Comcast's Xfinity negotiating sponsorship of Nationwide Series UPDATES - Announcement Wednesday: Comcast's Xfinity is in contract negotiations with NASCAR to become title sponsor of the sport's secondary series. The company's broadband, TV and phone division is considering a five- to six-year deal valued at more than $100 million, according to a source familiar with the negotiations. The potential agreement would see Xfinity pay approximately $9 million in rights fees and $9 million in media and activation in its first year as title sponsor. Its annual spend would increase in subsequent years. Comcast declined to comment. In a statement, NASCAR said, "We anticipate NASCAR will soon be aligned with an outstanding brand that will help take this series to new heights, but out of respect for our current partner and the process, we will not comment on speculation about any potential replacements until there actually is one." Though discussions have moved into the contract phase and NASCAR executives have begun telling officials in the sport that a sponsorship is done, the deal still faces some obstacles. Fox Sports and Comcast-owned NBC Sports are slated to split television rights to the series from 2015 to 2024. Sources said that Fox, which did not respond to requests for comment, wants assurances that Comcast will spend equally on advertising across both of the series' rights holders, Fox and NBC, and not favor its own company, NBC. NASCAR and Comcast are addressing other category issues as well. Provided those issues are resolved, the deal should close and be announced in the coming weeks.(Sports Business Daily)(8-18-2014)
UPDATE: Comcast and NASCAR plan to announce a 10-year sponsorship agreement next week that will turn the sport's secondary circuit into the Xfinity Series. The deal, which is valued at close to $200M, is expected to be announced on Wednesday in Charlotte, according to sources. Comcast and NASCAR both declined to comment. The announcement follows several months of negotiations and represents a major achievement for NASCAR. The sanctioning body began looking for a title sponsor late last year after current sponsor Nationwide Insurance decided to discontinue its sponsorship. Comcast emerged as a viable replacement after the company's sports TV group, NBC, signed a 10-year, $4.4B rights deal with NASCAR. As part of the deal, Comcast agreed to spend $10M marketing and promoting the sport. Its marketing team saw title sponsorship of NASCAR's secondary series as a way to fulfill that obligation and also promote its cable TV, broadband and phone business unit, Xfinity. Comcast initially wanted a shorter-term deal and resisted NASCAR's push for a 10-year agreement. However, in recent weeks, it decided to commit to 10 years to match the length of NBC's broadcast deal. NASCAR was asking for $12-15M a year in rights fees, with media and activation commitments that would take the total value of a deal to more than $25M. A deal of that size would have been an increase from the approximately $10M in rights fees Nationwide spent for title sponsorship of the series. NASCAR was unable to find a replacement partner willing to pay more for a series that had seen its average TV viewership per race fall from 2.06 million in '08, when Nationwide started its sponsorship to 1.7 million this season. Comcast approved a rights fee in '15 of approximately $9M, with media and activation commitments that would take the total spend to more than $18M.(Sports Business Daily)(8-28-2014)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR has called a press conference for 1:30pm/et, Wednesday, September 3 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame, "to Unveil a Historic National Series Entitlement Partnership".(NASCAR)(8-30-2014)
Snap-On renews with Team Penske: Building on one of the strongest and enduring relationships in motorsports, Team Penske announced that it has extended its long-time partnership with Snap-on Incorporated. The multi-year extension between the two organizations adds to Team Penske's longest active sponsorship as it celebrates a 33-year bond with Snap-on in 2014. Under the terms of the renewed relationship, Snap-on will continue to be featured as an associate sponsor of all Team Penske cars competing in NASCAR and INDYCAR. Snap-on will also serve as a primary sponsor of a Team Penske car in the NASCAR Nationwide Series with the specific races to be announced at a later time.(Team Penske)(8-27-2014)
2015 NASCAR Series Schedules released: NASCAR announced its national series schedules for the 2015 season, featuring date enhancements to races at some of its most storied tracks along with a pair of long-term broadcast partners that will provide the exciting action to the sport's fans."The 2015 NASCAR national series schedules promise to provide our fans with the compelling competition and storylines they so richly deserve," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These enhancements to our race dates, particularly in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will be of benefit to our fans and other stakeholders in our industry. From the start of the season at Speedweeks at Daytona culminated by our championship finales at Homestead-Miami, we're looking forward to the great racing that will be delivered through our outstanding television network broadcast partners FOX, FOX Sports 1, NBC and NBCSN."
Key date changes featuring Darlington Raceway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, some of NASCAR's most tradition-laden tracks, highlight the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. Following the 57th running of the Daytona 500 Feb. 22 on FOX, Atlanta Motor Speedway will host the season's second race weekend (March 1), while Darlington returns to its traditional Labor Day weekend date (Sept. 6). The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns to Atlanta for the first time since 2012 as part of a unique doubleheader on Feb. 28 with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Additionally, Daytona's always-anticipated July race weekend takes on a different look as the Sunday, July 5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race marks the return of broadcast partner NBC.
A big "west-coast swing" during the schedule's early stages spotlights markets where NASCAR's fan base is growing and sponsor opportunities are on the rise. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series run on three consecutive weekends, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 7-8, Phoenix International Raceway on March 14-15 and Auto Club Speedway on March 21-22.
Bristol's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series spring date moves deeper into the calendar from mid-March to April 19. Dates for the spring races at Phoenix and Texas Motor Speedway (April 11) step back one week from their 2014 schedule slots.
From the season-opening weekend at Daytona through June's events, FOX and FOX Sports 1 will combine to serve as the broadcast home of all races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Starting in July at Daytona through the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, including each series' championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, NBC and NBCSN will carry the second-half action for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. The entire 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule will be broadcast exclusively on FOX and FOX Sports 1. On radio, programming surrounding the 2015 NASCAR season along with the exciting national series race calls can be heard on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Motor Racing Network (MRN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN). The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's radio network will carry the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series events at IMS.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will feature 36 events including two standout non-points races - the Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 14 at Daytona and the 31st annual NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 16. Soon to have a new entitlement partner, the NASCAR Nationwide Series once again contests 33 races, while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series increases to 23 events next season with the addition of the Atlanta date.
When running concurrently during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series companion weekends, the date changes are also reflected on the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedules. There are nine companion weekends on the 2015 schedule that feature all three national series along with 18 combination weekends between the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series and seven dual events where the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series run together.
There are six "stand-alones" on next year's NASCAR Nationwide Series calendar, starting May 17 at Iowa Speedway. Included among those are two road-course races, at Mid-Ohio on Aug. 15 and Road America on Aug. 29. The later Road America date takes the place of the former Atlanta date. There are seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series stand-alone races and two Wednesday appearances - on the dirt at Eldora Speedway on July 22 and at Bristol on Aug. 19. Iowa hosts the trucks three weeks earlier in 2015, on June 19. And the series again runs internationally on Aug. 30 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.(NASCAR), see the schedule on the 2015 Series schedule page.(8-26-2014)
O'Quinn running family business after NASCAR: His dream of NASCAR superstardom may not have worked out, but that doesn't mean Danny O'Quinn Jr. has forgotten how to drive a racecar. Saturday night at his home track in Coeburn, Va., the 2006 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year returned to victory lane after winning the second of two 35-lap Late Model twin features. It was the first time the 29-year-old O'Quinn had been behind the wheel of a racecar this year, and only the second time in the past two years. On both occasions he was a winner at Lonesome Pine Raceway, where his stock car racing career began. After six seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide series and 106 starts, O'Quinn moved back home to Coeburn two years ago to take over the family business - and as it worked out - start a family of his own. After winning races and championships racing in local and regional divisions for a family funded team, in 2005 the 20-year-old O'Quinn literally drove his way into a ride with the premier Roush Racing NASCAR team. Despite his Rookie of the Year effort in 2006, however, there was no sponsorship money in 2007 for O'Quinn. Eventually he left Roush to drive for smaller teams. He also worked in the garage area, setting up cars for Bobby Hamilton Jr. in 2008 with Team Rensi Motorsports, spotting for the Wood Brothers, and helping second-generation racer Brandon McReynolds. But, O'Quinn had moved to North Carolina to drive race cars, and by 2011 there wasn't much available for him in NASCAR as a driver except for the occasional "start-and-park."(Kingsport Times-News)(8-21-2014)
Milka Duno to run some races for RAB UPDATE: RAB Racing has signed multiple race-winning driver Milka Duno to compete in select races in the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series and with the entry Duno will become the first Hispanic female driver in history to compete in a NASCAR national series in the United States. A successful driver who has competed in multiple racing series Duno has eight major race wins in the highest classes (Prototype) in the American Le Mans Series and the Grand American Rolex Series and the highest finish ever by a female driver (2nd place) in the 24 Hours at Daytona - in the now 52-year history of the race. In making her transition to stock car racing and her ultimate entry into NASCAR Duno has been competing in the ARCA Racing Series for the past three seasons. In 2011 and 2012 she competed in partial schedules and in her first full ARCA season in 2013, competing with Venturini Motorsports, she finished the season 7th in the driver point standings and became the 2nd highest finishing female driver in ARCA's now 62-year history. Veteran crew chief Chris Rice will helm Duno's NNS effort.(Duno PR), no word on how many races she will run or where.(8-4-2014)
UPDATE: Milka Duno's first NASCAR Nationwide Series race will be Friday, August 22 in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. This will mark the first time in NASCAR history that a Hispanic female driver will compete in a NASCAR national series race in the United States. Duno will compete in RAB Racing's #29 Toyota Camry.(Duno PR)(8-19-2014)
Gibbs to hold press conference Tuesday UPDATE: According to Joe Gibbs Racing, they will hold a press conference Tuesday, August 19 at 10:00am/et and "this unprecedented announcement will have impact across four NASCAR racing series."(Joe Gibbs Racing)
AND Joe Gibbs Racing will announce Carl Edwards as its fourth Sprint Cup driver for the 2015 season next Tuesday. However, the bigger news appears to involve Daniel Suarez, the 22-year-old darling of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, who will drive for JGR in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Suarez, of Monterrey, Mexico, currently leads the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series where he has nine victories in 52 career starts including four this season. Suarez has made dramatic improvement since joining the tour and has led 1,084 of the 7,790 laps raced. Suarez made his first career Nationwide Series start for JGR at Richmond in the #20 Toyota. Suarez qualified 12th and finished 19th. He completed all but one lap.(Motorsport)(8-14-2014)
UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announces that drivers Carl Edwards and Daniel Suarez will join the organization in 2015 to compete full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series respectively. In addition, ARRIS Group, Inc. will sponsor Edwards in the #19 Toyota Camry for 17 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with JGR expanding its operations to include a fourth team. ARRIS also will support Suarez in a multi-year program, starting with the 2015 NASCAR Nationwide Series, as well as a partial schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. JGR also announces that it has launched a diversity initiative with Escuderia TELMEX with support from ARRIS to provide developmental opportunities to deserving Mexican and Latin American candidates in the NASCAR Toyota Series in Mexico and other racing series under the JGR umbrella.(JGR), see an image of the car on the #18 2015 paint schemes page.(8-19-2014)
Cope to become Elliott's crew chief next season UPDATE: Hearing that JR Motorsports will name Ernie Cope as crew chief for #9-Chase Elliott next season. Elliott's current crew chief, Greg Ives, has been named Dale Earnhardt, Jr's crew chief for 2015.(8-18-2014)
UPDATE: JR Motorsports announced that it will pull from within to fill its impending crew chief vacancy, as Ernie Cope will transition from the #5 team to Chase Elliott's #9 NAPA Aupt Parts team at the conclusion of this season. Cope will take over for Greg Ives. Last month it was announced that Ives would be Steve Letarte's successor on the #88 Hendrick Motorsports team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Ives and Cope will finish out the year in their respective roles. Ives and Elliott currently lead the NASCAR Nationwide Series standings by 10 points over teammate Regan Smith with 11 races to go. A crew chief for the #5 team in 2015 is not yet determined. Earnhardt Miller said the company will conduct a thorough search and take as much time as necessary to find the best candidate.(JR Motorsports)(8-18-2014)
Hornish unsure of 2015 plans: Joe Gibbs Racing is set to hold a press conference at its Huntersville, North Carolina headquarters on Tuesday to offer an "unprecedented announcement" that will "have impact across four NASCAR racing series." Sam Hornish Jr., currently driving Kyle Busch's #54 JGR Monster Energy Toyota part-time as he looks to secure a full-time ride for 2015, was completely unaware when asked Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course if the announcement had anything to do with him. "They've got an announcement on Tuesday?" Hornish replied. "Well, I didn't know that. I must not be enough in the loop on that." Of course, the 2013 Nationwide Series championship runner-up could certainly be playing coy, but if not it continues a trend of Hornish consistently and reluctantly embracing the role as NASCAR's forgotten man, despite being one of its most well-rounded drivers.(NASCAR.com)(8-15-2014)
Wood Brothers forms alliance with Penske; names Ryan Blaney as driver: Wood Brothers Racing announced that it has formed a technical alliance with Team Penske and will race a partial-season schedule in the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with up-and-coming driver Ryan Blaney. Blaney, who has raced as a Team Penske development driver since 2012, will compete in at least 12 races for Wood Brothers Racing next season in the iconic #21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion as he continues his rapid NASCAR development. Blaney will also practice and qualify the #21 this weekend at the Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway while current Wood Brothers driver Trevor Bayne competes in the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Bayne will return in time to start the Sprint Cup race at the back of the field. Blaney is scheduled to make his official debut for Wood Brothers Racing in the 2015 Daytona 500. He will race for the team in events at Daytona, Las Vegas, Texas, Talladega, Charlotte, Michigan and Indianapolis, among others. In addition to driving the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion for the Wood Brothers, Blaney will drive a Team Penske Mustang in the 2015 Nationwide Series.(Wood Brothers Racing)(8-14-2014)
Rice takes on new roles at NTS UPDATE: Chris Rice has taken on the role of competition director and crew chief on the #20 Chevy for NTS Motorsports, driver Gray Gaulding announced on his Twitter. Jeff Hensley had served as the crew chief on the 20 truck through the first half of the season. Rice most recently served as competition director and crew chief in the Nationwide Series with RAB Racing.(8-11-2014)
UPDATE: NTS Motorsports Vice President of Operations announced earlier today that Chris Rice will serve as Competition Director and crew chief of the #20 Chevy Silverado. Rice joins NTS Motorsports with 25 years of experience in NASCAR, including 11 years as a crew chief in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Chris Rice will serve as crew chief for Austin Dillon and the #20 Qore-24 Chevy starting this Saturday, August 16th at Michigan International Raceway and Gray Gaulding in the #20 Gemini Southern Chevy at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 20th, 2014.(NTS Motorsports)(8-12-2014)
Chase Elliott could run some Cup races in 2015: Rick Hendrick's plan for NASCAR Nationwide Series phenom Chase Elliott evidently entails a few NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts next season, the champion car owner said Wednesday in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The 18-year-old Elliott tops the Nationwide Series standings and leads all series regulars with three race victories. Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of his JR Motorsports race team, has said that Elliott is likely to run another full season on NASCAR's No. 2 circuit next year. Hendrick, also a co-owner at JRM, sounded as if a few premier series starts will also be sprinkled into that mix. A test session in which Elliott tested the cars of Hendrick Motorsports champion drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon convinced the team owner the youngster was ready, even before he took the Nationwide circuit by storm.
"We haven't arrived at a decision for sure, but I think you'll probably see him run a few races next year," Hendrick told the satellite radio network. "Before he ever won a Nationwide race, I watched him test Jimmie's car and Jeff's car at Nashville, and Jimmie and Jeff both commented to me, 'This kid is super smooth and super fast. He takes care of his equipment, and he doesn't get in a jam.' Although Hendrick currently fields four full-time cars, the maximum for one organization as allowed by NASCAR, rules do permit teams to run an additional vehicle on a limited slate for prospective rookie drivers.(NASCAR.com)(8-6-2014)
Hermie Sadler driving for TriStar at Bristol & Richmond: 1993 NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year and current FOX SPORTS 1 analyst, Hermie Sadler, will return to the driver's seat for his first NASCAR Nationwide Series race since 2010. Sadler will pilot the #19 Toyota Camry for TriStar Motorsports at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22nd for his 260th career NNS start and again on September 5th at Richmond International Raceway. The Virginia Lottery will serve as primary sponsor, with whom Sadler has been an ambassador for over 15 years. The car will promote The Virginia Lottery's "Let's Play VA" events, in which lottery players and NASCAR fans have the chance to join the #19 team as an honorary crew member, attend the NASCAR Awards banquet in Las Vegas as Sadler's guest and have a chance to win other exciting prizes. Associate sponsors of the #19 Camry at Bristol Motor Speedway will include Black Wolf Harley Davidson in Bristol, Va, Quaker Steak and Lube in Bristol, and The Maxxis Mid-Atlantic Dirt Series, a karting series in which Sadler's karting team competes in.(TriStar Motorsports)(7-29-2014)
Jimmy John's sponsoring Harvick at Chicago: JR Motorsports announced that Jimmy John's, the gourmet sandwich shop with more than 1,900 locations across the United States, will be the primary sponsor on Kevin Harvick's #5 Chevy in the Sept. 13 Jimmy John's Freaky Fast 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Chicagoland Speedway. Featured on Harvick's #5 Jimmy John's paint scheme at Chicagoland Speedway will be the Folds of Honor Foundation logo as part of Jimmy John's commitment to supporting our nation's heroes. Through scholarships and other assistance, the foundation's mission is to give back to families of soldiers killed or disabled in service to our country.(JR Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(7-22-2014)
Swindell joins JGL Racing: JGL Racing welcomes Kevin Swindell to the JGL Racing family starting at Indianapolis in the Lilly Diabetes 250 on July 26th. Kevin will be teammate to another open wheel standout, #28-JJ Yeley. Swindell will be behind the wheel of the #93 sponsored by Curb Records and John Christner Trucking, Inc out of Sapulpa, OK. Kevin will also be running other races this year with JGL Racing. James Whitener and Gregg Mixon are pleased to have 2 outstanding drivers in their staple.(JGL Racing)(7-21-2014)
Dates set for NASCAR Awards Banquets: NASCAR announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards - the annual culmination of Champion's Week - will be held on Friday, Dec. 5, at Wynn Las Vegas. This is the sixth year that NASCAR has celebrated Champion's Week in the city of Las Vegas, a tradition that has featured a bevy of A-list entertainers and fan-friendly activities involving the sport's biggest stars. Last year's show, which honored six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, featured many memorable moments from host Jay Mohr and entertainers John Mellencamp, Dierks Bentley and Sara Bareilles.
NASCAR also announced that the 2014 NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards will hold a joint celebration on Monday, Nov. 17, at Trump National Doral Miami. The event will honor the series driver and owner champions, as well as the top-five drivers in each series. This is the first year the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards will have been held at Trump National Doral Miami. The property was recently purchased by the Trump Organization with plans for a $250 million resort-wide restoration.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards will air on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 9:00pm/et. MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will carry the awards show live.
The NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards will be broadcast via tape delay on Sunday, Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.(NASCAR)(7-1-2014)