Statement from Torrey Galida, President of Richard Childress Racing, regarding tire penalties: "We understand the seriousness of the penalty. In fact, RCR has been one of the most outspoken opponents against 'tire bleeding' since the rumors began to surface last season. Once NASCAR provides us with the specific details of the infraction we will conduct a further internal investigation, and evaluate our options for an appeal."(RCR)(3-31-2015)
#31 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Team Penalized For Rules Violations: The #31 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for rules infractions discovered as a result of NASCAR's post-event tire audit conducted following the March 22 race at Auto Club Speedway. These infractions amount to a P5 level penalty and violate the following Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
12.1: Actions detrimental to stock car racing
20.16: Wheels and tires
A. Any device, modification, or procedure to the tire or wheel, including the valve stem hardware, that is used to release pressure, beyond normal pressure adjustments, from the tire and/or inner shield, will not be permitted.
F. Modifications to the tires, by treatment or any other means, will not be permitted.
Section 22.214.171.124.1 lists P5 Penalty Violation examples that could include but are not limited to:
A. Effecting, modifying and/or altering the standard tires in any way, other than through authorized means such as tire pressure adjustments within the recommended range, permitted tire cooling when mounted on the race vehicle; or heat-cycling on the race vehicle on the race track earlier in the event.
126.96.36.199.2: Minimum P5 Penalty Options (includes all four points below):
A. Loss of 50 championship driver and owner points, regardless of whether the violation occurred during a Championship race or not
B. $75,000-$125,000 fine
C. Suspension for the next six series Championship Races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, for the crew chief and any other team members as determined by NASCAR
D. Probation through the end of the calendar year for all suspended members, or for a six-month period following the issuance of the penalty notice if that period spans across two consecutive seasons
188.8.131.52.3: P5 Level infractions detected during post-race inspection:
If the infraction is detected during post-race inspection, then the following penalty elements will be added to those listed previously in this section:
A. Loss of an additional 25 Championship driver and owner points; regardless of whether it was a Championship Race or not
B. Loss of an additional $50,000
As a result of these violations, crew chief Luke Lambert has been fined a total of $125,000 ($75,000 plus $50,000), suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. James Bender, team tire technician, and Philip Surgen, team engineer, have been suspended from the next six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period, and been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31.
Driver Ryan Newman and car owner Richard Childress each have been penalized with the loss of 75 (50 plus 25) championship driver and championship car owner points.
"NASCAR takes very seriously its responsibility to govern and regulate the rules of the sport in order to ensure competitive balance," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer. "We've been very clear that any modifications to race vehicle tires is an unacceptable practice and will not be tolerated."(NASCAR)(3-31-2015)
Governor McCrory Proclaims March 31 "Richard Petty Day": Governor Pat McCrory celebrated a living legend today at the Executive Mansion, proclaiming March 31, 2015 "Richard Petty Day" in North Carolina. "It's an honor to have 'The King' of NASCAR here today to celebrate what Richard has accomplished for motorsports in our state," said Governor McCrory. "Richard retired in 1992 with the impressive record as the most decorated driver in NASCAR history. Not only that, but off the track he and his family have made great contributions to our state. One such contribution is Victory Junction, a camp which has brought joy to thousands of families of children with serious illnesses and medical conditions."
Petty was born July 2, 1937, in the Level Cross community of Randolph County. After watching his father on the race track, he joined NASCAR and in 1959 was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Upon retirement, he had earned a record 200 career victories and 7 NASCAR Cup championships. Governor McCrory visited Victory Junction in July of 2013 in Randleman. The camp is in memory of Adam Petty who died in a crash at the New Hampshire International Speedway while practicing for a race in May 2000. The North Carolina General Assembly also celebrated Petty today with a resolution in his honor.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the State where we've always called home," said Petty. "It makes you feel good to be honored by the people who serve your city, county and state. Our entire family has grown up and lived here all our lives and we always tried to give back to our community. I'm proud and humbled by today." Petty was joined by his daughters Rebecca and Sharon and son Kyle in Raleigh today. Both the State Senate and House of Representatives also paid salute to the late Lynda and Adam Petty for their contributions to North Carolina.(Breaking Limits for Richard Petty Motorsports)(3-31-2015)
Latest on Kyle Larson UPDATE2: #42-Kyle Larson watched Sunday's NASCAR race on a laptop in a hospital after failing to get medical clearance to drive after fainting during an autograph session. Larson was in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was taken for further testing. "He's good. No change since he woke up from fainting," team owner Chip Ganassi said from the IndyCar Series season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida. All tests have come back negative, and the team maintains Larson feels fine. But doctors at Carolina's Medical Center, where Larson traveled to by helicopter Saturday night after leaving Martinsville Memorial Hospital, are giving him a battery of tests. Larson is also seeing a neurologist in North Carolina as a precaution. "You are trying to do the right thing and you want to be safe, and you want to err on the side of safety," Ganassi said. "I want to respect the professionals and respect what they are saying, but we want to be realistic, too." Dr. Jerry Petty, a neurosurgeon who works closely with many NASCAR teams, has visited Larson. A member of NASCAR's care center team also has assisted.(Associated Press)(3-30-2015)
UPDATE Larson still in hospital: As of 6:00pm/et Monday [March 30th], #42-Kyle Larson remains in a Charlotte hospital, where tests are ongoing to determine why he fainted during an autograph session Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. A spokesperson for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates told FOX Sports 1 reporter Alan Cavana that the team hoped Larson would be released sometime Monday night. The team spokesman said so far all of the tests have come back negative and that Larson is feeling well and in good spirits. Larson missed Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway, where his seat was filled by Regan Smith, who finished 16th. With six races complete on the season, Larson is 24th in points.(FoxSports)(3-30-2015)
UPDATE2: Statement from Target Chop Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates regarding Kyle Larson: "After extensive testing and observation over the last few days, Kyle Larson was released from the hospital last night and has finished up final tests today. He is currently waiting for final doctor recommendations in order to clear him to return to all NASCAR related activities."(CGR)(3-31-2015)
Statement from NASCAR about the Indiana Legislation: NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes: "NASCAR is disappointed by the recent legislation passed in Indiana. We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance. We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race."(NASCAR)
The legislation passed in Indiana is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which takes effect July 1, would prohibit laws that "substantially burden" a person's freedom of religion unless the government can prove a compelling interest in imposing that burden.(USA Today). More information about the legislation can be found at ABC News, ESPN, theatlantic.com, weeklystandard.com, NBC News and be searched for online.(3-31-2015)
Three drivers start season with top-ten streaks: #78-Martin Truex Jr.'s 7th place finish at Martinsville marked his sixth consecutive top-10 finish. That's the longest top-10 streak to open a season since Greg Biffle scored six top-10s to begin the 2010 campaign (finishing 6th in the standings). Truex isn't the only one though. Points leader #4-Kevin Harvick and #22-Joey Logano also have opened the season with six consecutive top-10s to open the season. The NASCAR record for most top-10 finishes to open a season is 10 set by Lee Petty in 1955 (finished 3rd in the standings) and James Hylton in 1972 (finished 3rd in the standings).(NBC Sports)
UPDATE: the record is actually held by Morgan Shepherd, who opened the 1990 season with 11 consecutive top-10 finishes in the #15 Motorcraft Ford owned by Hall of Famer Bud Moore. Shepherd finished with 16 top-10 finishes in 29 races during the 1990 season, finishing 5th in the Championship.(3-31-2015)
Martinsville TV Ratings: The first ever NASCAR race on Fox Sports 1 was no match for coverage on FOX last year, but still put up respectable numbers. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Martinsville earned a 2.5 overnight rating on FS1 Sunday afternoon, down 34% from last year (3.8) and down 38% from 2013 (4.0), both of which aired on FOX. The 2.5 is the lowest for the race since at least 2002, the last time it aired on cable. Sunday's telecast was the first NASCAR Sprint Cup race to air on Fox Sports 1 (previously Speed Channel). It topped other NASCAR telecasts on the network, including last year's Sprint Cup All-Star Race (1.7), last year's Sprint Unlimited (1.8) and this year's four Xfinity Series races (0.8 to 1.7). Despite airing on cable, the race was the highest rated non-NCAA Tournament sporting event of the weekend in the metered markets. It more-than-tripled competing coverage of the IndyCar Series from St. Petersburg on broadcast network ABC (0.8). FOX was originally scheduled to air the Martinsville race, with FS1 making its debut April 25 from Richmond. The networks swapped the races to accommodate MLB coverage on FS1 that day.(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)(3-31-2015)
American Heart Association Recognizes NASCAR as Platinum Fit-Friendly Worksite: In recognition of its initiatives to help employees live healthier lifestyles, the American Heart Association has named NASCAR a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly Worksite. "Our employees are passionate about NASCAR and we are passionate about empowering them to focus on health and wellness," said Paula Miller, NASCAR senior vice president of human resources. "Through our initiatives and offerings, we try to make it easier for our employees to make healthy living a habit, whether traveling to races or at home. We are proud to be honored by the American Heart Association as a Platinum-Level Fit-Friendly worksite." A Platinum-Level honor is the highest tier of recognition awarded by the American Heart Association. NASCAR earned Platinum-Level accolades by demonstrating a strong commitment to providing a healthy workplace for employees. Notable offerings include physical activity opportunities, increasing healthy eating options and promoting a wellness culture.
In addition, NASCAR also received the American Heart Association's Worksite Innovation Award for its development and implementation of innovative and effective efforts that promote physical activity, specifically in the workplace. NASCAR's health initiatives include: annual onsite biometric screenings measuring cholesterol, blood sugar and BMI (garnering over 89 percent employee participation); Rival Fit (an online program allowing a customizable workout plan and daily menu); a monthly fruit promotion; and Neighborhood Wellness (free coaching for weight management and tobacco cessation available at CVS minute clinics). NASCAR also offers tobacco-free incentives for its medical plan, a preventive care incentive, and an Aetna Fitness Reimbursement.(NASCAR)(3-31-2015)
Final closing period set for Nashville Superspeedway: NeXovation has secured the funding to close on the Nashville Superspeedway. However, the combination of the bond issue and the necessary due diligence have caused recent delays in closing. NeXovation, in cooperation with Dover, agreed on Friday, March 27th to a final closing period, which stipulates that the closing will occur within 60 days. As a show of good faith, NeXovation made an additional investment of $400,000 on March 27th, adding to previous investments made in 2014 and 2015. This fourth investment brings NeXovation's total investment in the Nashville Superspeedway to $2.5 million: four investments equaling $1 million, in addition to its initial investment of $1.5 million, to secure NeXovation's purchase of the Nashville Superspeedway. NeXovation looks forward to bringing its business model and vision for the Nashville Superspeedway to Wilson County, the Nashville area and the global motorsports and OEM communities.(Ackermann PR for NeXovation)(3-31-2015)
Ole Miss Football Coach Hugh Freeze to Serve as Honorary Pace Car Driver at Talladega: University of Mississippi Head Football Coach Hugh Freeze, who has adopted the name "Talladega" for the Rebels' fast-paced offensive plays, will serve as the Honorary "Pace Car Driver" for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, May 3. Prior to the start of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR's mammoth palace of speed, Freeze will lead the 43-driver starting grid around the track's 33-degree banked turns in the track's Official Ford Mustang Pace Car.
"I love watching the competition that goes on at Talladega," said Freeze, who led Ole Miss to a 9-4 overall record a year ago. "One of my favorite races to watch is obviously at Talladega Superspeedway. The term 'Talladega' is one we use around here a lot for our up-tempo offense. Our kids know it as our fastest pace, and I get excited every time Talladega has a race. I am so jacked (about driving the pace car)."
A huge NASCAR fan, Freeze has developed a good friendship with two NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers - Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Danica Patrick. Last year, Stenhouse, Jr., a native of Mississippi, made a Talladega Superspeedway appearance on the campus of Ole Miss to educate students about NASCAR's Most Competitive track. During his visit, Stenhouse, Jr., a life-long Ole Miss Rebels fan, worked out on the practice field with the Rebels' football players after receiving a personal guided tour of the sports facilities by Freeze.
In addition to piloting the pace car during his visit to Talladega, Freeze, who is entering his fourth season at Ole Miss (of the Southeastern Conference), will be a part of pre-race festivities on the Driver Introductions Stage at the start/finish line. Fans can witness pre-race activities with a Sunday "Pit Pass Upgrade" for $75 (in addition to an admission ticket), which allows access to pre-race festivities including: Driver Introductions, Driver Question/Answer Session, view of the Red Carpet Entry to the Drivers Meeting, and access to pit road prior to the start of the GEICO 500.
Only seven days remain where fans can get save $10 off pricing on single-day GEICO 500 tickets. The special offer ends on Friday, April 3. Log on to www.talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 877-Go2-DEGA for more information.(TSS)(3-31-2015)
Superspeedway Qualifying Format Updated for Talladega, Daytona: NASCAR unveiled modifications to the qualifying format at superspeedways across all three national series. The updated format will take effect at Talladega Superspeedway for the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next month.
Qualifying for May's Talladega Superspeedway races, as well as the July events at Daytona International Speedway, will consist of the following:
· Two rounds of qualifying, with the top-12 posted lap speeds advancing to the second round
· Race vehicles taking one, timed lap in each round of qualifying
· Each race vehicle will be released in a predetermined timed interval as determined by NASCAR, with the sanctioning body reserving the right to have more than one vehicle engaging in qualifying runs at the same time
· Qualifying order for the first round will be determined by a random draw; final round qualifying order is determined by slowest to fastest speeds from the first round
· A 10-minute break will occur between the first qualifying round and the final round
· Upon completion of the first qualifying round, the field will be set with positions 13 and beyond determined from first round qualifying speed
· The 12 fastest vehicles from the first round will have their speeds reset for the final round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in the final round
· NASCAR will impound race vehicles following each qualifying lap; vehicles advancing to the final round will be allowed to adjust tape and utilize a cool-down unit during the 10-minute break only
The NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be at Talladega Superspeedway May 1-3. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying will air live May 2 on FOX at 1:00pm/et. The Winn Dixie 300 and GEICO 500 will air live on FOX on May 2 (3:00pm/et) and May 3 (1:00pm/et), respectively.
The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will utilize the format for the first time when the series returns to Talladega Superspeedway with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in October. Qualifying procedures for the 2016 Daytona 500 will be announced at a later date.(NASCAR)(3-30-2015)
Patrick ties most top 10s by a woman: Danica Patrick knows sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. On a long Sunday afternoon at Martinsville, she was both lucky and good. Patrick enjoyed a seventh-place finish in the STP 500 with a little luck, good driving and a good car. One off her career best of sixth set in August at Atlanta, this marked her fifth top-10 finish, which ties her with Janet Guthrie for the most top-10s by a woman in the Sprint Cup Series. The finish was by far her best of the season -- she hadn't finished in the top 15 this year -- as she moved up seven spots in the standings to 16th. It was the first race this year where it appeared she and crew chief Daniel Knost made significant gains in getting the car better.(ESPN.com), see more stats on the Female NASCAR drivers page.(3-30-2015)
Ragan would like to be in the #18 until Busch returns: David Ragan accepted a congratulatory handshake and pat from team owner Joe Gibbs and then turned to face the news media with a broad smile. In his fifth start in the #18 Toyota, he finally had a result to justify his contention that the team wasn't struggling as much as it seemed since he took over for injured Kyle Busch. But he persevered to score his first top five since his May 5, 2013 victory at Talladega Superspeedway. Even more importantly, it came after a stretch of four consecutive finishes of 18th or worse since moving into the JGR car on an interim basis from Front Row Motorsports. Ragan said multiple times in postrace interviews that he believed he could win during his stint in Busch's car. There still is no timetable for Busch's return, nor has it been announced when Ragan will return to Front Row. In the wake of Busch's Feb. 21 crash at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR Talk has reported the plan was for Ragan to drive nine races before turning Busch's car over to Erik Jones at Kansas Speedway. "It's kind of week by week on how Kyle is feeling," Ragan said. "Certainly that's a Kyle Busch decision and a Coach Gibbs decision. There are probably a lot of different scenarios that could play out. Obviously, I hope I'm in the car until the transition for Kyle comes back. That's what the team and everybody wants. They don't want to have to put a third or fourth or fifth driver in, so hopefully Kyle can heal well, and he'll be back sooner than later, and we would have won a race, and I can go back to Front Row Motorsports and carry a Chase ticket back home. That'd be cool."(NBC Sports)(3-30-2015)
Another top 10 for Truex, Jr.: A strong team effort propelled #78-Martin Truex Jr. and the Furniture Row Racing team to a sixth-place finish in Sunday's STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway. It was the sixth straight top-eight finish to start the season for Truex, who set a career best of six consecutive top-10 results. He remains third in the driver point standings as the NASCAR circuit heads into an off weekend for Easter. The top-10 finish also surpassed the five top-10s that Truex posted in 2014, his first season with the single-car Furniture Row Racing team.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-30-2015)
Martinsville Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you 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 1:00 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 5:07 PM (all times are EST). FS1 was the broadcast team for this event.
Total number of commercials: 112
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 51
Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 107
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 50
Number of 'Side-by-Side' commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 5
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 4
Number of times Fox utilized 'Side-by-Side' commercials during this broadcast: 1
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos 'floating' in corners of the screen): 78
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 55 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 1:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 5:07 PM
Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 247
Minutes of race broadcast: 200
Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 47
Minutes of 'Side-by-Side' commercials (split-screen): 3
Number of missed restarts: 0
Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
Total race brdcst time 200 Total comm. brdcst time 47
See full reports, sponsor links, much more details at CawsnJaws.com.(3-30-2015)
Records for consecutive races finishing first or second:
1975: Richard Petty, 11 consecutive races finishing first or second; Petty finished first or second in 11 consecutive races, winning at Charlotte, Riverside, Daytona, Michigan, Dover and North Wilkesboro. Petty finished 2nd at Michigan, Nashville, Pocono, Talladega and Darlington. Won the championship in 1975.
1967: Richard Petty, 10 consecutive races finishing first or second; Petty won 10 straight races in row. Won the championship in 1967.
1971: Richard Petty, 10 consecutive races finishing first or second; Malta(won), Islip(won), Trenton(won), Nashville(won), Atlanta(won), Winston-Salem(2nd), Ona(won), Michigan(2nd), Talladega(2nd) and Columbia(won). Won the championship in 1971.
1964: Richard Petty, 9 consecutive races finishing first or second; South Boston(won), Charlotte(2nd), Greenville(2nd), Asheville(2nd), Atlanta(2nd), Concord(won), Nashville(won), Chattanooga(2nd), Birmingham(2nd). Won the championship in 1964.
2014-2015 Kevin Harvick, 8 consecutive races finishing first or second; Texas (2nd), Phoenix (won), Homestead (won/won championship), Daytona (2nd), Atlanta (2nd), Las Vegas (won), Phoenix (won). Ended at Martinsville when Harvick finished 8th.
1968: David Pearson, 8 consecutive races finishing first or second; Columbia(won), Winston-Salem(won), Weaverville(won), South Boston(2nd), Hampton(won), Darlington(2nd), Hickory(won), Richmond(2nd). Won the championship in 1968.
a few drivers had six/seven consecutive races before the modern era (before 1972)
1996: Jeff Gordon, 6 consecutive races finishing first or second; Bristol (2nd), Darlington(won), Richmond(2nd), Diver(won), Martinsville(won) and North Wilkesboro(won, the last races held there). Came in 2nd in Championship to teammate Terry Labonte.
Hamlin wins at Martinsville: #11-Denny Hamlin won the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway for his 1st win of the season, 5th win at Martinsville Speedway and his 25th career win.
#2-Keselowski finished second, the rest of the top 10: #22-Logano, #20-Kenseth, #18-Ragan, #78-Truex, Jr., #10-Patrick, #4-Harvick, #24-Gordon, and #1-McMurray.
#25-Chase Elliott, making his Sprint Cup debut, was involved in an early accident and spent some time behind the wall for repairs. He finished 38th.
#42-Regan Smith, filling in for Kyle Larson, overcame a spin midway through the race to finish 16th.
Harvick's 8th place finish is his first finish outside the top 2 since Martinsville in October last year.
Harvick continues to hold the Chase points lead, now 24 points over #22-Logano.
There were 31 lead changes among 13 drivers. There were 16 cautions for 112 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 68.843mph.
See unofficial race results, awards, money won, laps led, cautions and more on the Unofficial Race Results page (pdf) and check out the Penalty Report (pdf) and Lap Summary Report (pdf).
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(3-29-2015)
JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs' doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
Statement from Brian France: "All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We've all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs addressed the media Sunday morning at Martinsville:
"J.D. at our team meeting earlier this week, he got up and basically he said, 'I know God has a plan and God puts us through things for a reason.' I think J.D. gains his strength from the fact that he has a personal relationship with the Lord and I have to tell you that he's my hero. I kind of watch him and I don't know if anybody has ever dealt with anything as crazy as J.D. does. He went through a situation with his son Taylor having leukemia at two and we fought through that for about three or four years. By the way, appreciate all of you all's prayers for Taylor and Taylor's doing great today. Like I said, J.D. through his entire life has probably been the craziest person that I've ever been around or knew. Basically, his situation medically - there's very few answers. We've been dealing with this for about six months and basically what the doctor's say is that they really don't know. J.D. has lived a very active lifestyle. All the things that he's done in his life physically he's loved all sporting events and it's everything from football to snowboarding, racing cars, racing motor bikes - he's lived in a lot of ways for him, he loved all those things. We can't point to any one serious thing that happened to him, certainly any injury is a possibility that led us into some of the symptoms that he's experiencing now.
We've been dealing with this for about six months so as far as the management team for Joe Gibbs Racing, we have a senior management team and most of our people have been in place for the full 24 years - it's amazing really. I think very few people have noticed anything or any difference in the way we operate with the race team. The good thing there is that J.D. and I share the same responsibilities. If I'm not there for a particular reason, J.D. will be there and if J.D. is not there for some reason, I'll be there. As he goes through treatment, he will probably be doing less at the race track because he has a full week that demands quite a bit from him as he goes through treatment. You will probably see less of him at the race track, but he'll be there on a day-to-day basis with the race team and be in all of our meetings and all of the key decisions that we make, J.D.'s going to have a huge impact on that.(Toyota Racing)(3-29-2015)
Larson taken to hospital Saturday after fainting UPDATES: #42-Kyle Larson fainted toward the end of an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday and had to be taken to a local hospital for evaluation. A Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates official told Alex Cavanna of FOX Sports that Larson was "being checked out at a local hospital. He was awake and alert on the way to the hospital." The Ganassi official added that the team believes he will be fine, although doctors were still completing their evaluation of him at the time the statement was made. The official also said that "at the moment," the team has "no reason" to believe Larson won't be in the #42 Ganassi Chevrolet for Sunday's STP 500 at Martinsville.(FoxSports)(3-28-2015)
UPDATE: NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said Larson will need to have "medical clearance from the attending physician" to race in Sunday's STP 500.(USA Today)(3-28-2015)
UPDATE 2: "After evaluating him, doctors at Martinsville Memorial Hospital felt that everything checked out well for Kyle Larson, however, just to be safe, they felt he should also be evaluated by a neurologist. Martinsville Memorial Hospital did not have one available so they decided to have Larson make the short trip to Carolina's Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte to be evaluated by one. Larson arrived late this evening to Charlotte, feels fine and is just awaiting a final evaluation at CMC which we hope to have the results of later this evening."(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)
UPDATE 3: After fainting yesterday at an autograph session in Martinsville, VA, Kyle Larson was first evaluated at a local hospital in Martinsville and ultimately evaluated at a Charlotte hospital. Although all tests came back negative and Larson feels completely fine, the doctors felt he should be held for more testing today. Subsequently, Larson will be unable to race today in the STP 500 in Martinsville. Regan Smith has agreed to fill-in for Larson today in the #42 Target Chevrolet SS.(Chip Ganassi Racing)(3-29-2015)
Logano has won in all 3 Series: #22-Joey Logano became the 26th driver to win in all three National Series when he won the Truck Series race Saturday at Martinsville. He now has 9 Sprint Cup wins and 22 XFINITY Series wins to go with the CWTS victory.(3-29-2015)
DiBenedetto, Stewart not happy with each other after practice UPDATE: Matt DiBenedetto was just looking for an opening on the track during practice - that's when he aroused the wrath of #14-Tony Stewart on Friday. On the track the three-time champion flipped off the rookie and yelled at him. Off the track when the driver of the #83 BK Racing Toyota tried to explain what happened, DiBenedetto's attempt was futile. "I went up to him to apologize and explain the situation to him," DiBenedetto told Motorsport.com. "I'm not an idiot. I wouldn't just pull in front of him. I told him the 19 pulled out in front of me on the racetrack. That checked up all of my momentum and by that time - things happen so fast around here - that when I got to Turn 3, he was getting a few car lengths of me so I just pulled over to let him go. He didn't understand. I tried to tell him what happened, but he just told me I just needed to get out of the way and whatever. He really just didn't know what to say. He's just an arrogant prick," DiBenedetto said. "He has anger issues and needs to focus on driving the race car other than dedicating the whole practice session to blocking somebody when it wasn't something I did intentionally. I don't care who he is, he's barking up the wrong tree."(Motorsport)(3-28-2015)
UPDATE: Sprint Cup Series rookie Matt DiBenedetto says all is fine now between he and three-time champion Tony Stewart, but that wasn't the case Friday after the two crossed paths on and off the racing surface at Martinsville Speedway. During Friday's lone NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice, a relatively innocent-looking run-in between DiBenedetto and Stewart led to some harsh words and further explanation afterward. Explaining the situation to Stewart afterward, DiBenedetto said the veteran listened to him, and DiBenedetto believes Stewart now understands the situation better. "He didn't say a whole lot," DiBenedetto said. "I explained what happened and he didn't have much to say, since I explained the whole deal. It is what it is. It was kind of dumb, a little bit of an overreaction. It's all over with now. In reality it's such a small issue. I felt like it was something minor," said DiBenedetto, adding that he was more frustrated for his team than taking it personally. "If I was in his situation I would have kind of blown it off, especially since I made an effort to get out of his way. It is what it is. I guess it's understandable. We'll just move on."(FoxSports)(3-29-2015)
Penske warns teams not to mess with tires: Roger Penske has warned his NASCAR team to stay out of any controversy regarding the possible manipulation of tires used during races. The team owner is aware of rampant industry speculation that some crews are drilling tiny holes in tires to allow air to escape during a race, a process known as "bleeding tires." NASCAR has confiscated tires the last two weeks, including those of Team Penske driver #22-Joey Logano following the race at Phoenix. "It's my understanding that there could be ways to have the tires lose pressure over a stint," Penske said Saturday at the IndyCar Series event at St. Petersburg. Obviously with softer tires, you are going to have better grip and better performance. I've told our guys 'Hey, let's stay out of this.' I can tell you this: we are not making any adjustments to our tires for that type of activity." Penske didn't know what NASCAR was looking for when it took Logano's tires after the March 15 race at Phoenix. He also doesn't know if anyone in the Sprint Cup Series garage is actually bleeding tires. "I can't ever point my finger at anyone else. At the end of the day, guys go fast for different reasons, and someone has an idea that that's going on," Penske said. "I've seen no evidence at this point, at least it hasn't been show to me, to say 'this is happening.' The only finger I'm pointing is at my own guys to make sure we're not involved in anything like that."(Associated Press)(3-29-2014)
Are some teams tampering with tires? UPDATE: Hendrick crew chiefs Alan Gustafson and Chad Knaus talked to the media Friday morning at Martinsville Speedway:
The last two weeks NASCAR has taken tires from teams. After Fontana they sent some of those tires off to an independent laboratory. NASCAR said that is a part of a regular tire audit. What do you guys make of what is going on there? Do you thing they are looking for something specific?
GUSTAFSON: "It's hard to speculate because that is all I could do. In my experience there is a lot of smoke around that. There is a lot of talk, there is a lot of dialogue and there are a lot of rumors in the garage. Yeah, I think it is obvious that some people think something is going on and is NASCAR reacting to that? Or do they feel uncomfortable with what is going on? I don't know that answer. But I do think that it is something that is on the forefront of a lot of people minds. Obviously NASCAR is trying to make sure that we are all on level playing field and if anybody is violating that they will pay the price, which they reminded us this morning is very stiff. That is all I know. Anything beyond that is speculation besides the fact it is a hot topic."
So they warned you?
GUSTAFSON: "I don't want to say warned. Warned may not be the right term, just reminded."
Do you think something is going on?
GUSTAFSON: "Do I think something is going on? I mean I'm busy on Sunday's. I don't really watch what is going on. It's hard for me to say. I don't feel that I have enough information that would warrant a comment."
KNAUS: "I don't know. I don't know if there is anything or not. I really don't. Like Alan said, I'm busy on Sunday and I don't have a lot of friends in the garage. So, I don't talk too much. I don't talk to anybody else either so it's okay. My friends are outside of racing. So, I don't know what is going on. I really don't. I know I sent Richard Buck (Managing Director of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series) a text and said 'hey man could we poke holes in our tires is that okay?' He sent me a text back and said 'absolutely not'. So that is all I know."(Chevy Racing PR)(3-27-2015)
UPDATE: Alan Gustafson, Jeff Gordon's crew chief, termed it a "reminder." But those who may have engaged in alleged unapproved "bleeding" of air pressure from their racing tires-the source of prevalent rumors in the garage-would be well-advised to interpret it as a stern warning. When NASCAR assembled Sprint Cup Series crew chiefs for a Friday morning meeting at Martinsville Speedway one of the topics covered was to "remind" teams of the three primary taboos of NASCAR racing:
" Don't alter the engines in a manner outside the rule book.
" Don't do anything to alter the fuel provided by Sunoco.
" Don't make any unapproved alterations or treatments to the tires provided by Goodyear.
Tires, in particular, have been the center of attention since NASCAR made what it termed a routine "audit" of tires two weeks ago at Phoenix International Raceway. The consensus in the garage is that certain teams have been drilling minute holes in the tires to bleed off air pressure as it builds throughout a tire run. By maintaining consistent air pressure, it's easier to maintain the balance of the car.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-28-2015)
Could the Chevy Malibu return to NASCAR? With Holden winding down its production ventures for 2017, the departure of the rear-wheel drive, 6.2-liter V8 powered Chevrolet SS will soon be upon us. That means the bowtie brand will no longer be interested in promoting it by using it as the body for their NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, so they will have to find a replacement. Lately, Toyota and Ford have used NASCAR to promote their mid-size models, with the two brands running the Camry and Fusion, respectively. Chevrolet will start taking the mid-size segment much more seriously when they pull the veil from the 2016 Malibu in New York next week, so it would make sense if they switched to a new Malibu body for their next Sprint Cup car to help boost sales. Chevrolet's director of car marketing, Steve Majoros, recently told Reuters they are sitting "seventh or eighth place," in the mid-size market and acknowledged they "have tremendous opportunity to grow." The Camry and Fusion are some of the strongest mid-size nameplates around in regards to sales and if Chevy wants to contest them in the showroom, they might as well take it to the track, as well. It wouldn't be the first time the Malibu nameplate appeared in professional stock car racing. The Malibu was Chevrolet's NASCAR body style from 1973 until 1983, when the automaker switched to the more performance oriented Monte Carlo.(GM Authority)(3-28-2015)
Earnhardt, Jr. talks about safety efforts:
What are your thoughts on the new tire barriers right in front of pit road? are you surprised that there are still spots in some tracks where there is absolutely nothing but concrete in places where drivers could potentially end up?
#88-Dale Earnhardt, Jr. "I think that the changes that were made in the last 10 to 15 years to help safety have been great. We put barriers where we felt like were common places the cars hit. But as we found out over the last couple of years, specifically, we'll find all the empty spots where there aren't any barriers. And I think that NASCAR is taking some steps to make it right. The tracks are taking some steps to move it along. You never can be safe enough. You never can do enough to be safe and keep the competitors safe and keep the fans safe. You never can do enough. So you shouldn't ever stop trying. But unfortunately, it takes an accident like that to wake everybody up and make things happen. I know that NASCAR was very disappointed that there wasn't a SAFER barrier on the wall at Daytona and that Kyle (Busch) was injured. And it's real unfortunate to have to go through that whole process to really fire this thing kind of back up and get people moving on it.
"But, at the same time, I appreciate the things that they're doing. And I know that the tire stuff is temporary. The tires are better than the concrete wall, but at the same time those tires can be a problem when you get into those. So I guess their intent, over time, is to get SAFER barriers where they feel like they need it. And until then, we'll have these tires in those areas. I'm happy with the things the tracks are doing. You look back at the cockpit of these cars when I first started driving them, and look at the advances we've made inside the cars and outside the cars, and when I was racing in 1998 and '99 and 2000; and when I was racing Late Models without headrests and neck restraints, I never once was worried about anything ever happening to me. You get complacent, I think.(Chevy Racing)(3-28-2015)
Ambrose not interested in return to NASCAR: Marcose Ambrose announced last week that he would step down as lead driver of the #17 Falcon, in Australia's V8 Supercars. He discussed rumors of going back to NASCAR:
Pretty wild rumours in recent days - you're not venturing back to NASCAR are you?
Ambrose: "There's no NASCAR on the horizon, there was no trip to Alice Springs and visiting Uluru - you know, this has just been a difficult decision to make but I think in the best interests of the team, allow me to reset my clock, just to slow it down some. We'll jump in this car when the time's appropriate and time will tell when that should be, depending on how Scott goes in the car and how it's all going for the team. But certainly for me personally it just slows it down in 2015 and we can reassess as we go."(V8 SuperCars)(3-27-2015)
K-LOVE Radio launches digital racing game: Through its partnership with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing, K-LOVE Radio has launched a digital racing game featuring the #95 Ford. The K-LOVE RACING game is an interactive game that features live action play along with educational "pit stops" where players answer questions to improve their race car performance. Correct answers during "pit stops" allow a player to increase the car's endurance and power, allowing them to race faster and earn more rewards. K-LOVE Radio is in its second year of partnership with Leavine Family Racing and sixth with McDowell. The Christian music network is the primary sponsor of the #95 Ford in five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. The game can be accessed online at http://www.kloveracing.com.(Leavine Family Racing)(3-27-2015)
IMS considering hotel in turn 2: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to build a 125-room hotel with apartments and a restaurant along Turn 2 of the track. Local developer Browning Investments Inc., on behalf of the IMS, put out requests for proposals, which were due March 20. How much interest the RFP generated from developers, or what timing might be for construction, is unclear. IMS President Doug Boles declined to discuss specifics. "We're in exploratory mode," he told Property Lines. "We'll sort that out in the next coming weeks, or months." But judging from the RFP, it seems IMS is operating on a pretty aggressive timetable. "The IMS would like construction to commence as soon as feasible," the RFP states. IMS wants to have new or renovated Turn 2 VIP suites completed in time for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next year, with completion of the hotel to follow by May 2017, according to the RFP. The hotel also could include an unspecified number of apartments and leverage other entertainment opportunities at the track such as a golf-pro shop and clubhouse to complement the Brickyard Crossing golf course, the RFP said. It must offer at least 10,000 square feet of meeting space. A new hotel would bring overnight lodging back to the track. IMS in 2009 tore down the aging Indianapolis Speedway Hotel that was located along Turn 2.(Indianapolis Business Journal)(3-27-2015)
NASCAR sends Fontana-used tires for further evaluation: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that it sent some of the tires used by teams at Auto Club Speedway for further evaluation in a third-party review. The tires of #4-Kevin Harvick, #41-Kurt Busch, #27-Paul Menard and #31-Ryan Newman were taken after Sunday's Auto Club 400 and brought to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., as part of what NASCAR deems a "tire audit." NASCAR wouldn't confirm which tires were sent for more examination, nor where they were sent. Goodyear is uninvolved in the process. The decision to confiscate the tires for further scrutiny was made independent of the tire supplier and unrelated to durability. Goodyear occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway). It was the second consecutive Sprint Cup race that NASCAR conducted a tire audit. After the March 15 race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR checked the tires used by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick and found nothing out of the ordinary. NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel that the audits were "just something we like to do every once in a while."(NBC Sports)(3-26-2015)
Fox tested virtual reality system in Fontana: Fox Sports is exploring virtual reality with NextVR, a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences. The network tested the experience last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California, where NextVR enabled the live streaming of the race in virtual reality. NextVR's software application, which is embedded in a mobile phone that is then connected to a Samsung Gear VR headset, enables viewers to experience the event as if they were there. The footage was streamed to Fox Sports executives and producers working from the at-track television compound. Two cameras captured 180-degree and 360-degree views from an area on pit road and a second spot between the track and the pits. "NextVR has spent the last six years perfecting their VR technology, which made them the logical first choice for Fox Sports to partner with for this test," said Mike Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president of field operation. "NextVR currently is one of the only companies with the ability to transmit live in VR, and their technology is built on a broadcast platform, making it infinitely scalable."(Associated Press)(3-26-2015)
Widow Wax joins Front Row Motorsports: Widow Wax Products joins Front Row Motorsports as an official car detailing partner for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Woodward, Okla.-based company works closely with paint manufacturers, and other OEM suppliers to develop some of the industry's most advanced detailing products in the marketplace. Widow Wax is fully committed to manufacture these products with the environment in mind, as it strives to offer products that are safe for customers and the environment, manufactured and packaged at its 65,000-square-foot facility right here in the USA.(Front Row Motorsports)(3-26-2015)
Demolition of Sprint Cup Tower at Daytona begins: The iconic Sprint Cup Tower that has hovered above Daytona International Speedway for almost three decades has begun its white-flag lap. A 490-foot crane - nicknamed "Big Red" - started picking off pieces of the signature structure Wednesday as the Speedway's Daytona Rising project continued to pick up the pace after a brief layoff. For 27 years, the tower housed corporate gatherings, the media and NASCAR officials on race weekends. It provided a bird's-eye view for some of the track's greatest moments, including Dale Earnhardt's lone Daytona 500 victory in 1998. The crane's first pull was a utility shed on top of the roof. It later came back and grabbed a large support beam. The crane will lift at least 2.24 million pounds of steel - the equivalent of 684 Toyota Camry race cars - and make at least 130 pulls as part of a 30-day demolition project, superintendent Ken Stiles said. Once complete, the tower - built in 1988 as the Winston Tower - and the middle section of the frontstretch grandstands will be completely removed.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(3-26-2015)
Part taken from #33 team by NASCAR UPDATE: on Friday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR confiscated a truck arm (rear suspension part) from the #33 Chevy driven by Brian Scott and owned by Joe Falk. The sanctioning body will take the part to its research-and-development center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-22-2015)
UPDATE: The #33 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection March 20 at Auto Club Speedway. This infraction is a P4 level penalty and violates .... Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
INFRACTION: The ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally.
INFRACTION: Truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from Aluminum solid.
The options for a P4 penalty are outlined in the .... sections of the NASCAR rule book
As a result of this violation, crew chief Slugger Labbe has been fined $50,000 and suspended for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period. Labbe has also been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. In addition, car owner Joe Falk has been docked 25 championship car owner points.(NASCAR), see complete details on the penalalty on the 2015 NASCAR Penalties, Fines & Suspensions page.(3-25-2015)
NASCAR reducing number of tires for teams at some tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin Tuesday containing various updates to the Rule Book. The changes include a reduction in how many sets of tires a team can have for Sprint Cup races at Martinsville, Dover, Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. NASCAR cut the number of sets by one at each track for those races. Teams will be allowed 10 sets of tires for Sunday's race at Martinsville. They'll have nine sets of race tires available at Dover, Michigan, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Teams will have eight sets of tires for both Pocono races with seven sets available at New Hampshire's July race and five race sets at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. With a set of tires costing about $1,900, having to buy one less set will save teams teams about $20,000. NASCAR also reduced how many sets of tires teams are allowed for practice and qualifying by one set at Talladega (now allowed three sets), Daytona (three), Sonoma (four), Watkins Glen (four) and the August Bristol event (four). This reduction will save teams about $10,000. NASCAR has not set the limits for tires for the races starting with Richmond in September through the end of the season. Those races could provide teams more savings.(NBC Sports)(3-25-2015)
Update on pit road officiating: Officials in NASCAR's Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday's Auto Club 400, the second fewest through this year's first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations -- failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations.(NASCAR.com)(3-25-2015)
NASCAR fans remain most sponsor-loyal: NASCAR fans continue to demonstrate the greatest loyalty toward a sponsor's brand among all sports fans in the U.S., according to SponsorLink research released by Repucom. Seven out of 10 NASCAR fans said they are loyal to a sponsor's brand when the brand supports their sport, which is nearly 20% higher than a typical sports fan. Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence, is again monitoring and evaluating the performance of more than 1,000 brands appearing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2015. By using leading technology and advanced data analysis, Repucom monitors the value and quality of exposure and messages getting through to fans and advises clients on how to stand out in the highly competitive commercial space. Repucom analyzes more than 350 hours of NASCAR programming per year, and evaluates how changes to the race schedules, sponsors, teams and broadcast channels impact value versus prior years and among the entire field of entries. In total, sponsors in NASCAR's top three national series earned nearly $1.3 billion in television exposure value in 2014. In addition to audience size, Repucom considers factors such as exposure duration, size, quality and the number of competing messages when determining value. Repucom also measures the value and impact of brand exposure in digital and social media, areas that are becoming increasingly important as media consumption patterns change.(Repucom)(3-25-2015)
Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame names inductees: Renowned NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick headlines this year's list of honorees for the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities on Thursday, April 9, in The Speedway Club's Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick's induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame culminates an evening of recognizing some of the most outstanding individuals in motorsports. Along with Hendrick, other honorees include NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip; four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott; and Texas Motor Speedway's April race title sponsor Duck Commander. Duck Commander, which has played a major role in supporting the initiatives of Speedway Children's Charities, will receive the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The company, made famous by the Robertson family of the popular A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, officially joined Texas Motor Speedway as a race sponsor in 2014. Since becoming a member of the Texas Motor Speedway family, the organization has made key contributions that included unique hunting experiences with TV personality John Godwin, along with signed memorabilia for Speedway Children's Charities Live Auctions. The generosity of Duck Commander has helped Speedway Children's Charities raise more than $55,000 to benefit children in North Texas in the last year. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, is free to the public and remains open year round. The Hall of Fame atrium features pedestals of the inductees with a portrait painting and career highlights.(TMS)(3-25-2015)
Future of of Mansfield Raceway unsure: Even at 80, even after a lifetime of distinction, even after a successful career, Grant Milliron learned a lesson. He bought his way into a business he did not know, trusted the wrong guy and last week found his reputation was in jeopardy. That's not what one of Richland County's best businessmen set out to do on a cold day in January of 2013 when he bought Mansfield Motorsports Park at a sheriff's sale for $800,000. "The last thing I want to do is hurt this community," Milliron said. But that's what threatened to happen. Milliron is from the old-school where handshakes mean something. To break an agreement with a partner is unthinkable. A deal is a deal - good ones and even the bad ones. However, Milliron had never done business with someone like Kevin Ruic. The 71-year-old motorsports promoter from Avon Lake held events and ran shows for 50 years. He had contacts in the industry, and he proposed to Milliron a win-win proposition for the newest property in the portfolio. So the future of the track goes back to being uncertain. "Maybe I was foolish and naive to even think we could even bring this thing back. Maybe I should have dismantled it the day I bought it to tell you the truth," Milliron said. See much more at Mansfield News Journal.(3-25-2015)
NASCAR increases time of first round qualifying at most tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin to teams on Tuesday that will extend the time of first round qualifying at short and intermediate tracks from 15 to 20 minutes. The change applies to Sprint Cup, XFINITY, and the Truck Series.(3-24-2015)
NASCAR could return to single-car qualifying at Talladega: After a mostly disastrous run of group qualifying for restrictor-plate races, NASCAR is considering a hybrid version more similar to the traditional format. As first reported Tuesday morning by Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer, there is a strong possibility that single-car qualifying will be used for the May 3 race at Talladega Superspeedway. A NASCAR official confirmed Tuesday to NASCAR Talk that it still could feature a knockout format with multiple attempts and rounds. There also could be multiple cars on track but likely not in the formation of packs that have caused problems at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR still is reviewing the policy change with drivers, teams and tracks.(NBC Sports)(3-24-2015)
Fontana TV Ratings: Opposite the NCAA Tournament, overnight ratings held steady for NASCAR on FOX. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Fontana (CA) earned a 4.0 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, even with last year (4.0), down 11% from 2013 (4.5), and tied as the lowest overnight for the race in four years - since rain-shortened coverage drew a 3.4 in 2011. Overall, the 4.0 is tied the second-lowest overnight for NASCAR from Fontana since 2000 - not including the fall race that was run from 2004-10. Despite the relatively low numbers, the race was the fourth of five NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts to avoid a year-over-year decline in overnight ratings. It was also the weekend's top sporting event on any network, outside of the NCAA Tournament.(Sports Media Watch via Sports Business Daily)(3-24-2015)
Sherwin-Williams renews as 'Official Paint Of NASCAR': NASCAR and Sherwin-Williams, the nation's largest specialty retailer of paint and paint supplies, announced a three-year extension to their Official Partnership. The newly signed extension will designate Sherwin-Williams as the "Official Paint of NASCAR" through 2017. Sherwin-Williams, a FORTUNE 500 company, will continue to leverage its designation for architectural paint and the power of NASCAR's intellectual property at its more than 4,000 stores nationwide and ignite the passion of its customers - many of whom are fiercely brand-loyal fans of the sport. By continuing as an Official NASCAR Partner, Sherwin-Williams will also retain its designation in the "Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR" and the "Official Transportation Finishes of NASCAR" categories. Through its renewal, Sherwin-Williams maintains its role as a Contingency Sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of the Contingency Program, Sherwin-Williams will be title sponsor of the Fastest Lap Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NASCAR)(3-24-2015)
Refresher on the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package:
-- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
-- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
-- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
-- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
-- Optional driver adjustable track bar
-- 38-inch wide radiator pan
-- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
-- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
Born in MARCH
31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan
Born in APRIL
1 David Gilliland, Ruben Garcia, Kim Irvan
2 Sam Johns, Dan Pardus, Ricky Hendrick, Brain Franklin
3 Speedy Thompson, Doug Duchardt, Shorty Rollins, Jeff Wernham
4 Bill France Jr., Justin Alexander, Justin Diercks, Robert Richardson, Scott Brzozowski
5 Mike Bliss, Buffy Waltrip, Brandy Wallace, Eric Kerley
6 Herb Thomas, Ken Bouchard, Jeffrey Overcash, Chris Carrier, Ramo Stott, George Elliott
7 Billy Mauldin, Loy Allen Jr., Chandler Parrott, Brittany Elliott, Russell Crowe, Bill Carpenter, Kristen Eversole
8 Matt Yocum, Bill Fleischman, Monte Dutton, Butch Mock, Junie Donlavey, Eddie Wood, Robert Pressley, Mark Green, Kathy Ehret, Connie Champion, Ryan Eversole
9 Suzanne Belber, Ed Schafer, Jacques Villeneuve, Jamie Little, Chuck White, Hunter Nicole Dodson, Richard Brown
10 John Dowd, Steve Bisciotti, Kasey Kahne, Robby Pearson, Neil Castles Jr., D.K. Ulrich, Tom Dignan Sr
11 Karsyn Jarrett, Bass Master, Al Keller
12 Mike Calinoff, Tim McCreadie, Lori Lucus, Richard Hutcherson Jr., Bob Strait, Duane Cross, Curtis Turner
13 Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dalton Buice, Dan Gurney, Mike Ford, Jessica Punch
14 Tony Raines, Steve Byrnes
15 Bobby Hutchens, Marty Smith, Kevin Conway, Jason Rudd, Brian Holshouser
16 Alicia Lingerfeldt, Bob Flock, Matt Dusenberry
17 Tony Glover, Len Wood, Brandon Thomas, Carl Larson, Brooke McReynolds, Carol Mears, Reid Spencer
18 Geoff Bodine, Tyler Labonte, Kale Kahne, Jim Noble, Melanie Self
19 Robert Yates, Richard Yates, Jack Roush, Greg Erwin, Kevin Grubb, Al Unser Jr., Aaron Keuhn
20 Frank Stoddard, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner/P>
21 Bill Ingle, Bruce Silver, Bob Varsha, Greg Zipadelli, Ralph Seagraves
22 Wesley Gantt, Stella Paysor, Raygan Swan
23 U.S. Army Reserve, Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze
24 Hermie Sadler, Paul Wolfe, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel