Jeremy Bullins named crew chief for Wood Brothers, Blaney: Wood Brothers Racing announced that Jeremy Bullins will rejoin the #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team next season to serve as the crew chief for Ryan Blaney in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, beginning with the 2015 Daytona 500. Bullins returns to the Wood Brothers organization following a successful three-year tenure with Team Penske's #22 NASCAR Nationwide Series team that produced 21 wins and two consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners' Championships. Bullins first worked with the Wood Brothers in 1999 on the Pro Cup and Late Model cars driven by Jon Wood. In 2000, Bullins became race engineer for the iconic No. 21 Ford in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, a position he held until June of 2002. Bullins moved on to work with ST Motorsports, Robert Yates Racing and Richard Childress Racing, where he helped drivers Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer claim a total of nine Sprint Cup Series victories as a race engineer. A native of Walnut Cove, NC, Bullins joined Team Penske in 2012 to serve as the crew chief for the #22 car in the Nationwide Series, earning three wins in his first full season at the helm. In 2013, Bullins led the team to 12 wins with four different drivers and the team's first Nationwide Series Owners' Championship. The #22 Ford team won the Owners' Title again this season behind six series victories. In total, Bullins earned 21 wins, 14 poles, 57 top-five and 79 top-10 finishes in 99 starts with the #22 Team Penske Nationwide Series program.(Wood Brothers Racing)(12-22-2014)
Congrats: To Ty Dillon and Haley Carey, who were married Saturday evening, December 20. More info and pictures can be found on twitter with #TyTheKnot.(12-20-2014)
Wallace asks for release from JGR for potential move to Roush Fenway UPDATES: Darrell Wallace Jr., who won four races this season in the NASCAR Truck Series and finished third in the series standings, has asked out of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, multiple sources confirmed to ThatsRacin.com and the Charlotte Observer. Although Wallace, 21, has experienced substantial success in the Truck series with Kyle Busch Motorsports the past two seasons, JGR - with whom he is under contract - had been unable to secure sponsorship for Wallace to run fulltime in any NASCAR national series in 2015. The move will allow Wallace, whose victory at Martinsville, Va., last season made him just the second African-American to win a national series race in NASCAR history, to join another organization that can provide him a fulltime ride. A spokesman for JGR declined to comment when asked by the Observer if Wallace had received a release from his contract with the organization. The most likely destination for Wallace appears to be Roush Fenway Racing, sources said. RFR already plans to field Nationwide teams for drivers Elliott Sadler, Chris Buescher and Ryan Reed in 2015. A request for comment was not immediately returned by RFR. Wallace was expected to run up to a 10 races next season with JGR in what will become the Xfinity Series on Jan. 1. JGR owner Joe Gibbs had said he expected to have a "big program" for the driver who was born in Mobile, Ala., but grew up in the Charlotte area. In interviews before the end of the season, Wallace said he was not worried about the lack of a fulltime ride. "I'll take what I can get," he said. "I can only go out there and continue to run up front, lead laps, and win races."(Charlotte Observer)(12-7-2014)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed Monday morning that it has released Darrell Wallace Jr. from his contract, as Wallace requested, so he can drive elsewhere. The 21-year-old Wallace is coming off a career-best four-win year in the Camping World Truck Series that saw him place third in the points. Wallace also ran two Nationwide races for Joe Gibbs Racing. After winning last month's Truck season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Wallace said he was unsure where he would race. JGR was unable to secure sponsorship for him in the Xfinity Series for this coming season.(Motor Racing Network)(12-8-2014)
UPDATE 2:A formal announcement is expected soon, but Motorsport.com has learned that 21-year-old NASCAR Camping World truck series driver Darrell Wallace, Jr., will move to the Xfinity (formerly Nationwide) series in 2015 driving not for Joe Gibbs Racing, but for Roush Fenway as a fourth entry. Chad Norris is expected to be named Wallace's crew chief. Wallace was granted a release from his Gibbs contract to take the Ford ride after Gibbs was unable to guarantee the former Drive for Diversity racer a full-time job for 2015. Wallace became the first African-American driver since 1963 to win a race in a NASCAR touring series when he took a victory in the Camping World series in 2013, and he backed that up with four more wins in 2014. Wallace had been driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports with Gibbs backing. Norris had been crew chief for Cup driver Carl Edwards and most recently Trevor Bayne.(Motorsport.com)(12-9-2014)
UPDATE 3: Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Bubba Wallace will drive the #6 Ford Mustang for the team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series next season. The signing pairs NASCAR's winningest NXS team with a young driver widely regarded as one of the most talented up-and-coming competitors in NASCAR. The 21-year-old Wallace has posted five wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, including four trips to victory lane in 2014.
"I've had a remarkable journey over the last few years thanks to people who have put me in a position to win the races that I have," said Wallace. "When I first joined the sport, many said I would never compete with the real drivers. Now, as I join the winningest team in NASCAR history, I take that as a responsibility to add more wins to the team's legacy and help tear down the barriers for the next generation of NASCAR drivers."(Roush Fenway Racing).(12-18-2014)
Menards will return to RCR #33 team: Menards will continue its partnership with Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, positioning the third-largest home improvement store in the United States as a primary sponsor for select races on RCR's #33 Chevy entry with drivers Paul Menard and Brandon Jones in 2015. Menards has played a pivotal role in RCR's NXS campaign since 2012. Menard will drive the #33 Menards Chevy Camaro for select events in 2015, while maintaining a full-time schedule in the #27 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry for RCR. The Eau Claire, Wis.-native is a two-time XFINITY Series race winner with five pole awards, 31 top-five and 81 top-10 finishes. As previously announced, Jones, a 17-year-old driver hailing from Atlanta, Ga., joins the RCR stable for a number of NXS events.(RCR)(12-18-2014)
G&K Services returns to JD Motorsports: G&K Services will return in 2015 as a full-time associate sponsor with multiple primary sponsorship in select markets with driver Landon Cassill and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team, an operation that showed remarkable strength and improved results in the 2014 season. The 2015 season will be G&K's sixth with JD Motorsports, making their partnership one of the steadiest and most enduring in the newly named Xfinity Series. A review of the 2014 season shows the G&K Services No. 01 team and Cassill as the best non-Sprint Cup-affiliated operation in the Xfinity garage area. Cassill, who also ran the full Sprint Cup schedule in '14, finished 12th in the Nationwide (now Xfinity) driver standings. He was 10th in points for several weeks in the middle of the season despite racing against much heavier-funded teams with connections to Cup racing.(JD MOtorsports)(12-16-2014)
Kerr joins Richard Petty Motorsports Xfinity team: Frank Kerr has joined Richard Petty Motorsports. The veteran crew chief will lead the #43 Ford team and Dakoda Armstrong in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Kerr, a former Sprint Car champion who started racing quarter midgets at six and retired from competition in 2000 at the age of 39, starts his new position on Monday. Kerr most recently worked at Front Row Motorsports as the crew chief for David Gilliland. He parted ways with the team after Kansas in October during his second season with the #38 Bob Jenkins-owned team. Kerr enjoyed his greatest success with Marcus Ambrose in both the Cup and Nationwide Series. Together, Kerr led Ambrose six top fives and 12 top 10s in Cup and two NNS victories with JTG/Daugherty Racing.(Motorsport)(12-15-2014)
Gase meets with organ donor recipient: An emotional meeting Friday in Waterloo as a liver transplant recipient met the organ donor's family for the very first time. The Iowa Donor Network estimates about half of organ donation recipients meet the family of the donor. Maggie Schmeiser met her donor's family so she could thank them. She received a liver transplant in April 2011. 3-and-a-half years later, she finally met the family of the woman who gave her the gift of life. "I wanted to connect with them and tell them how grateful I was and will always be so I couldn't wait to meet em," said Schmeiser. So she met with Joey Gase and his sister. Their mother died of a brain aneurysm. "It's cool to be able to see your mom live on through them and especially see how thankful they are for your mom's gift," said Gase. Gase also brought one of his race cars. He stars in the Nationwide series, while driving in some Sprint Cup races. While trying to win races, he's also using his high-profile to draw attention to organ donation. After his mom died, he made the decision for the donation. "I want people to make that decision before that time comes, as a family, and have people discuss that in their family and even if it's a "no", at least that way you know what your loved one wants," said Gase. "The issue of organ donation is so important to Gase and his family, he's put his mother's picture on the front of his race car and he's also made dozens of appearances all over the country for organ donation. To have somebody like Joey, who's doing more for organ donation than perhaps anyone, he travels to 33 Nationwide races, 4 Sprint Cup events, everywhere he goes he tells his story, he talks to other families, gets people to register as donors, he's saving lives," said Tony Hakes, public outreach manager of the Iowa Donor network. The Gase family has already met another recipient of Mary Jo Gase's organs. Jordan Shaw received one of Gase's kidneys. The family met with Shaw at a Nationwide race in Newton in 2012(KWWL)(12-13-2014)
Todd Parrott hired by Richard Childress Racing: Richard Childress Racing has hired industry veteran and championship-winning crew chief Todd Parrott as its Competition Director for the NASCAR XFINITY Series, effective immediately. Parrott brings a wealth of experience to RCR with 20 years as a crew chief in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition. During that time, he won 31 races while earning 144 top-five and 230 top-10 finishes. Through a span of 606 starts, he also led teams to 23 pole awards and finished in the top-five driver points standings six times. His best season was in 1999 when he led Dale Jarrett to the Sprint Cup championship. Parrott, 50, is a native of Charlotte, N.C. and followed in the footsteps of his father, Buddy Parrott, who won 49 races in 511 Sprint Cup Series starts during a 22-year career. The second-generation crew chief will report to Dr. Eric Warren, Director of Competition for RCR.(RCR), In 2014, Parrott was the crew chief for Reed Sorenson in Tommy Baldwin Racing's Sprint Cup Series #36 Chevy.(12-13-2014)
Xfinity, Truck teams will get more on track time: While NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will have numerous opportunities to take part in open team tests in 2015, organizations competing in the XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series will also get additional track time. But unlike the Sprint Cup sessions, which will coincide with Goodyear tire and NASCAR tests, the two series will be provided extended practice sessions during race weekends. The only off-site test currently scheduled for XFINITY and the NCWTS is a Goodyear tire test set for May 5 at Iowa Speedway. The use of extended practice sessions "is a cost-effective way for giving XFINITY and Trucks testing without sending them off on a separate trip," NASCAR Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn said. "So we're giving those two series where cost is a bigger concern extends practice sessions, which we will fit into the race-schedule weekends. We're not going to add days (at the track) and all that; we're going to figure out how to stuff it in there." The extended sessions will be only for XFINITY and NCWTS teams, although sessions for Sprint Cup have been altered in the past when necessary (such as due to weather issues). The length of the extended sessions will vary, depending on at-track activities for each event, with a maximum of three hours.(NASCAR.com)(12-12-2014)
Ganassi Partners with Harry Scott for Xfinity team: Chip Ganassi and Harry Scott, Jr. announced that they have joined forces to field a one-car NASCAR Xfinity Series entry beginning in 2015. The entry will be run from the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team shop in Concord, NC and will race under the team name, HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi. The HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi #42 Chevy Camaro entry will feature a driver line-up combination of at least 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson, along with 2014 NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Dylan Kwasniewski. Mike Shiplett, a former crew chief and car chief with Richard Petty Motorsports, Turner Scott Motorsports (TSM) and Gillett Evernham Motorsports has been tabbed as the crew chief of the #2 Chevry Camaro.(HScott Motorsports with Chip Ganassi)(12-11-2014)
Conley joins TriStar for full season:TriStar Motorsports announces the addition of Cale Conley to our driver line-up for the 2015 season. The 22-year-old, West Virginia native will run the full 33-race 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for TriStar Motorsports. Starting at the age of five, Conley worked his way through go-karts, quarter midgets and open wheeled USAC Kenyon midgets. Conley collected multiple poles and feature wins throughout the Midwest before transitioning into sprint cars competing with the World of Outlaws and All Star series at the age of 16. Conley made his NASCAR debut in the K&N East Series in 2011 and captured his first win in 2012 at Columbus Motor Speedway. In 2013, Conley competed full-time in the K&N East Series, scoring four top-5's, five top-10's and one pole. After competing in NASCAR's K&N series, Conley moved up to the NASCAR XFINITY Series in 2014 and competed in 11 races for Richard Childress Racing with one 6th place finish at Kentucky Speedway and five top 15 finishes.(TriStar Motorsports), the team number was not announced.(12-11-2014)
VisitMyrtleBeach.com renews sponsorship of Kentucky Xfinity race: One of the fastest-growing family and vacation destinations in the nation, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina will continue to be the title sponsor of the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. The 2015 event will take the green flag at Kentucky Speedway Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8:00 p.m. and be televised on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). The VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway will conclude a two-race weekend that begins Friday, Sept. 25 with the ARCA Racing Series (ARS) Kentucky 150. Tickets, campsites and Fan Zone passes for all Kentucky Speedway events can be purchased through www.kentuckyspeedway.com, by calling (859) 578-2300 or visiting the Kentucky Speedway ticket office at 1 Speedway Drive in Sparta, Ky., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-10-2014)
Affarano expanding team to Xfinity, looking at Long as driver: In an effort to provide a solid foundation for his business and provide greater appeal to sponsors, race car driver and team owner, Mike Affarano, announced today that he is working to increase his current stable of vehicles from NASCAR's Camping World Trucks to now include race cars that are to run in NASCAR's Xfinity Series starting in February's inaugural Daytona race. Affarano has been in closed door talks and discussions with race driver and winner of the 2010 Snowball Derby: Johanna Long and her manager, Brett Griffin. Johanna Long the 22 year old from Pensacola, Florida has already made a name for herself with her 2010 Snowball Derby win and with over 66 starts in both the NASCAR Truck and Nationwide Series. "Johanna will bring with her a wealth of experience, skill and raw talent that our race shop and team needs to expand our business on and off of the track." Mike Affarano said.
"My desire is to secure sponsorship for Johanna and I to run the full season of NASCAR's Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series that would be ideal for us," Mike stated. "But, I'd be willing to running a limited season or take a backseat and just be an owner if that means that Johanna can run a full season and be competitive against the other contenders on the field."(Affarano Motorsports)(12-9-2014)
AND Affarano Motorsports attempted to make four Camping World Truck Series races in 2014, making three of the races with driver Mike Affarano in the #03 Won-N-Done Automotive Care Products Chevy with David McClure as the crew chief.(12-9-2014)
Ben Rhodes to run 10 races for JR Motorsports JR Motorsports announced that Ben Rhodes, the reigning K&N Pro Series East champion, will drive 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series races in the #88 Chevy in 2015. The 17-year-old Rhodes joins an all-star lineup of drivers for the #88 team that includes Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne in select races. Alpha Energy Solutions will sponsor the Rhodes-driven races. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Rhodes won the K&N Pro Series East championship as a rookie. With the title he also claimed Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the series' most popular driver award. His mammoth 2014 included five wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes. Rhodes also competed four times in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, earning one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Alpha Energy Solutions, Inc. is a commercial and industrial mechanical service provider with multiple specialties. It is one of the largest self-performing service providers in the Midwest. Based in Louisville, Kentucky, Alpha Energy Solutions provides building management services to commercial and industrial customers. With more than 200 service technicians located throughout Kentucky and surrounding states, Alpha delivers exceptional service. The #88 team will compete in the full 33-race XFINITY Series schedule in 2015. Rhodes' complete schedule in the #88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy includes races at Iowa Speedway (May 17), Chicagoland Speedway (June 20), New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 18), a second event at Iowa Speedway (Aug. 1), Watkins Glen International (Aug. 8), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 15), Road America (Aug. 29), Kentucky Speedway (Sept. 26), Dover International Speedway (Oct. 3) and the season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 21).(JR Motorsports)(12-5-2014)
Joe Gibbs Racing announces crew chief lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing announces crew chief assignments for each of its four 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and three NASCAR XFINITY Series teams.
JGR's 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crew Chief lineup:
Jason Ratcliff, #20 Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth
Dave Rogers, #11 Toyota driven by Denny Hamlin
Darian Grubb, #19 Toyota driven by Carl Edwards
Adam Stevens, #18 Toyota driven by Kyle Busch
JGR's 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series Crew Chief lineup:
Eric Phillips, #18 Toyota driven by Daniel Suarez
Chris Gayle, #54 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
Mike Wheeler, #20 Toyota driven by multiple drivers
"With the expansion of our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series operations to four teams next year with the addition of Carl Edwards, we have been able to take a step back and evaluate each of our teams and make decisions that we feel are best for our organization long term," said J.D. Gibbs, president of Joe Gibbs Racing. "The XFINITY Series has been very important to us at Joe Gibbs Racing. Not only from a driver development standpoint, but also in the development of crew chiefs and other team members that eventually make their way into our Cup programs. Mike Wheeler has been a vital part of our success with Denny on the Cup side and we're excited that he will have a chance to be a crew chief. It is a similar transition to the one we made with Chris Gayle a couple of years ago, and Chris will remain with us, but move over to the #54 Toyota with Kyle. We're also excited to have Eric Phillips join our operations from KBM to work with Daniel Suarez next season."
Mike Wheeler has been with JGR since December 2002 and served as the race engineer on the #11 Cup team since that team's formation in 2005. He will now serve as crew chief on the #20 XFINITY team which will run a full season with multiple drivers. Gayle, who has served as the crew chief on JGR's #11 Nationwide Series team the previous two seasons and was an engineer on JGR's #18 Sprint Cup Series team prior to that, will now lead the organization's #54 XFINITY Series team. Eric Phillips joins JGR from Kyle Busch Motorsports where he served as crew chief for the NASCAR Camping World Series Owner's Championship #51 Tundra team. Phillips, who joined KBM in 2010, will work with Daniel Suarez on the #18 XFINITY Series team in 2015.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(12-4-2014)
NASCAR considering changes to Xfinity, Trucks championship format: NASCAR is discussing how to determine the XFINITY and Camping World Truck champions this coming season. Steve O'Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, declined to say Wednesday to Motor Racing Network what the format will be for those two series this coming season. "We look at every championship every year," O'Donnell said after speaking at Sports Business Journal's Motorsports Marketing Forum at Aria Resort. "I can't tell you if it's going to change. We're still looking at it." Although NASCAR is examining the issue, it does not mean that a change is coming. Still, NASCAR is pleased with the results of the new Chase format, which created a buzz with its eliminations and one-race championship battle at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "We think we hit a home run," O'Donnell said about the Chase during his presentation. "We are really excited with how it came out. I think one of the biggest assets of the Chase is the dialogue around the number of teams, which means more sponsors are being talked about, more drivers. If you take that same mentality, why wouldn't we want 10 or 12 drivers being talked about in the XFINITY Series, 10 or 12 drivers being talked about Camping World? I'm not saying we're there yet, but there is some dialogue going on about what we could do in the future."(Motor Racing Network)(12-3-2014)
Elenz to be named crew chief for JR Motorsports UPDATE: The trend is continuing at JR Motorsports for promoting Hendrick Motorsports' engineers as crew chiefs. Dave Elenz will be the new crew chief for the #5 JRM Chevy in 2015. He is replacing Ernie Cope, who is taking the place of Greg Ives on the #9 crew with driver Chase Elliott. Ives, the former team engineer for Jimmie Johnson at HMS, was named Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief for next season. Elenz, a Gaylord Mich.-native who attended Clemson University, moved from the #88 team with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and replaced Ives on the #48 Hendrick team after the 2013 season. Ives spent one year with Regan Smith at JRM before guiding Elliott to the top of the standings this season. Elenz started at Jasper Racing, where he first met JRM competition director Ryan Pemberton. The pair worked together at Ginn Racing and Red Bull Racing prior to Elenz joining the Hendrick Motorsports stable.
The #5 team campaigned with Earnhardt, Kevin Harvick and Kasey Kahne this season.(Motorsport), the team is expected to change from the #5 to #88 next season.(11-3-2014)
UPDATE: JR Motorsports announced the additions of Dave Elenz and Jason Burdett to its 2015 crew chief lineup. The two newcomers join veteran Ernie Cope to complete the crew chief roster that JR Motorsports will take into the new NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Elenz will serve as Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s, Kevin Harvick's, and Kasey Kahne's crew chief on the multi-driver #88 team (formerly the #5/88 team). Burdett will serve as Regan Smith's crew chief on the #7 Taxslayer.com team, allowing Ryan Pemberton to return to his original post as the company's director of competition. Both Elenz and Burdett come to JR Motorsports by way of Hendrick Motorsports. Cope begins his second season at JR Motorsports but will transition to the #9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team and spearhead Chase Elliott's defense of his 2014 XFINITY Series championship. The upcoming season will be Cope's 13th as a crew chief. Despite his 14 career victories, this will mark only the second time Cope has been paired with a full-time driver to compete for a championship. Previously an engineer on both the #88 and #48 teams at Hendrick Motorsports, Elenz is a native of Gaylord, Michigan, and graduate of Clemson University. He joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 as engineer on Earnhardt Jr.'s #88 team after stints at Jasper Racing (2001-02), Ginn Racing (2003-07) and Red Bull Racing (2009-11). Elenz spent one year on the #88 team before becoming an engineer on Jimmie Johnson's championship-winning team in 2013. Burdett is a native of Arkport, New York. His 17-year NASCAR career includes eight seasons as a car chief at Hendrick Motorsports for Johnson (2002), Jeff Gordon (2008-10) and Earnhardt Jr. (2011-14). He also was on Dale Jarrett's teams at Robert Yates Racing and Michael Waltrip Racing, the latter in which he served as Jarrett's crew chief for a bulk of the 2007 season. Burdett played an integral role in Earnhardt Jr.'s four-win 2014 season, in which the team earned a Daytona 500 victory, a Pocono sweep, and a long-awaited Martinsville win. All three JRM teams will compete in the full 33-race XFINITY Series schedule in 2015. Elliott and Smith will vie for the driver's championship, while the #88 team will compete for the owner's championship with multiple drivers. A full schedule of drivers for the #88 team is still being finalized.(JR Motorsports)(12-3-2014)
Mike Hillman, Jr. named crew chief for Brian Scott: Richard Childress Racing has hired Mike Hillman, Jr. to crew chief their #2 Chevy Camaro team with driver Brian Scott in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Hillman, Jr, 36, comes to RCR with 20 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories and two series championships. Through 235 NCWTS starts he has also earned 93 top-five and 132 top-10 finishes, including 17 pole awards. The Lockport, N.Y. native joins RCR and the #2 Chevy team effective immediately. This will be Scott's third year with RCR in the XFINITY Series. During that time, the 26-year-old driver has earned four pole awards, nine top-five and 36 top-10 finishes. He's coming off his best season with a final driver points standing of fourth place.(RCR)(11-25-2014)
Rheem to sponsor Austin Dillon in Xfinity Series: Two-time NASCAR Champion Austin Dillon will return to the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Rheem Manufacturing Company as primary sponsor on Richard Childress Racing's #33 Chevy for a majority of the 2015 season. Dillon, the 2013 XFINITY Series Champion, will drive the #33 Rheem Chevy under the RCR banner during the 2015 season while maintaining a full schedule in RCR's #3 Chevy SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He is a two-time XFINITY Series race winner, 10-time pole winner and holds the record for most consecutive poles in series history. Rheem Manufacturing Company has a long history of success with RCR having participated as a primary or associate sponsor since 2007 in various NASCAR series. Rheem has been the official heating, cooling and water heating provider to RCR for more than eight years and was the co-primary sponsor with Realtree of Ty Dillon's Sprint Cup Series debut this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway.(RCR)(11-24-2014)
Athenian Motorsports to run full time Xfinity schedule: Athenian Motorsports, LLC announced it will field a Chevy Camaro full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and a Chevy Silverado in all 23 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2015 with engines provided by Hendrick Motorsports. Georgia native John Wes Townley will compete full-time for AMS in the Truck Series and run a partial schedule on the circuit previously known as the Nationwide Series. A search is underway to find a driver with sponsorship who will pilot the #25 Camaro in the remaining Xfinity Series events. Veteran crew chiefs Mike Ford and Michael Shelton will continue to call the shots for AMS. Ford, a multiple-race winner in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, will return to lead the Xfinity team. Michael Shelton, who guided James Buescher to a NASCAR Truck Series title, will direct Townley's 2015 effort in the Truck Series. Athenian Motorsports will call Concord, N.C. home, beginning in January. That's when the second-year organization will take possession of the 43,000 square foot facility adjacent to the Concord Regional Airport that currently houses Richard Petty Motorsports.(Athenian Motorsports)(11-21-2014)
Congrats: to JD Motorsports' #01 car chief Ryan Bell and his wife Sarah on the birth of their son, Harvey Scott Bell, Friday morning at 4:30am. He weighed in at 8 pounds 6 oz. and was 23.25 inches long.(11-21-2014)
FoxSports1 to have Nationwide, Truck banquet coverage: FOX Sports 1 offers coverage of the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony from the Trump National Doral Miami, the celebration's first year at the venue, on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 7:00pm/et. The joint NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series celebration, hosted by NASCAR on FOX's Adam Alexander and Krista Voda and featuring musical performances by Gavin DeGraw and Jana Kramer, honors ThorSport Racing driver Matt Crafton as the first back-to-back NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion and JR Motorsports' Chase Elliott as the NASCAR Nationwide Series champion. The top five drivers in each series also are celebrated during the banquet. Team Penske's #22 NASCAR Nationwide Series team and Kyle Busch Motorsports' #51 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team are feted as winners of the season's owner championships. Among other honors handed out, Elliott, son of NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bill Elliott, is recognized as the Nationwide Series' Most Popular Driver and Ryan Blaney as the Truck Series' Most Popular Driver.(FoxSports)(11-20-2014)
Elliott, Crafton honored at banquet: NASCAR's first year celebrating its Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series awards banquet at the Trump National Doral Miami feted one of the sport's newest champions and a repeat victor Monday night. But before the festivities came into full swing, it included a warm-up by the resort's namesake. The day after the thrilling conclusion to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Chase Elliott and Matt Crafton -- stock-car racing's other national series champions -- took center stage Monday as the toast of the glitzy Donald J. Trump Ballroom. But before their speeches and moments of remembrance, "The Donald" himself gave the industry a warm welcome. "I didn't watch a minute of the NFL yesterday," Trump said about Sunday's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "I watched NASCAR. You're much more brave."
Participants in both series donned their formal best Monday evening, celebrating the accolades of two seasons of racing that began in February at Daytona. Those assembled at the 62 tables cheered the contributions of departing entitlement sponsor Nationwide and longtime broadcast partner ESPN, but also paid tribute to two deserving champions.
Elliott's first full season in a NASCAR national series was welcomed with a championship in what will become the NASCAR XFINITY Series next year. But it also came with a surprise honor in the form of the series' most popular driver award. His father, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Bill Elliott, was a 16-time winner of the NMPA Most Popular Driver Award in NASCAR's premier series.
Crafton's return to the head table came by virtue of his second straight title, a historic first for the Camping World Truck Series. Last season his heart-tugging acceptance speech took several emotional turns; this year, a quip beforehand about his 1 1/2-year-old daughter, Elladee, helped him channel his inner comic. "She's been around two years and I've won two truck series championships," Crafton said. "Why'd I wait so long to have kids?"
Ryan Blaney, the truck series' runner-up this year, brought home the most popular driver award in the Camping World Truck Series but waved off making an acceptance speech.
The Team Penske #22 Ford (Nationwide) and Kyle Busch Motorsports #51 Toyota (trucks) were honored for their team owner championships in their respective series. Sprint Cup regular Kyle Busch (Nationwide) also claimed top honors in the year-end Keystone Light and Coors Light Pole Awards, leading both series in the number of poles this season. Busch was also lauded with the Mobil 1 Driver of the Year in the truck series. Kyle Larson won the award in the Nationwide Series.(NASCAR.com)(11-18-2014)
Regan Smith to get new crew chief: JR Motorsports just completed its most successful season, with drivers #9-Chase Elliott and #7-Regan Smith finishing 1-2 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. But changes are ahead for the 10-year-old organization founded by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., and capably run by Kelley Earnhardt Miller, co-owner of the team as well as the vice president and business manager of the organization. Ryan Pemberton, who as served in the dual role of competition director and crew chief for the #7 Chevy team fielded for Smith, will return to the singular role of competition director. Greg Ives, who guided Elliott and the #9 team to the championship, is moving to Hendrick Motorsports to replace Steve Letarte atop the pit box for Earnhardt in the Sprint Cup Series. Ives will be replaced by Ernie Cope, a veteran crew chief that has overseen the third team, the #5, at JRM that has featured several drivers, including Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne and 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick, behind the wheel. That leaves a need for a crew chief for Smith as well someone for the #5 entry (which will be the #88 entry next season in the XFINITY Series), something Earnhardt said has been addressed and will be announced likely as soon as week's end.(NASCAR.com)(11-18-2014)
Zipadelli leaves Turner Scott: Scott Zipadelli has been released from Turner Scott Motorsports. Most recently, Zipadelli was the crew chief for Kyle Larson and the #42 Chevy in the Nationwide Series. Zipadelli, 45, was promoted from car chief to crew chief in 2007. His first assignment was with Kelly Bires at the #47 team owned by Tad Geschickter. He has 253 starts in eight seasons. Team owner Harry Scott said on Saturday that he hopes to have his lineup set in the next two weeks. There have been rumblings that Ganassi Racing would take Larson and Kwasniewski's NNS programs in house. "I don't want to race as much Nationwide stuff, but I would like to run a handful of races," Larson told Motorsport.com on Friday.(Motorsport)(11-18-2014)
Discount Tire renews sponsorship with Penske: Team Penske announced that it has reached a multi-year extension with Discount Tire, the world's largest tire and wheel retailer, to continue as a key marketing partner with the team. Discount Tire will remain a primary sponsor of the #22 Team Penske Ford Mustang for at least 24 races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and serve as an associate sponsor for both the #2 and #22 Ford Fusions in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. A long-time NASCAR supporter, Discount Tire established a successful relationship with Team Penske after joining forces for the 2010 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. That year, the #22 Discount Tire team earned a series-record 26 top-five finishes en route to the NNS Championship with Brad Keselowski, which gave Roger Penske his first NASCAR title as a team owner. In 2013, Discount Tire and Team Penske continued their success together, earning the NNS Owners' Championship and 12 wins with four different drivers, including Keselowski, Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger. The production continued this season with the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford team once again claiming the 2014 NNS Owners' Championship with Keselowski, Logano, Blaney, Alex Tagliani and Michael McDowell sharing driving duties.(Team Penske)(11-18-2014)
NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship Fast Facts:
Driver Champion: Chase Elliott
Team: #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
· Chase Elliott won his first NASCAR Nationwide Series championship; becoming the youngest champion in NASCAR national series history at the age of 18 years, 11 months, 18 days - previous record holder was Brian Vickers at 20 years, 0 months, 2 days.
· Elliott is the 25th different driver to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship. Elliott finished the season 42 points ahead of second-place Regan Smith.
· Elliott is the first driver to win a series title in his Sunoco Rookie of the Year campaign. He also is the first rookie to post three or more wins (Darlington, Texas-1, and Chicago) since Carl Edwards in 2005.
· The Elliott's (Bill and Chase) have become the fifth father/son combo to win NASCAR-sanctioned championships; joining the Jarretts (Ned and Dale), the Pettys (Lee and Richard), the Pearsons (David and Larry) and the Earnhardts (Dale and Dale Jr.) as the only NASCAR father/son champions in all of national series competition.
· Chase Elliott has become the third champion from the state of Georgia, joining NASCAR Hall of Famers Bill Elliott (father) and Tim Flock. Bill Elliott (NHOF inductee - Class of 2015); Tim Flock (NHOF inductee- Class of 2014)
· Elliott's 2014 Season-To-Date Loop Data: Driver Rating (108.6) and Average Running Position (7.022).
Owner: Dale Earnhardt Jr., JR Motorsports
· This is JR Motorsports' first NASCAR Nationwide Series driver championship. The organization's previous best series championship finish was third (twice: Regan Smith, 2013 and Brad Keselowski, 2008).
· Owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., a two-time (1998, '99) NASCAR Nationwide Series driver champion, fielded his first car as an owner in the series with driver Mark McFarland at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 19, 2005.
· JR Motorsports has posted 21 victories in the NASCAR Nationwide Series (2005 - 2014).
Crew Chief Champion: Greg Ives
· This is Greg Ives first career NASCAR Nationwide Series championship.
· Ives' previous series best points finish was in 2013, when he finished third with Regan Smith.
· Ives is scheduled to move up to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series next season to work with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet team, replacing Steve Letarte.
Owner Champion: Roger Penske, #22 Team Penske Ford
· This is Team Penske's second consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series owners' championship. Roger Penske won last season's NNS owner title with drivers (starts): Brad Keselowski (15 races), Joey Logano (14), AJ Allmendinger (two) and Ryan Blaney (two).
· This season the #22 captured the title with drivers: Brad Keselowski (10 races), Joey Logano (10), Ryan Blaney (10), Michael McDowell (one) and Alex Tagliani (two).
· The #22 Team Penske Ford Mustang team had five wins, 23 top fives and 29 top 10s in 2014 (NASCAR)(11-15-2014)
Florida DOT sponsoring Daytona race: To promote the important messages of pedestrian and bike safety throughout the Sunshine State, the Florida Department of Transportation will serve as the title sponsor of the prestigious season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, Feb. 21 at Daytona International Speedway. The 120-lap, 300-mile race will be known as the Alert Today Florida 300. The partnership will increase the visibility of the safety campaign - Alert Today Alive Tomorrow - which is designed to raise public awareness of pedestrian and bicycle safety in the state of Florida. In addition to the entitlement, FDOT is partnering with Florida native Scott Lagasse Jr., who will drive the #33 Alert Today Alive Tomorrow Boy Scouts of America car in the event.(DIS)(11-15-2014)
Wallace expected to move to Xfinity next season: Darrell Wallace, Jr. won his fourth race of the season and fifth of his career in his final ride in the #54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota, as the organization picked up its 14th victory in 22 races. Signed to Joe Gibbs Racing, Wallace is expected to move up to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next year. "It is going to be sad to see him go," Busch said, "but we've got another great shoe that's going to be able to fit into that role really, really good with Erik Jones. It's not that I'm saying good-bye, but I'm wishing him the best next year in what he gets to do, and I'm excited about his growth and opportunity to move up to the Nationwide Series." Wallace said he hopes to get plans for 2015 settled soon. "I wish things were finalized," Wallace said. "We're continuing to work hard to find my future plans. For me, I'm just going to go play some golf while I'm down here in Miami and enjoy this win, enjoy the offseason. But as far as plans, we're continuing to work hard."(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-15-2014)
Northeastern Supply Company renews sponsorship of Regan Smith: The Northeastern Supply Company will commemorate its 22nd consecutive season of NASCAR Xfinity Series race team sponsorship in 2015 by renewing its support of driver Regan Smith and JR Motorsports' #7 Chevy team. Northeastern Supply is a leading, regional distributor of plumbing, heating, HVAC, water system and hardware products. Over the 21 years in which the company has been a NASCAR Xfinity Series team sponsor, Northeastern Supply has grown from a 2-state, 5-branch organization to a 5-state, 32-branch operation with sales branches located throughout Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania.(Northeastern Supply)(11-11-2014)
ParkerStore to sponsor Larson in select 2015 races: Parker Hannifin Corporation, the global leader in motion and control technologies, announced today that Kyle Larson, the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, will reunite with former sponsor ParkerStore for a multi-year, multi-series partnership starting with the final NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event of the season, the Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, November 14. After originally partnering with Larson when he raced midget cars in California, ParkerStore will be the primary sponsor of the #42 NCWTS Turner Scott Motorsports entry driven by Larson at Homestead and will be on board the #42 NNS entry in 2015. ParkerStore will serve as a primary and associate sponsor for Larson in a number of races throughout the 2015 NNS season.(Turner Scott Motorsports)(11-10-2014)