NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and TV TONIGHT: the 2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Charlotte, NC is scheduled for Friday, January 30, 2015 and to be broadcast live at 8:00pm/et on NBC Sports Network, Motor Racing Network Radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
Toy State to sponsor Tommy Baldwin Racing for five races: Toy State has signed on as primary sponsor for the Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) #7 car. The Nikko/Toy State car is currently being prepped for the 2015 Daytona 500. "For nearly six decades, Toy State and Nikko-branded toys have created the thrill of auto racing through imaginative play," says Andy Friess, senior vice president of global marketing. "We're taking these thrills from fantasy to reality through our sponsorship with Tommy Baldwin Racing." This sponsorship will cover the initial five races of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. In addition to car graphics, all driver and team apparel and signage will bear Nikko and Toy State logos, along with the redesigned branding of the company's lights and sound brand, Road Rippers. "The Daytona 500 is the crown jewel of the racing year, making it the perfect venue to re-launch Nikko R/C to the U.S. market and introduce the new look of Road Rippers," says Friess. "It's going to be a great day at the races!" This announcement builds on Toy State's acquisition of Nikko last year. This year, Nikko-branded R/C vehicles will make their return to the U.S. market under the Toy State umbrella.(Toybook), see an image of the scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page(1-30-2015)
Sabates guarantees his drivers will make the Chase: Chip Ganassi Racing co-owner Felix Sabates has guaranteed that both #42-Kyle Larson and #1-Jamie McMurray will make the post-season Chase in 2015. The flamboyant Sabates took to the podium Thursday during NASCAR's pre-season Media Tour and predicted that his two-car team would secure a pair of Chase berths this season. "I've never guaranteed anybody anything in all the years I've been in racing," Sabates said. "But I'll guarantee you that both of these guys will be in the Chase."(MRN)(1-30-2015)
No run for Rookie of the Year award for Bayne?: "NASCAR confirms to me that @Tbayne6 is not eligible for Rookie of the Year this season -- too many accumulated Sprint Cup starts." (Popular Speed's Matt Weaver)(1-30-2015)
Truex's girlfriend passes milestone in cancer recovery: #78-Martin Truex Jr. shared some welcome off-track news during Furniture Row Racing's media session on Thursday morning at the Charlotte Convention Center. Truex's girlfriend Sherry Pollex has been battling ovarian cancer and recently completed her last chemotherapy treatment. "We had a little celebration for her," Truex said. "She's feeling good, and it seems like every day she's getting more back to normal, and it's only been four days. So, hopefully, in the next couple weeks she's going to be back to her old self, running 180 miles an hour. It's been great to see. It's been a tough road, and obviously it's had its challenges. But, all in all, she did an amazing job. She's special. The way she was able to get through it-like no one had ever done before-was inspiring. It's going to make me work harder, that's for sure."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-30-2014)
Earnhardt Jr. interested in driving in Truck Series race: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Thursday admitted an interest in making at least one start for JR Motorsports' new Camping World Truck Series program, which will field a part-time entry for 17-year-old Cole Custer this season. "I've never driven a truck before and I've always had that interest to race in the truck," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I'd tell you I would run Martinsville, today, but Cole's going to get all the shorter tracks due to his age, and we need to get him that experience when we can, and it's a great opportunity at Martinsville for him to run. So if I run a race, it'll be at a bigger track where Cole's not quite cleared to run through NASCAR's process. It ain't going to be Daytona."(FoxSports)(1-30-2014)
#28 Back on Track? It's been more than five years since the famed #28 Yates Racing Ford last spun laps around a NASCAR track. March 22, 2009 to be exact. And while the #28 is free for teams to use - with NASCAR's permission, of course - there is a certain respect that follows that number. It's with that respect that former team owner Doug Yates occasionally fields a call for permission to use the number that was driven famously by the likes of Fred Lorenzen, Davey Allison and Ernie Irvan. "I got a call at the beginning of last season from a driver that asked me if it would be OK to use the number," said Yates. "He asked that I think about it and he'd check in a little later." Yates did think about it, and even talked it over with family. And when that driver called back, it didn't take long for him to figure out the answer. Said Yates: "I answered my phone and immediately the driver said to me - 'I get it. Don't say any more.' "(CMS)(1-30-2015)
Many Atlanta Ticket Specials Expire Feb 2nd: Fans have a very limited amount of time to take advantage of many of the ticket specials for Atlanta Motor Speedway's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR weekend Feb. 26 through March 1. A majority of the limited-time offers will expire Monday, Feb. 2 at 5 p.m., and fans are encouraged to take advantage of these value-priced offers while they are still available. There are several money-saving ticket specials available for each day of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend for single tickets, groups or families for every budget. For the ticket specials that expire and more information, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit Atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-30-2015)
Darlington announces commemorative ticket design: With the Bojangles' Southern 500 returning to Labor Day weekend in 2015, Darlington Raceway is excited to announce it will commemorate its history with a retro-style ticket that will be issued for its events on September 5-6, 2015. The design will incorporate the look of the 1974 ticket. It features South Carolina and Darlington Raceway legend Cale Yarborough, who was highlighted as the defending champion in 1974 after winning his first career Southern 500 in 1973. The ticket will also link eras by honoring last year's Bojangles' Southern 500 winner and 2014 defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kevin Harvick, in a similar fashion. These special tickets will be used for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 and NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 races. Tickets are expected to be mailed to all customers starting in mid-June.
In addition, Darlington Raceway will introduce a "Fan Hall of Fame" program. The program will honor longtime ticketholders and supporters of the track. A minimum of five fans will be selected in the first year and will be honored during Bojangles' Southern 500 pre-race ceremonies. Fan Hall of Fame members will be asked to provide feedback and ideas to the track in future years, serving in a Fan Advisory Board capacity. Ticket renewals have been mailed reminding fans to renew their seats for the 2015 Labor Day race weekend. Renewing your tickets early guarantees your seats at the best prices available prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 18.
Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 6.
The Tradition Returns to Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 is set for Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 5. Tickets are on sale now by calling 866-459-7223 or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com.(Darlington Raceway)(1-30-2015)
Gappens faces misdemeanor charge after Manchester arrest: Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway, was arrested last week and charged with indecent exposure and lewdness, a misdemeanor. Manchester Police said Gappens was engaged in sexual activity with a woman inside a car. His attorney released a statement to News 9: "Mr. Gappens acknowledges using poor judgment that has resulted in a misdemeanor charge that is both embarrassing and devastating to him and his family, and for that, he sincerely apologizes. He regrets his actions. While he made a bad decision, he did not, in my opinion, engage in conduct that violates the referenced statute or any other criminal law. Mr. Gappens cooperated fully with the police, and we hope to have this difficult situation resolved soon."(WMUR/News 9)(1-30-2015)
Richard Petty: #9 is Chase Elliott's if he wants it: On Wednesday, NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Richard Petty said he's not "emotionally attached" to #9, which Marcos Ambrose carried at Richard Petty Motorsports and which Sam Hornish Jr. will carry this year. "We inherited that number [when Petty bought the remnants of the Ray Evernham/George Gillette team]," Petty said. "It doesn't mean anything to me, but it does to the sponsors we'd already signed for this year. If the kid wants it next year, though, that's fine with us."
"The kid" he refers to is Chase Elliott. His famous father carried number 9 for most of his career, getting 38 of his 44 victories and his championship with it. "Awesome Bill" carried 17 other numbers during his Sprint Cup career, most notably 11 with Junior Johnson, 21 with the Wood brothers and 94 with the team he created and owned late in his career. Chase Elliott will run five Cup races this year in #25 for Hendrick Motorsports. Don't be surprised if that number is 9 when the 2016 season opens in Daytona Beach.(AutoWeek)(1-29-2015)
Chase Elliott in the #25? UPDATE Elliott to drive #24 in 2016: was sent an image taken during a photo shoot showing the #25 NAPA Chevy that Chase Elliott will supposedly drive in some NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2015 season. One rumor has Elliott making his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta on March 1st. Atlanta is his 'home track' as he and his father, Bill, are both from Georgia. See the little bit fuzzy image of the car on the #25 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
UPDATE: Chase Elliott, who became the youngest national series champion in NASCAR history last season, will join Hendrick Motorsports as a full-time Sprint Cup driver beginning in 2016. Elliott's #24 Chevy team will be led by crew chief Alan Gustafson, who has earned 19 wins, 18 pole positions, 98 top-five finishes and 165 top-10s at the elite Cup level.
"Chase brings the kind of intangibles that make him the total package as a driver," said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, who announced the news this morning during the team's season kickoff employee event. "Not only is he a special talent inside the race car, but there's a natural combination of competitiveness, work ethic and smarts that you rarely see. Chase's personality and demeanor make him popular with fans, teammates and sponsors. He's a great fit for our organization on many levels, and we feel he and Alan will be a successful combination. There's a lot to be excited about."
In preparation for 2016, Elliott, 19, will make his Sprint Cup debut later this year as part of a five-race schedule with primary sponsorship from NAPA AUTO PARTS. The Dawsonville, Georgia, native will be paired with veteran crew chief Kenny Francis during the limited campaign. Driving the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy fielded by Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott will be entered in 2015 Cup events March 29 at Martinsville Speedway, April 25 at Richmond International Raceway, May 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, July 26 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Sept. 6 at Darlington Raceway.
"Chase has been a fantastic ambassador for NAPA," said Gaylord Spencer, senior vice president of marketing for NAPA AUTO PARTS, which also is primary sponsor of Elliott's JR Motorsports team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. "As he embarks on this important next step in his career, we're proud to support him across both series in 2015 and look forward to an exciting year on and off the track. The NAPA Family is behind Chase 100 percent."
At the age of 18 years, 11 months and 18 days, Elliott became the youngest champion in any NASCAR national touring series when he won the 2014 XFINITY Series title. The first racer in NASCAR history to win a championship and rookie of the year honors in the same season, he also was voted by fans as the series' most popular driver. Elliott's 2014 season included three wins, two pole positions and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 races. His first victory (Texas Motor Speedway) came in his sixth career series start and made him the second-youngest winner in XFINITY Series history (behind Joey Logano). He completed 99.6 percent of the 6,063 total laps run and became the first driver since 2010 to clinch the championship before the season finale.
Elliott and father Bill are only the fifth father-son duo to win NASCAR national series championships. They are members of an elite group that includes Lee and Richard Petty, Ned and Dale Jarrett, David and Larry Pearson, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Bill Elliott, the 1988 Sprint Cup Series champion, will be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame tomorrow evening.
"So many people have been behind me, and the first thing I want to do is thank them," said Chase Elliott, who will run the full 2015 XFINITY Series schedule as the defending champion. "My parents especially have believed in me every step of the way, and I know this wouldn't be possible without all the sacrifices they've made to focus on my racing career. This is such a big week for our family. I'm also extremely grateful to Mr. Hendrick and my teammates at both Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports for believing in me. NAPA has been a huge supporter, and I'm honored to represent them on and off the track. Of course the fans have been amazing to me, and I'm so appreciative of that. I know how rare this opportunity is and will work as hard as I can to make everyone proud."
Hendrick Motorsports will announce sponsorship for Elliott's 2016 Sprint Cup season at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)
See images of the #25 car on the #25 Team Schemes page.(1-29-2015)
WIX Filters Continues Partnership with Richard Childress Racing: WIX Filters, a global manufacturer of filtration products, announced the extension of its partnership with Richard Childress Racing (RCR). The partnership includes primary branding of select events with the #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program with driver Ryan Newman. WIX Filters will also be featured as primary sponsor for one race with the #62 XFINITY Series program and driver Brendan Gaughan for 2015. As part of the partnership, WIX Filters continues its technical support of both RCR and ECR Engines by supplying air and oil filters and providing research and development support. All RCR race cars will feature the WIX Filters logo under the hood. Newman will compete in the #31 WIX Filters Chevrolet starting at Bristol in April.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
Grainger Joins RCR in a Multi-Year Partnership: Richard Childress Racing and Grainger announced a multi-year partnership that brings a leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating (MRO) products to NASCAR. Grainger will serve as the primary sponsor of the #31 Chevy driven by Ryan Newman for select NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races beginning with the June 7 event at Pocono. Grainger also will be featured as an associate sponsor on the #31 for all Cup Series events in which it is not the primary sponsor. Newman earned a second-place finish in the 2014 championship standings, which came down to the final lap of the season. This sponsorship is consistent with Grainger's national marketing approach to make meaningful connections with its customers. In recent years, Grainger has sponsored a summer concert tour and launched a new national advertising campaign. The increasing popularity of NASCAR among its customers and the chance to partner with RCR made this sponsorship appealing to Grainger. Grainger initially launched its on-track association with RCR in late 2014 at Texas Motor Speedway as an associate sponsor on the #31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevy for the final three Cup events, and also served as the primary sponsor of Austin Dillon's #33 NASCAR XFINITY Series entry at the Texas race.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
Visser Precision Joins Furniture Row Racing as associate sponsor : Visser Precision
, LLC, an advanced manufacturing solutions provider utilizing special alloys and proprietary manufacturing methods, joins Furniture Row Racing as an associate sponsor on the team's #78 Chevy, driven by Martin Truex Jr. in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Headquartered in a state-of-the-art facility in Denver, Colorado, Visser Precision started to manufacture its products in 2011 for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to luxury goods. Visser Precision operates with cutting-edge technologies in the areas of super alloys, precision machining, amorphous metal casting and 3D metal printing to help solve difficult engineering and manufacturing challenges. Visser Precision is owned by Barney Visser, a Vietnam veteran, who is also the owner of Furniture Row Racing. The company's president is Ryan Coniam, a former race engineer and crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"This is an exciting move for not only our teammates at Visser Precision but also for our growing list of domestic and international clients," said Coniam. "Visser Precision with its advanced technologies shares many of the same attributes that you will find in the high-tech, competitive world of NASCAR. There is definitely some DNA between the two businesses and we are thrilled to be included with Furniture Row Racing."
Joe Garone, general manager of Furniture Row Racing, said the Visser Precision name will be positioned on the roof of the #78 Chevy. "We welcome Visser Precision as our new associate sponsor," said Garone. "Visser Precision has a success story that is quite remarkable for such a young company. We are proud to be a partner on the car and in the race shop to help tackle the challenges of NASCAR's competitive sport." Visser precision joins Furniture Row's specialty stores -- Denver Mattress, Oak Express, Bedroom Expressions and Sofa Mart -- as associate sponsors.(FRR)(1-29-2015)
NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson recovering from stroke: NASCAR Hall of Famer David Pearson is recovering after he suffered a mild stroke Dec. 9. A statement provided by Pearson's family Wednesday said the stroke affected his left side, but the 80-year-old is 80-85% back to normal as a result of therapy. The family said "we expect a full recovery soon." Nicknamed the "Silver Fox" for his sly, quick moves on the track and his prematurely graying hair, ?Pearson is considered by some to be the greatest NASCAR driver of all time. He is second on the all-time wins list with 105 victories and won three championships -- in 1966, '68 and '69, before retiring in 1989. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, the leading vote-getter in his class. Only Richard Petty has more Cup wins -- he retired with 200. Petty also has seven titles. The Pearson family statement also said: "He is able to walk slowly and his arm continues to get better with maneuverability. He has great grip with his left hand, so we are very much encouraged. He continues to have therapy on both his leg and arm and progresses each day. ... Thanks to the NASCAR family and all of his fans and friends for their support and concern." The stroke followed another health issue for Pearson -- an abdominal aneurysm, which occurred in October and left him hospitalized for more than a week.(USA Today)(1-29-2015)
Penske could run a third team if Blaney wins Daytona 500: Roger Penske says he would certainly consider entering Ryan Blaney in a third full-time entry if his rookie driver won the Daytona 500 next month and became eligible for the Chase for the Championship. Blaney is currently scheduled to run 18 races for the Wood Brothers this season, including six with support from Penske partners PPG, SKF and Snap-On. His first race in the legendary #21 will be at Daytona, an event the Wood Brothers won with Trevor Bayne back in 2011. When asked about the possibility, Penske admitted he had forgotten that Blaney would become playoff eligible with a season-opening triumph. "Well if he won at Daytona, I guess we would have to look at our schedule," Penske said. "That's a great question. The fact that it would make him eligible for the Chase for the Championship, I never thought about that scenario. I certainly would have to think about it." Blaney is not running full-time in any of the three NASCAR national divisions. The extra six races will also allow Blaney to compete for Rookie of the Year honors, as a driver must typically run half of the 36-race schedule to be eligible. A driver can run more than seven races in a series for one season and still be eligible for rookie honors the next year as long as he never earned points in the series. As it stands, the Sprint Cup Series does not have a rookie contender.(Popular Speed)(1-29-2015)
10th Anniversary in NASCAR for Furniture Row Racing: The 2015 season will be Furniture Row Racing's 10th anniversary in NASCAR. The single-car team based in the Mile High City of Denver began its NASCAR career in the Xfinity Series (formerly known as the Nationwide Series) with driver Jerry Robertson qualifying on March 26, 2005 at Nashville Superspeedway. The team's first Sprint Cup race was a few months later (June 5) with driver Kenny Wallace qualifying the #78 Chevrolet at Dover International Speedway. "It's hard to imagine that it has been 10 years," said owner Barney Visser, who defied skeptics by basing his team in Denver, Colorado, nearly 1400 miles from NASCAR's racing hub in Charlotte, N.C. "To be involved in NASCAR has been an exciting time for everyone involved with Furniture Row and Furniture Row Racing." Visser added, "We've enjoyed success over the years and also taken our lumps. But we remain committed as an organization to field a Chase-contending team on a weekly basis." Visser, who is also owner of Furniture Row, one of America's largest family-owned specialty home furnishings and bedding retailers with more than 330 stores in 31 states, took up auto racing as a driver after semi-retiring from his businesses. He competed at local events at Colorado National Speedway. His passion for motorsports and the marketing potential the sport provided eventually led Visser to NASCAR. Furniture Row Racing has competed in 290 NASCAR races since 2005 --19 in the Xfinity Series (2005 & 2006) and 271 in the premier Sprint Cup Series (2005 to present). Colorado native Jerry Robertson was the team's driver for all 19 Xfinity races and there were seven different drivers who drove the No. 78 in 271 Cup races -- Wallace (29), Robertson (1), Jimmy Spencer (2), Joe Nemechek (41), Regan Smith (120), Kurt Busch (42) and current driver Martin Truex Jr. (36). The only Sprint Cup team based west of the Carolinas, Furniture Row Racing has qualified for every scheduled Cup race the past five seasons.
Furniture Row's best season was 2013 when it made history by becoming the first single-car team to qualify for NASCAR's postseason Chase playoffs. Busch drove the #78 Chevy that season to 11 top fives, 16 top 10s and finished 10th in the final point standings. The team's first victory was scored by Smith in 2011 at Darlington. Nemechek notched the team's first pole in May 2008 at Talladega. The catalyst behind the growth of Furniture Row Racing since its inception has been the team's general manager Joe Garone, a Denver native, who previously worked as a crewmember in NASCAR and later worked directly for NASCAR at its Research and Development Center in Charlotte. He also served as NASCAR's director of officiating. "To personally see how we've developed over the years has been very gratifying," said Garone. "It all starts at the top and Barney has given us the resources to compete at a contending level. By being based in Denver we had some early logistics to work out. But we figured it out fairly quickly, and right now we're a smoothly run race team, which has been strengthened for the 2015 season."(FRR)(1-29-2015)
NASCAR Hall of Fame sponsorships fall: A review of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's commitments for sponsorships shows that projected revenue is declining significantly, dropping from $1.5 million in 2012 to $110,000 for the fiscal year starting in July. The loss of sponsorship revenue could further explain why Bank of America and Wells Fargo recently agreed to a deal in which they would forgive $17.6 million in interest and principal from a hall-related loan in exchange for a $5 million payment. The reason: The bank's chances of getting their money back were more grim than the city outlined to City Council. Tom Murray, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said the hall is now focused on selling new sponsorships to help its bottom line. Under the deal reached with the banks, all sponsorship money in the future can go to pay the hall's bills. But he said it will be a challenge. "We don't think we will be selling sponsorships at the $1 million range," CRVA chief executive Tom Murray said in an interview. "The sponsorship world in general is challenging today. (Businesses) are looking for more of a return on their investment." Some of the hall's initial sponsors, such as Belk, Sunoco and M&M, have let sponsorships expire. For the sport overall, Sprint announced last year that it would end its sponsorship of NASCAR's highest racing level in 2016. Two of the biggest hall of fame sponsors were Bank of America and Wells Fargo, who each paid $150,000 last year. Under the deal reached with the city, the two banks will continue to sponsor the hall but won't have to pay.(Charlotte Observer)(1-29-2015)
GoDaddy pulls lost puppy Super Bowl ad after backlash: GoDaddy has pulled its Super Bowl ad after viewers were upset about how it depicted a lost puppy. The ad, a riff on Budweiser's spot this year, featured a little dog who falls off a pickup truck and then endures long miles and rainy weather to make his way home. Once there, running up the dirt road to a big red barn, he jumps up to greet his owner. "Look! It's Buddy! I'm so glad you made it home," she says as he jumps into her arms and licks her face, "because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy." Cut to the puppy back in a van. "Ship 'em out!" says the woman. The puppy whimpers. We catch a glimpse that longtime spokeswoman Danica Patrick is the driver. Then the door slams. The ad drew negative reactions immediately after it aired exclusively on TODAY. The domain name registration company attempted to mollify the crowd via Twitter, but pressure continued to mount throughout the day as the story spread online, especially through dog lover groups. An online petition to remove the ad racked up over 42,000 signatures by day's end. Finally at the end of the day the company decided to pull the ad.(Today)(1-29-2015)
NBC Sports' NASCAR Gridiron Challenge debuts Jan. 30th: NBC Sports' NASCAR Gridiron Challenge presented by Toyota, a one-hour special pairing NASCAR drivers with former NFL greats in a series of stock car races and a football challenge, debuts Friday, January 30, at 10:00pm/et on NBCSN, immediately following the NASCAR America Hall of Fame Special. A capsule from the Gridiron Challenge will air as part of NBC's Super Bowl XLIX pre-game show on Sunday, February 1, beginning at 12:00pm/et.
The Gridiron Challenge features six retired NFL greats, including NBC Super Bowl XLIX pre-game analyst Hines Ward, suiting up to compete in races alongside current NASCAR stars at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Viewers will watch as NFL legends experience the thrill of a lifetime learning how to drive official Toyota racecars at the Richard Petty Driving Experience. In addition, six NASCAR stars, representing Joe Gibbs' and Michael Waltrip's racing teams, will participate in a challenge throwing passes through a Toyota target. The series culminates with a 20-lap competition, where the former NFL players will sit in the passenger seat alongside NASCAR drivers, and race around the track at speeds up to 180 mph.
NASCAR on NBC lead announcer Rick Allen will call the action from Charlotte Motor Speedway, alongside NBC Sports Group's motorsports team of NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s former crew chief Steve Letarte, and NASCAR America reporter Kelli Stavast. In addition, Coach J.D. Gibbs will be present to give tutelage, and award the winners with their trophies.(NBC)(1-29-2015)
RCR Names Ahnna Parkhurst and Kate Dallenbach to Driver Development Program: Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Kate Dallenbach as one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. Dallenbach, 17, is the daughter of Wally, Jr., NASCAR driver-turned-broadcaster, and Robin Dallenbach, a former driver herself with two starts in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Her grandfather, Wally Dallenbach, Sr., was a successful Indy car driver and Chief Steward. The student of Davidson Day High School will compete in dirt and asphalt races under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing. Richard Childress Racing and Team Dillon Racing have named Ahnna Parkhurst as the other one of two female drivers in their development program for the 2015 season. Parkhurst, 14, is an Augusta, Ga. native and is entering her second season of competitive racing. The student at Riverside Middle School will compete in dirt Crate Late Models under the RCR banner driving cars built and maintained by Team Dillon Racing this year.(RCR)(1-29-2015)
Sherwin Williams to sponsor McMurray? was sent some images of the #1 Sherwin-Williams Chevy, hearing that Sherwin-Williams will be a primary sponsor, but no idea how many races, see images of the car/scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
Wood Brothers and Ryan Blaney expand their schedule: The Wood Brothers (#21 Ford) went searching for a driver for 2015 and found Ryan Blaney and are expanding their schedule with the 21-year-old winner in Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. Wood Brothers say their goal has been last five years to develop young drivers and Ryan Blaney was obvious choice to replace Trevor Bayne after he moved to a full-time Cup ride. They really want to get to 100 wins in their 65th anniversary season. Team co-owner Eddie Wood says they will run 12 races with Motorcraft on board and have tentatively added six races to the schedule, as part of working with Team Penske. Those six races will be Darlington, Bristol, Chicagoland, the fall Charlotte race, Kentucky and New Hampshire. Penske sponsors PPG, Snap-On, and SKF will sponsor the car in those races. Wood says that the team's partnership with Team Penske is similar to what it was with Roush Fenway Racing - Penske does the body and chassis work and shares engineering data. Wood says that the #22 NXS pit crew will pit the #21 on race days.(WSB Radio Race Blog)
AND EDDIE WOOD: WE UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE AN EXPANDED SEASON TO ANNOUNCE? "Yeah, our normal commitment is with Ford Motor Company and with Motorcraft Quick Lane brands and we are going to run our 12 races like we have been doing for the last few years. We will run the speedways and the fast 1.5 mile tracks but we are excited to say that we have been working really hard with our new alliance with Team Penske and we have tentatively added six races to our schedule. We can talk about those in more depth later but we are really excited about that. We have been working really hard to expand our schedule because you just want to race every week. It kills you when you are not there but we are really thankful we have been able to do that."(Ford Racing)(1-28-2015)
Leavine Family Racing extends relationship with Thrivent Financial: Leavine Family Racing has announced an extended sponsorship with Thrivent Financial for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The financial services organization will be the primary sponsor on the #95 Ford Fusion driven by Michael McDowell for 10 races and an associate sponsor for another 10 races . Thrivent is a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services membership organization that helps Christians be wise with money and live generously. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Thrivent offers a broad range of products and services-including life insurance, annuities and mutual funds-along with guidance from financial representatives nationwide. For more than a century, Thrivent has helped its nearly 2.4 million members make wise money choices that reflect their values and provided opportunities for them to be even more generous.
"It's clear we've aligned with the right race team and the right driver," said Craig Stacey, a Thrivent spokesperson. "The success of this relationship is rooted in the fact that Michael and LFR have strong values that align well with our mission. We're confident this sponsorship is helping us tell our story to more Christians who want to hear about our blend of faith and finances."
Thrivent will kick off this season as the primary sponsor on the #95 at the 57th annual DAYTONA 500, NASCAR's season-opener and most prestigious race. Other prominent races for the organization will include Bristol, Indianapolis and Charlotte. "We're thrilled to continue our partnership with Thrivent and extend it to 20 races this season," said Jeremy Lange, Vice President at Leavine Family Racing. "Last year we were able to share unique opportunities through our race team and within the sport. We're looking forward to continuing the momentum in 2015." Thrivent was introduced to NASCAR last year when they teamed with Leavine Family Racing for a multi-race sponsorship of the #95 including a primary sponsorship of the team at Bristol Motor Speedway in August where McDowell secured an 18th-place finish.
(Leavine Family Racing)
BOB LEAVINE, owner, Leavine Family Racing - YOU HAD A NICE YEAR LAST YEAR, TELL US ABOUT WHERE YOU EXPECT TO GO THIS YEAR WITH THE TEAM? "It was an exciting year. First I would like to thank the Wood Brothers for sharing the stage with us this year. This is very cool. 2014 was an exciting year for us. We made some gains and advances and as always sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back but we are excited about what we did. We had some personal bests including Daytona where Michael (McDowell) finished seventh and obviously it was our best finish also. We had solid finishes in Bristol with an 18th and 21st at Homestead. We are excited about that and the steps that we made. In 2015 the momentum is really built off of what we didn't get done last year. That is motivation. The successes are okay but if you don't learn from what you did wrong you aren't going to get any better. Our team is motivated by getting better. We are obviously a small team but a team with a lot of heart. I really appreciate the family, my wife and I, this group has become family to us and that is important to us. They really, really give it their all. Wally Rodgers has assembled a great group of guys and the desire and determination they show is awesome. We are going to run a minimum of 20 races this year and we are excited about our partners which you will hear about."(Ford Racing)
See images of the car/scheme on the #95 Team Schemes page.(1-28-2015)
U.S. Air Force Returns to Iconic #43 for the 2015 Season: Following a breakout year by the #43 team, including a historic win in the Coke Zero 400, the U.S. Air Force will once again join Richard Petty Motorsports and the iconic #43 Ford team as a primary partner. Using the sponsorship as a vehicle to connect with America's best young adults, this will be the seventh consecutive season the Air Force logo will be on the #43. Aric Almirola will once again pilot the #43 Air Force Racing Ford for the two most patriotic race weekends of the year: Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Fourth of July weekend race at Daytona International Speedway. In addition, Almirola will continue to support at-track swear-ins for the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) and entertain active duty military guests. Also, the U.S. Air Force will remain an associate partner on the historic #43 for the entirety of the 2015 season. The U.S. Air Force will continue their experiential marketing at NASCAR races, bringing the #43 U.S. Air Force Ford show car and "Hangar 43" interactive display to environments where recruiters can connect with young adults. It will also continue to hold swear-in ceremonies of Airmen in the Delayed Entry Program at NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, giving fans an up-close, in-person look at the moment when groups of young Americans commit themselves to serving their country. Proving a great fit for the U.S. Air Force, Almirola was born on Eglin Air Force base in Florida while his dad served in the Air Force and appreciates the partnership and what it means for the Air Force. In 2014, Almirola drove the No. 43 Air Force Ford to victory at his home track, Daytona International Speedway, on the 30th anniversary of "The King" Richard Petty's 200th win. This season marks the Air Force's 15th season in NASCAR and seventh consecutive with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
Twisted Tea to Make 2015 Debut at Daytona 500 with Richard Petty Motorsports UPDATE: It has been just over one year when Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced that Twisted Tea Brewing Company partnered with the organization in its first NASCAR sponsorship. RPM announced that the hard ice tea brewing company will return to the #9 Ford for two primary races in the 2015 season with driver Sam Hornish Jr. Twisted Tea's return to the #9 Ford will be highlighted in NASCAR's most iconic event, the 57th Daytona 500. Twisted Tea joins RPM at the famous track where it has a history of 12 wins, most recently in July of 2014. The prominent yellow and blue design will also be featured during the Coke Zero 400 on July 5, also at the Daytona International Speedway. Along with the two current primary races, Twisted Tea will be a season-long associate sponsor on the #9 Ford. "We are proud to continue our relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports and Sam Hornish Jr. throughout 2015," said Robert Vail, member of the Twisted Tea team. "This has been a great partnership for us and we can't think of a better way to kick off our year than at the Daytona 500. This is a world class event and we're teaming up with a world class crew and driver. There is no better time to enjoy Twisted Tea than at Daytona's biggest event, or cheering on the drivers while watching the race at home."
"Daytona will be a career moment for me," commented Hornish Jr. "It's my first race driving for Richard Petty, it's the Daytona 500 and I'll once again have an opportunity to join heroes of motorsports if we win. It's an amazing opportunity and I can't wait to do it with Twisted Tea who will also support us throughout 2015. They are such a fun, cool partner and to be able to celebrate with them in Victory Lane would certainly be a highlight of my career."(RPM/Breaking Limits), see an image of the scheme on the #9 Team Schemes page.
UPDATE: 2015 Charlotte Media Tour Ford Performance NSCS Notes & Quotes
BRIAN MOFFITT, CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports: "This is an exciting time at Richard Petty Motorsports. For quite some years we've been looking to get back to where we had the autonomy that Sammy was talking about and this year we do. We're looking forward to the investments that Richard continues to make and Andy Murstein continues to make in the sport. We're excited about our driver lineup. We're excited about our crew chiefs. I have to thank everyone during this off-season. Everybody has a lot of work during the off-season, but we had a little more with the move. I can't say enough about the families that supported our employees and the time that they put into it. We really appreciate them so much and look forward to winning some races this season with the efforts they put into our guys. With announcements, one of the things Jeff said was going to be a big question was the 9 car. We are planning to run the full season with Sam in the car and we have Twisted Tea stepping up in a big way as our primary partner. We also have some other partners that are going to be joining us and we'll be announcing them later in the year. Blue Emu is coming aboard, R-M Automotive, as well as Medallion Bank and Petty's Garage, so we look forward to continuing our effort to grow this sport, grow RPM and continue to put our cars in victory lane. We look forward to that. Another announcement that we have is Andy's Medallion Sports Properties has actually hired Sean Downes, who was development director for NASCAR. He helped bring XFINITY into the sport, so we have him now helping us in our efforts to fill out the number 9 car through the season. Again, we look forward to seeing all of you in victory land as we move forward and appreciate you being here."(Ford Performance)(1-28-2015)
Kurt Busch hasn't discussed running Indy 500 in 2015: #41-Kurt Busch said on Tuesday during the NASCAR Media Tour that a second attempt at the Indy 500 - and with that, a second attempt at The Double of the "500" and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day - has not been discussed by him and team owners Tony Stewart and Michael Andretti. "It's nice to have Tony Stewart's blessing to run Indy, and Michael Andretti giving me the access to come back to give it a shot, but it's something we haven't talked about. There's been plenty of other things in this offseason to stay focused on." As for Andretti, who fielded Busch's Verizon IndyCar Series machine at last year's "500," he told FoxSports.com earlier this month that while Andretti Autosport's main focus is on fielding a fourth car for the 2015 IndyCar season, there was still a chance for something to come together with Busch for the Month of May. "He was a real professional and learned a lot to the point where I think he would be a real factor in the race if we put something together," Andretti said in that interview. "He did a hell of a job last year without experience. Now, with one more year of experience, I think Kurt Busch could be a real factor in the Indianapolis 500 in 2015." Busch's ride with Andretti for last year's "500" was not announced until March.(NBC Sports)(1-28-2015)
R-M Named Official Automotive Refinish Paint of Richard Petty Motorsports: There is only one color that has defined the Petty brand over the past 65 years, Petty Blue, And, for the last 25 years the Petty family has relied on R-M Automotive Finishes, a brand of BASF to bring that color to life. In 2015, R-M will continue that tradition on the #43 and also provide the colorful finishes to the #9 Ford and the #43 XFINITY team for Richard Petty Motorsports. R-M Onyx HD will also be the automotive finish for all custom cars prepared at Petty's Garage. R-M is known as the paint brand in the automotive finish industry that is customer driven and committed to providing excellent results that promote high productivity and enhanced environmental awareness. Richard Petty Motorsports recently moved into a new race shop that houses two paint booths while Petty's Garage also has an additional two booths. The need for a superior automotive finish at both locations is always an extremely high priority.(Breaking Limits for RPM)(1-28-2015)
Stewart buys All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series: #14-Tony Stewart has agreed to terms with Guy Webb, owner of the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series, to become the sole owner of the original winged sprint car tour. The All-Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car Series is one of the oldest traveling sprint car organizations and is a staple of grassroots, open-wheel racing. The transaction between Webb and Stewart will proceed immediately.(Eldora Raceway)(1-28-2015)
Bowman to Tommy Baldwin Racing? BK Racing announced on Tuesday that J.J. Yeley will be its primary driver for the 2014. While it initially seemed curious there was no mention of Alex Bowman in the release, BK Racing owner Ron Devine later confirmed he was no longer with the team. Bowman is expected to drive for Tommy Baldwin Racing in the #7 Chevy. Baldwin would not confirm on Tuesday that Bowman was joining TBR, but promised the team would have "7 announcements in 7 days" starting on Friday. Yeley raced as a sub for BKR last year but plans to run the entire schedule in the #23 Toyota.(Motorsport)
AND Alex Bowman appears set to join Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) in the seat vacated by former driver Michael Annett (who is now with HScott Motorsports). Bowman is expected to be announced as the driver of the #7 Chevy soon, giving one of NASCAR's few independent teams a much-needed boost with the season-opening Daytona 500 less than a month away. Despite Annett's parting, the team (TBR) is still expected to utilize Richard Childress Racing cars and Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines for 2015. Tuesday, Toy State, an innovator and industry leader in the manufacture of licensed and highly stylized lights & sounds and radio controlled vehicles issued a press release announcing their sponsorship of TBR's #7 Chevy beginning with NASCAR's Super Bowl event. According to the announcement, the sponsorship is expected to cover the initial five races of the 2015 season.(Catchfence)(1-28-2015)
Kurt Busch reasserts what he said about ex: #41-Kurt Busch didn't back down Tuesday from his testimony about ex-girlfirend Patricia Driscoll but said he didn't know when a decision would be made in the protective hearing case. Busch has been a part of national headlines after testifying earlier this month that he believed Driscoll was a trained assassin. He also stated that she repeatedly asserted she was and claimed the work took her on missions across Central and South American and Africa. Busch reasserted his claim Tuesday: "What I said was under oath.''(NBC Sports)(1-28-2015)
Auto-Owners Insurance Re-Signs with HScott Motorsports For Multiple Races: HScott Motorsports announced that Auto-Owners Insurance will continue its relationship with the #51 Chevy driven by Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Auto-Owners Insurance will be the primary sponsor for three races during the 2015 season. The #51 will hit the track in the blue and white Auto-Owners Insurance paint scheme at Bristol in April, Talladega in October and Martinsville in November. The three-race sponsorship marks the second season Auto-Owners has been involved in the NSCS and with HScott Motorsports. Auto-Owners Insurance, a Fortune 500 company, is the 15th-largest property and casualty insurer in the country, based on written premiums. Headquartered in Lansing, Michigan, Auto-Owners Insurance employs more than 4,200 associates. The company, comprised of five property and casualty companies and a life company, writes business in 26 states through 6,200 local independent agencies.(HScott Motorsports)(1-28-2015)
NASCAR Reinstates Crew Member: NASCAR has reinstated Kelly Johnson, a crew member in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, upon his successful completion of NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. On Nov. 18, 2014, Johnson was found to have violated Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) and 19 (violation of the NASCAR Substance Abuse Policy) of the NASCAR Rule Book.(NASCAR)(1-28-2015)
Gene Haas looks to re-sign Danica Patrick: Danica Patrick, who is entering her third season in the #10 GoDaddy Chevy, is in the final year of her contract. Stewart-Haas Racing owner Gene Haas says discussions are ongoing and the evaluation process began from "the day she starts". Haas isn't concern with how Patrick has struggled in the first two seasons. He believes the potential is there. "This is the last year of the contract we have with her and GoDaddy," Haas said. "There are negotiations going on. Everything changes in this sport. I think she's done good. When you look back at someone like a Joey Logano, he spent all those years over at Gibbs and it took six year to get going. I don't think she's that far off the mark. She's probably right on the mark really. We've made some changes. I think putting Daniel (Knost, crew chief) with her is a good change. He's very technical. He's the type of guy that will explain to you what the car is doing. If it's doing this, these are the results you're going to get. He has a different way of racing than say Tony Gibson. It's like she said, it's going to give you a different perspective which will give you different results." While the commitment from Patrick and Haas appears to be viable, there's the question of what level GoDaddy chooses to participate at moving forward. Patrick said on Tuesday, "Of course I want GoDaddy to come back. We've been talking about it for quite a while. They want to, we just have to make sure we keep giving each other value. They give me value, now it's about me giving back to them."(Motorsport)(1-27-2015)
BK Racing names JJ Yeley as the Primary Driver for the 2015 Season: JJ Yeley will pilot a BK Racing Toyota for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, starting at Daytona International Speedway in a few weeks. Yeley, who filled in for the team at the end of the 2014 season, has signed on for a full 36 race season. JJ Yeley commented, "I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of my BK Racing Toyota Camry. I filled in for the team at the end of the 2014 season, and I'm glad to be given the opportunity to come back again for another season. I am ready to get the 2015 season started and head to Daytona International Speedway for some restrictor plate racing."
"JJ has been a great asset to the BK Racing team," owner Ron Devine commented. "He has been involved in the motorsports industry for several years now, and has the knowledge and skill to help build this organization."(BK Racing). Yeley ran the #83 and #93 Toyota's for BK Racing in 2014, the PR doesn't say which BK Racing team Yeley will be paired with.(1-27-2015)
Annett moving to HScott Motorsports? UPDATE joins HSM: Multiple sources have confirmed that Michael Annett and his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship will jump from Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7) to the HScott Motorsports stable in 2015, running the entire 36-race championship schedule as a teammate to #51-Justin Algaier. Annett finished 33rd in points at the wheel of TBR's #7 Chevy in 2014; his rookie year of Sprint Cup Series competition. The team managed a top finish of 16th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Annett declined to comment on the move when contacted earlier today (Tuesday), but sources close to the situation say he will race as a teammate to Algaier and the #51 Brandt Chevy, making HScott Motorsports a two-car operation for the first time in their brief Sprint Cup Series history. Calls placed to team owner Harry Scott, Jr. were not immediately returned.(Godfather Motorsports). HScott Motorsports ran an 2nd car for the Daytona 500 in 2014, with Bobby Labonte driving the #52 Florida Lottery Chevy to a 16th place finish. It was the only attempt of the season for the #52 team.(1-20-2015)
UPDATE - Michael Annett joins HScott Motorsports as second full-time driver: HScott Motorsports enters the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with a new look as it expands to two cars. Justin Allgaier will return to the #51 BRANDT Chevy while Michael Annett joins the team and will drive a Chevrolet adorned by longtime anchor partner Pilot Flying J. "The addition of a second team increases HScott's overall ability to better utilize its resources at track and at the shop to be even more competitive," said team owner Harry Scott Jr. "I'm proud to have seen Justin truly mature as a NSCS driver last year, and I can't wait to see what he does this year. Like Justin, Michael is coming off his rookie year following six years of competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Michael is a quality driver with a great future at HScott Motorsports. These drivers compliment one another and will make great teammates."
"This is as excited as I've been for a new season, I can't wait to get to Daytona and fire the engines," said Allgaier. "I'm looking forward to carrying the momentum from the end of last season over to this year. Michael is a great addition to our organization and I'm glad to have a teammate to compete with each week."
BRANDT Professional Agriculture, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, returns as the primary sponsor of the #51 Chevy for 21 races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 22. Auto-Owners Insurance will also be the primary partner on the #51 for three races.
"Justin and the #51 team continue to be a great source of pride for BRANDT employees and customers, and we are all looking forward to a great 2015 season," said BRANDT President and CEO Rick Brandt. "I'm excited for the opportunity to drive for HScott Motorsports," said Annett. "I am impressed with the way Harry is building his NASCAR teams. Harry and competition director Steve Addington have a long-term vision and I'm honored to be part of it. I'm also looking forward to having Justin as a teammate." Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel retail centers, will be a primary partner on Annett's car. Other partners include Cypress Associates, Inc., Allstate Peterbilt Group and Northland Oil.(HScott Motorsports), no car number for Annett was announced. Annett drove the #7 Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014.(1-27-2015)
Alliance Truck Parts to sponsor Keselowski in six races: Alliance Truck Parts returns to the Team Penske #2 Ford Fusion team for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a primary sponsor for Brad Keselowski. The black and yellow Alliance Truck Parts colors will adorn the Team Penske Ford for six races in 2015.(Alliance Truck Parts), see an image of the scheme on the #2 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2015)
Axalta becomes title sponsor for Pocono race in June: Pocono Raceway and long-time partner, Axalta Coating Systems, announced a multi-year entitlement agreement which includes the renaming of the annual June NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race held at 'The Tricky Triangle' as the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400. "We are very excited to share this great news, in cooperation with everyone at Axalta Coating Systems," said Pocono Raceway President/CEO, Brandon Igdalsky. "They have been a great addition to the Pocono Raceway family, and we look forward to growing this relationship in 2015 and beyond. What makes this even more special is the fact we get to work hand-in-hand with a true global powerhouse who also calls the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 'home.'"
"Axalta is proud of its 22-year motorsports partnership," said Axalta Vice President and head of its North America business, Nigel Budden. "As a leader in the US refinish business, our paint graces racecars that burn rubber on the track each season and we proudly support four-time NASCAR® Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Now, we are pleased to expand our racing involvement as Pocono Raceway's title sponsor of the upcoming race on June 7th. We look forward to cheering on Gordon as he vies for a seventh win at Pocono Raceway."
Axalta Coating Systems is "The Official Finish" of Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, the two most recent NSCS championship organizations. They also sponsor the #24 Axalta Coatings Chev driven by Jeff Gordon, who is the winningest NASCAR driver at Pocono with six victories (June 1996, June 1997, July 1998, June 2007, June 2011 and August 2012).
Tickets for the June 7th Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 start at $45. Kids, ages 12 and under are eligible for half-price grandstand tickets starting at $22.50. For tickets and more information, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway)(1-27-2015)
Moffitt in the #55 at Atlanta: Brett_Moffitt will be driving the #55 Aarons Dream Machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(MWR Twitter), doctors have medically cleared regular #55 driver Brian Vickers to return to full-time Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery and Vickers will return at Las Vegas. Team Owner Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the Daytona 500.(1-27-2015)
No early exit expected for title sponsor Sprint: The last time NASCAR needed a title sponsor for its premier series, the existing company was replaced with four years remaining on its contract. But executives aren't expecting a repeat with Sprint already having announced its impending exit after the 2016 season. "Do I think (Sprint) will exit early? No," NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps told MotorsportsTalk after NASCAR played host to the opening news conference Monday of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "Do I think we'll find someone for '16? No. Only because we want to make sure the process is really followed smartly. Trying to rush through to find something for '16 ... although on one hand, people might say, 'You get someone new, (and) they're not a lame duck' or whatever term, I don't think that's the right approach. And the good thing is since Sprint is very engaged, they are honoring their commitments to us, which are extensive. So I think we're in a good spot." Sprint officials have indicated they fully will honor the remainder of its deal, and NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday after his annual State of the Sport address that he didn't expect Sprint would be replaced early. NASCAR and Sprint entered into negotiations about the title sponsorship last fall, and the wireless communications company announced its departure in mid-December with two years left on a three-year extension that was signed in 2011.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
2016 Rules could debut at All-Star race? NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 Sprint All Star race as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility, multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk. During a state of the sport address to open Monday's Media Tour, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell noted the All-Star Race was the goal for unveiling the rules for next season. The 2015 rules were delivered in September, which O'Donnell said was the earliest release yet. "We anticipate beating that marker in 2016, and we'll look to bring the rules package to the teams as early as we can with a target date of around the All-Star Race for this year," O'Donnell said.
An official with direct knowledge of the All-Star Race proposal said Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sprint were supportive of using the 2016 rules because it also would prevent teams from getting a jump on preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 and increasing the likelihood of a lackluster race. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan wasn't finalized.
The Sprint All-Star Race could use a jolt of relevance. In nine editions since the repaving of Charlotte in 2006, there has been one lead during the final five laps of an event billed as promoting a no-holds-barred style. In the past three Sprint All-Star Races, the winner has led the final 10 laps. But a potential drawback for NASCAR could be whether the sneak preview of the 2016 rules delivers a better version of the racing than with the current rules that will be featured over four hours the following week at Charlotte in the season's longest race. There's no timetable for the decision on using next year's rules in the All-Star Race, but NASCAR tested some ideas for next year during a session last month at Charlotte. More testing is expected to occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month and at Charlotte in March. This year's rules will feature a significant decline in downforce and about a reduction of about 125 horsepower. Another cut in downforce is expected in 2016, which will make cars' handling more difficult.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
Kyle Busch tired of being confused with brother Kurt: #18-Kyle Busch said Monday he has not gotten involved in his older brother's personal issues and is disappointed he has been mistaken for Kurt in coverage of assault allegations against the 2004 NASCAR champion. #41-Kurt Busch spent four days over the last two months in a Delaware courtroom as part of a hearing regarding an ex-girlfriend's request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll alleged Busch assaulted her in September during an argument at Dover International Speedway. "Haven't spoken to him, don't know nothing; trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business," Kyle Busch said. But he's been dragged into it as the case drew national attention earlier this month when Kurt Busch testified he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin. In several instances, Kyle has been wrongly identified as his brother. "I think it's stupid. I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don't know what the heck they are talking about," Kyle said. "It's not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish. It hasn't been bothersome from a sponsorship standpoint, yet, that I know of. I know it could be if it continues to keep going, but it's the wrong brother. But I think the relationship I have with the Mars family is far beyond that, hopefully."(ESPN/AP)(1-27-2015)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. returns to racing: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has signed to drive for Nitroforce Industries - Titan 1000 Dodge for the entire 2015 ARCA Racing Series season. Hamilton Jr., 37, who has run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup (last race in 2005) and Busch (now XFINITY) Series in the past, was slated to drive for Carter 2 Motorsports before negotiations fell apart early in the 2014 ARCA Racing Series season. "I have worked together with (Hamilton Jr.) in the 1990s, and he is so much fun to work with," said team owner Roger Carter. "We also believe he will be a great mentor to our younger drivers this season. He is a total asset to our team and the direction we are headed this season." Hamilton has made a total of eight career starts in the ARCA Racing Series during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.(Tennessean), Hamilton Jr. ran a Truck Series race at Nashville in 2011 finishing 22nd.(1-27-2015)
New Names Fill 2015 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Roster: NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport's national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program's competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East.
Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series. Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, more than 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.(NASCAR/Rev Racing), see full driver list and more on the Driver Development News page.(1-27-2015)
NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T announced: The NASCAR Foundation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Sprint this week announced a special competition that will recognize an outstanding area middle school for its exemplary approach toward problem-solving and making real world connections using science and technology. The NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T. (Promoting Innovation & Technology) Crew Project was created to inspire learning among middle school students (grades 6-8) in the Charlotte area. Participating schools will compete to build a unique concept or model that illustrates science and technology principles through motorsports applications. The middle school voted to have created the best concept will have its project considered for display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame this fall, and will receive a large-scale technology renovation for one of its common rooms, courtesy of The NASCAR Foundation and program sponsor Sprint. Additionally, middle school finalists will receive field trips for up to 300 students each to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
CMS schools must submit a letter of intent to participate in the P.I.T. Crew Project by Friday, Feb. 6, and there will be a special information session for teachers hosted at the NASCAR Research & Development Center later that month. The students' final projects are due March 30 and the winning school will be announced during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race festivities in Charlotte in May. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T. Crew Project, visit NASCARFoundation.org.(NASCAR)(1-27-2015)
No changes to Chase in 2015: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the format for the new Chase for the Sprint Cup will be unchanged for 2015. France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps its best Chase ever" and is carrying a lot of momentum into the season. Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with a field of 16 drivers and a winner-take-all elimination format in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-26-2015)
Teams will not be allowed to alter side skirts: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will no longer be allowed to alter their car's side skirts during an event, a practice that became widespread during the 2014 season. At the NASCAR State of the Sport to kick off the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body will bring cars back down pit road if officials see that the side skirts have been manipulated during a pit stop in the race. O'Donnell said it would police flared skirts "by any means possible," including use of the new pit road technology that will make its debut during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The pieces, officially known as vertical rocker panel extensions, are located along the bottom of the car's body between the front and rear tires. They help seal the area between the bottom of the car's chassis and the track surface, limiting airflow underneath the vehicle. Not all teams were flaring the pieces last season, but those that did typically would make the adjustment during an early pit stop. NASCAR allowed the practice to continue as the season progressed, but said on several occasions it was something that would be addressed after the completion of the 2014 season.(NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Fox NASCAR Commences 15th Year of NASCAR Coverage: FOX NASCAR opens the 2015 season, its 15th year broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first of its new 10-year media rights agreement, with expanded coverage and the return of its popular broadcast team, coupled with new on-air faces that include a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions. "Broadcasting any sports property for 15 years is a labor of love and a tremendous privilege," said Eric Shanks, President and COO, Executive Producer, FOX Sports. "NASCAR has been part of the fabric of FOX Sports since we first hit the air at Daytona in 2001, and with our new 10-year commitment, FOX NASCAR is poised to showcase what we expect to be the most riveting competition in years with what certainly is our deepest pool of on-air personalities ever."
Mike Joy, Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds, the original FOX Sports broadcast team which began its NASCAR run at the 2001 Daytona 500, return to the booth for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on FOX and FOX Sports 1. The team is joined on pit road by reporters Matt Yocum and newcomers Jamie Little and Chris Neville. FOX NASCAR expands its schedule from 13 to 16 races in 2015 with 10 on FOX and six on FOX Sports 1. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY, the network's fast-paced prerace show from the traveling Hollywood Hotel, alongside brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip.
This season, FOX Sports adds coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, second only to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as the most-watched racing series in the country, the first 14 races of the year. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 12 of the events while FOX broadcasts the races from Phoenix and Talladega. Adam Alexander calls play-by-play alongside Michael Waltrip and a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers scheduled to contribute as analysts, including reigning champion Kevin Harvick, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski. Vince Welch leads reporting on pit road for every XFINITY Series race, joined by a rotation of Little, Neville and Yocum.
FOX Sports 1 continues with exclusive coverage of the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season for the 13th consecutive year with Alexander, Joy and Brian Till filling in on play-by-play until Steve Byrnes returns from a medical leave of absence. Joy has the call from Daytona for the season opener. Longtime FOX Sports 1 analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are back in 2015. Hermie Sadler leads pit road reporting with a regular rotation of Welch, Yocum and Kaitlyn Vincie. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 22 of the series' 23 races live in 2015, while FOX broadcasts the Talladega race.
NASCAR RACEDAY, FOX Sports 1's popular prerace show, heads back to the track in 2015, live from the middle of the fans at the new and versatile FOX Sports Stage, which puts fans in the center of prerace activities prior to each Sprint Cup race. Danielle Trotta hosts during the FOX portion of the year with McReynolds and Kenny Wallace before handing off hosting duties to John Roberts for the second half of the season. Vincie and FOX Sports 1 newcomers Alan Cavanna and Andrew Doud report alongside FOX NASCAR team pit reporters covering the day's race.
For NASCAR XFINITY SERIES prerace coverage, Trotta hosts NASCAR RACEDAY - XFINIITY live from the track, with McReynolds and Wallace offering analysis and Little, Neville, Welch and Yocum reporting. Roberts hosts NCWTS SETUP live before each Truck Series race with analysis from two-time series champion Todd Bodine.
NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX Sports 1's daily news and update program, kicks off the 2015 season live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on Monday, Jan. 26 at its new time of 6:00pm/et. Alexander, Trotta and Roberts co-host the hour-long program. The network bolsters its analyst pool in 2015 to include Wally Dallenbach, Jeff Hammond and McReynolds, who are joined by a rotating team of drivers and crew chiefs that features AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Drew Blickensderfer, Bodine, Chad Knaus and Joey Logano. For the first time, NASCAR RACE HUB features three fulltime reporters with Cavanna, Doud and Vincie reporting daily from NASCAR race shops and Ray Dunlap delivering Truck Series feature reports. NASCAR RACE HUB airs Mondays through Thursdays at 6:00pm/et.
NASCAR RACE HUB expands to the weekend in 2015 to offer at-track updates and news as it breaks throughout the course of the race weekend. Roberts hosts alongside Hammond with reporting by Cavanna and Vincie. In addition, NASCAR VICTORY LANE on FOX Sports 1 recaps each Sprint Cup Series race with highlights and analysis. Myers hosts with Wallace and Michael Waltrip and post-race reports from the garage.
DAYTONA 500: FOX Sports kicks off the season by offering multi-network, multi-platform coverage from Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, culminating with live coverage of the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22 (1:00 pm/et) on FOX with live pre-race coverage on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY (12:00 pm/et). FOX also carries POLE DAY QUALIFYING on Sunday, Feb. 15 (1:00 pm/et) and the SPRINT UNLIMITED on Saturday, Feb. 14 (8:00 pm/et), both live. FOX Sports 1 presents live coverage of its first NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on Saturday, Feb. 21 (3:30 pm/et), the BUDWEISER DUEL AT DAYTONA on Thursday, Feb. 19 (7:00 pm/et) and live coverage of the season-opening NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race on Friday, Feb. 20 (7:30 pm/et).
In addition, FOX Sports 1 premieres two NASCAR original specials during Speedweeks in a special programming block on Friday, Feb. 13. A PERFECT STORM, debuting at 7:30 pm/et, chronicles the events of Feb. 18, 1979, detailing how a major blizzard struck the Eastern seaboard, creating a "captive" audience for the first live flag-to-flag television broadcast of the Daytona 500. The one-hour special, produced by NASCAR Productions, features excerpts from the race broadcast, recently discovered archival footage and first-person accounts from the network broadcasters, drivers and fans who witnessed the historic event that is credited with putting NASCAR on the map. A second special, entitled 1979 DAYTONA 500, premieres at 8:30 pm/et.
Also back by popular demand in May for the second consecutive year is FOX SPORTS 1 - 10 DAYS OF THUNDER. The special multi-sport programming block is anchored by two weekends of NASCAR racing from Charlotte Motor Speedway, highlighted by live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE, NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race and the COCA-COLA 600, in addition to comprehensive support programming and premieres of FOX Sports 1 originals.
All NASCAR programming on FOX and FOX Sports 1 is streamed live through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content. FOX Deportes, the leading sports network in Spanish, returns in 2015 for its third season of NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES coverage with eight live races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 22. Mexican driver and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES competitor German Quiroga joins the broadcast booth as analyst.(FOX Sports)(1-26-2015)
NBC adds Dale Jarrett to NASCAR Broadcast Team: NBC Sports Group has reached an agreement with 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett, who will serve as a pre- and post-race analyst during live coverage of select NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series racing on NBC and NBCSN. Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, will be among the first to welcome fans to NBC Sports' 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR's championship run when he, Krista Voda and Kyle Petty open up NBC's live pre-race coverage from Daytona International Speedway this 4th of July weekend. In addition to handling pre- and post-race coverage, Jarrett will also serve as a booth analyst during select NASCAR XFINITY Series races and contribute to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN. "We are excited to welcome Dale and his Hall of Fame credentials to our NASCAR broadcast team," said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. "As a former Champion, his experience and insights will help us set the stage and break down key races throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup."
The appointment of Jarrett follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Rutledge Wood. "I'm very pleased and excited to be a part of NBC Sports and their NASCAR coverage," said Jarrett. "NBC has assembled an All-Star crew for their coverage, and I'm honored to be a part of this group that will bring NASCAR fans inside the sport we all love." Of NBC Sports Group's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group's 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2015)
Pit coach Greg Morin stepping down at HMS: The Hendrick Motorsports athletic department has gone through some turnover in the past few months and now they have another obstacle to get through. Coach Greg Morin, coach of the #48 and #88 teams, has decided to pursue other interests outside of racing and will be leaving the team at the end of January. Early in the year, pit coach Lance Munksgard also left HMS to pursue a career outside of racing. Along with both coaches being gone, HMS lost four different crew members to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2014 season. See what Morin had to say at Pit Talks.(1-26-2015)
Harvick wins NMPA Driver of the Year Award: Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #4-Kevin Harvick has been named the recipient of the NMPA's Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2014. The award, which has been presented each year since 1969, is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership. Harvick was presented the trophy by the award's namesake, seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, during the annual NMPA Awards Dinner Sunday night at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. It is the second time Harvick has been honored with the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award. Elevated to Cup competition following the 2001 death of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Harvick responded by winning twice and finishing ninth in points in Cup while also winning the Busch (now XFINITY) Series championship. Harvick received nearly 75% of the vote cast by the membership. Other receiving votes were NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, along with six-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz (NASCAR.com), see an image of the award presentation at Kevin Harvick's Twitter.(1-26-2015)
Lynda Petty Named Spirit Award Winner: Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Richard Petty, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's annual Spirit Award for 2014. Petty, who passed away March 30, 2014, was one of the founding members of the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a charitable organization that provided assistance to those in need within the racing community. Today the group, now known as the Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports, seeks to enrich the lives of women, children and families through various education and wellness programs. In addition to raising and caring for a family of four, Petty also was active in numerous community and civic endeavors. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, the NMPA membership selects four quarterly recipients, with an overall winner chosen from among the four candidates at season's end. Petty was the first quarter recipient of the award for 2014. Other recognized for their efforts were driver Martin Truex Jr. (second quarter), long-time car owner W.C. "Junie" Donlavey (third quarter) and brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip (fourth quarter).(Motor Racing Network)(1-26-2015)
Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour finishes Thursday: More than 240 motorsports journalists will gather for the most prestigious preseason media event in sports, the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Running Jan. 26-29, the tour offers credentialed media four full days of unrivaled access to announcements from NASCAR executives, drivers, team owners and speedway operators. "This four-day event provides media outlets across the country and around the world with newsworthy content as fans gear up for the 2015 NASCAR season," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's always interesting to see new faces in new places and I'm always as excited as our fans to hear what the drivers and owners have to say about the upcoming NASCAR season. Our sport has a lot of momentum from 2014 as we roll into a new year."
During the tour, credentialed media from across the United States, and as far away as Germany, will preview the 2015 racing season. The Associated Press, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, Sirius XM, Performance Racing Network, Motor Racing Network, Reuters Newswire, The New York Times, The Sporting News and USA Today are among the major outlets that will be represented on the tour.
Participating media will get the latest news from NASCAR teams such as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Leavine Family Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, HScott Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing. The media contingent will also visit Charlotte Motor Speedway, the new Ford Tech Center and the Mint Museum in Charlotte for special programs.
Daily updates, including video and photo galleries will be available at charlottemotorspeedway.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway and via Twitter at twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.(CMS)
AND The schedule:
Monday, Jan. 26
1:30 pm/et: State of the Sport with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France
4:00 pm/et: Joe Gibbs Racing
Tuesday, Jan. 27
9:00 am/et: Michael Waltrip Racing
11:00 am/et: JTG Daugherty Racing and HScott Motorsports
1:00 pm/et: Stewart-Haas Racing
3:15 pm/et: NBC Sports
Wednesday, Jan. 28
9:00 am/et: Roush Fenway Racing
11:00 am/et: Richard Petty Motorsports
1:30 pm/et: Wood Brothers Racing and Leavine Family Racing
3:15 pm/et: Team Penske
Thursday, Jan. 29
9:00 am/et: Furniture Row Racing
10:30 am/et: Richard Childress Racing
1:00 pm/et: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
3:00 pm/et: Hendrick Motorsports
(fans can watch team presentations live at NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Atlanta Fan-Friendly Hotel Deals and Travel Packages Available: Fans attending the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 26 through March 1 have numerous affordable options for lodging and travel in the immediate Atlanta area through local partnerships. Marriott Hotels, the official hotel partner of Atlanta Motor Speedway, as well as several other local Atlanta area hotels have partnered with Atlanta Motor Speedway to offer fans lodging options with affordable rates while they are visiting the speedway during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend. Each of these hotels will offer fans affordable nightly rates while not requiring multiple-night stays. A complete listing of Atlanta Motor Speedway's fan-friendly hotels is available by visiting atlantamotorspeedway.com. Additionally, PrimeSport, the leader in providing direct access to the biggest sporting events and the official travel package provider for Atlanta Motor Speedway, is offering fans exclusive travel packages for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend.. For more information or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-26-2015)
Is a NASCAR TV analyst career in Jeff Gordon's future? UPDATE: Would Jeff Gordon trade his helmet for a headset after exiting his #24 Chevy after the 2015 Sprint Cup Season? The four-time series champion said Friday morning he would consider a career as a TV analyst in NASCAR after he leaves full-time competition this year. "I love the sport," Gordon said during an interview with "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM Radio's NASCAR channel. "I'm very passionate about it. I love to critique it. I think I could do a good job with that. I don't think it's an easy job. I'll be honest. I have a lot of respect for those that do it from radio and TV. I'd entertain it." Multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk that Gordon put out feelers to TV networks last year about the possibility of eventually entering the broadcast booth. But Gordon, who hasn't ruled out racing in myriad series beginning in 2016, said he would be spend the season mulling his next step. "I don't know if (TV is) at the top of my list right now," Gordon said. "Throughout this year, one of the things I have to get acclimated to is actually to have a real job. That's going to be an adjustment".(NBC Sports)(1-24-2015)
UPDATE: Jeff Gordon's TV career will start this year, as the soon-to-be-former Sprint Cup Series driver will serve as a rotating analyst for FOX Sports' Xfinity Series broadcasts. Gordon will switch off his Xfinity Series (formerly called Nationwide Series) analyst role with defending Cup champion Kevin Harvick and former Cup champ Brad Keselowski. Those are just part of many changes for FOX, which goes into this season splitting TV broadcasting duties with NBC. The news will officially be announced Monday.(USA Today)(1-25-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing wins Rolex 24 at Daytona: Scott Dixon drove a gritty and lengthy final leg Sunday to lead Chip Ganassi Racing and its "star car" to a record-breaking sixth victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three-time IndyCar champion relieved Kyle Larson, NASCAR's reigning rookie of the year, with 3 hours, 32 minutes remaining in the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. Dixon was tasked with conserving fuel and making no mistakes in pursuit of the Rolex watch. The Iceman delivered, and made it look easy, too. He totaled more than seven hours behind the wheel of the Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley Prototype, and had teammates Larson, Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan watching with little worry as he closed out the victory. The win gave team owners Ganassi and Felix Sabates their sixth win in 12 Rolex attempts - most in the 53-year history of the race. It was the second win for Dixon, who was part of the 2006 victory with Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon. It was the first Rolex win for McMurray, Kanaan and Larson, who felt he was so underwhelming in his debut last season that he let his team down and never wanted to return to the sports car race. Instead, he drove his own impressive three-plus hour stint in the middle of the night, then put together a brief but error-free run Sunday morning to get the team into the time window to turn the car over to Dixon. McMurray joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex.(Associated Press)(1-25-2015)
BRANDT returns to sponsor the #51 in 2015: BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, announced they will return as a primary sponsor of the #51 driven by Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. BRANDT will be the primary sponsor for 21 races over the 2015 season. 2015 will be BRANDT's second year in NASCAR's top series and fifth year as a primary sponsor with driver Allgaier and team owner Harry Scott Jr. in a NASCAR national series. "The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series brings awareness to our brand beyond traditional marketing efforts and serves as a platform to conduct business in a unique atmosphere," said Rick Brandt, President & CEO of BRANDT. "NASCAR enables us to connect and engage with our grower customers and distribution partners in ways that are otherwise impossible."
"I am very happy to have BRANDT back aboard the #51 in 2015," added team owner Harry Scott Jr. "This will be our fifth year partnering with the folks at BRANDT, and the second year for HScott Motorsports in the Cup Series. We learned a lot as a team in 2014 and I am excited for what 2015 will bring for Justin, Crew Chief Steve Addington and everyone at HScott Motorsports and BRANDT."
The sponsorship marks the fifth year that BRANDT has supported Riverton, IL native Justin Allgaier. "I am thrilled that the BRANDT Professional Agriculture brand will be the primary sponsor of the #51," said driver Justin Allgaier. "I'm looking forward to my second season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, thanks to BRANDT. They are a great partner and I'm looking forward to our continued success together.
"Justin has been a great ambassador for BRANDT both on and off the track," explained Brandt. "The agriculture industry knows and respects Justin as a person and a driver. He really understands our business and how we can grow it through NASCAR."
Joining BRANDT on the car are the National FFA Organization, Nutrients for Life Foundation, PT&E, TradeMark Nitrogen, Grigg Brothers and BRANDT iHammer brands to make up a complete Ag car.(HScott Motorsports)
See images of the car on the #51 Team Schemes page.(1-25-2015)
Bill Elliott talked to Ford about Chase Elliott: When Bill Elliott is inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, most of the highlights will show him wheeling a Ford. He made his name driving Fords and he was synonymous with the blue oval brand. So to see his son, Chase, driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports is a little bit strange. "I tried to make the Ford thing happen," Elliott said. "It didn't. I saw it one way and they saw it another way and it didn't work out. Mr. Hendrick came to us with an opportunity that at the point in time, it wasn't much of an opportunity but he was the only one that would talk to us." Elliott won the 2014 Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series title, and is expected to step into the Hendrick #24 car after Gordon retires at the end of 2015. "My gratitude to (Hendrick), I just can't say enough about the man about what his character is in the sport and what he's done for us," Elliott said. "That kind of went against my roots as far as the Ford goes, but that's the path we ended up having to take at the point in time and I can't do anything about it. Right now, it's set and that's the way it is."(Sporting News)(1-25-2015)
Roush had a shot at Jeff Gordon: Fifteen years ago or so, while researching a NASCAR book, one of the people Tom Jensen interviewed was John Bickford, Jeff Gordon's stepfather and business manager. Bickford, who was the architect of Gordon's career from his early days as a kid in quarter midgets until Gordon was an established NASCAR star, had plenty of interesting stories. One of them surrounded how Gordon wound up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After growing up racing open-wheel cars on asphalt and dirt, Gordon ran two full seasons in what's now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1991 and '92. And while Gordon is one of the most recognizable Chevrolet drivers today, in those days he drove Ford Thunderbirds owned by Bill Davis. Naturally, Ford Motor Co. was keen to see Gordon move up to Sprint Cup in a Ford.
According to Bickford, in 1992, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush called him up and told Bickford he wanted to hire Gordon. After a brief discussion, Bickford said he was amenable to the idea of Gordon driving for Roush and he had a great young crew chief named Ray Evernham who Bickford wanted to be part of the deal. "My drivers don't get to pick their own crew chiefs," Roush told Bickford. "I do that." Whereupon Bickford said he hung up the phone, because it was a package deal. Bickford knew Gordon and Evernham already had great chemistry and would be successful together. He didn't want Gordon to have to start over with a new crew chief.
Roush called back and said there must have been a problem with the phone and Bickford said, no, he had hung up on Roush deliberately. Upon hearing that, Roush went on to explain that if he was making the expensive and potentially risky investment in a promising, but unproven young talent, he had to have the comfort level of hiring the crew chief himself. That was the way Roush always worked in the past and the way he was going to work in the future. And that's when Bickford said he hung up on Roush a second time, and when negotiations between the two officially ended.(Tom Jensen / FoxSports)(1-25-2015)
MRN welcomes Kim Coon & Rusty Wallace; Eli Gold returns: Motor Racing Network - launching its 46th year on the air - has announced the addition of former Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and the return of veteran voice Eli Gold to its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lineup for the 2015 season, which also will feature Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. Coon's duties will include reports from pit road during the network's Cup Series qualifying shows, and interaction with fans via social media and on the air during MRN's race coverage. Gold was a vital cog in the network's formative years and is one of its most recognizable talents after more than three decades on the air. He will host MRN's pre-race and post-race coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, and provide in-race updates. Coon will join Gold as a contributor to the pre-race show.
Wallace, the 1989 Cup Series champion, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in February 2013. He'll bring a driver's perspective to MRN programming in 2015 with a presence during select race broadcasts and on weekly network shows, and provide commentary and content at MRN.com.
Coon, a Florida native, spent four seasons (2011-2014) as Miss Sprint Cup and is one of only 11 ladies to fill that role. Coon is a graduate of the University of Miami and earned a Master's Degree in Communication from the University of Alabama in 2007. Gold also has ties to the Crimson Tide as the radio voice of Alabama football. But to NASCAR fans, he's best known for his work on the Motor Racing Network. Since 1984, Gold has hosted "NASCAR Live" each Tuesday evening and will continue to do so as a complement to his new assignment in the Sprint Cup Series.
Coon's debut will follow with MRN's coverage of Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, which will begin Feb. 13 and culminate with the 57th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle will anchor Motor Racing Network's broadcast of "The Great American Race" starting at 12 p.m., also with live streaming at MRN.com.(MRN)(1-25-2015)
AMS Chase Elliott Ticket Package announced: Atlanta Motor Speedway has created a ticket package special for Chase Elliott fans for the Saturday, Feb. 28 Hisense 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. By purchasing a regularly-priced $40 general admission ticket to the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series and Atlanta 200 Camping World Truck Series race doubleheader in the Chase's Crew section near the start/finish line, purchasers will receive a Chase's Elliott foam finger. As an added bonus, the first 200 to purchase a Chase Elliott ticket package will have an opportunity to participate in an autograph session with Chase on race day at the JR Motorsports souvenir hauler in the AMS Fan Zone. Chase Elliott ticket packages are extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information and to become part of Chase's Crew, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-25-2015)
Former New York NASCAR track site being prepared for development: Staten Island (NY) Marine Development's (SIMD) large expanse of industrial-zoned land in the West Shore Green Zone -- formerly earmarked for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack before it was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition -- is being prepared for development. And even before the 671 acres -- of which 330 acres will be developed -- is fully ready for construction, real estate moguls are eyeing the site to lure big box and manufacturing industry to the borough.(Staten Island Live)(1-25-2015)
Investigation into Kurt Busch's alleged assault of ex-girlfriend continues: A spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General's office told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon that authorities are continuing to investigate allegations that former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch assaulted ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last fall during the race weekend at Dover International Speedway. Driscoll went to police last Nov. 5 -- 80 days ago -- alleging that Busch slammed her head into the wall of his motorhome three times during an argument. Busch has emphatically denied assaulting Driscoll. The investigation into the alleged assault is being conducted to determine whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the state Attorney General, told FOXSports.com that "the investigation is continuing and there is no timetable" for its conclusion. Kanefsky also said no decision has been made about charging or not charging Busch. Earlier, in a Delaware family court, Driscoll sought a court order seeking no contact from Busch. That case has not yet been ruled on, but is expected to be within the next two weeks. (in part from FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Jeff Gordon's famous colors just barely made cut: It all started with a promise from Ray Evernham in the summer of 1992. The now-legendary crew chief was a young up-and-comer at the time and was looking to give Jeff Gordon a present for his 21st birthday. Evernham headed to NASCAR artist Sam Bass' studio near Charlotte Motor Speedway in the hopes of getting a program cover. When Bass gave him the program free of charge, he added one condition: When Evernham and Gordon went Sprint Cup racing, Bass wanted a shot at designing their car's paint scheme. True to his word, Evernham would later call Bass and give him the green light to develop three designs to be presented to sponsor DuPont.
After putting together two designs, Bass came to the day of the presentation and a light bulb went off. "I had two of the designs done, and the morning of my presentation I was driving to work and it just hit me that DuPont and their automotive finishes brand were trying to portray that they had a rainbow of colors," Bass told FOXSports.com. "I thought, 'Man, if I arched three colors over the top of that DuPont logo, which is an oval, that would be your rainbow.' I did that on the hood. I did it on the sides. I put neon red, neon green, neon blue, neon yellow." Upon completion of his drawing, Bass said he immediately knew the rainbow design was definitely the best of the three he was submitting. "The story goes that DuPont had 43 drawings to select from," he said. "And they chose mine. It's pretty cool and pretty special to be associated with that car and that driver for the whole 23 years so far."
Long before the days of car wraps, the paint scheme would have to be painted in the body shop, utilizing the multiple bright colors Bass had used in his design. "I thought the guys in the body shop were going to kill me because it was a very complex car to paint," he said. The rest is history, and the rainbow design of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet became one of the most iconic and recognized paint schemes in NASCAR history. Bass then recalled a meeting with Gordon after the design was approved to go over the paint scheme and work out the firesuit design. Upon being shown the paint scheme, Gordon's only request for the firesuit? He did not want to look like a clown. "I guess the design worked, because he wore that firesuit for nine years," Bass said with a laugh.(FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Ingersoll Rand becomes 'Official Power Tools of NASCAR': NASCAR and Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in reliable and innovative power tools, announced a multi-year partnership designating Ingersoll Rand as the "Official Power Tools of NASCAR." An innovator in tool technology, Ingersoll Rand products have been a staple in NASCAR garages for more than 50 years. The multi-faceted agreement also designates Ingersoll Rand as an Official Partner of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) and as a contingency sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of this integrated partnership, Ingersoll Rand will be at the track each weekend providing expert tool support, service, new tool demonstrations for pit crews and will offer fans the opportunity to try tools first hand. Additionally, Ingersoll Rand will launch its Home Tracks Text-to-Win contest for fans at tracks throughout the season. Fans will have opportunities to win an Ingersoll Rand prize pack and meet-and-greets with pit crews and other high-profile racing and automotive personalities.(NASCAR)(1-24-2015)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announced its 27th class of inductees today at Daytona International Speedway, a list of legends representing a variety of racing disciplines. Ricky Carmichael, Walker Evans, Warren Johnson, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, Duke Nalon, and Lloyd Ruby will be inducted Thursday, June 18 at Detroit's historic Fillmore Theater. "This year's class truly reflects the wide range of American motorsports - which has always been the foundation for our facility," said Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. "These gentlemen achieved success on two wheels and four, on dirt and pavement, on every kind of track - plus off the road entirely."
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is racing's Cooperstown, memorializing achievement in all forms of motorized competition. Over the years, 216 motorsports luminaries have been inducted. The 99-person nominating panel itself reads like a "who's who" of racing, with stars such as Mario Andretti, Don Garlits, Craig Breedlove and Richard Petty involved in the process. Friday's announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-24-2015)
Gordon's 3M scheme unveiled: 3M unveiled Jeff Gordon's #24 3M paint scheme for 2015 via their YouTube channel. Gordon will run the 3M colors in 11 races during the 2015 season. See images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page. The first race Gordon is scheduled to run the 3M scheme is at Atlanta in March.(1-23-2015)
Gordon and Hendrick NASCAR teleconference:#24-Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick, met with members of the media to discuss Jeff Gordon's announcement that 2015 will be his final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Below are some high lights from Thursday's NASCAR teleconference:
Q. I'm curious. You didn't use the word retirement in your statement. With the way NASCAR's rules are as far as ownership and driving, it looks pretty difficult to see you in a car after next year if it's not -- unless something were to happen to a Hendrick driver or something like that. Can you just not mentally use that word or do you really think there is a chance you could be in a Cup car at some point after 2015?
JEFF GORDON: Well, the way I see myself in the world is that retirement means you go off to a beach somewhere and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and drink your coffee and pet your dog. That's not me. I plan on working. I'm going to be working -- I'm actually going to have to get a real job now. So when I think of retirement, I just don't think that that's what I'm doing. I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car. It doesn't have to be a Cup car. It could be an [XFINITY] car. It could be a truck. It could be a prototype for Le Mans or the Rolex. It might not be any of those things. Heck, I was just out in the desert driving buggies and I maybe want to do the Baja 1000. I don't plan on doing any racing, but I know I'm not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for, and we'll be talking about in the future. And I'm excited about that. I really am.
Q. Rick, obviously there is a lot of speculation about Chase Elliott. Where does he fit into the plans given this announcement?
RICK HENDRICK: Oh, we're just kind of looking at what's down the road a little bit later. We're going to kind of focus on Jeff and what he's accomplished, and then at a later time we'll kind of focus on who is going to be in the car.
See the full transcript at the Team Chevy website.(1-23-2015)
NCMA Honors Mike Helton and Tom Higgins: More than 400 North Carolina motorsports industry members and enthusiasts gathered Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Resort to honor NASCAR President Mike Helton. Before a crowd that was a who's who of the stock car racing community for the ninth annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Fifth Third Bank, Helton became the ninth recipient of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, which is given annually by the North Carolina Motorsports Ass'n. Team owner Richard Childress, who received the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award in 2010, presented the award to Helton, who was clearly humbled and somewhat uncomfortable in the role of honoree.
"I've made a lot of these presentations in my life, but I really got nervous being on this end of it," Helton said. "I won't accept this award only personally, but I will accept it on behalf of our whole staff at NASCAR and in particular those at the R&D Center." Helton talked about the importance of organizations like the NCMA looking out for the best interests of motorsports companies before concluding his remarks in typical Helton style. "I am very grateful for this recognition and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," Helton said. Helton was then joined on stage by Childress, Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer with the group swapping stories about Helton's career as NASCAR's top official.
Other former winners of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award have been Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt, Bruton Smith, Junior Johnson, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler and the Jarrett family.
Earlier in the evening longtime Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins received the Jim Hunter Memorial Media Award.
The annual NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards went to Charlotte Motor Speedway's STEM program, GoPro Motorplex, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, the Safer Racer Tour and deBotech.
Among the other attendees were Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Larry McReynolds, Ray Evernham, Ned Jarrett, Wheeler, John Darby, Jimmy Makar, Lake Speed, Doug Herbert and Austin Dillon.(Speed Sport - NSSN)(1-23-2015)
NASCAR Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, on Jeff Gordon: "Jeff Gordon transcends NASCAR and will be celebrated as one of the greatest drivers to ever race. We have all enjoyed watching his legend grow for more than two decades, and will continue to do so during his final full-time season. His prolonged excellence and unmatched class continue to earn him the admiration of fans across the globe. Today's announcement is a bittersweet one. I'll miss his competitive fire on a weekly basis, but I am also happy for Jeff and his family as they start a new chapter. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Jeff for his years of dedication and genuine love for this sport, and wish him the very best in his final season."(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)
Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015: Jeff Gordon will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992. "As a race car driver, much of what I've done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions," Gordon said. "I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I've decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won't use the 'R-word' because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there's always the possibility I'll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that. I don't foresee a day when I'll ever step away from racing. I'm a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I'm passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I'm a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that's stood behind me every step of the way. Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that's been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I'm no longer driving. I'll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I'm going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship. To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you."
Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon's résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport's winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.
"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact," said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. "He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners." Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)
AND while nothing has been announced and it mentions in the above PR that HMS will "announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date", most are speculating that Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series Champ and son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, would replace Gordon in a fourth HMS Chevy starting in 2016. Elliott supposedly will run some Sprint Cup Series races in 2015 in a fifth HMS entry (a fifth team is allowed for a rookie driver).(1-22-2015)
NASCAR Selects Fanatics to Operate At-Track Merchandise Business: NASCAR, NASCAR Team Properties (NTP) and Fanatics jointly announced today a 10-year agreement for the sport's at-track merchandise business that will deliver fans an enhanced, experiential shopping environment. As part of the agreement, Fanatics has acquired certain exclusive rights from NASCAR and NTP that will make the company the primary retailer of NASCAR, team and driver merchandise at all 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends. Fanatics, the market leader for officially licensed sports merchandise, powers the e-stores for hundreds of the top sports leagues, teams and schools, including a long history running NASCAR's e-commerce business. The NASCAR at-track deal expands Fanatics' growing in-venue partnerships. The new trackside retail model will be phased in at NASCAR events over the course of 2015. It will evolve from using solely haulers for each specific team or driver to displaying all merchandise in a climate-controlled superstore retail environment supported by, in instances, smaller satellite retail touch points around the track. The new model will have the following enhanced benefits and added options for fans:
· Ability to offer the largest at-track selection of NASCAR merchandise ever
· Selection to include a major expansion of women's and kids' items
· A more functional way to browse, shop and interact with merchandise
· Separate stores within the footprint for teams, drivers, memorabilia and collectibles
· Dedicated area for driver appearances
· An interactive customization center where fans can create their own personal NASCAR gear
Fanatics Apparel, the company's manufacturing and customization division, will also produce merchandise to complement the already extensive product line that will be offered by authorized licensees. "A merchandise center will provide a more personal, organized, comfortable and convenient shopping environment for our fans," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Partnering with an industry leader in Fanatics allows us to offer a comprehensive and seamless shopping experience for our fans - whether it is in-venue, online or on mobile devices." The new trackside retail model will utilize the latest innovations and initiatives in retail promotional design. According to a study conducted by Experian Marketing Services (Simmons National Consumer Survey, Fall Full Year 2013), NASCAR fans are at least 20 percent more likely than non-fans to notice various types of promotions while shopping, including: video monitor displays, signs on merchandise racks or shelves, and advertising on the floor - among others.
"Fanatics is extremely excited to partner with NASCAR and NASCAR Team Properties to greatly expand their at-track retail presence," said Ross Tannenbaum, president of Fanatics Authentic. "We have taken the time to listen to what the fans, teams, drivers and NASCAR were asking for and look forward to using our market-leading scale, technology and production capabilities to deliver an improved and entertaining shopping experience for years to come."(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)
MSHFA Class of 2015 Finalists: Finalists for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2015 class have been determined. The Hall will unveil its seven new members on Friday, January 23, at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The racing legends will join the Hall of Fame during the 27th Annual Induction Ceremony on June 18, 2015 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.
The nominees are:
veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach
nine-time Indycar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi
championship owner Carl Haas
innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand
three-time Indy winning owner Pat Patrick
Indy 500 veteran Lloyd Ruby
father of the Chrysler 426 Hemi Tom Hoover
six-time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Warren Johnson
announcer Dave McClelland
pioneer Paula Murphy
one of the first Funny Car drivers Gene Snow
Strange Engineering's boss Bob Stange
fifteen-time AMA Grand National race winner Everett Brashear
ten-time Motocross champ Ricky Carmichael
dirt track king Neil Keen
three-time Daytona 200 winner Dick Klamfoth
two-time world Superbike champion Fred Merkel
1950 AAA National Champion Henry Banks
NASCAR's first champion Red Byron
1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund
Novi legend Duke Nalon
mechanic and builder Ray Nichels
midget / sprint car king Bob Sweikert
youngest member of the "Alabama Gang, Davey Allison
championship owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush
two time NASCAR Cup chanpion Terry Labonte
40 Sprint Cup Series race winner Mark Martin
off-road champion Walker Evans
GM Racing's Herb Fishel
NASCAR's VP of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter
off-road racings "Iron Man" Ivan Stewart
"Miss Hurst Golden Shifter" Linda Vaughn
famed writer Brock Yates
Dyson Racing founder Rob Dyson
four-time Trans Am champ Tommy Kendall
racer and broadcaster Sam Posey
five-time 24 Hours of Daytona champion Scott Pruett
Scarab's designer and builder Phil Remington
driver/founder of the legendary "Group 44" teams Bob Tullius
The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame of America is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-22-2015)
Ron Hornaday to drive for TMG in Cup: Veteran NASCAR driver, Ron Hornaday, will be the primary driver of the #30 TMG Chevy for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, starting at Daytona International Speedway. Hornaday, a longtime veteran in the NASCAR garage, starting off in the NASCAR K&N Series in 1989, he quickly advanced to the top series in the sport. In addition to an impressive 55 combined series wins, Hornaday also has four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championships. "I am happy to be signing on with Curtis Key and the entire TMG organization for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season," Hornaday said. "This team has been working really hard during the offseason to get cars ready for Daytona and the rest of the season. I'm hoping to bring some guidance and racing knowledge to this start up Cup team."
TMG Owner Curtis Key commented, "We are glad to have Ron Hornaday come on board with The Motorsports Group. Ron has been involved in the NASCAR industry for over 20 years now. His experience and knowledge of the industry is exactly what we need this first year in the Sprint Cup Series." Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the #30 TMG Chevy. More information on sponsorships will be announced in the coming weeks leading into the start of the 2015 NASCAR season.
The Motorsports Group, TMG is owned by Virginia businessman, Curtis Key. Purchasing the team in 1993 from 2-time Busch Series Champ, Tommy Ellis, the team currently resides in Mooresville, NC. In 2009, TMG entered into the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a full time competitor, and in September 2014, announced participation in the top tier, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(TMG)(1-21-2015)
Vickers medically cleared to race in early March: Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery. Vickers will make his season debut in the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8. MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later. "The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before," said Vickers, the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native whose health issues interrupted his racing seasons in 2010 and again in 2013. "The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude. I was not feeling well in December, so I went to see Dr. William Downey in Charlotte. He discovered my body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago. He and Dr. R. Mark Stiegel immediately went to work on correcting the problem. I also want to thank the great counsel along the way by Dr. Jerry Petty, Dr. Robert Heyer and my hematologist Dr. Stephan Moll from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the founder of www.clotconnect.org. "Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron's Dream Machine."(MWR)(1-21-2015)
Stewart-Haas Racing's #4-#14 pit crew swap is permanent: A 2014 late season pit crew swap between Stewart-Haas Racing teammates #14-Tony Stewart and #4-Kevin Harvick will be permanent, Stewart said Tuesday while making a USO visit with troops and military families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner/driver and Harvick switched crews in September in time for the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination playoff that culminated with Harvick hoisting his first trophy. Stewart, who did not qualify for last year's Chase, said Tuesday the teams will continue with the lineup as they left it last season. "The pit crew I had that pitted Kevin's car at the end of the year, we kept that switch permanent for this year," said Stewart.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Tony Stewart tours MacDill AFB refueling operation: Every weekend during racing season, #14-Tony Stewart deals with the pressure of going around a track very fast. Stewart got a taste of a different degree of pressure Tuesday afternoon [Jan 20] at MacDill Air Force Base when he took a spin on a console that simulates the delicate operation of mid-air refueling. "You are trying to push a needle through a haystack and see how intense it is and the condition these guys have to go through," Stewart said, describing his turn at the BOWST simulator used to help train those who operate the boom on the KC-135 aerial refueling jet. "To think there is only a three-man crew and two of them are on the front of the plane, and one guy is laying on his stomach in the back of the plane, running the nozzle ... you can tell that takes a lot of precision to do that. We're not talking about scratching a body panel. You're talking about scratching a multi-million dollar airplane. So definitely that's a lot of pressure for the guy that runs the nozzle." Stewart, fellow driver Kyle Larson and Joie Chitwood III, Daytona International Speedway president, were at MacDill on Tuesday to kick off the annual USO tour of military bases. "This is something we wish we got to do more often," said Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. "Without these men and women we wouldn't get the chance to do what we do every weekend." Aside from the simulator, the NASCAR contingent witnessed a military dog exhibition and got to tour a KC-135 that rolled off the assembly line in 1962.(Tampa Tribune)(1-21-2015)
NASCAR considering multiyear track contracts: After a longtime policy of one-year engagements, NASCAR is poised to enter long-term relationships with its racetracks. There have been multiple meetings after the 2014 season to discuss the concept of multiyear sanctioning agreements that effectively would set much of the Sprint Cup schedule beyond the current season for the first time. NASCAR traditionally has signed annual deals with every track, pushing the yearly release of the schedule to late summer or early fall. "I think it's fair to say we have had discussions with the tracks about multiyear agreements," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell told USA TODAY Sports. "We're not there yet. If we can put something together where it's helpful for fans to know, our goal is to get the schedule out as early as we can. That helps fans making plans for going to tracks. Some fans travel a long way. If we can make that better through a multiyear (deal), that is something we're considering." A multiyear deal would offer tracks the ability to sell season ticket packages and sponsorships with more flexibility and security.(USA Today)(1-21-2015)
Gordon comments on his back: #24-Heff Gordon had a question-and-answer session on the telephone with NASCAR This Week, one question concerned his back:
Q) Can you update us about your back spasms?
Gordon: "It's not worth talking about. Nothing has changed since last year. It's an ongoing process for me to maintain it. It's not something I'm just going to fix. It's not something I can do and all of a sudden my back will be healed. Other than what happened at Charlotte, it didn't hinder me or my performance throughout the whole 2014 season."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2015)
Jackman for Hamlin re-injured during off season: Last year during the Charlotte race in October, #11 Jackman for Joe Gibbs Racing, Nate Bolling, suffered a torn tricep and was sidelined throughout the Chase. Pit Talks is getting word that Bolling has torn the same tricep during the off season. Details of how it happened are not very clear but talking with guys familiar with this kind of injury suggest that he might be out till mid April and even May. Nate is a top level Jackman on the Cup Series and his absence will be missed. As far as who is going in on the #11 team....not sure yet. When the injury went down last year the #11 team had back up Kenneth Purcell step in and he did a great job. Purcell is scheduled to be the Gasman on the #19 JGR team and Carl Edwards this year. To make the situation even trickier, Jackman Jeff Fender of the JGR #18 just recently retired this year.(Pit Talks)(1-21-2015)
Wood Brothers Racing is the longest active NASCAR team: Wood Brothers Racing [#21-Ryan Blaney] has become something of a common face in NASCAR. Their consistent attendance year in and year out has possibly gone unnoticed to some, so one member of the family has set out to make sure the team's founding fathers get the recognition they finally deserve for their unwavering show of perseverance. Jon Wood, third-generation family member and former Wood Brothers Racing driver, grew up with a fascination for a very peculiar book. That book came to his elementary school once a year when the bookmobile would roll into town. The one book that was so captivating was the Guinness Book of World Records. "From the beginning I have been fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records," said Wood. "I remember thinking that one day I would figure out a way to do something worthy of being in the Book. I think that's just part of a child's fairytale-like thought process." His family's race team, founded in 1950 by his grandfather Glen Wood, is generally considered NASCAR's longest active race team. The Woods have fielded cars every year since 1950, and while other established teams have come and gone, the Woods have maintained the same ownership through the present. That fact; however, has never been officially recognized, and Wood wanted to do something about that. He got on the Guinness World Records website and submitted an application for a record claim. "Very quickly I got a response from their sports records coordinator, and he was highly interested in helping with this claim," Wood said. The next step was finding a way to substantiate the record. For that he turned to Buz McKim, Historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. McKim quickly verified the Woods' record, and as they say, the rest is history. For Jon, getting his family's accomplishment documented in the Guinness Book of World Records makes the record that much more meaningful. Getting this documented and on paper brings feelings of accomplishment that is shared by members of three generations of Woods, each of whom has played a role in the team's longevity.(Wood Brothers Racing)(1-21-2015)
Nate Ryan and Dustin Long join NBCSN's NASCAR AMERICA lineup: NBC Sports announced Tuesday the addition of veteran journalists Nate Ryan and Dustin Long to its coverage team, dovetailing with the media group's expanded presence as a returning NASCAR broadcast partner in 2015. Ryan, who has been a regular contributor to NBC Sports Network's "NASCAR America" program since the start of the 2014 season, will leave his spot as USA Today's primary motorsports writer for a multi-faceted role with NBC. According to a release provided by the media company, Ryan will serve as an on-air reporter during broadcasts, but will also contribute to the organization's online publishing arm as a writer. Long, who most recently served as a writer and editor with Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio's website, will transition to the same role with NBC Sports, also working alongside Ryan to produce video content. Before his stint with MRN, Long was the lead NASCAR writer for the Landmark newspaper group. In a related move, USA Today Sports announced that Brant James -- most recently a correspondent for ESPN -- would fill the vacancy created by Ryan's departure on the newspaper's motorsports staff.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Cover of ESPN the Magazine "Music" Issue: On the eve of Super Bowl - and the Grammys - ESPN The Magazine releases its third annual "Music Issue" with pages paying tribute to the converging worlds of sport and song. The issue - which hits newsstands Friday, January 23 - highlights the intersection of music and sports including features "Entertainers of the Year," as two of the biggest stars of the year - pop star Katy Perry and NFL powerhouse JJ Watt - collide; and "The Perfect Strangers," which highlights the developing relationship between NASCAR's native son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and platinum-selling hip-hop artist, J. Cole, and how they were forever linked by a single lyric before they even met.(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Chili Bowl winner gets NASCAR ride: HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks announced that USAC National Midget champion and open wheel standout, Rico Abreu, will join the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team in 2015. Abreu, 22, competed in more than 100 open-wheel races in 2014 in the United States and New Zealand. He posted 26 wins across 410 winged and non-winged sprint car, 360 winged sprints, and USAC midget competition in which he also won the national championship. Abreu most recently won the 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals last weekend. Abreu's #98 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry will be led by veteran K&N crew chief Mardy Lindley. Lindley has amassed five-career victories in three seasons, along with the 2013 K&N title with driver Dylan Kwasniewski. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season gets underway on February 15 at New Smyrna Speedway. Abreu will kick-start his experience in stock cars and on pavement by competing in the Pete Orr Memorial Super Late Model event also at New Smyrna Speedway this Saturday, February 24.(PR)
AND Sources tell ESPN The Magazine that these races will serve as the first stages of a driver development agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing, whom Larson drives for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ganassi did little to keep the secret on Saturday night, following the Chili Bowl finish by excitedly posting in his second-ever (and since deleted) tweet: "There's a name you'll be hearing more of. Stay Tuned!" Also among the most notable post-Chili Bowl congratulatory tweets was one from NASCAR VP of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell: "Congrats @Rico_Abreu looking forward to seeing you in #nascar."(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10:30 am/et
Born in JANUARY
30 Wendy Venturini, Sean Caisse, Andy Eversole
31 Kevin Patrick Dowd, Shana Mayfield, Rick Wilson, Scott Lagasse Jr., Rex Hathcock, Tony Mullett, Jerick Johnson
Born in FEBRUARY
1 Mike Dillon, Tim Fedawa, Jennifer Shelley, Dale Cagle, John Klausmeier, Jason Fowler
2 Jon Wolfe
3 Marilyn Makar, Richard Marcis, Marv Acton, Tank Probus
4 Art Broadwater, Tim Brewer, Wayne Krogh, Eddie Gray, Chicago Paskiecz
5 Darrell Waltrip, Reed Sorenson, Justin Labonte, Matt Dilner, Ryan Page, Ricky Pearson, Dorsey Schroeder, Jamie Dick
6 Ronald Regan, Bill Lester, Paul Gentilozzi, Tate Bosworth
7 Clay Campbell, Josh Wise
8 Brad Sorenson, Joey Gase
9 Jared Irvan, Greg Newman, Brennan Newberry, Todd Parrott, Gary Putnam, Roy H. Weaver III
10 Gray Gaulding, Mike Hill
11 Andy Lally, Eddie Lanier, Burt Reynolds
12 Timothy Barile, Mike W. Davis, Brad Keselowski, Abraham Lincoln
13 Bill Schmitt, Donnie Wingo
14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
15 Rick Gay, Bud Koehler, Tayler Malsam, Wyatt Sadler, Bill Shallock, Carl Simmons, Jimmy Spencer
16 Danny Lawrence, Don Wade, Patti Wallace
17 Natalie Kate Nadeau, Jim Long, Edith Kenseth, Lori Neisser
19 Trevor Bayne, Jeff Purvis, Bobby Kennedy, Landon Smith, John Paul Jr.
20 Roger Penske, Gary Myers, Bobby Unser
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Jim Reed
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hoffman, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo
2015 News by Month