KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


Trevor Bayne and the Wood Brothers continue to bask in the glory of their startling Daytona 500 triumph.

But a new weekend of racing is upon us, so let’s start the engines on this week’s Friday Morning Heat Race.

Ten laps will be the distance.

1. We’re touting Travis Pastrana as an entry to seek the $5 million bonus available to non-series regulars in the IndyCar Series finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Oct. 16. Pastrana has the ability to keep an Indy car off the walls and the new audience his involvement could bring to IndyCar racing, would be sizable. And, yes, for those of you who read the heat race weekly, we are still tired of hearing about Travis Pastrana.

2. The No. 48 Sprint Cup Series team tested its short track car at Georgia’s Gresham Motorsports Park this week, but five-time champion Jimmie Johnson wasn’t behind the wheel. Instead, it was Landon Cassill who piloted the Lowe’s Chevrolet.

3. The NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series opens its 60th season this weekend at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Calif.). My money is on a second straight Top Fuel championship for Larry Dixon and John Force talking — a lot.

4. We miss the Copper Classic at Phoenix Int’l Raceway. While we know the fourth Copper on Dirt was last weekend, there was still something about the four-division open-wheel event on the one-mile oval in the desert. But for those who just like Phoenix, four NASCAR stock car divisions will be on track at PIR this weekend.

5. NASCAR needs a two yellow-flag rule. If you are involved in two caution flags, your day should be over. Travis Kvapil brought out more yellows during the Daytona 500 than some drivers do in a full season.

6. Yellow flag. This column is delayed while we seek a drafting partner.

7. -Who do you think is the best NASCAR driver who has never won the Sprint Cup championship? NSSN contributor Al Robinson thinks its Mark Martin. He explains his choice and discusses the other possibilities in next week’s National Speed Sport News.

8. We read this week that Indianapolis Motor Speedway is going to offer Junior Garage Passes for the Indianapolis 500 to kids ages 9-17. It reminded us of when Chris Economaki told us about his first visit to the Indianapolis 500 in 1937. Chris was 16 at the time. “I got thrown out of the garage,” he said before taking a long pause for effect and continuing, “every day for a week.”

9. Don’t forget that Trevor Bayne is on loan to Wood Brothers Racing. His contract is owned by Roush Fenway Racing for which he drives in the Nationwide Series.

10. Has anyone seen Scott Speed recently?

Previous articleMyrtle Beach Partners With zMAX Dragway
Next articleHorton Hustles East Bay Field
Mike Kerchner
Mike Kerchner is a veteran racing journalist and has been a member of the SPEED SPORT family since joining Chris Economaki at National Speed Sport News in 1991. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of SPEED SPORT Magazine.