Entry List for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #12-Montoya, #21-Bayne, #29-Matt Crafton, #37-Bobby Labonte, #66-Moffitt, #95-McDowell.
Drivers who need to be in the top-36 in speed and have no provisional available to them (lowest in owners points): #21-Bayne, #12-Montoya, #29-Crafton
Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts): #21-Bayne, #12-Montoya, #29-Crafton
See the full entry list at my Jayski's Indianapolis Entry List
France comments on Race Team Alliance: NASCAR chairman Brian France says listening to the consensus voice of the newly formed Race Team Alliance would be a "bad idea." France, in his first extensive interview on the RTA since the organization of major team owners was announced two weeks ago, told Sirius/XM's Sirius Speedway show on Monday that NASCAR "didn't think (the RTA) was necessary." The nine most powerful race teams in NASCAR announced July 7 they had formed an alliance with the stated purpose of cutting costs and pooling resources. But France said he had no intentions of dealing with the individual race teams as one organization. "That would probably be the worst thing we could ever do -- to listen to one voice, even if it were a consensus voice," he said. "Every decision we've ever made that's important, the more input, the more people we heard from, the better the result. That will never change in the business model of NASCAR, because good ideas come from all over the place." But it seems NASCAR's most influential team owners don't feel that way, since they banded together to form the RTA and speak as one regarding many issues facing the sport. And while France acknowledged the RTA "may figure out some things we're not aware of" in terms of reducing costs, he repeatedly said NASCAR would be "business as usual." That includes holding firm on the allocation of a mega $8.2 billion TV contract that kicks in next year - 25% of which goes to the race teams (65% goes to the tracks and 10% goes to NASCAR). The RTA is said to want a bigger piece of the pie, but France said the current percentages were "set for historical reasons - because it's the right allocation."(USA Today)(7-22-2014)
How much does it cost to operate a race team each week? Less than 24 hours after [Stewart-Haas Racing's haulers] returned from Sonoma, they are on their way to the Saturday race in Sparta, Ky. It's all part of the weekly routine at Stewart-Haas Racing, or any other NASCAR team, for that matter. Most people know that NASCAR is a traveling circus, a weekly carnival built on rubber and exhaust. But outside of motorsports, few can appreciate everything that goes into creating that big top each week. During a season, the sport travels 38 weekends across 23 markets, and that doesn't include test sessions. Teams truck race cars and parts, fly dozens of people and set up temporary homes at all of them. The NASCAR schedule makes the logistics and costs of operating a race team unique in professional sports. While stick-and-ball teams have front-office staff, players and administrators, NASCAR teams have pilots, flight attendants, long-haul truckers, engineers, mechanics, even chefs. Outside of racing, few - if any - face such a challenge of coordinating freight trucking and airline travel across so many weeks. Doing so is an enormous undertaking that takes months of planning. The Kentucky race weekend highlighted just how demanding it can be. Over the course of three days in June, Stewart-Haas Racing trucked eight race cars and flew more than 100 people to Kentucky for the Quaker State 400. It rented 27 vehicles and reserved 44 hotel rooms. It spent more than $1.5 million, and its four entries finished seventh, 11th, 12th and 21st to collect a combined purse of $428,401. (That doesn't include driver salaries or additional personnel costs.) As teams prepare to head to Indianapolis for NASCAR's annual Brickyard race, last month's Kentucky race provided a glimpse at what goes into a typical race weekend, how it comes together and how much it costs. See much more on race team logistics and expenses at Sports Business Journal.(7-22-2014)
Stewart says he still deals with pain: #14-Tony Stewart met with the media Monday on NASCAR's weekly teleconference and was asked about the status of his leg:
Q. During Speedweeks I think you said your leg was about 65% healed and you were still dealing with some pain. Where are you from the physical standpoint? Are you still dealing with some limitations or pain issues?
TONY STEWART: I still deal with pain every day, but that's something that's not even going to probably go away by the end of the year. The reality of it is there might be a point where it will never totally go away, but it doesn't keep me from doing what I love to do. Like I said, I don't feel pain in the race car. I haven't from Daytona on through even this past weekend. So I know that's probably around 3% of my week that I spend in the race car, but as long as that 3% is comfortable and I can enjoy doing what I'm doing, I can deal with the pain the other 97% of the week.
Q. So like the 97%, is that just the everyday stuff of just kind of getting up and getting everything going type of thing. Just doing normal activities and still feel that little bit of a pinch?
TONY STEWART: Yeah, anybody that's had broken bones, and Dustin [Long of MRN] can probably chime in and tell you as much as anybody, your body will tell you when it's had enough and when it needs a break and when it needs a rest. It's that way when you're healthy too. If you've been on your feet all day, your body will tell you when it's tired. Unfortunately, when you've had the amount of injuries like we've had, your body will still do the same thing. It will still tell you when you're doing something it doesn't like. It will tell you when it's had enough. So we try to do everything we can to be as comfortable as we can during the day. But like I said, the scenario could have been so much worse that I don't feel bad about it. The pain that I have is just part of it. I know the scenario could have been a lot worse and the result could have been a lot worse, so I'm pretty comfortable dealing with the pain each day the way it is.(Chevy PR)(7-22-2014)
Top 10 driver ratings at Indianapolis:
#48-Jimmie Johnson 109.8
#14-Tony Stewart 104.1
#24-Jeff Gordon 102.0
#12-Juan Pablo Montoya 96.7
#18-Kyle Busch 96.5
#5-Kasey Kahne 96.4
#20-Matt Kenseth 95.8
#16-Greg Biffle 94.6
#4-Kevin Harvick 90.2
#11-Denny Hamlin 88.3
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (9 total) among active drivers at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race. See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
Atlanta extends ticket office hours: To better serve customers purchasing event tickets and camping spaces for the Aug. 29-31 NASCAR race weekend, the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office has extended ticket office hours through Sunday, Aug. 31. The ticket office will be open on weekends; Saturday from 9:00-5:00 and Sunday from 1:00-5:00. Beginning on Monday, August 11th, the ticket office will remain open an additional three hours each weeknight. Monday through Friday, the ticket office will be open from 9:00am-8:00pm. An extremely limited number of infield camping spaces are available for the Labor Day Weekend of NASCAR racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway. RV Campers can reserve space in the Flock Brothers Corral for $300. Tent campers can reserve a site in the High Speed Corral for $200 per space. Infield campgrounds will open on Thursday of race week, Aug. 28 at 2:00pm. For more information, visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com or call the AMS Ticket Office at (877) 9-AMS-TIX or (770) 946-4211.(AMS)(7-22-2014)
Earnhardt Jr. to appear at Watkins Glen Turn 1 Tavern: #88 National Guard driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to address audience questions at Watkins Glen International during Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend, August 7-10. This exclusive Q&A session is scheduled take place in the Turn 1 Tavern on August 10. Next to the towering Seneca Grandstand, the Turn 1 Tavern is a covered hospitality area located trackside, just outside the circuit's first turn. Fans who purchase a Turn 1 Tavern hospitality admission ticket will have the opportunity to participate in this highly sought after Q&A session with the #88 National Guard driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. In addition to this rare and wildly popular Q&A session, fans with Turn 1 Tavern admissions will enjoy food and beverages at a discounted rate all weekend long, along with a complimentary buffet lunch on both Saturday and Sunday. Turn 1 Tavern hospitality admission provides fans with covered trackside viewing Friday through Sunday and may be purchased at www.TheGlen.com for just $75. Facility gate admission is not included with the purchase of Turn 1 Tavern hospitality.(WGI)(7-22-2014)
Hamlin, Stenhouse, Waltrip compete on golf tournament: #11-Denny Hamlin, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and #66-Michael Waltrip competed in the 2014 American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe over the weekend. Stenhouse was initially the favorite of the group, listed at 50-1 odds by Harrah's/Harveys Lake Tahoe Race & Sports Book to win. Hamlin and Waltrip were both listed at 200-1. The American Century Championship was celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year with a special salute to America's Armed Forces. As part of that initiative, Col. Chad Pfeifer, three-time winner of President George W. Bush's Warrior Open and the 2011 National Amputee Tournament champion, joined the field. Pfeifer lost his leg in an IED explosion while on patrol in Iraq in 2007.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Hamlin was 55th, Stenhouse was tied for 56th, and Waltrip finished tied for 71st. The tournament was won by former NFL quarterback Mark Rypien. See more about the tournament on the NASCAR Related Charities Events and News page.(7-21-2014)
Three generations of Gillilands to race each other at Irwindale UPDATE: Former NASCAR K&N West Series champion Butch Gilliland will dust off his old racing uniform to take on his son and grandson -- current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland and up-and-coming late model driver Todd Gilliland -- in a Super Late Model Series race at Irwindale Speedway on July 19. The 75-lap feature event will be the first time the three generations of Gillilands will compete against each other on track. Fifty-six-year-old Butch won the 1997 championship in the West Series with son David serving as his crew chief. Butch also competed in 10 Sprint Cup Series and 12 Camping World Truck Series races. He has not raced professionally since 2002. Thirty-eight-year-old David is currently the driver of the #38 Ford for Front Row Motorsports in the Sprint Cup Series. Irwindale is one of the West Coast tracks where the California native developed his racing skills and also where he earned his first asphalt win. His infant son Todd, just three weeks old, was in Victory Lane for the celebration. Now 14, Todd is in his first full season of stock-car racing, which has already included his first late-model pole and win at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C., in May.(Breaking Limits)(7-8-2014)
UPDATE: Todd Gilliland has learned virtually everything he knows about racing from his father, Sprint Cup driver David Gilliland, and grandfather and dominating former west coast racer Butch Gilliland. Saturday night at Irwindale Speedway in suburban Los Angeles, 14-year-old Todd showed dad and granddad a thing or two, finishing third in the Super Late Models main event.Jason Patison, of Corona, California, wound up winning the race, followed by Jack Madrid of Dove Canyon, California, and then the youngest Gilliland, from Sherrill's Ford, North Carolina. Butch, meanwhile, who hasn't raced competitively since 2002, proved that racing is like riding a bike: once you get behind the wheel, you never forget, finishing a strong fifth. That left David Gilliland, who was hoping to join his son and father in the top-five, only to have those dreams wrecked - literally and figuratively - when he and Ryan Partridge collided on Lap 30.(NBC Sports)(7-21-2014)
No NASCAR in top 50 watched sporting events this year: At the unofficial halfway point of the sports calendar, here is a look at the most-watched sporting events of the year so far. Click here to jump straight to the list. The first half of 2014 was a bit atypical thanks to the Winter Olympics and World Cup. Those two events accounted for exactly half of the 50 most-watched sports telecasts this year - eighteen for the Olympics and seven for the World Cup - and 11 of the top 12 non-NFL events. The Opening Ceremony of the Olympics (31.7M) and the Germany/Argentina World Cup final (26.5M) rank as the two most-watched non-NFL sporting events of the year. There have been other oddities. Horse racing placed higher on this year's list than the NBA Finals, as The Belmont Stakes drew 20.4 million viewers (#26) and Spurs/Heat topped out at 18.0 million (#33). NASCAR and golf both plummeted out of the top 50 as the Daytona 500 (9.3M) and The Masters (11.0M) suffered sizable declines. The NFL Draft - not even an actual sporting event - managed to crack the list with 12.4 million viewers on ESPN and NFL Network. Even in an atypical year, the NFL was still dominant. NFL games took up the top eight spots on the list, led by the Seahawks/Broncos Super Bowl - the most-watched program in U.S. television history. Every NFL game played in 2014 had more viewers than the most-watched World Cup match. See the full list at Sports Media Watch.(7-21-2014)
Stewart wins sprint car race Friday UPDATE: Tony Stewart was back in a sprint car on Friday night, the same series he raced in when he broke two bones in his right leg. It was unknown if this is Stewart's first sprint car race this season because he didn't announce when he'd compete. Stewart is available because the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off this weekend. Stewart's runs were posted on Facebook and Twitter. Dirt track star Dustin Daggett tweeted a photo of Stewart's No. 14 car at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Auburn, Michigan. Daggett also tweeted, "Raced hard in heat against Tony Stewart! But we got him, now for the Feature!" Daggett says he was leading the feature race late, but went off track and Stewart claimed the win. Stewart tweeted, "If you haven't heard already, I ran my sprint car tonight and won! Felt great to run it again. Was a 2nd place car but had a little luck." Stewart crashed last year at Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, where he flipped his 360 winged sprint car while leading with five laps remaining in the 30-lap feature. He missed the final 15 Cup races last year after breaking his leg in two places.(Associated Press/ESPN)(7-19-2014)
UPDATE: Just one night after winning his first sprint car race in nearly a year, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart was back racing again, finishing third behind Randy Hannagan and Dustin Daggett in the SOD/N.R.A. Engine Pro Challenge at Crystal Motor Speedway in Michigan.(Fox Sports)(7-20-2014)
Harvick is most mentioned driver in first half of season: According to data compiled by Joyce Julius, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, and Jeff Gordon have accounted for the most driver mentions during NASCAR telecasts though Daytona this month:
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr......29.....0:26:21.....1,950
Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season through Daytona (Race #18).(Joyce Julius)(7-20-2014)
Turner Sports could disappear in potential media mergers: The latest machinations of the corporate media giants could result in the end of one of sports broadcasting's great brands. According to multiple reports, 21st Century Fox is pushing to acquire rival giant Time Warner. Even after an initial $80 billion bid was rebuffed, Fox and its leader Rupert Murdoch are said to be "determined and unlikely to walk away anytime soon". Much of the talk surrounding a potential Fox acquisition of Time Warner has focused on sports and with good reason. Through Turner Sports, Time Warner has one of the most impressive sets of sports rights on cable television. Adding Turner Sports' haul to the existing Fox Sports line-up - the rest of the MLB playoffs, the NFL, NASCAR and college football - would turn the latter into the dominant player in TV sports. ESPN would still be the leader in many ways, but FOX and Fox Sports 1 would have a virtually unmatched portfolio. Such a move would be a boon to 21st Century Fox and a major loss for sports television. Turner Sports has been one of the most successful alternatives to ESPN and is generally well-regarded. Despite being unaffiliated with any of the Big Four broadcast networks, Turner Sports has managed for decades to acquire some of the biggest blue-chip properties in sports (even the NFL in the 1990s). A potential merger would wipe out both a competitor for Fox and an alternative for viewers, making the sports TV business a little less risky for the remaining giants. Fox would not be the only one happy to see Turner Sports go - ESPN would be happy to no longer see comparisons between its NBA studio show and Inside the NBA, and all the networks would presumably be glad to have one less rival driving up rights fees. Now, the threat exists of the big five turning into the big four. CBS and NBC would still be formidable, but the industry would primarily turn into a battle of Goliaths between ESPN and FOX.(Sports Media Watch)(7-20-2014)
Hauler parade kicks off events at Indianapolis: The third annual Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard will begin with the fun and excitement of the sixth annual Hauler Parade on Thursday, July 24 on Main Street in Speedway, Ind. The event will take place from 5:00-8:00pm. Admission is free. A parade of more than 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will arrive on Main Street starting at 6:00pm. Haulers will then park on Main Street between 10th and 15th Streets, giving fans an up-close look. Legendary NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett will be the grand marshal of the Hauler Parade. Another featured guest will be retired Green Beret John Wayne Walding of Little Elm, Texas, the hero who received naming rights to the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com NASCAR Sprint cup race Sunday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Walding will be incorporated into a series of VIP activities throughout the race weekend that also will honor America's unsung heroes. Also appearing at the Hauler Parade on Main Street in Speedway will be Miss Coors Light and Miss Sprint Cup. Fans also can watch the haulers parade north on Main Street and east on 16th Street at 7:55pm, as they depart the Hauler Parade single-file and enter the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(IMS)(7-20-2014)
20 years at the Brickyard: It'll be here before you know it, and it'll be a big one ... one of the biggest on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule - the Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard. At one of the world's most iconic sporting venues - Indianapolis Motor Speedway - 43 drivers will vie for the honor of participating in one of the sport's most unique celebrations. That, of course, is kissing the Yard of Bricks. A few notes whet the Indy appetite before going full throttle next week.
* It's the 20th anniversary of the inaugural Brickyard 400, won by Jeff Gordon, who's still the youngest winner ever there at 23 years, 2 days.
* It's the place of championships - 15 of the 20 winners are either past, reigning or future series champions. That includes NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jarrett and 2015 inductee Bill Elliott.
* Eight times, the winner of the Brickyard race went on to win that year's championship. Those wins are split among five champions - Jimmie Johnson (three times), Gordon, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Dale Jarrett.
* Chevy has won the last 11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at The Brickyard. The victory stranglehold falls short of the record, however. Chevy does hold the all-time record of 13 consecutive wins, at Talladega Superspeedway, from 1999-2005.
* Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson are tied for the all-time Brickyard wins lead, with four each.(NASCAR)(7-19-2014)
Earnhardt, Jr., Danica among most popular sports figures: The battle for number one continues with a change on top. As many have asked the LeBron James versus Michael Jordan question, we may not know how they would compare on the basketball court, but this year, James overthrows Jordan and is America's favorite sports star. Last year, the reverse was true and Michael Jordon was number one while LeBron James was number two. As he makes his farewell tour around baseball fields this summer, New York Yankee Derek Jeter moves up three spots and is in the third position this year. Rounding out the top five is quarterback Peyton Manning, remaining at number four this year, and in a tie for the fifth spot on the list is another basketball star, Kobe Bryant, moving up from number seven, and NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr., moving up from number ten last year.
She may have had some health issues while playing at Wimbledon, but for the fifth year in a row, Serena Williams is the Favorite Female Sport Star. Race car driver Danica Patrick remains at number two, while Venus Williams remains number three. Another tennis star, Maria Sharapova, is at number four again this year, while soccer legend Mia Hamm remains at number five. These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,241 adults surveyed online between June 11 and 16, 2014.(Harris Interactive)(7-19-2014)
Pratt to drive pace car at Indy: Actor Chris Pratt - star of the soon-to-be-released movie "Guardians of the Galaxy" - will serve as honorary pace car driver in a 2014 red and silver Chevy SS pace car for the Crown Royal Presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Powered by BigMachineRecords.com on Sunday, July 27 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "It's a dream come true to drive the pace car for the John Wayne Walding 400," said Pratt, who has also appeared in 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'Moneyball.' "I am really excited to be part of NASCAR for the day." Chevrolet has a long history of pacing races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and has served as the pace car for every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race held at the famed track (1994-present).(Chevy PR)(7-19-2014)
Sad News - Dr. John Melvin: Most NASCAR fans might not know the name Dr. John Melvin, but in the NASCAR community his work was paramount in the field of driver safety. A former University of Michigan professor and senior research engineer with General Motors, Dr. Melvin became a paid safety consultant for NASCAR, serving as the Technical Consultant to NASCAR for Racecar Safety. In this role, Dr. Melvin worked on safety innovations such as the head-and-neck restraints, seat construction, seat belts and SAFER barriers. Dr. Melvin was also the first to develop a black box for racecars in 1991 as part of the GM Racing Safety Program. "NASCAR and the entire motorsports industry lost a giant on Thursday with the passing of Dr. John Melvin. Dr. Melvin was a pioneer in the field of driver safety, particularly in the area of driver restraint systems," NASCAR president Mike Helton said in a statement. "His many contributions as a safety consultant to NASCAR for more than 13 years forever changed the sport. We lost a colleague, and a friend. NASCAR extends its condolences to Dr. Melvin's family and friends. He will be greatly missed by the entire racing community."(FoxSports)(7-18-2014)
Moffitt gets Indy sponsor: Jay Robinson Racing announced that CHARACTER COUNTS!, a character-building initiative of the Josephson Institute, will be the primary partner of the #66 Toyota driven by Brett Moffitt in next week's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The race will mark the character development program's first partnership in motorsports. CHARACTER COUNTS! is an community-based and educational program that reaches more than seven million kids nationwide each year. Founded in 1992, the non-profit organization is utilized in schools across America to teach ethics and values by using the six pillars of character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship. Sunday will mark Moffitt's third career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start and his first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.(Jay Robinson Racing)(7-18-2014)
Some first half NASCAR stats: Hopefully, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers take a breather this weekend. But some simply can't get enough. Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson both will run in Saturday night's NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. David Gilliland will race against his father (Butch) and son (Todd) in a Super Late Model Series race at Irwindale Speedway in California. They love the thrill of racing. And there has been plenty of drama and excitement over the first 19 races. So as the series prepares for 17 consecutive weekends of racing to end the season, [NASCAR dove] into some of the statistics as we hit the final open weekend of the season. Here are some highlights:
- 11 different race winners.
- 12 different Coors Light Pole winners; 13 track qualifying records have been broken.
- Average of 11.1 leaders per race through 19 races, compared to 8.8 at this point last year.
- Average of 24.1 lead changes per race, compared to 16.6 at this point last year last year.
- Average margin of victory is .717 seconds, the lowest through 19 races since the inception of electronic timing and scoring in 1993.
- Through race No. 19, there have been 76,570 green flag passes, the most at this point of the season since the inception of passing stats in 2005. There have been 771 green flag passes for the lead, the second highest figure through 19 races since 2005.(NASCAR)(7-18-2014)
Cup drivers competing in CWTS race at Eldora: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Michael Annett will compete in the second running of Eldora Speedway's Mudsummer Classic, a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on dirt, piloting the #14 TMC Transportation Chevy Silverado for NTS Motorsports. Last year the inaugural event drew a sellout crowd and record television ratings, sparking the imagination of a fan base eager for sliding, mud-slinging action. The Mudsummer Classic will air live on Wednesday night, July 23 on FOX Sports 1 at 9:00pm/et.(Rising Star Management), Austin Dillon and Kyle Larson are the other Cup drivers running. See the Eldora entry list and complete race and series information on Jayski's Camping World Truck Series page.(7-18-2014)
Race Team Alliance will talk to NASCAR through attorneys: If the new Race Team Alliance wants to communicate with NASCAR and its sister company International Speedway Corp. it will have to do so through attorneys. NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday there is no animosity between the team owners and NASCAR, although NASCAR has had no conversations with Kauffman as part of the RTA. "I wanted to dispel the perception of animosity to start with and then back that up with saying we're going to do business as usual," Helton said Friday. "I think everybody in the garage area knows how we do our business and the role they play in it, and so we'll continue to do it that way." But apparently no NASCAR officials will be talking directly with the RTA. NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that in a move they say is done for legal prudence and not as a sign of animosity, it has directed that all communication between NASCAR and the RTA be done through lawyers. After the Sporting News published a column on the RTA Tuesday saying the development is a sign of an increased lack of trust between NASCAR and the teams and vice versa, Kauffman tweeted that ISC also has issued a lawyer-only edict.
The RTA has hired the legal firm of Jones Day, which provides representation on financial issues to almost half of the Fortune 500 companies. And they apparently need to be. Gary Roberts, a noted sports law expert and current professor at Indiana University, said last week that the organization could open itself up to a lawsuit depending on how it operates. There is nothing wrong with the teams working together for better purchasing power as long as the people they purchase from are not dependent solely on NASCAR teams for their business. The danger comes if the RTA represents the teams in any sort of negotiations with NASCAR and tries to use its collective leverage to force NASCAR's hand. "You have a monopolist, NASCAR, dictating terms to a group of entities that it does business with," Roberts said. "And the entities then (are) saying, 'We want to get together and create counter-veiling market power so we're on equal footing.'(Sporting News)(7-17-2014)
Danica, Stewart team up for GoDaddy ad: GoDaddy may be revamping its image, but it apparently still has miles to clock with Danica Patrick. It's about to pair Patrick in a new commercial, scheduled to debut this week, with Tony Stewart - the NASCAR star and co-owner of her racing team. In the ad, the two keep trying to out-prank each other. It's the first time the racing stars have appeared together in a GoDaddy spot. Patrick is seen in Stewart's race car garage, trying to explain to viewers that they can get a free domain name when they purchase the Website Builder from GoDaddy. But each time she tries to talk, Stewart purposely starts using his noisy air wrench, and cuts her off. This happens several times, before a clearly annoyed Patrick finally manages to explain the deal. But Patrick gets the last laugh. The ad ends with Stewart's car up on blocks - with all four tires missing. A guilty-looking Patrick smirks, while holding the air wrench in her hands.(USA Today)(7-17-2014)
NASCAR to test possible 2015 rule changes: NASCAR has scheduled a test on August 18, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway to test possible rule changes for the 2015 season. "We're very pleased with the competition on the track so far in 2014,'' said Gene Stefanyshyn, NASCAR vice president of innovation and racing development, in a statement to Motor Racing Network. "The evolution of the racing product continues as we look to 2015 and beyond. The test at Michigan International Speedway will be a great opportunity to gather more information, help us validate much of the great research done by engineers in our sport, and drive us one step closer to our 2015 race package." NASCAR states that the number of teams testing hasn't been finalized. NASCAR also states that no other tests have been scheduled, although indications in the garage are that a follow-up test could take place at Charlotte Motor Speedway later in the year.(Motor Racing Network)(7-16-2014)
NASCAR tracks rev up lobbying for tax break: Racetrack owners are revving up their efforts to protect the "NASCAR tax break" from critics who portray it as pure corporate pork. The provision, which allows motor sports tracks to use a shorter depreciation schedule, is among the more than 50 tax preferences that expired at the end of 2013 after Congress failed to pass a so-called "extenders" bill. Fiscal watchdogs say the motor sports tax break, enacted in 2004, is the kind of narrow giveaway that gives the U.S. tax code a bad name, and lump it in with other extenders provisions that support the Puerto Rican rum industry and thoroughbred horses. With that in mind, motor sports officials have accelerated their own lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill to battle back against a shorthand - "NASCAR tax break" - they say is misleading. John Saunders, the president of the International Speedway Corporation (ISC), acknowledged that motor sports advocates have a tough fight against "a sexy sound bite."
"It's an asterisk in the extenders, yet it gets all this attention, mischaracterized," said Saunders, whose company owns the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and about a dozen other NASCAR tracks. Congress is expected to restore at least some of the expired tax provisions by the end of the year, and motor sports companies are employing high-priced K Street talent to help them land in the winner's circle. There are roughly 1,200 auto racetracks in the U.S., according to industry advocates, the vast majority of which are small, local operations that aren't affiliated with the big leagues of NASCAR. Allowing those tracks to write off costs over a seven-year span lets them pour money back into their businesses, racetrack advocates say, spurring economic growth in individual communities around the country.(see full article at The Hill)(7-16-2014)
Winston to be made in England: Reynolds and Lorillard announced Tuesday morning that they have entered into a definitive agreement in which Winston-Salem-based Reynolds has agreed to acquire Greensboro-based Lorillard. Reynolds will keep the Newport, Camel, Pall Mall and Natural American Spirit cigarette brands; Grizzly smokeless tobacco; and VUSE e-cigarettes. In what is likely an early attempt to appease antitrust regulators, the KOOL, Salem, Winston, Maverick and blu eCigs brands and other assets and liabilities will be sold to Britain's Imperial Tobacco. If the transaction is completed, a transition period will begin during which Reynolds will contract manufacture KOOL, Salem and Winston for Imperial and Imperial will contract manufacture Newport for Reynolds.(Triad Business Journal), Winston sponsored the now Sprint Cup Series from 1971 thru 2003.(7-16-2014)
NASCAR Introduces Special Paint Scheme Elements For Chase Contenders: Celebrating the accomplishments of those drivers who will contend for the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, NASCAR has released several new elements to the paint schemes of race cars making the 16-driver Chase Grid.
Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup-eligible cars will have the roof number, the front splitter / front fascia and the windshield header colored yellow, as well as have a Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup logo affixed to the front-quarter panel of their race car.
As part of NASCAR's emphasis on winning races all season long, this celebratory paint scheme will be placed on a driver's car to begin the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 14. Once a driver is eliminated after one of the Chase's first three rounds, the paint scheme will be removed from the car.
These changes serve as a visible symbol of the new Chase format. In addition, the paint scheme elements will ensure that fans are able to easily identify each championship contender as NASCAR's playoffs progress. Announced by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in January, the new championship format expands the Chase field to 16 drivers, up from 12 in previous years, and implements a new round-by-round advancement format that ultimately will reward a battle-tested, worthy champion. A victory in the first 26 races all but guarantees a berth in the 10-race Chase, which will air exclusively on the ESPN family of networks. The number of championship drivers in contention for the championship decreases after every three Chase races, culminating with four drivers racing for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship, scheduled for November 16.(NASCAR)(7-15-2014)
Ty Dillon to make Sprint Cup debut: Ty Dillon is scheduled to make his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut next month at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Mike Dillon, vice president of competition at Richard Childress Racing, told Motor Racing Network. Mike Dillon says that Ty Dillon, his son, will drive the #33 Chevy at Atlanta. Part of the reason why Ty Dillon will make his debut at Atlanta is that Richard Childress Racing is scheduled to test there next month. It won't the first time Ty Dillon has tested a Cup car. Mike Dillon said his son has tested with Furniture Row Racing this season. Mike Dillon said the plan is for Ty Dillon to run a second Cup race later this season but where and when will depend on sponsorship.(Motor Racing Network)(7-15-2014)
2014 Top-5's, Top-10's:
#88-Earnhardt Jr. and #2-Keselowski lead all drivers after 19 races in 2014 with 9 top-fives.
#24-Gordon, #88-Earnhardt Jr. and #20-Kenseth lead all drivers in 2014 with 13 top-Ten finishes.
Seven drivers have ran all 19 races in 2014 and do not have a top-10 finish: #51-Allgaier, #7-Annett, #38-Gilliland, #26-Whitt, #36-Sorenson, #23-Bowman and #34-Ragan.(7-13-2014)
Poles equal good finishes in 2014 so far: Of the 18 poles won in 19 races (Richmond qualifying was canceled due to rain), three drivers won from the pole position: #4-Kevin Harvick at Darlington, #48-Jimmie Johnson at Charlotte and #2-Brad Keselowski at Kentucky. Twelve of the 18 finished in the top-five and 15 in the top-ten. Only three pole winners have finished outside the top ten: #18-Kyle Busch finished 14th at Martinsville, #38-David Gilliland finished 35th at Daytona in July and #33-Brian Scott finished 42nd at Talladega.(more at Jayski's Sprint Unlimited / poles page)(7-15-2014)
Earnhardt Jr. and Keselowski clinch Chase spot: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and #2-Brad Keselowski have clinched a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, assuming they attempt to qualify for the remaining seven races in the regular season. Both Earnhardt and Keselowski have fulfilled two of the three requirements to guarantee their spot in the Chase - multiple wins and locking in to the top 30 in points. With Keselowski's third win of the season this past weekend he could be seeded first in the Chase - each win is worth three Chase bonus points. A number of other drivers can join Earnhardt and Keselowski as Chase clinchers. #24-Jeff Gordon has already clinched a top 30 spot, but with a single win has yet to clinch the "wins" portion of the criteria. A win at Indy would clinch him a spot. To clinch a top 30 spot, the clinching driver must be 289 points ahead of 31st place after Indianapolis.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-15-2014)
Gordon talks about the RTA and minimum speed: #24-Jeff Gordon was the guest of this week's NASCAR Teleconference and discussed many topics including the RTA and minimum speeds, the transcript in part:
Q. There was a lot of talk about the Joey Logano crash with Morgan Shepherd and a lot of discussion about minimum speeds and whatnot, and I think 10 years ago at Darlington you had an incident with Andy Hillenburg in which it was similar with a car struggling to kind of maintain minimum speed and you had a wreck. I was wondering do you have any thoughts on should NASCAR look at minimum speeds because I think that the pace was like 16 miles an hour faster than what the minimum speed was at New Hampshire, or are you comfortable with having cars that are running that slow on the track?
JEFF GORDON: "No, I'm not comfortable with that. I don't think they have any place out there if they're running that slow, whether you're a car that's had damage and you can't maintain the minimum speed, or is the minimum speed the proper speed. I think it probably needs to be raised up at certain tracks where there's not a lot of falloff in the tire, then I think that minimum speed probably needs to be adjusted. I don't know if that really contributed towards what happened with Morgan and Joey. The video doesn't show everything. You see Joey go by him. Obviously Morgan got loose and got into him.
The tricky thing about minimum speed at a place like New Hampshire, you've got cars all around the track. You've got a car that maybe can meet minimum speed in clean air, but they're really never in clean air because they're constantly getting passed or trying to make some room for the lap cars to go by. How do we truly measure minimum speed because if you do it every lap that they're getting passed by a faster car, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't make minimum speed, so I think NASCAR maybe looks at sometimes once they get into clean air are they making minimum speed, and at a place like New Hampshire or Martinsville, they're never in clean air, and I don't think they're ever going to make minimum speed. Those numbers are -- NASCAR has those, I don't. I know that week in and week out there are certain cars that you're passing very, very often that you're questioning whether or not they're making minimum speed or if the minimum speed is really at the right pace."
Q. What do you think about the owners forming the RTA? Do you see that as a positive or a negative, and if it's a positive, what are some things that you think they can accomplish?
JEFF GORDON: "Well, you know, I don't really see where things have changed a whole lot other than it's more official. They've been meeting for years to get together and communicate about where the sport is at, things that they can do to strengthen their teams, be more efficient. I think it's really just more of an official way to create that alliance, and I think it's a positive because our sport, in order for it to be strong, the teams need to be strong. They need to be profitable. They need to be able to do business, and it's turned into a big business, and it's constantly growing, and so I'm in support of it because if the teams are strong and more successful, then that's good for us that are part of the team and it's good for the sport, it's good for the fans, and so I think that this is definitely going to be something that we're all going to learn from and grow from, but I think it's something that definitely is only going to be good for the sport in general."
Q. I'm not using the word union, but would it be helpful to the drivers if they were organized in the same way the owners are attempting to be?
JEFF GORDON: :Well, I think the way I look at this, this is a team alliance. It's not an owner alliance. Some people are saying that, but to me it's what's going to make the teams more efficient, stronger, more profitable, and to me that includes the drivers. That includes all the employees on each of those teams. I think that it's in a lot of ways covering us, as well. We're aligned with the teams. I have a contract with a team and I want that team to be strong because I know if that team is strong, then that secures my position as a driver. It secures our sponsors and only helps us with our partners and our fans."
(Team Chevy), see full transcript at Jeffgordon.com and see a video of the interview at ESPN.com.(7-15-2014)
Some NASCAR Numbers:
138: The number of laps race winner Brad Keselowski led in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The number is remarkable because Keselowski repeatedly lost track position with four-tire calls and had to drive back to the front.
11: The number of different winners in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series so far this year. With only seven races left, tension is mounting as the opportunity to qualify for the Chase by winning a race diminishes with each passing event.
3: The number of bonus points added to a driver's total at the start of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup for each race won during the regular season. Those bonus points, however, apply only to the first round of the Chase. When points are reset after the first elimination, bonus points for wins are no longer a factor.
31: The number of laps completed by six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson in the last two races, out of a possible 417. Early crashes took Johnson out of the Cup races at Daytona and Loudon. The last time Johnson had back-to-back DNFs? At Chicagoland and Indy in 2007.
882: The number of laps led this year in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races by Kevin Harvick, who is fast approaching the high-water mark for his career. Driving for Richard Childress Racing in 2006, Harvick led 895 laps and also set a personal best for victories with five.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-15-2014)
Sad News - Gary Lee: Longtime motor sports broadcaster Gary Lee, 63, was found dead in his Indianapolis home today [Monday], likely the result of a heart attack, friends confirmed. Lee, who lived on the city's Eastside near Shadeland Avenue, was synonymous with ESPN's earliest televised events. He teamed with former driver Larry Rice to broadcast the "Thunder" short-track series that featured drivers such as a young Jeff Gordon at what was then Indianapolis Raceway Park in the late 1980s and early 1990s. "Larry and Gary were 'Thunder,'" said fellow broadcaster Bob Jenkins, who helped start the weekly traveling motor sports show along with Larry Nuber. "They got along so well." Lee worked on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network through the 1990s and owned Whiteland Raceway Park for a time.(Indianapolis Star)(7-15-2014)
Ford's win streak longest since 2001 UPDATE2: #43-Aric Almirola's win at Daytona was Ford's third straight this season. #2-Brad Keselowski won the week before at Kentucky and #99-Carl Edwards won at Sonoma. The last time Ford won three-straight Cup races in a season was 2005 when Greg Biffle won Dover (June 5) and Michigan (June 19) bookending a Carl Edwards Pocono (June 12) victory. The win is the seventh of the season for Ford Racing, equaling the most wins for Ford since 2011.(Ford)(7-9-2014)
BUT actually Ford had a three-race win streak which spanned 2010-2011 when Carl Edwards won at Phoenix and Homestead in 2010 and Trevor Bayne won at Daytona in Feb 2011; and during the 2008-2009 seasons when Carl Edwards won at Homestead in November 2008 and Matt Kenseth won Daytona and California in February 2009.
AND The last time Ford won four consecutive Cup events was 2001 with Dale Jarrett and Robert Yates Racing (Darlington, Texas and Martinsville) posting three of the four victories and Elliott Sadler (Bristol - March) the other for the Wood Brothers.(NASCAR Wire Service)(7-13-2014)
UPDATE: The win is Ford's fourth straight, marking the first time Ford has won four consecutive Cup Series races since 2001 (Dale Jarrett, Darlington on March 18; Elliott Sadler, Bristol on March 25; Jarrett, Texas on April 1; Jarrett, Martinsville on April 8). The win is the eighth of the season for Ford Racing, the most for the manufacturer since winning 11 times in 2008.(Ford Racing).
The last time Ford won five races in a row was in 1998.
What is the all-time record streak of wins for a manufacturer? Ford won 32 straight races and 48 of 55 total races in 1965, the year when NASCAR banned some engines like the Hemi engine causing Chrysler to pull out from the series. GM didn't field cars in 1965 and Richard Petty did drag racing, skipping the first 33 races of the season. Midseason, NASCAR changed the rules and Petty came back running 14 of the final 22 races, winning 4 and 10 top-fives.(7-14-2014)
Most Popular Driver Voting starts: The voting for the 2014 Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Award has started. To vote, visit www.mostpopulardriver.com and follow the online instructions for entering. Voting began at on July 5, 2014 and ends at 8:00pm/et on November 17, 2014. Voting is limited to a) one (1) vote per person per email address per day; b) up to two (2) additional votes per person per email address per day for those who share their votes through social media sites Facebook and/or Twitter. Driver eligibility for the Most Popular Driver award is limited to those candidates that have declared for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship and have entered all points-paying NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events contested between Jan. 1, 2014 and July 5, 2014.(7-5-2014)
Born in JULY
23 Kurt Umscheid, Jenny Markle, Richie Evans, Buckshot Jones, Larry Wallace
25 Ernie Elliott, Bill 'the Hat Man' Brodrick, Kelly Punch, Shelby Howard, Jerry Hill, Tommy Britt, Frank Bonsignore
26 Buddy Arrington, Raymond Fox III, Rick Crawford, Randy MacDonald, Bill Baird, Jordan Garone, Rick Pigeon
27 Adriana Wells, Jeremy Flowers
28 Tina Inman Hussey, Mary Quay
29 Bernie Bisciotti
30 Henry Ford, Robert Grey Allison, Ricky Sanders, Neil Bonnet
31 Kyle Larson, Bob Tomlinson, Louise Smith, Mike Alexander, Jerry Cook, Flossie Johnson
Born in AUGUST
1 Bob Keselowski, Ronnie Hornaday III, Alison Poling McCabe, Bobby Issac
2 Brian France
3 Tracy Adamczyk-Dowd (sister), Brad Baker, Terri Parsons
4 Jeff Gordon, Kurt Busch, Bob Calkins, Amy Hair, Bob Hubner, Allen Styers
5 Pattie Petty, Paul Lamach, Alan Gustafson, Chad Knaus, Rich Woodland, Josh Browne, Kenny Irwin Jr
6 Jeb Burton, Gail Connor, Tom Hubert, Kendall McReynolds, Rick Ware, "Amish" John Stewart
7 Steve Loyd, Kyle Drum
8 Gail Norton, Parker Kligerman, Tommy Ellis, Jack Sprague, Don Leo
9 Tom Higgins, Cindy Shepherd, Lloyd Dane, Leo Gordon
10 Doug Hewitt, Donnie Neuenberger, Murray Timm, Chris Heroy, Ryan Moore
11 Glenn Jarrett, John Dodson, Lennie Pond, Lonnie Rush, Zachary Gay, H. Clay Earles
12 George Lubejko, Michelle Durkin, Carolyn Rudd Wax, Dick Bown, Tony Furr Jr., Richard Everett Craven, Parnelli Jones, Jordan Irvan, Scott Gaylord
13 John Feeney, John Baden, Bill Wilsey, Patrick Carpentier, Hideo Fukuyama, Jim Roper
14 Rusty Wallace, Lee Spencer
15 Andy Petree, Carl Edwards, Newt Moore, Robin Pemberton, Mark Kennerly
16 Ronald and Donald Allison, Diane Hawkins, Lenny Batycki
17 Danny Marshburn, Jerry Horton, Rex White, Matt Fernandez, Cathy Simmons
18 Drew Markle, Matt McLaughlin, Steve Wallace, Rachel Wood, Steve Lowery, Andrea Sospenzo, Andy Pilgrim
19 Dale Inman, David Hyder, Alex and Dillon Makar, Ray Elder
20 Bobby Auten, Kenny Martin, Jerry Punch, Dennis Punch, Ronald Puryear
21 Patti Bisciotti, William Vance, Winston Kelley, Paul Menard, Mark McCarter, Burney Lamar, Doug Shaak, Keven Wood
22 Collin Houston, Tommy Mullis, Elmo Langley
23 Steve Park, Kenny Wallace, Scott Miller, Ashlie Garone, Robert Larkins, Ralph Sheheen, Shane Sieg
24 David Bonnett, Lee McCall
25 Casey Atwood, David Smith, Shane Hall, Kelly Bires, Sarah Catlin Waltrip, T.J. Bell
26 Jayski.com, Ray Evernham, James Hylton, Landon Rudd, Greg Engle, Ken Duan, Adam Gravitt, Daniel Rankin
27 Chris Brook, Richard Broome, Billy Hodges, Chuck Rider, Mike Hillman, Gloria Broadwater, Claire B. Lang
28 Patty Eversole, Kelley Earnhardt, Randy LaJoie, Thomas Hatcher, Brandon Miller, Hoss Berry,
29 Timothy Peters, Jim Brady, Paul Vanderlaan, Ken Stout, Wendell Scott, Geneva Key
30 Mike Helton, Sue Fiala, Mark Allen, Gordon Gibbs, John Erickson
31 Sara Eolin, Patti Jarrett Makar, Mike Nelson, Jerry Baxter Jr., Erin Beam, Wayne Orme, Mike Morneau