michigan international speedway

Like father, like son: Ross Kenseth, Matt’s son, wins at Michigan in 3rd career ARCA start

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Ross Kenseth gave father Matt — as in former Sprint Cup champion Matt Kenseth — an early Father’s Day present on Friday at Michigan International Speedway.

Piloting a Chevrolet owned by veteran racer Ken Schrader, the younger Kenseth earned his first career win in only his third start in the ARCA series, capturing the Corrigan Oil 200.

“Hats off to these guys,” Kenseth said on Fox Sports 2. “It was a lot of fun today. I felt we were alright (on fuel). I’m just real happy to be here.

“This is about a year and a half since my last win in anything. … I’m happy to do my job for them.”

The 22-year-old Kenseth drove the final 62 laps on the same tank of fuel, while others in the 27-driver field such as Grant Enfinger had to pit late in the race to reach the finish line.

As it turned out, Kenseth was able to conserve enough fuel to not only cross the start-finish line, but to also do a celebratory burnout and make it all the way to victory lane.

“It was pretty cool, I’m glad he won it,” proud father Matt said of his son. “He did a great job. Ross has been working particularly hard to get some opportunities.”

In Ross Kenseth’s other two career ARCA starts, he finished third (2014, Kansas) and sixth (2013, Madison).

Coming on the heels of his first ARCA win, Ross Kenseth will make his first Xfinity Series career start next weekend at Chicagoland Speedway during an off-weekend for the Sprint Cup Series.

“This is a great weekend for me here and I look forward to spending next weekend with him in Chicago,” Matt Kenseth said.

Ross and Matt are now the fifth father-son pairing to ever win a race at MIS. Others are Dale and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rusty and Steven Wallace, Bobby and Davey Allison and Bob and Brad Keselowski.

Series veteran Frank Kimmel finished second (2.123 seconds behind Kenseth), followed by Austin Wayne Self, Tom Hessert and Matt Kurzejewski.

Sixth through 10th were Josh Williams, David Levine, Grant Enfinger, Sarah Cornett-Ching and Bo LeMastus.

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2015 Sprint Cup rules to feature reduced testing, less horsepower

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As expected, NASCAR has released its 2015 Sprint Cup rules package to teams today. And as expected, it contains some major changes.

At the top of the list are a ban on private team testing at any tracks following the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway and a reduction in horsepower from 850-900 down to 725 with the use of a tapered spacer (which is already used in the Nationwide Series).

Additionally, the rear spoiler will be cut to six inches, giving drivers less downforce to work with on their cars.

In regards to testing, Goodyear will work with NASCAR and the Sprint Cup teams to select tracks for tire test sessions. Also, the “Preseason Thunder” sessions at Daytona International Speedway have been eliminated.

“The teams have asked for more productive sessions with all of us included,” O’Donnell told USA Today writer and NASCAR on NBC contributor Nate Ryan. “If we can have NASCAR, Goodyear and the race teams all together, it’ll be a home run.

“The second part is anytime you can minimize costs, that’s big. We think we’ve done both.”

The rules package comes after teams tested various aero configurations and power levels last month at Michigan International Speedway.

Drivers that took part in the Michigan session said they preferred a configuration with less downforce but retained the current 850-900 horsepower. It appears that those drivers will get some of what they wanted (the downforce part), but not all (current-level or additional horsepower).

However, O’Donnell thinks the new package will lead to what NASCAR’s been going after for some time now: A better on-track product on its 1.5-to-2-mile, intermediate ovals.

“We believe what will contribute to better racing is the ability to get off the gas in the corners,” O’Donnell said to Ryan. “If you’re able to slow down the straightaway speeds a bit, but really affect the speeds in the corners – where drivers have to make decisions on how much they want to get off the throttle – it allows for more passing in the turns, and it allows for tire manufacturer to really march toward a grippier tire.

“That will contribute to even better racing.”

Other changes on tap for 2015 include:

  • The addition of rain tires for Sprint Cup road course events with mandatory wipers, defogger and rear flashing rain light at the start of those events
  • An option to have a panhard bar in the cockpit to allow drivers to make suspension adjustments
  • A new video system for officiating in the pits that will have officials analyze cameras and software (some officials will still be in the pits for team communication purposes)
  • An online rule-book for teams with computer animation and 3-D illustrations

A full list of the 2015 changes can be found here.

Today’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA will have more details on the 2015 rules package. You can watch it today at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for your online/mobile device.

Reports: 2015 Sprint Cup rules package expected to be released on Tuesday

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It sounds like we won’t have to wait much longer before seeing what the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rules package will look like.

Lee Spencer of Motorsport.com reports that the sanctioning body will release the rules package to teams on Tuesday. Additionally, Fox Sports’ Bob Dillner reported during this morning’s pre-race coverage that the teams would be on a conference call on Tuesday with NASCAR to discuss the changes.

Spencer reports that garage chatter about the new package has centered around a two-inch reduction to the rear spoiler, a sizable decrease of 125 horsepower, and different gear rules.

However, Dillner also mentioned in his own report that teams believe a change in the tire compounds may occur.

Last month at Michigan International Speedway, 10 teams each ran through six different aero configurations. Power optimization was also focused on during the session; USA Today and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan reported that teams tested horsepower configurations of 850, 800, and 750.

The goal of all of this remains the same for NASCAR: Create a package that can improve racing on the series’ bread-and-butter intermediate tracks. While the Generation-6 cars have certainly had their moments, it can be argued that passing remains a general issue.

Following the Michigan test, several drivers expressed their hope to get a configuration with less downforce. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin in particular was a very vocal supporter of a configuration run during the test that cut the downforce levels by 30 percent.

But while a smaller rear spoiler would give the drivers less downforce, it sounds like NASCAR is set to follow through on a horsepower drop for the engines, which currently churn out around 850 to 900.

NASCAR CEO Brian France hinted in April that such a change was coming, and a few days after, the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., expressed his belief that a drop was inevitable.

WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA follows JGR’s big day at 6:30 p.m. ET

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After months of anticipation, Joe Gibbs Racing finally announced today that it will expand to a four-car Sprint Cup operation next season – with Carl Edwards (pictured, right) coming over to drive the new No. 19 ARRIS Toyota.

But that wasn’t the only bit of news from the JGR camp.

Mexican up-and-comer Daniel Suarez (pictured, left) was also announced to drive the team’s No. 18 Nationwide Series car in 2015.

NASCAR AMERICA will have coverage of JGR’s big day tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

If you can’t be near a TV, you can STREAM IT online or on your mobile device through NBC Sports Live Extra.

On tap for today’s show:

  • NBCSN’s Marty Snider was at JGR headquarters for today’s announcement, and he was able to speak with Edwards and Suarez about their new opportunities. You’ll also hear from two of Edwards’ Sprint Cup teammates-to-be, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, on how they plan to work with “Cousin Carl.”
  • Also, NBCSN’s Kelli Stavast visited Hendrick Motorsports to speak with Jeff Gordon’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, about their victory on Sunday at Michigan and how Gordon’s reclaimed confidence has the No. 24 team roaring into the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
  • And we’ll take a listen to all the best radio bits from Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 in the latest edition of “Scan All 43.”

If you plan to stream, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified. Once you plug those pieces of information in, you’ll have access to the stream.

Again, CLICK HERE at 6:30 p.m. ET to watch NBCSN’s NASCAR AMERICA.

NASCAR AMERICA: Sprint Cup teams take part in critical test (VIDEO)

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Today at Michigan International Speedway, 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams tested six different rules configurations as the sanctioning body looked to nail down a rules package to give to teams ahead of the 2015 Cup season.

“Our main goal is to harvest data today to help refine the 2015 package,” NASCAR VP of innovation and racing development Gene Stefanyshyn said in a statement. “We are listening to our fans – they have said they like a lot of passing, side-by-side racing and lead changes. That is what we are aiming to accomplish with these tests.”

NASCAR reports that each team turned more than 160 laps on MIS’ two-mile oval during the session. USA Today writer and NBCSN contributor Nate Ryan was on hand for the proceedings, and he gave a full report during today’s episode of NASCAR AMERICA.

You can watch that report, as well as Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty’s own thoughts on where NASCAR needs to go with the 2015 package, in the clip above.