Happy Hour practice for the Hellmann's 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway is over, after 55 scheduled minutes, the top five, slowest and notes:
slowest: #83-Earnhardt 185.051 & #23-Ragan 185.316
only 25 of 41 cars have made runs.
notes: Qualifying is scheduled for 4:10pm/et on Saturday, October 22, aired on NBCSN.
See fastest speeds, laps run, best 10 consecutive lap ave on the Talladega Happy Hour Practice speeds page (10-21-2016)
Talladega Goodyear Tire Notes: Teams in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will run the same tire set-up at Talladega this weekend . . . for Sprint Cup teams at Talladega, this combination of left- and right-side tires dates back to the October 2014 race . . . for Camping World Truck teams at Talladega, they began running this left-side tire code in 2014, and this right-side tire code in 2015 . . . teams in both of these series have also run this left-side tire at Daytona this season . . . this is the only track at which these teams ran this right-side tire this year . . . as on all NASCAR ovals greater than one mile in length, teams are required to run inner liners in all four tire positions at Talladega . . . air pressure in those inner liners should be 12-25 psi greater than that of the outer tire (Goodyear), see full notes, tire codes, pressures, set limits and more on the Talladega Race Info page
Eagles hook up Truex Jr. with gifts: #78-Martin Truex Jr., from nearby Mayetta, New Jersey, received a customized Philadelphia Eagles jersey and game ball from their 34-3 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers during his weekly press conference at Talladega Superspeedway this week. Truex, of course, is a diehard Eagles fan. He was supposed to visit the team during practice when the Sprint Cup Series was in Dover, Delaware, but had to cancel due to a scheduled NASCAR testing session.(247Sports)(10-22-2016)
Kenseth & Johnson to race Hincapie Gran Fondo cycle race: More than 2,300 cyclists will take to the backroads of Greenville County on Saturday when the fifth annual Gran Fondo Hincapie gets underway [in Greenville, SC]. The riders come from at least 18 different countries and 39 U.S. states, and they include at least two NASCAR drivers, according to ride founder Rich Hincapie. Jimmy Johnson and Matt Kenseth are avid cyclists, according to Hincapie. The NASCAR riders face a special challenge beyond the climbs in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains: they also have to get to Talladega in time for qualifying. In addition to flying the drivers in and out of Greenville County, Hincapie said organizers also have created a "NASCAR extraction plan" to help the drivers get to Talladega on time. If the NASCAR drivers don't hit a certain spot along the bike route by a certain time, they will be driven back, according to Hincapie. Also pedaling in the Gran Fondo will be members of the U.S. and Olympic cycling teams, according to organizers. Organizers said the best time to catch up with the NASCAR celebs would be at 7 a.m. during the VIP breakfast at Hincapie-owned Hotel Domestique, 10 Road of Vines, in Travelers Rest. The best place to watch the race once it is underway is from Chinquapin Road where it meets Highway 11. The ride includes three routes: The 80-mile Gran, the 50-mile Medio and the 15-mile Piccolo. The Gran route includes 8,100 feet of climbing. A portion of the proceeds from the race will benefit Greenville County's Meals on Wheels.(WYFF)(10-22-2016)
NASCAR Torque series released: Panini America, the official trading card partner of NASCAR, released their 2016 Torque NASCAR Racing cards in hobby shops across the country. Prior to teaming up with Panini in August, NASCAR was without a trading card partner for two years, and they are ready to deliver to anxious fans everything they have been waiting for and more. Panini's Torque card product contains everything from sheet-metal cards (sheet metal taken from the cars) to oversized memorabilia cards (race-worn fire suits, gloves, shoes, etc., and race-used tires). Torque is packed with content both on the autograph and memorabilia sides; it also delivers a compelling array of photography, technology, and tributes to all-time greats, paint schemes, superstar helmets and so much more.(more info at paniniamerica.net.(10-22-2016)
Allison's named dignitaries for Hellman's 500: Original members of the famed Alabama Gang, Bobby and Donnie Allison - both of whom enjoyed great success at Talladega Superspeedway over the years- will serve as Grand Marshal and Honorary Starter, respectively, for Sunday's Hellmann's 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race. Bobby, the 1983 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion and four-time Talladega Superspeedway winner, will deliver those most famous words in motorsports - "Drivers, Start Your Engines". Donnie, a two-time Talladega winner will show the green flag to the field to kick off the final race of the Round of 12. Both are members of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame.(Alabama News)(10-22-2016)
Latest on Mears 2017 plans: Casey Mears says he and the Germain Racing #13 team are concentrating their efforts only on the remaining five races of 2016 and can't speak about next year. "Not at the moment," Mears said Friday at Talladega Superspeedway. "Right now we're just focused on what we talked about at the beginning of the season. Focus on the remainder of this year first and foremost." Rumors have Germain opting to replace Mears next season, possibly with NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Ty Dillon. Dillon's Richard Childress Racing organization has a technical alliance with Germain. Geico, the #13 team's primary sponsor, is signed through 2018. In many cases, sponsor and driver contracts run concurrently. "As I know more, we can talk about it," Mears said. "But right now we're just focused on getting through this weekend."(NASCAR.com)(10-21-2016)
Talladega Driver Notes & Facts:
· 442 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega; 307 in more than one.
· Dave Marcis and Terry Labonte lead the series in starts at Talladega with 61 each. Tony Stewart leads all active drivers with 34 starts; followed by Matt Kenseth with 33.
· A total of 68 drivers have made their first series start at Talladega; Jamie McMurray (10/06/2002) is the only active driver to make his series debut at Talladega Superspeedway.
· 45 different drivers have won at Talladega Superspeedway, led by Dale Earnhardt with 10. Brad Keselowski leads all active drivers with four.
· Nine drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series have posted consecutive wins at Talladega; Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads the series in consecutive wins at Talladega after posting four-straight from the fall of 2001 - 2003.
· 2012 series champion Brad Keselowski (04/26/2009) and Brian Vickers (10/08/2006) posted their first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins at Talladega.
· Brad Keselowski is the only active series driver to win at Talladega in his first appearance.
· Matt Kenseth competed at Talladega Superspeedway 25 times before winning the fall of 2012; the longest span of any the 11 active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winners.
· Matt Kenseth (25), Tony Stewart (19), Kevin Harvick (18), and David Ragan (12) all made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Talladega.
· Kurt Busch leads the series among active drivers with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Talladega without visiting Victory Lane at 30; followed by Ryan Newman with 28.
· Buddy Baker and Tony Stewart are tied for the series' most runner-up finishes at Talladega with six each.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-five finishes at Talladega with 23. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 12.
· Dale Earnhardt leads the series in top-10 finishes at Talladega with 27. Dale Earnhardt Jr. leads all active drivers with 16.
· Ricky Stenhouse Jr. leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in average finishing position at Talladega with a 12.200.
· Matt Kenseth leads all active drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in laps led at Talladega with 512 laps led in 33 starts.
· Three female drivers have competed at Talladega in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Janet Guthrie, Patty Moise and Danica Patrick.(NASCAR)
Go Fas Racing picks up sponsor for Talladega: Visone RV will return as a primary sponsor on the #32 Ford with Go Fas Racing for this weekend's Hellmans 500 at the Talladega Superpeedway with 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Bobby Labonte. Visone RV, based in East Bernstadt, Kentucky has the world's largest selection of new and used Motor Home parts in the nation. "With the thousands of campers and recreational vehicles filling the Talladega Superspeedway property this weekend, being present on the #32 is the perfect arena for us to market Visone RV products and services," said Terry Blakenship, owner of Visone RV. "We are excited for the opportunity we were given to work with Bobby Labonte and everyone at Go Fas Racing."(GFR)(10-21-2016)
Chevy Teams Up With American Cancer Society For Breast Cancer Awareness: Once again, during the month of October, Chevrolet has partnered with the American Cancer Society to help raise funds and awareness for breast cancer. This is Chevrolet's sixth year partnering with the ASC, in which it has raised $6 million over the course of time. Across the United States, Chevrolet and its dealerships are supporting the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program through event sponsorships, team participation, customer engagement and other activities. But, the brand has other ways to raise awareness, too. Through October, Chevy will donate $5 for each Twitter and Instagram social post utilizing the hashtag #IDriveFor, up to $500,000. And in motorsports, the Chevrolet SS sedan pace car will be once again draped in pink. The breast cancer awareness pace car will debut at two NASCAR Sprint Cup Races at Talladega Superspeedway on October 23 and Martinsville Speedway on October 30. Furthermore, Chevrolet will donate $350 for each caution lap taken in the pink Chevy SS pace car at the two events up to $50,000.(GM Authority)(10-21-2016)
Pink Ethanol scheme for Dillon at Talladega:
Real men drive pink, and #3-Austin Dillon is doing just that for a good cause this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway driving a #3 pink E15 American Ethanol Chevy. For every gallon purchased at participating retailers, Growth Energy will donate 2˘ towards the fight against breast cancer (RCR Facebook), see an image of the car on the #3 Team Schemes page (10-21-2016)
Earnhardt Jr. Joins MRN for Talladega Broadcast: Dale Earnhardt Jr. will return to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend - not behind the wheel of a racecar but behind a Motor Racing Network microphone. "Junior" will join "The Voice of NASCAR" during the first half of Sunday's Hellmann's 500 broadcast - teaming up with MRN anchors Joe Moore and Jeff Striegle in the newly christened "Barney Hall MRN Booth." Hall of Fame driver Rusty Wallace joins Moore, Striegle and Earnhardt with analysis of the sixth race in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Fans who are unable to attend Sunday's race can find their local Motor Racing Network affiliate by visiting www.MRN.com and clicking on the "STATIONS" link. This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway Chevrolet in partnership with the American Cancer Society will campaign a pink Chevrolet SS pace car in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. For every pace lap the pink Chevrolet SS leads, Chevrolet will donate $350 to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Program. On Saturday morning, Chevrolet will host a group of 25 survivors and their guests in a hospitality area and give them pace car rides with drivers Kevin Harvick, Jamie McMurray and Kasey Kahne.(MRN)(10-21-2016)
Goody's Returns to Hood of #44: Brian Scott and the #44 Goody's team are preparing for anything as the Sprint Cup Series makes the second trip to the 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway this weekend. Goody's will return to the hood of the #44 Ford this weekend, their second race with the team this season. Goody's Mixed Fruit Blast purple scheme was on the car at Martinsville in April.(RPM), see images of both schemes on the #44 Team Schemes page (10-21-2016)
Final restrictor plate for Stewart: Tony Stewart might not be the biggest fan of restrictor-plate racing in NASCAR, but there are few drivers like Stewart who can say they've led almost 1,000 laps or logged more than 30,000 miles in their careers on the 200-mph, high-banked tracks at Daytona and Talladega. In Sunday's Hellman's 500 at the 2.66-mile Talladega track, the three-time champion will drive the #14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Delvac Chevy in the 70th and final superspeedway restrictor-plate start of his 18-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career. Going into his final Sprint Cup restrictor-plate race, Stewart owns five wins, 18 top-fives and 28 top-10s on NASCAR's current restrictor-plate tracks. He's led 997 laps and logged 30,257.2 miles.(SHR)(10-21-2016)
Blaney To Honor The Late Neil Bonnett At Talladega: Ryan Blaney and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team are planning an encore presentation of their throwback theme first used at the Darlington Raceway earlier this season. Blaney, at his own request, will wear the same uniform he wore during the Southern 500 to honor David Pearson. At Talladega, he'll wear the uniform in honor of both Pearson and the late Neil Bonnett, who was from Bessemer, Ala., and considered Talladega his home track. Bonnett succeeded Pearson as driver of the iconic #21 midway through the 1979 season and used a uniform just like the one Pearson wore. Once aboard the #21, Bonnett won in his third start, at Dover. He won twice more that season, at Daytona and Atlanta. In 1980, he won back-to-back races at Pocono Raceway and Talladega. He won three more in 1981 and another in 1982, giving him nine wins in four seasons, all while running a limited schedule. His 1980 win at Talladega was classic Neil Bonnett. He had the #21 out front seven times for 53 laps, but won the race in dramatic fashion. A restart with seven laps remaining set up a shootout for the win between Bonnett, Cale Yarborough, Benny Parsons and Dale Earnhardt Sr. Yarbrough took the lead at the drop of the green flag, but Bonnett, who had been leading prior to the final caution flag, wasn't done, as team co-owner Eddie Wood recalled. It took Bonnett three laps to regain the lead, and he led the final four - just like the week before at Pocono - to score the win. Behind him, Yarborough edged Earnhardt for second place with Parsons finishing fourth.(Wood Brothers Racing)(10-21-2016)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. acquires roof from dad's 1982 car: Dale Earnhardt Jr. is continuing to build his collection of meaningful memorabilia during his time off from NASCAR. In a Twitter post on Tuesday, the driver posted a photo of a roof from a dirt car his father drove in 1982 that he's adding to his collection.(USA Today)(10-21-2016)
Sad News - Dwane James Batey: James Dwane Batey, 56, of Charlotte passed away Wednesday October 19, 2016. Dwane was employed by Hendrick Motorsports for sixteen years as a Fabricator in the Chassis Shop. He's always had a passion for cars and racing. Even as a young child he spent hours drawing cars and dreaming about racing during school. Dwane also had a passion for aviation and photography. One of his favorite events to learn about was WWII. He was a longtime volunteer at the NC Aviation Museum where he helped to restore aircraft. A service to celebrate Dwane's life will be held at Forest Lawn West on Sunday October 23, 2016. Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. and his service at 2:30 p.m. Reverend Robert Shaw will be officiating. Arrangements under the direction of Forest Lawn West Funeral & Cremation Service, Charlotte, NC. For the full obituary, services info and condolences go to dignitymemorial.com(10-21-2016)
GEICO Extends Multiyear, Multi-Track Partnership with ISC: GEICO, the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the U.S., announced it will extend its multiyear partnership with International Speedway Corporation, owner / operator of 13 of the nation's major motorsports facilities. GEICO will continue its entitlement for the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway as well as its Campground naming rights at eight ISC motorsports facilities. Debuting for NASCAR's Chase double elimination weekend Oct. 21-23, GEICO will provide naming rights to Talladega's Restart Zone. Beginning in 2017, GEICO will take ownership of this area at 10 additional ISC tracks as well. GEICO's sponsorship of the GEICO 500 at Talladega will run through 2019, the year the mammoth 2.66-mile venue will celebrate its historical 50th anniversary. Next year's GEICO 500 is set for May 7, 2017. The GEICO Restart Zone will add significant brand visibility to an area just prior to the start / finish line indicating where the race leader is allowed to accelerate when the race is beginning or continuing following a caution. Further leveraging ISC's massive scale, GEICO will be represented at 11 of the Company's tracks beginning in 2017.(TSS)(10-21-2016)
Talladega Track Notes & History:
· Construction began on what was then known as the Alabama International Motor Speedway on May 23, 1968.
· The first NASCAR Sprint Cup race was held on Sept. 14, 1969 - won by Richard Brickhouse.
· The name changed to Talladega Superspeedway in 1989.
· Fourth repaving completed on Sept. 19, 2006.(NASCAR)
New Big, Bold & Tough "Vulcan" Trophy for Talladega winner: It takes nerves of steel to circle Talladega Superspeedway at nearly 200 mph. The driver who does that the fastest on the final lap of Sunday's Hellmann's 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race will be appropriately awarded with the new Vulcan Trophy, a miniature version of the famous cast-iron statue that overlooks the city in nearby Birmingham. The Vulcan Trophy is a one-of-a-kind, handmade work of art created out of solid iron. It is nearly 3 feet tall and weighs nearly 80 pounds. It is the conception of Marshall Christie, the Director of Metal Arts at Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, and Lead Sculptor/Artist in Residence Ajene Williams. The figure sits on an aluminum and stainless steel base that was created by Bruce Griffin (Griffin Laser) of Lincoln, as well as Steve Kirk (Advance Laser Machine) of Munford. The design and resemblance of the Talladega Superspeedway (TSS) Vulcan Trophy is identical to the actual 56-foot colossal Vulcan statue that looms tall over Birmingham. The world's largest iron-ore statue pays homage to the city's roots in the iron and steel industry, with its depiction of the Roman god of fire and forge. The main attraction at Vulcan Park and Museum, the statue stands on a 124-foot sandstone pedestal, bringing the height of the entire structure to 180 feet, and weighs more than 100,000 pounds. The statue was produced with local iron and was Birmingham's entry at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Vulcan has overlooked Alabama's largest city from atop Red Mountain since the 1930s. Birmingham, founded in 1871, is unique because it contains coal, iron ore and limestone, the raw materials for making iron and steel. Three items are unique to Vulcan, who made weapons and armor for all the gods. His hammer and anvil were used in his forge (shop where metal is heated and hammered into useful items), and the spear is a piece of his completed work that he held high and admired. The Hellmann's 500 is set for Sunday. For tickets or additional information, please visit talladegasuperspeedway.com or call the speedway ticket office at 877.Go2.DEGA.(TSS)(10-21-2016)
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Talladega:
#24-Chase Elliott .......... 101.3
#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr .......... 92.0
#20-Matt Kenseth .......... 89.2
#48-Jimmie Johnson .......... 88.6
#41-Kurt Busch .......... 88.3
#2-Brad Keselowski .......... 87.1
#14-Brian Vickers .......... 84.0
#11-Denny Hamlin .......... 82.9
#22-Joey Logano .......... 81.9
#4-Kevin Harvick .......... 80.9
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2016 races (23 total) among active drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.
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)
Cheez-It / Kelloggs leaving Roush/Watkins Glen: Cheez-It is not renewing its current deals in NASCAR, as the Kellogg's-owned brand confirmed to THE DAILY this morning that it will let its deals with Roush Fenway Racing, Watkins Glen International and track owner ISC expire after this season. However, the brand stopped short of confirming that it will fully exit the sport. Cheez-It, which signed on in 2015 with RFR's #16 Ford driven by Greg Biffle for a handful of races as primary sponsor, also has been the entitlement partner of WGI's annual Sprint Cup Series race since 2013. The company in a statement said, "As part of our ongoing evaluation of company sponsorships and other business activities, the Kellogg Company has decided not to renew its sponsorship of Roush Fenway Racing, Watkins Glen International and the International Speedway Corporation. All of the people within these organizations have been tremendous partners and we have truly enjoyed our association with them, the drivers and the fans." Sources added that Cheez-It had been shopping its deal with other teams in recent months.(Sports Business Daily)(10-20-2016)
Gray Gaulding set to make Cup Series debut at Martinsville: 18 year old NASCAR Next alumnus, Gray Gaulding will take the next step in his career making a debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS.) Gaulding will drive the #30 Feed the Children Chevy for The Motorsports Group (TMG) at Martinsville Speedway on October 30, 2016. "It's exciting bringing a new partner into the series and to be making my NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut at a track like Martinsville (Speedway) where we've had a really good history in the past is honestly unfathomable" said Gaulding. "I'm excited to partner with Feed the Children and use NASCAR as a platform to deliver our message and work to create a world where no child goes to bed hungry. A lot has happened in a short period of time but I've never been as excited to debut this beautiful Feed the Children car next week at Martinsville Speedway."
"We are pleased to sponsor Gray Gaulding, the youngest NASCAR driver in the Martinsville field and one of the most promising and fierce competitors among the many legendary NASCAR drivers who have made NASCAR one of the most exciting sports in America," said the Hon. J.C. Watts, Jr., president and CEO of Feed the Children. "He's not only bold in his approach, he's also blazing new trails, and we at Feed the Children strive to do the same. Gray knows firsthand the value of family, especially the NASCAR family who has joined us in our work as we have brought disaster relief to those whose lives and livelihoods have been severely affected by Hurricane Matthew and all the subsequent flooding."
"We're grateful to be partnering with Feed the Children in their mission to provide hope and resources for those without life's essentials" said Stephen Lynn, chief executive officer for GGR Enterprises. Along with their debut at Martinsville Speedway, Gaulding and the #30 Feed the Children team will also make starts at Phoenix and Homestead-Miami in November. Help take action and donate to end hunger by texting FEED30 to 41444.(GGR Enterprises)
Josh Wise has driven the #30 all season until the team skipped Talladega this week. The team is an open team, Gaulding will have to qualify for the races on speed.(10-20-2016)
Danica paints Martinsville Speedway's Curbs Pink: Danica Patrick joined Chevy Racing, the American Cancer Society and four breast cancer survivors Wednesday to Paint the Curbs Pink at Martinsville Speedway. The event is part of Team Chevy and the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer program. In addition to painting the iconic curbs, Chevy Racing will donate $350, up to $50,000, to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer for every caution lap run during the Goody's Fast Relief 500 on October 30. Last year the race saw 109 caution laps. In addition to donating money for caution laps, Team Chevy will donate $5, up to $500,000, to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer every time the hashtag #IDriveFor is shared on Instagram or Twitter. The Goody's Fast Relief 500 Race Weekend is October 28-30.
The weekend starts on Friday with Virginia Lottery Pole Day and continues on Saturday with the Texas Roadhouse 200 presented by Alpha Energy Solutions NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in action Sunday with the Goody's Fast Relief 500. Adult ticket prices for the Goody's Fast Relief 500 start at $45. Seats in the Bill France Tower are only $50. Ticket prices increase the week of the race. Tickets can be purchased by calling 1.877.RACE.TIX or online at martinsvillespeedway.com.(PR)(10-20-2016)
Earnhardt Jr. joins the Cup broadcast booth for next two races: NBC Sports announced that Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of Hendrick Motorsports' #88 Chevy, will join the NBC Sports broadcast booth for portions of two upcoming Sprint Cup broadcasts. Earnhardt, who has not raced since July as he recovers from a concussion, will lend his expertise as an analyst during NBCSN's coverage this Sunday from Talladega Superspeedway, as well as the following Sunday from Martinsville Speedway. Inside the NBCSN broadcast booth, Earnhardt will reunite with his former crew chief Steve Letarte, and work alongside race announcer Rick Allen and fellow analyst Jeff Burton. Sunday marks Earnhardt's first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup broadcasting assignment. "I'm excited to see these races from a different vantage point and hopefully offer some insight to the viewers," said Earnhardt. "I thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity to broadcast the XFINITY race at Michigan earlier this year, so I expect getting to spend time in the booth with the NBC team to be just as fun."(NBC Sports)(10-20-2016)
Keselowski going for Talladega Sweep: Team Penske driver #2-Brad Keselowski will be going for a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season sweep at Talladega after winning the Geico 500 in May. The last driver to win both Talladega events was Jeff Gordon in 2007, and there have been a total of seven sweeps overall. Pete Hamilton (1970), Buddy Baker (1975), Darrell Waltrip (1982), Dale Earnhardt (1990, 1999), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2002) and Gordon (2007) are the only ones to achieve that feat. Keselowski has four career series wins at the track, including his first career triumph in 2009.(Ford Racing)(10-20-2016)
Career start 150 for Patrick: The Alabama 500 will mark #10-Danica Patrick's 150th career start in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and her eighth at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. She finished a career-best 19th there in October 2014. In two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts there, she finished a career-best 13th in May 2012. Tom Cavalli, a NASCAR fan who resides in Clermont, Florida, will join the #10 Nature's Bakery team Sunday at Talladega as the latest Nature's Bakery Fantern. The Fantern program was launched in January to energize fans with an opportunity to participate in a unique, at-track journey with Patrick and the #10 team. Cavalli's race-day experience will include spending time with the Nature's Bakery pit crew, a tour of the Sprint Cup garage and pit area, meeting Patrick and watching the race from pit road.(SHR)(10-20-2016)
Baldwin meets with employees, 'exploring all my opportunities' for team's future UPDATE3: Unsure about his organization's future, #7 team owner Tommy Baldwin met with his employees Monday "so I can give them the options if they needed to go find a job.'' Baldwin said Tuesday that "I'm exploring all my opportunities right now. I'm trying to figure everything out.'' He hopes to have his plans solidified by some point in December. Among the options, there is one thing Baldwin said he won't do. "I would never shut down,'' said Baldwin, whose team debuted in the Cup series in 2009. "Don't use that word. The options are keep going or sell. That's the only two options we have.'' Baldwin admits he's given his employees a similar message "in six out of the eight years" of the team and always made it to the next season. "The technology has just increased,'' Baldwin said. "Everyone has just become smarter. The race teams, with Michael Waltrip Racing shutting down (after the 2015 season) and some other things, it put a lot good people, dispersed a lot of good people to different teams. Everyone had to spend a lot more money to keep up with the Gibbs and Hendrick programs. It's funny to me how everyone thinks our racing is not good. This is the most competitive that NASCAR has ever been.'' Baldwin admits it has been a struggle at times for the team and driver Regan Smith. Baldwin has one of the 36 charters granted to Sprint Cup teams at the beginning of this season. That adds value to his organization, ensuring that his team - or whoever purchases the charter, if that happens - would be in every Cup points race. Baldwin's car is 32nd in the car owner point standings, ahead of five other teams that have charters (another team below Baldwin's leased its charter for this season). Smith is 33rd in the driver standings. He finished a season-best third at Pocono in August. His only other top-10 finish this year has been an eighth-place result in the Daytona 500.(NBC Sports)
UPDATE: hearing that Baldwin has sold the #7 TBR charter to the #95 Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing team. Not sure if that means the team will have two charters and run two teams or if Circle Sport gets one of the charters and runs the #33 team again. Supposedly Casey Mears will be the driver of the #95. Rumors have floated around the Ty Dillon would take over the #13 Germain Racing Chevy ride with increased support from Richard Childress Racing. No word if Baldwin would stay on as a part-owner or crew chief, move on to another team or keep running the #7 TBR team as an open team.
UPDATE2: FS1's NASCAR Racehub show confirmed Wednesday with multiple sources that Tommy Baldwain Racing has signed paperwork to transfer ownership charter to Leavine Family Racing (#95 Chevy). It was also reported that LFR leased their charter for 2016, supposedly from Circle Sport, which ran the #33 Chevy for years under the ownership of Joe Falk. Baldwin could play an advisory role with the team. TBR declined to comment. (10-19-2016)
UPDATE3: Leavine Family Racing is in the process of buying a charter for next season as its relationship with Circle Sport owner Joe Falk (who has a charter) will end after 2016, Leavine VP Jeremy Lange said Wednesday. Lange wouldn't confirm from which team it is buying a charter. The team plans to operate one Cup car (the #95) next year with a Richard Childress Racing alliance. Michael McDowell has been the Leavine primary driver since 2014 and has built a good relationship with the team but does not have a deal signed yet to drive for the team next season.(ESPN)(10-20-2016)
2,000 Fans Get to "Ride with Trevor" in Talladega: The AdvoCare Ford driven by Roush Fenway Racing driver Trevor Bayne will have a different look this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway as the faces of 2,000 race fans will adorn the blue and red Fusion as part of a "fan mosaic." "It's pretty neat to see this many people on our AdvoCare Ford," said Bayne. "It really shows how great of a fanbase we have and how supportive they are of our race team and everyone at AdvoCare. I can't thank AdvoCare enough for giving the fans this opportunity. Hopefully we will keep all these people's faces clean and get a great finish on Sunday."(RFR), see an image of the car on the #6 Team Schemes page (10-20-2016)
Gilliland returns to the #35 at Talladega; son wins title: Front Row Motorsports is bring a third team, the #35 Ford to Talladega Superspeedway. David Gilliland will be back in the saddle and need to qualify on time in the #35 Dockside Logistics Ford. Gilliland also made attempots for the team at both Daytona races (February and July) and Talladega in May. After failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, Gilliland has run both the May race at Talladega (finishing 17th) and July race at Daytona (19th). Gilliland: "I love getting in the car again for superspeedway races. It can be a little stressful because we have to qualify in, but Front Row Motorsports always brings fast cars to the plate races. So, as long as the weather's good, we should be in good shape."(FRM Facebook / FRM PR)
AND Todd Gilliland started the season with a historic winning streak. Wrapping it up Saturday night, an eighth-place finish was more than enough for the teenager to add to the record books. The 16-year-old from Sherrills Ford, NC, clinched the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship with his 13th top 10 in 14 races. In the process, Gilliland became the youngest champion in the history of the NASCAR national or touring series at 16 years, 5 months. Gilliland joined his grandfather as a NASCAR champion. Butch Gilliland won the 1997 West crown, while Todd's father David had his best series points finish of third in 2009.(toddgilliland.com)(10-19-2016)
U.S. District Court Dismisses Case of Suspended Dirt Late Model Dream Drivers: U.S. District Judge Mae A. D'Agostino today issued a stipulation of dismissal in the case of plaintiffs Scott Bloomquist, Gregg Satterlee, Jimmy Owens, and Ricky Thornton vs World Racing Group and subsidiary DIRTcar Racing, Eldora Speedway, and its owner Tony Stewart regarding suspension following tire analysis after Eldora Speedway's Dirt Late Model Dream. Drivers will be allowed to return to competition with payment of the fine and fees imposed, following a request for reinstatement of their suspended DIRTcar membership. "We're happy this is over," said DIRTcar Racing COO Tom Deery. "It is a waste of resources that should have been invested in the sport rather than damaging it and polarizing fans." The attorney for the five plaintiffs and their team owners, R&W Motorsports, LLC, W.G. Satterlee & Sons, Inc., Best Performance Motorsports and J.R. Motorsports, LLC, filed a voluntary motion for dismissal on Monday.(DIRTcar Racing)(10-20-2016)
Kansas warnings/fines announced: NASCAR has announced penalties and warnings following the Hollywood Casino 400 Sprint Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway on October 16, 2016.
Greg Ives, the crew chief for #88-Alex Bowman, was fined $10,000 for lug nut(s) not properly installed after the race.
#20-Kenseth, failed LIS three times, pre-race. written warning and loss of 15 minutes practice time.
#19-Edwards(4), #42-Larson (4) and #78-Truex Jr. (3) Failed LIS twice, pre-race, written warning.
Edwards & Larson also loss of pit selection at Talladega for 4th violation.
#3-Dillon(1) and #7-Smith(1), failed template inspection twice, pre-race, written warning.
#55-Whitt(2), failed LIS twice, pre-qualifying, written warning.
#1-McMurray(0; penalty served in Kansas) & #78-Truex Jr.(3), failed template inspection twice, pre-qualifying, written warning.
() -- total current warnings.
See the Kansas Post-Event Penalty & Warning Report (pdf) for more.(10-19-2016)
Earnhardt Jr. says he will race the #88 in 2017: Dale Earnhardt Jr. reiterated on Wednesday that he continues to have every intention of returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to drive the #88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy in 2017, beginning with the season-opening Daytona 500 next February. Earnhardt, who has been sidelined since early July because of a concussion and will not return for the remainder of this season, spoke at a promotional event (Jeansboro Day) Wednesday at the corporate headquarters of Wrangler.(FoxSports)(10-19-2016)
Stenhouse Jr. to Honor the Late Bryan Clauson at the Jason Leffler Classic: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will return to his dirt-track roots this Thursday night as he drives the #39 for the newly formed Clauson-Marshall Racing at the Jason Leffler Classic at Wayne County Speedway to honor his late friend Bryan Clauson. "I'm always thrilled to race with Tim and this team. I value the friendship and passion he and Bryan have for racing," Stenhouse, Jr., commented. "This race means a lot to Bryan. The whole racing family comes together to remember an awesome guy and racer. I'm looking forward to representing this team and hope I can do even half of what Bryan could do in this car. Bryan's passing hasn't gotten easier, but it's been unbelievable to see the support of so many friends, family and fans. With them, I hope to continue Bryan's legacy and continue in his winning ways. It helps all of us and I'm glad to be a tiny part of it with this team." At Bristol earlier this year, the Olive Branch, Miss. native drove a Bryan Clauson Fastenal tribute scheme to a second-place finish after overcoming a two-lap deficit and a speeding penalty on pit road. The second-place finish tied his career best finish, also at Bristol in 2014. After the race on Thursday evening, Stenhouse will travel to Talladega Superspeedway for the Hellmann's 500.(RFR)(10-19-2016)
#30 TMG Team skipping Talladega: The #30 TMG Chevy is shown as being 'withdrawn' on the Hellman's 500 Sprint Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway entry list. Per a tweet by @TMG30: "We are taking the Dega weekend off. We are still building and our plate program is just not where it needs to be to qualify." Driver @Josh_Wise also tweeted: "Pretty bummed we aren't going to make it to @TalladegaSuperS this week. One of the few tracks left that is an equalizer in the race." (10-19-2016)
Snickers Halloween scheme for Kyle Busch: As the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Talladega this weekend for the final race of the Round of 12 in the 2016 Chase for the Sprint Cup, Kyle Busch's #18 Snickers Halloween Toyota is appropriately dressed for the occasion with a special Halloween-themed livery (JGR), see an image of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page (10-19-2016)
PEAK Becomes New Title Sponsor of NASCAR Mexico Series: NASCAR announced a multi-year agreement with Old World Industries (OWI) to make PEAK title sponsor of the NASCAR Mexico Series, which will run a full slate of races in 2017 and ensuing seasons. The NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series will kick off with an exhibition race on Dec. 3-4 in Mexico City. Its 10th season will begin in 2017 with a full championship schedule that will be announced at a later date. NASCAR XFINITY Series star Daniel Suárez - the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race, earn a national series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award and lead a national series in points - developed his talents in the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series. Suárez is currently competing for the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship in its inaugural Chase playoff. Another young talent the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series has fostered is Ruben Garcia Jr., an alumnus of the NASCAR Next initiative which highlights the sport's top up-and-coming drivers. Both Suárez and Garcia are also alums of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. As part of OWI's deal, PEAK becomes an official NASCAR partner. The NASCAR bar mark will be featured on select PEAK products, including PEAK Antifreeze & Coolant (Official Antifreeze/Coolant of NASCAR) and PEAK Windshield Washer Fluid and Wipers (Official Washer Fluid and Wiper Blade of NASCAR), BlueDEF Diesel Exhaust Fluid and Equipment (Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid of NASCAR and Official Diesel Exhaust Fluid Equipment of NASCAR) and Herculiner Truck & Bed Liners (Official Roll-On and Spray-On Bed Liner of NASCAR).(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-19-2016)
Reed to attempt to make his Cup debut: This weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, Ryan Reed will get behind the wheel of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) car for the first time in competition. Reed will attempt to make his first NSCS start this weekend at Talladega behind the wheel of the #99 Lilly Diabetes/American Diabetes Association Ford. In three NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) starts at Talladega, Reed has never started outside of the top-10 and has led a total of 37 laps. In six NXS starts at Daytona International Speedway, Reed has earned one win, two top-fives and three top-10s. Reed kicked off the 2015 season at Daytona with an eighth-place qualifying effort. Reed would find his way to the front of the field in the closing laps, leading a total of 14 laps and crossing the finish line in first. Reed's NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) crew chief Phil Gould will also serve as his crew chief in this weekend's NSCS race. Gould has 12 superspeedway races under his belt as a NXS crew chief. The Drive to Stop Diabetes campaign strives to educate people about living well with diabetes. The campaign encourages the millions of Americans who have diabetes to talk about it with their doctor, family, and friends and to actively manage their health.(RFR), see an image of the car on the #99 Team Schemes page (10-19-2016)
Hellmann's joins Talladega Superspeedway as title sponsor: Hellmann's mayonnaise, which has been a staple in American kitchens for generations, and NASCAR's Most Competitive Track - Talladega Superspeedway - announced that Sunday's race in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will now be known as the Hellmann's 500. Hellmann's, a brand of Unilever, has been involved in the sport of NASCAR since 2004 and has a reputation for delivering fans with quality, delicious products. In addition to the new Talladega Superspeedway (TSS) partnership, the Hellmann's brand has a long-time relationship with six-time TSS winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. and JR Motorsports. NASCAR fans have embraced many of the attributes that resonate with the Hellmann's family of products - plain and simple, they are the real deal. Hellmann's (hellmanns.com) flagship product, Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise, is the best-selling mayonnaise in the United States. Sunday's Hellmann's 500 at the mammoth 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked layout, will be the pivotal third and final race in the Round of 12 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. When the checkered flag falls in the pressure-packed event, the field of title contenders will be reduced from 12 drivers to eight.
While he won't be competing in the Hellmann's 500, Earnhardt Jr. will be at Talladega and will be interacting with fans as part of the Fan Question & Answer session at the start-finish line as part of the track's "Pre-Race Pit Pass Upgrade". More info and to buy tickets, go to talladegasuperspeedway.com (TSS)(10-18-2016)
Chase Clinch Scenarios at Talladega: #48-Jimmie Johnson and #4-Kevin Harvick have already clinched a spot in the Round of 8. With only one race remaining in this round, a new winner would be a win by Joey Logano, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski or Chase Elliott. A win by any other driver would be considered a repeat winner for the clinching requirements (so, Johnson/Harvick, or a non-Chase driver, or a driver ahead of Logano in points).
#20-Matt Kenseth (0 Wins, 3074 Points) - Would clinch on points with 13 Points (28th and no laps led, 29th and led at least one lap, 30th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 11 Points (30th and no laps led, 31st and led at least one lap, 32nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
#18-Kyle Busch (0 Wins, 3072 Points) - Would clinch on points with 15 Points (26th and no laps led, 27th and led at least one lap, 28th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 14 Points (27th and no laps led, 28th and led at least one lap, 29th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
#19-Carl Edwards (0 Wins, 3069 Points) - Would clinch on points with 18 Points (23rd and no laps led, 24th and led at least one lap, 25th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 16 Points (25th and no laps led, 26th and led at least one lap, 27th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
#41-Kurt Busch (0 Wins, 3062 Points) - Would clinch on points with 25 Points (16th and no laps led, 17th and led at least one lap, 18th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 24 Points (17th and no laps led, 18th and led at least one lap, 19th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
#78-Martin Truex Jr (0 Wins, 3058 Points) - Would clinch on points with 29 Points (12th and no laps led, 13th and led at least one lap, 14th and led most laps) and a new winner. If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 28 Points (13th and no laps led, 14th and led at least one lap, 15th and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins.
#22-Joey Logano (0 Wins, 3045 Points) - If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
#3-Austin Dillon (0 Wins, 3045 Points) - If there is a repeat winner, would clinch on points with 41 Points (2nd and led most laps). With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with a new winner and help.
#11-Denny Hamlin (0 Wins, 3039 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
#2-Brad Keselowski (0 Wins, 3038 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
#24-Chase Elliott (0 Wins, 3020 Points) - With a win, would clinch a next round spot on wins. Could clinch on points with help.
Testing at Homestead UPDATE: NASCAR's biggest stars from the Sprint Cup Series are headed to Homestead-Miami Speedway for team testing sessions. The tests are set for Tuesday, October 18 and Wednesday, November 19 from 9:00am-5:00pm on both days, weather permitting. Testing will take place on the Speedway's 1.5-mile oval, where one car from each of the major NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are slated to participate. Drivers will use the testing sessions in order to gather valuable racing data in preparation for the Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race on Sunday, November 20. The testing will be open to the public from 9:00am-5:00pm where fans can watch from the infield Pit Road Cabanas, grandstands and the Speedway Club located on the fourth floor. Fans attending may park their vehicles in the parking lot located on S.W. 336th Street and S.W. 137th Avenue. Entry to the facility is through Gate 4 where a tram will be available to take fans to the infield. Concessions will be made available to fans at the infield Pit Road Cabanas. Drivers scheduled to participate include: #2-Brad Keselowski, #34-Chris Buescher, #21-Ryan Blaney, #6-Trevor Bayne, #42-Kyle Larson, #24-Chase Elliott, #3-Austin Dillon, #41-Kurt Busch, #95-Michael McDowell, #99-Carl Edwards, and #23-David Ragan.(Homestead-Miami Speedway)(10-18-2016)
UPDATE: With the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 set for November 20, drivers in NASCAR's top series made their way to Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday to participate in the first of two scheduled team testing sessions. They are slated to conclude testing Wednesday from 9:00am to 5:00pm/et. In Tuesday's session, teams and their drivers took advantage of a full day's worth of testing to prepare for November's championship race. The 11 teams who took part in the tests had the opportunity to gain valuable racing data while experimenting on the Speedway's 1.5-mile oval. NASCAR testing at Homestead-Miami Speedway will resume tomorrow, October 19, and will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where fans can watch from the infield Pit Road Cabanas, grandstands and the Speedway Club located on the fourth floor. Fans attending may park their vehicles in the parking lot located on S.W. 336th Street and S.W. 137th Avenue. Entry to the facility is through Gate 4 where a tram will be available to take fans to the infield. Concessions will be made available to fans at the Pit Road Cabanas. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers that participated in the testing session today (Tuesday) included:
#2-Brad Keselowski, #34-Chris Buescher, #21-Ryan Blaney, #6-Trevor Bayne, #42-Kyle Larson, #24-Chase Elliott, #3-Austin Dillon, #41-Kurt Busch, #95-Michael McDowell, #19-Carl Edwards and #23-David Ragan.
Tickets to the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 championship race, in addition to the NASCAR XFINITY Series Ford EcoBoost 300 championship race Saturday, November 19, and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Ford EcoBoost 200 championship race Friday, November 18, are now available and can be purchased by calling (866) 409-RACE (7223) or visiting HomesteadMiamiSpeedway.com.(HMS)(10-18-2016)
Pink scheme for Allmendinger at Talladega: JTG Daugherty Racing is raising breast cancer awareness by turning AJ Allmendinger's #47 Kroger/SCOTT Products Chevy pink at Talladega Superspeedway during the Hellman's 500 on Sunday, October 23rd to compliment The Kroger Co. Family of Stores Sharing Courage campaign, which has donated over $33 million directly to local breast cancer organizations. In addition to a pink car, JTG Daugherty Racing has invited Kroger associate Linda O'Connell to Talladega Superspeedway to share her inspirational story of being one-year cancer-free. Her story is humbling, one of triumph and one that is close to the hearts of JTG Daugherty Racing employees, who will display family member's names on the #47 car that have battled or are battling breast cancer.(JTG Daugherty Racing), see an image of the car on the #47 team paint schemes page.(10-18-2016)
Parking Forward joins BK Racing as associate sponsor at Talladega: BK Racing has announced a partnership with Parking Forward as an associate sponsor for the #23 sweetFrog Toyota of David Ragan, the #93 Dustless Blasting Toyota of Matt DiBenedetto, and #83 Starter Toyota of Jeffery Earnhardt. Parking Forward offers a broad range of access and revenue control solutions to parking revenue recovery services and collections to full service parking management solutions. Their customers include parking operators, municipalities, universities, hospitals, commercial and residential buildings, hotels, and special event venues. As a sales alliance, they partner with businesses of all sizes, including new businesses, to drive sales on behalf of parking technology manufacturers and parking solutions providers.(BK Racing)(10-18-2016)
Jeffrey Earnhardt and Starter join BK Racing at Talladega: BK Racing announced that Jeffrey Earnhardt will be driving the #83 Starter Toyota at Talladega on October 23, 2016. Earnhardt will be one of three BK Racing cars on track for the Hellman's 500 as he joins teammates David Ragan and Matt DiBenedetto. "I'm really excited to drive the #83 Starter Toyota Camry for the fall race at Talladega," said Earnhardt. "It's my first Cup Series race at Talladega, my first race with BK Racing, the first time anyone from our family competes in a Toyota and it's the 25th anniversary of my grandfather's victory at Talladega. Having this opportunity with an iconic American partner like Starter is an incredible honor. I can't remember being so pumped up for a race and sincerely appreciate our friends at Starter for their support." Doug Richert, former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Sr. will be the crew chief on the #83 Starter Toyota at Talladega. Starter is a premium brand established in 1971. Starter pioneered the fusion of sports clothing with popular culture by forging partnerships with the major pro basketball, football, baseball, hockey, and college leagues.(BK Racing), see an image of the car on the #83 team paint schemes page.(10-17-2017)
NASCAR considering further limiting Cup drivers in lower series: For fans who don't like Sprint Cup drivers competing in Xfinity and Camping World Truck races, a NASCAR executive says "stay tuned" for an announcement "fairly soon" on the issue. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, uttered those words Monday on "The Morning Drive" on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio when asked about limiting Cup drivers in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. "It certainly is on our radar," O'Donnell said. "We've heard the fans. It's interesting, it's been a balance throughout the years. We've always had Sprint Cup drivers come into the Xfinity Series and sometimes dominate, back in the Mark Martin days. As the sport has evolved one of the great things is we've got more of a fan following in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. They like seeing those drivers come up through the ranks and it's our job to make sure that Xfinity is where names are made. We've got to do on that on the racetrack. That is something we're taking a really hard look at for next year, I'd say stay tuned. We're going to look at and probably have something to announce fairly soon." NASCAR prohibits any Cup driver who was in last year's Chase from competing in this year's season finale for the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series at Homestead-Miami Speedway. One possibility could be for NASCAR to extend such a ban for all future Chase races in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. Since 2011, Cup regulars have won 138 of the 196 Xfinity races (70.4%).(NBC Sports)(10-17-2016)
Cup Series title sponsorship expected to bring in less money: NASCAR [continues] the process of replacing a title sponsor for just the third time since 1971, in an environment where the value of such partnerships are fluid based on the needs and goals of the company, and the perceived value of a sport where attendance and television ratings have trended tepid. There still is value in NASCAR sponsorship, Kim Meesters, general manager of the NASCAR Sprint Cup sponsorship, told USA TODAY Sports. "It all has to be at the right level and the right price. It all has to be customized. That's why it takes so long to put this kind of deal together," she said. But the price has changed markedly.
CSM Sport & Entertainment CEO Zak Brown said the deal will not be as lucrative as the pact NASCAR is finishing with Sprint given the current market climate. Nextel signed a $750 million, 10-year deal to become title sponsor beginning in 2004, according to the Kansas City Star, and Sprint inked a three-year extension through the end of this season at a reduced rate of about $50 million in rights and activations fees, according to Sports Business Daily. Sprint announced in December 2014 that it would not renew. Brown said NASCAR has "a few real contenders," including "a couple" companies his firm represents. Among CSM's numerous clients with existing NASCAR lineage are Budweiser, Castrol, Crown Royal, Farmers Insurance and Hisense. Brown believes that NASCAR shouldn't rush to complete a deal for 2017. "NASCAR is very profitable as a business," he told USA TODAY Sports. "It's a very wealthy organization, so for them to rush into a bad long-term deal wouldn't make any sense. So they'd be better off just continuing to look and if that means that this year they go without one and it costs them $40 (million)-$50 million, they can afford it." [NASCAR chief operating officer Brent] Dewar said securing one before the end of the season is "not an issue at all," but added that a company new to the sport would likely want or require more time to engage.
Brown said the new title sponsor should be a "big consumer product" that doesn't conflict with current series partners. Any company wishing to sign a deal of less than five years, he said, "is not thinking big and long-term enough." Though NASCAR officials won't publicly discuss their potential terms, $1 billion over 10 years was an often-quoted starting point in the industry when the process began in 2014. Dewar said it is NASCAR's "lead strategy" to secure one sponsor, but Brown said he believes the series would consider splitting a sponsorship over various parts of the season, including one for the regular season and one for the Chase.(USA Today)(10-17-2016)
Roush Yates Engines preparing for Stewart Haas switch to Ford: One of the biggest stories of the 2016 NASCAR season played out early in the year with the announcement that Stewart-Haas Racing would switch from Chevrolet to Ford in 2017 - a move that caught most everyone off-guard. Now, with the season winding down, the countdown is on for that switch to become a reality and Roush Yates Engines is working behind the scenes to ensure it is up to the task of putting power under the SHR hoods. "Roush Yates Engines, right now, is in the process of increasing inventory and getting prepared," said Jeff Clark, Vice President of Sales for Roush Yates Engines. "We don't build the engines yet because technology is always changing but we are reviewing applications and potential employees - that will be more of a November/December item. And then acquiring the inventory, a lot of the parts in these engines require long lead-times. There are three, four, five or six months of lead time on these items, so we're trying to get the hard parts together and just prepare as much as possible for when it is go-time." Clark doesn't have an exact number of people the organization will need to bring on to fulfill the new workload but he knows they will be choosing from the best-of-the-best in the sport. He said they have received a lot of interest from engine experts looking to fill the void and that have led to numerous applications and resumes. He said management is poring over stats to determine how much the workload will increase to be ready for 2017.(Kickin the Tires)(10-17-2016)
youtheory sponsoring restart zone at Phoenix: Phoenix Raceway announced that the health and beauty supplement brand youtheory has been named the official sponsor of the Restart Zone at PIR for the Can-Am 500 race weekend on Nov. 11-13. The youtheory partnership marks the first sponsored restart zone at the track. Phoenix Raceway also welcomes youtheory as the official health supplement of the track. Youtheory, the leader in nutritional dietary supplement manufacturing, currently sponsors NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Corey LaJoie and his JGL Racing organization for the 2016 season. Fans who purchase tickets to the Can-Am 500 in the official Youtheory Restart Zone are eligible to receive a free special edition youtheory hat to wear as the cars race to the green flag.(PIR)(10-17-2016)
Comcast Community Champion of the Year 2016 finalists named: The finalists for the 2016 Comcast Community Champion Award were announced Thursday night and again it features some of the most dedicated people in the NASCAR garage -- all focused on bettering the world around them.
The nominees -- one representing each of NASCAR's three premier series -- include Richard Childress Racing pit crew coach Ray Wright's work helping America's youth; JR Motorsports fabricator Wade Jackson, whose inspired organization CAMP LUCK (Lucky Unlimited Cardiac Kids) helps young heart disease patients; and Kyle Busch Motorsports co-owner Samantha Busch, who helped found the Kyle and Samantha Busch Bundle of Joy Fund, which helps families deal with financial hardships and last year alone, contributed more than $140,000 to families getting IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatments. Last year's inaugural winner of this esteemed award was XFINITY Series driver Joey Gase. He was awarded $60,000 to assist with his work with the Iowa Donor Network, which helps educate about organ donation. The effort is real for Gase, who when only 18-years old, lost his mother. Her organ donation, however, helped save the lives of 66 other people. This year's nominees have similar heartfelt, far-reaching stories of generosity, care and hope. The winner will be selected by Comcast and NASCAR executives along with former Sprint Cup driver Kyle Petty and NASCAR.com's senior writer, Holly Cain and the winner will be revealed during the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series banquet, Monday Nov. 21. In addition to the $60,000 award for the winner's designated charity, Comcast is also giving $30,000 to each of the other finalists' selected charities.(NASCAR.com)(10-16-2016)
Tim Dugger and DJ Michaelis Join Talladega Weekend Festivities: Well-known country music singer-songwriter Tim Dugger, along with the popular DJ Michaelis, are set to open Talladega Superspeedway's traditional Saturday Night Infield Concert, Oct. 22, as part of the highly anticipated NASCAR Chase double elimination weekend featuring the Hellman's 500 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Oct 21-23. Dugger, a popular mainstay in NASCAR, and Michaelis, who recently jumped into the NASCAR scene bringing his own flare of music, will join headliner and Nashville country star Jerrod Niemann to give fans a triple dose of riveting music at NASCAR's Party Capital. The traditional concert, which takes place at the intersection of Eastaboga and Talladega Boulevards, will get rocking just hours after the conclusion of the fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola. The party will continue between sets as Michaelis, who will also be performing at the legendary "The Big One on the BLVD" Friday night event and during pre-race ceremonies for the Hellman's 500 on Sunday, will be sure to bring the beats to keep the crowd going until Jerrod Niemann takes the stage. Michaelis has recently joined NASCAR in a collaborative project, producing original music and performing at tracks on the NASCAR circuit. He has performed with popular artists such as Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex, Ludacris, The Weekend and many more.(TSS)(10-16-2016)
Biffle ready for a change? After re-signing with RFR in 2014, Biffle hasn't sniffed the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the last two seasons. He thought 2016 might be the year. With a new crew chief in Brian Pattie, a lower-downforce aero package from the sanctioning body and a renewed effort at Roush, things appeared to line up for NASCAR's elder statesman. And now, he's 24th in the standings with just one top-five finish, at Loudon. So when Biffle said his most recent contract might be his last, it's understandable. "Well, if I talk to you Sunday after the race in here, maybe that will be some inspiration," Biffle said in the media center where the winner is interviewed following the race. "I want to be competitive in races and run in the top 10. That's my goal and my focus. If I'm not doing that, then I am probably going to do something different." Biffle has been rumored to be leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season. Although he owns the building that headquarters HScott Motorsports in North Carolina, Biffle said he has not discussed racing for Harry Scott after Clint Bowyer leaves in November. Biffle has heard the rumors that he'll end up and Front Row Motorsports - a technical partner - but given his loyalty to Roush over his career, that's unlikely to be something he'd consider. Still, it would take something more promising - and competitive - to pique his interest in continuing down the current path.(Motorsport)(10-15-2016)
Johnson comments on deal with Stewart-Haas; Hendrick backtracks: Jimmie Johnson described a less-than-ideal working relationship between Hendrick Motorsports and Stewart-Haas Racing on Friday, prompting his team general manager to clarify how the teams shared information. Stewart-Haas has gotten its Chevrolet engines and chassis from Hendrick Motorsports since it began in 2009, but that relationship is poised to end. Stewart-Haas announced this year it would be switching to Roush Yates Engines that power Ford teams for next season. Johnson was asked before practice for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Kansas whether he would like his team to find another partner to replace Stewart-Haas racing next season. "Just to be selfishly speaking," Johnson said, "we didn't get their data. We didn't share their data. They had ours. So it was a fantastic situation for them. They had our best stuff and then they have a huge engineering staff and they can take Hendrick's best equipment and refine it." That counts as inflammatory stuff in the closely knit NASCAR garage. It also prompted Hendrick Motorsports general manager Doug Duchardt to climb out of Johnson's hauler a few hours later and clarify the relationship. The teams did share information with each other before Stewart-Haas announced its decision to leave, at which point communication was largely cut off. "That is the way it worked from the time I have been at Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "We received information from Stewart-Haas when we worked with them. When they made their announcement with Ford that changed things. But the bottom line is that as partners we exchanged data."(Associated Press)(10-15-2016)
Bowyer gearing up for 2017: #15-Clint Bowyer met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway Friday and discussed his outlook for next season as he joins Stewart-Haas Racing:
Where are you at competitively? How do you feel about where you are going next year and where you are at now?
Bowyer: "Certainly, it's always natural to start thinking about next year. You better be this time of year no matter if you are moving or staying the same and nothing changes. That is how far in advance you have to look in this sport and work. All the organizations are lining themselves us and gearing up for next year, all the while, there is a lot of racing left to do in 2016. Last weekend is a prime example. I look over and I see all the Stewart-Haas cars up front, qualified well, Danica (Patrick) was fast, all the cars raced well. Those are the things that you look at and get excited for next year. But, hey, you've got an opportunity to come back home and race and compete in front of your hometown crowd, like I said, there is plenty of racing to do and things to accomplish this year. We've got to cap it off well and start to get focused on next year. It is exciting. You get emails, like I was telling somebody last night, an email came across my phone and I look over and its #14 merchandise approvals for next year. You are like 'holy cow' it's becoming reality. It's fixing to pick up in a big way."(Team Chevy Racing)(10-15-2016)
2017 rules given to teams UPDATE: Motorsport.com has obtained a copy of the proposed modifications for next season. Some of the highlights include:
1. Testing policy - An update to the National Series testing policy which would allow drivers returning to the sport following a medical absence to have an extra test under the discretion of the sanctioning body.
2. Spoiler Size - For non-superspeedway events, the spoiler height will be reduced from 3.5 inches to 2.375 inches, further reducing downforce.
3. Mandatory Roof Hatches at Superspeedways - Roof hatches will remain optional at other race tracks.
4. Energy Absorbing Material added to the toe board in the driver's cockpit - NASCAR-approved toe board will be mandatory at Superspeedways.
5. Frame Changes - In an effort to restrict movement of the rear axle during competition, NASCAR is mandating change to the main frame assembly, truck trailing arm crossmember assembly, track bar mount and truck trailing arm on rear suspension, arm spacer and pinion angle shim.
6. Restrictor Plates - For superspeedways, the initial restrictor plate hole size will decrease from 57/64 to 7/8 inch.
See more at Motorsport.(10-14-2016)
UPDATE: A further reduction of downforce and the implementation of additional safety developments highlight the 2017 NASCAR premier series rules package announced by sanctioning body officials on Friday at Kansas Speedway. Aerodynamic adjustments similar to those in place for races at Kentucky Speedway and Michigan International Speedway in 2016 form the framework for the 2017 performance platform. However, slight modifications to the overall base package have been made. According to officials, the 2017 race package will include:
" Rear spoiler dimensions for all non-restricted events will be 2 3/8 inches x 61 inches. Current spoiler dimensions are 3 1/2 x 61; for the Kentucky and Michigan races, the dimensions were 2 1/2 x 53 inches.
" Splitter measurements for the 2017 package will be the same as those for the 2016 Kentucky and Michigan races, with a 3-inch reduction in the outboard (side) areas;
" A tapered rear deck fin;
" Net rear steer setting of zero.
The aero changes are the next evolution of the platform first rolled out for select events in 2015. Mandatory for 2016, those changes reduced downforce (the pressure exerted on a vehicle as it moves through the air) from 2,700 pounds to approximately 2,000 pounds. The 2017 package is expected to reduce downforce by approximately 500 pounds, landing in the 1,500-pound range. Safety enhancements, which include strengthening the interior driver compartment, will be mandatory for superspeedway events at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway and optional at the remaining venues for 2017. The aero package for superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega will remain unchanged, although there will be a decrease in restrictor plate size (from 57/64ths to 7/8ths of an inch) to combat increasing speeds at the two tracks.(NASCAR.com)(10-14-2016)
sweetFrog returns to sponsor Ragan at Talladega: BK Racing announced that sweetFrog premium frozen yogurt has returned to sponsor David Ragan and the #23 sweetFrog Toyota for the Hellman's 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Earlier this season sweetFrog made their NASCAR debut with BK Racing and Ragan at Richmond. Returning for their third race with Ragan and the 23 team, sweetFrog's NASCAR sponsorship has been a natural fit for the rapidly growing chain. The sweetFrog frozen yogurt chain started in Richmond, Virginia back in 2009. sweetFrog currently has over 340 stores in 25 states, and international locations in the United Kingdom and the Dominican Republic.(BK Racing), see an image of the car on the #23 team paint schemes page.(10-14-2016)
Camo on the #88 at Talladega: There's no hiding the new paint scheme that Alex Bowman will pilot next weekend at Talladega Superspeedway. The design of the #88 Mountain Dew Take it Outside Chevy was unveiled Wednesday on Hendrick Motorsports' Facebook page. In addition to the brand new design, fans will soon be able to see a new Mountain Dew commercial as well.(Hendrick Motorsports) see an image of the car on the #88 team paint schemes page.(10-12-2016)
TallaTaxi debuting at Talladega: Race fans sometimes find themselves in a need of quickly getting to various locations on property during a race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway, so NASCAR's Most Competitive track has great news for those who normally travel by foot with the introduction of the all-new TallaTaxi service. The TallaTaxi golf cart service, from Patron Transportation, will make its Talladega debut during the Hellman's 500 and fred's 250 Powered by Coca-Cola weekend, starting as early as Tuesday (Oct. 18) through Sunday (Oct. 23). For only $5 a seat, TallaTaxi will provide 24-hour transportation to take fans wherever they need to go, nearly anywhere on speedway property (excluding only West C campground). To catch a ride on a TallaTaxi during race weekend, fans can call or text a pick-up request at 205-863-6137 or can flag down the unmistakable black and yellow checkered carts while they make their rounds around Talladega's nearly 3,000 acres. The speedway will continue to provide free tram and ADA shuttle services throughout the weekend as well, at select locations.(TSS)(10-12-2016)
Happy Hour Practice:
Friday, October 21, 2016, 4:30pm/et
TV: NBCSN 4:30pm/et
Born in OCTOBER
22 Ed Dybalski, George Gillett Jr., Milan Garrett, Rick Benjamin, John Graham, Adam Davis
23 Humpy Wheeler, Larry Hartle
24 Dave Blaney, Jim France, Brian Vickers, Tracy Leslie, Jeff Price, Bill O'Dea, Andrew Turner, Patrick Lawler
25 Mike Hofmann, House, Ward Burton, Jon Wood, Ryan Preece, Taylor Lane Stricklin, Maggie Martin, Eric Maycroft
26 Jimmy Pardue
27 Anne B. France, Robin Miller, Dick Trickle, Tommy Baldwin Jr., Butch Hylton, Richard Brickhouse, Michael Lance
28 Joe Ruttman, Deborah Renshaw, Krissie Newman
29 Teresa Earnhardt, Chris Buescher, Billy Woodruff, Steadman Marlin, Joseph "Papa Joe" Hendrick, Bob Dotter, Coleman Dollarhide, Roseanne Adamczyk, Nicole Belber, Sandy Adamczyk
30 Linda Rudd, Al Pearce, Tony Bettenhausen Jr.
31 Rodger Brane, Mike Casto, Kip Childress
Born in NOVEMBER:
1 Jay Adamczyk, Joshua Marco, Doug Ingerson, Eric Vance, Larry Flynt
2 Larry Pearson
3 Derrike Cope, Tony Gibson, Bryan Mullett, Steve O'Donnell, Greg Sacks
4 Jason Bowles, Charley Pressley, Destinee Zastrow, Boone Stutz
5 Elton Sawyer Jr., Doug George
6 Bryan Reffner, Clay Rogers. Rodney Orr
7 Judy Allison, Matthew Bodine, Gilbert "Pops" Gentle, Andy Houston, Dick May, Cody Ware
8 Jason Burdett, Ed Berrier, Jim Inglebright, Teri MacDonald, John Bisci, Donny Lia, Ingrid Vandebosch, Joey Elliott
9 Rick Carelli, Nancy Sterling, Bill Kimm, John Holman, Ed Otto
10 U.S. Marines , Britt Goodrich
11 Mike Hembree, Barry Bodine, Chris Horn, Rob Morgan, Loni Richardson
12 Ryan Buscaglio, Tom Ehret, Wally Dallenbach Sr., Larry Hedrick, Gene Haas
13 Drew Blickensderfer, Karen Friddell, Katie Wallace, Tim Kuhn, Jeff Hallowell
15 Gene Haas, H.B. Bailey, Steve Lane, Sean Cotten