In 2003, a close call that involved future NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett during a race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway led to implementation of the Lucky Dog, also known as the free pass or beneficiary rule. Several cars barely missed Jarrett’s stalled car while
trying to reach the start/finish line after the caution flag was displayed in an effort to keep
their position. Following that scare, NASCAR did away with racing back to the start/finish
line and now freezes the field immediately when a caution flag is displayed. In so doing, the
closest lapped driver to the leader when a caution occurs is moved to the end of the longest
line of cars and put back on the lead lap.
Afew facts about the Brickyard as it turns 23 years old in August:
■ Now-retired Jeff Gordon
is the only driver to
have competed in all
22 editions of the 400.
Bobby Labonte is second
with 21 starts.
■ The driver who led the
most Brickyard 400s without winning the race: Mark
Martin – seven times.
■ Which driver led the most
laps in a single Brickyard
400 yet failed to win: Juan
Pablo Montoya – 116 laps
■ Who is the only driver to
win the Daytona 500, the
Brickyard 400 and the
Sprint Cup Series championship in the same year?
(Jimmie Johnson in 2006.)
■ Who was the first team
owner to win the Daytona
500, Indianapolis 500
and Brickyard 400 in the
same year? (Chip Ganassi
What’s the only active motorsports facility
that hosts each of the nation’s three premier racing
series: NASCAR, IndyCar and the National Hot Rod
Association? If you said Bristol Motor Speedway/
Bristol Dragway, you’d be wrong. Ditto if you said
Charlotte Motor Speedway/zMAX Dragway, Chicagoland Speedway/Route 66 Raceway or Las Vegas
Motor Speedway/The Strip. Likewise for Indianapolis
Motor Speedway – Lucas Oil Raceway 12 miles away
doesn’t count; it’s too far – Pocono Raceway, Texas
Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway.
Bristol, Charlotte, Chicagoland and Las Vegas all host
NASCAR and NHRA events. Indianapolis, Pocono,
Texas and Phoenix host NASCAR and IndyCar.
Give up? Sonoma Raceway is the only major
facility to host each of the three series – NASCAR in
June, NHRA in July and IndyCar in September.
He’s the winningest active NASCAR driver at Daytona International Speedway – with 11 victories – yet has never won the Daytona 500. When the green flag falls for the
Coke Zero 400 on July 2, Tony Stewart will be behind the wheel
of his No. 14 Chevrolet and it will be his last NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series start at the famed 2.5-mile superspeedway. His injury
in a January sand buggy accident kept Stewart, who will retire
from NASCAR racing at end of the season, from one last bid at
winning the Daytona 500, after coming up short 17 times. Stewart has four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and seven NASCAR
XFINIT Y Series victories at Daytona. But we bet he’d likely trade
all of them for that elusive win in The Great American Race.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW!
JERRY BONKOWSKI GE T T Y IMAGES
When Pocono Raceway fell on tough economic
times in the mid-1970s, founder Dr. Joseph
Mattioli was prepared to close up shop and sell
everything. NASCAR founder Bill France implored
Mattioli not to sell, particularly with the track’s
close proximity to New York City, Philadelphia and
60 million people in the Northeast. But Mattioli
wouldn’t listen. As a last-ditch effort, France
scribbled a message on the back of his business
card and handed it to Mattioli. “On the plains
of hesitation lie the bleached bones who when
within the grasp of victory sat and waited, and
waiting died,” France wrote. The Mattiolis stayed
the course. The track recovered and eventually
received a second annual NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series race date for its faith and belief.