Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour continues Tuesday: More than 240 motorsports journalists will gather for the most prestigious preseason media event in sports, the 33rd annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom. Running Jan. 26-29, the tour offers credentialed media four full days of unrivaled access to announcements from NASCAR executives, drivers, team owners and speedway operators. "This four-day event provides media outlets across the country and around the world with newsworthy content as fans gear up for the 2015 NASCAR season," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "It's always interesting to see new faces in new places and I'm always as excited as our fans to hear what the drivers and owners have to say about the upcoming NASCAR season. Our sport has a lot of momentum from 2014 as we roll into a new year."
During the tour, credentialed media from across the United States, and as far away as Germany, will preview the 2015 racing season. The Associated Press, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, Sirius XM, Performance Racing Network, Motor Racing Network, Reuters Newswire, The New York Times, The Sporting News and USA Today are among the major outlets that will be represented on the tour.
Participating media will get the latest news from NASCAR teams such as Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Joe Gibbs Racing, Furniture Row Racing, Leavine Family Racing, JTG Daugherty Racing, Hendrick Motorsports, Richard Childress Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, Team Penske, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, HScott Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing. The media contingent will also visit Charlotte Motor Speedway, the new Ford Tech Center and the Mint Museum in Charlotte for special programs.
Daily updates, including video and photo galleries will be available at charlottemotorspeedway.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway and via Twitter at twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.(CMS)
AND The schedule:
Monday, Jan. 26
1:30 pm/et: State of the Sport with NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France
4:00 pm/et: Joe Gibbs Racing
Tuesday, Jan. 27
9:00 am/et: Michael Waltrip Racing
11:00 am/et: JTG Daugherty Racing and HScott Motorsports
1:00 pm/et: Stewart-Haas Racing
3:15 pm/et: NBC Sports
Wednesday, Jan. 28
9:00 am/et: Roush Fenway Racing
11:00 am/et: Richard Petty Motorsports
1:30 pm/et: Wood Brothers Racing and Leavine Family Racing
3:15 pm/et: Team Penske
Thursday, Jan. 29
9:00 am/et: Furniture Row Racing
10:30 am/et: Richard Childress Racing
1:00 pm/et: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
3:00 pm/et: Hendrick Motorsports
(fans can watch team presentations live at NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Michael Annett joins HScott Motorsports as second full-time driver: HScott Motorsports enters the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) season with a new look as it expands to two cars. Justin Allgaier will return to the #51 BRANDT Chevy while Michael Annett joins the team and will drive a Chevrolet adorned by longtime anchor partner Pilot Flying J. "The addition of a second team increases HScott's overall ability to better utilize its resources at track and at the shop to be even more competitive," said team owner Harry Scott Jr. "I'm proud to have seen Justin truly mature as a NSCS driver last year, and I can't wait to see what he does this year. Like Justin, Michael is coming off his rookie year following six years of competition in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Michael is a quality driver with a great future at HScott Motorsports. These drivers compliment one another and will make great teammates."
"This is as excited as I've been for a new season, I can't wait to get to Daytona and fire the engines," said Allgaier. "I'm looking forward to carrying the momentum from the end of last season over to this year. Michael is a great addition to our organization and I'm glad to have a teammate to compete with each week."
BRANDT Professional Agriculture, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, returns as the primary sponsor of the #51 Chevy for 21 races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on February 22. Auto-Owners Insurance will also be the primary partner on the #51 for three races.
"Justin and the #51 team continue to be a great source of pride for BRANDT employees and customers, and we are all looking forward to a great 2015 season," said BRANDT President and CEO Rick Brandt. "I'm excited for the opportunity to drive for HScott Motorsports," said Annett. "I am impressed with the way Harry is building his NASCAR teams. Harry and competition director Steve Addington have a long-term vision and I'm honored to be part of it. I'm also looking forward to having Justin as a teammate." Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel retail centers, will be a primary partner on Annett's car. Other partners include Cypress Associates, Inc., Allstate Peterbilt Group and Northland Oil.(HScott Motorsports), no car number for Annett was announced. Annett drove the #7 Chevy for Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2014.(1-27-2015)
Alliance Truck Parts to sponsor Keselowski in six races: Alliance Truck Parts returns to the Team Penske #2 Ford Fusion team for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a primary sponsor for Brad Keselowski. The black and yellow Alliance Truck Parts colors will adorn the Team Penske Ford for six races in 2015.(Alliance Truck Parts), see an image of the scheme on the #2 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2015)
Axalta becomes title sponsor for Pocono race in June: Pocono Raceway and long-time partner, Axalta Coating Systems, announced a multi-year entitlement agreement which includes the renaming of the annual June NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race held at 'The Tricky Triangle' as the Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400. "We are very excited to share this great news, in cooperation with everyone at Axalta Coating Systems," said Pocono Raceway President/CEO, Brandon Igdalsky. "They have been a great addition to the Pocono Raceway family, and we look forward to growing this relationship in 2015 and beyond. What makes this even more special is the fact we get to work hand-in-hand with a true global powerhouse who also calls the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 'home.'"
"Axalta is proud of its 22-year motorsports partnership," said Axalta Vice President and head of its North America business, Nigel Budden. "As a leader in the US refinish business, our paint graces racecars that burn rubber on the track each season and we proudly support four-time NASCAR® Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon. Now, we are pleased to expand our racing involvement as Pocono Raceway's title sponsor of the upcoming race on June 7th. We look forward to cheering on Gordon as he vies for a seventh win at Pocono Raceway."
Axalta Coating Systems is "The Official Finish" of Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, the two most recent NSCS championship organizations. They also sponsor the #24 Axalta Coatings Chev driven by Jeff Gordon, who is the winningest NASCAR driver at Pocono with six victories (June 1996, June 1997, July 1998, June 2007, June 2011 and August 2012).
Tickets for the June 7th Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 start at $45. Kids, ages 12 and under are eligible for half-price grandstand tickets starting at $22.50. For tickets and more information, visit www.poconoraceway.com or call 1-800-RACEWAY (1-800-722-3929).(Pocono Raceway)(1-27-2015)
Moffitt in the #55 at Atlanta: Brett_Moffitt will be driving the #55 Aarons Dream Machine at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(MWR Twitter), doctors have medically cleared regular #55 driver Brian Vickers to return to full-time Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery and Vickers will return at Las Vegas. Team Owner Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the Daytona 500.(1-27-2015)
No early exit expected for title sponsor Sprint: The last time NASCAR needed a title sponsor for its premier series, the existing company was replaced with four years remaining on its contract. But executives aren't expecting a repeat with Sprint already having announced its impending exit after the 2016 season. "Do I think (Sprint) will exit early? No," NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps told MotorsportsTalk after NASCAR played host to the opening news conference Monday of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "Do I think we'll find someone for '16? No. Only because we want to make sure the process is really followed smartly. Trying to rush through to find something for '16 ... although on one hand, people might say, 'You get someone new, (and) they're not a lame duck' or whatever term, I don't think that's the right approach. And the good thing is since Sprint is very engaged, they are honoring their commitments to us, which are extensive. So I think we're in a good spot." Sprint officials have indicated they fully will honor the remainder of its deal, and NASCAR Chairman Brian France said Monday after his annual State of the Sport address that he didn't expect Sprint would be replaced early. NASCAR and Sprint entered into negotiations about the title sponsorship last fall, and the wireless communications company announced its departure in mid-December with two years left on a three-year extension that was signed in 2011.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
2016 Rules could debut at All-Star race? NASCAR heavily is considering using the May 16 Sprint All Star race as a trial run of the rules package for the 2016 season and has begun informing Sprint Cup teams of the possibility, multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk. During a state of the sport address to open Monday's Media Tour, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell noted the All-Star Race was the goal for unveiling the rules for next season. The 2015 rules were delivered in September, which O'Donnell said was the earliest release yet. "We anticipate beating that marker in 2016, and we'll look to bring the rules package to the teams as early as we can with a target date of around the All-Star Race for this year," O'Donnell said.
An official with direct knowledge of the All-Star Race proposal said Charlotte Motor Speedway and Sprint were supportive of using the 2016 rules because it also would prevent teams from getting a jump on preparing for the Coca-Cola 600 and increasing the likelihood of a lackluster race. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the plan wasn't finalized.
The Sprint All-Star Race could use a jolt of relevance. In nine editions since the repaving of Charlotte in 2006, there has been one lead during the final five laps of an event billed as promoting a no-holds-barred style. In the past three Sprint All-Star Races, the winner has led the final 10 laps. But a potential drawback for NASCAR could be whether the sneak preview of the 2016 rules delivers a better version of the racing than with the current rules that will be featured over four hours the following week at Charlotte in the season's longest race. There's no timetable for the decision on using next year's rules in the All-Star Race, but NASCAR tested some ideas for next year during a session last month at Charlotte. More testing is expected to occur at Atlanta Motor Speedway next month and at Charlotte in March. This year's rules will feature a significant decline in downforce and about a reduction of about 125 horsepower. Another cut in downforce is expected in 2016, which will make cars' handling more difficult.(NBC Sports)(1-27-2015)
Kyle Busch tired of being confused with brother Kurt: #18-Kyle Busch said Monday he has not gotten involved in his older brother's personal issues and is disappointed he has been mistaken for Kurt in coverage of assault allegations against the 2004 NASCAR champion. #41-Kurt Busch spent four days over the last two months in a Delaware courtroom as part of a hearing regarding an ex-girlfriend's request for a no-contact order. Patricia Driscoll alleged Busch assaulted her in September during an argument at Dover International Speedway. "Haven't spoken to him, don't know nothing; trying to stay away from it all and let him handle his business," Kyle Busch said. But he's been dragged into it as the case drew national attention earlier this month when Kurt Busch testified he believes Driscoll is a trained assassin. In several instances, Kyle has been wrongly identified as his brother. "I think it's stupid. I think people need to do a little bit more background before they write names or say names if they don't know what the heck they are talking about," Kyle said. "It's not that hard to differentiate between two people that have the same last name. I think people need to do a better job and not be so slackish. It hasn't been bothersome from a sponsorship standpoint, yet, that I know of. I know it could be if it continues to keep going, but it's the wrong brother. But I think the relationship I have with the Mars family is far beyond that, hopefully."(ESPN/AP)(1-27-2015)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. returns to racing: Bobby Hamilton Jr. has signed to drive for Nitroforce Industries - Titan 1000 Dodge for the entire 2015 ARCA Racing Series season. Hamilton Jr., 37, who has run in the NASCAR Sprint Cup (last race in 2005) and Busch (now XFINITY) Series in the past, was slated to drive for Carter 2 Motorsports before negotiations fell apart early in the 2014 ARCA Racing Series season. "I have worked together with (Hamilton Jr.) in the 1990s, and he is so much fun to work with," said team owner Roger Carter. "We also believe he will be a great mentor to our younger drivers this season. He is a total asset to our team and the direction we are headed this season." Hamilton has made a total of eight career starts in the ARCA Racing Series during the 1998 and 1999 seasons.(Tennessean), Hamilton Jr. ran a Truck Series race at Nashville in 2011 finishing 22nd.(1-27-2015)
New Names Fill 2015 NASCAR Drive For Diversity Roster: NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D), the leading developmental platform for female and multicultural drivers and pit crew members, announced its 2015 class today. The program welcomes four talented program newcomers to the roster of six drivers striving to transition into the sport's national series spotlight. Rev Racing, the program's competition arm, has played a key role in the development of 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suarez. Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2015 class is led by returning K&N Pro Series East driver Jay Beasley and Devon Amos, who after an impressive 2014 performance in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series earned a spot in the K&N Pro Series East.
Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, the development program aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping NASCAR D4D drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series. Growth of the program extends to pit crew members under the NASCAR D4D Crew Member Development Program, also managed by Siegel. In 2014, more than 30 multicultural athletes pitted fulltime for teams across all three national series.(NASCAR/Rev Racing), see full driver list and more on the Driver Development News page.(1-27-2015)
NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T announced: The NASCAR Foundation, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Sprint this week announced a special competition that will recognize an outstanding area middle school for its exemplary approach toward problem-solving and making real world connections using science and technology. The NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T. (Promoting Innovation & Technology) Crew Project was created to inspire learning among middle school students (grades 6-8) in the Charlotte area. Participating schools will compete to build a unique concept or model that illustrates science and technology principles through motorsports applications. The middle school voted to have created the best concept will have its project considered for display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame this fall, and will receive a large-scale technology renovation for one of its common rooms, courtesy of The NASCAR Foundation and program sponsor Sprint. Additionally, middle school finalists will receive field trips for up to 300 students each to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
CMS schools must submit a letter of intent to participate in the P.I.T. Crew Project by Friday, Feb. 6, and there will be a special information session for teachers hosted at the NASCAR Research & Development Center later that month. The students' final projects are due March 30 and the winning school will be announced during the 2015 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race festivities in Charlotte in May. For more information on The NASCAR Foundation's P.I.T. Crew Project, visit NASCARFoundation.org.(NASCAR)(1-27-2015)
No changes to Chase in 2015: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday afternoon that the format for the new Chase for the Sprint Cup will be unchanged for 2015. France, speaking at the kickoff event for the 2015 Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, said the sanctioning body is coming off "perhaps its best Chase ever" and is carrying a lot of momentum into the season. Last year was the first time NASCAR used the expanded format for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, with a field of 16 drivers and a winner-take-all elimination format in the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-26-2015)
Teams will not be allowed to alter side skirts: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will no longer be allowed to alter their car's side skirts during an event, a practice that became widespread during the 2014 season. At the NASCAR State of the Sport to kick off the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, Executive Vice President of Racing Development Steve O'Donnell said the sanctioning body will bring cars back down pit road if officials see that the side skirts have been manipulated during a pit stop in the race. O'Donnell said it would police flared skirts "by any means possible," including use of the new pit road technology that will make its debut during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway. The pieces, officially known as vertical rocker panel extensions, are located along the bottom of the car's body between the front and rear tires. They help seal the area between the bottom of the car's chassis and the track surface, limiting airflow underneath the vehicle. Not all teams were flaring the pieces last season, but those that did typically would make the adjustment during an early pit stop. NASCAR allowed the practice to continue as the season progressed, but said on several occasions it was something that would be addressed after the completion of the 2014 season.(NASCAR.com)(1-26-2015)
Fox NASCAR Commences 15th Year of NASCAR Coverage: FOX NASCAR opens the 2015 season, its 15th year broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first of its new 10-year media rights agreement, with expanded coverage and the return of its popular broadcast team, coupled with new on-air faces that include a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions. "Broadcasting any sports property for 15 years is a labor of love and a tremendous privilege," said Eric Shanks, President and COO, Executive Producer, FOX Sports. "NASCAR has been part of the fabric of FOX Sports since we first hit the air at Daytona in 2001, and with our new 10-year commitment, FOX NASCAR is poised to showcase what we expect to be the most riveting competition in years with what certainly is our deepest pool of on-air personalities ever."
Mike Joy, Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds, the original FOX Sports broadcast team which began its NASCAR run at the 2001 Daytona 500, return to the booth for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on FOX and FOX Sports 1. The team is joined on pit road by reporters Matt Yocum and newcomers Jamie Little and Chris Neville. FOX NASCAR expands its schedule from 13 to 16 races in 2015 with 10 on FOX and six on FOX Sports 1. Chris Myers hosts FOX NASCAR SUNDAY, the network's fast-paced prerace show from the traveling Hollywood Hotel, alongside brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip.
This season, FOX Sports adds coverage of the NASCAR XFINITY Series, second only to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as the most-watched racing series in the country, the first 14 races of the year. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 12 of the events while FOX broadcasts the races from Phoenix and Talladega. Adam Alexander calls play-by-play alongside Michael Waltrip and a rotation of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers scheduled to contribute as analysts, including reigning champion Kevin Harvick, four-time champ Jeff Gordon and 2012 champion Brad Keselowski. Vince Welch leads reporting on pit road for every XFINITY Series race, joined by a rotation of Little, Neville and Yocum.
FOX Sports 1 continues with exclusive coverage of the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season for the 13th consecutive year with Alexander, Joy and Brian Till filling in on play-by-play until Steve Byrnes returns from a medical leave of absence. Joy has the call from Daytona for the season opener. Longtime FOX Sports 1 analysts Phil Parsons and Michael Waltrip are back in 2015. Hermie Sadler leads pit road reporting with a regular rotation of Welch, Yocum and Kaitlyn Vincie. FOX Sports 1 telecasts 22 of the series' 23 races live in 2015, while FOX broadcasts the Talladega race.
NASCAR RACEDAY, FOX Sports 1's popular prerace show, heads back to the track in 2015, live from the middle of the fans at the new and versatile FOX Sports Stage, which puts fans in the center of prerace activities prior to each Sprint Cup race. Danielle Trotta hosts during the FOX portion of the year with McReynolds and Kenny Wallace before handing off hosting duties to John Roberts for the second half of the season. Vincie and FOX Sports 1 newcomers Alan Cavanna and Andrew Doud report alongside FOX NASCAR team pit reporters covering the day's race.
For NASCAR XFINITY SERIES prerace coverage, Trotta hosts NASCAR RACEDAY - XFINIITY live from the track, with McReynolds and Wallace offering analysis and Little, Neville, Welch and Yocum reporting. Roberts hosts NCWTS SETUP live before each Truck Series race with analysis from two-time series champion Todd Bodine.
NASCAR RACE HUB, FOX Sports 1's daily news and update program, kicks off the 2015 season live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour on Monday, Jan. 26 at its new time of 6:00pm/et. Alexander, Trotta and Roberts co-host the hour-long program. The network bolsters its analyst pool in 2015 to include Wally Dallenbach, Jeff Hammond and McReynolds, who are joined by a rotating team of drivers and crew chiefs that features AJ Allmendinger, Greg Biffle, Drew Blickensderfer, Bodine, Chad Knaus and Joey Logano. For the first time, NASCAR RACE HUB features three fulltime reporters with Cavanna, Doud and Vincie reporting daily from NASCAR race shops and Ray Dunlap delivering Truck Series feature reports. NASCAR RACE HUB airs Mondays through Thursdays at 6:00pm/et.
NASCAR RACE HUB expands to the weekend in 2015 to offer at-track updates and news as it breaks throughout the course of the race weekend. Roberts hosts alongside Hammond with reporting by Cavanna and Vincie. In addition, NASCAR VICTORY LANE on FOX Sports 1 recaps each Sprint Cup Series race with highlights and analysis. Myers hosts with Wallace and Michael Waltrip and post-race reports from the garage.
DAYTONA 500: FOX Sports kicks off the season by offering multi-network, multi-platform coverage from Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, culminating with live coverage of the DAYTONA 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22 (1:00 pm/et) on FOX with live pre-race coverage on FOX NASCAR SUNDAY (12:00 pm/et). FOX also carries POLE DAY QUALIFYING on Sunday, Feb. 15 (1:00 pm/et) and the SPRINT UNLIMITED on Saturday, Feb. 14 (8:00 pm/et), both live. FOX Sports 1 presents live coverage of its first NASCAR XFINITY SERIES race on Saturday, Feb. 21 (3:30 pm/et), the BUDWEISER DUEL AT DAYTONA on Thursday, Feb. 19 (7:00 pm/et) and live coverage of the season-opening NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race on Friday, Feb. 20 (7:30 pm/et).
In addition, FOX Sports 1 premieres two NASCAR original specials during Speedweeks in a special programming block on Friday, Feb. 13. A PERFECT STORM, debuting at 7:30 pm/et, chronicles the events of Feb. 18, 1979, detailing how a major blizzard struck the Eastern seaboard, creating a "captive" audience for the first live flag-to-flag television broadcast of the Daytona 500. The one-hour special, produced by NASCAR Productions, features excerpts from the race broadcast, recently discovered archival footage and first-person accounts from the network broadcasters, drivers and fans who witnessed the historic event that is credited with putting NASCAR on the map. A second special, entitled 1979 DAYTONA 500, premieres at 8:30 pm/et.
Also back by popular demand in May for the second consecutive year is FOX SPORTS 1 - 10 DAYS OF THUNDER. The special multi-sport programming block is anchored by two weekends of NASCAR racing from Charlotte Motor Speedway, highlighted by live coverage of the NASCAR SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE, NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES race and the COCA-COLA 600, in addition to comprehensive support programming and premieres of FOX Sports 1 originals.
All NASCAR programming on FOX and FOX Sports 1 is streamed live through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content. FOX Deportes, the leading sports network in Spanish, returns in 2015 for its third season of NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES coverage with eight live races, beginning with the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb 22. Mexican driver and NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES competitor German Quiroga joins the broadcast booth as analyst.(FOX Sports)(1-26-2015)
NBC adds Dale Jarrett to NASCAR Broadcast Team: NBC Sports Group has reached an agreement with 1999 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and 2014 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Dale Jarrett, who will serve as a pre- and post-race analyst during live coverage of select NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR XFINITY Series racing on NBC and NBCSN. Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, will be among the first to welcome fans to NBC Sports' 10-year chapter as the home of NASCAR's championship run when he, Krista Voda and Kyle Petty open up NBC's live pre-race coverage from Daytona International Speedway this 4th of July weekend. In addition to handling pre- and post-race coverage, Jarrett will also serve as a booth analyst during select NASCAR XFINITY Series races and contribute to NASCAR AMERICA on NBCSN. "We are excited to welcome Dale and his Hall of Fame credentials to our NASCAR broadcast team," said Sam Flood, Executive Producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. "As a former Champion, his experience and insights will help us set the stage and break down key races throughout the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup."
The appointment of Jarrett follows previous NBC Sports NASCAR on-air announcements for analysts Jeff Burton, Steve Letarte and Kyle Petty, race announcer Rick Allen, pre- and post-race host Krista Voda, and reporters Marty Snider, Kelli Stavast, Mike Massaro, Dave Burns and Rutledge Wood. "I'm very pleased and excited to be a part of NBC Sports and their NASCAR coverage," said Jarrett. "NBC has assembled an All-Star crew for their coverage, and I'm honored to be a part of this group that will bring NASCAR fans inside the sport we all love." Of NBC Sports Group's 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBCSN. Four of NBC Sports Group's 19 NASCAR XFINITY Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2015)
Pit coach Greg Morin stepping down at HMS: The Hendrick Motorsports athletic department has gone through some turnover in the past few months and now they have another obstacle to get through. Coach Greg Morin, coach of the #48 and #88 teams, has decided to pursue other interests outside of racing and will be leaving the team at the end of January. Early in the year, pit coach Lance Munksgard also left HMS to pursue a career outside of racing. Along with both coaches being gone, HMS lost four different crew members to Joe Gibbs Racing at the end of the 2014 season. See what Morin had to say at Pit Talks.(1-26-2015)
Harvick wins NMPA Driver of the Year Award: Defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #4-Kevin Harvick has been named the recipient of the NMPA's Richard Petty Driver of the Year Award for 2014. The award, which has been presented each year since 1969, is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership. Harvick was presented the trophy by the award's namesake, seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty, during the annual NMPA Awards Dinner Sunday night at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. It is the second time Harvick has been honored with the Richard Petty Driver of the Year award. Elevated to Cup competition following the 2001 death of seven-time champion Dale Earnhardt, Harvick responded by winning twice and finishing ninth in points in Cup while also winning the Busch (now XFINITY) Series championship. Harvick received nearly 75% of the vote cast by the membership. Other receiving votes were NASCAR drivers Chase Elliott, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Newman, along with six-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz (NASCAR.com), see an image of the award presentation at Kevin Harvick's Twitter.(1-26-2015)
Lynda Petty Named Spirit Award Winner: Lynda Petty, the wife of seven-time NASCAR premier series champion Richard Petty, has been named the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's annual Spirit Award for 2014. Petty, who passed away March 30, 2014, was one of the founding members of the Racing Wives Auxiliary, a charitable organization that provided assistance to those in need within the racing community. Today the group, now known as the Women's Auxiliary of Motorsports, seeks to enrich the lives of women, children and families through various education and wellness programs. In addition to raising and caring for a family of four, Petty also was active in numerous community and civic endeavors. The NMPA Spirit Award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, the NMPA membership selects four quarterly recipients, with an overall winner chosen from among the four candidates at season's end. Petty was the first quarter recipient of the award for 2014. Other recognized for their efforts were driver Martin Truex Jr. (second quarter), long-time car owner W.C. "Junie" Donlavey (third quarter) and brothers Darrell and Michael Waltrip (fourth quarter).(Motor Racing Network)(1-26-2015)
Atlanta Fan-Friendly Hotel Deals and Travel Packages Available: Fans attending the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway Feb. 26 through March 1 have numerous affordable options for lodging and travel in the immediate Atlanta area through local partnerships. Marriott Hotels, the official hotel partner of Atlanta Motor Speedway, as well as several other local Atlanta area hotels have partnered with Atlanta Motor Speedway to offer fans lodging options with affordable rates while they are visiting the speedway during the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend. Each of these hotels will offer fans affordable nightly rates while not requiring multiple-night stays. A complete listing of Atlanta Motor Speedway's fan-friendly hotels is available by visiting atlantamotorspeedway.com. Additionally, PrimeSport, the leader in providing direct access to the biggest sporting events and the official travel package provider for Atlanta Motor Speedway, is offering fans exclusive travel packages for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend.. For more information or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-26-2015)
Is a NASCAR TV analyst career in Jeff Gordon's future? UPDATE: Would Jeff Gordon trade his helmet for a headset after exiting his #24 Chevy after the 2015 Sprint Cup Season? The four-time series champion said Friday morning he would consider a career as a TV analyst in NASCAR after he leaves full-time competition this year. "I love the sport," Gordon said during an interview with "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM Radio's NASCAR channel. "I'm very passionate about it. I love to critique it. I think I could do a good job with that. I don't think it's an easy job. I'll be honest. I have a lot of respect for those that do it from radio and TV. I'd entertain it." Multiple sources have told MotorSportsTalk that Gordon put out feelers to TV networks last year about the possibility of eventually entering the broadcast booth. But Gordon, who hasn't ruled out racing in myriad series beginning in 2016, said he would be spend the season mulling his next step. "I don't know if (TV is) at the top of my list right now," Gordon said. "Throughout this year, one of the things I have to get acclimated to is actually to have a real job. That's going to be an adjustment".(NBC Sports)(1-24-2015)
UPDATE: Jeff Gordon's TV career will start this year, as the soon-to-be-former Sprint Cup Series driver will serve as a rotating analyst for FOX Sports' Xfinity Series broadcasts. Gordon will switch off his Xfinity Series (formerly called Nationwide Series) analyst role with defending Cup champion Kevin Harvick and former Cup champ Brad Keselowski. Those are just part of many changes for FOX, which goes into this season splitting TV broadcasting duties with NBC. The news will officially be announced Monday.(USA Today)(1-25-2015)
Chip Ganassi Racing wins Rolex 24 at Daytona: Scott Dixon drove a gritty and lengthy final leg Sunday to lead Chip Ganassi Racing and its "star car" to a record-breaking sixth victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The three-time IndyCar champion relieved Kyle Larson, NASCAR's reigning rookie of the year, with 3 hours, 32 minutes remaining in the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. Dixon was tasked with conserving fuel and making no mistakes in pursuit of the Rolex watch. The Iceman delivered, and made it look easy, too. He totaled more than seven hours behind the wheel of the Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley Prototype, and had teammates Larson, Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray and Indianapolis 500 winner Tony Kanaan watching with little worry as he closed out the victory. The win gave team owners Ganassi and Felix Sabates their sixth win in 12 Rolex attempts - most in the 53-year history of the race. It was the second win for Dixon, who was part of the 2006 victory with Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon. It was the first Rolex win for McMurray, Kanaan and Larson, who felt he was so underwhelming in his debut last season that he let his team down and never wanted to return to the sports car race. Instead, he drove his own impressive three-plus hour stint in the middle of the night, then put together a brief but error-free run Sunday morning to get the team into the time window to turn the car over to Dixon. McMurray joined AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win the Daytona 500 and the Rolex.(Associated Press)(1-25-2015)
BRANDT returns to sponsor the #51 in 2015: BRANDT, a leading agriculture retailer and manufacturer of agricultural specialty products, announced they will return as a primary sponsor of the #51 driven by Justin Allgaier in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. BRANDT will be the primary sponsor for 21 races over the 2015 season. 2015 will be BRANDT's second year in NASCAR's top series and fifth year as a primary sponsor with driver Allgaier and team owner Harry Scott Jr. in a NASCAR national series. "The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series brings awareness to our brand beyond traditional marketing efforts and serves as a platform to conduct business in a unique atmosphere," said Rick Brandt, President & CEO of BRANDT. "NASCAR enables us to connect and engage with our grower customers and distribution partners in ways that are otherwise impossible."
"I am very happy to have BRANDT back aboard the #51 in 2015," added team owner Harry Scott Jr. "This will be our fifth year partnering with the folks at BRANDT, and the second year for HScott Motorsports in the Cup Series. We learned a lot as a team in 2014 and I am excited for what 2015 will bring for Justin, Crew Chief Steve Addington and everyone at HScott Motorsports and BRANDT."
The sponsorship marks the fifth year that BRANDT has supported Riverton, IL native Justin Allgaier. "I am thrilled that the BRANDT Professional Agriculture brand will be the primary sponsor of the #51," said driver Justin Allgaier. "I'm looking forward to my second season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, thanks to BRANDT. They are a great partner and I'm looking forward to our continued success together.
"Justin has been a great ambassador for BRANDT both on and off the track," explained Brandt. "The agriculture industry knows and respects Justin as a person and a driver. He really understands our business and how we can grow it through NASCAR."
Joining BRANDT on the car are the National FFA Organization, Nutrients for Life Foundation, PT&E, TradeMark Nitrogen, Grigg Brothers and BRANDT iHammer brands to make up a complete Ag car.(HScott Motorsports)(1-25-2015)
Bill Elliott talked to Ford about Chase Elliott: When Bill Elliott is inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday, most of the highlights will show him wheeling a Ford. He made his name driving Fords and he was synonymous with the blue oval brand. So to see his son, Chase, driving a Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports affiliate JR Motorsports is a little bit strange. "I tried to make the Ford thing happen," Elliott said. "It didn't. I saw it one way and they saw it another way and it didn't work out. Mr. Hendrick came to us with an opportunity that at the point in time, it wasn't much of an opportunity but he was the only one that would talk to us." Elliott won the 2014 Nationwide (now Xfinity) Series title, and is expected to step into the Hendrick #24 car after Gordon retires at the end of 2015. "My gratitude to (Hendrick), I just can't say enough about the man about what his character is in the sport and what he's done for us," Elliott said. "That kind of went against my roots as far as the Ford goes, but that's the path we ended up having to take at the point in time and I can't do anything about it. Right now, it's set and that's the way it is."(Sporting News)(1-25-2015)
Roush had a shot at Jeff Gordon: Fifteen years ago or so, while researching a NASCAR book, one of the people Tom Jensen interviewed was John Bickford, Jeff Gordon's stepfather and business manager. Bickford, who was the architect of Gordon's career from his early days as a kid in quarter midgets until Gordon was an established NASCAR star, had plenty of interesting stories. One of them surrounded how Gordon wound up in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After growing up racing open-wheel cars on asphalt and dirt, Gordon ran two full seasons in what's now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 1991 and '92. And while Gordon is one of the most recognizable Chevrolet drivers today, in those days he drove Ford Thunderbirds owned by Bill Davis. Naturally, Ford Motor Co. was keen to see Gordon move up to Sprint Cup in a Ford.
According to Bickford, in 1992, NASCAR team owner Jack Roush called him up and told Bickford he wanted to hire Gordon. After a brief discussion, Bickford said he was amenable to the idea of Gordon driving for Roush and he had a great young crew chief named Ray Evernham who Bickford wanted to be part of the deal. "My drivers don't get to pick their own crew chiefs," Roush told Bickford. "I do that." Whereupon Bickford said he hung up the phone, because it was a package deal. Bickford knew Gordon and Evernham already had great chemistry and would be successful together. He didn't want Gordon to have to start over with a new crew chief.
Roush called back and said there must have been a problem with the phone and Bickford said, no, he had hung up on Roush deliberately. Upon hearing that, Roush went on to explain that if he was making the expensive and potentially risky investment in a promising, but unproven young talent, he had to have the comfort level of hiring the crew chief himself. That was the way Roush always worked in the past and the way he was going to work in the future. And that's when Bickford said he hung up on Roush a second time, and when negotiations between the two officially ended.(Tom Jensen / FoxSports)(1-25-2015)
MRN welcomes Kim Coon & Rusty Wallace; Eli Gold returns: Motor Racing Network - launching its 46th year on the air - has announced the addition of former Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon and the return of veteran voice Eli Gold to its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series lineup for the 2015 season, which also will feature Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace. Coon's duties will include reports from pit road during the network's Cup Series qualifying shows, and interaction with fans via social media and on the air during MRN's race coverage. Gold was a vital cog in the network's formative years and is one of its most recognizable talents after more than three decades on the air. He will host MRN's pre-race and post-race coverage of the Sprint Cup Series, and provide in-race updates. Coon will join Gold as a contributor to the pre-race show.
Wallace, the 1989 Cup Series champion, was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in February 2013. He'll bring a driver's perspective to MRN programming in 2015 with a presence during select race broadcasts and on weekly network shows, and provide commentary and content at MRN.com.
Coon, a Florida native, spent four seasons (2011-2014) as Miss Sprint Cup and is one of only 11 ladies to fill that role. Coon is a graduate of the University of Miami and earned a Master's Degree in Communication from the University of Alabama in 2007. Gold also has ties to the Crimson Tide as the radio voice of Alabama football. But to NASCAR fans, he's best known for his work on the Motor Racing Network. Since 1984, Gold has hosted "NASCAR Live" each Tuesday evening and will continue to do so as a complement to his new assignment in the Sprint Cup Series.
Coon's debut will follow with MRN's coverage of Budweiser Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, which will begin Feb. 13 and culminate with the 57th running of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 22. Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle will anchor Motor Racing Network's broadcast of "The Great American Race" starting at 12 p.m., also with live streaming at MRN.com.(MRN)(1-25-2015)
AMS Chase Elliott Ticket Package announced: Atlanta Motor Speedway has created a ticket package special for Chase Elliott fans for the Saturday, Feb. 28 Hisense 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. By purchasing a regularly-priced $40 general admission ticket to the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series and Atlanta 200 Camping World Truck Series race doubleheader in the Chase's Crew section near the start/finish line, purchasers will receive a Chase's Elliott foam finger. As an added bonus, the first 200 to purchase a Chase Elliott ticket package will have an opportunity to participate in an autograph session with Chase on race day at the JR Motorsports souvenir hauler in the AMS Fan Zone. Chase Elliott ticket packages are extremely limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis. For more information and to become part of Chase's Crew, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-25-2015)
Former New York NASCAR track site being prepared for development: Staten Island (NY) Marine Development's (SIMD) large expanse of industrial-zoned land in the West Shore Green Zone -- formerly earmarked for an 82,500-seat NASCAR racetrack before it was derailed by public skepticism and political opposition -- is being prepared for development. And even before the 671 acres -- of which 330 acres will be developed -- is fully ready for construction, real estate moguls are eyeing the site to lure big box and manufacturing industry to the borough.(Staten Island Live)(1-25-2015)
Investigation into Kurt Busch's alleged assault of ex-girlfriend continues: A spokesman for the Delaware Attorney General's office told FOXSports.com Friday afternoon that authorities are continuing to investigate allegations that former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch assaulted ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll last fall during the race weekend at Dover International Speedway. Driscoll went to police last Nov. 5 -- 80 days ago -- alleging that Busch slammed her head into the wall of his motorhome three times during an argument. Busch has emphatically denied assaulting Driscoll. The investigation into the alleged assault is being conducted to determine whether or not Busch will face criminal charges. Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the state Attorney General, told FOXSports.com that "the investigation is continuing and there is no timetable" for its conclusion. Kanefsky also said no decision has been made about charging or not charging Busch. Earlier, in a Delaware family court, Driscoll sought a court order seeking no contact from Busch. That case has not yet been ruled on, but is expected to be within the next two weeks. (in part from FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Jeff Gordon's famous colors just barely made cut: It all started with a promise from Ray Evernham in the summer of 1992. The now-legendary crew chief was a young up-and-comer at the time and was looking to give Jeff Gordon a present for his 21st birthday. Evernham headed to NASCAR artist Sam Bass' studio near Charlotte Motor Speedway in the hopes of getting a program cover. When Bass gave him the program free of charge, he added one condition: When Evernham and Gordon went Sprint Cup racing, Bass wanted a shot at designing their car's paint scheme. True to his word, Evernham would later call Bass and give him the green light to develop three designs to be presented to sponsor DuPont.
After putting together two designs, Bass came to the day of the presentation and a light bulb went off. "I had two of the designs done, and the morning of my presentation I was driving to work and it just hit me that DuPont and their automotive finishes brand were trying to portray that they had a rainbow of colors," Bass told FOXSports.com. "I thought, 'Man, if I arched three colors over the top of that DuPont logo, which is an oval, that would be your rainbow.' I did that on the hood. I did it on the sides. I put neon red, neon green, neon blue, neon yellow." Upon completion of his drawing, Bass said he immediately knew the rainbow design was definitely the best of the three he was submitting. "The story goes that DuPont had 43 drawings to select from," he said. "And they chose mine. It's pretty cool and pretty special to be associated with that car and that driver for the whole 23 years so far."
Long before the days of car wraps, the paint scheme would have to be painted in the body shop, utilizing the multiple bright colors Bass had used in his design. "I thought the guys in the body shop were going to kill me because it was a very complex car to paint," he said. The rest is history, and the rainbow design of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet became one of the most iconic and recognized paint schemes in NASCAR history. Bass then recalled a meeting with Gordon after the design was approved to go over the paint scheme and work out the firesuit design. Upon being shown the paint scheme, Gordon's only request for the firesuit? He did not want to look like a clown. "I guess the design worked, because he wore that firesuit for nine years," Bass said with a laugh.(FoxSports)(1-24-2015)
Ingersoll Rand becomes 'Official Power Tools of NASCAR': NASCAR and Ingersoll Rand, a global leader in reliable and innovative power tools, announced a multi-year partnership designating Ingersoll Rand as the "Official Power Tools of NASCAR." An innovator in tool technology, Ingersoll Rand products have been a staple in NASCAR garages for more than 50 years. The multi-faceted agreement also designates Ingersoll Rand as an Official Partner of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) and as a contingency sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of this integrated partnership, Ingersoll Rand will be at the track each weekend providing expert tool support, service, new tool demonstrations for pit crews and will offer fans the opportunity to try tools first hand. Additionally, Ingersoll Rand will launch its Home Tracks Text-to-Win contest for fans at tracks throughout the season. Fans will have opportunities to win an Ingersoll Rand prize pack and meet-and-greets with pit crews and other high-profile racing and automotive personalities.(NASCAR)(1-24-2015)
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announces class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announced its 27th class of inductees today at Daytona International Speedway, a list of legends representing a variety of racing disciplines. Ricky Carmichael, Walker Evans, Warren Johnson, Tommy Kendall, Mark Martin, Duke Nalon, and Lloyd Ruby will be inducted Thursday, June 18 at Detroit's historic Fillmore Theater. "This year's class truly reflects the wide range of American motorsports - which has always been the foundation for our facility," said Ron Watson, president of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. "These gentlemen achieved success on two wheels and four, on dirt and pavement, on every kind of track - plus off the road entirely."
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America is racing's Cooperstown, memorializing achievement in all forms of motorized competition. Over the years, 216 motorsports luminaries have been inducted. The 99-person nominating panel itself reads like a "who's who" of racing, with stars such as Mario Andretti, Don Garlits, Craig Breedlove and Richard Petty involved in the process. Friday's announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-24-2015)
Gordon's 3M scheme unveiled: 3M unveiled Jeff Gordon's #24 3M paint scheme for 2015 via their YouTube channel. Gordon will run the 3M colors in 11 races during the 2015 season. See images of the scheme on the #24 Team Schemes page. The first race Gordon is scheduled to run the 3M scheme is at Atlanta in March.(1-23-2015)
Gordon and Hendrick NASCAR teleconference:#24-Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports team owner, Rick Hendrick, met with members of the media to discuss Jeff Gordon's announcement that 2015 will be his final full season of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. Below are some high lights from Thursday's NASCAR teleconference:
Q. I'm curious. You didn't use the word retirement in your statement. With the way NASCAR's rules are as far as ownership and driving, it looks pretty difficult to see you in a car after next year if it's not -- unless something were to happen to a Hendrick driver or something like that. Can you just not mentally use that word or do you really think there is a chance you could be in a Cup car at some point after 2015?
JEFF GORDON: Well, the way I see myself in the world is that retirement means you go off to a beach somewhere and sit in a rocking chair on the front porch and drink your coffee and pet your dog. That's not me. I plan on working. I'm going to be working -- I'm actually going to have to get a real job now. So when I think of retirement, I just don't think that that's what I'm doing. I want to leave myself open, as well, to be able to get in a car. It doesn't have to be a Cup car. It could be an [XFINITY] car. It could be a truck. It could be a prototype for Le Mans or the Rolex. It might not be any of those things. Heck, I was just out in the desert driving buggies and I maybe want to do the Baja 1000. I don't plan on doing any racing, but I know I'm not going to be retiring because I have a lot on my plate already that we have plans for, and we'll be talking about in the future. And I'm excited about that. I really am.
Q. Rick, obviously there is a lot of speculation about Chase Elliott. Where does he fit into the plans given this announcement?
RICK HENDRICK: Oh, we're just kind of looking at what's down the road a little bit later. We're going to kind of focus on Jeff and what he's accomplished, and then at a later time we'll kind of focus on who is going to be in the car.
See the full transcript at the Team Chevy website.(1-23-2015)
NCMA Honors Mike Helton and Tom Higgins: More than 400 North Carolina motorsports industry members and enthusiasts gathered Wednesday night at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Resort to honor NASCAR President Mike Helton. Before a crowd that was a who's who of the stock car racing community for the ninth annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards presented by Fifth Third Bank, Helton became the ninth recipient of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award, which is given annually by the North Carolina Motorsports Ass'n. Team owner Richard Childress, who received the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award in 2010, presented the award to Helton, who was clearly humbled and somewhat uncomfortable in the role of honoree.
"I've made a lot of these presentations in my life, but I really got nervous being on this end of it," Helton said. "I won't accept this award only personally, but I will accept it on behalf of our whole staff at NASCAR and in particular those at the R&D Center." Helton talked about the importance of organizations like the NCMA looking out for the best interests of motorsports companies before concluding his remarks in typical Helton style. "I am very grateful for this recognition and I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," Helton said. Helton was then joined on stage by Childress, Talladega Superspeedway Chairman Grant Lynch and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Clint Bowyer with the group swapping stories about Helton's career as NASCAR's top official.
Other former winners of the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award have been Bill France Jr., Benny Parsons, Dale Earnhardt, Bruton Smith, Junior Johnson, H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler and the Jarrett family.
Earlier in the evening longtime Charlotte Observer reporter Tom Higgins received the Jim Hunter Memorial Media Award.
The annual NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards went to Charlotte Motor Speedway's STEM program, GoPro Motorplex, the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma, the Safer Racer Tour and deBotech.
Among the other attendees were Bobby Allison, Richard Petty, Larry McReynolds, Ray Evernham, Ned Jarrett, Wheeler, John Darby, Jimmy Makar, Lake Speed, Doug Herbert and Austin Dillon.(Speed Sport - NSSN)(1-23-2015)
Campground Lake at Atlanta gets a new name: A small lake covering one of the nearly 900 acres that make up Atlanta Motor Speedway has a new name. Inspired by a pair of ever-present residents of the bird variety who have made a home out of its cozy confines and grassy banks, the AMS staff has dubbed the lake within the unreserved tent campground near the oval's fourth turn "Swan Lake." While visitors of many species frequent the lake for its convenient water access, feeding grounds and nearby jogging trail, its full-time residents, male and female swans affectionately known around AMS as Ricky and Danica, can be seen most days feeding, floating and frolicking - as all swans do - in and around the lake's shoreline. But Ricky and Danica are just a small portion of the abundant wildlife population at AMS, which includes several hundred geese, an abundance of fish, the occasional wandering deer and a small group of cats, including Shaky Leg, the courageous feline who infamously scampered across the track in front of Kevin Harvick during last year's Oral-B USA 500. Race fans can read all about Swan Lake and stay up to date with all the exciting Atlanta Motor Speedway news by signing up for the email newsletter by visiting the Atlanta Motor Speedway website at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-23-2015)
NASCAR Statement from Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, on Jeff Gordon: "Jeff Gordon transcends NASCAR and will be celebrated as one of the greatest drivers to ever race. We have all enjoyed watching his legend grow for more than two decades, and will continue to do so during his final full-time season. His prolonged excellence and unmatched class continue to earn him the admiration of fans across the globe. Today's announcement is a bittersweet one. I'll miss his competitive fire on a weekly basis, but I am also happy for Jeff and his family as they start a new chapter. On behalf of the entire NASCAR family, I thank Jeff for his years of dedication and genuine love for this sport, and wish him the very best in his final season."(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)
Jeff Gordon to run final full-time NASCAR season in 2015: Jeff Gordon will compete in his 23rd and final full-time Sprint Cup Series season in 2015. He announced his decision this morning to the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team he has driven for since November 1992. "As a race car driver, much of what I've done throughout my life has been based on following my instincts and trying to make good decisions," Gordon said. "I thought long and hard about my future this past year and during the offseason, and I've decided 2015 will be the last time I compete for a championship. I won't use the 'R-word' because I plan to stay extremely busy in the years ahead, and there's always the possibility I'll compete in selected events, although I currently have no plans to do that. I don't foresee a day when I'll ever step away from racing. I'm a fan of all forms of motor sports, but particularly NASCAR. We have a tremendous product, and I'm passionate about the business and its future success. As an equity owner in Hendrick Motorsports, I'm a partner with Rick (Hendrick) and will remain heavily involved with the company for many years to come. It means so much to have the chance to continue working with the owner who took a chance on me and the incredible team that's stood behind me every step of the way. Racing has provided a tremendous amount of opportunity that's been extraordinarily rewarding and fulfilling in my life. The work we're doing with the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation will continue to be extremely important to me. Outside the race car, my passion is pediatric cancer research, and my efforts will remain focused there when I'm no longer driving. I'll explore opportunities for the next phase of my career, but my primary focus now and throughout 2015 will be my performance in the No. 24 Chevrolet. I'm going to pour everything I have into this season and look forward to the challenge of competing for one last championship. To everyone at NASCAR, my teammates, sponsors, competitors, friends, family, members of the media and especially our incredible fans, all I can say is thank you."
Gordon, 43, has earned four career Cup championships, 92 points-paying race wins and 77 pole positions, all for longtime car owner Rick Hendrick. He is third in all-time victories behind only NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Richard Petty (200) and David Pearson (105). One of the most versatile drivers of his era in any auto racing discipline, Gordon's résumé includes three Daytona 500 victories and a record five Brickyard 400 wins. He is the sport's winningest road course driver with nine victories, stands alone as the all-time leader with 12 restrictor plate wins and has won at every track on the Sprint Cup circuit with the exception of Kentucky Speedway.
"There's simply no way to quantify Jeff's impact," said Hendrick, who first noticed Gordon during a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March 1992. "He's one of the biggest sports stars of a generation, and his contributions to the success and growth of NASCAR are unsurpassed. There's been no better ambassador for stock car racing and no greater representation of what a champion should be. I will never be able to properly express the respect and admiration I have for Jeff and how meaningful our relationship is to me. I'm so grateful for everything he's done for our company and my family, and I look forward to many more years together as friends and business partners." Hendrick Motorsports will announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date.(Hendrick Motorsports)
AND while nothing has been announced and it mentions in the above PR that HMS will "announce plans for its 2016 team alignment at a later date", most are speculating that Chase Elliott, the 2014 Xfinity Series Champ and son of NASCAR legend Bill Elliott, would replace Gordon in a fourth HMS Chevy starting in 2016. Elliott supposedly will run some Sprint Cup Series races in 2015 in a fifth HMS entry (a fifth team is allowed for a rookie driver).(1-22-2015)
NASCAR Selects Fanatics to Operate At-Track Merchandise Business: NASCAR, NASCAR Team Properties (NTP) and Fanatics jointly announced today a 10-year agreement for the sport's at-track merchandise business that will deliver fans an enhanced, experiential shopping environment. As part of the agreement, Fanatics has acquired certain exclusive rights from NASCAR and NTP that will make the company the primary retailer of NASCAR, team and driver merchandise at all 38 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends. Fanatics, the market leader for officially licensed sports merchandise, powers the e-stores for hundreds of the top sports leagues, teams and schools, including a long history running NASCAR's e-commerce business. The NASCAR at-track deal expands Fanatics' growing in-venue partnerships. The new trackside retail model will be phased in at NASCAR events over the course of 2015. It will evolve from using solely haulers for each specific team or driver to displaying all merchandise in a climate-controlled superstore retail environment supported by, in instances, smaller satellite retail touch points around the track. The new model will have the following enhanced benefits and added options for fans:
· Ability to offer the largest at-track selection of NASCAR merchandise ever
· Selection to include a major expansion of women's and kids' items
· A more functional way to browse, shop and interact with merchandise
· Separate stores within the footprint for teams, drivers, memorabilia and collectibles
· Dedicated area for driver appearances
· An interactive customization center where fans can create their own personal NASCAR gear
Fanatics Apparel, the company's manufacturing and customization division, will also produce merchandise to complement the already extensive product line that will be offered by authorized licensees. "A merchandise center will provide a more personal, organized, comfortable and convenient shopping environment for our fans," said Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Partnering with an industry leader in Fanatics allows us to offer a comprehensive and seamless shopping experience for our fans - whether it is in-venue, online or on mobile devices." The new trackside retail model will utilize the latest innovations and initiatives in retail promotional design. According to a study conducted by Experian Marketing Services (Simmons National Consumer Survey, Fall Full Year 2013), NASCAR fans are at least 20 percent more likely than non-fans to notice various types of promotions while shopping, including: video monitor displays, signs on merchandise racks or shelves, and advertising on the floor - among others.
"Fanatics is extremely excited to partner with NASCAR and NASCAR Team Properties to greatly expand their at-track retail presence," said Ross Tannenbaum, president of Fanatics Authentic. "We have taken the time to listen to what the fans, teams, drivers and NASCAR were asking for and look forward to using our market-leading scale, technology and production capabilities to deliver an improved and entertaining shopping experience for years to come."(NASCAR)(1-22-2015)
MSHFA Class of 2015 Finalists: Finalists for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2015 class have been determined. The Hall will unveil its seven new members on Friday, January 23, at Daytona International Speedway prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The racing legends will join the Hall of Fame during the 27th Annual Induction Ceremony on June 18, 2015 at the Fillmore Theater in Detroit.
The nominees are:
veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach
nine-time Indycar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi
championship owner Carl Haas
innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand
three-time Indy winning owner Pat Patrick
Indy 500 veteran Lloyd Ruby
father of the Chrysler 426 Hemi Tom Hoover
six-time NHRA Pro Stock Champion Warren Johnson
announcer Dave McClelland
pioneer Paula Murphy
one of the first Funny Car drivers Gene Snow
Strange Engineering's boss Bob Stange
fifteen-time AMA Grand National race winner Everett Brashear
ten-time Motocross champ Ricky Carmichael
dirt track king Neil Keen
three-time Daytona 200 winner Dick Klamfoth
two-time world Superbike champion Fred Merkel
1950 AAA National Champion Henry Banks
NASCAR's first champion Red Byron
1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund
Novi legend Duke Nalon
mechanic and builder Ray Nichels
midget / sprint car king Bob Sweikert
youngest member of the "Alabama Gang, Davey Allison
championship owners Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick and Jack Roush
two time NASCAR Cup chanpion Terry Labonte
40 Sprint Cup Series race winner Mark Martin
off-road champion Walker Evans
GM Racing's Herb Fishel
NASCAR's VP of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter
off-road racings "Iron Man" Ivan Stewart
"Miss Hurst Golden Shifter" Linda Vaughn
famed writer Brock Yates
Dyson Racing founder Rob Dyson
four-time Trans Am champ Tommy Kendall
racer and broadcaster Sam Posey
five-time 24 Hours of Daytona champion Scott Pruett
Scarab's designer and builder Phil Remington
driver/founder of the legendary "Group 44" teams Bob Tullius
The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame of America is operated by the nonprofit Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-22-2015)
2015 Pocono Groundhog Day Special: It's time for Pocono Raceway's annual Groundhog Day Special! They have partnered up with Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs for a great offer this year! On February 2nd, the eyes of the world will focus on the esteemed Punxsutawney Phil to see if he will prognosticate an early spring or six more weeks of winter. If Phil does NOT see his shadow, anyone who purchases a Pocono Raceway $25 Gift Card, as part of this Groundhog Day Special, will receive $20 in Free Slot Play from our pals over at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs. More info at poconoraceway.com.(Pocono Raceway)(1-22-2015)
Atlanta Motor Speedway extends ticket office hours: To better serve customers purchasing event tickets and camping spaces for the Feb. 26-March 1 Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Weekend, Atlanta Motor Speedway has extended its ticket office hours through Sunday, March 1. Beginning this Saturday, the ticket office will be open on weekends, including Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Additionally, the ticket office will extend its weekday hours an additional three hours and will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning Monday, Feb. 9. Several money-saving tickets options are still available for each day of the upcoming Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend, see these options at atlantamotorspeedway.com. For more information or to purchase tickets today, call the AMS ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit atlantamotorspeedway.com.(AMS)(1-22-2015)
Ron Hornaday to drive for TMG in Cup: Veteran NASCAR driver, Ron Hornaday, will be the primary driver of the #30 TMG Chevy for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, starting at Daytona International Speedway. Hornaday, a longtime veteran in the NASCAR garage, starting off in the NASCAR K&N Series in 1989, he quickly advanced to the top series in the sport. In addition to an impressive 55 combined series wins, Hornaday also has four NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championships. "I am happy to be signing on with Curtis Key and the entire TMG organization for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Season," Hornaday said. "This team has been working really hard during the offseason to get cars ready for Daytona and the rest of the season. I'm hoping to bring some guidance and racing knowledge to this start up Cup team."
TMG Owner Curtis Key commented, "We are glad to have Ron Hornaday come on board with The Motorsports Group. Ron has been involved in the NASCAR industry for over 20 years now. His experience and knowledge of the industry is exactly what we need this first year in the Sprint Cup Series." Sponsorship opportunities are still available for the #30 TMG Chevy. More information on sponsorships will be announced in the coming weeks leading into the start of the 2015 NASCAR season.
The Motorsports Group, TMG is owned by Virginia businessman, Curtis Key. Purchasing the team in 1993 from 2-time Busch Series Champ, Tommy Ellis, the team currently resides in Mooresville, NC. In 2009, TMG entered into the NASCAR Nationwide Series as a full time competitor, and in September 2014, announced participation in the top tier, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(TMG)(1-21-2015)
Vickers medically cleared to race in early March: Doctors have medically cleared Brian Vickers to return to full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup racing in early March, three months after corrective heart surgery. Vickers will make his season debut in the #55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota for Michael Waltrip Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 8. MWR co-founder and two-time Daytona 500 champion Michael Waltrip will drive the #55 in the 57th annual Daytona 500 on Feb. 22. MWR will name a substitute driver for the March 1 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway later. "The doctors gave me a clean bill of health and said I will be better than before," said Vickers, the 31-year-old Thomasville, N.C. native whose health issues interrupted his racing seasons in 2010 and again in 2013. "The advancements in modern medicine and surgical procedures are amazing and I have to thank my doctors at the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and Carolinas Medical Center for their extraordinary care. I have literally put my life in their hands twice and I cannot begin to express my level of gratitude. I was not feeling well in December, so I went to see Dr. William Downey in Charlotte. He discovered my body was rejecting a patch that was surgically placed over a hole in my heart a few years ago. He and Dr. R. Mark Stiegel immediately went to work on correcting the problem. I also want to thank the great counsel along the way by Dr. Jerry Petty, Dr. Robert Heyer and my hematologist Dr. Stephan Moll from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine who is the founder of www.clotconnect.org. "Now all of my focus is getting ready so when I return we are prepared to win races and the championship in my Aaron's Dream Machine."(MWR)(1-21-2015)
Stewart-Haas Racing's #4-#14 pit crew swap is permanent: A 2014 late season pit crew swap between Stewart-Haas Racing teammates #14-Tony Stewart and #4-Kevin Harvick will be permanent, Stewart said Tuesday while making a USO visit with troops and military families at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner/driver and Harvick switched crews in September in time for the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup elimination playoff that culminated with Harvick hoisting his first trophy. Stewart, who did not qualify for last year's Chase, said Tuesday the teams will continue with the lineup as they left it last season. "The pit crew I had that pitted Kevin's car at the end of the year, we kept that switch permanent for this year," said Stewart.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Tony Stewart tours MacDill AFB refueling operation: Every weekend during racing season, #14-Tony Stewart deals with the pressure of going around a track very fast. Stewart got a taste of a different degree of pressure Tuesday afternoon [Jan 20] at MacDill Air Force Base when he took a spin on a console that simulates the delicate operation of mid-air refueling. "You are trying to push a needle through a haystack and see how intense it is and the condition these guys have to go through," Stewart said, describing his turn at the BOWST simulator used to help train those who operate the boom on the KC-135 aerial refueling jet. "To think there is only a three-man crew and two of them are on the front of the plane, and one guy is laying on his stomach in the back of the plane, running the nozzle ... you can tell that takes a lot of precision to do that. We're not talking about scratching a body panel. You're talking about scratching a multi-million dollar airplane. So definitely that's a lot of pressure for the guy that runs the nozzle." Stewart, fellow driver Kyle Larson and Joie Chitwood III, Daytona International Speedway president, were at MacDill on Tuesday to kick off the annual USO tour of military bases. "This is something we wish we got to do more often," said Stewart, a three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion. "Without these men and women we wouldn't get the chance to do what we do every weekend." Aside from the simulator, the NASCAR contingent witnessed a military dog exhibition and got to tour a KC-135 that rolled off the assembly line in 1962.(Tampa Tribune)(1-21-2015)
NASCAR considering multiyear track contracts: After a longtime policy of one-year engagements, NASCAR is poised to enter long-term relationships with its racetracks. There have been multiple meetings after the 2014 season to discuss the concept of multiyear sanctioning agreements that effectively would set much of the Sprint Cup schedule beyond the current season for the first time. NASCAR traditionally has signed annual deals with every track, pushing the yearly release of the schedule to late summer or early fall. "I think it's fair to say we have had discussions with the tracks about multiyear agreements," NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell told USA TODAY Sports. "We're not there yet. If we can put something together where it's helpful for fans to know, our goal is to get the schedule out as early as we can. That helps fans making plans for going to tracks. Some fans travel a long way. If we can make that better through a multiyear (deal), that is something we're considering." A multiyear deal would offer tracks the ability to sell season ticket packages and sponsorships with more flexibility and security.(USA Today)(1-21-2015)
Gordon comments on his back: #24-Heff Gordon had a question-and-answer session on the telephone with NASCAR This Week, one question concerned his back:
Q) Can you update us about your back spasms?
Gordon: "It's not worth talking about. Nothing has changed since last year. It's an ongoing process for me to maintain it. It's not something I'm just going to fix. It's not something I can do and all of a sudden my back will be healed. Other than what happened at Charlotte, it didn't hinder me or my performance throughout the whole 2014 season."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2015)
Jackman for Hamlin re-injured during off season: Last year during the Charlotte race in October, #11 Jackman for Joe Gibbs Racing, Nate Bolling, suffered a torn tricep and was sidelined throughout the Chase. Pit Talks is getting word that Bolling has torn the same tricep during the off season. Details of how it happened are not very clear but talking with guys familiar with this kind of injury suggest that he might be out till mid April and even May. Nate is a top level Jackman on the Cup Series and his absence will be missed. As far as who is going in on the #11 team....not sure yet. When the injury went down last year the #11 team had back up Kenneth Purcell step in and he did a great job. Purcell is scheduled to be the Gasman on the #19 JGR team and Carl Edwards this year. To make the situation even trickier, Jackman Jeff Fender of the JGR #18 just recently retired this year.(Pit Talks)(1-21-2015)
Wood Brothers Racing is the longest active NASCAR team: Wood Brothers Racing [#21-Ryan Blaney] has become something of a common face in NASCAR. Their consistent attendance year in and year out has possibly gone unnoticed to some, so one member of the family has set out to make sure the team's founding fathers get the recognition they finally deserve for their unwavering show of perseverance. Jon Wood, third-generation family member and former Wood Brothers Racing driver, grew up with a fascination for a very peculiar book. That book came to his elementary school once a year when the bookmobile would roll into town. The one book that was so captivating was the Guinness Book of World Records. "From the beginning I have been fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records," said Wood. "I remember thinking that one day I would figure out a way to do something worthy of being in the Book. I think that's just part of a child's fairytale-like thought process." His family's race team, founded in 1950 by his grandfather Glen Wood, is generally considered NASCAR's longest active race team. The Woods have fielded cars every year since 1950, and while other established teams have come and gone, the Woods have maintained the same ownership through the present. That fact; however, has never been officially recognized, and Wood wanted to do something about that. He got on the Guinness World Records website and submitted an application for a record claim. "Very quickly I got a response from their sports records coordinator, and he was highly interested in helping with this claim," Wood said. The next step was finding a way to substantiate the record. For that he turned to Buz McKim, Historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. McKim quickly verified the Woods' record, and as they say, the rest is history. For Jon, getting his family's accomplishment documented in the Guinness Book of World Records makes the record that much more meaningful. Getting this documented and on paper brings feelings of accomplishment that is shared by members of three generations of Woods, each of whom has played a role in the team's longevity.(Wood Brothers Racing)(1-21-2015)
Nate Ryan and Dustin Long join NBCSN's NASCAR AMERICA lineup: NBC Sports announced Tuesday the addition of veteran journalists Nate Ryan and Dustin Long to its coverage team, dovetailing with the media group's expanded presence as a returning NASCAR broadcast partner in 2015. Ryan, who has been a regular contributor to NBC Sports Network's "NASCAR America" program since the start of the 2014 season, will leave his spot as USA Today's primary motorsports writer for a multi-faceted role with NBC. According to a release provided by the media company, Ryan will serve as an on-air reporter during broadcasts, but will also contribute to the organization's online publishing arm as a writer. Long, who most recently served as a writer and editor with Motor Racing Network (MRN) Radio's website, will transition to the same role with NBC Sports, also working alongside Ryan to produce video content. Before his stint with MRN, Long was the lead NASCAR writer for the Landmark newspaper group. In a related move, USA Today Sports announced that Brant James -- most recently a correspondent for ESPN -- would fill the vacancy created by Ryan's departure on the newspaper's motorsports staff.(NASCAR.com)(1-21-2015)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Cover of ESPN the Magazine "Music" Issue: On the eve of Super Bowl - and the Grammys - ESPN The Magazine releases its third annual "Music Issue" with pages paying tribute to the converging worlds of sport and song. The issue - which hits newsstands Friday, January 23 - highlights the intersection of music and sports including features "Entertainers of the Year," as two of the biggest stars of the year - pop star Katy Perry and NFL powerhouse JJ Watt - collide; and "The Perfect Strangers," which highlights the developing relationship between NASCAR's native son, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and platinum-selling hip-hop artist, J. Cole, and how they were forever linked by a single lyric before they even met.(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Chili Bowl winner gets NASCAR ride: HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks announced that USAC National Midget champion and open wheel standout, Rico Abreu, will join the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East team in 2015. Abreu, 22, competed in more than 100 open-wheel races in 2014 in the United States and New Zealand. He posted 26 wins across 410 winged and non-winged sprint car, 360 winged sprints, and USAC midget competition in which he also won the national championship. Abreu most recently won the 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals last weekend. Abreu's #98 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East entry will be led by veteran K&N crew chief Mardy Lindley. Lindley has amassed five-career victories in three seasons, along with the 2013 K&N title with driver Dylan Kwasniewski. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season gets underway on February 15 at New Smyrna Speedway. Abreu will kick-start his experience in stock cars and on pavement by competing in the Pete Orr Memorial Super Late Model event also at New Smyrna Speedway this Saturday, February 24.(PR)
AND Sources tell ESPN The Magazine that these races will serve as the first stages of a driver development agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing, whom Larson drives for in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ganassi did little to keep the secret on Saturday night, following the Chili Bowl finish by excitedly posting in his second-ever (and since deleted) tweet: "There's a name you'll be hearing more of. Stay Tuned!" Also among the most notable post-Chili Bowl congratulatory tweets was one from NASCAR VP of Racing Operations Steve O'Donnell: "Congrats @Rico_Abreu looking forward to seeing you in #nascar."(ESPN)(1-21-2015)
Rascal Flatts to sing National Anthem at Las Vegas: Award-winning country group Rascal Flatts will sing the national anthem at the Kobalt 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 8 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The performance will take place in the midst of the band's first-ever, nine-show residency, Rascal Flatts Vegas Riot!, at The Joint inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino from Wednesday, Feb. 25 to Saturday, March 14. Rascal Flatts will sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" in front of more than 100,000 race fans to kick off Nevada's largest sports event. The 18th annual Kobalt 400 headlines a race weekend that includes Stratosphere Pole Day on Friday, March 6 and the Boyd Gaming 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Saturday, March 7. For more tickets and information on the Kobalt 400 or Las Vegas Motor Speedway, please visit www.lvms.com or call 1.800.644.4444.(LVMS)(1-21-2015)
Annett moving to HScott Motorsports? Multiple sources have confirmed that Michael Annett and his Pilot/Flying J sponsorship will jump from Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7) to the HScott Motorsports stable in 2015, running the entire 36-race championship schedule as a teammate to #51-Justin Algaier. Annett finished 33rd in points at the wheel of TBR's #7 Chevy in 2014; his rookie year of Sprint Cup Series competition. The team managed a top finish of 16th at Talladega Superspeedway in May. Annett declined to comment on the move when contacted earlier today (Tuesday), but sources close to the situation say he will race as a teammate to Algaier and the #51 Brandt Chevy, making HScott Motorsports a two-car operation for the first time in their brief Sprint Cup Series history. Calls placed to team owner Harry Scott, Jr. were not immediately returned.(Godfather Motorsports). HScott Motorsports ran an 2nd car for the Daytona 500 in 2014, with Bobby Labonte driving the #52 Florida Lottery Chevy to a 16th place finish. It was the only attempt of the season for the #52 team.(1-20-2015)
Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas UPDATE: The first NASCAR test of the 2015 season is scheduled to take place Monday when four Sprint Cup Series teams participate in a one-day Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The teams of #41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing) and #47-AJ Allmendinger (JTG Daugherty Racing) will be on hand as representatives for Chevy; #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) is the Toyota entry while Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) and his #2 Ford team will be on hand to round out the test teams and vehicles. According to a Team Penske representative, Keselowski's teammate Joey Logano, crew chief Todd Gordon and several members of the #22 Team Penske group will be on hand as well to help and observe. In previous years, tire tests haven't generated a great deal of interest. Now that NASCAR no longer allows private team testing, however, track time is considered more valuable. Goodyear has scheduled 14 tests for the upcoming season; Monday's trip to Las Vegas is the only one currently on the schedule that does not dovetail with a team test. Others will be either one- or two-day tires tests followed by a single-day team test. For now, only a stop next month at Atlanta will see teams test prior to a Goodyear tire test at the facility. Teams will be given a four-hour window for testing one day before the start of that track's race weekend. A two-day Goodyear tire test will be conducted at the track on March 2-3 after the completion of the Sprint Cup event. In all other cases, the team test will come after the Goodyear test is completed.(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2015)
UPDATE: Monday's Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway took on added importance for drivers #20-Matt Kenseth and #2-Brad Keselowski because of a slew of rules changes put in place this year by NASCAR. Kenseth and Keselowski were joined by fellow Sprint Cup Series drivers #41-Kurt Busch and #47-AJ Allmendinger for the one-day test on the 1.5-mile LVMS speedway. Although all Cup drivers will have to adjust to a number of changes this season, including a reduction in horsepower and a modified aero package, the biggest change will be NASCAR's ban on all private testing in 2015.
"I think any track time you get is really important with the new testing rules, banning all off-season testing, which I think we all like, but you've really got to take advantage of the tests when you get them and try to gather as much information as you can - hopefully useful information that you can use down the road," Kenseth said. "For us, we didn't run particularly well last year and we've got a new nose on the Camry this year and new rules changes and aero package and all that stuff, so we're just trying to get it sorted out and try to find a baseline and hopefully find something that drives good so we've got something decent when we come back here (March 6-8).
Keselowski, the defending winner of both the Kobalt 400 Sprint Cup Series race and the Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, said he agreed with Kenseth. "More so than the changes to the car, the testing ban makes every test you do have that much more critical because you have so much less," Keselowski said. "In that light, a lot of what testing is isn't always developing the car, but you're developing your people, developing your techniques. We added two or three more people to our team so we're trying to develop them and get them up to speed, so it's really a great time for us as a team to have a test."(Las Vegas Motor Speedway)(1-20-2015)
Veterans' Charity plans to buy Rockingham Speedway: The troubled Rockingham Speedway could soon have new life. A judge gave owners a Jan. 1 deadline to find a buyer or put the property up for auction in March. A veterans charity called Help-Vets.Org (looks like it is supposed to be vets-help.org) told Channel 9 that it plans to buy the track and the property and turn it into a reintegration center for veterans. "What's key about this property is Camp Mackall, the training center for Special Forces, is six miles down the road -- Fort Bragg is right here," Help-Vets.Org Executive Director Craig Northacker said. Northacker has big ideas for a $50 million investment, including housing, vocational training and even schooling. Richmond County Community College spokesman Andy Cagle told Channel 9 that the office met with Northacker. "RCC has always taught classes in off-campus locations across our service area, and would welcome any viable opportunity to support our veterans, the local economy and continue the rich traditions of racing in Richmond County," said Dale McInnis, RCC President. City and county officials are skeptical. Richmond County Manager Rick Sago said he hasn't seen any real financing plans. "We'll see when the rubber hits the road what really happens. Bottom line is, it is a speedway, it has been since the '60s and that's what we want is a racetrack," Sago said. "We have talked to JP Morgan Chase," Northacker said. "There is another financing group in Florida, and we're speaking with Royal Bank of Canada." According to Northacker, the group is in the process of getting the property appraised and hopes to close on the property in mid-March. Channel 9 spoke to one of the speedway owners, Andy Hillenburg. He acknowledged conversations with Northacker but said he couldn't comment on the ongoing legal matter.(WSOC and Richmond County Daily Journal)(1-20-2015)
New company developing NASCAR video game: A NASCAR game for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC is in development at a newly announced studio, DMi Games. As of January 1, the North Carolina-based DMi Games had acquired the license to develop and publish games in the series from previous custodian Eutechnyx. The change in ownership was said to be complex due to the complexity of the licence agreements. DMi Games president Ed Martin explains: "Just to give you some context, a contemporary NASCAR video game has more than 1,000 licensed and approved properties in it. That's a lot of stakeholders and people to get organized!" Martin, who has been working on NASCAR games since the early '90s, announced the new deal in an open letter to fans. "We are already hard at work on several new games including an all-new NASCAR racing sim created by DMi for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC that we expect to release in 2016," he explained.(GameSpot)(1-20-2015)
RCR to field #29 for Scott in Daytona 500: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) will field the #29 Chevy in the Daytona 500 for RCR XFNITY Series driver Brian Scott, who will attempt his second Daytona 500. The #29 will return to Sprint Cup Series competition for the first time since 2013 at Homestead, where reigning Cup champion Kevin Harvick wheeled a 10th place finish in final start for RCR. Richard "Slugger" Labbe, who stepped down as crew chief for Paul Menard following the Charlotte race last October to take a leadership role in research and development is the leading candidate to lead Scott during Speedweeks 2015. Scott competed in last season's Daytona 500, qualifying a strong 12th, before finishing 25th in the #33 Whitetail Club Chevy for Circle Sport Racing. Circle Sport, which carries an affiliation with RCR will field an entry for Ty Dillon at Daytona [#33 Cheerios/Kroger Chevy]. Shore Lodge, a longtime backer of Scott's NASCAR career is expected to sponsor him in his eighth Sprint Cup Series race. Scott's pole at Talladega earned him an a spot in next month's Sprint Unlimited, but Scott is not scheduled to compete in the non-points event, which opens the door for RCR teammate #27 Paul Menard to take his place, based on the new Sprint Unlimited guidelines unveiled by NASCAR last month. Scott's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series program has not been outlined, but he is expected to run a limited schedule with hopes of a full-time campaign in 2016.(Catchfence)(1-19-2015)
NASCAR spotters at the Rolex 24: NASCAR is NASCAR and sports cars are sports cars - and never the two shall meet, right? But at the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway [January 24-25], that demarcation line is getting more blurry than ever. Two of the best spotters in NASCAR will be lending their eyes and (hopefully) calming voices on the team radio in this year's Rolex 24. Tim Fedewa, himself a former NASCAR driver and primary spotter for reigning 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion #4-Kevin Harvick, will give this sports car thing a whirl for a second time, having also done so in last year's Rolex. Also, Tyler Green, who has served as #43-Aric Almirola's spotter the last five years - including for Almirola's first career Cup win last summer in the Coke Zero 400 at DIS - will also be for a second straight year at the Rolex. Both Fedewa and Green will be part of a team for Mazda drivers, that also includes Mazda primary spotter Chris Long (who works full-time with Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team), as well as Daniel Tremblay, son of Mazda SpeedSource team owner and driver, Sylvain Tremblay.
Spotters work four-hour shifts during the race. "We will do four hours on, and four off," Green said. "We're used to long days on the spotter stand at NASCAR races, but this is like doing three 500-mile Cup races in one day."
Spotters must be like postal carriers in the 24, in a sense. Neither gloom, nor dark, nor storms, nor chills will keep them from their appointed rounds in keeping their respective drivers safe and out of trouble. "It's pretty straightforward in the daytime," Fedewa said. "But, it's not lit up like a NASCAR race when it's dark. So, you have to focus that much more."(NBC Sports)(1-19-2015)
Sad News - Jason Anderson: Dover International Speedway is mourning the loss of a dedicated employee who died yesterday from injuries sustained during a multi-vehicle collision on I-476 in Broomall, Pa. Jason Anderson, 33, senior director of ticket sales and operations for Dover International Speedway, died in the accident. Jason was a dedicated husband, father, employee and friend. He will be greatly missed. Anderson was a member of the Dover Motorsports, Inc. team for six years, and moved to Dover, Del. after operations were ceased at Memphis Motorsports Park. He worked at the New Orleans Saints prior to joining the Dover team. He was a proud Syracuse University graduate and recently received his master's degree in Sports Management from Ohio University. Memorial services will be announced when more information is available.(Dover Speedway)(1-19-2015)
Zing Zang to return to Tommy Baldwin Racing: Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix, who sponsored Tommy Baldwin Racing's #36 and driver Reed Sorenson for four races in 2014, announced on Twitter that: "Hey NASCAR fans! Green Flag! It's go time! We just signed with Tommy Baldwin Racing to support Reed Sorenson for the Sprint Cup season - starting with the Martinsville Speedway Race on March 29!" Doesn't say how many races.(1-18-2015)
Stewart expects at least one more leg surgery: The long recovery process from a broken leg suffered in a dirt-track race in August 2013 continues for Tony Stewart. He had a fourth surgery last month, and a fifth - and, he hopes, final - operation is scheduled after the 2015 Sprint Cup season to remove the titanium rod that supports the right leg. "The leg isn't bad," he said. "I was out here (working at the track [at the Chili Bowl]) on it for 12 hours Monday and didn't have a problem. That's a long day for anybody on their feet. I'm in pain, but I'm walking back and forth, so it's not terrible. The last surgery wasn't that bad. I feel better at this time this year than at the same time last year. I'm much further along."(USA Today)(1-18-2015)
Cole Whitt moves to Front Row Motorsports: Up-and-coming driver Cole Whitt will expand the Front Row Motorsports racing stable to three full-time cars in 2015, piloting the #35 Ford with support from Speed Stick for 10 races, including the season-opening Daytona 500. Randy Cox will also join the Front Row team to continue his relationship with Whitt as crew chief. The 23-year-old Whitt will enter his second full-time Sprint Cup Series season after progressively climbing the NASCAR racing ranks of the Nationwide, Camping World Truck and K&N series. The Alpine, Calif., native made his transition to stock cars after an early career in open-wheel racing, which included a 2008 USAC National Midget championship. Speed Stick is also on board to support Whitt during his sophomore season. Speed Stick®, known for its line of high-performing antiperspirants and deodorants, previously sponsored Whitt during his rookie year and connected with fans by documenting the driver's first race at the Daytona 500 through a unique, online video series.Additional Speed Stick brand sponsored races this year will include high-profile events such as the Talladega Superspeedway race in May, the 600-mile event at Charlotte Motor Speedway, the Brickyard 400 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and the Bristol Motor Speedway Night Race.(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the scheme on the #35 Team Schemes page and see earlier news/updates on Whitt to Front Row on the #26 Team News page.(1-16-2015)
NASCAR explains new pit road technology: NASCAR officials will no longer be standing alongside crewmen to police pit stops in 2015, but that doesn't mean the sanctioning body won't be watching what takes place. A new, technologically driven system that incorporates the use of 45 cameras will feed video of every stop made by every team to a central location, where eight officials will log pertinent information and report any violations. How will it work?
Each of the cameras will display two specific pit stalls. Once a car is on pit road, the individual cameras will record its progress as it moves through each area. The use of tracking software and pit road scoring loops identifies and verifies each car. That same system software tracking its movement will indicate any infractions, such as too many men over the wall or driving through too many pit boxes when entering or exiting the pits based on information ingested prior to the event. If there are no infractions logged by the system, one of the eight officials will still monitor the stop, noting the number of tires taken, whether fuel was added and whether any changes (chassis adjustments or repair to a damaged area, for example) to the car were made. Infractions fall into three groups -- vehicle (such as pitting outside pit box), equipment (leaving pit box with gas can still attached, etc.) and personnel/crew (too many men over the wall; over the wall too soon, etc.) When the software picks up an infraction, it will be displayed on the monitor where an official will quickly view the stop and either confirm the issue (and subsequently notify the tower) or clear it if it can be determined that no infraction took place. Although it was in place during the final portion of the '14 season, the system was tested, but not used for official purposes. The expectation is for each pit stop to be viewed and cleared in no more than eight seconds and stops are prioritized -- those that are flagged as infractions are moved to the top of the list for immediate attention. The eight officials work through each stop until all have been cleared, reported when necessary and logged. Teams will be notified of any penalties that occur once a stop has been completed. "We're not going to tell anyone of any violations until they leave pit road," [Shawn Rogers, Managing Director of Business Operations for NASCAR] said. "That's how we do speeding violations now. So we don't get into this person found out a little bit sooner than that person.
The use of the technology will change the number of officials along pit road. Instead of the approximately two dozen that policed pit stops last year, only 10 will be in the pits this year. And Rogers said they would be stationed behind pit wall where they can respond to any team inquiries and monitor actions from that side of the car when necessary. The officiating system will not be used at stand-alone events for the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, according to Rogers.(NASCAR.com)(1-15-2015)
NASCAR adds new members to Hall of Fame voting panel: NASCAR announced several revisions to the NASCAR Hall of Fame (NHOF) Voting Panel. The 58-member panel will vote for the NHOF Class of 2016 on Wednesday, May 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, to be announced that afternoon in the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Great Hall. For the first time, new NASCAR broadcast partner NBC will be represented on the Voting Panel. Below are the eight new members of the NHOF Voting Panel.
" Ron Bennett, Holland (New York) Motorsports Complex
" Jeff Burton, NBC Sports Network
" Steve Byrnes, FOX Sports 1
" Brent Dewar, NASCAR
" Eli Gold, Motor Racing Network
" Kevin Harvick, reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion
" Marty Smith, ESPN
" Jim Utter, Charlotte Observer
"These eight new voters collectively hold a vast array of NASCAR knowledge from all disciplines of the industry," said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR senior vice president and chief communications officer. "Each new member brings a unique background and passion for the history of NASCAR and will contribute greatly to the Hall of Fame voting process." The 22-member Nominating Committee -- which includes the additions of Bennett and Dewar -- will meet on Friday, Feb. 20 in Daytona Beach, Florida, to discuss, debate, and vote for the 20 NHOF Class of 2016 nominees and five nominees for the second Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The results will be announced that afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Additionally, Dr. Jerry Punch will move to the voting panel for the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. The fifth recipient of the award will be announced during the July race weekend at Daytona. The NHOF Class of 2015, which includes Bill Elliott, Fred Lorenzen, Wendell Scott, Joe Weatherly and Rex White, will be officially inducted on Friday, Jan. 30 at 8:00pm/et live on NBC Sports Network.(NASCAR)(1-14-2015)
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, FL
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, February 21, 2015, 10:30 am/et
Born in JANUARY
27 Lake Speed, Jr., Jerry Robertson, Mike "Bubba" Hart, Gary Bradberry
28 Phillipe Lopez, Jimmy Cox, David Green, Randy Renfrow, Mark DeMarco, Kenneth Lankford, Timothy Morgan, Chase Miller
29 John Witske, Tommy Houston, Frank Mathalia
30 Wendy Venturini, Sean Caisse, Andy Eversole
31 Kevin Patrick Dowd, Shana Mayfield, Rick Wilson, Scott Lagasse Jr., Rex Hathcock, Tony Mullett, Jerick Johnson
Born in FEBRUARY
1 Mike Dillon, Tim Fedawa, Jennifer Shelley, Dale Cagle, John Klausmeier, Jason Fowler
2 Jon Wolfe
3 Marilyn Makar, Richard Marcis, Marv Acton, Tank Probus
4 Art Broadwater, Tim Brewer, Wayne Krogh, Eddie Gray, Chicago Paskiecz
5 Darrell Waltrip, Reed Sorenson, Justin Labonte, Matt Dilner, Ryan Page, Ricky Pearson, Dorsey Schroeder, Jamie Dick
6 Ronald Regan, Bill Lester, Paul Gentilozzi, Tate Bosworth
7 Clay Campbell, Josh Wise
8 Brad Sorenson, Joey Gase
9 Jared Irvan, Greg Newman, Brennan Newberry, Todd Parrott, Gary Putnam, Roy H. Weaver III
10 Gray Gaulding, Mike Hill
11 Andy Lally, Eddie Lanier, Burt Reynolds
12 Timothy Barile, Mike W. Davis, Brad Keselowski, Abraham Lincoln
13 Bill Schmitt, Donnie Wingo
14 Sam Ard, Emily Beam, Donnie Brown, Nina Feeney, Banjo Matthews, Cheryl Monteleone
15 Rick Gay, Bud Koehler, Tayler Malsam, Wyatt Sadler, Bill Shallock, Carl Simmons, Jimmy Spencer
16 Danny Lawrence, Don Wade, Patti Wallace
17 Natalie Kate Nadeau, Jim Long, Edith Kenseth, Lori Neisser
19 Trevor Bayne, Jeff Purvis, Bobby Kennedy, Landon Smith, John Paul Jr.
20 Roger Penske, Gary Myers, Bobby Unser
21 NASCAR founded, J.D. Gibbs, Jim Reed
22 Marshall Teague, Larry Foyt, Chuck Bown, Grace Kenseth, Logan Styers, Karla Lampe, Scott Robinette
23 Bobby Moody, Dean Combs, Mike Marriner, Dawn Purvis, George Alsobrook
24 Michael Ritch, Jason Schuler, Aaron Daniel, Gilbert King, J.C. Hall
25 Davey Allison, Jaklyn Woodland, Derick Jennings, Butch Gilliland, Jonathan Toney
26 Bob Eolin, Brad Coleman, Terry Cook, Kertus Davis, Carl Haas, Colton Meyer
27 Ty Dillon, Todd Bodine, Dennis Setzer
28 Mario Andretti, Teddy McClure, Jeff Almond, Billy Wade
29 Ralph Earnhardt, Noreen Hoffman, Scott Cluka, Chuck Romeo
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