January 2016 NASCAR News Archive

contains NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, XFINITY Series,
Camping World Truck Series and Racetrack news for the month

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    News from January 31, 2016

  • Even 15 wins and a title won't make Stewart reconsider retirement: Tony Stewart isn't anticipating a dream season in his final tour of the Sprint Cup circuit. And if it materializes, the three-time champion isn't sticking around NASCAR anyway. The Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and driver said even the most successful campaign of his 18-season career won't cause him to reverse course on exiting the #14 Chevy after the 2016 season. "The reason I'm retiring is not performance based, but when you go into your last season, you hope you go out on top," Stewart said last week during the preseason Media Tour. "Whether the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, you want to finish on top. That's the way every athlete wants to finish. If we went out there and won 15 races and won the championship, it would not make me go, 'Man, I want to come back next year.' It'd be like, 'That's the way I want to go out. I'll take that.' When (the 2016 season is over), no matter how the year went, it's done. If it's a terrible year, I'm not going to say that defined my career. The stats will show what we did over 18 years. I think no matter how the season goes, I'm going to be able to say I had a successful run in the Sprint Cup Series." Stewart has 48 victories on NASCAR's premier circuit but none since Dover International Speedway in June 2013.(full article at NBC Sports)(1-31-2016)

  • Members of SHR help out family of stricken crewman: The family of a Stewart-Haas Racing team member who suffered a stroke on New Year's Day is getting a helping hand from fellow team members with the Kannapolis, NC based organization. Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic for SHR and second gas man for #10-Danica Patrick last season, was left with paralysis on his left side in the wake of his medical emergency. As of a week ago, Huntley was still not walking, nor able to use his left arm and hand. Members of SHR spent their Saturday providing assistance to Huntley's family as they move into a new home.(FoxSports)(1-31-2016)

  • Military Appreciation Program Returns to Richmond: The men and women of the United States Military are some of the most caring and selfless people out there. It takes a special person to lay their life on the line in order for others to stay safe and live free. We can enjoy the freedom of attending races and cheering on our favorite drivers because of these men and women. Richmond International Raceway is continuing to show our appreciation for these men and women, and their families by partnering with Navy Federal Credit Union to bring the Military Appreciation Program back for the 2016 April weekend. Any current or former military members are invited to participate in the program. For NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, military members, veterans and their families will receive a complimentary Pre-Race Pit Pass and admission to the Military Hospitality area presented by Navy Federal Credit Union with each ticket bought. For NASCAR XFINITY Series races, service men and women can purchase a $10 General Admission ticket. And, kids 12 & younger are admitted FREE in General Admission areas to all NASCAR XFINITY Series races.
    This is a new partnership between RIR and Navy Federal. Dedicated to serving military members and their families, Navy Federal is focused on supporting them in every area of their life. A company that started in 1933 with seven members has grown to include over 5 million members. With an already strong desire to honor service men and women, Navy Federal has taken their support to another level with the help of RIR. Tickets for the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 and the ToyotaCare 250 go on sale January 15. Visit rir.com or call 866-455-7223 to purchase.(RIR)(1-31-2016)

  • Race fans can take Metrolink FREE to Auto Club Speedway: Race fans can take Metrolink FREE to Auto Club Speedway's Auto Club 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on March 20, 2016. The FREE train ride will be offered to a limited number of race fans with the support of Clean Transportation Funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC). After the limited number of FREE tickets are depleted, race fans will once again be able to purchase the discounted $19 round trip train tickets. Riders, however, must sign up in advance at autoclubspeedway.com/metrolink. Like last year, Metrolink will operate three trains originating from Oxnard, Lancaster and Oceanside with limited stops in between for faster service. Train routes, stops and more info at autoclubspeedway.com. Metrolink's Speedway trains stop at a specially constructed station just off the back straight-away at the race track. From there, passengers will board a free tram that takes them to the entrance gates. Trains depart Auto Club Speedway one hour after the end of the race, or checkered flag. The Auto Club Speedway Metrolink Train Service is a joint demonstration project made possible in part by Clean Transportation Funding from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC). The MSRC's mission is to fund projects that reduce air pollution to meet the region's clean air goals. Over its 22-year history, the MSRC has assisted organizations throughout the Southland in removing as much as 8,000 tons of harmful pollutants from the air through innovative programs designed to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. The primary focus of the MSRC is to reduce air pollution from mobile sources. The partnership between the MSRC, Metrolink and the Auto Club 400 does exactly that. This effort helps advance the MSRC's mission to reduce harmful emissions from mobile sources and provides a stress-free option for race fans to get to the California freeway by avoiding traffic delays. To purchase race and train tickets or for information on the Auto Club Speedway train schedule, call Auto Club Speedway at (800) 944-RACE (7223), log on to www.autoclubspeedway.com or visit the Auto Club Speedway Ticket Office.(ACS)(1-31-2016)


    News from January 30, 2016

  • NASCAR, Sprint Cup teams meet on charters; sides 'close' to deal: NASCAR officials and Sprint Cup car owners have been meeting this week, moving closer to resolution on a new charter system intended to guarantee financial stability and security to teams. A source who was present for a meeting Friday said that no deal had been signed, but that the sides were "close." The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the talks. Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal tweeted that the system was likely to be unveiled in two weeks, which would point to an announcement during Speedweeks. NASCAR teams will arrive Feb. 11 at the Daytona International Speedway garage in preparation for the Feb. 21 season-opening Daytona 500. Stern also tweeted the charter system deal would be for five years with a four-year option. Asked for comment, NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a release: "NASCAR and NASCAR Sprint Cup team owners have continued to make progress in our discussions. There still is work to be done, but we remain very optimistic that we'll have agreements completed prior to the start of the 2016 season." Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance consortium that has been brokering the deal on behalf of the owners, also tweeted he felt positive about negotiations.(NBC Sports)(1-30-2016)

  • Rule change for pit road - wrench color: This is not a ground breaking rule changes but its something that NASCAR wants to see changed. Starting next year, all track bar and wedge wrenches will need be yellow. We don't know for sure but we're guessing that it has something to do with being able to see it with the video cameras that NASCAR implemented last year. Once again, that is just a guess as to why they want them all the same color but for years teams have had all kinds of colors on their wrenches. In some cases it was to help the carriers know which wrench was a right side wrench vs. left or even to help determine if it was their track bar wrench vs. wedge wrench. Either way, teams will now all have the same looking wrench for the races. The actual rule book reads as such: 21.2.5 Wrenches a. Wrenches used to manually adjust the track bar and/or left and right side rear jack screw during a pit stop must be painted bright yellow.(Pit Talks)(1-30-2016)

  • Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 28th class of inductees: The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA) announced its 28th class of inductees at Daytona International Speedway, continuing a long-standing tradition of honoring legendary figures from a wide variety of racing disciplines.
    The seven-person class of 2016 inductees: Everett Brashear, Richard Childress, Gary Gabelich, Chip Ganassi, Dave McClelland, Sam Posey and Bob Sweikert. Collectively, the illustrious group represents motorcycles, stock cars, sports cars, land speed records, drag boat records, drag racing and open-wheel racing. They will be enshrined at the 28th Annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone on the evening of June 29 at Daytona International Speedway, the new home of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. Friday's announcement was made in the Daytona International Speedway media center as part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, with domestic and international media in attendance. The MSHFA has previously inducted 223 motorsports luminaries; inductees are selected by a 200-person voting panel that includes past racing greats Mario Andretti, Craig Breedlove, Don Emde, Don Garlits and Richard Petty. Tickets for the 2016 Induction Ceremony can be purchased by calling 248.349.7223 or through the MSHFA website at www.mshf.com.(MSHFA)(1-30-2016)

  • Legge would consider a NASCAR ride: Katherine Legge has never given up on the idea of driving for a front-line team that's built to win now rather than develop a concept. She is intrigued by NASCAR, where her friend, former Champ Car standout AJ Allmendinger, made the Chase playoffs in 2014. It's a long shot, because NASCAR rides are hard to come by, even for established drivers. But Legge has taken it as far as meeting with some of Allmendinger's contacts at Michigan International Speedway in 2014, and attending the Nationwide Series race at Watkins Glen International last year. "Do I think I would be good in a stock car? Absolutely," Legge says. "Because of my DTM experience and just the fact I love ovals. I have most of my success in an open-wheel car on ovals. But it is a different sport. I suppose I haven't been proactive enough in contacting those guys if I want to make the jump just because of my laser focus with DeltaWing."(see full article at ESPN.com)(1-30-2016)

  • Keselowski's #2 car sells to support PVA: The Paralyzed Veterans of America have an extra $150,000 this morning, thanks to the sale of a former Team Penske NASCAR stock car Thursday night at the Barrett-Jackson Collector-Car event in Scottsdale, AZ. The car in question was one of Brad Keselowski's former "Blue Deuce" No. 2 Penske cars that he raced in his Sprint Cup championship season of 2012. This one was a 2012 Dodge Charger that Keselowski ran in the fall Chase race that year at Texas Motor Speedway.(FoxSports)(1-30-2016)


    News from January 29, 2016

  • Coke to sponsor Logano UPDATE: Walt Czarnicki, Executive VP, Penske Corporation & Vice Chairman, Team Penske was asked: YOU ALSO HAVE GREAT CONTINUITY WITH YOUR SPONSORS. TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE RELATIONSHIP AND PROGRAMS. "I think one of the hallmarks of our team over the years has been continuity of sponsorship. Miller Brewing Company has been with us since 1983-84, Snap On tools and other companies like that. PPG for example. Over the course of time we have expanded that context to sponsors and we are at a point now where we are happy to announce here that we have extended our relationship with Bosch. They have been with us for more than 30 years across all our motorsports disciplines. Coca Cola will be coming back to be featured on the 22 Ford Fusion. Joey is part of the Coke family of drivers. Auto Trader is an important partner of ours in our retail business and will be with us on the 2 and 22 cars this year. I think we bring a leverage with those sponsors because we are able to give back more than the value on the race track. We are able to establish business to business relationships so they get real value from our partnership."(Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE: Team Penske and Coca-Cola have announced that the two entities will continue their alliance in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). Under the multi-year agreement, Coca-Cola will continue to be featured on the #22 Ford and Team Penske driver Joey Logano will once again be a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family. "We have enjoyed a great partnership with Coca-Cola and we are happy to announce an extension of our agreement," said Roger Penske. "Coca-Cola is truly a leader in the marketplace. Together, we have experienced success both on and off of the track and we appreciate the opportunity to build on this success for years to come, as lasting relationships with strong partners are such an important part of our business."
    Team Penske and Coca-Cola first joined forces at the beginning of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and the two companies have enhanced the partnership over the past five years. In addition to the branding and marketing activation elements of the relationship, Coca-Cola's products are served throughout the entire Team Penske organization, including in its facilities and at-track operations.
    "Coca-Cola is excited to extend our partnerships with Team Penske and Joey Logano," said Ben Reiling, Coca-Cola North America Director of Sports Marketing, Motorsports. "Joey and the Coca-Cola Racing Family continue to be an integral part of our NASCAR platform and help us connect Coca-Cola with the fans of the sport. We are excited about the future of the NASCAR portion of this partnership as well as the business opportunities with Penske Corporation."
    Logano has been a member of the Coca-Cola Racing Family since joining the series full time in 2009. Over the years, Logano has thrived as a brand ambassador and Coca-Cola has donated more than $300,000 to the Joey Logano Foundation through its "Chug For Charity" effort. "I've been really proud to represent Coca-Cola over the years and to continue that relationship moving forward not only with myself, but with our team," said Logano, "Coca-Cola does so much more through their sponsorship than most people even see. Their ability to give money to so many needy charities speaks to the type of people they have leading their organization. And to have your face on a Coca-Cola can - it doesn't get much cooler than that."(Team Penske)(1-29-2016)

  • Update on Denny Hamlin knee condition: #11-Denny Hamlin was featured on this weeks NASCAR teleconference and answered some questions, a few were about his knee injury, surgery and recovery:
    Q. Saw you last week at the media tour, and you talked about the knee was probably only about 50%. What's the prognosis, and is it getting better this week?
    DENNY HAMLIN: "Yeah, it really has, even in the last week. It's been quite a bit better. The biggest thing is the range of motion has not been very good, and it's kind of behind. But we're catching up to being on schedule here, and just in the last seven days, I think it's amazing how far we've gotten in rehab to getting this thing better. I'm very confident that in two weeks it's going to be a non-issue on track, and really for me it's more like when can I start running again. That's the biggest hurdle mentally that we fight through all this is not being able to do some of these activities that we use to kind of take racing off of our mind because once the racing season starts, any given Saturday I'm kind of looking for a golf course after practice is over to relax a little bit, and right now I'm not able to do any of that."
    Q. Could you compare this rehabilitation to your previous one?
    DENNY HAMLIN: "Well, this one is extensively worse than the first. The best explanation that I get is that the first one I used the cadaver and I needed to get back in the race car right away, so we did a cadaver and we didn't use any parts of my hamstring or any other parts of my leg simply for recovery purposes. It would recover faster, and we didn't think we'd have any injuries to that same leg going forward. But this is kind of a new latest way that they're doing these surgeries. Obviously when players are out in football or basketball, they're out for one year on an ACL, where we don't have that time to recover as race car drivers. Since this has happened in the off-season, they chose to do it this way, which is a little bit longer recovery process, but it should be stronger in the long run. Even if I gain one to two percent more reliability with it, it was worth it to me to go through that extra rehab process to know that it's just going to be a little bit stronger than if I would have done it the other way."
    Q. As far as your knee surgery and coming off of that, and like Kyle came off of his surgery and look how great he did, sometimes -- it's hard to say you guys try harder, but it seems like when you're down, there's just something about your ability to -- for a driver that just seems to come back so much stronger mentally, even working physically to make sure you get it done. Do you have a feeling like that going into this year?
    DENNY HAMLIN: Yeah, I mean, I believe so. There's something to it for sure. I mean, every time that something has happened with myself, it seems like the races that proceed at your level are just raised slightly and your performance seems to be a little bit better. You know, what it is I'm not sure. I don't know if it's determination or what have you, but Kyle was another prime example of that. Once again, another one I can think about is when Brad, when he busted his foot up a few years ago at a road course during testing, he won his first race not too long after that. It's just whatever it may be that we find within us to perform at a high level, it always seems to happen when we're injured. A lot of it probably is because we don't want to be the weak link. We don't want to be the one that is responsible for our team running bad, so we make sure we do all it takes to run good."(NASCAR)(1-29-2016)

  • Nature's Bakery Launches Fantern Program: With the start of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season fast approaching, Nature's Bakery, primary sponsor of Danica Patrick and the #10 Chevy team for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), is launching the company's first promotion tied to the new partnership: the Nature's Bakery Fantern Program. Nature's Bakery was founded in 2010 by the father-and-son duo of Dave and Sam Marson with a mission of making delicious, convenient, on-the-go snacks that complement health-conscious living and active, everyday lifestyles. The company's signature tagline is: "Energy for Life's Great Journeys," and with the new Fantern program, Nature's Bakery plans to energize fans with an opportunity to participate in a great at-track journey. The unique fan internship experience will be offered at 26 race weekends throughout the year, starting with the March 3 Sprint Cup race in Las Vegas. The Nature's Bakery Fantern will have a hybrid role on the #10 team, as a "fantern" is the blending of a fan and an intern into one position. The program will provide a hands-on opportunity to gain a unique and valuable experience tied to a subject matter fans are curious to learn about. U.S. residents can visit www.NaturesBakery.com/Fantern to apply to be a part of the #10 Nature's Bakery team.(SHR)(1-29-2016)

  • Harrison Rhodes to drive for Obaika Racing: With the addition of the Chase format in the Xfinity Series this Season, Obaika Racing is geared up and ready to pull out all stops. Obaika Racing fielded the #97 car successfully in its debut 2015 season, giving opportunities to various drivers and finishing top 30 in owner points. The Team is in the process of rolling out two teams in the 2016 Xfinity Series and is pleased to announce that Harrison Rhodes has been signed on as a team driver as a step in its duo-team efforts. Rhodes, 22, of NC, had a great season driving the #0 car in the 2015 Xfinity season with 10 top '25's and finished 24th in driver points through 29 races.(Obaika Racing)(1-29-2016)

  • ICE-AID sponsoring Cope at Daytona; additional races UPDATE: ICE-AID - formerly known as Beer Frost - an environmentally safe, all natural, mineral based product that turns your cooler of ice into a freezer - announced its 2016 partnership with Derrike Cope Racing, acting as primary sponsor of the #70 car during February's Xfinity Series POWRSHARES QQQ 300 race. ICE-AID will also continue its support of DCR with a notable presence throughout the 2016 NASCAR season. Derrike Cope, the "1990 Daytona 500 Winner," and the #70 Chevrolet Camaro car has been a stable figure in NASCAR, competing in all Series of NASCAR for over 30 years. Heading into 2016, Cope will have a combined Xfinity and Cup Series career total of over 665 races, three wins, 40 top 10's, two poles and the coveted title of Rookie of the Year. Cope was also inducted into the West Coast NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013. Following its presence at the Xfinity Series POWERSHARES QQQ 300 race, ICE-AID will support DCR throughout the 2016 NASCAR season and allow NASCAR fans to sample and experience the benefits of ICE-AID during coveted race weekends.(Derrike Cope Racing), see an image of the car on the #70 team paint scheme page.(1-22-2016)
    UPDATE: For the second year in a row E-hydrate announces its sponsorship of Derrike Cope Racing #70 Xfinity Series NASCAR. E-hydrate will be prominently featured as an associate at the biggest race of the year, Daytona on February 20th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Powershares QQQ 300 Race on #70 Camaro. They will follow Daytona with sponsorship of NASCAR's West Coast Swing as co-primary at Las Vegas and Phoenix and full primary at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. E-hydrate is the world's first line of premium natural nutritional products that offer essential electrolytes, hydration and Protein On-the-Go for optimum physical performance.
    AND Derrike Cope Racing welcomes Military Missions in Action (MMIA) aboard our #70 Chevrolet Camaro for the Powershares QQQ 300 at Daytona. Founded by Mike Dorman, a veteran himself, MMIA has devoted their efforts to help veterans with disabilities achieve independent living, as well as supporting our service men and women serving in combat areas and their families. With programs such as "Operation Building Hope," where MMIA modifies disabled veterans homes to suit their needs, they do everything for the wellbeing of every individual. Unlike many large charities, MMIA takes only 7% of the funds from every dollar for administrative costs, meaning 93% of the funds are used to assist our service men and women, who need it greatly. With many events, including their annual "TeeOff For The Troops" golf tournament, there are many ways for the community to get involved in Military Missions in Action.(Derrike Cope Racing)(1-29-2016)

  • Commemorative Ticket Design Returns for Darlington: When fans received their Darlington Raceway tickets in the mail last season, the throwback look commemorating its 1974 ticket was enough to bring back nostalgic memories even before they got to the track. Now in the second year of its throwback campaign, Darlington Raceway is excited to announce it will once again commemorate the sport's rich history with a retro-style ticket that will be issued for its events on September 2-4, 2016. The retro design will mimic the look of the ticket from the 1978 Southern 500. It features South Carolina native and Darlington Raceway legend David Pearson, who is the track's all-time leader in NASCAR's Premier Cup Series with 10 wins. Similar to last season, the ticket will also link eras by honoring last year's Bojangles' Southern 500 winner, Carl Edwards, in a similar fashion.
    "The retro-style ticket was one of many touchpoints fans enjoyed during last season's throwback festivities," track President Chip Wile said. "We felt that it was important to continue to honor our rich history with a tremendous champion like David Pearson, while also celebrating last year's winner Carl Edwards, on the ticket." These special tickets will be used for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles' Southern 500 and NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 races. Tickets are expected to be mailed to customers starting in mid-June.       Ticket renewals have been mailed reminding fans to renew their seats for the 2016 Labor Day race weekend. Renewing tickets early guarantees seats at the track's best prices prior to the opening of all remaining seats to the general public on February 17. Guests may renew their tickets and campsites by calling 866-459-RACE (7223) or visiting DarlingtonRaceway.com/renewals. The renewal deadline is Friday, Feb. 5.(Darlington Raceway)(1-29-2016)

  • Another Football game at Bristol Motor Speedway? UPDATE: Tennessee and Virginia Tech might not be the only football teams playing at Bristol Motor Speedway next season. East Tennessee State University has been in negotiations to take on Western Carolina University in a Southern Conference game at the track, people close to the deal have confirmed. The Bucs and Catamounts could play at BMS on Sept. 17, a week after Tennessee and Virginia Tech take part in what has been dubbed the "Battle of Bristol." An official announcement about the ETSU-Western Carolina game, which has been rumored for months, is expected soon. When Tennessee and Virginia Tech meet at BMS on Sept. 10, the largest crowd ever for a college football game is expected to be on hand. The current record is 115,109, set in 2013 at Michigan Stadium during a game between Notre Dame and Michigan.(Johnson City Press)
    AND A press conference has been called for Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Neither side was willing to comment Tuesday on the nature of the announcement, but sources and media outlets indicate the East Tennessee State University Bucs will play Southern Conference rival Western Carolina in a football game inside 155,000-seat BMS this season on Sept. 17. (Bristol Herald Courier)(1-27-2016)
    UPDATE: The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and Bristol Motor Speedway held a joint press conference on Thursday afternoon to announce they have reached an agreement to host ETSU's 2016 Southern Conference football opener at the Last Great Colosseum. The Buccaneers, who are playing a full SoCon schedule this upcoming season, will host Western Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 17. ETSU football head coach Carl Torbush and the Buccaneers know the significance of playing at Bristol Motor Speedway and are excited to be part of this historic event. ETSU Season Ticket Holders will receive a general admission ticket to the game at BMS with their season ticket package. Reserved seating upgrades and parking will be available when purchasing ETSU season tickets. If you are an ETSU season ticket holder and have questions, please call the ETSU Ticket Office at 423-439-4828.(BMS)(1-29-2016)


    News from January 28, 2016

  • Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Names Crew Chief and VP of Operations: Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing announced that Dave Winston has joined the team as crew chief of the #95 Chevy which will compete full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this season. In addition, Jeremy Lange who oversaw marketing for the team the past two years has been promoted to Vice President of Operations for the Concord-based race team. Dave Winston is a 15-year veteran in NASCAR having started his career at Roush as an engineer and worked with drivers including Greg Biffle, Brian Vickers, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray. Winston has been part of 18 wins, 7 poles, 51 Top-5's, 118 Top-10's in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to date.
    "Dave is a perfect fit for our team having worked at both large and small organizations," said Bob Leavine, Partner in CSLFR. "He understands the budget constraints of a small team but knows what is required to make the team more competitive. I really like his engineering background as that is a key factor in our alliance with RCR. Understanding and being able to incorporate setup changes from simulation data is an important part of the crew chief's responsibility. Dave is very organized and has already gained the respect of our staff in a short period of time. I'm really proud to have him on our team."
    Jeremy Lange joined Leavine Family Racing in 2013 bringing more than 15 years of experience in advertising, marketing and sales to the team. He has worked in NASCAR for more than ten years, first joining the sport after securing his MBA from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. "Over the past two and a half years Jeremy had taken on more responsibility than just his marketing role," said Leavine. "On a small team it's all about having a 'whatever it takes attitude' and Jeremy is the first one to volunteer for extra work. A perfect combination of desire, experience and education makes Jeremy a valuable officer of our growing organization."(Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing)(1-28-20146)

  • Doug Fritz Named Chief Marketing Officer at BK Racing: BK Racing announced that industry veteran Doug Fritz has joined the team as Chief Marketing Officer. Fritz assumes a wide scope of responsibilities as he spearheads and manages all aspects of the team's marketing, business development and digital content strategies. Fritz arrives at BK Racing with over 25 years of experience in the motorsports industry, including a decade of service as Sr. Director of Marketing and Business Development for NASCAR, as well as Chief Executive Officer of Iowa Speedway and President of the Richmond International Raceway. "I am very excited to join Ron Devine and BK Racing. With the recent announcements of Matt DiBenedetto returning and the signing of David Ragan, this team is positioning itself to accomplish great things in 2016 and beyond."
    Fritz has also served as the Director of Corporate Administration at International Speedway Corporation (ISC). ISC is recognized as one of the leaders in the motorsports entertainment industry and parent company of 12 speedways; including Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500. Most recently, Fritz was Managing Director, Business Development and Event Operations for SP+ Gameday. Fritz is a visionary in the motorsports industry and his leadership abilities have been recognized with several prestigious awards. He was named Henrico County VA Business Leader of the Year in April 2005, one of Richmond Times-Dispatch's "Most Influential Sports People" in 2007, as well as USAC Silver Crown Promoter of the Year in 2008. He is also the author of "A Moment with a Legend" story in the 2009 Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul book.
    "Doug has been an influential figure on the business of NASCAR for many years," said team owner Ron Devine. "He has a very broad perspective of the sport and I am confident that he'll have a positive impact as we continue on our path of forward progress." Fritz graduated from Virginia Tech in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in marketing management. He is the proud father of two and currently resides in Cornelius, NC. Fritz begins his position with BK Racing on February 1st.(BK Racing)(1-28-2016)

  • Sherwin Williams back on the #1: images of the #1 Sherwin Williams Chevy showcar were taken at the recent Sherwin Williams National Sales Meetings. No word what race the scheme will run at in 2016. See images of the scheme on the #1 Team Schemes page (1-28-2016)

  • Keen Parts / Corvetteparts.net returns to sponsor the #32: Keen Parts / Corvetteparts.net will be the primary sponsor the #32 Go Fas Racing Ford for Jeffrey Earnhardt for eight races in 2016: Bristol in March, Richmond in April, Dover in May, Kentucky in July, Michigan in August, Darlington and Richmond in September and Martinsville in October (Go Fas Racing), see images of the scheme on the #32 Team Schemes page (1-28-2016)

  • Sport Clips to sponsor Edwards and Hamlin again in 2016: Sport Clips Racing is excited to enter its eighth season (2016) as a partner with Joe Gibbs Racing. Denny Hamlin enters his 11th full season with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2016 behind the wheel of the #11 Sport Clips Toyota in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2016, following an incredible 2015 season that left him contending in his ninth-career Chase for the Sprint Cup. Hamlin concluded his 2015 season with two victories, including his fifth-career victory at Martinsville and the Chase opener at Chicago, along with fourteen top fives, 20 top tens, three pole awards and 529 total laps led. Hamlin also scored Sport Clips their first-career NASCAR victory at Darlington in the XFINITY Series behind the wheel of the #20 Sport Clips Retro Camry in 2015. Denny Hamlin will continue to have Sport Clips as the primary sponsor of the #11 Toyota in two 2016 Sprint Cup Series races at Auto Club Speedway in March and Darlington in September.
    Carl Edwards completed his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) in 2015 driving the #19 Toyota Camry in the Sprint Cup Series. He finished the year by qualifying for his ninth Sprint Cup Series Chase. He scored two wins for Toyota and JGR, celebrating victories in two of NASCAR's crown jewels, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Southern 500. His impressive resume in NASCAR's top Series now includes 25 Sprint Cup victories, 115 top fives, 202 top 10's, and 16 poles. Sport Clips will be the primary sponsor of the #19 in two Sprint Cup Series races at New Hampshire in July and Texas in November.(SportClips)(1-28-2016)

  • Motorsports HoF 2016 Announces Class Finalists: Finalists for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America 2016 class have been determined. The Hall will unveil its seven new members on Friday, January 29, at Daytona. The racing legends will join the Hall of Fame during the 28th Annual Induction Ceremony presented by Bridgestone on June 29, 2016 in Daytona Beach.
    In the Open Wheel category, the nominees are Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever, veteran driver and official Wally Dallenbach, eleven-time Indycar Series winning owner Chip Ganassi, innovative designer and safety pioneer Ted Halibrand, three-time Indy winning owner Pat Patrick and two-time Indy 500 winner Dan Wheldon.
    Quarter-milers on the ballot are master Funny Car designer John Buttera, golden-voiced announcer Dave McClelland, pioneer Paula Murphy, Pro Stock legend Lee Shepherd and Top Fuel innovators The Surfers.
    The two-wheel set is represented on the ballot by fifteen-time AMA Grand National race winner Everett Brashear, two-time flat track nation champion Randy Goss, three-time Daytona 200 winner Dick Klamfoth, two-time world Superbike champion Fred Merkel, two-time Baja 1000 winner J.N. Roberts and thirteen-time national champion mechanic Bill Werner.
    In the Historic category, voters will decide between NASCAR's first champion Red Byron, 1963 Daytona 500 winner Tiny Lund, mechanic and builder Ray Nichels, midget / sprint car king Bob Sweikert, the first two-time NASCAR champ Herb Thomas and short track specialist Rex White.
    The ballot for the Stock Car inductee features the youngest member of the "Alabama Gang," Davey Allison, six-time NASCAR champion owner Richard Childress, two-time Cup champion Terry Labonte, legendary builder Banjo Matthews, "King of the Modifieds" Cotton Owens and 1969 Daytona 500 winner LeeRoy Yarbrough.
    The At Large category features speed record achievers in 2016. Finalists include hydroplane crew chief Ron Brown, Blue Flame pilot Gary Gabelich, LSR sponsor Earl B. Gilmore, Bonneville pioneer Ab Jenkins, Goldenrod creators - the Summers Brothers and multiple-time LSR holder Al Teague.
    Sports Car contenders who made the ballot are Dyson Racing founder Rob Dyson, trailblazing driver and journalist Denise McCluggage, racer and broadcaster Sam Posey, five-time 24 Hours of Daytona champion Scott Pruett, Scarab's designer and builder Phil Remington, and driver/founder of the legendary "Group 44" teams Bob Tullius.(Motorsports Hall of Fame of America)(1-28-2016)

  • Sad News - Barney Hall: Hall of Fame broadcaster Barney Hall, a cornerstone of MRN's NASCAR coverage since the network's founding in 1970, died Tuesday from complications following a recent medical procedure. He was 83. At the time of his death, Hall was in the company of long-time companion Karen Carrier - the love of his life. Hall was born on June 24, 1932, in Elkin, N.C., the town he called home his entire life. After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy and served four years of active duty, during which Hall launched his radio career. He would return to his hometown and work as a disc jockey at radio station WIFM for 13 years.
    Hall was widely known for his calm voice and unmatched storytelling. He was part of MRN's award-winning race coverage since the network's debut in 1970. Prior to that, Hall served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer, called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed only four broadcasts in the 57-year history of "The Great American Race." One of those was the "500" won by Matt Kenseth in 2012, when illness sidelined Hall. But as NASCAR returned to Martinsville Speedway one month later, fans once again heard a comforting, familiar voice over the airwaves. Barney was back in the booth.
    Hall remained an integral part of the network's NASCAR coverage throughout the next two years. On July 6, 2014, he worked his final race - calling Aric Almirola's rain-shortened win at Daytona International Speedway, which returned the iconic #43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry to Victory Lane. Hall's voice was heard on a number of special broadcasts in the months that followed. The National Motorsports Press Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014. He and MRN producer Darrell Smith teamed up to win another NMPA award in 2015. Barney was inducted into that organization's Hall of Fame in 2007. In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly announced the creation of a new award to honor the media's contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Barney Hall and Ken Squier, who were also the first recipients.
    Hall was recently recognized by the Motor Racing Network with an appreciation award for his 45 years of service. Mr. Hall is survived by Karen Carrier, the love of his life for 35 years, an aunt and several cousins.(Motor Racing Networks)(1-27-2016)
    SERVICE/OBIT INFO: Funeral services will be held Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, at 2 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church with the Rev. Stanley Stogner, Pastor Scott Price and Dr. Roger Hensley officiating. Interment will follow in Crestwood Memorial Gardens with full military honors provided by U.S. Navy and Yadkin VFW Post 10346. The family will receive friends Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jonesville First Baptist Church and also on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016, from noon to 2 p.m. prior to the funeral service. Flowers will be accepted, or memorials made to Victory Junction Gang Camp, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317; or Woltz Hospice Home, 945 Zephyr Road, Dobson, NC 27017. Online condolences may be made to www.elkinfuneralservice.com or the Charlotte Observer.
    . (nice article at the Charlotte Observer by Tom Higgins: Since Day 2, voice of NASCAR Barney Hall has approached sport with measured respect.(1-28-2016)

  • Rick Ware to field two full-time teams: Rick Ware Racing is preparing for their 25th anniversary racing season in 2016. RWR, owned by former racer Rick Ware is known for competing in multiple different series with unique partnerships for the last few decades. With a refreshed look, the Thomasville, North Carolina-based team is looking forward to NASCAR'S season-opener at Daytona International Speedway next month. The team will field two full-time cars for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. A third part-time car will go to powerhouse events for marketing partners and drivers including superspeedways and road courses. To celebrate the team's achievement, the team will run the #25 Chevrolet Camaro in XFINITY Series competition, joining the #15 Chevrolet Camaro as its full-time car numbers. The #17 has been chosen for its part-time entry. Additionally, RWR will also compete in a limited NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule with the intent to grow into a full-time program to complement the XFINITY Series program. Currently, RWR plans to field a truck at both Martinsville Speedways events, Bristol Motor Speedway, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Texas Motor Speedway. Driver, crew chief and marketing partnership placement will be announced in the coming weeks.(Rick Ware Racing)(1-28-2016)

  • AM Technical Solutions,Texas-based partners join Self in rookie run UPDATE: Austin Wayne Self roars into his rookie season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2016 with strong support from a circle of Texas-based companies led by AM Technical Solutions, who announced their return as a primary sponsor for Self. Austin-based AM Technical Solutions (AMTS), a leading construction management, project management and facility solutions firm for high-tech markets, has been a primary partner of Texas native Self's for five seasons, including his Rookie of the Year campaign in the ARCA Racing Series in 2014 and his runner-up finish in the ARCA championship points standings (including a win at Winchester) last season. AMTS provides diverse integrated solutions across a facilities life cycle to include new cleanroom construction, integrated construction management, total quality programs, capital asset solutions, and cleanroom certification and testing. Don't mess with Texas, the Texas Department of Transportation's acclaimed longtime litter-prevention campaign, will again be supporting Self this season. The campaign will maintain branding presence on Self's truck and fire suit, and the iconic red, white and blue Don't mess with Texas trash can will be at the track with the AM Racing team. Other partners that will return to support Self this season are Texas Tea, Texas Made, AVIS Rental Car, Hoosier Scale, Ultra One Clean, Beanitos Chips, and ACE Asphalt.(AM Racing)(1-26-2016)
    UPDATE: The power of Texas teamwork is on display again as AM Racing has partnered with The Texas Department of Agriculture for the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the team announced.AM Racing and driver Austin Wayne Self will promote the Texas Department of Agriculture's GO TEXAN campaign. AM Racing is a Texas-based organization and Self, 19, a Rookie of the Year candidate who finished second in ARCA Series competition in '15, is an Austin native who exemplifies what pride in the Lone Star State is all about. The GO TEXAN campaign, with its signature logo in the shape of Texas, is designed to encourage consumers around the world, including brand-loyal NASCAR fans, to seek and purchase Texas-made products. GO TEXAN membership shines a marketing spotlight on businesses based in the Lone Star State by affording them exclusive branding and networking opportunities with other member companies.(AM Racing)(1-28-2016)

  • Daytona finishes upgrading SAFER around track: When drivers race at Daytona International Speedway over the next few weeks, they'll notice that all outside and inside walls on the track's 2˝-mile tri-oval, with the exception of pit lane, will have energy-absorbing barriers. It was nearly a year ago when Kyle Busch slammed into an unprotected concrete wall on the inside going toward Turn 1, breaking his right leg and left foot. Busch didn't race again for nearly three months after the Feb. 21 accident but rallied to win the 2015 Sprint Cup title. In reaction to that accident, DIS President Joie Chitwood pledged that night to have all walls covered by SAFER (steel-and-foam energy reduction) Barrier as soon as possible. When NASCAR teams returned in July, there were still some non-covered walls on the insides of the turns and the backstretch. DIS officials had been criticized for being slow to add more SAFER Barrier while spending $400 million on a new project to turn its grandstands into a modern stadium. Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of DIS parent company International Speedway Corp., said ISC tracks have added 54,000 linear feet of SAFER Barrier in the past year. ISC operates 12 of the 23 tracks where the Sprint Cup Series races. Virtually all tracks have added more SAFER Barrier in the past year, an issue brought to the forefront by Busch's injury as well as NASCAR's newly formed Sprint Cup drivers council.(ESPN.com)(1-28-2016)

  • Daytona International Speedway Officially Opens New Motorsports Stadium: To celebrate the completion of a massive 2.5 year, $400 million reconstruction, it took a couple of huge pairs of scissors for Lesa France Kennedy and Jim France to cut a ribbon marking the official reopening of Daytona International Speedway's grandstand complex. The Wednesday afternoon ribbon cutting marked a "new chapter" for the Speedway, said France Kennedy, CEO for International Speedway Corporation, which owns the track her grandfather built in 1958. "It's also going to usher in a new era for the future of motorsports," she said. "We're opening the first true motorsports stadium and that speaks volumes about how far this sport has come and where we see our future heading."
    It boasts a host of new amenities, including 1,400 video monitors, enhanced technology, modernized bathrooms and new food and drink vending areas. The original narrow seats were one of the first things to go, replaced with wider seats complete with cup holders. But, the one thing Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said he's proudest of are the new escalators that allow fans to get all the way to the top of the 101,500-seat grandstand area with a minimum of walking. The escalators, which the Speedway started using for races last year, have been wildly popular with fans. Even though Chitwood said they'll still be "tweaking things" behind the scenes over the next couple of weeks, fans will get their first look at the finished facility during this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-28-2016)

  • Pocono Groundhog Day Special: Pocono Raceway's annual Groundhog Day Special is back. Not sure if Phil, Punxsutawney's weather prognosticator, will call for a longer winter or an early spring. However, the opportunity to win a signed top hat from two of the biggest names in racing might just suffice whether he sees his shadow or not. If you purchase a Pocono Raceway $50 Gift Card anytime through February 2, 2016, you will gain automatic entry to win an "Official Punxsutawney Groundhog Club Top Hat" signed by Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. More info at poconoraceway.com.(1-28-2016)


    News from January 27, 2016

  • Special Pennzoil scheme unveiled: the #22 Pennzoil Ford Fusion that Joey Logano will be driving at select NASCAR tracks (Las Vegas and one of the Charlotte races) in 2016 has been unveiled (Pennzoil Facebook), see images of the scheme on the #22 Team Schemes page.(1-27-2016)

  • Sad News - Barney Hall: Hall of Fame broadcaster Barney Hall, a cornerstone of MRN's NASCAR coverage since the network's founding in 1970, died Tuesday from complications following a recent medical procedure. He was 83. At the time of his death, Hall was in the company of long-time companion Karen Carrier - the love of his life. Hall was born on June 24, 1932, in Elkin, N.C., the town he called home his entire life. After graduating from high school, he joined the Navy and served four years of active duty, during which Hall launched his radio career. He would return to his hometown and work as a disc jockey at radio station WIFM for 13 years.
    Hall was widely known for his calm voice and unmatched storytelling. He was part of MRN's award-winning race coverage since the network's debut in 1970. Prior to that, Hall served as Bristol Motor Speedway's first public address announcer, called his first Daytona 500 in 1960 and missed only four broadcasts in the 57-year history of "The Great American Race." One of those was the "500" won by Matt Kenseth in 2012, when illness sidelined Hall. But as NASCAR returned to Martinsville Speedway one month later, fans once again heard a comforting, familiar voice over the airwaves. Barney was back in the booth.
    Hall remained an integral part of the network's NASCAR coverage throughout the next two years. On July 6, 2014, he worked his final race - calling Aric Almirola's rain-shortened win at Daytona International Speedway, which returned the iconic #43 Richard Petty Motorsports entry to Victory Lane. Hall's voice was heard on a number of special broadcasts in the months that followed. The National Motorsports Press Association named Hall its Broadcaster of the Year in 2014. He and MRN producer Darrell Smith teamed up to win another NMPA award in 2015. Barney was inducted into that organization's Hall of Fame in 2007. In May 2012, NASCAR and the NASCAR Hall of Fame jointly announced the creation of a new award to honor the media's contributions to the success of the sport. It carried the names of two legendary MRN broadcasters: Barney Hall and Ken Squier, who were also the first recipients.
    Hall was recently recognized by the Motor Racing Network with an appreciation award for his 45 years of service. Mr. Hall is survived by Karen Carrier, the love of his life for 35 years, an aunt and several cousins.(Motor Racing Networks)(1-27-2016)

  • Hamlin makes cameo appearance on 'The Bachelor': #11-Denny Hamlin has a deep, dark secret: He's a big fan of the TV show, The Bachelor. When producers of the ABC show found out, they decided to put Hamlin on an episode. That took place Monday, where the Joe Gibbs Racing driver did about a two-minute cameo. This year's Bachelor, Ben Higgins, asked Hamlin if he is a fan of the show. "Absolutely, of course," Hamlin said via a Skype session. "Girls" star Allison Williams was also on the show. When Hamlin was introduced, Williams went into a typical fan routine. "I can't believe this, I'm such a fan," Williams told Hamlin. "Yeah, it's huge. I have to say Mark Martin in the #6 Valvoline was my main dude, but you're so awesome, I can't believe I'm looking at you."(NBC Sports)(1-27-2016)

  • Another Football game at Bristol Motor Speedway? Tennessee and Virginia Tech might not be the only football teams playing at Bristol Motor Speedway next season. East Tennessee State University has been in negotiations to take on Western Carolina University in a Southern Conference game at the track, people close to the deal have confirmed. The Bucs and Catamounts could play at BMS on Sept. 17, a week after Tennessee and Virginia Tech take part in what has been dubbed the "Battle of Bristol." An official announcement about the ETSU-Western Carolina game, which has been rumored for months, is expected soon. When Tennessee and Virginia Tech meet at BMS on Sept. 10, the largest crowd ever for a college football game is expected to be on hand. The current record is 115,109, set in 2013 at Michigan Stadium during a game between Notre Dame and Michigan.(Johnson City Press)
    AND A press conference has been called for Thursday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Neither side was willing to comment Tuesday on the nature of the announcement, but sources and media outlets indicate the East Tennessee State University Bucs will play Southern Conference rival Western Carolina in a football game inside 155,000-seat BMS this season on Sept. 17. (Bristol Herald Courier)(1-27-2016)

  • Busch (Beer) Returns to Racing Celebrating Those who are "Working for Race Day": Busch beer will make its official return to racing when its iconic logo appears on Kevin Harvick's #4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet during the Sprint Unlimited race Feb. 13 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. To celebrate, Busch will debut a television spot that celebrates the brand's hard-working tradition and racing heritage, along with a full line of fan merchandise. The commercial, titled "Working for Race Day," parallels the track experiences of both the #4 Busch Racing team and race fans, showcasing the common ground between the two: hard work. It revolves around the idea that hard work is meant to be rewarded, and Busch is the perfect beer to celebrate the moment when the job is done, and done right. Starting today, the ad - which will have 15- and 30-second versions - will air leading up to the season and during races.
    "The success of the #4 Busch Beer Chevrolet depends on me and the crew working together seamlessly. We win and lose as a team," said Harvick, winner of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship. "Whether it's on the track, in the garage, during pit stops, or in victory lane, every aspect of race weekend is a team effort and the Busch racing platform is a reminder that every win is earned, and should be celebrated and rewarded."
    Busch's 2016 marketing platform will engage with racing enthusiasts and Busch drinkers through on-track, experiential, in-market and retail activations as well as limited-edition racing packaging. A full line of Busch racing merchandise, including shirts, hats, jackets and coolers, is available online at NASCAR.com, racelinedirect.com, and at track during race weekends, beginning with the Sprint Unlimited.
    "The ad and marketing materials that we've produced are unmistakably Busch - the overarching theme is rewarding yourself for hard work, which is a tradition ingrained in Busch's DNA," said Chelsea Phillips, Senior Director of Value Brands, Anheuser-Busch. "We can't wait for the Sprint Cup season to begin so we can get back to our roots and reaffirm Busch's commitment to racing."(Stewart-Haas Racing)
    Busch, Busch Light and other special-edition Busch paint schemes will be featured on Harvick's #4 Chevy for 12 races during the 2016 Sprint Cup schedule, see the 12-race schedule on Jayski.com's #4 Team News and Links page and see images of the schemes on the #4 Team Schemes page (1-27-2016)

  • CSX Extends with #34 Ford to Promote Safety in 2016: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Chris Buescher will promote railroad safety with CSX in 2016, with the transportation company returning its "Play It Safe" messaging to the Front Row Motorsports #34 Ford Fusion for a fourth consecutive season. The 2015 XFINITY Series Champion and 2016 Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year candidate will serve as an ambassador to 18- to 34-year-old males among NASCAR's fan base, the demographic mostly likely to be involved in a train collision and the targeted audience of CSX's safety campaign. Buescher will drive the CSX "Play It Safe" Ford for eight races, including events at Atlanta, Watkins Glen and the fall race at Richmond. "I got to work with CSX a little bit last year when I drove the #34, and I really respect what they're doing with their NASCAR program," the 23-year-old driver said. "It's all about safety and spreading the message to race fans. If we can reach people and prevent even one collision, it'll be a successful campaign." CSX, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based railroad, has partnered with Front Row Motorsports for the past three Sprint Cup Series seasons to spread the message to "Play It Safe" around railroad tracks and to "Brake for Trains."
    "We are thrilled to have a champion driver like Chris Buescher in the CSX 'Play It Safe' car in our fourth season with Front Row Motorsports," said John Claybrooks, CSX Director, Brand and Marketing Communications. "They both understand our cause and safety message as we strive to keep people safe around railroad tracks." As one of the nation's leading transportation suppliers, with a network covering 21,000 miles of railroad tracks in 23 states, CSX is committed to educating the public on railroad safety in the communities it serves. "At CSX, safety is a way of life, and our NASCAR sponsorship continues to help CSX promote railroad safety education across our network," says Jim Marks, CSX Vice President of Safety. "We can reach a large, key demographic to remind race fans to not stop, walk or play on the tracks or near crossings and encourage them to use safe driving practices at railroad crossings."(Front Row Motorsports)(1-27-2016)

  • If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world: an opinion piece from Bill Nye 'The Science Guy',a science educator, television presenter, writer and former mechanical engineer. "I have roots in the southern United States. My mom was from Durham, North Carolina, and my sister, nephew, nieces, spouses, their exes, kids and more kids live in and around Danville, Virginia. Around there, it's a big deal to go to the races. The boys of various ages, and occasionally some of the girls and women, will pile into vehicles to go see races in South Boston or other tracks nearby.
    I've been to the track in Martinsville - the 'paper clip' - which is still the shortest track on the NASCAR circuit. It's less than a kilometre long, only half a mile. But it is exciting. The cars go just crazy fast, and they are amazingly loud ... or LOUD!! But beyond the heart-pounding, Are-these-cars-going-to-jump-the-barrier-and-kill-me? exciting quality of it, it's depressing - leastways depressing for me as an engineer. Because here I am trying to envision the smart, efficient transportation technology of tomorrow, and there is NASCAR doing the opposite - celebrating a very old transportation technology of yesterday.
    Despite the excitement, NASCAR kinda breaks my heart. It's a celebration of old tech. It uses gasoline-burning instead of electron-flowing. I wish NASCAR were more like NASA. I wish NASCAR were more about the future instead of the past. I wish NASCAR set up Grand Challenges to inspire companies and individuals to create novel automotive technologies in the way NASA does to create novel space technologies.
    To address climate change in the medium and long term, we have to stop, completely stop, burning fossil fuels. The obvious, straightforward, We're-already-just-about-there answer is to convert our entire ground-transportation fleet - trains, trucks, buses and cars - to electric motors with batteries to store energy the way that gasoline tanks store energy in our fuel-burning vehicles. In the short term, NASCAR could help get us there. We could convert all of our racecars to electricity - right now - and show the public exactly what electrons can do.
    Consider the following: a typical NASCAR racecar produces up to 540 ft-lbs (730 Newton-metres) of torque. The Tesla Model-S (sedan), right out of the showroom, produces 713 ft-lbs (970 N-m). A NASCAR vehicle can get up to 850 horsepower (hp) with the car and driver weighing about 3,600 lbs (that's 630 kilowatts and 1,650 kg). The Tesla produces 'only' 532 hp (400 kW), and with a car weighing an extra 1,000 lbs (450 kg). Looking at those last couple of numbers might make you think that the NASCAR vehicle is way more powerful than a high-end electric one. But note well, we are comparing a NASCAR car made to race with a true stock car (one a consumer can buy), albeit an electric one, that has not been refined to compete on racetracks. The gasoline-powered car is a product of a century of development. Just think what an electric carmaker, such as Tesla, could produce given, say, three years.
    It's easy for me to imagine an electric racecar that completely outperforms a gas-powered competitor. Instead of refuelling a gas tank, the electric racecar pit crew would change battery packs. The car would be designed to roll up a ramp. The battery pack would be disconnected and dropped out. Moments later, a fresh battery pack would be lifted into place, and off our electric racer would go with time in the pit comparable to what it takes to refuel and service a conventional gas-powered racecar. Just think what an electric race would be like. It would be faster, and quiet. You could talk to the person next to you.
    When I get to thinking about it, NASCAR right now just brings me down. They use ancient tech: carburetors, valve pushrods and cast-iron engines. But the biggest depressor for me is the fuel consumption. These cars get as little as 80 litres per 100 km, or 3 miles to the gallon (mpg). Sometimes they get away with up to 4.5 mpg. That is, to my way of thinking, astonishingly bad.
    How about NASCAR becoming NESCAR (National Electric Stock Car Racing)? The sooner NASCAR (or NESCAR) embraces electric drive trains, the sooner the US can be the world leader in automotive technology, and the sooner we can stop pumping carbon dioxide into the air every time we want to go somewhere to get groceries, pick up the soccer team, commute to work or watch a race."(posted in part......see full article at AEON)(1-27-2016)

  • Selfeo sponsoring Bubba Wallace at Daytona: Selfeo, a cutting-edge app that provides users the ability to transform a single screen on a single device into a customized, multi-screen viewing environment, will also transform Bubba Wallace's Daytona racing machine into one of the most socially discussed on the track at the 2016 Daytona Speedweeks. Roush Fenway Racing has announced that Selfeo will serve as the primary partner on Wallace's #6 Ford Mustang for the NASCAR XFINITY Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Feb. 19. "It's really cool," said Wallace of the app that can broadcast simultaneous viewing of video content, text, audio chat, email, and interaction through social media. "Selfeo is a completely immersive experience for the fan and actually allows them to become the main focus of their own social media experience. I think we'll have a lot of fun with it down in Daytona and I look forward to providing the fans with an interactive social experience like they have never seen before." Selfeo transforms a single screen on a device into a customized, multi-screen viewing environment with a simple, one-click option that will allow users to immerse themselves into any other live or stored internet video content accessible through the app. It allows the user to review websites, YouTube Videos, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds simultaneously. The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.(Roush Fenway Racing), see an image of the car on the #6 team paint schemes page.(1-27-2016)

  • Little to run select races in 2016: Three years after Jesse Little earned rookie honors in NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East, limited funding has resulted in the third-generation driver splitting his time between two NASCAR series. In 2016, the UNC Charlotte freshman will focus on five NASCAR K&N races and six to eight NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events. "It's pretty expensive to do a full year in both," Little said. "Of course, trucks are automatically out of the question with the budget we have, but K&N is also fairly expensive. We weighed the pros and cons and decided going to the quarter-mile tracks on the K&N schedule might not be teaching me much. But going to Atlanta, Texas and Charlotte (in the trucks) is a lot more valuable for my experience and trying to get exposure. That's what it's going to take for me to go to the next level, being able to perform and doing it in front of a lot of people." Little is the son of former NASCAR driver Chad Little, who's now NASCAR's managing director, technical inspection/officiating, national series.
    The 18-year-old made his truck series debut last May at Dover. He qualified ninth, but had to settle for a 30th-place finish due to a crash before the halfway mark. He competed in three more truck races (Chicago, Texas and Homestead, Fla.) with his best finish of 14th coming in the season finale at Homestead. This year, the first truck race on Little's schedule is the Feb. 27 event at Atlanta. The Little family will field the truck entry out of their Sherrills Ford shop.
    "Since I don't have a big sponsor (for the truck series), it's a matter of searching and finding a local business in Atlanta or relationships with people in Texas or Phoenix," Little said. "Wherever the money takes us, essentially, (is where we'll race). Our truck is also tailored more into the mile-and-a-half bracket." (Charlotte Observer)(1-27-2016)

  • Anderson announces 2016 sponsor, team: Jordan Anderson who captivated an audience through social media and at the track through his heroic tenure of non-stop travel, cross-country solo road trips and sleepless nights will drive for Bolen Motorsports this season. Anderson will debut with the team next month at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway driving the #66 Chevy Silverado for new series owner Jeff Bolen. Using the slogan "Columbia SC Famously Hot", the city's tourism department has also partnered with Anderson for his second-year fulltime tenure on the tour. Bolen told CATCHFENCE.com that while the team is currently based in South Carolina, they eventually plan to move their operations to Mooresville, North Carolina.(Catchfence.com)(See an image of the truck on the #66 Team Paint Schemes page)(1-27-2016)


    News from January 26, 2016

  • NASCAR Announces Race Start Times for 2016 Season, one Cup race on USA: NASCAR, in collaboration with broadcast partners FOX Sports, NBC Sports Group, race teams and the 29 tracks committed to hosting races for the coming season, announced race start times and network coverage for all three of its national series based on previously released schedule dates for 2016.
    Entering the second season of 10-year comprehensive media rights agreements, races will be televised by FOX, FS1, NBC and NBCSN, with the exception of select events in August that will air on CNBC and USA [Watkins Glen Sprint Cup Series race will be on the USA Network] due to NBC Sports' coverage of the Summer Olympics. National series races also will be broadcast live by Motor Racing Network (MRN), Performance Racing Network (PRN), IMS Radio Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90. Fans can visit www.nascar.com/tv-schedule or Jayski.com's TV Listings page and Race Info pages for weekly tune-in information throughout the season.
    "NASCAR concluded 2015 with its most-watched championship finale in a decade, a benchmark that serves as a testament to deeper collaboration with our television and radio partners and increased engagement with fans," said Steve Herbst, senior vice president, broadcasting and production at NASCAR. "We look forward to carrying this momentum into 2016, starting with the DAYTONA 500 and Speedweeks, as the number of homes reached by our broadcast content continues to grow both domestically and internationally."(NASCAR)
    See the full schedules with times on Jayski.com's (with printable schedule links):
    NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule page
    NASCAR XFINITY Series Schedule page
    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Schedule page.(1-26-2016)

  • Smaller restrictor plate at Daytona: For Speedweeks at Daytona, there will be a minor reduction in the size of the restrictor-plate holes, which will decrease by 1/64th of an inch to 57/64ths.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2016)

  • Larger restart zone return in 2016: After doubling the restart zone for many of the races in last season's Chase, the expanded box will continue to be used this season, along with additional cameras and a senior official monitoring restarts from the pits.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2016)

  • NASCAR changes inspection schedules: NASCAR will experiment with shorter garage hours but longer inspection periods this season as it tries to give Sprint Cup teams relief on efficiency, expenses and quality of life. Though the schedule will remain virtually the same at Daytona International Speedway, Sprint Cup director Richard Buck said there will be changes the rest of the season. The initial inspection of a race weekend after the NASCAR garage opens is expected to be shortened from five hours to three, and there will be more time built into the inspection between the end of practice and start of qualifying. Last year, prequalifying inspection often turned into a major scramble as teams struggled to pass the laser inspection station. NASCAR changed some procedures after 13 cars missed qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway because of inspection problems. Buck said new methods (mostly involving the use of Microsoft Surface tablets) will make the inspection process more efficient with a goal of also allowing teams to spend less time getting cars ready on Sunday race mornings. Trying to reduce the 12-hour shifts that have become commonplace in the garage is in response to teams that have asked for shorter days in hopes of giving crew members more rest and perhaps saving money by arriving later at the track.(NBC Sports)(1-26-2016)

  • Complete DAYTONA Rising Time-lapse: For over 28 months, more than one million HD photos of DAYTONA Rising were taken by Daytona International Speedway's eight EarthCam construction cameras. See the reimagining of an American icon by checking out this time-lapse highlighting this transformation over the past 2 and 1/2 years! See the video at Daytona International Speedway's Facebook page (1-26-2016)

  • Daytona International Speedway To Hold Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: Daytona International Speedway (DIS) will hold a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially open the new motorsports stadium on Wednesday, January 27 at 3:30pm/et (DIS)(1-26-2016)


    News from January 25, 2016

  • David Ragan Secures Ride with BK Racing UPDATE: Despite proving he can win at NASCAR's highest level and feeling like he's in his prime, David Ragan didn't know if he'd be able to race this year. "You can't do it forever, but you want to retire when it's your time or on your terms," said Ragan. The Unadilla (GA) native was without a spot driving for any NASCAR team for 2016 after splitting time between three racing teams in 2015. Months passed where he worked the phones himself, drawing on contacts with owners, sponsors and friends made through years of racing. Finally, he found the right opportunity. "It's a big relief to have the opportunity to go race full-time in the Sprint Cup series," said Ragan. The 30-year-old driver is the new face of BK Racing's #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota. Ragan has proven he can win, with victories at Daytona in 2011 and Talladega in 2013. He's raced for big teams, including Roush Fenway Racing for several years and a fill-in role with Joe Gibbs Racing last season while Kyle Busch was injured. BK Racing is a much smaller team with a different feel. "The pressure's there, but it's a little different," said Ragan. "You sometimes have more fun [with a smaller team]. You get to work with a closer knit group of employees that are real happy to be here." Ragan is set to run a full slate of Sprint Cup Series races starting with the Daytona 500. "You don't want to burn any bridges, but you want to keep everything healthy. It's a competitive sport we're in. It'll feel real good when I can beat those guys."(FOX5)(1-25-2016)
    UPDATE: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran David Ragan will join the BK Racing line-up to pilot the #23 Toyota Camry for the 2016 season. Ragan will join teammate Matt DiBenedetto at BK Racing, which will field two full-time Sprint Cup entries this season. During his 15-year career across all three national touring divisions, Ragan has claimed four victories, 33 top-fives, and 93 top-tens. His most recent trip to Victory Lane came at Talladega Superspeedway in the 2013 Aaron's 499. "I'm happy to be part of something that has so much growth potential," said Ragan. "(Team owner) Ron (Devine) has steadily built his program over the last five years. He's made an even greater commitment in 2016 with new cars, equipment, and additional personnel. I feel that we'll be in a position to bring the team to the next level. I'm looking forward to the season."
    Team owner, Ron Devine is confident in his new driver. "We're very excited to have a driver of David's caliber join our team," said Devine. "In addition to being a race winner, I feel that his input and leadership qualities will benefit the team on many levels. Our entire organization is energized to work with him." Welcome Back, Dr Pepper, The one of a kind soft drink, whose involvement with BK Racing began in 2011, will be back on board the #23 Toyota Camry as a primary sponsor for multiple races throughout the 2016 NASCAR season. Dr Pepper associate branding will also appear on all of BK Racing's cars throughout the season. "We are thrilled to be partnering with BK Racing for the fifth year and excited about the new heights that this team will be able to reach with the addition of David Ragan," says Jaxie Alt, SVP of Marketing, Dr Pepper. Additional sponsorship for the #23 team will be announced in the coming weeks.(BK Racing)(1-25-2016)

  • Matt DiBenedetto Returns to BK Racing: After making his NASCAR Sprint Cup debut with BK Racing in 2015, Matt DiBenedetto will return to pilot the #83 Toyota in 2016. Veteran crew chief Gene Nead will return atop the pit box for the #83 team. "Last year I learned a lot from everyone here at BK Racing and I'm looking forward to having a full notebook heading into the season," DiBenedetto said. "Ron, Gene and the team have put in a lot of work over the offseason and we are all looking forward to Daytona."
    "We're excited to have Matt back with us for 2016," said Devine. "We were very pleased with the progress he made throughout his rookie season and we look forward to continuing down that path." Returning to BK Racing for 2016, Dustless Blasting will sponsor Matt DiBenedetto and the #83 car in the upcoming Daytona 500 and for multiple races this season. Known as the fastest, most cost effective surface preparation tool on the market, Dustless Blasting's system can remove virtually any type of coating from most substrates very quickly and without creating heat or a dust plume. Benny LeCompte, owner of MMLJ, Inc. is proud to say "this is our third year working with BK Racing through sponsoring key races, like the season opener at the Daytona 500, for the #83 car and Matt DiBenedetto." Dustless Blasting is an MMLJ Inc. Company. The original manufacturer of blast equipment, and still the only to offer lifetime warranty on tank assemblies. Built in America with quality.
    Cosmo Motors returns to the #83 for multiple races in 2016. A family owned and operated business in Hickory, North Carolina, Cosmo Motors is well known for their large selection of high-end vehicles. "We at Cosmo Motors are beyond excited to rejoin BK Racing and Matt DiBenedetto as a sponsor on the #83 Toyota again for the 2016 race season," said Cosmo Kogan, owner of Cosmo Motors. "We're a smaller family run car dealership in Hickory, North Carolina and are very humbled by the ability to be a part of such a great sport, team, and driver. Last year was our first year sponsoring a car in NASCAR. It was an amazing experience. Not just working with the team and the driver but overall the entire experience was on a whole other level. We are really looking forward to the upcoming season as we embark on another extraordinary season with Matt and BK Racing."(BK Racing)(1-25-2016)

  • NASCAR Sprint Cup 2015 Season Commercial Statistics: The new NASCAR season is barely a pit stop away. Before we resume the high-octane excitement, here are some stats for you to peruse. These are the commercial statistics for the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, showing which network had the most ads, the least ads, and other stats you may find interesting. These were culminated from my Commercial Breakdown Reports for the 2015 season. One thing that has remained consistent in the years CawsnJaws.com has provided these stats: the discomfort many NASCAR fans feel for the quantity and placement of commercials during races. How will the new season compare? Stay tuned!
    Total number of traditional commercials (not side-by-side) per network:
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): 2119
    NBC/SN (20 races): 2418
    Total for both networks: 4537
    Total number of minutes of race broadcast to minutes of traditional commercial times per network:
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): race = 52 hours 04 min. // commercial = 15 hours 12 min.) total: 67 hours 16 min
    NBC/SN (20 races): race = 56 hours 05 min. // commercial = 14 hours 38 min.) total: 70 hours 43 min. Total for both networks: race = 108 hours 09 min. // commercial = 29 hours 50 min.
    Total number of side-by-side commercials during race broadcasts per network:
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): total: 84
    NBC/SN (20 races): total: 466
    Total for both networks: 550
    Total number of minutes of side-by-side commercials during race broadcasts per network
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): total: 32 min.
    NBC/SN (20 races): total: 216 min.
    Total for both networks: 248
    Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast (including company logos 'floating' in corners of the screen):
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): 1283 times
    NBC/SN (20 races): 1680 times
    Total for both networks: 2963 times
    Total number of minutes sponsors were seen on screen, either by logos, promos, etc.:
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): 1 hour 20 min. 25 sec.
    NBC/SN (20 races): 1 hour 27 min. 03 sec.
    Total for both networks: 2 hours 47 min. 28 sec.
    Number of missed restarts per network:
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): 1
    NBC/SN (20 races): 1
    Total for both networks: 2
    Number of 'mystery cautions':
    Fox/FS1 (19 races): 13
    NBC/SN (20 races): 10
    Total for both networks: 23 See full 2015 season race-by-race on Jayski.com's 2015 TV Commercial page or at CawsnJaws.com.(1-25-2016)

  • Chastain, Preece, McClure to drive for JD Motorsports: The 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series season will be brand new, and the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller team is ready to shine in the new landscape. NASCAR has changed the system that decides the championship in the Xfinity Series, adding a version of the Chase format that has been successful for several seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. JDM plans to field three cars again this season in the Xfinity Series.
    Ross Chastain, who turned in a superior performance in his rookie Xfinity season last year, returns to the team's #4 Chevrolets with backing from the watermelon industry. Brian Berry will be the team's crew chief, with Gary Cogswell also on board at JDM as a co-crew chief and key mechanic across all of the team's operations.
    Former NASCAR Whelen Modified champion Ryan Preece takes over JDM's #01 Chevys. Zach McGowan, already familiar with Preece from working with him in both Sprint Cup and Xfinity races, will be the team's crew chief. Preece, who won the Modified championship in 2013, has raced with support from Mohawk Northeast, Inc., Mizzy Construction and Falmouth Ready Mix.
    Eric McClure joins JDM to drive the team's #0 Chevrolet in the season-opener Feb. 20 at Daytona International Speedway. Todd Myers will be crew chief. Reynolds Wrap will be McClure's sponsor. JDM plans to field the #0 cars throughout the season and is actively pursuing driver/sponsor partnerships going forward.
    G&K Services, a long-time JDM sponsor, returns in 2016 as one of the team's key ingredients. "Everything is lining up well," Davis said. "We expect to have three strong teams when we get things started next month in Daytona. We should be astronomically better than last year. We're better prepared, and we have more resources."(JD Motorsports)(1-25-2016)

  • Clements to run another full season: Jeremy Clements Racing announces that Jeremy will run the full 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule piloting the #51 Camaro SS. The single car family run team will be competing in their sixth full time season, is owned by Tony Clements. Jeremy finished the 2015 season 14th in the driver standings and over the 33-week season Jeremy resided in the top 11 for 27 weeks. He compiled 1 - top 10, 9 - top 15's and 20 top 20's and also amassed his 200th career start. lements is excited to get back on track especially with the new Chase format and was quoted on Tradin' Paint on SiriusXM NASCAR radio saying "That's the good part about it, it definitely helps a team like us even more than the traditional point system and I'm really looking forward to it." We would also like to announce that our great partners at www.repairablevehicles.com will return as an associate sponsor for 2016. The team is aggressively pursuing primary sponsorship partnerships and will announce those partnerships as they become available.(Jeremy Clements Racing)(1-25-2016)

  • Darlington Raceway Founder Harold Brasington honored: Harold Brasington, the man who built Darlington Raceway in 1949-50, was honored by his peers on Saturday, Jan. 23, at the annual NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Charlotte, N.C. Brasington's grandson, Harold Brasington III, accepted the award on his behalf. "Congratulations to Mr. Brasington and his family for a wonderful achievement. Harold is very deserving of the Landmark Award," Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile said. "He is one of the great visionaries of the sport, not just for the building of Darlington, but also for his countless contributions to other facilities and being an early pioneer for the sport we all love."
    Brasington's dream of building a track began after attending the Indianapolis 500 in the 1930's. He returned with the vision of building a paved racetrack in his hometown of Darlington, S.C. but was delayed by financial constraints and World War II in the mid-1940's. Brasington finally got the break he needed to begin his dream project in a very unlikely manner. It was because of a simple conversation during a poker game between Brasington and J.S. (Sherman) Ramsey that the racetrack stands where it is today. Jim Hunter's '50th Anniversary of Darlington Raceway' book states that towards the end of that poker game on Sept. 4, 1948, Brasington asked Ramsey about using some of his property to build his racetrack on and, with Ramsey paying most of his attention to the poker game said, "Sure," then added, "Now deal the cards!" Soon after, Ramsey returned from an out-of-state trip to see Brasington's earthmovers, bulldozers and dump trucks moving dirt to make way for his track. Brasington had taken their poker game conversation more seriously than Ramsey realized. The track would take shape in 1949 and eventually host the first Southern 500 on Labor Day in 1950 featuring 75 cars in the starting field.
    Following the construction of Darlington Raceway, Brasington went on to build Rockingham Speedway (then North Carolina Motor Speedway) in 1965 as well as several other tracks in the South. He was also Curtis Turner's original partner when Charlotte Motor Speedway was conceived in 1960, before selling his interest to Bruton Smith prior to construction beginning. "Harold's bold construction of Darlington in 1950 ushered in the superspeedway era and was the catalyst that solidified NASCAR's early future," Richard Petty, NASCAR Hall of Famer and one of the sport's most recognizable figures said last May when the Landmark Award was announced. "Harold was an early pillar of racing and his many contributions and accomplishments deserve to be remembered."(Darlington Raceway)(1-25-2016)


    News from January 24, 2016

  • Late Sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes honored at Hall: Former NASCAR on FOX anchor Steve Byrnes, who died last April after a lengthy bout with cancer, was posthumously honored Saturday with the Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence Saturday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Byrnes became the fifth recipient of the award, joining Ken Squier and Barney Hall, for whom the award was named, Chris Economaki and Tom Higgins. In a media career that spanned three decades, Byrnes moved to FOX in 2001, where he served in a variety of reporting and anchor positions. He worked as a pit-road reporter for NASCAR on FOX's broadcast of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races from 2001-2014. He was also the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports 1 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and was co-host of NASCAR Race Hub for the network. Bryson Byrnes, Steve's son, accepted the award on his late father's behalf and earned a standing ovation, bringing the crowd to the edge of tears in the process. "My dad loved the fans and the people that worked in the motorsports industry -- and even called them 'our NASCAR family,' " said Bryson. "After all the support I received when my dad was sick and he died, I now understand exactly what he meant. My dad was a wonderful man. I think about him every day and I love him very much. I now understand how important he was to the NASCAR community and I'd like to thank you for remembering him."(FoxSports)(1-24-2016)

  • John's March Against Stomach Cancer Raises $17,600: A little rain could not dampen record-setting fundraising efforts at the 5th annual John's March Against Stomach Cancer at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday, Jan. 16. More than 200 people turned out under gray skies to participate in the fundraiser, which generated an event record of $17,629 for No Stomach For Cancer (www.nostomachforcancer.org). Walkers, runners and even dogs enjoyed a spin around the 2.52-mile, 12-turn road course on foot during the event, which is held in honor of John Cardinale, the long-time Sonoma Raceway spokesman who passed away in 2013 after a two-year battle with stomach cancer. John's March has raised more than $67,000 over the past five years and is the only major fundraiser for gastric cancer on the West Coast. Participants ranged from competitive runners to families, including children on bikes and in strollers. In addition to the traditional road-course circuit, the raceway also offered 5K and 10K distances. Participants were also encouraged to sign the Memory Wall in honor of those affected by gastric cancer. No Stomach For Cancer is a non-profit group that works to increase awareness and education about stomach cancer, provide a support network for affected families and support research efforts for screening, early detection, treatment and prevention of stomach cancer. Donations can still be made in honor of this event at www.crowdrise.com/JohnsMarch.(Sonoma Raceway)(1-24-2016)

  • Rusty Wallace Speaks at Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting: It's been 11 years since Rusty Wallace wheeled a race car around Martinsville Speedway, but the seven-time winner at the historic half-mile was back in town Thursday night [Jan 21] as the guest speaker at the Martinsville/Henry County Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting. Wallace, who was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013, talked to a group of more than 200 business leaders at Chatmoss Country Club about some of his favorite memories both at the track and around town. "My very first win here at Martinsville," Wallace said when recalling his favorite wins. "I won at Bristol, Tennessee about three weeks before that and a lot of people thought that was just a fluke. Then I came to Martinsville and I won again. When I won, in my heart I said I've made it. It wasn't a fluke. It was the real deal. I'd locked up two victories in a three or four week period." Wallace also talked about his final career win as another victory that will always stand out in his mind. "I had a spell where I didn't think I was going to win again because it was getting tough on me," he said. "Then, I come here and win for my 55th victory and lock it down and announce my retirement from driving a car and that was it." Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said that for what Wallace did on the track, he has done just as much for the sport in retirement. "Since the day Rusty stepped out of the car he has been working to help grow the sport," Campbell said. "Rusty's been involved as a car owner, broadcaster and works tirelessly as an ambassador for NASCAR. Having him here tonight certainly helps Martinsville Speedway, but it also helps NASCAR as a whole." Wallace is no stranger to the venue for the dinner either, as he said it was one of his favorite places to visit, not just in Martinsville but on the whole tour. "Talk about relaxed and feeling good, when I had a chance to go golfing that was a really cool time. And this particular place where at right now, Chatmoss, they always took care of me real good," he said. "I'm a big golfer. I love to golf and all the drivers love to golf. So when I leave the racetrack, we get done with practice on Saturday at noon, and when we get done with practice the first thing I would do is load up and come right out here to go golfing." Of course it helped that he always felt at home on the track at Martinsville, as well. "If you hate short track racing, I'm already in your head, because I'm going to kick your butt dude," he said. "I love this place and it's was just one of those race tracks I always looked forward going to."(Martinsville Speedway)(1-24-2016)


    News from January 23, 2016

  • 2016 NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Honors Five Of Sport's Greatest: Five of NASCAR's iconic figures - four drivers and one motorsports entrepreneur - were enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina this afternoon during the Induction Ceremony held in the Crown Ball Room at the Charlotte Convention Center. Those who added their names to the list of now 35 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductees, included: Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. The group makes up the Hall's seventh class in its history.
    Jerry Cook made his name in the modified division, winning six NASCAR Modified championships, including four consecutively from 1974-77. He joins his rival from his hometown of Rome, New York, Richie Evans, as only the second Hall of Fame driver whose career wasn't connected to NASCAR's premier series. Cook won 342 NASCAR Modified races in 1,474 starts. Upon his retirement, Cook stayed with the sport and helped shape the series known today as the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He served as the series' director and also served as NASCAR's competition administrator. "For me, it's always been NASCAR," Cook said. "I've spent my entire life in the greatest sport in the world and to be honored in this way - tonight - to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the greatest names in the sport - is the pinnacle of my career."
    One of NASCAR's original speedsters, Bobby Isaac captured 19 poles in 1969 - a mark that still stands as the record for poles in a single season. His 49 career poles are the 10th-most all time. More than just a strong qualifier, Isaac won the 1970 premier series championship by posting 11 victories, 32 top fives and 38 top 10s in 47 starts. His 37 career wins rank 19th on NASCAR's all-time list. "He died at the age of 45 doing what he loved to do," said Isaac's former spouse, Patsy Isaac. "But he died way too soon. Bobby would've loved this honor."
    Terry Labonte raced his way to two NASCAR premier series championships, the first in 1984, and the second in 1996. The Texan's 12-year gap between titles is the longest in NASCAR history. A consummate professional, Labonte earned the moniker "Iron Man" thanks to his 655 consecutive starts in NASCAR's premier series, a record which stood until 2002. Labonte won 22 races, bookended by Southern 500 victories in 1980 and 2003. His 361 top-10 finishes ranks 10th all time. "Before, I'd be introduced as a two-time champion," Labonte said. "Now I'll be introduced as a NASCAR Hall of Famer. And I think that's a whole lot cooler."
    O. Bruton Smith finished building Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1960, the facility that became the foundation of his Speedway Motorsports Inc. empire, which currently owns eight NASCAR tracks hosting 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and additional high-profile motorsports activities. He made SMI the first motorsports company to be traded at the New York Stock Exchange when he took it public in 1995. Smith is the founder of Sonic Automotive group and is active in child-related causes with his philanthropic foundation, Speedway Children's Charities. "I appreciate you all coming. I hope you have a great season, a great racing season," Smith said. "I'm delighted and I'm glad to be a part of the (Hall of Fame) here, this is great."
    Nicknamed the "Babe Ruth of stock car racing" for his big-time personality and talent, NASCAR pioneer Curtis Turner remains the only premier series driver to win two consecutive races from the pole leading every lap. Turner notched 17 wins, 54 top fives and 73 top 10s in 184 starts. He is the only driver to win a NASCAR premier series race in a Nash and tallied 38 victories in 79 NASCAR Convertible Division events. In 1972, NASCAR Founder Bill France said, "Curtis Turner was the greatest race car driver I have ever seen." "At day's end and chats catching up, Daddy would always say, anything is possible," said Turner's daughter, Margaret Sue Turner Wright, who accepted on behalf of her father. "And it was, and for us, so it is."
    Each of the five inductees had an inductor who officially welcomed them into the hall. The inductors for the five inductees: Robin Pemberton for Jerry Cook; Randy Isaac (son) for Bobby Isaac; Kristy Labonte Garrett (daughter) for Terry Labonte; Darrell Waltrip for Bruton Smith; and Leonard Wood for Curtis Turner.
    Active drivers introduced each inductee during tonight's program: Tony Stewart for Jerry Cook; Ryan Newman for Bobby Isaac; Kyle Busch for Terry Labonte; Brad Keselowski for Bruton Smith; and Kevin Harvick for Curtis Turner.
    In addition to the five inductees enshrined on Saturday afternoon, Harold Brasington was honored as the second recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Brasington, who believed in the potential of Bill France's fledgling NASCAR business, architected Darlington Raceway in his hometown of Darlington, South Carolina. After completing the project, he expected 10,000 fans to show up at the track, but instead 25,000 spectators showed up for the inaugural Southern 500 - NASCAR's first 500-mile race. The race turned out to be a mega-event that is still run to this day. After building Darlington, Brasington helped create Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham.
    Prior to today's Induction Ceremony, long-time NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes was bestowed the fifth Squier-Hall Award for NASCAR Media Excellence. Byrnes's motorsports broadcasting career spanned more than three decades. He most recently served as the play-by-play announcer for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on FS1 and was the network's co-host of NASCAR Race Hub. Last April, Byrnes passed away after a long and courageous battle with cancer. Throughout his career, Byrnes provided mentorship for countless young broadcasters and provided race fans with quality insight and entertainment as a pit reporter for CBS, TNN, TBS and FOX.(NASCAR)(1-23-2016)

  • Tulsa County Sheriff's Office issues statement on officer in Stewart confrontation: The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office issued a brief statement Friday regarding the dustup between one of its off-duty corporals and racing legend Tony Stewart at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa a week ago. Cpl. Kyle Hess and Stewart got into a confrontation in the Expo Square grandstands during car racing the night of Jan. 15. Cellphone video depicts the two men locking arms or hands and exchanging words, eventually ending with shoving. Sheriff's Office spokesman Justin Green said Hess remains on the job but is the subject of a personnel investigation. Green said such an investigation can take no longer than 30 days, at which point a decision will be made on how to handle the matter concerning any possible discipline. The Sheriff's Office takes seriously the conduct of its employees no matter if they are on or off duty, according to its statement Friday.
    "While we respect our employees' rights to free speech, we also expect all of our employees to follow the TCSO's Code of Ethics which each pledges to uphold as part of their employment and to set an example at all times," the statement reads. Stewart was overseeing track maintenance on the infield at the Chili Bowl, not racing. Tulsa Deputy Police Chief and Expo Square liaison officer Dennis Larson previously said it appeared Hess "probably had too much beer from my observations after speaking with him." Hess "kept taunting Tony Stewart" as Stewart would pass by, Larson said, and Stewart eventually went into the stands to talk to him.(Tulsa World)(1-23-2016)

  • Retirement not on the radar for Earnhardt Jr.: Despite his peers Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart announcing their own retirements, #88-Dale Earnhardt's improvement on the track makes it difficult to answer one of the biggest questions that confronts the 41-year-old driver: When will he hang up his fire suit for good? For Earnhardt, it's a delicate balance. "I don't want to be here too long, (but) I don't want to (retire) too early," Earnhardt said. " You want to feel like the time's right. "(Gordon and Stewart) felt like the time was right. And hopefully I'm in the same position. I've said before, that you want it to be your decision. You don't want to be fired out of the sport. You want it to be on your terms." Earnhardt's own terms deem that the retirement process also be steady, well thought-out -- he wants to avoid saying "what if?" when the curtain does eventually fall. "I'd be a fool to turn this off right now," Earnhardt said. "To slow down this machine would take about a two-year plan. I will talk to Jeff and I'll talk to Tony about how they went about that decision and structured it. "But I can't even imagine when that would be because things are going so well ... We've got a job to do. Every year we keep getting better, we're racing better, we're winning. I feel like I've got to be here in that next step. If it flat lines, or I feel like I've flat lined or I feel like I'm part of the problem or I'm holding the team back, then we've got to start thinking about it. But everything's going in the right direction right now." The day Earnhardt decides to step aside from racing is yet to be determined. But it doesn't appear to be happening any time soon.(NASCAR.com)(1-23-2016)

  • Kurt Busch wants to run Indy 500 again: Kurt Busch says he wants to return to run the Indianapolis 500, but nothing has been put together yet. The biggest challenge for Busch is the lack of competitive seats still available with four months remaining until Race Week begins. Busch only wants to return to the event if he can improve on his sixth-place finish from 2014 with Andretti Autosport. "Possibly. It's on the backburner," Busch said of his interest in the prestigious IndyCar event. "That's especially true since it's the 100th running. There's a lot of sponsorship opportunities, be it Haas Automation, Chevrolet or Monster Energy. "But for now, my focus is on Stewart Haas Racing, the #41 car and locking ourselves into the Chase as soon as possible this season." Busch maintains that his interest in returning to the 500 is sincere, and that he doesn't feel pressured to put together a package this early in the season. He would like the conversations to take place, if they are going to happen, sooner rather than later but hasn't placed a deadline on himself or his potential partners yet.(AutoWeek)(1-23-2016)

  • Kahne wants to race sprint car races during NASCAR season: After racing sprint cars in Australia and a midget at the Chili Bowl Nationals in the offseason, Kasey Kahne said Friday that he's looking to run between six to 10 winged sprint car races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup season. It would be the first time since 2012 that Kahne has raced winged sprint cars during the NASCAR season. He admits it has been a challenge to convince Hendrick to let him do so. "It's been ... two-and-a-half years of meetings and conversations and finally got it,'' said Kahne. Asked why he's changed his stance and will allow Kahne to run winged sprint cars during the NASCAR season, Hendrick was surprised he had. "I think he and I need to talk about that a little bit,'' Hendrick said. "I don't think we got any further than Australia. I don't think we crossed into this year yet.'' Kahne said that he feels racing winged sprint cars helps his NASCAR effort. "If anything the more I race my sprint car, the better I raced in Cup,'' Kahne said. "You can look at 2012. That was the last year I raced my sprint car a lot. As far as I see it, I was as good as anyone at (Hendrick Motorsports). I could have ran second in points. I could have easily had five to seven wins that year. I raced my sprint car 14 times that year.''(in part from NBC Sports)(1-23-2016)

  • TBR and Alex Bowman Part Ways, Smith gets ride UPDATE2 TBR Statement: It was announced today that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Alex Bowman, will not return to Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7 Chevy) in 2016. "As NASCAR transitions to different business and competition models, teams have to make decisions accordingly," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "We appreciate what Alex contributed during 2015 and wish him the best in the future." During this past season, Bowman qualified for 35 of 36 championship points events. His start/finish average was 34th and 31st respectively and placed 33rd in the final standings.(140Buzz/TBR)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announces Regan Smith as driver of the #7 Chevy in 2016. As previously announced, Toy State and their Nikko RC and Road Rippers brands will serve as the majority sponsor for the season. "This is a really great time for us," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "Having a driver with Regan's credentials further elevates our program. He's a seasoned driver and a proven race winner. We're really looking forward to 2016." A native of Cato, NY, Smith is equally as eager to get the season started. "This has been a crazy few days, but I'm really excited that we were able to put this together," he said. "I have a ton of respect for Tommy and what he's built there. It's going to be a lot of fun. Our son Rhett turns one next month, so I'll be putting in my request for some Road Rippers cars. That's a pretty good perk too!" Smith's career in NASCAR boasts a total of 7 wins, 34 top-five's and 94 top-ten's across the three National Touring Series, including the storied Southern 500 at Darlington in 2011.(TBR)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE2: Statement from Tommy Baldwin Racing concerning the recent driver change: "The business of NASCAR is no different than any other professional sport. There are a lot of moving parts and pieces behind the scenes that fans and media don't see. Decisions are made carefully over a period of time and are influenced by many factors. As the competition and business models change in NASCAR, it's the responsibility of teams to make decisions accordingly. We felt that we needed to make some changes, and the driver was one of them. The circumstances surrounding Alex's release via social media was unfortunate and certainly unintentional. The culture of doing business in motorsports has become more complex and involves many parties such as agents, business managers, attorneys and sponsors. A comment in passing may be overheard and subsequently conveyed to the media. Our intention, as it always is, was to follow business protocol and notify Alex and his management of our decision. Again, it's unfortunate that confidentiality was compromised, and the news delivered in this manner. Alex Bowman is a talented, young race car driver. He has a good future ahead of him. We appreciate his time with us and wish him well.(TBR Facebook page)(1-23-2016)

  • Martinsville truck races to be sponsored by Alpha Energy Solutions: Alpha Energy Solutions will sponsor both Camping World Truck Series races at Martinsville Speedway for the next three years, Track President Clay Campbell announced. Alpha Energy Solutions is no stranger to Martinsville Speedway. In 2014, they sponsored the Pole Award for the STP 500. The Louisville-based company sees the race sponsorship as a way to grow their relationship with Martinsville Speedway and the International Speedway Corporation. The Alpha Energy Solutions 250 on April 2 and the Alpha Energy Solutions 200 on October 29 will be their first race entitlements. NASCAR announced last week that the Camping World Truck Series will have a seven-race, eight-driver playoff with two drivers being eliminated after the first three races and again after the second three races, setting up a four driver championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The Alpha Energy Solutions 200 will be the first race in the Round of 6.(Alpha Energy Solutions)(1-23-2016)


    News from January 22, 2016

  • NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony..postponed until Saturday: The historic NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 Induction Ceremony will take place in the Crown Ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center and will be broadcast live on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio at 2:30pm/et on Saturday, January 23, 2016. Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner will officially be enshrined into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. In addition, Harold Brasington will be honored as the second recipient of the Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. Induction Ceremony premium seating tickets ($80 plus applicable service fees and taxes) and general seating tickets ($45 plus applicable service fees and taxes) are still available for purchase at nascarhall.com/inductees/induction-ceremony.(1-22-2016)

  • NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day (canceled) returns to the NASCAR Hall Of Fame Jan. 23 Weather UPDATE: For the third consecutive year, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will open its doors for FREE for NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day. On Saturday, Jan. 23, fans will have free access to the Hall for a full day of activities, including autographs and Q&A sessions with current drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. However, tickets to autograph sessions, highlighted by 13-time Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. must be secured in advance. Vouchers for the autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10:00am/et on Saturday, Jan. 16. Each fan can secure up to two autograph session vouchers. In addition, up-and-coming stars of the NASCAR NEXT program and NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductees Jerry Cook, Terry Labonte and Bruton Smith will participate in Q&A's and autograph signings throughout the day. Advance vouchers are not required for these sessions. Fans in attendance will be among the first to see a series of new exhibits and facility upgrades. Artifacts from all five Class of 2016 inductees will be on display in the Hall of Honor, an exhibit that opens Friday, Jan. 22. Fans can also relive the 2015 NASCAR season with updated Memorable Moments and Champions displays.(NASCAR)(1-10-2016)
    Weather UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather conditions in the Charlotte region, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will amend its Induction Ceremony and NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day activities this weekend. The NASCAR Hall of Fame will remain open on Friday, Jan. 22. Due to the anticipated ice and snow accumulations during the course of the day, the venue will close early at 2:00pm/et. The Induction Ceremony scheduled for this evening will be moved to Saturday, Jan. 23 beginning at 2:30pm/et and will be aired live on NBCSN, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. The event will also be streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra. The Induction Dinner will be adjusted to a luncheon format on Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center beginning at 1:00pm/et. Activities that were scheduled for today leading up to the Induction Ceremony such as Hall of Famer autograph sessions and the Red Carpet event will be canceled altogether.
    In addition, Fan Appreciation Day activities including autograph sessions and programs will be canceled for tomorrow at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The venue will have a delayed opening at 12:00pm/et and will honor the free admission that Fan Appreciation Day offers guests. The venue will close at 5:00pm/et.
    For those guests who secured autograph session tickets, the venue is exploring options to accommodate fans, which will be announced by the end of next week. Due to the complexity of NASCAR and driver schedules, unfortunately the Hall will not be able to reschedule a complete day of Fan Appreciation Day programming. Please continue to check NASCAR HOF Facebook and Website.(1-22-2016)

  • Stewart slims down: #14-Tony Stewart might be in the best shape of his life, and just in time. At 44, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion has declared this to be his final Sprint Cup season as a driver, and he's doing everything in his power to make it memorable. "I'm eating better, drinking better, working out, doing stuff I swore I would never do - and I'm doing it in my last year," said Stewart, facing Thursday's a media during the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour. "I've changed my diet. I've changed everything for this year, so if anybody has any questions about how dedicated we are to having the best year we possibly could have, that's the answer. I'm more excited about this year than I have been in a long time."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-22-2016)

  • NASCAR Charter System Still In the Works: NASCAR and Sprint Cup Series team owners continue to work toward an agreement on a possible charter system. While no official word has been given on when the plan may be put into place that would afford owners equity in the series, several key players have spoken on the subject. "We don't have it finished and it's still moving around a little bit," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said earlier this week. "The time line is sooner rather than later. This is a complicated plan and structure that will require some time to phase in. We'll announce things as soon as we can, but I'm optimistic." Prominent team owners echo France's sentiment that the plan will be good for the sport when it's finally completed.
    "There's been great progress," said Roger Penske. "I'm not sitting in the meetings myself, but we've elected a group of people that understands where we're trying to go. NASCAR and the car owners have been very open. This is a long-term business relationship we're trying to develop. It has to be done carefully. We have to think about all the constituents and that's what's going on, so I feel good about it. Hopefully, we'll have an outcome shortly."
    Joe Gibbs believes the idea is right but doesn't want the sport to rush into an agreement. "When two sides want something to happen, generally you can find a way," he said. "There's a lot left to be done. Our best hope is that we get it done before Daytona."(Motor Racing Network)(1-22-2016)

  • Bass Pro Shops cuts back Stewart sponsorship: #14-Tony Stewart said nine races of Bass Pro Shops sponsorship for #78-Martin Truex Jr. came out of the allotment of sponsorship of the #14 Stewart Haas Racing Chevy. Stewart said Bass Pro Shops will be the sponsor of the #14 for 2-3 races in 2016 and the team is looking for additional sponsorship for 2016 (ESPN / Bob Pockrass Twitter), see an image of the scheme on the #14 Team Schemes page (1-22-2016)

  • Stewart would like Brian France to be more hands on as a CEO: #14-Tony Stewart wants to see Brian France around the Sprint Cup circuit a whole lot more. Stewart, who is competing in his final Sprint Cup Series season in 2016, said on SiriusXM Speedway on Thursday afternoon that he would like to have NASCAR's CEO be present more frequently, both in discussions with drivers and during race weekends. "You never see Brian France," Stewart said. "He shows up at the drivers' meeting and you never see him after that. But I picked up what Brian was putting down. And he's right's it's their series and they've got to make the decisions. Just because it's my idea doesn't mean it's the right idea. I would like to think in the 37 years I've been in racing that I've learned a thing or two." The entire interview is worth a listen. You can tell that Stewart, perhaps unburdened because it's his final year as a driver, has carefully thought through what he wants to say. And he made it clear that his words were not designed to pick a fight, but rather as an impetus for improvement. He said communication with NASCAR has gotten better, especially after the formation of the driver's council. A group of drivers has been meeting periodically with NASCAR executives to exchange ideas and feedback.(Yahoo Sports)(1-22-2016)

  • ICE-AID sponsoring Cope at Daytona; additional races: ICE-AID - formerly known as Beer Frost - an environmentally safe, all natural, mineral based product that turns your cooler of ice into a freezer - announced its 2016 partnership with Derrike Cope Racing, acting as primary sponsor of the #70 car during February's Xfinity Series POWRSHARES QQQ 300 race. ICE-AID will also continue its support of DCR with a notable presence throughout the 2016 NASCAR season. Derrike Cope, the "1990 Daytona 500 Winner," and the #70 Chevrolet Camaro car has been a stable figure in NASCAR, competing in all Series of NASCAR for over 30 years. Heading into 2016, Cope will have a combined Xfinity and Cup Series career total of over 665 races, three wins, 40 top 10's, two poles and the coveted title of Rookie of the Year. Cope was also inducted into the West Coast NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2013. Following its presence at the Xfinity Series POWERSHARES QQQ 300 race, ICE-AID will support DCR throughout the 2016 NASCAR season and allow NASCAR fans to sample and experience the benefits of ICE-AID during coveted race weekends.(Derrike Cope Racing)(1-22-2016)

  • Nexteer Automotive joins RCR: Nexteer Automotive joins Richard Childress Racing's family of companies in 2016 with a partnership that positions the global leader in intuitive motion control with the 47-year-old NASCAR organization in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Nexteer Automotive will serve as a primary partner on the #33 Chevy driven by Rookie of the Year contender Brandon Jones in the XFINITY Series for select races in 2016. Nexteer will serve as a major associate partner on the #33 Chevrolet for the remainder of the races. Nexteer will also have a presence in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a major associate partner for select races with #95-Ty Dillon.(RCR)(1-22-2016)

  • Motorsports entrepreneur Smith architects NASCAR Hall of Fame-worthy career: There's a possibility, albeit remote, that O. Bruton Smith could be entering the NASCAR Hall of Fame as a race car driver instead of a race promoter extraordinaire. Smith, at age 17, bought a race car and decided to be a professional driver. "One time, I actually beat (NASCAR Hall of Famers) Buck Baker and Joe Weatherly," Smith said in a May 7, 2005 interview with Motorsport.com. "So I knew when I beat them I could be a contender, right?" Smith's mother, however, believed otherwise and appealed to a Higher Authority. She prayed her son would change his mind. "She started fighting dirty," said Smith in the same interview. "You can't fight your mom and God, so I stopped driving."
    NASCAR stock car racing became the beneficiary of the intervention. Smith turned to race promotion, ultimately creating some of America's greatest facilities. His eight-track Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI), anchored by Charlotte Motor Speedway, helped boost the sport to new heights in the 1950s and was the first American motorsports company to go public in 1995.
    Born on a farm in rural North Carolina, Smith never considered an agricultural life. He hated the thought of being poor, which a childhood during the throes of the Great Depression appeared to suggest. "You have food, clothing and shelter but you never have any money and I never did like that. I did not like that," said Smith in a July 2003 Car & Driver story authored by Bob Zeller. "You worked from sunup to sundown, but you never did see the rewards."
    By 1949, Smith had his own stock car racing association, the National Stock Car Racing Association (NSCRA), which was a direct competitor to William H.G. "Big Bill" France's fledgling NASCAR. Both groups fought for the same drivers and neither was making much money. France and Smith discussed a possible merger in 1950 but the Korean War and U.S. Army scuttled the negotiations. Smith was drafted, served two years stateside as a paratrooper and by the time he mustered out the NSCRA was defunct. Smith began to be noticed in 1954 when he took over promotion of the half-mile track at the Charlotte Fairgrounds. Motorsports writer Russ Catlin wrote of "the genius of a 27-year-old fanatic named Bruton Smith ... who took a poorly lighted, run-down half-mile track that wends around a muddy lake and built it into a spectacular speed emporium."
    In partnership with Turner and others, Smith built Charlotte Motor Speedway, completed in 1960 at a cost of $1.5 million. The first Coca-Cola 600 - then the World 600 - was the facility's opening event. Eventually, Smith decided just owning the 1.5-mile track wasn't enough. Boosting its profile meant adding seats, building suites and condos for VIP customers - and changing demographics of ticket buyers and sponsors. "He took a cue from the oil industry in World War II when they were trying to get women who were suddenly driving the family car to stop in and pump gas at their service stations," said CMS' then-general manager Humpy Wheeler. "What they did was clean up the stations and make sure they had a decent women's rest room." By 2000, the track's customer base was 40% female.
    "I took the position that Charlotte Motor Speedway was constantly under construction," said Smith, a statement that describes how the now 88-year-old entrepreneur views his racing empire. Fueled in part by public stock offerings, Smith acquired Atlanta Motor Speedway in 1990 and Bristol Motor Speedway in 1996 - expanding the latter from 71,000 to 160,000 seats. SMI bought Sonoma Raceway in 1996, Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 1997, New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2007 and Kentucky Speedway in 2008. Smith built and opened Texas Motor Speedway - SMI's signature project - in 1997, which rose from the prairie outside Fort Worth. The track later added Big Hoss TV, the world's largest HD screen measuring 20l,633.64 square feet. SMI presents 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races annually, including three in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
    "He (is) such an innovator. He would think of something and do it," said NASCAR Hall of Fame voter Eddie Wood, co-owner of the Wood Brothers Racing team, in a May 20, 2015 interview with ESPN's Bob Pockrass. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France agrees. "He deserves to be in (the NASCAR Hall of Fame); he's made a huge impact (on the sport) obviously," France said. "He has given the fans an experience that has transformed the sport."
    The Oakboro, NC native is part of the NASCAR Hall of Fame's class of 2016 that includes Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte and Curtis Turner. Induction ceremonies will be held Jan. 22 in Charlotte, N.C. and will be broadcast live at 8:00pm/et by the NBCSN. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony (limited quantities available). Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.(Owen A. Kearns / NASCAR Wire Service)(1-22-2016)


    News from January 21, 2016

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing and Alex Bowman Part Ways UPDATE Regan Smith joins TBR: It was announced today that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Alex Bowman, will not return to Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7 Chevy) in 2016. "As NASCAR transitions to different business and competition models, teams have to make decisions accordingly," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "We appreciate what Alex contributed during 2015 and wish him the best in the future." During this past season, Bowman qualified for 35 of 36 championship points events. His start/finish average was 34th and 31st respectively and placed 33rd in the final standings.(140Buzz/TBR)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE: Tommy Baldwin Racing (TBR) announces Regan Smith as driver of the #7 Chevy in 2016. As previously announced, Toy State and their Nikko RC and Road Rippers brands will serve as the majority sponsor for the season. "This is a really great time for us," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "Having a driver with Regan's credentials further elevates our program. He's a seasoned driver and a proven race winner. We're really looking forward to 2016." A native of Cato, NY, Smith is equally as eager to get the season started. "This has been a crazy few days, but I'm really excited that we were able to put this together," he said. "I have a ton of respect for Tommy and what he's built there. It's going to be a lot of fun. Our son Rhett turns one next month, so I'll be putting in my request for some Road Rippers cars. That's a pretty good perk too!" Smith's career in NASCAR boasts a total of 7 wins, 34 top-five's and 94 top-ten's across the three National Touring Series, including the storied Southern 500 at Darlington in 2011.(TBR)(1-21-2016)

  • McDowell back with Leavine Family Racing, switches to Chevy, merges with Circle Sport UPDATE3: Leavine Family Racing is announcing parts of their 2016 season plans. So far the team has announced that driver Michael McDowell will return to drive, that the TEAM will run the full 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and that the team is now known as Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing (LFR Facebook / Twitter). Joe Falk, owner of the #33 Circle Sport team, has merged / sold the team to Leavine Family Racing, so the #95 team has #33 owners points to be eligible for a charter (when/if NASCAR goes to that ownership system) or be higher in owners points. Also hearing the team will switch manufacturers from Ford to Chevy and Thrivent Financial will return to sponsor the team in an unknown number of races. Another piece is a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing and Ty Dillon driving in some races (1-20-2016)
    UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing and Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing have agreed to form a technical alliance in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, beginning with the 2016 season. The partnership includes technology sharing, engineering, research and development provided to Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing as they switch their #95 Sprint Cup Series cars to Chevy beginning with the 2016 season. Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing will also benefit from utilizing the highly reliable and powerful engines of ECR Engines. Ty Dillon will run select races, including the Daytona 500, for Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing in 2016. Sprint Cup Series veteran driver Michael McDowell will be the primary driver for the team.
    "I admire the hard work, dedication and passion that Joe Falk and Bob and Sharon Leavine have for NASCAR and I know their addition to our RCR alliance teams will be mutually beneficial to both Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing and our current roster of technical alliance partners," said Richard Childress, Chief Executive Officer of RCR. "I'm looking forward to success in 2016 and beyond."
    With their race shop based in Concord, N.C., Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing has a veteran group of racing personnel and ownership that has been active in the Sprint Cup Series for multiple years. "The resources that Richard Childress and RCR can provide, including ECR engines, the Chevrolet SS and access to shared information and technology will be a tremendous help as we continue to grow as an organization," said Bob Leavine. "RCR has an extremely competitive program with a storied history of winning races and championships and joining that culture of success makes this partnership especially attractive."(Richard Childress Racing)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE2 Leavine Family Racing (LFR) will join forces with Circle Sport Racing to run the full 36-race schedule in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS). In addition, the race team will enter into an alliance with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and will make the switch to run Chevy race cars powered by ECR Engines this race season. Michael McDowell will be the primary driver and compete in at least 26 NSCS races in 2016. RCR driver Ty Dillon will pilot the team's entry for the remaining NSCS races. Specific races for each driver are being determined but both drivers will enter the Daytona 500 (supposedly McDowell in a 2nd car). Leavine Family Racing team owner Bob Leavine has been preparing to take the team from a partial schedule to the full series schedule since the team's inception. The 2016 season proved to be the perfect time to make the leap, thanks in part to the new alliance with Joe Falk's Circle Sport team and technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.
    "The manufacturer and alliance switch provides our team with the best opportunity to improve on-track performance and to create long-term sustainability," said Leavine. "This was the right time for us to make this change. We have been turning over every stone looking for the right plan for our team and our people in 2016, and we've finally found a great fit that's going to help us continue to grow both on the track and as an organization."
    Joe Falk, owner of Circle Sport Racing (was #33 Chevy), had been an owner in NASCAR starting in the late 1990's. Circle Sport competed in its first race in 2012 and has been associated with Richard Childress Racing during that time. "I'm happy to be working with Bob (Leavine) and the team to combine our efforts for a successful 2016 and beyond," said Falk. "We've put together a top notch program obtaining all cars and engines from RCR."
    "This is a big step for our competition program," said McDowell. "The technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing is a huge asset to our growing team and we'll have access to some of the top equipment in the Cup Series. This type of alliance has worked really well for single-car teams such as JTG Racing and Germain Racing in the past and I'm excited about what we're going to be able to do in 2016."
    Primary sponsorship of the #95 Chevy will include Thrivent Financial, K-LOVE Radio and Cheerios Brand. Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing is seeking additional sponsorship to fill out the season.(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE3: Thrivent Financial announced its continuing sponsorship of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing and driver Michael McDowell in the 2016 race season. Thrivent, a not-for-profit financial services organization that serves Christians, will be the primary sponsor for fifteen (15) races during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with McDowell behind the wheel. The organization will also serve as a secondary sponsor on 15 additional races. Thrivent started its relationship with Leavine Family Racing and McDowell in August of 2014. This season, Thrivent will be featured as the primary sponsor at major NASCAR events and tracks including the Daytona 500, Talladega, Charlotte, Bristol, Indianapolis, Darlington and Homestead.
    Formed in 2016, Joe Falk, owner of Circle Sport Racing and Bob and Sharon Leavine, owners of Leavine Family Racing teamed up to compete in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season as Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing. The team will field the #95 Chevrolet SS, which will be driven by Michael McDowell as well as Ty Dillon in select races. The team operates out of their Concord, N.C.-based race shop with a veteran group of racing personnel and is driven by several core principals including Value, Integrity, Flexibility, Opportunity, Access and Experience.(Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing), see images of the schemes on the #95 Team Schemes page (1-21-2016)

  • Tommy Baldwin Racing and Alex Bowman Part Ways: It was announced today that NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, Alex Bowman, will not return to Tommy Baldwin Racing (#7 Chevy) in 2016. "As NASCAR transitions to different business and competition models, teams have to make decisions accordingly," said team owner, Tommy Baldwin. "We appreciate what Alex contributed during 2015 and wish him the best in the future." During this past season, Bowman qualified for 35 of 36 championship points events. His start/finish average was 34th and 31st respectively and placed 33rd in the final standings.(140Buzz/TBR)(1-21-2016)

  • New look for the #19 Subway car: Joe Gibbs Racing released an image of Carl Edwards #19 Subway Toyota on Thursday. Green is the featured color. No word what races Subway will sponsor, usually is the primary sponsor for 4-6 races a season. Last season Subway was the primary sponsor at Auto Club Speedway in March, Charlotte in May, Daytona in July and Talladega in October. See an image of the car on the #19 Team Schemes page (1-21-2016)

  • McMurray and Larson Look to Build on Late Season Momentum: A new season means new opportunities. As Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) anticipates the 2016 season, the team is looking forward to building on what was in many ways a very successful season in 2015. The #42 Target Chevy, #1 Cessna Chevy and #1 McDonald's Chevy will feature new paint schemes for the 2016 NSCS season. Following their 26th season with CGRT, primary partner Target will continue to feature a different paint scheme for day and night races. Primary partner Cessna will see their scheme switch from black to blue and white, which reflects Cessna's branding for their line-up of luxury aircraft. This will be the fourth year that Cessna will adorn the #1 Chevy. Longtime team partner McDonald's will also feature a new design with a metallic feel as they enter their seventh year with CGRFS.
    Just as the 2015 season began, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson, along with INDYCAR teammates Tony Kanaan and 2015 series champion Scott Dixon will start the year racing at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, where they look to defend their title. Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced Chad Johnston as the new crew chief for Kyle Larson and the #42 Target team. Johnston joins the team from Stewart-Haas Racing, where he has been the crew chief for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart and the #14 Chevy since the 2014 season. Johnston also served as crew chief for Martin Truex, Jr. and the #56 at Michael Waltrip Racing from 2011 - 2013. In early December, Kyle Larson embarked on a 13 hour trip to Tokyo, Japan to visit JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp. headquarters, makers of the premium synthetic oil brand, ENEOS. Highlights of the trip included visiting the company's R&D center, stopping at the busiest intersection in the world, taking in a local fish market, dining at McDonald's and riding a bullet train. ENEOS has backed Larson in the XFINITY Series since 2014 and continues to be a full-time associate partner on the two CGRT XFINITY Series teams and the Chip Ganassi Racing Red Bull Global Rallycross cars.(CGRFS), see some images of some of the schemes on the #1 Team Schemes page and #42 Team Schemes page (1-21-2016)

  • Coke to sponsor Logano: Walt Czarnicki, Executive VP, Penske Corporation & Vice Chairman, Team Penske was asked: YOU ALSO HAVE GREAT CONTINUITY WITH YOUR SPONSORS. TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE RELATIONSHIP AND PROGRAMS. "I think one of the hallmarks of our team over the years has been continuity of sponsorship. Miller Brewing Company has been with us since 1983-84, Snap On tools and other companies like that. PPG for example. Over the course of time we have expanded that context to sponsors and we are at a point now where we are happy to announce here that we have extended our relationship with Bosch. They have been with us for more than 30 years across all our motorsports disciplines. Coca Cola will be coming back to be featured on the 22 Ford Fusion. Joey is part of the Coke family of drivers. Auto Trader is an important partner of ours in our retail business and will be with us on the 2 and 22 cars this year. I think we bring a leverage with those sponsors because we are able to give back more than the value on the race track. We are able to establish business to business relationships so they get real value from our partnership."(Ford Performance NSCS Notes and Quotes)(1-21-2016)

  • Wood Brother's looking for additional sponsorship: #21-Wood Brothers Racing will be running a full NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule for the first time since 2008. Ryan Blaney will drive the #21 Ford, running for Rookie of the Year. The team spoke about that topic as part of Wednesday's Charlotte Media Tour at the Ford Technical Center. Eddie Wood was asked: How many of the 36 races will we see Motorcraft (and Quick Lane) on the (#21) car?
    Wood answered: "They're still working on that. I know for a minimum it will be 12 races, just like it's been in the past. As we said at Homestead when we announced this, we're also trying to get other partners involved with other races to help make it all work for everyone. That's kind of an ongoing work in progress. I'm like you, I'm really partial to the red and white, but if someone comes up and they need it to be pink or purple, that's fine with us as long as we can go to the race track."(Ford Racing)(1-21-2016)

  • Kenseth-Logano put feud behind them: #22-Joey Logano and #20-Matt Kenseth aren't likely to be dining together soon, but the discomfort produced by their late-season on-track troubles last year seems to have eased. Logano knocked Kenseth's car out of the way as he raced to a win Oct. 18 at Kansas Speedway. Kenseth retaliated two weeks later at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, sending Logano's car into the wall and keeping from an almost-certain victory. NASCAR suspended Kenseth for two races because of the crash. NASCAR called the two drivers into a meeting the weekend of the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    Logano said Wednesday he hopes the situation has reached a conclusion. "We had a discussion at Homestead with NASCAR. I got everything off my chest that I needed to say, and hopefully Matt did, as well. As a driver, you keep your goals in mind. My goal as a race car driver is to win every race I'm in. That's what I keep as priority No. 1. Each person has their own way of handling it. Every situation requires something different. I'm sure this over time will kind of go away and we'll be able to focus on the season."
    On Tuesday, Kenseth also expressed a desire to leave the 2015 incidents behind. "NASCAR got us together at Homestead, and we spoke briefly in Las Vegas (during post-season appearances)," Kenseth said. "Honestly, I've never had a problem with Joey before that. We've always raced good together. The best case probably is for everybody to put it behind us and move on."(USA Today)(1-21-2016)

  • Cassill to Front Row Motorsports UPDATE2: hearing that Landon Cassill is close to signing to drive the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, bringing Snap Fitness as a sponsor for a few races. Cassill raced the #40 Chevy for Hillman Racing in 2015. Hillman Racing was recently bought out by Premium Motorsports, with the intent of using the #40 owners points and running one full time team in 2016. Front Row Motorsports is looking like it will scale back from three teams (#34, #35 and #38 Fords) to two teams. Chris Buescher will run the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford in 2016.(1-18-2016)
    UPDATE: Six-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Landon Cassill will join the Front Row Motorsports line-up to drive the #38 Ford for the 2016 season. The 26-year-old Cassill has 187 Sprint Cup starts under his belt, most recently competing for Hillman Racing in 2015. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has raced in all three of NASCAR's national series, earning XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Cassill will join rookie teammate #34-Chris Buescher at Front Row Motorsports, which will field two full-time Sprint Cup entries in 2016. "I feel like Front Row Motorsports is a great fit for me," Cassill said. "I've got several years of experience in the series now, and being a part of this team will help me take the next step in my career. I'm grateful to Bob Jenkins and Ford Motor Company for the opportunity and can't wait to get in the car." Cassill's Sprint Cup career-best finish is a fourth-place run at Talladega Superspeedway (2014), a track where Front Row Motorsports has also excelled. "We've always been impressed with Landon and what he can do behind the wheel," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "He's got a lot of natural talent. You could see that at every level of racing he's competed in throughout his career. We're happy to have that talent in one of our race cars this year." Sponsorship programs for the #38 team will be announced soon.(FRM)(1-20-2016)
    UPDATE2: Even with the late start in the off-season, Cassill has already been to the race shop - prior to the official announcement of him joining Front Row - to start getting acclimated with his new team and crew chief Donnie Wingo. "Honestly it's really cool because he's (Wingo) still got the same core group of guys that he had last year so they are just really plugging me in," Cassill said. "It's up to me to adapt to how they work and give them what we need to give me fast racecars."(Motor Racing Network)(1-21-2016)

  • Consistency, humility, skill carry Labonte to NASCAR Hall of Fame: Some label Terry Labonte the NASCAR premier series' least flamboyant champion. Perhaps it just seemed that way, when measuring Labonte alongside such colorful contemporaries as NASCAR Hall of Famers Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip. His calm, quiet demeanor at least partially explains why Labonte became known as "The Iceman." The Corpus Christi, Texas driver may not have personified flash, but Labonte got the job done. Labonte won his first of two championships in 1984 and figuratively fell off the radar for a dozen years before resurfacing to claim a second title driving for Hendrick Motorsports.
    His 22 premier series victories don't accurately measure the breadth of Labonte's career. Consistency is a much better measure: 17 different seasons among the top 10 in the championship standings along with 361 top-10 finishes, the latter ranking 10th all-time. Labonte also won in the NASCAR XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series, as well as the International Race of Champions (IROC) and shared the GTO class-winning entry in the 1984 24 Hours of Daytona.
    Rick Hendrick believed Labonte's attitude - which often put others first - may have kept him from winning more frequently. "Terry could've accomplished even more in his career had he been a little more selfish," Hendrick told The Associated Press in 2006. "But there's not a selfish bone in his body. He's a great talent, but he's just a great human being. He'll always do what's best for the team, even if it puts him in an awkward spot."
    Born Nov. 16, 1956 and raised in south Texas, Terrance Lee Labonte was introduced to racing by his father, who worked on race cars for friends. He was a quarter-midget champion by age nine and won stock car titles in Corpus Christi, Houston and San Antonio from 1975 to 1977. Labonte met Louisiana oilman and sports car racer Billy Hagan, who fielded the NASCAR premier series team that carried Skip Manning to the rookie of the year title in 1976. Labonte joined the Stratagraph Racing team for the final five races of 1978 and became Hagan's permanent driver the following season in which he finished 10th but lost rookie of the year honors to Earnhardt. Labonte notched his first premier series victory in the 1980 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. With sponsorship from Piedmont Airlines, Labonte, Hagan and NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief Dale Inman captured the 1984 championship with victories at Bristol Motor Speedway and the Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway road course. Success, however, was fleeting.
    "We weren't supposed to win it and we didn't know what to do with it," said Inman, who left the team to rejoin Richard Petty. Labonte agreed, reminiscing after his second title, "I thought it was a pretty neat deal and we'd win it the next year. Next year took a long time coming." Labonte departed the Hagan outfit for Junior Johnson's Budweiser team, then went to Precision Performance followed by a second stint with Stratagraph. He joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1994. "I looked at his statistics early in his career and I couldn't believe how well he'd run with the equipment he was in," Hendrick later told The Associated Press.
    Labonte responded by winning the 1996 championship, edging Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon by 37 points. His younger brother, Bobby, won the season-ending NAPA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the two celebrated together. Bobby Labonte became a NASCAR premier series champion himself in 2000, making the pair the first brothers to win a title in the top division. Terry Labonte continued fulltime with the Hendrick team through the 2004 season, winning for the final time at Darlington in 2003. He continued to race on a part-time basis, calling it an 890-race career at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 19, 2014.
    Labonte has said his two favorite victories were those in his home state - at Texas Motor Speedway. But he may be better-remembered for a pair of slam-bang races at Bristol battling the late Earnhardt. In 1995, Labonte won a final-lap duel despite a shove by Earnhardt that sent his car into the wall. Fast-forward to 1999, when Earnhardt spun and wrecked Labonte on the final lap and famously said in Victory Lane, he was "just trying to rattle his cage." The driver - and his fans - were livid, but Labonte admitted 15 years later in a Popular Speed Magazine interview that he was at least partially to blame for the ruckus. "If I had gotten into the corner at a better angle then he wouldn't have got the chance to hit me. But I was passing him low and couldn't carry the speed into the corner and he took advantage of it," Labonte said. "I don't think he really intended to wreck me. He wanted to move me out of the way. That was his only shot. I had four new tires and he didn't. It was just one of those deals."
    Labonte is a member of the National Quarter Midget Hall of Fame and in 1998 was named one of NASCAR's 50 Greatest Drivers.
    Labonte will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina on Jan. 22, along with the other four members of the Class of 2016: Jerry Cook, Bobby Isaac, O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Ceremonies will be broadcast live on NBCSN at 8:00pm/et. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony (limited quantities available). Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.(Owen A. Kearns / NASCAR Wire Service)(1-18-2016)

  • Rheem expands sponsorship of RCR: After recording its most successful racing season ever as a NASCAR sponsor, Rheem Manufacturing Company returns as a NASCAR XFINITY Series primary sponsor for Richard Childress Racing's #2 Chevrolet team with Austin Dillon and enhances their program as a primary sponsor for select races on the #3 Chevrolet with Ty Dillon for select races. Rheem, a global leader in heating, cooling and water heating products, will serve as an associate partner on both Chevrolets for the 2016 season. Rheem has a history of success with RCR, with their relationship dating back to 2007 as a primary or associate partner in various NASCAR series. Rheem has been the official heating, cooling and water heating provider to RCR for more than nine years. Austin Dillon will drive the #2 Rheem Chevrolet under the RCR banner during the 2016 XFINITY Series season while maintaining a full schedule in RCR's #3 Chevrolet SS in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series where Rheem will serve as an associate partner on that entry. The Rheem team competed in multiple XFINITY Series events in 2015 and tallying it's most dominant performance ever as a NASCAR sponsor, collecting four victories, a series-leading seven pole awards, 13 top-five and 16 top-10 finishes. Although 2016 marks the first year Rheem will serve as a primary sponsor on the iconic #3 Chevrolet Camaro, driver Ty Dillon has a history with the performance-driven company. He drove a Rheem Chevrolet in three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series events in 2015, and Rheem was the co-primary sponsor with Realtree for his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014. Rheem will begin the year with the #2 Chevrolet team for the XFINITY Series season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. The #3 Chevrolet will feature the company's legendary Rheem red, black and white branding at Atlanta Motor Speedway the following weekend.(RCR)(1-21-2016)

  • Nexteer Automotive joins #33 team for select races: Nexteer Automotive joins Richard Childress Racing's family of leading-edge companies in 2016 with a partnership that positions the global leader in intuitive motion control with the 47-year-old NASCAR organization in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. The multi-billion dollar Tier 1 automotive supplier will serve as a primary partner on the #33 Chevrolet driven by Rookie of the Year contender Brandon Jones in the XFINITY Series for select races in 2016. Nexteer will serve as a major associate partner on the #33 Chevrolet for the remainder of the races. Nexteer will also have a presence in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as a major associate partner for select races with Ty Dillon.(RCR), see an image of the car on the #33 team paint scheme page.(1-21-2016)

  • Alsco becomes title sponsor for July XFINITY Race at Kentucky: A multi-year entitlement sponsorship was announced by Kentucky Speedway and Alsco for the speedway's Friday, July 8 NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Alsco is a worldwide leader in the rental of linen, uniforms, healthcare garments, and washroom products. The family-run business introduced linen and uniform rental services to the world in 1889. Founded by George Steiner in Lincoln, Nebraska more than 125 years ago, the company has ridden the wheels of change, rising to the top of the linen and uniform industry and expanding worldwide. Alsco boasts over 300,000 customers served by 18,000 employees and 150 branches, in fourteen countries, covering 5 continents. The XFINITY Series Alsco 300 is part of a NASCAR tripleheader weekend at Kentucky Speedway that will begin Thursday, July 7 with a 225-mile Camping World Truck event, and concludes with the Sprint Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, July 9. All races are at night.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-21-2016)

  • Limited schedule for McClure: According to a tweet by the Bristol Herald-Courier's Allen Gregory, "Xfinity series veteran Eric McClure is scaling back to a limited schedule this season. Details to come on his new venture".
    McClure started last season at JGL Racing, but returned to TriStar after Talladega and finished out the season with them in the #24. McClure has had sponsorship from Hefty/Reynolds Wrap for several years.(1-21-2016)

  • Martins to run truck schedule UPDATE: Tommy Joe Martins nearly two-year sabbatical from NASCAR racing is about to end. Martins who last competed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Road (Wisc.) America in 2014 will compete for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) championship title behind the wheel of the #44 Chevy Silverado. Unlike a failed attempt to run a full XFINITY Series schedule in 2014 from Tennessee, Martins Motorsports is determined not to make the same mistakes twice and will operate their latest endeavor from Mooresville, North Carolina. Martins, 29, has acquired the owner's points from Billy Boat Motorsports' #15 team and transferred them to the newly formed Martins Motorsports to secure a berth into the series-opener next month. The Como, Mississippi native also purchased the superspeedway truck that Mason Mingus soared to a career-best third place finish at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway last October for use next month at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. Martins also said the team will form a technical alliance with a powerhouse team for the 2016 season. CATCHFENCE.com has attempted to reach out for confirmation of the alliance, but the team has not yet confirmed the relationship at this time. Diamond Gusset Jeans who backed Martins for his career-best 14th place XFINITY run at Talladega in 2014 will back the team's effort for the Feb. 19 NCWTS opener in a current one-race deal. Longtime NASCAR member Kevin Eagle will serve as crew chief on the #44 Chevy.(Catchfence.com)(1-21-2016)
    UPDATE: Catchfence.com writer Chris Knight followed up on his article by stating: "A GMS Racing spokesperson confirms a technical alliance with Tommy Joe Martins for 2016 season." (1-21-2016)

  • Son of NASCAR founder installs last seat at Daytona: The last of 101,500 Daytona Rising stadium grandstand seats was installed by the son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France with the help of a race fan at Daytona International Speedway Tuesday. Jim France, who is the chairman of International Speedway Corp., and Ted Swartzlander, 61, who has held the same six seats for two decades near the start/finish line, completed the installation in front of a mob of media. "My partner and I did an excellent job and I hope the supervisor appreciated our quality of work," said the 71-year-old France. "This is one of the most spectacular motorsports facilities that I've ever seen in my life. I've been to many places around the world and nothing compares to this." Bill France Sr., who founded NASCAR in 1948, built the track in 1958. It opened for business in February, 1959 with the running of the inaugural Daytona 500 and several other support races. The $400 million Daytona Rising project started on July 8, 2013. The facility will open to the public on Jan. 28 for the first day of Rolex 24 At Daytona activities. "I think this is something my father would have been proud of," France said as he scanned the new facility. "This is the kind of thing he would have brought about. The process we've gone through over several years, such as improve the garage area and fan experience and repaving the track. We spent $400 million for the fan-part of this venue. This is all for the fans." Daytona Rising stretches almost a mile along International Speedway Boulevard. "The fans coming here are in for a real treat," France said. "Anybody coming to Daytona Beach for a motorsports event will find this the finest experience in the world." Swartzlander owns a fabrication shop in Sanford. He has been watching Daytona races since he was a child and with France's help, installed the seat where he will watch the Feb. 21 Daytona 500.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(1-21-2016)


    News from January 20, 2016

  • Smithfield to sponsor Almirola for 31 races in 2016: Late last season, Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) and Ford Performance announced their commitment to winning races and championships together in an extension that will see RPM carrying the iconic blue oval in years to come. RPM will continue to have the championship caliber engineering, technology and resources of Ford Performance. Officials from RPM and Ford Performance have worked diligently toward building a mutually beneficial relationship that saw immediate results. They have worked together in the wind tunnel, on aerodynamic packages and on collecting engineering data. The result was increased consistency and performance for the organization.
    The #43 team and Aric Almirola showed consistency and success on the race track in 2015. All the primary partners on the car have renewed or expanded their relationships with the team, lining them up for a solid footing as they continue to improve on track. Smithfield Foods, a partner since 2013, has once again expanded their partnership with the #43 team. They will be the primary partner for 31 races, up from last year's 29 races, this season and continue to find innovative ways to activate their partnership. Primary partners United States Air Force, STP and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' "Fresh From Florida" campaign all renewed their partnerships with the #43 team and Almirola.(Richard Petty Motorsports)(1-20-2016)

  • Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge to Join RPM in 2016: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge will partner with the #44 team and driver Brian Scott. Scott, an Idaho native, will be making his team debut in February's season opener Daytona 500 and will compete for Rookie of the Year. Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge, both Idaho-based companies, will adorn the hood of the #44 Ford for 16 races and have associate placement for the remaining 20 races. Albertsons Companies is one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States. The company operates more than 2,276 stores across 35 states and the District of Columbia under 18 well-known banners including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, ACME Markets, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions and Star Market and Carrs.
    "We are excited join these two iconic brands in support of Brian Scott and the #44 team," said Shane Sampson, Albertsons Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Merchandising Officer. "Doing so provides Albertsons with an important opportunity to link our Idaho roots and our banners with the best in motorsports."
    Shore Lodge, located in McCall, Idaho, is the quintessential lodging experience. Since opening in 1948, Shore Lodge has stayed an authentic Idaho destination for those in search of nature's true luxuries. "It is our privilege to be a part of the Richard Petty Motorsports team and to support Brian in his first full-season Daytona 500," said Dan Scott, president and general manager of Shore Lodge and Whitetail Club. "This is an exciting opportunity to not only represent McCall, Idaho and introduce Shore Lodge to new audiences, but to also work with an extraordinary group that can take Brian's motorsports career to new heights."
    Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge will join Twisted Tea, GoBowling.com and Goody's on the #44 Ford Fusion throughout the 2016 season.
    "We are pleased to have Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge join our team," said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Petty Motorsports. "We look forward to working with them to build exposure through the Sprint Cup Series and build their business. We've made some great business gains over the past year, and I'm pleased to add Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge to that list." Scott will hit the track in the #44 Albertsons/Shore Lodge Ford Sunday, February 21 for the 58th Annual Daytona 500.(RPM), see an image of the KFC scheme on the #44 Team Schemes page.(1-20-2016)

  • KFC to Partner with Greg Biffle in 2016: Roush Fenway Racing has announced a multi-race partnership with KFC as a primary partner for Greg Biffle and his #16 Sprint Cup Series team during the 2016 season. The partnership will kick off at Daytona Speedweeks and include primary placement in the famed Daytona 500 and Sprint Unlimited All-Star events at Daytona. The partnership in Daytona will feature KFC's recently launched line of smoky and crispy 'Nashville Hot' chicken, which comes just in time for the launch of the 2016 NASCAR season. Nashville Hot is available on KFC's first ever tailgate platter; perfect for tailgating at events, watching sports and hosting group parties.
    "It's definitely exciting to have KFC on the car," said two-time NASCAR Champion Biffle. "I don't think there is a more iconic brand out there; who didn't grow up loving KFC? Their new spicy, smoky and crispy Nashville Hot Chicken is now available nationwide - which I am very excited about - and I can't wait to get to Daytona, enjoy a couple of tailgate platters with the team and hopefully put the Colonel in victory lane at our biggest race of the season."
    "We are very happy to be teaming with Greg Biffle and Roush Fenway Racing and especially to partner with them for the Daytona 500," said Kevin Hochman, KFC U.S. CMO. "Greg and Roush Fenway have a strong tradition of winning at Daytona, and we can't think of a better way to launch our new Nashville Hot Chicken than at NASCAR's biggest race of the season where we will be promoting the biggest thing in spicy chicken since Buffalo wings."
    "We are proud to welcome KFC to the Roush Fenway Racing family with Greg and the #16 team," said Roush Fenway president Steve Newmark. "We know they will be a great partner going forward in 2016 and look forward to a strong partnership launch as the season kicks off in Daytona."(Roush Fenway Racing), see an image of the KFC scheme on the #16 Team Schemes page.(1-20-2016)

  • Cassill to Front Row Motorsports UPDATE: hearing that Landon Cassill is close to signing to drive the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, bringing Snap Fitness as a sponsor for a few races. Cassill raced the #40 Chevy for Hillman Racing in 2015. Hillman Racing was recently bought out by Premium Motorsports, with the intent of using the #40 owners points and running one full time team in 2016. Front Row Motorsports is looking like it will scale back from three teams (#34, #35 and #38 Fords) to two teams. Chris Buescher will run the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford in 2016.(1-18-2016)
    UPDATE: Six-year NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Landon Cassill will join the Front Row Motorsports line-up to drive the #38 Ford for the 2016 season. The 26-year-old Cassill has 187 Sprint Cup starts under his belt, most recently competing for Hillman Racing in 2015. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa, native has raced in all three of NASCAR's national series, earning XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2008. Cassill will join rookie teammate #34-Chris Buescher at Front Row Motorsports, which will field two full-time Sprint Cup entries in 2016. "I feel like Front Row Motorsports is a great fit for me," Cassill said. "I've got several years of experience in the series now, and being a part of this team will help me take the next step in my career. I'm grateful to Bob Jenkins and Ford Motor Company for the opportunity and can't wait to get in the car." Cassill's Sprint Cup career-best finish is a fourth-place run at Talladega Superspeedway (2014), a track where Front Row Motorsports has also excelled. "We've always been impressed with Landon and what he can do behind the wheel," said team owner Bob Jenkins. "He's got a lot of natural talent. You could see that at every level of racing he's competed in throughout his career. We're happy to have that talent in one of our race cars this year." Sponsorship programs for the #38 team will be announced soon.(FRM)(1-20-2016)

  • McDowell back with Leavine Family Racing.....full-time...in a Chevy? Ty Dillon? Leavine Family Racing is announcing parts of their 2016 season plans. So far the team has announced that driver Michael McDowell will return to drive, that the TEAM will run the full 2016 Sprint Cup Series season and that the team is now known as Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing (LFR Facebook / Twitter). Joe Falk, owner of the #33 Circle Sport team, has merged / sold the team to Leavine Family Racing, so the #95 team has #33 owners points to be eligible for a charter (when/if NASCAR goes to that ownership system) or be higher in owners points. Also hearing the team will switch manufacturers from Ford to Chevy and Thrivent Financial will return to sponsor the team in an unknown number of races. Another piece is a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing and Ty Dillon driving in some races (1-20-2016)

  • Ragan gets a ride: Sources have confirmed that David Ragan has a deal to drive the #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota for BK Racing in 2016. Heading into the season-finale at Homestead in 2015, Ragan was the favorite to drive the #9 Ford (new the #44) for Richard Petty Motorsports but a last-minute influx of sponsorship and cash helped foist Brian Scott into the driver's seat. Although the details of the agreement are still in their infancy and haven't yet, been made public, sources did confirm that Ragan had a deal. Attempts to reach out to Ragan regarding his future have been unsuccessful and in the past he said he didn't want to say anything that might jinx an opportunity. When contacted, a representative for BK Racing declined to comment on the report. The ride was previous piloted by J.J. Yeley and then by Jeb Burton in a car (from #23 to #26) switch last season. There has been no word on Yeley's or Burton's futures.(Kickin' the Tires)
    AND BK Racing has purchased some of the Toyota's from the defunct Michael Waltrip Racing team (1-20-2016)

  • No names to the four rounds of the Cup Chase: With elimination-style playoffs in all of its top three national touring series this year, NASCAR has done the sensible thing, dropping the nomenclature from the four rounds of the Chase for the Sprint Cup in favor of more traditional Round of 16, etc. "Yes, we have removed the Round names from the #Chase, including #NASCAR Sprint Cup," tweeted David Higdon, vice president, NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications. "Now: Round of 16, Round of 12, Round of 8, Championship Round."(NASCAR Wire Service)(1-20-2016)

  • Kyle Busch skipping restrictor-plate races in the lower series: The 2016 schedule for defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion #18-Kyle Busch is coming into focus. He plans to run a full Sprint Cup Series schedule for the first time since 2014, about 15 to 18 Xfinity Series races and no Camping World Truck Series races as of now. And notably, Busch is skipping all of the restrictor-plate races in the lower series after getting badly injured during one of them last season. "No restrictor-plate races," he said Tuesday. "I'm out of that stuff." Why? "My wife won't let me," Busch said with a grin. "And (team owner) Joe (Gibbs). Joe and Samantha made that decision. I was thinking about it, but they were like, 'No.'" He needed another surgery in December - this time to remove the metal plate in his foot and metal rod in his leg. It was successful, and Busch said he's already back to 85% strength.(USA Today)(1-20-2016)

  • Hamlin's knee at 50%: #11-Denny Hamlin still is struggling to get back to his old self after surgery Nov. 30 to repair his right ACL, which he injured playing basketball the week before the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He says he is able to get in and out of a car and will be ready for the Daytona 500 when the Cup season kicks off Feb. 21. "I wish it was a little bit better. ... I definitely can get in the car and do what I need to do right now, but I think the challenge of getting in the car was the toughest part. Once I get my range of motion back, it'll be fine," Hamlin said. "I am about 50 percent, but nothing that would keep me out of the race car. I'm not where I want or should be right now, but I'm getting there. I went on vacation, that sort of set me back a little bit."(USA Today)(1-20-2016)

  • Koch to Kaulig Racing: Matt Kaulig announces the establishment of full-time NASCAR XFINITY Series team, Kaulig Racing, for the 2016 season. With a familiar face behind the wheel, Blake Koch has been selected to pilot the #11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro for the 2016 NXS season.
    "I am extremely excited to finally announce the formation of Kaulig Racing," said Kaulig. "This is an exciting project and venture that we've been working on for months, and it's great to finally introduce our team. I have a vision of how I want to build this team and the pieces are coming together quickly." Kaulig is the President and owner of LeafFilter Gutter Protection, an Ohio based leader in the gutter protection industry, and has sponsored Blake Koch in both the Sprint Cup and NXS the last 2 years.
    Entering into NASCAR initially in 2014 in a sponsorship role with Koch, Kaulig is ready to start a new endeavor and transition to team owner. Setting the team up for success early on, Kaulig Racing has joined forces with powerhouse team Richard Childress Racing , in a technical alliance. RCR collaboration with the technical partnership brings an extra boost of confidence to the Kaulig Racing team for the 2016 season. "I can't even put into words how excited I am for this opportunity," said Koch. "Watching it all come together is something very special, and Chris Rice has done an amazing job assembling this team. Matt (Kaulig) and LeafFilter Gutter Protection have given us everything we need to be competitive. Because of Matt's great leadership and employees, LeafFilter has grown to be an industry-leading company that has made this opportunity possible. I am beyond proud to be able to represent them on and off the track."
    Koch's 2016 NXS season will be led by General Manager of Kaulig Racing, and veteran crew chief Chris Rice. With experience in all three of NASCAR's national series, Rice has amassed 220 NXS starts to his resume, including one NXS start with Koch during the 2013 Championship weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.(Kauling Racing), see an image of the car on the #11 team paint schemes page.(1-20-2016)

  • TriStar to field 2 full-time teams: TriStar Motorsports has recently made changes by restructuring teams in preparation for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Formerly fielding four full-time entries, TriStar has scaled back to two full-time teams in an effort to refocus goals and enhance the level of competition. TriStar will actively participate in the XFINITY Series fielding the #14 and #44 Toyota Camrys for the season.
    TriStar continues the partnership with the Zachry Group as primary sponsor of the #44 with Texas native, David Starr, behind the wheel. Frank Kerr, former Crew Chief at Richard Petty Motorsports, has joined TriStar and will serve as Crew Chief of the #44. Kerr brings valuable knowledge to the organization with a combined total of 13 years of NASCAR Crew Chief experience; nine years in Sprint Cup Series and four years in XFINITY Series.
    The #14 Toyota Camry will continue under the leadership of Crew Chief Eddie Pardue. Pardue served as the Crew Chief of the #14 last season. Drivers and sponsorship of the #14 are still in negotiations, with announcements expected soon. Opportunities still remain for the number 14.
    Blake Koch and TriStar Motorsports have amicably parted ways to allow Koch to independently pursue alternate options for 2016. He will continue with the #8 car that he formerly drove at TriStar Motorsports in 2015.(TriStar Motorsports)(1-20-2016)

  • Crate engines for the trucks: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director Elton Sawyer confirms that his tour will offer the option of crate engines for 2016. Sawyer confirmed truck teams will have the opportunity to use the "Delta engine" for their programs starting on May 20th at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Truck teams were told during a meeting with NASCAR last month that engines would be available on a lease-only basis. "We've gotten great response from the industry, the teams. And we look forward to seeing it on the track in Charlotte." Sawyer said the tour could potentially test the engine prior to the Education Lottery 200 at CMS but nothing is set in stone. He would not comment on cost at this time or whether Mark Cronquest, formerly the chief engine builder for Joe Gibbs Racing, would be producing the engines. NASCAR currently uses a spec engine in the K&N Pro Series tour which was instituted to lower the expense of competition nearly a decade ago. Robert Yates has built the engines for that series since 2009. The cost is around $28,000 but teams can purchase kits and build their own engines. Ilmor Engineering builds spec engines for ARCA which run about $40,000 and can run 1,500 miles or 1,500 laps before a rebuild is necessary.
    Sawyer says the manufacturers were "very much involved" in the decision-making process. "They understand we had a fundamental issue there with the cost of engines in the Truck series," Sawyer said. "They didn't have a better solution so they supported this one. "You can participate - or you don't have to. As you said, it is an option for the teams but hopefully it will bring in some new growth. Teams that were not going to run all the races, this will give them an opportunity with a much-limited budget to run some races with us."
    Toyota Racing Development president Dave Wilson says his Tundra teams will not be part of the Delta engine program. Wilson added that while the truck series remains close to his heart, Toyota would have to rethink its participation in the series if forced to adopt the program. While Wilson has been in discussions with the sanctioning body over the last two seasons regarding the crate engine evolution in the NCWTS, Toyota, who has won the last three truck titles and eight of the last 10 championships, does not plan to lose its identity under the hood.
    The engine was tested under competition on a limited basis during the course of the 2015 schedule. Although the engine failed in one outing, Sawyer says that's to be expected in the normal evolution of a new part.(Motorsport.com)(1-20-2016)

  • Pioneering speed demon Isaac enters NASCAR Hall of Fame: In a different era, in which stock cars driven to and past their limits didn't break with frequency, there's no telling how many races or championships Bobby Isaac might have won. Isaac, the 1970 NASCAR premier series champion, won 37 of his 309 starts. But he was a DNF - did not finish - 129 times. His 49 poles rank 10th all-time, with 19 - a still-standing, single-season mark - coming in 1969. Only 38 drivers have won 19 or more poles in a career. Nobody ever had to tell Isaac to "stand on it."
    "Bobby was a never-give-up kind of guy," said Buddy Parrott, a member of Isaac's #71 K&K Insurance Dodge crew and a 49-time winner as a premier series crew chief for NASCAR Hall of Famers Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Darrell Waltrip among others. "Bobby had no fear." Isaac, born on a farm near Catawba, North Carolina in 1932, saw his first stock car race at nearby Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway and at age 17 bought a 1937 Ford and put roll bars in it. He flipped the car on the race's second lap but that didn't dampen his desire. Working at a variety of low-paying jobs, Isaac began racing the NASCAR late model sportsman circuit. He survived but sometimes just barely.
    "One time I drove 200 miles to drive a fellow's modified car with $4 in my pocket," he once said. "I figured that I'd have enough to buy gas and get down there and eat a hot dog before the race. The gas was $3 but I had to put two quarts of oil in my car so I was broke when I left town. When the feature started my stomach was not only growling but I didn't have enough gas to get back home. I drove that car as hard as I could and won. I had to win."
    Isaac, described by some as "mercurial," went sportsman racing fulltime in 1958, driving for Ralph Earnhardt. He won 28 feature events, competing against the likes of NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and David Pearson. Isaac, at age 28, competed in his first premier series event in 1961. Driving a Dodge for Ray Nichels, he won his first race in 1964 - a 50-lap Daytona 500 qualifier in which he edged Jimmy Pardue in a photo finish after Richard Petty ran out of fuel. With factory-supported teams jumping in and out of the sport in the mid-1960s, Isaac went from top ride to no seat at all. His fortunes changed in 1968 when he was hired by Indiana insurance magnate Nord Krauskropf and paired with legendary crew chief Harry Hyde, whose larger than life persona was captured as Harry Hogg in the film "Days of Thunder." Over the course of five seasons, 1968 to 1972, the trio's "Poppy Red" Dodges won 36 times - 17 alone in 1969 when Isaac won 17 times in 50 starts. Bedeviled by 19 failures to finish, Isaac wound up sixth in the championship standings. Isaac "only" won 11 times in his championship season but the DNFs were reduced to just nine.
    The K&K team is remembered best for its winged Dodge Charger Daytona, the needle-nosed, high rear-wing version of the standard Charger. Remarkably, Isaac visited Victory Lane only once in that model, at Texas World Speedway in 1969, his 20th career win and first on a superspeedway. "We won a lot of short-races, but we couldn't pull it all together on the big tracks until the last race of the season," said Isaac in Greg Fielden's book "NASCAR: The Complete History." "Winning the championship gave me personal satisfaction, but I'd rank it second to the Texas win. "The way I look at it, it took me seven years to win a superspeedway race and only three years to win the championship."
    In September 1971 the team took its winged car to the Bonneville Salt Flats in western Utah where Isaac set 28 speed records, including a 217.368 mph "flying kilometer" mark. "That car weighed 3,900 pounds and it had 650 horses in the motor," Hyde told Car and Driver's Bob Zeller in May 2002. "And when Bobby set it sideways, it looked like a hydroplane on water. He came by at 200 mph broadside with a big rooster tail of salt comin' out the back." Driving part-time schedules for a number of owners, Isaac ran his last premier series race in 1976. He returned to Hickory Motor Speedway the following year where, on Aug. 14, he pulled out of a sportsman race feeling ill and was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to heart failure at age 45.
    Isaac was inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame in 1979 and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1996. In 1998, NASCAR honored him as one of its 50 Greatest Drivers of all time. Isaac's accomplishments are such that he'll join the NASCAR Hall of Fame's Class of 2016 along with Jerry Cook, Terry Labonte, O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Their induction will take place Jan. 22 in Charlotte, N.C. The ceremonies will be broadcast live at 8:00pm/et by NBCSN. Tickets are available for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Dinner and Ceremony (limited quantities available). Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.(Owen A. Kearns / NASCAR Wire Service)(1-20-2016)

  • Biffle helps unveil site of planned Lake Norman pet center: #16-Greg Biffle and fellow Friends of the Animals board members on Saturday (1/9) unveiled the new 2.5-acre site of their planned pet education and adoption center on Lake Norman, NC. Biffle's foundation is a lead supporter of the 11,500-square-foot center, which will house a boarding area for adoptable dogs and cats, a medical clinic and education center. Low-cost spay and neuter services will be phased in after the center is open, as well as educational programming for students. The center is scheduled to be completed by year's end on Templeton Road, between Interstate 77 exits 31 and 33 in southern Iredell County. "It's tragic that 77 dogs and cats a day are euthanized in the greater Lake Norman region," Biffle said. "When we started dreaming of this project, it was close to 100. And although the rate of euthanasia has gone down over the years, the numbers killed are still staggering."(Charlotte Observer)(1-20-2016)


    News from January 19, 2016

  • Bass Pro Shops to sponsor Truex Jr. in 2016 UPDATE - images: during the Charlotte Motor Speedway media tour at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Furniture Row Motorsports General Manager Joe Garone announced that Bass Pro Shops will sponsor Martin Truex, Jr. in the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota for nine races in 2016. First race scheduled is the Daytona 500. The Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte is another scheduled race. No word on terms or how many years. Bass Pro Shops has sponsored Tony Stewart's #14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy for 14-15 races a year along with one-race deals with #3-Austin Dillon and #1-Jamie McMurray.
    See images of the scheme on the #78 Team Schemes page.(1-19-2016)
    UPDATE: Bass Pro Shops, America's most popular outdoor store, will be a primary co-sponsor on Martin Truex Jr.'s Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry during the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. The partnership calls for nine primary Bass Pro Shops paint schemes on Truex's #78 Toyota, beginning with two races during Daytona Speedweeks - the 150-mile qualifying race on Thursday Feb. 18 and the season-opening Daytona 500 on Sunday Feb. 21. Bass Pro Shops' remaining seven primary races on the #78 will be at Phoenix (March 13), Texas (April 9), Talladega (May 1), Kansas (May 7), Charlotte (May 29), Daytona (July 2), Bristol (Aug. 20) and Homestead. (Nov. 20). Bass Pro Shops will have an associate sponsorship status when it's not a primary on the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota.
    The partnership represents an expansion of Bass Pro Shops' longstanding relationship with Truex, an avid outdoorsman, who was previously sponsored by the Springfield, Missouri-based company from 2004 through 2009 when he drove for Dale Earnhardt Inc., which resulted in two Xfinity Series Championships (2004, 2005). Bass Pro Shops was the primary sponsor of these two championships.
    "I'm very excited to have Bass Pro Shops as a primary co-sponsor on the #78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota," said Truex. "In addition to my passion for fishing, hunting and the outdoors, Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is a personal friend and a hunting buddy. With our manufacturer changing to Toyota, our Furniture Row Racing team is positioned to take both companies to Victory Lane and contend for the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship."
    "We are thrilled to continue our longstanding relationship with Martin Truex Jr. - a passionate driver and outdoor lover - while further aligning with our friends at Toyota," said Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops. "NASCAR is an excellent platform for Bass Pro Shops and we are pleased to continue our strong alignments with Tony Stewart, Ty Dillon and Jamie McMurray."(Furniture Row Racing)(1-19-2016)

  • Brian France gives State of the Sport and answers questions: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series along with new innovations in those series as well as talking about the state of the sport and answering questions. France said about replace Sprint as sponsor of the Cup Series: "And so we're in a good spot. We have a lot of interest. We've got our TV deal set for the next decade or so, and I suspect, my sense is that we'll get something done here. We'll see, but it's good. We're in a good place." France also was asked about the proposed charter system and the possible reduction in field size of the Cup series: "Well, I'm not going to get into specifics of the plan because we don't have it finished yet, and it's still moving around a little bit. The timeline is sooner rather than later. The further we get in, the longer you have to push out in a certain season where we could -- by the way, whatever is the final arrangement should we be able to get there, this is going to be a phase where from one moment to the next, everything will be different. This is a very complicated plan and structure that will require some time to phase in many aspects of it, we'll announce things as soon as we can, but I'm optimistic."
    Other issues discussed included: Chase formats for XFINITY and Truck Series, SAFER, changing of the guard in terms of new drivers, cost containment measures, technology in the sport, digital dashes and Rain, rain, rain, rain; Max Siegel introduced the next group of diversity; Lesa France Kennedy and Steve O'Donnell discussed other issues in the sport. See the fill transcript on the 2016 State of the Sport with Brian France Transcript page.(1-19-2016)

  • Chase Format Extended to XFINITY & Camping World Truck Series: Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. "Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we've seen in the sport's history," said France. "Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport."
    The NASCAR XFINITY Series, where "Names Are Made," and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All three series will conclude the Chase with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup Series), Kentucky (XFINITY Series) and New Hampshire (Camping World Truck Series)
    Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series. The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.
    The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.
    NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CHASE The seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24. It will feature eight drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 16 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, provided that the driver is in the Top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race.
    The first round, called the Round of 8, consists of the races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Talladega. All drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 16 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 8, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-6) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    Each driver who advances to the Round of 6 (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 6 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points. The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will win the championship. All rules outlined above also apply to both series' owner championship structure.(NASCAR)(1-19-2016)

  • Hero Face Off: #48 and #88 cars to feature Batman and Superman UPDATE: images started popping up on some websites (then were taken down) but lived on Twitter. The images were grainy images of the #48-Lowes / Superman and #88 Nationwide / Batman schemes. Hendrick Motorsports tweeted that "The masks will come off Jan. 19." Also Lowe's Racing and Nationwide each made a tweet on the subject. The images can be seen on the #48 Team Schemes page and the #88 Team Schemes page.(1-18-2016)
    UPDATE: Warner Bros. Consumer Products (WBCP) and Hendrick Motorsports unveiled the latest pairing in their ongoing partnership, featuring two special paint schemes for drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson, to promote the upcoming and highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Batman will be represented on Earnhardt's #88 Nationwide Batman Chevy and Superman will be featured on Johnson's #48 Lowe's Superman Chevy when the teammates square off during the March 20 Auto Club 500 Sprint Cup Series race in Fontana, CA. The "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes were co-developed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hendrick Motorsports. Earnhardt's paint scheme will showcase the Batman emblem and textures of the Caped Crusader's suit, while Johnson's car will feature the iconic S-shield and Superman suit textures. Additionally, Earnhardt and Johnson will wear custom-designed fire suits during the race weekend that feature the respective Super Hero logos.
    Hendrick Motorsports, along with its partners Nationwide and Lowe's, have also teamed with WBCP to create "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" at-track activations for fans of all ages during the California race weekend. In addition to giveaways and themed activities, select costumes from the film will be on display. Licensed merchandise featuring the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" paint schemes for the #48 and #88 cars will be available at participating retailers and online beginning Jan. 22. As part of its involvement, Nationwide is offering one lucky fan a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to attend the premiere of the film. The prize package includes airfare, lodging, two tickets to Sunday's race, a meet-and-greet opportunity with Earnhardt, two tickets to the red carpet premiere and more. Fans can visit nationwidebatman88.com to enter the contest.
    On March 24, the eve of the "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" release, Lowe's stores nationwide will host a free Superman-themed Build and Grow clinic, where families can build a wooden replica of Johnson's Superman race car. Parents can register their children at lowes.com/buildandgrow beginning in March.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)

  • NASCAR America Returns on Tuesday: NASCAR America hits the ignition switch on its third season next week with live coverage from NASCAR's three-day media tour in Charlotte that leads into the 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. NBCSN's daily 5:00pm/et editions of NASCAR America return on Tuesday, January 19. The lineup of shows is capped by a 90-minute NASCAR America: Hall of Fame Special on Friday, January 22, at 6:30pm/et, leading into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at 8:00pm/et on NBCSN. NASCAR on NBC reporters Kelli Stavast, Dave Burns and Marty Snider report live from the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour Tuesday through Thursday, covering all the announcements and developments affecting the sport.(NBC Sports)(1-19-2016)

  • NASCAR media tour this week: The real questions of the 2016 Sprint Cup season obviously won't get answered this week during the annual preseason media days in Charlotte. From Tuesday through Thursday, several drivers and team executives will meet with the media at the NASCAR Hall of Fame and go through the motions, talking mostly blah, blah, blah of being excited that they get to return to racing in a few weeks. Of course they're excited. They want to race and compete for wins (and make some coin along the way). The drivers will also pump up the new NASCAR rules in hopes of exciting the fan base that the racing will improve over last year. The fans have already seen two races -- Kentucky and Darlington last year -- that had the foundation of the 2016 package. Those entertaining events make many fans optimistic that the drivers will create more opportunities to pass. The drivers will repeat that hope over and over and over. So what's there to talk about? A few at least mild surprises will drop, if history repeats itself, but most of the offseason news was made well in advance of this week.
    Don't expect an announcement on what is still expected to be the biggest offseason off-track news: whether NASCAR and team owners can agree on a system that would guarantee a certain number of starting spots, possibly 36 in a 40-car field, to certain owners with a guaranteed amount of revenue. NASCAR and the owners are grinding out the details to try to get the deal done but don't have total confidence that they will have signatures on paper come February.
    NASCAR will kick everything off during the media tour Tuesday and likely will talk about changes, specifically to its Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series. The truck garage was abuzz last year about a proposal for competition cautions that would end extended green-flag runs. And both series could see a version of the elimination Chase format come to their series in 2016.(ESPN.com)
    Schedule:
    Tuesday, January 19
    -11am/et: NASCAR
    -1:30pm/et: Joe Gibbs Racing
    -3:15pm/et: Furniture Row Racing
    -5pm/et: Fox Sports
    Wednesday, January 20
    -9:00am/et: Richard Petty Motorsports
    -10:45am/et: Roush Fenway Racing
    -3:30pm/et: Team Penske
    Thursday, January 21
    -11:10am/et: Richard Childress Racing
    -1:30pm/et: Stewart-Haas Racing
    -3:15pm/et: Hendrick Motorsports
    All press conferences will be streamed on NASCAR.com.(1-19-2016)

  • WIX Filters joins Hendrick as technical partner: WIX Filters has joined Hendrick Motorsports as a key technical partner with an agreement that will supply innovative filtration products and provide critical development support to the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions through 2019. With a four-year pact, WIX's air and oil filters will be used in competition by the four Sprint Cup Series teams of Hendrick Motorsports with drivers Kasey Kahne, Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Its logo will be featured on team equipment, transporters and underneath the hood of Hendrick Motorsports' Chevrolet SS race cars. "Since the early 1960s when Richard Petty began using our filters, generations of motor sports champions have driven to victory lane with WIX," said Jennifer Gibson, brand manager for WIX Filters. "Adding a team like Hendrick Motorsports only further positions us as the number-one filter in motor sports, and we couldn't be more excited to see what that means on the track this season."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-19-2016)

  • Lionel taking over mass-distribution rights to NASCAR Diecasts: NASCAR licensee Lionel Racing has assumed mass-distribution rights for NASCAR's diecast collection, expanding its prior role that saw it previously sell to collectors. The 115-year-old toy maker, which became a licensee of the sanctioning body in 2010 and takes over from Spin Master, will now sell its NASCAR Authentics diecast collection at retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Toys "R" Us. Lionel President Howard Hitchcock ... expects that the company will "easily" grow at a double-digit clip thanks to the new rights it has picked up. Hitchcock reported that even amid a time when people are increasingly spending discretionary income on digital possessions, demand for diecasts remains strong and the business "has been very stable." The company, which outside of NASCAR also has an exclusive deal with NHRA's John Force Racing and does some work in the sprint car space, is eyeing digital tie-ins that can be a part of diecasts in the future.(Sports Business Daily)(1-19-2016)

  • Modified great Cook joins rival in the NASCAR Hall of Fame: Jerry Cook never intended to support his family driving a modified stock car. It kind of snuck up on the young resident of Rome, NY. Cook, who built his first modified at the age of 13, took the wheel by happenstance, when his hired driver wrecked two of the race cars he owned. That was in 1963, well before Cook won his first of six NASCAR modified championships. But Cook soon discovered he had a knack for winning races - and finishing well enough to cash a decent check when he didn't. "Every time I reached into my pocket, it had money in it," Cook would say later. "So I kept racing."
    Cook won modified championships in 1971-72 and 1974-77. Before retiring at the conclusion of the 1982 season, Cook also posted six championship points finishes of second and two of third. He won 342 NASCAR modified races in 1,474 career starts - and countless other non-sanctioned events. Cook finished among the top 10 an amazing 85% of the time. Cook joins fellow Roman and career-long modified racing rival Richie Evans in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The late Evans, a nine-time NASCAR modified champion, was inducted in 2012 as the first Hall member whose career wasn't connected to NASCAR's premier series. Cook is the second. "We've now finished off the battle of Rome," said Cook. "For me and Ritchie to both be in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, it kind of tops it off."
    Cook and Evans made upstate New York the epicenter of NASCAR modified racing in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. Each driver had his legion of fans - vociferous on behalf of the merits of their favorite charioteer. Cook and Evans were respectful of each other and friends off the track, yet as different as night and day. Evans was the flamboyant one, famous for living life to its fullest with rock and roll music as the race shop's background noise. A writer calling Cook's home, however, would find the telephone answered by the driver's wife, Sue, who would refer him to the backyard garage where preparing or repairing Cook's red cars was quietly taking place.
    Ray Evernham, a former modified driver, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship crew chief and television analyst had this to say about Cook: "Jerry was not a guy who raced on the edge. Jerry won his share no doubt. But if he didn't win, he was still going to be in the top five." In some years, Cook's team would run nearly 100 races, at up to 19 tracks of all sizes, shapes and surfaces from New England to Virginia. Some of Cook's signature wins took place outside New York and New England. Cook's first major victory was the 1969 Dogwood 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He won a trio of 200-lap races at the tough, Bowman-Gray (N.C.) Stadium quarter mile between 1977 and 1980.
    The closest Cook came to the NASCAR premier series was a Daytona 500 qualifying race in 1973. His car's engine blew seven laps from the end. Cook, with a wife and two children, took a look at what non-factory-supported drivers were winning and decided to stay in the modifieds. "So that's why I stuck with what I did best," he said.
    Cook retired after winning the Spencer (N.Y.) Speedway championship in 1982. For more than 30 years he was a key member of NASCAR's competition department and was instrumental in the formation of the current NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Cook, 72, was named one of NASCAR's 50 greatest drivers in 1998. He is a member of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame and New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame.
    Cook will be inducted Jan. 22 into the NASCAR Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016 that also includes Bobby Isaac, Terry Labonte, O. Bruton Smith and Curtis Turner. Induction ceremonies will be live on NBCSN, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio beginning at 8:00pm/et. Individual ticket and ticket packages are available at ticketmaster.com, the NASCAR Hall of Fame Box Office or by calling 800.745.3000.(Owen A. Kearns / NASCAR Wire Service)(1-19-2016)

  • Chase Format Extended to NASCAR XFINITY Series, Camping World Truck Series: Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced today the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
    On the heels of a 2015 Chase that saw the highest season-finale viewership in nearly a decade, record-breaking page views on NASCAR.com and unparalleled volume on social media, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. The announcement was the first of a number of racing innovations presented by NASCAR on Tuesday.
    "Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we've seen in the sport's history," said France. "Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport."
    The NASCAR XFINITY Series, where "Names Are Made," and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All three series will conclude the Chase with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup Series), Kentucky (XFINITY Series) and New Hampshire (Camping World Truck Series)
    Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series. The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    NASCAR XFINITY SERIES CHASE
    • The seven-race NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase will begin at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 24, and feature 12 drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    • A win in the first 26 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, provided the driver is in the top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race. Drivers who win two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are also all but guaranteed a Chase berth.
    • The first round, called the Round of 12, consists of the races at Kentucky, Dover and Charlotte. All drivers will start with their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 26 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 12, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-8) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    • Each driver who advances to the Round of 8 (Kansas, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 8 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    • The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will be crowned the NASCAR XFINITY Series champion.
    (NASCAR), see an informational graphic about the Chase format in all 3 series on the XFINITY Series Chase News & Information page.(1-19-2016)

  • NXS DASH 4 CASH to continue; adds 2 heat races and a main UPDATE: The NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main at four tracks: Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16), Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23). Qualifying for each Dash 4 Cash event will set the 40-car field and the starting positions for the Two Heats with the fastest qualifier awarded the Coors Light Pole Award. Odd-numbered qualifiers (1st, 3rd, 5th, etc.) will start in the first Heat in respective order, while even-numbered qualifiers (2nd, 4th, 6th, etc.) will start the second Heat in respective order. The Two Heats will set the starting positions for the Main with the top two NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars in each Heat becoming eligible for the Dash 4 Cash bonus. The highest finishing driver among the four Dash 4 Cash eligible drivers will be awarded a $100,000 bonus. If any driver wins two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available, he/she is all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In short, two Dash 4 Cash bonuses are equivalent to one race win in the new NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase format. Drivers must have declared to earn NASCAR XFINITY Series points in order to be eligible for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash bonus.(NASCAR)(1-19-2016)
    UPDATE: The Richmond format will consist of two 35-lap heat races with a 15-minute break between the events. Caution laps will count in each heat. There will be a 20-minute break before the main event, which will be a 140-lap race. Last year, both Xfinity races at Richmond were 250 laps in length. The highest finishing driver eligible for the Dash 4 Cash will receive a $100,000 bonus.
    The Bristol format will feature two 50-lap heat races with a brief break in between and a brief break before the 200-lap main event. Both Bristol races last year were scheduled for 300 laps.
    The Dover format will feature two 40-lap heat races on the 1-mile oval with a brief break between races and before the main event. The feature will be 120 laps. Last year's races there were 200 laps each.
    The Indianapolis format will feature two 20-lap heat races on the 2.5-mile oval with a brief break in between races and then before the main event, which will be 60 laps. Last year's race was 100 laps.(NBC Sports)(1-19-2016)

  • No more NXS, Truck restrictor plate races for Busch: Kyle Busch said he is still working through his NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for 2016, but he knows restrictor-plate tracks are off the table. Busch, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is the XFINITY Series win leader with 76 career victories. He also has 44 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. But in 2015, Busch suffered a broken right leg and shattered left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The injuries kept him sidelined for months, and forced him to miss the first 11 races of the Sprint Cup Series season. Tuesday, on the opening day of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Busch said he hopes to run between "15 to 18 races" in the XFINITY Series. "No restrictor-plate races, I'm out of that stuff," he said. "No more plate races because my wife won't let me. And (team owner) Joe (Gibbs).Joe and Samantha have made that decision. I was thinking about it but they were like 'no.'"(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2016)

  • Chase Format Extended to NASCAR XFINITY Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: Using the overwhelming success of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format introduced in 2014 as a guidepost, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France announced today the implementation of a playoff system in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. On the heels of a 2015 Chase that saw the highest season-finale viewership in nearly a decade, record-breaking page views on NASCAR.com and unparalleled volume on social media, the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will each feature a seven-race Chase to decide its respective championships starting in 2016. The announcement was the first of a number of racing innovations presented by NASCAR on Tuesday.
    "Fans, partners and the industry have embraced the new Chase format like nothing we've seen in the sport's history," said France. "Winning never has been this important, and the excitement generated the past two seasons in the Sprint Cup Series has led to this implementation of the Chase format in all three national series. Competition in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will undoubtedly elevate to new heights and shine a spotlight on the rising stars of our sport."
    The NASCAR XFINITY Series, where "Names Are Made," and the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will implement seven-race, three-round Chase formats with unique characteristics but very much in the same spirit of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. All three series will conclude the Chase with a Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to crown a champion. However, all three will begin at different tracks: Chicago (Sprint Cup Series), Kentucky (XFINITY Series) and New Hampshire (Camping World Truck Series)
    Drivers still must declare a series in which they will earn points, and will only be eligible to compete for a championship in that series. The 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers who qualified for the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will be ineligible to compete in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship 4 races at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
    NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CHASE:
    • The seven-race NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase will begin at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 24. It will feature eight drivers and two elimination rounds, with four drivers competing in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. A win in the first 16 races all but guarantees a driver entry into the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Chase, provided that the driver is in the Top 30 in points and has attempted to qualify for each race.
    • The first round, called the Round of 8, consists of the races at New Hampshire, Las Vegas, and Talladega. All drivers will have their points adjusted to 2,000, with three additional bonus points added to their total for each win in the first 16 races. If a driver wins a race in the Round of 8, the driver automatically advances to the next round. The remaining available positions (1-6) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    • Each driver who advances to the Round of 6 (Martinsville, Texas, Phoenix) then will have their points reset to 3,000. Drivers who win a race in the Round of 6 automatically advance to the Championship 4. The remaining available positions (1-4) that have not been filled by wins will be filled on points.
    • The four drivers who advance to the Championship 4 at Homestead will have their points reset to 4,000. The highest finishing Championship 4 driver will win the championship. All rules outlined above also apply to both series' owner championship structure.(NASCAR)(1-19-2016)

  • Caution Clock Introduced For NASCAR Camping World Truck Series: NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell announced today several racing-related innovations to the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, beginning with the 2016 season, designed to ignite and energize the growth of each series. In the NASCAR XFINITY Series, where "Names Are Made," each event in the popular Dash 4 Cash program now will be comprised of Two Heats and a Main. Drivers who win two of the four Dash 4 Cash bonuses available also are all but guaranteed a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. In addition, the rugged NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races now will feature a Caution Clock, which will be triggered at the start of each green-flag run. When the green flag is displayed, 20 minutes will be placed on the clock. If/when the clock expires, a caution will be thrown.
    "These innovations contain the elements of racing that our fans want the most," said O'Donnell. "The enhancements put a premium on in-race strategy, and will create an unprecedented level of excitement as teams make tactical decisions that could impact their spot in the Chase."
    NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES CAUTION CLOCK:
    A Caution Clock will be utilized in each NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event (except for Eldora Speedway). The clock will be set to 20 minutes and triggered at the start of each green-flag run during race events. When the clock counts down to zero, a caution flag then will be displayed and no beneficiary will be awarded. A caution occurring before time expires resets the clock when the subsequent green flag is displayed and the first truck a lap down will be the beneficiary. • The caution clock will be turned off with 20 laps to go at all events in the series, with the exception of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Pocono Raceway, where the clock will be turned off with 10 laps remaining. (NASCAR)(1-19-2016)

  • No more NXS, Truck restrictor plate races for Busch: Kyle Busch said he is still working through his NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule for 2016, but he knows restrictor-plate tracks are off the table. Busch, the defending NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is the XFINITY Series win leader with 76 career victories. He also has 44 wins in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. But in 2015, Busch suffered a broken right leg and shattered left foot in the season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The injuries kept him sidelined for months, and forced him to miss the first 11 races of the Sprint Cup Series season. Tuesday, on the opening day of the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour, Busch said he hopes to run between "15 to 18 races" in the XFINITY Series. "No restrictor-plate races, I'm out of that stuff," he said. "No more plate races because my wife won't let me. And (team owner) Joe (Gibbs).Joe and Samantha have made that decision. I was thinking about it but they were like 'no.'"(NASCAR.com)(1-19-2016)

  • Kvapil to return to MAKE: Travis Kvapil, 2003 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) Champion will continue to drive the headliner Chevy Silverado for MAKE Motorsports in the 2016 season. Kvapil is returning to the MAKE team after running with the small team full time last year. Kvapil finished the 2015 NCWTS season 16th in driver points with four top 15 finishes. He also scored MAKE's best finishing position of 14th twice at Gateway Raceway Park and Kentucky Speedway.(MAKE Motorsports)(1-19-2016)

  • Charlotte Motor Speedway looking at mixed-use area in turn 2: Charlotte Motor Speedway is developing ambitious plans to fill the area where its former Turn 2 grandstand once stood with a motorsports-themed mixed-use development that will cost in the high eight to low nine figures, according to sources. Details on the retail elements of the plan from track owner and operator Speedway Motorsports Inc. were scarce. Sources, though, said a key component is a private area of the mixed-use development that will be called the Apex Club. The club would grant access to amenities such as a newly renovated road course at the speedway, a go-kart track, a gun range, clubhouse and other high-end features like entertainment and food and beverage options. SMI is targeting 300 membership spots in the Apex Club. One hundred of those will be for owners of condos in the development, while 200 will be sold for general access to the club. The 200 general-access members are looking at an initial buy-in fee of around $150,000, plus $25,000 in annual dues, sources said, while the 100 members who own condos would not incur the $150,000 buy-in fee but would pay $25,000 in annual dues. SMI has been trying to figure out what to do with the area at CMS for more than a year after announcing in late 2014 that it was taking down the Turn 2 grandstands, formerly called the Diamond Tower Terrace, which sat 41,000 people. The seat reduction took the track's capacity from 134,000 to around 90,000.(Sports Business Journal)(1-19-2016)

  • Bristol names new communications manager: Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway announced the hiring of accomplished public relations professional, Chris Lawyer as communications manager. Lawyer has worked with numerous forms of sports including motorsports, tennis and college athletics during his rising career. As a member of the communications team, Lawyer will lead public relations efforts for Bristol Dragway and the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. He also will assist in integrated strategy, development and execution for the Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol as well as all Speedway and ancillary events. Lawyer comes to BMS following a two-year stint as Media Relations Manager at the National Hot Rod Association. In addition, Lawyer has held positions with Michigan International Speedway, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and Ole Miss Athletics among others.(BMS)(1-19-2016)


    News from January 18, 2016

  • Cassill to Front Row Motorsports? hearing that Landon Cassill is close to signing to drive the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford, bringing Snap Fitness as a sponsor for a few races. Cassill raced the #40 Chevy for Hillman Racing in 2015. Hillman Racing was recently bought out by Premium Motorsports, with the intent of using the #40 owners points and running one full time team in 2016. Front Row Motorsports is looking like it will scale back from three teams (#34, #35 and #38 Fords) to two teams. Chris Buescher will run the #34 Front Row Motorsports Ford in 2016.(1-18-2016)

  • Pit Road Officiating set to begin second year: The Pit Road Officiating (PRO) technology, returning for its second year with a much higher comfort level entering next month's Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway, was on display earlier this week at the NASCAR Summit, the industry's annual preseason convention for track services, medical, safety and security workers. The record number of almost 900 attendees for the Summit's 15th year had the opportunity to tour the PRO trailer firsthand and learn about its intricacies. It turns out that many of the worries about the system heading into 2015 were unfounded. All of the system's fail-safes performed as expected, and fears that the Pit Road Officiating trailer would be especially nitpicky in identifying infractions never materialized: Last year's Daytona 500 tallied 29 pit-road violations, compared to 31 for the previous season and 28 in the year before that. The races that followed took a similar pattern.
    "We were pretty much really comfortable with everything, but going into Daytona, we were concerned that what if we have 100 penalties," Chad Little [NASCAR's managing director in charge of technical inspection and officiating] said. "We don't want to bog down the race with a bunch of travelling calls. We were real mindful of that, but we didn't know exactly what we had because it's a brand-new system. Those things develop throughout the year, but thank gosh we didn't have any stumbling blocks at Daytona."
    Attendees at the NASCAR Summit received guidelines about how to best prepare their tracks for year two of the Pit Road Officiating structure. The seminar stressed the importance of uniformity in painting the bordering lines to pit boxes and the need to coordinate with NASCAR officials when mounting the 50 cameras that capture pit stop footage during the course of a race. Adhering to those instructions tends to make life easier for George Grippo, NASCAR's managing director of technology field and media operations. Beyond the PRO system, his responsibilities include the logistics of the trackside TV compound, timing and scoring, user support and maintenance and all the wiring, cables and power needed to make the technology go. The biggest learnings from PRO's first season, Grippo said, were that camera placement is paramount and that every track presents its own set of obstacles. Bristol Motor Speedway, for instance, had an accommodating roofline but cameras were mounted at much higher angles than a larger track such as Michigan International Speedway, where cameras were placed over the top row at the back of the grandstands at a greater distance. At Sonoma Raceway, cameras were located on a makeshift mount on heavy scissor-lift equipment aimed at pit road.
    But even as NASCAR officials learned more about the PRO system's nuances, teams also picked up a few tricks of the trade. Among them, Grippo said, was the practice of wearing uniforms or shoes that matched the color of pit road -- from off-white concrete to the darker grays from more freshly laid asphalt. The lack of contrast, Grippo explained, could potentially help crewmembers muddle officials' task of determining whether a team member has come over the wall too soon. "The teams are no dummies," Grippo said. "They see the video, too, because we provide that video for them as a training piece. They can figure some of that stuff out. If I'm going to Dover, I'm wearing a white sneaker so that nobody can tell that I'm hitting the concrete versus a black shoe. They don't do anything to help us, that's for sure. They get smarter as we go along."(NASCAR.com)(1-18-2016)

  • NMPA honors Hall of Fame inductees: Rick Hendrick, Joe Gibbs and Al Unser Sr. were inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame on Saturday night. The trio was recognized for their outstanding contributions to the motor sports world through-out the course of their illustrious careers. Hendrick became a NASCAR car owner in 1983 actually winning an XFINITY Series race with Dale Earnhardt behind the wheel. A year later, his team made its Cup Series debut and driver Geoff Bodine won at Martinsville in what was then called the All-Star Racing team. Hendrick drivers have now won 239 more Cup Series races, led by Jeff Gordon with 93 wins and Jimmie Johnson with 75 wins. His team has won eight Daytona 500s, the last coming in 2014 with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
    Gibbs entered NASCAR after a stellar career as an NFL head coach with the Washington Redskins where he won three Super Bowls. A racing enthusiast, Gibbs first entered the motorsports world as an NHRA team owner, where his teams won two NHRA Pro Stock championships. His first venture into NASCAR was in 1992 with driver Dale Jarrett and the next year they teamed up to win the Daytona 500. Gibbs' drivers have 128 Cup Series wins and his driver, Kyle Busch, won both the last race of the 2015 season at Homestead and the series championship.
    Unser Sr. won a record-tying fourth Indy 500 in 1987 and holds the record for most laps led in Indy 500 history at 644.(Motor Racing Network)
    AND: Other awards given by the NMPA included:
    NMPA Spirit Award for contributions to motorsports: NASCAR.com writer & breast cancer survivor Holly Cain;
    Richard Petty Driver of the Year: Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch;
    Ken Patterson Helping Others Award (for a public relations representative): Jon Edwards, publicist for Jeff Gordon;
    NASCAR radio Broadcaster of the Year: PRN's Mark Garrow;
    Writer of the Year: ESPN's Ryan McGee.(1-18-2016)

  • Brian Wilson named crew chief for Team Penske: Team Penske announced today that one of its most accomplished engineers will take on a new challenge beginning in 2016, as Brian Wilson has been named crew chief of the #22 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Wilson will assume the crew chief role while Greg Erwin, who guided the #22 team to its third-consecutive NXS Owners' Championship this past season, will return as team manager of Team Penske's NXS program. The #22 team has earned an amazing 25 wins with four different drivers (Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Ryan Blaney and AJ Allmendinger) over the course of the last three seasons. The #22 Mustang is the first car to capture three-consecutive NXS Owners' Championships. Wilson joined Team Penske in 2004 and has served as race engineer on both the #22 NXS team as well as the #2 Miller Lite Ford Fusion NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team over the last several years. A native of Detroit, Mich., Wilson played a key role on Team Penske's first two NASCAR championships. He was race engineer on the #22 team that captured the 2010 NXS title with driver Brad Keselowski and he served in the same capacity in 2012 when Keselowski and the #2 team captured the Sprint Cup Series title.(Team Penske)(1-18-2016)

  • Joe Gibbs Racing releases Erik Jones' sponsor lineup: Joe Gibbs Racing announced the #20 Toyota Camry driven by 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Erik Jones will carry GameStop, Reser's Fine Foods, Hisense and Interstate Batteries for his rookie season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jones has 26-career starts in the XFINITY Series over two seasons of running a limited schedule. He has earned two wins (Texas - April 2015 and Chicago - June 2015), three pole starting positions, 13 top-five finishes, 20 top-10 finishes and led 292 laps with an average start of 4.8 and average finish 8.9.
    GameStop will adorn the #20 Camry this season for 12 races: Auto Club Speedway (March 19); Texas Motor Speedway (April 8); Bristol Motor Speedway (April 16); Talladega Superspeedway (April 30); Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 28); New Hampshire Motor Speedway (July 16); Watkins Glen International (August 6); Richmond International Raceway (September 9); Kentucky Speedway (September 24); Dover International Speedway (October 1); Texas Motor Speedway (November 5); Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 19).
    Moving from veteran Matt Kenseth, Reser's Fine Foods enters their fourth season with JGR as they join Jones for his rookie season. Reser's Fine Foods will be featured on the #20 Camry for eight races this season: Daytona International Speedway (February 20); Phoenix International Raceway (March 12); Dover International Speedway (May 14); Michigan International Speedway (June 11); Kentucky Speedway (July 8); Bristol Motor Speedway (August 19); Road America (August 27); Kansas Speedway (October 15).
    Entering their second year with JGR, Hisense shifts their sponsorship to include 19-year-old Jones for five races. The Hisense colors will appear on the #20 Camry for five races this season: Atlanta Motor Speedway (February 27); Richmond International Raceway (April 23); Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 23); Chicagoland Speedway (September 17); Phoenix International Raceway (November 12). In addition to their five races with Jones in the #20 Camry, Hisense will also sponsor Hamlin for one race in the #18 Camry at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 28.
    Celebrating 25 years with JGR, founding partner Interstate Batteries will team up with Jones for the second year in a row, serving as the primary sponsor of the #20 Toyota Camry at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-18-2016)

  • Custer to run full season: Fresh off a 10-race schedule in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) with JR Motorsports (JRM), Cole Custer will embark on a full 23-race slate in JRM's #00 Chevy Silverado in 2016. The soon-to-be-18-year-old California native has 19 career starts in parts of two seasons in the series, all with Haas Automation sponsorship. Last season, Custer showed flashes of brilliance from the start, qualifying second at Martinsville in his debut before finishing 16th. His third start of the season, at Gateway International Raceway, saw Custer lead 19 laps on the way to victory after a tense battle with Tyler Reddick over the final six. In his 10 starts, Custer won once, added two top-five and four top-10 finishes and led 317 laps. In 2014, Custer won the pole and the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, leading 148 of the 175 laps. He won the pole at Gateway in his third career start and finished third at Phoenix International Raceway to close the season."We are all pretty confident heading into the season," said Custer. "Joe (crew chief Joe Shear Jr.) and I have been together for three years and we have a great relationship. We've shown a lot of speed in our time together, and we need to build a little more consistency. I can help that with the way I drive. Last year, we were running to win races and get experience; this year, it's going to be all about the points."I think we'll still have the speed we had last year, and I think we're going to be contenders for the championship."(JR Motorsports)(1-18-2016)

  • Brown adds Daytona sponsor, hopes for more races in 2016: Brandonbilt Motorsports's driver, Brandon Brown, announces an exciting new partner to add to their Camping World Truck Series team. NCASEIT announces a one race partnership for Daytona with the possibility to expand to more events within the 2016 racing season. NCASEIT is a sports display case company that has quickly grown to be one of the most recognizable display case companies in the industry today. Brown will be expanding his foundation of partners for the season and plans to race a majority of Camping World Truck Series races this year.(See an image of the truck on the #86 Team Paint Schemes page)(Brandonbilt Motorsports)(1-18-2016)


    News from January 17, 2016

  • Abreu wins second straight Chili Bowl: Rico Abreu celebrated one of the biggest victories of his career a year ago at the prestigious Chili Bowl, shortly before making one of the biggest moves of his career. The 4-foot-4 Abreu, one of the fastest-rising personalities in auto racing, celebrated another major career move by winning his second straight Chili Bowl on Saturday night - passing Bryan Clauson with 10 laps remaining. Abreu's victory came much to the delight of the overflow crowd inside the Tulsa Expo Raceway, where fans chanted his name a year ago and cheered him on during his final laps on Saturday. The 23-year-old Californian and former USAC Midget car champion followed last year's victory by moving on to the K&N East Series, where he finished fifth and won his first career stock car race at Columbus Motor Speedway in July. This time around, Abreu's big career move - a full-time step up to NASCAR's Truck Series - was announced the day before his Chili Bowl victory.
    After leading for much of the race, Clauson - the 2014 winner - finished second for the second straight year. Zach Daum was third. Kyle Larson was fifth, and fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne 13th and Ricky Stenhouse 16th. Nearly 350 drivers began fighting their way through the grueling qualifying races on Tuesday, with 24 remaining for the 55-lap final late on Saturday night.(Associated Press)(1-17-2016)

  • Kvapil has charges dismissed: Per ESPN.com's Bob Pockrass, as part of plea deal, and after completion of two years of probation and community service, domestic violence charges against Travis Kvapil have been dismissed.
    Kvapil was originally charged in October 2013 and faced misdemeanor charges of false imprisonment and assault after an incident with his wife at their home. He was also required to attend an anger management class.(1-17-2016)

  • Gary Baker says Nashville Superspeedway could be saved: Gary Baker, one-time operator of some of NASCAR's most successful racetracks, says Nashville Superspeedway could be revived and turned into a successful venue - and he might be interested in doing it himself. "If someone wanted to call and discuss it, I'd listen," Baker said in discussing the prospects of the Gladeville facility that is entering its fifth season of idleness. "Could the track be successful under the right conditions? The short answer is 'Yes.'" Baker said. "The question is, can those conditions be met?"
    The Franklin resident said he was contacted by Dover Motorsports five years ago when the parent company decided to sell the track after a decade of declining attendance. "I had some discussions with Denis (Dover Motorsports CEO Denis McGlynn) at the time, but shortly afterwards it was announced that someone else had bought the track," Baker said. That "someone else" was global technology company NeXovation, whose CEO Rob Sexton lives in Hendersonville. On May 29, 2014 it was announced that NeXovation was buying the track for $46 million, which included $18 million in Wilson County bond obligations. However, repeated deadlines for closing the sale came and went, and finally last fall Dover said it would entertain new offers.
    In addition to the purchase price, Baker said about $4 million needs to be invested in a "reconfiguration" of the 1.3-mile track. "You basically need to tear it up and start over," he said. Baker, who has owned/operated NASCAR Cup-racing tracks in Nashville, Bristol and Atlanta, said from the start that the Superspeedway design was all wrong. While Baker is convinced the track could succeed under the right circumstances, he added that the "challenge is greater now ever." "It's a much more challenging environment," he said, referring to declining NASCAR attendance and withering corporate sponsorships. "There are a lot of uses for a racetrack besides racing," he said. "To be successful it would need to be a multi-use facility with other revenue sources in addition to racing." In addition to the main track, the original design of the Gladeville facility included a road-racing course, drag strip, dirt track and short track. The latter three were never completed.(Lebanon Democrat)(1-17-2016)


    News from January 16, 2016

  • Stewart confronts heckler at Chili Bowl UPDATE: Not everyone is a fan of Tony Stewart. And he apparently had heard enough from one fan Friday night to confront him. At the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals, a national event that attracts more than 300 racers of midget cars to the River Spirit Expo Center in Tulsa, Okla., Stewart approached a fan who can be heard on social media videos saying he never liked Stewart. The two exchanged words and the fan appeared to push Stewart, who continued to yell at the fan for a few more seconds after another man moved the fan back into his seat. The three-time Sprint Cup champion is the 2002 and 2007 winner of the event and is there helping prepare the dirt surface. Stewart said earlier this week he might compete in the event again next year after he retires from Sprint Cup racing following this season.(ESPN.com)
    UPDATE: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is investigating a corporal's conduct after a video shows the officer and NASCAR driver Tony Stewart involved in an apparent altercation at the Chili Bowl. Deputy Justin Green identified the man in the video as Cpl. Kyle Hess, who was off duty during the incident. Green said the Sheriff's Office is investigating Hess's conduct at the event to determine if he acted inappropriately. "We're all held to a higher standard, even off duty," Green said. Sheriff's office investigators have watched the video and are working to gather more information about what started and ended the apparent altercation, Green said. Green said it's too early in the investigation to speculate about possible repercussions for Hess.
    "We had a race fan that probably had too much beer from my observations after speaking with him," said Tulsa Deputy Police Chief and Expo Square Liaison officer Dennis Larson. "He kept taunting Tony Stewart as Tony would pass by. Tony came up to the stands and decided to have a discussion with him on why he did not like him."
    "I met with the fan outside of the building," Larson said. "He was under the influence of alcohol, and we suggested to him that he call it a night at the Chili Bowl and that he is welcome to come back today (Saturday).(Tulsa World)(1-16-2016)

  • Gordon to appear on 'FOX NFL Sunday': FOX NASCAR analyst and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon joins the "FOX NFL Sunday" crew in-studio on Sunday, Jan. 17 on FOX. Co-hosts Curt Menefee and Terry Bradshaw and analysts Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long and Michael Strahan welcome the newest member of the FOX NASCAR on-air crew to the set in a live interview at 12:15pm/et. Gordon embarks on his post-driving career as a NASCAR analyst beginning with FOX Sports' 100 hours of comprehensive coverage from Daytona Speedweeks, culminating with live coverage of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 21 on FOX with live pre-race coverage on FOX. While Gordon ventures onto the NFL side this weekend, his five FOX NFL Sunday colleagues get their own, personalized taste of the racing world. On Sunday, FOX Sports and FS1 premiere a Daytona 500 promo featuring the FOX NFL Sunday crew donning custom-made NASCAR firesuits.(Fox Sports)(1-16-2016)

  • NASCAR Drive for Diversity 2016 Drivers announced: After a competitive Combine event last October, six drivers were selected to the 2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) class and will join the industry's premier development program for multicultural and female drivers, and pit crew members. Talented drivers from across the Americas will compete for Rev Racing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, and attempt to follow in the footsteps of D4D graduates and current NASCAR national series drivers Kyle Larson, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Daniel Suárez. The 2016 class will be formally introduced to the industry as part of the Charlotte Motor Speedway NASCAR Media Tour on Jan. 19. Rev Racing will field four teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and two in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. The 2016 class is led by returning driver Collin Cabre and newcomer Rubén Garcia Jr., fresh off his NASCAR Mexico Series championship last fall. The 2016 D4D roster also includes: Jairo Avila, Ali Kern, Enrique Baca, and Juan Garcia. Under Rev Racing owner and CEO Max Siegel's leadership, NASCAR D4D aligns drivers with a team of executives, athletic directors, crew chiefs and mentors tasked with helping drivers achieve career successes; thus, improving their goal of reaching one of NASCAR's three national series.(NASCAR), see more info on the Development Drivers / Drive for Diversity News page.(1-16-2016)

  • Townley will run restrictor plate races: Athenian Motorsports will field full-time entries in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards in 2016. The organization will also campaign a part-time entry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Fresh off a popular win in Las Vegas in October and an eighth-place finish in the NASCAR Truck Series driver standings, John Wes Townley will return behind the wheel of the company's #05 Chevrolet Silverado. Townley will also pilot the majority of the upcoming season's ARCA races in AMS' $05 Chevrolet. For the second consecutive season, the team will compete with Chevrolet engines supplied by Hendrick Motorsports. Townley is also scheduled to compete in three Xfinity Series races, two in Daytona and one in Talladega, Ala., in AMS' #25 Chevrolet Camaro.(Athenian Motorports)(1-16-2016)

  • Morgan Shepherd joins CM2; plans to race in 2016: 31 years before some of his NASCAR Xfinity Series competitors were born, Morgan Shepherd made his NASCAR debut. 49 years later, Morgan is still racing, using every bit of his vast experience to his advantage. Whether on the track or building the cars he races, Morgan Shepherd was the ultimate "Active Senior" before the phrase had even been coined. For the 2016 season, Morgan and his Shepherd Racing Ventures will be working with CM2, Commander Motorsports Marketing. "I'm very excited to be working with Morgan," says CM2 President Michael Boswell. "Morgan has quite the legacy in NASCAR and we don't think he's done yet. Any organization trying to reach "Active Seniors" needs to consider having Morgan as their spokesperson. CM2 is very pleased with the opportunity to work with Shepherd Racing Ventures." Shepherd began his NASCAR career in 1967. Since that time, he has acrued 19 wins in NASCAR's top two series. He has driven for some legendary NASCAR owners including Bud Moore and the Wood Brothers. At 74 years young, Morgan's passion for racing hasn't diminished.(CM2), sponsorship will dictate Shepherd's schedule in 2016 with the team working towards an effort at Daytona.(1-16-2016)

  • Pocono Raceway, NMPA Partner For Spirit Award: Pocono Raceway and the National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) have partnered for the annual presentation of the NMPA Pocono Spirit Award. Pocono Raceway President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky has renewed the 2.5-mile raceway's long-time sponsorship of the award. "This is a great way for us to recognize and honor those who go above and beyond," said Igdalsky. "My grandfather, 'Doc' Mattioli used to be a part of these awards and we are excited to reengage. What I love about these awards is that they focus heavily on strong character and people who really support racing." The NMPA Pocono Spirit Awards will be presented quarterly following a vote of the NMPA Membership with an overall winner announced in January at the organization's annual awards banquet. The honor is designed to recognize character and achievement in the face of adversity, sportsmanship and contributions to motorsports.(Pocono Raceway)(1-16-2015)

  • Las Vegas debuts "The Chairman's Experience" VIP package: In a town that prides itself on the ultimate VIP experience, Las Vegas Motor Speedway is rolling out a one-day, white-glove, top-shelf $3,500 ticket for its NASCAR race in early March. Eat lamb and crab legs. Belly up to an open bar. Schmooze with NASCAR drivers and celebrate with the racer's crew in the winner's circle. Enjoy massages. All for a mere $3,499 at the Kobalt 400 on March 6 at the speedway on the north end of town. Speedway officials have dubbed it, The Chairman's Experience, and will limit the high-roller ticket to only 60 buyers, who will have the run of the 4,600-square-foot Blackjack Club on the third level overlooking the track. In the past, the speedway would rent out the Blackjack Club to a single company for $300,000 for the entire NASCAR weekend. Perhaps 300 guests or so would eat, drink and socialize in the club setting. But The Chairman's Experience allows smaller groups of any size - let's say, four or six - to soak up the elite VIP experience. A casino host on the Strip can even bring a group, with a casino host getting in for free as long as each of the guests pony up $3,499 for the ticket.(Las Vegas Review Journal)(1-16-2016)


    News from January 15, 2016

  • Mountain Dew sponsoring Earnhardt, Kahne, Elliott: Fans will be seeing a lot more Mountain Dew at the racetrack starting this season. Thanks to a three-year extension of PepsiCo's longstanding partnership with 11-time Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports, Mountain Dew is continuing as a primary sponsor of #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. and welcoming drivers #5-Kasey Kahne and #24-Chase Elliott to its lineup beginning in 2016. The next phase of PepsiCo's racing program comes after 15 seasons of partnership with Hendrick Motorsports, including eight years of Earnhardt paired with Mountain Dew. In an unprecedented move, 2016 marks the first time the DEW brand will field a three-driver lineup. Mountain Dew will be primary sponsor of Earnhardt's #88 Chevrolet SS team for three races each season through 2018. Alongside him will be Elliott, whose #24 team will feature Mountain Dew as primary sponsor in two races annually. Kahne's #5 Chevy will have Mountain Dew as a primary sponsor in one race per year. All three teams will also showcase DEW as an associate-level sponsor. More details about the partnership and the 2016 race schedule will be shared in the coming weeks.(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-15-2016)

  • Truex celebrates girlfriend beating ovarian cancer: For all his racing triumphs last season, Martin Truex's true championship headline came this week when longtime girlfriend Sherry Pollex announced she was cancer free following her last chemotherapy treatment for ovarian cancer. Pollex tweeted a photo on Monday of herself ringing a bell that signaled the end of active treatment and wrote, "After 17 months straight, I'm going to live my life!!!!" Truex and Pollex, who started dating in 2005, are ready to promote ovarian cancer awareness with what they learned from a grueling fight with the disease. "She's going to live her life and enjoy her life," Truex said. "She had always kind of stayed in the background, but she's embraced this. She wants to teach other people about what she's been through. She wants to help a lot of people that are really scared."
    Truex was at the Philadelphia Flyers game Wednesday night after three days in Ohio hunting on a farm he owns with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Truex, Earnhardt and two friends hunt deer and turkeys on the property about an hour outside Columbus, Ohio. "It's an exciting thing to envision the future there and how many years we're going to sit on the front porch and drink beer," Truex said.(Associated Press)(1-15-2016)

  • NC Governor honors Gordon: Gov. Pat McCrory surprised NASCAR champion and North Carolina resident Jeff Gordon by awarding him with the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the highest award the governor can bestow, according to a news release from the governor's office. McCrory celebrated Gordon's achievements and the contributions of the motorsports industry to North Carolina at a banquet with nearly 400 business leaders, elected officials and members of the motorsports community. "Jeff Gordon has been a tremendous ambassador of motorsports, NASCAR and North Carolina," said McCrory. "We are not only recognizing Jeff tonight for his performance on the racetrack, but also for his philanthropic work in communities across our state and nation." Off the track, Gordon' philanthropic efforts supported pediatric cancer research, treatment and patient support programs through the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation and the Jeff Gordon Children's Hospital in Concord. McCrory also discussed the contributions of the motorsports industry to North Carolina's economy. "NASCAR and the motorsports industry are a major part of our state's identity and our economy," said McCrory. "In fact, the motorsports industry has a $6 billion economic impact on North Carolina and employs more than 25,000 people in our state."(WSOC)(1-15-2015)

  • Atlanta XFINITY race to be the Heads Up Georgia 250: The Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety will sponsor the Feb. 27 Heads Up Georgia 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race during Atlanta Motor Speedway's 2016 NASCAR weekend. The race is the front-end of an XFINITY Series and Camping World Truck Series same-day doubleheader unique to Atlanta. The Heads Up Georgia 250 will be the first of three NASCAR national touring series races during the weekend. GOHS's "Heads Up Georgia" campaign is a safe driving initiative that addresses a startling increase in fatalities on Georgia's roadways. The goal of the statewide initiative is to educate drivers about how making simple, fundamental changes in their driving behavior can prevent crashes and save lives. The Mission of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety is to educate the public on traffic safety and facilitate the implementation of programs that reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on Georgia roadways. GOHS sponsored the Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying day at Atlanta's 2015 NASCAR weekend and steps in as a first-time race sponsor in 2016.(AMS)(1-15-2016)

  • Abreu to join ThorSport UPDATE: Rico Abreu will drive full-time for ThorSport in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Sources confirmed to Motorsport.com that Abreu is expected to layout his plans during an announcement on Friday at the Chili Bowl Nationals. Abreu also hopes to include news of a pending sponsor. After completing his first full season in the K&N Pro Series East Tour, Abreu, who turns 24 later this month, made his Camping World Truck Series debut on Nov. 13 at Phoenix International Raceway. He finished 28th on the one-mile track after being caught up in a wreck. In order to gain eligibility for the 2016 truck tour, Abreu also raced in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he finished 13th. Abreu won the 2014 USAC Midget Series title and the 2015 Chili Bowl prior to making his NASCAR debut last February at New Smyrna. His transition came quickly, with Abreu winning in just his seventh start from the pole at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway. In 14 NKNPSE starts, the St. Helena, Calif. native posted one win, four top fives and eight top-10 finishes. Abreu had an average qualifying effort of 7.6 and an average finish of 9.4. He led 119 of 1,690 circuits. ThorSport has competed in the truck series since 1996, and the Sandusky, Ohio-based squad is the longest-tenured Truck team in NASCAR. Under the ownership of Duke Thorson, the organization has two championships with Matt Crafton, 12 victories, 13 poles, 98 top fives and 237 top-10 finishes. Abreu is expected to pilot the #98 Toyota Tundra with Doug George as his crew chief.(Motorsport.com)(1-13-2016)
    UPDATE: Rico Abreu, USAC National Midget champion, open wheel standout, and 2015 Chili Bowl Nationals winner, will join ThorSport Racing as a full-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) driver in 2016 piloting the #98 Curb Records Toyota Tundra powered by Triad engines. Abreu's first full-time season in NASCAR's national touring division will be led by crew chief Doug George as he competes for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors and the 2016 NCWTS championship. Abreu, 23, has had the type of success in his early racing career that most drivers only dream about. In 2015 the St. Helena, California native competed in more than 100 events, with two major wins. After sweeping his Chili Bowl Nationals preliminary night, winning his heat, qualifier and A-Main, the open wheel standout went on to win the 29th annual Chili Bowl Nationals, one of dirt track racing's most prestigious events. The achievement introduced the talented racer to a new audience - NASCAR. Making just his seventh-career start in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE), Abreu won his first NASCAR race at Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway (July). The sprint-car sensation concluded his rookie season in the 2015 NKNPSE fifth in points, earning three poles, and leading 119 laps en route to four top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He was also voted as the series Most Popular Driver. In November, 2015, Abreu made his NASCAR national touring debut in the NCWTS at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway and went on to compete in the season-ending event at Homestead-Miami Speedway, earning a career-best finish of 13th. The NASCAR NEXT alum's 2016 campaign will be led by NCWTS veteran crew chief, Doug George. Entering his 12th season in the series, George is credited with five poles, two wins, 32 top-five and 65 to-10 finishes. ThorSport Racing has competed in the Truck Series annually since 1996 and has fielded at least one truck in 454 races, a series record. Additional sponsorship for the #98 Toyota Tundra will be announced at a later date.(ThorSport Racing)(1-15-2016)

  • Homestead-Miami partners with Diamonette: For nearly 30 years Diamonette Party Rentals has provided championship service for its customers throughout South Florida. It's only fitting that the Doral-based company is now the official party rental company for Homestead-Miami Speedway, as the two recently entered into a multi-year partnership. Diamonette has serviced the South Florida track since its inception in 1995, and this agreement now expands on that relationship. This includes a major presence during Ford Championship Weekend, which will be held November 18-20, 2016, as NASCAR once again crowns its champions in South Florida, as it has done each year since 2002.
    "Diamonette has been providing impeccable service throughout South Florida for nearly 30 years, and as our Ford Championship Weekend has grown over the years, they have been able to respond to our expanding needs," said Homestead-Miami Speedway President Matthew Becherer. "The quality of their work and services is not only evident to us, but also by everyone who comes through our gates for Championship Weekend and for the many other events we host during the year. They are first-class in everything that they do."(Homestead-Miami Speedway)(1-15-2016)


    News from January 14, 2016

  • Autotrader renews sponsorship of Penske: Team Penske and Autotrader, the popular online car shopping website and app, announced a multi-year extension that will see the companies build on their partnership in 2016 and beyond. As part of the new agreement, the Autotrader brand will be featured on both the #2 and #22 Ford Fusion cars driven by Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano, respectively, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with each driver running primary races in the Autotrader livery this season. Keselowski will race the Autotrader Ford Fusion on Feb. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and again on August 20 at Bristol Motor Speedway, while Logano will have the familiar orange No. 22 Autotrader design in the April 17 event at Bristol. Logano will also run an Autotrader/Shell-Pennzoil co-branded car at the July 9 event at Kentucky Speedway. Autotrader will continue to be featured as an associate sponsor on both cars throughout the course of the season. The two companies began their relationship prior to the 2014 season as Autotrader became an associate sponsor on the #22 machine driven by Logano. Over each of the last two seasons, Autotrader has adorned the side of the Logano's Sprint Cup Series Ford, with special paint schemes featured at select races. More than 17 million consumers visit the Autotrader site each month to research their next vehicle purchase and browse the millions of new, used and certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles listed for sale.(Team Penske)(1-14-2016)

  • HScott Motorsports moves shop to Mooresville, NC: HScott Motorsports announced that it has moved its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team headquarters from Spartanburg, SC, to Mooresville, NC. The new shop features nearly 50,000 square feet and a closer proximity to industry resources. "The new HScott Motorsports headquarters in Mooresville, N.C., provides our NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams ample room to prepare and maintain quality cars throughout the season and well into the future," said team owner Harry Scott, Jr. "The move to Mooresville also allows us to better coordinate with our partners and suppliers." Driving for HScott Motorsports in 2016 will be Clint Bowyer behind the wheel of the #15 5-hour ENERGY Chevrolet and Michael Annett driving the #46 Pilot/Flying J Chevrolet.(HScott Motorsports) The team had been headquartered in the former Phoenix Racing shop.(1-14-2016)

  • Teams to test at Vegas UPDATE: The official start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series may be more than one month away, however four teams will be back on the track next week to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #48-Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports), #41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing), #2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) and #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) are currently scheduled to participate in the test, set for Jan. 12-13 at the 1.5-mile track. All four drivers are former series champions. It will be the first on-track activity for teams since an end-of-year test held last month at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR re-tooled its testing platform before the start of the 2015 season, doing away with private team testing and debuting the NASCAR Series Master Unified Testing Schedule. The schedule included a mix of two-day Goodyear tire tests often followed by a single-day open team test. When necessary, NASCAR officials also scheduled additional practice time as teams worked through the '15 rules package. The changes to the testing policy were made in part to help teams control costs.
    A new base rules package, similar to that used at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway in 2015, will be in place this season for events except those held at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. The base package includes a 3.5-inch spoiler (decreased from 6 inches), a .25-inch leading edge (previously 2 inches) on the front splitter and a 33-inch wide splitter extension panel (radiator pan) replacing the current 38-inch pan. Rear gear ratios will be adjusted to maintain 9,000 rpm maximum engine speed and a 1:38 third gear ratio will be in place for tracks under 1.25 miles. The digital dash display will also be mandatory in the series this season.
    Because next week's test is a Goodyear tire test only, the grandstands will not be open to the public.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2016)
    UPDATE: For a quartet of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, the best part of this week's Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway was simply being back behind the wheel. Sprint Cup Series drivers Kurt Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Brad Keselowski and Matt Kenseth were in good spirits while speaking to a group of media during a break in testing tires at the 1.5-mile superspeedway on Wednesday. "I was in full offseason mode, and then after that first run yesterday, there's no other way to get that smile," Johnson said. "It's fun to get on the track, knock the rust off and get ready for the season. It's a nice way to remember how cool my job is and have some fun." Busch was happy to be back in his hometown and enjoys testing at LVMS. "Most importantly, it's the weather," the 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion said of the benefits of testing in Las Vegas. "It's a track we race only once a year, so the notes don't get as defined, and we always love to go to tracks we have minimal data from." All of the Sprint Cup Series teams will have a full day of open testing on Thursday, March 3, to kick off LVMS' 2016 NASCAR Weekend. The big racing weekend continues on Friday, March 4, with Stratosphere Pole Day, the Boyd Gaming 300 Xfinity Series race on Saturday, March 5, and the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 6.(LVMS)(1-14-2016)

  • Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown will not be held in 2016 UPDATE: Amid uncertainty about Langley Speedway's future, the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown, scheduled for the track April 21, has been canceled. Race coordinator Buck Reuss said Denny Hamlin Foundation management informed him Tuesday that the charity race will not be held at Langley or any track this season. "This is due to the situation at Langley Speedway," Reuss said. "I don't blame anyone operating the track, because I think (Victory Lane Motorsports owner) Bill Mullis and (Langley Speedway general manager) Chuck Hall have done more for the track than anyone since Joe Carver (Langley's promoter from the mid-1970s to early '80s). But the drivers needed to set their schedules by Jan. 5 at the latest." Mullis has not been able to purchase the property on which the track sits from the California-based landowner because they disagree on the purchase price. Mullis has leased the track from the landowner the previous six seasons, but has said it would be more viable financially for him to operate the track by purchasing it. Minus a purchase agreement or lease, track management has not released a schedule for the 2016 season and, during the past week, has moved much of its property off of the premises. In addition, Langley Speedway management did not re-sign with NASCAR for three races run at the track annually: one in the K&N Pro Series East and two others in the Whelen Southern Modified Tour Series. The Hamlin charity race was expected to be one of the biggest events in track history. Reuss said that in addition to Hamlin, he expected his Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, 2015 Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch and 2003 Cup champ Matt Kenseth, to also be part of the Showdown field. Previous hosts were Southside Speedway, RIR and South Boston Speedway.(Daily Press)(1-14-2016)
    UPDATE: Due to track operations and schedule uncertainty at Langley Speedway (Hampton, Va.), the 9th Annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown scheduled for April 21st at Langley has been cancelled for 2016. "The event is an around-the-clock, full year in the making," said race coordinator Buck Reuss. "But due to the very unfortunate timing of the property negotiations ongoing at Langley, it left us no choice but to look toward 2017 and bypass this year's running of the event."
    "It is really disappointing as I was really looking forward to returning to Langley to race again, as were so many other drivers that were planning to participate," said Hamlin, who began his stock car racing career at Langley in 1997, winning both the track championship and track rookie of the year honors. "So we will turn our attention to 2017 and wish everyone the best of luck in their racing endeavors this year."(Denny Hamlin Foundation)(1-14-2016)

  • Kyle Busch to Race at SpeedFest 2016: Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch will be racing in the 200-lap ARCA/CRA Super Series Late Model event scheduled as part of SpeedFest 2016 on Sunday, Jan. 31 at Crisp Motorsports Park in Cordele, Ga. Busch, a three-time SpeedFest winner, will pilot KBM's #51 Camry with primary sponsorship from Rheem Heating and Cooling and major associate sponsorship from JEGS.com. Busch was victorious at SpeedFest in 2009 and 2010 when the event was held at Lanier Speedway in Braselton, Ga., and most recently won the event in 2012, the first year it was held at its current location. William Byron, the 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion, will join his owner at this year's event in a second KBM entry. Byron, who will compete full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for KBM in 2016, will carry sponsorship from Liberty University on his #9 Camry. "I've always enjoyed racing at SpeedFest and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go back this year thanks to the support from Rheem Heating and Cooling and JEGS.com," Busch said. "Everything went well with my latest surgery and I feel really good. Without an opportunity to get in a Sprint Cup Series car before we get to Daytona, running this race will be a good tune-up prior to Speedweeks."(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(1-14-2016)

  • Kumpen to drive for Precision Performance Motorsports at Daytona: 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion Anthony Kumpen will make his fourth NASCAR XFINITY Series start and third in a row with Precision Performance Motorsports in the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, February 20th, 2016. Kumpen will be piloting the #46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro. Kumpen's XFINITY Series start at Daytona International Speedway will be part of the Nexteer Road to Daytona program - the path designed by the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and Nexteer Automotive to bring European drivers to race in NASCAR in the US. Kumpen competed in three XFINITY Series races in 2015 in order to gain NASCAR approval to race at the famed superspeedway. The road course racer acquired valuable experience at each venue, exceeding expectations each week and besting many circle-track veterans. Belgium-native Kumpen is a veteran of the American Le Mans Series, with starts in the NASCAR Rolex Grand-Am Sports Car Series, FIA GT, and Belcar Endurance Championship. Kumpen has won multiple championships across Europe, as well as a record six victories in the 24 Hours of Zolder. Crew chief Mark Setzer will lead Kumpen's XFINITY Series effort. This will mark Setzer's third season leading the team from the pit box.(Precision Performance Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #46 team paint schemes page.(1-14-2016)

  • Dow and Ducharme Seating join "We Built Daytona" Partners: Daytona International Speedway announced that The Dow Chemical Company and Ducharme Seating have become the latest partners to join the "We Built Daytona" marketing platform as part of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project.
    ⬢ Dow, an integrated company at the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences, is providing the insulation for structures such as the Suite Tower and concourse buildings as well as closed cell spray foam and caulking applications throughout DIS.
    ⬢ Ducharme Seating, a leading spectator seating manufacturer, is providing the 101,500 permanent, wider and more comfortable seats in the new motorsports stadium.
    The "We Built Daytona" platform is designed specifically for partners involved in the construction of DAYTONA Rising and enables them to showcase their involvement through a marketing presence (once their role in the project begins). The companies join the comprehensive list of "We Built Daytona" partners including Jones Sign Company, Musco Lighting, P&S Paving, Kingspan Insulated Panels, USG Corporation (NYSE:USG), Sherwin-Williams, Big Ass Fans, ROSSETTI, Walter P Moore, M-E Engineers, Schneider Electric, CommScope, Inc., Honeywell and The Integration Factory. Following construction, partners can feature products in-use at the new DIS, providing them with a real-time showroom. Additionally, partners will receive special recognition as "We Built Daytona" partners within the stadium, along with brand exposure opportunities via digital display boards and corporate hospitality opportunities for entertaining guests during major events.(DIS)(1-14-2016)

  • Michigan tickets and camping go on sale Monday: Monday is your chance to get in on all the action at Michigan International Speedway in 2016. Tickets go on sale for both NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekends on January 18. The speedway is making it easy for you to get the best tickets and camping. Fans can visit www.mispeedway.com or call 800-354-1010 to find the perfect ticket, package or campsite. The first of the track's two NASCAR weekends is June 10-12 with the Corrigan Oil 200 ARCA Racing Series on June 10; NASCAR XFINITY Series on June 11; and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FireKeepers Casino 400 on June 12. The Sprint Cup Series will wind up its summertime stint at MIS on August 28 with the Pure Michigan 400. The Camping World Truck Series Careers for Veterans 200 presented by The Cooper Standard Foundation & Brad Keselowski's Checkered Flag Foundation is on August 27. Keloorah, a music festival experience, will take place on the Friday and Saturday of the June FireKeepers Casino 400 and the August Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup weekends at MIS. The music festival will feature multiple bands each night. Keloorah is behind Turn 3, central to many of MIS' MISCamping.com campgrounds. In 2016, fans can see the two-day festival each weekend with a ticket to Keloorah in addition to a Sunday admission ticket or infield or APEX wristband that allows access to the FireKeepers Casino 400 or Pure Michigan 400.(MIS)(1-14-2016)


    News from January 13, 2016

  • Love's Travel Stops to sponsor Buescher for 18 races: Love's Travel Stops will extend its partnership with Front Row Motorsports in 2016, joining Chris Buescher in his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie campaign in the #34 Ford Fusion. Love's Travel Stops will sponsor 18 races in 2016, including the season-opening Daytona 500, both races at its home track of Texas Motor Speedway and the finale at Homestead Miami Speedway. The Oklahoma City, Okla.-based company has grown its NASCAR marketing program in its three years as a Front Row Motorsports partner and incorporated its employee, customers and business partners into the success of the program. Love's Travel Stops is family-owned and operated with more than 360 locations in 40 states. During its 50-plus years of sharing the road with drivers, Love's has grown to become one of America's favorite travel stops offering clean, modern facilities stocked with fuel, food and supplies for travelers. "At Love's, we are passionate about improving our business and make changes to enhance our customers experience," said Dave Frankenfield, director of marketing for Love's. "Bob Jenkins and the Front Row Motorsports team share the same passion and have implemented several strategic changes this season to improve the team's competitiveness. We are jazzed about the team's new alliance and the opportunity to sponsor Chris Buescher in his Sprint Cup rookie campaign."(Front Row Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #34 team paint schemes page.(1-13-2016)

  • 2016 test schedule set: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are currently scheduled for five open team tests this season, according to the 2016 Unified Testing Master Schedule. Four of the tests will be two-day affairs and will take place at Indianapolis (July 12-13), Watkins Glen (July 26-27), Chicago (Aug. 23-24) and Homestead (Oct. 18-19). Each organization is allowed to send no more than one team to an open test. A single-day open team test is scheduled for Thursday, March 3 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway leading into the track's race weekend. All teams entered in the race will be eligible to participate in that test. The open team test at the 1.5-mile track comes as teams roll out a base rules package that will be used for all events other than those held on superspeedways.
    On the tire-testing front, this week's two-day Goodyear test at Las Vegas is the first of nine scheduled tire tests for Sprint Cup teams and the tire supplier, although Goodyear can increase that number when necessary. For example, the repaving of a track, such as at Kentucky Speedway this season, could necessitate an additional test for verification.
    NASCAR debuted the Unified Testing Master Schedule in 2015, eliminating private team testing in a cost-cutting move supported by teams. Unlike last season, however, when open teams tests typically came on the heels of the tire tests, this year's open tests are scheduled months after the initial Goodyear events. The additional time should give Goodyear time to build track-specific tires for the open tests instead of having teams test with tires unlikely to be used in the track's upcoming event.
    Additional tire tests currently scheduled are Charlotte Motor Speedway (March 8-9); Richmond (March 29), Pocono (April 19-20), Indianapolis (April 26-27), Kentucky (tentatively scheduled for May 3-4 although expected to move due to the repave), Watkins Glen (May 10-11), Michigan (May 17) and New Hampshire (May 31-June 1).
    As was the case last season, Sprint Cup organizations have been divided into groups of four and will participate in tire tests on a rotating basis. Each organization is scheduled to take part in four tire tests this season with the exception of JGR, which will take participate in five.(NASCAR.com)(1-13-2016)

  • Stewart plans to continue dirt racing: Tony Stewart won't stop racing after he exits his Sprint Cup car for the final time this season at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. Instead, he plans to return to his roots. "I plan on running a lot of dirt races after the end of the season when I retire from the Cup stuff, so I would say this is on the radar," Stewart said during a press conference Monday at the Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Stewart isn't competing this week at the Chili Bowl Nationals but will help with track preparations as he did last year. That included driving a tractor to get the track in shape at the River Spirit Expo Center at Tulsa's Expo Square. Stewart, a three-time Sprint Cup champion who came up through the dirt track ranks to IndyCar and NASCAR, has not raced on a dirt track since an incident Aug. 9, 2014, at Canandaigua Motorsports Park that killed Kevin Ward Jr. Stewart and Ward had been racing together when Ward's car hit the wall. Ward exited his car and walked down the track toward Stewart's car when he was struck and killed. It's not hard to imagine Stewart returning to compete in the Chili Bowl next year. "It is the dirt track race of the year," Stewart said of an event that has 344 cars entered and drivers from 34 states and five countries. "I don't care what series, what track, this is the place to be. It's the only time all year you're going to get this many quality cars and drivers and teams to come to one event and race."(NBC Sports)(1-13-2016)

  • NASCAR holds Summit for track services, medical, safety, security personnel: With the DAYTONA 500 right around the corner, the men and women who are tasked with the safety, security and organization across NASCAR gathered in Concord, North Carolina, in a collaboration of ideas and advancements. NASCAR's annual Summit, the largest gathering of track services, medical, safety, and security personnel in the motorsports industry, will concluded Tuesday after three days of professional seminars, training and topical discussions. The Summit began nearly 15 years ago when a small group of attendees gathered in January to share benchmarks and prepare for the upcoming NASCAR season. The 2016 Summit marked the 10th year it was held at the Embassy Suites Concord Conference Center. The Summit features general sessions and smaller breakout seminars and workshops specific to each functional area. This year's event included more than 30 focused sessions on topics ranging from incident management to severe weather protocol. Senior Communication Consultant for Game On Nation and former NFL player Leonard Wheeler, a renowned expert in leadership development, delivered the keynote address for the event. NASCAR also presented awards to individuals for meritorious achievements in their various fields. Bill Braniff, senior director of construction for International Speedway Corporation's Design and Development unit, was honored with the Jim Bockoven Lifetime Achievement Award for his exemplary contributions across the NASCAR industry for more than 10 years in the area of track asphalt and maintenance. The full list of those recognized for their work in 2015 includes:
    Medical
    " Above and Beyond Award - Andy "Sippy" Biron, New Hampshire Motor Speedway
    " Teamwork Award - Atlanta Motor Speedway Infield Care Center and New Hampshire Motor Speedway Infield Care Center / Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital
    " Excellence Award - Jay Nadeau, Daytona International Speedway
    Security
    " Steve Beres - Director of Security, Daytona International Speedway
    " Greg Scott - Senior Manager of Event Operations, Kansas Speedway
    " Bill Hindman - Security Manager, Phoenix International Raceway
    Track Services
    " Jim Bockoven Track Services Lifetime Achievement Award - Bill Braniff, International Speedway Corporation
    " Excellence in Track Services Award - George Ewald, Pocono Raceway
    " Track Services Teamwork Award - Road Atlanta
    " Track Services Innovation Award - Dan Eakins (R&B Fabrications)
    " Track Services Mission Award - Kristina Frederick, Kentucky Speedway
    (NASCAR)(1-13-2016)

  • Ray Black Jr. to run full XFINITY season with SS Green Light: Ray Black Jr. is thrilled to be taking the next step in his racing career, as the driver will compete in the full season of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series in the #07 ScubaLife Chevy. Black, who had a breakout year in 2015 while competing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, is ready for the challenge of NASCAR's second-tier series with the continued support of Bobby Dotter's SS Green Light Racing and crew chief Jason Miller. The move to the NXS also serves as a historic milestone for SS Green Light Racing, as it will be the team's first full-time season in the series. Owner Bobby Dotter previously focused his team strictly on the truck series but is passionate about the opportunity to challenge his team by moving up to the NXS with Black. The team has since been busy during the offseason prepping cars for the year. "We ran one XFINITY race with Ray last year, and it went much better than everyone expected," stated Bobby Dotter, team owner. "Ray really took to the feel of the car! Our goal was always to be in the XFINITY Series with Ray, we've just sped up that timeline a little bit. Ray is ready for the step up, and the team is ready to grow with him next year."(Black PR), see an image of the car on the #07 team paint schemes page.(1-13-2016)

  • Pocono extends wall at pit road entrance UPDATE: Four laps into the August Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway last season, Kasey Kahne went for a wild ride that ended with a hard hit into the inside wall of pit lane. The impact of the #5 Chevrolet sent helmets of crew members flying and people scattering from the pit stall. No one was injured. The early crash was the third time that weekend a vehicle spun off Turn 3 and slid onto pit road. The first came Saturday in practice with Jeb Burton. Then Ray Black Jr. hit the inside wall in the Camping World Truck Series. Kahne's crash caused damage to the wall that needed to be repaired, leading to the race being red flagged. NASCAR and track officials said last year they were working on extending that wall. Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky tweeted a picture to show such an accident won't happen again. The picture shows a longer wall has been installed at the entrance to pit road, right where Kahne's car went sliding through. Pocono Raceway would not reveal Friday how long the addition is but planned to make an announcement about it and other changes next week.(NBC Sports)(1-9-2016)
    UPDATE: Pocono Raceway has added additional SAFER Barriers and extended the pit wall as part of enhancements made at the 2.5-mile track, President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky announced. The pit wall has been lengthened 100 feet and 6,600 feet of SAFER Barrier has been added, Igdalsky said. An additional 5,100 feet of SAFER Barrier will be installed prior to the 2017 season when all outside walls, including straightaways will be covered, he added. "We are always looking to make our track safer for drivers, teams and fans and these enhancements do just that," said Igdalsky. "As cars and technology change and evolve, so do tracks. We are adapting to ensure Pocono Raceway is as safe as possible. We will continue to monitor races and technology and aggressively add safety measures where appropriate." A mild fall and late start to cold temperatures allowed Pocono Raceway Superintendent George Ewald and his staff to complete the large majority of the work.(Pocono Raceway)(1-13-2016)

  • GoBowling.com to sponsor spring race at Kansas: Kansas Speedway and GoBowling.com announced a partnership for the May 7 GoBowling.com 400, Kansas Speedway's annual May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. As part of the agreement, GoBowling.com has naming rights to the race that will be featured on a nationally-televised broadcast and other news media. In addition, GoBowling.com will have extensive signage throughout Kansas Speedway and the rights to execute on-site and online promotional activations including regional and national consumer promotions such as bowling leagues, prize promotions and other branding initiatives. GoBowling.com is the go-to website to learn more about the great sport of bowling including information about 3,000+ bowling centers throughout the country. Fans can learn about their local bowling centers, take advantage of promotional offers, watch bowling video tips and more. Kansas Speedway tickets for all events in 2016 will be on sale soon. Kansas Speedway's May 6-7, 2016 race weekend will include the Toyota Tundra 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and the GoBowling.com 400.(Kansas Speedway)(1-13-2016)


    News from January 12, 2016

  • Panasonic Toughbook sponsoring Kahne for two races: Panasonic Toughbook will become a primary sponsor of the # 5 Chevrolet SS team of driver Kasey Kahne in 2016, continuing its nearly decade-long relationship with 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports. This season, Panasonic will be featured as a #5 team primary sponsor in two Sprint Cup races -- Feb. 28 at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Oct. 2 at Dover International Speedway -- and as an associate-level partner in all other events. Panasonic became a Hendrick Motorsports technology partner in 2007 and expanded its program in 2014 by adding on-car sponsorship. It was a two-race primary sponsor of the No. 24 Sprint Cup team in 2014 and 2015 as part of its current three-year agreement that runs through 2016. Panasonic leverages the Hendrick Motorsports relationship to promote its Toughbook mobility products and other technology solutions for business. Throughout its Concord facility and at racetracks across the United States, Hendrick Motorsports employs Panasonic innovations, including Toughbook computers, Toughpad tablets, cameras, displays, digital signage and projection units. The team also utilizes Panasonic's professional video products to support its in-house content production capabilities.(Hendrick Motorsports), see an image of the car on the #5 team paint schemes page.(1-12-2016)

  • Ford to have different look for 2016: History is repeating itself when it comes to preparing the new NASCAR Fusion for its competition debut in February at Daytona Speedweeks. Much like three years ago, when NASCAR allowed manufacturers to include more brand-specific characteristics, Ford once again used the talents of its designers to ensure the same eye-catching components on the 2017 Ford Fusion production car are included on the new racing version. This latest iteration marks the third major body change for Fusion, and represents another step toward keeping "stock" a relative part of stock car racing. The result of the efforts of designers and engineers is an aggressive-looking new race car capable of producing 750 horsepower at 9,000 rpm under the current rules package. The new NASCAR Fusion follows in the tire tracks of its successful predecessor by not only mirroring the exterior of its production counterpart, but in bringing a better interior to the driver. Ford NASCAR drivers will digest more information through a new digital dashboard system that's mandatory this season. Teams can switch between as many as 16 preset screens to display information, which they can access either in bar graph or numbers format, or via the standard gauge and needle that has been used for years. This latest technological advancement from NASCAR comes on the heels of several significant changes, including the Gen 6 model that brought brand identity back to the sport in 2013, the switch to electronic fuel injection in 2012 and the move to an ethanol fuel blend in 2011. Ford has continued to refine its own technological program as well, opening up Ford Performance Technical Center in Concord, North Carolina, in 2014, which features a state-of-the-art full-motion simulator that assists both racing and production car development.(Ford Racing), see images of the car on the Ford news page.(1-12-2016)

  • Danica Patrick talks about new crew chief: Danica Patrick didn't have input in choosing new crew chief Billy Scott, but a few days around him in the Stewart-Haas Racing shop last week have her encouraged. "Billy's great; I feel like he has a lot of common sense about everything," Patrick told NASCAR Talk Saturday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in her first public comments about Scott, whose hiring was announced Nov. 30. "I feel he's going to do a really great job. He's crafting a good team." Scott will become the third crew chief in three seasons for Patrick, whose #10 Chevrolet team was involved in an offseason overhaul at SHR that also ushered in a new crew chief (Michael Bugarewicz) for teammate Tony Stewart. In her lone full season with Daniel Knost, Patrick finished a career-best 24th in the Sprint Cup points standings. But she slipped to two top 10s (from three in 2014, including a career-best sixth at Atlanta Motor Speedway) and didn't finish higher than 15th after the May 31 race at Dover International Speedway. Scott, a 2005 graduate of UNC Charlotte, also is a degreed engineer, but Patrick said she wasn't involved in his hiring process. "I really left it up to the team," Patrick said. "I did everything I could last year to make the most with Daniel wholeheartedly, and the team just thought that it would be a better fit and good adjustment to change that. I trust them. I have to; that's what they do. I drive the car. The best thing I can do is make the most of every weekend. When they ask my opinion on things, I give them the opinion on what I think is good, what I think is bad, and let them do their job." Scott, who worked Clint Bowyer, David Ragan, Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip as a Michael Waltrip Racing crew chief last season, will be working with engineer William Lee, one of several holdovers from last year's #10 team. Scott also has a good working relationship with fellow workaholic crew chief Rodney Childers, who left MWR two years ago to join Kevin Harvick's 2014 championship team at SHR.(NBC Sports)(1-12-2016)

  • Racing 2 Cure joins Gase: Racing 2 Cure announced a four race deal with Comcast Community 2015 Champion and NASCAR Xfinity driver, Joey Gase, for the 2016 season. Racing 2 Cure will be a primary sponsor of Gase's #52 Chevrolet Camaro at Daytona (July), Kentucky (September), and Homestead-Miami, as well as a major associate sponsor at Bristol in April. The partnership will take Racing 2 Cure's involvement with Gase to a new level to continue to raise funds for families fighting cancer. Racing 2 Cure is a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help families that are currently fighting cancer, no matter what kind it is. Racing 2 Cure wants to treat the "Human Side" of cancer, which includes non-medical expenses not covered by insurance. Some of these needs include travel expenses, utility bills, rent, house cleaning/yard services, day care, tutoring, etc. In addition, Racing 2 Cure donates to cancer organizations that are working hard on research, treatment, and raising awareness for this horrible disease. Throughout the season, Racing 2 Cure will offer the opportunity for supporters and fans to have the name or image of someone they know fighting, won, or lost their battle to cancer to ride on Gase's car. Those interested on being Joey Gase's car can donate and learn more via his Racing 2 Cure online donation page. In addition, Racing 2 Cure will release Joey Gase branded merchandise that will include the Racing 2 Cure logo.(Joey Gase Racing)(1-12-2016)

  • Daytona expects certificate of occupancy to be issued: There won't be a marching band, ribbon cutting, fly over, or slew of dignitaries, but Tuesday is a monumental day for Daytona International Speedway and its $400 million Daytona Rising project. The city's permits and licensing department is expected to sign the Speedway's long-awaited certificate of occupancy for the newly renovated nearly mile-long structure, whose massive makeover began in July 2013. "Starting Tuesday, after two and a half years, I no longer have to put on a hard hat to visit the property," Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. "We are really close to getting the property in shape and ready to go racing later this month. This is a very important milestone." Is Daytona Rising, which boasts 101,500 seats, completely finished? No. But the heavy lifting is over. "This project isn't really over Tuesday, or running the Rolex 24, or running the Daytona 500," Chitwood said. "It will be a couple of months after the Daytona 500 when we truly get through all the punch lists and all those final items. "Will the public know? No, because it's all internal. You won't see big equipment or things like that. It will really be inside stuff, small changes and tweaks through the events and after." All of the Speedway's new vertical transportation, the elevators and escalators, were certified by the state last week. The city's building department has been doing inspections on a weekly basis because of the size of the structure.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-12-2016)

  • Pocono Raceway's George Ewald Earns NASCAR Excellence Award: Pocono Raceway Vice President and Superintendent George Ewald was honored by NASCAR Monday when he collected the Excellence in Track Services Award for career contributions in the area of track services. NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton and Executive Vice President Steve O'Donnell presented the award to Ewald during the 2016 NASCAR Summit. Ewald, who is in his 46th year of working at Pocono Raceway, has been the Superintendent of the 2.5-mile speedway since the mid-1970s. He started working at Pocono Raceway in the maintenance department in 1970 before quickly being promoted to Track Superintendent in 1975 and Vice President in 1977 by the late Dr. Joseph "Doc" Mattioli.(Pocono Raceway)(1-12-2016)


    News from January 11, 2016

  • Brian Scott to run the #44 for RPM? UPDATE: was sent some images of the #44 Twisted Tea Ford. No name above the door. Could Richard Petty Motorsports be switching from the #9 to the #44 for new driver Brian Scott in 2016? If so, what happens to the #9? does Hendrick use it and re-number the #24 Chevy for Chase Elliott? Chase's father, Bill Elliott, ran the #9 for many years. Chase ran the #9 in the XFINITY Series as well as other series in the past. See images of the #44 Ford on the 2016 #44 Team Schemes Page (1-9-2016)
    UPDATE: There are times in the sport of NASCAR Sprint Cup racing, when looking at things on the surface, they seem simple. An example is a car number. A car number, in its simplest definition, allows race fans to connect a car with a team and a driver. But, as in many cases, when digging under the surface, you can find layers of history. And, for Richard Petty, and the Petty family, these layers of car numbers are built on wins and championships that have transcended through time to build a stock car dynasty across the world. Beginning in 2016, this tradition is returning to the Petty family and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). RPM will once again field the number "44", replacing the number "9" used since RPM was created after a merger in 2009.
    Richard Petty: "To speak about us changing our car number, you first have to go back to the beginning with my Dad (Lee). He started Petty Engineering and later Petty Enterprises, and he was there right when NASCAR all started. He put together a car, and the first race he entered he actually raced a car numbered 38. But, that was it. He then went and got his own car. He had to put a number on it and saw the number 42 on a license plate, and that's how it all started. It just went forward from there.
    Lee Petty raced the number 42 from 1949-1961 before using the number 41 in select races through 1964 before retiring. He retired with three championships and 54 wins with the number 42.
    Richard Petty raced the number 43 from 1959-1992 winning a record 200 races and seven championships. He was crowned "The King" and cemented himself as the most successful NASCAR driver of all time.
    Maurice "Chief" Petty raced the #41, 42, 43 and 44 in select races from 1960-1964. He is most remembered racing the No. 41.
    Kyle Petty raced the #42 for Petty Enterprises from 1979-1982. He raced the #44 for pe2/Petty Enterprises from 1997-2000. He won his first ARCA race in 1979 at Daytona in the #44 for Petty Enterprises.
    Kyle Petty: "It's good to see the 44 number back where it belongs. I grew up knowing that my uncle Maurice raced the 41, my grandfather raced the 42 and my father raced the 43. I would go on to race the 44, and Adam eventually drove the 45. With Pete Hamilton driving the 40 at one time for PE, to me, those numbers were always 'Petty' numbers. I'm looking forward to seeing Brian Scott carrying on our tradition."(Richard Petty Motorsports)
    AND: Hendrick Motorsports says Chase Elliott will remain in the #24 this season.(1-11-2016)

  • Eligible Drivers and Format Announced for 2016 Sprint Unlimited at Daytona: NASCAR announced the 25 eligible drivers and the format for the season-opening 75-lap Sprint Unlimited at the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium on Saturday, Feb. 13. The event, which will be broadcast live on FOX, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, marks the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race following the completion of DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch redevelopment project that has transformed Daytona International Speedway into the first motorsports stadium in the world. "We're ready to go," said NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell. "The anticipation for this season, this event and this venue is unprecedented. We are excited how the new stadium will provide a state-of-the-art showcase for the brightest stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series."
    Once again, the non-points event will be split into two segments with a competition caution at lap 25 separating the segments. A popular element introduced before the 2015 event returns this year: select fans will be paired with each crew chief for a random drawing to determine starting and pit road positions. The drawings will take place on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Alert Today Florida Stage inside the Sprint FANZONE beginning at 3:30pm/et.
    The 25 eligible NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers include the 2015 Coors Light Pole Award winners, former Sprint Unlimited race winners and former Daytona 500 pole winners who competed full time in 2015. All 16 drivers from the 2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup are also eligible for the race, and any remaining open positions are filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points.
    Eligible drivers are:
    2015 Coors Light Pole Awards winners
    · #47-AJ Allmendinger, #41-Kurt Busch, #18-Kyle Busch, #19-Carl Edwards, #11-Denny Hamlin, #4-Kevin Harvick, #48-Jimmie Johnson, #5-Kasey Kahne, #20-Matt Kenseth, #2-Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon(retired), #22-Joey Logano
    Former Sprint Unlimited Race Winners
    · #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr., #14-Tony Stewart
    Former DAYTONA 500 Coors Light Pole Award winners
    · #16-Greg Biffle, #3-Austin Dillon, #TBA-David Gilliland, #10-Danica Patrick, #78-Martin Truex Jr.
    2015 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers:
    · #15-Clint Bowyer, #1-Jamie McMurray, #27-Paul Menard, #31-Ryan Newman
    2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points:
    · #43-Aric Almirola, #42-Kyle Larson.
    If an eligible driver does not enter the race (such as Jeff Gordon-retired), the open position will be filled based on 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship driver points. The first five provisional drivers are #13-Casey Mears, #17-Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Sam Hornish Jr.(no ride), David Ragan(no ride) and #6-Trevor Bayne.
    Tickets for the Sprint Unlimited are available online at DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.(NASCAR)
    See Jayski.com's 2016 Sprint Unlimited / 2015 Pole Winners page for more info.(1-11-2016)

  • Petty's Garage Launches Off-Road Division: Since 2008, Petty's Garage, a high-performance automobile speed shop located on the grounds of the former Petty Enterprises, has been the premier facility for car and truck enthusiasts to restore, modify or purchase their vehicles. Today, Petty's Garage announces its expansion of an Off-Road Division to maximize any and all off-road machines. With a history of over 65 years, Petty's Garage has an unmatched staff in the country. The company has restored, modified and built hundreds of cars, including exclusive specialty builds of 2015 and 2016 Ford GT Mustangs. Under the leadership of owner "The King" Richard Petty, they are expanding into Off-Road vehicles where customers looking for more capabilities and great looks can have a purpose built machine to fulfill their off road dreams. In addition to any customer builds, Petty's Garage is currently in discussion with manufacturers about modifying the latest models to develop unique and one-of-a-kind vehicles. Petty himself is eager to start seeing the off-road builds. "You can't drive too far without seeing modifications on Jeeps,Trucks and any other off-road vehicle you can imagine. We've always had our own ideas how to modify them, and after our success that we've had with our performance cars, we know that we can deliver the same quality and performance with off-road machines." says Richard Petty.(Petty's Garage)(1-11-2016)(1-11-2016)

  • Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam raises over $200,000: The 4th annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation, which was held on October 26-27, was another major success raising over $200,000 for charity. The Lowcountry celebrity charity event has raised over $700,000 in its first four years. The fundraiser again featured the partnership of NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin, Hootie & the Blowfish founding member and lead guitarist Mark Bryan and Denis Gallagher, CEO of Student Transportation Inc., and his company's philanthropic arm, the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation. Proceeds from the two-day fundraiser have increased each year and were recently donated to the charitable organizations represented by the three partners, which have a common mission in creating better opportunities for children. The Denny Hamlin Foundation was a beneficiary with the majority of its share being donated to MUSC Children's Hospital for Cystic Fibrosis research. Mark Bryan's non-profit, Carolina Studios, and STAEF, also received their portion of the funds raised that will benefit children throughout the Lowcountry. Each year the event picks out a compelling local charity to support with a donation and this year the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church was selected. The oldest AME church in the south, it is known as "Mother Emanuel" and was the site of a terrible tragedy last June. The Pro-Am Jam showed its support for the good works of the church with a $10,000 donation from the proceeds of a special event T-shirt that incorporated the event logo into an "I Am Charleston Strong" message. The dates for the 5th Annual Denny & Mark's Pro-Am Jam hosted by the Student Transportation of America Education Foundation are October 24-25.(Empire Sports Management)(1-11-2016)

  • Dakoda Armstrong to JGL Racing UPDATE: Dakoda Armstrong will pilot the #28 JGL Racing Toyota Camry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2016. JGL Racing team manager Steven Lane confirmed Armstrong's appointment. Lane also told Motorsport.com the organization will have support from Toyota Racing Development. The Camrys will be powered with Joe Gibbs Racing engines. Lane will also serve as Armstrong's crew chief. Armstrong, who finished 12th in the 2015 NXS standings in his second full season piloting the #43 WinField Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, replaces J.J. Yeley in the #28 Camry. JGL Racing is still in the process of determining the driver lineup for its second team. Although that effort ran under the #26 last season, Lane added the team will return to the #24 Camry. (Motorsport)(1-9-2016)
    UPDATE: JGL Racing officials announced that Dakoda Armstrong has joined the growing organization and will headline their 2016 drivers lineup. Armstrong will pilot the team's #28 Toyota in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season and will be joined by longtime sponsor WinField. The 24-year old Armstrong has 73 NASCAR XFINITY Series starts to his credit to go along with 44 starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Dakoda competed in all 33 XFINITY Series events last year while earning a 12th-place finish in the series overall drivers' standings. JGL Racing fielded two full-time NASCAR XFINITY Series last season highlighted by driver J.J. Yeley tying Armstrong for 12th-place in the overall drivers' standings. The team will continue to field two full-time entries in 2016 with a driver announcement coming soon on the #24 Toyota. The #28 WinField Toyota will once again be led by Steven Lane. The NASCAR veteran crew chief returns for his second full season with JGL Racing.(Integrity Sports Marketing) see an image of the car on the #28 team paint schemes page.(1-11-2016)

  • Carl Long preparing for 2016 season: From the Carl Long Motorsports Facebook page, "2016 is about here. MBM ownership partners Derek White, Carl &Dee Dee Long, Chuck & Joan Fridell, and John Jackson are getting ready. We had several conversations with sponsored drivers, & sponsors, however nothing has materialized for anyone to run all the races. So we are back on the hunt for week to week approved and funded drivers. Daytona will have Mark Thompson in the #13 Toyota with engine leased from Gibbs. The #40 car (Daytona) a Dodge with Penske power and prepared for Derek White, however Derek who is majority owner is willing to put someone else with sponsorship in car. We still have drivers Josh Reaume, John Jackson, and myself trying to put sponsorship together as well.(1-11-2016)

  • Super Cup Stock Car Series expected to race at Rockingham UPDATE: The Super Cup Stock Car Series is reportedly going to close its 2016 schedule with a race at Rockingham Speedway, the former NASCAR track that's been idle for almost three years. SCSCS has operated for eight seasons, primarily in the northeast but extending as far west as Columbus, Ohio. Its 2016 schedule currently lists eight dates, but half of those are shown as "To Be Announced." The track last hosted racing in April 2013 with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event. According to the Richmond County Daily Journal, Farmers and Merchants Bank began foreclose proceedings against owners Andy Hillenburg and Bill Silas, accusing them of defaulting on a $4.2 million loan. The lien has since been assigned to BK Rock Holdings of Stuart, Florida.(Fayetteville Observer)(12-15-2015)
    UPDATE A Union County-based motorsports team is planning to bring affordable racing back to Rockingham Speedway in 2016. James Martin of Level 1 Motorsports said his group is creating a new race series, the X-Cup Series, to race at the legendary track, which will "hopefully" start in April. "They're all gonna be ran at Rockingham," he said in a recent telephone interview, adding it would be a 10-race series with eight events on the 1.017-mile track and two on the infield road course. "We're finalizing the final rules package now." According to Martin, 15 drivers have signed up to run, but halfway through the series he expects to be at full capacity with a field of 32 cars. As the Daily Journal reported last month, the Super Cup Stock Car Series has listed "The Rock" on its 2016 schedule, with a race and awards banquet slated for Oct. 15. Joe Schmaling, the series' director of competition, said organizers plan to "leave the track in October with a confirmed date or two for 2017." The National Auto Sports Association also has an event, the Firecracker Run, scheduled for July 2-3. Craig Northacker, executive director of Vets-Help, announced plans last January to purchase the track and turn it into a center to assist veterans with reintegrating into society. Records show he entered into a commercial lease agreement with speedway co-owner Andy Hillenburg in late 2014. The term of the lease was for one year, ending Oct. 31, 2015, and set to renew automatically unless terminated with 60 days written notice. A copy of a check included with the document, filed in October of 2015, shows the rental fee to be $1. One tentative name for the track is Rockingham Veterans Speedway, though Northacker said a final designation has yet to be decided. He said he wants to keep Rockingham in the name, but would also like to signify the track's new life.(Richmond County Daily Journal)(1-11-2016)


    News from January 10, 2016

  • Matt Kenseth's spotter and family injured in auto wreck UPDATE: Chris Osborne, the spotter for Matt Kenseth's #20 Joe Gibbs Racing team, was involved in a serious automobile accident last weekend. Osborne took to Twitter to express his thanks to all fans, friends and fellow NASCAR competitors who have wished him and his family well. Both Osborne and his wife suffered very serious injuries that will require lengthy recoveries. Osborne's son, Austin, also suffered injuries in the accident but was treated at a hospital and released. He posted a picture of the family car after the accident on Instagram, along with some details about it from his perspective. Including: "I was in the passenger seat and escaped with just a broken nose, missing tooth, a concussion, and some liver damage but I will be fine. Mom was in the backseat behind me. She broke the back of my seat and flew over me and ended up between the dash and windshield, suffering a broken pelvis on 2 places, destroyed her elbow, a broken hip, and a broken shoulder along with some other severe damages. She has been taken off her ventilator and was able to get out of ICU, so she is recovering."(FoxSports)(12-24-2015)
    UPDDATE: Chris Osborne says he hopes to be well enough to make the trek to Daytona International Speedway next month when the NASCAR racing season officially gets underway, but to do so his body must first win a race with the clock. Osborne, spotter for Joe Gibbs Racing driver Matt Kenseth in the Sprint Cup Series -- as well as fellow JGR driver Daniel Suarez in the Truck and XFINITY Series -- sustained severe injuries to his right leg and foot when he and his family were hit head-on by another driver on Dec. 17. "Family and our health come first, that goes without question," he said. "But I think and talk about work every day with different people. And I'll be honest with you -- it's going to be a tight timeframe. When I can bear weight on my leg. If I can only do 25 percent of it at a time, 25 percent for a week or so and then 50 percent for a week, if that's the case then looking at the calendar ... I don't know if I'll make Daytona. But I'm working so hard and ... that's my goal. Until the plane leaves and I'm either on it or not, that's my goal."(NASCAR.com)(1-10-2016)

  • Michael Waltrip Racing shop now for sale: A real estate company has posted signs at Michael Waltrip Racing proclaiming that the shop is "Available." A sign on the building and one near MWR's signboard lists a phone number for inquiries with Lincoln Harris, a full-service real estate company based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Cornelius, North Carolina, shop - located about 30 minutes from Charlotte Motor Speedway - features two buildings and sits on 11.479 acres. A sign proclaims the facility has more than 142,000 square foot. No price is listed. NBC Sports' calls to Lincoln Harris were not returned Friday. The Mecklenburg County Assessor's office lists the shop's value as $12,807,200 - based on an assessment in 2011. Public records show that the property had a tax bill last year of $137,909.73. That bill was due Sept. 1, 2015, but public records list it as delinquent and notes that interest began accruing Wednesday. Waltrip converted a former movie theatre into his race shop and officially opened the facility to the public in May 2007.(NBC Sports)(1-10-2016)

  • NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day returns to the NASCAR Hall Of Fame Jan. 23: For the third consecutive year, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will open its doors for FREE for NASCAR Fan Appreciation Day. On Saturday, Jan. 23, fans will have free access to the Hall for a full day of activities, including autographs and Q&A sessions with current drivers and NASCAR Hall of Famers. Fans will be admitted into the Hall on a first-come, first-served basis in lieu of needing a ticket. However, tickets to autograph sessions, highlighted by 13-time Sprint NMPA Most Popular Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. must be secured in advance. Vouchers for the autograph sessions will be available for free on NASCARHall.com starting at 10:00am/et on Saturday, Jan. 16. Each fan can secure up to two autograph session vouchers. In addition, up-and-coming stars of the NASCAR NEXT program and NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2016 inductees Jerry Cook, Terry Labonte and Bruton Smith will participate in Q&A's and autograph signings throughout the day. Advance vouchers are not required for these sessions. Fans in attendance will be among the first to see a series of new exhibits and facility upgrades. Artifacts from all five Class of 2016 inductees will be on display in the Hall of Honor, an exhibit that opens Friday, Jan. 22. Fans can also relive the 2015 NASCAR season with updated Memorable Moments and Champions displays.(NASCAR)(1-10-2016)


    News from January 9, 2016

  • Brian Scott to run the #44 for RPM? was sent some images of the #44 Twisted Tea Ford. No name above the door. Could Richard Petty Motorsports be switching from the #9 to the #44 for new driver Brian Scott in 2016? If so, what happens to the #9? does Hendrick use it and re-number the #24 Chevy for Chase Elliott? Chase's father, Bill Elliott, ran the #9 for many years. Chase ran the #9 in the XFINITY Series as well as other series in the past. See images of the #44 Ford on the 2016 #44 Team Schemes Page (1-9-2016)

  • Teams to test at Vegas: The official start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series may be more than one month away, however four teams will be back on the track next week to take part in a two-day Goodyear tire test at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. #48-Jimmie Johnson (Hendrick Motorsports), #41-Kurt Busch (Stewart-Haas Racing), #2-Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) and #20-Matt Kenseth (Joe Gibbs Racing) are currently scheduled to participate in the test, set for Jan. 12-13 at the 1.5-mile track. All four drivers are former series champions. It will be the first on-track activity for teams since an end-of-year test held last month at Homestead-Miami Speedway. NASCAR re-tooled its testing platform before the start of the 2015 season, doing away with private team testing and debuting the NASCAR Series Master Unified Testing Schedule. The schedule included a mix of two-day Goodyear tire tests often followed by a single-day open team test. When necessary, NASCAR officials also scheduled additional practice time as teams worked through the '15 rules package. The changes to the testing policy were made in part to help teams control costs.
    A new base rules package, similar to that used at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway in 2015, will be in place this season for events except those held at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway. The base package includes a 3.5-inch spoiler (decreased from 6 inches), a .25-inch leading edge (previously 2 inches) on the front splitter and a 33-inch wide splitter extension panel (radiator pan) replacing the current 38-inch pan. Rear gear ratios will be adjusted to maintain 9,000 rpm maximum engine speed and a 1:38 third gear ratio will be in place for tracks under 1.25 miles. The digital dash display will also be mandatory in the series this season.
    Because next week's test is a Goodyear tire test only, the grandstands will not be open to the public.(NASCAR.com)(1-9-2016)

  • Sad News - Hank Bechtloff: Henry George Bechtloff went by Hank, which due to his chosen line of work, became known as "Hank The Crank." Bechtloff, who had recently turned 76, passed away Sunday, January 3, 2016. Bechtloff grew up in Southern California. Bechtloff and one of his friends had a shop in the bay of a local gas station where the two worked tuning engines. In 1957, Bechtloff went to work for the CrankShaft Company near downtown Los Angeles. In 1971, Bechtloff opened his own company, which was appropriately named Hank The Crank Inc.(SEMA). Hank The Crank Inc. made crankshafts for many NASCAR teams from the 1980's into the 2000's. He worked with some of the greatest names in the industry such as Richard Childress, Robert and Doug Yates, Smokey Yunick, Dan Gurney, Don Garlits, Danny Lawrence, Keith Simmons, Randy and Keith Dorton, Richard Petty, Warren Hodgdon, Bobby Allison, Bobby Labonte and others. Bechtloff developed technologies in racing crankshafts, connecting rods, pistons, piston pins, piston rings and bearings.(1-9-2016)

  • Pocono extends wall at pit road entrance: Four laps into the August Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway last season, Kasey Kahne went for a wild ride that ended with a hard hit into the inside wall of pit lane. The impact of the #5 Chevrolet sent helmets of crew members flying and people scattering from the pit stall. No one was injured. The early crash was the third time that weekend a vehicle spun off Turn 3 and slid onto pit road. The first came Saturday in practice with Jeb Burton. Then Ray Black Jr. hit the inside wall in the Camping World Truck Series. Kahne's crash caused damage to the wall that needed to be repaired, leading to the race being red flagged. NASCAR and track officials said last year they were working on extending that wall. Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky tweeted a picture to show such an accident won't happen again. The picture shows a longer wall has been installed at the entrance to pit road, right where Kahne's car went sliding through. Pocono Raceway would not reveal Friday how long the addition is but planned to make an announcement about it and other changes next week.(NBC Sports)(1-9-2016)


    News from January 8, 2016

  • Roush Fenway makes crew chief changes: Roush Fenway Racing solidified its crew chief lineup for 2016 on Friday. Team sources confirmed to Motorsport.com that veteran Bob Osborne will oversee Chris Buescher's development during his Sprint Cup rookie season at Front Row Motorsports, piloting the #34. Osborne, 41, returned to the pit box last season as Trevor Bayne's crew chief following a three-year sabbatical due to health-related issues. The Penn State graduate enjoyed tremendous success with Carl Edwards. Together the pair posted 18 wins, 86 top-fives and 142 top-10 finishes and nearly won the 2011 Sprint Cup Championship. Buescher, the current Xfinity Series champion, was expected to make the move to Cup with Scott Graves, who has since left the RFR for Joe Gibbs Racing. However, given Osborne's experience at the Cup level as well as his 17 seasons with Roush, Buescher couldn't ask for a better crew chief to ease him through the transition in his rookie season. Matt Puccia, 38, will direct Bayne's effort and the #6 team. Puccia joined Roush in 2004. His first stint as a Roush crew chief came two years later with Edwards in the truck series. He's spent the last five seasons with Greg Biffle in Cup. Initially, Puccia was potentially slated for the #6 Xfinity team with Darrell "Bubba" Wallace. However, the organization elected to stay the course with Seth Barbour who replaced Chad Norris in the crew chief role following the Watkins Glen race in August. Wallace, 22, finished seventh in the point standings in his first full season on the NXS tour.(Motorsport)(1-8-2016)

  • 2016 M&M's scheme unveiled: M&M's U.S.A. unveiled the new 2016 M&M'S 75th Anniversary paint scheme for Kyle Busch and #18 M&M'S Camry. The new design brings back the classic yellow and includes the iconic M&M'S Characters throughout the years (M&M's Racing Facebook page), see images of the scheme on the #18 Team Schemes page (1-8-2016)

  • Grubb talks about leaving Gibbs: Darian Grubb told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Thursday that he was surprised that he wasn't back as #19-Carl Edwards' crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing. "I guess fifth in points just wasn't good enough in some people's eyes and five points away from running (for the title at) Homestead," Grubb said on the show "Tradin' Paint." Grubb said he was told during last year's Chase that changes could be coming, nearly mirroring a situation he had in 2011. He was told during that year's Chase that he would not return as Tony Stewart's crew chief. Grubb then went on to help Stewart win the title, beating Edwards. "I was somewhat surprised," Grubb said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio about finding out his position could be in jeopardy last year at JGR. "The first conversation I had was one weekend of the Chase I was told at that point that I needed to get nine more solid weeks in, and I was like 'I've been through this before.' Last time it was six weeks. This time was nine. I knew something was going to come up with the change. I knew I was going to be making some changes. I didn't know what it was going to be. Then went on and found out it wasn't going to be a crew chief position, so I had to explore some options." Joe Gibbs Racing replaced Grubb with Dave Rogers, who moved over from #11-Denny Hamlin's team. Hamlin's new crew chief is Mike Wheeler. Those moves led Grubb, who has 23 career Sprint Cup wins as a crew chief, back to Hendrick Motorsports. Grubb's new role is as vehicle production director at Hendrick Motorsports. He'll have responsibility for production operations in the chassis and body groups and work alongside technical director Kenny Francis.(NBC Sports)(1-8-2016)

  • Reed, Wallace get new crew chiefs UPDATE: Both of Roush Fenway Racing's fulltime NASCAR Xfinity Series teams will have new crew chiefs in 2016. Team officials confirmed Thursday that Matt Puccia, who served as driver Greg Biffle's crew chief in the Sprint Cup Series this season, will be the new crew chief for Xfinity Series driver #6-Darrell Wallace Jr. in 2016. In addition, Phil Gould, who spent this past season as crew chief for Elliott Sadler, will take over the same role for driver #16-Ryan Reed in the Xfinity Series. Sadler has since moved to JR Motorsports.(Motorsport)(12-18-2015)
    UPDATE: Roush Fenway Racing solidified its crew chief lineup for 2016 on Friday. Matt Puccia will direct Bayne's effort and the #6 team. Initially, Puccia was potentially slated for the #6 Xfinity team with Darrell "Bubba" Wallace. However, the organization elected to stay the course with Seth Barbour who replaced Chad Norris in the crew chief role following the Watkins Glen race in August.(Motorsport)(1-8-2016)

  • Scott Graves expected to be new crew chief for Suarez UPDATE: #18-Daniel Suarez will have a new crew chief for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season. Scott Graves, who won the NXS title with Chris Buescher and was expected to guide the champ through his rookie season in Sprint Cup, has parted ways with Roush Fenway Racing. Sources told Motorsport.com Graves will guide the #18 Arris Toyota and NXS Rookie of the Year Suarez. The Clifton Springs, N.Y. native graduated from Texas Tech University in 1994 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Graves joined RFR in 2006 as a team engineer on the #99 Ford truck and honed his skills as a team engineer in all three series before Jack Roush offered him the opportunity to be a crew chief. Graves worked with Carl Edwards and Trevor Bayne in NXS before taking over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s team full-time at the end of the 2012 Sprint Cup season. Graves replaces Eric Phillips who guided Suarez to the rookie title this season and a fifth-place finish in the NXS standings. Phillips earned his first shot as a crew chief in Cup with Ron Fellows in 2002. While he's enjoyed solid runs overseeing the efforts of Suarez at Gibbs and Parker Kligerman who both finished in the top 10 in the NXS, Phillips claim to fame is winning the owner's championship (2010, 2014) as the crew chief for KBM in the Camping World Truck Series. Phillips, who has 37 truck wins with a variety of drivers including Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Brian Scott and Mike Skinner, is expected to join Dave Rogers and Edwards as the car chief for the #19 Sprint Cup team. (Motorsport)(12-22-2015)
    UPDATE: Joe Gibbs Racing announced its crew chief lineup for the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series. Chris Gabehart will move from the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series to the XFINITY Series to lead Rookie of the Year Contender Erik Jones in the #20 Toyota Camry. Gabehart most recently served as a race engineer on the #11 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team with Denny Hamlin. Scott Graves joins Joe Gibbs Racing from Roush Fenway Racing and will lead 2015 Rookie of the Year Daniel Suarez in the #19 Toyota Camry. Graves won the 2015 XFINITY Series championship with Chris Buescher. Chris Gayle will return for his fourth season as a crew chief at JGR and lead the #18 Toyota Camry team with Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and others. Sponsorship announcements for the teams will be made at a later date.(Joe Gibbs Racing)(1-8-2016)

  • Construction of towers to support 'Colossus' screen begins at Bristol: The first phase of constructing the four towers that will support what is touted to be the world's largest center-hung video display started Wednesday at Bristol Motor Speedway. The towers - which range in height from 190 to 220 feet and weigh upwards of 50,000 pounds per 10 foot by 10 foot section - are needed to support the massive screen dubbed "Colossus." Rentenbach Constructors, of Knoxville, has two cranes from Barnhart Crane & Rigging outside of turn 2 in order to lift each section into place, where a crew of workers bolts the massive pieces into place. The tower piece of the construction is slated to be complete by Jan. 25. Engineers and construction crews are then scheduled to install the cables that will give support to the towers to hold "Colossus" in place. The entire project, including the installation of the giant television, is expected to be complete for the Food City 500 race weekend. BMS officials have said "Colossus" will enhance the experience of those visiting the speedway, providing them with premium viewing that "rivals the sharpness of the outdoor screens in Times Square as well as thunderous, high-quality sound provided via 428 stadium speakers," according to an earlier news release from BMS. See pictures at the Bristol Herald-Courier site.(1-8-2016)


    News from January 7, 2016

  • Manion moves to CWTS to crew chief for Kyle Busch Motorsports: Kyle Busch Motorsports announced the addition of Kevin "Bono" Manion to the team's crew chief lineup for the team's three-truck effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2016. Manion will call the shots for the Tundra that will be shared by drivers Daniel Suarez and Cody Coughlin. Additionally, the team announced that 2015 Truck Series champion crew chief Rudy Fugle will be paired with 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron and veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter will guide Christopher Bell's efforts. Manion brings with him 12 years of experience as a NASCAR crew chief, spending the last 10 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. The Massachusetts native collected five victories in his time atop the pit box in NASCAR's premier series, including two marquee wins with Jamie McMurray in 2010; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Before graduating into NASCAR's top division, he guided Martin Truex Jr., to back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. In addition to his five Sprint Cup Series victories, Manion boasts 15 XFINITY Series wins; 13 with Truex Jr., and two with Dale Earnhardt Jr.(Kyle Busch Motorsports), Manion started 2015 as crew chief for #7-Alex Bowman. He moved to Richard Petty Motorsports in May to serve as crew chief for #9-Sam Hornish, Jr for the remainder of the season.(1-7-2016)

  • Martinsville Speedway Promotes 2016 Season With "It's Time": Clocks tell time and Martinsville Speedway is known for clocks. After all, for more than 50 years race winners at the historic half-mile speedway have received a grandfather clock as the trophy. This year the track will promote the race season with the phrase "It's Time". "Obviously the clock is one of the first things people associate with Martinsville Speedway, so that was the start of it. But there is so much more to 'It's Time," Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. "It's time for short-track racing. It's time for family. It's time for excitement. It's time for hot dogs. It's time for Martinsville. It's like we started the sentence, but the fans can finish it." The track's slogan remains "The Half-Mile of Mayhem" and "It's Time" will be used to compliment that. "We've certainly seen our share of mayhem through the years and last year ranks right at the top of the list," Campbell said. "We don't want to get away from that, as our fans can truly identify with it. What we want to do is give fans the opportunity to feel even more a part of Martinsville Speedway than they already do." (Martinsville Speedway)(1-7-2016)


    News from January 6, 2016

  • Brian France talks to MRN's "NASCAR Live": NASCAR Chairman Brian France praised the elimination-style Chase format, said he's not for retiring car numbers and reiterated the sanctioning body's stance on not taking a win away from a team that fails post-race inspection. France made the comments during his annual appearance on Motor Racing Network's "NASCAR Live" on Tuesday night. France addressed many subjects during the 60-minute show, taking some questions from fans and others from host Eli Gold. Among topics discussed:
    On the Chase format, France said: "It's probably the single best decision that we've ever made as an organization to adapt the first-ever, elimination-style in auto racing format.
    On if NASCAR should retire car numbers - such as the #3 used by Dale Earnhardt or the #43 used by Richard Petty - France said: "The teams build a lot of their value around that number. Richard Childress is a good example. He's got a lot tied to Richard Childress Racing with the 3. We're inclined not to do that."
    On why NASCAR doesn't strip a win from a team whose car fails post-race inspection, France said: "We prefer always to have when you leave the track to have witnessed the full race, including the winner. That remains our goal. We believe we can punish and deter. If there's some infraction of significance - rarely happens but sometimes it does - we believe that without taking the win away, we can certainly punish someone effectively and we can deter it in the future from happening again. Sometime, by the way, these infractions are not intentional."
    On Matt Kenseth intentionally wrecking Joey Logano at Martinsville last year in retaliation for their contact at Kansas, France said: "I was very disappointed and that's about as nice as I'm going put that. ...I'm a big fan of Matt Kenseth in general. What we're not going tolerate is intentional, changing the outcome of either a race, or in this case a championship. We are going to draw a line, a very clear line. that's our credibility. If that is tested in the future, it will be a very harsh response on our behalf."
    On finding a new series sponsor with Sprint leaving after this season, France said: "The opportunity is great and it's going well. I think we're talking to the right people on where things need to end up. We want to be selective, too. This is perhaps the most marque position in sports because you literally get to entitle your brand within the entire sport and that's so unique. It's going really well."
    France also said that the excitement of last season is creating momentum for the start of this season. He said work continues with the owners in creating a charter system in the Sprint Cup Series that would guarantee most teams a starting spot in the field.(NBC Sports)(1-6-2016)

  • Premium Motorsports hires most of Hillman Racing staff, purchases cars and equipment UPDATE: Premium Motorsports [#62 team] announced that the team has hired Mike Hillman to head up its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation for 2016. The deal also includes the hiring of Crew Chief, Mark Hillman, along with most of the staff from the #40 team that competed in the 2015 season. Team owner Jay Robinson announced that with increased competition within the racing industry, "We had to upgrade our team moving forward and that included Mike Hillman, select key personnel and the purchase of additional cars and equipment. The racing bar is being raised even higher and this effort will enable us to commit more resources and become more competitive for 2016". The team expects to make driver and additional sponsor announcements in the coming days.(Premium Motorsports)(1-5-2016)
    UPDATE: ESPN's Bob Pockrass tweeted that "Jay Robinson (Premium Motorspots) plans to field 1 full-time Cup car, 1 part-time Cup car next year. The #94 truck is TBD."
    AND "while nothing is set in stone, the last I had heard was to expect Premium Motorsports to have one charter." [under the proposed Sprint Cup charter system].(1-6-2015)

  • Precision Performance Motorsports plans partial NXS schedule: Fresh off the heels of a breakthrough 2015 NASCAR season, #55-Precision Performance Motorsports has been hard at work building a fleet of NASCAR XFINITY and K&N Pro Series East cars, improving their new facility in North Carolina, and preparing for the 2016 season. With 11 XFINITY Series cars and five K&N Pro Series East cars, equipment and talented people, PPM plans to further progress both programs in the upcoming year. PPM has laid the groundwork to build a customizable program around each driver to match their particular needs. A developing driver can progress from the Whelen All-American Series, through the K&N Pro Series and into the XFINITY Series with PPM. PPM's history in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East dates back to 2011 debuting with driver Brandon Gdovic. Since then, the team has earned 28 top-10 finishes, 13 top-fives, and a win with multiple drivers. Much of the 2015 season was spent improving the K&N program in preparation for 2016 including personnel and equipment. PPM made their debut in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Watkins Glen International with rookie Brandon Gdovic behind the wheel. In Gdovic's first-ever trip to a NASCAR road course, the team posted a 13th-place finish, besting many veteran teams and drivers. PPM went on to exceed expectations in the final two races of the season with rookie driver Anthony Kumpen, the 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion. In 2016, PPM plans to run a partial XFINITY Series schedule, beginning with the PowerShares QQQ 300 at Daytona International Speedway in February, and the K&N Pro Series East schedule with multiple drivers to be announced. Brandon Gdovic will join the roster of XFINITY Series drivers for six to eight races and continue the relationship with marketing partners American Messaging Services, ComServe Wireless, and WindStax. Justin Carroll will return to the K&N Pro Series for at least three races. PPM still has races available in the XFINITY Series as well as up to a full season in the K&N Pro Series East for funded drivers.(Precision Performance Motorsports)(1-6-2016)

  • KBM announces addition of Manion, crew chief lineup: Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) announced the addition of Kevin "Bono" Manion to the team's crew chief lineup for the team's three-truck effort in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for 2016. Manion will call the shots for the Tundra that will be shared by drivers Daniel Suarez and Cody Coughlin. Additionally, the team announced that 2015 Truck Series champion crew chief Rudy Fugle will be paired with 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion William Byron and veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter will guide Christopher Bell's efforts. Manion brings with him 12 years of experience as a NASCAR crew chief, spending the last 10 seasons in the Sprint Cup Series. The Massachusetts native collected five victories in his time atop the pit box in NASCAR's premier series, including two marquee wins with Jamie McMurray in 2010; the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. Before graduating into NASCAR's top division, he guided Martin Truex Jr., to back-to-back NASCAR XFINITY Series titles in 2004 and 2005. In addition to his five Sprint Cup Series victories, Manion boasts 15 XFINITY Series wins; 13 with Truex Jr., and two with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fugle begins his third season as a crew chief at KBM and fifth overall with the team. Under his tutelage last season, Erik Jones posted three wins, five poles, 925 laps led, 11 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes en route to becoming the youngest champion in Truck Series history and the first driver to collect both the Rookie of the Year and the series title in the same year. The duo also nabbed KBM its record-breaking fourth Truck Series Owner's championship last season, which was the second with Fugle calling the shots. In 2013, he led KBM's #51 Tundra team to a series-leading six wins and an Owner's Championship. The New York native's Truck Series drivers have totaled nine wins, six poles, 21 top-five and 35 top-10 finishes across his 44 races atop the pit box for KBM. Baxter begins his fourth season atop the pit box for KBM. Combined in his first three seasons, the California native's drivers posted seven wins, three poles, 1171 laps led, 24 top-five and 40 top-10 finishes across 67 starts. The veteran crew chief spent the 2015 season calling the shots for KBM's #51 team, which collected two wins, 10 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes with drivers Daniel Suarez (12 starts), Matt Tifft (six starts), Kyle Busch (three starts) and Christopher Bell (one start) behind the wheel. In addition to his seven wins at KBM, his resume includes a Truck Series win with Cale Gale in 2012 and a NASCAR XFINITY Series win with David Reutimann in 2007.(Kyle Busch Motorsports)(1-6-2016)

  • Richmond to remove backstretch seats: Richmond International Raceway will remove its entire backstretch of stands prior to the April race weekend. The project will decrease seating capacity to approximately 60,000. Capacity was about 75,000 after the last project a little more than two years ago, and was at 69,000 in 2015 after the venue slowly widened seats. The purpose of the move is to improve the race experience for fans. This is phase two of the track's plan. In October of 2013, the venue removed its Henrico Tower, a portion of backstretch seating. RIR is also changing prices for seats on Turn 2, in order to to accommodate racing fans who purchased the backstretch seat tickets. Those Turn 2 seats will now cost $35, the cost of the seats the venue will be removing. Track personnel is still determine what will replace the space vacated by the removed stands.(WWBT)(1-6-2016)


    News from January 5, 2016

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway & Kentucky Speedway repaving in 2016? UPDATE4 Kentucky to repave: From an interview with Danny James of the Lane Construction Corporation. James is the Mechanical Supervisor responsible for overseeing the paving of racetracks such as Daytona International Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Kansas Speedway. James is supervising the paving the Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania, VA. During the interview, James said Lane Construction has been contracted to repave Atlanta Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway in 2016. The video interview which had been on the Dominion Raceway Facebook page, was removed Wednesday afternoon and the same video on YouTube is now private.(11-18-2015)
    UPDATE: Atlanta Motor Speedway posted on their twitter: A repave has been looked into, but at this time, there are not any plans to do so.(11-18-2015)
    UPDATE2: Kentucky Speedway may be due for a repave in 2016, but it's still plenty possible the track chooses to wait out another year with its bumpy surface. That's despite what Lane Construction Corporation's Danny James said in a recent interview circulating social media Wednesday. In a video published to Facebook, James said his company has been contracted to repave Kentucky Speedway and the Atlanta Motor Speedway, both owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc. "I'm not exactly sure why he's talking about what we're doing," said Mark Simendinger, Kentucky Speedway's general manager. "If I were him, I'd be more focused on Lane Construction Corporation is up to -- not what we're up to." Simendinger said repaving is something track officials have discussed with Lane Construction and other contractors. "Have we made up our mind with what we're going to do? No," Simendinger said. "We're not going to ask (James) to make our media announcements for us. We evaluate it every year. We're evaluating it right now. That shouldn't come as a surprise."(Courier-Journal)(11-18-2015)
    UPDATE 3: Atlanta Motor Speedway was last resurfaced in 1997 and today is among the oldest racing surfaces on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit. While track officials are constantly monitoring the track's condition, there are, at this time, no plans in place to resurface the track. A favorite among many NASCAR drivers, the aged, abrasive surface produces slick racing conditions and some of the fastest tire fall-off in NASCAR. With very little alteration since its most recent repave 18 years ago, regularly scheduled maintenance programs, including filling cracks with pavement preservation products, is performed on the 1.54-mile asphalt surface between races. Mild Georgia winters and the thorough maintenance program have played a key factor in the track's longevity.(AMS)(11-24-2015)
    UPDATE 4: Kentucky Speedway announces it is undertaking a comprehensive renovation of its racing surface which is highlighted by increased banking in Turns 1 and 2 and further includes drainage improvements, additional SAFER barrier, and repaving of the entire 1.5-mile tri-oval. Work has begun and will be completed in time for this year's NASCAR tripleheader weekend in July. "Modifying Turns 1 and 2 will present an exciting challenge to the drivers while addressing issues of the track surface, SAFER barrier and drainage will improve safety, which is always our paramount concern," said General Manager of Kentucky Speedway, Mark Simendinger. The project will be coordinated by Vice President of Operations and Development for Speedway Motorsports Inc., Steve Swift. "We have assembled an excellent team, all of whom are familiar with the demands of speedway construction. I am excited about the finished product as we wanted to present a unique challenge to the drivers. This design, with Turns 1 and 2 completely different than 3 and 4 accomplishes that goal. The big winner will be the race fan," said Swift.(Kentucky Speedway)(1-5-2016)

  • Premium Motorsports hires most of Hillman Racing staff, purchases cars and equipment: Premium Motorsports [#62 team] announced that the team has hired Mike Hillman to head up its NASCAR Sprint Cup operation for 2016. The deal also includes the hiring of Crew Chief, Mark Hillman, along with most of the staff from the #40 team that competed in the 2015 season. Team owner Jay Robinson announced that with increased competition within the racing industry, "We had to upgrade our team moving forward and that included Mike Hillman, select key personnel and the purchase of additional cars and equipment. The racing bar is being raised even higher and this effort will enable us to commit more resources and become more competitive for 2016". The team expects to make driver and additional sponsor announcements in the coming days.(Premium Motorsports)(1-5-2016)

  • Jeff Gordon Ready for FOX's NASCAR Booth: With fewer than 50 days remaining until the Daytona 500 on FOX, planning for the FOX portion of the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season is in full swing. This year, of course, marks the full-time broadcasting debut of four-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, who will join veteran broadcasters Mike Joy and Darrell Waltrip in the FOX NASCAR booth beginning in February with Daytona Speedweeks. See Jeff Gordon interview / Q&A / Photos at FOX Sports and/or FOX Sports (1-5-2016)

  • Team Penske to Celebrate 50th Anniversary in 2016: Team Penske unveiled its plans today for the year-long celebration of its 50th Anniversary in motorsports during 2016. The team will wave the green flag on the commemorative activities by displaying an exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC in January. "Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Team Penske" will be a multi-faceted program that will reach into retail and merchandise, media and fan engagement, sponsor partnerships and special events. Team Penske's Media Tour at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on January 20 and an employee and partner celebration featuring current and past Team Penske drivers that same evening will serve as the official start of the historic year.   50th Anniversary   The January 20th date will coincide with the debut of an exhibit at the NASCAR Hall of Fame dedicated to celebrating the team's history. The special exhibit will not only focus on Team Penske's successful NASCAR program, but will showcase cars spanning multiple racing disciplines from 1966 to the present and will include never before seen artifacts and trophies from the Team Penske archives. An additional exhibit focused on Team Penske will debut in February at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum 100 days before the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May. That display will not only feature cars representing each Team Penske driver's first win at the speedway, but will also include vehicles, artifacts and trophies from Penske's rich 50-year history. The team will also announce the inaugural inductions into the Team Penske Hall of Fame, a yearly-honor that will be made eligible to current and former drivers and employees who have made a significant impact on the team and its history. A special Team Penske "Fan Day" will help fans share in all of the 50th Anniversary excitement at the team's headquarters in May. While specific plans for the family-friendly event will be unveiled in the near future, Fan Day will feature current and past Team Penske drivers, live entertainment, local food trucks, partner displays, interactive areas and special giveaways.(Team Penske)(1-5-2016)

  • Autoweek Launches Inaugural Awards: Breaking with a longstanding tradition of naming the Best of the Best cars and trucks, Autoweek is launching its inaugural Autoweek Awards to recognize individuals or companies who, over the course of the last year, have made substantial contributions to the continued relevance and advancement of car culture. As America's motorsports publication of record, Autoweek also will recognize the racers and teams who provided the most memorable moments in motorsports from the previous year.(PRNewswire)(1-5-2016)

  • SRI Performance Purchases Roush Yates Performance Products: Roush Yates Performance Products announced that it has reached an agreement with SRI Performance in which SRI will now own, operate, and manage the performance parts distribution business previously owned and operated by Roush Yates Performance Products. With this new agreement, beginning January 1, 2016, SRI will operate out of two locations in Mooresville, NC. Each location will represent a distinctly different product offering.(roushyatesparts.com)(1-5-2016)


    News from January 4, 2016

  • Darian Grubb returns to Hendrick Motorsports: Hendrick Motorsports has named Darian Grubb to the newly created role of vehicle production director, where he will oversee every aspect of race car manufacturing for the 11-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions, effective immediately. Grubb, 40, assumes responsibility for production operations in the Hendrick Motorsports chassis and body groups. He will work alongside vehicle technical director Kenny Francis to support and grow the company's overall car development capabilities while collaborating across vehicle engineering, vehicle production and four Sprint Cup teams. Both Grubb and Francis report to general manager Doug Duchardt.
    "We're excited to welcome Darian back to Hendrick Motorsports," Duchardt said. "His résumé speaks for itself, and he already has a deep understanding of our people, processes and culture. Teaming him with Kenny on our vehicle efforts mirrors the management structure of our engine operation, which has been very effective, and it adds more depth to the organization as a whole. Darian brings a wealth of knowledge and experience, and we know he will make us stronger."
    A native of Floyd, Virginia, with a mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech, Grubb originally joined Hendrick Motorsports from Petty Enterprises in January 2003. He served as lead race engineer for the #48 Sprint Cup team from 2003-2006 and was interim crew chief during the first four races of its 2006 championship-winning campaign, leading Jimmie Johnson to a pair of victories, including the Daytona 500.
    Grubb earned one win as crew chief for driver Casey Mears (#25 Chevy) in 2007 before being named engineering manager for the #5 and #88 Hendrick Motorsports teams for 2008. In 2009, he moved into a crew chief role at Stewart-Haas Racing, where in three seasons he won 11 races and the 2011 Sprint Cup championship with #14-Tony Stewart. Grubb then joined Joe Gibbs Racing, winning nine races with multiple drivers from 2012-2015. As a crew chief, he has 23 career Sprint Cup victories.
    "It means a lot to come back to Hendrick Motorsports," Grubb said. "This is a role that will allow me to contribute to the success of the entire organization, which was very important to me. Kenny is someone I greatly respect, so the chance to work side-by-side with him was a big factor. Everything is familiar, and I think that will make for a smooth transition. The more we talked about the opportunity, the more it felt right. I'm ready to get started."(Hendrick Motorsports)(1-4-2016)

  • NASCAR, teams closer on charter system: NASCAR and Sprint Cup teams are moving closer to an agreement that would guarantee teams starting spots for all races this season, according to a report by the Sports Business Journal. "Like most things, the devil's in the details," Rob Kauffman, chairman of the Race Team Alliance, told Sports Business Journal. "It's a multiyear agreement, so it's important that details are right." The report states the agreement would be for five years - matching the length of recent agreements NASCAR did with tracks that play host to Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series races. By being granted a guaranteed spot in every race via a "charter," teams would be able to assure sponsors they would not miss an event. A charter system also would allow teams to better forecast race earnings and provide greater value should an owner seek to sell their stake. The report states that original plans called for 36 charters for a 40-car field, which would be down from the 43-car field run this past season.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2016)

  • Larson wins at Cocopah Speedway: Kyle Larson (#42 Target Chevy in Cup) seemed somewhat surprised at his margin of victory Saturday night at Cocopah Speedway, where he powered to his first victory of the new year during round two of the second annual Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown. Larson, who was driving for Paul Silva, lapped up to 14th place and he won by more than five seconds on the three-eighths-mile oval to score the $12,000 winner's share. It also made him the first repeat winner during seven Winter Heat Sprint Car Showdown main events. Larson, who started the 30-lap feature on the outside of the front row, inherited the lead when polesitter Greg Hodnett spun on lap eight. From that point the race was all Larson, who pulled away from the field following restarts on lap nine and lap 11 en route to the triumph. Shane Stewart, who pilots a sprint car for Larson with the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, advanced from sixth to second in his Larson-Marks Racing entry. Danny Lasoski, who is the defending champion of the event, used a late rally by running in the middle of the track to round out the podium after he dropped outside the top 10 in the early laps. Friday night winner Dale Blaney, finished fourth with Jason Johnson fifth.(NSSN)(1-4-2016)

  • Robby Gordon once again in Dakar Rally: Former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon is once again competing in the Dakar Rally. Gordon is part of a three-vehicle Team Speed operation sponsored by Toyo Tires. The other two drivers on the team are veteran Guerlain Chicherit and 2015 Stadium SUPER Truck champion, Sheldon Creed, who at 18 years old, is the youngest driver in Rally history. The 13-day, 5,739 mile off-road race, which winds through Argentina and includes two segments in Bolivia, was slated to kick off Sunday Buenos Aires. However, the first stage from Rosario to Villa Carlos Paz was cancelled due to heavy rain and "security reasons," race organizers tweeted, because helicopters that fly overhead monitoring the race were unable to fly due to the inclement conditions. The cancellation came shortly after a crash in a preliminary race Saturday in which, according to reports, Chinese driver Guo Meiling lost control of her vehicle and plowed into a crowd, injuring 10 spectators. Gordon competed 19 years on the Sprint Cup circuit, amassing 396 starts, 3 wins, 16 top-fives and 39 top-10s. His last race was in 2012, at the same time he founded the Charlotte-based Stadium SUPER Truck Series.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2016)

  • Nominate your hero for naming rights to the Brickyard 400: Nominate your hero for naming rights to the 2016 Crown Royal "Your Hero's Name Here" 400 at the Brickyard race scheduled to be held at the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, IN (July 24, 2016) by writing an essay in 100 words or less. All entries must be received by end of the day on February 28, 2016. Finalists will be announced on or about March 28, 2016. Each finalist will be highlighted on NASCAR.com or a Crown Royal digital property and consumers will have a chance to vote for their favorite entry at NASCAR.com. Voting will begin on March 28, 2016 and will end on May 31, 2016. More details, contest rules and information at yourherosnamehere.nascar.com or on Jayski.com's Contest page.(1-4-2016)

  • Stewart-Haas Racing crew member suffers stroke: Les Huntley, a front suspension mechanic at Stewart-Haas Racing who also served as the second gas man for Danica Patrick's #10 team, suffered a stroke New Year's Day, the team confirmed Monday. Huntley has paralysis on the left side and is expected to have long road to recovery. Huntley, who is from Renwick, Iowa, worked on front suspensions for all the Stewart-Haas Racing cars.(NBC Sports)(1-4-2016)


    News from January 3, 2016

  • Dale Jr. heads to TaxSlayer Bowl UPDATE: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will once again head to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. to participate in the coin toss to begin Saturday's [Jan 2nd] game between the Georgia Bull Dogs and Penn State Nittany Lions. TaxSlayer.com is beginning its seventh year as a sponsor at JR Motorsports and will extend that relationship to the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. "I enjoy working with TaxSlayer and I think it's neat where we cross promote and sort of mix the two together where their involvement with the Bowl brings me to the Bowl," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get to enjoy that experience. I had never been to any college games in my life until I started going to the TaxSlayer Bowl, even being a fan of the sport. It's fun for me and we are typically in the neighborhood that time of year being on vacation."(MRN)(1-2-2016)
    UPDATE: It may be the NASCAR offseason, but Hendrick Motorsports and Dale Earnhardt Jr. were busy this weekend, taking part in the Tax Slayer Bowl between Penn State and Georgia on Saturday afternoon. The #88 TaxSlayer.com Chevy was on hand for fan photos, while Earnhardt took part in a Q&A outside the Jacksonville, Florida stadium. Prior to the game, Earnhardt took in the attention before driving onto the field to perform the opening coin toss.(FoxSports)(1-3-2016)

  • Gase to return to Jimmy Means Racing in 2016: Joey Gase has had one heck of an off-season. No, there were no big contracts or endorsement deals. But there were headlines. And awards. And significant conversations with sponsors, who will bring dollars to his fledgling car owner and race team at Jimmy Means Racing. Gase has had to go through personal hell to get to this point, but as he's told the world so many times, that personal hell has been used to try and make the real world a better place. NASCAR, Comcast and Xfinity saw the work he's done through the Iowa Donor Network and Donate Life, and recognized him for it as the first Comcast Community Champion award winner in November - and with it came a $60,000 prize. He was thrust in front of NASCAR's elite, and the whole sport once again got to see what the Cedar Rapids native was made of. It wasn't just about hearing his story again. Gase donated all $60,000 of that prize money to the Iowa Donor Network - without really a second thought. He'll be back with Means in the #52 for the Xfinity Series season again in 2016, but with loads more respect. His existing sponsors have been over the moon about the award and its attention, Gase said. More attention can only help, and help means those dollars. It's already paid off in the way of Iowa Donor Network, who is working with Gase right now to secure a possible Camping World Truck Series ride at Iowa Speedway for the June 18 and 19 CWTS/NXS doubleheader. He has irons in the fire on some Cup Series races, too, but those are still to be determined. He's grateful to everyone for what the award has brought, but now it's on to 2016 and finding a way to grow even more. "The cool thing is now Iowa Donor Network is actually going to go out of their boundaries a little bit outside the state of Iowa and team up with us more for some other states that surround Iowa and stuff like that. It's going to be really cool and help everybody," Gase said. "The sponsors we already had obviously loved it, and everything we're doing - especially the Donate Life sponsorship - shows that it's working. "We'll be doing all the same stuff (Xfinity-wise), and hopefully still improving like we have been every year. Hopefully we'll get top-20 points again. I'd really like to start finishing in the top 20 every week, on a consistent basis."(The Gazette)(1-3-2016)

  • Gase may run some truck races in 2016: Joey Gase has had one heck of an off-season. No, there were no big contracts or endorsement deals. But there were headlines. And awards. And significant conversations with sponsors, who will bring dollars to his fledging car owner and race team at Jimmy Means Racing. Gase has had to go through personal hell to get to this point, but as he's told the world so many times, that personal hell has been used to try and make the real world a better place. NASCAR, Comcast and Xfinity saw the work he's done through the Iowa Donor Network and Donate Life, and recognized him for it as the first Comcast Community Champion award winner in November - and with it came a $60,000 prize. He was thrust in front of NASCAR's elite, and the whole sport once again got to see what the Cedar Rapids native was made of. It wasn't just about hearing his story again. Gase donated all $60,000 of that prize money to the Iowa Donor Network - without really a second thought. He'll be back with Means in the #52 for the Xfinity Series season again in 2016, but with loads more respect. Gase has persevered to this point, both personally and professionally. His career-best finish of fifth at Talladega Superspeedway last spring got him attention for his on-track results, which have been an uphill battle with an underfunded team that's been around for decades. He finished 21st in driver points with an average finish of 27.5, including that fifth-place at Talladega as his only top five and top 10, and an average start position of 32.9. Those numbers show improvement over 2014, though, when Gase had an average start of 34.5, an average finish of 29.4 and was only running at the finish of 22 of 33 races (27 in 2015). It's baby steps, but while he works on putting more names on the recipient list for organ donation - thereby reducing the 120,000-person donation waitlist - he can work to find sponsors that will help fund a team he's trying to help improve. His existing sponsors have been over the moon about the award and its attention, Gase said. More attention can only help, and help means those dollars. It's already paid off in the way of Iowa Donor Network, who is working with Gase right now to secure a possible Camping World Truck Series ride at Iowa Speedway for the June 18 and 19 CWTS/NXS doubleheader.(The Gazette)(1-3-2016)

  • Anderson planning 2016 return after hard-fought 2015 season: If Jordan Anderson wanted to write a book on his rookie season in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series, he wouldn't be short of stories. From driving cross country to Las Vegas, scrambling to find a passport for a race in Canada and several late nights preparing his truck to go to the track, the A.C. Flora grad experienced just about everything in his first year in one of NASCAR's top series. Despite the challenges of being a single-truck team, Anderson found enough sponsorship to drive in 17-of-23 races this season. His best finish was 13th at Michigan, which he called "like a victory" for the team. He finished 19th in the series points and made his debut in the Xfinity Series on Aug. 21 at Bristol Motor Speedway on a weekend in which he failed to qualify for the truck race. "This year almost been like a movie, all the things we experienced and been through. Being the underdog on a team and against guys that have like 20 or 30 crew members working on a truck," Anderson said. "So, for us to be at the race track every week has been an honor. The plan for us was to run Daytona and anything was a bonus, so running almost a full schedule was a dream. There were a lot of cool moments and looking back, you get caught in moment sometimes during the season and don't appreciate it. But it definitely was a year I will remember."
    Anderson said he has spent some of his time off reflecting on the season, which was his first full year on any level since 2011. After spending some time with friends and family for the holidays, he is in the process of lining up everything for the upcoming season and hopes to have things wrapped later this month in time for the season opener in Daytona next month. Unlike drivers in bigger organization, Anderson's responsibility is more than just driving on the weekends. Anderson, who earned a business degree at Belmont Abbey, is involved in drumming up sponsorship anyway he can throughout the season. He is his own public relation person, helped designed paint schemes, and worked on his truck before getting it to the track and when he got there. For last year's opening race at Daytona, Anderson and his crew finished at 2 a.m. in Charlotte, before he and his father, who spotted for him during some races, drove to Florida to be at the track at 10 a.m. that day. Anderson's full-time crew each week consisted just of him, crew chief Dan Kolanda and one other person. Anderson had just one truck to make it through the year, so it was important he learned to take care of his equipment during his schedule. If he would wreck, that might mean Anderson's season might be in jeopardy. And just getting to the track wasn't an easy task. Anderson drove the team's hauler to the track on most weekends and had plenty of adventures on the road to tell. He ended up staying in Iowa for nearly a month when his hauler broke down twice after back-to-back racing weekends in St. Louis and Iowa. That was just one of many instances like that during the season. In August, Anderson had to scramble for a passport when he found out he would be driving in the truck series race in Canada. He drove to Atlanta on a Tuesday to get the passport. The next day, he drove his hauler by himself 17 hours to Canada. "Hopefully, this offseason, we can get things built up, have a few more trucks we can use and keep this thing going in the right direction."(The State)(1-3-2016)


    News from January 2, 2016

  • Bowyer to keep the #15 in 2016? UPDATE: an image of the #15 PEAK Chevy started popping up on Twitter mid-day Tuesday, December 15th. Looks like part of a photo shoot, the 5-Hour Energy drink car can be seen in the background. Clint Bowyer, who will drive for HScott Motorsports in 2016, was expected to run the #15 or #51 Chevy, looks like it'll be #15. See the image on the 2016 #15 Team Schemes page (12-16-2015)
    UPDATE: the #15 Five Energy Drink Chevy has been posted on the Five Energy Drink website, see an image of the car on the 2016 #15 Team Schemes page.(1-2-2016)

  • Dale Jr. heads to TaxSlayer Bowl: #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. will once again head to the TaxSlayer Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. to participate in the coin toss to begin Saturday's [Jan 2nd] game between the Georgia Bull Dogs and Penn State Nittany Lions. TaxSlayer.com is beginning its seventh year as a sponsor at JR Motorsports and will extend that relationship to the Sprint Cup Series with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016. "I enjoy working with TaxSlayer and I think it's neat where we cross promote and sort of mix the two together where their involvement with the Bowl brings me to the Bowl," Earnhardt Jr. said. "I get to enjoy that experience. I had never been to any college games in my life until I started going to the TaxSlayer Bowl, even being a fan of the sport. It's fun for me and we are typically in the neighborhood that time of year being on vacation."(MRN)(1-2-2016)

  • Bud Moore Q&A at Motorsports Race Car & Trade Show in Philly: Described as "an old country mechanic" who loved to make 'em run fast, Bud Moore had a successful career as a winning NASCAR car owner and crew chief earning a spot in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The 90-year-old decorated veteran of World War II will be part of the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports Fueled by Sunoco Distributed By Insinger Performance Race Car & Trade Show. The 31st edition of the show is set for Friday, January 22nd thru Sunday, January 24th at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA. Moore will be doing a question and answer session at the main stage on Saturday afternoon and then spend time at the Coastal 181 Publishing display area meeting fans and signing autographs. This could very well be a once in a lifetime opportunity for fans attending the show. His cars raced in the 1960s and 1970s usually sporting red and white colors of Motorcraft and carrying the number 15 had such notables as Buck Baker, Joe Weatherly, Billy Wade and Tiny Lund driving and winning. Baker, Weatherly and Lund all win NASCAR titles for Moore. Other notables that drove for Moore included Dale Earnhardt, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Fireball Roberts, Darrell Waltrip and a long list of others. During his 37 years as a NASCAR car owner the Spartansburg, SC native was able to amass 63 wins, 43 pole positions and three NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) titles. Impressive was his war record as he was able to participate in five major battles including Normandy D-Day Landings. He earned two bronze stars (one for capturing a German headquarters on his own) and five Purple Hearts for battle-related injuries.(Times Herald)(1-2-2016)


    News from January 1, 2016

  • No #35 FRM team in 2016?: noticed on Front Row Motorsports website (TeamFRM.com) that under the teams tab, there is no #35 team is listed and under the drivers tab, neither Cole Whitt nor David Gilliland are listed as drivers. Front Row Motorsports announced on Dec. 10th, that Chris Buescher will take over the #34 Ford ride in 2016 and that they could down size from three teams to two. Gilliland drove for FRM from 2010 until this past season (in the #34, #37 and #38 Fords). Gilliland recently tweeted: "Not really sure what's gonna happen next year. [Front Row] has been great to me. I wish them nothing but the best." Cole Whitt ran the #35 Ford in all 36 races during the 2015 season. No word on WHitt's plans or plans for his crew chief Randy Cox.(1-1-2016)


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