Stewart's replacement to be named on Friday UPDATE3 Vickers? We'll have to wait a little longer to find out who will replace Tony Stewart in the #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet. SHR spokesman Mike Arning said the team did not expect to make an announcement about Stewart's replacement in the #14 before Wednesday. Daytona 500 practice begins Saturday morning at Daytona International Speedway, so the team will need to have a driver ready -- and the car modified to fit the new driver -- by then.(Fox Sports)(2-9-2016)
UPDATE: ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass says, [Stewart-Haas Racing's] Brett Frood told me that he would speak Friday at Daytona as far as replacement driver for Tony Stewart.(2-10-2016)
UPDATE2: Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a press conference to announce interim driver of #14 Chevy during Daytona Speedweeks for Friday, February 12th at 11:30am/et. The press conference will be streamed LIVE on NASCAR.com at www.nascar.com/presspass.(SHR)(2-10-2016)
UPDATE3: Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver #14-Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Stewart-Haas Racing has scheduled a Friday news conference to discuss its plans for the #14 Chevrolet. A person familiar with the situation told AP on Wednesday that it will be Vickers. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is awaiting word from NASCAR on whether Vickers is medically cleared to race. Vickers ran only two races last season before suffering a recurrence of blood clots. He can't compete when being treated for the clots because the blood thinners increase his risk of serious internal bleeding if he crashes. Vickers is only expected to run at Daytona, which opens Friday ahead of the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. SHR is still looking at all of its options for beyond Daytona. Stewart is expected to race at some point this year.(Associated Press), no mention about the Sprint Unlimited.
AND Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway, a source with knowledge of the plans told ESPN's Bob Pockrass.
AND II: Brian Vickers will drive for Tony Stewart at Daytona International Speedway provided he is cleared by NASCAR, a source close to the situation confirmed to NBC Sports. Stewart is eligible for Saturday's Sprint Unlimited and NASCAR is considering if to allow his team to compete in the non-points race even though Vickers is not eligible for the event. Eligibility for the event is tied to the driver.(NBC Sports)(2-10-2016)
What will the 2016 and Daytona 500 Qualifying format look like? The Sprint Cup Series Qualifying format for the 2016 season/Daytona 500 is scheduled to be announced on Thursday, February 11th.
Gilliland to attempt the Daytona 500: Front Row Motorsports will enter a third car for the Daytona 500 with David Gilliland at the wheel of the #35 Ford. No sponsor has been announced. Gilliland will have to race into the field into one of the open four spots not used by the teams with a charter. FRM's #34 and #38 teams have a charter and are locked in to the field. Gilliland will not be competing for FRM in the Sprint Unlimited.(FRM Facebook)(2-10-2016)
Gibbs, Stewart Haas expected to buy charters; HScott to lease one UPDATE: There are 38 teams committed to full-time racing in 2016. Four weren't awarded charters -- Joe Gibbs Racing's #19-Carl Edwards (team started in 2015), Stewart-Haas Racing's #41-Kurt Busch (2014), HScott Motorsports' #46-Michael Annett (2015) and #21-Wood Brothers Racing's Ryan Blaney (formerly part-time team now going full time). Former Michael Waltrip Racing owner Rob Kauffman, who has two charters from his teams that ceased operations after last year, said he expects to sell his charters to JGR (for Edwards) and SHR (for Busch). Kauffman estimated the value of a charter at the "single-digit millions." The transfer of a charter must be approved by NASCAR, which will charge an administrative fee but not get a percentage of the sale. All NASCAR team owners will be allowed to see the transfer application, which would include the price of the charter sold. Charters can only be sold prior to the start of a season and can be transferred only once every five years.(NBC Sports)
AND According to Motorsports' Lee Spencer, "Been told Jay Robinson (Premium Motorsports) has leased his charter to @Team_HSM #46. Hearing $1.6m for lease of charter.(2-9-2016)
UPDATE: A representative for SHR said Tuesday afternoon that "Stewart-Haas Racing will have four Charters and that process is nearly complete." A Joe Gibbs Racing representative said Tuesday afternoon that it was "just a matter of finalizing the transaction" that would bring a Charter to the #19 entry.(NASCAR.com)
AND: ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass tweeted that an HScott spokesman said: "HSM intends to field two full time cars for the 2016 season and is in the process of finalizing an agreement."(2-10-2016)
added a more 2016 schemes:
#1 McDonald's & CreditOne, #13 GEICO Military, #18 Snickers Crisper, #32 Can-Am, #34 Love's travel Stops, #40 CRC Brakleen, #46 Pilot Flying J, #48 Lowe's Red Vest, #95 K-Love
Hamlin investing in solar farm: SunEnergy1, with an investment by NASCAR racer Denny Hamlin's recently formed Won One Energy, will build a 20-megawatt solar farm in Chesapeake, Va. The project will be the largest solar farm in Virginia. Dominion Virginia Power will buy the power produced by the project under a 20-year contract. One Won, like SunEnergy1, is based in Mooresville. Hamlin registered the company in December. He lives now in nearby Cornelius. He shares a racing connection with SunEnergy1 CEO Kenny Habul. Hamlin drives the #11 FedEx Car for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. Kenny Habul, CEO of SunEnergy1, races the #20 car for Gibbs in the Xfinity Series. This year SunEnergy1 is also the principal sponsor for Chase Elliot's #24 car for Hendricks Motorsposts. There principals did not disclose how much Hamlin is investing. Nor has any information been released about the cost of the project. But based on current prices in the Southeast, the 20-hegawatt project is likely to cost between $30 and $40 million. The project will be built on 250 acres off Ballahack Road and U.S. Highway 17.(Charlotte Business Journal)(2-10-2016)
Daytona Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in all three NASCAR series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Daytona throughout Speedweeks . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams have run at Daytona since July 2013 . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Daytona . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire.(Goodyear PR), see full notes, tire codes, tire pressures, set limits on the Daytona Race Info page.(2-10-2016)
Sad News - Lennie Pond: Former stock car racing driver Lennie Pond has died of complications of cancer. A Chester, VA resident who grew up in Ettrick, Mr. Pond died at VCU Medical Center in Richmond. He was 75. NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Allison, in Richmond last week for a tribute to Mr. Pond at an Arena Racing USA event, recalled racing against Pond for decades - both at NASCAR's major races and in smaller events at short tracks such Southside Speedway. "Lennie was a tough competitor," Allison said. "I raced against him lots of times over the years. He was fun and fair to race against. And when the race was over, if you needed help, Lennie would help you out. You knew he was going to be competitive. He worked hard with his part of the deal and came to the track ready to race."
Mr. Pond's brother, Wright Pond, said on Saturday that support had poured in from fans and racers around the country during his brother's illenss. "He is loved more than he knows," Wright Pond said. Mr. Pond won scores of races, starting in the 1950s, on dirt tracks and asphalt tracks in NASCAR's Modified and Late Model Sportsman classes. He was a five-time Virginia champion of the Late Model Sportsman class. At NASCAR's Cup level he was the 1973 Rookie of the Year. He scored his lone Cup victory in August 1978 in the Talladega 500 at the 2.66-mile Alabama International Motor speedway (Talladega Superspeedway). At the time, his average speed of 174.7 mph was the record for a 500-mile race in any racing series. Mr. Pond's last Cup Series race was in 1989. He had 234 career Cup starts with 88 top-10 finishes. After retiring from racing, Mr. Pond got into automotive sales. Until his illness, he was a member of the staff at Heritage Chevrolet in Chester.(Richmond Times-Dispatch)(2-10-2016)
NASCAR Implements Team Owner Charter Agreement for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: During a historic event held today in Charlotte, N.C., NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owners to announce a landmark long-term agreement that provides teams with increased business certainty and the ability to work more closely with NASCAR to produce best-in-class racing.
In effect as the 2016 NASCAR season prepares to kick off this weekend, the new Charter system addresses three key areas - participation, governance and economics - to promote a more predictable, sustainable and valuable team business model. The agreement grants NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Charters to 36 teams, establishes a Team Owner Council that will have formal input into decisions, and provides Charter teams with new revenue opportunities including a greater interest in digital operations.
"Today represents a landmark change to the business model of team ownership in NASCAR," France said. "The Charter agreements provide nine years of stability for NASCAR and the teams to focus on growth initiatives together with our track partners, auto manufacturers, drivers and sponsors. The Charters also are transferable, which will aid in the development of long-term enterprise value for Charter members."
The system affords Charter teams that remain in good standing more predictable revenue over the nine years of the agreement. Along with improved financial certainty, the new framework is designed to increase the long-term market value of teams and provide the ability to plan farther ahead with existing, new and prospective partners.
Similar to the five-year sanctioning agreements that NASCAR begins with tracks in 2016, team owner Charter agreements allow for longer planning cycles around competition, innovation, digital marketing, governance and research and development.
"The new Charter program strengthens each of our businesses individually and the team model as a whole, which is good for NASCAR, our fans, drivers, sponsors and the thousands of people who we employ," said Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Chip Ganassi Racing. "This will give us more stability and predictability, and it will allow us to take a more progressive, long-term approach to issues.
"NASCAR and the teams share a desire to preserve, promote and grow the sport and ultimately produce great racing for our fans and partners. These common goals served as the foundation for discussions and helped bring us to this unprecedented agreement. This is a great step forward for the entire sport made possible by Brian France setting a new course for the NASCAR industry and the owners coming together on shared issues. Everyone involved then compromised a bit to be able to come up with something that worked for all."
Each Charter team owner has a guaranteed entry into the field of every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race. To maintain the historical openness of NASCAR racing, the balance of the field will be open for team owners who do not hold Charters. These Open team owners will compete for the remaining starting spots and positions in the race, as each event in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series' starting lineup shifts in 2016 to a 40-car field.
"The new team owner agreements will offer a more appealing environment for both current and prospective team owners at the NASCAR premier series level," France said. "I've always stressed that if we can do things to improve the business of our stakeholders, we will pursue it. I'm very proud of what we've accomplished today with this agreement."(NASCAR)
see a list of Chartered teams on the NASCAR 2016 News & Rules page
read the full announcement press conference transcript on the NASCAR Charter Announcement transcript page.(2-9-2015)
Sorenson to drive for Hillman at Daytona: With today's formal announcement of the implementation of a NASCAR charter system for the 2016 Sprint Cup Series season, Hillman Racing will field the #40 CRC BRAKLEEN Chevrolet SS with driver Reed Sorenson as an open competitor in the 58th annual Daytona 500. "While we are absolutely disappointed with our exclusion from the new charter system, we have sponsors, partners and friends that have stood behind us, and for that I am truly grateful," said team owner Mike Hillman. "I've poured my heart and soul - literally my blood, sweat and tears - into building a competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup team over the past three years, and to be told one week prior to the sport's biggest event of a complete overhaul of the framework of the Series is disheartening. For the time being, I will instead focus on the positives and that we have a great partner like CRC Industries that will allow me to continue to realize my lifelong dream of fielding a car in the Daytona 500." The team has secured the driving services of 30-year-old Sorenson, who last season memorably raced his way into the Daytona 500 by earning a transfer spot in the 150-mile qualifying races, and has tapped race-winning crew chief Pat Tryson to lead the #40 CRC Brakleen team. Sorenson, who celebrated his 30th birthday last Friday, will attempt to race his way into the Daytona 500 starting field for the seventh time in his career and has recorded a fifth- and ninth-place finish in NASCAR's biggest race.(Hillman Racing), see an image of the car on the #40 team paint schemes page.(2-9-2016)
NASCAR issues updates to Rule Book: NASCAR issued a bulletin to teams with updates to the 2016 Sprint Cup Rule Book. Most are clarifications or updates as opposed to anything new. Among the items listed:
- Teams may change the radiator during Speedweeks at Daytona. The radiator may be changed after completion of the 150-mile qualifying races and must be completed before the final practice for the Daytona 500.
- Teams must use the same rear end differential assembly at all events except: All road course events, events at Martinsville Speedway, the Daytona 500, the Sprint Showdown and the Sprint All-Star Race.
- NASCAR listed how many sets of tires teams are permitted for races. Teams will be allowed one fewer set of tires than last year at seven venues, representing 11 races.
- NASCAR listed the tire codes for the first 12 Cup events this season. There will be new left- and right-side tire codes for races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway, Auto Club Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Kansas Speedway and Dover International Speedway.
- NASCAR listed the pit road speed limit for each track.
Tungaloy America joins Penske: Team Penske and Tungaloy America today announced a strategic alliance between the two organizations. As part of the new partnership, Tungaloy America will serve as a preferred supplier, as well as a technical partner, to Team Penske for both its NASCAR and INDYCAR racing programs. Tungaloy America will provide expertise to Team Penske in order to enhance efficiency and accelerate machining within the team's manufacturing processes. The technical alliance between the two entities will allow Tungaloy America to feature and showcase Team Penske NASCAR and INDYCAR components for case studies, demonstrations and trade shows in the future.(Team Penske)(2-9-2016)
Las Vegas to provide gluten-free food items: NASCAR fans flocking to Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 4-6 for the 2016 NASCAR Weekend are in for a treat. The superspeedway, through its partnership with Levy Restaurants, is providing a number of unique food items and menus designed for those looking for healthier options or avoiding gluten to thrill the most sophisticated of palates. During the three-day motorsports extravaganza, fans looking to avoid gluten will find paninis, tacos, beef brisket and specialty items like the Smokey Bacon Bloody Mary and Southwestern Street Corn. Items without gluten have been available at LVMS for years and will be provided at nearly a dozen locations at the 1.5-mile superspeedway, including concourse concession stands, the Neon Garage, LVMS suites and concourse-level seating. Dozens of items made without gluten - from rice bowls, cobb salads and blackened Mahi tacos, to hot dogs, vegetable baskets and chicken fajitas - are part of the diverse menu Levy Restaurants has put together for LVMS visitors this year. In addition, Levy and Melissa's Produce will continue to serve fresh and healthy selections in the Neon Garage, including fruit, blended fruit smoothies, salads and more. The partnership between Levy and Melissa's Produce began in 2012 and gives fans fresh options to enjoy during their time at LVMS.(LVMS)(2-9-2016)
BK Racing to run fourth team at Daytona with Richardson: BK Racing is welcoming Stalk It as a partner for the upcoming Daytona 500 with driver Robert Richardson Jr. Veteran NASCAR Crew Chief, Mike Ford, will lead the effort. Stalk It is an innovative eco-driven longboard company that uses CornBoard in the construction of its custom, hand-crafted longboards. Utilizing innovative CornBoard material allows Stalk It to reduce dependency on wood products while creating boards that are high-performance with low-ECO impact. All Stalk It boards are hand-made in the USA. "I feel very blessed with the opportunity to be back in the driver's seat for Daytona," said Richardson Jr. "I can't thank Lane and Stalk It enough for coming on board. I'm looking forward to working with Mike (Ford) and the entire BK organization."(140 Buzz/BK Racing) He will drive the #26.(2-8-2016)
Furniture Row ready for new season; still looking at 2nd team in 2017: Much is new for 2016 at Furniture Row Racing, which will have a new manufacturer, a new means of engine and chassis delivery and a new pit crew. But one thing hasn't changed for the Denver-based team that enjoyed a breakthrough 2015 that culminated with reaching the championship round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Among the new elements the team will be adapting to this year:
-Its engines will be shipped via airfreight from Toyota Racing Development headquarters in Costa Mesa, California, instead of trucked in from Richard Childress Racing in Welcome, North Carolina (actually cutting the transport time in half to Furniture Row Racing's shop in Denver, Colorado).
-The pit crew will be supplied by Joe Gibbs Racing, which has become a technical partner of Furniture Row as Toyota's flagship team.
-TRD has relocated two of its technicians to Denver for embedding with the team.
As part of its new alliance with JGR, Furniture Row Racing will be using the same chassis as Gibbs but start with an older model before switching a few races into the season - which has Visser slightly concerned. "That throws everything off," team owner Barney Visser said. "So it's going to be kind of a rocky start. I'm expecting a rocky start, but hopefully by May or June, we'll be rolling again."
With Bass Pro Shops as a primary sponsor on Truex's #78 for several races this season, the team has corporate sponsorship independent of Visser's furniture business for the first time. Team owner Barney Visser hints that prospects are solid for expanding to a second car next season. "There's some things going on that I can't really talk about right now, but we're excited about the possibility of a second car that Toyota may bring to us," he said. "We'll see."(NBC Sports)(2-8-2016)
Lowe's Red Vest scheme will return to the #48: Team Lowes Racing tweeted Sunday that #48-Jimmie Johnson will drive a Lowe's Red Vest scheme at the Brickyard in July. See an image of the car on the #48 team paint schemes page.(2-8-2016)
Bristol "tops off" support towers for Colossus: The fourth and final structural tower that will support Colossus, the world's largest outdoor, center-hung 4-sided screen, was "topped off" Thursday with the raising of an American flag. In addition, the scoring pylon in the infield has been removed. The next phase of the colossal undertaking is to install the cables that support Colossus TV as well as the state-of-the-art, 540,000-watt audio system powering 380 3-way loudspeakers and 48 stadium subwoofers - enough to make any rock star squirm with envy. The team at Bristol Motor Speedway has put together two timelapses that give a view of the removal of the scoring pylon and the building of one of the four towers.
(Bristol Motor Speedway)(2-8-2016)
Kenseth's spotter not healed enough to be at Daytona UPDATE: #20-Matt Kenseth will be without spotter Chris "Crazy" Osborne for next weekend's Sprint Unlimited and likely the Daytona 500. Osborne told NBC Sports that he continues to recover from injuries suffered in a Dec. 17 auto accident and will not spot for Kenseth in the Feb. 13 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway. Osborne's next doctor's visit is Feb. 16. The doctor will determine then if Osborne will be able to spot for Kenseth in the Daytona 500. "My gut feeling is I won't make Daytona," said Osborne, entering his fourth season spotting for Kenseth. "I want to be there as bad as anyone. It kind of knocked the wind out of my sails when they said I absolutely would not be going to the Unlimited." Osborne, who also spots for Daniel Suarez in the Xfinity Series, is hopeful to be back spotting next month when NASCAR makes its West Coast swing. The team has not announced who will fill in for Osborne until he returns. Osborne was injured while driving home with his wife Melissa and son Austin. A car, traveling an estimated 60 mph in a 45 mph zone, according to the police report, approached from the opposite direction. The car went off the road and then cut across the median, slamming into Osborne's car.(NBC Sports)(2-6-2016)
UPDATE: The story was updated Saturday: "The team stated Saturday that Lorin Ranier, a long-time spotter who was most recently with Jamie McMurray, will spot for Kenseth in the Sprint Unlimited."(2-7-2016)
Pit crew changes for Patrick: Danica Patrick and the #10 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS team will have a new look on its pit crew for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Nate House will take over for Tony Cardamone at jackman with Cardamone moving from jackman to gasman. House filled in for Cardamone for several races in 2015 while Cardamone recovered from a back injury. Continuing on the team from last year are front changer Eric Maycroft, front carrier Jeff Shoaf, rear carrier Matt Holzbaur and rear changer Ryan Mulder, who was on the team for nearly half of last season.(PitTalks/NASCAR.com)(2-7-2016)
Fox teaming with SI to cross promote Daytona 500, Swimsuit Issue: Fox Sports and SI announced they are joining forces to cross promote the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 and '16 SI swimsuit issue, which comes out Feb. 15. A major facet of the deal will come the night before the race, when new Fox analyst Jeff Gordon will co-host a 200-person VIP party. The event will air on Fox at 9:00pm/et and see models Erin Heatherton and Hannah Ferguson in attendance. The telecast will offer features on Daytona's renovation, plus the upcoming NASCAR season. Meanwhile, on its digital and social channels and during the party, Fox will give coverage to two other events around the issue leading up to its release -- the two-day Swim City fan festival in N.Y. and the two-day Swim Beach festival in Miami.(Sports Business Journal)(2-7-2016)
Stewart looking at return in May? #14-Tony Stewart still faces a long and difficult road to recovery, but roughly 48 hours after undergoing spinal stabilization surgery, informed sources say the Indiana native is progressing well in his rehabilitation. The three-time Sprint Cup Series champion underwent surgery Wednesday to remove dangerous bone fragments from the area of the fracture and stabilize the affected vertebra. While many victims of burst fractures are forced to wear a stabilizing brace for 2-3 months post-op, the procedure performed on Stewart reportedly will not require a brace. In fact, sources say Stewart was on his feet and walking by Friday. Sources close to the situation say that on the advice of his doctors, Stewart and his team have set a tentative return date of May 21, the day of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Stewart is highly unlikely to return earlier than that, and his timeline for return could easily be pushed back, depending on the success of his rehabilitation program.(Godfather Motorsports)(2-6-2016)
Update on Jerry Nadeau: Thirteen years ago, Jerry Nadeau's life changed forever. During a practice session at Richmond International Raceway, he crashed hard into the wall, driver's side first. That crash left Nadeau with a traumatic brain injury, immobility on his left side, a collapsed lung and broken ribs. The crash not only ended Nadeau's career, but also had great implications for his personal life. "A lot of tough things happened," Nadeau said. "I got divorced, had to sell my house and had to start over again. Then I lost my father who I was very, very close to from cancer." While Nadeau admits his road has been up and down, he has had some successes recently both on and off the track. "I've got a great wife," Nadeau said. "I have a little girl who is eight months old. I also have a thirteen year old Natalie from my first marriage. So, I have two girls and that's really interesting." Nadeau has also been keeping his hand in racing in a way that might be somewhat surprising to his fans. "I love driving and I don't think I can get that out of me," Nadeau said. "I got asked to go to Japan a month ago and I did some driving at Fuji Speedway, an old Formula One race track. His racing fix also included attending one of dirt track racing's most competitive events. "I went this year to one of the greatest weekends in racing, the Chili Bowl," Nadeau said. "It was amazing and really fun. I reconnected a little bit and saw a couple of people I knew from the past. It was just great to be back."
Nadeau has also kept his driving skills sharp in a unique way, by helping young drivers handle the challenges of being newbies behind the wheel. "I do work for an organization called B.R.A.K.E.S.," Nadeau said. "It's a driving company where we help teenagers learn to drive." B.R.A.K.E.S., which stands for 'Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe', was started by drag racer Doug Herbert after his two boys were killed in a car accident. In addition to his work on the track and with teen drivers, Nadeau has also been focused on reaching out to others who have suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"For me, right now, it's all about family and kids," Nadeau said. "Like so many people, I'm still on the fence on where I want to go and what I want to do. "I appreciate all of my former fans. But I need them to know that I'm now trying to move on and get on with my new life as it is today. I want everyone to know that you just have to keep going and marching forward, no matter what You all have to know that there will be something on the horizon that will hopefully inspire you. That is what I'm trying to hold onto at this point in my life."(Popular Speed)(2-6-2016)
Atlanta offering cheaper ticket prices: Attending the 2016 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway will be less expensive than in the past, as ticket prices for the Feb. 28 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race are reduced an average of 15 percent. This year, Sunday racegoers will spend no more than $99 for an individual grandstand ticket, with prices starting at just $39. Also new in 2016, AMS is offering affordable options for fans who want to attend all three days of the race weekend. Some of the best deals in NASCAR, the "Good," "Better" and "Best" ticket packages, offer reasonable options in increments that allow fans to customize their race weekend with attractive packages according to their budgets. Again in 2016, children 17 and under will be admitted free with a paid adult to Friday's Active Pest Control Qualifying Day and Saturday's Heads Up Georgia 250 XFINITY Series and Georgia 200 Camping World Truck Series doubleheader. Students and children 17 and under can cash in on half-priced tickets for Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 when they attend with a paid adult.(AMS)(2-6-2016)
Three teams for BK Racing at Daytona; Waltrip in the #83: Two-time Daytona 500 winner Michael Waltrip will compete in the 2016 Daytona 500 for BK Racing. Waltrip , a commentator for Fox Sports, had sponsorship for the race from Maxwell House, but he had not announced which team he would drive for until Thursday, nine days prior to opening practice at Daytona International Speedway. BK Racing is expected to have two automatic berths in the Daytona 500 as part of the new NASCAR "charter" system that is expected to be finalized in the coming days. The team will field three cars at Daytona with Waltrip driving the #83 that typically will be driven by Matt DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto will drive a third car, the #93, while David Ragan will drive the #23 he is expected to run all season.(ESPN.com)(2-5-2016)
More details on Stewart's accident: Legendary drag racer Don "Snake" Prudhomme gave NBC Sports a first-hand account of Tony Stewart's accident in the Southern California sand dunes Sunday. Stewart and a number of current and former racers including Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Ray Evernham, Rusty Wallace and Prudhomme were having a day of fun in the sun and sand when Stewart became separated from the group and went missing for about 90 minutes. Here's how Prudhomme described the incident to NBC Sports:
"We were riding these sand rails. We do that quite a bit. We were all together. What really happened is, it isn't hard to get split off from one another. In other words, if a guy makes a left turn and you're not watching his flags or there's dust or something, you can make a right turn and kind of get lost. So, we got mixed up and (Stewart) was probably missing for an hour-and-a-half from the pack, at least. He was missing, he was not there. We figured maybe he got hooked up with one of the other guys. Then we were stopped and kinda gathered up and started to shoot the s- and asked, 'Where's Tony?' One of the guys (on the dunes) came driving up and said, 'Hey, one of your buddies is hurt over on the other side of the hill.' "There was about three of us who went back on our buggies and we came upon him. He was laying there. He got out of it (the sand buggy) and was laying there in the sand on his back."
"We pulled up, asked 'How you doing, dude?' He was on the ground and said his back's hurt. We made sure he could move all his legs and everything, so everything was good there." Prudhomme said Evernham took charge of the scene. Gordon, car collector Ron Pratte and Prudhomme provided assistance.
See more information at NBC Sports.(2-5-2015)
What is a burst fracture? #14-Tony Stewart suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra and had surgery Wednesday in North Carolina. There are varying degrees of burst fractures, said ESPN college sports and motorsports announcer and reporter Dr. Jerry Punch, who also said he expects Stewart to be out for months. Punch has not talked with Stewart and is not treating him but said the burst fracture is worse than a compression fracture. Denny Hamlin missed five weeks after a compression fracture of his L-1 vertebra (the highest bone in the lower back) in 2013. "[A burst fracture] is basically an explosion of the vertebrae, typically the body of the vertebrae," Punch said in a phone interview. "Unlike a compression fracture, where it sort of gets pushed down on itself, a burst fracture usually involves multiple fractures and multiple fragments. ... Normally when someone has a burst fracture, you're talking months of healing, you're talking people wearing these big lumbar braces for two to three months." Stewart will not be able to return until an MRI or a CT scan shows that the bone has healed. Stewart also will need to have rehab to strengthen his back if any of the bone fragments caused weakness to his spinal column, Punch said. "It's not like a broken arm where you can put a plate in it where you can deal with the pain and get in the car," Punch said. "With the back, it can impact your ability to walk and move the rest of your life. You can't take a chance on hitting something at all."(ESPN.com)(2-5-2016)
Team Penske and Bosch extend partnership: Building on one of the most successful and longest-lasting partnerships in motorsports, Team Penske and Bosch Automotive Aftermarket North America have announced a multi-year extension that will carry on the long-standing relationship between the two companies. Under the terms of the new agreement, Bosch will return as an associate partner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the Verizon IndyCar Series and in the V8 Supercars Championship with Team Penske. Bosch has helped Team Penske get the most of its results on track by providing starters, alternators, oxygen sensors, fuel injectors and spark plugs - all key components in racing. With the extension of the agreement, Bosch will continue to leverage the Team Penske relationship across multiple platforms including retail programs, customer hospitality experiences and by utilizing the Team Penske facilities and business-to-business relationships through the Penske Corporation, Penske Automotive Group and other existing Team Penske partners. The Bosch-Penske pairing is one of many long-term partnerships in the Team Penske organization. With an average tenure of 13 years amongst its partners, Team Penske will celebrate its 25th year working with Bosch this season while also commemorating its 50th anniversary of racing.(Team Penske)(2-5-2016)
Joe Gibbs Racing makes changes to executive team: J.D. Gibbs will join his father Joe Gibbs as Co-Chairman of JGR with Coy Gibbs officially joining the NASCAR operations as Vice-Chairman/Chief Operating Officer, and Dave Alpern, who has been with Joe Gibbs Racing since its beginning, has been named President of the organization. In addition, JGR announces Tim Carmichael will assume expanded responsibilities in his role as Chief Financial Officer, while Wally Brown will serve as Competition Director and Todd Bowland has been named Technical Director. Todd Meredith has resigned his position as Chief Operating Officer but will continue to consult for the organization over the next several months as he explores new opportunities.
"The Lord has blessed me and my family with something that is truly remarkable and as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary at Joe Gibbs Racing this year, it is more apparent than ever that our people are responsible for the success we have experienced," said Joe Gibbs. "We feel the timing is right to bring Coy into the NASCAR operations in a more official capacity. He has done an outstanding job with our motocross operations and will continue to provide his leadership there as well.
Coy Gibbs launched JGRMX in 2008 and has been at the center of every aspect of the operations from personnel decisions to sponsor acquisitions and competition direction. He will primarily be focused on the operations side for JGR's NASCAR team while continuing his daily role with JGRMX.
"I'm excited to be more involved with our NASCAR operations," said Coy Gibbs. "I take great pride in what we have accomplished with our motocross operations and I will continue to provide direction there, while working more closely with my father and brother on the NASCAR side of the business. I know we have a tremendous team in place already and I'm looking forward to being more involved now in this official capacity."
Alpern joined JGR in 1992 and has worked in the organization's marketing department since his arrival and most recently served in the capacity of Chief Marketing Officer the past two years. Alpern has been a key figure to JGR's involvement in the RTA and is well respected by his peers within the industry. Meredith joined JGR in 1992 and has spent the past 25 years working in the competition and operations departments of the organization. He was named Chief Operating Office in 2013.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(2-4-2016)
Stewart hospitalized for a back injury UPDATES: #14-Tony Stewart is being hospitalized for a back injury he suffered in a non-racing accident while driving an all-terrain vehicle, Stewart-Haas Racing announced Tuesday. Stewart is awake, alert and able to move his extremities, according to a statement from Stewart-Haas Racing spokesman Mike Arning, who said the accident happened Sunday on the West Coast and wouldn't specify where Stewart is hospitalized. Fox Sports reports that Stewart flipped a sand buggy outside of San Diego and was airlifted to a hospital. Arning said the team is not expected to make any further announcements about Stewart's condition until Thursday afternoon. Stewart was in Arizona on Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale and was interviewed on live television from the event. "We have received word from Stewart-Haas Racing of Tony Stewart's accident and injury," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "On behalf of everyone at NASCAR, I wish Tony a full recovery and look forward to seeing him back in our sport when he's ready to return."(ESPN)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: Greg Biffle was among a group riding with Tony Stewart in the sand dunes of Southern California when Stewart suffered a back injury on Sunday, he told SiriusXM's NASCAR channel on Wednesday night. Biffle confirmed to Sirius he was in Stewart's group, though he "wasn't near what went on" and didn't see exactly what happened. "We were kind of all riding as a group," Biffle told Sirius. "We started kind of hearing bits and pieces that he hurt his back. That's all we knew. I do know the people that helped him ... (said) he was walking and moving all of his extremities, but he was in a lot of pain."(USA Today)(2-4-2016)
UPDATE 2: Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, sustained a burst fracture of the L1 vertebra in an all-terrain vehicle accident Sunday while vacationing on the West Coast. Stewart was transported to a local hospital following the non-racing accident and promptly evaluated. He was awake and alert throughout the process and able to move all of his extremities. Stewart flew to North Carolina Tuesday evening and was admitted to a Charlotte-area hospital for further evaluation. On Wednesday, he underwent surgery. The subsequent recovery period means Stewart will miss the beginning of the Sprint Cup season. A timetable for Stewart's return has not been determined, but he is expected to make a full recovery and return to the #14 Chevrolet in 2016. Plans for an interim driver have not been finalized.(Stewart-Haas Racing)(2-4-2016)
Earnhardt, Jr's car chief delivers his own daughter: When you sign up to be the car chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. 's #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, there's quite a bit of understood pressure that comes along with the job. Sometimes there's even more pressure that comes along with being a husband, as Travis Mack learned early Wednesday morning. According to Mhis Twitter account, Mack, who heads into his second season as Earnhardt's car chief under crew chief Greg Ives, delivered his own baby girl at 3:15 a.m. in his home bathroom. "I delivered my baby girl at 3:15 this morning in our bathroom! Amazing experience. #GodIsGood My Wife is so strong." Mack tweeted.(NASCAR.com)(2-4-2016)
EnerSys extends partnership with Penske: Team Penske announced that it has reached a multi-year extension with EnerSys, the global leader in stored energy solutions for industrial applications. EnerSys is a premiere business-to-business partner with Team Penske and other Penske Corporation companies and will continue to maximize the relationship with hospitality at race events next season and into the future. EnerSys joined the team in 2014 as an associate sponsor for Team Penske's NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series programs. EnerSys has collaborated with many Team Penske partners such as AutoZone and Cintas, as well as working closely with Penske Truck Leasing, providing an array of battery options for consumer and commercial use. The B2B opportunities are an important aspect of the relationship as the portfolio of Penske partners allows EnerSys to generate quality leads, create more business and garner extra exposure for its brands.(Team Penske)(2-4-2016)
Switchfoot to perform National Anthem at Auto Club Speedway: SoCal native alternative rock band, Switchfoot, will sing the National Anthem and headline the pre-race concert on the O'Reilly Auto Parts Main Stage at 10:15am on Sunday, March 20, just before the NASCAR Auto Club 400 race gets underway at Auto Club Speedway. Switchfoot traces its roots to the beaches of San Diego and are currently working on their 10th studio album. Fans will hear alternative radio hit singles like "Meant to Live," "Dare You To Move," "Mess of Me," "Dark Horses," and "Afterlife". With a race ticket, fans will have access to the O'Reilly Auto Parts Fan Zone that includes the Switchfoot concert, NASCAR driver autograph sessions, Lefty's Kids Zone, freestyle motocross stunt show demonstrations, vendors, and to shop Fanatics "Trackside Superstore" - a 50,000 square-foot store - with a breadth of product unmatched anywhere else as well as specific sections for most drivers and dedicated specialty shops for ladies, kids and collectables.(Auto Club Speedway)(2-4-2016)
SunEnergy1 to sponsor Elliott? UPDATE: This past weekend, Kenny Habul was part of the driving team for Stevenson Motorsports' #9 Audi R8 LMS GT3 in the GT-Daytona class at the Rolex 24. Habul, along with Boris Said, Tristan Vautier and Dion von Moltke, finished eighth in the GT-Daytona class. During an Audi Meet the Teams free-for-all on Friday, Habul said that his company (SunEnergy1) will enter the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports on a sponsorship deal. "SunEnergy1 will be sponsoring the 24 car for Chase Elliott at Hendrick Motorsports," Habul said during the meet and greet. "It is a full sponsorship deal for certain races with Elliott." However, the deal is not fully set in stone. Habul says that he and Hendrick Motorsports are still working on the details of the deal. Expect an announcement sometime in the near future that will include the races that will feature the SunEnergy1 colors.(Frontstretch)(2-2-2016)
UPDATE: SunEnergy1, one of the world's largest privately held solar energy companies, has joined 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of rookie of the year contender Chase Elliott. With a three-year contract, SunEnergy1 will be a primary sponsor of Elliott's #24 Chevrolet SS team for four Sprint Cup races annually. The agreement, which covers the 2016, 2017 and 2018 NASCAR seasons, also includes associate-level sponsorship. In 2016, SunEnergy1 will be featured as a primary sponsor July 2 at Daytona International Speedway, Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen International, Oct. 16 at Kansas Speedway and Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway.(Hendrick Motorsports(2-3-2016)
SKF to sponsor Keselowski in Sprint Unlimited: posted two images of the #2 SKF Ford taken at Team Penske recently. SKF is supposedly scheduled to sponsor the #2 in the Sprint Unlimited at Daytona International Speedway on Feb 13th. See images of the car on the #2 Team Schemes page (2-3-2016)
Four KU football players try out for NASCAR: The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Crew Member Development program put four former Kansas University football players through a series of exercises on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, to project their potential as pit road crew members. One running back and three defensive lineman took part. The program's director of athletic performance, Phil Horton, was a former football trainer at Memphis and Florida A&M. He envisions a series of qualities transferring from the football field to the pit, and 17 athletes have made their way from the introductory stage of the program to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The four former KU football players will find out over the next few weeks whether they impressed enough to qualify for the national combine in Charlotte in the spring. From there, a group of 10 people will be offered relocation stipends for a six-month training period.(Kansas City Star)(2-3-2016)
Premium Motorsports signs Cole Whitt to drive the #98: Premium Motorsports announced it has signed Cole Whitt to drive the #98 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car. The 24-year-old Whitt, who will be entering his third full season in the premier Sprint Cup Series, finished 31st in driver points each of his first two seasons. "We believe Cole is an accomplished young driver who drives aggressively, yet smart," team owner Jay Robinson said. "He's a great fit for our team as we look to improve our competitiveness in the Sprint Cup Series." This off season, Premium Motorsports made several strategic moves to upgrade the team and its race cars. On the competition side, Premium acquired additional updated equipment along with hiring Mike Hillman to fill the role of competition director and Mark Hillman to serve as crew chief. Mike and Mark join team manager Scott Eggleston along with owner Jay Robinson to round out the Premium Motorsports management team.
"Jay and the crew at Premium Motorsports impressed me with their vision for the future and commitment to making the #98 car competitive week in and week out," said Whitt. "I look forward to being a big part of the family atmosphere at Premium and having a successful start at the Daytona 500 in a few weeks." Many of Whitt's previous partners (sponsors) in the Sprint Cup Series the past two years are expected to support him again in 2016 at Premium. More details regarding car sponsors will be released at a further date.(Premium Motorsports)(2-2-2016)
2016 Crew Chief changes: There have been a number of crew chief changes since the end of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season, including:
#6-Matt Puccia moves over from the #16 team, Bob Osbourne moves to the #34 Front Row Motorsports team.
#10-Billy Scott, from the closed #15 MWR team, replaces Daniel Knost, promoted within SHR
#11-Mike Wheeler, moves up from JGR's XFINITY program, Dave Rogers moves to #19 JGR team
#14-Mike Bugarewicz, engineer moves over from #4 SHR team, replaces Chad Johnston, who heads to #42 CGR team
#15[was #51]-No word if Steve Addington stays on a the crew chief of this team, now with driver Clint Bowyer
#16-Brain Pattie, moves from closed #55 MWR team, replaces Matt Puccia, who moves to the #6 RFR team.
#19-Dave Rogers, moves over from #11 JGR team, Darian Grubb heads to Hendrick as vehicle production director.
#32-Wally Rogers, takes over after being with the #95 team a few years, Clayton Cram goes back to car chief, Frank Stoddard a consultant.
#34-Bob Osbourne comes over from Roush Fenway Racing (FRM Technical partner), Derrick Finley stays in FRM's competition director spot
#42-Chad Johnston, moves over from #14 SHR team, replaces Chris Heroy who heads to #9 RPM team
#44[was #9]-Chris Heroy, from #42 CGR team, replaces Kevin "Bono" Manion, who goes to Kyle Busch's Truck Series program
#47-Randall Burnett, the engineer comes over from CGR, replaces Brian Burns, who stays with JTG Daugherty
#95-Dave Winston takes over, recently at BK Racing, replaces Wally Rogers who left late in the 2015 season.
Other teams made crew chief changes during the 2015 season, including #3-Richard Childress Racing, #7-Tommy Baldwin Racing, #15 & #55 Michael Waltrip Racing teams (swapped crew chiefs, team ceased operations after 2015)
For all the changes see Jayski.com's 2016 Driver/Team Silly Season Chart. (2-2-2016)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 20, 2016, 12:15 pm/et
TV: FoxSports1 12:15pm/et
Born in FEBRUARY
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14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
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24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
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3 Bruton Smith, Dave Rodman, Chad Trickle, Tiny Lund, Donald Epling, Bill Snyder, Bobby Lord
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15 Andy Graves, Matthew Holzbaur, Shayne Pipala