CUP: NASCAR Notebook

Always wanted to try out at a combine?

The vast majority of people won’t ever be invited to a National Football League combine, but Richard Childress Racing has scheduled one that is open to anyone. Well, almost anyone.

For the first time in its history, RCR is holding a pit-crew training combine. The sessions will be held at RCR’s Welcome, N.C., facility Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The combine is open to both experienced pit-crew members as well as individuals with a desire to work in the field. Activities will include agility workouts and demanding tests, including simulated pit stops, so a certain level of physical ability is expected.

Qualified individuals should arrive at RCR dressed appropriately and prepared to work out. There are no fees associated with the combine.

MICHIGAN MASHES THE GAS – After participating in two days of Goodyear tire tests at the newly repaved Michigan International Speedway this week, Matt Kenseth said he expects competition at the track to be about the same – just faster.

“We’re running at least three seconds faster than what we would run in race runs the last time we were here, and that’s going to change the racing a little bit,” he said. “It was pretty slick before. You would run real fast and slow up on old tires, and the groove was all over the place, so I don’t think it’s going to be better than that. I think it’s going to be faster than that.

“The tire is always the biggest factor in the speeds no matter where we go or what kind of pavement we’re racing on, so I think Goodyear has done a really good job with all of these new repaves that have come up the last four or five years. They’ve brought a tire that doesn’t fail, and we can drive and maneuver on it. In the past, it used to be when they paved these places they’d bring a tire that was so hard, because they couldn’t keep them from failing, that we couldn’t drive the cars for 20 to 30 laps. So I think they’ve done a good job of giving us something we can drive off the get-go and still seems durable.”

Tire tests on the repaved surface at Pocono Raceway are scheduled April 24-25.

HALL NOMINEES TO BE NAMED – The 25 nominees for the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame class are scheduled to be announced during SPEED’s NASCAR Race Hub show at 6 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Five of the 25 nominees will be chosen for membership in the Hall.

DON'T NEGLECT THE BONUS – The finish of last year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup – with Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards tied atop the standings – fully illustrated the importance of each point earned during the Sprint Cup season.

Bonus points are likely to play a considerable role in deciding the drivers who make the Chase cut after race 26 at Richmond, Va., in September. Drivers earn three bonus points for winning a race, one point for leading a lap and one point for leading the most laps.

The top four drivers in bonus points to date are Tony Stewart (11) and Matt Kenseth, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski with eight each.

Mike Hembree is NASCAR Editor for and has been covering motorsports for 30 years. He is a six-time winner of the National Motorsports Press Association Writer of the Year Award.