Summer’s Five Things: What You Need To Know For August 10, 2018

Ford Performance

“Summer’s Five Things” is a daily column for NASCAR fans to catch up on the most recent, relevant, and need-to-know news and information in the sport! While mostly focused on NASCAR, this column may also feature other interesting and exciting moments from the world of motorsports. Enjoy!

 

  1. Ford Revealed the Mustang That Will Race In The Cup Series in 2019

While the Mustang has already been raced in the NASCAR XFINITY Series since 2011, the decision has been made to bring the iconic car up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, beginning in 2019.

All 13 of Ford’s current Cup Series drivers were in attendance at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, on Thursday to reveal the 2019 racecar.

Tony Stewart, owner of Stewart-Haas Racing, was behind the wheel of the 2019 Ford Mustang when it was first revealed, his first time in the driver’s seat in a NASCAR stock car since his retirement in 2016.

The world’s best-selling sports coupe was highly regarded by the drivers who seemed optimistic about the future of this racecar.

The Mustang will make its debut in the 2019 Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 17th.

In 22 races this season, Ford has won nine races with three different drivers — Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano.

 

  1. Speedway Motorsports Inc. Introducing a Ticket “Insurance Policy” Of Sorts

Weather conditions always play a role in the race weekend, which can be a good thing. Car setups, racing grooves, the on-track action … these can all be impacted by the weather.

The only time this becomes a negative is when the weather stops, delays, or postpones on-track activity.

And it sure seems like this happens rather frequently.

In an effort to combat a race fans’ worries, Speedway Motorsports Inc. has introduced The Speedway Motorsports Weather Guarantee. This ensures ticketholders that, if a race gets postponed and they are not able to attend the rescheduled race (typically the next day), they will be given the opportunity to get a “ticket credit” to a future event.

Fans will have 60 days from the originally scheduled race date to request the ticket credit. The credit can only be used for a date at another SMI track within one calendar year from the original race date, or for the same event the next year (even if it exceeds one calendar year).

The SMI tracks include Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway and Texas Motor Speedway.

 

  1. On-Track Activity Today from Mid-Ohio, Michigan

The afternoon at both racetracks for this weekend’s NASCAR events — Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Michigan International Speedway — will be busy as teams in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, XFINITY Series, and Camping World Truck Series all prepare for their respective races.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series

  • Practice from 12:05PM – 12:55PM ET (broadcast on NBCSN)
  • Pole qualifying @ 5:05PM ET (NBCSN)

 

NASCAR XFINITY Series

  • Practice from 1:35PM – 2:55PM ET (no television coverage, streaming on the NBC Sports App)
  • Practice from 4:05PM ET – 4:55PM ET (no television coverage, streaming on the NBC Sports App

 

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

  • Practice from 1:05PM – 1:55PM ET (FS1)
  • Practice from 3:05PM – 3:55PM ET (FS1)

 

Press Conference Schedule (Streaming on NASCAR.com)

  • Paul Menard – 10:45AM ET
  • Chase Elliott – 11:00AM ET
  • Clint Bowyer – 11:15AM ET
  • Grant Enfinger, Noah Gragson and Myatt Snider – 11:30AM ET
  • Michigan International Speedway Event Announcement – 11:45AM ET
  • Erik Jones – 1:30PM ET
  • Kyle Larson – 1:45PM ET
  • Post-Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – 6:00PM ET

 

  1. Tony Stewart Wants to Race in the Indianapolis 500

After Tony Stewart retired from full-time competition in NASCAR in 2016, you would think that he would be spending a lot less time at the racetrack.

Instead, he’s spending more, and potentially working out some additional plans that will get him back in a racecar in a top motorsports series.

Stewart has already competed in 62 races this year, according to NBC Sports, but has one race on his radar that he is hoping he can make work.

The Indianapolis 500, the most famous race in the world.

Stewart has made five starts in the famed race (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001) with a best finish of fifth.

However, he doesn’t want to return to IMS without a realistic shot at winning.

“If I go, I’m not going just to run it,” said Stewart. “I don’t want to be a sideshow like Danica (Patrick) was at Indy this year. If I go, I want to go feeling like I’ve got the same opportunity to win that everyone else in the field does.”

Patrick drove for Stewart for five seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. She decided to end her full-time racing career earlier this season when she competed in two final races: the Daytona 500 in NASCAR and the Indianapolis 500 in IndyCar.

Before coming to NASCAR, Patrick spent seven seasons in IndyCar, and her return was filled with much pomp and circumstance.

She wound up crashing out on lap 56 in what would be her final start, finishing 30th.

“It’s an insult to the guys who do it every week to show up and think you’re going to be as good as those guys are,” Stewart continued. “They’re on their game. They know their cars. They know how they need their cars to feel in practice to be good in the race. It’s foolish to think you can just show up and be competitive and have a shot to win.”

“One race might not be enough to feel like you’re where you need to be. But at least little things like pit stops and having that much duration of time in the seat to make sure no points or parts of the seat are pinching — things when you’re only in it for 10 minutes you don’t notice, but two hours you notice it. Those are things to sort out once you get there.”

One of Stewart’s other drivers, Kurt Busch, ran “the double” back in 2014 (the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same day), and finished sixth in his first and only IndyCar Series start.

Patrick drove for Ed Carpenter Racing in her return to IndyCar, while Busch competed with Andretti Autosport. In Stewart’s IndyCar Series career, he drove for John Menard, Chip Ganassi, and Tri-Star Motorsports.

 

  1. Are JTG Daugherty Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing Looking To Change Their Driver Lineups?

Adam Stern of SportsBusiness Journal posted on Twitter that JTG Daugherty Racing, who currently fields racecars for drivers AJ Allmendinger and Chris Buescher, is exploring other options for next season, including driver changes.

JTG Daugherty Racing has been in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 2009 and has only earned one victory in that timeframe — Allmendinger won the 2014 event at Watkins Glen International.

The two drivers have combined for only three top fives and five top 10s in 22 races this season, and both are highly unlikely to make it into the playoffs unless one (or both) of them is able to sneak into victory lane in the next four races.

Ryan Preece and Daniel Hemric — the two drivers JTG Daugherty Racing are reportedly considering — both currently race in the XFINITY Series, with Preece running a part-time schedule for Joe Gibbs Racing and Hemric racing the full schedule for Richard Childress Racing.

Preece has been extremely impressive in his limited XFINITY starts. He has earned two victories, eight top fives, and 10 top 10s in his last 10 starts.

Though Hemric has yet to earn his first career victory, he has a solid points cushion between himself and the cutoff line for the playoffs with only six races remaining in the regular season. He has earned nine top fives and 13 top 10s in 20 races this season.

Meanwhile, Chip Ganassi Racing is reportedly exploring other options as well.

While Kyle Larson is solidly under contact with this race team, teammate Jamie McMurray’s contract expires at the end of this season.

So does current Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch’s.

With CGR and Busch currently evaluating one another for 2019, this would leave a fourth car open at SHR.

Busch has been with SHR since 2014, earning five victories along the way, including the 2017 Daytona 500. However, his performance this season has been lagging behind that of his teammates Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick, who have combined to win eight of 22 races this season. Busch, on the other hand, has yet to make it to victory lane.

McMurray raced for Ganassi the first three seasons of his career, moved to Roush Fenway Racing in 2006, and returned to CGR in 2010. McMurray has earned four victories since then, but not since 2013. The 42-year-old driver has earned only one top five and four top 10s this season, while teammate Larson has been contending for wins, earning six top fives and 12 top 10s while leading 365 laps. McMurray hasn’t even led that many laps combined since 2014.

As of now, nothing official has been said by either race team or any of the drivers involved, but it will be an interesting silly season to see where everyone lands.

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