NASCAR: Eldora Truck race 2014 format revealed

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Following a standout debut for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Eldora Speedway last July, the “Mudsummer Classic” will return in 2014 with enhancements announced for the July 23 race.

Easier to just post the format from the official NASCAR release, so all the details are below:

Among the enhancements, aimed to bolster the emphasis on both driver skill and team strategy, are:

–       Pit stops during competition cautions are now optional, whereas they were mandatory in last year’s inaugural event.

–       Each qualifying race will now be 10 laps each. Last year, each race was eight laps.

–       A random draw will determine qualifying order. Last year, practice speeds dictated the qualifying order.

–       Owner points will be awarded to the top five team owners whose trucks do not transfer to the main feature. Last season, teams that did not advance to the main feature did not earn owner points.

“Last year’s inaugural event at Eldora Speedway was an incredible success, and these enhancements will only increase the excitement for our fans,” said Chad Little, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series managing director. “NASCAR continually works with team owners and drivers to ensure that NASCAR fans get what they’ve come to expect out of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series – close, thrilling racing, every single lap.”

The event continues to showcase a traditional two-lap qualifying session, five qualifying races, one last-chance race and a champion’s provisional to determine the 30-truck starting field. The top 20 in owner points entering the event will have a guaranteed starting position.

The overall race procedures for the Mudsummer Classic are as follows:

Qualifying

·          Two-lap, single-truck qualifying determines starting position for the qualifying races with random draw determining the qualifying order.

Qualifying Races

·         Five qualifying races will be held at 10 laps each and only green flag laps are counted.

·         Lineup for the qualifying races will be based on qualifying speeds.

·         The top five trucks in qualifying will start on the pole for their respective qualifying races with four locked-in trucks (top 20 in driver points) starting in each qualifying race.

·         Five trucks from each qualifying race will transfer to the feature – four locked-in trucks and one non-locked-in truck.

·         Upon completion of the qualifying races, 25 trucks will earn spots in the feature race.

Last Chance Race

·         The lineup will be based on finishing position from the qualifying races and the race will be 15 laps with only green flag laps counted.

·         Top-four finishers transfer to the feature and start in positions 26-29.

·         The 30th starting position goes to the most recent past series champion. If the position is not filled by an eligible champion, it will be assigned to the next highest finishing truck of the Last Chance Race.

·         Owner points will be awarded to the top five team owners whose trucks do not transfer into the feature.

Feature

·         The race will be 150 laps divided into three segments of 60, 50 and 40 laps with competition cautions at the breaks on Lap 60 and Lap 110.

·         Caution laps will not count during the competition cautions and positions cannot be improved on pit road.

·         Teams are not required to pit during the competition cautions. Those teams that do not elect to pit, may remain on the track and start in front of the pitting teams.

Michael Andretti looking forward to new Australian Supercars venture

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If it seems like Michael Andretti is out to conquer the world, he is – kind of.

The former IndyCar star turned prolific team owner has won three of the last four Indianapolis 500s and five overall, second only to Roger Penske’s 16 Indy 500 triumphs.

Along the way, in addition to expanding his own IndyCar and Indy Lights operation, the son of Mario Andretti and the primary shareholder of Andretti Autosport has also branched out into Global RallyCross and Formula E racing in recent years.

And now, Andretti has further expanded his brand internationally, following Penske to the world down under — as in the world of Australian V8 Supercars.

Andretti has teamed with Supercars team owner Ryan Walkinshaw, along with veteran motorsports marketer and executive director of McLaren Technology Group and United Autosports owner and chairman, Zak Brown.

Together, the three have formed Walkinshaw Andretti United, based in suburban Melbourne, Australia. The new team kicks off the new season with the Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

“It’s just extending our brand and putting it out there,” Andretti told NBC Sports. “The Supercars are such a great series.

“It all started with Zach Brown calling me and said ‘You have to talk to Ryan Walkinshaw. He’s got something interesting to talk to you about.’

“We talked and literally in like a half-hour, we said, ‘Let’s figure out how we’re going to make this work.’ And then Zack was like, ‘Hey, what about me?’ And then Zack came in as a partner and it’s cool now that we have the Walkinshaw Andretti United team.

“I’m really excited about that program, the guys at the shop are excited about it, we’ve been doing a lot of things to try and help it because it’s such a cool series and the cars are so cool.

“I went down there to Bathurst, which was to me one of the coolest tracks in the world. I wish I could have driven it, I really do. It looks like a blast.

“It’s amazing how big that series is when you go down there. It’s one of the biggest sports in Australia. It was just a great opportunity for us to extend our portfolio.”

Admittedly, Andretti had some extra incentive to want to get involved in the Supercars world: Penske joined forces with legendary Dick Johnson Racing in September 2014.

The organization came together quickly and the rebranded DJR Team Penske went on to win the 2017 V8 Supercars championship.

“Roger was down there the last few years,” Andretti said, adding that fact as incentive to get his own organization into the series. “So it’s cool to go race head-to-head with Roger. That was also in the back of our minds.”

This is no start-up venture for Andretti. The roots of the new venture began in 1990 as the Holden Racing Team, which went on to become one of the most successful organizations in Australian V8 Supercar racing, having won the drivers’ championship six times and the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship’s top race, the Bathurst 1000 (essentially Australia’s version of the Indy 500), seven times.

Last season, Holden Racing team morphed into Triple Eight Race Engineering and was renamed Mobil 1 HSV Racing.

And now the company has been renamed once again for the 2018 campaign under the Walkinshaw Andretti United banner.

The team will be composed of two Holden ZB Commodores with drivers James Courtney and Scott Pye, as well as a Porsche 911 GT3-R in the Australian GT championship.

What’s next for Andretti’s motorsports portfolio? Right now, it’s pretty full, but you can bet running for championships from Australia (Supercars) to globally (GRC) to Indianapolis (Indy 500) to the U.S. (Verizon IndyCar Series) are at the top of this year’s list.