NASCAR Sprint Cup Series News and Stats

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  • Sonoma Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2016 Toyota/Save Mart 350: For those NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Sunday's race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 3:00 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 6:04 PM (all times are EDT). FS1 was the broadcast team for this event. This was the last Fox Sports produced Cup race for this season.
    Total number of commercials: 102
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 52
    Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 82
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 47
    Number of 'Side-by-Side' commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 20
    Total number of companies or entities advertised: 12
    Number of times FS1 utilized 'Side-by-Side' commercials during this broadcast: 4
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos 'floating' in corners of the screen): 103
    Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 2 min. 50 sec.
    Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:00 PM
    End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:04 PM
    Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 184
    Minutes of race broadcast: 153
    Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 31
    Minutes of 'Side-by-Side' commercials (split-screen): 10
    Number of missed restarts: 0
    Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
    Total race brdcst time 153 Total comm. brdcst time 31
    Total race brdcst time 159 Total comm. brdcst time 38
    See past races, more info on the commercials with links at CawsnJaws.com.(6-27-2016)

  • Brian France talks about weekday races, new Cup sponsor, road course in Chase and more: NASCAR Chairman Brian France appeared on Fox Sports 1's "Race Day" before Sunday's race at Sonoma, some of the Q&A's: Cup Series Title Sposnor hunt:
    Q. The title sponsor, Sprint, has been for Cup a tremendous ally, and it runs out this year. Who's the next title sponsor for the Sprint Cup Series?
    BRIAN FRANCE: Several companies here as a matter of fact this weekend, a number of companies taking a very hard look. It's a very special asset in sports. It's the only thing you can own outright. So we have a lot of interest, and we just want to make a good decision as we go down the stretch and choose our next partner.
    Q. Is there a possibility of two major sponsors?
    BRIAN FRANCE: Possible, but I think we have a lot of interest and I would be surprised, but I've been surprised before.
    Q. Is there a deadline for you on this? Obviously you have to get it -- the sooner the better.
    BRIAN FRANCE: Well, we're right on schedule. We always thought it would be somewhere coming up into the fall, and that's exactly what's happened, so we're right on schedule.
    Q. A road course in the Chase in the future?
    BRIAN FRANCE: We would be for it. The reality is it's very hard to get the schedule to match up.
    Q. More weeknight races maybe, changing on the schedule?
    BRIAN FRANCE: Don't see that.
    Q. Not even in the summer when people are out of --
    BRIAN FRANCE: Don't see that. Moving All-Star race:
    Q. All-Star Race location maybe on a rotational basis, maybe a new sponsor says, hey, maybe in Charlotte this year, but it might be at another track next year?
    BRIAN FRANCE: Maybe, and there's a lot of interest in that very interesting event, and Charlotte has been good to us for a lot of reasons, but we'll always keep that open.(NASCAR)(6-27-2016)

  • Hamlin talks about the last lap at Sonoma: #11-Denny Hamlin (second) was the top-finishing Toyota in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway to claim his career-best finish at the 11-turn road course, Hamlin talked to the media after the race, part of the transcript:
    Q) What was the last lap like from your vantage point?
    Hamlin: "Tony (Stewart) was doing a good job maintaining his tires, a good job of running consistent laps there. Really he gave me an opportunity to get close. On the second to last lap he wheel hopped into (turn) seven, allowed us to get close and I just did a poor job of getting through 11. I was expecting to really drive in deep and I really thought that was going to happen and he did, but I also left the bottom open and that was a bad mistake on my part. Still a great race. I was proud of the FedEx Cares Toyota team for giving me a car that could win. We'll take this and go with it."
    What happened on the last lap of the race?
    Hamlin: "I was looking rearview more than looking out front. I still got in there with a wheel hop, I was just a little bit in the middle and needed to get a good run. Once he (Tony Stewart) had the inside position, we weren't going to drag race it out. I knew he was going to put me into the wall. He was doing what he had to do and we did what we had to do in turn. All is fair in love and war."
    Q) What was your plan to try to beat Tony Stewart for the race win?
    Hamlin: "I didn't even think I'd have an opportunity, honestly. He made one mistake in turn seven and allowed us to get closer to him. Overall we had a great FedEx Cares Camry. I don't know how to replay that last lap differently. He made mistakes that allowed me to get there and get position. I made a mistake at the end to get the lead and get position and I made a mistake to give up the lead on the last corner. Just one of those deals. You'd like to be on the winning end of this, but unfortunately we were not on that end."
    Q) What would you do differently to win the race?
    Hamlin: "Just run slower through turn 11 would be about the only thing I could do differently. Just run slower through there and force him to go on the high side. I just had a feeling he was going to drive in there and turn us around anyway, so I was trying to do all I could."(Toyota Racing)(6-27-2016)

  • Fox Bestows 'The Byrnsie Awards' to spotter Chris Osborne: FOX NASCAR presented Chris Osborne, Matt Kenseth's spotter, with the second-annual "The Byrnsie Award" during Sunday's NASCAR RACEDAY telecast from Sonoma Raceway on FS1. Osborne, a veteran in the NASCAR garage, was sidelined the first part of the 2016 season after sustaining serious injuries in an accident with a drunk driver during the holidays. In honor of late FOX NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes, whose nickname was 'Byrnsie,' the award was established in 2015 to celebrate an individual in the NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES who embodies principles Byrnes demonstrated daily in his personal and professional life -- preparation, teamwork and family within the garage area. Osbourne was voted the recipient by Byrnes' colleagues on the FOX NASCAR broadcast team, of which he was a member since the first race broadcast in February 2001. Byrnes passed away in April 2015 following a courageous battle with cancer. Bryson Byrnes, Steve's son, introduced the award on-camera from the NASCAR RACE HUB studios in Charlotte, N.C., while FOX NASCAR play-by-play announcer Mike Joy presented the trophy to Osborne on the spotters' stand at Sonoma Raceway.
    "The winner of this year's FOX Byrnsie Award is spotter Chris Osborne, who like my dad, displaced tremendous amounts of strength, courage and determination this year in the garage," Bryson said on NASCAR RACEDAY. "Congratulations to Chris. I know that my dad would be very proud." Osborne, affectionately known as "Crazy" in the NASCAR community, suffered severe right leg and foot injuries. His wife, Melissa, sustained major pelvis, hip, shoulder, arm and elbow injuries, while Osborne's son, Austin, sustained a concussion, cracked sternum, partially collapsed lung and broken nose. The NASCAR community rallied around Osborne, one of its most beloved spotters, in the weeks following the accident and throughout the ensuing recovery process. Osborne returned to the spotters' stand at Martinsville Speedway in late March. "It's a privilege to be the recipient of the second Byrnsie Award," Osborne told Joy. "I know Byrnes' love for everything that he had done in this sport ... the determination he had to do his job, and first and foremost, how much he cared for and loved his family, and he put that number one. I feel like our family has been through a lot, and I've tried to do the same. It's a great honor that the FOX group has voted me the second recipient of The Byrnsie Award. I certainly do appreciate it."(FoxSports PR)(6-27-2016)

  • Eight different winners in last eight races: The last eight Cup points races each have had a different winner: #19-Carl Edwards (Richmond), #2-Brad Keselowski (Talladega), #18-Kyle Busch (Kansas), #20-Matt Kenseth (Dover), #78-Martin Truex Jr. (Charlotte), #41-Kurt Busch (Pocono), #22-Joey Logano (Michigan) and #14-Tony Stewart (Sonoma). It's the longest streak of different winners since there were eight from the 2013 season finale to the first seven races of the 2014 season.(6-27-2016)

  • Tony Stewart wins at Sonoma: #14-Tony Stewart won the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway for his 1st win of the season, 3rd win at Sonoma, 8th road course win and 49th career win. It had been 111 races and 84 races run by Stewart since his last win, at Dover in June 2013. With the win and being 9 points out of the top-30 of drivers points, Stewart has a good shot of getting in the Chase. It was the first career win for crew chief Mike Bugarewicz.
    #11-Hamlin took the lead on the final lap, went wide on the last turn, Stewart passed the #11 beat and banged with Hamlin who tagged the wall with Stewart racing to the win. Hamlin led the most laps, 33 of 110. Race favorite #47-Allmendinger finished 12th after having a late race penalty for an uncontrolled tire during a pit stop and having to restart in the rear of the field.
    #11-Hamlin finished 2nd followed by #22-Logano, #19-Edwards (pole winner), #78-Truex Jr., #4-Harvick, #18-Busch, #31-Newman, #5-Kahne and #41-Busch.
    There were 12 lead changes among 8 drivers and 4 cautions for 10 yellow flag laps.
    The average speed was 80.966 mph.
    Scheduled Race Re-Airs:
    Monday, June 27 at 8:30am/et on FS1;
    Tuesday, June 28 at 4:00am/et on FS1

    See unofficial race results, awards, laps led, cautions and more [NOTE: money/winnings are no longer reported] at:
    Unofficial Race Results page (pdf)
    Lap Summary Report (pdf)
    Penalty Report (pdf)
    Pit Stop Times (pdf)
    (6-26-2016)

  • Race Fast Facts - Sonoma Raceway:
    #14-Tony Stewart won the 28th Annual Toyota/Save Mart 350, his 49th victory in 598 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races.
    This is his first victory and third top-10 finish in 2016.
    This is his third victory and 10th top-10 finish in 18 races at Sonoma Raceway.
    Stewart's last win was at Dover on June 2, 2013. There have been 110 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races since then; Stewart has started 84 of those races.
    Stewart is now 32nd in the point standings, nine points out of 30th place and a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
    #11-Denny Hamlin (second) posted his third top-10 finish in 11 races at Sonoma Raceway. It is his seventh top-10 finish in 2016.
    #22-Joey Logano (third) posted his fourth top-10 finish in eight races at Sonoma Raceway.
    #24-Chase Elliott (21st) was the highest finishing rookie.
    #4-Kevin Harvick leads the point standings by 35 points over #41-Kurt Busch.(NASCAR Integrated Sports Marketing)(6-26-2016)

  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup CHASE Standings:
    [after Sonoma, race 16 of 36, 16 drivers for the Chase]
    Set by most wins, then by points standing
    1) #18-Busch [3 wins], 9th in driver points
    2) #19-Edwards [2 wins], 3rd
    3) #2-Keselowski [2 wins], 4th
    4) #48-Johnson [2 wins], 7th
    5) #4-Harvick [1 win], 1st
    6) #41-Busch [1 win], 2nd
    7) #22-Logano [1 win], 5th
    8) #78-Truex, Jr. [1 win], 8th
    9) #20-Kenseth [1 win], 10th
    10) #11-Hamlin [1 win], 11th
    no wins, in by drivers points standings
    11) #24-Elliott, 6th in drivers points
    12) #88-Earnhardt Jr., 12th
    13) #31-Newman, 13th
    14) #3-Dillon, 14th
    15) #1-McMurray, 15th
    16) #5-Kahne, 16th
    has a win, needs to get into the top-30 of drivers points
    #14-Stewart [1 win], 32nd, 9 points out of top-30
    (6-26-2016)

  • 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Points (not CHASE) Standings:
    [after Sonoma, race 16 of 36]
    1) #4-Harvick [1 win], 562
    2) #41-Busch [1 win], 527, -35
    3) #19-Edwards [2 wins], 510, -52
    4) #2-Keselowski [2 wins], 506, -56
    5) #22-Logano [1 win], 493, -69
    6) #24-Elliott, 473, -89
    7) #48-Johnson [2 wins], 469, -93
    8) #78-Truex Jr. [1 win], 469, -93
    9) #18-Busch, [3 wins], 452, -110
    10) #20-Kenseth [1 win], 430, -132
    See the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings page (pdf) and
    Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf)

  • Stewart comments on his win: #14-Tony Stewart won the Toyota / Save Mart 350 Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway, and few Q&A's:
    Q) IS THE IMPACT OF THIS WIN EVEN MORE MEANINGFUL BECAUSE OF THE TIMING OF IT?
    Stewart: "They're all good; it doesn't matter where you get them. But, we ran close to those guys all day. We just got stuck back in traffic. It's pretty ironic the last one we got was in a Code 3 car and I'm proud to do it again. I'm proud of Mobil 1 and Bass Pro and everybody. It's just an awesome job."
    Q) WHEN YOU LOOK AT YOUR LEGENDARY CAREER AND YOUR EIGHTH ROAD COURSE WIN AND YOUR FINAL YEAR, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CHALK-UP ANOTHER ONE ON YOUR RACING RESUME?
    Stewart: "Especially at a place you're going to for the last time, it means a bunch. It's special, trust me."
    Q) I REMEMBER YOUR DAD, WHEN YOU WON THE BRICKYARD FOR THE FIRST TIME. HE KEPT WAVING YOU ON. THAT'S WHAT HE WAS DOING TODAY. WALK US THROUGH THAT EXCITING LAST LAP, AND THEN DENNY HAMLIN'S COMMENTS THROUGH THE CAR WINDOW TO YOU
    Stewart: "I made mistakes the last two laps. I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. But, I felt a nudge when I got down there and he knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time and we respect each other a lot."(Team Chevy)(6-26-2016)

  • Sonoma Rookie of the Year Race Results & Points:
    #24-Chase Elliott, finished 21st, 11 rookie points
    #21-Ryan Blaney, finished 23rd, 10 rookie points
    #34-Chris Buescher, finished 30th, 9 rookie points
    #44-Brian Scott, finished 33rd, 8 rookie points
    #32-Jeffrey Earnhardt, was not entered, Patrick Carpentier in the car
    See Jayski.com's 2016 Rookie of the Year page for rules, standings and more.(6-26-2016)

  • Road Course Wins: All-Time(3 or more wins)
    Driver, Wins
    Jeff Gordon, 9
    Tony Stewart, 8* (with Sonoma win)
    Rusty Wallace, 6
    Bobby Allison, 6
    Richard Petty, 6
    Ricky Rudd, 6
    Darrell Waltrip, 5
    Tim Richmond, 5
    Dan Gurney, 5
    David Pearson, 4
    Mark Martin, 4
    Kyle Busch, 4*
    Ernie Irvan, 3
    Geoff Bodine, 3
    Tim Flock, 3
    Cale Yarborough, 3
    * active

  • added images of the #3 Dow / Utility, #7 ToyState / Road Rippers Shark, #16 Performance Plus Motor Oil schemes that will run at Sonoma.(6-25-2016)

  • Toyota Signs Multi-Year Extension with Sonoma Raceway: Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. and the Northern California Toyota Dealers have signed a multi-year agreement to continue as co-title sponsor of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Sonoma Raceway. Toyota, which celebrates its 10th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016, has served as co-title sponsor of the Toyota/Save Mart 350, as well as the raceway's official vehicle, since 2007. The three-year extension will mark 13 years of sponsorship with Sonoma Raceway, making Toyota one of the facility's longest-running sponsors. Toyota also signed on as title sponsor of the raceway's NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing event, the Toyota NHRA Sonoma Nationals (July 29-31), this year. "Sonoma Raceway is one of the premier motorsports venues in the nation and our partnership enables us to showcase the freshest line up of cars, trucks and SUVs in the industry," said Steve Cornelius, president of the Northern California Toyota Dealer Advertising Association.
    "Our partnership with Sonoma Raceway is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with the local Toyota dealers to reach and engage with NASCAR fans," said Keith Dahl, general manager, motorsports & marketing asset management, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "Over the past 10 years we have enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the Toyota brand, experienced great racing in the beautiful Sonoma valley and celebrated four Toyota wins, including Kyle Busch's triumphant return to the winners circle after his injuries last year. We look forward to continuing this rewarding relationship in both NASCAR and NHRA for years to come."
    The agreement also includes hospitality, extensive signage, promotional rights and other assets during major event weekends in Sonoma, including comprehensive, interactive displays for race fans during the June NASCAR event. "We could not be more proud of our association with the Toyota brand, their terrific lineup of cars and trucks and the outstanding group of dealers in our region," said Steve Page, Sonoma Raceway president and general manager. "We are grateful for their support of the raceway and our NASCAR and NHRA events, and look forward to working together for many years to come."(Sonoma Raceway)(6-26-2016)

  • Keselowski considering Indy 500 run: #2-Brad Keselowski's recent IndyCar run at Road America was more than a play day for NASCAR's 2012 champion, Team Penske's president confirmed Saturday. Keselowski has interest in running in an Indianapolis 500, perhaps as soon as next year, and it could happen, Tim Cindric told IndyStar. "I'd say 20% (chance)," Cindric said. "Never say never." Keselowski ran the car June 15, getting in Simon Pagenaud's #22 after Pagenaud ran a few laps to provide a baseline setup. Keselowski covered more than 40 laps around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile permanent road course, Cindric said, which equates to about 170 miles. The team allowed Keselowski to use three sets of Firestone tires. Only about half of the IndyCar Series field participated in the session, and it's believed Keselowski was 3-4 seconds off the pace of the slowest car. But Cindric said getting Keselowski experience was more important than him posting a hot lap. Moments after the session, IndyCar reported Keselowski saying, "I've got to let it soak in here (and) think about it." Keselowski later tweeted: "One of the best days of my life."(Indianapolis Star)(6-26-2016)

  • Kurt Busch plans to compete in Gulf 12 Hours: #41-Kurt Busch's next challenge could come this December in the Gulf 12 Hours - possibly alongside MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo in a GT car. Busch, who has dabbled in IndyCar and dragsters, now has his eyes set on sports cars - but more importantly the Yas Marina Circuit, site of the Formula 1 finale. Following his trip to Baku for the European Grand Prix, Busch jetted to Abu Dhabi where he tested a F3000 car at the Yas Marina on Tuesday. Last year's podium in the Gulf 12 Hours featured a Ferrari 458, Mercedes SLS and an Aston Martin Vantage. But Busch's objective was to simply get a feel for the circuit. "It would be like a Pirelli World Challenge Series-type car," Busch said. "They've been doing the 12 Hours the last few years. I got turned onto it by Monster Energy about the possibility of going and racing alongside Jorge Lorenzo from MotoGP and perhaps another Monster Energy athlete. "So to help with the transition, if I was to go run that race, to have track laps so I somewhat know the circuit and don't go in there as blind as I would if I just raced the race in December...It was a blast to run the big circuit and get some laps in case I run the 12-hour race."(Motorsport)(6-26-2016)

  • Elliott wins NASCAR West Series race in Sonoma: Chase Elliott landed himself in Victory Lane on Saturday at Sonoma Raceway. The Hendrick Motorsports rookie competed in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race, logging valuable road-course laps before Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race. After qualifying 16th for Sunday's Cup race, Elliott strapped into his No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy and took the green flag from the pole position.(HMS)(6-26-2016)

  • Stewart and Irvan Inducted Into Sonoma Raceway Wall of Fame: Steve Page Sonoma Raceway's president and general manager introduced 2016 Wall of Fame Honorees Ernie Irvan and Tony Stewart before a crowd of vocal and enthusiastic fans and media. Page said, the Wall of Fame was started "a decade ago as a way to honor the legacy and thank those" who have contributed to the history of the circuit. Both drivers are two-time winners here. Page called the 1992 race, in which Irvan from the back of the grid "one of the most remarkable races" he'd ever seen. When asked about his part in the fast growth of NASCAR in the 1990s, Irvan said, "I'm just one part of it. Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough and others " set the stage for the explosive growth the sport experienced. Stewart thanked Page with mixed emotions, "I've always looked forward to coming here," noting he marked the date in his calendar. And now looking ahead to last race, at the Sprint Cup level, he felt a bit sentimental. That said, Stewart who will retire from his ride at the team he co-owns with Gene Haas stressed that this was his last year in driving in Sprint Cup but not as a driver in other series, "I can't wait to start the second part of my career."(Sonoma Raceway)(6-26-2016)

  • Live With Kelly and... Jeff Gordon? UPDATE: Retired racing legend Jeff Gordon has zoomed to the top of ABC's short list to succeed Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa's new Live co-host, TVLine has learned. Gordon has experience sitting alongside Ripa. During the Live With Regis and Kelly era, he served as Ripa's sidekick nine times. (He even did a stint opposite Reege in 2001 before Ripa came on board). He most recently appeared on the show in June 2015, but just as a guest. Since retiring from professional stock car racing in 2015, the 44-year-old Gordon has transitioned into broadcasting (he currently serves as a Fox NASCAR analyst). Should he snag the Live gig, his career path would closely mirror that of the man he'd be replacing; Strahan, who exited Live last month for a full-time gig at Good Morning America, also segued into broadcasting after retiring from the NFL. Live is expected to continue pairing Ripa with a parade of guest co-hosts until a final decision is made later this summer. Other names in the permanent co-host mix include former Grinder star Rob Lowe and Ripa's BFF Anderson Cooper. Gordon's spokesperson, declined TVLine's request for comment.(TVLine)(6-18-2016)
    UPDATE: Jeff Gordon talks about possible talk show gig: On Saturday morning at Sonoma Raceway, Jeff Gordon affirmed his commitment to his position as an analyst in the FOX Sports television booth. But that doesn't mean Gordon is ruling out moonlighting as co-host for "Live with Kelly." Prevalent rumors have Gordon on the short list to fill the role of departed Michael Strahan as Kelly Ripa's sidekick on the show. "Well, I'm flattered that my name has been associated with that," said Gordon, who has filled in as an occasional co-host of the show. "You know, I've always maintained a great friendship with the show and some of the producers and folks within the show. I had a great time co-hosting on that show, and I mean, I certainly would welcome it. My priority is FOX and FOX Sports and NASCAR, so I will definitely be back in the booth next year. If there was something that would fit into and around that-great. I don't know if that's a reality, but it's been really interesting kind of seeing that unfold. I really don't have anything that I can say about it."(NASCAR Wire Service and see an Q&A at the Charlotte Observer)(6-26-2016)

  • Dylan Lupton to make Sprint Cup Series debut at Sonoma: Wilton, California native Dylan Lupton will make his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut in the Toyota / Save Mart 350 after successfully qualifying Saturday afternoon at Sonoma Raceway. Lupton in a third BK Racing (#93 Bell Bros / Elk Grove Toyota) entry went out early during Round 1 of Sprint Cup Series qualifying and laid down the 38th quickest lap overall and third quickest among the five drivers that had to qualify on-time to earn a starting berth into the sixteenth race of the season. By earning the third of four "open" spots, the 22-year-old Lupton will make a lifelong dream come true tomorrow, being one of the 40 starters in NASCAR's elite division. Lupton is attempting his third NASCAR race of the season after competing in back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series events earlier this season at Phoenix and Auto Club Speedway respectively. For his Cup debut, Lupton, a native of Wilton, California has paired with his XFINITY Series crew chief Mike Ford who led Lupton to a ninth place finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last year. The finish was a career-best for Lupton and his Athenian Motorsports team in XFINITY Series competition. The recent UNC Charlotte graduate has two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (NKSW) races at the 1.99-mile 10-turn venue driving for Bob Bruncati, Lupton has a best finish of third, while also producing a respectable eighth place finish after a late race charge from the back of the field in his track debut in 2013. "This is such a blessing to make my Sprint Cup Series debut tomorrow at Sonoma. I was hoping we would be a little faster than we were today, but we made more gains and that's a good feeling heading into the race tomorrow", said Lupton. "I've learned so much about these cars, myself and the track this weekend, it's really been an experience I'll never forget. I can't thank Bell Bros., Elk Grove Toyota, BK Racing, my family and friends for all their support this weekend. I can't begin to tell you what this debut means to me, I'm just excited to take the green flag tomorrow!"(Dylan Lupton PR)(6-26-2016)

  • ISC focused on Phoenix, Richmond enhancements: With the Daytona Rising project's transition to gleaming motorsports stadium reaching completion this year, International Speedway Corporation's next initiative aims to bring similar enhancements to other tracks in its portfolio. Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of ISC, revealed during NASCAR's preseason media tour that two tracks in particular -- Phoenix International Raceway and Richmond International Raceway -- were targeted for comparable improvements. Speaking Thursday after her induction into the Cynopsis Sports Hall of Fame in New York, Kennedy provided updates on the two tracks, which both host two annual events for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. "We're continuing to look at both Phoenix and Richmond," Kennedy told NASCAR.com. "They're terrific markets, first of all, and also facilities that I think would really benefit to take it to the next level with some of the features that we saw at Daytona Rising that worked well and that our fans enjoyed. We're continuing to work on the plans. As you know, sometimes it takes several years to develop the plans and then to go through the construction process, but we're deep in the middle of it with both of those. We'll look forward to those plans rolling out." Daytona International Speedway's transformation spanned approximately two and a half years from the Rising project's groundbreaking in July 2013 to its full-fledged debut at Speedweeks in January and February. Kennedy said no specific timetable was in place for plans at Phoenix or Richmond. "We're very active right now," Kennedy said. "We've been looking at both of those tracks, but also all of our tracks. Those are the two that we're laser-focused on right now."(NASCAR.com)(6-26-2016)

  • Microsoft and NASCAR team up, new system debut's at Sonoma: Microsoft and NASCAR have worked in concert to develop a race management system that will consolidate six different aspects of race-day data into a single-screen interface, providing one platform for data management using Windows 10 and Microsoft Azure. The system, which is being rolled out this weekend at Sonoma Raceway, will revolutionize the way NASCAR runs races, both in terms of the inspection process and data analytics. "NASCAR has really put an emphasis, especially over the last 18 months, on new technology," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said Friday morning during a press briefing at Sonoma. (It involves) how we can bring things more quickly to the fans, really put them inside the driver's seat, but equally as important, how we can work together to be more efficient from a governing standpoint, especially when it comes to race control. We're really proud to have partnered with Microsoft, obviously a global leader in technology. What they've been able to do for us in a really short 18-month time span is incredible." From the single-screen interface, officials can follow the positions of every car in the field using a layout of the track, or they can isolate individual cars or groups of cars by category (top 10 or lead lap, for example). Data for the individual cars also is available, as are video captures of pit stops and potential pit road penalties. The partnership with Microsoft will even help inform NASCAR with respect to new rules decisions.(NASCAR Wire Service)(6-25-2016)

  • Stewart wants to race what makes him happy..not a Sprint Cup car: #14-Tony Stewart, met with members of the media at Sonoma Raceway following getting inducted into the Sonoma Wall of Fame. The transcript in part:
    Q) ON BEING INDUCTED INTO THE SONOMA WALL OF FAME:
    Stewart: "Anytime you get inducted into anything it's a huge honor. This has always been one of my favorite race tracks. To be on their wall of fame that means something to me."
    Q) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO MISS THE MOST ABOUT DRIVING IN THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES?
    Stewart: "I don't know, after practice this morning not much. I had Jamie McMurray screw us up on a lap. He was trying to do a qualifying lap. Some of the things some of these guys do nowadays doesn't make sense. When we had Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. and Rusty Wallace and Dale Jarrett and those guys they were able to get their arms around these guys and get them to listen and make sense. There is really nobody here that can do that anymore. Everybody is out of control out there."
    Q) YOU ARE YOU STILL COMPETITIVE WHY ARE YOU STEPPING BACK?
    Stewart: "Because I'm ready to go run stuff that makes me happy and driving a Sprint Cup car does not make me happy right now. Like I said, a lot of things have changed. The atmosphere has changed. There is so much stuff in the garage area that has changed that it was time for me to make a change with it. I've dedicated 18 years of my life to this series and it's done great by me. I've made a great living doing it, but at the same time there are other things in life I want to do other than be at a NASCAR track three days a week for 38 weekends out of 52 weeks a year. There are just other things I want to do now. I never dreamed there was going to be a time that I was going to think about something like this. It wasn't overnight. There were weeks that you would think about 'man I really want to go to Monaco and see the Monaco Grand Prix or I really want to go to Knoxville, Iowa and be out there for the A-main of the Knoxville Nationals or the Kings Royal at Eldora.' There are things I want to do that because of our schedule you don't have time to do it. There is just not enough time to do everything you want to do. It's time for me to do this."
    Q) YOU TALKED EARLIER ABOUT BEING NOSTALGIC THAT THIS IS YOUR LAST NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE AT SONOMA TALK ABOUT THAT AND NEXT WEEK IS GOING TO BE YOUR LAST RACE AT DAYTONA:
    Stewart: "Definitely next week there is nothing I'm going to miss about that. But this has always been a cool place. This track is one where you race the race track. It's you against the track every week. The restarts create the carnage here and guys doing stupid stuff, but when you get into a run and you get a long green flag run like that that is when it's fun here because you are racing the race track and what you've got to do to make yourself fast. It's not that same feeling of wheel to wheel competition that you get other places, but this track is more challenging than the competition is. If you can beat the track, you can win the race too."(Team Chevy)(6-25-2016)

  • No Aero Changes for Daytona: NASCAR will return to Daytona International Speedway next week with the same basic aerodynamic package that it used for the Daytona 500 and Talladega earlier this year. After three cars got airborne at Talladega, NASCAR vowed to take a look too see if it should make any changes to the cars. Six days before cars are scheduled for practice at Daytona, NASCAR opted not to make any changes, executive vice president Steve O'Donnell said. "The one car that got in the air on its own was the 20 car [of Matt Kenseth] and we looked at that. ... Based on what we saw for the initial Daytona race, we're satisfied with the race package we have," O'Donnell said Friday at Sonoma Raceway. Drivers obviously don't want their cars to get airborne, but they also don't agree on the fix needed. NASCAR has some new rules as far as the bolting on the deck lid for Daytona, but that has more to do with teams working in that area to get a speed advantage. NASCAR slightly decreased the amount of horsepower generated by Sprint Cup cars at restrictor-plate tracks for the 2016 season.(ESPN)(6-25-2016)

  • Shark scheme for Reagn Smith at Sonoma: #7-Regan Smith will be driving a shark themed Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevy this weekend at Sonoma Raceway as sponsors Nikko RC, Toy State and Road Rippers prepare for Shark Week. Smith and the TBR team are excited to bring a shark themed car to the track as it is a replica of the Road Rippers Mini Monster Rides - Hammer Head Shark you can find in stores across the nation. There are five Mini Monster Rides and each one is kid-powered with monstrous tires and cool sounds Smith on Sonoma: "I'm looking forward to heading to Sonoma for our first road course race of the season. The #7 Nikko RC/Road Rippers Monster Shark Chevrolet is looking pretty fierce and we are hoping for a great finish."(TBR) see an image of the scheme on the #7 Team Schemes page (6-25-2016)

  • Go Fas Racing to endorse OneOrlando Fund in Daytona: Go Fas Racing (GFR) announced that they will be working alongside their sponsors and local organizations to garner support for the OneOrlando fund next weekend at Daytona International Speedway. The OneOrlando fund was created by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to help aid the victims of the June 12th terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub. During next weekend's Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway the #32 Ford driven by Bobby Labonte will be displaying the website's links and more information to urge all NASCAR fans and sponsors to donate directly to the cause in the name of our great sport. For GFR owner Archie St.Hilaire who is a native of Maine he understands firsthand the tragic impact of these types of events after witnessing the terrorist attack that took place during the Boston Marathon on April 15th, 2013. St. Hilaire is trusting that the efforts of his team will show that all NASCAR fans stand behind Orlando. For more informing on how you can join the effort, please visit www.OneOrlando.org, and spread the word on your favorite social media platform by using #OrlandoUnited. Donations can also be made on your mobile device by texting ORLANDO to 501501 to make a $10 donation.(Go Fas Racing Facebook)(6-25-2016)

  • Lesa France Kennedy inducted into Cynopsis Hall of Fame: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy was inducted Thursday into the Cynopsis Sports Hall of Fame at the New York Athletic Club. Kennedy was feted at the organization's fifth annual Sports Business Summit in New York. She joined ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen (left in the above photograph) and Major League Baseball executive Billy Bean as inductees recognized for their roles in transforming the sports world and its influence on popular culture. Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Sports Group, presented Kennedy for enshrinement. A large component of Kennedy's plan for enhancements debuted this season at Daytona International Speedway's Speedweeks, when the Daytona Rising vision came to life. The $400 million project, which broke ground in July 2013, reshaped ISC's flagship facility with state-of-the-art amenities.(NASCAR.com)
    ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, the legendary entrepreneur who single-handedly changed the way the world watches sports and television, as well as Kennedy and Sports Illustrated's Peter King and Major League Baseball's Vice President of Social Responsibility & Inclusion, Billy Bean.(New York Sports Day)(6-25-2016)

  • #32 Ford to feature special Dale Earnhardt throwback scheme at Darlington: The #32 Ford will pay tribute to driver Jeffrey Earnhardt's grandfather, the late Dale Earnhardt, with a design that combines the #3 and #2 driven by Dale Earnhardt in 1981, on his way to earning 17 top-ten finishes and nine top five, including a sixth place finish in the Southern 500 at Darlington. "I'm pretty excited to have the famous yellow and blue paint scheme in honor of my Grandfather for this year's Southern 500," said Jeffrey Earnhardt. "My grandfather ran this paint scheme in 1981, when he started the season as the No.2 car driving for Rod Osterlund. When Richard Childress purchased the team halfway through the season it became the famous #3 car, so you have that 32 connection, so it's pretty cool to have the chance to bring it back this year. I know we'll have a lot of fun with it, and hope the all the great fans enjoy it as well."(CorvetteParts.net Facebook page)
    AND Go Fas Racing (GFR) is pleased to unveil the throwback paint scheme that the #32 CorvetteParts.Net Ford Fusion will carry this September in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race at Darlington Raceway. The #32 Ford Fusion will pay tribute to Jeffrey Earnhardt's grandfather Dale Earnhardt with a design that combines the #3 and #2 driven by Dale Earnhardt in 1981, on his way to earning 17 top-ten finishes and nine top five, including a sixth place finish in the Southern 500 at Darlington.
    "Sometimes things just fall together at the right time," said Go Fas Racing owner Archie St.Hilaire. "When we were going through the process of which paint scheme to run for this year's race at Darlington the idea of a tribute to Dale Earnhardt's 1981 season stood out to all of us above the rest. Throw in the fact that we get to have Jeffrey showcase his family's heritage and pay tribute to his grandfather as well, that's just icing on the cake." In a NSCS career that spanned 27 years, Earnhardt collected seven NSCS championships along with 76 victories, 22 poles, 281 top-five finishes, and 25,684 laps led. Additionally, Earnhardt won four IROC championships and scored 21 victories in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. For Earnhardt's success he was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 (GFR), see an image of the scheme on the #32 Team Schemes page (6-24-2016)

  • New sponsor for the #95 at Sonoma after Malware attack: Circle-Sport Leavine Family Racing (CSLFR) was rear-ended by a ransomware attack in April forcing the team to fork over about $600 to regain access to essential team records. Leavine, which races the #95 Chevy in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, was hit on April 5 with TeslaCrypt which locked up all the files on crew chief Dave Winston's laptop. The data held hostage included car set ups, car part lists, and custom high-profile simulation packages valued at $2 million. The team estimated that to recreate this data, it would have taken the team nearly 1,500 man-hours. Winston said that he had a moment of "pure panic" when he realized something had gone wrong with his computer. The attack took a few hours to unfold with Winston watching as file after file, none of which were backed up, was encrypted. In the end he attempted to open a file and was presented with the ransomware note. "Then we spent 24 hours trying to figure out what happened," Winston said, adding the team's IT person was consulted and they called local computer repair shops. "But we discovered there was nothing we could do." Leavine decided to pay the ransom because the cost and time involved replacing the information would have damaged the team's chances in its upcoming race. The general rule of thumb in the security industry, and one now endorsed by the FBI, is to never pay a ransom because giving in to the criminal's demands does not guarantee the data will be released and the victim could simply be targeted again. This was the greatest fear running through Winston's mind, that even after paying the files would not be released, but in this case almost all were recovered. However, without the data in hand the team would have been at a distinct disadvantage during that week's race.
    A team spokesperson said they were unaware Teslacrypt had been rendered useless at that time and that decryptor keys were available. CSLFR is now working with Malwarebytes to promote ransomware awareness. The team's car will sport a Malwarebytes' logo as an associate sponsor for the next few weeks and then the company will come on board as a full-time sponsor at a few races in 2016, including New Hampshire in July (SCMagazine.com and see more at NASCAR.com, Forbes.com and BusinessWire.(6-24-2016)


  • Furniture Row Racing to Recognize California National Guard: Furniture Row Racing's #78 Camry, driven by Martin Truex Jr., will carry the logo of the California National Guard during this weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road race - the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The military recognition will continue throughout the 2016 season by the Denver-based Furniture Row Racing team, which includes nine military veterans. "The longer I live and the more things I experience the more I appreciate the sacrifice and dedication that our military men and women have made, and will continue to make to preserve our freedom," said Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser, a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade in the late 1960s. "We are proud to showcase the California National Guard, which not only responds and takes action in state emergencies but also in combat deployment throughout the world."(FRR)(6-23-2016)

  • Direction Matters when mounting tires for Sonoma is Concerned: Sonoma Raceway poses several challenges for NASCAR Sprint Cup teams, and at least one of those challenges has been taken up by The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. At Sonoma, Goodyear uses one of its "softest" tread compounds to give the cars as much grip as possible. Add to that - as with the series' other road course at Watkins Glen International - Sonoma puts an increased stress on the front tires with heavy braking into the turns and an increased stress on the rear tires with harsh acceleration off the corners. Those factors combine to put undue stress on a part of the tread that is most susceptible - the tread splice, or the area that is joined together in the manufacturing process. Because of all that, Goodyear will mount its D-4678 tires (same on all four corners of the car) for Sonoma in a directional manner, helping to insure that the tread splice is "closed" under both braking and acceleration. "The tread compound used at Sonoma is one of the most tractive used for all Sprint Cup Series events," said Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of racing. "As such, we utilize some special techniques to prep the tires for the race. This includes the orientation in which tires are mounted. At most events, tires are mounted as either a left side tire or a right-side tire. Teams can freely interchange fronts and rears on the same side of the car. For Sonoma, we will employ directional mounting, where the left-front and right-rear are mounted the same, and the right-front and left-rear are mounted the same. This directional mounting helps to protect the beveled splice of the tread component, insuring the splice is closed under the force of braking on both front tires, and closed under the force of acceleration on both rears."
    While helping the competition on the track, this mounting procedure will provide a slightly different look for team tire specialists as they arrange their five sets of practice/qualifying tires and five sets of race tires throughout the weekend. "The right-front tire and the left-rear tire will be mounted with the 'non-serial' side facing outwards," explained Stucker. "The molded information for press position and date code on these tires will be on the inside of the assembly rather than the outside. During mounting, the tires will be marked with the positions in which they are allowed to be run - right-front/left-rear or left-front/right-rear. This will allow both tires on the front axle to have tread splices that close under braking and both tires on the rear axle to have tread splices that close under acceleration."
    To go along with all that, Goodyear's distinctive yellow lettering will be applied to both sidewalls of each tire. That way, no matter which side of the car a particular tire is mounted, the "Goodyear" and "Eagle" branding will be visible. Stucker also points out that although this mounting orientation is unique to Sonoma for the Sprint Cup Series, it is a technique that's used extensively by Goodyear in other forms of road racing. Road course racing is somewhat out of the "norm" for NASCAR teams. Drivers are asked to turn both left and right, there are more turns with varying degrees of radii, there are more radical elevation changes than on an oval, etc. Sometimes special problems require special solutions.(Goodyear Racing)(6-24-2016)

  • Jeff Burton and Rick Mast Visit Lexington: South Boston's own NASCAR veteran Jeff Burton and fellow former driver Rick Mast were in Lexington this morning for the opening of Ollie's bargain outlet. Burton is about to get back to work for NBC as they take over NASCAR coverage at Daytona over the 4th of July weekend. "It's great- love it I do. We have a great team, we have a lot of fun and really that's what it is. We are not curing world hunger- we're having fun. We're talking about racing and it's already been a great year this year there's been a lot of things going on and that's going to continue as the Chase gets closer and the pressure gets built up for the teams. I think the racing is even going to get better so we start at Daytona which is always an event filled race and I'm excited about it," says Jeff Burton.(WSLS)(6-23-2016)

  • Petty's Garage Announces 2017 King Edition Ford Mustang Builds: Petty's Garage announced their continued partnership with the Ford Motor Company to exclusively build 500 "King Edition" Ford Mustang GT models. Included in the 2017 lineup is a limited run of 43 builds that include a silver scheme to celebrate "The King" Richard Petty and his 80th birthday in July, 2017. This is the third year that Petty's Garage and Ford Motor Company have joined forces to build the King Edition Ford Mustangs. Since the popularity of the vehicles continues to grow each year, the 2017 builds will be the largest to date. Petty's Garage will be the exclusive builder of four, one-of-a-kind, Mustangs. The high-performance shop will build a naturally-aspirated, non-supercharged model with all the looks and feel of the Petty's Garage Mustang that customers and fans have become accustom to, but at a lower introduction price. Petty's Garage will also introduce a new King EcoBoost model in 2017. This model, with the addition of the race spoiler and signature center exhaust system, mirrors the look of all other Petty's Garage Mustangs, but doesn't sacrifice on power. It is the most radical EcoBoost available to purchase from your local Ford dealer. More info at richardpettymotorsports.com (6-23-2016)

  • Kurt Busch tests car in Abu Dhabi: Before heading back home to the United States for Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, #41-Kurt Busch got the chance to test a Formula One car on the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The course plays host to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix -- F1's final race of the season. Busch also toured Lithuania and attended the Formula One Europe Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series off-weekend.(FoxSports)(6-22-2016)

  • Advance Auto Parts and Quaker State to sponsor #7 TBR team at Kentucky: Tommy Baldwin Racing's Regan Smith will team with Advance Auto Parts and Quaker State for the upcoming Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts race on July 9th at Kentucky Speedway. "We are proud to have Advance Auto Parts and Quaker State back onboard for Kentucky," said team owner Tommy Baldwin. "It's a big race weekend for them as sponsors and we are proud to have them on the #7 car for the weekend."
    "I'm looking forward to heading to Kentucky and having Advance and Quaker State on board for such an exciting race," said Smith. Advance Auto Parts President George Sherman, who will start the race as the Grand Marshal, said "We're looking forward to another great Quaker State 400 race and seeing Regan Smith and the #7 Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet carrying the Advance Auto Parts colors."(TBR), see an image of the car on the #7 team paint schemes page.(6-22-2016)

  • FRR needs more sponsorship for a Truex contract extension: While there has been speculation that Martin Truex Jr. could be the odd man out at Furniture Row Racing (#78) when Erik Jones is promoted to Sprint Cup, that's simply not the case. For now, the only obstacle between sealing the Truex deal appears to be sponsorship. "We're working on it as hard as we can," Furniture Row Racing team owner Barney Visser said. "It's a matter of finding some sponsorship help right now. That's what he needs. That's what we need." Toyota Racing Development boss David Wilson said he hopes to have his 2017 lineup shored up by mid-July. Wilson jokes often that having an abundance of talented up-and-coming-drivers and not enough seats is a good problem to have. Truex has expressed his desire to stay the course with crew chief Cole Pearn and continue building a championship caliber club. Visser is open to operating two Cup teams. However, in order to afford multiple teams, Visser would need a second charter for a new squad as well as additional funding. "Yes, again, it's sponsorships," Visser added. "Toyota is doing everything they can to help us. They've been terrific to work with. They're doing everything they can. Joe Gibbs is doing everything he can to help us get this thing done."(Motorsport)(6-22-2016)

  • Six Spots Remain In Chase After Logano Becomes 10th Different Winner In 2016: Only sixth berths in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup remain with 11 races left until the playoffs. Thirteen of the currently winless drivers have captured checkered flags on at least one of the 10 tracks leading up to the playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #14-Tony Stewart, #6-Trevor Bayne, #31-Ryan Newman, #47-AJ Allmendinger, #16-Greg Biffle, #27-Paul Menard, #5-Kasey Kahne, #7-Regan Smith, #23-David Ragan, #1-Jamie McMurray, #15-Clint Bowyer and #43-Aric Almirola. Furthermore, #24-Chase Elliott, #42-Kyle Larson and #3-Austin Dillon have shown the ability to run up front and could pop up in Victory Lane for the first time at any moment. Earnhardt is the only race winner from last season who hasn't captured a checkered flag in 2016. With just six open Chase berths and 11 races remaining until NASCAR's playoffs, drivers with a "0" in the wins column have to play the risky game of selling out for victory or maintaining a strong points position. If a driver goes for the win and wrecks or runs out of fuel, he/she could fall out of the Chase points positions. In contrast, a driver could go for the safe points finish and get jumped by a new winner outside the Chase Grid.
    The winless drivers who would make the Chase on points today are Chase Elliott (100 points above the cutoff), Dale Earnhardt Jr (+30), Austin Dillon (+28), Jamie McMurray (+21), Ryan Newman (+16) and Ryan Blaney (+11). Elliott and Blaney would become the second and third Sunoco Rookies to ever make NASCAR's playoffs. Denny Hamlin earned a Chase berth in his first full-time season (2006). Third-year competitor Austin Dillon would also take the wheel for his first Chase.
    The first driver on the outside of the Chase bubble looking in is Kasey Kahne, who lurks 11 points behind Ryan Blaney. Kahne is followed by Trevor Bayne (18th on the Chase Grid, 19 points below Blaney), AJ Allmendinger (19th, -27) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (20th, -27).(NASCAR)(6-22-2016)

  • John Bickford to be Inducted into West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame: A Forbes magazine article described 2016 West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame inductee John Bickford as "unusually optimistic, diligent, observant and conscientious about details." Bickford employed all of those qualities - and a stepfather's love - for molding a young Jeff Gordon into one of the brightest stars of NASCAR's modern era. Bickford, from Vallejo, Calif. didn't begin the process with an advanced degree in marketing and public relations; rather he melded common-sense instinct for success with Gordon's innate abilities. By the age of 13, Gordon was driving sprint cars and the family had moved from California to Indiana. Soon, the family hoped, Gordon would reach the Indianapolis 500. Ultimately, Bickford didn't have the millions of dollars required to get his stepson an Indy car test. On advice of Ken Schrader, Gordon attended the Buck Baker's stock car racing school. His racing took a 180-degree turn with Bickford ultimately working behind the scenes to assure the best possible outcome. Jack Roush was interested but Bickford believed Gordon should have greater control of his future. He approached Rick Hendrick and got Gordon what at the time was unprecedented: Bickford got to pick the crew chief - Ray Evernham. The rest is history as Gordon won four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships and 93 races with Hendrick Motorsports before his retirement following the 2015 season.
    Timing favored Gordon's ascension. Cable television had just discovered NASCAR and Gordon - thanks to Bickford - was the perfect candidate for superstardom and off the track income. During Gordon's sprint car racing years, the pair would sit in front of the television and play a game of "what did that driver do wrong" outside the car. The Jeff Gordon seen today as a FOX Sports analyst is further proof of Bickford's diligence and lessons learned. Bickford joins Mike Duncan, Johnny Key, Al Pombo and Jim Thirkettle in the 2016 WCSCHOF class of inductees. A limited number of tickets for the 2016 Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 661-342-2983.(WCSCHOF / PIR)(6-22-2016)

  • Mike Wallace attacked after concert UPDATE3: Three people have been arrested in connection with an assault on former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Mike Wallace and his daughter following a Rascal Flatts concert Friday night in Charlotte, according to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Wallace posted a note on Facebook about the assault, which he said sent him and his adult daughter, Lindsey Wallace Van Wingerden, to the hospital. The 57-year-old Wallace said he suffered a concussion. A CMPD spokesman confirmed that three men were arrested in the Wallace assault.(ESPN.com)
    AND: Kenny [Wallace] said Mike, 57, was kicked repeatedly in the head while unconscious. His daughter tried to jump on top of him to shield Wallace and was kicked in the ribs multiple times. Mike's Facebook page shows a gruesome photo of his bloodied face and two more of his daughter strapped onto a stretcher. Kenny said his brother received 12 stitches inside his mouth for his injuries. He has been released from the hospital.(Fox Sports)(6-19-2016)
    UPDATE: Wallace was on his way to a dentist to have three dislodged teeth repaired on Monday afternoon when he telephoned Daytona Beach News-Journal Motorsports Editor Godwin Kelly and gave his account of the assault and what has happened since the incident. See the Q&A here.
    UPDATE2: An Indian Trail company says it's being unfairly maligned on social media since one of its more than 70 employees was accused of participating in an assault on NASCAR driver Mike Wallace and his daughter Lindsey. Lucas Lawn and Landscaping said in a news release that it's been the subject of online "verbal attacks" since the postings by Mike Wallace and others. Some have called on the company's clients to pull their business. Others urged anyone considering using the company to find another firm. See full article at the Charlotte Observer (6-21-2016)
    UPDATE3: PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte has ended its service contract with a landscaping company whose owner's son was charged in connection with the assault of NASCAR driver Mike Wallace and his daughter. Wallace, his daughter and a third victim were assaulted in the pavilion's parking lot after a Rascal Flatts concert. "We were saddened by the regrettable events that took place on Friday, June 17," PNC Music Pavilion said in a statement. "Upon learning that the offensive actions were taken by patrons who also happened to be employed by Lucas Landscaping, one of our service providers, we took swift and immediate action to terminate services provided by Lucas Landscaping at PNC Music Pavilion."(Charlotte Observer)(6-22-2016)

  • SportsPro lists the world's 50 most marketable athletes: For the seventh time, SportsPro has produced its annual list of the world's 50 most marketable athletes. Once again, the rankings point to a period of change in the three years ahead. One NASCAR driver is listed: #24-Chase Elliott is listed at the 50th most marketable athlete. The post about Elliott: (2015 ranking: 32), After a blistering start to his NASCAR career, winning what was then the Nationwide Series in 2014 at the age of 19, Chase Elliott made the step up to the big time in 2015 with his debut in the elite Sprint Cup for Hendrick Motorsports. He also placed second in the second-tier 2015 Xfinity Series, driving the number nine Chevrolet SS for JR Motorsports, and claimed the Snowball Derby. As of 2016, Elliott's graduation is complete: he drives full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, driving the #24 for Hendrick Motorsports, and part-time in the Xfinity Series. In February, he took pole at the Daytona 500. On top of that, he remains as well liked as ever. In November 2015, Elliott was voted the Xfinity Series' most popular driver for the second year in a row, and with strong commercial assistance from Fuel Sports Management he looks set to continue to prosper. Still only 20, he has healthy crossover appeal, appearing multiple times on the cover of a number of Nascar publications, and he looks set to be the poster boy of stock car racing for years to come. His father, Bill Elliott, is something of a NASCAR legend, winning the major title once, the Daytona 500 twice, and the most popular driver award a record 16 times. If Chase continues on his upward trajectory, he might even eclipse his father's achievements.(see full list at SportsPro)(6-21-2016)

  • Dave Blaney Ready To Return From Injury: former NASCAR driver Dave Blaney is looking forward to getting back into the cockpit of the Motter Equipment Mohawk Northeast Beltline Body Shop #71M sprint car Tuesday, to join the Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions at Sharon Speedway. "We're excited to get back into night five of Ohio Sprint Speedweek competition," said Blaney. "I drove a modified at Brewerton Speedway (N.Y.) Friday and I felt really good. We started the feature in the 24th and last position since the field was set based on points. We raced to 11th place. Sharon is a track where we have raced a lot through the years and we are ready to tackle the competition." Blaney was injured at Eldora May 6 in a qualifying accident during World of Outlaws competition. He made an appearance at Weedsport Speedway May 22, but didn't feel comfortable behind the wheel of the #71M.(National Speed Sport News)(6-21-2016)

  • NASCAR has no plans for Cup to run at Iowa: NASCAR declared the first Camping World-Xfinity series doubleheader at Iowa Speedway as a resounding success, but the short track still isn't necessarily in line for a Sprint Cup race. "We're happy with the status right now at Iowa," NASCAR chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell said Monday during his weekly interview on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. "We've signed multiple-year sanctions with the tracks. Could (a Sprint Cup race at Iowa) happen via the realignment process? Perhaps. But I see our schedule pretty tied up in terms of the Sprint Cup Series and for the foreseeable future." The 0.875-mile track had played host to 12 previous Xfinity races and nine prior truck events, but they all had been held separately prior to last weekend. With NASCAR trending away from standalone Xfinity-truck doubleheader events - there are only five standalone Xfinity races this season, and Iowa has the only Xfinity-Truck weekend - O'Donnell said the oval in Newton, Iowa, occupies an important and unique place on the schedule.(NBC Sports)(6-21-2016)

  • Johnson nominated for Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports Award: While he's on the hunt for his next win and championship trophy, #48-Jimmie Johnson has been nominated for another award: a 2016 Kids' Choice Sports Award. The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion is competing in the Need for Speed category. He's up against other professional athletes including Usain Bolt (Jamaican track and field Olympian), Billy Hamilton (MLB center-fielder for the Cincinnati Reds), Candace Hill (American track and field athlete), Chloe Kim (American professional snowboarder) and Ted Ligety (American alpine ski Olympian). The awards show will air Sunday, July 17, at 8:00pm/et.(Hendrick Motorsports)(6-20-2016)

  • Moffitt looking for another opportunity: NASCAR's Rookie of the Year trophy sits next to the television atop the mantle inside Brett Moffitt's North Carolina home. It's right there in sight each time the 23-year-old Grimes native watches Sprint Cup races and sees stock car racing's biggest stars through his picture screen rather than a windshield. In Moffitt's case, a career that seemed to be gaining speed last summer has stalled since his crowning achievement last fall. He hasn't been behind the wheel of a racecar since his November rookie coronation at Homestead Speedway. "Just watching the races right now kills me," he said. "Hopefully we get back there." Circumstances beyond his control are partially to blame for Moffitt's place on the Sprint Cup sidelines. He signed a contract two years ago with Michael Waltrip Racing after driving an under-funded car to a 22nd-place finish in his debut on NASCAR's top level. The deal was supposed to keep him in an MWR ride through the 2017 season. Then the organization folded last year. "I thought I had a future going," he said. "That was a big shock to me." Admittedly, though, Moffitt is in this position somewhat by his own volition. "There's been offers on the table, it's just not in the equipment we want to be in, so we're waiting for the right opportunity," he said. Agonizing as it is to sit on the couch and watch Cup races each Sunday, Moffitt also sees reason for optimism on the television. He sees young drivers thriving, like Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney, guys he raced alongside - and often beat - during their developmental years on the K&N circuit. It gives him hope that his career can still take off, too, if he can land the right ride.(Des Moines Register)(6-19-2016)

  • Harvick gets new front tire changer: This past weekend at Michigan International Speedway, Kevin Harvick's #4 pit crew had a new front tire changer, Tim Sheets. Sheets' move to the #4 came late in the week and it's uncertain if his position is a long-term fix. Stewart-Haas Racing's #4 crew has always been a top pit crew, but has struggled a bit this year. Sheets was once the front changer for the #31 of Ryan Newman and after he split from Richard Childress Racing joined Casey Mears' #13 team before taking the role on the #4 team.(PitTalks)(6-17-2016)


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Next Race: Coke Zero 400

Countdown to Race Time: 7/2/2016 ~8:05pm/et

Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL

NBC, 7:45pm/et
Motor Racing Network
SiriusXM Radio Channel 90

Qualifying:
Friday, July 1, 2016, 4:15pm/et
TV: NBCSN, 4:00pm/et
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Happy Hour Practice:
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Article / Column / Blog Links

added a MOUND of new links
on JUNE 27, 2016
to the Article Links page, including.......



NOTE: the 20-25 links that seemed the most interesting to me are posted in the basic order they are shown on the Article / Column / Blog Links page with approx 10 days worth of links

Born on Dates / Birthday's


Born in JUNE

27 Johnny Benson Jr, Todd Drakulich, Ricky Mast, Gary Matthews, Dwayne Moore, Bobby Myers, Ed Normi, Gene Petro, Elizabeth Anne Petty, Robby Reiser, Aaron Smith

28 Junior Johnson, Kym Clarke, Mike Skinner, Rich Hubbs, Walter Smith, Scott Hewitt, Sean Murphy

29 Jeff Burton, Martin Truex Jr, Eddie Bierschwale, Jenna Fryer, Page Jones, Tim Petty, Josephine "Ricki" Hendrick

30 Sterling Marlin, Lyndon Amick, Don Miller, Blake Parrott, Allen Bestwick III, Ron Liddell, Chad Tigert, Troy Prince

Born in JULY

1 Mario 'the Gonz' Monzo, Ryan Mathews, David Caraviello, Shannon McGlamery

2 Richard Petty, Sam Hornish Jr., Kevin Henson, Robert Ingram, Bill Seifert

3 Larry Phillips, Jimmy Horton, Kimberle "Paige" Burton, Tyler Rader, Darlene DeRosa, Daniel Smith

4 The USA, Steve Addington, Susan Brewer

5 Bob Labonte, Delano Wood, Chris Golder

6 Todd Kluever, Caron Myers, Joe Dan Bailey, Gere Kennon, Heidi Bodine, Delma Cowart, Gwyn Staley

7 Dolores Adamczyk, Stevie Waltrip, Landon Cassill, DeLana Harvick, Stan Fox, Michelle Fizer, Nealie Stufflet, Eddie MacDonald(MA)

8 Leo Jackson, Keelan Harvick

9 Bon Scott, Stephen Witzke, Donnie Richeson, G.C. Spencer

10 Adam Petty, Brendan Gaughan, Gabi DiCarlo, Skip Jefferson, Jeff Curtis

11 Adam Alexander, Bobby Dotter, Bill Wilburn, James Mashburn, Don DeCecco

12 Benny Parsons, Rick Hendrick, Jim Baldwin, Tom Carey, Tommy Baldwin III, Eric Jones

13 Brad Parrott, Keith Almond, Cheech Marin

14 Jimmy Elledge, Derrick Finley, Jeff Patterson

15 Martha Earnhardt, Matthew Francis, Henry Benfield, Shawn Marie Marcis, Bob Marcis

16 Dakoda Armstrong, Ashlyn Newman, Phil Ditmars, Ed Negre, Wayne Anderson, Chandra Johnson, Jim Rathmann, D.J. Kennington

17 Hoyt Overbagh, Cameron Alice Hill, Eddie Dickerson, Joe Garone, Slick Poston, Monty Self

18 Glen Wood, Nick Ollila, Dan Glauz, Rick Hodges

19 Ray J. Evernham, Wayne Grubb, Brooks Bishop, Miles Bishop

20 Dr. Rose Mattioli, Chad Chaffin, Ronnie Silver, Pete Hamilton

21 Klaus Graf, Gerry Kulwicki, Dave Skog

23 Kurt Umscheid, Jenny Markle, Richie Evans, Buckshot Jones, Larry Wallace

25 Ernie Elliott, Bill 'the Hat Man' Brodrick, Cate Evernham, Joey Arrington, Kelly Punch, Shelby Howard, Jerry Hill, Tommy Britt, Frank Bonsignore

26 Buddy Arrington, Raymond Fox III, Rick Crawford, Rich Vogler, Randy MacDonald, Bill Baird, Jordan Garone, Rick Pigeon

27 Adriana Wells, Jeremy Flowers

28 Matt DiBenedetto, Tina Inman Hussey, Mary Quay

29 Bernie Bisciotti

30 Henry Ford, Robert Grey Allison, Ricky Sanders, Neil Bonnet

31 Kyle Larson, Bob Tomlinson, Louise Smith, Mike Alexander, Flossie Johnson

NASCAR Related Contests

NASCAR News Archives by Year/Month

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