Thursday, February 28, 2013

Check out Craftsman's Mega Tool Sale

Are you a Craftsman Community member? 

Be sure to take advantage of the great deals running from now until March 3, including up to 50% off Craftsman tools and storage. Don't forget about the extra discounts for Craftsman Club Members too, like $10 back with any tool purchase of $50 or more through March 2, 2013CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

NASCAR NEWS: Phoenix Natives Ride Momentum Into Home Track

Michael McDowell and J.J. Yeley have a few things in common.

They’re both from the Phoenix area. Yeley’s hometown is Phoenix; McDowell hails from Glendale.

They’re both driving for smaller teams with two or fewer cars. Yeley drives for Tommy Baldwin Racing, McDowell for Phil Parsons Racing. And they both scored top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500, and ride into Phoenix on a wave of momentum. 

McDowell finished a career-best ninth in The Great American Race. His previous best finish was 20th at Richmond International Raceway in 2008. Yeley’s top-10 Daytona 500 finish was the eighth of his career, and first since June of 2008. He finished 10th on Sunday.

And, of course, you have Danica Patrick, an honorary Phoenix native. Though born in Roscoe, Ill., Patrick resides in both Phoenix and Chicago. And, clearly, she enjoys the home-track advantage.

Last November’s race marked a then-series-best for the Daytona 500 pole winner and top-10 finisher. She finished 17th in her second start with current Stewart-Haas Racing crew chief Tony Gibson, her current best series performance on a non-plate track. 

Patrick made all kinds of history on Sunday, becoming the first female to leads laps in the Daytona 500, the first female to score a top-10 in the 500, and the 13th driver to lead both the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500. Patrick led five laps on Sunday, which put her on a list with only five other drivers who have led five laps in both races. A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Robby Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya and Tony Stewart are the others.

NASCAR NEWS: Daytona Done, Gen-6 Readies For Downforce Tracks

By most measures, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Gen-6 race car passed its Daytona International Speedway debut with flying colors.

The racing from Sprint Unlimited through Budweiser Duel and the Daytona 500 was close and intense – and fans applauded the new look of the Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion and Toyota Camry.

“I noticed something last night coming out of the track for dinner, just seemed to be a different vibe inside the infield,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his post-Daytona 500 media interview. “People seemed more excited about what was getting ready to happen today.

“I think it's a great way to start the season. The car is doing everything we hoped it would do,” said the Daytona 500’s second-place finisher. “I think it will just get better. It's still a brand‑new car. We have a whole season and the future to improve it and learn how to make it tick.”

Now Gen-6 moves into the meat-and-potatoes portion of the schedule, beginning with Phoenix International Speedway’s one-mile oval and – on March 10 – the first intermediate layout at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where teams will get an extra day of testing.

Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson said it’s too early to judge the full potential of Gen-6, especially with the season’s first race being contested on an aerodynamic sensitive, restrictor plate-track.

“Once we get a downforce race or two behind us, we'll have a better understanding,” Johnson said. “We're really excited for the races to come. But it is a little early. Maybe after Vegas, Bristol, we can see which team has the upper hand.”

Mark Martin, a Phoenix winner with the previous Gen-5 platform, believes Phoenix will be an eye-opener because of the new car’s enhanced downforce. “When we get in these things next week, they are going to be stuck like glue and we're going to be breaking track records,” Martin said.  

NASCAR NEWS: Phoenix Offers Johnson Opportunity, Challenges

Can Jimmie Johnson do it again? NASCAR’s media corps predicted Johnson will win his sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship this season in the preseason poll. And that was before last Sunday, when Johnson raced his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to a second Daytona 500 victory.

Johnson has confirmed his stature as the driver to beat. But with 35 races remaining in the 2013 campaign, he’s just one of two dozen or so title contenders.

Only five Daytona 500 winners – Johnson, Jeff Gordon and NASCAR Hall of Famers Lee Petty, Richard Petty and Cale Yarborough – have gone on to capture the same season’s championship. Johnson was the most recent to achieve the feat in 2006.

Johnson hardly has stopped to take a breath since rolling into Victory Lane for the 61st time in his NASCAR Sprint Cup career. The Daytona 500 champion’s coast-to-coast odyssey includes stops in New York City, the ESPN campus in Bristol, Conn., Dallas-Ft. Worth and Los Angeles before wrapping up Thursday night in Phoenix.

 “You know, I'm just enjoying this moment. This is a one-of-a-kind race. In the rush that follows, the notoriety that follows, it's great for all of us. Chad (Knaus), Rick (Hendrick), the company, Lowe's, Chevrolet. It's just time to sit back and enjoy,” Johnson said in his Daytona 500 post-race interview.

“When we pull into the gates at Phoenix next weekend, it's a totally different game, as we all know. We'll enjoy this rush. If there's some down points through the year, we'll look back on this race and smile again.”

Johnson will do double duty this week, making a rare NASCAR Nationwide Series appearance in Saturday’s Dollar General 200 Presented by AmeriGas in the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Phoenix has been one of Johnson’s best tracks as well as the place – last November – where his championship hopes began to unravel thanks to a tire/suspension failure and accident. On the plus side, he boasts four wins, 12 top-five and 15 top-10 finishes, a Coors Light Pole, average finish of 6.7 and a series best Driver Rating of 115.8. 

Johnson’s last Phoenix victory came in the fall of 2009. He won in the Valley of the Sun in three of his five championship seasons – 2007-09. Johnson finished fourth in last spring’s Subway Fresh Fit 500, the second of three races run since the one-mile track was repaved and somewhat reconfigured.

The last driver to win the opening two races of the season was Matt Kenseth in 2009.

Johnson’s teammates at Hendrick Motorsports may be his toughest competition on Sunday. Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne have won a combined five Phoenix races. HMS is the all-time Phoenix winner with nine victories. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

NSCS Race Recap: Jimmie Johnson holds off Dale Earnhardt Jr. for Daytona 500 victory

Jimmie Johnson sped away from the field after a restart with six laps left in Sunday's Daytona 500 and held off a charging Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the 55th running of the Great American Race at Daytona International Speedway.
The victory was the 61st of Johnson's career in his 400th start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and his second win in NASCAR's most prestigious race. 
Earnhardt finished second for the third time in the last four Daytona 500s. Mark Martin ran third, followed by defending series champion Brad Keselowski and Ryan Newman. Greg Biffle ran sixth and Regan Smith seventh.
Polesitter Danica Patrick came home eighth, the best-ever finish by a woman in the Daytona 500.
With tandem racing all but absent in the points race for the new Gen-6 race cars, passing was difficult and track position paramount.
"You can't ride and wait for things to happen," Johnson said. "You have to race all day long and fight for track position. This race car, this Lowe's Chevrolet was so good. (Crew chief) Chad Knaus and all of Hendrick Motorsports had me a fast car, and I could really stay up front all day long. I had a lot of confidence in the final few laps leading the train, (because) I knew just how fast the car was." 
Earnhardt got a strong push from Martin on the last lap, but couldn't catch Johnson off the final corner.
"I couldn't have done much without Mark helping me here at the end," said Earnhardt, who was fourth at the white flag. "I was hoping he was thinking what I was thinking as we come off of Turn 2 on that last lap. I felt like we needed to make the move a little earlier than off (Turn) 4.
"I kept backing up, backing up, trying not to let guys get racing behind us too much. If somebody ducked out of line a couple rows behind Mark, I was going to have a gap, (and) me and Mark could take off, not get hung up with those guys. Once we come off of 2, mashed the gas, got a run on Danica, side-drafted her a little bit.  
"I don't know why them guys didn't pull down in front of me besides Jimmie, but we got through 3 and 4 with a pretty good run. Once we come to Turn 4, we kind of run out of steam, didn't have enough to get a run on Jimmie."
After a restart on Lap 182, following the fifth caution of the race for Jeff Burton's hard contact with the outside wall at the entrance to the tri-oval, Keselowski and Johnson ran side-by-side at the front of the pack, trading the lead as their respective lanes gained momentum.
A caution for debris on Lap 192 set up the six-lap dash to the finish with Johnson in the lead in the outside lane.
Patrick made history when she led the field to green from the pole position. On Lap 90, she reached another milestone. Surging to the lead after a restart, she paced the field on Laps 90 and 91, and, in doing so, became the first female driver to lead a lap in the Daytona 500 and the first female to lead a green-flag Lap in the Cup series.
(Janet Guthrie led Laps 43 through 47 under caution in the Nov. 20, 1977, Los Angeles Times 500 at Ontario Motor Speedway, the only five laps she led in 33 career Cup starts.)
Later in the race, Patrick led three more laps, for a total of five, to tie Guthrie's five.
Despite the success, Patrick was reluctant to reset expectations for her rookie season in the Cup series.
"I think that would be unwise to sort of start telling myself that top 10 is where we need to be every week," said Patrick, who was third with one lap left but fell to eighth in the last-lap scramble. "I think that's setting up for failure. The list of drivers in the Cup series is deep. This is a unique track. These (restrictor-plate) tracks are different and unique. (It's) a lot about the car.  
"I mean, you have to be smart enough to do the right thing at the right time, but it's very much about the car. I feel like I'm still sticking to 'Let's see how these first five races go,' where we go to a bunch of different kinds of tracks, see where we settle in, start to establish goals from there on out."
The Toyota Camrys of Joe Gibbs Racing were running 1-2-3 as the race neared the three-quarter mark, with Matt Kenseth pacing Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. On Lap 150, however, Kenseth, who led four times for a race-high 86 laps, brought his car to pit road, having felt a vibration in the drive train. Busch parked his car two laps later, with a blown engine.
That left Hamlin at the point as the field ran single-file behind him, in a lull before the late-race pyrotechnics.
A nine-car accident on Lap 138, thinned an already depleted field. With most cars running single-file around the top of the track, Keselowski tapped David Reutimann and dropped abruptly to the apron in Turn 1.
That triggered a melee as cars checked up behind Keselowski. Carl Edwards was a victim of the accident, as ill fortune at Daytona continued to haunt the driver who already had wrecked four cars at Daytona this year.
Other casualties included 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., making his first start as a full-time Cup driver in the No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Fusion.
The first major wreck of the race -- on Lap 33 as the double-file lead pack of cars exited the tri-oval -- dashed the hopes of former Daytona 500 winners Kevin Harvick and Jamie McMurray, as well as those of pre-race favorites Tony Stewart and Kasey Kahne.
As the field stacked up toward Turn 1, Kyle Busch tagged the back of Kahne's car, turning Kahne into Juan Pablo Montoya's Chevrolet SS and igniting a nine-car incident that also damaged the cars of Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Casey Mears.
Keselowski suffered damage to the both sides of his Ford, pinballing off both Montoya and Harvick, but was able to continue. Kurt Busch lost a lap on pit road with the nose of his Chevy caved in from contact during the wreck. Casey Mears, who had qualified 17th, also sustained significant damage.
Note: Other drivers who have won their 400th Cup starts include Lee Petty, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dave Marci’s and Dale Earnhardt.

Friday, February 22, 2013

STOCKCAR Radio Broadcast Update for February 23rd Guest Lineup.

Make sure to tune into the weeks broadcast of STOCKCAR Radio as we welcome Ford Racings Garen Nicoghosian.... 

...and Ms. Sprint Cup Kim Coon. To find station listing go to or to listen to the live stream go to – you can also call into the program 1.800.510.8255 – email me during the show

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Rivalries make any sport great and NASCAR has its fair share of legendary foes. Every driver's desire to win is fueled by their contempt for coming in 2nd.