Newman settles in at Roush Fenway Racing
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Ryan Newman, speaking on the phone last week as he rode down a Texas highway after what he described as one of his best hunting days ever, sounded just as excited about his prospects for the 2019 NASCAR season as he did about his just-completed hunt.
Newman is moving from the No. 31 Chevrolet at Richard Childress Racing to the No. 6 Ford at Roush Fenway Racing.
“There’s a lot of new,” he said of his thoughts heading into the 2019 season. “New ride, new manufacturer, new crew chief, new teammate, new rules, new aero package. The schedule will be the same, but I’m looking forward to the season.”
As for the switch from Childress to Roush, Newman said it was time for a change after several disappointing seasons.
Last year, for the first time in his full-time Cup career, Newman failed to score a single top-five finish. (He even had two top-fives in seven Cup starts in 2001, the year before he started Cup racing full time.)
“I needed something to ignite me,” he said. “I felt like I stuck around (at Childress) long enough.”
Newman, who turned 41 on Dec. 8, has 18 career Cup wins, but only one, in 2017 at Phoenix, during his five seasons at RCR. He has 51 poles, the most of any active Cup driver and ninth on the all-time list, but none since he joined RCR.
Several other drivers around Newman’s age, including Jamie McMurray and Greg Biffle, have lost their full-time rides after several seasons of declining performance.
Newman said he’s looking more ahead than in the rearview mirror when it comes to his career and being in the 40-something age bracket.
“Seeing Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson, who are in my age group, winning races and competing for championships pushes me,” he said. “I think I’m capable of running good and winning at every track we go to.”
Newman also said he’s looking forward to being a teammate to Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who is returning as driver of the No. 17 Ford at Roush.
“We both come from open-wheel backgrounds and had success there, so while our driving styles may be different, we should be alike in the way we describe how our cars are handling,” Newman said.
Newman will open the season with a new sponsor on his No. 6. Oscar Mayer announced last week that it will be the primary sponsor on Newman’s Mustang for the season-opening Daytona 500, a race Newman won in 2008 while driving a Dodge for Roger Penske.
He said he’d like nothing better than to kick off his new program with another victory at Daytona.
“A win in the Daytona 500 means so much in our sport,” he said. “I’m fortunate to have one Daytona 500 win under my belt, and make no mistake, the goal is to put this No. 6 Oscar Mayer Ford in Victory Lane at Daytona next month.”
Photo:Roush Fenway Racing.
Bass Pro Shops to continue sponsorship of Martin Truex after move to Gibbs
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Martin Truex Jr.’s longtime sponsor Bass Pro Shops will move with him from the now-shuttered No. 78 team to the No. 19 at Joe Gibbs Racing, the team announced last week.
According to the news release, Bass Pro Shops has signed a multi-year contract, and its logos will be carried on the hood of Truex’s car for 24 races this season.
“We’re fired up to keep rolling with Martin in 2019,” Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said in the release. “His spirit and passion for hunting and fishing makes him a great ambassador for Bass Pro and the outdoors.
“Martin is a true champion in racing as well as in life, and I’m honored to call him my friend and fishing buddy of more than 15 years.”
Daniel Suarez, who drove the No. 19 last year, appears set to join Stewart-Haas Racing.
Photo Caption: Bass Pro Shops will be the primary sponsor of Martin Truex’s No. 19 Toyota at Joe Gibbs Racing for two dozen races next season. Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for NASCAR
Ed Clark releases annual Cup Series predictions for 2019
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark has made his annual predictions for the upcoming NASCAR season.
Last year, Clark was fairly successful as a prognosticator. He correctly predicted that William Byron would win Rookie of the Year in the Cup series and that all three Team Penske drivers (Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney) would visit Victory Lane. He also was correct in forecasting that stage finishes would be more aggressive, which they were, as evidenced by battles between teammates like Stewart-Haas drivers Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch that had fans on their feet at times all season.
Clark was close on his call of three first-time Cup winners. There were two — Chase Elliott and Erik Jones.
He missed in picking Chevrolet to win the Manufacturers’ Championship (won by Ford), and that a major team would switch manufacturers for 2019 — none have so far, although some mid-pack teams have switched.
Clark declined to pick a series champion, after choosing Joey Logano in 2017, but, as evidenced by Logano’s win in 2018, there was merit in his past selection.
Here are Clark’s predictions for 2019:
1. Seven-time champion returns to Victory Lane
After a 2018 season that fell well short of the extremely high standards he’s set in his illustrious career, Jimmie Johnson is primed for a rebound in 2019.
Don’t be surprised if the No. 48 gets off to a bit of a slow start, as Johnson and new crew chief Kevin Meendering get familiar with each other. As the season rolls on, however, I believe the No. 48 will become more of a factor and be in the mix for a race win or two, with Johnson making a return to Victory Lane in 2019.
2. Chase, the championship contender
After breaking through for his first Cup Series victory, Chase Elliott quickly followed it up with a second and a third win during NASCAR’s playoffs. Like one year prior, however, Elliott’s championship pursuit stalled in the Round of 8 in 2018.
I believe that changes in 2019, with the sport’s most popular driver keeping up the momentum from 2018 and winning several more races, including a win in the playoff’s penultimate round to guarantee Elliott and the No. 9 a shot at the championship in the season finale.
3. Busch vs. Truex
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — two of the three drivers dubbed “The Big Three” throughout the 2018 season — are now teammates at Joe Gibbs Racing. I don’t see either one of these guys slowing down in 2019, and I think that’s going to result in some of the fiercest competition between two highly talented drivers with equal equipment throughout the year.
I believe several late-race battles for the win will be decided by these two. I predict this pair trades numerous 1-2 finishes in 2019.
4. Both Ganassi drivers find Victory Lane
Former series champion Kurt Busch moves over to the No. 1 car in 2019, joining Kyle Larson and the No. 42 in the Chip Ganassi Racing stable. I’m expecting a solid season with trips to Victory Lane for both of these drivers.
Kurt brings a wealth of experience behind the wheel of a Cup car (he is making his 650th career start in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, after all) and has what it takes to get the No. 1 to the checkered flag first.
Larson’s raw driving talent is well-documented, but despite having several shots at victory in 2018, he came up just short. He’ll have a few more shots at the checkered flag in 2019, but this time he’ll seal the deal and roll the No. 42 to Victory Lane.
5. More exciting racing in 2019
Starting with the 2019 Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 (at Atlanta Motor Speedway in February), NASCAR’s implementing new aero changes and horsepower reductions at its larger tracks to bring the competition closer together.
I see this change resulting in some of the most intense racing we’ve seen at the intermediate tracks in the last 20 years.
I expect three-wide racing on restarts, side-by-side battles around the track, and back-and-forth passing throughout a run will be more commonplace at these larger tracks. It may even create the right circumstances for one of those vintage photo finishes here at Atlanta.
6. More winners in 2019
In 2018, just 10 drivers earned their playoff spots via wins during the regular season, the fewest to do so since the current playoff format began in 2014. That will change in 2019, thanks in part to the aforementioned aero and horsepower changes at larger speedways bringing the competition closer together.
Thanks to this increase in parity, more drivers will win their way into the playoffs in 2019; I predict 12, including a first-time winner or two.
PHOTO CREDITS: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR
A Look Back at 2018
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
From start to finish, the 2018 NASCAR season produced its share of surprising storylines, from Austin Dillon’s stunning victory in the season-opening Daytona 500 to Joey Logano’s triumph over the “Big Three” in the championship-deciding finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Dillon Makes a Splash at Daytona
The Daytona 500 is NASCAR’s Super Bowl despite being the first race of the season. This year, as it often does, the 500 gave NASCAR’s season a strong jump-start.
With the recent exodus of top stars, including Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., there were worries that the new faces of the sport wouldn’t be able to hold the attention of fans used to familiar faces with long histories.
But Daytona provided a good transition, as Dillon put the No. 3 Chevrolet — made famous by the late Dale Earnhardt — back in Victory Lane, a place it visited often while Earnhardt was its driver. Pushing Dillon across the finish line and finishing second was another youngster, Darrell Wallace Jr., driving the legendary No. 43, which also has a winning history stretching back decades to the times current team owner Richard Petty was the car’s driver.
Wallace’s finish also provided NASCAR’s diversity movement a big boost, as Wallace is the Cup circuit’s lone African-American driver. Among those pulling for the popular youngster at Daytona were Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton, who sent Wallace a pre-race message on Twitter, and baseball’s Hank Aaron, who phoned him.
As is often the case for those who surge to success in the Daytona 500, the top-two finishers were unable to maintain that pace for the rest of the season.
Dillon made the playoffs, due to his victory, but had a lackluster rest of the season.
He led just 23 laps all year, including the one lap he led at Daytona, and scored just one other top-five finish. He wound up 13th in the final points standings.
For Wallace, his runner-up at Daytona wound up being his only top-five finish of the season and one of just three top-10s. He finished 28th in the final standings.
Johnson and Knaus Part Ways
It’s often said that maintaining positive chemistry between driver and crew chief is the key factor in creating a winning combination in racing.
That certainly was the case for Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, as they dominated the sport for nearly two decades, winning seven Cup championships and 81 races together.
But by midway into the 2017 season and throughout 2018, the dominant duo of previous seasons seemed to have lost their magic.
They went winless for this season, continuing a string dating back to Johnson’s most recent win, at Dover in June 2017. He led just 40 laps and also had just two top-five finishes — both career lows — and 11 top-10s, which tied his 2017 performance as the lowest of his full-time career.
Near the end of the season, it was announced that the pair would be splitting up, with Knaus moving over to the No. 24 driven by William Byron and Johnson being paired with Kevin Meendering, who is moving up from the Xfinity Series, where he most recently worked with Elliott Sadler, who retired at season’s end.
“It’s time for us to move on and have a new project and have new people to work with,” Johnson told reporters at Homestead-Miami Speedway after ending the season with a 14th-place finish. “But [Knaus] is my brother offseason, there is just no way around it. So, not an easy situation. … The season is behind us now, and I look forward to a good offseason and getting geared up for 2019.”
Elliott Arrives in Victory Lane
With a strong charge on the road course at Watkins Glen, Chase Elliott finally broke through with his first Cup victory. It was fitting that it came on a road course, as his father, Bill Elliott, also scored his first Cup victory on a road course, at the old Riverside International Raceway in California in 1983.
And both Elliotts got their first Cup wins after eight runner-up finishes.
Elliott, 22, was cheered loudly by a large crowd on hand at the Glen, a sign that he’s also following his father’s tire tracks as far as popularity goes.
“I ran out of gas, so I was coasting around, had a great view to see all the people,” he said. “It looked like a sell-out.
“When I was coasting around, people were still fired up. I’m sure some of them weren’t happy, but there were a lot of people that were still pretty excited. … They were standing up, so that’s just a cool thing to see. There’s nothing that can recreate that feeling and looking in the stands and seeing people that excited for you for, something that you did.”
And in a move that symbolized what the day meant for many, when Elliott ran out of gas on the cool-down lap, the likely superstar of the future got a push to his victory celebration from a superstar of the present, his teammate and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
Elliott went on to score two more wins, at Dover and Kansas, and finish sixth in the final points standings. He also won his division’s most popular driver award, his first and the 17th for the Elliott family, bolstered by his father’s NASCAR-record 16.
The Roval Debuts at Charlotte
Faced with a lack of buzz about three races, including the All-Star Race, on the same “cookie cutter” race track, Charlotte Motor Speedway took a leap and built the Roval, a combination infield road course along with portions of the track’s 1.5-mile quad-oval.
The Roval hosted its first Cup race in September. The event drew a large crowd and delivered an uptick in TV ratings for a sport that had experienced significant declines in viewership.
The race on the 2.28-mile, 17-turn track wasn’t loaded with drama in the beginning, but had plenty in the closing laps.
On a restart with six circuits remaining, Brad Keselowski, who had led the previous 29 laps, drove off the track and into the Turn One barrier, taking five other contenders for the win with him.
After a red-flag period for clean-up, the green flag flew for a three-lap dash to the checkered flag, with two former champions — Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex Jr. — leading the way.
Truex held the lead until they were within sight of the checkered flag, but Johnson made a desperate move into the final turn, lost control of his car and bounced into Truex, knocking them both around.That opened the door for third-running Ryan Blaney to scoot by and get his first and only win of the season.
The finish also had implications for the playoffs, as it was the cutoff event for the first playoff round. Four of the 16 playoff drivers faced elimination, and it wasn’t until all the cars had crossed the finish line that the losing four were determined.
Among them was Johnson, who fell to eighth in the race and wound up tied for the final transfer spot with Kyle Larson and Aric Almirola. Johnson wound up the odd man out due to the tiebreaker of best finishes in the opening playoff round. Also eliminated were Austin Dillon, Erik Jones and Denny Hamlin.
Logano Outruns the ‘Big Three’
NASCAR’s playoff format once again set up a dramatic finish to the season, as the three drivers who dominated the regular season — Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. — squared off for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway against Joey Logano. Logano earned his spot in the final four by knocking Truex aside on the last lap of the fall race at Martinsville Speedway in the first race of the playoff’s third round.
Still, entering the championship-deciding Ford EcoBoost 400, most eyes were on the Big Three, and deservedly so.
They’d combined to win 20 of the 35 races leading up to Homestead, with Harvick and Busch winning eight apiece and Truex four. At that point, Logano had just two wins, the first coming at Talladega in the 10th race of the season.
But when it came down to a late-race shootout at Homestead, Logano stepped up and took control.
The Homestead race — and the championship — was decided in a 15-lap dash set up by a spin by Daniel Suarez that brought out the race’s final caution flag. The four championship contenders — Logano, Truex, Harvick and Busch — all restarted on the first two rows.
Logano lined up beside Truex on the front row and lost the lead to him initially. But a daring pass to the outside with 12 laps remaining gave Logano a lead he would never relinquish. He simply drove away from Truex, Harvick and Busch to win by 1.725 seconds over the runner-up Truex.
Logano’s team owner, Roger Penske, said his late charge at Homestead was one of those situations where Logano is at his best.
“When it’s time to go, he’s the guy,” Penske said.
The runner-up finish for Truex and his No. 78 team was particularly bittersweet, as it was the final race for that team. Owner Barney Visser closed his operation due to the financial issues caused by a lack of sponsorship going forward.
Truex and his crew chief, Cole Pearn, are moving to Joe Gibbs Racing to take over the team that previously fielded cars for Daniel Suarez, who had not announced his 2019 plans as of last week.
PHOTO CAPTION: Austin Dillon won the Daytona 500 and locked up an early playoff spot.Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for NASCAR
Kasey Kahne exits NASCAR with legacy of early Cup Series success
by Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Among the many milestone events in the 2018 NASCAR season was the apparent end of Kasey Kahne’s NASCAR driving career.
Kahne, at the age of 38, was believed to have several more years ahead of him in his Monster Energy Cup Series career, but after falling seriously ill during the running of the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend, he never ran another competitive lap in a Cup car.
He worked with his doctors to try to determine why he was so dehydrated after driving in competition and even ran a mock race at Charlotte. But in the end, he and his doctors decided he was no longer able to compete under racing conditions in the heat of a Cup car.
So, he announced his retirement, and he now plans to resume racing Sprint cars, where the open cockpits are cooler and races are relatively shorter.
Many in the sport were disappointed that Kahne’s career was not celebrated more by the NASCAR community, especially during year-end festivities.
Clint Bowyer took to Twitter to complain that Kahne wasn’t mentioned during the Cup awards ceremony in Las Vegas.
He wrote: “If a guy put in more than 10 years of his life or so into @NASCAR I do hope they figure out a way to recognize his being there somehow as we go along. Kasey should’ve been recognized at the banquet for all he’s given the sport.”
Kahne’s career, indeed, was remarkable, especially in the early years.
The Enumclaw, Washington, native first came to NASCAR as a driver for Ford Motor Co. He raced in the series now known as Xfinity in 2002, in a car owned by the late Robert Yates, who at the time was busy with his Cup operation, but set up a Busch Series team just for Kahne.
“That was kind of my first go in stock cars,” Kahne said at a press session during the 2018 NASCAR media tour. “Ford was pushing that pretty hard at the time, so that kind of forced Robert [Yates] into doing a 16-race schedule with me.
“We just went from there. It started in a small little building in a small shop with little lighting and everything, and a group of guys working hard to get cars ready for Daytona.
“It ended as part of Rensi Racing up the road, which helped us a good bit by the end of that year just with some speed and things.
“So it was cool to get to know Robert and Doug [Yates] and Dale Jarrett at the time … Ricky Rudd, Elliott Sadler. … It was a great experience. I wouldn’t change it.”
Kahne didn’t win in his time with Yates, but got the first of his eight Xfinity victories the next year in the No. 38 Ford owned by Brad Akins.
“That was more of a team that had been racing, and we instantly were fast right off the bat with that car,” Kahne said.
He switched to Dodge in 2004, moved to the Cup Series and took over the No. 9 car vacated by Bill Elliott. He scored his first Cup win the next year at Richmond and had his best season in 2006, when he won six races.
Kahne went winless in 2007, then won twice in 2008, as the team became known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
He then won twice more in 2009, as the No. 9 team morphed into Richard Petty Motorsports.
After a winless 2010, Kahne moved to Team Red Bull and won at Phoenix. In 2012, he joined Hendrick Motorsports and won twice in his first season. He scored three more wins over the next two seasons before going winless in 2015 and 2016.
He got his 18th and final win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year in his lame-duck season at Hendrick.
Kahne was most successful on the 1.5-mile tracks at Charlotte and Atlanta, winning four Cup races at the former and three at the latter.
But by the end of his time at Hendrick Motorsports, it was becoming apparent that Kahne’s health was an issue.
After he won at the Brickyard in 2017, he appeared to be completely exhausted. And as it turned out, he was.
“I’ll carry that win forever because that will be one of my biggest wins in racing,” Kahne said at the media tour. “I was barely alive after that race. I was so worn out. … I’ve been pretty bad after some races, but not at that level. That stuck with me through like Wednesday and Thursday before I started feeling (better). Thursday was the first day I started feeling really good again. It was tough. I don’t think I’ve ever been that dehydrated, for sure.”
Appropriately it might seem, Kahne ran his last NASCAR race at Darlington Raceway, where he was absolutely dominant in the Camping World Truck Series. He won both of his starts there, and posted three other wins — at Charlotte, Homestead and Rockingham — in just six career starts in the Truck Series.
Photo: Kahne was perhaps most widely known as the driver of the No. 5 Chevy at Henrdrick Motorsports from 2012 to 2017.Courtesy of NASCAR
Kurt Busch settles in at Chip Ganassi Racing
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
In today’s NASCAR world, where drivers often have to be able to bring sponsor money to get the good rides, Kurt Busch has proven once again that talent can carry a driver a long way.
NASCAR’s onetime bad boy was announced last week as the new driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet at Chip Ganassi Racing.
It’s the sixth team that has hired Busch in an 18-year career that has seen him score 30 race wins, 27 poles and the 2004 championship.
Busch’s partings with his previous teams weren’t always on the best of terms. He left Roush Fenway Racing after a 2005 season that saw him taken out of the car at Phoenix after an arrest for reckless driving prior to a race.
He quickly landed a ride with Roger Penske and continued to win races, but saw his final year with Penske marred by a verbal attack on highly respected reporter Dr. Jerry Punch — an incident captured on cellphone video and widely distributed via social media.
He moved to the team owned by maverick James Finch for 2012 and to the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team in 2013. In 2014, he joined Stewart-Haas Racing, and more issues surfaced later that year, with a domestic violence allegation that led to him being suspended by NASCAR in February 2015. He was reinstated after three races and won two events in 2015. He recently concluded his final season aboard that team’s No. 41 Ford.
Now he moves to Ganassi, where he replaced Jamie McMurray, who is expected to compete only at Daytona in February and has been offered a front-office position with the team.
Busch said on a teleconference last week that he sees the move to Ganassi’s two-car team — the other being the No. 42 driven by Kyle Larson — as a chance to continue winning races and competing for championships. He won one race this season, made the playoffs and finished seventh in the final Cup standings.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to go out and win races, to have a shot at the championship and to use my experience that I’ve gained over all these years with a group like Chip Ganassi Racing,” he said. “I feel like it’s a good mesh with Kyle Larson. Something that Chip and I talked about as far as the driver lineup and the way that we wanted to go into 2019 and attack and go right out of the gate and go for wins and get this program where it needs to be and what Chip has for his championship dreams.”
Ganassi said getting a driver with Busch’s credentials is a plus for his team.
“I think first of all I think, as anyone knows, it’s not oftentimes a NASCAR champion and a Daytona 500 winner comes available,” he said. “I think when somebody like that comes along, you’ve got to take a serious look at him. It didn’t take me long to say yes, when he became available. It helped that in addition to his talent behind the wheel, Busch could bring financial backing.
“To bring on somebody like Monster is something we are pretty happy about,” Ganassi said. “They have brought a lot to this sport of NASCAR, and I’m as excited as I’ve been in a long time to work with both of them.”
The team owner also said current sponsors McDonald’s and Cessna are still with the team.
Ganassi also said he likes the fact that Busch is known for getting directly involved in the preparation of the race cars and is a regular presence at the race shop.
“I think anytime you can have a veteran guy like that, that A. knows how to win races, but B. is a good guy in the locker room per se, I think that brings something to our team that I think will only enhance a young guy like a Larson or any of the other young guys we have that maybe don’t have the years of experience that put a little gray hair on me from time to time,” he said.
There’s been some speculation that Busch, age 40, will only be in the No. 1 for the 2019 season and then retire, and he didn’t exactly deny that when asked about it on the teleconference.
“If we come out of the gate gangbusters and we’ve got five wins by July Daytona, well, let’s talk about 2020,” he said. “I had always talked about 2019 and that being my 20th full-time year. That’s a number I had in my mind, but anytime you get an opportunity like this and now seeing everybody on the shop floor [at Ganassi’s team], you don’t know what is around the next corner as far as motivation and challenges.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Kurt Busch will drive the No. 1 Chevrolet at Chip Ganassi Racing. PHOTO BY Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR
9 Steps to Winterize your Motorcycle for Winter Storage
With winter months soon ahead motorists are starting to prepare their motorcycles, choppers, dirt bikes, and ATV vehicles for winter storage.
Following a few simple steps for winterizing your motorcycle will prevent your bike from seizing on ignition.
Bikes and other motor vehicles should not only prepare their bikes for winter storage, but also for any non-riding period in excess of 1-2 months.
Proper preventative measure and maintenance ensure optimal engine health and function after storage.
The most common issues arising from motorcycle storage are body and parts rust, fuel contamination, battery drain, and engine corrosion.
This article will address the following issues:
Where to store your bike
How to cover your motorcycle(s)
Changing the oil
Preventing rust and other surface body defects
Disconnecting and storing the battery
Monitoring tire pressure
Preventing engine cylinder damage and corrosion
Using fuel stabilizer
Ideally your motorcycle or dirt bike should be stored in a temperature regulated environment with low humidity and away from UV light. Your local motorcycle dealer or bike shop may offer winterizing and storage service for a nominal fee. Most motorcycle enthusiasts will store their bike in their freezing garages which is why proper winter preparation and maintenance is necessary.
Covering any windows in your garage will prevent temperature changes and condensation from the sun’s radiant heat.
It is important to choose the right material for covering your motorcycle. Sheets absorb moisture and hold it against your motorcycle causing rust.
Tarps trap condensation by not allowing air exchange leading to rust. Another unfortunate problem with tarps is that they will often bond to your bike’s body paint in the cold and ruin the paint job when removed. Specially designed motorcycle covers prevent moisture absorption and allow air exchange.
Changing your oil to a winter grade oil will ensure easy start up in the spring. Even if you are not due for an oil change it is a good idea to perform an oil change as combustion created acid byproducts in motor oil which can corrode your motors inner surfaces.
Waxing your motorcycle before storage will create a protective barrier against rust and moisture. A light spray of WD-40 on engine parts and the frame will protect your bike against corrosion.
Batteries should be disconnected and removed from the bike to prevent current drain. Dead batteries are the most common start-up problem motorcycle enthusiasts face in spring.
Charging your battery every few weeks will maintain its charge Cold temperature inversely affects tire pressure; meaning that the colder
it gets the more the air in your tire compresses, lowering your tire pressurewhich causes premature wear. Continually monitor your tire pressure and use a motorcycle paddock, lift, or stand to raise your bike’s tires off the frigid garage floor.
Lubing your engine’s cylinder walls with engine oil will prevent corrosion and rust. Without lubricating your motorcycle’s cylinders premature ring and piston wear is a very real possibility.
Gasoline breaks down overtime creating compounds that clogs the fuel system. Filling your tank with fresh gas, draining your fuel line and carburettors, and adding fuel stabilizer will prevent gasoline from decomposing and prevent moisture collection.
Brake fluids are water-absorbing, or hygroscopic, by nature. If you haven’t changed your fluids in the past year or two chances are a good deal of moisture has been absorbed which can cause engine corrosion.
Following these steps will prevent problems with starting your motorcycle after the winter months.
Joey Logano honored for his charitable work
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship wasn’t the only honor that Joey Logano collected last weekend. He also won the annual Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award.
The award program, now in its fourth year, honors NASCAR industry members for their philanthropy. Logano’s foundation was given $60,000, while the other nominees, driver Ryan Newman and Sonoma Raceway track president Steve Page, each received $30,000 for their respective charities.
In the six years since it was founded, the Joey Logano Foundation has been responsible for distributing $2.7 million to various charities, according to a Comcast news release.
Among its projects, Logano’s foundation formed the JL Kids Crew to help children with serious illnesses attend events at racetracks.
His charity’s Grant Funding Program also sends funds to organizations that assist the families of the sick, foster children and children of veterans.
During the recently completed NASCAR playoffs, Logano’s foundation helped nonprofit organizations in 10 different NASCAR markets through its Chasing Second Chances program.
Logano and his wife, Brittany, actually participated in an event in Florida the night before he won the Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. His group took needy families shopping at a local grocery store to buy food for their Thanksgiving meals.
Newman was honored for his work with his Rescue Ranch organization, which he and his wife, Krissie, formed to promote respect for all animals, the earth and the environment.
Logano discussed his work with his foundation in a press conference held prior to him being announced as the winner.
“We talk about race wins, we can talk about how I’m a hard racer. That’s fine,” Logano said. “But when you take your helmet off, you become a different person.
“I think our whole industry does a great job of understanding that we’re all very fortunate and very blessed that God has given us the opportunity to do what we love.”
He said that his foundation work often reminds him of just how lucky he is.
“In our little la-la land out here in NASCAR world, it’s great, but we don’t see all the challenges a lot of times that people fight every single day,” he said. “We get mad and storm off after we blow a tire or we hit the wall, have a bad pit stop, pout away.
“Is it really that bad? I don’t think so. It’s OK. Life is still pretty good.”
He said he started a second chance program because of the second chance he got in his racing career when Roger Penske hired him to drive the No. 22 Ford after he’d gotten pushed out at Joe Gibbs Racing.
“Chasing Second Chances is a big piece of the foundation mainly because I’ve gotten a second chance in my career for racing with Team Penske after a not-so-good start of my career,” Logano said. “I know how different I handled a lot of situations being there the second time. Man, only if I had a second chance, I’d do things a lot different, right?
“God gave me the opportunity to do things different. I feel like I need to pay that forward, as well. Brittany does a great job helping me with that. I don’t have as much time to focus in on it as I’d like to. She does a great job of setting a lot of things up, working with everything.”
And he said he’s not in charity work to get recognition for himself.
“It’s about what you’re supposed to do,” he said.
During the winner’s interview after Logano won the championship, team owner Roger Penske mentioned Logano’s charity work and the honor he received for it from Comcast.
“That’s a side of him,” Penske said. “They had a lot of people that had delivered a lot back into the community, and I think that his commitment and the things that he has done gave him that championship.
“At the end of the day, as you get older, you say, that’s a real championship. We can race on the racetrack, we can win races, but to get that as a philanthropic person in NASCAR I think is pretty special.
“I think we couple that together, we’ve got an A-plus guy.”
PHOTO: On the eve of the Cup championship, Joey Logano and his wife, Brittany, left, took 100 families shopping for Thanksgiving meals.
Photo Credits:Joey Logano Foundation
Joey Logano captures first Cup Series title
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
When Joey Logano was coming up through the racing ranks winning Bandolero and Legends races with ease long before he was old enough to legally drive on the highway, he was tagged with the nickname “Sliced Bread” — as in “the best thing since …”
But when he landed in the Cup Series in 2008 at the age of 18, and was quickly put in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car that had been recently vacated by veteran Tony Stewart, he was unable to live up to the lofty — and, many felt, unrealistic — expectations.
After four full seasons with just two race victories and a best finish of 16th in the standings, he was shuffled aside at JGR to make room for Matt Kenseth.
On the recommendation of Brad Keselowski, team owner Roger Penske hired Logano and built the No. 22 team around the youngster, whom many had already written off at that point. Paired from the beginning with crew chief Todd Gordon, Logano blossomed into a major force on the Cup circuit.
His win in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Sunday night — a victory that delivered his first Cup championship — was his 19th since joining Penske and the fifth time he’d finished eighth or better in the final standings.
Logano’s late-race charge to the championship was typical of the way he’s been at his best when so much was at stake. In fact, just to be in the Championship 4 at Homestead, Logano had to pull off an aggressive bump-and-run on Martin Truex Jr. on the final turn of the Oct. 28 race at Martinsville Speedway.
At Homestead, the race — and the championship — boiled down to a 15-lap shootout set up by a spin by Daniel Suarez that brought out the race’s final caution flag. The four championship contenders — Logano, Truex, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch — restarted on the first two rows.
Logano lined up beside Truex on the front row and lost the lead to him initially. But a daring pass to the outside with 12 laps remaining gave Logano a lead he would never relinquish. He simply drove away from Truex, Harvick and Busch — the “Big Three” drivers of the 2018 season — to win by 1.725 seconds over the runner-up Truex.
Penske said Logano’s late charge at Homestead was one of those situations where Logano is at his best.
“When it’s time to go, he’s the guy,” Penske said. “To me, I couldn’t ask for a better result and a guy that delivers it for the whole team.”
Crew chief Gordon seconded Penske’s comments: “You give [Logano] that opportunity of ‘Here it is — it’s right in front of you,’ he steps up to another level.”
Logano said in his winner’s interview that his maturing into an aggressive, successful driver is actually a harkening back to his earliest racing days.
“I just feel like I’m back to where I was growing up,” he said. “As the kid growing up, I was an aggressive racer, and I was able to win a lot of races.”
Then came the struggles. But he was able to use those dark days to his advantage.
“The opportunity to make mistakes is one of the best things that can ever happen to you,” he said. “I made a lot of mistakes … things I shouldn’t say or whatever it was, but there are no regrets, either, because that’s formed me into the man I am today. And if it wasn’t for each and every one of those mistakes, I wouldn’t be sitting here today, and I wouldn’t have the people around me, either, that have surrounded me.”
He said those tough times, especially at the end of his Gibbs tenure, were tougher than he admitted at the time.
“That was a pretty low point for me,” Logano said. “I was thinking about, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’m not going to be a race car driver anymore and what am I going to do with my life, and this is awful,’ and next thing you know, there’s the 22 car and Roger Penske and Todd Gordon and an amazing race team all the way through that wants you to drive.
“Like I say, God works in some mysterious ways sometimes, and it just really worked out for me.”
Photo Caption: Joey Logano hoists the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup trophy at Homestead-Miami Speedway.Courtesy of Ford Performance
Kyle Busch captures a win in the desert as Championship 4 is set for the season finale
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
The four-driver field is set for the 2018 Championship Round of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, which will be contested on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
The circuit’s “Big Three” winners of the year — Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. — will go up against Joey Logano, who earned his spot by winning at Martinsville Speedway in the opening race of the Round of Eight, which concluded on Sunday at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
The drivers will begin Sunday’s Ford 400 at Homestead tied in points at 5,000, and the highest finisher among those four will win the season championship.
Many in the sport have been predicting for several weeks that Logano and the Big Three would be the final four, but only Logano’s berth was certain entering Sunday’s Can-Am 500 at ISM Raceway near Phoenix.
Despite the advantages held by the Big Three due to playoff points they earned over the course of the season, there was drama aplenty from the drop of the green flag to the falling of the checkered at Phoenix.
Harvick’s Homestead berth, which he appeared to have secured last week through a win at Texas, was nullified by a penalty for an illegal spoiler.
He bounced back by winning the pole at Phoenix and dominating early. A flat tire just before the end of the race’s first stage caused some damage to his No. 4 Ford and put him a lap down, but he battled back and eventually finished fifth, earning his spot by virtue of his accumulated points.
Kyle Busch was in the safest spot of the Big Three entering Phoenix. For much of Sunday’s 312-lap race, Busch, who also lost a lap at one point, appeared to be content to maintain his points position so he could advance to Homestead. But in the latter laps of the race, he surged forward, took the lead from Erik Jones with 36 laps remaining and won for the eighth time this season — tying Harvick for the series lead — and the 51st time in his Cup career.
Truex had a so-so day, finishing 14th, but his points cushion put him in position to go to Homestead and defend his 2017 title.
Logano needed his Martinsville win in the biggest way as he blew a tire early and crashed, leaving him 37th in the finishing order.
Other drivers in the Round of Eight mounted serious challenges for a race win that would have put them in the final four. But, ultimately, each fell short.
Almirola made the front row for the race’s final restart, but his No. 10 Ford was no match for Busch, and he fell to fourth at the finish.
Both Chase Elliott and Kurt Busch had cars capable of winning, but both were collected in a Lap 269 crash that ended their playoff runs.
Denny Hamlin, already eliminated from playoff contention, slid into Busch just after a restart to start the wreck, and Elliott was hit by the spinning car of Busch and wound up 23rd.
Elliott said in a post-race interview that it was his own fault for being back in the pack in the first place, due to an earlier speeding penalty on pit road.
“Don’t speed before that and you don’t get caught back there in the back. It was completely my fault, and when you make mistakes like that, you get put behind, and that’s when you get wrecked.”
Also eliminated from the playoffs were Almirola, who needed a win at Phoenix to advance, and Clint Bowyer, who was in a similar position and wrecked early on, finishing 35th.
Kyle Busch said his late surge to victory was a matter of taking advantage of the opportunity provided him when his fellow playoff drivers had problems.
“A lot of crazy things happened there at the end and got us in position to where we could capitalize on that, and it feels good to go into next week with a win under our belt and hopefully do it again,” he said.
Brad Keselowski made a late charge at Busch but fell short and finished second, with Kyle Larson taking third.
Busch said that looking ahead to Homestead he believes the Championship Four is as competitive as it’s ever been.
“I don’t know how you could pick a favorite, necessarily,” he said. “Harvick has won [at Homestead], we’ve won there, the 78 [Truex] has won there. Harvick has beat us all. I beat Harvick the year I won. Truex beat both of us last year. …
“I would predict this is the best four, the closest four that have been in our sport in a long time.”
Photo: Kyle Busch unleashes a burnout after earning his eighth Cup win of the season and the 51st of his career. By Sean Gardner/Getty Images for NASCAR
Harvick and his No. 4 unstoppable at Texas
By Rick Minter/ Andrews Mc Meel Syndication
As the Monster Energy Cup Series drivers head into the final two races of the 2019 season, the year’s dominant driver is leading the points standings and coming off a powerful performance in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Kevin Harvick scored his league-leading eighth win of the season, and the 45th of his career, with a near-perfect drive. He won both of the opening 85-lap stages and led 177 of 377 laps, including 38 of the final 45 circuits, to take the victory over Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Erik Jones and Kyle Larson.
Playoff drivers Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Martin Truex Jr. took positions six through nine, respectively, with Austin Dillon completing the top 10.
Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., who with Harvick make up the Cup circuit’s “Big Three” drivers this season, both suffered numerous setback in Sunday’s race, but were able to hold their spots among the top three in the standings, mostly because of the playoff points they’ve accumulated over the course of the season.
Truex recovered from having to start in the rear due to an engine change, loose wheels during the race and a pit-road penalty to finish ninth and remain third in the points standings heading into this weekend’s race at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.
Busch also fell laps down due to a loose wheel and a speeding penalty. He rejoined the lead lap near the end of the race but finished 17th.
The bottom four playoff contenders are in must-win positions heading into Phoenix if they want to be among the final four at Homestead on Nov. 18.
Tony Stewart, who co-owns the Stewart-Haas Racing team that still has all four of its drivers — Harvick, Kurt Busch, Aric Almirola and Clint Bowyer — in the playoffs, said he’s not surprised how the playoff field looks at this point.
“The reality is we knew, everybody knew, when they started the playoffs that those first three spots were already for the most part taken, unless they had a natural disaster happen,” he said. “From our standpoint now, we got one [Harvick] in. There’s one more race left. We’ve got one more opportunity to get one more of those three in.”
While many feel that Harvick’s domination on Sunday indicates that he’ll be the driver to beat in the finale at Homestead, Stewart is more cautious in his approach.
“I don’t even know how you have a favorite,” he said. “When you think of the reality of what Homestead is, you’re loading all your chips into one race. You never know what can happen. There are still 40 cars in the race, four of them racing for a championship, and 36 guys that can make a mistake and change the outcome of the event.”
But, Stewart added, Harvick is plenty capable of winning his second Cup title.
“I like the fact that we got Kevin Harvick there,” he said. “That’s a guy that — I don’t care who he’s up against — that’s a guy you kind of want with the ball in the bottom of the ninth.”
At Texas, a track similar in length and shape to Homestead, Harvick showed that he and his team have the speed to win the title.
His only real challenge in the closing laps came from Blaney, the runner-up, who was able to briefly wrestle the lead from Harvick on the next-to-last restart but was unable to keep it.
Harvick quickly motored by him on the final restart to seal the win.
Harvick said he raced with the same intensity at Texas that he will at Homestead in two weeks.
“We swing for the fence every week,” he said. “The only way you can control anything is to win. …
“When you go to Homestead, you’re going to have to win the race, most likely. Every year the champion has won the race. You have to have a winning mentality to approach the week in and week out.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner Tony Stewart celebrates with his winning driver in Victory Lane at Texas.
Logano knocks Truex aside for Martinsville win
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway provided the NASCAR world with some badly needed drama as the Monster Energy Cup Series enters its final three weeks of the 2018 campaign.
Joey Logano employed a classic bump-and-run maneuver on Martin Truex Jr. on the final turn of Sunday’s 500-lapper on the tight, paper-clip-shaped half-mile and took the lead — and the win — from Truex, who now has gone 78 career short-track races in the Cup series without a victory. The victory, Logano’s first at Martinsville, assures him of a spot among the four drivers who will decide the Cup championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway in three weeks.
An angry Truex promised payback in a nationally televised post-race interview and vowed that he, not Logano, would be the 2018 champion.
NASCAR fans and participants in the sport immediately took to social media to debate the fairness of Logano’s move, with most in agreement that, whether they sided with Logano or Truex, the day’s events made them want to see more short tracks on the Cup schedule.
For his part, Logano, who led a race-high 309 laps and lost the lead with a little over one lap to run before regaining it at the finish line, said he didn’t do anything unusual for a last-lap battle for the win on a short track like Martinsville.
“My goal was not to wreck [Truex] in any way,” he said. “My goal was to win the race. I don’t want to win by dumping somebody. I want to win by making a move.
“That was the classic bump-and-run. That was the move that our sport and Martinsville, in particular, was built on.
“I think I owe it to my race team to do everything I can to win a race, get another shot at winning a championship. That’s my job. They did their job today. I had to do my mine.”
Logano’s car owner, the respected veteran Roger Penske, said he saw nothing wrong with his driver’s move.
“I think Joey drove a great race,” Penske said in the winner’s interview. “He didn’t knock [Truex] off the race track. It was side-by-side racing at the end. You could see that. Nobody lifted. “I want to make sure people know my position: I thought it was fair, I thought it was square, and Joey deserved the win.”
Truex, obviously, disagreed.
“[Logano] won the battle, but he didn’t win the damn war,” he said. “I’m just not going to let him win it. I’m going to win it.”
Truex said he raced Logano clean in the closing laps only to be treated otherwise on the final lap.
“I was next to him for six laps,” he said. “I never knocked him out of the way. We were going to race hard for it in my book. I cleared him fair and square. We weren’t even banging doors for me to pass him. He just drove into the back of me and knocked me out of the way. That’s short-track racing, but what goes around comes around.”
Denny Hamlin moved from third to second as Logano and Truex rubbed each other en route to the checkered flag, while Kyle Busch finished fourth and heads to Texas Motor Speedway with the series points lead. Brad Keselowski finished fifth after battling his fellow Team Penske driver Logano for the lead in the final 100 laps.
PHOTO CAPTION: Joey Logano celebrates a Martinsville win and a berth in the championship in Victory Lane.
BY Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images for NASCAR
Chase Elliott continues hot streak at Kansas
By Rick Minter/ Andrews McMeel Syndication
With NASCAR’s Big Three of the 2018 season off their usual pace in the Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs, Chase Elliott has stepped up as the hottest driver on the circuit of late.
In Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway, Elliott took his third win of the season — and the third of his career — after Kevin Harvick was penalized for speeding on pit road on his final stop of the race.
With Harvick out of the picture, Elliott took the lead when the cycle of pit stops ended and led the final 44 laps to take the victory over Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones and Martin Truex Jr. Harvick recovered to finish 12th.
Sunday’s race also was the cutoff race for the Round of 12 in the Playoffs, and the four eliminated from championship contention were Larson, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski and Alex Bowman.
But the Big Three of Harvick, Busch and Truex are still in the driver’s seat as far as the playoffs are concerned, largely due to the playoff points they accumulated throughout the season via race wins (five points each) and stage wins (one point each).
The Big Three combined to win 17 of the 26 regular-season races, with Harvick winning seven, Busch six and Truex, the defending champion, four.
Since drivers carry playoff points all the way to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, they’re still atop the standings due to those points. Busch leads all drivers with 55, while Harvick has 54 and Truex 38. Elliott is fourth with 18.
So far in the playoffs, of the Big Three, only Busch has won, at Richmond, while Elliott has won at Dover and at Kansas. Brad Keselow-ski won the playoff opener at Las Vegas, with Ryan Blaney winning on the Roval at Charlotte and Aric Almirola victorious at Talladega.
Elliott’s crew chief, Alan Gustafson, said in the winner’s interview at Kansas that the points advantage that Harvick, Busch and Truex enjoy will be hard for Elliott and others to overcome in the next four races.
“The 18 [Busch] and the 4 [Harvick] have a pretty significant point advantage,” Gustafson said. “As well as they run, getting past them via points is probably a stretch. I mean, it’s possible, but probably a stretch.”
Even so, Elliott’s recent performances indicate that he’s not only getting some breaks in races that didn’t go his way early in his career, but also becoming a driver capable of winning multiple races and contending for championships. Elliott can assure himself of a spot among the four who will race for the championship at Homestead by winning one of the next three races.
Gustafson said his young driver is poised to do just that because, among other things, he now has the confidence he can win after finishing second eight times before his first victory came at Watkins Glen in August.
“I don’t feel like [Elliott’s] personality has changed, this, but I think now when he looks at that opportunity, he is looking at it more: ‘Yes, I can do this,’ [instead of thinking about] the hundred things that can go wrong.”
Elliott acknowledged he needs to win a race in the Round of Eight to advance to the championship round at Homestead. And if that happens, he’ll need to win there to be the champion.
“I think that needs to be the mindset, for sure,” he said. “I think every week has to be pressure-packed. You have to keep the pressure on yourselves. If you were to make it to Homestead, you have to pretty much win Homestead. I think you have to have that mentality every week.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Chase Elliott celebrates in Victory Lane following his triumph in the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway.
PHOTO CREDITS: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images for NASCAR