internet, newspaper, friends… Ads and questions… Buy three get one free… all weather or performance…  tread life… Do you want the replacement warranty?

Race drivers don’t have most of these worries. The tires they get are sanctioned so they aren’t shopping the net for the best deal. They do, however, find themselves at some facility testing those very tires that are issued for race day. In some ways you could equate this to comparison shopping as the drivers are out all day with tire stats instead of doing fun stuff at home. (more…)

The NASCAR season is into the late half and so far, by design or luck, it is shaping up for big races. The “Chase” is winding with a few aces being held to the chest. The ingredients have been mixed and all that is left is to toss it in the oven and watch it rise.

There has been drama and controversy to keep the fans talking. Kurt Busch, for example, with media trouble and a race suspension from NASCAR trying to break him back inside the corral.  A.J. Allmendinger is another with a mark on substance abuse, suspension and a sanctioned rehab program. The continuing saga of Matt Kenseth making a jump for 2013 keeps some speculation in the conversation. (more…)

One MWR engine remained to run in front for most of the STP 400 in Kansas only to have the power of sunlight pull the rug. Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin both started in the top 10 off the grid. Both suffered engine trouble leaving Martin Truex, Jr. to battle for the MWR banner.

The #56 NAPA Toyota ran well, hugging the wall for fast laps. That was until the sun came out from the clouds and track conditions changed just enough to loosen the Truex car and allow a hard charging Denny Hamlin to get the lead with 30 to go. Truex gave it a couple of dives on the inside of Hamlin in the last few but could not hold the line and get by. (more…)