Lack of sponsorship could shut down Swan Racing: Swan Racing [#26-Cole Whitt & #30-Parker Kligerman] issued the following statement Thursday afternoon: "Swan Racing is in the process of reviewing its current situation and the ability to continue to compete in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The team has been unable to secure the kind of sponsorship required to effectively operate the team. As a result, the team management is exploring every available option. We hope to be in position to provide a detailed update in the near future."(Swan Racing)(4-17-2014)
NASCAR's Spring Break Arrives After Intriguing Start: The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series has its own version of spring break and it has arrived, with the traditional Easter weekend hiatus. It's time for a bit of rest, relaxation - and examination regarding the first eight races of the 2014 season. In case you hadn't noticed, there's a lot going on, starting with the unreal level of parity that has made predictability an outdated term. Much has been said and written about the seven different winners to start the season, a streak broken this past weekend at Darlington Raceway when Kevin Harvick became the year's first two-time winner. Overshadowed somewhat has been a concurrent revolving door, in the form of eight different Coors Light Pole winners to open the season, tied for the series' longest season-opening streak of different pole winners.
Is competition better than ever? There are statistics supporting that notion:
All three manufacturers have won races thus far, led by Chevrolet's four victories.
An average of 12 different leaders per race, compared to 8.6 at this point last year.
An average of 25.6 lead changes per race, compared to 17.4 in 2013.
Total of 29,541 green flag passes, compared to 23,178 in 2013.
Total of 346 green flag passes for the lead, compared to 181 in 2013.
And ... an average margin of victory of 0.588 seconds, the smallest since 2008.(NASCAR)(4-17-2014)
NASCAR Executive Marcus Jadotte Leaving Organization: NASCAR announced that Marcus Jadotte, vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, will be leaving the organization. Jadotte will serve as a consultant as NASCAR continues to evolve its diversity and multicultural development initiatives throughout the organization. Additionally, NASCAR will expand its existing relationship with Teneo Strategy, a strategic advisory firm which has worked with NASCAR since 2013, to support its public affairs activities. Among his accomplishments since joining NASCAR in March 2005, Jadotte led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs. These initiatives focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR. Jadotte has effectively overseen NASCAR's relationship with Rev Racing, which operates teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for the NASCAR D4D program, resulting in an increase in minority participation and on-track success. NASCAR D4D will continue under the leadership of Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, racing operations (to whom Jadotte reported). The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and annual NASCAR Diversity Awards also are among a number of diversity and inclusion programs started by Jadotte that will continue at NASCAR.(NASCAR)(4-17-2014)
Tire Testing at Kansas: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams converged on Kansas Speedway for a Goodyear tire test Tuesday in preparation for the track's first night race next month. Goodyear allowed one car per organization to the single-day test, held in advance of the May 10 event at the 1.5-mile track. The teams took part on a cool spring day that portended potential track record speeds at a facility where #20-Matt Kenseth set the existing mark of 191.864mph in qualifying last April. Although the track hosted its first Sprint Cup weekend in 2001, temperature extremes in the region led officials to surface the facility in 2012. Speeds jumped as a result, and last fall Goodyear brought to Kansas its multi-zone tread tire, which combines one compound designed for traction and another toughened for durability. Different multi-zone combinations have also been used for races at Texas and Atlanta, and another is planned for next week's event at Richmond.(NASCAR.com)
Teams that were scheduled to test were: #2-Keselowski, #3-Dillon, #4-Harvick, #5-Kahne, #7-Annett, #11-Hamlin, #13-Mears, #17-Stenhouse Jr.,#42-Larson, #43-Almirola, #51-Allgaier, #55-Vickers, #78-Truex Jr., #83-Bowman / Truex.(MRN's Dustin Long)(4-16-2014)
FOX moves Talladega qualifying to FOX: NASCAR ramped up its pre-race excitement level for the 2014 season, making qualifying more relevant and much more entertaining by introducing a highly competitive "knockout" system, beginning with 43-plus race cars on the track at the same time at tracks 1.25 miles or longer. NASCAR on FOX, which covers the first 13 NASCAR Sprint Cups Series of the season, is showing its enthusiasm for the new system, moving the (Saturday) May 3 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series qualifying at unpredictable Talladega Superspeedway from FOX Sports 2 to FOX, marking the first time a non-Daytona qualifying session has aired on FOX. "This move is a direct result of the double-digit ratings gains NASCAR's new knockout qualifying format is delivering every weekend," said Bill Wanger, EVP of Programming, Research & Content Strategy. "We are thrilled to be able to highlight this new format on FOX, and what more exciting place to do that than Talladega Superspeedway." The new qualifying system, which moves away from single-car qualifying and is supported by double-digit, year-to-year ratings growth, allows for all cars to qualify collectively for up to 25 minutes, with the top 24 based on fastest laps advancing for a subsequent 10-minute session. The top 12 from that group advance to the final, five-minute round. The 90-minute Talladega qualifying session begins on FOX on Saturday, May 3 at 1:30 pm/et(FOX).
NOTE so far FoxSports has aired qualifying time delayed, 5-10 minutes behind live. Results will be posted LIVE on Jayski.com, and Jayski's Twitter & Facebook...so spoiler alert....(4-16-2014)
Don't expect to see Stewart-Haas drivers in F1 car: Now that her car owner has a Formula One team, could Danica Patrick ever race in the worldwide racing series? Gene Haas doesn't think so. Nothing against Patrick, he just doesn't think any of his NASCAR drivers could jump in a car for Haas Formula, a new F1 team that will begin fielding two cars in 2015 or 2016, and succeed. Haas actually has three drivers with IndyCar experience in his NASCAR stable. Tony Stewart was the 1997 IndyCar championship, Patrick spent seven years on the circuit and Kurt Busch is competing in the Indianapolis 500 this year after completing rookie orientation last year. But Haas isn't looking from within for a future F1 driver. "I'd certainly never expect any of our current lineup of drivers to want to be able to do that," Haas said during a news conference Monday. "It would be really impossible to accomplish that and survive. ... Just the thought of jumping into a Formula One car from a Cup car would be very, very difficult."(Sporting News)(4-16-2014)
Michael Schumacher 'showing small signs of progress': Michael Schumacher is said to be "showing small signs of progress" in his recovery from a serious brain trauma as the seven-time Formula 1 world champion continues to be treated for injuries sustained in a skiing accident last December. The 45-year-old's manager Sabine Kehm confirmed earlier this month that Schumacher was showing signs of consciousness and being awake, and she has now elaborated on her latest revelation that gives hope of the F1 great making a recovery. "There are short moments of consciousness and he is showing small signs of progress," Kehm told German broadcaster ARD. "There are moments when he is awake and moments when he is conscious. See full story at the Independent.(4-16-2014)
Sad News - Tim Leslie: Tim Leslie, 50, brother of Ben Leslie (technical consultant for #32 Go Fas Racing Sprint Cup team), passed away April 10, 2014. After a long battle with cancer he passed peacefully in the company of his family at their home in New Baltimore, MI. He is survived by his wife Tina Leslie & daughter Lauren Leslie & Renee Hall. Tim was the owner of "Tim Leslie Tire", Mount Clemens for 20 years. He was a member of the Detroit Yacht Club, and enjoyed bowling, boating, driving his Lamborghini and Ford Lightning, he also had a passion for working on boats and Corvettes, and traveling to NASCAR races with his brother, Ben and other friends.(Macomb Daily)(4-16-2014)
Gordon could race 10 more years? Daughter may race soon: #24-Jeff Gordon talked to Larry King at Auto Club Speedway last month about his strong season in 2014, his career and whether his children will race. "It's funny how life serves these things up," Gordon said. "You go through a time where you go through a frustrating year, or I had some back and health issues. And I said, 'You know, I don't know how much longer I'm going to be able to do this at this level or if I event want to.' "Then you all of the sudden have this amazing year, and you go, 'God, I love racing. Racing's amazing. I can't wait to do it for another 10 years.' " In addition to his own future, Gordon also discusses the possibility of his offspring racing and expects to see his daughter behind the wheel in the near future. "We're probably going to put my daughter in a quarter-midget soon," Gordon said.(see video at NASCAR.com), on Monday, April 14th, Gordon posted an image on his Twitter of daughter Ella driving a quarter midget for the first time.(4-15-2014)
NASCAR Numbers so far in 2014:
462: The total number of laps led by Kevin Harvick in his two NASCAR Sprint Cup victories this season. Harvick led 224 laps in winning Saturday night's Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway to go with the 238 he led in getting his first victory of the year at Phoenix. In the six other races combined, Harvick has led 53 laps.
41: The number of positions both Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. improved at Darlington over their finishes in the previous race at Texas Motor Speedway. Earnhardt was first out of the Texas race (43rd) after a close encounter with the infield grass. Harvick retired in 42nd with engine issues. At Darlington, Harvick and Earnhardt ran 1-2.
5: In eight NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, the number of times Dale Earnhardt Jr. has recorded a top-three finish. After winning the Daytona 500, Earnhardt has finished second three times (at Phoenix, Las Vegas and Darlington) and third once (at Martinsville).
586: The total number of laps led by Kyle Busch in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events at Richmond International Raceway held in the spring. Hence, it's likely Busch will notch the 30 laps he needs to reach a career milestone of 10,000 laps led in the series. Busch led at least 32 laps in each of the last five spring races and won four of them.
1: The number of drivers advancing to the final round in each of the seven knockout qualifying sessions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year. Joey Logano kept his perfect record intact Friday at Darlington Raceway, then qualified on the outside of the front row in the final round.(NASCAR Wire Service)(4-15-2014)
Kurt Busch says Gene Haas serious about F1 UPDATE2: #41-Kurt Busch said team owner Gene Haas is serious about making a strong entry into Formula One, a move that could expand the series' footprint in the U.S. "It will be an incredible challenge. He knows that," Busch said Sunday at the MotoGP motorcycle race in Texas. "It's a matter of the fans getting behind it, supporting Gene and trying to give F1 another chance," he said. "We've had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad. We had Scott Speed as a driver. Now we have an (American) owner. It will be interesting to see how the driver lineup shapes up." At 35, Busch said it won't be him racing a Haas Formula One car. "My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1," Busch said. "But a test session? I'd jump on that every time. They're going to have hard time keeping me out of the shop, from hanging out."(in part from the Associated Press)(4-14-2014)
UPDATE: NASCAR team owner Gene Haas says he plans to field an American-based Formula One racing series team within the next two years. The team will be called Haas Formula, he said Monday at a news conference. Haas says he should know within the next four weeks if the team will begin racing in 2015 or wait until 2016. He says part of that depends on how long it takes for Haas Formula to find an engine supplier. Haas Formula would become the first American-based Formula One team in more than three decades to join the racing series. Although there's plenty of skepticism over his decision, Haas says, "I wouldn't be doing it if I thought I was going to fail. But that's the challenge -- proving other people wrong."(Associated Press/ESPN)(4-14-2014)
UPDATE2: The motivation for Gene Haas is two-fold. Primarily, Haas, who owns one the largest CNC tool manufacturing operations, wants to market his products globally and F1 will allow him to "enhance his branding" on a greater scale than NASCAR, which is limited to North America. "The ultimate goal is to take the image of Haas Automation and turn it into a brand that is desired and high-quality and known throughout the world," Haas said. "The ultimate goal would be to double our sales for Haas Automation. I think it's going to be positive. As an indicator, I'm using the relationship with NASCAR that we have here including the brands we have in the United States. We have a very good market share, good market penetration and it's as simple as to replicate that overseas."
Secondly, despite short-lived effort of the USF1 team, Haas is convinced that an American-based team can compete against the established F1 juggernauts of Europe. Haas feels that with the current F1 rules packages, the timing is right for an aspiring team to enter the series and dispel the notion that "Americans can't do it".
"I'm here to prove that we can do it, and we can do it with a budget and we can be efficient at it and we can win at it," Haas said. "That's what I'm going to try. I'm not saying that I'm better than anybody else. I just have a different way of doing it, and people that I work with think differently. That, I guess, is going to be the secret to our success in this business. We're going to spend our money wisely. We're going to do it with an American flair for design and efficiencies, and that's how we're going to control our costs. I don't -- we're not going to be a European-led team. We're going to be an American-led team and we'll do it the way we think is the most efficient. Yes, this is an ambitious undertaking for Haas. He wasn't joking when asked about his budget that "it's going to be billions and billions" to be operational. And he has just over a month to inform the FIA as to whether Haas Formula intends to race in 2015 or 2016. Certainly, Haas' timetable will depend on the support of his technical partners. Similar to his introduction to NASCAR where he relied on Hendrick Motorsports to get up to speed, Haas will rely on the relationship of his potential F1 partners as well.
Formula Haas' home base will be in Kannapolis, N.C. adjacent to the existing Stewart-Haas Racing shop. The company is currently adding 150,000 sq. ft. With Haas Automation satellites in Brussels and Shanghai, there is already a global base, but Haas expects to have a secondary shop in either Germany or Italy likely dependent on whether he partners with Mercedes or Ferrari. Haas will likely use Dallara for his chassis, but his eventual goal is to develop the components to compete for the Constructors championship.
As for prospective drivers, in the beginning Haas would like to use racers that are already familiar with the current engine rules package then eventually phase in American talent. Formula Haas team principal Guenther Steiner would prefer not entertainment drivers searching for buy rides but rely on racers with raw talent. For now, Haas intends on maintaining a clean car free of sponsorship outside of the Haas brand. He believes that any additional support would "dilute" his marketing strategy. However, a five-year plan is in place to "make this a profitable enterprise" and that will involve additional sponsors in order "to make money and compete".(Motorsport)(4-15-2014)
Sad News - Marty Little: Longtime Florida racing journalist, promoter and track announcer Marty Little passed away on Saturday, April 12th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Little was a USAF Vet and longtime track announcer at the now defunct Hialeah Speedway. Little the public relations person for Rahmoc Racing, wrote weekly racing articles for National Speed Sport News for South Florida race tracks and was the historian for South Florida racing for over 40 years. Marty is the brother of long time Penske Racing employee David Little. Little currently worked at Dometic Enviromental. Survivors include wife Janet, children Richard, Suzanne (Brian) grandson Paul, brother David (Malinda) their children Chris, Dee, and Katelyn. Donations to Vitas 152 or Victory Junction. Services info at Fred Hunters in Davie, FL.(4-15-2014)
Subway 'exploring' F1 sponsorship: Subway is considering a ground-breaking sponsorship deal with Formula One which could see several of the sport's teams and superstar drivers teaming up to promote the brand. Subway was founded in the US in 1965 by billionaire Fred DeLuca but the UK and Ireland has become its biggest market outside America since the company opened its first store across the Atlantic in 1994. Its sponsorship strategy centres on athletes such as English boxer Anthony Ogogo and Holly Bleasdale, who holds the British pole vault record. Zak Brown, chief executive of JMI which handles Subway's motorsport sponsorship, says that F1 would be the "perfect" fit. "I took the Subway Chief Marketing Officer to meet Bernie [Ecclestone, F1's chief executive] in Montreal last year, and I would say they have been exploring it for a year," says Mr Brown. "They are all about the consumer, they are massive media buyers so they would look at a sport and see if it stacks up from a media point of view and Formula One does." Subway is JMI's oldest client and first worked with it in 2002. JMI is responsible for bringing Subway to F1's American rival NASCAR, where it sponsors a team, a driver and a race (#99 Carl Edwards, no Cup race in 2014). Mr Brown says it is likely Subway would follow the same model in F1.(in part from The Telegraph), no word if thie would affect the sponsor of the #99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford and/or Carl Edwards.(4-14-2014)
Early Darlington TV Ratings: Primetime coverage of "NASCAR Sprint Cup Racing From Darlington " with 5.921 million viewers, adults 18-49 a 1.4 rating in front on Saturday. In 2013 FOX was the top draw on Saturday (4-13-2013) with its coverage of "NASCAR: Sprint Cup Racing from Texas" (5.908 million viewers, #2; adults 18-49: 1.5, #1).(Futon Critic), for past TV Ratings for the 2014 races and a 5-year comparison chart, see the 2014 TV Ratings page.(4-14-2014)
UPDATE: Saturday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Southern 500 from Darlington (SC) earned a 3.2 overnight rating on FOX, down 9% from each of the past three years (3.5) and the lowest ever for a Sprint Cup telecast on FOX (dates back to 2001). The previous low for NASCAR on FOX was a 3.3 overnight for the 2009 Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix, also on a Saturday night. Six of the seven lowest rated NASCAR races on FOX in the metered markets each took place on a Saturday night - 2014 Darlington (3.2), 2013 Richmond (3.4), 2012 Richmond (3.4), 2011 Richmond (3.4), 2010 Richmond (3.4), and 2009 Phoenix (3.3). The lone exception was the rain-drenched 2012 Fontana race, which earned a 3.4 overnight on a Sunday afternoon. Prior to this year, the Darlington race took place in May opposite the NBA Playoffs.(Sports Media Watch / Sports Business Daily)(4-14-2014)
Darlington Race and Commercial Breakdown: For those of you NASCAR fans that like stats and love to hate commercials, here is the breakdown for Saturday's race. Began recording the times at the Invocation of the race at 6:30 PM, and stopped at the waving of the checkered flag at 10:41 PM (all times are EST). Fox was the broadcast team for this event.
Total number of commercials: 125
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 72
Number of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 112
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 68
Number of 'Side-by-Side' commercials during race broadcast (split-screen): 13
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 10
Number of times Fox utilized 'Side-by-Side' commercials during this broadcast: 3
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 50
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 6 min. 10 sec.
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 6:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 10:41 PM
Total minutes of complete race broadcast: 251
Minutes of race broadcast: 194
Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 57
Minutes of 'Side-by-Side' commercials (split-screen): 6
Number of missed restarts: 0
Number of 'mystery cautions' (debris not shown): 0
Total race brdcst time 194
Total comm. brdcst time 57
See past races, links to more detailed reports on the 2014 TV Commercials page.
The commercials during the race are equal about 15 minutes of commercials for every 60 minutes of total time (15 minutes of commercials, 45 minutes of the race). For instance, a 30 minute sitcom on network TV usually airs approx. 8 minutes of commercials.(4-14-2014)
Texas TV Ratings: Rainout coverage of last week's NASCAR Sprint Cup race from Texas earned a 2.4 final rating and 3.8 million viewers on FOX. The race was postponed to Monday.(Sports Business Daily / Sports Media Watch)(4-14-2014)
Sad News - "Captain" Herb Emory: Longtime WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News traffic reporter, "Captain" Herb Emory, passed away Saturday. According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Emory stopped to help at a car accident on South Burnt Hickory Road when he suddenly fell ill. He was transported to WellStar Douglas Hospital where he later died. Emory had been with WSB Radio and Channel 2 Action News since 1991. Emory has served as an Atlanta traffic reporter since 1971. Emory watched over the interstates during the week and hosted special traffic and NASCAR broadcast programs with his wife, Karen Emory. He was inducted into the Georgia Radio Hall of Fame in 2008 and received the inaugural Excellence in Motorsports Journalism Award in 2012. Emory's father was a volunteer pit crew member for Ralph Earnhardt, Dale Sr.'s dad, in the 1960s.(wsbradio.com and an article at WSB Radio Race Blog)(4-12-2014)
More info at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.(4-14-2014)
Keselowski part of "Watch Dogs": #2-Brad Keselowski's secret life will be exposed - at least as a character in the new video game, "Watch Dogs." The 2012 Sprint Cup champion has partnered with game-maker Ubisoft for "Watch Dogs," which will be released next month. Keselowski is described in the game as one of many people in the virtual city of Chicago that players can interact with. It promises that players will find what "secrets lurk deep within a NASCAR champ's history." The description says players can use main character Aiden Pearce's ability to hack into Keselowski's profile to unlock what is there.(Associated Press)(4-13-2014)
Harvick wins at Darlington: #4-Kevin Harvick won the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Darlington Raceway for his 2nd win of 2014 and his 25th career win. Harvick is the first driver in 2014 to win two races. The race had two -green-white-checked attempts, running 7 extra laps. Harvick led the most laps with 238 of 374. Harvick is the first driver to win at Darlington from the pole since Dale Jarrett did it in March 1997 [400 miles] and the first driver to win the Southern 500 from the pole since Dale Earnhardt won in September 1990. Harvick has now won a Southern 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400 and Coca-Cola 600.
#88-Earnhardt Jr. finished 2nd followed by #48-Johnson, #20-Kenseth, #16-Biffle, #18-Busch, #24-Gordon, #42-Larson, #14-Stewart and #31-Newman.
#42-Lason was the rookie of the race, finishing 8th.
#24-Gordon, who came into the race as the points leader finished 7th and holds on to the points lead by 1 point over #20-Kenseth. #4-Harivick leads the Chase Seeding with two wins followed by #99-Edwards, who has a win and is 3rd in points.
There were 22 lead changes among 12 drivers and there were 11 cautions for 50 yellow flag laps.
The average speed was 131.211 mph.
See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Darlington Race & Points Report (pdf).(4-12/14-2014)
2014 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Championship Points Standings:
[after Darlington, race 8 of 36]
1) #24-Jeff Gordon, 297
2) #20-Matt Kenseth, 296, -1
3) #99-Carl Edwards [1 win], 278, -19
4) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [1 win], 271, -26
5) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 270, -27
6) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win], 269, -28
7) #2-Brad Keselowski [1 win], 246, -51
8) #22-Joey Logano [1 win], 245, -52
9) #31-Ryan Newman, 236, -61
10) #3-Austin Dillon, 235, -62
Other drivers with at least one win, should make the Chase:
22) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins], 186, -111
26) #41-Kurt Busch [1 win], 164, -133
See UNOFFICIAL drivers championship points standings on the Unofficial Drivers Points Standings (pdf).
See the UNOFFICIAL owner points standings on the Unofficial Owners Points Standings page (pdf).
Current 2014 Sprint Cup Driver Chase Seedings:
[after Darlington, race 8 of 36 if Chase seeding started after this race]
1) #4-Kevin Harvick, 2 wins, 22nd in points
2) #99-Carl Edwards, 1 win, 3rd in points
3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1 win, 4th
4) #18-Kyle Busch, 1 win, 6th
5) #2-Brad Keselowski, 1 win, 7th
6) #22-Joey Logano, 1 win, 8th
7) #41-Kurt Busch, 1 win, 26th
(no wins, in by points)
8) #24-Jeff Gordon, 1st
9) #20-Matt Kenseth, 2nd
10) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 5th
11) ##31-Ryan Newman, 9th
12) #3-Austin Dillon, 10th
13) #16-Greg Biffle, 11th
14) ##14-Stewart, 12th
15) #55-Brian Vickers, 13th
16) #42-Kyle Larson, 14th
Kyle Petty says The King adjusting to life alone: Richard Petty is spending his weekends at home mourning the death of his wife instead of his familiar spot at the racetrack. Lynda Petty died last month after battling cancer for several years. She was 72. "He's doing pretty good, he's used to going to the racetracks and being at the racetracks alone, but he's not used to being at home and being alone," said his son, NASCAR announcer Kyle Petty. "So I've stayed with him some, and my sisters have stayed some. It's just going to take time. They were together 57 years and even though he spent 50 of those 57 years on the road, according to him, at race tracks, it's been a lot harder and a lot tougher (than he thought)." Kyle Petty said his mother's death has been tough on the family. "My mother had been really sick for 4½, almost five years, so she fought pretty hard," he said Friday at the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race "He's doing pretty good." Kyle Petty won the pole for the celebrity race in Long Beach. He will start about 40 seconds behind the rest of the field in Saturday's race because he's a professional, even though he has been retired since 2008.(Associated Press)(4-12-2014)
Childress Testifies for Biofuels: The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing this week on advanced biofuels. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says advanced biofuels are here now, and they are an important part of the energy title in the recently passed farm bill. One of the witnesses at the hearing was NASCAR team owner Richard Childress who talked about the many benefits of corn-based biofuels, such as the higher fuel performance he has seen in more than five million miles of racing since the E15 ethanol blend was introduced in the 2011 racing season. "When they decided to go with an ethanol-blend of fuel, in 2010, NASCAR started looking at what was the correct blend to use. After many tests, they came up with E15," Childress said, pointing out that his own racing team tested up to E30 blends, which he believes would be even better. "Nothing but positive results came out of our tests. Engines ran cooler, ethanol makes more octane so it makes more horsepower, less carbon buildup, better emissions, and our parts when we tore the engines down looked much better."(Domestic Fuel)(4-12-2014)
Edwards has no news on his contract situation: Carl Edwards (contract up at end of 2014 season), driver of the #99 Ford Ecoboost Fusion, took time to meet with media members outside his hauler following the final Sprint Cup practice session Friday afternoon. Edwards spoke about a few things, including a final question about his contract:
Q) GREG (BIFFLE) SAID EARLIER THAT HE WAS CLOSE ON A CONTRACT EXTENSION. ANYTHING YOU WANT TO SHARE ON THAT FRONT FOR YOU?
Edwards: "No. I would rather not even talk about it. I have no news and when there is nothing to say all I could do is stir it up. I promise you, no drama. No drama."(Ford Racing)(4-11-2014)
Latest on Biffle's contract status UPDATE: #16-Greg Biffle's contract with Roush Fenway Racing ends at the conclusion of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season. Biffle answers a question concerning his contract status, taken from an interview with FrontStretch:
Neff: Your contract is up this year. Have you been talking about that or are you waiting to see how the year shakes out a little more?
Biffle: We've been working pretty diligently on that. It has been a pretty good negotiation so far. There are a lot of new people on both sides of the table so everyone is kind of getting a feel for the program and learning it. We feel pretty good that we'll have something to announce before we get to summer.(Frontstretch)(4-8-2014)
UPDATE Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Ford Fusion, met with media members Friday morning at Darlington Raceway in advance of Saturday night's Southern 500. One of the questions asked was about his contract situation:
Q) ARE YOU ANY CLOSER TO A CONTRACT EXTENSION?
Biffle: "I think so. I think we are getting closer. There are a lot of moving parts to a contract and a lot of new people at 3M but I know the folks are going up there next week to visit some more. I have a feeling it is getting closer. I know there has been a lot of activity. The program works really well for them and we have the America Red Cross on the car this weekend so it is a good program for 3M and I think they are happy and it looks like we are closing in on an announcement. Hopefully here soon we will have something."(Ford Racing)(4-11-2014)
MWR & Aaron's to honor Florida State at Daytona in July: Florida State University's trophy case holds lots of hardware, but none for motorsports. Aaron's and Brian Vickers plan to change that. Vickers' #55 Aaron's Toyota will carry a special paint scheme honoring FSU's 2013 BCS National Championship football team when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway on July 5. The garnet and gold paint scheme on the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota will include the FSU BCS National Championship logo on the hood. Vickers will also wear a special FSU driver uniform for the race. Fans at FSU's April 12 Spring Game will see the car unveiling and watch a special video message from Vickers on the videoboard. FSU will collect hoods from the race car for display at block parties, road trips and The Jimbo Fisher Call-In Show throughout the 2014 football season.(MWR), see an image of the scheme on the #55 Team Schemes page.(4-9-2014)
Dillon gets primary sponsorship from Bass Pro Shops for two races: The nation's No. 1 outdoor retail leader, Bass Pro Shops, will join Richard Childress Racing in commemorating Austin Dillon's rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with primary sponsorship of the #3 Chevrolet SS at Talladega Superspeedway and Daytona International Speedway. A longtime motorsports supporter, Bass Pro Shops' association with Dillon dates back to 2010, when the company partnered with RCR for Dillon's first foray into fulltime NASCAR competition with sponsorship of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The Bass Pro Shops/Dillon duo earned the Camping World Truck Series Championship in 2011 and Bass Pro Shops was also partners with Dillon and RCR in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Bass Pro Shops first began its association with RCR and its #3 Sprint Cup Series car in 1998 with an associate sponsorship of the GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo made famous by seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt Sr. Bass Pro Shops also serves as a major associate sponsor throughout the 2014 season, joining Dow, Cheerios, Realtree Outdoors, American Ethanol and the University of Northwestern Ohio as RCR supporters associated with the #3 Sprint Cup Series entry this season. The outdoor retailer currently sponsors Dillon's younger brother, Ty Dillon, in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.(RCR), see images of the car on the #3 Team Schemes page.(4-8-2014)
New Freedom Trophy Awarded to Talladega Sprint Cup Series Winner: Winning a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway - NASCAR's Most Competitive track - brings with it history, tradition, prestige and honor. Now, it has taken on a new meaning that has a special place in everyone's heart. In support of the United States Military, Talladega Superspeedway is thrilled to announce the "Freedom Trophy," which will be awarded to every winner of a Sprint Cup Series race at the 2.66-mile grand venue, beginning with the May 4 Aaron's 499. The special trophy showcases all five branches of the United States military - Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. Military personnel will be on hand at each Talladega Sprint Cup Series race to make the presentation of the Freedom Trophy in Victory Lane. Not only will they be in the winner's circle to award the coveted trophy, but they will also participate in pre-race ceremonies as well. Each Talladega Superspeedway race weekend, a different United States military base will be given the opportunity to present the Freedom Trophy.
The creation of Talladega Superspeedway Vice President Brian Crichton, the Freedom Trophy is an honor to all military men and women on behalf of the speedway, a patriotic entity since 1969. Crichton enlisted the assistance of Fast Forward Marketing Owner Mike Barth (Spring, TX), who has custom designed trophies in motorsports since 1996. MTM Recognition in Oklahoma City, OK spearheaded the design.
"Winning a Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega just got extra special," said Talladega Chairman Grant Lynch. "With the Freedom Trophy, we pay tribute to our race winners, as well as our servicemen and women who make so many things possible for us on a daily basis." The Freedom Trophy is five-sided, reflective of each branch of the military. Silver aluminum panels, complete with a design of each military branch soldier and branch logo, are showcased, along with a star that is waterjet cut in the center. The base is black stained wood with circular discs at the bottom and top made of black acrylic, and includes the Talladega Superspeedway logo, the date of the race and the name of the base awarding the trophy.
"As a symbol of our military we thought it was fitting to start with a pentagon shaped base'" said Crichton. "The artists did a great job by bringing together all five branches of the military, incorporating the star in the center and showcasing each branch seal on the individual pillars. It is a trophy we hope every Talladega Sprint Cup winner will be proud of - that it will mean a little something extra when they display it with the rest of their trophies." In addition to recognizing the military through the Freedom Trophy, Talladega Superspeedway is proud to offer special ticket prices for all members of the military and their families for its race weekends. For more information, visit www.talladegasuperspeedway.com/military.(TSS)(4-15-2014)
Someday Darlington race could return to Labor Day weekend: NASCAR president Mike Helton was asked Saturday if Darlington would ever get the Labor Day weekend back. While Helton wouldn't completely rule out a return, he didn't really think it was a possibility at this time. The track hosted racing on Labor Day weekend from 1950-2003. Darlington eventually lost one of its races and its lone date was held on Mother's Day starting in 2005. This year, the track's date was moved to April. "You never know. There were a lot of stories that came from Labor Day races here at the Southern 500. The badge around here was based on Labor Day weekends," Helton said. "So all I could tell you is you never know. I have seen a lot of things in this sport that I was surprised by ... and that led me to believe that the future of the sport can have things happen that people say won't happen again. So you never know." Darlington president Chip Wile said he is happy with the track's date but wouldn't object to a move back to Labor Day. "With the date change, we've actually seen an increase in some segments that NASCAR has been focused on," he said. "So we are committed to our race date, but we welcome any conversation."(Morning News)(4-13-2014)
Richmond International Raceway
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:00pm/et
Born in APRIL
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, Mike Stefanik, James Barnwell, Ron Barfield, Adrian Fernandez, Dustin Skinner/P>
21 Bruce Silver, Bill Ingle, Greg Zipadelli, Bob Varsha
22 Raygan Swan, Stella Paysor, Wesley Gantt
23 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, 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
Born in MAY
1 Randy Dorton, Johnny Sauter, Jimmy Parrott
2 Ed "Uncle Bud" Adamczyk, Kyle Busch
3 Greg Ely
4 Randy Tolsma, Bobby Burrell, Jennifer Eolin, Amanda Ebersole
5 Larry Pollard, Bob Welborn
6 Mike Borkowski, Tammy Jo Kirk, Jeff Hancock, Dean Mozingo, Gina Henson
7 Dave Steele, Danny O'Quinn Jr.
8 Bobby Labonte, Nathan Buttke, Don Hume, Jay Stewart, Judy Childress
9 Tim Fedewa, Scott Page
10 Amelia Andretti, Andy Rueger
11 Glenn Bobo, Tim Flock, NASCAR Hall of Fame
12 Jabe Thomas, Debra Adamczyk
13 Rich Bickle, Scott Eggleston, Bob Kennedy, Jim Spencer, Linda McReynolds, Kirk Almquist, Maggie Feeney Rossi
14 Steve Letarte, Bill Brooks, Dave Munari, Danielle Del Corio, Scott Lynch
15 Shane Hmiel, John Hubner