December 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup News Archive

DECEMBER 2012 NASCAR SPRINT CUP NEWS ARCHIVE

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    News from December 31, 2012

  • 2013 silly season notes for #7-Robby Gordon / Robby Gordon Motorsports: indications are that Gordon will not run many, if any, Sprint Cup races in 2013 after making the Daytona 500 in 2012 he ran two more races, at Phoenix in Feb and Sonoma in June. Gordon failed to qualify for the races at Las Vegas and Fontana in March. He could run the Daytona 500 or the road course races at Sonoma or Watkins Glen. Spokesperson Alison McCabe said she doesn't think Gordon will participate in NASCAR due to his involvement in his new racing project, Robby Gordon's Stadium Super Trucks series but that they would never rule out the possibility of running selected NASCAR events. Gordon is also set to run Dakar Rally, which starts on January 5th. If Gordon does attempt any Cup races, no word what manufacturer he will use. Gordon has run Dodge the last couple of seasons. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(12-31-2012)

  • Papis helping train Dillon brothers: Max Papis, who gained fame in central Ohio when he raced for Bobby Rahal in CART, was hired to help Austin and Ty Dillon (grandsons of Richard Childress) last week at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course during a Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Nationwide Series test. "We work out together. I show them the strengths and weaknesses of what helped me to become who I am," Papis said of some of his duties. "We do a lot of analysis of how we talk, how we approach the business, the mental and physical aspect of the racing. When I show up to the races, 80% of the job is done. We are preparing ourselves really well before. I'm really proud to see the improvement both kids had. I got them at the beginning of the season, and they were really shy. I saw a lot of changes, and we are just in the beginning." Austin Dillon is on the fast track to stardom in the sport. The 22-year-old was third in the Nationwide standings this past season, picking up a pair of wins and three poles to go with 27 top 10s. A year ago he was the youngest champion in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history. Ty Dillon, his younger brother, was the ARCA champ in 2011 and the Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year this past season. Last week in Lexington, Papis was coaching up the elder Dillon, showing him the finer points of road racing, something Dillon lacks in his background in stock cars. "To be able to get his opinion on it and use him as a teammate, it will be great," Dillon said of the tutoring sessions in the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro. "It will be just like having a Cup driver here talking to him before the race." After bouncing around sports car series and NASCAR since his departure from CART, Papis acknowledges his new role in the sport is unique. "In a sport so tough like this, some people may laugh at you, but at the end of the day, I think it's jealousy more than anything else," Papis said. "I'm sure 90 percent of the guys out there would love to have a shoulder to lean on."(in part from the Bucyrus Telegraph Forum)(12-31-2012)

  • Judge orders unsealing of France's documents: The N.C. Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a Mecklenburg judge's order unsealing the secret documents in NASCAR Chairman Brian France's legal battle with his former wife. The appeals court ruling is the latest twist in Brian and Megan France's efforts to keep secret the details of their legal wrangling and the contents of their separation agreement. Brian France has sought to scrap the agreement with his ex-wife that calls for him to pay the mother of his two children millions of dollars as well as more than $40,000 a month in alimony and child support. The NASCAR chairman claims Megan France breached their confidential separation agreement. Brian and Megan France also had sought to have the court hearings closed to the public. The appeals court ruling Monday upholds Mecklenburg District Judge Jena Culler's ruling in August 2011 unsealing the documents in the Frances' litigation. Culler also overturned an order by a former judge sealing the documents in 2008.(in part from the Charlotte Observer)(12-31-2012)


    News from December 30, 2012

  • 2013 silly season notes for #5-Kasey Kahne / Hendrick Motorsports:: Kasey Kahne starts his 2nd full season in the #5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, his first consecutive full season season with the same team in quite some time. Farmers Insurance returns for 22 races, a deal signed in 2011 that runs thru 2014. Time Warner Cable will be the primary sponsor for four races each season thru 2015. Quaker State Oil returns tp sponsor the car in four races. Great Clips will sponsor the #5 for three races. Supposedly a Pepsi brand will be the primary sponsor for one race in 2013. Hendrickcars.com could be the sponsor on the car when no primary is secured. No word if Rockwell Tools, which sponsors the #5 at Darlington in 2012 will return in 2013. Longtime Kahne crew chief, Kenny Francis returns in 2013. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(12-30-2012)

  • Congrats Landon Cassil: per Landon Cassil's Twitter, "Thanks for all the wedding congrats! We are headed to Mexico for a week. Shutting my phone off. What an amazing day yesterday" Landon Cassil, driver of the #83 Toyota, married Katie linsted on December 28th.(12-30-2012)

  • Finch working on driver lineup for #51 UPDATE2: Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch is close to settling on his lineup for 2013. Finch said Thursday that Regan Smith will run the Daytona 500 in the #51 Chevy. But with Smith concentrating on his new gig with JR Motorsports, there will be an opportunity for AJ Allmendinger as well. "Regan will go to Daytona for us, but I want to help AJ run some races, too," Finch said. "We're still working on the final schedule, but AJ will probably run Phoenix (International Raceway on March 3) for us." Allmendinger made his comeback with Phoenix Racing in October at Charlotte after completing NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program for violating the sport's substance-abuse policy. His top result with the team was 24th in that race.(Fox Sports)(12-21-2012)
    UPDATE: James (Finch) telling Newschannel 7 Sports he's committed to run at least 18 Cup races in 2013, starting with the Daytona 500. He says he's secured a sponsor for both Daytona races in February, but won't announce that sponsor until after the first. James says Regan Smith will drive for Phoenix in the Daytona 500. Finch will use Smith for some other Cup races, though he'll have to share Smith, since he will drive the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports. Allmendinger is another driver Finch would like to use on the Cup Series. AJ ran the final four races of 2012 for Phoenix and James says he liked how AJ handled the car. Allmendinger though apparently considering some offers to race Indy cars. As for running the whole cup circuit, Finch says he's hoping for some early success and that more sponsorship will come along, making running a full slate more possible.(News Channel 7, Panama City Beach, FL)(12-28-2012)
    UPDATE 2: As the clock winds down on 2012, Phoenix Racing, based in Spartanburg, is looking ahead to the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, and it's going to be a season full of changes. "One of the biggest changes is the change in the Chevy body styles," Hendersonville's Steve Barkdoll, general manager of Phoenix Racing, said. "Sprint Cup is going to the Chevy SS and Nationwide to the Chevy Camaro. For a small team like us, that creates a lot more work, and our guys in the shop are doing an incredible job. They've been working non-stop to get ready for the season, and we've already got a couple of new cars in the shop that look really sharp." Just like last year, Phoenix Racing will be using multiple drivers. "For Daytona, we'll be going with Regan Smith, who also drives for Dale Jr.'s Nationwide team. Since Regan is committed to the Nationwide Series, he won't be able to run a full Cup schedule with us. We'll be looking to other drivers throughout the year, including A.J. Allmendinger again."(Spartanburg Herald Journal)(12-30-2012)

  • Two California short tracks back in biz: Two paved circle tracks in Southern California should be up and racing by spring, planning to cooperate in order to maximize the chances of success. Irwindale Speedway, now officially to be referred to as The Irwindale Event Center, had no races on its oval tracks in 2012 after the former track operators filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February. New operators 211 Entertainment Company were granted a full operational lease on Dec. 14 by property owners Nu-Way Industries. The speedway is all set, physically, to hold races again. Grandstands, garages, parking lots, lights and everything you need to race on the track's half- and third-mile circuits is still in place from the last time cars roared around the ovals in November 2011. Exactly which classes will run is one of the things being sorted out, but expect Late and Super Late model stock cars in addition to other classes "to be determined." The Late Models and Super Late Models will not run every Saturday night, as they had in the past. But there will be some kind of racing or entertainment at Irwindale every Saturday, including events at the facility's 1/8-mile drag strip, which never stopped featuring racing.
    Irwindale stock cars will likely alternate Saturday nights with the other soon-to-be-opened half-mile paved oval in Southern California, Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield. Work originally got underway on the all-new Kern County Raceway Park's half-mile D-shaped paved oval in 2006, but the project foundered amid the housing bust. The unfinished track sat dormant for three years from 2007 to 2010 until a new set of investors took over. Now work is nearly finished on the 500-acre facility. The track is paved, and some cars have done test laps on it and the four-story hospitality tower will be done soon. The two facilities had the good sense to realize they were competing for the same racers, fans and sponsors and so they met to see what they could work out. That's where the alternate Saturdays idea came from.
    "Our talks also included ideas for co-promotion and cross-promotions of special attractions and events, publishing a unified set of competition rules and classes, as well as considering the idea of establishing a highly trained stock car racing tech inspection team that would serve both tracks," said Jim Cohan, president and CEO of Irwindale's Team 211 Entertainment. "&with the sort of teams that we have in place, and the sort of support we've been offered from our fans, sponsors, racers, suppliers, and even the sanctioning bodies, we know that we're teamed up and embarking on an exciting new era in motorsports entertainment. We want to invite everyone to come and join us."
    While specifics are still to be announced, look for an early April or even late March opening date.(AutoWeek)(12-30-2012)


    News from December 29, 2012

  • 2013 silly season notes for #2-Brad Keselowski / Penske Racing:: The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion will have a new look on his Miller Lite car, plus the big change, switching manufacturers from Dodge to Ford. Dodge left the sport after the 2012 season. Penske Racing will use Roush-Yates power plants under the hood of their Ford Fusions in 2013. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe will return 2013 and is signed thru at least 2015. Keselowski said he is sticking to the contract he signed earlier in 2012 and not looking to renegotiate after winning the 2012 Championship, he is also signed thru at least 2015 as is Miller Lite. In an oddity, Keselowski is not currently eligible to run the Daytona Shootout as he didn't win a pole in 2012. Keselowski will have a new teammate, with Joey Logano taking over the #22 ride in 2013. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(12-29-2012)

  • McMurray karting in Daytona: #1-Jamie McMurray is enjoying the off-season by returning to his roots  karting. The NASCAR driver is among the entries participating in the annual Daytona KartWeek World Karting Association events at Daytona International Speedway. Practice began on Friday with races scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Hundreds of karters from across the country will spend their holidays at Daytona International Speedway participating in WKA races on three different courses  the 3.56-mile road course, the sprint track located in Turns 3 and 4 and the quarter-mile dirt track outside Turns 1 and 2. Tickets for Daytona KartWeek can be purchased at Ticket Booth E located above the Turn 1 tunnel near Williamson Boulevard. More info at daytonainternationalspeedway.com.(DIS)(12-29-2012)

  • Sad News - Salt Walther: David "Salt" Walther, the former auto and hydroplane racer severely burned in a spectacular crash in the 1973 Indianapolis 500, has died. He was 65. The Montgomery County Coroner's Office confirmed the death Friday, saying Walther was reported dead Thursday night and that the cause of death hadn't been determined. Walther also drove briefly in NASCAR, finishing 12th in the 1976 Daytona 500 [drove in 4 Cup races]. At the start of the 1973 Indy 500, Walther's car pinwheeled down the track, his legs sticking out of his torn-up racer, after touching wheels with Jerry Grant and slamming into the catch-fencing in a fiery crash near the starting line. Blinded by the fireball that spread across the front straightaway, several other drivers slammed into Walther's car. Walther fought an addiction to painkillers after the accident and spent time in jail and prison. He was arrested in Dayton, Ohio, last month in a case dating to 2007, and it wasn't immediately known if he was incarcerated at the time of his death.(ESPN/AP)(12-29-2012)

  • Lofton to reduce CWTS schedule to run Stadium Trucks: Justin Lofton has decided to scale back his NASCAR schedule in 2013, instead focusing his title aspirations towards the newly-formed Stadium Super Trucks Series organized by Robby Gordon. Before moving to NASCAR, Lofton fancied a career in off-road racing. His background and long-time friendship with Gordon helped the Stadium Truck deal come together pretty quickly. "This is going to be cool," Lofton told SB Nation over the phone on Friday. "I've known Robby Gordon for a long time and this is something he's wanted to do as long as I've known him. We grew up doing this and it's something I have a passion for." The Stadium Super Truck Series is 10-race rally-style series that will contest events on temporary circuits constructed on some of the largest stadium venues in the United States. Rallies will be contested at University of Phoenix Stadium, Soldier Field, Cowboys Stadium and the Metro Dome just to name a few. The series is aided by a tape-delay national television package between NBC and the NBC Sports Network. Lofton cited the lack of sponsorship and funding as the primary reasons he couldn't return full-time in 2013 but believes success in off-road can catapult him back towards NASCAR. "I want to be seen as the NASCAR driver who went over to the Stadium Truck Series and found some success," Lofton said. "Hopefully some of my NASCAR fans will follow me on this new venture and I'll take some rally fans with me when I come back to NASCAR." Lofton hasn't finalized his 2013 NASCAR schedule yet but expects to run at least 10 Truck Series races on tracks longer than a mile.(SB Nation)(12-29-2012)


    News from December 28, 2012

  • 2013 silly season notes for #1-Jamie McMurray / Earnhardt Ganassi Racing:: McMurray signed a contract extension with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing for 2013, no word if it is long-term or just for 2013. Longtime #1 sponsor, Bass Pro Shops, will move to #14-Tony Stewart's Chevy, but supposedly sponsor the #1 for a race in 2013. McDonald's will be the primary sponsor for the more then the 13 races they sponsored in 2012. Liftmaster [was the sponsor in Sept NHMS race] and Bass Pro Shops are scheduled to be primary sponsor each for a race. The team will switch from Earnhardt-Childress Racing engines to running engines leased from Hendrick Motorsports. Crew Chief Kevin "Bono" Manion is signed thru at least 2013. No word if Belkin [was sponsor in Sept NHMS race] or Banana Boat [was sponsor in June Pocono race] return to sponsor a race as they did in 2012 or if AllState Insurance returns as a co-sponsor. See more about other teams on my 2013 Team / Driver Silly Season Chart.(12-28-2012)

  • Finch working on driver lineup for #51 UPDATE: Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch is close to settling on his lineup for 2013. Finch said Thursday that Regan Smith will run the Daytona 500 in the #51 Chevy. But with Smith concentrating on his new gig with JR Motorsports, there will be an opportunity for AJ Allmendinger as well. "Regan will go to Daytona for us, but I want to help AJ run some races, too," Finch said. "We're still working on the final schedule, but AJ will probably run Phoenix (International Raceway on March 3) for us." Allmendinger made his comeback with Phoenix Racing in October at Charlotte after completing NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program for violating the sport's substance-abuse policy. His top result with the team was 24th in that race.(Fox Sports)(12-21-2012)
    UPDATE: James (Finch) telling Newschannel 7 Sports he's committed to run at least 18 Cup races in 2013, starting with the Daytona 500. He says he's secured a sponsor for both Daytona races in February, but won't announce that sponsor until after the first. James says Regan Smith will drive for Phoenix in the Daytona 500. Finch will use Smith for some other Cup races, though he'll have to share Smith, since he will drive the Nationwide Series for JR Motorsports. Allmendinger is another driver Finch would like to use on the Cup Series. AJ ran the final four races of 2012 for Phoenix and James says he liked how AJ handled the car. Allmendinger though apparently considering some offers to race Indy cars. As for running the whole cup circuit, Finch says he's hoping for some early success and that more sponsorship will come along, making running a full slate more possible.(News Channel 7, Panama City Beach, FL)(12-28-2012)

  • Sad News - Doug Hoffman: Bridgeport Speedway promoter Doug Hoffman died Dec. 24. Hoffman, a former DIRTcar modified and NASCAR modified competitor from Pennsylvania, took over the reins at Bridgeport Speedway's five-eighths-mile dirt track [in New Jersey] in 2012 after having served as promoter at Pennsylvania's Mahoning Valley Speedway.(NSSN)(12-28-2012)


    News from December 27, 2012

  • More on some NASCAR TV shows: Rumors include the end of the Trackside series on SPEED which was drastically changed last season into an unwatchable mess. Shows like RaceDay, RaceHub and Victory Lane are set to return. Bob Varsha is stepping into the former Leigh Diffey role and handling sports cars on SPEED beginning with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Diffey departed SPEED for NBCSN where he will handle Formula One and IndyCar telecasts. There have been no announcements on the TNT and ESPN portions of the Sprint Cup Series TV package changing hands. Rumors include FOX wanting the six TNT races and NBC perhaps interested in the ESPN package. You may remember that ESPN also televises the entire Nationwide Series. The current TV deal expires after the 2014 season.(Daly Planet)(12-27-2012)

  • Congrats - Reed Sorenson: Reed Sorenson got engaged to Laura Frame over the Christmas Holidays. Laura is a Kindergarten Teacher in Mooresville, NC. They will set a date in 2013.(12-27-2012)

  • Ambrose to test for Michael Shank Racing's Grand-Am team: #9-Marcos Ambrose will join Michael Shank Racing, the defending Rolex 24 At Daytona Champions for the test called the Roar Before the 24 on January 4-6. Ambrose will be substituting for 2008 Rolex 24 pole winner and frequent triathlete, Ozz Negri, who suffered a leg injury in off-season training. Ambrose will share the testing duties in the #60 Ford Riley Daytona Prototype with John Pew, who has been confirmed as Negri's full-season co-driver. The team will announce its full driver line-up for their 10th Rolex 24 At Daytona event during the Roar Before the 24 Test Days.(Auto123)(12-27-2012)

  • Sad News - Clarence "Hooker" Hood: Mid-South racing legend Clarence "Hooker" Hood, a colorful character who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999, died Christmas Eve. He was 86. Known for calling everyone "Cat," Hood won more than 700 races during a 50-year-plus career. In 1954 and '55, he made five starts in NASCAR Grand National [now Sprint Cup] competition. Upon being inducted into the Sprint Car Hall of Fame, Hood, who routinely gave his trophies away to those young fans, told an interviewer: "I've had a great life and I wouldn't do anything different except to try and run a little faster and that would be hard to do." The funeral is 11 a.m. Saturday at Bartlett Baptist Church. See full obit at the Memphis Commercial Appeal.(Memphis Commercial Appeal)(12-27-2012)


    News from December 26, 2012

  • Stewart to run the Chili Bowl: Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) announced that three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #14-Tony Stewart has joined the star-studded field of entrants for the 27th annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals presented by General Tire at the Tulsa (Okla.) Expo Center, which kicks off Tuesday, Jan. 8 and concludes Saturday, Jan. 12. Stewart finished 10th in last year's finale after not participating in the event for three consecutive seasons (2009-2011). This year, he returns to action in the TSR #14 Chevrolet Performance/Spike/Chevy in the most prestigious Midget race of the year. The annual Chili Bowl, which takes place inside the typically fan-packed confines of the QuikTrip Center's Tulsa Expo Raceway, will see Stewart and more than 200 drivers attempt to qualify for one of the coveted spots in Saturday's 50-lap A-Main finale. Each driver will participate in a qualifying program and accumulate points.(TSR), some other drivers with NASCAR connections include: J.J. Yeley, Bobby East, Cole Whitt, Dakoda Armstrong, Tracy Hines, Justin Allgaier, Billy Pauch, Kevin Swindell, Bryan Clauson, Tim McCreadie, Brad Sweet, A.J. Fike, Kyle Larson, Tyler Walker, Brad Noffsinger, P.J. Jones.(12-26-2012)


    News from December 25, 2012

  • "UnDeck the Hall" Event at NASCAR Hall of Fame: After St. Nick has come and gone on Dec. 26, be sure to stop by to help "UnDeck the Hall." Choosing from a display of festive Christmas trees in the NASCAR Hall of Fame Theater Lobby, each guest can take home one NASCAR-themed item until all are gone. The HALLiday trees are decorated with NASCAR-themed items including autographed souvenirs, memorabilia, ornaments, die cast cars, secret surprises and more. Among the hundreds of items available, guests can walk away with some big ticket presents including tickets to the April races in Martinsville, posters signed by all 12 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers, or hats signed by Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and more. The event runs on Wednesday, Dec. 26 from 10 am.  6 pm at the NASCAR Hall of Fame Theater Lobby in Charlotte, NC. More info at , 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Charlotte, NC. More info at nascarhall.com.(12-25-2012)

  • The Dale Jr. Foundation Continues Fundraising Success in 2012: The Dale Jr. Foundation (TDJF) announced the successful conclusion to its year-long fundraising efforts, which raised more than $280,000 to benefit non-profit organizations and charities on a national scale. TDJF utilized a trio of major initiatives to raise the funds, including the "Driven to Give" event, the "Win Dale Jr.'s Ride" raffle and ride-along experiences with Earnhardt Jr. "It was another great year," said Earnhardt Jr. "The people who work for TDJF are some of the hardest-working people in my entire company, and I want to thank them first and foremost. I also want to thank anyone who contributed to the raising of funds this year, whether it was through in-kind donations, purchasing raffle tickets, or bidding on auction items. All of it contributed to helping us achieve our goals." More info at thedalejrfoundation.org.(Dale Jr. Foundation)(12-25-2012)

  • Additional Advantages to Purchasing WGI Tickets in Advance: Watkins Glen International announced that fans who secure their 2013 Glen experience during the Advance Sale period may take advantage of newly offered payment plans. There is a Three Payment Plan and a 50/50 Payment Plan available for all camping and ticket purchases made in the Advance Sale period. Either plan may be used to purchase camping and tickets for any of the 2013 events at Watkins Glen International, including: Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen [June 28-30], Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey's Fancy New York's Artisan Cheese [July 12-14], NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at The Glen [August 8-11] and Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver [September 6-8]. More info on the plans and for ticket info, go to theglen.com.(WGI)(12-25-2012)


    News from December 24, 2012

  • NBC expected to make push for NASCAR rights: The shift to a less passive audience that would rather interrelate with a race telecast than just watch comes as NASCAR negotiates its next television contract. The current deal expires after the 2014 season and by the time '15 rolls around the TV landscape could look very different. FOX has already renewed its agreement through 2022 to the tune of $300 million per year, or $2.4 billion over the eight years. That's a significant bump up from the $220 million Fox is currently paying for a package of races that includes the Daytona 500. Despite a drop in ratings, an increase is also expected from other television entities for the remaining components of the contract, which include 23 other Sprint Cup races, ten inside the Chase, and the entire Nationwide Series schedule. Incumbents TNT and ABC/ESPN are expected to again jump back into negotiations but a wild card has come to the table in the form of NBC. Desperate for quality and popular live sports programming for its NBC Sports Channel, the Peacock Network is expected to make a substantial play for a big piece of the NASCAR pie. But while the dollars may turn out to be greater in the NBC proposal, at this point the network could not match the exposure and publicity NASCAR receives from the "World Wide Leader" in sports. As part of the mighty ESPN machine, NASCAR enjoys a hefty amount of promotion on not just auto racing-related programming but a wide range of content across a variety of television, radio and online platforms.(Motor Racing Network)(12-24-2012)

  • Harvick presents car to winner of "Win Happy's Chevy": Christmas came early for one lucky winner when Kevin Harvick handed over the keys to a brand-new 2012 Chevy Camaro 2SS convertible as part of "Win Happy's Chevy," proceeds from which benefit the Kevin Harvick Foundation. Michael Gatz, from Elkhorn, Wis., won the Camaro valued at $48,280, and drove it home from the Kevin Harvick Foundation's North Carolina headquarters. Gatz had purchased the winning ticket in the second-annual raffle for which nearly 2,500 tickets were sold at $29 each. Proceeds from "Win Happy's Chevy" will be used to further the initiatives of the Kevin Harvick Foundation, whose mission is to enrich the lives of children across the country through programs such as Kevin's Krew, Chase Your Dreams Scholarships and the Kevin Harvick Athletic Scholarship Fund, among others.(Kevin Harvick Foundation)(12-24-2012)

  • Zipadelli helping step daughter battle through cancer: Scott Zipadelli, the stepfather of two teenagers, including one midway through a 54-week cancer treatment program, can remember the days when he would worry about who might drive the #99 Nationwide Series car or about which team he would work for in the upcoming season. He no longer sweats it. Once a guy whose identity revolved around his job as a NASCAR crew chief, the job no longer defines Zipadelli. He still works as a crew chief, still gets angry over a mistake on a pit stop, but he lives so much more for his family now. Zipadelli, who comes from a racing family, had always heard the old adage that racers take things too seriously, that crew members need to relax a little because, after all, they don't cure cancer. Now, life has taught Zipadelli that lesson in a cruel fashion. Now he actually tries to figure out how his stepdaughter Torie Costa will get cured from cancer. "It's a life-changing experience," Zipadelli said. "That's the only way I can describe it."
    Torie, now 17, has battled to the midway point of a 54-week program to treat stage 4 childhood rhabdomyosarcoma. A rare form of muscular cancer, it comprises only 3.5 percent of all childhood cancer cases. A few hundred are diagnosed annually and only one in 1 million teenagers over age 15 get the disease. Less than a third of those diagnosed with stage 4 live past a few years. They celebrate this Christmas thankful they can spend time together as Torie recovers from one of 34 rounds of chemotherapy. Speaking earlier this month after she completed a five-week, 23-treatment radiation program in early December at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Torie began her first of 10 final rounds of chemotherapy the week before Christmas. The treatment hopefully will destroy the tumor in her abdomen as well as kill all the cancer cells that lived in the fluid that filled her chest and caused that shortness of breath in June. So far, the treatments have gone relatively well, and she doesn't have a bitter bone in her body.
    For the last half of the 2012 season, once the team plane landed, Zipadelli quickly headed home. Not because he had to, but because he wanted to. "I always thought this was everything for myself personally, what I did day-to-day was about me and my career and what made me happy," Zipadelli said. "Now it has nothing to do with what I want. It's all about taking care of them. "So I wish something like this had happened to me 10 years ago. It has made me a better crew chief because I don't worry about things that don't matter. I worry about the things that do matter. I don't have time to worry about all that useless junk. I deal with what I have to deal with and then I'm out of there. And then I come back with a clear mind." Zipadelli missed one race and plans to miss more next year if Torie needs him at home or at the hospital.
    "Before when he didn't have a great day of work, he'd come through the door and be down," Torie says. "Now he walks through the door and he's happy to see everyone. "It's completely changed him. We take a lot more family outings together. Instead of having it separated with Scott and his cars and then me and my sister and my mom, it's all four of us now." Thankful for that, Zipadelli just wonders why it took so long for him to get it. "Every off time is spent with family, every second," Zipadelli says. "I'm more satisfied with that than I was spending Sunday in my garage working on some old car. "I hope that never changes."(Sporting News)(12-24-2012)


    News from December 23, 2012

  • Congrats: NASCAR's Trevor Bayne is stepping out of the fast lane and settling down. The Knoxville area native and 2011 Daytona 500 champion has announced his engagement on Twitter. "Well Ladies and Gentlemen, she said yes," Bayne tweeted. The message was accompanied with a photo of Bayne and his fiance, Ashton Clapp, at a ski slope. Bayne's father confirmed the engagement via text message to WATE 6 Sports on Saturday. Rocky Bayne said Clapp is also from the Knoxville area and said no wedding date has been set.(WATE)(12-23-2012)

  • Jarrett's son to play baseball with Charlotte 49ers: Zach Jarrett, the son of former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Dale Jarrett, was one of eight baseball players signed by UNC Charlotte during the early commitment period for the 2014 season. Jarrett, 17, played third base for the Hickory High (N.C.) Red Tornadoes for coach David Craft, and was a prep teammate of current 49er Tyler Barnette. He also was a participant in the State Games after an All-Northwestern Conference season and a second-round appearance in the state playoffs. He posted 15 RBI in 62 plate appearances with a .355 batting average. He was also rated as a national "high follow" by Perfect Game Crosschecker. A two-sport star at Hickory, Jarrett was a member of the varsity basketball team which finished as the state runners-up in the 3A classification.(Charlotte Observer)(12-23-2012)

  • Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon Shine & Sign added to Acceleration Weekend: Fans headed to NASCAR Acceleration Weekend will have the opportunity to meet inaugural NASCAR Hall of Famer Johnson at Junior Johnson's Midnight Moon Shine & Sign. The new event will feature a fan Q&A and autograph session with Johnson and a free tasting at the Midnight Moon moonshine bar. All fans with a NASCAR Preview 2013 ticket will have free admission to the Shine & Sign, which will be held immediately following the NASCAR Preview on Saturday, Feb. 9 at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. NASCAR Preview 2013 is a fan festival featuring autographs and on-stage Q&A sessions with top drivers from all three NASCAR national series. Fans also will be among the first to see the new sixth-generation NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars and 2013 paint schemes. NASCAR Acceleration Weekend also features the 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, held at the Charlotte Convention Center Friday, Feb. 8.(NASCAR)(12-23-2012)

  • Klligerman to Kyle Busch Motorsports? UPDATES: After a tumultuous 2012 season that saw him drive in both the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series' for Penske Racing, Brad Keselowski Racing and Red Horse Racing, expect an announcement next week that Parker Kligerman will compete full-time on the Nationwide Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2013. Kligerman was released from Penske's #22 Nationwide Dodge in early August in favor of Ryan Blaney, and departed BKR's Truck Series operation shortly afterward, also in favor of Blaney. He won for Red Horse at Talladega Superspeedway in only his seventh start. While Kligerman declined to confirm the deal today, he did say he is "excited about my prospects for 2013" and feels he will "have every opportunity to be successful" with his new team. "It's the right place for me, at the right time." KBM General Manager Rick Ren was unavailable for comment today.(Godfather Motorsports)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: According to a Tweet from Mike Bagley, Parker Kligerman announced on SiriusXM's The Morning Drive Tuesday morning that he will drive the #77 for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Nationwide Series in 2013.(12-18-2012)
    UPDATE 2: Kyle Busch Motorsports posted a YouTube video announcing Kligerman was joining the team.(12-18-2012)
    UPDATE 3: Eric Phillips has been promoted to the position of crew chief for the #77 Camry team with driver Parker Kligerman in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for the 2013 season. Since joining KBM for its inaugural Truck Series season in 2010, Phillips has guided the #18 team to 17 victories, 8 poles, 2,243 laps led, 38 top-five and 54 top-10 finishes across 72 starts. Under his guidance, KBM became the first team since the Truck Series originated in 1995 to capture the owner's championship in its inaugural season and led the series in wins in each of its first two seasons. Phillips' 27 career Truck Series wins rank second to KBM General Manager Rick Ren (28) on the all-time list.(KBM)(12-20-2012)


    News from December 22, 2012

  • SPEED to have live coverage of Daytona testing: In just three short weeks, SPEED and SPEED.com will be live from the high banks of Daytona International Speedway when Preseason Thunder kicks off the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season. SPEED and SPEED.com offer live coverage of the Jan. 10-12 test session in its entirety with SPEED live from all afternoon sessions and SPEED.com streaming all morning sessions.
    John Roberts, Jeff Hammond and Matt Clark host SPEED's on-air coverage from the studio above pit road at the start/finish line at Daytona. Steve Byrnes calls the on-track action during the morning sessions (9 am to 12 pm/et) on SPEED.com alongside analysts Kyle Petty and Kenny Wallace, while Hermie Sadler and Wendy Venturini handle reporting duties. Rick Allen assumes the play-by-play chair for the afternoon sessions (1-3 pm/et and 3-5 pm/et) while the NASCAR on FOX and SPEED crew of Waltrip and Larry McReynolds take over the TV booth duties. Bob Dillner and Matt Yocum report from pit road and the garage. SPEED.com NASCAR Editor Mike Hembree will be on site to provide coverage and perspective as well.
    Special editions of NASCAR Race Hub will air Jan. 10-11 at 6 pm/et from Daytona to recap all the on- and off-track action. Furthermore, NASCAR Race Hub offers new episodes from the SPEED Studios Jan. 21-24 at 6 p.m. ET during the week of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour. The program's 2013 season premiere is slated for Feb. 4 at 6 pm/et (Monday-Thursdays at 6 pm/et). Additionally, SPEED Center, hosted by Adam Alexander, continues to keep fans updated on all things across the motor sports world, beginning with its 2013 premiere on Jan. 6 at 7 pm/et.(SPEED)(12-22-212)

  • Recreational retreat proposed at DEI: Teresa Earnhardt is hoping to transform 317 acres of wooded land at Dale Earnhardt Inc. into a private recreational retreat offering horse-riding trails, archery, rodeos, paintball and fishing ponds to companies, weddings and educational groups. A public hearing for a special use zoning permit will be held by the Iredell County Board of Adjustment on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Iredell County Government Center in Statesville. According to documents filed with the county, Earnhardt wants to turn 317 acres behind her sprawling Dale Earnhardt Inc. race shops on N.C. 3 into a facility that caters to "environmental and farm educational outings, wildlife observation and tent camping." Along with horse trails, an archery range, rodeo, paintball and fishing, proposed uses for the land include an endurance course and "live outdoor theatres."(Mooresville Tribune)(12-20-2012)
    UPDATE: Despite opposition from neighbors concerned about traffic and noise, Teresa Earnhardt, wife of the late racing great Dale Earnhardt, received a permit this week to create a 317-acre outdoor activities center on rural N.C. 3 in Mooresville. Dick Brolin of Piedmont Design Associates in Mooresville spoke for Earnhardt at an hour-long public hearing in Statesville Thursday night called by the Iredell County Board of Adjustment. Earnhardt sat in the audience but didn't address the board, which approved the permit 6-0. Brolin said the site has nearly 5 miles of trails -- basically "farm roads" used for existing farming operations on the property. Parking for 300 people is planned, with overflow parking available on numerous grassy areas, he said. Charlotte lawyer Ben Ellis, also representing Earnhardt at the hearing, said the site would be available only to those with memberships, who would then have to make reservations. Activities also could be made available to horseback riding and fishing clubs and such non-profits as schools and the Girl Scouts, he said.(Charlotte Observer) (12-22-2012)

  • NASCAR's 2012 "Loopies": For the sixth consecutive season, the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications team has pored over a season's worth of Loop Data and filtered out the top statistical performances of the 2012 season. After a painstaking review, a select committee created awards to recognize those drivers who numerically excelled this season. Those awards have evolved into arguably the most coveted prize in all of NASCAR. They are  and this is  The Loopies.
    Loop Top Dogg: This award yearly goes to the driver who led the most Loop Data categories. Every week, NASCAR releases a season-to-date Loop Data stats packet that charts 15 different statistical categories. This year's winner of the "Loop Top Dogg" led an astounding 13 of them. #48-Jimmie Johnson ranked first in the most important of all Loop Data stats, Driver Rating, with a gaudy 109.5. That was eight points higher than second-best #18-Kyle Busch. In all, Johnson led Average Running Position, Driver Rating, Fastest Early in a Run, Fastest Late in a Run, Fastest Laps Run, Fastest on Restarts, Green Flag Speed, Laps in top 15, Laps Led, Miles Led, Percentage of Laps Run on the Lead Lap, Speed by Quarter (by the way, he also led each quarter overall) and Speed in Traffic.
    Quantity of Quality Award: This award goes to the driver who led the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in Quality Passes, which are passes of cars in the top 15 while under green flag conditions. The winner, who will have to clear up even more mantle space, is Brad Keselowski. Keselowski, who led the series by more than 200 quality passes, tallied 2,201 quality passes overall.
    Most Improved Driver: Awards like these are usually given after taking into account a number of different success barometers. But this is the Loopies. And our nominating committee needs only one measure: Driver Rating. The driver with the biggest improvement in Driver Rating from 2011 to 2012, and winner of the coveted Loopie: #16-Greg Biffle. Biffle, who finished fifth in 2012 after missing the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2011, ballooned his Driver Rating by 13.6 points over last season. Last year, he had an 85.9. This year: 99.5.
    Least Improved Driver: Not all Loopies are coveted. That's what makes these awards so unique, and dare we say, unrivaled. Here's one of them. The driver with the biggest drop in Driver Rating wins this Loopie, and it goes to #99-Carl Edwards  with an asterisk. Edwards actually only had the third-biggest drop  16.8, from 101.0 in 2011 to 84.2 this season. But it was the biggest drop among drivers who didn't switch teams, and therefore the committee made an executive decision to allow Edwards to take home this award. In actuality, David Ragan suffered the biggest drop in Driver Rating. In 2011, Ragan had a Driver Rating of 78.3 for Roush Fenway Racing. For Front Row Motorsports this season, it dropped to 49.2. Kurt Busch, who went from Penske Racing to Phoenix Racing and Furniture Row Racing, dropped 22.7 points.
    Coffee's For Closers Award: The "Closer" statistic measures the positions gained or lost in the last 10 percent of races. The top Closer this season: #39-Ryan Newman, who improved 68 total positions in the last 10 percent of races this season.
    "He's Partially Sponsored By An Energy Drink, So Doesn't Need Coffee, Thankfully" Award: This one goes to one of the worst Closers (again, not all of these awards are coveted). And the winner: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt lost 41 spots in the last 10 percent of races this year, among the worst of any driver. But, with a sponsor like AMP Energy, he doesn't need coffee to keep him caffeinated, anyway. Nor does #78-Kurt and #18-Kyle Busch (Monster Energy) or #15-Clint Bowyer (5-hour Energy), all of whom also were in the red in the Closer category.
    Serenity Now Award: A happy driver is a successful driver, and that's certainly true with the winner of this award, #78-Kurt Busch. When Busch announced his move to Furniture Row Racing during the Chase, he exuded calm and joyfulness. The results were immediate.
    Stefan Kretschmann Lifetime Achievement Award: It's the moment we've all been waiting for. A brief setup of this one: Stefan Kretschmann works for our partners at Stats, LLC in Chicago, and is considered the godfather of Loop Data. His brain created the formula for Driver Rating, and many of the other formulas that make Loop Data so interesting and invaluable. We started this award last season to honor a driver who has been statistically strong throughout the Loop Data Era (2005-Present). Jimmie Johnson took home the inaugural Lifetime Achievement trophy. This year's recipient is a man whose talent has landed him an unparalleled 20 perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 throughout NASCAR's three national series. Congratulations to one of the all-time stat kings: Kyle Busch.(NASCAR)(12-22-2012)

  • Michigan International Speedway to host Tough Mudder: NASCAR drivers have always found a way to challenge NASCAR's Fastest Racetrack. But now, a new kind of athlete will find out just how tough MIS can be. Michigan International Speedway has been chosen as the state's only host venue for Tough Mudder, a hardcore, 12-mile obstacle course designed by British Special Forces to test strength, stamina, mental grit and camaraderie. The Tough Mudder event will take place Saturday and Sunday, June 29-30, at Michigan International Speedway. With innovative and fun obstacle courses, half a million inspiring participants and more than $3 million raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world. In 2012 alone, there were 35 Tough Mudder events with over 460,000 participants across the country. Tough Mudder is expending in 2013 with over 50 events, including more than 35 in the United States.(MIS)(12-22-2012)


    News from December 21, 2012

  • Robby Gordon unlikely to run NASCAR in 2013 UPDATE..but: Robby Gordon, who raced his way into the Daytona 500 last year as part of a light NASCAR schedule, is not scheduled to do any NASCAR racing in 2013. Spokesperson Alison McCabe said she doesn't think Gordon will participate in NASCAR due to his involvement in his new racing project, Robby Gordon's Stadium Super Trucks series. The 12-race off-road stadium series will debut April 6 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The Stadium Super Trucks series will be televised by NBC and the NBC Sports Network. Sponsorship woes with his self-owned team led to him racing only three times in 2012: the season-opener at Daytona, race No. 2 at Phoenix and the road-course race at Sonoma. He failed to qualify for early-season races at Las Vegas and Fontana.(As the World Turns Left)(12-19-2012)
    UPDATE: "With Robby's attention towards the 2013 Dakar Rally and the inaugural season of Robby Gordon OFF-ROAD's Stadium SUPER Truck Series (SST), there has been a lot of speculation regarding his future NASCAR plans. We are all focused on providing an exciting kick-off to the 2013 SST season at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ on April 6th. At the same time, we would never rule out the possibility of running selected NASCAR events."(RGM/Spokesperson Alison McCabe)(12-21-2012)

  • Finch working on driver lineup for #51: Phoenix Racing team owner James Finch is close to settling on his lineup for 2013. Finch said Thursday that Regan Smith will run the Daytona 500 in the #51 Chevy. But with Smith concentrating on his new gig with JR Motorsports, there will be an opportunity for AJ Allmendinger as well. "Regan will go to Daytona for us, but I want to help AJ run some races, too," Finch said. "We're still working on the final schedule, but AJ will probably run Phoenix (International Raceway on March 3) for us." Allmendinger made his comeback with Phoenix Racing in October at Charlotte after completing NASCAR's "Road to Recovery" program for violating the sport's substance-abuse policy. His top result with the team was 24th in that race.(Fox Sports)(12-21-2012)

  • Lionel NASCAR Collectables Top 10 diecast of 2012: When it comes to die-cast sales in 2012, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is king per a top 10 list released by Lionel NASCAR Collectables, The Official Die-Cast of NASCAR. Earnhardt's #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy was the best-selling 1:24 scale die-cast of the year. In addition to the top spot, Earnhardt also claimed spots two and four. Danica Patrick's #10 GoDaddy.com Chevy die-cast was also a hit in 2012, ending the year at third place on the list. For the second year in a row, a NASCAR Classics die-cast also made the cut. Released in April, Dale Earnhardt's #3 Goodwrench Chevyt Monte Carlo, which he wheeled in 1989, took the eighth spot. The Top 10 Die-Cast Cars of 2012 are:
    1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew Chevy
    2. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew/"The Dark Knight Rises" Chevy - Michigan win car
    3. Danica Patrick #10 GoDaddy.com Chevy
    4. Dale Earnhardt Jr. #88 Diet Mountain Dew/"The Dark Knight Rises" Chevy - standard car
    5. Jeff Gordon #24 DuPont Chevy
    6. Kasey Kahne #5 Farmers Insurance Chevy
    7. Jeff Gordon #24 AARP/Drive to End Hunger Chevy
    8. Dale Earnhardt #3 Goodwrench Chevy Monte Carlo
    9. Kevin Harvick #29 Budweiser Chevy
    10. Brad Keselowski #2 Miller Lite/NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Dodge
    (Lionel NASCAR Collectibles), see images of the cars on the Paint scheme gallery pages.(12-21-2012)

  • "Inside NASCAR" dropped by Showtime: The behind-the-scenes look at the nation's largest motorsports series -- Inside NASCAR -- won't return for a fourth season on the Showtime premium cable channel. "Showtime said it wasn't in their programming plans," says Tally Hair, NASCAR managing director/productions. "Showtime was an outstanding partner. We'll be actively shopping the show. We're really proud of it and looking forward to taking it to a new audience." Chris Myers serves as its host, and he is flanked by eight-time Sprint Cup series race winner Kyle Petty and two-time Daytona 500 winner and team owner Michael Waltrip. The NASCAR-produced show is one of the increasing number of behind-the-scenes shows -- for sports such as boxing, the NFL and NHL -- that have proliferated on various cable channels.(USA Today)(12-21-2012)

  • Bristol SuperPass provides access for Driver Intros and Charlie Daniels Band Concert: Attending the 2013 Food City 500 at Bristol? Then take your experience to another level with the Food City 500 Pre-Race SuperPass. Imagine walking the Bristol high banks, being stage-side for the Charlie Daniels Band pre-race concert and being on the track to witness Bristol's highly-popular driver introductions prior to the Food City 500 green flag. It's an opportunity to make your Food City 500 weekend extra special. The Food City 500 Pre-Race SuperPass includes: Self-Guided Track Tour, Food City 500 Pre-Race Concert, and Food City 500 Driver Introductions. Pricing is $80 for Food City 500 ticket holders, and just $40 for Bristol's iBelong season ticket holders. Quantities are limited so call 1.866.415.4158 to reserve your Food City 500 Pre-Race SuperPass.(BMS)(12-21-2012)


    News from December 20, 2012

  • Newman wins NMPA Spirit Award: Members of the National Motorsports Press Association have selected NASCAR Sprint Cup driver #39-Ryan Newman as the fourth quarter winner of the NMPA Speedway Motorsports Spirit Award. The award is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports. Each year, quarterly winners are selected, and an overall winner is determined by a vote of the National Motorsports Press Association membership. Newman was recognized for hosting the 8th Annual Charity Dinner and Auction and annual fishing tournament in December, raising funds for animal welfare, education and conservation efforts. The evening featured entertainment from Nashville singer/songwriters and NASCAR drivers and raised more than $340,000. Newman helped raise awareness of a memorial fund after crewman Andy Rueger lost his son in an ATV accident on Nov. 22. Clint Bowyer, Andy Hillenburg and Brad Keselowski are also quarterly winners this year. The 2012 winner will be announced on Jan. 20.(NMPA)(12-20-2012)

  • Recreational retreat proposed at DEI: Teresa Earnhardt is hoping to transform 317 acres of wooded land at Dale Earnhardt Inc. into a private recreational retreat offering horse-riding trails, archery, rodeos, paintball and fishing ponds to companies, weddings and educational groups. A public hearing for a special use zoning permit will be held by the Iredell County Board of Adjustment on Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Iredell County Government Center in Statesville. According to documents filed with the county, Earnhardt wants to turn 317 acres behind her sprawling Dale Earnhardt Inc. race shops on N.C. 3 into a facility that caters to "environmental and farm educational outings, wildlife observation and tent camping." Along with horse trails, an archery range, rodeo, paintball and fishing, proposed uses for the land include an endurance course and "live outdoor theatres."(Mooresville Tribune)(12-20-2012)

  • NASCAR promotes key executives: NASCAR announced the promotions of four senior executives across the company. Ed Bennett has been promoted to senior vice president, with Jim Cassidy, Zane Stoddard and Kim Brink promoted to vice president. Bennett also retains his roles of NASCAR chief administrative officer and president/chief executive officer of GRAND-AM Road Racing. Cassidy, Stoddard and Brink lead key areas of racing operations, entertainment marketing and NASCAR's brand marketing initiatives with integral roles in the implementation of NASCAR's Five-Year Industry Action Plan (IAP).
    Bennett continues to head up corporate administration, and this year, became both the president and chief executive officer of GRAND-AM  which recently completed its merger with the ALMS, in addition to assuming operation of Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway.
    Cassidy, formerly managing director of NASCAR Racing Operations, joined NASCAR in 2000. In addition to overseeing several core areas of Racing Operations, he is playing a substantial role in the Product Relevance plank of the IAP.
    Stoddard, formerly managing director of entertainment marketing, joined NASCAR in 2010. He currently oversees NASCAR's Los Angeles office and its entertainment marketing division, and is responsible for leading the Youth plank of the IAP and company content strategy.
    Brink, formerly managing director, joined NASCAR in 2011. In addition to her oversight of brand, consumer and series marketing, she is leading the Gen Y and Multicultural planks of the IAP.(NASCAR)(12-20-2012)

  • Greenlight Racing looking for drivers: Coming off a highly successful 2012 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with rookie driver Ross Chastain in the #08 Toyota, the SS Green Light Racing team finds itself in the unenviable position of replacing the talented young driver. Chastain had numerous outstanding runs with the veteran team including a seventh at Martinsville in just his second start with the team and a very impressive third at Bristol in August, which has given him the chance to drive for a hi-profile team in 2013. With Chastain's departure, the SS Racing team now has full and part-time opportunities available for both the #07 and #08 trucks for the upcoming 2013 season. The SS Green Light Racing team has two guaranteed starting spots in the first three events of the 2013 NCWTS campaign including the season opener at the Daytona International Speedway on February 22nd, Martinsville on April 6th and Rockingham on April 14th. The team boasts experienced leaders with Bobby Dotter along with a supporting cast lead by crew chief Bryan Berry and has a stable of Toyota Tundra trucks ready for the upcoming racing season. "We've been able to prove over the last several seasons that we can a accomplish a lot with limited resources. We can provide drivers and marketing partners an exceptional value in competitive equipment to maximize their budgets," explained Dotter. "2012 was another solid season for the SS Green Light team, we had several great runs and received a lot of attention from the national media outlets." Dotter is currently recruiting fully or partially funded drivers wishing to compete in top-tier equipment for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. Full season, multiple race packages and single races are available. More information about SS Green Light Racing at www.SSRacingonline.com.(SS Racing)(12-20-2012)

  • Daytona sets start times for Speedweeks 2013: For the fourth consecutive year, NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious race; the 55th annual Daytona 500 is scheduled for a 1 pm/et start time on Sunday, Feb. 24. Start times for the other remaining events of Budweiser Speedweeks 2013 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:
    The 51st anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race, Jan. 26-27, 3:30 pm/et
    The Lucas Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series, Saturday, Feb. 16, 4:30 pm/et
    The Daytona Shootout non-points event, Saturday, Feb. 16, 8 pm/et
    Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 17, 1 pm/et
    Budweiser Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 21, 2 pm/et
    NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 22, 7:30 pm/et
    DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 23, 1 pm/et
    Tickets for NASCAR's biggest, richest and most prestigious race  the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24  start at $65 and are available at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. For the second straight year, the Speedway is offering special youth pricing for the Daytona 500. Children 12 and under will receive 50 percent off all backstretch grandstand seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. In addition, children 12 and under are free in the Sprint FANZONE throughout Budweiser Speedweeks.(DIS)(12-20-2012)

  • Auto Club Speedway offering garage tour package: There's only one place to get a behind the scenes look at the NASCAR garage from a truly unique vantage point. And there's only one way to get it. During Auto Club 400 Weekend March 22-24 at Auto Club Speedway, NASCAR fans will have the opportunity to see the inside workings of both NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and NNS teams at work, literally from the inside and from a bird's eye view from an elevated high-rise platform located in the center of the garage. But the only way to experience the "Frontrunners Garage" and the rest of Auto Club Speedway's unique new garage tour is to purchase a Garage Tour Package. Auto Club Speedway Garage Tours include a view from the top in the "Frontrunners Garage" (Sprint Cup) as well as the NNS competitors in Garage 1. A skilled tour guide will walk fans through NASCAR's nerve center with a behind-the-scenes look into the garage area which includes high-def televisions dotting the landscape as well as the unique vantage point. The Garage Tour Package for $165 includes: Guided NASCAR Garage Tour, Auto Club 400 Ticket (rows 24-48), Royal Purple 300 Ticket, NASCAR Qualifying Day Ticket.(Auto Club Speedway)(12-20-2012)(DATE)


    News from December 19, 2012

  • Robby Gordon unlikely to run NASCAR in 2013: Robby Gordon, who raced his way into the Daytona 500 last year as part of a light NASCAR schedule, is not scheduled to do any NASCAR racing in 2013. Spokesperson Alison McCabe said she doesn't think Gordon will participate in NASCAR due to his involvement in his new racing project, Robby Gordon's Stadium Super Trucks series. The 12-race off-road stadium series will debut April 6 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The Stadium Super Trucks series will be televised by NBC and the NBC Sports Network. Sponsorship woes with his self-owned team led to him racing only three times in 2012: the season-opener at Daytona, race No. 2 at Phoenix and the road-course race at Sonoma. He failed to qualify for early-season races at Las Vegas and Fontana.(As the World Turns Left)(12-19-2012)

  • AARWBA Names All America Team: The American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Ass'n has announced its annual All America Team, which the group has done every year since the conclusion of the 1970 season. A unique team of special drivers representing multiple forms of professional motorsports is elected each year by AARWBA. The association's members vote on drivers within their participating categories of racing and the top two from each discipline are elected to the first team.
    Brad Keselowski led the All American First Team voting in the Stock Car category as well as all divisions across the ballot. The 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion earned the most votes of any driver during the voting process. Jimmie Johnson fills out the other position with a third-place Sprint Cup standings finish, five points-paying wins and a victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. In the Touring Series category, James Buescher is recognized for his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
    One other tradition that AARWBA has followed is to elect a Second Team to be honored along with the All-America winners. The AARWBA Second Team for stock cars were Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Clint Bowyer.(National Speed Sport News)(12-19-2012)

  • Some numbers from 2012: #2-Brad Keselowski, #48-Jimmie Johnson and #11-Denny Hamlin led the series in wins, at 5 each.
    Johnson had the most top fives (18) and most top 10s (24) in the field but also had more DNFs (6) than any other driver in the Chase dozen.
    Most races led? That number  26 (of 36)  belongs to Johnson.
    Johnson also scored more points (873) in superspeedway competition than any other driver. #17-Matt Kenseth was tops in that category on restrictor-plate tracks with 180. With 236, #15-Clint Bowyer led points scorers on short tracks, and Bowyer also was No. 1 on road courses with 88.
    Johnson sat atop the most laps led category with 1,744, or 16.7 percent of all laps run.
    The most-laps-completed winner was winless Paul Menard, who ran 10,406 laps, or 99.6 percent of the seasonal total.
    By winning at Las Vegas in March, Tony Stewart extended his series-leading streak of winning at least one race per year to 14.
    #5-Kasey Kahne, #55-Mark Martin and Jimmie Johnson shared the honor of winning the most poles with four each, but the biggest number in the pole category was zero, and that belonged to #39-Ryan Newman. Flyin' Ryan, generally considered an expert at qualifying, failed to notch a pole for the first time in 12 seasons, and he has been stalled at a career number of 49 since September 2011.
    The numbers can have any ugly downside, as evidenced by these: Too many drivers will enter 2013 with unsightly winless streaks  #31-Jeff Burton (149), #78-Kurt Busch (43), #18-Kyle Busch (27), #99-Carl Edwards (69), #47-Bobby Labonte (324), #1-Jamie McMurray (77), #42-Juan Pablo Montoya (86), #339-Ryan Newman (30), #56-Martin Truex Jr. (203).(SPEED)(12-19-2012)

  • Kyle Busch to split time with his team and Gibbs'? On the heels of a major announcement by Kyle Busch Motorsports, signing Parker Kligerman to drive their #77 entry in the Nationwide Series it turns out there's a driver he'll be replacing  the owner himself. Multiple sources tell Frontstretch.com Kyle Busch is prepared to go Nationwide Series racing behind the wheel for 2013, but with Joe Gibbs Racing, leaving his operation a one-car outfit while trying to return to his winning ways in the sport's second-tier division. Busch, with a car number TBD (either 54 or 18) will bring sponsor Monster Energy to the Joe Gibbs Racing Nationwide outfit. Like full-time entries Brian Vickers (#20) and Elliott Sadler (#11), Busch will receive support from JGR engines and chassis in-house while pursuing a limited schedule of races (20-24). Sources claim the move was pushed not by the sponsor but by Gibbs, who wanted Busch to race under his roof if pursuing Nationwide Series competition in 2013.(Frontstretch)
    BUT According to a tweet by SBNation's Jeff Gluck, "[Kyle Busch Motorsports] spokesman says Kyle Busch will run partial season in team's #54 car in addition to Kligerman's full season in 77".(12-19-2012)

  • Holly to serve as crew chief for Coulter; Kyle Busch running partial schedule in #51: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced that veteran crew chief Harold Holly has joined the organization and will lead Joey Coulter in his quest for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. Additionally, the team announced that Coulter will pilot the team's flagship truck, the #18 Tundra, while team owner Kyle Busch will run a partial schedule in the team's second entry, the #51 Tundra. Busch's schedule and the rest of the driver lineup that is being formed to compete for the Truck Series owner's championship will be announced at a later date. With Holly calling the shots in 2012, Coulter earned his first Truck Series win at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August and captured three pole awards. Under the veteran's guidance, the talented youngster posted eight top-five and 15 top-10 finishes en route to a third-place finish in the final driver's point standings in his sophomore Truck Series campaign. Coulter's 749 driver's points accumulated over the final 20 races this season were more than any other Truck Series driver during that span. Overall in two Truck Series seasons together, the duo has accumulated one win, 14 top-five and 28 top-10 finishes over 47 Truck Series starts and one top-10 finish in two Nationwide Series starts. Holly also served as the crew chief for Coulter's two full-time seasons in the ARCA Racing Series (2009 and 2010), during which they registered one win, two poles, 14 top-five and 23 top-10 finishes across 41 events. A fixture in the Nationwide Series garage during the late 1990's and 2000's, Holly led Jeff Green to the 2000 series championship.(KBM)(12-19-2012)

  • Track Presidents make wager for BCS National Championship Game: It just so happens that this year's BCS National Championship game has important ties to two of NASCAR's finest tracks. When The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame take on Alabama's Crimson Tide on January 7th, Chicagoland's President Scott Paddock and Talladega Superspeedway's Chairman Grant Lynch will be playing close attention. A bet has been placed on the game and the stakes are high: the loser buys lunch for the entire staff of the winning track and has to pose for a video in the winning team's colors. Scott Paddock, who played basketball for Notre Dame, has placed his bet on his Alma Mater, while Grant Lynch will be betting on Alabamahis team's biggest rival. If the Tide is to win the BCS Championship, Scott Paddock will have to purchase Chicago-style deep dish pizza for the Talladega Superspeedway staff. And if the Fighting Irish pull off a victory, Grant Lynch owes the staff of Chicagoland Speedway Alabama's famous Dreamland Barbecue. The loser will also be forced to film himself wearing the opponent's team gear, and the video will be shown on the Sprint Vision screens at the winner's next race.(Talladega PR)(12-19-2012)


    News from December 18, 2012

  • NASCAR makes personnel changes: In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
    • Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
    • Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
    • Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
    Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
    With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport's racing series, both at the national and international levels.(NASCAR)(12-18-2012)

  • McCall Farms, Peanut Patch to Sponsor Ragan for 4 Races South Carolina's McCall Farms will return to the #34 Ford of David Ragan for four races in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign for the second consecutive season. After first joining Front Row Motorsports in May 2012 at Darlington Raceway, McCall Farms returned to the #34 car for additional races at Bristol, Atlanta and Charlotte. The company's Margaret Holmes Peanut Patch brand will serve as the primary sponsor of the Front Row Motorsports entry at the same four venues in 2013. The Peanut Patch Ford will make its 2013 debut just miles from McCall Farms' Effingham, S.C., headquarters in the May 11 race in Darlington. Peanut Patch will also adorn the car at Bristol on Aug. 24, Atlanta on Sept. 1 and Charlotte on Oct. 12.(Front Row Motorsports/Breaking Limits)(12-18-2012)

  • Some rides for 2013 still up in the air: A year ago at this time, dominoes seemed to be tumbling all over the NASCAR world. Kurt Busch's departure from Penske Racing led to AJ Allmendinger's move from Richard Petty Motorsports to Penske, followed by Aric Almirola's move to replace Allmendinger at RPM. It seemed like there was a move or two every day, and the news was endless. This year? Not so much. Aside from a couple lower-series moves there haven't been many post-Homestead driver changes. [But there are some] possible open seats at full-time teams
    BK Racing: There's no reason Landon Cassill and Travis Kvapil wouldn't return to BK Racing in 2013, but the team hasn't finalized its drivers for the #83 and 93 cars yet.
    Tommy Baldwin Racing: It seems likely #36-Dave Blaney will return next season, but it hasn't been announced.
    Phil Parsons Racing: Will Michael McDowell return to the #98 car? It hasn't been made official yet if so.
    FAS Lane Racing: Ken Schrader will be in the #32 car for select races, and the remaining schedule will be filled by yet-to-be-named drivers.
    Joe Falk Motorsports: Stephen Leicht won rookie of the year honors for the #33 car. The team's 2013 lineup has not been announced.
    Phoenix Racing: Will Phoenix Racing even come back in 2013? It's not certain team owner James Finch will return, and what driver will be behind the wheel if he does.(SBNation) See information on all Sprint Cup teams on the 2013 Team / Driver chart page.(12-18-2012)

  • Montoya, McMurray running Rolex 24: Six-time and reigning GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Champions (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012) Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced its driver line-up for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will again run a two-car effort for the 51st running of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers representing some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer. Pruett and Rojas will unite with Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates NASCAR teammate Juan Pablo Montoya and Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing INDYCAR teammate Charlie Kimball to form the lineup in the #01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW, while Team Target Indy car pilots Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti join EGR teammate Jamie McMurray and sports car racing talent Joey Hand in the #02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW.(Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates)(12-18-2012)

  • NASCAR second highest sports trend on Twitter: In 2012, NASCAR partnered with social media juggernaut Twitter, solidifying an upward trend that has seen Twitter explode across the NASCAR scene over the past two seasons. That partnership has led to the hashtag #NASCAR rating as the number two highest trending sports topics of 2012. 2011 saw the Twitter trend build momentum as motorsports journalists industry wide begin utilizing the service at the forefront of their media platforms. Before Twitter, the primary ways of electronic distribution for online media outlets was Really Simple Syndication, RSS, and email. Jeff Gluck, Bob Pockrass, Jenna Fryer, Jim Utter, and Dustin Long have become household names with the NASCAR fan base. They have an intimate relationship with fans, providing not only links and stats, but also a bit of personal perspective, even partaking in regular meet and greets, called Tweet Ups. While the sport's journalists lit the fuse of the NASCAR Twitter explosion, it was driver #2-Brad Keseloweksi that acted as the bomb. Halfway through the season, NASCAR announced a partnership with Twitter that but added focus on the hashtag #NASCAR, featuring a special landing page for search results from the query #NASCAR as well as serving as the landing page for twitter.com/nascar.(Speedzine.com) #nfl was the top hashtag in 2012.(12-18-2012)

  • NASCAR makes personnel changes; Chad Little becomes Series director: In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
    • Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
    • Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
    • Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
    Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
    With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport's racing series, both at the national and international levels.(NASCAR)(12-18-2012)

  • NASCAR makes personnel changes; Wayne Auton becomes Nationwide Series director: In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
    • Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
    • Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
    • Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
    Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
    With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport's racing series, both at the national and international levels.(NASCAR)(12-18-2012)

  • Cargill sponsoring Bayne: Roush Fenway Racing's #6 Ford Mustang will have a familiar look when Trevor Bayne takes the reins of the Championship team in 2013. The organization announced that Cargill will return as a partial-season primary sponsor for the #6 NASCAR Nationwide Series team next year, starting with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. Crew chief Mike Kelley will return to lead the team. "We still have room for one or two more primary sponsors next season on the remaining races with Trevor and the #6 team," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "It's an unusual but exciting opportunity for a potential partner to join a proven team seeking its third consecutive championship in the Nationwide Series, and with a driver who is one of the most popular in the sport."(Roush Fenway)(12-18-2012)

  • Townley to Red Horse Racing's #7? UPDATE: John Wes Townley will reportedly fill [Parker] Kligerman's vacated seat next season, running the full NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule in 2013 with Red Horse Racing. Townley competed in 21 of 22 Truck Series races this season, finishing 16th in points despite missing the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. While he managed only two Top-10 finishes in those 21 starts, he showed dramatic improvement over previous seasons, sustaining only two crash-related DNFs. He will reportedly carry his family-based Zaxby's sponsorship to Red Horse Racing, driving the #7 Toyota that won twice this season, including the season-opener at Daytona with driver John King. (Godfather Motorsports.com)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: After closing out the organization's most successful season to date, Red Horse Racing has signed John Wes Townley to join the team in 2013. Townley is slated to drive the #7 Red Horse Racing Toyota with Zaxby's serving as the primary sponsor for the 22-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. After competing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2012 and collecting his best series finish of eighth at Pocono Raceway, Townley enters his second full-time season credited with 28 series starts. Veteran crew chief Mike Beam will join John Wes Townley at Red Horse Racing on the #7 Toyota Tundra. Beam has been atop the pit box since the early 80's and is credited with 25 national series victories.(Red Horse Racing)(12-18-2012)

  • Beckman returns to Watkins Glen International: Watkins Glen International welcomes Jon Beckman as Vice President of Business Development and Partnerships effective January 7. Beckman, a native of Bath, NY, will oversee all facets of The Glen's sales and marketing departments and will report directly to President Michael Printup. Mike Eckert begins his new role as Senior Manager of Strategic Alliance immediately. Over the last 10 years, Beckman has worked at Nazareth Speedway, Phoenix International Raceway and International Speedway Corporation in Daytona Beach, Fla. Beckman started at Watkins Glen International in 2002. Eckert, a six-year veteran of The Glen, will oversee all members of the partnership team at Watkins Glen International. His many years of strategic alliance experience will catapult WGI into the next generation of motorsports partnerships.(WGI)(12-18-2012)


    News from December 17, 2012

  • Stewart wins POWRi Midget Battle: Tony Stewart returned to his short-track roots Saturday, winning the feature in the third annual Battle at the Center on the one-sixth mile indoor Mini Magic Mile at the Southern Illinois Center. The 41-year-old from Columbus, Ind., led all 40 laps in the non-points event organized and sanctioned by the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series. It had 67 entries and brought together many of the best drivers in Midget racing and several more major short-track series. Andrew Felker of Carl Junction, Mo., this season's POWRi National Midget champion, finished second and POWRi veteran Tim Siner of Dupo, Ill., was third. Stewart won USAC Midget championships in 1994 and 1995 and was USAC's Triple Crown (also taking the national Sprint Car and Silver Crown) champion in 1995 before moving on to win titles in the IZOD IndyCar title in 1997 and NASCAR Sprint Cup in 2002, 2005 and 2011. "It was a lot of fun," Stewart said. "I was happy with it. We heard this was a good event last year and decided to run it to get ready for the Chili Bowl (run in Tulsa, Okla., Jan. 8-12). We didn't run very good in the Chili Bowl last year. We built the car to the same design that I drove in John Godfrey's Stealth in 1995."(Poweri Racing)(12-17-2012)

  • NASCAR's Next Wave Of Superstars Just Over The Horizon: NASCAR has a talent-laden farm system loaded with the stock car racing's future stars. From the NASCAR Nationwide and NASCAR Craftsman Truck series through the sanctioning body's touring divisions and on the Whelen All-American tracks, there's a single common denominator: Youth, lightning fast youth. The pipeline leading to the ultimate destination  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series  figures to overflow for years to come. And from the looks of 2012, current NASCAR Sprint Cup competitors had best be ready to defend their turf and their jobs.
    Dillon Brothers Lead The Charge  Again
    Austin Dillon made history in 2011, becoming the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series' youngest champion at age 22. That goal accomplished, his owner and grandfather, Richard Childress gave Dillon an even greater challenge, a full-time opportunity in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, where he thrived in his #3 Chevrolet. The young competitor won twice at Kentucky Speedway, never left the top four in points and claimed Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors.
    There's another Dillon on the horizon  Ty Dillon  and the 20-year-old is coming up fast in his older sibling's mirror. Like Austin, Ty won NASCAR Camping World Truck Series rookie honors in his first full season. He also scored a victory, at Atlanta Motor Speedway, led the championship standings with his #3 Chevrolet and was on the threshold of a title as late as the waning laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    Buescher Triumphs, Piquet's Stock Car Fortunes Rise
    A first NASCAR national series victory  not with his #31 Turner Motorsports Chevrolet but in the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series opener at Daytona International Speedway  propelled James Buescher on a championship course. The 22-year-old Texan did win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, four times in fact, twice in Kentucky and at Kansas and Chicagoland. Piquet, the one-time Formula 1 driver from Brazil, became a NASCAR star in a break-out year. Like Turner teammate Buescher, Piquet won in two series  NASCAR Camping World Truck and NASCAR Nationwide Series, his latter victory scored at the fabled Road America road course in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Piquet, 27, won at Michigan and Las Vegas en route to a seventh-place championship performance. He also led the series with four Keystone Light poles.
    Patrick Proves Ready For Prime Time
    Danica Patrick became NASCAR's highest finishing female competitor in 2011 with a fourth-place finish at Las Vegas. She set another record for her gender as a fulltime NASCAR Nationwide Series competitor in the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet during the past season  the first female to produce a top-10 finish (10th) in a national series. Patrick's 17th-place performance at Phoenix, her last of 10 premier series starts, readied her for a NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie campaign in 2013.
    Record Number Of NASCAR Camping World Truck First-Time Winners
    There were nine of them in 2012, all under the age of 30, beginning with John King's upset victory in the season-opening race at Daytona. King, 23, was participating in just his eighth series event. As noted, Buescher, Dillon and Piquet also were first-time winners. They were joined by 2011 Sunoco Rookie of the Year Joey Coulter, 22, at Pocono; Cale Gale, 27, at Homestead; Parker Kligerman, 22, at Talladega and Justin Lofton, 26, at Charlotte. Number nine, Ryan Blaney, became the youngest series winner at 18 years 8 months when he captured the series' second visit of the season to Iowa Speedway. Among the season's top-five championship finishers, only runner up Timothy Peters is older than 22.
    Young Stars On The Rise In NASCAR Touring, Whelen All-American
    A year after becoming the youngest race winner and pole sitter in NASCAR K&N Pro Series West history, Dylan Kwasniewski took the big step in his sophomore season in becoming the youngest champion in the 59 years of the series. The 17-year-old Las Vegas driver won three times and posted 12 top fives in 15 races en route to taking the title by six points over teammate and defending champion Greg Pursley.
    Kyle Larson had never raced a stock car prior to February. That lack of experience didn't slow down the transition for the 20-year-old open-wheel star from Elk Grove, Calif. Larson won twice  including at New Hampshire  on his way to winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East championship. He joined Joey Logano and Ryan Truex in becoming the only drivers in the series' history to win rookie of the year and the championship in the same season. He also gave Rev Racing and NASCAR Drive for Diversity their first NASCAR touring title. Larson, an Earnhardt Ganassi Racing development driver, nearly won for Turner Motorsports in his fourth career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start.
    Darrell Wallace Jr. picked up his sixth career win in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East at Greenville early in the year. It was a big milestone year for the 19-year-old from Concord, N.C., a graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program, as he made four NASCAR Nationwide Series starts for Joe Gibbs Racing. Wallace scored three top 10s and earned his first 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Brewing Co., at Dover. He became the first African-American driver to win a pole in the Nationwide Series.
    After capping 2012 by winning the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West finale at Phoenix, Ryan Blaney continued his successful progression. After rallying from a spin to finish second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East opener at Bristol, Blaney also finished second at Iowa in a partial season in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. The 18-year-old from High Point, N.C., made 13 NASCAR Nationwide Series starts and nine in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, highlighted by his breakthrough victory at Iowa.
    Corey LaJoie contended for victories but just couldn't get to Victory Lane through his first 23 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts. After breaking through for his first win at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, N.C., though, the 21-year-old driver from Concord, N.C., was the hottest driver in the series. Including his win at Bowman Gray, LaJoie scored five victories and two runner-up finishes in the final 10 races of the season to finish second in the championship points race to Larson.
    Lee Pulliam has only been racing for six seasons. But the 24-year-old from Semora, N.C., quickly rose to the top in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Driving the asphalt Late Model divisions at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Va., Kingsport (Tenn.) Speedway, Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., Southern National Raceway Park in Kenly, N.C., and South Boston (Va.) Speedway, Pulliam collected 22 wins and 30 top fives in 36 starts to win his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national title. The championship came a year after he finished third in the national standings.
    Other breakthrough performances: Chase Elliott, 17, became the youngest pole winner in NASCAR K&N Pro Series history and also scored his first career NASCAR win at Iowa. & Ben Kennedy, the 20-year-old grandson of Bill France Jr., earned his first NASCAR victory in the historic inaugural NASCAR oval race in Europe at Tours in France. He also finished ninth in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points. & Ryan Preece, 22, from Berlin, Conn., had two wins and six poles and finished second in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He also ran his Modified at weekly tracks in Connecticut and at Riverhead Raceway, winning 14 times and finishing fifth in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series national standings.(NASCAR)(12-17-2012)

  • Biffle and Roush Fenway Spread Holiday Cheer: Tis the season to spread some holiday cheer and no one is better apt to accomplish that than Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle. Biffle recently offered his services as a chauffeur to drive a lucky Roush Fenway employee to-and-from the company Holiday Party in his 1983 "Boss Hogg" style limo; decked out with long horns on the front and a custom horn that plays the Dukes of Hazard theme. Roush Fenway employees purchased raffle tickets for the chance to have the NASCAR Champion cart them around for the evening, with all the proceeds going to the Salvation Army Angel Tree Program. The lucky winner was nine-year RFR employee Brian Steager, who works in the organization's paint and body department. Overall Roush Fenway was able to raise over $2,000 for the great cause, helping the charity grant the holiday wishes of a few children this season.(Roush Fenway Racing)(12-17-2012)

  • Dillon tests at Mid-Ohio: NASCAR driver #3-Austin Dillon got a taste Monday of the challenges that Nationwide Series competitors will face at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in August. Dillon, part of the Richard Childress Racing team, became the first and maybe the last driver to do a test run before next year's Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at the 2.4-mile road course in Lexington. NASCAR typically doesn't allow drivers to make test runs at tracks on the current year's schedule, said Mid-Ohio spokesman Jesse Ghiorzi, so Dillon just got in under the wire before 2013 begins. He said the racing circuit may make an exception to its ban on in-year test runs at some point in 2013 since a NASCAR race has never been run at Mid-Ohio. If so, it could include multiple cars that would speed their way through the race course's 13 turns and 15-foot elevation changes.(Columbus Business Journal)(12-17-2012)


    News from December 16, 2012

  • McDonald's to sponsor McMurray in more races in 2013: McDonald's will increase its sponsorship on Jamie McMurray's #1 Chevy to help make up for the departure of primary sponsor Bass Pro Shops, an Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing spokesperson said Thursday. EGR's Jeff Dowling said in an email he's "not 100% sure" what McDonald's total commitment will be, but that the team is planning an announcement on Jan. 23 during the NASCAR media tour that will outline sponsorship for the #1 car. McDonald's sponsored 13 races in 2012. Bass Pro Shops, which will sponsor #14-Tony Stewart in 18 races in 2013, is not leaving McMurray completely. According to Dowling, Bass Pro Shops is expected to remain as an associate sponsor and "hopefully be the primary on the #1 Chevy for one or more races." The team is still working on details. McMurray also had several one-off sponsors on his car in 2012, and Dowling said announcements on others will be announced soon.(As the World Turns)(12-16-2012)

  • New spotter at Tommy Baldwin Racing: Doug Campbell, of Berlin, CT, provided the "eyes in the sky" this season as Millis teen Tommy Barrett Jr. tore up the Valenti Modified Racing Series. Along the way, the duo became friends with former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour team owner Mario Fiore, of Agawam. Using Fiore's many connections in NASCAR, Campbell landed a chance to spot for #37-J.J. Yeley at three Sprint Cup races (New Hampshire, Dover, Charlotte) this past fall. On Thursday, Fiore revealed via Facebook that Campbell, 20, had received a more permanent position. Campbell confirmed that beginning with testing at Daytona International Speedway in January, he will be spotting for Tommy Baldwin Racing, which fielded cars last season for #36-Dave Blaney and #10-David Reutimann. The relationship will continue through Speedweeks in February. Campbell is preparing for his move to North Carolina.(Republican)(12-16-2012)

  • Robby Gordon set to run Dakar Rally: SPEED Energy Hummer will once again attempt to conquer, the 35th Annual Dakar Rally, the world's most famous off-road event. The custom-built Dakar Hummer driven by Robby Gordon and navigator Kellon Walch will tackle more than 8000 Km / 4970 Mi from Peru through Argentina and ending in Santiago, Chile. Gordon said: "I am excited to go back to race the prestigious Dakar Rally and show the world that we are ready to give it our best shot once again at an overall victory. Obviously our cars are good enough to compete for the win. Last year we had the fastest cars at the rally and led the most check points with the fastest times, with five wins as a team, two wins with the second HUMMER (which was also approved and is available to compete) and three wins for myself. It is now time for us to go back and capitalize on what we developed and worked on over the last seven years to put ourselves in position to compete for the overall win."
    For the first time in its history, the Dakar Rally will begin in Lima, Peru, sending upwards of 460 vehicles from 53 countries on a two-week, 14-stage endurance race through 3 Western South American countries, ultimately finishing in the Chilean capital of Santiago. This year's Dakar will begin on January 5 and will travel on a new course featuring sections not seen to racing since the moving of the Dakar to South America in 2009, marking the most difficult course to date. More info on the #7 Team News and Links page.(12-16-2012)

  • Dover International Speedway to prepare holiday dinner for Dover Air Force Base troops: For the eighth consecutive year, Dover International Speedway will organize and host a holiday dinner for the troops at Dover Air Force Base on Friday, Dec. 21 at the Base. Each year, the Speedway's hospitality and concessions department and volunteers cook and prepare approximately 30 turkeys; 15 to 20 hams; 100 pounds each of green beans, corn and yams; 50 pounds of cranberry sauce; 10 gallons of gravy; and assorted desserts. They then deliver it to the Base and serve it to the troops. Many Air Force reservists are still on active duty from the war in Afghanistan, and make up a large portion of personnel on the Base while the full-time active duty troops are overseas. The dinner will serve approximately 300 troops at the Base this year. "The Dover Air Force Base is such a huge part of our community here in Dover, and the men and women stationed there give up so much to protect our country's freedom, including time away from home during the holiday season" said Denis McGlynn, president and CEO of Dover Motorsports, Inc. "The holiday dinner put on by our food and beverage department is just one way we can give back to them this time of year and thank them for all they do." Much of the food and funding for the event is donated in advance, and Dover International Speedway is asking that anyone interested in contributing any of the items mentioned above, or in making a monetary donation.(more info at Dover International Speedway)(12-16-2012)

  • Children Attend Race to the Holidays Christmas Party at Sonoma: More than 500 people enjoyed a day of holiday cheer at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday at the 8th annual Race to the Holidays Christmas Party. The raceway hosted more than 230 Sonoma Valley children and their families at the event, which featured caroling, refreshments, a car display, balloon animals and a visit from Santa Claus, who arrived via special transportation on a Schell-Vista Fire Department fire truck. The event, which has attracted more than 1,800 children since its inception in 2005, culminated with Santa Claus presenting each child with a bag full of toys. Children ranged in age from newborn to 12-years-old. The festive event was held under cloudy skies, but all of the children left the raceway with new toys and wide smiles. Following the toy distribution, everyone was treated to a free lunch at the Raceway Café. The raceway received a generous outpouring of support from the community as more than 700 toys were donated for the party.(Sonoma Raceway)(12-16-2012)


    News from December 15, 2012

  • Mario Andretti Trophy Finalists Named: In one of the strongest and most diverse fields in the history of the award, 16 racers from 13 different series have been nominated for the seventh annual presentation of the Mario Andretti Trophy as the SPEED Performer of the Year. "This might be one of the most difficult decisions to date," said Andretti, the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500 and Formula One World Championship. "Every year, a few racers seem to elevate themselves above the rest, but this is a season loaded with extremely strong and passionate performances that all deserve consideration."
    Nominees include 2010 SPEED Performer of the Year Sebastian Vettel (F1), Fernando Alonso (F1), Brad Keselowski (NASCAR), Jorge Lorenzo (MotoGP), Casey Stoner (MotoGP), Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar), Antron Brown (NHRA), Kyle Larson (USAC), Sammy Swindell (WoO), Sebastien Loeb (World Rally), Andre Lotterer (WEC), Max Biaggi (World Superbike), Scott Pruett (Grand-Am), Donny Schatz (WoO), Josh Hayes (AMA Pro Superbike) and Ryan Villopoto (Supercross).
    Andretti will present the trophy, a 100-pound sculpture created by bronze artist Elie Hazak, as part of a SPEED Center special January 27. Representing both four-wheel and two-wheel efforts across the globe, the Mario Andretti Trophy goes to the racer who puts a premium on winning races, shines on the sport's biggest stages and does it all with a measure of sportsmanship and class.
    The 2012 SPEED Performer of the Year is selected by a panel including Hall-of-Fame racing legends Andretti, Dan Gurney, Darrell Waltrip, Don Prudhomme, Scott Russell, "Wind Tunnel" host Dave Despain, veteran broadcasters Bob Varsha, Ralph Sheheen and Leigh Diffey, SPEED.com writers Robin Miller, Tom Jensen and Marshall Pruett, versatile racers Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder and a select group of SPEED motor sports producers.(SPEED)(12-15-2012)

  • Newman Foundation Raises Over $340,000 at Annual Charity Events: The 8th Annual Ryan Newman Foundation Charity Dinner and Auction and 7th Annual Charity Fishing Tournament raised over $340,000 for its animal welfare, education and conservation efforts. The dinner, presented by the Gene Haas Foundation, was held at the Statesville Civic Center in Statesville, North Carolina on Friday, December 7th. Local ABC affiliate WSOC News Anchor Blair Miller emceed the evening's festivities. Two of country music's talented singer/song writers provided the evening's entertainment. Tim Dugger and Grammy Nominee Eric Paslay took to the stage in front of the sold out crowd of 520 sponsors, NASCAR drivers, professional anglers and fans.
    Guests had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items and participate in the "Fishing for Fun" Raffle. The big items included a John Deere Gator and a Polaris Sportsman 500 ATV along with many once in a lifetime race weekend and country music industry experiences. Returning this year were hand-painted dog/cat bowls and treat jars painted by the employees of the Ryan Newman Foundation and Ryan Newman Motorsports. Money raised from the pottery auction will be used to help vaccinate and sterilize dogs and cats in the surrounding area.
    The event had a country winter theme and was managed by JHE Productions of Harrisburg, NC. New additions included an outside Presenting Sponsor VIP tent fit for a Kim Kardashian herself. The area provided plush white couches and glass tables with all the right touches for guests to relax and mingle with Ryan and Krissie before the doors opened to the public.
    A mammoth ice sculpture was the feature attraction hosting a dog, cat, fish and deer circling the Foundation logo and was surrounded by a large candy bar that was transformed into a dessert bar after dinner. Guests also walked the red carpet and took photos with Ryan and Krissie and the photo booths were a crowd favorite for the second year in a row.
    Bass Pro Shops and Bassmaster presented the charity fishing tournament hosting 148 teams, all competing for a Nitro Z9 Bass Boat equipped with a motor, trolling motor, electronics and matching trailer. Lake levels were extremely low, but the anglers unloaded and took to the water from Blythe Landing on Lake Norman in Huntersville, NC. Four-time Bassmaster Champion and seven-time Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam and Bassmaster Elite Series emcee and Outdoor Channel host Mark Zona were the tournament emcees for the second year in a row. The two kept the participants and the crowd on their feet while the anglers weighed-in. Kevin even signed autographs for fans prior to weigh-in at the Bass Pro Shops display.
    This year's tournament winners were Travis Rulle from Huntersville, NC and his father Don Rulle from Longmont, CO. They weighed in five fish for a total weight of 16 pounds and 4 ounces. "Krissie and I appreciate everyone who participates in the fishing tournament," said Ryan Newman. "The weather was perfect or as Kevin said, we had Chamber of Commerce Weather. The 70 degree day didn't make the fishing any better though. December is tough and normally our tournament takes anywhere from 11  16 pounds to win and that's what we got with Travis and his dad. It declined rapidly after that. I am glad Kevin and Mark were able to make it back this year because I think the angers and fans watching enjoy their banter back and forth on stage with the fishermen."
    Second place trophies were taken home by Cliff Kirby from Catawba, NC and Rick Dunstan from Pinehurst, NC weighing in five fish at 12 pounds, 12 ounces. Third place went to Shane LeHew from Charlotte, NC and Adam Yates from Denver, NC. They had five weighing in at 12 pounds, 7 ounces.
    Outback Steakhouse, who is a primary sponsor on Ryan's #39 Stewart-Haas Chevy, hosted a rib and chicken dinner to over 400 anglers and fans. Sponsors of the event and local businesses were given the opportunity to meet with the public, sample products and give out information and items from their companies.
    John Deere had their newest products on display, Oral B gave away bags of toothpaste and Kraft Foods sampled Oreo and Ritz products. Other venders included: Visit Lake Norman, Humane Society of Iredell County, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Silpada Jewelry, Parks Chevrolet, PhDs Woodworking and the Ryan Newman Foundation. Kids had their own area to play in with lots of free giveaways, games and inflatable's to enjoy while listening to live music provided by WAME Radio in Statesville. Over 1,000 people visited the boat ramp to show their support of the annual tournament.
    While the anglers were on the water, Ryan hosted a luncheon cruise on a luxury yacht. This was a nice way for sponsors to see the beautiful scenery Lake Norman has to offer and view some of the teams attempting to reel that big one in. "I didn't know what to think of the yacht event, but it turned out to be a good thing for our sponsors," said Newman. "Fishing isn't like a golf tournament. It can be frustrating and you have to have patience, and most of all, be up at the crack of dawn which most people don't want to do after our event. It was a good way for them to have some one on one time with me and check out Lake Norman. It's something I think we'll do again next year."(Ryan Newman Foundation), see more and photos at ryannewmanfoundation.org.(12-15-2012)

  • Auto Club Speedway Launches "Season of Giving": Hoping to create a groundswell of goodwill amongst area race fans and holiday memories to last a lifetime for 2,000 underprivileged kids in Southern California, the Auto Club Speedway staff took the true meaning of the holiday giving season to heart and launched a personal "Season of Giving" program in hopes of providing some holiday cheer to those not as fortunate. The program idea, based on the spirit of giving, started with a simple question asked during a staff meeting on Tuesday. That question? "There are a lot of folks around here that aren't as lucky as we are. What can we do to make 2013 a little brighter for those not as fortunate?" With that, the "Season of Giving" program was launched in hopes of putting happiness in the hearts of thousands of children, and a sense of meaning in the hearts of those who provided.
    The program is simple: In an effort to open our hearts to those not as blessed, and knowing the "true" meaning of Christmas, purchase a $35 ticket to the March NASCAR Auto Club 400, donate that purchase back to the "Season of Giving" program and Auto Club Speedway will match each ticket purchased. Both tickets will then be donated to the area Boys and Girls Clubs to be given to youths who might otherwise never be able to attend an event at Auto Club Speedway.
    After the staff meeting, employees purchased tickets to the "Season of Giving" program, giving kids in the area the opportunity to attend the Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 24. Although a good start, Speedway employees hope the true spirit of giving permeates through the area in an effort to provide for those less fortunate. The "Season of Giving" program is available until December 31. To purchase a $35 ticket to NASCAR's Auto Club 400, March 24, and have it donated to the "Season of Giving" program, call 800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com/giving.(ACS)(12-15-2012)

  • Chicagoland's foundation, R.A.C.E. donates over $70k in 2012: Chicagoland Speedway's 501c3 foundation, R.A.C.E., awarded $25,000 in grants to five Chicago-area charities at a luncheon on Thursday, raising its total charitable gifts for 2012 to $70,370. The Bridge Teen Center, Greater Joliet YMCA, George Werden Buck Boys and Girls Club, Nathan C. Splant Foundation and Will County Children's Advocacy Center were selected and recognized for their notable contributions to the community and were awarded cash donations through the R.A.C.E. grant process. With a focus on youth, safe driving and the military, R.A.C.E. raised funds over the course of the year through community events, raffles and auctions. The three principles guided the seven-member R.A.C.E. Advisory Committee, which was responsible for evaluating grant applications throughout the year.(Chicagoland Speedway)(12-15-2012)


    News from December 14, 2012

  • Waltrip on ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner and part-time driver Michael Waltrip is scheduled to appear in the episode of the ABC-TV program Extreme Makeover Home Edition that airs Monday, Dec. 17, at 8:00pm/et. The Christmas-themed episode features a family that has fostered more than 30 children, including adopting a family of five siblings. The NBA's Charlotte Bobcats' female dance troupe also is featured.(ESPN)(12-14-2012)

  • Johnson Foundation Announces Nearly $600,000 in Education Grants: More than 6,600 students at 10 schools tuned in this morning to watch a video greeting from five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. Johnson announced that each school had been selected to receive a 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation/Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grant. The grants, which were awarded to schools in Chandra and Jimmie Johnson's respective hometowns of Muskogee, Okla., and El Cajon, Calif., and where they currently reside in Charlotte, N.C., totaled nearly $600,000. This brings the contributions of the Champions Grant program to more than $2.6 million.(more info at JJF)(12-14-2012)


    News from December 13, 2012

  • Front Row Motorsports announces 2013 plans: Renewals of long-time partnerships will have Front Row Motorsports poised to run its most competitive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season ever in 2013, with the team announcing new agreements with drivers David Ragan, David Gilliland and Josh Wise. The team will also continue its relationships with manufacturing partner Ford Racing and engine builder Roush Yates Racing Engines.
    Front Row Motorsports enters its fourth year teaming with Gilliland, Ford and Roush Yates - relationships that have brought stability and growth to the still-young team entering its fifth full-time season in the Sprint Cup Series. Race winner Ragan joined the line-up for the 2012 season, helping the team earn its best average finishes and the best year-end point rankings for the #34 and #38 entries in Front Row history.
    The 2012 season saw Ragan and Gilliland combine for one top-five, two top-10, four top-15 and eight top-20 finishes, and an average finish of 27th. Ragan finished the season 28th in the driver point standings and Gilliland ended the season in 30th. The team continued to show its strength on superspeedways, where Ford and Roush Yates power helped Ragan and Gilliland earn their best results of the season. The 26-year-old Ragan will return to the cockpit of the #34 entry and the 36-year-old Gilliland will once again pilot the #38. Wise will return to the #26 Ford for all 36 Sprint Cup races with sponsorship from MDS Transport after completing the 2012 season in a part-time capacity with Front Row. The team plans to increase the 29-year-old driver's time on track in 2013 with a more competitive schedule of race entries.
    Team owner Bob Jenkins sees how the stability of key partnerships helps the team improve each year. "You often see a lot of young teams going through a lot of changes trying to make it in the Sprint Cup Series," Jenkins said. "We've been fortunate that we've had a lot of stable partners, people who believe in our approach and are seeing year-to-year improvements as a result of that approach. David Gilliland has been a rock for us for three years and David Ragan brought race-winning experience to us last year and returns for 2013. That stability is huge for a young, developing team, and I know we'll continue to improve and have even better results this upcoming season."
    Jay Guy will return as crew chief for Ragan's #34 team and Derrick Finley will continue to lead Gilliland's #38 crew. The drivers recognize and appreciate the importance of continuity from year to year within the organization.
    "There's always a learning curve whenever something new is thrown into the mix, whether it's a new driver, new crew chief, new car or new team members," Ragan said. "We have a new Ford Fusion for 2013, which I'm really excited about, so it will be really important and really helpful that all the other variables aren't changing. My crew chief, Jay Guy, and I built a great working relationship last year and that will help us be better this coming year."
    "I'm excited to start my fourth year with Front Row Motorsports," Gilliland said. "We've gotten better each and every season and I'm eager to get the season going with Derrick (Finley) again. Bob Jenkins has put a lot into this team since he started with a part-time team back in '05. He's growing it the way he should and the results are showing." Front Row Motorsports will be on track for the first time in the new Sprint Cup Series Ford Fusions Jan. 10 to 12 when the team participates in Pre-Season Thunder, the annual three-day test session at Daytona International Speedway to prepare for the season-opening Daytona 500 in February. The team is finalizing sponsorship agreements for the 2013 season with announcements expected soon.(Front Row Motorsports)(12-13-2012)

  • Keselowski has no plans to keep his title trophy at home: #2-Brad Keselowski, the newly crowned NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, said Tuesday he has no plans to keep his title trophy at home. "It's not at my house, it's at Penske Racing on display for the team guys," Keselowski, 28, said during a break in testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "I don't keep trophies at my house," Keselowski said, according to a transcript provided by Ford Racing. "I don't believe in building a shrine to myself. It's kind of weird."(Los Angeles Times)(12-13-2012)

  • Kulwicki, Marlin and Barney Hall to be inducted in Daytona HOF: The Daytona Beach West Rotary Club Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame will induct three NASCAR standouts at 6:30pm/et on Feb. 18 at the Shores Resort and Spa. The three inductees are 1992 NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki, two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin and radio broadcaster Barney Hall, often referred to as "the voice of NASCAR." In 2012, Bud Moore and Curtis Turner were inducted. More info at stockcarhalloffame.org.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-13-2012)

  • Logano & Stenhouse Jr. bring holiday cheer to Troops on USO tour: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Joey Logano and two-time and reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. recently teamed up with the USO to deliver good times and holiday cheer to troops overseas in the Middle East and Germany. Logano and Stenhouse extended America's thanks to men and women in uniform, and let them know their service, sacrifice and dedication are appreciated  not just during the holiday season but every day. After meeting troops serving in the Middle East and Germany, they wrapped up their USO tour by visiting recovering warriors at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, also located in Germany.
    In all, Logano and Stenhouse visited six installations and touched the lives of hundreds of service men and women overseas. The tour was part of an ongoing partnership with the USO that continues to strengthen the connection between the military and motorsports. During this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week in Las Vegas, NASCAR teamed up with the USO to host healing heroes and their families at NASCAR Victory Lap and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards.
    This was the second USO tour for Logano, who last year, along with 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski, visited hundreds of troops and military families stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This was the first USO tour experience for Stenhouse.
    "We had the chance to meet some amazing men and women on our USO tour," said Logano. "I have so much respect for our troops; they do their jobs day in and day out without complaint and are always giving it their all. We are lucky to have these men and women serving and protecting our country, and I can't thank them enough for all that they do."
    "My first USO tour was an amazing experience. It was an honor to meet our troops and see them in action," Stenhouse said. "The service and sacrifice of these men and women and their families are inspiring, and I have nothing but admiration and gratitude for what they do for our country." More about the USO and usowishbook.org and uso.org.(NASCAR), see images at uso.box.com.(12-13-2012)

  • Homestead Staff Visits South Florida Hospitals Wednesday: Homestead-Miami Speedway employees hit the road today spreading holiday cheer to children in Homestead and Florida City, as Speedway staff delivered gifts to South Florida children in what has become an annual holiday season tradition for track representatives. The first stop was PATCHES medical center in Florida City, a state-licensed, non-profit facility staffed by pediatric nurses, certified teachers, and respiratory and rehab therapists that provide daily treatment to children with extreme medical needs, as well as education for care-giving parents. Treating children from birth through age 21, PATCHES is an alternative to in-patient hospital care and more-isolated home care. In advance of the visit, PATCHES provided Homestead-Miami Speedway staffers a list of the children's names and ages so Speedway employees could personalize the holiday gifts purchased for the event. The Speedway "elves" helped Santa Claus distribute the gifts to each youngster, each who was anxiously waiting to receive a present. Pit stop No. 2 on the Homestead-Miami holiday shuttle was Homestead Hospital, where Speedway staffers made the rounds of each occupied room in the "Speediatrics" children's ER unit to present patients with gifts tailored to age and gender.(HMS)(12-13-2012)

  • Unique Quaker State 400 Holiday Ticket Package at Kentucky Speedway: Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky is offering NASCAR fans $100 in holiday savings on a first-of-its-kind Kentucky Speedway package that includes two tickets to the venue's June 29 Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup Series race in addition to a distillery tour, bourbon tasting and collectible shot glass. Those who purchase one of 2,000 available packages for $110 while supplies last or before Jan. 31, 2013 will witness the Quaker State 400 from popular sections of speedway Grandstand 1 or 6 and receive two distillery tour/tasting tickets valid until Dec. 31, 2013 along with the premium shot glass bearing the Buffalo Trace logo. Unique packages are on sale now and can be purchased at http://www.kentuckyspeedway.com , by phone at (859) 578-2300 or by visiting the Kentucky Speedway corporate offices at 1 Speedway Drive, Sparta, Ky., 41086 just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Kentucky Highway 35 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekdays.(Kentucky Speedway)(12-13-2012)

  • John Fadool from Americrown Joins Talladega Superspeedway Staff: Talladega Superspeedway announced the addition of Americrown Service Corporation's John Fadool to their full-time staff. As Food, Beverage and Merchandise Manager, Fadool will work at the track year round to optimize the experience fans have while making purchases at concession stands and merchandise vendors. Bringing in a member of the Americrown team to Talladega is part of an on-going plan for the speedway to focus on delivering the finest guest experience in motorsports. Americrown, which is owned by International Speedway Corporation, has been providing food, beverage and merchandise at Talladega Superspeedway and other ISC-owned racetracks since 1989. Having an Americrown employee on staff at Talladega will ensure that all fans' needs regarding concessions and merchandise will be addressed and improved upon in a way that's specific to the track.(TSS)(12-13-2012)


    News from December 12, 2012

  • Greatest Moments From 2012 NASCAR Season To Air On ESPN2: A recap of the greatest moments from the 2012 NASCAR season is scheduled to air Thursday, Dec. 13 on ESPN2 during the 2012 NASCAR Year in Review, produced by the Emmy Award-winning NASCAR Productions. Highlights from the season will be featured in a pair of half-hour programs beginning with the NASCAR Nationwide Series at 3:00 pm/et, followed by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at 3:30 pm/et. Each program includes the most thrilling, big-picture moments from both racing series throughout the 2012 season, including Brad Keselowski's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship win, and the NASCAR Nationwide Series season in which Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his second consecutive championship.(12-12-2012)

  • JTG Daugherty looks to add 2nd team: Mike Bagley, co-host of The Morning Drive on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio 90 reports via Twitter that JTG Daugherty team owner Brad Daugherty told them that they [JTG Daugherty Racing] are looking to add a 2nd car in the 1st half of this [Sprint Cup Series] season. The team currently runs Bobby Labonte in the #47 Toyota. Rumors in late 2012 has David Reutimann as a possible driver for a 2nd JTG Daugherty car in 2013.(12-12-2012)

  • Charlotte testing Day2 speeds and updates: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will continue to test their new 2013 cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway Wednesday, Dec. 12. Fans are invited to view the two-day test session from the grandstands, free of charge. Testing will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch at noon. Each day, the Ford Grandstand on the front stretch will open at 8:30 a.m. for the public to enjoy the on-track debut of the new 2013 cars. Fans should enter through gate 5B, by the main ticket office.(CMS)(12-7/12-2012)
    Drivers / Cars Scheduled to test at Charlotte include:
    #2-Brad Keselowski, #22-Joey Logano, #11-Denny Hamlin, #20-Matt Kenseth, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Regan Smith (testing for Hendrick), #31-Jeff Burton, #27-Austin Dillon (testing for RCR), #29-Kevin Harvick, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #9-Marcos Ambrose, #39-Ryan Newman, #13-Casey Mears #47-Bobby Labonte, #21-Trevor Bayne. Notes, Images and videos are being posted on Charlotte Motor Speedway's twitter and some retweets on Jayski's Twitter.
    NOTES: In the morning session on the 2nd day, #11-Denny Hamlin wrecked about 30 minutes into the test session. See an image of the car at Jeff Wackerlin/SPEED Twitter. Sixteen cars are testing with #9-Ambrose testing instead of #43-Almirola.(12-12-2012)
    AM Speeds for Wednesday 2nd session:
    #5-Kahne 193.771
    #20-Kenseth 193.050
    #29-Harvick 192.458
    #42-Montoya 192.020
    #24-Smith 191.435
    The current track record of 193.708, just set in Oct by #16-Biffle.
    There is one final session scheduled this afternoon, if the rain holds off.
    See Day 2 morning speeds on the CMS Day 2 Morning Test Session Speeds page (pdf).
    SPEEDS for the rain shortened Day 2 afternoon session:
    #5-Kasey Kahne 193.112
    #20-Matt Kenseth 191.993
    #24-Regan Smith 191.510
    #27-Austin Dillon 191.442
    #29-Kevin Harvick 190.981
    The afternoon session on Day 2 was rained out after around 30 minutes due to rain. See Day 2 afternoon speeds on the CMS Day 2 Afternoon Test Session Speeds page (pdf).
    UPDATE: On Day 1 of the final 2012 test for the new sixth-generation race car, the drivers had their say as they turned laps around the 1.5-mile Charlotte Motor Speedway. Today, it was the crew chiefs' turn. Enthusiasm for the design and performance of the new car extends beyond just the drivers. "This car is the perfect example of technology helping our sport," said Steve Letarte, crew chief of the #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew Chevy. "I think we now have three makes out here that my little boy at nine-years old can tell the difference between. I think that is the goal  that anybody can walk through the parking lot and see a Chevy, a Ford and a Toyota and know that they are different. That's really what it comes down to  if you're into racing you want to watch cool cars go around the track. I think the simple fact is in 2013 we have cooler cars."
    The look of the new sixth-generation car has been a hit and so has the performance of the new car. Drivers experienced speeds on Tuesday that have the potential to break the current qualifying record at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as the speed chart topped the 193-mile-per-hour range. "It felt fast and I knew where my throttle was, so I knew it was as fast as I have ever been around this track" said Kasey Kahne. "I just think this car goes around the corner quicker."
    Fresh off his trip to Germany and Kuwait with the USO, Joey Logano is beginning to get used to his new surroundings, and it never hurts to have current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Brad Keselowski as your new teammate with Penske Racing. "He won the championship, so he's pretty good" joked Logano. "It's really cool to have a teammate that's a student of the sport, who really studies it and will push me to do things differently. I think the coolest thing that Brad is able to do is he's able to think outside of the box  like way outside the box."
    After potential record-breaking speeds throughout both test sessions, rain cut the afternoon short. Teams will have two more open tests before the beginning of the 2013 season starting with Preseason Thunder at Daytona International Speedway Jan. 10-12. The sixth-generation car will return to Charlotte Motor Speedway Jan. 17-18, when the teams will have their final opportunity to test the car before Speedweeks in Daytona.(NASCAR)(12-12-2012)

  • Stenhouse visiting Nationwide headquarters: Lately, a Ricky Stenhouse Jr. visit has become as much of a Columbus December tradition as Christmas trees and snowmen. For the second consecutive season, Stenhouse, the 2012 NASCAR Nationwide Series driver champion, and his #6 Roush Fenway Racing team will take part in a full day  and evening  of activities Wednesday, hosted by series sponsor Nationwide Insurance in its headquarters' hometown of Columbus, Ohio. This is the fifth consecutive year that Nationwide Insurance has welcomed the series driver champion to its home turf, and the second consecutive year that Stenhouse and his entire team  led by crew chief Mike Kelley  has made the trip. Since the NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards in Miami last month, Stenhouse has been busy celebrating his back-to-back series championships. He participated in NASCAR Champion's Week by doing burnouts down Las Vegas Blvd., in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford Fusion, followed by last week's USO tour to the Middle East and Germany. Stenhouse kicks off the day with an exclusive Q&A session with Nationwide associates followed by a tour of the corporate headquarters with the No. 6 championship-winning team. After the Q&A session and tour, Stenhouse and his team will sign autographs for associates on site. Then the driver and champion team will visit the new facilities at Nationwide Children's Hospital where the team will exchange gifts and play games with patients. Nationwide Children's Hospital, an international leader in pediatric research and care, serves nearly one million patient visits annually, caring for children from every state and 28 nations round the world. The visit is fresh off last month's announcement of the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio as part of the NASCAR Nationwide Series 2013 schedule. The day concludes with a trip to the Jerome Schottenstein Center where Stenhouse and the champion team will be honored during the pregame festivities of the Ohio State University men's basketball game against Savannah State. Stenhouse Jr. will present the game ball to the Buckeye basketball team.(NASCAR)(12-12-2012)


    News from December 11, 2012

  • Charlotte testing open to fans, Speeds and Notes: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will test their new 2013 cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 11 and 12. As part of a special off-season treat, race fans are invited to view the two-day test session from the grandstands, free of charge. Teams expected to participate in the test include Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing and Wood Brothers Racing. Testing will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch at noon. Each day, the Ford Grandstand on the frontstretch will open at 8:30 a.m. for the public to enjoy the on-track debut of the new 2013 cars. Fans should enter through gate 5B, by the main ticket office.(CMS)(12-7/11-2012)
    Drivers / Cars Scheduled to test at Charlotte include:
    #2-Brad Keselowski, #22-Joey Logano, #11-Denny Hamlin, #20-Matt Kenseth, #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #5-Kasey Kahne, #24-Regan Smith (testing for Hendrick), #31-Jeff Burton, #27-Austin Dillon (testing for RCR), #29-Kevin Harvick, #42-Juan Pablo Montoya, #43-Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose, #39-Ryan Newman, #13-Casey Mears #47-Bobby Labonte. Notes, Images and videos are being posted on Charlotte Motor Speedway's twitter.(12-11-2012)
    Top five from the morning test session at Charlotte:
    #31-Burton 190.833 was the fasest, followed by #29-Harvick, #27-Austin Dillon, #5-Kahne and #22-Logano
    (Bob Pockrass/Twitter/Sporting News)(12-11-2012)
    Afternoon Speeds: Regan Smith, driving the #24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy, was the fastest in Tuesday's afternoon test session of the 2013 cars with a speed of 190.215mph, followed by #11-Hamlin, #20-Kenseth, #29-Harvick and #42-Montoya. #43-Almirola, who was 15th fastest, ran the most laps at 118. See the speeds for all 16 cars/drivers on the CMS Afternoon Test Session Results page (pdf).
    AND Dale Earnhardt Jr., the sport's 10-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Most Popular Driver, ran his first laps in the new sixth-generation race car. His review of the 2013 Chevrolet SS. It's a must see. "The car has really awesome potential," Earnhardt said during testing Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. "The cars that you see in the garage; you'll stand there and see Fords and Toyotas and Chevrolets driving by. It's great because everything looks different, everything is instantly recognizable."
    At Charlotte Motor Speedway today, 16 cars participated in the last open test session of the year. Fans and media were treated to all three manufacturers on the race track at once, including the fully unveiled Chevrolet SS which was debuted in Las Vegas during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week. There was an air of excitement from the drivers and teams in the garage surrounding the looks and performance of the sixth generation car.
    "All in all the feedback in the garage area has been very positive," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "It looks to me that all the hard work from the teams, manufacturers and our engineers at the R&D Center is going to pay off. Like I said last month when we hand this car off to the teams, it will be in the best shape that we have ever handed a car off to the teams to start a new season."
    While fans were seeing the Chevrolet fully unwrapped without camouflage, several drivers were getting used to new fire suits, car manufacturers and teammates. For the first time in his career, former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Matt Kenseth was sporting a new number (20), team (Joe Gibbs Racing) and manufacturer (Toyota). Kenseth was happy with the car; however, his team was forced to make an engine change during today's morning session.
    "I've been kind of nervous but (about) coming into this morning and walking to a different truck and a different team and all of that stuff," Kenseth said. "My last run I proceeded to go from second gear to first gear and over-revved the engine so they're back there changing it. So, I think the guys are in love with me right now. Like, 'Where did we find this clown? Give us the other one back.' Other than that it's been good."
    While Kenseth got to know his new team, current NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski learned to work with new Penske Racing teammate Joey Logano. "I feel like there are a lot of areas that I can improve and be better," said Keselowski. "I think there are things Joey does right out of the gate that are better than what I do. I think he has the ability to unload at a place like this and just instantly be fast and that's not my style."
    In addition to the off season testing sessions scheduled next month for Daytona and Charlotte, plans call for an extra day of testing before the events at Las Vegas and Texas to provide teams with an opportunity to learn more about the sixth-generation race car early in the season. Extra practice time will also be added to the schedule at Auto Club Speedway in March. The test continues Wednesday at 9:00am/et at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(NASCAR)(12-11-2012)

  • Home Depot's Husky to be primary sponsor on the #20 in 2013: The Home Depot announces it will utilize the home improvement store's proprietary tool brand, Husky, as the primary sponsor for the Joe Gibbs Racing #20 Toyota in each of its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races during the 2013 season. Through this partnership The Home Depot looks to reward its customers through Husky Days of Giving, a Facebook contest offering the chance to win great Husky products daily as well as a grand prize to be awarded at the end of the promotion. Fans can enter once daily between now and December 24 for their chance to win. Husky will be the primary sponsor on JGR's #20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series entry in 20 races during the 2013 season and will remain the associate sponsor when Dollar General serves as the car's primary sponsor (Joe Gibbs Racing), for more info on the contest, see Jayski's NASACR Contest page, see an image of the car on my #20 Team Schemes page.(12-11-2012)

  • New sponsor for Labonte in 2013: JTG Daugherty Racing has been diligently working on securing sponsorship all season long for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and beyond for their #47 Toyota Camry team. While longstanding iconic brands return along with 2000 champion driver Bobby Labonte, the single-car operation is proud to add new sponsorships to the lineup next year. North Carolina based House-Autry Mills is slated to be the primary for the Sprint All-Star Race on Saturday, May 18 at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on Sunday, September 29. In addition, House-Autry Mills will be an associate partner for 21 races next season on the #47 Toyota Camry with a grilling schematic. House-Autry Mills, is a Four Oaks, NC based producer of chicken, seafood, and pork breaders, sauces, corn meal, and hushpuppy, biscuit and cornbread mixes that are available through thousands of grocery stores in 37 states, as well as foodservice distributors and restaurants throughout the country.(JTG Daugherty Racing), see an image of the scheme on my #47 Team Schemes page.(12-11-2012)

  • Keselowski, Penske Championships Voted Best Moments of 2012: #2-Brad Keselowski, no one's pre-season choice to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, stumped the experts. Media members, in turn, have voted Keselowski's title run for owner Roger Penske as NASCAR's top story of the past season. Keselowski's first championship prevailed in the voting over Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s drought-busting victory in June at Michigan International Speedway. Now that media members have had their say, it's the fans' turn. Fans can vote for their favorite competition stories of 2012 on the NASCAR Facebook page.
    THe Top-10 Voted Best Moments of 2012 by the media
    1.-Brad Keselowski's First Championship
    2.-Dale Earnhardt Breaks 143-Race Winless Streak
    3.-Matt Kenseth Wins Explosive Daytona 500
    4.-Michael Waltrip Racing Makes Chase In Style
    5.-Hendrick Motorsports Records Milestone 200th Victory
    6.-Classic Rockingham Raceway Returns To NASCAR In 2012
    7.-Stenhouse Goes Back To Back In The NASCAR Nationwide Series
    8.-Patrick Makes History With Top-10 Championship Finish
    9.-Ambrose Wins Second At The Glen In Wild Finish
    10.-Jeff Gordon Claims Final Wild Card Spot At Richmond
    (NASCAR)(12-11-2012)

  • Burns will remain as Labonte's crew chief UPDATE: Brian Burns has worked his way from interim status to the crew chief role at JTG/Daugherty Racing for the #47 Toyota and driver Bobby Labonte. Burns had been a crew chief with Travis Kvapil and an interim crew chief with Labonte for the final four races in 2012 after Frank Kerr was reassigned. He returned to the crew chief role for at JTG/D in August when Todd Berrier parted ways with the team. Under Burns' direction, Labonte posted three finishes of 12th or better in the final six races of the season. "I think he's done a great job since he was put in that position," said general manager Bobby Hutchens. "He's a solid engineer and he understands the race car. Plus he's a great leader with the crew. Considering that he's already had time in the position, I really believe we'll be able to make progress next year."(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)
    UPDATE: Hard work and dedication does pay off. Late Friday afternoon, JTG Daugherty Racing inked Brian Burns to return as crew chief of the No. 47 Toyota Camry with driver Bobby Labonte for the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. "Anytime we have needed Brian to step into a crew chief role and lead our team, he has risen to the challenge," co-owner Tad Geschickter said. "He has done a solid job for us and we're pleased he accepted the position to guide our team in 2013." With Burns and the addition of general manager Bobby Hutchens, the team made forward progress and turned in some respectable finishes. Near the end of the 2011 season, he served as interim crew chief for Labonte in the final six events and then moved to the Harrisburg, N.C. shop at the beginning of 2012. Midseason Burns was at the helm again when crew chief and general manager Todd Berrier parted ways with the team in 2012.(JTG Daugherty Racing)(12-11-2012)

  • Eury Jr. named Stremme's crew chief UPDATE: Tony Eury Jr. will be the crew chief for Swan Racing's #30 Toyota driven by David Stremme for the 2013 season. The move comes just days after the new team, owned by Brandon Davis, was formally announced. "We have a long-term vision for Swan Racing and the addition of Tony Jr. is another step in that process. Tony brings a world of experience to Swan Racing and will be part of our long-term success," said Davis. "I am really impressed with the team Swan Racing is building and I am proud to be part of it," said Eury. "I am looking forward to working with David Stremme behind the wheel and with competition director Steve Hmiel."
    "Tony Jr. has pretty much done it all from tire changer to crew chief. His experience and knowledge will be pivotal to the success of Swan Racing," said competition director Steve Hmiel. Driver of the #30 Toyota, David Stremme said, "The team has transformed itself virtually overnight. It's hard to believe just how different this team is in such a short period of time. This is how you build success from the ground up; you hire quality people, put their experience to work and execute on race day. Lets go racing." Swan Racing is located in Mooresville, N.C., and will get its horsepower from Triad Racing Technologies.(Swan Racing / Tuckahoe Strategies)(12-10-2012)
    UPDATE: Tony Eury Jr. admits that he enjoyed his three-month break from the NASCAR garage. He worked on building a barn and went hunting. He also admits that he was happy to see his former JR Motorsports team  a piece of which he still owns  win the season-ending Nationwide Series race at Homestead last month. Now it's time for him to get back to work. Still a 25% owner of JR Motorsports, Eury was released from his position as crew chief for Danica Patrick a couple of weeks after his father, Tony Eury Sr., was released as the team's competition director in September. The organization, run by Earnhardt's sister Kelley Earnhardt-Miller, shifted directions, hiring Ryan Pemberton as competition director and committing to use more resources from Hendrick Motorsports  Rick Hendrick also is a co-owner of the team  than it had with the Eurys. It was time for Eury, who had two Cup wins as a crew chief with Earnhardt at Dale Earnhardt Inc. and Hendrick Motorsports, to move on. "We've texted back and forth," Eury said about his relationship with his cousin. "There's no hard feelings. Everything is good with that whole situation. It was just good timing for a change to get away from each other. We've been racing together for 16 or 17 years. & Both of us are doing what we enjoy and decided what we were going to do when we were youngsters. David is an old-school racer and Steve called me and both of them were asking me to come over here and help them take a small deal and step it up into a big deal," Eury said. "It's just a challenge. That's kind of where I'm at in my career right now."(more at the Sporting News)(12-11-2012)

  • AARP Foundation On Jeff Gordon's Heisman Humanitarian Award: AARP Foundation President Jo Ann Jenkins today released the following statement on Jeff Gordon's 2012 Heisman Humanitarian Award. Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, becomes the seventh recipient of the Heisman Humanitarian Award, which recognizes people in the sports world who demonstrate notable commitment to helping improve the lives of other people. "The Heisman Trophy Trust's recognition of Jeff confirms something we've known for a while  that he is as great a person off the track as he is behind the wheel of a racecar. Jeff's commitment to philanthropy and helping others in need was a critical factor in the decision by AARP and AARP Foundation that NASCAR could be a good platform for our work to help end the problem of older adult hunger. Since launching Drive to End Hunger, Jeff has been a committed champion to helping people who struggle to put food on the table. Whether he's winning races or packaging meals to help hungry older adults, we couldn't have a better champion than Jeff Gordon. While this award celebrates the contributions that Jeff has made over the years, we are particularly excited about what is still to come. There are nearly nine million older Americans who face the risk of hunger. The fight against older adult hunger is the contest of a lifetime, and Jeff  like AARP Foundation  hates to lose." Since AARP and AARP Foundation launched Drive to End Hunger, the initiative has donated more than 14.6 million meals and driven corporate and individual donor commitments with an expected value of more than $17.3 million.(AARP)(12-11-2012)


    News from December 10, 2012

  • Johnson to run special scheme in Shootout: #48-Jimmie Johnson is scheduled to run a throwback Daytona Yellow paint scheme in the Shootout at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 16. Daytona Yellow was a paint color used by General Motors in 1969 and 1970, on the Chevelle SS, Camaro SS and Corvette.(Team Lowe's Racing Twitter), see image of the scheme on my #48 Team Schemes page.(12-10-2012)

  • Eury Jr. named Stremme's crew chief: Tony Eury Jr. will be the crew chief for Swan Racing's #30 Toyota driven by David Stremme for the 2013 season. The move comes just days after the new team, owned by Brandon Davis, was formally announced. "We have a long-term vision for Swan Racing and the addition of Tony Jr. is another step in that process. Tony brings a world of experience to Swan Racing and will be part of our long-term success," said Davis. "I am really impressed with the team Swan Racing is building and I am proud to be part of it," said Eury. "I am looking forward to working with David Stremme behind the wheel and with competition director Steve Hmiel."
    "Tony Jr. has pretty much done it all from tire changer to crew chief. His experience and knowledge will be pivotal to the success of Swan Racing," said competition director Steve Hmiel. Driver of the #30 Toyota, David Stremme said, "The team has transformed itself virtually overnight. It's hard to believe just how different this team is in such a short period of time. This is how you build success from the ground up; you hire quality people, put their experience to work and execute on race day. Lets go racing." Swan Racing is located in Mooresville, N.C., and will get its horsepower from Triad Racing Technologies.(Swan Racing / Tuckahoe Strategies)(12-10-2012)

  • Schrader to drive for FAS Lane Racing in 2013: Short-track and NASCAR racing veteran Ken Schrader shared the stage in the SPEED SPORT Industry Center Friday afternoon at the IMIS trade show with fellow short track racers Brad Doty, Jimmy Horton and Shane Carson. Schrader alsot discussed his plans for the coming season. The 57-year-old Schrader, who drove Frank Stoddard's #32 in 13 races in 2012, says he will be back behind the wheel of that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car in 10 races next season. "We run 28th or 32nd most of the time, but we still have fun out there racing, well, I guess we have fun out there running around," Schrader said. "We're going to run 10 races next year. The only bad thing about that is that it shoots the hell out of 10 weekends that we could be out running the modified somewhere." Schrader has also added a new race to his 2013 calendar. "We're putting a truck together to go over and run the race at Eldora," said Schrader of the July 24 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Ohio's Eldora Speedway. It will be the first race for the series on a dirt track.(National Speed Sport News)(12-10-2012)

  • Correction - SBJs Most Influential List, France 13th: ESPN's President John Skipper tops Sportsbusiness Journal's annual list of the "50 Most Influential People In Sports Business" NASCAR's CEO Brian France is 13th.(Sportsbusiness Journal, need subscription to see all of list)(12-10-2012)


    News from December 9, 2012

  • President of HANS comments on track safety: Jim Downing, the former sports car driver and principal of the HANS device (head and neck support) said that short tracks and drag strips are deficient due to "lack of proper safety equipment." Downing, president of HANS Performance Products (owned by Simpson Performance Products) said, at the IMIS Safety and Technical Conference in Indianapolis that driver fatalities on those tracks have been increasing because those types of tracks lacg the safety equipment required at the bigger ovals. Downing based his opinion on a Charlotte Observer study titled "Death at the Track," in the years 1991 to 2001 the total number of driver deaths from crashes was 144. During the ten-year period after Earnhardt's death, the total rose to 171, an alarming increase of 27 driver fatalities due to racing accidents. Part of the problem, Downing opined, was due to the fact that these type of local tracks are not televised so that news of injuries or fatalities don't make it into the mainstream media. The safety needs to improve on short ovals and on drag strips where weekend warriors are participating and where the most deaths are occurring, said Downing. Of the 171 deaths during the years 2001 to 2011, 126 occurred on these types of tracks. SAFER barriers may not be feasible, said Downing, but his presentation documented that 34 of the deaths involved the type of head and neck injuries prevented by Head and Neck Restraints.(Auto123)(12-9-2012)

  • Stewart would like to drive Aussie V8 Supercar: #14-Tony Stewart expressed his desire to race a V8 Supercar at the unveiling of the 2013 Chevrolet SS which is based heavily on the next generation Holden VF Commodore. At the bells and whistles launch in Las Vegas Stewart told Speedcafe that he has been approached several times by Paul Morris to have a crack at a V8 Supercar in the shared driver races. "Paul Morris keeps inviting me out to have a go in one. I don't know if Austin would work but I would love to have a chance to drive one. I'd love the opportunity to get behind the wheel of one," Stewart said. V8 Supercars will race Stateside for the first time at the Texas 400 meeting at Austin's critically acclaimed Circuit Of The Americas track from May 17-19 next year. The category has yet to show its hand on what the format of the races will be and whether it will explore the possibility of shared driver races. The Austin meeting clashes with the NASCAR Sprint Showdown at Charlotte Motor Speedway.(Speed Cafe)(12-9-2012)


    News from December 8, 2012

  • Logano gets new spotter: When Sprint Cup teams roll into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2013 car test, Tab Boyd will debut in his new role as spotter for Joey Logano and the #22 Penske Racing Ford. Boyd also will assume spotter duties for Sam Hornish Jr. on the Nationwide Series tour and work as a fabricator for Penske Racing during the week. Boyd has worked as a spotter for the last decade, most recently with Danica Patrick. The 35-year-old Pensacola native worked at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing where he took on the same role with Juan Pablo Montoya prior to the 2012 season.(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)

  • Burns will remain as Labonte's crew chief: Brian Burns has worked his way from interim status to the crew chief role at JTG/Daugherty Racing for the #47 Toyota and driver Bobby Labonte. Burns had been a crew chief with Travis Kvapil and an interim crew chief with Labonte for the final four races in 2012 after Frank Kerr was reassigned. He returned to the crew chief role for at JTG/D in August when Todd Berrier parted ways with the team. Under Burns' direction, Labonte posted three finishes of 12th or better in the final six races of the season. "I think he's done a great job since he was put in that position," said general manager Bobby Hutchens. "He's a solid engineer and he understands the race car. Plus he's a great leader with the crew. Considering that he's already had time in the position, I really believe we'll be able to make progress next year."(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)

  • Hornish gets new spotter: When Sprint Cup teams roll into Charlotte Motor Speedway for the 2013 car test, Tab Boyd will debut in his new role as spotter for Joey Logano and the #22 Penske Racing Ford. Boyd also will assume spotter duties for Sam Hornish Jr. on the Nationwide Series tour and work as a fabricator for Penske Racing during the week. Boyd has worked as a spotter for the last decade, most recently with Danica Patrick. The 35-year-old Pensacola native worked at Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing where he took on the same role with Juan Pablo Montoya prior to the 2012 season.(Fox Sports)(12-8-2012)

  • Charlie Daniels to perform before Brisol night race: One of the biggest legends in music brings his hard-driving act to the Last Great Colosseum as the Charlie Daniels Band hits Bristol Motor Speedway in March for Food City 500 pre-race show. Prior to drivers receiving the command to start their engines March 17, the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning artist delivers his special brand of music, invigorating race fans before the green flag falls on one of NASCAR's most exciting events. And he is eager to hit the stage in the Tennessee hills. Special Charlie Daniels ticket packages are available soon.(BMS)(12-8-2012)


    News from December 7, 2012

  • Charlotte testing open to fans: Several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will test their new 2013 cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 11 and 12. As part of a special off-season treat, race fans are invited to view the two-day test session from the grandstands, free of charge. Teams expected to participate in the test include Hendrick Motorsports, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Penske Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Stewart-Haas Racing and Wood Brothers Racing. Testing will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a break for lunch at noon. Each day, the Ford Grandstand on the frontstretch will open at 8:30 a.m. for the public to enjoy the on-track debut of the new 2013 cars. Fans should enter through gate 5B, by the main ticket office.(CMS)(12-7-2012)

  • NMPA selects Hall of Fame members: Three men who spent their careers making outstanding contributions to the sport of auto racing will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association's Hall of Fame in January. Longtime NASCAR executive and former track president Jim Hunter and Pocono Raceway founder and patriarch Dr. Joseph Mattioli will be inducted posthumously and will be joined by pioneer sportscaster Ken Squier as the class entering the Hall during a ceremony on Jan. 19 in Charlotte, N.C. The three were selected on more than 65 percent of the ballots cast by NMPA members to earn induction into the Hall of Fame. Hunter was selected on 89 percent of the ballots, while both Mattioli and Squier were on 65 percent of the ballots. Those who received votes but did not reach the 65 percent mark for induction were Ray Evernham and Dick Thompson.(Pocono Raceway)(12-7-2012)

  • Keselowski, Bowyer not elgible for shootout: There's a saying in racing that it's not where you start, it's where you finish. But that doesn't necessarily ring true for NASCAR's preseason exhibition race at Daytona International Speedway. NASCAR decided prior to the start of the 2012 season to go back to its traditional eligibility requirements for the Shootout  pole winners from the previous year and past Shootout winners. That means the top two drivers in the 2012 standings  #2-Brad Keselowski and #15-Clint Bowyer  aren't on the list of 22 drivers eligible for the 2013 event. Not since 2004, when 2003 champion Matt Kenseth did not win a pole, has the Shootout been run without the previous year's Cup champion. The event used to be sponsored by Budweiser, which originally had also sponsored NASCAR's pole award. When Coors took over the pole award sponsorship in 2009, the eligibility rules changed and continued to change annually. A new sponsor and a new format for the Feb. 16 event are expected to be announced soon.(Sporting News), see a list of all elgible drivers on the 2013 Shoutout page.(12-7-2012)

  • NASCAR names top performances of 2012: No one saw this coming. No one. Brad Keselowski won his first race in 2009 at Talladega Superspeedway, running a part-time schedule with single-car team Phoenix Racing. It was a nice story in a long season, one that ended with Jimmie Johnson winning the championship. His second victory came in 2011 at Kansas Speedway while in his second full season with Penske Racing. That win moved him into 21st in points. Again, a feel-good story to weave into the year; one that culminates with Tony Stewart capturing his third title. Big-picture speaking, Keselowski's yearly career followed a similar story arch. Flashes of brilliance wherever he drove  be it the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series or his thus far brief tenure in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - all followed by a premier series title by two no-doubt-about-it NASCAR legends: Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart. From the first primetime Daytona 500 through Keselowski and owner Roger Penske’s first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship, the 2012 season was filled with drama, intrigue and more than a few "Top Performances." Here are a few of them, and as always, the choices are always up for welcome discussion.
    Top Driver: Brad Keselowski: His series-high five wins notwithstanding, Keselowski's clutch playoff performance may live as the most memorable chapter from his first championship. He tallied two wins and eight top-10 finishes in the 10-race Chase. His worst finish was just 15th in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway  the exact finish he needed to guarantee the championship. In the last 40 years, Keselowski became only the third driver to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup title within his first three seasons, joining NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon.
    Comeback Driver of the Year: Clint Bowyer: In 2011, Clint Bowyer eked out one win, at Talladega, and missed the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in his final season with Richard Childress Racing. Even Bowyer admitted that his move to Michael Waltrip Racing for the 2012 season likely wouldn’t lead to immediate success. Wrong. Bowyer won three times this season, leapfrogging Jimmie Johnson in the season finale at Homestead to finish a career-best second in points. Those three wins all came on different layouts  road course (Sonoma), short track (Richmond), and intermediate (Charlotte). Along with teammate Martin Truex Jr., the duo gave MWR its first Chase berth since joining the series fulltime in 2007.
    Top Team: Hendrick Motorsports: Usually this spot is reserved for the championship team, but it’s impossible to ignore  and tribute  Hendrick Motorsports' history-making and milestone-achieving season. HMS, with Jimmie Johnson at the wheel, captured its 200th victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels  the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It also won the Brickyard 400, also with Johnson. In all, HMS had a series-high 10 victories (Johnson, 5; Jeff Gordon, 2; Kasey Kahne, 2; Dale Earnhardt Jr., 1) and placed all four of its drivers in the Chase.
    Top Breakthrough Performance: Brad Keselowski: In 2011, Keselowski made the Chase as one of the two Wild Card contenders. This year, he made it as the fourth seed. There’s little reason to believe his meteoric rise to stardom won’t continue for years to come. Keselowski's five wins this season came on some of the tougher tracks in the series, including Bristol, Dover and Talladega. But his ability to brush off pressure  and a five-time champion  during the Chase made him a champion, and a breakthrough performer.
    Top Races
    IRWIN Tools Night Race, Bristol Motor Speedway (Aug. 25)  Bristol's night race evolved into Bristol's Night Race  capitalized  because of the emotional fender-bending, bump-and-running and temper-igniting qualities that blossom under the lights on the high banks. This race had all that, and more. The racing? Intense: Thirteen different drivers led a lap, three short of the all-time Bristol record. The action? Robust: There were 13 cautions, the most in the last 11 Bristol races. Denny Hamlin won the race, but two side acts stole the show. One, of course, is Tony Stewart’s helmet toss at Matt Kenseth's #17. The other, an undercard to Stewart vs. Kenseth, was Danica Patrick's finger point at Regan Smith after a wreck in her first Bristol race.
    Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12)  Road course races have provided some of the most thrilling NASCAR moments, especially in recent years. This year’s Watkins Glen race was no different, especially on an epic last lap that will be remembered for years to come. Three prominent road course talents  Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Marcos Ambrose  battled for the lead on the last circuit, trading paint, running off course and doing literally anything to capture the checkered. Ambrose finally won the race, and earned it. According to NASCAR's Loop Data, Ambrose and Keselowski traded the lead four times on the final lap, a rarity on road courses.(NASCAR)(12-7-2012)

  • Wallace returning to JD Motorsports; #4 car open: While the term off-season is being used by some in motorsports, its anything but that at the JD Motorsports w/Gary Keller shops right now. With the new Chevrolet Camaro body coming to the NASCAR Nationwide Series, the team has been making the appropriate changes to their #01 and #4 Chevy in stock. And, while veteran and winning-NNS driver Mike Wallace is returning to wheel the #01, there are some openings for qualified drivers in the team's #4 entry. Also, the #01 team is seeking a crew chief for next season. And, like all teams in the three NASCAR series, they are seeking primary and associate marketing partners to become part of the team to help in their endeavors. The team has a "first of its kind in racing" alliance with Clemson University via their Clemson Racing to connect JD Motorsports with the school's alumni and current business associates. From there, partnerships would promote them via the usage of JD Motorsports across the country through their Nationwide Series races. "We are committed to run the 2013 season with our two teams," said Johnny Davis, who will be making his 475th start as an owner at Daytona in February. "We have done a lot of planning, bought some cars in the latter part of last year and have been improving on our motor program here and there.(JD Motorsports)(12-7-2012)

  • Devin Jones to Make Truck Debut in 2013: Late Model Stock driver, Devin Jones will launch into 2013 with plans to race his #35 VeriStor Chevy Truck during the NASCAR weekend at Martinsville Speedway on April 6. This will be the start of a limited 2013 schedule for Devin Jones Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck series. Jones is moving up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck series after cutting his teeth on tracks across the southeast in both the PASS Super Late Model and UARA-STARS Late Model Stock touring series. He is signed to drive for Young Motor Sports, a team that has expanded their truck effort to two trucks for the next season. Devin Jones' teammate will be Tyler Young in the #02 truck. For 2013, Devin Jones Racing is planning to run a limited NASCAR Camping World Truck schedule so that Jones can maintain his Rookie status for 2014. When Jones isn't racing the NASCAR Camping World Truck, he will again run his #35 VeriStor Late Model Stock car in the UARA-STARS series throughout the Southeast as he looks to capture the series title.(Devin Jones Racing PR)(12-7-2012)

  • Preseason Thunder Fan Fest tickets on sale: Race fans can purchase tickets for the annual Preseason Thunder Fan Fest at Daytona International Speedway beginning on Monday, Dec. 10 at 9 a.m. The stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will take to the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval at Daytona International Speedway for three days of testing on Thursday, Jan. 10 through Saturday, Jan. 12 in advance of the 55th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 24. The test sessions mark the first time the new 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars, which highlight greater brand identity for the manufacturers, will turn laps on Daytona International Speedway's 2.5-mile tri-oval. Dubbed "G6," the new-look sixth generation cars will conduct test sessions between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day, weather permitting. Each session includes a lunch break from noon until 1 p.m. The Preseason Thunder Fan Fest is scheduled on Thursday night, Jan. 10 and will include autograph sessions, driver fan forums, show cars and displays, music and a photo opportunity with the 2013 Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 trophy. Tickets for Daytona Preseason Thunder Fan Fest are $20 on Thursday and $10 for Friday and Saturday. Children 12 and under will receive free admission. Preseason Thunder ticket holders receive free tent camping inside Turns 3 & 4 for all three days of testing and fans can also watch each day's testing at no cost from a section of the Oldfield Grandstands.(DIS)(12-7-2012)


    News from December 6, 2012

  • Keselowski named Driver of the Year: #2-Brad Keselowski was voted the 2012 Driver Of The Year by an elite panel of motorsports broadcasters and journalists. Keselowski was a near-unanimous choice in the annual award, after winning his first NASCAR Sprint Cup championship and the first as an owner for Roger Penske. "To be honored with the 2012 Driver Of The Year is a great way to cap off our championship season," said Keselowski, who also won the fourth-quarter vote. "The list is definitely a 'Who's Who' in the history of racing. It gives me great pride to see my name there with the likes of Mark Donohue and Mario Andretti, drivers who have transcended one particular discipline or series, and are considered some of the best to ever sit in a racecar. Keselowski scored 18 of the 19 votes cast by journalists and broadcasters, who voted in a secret ballot for a single driver. Ryan Hunter Reay, the 2012 IndyCar champion, received the remaining vote. In the quarterly voting, Keselowski beat the NHRA's Antron Brown and five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson by more than double the points. In its 46th year, the 2012 Driver Of The Year title is unique because it is the original award of its' type that encompasses all of the racing series and all of the drivers in the United States.(PR)(12-6-2012)

  • Penske offers Tony Stewart Indianapolis 500 ride: UPDATE 2: If Tony Stewart wants to run the Indianapolis 500 next season, Roger Penske will give him a car. Penske twice Friday night offered Stewart the chance to enter next year's race and insisted he's serious about the opportunity. "Where's Stewart?" Penske asked during his speech accepting the Sprint Cup trophy during NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony. "How about doing the double at Indy this year? You available?" The banquet room at Wynn Las Vegas Resort broke out into laughter, but Penske later insisted he was serious. "If he wants to do the double, I'd put him in it," Penske said. "We've talked about it before. I guess I made it official tonight." Stewart was not immediately available for comment.(in part from the Associated Press)(12-2-2012)
    UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart has passed up a chance to race for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500. The three-time NASCAR champion said Wednesday at the International Motorsports Industry Show that he wouldn't attempt to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Penske extended the invitation last week in Las Vegas while accepting the Sprint Cup trophy. Later, when given the chance to shrug it off as a lighthearted moment with Stewart, Penske insisted he was very serious. There has been a push to get Stewart to race in Indianapolis since Penske made the offer, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting an online petition for fans to encourage the driver to accept the ride. The Indiana native twice ran both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. In 1999, he was ninth at Indy and fourth at Charlotte, and in 2001, he was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.(Associated Press)(12-5-2012)
    UPDATE 2: "As much as I would like to do it, we just don't have the time to do it proper," Stewart said. "The IRL is so competitive now, you're not going to just show up like drivers used to do in the past and be competitive. These guys don't leave anything on the table there. You're not going to stroll into the Indy 500 with these guys who race every week and be as competitive as they are. It was a very humbling comment and offer that he made, for sure," said Stewart, booed by fans when he made the announcement. "I'm very humbled by the fact that he offered it to us. It's a great opportunity, but it's very hard when you're running three Cup teams right now and the obligations that we have making sure that we're doing the right things, we have a lot of people that depend on us. & It's kind of like being at Thanksgiving dinner. My plate is finally full. I don't know if I can add anymore to what I have right now." He left open the possibility of racing for Penske at some point. "I'm not going to do it this year, but there's nothing saying that down the road that I may not take him up on that same offer," Stewart said.(USA Today)(12-6-2012)

  • Sponsor exposure values rise 7% in Cup over 2011: The total exposure value for all TV-visible sponsor brands in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 totaled over $1.2 billion across the 10-month season. Though the total number of logo detections, length of time on-screen and viewership were down slightly, media exposure values still saw gains based on higher cost of media and longer exposure during higher-rated races such as this year's extended Daytona 500. Demonstrating the importance of exposure during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, champion Brad Keselowski's primary sponsor Miller Lite received 55% of its exposures in the 10-race Chase alone, and nearly 20% of that exposure came from the final race. (Repucom)(12-6-2012)

  • Johnson mentioned most during TV coverage: According to research conducted by Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. -- which has monitored every NASCAR race telecast over the last 28 seasons, #48 Jimmie Johnson received the most attention during this year's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series broadcasts. Statistics reflect all live race telecasts and replays of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season:

    Driver # of interviews Interview Time Mentions
    Jimmie Johnson 90 1:14:48 7,744
    Denny Hamlin 53 0:59:25 5,219
    Brad Keselowski 69 1:06:50 5,059
    Kyle Busch 21 0:14:24 4,840
    Jeff Gordon 58 1:01:54 4,721
    Tony Stewart 53 0:53:13 3,854
    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 54 0:54:11 3,422
    Greg Biffle 27 0:22:57 3,338
    Matt Kenseth 41 0:27:56 3,226
    Clint Bowyer 43 0:44:00 3,131
    Kasey Kahne 33 0:34:35 3,008
    Kevin Harvick 18 0:26:50 2,624
    Martin Truex, Jr. 24 0:26:15 2,444
    Carl Edwards 35 0:36:08 2,358
    Mark Martin 12 0:12:47 1,687
    (Joyce Julius)(12-6-2012)

  • Brian Scott to RCR? UPDATE: Look for Brian Scott to return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series next season, driving the #2 Chevy for Richard Childress Racing. Scott finished ninth in the final 2012 Nationwide standings, driving the #11 Dollar General Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing, with two Top-5 and 11 Top-10 finishes in 33 starts and a best finish was a third at Dover in early June. He became the odd man out when JGR signed Elliott Sadler and former series champion Brian Vickers to full-time Nationwide deals for 2013. Multiple sources close to the team say Scott will now replace Sadler in RCR's No. 2 Chevy. There is currently no word on sponsorship. RCR Director of Corporate Communication Dave Hart did not comment specifically on Scott via e-mail today, saying only that the team will have "a full lineup announcement for all three series sometime in the next couple of weeks."(Godfather Motorsports)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing has signed a multi-year agreement with Brian Scott to be the driver of the #2 Shore Lodge Chevy Camaro for the 2013 NASCAR Nationwide Series season. Scott, 24, of Boise, Idaho, has twice finished in the top 10 of the Nationwide Series driver championship point standings in three full seasons of competition. He finished eighth in 2011 and ninth this past year. He finished 14th and was runner-up in the series' rookie of the year standings in 2010. Phil Gould, car chief for the $2 team in 2012 and with previous experience at RCR as a car chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been promoted to crew chief for the team.(RCR)(12-6-2012)

  • Gresham returns to ESR for 2013; plans full season: Max Gresham has re-signed with Eddie Sharp Racing to drive the #8 Made In USA Brand (MIUSA) Chevrolet Silverado for the 2013 season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The 19-year-old driver from Griffin, Ga. made five selected starts with Eddie Sharp Racing this year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Martinsville Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Homestead-Miami Speedway. The successful relationship resulted in race-by-race progress, including an 11th-place finish at Martinsville in October and a 12th-place effort at Texas. It was this progress that led Eddie Sharp, Gresham, and the Made In USA Brand to continue their growing relationship next season. Gresham said he plans to compete in all 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races next year with Eddie Sharp Racing, including a series-first visit to Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway, a half-mile dirt track in Rossburg, Ohio, as well as the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park road course near Toronto, Canada. Chris Showalter will return as Gresham's crew chief. The team plans to open the season with the NextEra Energy Resources 250 at the Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 22.(ESR/Max Gresham PR)(12-6-2012)

  • Bodine out at Red Horse Racing? UPDATE ride there if sponsorship found: Two-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Todd Bodine appears to be out of a ride at Red Horse Racing. Multiple sources say the team laid-off a number of employees today, with plans to field only two full-time Truck Series Toyotas next season. Bodine, the 2006 and 2010 NCWTS champion, finished 14th in the 2012 championship standings with one win -- at Dover on June 1 -- along with five Top-5 and seven Top-10 finishes. He appears to be the odd-man-out at Red Horse Racing, with his #11 machine set to be parked due to a lack of sponsorship. Peters, who finished second behind champion James Buescher, and John Wes Townley, who brings sponsorship from the family-owned Zaxby's fast food chain, will drive the team's #17 and 7 Toyotas in 2013. Calls to both Bodine and Red Horse Racing seeking comment were not immediately returned.(GodfatherMotorsports.com)(11-26-2012)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Todd Bodine is in familiar territory this off-season -- facing an unsettled 2013. For the second consecutive year, the 48-year-old from Chemung is looking for sponsorship to keep his driving ambitions alive. After earning Truck Series titles in 2006 and 2010 with Germain Racing, Bodine was let go from the team after the 2011 season because of a lack of sponsorship Bodine found a home with the three-truck Red Horse Racing team in 2012 after he secured a sponsor for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. With limited sponsorship, they managed to complete a full season. Now, without a sponsor in place for Red Horse Racing to run a third truck in 2013, Bodine is once again scrambling. Bodine said he's "optimistically hopeful" his wife [Janet] will put a deal together. If she does, Bodine said he will be able to return to the Red Horse team. That is contrary to other reports, which speculated the team would run only two teams -- one for the returning Timothy Peters and the other for self-funded driver John Wes Townley. If we get sponsorship, we are more than welcome to race there," Bodine said. "I'm a Toyota guy, and there are very few Toyota Teams. They are obviously one of the best and they would be more than happy to have me back." Bodine confirmed, though, that the Red Horse team has laid off personnel. Bodine struggled in the series this year with eight non-finishes out of 22 events. He ended up a career-low 14th in the final standings. Bodine had not finished below fourth in the Truck Series standings from 2005 to 2010 before finishing sixth in 2011. Bodine did pick up a win this year, his 22nd in the series, along with five top-five finishes.(Elmira Star-Gazette)(12-6-2012)

  • Richmond Spring Tickets on sale Friday: Tickets for Richmond International Raceway 's April 25-27, 2013, tripleheader weekend go on sale this Friday, December 7. Tickets can be purchased online at www.rir.com or calling 866-455-7223. The Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is set for Saturday, April 27, featuring defending champion Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chesterfield, Virginia's Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and many more. Advance tickets, including seats in Turns 1 and 4, start at $45. The Friday, April 26, ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race features Emporia, Virginia's Elliott Sadler, Brian Vickers, Justin Allgaier, Sam Hornish Jr. and all of your favorite series regulars mixing it up with several NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers running double-duty. Advance tickets for the ToyotaCare 250 start at $30. The three-day spectacle begins Thursday, April 25, with the return of the BLUE OX 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race.(RIR)(12-6-2012)


    News from December 5, 2012

  • Penske offers Tony Stewart Indianapolis 500 ride: UPDATE: If Tony Stewart wants to run the Indianapolis 500 next season, Roger Penske will give him a car. Penske twice Friday night offered Stewart the chance to enter next year's race and insisted he's serious about the opportunity. "Where's Stewart?" Penske asked during his speech accepting the Sprint Cup trophy during NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony. "How about doing the double at Indy this year? You available?" The banquet room at Wynn Las Vegas Resort broke out into laughter, but Penske later insisted he was serious. "If he wants to do the double, I'd put him in it," Penske said. "We've talked about it before. I guess I made it official tonight." Stewart was not immediately available for comment.(in part from the Associated Press)(12-2-2012)
    UPDATE: #14-Tony Stewart has passed up a chance to race for Roger Penske in the Indianapolis 500. The three-time NASCAR champion said Wednesday at the International Motorsports Industry Show that he wouldn't attempt to race in both the Indy 500 and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. Penske extended the invitation last week in Las Vegas while accepting the Sprint Cup trophy. Later, when given the chance to shrug it off as a lighthearted moment with Stewart, Penske insisted he was very serious. There has been a push to get Stewart to race in Indianapolis since Penske made the offer, with Indianapolis Motor Speedway starting an online petition for fans to encourage the driver to accept the ride. The Indiana native twice ran both the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600 on the same day. In 1999, he was ninth at Indy and fourth at Charlotte, and in 2001, he was sixth at Indy and third at Charlotte.(Associated Press)(12-5-2012)

  • NASCAR submits rules package to teams: NASCAR provided teams with the long-awaited rules package for the new car that will debut in the 2013 Daytona 500 in February. The first test with the package, which was distributed Tuesday, will be held Dec. 11-12 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. About 14 drivers so far are on the list to test, but teams will be allowed for this session only to bring in multiple drivers and additional cars to participate. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said there are a few minor things the governing body continues to work on to improve the handling of the cars around each other, but added this basically is the package teams will have for Daytona. "We've told them what splitters and spoilers they'll use," said Pemberton, noting the splitters will have a different shape to improve aerodynamics. "They know what they need for suspensions and stuff like that." Getting the final rules package has been a concern for several team owners. Pemberton said the package was the culmination of more than a year of research and testing to find what will improve cars being able to pass and race better around each other. The front grandstand at Charlotte Motor Speedway will be open and free to the general public.(ESPN)(12-5-2012)

  • Furniture Row Racing to establish own pit crew: Furniture Row Racing has taken another major step in a continuing effort to strengthen its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team. The Denver-based organization, which showcases the #78 Chevy driven by 24-time Cup winner Kurt Busch, announced that it will develop, train and oversee its own over-the-wall pit crew starting with the 2013 season. Furniture Row Racing has been utilizing over-the-wall crews employed and trained by other NASCAR teams, most recently with crewmen from Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR). Mike "Tiny" Houston, a veteran over-the-wall crewman, has been hired as the pit crew coach for Furniture Row Racing. He will oversee and direct the specialized pit crew of six members, who will train at the 32,000-square foot Performance Instruction & Training (PIT) facility in Mooresville, N.C. Houston joins Furniture Row Racing from Hendrick Motorsports where he performed the front-tire carrier duties on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s race car. During his seven-year stint at Hendrick Motorsports, Houston also worked as a front-tire carrier on Jeff Gordon's and Jimmie Johnson's cars.(FRR)(12-5-2012)

  • Michael Waltrip Racing invests in auto research center: The opportunity to be part of the racetrack and automotive-research center being built on the site of Cooper Stadium [in Columbus, OH] was just too tempting for NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip to pass up. Waltrip announced that he and his racing team will be investors in the Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC, being developed on the stadium site. "He had me from racetrack," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said of his initial discussions with Bill Schottenstein, principal of Arshot Investment Corp., developer of the complex. "Having my hands on designing and helping to build a racetrack is very exciting." Waltrip and Schottenstein both declined to say how much the team invested. The SPARC complex will include a half-mile racetrack with 8,500 seats, a 50,000-square-foot office building for the research center, 1,900 parking spaces, a hotel and meeting center, and four or five sites for restaurants or stores along Mound Street. It's unlikely, but possible an actual NASCAR race could take place at SPARC, Waltrip said. Waltrip Racing is based in Cornelius, N.C., and will use SPARC as a satellite operation and test center. Most tracks of the quality of SPARC, Waltrip said, are already connected to an existing NASCAR race, which means teams can't test their cars there. Cooper Stadium closed in 2008, and one of the goals of the new project is to spark the revitalization of the Franklinton area just west of Downtown.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-5-2012)

  • Humpy Wheeler being honored by North Carlina Motorsports Association: The North Carolina Motorsports Association will honor legendary racing promoter H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler with its Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award at the seventh annual North Carolina Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank. The ceremony will take place Jan. 28 at the Embassy Suites Concord. The NCMA Motorsports Industry Awards Ceremony presented by Fifth Third Bank pays tribute to North Carolina's $6 billion motorsports industry. Each year, the Achievement in Motorsports Tribute Award recognizes a person whose contributions to racing have made an immeasurable impact on motorsports in North Carolina. Previous recipients were Benny Parsons, Richard Petty, Richard Childress, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson and O. Bruton Smith. In addition, NCMA presents industry awards to various North Carolina entities that have positively affected the motorsports community within the state. Often referred to as the P.T. Barnum of motorsports, Wheeler is best known for serving as president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway for 33 years, ending in 2008. During his tenure at CMS, his extravagant pre-race ceremonies and dedication to the fan experience were second to none. Under his leadership, the speedway became the first modern superspeedway to host night racing with the NASCAR All-Star race while making the Coca-Cola 600 one of NASCAR's premier events. He also served as president of Speedway Motorsports, Inc., the parent company of CMS.(NCMA)(12-5-2012)

  • Crew member reinstated: NASCAR has reinstated crew member Ryan Hess upon his successful completion of NASCAR's Substance Abuse Policy Road to Recovery Program. Hess had been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR on Aug. 22, 2012 for violating the sanctioning body's substance abuse policy.(NASCAR) Hess was working for MacDonald Motorsports at the time of his suspension.(12-5-2012)

  • Two fans can win spot in All-Star Race commercial: Race fans, now's your chance to join the all-stars! Two lucky fans will win a chance to appear in the new Charlotte Motor Speedway commercial for the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race on May 18, 2013. The commercial, featuring a wild west "Throwdown at Charlotte" theme that reflects the all-guns-blazing racing and exciting action featured in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, will star Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Denny Hamlin, NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and other NASCAR celebrities. Fans that act now and purchase 2013 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race tickets before Dec. 31, 2012, will be automatically entered in the "Join the All-Stars" sweepstakes. Weekend ticket packages start at just $99 and a down payment of just $10 will reserve any All-Star Race ticket. Fans can visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com/allstarextra for details on the sweepstakes, official rules, clips from the 2012 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race commercial, as well as opportunities to purchase tickets.(CMS)(12-5-2012)

  • Gaughan to drive full 2013 NCWTS season for RCR: Brendan Gaughan will reunite with crew chief Shane Wilson to run a full season and compete for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in Richard Childress Racing's #62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado. Driving for RCR in 2012, the Las Vegas native competed in eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races (three top-five and five top-10 finishes) and 10 NASCAR Nationwide Series races. He has competed in six full seasons in the Camping World Truck Series since he made his series debut in 1997. In 195 races, Gaughan has earned eight victories, 67 top-10 finishes and three pole awards. He is also scheduled to run two races on the 2013 Nationwide Series schedule, at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (March 9) and Road America (June 22). Gaughan and Wilson first teamed up in 2000, running four Camping World Truck Series races that year and three more in 2001, earning a third-place finish at Mesa Marin Speedway in Bakersfield, Calif. They ran a full season in 2002, winning both races (June 7 and Sept. 13) at Texas Motor Speedway and finishing 11th in the driver championship point standings. The next year was a breakout season for the duo, winning six races, earning 18 top-10 finishes and three pole awards on the way to a third-place finish in the driver championship point standings. Together they made the move in 2004 to a full season the Sprint Cup Series, earning one top-five and two other top-10 finishes. The #62 South Point Hotel & Casino team will begin the 2013 Camping World Truck Series season with the owner points earned by RCR's #22 entry in 2012.(Richard Childress Racing PR)(12-5-2012)

  • JDM & NTS Motorsports join forces to form three-truck team in 2013: Joe Denette Motorsports is pleased to announce a merger with NTS Motorsports to create a three-truck "powerhouse" for the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. The team will field three full-time NCWTS entries under the NTS Motorsports banner with Ron Hornaday back behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet Silverado and Brennan Newberry continuing in the #14 Chevrolet Silverado. The team will also field the #24 entry full-time with a full driver lineup to be announced at a future date. However, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran, Kevin Harvick will pilot the machine in both Martinsville Speedway events in April and October, respectively. Joe Denette will remain owner of Hornaday's #9 Chevrolet and Bob Newberry will continue as owner of the #14. The two will become co-owners of the #24 entry.
    Veteran Ron Hornaday has inked a two-year contract to remain with the team behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet Silverado. It will mark Hornaday's 14th full season of NCWTS competition. Bruce Cook has been named NTS Motorsports Director of Competition. Cook, who has six NCWTS victories to his credit, including two with Ron Hornaday, will also assume the role of crew chief for Hornaday's #9 machine. Hornaday, a four-time NCWTS champion and the series' most-winning driver, was paired with Cook for four of the final six races of the 2011 season. The duo was able to capture, two wins, one pole and four top-five finishes
    Dan Deeringhoff, who guided Clint Bowyer to a NASCAR Nationwide Series title in 2008, will remain as crew chief for Brennan Newberry on the #14 truck for a second year. Next season will mark Newberry's first full-time NCWTS season. Newberry made his NCWTS debut at Martinsville Speedway in March of 2012 and competed in 10 of the 22 series events in 2012.
    The crew chief for the #24 entry will be determined at a later date. However, the team is already looking forward to having Kevin Harvick behind the wheel at Martinsville Speedway where he has previously led 584 laps en route to three victories and two poles in 15 starts. All three NTS Motorsports teams will utilize ECR Engines for the 2013 season; a move that team officials feel will give them a competitive advantage. NTS Motorsports will operate out of the former Kevin Harvick Inc. shop in Kernersville, North Carolina. Bob Newberry and Wes Furrh jointly purchased the property in November, boasting 70,000 square feet of shop space. The three-team "powerhouse" looks to continue the success in 2013 that KHI produced in the building in previous seasons with two NCWTS championships and 43 series victories. Sponsorship announcements will be forthcoming in the following weeks.(JDM/NTS Motorsports PR)(12-5-2012)

  • Congrats to Joe & Meagan Denette: Joe Denette, owner of Joe Denette Motorsports, and wife Meagan have something to be thankful for tonight [Dec. 4]. The couple welcomed their second child, Brooklyn Paige Denette, to the world via a gestational carrier, Heather Childress, at 5:10 p.m. Brooklyn is 9 pounds, 11 ounces and 21.5 inches.(Joe Denette Motorsports PR)(12-5-2012)


    News from December 4, 2012

  • Mike Ford hired by BK Racing: BK Racing has named Mike Ford director of competition and racing operations. Ford, 42, joins BKR after a successful career as a crew chief with some of NASCAR's most prominent organizations. Team owner Ron Devine believes Ford will be a valuable liaison between BKR and Toyota as the company continues to establish a foothold in the Sprint Cup series. "We are very excited to have Mike Ford join BK Racing," Devine said. "Mike's experience will help take BK's on-track performance to a new level." Ford most recently served as the crew chief for both Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola at Richard Petty Motorsports. BKR is still working on finalizing both its driver and crew chief lineup. Announcements are expected later this month.(Fox Sports)(12-4-2012)

  • New ownership for Inception Motorsports: A new NASCAR team, Swan Racing, will take the track at Daytona International Speedway in February 2013. Led by NASCAR's newest team owner, Brandon Davis, Swan Racing will compete fulltime in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, racing the #30 Toyota driven by David Stremme. Davis, CEO of independent oil and gas company Swan Energy Inc., and a dirt-modified driver in the United States Modified Touring Series (USMTS) purchased the assets of Inception Racing earlier this year. "Swan Racing is here to race competitively every week  the days of starting and parking are over. I am confident that we are putting together the personnel to one day produce a championship contender," said Davis. Davis has tapped Steve Hmiel to be Swan Racing's director of competition. Hmiel is a veteran of the NASCAR garage area with over 35 years of experience as a crew chief, car chief and competition director. Swan Racing is located in Mooresville, N.C., and will get its horsepower from Triad Racing Technologies, a top engine builder. Swan Energy will be the primary sponsor on the #30 Toyota. Discussions with additional sponsors are underway and further sponsor announcements are expected early in 2013.(Swan Racing)(12-4-2012)

  • Penske's Indy 500 offer drawing interest: [Roger] Penske is crafty, and he loves IndyCar, so he managed to turn the talk to his beloved Indianapolis 500 before the [Spring Cup Awards banquet] night was over by offering three-time NASCAR champion #14-Tony Stewart the chance to drive for him next May. Although Stewart has yet to publicly respond to Penske's offer, Indianapolis Motor Speedway started an online petition where fans can encourage the two-time Brickyard 400 winner to accept the ride. Should Stewart pass, drivers were using Twitter on Monday to inform Penske they wanted the seat. Among them were Chip Ganassi Racing development driver Kyle Larson, Conor Daly, who spent this year in Formula One support series GP3, and NASCAR driver #55-Brian Vickers, who tried to put together an Indy 500 deal last May but was stymied by IndyCar's engine shortage. "I'm serious about Indy. Would do it in a heartbeat, was not just tweeting to be funny," Vickers said Monday. And broadcast partner ABC seemed amenable to discussions with IMS about moving up the start time of the 500 to accommodate Stewart (or Vickers or Casey Mears or AJ Allmendinger or Danica Patrick or Sam Hornish Jr. - because there's a list of NASCAR drivers with open-wheel experience who could theoretically now be thinking about trying to run both the IndyCar race and NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600). "ABC/ESPN would enthusiastically support the opportunity for said driver(s) to participate in both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. We have strong partnerships with the league and speedway," said Julie Sobieski, ESPN vice president, programming & acquisitions. IMS has not said if it's willing to move its start time, and the Indy 500 is a strong enough race that it doesn't need this additional buzz.(Associated Press)(12-4-2012)

  • Harvick still not confirming move to Stewart-Haas:Kevin Harvick won't confirm that he will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2014, but he did confirm last week in Las Vegas that he is preparing for his departure from Richard Childress Racing after next season. Harvick said he already has talked to Matt Kenseth about how to handle such a situation  Harvick is expected to run his final season for RCR next year, and all signs point to him driving for Tony Stewart beginning in 2014. Harvick has not denied reports that he will move to Stewart's team starting in 2014, and team owner Richard Childress has already acknowledged that Harvick will be moving on. "You look at a lot of situations that are around you that you can kind of take advice from people and things and just try to do the best that you can," Harvick said at the Sprint Cup Awards banquet in Las Vegas last week. Everybody wants to know what's going on or what's going to happen or how it is going to work and we want to tell everybody, & but we're just not in a position.(Sporting News)(12-3-2012)

  • Auto Racing the favorite sport of few Americans: What do auto racing, soccer, tennis and golf have in common? All received less than 5 percent in a recent poll asking Americans to name their favorite sport. A Rasmussen Reports poll released Sunday found that football, not surprisingly, was far and away the national pastime in the United States (53 percent said it was their No. 1 sport to follow). Baseball was a distant second with 16 percent. Basketball (11 percent) and hockey (6 percent) were next, but none of the other sports reached the 5 percent mark. The poll did not specifically name the percentage for auto racing but mentioned it along with soccer, golf and tennis.(SB Nation), NASCAR was not a specific option in the questions, just the general term of auto racing.(12-4-2012)

  • Toyota sponsoring spring Richmond races: Buckling up for two days of NASCAR excitement, Toyota and Richmond International Raceway announced multi-year race entitlements, beginning with the April 26-27, 2013 doubleheader weekend at America's Premier Short Track. The weekend features the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. "This partnership allows us to align with a premium brand that has been supporting NASCAR for nearly a decade," said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. "These multi-year entitlements will allow Richmond International Raceway to continue delivering the high-quality events our fans have enjoyed for 60 years. To put on these NASCAR spectacles, we require two core ingredients: the fans and the sponsors  both of which drive our business and allow us to provide top-notch events." Toyota has a rich history at Richmond International Raceway. The auto manufacturer has seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (Kyle Busch, four; Denny Hamlin, two; Clint Bowyer, one) and five NASCAR Nationwide Series top finishes (Kyle Busch, two; Denny Hamlin, two; Kurt Busch, one), and has served as the Official Pace Car at RIR.(RIR)(12-4-2012)

  • 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Top Performances: For seven consecutive seasons, from 2004 through 2010, the man who raised the championship trophy at season's end had already celebrated his 40th birthday. But last year, Austin Dillon continued his meteoric ascent to stardom, becoming the series' youngest champion at the age of 21 years, six months and 22 days. Graduating to the NASCAR Nationwide Series this season, Dillon ran away with the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honor. And 2012? This season's follow-up to a 2011 youth movement was yet another one -- this one even more pronounced. James Buescher won the title at the age of 22 years, seven months and 21 days -- the second-youngest champion in series history. Buescher battled Austin's younger brother, Ty, throughout the 2012 campaign. Ty Dillon, 20 years of age, finished fourth in the series. In fact, four of the top five final points finishers -- Buescher, Dillon, Joey Coulter and Parker Kligerman -- have yet to turn 23. The youth movement continues. As is always the case in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, there were some outstanding performances and spectacular highlights that took place during the recently completed 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck season. The following is a look back at some of those standout performers and memorable races.
    Top Drivers
    James Buescher -- The Lone Star State rocked, as Buescher became the first Texan to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. A winner of a series-high four races, Buescher especially excelled on the intermediate tracks. All four of his wins, including a sweep of Kentucky Speedway, came at 1.5-mile venues. This season was one of retribution for Buescher. In 2011, he failed to qualify at Phoenix, the second race of the season. Though finishing third in points, the Phoenix setback spoiled a campaign that otherwise saw Buescher chip in one championship-worthy performance after another. This season, however, he started all 22 races, stationed in the top five points for 20 of them.
    Timothy Peters (Honorable Mention) -- Peters, the oldest member of the final top five at only 32 years of age, was the picture of consistency during the 2012 season. Peters, who finished second in the championship points and never fell out of the top three, tallied two wins, 10 top fives and 16 top 10s. His personal highlight of the 2012 season came at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he turned in one of the most dominating performances in the last 15 years. There, he led all 204 laps, becoming the first driver to lead every single lap in the truck series since Ron Hornaday Jr. did it in 1997.
    Comeback Driver of the Year
    Justin Lofton -- Lofton personified the "sophomore slump" phenomenon in 2011. After a solid 2010 rookie season where he scored four top fives and eight top 10s en route to a 12th place points finish, Lofton failed to score a single top-five in 2011. There was little reason to believe he'd be a factor in 2012. He shirked those beliefs, big time. Driving for Eddie Sharp Racing, Lofton captured his first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Charlotte and finished eighth in points. Scoring a career-high 13 top 10s, Lofton also won his first Keystone Pole Award, at Chicagoland Speedway.
    Top Team
    Red Horse Racing -- It's rare that the championship winning team wouldn't also win the "Top Team" award in a rundown like this, but there's good reason to give it to Red Horse Racing. Actually, there are four good reasons: Timothy Peters, Parker Kligerman, John King and Todd Bodine. All four drivers, who strapped in for owner Tom DeLoach this season, and won at least one race. That's never happened in this 18-year history of the series. Better yet, the team had two legitimate championship threats in Peters and Kligerman, who finished second and fifth, respectively.
    Turner Motorsports (Honorable Mention) -- The championship winning team won a series-high seven races in 2012, with three different drivers. Champion James Buescher won four, Nelson Piquet Jr. won two and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kasey Kahne won the inaugural series race at Rockingham Speedway. Team owner Steve Turner accomplished all of that after coming into the 2012 season without a single victory to his credit.
    Top Breakthrough Performance
    Ty Dillon -- Talk about pressure. For his rookie season, Dillon was stepping into a truck owned by his grandfather (Richard Childress) that just won the championship with his brother Austin driving, and was sporting one the sport's most iconic numbers -- the #3. So, it would be understandable if there were some rookie jitters. There weren't any. At all. He opened up the season with nine consecutive top-10 finishes, and eventually took the points lead after race #15. He nabbed his first series win -- at Atlanta -- and threatened to become the first driver in series history to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year and the championship in the same season. He came close, but a late-race wreck in the season-finale crushed any hopes of a title. Still, he did win rookie honors, easily.
    Parker Kligerman (Honorable Mention) -- Few handled adversity with the type of determination that Kligerman showed in 2012. After losing his ride with Brad Keselowski Racing midseason, Tom DeLoach offered Kligerman a job at his Red Horse Racing organization. Kligerman made DeLoach look smart, scoring eight top 10s in 11 starts including his first win (Talladega) and a fifth-place points finish.
    Top Races
    Ford EcoBoost 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Nov. 16) -- Five drivers entered the season finale with a mathematical chance at winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. James Buescher ended the night as champion  but it was far from a sure thing throughout the race. Ty Dillon posed the biggest threat, but his hopes evaporated after colliding with NASCAR Drive for Diversity product Kyle Larson for the lead with less than 10 laps remaining. Larson led the most laps in the event, with Cale Gale capturing his first series victory. Gale became the 16th different winner and ninth different first-time winner of the season, both series records.
    American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway (Sept. 15)  Iowa Speedway has quickly developed the reputation of providing unmatched entertainment and drama when hosting NASCAR national series event. This one was no different. The race was a battle of young guns, as Parker Kligerman and Ryan Blaney proved to be the class of the field. Kligerman led the most laps, but his hopes for a first win were dashed after a late race spin. Blaney went onto became the youngest winner in series history at 18 years, eight months and 15 days in only his third career race.(NASCAR IMC)(12-4-2012)

  • Ty Dillon, Ryan Blaney among candidates for ESPN's "NEXT" Class: Every year since 1998, ESPN The Magazine has recognized an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead -- athletes the magazine calls NEXT. They are competitors not only on the cusp of stardom, but on the verge of transcending their sports. NEXT is what happens when the hype is real. 2012 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie-of-the-Year winner, Ty Dillon and Ryan Blaney are among the nominees. To be selected for the newest NEXT class, the drivers must win a vote against four other drivers from various disciplines. The five candidates are; Ty Dillon, Khalid alBalooshi, Ryan Blaney, Conor Daly, and Corey LaJoie. The magazine will also select winners from the categories of action sports, baseball, basketball, fighting, football, golf, hockey, the Olympics, soccer, and tennis.(ESPN The Magazine)(12-4-2012)

  • Toyota sponsoring spring Richmond races: Buckling up for two days of NASCAR excitement, Toyota and Richmond International Raceway announced multi-year race entitlements, beginning with the April 26-27, 2013 doubleheader weekend at America's Premier Short Track. The weekend features the Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and the ToyotaCare 250 NASCAR Nationwide Series race. "This partnership allows us to align with a premium brand that has been supporting NASCAR for nearly a decade," said RIR President Dennis Bickmeier. "These multi-year entitlements will allow Richmond International Raceway to continue delivering the high-quality events our fans have enjoyed for 60 years. To put on these NASCAR spectacles, we require two core ingredients: the fans and the sponsors  both of which drive our business and allow us to provide top-notch events." Toyota has a rich history at Richmond International Raceway. The auto manufacturer has seven NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins (Kyle Busch, four; Denny Hamlin, two; Clint Bowyer, one) and five NASCAR Nationwide Series top finishes (Kyle Busch, two; Denny Hamlin, two; Kurt Busch, one), and has served as the Official Pace Car at RIR.(RIR)(12-4-2012)


    News from December 3, 2012

  • Jones wins the Snowball Derby: 16-year-old Erik Jones won the 45th annual Snowball Derby, in part by besting NASCAR star Kyle Busch at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL. Jones became the second consecutive 16 year old to win America's most prestigious short-track race, a year after Chase Elliott became the event's youngest winner. Jeff Choquette finished 2nd followed by Kyle Busch, Jeff Fultz and Chase Elliott. More info at snowballderby.com and 51sports.com.(12-3-2012)

  • Foundation to honor Guthrie: Janet Guthrie will be honored at the 10th Women in the Winner's Circle Awards Celebration Dec. 7 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. Guthrie, who in 1977 became the first woman to start in the Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500, will be presented the Mildred Marcum Pioneer award. Her ninth-place finish in the 1978 Indianapolis 500, with a team she formed and managed, was the best by a woman until 2005. In 1980, she was inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2006. The Women in the Winner's Circle Celebration is the foundation's major fundraiser, celebrating the success of women in racing. For information and reservations, visit www.lynstjames.com.(indycar.com)(12-3-2012)

  • NASCAR penalizes #57 team for Talladega infraction: UPDATE Appeal results and statement: NASCAR has penalized the #57 team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series as a result of rule infractions discovered during opening day inspection last Thursday, Oct. 4 at Talladega Superspeedway. The #57 truck was found to be in violation of Sections 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J (any determination by NASCAR Officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20B of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the Event); Section 20B-2.3A: (any weight added to the truck must be bolted inside the body shell in an approved weight container and in a position acceptable to NASCAR Officials: Improperly attached weight to the truck bed cover) of the 2012 NASCAR rule book. As a result, crew chief Ted Walters has been fined $5,000, and placed on NASCAR probation until Dec. 31.(NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)(10-9-2012)
    UPDATE: On Dec. 3, 2012, the Chief Appellate Officer heard and considered the appeal of the penalties of the No. 57 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team. The penalties concern Sections 12-1: (Actions detrimental to stock car racing); 12-4J: (Any determination by NASCAR officials that race equipment used in the event does not conform to NASCAR rules detailed in Section 20B of the NASCAR Rule Book, or has not been approved by NASCAR prior to the event); and 20B-2.3A (Any weight added to the truck must be bolted inside the body shell in an approved weight container and in a position acceptable to NASCAR officials  improperly attached weight to the truck bed cover) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book. The penalties stemmed from a failed opening-day inspection in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event at Talladega Superspeedway on Thursday, Oct. 4. The results of the appeal hearing were as follows: upholding the NASCAR probation of crew chief Ted Walters until Dec. 3; reducing the fine of crew chief Ted Walters from $5,000 to $1,000.(NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)(12-3-2012)

  • Paludo returning to Turner Motorsports in 2013: Turner Motorsports and Miguel Paludo announced today that the top-tier NASCAR team and the rising Brazilian talent will extend their partnership in 2013. Paludo, who joined the championship-winning team in 2012, will compete full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series next season. Paludo will return to the seat of the #32 Chevrolet Silverado with sponsorship from long-time partner Duroline Brakes and Components, along with additional marketing partners to be announced at a later date. Crew chief Jeff Hensley will continue to lead the team from atop the pit box. A two-time champion in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Brasil (2008, 2009), Paludo made his NASCAR debut in 2010 with a partial NCWTS schedule before joining the full-time ranks in 2011. Paludo has made 51 starts in the Truck Series, accumulating four top-fives, 14 top-10s, one pole and a best finish of third (Michigan International Speedway, August 2011). Paludo also made history in the 2012 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway by becoming the first Brazilian driver to win a pole in one of NASCAR's top-three series. Paludo concluded the 2012 season 10th in the NCWTS point standings, his best points finish in two full-time seasons of Truck Series competition.(Turner Motorsports PR)(12-3-2012)


    News from December 2, 2012

    >

    Penske offers Tony Stewart Indianapolis 500 ride: If Tony Stewart wants to run the Indianapolis 500 next season, Roger Penske will give him a car. Penske twice Friday night offered Stewart the chance to enter next year's race and insisted he's serious about the opportunity. "Where's Stewart?" Penske asked during his speech accepting the Sprint Cup trophy during NASCAR's season-ending awards ceremony. "How about doing the double at Indy this year? You available?" The banquet room at Wynn Las Vegas Resort broke out into laughter, but Penske later insisted he was serious. "If he wants to do the double, I'd put him in it," Penske said. "We've talked about it before. I guess I made it official tonight." Stewart was not immediately available for comment.(in part from the Associated Press)(12-2-2012)

  • Keselowski staying with long-term Penske deal: After #2-Brad Keselowski had such a strong season in 2011, he signed a contract extension with Penske Racing that was termed a multiple-year agreement. His 2012 Sprint Cup championship so far hasn't resulted in anything new or different. Keselowski said that increasing the length of his contract hasn't been discussed in the weeks following his championship run. "I've got plenty of years left on my current one," Keselowski said, while not revealing how long his current contract is for. "So there's no reason to rush into it. I think we all just want to enjoy what we've got right now." Team owner Roger Penske also said there was no urgency. It is believed that Keselowski's deal is through at least 2014 or 2015. "We have a long-term agreement," Penske said. "We have options. As long as you're successful, I don't think you need a contract." Crew chief Paul Wolfe also signed a multiyear deal after last season.(Sporting News)(12-2-2012)

  • Hamlin Lobbied for Kenseth: #11-Denny Hamlin believes Matt Kenseth will be a perfect fit for Joe Gibbs Racing, and he made his feelings known when Kenseth started discussions with the organization. JGR announced in early September that Kenseth would drive the #20 Toyota for the organization next year. Roughly two months earlier, Roush Fenway Racing had reveled Kenseth would be leaving after 13 seasons of full-time Sprint Cup racing for that organization. "I was one that definitely pushed for Matt to come over to Gibbs, and I just think that he's really going to mesh well with me and Kyle (Busch)," Hamlin said. "I know that Kyle does a lot of short-track racing with Matt's son (Ross Kenseth), and I know that me and Matt have very similar driving styles on the race track. I look forward to that communication and just hearing about how he did things versus how we do things, and, really, that's what makes teams stronger. When Kyle came over in 2008, it was that drive that kind of pushed me to that next level --having someone come over and push you to be better. I think it's going to be no different with Matt."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-2-2012)

  • Burton and Childress to unveil 2013 scheme UPDATE: Jeff Burton and team owner Richard Childress will unveil the 2013 #31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS on Wednesday, December 5 at the new Caterpillar Visitors Center located behind Caterpillar world headquarters in downtown Peoria, Ill. "Caterpillar has invited Richard (Childress) and I to tour their new world-class Visitors Center and we are encouraging NASCAR fans to come visit too," said Jeff Burton. "We are bringing the #31 hauler for fans to tour and unveiling the new 2013 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS that I will be driving next season. I think fans are really going to like the look of the new car." Burton and Childress will take part in an autograph session 5 to 7 p.m. Central Time and everyone attending the event will receive a 2013 Sprint Cup Series schedule poster. The Richard Childress Racing #31 team hauler will be on display for fans to tour throughout the day beginning at 10 am.(more info at RCR)(11-21-2012)
    UPDATE: At the 2012 PRI Trade show we finally got to see what the Chevrolet's 2013 Cup car was going to look like! Thursday morning the folks in the Automotive Racing Products booth teamed with Richard Childress Racing to unveil Jeff Burton's 2013 Caterpillar sponsored Chevrolet Sprint Cup car.(One Dirt), see images of the car on the #31 Team Schemes page.(12-2-2012)

  • Lorri Shealy Unumb Captures 2nd Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award: During Friday night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas  the official coronation of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski  Lesa France Kennedy, daughter of Betty Jane France and vice chair and executive vice president of NASCAR, named Lorri Shealy Unumb, creator of "Ryan's Law", the official winner of the second annual, Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. See full post and more info on the 2013 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award on my NASCAR Racing Charities page.(12-2-2012)

  • Truex talks about hurricane Sandy and his foundation: New Jersey native Martin Truex Jr. and his family were lucky. When hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in late October, the Truex home avoided major damage, but those living close by weren't as fortunate. "My family made out very well for the situation and the area that they are in," Truex said Thursday before leaving for the NASCAR Victory Lap on the Las Vegas Strip. "They're a mile from people that lost their homes and had serious flooding and a really bad time with it. We were very fortunate that all of my close friends and family didn't have any major problems, which is great. But, at the same time a lot of people in the community are struggling. Lost houses and things and places where I grew up going to, like the Jersey shore, right there is just in shambles. We're trying to do all we can to help. My foundation set up a fund, and we've raised I think over $150,000 up to this week, and we're starting to disperse those funds to families and help people that really need it."
    Given his non-stop late-season schedule, Truex hasn't had a chance to visit his home state since the hurricane, but his charitable work has arrived ahead of him. "We took a truck load of supplies up there two weeks ago, I think, and we're getting ready to do another one. Just trying to help as much as we can, giving back and trying to get those people on their feet, because it was a tough time for them. No, I haven't been back, and I won't be probably until Christmas. That will be really our first time. We've been so busy it's been hard to get away."(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-2-2012)


    News from December 1, 2012

  • Brad Keselowski honored as the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ: #2-Brad Keselowski was officially honored as the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion during Friday night's awards banquet at the Wynn Las Vegas. The evening capped a week long of festivities during Champion's Week in Las Vegas that commemorated the Sprint Cup Series season and culminated with Friday's traditional series banquet. Keselowski, owner Roger Penske, Penske Racing president, crew chief Paul Wolfe and other members of the organization were celebrated as the title winning team at the gala event where they took home over $5 million. "I feel like a lottery winner," Keselowski said. "My tickets are Paul Wolfe, Roger Penske and everyone on the #2 team. I'm a lottery winner with all of you. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about that." Each driver in the top 10 addressed the crowd leading up to Keselowski's moment in the spotlight, which was tempered a bit by an illness and a slight loss of voice. Train, Lifehouse, Natasha Bedingfield, Phillip Phillips and performers from The Beatles LOVE all took the stage during the night's program, which was hosted by comedian Howie Mandel. After the banquet the champions moved the celebration to the adjacent Encore hotel/casino. See full article at the Motor Racing Network; others at USA Today, NASCAR.com and RacinToday.(12-1-2012)

  • Brad's big beer glass up for auction to help charity: In honor of Brad Keselowski's first NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship in the Miller Lite #2 car, Miller Lite is auctioning off a one-of-a-kind Miller Time Sprint Cup Championship Commemorative Glass signed by the #2 Miller Lite Racing crew, Brad Keselowski and Roger Penske. The signed Miller Time Championship Commemorative pilsner glass is the same style that Brad celebrated with in Victory Lane at Homestead. 100% of the proceeds of the eBay auction will benefit Brad's Checkered Flag Foundation which supports military members, veterans, first-responders and their families. More info on my NASCAR Racing Charity page.(12-1-2012)

  • 2012 Stewie Awards: Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart and Matt Yocum hosted the 6th Annual Stewie Awards live from the Cabo Wabo Cantina at the Miracle Mile Shops on the Las Vegas Strip on Thu., Nov. 29. The annual highlight of NASCAR Champions Week honored the best, boldest and funniest moments from the NASCAR season. The Stewie Awards featured live interviews with several of Stewart's competitors in this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, plus other special guests. Fan votes helped determine the Stewie Award winners.
    During the show, Tony and Matt also presented the special Golden Stewie Award to Dr. Dick Berggren and the Lifetime Achievement Award to Bob Jenkins.
    The award recipients:
    Best Original Drama: Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson
    Bonehead Move of the Year Award: Danica Patrick
    "Feels Like The First Time" Award: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Best Vocal Performance: Tony Stewart
    Best "Driver2Crew Chatter": Carl Edwards
    Best Original Comedy: Matt Kenseth
    Hal Needham Award (Best Stunt Sequence): Juan Pablo Montoya (jet dryer)
    'Boys, Have At It" Award: Jeff Gordon vs. Clint Bowyer
    The Social Stewie Award: Matt Kenseth
    See images at siriusxm.com/stewieawards.(SiriusXM and explanations of the awards at the Charlotte Observer)(12-1-2012)

  • Keselowski in ESPN The Magazine's "Interview" Issue: New NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski is among the sports newsmakers featured in ESPN The Magazine's "Interview" issue, which hits newsstands on Friday, November 30. Brad Keselowski was interviewed by Ryan McGee, see the article at ESPN.com.(ESPN)(12-1-2012)

  • Earnhardt Regrets Hiding Injury: In part, the 2012 Cup season will be remembered for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s exit from the #88 Chevy because of a concussion. In retrospect, Earnhardt regrets not taking a hiatus from competition sooner than he did. On Aug. 29, during a tire test at Kansas, Earnhardt sustained a concussion in a hard crash. He knew he was hurt but decided to keep the severity of his injury to himself. A subsequent crash at Talladega caused a second concussion and forced Earnhardt from the car for two races. "I think I should have taken the first concussion more seriously," Earnhardt said Thursday, after being honored as the sport's most popular driver for the 10th straight year. "I think I should have been smarter about it the first time, when we crashed at Kansas. I didn't feel good, and I started getting nauseous after that. I knew right then, for damn sure, that I had a really bad concussion. I wish I would have taken that more seriously. I don't know if it would have changed anything. It's a tough decision to make, going into the Chase. I'd dealt with concussions before, and I thought that I'd just drive through it, and it's be over in a couple of weeks&But I wasn't lucky enough to avoid another accident, so I feel foolish in that regard, that I was careless." Missing two races cost Earnhardt any possibility of winning his first championship and dropped him to 12th in the final standings.(NASCAR Wire Service)(12-1-2012)

  • Mayfield's house, land taken by mortgage company: The Catawba County Sheriff's Office served an order of possession on the former home and land of ex-NASCAR driver Jeremy Mayfield on Wednesday. Sheriff's Sgt. Kerry Hayer said officers went to Mayfield's unfinished house at 6397 Hudson Chapel Road in Catawba and changed the exterior locks on the property. In addition to the house and its surrounding land, the order of possession directed the transfer of the land and buildings Mayfield owned at 6395 Hudson Chapel Road and 1877 Bolton Road to Carolina Farm Credit.(more at the Hickory Record)(12-1-2012)

  • Snowball Derby this weekend...some notes/links: It has been documented that the Snowball Derby is the Daytona 500 of the short track world. That can also be said for those who run the weekly divisions at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida. The Snowball Derby is their big stage and each year the Bombers, Sportsmen, Super Stocks and Modifieds entertain the thousands that migrate to the Pine Forest Road half-mile each year after Thanksgiving.
    The 45th Annual Snowball Derby kicks off on Wednesday, November 28th with the Green Flag Party. As the teams unload and begin the tech process, fans from 5pm to 9pm CT can meet the drivers and see the cars that will compete during Snowball Derby weekend. The first on-track activity comes on Thursday, as practice for the Super and Pro Late Models commences. Later that evening, qualifying and feature action for the Five Flags Speedway Bomber and Sportsmen divisions will take place.
    On Friday, November 30th, it's WXBM Pole Night, as the top 30 in Snowball Derby qualifying will be locked into Sunday's 300-lap feature. On Saturday, December 1st, it's the Allen Turner Snowflake 100 time trials, last-chance qualifying race. Finally, the 45th Annual Snowball Derby will then go green on Sunday, December 2nd at Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, FL.
    Drivers: some notable drivers with NASCAR connections include: Kyle Busch, David Ragan, Landon Cassill, Steve Wallace, Cale Gale, Nelson Piquet, Jr., Johanna Long, Ross Kenseth, Chase Elliott [last years winner], John Hunter Nemechek, Erik Darnell, Mike Garvey, Grant Enfinger, Bubba Pollard and Jeff Fultz.
    More info at 5flagsspeedway.com or snowballderby.com.(11-26-2012)
    UPDATE: David Ragan qualified for the pole for the Snowball Derby, John Hunter Nemechek starts 2nd.(51sports.com)(12-1-2012)

  • Watkins Glen International Tickets on Sale December 3: Tickets for the 2013 season at Watkins Glen International go on sale Monday, December 3. Fans can take advantage and save when purchasing WGI tickets during the advance sales period, ending Opening Weekend, April 21-22. The advance sales period for the Finger Lakes Wine Festival presented by Yancey's Fancy New York's Artisan Cheese continues through June 24. Purchase tickets by calling 866.461.RACE or by visiting www.TheGlen.com. Tickets are also available at The Shop, The Glen's Official Retail Shop, located at 2 North Franklin Street, Watkins Glen. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.  5:00 p.m. Fans who visit The Glen's official website to make a purchase will enjoy a new streamlined site to select their campsites and seats for every event from Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen (June 28-30) to the Glenora Wine Cellars U.S. Vintage Grand Prix presented by Welliver (September 6-8).
    Tickets for Watkins Glen International's season are on sale December 3 and available at www.TheGlen.com and by calling 866.461.RACE. Gift certificates, tickets, track merchandise and Thunder Road Tours are available at The Shop. The Shop is open Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.  5 p.m. (WGI)(12-1-2012)


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23 Kurt Umscheid, Jenny Markle, Richie Evans, Buckshot Jones, Larry Wallace

25 Ernie Elliott, Bill 'the Hat Man' Brodrick, Kelly Punch, Shelby Howard, Jerry Hill, Tommy Britt, Frank Bonsignore

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