Entry List for the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville Speedway is posted, 46 teams/drivers [for 43 spots] are listed, including: #25-Chase Elliott (making his Cup debut), #30-Hornaday, #32-Bliss, #33-Kennedy, #34-Buescher, #44-Kvapil, #55-Moffitt, #83-DeBenedetto.
Drivers who need to be in the top-36 in speed and have no provisional available to them (lowest in owners points): #44-Kvapil (48th in owner points), #30-Hornaday (46th), #25-Elliott (none)
Drivers who would miss the race if qualifying is canceled (least race attempts): #44-Kvapil (4 attempts, 46th owner pts), #30-Hornaday (2, 48th) #25-Elliott (none)
See the full entry list at my Jayski.com's Entry List page
Rain could be an issue at Martinsville Friday: Rain is expected to impact Martinsville Speedway on Friday. The forecast from the National Weather Service calls for rain Thursday night into Friday afternoon. High near 53. North wind 5 to 8 mph. The chance of precipitation is 90% with rain amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible. The forecast for the rest of the weekend looks good. Friday's Sprint Cup practice is scheduled it start at 12:00pm/et with qualifying at 4:45pm/et. The Camping World Truck Series also has 2 practices scheduled. The Weather Channel calls for a 100% chance of rain on Friday. For more weather links, see the Martinsville Race Page - Weather links.(3-27-2015)
Ambrose not interested in return to NASCAR: Marcose Ambrose announced last week that he would step down as lead driver of the #17 Falcon, in Australia's V8 Supercars. He discussed rumors of going back to NASCAR:
Pretty wild rumours in recent days - you're not venturing back to NASCAR are you?
Ambrose: "There's no NASCAR on the horizon, there was no trip to Alice Springs and visiting Uluru - you know, this has just been a difficult decision to make but I think in the best interests of the team, allow me to reset my clock, just to slow it down some. We'll jump in this car when the time's appropriate and time will tell when that should be, depending on how Scott goes in the car and how it's all going for the team. But certainly for me personally it just slows it down in 2015 and we can reassess as we go."(V8 SuperCars)(3-27-2015)
Premium Motorsports gets Martinsville sponsor: #62 Premium Motorsports posted several images to their Facebook page showing sposnorship from Diathrive as this weekend's sposnor for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway. See images of the car on the #62 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)
K-LOVE Radio launches digital racing game: Through its partnership with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Michael McDowell and Leavine Family Racing, K-LOVE Radio has launched a digital racing game featuring the #95 Ford. The K-LOVE RACING game is an interactive game that features live action play along with educational "pit stops" where players answer questions to improve their race car performance. Correct answers during "pit stops" allow a player to increase the car's endurance and power, allowing them to race faster and earn more rewards. K-LOVE Radio is in its second year of partnership with Leavine Family Racing and sixth with McDowell. The Christian music network is the primary sponsor of the #95 Ford in five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this season. The game can be accessed online at http://www.kloveracing.com.(Leavine Family Racing)(3-27-2015)
Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts - Friday - poles:
· Curtis Turner won the inaugural Coors Light pole at Martinsville Speedway in 1949.
· 58 drivers have Coors Light poles at Martinsville, led by NASCAR Hall of Famer Darrell Waltrip with eight; Jeff Gordon leads all active drivers with seven.
· 12 drivers have won two or more consecutive Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway. Four of the 12 have won three consecutive poles at Martinsville: Glen Wood (Fall of 1959 and 1960 sweep); Darrell Waltrip (1979 sweep and spring 1980); Mark Martin (fall of 1990 and 1991 sweep); Jeff Gordon (2003 sweep and spring 2004).
· 21 of 132 races (15.9%) at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the Coors Light pole; seven of those 21 wins came from active drivers: Tony Stewart (2000), Jeff Gordon (2003 twice), Jimmie Johnson (2008, 2012, spring 2013) and Denny Hamlin (2010).
· Tony Stewart (4/18/1999) and Scott Riggs (4/10/2005) won their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coors Light poles at Martinsville Speedway.
· The Coors Light pole is the most proficient starting spot in the field at Martinsville producing more wins (21) than any other starting position.
· 36 of the 132 (27.2%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from the front row: 21 from the pole and 15 from second-place.
· 95 of the 132 (71.9%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a top-10 starting position.
· Seven of the 132 (5.3%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway have been won from a starting position outside the top 20 - including both races last season.
· The deepest in the field that a race winner has started was 36th, by Kurt Busch in the fall of 2002.
· Qualifying has been cancelled due to weather conditions eight times in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Martinsville Speedway; the most recent was the fall race of 2011.
IMS considering hotel in turn 2: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway wants to build a 125-room hotel with apartments and a restaurant along Turn 2 of the track. Local developer Browning Investments Inc., on behalf of the IMS, put out requests for proposals, which were due March 20. How much interest the RFP generated from developers, or what timing might be for construction, is unclear. IMS President Doug Boles declined to discuss specifics. "We're in exploratory mode," he told Property Lines. "We'll sort that out in the next coming weeks, or months." But judging from the RFP, it seems IMS is operating on a pretty aggressive timetable. "The IMS would like construction to commence as soon as feasible," the RFP states. IMS wants to have new or renovated Turn 2 VIP suites completed in time for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next year, with completion of the hotel to follow by May 2017, according to the RFP. The hotel also could include an unspecified number of apartments and leverage other entertainment opportunities at the track such as a golf-pro shop and clubhouse to complement the Brickyard Crossing golf course, the RFP said. It must offer at least 10,000 square feet of meeting space. A new hotel would bring overnight lodging back to the track. IMS in 2009 tore down the aging Indianapolis Speedway Hotel that was located along Turn 2.(Indianapolis Business Journal)(3-27-2015)
NASCAR sends Fontana-used tires for further evaluation: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that it sent some of the tires used by teams at Auto Club Speedway for further evaluation in a third-party review. The tires of #4-Kevin Harvick, #41-Kurt Busch, #27-Paul Menard and #31-Ryan Newman were taken after Sunday's Auto Club 400 and brought to the R&D Center in Concord, N.C., as part of what NASCAR deems a "tire audit." NASCAR wouldn't confirm which tires were sent for more examination, nor where they were sent. Goodyear is uninvolved in the process. The decision to confiscate the tires for further scrutiny was made independent of the tire supplier and unrelated to durability. Goodyear occasionally keeps tires for further examination (such as with tire failures on the cars of Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. last October at Kansas Speedway). It was the second consecutive Sprint Cup race that NASCAR conducted a tire audit. After the March 15 race at Phoenix International Raceway, NASCAR checked the tires used by Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick and found nothing out of the ordinary. NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell told SiriusXM Satellite Radio's NASCAR channel that the audits were "just something we like to do every once in a while."(NBC Sports)(3-26-2015)
Fox tested virtual reality system in Fontana: Fox Sports is exploring virtual reality with NextVR, a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences. The network tested the experience last weekend at Auto Club Speedway in California, where NextVR enabled the live streaming of the race in virtual reality. NextVR's software application, which is embedded in a mobile phone that is then connected to a Samsung Gear VR headset, enables viewers to experience the event as if they were there. The footage was streamed to Fox Sports executives and producers working from the at-track television compound. Two cameras captured 180-degree and 360-degree views from an area on pit road and a second spot between the track and the pits. "NextVR has spent the last six years perfecting their VR technology, which made them the logical first choice for Fox Sports to partner with for this test," said Mike Davies, Fox Sports senior vice president of field operation. "NextVR currently is one of the only companies with the ability to transmit live in VR, and their technology is built on a broadcast platform, making it infinitely scalable."(Associated Press)(3-26-2015)
New sponsors on the #51 at Martinsville: This weekend, the Fraternal Order of Eagles (F.O.E) and Switch Hitch adorn the #51 Chevy driven by Justin Allgaier as co-primary sponsors. F.O.E is an international non-profit membership exclusive organization that gives back in the form of grants and hosts fundraisers to assist charities. F.O.E has over 800,000 members, with more than 1,300 in the women's auxiliary. Switch Hitch was invented by Terry Brinkley after he experienced problems with traditional hitch balls. Switch Hitch is a tri-ball hitch system designed to quickly switch from one ball to another through a patented switching and locking mechanism.(HScott Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #51 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)
TaxACT on the #10 at Martinsville: When Danica Patrick returns to make her fifth Sprint Cup start at Martinsville this weekend, her #10 Chevy SS will feature a much different look as it carries the colors of TaxACT, the official tax preparation service partner of Patrick and SHR. TaxACT is the maker of do-it-yourself digital tax filing solutions that help millions of Americans file their taxes. The company makes its on-track debut as a primary Sprint Cup sponsor with Patrick and SHR during the height of tax season as consumers are ready to file their annual income tax returns. TaxACT was the pioneer of free federal tax filing in 2005 and has continued to provide truly free federal tax return filing with no restrictions every year since.(Stewart-Haas Racing), see an image of the car on the #10 team paint schemes page.(3-26-2015)
Widow Wax joins Front Row Motorsports: Widow Wax Products joins Front Row Motorsports as an official car detailing partner for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The Woodward, Okla.-based company works closely with paint manufacturers, and other OEM suppliers to develop some of the industry's most advanced detailing products in the marketplace. Widow Wax is fully committed to manufacture these products with the environment in mind, as it strives to offer products that are safe for customers and the environment, manufactured and packaged at its 65,000-square-foot facility right here in the USA.(Front Row Motorsports)(3-26-2015)
Logano particpates in seat swap with Cruz Pedregon: Snap-on sponsored NHRA Funny Car driver Cruz Pedregon and Snap-on sponsored Team Penske driver #22-Joey Logano swapped racing roles Wednesday when Pedregon got behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup Series car and Logano powered a Cobra Jet during the "Snap-on Seat Swap." The event offered Pedregon the opportunity to "take turns" at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Logano runs down the quarter on the neighboring zMAX Dragway prior to this weekend's NHRA 4-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Pedregon, who comes from a family of drag racers, walked Logano through the car before heading to the pit to fire up the Cobra Jet and go through the steps of making a pass. Pedregon and Logano made several practice runs in a side-by-side Cobra Jet before the Daytona 500 winner took three drag racing runs on his own. The session ended at zMAX with Pedregon, a two-time Funny Car champion, making a solo run before lunch. Logano followed by walking Pedregon through the garage area at Charlotte Motor Speedway, giving him the rundown of a Sprint Cup Series car. Pedregon rode with Logano around the 1.5 mile oval, before making three solo runs.(Team Penske)(3-26-2015)
Martinsville Speedway Notes & Facts - Thursday - history:
· Opened in September 1947 by H. Clay Earles, Martinsville, originally a dirt track, is one of the oldest continuously-operating race tracks in the United States.
· The first NASCAR-sanctioned race at Martinsville was on July 4, 1948.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was Sept. 25, 1949.
· The track was paved in 1955.
· The first 500-lap event at Martinsville was in 1956.
· Concrete corners were added atop asphalt in 1976.
Demolition of Sprint Cup Tower at Daytona begins: The iconic Sprint Cup Tower that has hovered above Daytona International Speedway for almost three decades has begun its white-flag lap. A 490-foot crane - nicknamed "Big Red" - started picking off pieces of the signature structure Wednesday as the Speedway's Daytona Rising project continued to pick up the pace after a brief layoff. For 27 years, the tower housed corporate gatherings, the media and NASCAR officials on race weekends. It provided a bird's-eye view for some of the track's greatest moments, including Dale Earnhardt's lone Daytona 500 victory in 1998. The crane's first pull was a utility shed on top of the roof. It later came back and grabbed a large support beam. The crane will lift at least 2.24 million pounds of steel - the equivalent of 684 Toyota Camry race cars - and make at least 130 pulls as part of a 30-day demolition project, superintendent Ken Stiles said. Once complete, the tower - built in 1988 as the Winston Tower - and the middle section of the frontstretch grandstands will be completely removed.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(3-26-2015)
Chassis selections for this weeks race: see the list of many teams [that report or post them] and what chassis were selected by the team to run in the STP 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Martinsville on the Martinsville Race Info page - Chassis selection area.
Part taken from #33 team by NASCAR UPDATE: on Friday at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR confiscated a truck arm (rear suspension part) from the #33 Chevy driven by Brian Scott and owned by Joe Falk. The sanctioning body will take the part to its research-and-development center in Concord, North Carolina, for further evaluation.(NASCAR Wire Service)(3-22-2015)
UPDATE: The #33 team that competes in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has been penalized for a rules infraction discovered during opening day inspection March 20 at Auto Club Speedway. This infraction is a P4 level penalty and violates .... Sections in the 2015 NASCAR rule book:
INFRACTION: The ¾ inch diameter magnetic steel truck trailing arm mounting bolt was not installed horizontally.
INFRACTION: Truck trailing arm mounting bracket adapter was machined from Aluminum solid.
The options for a P4 penalty are outlined in the .... sections of the NASCAR rule book
As a result of this violation, crew chief Slugger Labbe has been fined $50,000 and suspended for the next three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship races, plus any non-championship races or special events which might occur during that time period. Labbe has also been placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. In addition, car owner Joe Falk has been docked 25 championship car owner points.(NASCAR), see complete details on the penalalty on the 2015 NASCAR Penalties, Fines & Suspensions page.(3-25-2015)
JD Gibbs being treated for symptoms impacting areas of brain function: Joe Gibbs Racing announces today that J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing, is starting treatment for symptoms impacting areas of brain function. Gibbs has undergone a series of tests after experiencing a gradual onset of symptoms that includes speech and processing issues. Gibbs' doctors believe the complications he has experienced were triggered by head injuries likely suffered earlier in life, but no specific injury was referenced or identified. Gibbs has always enjoyed an active life participating in several sports including mountain biking, snowboarding, football, racing, and other extreme-type sports. Gibbs will be undergoing more testing and receiving treatments to help manage the symptoms. During that time, it is expected that his presence at the race track will be limited; however, he will continue many of his day-to-day responsibilities at JGR's headquarters in Huntersville, NC as well as involvement with his various ministry endeavors.(Joe Gibbs Racing)
Statement from Brian France: "All members of the NASCAR and France family extend our thoughts and prayers to J.D. Gibbs and his loved ones. We've all watched J.D. grow up within our community, and he always has represented himself, his family, the entire Joe Gibbs Racing organization and NASCAR with the utmost professionalism, enthusiasm and energy. We wish him the best during this time and eagerly anticipate his recovery."(NASCAR)(3-25-2015)
NASCAR reducing number of tires for teams at some tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin Tuesday containing various updates to the Rule Book. The changes include a reduction in how many sets of tires a team can have for Sprint Cup races at Martinsville, Dover, Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Kentucky, New Hampshire Indianapolis and Watkins Glen. NASCAR cut the number of sets by one at each track for those races. Teams will be allowed 10 sets of tires for Sunday's race at Martinsville. They'll have nine sets of race tires available at Dover, Michigan, Kentucky and Indianapolis. Teams will have eight sets of tires for both Pocono races with seven sets available at New Hampshire's July race and five race sets at Sonoma and Watkins Glen. With a set of tires costing about $1,900, having to buy one less set will save teams teams about $20,000. NASCAR also reduced how many sets of tires teams are allowed for practice and qualifying by one set at Talladega (now allowed three sets), Daytona (three), Sonoma (four), Watkins Glen (four) and the August Bristol event (four). This reduction will save teams about $10,000. NASCAR has not set the limits for tires for the races starting with Richmond in September through the end of the season. Those races could provide teams more savings.(NBC Sports)(3-25-2015)
Elliott ready for Cup debut: Martinsville Speedway is one of the most exciting tracks on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. It also just so happens to be the one where Hendrick Motorsports has seen the most success - Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 2014 win was the organization's 22nd at the track. And it's where Chase Elliott will make his Sprint Cup Series debut, driving the #25 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy SS. It's the first of five Cup races for Elliott in 2015. "When we first came up with these five races it didn't really occur to me how quickly Martinsville came up on the schedule," Elliott said. "I don't know why I didn't think it was so soon in the year. I thought it was later on and thought, 'We've got a while.' Then I get to looking at the schedule at Daytona and I'm like, 'This race is coming up quick.'" Now that it's here, the first priority will be a strong qualifying effort. That will be the same story for all five of Elliott's 2015 Cup races - at Martinsville, Richmond, Charlotte, Indianapolis and Darlington. "The biggest goal, first, is to try to get into all of them," Elliott said. "That is the first thing - you don't want to get ahead of yourself. Just try to have good qualifying efforts at all of them but not forget about the race. We definitely want to focus on that and try to be good there."(Hendrick Motorsports)(3-25-2015)
Update on pit road officiating: Officials in NASCAR's Pit Road Officiating (PRO) trailer called 12 of the 22 penalties issued during Sunday's Auto Club 400, the second fewest through this year's first five races. Six of the 12 were for tire violations -- failure to control an outside tire. Only Phoenix saw fewer total violations (19) and those made by officials in the PRO trailer (nine). There have been 158 penalties thus far this season, including 60 that were called by the PRO group. Officials in the tower continue to call infractions for speeding when entering/exiting pit road, pitting before pit road is open and various safety-related violations. Officials in the PRO trailer use video to respond to potential infractions such as too many crewmen in contact with the pit service area, crewmen over the wall too soon and pit box tire violations.(NASCAR.com)(3-25-2015)
NASCAR fans remain most sponsor-loyal: NASCAR fans continue to demonstrate the greatest loyalty toward a sponsor's brand among all sports fans in the U.S., according to SponsorLink research released by Repucom. Seven out of 10 NASCAR fans said they are loyal to a sponsor's brand when the brand supports their sport, which is nearly 20% higher than a typical sports fan. Repucom, a trusted advisor in sports and entertainment intelligence, is again monitoring and evaluating the performance of more than 1,000 brands appearing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series in 2015. By using leading technology and advanced data analysis, Repucom monitors the value and quality of exposure and messages getting through to fans and advises clients on how to stand out in the highly competitive commercial space. Repucom analyzes more than 350 hours of NASCAR programming per year, and evaluates how changes to the race schedules, sponsors, teams and broadcast channels impact value versus prior years and among the entire field of entries. In total, sponsors in NASCAR's top three national series earned nearly $1.3 billion in television exposure value in 2014. In addition to audience size, Repucom considers factors such as exposure duration, size, quality and the number of competing messages when determining value. Repucom also measures the value and impact of brand exposure in digital and social media, areas that are becoming increasingly important as media consumption patterns change.(Repucom)(3-25-2015)
Martinsville to honor long-time photographer: The first year Mike Wray shot photos at Martinsville Speedway, Cale Yarborough and Richard Petty visited victory lane, the Beatles were still a band and Lyndon Johnson was in the White House. Since those first races in 1968 the recently-retired Martinsville Bulletin photographer shot more than 340 feature races at Martinsville Speedway in about 10 different divisions. When you add in the many heat races that used to accompany the track's double and triple-headers, that total number of races photographed is closer to 700. Wray did more than cover races at Martinsville Speedway for the local daily paper. He shot countless other events and activities at the track every year of his more than four decades of work. He and his wife Ginny Wray, who was the Bulletin's editor, both retired earlier this year. For his diligent work and dedication to Martinsville Speedway, the track announced it was naming its photo center the "Mike Wray Photo Center." The Mike Wray Photo Center is the work area for photographers covering NASCAR events at Martinsville Speedway. About 50 regional and national photographers work out of it, disseminating images around the world.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-25-2015)
Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame names inductees: Renowned NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick headlines this year's list of honorees for the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame Gala benefitting Speedway Children's Charities on Thursday, April 9, in The Speedway Club's Grand Ballroom at Texas Motor Speedway. Hendrick's induction into the Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame culminates an evening of recognizing some of the most outstanding individuals in motorsports. Along with Hendrick, other honorees include NASCAR Hall of Famer and three-time Cup Series champion Darrell Waltrip; four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon; 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series champion Chase Elliott; and Texas Motor Speedway's April race title sponsor Duck Commander. Duck Commander, which has played a major role in supporting the initiatives of Speedway Children's Charities, will receive the Maj. General Thomas Sadler Award. The company, made famous by the Robertson family of the popular A&E reality show Duck Dynasty, officially joined Texas Motor Speedway as a race sponsor in 2014. Since becoming a member of the Texas Motor Speedway family, the organization has made key contributions that included unique hunting experiences with TV personality John Godwin, along with signed memorabilia for Speedway Children's Charities Live Auctions. The generosity of Duck Commander has helped Speedway Children's Charities raise more than $55,000 to benefit children in North Texas in the last year. The Texas Motorsports Hall of Fame, located in the outdoor atrium adjacent to The Speedway Club, is free to the public and remains open year round. The Hall of Fame atrium features pedestals of the inductees with a portrait painting and career highlights.(TMS)(3-25-2015)
Future of of Mansfield Raceway unsure: Even at 80, even after a lifetime of distinction, even after a successful career, Grant Milliron learned a lesson. He bought his way into a business he did not know, trusted the wrong guy and last week found his reputation was in jeopardy. That's not what one of Richland County's best businessmen set out to do on a cold day in January of 2013 when he bought Mansfield Motorsports Park at a sheriff's sale for $800,000. "The last thing I want to do is hurt this community," Milliron said. But that's what threatened to happen. Milliron is from the old-school where handshakes mean something. To break an agreement with a partner is unthinkable. A deal is a deal - good ones and even the bad ones. However, Milliron had never done business with someone like Kevin Ruic. The 71-year-old motorsports promoter from Avon Lake held events and ran shows for 50 years. He had contacts in the industry, and he proposed to Milliron a win-win proposition for the newest property in the portfolio. So the future of the track goes back to being uncertain. "Maybe I was foolish and naive to even think we could even bring this thing back. Maybe I should have dismantled it the day I bought it to tell you the truth," Milliron said. See much more at Mansfield News Journal.(3-25-2015)
Martinsville Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will run the same Goodyear tire codes at Martinsville this weekend . . . this is the same combination of left- and right-side tires that these teams ran at this track last October . . . Martinsville is the only track where NASCAR teams are scheduled to run either of these two tire codes . . . as on most NASCAR ovals one mile or less in length, teams will not run inner liners in their tires at Martinsville.(Goodyear). See tire codes, pressures and more on the Martinsville Race Info - Goodyear section.
NASCAR increases time of first round qualifying at most tracks: NASCAR issued a bulletin to teams on Tuesday that will extend the time of first round qualifying at short and intermediate tracks from 15 to 20 minutes. The change applies to Sprint Cup, XFINITY, and the Truck Series.(3-24-2015)
NASCAR could return to single-car qualifying at Talladega: After a mostly disastrous run of group qualifying for restrictor-plate races, NASCAR is considering a hybrid version more similar to the traditional format. As first reported Tuesday morning by Jim Utter of the Charlotte Observer, there is a strong possibility that single-car qualifying will be used for the May 3 race at Talladega Superspeedway. A NASCAR official confirmed Tuesday to NASCAR Talk that it still could feature a knockout format with multiple attempts and rounds. There also could be multiple cars on track but likely not in the formation of packs that have caused problems at Talladega and Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR still is reviewing the policy change with drivers, teams and tracks.(NBC Sports)(3-24-2015)
Fontana TV Ratings: Opposite the NCAA Tournament, overnight ratings held steady for NASCAR on FOX. NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from Fontana (CA) earned a 4.0 overnight rating on FOX Sunday afternoon, even with last year (4.0), down 11% from 2013 (4.5), and tied as the lowest overnight for the race in four years - since rain-shortened coverage drew a 3.4 in 2011. Overall, the 4.0 is tied the second-lowest overnight for NASCAR from Fontana since 2000 - not including the fall race that was run from 2004-10. Despite the relatively low numbers, the race was the fourth of five NASCAR Sprint Cup telecasts to avoid a year-over-year decline in overnight ratings. It was also the weekend's top sporting event on any network, outside of the NCAA Tournament.(Sports Media Watch via Sports Business Daily)(3-24-2015)
Sherwin-Williams renews as 'Official Paint Of NASCAR': NASCAR and Sherwin-Williams, the nation's largest specialty retailer of paint and paint supplies, announced a three-year extension to their Official Partnership. The newly signed extension will designate Sherwin-Williams as the "Official Paint of NASCAR" through 2017. Sherwin-Williams, a FORTUNE 500 company, will continue to leverage its designation for architectural paint and the power of NASCAR's intellectual property at its more than 4,000 stores nationwide and ignite the passion of its customers - many of whom are fiercely brand-loyal fans of the sport. By continuing as an Official NASCAR Partner, Sherwin-Williams will also retain its designation in the "Official Automotive Paint of NASCAR" and the "Official Transportation Finishes of NASCAR" categories. Through its renewal, Sherwin-Williams maintains its role as a Contingency Sponsor in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. As part of the Contingency Program, Sherwin-Williams will be title sponsor of the Fastest Lap Award in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.(NASCAR)(3-24-2015)
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Martinsville Speedway:
#48-Jimmie Johnson 122.5
#24-Jeff Gordon 119.8
#11-Denny Hamlin 110.1
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. 101.2
#14-Tony Stewart 97.6
#18-Kyle Busch 96.2
#15-Clint Bowyer 95.0
#4-Kevin Harvick 91.8
#31-Ryan Newman 87.4
#22-Joey Logano 85.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2014 races (20 total) among active drivers at Martinsville Speedway. Formula combining the following categories: Win, Finish, Top-15 Finish, Average Running Position while on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race.<
See an explanation how the Driver Rating is calculated at NASCAR.com.(NASCAR)
Irwindale Speedway likely to be demolished for outlet mall: City officials Wednesday will likely approve plans to demolish the iconic Irwindale Speedway to pave way for a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall. City Council will hold a public hearing about the project at a meeting where officials are also expected to approve a development agreement with Irwindale Outlets Partners, LLC, change the site's zoning code to commercial and certify the final Environmental Impact Report. The Irwindale Outlet Center project, which includes design plans for an outdoor shopping center, entertainment stage, a central plaza and dining courtyard, is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring a new heartbeat to the community. The 63-acre site, bordered by the San Gabriel Valley Freeway and Live Oak Avenue, has changed uses several times since the 1960s, when it was a quarry, mined for sand and gravel by Pacific Rock. When the mining operation ended in the mid '70s, it was converted into a 200-foot deep landfill of mainly construction waste for nearly 20 years. It later became home to the Irwindale Speedway in 1999. When Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC purchased the property for $22 million in September 2013, the owner extended the lease with 211 Enterprises, which operates the Irwindale Event Center, on a year-by-year basis.(Pasadena Star News)(3-24-2015)
Army Herald Trumpet Band to perform Anthem before STP 500: The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command Band Herald Trumpets will perform a traditional version of the National Anthem prior to the start of Sunday's STP 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway. The TRADOC Herald Trumpets are a fanfare ensemble of 14 trumpeters and a snare drummer based out of Fort Eustis. The TRADOC Heralds are comprised of both soprano and tenor instruments. The ensemble produces the sound of a full-bodied orchestral brass section. The TRADOC Heralds are part of the larger TRADOC Band that serves as an outreach asset for the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. Members of the band have passed a highly selective audition and are among the finest musicians in the Army band program. The majority of band members have studied music at some of the finest colleges, universities, and conservatories in the United States and abroad.(Martinsville Speedway)(3-24-2015)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway adding SAFER barriers: Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials plan to install 1,560 additional feet of SAFER barriers at the 2.5-mile facility before on-track activities commence in May for the Indianapolis 500. IMS, which was the first to install the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction system in 2002, will add protection, track president Doug Boles said, around sections of a curved wall that serves as an emergency vehicle entrance point on the backstretch and in the short chute, to the drivers' left, between Turns 3 and 4. The upgrades, Boles said, had been planned before but expedited in the wake of Kyle Busch sustaining a compound fracture of the right leg and breaking left foot while slamming into an uncushioned concrete wall at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener in February. Construction is underway on the additions at IMS, Boles said. The facility currently utilizes around 9,000 feet of SAFER barriers, he said.(USA Today)(3-24-2015)
Daytona begins removing backstretch seats: On Monday morning, Daytona International Speedway began to remove the backstretch grandstand as part of the DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. The full removal process will be completed later this year. By moving all seating to the frontstretch, all attendees will now have the opportunity to enjoy a full race day experience including pre-race ceremonies, pit road action and the facility's new amenities. Beginning in January 2016, Daytona International Speedway will feature approximately 101,000 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats.(DIS)(3-24-2015)
NASCAR explains calls at end of race: Kurt Busch appeared set to earn his first Sprint Cup victory of the season before a caution with less than two laps remaining in the scheduled 200-lap race ended up foiling those plans Sunday at Auto Club Speedway. The debris caution came out for what NASCAR said was a piece of metal between turns 3 and 4. Busch, no doubt in frustration of seeing a potential Auto Club 400 win slip away, radioed to his team: "WWE," a reference to the popular wresting shows and staged results.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck said Sunday afternoon that the officials in race control had enough confirmation from their officials in the area that there was a piece of metal on the track. Because drivers tend to use the entire width of the speedway surface at this track, any piece of metal on the track surface typically results in a caution, Buck said. Buck said the piece of debris was hit by another car after he had called for the caution. "If there's any question whatsoever, we're going to throw the caution," Buck said. "There was a lot of paper flying around today, a lot of paper trash and plastic bags and those kinds of things. We got definite confirmation that it was debris and it looked like a piece of metal. It's strictly a process that we go through [to call a caution]. We don't have any favorites. We try to keep every emotion out of it. .. We feel very, very confident about our actions."
On the last lap, Greg Biffle spun on the frontstretch. NASCAR opted to let the race play out instead of ending the race under caution, and Biffle was able to drive away before the leaders had circled the 2-mile track. At Daytona earlier this year, NASCAR threw the caution on the final lap in order to get safety vehicles on to the track and tend to the drivers involved. "Safety is No. 1; we always make our best effort to let it race back and we had a well over a mile [remaining]," Buck said. "The leaders were coming off of [Turn] 2. We had multiple people watching. ... Biffle got it started back up and got it turned around and headed off. We had two folks in the flagstand that were right there on top of it. We had a bird's-eye view from their perspective that there was no debris right there so we could let it come back to a natural finish."(ESPN.com)(3-23-2015)
Furniture Row Racing looking for sponsorship, ability to expand: Ever since its formation in 2005, Furniture Row Racing has been a self-sponsored team, with the name of owner Barney Visser's business on the fenders of the team's black #78 Chevy. But that could be about to change. In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com, team General Manager Joe Garone said the team is actively looking for a primary sponsor for next year, with the eventual goal of becoming a multi-car team. "I think there's a misconception that we're sponsored and we're really not," Garone told FOXSports.com. "Our owner owns a company that sponsors the car, but we really would like to find a partner to come on board with us to be a part of the program. I think it will enhance our team and make it more competitive." Asked if Furniture Row wants to become a multi-car team, Garone said, "Ultimately, absolutely. We'd like to bring some sponsorship on the 78 car and then, obviously, full sponsorship on a second program." Garone said the Denver-based team would benefit from having a second car.(FoxSports)(3-23-2015)
Truex, Jr. ties last year's top 10s: #78-Martin Truex Jr. finished eighth at Auto Club Speedway Sunday. By scoring a fifth straight top-10 finish, Truex, Jr. equaled a career best for consecutive top 10s. The five top 10s to start the season equals the number of top 10s Truex had all of last year, his first season with Furniture Row Racing.(Furniture Row Racing)(3-23-2015)
Martinsville to install tire barriers: After a full track evaluation by NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Martinsville Speedway will add to its existing barrier system in advance of the STP 500 weekend March 27-29. Tire pack barriers will be installed on the inside wall at the end of the backstretch, prior to the entrance of pit road. "We are committed to the continued safety of the drivers and our fans," said Clay Campbell, Martinsville Speedway President. "We will continue to collaborate with ISC and NASCAR for additional safety enhancements deemed necessary."(Martinsville Speedway)(3-23-2015)
Sad News - Earl Baltes: Earl Baltes, the founder and longtime promoter of Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, passed away this morning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. He was 93. He is survived by Berneice, his wife of 67 years; daughter, Starr, and her husband, Joe Schmitmeyer; son, Terry, and his wife, Dee; beloved sister, Susie Barga, and six grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. Baltes built Eldora in 1954, first as a quarter-mile before shaping the track into its popular high-banked, half-mile oval configuration in 1958. Since then, it has become the premier dirt track in the United States. Under Baltes, the facility began hosting the highly successful Famous World 100 for Dirt Late Models, now the largest dirt race in the world, and the Dirt Late Model Dream, the richest dirt late model race in the world. A fan of sprint car racing, Baltes took great pride in his fabled Kings Royal Weekend for World of Outlaws Sprint Cars and many United States Auto Club (USAC) events, including the Four Crown Nationals. Races at Eldora were shown on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" with Keith Jackson and Al Michaels as broadcasters. ESPN, CBS and TNN also televised events that helped put Eldora on the map. Despite the track's growing popularity, Baltes kept ticket prices affordable and concessions costs low, which continued to attract fans from around the world. In 2001, Baltes posted a remarkable $1 million payout to the winner of the "Eldora Million" Dirt Late Model race and followed that with the "Mopar Million" in 2003, which had a purse of $1 million and paid $200,000 to the winner of a non-winged sprint car race. He was inducted into many Halls of Fame, including National Sprint Car, National Dirt Late Model, USAC, Dayton Auto Racing Fans and Hoosier Auto Racing Fans, and was named USAC Race Organizer of the Year in 1984 and 1997. He was named Auto Racing Promoter of the Year in 1993, and fellow iconic promoter H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler recognized him with the Charlotte Motor Speedway Promoter of the Year Award in 2001. The state of Ohio named Route 118 "Earl Baltes Highway" from Ansonia to the south to St. Henry to the north. In 2004, Baltes began to think about selling Eldora. Despite several suitors, he reached out to a driver whose style he had always admired, three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion and former Eldora driver Tony Stewart. The sale was completed in the fall of 2004.(Eldora Speedway)(3-23-2015)
Vickers on blood thinners for 3 months: Brian Vickers said Sunday that he'll be on blood-thinning medicine at least three months after small blood clots were found in both lungs this week. Vickers cannot race while on blood thinners. Vickers said he first experienced chest pain when taking deep breaths on a flight to Los Angeles on Thursday and went to a hospital later that day. This is the third time since 2010 that blood clots have forced Vickers out of the car. Asked Sunday if this could be the end of his career, Vickers said: "Am I worried? Yes. Have I given up hope? No. Whatever happens, I couldn't have been more happier to have been in that (#55 Michael Waltrip Racing) car the past two weeks. By no means have I given up. I don't know what's next. I know I'm going to be on blood thinners for three months and after that I'm going to do all I can to get back in the race car."(NBC Sports)(3-22-2015)
Kurt Busch will not run "The Double": One thing #41-Kurt Busch doesn't want to risk in the early goings of his return, is the momentum he has built with the #41 team. Although there had been talk of Busch returning to the Brickyard in May for another run at the Indianapolis 500, Busch, who finished sixth in his debut, says his focus is strictly on NASCAR for now. "It's all about the 41 car, this group of guys and (team owner) for Gene Haas," Busch said. "He's believed in me and supported me through all of this and it wouldn't make much sense at this time to venture off into any other type of motorsport other than get this 41 car back up into the points, challenge for wins and make ourselves Chase eligible. We'll see. We'll see how it pans out. I really enjoyed it. I accomplished a lot. And it would be a shame if I didn't cash in on the experience that I have and knowing what I know now versus what I didn't know going into the event last year. If it pans out, it would be next year for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500."(Motorsport)(3-22-2015)
Allmendinger interested in Indy, Charlotte double: #47-AJ Allmendinger wants to do the double. Oh, yes, he does. In an exclusive interview with FOXSports.com Friday afternoon at Auto Club Speedway, Allmendinger's eyes grew wide when he talked about the possibility of racing in the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. And with good reason. Two years ago, Allmendinger drove one of Roger Penske's IndyCar entries at the Indy 500, leading 23 of 200 laps en route to a seventh-place finish. Asked by FOXSports.com if he'd like to race Indy again, Allmendinger allowed as how he would. "You never know. You never say never," said Allmendinger, who comes into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race fifth in points. "The only problem is I was definitely spoiled by doing it with Roger Penske for the first time ever," said Allmendinger. "And I would only do it if it was an opportunity to go win that race, because leading at Indy is a feeling I've never had before in my life. My heart was beating, shaking in the car. I want to experience that again, so if it's the right opportunity, I'd love to do it." Adding the Coca-Cola 600 in his #47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevy would be icing on the cake. "To do the double, the cool thing is Tad (Geschickter, team co-owner) has already said he would be completely open to it, the sponsors would love to jump in on it. So, the right opportunity, yes. But at this point in my life, I'm just so focused on this #47 team. That's where I want to be." (FoxSports)(3-22-2015)
Refresher on the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Package:
-- Reduction of horsepower to 725 via tapered spacer
-- Roller valve lifters to replace flat valve lifter
-- Lower rear differential gear ratios targeting 9,000 RPM
-- Rear spoiler adjustment to 6 inches high (2014 height: 8 inches)
-- Optional driver adjustable track bar
-- 38-inch wide radiator pan
-- Minimum vehicle weight drops 50 lbs. via ballast reduction (2014 weight: 3,300 w/o driver)
-- Updated qualifying formats for all tracks
Happy Hour Practice:
Saturday, March 28, 2015, 1:00 pm/et
FoxSports2 (FS2) 2:30pm/et
Born in MARCH
27 Cale Yarborough, Maurice Petty, Andy Hall, Keith Wilson, Jeff Fuller, Bob Kelly, Rodney Combs, Gary DeHart
28 Shelby Pressley, Chris Meyers, Peter Jellen
29 Kim Wood Hall, Jamie DiPietro, Carole Houchins, Olivia Andretti
30 Pam Bickford
31 Angus Young, Richard Jackson, Scott Houston, Dana White, Rocky Ryan
Born in APRIL
1 David Gilliland, Ruben Garcia, Kim Irvan
2 Sam Johns, Dan Pardus, Ricky Hendrick, Brain Franklin
3 Speedy Thompson, Doug Duchardt, Shorty Rollins, Jeff Wernham
4 Bill France Jr., Justin Alexander, Justin Diercks, Robert Richardson, Scott Brzozowski
5 Mike Bliss, Buffy Waltrip, Brandy Wallace, Eric Kerley
6 Herb Thomas, Ken Bouchard, Jeffrey Overcash, Chris Carrier, Ramo Stott, George Elliott
7 Billy Mauldin, Loy Allen Jr., Chandler Parrott, Brittany Elliott, Russell Crowe, Bill Carpenter, Kristen Eversole
8 Matt Yocum, Bill Fleischman, Monte Dutton, Butch Mock, Junie Donlavey, Eddie Wood, Robert Pressley, Mark Green, Kathy Ehret, Connie Champion, Ryan Eversole
9 Suzanne Belber, Ed Schafer, Jacques Villeneuve, Jamie Little, Chuck White, Hunter Nicole Dodson, Richard Brown
10 John Dowd, Steve Bisciotti, Kasey Kahne, Robby Pearson, Neil Castles Jr., D.K. Ulrich, Tom Dignan Sr
11 Karsyn Jarrett, Bass Master, Al Keller
12 Mike Calinoff, Tim McCreadie, Lori Lucus, Richard Hutcherson Jr., Bob Strait, Duane Cross, Curtis Turner
13 Dr. Joe Mattioli, Dalton Buice, Dan Gurney, Mike Ford, Jessica Punch
14 Tony Raines, Steve Byrnes
15 Bobby Hutchens, Marty Smith, Kevin Conway, Jason Rudd, Brian Holshouser
16 Alicia Lingerfeldt, Bob Flock, Matt Dusenberry
17 Tony Glover, Len Wood, Brandon Thomas, Carl Larson, Brooke McReynolds, Carol Mears, Reid Spencer
18 Geoff Bodine, Tyler Labonte, Kale Kahne, Jim Noble, Melanie Self
19 Robert Yates, Richard Yates, Jack Roush, Greg Erwin, Kevin Grubb, Al Unser Jr., Aaron Keuhn
20 Frank Stoddard, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner/P>
21 Bill Ingle, Bruce Silver, Bob Varsha, Greg Zipadelli, Ralph Seagraves
22 Wesley Gantt, Stella Paysor, Raygan Swan
23 U.S. Army Reserve, Brian Whitesell, Jason Keller, Phil Gould, Joe Keller, Skip Manning, Terry Glotzbach, P.J. Jones, Tommy Croft, Charles Gafrarar, William Shakespeare, Jacob Meetze
24 Hermie Sadler, Paul Wolfe, Harrill Hamrick, Stephanie Hillin, Amanda Lorenzen
25 Alex Bowman, Jason Lee, Alkie Cunningham
26 Martha Oliver, Jimmy Kitchens, Charles Moles
27 Shelly Bose, Jason Haynes, Austin Dillon, Jason Sheets
28 Tyler Hmiel, Jeff Neuendorf, Zach Case
29 Dale Earnhardt, Larry Frank, Angie Skinner, Chad Little, Jerry Schweitz, Alexandria Fennig
30 Michael Waltrip, Elliott Sadler, Andy Hillenburg, Joe Millikan, Amelia Joy Smith, Chris Browning, Ashton Glover, Frank Kimmel