JGR veterans aren't sweating slow starts -- yet
Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin all sit outside the top 12 in the Cup standings, but there's plenty of time for the experienced drivers to adjust to the points format and their Toyotas.
Turn 4: Biggest surprise of Cup season?
Through four races, who has surprised? Do drivers truly love the sport? Should Austin Dillon be penalized for Cole Custer hit? Which 1990s song would you pick for a driver? Our gang has at it.
In response to Kurt Busch's counterclaim filed earlier today that requests millions in damages be awarded to him because his former agent Jon Caponigro and his law firm had a conflict of interest representing both Busch and teams Penske Racing and Andretti Autosport, the Caponigro law firm (which is suing Busch for alleged unpaid fees) released a statement Friday: "[These] allegations are outrageous and have no factual basis. It is a shame that, in an effort to avoid paying fees that are owed, Defendants instead have chosen to disparage the impeccable reputation of our clients who, for more than a decade, maximized Mr. Busch's career opportunities, financially and otherwise, often during times when Mr. Busch's conduct, both on and off the track, threatened his career."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. feels NASCAR should take action for driver misbehavior when the caution is out or after the race. Here is his idea for a penalty for Austin Dillon, who was not sanctioned for squeezing Cole Custer into the fence under caution last week at Phoenix:
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has had talks with team owner Rick Hendrick about resuming contract negotiations. Earnhardt, whose deal runs through 2017, had put those negotiations on hold after he was sidelined by a concussion last summer.
Johnson loses control, forced to backup car
Jimmie Johnson spun through the grass near the pit-road entrance during the first practice session at Auto Club Speedway and will need to use a backup car for the race at the two-mile track.
Kyle Larson, who has finished second in three consecutive races, was fastest in the NASCAR Cup opening practice Friday at Auto Club Speedway. Denny Hamlin was second in the sole practice prior to qualifying later today for the race Sunday.
Kurt Busch has filed a countersuit against former agent Jon Caponigro, whose firm sued Busch for $1.4 million for unpaid and future fees after Busch terminated the deal last year. Busch, in a court filing Friday, said he had paid Caponigro's firm $1.3 million since 2011 and is asking to be awarded "millions" in damages because Capongiro's firm had conflicts of interest, including representing the Penske and Andretti teams he has raced for and negotiating deals favorable to the teams. Busch claims Caponigro advised and pressured him to sign the 2011 release from Penske, and that his compensation driving for Phoenix Racing in 2012, Furniture Row Racing in 2013 and Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014 were less than what he would have been paid under his contract with Penske.
Danica: Fines no deterrent to NASCAR drivers
Danica Patrick had a quick reaction Friday when asked about NASCAR not fining Austin Dillon for squeezing Cole Custer into the wall under caution during the Xfinity Series race Saturday.
Austin Dillon indicated that a repeat offense of wrecking another car under caution would result in NASCAR suspending him. Dillon, after a meeting with NASCAR officials Friday at Auto Club Speedway a week following his running into Cole Custer under caution, said: "NASCAR did a really good job of sharing with me that if I make a mistake like that again that the penalties would be very harsh. … I love to race and I don't want to be on the sideline, ever."
Danica Patrick said she wants her $50,000 back from wrecking David Gilliland under caution in 2015 at Martinsville Speedway since NASCAR didn't fine Austin Dillon for pinching Cole Custer into the wall during the Xfinity race last week at Phoenix. She said fines are meaningless. Patrick: "I've been fined a few times. It makes for good TV and we handle it on the track ourselves. I'd rather [no fine] be the standard. What does that really do? I'm not going to not go on vacation."
Jimmie Johnson is not worried about getting a contract extension done. His contract with Hendrick Motorsports is up after this season and he expects to return.
Furniture Row hauler crew OK after accident
Furniture Row Racing's official race hauler was involved in a highway accident Thursday outside of Las Vegas. The team said the hauler's drivers were not injured, and the cars were not damaged.
As part of a program for employees, Toyota has brought all its motorsports athletes to its Torrance offices during the week it races at Auto Club Speedway outside Los Angeles. It also has done similar programs in Kentucky and has plans for the new offices in Texas.
NASCAR will use a new aerodynamic and horsepower package for the Xfinity Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. The package includes a restrictor plate, the 2016 larger spoiler and front splitter and the use of air ducts to allow air to flow out of the front wheel wells. The changes, for the Xfinity Series only, are designed to create more passing.
Stewart-Haas Racing will appeal the penalties levied to the Kevin Harvick team and ask for the one-race suspension of Rodney Childers to be deferred until an appeal is heard. Harvick's car was found to have an unapproved track bar slider assembly after his sixth-place run at Phoenix. Harvick also was penalized 10 points and Childers fined $25,000.
Keselowski, Harvick crew chiefs suspended
Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick were both docked points and saw their crew chiefs get suspended after their cars failed postrace inspections at Phoenix.
NASCAR has suspended Brad Keselowski crew chief Paul Wolfe for three races and Kevin Harvick crew chief Rodney Childers for one race for violations found postrace Sunday at Phoenix. NASCAR docked Keselowski 35 points and also fined Wolfe $65,000 for the fifth-place car of Keselowski failing postrace rear alignment measurements. Harvick, who finished sixth, was docked 10 points and Childers also fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly.
Four-time winner Pete Hamilton dies at 74
Pete Hamilton, who won Daytona and Talladega twice, has died at age 74.
A three-member appeals panel has upheld a 35-point penalty to AJ Allmendinger as well as a three-week suspension and $65,000 fine to crew chief Randall Burnett (he already has served two weeks). The JTG Daugherty Racing No. 47 car was penalized for having three or more loose or missing lug nuts after the NASCAR Cup race earlier this month at Atlanta.
Dr. Racy Ryan is in, ready to soothe your NASCAR fears
Are you bewildered by the points situation? Do you fear change in the sport? Are you Team Kyle and your spouse Team Joey? NASCAR advice columnist Dr. Racy Ryan is here to help.
Kurt Busch takes a ride with Neil Everett.
Neil Everett takes Kurt Busch on a ride talking about the changes in NASCAR this season, the thrill of winning the Daytona 500 and the NHL coming to Busch's home town of Las Vegas.
Kyle Busch is using his fight with Joey Logano and his interview from outside he NASCAR hauler to raise money for the Kyle Busch Foundation. His "Everything 18 Great" shirt plays off his repeating "Everything is great" when asked questions Friday about their fight. Busch, who drives the No. 18 car, is selling the shirts for $22. Why $22? Logano drives the No. 22 car.
Rundown: Kyle Larson isn't first loser, he's the leader
Kyle Larson keeps finishing second in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, and so far that's OK with him, because it means he's that much closer to winning ... often.
Brad Keselowski's fifth-place car failed the NASCAR tech station that measure weight and height requirements postrace Sunday at Phoenix Raceway. He faces a penalty of 10-to-40 points and crew chief Paul Wolfe faces a suspension of 1-to-3 races and a fine of $25,000 to $75,000. NASCAR would announce any penalties Tuesday or Wednesday.
NASCAR Paint Schemes Chart & Links
NASCAR news, race updates, schemes & links from Jayski.com.